Summer's Fresh Basil the basic ingredient for PESTO.

Summer’s Fresh Basil the basic ingredient for PESTO.

Ahhh… summertime. Cooking out, barbecues, picnics I am always looking for delicious new things to make and eat…

And this summer I have discovered at long last Pesto!

I have to be honest here, when I would read that a recipe included pesto I immediately left it alone. I had no clue as to what pesto was nor did I ever really try to find out. For me it just sounded strange and since I hadn’t heard of it I felt it must not be worth looking at. And I was wrong. Pesto does have its place and quite frankly it is pretty good when combined with Italian style cold cuts, sliced turkey and cheese, meats and other fixens.

To save you from trying to find recipes I have included here some that I have used. I am not crazy about pine nuts so I often make mine with pecans, my favorite nut.


Chunky basil pesto

Basil Pesto


2 cups basil leaves (strip off stems – use stems in stock if you want)
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts, sunflower seeds, walnuts or pecans
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese or mix of Parmesan and Romano
3/4-1 cup olive oil


Wash and dry the basil in a salad spinner. Toast the nuts – I toss them in a hot, dry, cast iron skillet. Put the garlic in the food processor and chop fine. Add the basil and most of the olive oil. Chop finely. Add Parmesan cheese and nuts. Chop just a bit – I like the nuts to be still chunky. Add salt if desired. Add olive oil if thinner consistency desired.


The Pampered Chef ®
Basil-Walnut Pesto


1 cup lightly packed fresh basil, divided
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, divided
1 oz. grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, pressed


Finely chop half of the basil and half of the walnuts together in cap of Food Chopper (mixture should resemble a thick paste); place into Classic Batter Bowl. Repeat with remaining basil and walnuts.

Using Microplane® Adjustable Grater, finely grate cheese. Add cheese, oil and garlic pressed with Garlic Press to batter bowl. Mix well using Small Mix ‘N Scraper®. I always use a Parmesan/Romano blend because I feel it has a richer Italian flavor.



Simple and Quick                     Chunky Basil Pesto


8 cups fresh basil rough chopped
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
2-4 cloves of garlic peeled
1/2 tsp salt


Pour into your blender or food processor and Blend 8 cups packed fresh cut up basil leaves, 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts, 2 to 4 garlic cloves and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor or blender until almost smooth.
Stir in 1/2 cup grated Parmesan. I always use a Parmesan/Romano blend because I feel it has a richer Italian flavor.


Peanut Pesto easier to prepare in food processor.




1/4 cup peanut butter
3 each cloves garlic
1 each Ginger root (1/2-inch) ginger root, chopped
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


In bowl of food processor or blender, place peanut butter, garlic, ginger root, honey, vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce and cayenne pepper. Process until smooth.

*Toast your nuts for richer flavor. You can do this in a skillet or in the oven. You just want to heat them up and toast them lightly to heat up the natural oils and bring out their flavor.



Lemon-Pesto Dip – Whisk together 1/2 cup sour cream with 1/4 cup each mayonnaise, Parmesan and pesto, Add 2 tablespoons capers and 2 teaspoons each lemon zest and juice. Stir to combine. Season dip with salt and pepper to taste.

Pesto Pom Frites Sauce – Whisk together 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons each pesto and extra virgin olive oil, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Serve with hot French fries.

Pesto Butter – Combine 3/4 cup chunky pesto with 1/2 stick of softened butter. Mash together until well combined. I do this with the paddle in my Kitchen Aide Mixer on low. It works perfectly then I press the pesto butter into a crock with a cover to keep in refrigerator until I use it. This is great on steak, pasta, anything you might want to use a flavorful butter. Try it on corn on the cob. Grill or steam corn, then brush with Pesto Butter. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan.



Pesto Shrimp – Marinate 1 pound shrimp fresh or frozen in 2 tablespoons each pesto and olive oil; add 1 lemon (cut into wedges) and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Grill about 3 minutes per side. Season shrimp with salt and pepper to taste.

