Simple & Healthy Ingredients Make For Delicious Mediterranean Style Salad Dressing

So, welcome 2015! 

Like many people who make new year resolutions, eating healthier options of the things I like always tops my list.  I’m always optimistic coming out of the gate but somewhere along the line I start lose my momentum, fall off the wagon, and resort to my old (not so wise) eating habits.  I vow every year that “this year is going to be different”.   And in the end, I’ve only fooled myself into believing that I could forgo delicious sweets, homemade bread, second helpings of my favorite dish of macaroni and cheese, and of course the great wines found here in the Finger Lakes Region and abroad. 

But… In a good faith effort to try try again, I’m sharing a recipe I found at The Pioneer Woman’s blog for a healthy and delicious homemade salad dressing she has named Aunt Trish’s Salad Dressing.  I made a couple adaptations to the original recipe.

I decided that Aunt Trish’s dressing has a Mediterranean taste to it – which I love.  It tastes so fresh and healthy, and the fact that there are no preservatives makes it all the better.  I do have to warn you that this recipe makes a considerably small batch.  My suggestion is to double or triple the recipe because I’m sure it will keep well in the fridge for a week or two – if it lasts that long!  At some point you may want to remove the garlic if you don’t want garlic overkill.

Mediterranean Style Salad Dressing ( This recipe is adapted from The Pioneer Woman)

3/4 c. olive oil

Juice of 2 lemons

4 tbsp. of freshly grated parmesan cheese

Pinch of salt & pepper

Dash of paprika

1/2 tsp. honey

2 whole cloves of garlic (peeled and cut in half)

Put all ingredients together in a jar or dressing shaker and shake until mixed.  Refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.

 

Have you made any new year resolutions?  If so, what are they?  Do you think you’ll stick to them?

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Finger Licking Good Garlic Parmesan Knots–So Easy!

I have found the most delicious and the easiest recipe for garlic knots ever!  When I saw this recipe posted by Georgia from the blog The Comfort of Cooking I knew it was a keeper.  Georgia is one of my favorite bloggers.  Her recipes are useful and are usually easy to make, and you can always bet they are delicious.  I go to her site when I need inspiration. 

Now, I’m telling you these knots are great, and boy did they inspire me! They are delicious served as appetizers, with a big bowl of pasta, or with grilled chicken and a Greek salad like the one I had for dinner last night.  The best part about this recipe, nearly all of the work has been done for you.  You simply need a can of buttermilk biscuits.  I used an off brand, but did buy the jumbo size biscuits.  I think I paid a total of $1.19 for the can.  A small price for such a huge hit!

I adapted Georgia’s recipe ever so slightly to accommodate my tastes. 

Finger Licking Garlic Parmesan Knots

1 can of jumbo biscuits

3 tbsp. butter, melted

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/8 tsp. Italian seasoning

a pinch of dried parsley

1/2 tsp. parmesan cheese

a pinch of salt

Grease a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a small dish, add melted butter and seasonings; mix ingredients until blended.

Roll each biscuit into a rope about 6” long and tie each one into a knot.  Brush each knot with about half of the butter mixture and bake until light golden brown (about 10 -12 minutes).  Remove the baking sheet from the oven and brush each knot with the remaining butter and serve.

If you like flaky rolls loaded with garlic and parmesan flavor, and you like no fuss and inexpensive, then these knots are calling your name.

Garlic, Red Onion, and Jarslberg Gratin Potatoes

We all know about comfort foods.  They are typically warm, bubbly, flavorful, and tend to be loaded with carbs and/or fat.  And it’s probably because of those reasons that we crave them from time to time.

These potatoes definitely fall into the comfort food category.  The Jarlsberg cheese makes them one of my favorite side dishes. They are delicious!

This recipe was adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Grilling Book.

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Ingredients:

1/4 of a large red onion, sliced thin

4 cloves of garlic, crushed

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. salt

1 heaping cup of Jarlsberg cheese (I diced slices of cheese)

9 medium sized potatoes, peeled and sliced thin

1 cup heavy cream

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Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8”x8” baking dish using non-stick cooking spray.

Arrange half of the potato slices in the bottom of the dish.  Sprinkle half of the garlic, onion, cheese, and salt & pepper over the first layer of potatoes.  Repeat with a second layer of potatoes: add the remaining garlic, onion, cheese and salt & pepper on top.  Pour heavy cream over the top of all the ingredients. Cover and bake for 70 minutes.  Uncover and bake for additional 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender and the top turns golden brown.

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This dish pairs well with hamburgers, chicken, and meatloaf.  I can almost guarantee that if you share these potatoes as a dish to pass you’ll come home with an empty dish.

What’s your favorite comfort food?

Spur of the moment

This pasta dish was a spur of the moment idea since I hadn’t given much thought to what we were having for dinner until it was time to make it. 

Armed with my ingredients, ground Italian sausage, green pepper, onion, garlic, a jar of  spaghetti sauce (with mushrooms), Italian seasoning, parsley, and a can of diced tomatoes, I set out to prepare a feast in a hurry

What gave me even more incentive to make this comfort food? The fact that cooler temperatures had made their way to our area.  We could finally give our grill a well deserved break. 
 
Paired with a freshly sliced cucumbers, and a loaf of  fresh-baked Pillsbury french bread, the feast was there to be had.  And,  I have to admit I went back for seconds…