Antipasto Pizza Rolls


Baking sheet, cutting board, knife, spoon

Preparation time: about 5 minutes


1 cup pizza dough or 1 tube crescent dough, cut into triangles

1/4 cup minced olives

4-5 slices pepperoni (optional)

1/4 cup minced Pepperoncini

1/4 cup tomato- based pasta sauce of choice

1/8 teaspoon seasoning salt, Italian seasoning

prepared balsamic reduction, for serving

Method: Combine ingredients except dough, drop by tablespoon full onto bottom of triangle, roll up. Bake according to dough directions. Serve with balsamic reduction. Feel fancy.


Use gluten free pizza dough if necessary

I’ll be using whole wheat pizza dough when I make them from scratch

Endless. Use whatever you would enjoy on your pizza.

Bbq chicken pizza: Barbecue sauce and chicken

Bruschetta: fresh basil, tomatoes, and garlic

You’re an adult, it’s time to improve your pizza roll experience.

Honestly these look so fancy you could call these “Antipasto crescents” and people would be none the wiser. In my previous life (Dairy free,) it was always a treat to buy the bag of frozen pizza rolls. The dough was hard and the edges cut into the roof of my mouth. The filling was of the lowest quality. They were always so molten hot I burned the roof of my mouth. Still, there was something about them.

I’m feeling nostalgic today and certainly can’t have any filled with cheese. The greatest part of these? They’re so versatile. Fill with whatever you want on your pizza! The dough actually tastes good!

 Try this balsamic reduction if you can’t find it locally, it’s actually a better price than most places carry it for. What else can you eat this on? Grilled peaches. Grilled chicken. Ice cream. My own arm.

Boozy Marinade


Dish that can go in the fridge. That’s all!

Preparation time:

About 1 minute, plus the time involved drinking leftover beer.


1/4 cup beer of choice

1 tablespoon minced onion-dried or fresh

2 tablespoons ketchup

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Method: Stir to combine. Marinade protein of choice in refrigerator, flipping halfway through (At least two hours to overnight.) Drink remaining beer.


Gluten free: Use gluten free beer and soy sauce of choice.

Vegan: This marinade is Vegan as is, use a firm tofu, Seitan, or nice hefty mushroom caps would be delicious.

Soy free: Substitute Coconut Aminos for Soy Sauce

Glaze: If preferred, boil marinade down to a sticky consistency. Brush on in the last 2 minutes of grilling. This is wonderful if you are doing multiple proteins.

There is a world famous steak marinated with something very similar to this.

Often when I’m planning meals I ask myself, “If I could go to any restaurant in the world, what would I order?” Then I set out to make it a reality!

This is a knockoff of a marinade for a drunken Ribeye. Why stop there? Drunken chicken! Drunken tofu! Drunken Seitan! Drunken mushrooms! This really does taste good on anything.

My mother’s day has had many spoiling components. I was treated to dinner of my choice, a lunch of my choice, and was told I could cook any treat I like. Steak it is! I choice some beautiful New York Strips.

If you don’t have a grill like our poor souls, you’ll need a very good grill pan. It can give you beautiful grill marks (put food on very hot, pick up, rotate 45 degrees to get those beautiful diamond shaped grill marks.) A perk of using cast iron is the seasoning the pan gets! Click here for my pick, remember whatever you buy through that link gets me a small commission!

I’ve continued to by spoiled by three hour baby-less naps when my husband is off work. The gift of sleep! Could anything be better?

Maybe (Just maybe) A nice boozy steak.

Ranch ‘Ritos



Baking sheet, kitchen shears or knife, bowl or large Tupperware with lid

Preparation time: About 15 minutes


4 or 5 corn tortillas, cut into triangles

cooking spray

Chili Ranch spice mix:

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 tablespoon garlic powder, onion powder, dill, smoked paprika


Toast tortilla triangles in oven at 350 degrees for ten minutes, flipping after 5 minutes.


Once cooled, coat with cooking spray and toss in Chili Ranch spice mix.





If you can have cheese, toss in some powdered cheese such as popcorn Nacho Cheese seasoning

You can season these with whatever spice mix you like! Get fancy with popcorn seasonings too.

Some people enjoy Nutritional yeast flakes to add a certain depth (You either love it or hate it)

Fun fact: Ranch flavored Doritos in German are called “Cool American.”

This never ceases to amuse me. Their recipe for Doritos is very different than ours, as MSG is not allowed in foods there. It tells you something when our foods are not allowed in other countries.

