recipes | Garlic Lemon Sheet Pan Salmon


I have only had Salmon a few times in my entire life but every time I have had eaten it, it has been fantastic! It is surprising I have not prepared more salmon recipes, except for the two boys who for some reason, even though they love to go fishing, do not like to eat fish unless it is battered and fried.

This flavorful recipe, I think, would change their minds!

If - if they would but only give it a chance.


I made one piece of Salmon and eye-balled the ingredient amounts but this recipe should be pretty close for four pieces of salmon. Because I have my eye on doing Whole30 I would need to use clarified butter and remove the brown sugar. I think, without the brown sugar it might have a subtle difference in flavor but would be fine without.

This was delicious! So much so, I have my eye on some blackened and Cajun flavors, too.

recipes | Gyros with Tzatziki sauce



There are few things in my cooking and arsenal that I have not ventured to try. Making my own pie crust. Nope, have nev - er. Homemade bread that hasn't come from the frozen aisle at the grocery. Prime Rib! A brisket. And, Gyros made with lamb and homemade Tzatziki sauce.

Oh boy! This was delicious.

I combined some ground lamb with ground chuck to make a - get this - a meatloaf! I know. Sounds crazy. But sliced thin it mimics the shaved lamb you might get from a restaurant Gyro.

While the thinly, sliced lamb chuck meatloaf worked well for the meat of the Gyro it truly was the homemade Tzatziki sauce that stole the Gyro's show. As it should be, I say!


The key step in making the Tzatziki sauce is using a seedless cucumber, grating the cucumber, and most definitely, squeezing all of the water out of the cucumber after grating. I don't have cheese-cloth, the preferred method, so I used a thick paper towel. I pooled all the grated cucumber into a paper towel and over the sink squeezed out all the juices.

In a bowl I combined all of the Tzatziki sauce ingredients (see above), including the olive oil. It smelled delicious but the flavors had not done the melding business yet. Cover and store in the refrigerator for at least two hours. At least. You got that part, right? Because, I would even suggest make the morning of for some serious melding of the flavors.

These Gyros packed a powerful, flavorful punch. I didn't even have to ask the hubby if he liked them. He offered his opinions with rave reviews.

recipe | hot Italian sliders


Delicious. Easy to prepare.

Did I tell you we love sliders?

We do.

While I love our Whiskey Sliders, an old favorite still at the top of my list of favorite slider flavor combinations, but man, these were so, so good. The highlight:


The roasted red pepper blended in a food processor with garlic cloves and sprinkled with Italian seasoning. That roasted red pepper blend is what sends this slider over the top. So as not to have soggy slider rolls the key is to spoon on the roasted red pepper blend between meats. The other fantastic thing about these Italian sliders is you can added variations of meats and cheeses with multiple opportunities of finding other great flavor combinations.

The delightful recipe follows:


recipe | french roast beef sliders


We are accumulating quite the collection of slider recipes and what we have tried we haven't found one that we haven't loved. This recipe for a French Dip Roast Beef slider (without the dip because it's mostly poured on top) is pipping hot! The flavor combination - yum!


Visit the delicatessen for some Boars Head roasted beef thinly shaved. While you're there find a Havarti or White cheddar cheese with Horseradish. The deep roasted beef flavors with the horseradish infused cheese melted all over with a crunch of French fried onions and we have added these to our rotation of sliders. And, because preparations for sliders are quick and easy we probably eat sliders at least twice a month.

The yummy recipes follows: 


Recipe | Pizza in a Cast Iron Skillet


This. Pizza. Divine.

It wasn't as if we didn't already have a truly decadent pizza recipe that we devour once a month while watching a movie. I had to go and find a deep dish recipe, one that is much easier to assemble I might add, that is out-of-this-world yummy!

We have one size of cast iron skillet.


It is a honkin' 14-inch skillet that weighs a ton without a steaming deep dish spicy cheesy pizza inside.

Add the pizza and it weighs a mint.


We dished up this deep dish, stuffed mozzarella pizza in 1/8 slices and by the time I ate the last bite I possibly could I was sneezing (I have gustatory rhinitus or snatiation disease). Look at those layers meats and cheese - yum.


A couple notes: I brushed the edges with the melted butter and garlic powder and sprinkled on a smidgen more Italian seasoning. I generally like my cheese slightly broiled on top, but when I tried to broil the cheese the edges of the crust were beginning to brown to dark so I let it stand as is.

And, it was delightful, of course.

I would be careful adding any ingredients that have a tendency to increase moisture as the crust or insides may become soggy. 

recipe | angel hair with roasted red pepper sauce


I've experimented with many flavors and challenging my family's palette. One of our favorite recipes is a Rotisserie chicken with roasted red peppers and pesto fettuccini; one of our all-time favorite dishes, hands down. So, it isn't surprising when I say we love the flavor of roasted red peppers.

I thought, because of that recipe, I'd have some idea as to the taste of this new recipe, Angel Hair pasta with roasted red pepper sauce. But, this sauce. Oh my! This sauce goes way beyond simply savoring the smokey and sweet flavor of roasted red peppers nestled in tender rotisserie chicken with a burst of fresh basil. This sauce takes two jars of roasted red peppers with their lightly charred skins, combined with a handful of garlic, and pulsed together. The pungent garlic with the sweet, smoke, and char of the red peppers. Decidedly amazing! Rotisserie chicken and pesto. Eat your heart out.

And that doesn't even come close to finishing the fusion of flavors; a little spice here, some finely diced onion there, and give it one little kick...

