Tomato Cucumber Salad

July 8, 2014 - Written by Diana

Tomatoes and cucumbers are the staple of just about every summer kitchen. I had plans to do an elaborate salad for the holiday weekend, but when it came down to it, I went quick and easy with my tomato cucumber salad. As a non-mayo, vinegar based salad, it travels well and doesn’t go bad quickly on a hot summer day. If you don’t want to mess with a dressing, store bought will work just fine and save even more time.

Tomato Cucumber Salad - Cookerati.com

Tomato Cucumber Salad


Fast and Easy – Steamed Sausage and Vegetables

August 30, 2012 - Written by Diana

Steamed Sausages and Veggies

My son came home and asked what we were having for dinner.  It’s a fun game we play.  One of us asks what we are having for dinner and the other responds -“I don’t know, what are you making?”.  If he’s cooking, sometimes I’ll tell him what to make, and if it’s me – I’ll figure something out.  Tonight, I didn’t want to slave over the stove, but I remembered something my husband said when he brought home the market bag.  He said that we should cook up the green beans and corn fresh and fast while we have them and not wait because they’re always best when they’re fresh.

I have a metal strainer insert that I use when I want to steam or blanch.  Then I can either keep the ingredients from getting waterlogged because it doesn’t touch the bottom of the pot, or in the case of blanching, I can raise the strainer draining the water off without getting burned pouring it off. Tonight I filled the strainer with corn on the cob, green beans, potatoes, sausage (from an area farmer) and set it inside  a stockpot.  I poured a bottle of beer and 2 cups of stock over top – knowing they would drain to the bottom of the pot and would be my steaming liquid.  If I had a steamer that fit better, I probably would have more liquid left in the bottom to use as a sauce, but you could add a cup of water to keep it all  from evaporating off.  I added really fragrant spices that gave off such a great aroma.

If my husband was a shrimp eater, I might have added some of that too. It would work well with any type of meat, like chicken or smoked sausage.  This was a really easy throw together meal, something you could let steam in the pot while you are helping the kids with homework or posting on your blog, or relaxing with the newspaper or book.  It’s a no fuss no muss, even my college son could cook it type of meal.

Fast and Easy - Steamed Sausage and
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Really easy dinner of steamed sausage and vegetables. One pot meal that does the work while you relax.
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4
  • 4 Sausage links - or 1 large smoked sausage
  • 3 ears corn on the cob broken into 5 or 6 pieces
  • 2 cups large rough chopped potatoes
  • 2 cups fresh green beans tips cut off
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp ground cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • salt to taste
  • 1 bottle beer or Ale (I used Killians Irish Red)
  • 2 cups Chicken Stock
  1. Scrub the vegetables clean and prepare to the right size.
  2. Throw all of the ingredients into the steam basket. Turn on the heat and steam the food until it's done.
  3. Slice the sausage links into the bowl, spoon in the rest of the ingredients, and drizzle some of the steam juices from the bottom of the pot over top of the meat and veggies.
You may not need as much broth, if your steam basket fits in tight to the pot and doesn't allow steam to escape. However, if it the basket doesn't fit tight and you want more broth(you will), you may want to add water.


Fast and Delicious – Grilled Veggies & Bulgur

September 25, 2011 - Written by Diana

Grilled Summer Vegetables & Bulgur

Tonight’s dinner – had a side of grilled veggies and bulgur.  This side dish is a really fast and easy side that packs in a good deal of nutrients.  This side can also be served as a vegetarian main and can be eaten cold or hot.  So double up and bring it to lunch the next day or a repeat dinner.  It’s a little scorched on the edges, but still very tasty.  A quick grill with olive oil and then after you combine the veggies and bulgur, give it a quick toss with some chopped fresh basil and a little bit of olive oil.

I have a  grill grate that I place over the grill top because I worry that the vegetables will fall through.  I sprayed the grate with a little oil first to make sure the veggies wouldn’t stick and I used a sweet onion along with some summer squash, and red peppers.


Core, de-stem and slice pepper lengthwise. Slice onions into similar size.  Slice zucchini down lengthwise into fourths, and divide into thirds so that you end up with rectangles of squash.  Do the same with the yellow squash.  Spray grill grate with oil, and also the vegetables.  Sprinkle with dried basil, salt and pepper. Place on the grill and if you can flip – a couple of minutes on each side.

Cook the bulgur according to directions.  Chop fresh basil up and toss in a serving bowl along with some olive oil, salt, pepper, the bulgur and the grilled veggies.  That’s it, on the table in twenty minutes at the most.



Spiced Harvest Pancakes

September 15, 2011 - Written by Diana

Here’s a nice recipe to try from Autumn Quick and Easy by Gooseberry Patch.  Good for breakfast, or if you want breakfast for dinner that would be delicious, especially topped with some spiced cinnamon apples.

