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I hope you're hungry because today's post is all about food - lots and lots of food.

If someone had told me three years ago that I'd be posting about favorite recipes I discovered, I'd say they were absolutely crazy. I mean, you're looking at someone who used to only buy pre-made/prepackaged food in the grocery store, such as Healthy Choice frozen dinners. Until one day I looked at the sodium contend on the back of the box and almost had a heart attack, a stroke, and then flatlined over the amount of salt. Which is 600+ milligrams per serving. That's 26 percent of the daily recommended limit for sodium, which is 2,300 milligrams, according to the American Heart Association. And yet, they call themselves Healthy Choice. 

And if that's not bad enough, I also used to buy frozen dinners from Marie Callender's (another sodium pusher). Except her dinners contained over 800 milligrams of sodium. MURDERER!

I suddenly had an epiphany and said to myself, "No more!" It was kind of like when I quit smoking in 2015. I just stopped. 

I also think COVID and the lockdown had something to do with my sudden desire to look for recipes online and cook my own meals. And I have to say, I am really enjoying myself experimenting with different ones.

My father was an outstanding cook, and my brother Tom is a professional chef. So the cooking gene is in our family. But when I was younger, I didn't have the slightest desire to even prepare a bowl of cereal. I used to joke and say that if I ever became wealthy, I'd spend money on hiring a live-in chef who'd prepare each one of my meals because I hated to cook. I couldn't stand even being in the kitchen. 

Anyhoo, today I'm going to share 10 gorgeous recipe photographs I got from the blogs and websites where the recipes originated. Some of these I've already made. Others I plan on making in the future.

Included within the title at the bottom of each photograph, I've added the link in case you're interested in trying any of these recipes yourself. By the way, I don't always follow recipes exactly. I will often subtract and add different ingredients to my liking. For instance, if a recipe calls for 2 cloves of garlic, I'll usually add 3-4 because I want to really taste that garlic. I've also taken recipes with meat and made them vegetarian. 

Please enjoy. Bon appรฉtit!


Spinach Sun Dried Tomato Pasta  (Notice all that garlic along the edge of the pan. This recipe calls for 6 cloves. Yes!)





Pesto Pasta Salad (I love pesto more than my own life. I could literally eat it on its own by the spoonful! If ever I get another cat, I'm going to name them Pesto). 


Baked Feta Dip with Cherry Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives




I just recently discovered farro. Have you ever tried it? Farro is an extremely nutritious grain. It's an excellent source of protein, fiber, and nutrients. I love its nutty flavor and chewy texture. It's easy to make and takes no time to cook. I use it in salads and soups. Below is a farro salad recipe.




Hassleback Potatoes (Haven't tried these yet, but they look INCREDIBLE)

"You say potato, I say potahto. Let's call the whole thing off." LOL!


No Knead Marathon Bread (I could eat this entire loaf of bread in one sitting. OMG, look at that outside seedy crust!)

And lastly, here is a new red wine I found and thoroughly enjoyed. I enjoyed it so much, I went back and bought FIVE bottles. With every sip it tastes as if I've died and gone to Cab Heaven. It also has ZERO sugar! I got it on sale for $7.99 per bottle. I think it's normally $15.00. 



Have a delicious rest of your week, everyone! ๐Ÿ’—

26 comments:

  1. Oh, I hear you Ron! Once I started reading the nutrition panels, I quit buying just about any packaged foods! The sodium content is outrageous. And now I have to watch sugar and carbs, so I can’t even enjoy pasta and rice dishes. I’ve been subbing cauliflower rice and zucchini noodles. I will still eat a whole grain seeded bread like you’ve shown for the fiber content. But I suck at making bread. Anything with yeast NEVER rises for me. It’s very frustrating.

    Have you made the feta dip? I looked at the recipe, but I’ve never seen feta sold in blocks? I will have to investigate because it looks delicious. As does that red wine. So yum!

    You might remember I can’t eat spinach anymore due to the oxolate content, but I’ve been subbing kale with much success. Last night, I made Italian Wedding Soup and added kale. It turned out fantastic. I used ground turkey for the meatballs which made them very soft. I left the orzo on the side so we could add as much or as little as we wanted. Like you, I totally change up the recipes. What I like about Pinterest is that I can leave a comment about how I made the recipe so that I remember for next time.

    Thanks for the yummy pictures, Ron. I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday. XO

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  2. ""You say potato, I say potahto. Let's call the whole thing off." LOL!"

