Sunday, August 21, 2016

Summer Time Food Favorites-Main Dishes

Welcome back!  I am so glad you decided to join me again for part three of the four series, Summer Time Food Favorites.  This week features the category, Main Dishes.  Often it is from this category of food that is the most challenging to prepare a meal from on a busy summer day.  Even if I consider myself a foodie and, for the most part, love cooking, the hot days of summer have me spending less time in the kitchen. When I can, I turn to outdoor grilling to cook and avoid heating up the house.  I can honestly say that I love the flavor of any food which is grilled, especially chicken and beef.  So two of the four recipes which I have included are those prepared on the charcoal grill.

What could make summer more complete than some self-basted, herb-butter beer can chicken on the grill?  Prepared a day ahead of time, the chicken can be warmed up or served cold for the next day of being out and about.  In my own mind, I refer to this as "I Got You Under My Skin Grilled Beer Can Chicken" because I literally add softened, seasoned butter under the skin of the chicken before I place it over the beer can for grilling.  I also season the outside of the chicken as well, but most of the basting comes from within since the butter slowly melts into the chicken from underneath the skin.  Thus, it is basting itself as it goes through the cooking process.

When it comes to eating time, this chicken is moist and flavorful and it will truly have a lasting impression that will have you asking for more.  For the recipe visit:

Another grilling favorite of mine are thick, bursting-with-flavor hamburgers.  These spicy and smokey hamburgers are something which I yearn for during the winter months.  Served up on a bun with sweet onion rings, cheddar cheese, bacon slices, red and green pepper, a slice of home-grown garden tomato and lettuce, and plenty of ketchup, this hamburger is loaded with gratifying appeal.

For the juicy hamburger recipe, go to:

When outside grilling is not an option, a simple favorite summer time food to prepare is my baked Spinach Parmesan Salmon Fillets.  This recipe came from the website, and because it includes healthy, fresh-from-the-garden spinach and creamy mascarpone and parmesan cheese, it is a winner for eating light, but deliciously.

For convenience, I retyped a shorter version of the recipe.  You can find the recipe at:

My last option for summer time main meals are stir-fry recipes.  Stir-fry dishes are quick and easy and loaded with crunchy vegetables.  It is perfect for wanting to eat healthy and be in and out of the kitchen in no time.  The Hoisin Sauce Chicken Stir Fry is a dish I frequently rely on for a fast and tasty dish. This delectable stir-fry can be served with cooked jasmine rice or rice noodles and topped with crunchy chow mein noodles or sesame sticks.  What is even more convenient is that the leftovers (if there are any) always taste better the next day.

The following link will allow you to print up the recipe:

I hope that you have been enjoying the multiple postings on various food categories.  I am happy to share some of the recipes that my family has been enjoying for years.

Remember that next week will be the last of the four series entitled, Summer Time Food Favorites. Of course, the series will conclude with the category of Desserts.  Are you up for some cool and refreshing desserts?   Or what about a dessert that reminds you of your childhood?   Please visit with me again for some of my special recipes taken from my long-time collection.  I look forward to seeing you then.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Summer Time Food Favorites-Side Dishes

I am so glad you are joining me for the second of the four part series on Summer Food Favorites. This week's posting is centered around side dishes, so I will feature four of my all-time favorites.  To start with,  I can't even count how many times I have been at my family's picnic table at the cottage and passed around my mother's delicious, smooth and creamy potato salad, especially when it accompanied her juicy rotisserie chicken.  For me nothing says summer picnic food more than some good old-fashioned potato salad with plenty of hard-boiled eggs and aromatic dill.  Since the potato salad has a mayonnaise base, the salad was always placed on a bed of ice if it was to stay out a little longer for consumption.   Most often, it was gone well before the ice had a chance to melt completely.

For the recipe, visit:

Now if you happen to be someone who enjoys pasta as much as potatoes, I have often selected to make pasta dishes which, unlike my mothers, are more nontraditional.  Although mom's pasta salads were excellent, especially her shrimp pasta salad, some recipes which I have collected or altered since my childhood, contain additional herbs and spices such as curry, red cayenne pepper and cilantro, for example.

The following Curry Chicken Pasta Salad has a bit of curry and and for those of us who love the taste and smells of Indian cuisine, this cool and pungent salad awakens the taste buds. With the plenitude of vegetables, it can be served up as the main dish on days which require something filling, healthy but not overly generous in calories.

For this recipe, you can find it at:

If there was a perfect side dish that has multiple uses, I would say mom's creamy, crunchy coleslaw pictured below would earn the title.  It could easily accompany summer grilled sausages, meats or seafood for dinner or is perfect with cold chicken or turkey sandwiches for lunch.  It even could top off a spicy, flavorful chipotle chili hamburger.

Add this wonderful coleslaw to your collection by finding the recipe at:

When including a variety of side dishes to an outside summer picnic, I never overlook having a dish or two which includes sweet, luscious fruit that is in season.  I always enjoy the availability of summer time fruits such as watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, kiwi, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries.  Of course, serving fruit by itself or mixed together for a colorful display is satisfying on its own, but mixing up a coconut lime dip with it takes it to the next pleasurable level.

