Butternut Squash

This recipe came directly from a sticker on the squash, although I didn’t use all the ingredients they recommended.  Their instructions were to preheat the oven to 400 degrees, cut the squash in half lengthwise.  Remove seeds, then bake cut-side down in a shallow pan.  Test with fork. Remove and sprinkle with salt and brown sugar, then bake until golden brown.  They suggest that the squash can be mashed, drizzled with butter, honey or syrup.  ~From Stauffer Huling Farms.

I personally think that the squash is sweet enough on its own and does not need any more sweeteners or calories.  I kept it real simple.

The Ingredients

Butternut squash

2 T Olive oil

1 T Butter

Salt & Pepper to taste

The hardest part of this recipe, for me, is cutting the squash, as it is very hard-skinned.  I used a large chef’s knife, but you need to be careful.  I guess that is the mother in me talking…  I put the Olive oil on the bottom of a large baking pan.  For this recipe, I used the Pampered Chef stone pan.  I then placed the squash cut side down in the pan.

I baked it at 400 degrees for about 35 minutes, and it seemed to be cooking a little too fast, so I turned the oven down to 360 degrees and baked it for about 15 minutes more.  This is what it looked like when it was done.

I scooped out the squash from the skin, and placed it in a mixing bowl.  I added the butter, salt, and pepper and lightly mashed it.  My husband said it tasted like sweet potatoes.  Go ahead and add the sweetener if you like, but I think it is  good just the way nature made it.

Enjoy the great Fall weather! ~Nancy

Grilled Vegetables

The Ingredients

Baby carrots

Sugar snap peas, ends snipped

1-2 T. Olive oil

Juice of 1/2 lemon

A sprinkling of Ground Coriander

Salt & pepper to taste

Since the carrots would take longer to cook than the peas, I steamed them in the microwave at 70% power for about 6 minutes.  Then I mixed all ingredients together in a mixing bowl.  Using a straining spoon to eliminate the excess liquid, I transferred the mixture to a grill basket, and cooked it on low heat, turning it often, until it was browned, maybe 15 -20 minutes.

I’m going to try to keep the grill going as long as I can before Old Man Winter comes along.  ~Enjoy, Nancy

Chicken Noodle Soup

I hope everyone is enjoying the last weekend of Summer.  I can’t believe it’s over already 😦  Anyway, I wanted to share my chicken noodle soup recipe with you.  I make it all year round, not just in the cooler months.  It’s one of my favorites.  I add lots of vegetables to make it filled with nutrients.

The recipe

1 1/2 c. carrot, chopped

1 c. celery, chopped

1/2 onion or 1 large shallot, diced

1 T. olive or canola oil

32 oz. lower sodium chicken stock

8 oz. vegetable stock

3/4 c. water

1 tomato, chopped

1/2 bag fresh spinach, coarsely chopped

1 cooked chicken breast, diced or 1/2 lb. ground chicken, cooked

1 c. egg noodles (No Yolks brand stays nice and firm)

First, I sauteed the carrots and celery in the oil, for about 10 minutes, then added the shallot for a few minutes.

Then, I added the chicken & vegetable stocks and water.

I added the diced tomato and cooked ground chicken to the soup. I chopped the spinach and put it aside.

I cooked the soup for about 20 minutes, then added the noodles and spinach.

I continued to cook for another 15 minutes, and it was ready to be served.  It makes about 4 servings. Bon appetit!

Thanks to the labor workers who helped to get our work benefits, and make our work places safer. ~Nancy

Mushroom and Sun-dried Tomato Pizza

This one is fast and easy.  I needed a break after cooking all weekend.

The Ingredients

pre-made pizza shells

pizza sauce (in the pasta section)

mozzarella cheese

mushrooms, chopped

sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

dried oregano

garlic powder

I used a cookie sheet to prepare the pies for the oven.  I layered the pies with sauce, oregano, garlic powder, and cheese.

I added the chopped mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes.

I baked them directly on the oven grates for a crispy crust, according to the package directions, which in this case, was 425 degrees for 10 minutes.  Yum!  ~Nancy

Grilled Zucchini

This one is so easy and yummy 🙂

The Ingredients

zucchini or squash

olive oil


ground pepper

Preheat the grill for about 15 minutes at high heat.  Wash the zucchini, then slice it to about 1/2 inch slices.

Drizzle with olive oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and you’re ready for the grill.  If you don’t have a grill you can easily use a grill pan on the stove top.

I tried to alternate the position, so I could get nice grill marks, but it’s not really that important.  I turned them about every 5 minutes, and total cook time was about 20 minutes.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!  Here at my house, the leaves are starting to fall from the trees already 😦  ~Nancy

Banana Bread

Long before I learned how to cook, I was a baker.  And the strange thing about that was, I never had a sweet tooth.  So I would bake and then give it away or take it to work, where my co-workers complained I would make them fat.

I told my husband I wouldn’t be baking banana bread again until the fall because it makes the house too hot, but when I see bananas like this, they just scream banana bread.  I adapted this recipe from one that I found on AllRecipes.com

The Recipe

1/2 c. butter, softened

1 c. sugar

1 egg

2 medium ripe bananas, mashed

1/4 c. milk

2 c. flour

1 t. baking powder

1/2 t. baking soda

1/2 c. mini chocolate chips

1/2 c. toasted almond pieces

First, I mixed the butter and sugar.  Then, I added the rest of the wet ingredients and mixed it together.

Next, in a separate bowl, I mixed the dry ingredients, and added them in, a little at a time, to the wet mixture.  Last, I added the chocolate chips and almond slices.

