Fig and cheese

Figs are in season! I love fresh figs. They are dense and sweet and a little jammy tasting. A perfect fruit to pair with a creamy cheese spread. This is a great appetizer for either a brunch or a light afternoon snack.

I’m really into whipped cheese these days. There is something about making an already creamy cheese into an even creamier cheese. The silky smooth texture is like nothing else.

What I did was I whipped ricotta, goat cheese, garlic, rosemary along with some salt and pepper in a food processor. I then placed it down, added some quartered fresh figs, with a drizzle of honey. Honestly you can’t get any easier then this. And you will impress your family/crowd.

Serves 10

Prep 10 mins


• 1 1/2 cups ricotta

• 3/4 cup goat cheese

• 2 sprigs of rosemary leaves removed. About 1 Tbsp

• 1 large cloves of gsrlic

• salt and pepper

• Figs 1/4 about 4-5

• drizzle of honey

• crackers and or baguette to spread on


1) In a food processor combine the first 5 ingredients. Blend until completely smooth and silky.

2) place on a dish or with cheese on a board.

3) Cut up the figs into quarters, and place them on top of the whipped cheese or on beside. Now drizzle with honey. Spread a the cheese on a cracker or on a baguette top with a fig. ENJOY!

Mediterranean Orzo Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

When you get your box from Perfectly Imperfect Produce, and there is everything to make something Mediterranean you roll with it. These cabbage rolls will become your next anytime of the year meatless Monday dish.

Eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, cherry tomatoes, cabbage, bell peppers and onions. So what to do with everything you roast it. I chopped up all the veggies except the cabbage. Roasted them with some salt, pepper chili flakes and some minced garlic, tossed in olive oil.

Place on a baking sheet. It’s fine if your pan is crowded, everything will shrink once roasted. Bake at 400F for 45mins to one hour. Try not to burn the veggies

When the vegetables are close to being done, cook the orzo. When orzo and veggies are complete toss them together with some of your favorite marinara sauce and crumbled feta cheese.

Let the orzo mixture now sit. Now you can do one of two things. You can stop here and serve as is, or you can stuff cabbage leaves. I say stuff the cabbage leaves. But you can’t go wrong either way.

In boiling water take leaves that you have torn off in full and place them in the water for about 2 mins each leaf. Cool off the leaves so you can work with them.

Your now going to stuff the leaves as you would for any cabbage roll. Two to three leaves per roll. Lay a good amount of orzo in the center of each roll. You may need two heads of cabbage.

Fold over and pull tight. Fold each side over and then roll forward. To form little packages.

Place a good amount of marinara sauce on the bottom of your baking dish. Place all your rolls on top of the sauce. Add more sauce covering the cabbage and sprinkle feta on top. Bake 350F for 45mins.

Once out of the oven let cool for a few minutes before servings cabbage rolls can become very hot, since everything steams inside of them. And now your ready to serve.

Prep to serving time 1.5 – 2hrs

Serving 4-6


• 1 eggplant chopped into bite sized bites – small

• 1 zucchini chopped into bite sized bite – small

• 1 yellow squash chopped into bite sized bites – small

• 1 red bell pepper chopped into bite size bites

• 1/2 red onion chopped into bite sized bites

• 20 cherry tomatoes sliced in half

• 1/2 tsp chili flakes

• 1 tsp sea salt

• 2 cloves of garlic

• olive oil

• 1 cup of crumbled feta plus some for on top of the cabbage rolls

• box of orzo

• 2 heads of cabbage

• 1/2 cup of marinara sauce for the orzo and 2 cups for the cabbage rolls


1. Pre heat oven to 400F. Chop all your veggies except the cabbage. Place all veggie in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, your salt and chili flakes. Place on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 40-60mins. Take out of oven at 30min mark and move the veggies around. Place back in until all is roasted but not burnt.

2. While veggies are roasting cook your orzo. When orzo is finished cooking drain the orzo and place in the bowl that your veggies were in. Toss around so that oil and salt that is on the edges of the bowl coat the Orzo.

3. Start boiling a large pot of water. Carefully remove the leaves of the cabbage. Once the water is boiling and the leaves are all carefully removed, place in the boiling water. Cook the leaves for about 2mins. Remove with tongs and let dry/cool off on a paper towel. You want to absorb the water with the paper towel.

4. When veggies are finished roasting, remove from the oven take a spatula and move the veggies around so they don’t stick. Allow to cool for about 10 mins, before placing in the orzo.

5. Once roasted veggies have cooled down, place in the orzo. Add your 1/2 cup of marinara sauce, minced garlic and feta toss all together.

