Author Archives: aries041158

Butternut Squash Chili…

Hi Everyone,

Well, we in the Northeast had another crazy weather weekend. It started out on Saturday morning with the sun shining and a little breezy and then suddenly changed to snow squalls with almost white-out conditions and the temperature dropped and stayed that way all day and into Sunday.

When the weather gets like this my first instinct is to head to the kitchen for some comfort food. I don’t know what it is about the cold and snow but it makes me want to cook either bread, a stew, or a dessert.

I chose chili for Sunday afternoon.

I love all types of squash and I just purchased a butternut squash that I wanted to use. I looked around at the other ingredients I had on hand and decided to make chili. I had some canned beans, a little bit of fresh spinach (leftover from last night’s spanakopita melts), and some ground beef. So this was the perfect meal coming together nicely.

I also bought a jar of “Za’atar” spice recently (Za’atar is a Middle-Eastern spice combining oregano, thyme, marjoram, sumac, and toasted sesame seeds) and I wanted to use that in the dish as well.

I had two separate chili recipes and I combined what I liked from each one and added some of the spices I wanted to try. The following is my combined recipe. I hope you try it and enjoy it.

Butternut Squash Chili


  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1-2 lbs. of ground beef (or turkey, pork whatever you prefer for chili)
  • 2 bells peppers any color cut in strips
  • 2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled and diced in bite size pieces
  • 2 cans (14 oz) of fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 32 oz of chicken broth (homemade or low sodium)
  • 1 can (14 oz) black beans -no salt- rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (14 oz) of garbanzo beans – no salt – rinsed and drained
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsps. canned green chilis (found in Mexican section of grocer)
  • 1 pkg of fresh spinach cut in strips (or a bag of fresh or frozen spinach) KALE or your favorite leafy green can be substituted
  • 1/8 tsp Calabrian chili pepper paste or ground red pepper (Optional for a little heat)

Spices: mix together in a ramekin

  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp Hungarian paprika
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Za’atar spice
  • 1 tsp black ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • Salt to taste

For garnish (optional)

  • Green onions for garnish (optional)
  • Sour cream for garnish (optional)
  • pumpkin seeds (optional)


  • Heat oil in a large pan, over medium heat. ADD the onions and peppers and sauté until soft (5 minutes).  ADD the garlic and sauté 2 more minutes. ADD the Calabrian chili paste and tomato paste and sauté 1 additional minute until the onions are soft and all is incorporated
  • ADD the ground meat and season with salt and pepper and break the meat with the back of a wooden spoon into medium pieces and cook until no longer pink.
  • ADD the butternut squash and all the spices and mix well.
  • ADD the roasted diced tomatoes and the chicken broth. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
  • ADD the beans to the pot and mix well.
  • Partially cover the pot and simmer on medium for 40 minutes.
  • ADD the baby spinach the last 10 minutes to wilt.
  •  Adjust seasoning and serve with a dollop of sour cream and green onions and pumpkin seeds.


I hope you try this recipe and enjoy it and make it your own. Change the greens and beans to whatever you prefer, no recipe is set in stone.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,


Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” “share” and JOIN 

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

Roasted Cauliflower Steak & Spanakopita Melts ….

Hi Everyone,

I hope all is well. I just had to pop in real quick to share a great recipe I found yesterday and I think that all of you will like this one.

Very easy, very tasty, and a nice presentation. Something that you could serve for a luncheon with a side salad or as a side dish for dinner.

I know there are times when we all feel that we cook the same food over and over again and there isn’t much variety in our meals. That is how I was starting to feel about cauliflower.

Cauliflower has made a big comeback over the past few years with cauliflower pizza crust and crackers and riced cauliflower and I have tried it all because Bob loves cauliflower.

I have made cauliflower many different ways but Bob prefers roasted cauliflower so I just had to find a new recipe.

The search ended when I found a very intriguing recipe on the EatingWell website by author Adam Dolge. This is a great site and this recipe serves 4 and combines the flavors of Greek spinach pie (spanakopita) and tops it on a roasted cauliflower steak.

Bob and I both loved it and I knew this had to be shared with all my members. So the recipe is below and please let me know if you try it and enjoy it. I served it with chicken cutlets but this dish is filling and so versatile it can even stand on its own.

Stay well, stay safe, and stay warm.