Pesto Steak – Mix 1/4 cup pesto, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon hot water. Grill or broil 1 1/4 pounds skirt steak; brush with the pesto just before serving.

Pesto Chicken Wings – Marinate 2 pounds chicken wings in Mixture of 1/2 cup pesto and 1/4 cup each cider vinegar, hot sauce and honey for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
Roast at 425 degrees F, 40 minutes. Toss with chopped basil and mint.

Pesto can be used on chicken top chicken with pesto bake at 375 about 35 minutes sprinkle with chopped peanuts and sliced green onions when cooked.

Pesto Roast Whole Chicken – Mix the juice of 1 lemon, 1/3 cup pesto and 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes; rub onto a 6-pound whole chicken. Stuff with peeled whole garlic cloves and one quartered lemon. Roast in a 375 degrees F oven, about 2 hours.

Pesto Salmon Cakes – Mix 1 pound cooked flaked salmon with 1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs, very fine), 1/4 cup pesto, 1 large egg and 1 tablespoon lemon zest. Form patties; cook in an oiled skillet, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve with tartar sauce* mixed with pesto. (to make * tartar sauce- Combine 1 cup mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 2 medium lemons), 2 tablespoons finely chopped dill pickle, 1 tablespoon finely chopped scallion (from about 1 medium scallion, white and light green parts only), 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 3 tablespoons finely chopped capers are optional. Keep in a covered jar in refrigerator until ready to use.)

Pesto Swordfish – Mix 1/4 cup pesto with the juice of 1 lemon and 1 tablespoon hot water. Spoon over grilled or broiled swordfish.



Pesto Hummus – Mix 1 cup hummus with 2 tablespoons pesto. Top with chopped mint, toasted pine nuts and a dash of paprika.

Pesto Green Beans – Toss 1 pound steamed green beans with 3 tablespoons pesto and the juice of 1/2 lemon. Easily steam green beans in the microwave, just place beans in a microwave safe bowl, add 1 tsp water, cover and microwave for 3-5 minutes. Perfect every time.

Pancetta-Pesto Peas – Cook 4 ounces diced pancetta in a skillet with olive oil until crisp; remove with a slotted spoon. Add 1 bag frozen peas and 1 cup water to the skillet; simmer until tender, 10 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons pesto and heat through.

Pesto Orzo with Peas – Make Pancetta-Pesto Peas above. Stir in 1 1/2 cups cooked orzo and 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan.

Pesto Potato Salad – Boil 2 pounds quartered new potatoes in salted boiling water until tender, 10 to 15 minutes; drain and cool slightly. Whisk 1 cup mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons pesto and the juice of 1 lemon; toss with the potatoes, add 1 cup diced celery.

Pesto Succotash – Microwave 5 cups corn in microwave safe dish with cover for 3-5 minutes, remove from microwave and transfer to a skillet. Add 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes and 1/4 cup chopped red onion with 1 tablespoon butter and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups cooked lima beans and 1/4 cup heavy cream; heat through, just before serving stir in 2 tablespoons pesto.

Pesto Beans – Sauté 5 sliced garlic cloves and a pinch of red pepper flakes in a skillet with 1-2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil. Add 2 cans cannellini beans drained and 1 cup water; simmer until reduced and thickened, about 8 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons pesto and 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan.

Pesto Mash Potatoes – Boil 3 pounds peeled russet potatoes until tender. Mash with 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and 3 tablespoons pesto.



Pesto Salad – Whisk 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar and 1/4 cup pesto. Toss with baby greens and serve with baguette toasts spread with Feta cheese (goat cheese).

Pesto Caesar Salad – Whisk 2 tablespoons pesto with 1/2 cup Caesar dressing. Toss with romaine and croutons; top with shaved Parmesan. I always use a Parmesan/Romano Blend for the richer Italian Flavor.