6. In a 8×8 casserole dish take 1 cup of the marinara sauce and layer on the bottom.

7. Take the cabbage and layer 3-4 pieces to make a square all overlapping in the middle. Place a good amount of orzo mixture in the center of the cabbage where they all over lap. Note : if you want to make smaller rolls, use only one leaf per roll. They may fall apart but they will be smaller and less filling. Once you have the filling in the center of the cabbage, fold the one side up and over. Tuck the edge under the orzo the best you can. Roll one time over. Fold in either side of the cabbage leaves like a burrito, and then finish rolling up. Place on top of the marinara.

8. Once you have the bottom of the dish filled, cover with the last cup of marinara sauce. Sprinkle your feta on top and bake in the oven at 350F for 30mins. Until cheese on top started to brown a bit and sauce is bubbly.

9. Remove from oven and cool. You may have extra orzo leftover. That is fine. Place some on a dish and place your cabbage rolls on top. ENJOY!

BBQ Meatloaf


Meatloaf is cousin’s to the Dutch meatball. I didn’t know that until I just looked it up. HA! Meatloaf has been around for forever. Originally a German, Belgium and Scandinavian meat dish. German-American meatloaf has been around since, Colonial times in Pennsylvania. Ground beef, pork and liver were the main  ingredients. Now doesn’t that sound… yummy?! I know to me, not really. Now I feel Meatloaf has come a long way since then. Meatloaf has come along way since the 1940’s, when it started to enter American home’s as a low maintenance dinner and easy for leftovers. Meatloaf became a full staple on the dinner table in homes in the 1950’s. With that being said, I feel my generation, and the generations before me leading back to the 1950’s are the generations of – No one makes meatloaf like my Mother or Grandmother. It’s one of the most debatable dishes when it comes to that. So debatable, that if you see it on a menu, it better be damn good. Am I right or am I wrong? I feel I’m right here.

When my husband, then boyfriend was at Purdue we took a day trip into Indy. We ate dinner at The Weber Grill Restaurant.  I honestly forget what my husband ordered, it was probably steak. We do though, to this day still remember what I ordered. I ordered the BBQ Meatloaf with mashed sweet potatoes and grilled veggies.  This was probably one of the best meatloafs I have ever had. And you know what it wasn’t, my mom’s. Now my mom’s meatloaf is good. And my dad would always eat the leftovers in a sandwich, as many do. But this meatloaf was different. It had BBQ flavors throughout each bite. Not your tomato/tomato sauce/ketchup flavors that most meatloafs had.

So once we got married, and I was able to fully experiment in the kitchen I created my own version of BBQ meatloaf. I think it has become one of his favorite dishes. I hear him every so often talk about it to others, – “You know Shayne, makes aBBQ meatloaf. It is quite tasty”. Back to my BBQ meatloaf. When I started making it I used Bison and or ground beef. I would use Bison all the time for this dish, however it’s just so expensive. But your welcome to use Ground Bison, Ground Beef, or a Meatloaf mix. I recommend to not use the meatloaf mix. I find it just ends up more dry in the end product. I use BBQ sauce two times in this. In the meatloaf and on top. My go to sauce is Stubbs Sweet and Spicy. I just find it gives the perfect balance of sweet, spicy & smokey flavors your looking for in every bite. So what I do

I pre heat the oven to 350F. I place all ingredients into a bowl. Ground beef or bison sometimes both.  Green onion, red onion, dried parsley, smoked paprika, garlic, egg, parmesan, salt, pepper and Stubbs sweet and spicy bbq sauce.


I blend it all together with my hands and makes sure all the ingredients are incorporated and equally throughout the best I can. I line a loaf pan with parchment paper, with some tabs sticking out. I do this so when it is finished, it’s easy to lift out and place on a platter for serving. I then place the meat in the pan and place in the oven for about 30-40 mins until internal temp reaches 130F.


When it gets to the 30-40 min mark or 130F, I pullout the loaf. I then drizzle more BBQ sauce and spread it out over the loaf. I place it back in the oven, until the internal temp reaches 160F. I turn on the broiler and broil until it starts to lightly crisp and bubble.


When it comes out of the oven, let it sit for about 10-15 mins. It will stay warm as the loaf pan is warm and there is so much heat running through the loaf. You also want the juices to rest before cutting it. Serve with mashed potatoes of regular or sweet potato and a veggie.


