Now that summer is officially here, it’s time to enjoy ourselves. For some, it means more time to enjoy evening cooking. For others? It’s time to grab a cool cocktail and kick back in the backyard and just let the stress of the day melt away. This month, I’m offering up two recipes that fit the bill. These skillet pork chops are quick and easy, and they’re always a hit with the family. And the “Orangearita” is a lovely, unique take on the classic margarita, with a great refreshing citrus twist.  

Bon appétit! 

Now that the weather is warmer, many people are looking for quick, refreshing ways to get in the nutrients they need. Smoothies are a natural choice, but there are specific ways to make them to ensure you’ll get the most benefits.

“The benefits of smoothies are endless,” said Leslie Spruill, University of Alabama nutrition intern. “Most can be made in less than five minutes. They’re great for on-the-go, and, when prepared with good nutrition in mind, they can be full of vitamins, minerals and fiber.”

Happy May, everyone. This month, I’m hopping on a current foodie trend: “fancy toast.” These days, fancy toast seems to be all the rage in coffee shops and eateries, and although it is nice to go and splurge on these treats occasionally, it’s also nice to be able to make them in the comfort of your own home – at a fraction of the cost.

I’ve got two suggestions here. Dream Toast is a great option for anyone in the house with a sweet tooth. And Sunday Toast is a great, healthy option for weekends, or any day of the week, really. The key with fancy toast is not just the way the toast is dressed up – it’s the toast itself. Be sure to choose a thick, hearty bread to turn regular toast into a full-on delicious meal. 

While it’s true you can’t please everyone all the time, you can when you cook Italian. And that’s exactly what I recommend: try this baked spaghetti dish for a new twist on an old favorite that’s sure to please. Nothing makes everyone slow down and sit down like a great, hearty meal.  

And, speaking of new twists, if you’re looking for a desert option for Easter, these mini pineapple upside-down cakes are so much fun. They’re perfect for the holiday.  

Here’s to another great month of gathering around the dinner table. Bon appétit!  

Yes, it's chilly right now, but regardless, spring is coming. And on that note, I thought I’d offer up a great salad recipe – one that my own family loves. This pad Thai salad may be light, but it’s full of flavor. It’s also the perfect mid-week dinner option, especially if you’re short on time.  

For those of us with a sweet tooth, very little in life can top a great fried pie. This lemon fried pie recipe is pretty simple, and the results are sure to satisfy. 

Here’s to another great month of gathering around the dinner table. Bon appétit!  

 For Saturday morning, or just whenever we get tired of our regulars, this is a family favorite and fun for me to make too.

 

This time of year in the south, there aren't many cooks that don't have access to venison(deer meat), either from the hunter in the family or friends.  However, cooking with venison can be challenging at first. Proper tenderizing and seasonings need to be added to enhance the flavor and cut down on the "gamey" taste that comes along with wild game. We first started cooking with venison as a way to cut costs at the grocery store meat department when prices started to skyrocket. I also found that I liked the fact that the meat was all natural, with no steroids or other additives. The following five recipes have become family favorites over the years.

If you’re looking for a quick and easy sweet treat to whip up for a holiday party, these mistletoe kisses are so cute – and so tasty!

Is anyone else already mentally prepping your big Thanksgiving meal, or doing practice runs? Same here. But this month, I thought I’d suggest some great fall alternatives that your family can enjoy – because really, there are 29 other days in November! And FYI: I actually wound up making two batches of these Almond Joy cookies. On the first batch, I accidentally grabbed wax paper instead of parchment paper. Trust me, you don’t want to ever do this. The wax melted to the bottom of the cookies. Whoops! (I cut them out to take a photo, but my family was so disappointed). Fortunately, the cookies in batch number two were better all around. Edible, even.


Have a great week, and as always, bon appétit! 

Well  now, look at this: Finally, fall has arrived in West Alabama. Hooray! Now that the temps are cooling down a little, especially at night, I thought this would be the perfect time to suggest this recipe for smoked sausage and white bean soup. Obviously you can use regular sausage *or*, if you'd like an extra kick, try adding andouille instead. Enjoy, and, as always bon appétit!

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Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

 

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