How things have changed over time ….

Summer 1995 – evening spent taking apart VW Thing carburetor with hubby for the millionth time.

Summer 2019 – evening spent crawling on hardwood floors with hubby looking for a screw smaller than an ant’s anus that fell on the ground while you were replacing an iPhone battery.

I liked 1995 better.

Hummus, Tomato, and Feta Pita Pizzas with Arugula Salad

Hummus, Tomato, and Feta Pita Pizzas with Arugula Salad

¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
kosher salt and black pepper
1 small shallot, sliced
4 8-inch whole-wheat pitas, toasted
1 cup hummus
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
½ cup chopped fresh herbs (such as flat-leaf parsley and dill)
1 small bunch arugula

1. Whisk together the oil, vinegar, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the shallot and toss to combine; set aside.
2. Top the pitas with the hummus, tomatoes, Feta, herbs, and half the shallot dressing, dividing evenly.
3. Toss the arugula with the remaining shallot dressing.
4. Serve the arugula alongside the pita pizzas.

Melissa prepared this in 2019!
• Prep: 20 Minutes
• Total Time: 20 Minutes

Source: Real Simple Magazine (4 servings)

Easy Elk Chili Recipe

Easy Elk Chili Recipe

Substitute ground venison, buffalo, or lean beef for the elk in this hearty chili recipe. You can prepare the chili up to a day ahead, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate. Freeze leftovers in individual freezer-safe zip-top plastic bags for up to two months.


1 lb. ground elk
2 cups chopped yellow onion
1 cup dry red wine
1 ½ cups water
1 tablespoon chipotle chile powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
½ teaspoon salt
2 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 (14-ounce) cans less-sodium beef broth
1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
¼ cup reduced-fat sour cream
¼ cup (1 ounce) reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons chopped green onions

1. Combine elk and 2 cups onion in a Dutch oven; cook over medium-high heat until lightly browned, stirring to crumble. Add wine; bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes.
2. Stir in 1 1/2 cups water, chile powder, and next 6 ingredients (through beans); bring to a boil. Partially cover, reduce heat, and simmer 2 hours (add more water if mixture becomes too thick).
3. Ladle about 1 cup chili into each of 6 bowls; spoon 2 teaspoons sour cream over each.
4. Sprinkle each with 2 teaspoons cheese and 1 teaspoon green onions.

Melissa made this recipe in 2019!
Source: Cooking Light (6 servings)

Sweet and Tangy Hummus Recipe | Bon Appetit

Sweet and Tangy Hummus Recipe | Bon Appetit
Red pepper paste gives this garlic-free hummus its color and smoky-sweet flavor; find it in Middle Eastern markets or online.


1 15.5-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed
⅓ cup tahini
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 ½ tablespoon Turkish or Syrian red pepper paste or 2 tsp. harissa paste
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (optional)
Kosher salt
Olive oil, Aleppo pepper or crushed red pepper flakes, and warm pita bread (for serving)

1. Set aside 2 Tbsp. chickpeas for serving. Process tahini, lemon juice, red pepper paste, pomegranate molasses (if using), and remaining chickpeas in a food processor, adding water as needed, until hummus is very smooth; season with salt.
2. Serve hummus drizzled with oil and topped with Aleppo pepper and reserved chickpeas, with pita bread alongside.
3. DO AHEAD: Hummus can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Melissa made this in 2019!
Source: Bon Appétit (8 servings)

Halibut Baked In Foil with Zucchini and Tomatoes

Halibut Baked In Foil with Zucchini and Tomatoes

Why this recipe works. Cooking halibut en papillote – baking it in a tightly sealed package to steam it in it’s own juices – is a quick, mess-free way to enhance the fish’s mild flavor, and including vegetables in the pouch is a surefire path to an easy and satisfying meal. Using aluminum foil rather than parchment made packet construction simple. For vegetables, we started with zucchini (salted to remove excess moisture), which would cook in the same amount of time as the fish. To give our packets plenty of flavor without overpowering the halibut, we made a tomato “salsa,” which added just the right kick. A splash of white wine boosted the flavor even more. The sealed packets needed only 15 to 20 minutes in the oven to steam and baste the fish and soften the vegetables. A final garnish of chopped basil and lemon wedges makes the perfect finish. Cod, haddock, red snapper, and sea bass also work well in this recipe as long as the fillets are 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick. Be sure to open each packet promptly after begging to prevent over cooking.

1 lb. zucchini (2 medium), ends trimmed and sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
Table salt
½ lb. plum tomatoes (2 medium), cored, seeded, and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano leaves
⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Ground black pepper
4 tablespoon vermouth or dry white wine
4 skinless halibut fillets, 1 to 1 1/4 inches thick (about 6 ounces each)
¼ cup minced fresh basil leaves
1 lemon, cut into wedges

1. Toss zucchini with ½ teaspoon salt in large bowl; transfer to colander set over bowl. Let stand until zucchini releases 1 to 2 tablespoons liquid, about 30 minutes. Arrange zucchini on triple layer paper towels; cover with another triple layer paper towels. Firmly press each slice to remove as much liquid as possible. Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, oil, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in medium bowl.
2. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Cut eight 12-inch sheets of foil; arrange four flat on counter. Distribute salted zucchini among foil sheets, mounding in center of each. Pour 1 tablespoon vermouth over each mound of vegetables. Pat fish dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper and place one fillet on top of each vegetable mound. Spoon quarter of tomato mixture over each fillet. Place second square of foil on top of fish; crimp edges together in ½-inch fold, then fold over three more times to create a packet about 7 inches square. Place packets on rimmed baking sheet (overlapping slightly if necessary).
3. Bake packets 15 minutes – 20 minutes until halibut registers 140°F. Carefully open foil, allowing steam to escape away from you. Using thin metal spatula, gently slide fish and vegetables onto plate with any accumulated juices; sprinkle with basil. Serve immediately, passing lemon wedges separately.

