Thursday, May 28, 2015

Super Easy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

This grilled cheese recipe from is about as easy as it gets, and produces very tasty sandwiches. It can easily be modified. For example, I modified it by adding slices of precooked turkey bacon. No wonder this recipe is rated as 5-star with nearly 500 reviews. (See 

I doubled the recipe for the two of us because the slices from the wonderful Italian bread I bought at Publix were small. (The bacon also helped me to solve a problem with the bread. Some of the slices had large holes. I put the bacon over the holes and that prevented the melting cheese from flowing out through the holes.)

Ingredients (for 2 Sandwiches)

4 slices of white bread (normal size)

2 slices cheddar cheese. (Since I love cheese, I doubled the number of slices.)

3 tablespoons butter divided

Directions (from original recipe)

Preheat a skillet over medium heat. 

Generously butter one side of one slice of bread.

Place bread butter side down onto skillet, and add one slice of cheese.

Butter a second slice of bread on one side, and place butter side up on top of sandwich.

Grill until lightly browned and flip over. Continue grilling until cheese is melted.

Repeat with remaining two slices of bread, butter, and cheese.

My Alternative Directions

These directions are a bit faster because you cook both sandwiches at the same time.

Preheat a skillet over medium heat. 

Generously butter one side of each slice of bread.

Put two slices butter side down onto the bottom of the skillet

On top of each of the two slices, place one or two slices of cheese and other ingredients you wish to add, like already cooked bacon or tomato.

On top of the ingredients, place a second slice of bread butter side up.

Grill until lightly browned and flip over. Continue grilling until cheese is melted.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Broccoli with Garlic Butter and Cashews or Almonds

This popular, tasty and easy broccoli recipe has over 1,300 favorable reviews on ( 

I didn't have cashews at home, so I substituted almonds. That worked fine.

The recipe below serves 6. Since there were only two of us, I reduced the quantities of ingredients by two thirds. 


1 & 1/2 lbs broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces

1/3 cup butter

1 tablespoon brown sugar

3 tablespoons soy sauce 

2 teaspoons white vinegar

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup chopped salted cashews


Place the broccoli into a large pot with about 1 inch of water in the bottom. Bring to a boil, and cook for 7 minutes, or until tender but still crisp. Drain and arrange broccoli on a serving platter.

While the broccoli is cooking, melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Mix in the brown sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, pepper, and garlic. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat. Mix in the cashews, and pour the sauce over the broccoli. Serve immediately.

Pork Schnitzel - Nice & Easy

We recently enjoyed this easy pork schnitzel recipe from ( However, it took a bit more clean up than I wanted. I used pork cube steaks so I did not have to thin or tenderize the cuts.

The recipe below serves 4, but I cut it in half for the two of us.


1 cup flour

1 cup plain bread crumbs

2 eggs (or 1/2 cup egg substitute)

4 pork cube steaks (1 & 1/2 lb), or 4 pork chops (1 & 1/2 lb), or 4 pork tenderloin (1 & 1/2 lb)

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

4 tablespoons canola oil, divided (It is only necessary to divide the oil if you cook 4 pork chops - 2 at a time. If you cook only 2, as I did, you only need to use 2 tablespoons and don't need to divide them.)


Place flour in shallow bowl; bread crumbs in second bowl. Beat eggs gently in third bowl until well blended.

Preheat large sauté pan on medium high for 2-3 minutes. Season both sides of pork with salt and pepper. Dip pork in flour, coating both sides. Then dip into egg mixture, allowing excess to drip off. Finally, dip into bread crumbs to coat.

Place 2 tablespoons of oil into the pan, and swirl to coat the pan. Place 2 pork steaks in the pan, and cook for 4-5 minutes per side, or until internal temperature is 160 degrees F. Use a meat thermometer to accurate ensure doneness.

Remove pork from pan and cover to keep warm. Repeat steps with 2 remaining tablespoons of oil and 2 pork steaks. Serve.

Sauteed Zucchini and Tomatoes - Tasty, Fast, & Easy

I love zucchini and tomatoes. This recipe from ( combines those two with nice Parmesan and basil flavoring for a fast and easy side. It would go well with a wide variety of main dishes, and it would certainly be amenable to substituting many other spice combinations.

A similar recipe I've seen adds garlic and red onion. It also substitute fresh basil as garnish, instead of dried basil mixed in.

