Veggie Ragu

Look I enjoy meat, and my son and husband are carnivores. So I always look for new and exciting ways to get more vegetables in my family. Disguising vegetables in meals for the family, as you sit across the table doing a secret glare deep down inside, as you see them enjoying the dish. Gives me all the joy and slyness in the world. I’m nourishing you, and you have no clue.

Ragu is typically a meat based sauce, with little tomato and white wine. I switched out the meat, with hearty veggies such as, eggplant, mushrooms and zucchini. I steered a little off course and added extra tomato and used red wine instead. These small substitutes, gave the Ragu a deeper taste and hid the vegetables, for my picky veggie eaters. I can say that, I didn’t miss the meat in this sauce, and that my family didn’t either.

Prep Time – 15 mins

Cook Time – 1.5hrs

Total Time – 1hr 45mins


• 2 Tbsp Olive Oil

• 1 medium sized Eggplant, chopped up in 1/4 inch pieces

• 1 medium sized Zucchini, chopped up in 1/4 inch pieces

• 1 8oz carton of Baby Bella Mushrooms , chopped up in 1/4 inch pieces. Use the whole mushroom

• 1/2 tsp of Chili Flakes or less

• 2 tsp Kosher Salt

• 1 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper

• 3 medium sized Carrots diced

• 3 stalks of Celery diced

• 1 medium Yellow Onion diced

• 4 Cloves of Garlic minced

• 2 Tbsp dried Parsley

• 1 28oz Can of diced Tomatoes

• 1 cup of Red Wine – I recommend a Cabernet

• 1 tsp dried Rosemary

• 1 tsp dried Thyme

• 1 6oz Can Tomato Paste

• 1 cup of warmish water

• 1lbs of your favorite curly pasta


1) In a heavy bottom pot or a Dutch Oven, over medium-high heat add your Olive Oil. Once Oil is heated, add your Eggplant and season with half of your salt, stir to coat and cook for about 5 mins, so the eggplant can start to break down. Once Eggplant is starting to soften, add your mushrooms, zucchini, chili flakes, half of your pepper and half of the remaining salt. Stir to incorporate all those flavors, cook over medium-high heat for about 5 – 10mins, to allow these veggies to release most of their water. Next add your onions, carrots, celery and garlic, stir in with the other veggies and turn heat to low, to cook down by about half for 40-45 mins (stirring every now and then) This is an important step as you want all these ingredients to melt down together and start to become one, and there isn’t as much liquid remaining.

2) Once the veggies have melted down and caramelized a bit, turn your heat back up to Medium-high heat. Pour in your can of tomatoes and red wine, parsley, rosemary and thyme. Now you want to stir that all into your melted down veggies and start to scrape up all those wonderful brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a low simmer, for about 15-20 mins.

3) Add in the Can of tomato Paste and warm water, the remaining of salt and pepper. Stir and continue to cook over simmer for another 10-15mins. While the sauce is finishing up, now is your time to boil the water for your favorite curly pasta. Cook pasta according to box/bag, until al dente. Drain the pasta and plate it. Top with the Vegetable Ragu and grate some fresh Parmesan over top. ENJOY!

Coconut Crispy Rice

Are you looking for a different take on rice? Something with a little more of a summer feel, a fresh palette cleanser, with a subtle salty sweet coconut flavor. The rice is blended with a coconut sauce, and then crisped up in a skillet, for a few minutes. Gives the rice a beautiful crunch. This rice dish pairs perfectly with my Chinese Five Spice Pork Chops The coconut in this rice dish, complements the beautiful aroma of the Chinese Five Spice. This is the perfect balance of spice, salty, sweet and crunch. I hope when you make these dishes, you pair them together like I have.

