Barefoot Contessa’s Greek Panzanella

I love the Barefoot Contessa’s How Easy Is That? cookbook by Ina Garten. It is loaded with great recipes. This is one of the best salad dishes I’ve ever tasted. It’s fresh, perfectly dressed and beautiful to look at! Of course, it’s hard to go wrong with bites of tangy feta cheese and toasted cubes of bread too. Not to mention it’s easy to make! If you have any vegetables left from your summer garden, this might inspire you to use them- fabulously! If you don’t, well you probably want to add the following ingredients to your shopping list. (Trust me- worth it.)

From Barefoot Contessa’s How Easy Is That?

As organic as possible (from Sadie):

1/4 cup + 1/2 cup Olive oil (divided)

1 large loaf (6 cups 1 inch diced) rustic Bread

1 Cucumber, unpeeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced 1/2 inch thick

1 Red bell pepper, seeded and large-diced

1 Yellow bell pepper, seeded and large-diced

1 pint cherry or grape Tomatoes

1/2 small red Onion, thinly sliced in half-rounds (or 1/4 rounds)

1/4 cup good red wine Vinegar

2 tsp minced Garlic

1 tsp dried Oregano

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp salt (plus more for bread cubes)

1/2 tsp pepper (plus more for bread cubes)

8 oz. Feta cheese

1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted

Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a large skillet on medium-low until hot. Add the bread cubes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toast, tossing frequently until browned (5-10 minutes). Set aside.

Placed the diced cucumbers, yellow and red bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onion in a large bowl. Toss.

For the vinaigrette, place vinegar, garlic, oregano, mustard, salt, and pepper in measuring cup (or bowl) and whisk. Slowly add 1/2 cup olive oil and emulsify.

Add feta, olives, and bread to tossed vegetables. Pour over vinaigrette and gently toss. Allow to set for 30 minutes to let flavors incorporate. Season to taste and serve.



GG’s Beef Stew

This is a family heirloom. My mother has memories of her grandma making this stew. She tells me, and now my children, almost every time we eat it, “I used to smell this stew when I would get off the bus. Grandma would have the windows open and I knew… And I would run to the house. We would eat it with buttered bread and a big glass of milk.” So I can think of no better introduction or suggestion. We always make it in big batches, so I tried to break it down into a 1 pot portion. (And therefore can be easily doubled… or quadrupled.) It’s a hearty stew and we have always enjoyed the rustic (large) bites of meat and veggies. I hope you do too!

As organic as possible (my addition)

2 – 2 1/2 lbs chuck roast (stew meat), trimmed and cut into 1″ (or so) cubes

1 1/4 – 1 1/2 lbs Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2″ (or so) cubes

1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 1″ (or so) pieces

3-4 celery stalks, cut into about 1″ (or so) pieces

2-3 large onions, peeled and quartered

2 large cans whole stewed tomatoes, halved and quartered in the can with a knife (it’s tradition)

2 Tbsp tomato paste

1 Tbsp salt, to taste

1 tsp black pepper, to taste

2 Tbsp sugar

1 stick butter

Place meat in a pot (dutch oven) with about 1 1/2 quarts of salted and peppered water. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Allow to simmer until tender, about 30-45 minutes, depending on cut. Skim off and discard the froth. Throw everything (except sugar and butter) into the pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, add butter and sugar. Simmer until veggies are tender, about 45 mins to an hour (if you can wait that long). Salt and pepper to taste.


Open your windows to let out the aroma, and serve with buttered white bread and milk- optional, but highly recommended.

Sue’s Mexican Chicken

One of the first times I went to eat at my in-laws to-be, Owen requested we eat Mexican Chicken. I love ethnic food fusions, blending two cuisines together. This dish reminds me of a Mexican chicken lasagna. It is loaded with fantastic flavor. I mean really, the depth of flavor is extraordinary. It’s creamy and cheesy; it’s full of veggies and tender pieces of chicken. It’s still one of Owen’s favorites.

As organic as possible:

2 bone-in Chicken breasts

4 large Flour tortillas

2 cans Condensed cream of chicken soup (I like Pacific organic; which actually comes in a cardboard container)

12 oz Cheddar cheese

1 15 oz can Chili (I like Amy’s organic)

1/2 cup Onion, diced

1/2 cup Green pepper, diced

1/2 cup sliced Black olives

1 can diced Tomatoes with chilies

*Divide the ingredients in half

Sour cream for serving (optional)

Boil the chicken until tender, saving the broth. In the mean time preheat the oven to 350ΒΊ. Spray a 13×9 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray (I like organic olive or canola oil), set aside. Shred the chicken into bite size pieces. Briefly dip the tortillas into the broth and line the baking pan, covering the bottom and sides. Begin layering with 1 of the soups, half of the chili, onion, green pepper, olives, chicken, and cheese. Repeat the process again beginning with tortillas, except this time top with tomatoes and green chilis (and a few more olives if you’d like). Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until bubbly. Allow to cool slightly and set before serving. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.


The organic cheddar I used is white, so yours may look a little different depending. Regardless, I just want to grab a spoon and go for it.