Savory Parmesan Rosemary Waffles


Last Christmas, I received a Cuisinart Griddler.  I love it!  It is great for Panini’s, cooking meat like chicken or burgers and even grilling veggies like zucchini and asparagus.  I found that I could purchase waffle plates to swap out and since I didn’t oven a waffle iron, I decided to make the purchase.  These savory waffles were actually my first time using them.  I’m not a huge breakfast fan (unless it is a taylor ham, egg and cheese) so of course I would first decide to try a savory dish.  Well, they came out great.  The rosemary is not overpowering and the parmesan adds just enough cheesiness.  Now, I would imagine that not everyone owns the Cuisinart Griddler with waffle plates and might actually just own a true waffle iron.  So my suggestion is to double check with the manufacturer’s directions on actually cooking the waffles.  I give times for what worked for me, but feel free to adjust for your own appliance.

These waffles act great as the bread of a sandwich or even served alongside eggs during brunch.  They are light and fluffy and have just enough of a savory flavor to satisfy that craving.  So, enjoy, and make the first bite count!


Total Time:  40 minutes

Servings:  16 waffles



2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon sugar

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 cups milk (I used skim)

1/2 cup olive oil

Non-stick cooking spray



1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper.  Add the Parmesan and rosemary and stir to combine.

3.  In a small bowl, combine the eggs and milk and whisk to combine.  While whisking, slowly add the olive oil to blend.

4.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.

5.  Lightly coat your waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray and set it to heat up according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

6.  When the waffle iron is preheated, give the batter a good whisk and add about a cup to the center.  Use a heat resistant spatula and spread the batter until all parts are just covered.

7.  Close your waffle iron and cook according to manufacturer’s directions.  On my appliance, it took about 5-6 minutes to cook through.  When waffles are to desired doneness, gently remove them to a baking sheet lined with an oven-proof rack placed on top.

8.  Repeat steps 5-7 until all batter has been used.  Place baking sheet in oven for about 10 minutes to add that extra crispness to the outside of the waffle.  This is also a good way to reheat the waffles if you are not using them right away.  Enjoy!


Adapted from Cuisinart Recipe Book

Bonefish Grill Citrus Herb Vinaigrette


Luckily, there is a Bonefish Grill restaurant right around the corner from our house.  I love their food, everything from the salad to the bread to the bang-bang shrimp.  It’s all amazing :)  Unfortunately, going there for dinner every night of the week will wear on the wallet.  One of my favorite things, even though so simple, is their salad with the house dressing.  It is a citrus herb vinaigrette that is light and delicious all at the same time.  I was browsing the internet one day and came across a recipe for such a dressing.  It tastes almost identical.  Really… you have to try it.  You can certainly use it on any salad even as simple as lettuce and croutons, but I love pairing it with the bonefish grill salad:  lettuce, toasted pine nuts, tomatoes, kalamata olives, and feta cheese, just divine.  And this dressing is so easy to throw together, just remember to allow enough time for it to chill in the fridge before serving.  Make the first bite count!




Total Time: 65 minutes

Servings:  about 1 and 1/2 cups



2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup sugar

3 Tablespoons water

2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar

4 teaspoons minced garlic

1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lime juice

2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper



1.  In a small microwave-safe bowl, whisk together all ingredients.

2.  Microwave the combined ingredients for 1 minute on High.

3.  Remove the bowl from the microwave and whisk constantly for 1 minute to blend all ingredients.

4.  Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour to chill before serving.


Adapted from Epicurious

Homemade Peanut Butter Oatmeal Dog Treats


I love being in the kitchen and whipping up something delicious.  My dog, Hurley, also loves when I’m in the kitchen cooking because he gets to eat up all the little bits that might fall to the floor.  But sometimes I am actually making him a little treat.  I adapted these treats from a website I saw and they came out great.  Using all natural ingredients for a healthy treat, my dog gobbles these up.  Although, I have to admit, he is a lab and they eat just about anything.   But I have given them as gifts to friends and family with dogs and they eat them up just the same, so they must be good.

Not only is there delicious peanut butter and oatmeal but this recipe also calls for parsley.  The parsley is supposed to help with the bad breath that dogs so easily get.  I’m not sure it’s a miracle cure, but I think it helps take the edge off a little.  Also, I specifically bought whole wheat flour to use for these treats because it is healthier.  Since my dog doesn’t eat any table food, I was a little nervous about using white flour and what that might to his digestive system.  So far, on these whole wheat peanut oatmeal treats, my dog has not had any issues.  So try these treats and see how your dog likes them!  Make the first bite count (for your dog)!


Total Time:  50 minutes

Servings: about 25 treats



2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup oats

1/2 cup non-fat dry milk

1 tablespoon dried parsley

2 large eggs

1/2 cup water + more if dough is too dry

1 cup peanut butter

bone-shaped cookie cutter



1.  Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Lightly spray 2 large cookie sheets.

2.  In a large bowl combine the first 4 ingredients.

3.  In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and water together.  Add eggs/water mixture and peanut butter to the dry mixture.  Using a spoon or your hands, combine all ingredients.  If dough seems a little dry, add more water a tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together.

4.  Flour a flat surface and flour a rolling pin.  Roll out the dough to about a 1/4 inch thickness.  Use the cookie cutter to cut out treats and place them on the greased cookie sheet.  The treats will not spread out when cooking so they can be close together on the cookie sheet.  When you run out of room to cut out more treats, combine the dough remnants into a ball and roll it out again.  Cut treats and then repeat until all the dough is used.

5.  Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown and crisp.  Store in an airtight container.


