My husband, Brian, and I love grilling together on Sunday nights. It's a throwback to when we were at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. My husband (then boyfriend) and a dozen of his fraternity brothers would come to my house on Sundays for dinner.

Brian's house cook had the weekends off, and he could stand only so many fast-food meals before wanting something home-cooked!

These days, Brian and I live with our dog, "Stella," in Omaha. Right now, we are remodeling our kitchen, so we are trying to do most of our cooking outside.

If we are having family over or celebrating a birthday, I like to serve Pacific Rim Salmon, Pasta with Cream Sauce, Green Salad with Herb Vinaigrette and Orange Sponge Cake.

When I came across the recipe for Pacific Rim Salmon, in a local fund-raiser cookbook, I thought I would try it. I've made some slight adjustments to it since then, but it is a great summer recipe for grilling.


Runs in the Family

I've always loved cooking and trying new recipes. I helped my mother crack eggs and sift flour for pancakes when I was little, and as I grew older, I got to take on more responsibility in the kitchen by preparing a dish for dinner.

My mom is an excellent cook, and her father owned Neneman's Bakery in South Omaha for a number of years and made wedding cakes, doughnuts and sweet breads. I prefer to cook instead of bake, but there are definitely cooking genes in the family.

I started subscribing to Taste of Home in junior high and continue to read the magazine now, 10 years later.

Pasta Is Base for Creativity

  • Field Editor: Amy Sauser, Omaha, Nebraska
  • Field Editor Amy Sauser
  • Family: Amy and husband Brian, an accountant, live with their dog, "Stella," adopted from a humane society.
  • Job: High school English teacher and swim coach.
  • Hobbies/Activities: Reading, writing and running; working on master's degree in English; volunteering as a dog walker; training for the New York City Marathon; going to Huskers football games; traveling.

My favorite part of this meal, though, is the Pasta with Cream Sauce. Delicious during warm or cold weather, it is very versatile. It can easily move from a side dish to a main dish with the addition of a few more ingredients, such as sauteed chicken strips and pesto sauce, or smoked sausage and a can of diced tomatoes. We recently purchased a pasta crank and sometimes make the pasta from scratch.

Brian and his family cook, too. He is excellent at grilling and works to perfect different sauces for his homemade chicken wings.

His mother gave me the Green Salad with Herb Vinaigrette recipe. It's best to make it in the summer with garden-fresh tomatoes.

Orange Sponge Cake is the perfect dessert for this menu. My dad used to request it for his birthday every summer. As a wedding present for me, 2 years ago, my older sister Michaela put together a family cookbook. My Aunt Marilyn included the cake recipe.

This lovely golden-yellow cake doesn't even need icing, but usually I make a glaze or add whipped cream to the top. Be creative!

I'm so glad to have the chance to share this special meal with all of you. My family loves it, and I hope that yours will, too.