Grilled Corn and Summer Fruit Salad

With these hot summer days, using the stove and oven are not an option around here.  This easy and refreshing summer salad features corn grilled on the barbeque.


1-2 ears of corn

1 nectarine or peeled peach

1/2 cup fresh strawberries

1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, torn

1/4 cup olive oil

2 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

DSC01853Grill the corn on the barbeque, then cut off the cob.  Slice nectarine and strawberries.

DSC01854Add all the ingredients to a salad bowl, then tear the basil leaves in.

DSC01855Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.

DSC01860Add dressing over salad and toss gently.  Serve

Chicken Piccata

This fresh, springtime dish is made with a few simple, on-hand pantry ingredients.  This recipe comes from “Everyday Italian” by Giada De Laurentis.


3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied in half

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

flour for dredging

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter

2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)

1/4 cup capers, drained and rinsed

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh chives for garnish

DSC01772Cut chicken breasts in half to make thin cutlets.  Season both sides with salt and pepper.

DSC01774Place the flour on waxed paper.  Coat both sides of the chicken breasts with flour.

DSC01775While preparing the chicken breasts, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat.

DSC01776Place breasts in the pan and cook until brown, about 3 minutes each side.  Remove the chicken to a plate.

DSC01777Add the broth, lemon juice and capers to the same pan.  Bring the mixture to a boil, scraping up the browned bits from the pan.

DSC01778Add the chicken to the pan and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through.  Remove the chicken to a serving platter.  Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into the sauce.

DSC01779Pour the sauce over the chicken and garnish with chopped chives.

Creamy Orzo with Mushrooms and Roasted Butternut Squash


2 cups cubed butternut squash

3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

8 ounces orzo pasta

2 Tablespoons butter

8 ounces sliced mushrooms

1 cup Marsala wine

4 ounces cream cheese

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

DSC01686Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Place cubed butternut squash in a casserole dish.  Add 2 Tablespoons olive oil and balsamic vinegar, toss all together.  Place in the oven to roast for about 1/2 hour, until soft.

DSC01688Bring a large pot of salted water to a  boil.  Add orzo and cook according to package directions.  Drain in a colander.

DSC01689Place a large saute pan on medium high heat.  Add one tablespoon of olive oil and butter.DSC01690Saute mushrooms for 3-4 minutes.

DSC01691Add the Marsala wine

DSC01692Cube the cream cheese and stir into the mushrooms. Melt, making a sauce.

DSC01693Spoon in the cooked butternut squash and drained orzo.

DSC01694Stir in salt and cheese.

DSC01695Serve immediately.  Yum!

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.

Angel Hair Pasta with Fresca Sauce

This sauce comes together in under 30 minutes.  It is a good, fast weeknight meal.



2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 cup shredded carrots

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 cup white wine

2- 14.5 ounce cans chopped tomatoes

3 Tablespoons capers, drained


1 lb. angel hair pasta

2 lemons, cut in wedges for garnish


Chop the onion.  We bought shredded carrots to save time.


Place 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan.  Add the onions, carrots and garlic and cook 10 minutes.


Sprinkle in the red pepper flakes.


Add the tomatoes and wine and allow the liquid to reduce.  Just before serving, stir in the capers and salt to taste.  Keep sauce warm while pasta is cooking.


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook according to package directions.


Toss sauce and pasta.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and garnish with lemon wedges.  Squeeze a little lemon juice over each serving and enjoy!

Oven Roasted Butternut Squash and Potatoes

Here is an easy side dish.  Many markets carry butternut squash already cut-up, which makes it even easier!


2 cups butternut squash, cubed

3-4 medium red potatoes, cubed, skin on

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 Tablespoon Herbs de Provence

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Place the squash and potatoes in greased casserole dish.

Pour olive oil over the top.

Add the balsamic vinegar and herbs, toss everything together.

Place in the oven and bake 40-45 minutes, until browned.

Add salt and pepper to taste and serve!

Deviled Eggs

We’re making deviled eggs this week.  We looked in our Masterchef Cookbook for making the perfect hard boiled egg.  The deviled eggs are our creation and they were yummy!


6 eggs

2 Tablespoons mayonaise

1 Teaspoon olive oil

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

salt and pepper

Paprika, chives and capers for garnish

Place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with one inch of cold water.

Place on the stove on medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil.

Turn off the heat, cover the pot and let it sit 10 minutes.

Fill a bowl with ice water.  Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and place in the ice water.  Allow to sit 5 minutes.

Gently crack and peel the shells off.


Cut the egg in half lengthwise and scoop out the yolk.  Place the in a bowl and smash with a fork.

In the bowl, add mayonaise, olive oil, mustard, and lemon juice.  Mix together well, add salt and peper to taste.

Gently fill each egg white with the filling.  Add optional garnish of capers, chopped fresh chives and sprinkle paprika over all.

Summer Tomato Basil Bruschetta with Grilled Steak

There’s nothing better than bruschetta with vine ripened summer tomatoes and fresh basil.  They are easy and delicious.  We added some grilled steak for a tasty lunch.


8-10 slices of artisan french bread

butter or olive oil for grilling the bread

3 fresh tomatoes, chopped

1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped

2 Tablespoons olive oil

splash of red wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

8-10 slices of grilled steak

1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese


Brush both sides of the bread with melted butter or olive oil.  We had some compound lemon basil butter and used that.

Chop the tomatoes and basil.

Haley was over helping Auntie Megan cook today!

Place the tomatoes and basil in a bowl.  Add olive oil, a splash of vinegar and salt and pepper.  Stir to combine.


Place the bread on a grill pan.  Toast until grill marks appear, 2-3 minutes on each side.  Add the steak slices also to warm them up.


Remove the bread to a plate, then place steak slices on top.

Spoon tomato and  basil mixture on top of each bread slice.

Sprinkle grated pecorino romano cheese over the top of all and serve.