Pesto Croutons – Toss 4 cups bread cubes, 3 tablespoons pesto and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Spread on a baking sheet; bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees F. When cubing the bread freeze it first it is so much easier to cut up.
Pesto Panzanella (or panmolle is a Tuscan salad of bread and tomatoes popular in the summer.) – Toss Pesto Croutons with 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 3 tablespoons olive oil, some chopped tomatoes and cucumber, sliced red onion and more pesto.

Pesto Chicken Salad – Whisk 3 tablespoons basil walnut pesto with 1/4 cup each mayonnaise and sour cream. Stir in 4 cups chopped cooked chicken, 1/2 cup chopped celery and 1/4 cup each chopped red onion, walnuts and crisp bacon.

Pesto Egg Salad – Whisk 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons pesto, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Fold in 8 chopped hard-boiled eggs, 1 cup chopped celery and 2 tablespoons finely minced red onion.

Pesto Tuna Salad – Toss 3oz. cans drained tuna, 1 can drained chickpeas, 1/4 cup each chopped parsley, 1/4 cup red onion and 1/4 cup roasted red peppers, 3 tablespoons pesto and 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar.



Hot Turkey Melt

Hot Turkey Melt

Pesto Turkey Melt – for this sandwich use a Torra, Kaiser roll or other large roll. On a microwave safe plate layer thinly sliced turkey about 6 pieces, sliced tomato, thinly sliced red onion and then provolone or Swiss cheese slices, heat in microwave on high for 45 seconds just until cheese begins to melt. Using a spatula, lift heated meat n veggies onto roll, top with pesto sauce and then bake in oven for 4-5 minutes to crisp the roll. Serve hot. Yummy

Pesto Grilled Cheese – Brush 2 slices rustic bread like sour dough with pesto, then layer in sliced cheddar or provolone. Butter the outside of the bread and cook in a skillet over medium heat until golden brown and cheese is all melty.

Pesto Quesadilla – Sauté 1/2 cup each sliced scallions, mushrooms and zucchini with 1-2 tablespoons pesto, add minced jalapenos and cilantro. Brown a flour tortilla in a skillet with butter; top with the vegetables, shredded Muenster and then place another tortilla on top, brush with melted butter. Flip and cook until lightly browned on both sides.

Quick to make, a delight to eat...pesto adds a subtle flavor of basil and nuts.

Quick to make, a delight to eat…pesto adds a subtle flavor of basil and nuts.


until next time… betti : )






It’s a beautiful day and we are off to the pool for the day. I was concerned about dinner but remembered I could make this delicious crockpot spaghetti. Saved again by my crockpot. Just in case you need a dinner that pretty much makes itself here ya go.  I included my recipe for homemade Good Season’s Italian Salad dressing and homemade croutons. Hope you try them. No preservatives or other added whatever.


whats 4 dinner



No Fuss - Crockpot Spaghetti.

No Fuss – Crockpot Spaghetti.




Create savory spaghetti in your slow cooker/crockpot. Add a loaf of garlic bread and a romaine salad and you have dinner tonight.

2 pounds ground beef, cooked and drained
1 lg can crushed tomatoes
1 lg can diced tomatoes
2 1/2 cups water
1 can (8 ounces) mushroom stems and pieces, drained
1 medium onion diced or 2 TBSP dried minced onion
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp mace
1/2 tsp pepper
1 package (7-12 ounces) spaghetti pasta dry, broken in half


In a large skillet brown ground beef and drain.
Combine browned beef, tomatoes, water, mushrooms, onion and seasonings and pour all ingredients into your 5-qt. slow cooker/crockpot.

Cover and cook on high for 4 hours.

One hour before serving, stir in dried spaghetti. Cover and cook on high 1 hour longer or until the spaghetti is tender.

