Friday, December 4, 2020

Easy and Delicious: Pasta with Muir Glen Organic Pasta Sauce

It's December, people. It gets dark early. It is cold. There is a plague of COVID-19 roaring around the country. In these times, it is important to eat well. And a hot, comforting bowl of pasta fits right into the need for cozy, nourishing food that tastes great but doesn't take too much work.

When serving pasta, I'm a big fan of making my own pasta sauce. But we all know that there are some days when that just isn't going to happen. But because the dinner show must go on, it becomes handy to have a jar of sauce in the pantry that you can rely upon.

For me, that jar is Muir Glen Organic Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce. It has a lovely taste, color and texture. When heating it up, I may add a little chopped garlic, red pepper flakes, and even a bit of butter. Last night we had a simple dinner of raw clams on the half shell, and a plate of fresh linguini from the market tossed with Muir Glen pasta sauce and topped with grated parmesan cheese. With a glass of red wine, it was an easy, yummy, December dinner.

Check it out for your dinner rotation.

Easy Pasta Dinner Shopping List

A package of fresh linguini from the market.

Muir Glen Organic Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce

Clams on the half shell or shrimp cocktail on the side, or perhaps diced white meat from a rotisserie chicken tossed into the sauce.

To grate over the pasta and sauce, Parmesan or a combination of cheeses such as one part of either Emmentaler, Gruyere or Edam combined with and an equal sized part of either mozzarella or fontina.

A plate of olives and pepperoncini on the table is fun, too. Or sprinkle a few capers around the side of the pasta bowl to make it pretty.

As always, links to Amazon are provided for your convenience. As an Amazon Associate, I may receive a small commission if, after clicking a link, you subsequently make a purchase. Thank you!

Friday, October 16, 2020

Simple Vinaigrette for a Green Salad

An easy way to elevate a meal is by adding a simple green salad as a side dish. Keep the following items on your permanent grocery list and a salad is quick and easy to put together:

  • A package of your favorite greens 
  • An addition such as a tomato, cucumber, or red onion
  • Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast
  • A package of croutons (or make your own if you have more time). 
After you assemble the greens with diced tomato, thinly sliced cucumber or thinly sliced red onion, top it off with an easy vinaigrette dressing. I like to mix together vinaigrettes in a small, glass jar with a lid, such as a half-pint, 8-ounce Ball jar. After the dressing is on the greens, top the salad with the croutons and a few gratings of cheese or a sprinkle of nutritional yeast

Simple Vinaigrette

  • 3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil, such as Olio Santo
  • 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. dry mustard
  • Freshly ground pepper
Combine oil, vinegar, lemon juice, dry mustard, salt and pepper in a glass jar. When you are ready to serve the salad, stir the vinaigrette vigorously until well combined, pour it over the greens, and then add croutons.

As the old saying goes, we eat first with our eyes. A green salad on the table, particularly in winter, is a treat to the eye and a crunchy, delicious compliment to a meal. 

As always, links to Amazon are provided for your convenience. As an Amazon Associate, I may receive a small commission if, after clicking a link, you subsequently make a purchase. Thank you!

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Easy Chocolate Snacking Cake (No Eggs. No Dairy.)

Yes, this is the frosted top. Trust me, there is yummy cake below the surface.

It's the wacky cake! The light, easy-breezy treat that miraculously appears when baking soda, vinegar, canola oil and other common ingredients are brought together in your mixing bowl and baked up in the oven. Is this what you want to serve the queen on her birthday? Maybe not. But for an ordinary afternoon with coffee, it is delicious. I particularly like the addition of cinnamon to this chocolate flavored cake.

Mix it up!


1-1/2 cups AP flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbs. white vinegar
5 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 cup cold water


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil an 8 x 8 cake pan.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

Using the back of a large spoon, create three wells in the flour mixture. Pour the vanilla in one well, the vinegar in another, and the vegetable oil in the last well. Pour the cold water over all the ingredients and stir to combine.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, being sure to check the cake at the earliest time. Use the toothpick test: Insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If the cake is finished, it should come out clean or with just crumbs -- no batter.

Sift confectioners sugar over the cake and serve with ice cream. Or top it with frosting, such as the one below.


1 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tbs. butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 - 3 tsps. milk (more as needed)
Cake / cookie sprinkles

Melt the butter. Combine the sugar and cocoa powder. Stir the melted butter and vanilla into the sugar mixture. Add milk, a teaspoon at a time, until mixture gets to spreading consistency. Spread over cooled cake. Definitely add some colorful cake sprinkles if you have them!