I LOVE chips. I am affectionately called the ‘chip monster’ by my husband. I can control my sweet cravings easily, but salt? Give me the crunchy, salty, goodness.

I really missed Doritos and had some corn tortillas lying around. Easy peasy! You can adjust the coating amount on these, I go a bit light. If you’re feeling especially lazy, //“>Here’s a dairy free, Paleo approved ranch mix.

Remember, even if you start with that link, whatever you buy on Amazon gets me a small commission at no cost to you!

May all your snacking be joyous. Thanks to these, it can even be a little healthy.

White Pizza with Vegan White Sauce



baking sheet, saucepan

Preparation time:

10 minutes


White sauce:

1 cup milk of choice (If using dairy free, use an unsweetened milk as Original is still sweet)

2 tbsp. all purpose flour or cornstarch, whisked into milk when cold

1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

1 teaspoon garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper, season salt


1 prepared pizza dough, spread onto greased baking sheet, or baking sheet topped with cornmeal. (You can also use pizza stone)

1 cooked potato, sliced into rounds

1/4 thinly sliced onion

2 slices torn proscuitto


White Sauce: In saucepan, cook milk and flour on medium heat, stirring constantly. When thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, add all spices. (Season to taste)


Coat pizza with white sauce, top with onion, Proscuitto, and potatoes. Bake as pizza dough recipe directs. (Normally 350 degrees for 15 minutes)

I need cream sauce. I need it to live.

I had to get creative with no dairy. No butter. No cheese. No milk.

Fortunately thanks to some heavy spicing I have a spicy, well seasoned, white sauce. This is definitely going on pasta in the future!

This pizza is inspired by Flammkuchen- a specialty pizza that’s popular in Southern Germany/Northern France. Earlier in history, the border of Germany was further North. The region we lived in used to be French and the influence in food is still very heavily felt.

Flammkuchen is a thin crusted pizza, topped with a sour cream/cream cheese style cheese topped with Lardon and onion. It’s cooked in a brick oven so the crust gets those beautiful crusty raised bubbles. Oh how I missed it! All I need now is to find Lardon and I’ll be in heaven.

Cheater’s Chicken and Gravy



Whisk, crock pot, saucepan and lid or instant pot


4 pieces boneless chicken of choice (Does not need to be defrosted!)

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon season salt

fresh ground pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprike

1 cup water

2 tbsp. saute’ oil of choice


Instant pot: Poach chicken using tray insert. (pour water in bottom, place frozen chicken on top of metal steam tray) Set on meat setting or manual for 30 minutes. Once instant pot is done, dredge chicken in flour/ spice mixture, pressing to get a good coating.

Remove cooking water (now homemade broth) into another bowl, whisk in remaining flour where you have dredged chicken.

On saute’ setting, add oil and brown floured chicken. Set aside once both sides are brown.

Stirring constantly, add broth/ flour mixture back to instant pot. Cook until gravy is thickened to your liking. Add chicken back to pot. Serve.

Slow cooker Method:

Add chicken and water to slow cooker. Cook on low 6-8 hours or high 4-6 hours. Remove chicken, dredge in flour and spice mixture. Saute’ in oil on stovetop pan,  browning both sides. Set chicken aside.

Whisk remaining flour in broth in slow cooker. Transfer to stovetop pan, stirring constantly on medium heat until gravy is thickened to your liking. Add chicken to gravy, serve.


Gluten free: Substitute cornstarch for flour easily, your chicken will have a crunchier coating.

Ensure you whisk cornstarch into broth thoroughly so your gravy has no lumps.

Season with whatever you like, and always season to taste.

Happy belated Mother’s Day from the trenches of Motherhood.

As I type, I have a sleeping baby on me that wakes up the minute I put him down. He’s as large as a frozen butterball turkey, so my clavicle might dislocate at any time. The great news is he’s warm and clean and happily snoring.

This is my first time celebrating as a mother. It means a lot to me as our son was born early and had to stay in the hospital for a time. I’ll never forget the dinging of the monitors, for months I heard it anytime there was any kind of droning noise. Seeing babies smaller than ours gave me a sense of perspective some people will never understand.

I was an emergency C-Section. I endured severe agony for months getting my child to nurse, I would do it all again a million times if it helped our baby even a fraction. This is the gift of motherhood. This is the gift of fighting hard for what you love. I have never known a love this fierce and unyielding. You hear people talk about a Mother’s love, but I had no idea until this year.

