Fresh Fridays, April 14

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Welcome to summer, no it’s winter, wait, it’s really springtime.

Hey there, friend! Easter Sunday was an absolute dream – gorgeous blue skies and temperatures in the 70’s. But then, just like that, we were hit with a heatwave and soared up into the high 80’s! I was melting like a popsicle in July, let me tell you.

Fresh Fridays Logo new 2022.

And now, we’re in for a wild ride this weekend! The forecast is calling for rain and snow, with temperatures plummeting all the way down to the 30’s. Talk about a rollercoaster!

But you know what? Life is kind of like the weather – unpredictable and always changing. Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches and adapt to whatever comes your way. So whether it’s sunny and warm or cold and snowy, let’s embrace the changes and make the most of each and every day!

This week is jam-packed with all sorts of fun and exciting stuff! We’re talking brand new recipes for classic Italian dishes, a fresh and tasty cocktail that’ll knock your socks off, and even some travel outfit inspo that’ll make you feel stylish and comfortable on the go.

And of course, I wouldn’t leave you without a little bit of encouragement to help you tackle whatever comes your way.

So sit back, relax, and get ready for some serious fun. This week is going to be a blast!

In My Life

We hosted Easter dinner this year and had a full house; while not quite the same as in years past, missing one of our kids and two of my brothers and their families, we still managed to fill the table. I pray you did as well and celebrated Resurrection Sunday with all the joy of that first one.

Here are a few pictures from our time together.

I’ve been on a salad and dressing kick lately, and let me tell you – these recipes are out of this world. Okay, full disclosure, maybe “cooking” is a bit of a stretch… it’s more like assembling. But hey, who says assembling can’t be just as tasty as cooking?

Anyway, I wanted to give you a heads-up that next week there will be salad central here! I’ve got some seriously awesome salads planned for you and killer dressings that’ll make your taste buds do a happy dance. It’s about time we shook things up in the kitchen and tried something new.

So get ready to dig in and savor every last bite. Trust me, your taste buds are in for a treat!

Fresh Recipes – Two New Dinner Recipes and a Cocktail

But, in the meantime, I wanted to share a recipe that’ll knock your socks off.

I posted an easy and seriously delicious Stromboli recipe on Monday that’s perfect as an appetizer or a meal. So if you’re looking to impress your friends and family with your culinary skills, this one’s a winner. Trust me, it’s easy to make and oh so tasty! Great for kids to help with too!

Hand dipping slice of stromboli into marinara dipping sauce.

Easy Homemade Authentic Italian Stromboli Recipe

A fun and easy authentic Italian Stromboli recipe! This recipe has yummy ingredients like thinly sliced salami, pepperoni, capicola, and a blend of Italian cheeses. It's a family favorite and will remind you of your favorite local pizzeria.

Frozen paloma cocktail in frosted, salt rimmed glass with limes and a grapefruit wedge.

Easy Frozen Paloma Cocktail

We sampled these on Easter for you and I’m happy to say, they are refreshing and amazing! This tangy and lightly sweet drink is perfect for any occasion, and the frozen twist adds a unique touch to the classic Paloma. Don’t miss out on this crowd-pleaser!

Chicago-Style Deep dish pizza in pan with condiments fresh out of the oven.

Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza Recipe

The best Chicago-style deep-dish pizza recipe! An incredible and easy butter crust pizza is filled with cheese, your favorite toppings, and a rich, zesty chunky tomato sauce, and can even be frozen for later!

Got Leftovers?

Leftover ham is fabulous, try a few of these great recipes!

Square image of pouring marinade sauce over funeral sandwiches.

Hammy Sammies {Funeral Sandwiches}

Make ahead ham and Swiss sandwiches that never fail to please. Delicious! We call them Hammie Sammies or others call them Funeral Sandwiches

Stoneware bowl full of Ham, Mac & Cheese Soup with wedge of biscuit on wooden charger.

Ham, Mac & Cheese Soup

An easy recipe for ham, mac & cheese soup that is part creamy mac n cheese, part delicious pasta soup, and part get-in-my-tummy NOW! Use leftover ham to make this soup even easier, plus the ingredients are all real food ingredients, no canned cheese soup here! Our family are ham fans, but we usually make

Instant Pot Scalloped Potatoes with Ham in baking dish, hand scooping out portion.

Instant Pot Scalloped Potatoes with Ham 

Instant Pot Scalloped Potatoes with Ham is a cheesy, creamy, hearty version of a traditional scalloped potato dish. And they are made in a fraction of the time, thanks to the instant pot! Scalloped potatoes are an easy weeknight meal all-in-one, or an amazing side dish to accompany your holiday meal. Your choice!

Slice of ham pot pie on a plate with fresh thyme.

Easy Ham Pot Pie Recipe

This Easy Ham Pot Pie Recipe uses all your best leftovers from the holidays and puts them all into one fantastic dish, resulting in a ham rich filling of tender potatoes, and veggies in a creamy sauce, topped with a buttery, flaky pie crust.

