Salads & Vegetables

Sweet English Pea Salad

English Pea Salad

If you like sweet peas, this scrumptious dish is for you!  I’m the pea lover in our home, so when I make this salad it’s all for me. Of course, I would happily share with you. The sweet and savory flavors meld together for creamy goodness in every bite. Yes, please!

Sweet English Pea Salad

2 large hard-boiled eggs, whites chopped, yolks crumbled
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup mozzarella or cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1 tsp dried basil
1 green onion, finely chopped
1 tsp apple-cider vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
1 pinch salt (or to taste)
1 pinch ground pepper (or to taste)
1 pinch garlic powder
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp food seasoning
1 can (15oz) very young, small early sweet peas or Le Sueur peas

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except peas, mixing well. Stir in peas and refrigerate salad for several hours, or overnight. Serve at room temperature.


The Classic Betty’s Salad & Homemade Dressing


The iconic Betty’s Salad. Have you heard of it? Even better, have you tried this delicious assortment of tender baby spinach, bean sprouts, hard-boiled eggs and crispy bacon with sweet red dressing?  Betty’s Salad is fairly well-known here in the midwest.  It was made famous by Betty Timko, owner of the elegant Timko’s Soup & Such, formerly located in Toledo, Ohio.  Mrs. Timko has since passed away, and her restaurant is now closed, but at one time crowds flocked to her all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch buffets. Betty came up with her wonderful salad and homemade dressing in 1961, and it’s still produced and sold in many grocery stores today.

When I was a young girl my family and I would dine in her restaurant for special holidays, usually Mother’s Day.   It was  a large place and classy looking to me.  Betty’s Salad was my favorite choice from the beautifully presented buffet of entrees, soups, sides, and desserts.  I recently made her salad and dressing at home and it was just as wonderful tasting as I remember it from back then.

Betty's Classic Salad

5 ounces Baby Spinach
6 hard-boiled eggs, diced
8 ounces fresh bean sprouts (or half a can, well-drained, if fresh are not available)
1 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled

Betty’s Classic Dressing
1 cup oil
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup catsup
1/4 cup vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 small onion, fine dice

Layer all salad ingredients in the order posted. Mix dressing ingredients – chill for approximately 1 hour to blend. Drizzle over the salad when ready to serve. Enjoy!




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.


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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.




Garlicky Spinach & Angel Hair Pasta


garlicky spinach & Angel hair

This savory dish is one way to stretch a meal with leftover pasta. Generally, I serve it as a side to chicken or fish, but it’s a family favorite all by itself.  We prefer the thinner Angel Hair pasta over traditional spaghetti noodles, and I add extra red pepper seeds and parmesan because we like the heat and pungent flavors.

Be sure to have all ingredients, cooking utensils and serving bowl close to your cooktop because this dish is prepared in 3 fast steps ~ saute, toss to mix, and serve hot.

Garlicky Spinach & Angel Hair Pasta

Ingredients –
½ lb angel hair pasta (cooked/drained – about 1/2 box of Barilla brand)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp red pepper seeds (or to taste)
1 tbsp minced garlic (Spice World Squeeze bottle brand), or 3 – 4 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 cups frozen fresh chopped spinach, thawed/drained, or 1/2 lb fresh spinach, loosely chopped
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
coarse salt to taste

Step 1. In skillet on medium-high, saute olive oil, garlic and red pepper seeds until brown, 1-2 minutes.

Step 2. Add spinach and coarse salt to pan, stir 1 minute until wilted. Fold in cooked pasta, butter, lemon juice and mix lightly.

Step 3. Add parmesan cheese, toss to mix in, pour into serving bowl.

* For a twist, add marinated artichokes, Kalamata olives or capers.  Be careful on the capers though, they can add a lot of saltiness to the dish. I would start with half a teaspoon and then add to taste from there.

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Heirloom Tomato Caprese

If you like tomatoes, you will love this salad inspiration. My mother introduced me to the vinaigrette, which tastes great as a meat marinade. The dressing and the fresh tomatoes are key to this easy recipe’s tantalizing flavors.  This Caprese is a bit more “Greek” in flavor with the Kalamata olives, but you can exchange the olives with fresh, chopped basil for the more authentic Italian version.

I’m the tomato lover in our home but maybe, just maybe, this salad will change some minds!

Heriloom Tomato Caprese

1 large green tomato
2 medium yellow tomatoes
2 red tomatoes on the vine (available in stores)
4 – 6 slices fresh mozzarella
8 – 10 Greek Kalamata olives, pitted
2 tbsp chopped green onions

Classic Vinaigrette (Garlic Expressions brand)

1 – Loaf freshly baked Italian bread

Slice tomatoes medium thickness and place in the center of a large serving plate. Add fresh mozzarella and the Greek olives on top. (Be sure they are pitted.) Drizzle vinaigrette over the dish, top with green onions. Tear large pieces of Italian bread from loaf and serve on the side. The chunky bread tastes divine soaked in the dressing and juices.

Tip:  Storing tomatoes in the refrigerator will evaporate their flavor. Leave them on the counter or in a bowl until you are ready to use.

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