You can print this recipe by visiting this link:

Stay tune for next time when I feature Summer Time Food Favorites-Main Dishes.  Summer is not over yet, so keep the picnic basket handy for more good food and fun.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Summer Time Food Favorites-Appetizers

Summer -- what images come to your mind when you say the word?  What I love the most about summer is to have a picnic.  Don't you love a picnic?  Whether it is at a park, beach, a roadside stop during a tour through the countryside or in your own back yard, a picnic brings out the best in everyone.  It could be because of all the delicious food that gets served and passed around.  What are some of your favorite dishes for summer time fun?

Join me as I reveal some of what I believe to be the best summer time foods in my four part series, Summer Time Food Favorites, including appetizers, side dishes, main dishes and desserts.  In addition, some of the "tried and true" recipes which have been around for many years, now have a new, added twist to them.  After many years of searching for the best recipes, each category will include my final top picks.

Lets kick off the series by beginning with appetizers.  I can honestly say that some times in the hot and humid days of summer, appetizers like these mentioned below serve as an entire meal when low appetites require something cool and light.

First on the list of delectable appetizers that I rely on for hot summer days are sriracha chili sauce deviled eggs.  Originally, my recipe for deviled eggs that has been made by my mother for years included dijon mustard.  Changing out the mustard for the spicy, red-peppery taste of sriracha sauce adds a bit of heat and new interest.  Don't miss the recipe which can be viewed at

And with the abundance of crisp and crunchy home-grown cucumbers, the petite Italian herb cucumber sandwiches sprinkled with freshly cut dill from the garden are cool, refreshing and scrumptious.  For the recipe, stop by at

And, of course, our summer couldn't be without Mr. Fisherman's garlic and lemon-pepper smoked salmon.  The catch this year has been good with one of the snags being a 24-pound salmon.  Served in chunks on some large-size sesame crackers with a dollop of wasabi mayonnaise, it can awaken anyone's taste for summer.

Some herb-infused olive oil for dipping with warm, crusty bread straight from the oven is beyond delicious.  I add plenty more of grated parmesan cheese and extra dried oregano to the oil since I love the flavors and the additional cheese adds a bit more saltiness.  Serve some dry red wine with the herb-infused oil and bread and it just might enhance the burst of flavors that come through with every bite.

For the recipe to the Herb Olive Oil for Dipping, visit

These simple, but flavorful appetizers are sure to please guests who enjoy snacking on something light but with savory, gratifying substance.

What are your favorite appetizers for summer?

Join me next time for the second in the series--Summer Time Food Favorites-Side Dishes.

Friday, July 29, 2016

A Tropical Paradise Tablescape

Welcome!  I am so happy you could join us and I am very excited to be participating in my first blog hop which is entitled, Alfresco Tablescape Blog Hop, August 1-5, 2016 put together by Chloe Crabtree of Celebrate and Decorate. Being my first blog hop, I had plenty of questions for her. Of course, the first being can I have an alfresco tablescape set up indoors.  As you can imagine, Wisconsin is having some beastly hot and humid weather with temperatures near 100 degrees with oppressive dew points.  I was relieved to learn that I could avoid melting my tableware and set up my Tropical Paradise tablescape in the sun room/dining room.

Now what would alfresco dining be without some elements from the exotic tropics ?  I have always had a fascination with Bora Bora, a small South Pacific island northwest of Tahiti in French Polynesia.  The island known for its breathtaking views and glass-bottom bungalows which reside over the crystal clear water is the perfect place to lounge and dine on your own deck overlooking some of the most beautiful turquoise water. When life was throwing its difficulties my way, it was always comforting to joke with friends and colleagues that some day soon they could visit me at my new address......a bungalow above the pristine water of Bora Bora.

Although you can already judge by my previous statement regarding Wisconsin weather that I have not yet realized my fantasy plans.  So the next best thing is to create a bit of the beautiful setting of Bora Bora right here in Wisconsin.  So come along with me as we explore what it would be like to indulge in some alfresco dining on the island of Bora Bora, one of the most stunning islands in the world.

As you relax on your deck, enjoy some sweet, juicy fruit with some tangy lemon fruit dip.

This napkin fold reminds me of the beautiful Red Anthurium that grows on the island.

The colorful, floral tableware, which is made in Indonesia, is called Natural Curiosities by 222 Fifth Avenue.  I am not paid to endorse 222 Fifth Avenue, but I do love their tableware designs.

The Anthurium napkin makes a greater impact for the table in a upright, standing position.

What about a tropical drink to go with the luscious fruit and dip?

Night time candlelight is a must for magnificent island ambiance.

Of course, every tropical table setting shouldn't be without the cute paper umbrellas and umbrella straws.

A few "tropical-looking" flowers and plants among the outside landscape.

The Anthurium napkin fold resembles some of the lush, vibrant green hosta (pictured above) that grows outside the dining room window.

I hope you enjoyed your visit to tropical paradise.  Don't forget to visit some of the other participants in the Alfresco Tablescape Blog Hop: