Arşiv Nisan 29, 2020


This recipe for a bahn mi sandwich starts with a crusty french roll that’s piled high with tender slices of grilled pork, pickled vegetables and fresh herbs for a hearty meal that’s full of flavors, colors and textures!

I love to make my favorite restaurant style sandwiches at home including Monte Cristo sandwichesCuban sandwiches and this fresh and delicious bahn mi.

A bahn mi sandwich layered with pork, pickled vegetables and herbs.

We are a family of sandwich lovers – it’s not uncommon for sandwiches to be on the menu on nights where I don’t feel like cooking. This Vietnamese bahn mi sandwich is a little more exotic than your typical ham and cheese or peanut butter and jelly, but it’s surprisingly easy to make. This is not a 100% authentic version of the traditional recipe, but it’s one that everyone over here enjoys (hold the chiles for the kids!).


The traditional version of this sandwich is a French baguette roll with pickled carrots and radish, cucumbers, cilantro and any assortment of meats. These sandwiches typically contain pork, such as grilled pork, pate or a combination of the two. The sandwich is always spread with mayonnaise and often contains a spicy element such as thinly sliced fresh chilies.

Marinated pork slices in a bowl.


This recipe starts with thinly sliced pork, which goes into a marinade that contains soy sauce, brown sugar, lemongrass, fish sauce and garlic. While the pork is in the marinade, prepare your pickled vegetables. The pork goes on the grill to cook until golden brown. The pork is then layered onto a baguette along with mayonnaise, pickled vegetables, cucumbers, cilantro and chilies. Serve and enjoy!Shredded carrots and daikon radish in a bowl.


  • If you’re not into spicy, it’s totally fine to omit the chilies.
  • My local grocery store carries daikon radish, it looks like a long white root vegetable. If you can’t find it at your regular grocery store, try an Asian market.
  • Partially freeze your pork tenderloin, it’ll make it much easier to cut into thin slices.
  • Prepare the pickled vegetables and pork up to 24 hours in advance.
  • Serve your sandwiches immediately after you prepare them.
  • I prefer to grill my pork, but you can also cook it on the stove in a pan.
  • Lemongrass can be found in the produce section of most grocery stores. Remove the tough outer coating then mince the tender interior layer.

Thinly sliced pork on a grill pan.


This is a basic recipe to prepare these classic sandwiches, but you can add other ingredients to customize the flavors to your tastes.

  • Protein: Try using thinly sliced chicken or slabs of tofu instead of pork tenderloin. You can also add thin slices of pork pate to the sandwich for an authentic flavor. If you can find a local Asian market, you can also add Vietnamese sausage or cold cuts to your sandwich.
  • Vegetables: Add other veggies to your pickling mix such as red onions. You can also substitute classic red radishes for the daikon radish.
  • Herbs: I like to add other fresh herbs that I have on hand, such as fresh mint leaves or thinly sliced green onion.

A hand holding a pork bahn mi sandwich.

Skip the local sandwich shop and make bahn mi at home. You won’t be disappointed!

Bahn Mi Sandwich

This recipe for a bahn mi sandwich starts with a crusty french roll that’s then piled high with tender slices of pork, pickled vegetables and fresh herbs for a hearty meal that’s full of flavors, colors and textures!
 CourseMain Course
 Keywordbahn mi, bahn mi sandwich, Vietnamese sandwich
 Prep Time15 minutes
 Cook Time20 minutes
 Marinating Time30 minutes
 Total Time1 hour 5 minutes.


For the pork

  • 1 lb pork tenderloin thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemongrass minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the picked vegetables

  • 3/4 cup daikon radish shredded or julienned
  • 3/4 cup peeled and shredded or julienned carrot
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • salt to taste

For the sandwiches

  • 4 French rolls or 1 baguette If using a baguette, cut into 4 pieces. Bread should be split lengthwise.
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced cucumbers
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced chilie


Need dinner in a hurry? This easy chicken taco soup can be made from start to finish in 25 minutes. It’s full of chicken, vegetables, corn and black beans and is finished off with your favorite taco fixings!

Chicken taco soup is loaded with bold flavors and is so quick to make which makes it perfect for a busy night. You can easily customize it to your family’s tastes!

A quick and easy chicken taco soup full of beans and vegetables that's ready in just 25 minutes. #StockUpOnDelMonte #Safeway Ad

I am a big fan of meal planning, it tends to make dinner time less stressful. That being said, it doesn’t always happen around here. There are plenty of times when I have a plan in place but something comes up – I forget to defrost meat, the kids are sick, the day is busier than planned.

Those are the times when I am so happy that I keep a well stocked pantry. It’s not difficult to throw together a simple yet satisfying meal when you have the basics on hand. Some of my pantry basics are brown and white rice, a few types of pasta, nuts, olive oil, chicken broth and canned fruit and vegetables. When I see a sale on pantry items I stock up so that I always have options at dinner time. This quick and easy chicken taco soup relies on kitchen staples to get dinner on the table in a flash.

