Monthly Archives: April 2014

Easy Zucchini Parmesan Crisps


You and your family will love these cheesy, savory zucchini crisps. They are quick and easy to prepare in three simple steps.  My sons love to dip theirs in marinara sauce then devour faster than I can put them on a plate. Your picky eaters will gobble up their veggies with these delicious crisps, and that’s a promise!

Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup dry Italian bread crumbs
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper seeds
1/8 tsp salt (optional)
2 medium or 1 large zucchini
2 eggs, beaten in small bowl
Olive oil

Marinara sauce for dipping (I use Ragu Roasted Garlic Spaghetti Sauce)


1. Mix first four ingredients into a small mixing bowl.

2. Slice zucchini into 1/4″ inch thick rounds and dip into beaten eggs pressing both sides into the coating then lay on a plate.

3. Add one tablespoon of oil to a medium-sized pan and heat on high for 1 minute.  Add coated zukes in small batches to the pan and sauté 2 minutes each side or until brown and crispy. Don’t overcrowd the pan.

Add extra oil as needed to finish each batch and serve with marinara sauce.


Don’t forget to stop by and visit me on Facebook, too!

Senate Bean Soup — Classic Homemade Goodness!



Did you know Capital Hill has their own soup?

                                               …I guess it’s famous….

And they’ve served it there for more than 100 years.

Who knew?

I sure didn’t until I ran across this cool article about it a few years ago.

From what I read, there have been several versions over the years, but the original recipe included mashed potatoes, which they said changed after a potato shortage in the 1950s.

Well, my grandmother Pearl’s navy bean soup tasted nearly identical to this one, so that explains to me why it’s been popular with Senators for this long.

Lucky them!

But, I guess anyone who eats in the cafeteria can order Senate Bean soup now…

…It’s no longer exclusive to just the few.

Isn’t that great!

You know where I’m headed first if I ever get to Washington D. C., right?

Now the original recipe calls for soaking the beans overnight and cooking the ham on the bone first. (That’s how Grandma Pearl did it too!) But I quick soaked the dried beans and used leftover holiday ham.

I also prefer Gordon Foods Chicken Base because its creamy and adds great flavor. (Skip their ham base… It’s too salty.) But you can use one large can (49 oz) of chicken broth instead of Chicken base and water if you prefer.

Senate Bean Soup

1 pound dried navy beans, picked over. Soak beans overnight in 3 times their volume of cold water. (To quick soak: In a large pot or Dutch oven, cover the beans in water, bring to a boil, turn off and allow to soak 1 hour, drain and rinse.)
2 tbsp butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 pound leftover ham, shredded
1 Tbsp chicken base (or to taste)
2 large russet potatoes, peeled
1/2 cup milk
Freshly ground pepper

1. In Dutch oven or large pot, saute onion, celery, garlic, parsley in 1 tbsp butter until slightly caramelized. Add rinsed beans, 10 cups of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce heat to low and cook until beans are tender about 1 hour, 30 minutes.

2. Next, dice one potato and add it to the pot, along with the chicken base. Bring soup to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, add ham and cook about 1 hour.

3. Meanwhile, poke holes in the second potato with fork, place in microwave-safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap, cook 3 minutes on high in microwave, or until you can press a fork through to center. Mash the potato, allow to cool slightly, add 1 tbsp of butter and milk then stir. Add mashed potato to soup as it cooks on low, adding up to 1 or 2 more cups of water if the soup is too thick. Season with black pepper and serve with bread and butter or cornbread if you like.


Asparagus with Citrus and Parmesan


Here is my favorite and simple way to cook most green vegetables for best flavor. This quick method works well for broccoli, too!

Asparagus with Citrus and Parmesan

1 bunch of fresh asparagus, tough stalk ends removed
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon
fresh Parmesan cheese

Cook asparagus al dente (slightly firm, not mushy) by blanching in boiling water for just a few minutes. Drain water and transfer to glass serving container.  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, squeeze citrus lemon juice over the top and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan. Cover with lid to slightly melt the cheese and keep warm until serving.




10 Lovely Family Porches

Have you noticed the variety of porches trending all over the internet and inside magazines lately? The best porches beckon visitors, and I sure would enjoy dropping by a few that have caught my eye lately. Some remind me of homes I’ve enjoyed being a guest in and others evoke memories of favorite television shows I watched growing up.  Then there are those that bring to mind my grandmother Pearl’s humble front porch. It was modest in size and yet our big family clan could sit there talking and laughing together for hours.

The front porch is a lovely place to be any day of the week, or time of day for that matter, but especially on a hot summer’s day to cool down, sip an iced tea or lemonade and hope to catch a breeze.


Southern Living Magazine


Better Homes & Gardens


Southern Living Magazine

How grand! Big enough for an evening stroll perhaps?
Southern Living Magazine

French doors. Oh, yes.




I’m partial to classic Americana front porches.  I can almost hear the wood screen-door snap back to close as guests walk in and out throughout the day.





There always seems to be so much to see from the view of a front porch.



I could fall asleep in all those pillows. Grandma had the same medals chairs in dark blue. They rocked slightly and were much more comfortable than they look.

No matter the style, size or what part of the country you spot them in, there’s just something comforting and easy about the family porch.









Grilled Chicken Kabobs With Mango Coconut Glaze & Fresh Pineapple



Chicken Kabobs with Mango Coconut Glaze and Fresh Pineapple

I’m always looking for food inspiration and this tropical twist on the usual chicken barbecue sauce was a delicious change.

My husband does the grilling for our family (although our oldest son is getting pretty good at it, too!).  He prefers to grill meat separate from diced fruits or vegetables so the kabobs cook evenly, versus perfectly grilled chicken and overly charred vegetables. Spices used on the raw meat were kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder and buffalo seasoning for zip. The fresh pineapple chunks, red and yellow peppers and Bermuda onion slices were prepared on separate picks.  Everything went on the flaming grill at the same time, moving the fruit and vegetable skewers to the top rack once they were done, leaving the chicken to cook several minutes longer.

After grilling, we basted the chicken with a tropical Mango Coconut glaze I picked-up at TJ Maxx in the packaged gourmet food aisle.  (Try mixing a new flavored glaze with your regular barbecue sauce for a twist!) Usually we marinate chicken prior to cooking, but with a sweet barbecue sauce like Mango Coconut, it is best to baste afterward or risk burning the meat and the flavorful sauce off.

Another advantage to grilling fruits and vegetables on separate picks is that each person can select their choice of fare. If your family is like mine, a perfectly good vegetable will be cast to the side of a plate.




Asparagus with Citrus and Parmesan

We also prepared asparagus. (I know. But, we did stretch the meal into the next day.) Cook the asparagus al dente, by blanching in boiling water for just a few minutes. Drain and transfer to a lidded container, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, squeeze citrus lemon juice across the top and finish with freshly grated Parmesan. Cover to keep warm and slightly melt the Parmesan until serving. It’s my favorite way to prepare most green vegetables. I think you will like it, too!

Please be sure to browse other recent recipes, crafts and tips by scrolling down. If you would like to see future posts, Like my page on Facebook in the upper right corner, or sign up to receive emails direct to your inbox.

Much joy to you and yours this coming weekend!


%d bloggers like this: