2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons White Balsamic Vinegar
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
1/3 pound green beans, trimmed
1 broccoli crown, chopped small
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons slivered almonds

  • Heat olive oil in large skillet.
  • Add vegetables and saute’ until tender.
  • Add soy sauce and white balsamic vinegar.
  • Sprinkle with sea salt and white pepper.
  • Add almonds, blend well and heat through.
  • This dish is good hot OR cold!


I’m always on the look out for great ways to spice up vegetable recipes.  I found what sounded and looked like an awesome recipe in a magazine for a carrot side dish.  I was excited to make it, but then oh so disappointed.  They looked pretty, but they tasted awful.  So, we sat around the dinner table deconstructing AND reconstructing the recipe!  My family is so good at dinner conversation.  Well, maybe not, but at least they tell me what they don’t like and then help turn it into something they will like.

The original recipe:
12 medium carrots
1/4 cup mayonnaise
4 teaspoons grated onion
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted and divided
1/8 teaspoon paprika

  1. Place carrots in a skillet. Add 1 inch of water.  Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 15-20 minutes or until crisp tender.  Drain.
  2. Cut a thin lengthwise slice out of each carrot.  Scoop out carrot, leaving a 1/4 inch shell, set shells aside. Place the removed carrot in a food processor; cover and process until finely chopped.  Transfer to a large bowl; add mayonnaise, onion, horseradish, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Spoon into carrot shells.
  3. Place in a greased 13 inch x 9 inch baking dish.  Combine the crumbs, 1 tablespoon butter and paprika; sprinkle over carrots.  Drizzle with remaining butter.
  4. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until tender. 
Do you remember Gilligan’s Island Season 3, episode 20?  No, I didn’t REMEMBER the number or season either, but I remember the episode well.  Gilligan discovers a crate in the lagoon and pries off the lid, which falls face side down of course, and inside are all these beautiful seeds.  Mary Ann immediately plants a garden and they all have their favorite vegetables.  Because the seeds are radioactive they produce bigger and “better” vegetables that gives each castaway a special ability.  These were 2 1/2 inches in diameter!

I present to you the Gilligan’s Island Carrots:
12 medium carrots

1/4 cup mayonnaise1 large bunch green onions, minced3 cloves garlic, minced1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs2 tablespoons butter, divided1/8 teaspoon paprika

  • Place carrots in a skillet. Add 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 10 minutes or until crisp tender. Drain. Cool.
  • Slice carrots into 1 inch lengths and then into 4 pieces each.
  • In a small skillet melt 1 tablespoon of butter.  Saute’ onions and garlic until translucent and fragrant. Drain of fat.
  • Transfer to a large bowl; add mayonnaise, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  • Toss with cooled carrots until well coated.
  • Place into a greased 9X9 baking dish. Combine the crumbs, 1 tablespoon butter and paprika; sprinkle over carrots. Drizzle with remaining butter.
  • Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until tender.



2 large onions (I used a Vidalia and a Red)
1 1/2 cups prepared brown rice
2 slices multi grain bread, staled and crumbed
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic
1 JUMBO egg, beaten
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  • Spray baking dish with PURE.
  • Halve onions. Cut a flat spot on the bottom of each and remove all the insides except for the 2-3 thickest outer rings. Place onion cups in baking dish.
  • Chop onion insides into fine pieces.
  • Prepare brown rice and set aside.
  • In a large skillet melt butter.
  • Saute’ onion until tender.
  • Add garlic and saute’ until fragrant.
  • Add bread crumbs, prepared rice, cheese, beaten egg, salt and pepper taste.
  • When well blended and egg is cooked fill the onion shells and place remaining rice mixture around the sides.
  • Prepare gravy and pour all over the onions and rice mixture.
  • Bake 1 hour.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon minced garlic, jar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups hot water
2 tablespoons Better than Beef Bouillon
salt and black pepper to taste

  • In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  • Whisk together the hot water and bouillon. Set aside
  • Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, until the mixture is golden-brown and fragrant.
  • Add the garlic and cook a few seconds more.
  • Whisk in the beef broth and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bring to a low boil.
  • Reduce the heat to a low simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally until desired consistency.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.