A quick and easy chicken taco soup full of beans and vegetables that's ready in just 25 minutes. Ad


This soup starts with pre-cooked chicken – it can be rotisserie chicken, left overs, chicken from the deli counter, whatever works best for you. An onion and bell pepper get cooked in a pot and then the chicken goes in along with my helpers from the pantry – a can of Del Monte Stewed Tomatoes, a can of Del Monte Golden Sweet Corn, a can of Del Monte Tomato Sauce and a can of black beans. That’s a lot of cans! I mean that in the best possible way, because it significantly cuts down on prep time.

I also like that the stewed tomatoes are cooked with aromatics like celery and onion – it makes this soup taste like it’s been cooking for an hour when really it cooks for just 15 minutes.A quick and easy chicken taco soup full of beans and vegetables that's ready in just 25 minutes.

Once your soup is made, it’s time for the fun part – the taco toppings! You can set out all of your toppings and let the family make their own creations – some of my favorites are shredded cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips and avocado.

A quick and easy chicken taco soup full of beans and vegetables that's ready in just 25 minutes.

This quick and easy chicken taco soup has quickly become a family favorite, the kids love that they can make their own creation with all the taco toppings and I love that it’s ready in 25 minutes! What are your go-to solutions for quick dinners with pantry staples?;

Still hungry? Follow Dinner at the Zoo on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest for more great recipe ideas!A quick and easy chicken taco soup full of beans and vegetables that's ready in just 25 minutes.

Quick and Easy Chicken Taco Soup

A quick and easy chicken taco soup full of vegetables and beans that is ready in 25 minutes.
 Keywordchicken taco soup
 Prep Time5 minutes
 Cook Time25 minutes
 Total Time30 minutes.


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow or white onion finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper finely chopped
  • 1 15 ounce can of black beans drained
  • 1 14.5 ounce can of Del Monte Stewed Tomatoes do not drain
  • 1 15.25 ounce can of Del Monte Golden Sweet Corn Whole Kernel drained
  • 1 8 ounce can of Del Monte Tomato Sauce
  • 2 cups of shredded chicken
  • 1 tablespoon of taco seasoning
  • 2 cups of chicken broth one 14 ounce can
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • your choice of taco toppings tortilla chips, sour cream, cheese, avocado, olives, etc.


    • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium. Add the onion and pepper, season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes.
    • Add the black beans, stewed tomatoes, corn, tomato sauce, chicken and taco seasoning. Stir to combine. Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed.
    • Serve the soup immediately with your choice of taco toppings.


This soup can be frozen for up to 3 months.


Calories: 360kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 1515mg | Potassium: 1287mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 1795IU | Vitamin C: 71.5mg | Calcium: 105mg | Iron: 5.5mg


These baked french fries are potato strips coated in oil and seasonings, then oven baked until golden brown and crispy. A super easy side dish that’s always a hit with both kids and adults alike. 

When I’m looking for a dish to round out a meal, I turn to classics such as baked beansmac and cheese, and these homemade fries. They’re perfectly crisp without the hassle of deep frying.A plate of baked french fries served with ketchup.

I don’t know about you, but I can never resist a pile of piping hot french fries. These baked fries are a little healthier than their fried counterpart, and they also happen to be quite simple to make.


The first step in the process is to soak your cut potatoes in cold water. Soaking the potatoes allows them to release excess starch, which will make the fries crisp up better. After the potatoes have soaked, dry them well. Toss the potatoes in vegetable oil and seasonings, then place them on a sheet pan. Bake the fries until they are golden brown and crisp. Serve immediately with a dipping sauce of your choice.

Potato matchsticks in a bowl of water.


  • This recipe works best with Russet potatoes. Other types of potatoes will not give you that classic french fry taste and texture.
  • You can peel your potatoes, or leave them unpeeled. I tend to leave mine unpeeled for a little extra color and texture.
  • Make sure to cut your fries into similar sized pieces so that they cook at the same rate.
  • It’s important to thoroughly dry your potatoes after they come out of the water. Any water left on the potatoes will cause them to steam in the oven, which can result in softer fries.
  • It’s important to keep the fries in a single layer, if you pile them on top of each other they’ll steam, and they won’t have that crispy brown exterior that we’re going for here.
  • Serve your baked french fries with ketchup, ranch, or any other dipping sauce you like.


The absolute easiest way to cut french fries is to use a french fry cutter kitchen tool. These come in all different sizes and prices, but you can get a small fry cutting blade for not much money. The other option is to cut each potato horizontally into even slices, then cut horizontally down those slices to make potato matchsticks. You can cut your potatoes into thick or thin fries, whatever you like best. Just be aware that thicker fries may need to bake for more time.

