Cooking From the Hip ~ Summer Fare

ghlogo2Hey there, little blog readers! Here’s a quick and easy summer side or light main dish recipe!

With the weather getting warmer, no one wants to be stuck in the kitchen cooking heavy meals like we may have been doing in the winter. And by “may have” I mean every day for me. Seriously, why do I wonder about how I put on weight when it’s cold?

Anyway, this recipe comes from a “Taste of Home” magazine cookbook that jumped into my cart in the checkout line a couple of years ago.

Yes, it jumped. That’s what I told the husband, and I’m sticking with it. Same way I got the cheesecake book and the cupcake book and the… ahem. Nevermind.

Summer Kielbasa Salad

  • 1 pound smoked Kielbasa or Polish Sausage (I use turkey kielbasa), halved and cut into 1/4 inch pieces


    These are the fresh ingredients you’ll need.

  • 1 (15 1/2 oz.) can black eyed peas, rinsed and drained  (the legume, not the band; Fergie would not like to be rinsed)
  • 2 medium apples, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 4 large green onions, thinly sliced


  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (I use vegetable and olive oil together)
  • 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons sugar (I use 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon pepper

kielbasa_sausage_brownedBrown the sausage in a skillet.

Drain on paper towels (if you use turkey sausage, you may not need to drain it).

Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.

Now for the hard part….

Pay close attention….

Mix everything together and toss with the dressing.

Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

See? I told you it was easy!

For the Love of Food

For some reason I have recently been going through some mini food addictions. For a while it was dried cranberries, then it was ~ of all things ~ garbanzo beans!

Right now I am, by the request of my family, ending a love affair with eggplant!

Funny thing is, it was just last year that I really started cooking it and experimenting with this enjoyable food. With so many ways to prepare eggplant, I thought I share some that I love.

Here is one of my favorite recipes and a couple of extra ideas:

Turkish Eggplant and Cheese Casserole

  • 2 Eggplants
  • 1 Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese or Cream Cheese
  • 1 Cup Gruyere or Cheddar (shredded)
  • 3 Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 Cup Fresh Bread Crumbs
  • About 1/2 Teaspoon Table Salt or 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • Ground Pepper to taste
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil for drizzling

bake_eggplantPreheat oven to 400°.

Cut several slits in the eggplant. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 50 minutes or until very tender.

Remove from oven and let stand long enough so you can handle.

peeled_eggplantPeel the eggplant and place in a colander to drain for 30 minutes.

Chop the eggplant coarsely. Set oven temp to 350°.

Oil an 8-cup baking dish (8×8 square or 7×11).


In a large bowl combine the feta (or cream cheese), 1/2 of the shredded cheese, eggs bread crumbs, salt, pepper and sugar. Pour into prepared dish and drizzle with oil.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese and bake till golden, about 25 minutes.

Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve warm or at room temperature.


When prepping eggplant for sautéing or breading, it’s a good idea to peel, slice, lay out on paper towels and salt the slices.  This brings out the water and bad humors of the vegetable.


After rinsing and patting dry, sauté the slices in oil then pop them into a container with olive oil, vinegar (I love balsamic), some pepper and any other seasonings you enjoy. This will keep in the fridge for days ~ and you can then use them for sandwiches or salads.


Speaking of sandwiches, you can also dip the rinsed and dried slices into flour, then beaten egg, then bread crumbs and fry up for ciabatta and mozzarella eggplant sandwiches with garlic basil mayo. YUM!

Hope you enjoy these ideas. ~ Now go get some eggplant!

a peep out of you