Prep/Cook Time – 60 mins or less


• 2 Cups Basmati rice (6 Cups of Cooked rice)

• 3 cups of cold water

• Pinch of Kosher Salt

• 1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter

• 2 large Green Onions thinly chopped, dark green parts, set aside for garnish about 1/2 Tbsp worth

• 1 Tbsp Sesame Oil

• 2 Tbsp of just the cream part of a can of Coconut Milk (Try really hard, not to get the water from the coconut milk)

• 1 Tbsp packed Brown Sugar

• 1 Tbsp of Liquid Aminos Soy Sauce (use 1/2 Tbsp of regular Soy Sauce)

• Zest of 1 Lime

• Juice of 1 Lime

• 1/2 Tbsp of Sambal Oelek (Asian chili sauce)


1) In a sauce pan, add the rice, water, salt and butter, bring to a rapid boil. Once your boiling turn heat to low and place lid on, cook for 20mins. Once Rice is cooked, remove from heat and place in a bowl to let cookZ spread the rice around in the bowl so the steam can escape. Let cool for about 30mins.

2) While rice is cooling, chop up the green onion and set the dark green ends to the side for garnish. In a bowl combined coconut, brown sugar, soy sauce, lime zest and juice along with the Sambal. Whisk all together so it forms a thick liquid.

3) Heat a medium to large none stick skillet over Medium High heat. Add the Sesame Oil, once the oil has heated had the green onions except 1/2 tbsp that is reserved. Sauté the onions, until wilted and fragrant. Now add half the sauce to the pan to heat up, for about 10 seconds and stir into the onion. Now add the rice mix up breaking the rice down from clumps. Add the rest of the sauce and make sure all is well combine. Spread the rice out and up the sides of the sauté pan. Let sit over medium high, so the rice can crisp up, this will take about 6-10 mins. Lift up the edges, so you can see if it has crisped to your crummy level. Once rice has crisped up, turn of heat and stir it gently releasing from the bottom of the pan. Place in a dish, and sprinkle with the extra green onions for garnish. ENJOY!

Chinese Five Spice Pork Chops

I am so excited to share with you these Chinese Five Spice Pork Chops. A quick and easy marinade, that take no time at all to prepare. Pour marinade over the chops, and in the fridge for 4-8hrs or over night if you prefer. The longer they marinate, the better they turn out. Grill the chops over medium heat on the grill, nice and slow, but with a nice sear. You want the meat to come off at 145F – 150F, which is medium rare and the perfect temperature since they will continue to cook for a bit while you let them rest and absorb the juices. These chops are a BIG hit, even with our son who is a picky eater.

Prepare time 4-8hrs or over night

Cooking time 10-15mins

Serves – 4


• 4 Thick Cut Bone-in Pork Chops

• 1/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar

• 1 Tbsp Chinese Five Spice

• 1/4 tsp Korean Chili Flakes or Regular Chili Flakes work as well

• 2 Tbsp Bragga Liquid Amino’s Soy Sauce (if using regular soy sauce cut in half and only use 1 Tbsp)

• 1/2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar

• 1 Tbsp Sesame Oil


1) In a bowl combine Brown sugar through to Sesame Oil, and stir until a liquid paste form. Take a out either a casserole dish where all the Pork chops and lay flat or a large ziplock bag. Pat the Pork Chops dry and place in dish or bag. Pour the marinade over the Chops and make sure every inch is covered. Close bag or cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge at least 4-8hrs and up to overnight.

2) Take out of fridge and bring to romp temperature, at least 20-30mins. Turn grill on to Medium High. Since the oil is Sesame Oil, it has a high smoke point, so be careful as it will go up in flames. Place the Pork Chops on the grill carefully, turn n heat to medium on the grill and cook the Chops 2-3mins per side on the grill. Once internal temperature reaches 145F – 150F, remove the meat and let rest for 5-8mins. Cut into these beautiful, flavorful Pork Chops and ENJOY!

Taco Pie

Taco Pie. Taco pie, is a fun twist on Taco’s. Now some use tortillas as the base and then on top. Some just place the taco meat in the dish and then cover with tater tots. And well some use tortillas on the bottom and then tatter tots on top. So I switched it up. I just didn’t see a taco pie with tortillas. I saw it with a pie crust as the base, the taco meat in the center and then the tatter tots on top. And it worked it worked well. So well it didn’t last long in the house. My husband ate 3/4’s of the pie in two days. I was lucky I got to it first, and was able to enjoy it for dinner and then lunch the next day.

I flavored the pie crust with taco seasoning with a little extra cayenne sprinkled in, and a good amount on cheddar cheese. Yes, I said it…Cheese. In. The. Crust!