Potato sticks on a paper towel lined pan.


There are a variety of oil choices that can be used for baked french fries. You want to look for an oil with a neutral flavor and a high smoke point so that it doesn’t burn in the oven. Some great options include vegetable oil, canola oil, peanut oil or safflower oil. I typically use either vegetable oil or peanut oil. I’ve also used olive oil with good results, although it does impart a stronger flavor.


This is a recipe for classic fries, but you can absolutely add other seasonings to create your own flavor combinations.

  • Garlic Fries: Cook 1 tablespoon of fresh minced garlic in 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Stir in 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, salt, and pepper to taste. Drizzle the garlic butter mixture over the fries, then toss to coat.
  • Mexican Fries: Toss the fries in 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning before they go into the oven. Alternatively, you can mix together one teaspoon each of chili powder, paprika, salt and cumin and a half a teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder and oregano.
  • Cajun Fries: You can season the fries with a store bought Cajun spice blend, or make your own. Combine one teaspoon each of garlic powder, paprika and salt and a half teaspoon each of black pepper, cayenne pepper, onion powder, dried oregano and dried thyme.
  • Cheese Fries: Bake the fries according to the recipe, then add 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese over the fries. Return the potatoes to the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Sliced potatoes with oil and spices in a bowl.


I find that these fries are best when fresh out of the oven, but you can reheat them if needed. Place the fries in a single layer in the oven, and bake at 375 degrees F until crispy and warmed through. You can also reheat your fries in the toaster oven, or in a pan on the stove top.

This is one of those recipes that is great to have on hand because baked fries go well with so many different main courses including sandwiches, chicken, steak and seafood!Baked french fries on a sheet pan.

Baked French Fries

These baked french fries are potato strips coated in oil and seasonings, then oven baked until golden brown and crispy. A super easy side dish that’s always a hit with both kids and adults alike.
 CourseSide Dish
 Keywordbaked french fries, french fries
 Prep Time10 minutes
 Cook Time30 minutes
 Soaking Time30 minutes
 Total Time1 hour 10 minutes.


  • 4 medium Russet potatoes scrubbed and cut into 3/8 inch wide sticks
  • 1/4 cup oil such as vegetable oil or peanut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • cooking spray


  • Place the potato sticks in a bowl of cold water. Let the potatoes soak for 30 minutes, then drain and pat dry.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with foil and coat the foil with cooking spray.
  • Place the potatoes in a large bowl along with the oil, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper.
  • Stir well until the potatoes are completely coated in oil and spices.
  • Spread the potatoes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.


This tzatziki sauce is a creamy blend of Greek yogurt, cucumber, lemon juice, garlic and fresh herbs, all mixed together to make a zesty condiment or dip. Homemade tzatziki takes just minutes to make, and tastes way better than what you’d buy at the grocery store.

I love to recreate my favorite Mediterranean dishes at home such as tabboulehbaba ganoush and this refreshing cucumber yogurt sauce. I like to serve this sauce with pita bread as an appetizer, or pair it with grilled chicken or lamb as a main course.

A bowl of tzatziki served with pita bread and vegetables.

Whenever I go to my local Greek restaurant, I order a side of tzatziki sauce. This cool and creamy condiment is a great dipping sauce for meats, vegetables, potatoes, bread and more. My version of this classic dish can be on the table in 10 minutes, and will make any Mediterranean style meal taste more authentic.


Tzatziki sauce is a yogurt based dip that’s popular in both Greek and Turkish cuisines. The sauce contains a strained or Greek style yogurt, along with cucumbers, olive oil, a tangy component such as lemon juice or vinegar, and fresh herbs. This dip is served chilled and is typically offered as an appetizer.Bowls of ingredients including grated cucumber, lemon juice and herbs.


Start with an English cucumber, then shred it by using a box grater. Squeeze the excess water from the grated cucumber, then place it in a bowl with Greek yogurt, olive oil, fresh lemon juice, garlic and dill. Stir everything together until it’s well combined. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and more dill, then serve and enjoy.A bowl of yogurt with shredded cucumber, fresh dill and garlic.


  • I like to use full fat yogurt for the creamiest dip, but fat free and low fat yogurt will also work.
  • This sauce works best with Greek yogurt. If you don’t have Greek yogurt, you can strain regular plain yogurt and use that instead.
  • While I like the flavor of dill in this tzatziki sauce, other great options include parsley, mint, chives or a combination of herbs.
  • I use English cucumber in my tzatziki because it’s seedless and has a thin skin. You can use a traditional waxy cucumber, just be sure to peel it and remove the seeds. Small Persian cucumbers also work really well.
  • You can add other flavors to your sauce including diced kalmata olives, or add more garnishes such as toasted pine nuts or sun dried tomatoes.

Cucumber yogurt sauce in a mixing bowl.