    Ron, that is so cute! And oh my god, these recipes had my mouth watering BIG TIME! You and I have the same taste (lol) in food choices. I like to eat healthy, but I refuse to give up certain things (pasta, cheese, bread). I just try to eat them in moderation. My top three faves are the Lentil Pasta, Pesto Pasta, and those Hassleback Potatoes. You're right, that bread crust is INCREDIBLE on that Marathon Bread.

    I stopped eating packaged meals years and years ago. I used to eat them at work for lunch because they were easy. I'd just pop them in the microwave in our breakroom. The sodium contend is insane!

    Thanks so much for this delicious post, Ron! As always, your posts are some of my favorites to read. xo

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  3. Can you believe all the sodium they put in those packaged foods?!?! And it wasn't until eating them for YEARS did I even look at that nutrition panel on the back of the box. It kills me that they call them HEALTHY Choice. LOL!

    "I’ve been subbing cauliflower rice and zucchini noodles."

    OMG, I've been doing the same thing! Trader Joe's has a FABULOUS hearts of palm pasta that I sometimes sub for pasta. And I LOVE cauliflower rice!

    " I looked at the recipe, but I’ve never seen feta sold in blocks?"

    Yes, I've made the feta dip and loved it! I get mine at Trader Joe's in the cheese area. I think I pay around $3.50 for the block and it lasts forever. I started using the blocks because I read somewhere about the sodium content they add to crumbled feta cheese. I freaking LOVE feta! If you can find the wine in your wine store, I think you'll really enjoy the taste. I was surprised by how robust the flavor was.

    Yes, I do remember you mentioning about spinach. And like you, I also eat (and substitute recipes with kale sometimes). In fact, last week I made a soup with TONS of baby kale. Your wedding soup SOUNDED fantastic. I adore wedding soup!

    "What I like about Pinterest is that I can leave a comment about how I made the recipe so that I remember for next time."

    I totally forgot about you being on Pinterest. I am too, but I barely post anymore. I would love to check out your Pinterest page. If you have a moment, could you email me the link? Thanks!

    And thanks so much for stopping by, my friend! Have a fabulous Wednesday!

    X

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  4. HA! That was a last minute thought. I love that song; especially the one with Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. The BEST!

    " I like to eat healthy, but I refuse to give up certain things (pasta, cheese, bread). I just try to eat them in moderation."

    I agree! I cannot give up those things, but I do try and eat them moderately. And I also eat them without any guilt. I enjoy them!

    I doubt if I'll try making that bread because I don't have a Dutch oven yet (which I truly need to purchase), but I had to share the photo and recipe because it made me DROOL.

    "I stopped eating packaged meals years and years ago. I used to eat them at work for lunch because they were easy. I'd just pop them in the microwave in our breakroom. The sodium contend is insane!"


    I now read the sodium content on pretty much everything I purchase because EVERYTHING seems to have so much sodium. I too used to those packaged meals at work because of the convenience.

    Thanks for stopping by, and for your sweet words. Have a delicious Wednesday, Clair!

    X

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  5. " I also used to buy frozen dinners from Marie Callender's (another sodium pusher). Except her dinners contained over 800 milligrams of sodium. MURDERER!" -- Ron, that's hilarious! Your commentary on things are always so funny. I love your sense of humor, man!

    I think we all went through a period eating Healthy Choice foods because, well, we thought they were HEALTHY. I now bring my own food to work and store it in our fridge until lunchtime. Not only is it healthier, but cheaper as well. I also bring a few snacks because I get hungry throughout the day.

    These recipes are so delectable. Pasta lover here, so the first one, the lentil, and the pesto recipes really caught my eye. I never thought of adding lentils to pasta, but I need to try that. I bet it's good. That feta dip looks incredable as well.

    I just started drinking red wine and enjoying it. I didn't think I would like it, but I do. I tried a Pino Noir a few nights ago. Yummy!

    Thanks for sharing your food favorites, Ron!

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  6. Helloooooooooo there, Daniel!

    I'm snarky, what can I say? Tee-hee!

    "I think we all went through a period eating Healthy Choice foods because, well, we thought they were HEALTHY. I now bring my own food to work and store it in our fridge until lunchtime. Not only is it healthier, but cheaper as well. I also bring a few snacks because I get hungry throughout the day."

    You're absolutely right! And good for you for bringing your own food to work. Not only more healthy, but saves you LOTS of money. Our breakroom at work is so tiny, I get claustrophobic. I will sometimes eat at a food court near by, or when the weather is nice, I'll eat sitting in the park across the street from where I work.