Prep and cook time 1hr 15min

Serves 4


  • 2lbs ground beef or ground bison or a pound of each
  • 1/2 cup diced green onions
  • 1/2 cup diced red onions
  • 2 large garlic cloves minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 3/4 cup of Stubbs sweet spicy bbq sauce or any of your favorite bbq sauces. Plus more to cover the top of the meatloaf


  1. Pre heat oven to 350F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Keep some tabs sticking out so it’s easy to lift meatloaf out when finished cooking
  2. In a large bowl blend all the ingredients together with your hands to make sure all the flavors blend well together and you get that egg fully mixed in.
  3. Place your meat in the loaf pan.
  4. Cook for 30-40 mins until you reach 130F internal. Take out and pour more bbq sauce on top of the meat loaf.
  5. Put back in oven until internal temp reaches 160F. Now turn your broiler to on and broil until it starts to bubble and get a little crispy.
  6. Remove from oven and let rest for 10-15mins to let the juices all rest into the meat. Pull out of the pan and let rest for about 5-10 mins. Then cut the loaf in 1/2 inch slices. Serve with mashed potatoes, sweet potato and veggies. ENJOY!



Moroccan Bowl


The other night we took a trip to Morocco through our taste buds. Morocco, is on our travel list. Hopefully one day we will get a chance to travel there. Until then we will make yummy dishes.

It was my first time visiting my Husband (then boyfriend), at Purdue when he was attending the MBA program. I was visiting him for a long weekend, it was Labor Day weekend if I recall.  He wanted to cook dinner one of the nights I was there. On the menu that evening was Couscous with Beef and Lamb Koftas. It was such an amazing meal. One that we still cook to this day.  Now we have not always liked cooking in the kitchen together. At Purdue it was a large kitchen. Tones of room for us to move around in and not bump into each other. This is when we both we learning to cook and we truly enjoyed cooking together. Maybe cause it was new, and romantic. Maybe it was the 8-10 weeks we would go without seeing each other. The apartment in Cleveland, we had after we got married, was pretty much a no go for sharing the space. Although there was ample amount of counter space, there was no room to move around in that space for more than one person at a time.  When we purchased our first house, we had plenty of room to cook with each other, just not much counter space. Then our family grew with two kids a large dog, and parents who visited often and sometimes at the same time. We needed a larger home. We purchased a house that had a large kitchen floor print that need much updating. This in now the first kitchen we cook in together, without running into each other. Without being on top of each other. Without the constant bickering you may have with your significant other in the kitchen. Now none of you know anything about bickering in the kitchen? HAHA!

I wanted to create something similar to Kofta except in a bowl form. However to do that I had to add a couple other elements.

I turned the oven to 400F. I chopped a large cauliflower in large florets. Sprinkled some Harissa seasoning and some olive oil. I tossed and roasted in the oven for about 20-30 mins. B3090875-D8FE-44EC-BD30-C42D364DAFB8_1_201_a

Once I had the cauliflower in the oven I was able to start the deconstructed Kofta. I diced half a yellow onion and started to sauté until it started to become translucent. I added two cloves of minced garlic and cooked for a split second. 35279479-3A8E-4D9F-99E7-2FF6952EF3E3

Once that was complete I added the ground beef. I cooked the beef only half way through, before adding all the spices. I wanted the spices to melt into the beef. Spices I added are what you would add to Kofta’s – Paprika, Cayenne Pepper, Cumin, Parsley, Cilantro. I also added tomato paste I added to give a deeper flavor.


Now to make traditional Kofta’s,  what you would normally do, is blend all the ingredients in a food processor. You would blend until it basically forms a paste.  Form around a kabob holder into a log shape or a hotdog and grill. But here I just broke it up all on the stove. While I had it simmering and the cauliflower was still roasting, I made the Couscous.

While the couscous was cooking in the pot, I started cutting up apricots, and making the dressing for the couscous.


I went with a bright orange dressing. It was subtle but there, and paired beautifully with the apricots and pumpkin seeds in the couscous, and added that citrus element to the beef and cauliflower.


I tossed it all together and let sit. While it was sitting I quickly threw together a tomato, cucumber yogurt salad.

I placed the couscous at the bottom of a bowl. A thin layer, don’t over do it. The couscous acts a bed for everything else. Add a row of each, beef, cauliflower and then the salad. If you serve this for either a dinner party or for your family they will be so impressed with your skills in the kitchen. A dish that they will think took you hours to make, but only took an hour or less. Now what are you waiting for? Get in that kitchen and take your taste buds on a trip to Morocco.


Prep to Serve time 45-60mins

Serves 4



  • 1 large head of cauliflower cut into large florets
  • 1 1/2 tsp Harissa seasoning
  • Olive Oil


  1. Pre heat oven to 400F. Toss the cauliflower with the harissa seasoning and the olive oil. Roast for about 30-40 mins. Roast until the cauliflower is starting to brown but still has a crunch.



