Category Archives: Recipes

Overnight Steel Cut Oatmeal in a Jar

Steel Cut Oatmeal Ready to Eat in 5 Minutes When You Make it This Way

3-Steel Cut Oatmeal up close

Steel Cut Oatmeal

A few days ago I was organizing my pantry and I found a can of Steel Cut Oats that I purchased almost a year ago. I thought I better use this or it will be going into the trash. I’m not sure really why I bought it because I don’t  like oatmeal. I don’t hate it but it’s not something I crave.

When I looked on the can I saw that it took around 30 minutes to cook. Sure, I’m going to get up in the morning before work and cook something I don’t really like for 30 minutes (not going to happen). Then, I noticed on the can a variation on the cooking method. It said to boil water, add oats, and then simmer for a few minutes. After simmering put the pan in the refrigerator overnight and cook for a shorter time in the morning.

I’ve seen pictures of oatmeal in jars around the net but never paid much attention. I thought, I’ll make the oatmeal per instruction on the can and put it in jars and see how it works. Seemed much nicer than putting the whole pan in the refrigerator.

Here is how I made my oats in a jar.

Oatmeal in a jar

1 cup steel cut oats
4 cups water
pinch of salt


Wash 4 pint size mason jars

4-Clean Mason Jars

Add 4 cups of water to a pan and bring to a boil.

When the water is boiling add 1 cup of Steel Cut Oats

1-measuring cup oatmeal

Simmer the oats for 4-5 minutes

2-Cooking oatmeal

This is what it looks like when you take it off the stove

5-Oatmeal ladled into jars

Ladle the hot oats into clean jars

6-Filling the mason jars with oatmeal

Put the lids on and let them sit on the counter until they cool. I left mine on the counter for an hour. Easy Peazy!

Oatmeal in a jar


When the jars are cool pop them into the refrigerator and forget about them

8-jars of oatmeal in frig

When you are ready for some warm hearty oatmeal grab a jar from the refrigerator.

This is what it looks like right out of the refrigerator.

9-oatmeal just out of the frig

Microwave for 5 Minutes

Take the metal lids off and cover with a paper towel or wax paper, then microwave for 5 minutes. Make sure to stir the oatmeal around the 2 minute mark to keep the oatmeal from frothing out the top of the jar. You may have to stir a few times, at least I did.

Gather Your Favorite Oatmeal Toppings

I used Maple Syrup, chopped pecans, half & half, raspberries, and my husband added raisins.

10-maple syrup and rasins

You can eat it right out of the jar or put it into bowls. I vote for the jar; who wants to wash another dish.

11-Cooked oatmeal in a jar

The oatmeal tasted really good. It was kind of nutty tasting, maybe that is because I added a few nuts. I think I prefer the flavor of brown sugar over maple syrup, plus it’s easier to take to work. My husband loved it and said it was something I should make again. Thankfully I have 3 more jars in the refrigerator. Having it ready to pop into the microwave is a big bonus in my book.

One jar was plenty for both my husband and myself; it’s very filling.

This would be a great thing to have on hand for overnight guests during the holiday season or anytime. Each person can make their own oatmeal when they want. Much better than the packet of instant stuff.

Have you ever made oatmeal like this before? Share your experience and thoughts. What are your favorite additions to oatmeal? I’m thinking dried cherries or cranberries would be great this time of year.

bon appétit,
Tamara Maellaro

No Cook Chia Seed Pudding

I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about Chia seeds lately and I really didn’t think much of it. That was until my daughter told me about a student in her 4th grade class that made Chia pudding for the class snack, and the kids loved it (they called it fish eye pudding). It caught my attention, and I had to make some.

You may have heard of Chia Seeds before. Remember those terra cotta heads you would rub the seeds onto, water them, and the hair or beard would grow? These are the same seeds except now they are not just for gag gifts. They are supposed to be good for you with lots of  Fiber, Omega 3, and Protein.

Chia Seed Pudding

Chia Seed Pudding Recipe


  • 1/4 cup Chia Seeds
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla extract


Add all the ingredients into a  bowl, stir to mix well, pour into serving dishes. Put into the refrigerator to chill for approximately 2 hours.

Chia Seed Pudding Chilling in the Refrigerator

Chia Seed Pudding Chilling in the Refrigerator

I even tried some before it got cold and it was pretty good. It tastes kind of like tapioca pudding with a little crunch.

I have friends that add Chia Seeds to yogurt, smoothies, salads, and baked goods to give them an extra nutritional boost.

Have you ever made anything with Chia Seeds? Leave me a comment I would love to hear your thoughts.

