Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Berbere Spice

1/2 cup red chili
1/2 cup paprika
1 TBS salt
1 TBS black pepper
3 tsp fenugreek
3 tsp ground ginger
3 tsp onion powder
3 tsp garlic powder
3 tsp ground coriander
3 tsp cardamom
3 tsp ground cloves
3 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp turmeric
3 tsp allspice

Monday, June 27, 2016

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno and Cheddar Stuffed Berbere Ribs

These Berbere Ribs are a fantastic party/bbq food.  You will be the hit of your get together with this killer recipe.  These ribs are stuffed with char grilled jalapeños and cheddar cheese then secured around a rib with smoked bacon.  The flavors are balanced with a sweet bbq sauce. 

1 rack St Louis Style ribs, cleaned and trimmed
1 cup Berbere Spices
1 small bottle of cider vinegar
2 bottles beer
1/4 cup olive oil
6-8 jalapeno peppers, sliced in half, lengthwise (seeds removed)
8 ozs sharp cheddar cheese, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces.
1 lb bacon, thin sliced
1 cup sweet bbq sauce

Equipment Needed:
1 grill
baking sheet
aluminum foil
pot holder 
cutting board
basting brush

1.   Preheat grill to 325-350 degrees.
2.  Clean and trim ribs by removing extra fat and membrane.  Pour or brush on cider vinegar on both sides of ribs.  Season with salt and pepper.  Rub Berbere spice on both sides of ribs.  Place ribs on rack and place on baking sheet.  Place baking rack in center of hot grill.  Pour 1 bottle of beer into baking sheet (for moisture).  Cover with aluminum foil.  Cover and cook for 1 hour.  Remove foil from ribs, with cover down cook for another 45-60 mins.  Remove from grill.  Slice ribs between the bones.
3.  Slices jalapeños.  Brush with olive oil and place on grill.  Cook for approx. 3 mins on each side to char.  Season with salt.  
4.  To assemble ribs:  Place cheese on top of rib meat.  Place pepper on top of cheese.  Wrap bacon around to hold together.  Brush with bbq sauce.  Grill for approx. 5 mins per side, making sure all sides are grilled.  Add additional bbq sauce, if needed.

Serves 6-8

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Mocha Peanut Butter Four Layer Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake Ingredients:
2 cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
1 cup mayo
1 2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cup peanut butter crunch coffee, strong (or favorite flavor)

Peanut Butter Frosting Ingredients:
12 oz peanut butter chips, melted
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
4 TBS butter, softened
1 cup half and half, warm
4 tsp vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar (approx)

Chocolate Coffee Glaze Ingredients:
1 cup milk chocolate chips, melted
1 TBS strong peanut butter crunch coffee
2 TBS half and half, warm

12 peanut butter cups, cut into 1/4 pieces

  For cake:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans.
1.  Mix dry ingredients in bowl.
2.  Mix wet ingredients together.  Add dry ingredients to wet and mix well.  Divide 1/2 of the batter into one round pan.  Add remaining batter in second round pan.   Bake approx 25-30 mins.  Or until done.  Remove from oven and cool.  Remove from pan.  Slice each round cake in half making four rounds.
3.  Peanut Butter Frosting:  Melt chips in microwave in safe bowl for approx 1 minute.  Stir.  Add to mixing bowl with all other ingredients.  Whisk well.
4.  Add frosting to top of one round.  Spread evenly across cake.  Add another cake round to top of frosted cake.  Repeat process with other cake rounds.  Note:  Each layer should have frosting between.  Frost top of cake and sides.  Spread evenly and make it smooth.  Chill cake for approx. 30 minutes.  Add a second layer on top and sides of cake.  Spread to make smooth.  Reserve approx. 1/2 cup of frosting for piping design around bottom of cake.  (optional)
5.  Coffee Glaze:  Melt chocolate in microwave for 30 mins.  Stir.  Stir in coffee and warm half and half.  Pour glaze over top of cake allowing it to drool over the sides.
6.  Place cut pieces of peanut butter cups in center of cake.  Let sit for 30 mins before serving.

Serves 8-12

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Baked Peanut Crunch Coffee Chicken

This is a super duper pea "nutty" great recipe.  When I order a shipment of Door County Products, they were so generous to send me a sample of their Peanut Butter Crunch Coffee.  I was very intrigued and couldn't wait to create a new dish.  I knew that peanuts go well with an Asian flair so I decided to start there.  I first got the Peanut Butter Coffee brewing.  This started my taste buds flowing.  The rest is history! 


