Baked Salmon with Red Pepper Cream Sauce


2-3 Salmon filets
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 tbs butter
1 tbs evoo
1/2 cup half and half  
(I used fat free 1/2 and 1/2)
1/2 Tbs minced garlic
1 Tbs chopped parsley
1/2 Tbs chopped shallots
pinch of red pepper flakes
Black Pepper



Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

In a medium saute' pan, heat the butter and olive oil.  Add in all of the ingredients 
except the half and half. Let cook, stirring often, until softened. Slowly pour and 
stir in the half and half. Lower temp to let simmer and let reduce, about 15 minutes.  

Brush the filets with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper 
and place in a glass bake dish sprayed with non-stick spray. 

Bake for 15 minutes, then spoon the red pepper sauce over the top and baked 
another 15 minutes. 


Valerie's Tarragon Beef Pasta with Mushrooms

Recipe and picture courtesy of Valerie Alava Ross 

This is similar to Beef Stroganoff....but not. More of a French or Italian feel. Tarragon always reminds me of French cooking. Of course, in this particular case I made fresh 
fettuccine...most definitely Italian. Perhaps its intercontinental. Maybe fusion? It was good and the sauce would go with any type of pasta...you could even switch out the 
pasta for rice or potatoes. It would work.

1 lb ground beef
1 large onion chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
bunch of fresh chopped Tarragon (1/2 cup?)
tsp + Kitchen Bouquet (sauce/gravy enhancer)
2 tsp (?) cornstarch and a bit of water for a paste
tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp Better than Bouillon and 1 1/2 cup water (or 10 ounces of beef stock/broth)
2 - 3 tbs (?) sour cream
Cooked Pasta

Cook the onion in a bit of olive oil for a couple minutes till translucent. Add ground beef and cook till browned thru. Add garlic and cook for a couple minutes more. Drain 

excess fat. Add broth of Beef Better Than Bouillon and water. Add a couple tsps cornstarch (?) to a cup and add a bit of water. Add to mixture on stove top. Stir well. Add 

Worcestershire sauce and Kitchen Bouquet. Cook on med heat a few minutes more. Sauce will start to thicken. Add more water if need be. Add sour cream, salt and pepper to 

taste. Add chopped Tarragon. Toss sauce in fresh cooked pasta. Top with more fresh Tarragon.


Hasselback Potatoes recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond


8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup finely chopped chives
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Stir together the butter, olive oil, chives and some salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Place a potato between the handles of 2 wooden spoons or 2 chopsticks. Slice the potato into thin slices, leaving 1/4 inch at the bottom unsliced; the spoon handles will prevent you from slicing the potato all the way through. Repeat with the remaining potatoes.
Put the potatoes on a baking sheet and brush on the butter mixture, making sure to get in between all the slices. Bake until tender and crisp, 55 to 60 minutes.

Video:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/hasselback-potatoes.html#lightbox-recipe-video


Homemade Gorgonzola/Bleu Cheese Dressing

Recipe and picture courtesy of Valerie Alava Ross 

1/2 cup Gorgonzola or Bleu cheese crumbles
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup sour cream
splash Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup buttermilk or milk.
*measurements are approximate*

Combine all ingredients - let sit at least 1/2 hour before serving


Italian Style Beef Soup


1 large steak, cut into small pieces
½ large red onion, chopped
6 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
2 cans or 1 bag frozen whole green beans
2 cans or 1 bag of frozen sliced carrots
2 48 oz cans beef broth
1 lb mini shells or ditalini pasta
3 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Italian seasoning, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper to taste


In a large soup pot on high, cook the beef and onions in the olive oil until browned, then add in the garlic. Saute' 5 minutes or so.

Season well, add diced tomatoes, stir to combine. Add in the beef broth, cover and bring to a full boil. Lower temp and and let simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

Check for seasoning again, then bring back to a boil and add in the pasta. Cook as directed on package. Add in the carrots and string beans and lower to simmer.

Serve with grated cheese on top.

This makes a very large pot, cut everything in half to make less. 


Cream of Tomato and Basil Soup

Recipe and pic courtesy of Valerie Alava Ross


2 large cans of San Marzano Tomatoes 
1 med onion diced
Bunch of fresh chopped basil
Squeeze of agave nectar (or a couple tbsp reg table sugar)
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan (add more to taste)
Salt & pepper to taste
Olive oil
Splash of cream

Sauté onion in a bit of olive oil in a heavy stock pot. Cook till tender, 3 - 4 minutes. 
Add San Marzano tomatoes. Cook on med heat for 5 - 10 minutes. With a stick blender, mix the soup in the pan till the tomatoes are broken down. Can use a reg blender if need be. A potato masher will work in a pinch, but soup will be more chunky. 
Add Parmesan, a big splash of heavy cream and chopped basil. Mix well. Add salt, pepper and more Parmesan to taste. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and fresh basil.


