Category Archives: Side Dishes

Crispy Onion Rings

Crispy Onion Rings

This week my hubby is away hugging orphans in Guatemala. Two nights in a row I’m two for two on going to a friend’s house and cooking them dinner! It’s a win- win for me because I love to cook and I have pretty much escaped clean up now for two nights in a row! I’m on a roll! Who wants me to come cook dinner at their house?! No but seriously these onion rings turned out SO yummy tonight that I just had to share them with all of you. The texture and crisp reminded us of the bloomin’ onion at Chili’s! Really Easy and quick to make but a couple cautions…

*do not leave oil on high heat the entire time. Once oil is heated and bubbles around the handle of a wooden spoon, its good to go,  go ahead and start frying the first batch but kick the heat down to med high

*Fry about 6 onion rings at a time, any more really lowers the heat of the oil and they won’t cook all the way.

*If you do more than 4 batches which is about 1 large sweet onion it’s best to change the oil to avoid bitter or burnt remnants over taking the oil.

* be ready and have a system so you don’t burn them!…it goes like this… Egg, dredge in Breadcrumb/flour mixture , fry, flip, fry more, drain on paper towel on a plate. Boom! Perfect!

Crispy Onion Rings

2 cups vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten well
1 large sweet white onion sliced and pieces pulled apart
1/2 cup bread flour
1/2 cup italian bread crumbs
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon each salt and pepper

Heat oil in deep skillet. Slice onion and pull apart to create the “o” rings. Mix flour, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and garlic salt well and put in a shallow dish. Dip onion rings in beaten egg, then in breadcrumbs…shake off excess, put in hot oil (about 350*) Fry for 90 seconds then flip 60 more seconds then they are done. Place on a paper towel to drain and season with a bit more salt to taste. Enjoy!


Cauliflower Cheddar Mash

We all want to enjoy food but not let it change our waistline, right? My grandma always used to say ” A moment on the lips, forever on the hips.” Being perfectly honest, I love food and I love eating and there has to be some times when we really focus on how to enjoy food that is honest to goodness good for our bodies. After all, the good Lord only gave us one. So, I am implementing even more healthy lifestyle options into our family dinners, and am being more thoughtful about what I put in my body, working to treat it like a temple. The good news is that my take on a mashed potato “fake out” is truly yummy. The texture is super close. It’s so spot on that last night at dinner my almost 2 yr old had no clue and demolished every bite! I’d say that’s a win! So eat your veggies, feel good about it and let this recipe help!


Cheddar Cauliflower Mash

1/2 cup water

1 whole head Cauliflower

2 Tablespoons butter

1/4 cup low-fat milk

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish if desired)

salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan bring 1/2 water to a boil. Rinse and clean head of cauliflower, cut bottom leaves off and discard. Next, cut into pieces and transfer to boiling water. Cover and steam on medium high heat for 10-12 minutes until the cauliflower is fork tender. Drain water, add in butter, milk and cheese. With an electric hand mixer or potato masher (by hand) start to mash until you get a smooth creamy texture. If too thick add a dash more milk. Salt and pepper and make sure to taste. Sprinkle cheese on top and serve. Serves 6.

Turkey Taco Soup


Have leftover turkey from the big day yesterday? Yea, me too…here’s what I came up with tonight with our leftover turkey. It turned out so flavorful I just had to share it with you all!

Turkey Taco Soup

Serves 4-5

1 TB olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 cup cooked turkey breast, chopped
Salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can tomato sauce (8oz)
1 can black beans
2 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup Minute white rice
1 chicken bouillon cube
2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 lime, cut into wedges

Cheddar cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips for garnish.

In large stockpot sauté onion and celery in olive oil on medium high heat. Cook 3 min then add in turkey, season with salt and pepper. Add in minced garlic, stir well. Let sauté 2 more min. Next, add in tomato sauce, black beans (whole can do not drain), water, bouillon cube and rice. Bring to a boil and after 3-4 minutes add in chopped cilantro. Cut lime into wedges and ladle soup into each bowl. Garnish with cheese, sour cream and a lime wedge. Crumble tortilla chips if desired. Enjoy!


