Cooking & Living in Small Spaces with Style


Roasted Cauliflower And Broccoli With Bacon

Vegetables, side dish, Beef-Pork-Poultry, Salads-Soups-Sandwichesshirley byrdComment

This side dish of roasted cauliflower, broccoli, and bacon vegetable is a very simple yet flavor-filled.  All of the ingredients are oven roasted, even the bacon.  The dish is then tossed with a spicy sweet soy sauce.

Gazpacho-Like Salad

Salads-Soups-Sandwichesshirley byrdComment

If you love the flavor of chilled gaspacho soup but don't really have the time to make it, just quickly chop and mix together the fresh summer vegetables found in your favorite gaspacho. Chill it.  Serve as a side salad or main dish with fresh bread and a nice salty ham.  I chose freshly baked Italian Paesono bread and prosciutto.  

Coleslaw With Napa Cabbage

Salads-Soups-Sandwiches, Vegetables, side dishshirley byrdComment

Coleslaw is an old Dutch cabbage salad that is normally served with a vinagrete.  I've taken the . . . .

Shrimp Bacon Salad

Salads-Soups-Sandwiches, seafoodshirley byrdComment

My shrimp and bacon salad is what I call a refrigerator raided salad:  standing in front of the refrigerator with door wide open deciding on something quick, easy and filling.  I always have a bag of shrimps in the freezer,  bacon in the fridge, and a bowl of lemons on the kitchen counter.  This is my quick, go-to salad.  

One Corned Beef Brisket, Three Food Dishes

Meats, Salads-Soups-Sandwichesshirley byrdComment

One Corned Beef Brisket, Three Food Dishes: corned beef with roasted vegetables, corned beef sandwiches, and corned beef hash with eggs-- for the lovers of leftovers!

Cucumber Mango Salad Boat

Salads-Soups-Sandwichesshirley byrdComment

Deliciously refreshing salad includes English cucumber, mango, feta cheese and red onion is tossed in a garliky ranch-style dressing.  Heaping spoon fulls of the salad is then layered on a romaine lettuce leaf in the style of boat.  More flavor is added with the topping of alfalfa-radish sprouts.  Healthy and filling makes this is a great light lunch with a dinner role or even a side salad.

My Manhattan Clam Chowder

seafood, Salads-Soups-Sandwichesshirley byrdComment

It's still clam season.  And I finally got around to making one of my favorite clam dishes:  My Manhattan Clam Chowder.  It departs from the traditional one in that I include baby spinach cut julienne style.  Still, it packs all the other wonderful flavors of a Manhattan clam chowder and it is loaded with fresh littleneck clams.

Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas For One

Food Talk, Desserts-Snacks, Beverages, Meats, side dish, Salads-Soups-Sandwichesshirley byrd2 Comments

Dining alone for Thanksgiving this year?  So am I.  And I shall enjoy my Thanksgiving Dinner to the max with my girl, Susie, a Portuguese water dog.

My Thanksgiving dinner menu depends on how I feel and is often based on one of three basic menus that I follow or alter.  Here are the three menus to inspire you.  Follow a menu or make a substitution with your own favorites. Most important is to just have fun!!   

Broiled Parmesan Cheese Oysters

seafood, side dish, Desserts-Snacks, Salads-Soups-Sandwichesshirley byrdComment

Oysters are a bit expensive where I live.  That makes broiled parmesan oysters a special treat at my table.  Whether these broiled parmesan cheese oysters are being served as appetizer or entree, the only downside is that there is never enough. 

5 Comfort Foods For Cool Weather

Meats, Salads-Soups-Sandwiches, seafood, Vegetablesshirley byrdComment

Comfort food:  Consoles.  Gives a feeling of well-being.  Provokes nostalgic memories of happy times.  Whether it's sugar or carbohydrates, with the arrival of cool weather, comfort food can warm the body.

French Style String Beans Almonds And Pimientos

side dish, Vegetables, Salads-Soups-Sandwichesshirley byrdComment

Less than 10 minutes to make, this French style string bean side dish delivers great flavors.  Cumin seeds bring a bit of pungency.  But its sweetness marries very nicely with the pimiento peppers and the star, the French style string beans.

Sausage Beans Roasted Vegetable Soup

Soups, side dish, Meats, Salads-Soups-Sandwichesshirley byrdComment

What makes this sausage, beans and roasted vegetable soup so delicious?  Red bell peppers, tomatoes and garlic are roasted, then blended with a vegetable broth and seasoned with a herb bouquet garni--creating a beautifully rich yet subtle flavor-filled soup base.  Sweet Italian sausage and a Vidalia onion add a layer of sweetness and texture along with cannellini beans.