So you have the crust that is flaky and seasoned well with a pinch of flavor. The center was a ground beef filling, that I use for my baked tacos – you can find that yummy dish here – I added a can of tomatoes to brighten it up a bit, then with the tatter tots on top adds a nice crunch and the creamy potato center. Different texture, and flavors that blend well together work.

Serves 4-6

Prep Time – 1-1.5hrs

Bake Time – 30-45mins


• 1 bag of Seasoned or Unseasoned Tater Tots

• 1.5 cups All-Purpose Flour

• 1 Stick (1/2 cup) of Unsalted Butter, cut into small cubes and then placed in freezer for 10mins.

• 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt

• 1/2 Cup Divided through out of your favorite Taco Seasoning or homemade Taco Seasoning

•1/4tsp cayenne (optional)

• 1Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese grated divided

• 1/8 Cup cold Water

• 1/8 Cup of Distilled White Vinegar

• 1.5lbs Ground Beef

• 1/2 Red Onion diced

• 2 large Garlic Cloves minced

• 1 Cup finely chopped Sweet Potato or Butternut Squash

• 1 Red Bell Pepper chopped into bite sized pieces

• 1 12oz can Diced Tomatoes all juices drained in a colander

• 1 12oz can less sodium Black Beans

• 1 Lime zested and juiced


1) Pre heat oven to 450F. Place frozen Tater Tots in a bowl to start to defrost while preparing the meal. (Trust this process). Cut butter and place in a bowl in the freezer, until ready to use.

2) In a food processor add Flour, Salt, 1 Tbsp Taco Seasoning and Cayenne Pepper. Blend around a few times, so all the dry ingredients are well combined. Add 1/2 cup cheese and pulse around 3-4 times until the cheese starts to crumble a bit. Now your ready to use you butter. Turn food processor on and drop in your butter a few at a time until butter looks a bit larger then a pea size. Drizzle in you water and vinegar to the flour mixture until it all starts to come together and looks like a ball of dough. Remove from the food processor, form into a round disc and wrap the dough in plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 30mins you want the dough a little chilled, but not too much.

3) While pie dough is chilling start making your taco meat filling. In a small sauce pot add your can of beans (do not drain) 1Tbsp of taco seasoning, 1 minced garlic clove, lime zest and juice, a pinch salt. Stir all together and bring to a simmer. Cook on low until meat mixture is finished cooking.

4) In a skillet drizzle 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil and heat on medium high heat. Add your Onion and sauté for 1-2mins. Add you Ground Beef with onion along with the remaining Taco Seasoning, and last Garlic clove minced. Stir all together. Cook the meat until half way browned, this should take about 5mins. Next add your Sweet Potatoes or your Butternut Squash and combine well. Cook for another 5mins. Now add your Bell Pepper and drained Diced Tomatoes. Stir to incorporate all together. Cook on Medium Low for another 5-10mins. Once the meat mixture is complete, remove the beans from the stove. With a potato masher, mash the beans until they form a paste of some sort. Fold the Beans into the Beef and remove off heat.

5) Take a Pie Dish and with a paper towel spread Butter all over the inside of the Pie Dish. (Make sure you get every crease). Take your Pie Dough out of the fridge and roll the dough out so it’s 1/8 inch thick. Place in the Pie Dish making sure you have gently pressed into the edges of the dish. Do NOT remove extra dough off of edges as of yet. Fill with the Meat filling on top of the Dough. Now in a circle formation take the Tater Tots and place on top of the Taco Meat filling, until Tater Tots have covered the top of the Pie, to act as the top crust. Now trim the extra Pie dough that is hanging over the edge of the pie dish. And then fold in to make the crust of the Taco Pie. Top with the remaining Cheddar Cheese. Bake in the oven at 450F for 15mins then turn oven to 350F and bake for another 45-60mins, until Tater Tots are crispy and crust is set with a light golden brown color, but not burnt. You may need to feel the crust to make sure it’s baked through. Remove from Oven and let cool and set up for 10-15mins, slice and top with Sour Cream and or your favorite Hot Sauce. ENJOY!

Note – you know your oven better then anyone. Pie crusts can be finicky. If you go to long, the crust is not flaky, if you under bake the crust, it can be too doughy and soft. So checking on the crust is always a good idea around the 40min mark with this recipe.