Some of my other cauliflower recipes….. type “cauliflower” in the search box to bring them up:

  • Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
  • Fusilli with Roasted Cauliflower & Chickpeas
  • Cauliflower Veggie Stir Fry Rice & Black Bean Stuffed Peppers
  • General Tso’s Cauliflower
  • Cauliflower Tater Tots


Roasted Cauliflower Steak & Spanakopita Melts


  • 2 medium heads cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup chopped shallot
  • 1 (11 ounce) package baby spinach
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 6 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
  • ½ cup shredded smoked Cheddar cheese


  • Step 1

Arrange racks in the middle and upper third of oven; preheat to 450 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil.

  • Step 2

Remove any outer leaves from cauliflower but keep stems intact. Place on a cutting board, stem-side down. Using a large chef’s knife, cut two 1-inch-thick slices from the center of each head to make 4 cauliflower “steaks.” (Reserve remaining cauliflower for another use.) Place the steaks on the prepared baking sheet. Brush both sides with 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with salt.

  • Step 3

Roast, turning halfway through, until the cauliflower steaks are tender, 30 to 35 minutes.

  • Step 4

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 1 minute. Add spinach in batches and cook, stirring, until wilted, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in dill, parsley, garlic and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer the spinach mixture to a large mixing bowl. Stir in ricotta and feta.

  • Step 5

Turn the broiler to high. Top each cauliflower steak with 1/2 cup of the spinach mixture and 2 tablespoons Cheddar. Broil the cauliflower until the cheese melts and starts to lightly brown, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately.


Serving Size – 1 melt

Nutrition Facts per serving

305 calories; protein 16.6g; carbohydrates 12.8g; dietary fiber 4.2g; sugars 3.3g; fat 21.8g; saturated fat 9.8g; cholesterol 52.2mg; vitamin a iu 5584.5IU; vitamin c 70.6mg; folate 68.3mcg; calcium 455.7mg; iron 3.3mg; magnesium 79.8mg; potassium 379.3mg; sodium 576.4mg.


2 vegetable, 1 1/2 fat, 1 high-fat protein, 1 medium-fat protein


Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,


Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” “share” and JOIN 

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

Valentine’s Day 2022

Hi Everyone,

(Click on the photos to enlarge and then the back arrow to return to the original post).

Happy Valentine’s Day! …. I am so sorry this posting is a day late but for the life of me, I could not get my pics to post yesterday. I don’t know what happened to my computer but I was completely frustrated all day. But things happen and you have to go with the flow as they say and make the best of a bad situation.

I was considering deleting the post since it was late and then I decided to share the post anyway with everyone because I wanted to wish you not only on Valentine’s Day but every day, a day of love, happiness, peace, and joy and you can still take away a few ideas for any celebration that you have coming up.

So here is Valentine’s Day 2022……

I chose the colors red, pink, and white for the tablescape and found a great new tablecloth that is stain-resistant on Amazon. This tablescape was quick to put together and I used standard red placemats to start.

I still can’t find a well-made heart-shaped placemat and if anyone has a source please let me know.

The dishes are a great set that I have had for years and unfortunately, I don’t usually use them because I have been favoring the pink heart-shaped dishes over and over. This set is pearl white and includes a dinner plate, salad plate, soup/pasta bowl, and a mug.

In between the dinner and salad plate, I used a paper plate by Papyrus that was a brilliant red with gold trim to bring a little bit of color to the all-white set.

I used everyday casual red enamel flatware.

Add a pink cotton napkin with a red metal napkin ring with the word “Love” in script with some filigree around the word. Plain, pretty, and simple.

Here is the place setting with a pink heart paper doilie for a little more color and another heart added to the table…….

Table accents were just some mini crystal hearts in rose and red and they added a nice little sparkle to the table especially when the sunbeams caught them from the window and I added a few paper red rose petals.

The second little table accent I used was a heart-shaped measuring spoon set in baby pink to remind us all to “measure our blessings”. I saw this in Macy’s and just thought it was too cute to pass up.

And the last table accent was a Willow Tree statue that my son sent me for Valentine’s Day that reads “Everyday Blessings” and I thought that was a good message for the table. I placed it on a “Love” trivet I had and placed the trivet in a pink heart dish surrounded by Valentine’s Day candy.

My centerpiece was also simple as well and I chose Valentine’s Day spray from Party City and 3 heart-shaped balloons in red and pink.

I added another bowl to the table that matches the trivet and used it to hold assorted candy.

We had a late lunch early dinner combination because the food was so rich and we knew we had a lot of dessert coming up.