This sauce will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up 5 days. Be sure to stir it well before serving, and add any garnishes at the last minute. I don’t recommend freezing this recipe, as the yogurt can curdle or separate upon being thawed.


Tzatziki sauce contains ingredients that are all considered healthy including yogurt, olive oil and cucumbers. This is a protein packed dip that’s filled with nutrients and a great addition to any healthy eating plan. If you’re watching your calories, be sure to choose a low fat or non fat yogurt.A hand dipping pita bread into a bowl of tzatziki.

Whether you’re serving this dip with grilled chicken or as a lighter appetizer option, it’s sure to be a big hit with family and friends!

Tzatziki Sauce

This tzatziki sauce is a creamy blend of Greek yogurt, cucumber, lemon juice, garlic and fresh herbs, all mixed together to make a zesty condiment or dip. Homemade tzatziki takes just minutes to make, and tastes way better than what you’d buy at the grocery store.
 Keywordtzatziki, tzatziki sauce
 Prep Time10 minutes
 Cook Time1 minute
 Total Time11 minutes.


  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt I prefer full fat, but low fat and non fat also work
  • 1 cup grated cucumber I use English cucumber
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill minced, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  • Squeeze excess water from the cucumber.
  • Place the Greek yogurt, grated cucumber, garlic, olive oil, dill, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a bowl.
  • Stir until the mixture is thoroughly combined.
  • Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and chopped dill before serving.


This spinach artichoke dip is a mix of freshly cooked spinach, artichoke hearts and three types of cheese, all baked to golden brown perfection. A classic party snack that always gets rave reviews from family and friends.

You can never go wrong with a hot cheesy dip, whether it’s Mexican bean dipReuben dip, or this savory and satisfying spinach and artichoke dip.

A hand scooping out a portion of spinach artichoke dip.

Whenever I see spinach artichoke dip on the menu at a restaurant, I have to order it. I’ve since learned to make this snack at home, and I have to say, I think my version is better than what you’d get at a restaurant!


This dip is a mix of cream cheese, sour cream, cooked spinach, marinated artichoke hearts, minced garlic, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese and seasonings. Mix all of the ingredients together and spread into a baking dish or skillet. The finishing touch is another layer of cheese. Bake your dip until it’s hot and melted, then add a little fresh parsley and serve.

Spinach, artichokes, three types of cheese and seasonings in a bowl.


  • The most important part of making this recipe is to be sure all of the water is removed from your cooked spinach. You can squeeze the spinach between your fingers to remove the liquid, press it in a potato ricer, or wrap the spinach in a few layers of paper towels to wring out all the liquid.
  • I prefer to use freshly cooked spinach for this dip. You can use frozen spinach in a pinch, but I find that frozen spinach has a stringier texture.
  • This dip tastes best with jarred marinated artichoke hearts, although canned artichokes packed in water or frozen artichokes can also be used.
  • Artichoke dip can be assembled up to 8 hours before you plan to serve it. Keep it covered in the fridge until you’re ready to bake the dip in the oven.
  • Serve your dip with baguette slices, pretzel chips, fresh vegetables, pita chips or breadsticks. I like to put out an assortment of dipping options.

A blend of cream cheese, spinach and artichokes mixed together.


This dip will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 4 days. I recommend reheating the pan covered in the oven until warmed through, or you can microwave individual portions.A skillet of spinach dip topped with shredded cheese.


This dip is great as written, but you can add other ingredients to the mix to customize the flavors to your tastes.

  • Meat: Feel free to add cooked crumbled bacon, or cooked Italian sausage. Shredded chicken is also a nice choice.
  • Vegetables: I sometimes add other vegetables such as sauteed onions, roasted red bell peppers or cooked mushrooms.
  • Flavorings: Pump up the flavor with sun dried tomatoes, chopped olives, fresh herbs such as dill or basil, or add a topping of buttered breadcrumbs.

Spinach artichoke dip served with bread, pretzels and vegetables.


I don’t recommend freezing this dip as dairy products can curdle or separate when frozen.

This spinach dip is perfect for parties, game day, or when you’re looking for a hearty snack. People always ask me for the recipe, it’s just that good!


Spinach Artichoke Dip

This spinach artichoke dip is a mix of freshly cooked spinach, artichoke hearts and three types of cheese, all baked to golden brown perfection. A classic party snack that always gets rave reviews from family and friends.
 Keywordspinach artichoke dip
 Prep Time10 minutes
 Cook Time20 minutes
 Total Time30 minutes.
  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 8 ounces fresh spinach leaves
  • 3/4 cup marinated artichoke hearts coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese divided use
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • sliced bread, crackers and vegetables for serving
  • cooking spray


    • Steam or saute the spinach until wilted. Let cool, then wring out all the excess water. Coarsely chop the spinach.
    • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a small baking dish or skillet with cooking spray.
    • Place the cream cheese, sour cream, cooked spinach, artichoke hearts, garlic, salt, pepper, parmesan cheese and 3/4 cup of the mozzarella cheese in a bowl. Stir until well combined.
    • Spread the spinach mixture into the prepared dish. Top with remaining shredded mozzarella cheese.
    • Bake for 20 minutes or until dip is bubbly and cheese is melted. Turn the oven to broil and cook for 2-3 more minutes or until cheese starts to brown.
    • Sprinkle with chopped parsley, then serve immediately with bread, crackers and vegetables.