Honey Dijon Crockpot Chicken

Recipe and pic courtesy of Chandra Graham 

I used a honey dijon dressing, added extra mustard, minced garlic, olive oil, honey, pepper, and basil. 
Cooked on low for almost 6 hours. I made rice and broccoli too that I poured the juice/sauce over


Beef Pot Roast


  2-3 lb Top round or Chuck Beef "roast"
1 cup water
2 Tablespoons each minced or chopped onion and garlic
Onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, oregano, paprika, thyme
2 tsps flour
Olive oil


In a large crock pot, pour in a little olive oil and 1 cup water. Rub the roast in olive oil and season with all of the listed seasonings. Place in crock and cook on high for about 3 hours or until you see a lot of liquid accumulated. 

Pour out most of the juices into a glass bowl. Re-season the roast and put back in on Low for another 2 hours. 

Remove the roast and spoon off all of the fat.  Whisk the flour into the juices in the bowl . Add the roast back in and pour gravy over the roast. 

Cook another hour or so until it comes apart with a fork.  

I have recently discovered that when using the slow cooker with meats that draining the excess liquid out halfway through and res-seasoning the meat, makes a more flaovorful, less soggy and watered down dish. I wish I had tried this long ago. So much better!


Chicken and Dumplings



·         2 TBS olive oil

·         4 boneless chicken breasts, 6 thighs or 1 whole rotisserie chicken
(can also substitute with Turkey)
·         5 stalks celery
·         5 carrots
·         1 large white onion
·         2 quarts of Chicken broth or stock
·         3 cups water
·         2 tsp dried thyme or 4 TBS fresh
·         3 bay leaves
·         ½ cup of flour
·         4 TBS butter

Dumplings:(can substitute all ingredients for Bisquick with just mix/milk and Thyme)
·         2 cups flour
·         1 TBS baking powder
·         ½ tsp baking soda
·         6 TBS unsalted butter, melted
·         ¾ cup buttermilk
·         2 TBS chopped fresh parsley, some reserved


Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Brown in batches, 4 to 6 minutes per side. If you are using a premade chicken, chop up into large chunks or shred it with a fork and set aside.  Transfer to a plate and in the same pot add the butter, let melt then add the celery, carrots, onions and Thyme, season with salt and pepper, stir and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes.

Add the chicken broth, bay leaves, and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, lower and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Shred the chicken with 2 forks or cut into small chunks and return it to the pot. In a separate small bowl, whisk together ½ cup of flour, 2 cups of the cooking liquid, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Slowly whisk the flour mixture back into the pot and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Make the dumplings: Whisk together the 2 cups of flour, baking powder, baking soda, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Whisk in the butter, buttermilk and parsley. Reduce heat to low and drop the mixture into the broth in 8 large spoonful or 16 smaller spoon fuls. Simmer, covered, until the dumplings are firm, 10 mins for larger one and about 5-8 for smaller ones. Serve sprinkled with parsley.


Valerie's Home Made Sloppy Joes

Recipe and picture courtesy of Valerie Alava Ross

Sloppy Joes

1 lb ground beef
Small onion chopped
2 stalks celery diced
Small red pepper chopped
5 -6 cloves garlic minced 
1/2 tsp cumin 
1/2 tsp chili pepper
1 tsp salt
Cayenne pepper
Red pepper flakes 
Black pepper
1/2 cup - 3/4 cup ketchup
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp dry mustard
Tsp yellow mustard
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water


Brown ground beef and drain excess fat. Sauté veggies till tender. Mix in ground beef, seasonings, ketchup, tomato paste, brown sugar and mustards, mix well. Add water a bit at a time till it's the right consistency. Add additional salt as needed. Serve on toasted buns


Lisa's Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Vegetables

Recipe and picture courtesy of Lisa Miles O'Connor


I used a 3.5 lb eye round roast and did a dry rub around the whole roast of black pepper, salt, onion powder and garlic powder mix. Two medium onions and cubed them to bite size, 12 yukon gold potatoes and cubed them and used the already peeled small bag of carrots about 3/4 of a small bag. I mixed the veggies and put a few layers on the bottom and then I put the roast in the middle of the crock and surrounded it with the rest of the veggies and potatoes. I used about 3/4 of a largest can of beef broth to bring it to about 2 1/2 inches from the top of the crock. I turned on high for 2 hours, then on low for 8 more hours. I took out the roast, veggies and potatoes and kept the broth in the crock and added flour to thicken the broth to a gravy with a whisk. Put the veggie/potatoes back in crock on high for 10 minutes while carving the roast and served. The recipe I saw read 5 hours on high or 8 hours on low but I left it in a little longer for a more well done roast. It was so tender and had enough for the next few nights as well. Hope you like it.

Shauna's Shepard’s Pie

Recipe and picture courtesy of Shauna Yousef 

“Mine is super easy. You can vary the veggies to suit your family”.

1 pound of ground beef
Diced onion
1 can of corn
1 can of green beans
Mashed potatoes (I used almost 12 cups of instant; I modify mine and add extra butter and switch milk and water)
Shredded cheddar cheese
A-1 sauce (a couple tablespoons)

Preheat oven to 350*.

