Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

Not everyone grows up with a taste and appreciation for juicy tomatoes. Up until a few years ago, I treated tomatoes as an invasion to my dinner plate. No matter why they were there, I would flick, pick, and poke tomatoes out of my food. The seeds were just as much of an intruder. I could handle salsa, if I used my tortilla chip to dig around and only come up with juice and a few speckles of peppers.

BLTs? Loved them! Hold the tomato.

Pico de Gallo | Random Sweetness Baking

I’m not sure what happened but I think it had to do with Jason being a vegetable lover. (He doesn’t read my blog so he’ll never know I’m admitting he introduced me to something good.) If I recall, I also don’t think I cooked with onions until I met him 11 years ago. I’m sorry, tomato! I was really missing out by not using your juicy flesh in my cooking. You are now welcome to sit on top of my burgers anytime.

peppers tomatoes onions limes

Now it’s all peppers, tomatoes, and onions on deck when I make pico de gallo. I know, I know. My hand is touching a tomato. And I still don’t use the seeds.

core tomato

Once I started liking tomatoes, it seemed like such a pain to cut them up. I was using a chef’s knife. Uh, hello serrated knife! Who knew? Yah, Jason did.

use a serrated knife to dice a tomato

Use kitchen gloves when cutting peppers. If you don’t, your hands and any other body part you touch will feel like a fire pit for an excruciating eight hours.

use gloves when dicing peppers

I’ve never really figured out if there’s a right way to cut cilantro. I just wash it and start chopping/mushing. I don’t use the stems. It’s a texture thing.


You can make pico de gallo with any of your favorite vegetables. Leave out the cilantro if you don’t like it. Jalapeños too spicy for you? Use only bell peppers. Not a fan of onions? Who says you need it in your pico?

Pico de Gallo

Use any amount of vegetables you want. To give you an idea how many limes you need, I used the juice of 3 limes for approximately 4 or 5 cups of diced vegetables. It just depends on how much liquid you like in your pico.

red tomato

green bell pepper

jalapeño pepper

tiny red pepper

red onion


lime, cut in half


tortilla chips

  1. Wash all the vegetables.
  2. Dice all the vegetables, removing the seeds, and place in a bowl. Remember to use gloves when cutting peppers.
  3. Chop the cilantro and toss into the bowl.
  4. Squeeze the lime juice into the vegetables.
  5. Grind a little salt onto the top.
  6. Stir it all up, cover, and place in refrigerator.
  7. Serve with chips or any of your favorite Mexican dishes.
  8. Crack open a beer and put your feet on the table.

What is a food that you like now but you didn’t used to?

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If you want your houseguests to stay with you again, pull this hot, melty ham and cheese dish out of your oven in the morning and they’ll be planning their next overnight trip.

Chances are, they’ll ask you for the recipe so be prepared to either A.) write it on a recipe card and pretend it’s your own, or B.) send them this link to the KRAFT Stove Top recipe.

Ham and Cheese Stuff'n Puff | Random Sweetness Baking

The first time I made this breakfast was the same weekend I made my ex-sister-in-law’s cauliflower broccoli salad for my future in-laws. I left out the broccoli in the egg dish because I wasn’t sure if everyone in Betsy’s family liked broccoli, and I know Jason doesn’t like it, so I added extra ham instead. The ham I use is Hormel® Cure 81 diced boneless ham which is available at our local Hy-Vee.

Another way I’ve made it is with fresh, diced celery instead of broccoli and we really liked that. I’ve also made it exactly as the recipe states but no one in my family likes broccoli (except for me). You could easily turn this into a delightful vegetarian brunch by substituting fresh vegetables for the meat.

Since I’m not vegetarian and I love pork, I may add or substitute bacon, sausage, or even Canadian bacon next time.

Maybe if you’re lucky, it will be on your houseguest’s brunch menu the next time you visit them. Rise ‘n shine!

Ham and Cheese Stuff’n Puff

5 large eggs

1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup milk (I use skim milk because that’s mostly what I buy, but anything up to whole milk is good.)

1-1/4 cups chopped fresh broccoli, washed and drained (Substitute any fresh vegetables you like. The recipe calls for frozen vegetables so you could go that way too.)

1 package (6 ounce) STOVE TOP stuffing mix (The recipe calls for the chicken flavor but I’ve also used the cornbread style and like it.)

3/4 cup diced ham (You could use chopped ham from your Easter leftovers.)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided into two (1/2 cup) measurements (You could use any variety of cheese you like. I’ve only used cheddar so far.)