I made our first course, heart-shaped cheese ravioli with a Vodka cream sauce. Always a crowd-pleaser. I purchased the ravioli at an Italian grocery store that we have locally (Uncle Giuseppe’s). I would have made them myself but I felt like relaxing this year.

Our second course was heart-shaped shrimp stuffed with crabmeat stuffing and instead of the traditional way to stuff the tails and have them sit upright in the dish, I wanted to make the shrimp heart-shaped. So I skewered the tops of two jumbo shrimps (shells removed except for the tip of the tail) and stuffed the crabmeat stuffing inside and baked. I think they looked cute and went with the Valentine’s Day theme.

I served this alongside a simple salad with oil and lemon dressing and added heart-cut-out shaped mozzarella bites and beets.


Now on to the best part of any meal- Dessert…

I started out just making heart-shaped brownies. Just a simple dessert for the two of us.

Later in the day Bob and I were discussing how we should have purchased a few chocolate-covered strawberries and Bob said he would go out and see if the bakery had any left.

Well, Bob came home with a lot more than chocolate-covered strawberries and said that he couldn’t decide what to get because they had so many of our favorites so he bought a sample of “Everything”.

We now have dessert for a month and we cut little pieces to sample and made a small dessert plate for each of us and all the leftovers are now in the freezer. It was a great variety. Let me share…..


Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Heart-shaped Linzer tarts and sugar cookies and chocolate lace cookies…

Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake

Bite-size Heart-shaped Rainbow Cookies


It was a wonderful celebration!

And lastly, two wonderful gifts from my honey, who never forgets any occasion no matter how many years that pass. You think he would run out of ideas since 1986.

This Valentine’s Day is our 36th Valentine’s Day together- It is truly a blessing and our time together each year gets better and better.

Two everyday eternal wedding bands full of hearts (one in pink and one in red) to remind me that I carry Bob’s love everywhere I go and a lovely ring tray.

And a new bag (he knows all my weaknesses) to match the rings along with a Valentine’s Day card that plays music, flashes lights and I can’t get this song out of my head now.

Have you ever had that happen where you hear a song and it stays with you for days? I am a current victim. The song on the card is Happy by Pharrell Williams- take it from there, the song is addicting.

But the way I see it, it’s much better to be “HAPPY” and sing rather than be sad.

That was our day. I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into our Valentine’s Day tablescape this year and maybe picked up a few ideas for a special occasion in your home or a birthday or even a regular weekday that you want to celebrate with your love.


Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,


Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” “share” and JOIN 

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

Escarole, Beans and Pork Spareribs

Hi Everyone,

We had very odd weekend weather here in the Northeast this weekend. It was sunny and 60 degrees on Saturday and then it was 30 degrees and snowing on Sunday. It made you want to have ice cream in the park one day and then the next day crave warm comfort food.

Well, I chose one of my favorite comfort foods for Sunday and the cold weather and it was an Italian peasant dish that my mother used to make quite a lot when I was a child. It’s “escarole and beans” and you have probably tried it or have at least seen the dish on an Italian restaurant menu.

The escarole is wilted in chicken stock and garlic and cannellini beans are added with lots of grated cheese. It can be made a little spicy with the addition of red pepper. My mother used to make this dish quite often and on occasion added pork spareribs.

I found the most beautiful pork spareribs at my local butcher and this dish came to mind immediately. And the escarole I bought was beautiful and organic and I was all set. I had all the other ingredients I needed in my pantry at home.


It turned out to be a great Sunday meal and I served it with grilled olive bread (ciabatta would be perfect as well). I suggest you give this recipe a try on a cold day.

Escarole and Beans with Pork Spareribs – 4 servings


  • 1 lb. pork spareribs (St Louis or country style)
  • 1 quart of chicken stock (homemade or low sodium boxed)
  • 1 medium yellow onion – diced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic -minced
  • 2-4 tbsp olive oil– (enough to cover the bottom of the pot).
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 lbs. of escarole or 2 medium heads (it will shrink)
  • 2 (14 oz) cans of cannellini beans (I prefer low sodium) – drained and rinsed
  • Salt and pepper and garlic powder to taste
  • 1/8 tsp of red pepper flakes or Calabrian chili paste (optional)
  • Parmesan rind (optional)


In a large pot, coat the bottom of the pot with olive oil and brown the spareribs.  Add chopped onions and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes.

Add the garlic and red pepper flakes or Calabrian chili paste plus a pinch of salt and sauté for a minute or two.

Add the tomato paste and sauté or toast it for a minute in the pan before mixing it well with the garlic.

