Tomato Caprese – Delicious and Beautiful

July 6, 2014 - Written by Diana

I’ve been making Tomato Caprese for years, and I see it served almost everywhere.  I’ve made it and seen versions of it done so different ways.  I placed it on a platter for a gathering, but we’ve had it chunky with mozzarella balls or small tomato pieces with small mozzarella pieces in a bowl or even mozzarella and basil stuffed cherry tomatoes.  No matter how you slice it or stack it, it’s just a perfect side dish to a meal.  It’s fast and easy and delicious.  It goes very quickly and no leftovers.  Not only that, but it’s such an easy recipe, that once someone sees it they copy it for their own gatherings because it’s both delicious and beautiful.

Tomato Caprese

Tomato Caprese


Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Potatoes

November 18, 2012 - Written by Diana

This is low fat brussels sprouts because it does not have any bacon or any type of fat.  I’ve found that brussels sprouts are the best when prepared simply without much other than a little olive oil for roasting.  If you are looking for a great side that doesn’t require a lot of prep or messing around, this is it and truthfully, my son could do this one, no problem.  It takes ten minutes at most to throw together, stick it in the oven and it is ready in about 20 minutes. My kids used to tell me that they didn’t want brussels sprouts because I bought the frozen boxes and heated it up.  No, more. I buy fresh and give it a little roast with some olive oil.

Thanksgiving is coming and it’s good to have some dishes with sauces and then have some simpler dishes for those who don’t like it complicated. While you are making the dishes with many steps, the kids or your spouse could make this, easily.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Potatoes

Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Potatoes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Easy but delicious brussels sprout and potato side dish.
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Serves: 4
  • 1 cup brussel sprouts
  • 4 medium small potatoes
  • ⅛ cup pine nuts
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Slice off the stem end of the brussels sprout, then slice in half lengthwise.
  2. Clean potato of any bad spots and dirt and cut into pieces about the same size as the brussels sprouts.
  3. Place the potatoes and the brussel sprouts in a baking dish, sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper and toss.
  4. Bake at 325 for about 20 min,flipping halfway.
Salt can be left out for low sodium.



Cauliflower Saute

November 16, 2011 - Written by Diana

I get overwhelmed with all of the seasonal produce at the farm market and I want it all.  My real problem is having enough time to cook it up before it goes bad.  When we were at the farm market last I bought heads of cauliflower that I used right away. I love cauliflower, but I think it can get over cooked and soggy easily, to me the flavor diminishes, and it’s not as tasty.  Here’s a way to cook fresh cauliflower and make it the center of the dish.  I like roasting, but this uses steaming on the stove top to start off.  Then a saute in a pan with some olive oil and some herbs.  I served it with some Sweet Italian sausage and grated parmesan.  Really tasty, my son, my husband and I finished it up quickly.

I added the sausage, to make it a one dish meal, but you can serve this as a side for any meal. I used the stove top, but you could roast it in the oven in a casserole dish.  I don’t like to heat up the oven for one casserole dish because it takes a lot longer and uses a lot of energy, but if you are cooking whole meal in the oven, roasting would be little work and delicious.

To prepare the cauliflower, I cored it by turning it upside down and cutting it out.  Then I sliced the florets off very close to the top so that all the buds fell off. I chopped the rest into smaller pieces, rinsed and drained.


In a saucepan put about a quarter inch of water and heat.  Place the cauliflower in the saucepan and put the lid on.  When the cauliflower is almost soft, drain.

In a saute pan, heat up a couple of tbs of olive oil.  Chop onion and garlic and saute.  Add drained cauliflower and toss with onion, garlic and oil in the hot pan. Chop parsley, add parsley, salt and pepper to the pan.  Grate parmesan over top of the cauliflower and heat until melted.


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.



