Panzanella Salad

The tomatoes and peppers in our garden are starting to ripen!  We had some leftover french bread and decided to make a panzanella salad.  It is an easy and flavorful summer salad.


2-3 Tablespoons olive oil

leftover french bread, cubed (about 2 cups)

3-4 fresh tomatoes, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

1/2 cucumber, chopped

1 red onion, sliced

fresh basil leaves, torn or sliced

Parmesan cheese (optional)


1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

DSC01548Set the oven to broil.  Place bread on a large cookie sheet.  Toss with 3 Tablespoons olive oil.  Set in the oven and toast the cubes.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

DSC01551Chop ingredients for the salad, starting with the tomatoes….


DSC01554onions, peppers and basil

Place all the vegetables in a salad bowl.

DSC01555Add the cooled, toasted bread cubes.

DSC01556Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing:

mustard, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.

DSC01557Grate a little parmesan cheese over the top.

DSC01558Toss all together and serve.

Zucchini Butter

We are starting to get a lot of zucchini in the garden this year.  Here is a quick and tasty use for some of our squashes!!


1-2 pounds of zucchini squash

2 shallots

1 green bell pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

DSC01543Chop shallots and place in a saute pan with the olive oil.

DSC01545Shred the zucchini and pepper with a grater or in the food processor.  Wring out the excess liquid with a clean kitchen towel.

DSC01546Add the zucchini and cook on medium high until it becomes “jam-like”.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

DSC01547Spread on toasted french bread.  We served it on french bread with goat cheese spread on it and the zucchini butter on top.


Chop shallots and saute in the olive oil.  Shred the zucchini and green pepper.  Wring out the excess liquid with a clean kitchen towel.  Add the zucchini and pepper to the saute pan.  Cook to a “jam-like” consistency.   Add salt and pepper to taste.  Spread on toasted bread.

Taboule and Fresh Veggie Salad

Taboule is a Middle Eastern style wheat salad.  Mix it with your choice of fresh veggies, a little lemon and oil for a different summertime salad.


1 box Taboule mix wheat salad

1 cucumber, chopped

1 yellow or red bell pepper

1/2 cup Feta cheese

1/2 cup pitted, sliced Kalamata olives

2 teaspoons fresh mint, chopped

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup olive oil

salt/pepper to taste

DSC01455In a large bowl place, Taboule wheat, spice packet and1 cup of boiling water.  Cover and allow it to sit 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

DSC01457Slice the cucumber, then cut in quarters.

DSC01458Next, slice the peppers.


Assemble the rest of the ingredients: olives, crumbled feta, chopped mint


Whisk together olive oil and lemon juice.  Retrieve the Taboule from the refrigerator and toss with the veggies, mint, olives and cheese.  Add the lemon olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well.  Cover again and chill 1 hour or overnight before serving.  We found that after this point the salad need a little more oil and a splash of rice wine vinegar to freshen it up before serving.

Steak and Pepper Panninis

We had a lot of left over tri tip steak from our Sunday dinner.  We are making grilled pannini sandwiches with the left over steak. Put it with a cup of butternut squash soup and there’s dinner!


Thinly sliced steak or roast beef

1 onion, thinly sliced

1-2 yellow or red bell peppers

4 french rolls, sliced in half

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 Tablespoons prepared chimichurri spread

cheese of your choice

Place about 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan.  Add the onions and peppers, cook until soft, about 4-5 minutes.

Add the steak, warm through.  Lower the heat to simmer.

Prepare a spread by combining mayonnaise with chimichurri spread.

Spread on both sides of the roll.

Spoon steak with onions and peppers on one side of each roll.

Place a slice of cheese on each sandwich.  Place tops on.

Grill sandwiches on a pannini grill or a grill pan on the stove with something heavy like a cast iron skillet to press it down.

Dinner is ready!!

Mediterranean Naan Bread Pizzas

Megan came out this morning and told me she dreamed about this sandwich!  She made this up all by herself, so proud of her!


2 Naan breads

6 ounces goat cheese

1 jar Mezzettas Mediterranean Olive Spread

25-30 slices salami

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 cup kalamata olives, chopped

1 cup feta cheese


Place Naan breads on a cookie sheet


Spread goat cheese then olive spread on the Naan bread.


Cover with salami slices….


Next add bell pepper, then olives.


Sprinkle crumbled feta cheese over the top.


Place under the broiler for about 5 minutes, until browned on top.


Ta da! Yummmm!

Mushroom, Bacon and Caramelized Onion on Naan Bread

Megan and I went to a Taste of Home Cooking School demo recently.  They demonstrated so many delicious recipes.  In our goodie bag was a sample of Naan Bread.  We decided to try an “open face” pizza-like sandwich for lunch and this is what we came up with.


1 tablespoon olive oil

3 slices of bacon

1 onion, sliced

1/2 red bell pepper, sliced

8 ounces sliced mushrooms

1 Tablespoon butter

pinch of sugar

1/2 teaspoon paprika

salt and pepper

Naan Bread

optional toppings:

goat cheese, sour cream, pesto, Pecorino Romano cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Cut the bacon into 1/2 inch pieces

Add about 1 Tablespoon of olive oil to a large saute pan.

Add the bacon to the cold pan, turn on the heat to medium-high.

While the bacon is cooking, slice the onions and peppers.

When the bacon is cooked, add the peppers and onions.  Cook until soft.


Add the sliced mushrooms.  Melt in the butter.  At this point add a pinch of sugar, paprika, salt and pepper.  Stir together and lower the heat.

