Gnome is done!

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Avocado-Cucumber Toss

Avocado-Cucumber Toss

2020, 3 WW SmartPoints (Green, Blue, Purple), Recipe Source, Salad, Velik Favorites, Weight Watchers
Prep Time: 11 min Cook Time: 11 min Difficulty: Easy Servings: 4 servings (1 cup each) Source:

4 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil, extra-virgin
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup fresh cherry tomatoes, quartered (about 12)
1 cup, sliced, peeled avocado (about 1 medium)
2 cup cucumbers, chopped
This cool, beautiful-looking salad is a fun side to Mexican food, and it’s much healthier than refried beans covered in cheese. You only need 11 minutes to make it and you also don’t have to cook anything. That makes the prep and cleanup process super easy. The simple yet flavorful dressing is made by shaking some apple-cider vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper together in a jar. Toss with fresh cherry tomatoes, sliced avocado, and chopped cucumbers, and your salad is ready to go. Feel free to add red onions, crumbled cheese, or chopped herbs for additional crunch and color; just keep in mind that this will affect the recipe’s nutritional value.

Combine first 4 ingredients in a jar; cover tightly, and shake vigorously. Place tomato, avocado and cucumber in a bowl; add vinegar mixture, and toss gently to coat.

Serve immediately.

3 WW SmartPoints (green, blue, purple)

I added some fresh chopped up herbs I had in the fridge.

Herby Pasta with Garlic and Green Olives

9io0p-oiuytrewq}”Herby Pasta with Garlic and Green Olives

2020, Bon Appetit, pappardelle, Pasta, Velik Favorites
Servings: 4 servings Source:

12 oz. pappardelle or other wide noodle
Kosher salt
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
8 garlic cloves, smashed
1 cup finely chopped parsley
1 cup pitted Castelvetrano olives
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup basil leaves
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Dishes that rely on a quick sauté to bring out garlic’s bright side, like this herb-laced riff on aglio e olio, require planning and vigilance—you need to have all your other ingredients at the ready to cool down that pan and not let the garlic get acrid and burnt. Also, feel free to use whatever tender herb you like for this pasta (a mix of tarragon, chives, and dill works well).

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 2 minutes less than package directions.

Meanwhile, heat ¼ cup oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium. Add garlic and cook, stirring often and pressing down on cloves so they make good contact with the bottom of the pot, until golden and soft, about 5 minutes. Add parsley and cook, stirring occasionally, until parsley releases some of its liquid and slightly darkens in color, about 5 minutes. Toss in olives and red pepper flakes and cook another minute to let the flavors meld.

Using tongs, transfer pasta to pot with sauce and add butter and ½ cup pasta cooking liquid. Cook, tossing and adding more pasta liquid as needed, until each strand of pasta is coated and pasta is al dente, about 4 minutes. Remove pasta from heat and toss in basil, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Taste and season with salt as needed.

Divide pasta among bowls and drizzle with more oil.

Amount Per Serving
calories 585
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 32 g 50 %
Saturated Fat 8 g 41 %
Monounsaturated Fat 5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 7 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 111 mg 37 %
Sodium 1267 mg 53 %
Potassium 66 mg 2 %
Total Carbohydrate 65 g 22 %
Dietary Fiber 3 g 14 %
Sugars 0 g
Protein 13 g 26 %

Chocolate Rosemary Biscuits


Chocolate Rosemary Biscuits

2020, biscuits, Breakfast Foods, Food 52, Velik Favorites
Servings: 14 Source:

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter, cold and cubed
3/4 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

Preheat the oven to 425*F and grease a sheet pan with butter

Combine the flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. Cut the butter into the flour mix using your fingers with a pinching movement until the mix resembles oatmeal. Add the rosemary.

Make a well in the middle of the flour and gradually add the milk. You may not need to use the full 3/4 cup. Knead with your fingers until the dough has come together and is slightly sticky.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and roll out to about 1/4-1/2 inch thickness. Use a round cutter to punch out the biscuits.

Place on greased baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes or until the tops are nice and crisp. Brush the finished biscuits with melted butter and sprinkle with sea salt (optional).


AUTHOR NOTES – I take a simple biscuit recipe, one any southern grandma or grandpa would pass on through the generations, and jazz it up a bit with a modern flavor combo of chocolate and rosemary. In this instance the the rosemary, and not the chocolate, offers a slightly sweet and fragrant note that the cocoa powder balances with a slightly bitter bite. Serve these biscuits alongside any breakfast, brunch, or dinner entree with a healthy slathering of some salty butter and prepare to wow your guests with the unexpected.

Melissa’s notes – original recipe stated it made 12 biscuits, for me it was 14.