1 lb chicken tenders, trimmed
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tbs pepper
1/3 cup red onion
2 cloves garlic
1 TBS ginger, minced
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 limes, juiced 
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 TBS creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 cup Peanut Butter Crunch coffee, brewed
1 TBS Door County Mustard
1 TBS Sour Cream
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup peanuts, crushed

1.  Drain chicken and pat with paper towels to absorb excess wetness.
2.  Place flour, salt and pepper in med/large bowl.  Stir.  Toss chicken to coat.  Remove and place on clean dish, shaking off excess flour.
3.  In blender or food processor add all other ingredients.  Pulse until blended.  Add to bowl. (Reserve 1/2 cup to drizzle on chicken for later)
4.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  
5.  Dip each piece of chicken into mixture and coat thoroughly.  Place on slightly greased baking sheet.  Bake for approx. 8-10 mins or until golden brown (temp. depends on thickness of chicken).  Flip chicken 1/2 way through baking time.  Remove from oven.  Drizzle with extra sauce and sprinkle with crushed peanuts.  Serve on favorite salad or lettuce wraps.

Note:  I used a counter top electric grill with press cover.  Slightly grease with cooking spray.  Grill for approx. 3-4 mins.  

Serve on favorite salad or as tacos in lettuce wraps

Grilled Pork Pears Foster and Brie


6 Pork Loin (approx. 1 inch thick)
7 tsp favorite pork rub, reserve 1 tsp
1 can sliced half pears (reserve juice) (low sugar, if available)
4 TBS butter
2 TBS rum
2 TBS brown sugar
1/2 - 1 tsp corn starch
1 cup pear juice, from can
1/4 tsp cinnamon
salt and pepper, to taste
4 TBS walnuts, chopped
5 oz creamed brie cheese, no rind, warm
1/4 cup basil (fresh, chopped)

1.  Rub chops with spice rub. (reserve 1 tsp)
2.  Place pork on greased grill on med/high heat.  Grill for approx. 4 mins on each side, or until done.
Remove from grill and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
3.  Place pears on grill, flipping to create grill marks on both sides.  Remove and cover.
4.  On burner in medium size skillet add the 1 tsp reserved rub, butter, oil, rum and sugar.  Cook until sugar is dissolved.
5.  Add corn starch.  Stir to dissolve.
6.  Add juice, cinnamon, salt and pepper.  Lower heat and simmer until slightly thickened.  Add walnuts and stir.
7.  To plate:  Add pork to serving dish, top with grilled pear (whole side up).  Fill pear whole with approx. 1 tsp brie cheese.  Drizzle with sauce.

Maple Sausage Potato Caprese Frittata

I created this recipe for the Jones Sausage Contest.  I used potatoes tossed with chunks of Maple sausage, cheddar cheese, onions, garlic and fresh parsley, baked with beaten egg.  Frittata is topped with fresh mozzarella cheese, pizza sauce, tomatoes and fresh basil.


4 TBS olive oil
4 cups potatoes, peeled and cubed small
2 boxes cooked sausage patties, cut in quarters
1/4 cup onion, chopped fine
1 garlic cloves, chopped fine
2 TBS butter
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp course black pepper
2 TBS grated cheese
8 eggs, beaten
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
8 dollops pizza sauce
8 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
8 slices fresh tomato
3 large basil leaves

1.  In large cast iron skillet heat oil on med/high heat.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Add potatoes and sauté until starts to brown. Approx. 10 mins.  Stir to prevent from sticking.
3.  Add sausage, onions and garlic, stir.  Saute for additional 5 mins.  Add butter, stir.  Season with salt and pepper then add grated cheese.  Stir.  Spread potatoes evenly across pan to make level.
4.  Add beaten eggs.  Top with cheddar cheese.  Shake skillet so eggs incorporate into potatoes.
5.  Drop dollops of pizza sauce on top of potatoes/eggs in skillet evenly around outside perimeter.  Now, add a slice of mozzarella cheese on top of each dollop of sauce, overlapping.  Add a slice of tomato on each slice of mozzarella, overlapping as well.
6.  Place skillet in oven and bake for 10 mins.
7.  Quickly switch oven to broil to top brown for 5 mins.  Remove.  Sprinkle top of frittata with fresh basil.  Slice into 8 pieces.
Makes 8 slices

Cherry Almond Espresso Bean Bark

I was inspired to make this recipe when I first received my shipment of Door County Coffee products.  I love to make chocolates, especially different varieties of bark.  I couldn't resist these combinations of Chocolate, cherries, almonds and crunchy chocolate covered espresso beans.
This Chocolate Bark can be made with a variety of different kinds of chocolates (Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate and/or Red)

1/2 lb milk chocolate, tempered 
1/2 lb dark chocolate, tempered
1/3 cup dry cherries
1/3 cup chopped almonds
1/3 cup crushed chocolate covered espresso beans

