Food Connection Network

A Celebration of Food and Food Sustainability Projects

Sausage and Yam Skillet

Photo by Bonnie McDonald Dixon

A big bag of organic yams caught my eye at the supermarket. Trying to think outside the sweet recipes my mind went over to savory. What did I have in my freezer and pantry that would compliment the yams? Hot Italian Sausage links, a big organic red onion, and my favorite jar salsa. Oh and fresh Russian Garlic from the local farmers market. Yes, I said to myself that could make a nice dinner.

The best thing is it was fast easy and delicious! I served this with toasted garlic bread. This would also be nice served with rice or noodles.

Make it with your favorite sausage and favorite salsa to make this your special recipe.

Sausage and Yam Skillet

3 links Hot Italian Sausage

4 cups peeled cubed1/2 yams

1 sliced red onion

3-4 garlic cloves chopped up fine

1 cup favorite salsa

Optional: cooked rice or noodles

Fry up the Hot Italian Sausage links on medium heat in frypan till almost done. Add peeled cubed yams and sliced red onion and garlic. Continue cooking till yams are tender and red onion and garlic translucent. Add the salsa.

That’s it. Easy peasy. Delicious too!

Best Garlic Bread Ever

1 baguette, cut into slices, or in half and then into 4 – 6 in pieces

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

2-4 large garlic cloves, diced fine

Melt butter and olive oil over medium heat in cast iron pan. Add chopped garlic saute till just golden. Scoop garlic out of the skillet. Add baguette slices fry till golden. Top slices of bread with garlic tidbits. So yummy.

Make it Vegan.

Use Vegan Italian Sausage. Use all olive oil making garlic bread.

Cauliflower The Power Veggie

Photo from

I was shopping and stopped in my tracks when I saw a big beautiful head of cauliflower in the produce department. I hadn’t even thought about buying a cauliflower… it wasn’t on my list but I had to buy it and decide how to enjoy this nutritionally power-packed hunk of veggie for dinner.

My oven is subpar in our Motorhome so baking was out. I didn’t want to deep fry. BBQ could work but the smoke was heavy outside from fires in the area. So simple stir fry called to me.

What is nice about cauliflower is it can be used in so many ways. Riced, Baked, Fried, BBQ, Soup, made into faux Buffalo Wings, Faux Sweet and Sour bites, used as a Pizza crust, and simply stir-fried.

The other nice thing about Cauliflower is it has a nutritional punch and yes low in calories! According to Cauliflower is a nutritional powerhouse — providing antioxidants, phytonutrients, fiber, and other important nutrients.

One side effect that some people experience is gas. Veggies from the cole family can upset some people’s systems so you can take an enzyme like Beano to help with flatulence. Cooked versus raw can also alleviate gas as well.

Simple Cauliflower Recipe

  • 2 – 3 heads of small cauliflower (or 1/2 head large)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • a couple pinches of sea salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small bunch of chives, chopped
  • zest of one lemon
  • freshly grated Parmesan
  • a bit of flaky sea salt


  1. To prep, the cauliflower, remove any leaves at the base and trim the stem. Now cut it into tiny trees – and by tiny, I mean most florets aren’t much larger than a table grape. Make sure the pieces are relatively equal in size, so they cook in the same amount of time. Rinse under running water, and set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil and fine grain salt in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the cauliflower and stir until the florets are coated. Wait until it gets a bit brown on the bottom, then toss the cauliflower with a spatula. Brown a bit more and continue to saute until the pieces are deeply golden – all told about six minutes. In the last 30 seconds stir in the garlic.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the chives, lemon zest, and dust with a bit of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a pinch of flaky sea salt (if you have it on hand). Serve immediately.

Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 7 minutes Total Time 12 minutes Serves 3

To make this recipe vegan, just omit the Parmesan cheese finish – still delicious!

Farm Market Chard and Pasta

Picture taken by Greg Dixon

Greg and I were driving in West Kelowna BC Canada looking for a place to walk. We drove by the lovely BONFIRE Culinary Farm Market and stopped to see what they had for sale. I was craving something green and saw Swiss Chard still in the field. Lisa was welcoming and offered to pick a bunch for us.

Fresh cucumber, Chard, and field tomatoes from BONFIRE Culinary Farm Market
picture by Bonnie Dixon

Fresh field tomatoes also caught my eye. Nothing better than a fresh tomato sandwich on toasted sourdough bread!