To serve: Spoon portions into individual bowls and top with shredded mozzarella and sprinkle with parmesan/Romano grated cheese. Add a loaf of garlic bread and a Romaine lettuce salad.


garlic bread,hot and crunchy...

garlic bread,hot and crunchy…



1/2 cup butter (1 stick) softened
2 TBSP Garlic powder
1 tsp dried parsley
1 loaf French or Italian Bread

2 TBSP grated parmesan/Romano cheese Blend if you want


Use mixer and mix butter, garlic, parsley, and cheese until well blended just like you would if you were making compound butter.
Cut bread 3/4 of the way through into 1 inch slices
Spread garlic butter mixture  lightly on both sides of each slice.
Wrap loaf in aluminum foil

BAKE in 400° oven for 10 minutes until heated through open up foil and allow to bake additional 2-3 minutes to crisp outer crust.


Cool, fresh, refreshing.

Cool, fresh, refreshing.



2 heads romaine lettuce washed
1 medium red onion
1/2 pt. grape or cherry tomatoes or other small tomatoes
2 carrots or 8 baby carrots (2 per person)
1 cucumber


*Homemade Good Seasons Italian Dressing recipe below or Your favorite salad dressing
**Croutons store bought or homemade recipe below

Wash lettuce and spin in your salad spinner to dry. Tear lettuce into small bite size pieces. (Truthfully I cut my lettuce for salads because we are going to eat it right then so there is no time for rust to form so using a knife doesn’t matter and it is so much easier) Put the lettuce into your serving bowl.

Using a mandoline, or other slicer or a sharp knife slice the onion into thin slices.

I slice my cherry tomatoes because I feel it makes them easier to enjoy. I am not a fan of biting into a small tomato and having it explode in my mouth.

For the carrots I will shave them into the salad or sometimes run them through my salad shredder which by the way is very handy it shreds cheese like a charm. If using baby carrots you can leave them whole and allow 2 per person

Slice the cucumber pretty thin. Did you know the seeds of the cucumbers are what causes gas so I will slice my cucumbers horizontally in half and then using a spoon I scrape out all the seeds before I slice it.

Toss your salad ingredients in a large bowl and serve from the bowl or serve in individual salad bowls. If you like your salad a little wilted you can add the dressing in advance or provide the dressing at the table for people to add the amount they want.

TIP: Romaine lettuce provides so many more nutrients than iceberg lettuce and it really tastes good. It is not bitter as some people think. It has always been associated more with Ceasar Salad but I use often for most of my salads. If you really are pressed for time use a storebought package of pre-made romaine salad or the spring mix but be sure to wash in your salad spinner even if it says pre-washed.


Copycat (Good Seasons) Italian Salad Dressing I love Good Seasons dressing. I use it for everything from dressing salads to marinating meat. I wanted a way to make it with my own ingredients to avoid any extra ingredients like the thickener and preservatives. After searching high and low I found a few different copycat recipes and through trial and error came up with this one.


1 TBSP dehydrated minced onion (dehydrated onion flakes)
1 TBSP dehydrated minced garlic (granulated garlic)
2 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp dehydrated sweet (bell) pepper flakes or crushed, see tip
1/4 tsp coarse ground black pepper
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/8 tsp paprika
1/16 tsp celery seed
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 TBSP water
2/3 cup salad oil


Best done in your blender.
Pour into your blender onion, garlic, salt, sugar, pepper flakes, black pepper, mustard, paprika and celery seed until ground very fine.

Into a 2 cup screw top jar (large enough to leave
plenty of room for shaking) pour apple cider vinegar,
water and seasoning mixture; shake well;
add oil; shake well again.

Store in the refrigerator; shake thoroughly before

Makes about 8 ozs. of dressing

TIP: Don’t have sweet pepper flakes? Walmart carries Caine’s dehydrated sweet pepper flakes. Other brands include McCormick, Mrs. Dash, Trader Joe’s



...garlicky homemade croutons.

…garlicky homemade croutons.

Making croutons is very easy.


6 slices of bread, frozen
¼ cup olive oil I like extra virgin for everything
1 tsp dried crushed basil
1 tsp oregano
1-2 tsp garlic powder
Parmesan/Romano grated cheese to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

While bread is still whole, using a pastry brush (I prefer the silicone brushes) brush both sides of the bread with the oil.

