My unsophisticated palate.




I’m almost embarrassed about how unsophisticated my palate is.

Tonight I ate a strange salad consisting of raw spinach, strawberries, Teriyaki sauce, plain yogurt, and grated romano cheese.  I pretended to like it, but I actually hated it.  It was just…weird tasting.    I would have preferred a boring ol’ tossed salad with Italian or ranch dressing.

Mind you, I liked all the individual ingredients in the salad (except the yogurt, which I have never liked), but they just didn’t go together.  It was like eating a steak with chocolate sauce.   I couldn’t finish it.

I know some foodies are really into exotic combinations and contrasting tastes, but I’m not a culinary daredevil.  I’m not even a big fan of sushi, which is no longer considered that strange or exotic and everyone but me seems to love.    I’m way too fond of things like macaroni and cheese and spaghetti and meatballs.   I prefer my burgers with mimimal condiments or none at all.   I prefer my BBQ on the mild side.  I like my pizza without weird toppings like pineapple or balsamic strawberries.   I am not a fan of most seafood, apparently a requirement to be a true foodie.

I have the culinary taste of an 8 year old.  It’s kind of embarrassing.

There are a few exceptions though, especially when it comes to chocolate and sweets.   I adored salted dark chocolate before it was a thing.  I always put dark chocolate in my chili (it actually cuts the acidity and you don’t taste the chocolate).   I really can’t stand most mass marketed candy, with the exception of Fifth Avenue bars, which are fucking delicious and almost impossible to find (I can’t stand the much more common Butterfingers, which they’re often compared to).   I prefer marzipan to fondant, I like spicy brown or stoneground mustard better than the yellow kind, and I love pine nuts in almost anything.

Crock Pot® chili!


This is a very good chili recipe and so easy to make if you’re the proud owner of a Crock Pot® (I have no idea what I’d do without mine during the colder months). I made this today and it’s even better the second day–I can’t wait for tomorrow!

1 lb. chopped hamburger meat
2 16 oz. cans or 1 32 oz. box of spaghetti sauce (I like Hunt’s)
2 16 oz. cans of chili or pinto beans
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 16 oz can diced skinned tomatoes
1/2 package of Sun-dried tomatoes–julienne cut (You can find these in the produce department)
1 large onion.
a few tablespoons olive oil.
2 cups water
1 package of Chili mix seasoning
Chili powder (optional)
Diced green onions (optional)
Red pepper


In a large frying pan, cook the chopped meat until completely done. Drain the oil from the meat and place inside the Crock Pot® (or other slow cooker). Drain the beans and add to the meat, then stir. Dice the large onion into small pieces and add to the meat and bean mixture. Add in the spaghetti sauce, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, Sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, red pepper (I use about 2 tablespoons), chili seasoning, and chili powder (optional–recommended if you like your chili extra hot), then add the water and stir until mixed thoroughly. Cover the Crock Pot® and set on High. Chili will be ready to eat as soon as all the water is absorbed (about an hour) but I like to wait at least 2-3 hours before eating because the longer it cooks, the more flavorful it gets.

If you like, top the chili with grated sharp Cheddar or Mexican cheese, and garnish with the diced green onions.

After several hours of cooking, set the Crock Pot® on Low and leave the chili in the pot until the next day (if it lasts that long).

Lucky Otter’s flourless mac ‘n’ cheese

Tonight’s dinner.

I’ve been making this for years. My kids adored it when they were young and still do. It’s a very simple recipe and tastes great! And unlike other macaroni and cheese recipes, it uses no flour.

I decided to make it tonight because I wanted some “comfort food” but didn’t want to spend a lot of time in a hot kitchen!


2 large eggs
1 stick of butter (you can substitute margarine but I prefer butter), softened
16 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
8 oz. container of whole milk (4% milkfat) cottage cheese (you can use lowfat too)
1 16 oz box of elbow macaroni, penne, farfalle (bow ties) or other small pasta of your choice (I like DaVinci Twists best for this recipe)
Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
Green onions chopped into small pieces (optional)
Sea salt (any salt will do, really)


1. In a large pot, boil water with about a half teaspoon of salt added.
2. When water boils, add pasta of your choice
3. In a large mixing bowl, mix 3/4 of the shredded cheese, cottage cheese, butter, eggs and parmesan cheese into a paste; set aside.
4. When pasta is cooked, drain and run cold water over it to rinse off the starch
5. Add the pasta to the cheese mixture, and mix thoroughly
6. If you wish, add the green onions.
7. Spoon the mixture into a lasagna-sized glass or foil baking pan
8. Add the remaining 1/4 of shredded cheddar cheese to the top and add a few more green onion slices if you wish
9. Sprinkle the bread crumbs and a little more parmesan cheese on top.
10. Bake at 300 degrees for about 20-25 minutes until bread crumbs are golden brown and cheese is melted.
11. Serve and enjoy!