It's Spring

Although the calendar indicates that it is Spring, I haven’t seen any signs of Spring as yet, but hopefully the snowy weather will be only a memory in a few days.  Although I do remember a few snowy Easter Sundays in the past.

Easter Sunday 2015    Up State NewYork

I have been happily busy enjoying some family celebrations which began on the 18th with the christening of my eighth great grandchild and seated on my lap is my ninth great granddaughter who was born in January and my tenth great grandchild is due in August> It was a beautiful service and the reception was wonderful with most of the family in attendance.  Fun was had by all the little ones, who usually do not have the opportunity to see each other that often. Of course there always has to be a Nana-Nana photo with all the kiddies. I am at the age were I really am not fond of photos, but to make everyone happy I go along with it. Actually, I never know where to look when they yell smile, because the parents are all in a long line with their phones.  Anyway this was the result!

I spent another busy week beginning on Friday evening with an impromptu veggie pizza and cake 16th birthday celebration for my grandson and at the last minute I made a roasted cauliflower tray with a blue cheese dipping sauce.  Honestly, it was so tasty and every bit was devoured. So on Saturday, when I had unexpected company I made the roasted cauliflower again and added some roasted broccoli and because it was a sheet pan recipe, it was quick and easy with very little clean up.  Next time I will make sure that I have on hand some chicken thighs or wings with barbecue sauce to add to the sheet pan, which would be a very easy way to create a very tasty party tray. Hey, I might even add some stuff mushrooms too. “I’M JUST LOVIN THESE SHEET PAN MEALS.”

While I am the subject of cauliflower and broccoli, which are included in that long list of cruciferous vegetables that are in good supply of disease fighting vitamins and nutrients 

Including Vitamins  C, E, K; folate, minerals, and carotenoids, including beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Also included in the list are arugula, bok choy, broccoli sprouts, collard greens, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, radishes, rutabagas, watercress and wasabi.

It has been noted that consuming cruciferous vegetables often may contribute to having a lower risk of developing cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, endometrium, stomach, lungs, ovaries, pancreas, prostate and kidneys.  Bottom line, cruciferous are certainly healthy and delicious.

Although, no complicated recipe is really needed for roasting vegetables and the procedure is usually the same for all vegetables and the only change would be the seasonings that you would use.  Simple follow the recipe below and make the necessary changes.

Roasted Cauliflower

1 head of cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets

3 medium garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup Virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons  lemon juice

Salt and pepper, to taste

¼ cup Panko Italian seasoned bread crumbs

Parmesan cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Mix cauliflower and garlic in a large bowl. Drizzle oil and lemon juice over the cauliflower and season with salt and pepper and toss mixture to coat the cauliflower.  Springle on the Panko crumbs and again toss gently to coat the mixture. Spread on sheet pan and roast for 15 minutes. Turn cauliflower over and roast for 15 more minutes. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese if desired.

Lately I have been reading articles about the high cost of food along with ideas on how to create healthy and tasty meals on a budget and how not to waste food.  Of course in most of the articles they make reference of using leftovers to make what was once referred to as “Second Hand Dishes.” It is no secret that there is so much perfectly good food wasted in households today because the “I don’t eat leftovers” statement rules the nest.  Yes, perhaps it is a throwback from their childhood, when left overs were the same old, same old food every day, but today there are so many options that you have when it comes to using leftovers.  I personally like to prepare two meals a week that I know will supply me with a reasonable amount of left overs to be able to creatively create two more meals for the week. With this in mind, I am going to share with you two meals that were made with some leftovers and some sale items.

A few weeks ago I had some corn beef left over from my St. Patrick’s day dinner and a few potatoes, certainly not enough for a complete dinner, but enough to make a delicious “Second Hand Dinner.” I also had three large slices of rye bread, a can of sauerkraut in my pantry, an almost empty bottle of Thousand Island Dressing and a few slices of Swiss cheese in the refrigerator.  Just like the rebirth of the dump cakes I have been seeing versions of this recipe on Facebook, however I made my version of it in the 80’s for my oldest daughter’s bridal shower.

Corn Beef Casserole

Sauerkraut, rinsed and simmered with water, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper

Rye bread slices, made into crumbs or crumbled

Butter or Smart Balance

Leftover corn beef shredded or sliced thin


Thousand Island Dressing

Swiss cheese, shredded if you prefer

Aluminum foil

*This casserole ingredients are layered as if making a Reuben sandwich. I did not specify ingredient amounts because that would be determined by the amount of leftovers you are working with.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Lightly grease a casserole to accommodate your ingredients. I made individual servings,

Rinse sauerkraut and add a small amount of water and seasonings. Simmer for 5 minutes, drain and reserve. Melt butter or Smart Balance and add bread crumbs. Press bread crumbs in bottom of casserole.  Add the corn beef and spread with a thin layer of mustard. Layer the sauerkraut, then the Thousand Island Dressing and finally the Swiss cheese. Spray foil lightly with cooking spray, cover casserole and cook for 15 minutes. Remove foil, cook until cheese melts and ingredients are warm.  Enjoy!

I used the potatoes to make home fries in my  Air Fryer!

Ravioli Lasagna with Italian Chicken Sausage

This quick and easy recipe was always one of my go to recipes because you could make it so many different ways and it was very inexpensive to prepare and easy because we use cheese ravioli instead of ricotta cheese and lasagna noodles. I already had my homemade sauce left over from a previous meal and some leftover mozzarella and parmesan cheese-although you certainly can use your favorite jar sauce at your supermarket, which are always on sale.  Actually all the items I used were on sale. I was lucky, I hit a buy 1-get 1 free day.

1 package Italian Chicken Sausage*

3-4 cups pasta sauce

1 large bag square cheese ravioli-you may need more depending on the size of the ravioli

Parmesan cheese

Mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a large skillet lightly with cooking spray and add sausage and brown on all sides. Remove to drain on paper towels. Thinly slice sausage and reserve.

Spread a thin layer of pasta sauce in a 9 x 13 -inch baking pan and cover with a layer of ravioli.  Add a layer of pasta sauce and a layer of sausage and sprinkle with the parmesan and a layer of mozzarella cheese. Make 1 or 2 more layers ending with a layer of pasta sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan and mozzarella cheese.  Bake for 30 minutes until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melting and beginning to turn brown. Add vegetables instead of meat for a vegetarian dish. Great with spinach and mushrooms.

*You can substitute Italian sausage, or ground meat or turkey for the chicken sausage.


In the Creative Corner today is Me just want to wish everyone a Blessed Easter and hope your day will be a memorable one.

My lamb cake made in my mom's antique lamb mold.

OOPS!  Sorry folks, planned to post this update before Easter, but arrived home late from my visit to my daughters and after I read the pile of mail that I neglected for a few days and watched the news and the weather report, I retired for the night.  In the morning this is what I saw when I pulled up my shade in the bedroom. DEPRESSING! More depressing is the report of 6 to 7 days of cold weather.

Well, I will just say what I usually say in the beginning of March, although we just celebrated Easter and it is the beginning of April. I am just going to say it-THINK SPRING!  Perhaps this beautiful photo by Nature Photographer Lisa Cox will help.

DISCLAIMER - is to supply my readers with timely nutritional and medical information and suggestions for healthier food choices and recipes and is not intended to give personal medical advice, which should be obtained from your personal physician.