Calories: 194kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 389mg | Potassium: 82mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 605IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 188mg | Iron: 0.3mg

How to make a delicious recipe with smoked tri tip easy

This smoked tri tip is a tender beef roast coated in a homemade spice rub, then slow smoked to perfection. An easy and impressive main course that’s great for feeding a crowd!

When the weather is nice, I’m constantly smoking different cuts of meat such as pork chopschicken thighs, and of course this tender and juicy smoked tri tip.

Smoked tri tip sliced and served on a pan with grilled vegetables.


Tri tip is a triangle shaped roast that comes from the bottom sirloin area of the cow. This cut of meat is naturally tender and well marbled, and is great when cooked on the grill, a smoker or in a skillet on the stove. If you can’t find meat labeled as tri tip at your local grocery store, it may be packaged under another name such as Santa Maria cut or bottom sirloin tip.

A tri tip in a baking pan.


This recipe starts with a BBQ rub. I prefer to use my homemade BBQ spice rub, but a store bought rub will also work just fine. Spread the rub all over both sides of your roast. Place the meat in a smoker, then cook it until a meat thermometer registers at 5 degrees lower than your desired level of doneness. Broil the meat in the oven for a few minutes to develop a browned and caramelized crust. Wrap the meat in foil, and let it sit for 20 minutes. Remove the meat from the foil, then thinly slice the tri tip and serve it.


Smoked tri tip cooks at 225 degrees F. You can plan on it taking approximately 30 minutes per pound of meat. The best way to gauge when your meat is done is to insert a digital probe thermometer into the thickest part of the roast.Tri tip coated in homemade spice rub.


The traditional wood type used for tri tip is red oak, but other varieties of wood will also work. If you can’t find red oak, try hickory, apple wood, pecan, or cherry wood.A cooked smoked steak roast in a pan.


I recommend that you use a thermometer to gauge when your meat is ready. I use a thermometer with a remote so that I can just leave the probe in the meat and monitor the temperature from inside the house. Personally, I like to cook my tri tip to medium rare, I don’t recommend cooking your meat over 150 degrees F as it will be more likely to be tough or dry.

Keep in mind that your roast will need to rest for at least 20 minutes before you slice it, so it’s best to take the meat out of the smoker when it’s 5 degrees before you reach your desired temperature, as the meat will continue to cook as it rests.

Slices of smoked tri tip served with rice and vegetables.


Thinly slice your tri tip across the grain for the most tender bites of meat. You can serve your meat as-is with an assortment of side dishes, or use it in other dishes. Smoked tri tip works well over salads, as a sandwich, in chili or in tacos.

Smoked Tri Tip

This smoked tri tip is a tender beef roast coated in homemade spice rub, then slow smoked to perfection. An easy and impressive main course that’s great for feeding a crowd!
 Keywordsmoked tri tip
 Prep Time15 minutes
 Cook Time1 hour 30 minutes
 Total Time1 hour 45 minutes.


  • 2-3 pounds tri tip roast excess fat and silverskin trimmed away
  • 1/3 cup  homemade or store bought.


    • Preheat a smoker to 225 degrees F.
    • Coat both sides of the meat with the BBQ rub.
    • Insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, then place the meat in the smoker.
    • Cook the meat for approximately 30 minutes per pound, or until a thermometer registers 135 degrees F. Preheat the oven broiler.
    • Remove the meat from the smoker. Broil the meat for 5-6 minutes or until a browned crust develops.
    • Wrap the tri tip in foil. Let the meat rest for 20 minutes.
    • Remove the meat from the foil. Slice the meat thinly against the grain, then serve.


Calories: 305kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 118mg | Sodium: 534mg | Potassium: 485mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 233IU | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 2mg


These corn fritters are crispy cakes filled with corn kernels, cheddar cheese and seasonings, all cooked together to golden brown perfection. An easy side dish that is the perfect way to showcase summer corn!

I’m always looking for unique and exciting ways to serve vegetables. Some of my favorite options include bacon wrapped asparaguscandied carrots and these delectable corn cakes.

A stack of corn fritters topped with bacon, sour cream and green onions.

When summer corn is in season, I make corn fritters almost every week. They’re just that good! This recipe can be made with fresh, frozen or canned corn, which means you can enjoy these fritters all year.


