Easy Creamy Clam Chowder

Easy Creamy Clam Chowder ~ hearty, creamy chowder packed with clams, potatoes and bits of smoky bacon. Uses flavorful, budget friendly canned clams.

Soup | September 19, 2017 | By

Easy Creamy Clam Chowder ~ hearty, New England style chowder packed with clams, potatoes and bits of smoky bacon.

Easy Creamy Clam Chowder ~ hearty, creamy chowder packed with clams, potatoes and bits of smoky bacon. Uses flavorful, budget friendly canned clams.

You know by now how much I love soup and this Easy Creamy Clam Chowder is one of my favorites. Creamy, with bite size pieces of potato, bits of crispy Applewood smoked bacon and tender clams in almost every bite.

It’s a great one pot meal any time of the year and if you’re lucky enough to squirrel away some leftovers, they make the ideal lunch. 

If you’ve shied away from making clam chowder at home because you think it’s difficult or expensive, Easy Creamy Clam Chowder is your recipe ~ quick enough for weeknights, but is elevated enough to entertain with. 

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Blue Cheese Honey Appetizer

Blue Cheese Honey Appetizer ~ the bold flavor of blue cheese paired with sweet, locally sourced honey and warm, lightly toasted artisan bread.

Appetizers & Beverages | September 14, 2017 | By

Blue Cheese Honey Appetizer ~ the bold flavor of blue cheese is paired with sweet, locally sourced honey and warm, lightly toasted artisan bread for a simple, 3-ingredient appetizer.

For the record, I can’t take credit for this Blue Cheese Honey Appetizer even though I ate it twice in just one weekend at Taste restaurant during a recent girls’ trip. The talented chef at Taste gets all the credit; I never imagined how outrageously good pairing these two flavors would be and I’m glad for the chance to share it with you. 

Blue Cheese Honey Appetizer is hardly a recipe at all. It’s actually more of an idea, bordering on a recommendation (from me) and so easy I guarantee you can’t mess it up. Simple, understated, it packs serious wow factor and takes almost no time to assemble.

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Mexican Stuffed Peppers

Mexican Stuffed Peppers ~ seasoned ground beef, rice and black beans baked in colorful bell peppers and topped with cheese.

Dinner | September 10, 2017 | By

Mexican Stuffed Peppers ~ seasoned ground beef, rice and black beans topped with cheese and baked in colorful bell peppers.

Mexican Stuffed Peppers ~ seasoned ground beef, rice and black beans baked in colorful bell peppers and topped with cheese.

Would you believe until recently I had never eaten a stuffed pepper? It’s true. I’ve been making and eating stuffed cabbage (a favorite comfort dish I’ll be sharing soon) for what feels like 100 years, but I had never made or stuffed a pepper. What on earth was I waiting for?

The inspiration for these Mexican Stuffed Peppers came from our garden, which is running over with tomatoes and bell peppers right now. If you aren’t a gardener farm stands and markets have a variety of beautifully colored bell peppers and of course they’re also as close as your nearest grocery store.

I opted for a Mexican version today because we love the spicy flavors of Mexican cuisine. I save the classic flavors for the cabbage. 

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Chicken Pesto Mac and Cheese

Chicken Pesto Mac and Cheese ~ macaroni and tender bites of chicken in a creamy, silky cheese sauce with the garden-fresh flavors of pesto.

Dinner | September 7, 2017 | By

If mac and cheese is on the menu, changes are good I’ll order it, especially if it’s a specialty type, like Truffle, Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese or  Chicken Pesto Mac and Cheese. In fact, I still eat mac and cheese from the blue box like a 5-year-old because anyway you serve it, it combines two all-time favorites, cheese and pasta.

Chicken Pesto Mac and Cheese ~ macaroni and tender bites of chicken in a creamy, silky cheese sauce with the garden-fresh flavors of pesto.

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Baked Mostaccioli

Baked Mostaccioli ~ blanketed in layers of robust tomato flavor, 3 cheeses and baked. Easy prep and a great dish for a crowd.

Dinner | September 5, 2017 | By

Warning: This Baked Mostaccioli is not your sports banquet mostaccioli. This pasta is blanketed in layers of robust tomato flavor, mozzarella, parmesan and ricotta cheese and it is utterly delicious. 

I’ve been like a kid on summer vacation the last few weeks. Sleeping in, reading books from my local library, boating, two weekends away and alas, not tackling chores I should have, including routinely updating my blog with new recipes.

It’s been a good summer, but Labor Day has passed, the school buses are rolling again and it’s officially time I stop slacking and start remembering what day of the week it is. That calls for an especially good, practically unforgettable recipe and Baked Mostaccioli covers all the bases. 

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Summer Minestrone Soup

Summer Minestrone Soup ~ loaded with summer vegetables plus garbanzo beans, spinach and pasta. It's a taste of summer in a bowl.