Melon & Blackberry Fruit Salad Tossed with a Mint Simple Syrup

July 24, 2011 - Written by Diana

We were invited to my brother in law’s for a small family cookout, and I wanted to throw together something cool and delicious for a side dish.  We bought melons and blackberries at our local farmer’s market.  The mint is something my daughter and I have been trying to cultivate in our garden.  Mint can get out of control easily, so we’re planting patches of mint down at the bottom of the legs of our deck.  It can go out of control all it wants down there.  We have one mint plant my husband mowed totally down to the nub and after it grew back, then my son scalped it with the weed whacker and it’s back again.  I need hardy plants with the two of them around because they can’t tell the difference between weeds and herbs.  I am loving all the different things I can put mint into, it’s so tasty. (more…)

Garlicky Smashed New Potatoes with Spinach and Lamb Mint Sausage

March 27, 2011 - Written by Diana

Lamb Mint Sausage is my new favorite sausage.  We bought it at Blues Creek Farm Meats when we were at the Lamb Cutting Class and discovered that we love it .  The mint is sort of subtle, and when you throw it into an Alfredo sauce like my daughter did last week, you might not taste the mint at all. However, if you cook it on it’s own and serve it without any sauce, you can get the nice mint flavor that’s subtle, but it’s there.  As a result, I don’t like to mix this sausage with other foods and serve it on the side.  Tonight, to go with the sausage, I made one of my husband’s favorite sides – potatoes, though he likes potatoes almost any way you can think of to prepare it.  I did a rough smash, mixed it with some garlic and shallots that were sauteed in oil, and some fresh spinach that wilted down.  I threw in a couple of tablespoons of butter and some garlic olive oil and stirred it around a little.  That’s it.  Garlicky potatoes – yummy, yummy.


-chopped herbs

Pour about 3 tbs olive oil into a saute pan.  Heat up and when it is hot enough, saute the shallots and garlic lightly. Drain almost soft potatoes.  Add to pan with shallots and garlic and using a potato smasher or bottom of a slotted spoon, rough smash the potatoes.  With a large spoon, toss the potatoes with the spinach while the spinach wilts.  Throw in the butter, the salt, pepper and chopped herbs and give it a nice mix heating it up.  Drizzle top with a little more garlic oil and serve.

Southern Apple Pecan Dressing

November 13, 2010 - Written by Diana

The time has come to start the Thanksgiving dinner recipes.  Dressing or Stuffing what’s the difference.  Where I came from, everything was called stuffing, here in Ohio, mostly it’s called dressing so I always thought it was a regional thing.  Whatever – you can also call it stuffing if you stuff it, and dressing if you don’t.  Usually I don’t stuff the turkey, I bake the stuffing (or dressing) and serve it as a side dish – because I like it that way.  I love apples and pecans in my dressing (stuffing) and sometimes I throw in some raisins.  Here’s a recipe developed by the Deen Brothers.  Oven dried bread means cube it and toast it on low until the bread is dry enough to use for stuffing.

Southern Apple Pecan Dressing

Recipe created by Jamie and Bobby Deen on behalf of the Grain Foods Foundation

Servings – 8
PreHeat – 350°
Prep Time – 20 min
Cooking Time – 1 hr
Total Time – 1 hr 20 min
Difficulty – Easy



In an extra large mixing bowl, toss together white bread and crackers. Set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in celery, onion,apples, sage and poultry seasoning. Cook until onion is translucent. Pour vegetable mixture over bread mixture. Add stock, salt and pepper. Stir to coat. Add beaten eggs and mix well. Stir in Nuts. Pour mixture in a prepared 9×13 baking pan.

Bake until golden on the top and cooked through with a slight jiggle (45-60 minutes).

Tell us, are you a stuffing, or dressing person?  What kind do you like best?

Quinoa Berry Salad

May 31, 2010 - Written by Diana

We went to a family/friend gathering at my brother in law’s today.  Though the day was a little warm, sitting under the shade trees, it was a pleasant cookout with lots of great food.  My contribution was Quinoa Berry Salad.  I went out and picked some parsley and mint to add a little hint of something. When I asked my husband if I should add some walnuts, the answer was a resounding yes.  I’m not a big fan of syrup for the berries, I want it less sweet, so that I can taste the sweetness of the berries, so instead I added Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette.   This salad went over so well, the two year old little boy from next door kept coming back for more.


