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Creamy Lemony Vegetable Pasta Salad

March is the month most of us are really, really, ready for Spring.  And, in Minnesota, it is often a long time in coming! We are anxious to shed our three layers of clothing and enjoy some of the wonderful warm days ahead. Also, we find ourselves digging out our healthy recipes that will help us face the drudges of what the brutal long winter sometimes does to our bodies. Therefore, I thought I would share this delicious, nutritious, recipe full of veggies and a cinch to make. Enjoy!


  • 1 lb. Pasta (any variety) 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • Garlic clove minced (optional)
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • Veggies of your choice, I like peas, corn and broccoli
  • 1/2 cup nuts (optional) I like almonds


  1. Cook the pasta as directed on the box
  2. Whisk the mayo, oil, and lemon juice and zest, salt & pepper in a large bowl
  3. Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water until completely cooled.
  4. Add the pasta and vegetables of choice to the mayo mixture. Taste and adjust your seasonings to your liking.
  5. Can be refrigerated up to four days or enjoy immediately!

The Best Rice Pudding

The Best Rice Pudding

Ingredients Bake in a 350 ◦oven 

1 cup rice, cooked

½ cup sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

2 cups whole milk or one cup whole milk and one cup half & half (depending how rich you want the custard

¼ cup raisins, optional

Salt to taste and 1 teas. Vanilla 


In a two quart casserole dish, beat the two eggs with a whisk

Add the sugar and whisk some more

Add the rice and stir it so there are no clumps of rice 

Add a pinch of salt and vanilla and raisins

Set the casserole dish in a pan larger than the dish. The pan should have two inch sides to hold one inch of hot water. Add the hot water carefully into the large pan. Bake for 55 minutes


Fruit Pizza

Fruit Pizza

This is kind of “fruity”…but I had to do! We are talking about the Fruit of the Spirit this month. I know, I know it’s not the same kind of fruit, and next month we will share more about that. But, is there anything tastier than fruit on a hot summer day? Well, add a crust and it’s really a winner! You may not care for all varieties of fruit, but you get to choose which fruit you want to work together in this dessert pie. It is not only colorful but is delicious! I believe you will be hooked once you try this easy-peasy recipe. 


  1. 16 oz. refrigerated sugar cookie dough – for the crust layer
  1. 0z. cream cheese – it makes the best frosting

(1/4) cup granulated sugar – to sweeten the frosting

(1/2) tsp. vanilla extract – for flavor. 

(4) cups fresh fruit – the highlight of the recipe. It adds so much flavor and color!

   (1/4) cup apricot preserves – for a nice sheen 

How to Make Fruit Pizza

  • Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a rimmed 12-inch pizza pan, line with parchment and butter.
  • Crumble cookie dough over prepared pizza pan and spread into an even layer to completely cover bottom of pan.
  • Bake 13 – 14 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.
  • In a mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer whip cream cheese with sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Spread evenly over cooled crust.
  • Cut up fruit and top in a pretty design on the cream cheese mixture.
  • Whisk together apricot preserves with enough water (1 TBSP) to easily brush over the fruit mixture. You can serve right away or chill awhile for later, however use the same day prepared.

Enjoy! ~ submitted by Mary Zigan

May Salad




30 Minutes Easy


Four-Six 45 Minutes


  • 1 cup Quinoa, Uncooked
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 4 Tablespoons Land O Lakes® Salted Butter
  • 1/2 whole Red Onion, Peeled and Cut Into Large Chunks
  • 1/2 whole Butternut Squash, Peeled, Seeded, and Cut Into Large Chunks
  • 2 whole Large Carrots, Peeled, Halved, and Cut Into 1-inch Pieces
  • 2 whole Large Parsnips, Peeled, Halved, and Cut Into 1-inch Pieces
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 4 Tablespoons Pine Nuts
  • 6 ounces, weight Baby Arugula Leaves
  • 1 cup Parmesan Shavings, Divided
  • Lemon


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare quinoa according to directions. Set it aside to cool. 

In a small skillet over medium-low heat, melt the butter with the garlic. Turn off the heat and allow it to sit for 5 minutes.

