Broccoli Bacon Salad

Ingredients
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup mayonnaise (whatever type you want full, low-fat, etc.)
1/2 cup sour cream (whatever type you want full, low-fat, etc.)
4 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp sugar
5 stalk celery
4 tbsp of dried craberries
salt and pepper “to taste”
4ish cups broccoli crowns (don’t throw any out just finish off the bunch you have if its more than 4 cups this recipe assumes that)
3-6 slices of bacon (basically just depends on how much you like bacon)

Tools
Garic Press (unless you like mincing garlic by hand)
Measuring Spoons and Cups
Big Bowl and a Medium Bowl
Mixing spoon
Oven
Baking Sheet
Knife
Cutting Board

  1. Cook and crumble bacon. Everyone cooks bacon in a different way so I will leave that up to you, but I use my oven at 350F till it is crispy.
  2. Cut broccoli into tiny pieces – like super tiny (see the photos below). I basically shear mine. You want it to absorb the sauce so the more surface area the better.
  3. Mince garic, dice celery and chop cranberries.
  4. Throw garlic, mayo, sour cream, vinegar and sugar into the medium bowl and mix together to make the sauce.
  5. Place the celery, broccoli, cranberries and bacon into the larger bowl and mix together.
  6. Add half the sauce into the broccoli mixture in the larger bown and mix it around.
  7. THEN slowly add more of the sauce until you basically get everything in the large bowl nice and coated. It may not take all the sauce, but it is better to have more than to run out and have a dry side dish (If this was a blog with stories I would wax poetic about how this happened to me recently).
  8. Add salt and pepper.
  9. Place it in the fridge for an hour (or more) then taste it and determine if you need more salt. You an also hand on to the reserve sauce just in case as well. You really need it to sit for an hour for the flavors to come together so try to be patient with it.
  10. Eat! This will hold over night very well and be even better the next day.

Peanut Butter Banana Pupcake

Ingredients
1 egg
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp peanut butter (plain with NO preservatives)
3 tbsp regular honey
2 bananas
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
*My first ever disclaimer: Every dog is different and can/can not eat certain things. There are also thousands of theories on what is good/not good for dogs. This is what my dog can eat and what I choose to feed my dog. Science is a real thing, if you are worried do the research.

Tools
Oven
Muffin Pan (this recipe is for 7 (yes 7) full size muffins)
Bowl
Masher/Fork
Whisk
Spatula
Ice Cream Scoop/Spoon

  1. Preheat oven at 350
  2. Spray or butter your muffin pan however you like to make things not stick.
  3. Mash your banana.
  4. In the bowl whisk together the egg, oil, honey and peanut butter. It will be thick that’s ok.
  5. Whisk in mashed banana.
  6. Whisk (or spatula if you have a wimpy whisk) in flour and baking powder.
  7. Divide into 7 spots in the muffin pan. Sometimes when you create your own recipes it doesn’t always come out to a perfect 12. I always use a ice cream scoop because the lever helps the batter to come out and the amount always makes the perfect size muffin, but a spoon will also work in a pinch.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes.
  9. Cool and you and your dog can enjoy!

NOTE: My dog doesn’t care about fancy icing but if you want some there are tons of recipes using bananas and sweet potatoes out there.

Basic Hummus

Ingredients
1 cup of dried chickpeas OR 2 cups/15 oz of canned chickpeas
1 bay leaf (if you started from dried)
1/3 cup tahini (HIGHLY recommend the squeeze bottle)
2 lemons
4ish cloves of garlic (personal preference)
1/4 cup of olive oil (if you want less fat you can go down to 2 TBSP)
1/2 cup of water
salt

Tools
Small saucepan (if you start from dried)
Oven top (see above)
Food Processor
Knife & Cutting Board
Spatula
Spoon (any spoon will do)