Combine the seasonings and sprinkle over the bread slices sprinkling on both sides. If making cheesy croutons sprinkle with Parmesan/Romano grated cheese on both sides.

Cube bread while still frozen into desired size and spread in single layer onto a cookie sheet or stone.

Bake at 350 degrees for twenty minutes. Allow to cool. Place in an airtight container and these can be stored for up to weeks in this container.

–Alternate coating method. Cube the bread while still frozen. In a large bowl combine the oil, and seasoning and mix well. Toss the bread cubes into the bowl and stir the cubes until all the cubes are coated. If making cheesy croutons sprinkle Parmesan/Romano onto the cubes and toss. As above spread out on a cookie sheet or stone and bake at 350 degrees for twenty minutes and allow to cool. Store in airtight container. Shelf life about a week.

TIP: Frozen bread is the secret to easy cutting of the bread into crouton size pieces. I typically will keep a large zip lock bag in my freezer and as bread is left over I will put it in this bag to keep until I make croutons.


…at the pool all day and still enjoying a dinner as good if not better than Olive Garden, he:) he:) he:) except of course that creamy, delicious raspberry cheesecake…oh wait I have that recipe, maybe next time.

until later… betti : )



School’s OUT for SUMMER you should have heard all the horn honking and kids screaming!!!





JUNE 13th  12:45 pm     It’s the last day of school and for us –  SUMMER has begun. Zacharay finished his last day of FIRST GRADE with an excellent report card. Now I am faced with what to do this SUMMER. I am going to work up a schedule this weekend. I will share it with you I have seen some really good ideas and have some of my own.


End of school party at the swimming pool so I am making a very light dinner. This recipe is the perfect thing to serve for a luncheon with the girls, or like I’m doing on a hot muggy night when a lot is going on and you want something light and refreshing.


Tonight we’re having


So refreshing and good for you!

So refreshing and good for you!










To make this recipe you’ll need:
               Medium size bowl
               Sharp paring knife or V shape cutter
               Push out measure cup or regular measure cup
               Measuring spoons

2 small ripe cantaloupeschicken-in-cantelope3
2 lg chicken breasts, skinless, boned, cooked and chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green onion

1/2 cup light or regular mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 TBSP white wine vinegar
1 tsp tarragon
1/4 cup halved green seedless grapes
Salt and pepper to taste

4 TBSP slivered almonds
Romaine leaves washed and dried


Rinse and pat dry veggies.

Mix dressing:  Stir together the mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, tarragon and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour into a jar with a lid and refrigerate until ready to use.


Wash the cantaloupe to avoid contamination with the insides when you cut through the skin. Cut each cantaloupe in half in a zig zag pattern.  (I use myV shaped cutter from Pampered Chef *see pictures below)  Scoop out the seeds and with a melon baller, scoop out some more of the flesh to make the bowls bigger (leave about 3/4″ of flesh in the cantaloupe. Save the little balls of melon and either add to the Chicken Salad or serve on the side. Wrap Plastic wrap over the open sides of the cantaloupe and refrigerate until ready to serve.

In a medium bowl, mix chopped chicken, celery, green onion, green grapes and if you are adding the cantaloupe balls the reserved melon. Stir in the dressing and mix to coat. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

To serve:

Spoon the chicken salad into the cantaloupe bowls, sprinkle each bowl with a tablespoon of slivered almonds. Serve on a leaf of Romaine lettuce. That is all there is to eat. And as you can see from the picture it is an awesome presentation for chicken salad, don’t ya think?


I use this same process to make bowls for vanilla ice cream. My family loves this and I do too. Fruit and desert all in one. How clever. The kids eat it up and they’re getting all that fresh melon with their ice cream. Grownups love it too. I serve it at dinner parties and I sometimes pour Amaretta over the ice cream. Yummy.

We call it a MELON SUNDAE and it is scrumptious!

Everything I love about SUMMER!