  • 1 lbs of ground beef 85/15
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp heaping cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth or water
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro


  1. In a sauté pan add your olive oil and heat up on medium high heat. Add your onions and cook until translucent. Add your garlic and cook no longer then a minute, before adding your ground beef.
  2. Mix the beef with the onions and garlic and start to brown only half way.
  3. Once your beef is cooked half way add the rest of the ingredients up to the cayenne pepper. Stir that all together and let the flavors marry for a couple of mins.
  4. Add the tomato paste and make sure you melt it into the beef mixture the best you can. Now add your broth or water to create a little wetness to the beef.  Let that cook on low now until ready to serve.
  5. Your last step before serving is mixing the chopped cilantro into the beef.



  • 1 Box of Israeli Couscous
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 orange zested and juiced
  • 1 tsp dijion mustard
  • 1 tsp honey
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/8 cup olive oil


  1. Cook the couscous by the directions on the box.
  2. In a separate bowl or in the bowl your placing the couscous make the dressing. Zest your orange and juice it. Add the Dijon honey and salt. Whisk together, and slowly add your olive oil.
  3. Toss together with your apricots and pumpkin seeds with your couscous. Set aside.


Cucumber Tomato Yogurt Salad

  • 1/2 cucumber chopped
  • 1 cup of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of yogurt
  • 1/2 Tbsp of dill
  • 1/4 tsp honey
  • 1/2 lemon juiced


  1. Mix Yogurt to lemon juice together.
  2. Add the cucumber and tomatoes, and mix all together


Complete the dish

  1. In a bowl or shallow bowl add your couscous. Add a row of beef, cauliflower and salad. ENJOY!




Waffle Huevos Rancheros

Let’s talk about the Huevos Rancheros. The wonderful anytime of the day meal. You see it is served manly for brunch, but honestly as the old saying goes, “breakfast is good anytime of the day”.

Huevos Rancheros – A mid rural farm breakfast in Mexico. Fried eggs served on top of corn or flour tortillas. Refried or black beans with salsa verde or salsa Fresca served with guacamole or sliced avocado. A very simple breakfast. Our American version of eggs, toast and sautéed veggies. England’s, toast, baked beans and eggs. Asia Rice and eggs. Every culture, every country has their own spin on the transitional breakfast. One item that never changes…the egg. The egg is found in almost every breakfast. Go figure. Who would have thought?!

Tonight we had Huevos Rancheros. I did a spin on it. I always like doing spins. Tonight I made a chili cheese waffle Huevos Rancheros. It was yummy! My husband loves them. If it’s on a brunch menu, that is usually his go to, unless he needs your basic breakfast. This meal, took me no more then 30 mins. How is that for time. And on a meatless Monday no doubt.

Always turn you waffle maker on before getting started with anything. Get it nice and heated. I start the beans first, which is my basic black bean recipe. Got those cooking on the stove. Once I had that going I started the batter for the waffles. I use Stonewall Kitchen Waffle Mix, it really is just the best. I made to the recipe on the tub. Next I add a sprinkle of salt, cracked black pepper, half a can of green chili’s and a heaping handful about 3/4 cup of sharp white cheddar cheese. Mixed that all up and added it to my waffle maker. When the waffles were cooking, I fried my eggs. All should be complete in 30mins. If not no worries. Everyone moves at their own pace. Now the fun part of putting it together. Place a waffle on your plate. Top with the beans. Load the beans up. You will see the beans will fall into every nook of the waffles. YUM! Top now with your fried egg. Sprinkle with cheese, add your salsa verde and salsa Fresca (regular red salsa), add some avocado and away you go.

Note – if you don’t like fried eggs, no worries. Really any style of egg will work with this dish. Clearly you don’t have to be traditional. 😃

Prep time start to finish 30 mins

Serves 2-4


• 1 recipe of Stonewall Kitchen waffle mix

• 1 can of black beans

• 1 Tbsp taco seasoning

• 1 lime zested and then cut the lime into wedges for serving

• 4 cloves of garlic

• 1/2 can of chilies

• 3/4 cup sharp white cheddar cheese – plus extra for the topping

• 1 egg per waffle (for serving)

• salsa verde

• salsa

• avocado

• Salt and pepper


1. Turn on you waffle maker and let it get heated.

2. Start to make your beans. In a sauce pan, put your whole can of beans. Add your taco season, 2 cloves of minced garlic and lime zest. Cook until heated through and the flavors melt together.

3. Make your batter. Follow the batter on the waffle tub. Then add your last 2 cloves of minced garlic, chili’s, cheese, salt and pepper. Mix together and add your batter to the waffle maker. Close and Cooke until nice and crispy it not burnt. Want it to be crispy to mimic a tostada. Keep making waffles until batter run out

4. Fry your egg, or make it however you want it.

5. Start to assemble. Waffle on the plate first. Next top with your beans. Add your egg with a sprinkle of cheddar. Finish with your two different salsas and your sliced avocado. Add a lime wedge. ENJOY!