    Don't ya just LOVE pasta? That feta dip is to DIE for. Soooooooo good if you like feta.

    I never used to drink red wine either. However, I started about 15 years ago and fell in love. And speaking of Pino Noir, that's my favorite during the warmer summer months. LOVE it!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, Daniel. Always a delight to read your comments!

    X

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  7. I'll definitely look for the wine. ๐Ÿ˜

    Enjoy all your new recipes. I know you will!

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  8. Anni, hope you like it as much as I did!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a faaaaaaaabulous Wednesday!

    X

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  9. Good morning, Ron! Happy FEBRUARY! Not much of a winter so far though. *sigh*
    Yummy post!! OMG, such lovely looking dishes. I totally agree with you on the packaged foods, most of them are lacking in something or too much of something else and it's always healthier to prepare our own meals. Yikes on the Marie Callenders though... Ron likes those chicken pot pies and I have 2 in the freezer for him. Oops! The last soup I made was chicken orzo. Usually with soups/stews I just chop and throw whatever I feel like into the pot. I love kale and escarole in soup and will be getting some of that next time for sure. Marathon bread is good. I get that, and other types, at Wegmans and sometimes make gourmet grilled sandwiches with various cheeses.
    That's a great price for the wine, and no sugar... win/win!! I am not a straight Cab fan, but will look for their Pinot Noir. This wino is always willing to try something new. ;)
    This morning for breakfast, a bit odd maybe, was a slice of warm carmelized onion foccacia bread from Trader Joe's with a Kanzi apple. And, of course, COFFEE!
    Happy cooking, my fabulous foodie friend!! xo
    ~M

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  10. These look delicious! You've made me want to try some new recipes.
    I recently started a new eating regimen and was also eating Healthy Choice, but I was still getting migraines. I believe I know why...high sodium levels. Gah.

    Have you ever tried subscription meals such as Hello Fresh? I'm curious if they're a low-sodium option.

    At 9:45 a.m., you've got me craving brothy beans....๐Ÿ˜‚

    Have a wonderful rest of your week, my friend!
    Xoxoxo

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  11. GOOD for you, Ron! I'm a huge fan of men cooking. Probably because my Italian mom was the cook in our house, my poor dad didn't cook (and I often told him it was a disservice not learning, in case something happened to Mom). Domer is a great cook, and he and I work well together in the kitchen. I never considered myself much of a cook, but since my mom has gotten older, I do most of the cooking ... and she loves it! (I agree: it's the Italian gene!)


    These recipes look yummy, and I'll have to try some -- not the seeded bread, but certainly some of those bean soups and stew-things. And I really hear ya with those frozen, prepared meals -- the sodium content is off the charts! You'd think they're trying to kill people. It takes forever in the grocery store these days because you have to read the entire nutrition label ... and compare one brand to another. Who's got time for that?!?


    Hope you finally get the snow you've been wishing for! xx

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  12. These are some wonderful and delicious looking recipes in this post and now I am hungry, Ron. But then, I have a pot of homemade chicken soup on the stove which is part of tonight's dinner and it's loaded with veggies and some beans and a bit of wild rice will be added when serving, not before.

    You are so right in mentioning all the sodium in processed foods and it always amazes me to see what people have in their grocery carts as we're in the checkout. We buy frozen veggies and some canned ones, mostly beans and tomatoes and on occasion have been known to buy a frozen pizza every now and then.

    I am a huge fan of soups and no-knead bread, so thanks for the marathon bread one.

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  13. Hey there D!

    "But then, I have a pot of homemade chicken soup on the stove which is part of tonight's dinner and it's loaded with veggies and some beans and a bit of wild rice will be added when serving, not before."

    OMG, that sounds BEYOND heavenly delicious! My favorite rice is wild. Love it! Doesn't soup (particularly this time of year) just hit the spot? I made some two nights ago and will be finishing it this evening. Soup is one of those things that get better tasting beyond the first day.

    " ...always amazes me to see what people have in their grocery carts as we're in the checkout. We buy frozen veggies and some canned ones, mostly beans and tomatoes and on occasion have been known to buy a frozen pizza every now and then."


    Ditto! I buy frozen veggies too, as well as canned now and then. I use a lot of beans in my meals, so canned and frozen are so much easier. LOVE frozen pizza!

    Doesn't that marathon bread look incredible? I literally could eat the whole loaf. LOL!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, D! Hope you're enjoying a fabulous week! Enjoy your soup tonight!

    X

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  14. Helloooooooooo there, Debbie!

