To cook with love: friends, family and whatever is in the fridge.

Delicious can happen to anyone at any moment. You just need to have the right mindset. Here is my cooking philosophy: Rule 1) It must be delicious. Rule 2) It should be made with as many fresh ingredients as possible and Rule 3) You must not mix ethnicities. If spices, produce and other ingredients would not naturally occur near to each other within a reasonable radius of the country of origin and in a somewhat modern time period, my opinion is that they should not be put in the same dish. I say the latter because my husband (who is handsome, funny and who I love dearly) has actually put rice noodles and avocado on a CORN TORTILLA! This is an inconceivable breach of my kitchen rule book and made me seriously re-consider our relationship a few years ago. Anyway…

I have three other rules.

Rule 4) This rule is more like a collection of guidelines. These can be summed up in the following statement:

“Make what you want to make out of whatever you have however you want to make it.”

I hear this liberality is frightening to some, but you may surprise yourself with the freedom it gives you! I am here to tell you that you are not limited to one clove of garlic. This applies to butter as well. Better yet, double the butter and the garlic. I tell you right now, SUCCESS awaits you.

Rule 5) Drink wine while you cook. All the greats do it, it enhances flavors and you’ll be more relaxed, more prone to experiment and more liberal with your seasonings, your butter and your love. 😉 Happiness all around. [Exception: When cooking breakfast…Actually, no judgement here. After all, mimosas are made with the sparkling variety. :D]

Rule 6) When in doubt, depressed or distress eat CHOCOLATE. Chocolate is always the answer.

All this being said, the goal here is to enjoy fabulous food that YOU can make in YOUR kitchen to enjoy with YOUR family and friends.

And this afternoon, that’s exactly what I did. My aunt, my newly five year old cousin and my Nonny came to see my new apartment and have lunch. I have only gone grocery shopping once since we moved in a week and a half ago. However!

We ate Roasted Garlic and Basil Chicken Salad with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar

Roasted Garlic and Basil Chicken Salad with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar
Roasted Garlic and Basil Chicken Salad with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar

and Toasted Flat Bread topped with toasted cheese, fresh parsley, tomatoes and balsamic vinegar or as another option, fresh marinara sauce made yesterday.

Crispy Flat bread with Fresh Marinara Sauce and Balsamic Vinegar
Toasted Flat Bread with Fresh Marinara Sauce

This was supplemented by some great non-GMO kettle chips and three-cheese popcorn provided by said guests.

All was washed down with homemade iced tea.

The Spread!
The Spread!

This spread took maybe an hour to prepare and was made from the following list of ingredients:


  • Tossed lettuce salad with halved cherry tomatoes (or whatever tomatoes you have on hand–be flexible!) and some kind of chopped onions.
  • 1 large can of chicken sauteed in a pan with olive oil until some is crispy with basil, 1/4 cup chopped onion and 2 minced cloves of garlic.
  • Serve the salad and top with the warm chicken.

Flat bread:

  • Toast bread of your preference buttered on both sides topped with chopped onions (green, white, or red) and fresh parsley and your choice of shredded cheese in the oven at 400 degrees.
  • Slice into whatever shape appeals to you and serve with balsamic vinegar or another topping.

Sweet Tea:

  • Boil desired amount of water
  • Turn heat off and add a tea bag per 8 oz. of water
  • Add sugar to taste
  • Cool and pour over ice!

I love to eat this kind of fresh, light, flavorful food but living with a man who has the metabolism of a thirteen year old sometimes precludes that. It was the perfect ladies luncheon made out of ingredients you probably have around even if you haven’t gone grocery shopping in eleven days. And that’s what I’m all about. While your family and friends want to be around you (hopefully) whether your food is good or not, there is a certain pride and power in being able to create something mouth-watering from what you have in the fridge. It draws people in, it gives you something to talk about and if you’re me, it gives you something to photograph and a happy man!

Cooking in my new kitchen in my new home waiting for my newish husband to get home, I was surrounded by these amazing women who are in MY family. Before moving, I was refinishing the table that now sits in my kitchen and thinking of all the food I wanted to sit on it and the family I wanted to sit around it. Today’s lunch was just the first of many more meals to be cooked with love.

The last thing I want to say is there is more to come! My hope is to post photos of food and friends, stories of marriage and mishaps, my journey to learning the Italian language and tips for becoming a confident cook who learns from, not leans on, recipes, at least once a week.

I’ll see you around the web, around town or around the table!

Ciao for now,



One thought on “To cook with love: friends, family and whatever is in the fridge.

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