Peaches & Creamed Corn


Remember I said a while back, that I love cooking with peaches? Well here is another recipe. I really do love cooking with peaches. I first created this dish last summer. It was yet again – We have fruits and veggies to use, before going bad – situation. It’s pretty much my take on Peaches & Cream.  It’s creamy, sweet and savory all in one bite. Topped with burrata and grilled baguette on the side.


First you’re going to slice up your produce, and place in separate bowls or piles.  So that is one large shallot thinly sliced. Two ears of corn cut off the ear. One large peach, does not have be ripe. Skin removed from the peach and chopped into cubes.


You’re going to take close to a tablespoon of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium high heat. Place your shallots with some chili flakes and start to sauté until they start to become soft. Do NOT caramelize them. Throw your corn in the pan and cook for a few minutes. Once the corn has cooked for a couple of minutes, you can now add your peaches. You’re going to cook until peaches start to cook down, but not too much.  You want them to release their juices, and caramelize a little bit.  Add some chopped up basil with some white wine to deglaze and getting up all that yummy caramelized bottom.  Cook about a 1-2 minutes until wine is cooked off and absorbed.


Now the fun part.  Remove 2/3rds of the mixture, into a blender/food processor. You’re going to blend until almost smooth. Once finished that part, you can add back into the pan. Mix with the whole mixture so its all combine, and reheat a bit.

Place in a small dish and top with burrata. Add a pinch of salt, a good amount of cracked black pepper, chopped up basil and a drizzle of olive oil. Grill some baguette. How to enjoy. Pile some peaches and creamed corn with some burrata on top of the grilled baguette, take a bite into bliss.


Prep to serve 40 mins

Serves 2 – 4


  • 2 ears of corn
  • 1 large peach skin removed and cut into 1/4 inch cubes – does not have to be ripe
  • 1 large shallot thinly sliced
  • hand full of basil leaves divided 2/3 for mixture 1/3 for garnish
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • olive oil – a drizzle
  • burrata
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • Grilled baguette – recipe to follow


  1. In a saute pan over medium high heat, drizzle some olive oil and heat up. Add your sliced shallots and chili flakes. Sauté until just soft but not caramelized.
  2. Now add your corn with a pinch of salt and some cracked pepper. Cook it a bit, until you start to hear it popping. This will take about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the peaches and cook until soft but not too soft, and until they start to caramelize a bit.
  4. Add 2/3rds of the chopped basil 1/4 cup of white wine to deglaze the pan. Make sure you scrape up all that yummy caramelization on the bottom of the pan.
  5. Turn off heat. Remove 2/3rds of the mixture and place in a food processor/ blender. Blend the mixture until almost smooth.
  6. Add back into the pan with the other part of the mixture. Combine the two textures and reheat a bit. Place in a dish and top with the burrata. Drizzle a bit of olive oil, sprinkle the rest of the basil, a pinch of salt and a good amount of cracked black pepper. Serve with grilled baguette. ENJOY!

Grilled Baguette


  • 1 baguette sliced in half and cut into sections
  • garlic clove
  • olive oil
  • pinch of sea salt


  1. Heat your grill or oven to broiler setting
  2. Brush olive oil on baguette on the bread side not the crust side, and sprinkle with salt
  3. Lay bread side down on grill. Lay crust side down on sheet pan for oven. Cook until char marks show. No longer then a 1-2 minutes. It will toast up fast
  4. Once off grill or out of the oven, take the clove of garlic and rub it on the grilled part.  Serve and ENJOY!



Santa Fe Tuna Salad w Roasted Sweet potato

I was looking for something clean to eat today. Trying to do some sort of Covid cleans since the Covid gain. I’m sure most of you know what I’m talking about. I was also looking to do a clean out of food in the house. So here is what I came up with

I took our last sweet potato and sliced it. Laid it on a baking sheet. Drizzled with a little Olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. I baked at 400 for 15-20 mins until tented.

While the sweet potatoes were in the oven cooking, I took our last ear of corn. Notice how I keep saying our last? It really is a clean out day. Cut all the kernels off slices up half a jalapeño and sautéed over medium heat until just barely cooked through.

I took a can of tuna placed in a bowl and separated the meat up with a fork.

I had leftover black beans with taco seasoning, about 1/2 cup leftover. I added those and half an avocado cubed, the corn with the jalapeño to the tuna. I then added a few shakes of the Seasons habanero agave vinegar, a touch of salt a crack of pepper and mixed

I put two slices of sweet potato on a plate and loaded up the tuna salad on top. Cut up some cherry tomatoes a lime wedge and some cilantro on top. Very fresh and super healthy.

