I hate crunchy tuna salad. Let me repeat. I hate crunchy tuna salad. It tastes like I'm eating sea shells or sand with my fish. My mother originally created this simple tuna sandwich. Of course, we know she couldn't really cook, so I've improved it. (My friend MaryAnn who LOVES crunchy tuna salad actually said mine was better. Ha! There you go. No sea shells.) Enjoy!

Ingredients
  • 1 Seven Ounce Can Chicken Of the Sea Chunk Light Mostly Drained (Don't even try to substitute because I'll know.)
  • 1 Tablespoon My Homemade Mayonnaise (Or Hain, but it will be your loss.)
  • 2 Tablespoons Heinz Sweet Relish (NO SUBSTITUTIONS)
  • 5 or 6 Shakes Onion Powder
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • Butter
  • Bread

Preparation
  1. Combine all ingredients and mix.
  2. Spread on buttered bread or toast. We enjoy it on croissants, white bread, and bun halves. It can be served open face or closed cut into triangles. (Seriously, I mean only triangles.)
 
 
These light egg muffins are great for breakfast, brunch or snack time. They are low carbohydrate, low in calories, low fat and high in protein. They refrigerate well and can be reheated

Ingredients
  • 9 Eggs
  • 3/4 Cup 1% Milk
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Of Salt
  • Pinch Of Black Pepper
  • 1/4 Cup Finely Grated Cheese
  • Just Shy Of 2 Cups Of Fine Bread Crumbs (About 2 Thick Slices Of Home Made Bread)
  • Spray oil

Preparation
  1. Spray a muffin pan heavily with spray oil.
  2. Pulse the bread to a very small size in a food processor or use store bought tiny bread crumbs.
  3. Place bread crumbs in bottom of muffin openings.
  4. Whisk the first four ingredients together and pour into muffin openings. They should be nearly full, but not full.
  5. Sprinkle cheese on top.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 17-18 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and cool slightly.
  8. Remove from muffin tray using a small silicone spatula running it quickly around the edge and popping it out.
  9. Serve with hot sauce and fruit.

Nutrition
About 95 calories per muffin depending on cheese used.

Tips
  • These are light, so the bread crumbs and cheese can really change the flavor. Experiment.
  • You could add bacon, ham or other flavorings easily to these muffins.
  • Once refrigerated they can be reheated in a microwave on 50% power or in a toaster oven.


 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Pound Ground Beef
  • 1 Chopped Red Onion
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup White Wine (Or Red, Whatever You Have)
  • 1 Jar Kirkland Marinara
  • 1 Heaping Tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Dried Basil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Dried Onion Powder

Preparation
  1. Heat olive oil in large pan over medium heat.
  2. Add onions and sweat them.
  3. Add ground turkey and cook through until it begins to brown.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. 
  5. Cook on medium low approximately 20 minutes.
  6. I like to toss my sauce with cooked pasta and a little olive oil in another pan to meld the flavors.
 
 
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I find it quite amusing when a company titles their product: Epicurean. I think few of them really know what it means. The free online dictionary defines it as: Devoted to the pursuit of sensual pleasure, especially to the enjoyment of good food and comfort.

Yet, Epicurus was more complicated and interesting than that. He shunned superstition and divine intervention for a philosophy that claimed pleasure was the only good. Some mistake his philosophy to be about Hedonism. But really he was about simple pleasure through modest living and knowledge. Pleasure was the good, knowledge was the key.

I think this is the perfect recipe to represent an Epicurean lifestyle. A simple recipe that tastes good with a little knowledge of what and how ingredients go together.  Nothing divine here.
Ingredients
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 to 3 jalapeno(s) finely diced (depending on desired heat)
  • 4 cups cooked assorted beans (Epicurean mix from Costco)
  • 3 medium potatoes diced 
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 4 cups chicken stock (substitute vegetable stock for vegetarian recipe)
  • small container of salsa
  • 1/2 cup chicken gravy or 1/4 cup cream (substitute soy based dairy product, a little cornstarch in water, or vegetable gravy for vegetarian recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small bag frozen corn
  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoon dried cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried onion
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • salt if needed

Preparation
  1. Cook the jalapeno(s) and onion in the olive oil for approximately 5 minutes over medium heat in Dutch oven or heavy pot to release the flavors.
  2. Add all the other ingredients and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 2-3 hours covered.
  4. You could substitute taco seasoning for the spice mix indicated herein.
  5. Top with a bit of finely shredded English cheddar cheese and some sour cream.