This recipe starts with corn kernels, flour, a bit of sugar, baking powder, salt and pepper. Add eggs and milk to the mix, then stir to combine. The finishing touch is a handful of sliced green onions and some shredded cheddar cheese. Stir all of the ingredients together until a thick batter is formed. Heat vegetable oil in a pan, then add heaping spoonfuls of the batter. Cook the fritters on both sides until golden brown, then serve immediately and enjoy.Flour, corn and seasonings in a mixing bowl.


If you’re using fresh corn for these fritters, you’ll need to remove it from the cob before you can proceed with the recipe. There are a few simple ways to remove corn from the cob without making a big mess. One option is to buy a corn stripper, which is a tool designed for this exact use. If you’d rather not buy another kitchen tool, lay an ear of corn flat on a cutting board and carefully slice the kernels off. You can also stand the ear of corn inside a large mixing bowl, then slice the kernels off so that they’re all contained within the bowl.Corn batter topped with green onions and shredded cheese.


  • I typically use fresh or thawed from frozen corn kernels for this recipe. You can use canned corn too, but canned corn often contains extra sodium, so you may want to cut back on the salt in the recipe.
  • The batter for the fritters can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 hours before you plan to use it.
  • Use a neutral flavored oil with a high smoke point, such as vegetable oil, peanut oil or safflower oil.
  • Serve your fritters with a variety of toppings such as sour cream, green onions and bacon. Some people prefer to serve their fritters as a sweeter dish by adding a drizzle of honey over the top.


This is a basic recipe for corn fritters which are flavored with a hint of green onion and melted cheese. That being said, there are so many different ways to flavor your fritters!

  • Sweet: Omit the cheese, pepper and green onions. Increase the amount of sugar to 1 1/2 tablespoons. Serve the fritters with a drizzle of honey.
  • Protein: Add some meat to make these fritters more of a main course. I recommend trying bacon or finely diced ham.
  • Mexican Style: Stir in some diced jalapeno, lime juice and fresh cilantro, and swap out the cheddar cheese with pepper jack.

Corn cakes in a pan of oil.


These fritters are best when served fresh from the pan, but you can also save them for later and reheat them with good results. Store the cooked fritters in the fridge, then reheat them on both sides in a hot pan with 1 tablespoon of oil, until they’re warmed through and crispy.


The best way to keep your fritters crispy is to place the cooked fritters on a cooling rack in a single layer. If you stack the cakes on top of each other, they could steam and soften. If you’re not planning to serve the fritters immediately, you can put them in a 275 degrees F oven to stay warm.A plate of corn fritters garnished with parsley, and topped with sour cream.


You can freeze corn fritters for up to two months. Place them in a single layer in a resealable plastic bag or an airtight container. Heat the frozen fritters in a pan of oil until crispy and warmed through on both sides.

These fritters are the absolute best way to enjoy fresh corn – they’re light, crispy and packed with flavor!

Corn Fritters

These corn fritters are crispy cakes filled with corn kernels, cheddar cheese and seasonings, all cooked together to golden brown perfection. An easy side dish that is the perfect way to showcase summer corn!
 CourseSide Dish
 Keywordcorn cakes, corn fritters
 Prep Time15 minutes
 Cook Time20 minutes
 Total Time35 minutes.


  • 3 cups corn kernels fresh, thawed from frozen, or canned
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup green onions thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • toppings such as sour cream, sliced green onions and crumbled bacon optional


    • Place the corn kernels, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Stir to combine.
    • Add the eggs and milk. Stir until a thick batter forms. Add the green onions and cheddar cheese and gently stir to combine.
    • Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a deep pan over medium high heat. Place 2 tablespoon size mounds of the fritter mixture in the pan, then flatten them.
    • Cook the fritters for 3 minutes per side, or until they’re golden brown and crispy. Repeat the process with any remaining batter.
    • Add toppings if desired, then serve immediately.


Calories: 217kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 66mg | Sodium: 436mg | Potassium: 271mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 285IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 137mg | Iron: 2mg


This panzanella salad is tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, cucumber and toasted bread cubes, all tossed in a homemade dressing. A fresh and colorful salad that’s perfect for summer entertaining!

During the warmer weather months I’m all about the salads, including caprese saladtomato avocado salad, and this hearty Italian panzanella.

Panzanella salad with toasted bread cubes and fresh vegetables, all tossed in dressing.

One of my favorite parts of summer is all the fresh produce in season. Panzanella salad is my very favorite way to showcase summer tomatoes, and it also happens to be super easy to prepare!


The first step is to prepare your bread cubes. Toss the bread in olive oil, then bake it in the oven until it’s crisp and lightly browned. Cut up your vegetables, and make a simple dressing out of red wine vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil and seasonings. Place the vegetables and bread cubes in a large bowl, then pour the dressing over the top. Let the salad sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Stir in fresh basil, then serve the salad and enjoy.Baked croutons on a sheet pan.