Shared by Shelly Smith from Dana, Indiana

Stir together all ingredients until well blended. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter per pancake onto a hot griddle that has been sprayed with non-stick vegetable spray. Cook over medium heat until pancakes start to bubble; flip and cook until golden. Makes about one dozen.

Keep It Simple – Crockpot Beef Stew in Red Wine

May 19, 2011 - Written by Diana

As you know, I am a big fan of keeping it simple.  You can ruin a dinner by fussing too much.  My dad was a perfectionist and though his meals were technically perfect, sometimes there were other factors. Ask my mom how her friends loved dinner with my dad when his perfect meal didn’t show up until 9:00.  Ask how much we loved running out to the store at the last minute to pick up the perfect ingredient, that he couldn’t do without because the recipe called for it, and he didn’t do substitutions. Some of my favorite meals take just a few ingredients and a little bit of time.  Spending a couple of hours preparing an appetizer that disappears within a couple of seconds can be such a let down and who wants to come home to start a really in-depth dinner, when you just want to relax? This stew is super easy, fast and delicious.  I start meals like this before I go to work.  The first one home adds the carrots and cooks up some noodles.  Put it all together and dinner is done.


In a hot pan with two tbs olive oil, quickly saute the beef and onions.  Place into crock pot along with the rest of the ingredients. The wine and beef broth should cover the beef evenly.  Place the crock pot on medium.  When you come home from work, peel and slice carrots and add to the crock pot.  Cook up noodles.  Eat when the carrots are tender.  Serve the beef stew over noodles.  Yum.

Dinty Moore/ Hormel Chili Recipes

April 29, 2010 - Written by Diana

Celebrate Dinty Moore/Hormel Chili’s 75th anniversary year, by cooking up some of these delicious recipes.

This historic recipe which is straight from a 1976 Dinty Moore package label

Cowboy Stew (also called Beef Stew Bonanza)


1 (40-ounce) can Dinty Moore® beef stew

3 (15-ounce) cans Hormel® chili with beans


In large pot over medium heat, combine stew and chili.  Heat just until boiling, stirring occasionally.  Serves 10.


Chili Cheese Dip with Chips


  • 1 (15-ounce) can Hormel® Chili No Beans
  • 1 (16-ounce) package pasteurized prepared Cheddar cheese product, cut into cubes


  1. In large saucepan, combine chili and cheese. Heat over low heat, stirring frequently, until cheese is melted and chili mixture is hot and bubbly. Serve with corn chips.


Easy Shepherd’s Pie
  • (24-ounce) package refrigerated mashed potatoes, any flavor
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 (15-ounce) can Dinty Moore® Beef Stew


  1. Heat oven to 400ºF.
  2. In 9-inch backing dish, place stew. Spoon mashed potatoes over stew.
  3. Bake shepherd’s pie 20 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake 5 minutes longer or until hot and bubbly

Chicken, Potatoes and Leeks

March 23, 2010 - Written by Diana

Chicken, Potatoes and Leeks          When I walk in the door, my track star son hits me up right away and asks what’s for dinner.  I once told him he had to give me 15 minutes before he asked, but when track season starts, he’s full on hungry. I’m not great at planning, I’m more of a fridge decider.  Hmm, I have chicken, oh and those leeks will go bad if I don’t use them soon.   I’ve got potatoes too, or should I do noodles.  No, did noodles yesterday, go with the taters.  That is how I decide a lot of my meals.  It’s a lets see what I can do with what I’ve got type thing.   So tonight was Chicken, Potatoes and Leeks, because I had it ready to use.  It was also delicious.  I cut the chicken on a bias, kind of in the same shape as the potato slices.  I sliced the leeks into long strips, because I knew they would melt down into leeky smooshiness, so I wanted them in bigger tastier pieces.  This turned into an easy fast one pan meal, with just a few ingredients, and not a lot of prep.



Heat oil, then drop in the chicken, shallots and leeks in a deep sauté pan.  Cook the chicken a couple of minutes on each side.  Layer potatoes in with chicken, leeks and shallots.  Add broth, herbs, salt and pepper and cover with lid until potatoes are soft. 

Taste of Home’s 2010 Quick, Cheap and Easy Superbowl Recipes

February 2, 2010 - Written by Diana


Taste of Home put out a second edition of the Taste of Home Cookbook. The new cookbook from Taste of Home, the # 1 cooking magazine in the country, is stuffed full of quick game day chow that won’t break the bank! Using everyday ingredients the Taste of Home cookbook 2nd edition has quick and scrumptious treats that will tackle your guests’ hungry tummies. It takes less than a half an hour to whip up these mouth watering munchies such as Hot Bean Dip, Easy Meatballs, Barbeque Wings, Tomato Pizza Bread, and a yummy Five Minute Beer Dip to get the crowd going. Without emptying your wallet or being stuck in the kitchen you’ll have a feast for champions!