Add the broth, cheese rind (if using), garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cook on medium heat (partially covered) for 45 minutes to 1 hour to braise and tenderize the spareribs.

In the meantime, thoroughly wash the escarole (it can be very dirty and I wash it twice in water and baking soda than a good rinse). Cut the escarole into large pieces.

Add the escarole to the broth and cook until the escarole wilts to your liking (some like it with a little crunch some like it completely soft- your choice). Add another pinch of salt.

Stir in the beans (1 ½ cans whole and ½ can mashed) * you can mash by hand or in the food processor.

Simmer for 10-15 minutes

If extra liquid is needed, add a little more broth and let the flavors blend for a few minutes stovetop. Adjust seasonings.

Serve with a drizzle of more olive oil over each serving, add grated cheese and more red pepper flakes (optional).

In addition, serve this with a little grated cheese and grilled ciabatta bread to dunk in the broth.

Enjoy every bite…


Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,


Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” “share” and JOIN 

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

Celebrate Life…my 3rd post-heart transplant Heartiversary!

Hi Everyone,

(Click on the photos to enlarge and hit the back button to return to the post).

Today I am celebrating my 3 years post-heart transplant with the love of my life Bob (aka my angel on earth who I adore every single moment) …….. and I wanted to send my deepest love and gratitude to all my family, friends, DishingwithDiane members and prayer warriors for all the caring and support since this cardiac journey began.

I cannot explain how much you all mean to me and how you have helped me get through some dark days, stressful days, made me laugh and gave me the extra push and strength to go on and try to fight and become a warrior.

A heart transplant is much more than getting a new part, it’s a lifelong commitment to a new and often challenging lifestyle.

I also want to stop and say a prayer for my donor (whoever he or she is) along with their family for being so generous and loving in their time of grief to give the gift of life to a stranger. I am truly blessed and honored to be chosen and I will give my everything to take care of this precious gift.

And a major thank you to the incredible team of doctors and nurses at Columbia Presbyterian Transplant Center in NYC, who devote their lives to saving others.

So, on this 1,095th day of my second chance at life, I just want to say thank you to all….

And never give up hope, work hard, be determined, be kind and thoughtful, love each other, don’t sweat the small stuff, see beauty in every day and believe me, “miracles” do happen every day so smile, believe in the good, and enjoy each day.

Love you, Diane

Juniors strawberry swirl Cheesecake


Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,


Happy 7th Blogiversary!

Hi everyone,

I hope you are all well and staying healthy and safe.

I can’t believe I am saying this but today marks the 7th year that I am posting DishingwithDiane and it has been a wonderful part of my life. I consider all of my members my extended family and I wish I could meet you all in person.

I hope in some way over the years, I have entertained you with my family stories and inspired you to celebrate life with a tablescape idea or a new recipe.

The last anniversary tablescape that I posted was the blog’s 4th Anniversary in 2019 and that was just before I received the call from the hospital to receive the greatest gift of all, a second chance at life and that was my heart transplant. Who knew when I was cutting that slice of anniversary cake that 6 days later my life would change forever.

As you know, I was too weak to post the 5th anniversary in 2020 a year later after a few complications and setbacks but I did take pictures and set a partial table and I will get that together and post it for you to see.

And last year for the 6th anniversary in 2021, Bob and I were recuperating from having Covid and I did not prepare a tablescape and only posted a cake recipe that I hope you all enjoyed.

But this year is different. This year with your love and support over the past three years and the fabulous transplant team that looks after me I am ready to prepare a tablescape.

I have the strength back and I am allowed to lift and carry a little more as approved by my transplant team. But I will admit I am a bit rusty remembering to take all the photos I usually take. I get so excited to prepare the tablescape that some little details might have slipped by. I will do my best.

Bob and Michael bought me these Kate Spade dishes by Lenox (pattern Deco Dot) for Mother’s Day last May, and as soon as I received them I knew this would be my anniversary tablescape. Each 12 piece set comes with 4 dinner plates, 4 salad plates, and 4 mugs. Kate Spade seems to add monthly to the accessories to this pattern and my inventory is growing from her collection. It seems as soon as I add a piece she comes up with more great additions.

I hope you enjoy the tablescape and continue to enjoy the postings from Dishing with Diane. It would be a personal favor if you could spread the word and ask your family and friends to join DishingwithDiane either on Facebook or via email.

My goal is to welcome at least 10 new members this anniversary. So please, make a few calls and have some of your friends join the family. Thank you.