I put the mixture in a bread loaf pan, and baked it at 325 degrees for 55 minutes. Since everyone’s ovens vary a bit, I would start checking it at about 45 minutes to see if it is done. In case you do not know how to check a baked good to see if it is done, you stick a toothpick into the center.  If it comes out clean, it’s done.  If it doesn’t come out clean, it needs more time to bake.

Because of the name of the blog, I figured it was about time I put something “sweet” on the blog.  With all the butter, this is definitely not on my diet, but we all need a treat every now and then. Enjoy! ~Nancy

Chicken Meatballs

We recently had an open house in our new home. It was nice to finally get to meet some of our neighbors.  I made these meatballs and they were a hit!

The Recipe

1/2 white onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, pressed

1 T.  olive or canola oil

3 lbs. ground chicken

1 c. panko bread crumbs

1 egg or 2 egg whites

2 T. dried parsley

salt and pepper to taste

Pasta sauce, I like to use the 45 oz. Ragu, Traditional sauce

I started out sauteing the onions and garlic until almost soft.

I then mixed all the ingredients together, and formed the mixture into golf-ball sized meatballs.

I baked them on a foil-lined sheet for about 20 minutes, at about 350 degrees, then finished cooking them in the pasta sauce over the stove.

They kept very nicely in the refrigerator for two days.  The day of the party, I heated it over the stove, and then put it in a crock pot to stay warm. I served it alone, but you could get some nice italian rolls, and make meatball sandwiches as well.

Enjoy! ~Nancy

Spanish Rice and Beans

Growing up, I had a hispanic stepmother who taught me how to make this recipe. She used a spice, called sofrito, in many of her recipes.  It is a wonderful mixture of vegetables and herbs all chopped up in a blender or food processor.  As far as I’m concerned, the star of this mixture is the cilantro, although my father would have disagreed.

Sofrito is made with cilantro, onions, peppers, hot peppers, and other ingredients, so when you blend them all together, it is very aromatic to say the least.  My german-blooded, meat and potato, father always hated when she made this, but to me it is oh-so-good.

Luckily, I live in an area which has a high number of hispanics, so I can by the sofrito in the freezer section of my local grocery store.  If I get brave enough to try making it from scratch, I will be sure to post the recipe.

In my teens, 20s, and 30s, I was blessed with good metabolism.  That, and I smoked. (A stimulant.)  Not so much in my 40s.  So, as a teen and young woman, I read all the fashion magazines, with all the teeny, tiny models.  I was constantly trying to stay skinny.  One of things that I read was that you shouldn’t rinse rice or pasta because you would be washing away the nutrients.

So when my stepmother showed me how to make the rice, and she rinsed it before cooking it, I argued with her that it was not the right way to do it.  She replied, “My grandmother rinsed the rice, my mother rinsed the rice, I rinse the rice, and you’re going to rinse the rice.” To this day this still makes me laugh 🙂 Enter the rice cooker!

My husband is filipino and his mother had given him this rice cooker, so we brought it to our new house.  I had no idea how to use it until one day a hispanic friend of my husbands was over, and he told me what to do.  The best part is, you really don’t have to rinse the rice!

The Rice

1 c. white rice

1 1/2 c. water

2 t. olive oil

Put all the ingredients into the rice cooker, cover, and turn it on.  This one just turns off when the rice is done.  If you don’t have a rice cooker, you can make it over the stove.  The directions usually call for twice the amount of water to rice, but that usually makes mush.  Try starting with a little less water, you can always add more at the end if you need to.

The Beans

2-3 T. of sofrito

1 T. Olive oil

1 15.5 oz. can of beans (any kind)

2/3 of a 8 oz. can of tomato sauce

1/2 packet of Sazon (Goya section)

I cooked the sofrito in the oil for a few minutes, then added the beans, with its liquid, which is why I try to use the lower sodium versions now available.  I add the tomato sauce and Sazon, bring to boil, cover and simmer over low heat until the rice is done.  The Sazon adds a lot of flavor, but the reason I only use 1/2 of the packet is because there is MSG in it and I try to avoid using too much of it.

This recipe makes about 3-4 servings, depending on portion size.  You can serve it separately or all mixed together, which is how I like it.

Enjoy! ~Nancy

Grilled Potatoes

My Dad died in July of 2001, just 2 months before 9/11.  Since he was a WWII veteran, having fought for his country, I was happy that he did not get to witness this atrocity.

As a young man, he was a Boy Scout Leader, and liked to hike and cook out, either on the mountain or by the river.  (Life was way simpler then!  No computers, handhelds, iPads, you get it.)  He would make these potatoes for me and my sister and whatever friends we drug along with us.

I don’t have amounts of ingredients, you can make as much or as little as you like, and adjust spices to your own taste.  I’m sure my Dad’s version was all butter, but I used only olive oil this time, and they were still yummy!

The Ingredients

Potatoes, I prefer red because they are so creamy


Sweet Onion

Olive Oil or Canola Oil




I started by peeling the potatoes, quartering them, and slicing them very thin.  I grated some baby carrots, so they would cook fast.  I also grated the onion, (thank you, Racheal Ray) which turned out all brown and crunchy, adding a really nice flavor.

I mixed all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl, coating with olive oil, then adding the parsley, salt, and pepper.  I then transferred the potato mixture to a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil, then sealed the foil into little pouches.

I cooked them at about 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, then turned off the flame when I started the other two to make my meat and veggies, which in this case were turkey burgers and grilled zucchini.  Total cooking time was about 40 minutes.  Enjoy!