Category Archives: Sides

Caramel Apple Salad

This is a whole bowl of YUM!  Seriously, what’s better in the fall than a caramel apple?  When you’re finally sick of all the pumpkin stuff…

Plus, this salad has candy in it.  It’s a CANDY salad.  What the wha???

Caramel Apple Salad

  • 5-6 apples, cored, peeled and chopped (I used a combo of Granny Smith and gala)
  • 1 bag fun size snickers bars (about 25 fun sized bars, cut into quarters) – could also use Milky Way if you’re avoiding peanuts
  • 1 container cool whip
  • Caramel ice cream topping
  • 1/2 cup Chopped peanuts (optional)
  1. Place chopped apples, chopped candy bars, and cool whip in a large bowl.  Mix well.
  2. Drizzle with caramel sauce and top with nuts.  



Weeknight Mash

weeknight Mash

Spring has sprung in our neck of the woods.  We are experiencing a mixture of warm sunny days and cold/windy/rainy days.  When it’s cold, I like having something warm and comforting to eat.  And going outside to grill just doesn’t seem like a good idea.

On days like that, I want a comforting side dish.  The most comforting side dish I can think of is mashed potatoes.  But, I grew up in a small town in Idaho where our high school mascot is a potato.  So, if you don’t know how to make a decent mashed potato and you come from Shelley, Idaho, there is definitely something wrong.  Well, these potatoes are more than decent.  They’re delicious.  And QUICK!

The ingredients are the normal mashed potato ingredients: potatoes, milk, butter, salt and pepper.  It’s the method that makes these potatoes my go-to recipe.  And there’s enough for 6 to eat, with leftovers!

Sure, you can feed your family potatoes from a box.  Or spend close to an hour waiting for the huge pot of water and potatoes on the stove to come to a boil.  But, seriously, boxed potatoes taste kinda funny.  And who has time to wait for water to boil on a glass-top electric stove?  I swear, the stove we have is the SLOWEST thing I’ve ever cooked on.  Ever.

I hope you’re able to try this recipe, and that you love it as much as we do.

Weeknight Mash

  • about 5 lbs russet potatoes, washed, peeled and cut into 1-1/2 inch chunks
  • 4 quart glass (microwave-safe) casserole dish with lid
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  1. Place potatoes in the casserole dish with enough water to come half way up the sides.  Put on the lid and microwave on high for 10 minutes.  Check the tenderness of the potatoes with a fork – if they are soft and break easily, then they are ready to mash.  If not, give them a good stir, and microwave on high for another 3 to 4 minutes.  Drain potatoes.
  2. Place milk and butter in a microwave safe dish (I use my pyrex measuring cup) and microwave about a minute.  Watch it to make sure it doesn’t boil over.
  3. Place potatoes back into the casserole dish or in a mixing bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Using an electric mixer, add about half of the milk/butter mixture, and whip on low speed.  Keep adding the milk until your desired consistency is reached.  If you like thinner mashed potatoes than I do, you might need more milk.
  5. I whip mine in the same dish I use to cook it in, but you could also whip the potatoes in another dish and add back to the casserole dish.  I like to serve in that dish because it’s already warm!

You could also flavor these mashed potatoes with roasted garlic, sour cream and chives, sour cream and cheddar– whatever!  🙂

Lemon Garlic Herb Vinaigrette


This tangy dressing reminds me of Spring.  I know Spring is right around the corner, but all of this fog we’ve been having lately has been a little discouraging.  I can’t wait to see the daffodills begin to grow.  Heck, I’d settle for a full day of sunshine!

Until then, lets just make a little sunshine in a bottle.  Something tangy, lemony, and herby.  Or is that Herbie?  No, wait.  Herbie is a car…

This dressing will keep a couple of weeks in the fridge.  I like to bring it to room temp before tossing with greens to make sure the olive oil is no longer solid.  And this dressing with a bit of blue cheese is heavenly– almost like Buddy’s salad dressing.  Almost…

Here’s hoping Spring comes soon!  😀

Lemon Garlic Herb Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh minced thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  1. Place olive oil and garlic in a microwave-safe container.  Microwave on high about 30 seconds.  This will help to mellow the garlic a bit so it’s not as harsh as raw garlic.  Let cool.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients in a medium bowl.  Drizzle in the olive oil/garlic mixture while whisking constantly.  Continue whisking until dressing thickens slightly and is well combined.
  3. Store leftover dressing in a jar with a tight lid in the fridge.


Strawberry Rhubarb Yogurt


I have a new addiction.  There’s a new ‘Aussie-Style’ yogurt in town.  Noosa.  Noooooooossssaaaaaa!  It’s fantastic.  It’s creamy with just the right amount of tart, and the fruit part is separate from the yogurt part, so you get to stir it all up.  Plus, it comes in a tub similar to cream cheese instead of the traditional yogurt cup.  The downside?  A few things.  The price.  At least twice the cost of a regular ol’ cup of yogurt.  And– not available in a low fat or low sugar version.  No wonder it tastes so good!