So let’s get started.

JANUARY 25, 2022

I have absolutely LOVED polka dots since I was a young teen and it has just carried over into my adult life. Here is some proof….

And I have loved the black and white combination since I saw “My Fair Lady” with Audrey Hepburn and the black & white ball that was a famous scene in that movie so this tablescape was a little bit of heaven for me.

Since I only had two colors to work with, this was supposed to be an easy tablescape right? No!…. not every black and white shade matches exactly and at times can get a little frustrating but it all works out in the end.

I started with one of my many white tablecloths but I chose this particular tablecloth because the scalloped edges reminded me of the round edge of a dot and the pattern could pass for dots as well.

(Sorry it is not coming out a true white due to the lighting but it is a very bright white).

Of course, my tried and true black placemat was an easy choice. I love how the combination with the tablecloth matches the dish pattern with the large black dots against the white background.

Now for the chargers– I have two glass chargers. I highly recommend owning a glass charger if you only want to keep one charger on hand. They are so versatile, you will use them constantly.

I usually favor a completely clear glass charger with the bubble pattern edge, but for this tablescape, I chose a glass charger with a slight ribbed pattern and a steel gray edge that I thought would accent the black and white much better.

Next, the star of our tablescape, the dishes. As I said earlier they are the Deco Dot pattern from Kate Spade. I am also using the mugs from the set along with glassware.


The glassware is part of the Kate Spade collection (Deco Dot pattern)… I have to say that I was very surprised and very disappointed in the quality of these glasses. They are listed as glass but when I opened the box, they are very light and feel like plastic. They hand wash beautifully and don’t get cloudy like plastic does, but I thought Kate Spade would have a better product, but visually they work.

For the cutlery, I chose casual flatware with a matte-finished black handle.

The napkins are NOT from the Kate Spade collection and they are 18 X 18 polyester napkins that I purchased from Amazon a few years ago. The white is slightly off from the shade of white in the dishes but there was no chance of me finding an exact match and I think they work well with the dinnerware.

The napkin ring is from my personal collection I purchased over the years and they are black and white beaded in an abstract pattern. I love them paired with the napkins.

Now for the complete place setting… Casual and a little fun.

Complete place setting

For the centerpiece, I used black and white silk flowers and pearl sprays in a 9″ Waterford crystal vase.

I didn’t want too many accents on the table because I wanted to add a few snacks in addition to the cake so I just used a few votive candles not to crowd the table and two serving containers that match the Deco Dot pattern from the Kate Spade collection to hold some black junior mints and white buttermints.

The votives I chose came from my safari collection of animal prints and they were the only two in black and white and I think they were just enough for the table.

Now some snacks…. Bob and I were celebrating late afternoon with coffee and the anniversary cake and then I got the idea in my head that I wanted some black and white desserts and the first snack that came to mind was black and white cookies – a childhood favorite and together with the ultimate black and white cookie -Oreos, this theme could work.

I ordered the mini black & whites cookies from Costco and I have to say -big mistake! They were tasteless. The Oreo’s are an old standby that I still enjoy and I placed a few in black and white polka dot cupcake liners to continue the theme.

Since I was on my black and white dessert idea I thought about mini donuts, so I ordered the Hostess donut variety, and once again- big mistake.

I have come to the conclusion that I have outgrown these desserts. I can no longer tolerate the fake ingredients and they are not worth the added calories to me or the clogged artery that will eventually come along with them.

Now the big challenge, the anniversary cake. Normally I would call up my local bakery and order a cake to go along with whatever my theme was for the occasion. But this year because of the pandemic and the numbers being out of control with Omicron, neither Bob nor I were running off to a bakery, so I decided to bake.

Yes, that’s right me, the one who doesn’t bake cakes was about to bake a cake from scratch. I have baked cookies and muffins and a few holiday recipes for traditional cakes but this is not my comfort zone.

Thank God I had the help of the King Arthur website and I made a basic vanilla cake and vanilla frosting (not bad, I survived) and then I decided to work with black fondant and cut out circles – should I say it again- big mistake. This project confirmed why I order cakes.

After many ovals and not perfect circles, I declared my project complete once I thought I had enough circles and made enough of a mess. I topped it with a few polka dot black and white candles, a number 7 candle, and an anniversary sign, and I was done.

Remind me to hug the girls in the bakery the next time I see them- they are miracle workers to me. Although I was happy with how the cake matched the dishes, cake decorating is something I have to work on.