    "I'm a huge fan of men cooking. Probably because my Italian mom was the cook in our house, my poor dad didn't cook (and I often told him it was a disservice not learning, in case something happened to Mom). Domer is a great cook, and he and I work well together in the kitchen."

    Right on! And I'm happy to hear that Domer enjoys cooking. I'll tell ya', the men in my family (with the exception of me when I was a kid), are excellent in the kitchen. Being Italian (like you) cooking was like a religious experience to my family. Food was the closest thing to GOD. LOL!

    I made that bean soup and it was HEAVENLY! I love white beans. ALL beans for that matter.

    "You'd think they're trying to kill people. It takes forever in the grocery store these days because you have to read the entire nutrition label ... and compare one brand to another. Who's got time for that?!?"

    Exactly! And there was a time when I never read labels. I would just buy things unconsciously.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend! Have a terrific rest of your week!

    X

    *We got a minuscule of snow this morning, but it was gone within 30 minutes. BUMMER! We have not had one good snow yet. I'm hoping Feb and March bring it on.

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  15. Hellooooooooo there, Kari!

    "I recently started a new eating regimen and was also eating Healthy Choice, but I was still getting migraines. I believe I know why...high sodium levels. Gah."

    OMG, you're kidding?!? Who knew that migraines could be caused by high levels of sodium?!?! But on second thought, I'm not surprised. I had a friend who would put a TON of salt on his food whenever we went out to eat in a restaurant. And he would do this BEFORE even tasting his food to see if it needed any.

    "Have you ever tried subscription meals such as Hello Fresh? I'm curious if they're a low-sodium option."


    No, I haven't personally tried Hello Fresh. However, I knew someone who had a boyfriend who worked for that company and she said the food was delicious. Also, a lot of the tenants in my apartment building order from Hello Fresh because I see all the deliveries down in our apartment lobby.

    Hope you're having a FAB week, my friend. Thanks for stopping by!

    X

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  16. Good afternoon, Mary!

    Happy February to you too!

    Yes, not much of a winter so far. It snowed here this morning but was gone within 30 minutes. I hope Feb and March bring on a lot of snow because I feel jipped so far. :(

    "Yikes on the Marie Callenders though... Ron likes those chicken pot pies and I have 2 in the freezer for him. Oops! "


    Yup! Healthy Choice is bad. However, Marie Callender's is MUCH, MUCH higher in sodium.

    Me too! Sometimes when I make soup, I just throw whatever I feel like, or whatever is in my fridge into a pot and VIOLA!....soup! And I have to say that those end being some of my favorites!

    Isn't Wegmans such a fantastic place? I've only been to one (in Jersey). We need them here in Philly because we don't have a single one.

    I love Pinor Noir as well. It's my summertime red because it's not too heavy, but it's still a red. I only drink red.

    "This morning for breakfast, a bit odd maybe, was a slice of warm carmelized onion foccacia bread from Trader Joe's with a Kanzi apple. And, of course, COFFEE!"

    Sounds DIVINE! Isn't foccacia fabulous?

    Thanks so much for stopping by, neighbor. Enjoy the rest of your week!

    X

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  17. Ron, that first photo at the top of your post (bow tie pasta, tomatoes, and pesto) looks amazing! That is my favorite pasta shape because it holds onto the sauce so well. LOL!

    WOW...all of these recipe photos are pretty damn glorious. You're right all that garlic (which I'm obsessed with by the way), looks incredible. What a beautiful presentation too! When I scrolled down and spotted the feta dip I verbally said, OH MY GOD! Now see, I could just make a meal out of that and call it a night.

    And speaking of pre-made/prepackaged food, I used to eat them big time. That is until I started gaining more weight than before I started eating them. Deceiving aren't they? They look health, but NOT!

    Thanks so much for sharing your new favorites, sir. You gave me some brand new foodie websites and blogs to check out. xox

    I'm curious, what type of food does your brother make at his restaurant?

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  18. Wine is something that people seem to acquire a taste for. I know some people who can't drink it because it makes them very drunk. And yet, they can drink other alcoholic drinks and they're okay with them. Funny, hu?

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  19. Daniel, yes, you're absolutely right about that. For instance, my mother could have one glass of red wine and be wiped out. However, she could drink SEVERAL martini's and she was completely fine. She LOVED martini's! I remember when I was a teenager, she taught me how to make her a martini at the bar we had in our house. LOL!

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  20. Hola Denise!

    OMG, I know....doesn't that bow tie/pesto salad look A-MAZING!