Place the Naan Bread on a cookie sheet and put in the oven for 2 minutes, just to warm and soften them.

Now it is time to start building.  We had the ingredients for pesto, so we made a fresh one.  Prepared pesto works fine.  We spread goat cheese on one Naan and sour cream on the other.

Spread about one tablespoon of pesto on each.

Top with mushroom mixture.


Sprinkle some grated Pecorino Romano cheese over the top.  Place under the broiler for 2 minutes.


Ready to serve!

Sloppy “Megs” Sandwich

We are sure you  have heard of Sloppy Joes.  Well, here’s our twist on that and we are going to call it “Sloppy Megs”.

First we just had model our new aprons!  Thanks Erin,Chris and Haley!! We love them!



1 pound ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 cup tomato sauce

1 cup barbeque sauce

1/2 teaspoon chipotle in adobo, smashed

2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper

4 sandwich rolls of your choice

Cut the pepper lengthwise, then across.  Megan finds using this herb chopper easier than a chefs knife.

Chop the onion

Heat a large saute pan to medium high, add about one tablespoon of olive oil, then add the onions and peppers.

Saute the veggies about 5 minutes, then add the hamburger.  Cook until crumbly.

Drain off the fat, then return to heat.

Stir in the tomato sauce, barbeque sauce, brown sugar, chipotle, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce.

Lower the heat to simmer and cook anonther 5 minutes.

Slice the sandwich rolls in half and toast under the broiler.  Spoon Sloppy Meg mixture onto the sandwich and serve.


Roast Beef Hoagies with Onions and Peppers

We had quite a bit of prime rib left from Christmas dinner.  We made these sandwiches for dinner one night and they came out great!


3 cups very thinly sliced, cooked roast beef

1 onion, sliced

2 red bell peppers, sliced

4 slices deli sliced cheese ( we used Swiss)

4 hoagie rolls, sliced in half

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon creamy horseradish

Remove the outer skin from an onion, cut in half, then make thin slices

Make long, thin slices with the red pepper

Place a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan and turn on to medium high heat.

Place the onions and peppers in the pan and cook about 10 minutes, until soft.

Mix mayonnaise and horseradish together to spread on sandwiches.

Place sliced rolls on a cookie sheet under the broiler until lightly toasted.

Arrange sliced roast beef on one half of the toasted rolls.

Place the cooked onions and peppers over the beef.

Then a slice of cheese on each sandwich.

Return the sandwiches to the oven, under the broiler until the cheese melts and bubbles.

Spread the horseradish sauce on one side of the bun and serve!

Mediterranean Orzo Salad

This is a colorful salad.  It is perfect for a potluck, picnic or anytime.  You can change the veggies to fit the season, or add grilled chicken for a light lunch.

Ingredients for the salad:

8 ounces of orzo pasta

5-6 grape tomatoes, sliced in half

1 zuccini, sliced

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 cup fresh spinach, coarsely chopped

1 can artichoke hearts, chopped

2 green onions, chopped

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped

Ingredients for the dressing:

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon dried tarragon

2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Fill a large pot 2/3 way with water and bring to a boil.  Add the orzo and cook 9 minutes.

Drain the orzo and set aside to cool.

Slice the zuccini lengthwise, then across to make half moons.

Chop the green onions.

Slice the grape tomatoes in half.  Add the cut vegetables as you go to a large bowl.

Roughly chop or tear the spinach.

Open the can of artichoke hearts, drain off the liquid.  Place on chopping board and cut in quarters.

Slice the red pepper lengthwise, then across the other way.

Slice the Kalamata olives in half.

To make the dressing, squeeze a large lemon, make 1/4 cup.

Add the rice wine vinegar….

olive oil……

the dried tarragon, salt and pepper.

Whisk all these ingredients together.

Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss.

Add the feta cheese….

and 2 1/2 cups of the cooked orzo.

Combine all the ingredients and serve!!!!

Taco Salad

Taco Salad

Ingredient List:

1 pound ground beef or ground turkey

1 onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 packet taco seasoning mix

1 head of romaine lettuce or bag of mixed salad greens

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1 bag tortilla chips

1 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup green salsa

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Place one onion on a cutting board.

Slice the onion in half.

Peel back the paper-like skin.

Slice through the middle of the onion.

Make several slices down the onion half.
Now slice the onion down the other direction.
Repeat this process with the other half of the onion and you have beautiful, evenly chopped onions! Now lets start cooking!
Place a large saute pan on your stove, turn it on to medium-high heat and add some olive oil, about one turn around the pan.
Add the onions to the pan and cook until they are soft, 6-7 minutes.
Slice a red bell pepper in half, remove the seeds and make long slices.
When you have the pepper cut in strips, cut in the other directions making bite-size pieces.
Add the peppers to the pan with the onions and stir all together.
Now add the ground beef or ground turkey to the pan, stir all together well.  Cook the meat until meat is no longer pink.
Turn off the heat briefly.  Remove the fat from the pan.  Turn the heat back on to low and sprinkle the taco seasoning over the meat, add 3/4 cup of water, stir in well.
To make the salad, slice the tomatoes.
Slice or tear the lettuce into a large bowl; add the tomatoes and cheese.  You can use any kind of cheese you like.  We used swiss cheese here.  That is one cheese that Megan can have with her lactose sensitivity.
Finally, crunch the tortilla chips over the top.
Here are some ingredients for an optional dressing to put on top;
One cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup green salsa and 1 teaspoon lemon juice.
Mix all these ingredients together.
To serve your salad, place some of the lettuce salad on your plate, put a scoop of the taco meat on top and ladle some dressing over all.