Olive Bruschetta


If you love olives the way I love olives then you must try this bruschetta!  It is hands down the best bruschetta I have ever had!!!  I love that with a little chopping and slicing this appetizer comes together in very little time too! Try this recipe with flavored olive oils, such as the oils at The Bodacious Olive in Pensacola, Florida.  This appetizer is perfect for any holiday party!  You can serve this warm or at room temperature.


Olive Bruschetta
  • 24 slices French bread, cut ¼-inch thick
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 c. chopped pitted ripe olives
  • ½ c. chopped pimento-stuffed green olives
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 tbsp. Italian salad dressing (I use Olive Garden brand)
  • ¾ c. cream cheese, room temperature
  • Cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Place bread slices on baking sheet. Lightly brush tops of bread slices with olive oil. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp. Remove bread from oven and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix olives, garlic, and dressing.
  3. Spread cream cheese evenly over toast slices. Top with a tablespoon olive mixture. Garnish with a cherry tomato, if desired.
*You may use all pitted ripe olives or all pimento-stuffed green if desired.

*If you prefer to serve these appetizers warm, After you top the cream cheese with the olive mixture return to the oven for about 6 minutes, or until warm. Remove from oven, add tomato half, and serve.


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Garden Fresh Cottage Cheese Salad




It has been years since I have been in a restaurant that serves a salad plate. I can remember when they were on the menu of many southern restaurants, and they were a lunch item favorite of mine. Most salad plates included a scoop of either tuna or chicken salad, a scoop of cottage cheese, with fresh fruit all served on a lovely lettuce-lined plate. Always served with crackers and occasionally served with a zucchini or bran muffin too.

I received several vintage cookbooks as gifts after my recent surgery. I spent hours looking through them and have a long list of recipes that I can’t wait to try. I found this one in an old North Carolina cookbook given to me by my friend Loretta and her daughter Katy.

This yummy Garden Fresh Cottage Cheese Salad would be perfect served on the old Southern salad plate. It makes a perfect summertime lunch but would also be delicious served as a side dish. This recipe is very versatile; you can add most any vegetable that you like, or omit some of the vegetables listed if you prefer. You can add a splash of Worchestershire sauce or tabasco sauce, sprinkle in some dry Ranch dressing mix or dry Italian dressing mix if desired.

With the fresh vegetables, this salad is only good for about 24 hours. At that point, it starts to get a little too watery.


Garden Fresh Cottage Cheese Salad
  • 1 pint low fat cottage cheese
  • ½ chopped bell pepper
  • ½ to 1 bunch chopped green onions
  • 1 cucumber peeled,seeded, and chopped
  • 2 radishes, chopped
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. In a medium bowl combine cottage cheese, bell pepper, green onions, cucumber, and tomatoes. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Refrigerate at least a hour before serving. Serve with crackers.
Optional ingredients:
Dry Ranch dressing mix, dry Italian dressing mix, splash of Worcestershire sauce, tabasco sauce, or try different vegetables.


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Layered Salad in a Jar



Memories of Easter make me homesick. Not only for home but everybody and everything familiar with home. Growing up in a little North Georgia town where everybody married and settled down in the same town I had the great opportunity of actually having a relationship with my aunts, uncles, and cousins. I grew up on a little dirt road where I could walk to my grandparent’s house. My best friends (my cousins) lived just next door.

Families are smaller and more scatter these days. Even my kids don’t know their cousins and extended family the way I did. I have enjoyed moving and living in different cities as an adult, but did I cheat my children of the great family memories like I have?

If you are lucky enough to be gathering with family this Easter, here is a salad that everyone will love. You can assemble it the day before, and it will hold up great. This recipe comes from Pastry Queen Parties by Rebecca Rather and Alison Oresman. It is one of my favorite things to make up and have for lunch on weekdays. These salad jars would be perfect for picnics too.

Just a quick update on my recovery. Other than pain from the staples in my heel I am doing great. I will be in a cast by the time you read this. I still can’t stand or walk on my surgery foot, but if all goes well hopefully that will come in two weeks! I do have a touch of cabin fever, or maybe it’s farm fever. I would just love to hop in the old Suburban and drive! That will not come for a while but at this point the simple act of walking will be great!

Wishing each of you a blessed and happy Easter!