Stuffed Shells Alfredo

When you think of stuffed shells, most times everyone thinks of a tomato based sauce. Right? Well this recipe has an Alfredo sauce instead. The shells are stuffed with spinach, butternut squash, Italian Sausage and ricotta. You lay the shells on top of half of the Alfredo sauce, and then pour the rest all over the shells. Sprinkle Parmesan and fresh mozzarella and bake in the oven until all bubbly and starting to brown on top.

Oh this dish is heaven. Definitely a crowd pleaser. Your next Sunday night dinner.

Serving Size 6-8

Total Time 1.5 to 2hrs


Stuffed Shells

• 1 box of Jumbo Shells

• 1 Tbsp Olive Oil

• 1 lbs of mild Italian Sausage (not in links)

• 1 10oz box of frozen Spinach – thawed and drained

• 2 cups finely chopped Butternut Squash

• 1 15oz container of Ricotta Cheese

• 1 large Garlic Clove minced

• 1 cup divided of Parmesan

• 8oz ball of fresh Mozzarella torn

• Salt & Pepper


Alfredo Sauce

• 4 tbsp Unsalted Butter

• 1/4 cup heaping All-Purpose Flour

• 4 cups of Whole or 2% Milk

• 1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning

• 3 large Garlic Cloves minced

• Salt and Pepper

• 1 cup grated Parmesan


1) In a sauté pan I’ve medium high heat, brown up the sausage and break it up. You want small bite sized crumbles. Once cooked, set aside in a bowl and let cool.

2) In the same sauté pan with the drippings from the sausage, add your squash and a pinch of sea salt and some freshly cracked pepper. Sauté until they start to crisp up a bit. Once cooked, set aside in a bowl and let cook a bit.

3) While the Sausage and Squash are cooking, you can make part of the Ricotta mixture. In a paper towel wring out all the extra liquid from the spinach in a paper towel. In a bowl, add all your Ricotta, Garlic, Spinach, half of the Parmesan and Salt & Pepper. Mix all together so everything is well combined. Once the sausage and squash are all cooled, add them to the ricotta mixture. Fold in gently so you don’t break up the squash.

4) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, once the it’s at a rapid boil added your shells. Cook to what the package says. Drain and let cook with a little bit of olive oil. The olive helps so the shells don’t stick together.

5) While pasta is cooking and cooking make the Alfredo Sauce. In medium sized pot or heavy bottom pot (Dutch oven), over medium heat add your butter and melt. Once butter is melted, sprinkle in your flour and whisk until it looks like sand. Add a little bit of milk and whisk together, so it starts to become smooth. Add Some salt and pepper to taste, along with the garlic and Italian seasoning. Add the rest of the milk and continue to whisk until it becomes thick. This will take a few minutes. Make sure the sauce doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pot. Once the sauce is thickened, add the Parmesan and whisk until cheese is fully melted and the sauce is silky, smooth and thick.

6) Pre Heat oven to 359F. In a large casserole dish or skillet, ladle a thick layer of Alfredo sauce on the bottom of the dish. Take a shell at a time and fill it as full as you can with the ricotta filling. Place in a single layer on top of the Alfredo sauce. Fill the dish with the shells, until you can not fill anymore. (Squeeze them in there if you can). Top the shells with, remaining Alfredo sauce. Sprinkle with the rest of the Parmesan and tear the mozzarella and place all over the top of the shells. Bake in the oven until all heated through and cheese is melted, about 30mins. Then turn your boiler on low and broil the top until it starts to brown a bit and crisp. Take out of the oven and let cool and set up, for 10mins. Serve and ENJOY!

Thai Root Vegetable Stew

If your looking for a great rib sticking vegetarian meal, this is the one. Perfect on a cold day. Packed with all your favorite root veggies beets, parsnips, carrots, onions and sweet potatoes. This stew makes a hefty amount. So depending on how many you are serving or have in your family, you may have leftovers. Which right now is not a bad thing at all.

