Arugula Salad

• July 5th, 2014 •

One of my summertime favorites is arugula salad. I love its peppery taste! My Aunt Jo and I always loved the bitter greens, the strong and salty cheeses and the sour tastes of lemon and citrus. (more…)

Homemade Pastrami

• June 30th, 2014 •

Homemade Pastrami. I know what you are thinking, she has nothing better to do than make homemade pastrami. In a word, yep. Yesterday, being Sunday, I decided to try to make homemade pastrami. I had seen it done on Drive Ins, Diners and Dives, and I wanted to try it. You see, it is my husbands favorite sandwich. It didn’t look too difficult and I had a corned beef in the fridge that I was going to cook up in the traditional way. Now, I have to be honest. I had never tried pastrami. It always looked so greasy and fatty. I didn’t even know what cut of meat it was. So, when I learned that it was basically just smoked corned beef, I started to think I may like my own pastrami since I can control the fat when I cut it. So with a little bit more interest, I dove into the world of pastrami.

Corned Beef, Coriander, and pepper. That’s it for ingredients. (I didn’t even take a photo of them together.)

corned beef for homemade pastrami

The first thing I did was to rinse off the corned beef pretty well and leave it uncovered in the fridge for a couple of hours to dry it out.


spices for homemade pastrami

Here are the spices I used. 2 Tbl of ground coriander and 1 tsp or pepper. You can add another teaspoon of pepper depending on how peppery you would like it. Cover the entire corned beef with the spices and let it sit in the fridge, uncovered for an hour or so. Preheat your smoker to 240 degrees. I used hickory chips and apple juice for the liquid.


smoked brisket for homemade pastrami

Smoke it for 1 hour per pound or until the internal thermometer reaches about 165 degrees. Take it out of the smoker and let it rest, covered for about a half hour.


homemade pastrami

Then slice it as thin as you can…


homemade pastrami sandwich

And make a sandwich.  I gotta tell you, it was phenomenal! I am hooked. Now my husband says we need one of those professional meat slicers! Enjoy!

Chicken and Broccoli

• June 28th, 2014 •

Last night I made chicken and broccoli. I had broccoli that I needed to use and it was rainy out so I knew a creamy luscious white sauce was going to be in the mix. White sauce always makes broccoli better (more…)

My Favorite Pasta Salad

• June 18th, 2014 •

Yesterday it was hot out and I thought, “What a perfect day to make my favorite pasta salad!”. I have been making this pasta salad since I was in my early twenties.  My best friend, Wendy, made it up and we used to eat it all summer long when we were roommates. The funny thing is, Wendy is not known for her cooking skills, (more…)

Italian Sausage and Potatoes

• June 10th, 2014 •

It was kind of chilly yesterday, so I decided to make my mother’s Italian Sausage and Potatoes. As the days pass here in Spearfish, I find myself missing my mom. When this feeling overwhelms me, (more…)

Turkey Chili

• June 7th, 2014 •

Today was cold and rainy so I decided to make turkey chili with a little south western flare. Chili has been a go to dinner for me for years. I keep all the ingredients on hand because it is a great quick meal that can be done in about 30 minutes if you are defrosting meat, otherwise it is a 20 minute meal. The best part is that you can make it a million different ways by adding or changing up the ingredients.

This time I decided to give it a decidedly south western touch by adding left over smoked corn on the cob. I also used ground turkey. About 50% of the time I use the chili packet you can get in the grocery store. It is quick and is a great base for the chili. This time I added extra cumin, garlic and seasoned salt. I always add extra spices when I use turkey. The turkey just seems a little less flavorful than beef. I hope you keep this in your repertoire, itll get you out of some tough binds and also give you a great meal and a nice break on a rainy day!

taking corn off cob for turkey chili

I started by taking the corn off the cob. If you invert a small bowl in a large bowl, your corn doesn’t go flying all over the place.

shucked corn

Here is the shucked corn. It looks dark because I smoked it in the smoker for a couple of hours. The small blob is herb butter that I originally served with the corn. Figured it couldn’t hurt!

the mix for turkey chili

I didn’t take a photo of the ingredients. Sorry. This is the shucked corn, 1/2 a rough chopped onion, 1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes and a 14 oz can of pinto beans. I also added one can of water to the mix. (Usually I saute the onion with the turkey, but I got carried away and forgot.)


One pound of ground turkey.

cooking turkey

Brown the turkey and then add the chili seasoning packet.


