Eating is a necessity. However, we choose what to eat. The choices we make reveal a great deal about us. The food you eat can tell quite a bit about your heritage, your family, your fears, your sense of adventure, your attitude toward yourself and others, and a myriad of other personal tidbits to anyone paying attention. Everything about eating is a glimpse into your soul.

I hope to reveal a little bit about myself to you through my food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I find pleasure in bringing pleasure to others. I hope that by sharing my recipes I bring you a little bit of joy.

Cook my food. Feed it to the people you love.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Italian Sausage and Pepper Sliders

Italian Sausage and Peppers

My Chicken Taco Sliders were popular with my husband and my followers.  I also loved them. Tasty, easy to make, inexpensive and tasted great as leftovers-what’s not to love?

In my other life, I am a teacher and the school year is looming in my future. We officially start on the 6th of August, but I’m going in next week. My days are filled with anxiety and 1,000 appointments this time of year. The last thing I want to do is fret over dinner or spend too much money. So, I decided to make more sliders.

Sausage with peppers are one of my favorite meals. I like serving them with tomato gravy over rice. Turns out sausage and peppers make great sliders, too. You could add chopped, seeded tomatoes if you want. You can also use spicy sausage.
Servings: 12 sliders
Time:  Active time 20 minutes; Cook: 50 Minutes, Sandwiches in about an hour
Hardware:  A cutting board and knives, measuring cups and spoons, 2 bowls, a microwave safe bowl, a serrated knife, a silicone spatula, tongs, a wooden spoon, a pastry brush, a skillet, an 8x11.5 glass baking dish, and foil

  • 1-12 pack of King’s Hawaiian Rolls
  • 1 stick of butter
  • Olive oil for the bottom of the skillet
  • 1 bell pepper (8 ounces)-I used orange, green and red baby bells for color
  • 1 small onion (4 ounces)
  • 1-pound bulk Italian sausage
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • ⅓ cup mayo
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasonings
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup shredded provolone cheese
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper.

  1. Melt the butter in the microwave safe bowl. Preheat the oven to 350˚.
  2. Roughly chop the onions and pepper into small chunks. Heat the oil over medium. Cook the peppers and onions until they are the desired tenderness. Remove them to the bowl. In the same, pan cook the sausage and pork until they are no longer pink. Make sure to crumble the meat while you are cooking. This took me 15 minutes. Your cooking time may be different.
  3. Mix the mayo, mustard, seasonings, and the Parmesan cheese until thoroughly combined. Generously add black pepper. Mix in the meat. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper.
  4. With a large, serrated knife cut the rolls in half horizontally. Don’t separate the rolls. You are creating one large top slab and one large bottom slab.
  5. Lay a large piece of foil in the bottom of the baking dish. Place the bottom of the bread on the foil. Spread the sausage mixture evenly over the bread. Make sure to not pile all the meat in the middle but spread it evenly over the bread. Top the sausage with the peppers and onions. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the peppers, again making sure that it is evenly spread. Top with the other ‘half’ of the bread. Pour the butter evenly over the sliders. Use the pastry brush to make sure all the bread is covered in butter. Seal the foil closed. You may need another sheet of foil. Bake for 25 minutes.
  6. Allow the sliders to rest for 2-3 minutes. Following the outline of the top buns, slice into 12 sliders.
  7. Serve warm.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

How to Make a Charcuterie Board

Charcuterie (shar COOT er ee) literally means a butcher that specializes in pork product or the products made there. However, if you’ve ever been to happy hour at a brewery or a hipster bar it can also mean a plate of various meats, cheeses, spreads, fruits and crackers that can serve as an appetizer or as a meal. Charcuterie is the new cheese plate.

How to Make a Charcuterie Board

However, you don’t need to go out to enjoy ‘all the meats’. Making a good charcuterie board is easy and will please your guests. Last week my husband and I had one for a romantic dinner. You needn’t go to a specialty butcher. I just bought all of this at my local supermarket. Granted, you want to get the best meat that you can afford. It is going to be the center of the meal and skimping will be noticeable.

You can be creative and make a board that is pleasing to you. I will get you started by answering some basic questions.

How much meat will I need?
If the charcuterie is an appetizer, then you will need about 2 ounces per person. If the charcuterie is the main meal, you will need 5 ounces per person.

What type of meat should I get?
You want an interesting variety. Make sure you get some bold and some mild flavors. Depending on how many people you are feeding you should choose one or two whole muscle cuts, one or two sausages and something soft and spreadable.
Examples of whole muscles cuts include capicola, Jamón serrano, prosciutto, or roast beef. Mortadella, pepperoni, salami, soppressata and summer sausage are all good choices for sausage. The soft and spreadable option sometimes throws people. You can choose a pâté or use my recipe for Potted Beef. If you are less adventurous then you can substitute hummus or another bean spread.