Serving Size 4-6

Prep and Cooking Time 1.5-2hrs


• 1 Tbsp Dried Lemon Grass

• 1 Tbsp minced Ginger

• 3 large Garlic Cloves minced

• 1/2 6oz Can of Tomato Paste

• 3 Green Onions chopped (green and white parts)

• 1/2 a Red Onion diced

• 1 Tbsp of either Thai seasoning or Red Thai curry paste – whichever you can find and or have

• 1 tsp dried basil

• 1 large Sweet Potato peeled & cut into large bite sized cubes

• 1 Parsnip peeled & cut into large bite sized cubes

• 4 Carrots peeled & cut into large bite sized cubes

• 1 large Red Beet peeled & cut into large bite sized cubes

• 2 Red Bell Peppers chopped into bite sized pieces

• 1 Lime zested and juiced

• 1/4 cup Low sodium or Amino Soy Sauce

• 2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar

• 1 Can of Coconut Milk

• 2 cups of Chicken Broth, Veggie Broth or Water

• 2 Tbsp Honey

• 2 Small or 1 Large Bok Choy Chopped

• Lime wedges

• Salted Cashews or Peanuts

• Sriracha


1) In a Dutch Oven over medium high heat add 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil to the pot. Once heated, add the Lemon Grass, Ginger and onions. Sauté for about 1-2mins until fragrant. Once fragrant add Garlic and either the Thai Seasoning or Red Curry Paste and the Tomato Paste. Stir all together and cook for 2-3 mins. Make sure not to burn.

2) Add your root veggies and stir until all is well coated. Cook down and let the veggies sweat for 10-15mins on medium heat, stirring every now and then to make sure, the veggies don’t stick to the bottom.

3) Now you can add the zest of the Lime and the juice of the Lime. Soy Sauce, Rice Vinegar, Coconut Milk, Broth or Water. Mix all together scrapping the bottom of the pan to get up all that wonderful flavor. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

4) Cook until veggies are tender but still firm about 30 to 40mins. Add your Red Bell Pepper and cook until you reach your desired Thickness.

5) You have no reached the thickness that you like. Take the Bok Choy and add it. Cook down for about 3-5 mins until wilted a bit, but the large firmer chunks are still a little crunchy. This will add a little more texture to the dish.

6) Serve over any type of rice Basmati or Forbidden Rice are my favorites. Top with some salted cashews or peanuts for some protein, lime wedges and sriracha. Enjoy!

Note: If it’s too thick for you, you can add more liquid (broth or water) to thin it out a bit.

Winter Spice Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls are one of those amazing pastries, that bring all the warm fuzzies to all. A breakfast or snack delight, that really never changes. The classic cinnamon roll. We all have our favorites, from where we get them from, to who in your family makes them from scratch. There are many variations out there and they don’t even include cinnamon, from lemon, to fruit preserves or even chocolate. Nothing though compares to the cinnamon roll.

I have taken your basic cinnamon roll and upped it. I filled it with warm spices. Not just the cinnamon, but added nutmeg, clove and cardamom into the butter sugar filling. even added a dash of cinnamon into the dough. I didn’t make your typical cream cheese glaze to go on top. That would be too traditional for me. All though it is really good, I instead topped it with my butter cream cream cheese icing, that so many I know love. I added the same spices I added to the rolls, and put them in the icing. Then topped with orange zest to finish off.

Cinnamon buns, are a long process and are well worth it in the end. I hope you enjoy this rendition.

First things first I made the dough and allowed to rise for 1.5hrs until it doubled in size.

Once you have doubled in size, your going to gently punch your dough, flour a work surface and roll your dough out, into a large rectangle shape.

Once you have rolled dough out, you can spread your butter filling all over your dough, straight to the edge. I added cornstarch to the filling to help the filling become a little thicker.

Roll your dough up into a log form. Take a string to cut the dough smoothly. Works much better then a knife.

Line a baking pan or baking dish with parchment paper and place your cut bun down. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise again, for another hour.

Turn the oven on to 350F, so in an hours time you can just place in the oven. Bake for 17-20 mins. Don’t over bake. If you over bake, they won’t be fluffy and soft any longer.

When buns are baking, this a great time to make your icing. Allow to cool for about 5-10 mins placing icing on top.

Once iced, sprinkle extra orange zest on top of the icing.