Arrange the vegetables on a large rimmed baking sheet. Pour over half of the garlic butter, sprinkle on salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Roast the vegetables for 35 to 40 minutes, tossing occasionally, until they’re nice and deep golden brown. Remove them from the oven and set them aside to cool slightly. 

Add the pine nuts to the same skillet over low heat and toast them for 5 to 7 minutes, tossing occasionally, until light golden brown. Set aside. 

Place cooked, cooled quinoa in a large bowl. Toss in the roasted vegetables and half the Parmesan shavings. Squeeze lemon in the remaining melted garlic butter and add to roasted vegetables. Toss in the arugula (it will wilt slightly) and the pine nuts, then sprinkle the rest of the Parmesan on top. Serve hot or cold. ENJOY!

Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, has partnered with Land O’ Lakes for exclusive endorsement of Land O’ Lakes Butter. This blog post is sponsored by Land O’ Lakes.

Chinese Chicken Salad

March seems to be an unpredictable month in Minnesota. We could have the winter blizzard of the century, or we could have a spring thaw, or both. It’s a teaser month, a month that feels like, “I’m ready for spring, which translated means, I’m ready to shed winter clothes. I’m ready to get to the lake…up North, or today as I write, I’m ready for a crunchy salad recipe.”  I think you will love this one. It is quick and easy, crunchy and comforting.

Crunchy Chinese Chicken Salad

2 large chicken breasts cooked, cooled, and cubed

2 cups of cooked rice

About one cup celery, sliced thin

Mandarin oranges (small can) drained well…reserve the juice

Chow Mein noodles, a couple handfuls

Mayo dressing and French dressing

½ teas. Curry powder

Mix the above 3 ingredients together. In another dish take a large scoop of Mayo and about 2 Tbsp. of French dressing and stir together. Add the Curry powder. Thin this mixture all down with a small amount of Mandarin juice…..maybe one Tbsp. Stir this dressing mixture into the first 3 ingredients. When you feel the consistency is right, gently add the drained oranges and Chow Mein noodles. There should be enough noodles to add crunch, color and consistency. If you are not eating the salad immediately, wait until you are ready to eat, then add the noodles. You may also add some Cashews for garnish just before eating.

~ Enjoy!  

Pumpkin Loaf

It is definitely Pumpkin season! The offerings are prevalent. There are pumpkin flavored coffees, pumpkin cookies and cakes, pumpkin soup, and one more…..I am going to share my pumpkin loaf recipe. This pumpkin treat can be eaten at breakfast with butter or as a dessert with cinnamon ice cream for dinner. Yum! This recipe is an easy one bowl, no mess, delicious offering for any occasion. Enjoy


Pumpkin Loaf


2 c. sugar                                                   4 eggs

1 c. oil                                                         2 c. canned pumpkin

3 c. flour                                                    1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. baking powder                           ½ tsp. allspice & nutmeg

2 tsp. soda                                                1 tsp. cinnamon

½ c. walnuts, chopped                         1 ½ c. raisins


Beat together sugar, eggs, oil and pumpkin. Sift together all dry ingredients and add to the wet mixture. Add the nuts and raisins. Turn into 2 large or 3 small loaves. Bake one hour at 325.

~ Mary Zigan


The Best Tomato Soup

Wow! Where did summer go? Seems like the weather dropped 20 degrees overnight from a hot humid 92◦ to a comfortable sleep with windows open. I would say fall is upon us in all its glory. The leaves are turning a golden color, the smell of bonfires is in the air, and the soup kettle is simmering on the stove as I write. I think you will enjoy this recipe. It is not complicated, but hearty and healthy.


The Best Tomato Soup


14 oz. can of crushed tomatoes (or from summer surplus in the garden)

28 oz. can of peeled tomatoes

2 Tbsp. chopped Basil

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 onion and 4 cloves of garlic

4 cups of chicken stock

1 cup of whole milk

1 cup of 1/2 & ½ cream

Tbsp. butter

1/4 cup flour

1 (oz. fresh) tortellini (I like with cheese)



Sauté the onion in melted butter right in a soup pot. Add the garlic, salt and basil the last few minutes of the sauté process. Add the chicken stock and tomatoes, when gently simmering, add the flour, with about 1/3 cup of the milk, whisking to make it smooth. Slowly stir this mixture into the pot.  Allow the soup to simmer for about an hour. The last ½ hour add the rest of the milk, cream, and the tortellini until the tortellini is cooked through.

