Food, Cooking, and Recipes

Here I share some thoughts on food, cooking, and recipes. Some of these recipes refer to ingredients from Iowa City area restaurants, farms, and grocery stores.

Instant Recipes

One of my favorites categories of recipes are ‘instant recipes’ that take very little time for preparation. I’ve listed some below grouped by category. 


  • Apple Pie Cinnamon Espresso Latte. Here’s a delicious and easy latte recipe. Begin by making a double-shot of espresso using an espresso machine like the Breville BES870XL Barista Express. Heat some milk on the stove, or froth the milk with an espresso steam frothing feature. Add some sugar to meet your preferred sweetness. Put in two generous heaping tablespoon scoops of Talenti Caramel Apple Pie Gelato.
  • Cacao Hot Cocoa. Heat milk on the stove or using an expresso machine steamer. Add one tablespoon organic sugar. Add two tablespoons of organic cacao powder.
  • Cacao Coffee Hot Cocoa. Heat milk on the stove or using an expresso machine steamer. Add one tablespoon organic sugar. Add two tablespoons of organic cacao powder. Add one or two shots of espresso.
  • Flavored Fizzy Water. Get some quality sparkling water, such as Pellegrino. Squeeze a lime. Combine in a 12 ounce or larger glass.
  • Mango Drink. Take three servings of Trader Joe’s Mango & Cream bars. Place these in a bowl or large mug. Add milk and stir to desired consistency.
  • Molasses Milk. Stir molasses into a glass of cold milk. Using a blender or drink mixer can help make the drink more foamy.



These recipes make use of a cold pressed masticating-style juicer like the Omega J8006.


  • Cashew & Honey — Mix some Planters lightly salted whole or halved cashews with raw local honey. The Planters cashews are typically higher in nutritional value than other brands. Compare the nutrition labels when buying and choose the product that has the most vitamins and minerals.
  • Pistachio & Cheese — Begin with two ounces of goat cheese. The Costco Kirkland brand would be an example. Hy-Vee, New Pioneer Co-op, and Trader Joe’s would probably have some goat cheese. The Kirkland brand is economical and has a good mild flavor. Pour some flavor infused virgin olive oil on the goat cheese. The Olivelle brand has great flavor and is available at the Prairie Kitchen Store in Iowa City. The Vera Cruz Chili Pepper or Wild Mushroom and Sage are good choices. Other local grocery stores may have something similar. Sprinkle some shelled pistachios on top of the cheese and oil. The Wonderful or Kirkland brand are good choices for pistachios. Mix the cheese, oil, and nuts, then eat with a spoon.


  • Balela and Yogurt Parfait
  • Morningstar Veggie Breakfast Patties and Kraft Philadelphia Jalapeño Cream Cheese. Or use spicy queso cheese.
  • Tofu Crumble – Using a package of firm tofu from Costco, crumble the tofu using both hands into a bowl. The tofu can be eaten cold as-is with your choice of sauces (like hot sauce or BBQ sauce) or cooked in a skillet with spices, oils, and sauces.
  • Veggie Chicken – Using a package of Tofurky brand vegetarian chicken, cut into small bite-size pieces and blend mayonnaise with BBQ sauce. Preferably from Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack, the Original or Chicago Fire flavor.


The following recipes make use of a high speed blender such as the like the Magic Bullet NutriBullet or the Nutri Ninja Auto-iQ Blender.



Here are some quick foods made with tortillas.

  • Jalapeño Crispy Tortilla – Heat a Mission Extra Fluffy Tortilla using a microwave of Russell Hobbs toaster with heating rack. Then apply some butter to the tortilla and let it sit for a moment while working on the next steps. Separately, melt 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese on a small plate in the microwave for 20 seconds, stir then heat for 15 more seconds. Into the melted cheese, stir in 1 cup of Fresh Gourmet Crispy Jalapeños. Place the jalapeño infused melted cheese in the heated fluffy buttery tortilla. Enjoy!


The substitutes category of foods are items you can eat instead of something else, while getting a similar flavor and satisfaction.

  • Cereal – Do you like the satisfying flavor of breakfast cereal and milk? Try having 1/2 cup of organic whole milk and 4 tablespoons of Kretschmer wheat germ.
  • Crab Meat Rangoon – Instead of eating deep fat fried crab meat rangoon, try wrapping some cream cheese inside of Mission Extra Fluffy Flour Tortillas. For a little extra kick, try using Philadelphia Jalapeno Cream Cheese Spread.
  • Pancakes – Pancakes are typically made with highly processed flour. Instead of pancakes, try making some Better Oats Steel Cut Maple Brown Sugar and add a bit more sweetness with some Bourbon Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup. Or, try the Great River Maple brand of Bourbon Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup.
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich – The bread used for a PB&J sandwich has a lot of carbs and calories that will make you crave more food. Try having some PB&J mixed together with a small serving of milk. That will hit the spot without inducing more cravings. Be sure to use all-fruit jelly with no sugar added. Otherwise, this won’t work and the refined sugar will induce severe cravings and hunger.
  • Spaghetti – On a plate, pour some Trader Joe’s Basil Tomato Sauce. On a separate plate, pour shredded cheese of your choice. Heat the cheese for 20 seconds in a microwave. Then heat for 15 more seconds as needed to achieve soft melted cheese. Heat the tomato sauce for about 10 seconds. Put the cheese on top. Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese for a familiar spaghetti flavor.
  • Quesadilla Without the Tortilla – On a plate you can melt some shredded cheese in the microwave. Then add sour cream and your favorite salsa or guacamole. This will taste delicious, but not have the calories and carbs that will make you overeat.


  • Khari Original Puffed Pastries with Honey poured over them are like instant baklava.
  • Peanut Butter Treat — Using your choice of nut butter from Trader Joe’s, combine local raw honey to make a nice nut ball treat.

Document Notes:

  • 3 Jan 2019 @ 2:50 PM – Added Jalapeño Crispy Tortilla recipe.
  • 11 Dec 2018 @ 10:00 PM – Added Cacao Coffee Hot Cocoa recipe.
  • 8 Dec 2018 @ 5:08 PM – Added Jalapeño soup recipe and goat cheese soup recipe.
  • 15 Oct 2017 @ 8:59 PM – Added the cereal alternative recipe with wheat germ and milk.
  • 14 Sep 2017 @ 6:53 PM – Created this document with the initial listing of recipes. Others were added later.