Layered Salad in a Jar
Serves: 12
  • ¼ c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 medium lemons)
  • ½ c. white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. milk honey
  • ⅔ c. extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 c. feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 lb. orzo pasta
  • 1 (16-oz.) bag baby greens, spinach, arugula, or romaine
  • 5 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ c. pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cucumber, coarsely chopped (with peel)
  • ½ c. feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano, or 2 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano leaves
  1. TO MAKE DRESSING: In a bowl whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, honey, and olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Whisk in the feta. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. TO MAKE THE SALAD: In a large pot, cook the orzo in salted water according to the package instructions. Drain and run cold water over the pasta to stop the cooking. Put the orzo in a large bowl and toss with ½ cup of the dressing. In a small bowl, stir together the green oinions, tomatoes, olives, and cucumber. In a separate small bowl, stir together the ½ c. feta and the oregano.
  3. TO ASSEMBLE THE LAYERS: Have 12 (1-pint_ wide mouth canning jars with lids ready. Spoon ⅓ c. of the orzo into the bottom of each jar, and follow with 1 layer each of the following; ¼ c. green onion-tomato-olive-cucumber mix, 2 tsp. feta-oregano mix, and ½ c. packed greens. Spoon about 1 tbsp. of the dressing on top of each salad. (You will have some dressing left over for another use.) Top with lids and refrigerate until needed. To serve, shake the jar to distribute the dressing.
  4. DO IT EARLY; The dressing and orzo can be prepared up to 1 day in advance and refrigerated. Assemble the salad in jars up to 6 hours before it is to be served. Keep it cold until serving time.





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Summer Garden Pasta

summer garden pasta 2

Do you ever have those weekends that are jam-packed? You have that list that you’ve been making for months, and you decide that you are finally going to check things off that list. You work all day, and you accomplish more than you thought you would. Now the day is over, and you are hot, sweaty, and hungry. The thought of cooking is exhausting, but the thought of going out to dinner is even more exhausting.

With a little bit of planning, you will have this delicious summer pasta on the table in no time. This recipe is an Ina Garten recipe that is super simple. The tomatoes and a few of the other ingredients need to be mixed and left to stand at room temperature for 4 hours. With a mid-day break, this is easy to do. Other than the wait time, this dish can be ready in 15 minutes or less. It is a light and fresh meatless meal and a great end to a productive day of work!


5.0 from 1 reviews
Summer Garden Pasta
Serves: 6
  • 4 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Good olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic (6 cloves)
  • 18 large basil leaves, julienned, plus extra for serving
  • ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound dried angel hair pasta
  • 1½ cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
  1. Combine the cherry tomatoes, ½ cup olive oil, garlic, basil leaves, red pepper flakes, 1 tsp. salt, and the pepper in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature for about 4 hours.
  2. Just before you're ready to serve, bring a large pot of water with a splash of olive oil and 2 tablespoons salt to a boil and add the pasta. Cook al dente according to the directions on the package (be careful - it only takes 2 to 3 minutes!). Drain the pasta well and add to the bowl with the cherry tomatoes. Add the cheese and some extra fresh basil leaves and toss well. Serve in big bowls with extra cheese on each serving.




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Tortellini Caprese Bites

If you are looking for a great appetizer look no further.  I love these Tortellini Caprese Bites!  The Basil Vinaigrette takes this recipe over the top!  I like to use mini mozzarella balls, but as you can see, I didn’t have them when I made these.  I cut fresh mozzarella into bite-size pieces instead.

Tortellini Caprese Bites
  • Skewers:
  • 1 (9-oz.) pkg. refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini
  • 3 c. halved grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 3 (8-oz.) containers fresh small mozzarella cheese balls
  • 60 (6-inch) wooden skewers
  • Basil Vinaigrette:
  • ½ c. white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ⅔ c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Skewers:
  2. Prepare tortellini according to package directions. Rinse under cold running water.
  3. Thread 1 tomato half, 1 cheese ball, another tomato half, and 1 tortellini onto each skewer. Place skewer in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Pour half of the Basil Vinaigrette over skewers, turning to coat, reserve remaining for serving. Cover and chill for 2 hours. Transfer skewers to a serving platter and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with reserved Basil Vinaigrette.
  4. Dressing:
  5. Pulse vinegar and salt in a blender until mixed. Slowly add oil, while blender is running. Stop blender and add basil. Pulse until finely chopped. Add black pepper to taste.
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