Here is my finished project and I have to say it was delicious even though it took longer to decorate than expected….. I used a basic black and white enamel cake stand (from Pottery Barn) to continue with the black and white theme.

All in all, we had a lovely celebration and I reviewed some of the pics from previous anniversaries and counted my blessings that I am still here to have these milestone anniversaries, continue to share my family stories and recipes on a blog that I love producing and blessed to receive lovely comments and the opportunity to speak to so many members over the years.

Thank you is not enough to say but you have all brought such joy to my life by being so supportive.

Thank you for sharing in this anniversary post and DishingwithDiane is on our way to more recipes, tablescapes, and stories going into our 8th year.

I hope the next year brings us all many blessings- good health, lots of love, laughs, good times, happiness, and a peaceful world!

Don’t forget to ask your friends and family to join the fun and sign up now via Facebook or email (the right-hand column on the main page).

That would mean the world to me.


Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,


Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” “share” and JOIN 

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

Corn Bread Blueberry Muffins

Hi Everyone,

I hope you are all enjoying the 2nd half of your weekend this Sunday. The weekends seem to pass by so quickly lately. I can’t believe it is almost the end of January already.

Today in the Northeast we are still having some chilly weather and I am ready for Spring (only 56 more days to March 20th and the first day of Spring).

Whenever it gets chilly and the temperature drops I am drawn to the kitchen to either make some heartwarming soup or stew or bake. Well this morning, baking was calling my name.

I have been making Corn Bread Blueberry Muffins for years and a friend gave me this recipe so long ago I can’t even remember the exact year. I tasted them at her house and I was hooked from the first bite.

I have passed this recipe along to others so many times once they taste them and we never get tired of them. So I wanted to share this recipe with all of you.

Quick to make, simple ingredients and the end result is wonderful (and you get the bonus of the fabulous aroma of baked goods throughout your home).

The best part is frozen blueberries can be used if you don’t have fresh so if you keep a bag of blueberries in the freezer these muffins can be yours in the off-season of blueberry picking.

I hope you try them and enjoy them, and as my morning mug reads, “Happiness is Homemade”…Enjoy!

Corn Bread Blueberry Muffins


1 cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup cornmeal (I find medium grind to be the best)

2 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2/3 cup milk

1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

¾ cup sugar

1 large egg, beaten

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (Cook’s Note: if you lightly dust the blueberries with flour they will not sink to the bottom of the muffins).


Preheat oven to 425 degrees …  Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt

In a large bowl, whisk together milk, butter, and sugar until sugar is dissolved.

Whisk in the egg until completely combined

Stir in the flour mixture, just until incorporated, and fold in the blueberries

Fill each muffin cup ¾ full. Bake 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean

Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove muffins to a rack for 10- 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature either plain or with butter and jam

I hope you try this recipe and these muffins bring you a tasty treat as well as some comfort on a chilly morning.

Stay well and stay safe…


Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,


Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” “share” and JOIN 

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

Meatloaf Cupcakes with Mashed Potato Frosting (updated)

Hi Everyone,

I have decided to update another one of my classic recipes from “way back”; this time it’s my Meatloaf Cupcakes with Mashed Potato Frosting. When my son was small, I used to make these meatloaf cupcakes for him after baseball practice and he and his friends loved them. This is a great addition to any gathering when there will be children (maybe you can get a few picky eaters to try a meatloaf cupcake).

Since they are easy to prepare, look cute and make a great presentation, I would serve these cupcakes on a buffet for a luncheon with my friends and they were always a hit. Young and old love the look of these cupcakes.

(At the end of the post, I will show you a cute way to serve them for a luncheon).

Bob and I have continued to make them over the years and we make a full cupcake tray and then freeze half the cupcakes for a quick meal for another day.

Below is the updated version of my recipe with a few additions. Give this recipe a try and I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Meatloaf Cupcakes with Mashed Potato Frosting


For the Meatloaf Cupcakes

1 lb. ground beef or ground turkey

1 small yellow onion, grated (if you cry grating an onion, finely mince the onion instead)

1 cup grated zucchini, all moisture squeezed dry with a paper towel – ( I AM SURE THIS ADDITION IS A SURPRISE BUT IT KEEPS THE CUPCAKES MOIST AND FLAVORFUL …plus an added veggie for the kids).