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Nutrition
About 290 calories per serving.

Tips
  • This recipe can also be prepared in a crock pot.
  • This makes a large pot and extra can be frozen for up to 3 months.
 
 
Many flat breads don't have yeast, but I like this one because of the wonderful flavor. It is easy to whip together in the morning and ready to bake that evening. Also, you can refrigerate the dough for a week and have flatbreads whenever you like. 

The added bonus is that this dough makes great rolls too! So if you get tired of flatbread, just make a roll or two for your favorite sandwich or eat warm with butter. Yum!

Ingredients
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp quick yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup plus 2 T lukewarm water
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 T olive oil
  • spray oil
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Preparation
  1. Mix the dry ingredients with a whisk or fork in a large bowl.
  2. Add the water and olive oil and mix until incorporated. It should be lumpy and wet, but not glossy. Adjust water as needed.
  3. Spray oil the top of the dough and bowl sides, flip the dough and then spray again.
  4. Cover dough with plastic wrap and towel. 
  5. Place in warm area to rise about 5-6 hours. I put on my stove top and turn the oven on to 150 degress F and the vent keeps the top warm. It needs to be about 70-74 degrees F.
  6. Pour dough out onto greased counter top and fold over twice. Cover with wrap and let rise another hour.
  7. Uncover and divide dough evenly into six pieces.
  8. On a floured counter top, shape the dough pieces into quick balls. Set aside and rest for a few minutes.
  9. You can roll out the dough very thin after about 10 minutes or you can refrigerate the extra balls wrapped in plastic for about a week.
  10. Brush top of dough with a little olive oil and salt and bake at 450 degrees F on a preheated pizza stone or heavy cookie sheet for 3 minutes.
  11. Remove from oven, top with toppings, and return to bake for an additional 15 minutes or so depending on wetness of toppings.

Topping Ideas
  • Mozzarella, caramelized onions, and pancetta.
  • Tomato sauce, Mozzarella, pepperoni and green pepper.
  • Mozzarella, tomato sauce, pineapple and green pepper.
  • Mozzarella, blue cheese, and pancetta.
  • Ground beef, tomato sauce, and cheddar cheese.
  • Mozzarella, nicoise olives, castelvetrano olives, and red onion.
  • Mozzarella, bacon, parmesan, and tomato.
  • Tomato, mozzarella, and basil.

Rolls
You can cook the six pieces individually or together as large or small rolls as well.
  1. Bring the dough to room temperature and let proof a little on an oiled counter under plastic wrap for about an hour.
  2. Heat a Dutch oven or other large covered heavy pan with a cover in a 450 degree F oven for at least a half an hour.
  3. Shape dough quickly into rounds and placed into Dutch oven. Cook covered for 15-20 minutes depending on size of your rolls.
  4. Cook uncovered 5-8 minutes depending on size of rolls until golden.
  5. Remove to wire rack to cool.


Nutrition
Depends on toppings and portion size.

Tips
I usually cook 1-3 of the flatbreads and then store the rest wrapped in plastic wrap in a recloseable plastic bag. Bring dough back up to nearly room temperature before cooking.
 
 
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One of the most important parts of parenting is allowing your children to explore who they are. It can be the most terrifying and exhausting experience of your life, especially with cooking. The whole flame, heat, burn thing is a bit frightening with kids. But sometimes you need to throw a little excitement and danger into the mix. Well, at least excitement. So I say, start small. Crack some eggs, spread some flour, make a mess. There are so many things you can do to get kids involved in cooking. Eventually, they might find their own intuitive spirit about food. Such is the case with this recipe. 