If you have a box of this, you are on your way to cake.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Chicken Tacos Tonight

Chicken tacos are so easy. I like to bake chicken thighs in the oven, covered in my favorite salsa. The chicken is carefully shredded right in the baking pan. Then everyone fills crispy taco shells to suit their taste: chicken, lettuce, shredded cheese, olives, green onions, and more.

To bake the chicken, I follow the tips set forth in this article from The Kitchen: How to Cook Boneless Thighs in the Oven (425 degrees / 20 minutes / internal temperature of 165).

Tacos tonight. TGIF!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Marshmallow Crispy Bars

Marshmallow Crispy Bars

A classic summertime treat is upgraded with browned butter, vanilla, brown sugar and fine grey sea salt.


4 ounces butter
10.5 ounces marshmallows
2 Tbs. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
6 ounces crispy cereal (I use Nature's Path whole grain brown rice cereal)
1/4 tsp. fine grey sea salt


Butter an 8 x 8 inch pan.

In a large sauce pan, brown the butter over medium-low heat: After the butter melts, it will turn frothy, then golden in color, and then finally brown in color with a nutty smell.

Turn off the heat. Add the marshmallows, brown sugar and vanilla to the pan and stir until the ingredients are well combined and the marshmallows have melted.

Add the crispy cereal and sea salt and stir to combine.

Lightly press the mixture into the prepared pan; do not press so hard as to turn the bars into bricks! The goal is tall, chewy bars.

Let the bars cool. And then enjoy!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Fresh Cranberry Galette

Galette: What is it? It's no stress, one crust pie. Here is a free-wheeling version made using a bag of frozen, fresh cranberries that I found in our freezer, and based upon a recipe from


1 pie crust, rolled out thin (about 1/8")
1/2 cup toasted pecans
(Note: Toast nuts at 350 degrees for 6-7 minutes; cut into smaller pieces when cool)
1 bag of cranberries
(Note: If frozen, then use frozen, but rinse in cold water before using. Yes, some ice may form; break it up, and any clumps)
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar
1/2 Tbs. AP flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1 tbs orange juice
1 Tbs. unsalted butter


Heat the oven to 350. Roll out a pie crust and place it into a 9-inch pie pan, allowing the dough to hang over the sides of the pan. In a medium sized bowl, combine the nuts, cranberries, sugar, flour, spices and orange juice. Pour the filling into the pie plate. Dot the filling with butter, and then fold the crust's hanging edges into the pan, over the fruit. With a pastry brush, lightly brush the crust with water and then sprinkle with sugar.

Bake the galette for 1 hour, or until the crust is brown and the filling is bubbly.


Friday, March 3, 2017

Chicken Marinade

In anticipation of making chicken parmesana, I marinaded chicken breasts using the recipe below. The chicken was excellent, very moist and flavorful. Give this a try!

For 1 pound of chicken:

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
3 garlic cloves, rough chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
A pinch of sugar

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Add chicken and marinate in refrigerator for 6 hours.

Adapted from The New York Times.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Chocolate Cake : Pastel de Chocolate

Chocolate cake with Mexican flair? Si, por favor! This recipe, adapted from 1,000 Mexican Recipes by Marge Poore, makes one 9-inch round cake that is moist and flavorful. Additionally, it is mixed in a food processor, which is quick and easy.


3/4 cup AP flour
1 tsp aluminum-free baking powder (aluminum-free stuff brings better flavor to baked goods, IMO)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
One 4-ounce bar of Ghirardelli 60% Cacao chocolate, chopped into pieces
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup boiling water
3 large eggs (I like organic eggs)
1/4 cup best unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla (I make my own; you?)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan, and then line the bottom with parchment paper. In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon).

Have the boiling water at the ready. Place the chocolate and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and then pulse until the chocolate is very fine. While the processor is running, pour the hot water through the feed tube, keeping the processor on until the chocolate melts. Turn the processor off, add the three eggs, and then process for 20 seconds. After scraping the bowl, add the butter, sour cream and vanilla. Again, process for 20 seconds. Add the flour mixture and pulse until the ingredients are just mixed, 7 or 8 times.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and then bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes. A cake tester inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean when the cake is done.

Allow the baked cake to cool on a rake for 5 minutes. Remove it from the pan and then continue cooling the cake on the rake.

Frost with your favorite chocolate icing after the cake is cool.