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Michelle Warner

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My Well-Loved Recipes

Posted on June 20th, 2011

Monday Morsel

sometimes random.
sometimes deep.
just a little something
to begin your week.

During the long winter in Chicago, I decided to organize my recipes. Too many hours later, I now have a recipe scrapbook of sorts, complete with plastic sheet protectors and dividers labeled with each type of food. I have to say, it is rewarding for me to look in my binder and actually find the recipes that I am looking for!

I was flipping through my recipe book the other day and the the thought dawned on me that I should share some of my well-loved, healthy recipes. If you’re like me, I love to hear what recipes are fool-proof- family-favorites. Oftentimes I become overwhelmed when I look in a cookbook or on the internet because they are so many and what I really want to know is: Is this going to be worth all of the preparation?! So today I thought I would share a few of my go-to, well-loved recipes. This post does not include the ones I already shared in this blog post or several others that I will post some other time. I’d love for you to share yours too!


Maria’s Famous Avocado Taco Dip

[I received this one from a recipe exchange when I taught at Mason. Maria, I have never told you how much I enjoy this one; thank you so much for sharing and giving me a great dish to make for company on summer evenings!]


  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 head of lettuce (I chop up spinach instead.)
  • 8 oz. package of cream cheese (I get mine from Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.)
  • 1 small jar of taco sauce
  • 1 large, ripe tomato
  • 1 bag of chips


  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix avocado and cream cheese until smooth and creamy.
  2. Spread mixture on a dinner plate.
  3. Pour taco sauce over avocado mixture and spread evenly.
  4. Chop or shred lettuce and sprinkle on top of taco sauce.
  5. Sprinkle chopped tomato over lettuce.
  6. Add a dash of salt to the top!

Bean and Corn Salsa

[This was served at my dear friend Bonnie's house for a party several years ago. It has been well-loved in my recipe repertoire ever since! Thanks, Bon!]


  • 2 cans of corn (drained)*
  • 2 cans of black beans (drained)*
  • 2-3 cans of Rotelle (or other seasoned diced tomatoes) (drained)*
  • 1 can olives (sliced) (I often leave this out because we are not huge olive fans.)
  • 1 red onion (chopped)
  • 3 peppers of each color (chopped)
  • Italian salad dressing**


  1. Stir all together and add 1/2 bottle of Italian salad dressing.
  2. Optional: Add juice from 1 lime, garlic salt, cilantro and cajun seasoning.

*I have been reading that there is BPA in the lining of cans so I have begun to be more careful with canned goods, especially tomato products because the acidity mixes with the BPA. I haven’t found a good alternative yet (other than cooking my beans myself) but will post when I do. If you have found a good solution, please share!

**I have also been more careful about buying salad dressings because there are many needless ingredients in them. Another recipe I have for a similar salsa adds 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and olive oil instead.


Roasted Brussels Sprouts

[I know, I know: when you hear Brussels Sprouts you immediately get a bad taste in your mouth. I used to too. But I was determined to find a way to like these antioxidant-packed vegetables and I found a way that makes them one of Jared's and my favorite foods. Hope you enjoy too!]


  • bag of Brussels Sprouts (I found them at Costco until they suddenly went missing a few weeks ago! Thankfully Trader Joe’s carries them too.)
  • 2-ish tablespoons of Olive Oil (honestly, I don’t measure it but just sprinkle it on the top before cooking!)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Wash Brussels Sprouts and chop off ends. Cut in half and place on jelly roll pan.
  2. Add walnuts to the pan next.
  3. Sprinkle olive oil and garlic over Brussels Sprouts and walnuts. Stir and coat evenly.
  4. Place in oven at 375 for 30 minutes or until golden. (Watch that the leaves don’t burn!)
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Roasted Summer Vegetables:

[I made this recipe a long time ago and then forgot about it until I made it for my parents when they were visiting recently. The roasting brings out the wonderful flavors of the vegetables and it's a perfect way to use the freshly-picked garden vegetables!]


  • 1 zucchini (sliced)
  • 1 onion (sliced)
  • 1 cup of broccoli (cut into 1 inch size)
  • 1 cup carrots (cut into 1/8 thick)
  • 1 red bell pepper (sliced into 1/2 strips)
  • olive oil
  • sea salt to taste
  • pinch of oregano or basil leaves


  1. Combine the vegetables into a bowl and toss with olive oil, salt and oregano or basil.
  2. Spread the vegetables onto a baking sheet in a single layer.
  3. Bake at 425 for 6 minutes and then flip the vegetables to roast on other sides for 5 minutes. Watch carefully that they do not burn.

Grilled Portobellos with Mozzarella Salad:

[When I was visiting my dear friend, Becky, she let me look through her Taste of Home magazines to snag some recipes. I got this one from there and have loved serving it in the summer months. I am proud to say that my husband even likes the portobellos in place of meat...well, for one meal a week but it's a start!]


  • 2 cups grape tomatoes (halved)
  • 3 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese (cubed) (I get mine from Trader Joe’s.)
  • 3 fresh basil leaves (thinly sliced)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 large fresh portobello mushrooms (4 to 4-1/2 inches), stems removed (Costco now carries these!)
  1. In a small bowl, combine the first seven ingredients; cover and chill until serving.
  2. Sprinkle olive oil on mushrooms.
  3. Grill mushrooms, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from the heat for 6-8 minutes on each side or until tender.
  4. Spoon 1/2 cup tomato mixture into each mushroom cap.

Delicious Portobello Mushroom Marinade:


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 shallot (oftentimes I skip this because I don’t have it when preparing.)
  • 1 garlic clove


  1. Lightly wet a paper towel and wipe off mushrooms. (Never run under water.)
  2. Mix all ingredients together and spoon over mushrooms.
  3. Grill for 4 minutes each side or 425 in oven, 7 minutes each side.


Mahi-Mahi with Black Bean and Avocado Salsa

[I haven't made this recipe this summer yet so I think I will make it tonight! It's light and fresh!]


  • 1 lb frozen, skinless Mahi-Mahi fillets (I buy mine from Costco.)
  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro and oregano
  • 2 tablespoons finely shredded lime peel
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/4 bottled hot pepper sauce
  • 1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 medium avocado (halved, seeded, peeled, chopped)


  1. In small bowl, combine cilantro, oregano, lime peel, lime juice, oil, garlic, and hot sauce.
  2. For relish, in a medium bowl combine drained beans and avocado. Stir in 1/2 cilantro mixture. Cover and chill.
  3. Sprinkle thawed fish lightly with salt and pepper. Brush remaining cilantro mixture over fish.
  4. Grill on greased rack on uncovered grill over medium heat for 4-6 minutes per 1/2 inch thickness (or until fish flakes easily), carefully turning half way through grilling.
  5. Cut fish into serving-size portions. Divide 3/4 of relish among four dinner plates. Arrange fish on top of relish. Serve.

As I mentioned above, I would love for you to share your well-loved recipes in the comment section below. It can be our own little recipe exchange! Happy Cooking!

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