Do I need cheese?
Yes. You should have at least one hard cheese and one soft cheese, more if you are serving this as a meal or as an appetizer for many people. Choose a pungent and a mild cheese. Cheeses are best served slightly below room temperature. For ideas, read my instructions for making a cheese plate.
Choose a variety of hard and soft cheeses
What else should I serve?
You should offer seasonal fruits, nuts and small pickles or olives. I also serve fruit paste. Fruit paste is like sliceable jelly and can usually be found in the deli section of your grocers. It adds a needed sweet element to your plate. I prefer Rutherford and Meyer. Jams such as fig or blackberry are also good sweet choices. Depending on the meats you are serving offer your guests stone ground mustards or prepared horseradish. Slices of soft baguette and crackers make a good foundation for these nibbles. Choose a mild cracker because you don’t want it to compete with the charcuterie.
Potted Beef
What should we drink?
Again, this is up to you. You can serve white wines if you are serving mild meats. Hardier meats require red wines or even beers.

Try to have salty, sour, sweet, bitter and spicy flavors on your charcuterie board. Have soft and hard cheese, Soft bread and crackers. Crunchy pickles and soft jams. This will allow your guests to make many interesting combinations of flavors and textures. Charcuterie items need to be served slightly chilled. It is never a good idea to allow meat to sit out for too long. I place the meats in the fridge on several small plates, wrapped in plastic. I can rotate these out and make sure that they are fresh. Also, if we don’t need everything that I purchased, the meats in the fridge become a delicious lunch tomorrow! Make sure to have many small dessert plates and napkins on hand. You will also need a few cheese spreaders and appetizer forks. (Or just use toothpicks and plastic knives, we aren’t judging you.)

Most importantly, have fun.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Potted Beef

Potted Beef

When I mention potted meat, what jumps into your mind? Weird, glumpy stuff that you would rather serve to your cat than eat yourself? That’s what I thought, too. Then I started doing research for making a charcuterie board or meat and cheese tray. I needed something spreadable. I found many recipes for potted meat and ham salad. All of them sounded like cat food. I love a challenge. So, I went to the store, bought some beef and went to work.

After three tries, I came up with this version of Potted Beef. My husband, Jeff, was skeptical because of, well, the cat food thing. However, he loved this. He ate it all and asked for more. When I made the second batch, Jeff cut up onions, boiled eggs and pickles and stirred them into the Potted Beef. Then he spread the Potted Beef salad on toast and loaded it with Dijon mustard. Also, very good. This would also be an easy way to use up left over roast.

Make the Potted Beef the day before you need it. You need to cool the beef after you cook it and the spread tastes better if it has time to rest. You can add extra peppercorns and minced red onions to the spread right before serving if you wish. I offered my guests stone ground mustard and prepared horseradish with slices of baguette and crackers. 
Servings: 1 ½ cups Potted Beef
Hardware: A cutting board and knives, measuring spoons and cups, an Instant Pot® or crockpot, a strainer, a large bowl, an airtight container, a food processor, a silicone spatula, silicone oven mitt
Instant Pot© Time: Active time: 15 minutes; Cook: 40 minutes; bringing up to pressure: 10 minutes; time to cool varies: Potted Beef tomorrow
Crockpot Time: Active time: 15 minutes; Cook: 2-4 hours; time to cool varies: Potted Beef tomorrow


  • 1-pound stew beef
  • 1 small onion (4-6 ounces)
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • ½ cup water
  • A beef bouillon cube or a tablespoon of beef broth concentrate (I used Kitchen Accomplice)
  • 4 ounces softened cream cheese
  • Salt

  1. Quarter the onion and slice the garlic.
  2. For the Instant Pot©: Add the water, wine and bullion/concentrate to the pot with the trivet in place. Using the sauté button bring the liquid to a boil. Add the onion, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves and beef to the boiling liquid. Place the lid on the IP, making sure the valve is set to’ sealing.’ Turn on the pressure setting and set for 40 minutes. When time is up, allow to release for about 5 minutes and using the silicone oven mitt move the valve to ‘release.’ 
  3. For the crockpot: Add everything but the cream cheese, salt and parsley to the pot. Cook on high for 2 to 4 hours or until the meat is tender. **
  4. Drain the contents of the pot through the strainer into the big bowl. Remove the bay leaves. Reserve the liquid.
  5. When the meat is cool enough to handle, add everything in the strainer to the food processor. Add in the cream cheese. Add ⅛ cup of the reserved liquid. Alternate chopping and grinding until the meat is the consistency of a paste. The peppercorns may not all grind up, that is okay. You may need to add a little more liquid to find the texture you desire. Some people like the spread firmer, some like it more spreadable. Stop the processor and scrape down the sides from time to time. Taste and adjust the salt.
  6. Place the Potted Beef into the airtight container and refrigerate for at least two hour, but preferably overnight.
  7. Remove from the fridge a bit before serving. You don’t want the spread to be room temperature, but it needs to not be too cold to spread. 
  **If you don't have a crock pot or an Instant Pot©, place everything in a shallow covered dish. Place in a 250˚ oven for 2-4 hours our until fork tender. Flip about half way through.