Haddock, red snapper, cod, and sea bass also work well in this recipe and those that follow as long as the fillets are 1 to 1¼ inches thick. The packets may be assembled several hours ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to cook. If the packets have been refrigerated for more than 30 minutes, increase the cooking time by 2 minutes. Open each packet promptly after baking to prevent overcooking.

Melissa made in 2019!

• Total Time: 1 Hour

Source: America’s Test Kitchen (4 servings)

Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Lemon and Parmesan Cheese

Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Lemon and Parmesan Cheese

Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Lemon and Parmesan Cheese is a simple and easy to make salad that’s loaded with fresh flavor! It’s the perfect way to use this year’s summer zucchini crop!


5 small zucchini, trimmed and peeled into ribbons
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup shaved Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint

1. Toss the zucchini ribbons, salt and pepper, olive oil and lemon juice together in a large bowl. Taste for seasoning. Once coated arrange them on a serving platter.
2. Top the zucchini ribbons with Parmesan cheese shavings, mint and pine nuts. Serve immediately.

4 WW Freestyle Smartpoints
• Prep: 15 Minutes

Source: Recipe Runner (4 servings)

Shrimp and Pea Risotto

Shrimp and Pea Risotto

Shrimp and Pea Risotto

1 ½ cups, uncooked Arborio Rice
5 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 tablespoon oil
⅓ cups onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb. small shrimp, shelled and deveined
½ cup frozen peas, unthawed
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated

1. Heat broth to a simmer in saucepan. Heat 2 tablespoons butter and oil in heavy 4 quart saucepan over medium heat.
2. Add onion and garlic, sauté until onion is soft but not brown.
3. Add rice; stir for about one minute until grains are coated.
4. Begin adding simmering broth ½ cup at a time, stirring until absorbed before adding next ½ cup broth.
5. Add shrimp after the rice has been cooking 10-12 minutes and continue to add the broth, ½ cup at a time.
6. When all broth has been added and grains are tender, stir in additional tablespoon butter, cheese and peas. Serve immediately.

9 WW Freestyle SmartPoints
• Prep: 10 Minutes
• Cook: 35 Minutes

Source: Rice Select (6 servings)

New Potatoes with Peas And Cilantro

New Potatoes with Peas And Cilantro
A few chopped anchovies or sorrel leaves make a nice addition here, if you want to add another burst of flavor. Serves four as a side dish.


2 ½ cups / 300g peas (fresh or frozen )
2 green chilies, finely chopped (take out the seeds, if you prefer)
1 small preserved lemon, pips discarded, flesh and skin roughly chopped, 3/4 ounce / 20g
¾ cup / 15g coriander leaves, roughly chopped, plus an extra 5g to garnish
¼ cup /60ml olive oil
Finely grated zest of ½ small lemon, plus 1 tsp lemon juice
Salt and black pepper
26 ounces / 750g new potatoes (cut in half if large)

Bring a large pan of water to a boil, blanch the peas for a minute, then drain. Set aside one-third of the peas and put the rest in a food processor with the chilies, preserved lemon, coriander leaves, oil, lemon zest, a third of a teaspoon of salt and plenty of pepper. Blitz to a rough paste.

Bring a large saucepan of well salted water to a boil, then cook the potatoes for 15 minutes, or until soft. Drain, transfer to a large bowl and roughly crush: you want at least a third of them left more or less whole. Add the blitzed and whole peas to the bowl with the lemon juice and chopped coriander, gently stir through and serve warm.

Source: Yotam Ottolenghi (4 servings)

Orzo with Shrimp, Tomato, and Marinated Feta

Orzo with Shrimp, Tomato, and Marinated Feta

The combination of shrimp, feta, tomatoes, and pasta is one that I love. I return to it time and again for easy one-pot suppers. Orzo is the little pasta that comes in the shape of rice. It’s easy to eat a lot of and is widely available. If you start with the shrimp in their shell, then keep a few heads on, just for the look. The marinated feta is lovely dotted over salads, so I tend to make a batch to keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.


7 ounces / 200g feta, broken into 1//2- to 3/4-inch pieces
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 teaspoons fennel seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups / 250g orzo
Salt and black pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 strips of finely shaved orange peel (from 1 orange)
14.5 ounces / 400g canned chopped tomatoes
2 cups vegetable stock
¾ cup water, plus 2 tablespoons
14 ounces / 400g raw peeled shrimp
1-½ cups / 30g basil leaves, roughly shredded

In a medium bowl, mix the feta with 1/4 teaspoon of the chile flakes, 2 teaspoons of the fennel seeds, and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Set aside while you cook the orzo.

Place a large sautée pan with a lid over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoon of the oil, the orzo, 1/8 tsp. salt, and a good grind of pepper. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden-brown, then remove from the pan and set aside.

Return the pan to the same heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper flakes, 2 teaspoon fennel seeds, the garlic, and the orange peel. Fry for 1 minute, until the garlic starts to lightly brown, then add the tomatoes and their juice, stock, water, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and plenty of pepper. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until boiling, then stir in the fried orzo. Cover, then decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice throughout so the orzo cooks evenly. Remove the lid and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the consistency is like risotto. Stir in the shrimp and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until they are pink. Stir in the basil and serve at once, with the marinated feta sprinkled on top.

Source: Yotam Ottolenghi (4 servings)

All pieced!

Just finished piecing my #Simplefriendships2QAL mystery!