Get your oven to a piping hot 375˚.

In a really big bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the sour cream and whisk until combined. Add the milk and whisk until everything is blended. Gently stir in the broccoli, stuffing mix, ham, and 1/2 cup shredded cheese.

Pour into a greased 9×9 pan, 9-inch tart pan, or a 2-quart casserole dish. Cover loosely with foil. I like the non-stick kind so the egg mixture doesn’t stick to it.

Bake one hour, or until completely heated through the middle. Remove from the oven, remove the foil, and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese over the top. Bake uncovered another 5 minutes, or just until the cheese is melted and slightly browning.

Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Disclaimer: Here I am again, just writing about what I love and the stuff I use every day. This post is NOT sponsored or paid by Hormel, KRAFT, or Hy-Vee.

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I was married once. And just like everything in life, something good can come of a less than ideal situation. For instance, my two ex sisters-in-law, Deb and Sue, are lovely women who served some of the best down-home food from their Midwest kitchen tables. Many of their creations, like Deb’s Broccoli Cauliflower Ranch Salad and Sue’s Snickers bar recipe, found their way into my arsenal of recipes.

This weekend, my some-day sister-in-law, Betsy, and her family came to visit and we grilled bacon burgers and hot dogs. Broccoli Cauliflower Ranch Salad was the perfect vegetable side dish to serve on a warm summer evening.

In the morning, Gracie and I whipped up fluffy Cake Batter Pancakes and a new-to-us-recipe for ham, cheese, and egg bake made with Stove Top stuffing. (After 10 years with Jason’s family, I think Grace and I are grandfathered in as Aunt and Niece.) She mastered the “flip” of the pancake so she just might take over the morning spatula when they get back home.

You can make this salad with whichever raw veggies you want. The recipe card that I copied from Deb is fairly vague. I wrote garlic and dill weed but I didn’t write amounts. If you’re not fond of some of the vegetables, just switch them out for something you like. Check your garden before you hit the market.

I tossed in a handful of diced red onion. If you like cashews, sliced almonds or sunflower seeds, they would add a nice salty crunch.

Bacon would take it to the next level.

According to what I wrote, the number of servings makes “a big bowl.” My guess is, it makes 12-18 servings.

Broccoli Cauliflower Ranch Salad

1 bunch broccoli

1 head cauliflower

4 sticks celery

1/4 cup diced red onion (If you prefer, use green onions.)

1-1/2 cups frozen peas (The petite ones are nice.)

1 cup mayonnaise, NOT salad dressing

8 ounces sour cream

1 (1-ounce) packet dry Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing mix – NOT the dip mix

1-1/2 teaspoons dill weed

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (Or use a couple of cloves of chopped garlic.)

Wash and chop the broccoli, cauliflower, celery, and red onion. Add the vegetables, including the peas, to a big bowl of salted cold water. A couple of tablespoons of salt is fine. Let the veggies soak in the water for 10-15 minutes. Drain the water well so the salad doesn’t get watery. Toss the vegetables into a large bowl.

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and sour cream. Add the Ranch packet, dill weed and garlic powder. Stir to mix well.

Add the Ranch mixture to the vegetables and stir until they are evenly coated with the dressing. Chill at least one hour. Serve cold. You can refrigerate it overnight and serve the next day. Refrigerate leftovers.

Do you have a favorite recipe from an ex-family member? 

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Ah, summer time. That’s when you want to make this chilled, no-bake summer pie. The filling is light and fluffy with the perfect sourness of tart lime. When you bite into the pie, the salty crust balances out the sweetness.

The creamy filling uses lime curd, cream cheese, whipping cream, powdered sugar, lime zest, and lime juice. That’s why it’s great for spring and summer. For fall and winter, my favorite Key Lime pie is the kind you bake with sweetened condensed milk and eggs. Problem is, I can’t find the recipe right now.

A few months ago, I was looking for a Key Lime pie recipe that uses lime curd but I couldn’t find one. Last weekend, I was going through piles of recipes and magazines in my office and found this one in a Midwest Living magazine from June 2005. (It’s not Key Lime, but you can use Key Limes if you want. I’ve never been able to tell the difference anyway.) It’s on my blog and Pinterest board now so I’ll know where to find it next time.

Summer Breeze Lime Pie from Midwest Living 

Now, if I can just find my “winter” Key Lime Pie recipe before November…

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