Prep / Cook time 30 mins tops

Serves 2-3


• 1 sweet potato slices 1/4 inch thick into discs.

• olive oil

• salt and pepper

• 1 can of tuna – in water no salt added

• 1 ear of corn – Kernels removed

• 1/2 jalapeño sliced

• 1/2 cup of black beans in taco seasoning (recipe below)

• 1/2 avocado sliced into cubes

• seasons habanero agave vinegar- or just lime juice and honey with hot sauce

• 1 lime cut into wedges

• cilantro

• cherry tomatoes a couple


1. Set oven to 400F. Slice your sweet potato’s drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes until tender with a fork.

2. Cut your ear of corn and jalapeño. Sauté over medium heat with a touch of olive oil, until just warmed through.

3. In a bowl break up the well drained tuna. Add your seasoned black beans, avocado and cooked corn with jalapeño. Add a pinch of salt some cracked pepper and a few shakes of the habanero agave vinegar and a squeeze of lime juice. Mix all together.

4. Take sweet potato’s out of the oven. Let cool for a couple of mins. Place on a plate and top with the Santa Fe Tuna Salad. Add some ripped up cilantro on top, some cherry tomatoes on the side and a lime wedge to squeeze all over, to add that extra brightness when eating. ENJOY!

Taco seasoned black beans


• 1 can of no sodium black beans

• 1 Tbsp taco seasoning of your choice

• 1 lime zested and juiced

• 1 garlic clove minced


1. Combine all the ingredients above in a sauce pot. Fill a little bit of water in the black bean can you get out any excess beans and pour into the pot. No more the 1/4 cup. Also do not drain the beans. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until there is a small amount of liquid left in the pot.

Note – let cool and place in the fridge to add to dishes, such as the recipe above. You can also use them as a side for taco night. Or making black bean enchiladas.

White Sangria w Orange peach and basil


Sangria, one of those drinks that can really drink anytime of the year. Red sangria is more fall and winter time I feel. Where you add more apples and pears. White is more summer with all the bright fruit you can put in. Peaches, strawberries, mango, pineapple all those fruits that are so refreshing.   I personally do not like my sangria too sweet, so I don’t typically order it in a restaurant. If I want sangria I usually will make it myself, so I can taste the sweetness of the fruit and then figure out how much extra sweetness I need to add.

The past couple of weekends, we have been heading out for hikes, around the Cleveland Metro Parks. You have never been to a CMP, they are just spectacular. There are so many paths you can take. Overlooks, waterfalls, caves and then you all have the Cleveland Zoo as one of the parks as well mixed in there. Today however was an amazingly hot summer day. We have been having a really hot summer, and I’m loving every second of it. But on the car ride home I was feeling like a really nice clean, crisp, refreshingly light cocktail. I knew we already had peaches and oranges at home, as well as white wine and cointreau.  Making a pitcher of white sangria it was. Quick easy and not much thinking involved.

I took two peaches, one orange, and about 15 basil leaves, along with the wine, cointreau and a little bit of agave syrup.


I sliced the orange in rounds. The peach in thin half moons. Tore the basil off the steam and threw it all into the pitcher.

Once the fruit was all in the pitcher, I had the cointreau. Now since I was only making half a batch, I only used 1/2 cup of cointreau.  A full batch is 2 bottles of wine and 1 cup of cointreau or any orange flavored liquor for a white sangria.


Cointreau is now added, so now let’s add the wine. I chose to use Chalk Hill Chardonnay. This wine is a very dry white. Very crisp for a hot summer afternoon. Perfect for just after a hike and something too sip on. I used the whole bottle and just poured it in. Now I found that I needed to add just a touch of agave syrup to this. I wanted dry but not too dry. I wanted it sweet but not too sweet. So I added about 1tsp of agave and it did the trick. Now if you prefer sweeter sangrias you should use a high sugar count on the wine you pick for this drink.


Once everything was in place, I stired it around a few times, so everything could marry. Placed in the fridge for about 30mins to chill and to allow all the flavors to come together. Get that fruit to macerate, in the wine and cointreau.


Once chilled, place some ice in a wine glass and pour your sangria into your glass. Scoop out some fruit and place in the glass. Relax on your patio and enjoy the sweet days of summer, with this refreshing drink.

Prep Time 45mins

Serves 2-3


  • 1 bottle of white wine of your preference
  • 1/2 cup cointreau or any orange flavored liquor
  • 1 orange sliced in circles
  • 2 peaches sliced in thin half moons
  • 15 basil leaves
  • agave syrup
  • ice


  1. In a pitcher, place all your cut up fruit and basil leaves.
  2. Pour your wine and cointreau. Stir. Taste. If you feel you need it to be more sweet, this is where you would add agave to the pitcher. Add only to your desired sweetness.
  3. Place in the fridge for 30 mins or longer.
  4. Fill wine glass with ice, place some fruit from the pitcher in your glass. Pour the sangria and ENJOY!