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup grated cheese (Parmesan or Locatelli – your choice)

1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs (panko is fine too)

1/4 cup ketchup or unsalted tomato sauce

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp. kosher salt

Pepper to taste

For the Mashed Potatoes

(The ingredients listed will only make enough potatoes to cover the top of the cupcakes. You might want to double the recipe if you want some leftover mashed potatoes)

2 large or 3 medium potatoes (I use Yukon gold) – peeled and diced

2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved

1- 2 tbsp. butter

1/2 – 1 cup milk or heavy cream

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsp. sour cream (optional)

Fresh chives (optional)

Gravy (optional)


Meatloaf Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Line a muffin tin with foil cupcake papers or spray with cooking spray (this recipe usually makes 8-10 cupcakes).

COOKS NOTE* – For this recipe, I use Reynolds jumbo foil baking cups in my muffin tin. In a real pinch, these cups are so sturdy that if you don’t have a muffin tin, you can place these baking cups directly on a cookie sheet and bake.

2015-12-11 04.35.18 - BAKING CUPS

In a large bowl mix the drained zucchini and grated onion.

Add the remaining meatloaf ingredients and mix well (using your hands is the best method)

Press meatloaf mixture (approx. 1/2 cup) into muffin tin filling them to the top, making sure the surface is flat.

Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until brown on top and cooked through. After 20-25 minutes, remove from the oven.

While the meatloaf cupcakes are baking, make your mashed potatoes. If you have leftover mashed potatoes from another meal, even better.

Mashed Potatoes

Put the potatoes and garlic in a large pot with salt and enough COLD water to cover; bring to a boil

Cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender

Drain and return potatoes and garlic to the pot

Add butter, milk, salt, pepper, and sour cream, if using

(Add extra butter and heavy cream if needed to make the potatoes smooth to your liking).

Mash with a potato masher or stick blender until smooth- not too much or they will get gummy. The potatoes need to be creamy but still able to hold their shape.

Assemble the Cupcake:

Either pipe with a tip and pastry bag or scoop mashed potatoes on the meatloaf cupcakes with a spoon.

Piping the mashed potatoes on the meatloaf cupcakes looks fantastic if you are serving guests, but I usually just add a dollop of potatoes with a spoon on top of the meatloaf cupcakes when it is just me and Bob and then garnish with gravy and chives.

Cooks Note* – if you want a crunchy surface to the potatoes either return cupcakes to the oven and bake for 10 minutes or place it under the broiler for a few minutes

Add a little gravy on top of the potatoes, add some chives (for the sprinkles on a cupcake), and half a grape tomato (for the cherry on a cupcake).

Cooks Note:

  • These cupcakes freeze well…let the cupcakes cool until a fine skin forms on the potatoes so the cling wrap won’t stick to it. Wrap in cling wrap and place in the freezer
  • To reheat, thaw and then reheat in the oven or microwave


If you would like to serve these cupcakes for a luncheon, line them up on a long narrow serving tray for a buffet setting or in individual cupcake holders for a personal presentation. (see below).



Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,


Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” and “share” 

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

Ham, Cheese, Kale, Potato Quiche

Hi Everyone,

As I mentioned in my previous post, there were two very popular requests for recipes from my personal Facebook page this week, and the first recipe I posted yesterday was for the Roasted Eggplant Pizza. Today I am sharing a recipe for Ham, Cheese, Kale, and Potato Quiche.

This was very easy and can be put together quickly with any combination you choose. I had leftover ham that I didn’t use from making split pea soup, some kale, two potatoes, and some cheese in the refrigerator and it all came together and gave me the inspiration to make a quiche.

I am one of those people that could eat any type of quiche and a salad for lunch every day and never get tired of it. I have been known to rummage through the veggie bin toward the end of the week and find ingredients for a weekend quiche. This particular quiche was exceptionally delicious.

I hope this recipe inspires you to start experimenting with ingredients and start making a weekly quiche for yourself.

Ham, Cheese, Kale, Potato Quiche

Ham, Cheese, Kale & Potato Quiche


  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup half and half OR whole milk
  • ½ cup real mayonnaise (Optional)
  • 2 TBSP flour
  • 1/3 cup minced red onions or shallots
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 ounces shredded, mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tbsp grated cheese
  • 2 yellow potatoes – washed
  • 1 bunch kale- removed from main stem
  • ½ cup of diced ham or half of a pre-cooked ham steak
  • 1 9-inch unbaked frozen “deep Dish” pie shell – OPTIONAL

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Dice the potatoes into bite-size pieces and parboil for 10 minutes in boiling water. After 10 minutes remove from the pot; drain the potatoes -set aside.

