Cowboy Caviar


1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup sugar (see notes)
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 (15 ounce) can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (11 ounce) can super sweet corn, drained (see notes)
1 red onion, diced
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup chopped cilantro (1 bunch)


1) In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, sugar, white wine vinegar, chili powder, and salt. Add tomatoes, black-eyed peas, beans, corn, red onion, and bell peppers. Stir to combine.
Stir in cilantro. Cover and chill at least 1 hour or overnight to blend flavors. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

1) Regular canned sweet corn or frozen corn may be substituted for the extra sweet corn. The closest measurement for either option is 3/4 cup, but feel free to use the whole 15-ounce can of corn.
2) 1 sweet onion or a bunch of green onions may be substituted for the red onion.
3) A single bell pepper may be substituted for the 1/2 cup each of chopped red and green bell peppers.
4) In the Midwest, we like the sugar in this recipe. I personally think it tastes great. BUT. If you think 1/3 cup sugar sounds like too much, feel free to use less. Perhaps add 1 tablespoon at a time. A couple of readers have suggested this is way too sweet and they were disappointed. It breaks my heart. You can always add more vinegar and salt if you want to try to save your batch. But I swear, this is how we eat it in America’s Dairyland. And we love it.


Tomato-Watermelon Salad

Serves 4.
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 small cucumber, peeled
1/2 small red onion
3 heirloom tomatoes (about 12oz total), cut into bite-sized chunks
3.5 cups watermelon, peeled, seeded and cut into bite-sized chunks
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into bite-sized chunks
7 oz feta cheese cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup fresh mint leaves thinly sliced

Whisk the vinegar, salt and pepper in a medium bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in the oil to blend well. Set aside.

Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise, then, using a spoon, scrape out the seeds. Cut the cucumber halves crosswise into thin half-moon slices. Using a mandoline or a sharp knife, cut the onion into 1-inch-long paper-thin slices. Toss the sliced cucumber, onion, tomatoes, watermelon, bell peppers, cheese, and mint in a large bowl with enough vinaigrette to coat. Serve immediately. Refrigerate leftovers.

Spiced Apples and Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 6 to 8

1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 large onions, diced
2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 tsp nutmeg, ground
1/2 tsp allspice, ground
1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
4 butternut squash, peeled, halved lengthwise and seeds removed, diced into 1 inch cubes
3 quarts chicken stock
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1) Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the diced onions and apples, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
2) Stir in the spices, cook for 1 minute, and then add the squash and chicken stock.
3) Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until the squash is tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.
4) Puree and serve. Add additional stock, if necessary, to the desired thickness. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate

1.5 cup of heavy cream
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
6 cups of milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips

1) In a slow cooker, stir together heavy cream, milk, vanilla, and chocolate chips.
2) Cover and cook on low for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until mixture is hot and chocolate chips are melted. Stir again before serving. Top with your favorite fixings and enjoy.
3) Refrigerate any leftovers!

Spaghetti Squash


1 medium spaghetti squash (2 to 3 pounds)

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F: Preheat the oven while you prep the squash.
2. Slice the squash in half.
3. Scoop out the seeds: Use a soup spoon to scrape out the seeds and stringy bits of flesh from inside the squash. Be careful of actually digging into the flesh. The inside should look clean and fairly smooth. Save them and roast them for a snack!
4. Place the squash in a roasting pan: Place the squash halves cut-side down in a roasting pan. Drizzle with oil
5. Cook the squash for 30 to 45 minutes:
6. The squash is done when tender: The squash is ready when you can easily pierce a fork through the flesh all the way to the peel. The flesh will also separate easily into spaghetti-like strands.
7. Scrape out the squash: Use a fork to gently pull the squash flesh from the peel and to separate the flesh into strands. The strands wrap around the squash horizontally — rake your fork in the same direction as the strands to make the longest “noodles.”
8. Serve the squash: Serve the squash immediately, tossed with a little butter or olive oil. Spaghetti squash will also keep refrigerated for up to a week, or frozen for up to 3 months.


Tomato Sauce


1 pound thick-cut bacon or pancetta, chopped
3 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 cups Roma tomatoes, diced + 1 can tomato sauce + some tomato paste if you want it thicker
1/2 cup red wine
Roasted red peppers

4 tablespoons basil, chiffonade or 3 cold Persian zucchini
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
caramelized onions (from 2 onions) with garlic

Things that go great with this recipe:
1 to 2 squash spaghetti

1. In a large cast iron over medium heat, add bacon and saute until bacon is crispy. Remove bacon to drain on a paper towel-lined plate and remove 3/4 of the bacon fat from the pan.
2. Caramelize the onions with that bacon fat. Keep onions separate from the rest of the recipe.
3. In another pot, add tomatoes and some of the caramelized onions.
4. Add herbs, wine, and water. Then add roasted red peppers. Adjust the sourness with some sugar!
5. Keep boiling the tomato sauce mixture until the desired consistency is reached.
6. Add tomato sauce to pasta with the garnishes

Heavily adapted from

Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

Parmesan-Roasted Cauliflower

Cilantro Lime Popcorn

1/4 cup coconut oil
2/3 cup popcorn
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 lime, juiced
1 tsp. kosher salt
Heat a heavy-bottom pot with lid over medium high heat and add the coconut oil plus 4 kernels.
Cover and cook for 4-6 minutes, or until all 4 kernels pop.
Remove lid and kernels and add the remaining kernels.
Cover and cook, shaking frequently, for 2-5 minutes or until the popping dies down quite a bit.
Remove from heat and remove the lid.
Take 4 cups of the popped popcorn and toss with the salt, lime juice and cilantro.

Baked Garlic Parmesan Potato Wedges


3 large potatoes, sliced into wedges (1 potato = 8 or =6 pieces)
4 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan
Lawry’s Seasoning salt OR (2 tsp Italian seasoning, 2 tsp garlic powder, 2 tsp paprika, salt)

1. Place potato wedges in a large bowl. Drizzle olive oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle potato wedges with shredded cheese and toss again.

2. In a small bowl, mix salt, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and paprika. Sprinkle seasoning onto potato wedges and toss to coat.

3. Place potato wedges on a baking sheet with skin-sides-down. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes at 350˚F until potatoes are fork-tender and golden.