    " That is my favorite pasta shape because it holds onto the sauce so well. LOL!"

    You got that right, girl! That's one of my favorites pasta's as well. My very favorite though is linguine because it's very much like spaghetti, but wider and thicker. However, I will say that angel hair is delightful too.

    Aren't the photos beautiful? I know, the presentations make the food look all the more delicious. I made that feta dip and it was orgasmic!

    Yes, if you have some time, do check out the links because they have a TON of delicious recipes. I follow A LOT of foodie blogs and Instagram feeds. I get so inspired to try new things.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a grrrrreat rest of your week!

    X

    My brother Tom works at a restaurant in Florida that is primarily seafood. However, they do serve steak entrees as well. And salads.

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  21. Ron, not only do these recipes LOOK amazing, they also look very healty. Have you always eaten this way? I'm with you on the pesto, I could (and have) eaten it by just scooping it out of the jar. Do you make yours or is it store bought?

    I've seen farro in the pasta/rice aisle at the story, but never knew what it was. I may have to try it. That salad looks yummy! So do those potatoes.

    And bread. Who doesn't love bread? I could feast off a nice big salad and some warm crusty bread with a topping.

    Thank you for sharing your passion for food, Ron. I will try these. And the wine too! Have a nice weekend!

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  22. Morning, Clair!

    Yes, I've pretty much eaten this way most of my life. Growing up, my family made meals that included A LOT of meat, but I was never a fan. I'm not a fan of seafood/fish either. I knew once I got out on my own, I would eventually stop eating meat. I didn't do it for health reasons, I did it because I just don't like meat. And when I did eat it, I only ate a burger now and then. A GOOD burger.

    I get my pesto from Trader Joe's. They have their own brand pesto in the refrigerated section of the store. It's wonderful. They also have one in a jar that is with the pasta sauces.

    Aren't those potatoes yummy-looking? I love sweet potatoes, so I may substitute those instead of the gold ones.

    " I could feast off a nice big salad and some warm crusty bread with a topping."

    Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee too!

    Have a fabulous weekend, Clair! And thanks for stopping by!

    X

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  23. Oooooo....seafood, I LOVE seafood. If I'm ever in Florida, I'll have to email you so you can tell me where the restaurant is because I would love to try it. AND also meet your brother!

    Oh and by the way, I found that brand of wine in my local wine store and bought a bottle this weekend. It was so good!! I didn't get it for $7.99, I got it for $12.99. Still not a bad price. Thanks for the recommendation! x

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  24. Damn Ron, that Artichoke Spread and Spinach Pesto looks phenomenal!!! I love pesto too! My grandmother used to make the best pesto sauce. We used to go to her house on the weekends sometimes for dinner, and I would always beg her beforehand to make it with spaghetti. She used to make her own pasta too! She was an amazing cook!

    My husband is a good cook too. I think he cooks better than me. LOL!

    We both enjoyed these recipes. Got to try that feta dip, as well as that pesto pasta AND the lentil pasta!

    Like you, being Italian, I could never give up carbs or cheese. I'd rather die!

    Thanks for sharing, Ron! Hey, did you enjoy the COLD snap we had this weekend? I made a big pot of soup for hubby and me. xo

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  25. YES! Absolutely! If ever you go to South Florida, let me know, I'll email you the location of the restaurant. The menu is really good. And diverse.

    OH YIPPPPPPPEEEEE! Glad you found the wine and enjoyed it! No, $12.00 is not bad at all for such a tasty and well-rounded red!

    X

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  26. Hey there, Elaine!

    "Damn Ron, that Artichoke Spread and Spinach Pesto looks phenomenal!!! "

    HA! Doesn't it? And I love that it's a thin pizza. That's my favorite kind of pizza. Which is why I love a really good margherita pizza. I like my pizza thin and very simple.

    "We used to go to her house on the weekends sometimes for dinner, and I would always beg her beforehand to make it with spaghetti. She used to make her own pasta too! She was an amazing cook!"

    WOW...her own pasta?!?! I don't think any of my Italian relatives made their own pasta. Even my father's mother (who I couldn't stand, but was a great cook), she didn't even make her own pasta. She was a really good baker too.

    No way! I could never give those things up. I eat pretty healthy, but carbs and cheese are two things I ADORE! And when I make a pasta meal, I eat A LOT.

    OMG, I freaking LOVED that cold snap! But everyone I work complained how COLD IT WAS! I'm like, "Too bad, I have to suffer through summer. Now it's your turn." LOL!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, Elaine! Happy Monday!

    X

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