Special Recipes to Comfort the Soul

By DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

A writer’s life is busy, hectic, and varied. Much like everyone else on the planet. But when I crave think time and the ability to process ideas and yet be creative, I often cook or bake.

At least if the dish doesn’t turn out tasty, the rejection is minimal.

A few years ago, I realized I had stacks of cookbooks but only a select few recipes in each. My organization had hit an all-time low. Then I read a blog post by Jane Friedman – a woman whom I highly respect in the writing and publishing industry. She talked about saving time by using an app called Paprika Recipe Manager.

The site says: “Paprika is an app that helps you organize your recipes, make meal plans, and create grocery lists. Using Paprika’s built-in browser, you can save recipes from anywhere on the web.” That appealed to me, and I immediately explored what the app had to offer. It has been a timesaver for me ever since. I’ve tried new recipes and made my own notes or variations.

I wanted to share a few of my new favorite recipes that I’ve saved in Paprika. Perhaps you might enjoy them too.

Broccolini Pasta Salad


1 (16-ounce) box campanelle or other short pasta
1 Broccolini bunch, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
1 small shallot, chopped
1 small garlic clove, finely grated
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 pt. cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
3/4 c. smoked almonds, coarsely chopped
1/2 c. Fresh basil leaves, torn


Cook pasta in boiling salted water according to package directions, adding Broccolini during last minute of cooking. Drain.

Meanwhile, whisk together oil, vinegar, shallot, garlic, and Dijon in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Add pasta mixture, cherry tomatoes, almonds, and basil to vinaigrette; stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Chill until ready to serve, up to 1 day.

Creamed Spinach


3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk, at room temperature
Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 pounds spinach, tough stems removed
1 large egg plus 2 egg yolks
Freshly ground pepper


Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth; cook, stirring, until the mixture lightens, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat; whisk in the milk, 2 teaspoons salt, and the nutmeg. Return to medium heat and bring to a boil, whisking. Remove from the heat again; stir to cool slightly.

Heat a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the spinach and 1 teaspoon salt; cover and cook about 3 minutes. Toss with tongs, then continue to wilt, uncovered, about 2 more minutes. Drain and cool slightly, then squeeze the spinach until dry. Coarsely chop.

Gently reheat the sauce, then whisk in the whole egg and yolks; cook, stirring until the sauce thickens. Stir in the spinach; heat through. Season with salt and pepper.

And my personal fav!

Turkey Cranberry Burgers


1 cup(s) dried cranberries
1 Lb lean ground turkey
1/2 Tsp dried sage
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1 Tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 Tsp salt
1/4 Tsp pepper


Heat the water in a microwave-safe bowl and pour over dried cranberries. Let stand for 5 minutes, then drain.

In a large bowl combine all ingredients. Mix until just combined.

Form into 4 patties.

Spray a large skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium flame. Brown burgers on both side for 6 minutes each or until the juices run clear. Remove from the pan and serve with your choice of toppings.

No matter what excites your taste buds, thanks for letting me share my new recipes. Click on recipe names to link to original source. What recipe would be first on your favorite’s list?

DiAnn’s Library Corner

Library Tip: Have you focused your cookbooks for patrons? Perhaps you can encourage patrons to share their favorite recipes.

Burden of Proof by DiAnn Mills

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