Note – This is only a half serving of sangria. Most Sangria recipes call for two bottles, and usually serves 4-6 people.





Nana’s Sloppy Joe’s

Sloppy Joe’s was created in 1930 in Iowa, by a man named Joe at Floyd Angell’s Cafe. What he did was take a can of tomatoes and ground beef and mixed it together and threw it on a bun. It was a BIG hit. Soooo big that, it was named Sloppy Joe’s.

So many variations of Sloppy Joe’s have been made. Everyone has their own spin. I have taken my Nana’s and I have added to it. Every time my Nana, visited us, she would make her Sloppy Joe’s. I only got them twice a year, Christmas time and Spring time, when she visited us from FL. I would help her make them, and we would stand at the stove together with the pot in front of us. She would get out all her ingredients – ground beef, ketchup, onions, Worcestershire sauce, sweet pickle relish, and her secret ingredient that I was never allowed to say. My mom would bug me all the time for it. But it was mine and my Nana’s little secret. Even as an adult, when she was still with it, she always made sure I never told a soul. It was our thing. A memory I will alway cherish.

I have now passed this down to my son. He loves Sloppy Joe’s. He wants to make them with me now. Which is special. I always tell him when I make them with him, about Nana and I making them together. Even though my Nana is still with us, she isn’t with us. She is 93 and doesn’t remember us anymore. But I’m keeping her alive with stories I tell.

I have switched up her recipe. I have added veggies to it. As you see above, there is only onions. Ketchup doesn’t count. I have gone ahead and added sweet potatoes and or butternut squash whatever I have on hand at that time. I also add red bell pepper. I sometimes switch it up with the relish. If I don’t have relish I cut up bread and butter pickles, and I add chili flakes. I also have added garlic. The base of ingredients my Nana has is the same. That I have not and will not change.

So I dice up the following 1/2 red onion, half a sweet potato (about a cup. Can do the same for butternut squash) one whole red bell pepper, 1/2 cup sweet pickle relish or sweet pickles diced up, 2 garlic cloves and a chili flakes. Set that all all aside.

In a large sauté pan, add a small amount of olive oil and start to sauté the onion and 1/4 tsp of chili flakes.

Once onions are sautéed for about 5 mins. Add your 2lbs of 15/85 ground beef. Start browning that meat and then added your garlic.

Once your meat is browned, you can now add your sweet potato or butternut squash. And you want to cook for about 5 mins to start to soften the veggie.

Once that has cooked you going to added your bell peppers and cook for another 2-3 mins. You don’t want the pepper soft. You still want to keep a small amount of crunch.

Now add all your other ingredients, ketchup, Worcestershire Sauce, relish, and brown sugar. Mix that all up and let simmer for about 10 mins before serving.

Now your ready to serve. Take a hamburger bun or whatever you want to use for a sandwich. Place your sloppy Joe’s on the bun, top with cheddar cheese and serve.

Now if your like our son, he hates bread products period. So we just give him a good spoonful and cut up cucumbers. He likes to put the meat between two slices and eat like a sandwich. For whatever he loves it this way. And to be honest it doesn’t taste bad, it’s really good. But I love my carbs way too much to drop the bun.

Prep & Cook time 40 mins

Serves 4-6


• 2lbs ground beef 15/85

• 1/2 red onion diced

• 1 cup of sweet potato or butternut squash diced

• 1 whole red bell pepper diced

• 2 garlic cloves diced

• a pinch of chili flakes you can add more depending on how spicy you like it.

• 3/4 cup of ketchup

• 1/4 cup of sweet pickle relish or diced up sweet pickles

• 1/4 cup brown sugar

• 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

• S & P

• Hamburger buns

• cheddar cheese


1. In a deep skillet, add a little bit of olive about 1-2 Tbsp worth. Heat on medium- high. Add your onion and chili flakes. Sauté until a little browned.

2. Add your ground beef and garlic, plus some salt and pepper. You want to brown your meat.

3. Once meat is browned add your sweet potato or butternut squash and let that cook for about 5 mins.

4. Now add your bell pepper. Stir and let cook for 2-3 mins. Still wanting to keep the crunch.

5. Your welcome to now add the rest of the ingredients. Stir to make sure everything is combine. You may need to add more ketchup. You want the mixture to be wet and not dry. So it can be sloppy. Now simmer on low for about 10 mins.