P.S. I was not asked to write this post, I just thought the seeds were interesting.

Caprese Salad Bites

Perfect Holiday Appetizer

CapreseSaladBites copy


Grape or Cherry Tomatoes
Mozzarella Balls (size of cherry tomatoes)
Fresh Basil leaves
3 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 TBS Balsamic Vinegar (if you don’t like the dark color use white balsamic)
Coarse Salt
Dried Oregano

The measurements given are estimates, I never measure when I make this.

Start by whisking in a bowl the EVOO (olive oil), Balsamic Vinegar, pinch of salt, pinch of pepper, and a sprinkling of oregano.

Cut the tomatoes and mozzarella balls in half. Cut the basil leaves into small pieces as shown in the picture.


Pour the olive oil mixture onto a pretty plate. Next put a piece of the basil on toothpick followed by the mozzarella and tomato. Make sure the tomato has the cut side facing down so it sits on the plate well and soaks in the wonderful flavor of the oil mixture. Continue until all your tomatoes and mozzarella are used up.

If desired drizzle a little bit of EVOO on top, then sprinkle a pinch of salt over the top along with a pinch of oregano for color.

Cover with cling wrap and put into the refrigerator until ready to serve.

This recipe is always a big hit everywhere I take it. Its light, refreshing, and a nice break from all the heavy holiday dips and such.

Bon Appétit

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Soup for a Cold Winter Night!

I had a butternut squash sitting around for 3 weeks and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it. When I bought the squash I wasn’t paying attention and thought I bought a spaghetti squash, OOPs!

I decided to make soup and went in search of a recipe. I found a recipe by Andrew Weil on a Martha Stewart video.

I modified my recipe slightly and I have to say it came out delicious. My husband loved it too. The roasted vegetables makes all the difference by giving it a rich earthy flavor. I give you a printable recipe at the end of the blog.

Start with a clean 2-2.5 lb. butternut squash. Cut it in half lengthwise.

Next use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.

Peel the skin off the butternut squash. I also added 1 small sweet potato with skin removed. I just didn’t take a picture of it.

Next you want to…

Cut the squash into chunks.
Quarter 2 onions
Clean 4 cloves of garlic and leave whole

I also peeled and cut into chunks 1 small Jazz apple because that is what I had. I placed everything into a roasting pan. I had the oven preheating at 400 degrees F

I seasoned the vegetables with 2 tbs. of (EVOO) extra virgin olive oil
1/4-1/2 tsp of powered chili powder ( this is my best guess, I never measure)
Pinch or so of Chili Pepper
1/4-1/2 tsp White Truffle Sea Salt. You could use any salt you like.

Mix the seasoning into the vegetables evenly.

Roast the vegetables for 40-50 minutes stirring every 15min. until fork tender.

When the vegetables are done take out of the oven and place into a stock pot.

Add 4 cups of Organic Low-Sodium vegetable stock to the pan. I then pureed the vegetables with an immersion mixer. You could also puree in a food processor. Warm the soup in the pan to desired temperature.

To serve I added a sprinkling of parmesan cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and a pinch of oregano for color. The soup tasted amazing and made the house smell wonderful.

Have you ever made butternut squash soup?

I hope you enjoy!

Print Recipe

Recipes and Memories

Mexican Spiced Shredded Beef

Printable recipe at the end of post.

Do you have some favorite recipes that you have been making for years and years?

I love shredded beef tacos and burritos, and  I was  craving some last week,  so I decided to make my favorite recipe for shredded beef.  I’ve been making this shredded beef  several times a year since I was around 20 years old, and newly married. I have the recipe pretty much in my head, but something made me go look for the printed recipe anyway.

I looked high up in the cupboard and found my treasured recipe box. I found the recipe I was looking for grease stain and all. Then, I started flipping through the recipes that I have collected over the years. Looking at all those recipes I’ve collected from dear friends and family brought back so many good memories of my days as a young wife and nurse. Many of the recipes are from my nurse friends at the hospital I used to work at. I’m glad I saved this little box of memories. I smiled when I found a spaghetti recipe from my dear friend Debbie, who passed away much too young. It made me think about how excited we were to make a homemade meal for our husbands. I also found the over achiever list of cookies and baked goods my friend Janell and I made one Christmas. It reminded me of all the flour on the floor, when we dropped the giant bag on the ground. I’ve never purchased 25 pounds of flour again.

I wonder if collecting, and looking at recipes on my computer, will give me the same satisfaction years from now, like this little box did today when I looked at it.  I’m glad I saved it.