Stiletto2 and one of her best friends love to make "creations". Someday I will share with you the blue water terrace cake. Now that was frightening. But until then you will have to be amazed at this simple little recipe they cook up frequently. Way better than any chicken nuggets you get from a grocery store or at a fast food trough (note I didn't call it a restaurant). They took my breading recipe for frying fish, added some ingenuity, set up a station, and sprinkled a little Diva love and care. Presto they created the best chicken nuggets, ahemmmm, I mean bites you ever ate.
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Ingredients
  • 6 Boneless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour (Enough For Dredging)
  • 1 Cup Skim Milk
  • 1 1/2 - 2 Cups Of Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1 - 2 Cups Of Vegetable Oil (Enough To Fill Pan About 1/2 Inch)
Preparation
  1. Heat the oil in a relatively flat pan on the stove to about medium. You will need to adjust this throughout to avoid burning the Panko.
  2. Do not wash the chicken.
  3. Cut the chicken into about 1 1/2" pieces. The size will determine how long they cook. Not too big of the Panko will burn.
  4. Place three shallow bowls in a line and fill each one with flour, milk and Panko.
  5. Dredge the chicken in the flour. You can season the flour if you wish, but the Divas do not.
  6. Dip the floured chicken into the milk and then roll into the Panko.
  7. Place the Panko dredged chicken into the oil heated pan and cook about 8 minutes each side or until golden brown and thoroughly cooked. Size of chicken and temperature of oil will determine ultimate cooking time. Use a meat thermometer to check if you are uncertain. It should be 165 degrees. Click here for a great food safety cooking chart.
  8. Once done, place on towel covered plate.
  9. Serve with hot sauce. We like Frank's Red Hot Cayenne Sauce. Some may prefer their's with ketchup.

Servings
6 servings.

Nutrition
About 270 calories per serving.

Tips
  • I really hate the taste of canola oil. I think it tastes like the inside of a stale petroleum drum. Go figure. Anyway, I never use it. So I would suggest getting a good vegetable oil. I primarily use the vegetable oil (soybean) from Costco.
  • Do not wash the chicken. This just spreads the chicken juices around the sink and your kitchen. Anything bad will be cooked off during the cooking process.
  • I prefer to use fresh chicken. I think the texture of chicken changes when you freeze it.
Back to School
 
 
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Growing up in a small prairie town in the hot summer with not much to do, one tends to remember very specific childhood aha moments. My older brother was a bit of a mystery to me as he was 16 years older and either in college or married ever since I could remember. When he came home, we had loads of fun. Especially when he cheated at playing cards, but that's another story. One day while outside we were eating watermelon and he started to put salt on his. I thought, whoa! Who puts salt on fruit? He said try it, you will really love it. Well, he was right. Salted watermelon was just like putting salt on raw potatoes or tomatoes or cucumbers right from the garden. It helps the flavor dance on your tongue. So I was inspired to combine a few salty ingredients with some watermelon. Perhaps this salad will become your aha dancing tongue summer moment.
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Ingredients
  • 1 Large Cucumbers
  • Salt To Brine Cucumbers
  • 1 Tablespoon Light Mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablepoon Skim Milk
  • 1 Teaspoon Vinegar (Apple Cider Or A Fruit Flavor)
  • 1 Teaspoon Sugar
  • 6 Cups Seedless Watermelon
  • 2 Thin Slices Prosciutto
  • 8 Tablespoons Goat Cheese
  • Salt & Pepper For Seasoning

Preparation
  1. Slice the cucumbers using a mandolin. Salt and set aside in colander to drain. Preferably about an hour.
  2. Place cucumbers on paper towel and dab remaining water off.
  3. Mix  mayonnaise, milk, vinegar, and sugar. Add cucumbers and place in refrigerator. It is best if they sit for another hour, but if needed you could use after about 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Cut the watermelon into rectangles. Really, any shape will do. Stack the slices in a bowl.
  5. Spread cucumber slices on either side of the watermelon. You may have cucumber left over.
  6. Chop the prosciutto and place it around the watermelon and cucumber.
  7. Crumble goat cheese over salad.
  8. Spoon a bit of cucumber dressing over the salad.
  9. Season with salt and pepper.

Servings
4 servings.

Nutrition
About 140 calories per serving.
Save the Date Magnets
 
 
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Sometimes as an at home parent, a dog day afternoon comes along. Actually, more than you'd like to admit. You have been called upon by everyone else throughout the week. Schedules are shifted without your knowledge. People make plans and forget to tell you. A family crisis arises. And more.. In the middle of it all, you put on your super parent at home cape and rise to the occasion. With no groceries, no time, no patience, a phone constantly ringing, children running in and out, the dogs begging at your side; you whip up this little number in less than an hour. The kids loved it. They gave it two thumbs up. Siskel would be proud. Hooray would be jealous. You are pleased and think...oh, to be a dog.

 
 
 
 
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It is a rainy day in Minnesota as the senate debates the marriage equality bill. It seems to me that the human condition to struggle through the hunger of morality is a powerful, thoughtful, and emotional journey. Here is hoping that after this vote we will come together as a state in a soulful and meaningful way. So here's to a dish with lots of very different ingredients that comes together in a warming and soulful way to satisfy everyone's hunger. It is one of the best chili's I have ever made. I hope you agree.