  1. Wash the dried chickpeas and cover them in double (or more) the amount of water. Add the bay leaf and boil for two minutes.
  2. After two minutes turn off the stove and let sit for one hour.
  3. After one hour, dump out the water, fill with fresh and simmer until chickpeas are soft enough to squish between your thumb and forefinger. For me this takes about an hour, but it varies each time so start checking around 40 minutes.
  4. Dump out chickpeas in strainer and remove the bay leaf. If you are using canned chickpeas start here and make sure to rise them once you dump them out of the can. I won’t tell you how to cook, but I will say I find a huge difference in flavor cooking them from dried with the bay leaf.
  5. Dump chickpeas in the food processor with tahini, juice from both lemons, garlic (I recommend chopping it a bit first) and a few pinches of salt.
  6. Turn on the food processor and drizzle in the olive oil.
    1. This is where personal preference will take over so before you do anything else take the top off and look at the consistency of the hummus – it will look pasty. Just think of how fluffy you want to go from pasty and in the end that is how much water you will add. More water = more fluffy.
  7. Turn the food processor back on and drizzle in the water until you get the consistency you want. Start small and check it a few times as you can’t go backwards! For me 1/2 cup of water is perfect, but that’s just what I like.
  8. TASTE – The flavors will come together more over time, but again you can’t go backwards so you need to taste it here. Does it need more salt? More garlic? More lemon? Do not be afraid to play with your food.
  9. ADDENDUM: Once you master the basics of the way you like it, then play around with adding in things like roasted red peppers, cumin, etc. but get the basics down first – once you have that you can build anything you want!

Herb Chicken with Strawberry Relish

Ingredients
4 large or 8 small skinless/boneless thighs (you can use bone-in just add to cooking time)
1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil  
3 TBSP fresh oregano (or 3 tsp dried)
2 ½ TBSP fresh chives (or 2.5 tsp which is what I use as I can never get good chives)
2 cups strawberries (one pint is more than enough)
2 1/4 tsp lime zest (1 lime)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Salt
Pepper

Tools
Oven
2 Bowls
Knife
Cutting Board
9 x 13 roasting pan (or whatever you have) 

  1. Chop oregano, chives and strawberries.
  2. Combine chicken in a bowl with oil, oregano, 1 tablespoon fresh chives, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Let marinate for 30 minutes (or so).
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Place chicken in roasting pan. Make sure to uncurl the thighs so they are flat if not they will not cook properly.
  5. Roast the chicken 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the thighs. I know that is a big range, but thighs are all different sizes so if you want to be totally certain they should be 165 degrees F or just cut through one.
  6. While the chicken is cooking combine strawberries, lime zest, sugar, vinegar, the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chives and a pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl. Let stand at room temperature until the chicken is done.
  7. Just before serving, taste the strawberry relish and adjust the amount of sugar, vinegar and/or salt if needed. Serve the chicken with the relish. If you have to make the relish in advance it will taste great, just be more mushy.
  8. Serve together and makes great leftovers for a day or two.
Don’t be fooled those chives ended up being gross and I used dried.
So pretty!
Smells so good.
Let those flavors sit!
So good together!

Instant Pot Chicken

Instant Pot Chicken

Ingredients
5-7ish lbs whole chicken (cooking variations for sizes below, more than 7lb is hard to fit in Instant Pot)
2 cups of water
1 onion (red, white or yellow)
2 celery stalks
thyme (2 TBS if fresh, 2 tsp if dried)
1 – 2 lemons washed
Salt
Pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

Tools
Instant Pot (must have for this recipe)
Instant Pot Trivet
Measuring cup
Knife
Cutting Board
Onion Goggles (at least I need these)

  1. Chop the onion, cut the celery into 2″ pieces, (if fresh) strip the thyme off the stalks and quarter each lemon.
  2. Make sure all the “insides” of the chicken have been removed.
  3. Set the Instant Pot to the Sauté setting and add the olive oil, thyme, salt (do not leave this out or it will not sweat the onions right), pepper, pieces of celery, and chopped onion.
  4. Cover with a lid and sweat the onions, stirring occasionally.
  5. Once cooked through, remove the lid and let the onions brown for just 1 minute before turning off the Saute and quickly pouring in the water.
  6. Scoop out the cooked ingredients.
  7. Put the trivet into the Instant Pot.
  8. Place as many lemon slices as you can shove inside the chicken cavity. Salt and pepper the chicken.
  9. Place chicken on top of trivet, breast side up.
  10. Dump the cooked onions, etc on top of the chicken.
  11. Place any leftover lemons around the chicken.
  12. Twist on the locking lid, make sure the steam valve is set to sealing. Select Manual or Pressure Cook on High.
  13. You want to cook the chicken for about 6 minutes per pound – do some math here.
  14. Once the cook time has ended and the IP has beeped, let it natural pressure release till it is totally released. Do not release early or the chicken will be dry.
  15. Remove the chicken by carefully lifting out the trivet and setting onto a cutting board or into a baking dish. It will juice a LOT so be aware.
  16. Let it rest about 10 minutes. The cut and eat!
  17. Makes great leftovers for Chicken Salad.

