A Simple and Savory Bolognese

img_20180213_210823-011452353602.jpegWhat can you do with all those leftover celery stocks and carrots from your winter soups?  Chop a few up and throw them in with a tomato sauce and a pound of ground beef and you’ve got a Bolognese that is simple, warm, comforting and satisfying.


2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion chopped
2 large celery stocks finely chopped
2 large or 4 medium carrots finely chopped
3 large cloves of roasted garlic or raw
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
1 cup bone broth or red wine (or both)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon of turmeric – (not traditionally Italian but it is my new obsession to aide with inflammation)
Sea salt
Black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 handful of chopped fresh parsley (flat or curly – I combined them in this recipe)
6 or 7 large basil leaves chopped
Grana Padana cheese grated
1 pound fresh pasta


Heat heavy deep pan on medium, with olive oil and saute onions, celery, and carrots – add salt, pepper, red pepper, and turmeric – until soft, add garlic for another 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add tomato paste until mixed in completely. Deglaze the pan with a bit of bone broth and/or wine until evaporated. Add meat and cook through, breaking up lumps with a wooden spoon. Add the remaining broth/wine and stir for about a minute. Add the tomato sauce and bay leaf. Cook on low or in the oven at about 275 F if using a Dutch Oven for about 1 hour.

Serve over your favorite pasta and top with fresh basil, parsley, and Grana Padana cheese.

Last weekend we visited the Farmer’s Market in Cold Spring, NY and picked up a delicious spinach fettuccini from the Knoll Krest Farm, Hudson Valley Farmhouse.  Here’s a little look:  I admit it may be my new favorite pasta.  It melted in my mouth like butter!


Honey Mustard Ginger Chicken With Sweet Potatoes


Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half, lengthwise
3 scallions, chopped (including the dark green stock)
2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced thin
1 knob ( about 2 inches) of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
Garlic powder
Ginger powder
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp honey Dijon mustard
1 cup water or chicken stock

2 small sweet potatoes washed and cubed


Season both sides of chicken with salt pepper garlic powder and ginger powder.

Cover iron skillet or Dutch oven with 2 tablespoons of olive oil get pan nice and hot.

Pan sear chicken for about 3 minutes on both sides. In the last-minute add your garlic and ginger slices. Remove the chicken pieces and set aside.

Mix honey, mustard, two tablespoons of olive oil and 1/2 – 1 cup of hot water deglaze your pan with the mixture add chicken and sweet potatoes bring to a simmer and then place in the oven for 40 minutes covered.

Serve chicken with sweet potatoes on the side drizzle with the sauce or if you’re not doing paleo go ahead and serve it over a nice dish of white rice.

Not Your Mom’s Meatloaf Recipe


Meatloaf was an American staple in my home growing up.  At least twice a month my mom served it alongside a boiled vegetable, an iceberg salad and rice with butter and salt and pepper – It doesn’t get more Americana than that!

Here’s a new recipe turning a classic on its head.  I snagged this recipe from Timothy Ferriss’ book, The 4-Hour Chef.  More than most dishes, this is one my kids ask for time and again and its perfect if you’re diabetic because instead of using bread crumbs, Ferriss’ recipe comes with baby belle mushrooms.

While visiting my family in Washington this past January, my daughter asked me to make this for everyone.  We enjoyed cooking, laughing and gathering around the table to enjoy this meal and one another’s company; which has become a new and welcomed family tradition at my Aunt’s home whenever I visit.


2 lbs. fatty ground beef
2 whole eggs
3 scallions chopped
1 large yellow onion chopped
3 cloves of garlic minced
6 medium mushrooms minced
1 large handful of fresh spinach
3 – 4 oz. Chevre goat cheese
2 tbsp. tomato paste
4 shakes of cayenne pepper
3-finger pinch of oregano
2 3-finger pinches of salt
6 coarse grinds of black pepper
1 tsp. turmeric (Not in Ferriss’ recipe but I add to almost every dish now)
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary (1 chopped and the other whole for garnish)


Preheat oven to 425 F

Mix meat with eggs. Then add chopped scallion, onions and garlic and mix well. Add minced mushrooms (I mince in a food processor to get them really small) and mix all together with hands and then add the spices.

Lay out about 18″ of plastic wrap on the counter and transfer the meat mixture on the plastic and begin to flatten out.


Add the spinach and then goat cheese across one side of the loaf, reaching the ends. Then lift one end of the plastic wrap and begin to gently roll up the loaf, pulling back the plastic so it doesn’t roll into the loaf.


Pull together the sides enclosing all the goodness and transfer to a baking dish. Frost the top of the loaf with the tomato paste and chopped rosemary. Bake for 50 – 60 minutes or until the middle reaches 150 F with a thermometer.

I take all that juice that is in the bottom of my pan and make a delicious gravy.

Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and serve to those you love the most!


Turkey Chili Layered with Smokey Rich Flavors


Did everyone try the South Beach Diet ten years ago? My close friends and I surely did. I couldn’t imagine starving myself and depriving myself of much of the food they said we couldn’t eat in those first weeks. So, naturally I modified and scoured the internet for food they considered acceptable; turkey chili was top of the list. Soon all my guy friends were ordering batches of it from me on a weekly basis. I don’t think I ever lost weight from the diet, probably didn’t need to at the time, but these guys sure did and they loved the chili.