My Old Recipe for Shredded Beef

4 1/2 lb. bone-in chuck roast
15 oz. can diced tomatoes
7 oz. can diced green chilies
3 Tbs. Chili Powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 cloves garlic minced
salt, pepper, & cayenne to taste

Tortillas, avocado, grated cheese, lettuce, or any of other favorite fixings

Cooking Instructions 

Line a roasting pan with heavy duty foil. Leave enough hanging over the edges to wrap up the meat to seal in juice. Place meat onto the foil. Rub seasonings over the roast. Cover the meat with the tomatoes and diced green chiles.

Wrap and seal the foil to seal in the juices. This also keeps the meat from drying out and makes the pan easier to clean.

Cook in a 300 degree oven for 4-5 hours.

Make sure to take the meat out of the oven after 2 hours to flip the meat and check how it’s doing. It should look something like this.

After 4-5 hours your finished meat should look like the picture  below. It is done when it easily shreds apart.

Carefully lift the meat out of the pan and into a container to shred the meat. You can add as much of the juice as you like.

That’s it you are now ready to make great tasting tacos, burritos, sandwiches, or tostadas!

Good things to know

> Left overs freeze well
> Boneless Chuck Roast works great. I just buy what’s on sale
> Can be made in the crock pot, but I like oven method best
> Great recipe for parties
> It will become a family favorite if you like beef

Print Recipe

Bon Appétit

Easy Easter Candy Nests

If you need a quick hostess gift or want to make some candy for your own Easter celebration this might be it. It’s also easy enough for the kids to help. It took me about 20 minutes from start to finish.

I learned about this recipe from  peacockpottery and decided I had to try them. My mom makes something similar at Christmas so I knew they would taste good.


1 bag of  chocolate eggs
1 bag of Hershey’s Kisses
1 bag of Square Butter Pretzels


Heat the oven to 170 degrees F.

Place the pretzels on a baking sheet and top with a Hershey’s Kiss. No need to use parchment paper.  I tried both ways and found no parchment paper easier. These are ready for the oven. Cook for 5 minutes until chocolate is soft.

When you take them out of the oven gently push a candy egg into the kiss.

These are ready for the refrigerator. Chill for 10 minutes to set the chocolate.

Get your plate ready for the hardened candy nests. I used a paper doily on a green dotted plate.

When the chocolate is hardened add the nests to your pretty plate.

I decided to add the leftover kisses to the plate to fill in the gaps.

I will be taking these to an Easter celebration so I covered them with cling wrap.

It didn’t look quite festive enough for me so I went into my new kitchen towel stash. I found a cute green cotton towel with flowers and ladybugs and wrapped the plate.

The towel was not big enough to cover the whole plate so I had to improvise. I used office clamps to secure the kitchen towel.

Here is the finished plate of Easter Candy Nests that I will be giving as a gift.

Happy Easter!

Best Corn Chowder I’ve Ever Made

I was having a craving for corn chowder a while back so I headed to my pantry and started looking to see what I had to make it. This recipe is what I came up with. My husband loved it and so did I. Our DD loved it too. It was  super easy to make and didn’t take very long. Quick and easy is what I like when it comes to cooking daily meals

Ingredients for 6-8 servings:
2-14 3/4oz. cans Del Monte sweet creamed corn
2 cups Organic low sodium vegetable broth
1 cup 1/2 & 1/2
1 medium onion chopped
10 slices bacon cooked and crumbled (I used Trader Joes fully cooked apple smoked bacon).
2 Lbs. Organic klamath pearl potatoes cut into bite-size chunks (skin on) I also got these at TJ’s
Pinch of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Chop and dice the potatoes and onions. In a large stock pot cook bacon. (This only took a minute with the pre-cooked bacon). Remove bacon and set on paper towels. Leave a tsp. of bacon grease in the pot. I did not have to drain any. Add the onions and potatoes. Saute for two minutes. Add the cream corn and vegetable broth. Cook on simmer for approximately 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so. When the potatoes are tender add the crumbled bacon, 1/2 & 1/2, pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. Gently simmer for another 10 minutes. Oh boy I almost forgot. I used a potato masher inside the pot to make the soup thick and chunky. I did not want it pureed.

I think this was so tasty because… The potatoes did not get mushy. Leaving the peel on made it easier. Using pre-cooked bacon was a big time saver. The ingredient list was short. It was done in less than 30 minutes, and my husband raved about it.

It is not low-cal, but I did not care it was too good. Add a simple green salad and you are set with a delicious lunch or dinner. Enjoy!

Print Recipe

Easy Bake Pumpkin Cake

This easy recipe will fill the house with the sweet smell of cinnamon and spice. It’s perfect for potlucks, and family gatherings. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for a few days. Serve with whip cream or vanilla ice cream.