  • Any type of ripe tomato will work for this dish. I typically use small tomatoes on the vine, but other great options include heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes.
  • I prefer to use English cucumbers in this dish, but Persian cucumbers are also a great choice. You can also use traditional waxy cucumbers, just be sure to remove the peel first.
  • Choose a hearty, dense bread for the best results. I typically use a rustic Italian style bread.
  • Any color of bell pepper will work in this recipe, I like to use yellow peppers for the color contrast, but red or orange will work just as well.
  • I use a mandoline to cut my red onion into thin slices.
  • The salad dressing for this recipe can be made up to 3 days in advance.

Salad dressing with a whisk in a bowl.


I find that panzanella pairs well with grilled meats, such as chicken, steak, shrimp or salmon. This salad is also great when served alongside a whole roasted chicken or roast beef. I typically serve another dish with my panzanella and meat, such as grilled assorted vegetables, roasted potatoes or a grain based salad such as a quinoa salad.


This salad tastes best when it’s made at least 30 minutes in advance. This allows for the dressing to have a chance to soak in and really flavor the bread and vegetables. I recommend serving the salad within 6 hours of when it’s made.Tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, red onion and capers in a bowl.


While this recipe is great as written, you can add other ingredients to the mix to customize it to your tastes.

  • Protein: Add a source of protein, such as white beans, prosciutto, bacon, grilled chicken or shrimp to turn this salad into a complete meal.
  • Vegetables: Feel free to add more veggies to the salad such as artichokes, avocado, olives, mushrooms, spinach, shaved fennel or corn.
  • Cheese: I love to add cheese such as fresh mozzarella balls, cubes of provolone cheese or shaved parmesan.

A spoon serving up a portion of panzanella salad.

Once you try this salad, you’ll find yourself making it all year long – it’s just that good!

Panzanella Salad

This panzanella salad is tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, cucumber and toasted bread cubes, all tossed in a homemade dressing. A fresh and light salad that’s perfect for summer entertaining!
 Keywordpanzanella salad
 Prep Time20 minutes
 Cook Time15 minutes
 Chill Time30 minutes
 Total Time1 hour 5 minutes.


For the salad

  • 4 cups rustic Italian style bread cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 English cucumber halved, seeded and sliced
  • 1/3 cup red onion thinly sliced
  • 3 cups tomato cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup yellow bell pepper cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves sliced

For the dressing

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced shallot
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


For the salad

    • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the bread cubes in a bowl. Add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and toss to coat.
    • Bake the bread cubes for 10-15 minutes until dry and lightly browned.
    • Place the bread, cucumber, onion, tomato, bell peppers and capers in a large bowl.

For the dressing

  • Place all of the dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth.
  • Pour the dressing over the bread and vegetables. Toss gently to combine.
  • Cover and chill the salad for at least 30 minutes or up to 6 hours.
  • Stir in the basil, then serve.


Calories: 303kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 156mg | Potassium: 425mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2345IU | Vitamin C: 9.8mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 1.7mg


These cheese fries are crispy french fries topped two types of melted cheese, smoky bacon and fresh herbs. A hearty appetizer option that takes just minutes to put together and is always a big hit!

You can never go wrong with french fries, whether it’s sweet potato friescarne asada fries, or these flavor packed cheese fries.

A skillet of cheese fries with bacon, and a hand reaching for one.

Whenever I see cheese fries on a restaurant menu, I have to order them. The crispy fries paired with creamy melted cheese just can’t be beat! My homemade cheesy fries are even better than what you’d get at a restaurant, and they happen to be easy to make.


This recipe starts with frozen french fries, which you will bake until they’re golden brown and crispy. Next, add a generous amount of shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheese on top. Place the pan back into the oven and cook until the cheese melts. Sprinkle bacon, green onions and parsley on top of the fries, then serve and enjoy.Baked french fries on a sheet pan.


  • You can use any cut of fry that you like – curly fries, crinkle fries, steak fries or potato wedges all work just fine. I typically use thin cut traditional fries as they bake up ultra crispy.
  • I recommend grating your own cheese for this recipe – bags of pre-shredded cheese are often coated in anti-caking agents and they don’t melt as well.
  • Serve your fries with a side of ranch for dipping, or you can even drizzle some sauce over the top.
  • Cheese fries are best when served immediately after they come out of the oven.
  • I like to transfer my baked fries to a skillet before I add the cheese and bacon for more of a restaurant-style presentation, but that’s an optional step.
  • While this dish is often made with shredded melted cheese, you can also use a homemade or store bought cheese sauce if you prefer. You can even make a Mexican version with queso!


This recipe is delicious as-is, but you can add other ingredients to the mix to customize your fries to your tastes.