Time – 3.5hrs start to finish

Makes 8-10 buns


Cinnamon Bun

• 2 3/4 cups Bread Flour

• 1/4 cup Sugar

• 1/2 tsp Salt

• 1/4 tsp Cinnamon

• 3/4 cup Warmed Milk

• 1 Packet of Active Dry Yeast

• 1 Egg plus 1 Egg yolk

• 4 Tbsp Melted unsalted butter


• 1/2 Cup unsalted butter or 1 stick softened

• 3/4 cup Brown Sugar

• 1 tsp cornstarch

• 1 Tbsp Cinnamon

• 1/2 tsp Ground clove

• 1/2 tsp Ground nutmeg

• 1/2 tsp Ground cardamom


• 8oz of Cream Cheese softened

• 6 Tbsp of Unsalted butter softened

• 1/4 cup of Confection sugar

• 1 tsp of vanilla extract

• 1/8 tsp cinnamon

• 1/8 tsp cardamom

• 1/8 tsp ground clove

• 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

• Zest of an orange divided in half.


1) In a standardized mixer with a bread hook attachment, add your flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Mix at medium speed for about 1 minute, to combine the dry ingredients.

2) In a small sauce pot warm up your milk. Once warm, pour into a separate bowl, add your 1 whole egg plus yolk from another egg, your melted butter and your active dry yeast package. With a fork, mix it all up. Make sure yeast doesn’t clump together. Pour into flour, and turn to medium high speed. Mix until dough all comes together in a blob. It will be a little sticky, and that is ok and perfect. Knead with your hands gently, rounding it out into a ball. Place in a large bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Place in warm place and allow to rise for 1.5hrs. You want the dough to double in size.

3) Mean while take out your butter to softened for the filling and the butter and cream cheese for the icing. That can come to room temperature, while the dough is rising. About 5-10 mins before dough has finished rising the first time, mix all your filling ingredients until all smooth and well combined.

4) Once your dough has risen, take off the plastic wrap and punch the dough gently in the center. Flour a surface and with a rolling pin, roll out into a large rectangle. Spread the butter filling evenly all over the rolled out surface of the dough, all the way to the edges. Now you can start to roll gently and somewhat tightly the dough towards you. Take a string and place 2 inches into the roll, and cut the dough. Continue to repeat. You should have 8-10 buns now.

5) In a baking dish or pan, line with parchment paper. Place your buns in dish. Cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise again for another hour. Preheat oven to 350F

6) Now that you have allowed your buns to rise again, place in the oven and bake for 17-20mins.

7) Take buns out of the oven and allow to cook for about 5-10 mins, before spreading the icing on top. Don’t worry, the buns will still be warm.

8) To make the icing. With the whisk attachment on the standardized mixer, add your butter and cream cheese. Whip on high speed for 5 mins until it’s nice and fluffy. Now add the rest of the ingredients, with half the orange zest. Whip again on medium speed. Don’t forget to scrape down the side.

9) Spread your icing on top of the buns and sprinkle the other half of the orange zest on top of the icing. ENJOY! Aa

Leftover BBQ Rib Chili

Back at the beginning of November, my husband made some ribs. We ended up having a bunch of leftovers. Instead of taking the ribs, and reheating for another night and doing leftovers, I froze them for another time. A month later, I took them out defrosted them and made a chili with the meat from the ribs. It ended up being really good. With chili spices you use and then the extra seasoning and flavors from the ribs add a pack of flavors.

You can make this chili with any leftover ribs you have, dry ribs or wet ribs will work.

Serves 4-6

Time 4hrs


– 1 whole rack of leftover cooked bbq ribs

– 1 Tbsp olive oil

– 1 red onion diced

– 4 large garlic cloves minced

– 2 large carrots cut down the center and then chopped

– 1 large poblano pepper chopped in bite sized pieces

– 1 green pepper and 1 red pepper chopped into bite size pieces

– 2 Tbsp of tomato paste

– 2 Tbsp of chili powder

– 1 Tbsp Cumin

– 1 Tbsp smoked paprika

– 1/2 Tbsp oregano

– 1/2 tsp salt

– 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper

– 1/2 tsp cayenne (you can add more if you want it really spicy)

– 1 28oz can of diced tomatoes with juices

– 2-3 cups of chicken broth or water. (chicken broth adds more flavor)

– 2 cans of kidney beans (drained and rinsed)

– 1 can of great northern beans (drained and rinsed)

– 1 avocado cubed

– white sharp cheddar cheese


1) Take your ribs and remove as much of the meat as you can. You want to cut it into good sized chunks to bite into. Set aside in a bowl for later use.