Wash the kale and remove the leaves from the main stem and dice the leaves into strips- set aside

Dice the ham into bite-size pieces and set aside

Add 1 tbsp of olive oil (or vegetable oil) to a large skillet and saute the potatoes until they start to turn golden

Add the shallots and a sprinkle of salt and pepper

Add the kale and saute until the kale wilts.

Remove from the skillet into a large bowl.

Add the ham and garlic powder.

Hand whip eggs, half-and-half, mayonnaise, and flour in a medium mixing bowl. Add the mozzarella cheese and grated cheese. Mix well.

Add this mixture to the kale, ham, and potatoes. Pour into a deep-dish pie pan sprayed with cooking spray.

If you want a crust with this quiche, pour this mixture into an unbaked 9-inch, deep-dish pie crust.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the top is golden brown.

6-8 servings


Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,


Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” and “share” 

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

Roasted Eggplant Pizza

Hi Everyone,

This has been a very frigid week here in the Northeast and when it’s cold outside I get the urge to stay in and what else, cook. Cooking and creating in the kitchen brings me great joy.

This past week I have been making a variety of entrees for dinner and some were a little outside of my normal rotation. I posted the dishes to my personal Facebook page and received quite a few requests for recipes so I decided to post them on the blog to share with all of you. I hope the recipes bring you some inspiration to try something new.

The first recipe is for “Roasted Eggplant Pizza”. I purchased a few eggplants last week and made stuffed eggplant (previous post) and had one medium sized eggplant left in the refrigerator that I had no purpose for. I already made eggplant stacks and stuffed eggplant and then the idea popped into my head for the eggplant pizza.

I really didn’t have a recipe but I did have a pizza crust in the freezer, the eggplant, and an idea of what I wanted it to taste like so that is all I needed. It turned out very well and we enjoyed it immensely. I wrote down what I did and here it is. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did…..

The next recipe for Ham, Cheese, Potato, and Kale Quiche will follow soon. Stay well.

Roasted Eggplant Pizza


1 medium eggplant (washed and sliced thin – approx. 1/8-inch slice (deli slicer works great for this)

1 premade pizza crust  

3 tbsp. olive oil

2 garlic cloves, diced fine OR 1 tsp of jarred minced garlic

1 tsp. dried oregano (optional)

1 tsp dried basil (optional)

½ tsp salt

14 oz of pizza sauce (jarred or homemade)

6 oz of mozzarella cheese (grated or sliced)

6 tbsp of ricotta cheese

½ cup of grated cheese (I use Locatelli cheese)

½ tsp. hot chili flakes (optional)


Cooks Note: I used a premade pizza crust or you could use store bought dough or make homemade dough- recipe below)

Line a large baking sheet with parchment or aluminum foil.

Cut the eggplant in 1/8 inch round slices and arrange in 1 layer on the baking sheet

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, minced garlic, dried oregano & basil

Lightly brush this mixture on both sides of the eggplant rounds and season lightly with salt.

Roast the eggplant in a 350-degree oven for 20-25 minutes until tender and the eggplants start to turn brown. If you want the eggplant a little crispier follow this step with 2 minutes under the broiler.

Assemble the Pizza

Cover the pizza crust with pizza sauce, sprinkle lightly with grated cheese. Arrange the eggplant slices on the pizza and then add the mozzarella cheese and a few dollops of ricotta cheese. Follow with another sprinkle of grated cheese and chili flakes

Bake in the oven as per directions for the crust or dough you are using

For example- 500-degree oven 8 minutes for a premade crust *****425-degree oven for 12- 16 minutes for homemade dough.

Below is the recipe for homemade dough if you are not using a prebaked crust…

Pizza Dough for a 12-inch pie


1 ¾ to 2 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour

1 packet of Fleischmann Pizza Crust Yeast

1 ½ tsp sugar

¾ tsp salt

2/3 cup warm water (120- 130 degrees)

3 tbsp of oil (I use olive oil)

Preheat oven to 425


Combine 1 cup flour, undissolved yeast, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add water and oil. Mix until well blended about 1 minute.

Add gradually enough remaining flour until a soft dough ball is formed (Dough will be slightly sticky).

Knead on a floured surface adding additional flour if needed, until smooth and elastic; about 4 minutes. With floured hands. Pat dough out to fill the greased pizza pan, OR roll dough to a 12-inch circle and transfer to greased pizza pan

Top as desired and bake on the bottom oven rack for 12-15 minutes until cheese is bubbly and crust is browned.


Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,


Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” and “share” 

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.