Put all the ingredients into the bowl (except the vinaigrette) and toss.  Pour the vinaigrette over top, and toss a little more.

Gingered Carrots & Kohlrabi

November 15, 2009 - Written by Diana

Kohlrabi from Wikipedia Kohlrabi, kohlrabi, kohlrabi, kohlrabi, kohlrabi, kohlrabi, kohlrabi.  There’s a joke that goes – If you say the name of something 7 times it’s yours for life, and then some girl says – John, john, etc.  It doesn’t matter how many times I say kohlrabi, my mental picture doesn’t match up with that name and I go blank trying to remember. Kohlrabi is a nice crunchy vegetable, similar to a turnip, but tastes more like a cross between cabbage and turnips to me with a little bit of sweetness. My sister in law adds it to salads, or just peels and slices it up for people to chew raw.  My dish was baked, bringing out another level of flavor.

I peeled off the leaves, scraped off the skin and julienned the kohlrabi along with some carrots. I used my frozen ginger in this dish, which smells so wonderful when grating. I did all the mixing right in the baking dish, so it’s truly a one pot dish. Even though this would have served more , with my husband repeatedly dipping into the dish,  it only served 3.  It was delicious, did I say that yet?

Gingered Carrots & Kohlrabi Ingredients:


Throw all of the ingredients together in the baking dish – up to the olive oil, mix around a little. Drizzle white wine over top, sprinkle on herbs and spices,  cover with foil, bake at 375 until veggies are firm soft.



What was the name of that vegetable?  Carrot.  No the other one.  Ummm, (look at title) Kohlrabi.  Yes, that’s it.

Savory Squash Fillo Bake

November 13, 2009 - Written by Diana

I’ve been given the opportunity to sample some different types of organic (love it) fillo sheets from the Fillo Factory.  When I’m shopping I first see if there is a quality product in the organic section.  I’m thrilled that I can find fillo dough frozen that’s organic too. I used the organic spelt fillo dough for this recipe with some squash I bought at the farm stand. I’m not an expert with fillo dough.  I use it and follow the rules about keeping them moist as best I can, but sometimes they fall apart.  My fake out is to tear strips of fillo dough and layer them across the top nice and neat.  My family loved eating the crunchy top and peeling it apart.  I thought it was funny the way they pulled apart the layers.

The Fillo Factory Fillo Sheets should be defrosted and placed flat, covered with a damp towel to keep from drying out.

I used:

2 yellow acorn squash


2 delicata squash


1 green acorn squash



Squash – enough for about 3-4 cups

Olive Oil

1 Onion – diced100_2122

2 garlic – minced

Sage – nice handful of fresh sage

1/2 cup grated grana padano cheese



melted butter

8 Filo Factory Fillo Dough Sheets



Slice each squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds with a spoon and drizzle with olive oil.  Place the squash cut side down on a baking sheet, and bake until soft.  I used a silicon sheet on the pan for easier cleaning. Peel the squash, and slice into bite size cubes.  Sauté onion, garlic and sage in one tbs of oil until the onions are soft.  Place squash, onion, garlic, sage, salt, pepper and cheese in a bow. 

Work with the fillo but try to keep the sheets damp.  As you use each one, brush with melted butter. Place six of the sheets on a baking dish so that the ends stick out over the side overlapping. Fill the Filo lined baking sheets with the squash mixture and fold the ends over the top.  If you can do it all nice and neat, great.  Mine needed a little work, so I placed one sheet over top, then the next sheet I tore into wide strips, layered over top and tucked in the edges. The squash had such a nice savory flavor, not like pumpkin pie at all.  This makes about 8 servings, or more if spread out in a larger dish making a thinner layer.  It would be a great bring to the family gathering dish.  We had leftovers that were delicious reheated.  You could probably cover the top of the pan after preparing and bake right before you are ready to use it if you want to make it ahead.