I came up with this recipe, or should say modified, because I did not have a yellow cake mix. I was going to make the well known “Dump Cake” with cherry pie filling, but didn’t have the right ingredients. So, I looked through my pantry and came up with something kind of like it, but in my opinion much better than my original thought. I also thought this would be perfect for this time of year. I love  pumpkin, and spice.

I wish I would’ve thought about taking pictures of this before I was into making it. I also stopped everyone from taking a bite long enough after serving it, so I could snap some pictures with my iPhone. They all laughed at me, but hey, who cares. I thought, yikes I have to make this into a blog post. I know all you other bloggers out there know what I’m talking about.

Print Recipe


  • 1 pkg. – Trader Joes Pumpkin Bread Mix (or your favorite brand)
  • 5 oz. evaporated milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 30 oz. Can Pumpkin Pie Mix
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 9x13in glass baking pan with Pam or butter. Mix pumpkin mix, evaporated milk, & eggs in bowl. Pour mixture into baking pan. Sprinkle ½ of bread mix over pumpkin mixture. Run knife through mixture in a zigzag to combine some of the bread mixture into the pumpkin mix. Then, add remaining bread mix to top.

Sprinkle pecans and spices evenly over surface, and then drizzle butter over mixture. Bake for 40min. or until toothpick comes out clean. Keep an eye on your cake; it can burn easily in last few minutes. Let cool for 2 hours, then refrigerate or serve.

This recipe takes 5-10 minutes to prepare. Then, sit back, relax, and enjoy the wonderful smells coming from your kitchen as this cake bakes in the oven.

I hope you enjoy as much as my family did.

Bon Appetit!

Easy Chocolate Pretzel Stix – Perfect for Gifts

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Make a Perfect Holiday Treat……..

I love making homemade gifts and goodies around the holidays. For me it is something I look forward to each year. These pretzels sticks are so EASY to make and they are very tasty. This is a perfect treat to make with the kids. Even very young children can help and it only requires a few tools and ingredients.

You can switch things up by changing the color or type of topping you use. For instance I made some for 4th of July, see here, or you could use pink or blue for a baby shower. The possibilities are endless.

These sweet treats would be perfect to add to a holiday gift basket or to bring as a hostess gift.


Ingredients: Print Recipe

  • 1 bag pretzel rods
  • 10oz. bag chocolate chips
  • 1 jar Fall Color Mix sprinkles


  • Wax paper
  • Cellophane Pretzel Bags
  • Cookie Sheet
  • 4 cup Pyrex or other microwavable dish.
  • Butter Knife
  • Small Plate


Put a piece of wax paper on a rectangle baking tray. Use some sort of microwave safe container to melt the chips (deep enough to dip the pretzel rods). I used a 4-cup pyrex measuring cup. Pour the chocolate chips into the container. To melt the chips cook in microwave for 1-1/2minutes, stir with butter knife then cook another 30seconds and stir again. Take a pretzel stick and dip into melted chocolate to coat. I tilted the measuring cup to get the chocolate far enough up the pretzel. Holding the pretzel horizontal I twirled it until no more chocolate was dripping. Then, hold the pretzel over a plate and sprinkle with candy sprinkles or whatever you choose. Set the pretzel on wax paper and continue with the next one. Makes 12 pretzels.


Now all you have to do is to wait for hem to harden. It took a few hours sitting on the counter. Or, you could put them into the freezer for a few minutes.

When the chocolate gets firm you can

carefully slide them into the pretzel bags.

That’s it. They only take a few minutes. Perfect for you to make with the kids. They are very tasty. In fact I will share with you my little secret shh… I ate one for breakfast with my coffee and it was Yummy! Don’t tell

Bon Appetit,


Cool and Easy Mango Smoothie

It’s been so hot lately that I have been making smoothies instead of heavy, hot meals. I thought I would share this recipe with you because it’s so easy to make, takes only a few minutes, and has easy clean-up.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does.

Ingredients: serves 1-2

1     4oz. package pure mango puree
2     Slices canned peaches (reserve the juice) optional: use fresh peach
1     Medium strawberry
1     2″ x 2″ chunk pineapple


Put all ingredients in a tall mixing cup. Or, put into blender pitcher. Add 1-2 Tbs. of reserved peach juice. Use a stick blender or regular blender to mix. No need to add ice because the frozen mango takes care of that.

Pour the mixture into a pretty glass and sip your cool, delicious, nutritious drink.

Just in case you’ve never heard of a stick mixer I’ve included a picture of the one I use. This is not a promo or review, it’s just the one I have. 

Bon appétit,