Roast Chicken with Sumac, Za’atar, and Lemon


Roast Chicken with Sumac, Za’atar, and Lemon

2020, Chicken, chicken, whole, Recipes I want to try, Velik Favorites, Yotam Ottolenghi
Servings: Serves 4 Source:

1 large organic or free-range chicken, divided into quarters: breast and wing, leg and thigh
2 red onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp sumac
1 lemon, thinly sliced
scant 1 cup / 200 ml chicken stock or water
1 1/2 tsp salt, plus extra
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp za’atar
4 tsp / 20 g unsalted butter
6 tbsp / 50 g pine nuts
4 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

This is a simplified version of the traditional Palestinian dish m’sakhan, in which chicken is spiced with sumac and then roasted in the oven over bread. Sumac and za’atar that we love and use so much are combined here with fresh lemon to give the chicken a powerful sharp kick. It works fantastically well and is almost addictive. Try serving the chicken with warm pita bread and a garlicky yogurt sauce, made by mixing Greek yogurt with crushed garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

In a large bowl, mix the chicken with the onions, garlic, olive oil, spices, lemon, stock, salt, and pepper. Leave in the fridge to marinate for a few hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400°F / 200°C. Transfer the chicken and its marinade to a baking sheet large enough to accommodate all the chicken pieces lying flat and spaced well apart. They should be skin side up. Sprinkle the za’atar over the chicken and onions and put the pan in the oven. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is colored and just cooked through.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small frying pan, add the pine nuts and a pinch of salt, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until they turn golden. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the fat.

Transfer the hot chicken and onions to a serving plate and finish with the chopped parsley, pine nuts, and a drizzle of olive oil. You can sprinkle on more za’atar and sumac, if you like.

My chicken took longer to cook – it was big! Cook until chicken until internal temperatures is 165°.

Working the birds!


Baked Skillet Pasta with Cheddar and Spiced Onions

Good, but takes a while to prepare! Pay attention to notes.

Baked Skillet Pasta with Cheddar and Spiced Onions

19 WW SmartPoint (Green), 2020, New York Times Cooking, Pasta, Velik Favorites
Cook Time: 1 hour Servings: 6 servings Source:

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 large onions, thinly sliced
1 large bay leaf
1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne, plus more to taste
1 ¼ teaspoons fine sea salt, plus more as needed
3 fat garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon black pepper
⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
1 (15-ounce) can whole peeled plum tomatoes
1 pound small pasta, such as rotini or shells
¾ cup chopped parsley or cilantro (or use a combination of cilantro and parsley), plus more for serving
8 ounces shredded Cheddar
½ cup grated Parmesan
Hot sauce, for serving (optional)

In this warming skillet pasta bake, onions — sautéed with cumin, coriander and allspice until golden and aromatic — do double duty. They form the base of the tomato sauce that’s used to coat the pasta, and are mixed with grated Cheddar for the topping, where strands of onions mingle with the melted, gooey cheese. It’s satisfying and easy, with the pasta baked in the same skillet as the sauce. Serve it as a meatless main course with a crisp salad alongside, or as a rich side to a lighter chicken or fish dish.

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat. Add onions and bay leaf, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and browned in spots, 12 to 20 minutes. (Reduce heat if the pan starts to scorch.) Lower heat to medium, and stir in coriander, ground cumin, cayenne and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook 1 more minute. Transfer half the onions to a bowl and reserve (leave the bay leaf in the skillet).

Add garlic, cumin seeds, pepper and allspice to the skillet, and stir. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in the juice from the canned tomatoes. Use your hands or kitchen scissors to squish or cut the tomatoes into pieces and add to pan. Fill the empty tomato can with water, and pour into the skillet. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil and remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and bring mixture to a simmer. Simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes. Taste, and add more salt and cayenne if you like. Remove bay leaf.

As mixture cooks, heat oven to 400 degrees and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until just about 2 minutes shy of al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, and drain pasta.

Stir pasta, reserved pasta water, and parsley into skillet with tomato sauce. Top with reserved browned onions, Cheddar and Parmesan. Transfer to oven and bake until golden and bubbly, 20 to 25 minutes. If you like, you can run the pan under the broil to brown the top, or leave it as is. Let cool slightly, top with more parsley, if desired, and serve with hot sauce, if you like.

To speed up caramelizing onions – put sliced onions on a plate covered with a paper towel in a microwave. Cook on high for 2 min. THEN put the onions in a cast iron skillet with heated oil. The onions will quickly cook now that most of the moisture is out. Keep turning the onions and you will soon see caramelization in half the time!

Used 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes (substituting the 14 oz can of tomatoes and 14 oz of water).

Prepared in cast iron enameled dutch oven.

Another block


Yum! Found these at Central Market!

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A Birthday Mini

Finished up my mini birthday quilt! I wanted a little quilt to hang when a family member has a birthday.

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