Thought I'd put a few recipes here that I've tried and found delish that you won't find in your average cookbook. I've made a few changes to the classic recipes to make them my own, so feel free to do the same. Just like Julia Child said, have no fear in the kitchen, make no apologies. Just have fun!

Chicken Baked in Fresh Herbs and Garlic
In a word, YUM.

  • 1 lb Spaghetti(though I'm all about angel hair, myself)
  • 8 Garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 c Olive oil
  • 1/2 c Parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 c Basil, chopped
  • 1/4 c Chives, chopped
  • 4 tb Sage, chopped
  • Salt & pepper


Cook spaghetti until *al dente*. Meanwhile, heat the garlic in the olive oil until it smells fragrant, just a few moments. Toss in the herbs & remove from the heat. Do this right away as herbs can burn easily. Drain the pasta & toss in the pan with the garlicky herbs. Season & serve, but do not add cheese as it only interferes with the herby flavours. Be sure to add enough salt & pepper, however. VARIATION: Omit the basil altogether. Replace the sage with any of the following fresh herbs: marjoram; oregano; thyme; rosemary or tarragon. Conversely, reduce the amount of sage & add a little of all these herbs.

This can be a side dish with a protein, or you can just add your protein to the pasta. Details below.

Protein variation: For extra protein you can saute whatever you are using in olive oil, adding some more herbs (to taste) at the very end. Again, only add the herbs after the protein is actually done cooking. Toss herbs with the protein, chop protein up into cubes or strips, and toss in with the pasta.


I am embarrassed to admit that I've never tried to make my own hummus. I just grabbed the nearest plastic package and threw it in my grocery cart. Ridiculous, because it is so easy to make! If you use dried garbanzo beans (aka chick peas) bought in bulk, you can save a ton of money as well. For the money you save be preparing your own you can go 100% organic without breaking the bank. Using dried beans certainly takes longer, but it more than makes up for it in easy final preparation of the dish.

Making your own hummus also gives you the freedom to experiment with spices, herbs and anything else that strikes your fancy. This recipe explains how to prepare fresh garbanzo beans, but you can substitute with canned if you prefer.

Mortar and pestle or food processor. The processor speeds things up quite a bit and gets that familiar consistency, but the mortar and pestle can be very satisfying to use. It's up to you.

2 cups garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas)
1/3 cup hot water (approximately)
1 large lemon
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 cup tahini
olive oil
ground red chili

If using dried beans: Soak dried garbanzo beans overnight to save a lot of prep time. Remove floaters. Cover with water in large pot and bring to simmer over medium heat (make sure all beans are covered) until bean is soft (between 3-4 hours). Bean is soft enough if it disintegrates into a pasty consistency in your mouth when chewed. If it's still crunchy or super grainy, continue to simmer. To save time you can soak more than you need and freeze the extra to use next time.

Drain chick peas, rinse well, and put them in processor or mortar bowl. Juice lemon, making sure to remove seeds. Begin to process/pound, adding hot water in small amounts to make a light, spreadable consistency. Add the lemon juice, garlic, tahini, oil and salt. Both the oil and salt are to taste, so just add slowly and enjoy the tasting!

To serve, make a mound of the spread into a serving bowl and make a shallow depression in the middle. Fill with olive oil and garnish with ground red chili. In the interest of keeping things authentic, I usually serve mine with Naan. Naan is a type of oven baked flatbread that is common throughout the Middle East, so it's the perfect compliment to hummus. It is now commonly found in grocery stores, including organic varieties. My personal favorite is Tandoori brand's garlic flavored.

Suggestion on olive oil: Olive oil is one of those products where you really do get what you pay for. With all the money you'll be saving by avoiding the expensive pre-prepared supermarket stuff, treat yourself to some first cold pressed organic oil. Cooking with the cheap stuff may be fine, but if you are garnishing or dipping, the difference in taste is well worth the price hike.

Hungarian Green Pea Soup

1 pkg frozen peas
1 carrot, 1 stalk celery, 1 small onion
2 Tblsp oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 C quinoa

Cut veggies into soup sized pieces. Put peas and cut veggies into soup pot with the oil, cover and set to medium heat. In small sauce pan add water or chicken broth (my personal choice) to about an inch over the quinoa and cook over medium-high until quinoa has absorbed much of the broth and is tender (about 10 minutes should do it). Add quinoa/broth mixture to the veggies, which should now be almost done. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 10 minutes, adding broth if needed. The end result should be more of a porridge than a soup, thick and hearty. Quite the comfort food in winter. We ate this batch of soup for three days, adding fresh chicken broth as we reheated if it was too thick. It was fantastic!

Sweet Heat Pickles

Forget the canning jars, water baths, burns and scalds. You can have fresh pickles in your fridge with less than thirty minutes of prep time. The most time you spend is slicing!

6 cups (about 2 pounds) thinly sliced cucumbers

2 cups thinly sliced onion
1 1/2 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper (more if you like more kick)
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

In a glass bowl, put 1/2 your cukes on the bottom, layer with 1/2 your onion and repeat so that you have 2 layers. Combine other ingredients in a saucepan, bring to boil. Cook 1 minute, then pour over the cukes and onions. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate.

And that, my friends, is IT. The recipe says it's best to let them sit in the fridge for 4 days, but I never can wait that long and scarf them down by the first 2 days. They will also store fine in the fridge for a month, but then again, they probably will be eaten long before that!

For even more variety try it with crook necked squash, banana peppers, cauliflower, baby carrots, or any other crispy veggie! My personal favorite is the crook necked squash.