Fresh Seafood Salad With Pineapple Vinaigrette

Salads-Soups-Sandwiches, seafoodshirley byrdComment

This wonderfully light seafood salad with shrimp, scallop and pineapple can be served as entree or a side salad.  The ingredients are charred on a grill pan, laid on a bed of arugula and then highlighted with a pineapple vinaigrette and blue cheese.  

Seasonal Fruit Salad With Creamy Honey Ginger Dressing

Desserts, Salads-Soups-Sandwichesshirley byrdComment

Whatever the season, nature offers wonderfully delicious fruits to be enjoyed.  So I tried to create a creamy dressing for all seasons using honey and ginger.  This winter fruit salad stars persimmons and pomegranates--and a fruit for all seasons, a Bartlett pear.  Serves 4.

Four steps to remove persimmons seeds:

Click here to learn How To Easily De-seed A Pomegranate

The Recipe:
Serves 4

Ingredients for fruits:

  • 3 persimmons, ripe (slightly indents when pressed with a finger) and sliced

  • 2-3 Tbsp pomegranate seeds

  • 1/2 (or more) Bartlett pear, washed, cored and sliced (Leave the skin on.)

Ingredients for creamy honey and ginger dressing, yields 3/4 cups:

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • 1 Tbsp Miracle Whip, light (or mayonnaise)

  • 1 Tbsp honey

  • 1" ginger, peeled and grated

  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice

  • 1/2 zest from a lemon (optional)

Store honey and ginger dressing in a tight container in the refrigerator.  Flavors should remain fresh for about week.


Slightly toss all fruits in a bowl.  Mix dressing ingredients in a separate bowl.  Add dressing to fruit mixture.  Serve chilled.

Other fruit serving suggestions are mangoes, apples and papayas. 



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White Chili With Salsa

Legumes, Meats, Salads-Soups-Sandwichesshirley byrdComment

This white chili recipe is spicy with a hot salsa, then mellowed a bit with Monterrey Jack cheese. Ground chicken and cannellini beans are the main ingredients, making this a delicious chili alternative to the classic ground beef and red beans.


The Recipe:
Serves 4

Ingredients for White Chili:

  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil

  • 1 small onion, chopped

  • 1 pound ground chicken

  • 1 large garlic clove, minced

  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

  • 1 tsp chili powder

  • 1 tsp cumin

  • 3/4 tsp oregano

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

  • 1/2 to 1 whole jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced

  • 1/2 cup salsa (medium or hot)

  • 1 - 15 oz can of cannellini white beans, juice drained

  • 4 cups chicken stock (or 2 - 14 oz cans)

  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

See just how easy it is to make white chill. 

Preparation for white chilli:

In a heavy stock pot, heat vegetable oil over medium high heat.  Stir in onions and garlic.  Saute until translucent.  Mix in ground chicken, stirring and breaking it up with a wooden spoon.  When chicken is cooked (about 5-10 minutes), add cayenne pepper, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and black pepper.  Stir in seasonings.  Then add salsa, cannellini beans and chicken stock.  Bring to a boil then turn heat down to simmer the chili for about 20 minutes.  Stir in Monterrey Jack cheese and turn off heat.

Garnish with sour cream and chopped spring onions.   



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Corn Chowder Bacon And Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Vegetables, Salads-Soups-Sandwiches, side dishshirley byrdComment

Anytime of the year is a good time for a hearty corn chowder!  But it seems particularly tasty in the fall as we adjust to cool days and nights. This corn chowder is seasoned with crispy bacon, extra sharp cheddar cheese and then spiked with bits of sun-dried tomatoes.  

Corn Chowder With Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Corn Chowder With Sun-Dried Tomatoes


A bowl of hearty corn chowder is then garnished with lots of delicious crispy chopped bacon.

The Recipe
Serves 6-8

Tool:  4-5 quart dutch oven, preferably cast iron


  • 7 slices of fried bacon, diced

  • 2 small yellow onions, chopped

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 Tablespoons of butter

  • 3 Tablespoons of flour

  • 3 cups of chicken stock

  • 1 teaspoon of salt, preferably Kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper (or add fresh ground white pepper at serving)

  • 1 large white potato, diced (russet or Yukon gold, whichever is available)

  • Sun-dried tomatoes, chopped 2.5 ounces (73 grams)

  • 2 pounds frozen corn (453 grams each). If you use fresh corn, you'll need 10 ears. You can also use a mixture of small white corn and yellow corn.