Brown beef with onions. Season with salt pepper. Drain

Add corn & green beans. Also add A-1 sauce. Warm through.

In a 2 1/2 quart baking dish put a layer of mashed potatoes, meat, mashed potatoes and top with cheese. 


Juleigha's Dark and Semi Sweet Chocolate Cashew Salted Clusters

Recipe and pics courtesy of Juleigha Roberts Frick


3 one ounce squares of Bakers (brand) Semi Sweet Chocolate 
1 10 ounce bag of Nestles Dark Chocolate Morsels 
3 1/2 to 4 cups of whole salted Cashews Kosher salt for sprinkling 
Parchment papered baking sheet (cookie sheet) 


Place the 3 squares and the bag of chocolate in microwavable bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and fold (don't stir, as stirring will crystalize sugars) chocolate. 

Place back in oven and microwave again for 30 seconds. Remove and fold chocolate. Microwave one more time for 30 seconds and fold chocolate again until it's all melted and smooth. (Ovens may vary so you may need to adjust your melting time) Once chocolate is smooth add in all of the Cashews and fold together until all the nuts are covered. 

Drop by spoonful's onto a parchment paper covered cookie sheet, sprinkle with kosher salt and let cool to harden. You can also place in the fridge for about an hour to speed up the process. Then store countertop in a zip

type bag or other container.

Carol's Italian rice balls (arancine di riso)

Pictures and recipe courtesy of Carol Mauro McKenna  

Cook the packaged risotto according to instructions on package and set aside to cool (2 packages will make approx. 14-16 arancine.) I use Premium Risotto Milanese style, so it already has saffron in it, which is the way it was originally made. I found it at my local Shop-Rite in the rice aisle. 
Meanwhile, I sweat half of a large onion finely chopped, along with 2 finely chopped garlic cloves, then add 1lb of ground beef and cook, salt and pepper to taste (I also use Adobo as a complete seasoning).Once almost fully cooked, I drain most of the fat, than add tomato sauce or plum tomatoes or diced tomatoes….whatever you have at hand….but just enough to coat the meat sauce…I would say about half of a 28oz can and stir well. Add more salt n pepper to taste (or Adobo). It is important to gently season every step of the way. Finally, I stir in about 2 cups of frozen peas (or more according to how you like it). Keep cooking it for a couple of minutes then turn off and set aside to cool off.
While the meat is cooling off, I prepare my assembly stations: a dish with 2 whisked eggs, a tbsp. of milk and salt n pepper, another dish with Italian style bread crumbs and a few sprinkles of parmesan cheese, and another dish with shredded or diced mozzarella. I then set a deep pan for frying. I like mixing 2 parts of vegetable oil to 1 part olive oil and let it warm up until ready for frying (I put a wooden spoon at the bottom of the pan, to see if it’s ready. If it looks like it’s bubbling around the spoon, then you’ll know it’s ready.) 
I assemble right next to the sink, because you need to continuously rinse out your hands…..plus keeping your hands wet, it allows for the rice balls to form easier (or if you prefer, you can add one whisked egg to the cooled rice, to help binding it – I don’t want to use the raw egg in it, so I just keep my hands wet, and since the risotto has a bit of a mushy/sticky consistency to it, it works fine with wet hands.) Now you take about 2 heaping tablespoon of risotto and put it in your hand as if you are forming half of the rice ball, by creating a small well in your hand. Make sure the layer of risotto used, it’s not too thick, to avoid a rice ball with too much risotto and not enough filing. Then, add 1 to 2 tsp of the cooled meat, a tsp or two of shredded mozzarella or a couple of diced pieces, then take another amount of rice, with your other wet hand, and cover the other filled part, by trying to create the filled rice into a ball shape. Your wet hands will help the process and also, a bit of patience. Once your ball is formed, I put it in the egg mixture, then bread crumbs mixture, and set aside. I cook them in batches of 2 or 3, just to make sure you don’t burn them, and to make sure the oil temperature stays consistent. I keep turning them in the oil for about 3 or 4 minutes each (it depends from the size), then take them out and let them drain on a tray lined with paper towel. 
Make sure to wait a couple of minutes before eating them. They taste better at room temperature than hot, but that’s just my opinion…..oh yeah, and make sure to make lots of them…..they are DIVINE!!!!!!


Laurie's S'mores Dip

Recipe and pic courtesy of Laurie Ferraro Wigglesworth


1/2 tbsp. butter 
1 1/2 cup choc chips (I use semi sweet)
 15 jumbo marshmallows cut in 1/2


Preheat 450 degree oven. Melt butter in bottom of 8 x 8 pan, then swirl it around to coat entire bottom of pan. Put choc.chips in even layer on bottom. Arrange marshmallow halves over the chocolate to cover completely. Bake for 5-7 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes. Use graham crackers to scoop!