Well, I just so happened to have strawberries and rhubarb in the fridge that needed to get used up.  And some plain nonfat yogurt.  And some granola because the crunchies just make it oh-so-much-better!

So, here’s my homemade version of my new summer favorite.  Enjoy!

Strawberry Rhubarb Yogurt

  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1 cup fresh rhubarb, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup sweetener (sugar, splenda, honey, whatever)
  • Plain yogurt (nonfat, lowfat, fullfat, whatever)
  • Crunchy granola (I like the high-protein kind by Nature Valley)
  1. Combine fruit and sweetener in in a saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until fruit almost completely breaks down, about 10 minutes.  Stir well and set aside to cool.  Pour into a jar and keep in the fridge.
  2. Spoon yogurt into a bowl or cup (I use about 1/2 cup), spoon strawberry-rhubarb goodness on top (about a tablespoon), stir-stir-stir, top with granola.
  3. Enter strawberry rhubarb nirvana.  With crunchies.

“Baked” potatoes on the Grill


Is it unusually hot where you are?  It sure is here!  We’ve been in the triple digits for a week now.  Plus, we actually have some humidity- another unusual thing for us.

Earlier in the week, my husband broke the air conditioner.  I’m blaming it on him because I planned BLT’s for dinner specifically so we wouldn’t have to turn on the oven.  As soon as I turn my back, he’s preheating the oven for french fries.  (Ore-Ida french fries, of course!)  I asked him what he was thinking, and he told me to calm down because we have air conditioning.  Well, the next night, the A/C decided to take a break.  Thankfully, it was an easy fix.  Whew!

When it’s this hot outside, I just can’t turn on the oven.  I just can’t!  I rely on my slowcooker, electric pressure cooker, and grill if I HAVE to cook anything.  We had some steaks and potatoes that needed to get used up, and there’s nothing like a fluffy baked potato to go with your steak.  But in this heat?  I had to get creative!

I pre-cooked the potatoes in the microwave, 2 at a time, for 5 minutes.  Then I coated them with oil and salt.   Next, I put them over a low flame for a few minutes while I got the steaks and salad ready, then turned them over and cranked up the heat to cook the steaks.  They came out perfectly!

So, just because its summer and 100+°F outside, that doesn’t mean you can’t make a decent baked potato.  😀

“Baked” Potatoes on the Grill


  • 4 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed well and poked with a fork
  • olive oil spray
  • sea salt or kosher salt
  1. Preheat grill over low heat.  Two at a time, place potatoes on a microwave safe plate and microwave on high for 5 minutes.
  2. Let cool slightly, then spray with olive oil spray and sprinkle with salt.
  3. Place on the upper grill rack and let cook for 10-15 minutes while you get your other grill items ready.
  4. Kick up the heat to the temp that is needed to cook the rest of your food, turn the spuds over with tongs, and continue cooking on the upper rack for another 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from grill and let stand about 5 minutes.  Cut open and top with your favorite potato toppings!


Crunchy Ramen Coleslaw


This is one of those beat-the-heat recipes for summer.  No cooking involved!  This salad whips up in a flash and is PERFECT along the side of grilled meat.  You could even add diced cooked chicken to make it a main meal salad.

This recipe is based off of the Ramen Coleslaw on the Food On The Table website.  I had to make several substitutions because of what I had in the house.  Hope you like it!

Crunchy Ramen Coleslaw

  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp sugar or splenda
  • 1 (3.0 oz.) package Oriental flavored ramen noodles, crushed, seasoning packet reserved
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup salted roasted peanuts, chopped
  • 1-2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 (12 oz.) bag cole slaw mix
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  1. In a large bowl, whisk the oil, vinegar, sugar, contents of the ramen noodle seasoning packet, and pepper together.
  2. Place cabbage, green onions, and crushed noodles in the bowl.  Toss well to coat.  Top with toasted sesame seeds and peanuts.
  3. Serve immediately.

Greek Salad for One


This weekend, I decided to shop at the local Fred Meyer.  Inspiration struck as I was passing the Olive Bar.  They had some chunked feta and Greek olives marinated in an herb-infused oil.  Who could pass that up?

As soon as I got home, I tossed those lovely cheese chunks and olives with fresh veggies and a bit of vinegar.  Let me tell ya- easiest Greek salad ever!  Not that Greek salad is that hard anyway, but the herbs in the cheese-olive oil were the perfect complement.

I hope you have an olive bar with the marinated feta cheese chunks somewhere in town.  And I hope you are eating lots of veggies and drinking lots of water.  I’m good on the veggies, but drinking water is hard for me.  Unless its in the form of sun tea.  😉

Here’s to easy summer salads!

Greek Salad for One

  • 2-3 Tbsp chunked feta and Greek olives marinated in olive oil and herbs (from the olive bar)
  • 1 cup torn lettuce
  • 1 small tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 3″ section of an English cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 3 or 4 marinated artichoke heart quarters
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • Pepperoncini for garnish
  1. Put everything in a bowl, except garnish.
  2. Toss to coat the veggies.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Garnish with pepperoncini.  Devour.
  4. Feel good about eating such a healthy meal when you were at home by yourself.  😀