a Cook at Heart

practical tips and recipes for busy cooks

Sparkling Raspberry Lemonade

This summer has been so strange. It’s been mostly comfortable here but now that it’s almost September the temperature is in the upper 90’s. It’s been pretty miserable here the past few days so everyone’s trying to beat the heat. As hard as I try, staying hydrated when it’s hot like this is always an issue for me. I’m always looking for a way to make water not taste like water so I can get my 8 glasses in – adding lemons, fruit juice, etc. Lemonade has been my go to drink lately.  We stopped drinking soda’s a couple of years ago and replaced them with sparkling water. It just seemed natural to

Cucumber Tomato Salad

Around middle Tennessee, just about every town has at least 1 “meat and three”. What’s a meat and three? It’s a restaurant that serves a selection of meats and vegetables and you choose what you want from what’s cooked that day. For example, Thursday they might have a choice of 7 different meat dishes like fried chicken, meatloaf, catfish, etc. For vegetables they might have collard greens, fried corn, whites beans, and 5 or 6 more things. Generally you get charged by how much you order. Meat + 1 side is 7.99, Meat + 2 sides is 8.99, Meat + 3 sides is 10.99. Most people order Meat

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cravings are funny. I rarely crave sweet things like chocolate bars and candy. Usually my cravings lean toward salty and crunchy like chips and nuts. The exception to this is when I’m trying to lose weight. Whenever I’m trying to drop some pounds, chocolate cravings come from out of the blue for things we rarely buy, like Snickers bars or Reese’s Peanut Butter Big Cups. A few days ago one of those cravings hit me and I was determined to find a  semi healthy alternative that would satisfy me. Consulting the Weight Watchers website, I found this recipe for Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. I know that

Dad Approved All Purpose Grill Seasoning

With grill season is full swing, we love to experiment with different ways to cook things on the grill. Grilling is the only type of cooking my husband really enjoys and he takes his grill master responsibilities seriously. It’s funny how we’ve fallen into similar rolls as my parents. My dad was always the grill master and my mom was responsible for seasoning and prep work.  She made the BBQ sauce and made sure the ribs, chicken, and steaks were seasoned and ready while daddy got the grill hot. When we grill, we tend to do a lot of things at one time. Using charcoal instead of a

8 Make Ahead Summer Side Dishes

Hey ya’ll. I know summer isn’t officially here yet but I’m already in summer cooking mode. There will be all types of potlucks and cookouts this summer so I’ve started gathering recipes for my summer shin digs. Here are 8 recipes on my to-do list so don’t be surprised if you see variations of these on the blog this summer. The thing they all have in common is that they can be made ahead and transported to any event without worrying about reheating. Also they’re not the standard potato salad and baked beans which is a plus in my book. Do you have any staple

Turkey Burger with Feta Cheese and Grilled Onions

There’s nothing like a day off from work. I’m not talking about weekends, I’m talking about a day off during the middle of the week when everyone else is working. Occasionally I take a day or two off to handle things around the house – cooking, cleaning, errands etc. The best part of a day off is being able to cook whatever I want – especially things that hubby won’t eat. Case in point – this grilled turkey burger with a big fat slab of grilled onions. I love turkey burgers – much better than hamburgers. It doesn’t take much to make them taste great

How to Make Zucchini Noodles

The first time I saw this little gizmo, I wanted to run out and buy one. The only thing that stopped me was the lack of space in my kitchen for another kitchen tool. Plus I kept hearing the word unitasker rolling around in head. You have to admit that zucchini noodles look pretty cool. If you’re trying to slip some vegetables in on some little kids, this may do the trick. Instead of using one of “zoodle” makers, I used my julienne peeler and it was done in no time.   Step 1 Wash them well because we’re going to use the skin. Step 2 Slice off