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Pasta salad is my go to summer side dish. We all love it, and it's the perfect way to get veggies on my kids' plates without a fuss. It's perfect alongside grilled burgers or steaks. 


- 1 pound bow tie pasta, cooked according to package directions and drained
- 1 cup diced sweet peppers
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 carrot, cleaned and shredded 
- 1 cup sliced grape tomatoes

For the dressing

- 1 cup mayonnaise (light mayo can be substituted)
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Rinse cooked pasta with cold water until chilled. Drain well. 
Add pasta, peppers, celery, carrot and tomatoes to a large bowl and stir to combine.
Mix all dressing ingredients together until thoroughly combined. Stir into pasta mixture and toss to coat completely.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.


Milisa Armstrong lives on a cattle ranch in Hugo, Okla. where she cooks, writes and raises a family. Visit her blog at for more recipes. 

I wish everyday was Taco Tuesday, if you feel the same you are going to love these Tex-Mex Pocket Sandwiches with Cornmeal Crust!


For the cornmeal crust:

1 cup warm water

1 package Red Star Quick Rise Yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons oil

1 egg

2 ¾ cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon salt

For the filling:

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

1 tablespoon butter

4 cups slaw mix, or shredded cabbage with one shredded carrot

1 garlic clove, minced

1 onion, diced

1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced

1 teaspoon salt

1 15 ounce black beans, rinsed and drained

Additional melted butter to brush over baked sandwiches (optional)

For the crust:

Add water to a large bowl, stir in yeast and sugar until dissolved. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until yeast starts to bubble.

Mix in oil and egg. Add 1 cup of flour and stir to combine. Add 1 teaspoon salt and stir to combine. Add 1 cup of flour and cornmeal, and mix until combined. Continue adding flour 1/4 cup at a time until dough forms a ball and pulls away from sides of the bowl. Use remaining flour for kneading and shaping.

Pour dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 3 to 4 minutes or until dough is no longer sticky.

Cover dough with a tea towel and set aside while you make the filling, or about 30 minutes.

For the filling:

Add ground beef to a large skillet, season with 2 teaspoons salt, chili powder, cumin and granulated garlic. Cook over medium-high heat until well browned. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and discard any fat.

Add butter to skillet and add slaw mix, onion, peppers and garlic. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and cook over medium heat, stirring often until mixture just starts to brown.

Stir in black beans and seasoned ground beef.

To assemble sandwiches:

Divide dough into about 18 equal pieces. Roll each dough piece into about a 4-inch circle, using remaining flour if needed. Place filling in center of each dough circle and fold dough around filling, pinching to seal the dough together. Gently flatten to make an even round. Place on a greased or lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter if desired.

Serve immediately.


Serve with your favorite taco toppings like sour cream, tomatoes, salsa and guacamole.




Milisa Armstrong lives on a cattle ranch in Hugo, Okla. where she cooks, writes and raises a family. Visit her blog at for more recipes.

This month, we are celebrating American Heart Month with Whole Wheat Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.  This is a delicious cookie made a little healthier with whole grains.  


Yield: 2 dozen cookies

1/4 cup softened butter

2 Eggland’s Best Eggs

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix butter, eggs and brown sugar together until well combined. Stir in vanilla. Add oats, flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and raisins. Stir together until well combined.

Scoop onto a lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 14-15 minutes or until browned around the edges.

Cool on baking sheet 2 minutes and remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.




Chili is one of my go to meals for cold winter days.  It is so delicious and so comforting, and when using the slow cooker, it is so easy!  We prefer our chili to be on the mild side, and I figure you can always add in a jalapeño or two if you dig the spice.


2 pounds browned ground beef or venison

64 ounces vegetable juice (like V8)

1 27 ounces can Chili Beans (I like Bush’s)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 tablespoons cumin

1 tablespoon granulated garlic

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle

Add ground beef, vegetable juice and chili beans to the slow cooker.

In a small bowl combine sugar and spices and whisk together. Add to slow cooker and stir to combine.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 to 6 hours.

Serve with your favorite toppings such as sour cream, green onions, cheese and Fritos.

Milisa Armstrong lives on a cattle ranch in Hugo, Okla. where she cooks, writes and raises a family. Visit her blog at for more recipes

I think I wake up everyday craving something sweet, and these cinnamon chip muffins were just the ticket with my morning coffee. Seriously, they are simple enough for weekday mornings or a great addition to your weekend brunch.



1 can refrigerated Grands Crescent Roll Dough

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup cinnamon chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Unroll dough onto a clean surface and press seams together forming a rectangle. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over dough and then sprinkle with cinnamon chips.

Starting with the long side, roll up and pinch the seam to seal. Cut into one to 1.5 inch slices and place in a greased muffin tin.

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Carefully loosen from the muffin tin and serve immediately. 

I made a barbecue dry rub of brown sugar, salt, garlic, smoked paprika, dry mustard, pepper and ground espresso. It made a wonderful barbecue crust on the roasted pork loin with a slight smoky flavor. I almost always smother pork loin in barbecue sauce, but this time we just sliced it right off and devoured it.  It was tender, juicy and flavorful.



5-6 pound pork loin

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons granulated garlic

1 teaspoon ground espresso

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

12 oz beer (I used Bud Light, but any beer will work.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Add pork loin to roasting pan.

In a small bowl add brown sugar, espresso and all of the seasonings and mix until well combined. Rub all over pork loin, top, bottom and ends.

Pour beer into bottom of the roasting pan, but do not pour it over the pork.

Place in the oven and roast for 2 hours or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

Allow pork to rest at least 15 minutes before slicing.

Milisa Armstrong lives on a cattle ranch in Hugo, Okla. where she cooks, writes and raises a family. Visit her blog at for more recipes

Creamy Roasted Red Onions

Creamy roasted red onions are an amazing side dish for holiday meals and family get-togethers. Red onions are oven roasted, stuffed with a creamy onion filling and topped with a crunchy panko and bacon topping.

Serves 4

For the Onions:

4 medium-sized red onions

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Filling:

3 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon herbs de Provence

1/2 teaspoon grated or minced garlic

For Topping:

1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs

1 tablespoon butter, melted

2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped fine

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Peel the onions. Trim the root ends, so they will set upright and cut about 1/2 inch from the tops. Drizzle olive oil over onions and rub it all over. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Bake for 50 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

Gently remove the centers of the onions leaving a shell. I left 2 to 3 layers.

Return a slice of the center to each to form a bottom.

Coarsely chop onion centers.

In a bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, salt, herbs de Provence, garlic and chopped onions.

Spoon filling into shells.

In a small bowl combine Panko, butter, bacon and parsley.

Spoon carefully over stuffed onions.

Bake for 20 minutes or until filling is heated through and bread crumbs just start to brown.

Serve immediately.



Brown Butter Toasted Coconut Skillet Cookies

1/2 cup brown butter*

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups toasted coconut

1 tablespoon natural sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Add brown butter that has been cooled to a mixer bowl and add brown sugar. Beat until combined. Add eggs and vanilla, and mix until well combined.

Add flour, salt, baking soda and coconut and mix about 2 minutes until all combined.

Spray a cast iron skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Add cookie dough to skillet and sprinkle with natural sugar.

Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool 10 minutes before slicing.

*To brown the butter, add to a shallow pan or skillet and cook over low heat until brown bits form in the bottom of the pan, being careful not to burn.  Remove from heat and pour into a bowl to cool.



Milisa Armstrong lives on a cattle ranch in Hugo, Okla. where she cooks, writes and raises a family. Visit her blog at for more recipes.