As for daily mom life, it is crazy. This recipe is great for those days. There’s no defrosting! Put it in with water, brown it, and gravy it! It’s from scratch and let me tell you, it’s good. This was adapted from a Carolina recipe.

I love it because I hate futzing with raw chicken. This way you use the flour for both the dredging and gravy application. There’s no going back and forth with egg and flour making a mess. Sometimes from scratch can be easy.

It’s pictured with my microwave mashed potatoes and country style green beans. This is some husband pleasing food, and they will never know it was easy.

//“>Click here to check out my instant pot gear. Remember, if you start with that link, whatever you buy on Amazon gets me a small commission at no cost to you!

Chai Spiced Cinnamon Rolls with a Hot Cocoa Glaze

IMG_4713Tools: Rolling pin, knife, pastry brush, baking dish

Preparation time: 10-15 minutes


2 cups prepared pizza dough (I used whole wheat)

2 tbsp. melted spread of choice (needs to be a spread that bakes well, I used Earth Balance)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

 2 turns grated vanilla bean (from vanilla bean grinder)


2 tbsp. melted spread

2 tbsp. cocoa powder

2 tbsp. brown sugar


Roll out pizza dough in a rectangle. Spread dough generously with melted spread, cover in a layer of brown sugar. Sprinkle on all spices evenly. Roll and cut into 2 inch rolls. Place in greased oven safe baking dish. Bake at 350 Degrees F for 15 minutes. Add glaze, bake an additional 15 minutes.

Glaze: Combine all ingredients. Brush on halfway through baking.


Omit cardamom if you prefer.

Gluten free: Use gluten free pizza dough. Fortunately there are a lot on the market now, you lucky dog!

I deserve a medal for all the times I’ve walked past the Cinnamon Bun vendors in the mall.

I think about all the calories, the trans fats, and not to mention I can’t have any because they include dairy. What if we could make them healthier? What if we could have them whole wheat? What if they could be vegan? Oh friends, we can.

Let’s not talk about how many I ate. That’s just not important.

When baking, it’s better to pull out a little sooner rather than later. Pizza dough can get hard when overbaked and we want these soft and melty in the mouth.

One of my favorite kitchen gadgets comes into play here- my silicone basting brush. It cleans easy and doesn’t pick up any oily residue thanks to the dishwasher. //“>click here to get your very own, or just start with that link and buy whatever you’d like on Amazon and I get a small commision (Yay!)

It’s a marvelous thundery, rainy day. I once again have snoring baby. Sleep training could probably be going better. I’m a softy, letting him cry it out ended in him giving up on sleep completely and getting very, very, wired and tired. I continue to pursue techniques that help. For now, I’m much more interested in him getting sleep during the day. I hope wherever you are, you are as comfy as me in my pajamas and snuggly snoring baby.

Enjoy these with some coffee, milk, and maybe even treat the mom in your life for Mother’s day!

One Pot Tomato Basil Pasta

 I IMG_4687Tools: Saucepan and lid

Preparation time: 5-25 minutes depending on pasta type


1 tbsp. saute’ oil of choice

2 cloves fresh garlic, minced

2 fresh tomatoes, diced

1 tbsp. basil, dried

1 tbsp. capers

1 cup pasta of choice (I enjoy whole wheat)

1 cup vegetable broth

enough water to cover pasta

splash of soy sauce

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper


Saute’ garlic in oil until fragrant. Add remaining ingredients, adding just enough water to cover pasta. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Cover and cook until pasta is halfway cooked. Remove lid and continue cooking, reducing liquid as pasta cooks, stirring occasionally. Salt to taste, enjoy!


I love this recipe for all the variations!

gluten free: Use gluten free pasta and soy sauce- careful not to overcook your pasta

Proteins: You can add Better than Beef soy crumbles- they’re delicious!

You can also ad cooked ground beef.

You can also add shrimp when sauteing garlic

Don’t have fresh tomatoes? A can of diced tomatoes will do very well and give you a more bolognese style sauce.

I added capers and torn Proscuitto to my pasta for a ‘Puttanesca’ feel. I think some diced olives would also be marvelous.

When I cook pasta, I make enough to feed all of Italy.

That’s a good thing, because today I just returned home from running errands with a baby and was starving. The last thing I wanted to do was cook, it took all of my strength not to buy Chicken McNuggets from the golden arches. I’m afraid my child might be made of 50% nugget at this point.