NOTE: If you use homemade chicken stock what is left in the pot makes great stuff. Just strain out all the bits and then freeze what is left.

Do all the prepping! (celery should also be in the photo)
This is the trivet I like but any will do.
This chicken almost didn’t fit – I would get a slightly smaller one.
Saute!
Get all that flavor on there!
And away we go.
Done!
And tender (there is no good looking chicken photos).

Rosemary and Parmesan Scones

Ingredients
2 and 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter (you want it cold, maybe freeze a few min)
1 large egg, at room temperature
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
4 ounces Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh rosemary, chopped

Tools
Oven
Baking Sheet
Bowl
Spatula
Pastry Cutter OR Two Forks OR Your Hands

NOTE: When I made these I added in ham. It didn’t add anything tasty so I modified the recipe to remove it. But that is why the photos have random pink specs – just ignore them – I didn’t want to remake them just to take new pictures.

  1. Chop rosemary (smaller than I did). Grate cheese. Cut cold butter into small pieces.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°(F). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl add the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and brown sugar. Mix well to combine.
  4. Cut the butter into small cubes then quickly work it into the mixture (using your fingers, two forks, or a pastry cutter) until it resembles a coarse meal. To be 100% honestly I always end up using my fingers in the end, but I don’t own a pastry cutter.
  5. In a small bowl whisk together the egg and milk, beating well to combine.
  6. Add the liquid mixture to dry and use a fork to stir everything together until just moistened.
  7. Add in the Parmesan cheese and rosemary and gently fold them into dough with a spatula. Normally I would do this with my hands, but you are trying to keep the butter from getting too warm.
  8. Pour the dough out onto the baking sheet and shape into a circle.
  9. Cut the dough into 8 wedges and separate them on the baking sheet. They will grow some, but not a ton.
  10. Bake for 20ish minutes, or until the tops are lightly golden brown. Every oven is different so also check the bottoms to make sure they are not burning.
  11. Cool for a few minutes.
  12. Eat! Or freeze.
    NOTE #2: These taste their best warm (out of the oven) or heated up with some butter melted over them. I would not eat them room temp they get a little stodgy.
Prep! Cut the Rosemary smaller than this.
Mix all the dry ingredients.
Do that butter thing.
Add the wet.
Then stop touching it (if you are) and use a spatula for the rest. (don’t forget to ignore the ham – not worth it)
Dump and shape.
Cut and cook.
Eat! Warm and with some butter on top!

Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

Ingredients
1 box yellow cake mix (no judging)
1 box vanilla instant pudding
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
4 eggs
1 cup full fat sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp cinnamon
6 oz chocolate chips
3 tbsp sugar
1tsp flour

Tools
Oven
Spatula
Bowls
Mixer – any type (makes it faster/smoother but you can always hand mix)
Bundt Pan

  1. Preheat oven at 350
  2. Butter and flour the heck out of your bundt pan so that the cake comes out smoothly.
  3. Mix cake mix, instant pudding, oil, eggs, sour cream and vanilla with a mixer for about 3 minutes. You want it to look smooth.
  4. In separate container, mix chocolate chips, sugar, cinnamon and flour. The flour helps to float the chips in the cake so they don’t sink to the bottom.
  5. Pour half of the batter into the bundt pan.
  6. Sprinkle 2/3 of cinnamon mixture into the pan.
  7. Pour the rest of batter into the pan.
  8. Sprinkle the rest of mixture onto the top.
  9. Bake for 45 min to an hour. I would recommend testing it at 45 as different pans, and ovens, cook at different speeds.
  10. Let cool and pop out of pan.
  11. EAT!
Get yourself ready!
Use any mixer you have (or by hand)
Mix till smooth
Get those sweets ready
This was only 1/2 the sweets mix, it was not enough. Do 2/3rd!
Then the top layer.
And its done.
Oh yea.
Almost perfect
This is why you need more in the middle!

