Archive | March 2014



1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
2 jalapenos, seeded, deveined, and chopped
1lb ground beef
1lb Italian sausage
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
1 8oz can tomato paste
1 7oz can green chilies
1 cup water
1 cup beef broth
1 15.5oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups dried macaroni noodles
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the onion and peppers and cook for about 4 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add the ground beef, sausage, and garlic, breaking up the meat and stirring until no longer pink. Drain off any excess fat.

Stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings accordingly. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and green chilies. Stir until well mixed. Add the water, beans, pasta, and half the cheese.

Bring to a boil, stir, cover and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the pasta is cooked through. Uncover, stir and let simmer, uncovered, until reduced to the desired consistency. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top, cover, and cook over low heat until the cheese melts. Garnish as desired.


Slow Cooker Lentil Vegetable Soup


1 cup fresh or frozen whole kernel corn
1 large red potato, cut into 1″ cubes
4 carrots, sliced
1/2 cup diced sweet onion
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
kosher or sea salt to taste
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup dried lentils


Add all of the above ingredients except the lentils to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low 8 to 10 hours. Add the lentils during the last hour of cooking time. Remove the bay leaf before serving.

Butternut Squash Au-Gratin


3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 (2 -pound) butternut squash

3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter.

Peel and seed squash, then thinly slice. Layer squash in baking dish, sprinkling some of salt and pepper between each layer. When baking dish is half filled, sprinkle 1/2 of cheese and thyme over squash. Continue layering squash with salt and pepper. Pour cream evenly over top layer, then sprinkle with remaining cheese and thyme. Cover baking dish with foil and bake until squash is tender, about 45 minutes. Remove foil from baking dish and preheat broiler. Broil gratin until top is browned about 4 minutes.

Spinach and Veggie Stuffed Mushrooms


2 teaspoons olive oil
12 mini portabella mushroom caps, cleaned; stems removed and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup whole-grain or gluten-free Panko breadcrumbs
4 cups baby spinach, chopped
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
chopped parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange mushroom caps in baking dish.

In a large skillet over medium setting, heat olive oil until hot. Sauté chopped mushroom stems, onions, and peppers for about 8 minutes or until softened and nicely browned. Stir in spices salt, and breadcrumbs; continue sautéing for 5 minutes.

Stir in chopped spinach, parsley and grated Parmesan cheese, sauté just until spinach wilts and cheese melts. Remove skillet from heat.

With a spoon, mound the stuffing equally into mushroom caps. Sprinkle mushroom caps with additional grated Parmesan cheese and lightly coat with olive oil spray. (or drizzle with olive oil)

Bake for 15 minutes or until mushroom caps are hot and cheese is melted. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Roasted Eggplant & Mozzarella Melts


1 large eggplant, halved lengthwise
3 garlic cloves
1 handful of fresh basil leaves
fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
olive oil
6 slices sliced rye bread
salt & pepper


Very lightly toast the rye bread and set aside.

Preheat you oven to 375 degrees.

Drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper on the flesh of the eggplant. Place it flesh side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast for about 30 minutes until lightly golden and tender.

Place the eggplant, skin and all, into a food processor along with the garlic cloves, basil, a little salt and pepper. Pulse a couple times. Add in 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil (depends on the size of your eggplant) and pulse until mostly smooth. You don’t want it runny with oil so add a little at a time.

Spread some of the eggplant on each slice of rye bread. Place a slice of fresh mozzarella on each slice.

Place the melts on the baking sheet and pop under the broiler until golden and bubblt

Ham Salad


2 cups ham, fat trimmed off and diced
1/2 cup miracle whip
1/4 cup mayo
2 tsp. dried onion flakes
1 tsp. stone ground mustard
1 Tbsp.pickle relish

Dice the ham into small 1/2″ cubes. Add all of the remaining ingredients except for the relish to a food processor and pulse until chunky. You want it to be smooth enough to spread on crackers, but not so smooth that it becomes a paste. Check every few pulses and watch closely to get the desired consistency.

Transfer the spread to a mixing bowl and stir in relish. Serve with crackers or on bread.

Homemade Tarter Sauce

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1 cup mayonnaise
1½ tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced red onion
1 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Cover and chill until ready to serve.