1.  Add each different chocolate flavors to a (microwave safe) bowl.  Heat on high for approx. 1 minute.  Remove and stir well.  Return back to microwave, if needed but heat at 30 second increments at a time until completely melted.  
2.  Spread one type of chocolate on baking sheets.  With a spoon, spread evenly across pan making a thin layer.
3.  Add second chocolate.  Pour over top of chocolate in pan.  Spread over top of bottom chocolate.
4.  With a spoon, make swirls around throughout two layers creating a marble like finish.
5.  Quickly sprinkle cherries, almonds and then espresso beans over top.  Tap baking pan to make sure toppings adhere to chocolate.
6.  Freeze for approx 10 mins.  Remove and break into pieces.  Store in air tight container.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Cherry Cordial Coffee Cupcakes

When I think about Door County, Wisconsin, it reminds me of Coffee, Cherry Trees and Cheese.  It was my inspiration for this recipe.  The center of these cupcakes have a sweet cherry cordial surrounded by the cheddar coffee taste of a firm cupcake, mixed with ground chocolate covered espresso beans.  The frosting is infused with strong espresso coffee.  Cupcake is topped with a sweet drizzle of cherry jam and a chocolate espresso bean, for added punch.  This cupcake is the perfect balance to help celebrate, this time of year..."the blooming of the Cherry Trees"

4 ozs butter, soft
3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup oil
1/3 cherry syrup
1/3 cup water
2 TBS vanilla
2 cups flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 TBS chocolate covered coffee beans, ground, plus 24 whole 
24 cherry cordials
1 jar Cherry jam

Frosting Ingredients:
1/4 cup strong Espresso Coffee
4 ounces mascarpone cheese
2 TBS butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
9 ozs milk chocolate, melted
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 tsp meringue powder, optional

1.  Place cupcake papers in 2 (12 ct) cupcake wells.  Slightly grease papers with cooking spray to prevent cake from sticking to papers.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  In large bowl add butter, sugar, eggs, sour cream, oil, syrup, water and vanilla.  Mix well.  In separate bowl add flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Mix well.  Add to wet ingredients.  Whisk until fully blended.  Fold in cheddar cheese and 2 TBS ground choc. covered espresso beans.
3.  Add approx. 2 TBS batter to each cupcake paper.  Place a single cherry cordial in center of each paper.  Top with additional batter covering 3/4 full.  Bake for 11-13 mins, or until done.  Cool.
4.  To make frosting:  Add coffee, cheese, butter and vanilla.  Whisk well.  Add melted chocolate, mix well.  Add sugar, mix well.  Frosting should be stiff.  Add meringue powder if needed.
5.  Add frosting to piping bag with favorite decorating tip and frost cupcakes.
6.  Warm cherry jam in microwave safe bowl in microwave for approx. 1 minute.  Drizzle over top of frosted cupcakes.  Place a chocolate covered espresso bean on top of each cupcake.
Makes 24 cupcakes.

Cherry Coffee Strata

Move over Pineapple Upside Down Cake.  This is my Cherry Coffee Upside Down Strata.  Stuffed with creamed brie and chunks of coffee flavored bread cubes.  Topped with sweet taste of the very well known "Door County Cherries".

8 cups cubed bread, packed.  Toasted
1 jar Chopped Cherry Jam
3 (5 ozs) pks creamed brie cheese
10 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup espresso coffee, strong
8 TBS butter, melted
1/4 cup cherry syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 TBS white sugar (optional)

1.  Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Add cubed bread to large baking sheet.  Toast in oven for 15 mins.
2.  Add cherry jam to greased cast iron skillet.  Spread across bottom.
3.  Add half of the bread to skillet.  Add spoonfuls of brie cheese to top, dividing evenly.  Add remaining bread to top of brie, spreading evening across skillet.
4.  Add beaten eggs, coffee, butter, syrup, cinnamon and salt to bowl.  Mix well.  Add egg mixture to skillet, over bread.  Let soak for 30 mins.  Press down occasionally to make sure all the bread soaking up egg.
5.  Bake for 15 mins covered.  Bake another 10 mins uncovered.  Remove from oven and sprinkle white sugar over top.  Rest for 10-15 mins.   Loosen edges with knife.  Flip onto serving dish.