Cranberry Walnut Spinach Salad

This week I bought some organic baby spinach that was so good! Sometimes it’s best to remember that simple is better. Go for quality ingredients and showcase them simply! This salad does just that. It was a perfect lunch for me this week and it would be great to pack for work or school.


Cranberry Walnut Spinach Salad

1 1/2 cups organic spinach
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup croutons
2 Tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese
2 Tablespoons creamy poppyseed dressing
A dash of salt and pepper

Serves 1

Grandma’s Italian Bread


Tuesday night I had our besties over for an impromptu Italian Dinner Party! I served Homemade Ravioli two ways. The first was Ricotta and sausage filled with a red vodka sauce infused with sun dried tomatoes. The second, was a pesto, Ricotta, and Pecorino filling with a white wine butter sauce. We had the food, which all turned out super yummy, great conversation, and fun! I hadn’t yet made my grandma’s braided Italian loaves since we moved into our new house here in Orange County so I decided it was high time with almost 5 months that had past! The house smelled like I had died and gone to heaven, this batch turned out more moist than ever before! It was a happy night.

Grandma’s Italian Bread
2.5 lbs all purpose flour (1/2 the 5lb bag)
1 Tablespoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 stick butter melted
2 packages or 2 Tablespoons active dry yeast
4 cups warm water
3 Tablespoons honey

Either by hand or with an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment add together yeast, warm water, and honey. Allow to sit and get foamy-almost 5 minutes. Add in oil and melted butter. Next, combine in other ingredients remembering to add the 4 cups of flour one cup at a time. Add more water if dough is too stiff. Or, a little more flour if too sticky and soft. Oil bowl and allow to rise at least one hour. Cover dough with Saran Wrap or clean kitchen towel during this time. Punch dough down. Make three ropes and shape into braids. Set on oiled cookie sheet and let rise again for 30 min. Bake 350* about 35 minutes. Optional: brush with butter after baking.



Lemon Garlic Summer Salad

 Lemon Garlic Summer Salad

Lemon Garlic Summer Salad

3/4 of a whole box Ditallini, (boil per box directions)
1 1/2 cucumbers, chopped small
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 sweet onion, chopped fine
2 cups fresh spinach, washed and chopped into confetti
1 red pepper
juice of 1/2 a lemon, plus 1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 garlic cloves, minced in a garlic press
3 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper
2/3 cup italian salad dressing
1 tablespoon olive oil ( to toss pasta in)

Boil pasta per directions on the back of the box, drain and run under cold water to stop cooking, toss in a little bit of olive oil so it doesn’t stick and set aside.

Chop all vegetables and add to pasta. Next, start the dressings, mince garlic cloves in a garlic press so they are very fine and juices come out and toss in pasta, next squeeze lemon and zest the lemon rind and add into the mix, add in italian dressing and mix everything together well.Season with the salt and pepper and toss once more. This salad is best served cold so you can refrigerate an hour before serving or overnight.
This is a wonderful, vibrant summer side! So fresh, so colorful- bring it to share. Serves 12

Sweet Cornbread Cake


No one really knows what to do with that can of creamed corn in their pantry and aren’t we all sick of cornbread coming out dry? I’m happy to say that tonight I figured out the most moist and amazing cornbread! It goes so well with a big warm bowl of my chili recipe! It’s semi-homemade and super quick. You’ll have it in the oven in 5 minutes flat. Happy Fall Ya’ll!


2 boxes or packages of corn muffin mix (Such as Jiffy or Marie Callendars)

2 eggs

1 can creamed corn

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup milk

Cooking Spray

Preheat oven to 375*. Open packages of corn muffin mix (Disregard instructions on the back! Your doing your own.) Place in a bowl and add creamed corn, eggs, oil, and milk. Beat with a whisk for 30 strokes until well blended. Spray a 9×11 pan with cooking spray and pour cornbread batter in. Bake for 20-22 minutes until set in the middle. (You can test with a toothpick). Slice however you’d like (into squares) and enjoy!