2) In a heavy bottom pot or Dutch Oven, heat your olive oil over medium high heat. Once hot, add your red onion and sauté until the start to become translucent. Once onions are translucent add your garlic and cook for another 1-2 mins. Make sure you don’t burn the garlic.

3) Now add all your veggies from the carrots straight through to the peppers. You want to cook those for about 5 mins stirring every now and then.

4) Your veggies should be halfway cooked through. Now add you tomato paste and all your spices. Let that all bloom together and marry for about 2-3 mins.

5) You can now add the diced tomatoes, chicken broth/water and don’t for get that yummy rib meat. Stir all of that together. (Now if you have a dry rub on the ribs, add 1Tbsp of honey to your chili, if you wet ribs, do not add honey.) Stir all the ingredients in the pot and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, reduce to a simmer for 1.5-2hrs. The longer you let cook the better the flavors.

6) Now you have allowed your chili to marinate. Add all your beans and make sure you have drained and rinsed them. Stir the beans with the chili and cook for another 20-30mins. You want those beans heated through.

7) Place in a bowl. Top with your cubes avocado and shredded sharp white cheddar cheese. ENJOY!

Butternut Squash Risotto topped with a warm Brussel sprout salad

I love squash, especially butternut squash. I have been making butternut squash risotto for a long time now. The creamy roasted squash folded into the risotto at the very end, and then topped with a warm brussel sprout salad that has bacon and a vinaigrette with some orange zest that give the dish some unexpected brightness. The pop of pomegranate sprinkled on top gives an extra splash of color on top and in your mouth. Then add an extra layer with goat cheese to make the dish well rounded and melt in your mouth.

Risotto is one of those dishes that is so satisfying when it’s all complete and also so comforting. Some may think risotto takes a long time to make, but honestly it can be very quick and easy once you have the method down.

Some say you should ladle your stock, broth or water one ladle at a time, and stir often until the Arborio rice has fully absorbed the liquid. I say throw that out the window. Add one to two ladles at a time. Stir and then let sit for bit. Come back and stir and then add more liquid to the rice, until it’s fully at it peak and ready to eat. You want a bit of al dente, you don’t want the rice to be mush but still hold substance.

Are you ready to get started on this multi step meal, that will be all worth in the end? Let’s go!

Serves 2-4

Prep/Cooking time 1.5hrs

Ingredients – Risotto

– 1 cup of cubed butternut

– 1-2Tbsp of olive oil

– sea salt

– 4 strips of thick cut bacon cut 1/4 inch pieces

– 1 cup Arborio rice

– 1/2 cup yellow onion diced

– 2 garlic cloves minced

– pinch of chili flakes

– 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary chopped

– 3/4 cup white wine

– 1/4 tsp sea salt (more if you feel you need it)

– 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper

– 2-3 cups homemade or store bought chicken broth or vegetable broth.

– 10 large Brussels sprouts thinly sliced

– 1/4 tsp orange zest

– 1 tsp Dijon mustard

– 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar

– a drizzle of honey

– 1 Tbsp olive oil

– pomegranate seeds

– crumbled goat cheese


1) Preheat oven to 400. Chop butternut squash and lay on a baking sheet lined in parchment paper. Drizzle 1-2 Tbsp’s of olive oil and sprinkle some sea salt on the squash and toss to well coat. Throw in the oven until tender and starting to caramelize. About 30-40 mins. Once out of the oven, take out and let cool for about 20-30 mins. While cooling you can start the risotto process.

2) Meanwhile in a Dutch oven or heavy bottom pot, over medium high heat, add your sliced bacon and cook until just slightly crisp. While bacon is rendering, in a small pot add your chicken broth, and bring to a simmer. One bacon is slightly crisp, place on a plate with a paper towel to soak up some of that grease. Remove all but 2 Tbsp of bacon grease from the pot.