Serves 8-10 people

Chocolate Covered Tiramisu Sandwich Cookies

2 pkg chocolate sandwich cookies
2/3 cup chocolate covered espresso beans, crushed
1 lbs dark chocolate, tempered

Tiramisu Filling:
1/4 cup strong Espresso Coffee
4 ounces mascarpone cheese
2 TBS butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
9 ozs milk chocolate, melted
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar

1.  Carefully separate sandwich cookies with knife, without breaking.  scrap cream and add to small bowl.  Reserve.  Line cookies inside side facing up.
2.  Add coffee, cheese, butter and vanilla in medium size bowl.  Mix well.  Add melted chocolate, mix.  Add sugar and mix.  Add contents of filling to pasty bag.  Enclose with twist tie or clip.  Snip bottom of pastry bag approx 1/2 inch from bottom.
3.  Fill approx 1/2 tsp of filling in the center of sandwich cookie.  Press another cookie on top of filling and press gently.  Filling will spread to outer edge of cookie.  Fill remaining cookies.
4.  Add dark chocolate to microwave safe bowl.  Heat on high for 1 minute, stir.  Add for additional 30 seconds, if needed to melt completely.  Dip each cookie into chocolate, covering on each side.  Place on wax paper to dry.
5.  Add bowl of cream to microwave.  Heat on high for 1 minute.  Stir.  If not melted heat for additional 30 seconds until completely smooth and melted, stirring between.  With a fork, drizzle white cream over top of chocolate covered cookie. (dark choc. does not have to be completed dry for this next step).  Sprinkle with crushed espresso beans.  Let dry completely before serving.
Makes as many cookies used from original package.  Approx 60 cookies.
Note:  Recipe may be cut in half.  Any extra filling may be refrigerated for up to 1 month (sealed).


This dish reminds me of growing up in Connecticut.  Lobster rolls with butter, with a buttery toasted bun is very popular.  It takes me back to beautiful summer days and nights, eating lobster rolls, at a local seafood stand, smelling the ocean air and feeling the sandy beach on my toes.  I decided to put a twist to this dinner using several of Celtic seasonings.  You don't need to wait until Summer to make this.

Cole Slaw:
1/2 cup mayo
3 TBS sugar
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1 TBS cider vinegar
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/4 tsp Celtic Seaweed Seasoning
1/2 tsp Celtic Celery, ground
16 ozs slaw mix

Pan Fried Seasoned Fries:
3 TBS cooking oil
16 ozs frozen fries
2 TBS parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp Celtic Rosemary, ground
1/8 tsp Celtic Pink Salt, ground
1/8 tsp ground course black pepper

Ingredients for Lobster Rolls:
meat from 2 lobsters, cooked
4 TBS butter
1/4 tsp Celtic seaweed seasoning
1/4 tsp Celtic, smoked sea salt
2 TBS Celtic garlic sesame seeds
2 buttered hot dog rolls

Directions for Cole Slaw:
1.  To a medium size bowl add all ingredients except slaw mix.  Mix well.  Add slaw mix and toss until fully incorporated.  Refrigerate until ready to eat.

Directions for Fries:
1.  In large skillet add oil.  Heat on med/high until hot.  Add fries and fry until browned (approx. 7-10 mins), rotating to brown on all sides.  Drain on paper towels to absorb excess grease.  Place in serving plate.  Sprinkle with remaining ingredients.

Directions for Lobster Rolls:
1.  Pick lobster and add to bowl with butter, seaweed and smoked sea salt.  Heat for 2 mins in microwave.
2.  Place buttered rolls on skillet and toast on both sides until brown.  Stuff with lobster meat and sprinkle with garlic sesame seeds.

Chicken Chorizo Burger with Poblano Peppers

1/4 cup canola oil, plus 2 TBS
3 poblano peppers, sliced in steps
1 large onion, sliced in strips
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 chicken (boneless/skinless) thighs, seasoned with salt and pepper
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
8 ozs Mexican Cheese Blend Cheese
6 sandwich buns, toasted
6 corn tortilla, cut into squares
16 ozs chorizo, molded into 6 patties

Cilantro Sauce Ingredients:
1 small head cilantro
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup sour cream
1 lime, juiced
1/2 tsp cider vinegar
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

1.  Heat 1/4 cup oil in skillet on med/high heat.  Add sliced poblano peppers and onions.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook until soft (approx. 10 mins).  Add garlic.  Stir.  Sauté for additional 3 mins.  Add chicken thighs to skillet.  Open up and lay flat.  Season with salt and pepper.  Sauté until golden brown, approx 10 min.  Flip and brown other side.  Scoop peppers and onions and place on top of chicken.  Add cheese to top of veggies.  Cover and turn off burner.
2.  In separate skillet add 2 TBS canola oil.  Trim off edges of tortilla, making square pieces.  Place in skillet and toast on both side.  Place on paper towels to absorb excess oil until ready to use.
3.  In small skillet add chorizo patties.  Sauce on both sides until done.  Approx. 5 mins on each side.
4.  To make cilantro sauce:  Add all ingredients to medium size food processor.  Blend well.
Makes 6 Sandwiches

Sunday, May 15, 2016


My Story:  This cake reminds me of my Italian Grandmother.  She would always bake cakes from scratch.  Every time there was a special occassion she would call us to ask us what kind of cake we wanted, and then she would bake it, no matter what we asked for.  One of her specialties was an Italian rum cake.  The cake layers would be brushed with rum and then frosted.  I decided to put an orange twist to my rum cake and also make an orange glaze to serve with it.  I am sure Grandma would just love my addition of the cheddar also.  