So here’s my recipe but first, full disclosure: this recipe is kicked up a bit by roasting, sautéing and grilling my veggies before they go in with the turkey just to give them an extra layer of smokey rich flavors. I never did this for the boys back in the day.


  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large white onion chopped
  • 1 cup celery stalk finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic oven roasted and chopped
  • 2 pounds ground turkey 70% lean
  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes chopped with seeds kept in
  • 2 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh or dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons of hot Hungarian paprika
  • 2 to 4 small sweet red peppers or 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 jalapeño pepper (optional)
  • dash or two of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup of bone broth
  • 1 32oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 1 to 2 15 oz. cans of beans depending on your preference (kidney, black or pinto)
  • salt and pepper to taste


In a large heavy pot or dutch oven heat the olive oil and sauté the onions and celery. Fire roast the peppers or grill on pan while oven roasting the garlic. I oven roast the garlic by wrapping it in aluminum foil with a little olive oil and place in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes or so. Once those two are done, add your garlic and peppers to the onions and celery. (You may want to do this ahead of time). Add your spices and herbs and sauté for another 5 minutes until mixed well. Add the ground turkey and cook until lightly brown breaking down the meat with a wooden spoon.

Add the tomatoes, broth and tomato sauce, bringing to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the beans (do not strain) and salt and pepper to taste. Stirring, cook for another 10 minutes. Serve in bowls with grated cheddar, fresh oregano and green onions – or any combination you prefer. I sometimes top mine with homemade tortilla chips and a slice of avocado, lime and cilantro.

I should note that I also like to make my bone broths ahead of time (following Thanksgiving and Christmas I had a lot to work with) and freeze them in ice trays, ziplock bags and repurposed quart containers. I also slow-cooked this for another 4 hours in the oven on low (about 275 degrees Fahrenheit) just to be sure all of those flavors get married, make love and have babies! If you do this too you may want to add another cup of broth, it’s up to you!

I hope you and your friends enjoy this recipe as much as we will tomorrow in the snow!

Happy eating and stay warm!

I still get orders for this dish and when I do, I usually get about 4 quarts out of the recipe. I will add more broth as needed if I’m slow cooking it in the oven as liquid tends to evaporate. This batch is filled to the rim and topped with chopped green onions and flat leaf on parsley!!

Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Almonds & a Twist of Coconut & Rum

img_20171222_173337-01783599703.jpegOne of my favorite classic treats are Nestle’s Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies with walnuts.  Another favorite of my sweet treats is coconut with chocolate and almonds (as a kid it was the Almond Joy).   On this day I was craving the comforting feeling of those treats and with a freezer filled with almonds and a vat of coconut oil, I came up with a new twist on a classic:  Chocolate Chunk-Almond Cookies with a Twist of Coconut & Rum.

I don’t know about you but I like my cookies gooey in the center with a crispy edge butter edge and lots of chocolate. In this recipe replaced the butter for coconut and well, you get the rest.  These are now my new favorite and quickly becoming a classic with my family.  They came out perfect, gooey, oozing with melted chocolate and dough in the center and a crispy edge – just the way I like them.  So here’s the recipe with my tweaks and twists on the classic Nestle’s recipe.




Toasted Almonds

Fernandes Rum Trinidad

Fernandes Rum of Trinidad


TBT: La Romana Coconuts


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. I sift mine to ensure its smooth and their are no funny things in my flour.  Beat coconut oil (don’t let this liquefy prior to using), granulated sugar, brown sugar and rum in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.  I use an ice cream scoop.
  3. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
  4. Enjoy with your favorite milk or ice cream or just alone.  I like them best warm, right out of the oven!!


Who am I kidding? I ate more than two. These little babies are my weakness!



Blushing Snow Peaks dipped in Dark Chocolate


This is going to be a fast post for my cousin, Debbie George out in California.  I snagged this recipe off of the Food TV website and added my own blushing sugar art to the end.

You’ll see by Tyler’s recipe his snow peaks look more real but mine look like they might be in a Dr. Seuss book; so really whose are better, huh?


  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • Sugar Luster Dust


Watch how to make this recipe on Tyler Florence’s Food TV page.

Special equipment: Piping bag, medium size round tip

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites on medium speed with the whisk attachment until the whites become foamy. Add the cream of tartar and turn up the speed to medium, beating until just fluffy. Add the sugar gradually, while whisking, so it incorporates into the whites slowly without collapsing them. Once all the sugar has been added, add the vanilla and increase the speed to high, whisking until the meringue is firm and glossy, 5 to 7 minutes.


Place the meringue into a piping bag with a medium-size round tip attached. Pipe 48 bite-size tear-drop-shaped meringues onto the sheets and place in the oven. Bake for 1 hour undisturbed, and then turn off the heat and leave in the oven overnight to really dry out.

Melt the chocolate over a double-boiler or in the microwave on medium power for 30 seconds. Holding each meringue by the peak, dip the bases in chocolate so the bottom half of the meringue is coated. Let any excess chocolate drip off before placing on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Allow to set at room temperature; do not put in the fridge. Once set, store in an airtight container. – This is where I used the sugar art to the tops as well as to the chocolate edges.


It was a lot of fun making these and even more fun eating.  They are pretty sweet, so I added a smidge of sea salt to my chocolate to balance out that sugary merengue.