Picture by Bonnie McDonald

Pasta with Chard and Garlic

1 pound Swiss chard, stems cut from the leaves and the stems and leaves chopped separately

1/8 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes, or to taste

1 white onion sliced into slivers

3 large garlic cloves sliced thin, Russian Garlic is terrific

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup water or broth, Better Than Bouillon is my favorite

1 1/2  cups red cherry tomatoes

1/2 pound penne or other tubular pasta

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan plus more for topping

Rinse and drain separately the Swiss chard stems and leaves.

In a large heavy skillet cook the red pepper flakes and the garlic and onion in the oil over moderate heat, stirring, until the garlic is pale golden, add the stems and 1/4 cup of the water, and cook the mixture, covered, for 5 minutes, or until the stems are just tender.

Add the leaves with the remaining 1/4 cup water and salt and pepper to taste and cook the mixture, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir in the cherry tomatoes and cook the mixture, covered, for 3 minutes, or until the leaves are tender.

While the chard is cooking, in a kettle of salted boiling water boil the penne until it is al dente and drain it in a colander. In a large bowl toss the penne with the chard mixture and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan,

In heavy skillet toss in cherry tomatoes and sear till they almost pop. Toss on top of the Penne Chard.

 Serve it with the additional Parmesan. If desired.

Tip: To chop the Swiss Chard after washing, roll the leaves into a tube and then slice. They come out nice and evenly sliced.

Substitute canned cherry tomatoes for fresh and use the juice from the can for the water or broth.

Optional : Add 2-3 links cooked and sliced Italian Sausage

Crazy MacSlaw Salad

I was trying to use what I had in the pantry and fridge for dinner and was thinking about macaroni salad or coleslaw. Hmm, what if I combined the two recipes and made a MacSlaw Salad. What makes it crazy is we all have our favorite recipes so the recipe can be changed up to taste.

Crazy MacSlaw Salad

8 oz of favorite pasta, nice with elbows, fusilli, shells

1/2 head Green Cabbage Chop into fine pieces.

Six Green onions chopped fine

2-3 carrots peeled and shredded

2-3 sticks celery chopped fine ( optional)

1 red pepper chopped fine

1 cucumber chopped into small pieces


1 to 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup Braggs Organic apple cider vinegar

2 tsp mustard or dijon mustard

1 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp Sea salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper, or to taste

So pick your favorite pasta, then cook al dente per the package direction. Drain, set aside to cool. You can toss with a little Olive Oil to keep the pasta from sticking.

In a large bowl add dressing ingredients. Whip with whisk till blended.

While pasta is cooking Chop the cabbage into fine pieces. Place on top of the dressing. Set aside.

TIP You can use your Food Processor just don’t chop too fine.

Chop the other veggies and and add to the cabbage. Toss to coat with dressing.

Add cooled pasta. Toss to incorporate Slaw and Pasta.

Best if you wait an hour or two. Really good the next day.

Good keeper. Lasts in fridge 3-4 days.

Make it fast. Purchase prepared undressed coleslaw from produce section.

Make it a meal: add canned garbanzo beans ( ceci beans). You may want to add extra dressing.

Fun add ins:

Garbanzo Beans

Toasted sunflower seeds

Green or black olives

Chopped pickles: dill or sweet

Food Safety Announcement

Recall: Freshouse II, LLC, a Salisbury, N.C.-based company, is recalling a number of brands of Red B Potatoes, Lemons, Limes, Organic Limes, and Valencia Oranges due to potential Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

“We are also asking our direct customers to notify their customers of this recall,” Freshouse said in the recall report. Consumers with questions may contact Freshouse II, LLC at 631-369-7150, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET. Consumers may also contact the company via email ( or visit the company’s website here.

Easy Pancakes with Apricots

Easy Pancakes with Apricots are delicious on a Sunday Morning

Today I had a craving for pancakes but realized that I didn’t have any pancake mix. I did have the ingredients for making pancakes. Fresh apricots were on the kitchen shelf that needed to be used ASAP. I gathered my ingredients (5 minutes) and made both the pancakes and sauteed apricots in the next 10 minutes! Faster than going to the store and getting the mix. Less expensive and so tasty! Breakfast was served in less than 20 minutes.

Easy Pancakes

1 cups all-purpose flour

2 tbsp. sugar

2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/4 c. milk or buttermilk, or milk alternative

 3 tbsp. butter, or coconut butter,melted cooled

1 large egg

vegetable oil for brushing pan

Whisk flour, sugar,baking powder, and salt together in a 2 quart mixing bowl or saucepan.

Whisk milk or buttermilk, melted butter and egg together in 2 cup measuring cup .

Heat your skillet to medium high.

Stir liquid ingredients into the flour mixture quickly, just till moist. Do not over stir. Small lumps are OK.