(The milk, cream and broth can be adjusted to your own likeness in richness and thickness.)


Enjoy with a leafy green salad and Parmesan crusted bread


Mary’s Simple, Exquisite Summer Quiche

Mary’s Simple, Exquisite Summer Quiche    

August is the season for fresh produce. Gardens are plentiful with onions, tomatoes, and corn. So my thinking is: “Why not serve foods fresh from the garden during this time of harvest?” Last week I had guests for brunch and served this tasty quiche. I hope you enjoy it.

Crust: You may want to buy the pie crust; however, check our October 2013 Archives for my easy peasy, pat in the pan crust that is yummy.



Saute in 1 Tbsp. of oil until lightly browned

½ cup scallions, diced

2 Poblano peppers, diced

3 ears of corn, cut off cob


Beat together in a separate bowl:

5 eggs

1 cup ½ & ½

pinch of salt, pepper, red pepper flakes & chopped basil



½ Cotija cheese and add shredded Quattro Formaggio (any kind of cheese will work)


Mix all ingredients together and pour into the pie crust. For garnish, slice a fresh tomato very thin and place each slice in circle onto the filling ingredients, reserving one slice for the middle. Bake 375 for 35-45 minutes.



Lemon Bites

There is no better way to celebrate the month of May than with a No-Bake dessert; especially a lemon dessert. Lemons make the lightest and most refreshing indulgence. What is so nice about this dessert is it can be made in individual servings of 4-6, so there is not a 9×12 pan full of yum sitting around to tempt when only a few people are gathering.

Make and refrigerate this treat at least 3 hours in advance and eat the same day.




  • 12 Lemon Oreo Cookies crushed into crumbs
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • zest of two lemons
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons lemon Jello powder
  • 1 (8 ounce) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed (see note below)


  1. Evenly divide the crumbs between your individual serving dishes and press into the bottoms of the dishes to form a crust layer.
  2. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth.
  3. Add lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla and mix to combine.
  4. Sprinkle the Jello powder onto the cream cheese mixture and mix on medium-high speed until thoroughly combined.
  5. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the whipped topping until well blended and no streaks remain.
  6. Evenly pipe or spoon the filling into individual serving dishes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
  7. If desired, garnish with additional whipped topping and lemon wedges.


                                                Recipe compliments of


Killer Kale Salad

Are you ready for some “Greens”?  Not more Christmas greens, but beginning the new year with a huge delicious salad?  I, Mary, turn to The Pioneer Woman, Ree, after the Christmas bulge. Her recipes are quick, nutritious, and easy. Enjoy!

Killer Kale Salad

Prep: 10 Minutes Level: Easy
Cook: 25 Minutes Serves: 6


  • 4 slices Thin Bacon, Cut Into Bits
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 whole Medium Red Onion, Halved and Sliced
  • 8 ounces, weight White Mushrooms, Sliced
  • 1/2 cup White Wine
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 4 ounces, weight Goat Cheese Crumbled
  • 3/4 cups Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dried Thyme Leaves
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 1 bunch Kale



Fry the bacon bits until slightly crisp. Drain on a paper towel.

Pour out most of the grease and add the butter to the skillet. Add the onions and cook them over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until soft. Remove them to a plate. Add the mushrooms, stir, then add the wine, and salt and pepper. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook the mushrooms for several minutes, until most of the wine has evaporated and the mushrooms are soft. Remove them from the heat and set them aside.

Add the olive oil, vinegar, thyme, salt, and pepper to a mason jar and shake it to combine.

Remove the kale leaves from the stalks, then roll them up in batches and slice very thinly. Place the kale in a bowl. Add half the dressing and toss. Then add mushrooms, onions, and bacon and toss again. Finally, add the goat cheese and more dressing if needed, and toss. (Reserve extra dressing for another use.)

Serve it up and enjoy!

Ree | The Pioneer Woman