Everything I love about SUMMER!



v tool used to cut green pepper

v tool used to cut green pepper









as always…until later.   betti  : )


ps  –   Today, June 13  is National Klutzes of America Day and to all the Klutzes including me I say



whats 4 dinner

Tonight we’re having barbequed chicken sandwiches. Made in my slow cooker/crock pot it’s that “set it and forget it” concept. You can use thawed or frozen chicken breasts so if you forget to thaw your meat it’s OK. I say this because I always forget to defrost as you will find out about me.

I’ll throw this in the slow cooker/crock pot in the morning when I’m getting Zach ready for school and then shred it at around 4:30 when Zach gets home, throw in the barbeque sauce and let it simmer until dinner. Yummy! Perfect every time.


Slowcooker/Crockpot Barbeque Chicken Sandwich


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts fresh, or frozen (can be still frozen when you put it in slow cooker/crockpot)
1 medium onion chopped
2 cups of your favorite homemade BBQ sauce or one 18 ounce bottle store bought Honey Barbecue Sauce (I use Sweet Baby Ray’s)
1/2 cup Italian Salad Dressing (I really like the flavor from Wishbone’s Robust Italian)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 TBSPS Worcestershire sauce


In the morning, place chicken in a slow cooker. Sprinkle with the Montreal Chicken Seasoning by McCormick (I love this stuff on chicken or pork and it’s not real expensive) Top with the chopped onion. Pour the Italian seasoning over the chicken. Cover with the lid. Cook 6-8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high. Prepare the BBQ sauce in a bowl; combine the BBQ sauce, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce cover and refrigerate for later.
When Chicken is done, remove chicken from the slow cooker/crock pot and shred using two forks. Return the chicken to the slow cooker and pour the BBQ sauce mixture over the chicken and stir to coat with sauce; let it cook 30 minutes to an hour more and then serve it up on Big fresh Kaiser rolls. Pushed for time serve it with tossed salad, some potato chips or potato salad and sweet or dill pickle spears; or you can add some cole slaw and potato wedges and you have an amazing meal.



3/4 head cabbage green and 1/4 head red or 1 bag (16 oz.)   pre-shredded cabbage

quick as a wink, yummy creamy coleslaw

quick as a wink, yummy creamy coleslaw

1/2 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. mayonnaise
2 1/2 -3 TBSP apple cider vinegar
1/4-1/2 t. celery seed or 2 stalks of fresh celery sliced thin ( I prefer the fresh celery myself)
2 carrots grated

Cut cabbage in half and then slice into thin strips. Wash in salad spinner and spin dry. Set Aside.
If you prefer you can chop the cabbage into small pieces or run it through the Salad Shooter.

In a large bowl, make the dressing. Combine all the ingredients except the cabbage. Mix well.

Toss in the cabbage and make sure the dressing coats all the cabbage. Pour into a covered bowl. Refrigerate the coleslaw at least 2 hours before serving.

TIP: If using pre-shredded store bought cabbage be sure to wash and spin it before using. Even though these products say they are pre-washed it is a good idea to do it yourself. A salad spinner is worth its weight in gold for this. Wash and dry in one simple operation.


Oven baked deliciousness. You can't tell them from fried. Except on your waisteline!

Oven baked deliciousness. You can’t tell them from fried. Except on your waistline!

Baked Crispy in the Oven


4 large unpeeled potatoes washed and sliced into wedges
1/4 cup melted butter (1/2 stick) or 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or 1/4 cup canola oil (I prefer using canola oil because it won’t burn as easily as butter and still adds good flavor)
1 T grated onion
1 T chopped fresh parsley (you can use dried just reduce amount to 1 tsp)
1 T chopped fresh thyme (you can use dried reduce amount to 1 tsp
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 t pepper
1 1/2 cups (6 oz) shredded cheddar cheese (Optional for cheesy wedges)
4 slices bacon cooked crisp and broken into pieces (Optional for cheesy wedges)


Pre-heat oven to 425°. Make sure oven is hot before you put in the potatoes.