3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced*
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 ounces white wine
1 lemon, juiced
4 ounces bacon, diced
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
3 cups fresh spinach, washed and stemmed
spaghetti, cooked and well drained
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 large tomato, diced
*While I prefer fresh garlic, I have found that the roasted jar garlic is a great substitute, especially in the winter.
  • Brown bacon until crisp.
  • Add onion slices and garlic, sauteing until tender.
  • Move bacon and onions to the sides and add butter.
  • When butter is melted, add chicken and brown well on both sides.
  • In the meantime, prepare the pasta per package directions.
  • Remove chicken, keeping warm.
  • Add spinach and saute’ until spinach wilts.
  • Move spinach to outer sides.
  • Toss pasta with wine and lemon juice.
  • Mound pasta in center of pan.
  • Top with Parmesan cheese.
  • Layer chicken pieces over top.
  • Serve immediately.



2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons WONDRA flour

1 cup milk

1 small bunch green onions, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese****

3 1/2 cups peeled, diced and cooked carrots

1 teaspoon celery salt

1 cup Panko crumbs, sauteed in butter

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a small sauce pan melt butter over a medium heat.
  • Add flour and whisk until golden.
  • Add salt and garlic powder.
  • Add onions and blend well.
  • Gradually add milk, whisking until smooth.
  • Stir constantly until sauce begins to thicken.
  • Add cheese and whisk until smooth consistency.
  • Alternate layers of carrots and sauce in a buttered baking dish.
  • Top with bread crumbs.
  • Bake 30 minutes.

****Changing the cheese flavor changes this dish considerably. I’ve experimented with several and found that Gruyere’ is an excellent alternative.

Here a bean, there a bean, everywhere a bean…

Not too long ago I researched Navy beans for my Navy Bean & Ham soup. During that research I also found that navy beans, named that for the bean of choice of the U.S. Navy, are the main bean used in Boston Baked Beans. I have been making my BBQ Bean dinner for years using canned BUSH beans, but decided it was time to make true Boston Baked Beans my way. I found that most versions used salt pork, but I like the bacon too so I chose to use both. You could substitute if your prefer though. I also eliminated all mustard due to an allergy, but also because I prefer the sweeter version.Here is my version:


2 pounds ground beef

1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled

1/2 pound salt pork, cubed & browned

2 large Vidalia or Maui onion, chopped small

4 tablespoons liquid smoke

1 cup ketchup

1 cup molasses

3 cups packed brown sugar

1 1/2 cup vinegar

1 pound navy beans

  • Soak beans overnight.
  • Brown hamburger, drain and layer into the bottom of your slow cooker.
  • Cube and brown the salt pork. Add to slow cooker.
  • Fry bacon until crisp. Crumble bacon into pieces. Add to slow cooker.
  • Chop onion into small pieces and scatter over the meat.
  • Add the beans to the slow cooker.
  • Scatter the brown sugar over top evenly.
  • Stir together the molasses, ketchup, vinegar, liquid smoke and Worcestershire sauce. Pour evenly over everything in the slow cooker slow cooker.
  • Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
  • Serve with Beer Bread or Cheddar Cheese Biscuits.
  • Great dish for a church pot luck.


1 pound Navy beans, washed and sorted

1/2 pound salt pork, diced small

1 medium Vidalia onion, chopped

1/4 cup ketchup

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/8 cup PURE maple syrup

1/4 cup molasses

  • Dice salt pork and layer on bottom of slow cooker.
  • Chop onion and scatter over salt pork pieces.
  • Wash and sort beans.
  • Place beans in slow cooker on top of salt pork.
  • Cover with 5 cups water.
  • Cook on low overnight for 12 hours.
  • Drain beans, reserving liquid.
  • Return beans to slow cooker.
  • Add vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, maple syrup and molasses and blend well. Add in 1/2 cup of bean water as desired for consistency.
  • Heat through.


I grew up in a neighborhood where fresh ingredients and a local market were always just a stone’s throw away. Grams cooked by “feel” with all natural and fresh ingredients.  Eating dinner together every night was a mandatory ritual, was done around the kitchen table and even though we didn’t always get along real well, we ALWAYS came together over meals…. When I moved to a new area, food was all of a sudden associated with convenience; and markets were big mega-chains with the same staples you could find at any other market.  There was a HUGE gap between culture, community and food.

This is how I cook today – I’m always on the look out for a farmer’s market or mom and pop store that’s BIG on produce!

Tomato Soup with Chickpeas

It’s finally getting warm outside!  Yet, I can always enjoy a bowl of hot soup.  Seriously, it can be 90 degrees outside and I’d still love to eat this soup. 
I’ve made this a few times and it’s always so good. I always have the ingredients on hand and it’s a great soup to make in a pinch when you don’t know what else to cook!