  • Cheese: Instead of cheddar and mozzarella, you can use other types of cheese such as pepper jack, Swiss, colby jack, American or classic Monterey jack. You can also finish your fries with a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese.
  • Toppings: Feel free to add other toppings to your fries such as jalapenos, olives, pico de gallo, shredded chicken, cooked sausage, tomatoes, green chilies, diced avocado, cilantro or roasted corn.
  • Sauce: Try a drizzle of chipotle mayo, BBQ sauce, sriracha or Mexican crema for a different flavor.

A skillet of fries topped with shredded cheese.


For a different flavor and texture, try making your own cheese sauce to use instead of the shredded cheese. Place 6 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese in a bowl with 2 teaspoons of cornstarch. Toss to coat the cheese in the cornstarch. Place the cheese mixture with 3/4 cup evaporated milk in a sauce pan over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cheese has melted and sauce is smooth and thick. Drizzle the cheese sauce over the cooked fries, then top with bacon and herbs.

Cheese fries topped with bacon and green onions.

These fries are perfect for game day, parties, or just those times when you want a hearty snack with minimal effort!

Cheese Fries

These cheese fries are crispy french fries topped two types of melted cheese, smoky bacon and fresh herbs. A hearty appetizer option that takes just minutes to put together and is always a big hit!
 Keywordcheese fries
 Prep Time15 minutes
 Cook Time30 minutes
 Total Time45 minutes.


  • 32 ounces frozen french fries
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 cup bacon cooked and crumbled
  • 1/4 cup green onions sliced
  • 2 tablespoons parsley chopped
  • 3/4 cup ranch dressing


    • Cook the french fries in the oven on a sheet pan according to package directions.
    • Remove the pan of fries from the oven. Turn the oven heat to 400 degrees F.
    • You can finish the fries on a sheet pan, or transfer them to a skillet for a restaurant style presentation.
    • Sprinkle the cheeses over the fries.
    • Return the fries to the oven. Bake for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
    • Sprinkle the bacon, green onions and parsley over the fries.
    • Serve immediately with ranch dressing on the side, or alternatively you can drizzle the ranch over the fries.


Calories: 408kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 867mg | Potassium: 447mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 401IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 236mg | Iron: 2mg


These seared steak bites are cubes of sirloin steak cooked to perfection in a garlic butter sauce. An easy meal or party snack that’s ready in just minutes!

If you’ve got meat lovers in your life, you HAVE to try these garlic butter steak bites. They’re amazing simply eaten out of the pan with toothpicks, or serve them over mashed potatoes for a hearty dinner option.Bites of sirloin steak in a garlic sauce.

Raise your hand if you love steak! These steak bites are a super fun way to get your meat fix, my kids ask for them constantly. Not to mention, steak and garlic butter are just a perfect combination, wouldn’t you agree?


This recipe uses sirloin steak cut into small pieces. I chose sirloin because it’s tender and flavorful, but it’s not super expensive. Other great choices would be tenderloin, rib eye, or New York strip steak. The steak pieces are cooked with olive oil, butter, garlic, salt, pepper and sprinkled with parsley.  That’s it!Cubes of raw steak to be cooked in garlic butter.

The key to this recipe is an insanely hot pan so that you get a nice crust on your meat. Butter can burn at high temperatures, so I typically start the meat in a little olive oil for the browning factor, then add butter for flavor. A cast iron skillet is a great choice for these steak bites as that type of pan can get REALLY hot!

A frying pan of steak bites tossed in garlic butter.

The steak only needs to cook for a few minutes, and the garlic gets added at the end so it doesn’t burn. Add a little parsley for flavor and color, and you’ve got an amazingly delicious appetizer or main course.A pan of steak bites with a serving spoon.

When I made these steak bites, my kids and I all grabbed some toothpicks and ate the meat as a snack straight from the pan. It also makes a unique main course over potatoes or with a side of bread to sop up all that garlic butter. However you serve these steak bites, everyone is sure to love them!

Steak Bites with Garlic Butter

These seared steak bites are cubes of sirloin steak cooked to perfection in a garlic butter sauce. An easy meal or party snack that’s ready in just minutes!
 Keywordgarlic butter, garlic steak, steak bites
 Prep Time5 minutes
 Cook Time10 minutes
 Total Time15 minutes.


  • 1 1/4 lbs sirloin steak cut into small cubes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley


    • Heat the olive oil in a large pan over high heat. Season the steak with salt and pepper to taste.
    • Place the steak in the pan in a single layer; you may have to work in batches depending on the size of your pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Repeat with remaining meat if needed.
    • Add the butter and garlic to the pan; cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring to coat the meat in the sauce.
    • Sprinkle with parsley and serve.


  1. If you don’t have sirloin, you can also use tenderloin, rib eye, or strip steak.


Calories: 272kcal | Protein: 31g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 101mg | Sodium: 130mg | Potassium: 484mg | Vitamin A: 175IU | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 2.3mg