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!