At this point I also added a teaspoon of cumin,a teaspoon of seasoned salt, and 2 teaspoons of garlic powder.

adding to the chili

Then add the bowl of goodness into the meat mixture. Bring to a boil, lower to simmer for 15 minutes.

cooking chili

This is how it looks in the beginning of the simmer.

simmering turkey chili

Then it starts to reduce and concentrate all those wonderful flavors.

the toppings

This is the time to get the toppings out. You can go crazy and make a whole topping bar, but for just the two of us, I kept it simple.

bowls of turkey chili

Scoop out the chili…

turkey chili with all the toppings

Add the toppings…and enjoy!



Nectarine Chutney

• June 2nd, 2014 •

I was feeling very inspired yesterday when it came to cooking, so I smoked pork chops  and topped them with nectarine chutney.  I was looking for any reason to stop unpacking boxes.  I was sure that the boxes were breeding when we weren’t looking because it felt like the amount of boxes was increasing, not decreasing. Okay, that’s another story for another time, back to cooking. (more…)

Roast Chicken

• February 24th, 2014 •

Last night I decided to make a roast chicken for dinner. To be honest, I wish I could say that I always make a roast chicken, but in these busy days I am usually buying the roasted chicken at the grocery store, bringing it home and throwing it on a platter. Now, there is nothing wrong with those pre-cooked chickens, but there is also nothing better than roasting one yourself. A roast chicken is one of the simplest and one of the most rewarding meals to cook. It is easy, yet yields phenomenal results. I forgot how easy it was.

I started by melting butter and adding thyme, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and a little olive oil. Then I massaged it into the bird and then roasted it. Really, really simple and not only yummy tasting, but your house will smell wonderful! So, don’t walk past those whole chickens in the grocery store, pick one up and go home and roast one!

the ingredients for roast chicken

1- 4-5 lb. chicken- Make sure you take out the gizzards from the inner cavity and rinse and dry your chicken.

Pre heat oven to 400 degrees.

1/2 lemon

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 stick butter

2 tbl. olive oil

1 tsp garlic powder

salt and pepper

lemon zest for roast chicken

First, zest a lemon.

lemon juice for roast chicken

then melt the butter and add the juice of half the lemon.

marinade for roast chicken

Mix the thyme, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and olive oil into the mixture. Then tie up the chicken legs to each other with twine.

tied up chicken

After you have massaged the mixture into the bird and tied up the legs, you can add the half of lemon directly into the cavity. I also add extra salt and pepper into the cavity for extra flavor.

roast chicken

Bake in pre heated oven for 1 1/2 hours or until thermometer inserted into thickest part of leg reads 160 degrees. Take chicken out of oven and let it rest for 20 minutes.

roast chicken dinner

Carve and serve with your favorite sides. Enjoy!



Pantry Soup

• February 6th, 2014 •

I make pantry soup at least once a month. It is a great way to use up veggies, rice, or pasta that is either left over or needs to be used up. Pantry soup is always such a comforting meal, no matter what I add to it. It is basically a bunch of veggies that need to be used up before they go bad, either ground beef or turkey for meatballs, or roasted chicken, and a starch, either rice or pasta. This is a great way to use up those 1/4 boxes of pasta. Sometimes I will add several kinds. Today I used up some onion, red pepper, crooked neck squash, celery, carrots and spinach. I defrosted some ground beef and made meatballs, then I found some Spanish rice in the fridge that was leftover from enchilada night. I grabbed some stock from the pantry and some spices and 90 minutes later I had a huge pot of delicious soup.

I initially started making this soup when I realized how much waste was coming out of my fridge. Vegetables that never made it to the table, or I forgot I had bought them. I decided a couple of years ago to really make a concerted effort to stop wasting food. Although I had the best of intentions, waste is waste. I make a lot of soup and then I freeze it in individual portions. They are a meal unto themselves, or with a sandwich for lunch. I have even made it for company and it was well received. On some level, soup is just plain comforting to just about everyone. I know my mom had a complete repertoire of soups that she made for the family throughout the winter months.

The Ingredients:

the ingredients for pantry soup

These are the veggies I used this time for my soup. Not shown is the stock, an egg and bread crumbs for the meatballs, and salt, pepper, dry thyme, and garlic powder. I also add red chili flakes. All the seasonings are based on how much you make and taste.

sauteeing vegetables for pantry soup

Here are the veggies sauteing. So bright and vibrant. If you want your veggies to stay bright, you can blanch them first, but I was in a rush today.

meat for meatballs for pantry soup

Here is the meat mixture ready to roll and drop into the soup. I don’t fry meatballs, I usually cook them in the oven, but for soup I prefer to poach them in the stock. It adds lots of flavor to the soup.

pantry soup

Here is the soup simmering away!

pantry _ soup


Pasta with Ricotta and Spinach

• February 2nd, 2014 •

Today I made pasta with ricotta and spinach. I was hungry and wanted something that was relatively healthy, quick, and filling. I perused the fridge and came up with some great ingredients that needed to be used up. (more…)