In very large bowl, combine butter, onion, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper. Pour in the potato wedges and spoon around until they are well coated. Layer potatoes on a lightly greased 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan. I use my stoneware bar pan to achieve that perfect crispiness.

Bake in hot 425° oven for 40-45 minutes until potatoes are crispy on the outside yet still tender on the inside. I find it necessary to turn them over half way through for even baking.

For Cheesy Potato Wedges, sprinkle with cheese and bacon and bake an additional 5 minutes until cheese is melted.

Variation: for quick seasoning add to the oil 1-1 1/2 Tablespoons of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Powder mix or 2 Tablespoons of Good Seasons Italian Dressing mix. (adjust amounts to your own taste)

Use this on potatoes for baking too. Just rub skin of potatoes to be baked with this seasoning oil and bake as usual.

My family enjoys this dinner because the barbequed chicken is even delicious later cold on a sandwich w/pickles or just on a plate with some potato salad.

I hope you try this next time you want dinner to make itself!

until later, betti   : )


whats 4 dinner


It’s Friday, yeah the weekend.

Tomorrow we’re going to go to the Pocahontas State Park to rent a boat and do some fishing with Zachary. He just got a fishing pole and has never fished before.

A celebration of simpler times, floating on the water relaxing with a fishing pole blissfully waiting for the bob to go under. I remember as a child it was never about the fish we caught or didn’t catch but about the time we spent talking, laughing and speculating about all the fish we were going to catch.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks with the end of the month, entertaining over the Memorial Weekend, the end of school coming up and summer beginning. I’ll be posting a lot of grilling recipes and summer veggies and salads so watch for them.

I have a new feature I am adding because Dinners are always on my mind an the big question is always –  What to fix?  So to help myself out I am going to post my daily dinner menu and the recipes here on my blog. It should help me stay on track and maybe it will  help you too.

After each post look for the What’s for dinner menu and recipes under this heading.


Dinner Tonight-Friday May 30

Moist Teriyaki Turkey Meatloaf, Amazing Mashed Potatoes and Broccoli with Creamy Cheese Sauce


turkey meatloaf


2 lbs. ground turkey
1 ½ cups plain Panko crumbs
1 egg slightly beaten
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 TBSP dehydrated onion -or- 1 medium onion chopped
2 TBSP Teriyaki Sauce
1 TBSP butter
2 TBSP dehydrated parsley -or- 1/4 cup if using fresh finely chopped parsley
1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil or canola oil
Pam or spray oil


If using fresh onion, in a small pan, cook the onions with the butter, a little pepper until translucent.

Mix the rest of the ingredients together with the onions, reserving 1 Tbsp. of the Teriyaki sauce.

Form into loaf in a bake dish sprayed with non-stick spray. Top with the 1 Tbsp. olive oil over the top of the loaf evenly.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes- 1 hour or until just starting to brown slightly around the edges.

Also, during the cooking process, I poured a 1/4 cup of water all over the top 3 times. It absorbed right into it and it made it a very moist meatloaf!


secret ingredient


7-10 potatoes depending on their size washed, peeled and cut into large cubes
Water enough to generously cover the potatoes
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup evaporated milk or you can use regular whole or 2% milk (more for extra creamy)
1 stick of butter which is equal to 1/2 cup
1 TBSP Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix — this is my secret ingredient to amazing mashed potatoes


Wash, pare, and cut up your potatoes and place in a large pot.Pour water over the potatoes making sure all the potatoes are covered add 1/2 tsp of salt. Bring water to boil and allow potatoes to simmer until they are soft and a fork easily pierces them.

Once they are cooked through remove from burner and drain. After draining return the potatoes to the pot and using a potato masher or your hand mixer beat the potatoes to achieve a fluffy mashed potatoes.

Add the milk and butter and mix. Finally sprinkle with the Hidden Valley powdered dressing mix and mix one last time. Pour into serving dish or serve right from the pot.



Try steaming your broccoli in the microwave, you’ll get great resultls.