1 stick butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups sour cream
1 cup canola oil
1 1/4 cups orange juice
4 TBS vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
4 cups flour ( I use gluten free)
1 cup grated extra sharp cheddar cheese ( I use a good brand)
6-8 drops orange food coloring (or to liking)
1/2 cup rum

2 pkgs (8 oz each) cream cheese
1 stick butter, softened
2 TBS vanilla
6 cups powdered sugar (or to liking)

1 cup orange juice
2 TBS butter
3 TBS brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 TBS vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
3 TBS rum

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour four round cake pans.
2.  In large bowl whisk together butter and sugar until blended.  Add remaining wet ingredients, whisk.  In separate bowl add salt, baking powder, soda and flour.  Mix.  Add to wet ingredients and mix well.  Fold in cheddar cheese.  Add food coloring and mix well.
3.  Bake for approx 20 mins.  Remove and let cool.  Remove from pans and brush rum onto top of each cake.
4.  To make frosting:  combine all ingredients in food processor.  Blend well.
5.  To make glaze:  In small saucepan add orange juice.  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for additional 5-7 mins to reduce liquid.  Add butter, brown sugar, cloves, vanilla, salt and rum.  Simmer for additional 5-7 mins.
6.  Layer cake with frosting in between each layer.  Spread remaining frosting around outside and top of cake.  Garnish with orange slices, orange zest and mint leaves.

Serves 12

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Mexican Street Corn Rice Burger

Burger Ingredients:
2 lbs ground beef
1 cup Del Real Rice
2 TBS Del Real Fire Roasted Green Salsa
1 Egg
1/2 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp salt

Mexican Street Corn Ingredients:
2 TBS mayo
2 TBS sour cream
1/2 cup Queso Fresco Cheese, crumbled
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 small garlic clove
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1 tsp lime juice
1/2 can creamed corn
1/3 cup Del Real Fire Roasted Green Salsa

6 Buns
1/2 lb cooked bacon, warm
1/2 cup cilantro leaves for topping

1.  In large bowl mix together ingredients for burgers.  Mold into 4 large or 6 smaller burgers.  Put aside.  Heat grill on High.
2.  On side burner, in medium size saucepan add all ingredients.  Stir well.  Turn burner on low and heat for 10 mins or until warm.
3.  Place burgers on grill and grill for approx 4 mins on each side.  For larger burgers 6 mins on each side.  Or until temperature of liking.
4.  Butter and toast buns on upper rack of grill, until slightly browned.  Wrap bacon in foil and place on upper rack to warm.
5.  To assemble burgers:  Add burger to bun.  Top with Mexican Street Corn and bacon.  Garnish with cilantro leaves.

Mexican Cheesy Pasta

Kid Friendly Mexican Cheesy Pasta

1/2 lb pasta, ( I used small penne)
2 TBS cooking oil
1 package Del Real Shredded Beef, room temperature
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp ground basil
1/2 tsp ground parsley
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 TBS Del Real Fire Roasted Salsa
2 cups favorite red pasta sauce
1 cup ricotta cheese
8 ozs Mexican Blend shredded cheese
1/2 cup cilantro leaves

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.  In medium saucepan, heat approx 6 cups of water on high heat.  Cover and bring to boil.  Approx 5 mins.  Add pasta and cook until done.  Aprox. 8 - 10 mins.  Drain.  Pasta will continue to cook in oven.
3.  In large (oven safe skillet) heat oil on med/high heat.  Add beef, garlic, basil, parsley, cumin, salsa and red sauce.  Stir and heat while pasta is cooking.  Add drained pasta, stir.  Stir in ricotta cheese and sprinkle Mexican blend over top.  Bake for 15 mins.  Remove and serve with cilantro leaves.

Serves 4 hungry kids

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Lemon Shrimp and Celery Cherry Pepper Risotto

Creamy, earthy, lemony shrimp risotto.  Enjoy the flavors as all these ingredients come to life.