  • 2 cups of half-and-half milk

  • 1 cup (83 grams) of white sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

  • Optional: 3/4 cups of white sharp cheddar cheese, shredded for additional garnish

  • Optional: If you like a little heat, add cayenne pepper to taste.


In a 5 quart stock pot, fry bacon to a brown crisp.  Leaving about 1-2 tablespoons of the oil in the pot, remove bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel.  Add onions and cook to almost translucent, about 4 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Push onions and garlic to one side of the pot.  

Melt butter to just a few bubbles.  Add flour and stir to create a roux.  Add salt and pepper.  Add chicken stock and bring back onions and garlic back into the mixture. Add potatoes, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add corn, sun-dried tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add half-and-half milk and cheese.  Cook for about 5 minutes until cheese melts. 

While chowder is cooking its last 5 minutes, chop the bacon.  Serve chowder in a soup bowl or soup cup.  Garnish with bacon.  For a more cheesier flavor,  garnish with the additional shredded cheese.

This corn chowder recipe serves 6-8 people, so there is plenty to share with friends and freeze to eat another day.

Corn Chowder-V2-3752.jpg
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Corn Chowder

Corn Chowder


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Chunky Chicken Salad Sandwich

Meats, Salads-Soups-Sandwichesshirley byrdComment

This chunky chicken salad is made for a sandwich.  But it doesn't have to stop there, the chicken salad can simply be eaten as just that--a salad on a bed of lettuce.  

Chunky Chicken Salad Sandwich

Chunky Chicken Salad Sandwich

The Recipe
Yields 3 cups

Ingredients for a Chunky Chicken Salad Sandwich:

  • 2-1/2 to 3 cups of chicken cutlets or breast, roasted cut into 3/4" chunks
  • 1 tablespoon tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon crushed whole black peppers.  Salt to taste.
  • 1 fresh celery stalk, diced
  • 1/2 cup whole walnuts, roasted and then broken or roughly chopped (See notes.)
  • 1/3 cu spring onions (about 3), diced or sliced depending upon the size of onions
  • 1/3 cup of dried cranberries (This is optional but HIGHLY recommended.)
  • 2/3 cup of light Miracle Whip (TM made by Kraft).  You can of course make your own creamy dressing
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Muenster cheese
  • Fresh Alfalfa sprouts, preferably radish sprouts
  • Pumpernickel bread (other bread options:  sour dough and wheat)


Mix raw chicken with olive oil, tarragon and black pepper.  Let sit for about an hour (Or you can even marinade it over night).  If you are using chicken breasts, cut them into strips to ensure all sides are covered with oil and seasonings.  Spread chicken on a baking pan under a broiler, cook for about 4 minutes.  Turn chicken over and cook for 3 minutes.  Allow the chicken to cool, then cut into chunks.  While waiting, roast the walnuts.

Take care not to cook to long or the chicken will be dry.  (Optional:  use a grill pan to cook chicken, cooking in the same length of time.)  You can get even more creative to try a different flavor, such as on-the-grill left over chicken or even whole roasted left over chicken.  Lightly but thoroughly mix all ingredients.  

Serve on pumpernickel, wheat bread or sour dough bread with a layer of dressing on both slices.  Layer sandwich with lettuce, chunky chicken salad, 1-2 slices of Munster cheese and top with alfalfa sprouts.


How to roast walnuts.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread whole walnuts on baking pan.  Place it on the middle rack. Roast 5-8 minutes or until walnuts turn a little darker and are very fragrant.  

Here's how I built this delicious sandwich:



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Nine Vegetables Summer Soup With Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

Salads-Soups-Sandwiches, Vegetablesshirley byrd2 Comments

This summer soup is loaded with vegetables, nine to be exact, plus haricot and broken fettuccine.  An excellent chicken stock provides the seasoning, and a sun-dried tomato pesto makes every bite just pop right in your mouth.  Serves 10-12.



The Recipe

Ingredients for the nine vegetable soup:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 2 medium or 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped

  • 2 large garlic cloves, smashed and finely chopped

  • 1 - 16 oz whole tomatoes, drained and chopped

  • 1-1/2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock (The stock is the seasoning for this soup. So be sure to use an excellent stock or make your own.)