6. Take a bun and pile the meat on. Top with cheese and close it up. ENJOY!

Sun Dried Tomato and Leek Tart


OH. MY. GOODNESS!!!!!! I’m so beyond excited to share this tart with you. It’s beautiful. The flavors are something else. This pie/tart crust is sooooo buttery, flaky, light yet heavy, sweet and melts in your mouth.  Has a base of whipped ricotta and goat cheese with lemon zest and heavy pepper. My homemade sun-dried tomatoes and caramelized leeks. This dish is more of an appetizer, but you could totally have it with a side salad as a meal.

What I did first, is I sliced a leek. I soaked the leek rings in cold water, for a good hour to get all that dirt out of the leeks.


Once soaked I laid them on a paper towel and let patted them dry


I put a small amount of olive oil in a sauté pan, on medium high heat, and I started to sauté the leeks.  Once the leeks were starting to cook a bit, I turned the heat to medium low to caramelize them. I deglazed the sauté pan with white wine. Once the leeks were caramelized, I turned off the heat and set aside.

Next I started to tart dough. Remember, always cut your butter at the beginning and then place in the freezer. Always want your butter cold when making a supper flaky crust. I also always make my dough, in a food processor. I just find it goes a lot more smoothly, and plus it saves a lot of time. When you have kids, who want your full undivided attention, the easy way is the best way.

Once your dough has  come together, you’re going to make a ball and roll it out. Shape doesn’t matter. You will then place on a a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.


Once this step is complete of the dough, you’re going to move onto the cheese filling. Again with your food processor your going to place ricotta, goat cheese, lemon zest, a small amount of salt and heavy cracked black pepper. You’re now going to turn on your food processor and start mixing it. You want to have the consistency of soft serve ice cream. Once you have your whipped cheese, you’re going to spread it all over the dough. You want to Leave about 3/4inch from the edge. This is so you can fold over once the cheese spread is on.

So you have the cheese spread on and have folded over the edges, to make the crust. You now will take sun dried tomatoes, and place on top whole as if your making a pizza. You can either buy sun dried tomatoes or you can follow my recipe for sun dried tomatoes . Either way it will still be yummy! Also place your leeks on top of the tomatoes, and crack some pepper on top. Brush the edges with egg wash and bake in the over at 325F for 40 mins.



When you pull it out of the oven, let it rest until ready to serve. Cut in 1/4 or 1/8. Soooooooooooooooooooo good.


Prep time – 1hr 30mins

Serves 4-8

I have made this into sections for you.



  • 1/2 cup of sliced leeks
  • a large bowl full of cold water.
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • sea salt & cracked pepper


  1. Slice your leeks and place in a bowl of cold water for 30-60 mins. Make sure every ring is fully separated. This is so you remove all the dirt
  2. After soaking the leeks, drain them in a colander,  and lay them on a paper bowl. Dab another paper towel on top to make sure they are all dry.
  3. In a sauté pan, add a little olive oil on medium high heat. Add the leeks and cook just for a few minutes. Turn heat to medium low and let them begin to caramelize. Add your S & P, and move the leeks around every now and then. Once they start to brown, add your wine a deglaze the pan. Make sure you get up all the yummy brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Set aside for later use.



  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick of butter – cut into cubes and placed in freezer until ready to use
  • 3 Tbsp of ice cold water – place ice cubes in water to get really cold


Pre heat oven to 325F

  1. In a food processor, blend flour, sugar and salt. Mix it around a few times.
  2. Take the butter out of the freezer. Turn food processor to dough setting. Slowly add the butter a few cubes at a time, into the top shoot of the processor, until all the butter is in. You should see the dough forming into small little pea size balls
  3. Now add your 3 Tbsp, of water. Keep mixing on the dough setting, until all the dough comes together. Take dough out and form into a ball on a floured surface. Now roll out your dough and place on a parchment papered lined baking sheet.


Whipped Cheese filling

  • 1 cup of ricotta cheese
  • 4 oz of goat cheese
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 tsp cracked fresh black pepper
  • sea salt


  1. In a food processor, add all the above ingredients and mix until the cheese becomes a soft serve ice cream texture.
  2. Spread all whipped cheese onto the pie crust.  Leave 3/4 from the edge.
  3. Once cheese is on fold edges over. Doesn’t have to be perfect. Can be messy.


Sun Dried Tomatoes

  • See link above for my sun dried tomatoes or use store bought

Directions Finale

  1. Lay the tomatoes and leeks on top of the whipped cheese. Some can be on the crust.
  2. Brush the crust with an egg wash of 1 egg and some water. Whisk it and then brush it on, all the edges.
  3. Bake in the oven for 40mins or until crust is a little golden. You will know when it is time.
  4. Take out and let cool before cutting. Cut into either 1/4 or 1/8. ENJOY!