The recipe below serves 4. Since there are only two of us, I use only 1 tomato and 1 zucchini. I also add a 1/4 tsp of salt.


2 small zucchini, halved lengthwise, then sliced into half moons. (I sliced the half moons about 1/2" thick.)

2 medium tomatoes, large dice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated.

1/2 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon pepper (Some might consider this too much pepper when only using one zucchini and one tomato.)

1/4 teaspoon salt (my addition)


In a large skillet, sauté zucchini and tomatoes in hot oil and butter for 5 minutes.

Add Parmesan and spices.

Stir to coat well.

Serve hot.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Levantine Green Bean, Onion, and Tomato Stew, with or without Lamb

Green bean (loubieh) dishes are very popular in the Middle East. This one, which can be prepared with or without meat, is delicious and very easy. It can be served with or over rice. We really enjoyed it. 

I made one major change to the recipe - I doubled the amount of lamb from 1/2 lb to 1 lb. A Palestinian version from my mother's recipe book replaces the cumin and cinnamon with 1/2 tsp allspice. That recipe also uses butter instead of olive oil.

I found this recipe at It is worth reading the whole article at the foregoing web page.

A popular name for the dish is Loubieh bi Zeit - green beans in olive oil.


1 lb green beans, fresh or frozen (I used fresh and cut them into bite-size pieces prior to cooking.)
1 & 1/2 cups onion, sliced
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1 can diced tomatoes (I used a 14 oz. can)
pepper to taste
(I also added salt)
Optional 1/2 lb stew meat or diced ham (I used 1 lb of cubed lamb)

A separate side of rice can be added if desired. Alternatively, it can be served over rice.


1. Lightly brown onions and garlic in the oil in a stock pot. If meat is used, add the meat at the same time and cook until browned on all sides.)

2. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Then cover and simmer slowly until the green beans (and meat if used) are tender - about 40-45 minutes. Stir a couple of times.

3. Check taste. Add more spices if desired.

4. Serve warm.

Green Beans with Onions and Warm Mustard Vinaigrette - Tasty, Fast, and Easy

There seems to be no end of tasty and easy green bean sides.This one, with onion and warm mustard vinaigrette is from, and originally came from Cooking Light magazine. We really enjoyed it. 

The only change I made was to use 1/2 pound of green beans instead of 1 & 1/2 pounds. That was because there were only two of us. I did not change the amount of sauce. Since I like lots of sauce, that worked fine. 

The original recipe, from, is below.


1 & 1/2 pounds of green beans, trimmed (I cut the green beans into bite-size pieces prior to cooking.)
1 cup vertically sliced red onion
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Cook green beans in boiling water fro 6 minutes or until crisp-tender, and drain. Combine the green beans and onion in a large bowl.

Heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add vinegar, Dijon mustard, olive oil, salt, and black pepper; cook over medium heat for 30 seconds or until thoroughly heated, stirring vinaigrette constantly with a whisk.

Drizzle vinaigrette over bean mixture; and toss well to coat. Serve immediately.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Terrific Avocado, Corn, Tomato, Onion, and Bell Pepper Salad / Side Dish

In searching for a side dish to go with enchiladas on Cinco de Mayo, I found this terrific & easy avocado, corn, tomato, onion (and bell pepper) salad by Paula Deen on ( I made a few adjustments to match what I had available, and added bell pepper to the main ingredients.

One could easily add finely chopped fresh jalapeño pepper to spice it up a bit. I loved it so much, I made it again within a week of the first try.

- 2 cups cooked corn, fresh or frozen (I used a 15 oz. can of Libby's whole kernel cooked sweet corn)
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved. (I diced a whole Tasti-Lee tomato)
- 1/2 cup finely diced red onion (I used yellow.)
- 1/2 a bell pepper, diced (I added this ingredient to the Paula Deen recipe.)
- 1 avocado cut into half inch pieces (I used a small Hass avocado and cut it last so that I could immediately put the lime sauce on it and keep it from changing color. Next time, I'll probably use two small avocados. There are a number of YouTube videos with easy instructions on how to cut and deseed an avocado.)

- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest (Instead of measuring, I used zest of half a small Persian lime.)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (I used the juice from the half a lime I had just zested.)
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Combine the corn, tomato, onion, bell pepper and avocado in a large glass bowl. Mix the dressing ingredients in another bowl, pour over the salad, and gently toss to mix.