All Seasons

All Seasons, Condiments, Condiments/Sauces, Dairy Free, Fall, Gluten free, Low Sodium, Paleo/Primal, Spring, Summer, Vegetable, Winter

Proscuitto and Melon Spinach Salad

It was love at first site and first bite with this colorful and vibrant spinach salad that I first had at Pie for the People in Joshua Tree, CA. The sweet cantaloupe chunks and salty Italian dry-cured ham are nestled next to Guinness caramelized onions and raw red onions and served in a sweet vinaigrette.

This summer salad inspires you to slow down, pull up a chair to a table under a shady tree, pop open a crisp bottle of white wine and invite a handful of your favorite people to toast the blessing of your abundant life. Yes, truly..it does!

All Seasons, Appetizer, Dairy, Fall, Main, Pork, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer, Winter

Bacon and Cheddar Cheese Quiche

Serve with chopped walnut, pear and arugula salad with honey white balsamic vinaigrette-

This was a surprise hit as egg pies or quiches do not necessarily elicit much excitement unless you are in your local coffee shop looking for something healthier than scones to go with your just-perked java.
My youngest loved it so much she asked if she could have it for breakfast the next day. Because this is such an easy recipe to make with most of the time invested in waiting for it to bake, we whipped up another quiche, baked it, and cooled it all before her bedtime. My oldest daughter, who typically does not care for eggs, loved it, but was especially keen on the chopped walnut, pear and arugula salad, going back for seconds. The whole meal is a keeper!

All Seasons, Beef, Fall, Latin America, Main, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer, Winter

Beef Tamale Pie

Serve with a mixed green salad with balsamic vinaigrette-

Although tamale pie has its origins in the United States, most likely California, many American Hispanics prepare this ultimate comfort food. Not to be confused with Mexican tamales, tamale pie is a baked casserole of ground beef, cornmeal, tomatoes, olives and cheese. I simplified the original recipe, which calls for preparing cornmeal and pouring it into the bottom of a pie dish and again topping the beef mixture with more cornmeal, by substituting a corn muffin mix. A simple side salad completes this family-friendly meal.

All Seasons, American, Beef, Dairy Free, Fall, Gluten free, Main, Paleo/Primal, Slow Cooker, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer, Winter

Slow Cooker Hickory Smoked BBQ Short Ribs

Do you have a craving for BBQ ribs, but no time to precook them, bake them, and then grill them? No problem, as this slow cooker does it all for you. It’s finger-licking, fall-off-the-bone good and pairs perfectly with cornbread, coleslaw and an ice cold beer (fresh lemonade for the kids).

All Seasons, American, Beans/Legumes, Dairy Free, Fall, Gluten free, Main, Sides, Slow Cooker, Spring, Summer, Winter

Slow Cooker Baked Beans

This is my whole foods version of baked beans that can be eaten as a main dish; a little bit tangy and a little bit sweet. Serve this with a side of greens, homemade cole slaw or a crispy salad. I like it over brown rice, but a warm loaf of baked bread or dinner rolls, and chunks of cheese would also suffice.

All Seasons, American, Beef, Dairy Free, Fall, Main, Slow Cooker, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer, Winter

Slow Cooker French Dipped Sandwiches

If you happen to be in Los Angeles you must make a stop into Phillipe the Original in Chinatown for the best French dipped sandwiches. While all their versions are pretty yummy (lamb, roast pork, turkey or ham) it’s their classic roast beef French dip that is iconic LA food and I had to recreate the sandwich at home for when the craving just needs to be satisfied. This is the restaurant’s classic recipe adapted for the slow cooker. Much cheaper than a plane ticket!

All Seasons, Asian, Beef, Dairy Free, Fall, Gluten free, Main, Paleo / Primal, Paleo/Primal, Slow Cooker, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer, Winter

Slow Cooker Asian Beef and Broccoli

A bit of a twist on a popular Chinese dish, which is typically made with sirloin strips, this slow cooker version uses more economical and fuss-free lean ground beef. This is a staple for my family on Tuesday piano practice night when we come in late and need dinner in a hurry. I prepare my rice in a rice cooker just before we leave and keep it on warm for our return.

All Seasons, Beef, Dairy Free, Fall, Gluten free, Latin America, Main, Paleo/Primal, Slow Cooker, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer, Winter

Slow Cooker Picadillo, Cuban-Style

Being transplanted to Tampa over 20 years ago has opened my eyes to the culinary wonders of Cuban food: black beans and rice, Cuban sandwiches, arroz con pollo (chicken and rice), café con leche, and this dish, Picadillo. Tampa’s Cuban community originated in the late 1800s in what is now Ybor City, named after its founder, Vicente Martinez Ybor, and continues to be a huge cultural and culinary influence on the City of Tampa.

I found this history of picadillo from Tampa’s Junior League, a philanthropic and social organization that, among other things, is famous for its locally-based cookbooks, which have graced Tampa kitchen counters since 1961: The name comes from the Spanish word “picar,” meaning “to chop” or “to mince,” and it seems that many Latin American countries have their own twist on the basic ground beef recipe. In Mexico, it’s sweetened with honey, giving it a teriyaki-like taste. In Puerto Rico, it is used as the filling for empanadas and can include cheese, ham and rum-soaked raisins. In the Dominican Republic, picadillo can include hard-boiled egg and a bouillon cube. The Cuban version is a balance of sweet-salty due to the pimento-stuffed olives, capers, vinegar and raisins.

All Seasons, Dairy Free, Fall, Gluten free, Lamb, Main, Middle Eastern, Paleo/Primal, Slow Cooker, Spring, Stews, Sugar Free, Summer, Winter

Slow Cooker Wash Day Stew

In Iran it is typical to prepare this dish when it is wash day. The traditional way to make this meal is very early in the morning you make a fire in a large rock-lined pit outside the house. A large covered kettle is filled with the ingredients and placed over the coals to cook slowly all day. At the end of a day of doing laundry the food was ready with minimal preparation.

This slow cooking recipe lends itself beautifully to a slow cooker and I have also simplified by substituting cooked, canned beans for dried ones. It is served strained through a slotted spoon and scooped into pita bread but I like to spoon it over a whole grain like couscous, quinoa or rice.