Adapted from Hub Pages website

Baked Pasta with Italian Sausage

Baked-Pasta-with-Sausage-3Pasta is a great family dinner because it is easy to prepare, delicious and cost effective.  Being a cheese lover, I actually prefer a baked pasta over just plain pasta with tomato sauce.  The added cheese mixture of ricotta, parmesan and mozzarella adds great texture and flavor to the dish.  It also can serve more people because it is more filling (extra bonus).  Plain baked pasta is great, but I’m also always trying to find ways to add some meat to dinner dishes for the hubby.  He likes his meat, so I try to always add some in somehow into dinner.  Having extra sausage in my freezer, I decided to dress up baked pasta with some delicious hot sausage.  Feel free to use sweet as well, it will be equally delicious.  This recipe serves a bunch, so feel free to half the recipe, or even freeze the leftovers for another dinner.  Two in one, how great is that.  So jazz up your baked pasta and enjoy.  Make the first bite count!



Total Time:  1 hour

Servings:  6-8



1 box (16 ounces) pasta, any kind you prefer (I used Farfalle)

5-6 sausage links, hot or sweet (depending on your preference)

1 (15 ounces) container of ricotta cheese (I used part-skim)

2 eggs

1 and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried parsley

3 1/2 cups tomato sauce (a jar or homemade), divided

fresh basil, optional (for topping)



1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Season generously with salt and add the pasta.  Cook about 2 minutes less than the time on the box for al dente.  It will continue to cook in the oven.  Drain and reserve.

3.  While pasta is cooking, heat a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Remove the sausage from its casing and add to the pan.  Break up into pieces and cook until no longer pink, about 5-6 minutes.  Remove and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain some grease.

4.  While sausage is cooking, in a medium bowl combine ricotta, eggs, 1 cup of mozzarella, parmesan, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and dried parsley.

5.  I like to use a tin foil pan (for easy clean-up) about the size of a 13×9 pan.  Add the pasta, cheese mixture, and 3 cups of sauce.  Stir to combine right in the foil pan.  Spread to make an even layer.  Pour the remaining 1/2 cup over the top of the pasta and then sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese.

6.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for another 5-10 minutes until the cheese on top melts.  Serve with fresh basil on top, if desired.

Pesto Hummus


I went to visit a friend and her 2 little boys and wanted to bring a healthy snack for us all to enjoy.  Hummus is such a healthy snack that I have only recently starting trying and enjoying.  I like the ones that have more flavor, and this pesto hummus hits the spot.  My friend and even her 2 boys thought it was tasty.  For this recipe, feel free to use store-bought pesto or use the delicious recipe I posted earlier in the week.  Hummus is really just chickpeas and tahini and any other flavors you would like to add.  Tahini is actually a paste that comes from sesame seeds.  It gives the hummus a nice creamy texture and nutty taste.  This snack is great served with pita chips or crispy vegetables like carrots for an even healthier snack.  It actually tasted better the next day too, after all the flavors were able to marry together.  So whip up this easy and healthy recipe for an on-the-go snack to keep you going throughout the day.  Make the first bite count!



Total Time:  10 minutes

Servings:  makes about 2 cups



1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas

1/3 cup tahini

2 Tablespoons pesto, recipe HERE

1 Tablespoon grated parmesan cheese

1/2 lemon zested

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Salt and pepper, to taste



1.  Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth.  HINT:  zest the lemon before juicing, it will be much easier.  Serve with pita chips or your favorite vegetables.

Sausage, Peppers, and Onions Sandwiches


It’s the middle of summer and summer is not complete without sausage, peppers and onions.  I recently bought a new cast-iron skillet so I was anxious to use that to prepare this delicious dinner.   But don’t be afraid to prepare the same dish on the grill. In these warmer months, I also throw the pepper and onions and all the seasonings right into an aluminum pan and place that right on the grill. The vegetables brown up just as nice with the added smoky flavor while the sausage cooks on the grill along side. Placing the sausage, peppers and onions on a fresh baked roll makes it just taste that much better. So enjoy a taste of summertime and cook up some of these delicious sandwiches tonight for dinner. Make the first bite count!



Total Time:  30 minutes
Servings: 4



4-5 sausage links (hot or sweet, depending on taste)

4-5 green peppers, thinly sliced

1 large Spanish onion, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided

Salt and pepper, to taste



1.  Place 2 tablespoons in skillet and heat over medium heat.  When hot, add the sausage and cook about 4 minutes per side or until cooked through and no longer pink in the middle.  Remove sausage from pan, place on a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

2.  With skillet still on medium heat, add the remaining 2 Tablespoons of olive oil.  When hot, place the peppers, onions, oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper in the pan and toss to coat all the vegetables.  Cook until slightly softened, about 4-5 minutes.  I like the vegetables slightly more tender, but feel free to cook longer if you like them softer.

3.  Place the sausage back in the skillet with the vegetables and serve with fresh rolls.

Fresh Basil Pesto

Fresh Basil Pesto

I have started an herb garden this year containing rosemary, thyme and basil. My basil plant is growing like crazy so I decided to use some of it to make a pesto. Pesto is so versatile; it can be used on pasta, sandwiches, dips and appetizers. It adds great flavor to any dish. It also stays well in the refrigerator in an airtight container. I hope you try this recipe, you will not be disappointed. Make the first bite count!



Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: about 2 cups

3-4 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 – 1/2 cup olive oil

1. Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees. Place pine nuts on a baking sheet and bake for 4-5 minutes until lightly golden brown and aromatic.

2. Place all ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor or blender and pulse until combined. While the food processor is running, slowly add the olive oil. Start with a 1/4 cup, then stop the machine and check for consistency. If the pesto is still a little dry, feel free to add some more olive oil until the pesto is all combined. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.