Butterflied BBQ Chicken with Ranch Potatoes

 My husband and I both love BBQ’ed chicken. (Who doesn’t?) It also works out nicely because he likes the white meat breast which leaves the dark, delicious leg quarters for me. We also both like it smoked, and with a delicious dry rub. However, we have differing opinions on the accoutrement to said whole chicken. I like a saucy, red, spicy bbq sauce to finish it off and he would prefer to keep just the dry rub. Now. Me thinks if we could perfect the chicken so that the chicken still has crispy skin, but is accentuated by a bbq sauce caramelized to all the nooks and crannies of the crispy skin we would have a winner for all! As you can see, the pictures of sauced chicken are a bit burned, but we have since found the proper heat level and have had a more successful dry rubbed chicken with caramelized bbq sauce exterior, smokey, moist interior.


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Cherry Mulberry Cobbler

When mowing the backyard in late spring/early summer I often get thwacked in the face by certain low hanging tree branches with dark purple fruits. They appear to be the same berries that are hugely scattered in certain spots on the paved running path AJ and I like to use, emitting a vinegar smell and accompanied by sweat bees and flies. This year I finally researched what the berries were; Mulberries! They are dark purple and have a sweet/tart flavor similar to a blackberry with a citrus undertone.




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Balsamic & Honey Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese

I love Saturday mornings,  AJ makes cappuccinos while I cook eggs, homemade toast and hickory- smoked pepper bacon….then we’ll head down to the Warrenton Farmer’s market to get some fresh produce for the week. This particular Saturday we got some beautiful beets, green beans, poblano peppers and salad greens. I decided to make a roasted beet salad for a cookout we were going to that night and it turned out pretty delicious!

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Healthy Homemade Creamy Salad Dressing

This is a fabulous dressing because it can be used as a base for any salad; you can tweak it a million ways and it never overshadows the other flavors in the salad. I use it on everything from grilled chicken or salmon and feta salads to side salads and as a carrot dip. Again, if the Hidden Valley (14g fat mind you) Ranch Dressing loving husband likes this, you can take that as a pretty good endorsement. Since it is made with all healthy ingredients you also don’t have to worry about icky long lists of unpronounceable “things” in commercial dressings AND it has no fat, about 20 calories per serving and vitamins, protein and live yogurt cultures!




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Multigrain Bread

This is a delicious, easy bread great for breakfast toast, sandwiches etc. I modified it slightly from “Essentials of Healthful Cooking” from William Sonoma (one of my favorite cookbooks for ideas : ) You can either bake free-form on a baking stone (this is why I call mine “artisan bread” lol) or in a 9×5 loaf pan for a more uniform, attractive loaf.



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The garden is overflowing with zucchini and yellow squash so I created this veg & bean casserole with a corn masa crust. The husband named it Cass-amalé because of the topping reminiscent of tamalé filling; so clever! It’s a perfect dish for sharing and can be made with anything you have on hand, sweet potatoes, acorn squash, greens…




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Summer Coffee Drinks & Protein Milkshakes

Get your inocu-frappe for the summer heat!

*Use Cold Brew Coffee (no bitter flavor): Fill a pitcher with water & coffee: ratio 1 cup coffee to 4.5 cups water. Stir to mix and put in the fridge overnight. In the morning, strain through a coffee filter or fine sieve.
*Pour leftover coffee from your morning pot into ice cube trays (or baggies) and save for making these blended frozen coffee Frappes or Iced Coffees….



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Ryan’s Ranger Cookies

As many of you may know, I got my start in the kitchen baking with my mom the Cookie Queen. I remember sitting on the counter next to the Kitchenaid and pouring in the chocolate chips and oats for the queen mother’s most famous and my favorite, chocolate chip cookie recipe.

This particular recipe was (most likely still is) my brother’s favorite. Since I hadn’t made them in quite a while I called mom and ended up chatting for 30 minutes about the tweaks of different flours, fats, and other ingredients we both experiment with. It’s these phone calls and emails about ingredients, recipes (and chocolate) as we both gaze at our red Kitchenaid mixers that keep the gap of Virginia to Montana not quite so wide….



Rustic Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce

Since my last post mentioned big bowls of pasta & garlic bread and my garden is beginning to overflow with tomatoes I believe I will share my beloved tomato sauce recipe…I like to make a huge batch and freeze in mason jars to use as needed. This is not only an Italian sauce (we use on our homemade pizza’s, calzones, pastas) but also a fabulous soup with a chunk of toasted Ciabatta bread. YUM!

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