Sometimes wonderful recipes just happen by accident.  Yesterday, I had planned to make a roasted chicken breast recipe from Ina Garten.  The recipe calls for fresh garlic and herbs to be sautéed in olive oil.  Well as soon as I got started, and the air began to fill with that delicious garlicky aroma, I realized I hadn’t actually bought any chicken breasts.  Oops…it was a classic case of “mom brain,” and I certainly wasn’t dragging Maverick back to the store at that point.

However, I really didn’t want to let that garlicky goodness go to waste, so I started looking to see what else I had on hand.  I noticed the garden fresh cherry tomatoes on the counter that my mom had brought me, and then I remembered the orzo pasta I bought on a whim, and bingo!

That’s how this recipe came about, and let me tell you as simple as it was, it was so flavorful.   I boiled the pasta and added some lemon juice to the garlic and oil.  As soon as the pasta was cooked, I drained it, and coated the pasta with the lemon-garlic oil.  Divine!  Instead of just using raw garlic, the pasta was infused with the garlic oil, which didn’t overpower the delicate flavor of the tomatoes.  This is going to be staple at our house until those delightful fresh tomatoes go out of season!






Date posted: July 29, 2015 | Author: | No Comments »

Categories: Sides


This weekend we had some new neighbors that moved in beside us.  Even though we have had a pretty busy couple of days, I kept thinking we needed to go introduce ourselves, and I knew I wanted to make something for them.  Since I was short on time, I decided to take an idea from my mother in law and make some good ol chicken salad for them.

When we were moving into our house a couple of years ago, my MIL showed up with a loaf of bread and chicken salad, and it was simply perfect!  It was so nice to have something to throw in the fridge that we could snack on or have for lunch while were in the unpacking/organizing process.  Chicken salad also seems appropriate right now considering this super hot July we are having here in Tennessee.

I threw a pack of crackers in the bag and Voila, I’ve got an easy and thoughtful “welcome to the neighborhood” gift!  This would also be a helpful gift for a new mom or someone recovering from a surgery or illness.  Plus, you can double this recipe and have plenty leftover for your family as well, that’s a win-win in my book!


Be sure to scroll on down to the bottom of this post for these Quick Chicken Salad Melts!



Check out these Chicken Salad Melts we had last night for dinner with the remaining chicken salad.  Place a few slices of bread on a sheet tray,  scoop some chicken salad on each one, top each with a slice of cheese, and bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees, top with a fresh tomato, and dinner is served!




Date posted: July 21, 2015 | Author: | No Comments »

Categories: Lunch Poultry


What better way to celebrate the 4th of July than with homemade ice cream?!  I come from a long line of ice cream lovers, and homemade ice cream during summertime celebrations has always been a staple in our family.  My grandparents use one of those old fashioned ice cream makers that makes a whole bunch of the good stuff, but to keep it simple, I use my Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker at home.  It’s super easy to use, and the possibilities are endless when you start thinking up new flavors.

In my cookbook (The Outdoor Table), I have two delicious ice cream recipes that are made the old fashioned way, with an egg yolk custard base and all.  However, I know many of us are looking for something a little quicker than that, so this ice cream recipe just uses good old heavy whipping cream to make it lusciously creamy.  Is it low fat? …Um no!  BUT, remember this is a special treat, and wouldn’t you rather have a small bowl of the real thing than a bigger bowl of a not so creamy,  low fat alternative (probably ends up being about the same in calories when you get a larger portion anyway).

close up ice cream

Plus, this ice cream is made with real ingredients, completely from scratch, which makes me feel better about any dessert I’m eating.  The kicker in this one is the buttermilk, it gives the ice cream a slight tang that cuts some of the richness.  It’s the perfect complement to the quick strawberry jam that gets swirled in at the end of churning.  If you haven’t made homemade ice cream yet, give it a try, you simply can’t beat it!

TIP:  The possibilities are endless when it comes to baking with buttermilk!  Use the leftover buttermilk from this recipe for biscuits, pancakes, cornbread, cakes, or maybe even my Strawberry Upside Down Cake!






Date posted: July 1, 2015 | Author: | No Comments »

Categories: Dessert