Hot Bean Dip
Prep/Total Time: 15 Min
Cost $.40 per serving

1 lb ground beef
¼ cup chopped onion
1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
1-1/4 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
½  cup taco sauce
Tortilla chips

1)    In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Reduce heat. Stir in the refried beans, Monterey Jack cheese and taco sauce; cook and stir until cheese is melted. Serve warm with tortilla chips.
Yield: 3-1/2 cups


beer dip

Beer Dip
Prep/Total Time: 5 min
Cost $.22 per serving

2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup beer or nonalcoholic beer
1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

1)    In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, beer and dressing mix until smooth. Stir in cheese. Serve with pretzels. Refrigerate leftovers.
Yield: 3-1/2 cups


Easy Meatballs 

Easy Meatballs
Prep/Total: 15 min
Cost$.14 per serving

24 frozen cooked Italian meatballs (1/2 ounce each) thawed
1 cup barbecue sauce
½ cup sweet-and-sour sauce

1)    Place the meatballs in a 3-qt. microwave-safe dish; cover and microwave on high for 304 minutes or until heated through.
2)    In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine the sauces; cover and heat on high for 203 minutes or until heated through. Pour over meatballs; cover and microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Yield: 2 dozen


Tomato Bread Pizza

Tomato Pizza Bread
Prep/Total Time: 30min

1 tube (10 ounces) refrigerated pizza crust
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1 plum tomato, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
½ teaspoon Italian seasoning optional

1)    On a greased baking sheet, roll pizza crust into a 12-in. x 8-in. rectangle. Bake at 425 degrees for 6-8 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Sprinkle with garlic, oregano and half of the cheese.
2)    Arrange tomato slices in a single layer over cheese. Top with remaining cheese and Italian seasoning if desired. Bake 6-8 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and crust is lightly browned.
Yield: 8 servings


Barbeque Wings

Barbeque Wings
Prep/Total Time: 30min
Cost $.28 per serving

Oil for deep-fat frying
1 package (40 ounces) fresh or frozen chicken wingettes, thawed
½ cup barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

1)    In an electric skillet or deep-fat fryer, heat oil to 375 degrees. Fry chicken wings, a few at a time, for 8 minutes or until golden brown and juices run clear, turning occasionally. Drain on paper towels.
2)    In a Small microwave-safe bowl, combine the barbecue sauce, butter, celery seed and hot pepper sauce. Cover and microwave on high for 1 minute or until heated through. Place the chicken wings in a large bowl; add sauce and toss to coat.
Yield: 6 servings

Sausage and Spinach Soup

January 31, 2009 - Written by Diana

Tomorrow night is the Superbowl and we’ve gotten our lists made and we’re going to shop and prepare for tomorrow’s game.  Tonight, we want something easy, but delicious and wholesome.  We need something good for us, because tomorrow we sin(okay that might be a little harsh). Sausage and Spinach soup is just the thing for this cold, wintry day, but it only takes 15-30 minutes to prepare.  Pair it with some brushetta, or garlic bread, or a baguette and it will be the perfect meal.  I found this recipe in my March 2007 issue of Cooking Light magazine.




Remove casings from sausage and cook in a large sauce pan coated with cooking spray over a high heat until the sausage is browned, stirring to crumble. Add onion and 2 tsp garlic to pan; cook for 2 minutes.  Stir in 1/2 cup water, beans, tomatoes and broth (if you use dried herbs add them now). Cover and bring to a boil.  Uncover and cook for 3 minutes or until slightly thick.  Remove from heat and stir in spinach, basil and oregano.  Ladle 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 4 bowls and sprinkle each serving with 1 1/2 tsp cheese.

Cabbage, Beef and Noodles

January 13, 2009 - Written by Diana

Cabbage, Beef and Noodles  This is one of our family’s favorite comfort foods.  I think cabbage is good for you, but I don’t want to do a whole lot of preparation, or wrapping, I just want to throw it in.  Here’s a meal I came up with that we enjoy and it’s quick and easy to make too. 



Saute ground beef with peppers and onions.  Drain off the grease.  In a large pan or wok, heat up the broth until boiling.  Add in the noodles and simmer until the noodles are almost cooked. 

While noodles are cooking, slice up cabbage into strips and heat up peas (I use the microwave).  If it seems like your noodles need a little more liquid, add it so that it doesn’t stick to the pan.  When the noodles are almost done, add in ground beef, cabbage and peas(or whatever). Let it bubble until the cabbage wilts, but is still firm. Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper. Finish up by topping with shredded cheese.