32 ozs chicken broth
4 TBS olive oil
1/2 cup shallots, chopped fine
1/2 cup leeks, sliced
1/2 cup fennel, chopped small
1 cups celery, chopped fine
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups arborio rice
1/4 cup white wine
2 bay leaves
2 cherry peppers, chopped
1 lb medium size shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 2 cups)
3 TBS butter
1 lemon, juiced and zested (plus extra for garnish)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
5-6 large basil leaves, chopped (plus extra for garnish)
1/4 tsp salt, or to liking
1/4 tsp coarse pepper, or to liking

Garnish with lemon wedge, basil leaves and celery leaves

1.  Add broth to large pot.   Bring to boil on high heat.  Reduce down to low to keep hot
2.  In large skillet on stove top heat oil on med/high heat.  Add shallots, leeks, fennel, celery and garlic. Stir. Saute for 10-12 mins.  Add rice, stir.  Saute for additional 5 mins.
3.  Pour in wine, scraping bottom to loosen any flavor.  Add bay leaves.  Stir.
4.  Add broth 1 cup at a time to rice.  Let it cook down until 1/2 liquid is cooked out.  Whisk fast to make creamy.  Repeat process by adding 1 cup at a time until rice becomes done.  Approx. 15-18 mins.  Remove bay leaves.
5.  Add shrimp and eggs, cook until shrimp turn pink.  Approx. 5 mins.  Add additional broth if needed.
6.  Add butter, lemon juice, zest, cheese and basil.  Stir.  Taste before adding salt and pepper.  Add additional broth, if needed.

Serves 4 - Serve in separate bowls

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Sopa Mexicana (Mexican Soup)

I created this soup using ingredients from Del Real Foods.  It is for a contest they are sponsoring.  This is my kid friendly Soup.  Having raised four children I do know that they can be very picky about ingredients.  I used to puree cooked veggies and hide them in dishes without them knowing about it.  They would eat up every bit.  In this dish I created a cheesy chicken and rice soup that every kid would love.

2 TBS canola oil
1 cup celery, chopped fine
1 cup onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
3 cups chicken broth
24 ops Del Real Foods Ranchero Beans

8 ozs shredded Mexican cheese
16 ozs Del Real Foods Shredded Chicken
24 ozs Del Real Rice with Vegetables
1 envelope taco seasoning
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Garnish Ingredients:  Rice, chopped tomatoes and sour cream

1.  In large skillet heat oil on med/high heat.  Add celery, onions and garlic.  Cover and cooked until veggies are soft, stirring( approx. 8 mins).  Add very little chicken broth, if needed.  Do not burn.  Add 1 cup cilantro, one cup chicken broth and beans.  Stir
2.  Add soup to blender and puree.  Return to skillet.  Add additional chicken broth to blender to loosen any soup stuck to blender.
3.  Add cheese, shredded chicken, 1/2 pkg of rice and taco seasoning. Stir.   Reduce heat and simmer med/low heat until fully heated (approx 20 mins).  Stir.  Season with salt and pepper.
4.  Serve into bowls.  Garnish with additional warm rice, chopped tomatoes and sour cream.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Lemon Broccoli Spaghetti with Walnut Pesto

1 lb spaghetti, cooked al dente and drained
2 lbs broccoli florets
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/3 cup shallots, chopped
1 stick butter
2 TBS parmesan cheese
2 TBS parsley, chopped
2 TBS Basil, chopped
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 lemon, zested (reserve juice for pesto)
1/4 tsp salt or to taste

Pesto Ingredients:
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
2 TBS parsley
2 TBS basil
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 lemon, juiced
1/3 cup walnuts
1/8 tsp salt and pepper, or to taste
*Puree all ingredients in food processor


1.  Heat water for pasta in large pot.  Cook pasta, al dente then drain.
2.  While water is heating take large skillet and heat on separate burner.  Add oil (med/high temp)
3.  Add broccoli to skillet, cover and cook for 5 mins.  Remove cover and stir.
4.  Add garlic, shallot and butter.  Sautee for additional 7-10 mins.  Or until soft. Stir
5.  Add cheese, parsley, basil, pepper, lemon zest and salt. Stir. 
6.  Toss pasta with additional olive oil and season with salt and pepper, (not required)
7.  Combine pasta with broccoli.  Serve with walnut pesto.  Top with additional walnuts and fresh parsley and basil.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Open Faced Asian Turkey Cabbage Roll

1 lb ground turkey
2 Tbs sesame oil
1/2 cup scallions (reserve half for garnish)
1/2 tsp fresh ginger
1 Tbs oyster sauce
2 Tbs sweet chili sauce
1 tsp lemon grass
1/2 cup fresh cilantro (reserve half for garnish)
1 bag shredded cabbage
salt and pepper, to taste
1 bag fresh spinach leaves

1.  In large skillet (on medium heat), add oil.
2.  Add ground turkey to skillet.  Cook until done, stirring.
3.  Add 1/2 of the scallions, ginger, oyster sauce,  chili sauce, lemon grass and 1/2 of the cilantro.  Stir
4.  Add shredded cabbage.  Cover and cook for approx. 5 mins.  Stir and season with salt and pepper.
5.  Serve on bed of fresh spinach.  Garnish with additional scallions and cilantro

