Serve a Spicy Summer Snack

Stuffed Cheesy Jalapeño Poppers

Summertime is in full swing and the cicadas are singing! Gardens are in full bloom and harvest season is upon us. I have so many favorite “backyard” recipes, such as a wonderful basil pesto BLT sandwich piled high with hand-picked lettuce and a sunny vine-ripened tomato or fully loaded garden veggie lasagna featuring zucchini, tomatoes and onions. These fresh dishes are always so satisfying after a day of play in the bright summer sun!

Very Berry Delight

Mixed Berry Gallette

Oftentimes, the life of a chef is spent cooking food in a restaurant for someone else. You rarely have the energy to make yourself an amazing meal when you’re home. Many times, my fridge was simply filled with water, eggs and maybe an old to-go container of Chinese takeout from the weekend.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love cooking for others. It’s my passion. There’s a simple joy of watching someone else eat food I make, and I don’t know if I’ll ever get over that feeling!

Anyway, before I started “Quarantine Cookie,” I rarely baked at home because I was spending 50 or more hours of my week baking at work. Last March, when the pandemic began, I finally had spare time to simply bake.

This recipe is a favorite of my fiance and I from baking during quarantine. Personally, I love using this Mixed Berry Gallette in the summers to use up any spare fruit from farmers markets.

A Cake for Summer Occasions

Strawberry Stuffed Angel Food Cake

Growing up, the official start of spring in our family kitchen came with this cake being served for my older sister’s birthday. After all, what screams “spring,” louder than fresh strawberries?

Every member of my family has a personal favorite cake that has become his or her birthday cake. Good taste must run in the family because I look forward to the cakes almost as much as I look forward to celebrating my loved ones. There’s banana cake, carrot cake, Boston cream pie cake, German chocolate cake (me!), triple chocolate cake, chocolate peanut butter cakes and this luscious Strawberry Stuffed Angel Food Cake. Angel food cake is aptly named, as it’s light as the clouds and sweet as heaven. While you can use a boxed mix for this dessert, give a scratch angel food cake a try. It’s worth it. You may also want to invest in a pan that is specifically made for angel food cakes. While a specific pan isn’t absolutely necessary, using one can help you achieve the best results.

A Million-Dollar Meal

Million-Dollar Meatballs

This dish is one I find really special and comforting. It brings me right back to my childhood and reminds me of all the great meals my mom cooked for my siblings and me while growing up. Without a doubt, this was one of our absolute favorites — even today when we go visit my parents, at least one of us requests Million-Dollar Meatballs for dinner!

These delightful bites are spinach meatballs served with a brown gravy, which we typically serve over egg noodles. It almost has a beef stroganoff-like vibe, but without the mushrooms. This recipe would be perfect over mashed potatoes or pureed cauliflower, too. However you want to serve it, I have no doubt it will be a lovely comfort food for you and your family, and to that end, you're notgoing to want to skimp on the gravy!

Easy Dinner for Famished Families

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

As a single, working parent, it is so important to create easy dinners for my family throughout the week. This dish is one that has been in our family for years, and it never gets old.

This is the one dish my children never tire of and ask for on a regular basis. You can create this dish with any type of chicken your heart desires! On busy weekdays, I will typically prepare this casserole with a rotisserie chicken, however, it is amazing with chicken right off the grill.

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