Fortunately, this pasta came to the rescue! I was given this recipe by its’ very inventive creator- my sister. Okay, sister- in-law. I hate that term! We’re family!

I love this recipe for its’ versatility and economy. Who can’t afford some tomatoes and pasta? Plus the soy sauce adds an unexpected depth of flavor thanks to its’ Umami properties. It’s vegan friendly, beginner cook friendly, whole wheat or gluten free friendly.

Never had capers? Oh, friends. If you are lover of all things briny and pickled, these are for you! They also make an amazing picatta (recipe idea, perhaps?) To order your very own capers (or just start with this link and get me a small commission on Amazon) //“>click here.

A little pasta tip- in Italy and all the Italian places you love, pasta is finished cooking in the sauce so it absorbs the flavor. This is another reason I love this pasta, it seasons as it cooks. The next time you are too tired to cook- try this. All you need is one pot and very few ingredients to treat yourself.

Back Pocket Turkey Roast

IMG_4680Tools: Instant pot, slow cooker or oven

Preparation time: approximately 5 minutes


1 5 lb. boneless turkey roast or turkey breast roast (If you feel like a bit of carving)

1 cup white wine

1 cup chicken or turkey broth

baby carrots and diced peeled potatoes (optional)

1/8 cup minced onion

2 tbsp. flour mixed with 2 tbsp. water

(Substitute corn starch if gluten free)

1/8 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper

2 tbsp. oil of choice to saute’


Instant pot: Saute’ onion in oil, brown roast on all sides. Add carrots and potatoes, deglaze with broth and wine. Add all ingredients except flour/cornstarch mixture . Set instant pot on meat setting. Once complete, remove turkey and set pot to sautee function. Once mixture is bubbling, add flour mixture, stirring constantly until thick. Slice turkey and serve with gravy.

Crock pot: combine all ingredients except flour mixture (omit saute’ oil.) Cook on low 6-8 hours or high 4-6. Remove broth mixture and boil with flour mixture on high, stirring until gravy is thick. Slice turkey ,serve.

Oven: Combine all ingredients in oven safe dish, bake at 350 until thermometer registers 165 degrees on the thickest part of turkey. Boil broth with flour mixture until gravy is thickened. Carve turkey and serve with gravy.

She has another recipe with gravy? You bet!

 I could eat turkey ever day. This past year as I was recovering from my most invasive surgery, we still had turkey. I was standing in the kitchen giving my husband orders, as I was not cleared to do ANYTHING. We were very happy, as we had just brought our baby home. Even though the stuffing came from a bag and the pie filling came from a can, it was one of our happiest Thanksgivings.

This is a back pocket roast because you throw everything in and leave it. It’s easy to keep a roast in the freezer and let it defrost overnight. The white wine really adds some depth to this. Of course, fresh ground pepper doesn’t hurt. Make this a one pot meal with carrots and potatoes. Easy cleanup all around!

Let me remind you about my amazing pepper grinder- even if you do other shopping on Amazon and go through //“>this link I still get a small commission. Thank you!

You better believe this can go with my microwave mashed potatoes and my country style green beans. You’ll eat like a king! You want a mighty fine turkey sandwich? Use this turkey and put gravy on one side of your bread and good quality mayo on the other with a generous grind of pepper. Thank me later.

Southern Fresh Corn


Tools: Bowl  and/or cutting board, saucepan

Prep/Cook time: 10 minutes


2 ears fresh corn, shucked

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon water, depending on juiciness of corn

pat of butter or spread of choice (optional)


Cut corn kernels, scrape corn cob with knife to pick up remaining ‘pulp.’ Combine all ingredients in saucepan, adding water if mixture appears dry. Cook until corn is just tender.

Sometimes what doesn’t go in a recipe is as important as what goes in.

Anthony Bourdain once said, “Cooking is not messing food up.” This recipe takes the goodness of fresh corn and doesn’t mess with it. It’s so sweet, easy, vibrant, and healthy. It’s also the perfect time for it! Corn is in season and summer is here! (Well, unless you count the strange flooding and cold fronts.)

I bought my corn at the Commisary- a grocery store on my local Army base. I love shopping there because there are always some Veterans wearing their ‘swag.’ Korea Veteran. Desert Storm Veteran. I feel like I am shopping amongst geriatric superheroes. They are also the sweetest people on the planet and for many of them, grocery shopping is their only outing.

We always chat about something and they always joke with me. The last time I went one of them was so gracious he insisted on moving his shopping cart to let me pass him in an aisle. I told him it didn’t matter because my baby was actually sleeping in his stroller (the joy!)