Monday, February 15, 2016

Limincello Fennel Sauce Shrimp and Spaghetti

4 TBS olive oil, plus extra for pasta and garnish
4 TBS butter
1/2 cup shallots, chopped
2/3 cup fennel stalk, chopped
2/3 cup red bell pepper, chopped (stem and seeds removed)
2 peppercini peppers, chopped fine (stems removed)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp coarse black pepper, or to taste
1/3 cup pistachio nuts, chopped fine
1/2 lb colossal shrimp (cleaned, peeled and deveined)
2/3 cup limincello
1/4 cup sambuca
1/2 pint heavy cream
2 TBS fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped (plus extra for garnish)
1/4 cup fennel leaves for garnish
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
12/16 ozs favorite pasta (I use spaghetti)

1.  In large skillet, on medium/high, heat 4 TBS olive oil and 4 TBS butter until melted.  Stir.
2.  Add shallots, fennel, peppers and garlic.  Saute until soft (approx. 5-8 mins) Season with salt and pepper.  Add pistachio nuts and stir and toast until slighly browned.  (do not burn).
3.  Add Shrimp to skillet leaving space between each piece.  Season with salt and pepper.  Saute for approx 2 mins then flip and slightly brown other side, approx another 1-2 mins or until starts to turn pink and tails curl.  Do not fully cook  (Note: shrimp will be addded back to sauce later which will continue to cook).  Remove shrimp from skillet.
4.  Add limincello and sambuca to deglaze skillet.  Stir to loosen any bits that might be stuck on bottom.  I call this "flavor".  Let alcohol cook out for approx. 3-5 mins.  Add heavy cream.  Stir and let thicken slightly.  Add shrimp back to skillet.   Add basil and parsley and stir.
5.  Add water to large pot for pasta.  Season with salt and bring to boil.  Cook pasta "al dente" then drain.  Add pasta to large bowl.  Drizzle with approx. 4 TBS olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper, toss.  Add pasta to clean presentation plate, or serve in individual plates. 
6.  Arrange shrimp on top of pasta.  Laddle sauce on top of shrimp.  Sprinkle parsley and fennel leaves on top.  Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar around edges of pasta. 

Serves approx. 4-5 people

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Coconut Cream of Celery Soup with Cherry Pepper Creme Fraiche

4 TBS olive oil
4 cups celery ribs, sliced thin (plus 1/2 cup celery leaves for garnish)
1 parsnip, peel and sliced thin
2 cups leeks, sliced thin
1 large bay leaf
2 TBS butter
1 tsp garlic, chopped fine
5 large basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup parsley leaves
1 can cannellini bean, drained (reserve 1/4 cup for garnish)
16 ozs chicken broth (low sodium)
14 oz coconut cream
1/8-1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp coarse pepper (plus for garnish)
1 lemon, juiced

Cherry Pepper Sauce:
1/3 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
3 large cherry peppers (pickled) (plus 1 for garnish)
1/3 tsp garlic, chopped fine
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp salt

1.  In large skillet heat oil on med/high heat.
2.  Add celery, parsnip, leeks and bay leaf.  Stir and cover to sweat for approx 10 - 12 mins.  Remove cover and stir making sure ingredients do not stick to bottom of pan.
3.  Add butter, garlic, basil, parsley and beans. Stir.  Saute for 3 mins.
4.  Add 1/2 of the chicken broth and the 14 oz coconut milk.  Stir.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 - 15 mins.  Make sure veggies are soft.
5.  Puree soup in blender (two separate portions work fine).  Blend 1/2 of the soup well until creamy consistency.  Add to clean bowl.  Blend remaining  soup, well.  Add all soup back to saute pan.
6.  Season with salt and pepper to liking.  Add 2 TBS lemon juice.  Stir.
7.  To make sauce:  Blend or puree all ingredients until smooth
8.  Pour soup into individual bowls.  Top with beans, chopped cherry peppers and celery leaves.  Drizzle cherry pepper sauce around garnish.  Sprinkle with coarse pepper.

Makes 4-5 serves

Monday, February 8, 2016

Mediterranean Sausage Chili

This recipe was created for a contest using Ragu Sauce.  

