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Basic Italian Dressing

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I’m willing to bet that many of us have made an Italian dressing from a packaged seasoning mix. It’s a staple in many American grocery stores and a convenience food, no doubt. Add the powder dressing mix to oil and vinegar, and in some cases shake it up in a…

Menu Inspiration: Romantic Dinner Date

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It makes me cringe to know that we’re already a full month and then-some into 2019. January is in the books, and in a few days we’ll be coming up on Valentine’s Day. (We’ll be talking about spring next, then Memorial Day will be coming up on the heels of summer……

Smoked Salmon Bites

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The good news: all of the “cooking” involved here for this easy appetizer is the preparation of the herb cream cheese spread—and that’s easy, too. Make it in advance so it’s ready to go when it’s time for appetizers. When you’re ready to serve, set the cream cheese out in…

Caprese Skewers with Creamy Pesto Dip

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Are you planning to watch the Grammy Awards this weekend? If you’re like me, I always like something to nibble on when I’m watching an award show or special event. There’s just something so satisfying about eating different, small plates of foods that I love, too. Dave and I often…

Menu Inspiration: Comfort Food Feast

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Comfort foods are far-from fussy and everyone loves them, which makes this menu perfect for a casual get-together—whether celebrating a birthday, the upcoming Super Bowl, or just because. For a country-inspired birthday party (think bandannas, plaid shirts, jeans) I attended years ago, this menu was a winner. It fed a group…

Coconut-Currant Steel Cut Oatmeal

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Have you tried steel cut oats? Sometimes also called "Irish oats", steel cut oats when cooked generally have a chewy, al dente texture and a nutty taste. They are oat groats, or oat kernels with no husk, that have been cut into smaller, coarse pieces using a steel blade. Size-wise, they remind me of tiny Acini di pepe pasta.

Like their cousins rolled and instant oats, steel cut oats are a blank canvas for adding different flavors and ingredients. You can cook steel cut oats longer to make them a little more softer and creamier, as I usually do, but don't expect them to fall apart and turn to mush as instant oats would when cooked. Of course, adding a pat of butter or a touch of cream when cooking would help add creaminess and richness, as well.

Tropical Mango-Lime Party Punch

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For anyone who has ever attended a college party or two in their time, flashbacks of overly sweetened "jungle juice" might instantly come to mind (along with memories of some crazy hangovers the next day after drinking the stuff, perhaps.)

The recipe? It was always simple: combine assorted liquor with assorted juices to end up with a concoction that was potent to drink and seemed to always vary in color—sometimes orange if a lot of pineapple or orange juice was added to the mix, othertimes a greenish color from what had to be a healthy dose (a whole bottle?) of melon liqueur.