He said “Good for you. You deserve it.”

Take notes, gentlemen.

If he’s married, I ASSURE you it’s a happy one.

The next time you see an older Veteran, take the time to chat with them. They are so gracious and have done some extraordinary things.

My husband hates creamed corn but loves this! Please enjoy this simple, amazing corn recipe.

Croquetas de Jamon Stuffed Mushrooms

IMG_4651Tools: Cutting Board, sautee’ pan, oven safe baking dish

Prep time/ cook time: 20 minutes


1 cup leftover mashed potatoes

3 tbsp. butter/ spread of choice

*Note: spread must brown well in the oven, I use Earth balance*

8 oz fresh mushrooms, very well cleaned, stems separated from caps.

1/4 cup minced onion

1/8 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt

generous 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

5 scallions, diced. (Keep whites separate from green stems, which will be garnish)

 1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs

2 slices Serrano Ham torn into small pieces, plus more for garnish if desired

(If you cannot find Serrano ham, try Proscuitto)

Nonstick cooking spray


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Saute’ minced onion, white portion of scallions, and diced mushroom stems in 1 tbsp. spread/butter on medium heat. When onions are translucent, add season salt, sugar, and pepper. Continue cooking for 2 minutes. Add leftover mashed potatoes and ham into pan. Stir until combined. Season to taste.

Spray oven proof baking dish with nonstick spray, stuff mushroom caps with potato mixture and place on dish. Top mushrooms with generous amount of breadcrumbs, gently pressing into potato mixture. Top with 2 tbsp. melted spread/butter of choice. (I also coated generously in cooking spray to ensure a golden brown shade.)

Bake 15 minutes or until GBD (Golden, brown delicious.) They will smell amazing when ready. Garnish with green portions of scallions and additional Jamon.


Gluten free: Use gluten free breadcrumbs. If you cannot find them, toast a piece of your favorite gluten free bread and pulse in the food processor.

You may also used crushed crackers for breadcrumb topping if you wish. Top with melted butter/spread and nonstick spray as directed.

If you wish to be ‘American’ about this, substitute crumbled cooked bacon for Jamon.

Vegan: Substitute Jamon for vegan protein of choice- vegan cheeze, vegan lunch meat, vegan meat crumbles (The beef or chicken would be exceptional.) You can also use nutritional yeast to add depth of flavor.

Vegetarian: Substitute Jamon for delicious grated cheese of choice.

Let me tell you about Spain.


Me in heaven at La Boqueria holding a cone of meat, cheese, and fresh pressed juice. I’m very proud I didn’t crawl into any refrigerator displays.

My husband and I were in Germany, vitamin D deficient because of all the cloudy weather, depressed because of the vitamin D deficiency. We only had a weekend but we chose to visit Barcelona, Spain.

Oh, the joy! What rapture! We landed in what looked like El Paso Texas! (There’s a reason they settled there.) After riding the metro in, we were greeted by smiling, Spanish speaking faces. The sun was everywhere! I fell asleep on the beach and woke up with a sunburn,  someone trying to sell me beer. If that’s not  a vacation, I don’t know what is.

And the food! I could go on for pages and pages. There is a beautiful market called La Boqueria. There are stands as far as the eye can see. They are stacked beautifully with meats, cheeses, fruits, juices. I ate all the Serrano Jamon that I could. We bought from several stands and took our bounty to the beach, sitting watching the waves roll.

We had tapas. Amazing appetizer sized plates of all kinds of things. Olives, meats, fish, potatoes. One of my favorites were deep fried croquetas with Serrano Jamon. As I was making stuffed mushrooms these popped in my head.

A note on fresh ground pepper. It’s better! Throw out the can! Throw out your shaker! One of the best Christmas gifts I ever received was an automatic pepper grinder. We call it the pepper gun. When I use it I actually sing, “Pepper gun!” It is a joy to have, it adds such great flavor. To buy your very own pepper gun (Singing optional) click //“>here . Even if you buy something else on Amazon if you go through this link I get a small commission!

These are elegant, easy, and are a fantastic Tapas addition. Add some sliced ham and fruit on the side for simple elegance. Serve them as an appetizer. Serve them as a side dish. If you’re like me, have them for breakfast. People won’t know you’re using leftovers. They will be impressed. Heck, if you served me these, I would automatically be your best friend. If there’s one recipe of mine you make, it should probably be these. They’re that good.