Soup | August 29, 2017 | By

Summer Minestrone Soup is loaded with summer vegetables like sweet corn, zucchini, tomatoes, green beans and bell peppers along with garbanzo beans, spinach and pasta. It’s a hearty taste of summer in a bowl.

It’s no secret, soup’s my jam. Even after all these years my husband still wonders how I can enjoy a bowl of thick chowder in the middle of summer. Simple. It’s sooo good.

I’m also a big promoter of farmers markets and roadside farm stands for locally grown produce. These hard-working farmers are an important part of American culture.

This Summer Minestrone Soup is a combination of both ~ a light, yet somehow filling delicious soup loaded with fresh seasonal veggies like tomatoes, green beans, celery, bell pepper, carrots, the last ear of sweet corn from the frig and zucchini from my friend’s garden. I also added some spinach and garbanzo beans for extra protein and flavor as well as a little pasta. It’s a bowl full of bright summer flavor.

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Roasted Tomato Marinara

Roasted Tomato Marinara ~ homemade tomato sauce from fresh roasted tomatoes is easier and tastier than you think. Use over your favorite pasta.

Dinner | August 25, 2017 | By

Roasted Tomato Marinara ~ homemade tomato sauce from fresh roasted tomatoes is easier and tastier than you think. Use over your favorite pasta or add milk or cream for a comforting bowl of tomato soup.

Am I the only one wondering where the summer has gone? I can’t believe it’s almost Labor Day weekend, but I know it is because here in the Midwest we’re picking baskets of tomatoes daily. If you’re in the same boat or can’t pass a farm stand without buying a bushel of these red beauties, this recipe is for you.

Roasted Tomato Marinara Sauce is one of life’s simplest pleasures and roasting tomatoes intensifies their already delicious flavor. Isn’t it time you started hitting the sauce?

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Freezing Fresh Herbs

Freezing Fresh Herbs ~ preserve fresh herbs by freezing in olive oil in ice cube trays for fresh herb flavor anytime in soups, stews, roasts and gravies.

Dinner | August 18, 2017 | By

Freezing Fresh Herbs ~ preserve fresh herbs by freezing them in olive oil in ice cube trays for fresh herb flavor all year in soups, stews, roasts and gravies.

Freezing Fresh Herbs ~ preserve fresh herbs by freezing in olive oil in ice cube trays for fresh herb flavor anytime in soups, stews, roasts and gravies.

I know I shouldn’t be fast-forwarding when there’s still summer left, but sometimes I can’t help myself. I’m already thinking about pumpkin creamer, jeans and warm sweaters, cute leather boots, trips to the cider mill and big pots of spicy chili.

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Honey Orange Chicken

Honey Orange Chicken ~ a lighter version with fresh citrus flavor, sautéed vegetables, tender bites of chicken without heavy breading = an easy under-30 minute meal.

Dinner | August 13, 2017 | By

This lighter version of Honey Orange Chicken has fresh citrus flavor, sautéed vegetables, bites of tender chicken, but no heavy breading for an easy, weeknight, under-30 minute meal.

While I was going through A Gouda Life’s index the other day I realized I’ve been sharing a lot of seafood recipes lately, like Creamy Honey Mustard Salmon and Grilled Shrimp Scampi. You wouldn’t guess, but we actually eat a lot of chicken in our house, like this Honey Orange Chicken. Heads up ~ if you’re used to the restaurant version with a thick coating, this isn’t it. But if you’ve been scanning Pinterest for a lighter version of the classic restaurant takeout,  you’ll love this dish, because while you won’t find the chicken buried in a thick breading, you will find it buried in flavor.

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Snickers Cheesecake Bites

Snickers Cheesecake Bites ~ easy decadent 1-2 bite sweet-salty dessert. Pretzel crust topped with creamy cheesecake, chocolate ganache and caramel.

Dessert | August 5, 2017 | By

Snickers Cheesecake Bites ~ decadent, sweet and salty blend starts with a pretzel crust filled with creamy candy-cheesecake drizzled with chocolate ganache and gooey caramel.

Snickers Cheesecake Bites ~ easy decadent 1-2 bite sweet-salty dessert. Pretzel crust topped with creamy cheesecake, chocolate ganache and caramel.

I love a really tasty dessert, but I’ve been known to eat a mediocre dessert or in an ‘emergency’ a handful of animal crackers to satisfy my sugar craving. These Snickers Cheesecake Bites are one of the best desserts around. I may have eaten one. . .or three today alone.

I used to make a full-size Snickers Cheesecake years ago that was a total show stopper but the days of full size anything in our house went by the wayside when we became empty-nesters. It’s much easier to share extras of single-serve or bite-size anything so I repurposed that cheesecake into these Snickers Cheesecake Bites ~ equally fabulous but just because they’re mini doesn’t mean you have to stop at one. 

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