Brush the skillet with oil.

Use about 1/3 cup batter per pancake. Pour onto hot skillet. Cook till bubbles form and edges are dry. Lift up a corner of pancake with a spatula, if golden brown flip and cook till golden brown on the second side. Place on a warmed plate or place toaster oven to keep warm. Makes 10-12 3-inch pancakes.

Topping ideas:Real Maple Syrup, jam, peanut butter, fresh fruit, stewed fruit, sour cream, whipped cream, cottage cheese, cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar, peanut butter, almond butter or Nutella. Add a side of bacon, sausage, eggs, or all of the above!

Sauteed Apricots

2 cups cut up fresh apricots

2 Tbsp. sugar

1 Tbsp. butter

1/2 tsp Almond Extract, optional

Place apricots in saute pan. add sugar and butter. Saute for 5 minutes or till soft.

Great over pancakes, waffles, ice cream, topping for coffee cake or stirred into yogurt or over cottage cheese.


Use Honey, Maple Syrup, or coconut sugar, in place of sugar in batter.

Use Whole wheat, oat flour, or gluten free flour mix in place of white flour.

Use canned fruit if you don’t have any fresh fruit for topping.

Tip: Make your own buttermilk add 1 TBSP of lemon juice to whole milk. Let sit 5 minutes.

You probably will not have any leftovers, but if you do you can freeze the pancakes and reheat in the toaster.

Saskatoons: The Delicious Berries of the Prairies

Saskatoon Berries are beautiful firm dark purple berries about the size of a small blueberry. The flavor is lovely. The texture can be firm and a little seedy. sometimes.

Ready in early summer near dry sunny slopes in British Columbia and Alberta, across the prairies to Ontario. Often called Juneberries in the northern United States. The bushes can be 3 ft to 16 ft tall. Interestingly they are more related to apple than blueberries.

I start looking for the bushes in the spring. You can identify them from the little white flowers. I make a note to remember where the bushes are. Picking them is fun and easy. Grab a mixing bowl with a handle, Ice cream bucket with a handle, or even a plastic grocery bag and find a bush and start picking.

Pick shiny ripe dark berries. Often you find them bunched like little grapes. Leave the dark pink ones to ripen. Pick as many as you can store. They freeze and can well, so if you have room keep picking!

Don’t pick the berries you see with yellow spots or striping. That is Entomosporium leaf and berry spot fungus.

Once home, pour out a couple of cups at a time on a cookie sheet with a rim. Sort and pick through discarding any stems, leaves, or imperfect berries that birds may have partially eaten. I then make my baked goods, jam, or other treats or freeze them for a later time.

Pies, Oat Bars, Muffins, Jam, Ice cream, and savory relishes can be made from these wonderful little berries. High in antioxidants they are a great addition to your morning smoothie. I like to add a crisp Granny Smith apple to my Saskatoon pies to make the flavor and texture pop. I used the same pie filling for the Oat Bars. So yummy. My sister Brenda said it was the best pie she ever ate!

For More information

Fruit Filled Oat Bars

You can use any fruit pie filling or jam with these delicious Oat Bars


1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats

2⁄ 3 cup brown sugar, packed

1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda

1⁄2 cup butter or other fat coconut oil works nicely

2 cups of pie filling or jam


In mixing bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, and baking soda.

Cut in margarine/butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Reserve 1/2 cup of the flour mixture.

Press remaining flour mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 9x9x2 baking pan.

Spread with desired filling. See Saskatoon Pie filling below.

Sprinkle with reserved flour oat mixture. Press down with hand or spatula.

Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes or until the top is golden.

Cool in pan on wire rack.

Cut into bars. Control yourself… they are so good.

These travel and freeze well.

Bonnie’s Famous Saskatoon Berry Pie

6 Cups Saskatoon Berries

1 med unpeeled apple chopped up fine~ I like a tart Granny Smith for this recipe

3/4 to 1 Cup Sugar

½ Cup Water

4 TBSP cornstarch

1 TBSP Fresh Lemon Juice

Favorite Pie crust for 9-10 inch pie~ I like to make Amish Pie Crust

I egg white, beaten

Prepare your pastry. Line pie pan 9 or 10 inch with prepared crust.

In Large, non- reactive pot over medium –high heat, bring berries, apple, sugar and water to a boil.

Whisk cornstarch into 3 TBSP cold water. Whisk into berries. Let cook for 1-2 min or until it begins to thicken. Add lemon juice; this brings foam to the top. Skim off foam.

Place filling in bottom crust, top with top pie crust, crimp, and brush edges with egg white. Cut vents for steam to escape.