PB Banana Dog Treats

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups uncooked Oatmeal
1 large over ripe banana
1/2 cup Peanut Butter (no Xylitol — keep the doggies healthy)
Small amount of whole wheat/regular flour for rolling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grind your oats to powder with a food processor or blender.

Mash banana and then mix with peanut butter. It is ok to have small banana bits. Add in powdered oatmeal and mix until dough forms.

Roll out your dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut desired shapes.

Place cookies on parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes or until edges start to brown.

Cool completely and store in an airtight container for one week.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Ingredients
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
1/2 medium onion
1/4 cup flour (any kind)
2 cups half and half
2 cups chicken stock
3 cup(ish) broccoli (there is no way to get exactly 3 cups so just do your best)
1 cup(ish) carrots (same as broccoli)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
8 ounces sharp cheddar (buy in a block and grate)
salt
pepper

Tools
Stovetop
Large pot
Whisk
Knife
Cutting Board
Vegetable Peeler
Grater
Blender (any type)

  1. Dice the onion, cut the broccoli into bite size pieces (smaller cooks faster), and peel the carrots down to the core (the core is not as sweet so I throw that part out). You can also julienne the carrots but i find peeling way faster and they cook more evenly.
  2. Grate the cheese. NOTE:You want to grate the cheese vs buying already grated as pre-grated cheese contains preservatives like potato starch and natamycin, meant to keep the shreds from clumping together in the bag. That also means they don’t melt together as well when cooking. For this soup you want the cheese to melt really well.
  3. Melt the 1/4 cup butter and saute the onions in it until soft.
  4. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture. Cook and stir over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Whisk in the half & half and chicken stock.
  6. Add the broccoli and carrots. Cook over low heat for 20-25 minutes or until the broccoli and carrots are tender. Test the largest broccoli and when that is soft its done.
  7. Add salt and pepper. You can leave the soup chunky (I do not do) or blend that whole thing (that’s what I do) or half and half. Just depends on what consistency you want.
  8. Return to low heat and add the cheese. If your heat is too high your soup can get grainy. Stir in the nutmeg.
  9. EAT! Good for about a week of leftovers.
Get it all ready!
Saute the onions.

Add the broccoli and carrots
Add the broccoli and carrots
EAT!
EAT!
My nutmeg of choice.
Sprinkle in the flour.
Blend soup
Blend soup!
Carrots
The way I break the carrots down.
Whisk in the half & half and chicken stock.
Whisk in the half & half and chicken stock.
Add cheese on low.
Add cheese on low. Then add nutmeg.

Non Dairy Instant Pot Tomato Soup

Ingredients
1 sweet onion
4 garlic cloves
28 oz good canned tomatoes (diced or crushed is fine as long as it’s a good brand*)
8 oz vegetable juice
1 cup vegetable stock
2 tsp of olive oil
2 TBS Parmesan cheese (I highly recommending getting a block and grating it yourself vs buying already grated as that tends to contain non sticking agents and won’t melt as well into soup)
handful basil
salt to taste
pepper to taste

Tools
Instant Pot (you can also make this on the stove will just take a few hours)
Knife
Cutting Board
Blender (Immersion is ideal)

  1. Chop onion. Dice garlic. Grate Parmesan.
  2. Turn on the saute function of the Instant Pot (IP) and add in oil then onions with a bit of salt and saute till transparent (keep on eye on it the IP can heat up and burn the onions real fast)
  3. Add garlic and saute for a minute then turn off IP.
  4. Add in tomatoes (with any juice), vegetable juice and vegetable stock and stir with a bit more salt.
  5. Pressure cook on high for 3 minutes, then natural release for at least 15 minutes (if you go till the pin drops it won’t hurt it).
  6. Open the top and throw in the basil, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. The basil will turn brown – it’s fine just hot.
  7. If you have an immersion blender stick it in the pot and blend till smooth. If not wait till it cools a bit and blend in a traditional blender.
  8. Taste and add salt as needed to really bring out the flavor.
  9. EAT (or freeze and eat later)
Ingredients!
To be super clear on which button to use for the onions and garlic.
All warm and ready for some extra flavor.
Saute and smell those onions.
Getting ready to get pressurized together.

Then bring it all together!
EAT!!!