While I would have been satisfied with a meatless, angel hair pasta with roasted red pepper sauce, my family are meat lovers in need of sustenance. I decided to go hearty - and big on spice - and flavor. At the last minute, in the final stir-to-combine, I added half-mooned slices of lightly browned Andouille sausage. But, let me be honest; the sausage is not necessary. If you go sausage-less but still want the spice, add in 1/8 teaspoon of crushed red peppers. But, you could definitely go meatless. Or, you could add rotisserie chicken pieces.

And, did I mention it has chipotle sauce in it, too!

Italian Tortellini Salad


Inspired by Will Cook For Smiles and From the Pod. Aside from a dressing debacle, which I refashioned from Will Cook For Smiles and thought was quite bland and oily, and will redefine the ingredients for next time because the dressing could have made this salad something special, the combined ingredients to this Italian-flared tortellini salad was delightful. Silky smooth mozzarella balls, with bursting organic cherry tomatoes, al dente cheesy tortellini's, a mild zing of pepproncini peppers, and hearty Italian meats of Genoa salami and thick-sliced pepperoni combined to make a filling side dish - or main dish for the summer. Once I refine that dressing, probably going with more of a dressing like From the Pod, I'll definitely be making this again. Perfect for a small group get together when we gather for fellowship - and food!



French Onion Pork Chops


These were seriously delicious! Divine, really. As a lover of beef-based onion gravies I was inspired by The Midnight Baker's recipe and quickly added it to our monthly menu plan served with Sour Cream and Chives mashed potatoes and Spicy Steamed Broccoli it was a delightful dinner fit for the meat and potatoes kind of guy. Which is it? Pork or Beef? Yes, it's true this is a pork dish but with the added flavor dimension of a dark, rich, beefy onion gravy. It has a hint of the French Onion soup flavor as it's filled with onions and smothered in swiss cheese and with Vidalia onion's in full season the sweet onion was the host for the gravy with the finishing touch - a bunch of finely diced green onions - whites and stems. I used a pre-made beef stock, but a beef consomme would be wonderful as well, or a beef broth. I have moved almost completely from broth's to stocks for the full-bodied flavor, as well as for its lower sodium qualities. 


50 States 50 Recipes | Arizona


Arizona was tough. One the one hand I have to prepare a food that 1) my family can eat. This means nothing with beans because, one, Joan is allergic to beans, and two, unless the beans are mashed to the point of - well - mashed, then I won't eat beans, except maybe green beans, of course, and garbanzo beans are okay, and I can handle refried beans if they are - well - mashed without any remaining bean texture whatsoever, and 2) my family won't eat the slightly strange I've come to realize. When I began exploring iconic foods of Arizona I kept coming across Sonoran Hot Dogs, a bacon-wrapped hot dog, grilled to perfection, crispy, not burnt, with a 'slightly strange' topping. Bacon-wrapped hot dog - yes. Slightly strange topping - not so much.

But, I wanted to try these Tucson-created and classic hot dog with a bit of twang and delight for my Arizona, 50 States 50 Recipes - recipe. Still, they have beans in their recipe. That, of course, is a simple fix. Remove said beans from the recipe. True, it won't, strictly speaking, be an iconic Tucson, Arizona Sonoran Hot Dog, but I'm all about creating my own recipes. And Joan can't eat beans and I. just. won't. Unless they're mashed without any remaining bean texture whatsoever. Thus, I had to remove this, increase that, add this, double that, change this. The result is Susan's Arizona Sonoran Hot Dogs. 

They were delicious. The flavor combinations were sublime. 

But, here is the unfortunate part: While everyone loved the bacon-wrapped hot dogs (duh!) (Hello! It's bacon!), and Joan ate the Avocado salsa, a layer of beautiful summer, sweet and tangy; only I ate Susan's Arizona Sonoran Hot Dog as the dish was meant to be devoured and enjoyed. 

Still, it was good! Quite honestly, I will make this again. I liked the flavor combinations, and even if the men in the house only eat the hot dog wrapped with bacon smothered in ketchup, mustard and relish - how, un-, un-, un-adventurous, I will delight myself in Susan's Arizona Sonoran Hot Dog. 


(Find all my 50 Recipes 50 States recipes below) 

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50 States 50 Recipes | Kentucky


Kentucky Hot Browns. Word is "in the 1920's, the Brown Hotel [in Louisville, Kentucky] drew over 1,200 guests each evening for its dinner dance. By the wee hours of the morning, guests would grow weary of dancing and make their way to the restaurant for a bite to eat. Sensing their desire for something more glamorous than traditional ham and eggs, Chef Fred Schmidt set out to create something new to tempt his guests' palates. His unique dish? An open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon and a delicate Mornay sauce. The Hot Brown [and culinary legend] was born!" (The Brown Hotel). 

This open-faced deli roasted turkey sandwich with bacon, because everything is better with bacon, and juicy, ripened, brilliant red Roma tomatoes smothered in an herb and cheese Mornay [Beschamel] sauce, sprinkled with more cheese and cast under the broiler to brown the cheese for the finishing touch is simply amazing! I used a thick artisan bread I happened upon at the commissary (which never happens but delightfully did unexpectedly, so I grabbed it). Of course, I went for the good stuff - Boars Head Roasted Turkey deli meat sliced thin (but nowhere near shaved) and melted smokey Gruyere and nutty Parmesan Reggiano into the Beschamel sauce - so good - when combined with parsley and finely chopped green onions was divine!

P.S. The above recipe should say 8 slices of bacon - duh!

I am positive this will become a regularly occurring meal in my families repertoire of recipes. (Find all my 50 Recipes 50 States recipes below) 

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