4 TBS olive oil
4 TBS butter
1 lb Mild sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 large jalapeno, diced fine
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp coriander 
24 ozs chunky (tomato, garlic and onion) sauce
15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz can garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coarse black pepper
1 cup cilantro, chopped
12 ozs chicken broth (low sodium)

1.  Add oil and butter to large skillet.  Heat on med/high heat for approx 2-3 mins.  Add sausage links.  Cook until done, rotating to brown on all sides (approx 10 mins).  Remove from skillet. Cut into bite size pieces. Cover and reserve.
2.  In same skillet with oil add onions and celery, stir.  Saute until brown (approx 10 mins).  Add garlic and jalapeno.  Stir and saute for additional 3 mins.
3.  Add all remaining ingredients to skillet.  Stir and reduce temperature to medium/low.  Simmer for approx 20 mins.  Add sausage and simmer for additional 10 mins.  

Makes 4 servings

Cheddar Vegetable Bake

"Ragu Recipe Contest Entry"  Simple and delicious side dish.  This dish spells "comfort" with the cheesy filling and crunchy topping from the breadcrumbs and pine nuts.  It has also a nice subtle kick with the added jalapenos, making this dish a true family favorite.

5 large baked potatoes, sliced into 1/3 inch rings
1 cup cauliflower florets, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup broccoli florets, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 TBS jalapenos, chopped
1 tsp course pepper
1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
16 ozs Ragu Double Cheese Sauce
1 1/2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 stick butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In large bowl add cooked potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, garlic, onion, parmesan, jalapenos, pepper, cilantro, broth and cheese sauce.  Toss to coat.  Place into large baking dish.
Add bread crumbs, sprinkling evenly across top of vegetables.  Sprinkle with pine nuts.  Pour melted butter on top.  Cover and bake for approx. 45 mins.  Uncover and bake for additional 10-15 mins.
Serves 4

Monday, January 25, 2016

Crusted Broccoli Mac and Four Cheese

This is a one skillet dish.

4 TBS olive oil
1/2 cup celery, chopped fine
1/2 cup onions, chopped fine
2 large cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 lb ground beef  (80/20)
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped, reserve some for topping
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
32 ozs chicken broth
8 ozs elbows
12 ozs broccoli florets
1 lb american cheese
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup blended Romano and Parmesan cheese
2 TBS butter
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp coarse black pepper, or to taste
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs, for topping

1.  In a large oven safe skillet heat oil on med/high heat on stove top.  Add celery, onions and garlic.  Stir and saute for 2-3 mins.  Add beef, parsley and basil.  Stir and saute for approx. 10 mins or until beef is brown.
2.  Preheat broiler to 375 degrees.
3.  Add broth to skillet, bring to a boil.  Adjust temp to high heat.  Add elbows to skillet, stir.  Add broccoli to top, cover and let cook for approx. 10 mins or until elbows are al dente (med to slightly on hard side).  Turn off burner.
4.  Add american cheese, 4 ozs of cheddar (reserving the other 4 ozs), romano/parmesan cheese
and butter.  Stir and melt cheeses well.  Taste.  Add salt and pepper to liking.
5.  Add bread crumbs and remaining cheddar cheese on top.  Sprinkle some parsley, and course pepper on top for color.  Place in broiler for 1-2 mins (broilers may vary) until top is crusted.  (Be careful not to burn).
Serves 4-6

Friday, January 8, 2016

Spicy Shrimp White Bean Chili with Spicy Cilantro Sauce



1 lb extra large Gulf Shrimp, butterflied (peeled and deveined) Reserve shells
1 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups water
4 TBS olive oil
2 cups onions, chopped fine
2 cups celery, chopped fine
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 TBS chili peppers
2 TBS butter
2 cans Bush's White Chili Beans
1 can creamed corn
1 cup green enchilada sauce
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 cup cilantro, chopped

Spicy Cilantro Sauce:
2 TBS Jalapeno peppers, chopped
1 TBS chili peppers, chopped
1/4 cup enchilada sauce
2 cups cilantro
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cloves garlic
juice from 1 lime
1/8 tsp salt
2 TBS olive oil
1 TBS cider vinegar

1.  Sprinkle clean, peeled shrimp with chili powder, salt and pepper on both sides.  Place shells in small pot with 2 cups of water.  Simmer for 15-20 mins.  Let sit until ready to use.   Strain.
2.  In large skillet heat oil on med/high.  Add onions and celery.  Saute, stirring for approx. 15 mins or until soft.  Add garlic, chili peppers and butter.  Stir.  Add shrimp and saute for 2-3 mins on each side, or until they turn pink.  Remove from skillet, cover to keep warm.  
3.  Add beans, corn, enchilada sauce, taco seasoning, cilantro and shrimp broth.  Stir and cook for 10 mins.  Lower temperature to med/low and simmer for additional 10 mins.  
4.  While chili and simmering add all ingredients of Spicy Cilantro Sauce to medium food processor.  Puree for about 1 min to combine well.  
5.  Serve chili with shrimp and drizzle of Spicy Cilantro Sauce.  Garnish with cilantro leaves.
Serves 4-6 people