  • 4 carrots, thinly sliced

  • 2 white potatoes, diced

  • 4 leeks (white parts only), thinly sliced

  • 2 large stalks celery with leaves, thinly sliced

  • 2 cups (10 oz) sliced green beans

  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2 inches

  • 3/4 cup broken spaghetti or fettuccine (about 2-1/2 inches)

  • 1 cup dried navy beans, soaked and then cooked until tender and drained.

Ingredients for sun-dried tomato pesto

  • 3 garlic cloves

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1/3 cup pine nuts

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (or 2 tablespoons olive oil if you choose the option to add the hot soup liquid)

  • 1/4 cup hot soup liquid (Optional! Note to reduce olive oil when using this method)

  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Preparations for the soup:

Pour vegetable oil in a frying pan to a moderate heat.   Add onions, stir and cook for about one minute.  Add garlic, stir and cook for another minute.  Add tomatoes, cook and stir for about 8 minutes.

In a soup pot, bring stock to a boil.  Add carrots, potatoes, leeks, celery and the onion and tomato mixture.  Simmer for 15 minutes.  Add green beans and fettuccine.  Continue to simmer for about 5 minutes.  Then add zucchini and simmer until slightly tender (about 3-5 minutes). Take care not to overcook the zucchini or you will have mushy zucchini!

Preparation for the sun-dried tomato pesto (options also listed):  

In a food processor, add all ingredients, except the sun-dried tomatoes, and blend until smooth.  Add the sun-dried tomatoes.  Adding the sun-dried tomatoes at the end makes the pesto chunky with bits of the tomatoes.  If a totally smooth pesto is desired, add the sun-dried tomatoes at the step for blending.

For a quick pesto sauce, you can of course purchase from such places as Costco.  In which case, just add the sun-dried tomatoes.   



Penne Pasta And Prosciutto Salad

Salads-Soups-Sandwiches, Pastashirley byrdComment

The pasta salad loaded with penne pasta, prosciutto ham, basil pesto and black olives is simple to make.  Delicious.  And summer fresh.  Serves four.


The Recipe


  • 2-1/2 cups penne pasta, cooked al dente

  • 3-1/2 oz prosciutto ham, diced

  • 1/2 cup roasted bell peppers, sliced*

  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup black olives, sliced

  • 2-3 Tbsp basil pesto

  • 1/2 cup (or more) shaved Parmesan


Cook the pasta following instructions on the box.  While pasta is cooking, dice the prosciutto. Slice the roasted bell peppers and black olives. Shave the Parmesan cheese.  After the pasta has cooked, rinsed and cooled a bit.  Lightly toss the ingredients, except the shaved Parmesan, in a large salad bowl.  Serve in salad bowls, topped with shaved Parmesan. 

Want to try a different flavor?  Substitute the roasted bell peppers with sun-dried tomatoes. 

*Notes.  You can purchase roasted bell peppers.  But why not have fun and just roast your own.  It's easy, whether under a broiler,  on a stove-top burner or on a grill.  Click on this image to watch a video from All Recipes and learn just how easy it is to roast peppers:   


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London Broil Roast Beef Salad And Horseradish Dressing

Meats, Salads-Soups-Sandwichesshirley byrdComment

This London broil roast beef salad is wonderfully fresh, quick and easy to make--and so very delicious. Add hot buttered roles and a glass of wine to complete the feast.  The recipe is for one but can easily be increased for two or more.

London Broil in the U.S. versus Flank Steak:

I had purchased the roast slices from my local deli store.  Note that London broil, in the U.S., is a flank steak that has been cut into large pieces, tenderized by marinating, broiled or grilled, then thinly sliced across the grain.  The term is also used for a various thick cuts of meat including sirloin tip and top round. -from Food Lover's Companion, Third Edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst.

The Recipe:


  • Slice of London broil roast beef, cut about 1/4" thick. and then cut into strips

  • Lettuce, your choice (I had used leafy green lettuce.)

  • Red onions, sliced

  • One Hard boiled egg

Adjust salad quantity for the number of people you'll be serving.

Horseradish Dressing

  • 1/3 cup Miracle whip or mayonnaise

  • 1/3 cup sour cream

  • 3 Tablespoons freshly grated horseradish (Add a litte more if you want more of a bite.)

  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mix ingredients.  Store in tight container, chill.  Yields 3/4 of a cup.