What’s on Sale & What I’m Loving

We’re going to a wedding at a ranch this weekend, the attire is cowboy chic or what I would call “denim and diamonds”. I have been searching for a dress with a Western flair, I love this dress, the fabric is a flowy, pretty pattern and it fits well with a hidden snap at the neckline. Really wanted this one, but it’s a longer lead time.

I am borrowing these dressy cowboy boots from a friend (mine or more like working boots) and ordered this pashmina wrap as it’s supposed to be chilly.

I’m traveling in a few weeks for a retreat, I’ve been buying some travel-friendly clothes and shoes that pack well, here are some of my favorites:

  • Layering is a must when traveling! You never know who’s in charge of the thermostat in the airplane, I love these soft and $5 t-shirts and this mesh sweater is a great in-between sweater. I love the shape and drape of these t-shirts, plus they hide my not-so-toned upper arms – love their long-sleeve version too. And these Vionic slip-on shoes are my favorite, very packable!
  • Loving this oversized button shirt, great for layering or just wearing a lighter long-sleeve shirt. The fabric is very soft, I bought my first in kelly green and now have it in white, tangerine and striped. It’s oversized, the Large is generous on me, wear it out, tucked, tied in the front. They have it in a silk version too, though it is a bit less oversized!
  • Lastly, I’ve been in need of a new purse, I have a small cross-body purse that I love, but I needed one a smidge larger, love these purses with built-in RFID wallet slots, a pocket for a phone and an led-light for finding those items that find their way to the bottom, no-slash straps, and great zippers. For me, it needs to easily fit in my carry-on. And these Kitsch travel bottles are in my cart, need something a bit more uniform and organized.
  • Below are a few more items that I’ve been eyeing!

Helpful Hints & Hacks

Did you know that heating stainless steel cookware up BEFORE adding oil or foods will help its natural non-stick properties?

Place stainless skillet or saucepan over medium to high heat for 1-3 minutes. Just add a drop of water to the pan to check if it’s ready. You’re good to go if it immediately forms a bead of water that rolls around the pan! But if it sizzles, wait another 20-30 seconds. And if it starts to spit, take a breather and let the pan cool down before giving it another shot.

Now it’s time to add some oil! Just tilt the pan to coat the surface and let the oil heat up for about a minute. And voila! Your stainless steel pan is now the perfect tool for browning ingredients without sticking – even tricky things like eggs and fish.

All this awesomeness is thanks to the Leidenfrost effect – a super cool scientific reaction that heats the surface to a point where your food gets “suspended” above the pan by gases. So go ahead and get creative in the kitchen, and watch your food dance across the pan like it’s got a mind of its own! Thanks for humoring my geeky side!

Weekly Inspiration

I have several friends who are going through some really hard times and this struck me today as so encouraging and so very true!

When I read about Naomi in Ruth 1:7, I’m so encouraged and honestly relieved. It says, “She set out … to return” (ESV). You see, Naomi didn’t make perfect, tidy decisions that followed a perfect plan on the first try. But when she came to her senses, she returned to God. She pivoted. She acknowledged that where she was and what she was doing weren’t working. She didn’t get stuck on getting it right the first time.

I need to be reminded of Naomi when I get stuck.

When I’m living a reality I never saw coming …

When current plans or circumstances are unfolding differently than I would’ve hoped …

When I’m crippled with fear and anxiety about the days ahead …

I will remember God’s provision remains perfect even when I mess up. And today, we can choose to return to Him, right here, right now, by simply saying, God, where You are is where I want to be. Help me walk in step with You today.

Lysa TerKeurst ~ Proverbs31.org

I just wanted to take a moment to express my heartfelt gratitude to all of you. It is truly an honor and a privilege to be able to connect with you each week and share my thoughts and ideas.

Thank you for allowing me into your inbox and for giving me the opportunity to share my passion with you. It means the world to me, and I want you to know that I do not take this privilege lightly.

signature of Kathleen, The Fresh Cooky Recipe developer

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Kathleen Pope, The Fresh Cooky.

About Kathleen Pope

Recipe Innovator | Food Photographer | Food Writer

Hi, I’m Kathleen Pope. Here at The Fresh Cooky you will find easy, mostly from-scratch, trusted recipes for all occasions. From speedy dinners to tasty desserts, with easy step-by-step instructions. I am here to help teach you how to make mouthwatering recipes without spending hours in the kitchen. Read more about Kathleen here.

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  1. I love Stromboli! The recipe was uploaded on my birthday and I can’t wait to make your authentic version. Rarely does one see this even in Italian restaurants. Often there is little difference between Stromboli and Calzone.

    The recipes are always look delicious and are easy to follow The weekly inspiration is appreciated. The post always reaffirms my relationship with God. Thank you.

    Peace, light, and blessings,