Tomato Soup with Chickpeas Recipe
2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon dried rosemary (fresh would work too)
3-15 ounce cans of tomatoes (I used diced)
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper, to taste
2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1. Warm the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-low heat, and add the garlic and rosemary. Cook for a minute or two, and then add the tomatoes, sugar, salt, a few grinds of pepper, roughly half of the chickpeas, and the stock. Bring to a boil over high heat; then reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes.
2. Remove the soup from the heat to purée. If using an immersion blender, purée the soup directly in the pot. Otherwise, wait a few minutes, until the soup cools; then purée it in batches in a blender or food processor and return it to the pot. Add the remaining chickpeas, and warm the soup over medium heat.


  • I start with whatever vegetables I have in the vegetable bin. Today was Roma tomatoes, celery stalks, green onions and snap peas.
  • Then I drizzle olive oil and salt and pepper over it all and bake it for an hour at 400 degrees.
  • I started the sauce with a can of Contadina tomato paste, 1 teaspoon Better than Beef Bouillon paste, 2 cups orange juice and a V8. This truly was a clean out the fridge day.
  • When done roasting add the vegetables to the sauce and set to simmer all day. The vegetables will continue to cook down into a uniform consistency with the sauce. Salt & pepper taste.

For the meatballs:
1 pound hamburger
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
3 large slices sourdough bread, crumbled
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheeseAlign Center
2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley
1 bunch green onions, finely minced
2 teaspoons minced garlic, jar
mozzarella cheese, about 4 ounces, cut into 1 inch cubes

  • Crumble bread into a large bowl.
  • Toss in Parmesan cheese, parsley, green onions and garlic.
  • Add meat and with your hands mix extremely well until you have a uniform mixture.
  • Roll meatballs around a Parmesan cheese cube.
  • Chill Meatballs until sauce is done.
  • Just before the sauce is finished, brown meatballs.**
  • Add the meatballs to the sauce and bring to a medium high simmer until meatballs are cooked though, about 20 minutes.
  • Prepare pasta and Parmesan Cheese Bread while meatballs are cooking.
  • Enjoy

**If you prefer you can add the meatballs directly to the sauce and SLOW simmer for a couple hours instead of browning.

Bean & Sausage Cassoulet

I’ve already made this twice.  It was that good. It’s on the higher side of calories per portion but it was super filling.  It was wonderful to have this is the refrigerator for lunches all week.

I don’t cook with sausage too often but I happened to have 2 packages of sausages.  Which is why I ended up making this twice.  I could probably drop the calories by adding chicken instead but the sausage was SOOOO good!  I also loved the slight tang from the red wine.  You could use beef broth but I encourage the red wine as it tasted wonderful!

Bean and Sausage Cassoulet Recipe

1 (15 oz) can of black beans
1 (15 oz) can of white beans
1 (15 oz) can of red kidney beans
1 lb. turkey sausage, diagonally sliced
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
3 medium carrots, thinly sliced
1 large onion, sliced into rings
1/2 cup dry red wine or beef broth
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. thyme
3 cloves garlic, minced

Preheat oven to 375. Mix all ingredients in an ungreased 3 qt. casserole dish. Cover and bake until carrots are tender, about 1 hour or until hot and bubbly. 

Total calories = 3320 calories
8 servings = 415 calories per serving


It’s beach party time at Seaside Simplicity. Time to grab your virtual beach towels and flip flops, and head on over to the beach!  You can follow me over.  This week I’m taking my CRAB APPLE BOATS.

2 large cucumbers
2 medium apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained really well
4 ounces flaked crab
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vinegar

  • Peel cucumbers.  Halve them and spoon out seeds.  Dry the insides.
  • In a bowl toss apple pieces with the well drained pineapple and then with the krab.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the sour cream, vinegar, salt and pepper.
  • Fold into krab mixture.
  • Spoon into cucumbers and chill several hours before serving.


3 medium sized firm tomatoes
3+ tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan Cheese
3 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon champagne vinegar
salt and pepper
flat leaf parsley, chopped

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Spray pan with PURE.
  • Arrange tomatoes in a single layer.
  • In a small bowl whisk together mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, vinegar, salt and pepper.
  • Spread on tomatoes evenly.
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake for 5 minutes.
  • Turn on broiler and brown tops.
  • Remove from oven and top with parsley.