Cover a rimmed cookie sheet with foil. Place pie on the cookie sheet and pop in the oven. Bake on the middle rack of preheated 350 deg. oven for 40-45 minutes or until pastry is golden and filling is bubbly.

Double filling recipe to make 2 pies or a pie and Oat bars with some leftover over for ice cream, Pancakes, or Waffles.

Sweet Potato Bean Burritos

Oh my, these are good! These burritos have a unique flavor twist and are high in nutrition and fiber from the sweet potatoes and beans. Make a batch or two. You can freeze the extras for a quick meal. The original burrito recipe called for kidney beans, but I prefer pinto beans or a combo.

The wonderful thing about this recipe is that is very forgivable. Vary the burrito sized tortillas: whole wheat, ancient grain, or whatever looks good. Vary the beans, mashed or whole, add cheddar, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, or your favorite vegan cheese.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups canned kidney beans, drained
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin 4 teaspoons prepared mustard
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
3 tablespoons soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos
4 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes

12 (10-inch) flour tortillas, warmed
8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese or vegan cheese

Serve with favorite salsa, sour cream, avocado slices.

Extra delish crisped up in a frypan with a small about of oil.

Scottish Oat Scones

I love this Scottish Oat Scone! Quick to mix together and is forgiving if you want to make changes. Use currents, or raisins, or dried cranberries or dried mixed fruit. Add walnuts, pecans, sesame seeds or chocolate chips if desired. Frost or sprinkle with a bit of sugar or brush with maple syrup. Make with unbleached flour, whole wheat flour or a gluten-free flour mix and gluten-free oats.

You can also change the fat. I use real butter but you could use coconut fat. I have not tried it with oil. I might someday try the recipe with olive oil.

The sweetener can also be swapped. I use brown sugar. You could also try coconut sugar. If you use honey or maple syrup you may have to adjust the milk so the dough isn’t too wet.

So follow the recipe the first time and enjoy then have fun with the many variations to suit your taste and diet.


2/3 cup butter or vegan margarine melted

1/3 cup milk or milk alternative

1 egg

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/4 cups Quick Quaker Oats, uncooked

¼ cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup raisins or currents


Add butter, milk and egg to combined dry ingredients; mix just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in raisins. Shape dough to form a ball; pat out on the lightly floured surface to form 8 inch circle. Cut into 8 to 12 wedges; bake on a greased cookie sheet in a preheated hot oven at (425 F) 12 to 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Serve warm at breakfast or brunch with butter or, preserves or honey, as desired.

Makes 8 to 12 scones

Variation use 1-1/2 cups Old Fashioned Quaker Oats for Quick Oats.

Out of Cream of tarter? Use 4 Tsp of Baking Powder I like Rumford Brand

Cleaning Just For The Health of It!

When I grew up Saturday was our family’s house cleaning day. My father had been on the USS Rochester Heavy Navy Cruiser 1951-1955. You do a lot of cleaning on a ship. So back to our Saturday cleaning with all 10 hands on deck. I was the oldest of 5 kids. My job was the bathrooms. After a bit of time, the white gloves would come out during the dreaded inspection. If I did not do a good enough job I had to clean the bathroom all over again. I was scarred for many years ( wah-wah) for doing house cleaning .

Just thinking about housework made me procrastinate as well as cranky, grumpy, and resistant to housework until I read this article from Thich Nhat Khan that washing dishes could be a pleasant experience. How could be doing dishes be a miracle?

“I enjoy taking my time with each dish, being fully aware of the dish, the water, and each movement of my hands. I know that if I hurry in order to be able to finish so I can sit down sooner and eat dessert or enjoy a cup of tea, the time of washing dishes will be unpleasant and not worth living. That would be a pity, for each minute, each second of life is a miracle. The dishes themselves and the fact that I am here washing them are miracles!”

Excerpted from “At Home in the World: Stories and essential teachings from a monk’s life”

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay 

Right now cleaning and disinfecting is a lifesaving measure. Now it can also be your spiritual practice. Cleaning can be a prayer, a blessing, a calming time of the day.

Now I enjoy the warmth of the water as I wash each dish, fork, pan. I choose only my favorite dishes, coffee mugs and forks to eat with. It gives me pleasure to pick then up and wash them. I thank each utensil for their service.

Cleaning is service

Other cleaning jobs have become easier too. I clean a friend’s house as she cannot. It feels good to clean her home. It is a service I can offer that costs me nothing but a little time. The reward is a heartfelt Thank you. She said it smells good when she comes home.

So clean today just for the health of it, mentally, physically, and spiritually.

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