3) Add the diced onions to the pot and sauté until just translucent. Add garlic and the pinch of chili flakes. Sauté for 1 minute. Now add your Arborio rice and stir all together. Cook for about 30 seconds, until the rice has absorbed all the liquid from the onions. Now pour in your white wine and turn heat to medium – low, and stir the rice with the wine. Make sure rice does now stick to the bottom of the pan. You want all the wine to absorb into the rice.

4) Once wine is absorbed, you can start ladling, two large scoops of hot chicken broth into the pot at a time. Make sure you stir, so the bottom doesn’t stick. Do not add anymore broth until the first batch of broth in the rice had absorbed. You want to keep repeating this step, until rice is nice and creamy and the texture of the rice is just slightly al dente.

5) While the liquid is absorbing, get out your food processor or blender. You want to blend up your squash now. You want to get it nice and creamy.

Tip for squash – if not getting to a silky creamy texture. Add some water or some broth a little at a time, until you get the texture you want.

6) Once you have blended the squash, you can now start to thinly slice the Brussels sprouts. In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, with 1 Tbsp of olive oil, adid your sliced Brussels sprouts. Sauté until, slightly golden and a little crisp.

7) In a bowl add your Dijon, orange zest, honey, white wine vinegar, and pepper. Add the bacon and the sautéed Brussels sprouts and toss.

8) Once your risotto is al dente, stir in the silky squash. You can add as much or as little as you want.

9) Plate your risotto, and top with some of the warm Brussels sprout salad, crumbled goat cheese and pomegranate seeds. ENJOY!

Note – I added some simple balsamic marinated chicken thighs to this dish. You do not have to do that. But you can use whatever marinade you wish.

Fettuccine Alfredo with Mushrooms & Rosemary

Fettuccine Alfredo is one of my favorite pasta dishes. Creamy sauces are my go to for pasta. Whether it be a carbonara, rose, or in this case, Alfredo sauce, I love them all. Creamier the better I feel. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good bolognese, hearty tomato sauce, pesto, but there is something about a creamy sauce that gives me all the comfort feels.

In this specific Fettuccine Alfredo I added flavors of rosemary, which give you that punch of flavor. Love the way rosemary always gives a dish a tone of flavor. Sliced mushrooms about 3 cups worth, to give an earthy meaty substance. This helped round out all the flavors.

I started to melt about 2Tbsp of unsalted butter to a Dutch oven, you can use a heavy bottom pot if you don’t have a Dutch oven. I added my mushrooms to the melted and sautéed with some dried rosemary, until just browned.

Once the mushrooms were browned but not soft, I still wanted a meaty bite in the mushrooms. I removed them from the pot and set them aside. I left the juices from the mushrooms in the pot, and added a cup of unsalted butter along with cream, dried rosemary, garlic, lots of pepper and a small pinch of salt. Whisk until butter is fully melted and the sauce starts to thicken. Once the thick starts to thicken add the freshly grated Parmesan. And whisk until cheese is melted and nice and creamy.

Boil your fettuccine pasta until al Dante, drain and then add to the sauce, along with the mushrooms. Toss until all is well combined.

Serves 4

Prep Time 30mins


• 1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter plus 2 Tbsp

• 3 cups of sliced baby Bella mushrooms

• 1/4 tsp plus 11/2 tsp of dried rosemary

• 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream

• 2 large garlic cloves or 4 small minced

• 3/4 cup of grated Parmesan

• 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

• pinch of salt

• 1 lbs of fettuccine pasta cooked


1) Start to boil water in a large pot. Add fettuccine once water is boiled and cook according to package and until al dente.

2) In a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot, melt 2 Tbsp of butter. Once butter is melted, add your sliced mushrooms and 1/4 tsp of dried rosemary. Sauté until just browned. Once browned remove from pot, but leave all the juices.

3) Add the rest of the butter, rest of the rosemary, garlic salt pepper and heavy cream to the Dutch oven along with all the juices from the mushrooms over medium high heat. Whisk until butter is melted and the sauce starts to bubble. Turn heat to medium low. Try not to burn the bottom.

4) Now that sauce is creamy add the Parmesan and whisk until cheese is melted.

5) When sauce is finished, add pasta and your mushrooms. Toss until well combined. Now your ready to serve. ENJOY!