Steamed broccoli



2 cups broccoli flowerets fresh or frozen  lately I have been buying frozen veggies because they are flash frozen and I feel they may retain more nutrients than those veggies that are transported across the country or world. Now if I can get the veggies I want at the farmer’s market I will buy them there.


Steam broccoli in a pan with a small amount of water simmering in the bottom and place broccoli in a steamer basket.

or you can microwave which is what I always do

In a microwavable bowl place the frozen broccoli flowerets. Microwave for 5 to 7 minutes depending on the power of your microwave. Mine is 1,000 watts so I do it for usually 5 minutes. I don’t add anything to the broccoli and it is delicious.

You could add a *hollandaise sauce or **butter cheese sauce.

* BLENDER HOLLANDAISE SAUCE from     The Pioneer Woman | Ree Drummond
Making Blender Hollandaise Sauce is so much easier than with a whisk and the taste is still out of this world.
This recipe is from my favorite Pioneer Woman herself from Sep. 4, 2008  for her Eggs Benedict recipe.
Have you ever wanted to make Hollandaise Sauce, but opted not too because you thought it too hard. Consider this, simply put, it is butter and lemon juice combined with egg yolks to make a hot seasoned mayonnaise, yummy. This blender recipe makes it a lot easier to make than the old fashioned method of using a whisk in a pot over a burner. This way it just about always turns out perfectly. So why would you ever just use butter on your broccoli?
Hollandaise is most associated with Eggs Benedict, but is also perfect on broccoli, asparagus and other vegetables, and I’ve served it with fish and even a steak—seriously. Remember it’s hot spicy mayonnaise. There was I time when I was intimidated by what I thought was a really hard process to make it but this blender recipe is simple and easy. Why Pioneer Woman said herself when she blogged this recipe that it would make … “ your spirit soar. And your tummy jiggle. And your hips spread. And your hiney droop to the floor.” She is so sweet. If you haven’t read her book, “The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels–A Love Story”, you should it’s delightful…

I always thought that thought Hollandaise sauce was too hard to tackle. All that whisking, making sure it didn’t burn But in the Blender it is so easy I don’t hesitate to make it for veggies, steak anything I want a creamy sauce on. Yummy!

homemade hollandaise sauce



2 sticks of butter melted and hot
3 large eggs  only the egg yolks (freeze the whites for another recipe)
1 lemon juiced (about 3-4 TBSP of juice)
Cayenne Pepper

Note: I only use pasteurized eggs when a recipe calls for raw eggs. You’ll find them at the grocery store, they are not that expensive and will save all those who enjoy your recipes any unnecessary illnesses. There are methods to pasteurize your own eggs and I will share that with you in a future post. I sometimes do it but honestly the cost of commercially pasteurized is so worth it.

Pioneer Woman’s Directions in Pictures:

melting the butteregg yolks



The consistency of your hollandaise sauce should be thick but still a little runny like a thick gravy. Spoon over the broccoli and enjoy! So now you have made hollandaise and you can enjoy all the recipes that call for it : )

hollandaise pic 7 minute-maid-lemon-juice

TIP: I love lemons and I buy them often but to my dismay many times they spoil before I can use them.  Minute Maid makes a frozen lemon juice that is terrific and the most like fresh squeezed I have ever used. It is in the freezer section at the grocery store.

Want A Cheesy Sauce on the broccoli try this one.

cheese sauce for veggies




1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 T. butter
2 T. unbleached white flour
1 tsp. dijon mustard
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup evaporated milk or you can use whole, 2% or 1% milk
You will be making a cheesy white sauce.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Whisk in flour, mustard and salt to taste. Gradually stir in milk, whisking over med-low heat until it begins to thicken. Remove from the heat and add cheese, stirring until completely melted. If cheese doesn’t melt return to burner on low heat and stir until all the cheese is melted. Be careful not to overcook or the cheese will become stringy. Add the cheese to your white sauce right before you serve it.

Put broccoli into serving bowl and pour cheese sauce on top.

I hope you enjoy this dinner.

until later   betti : )