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Posts from — December 2022

a new Thanksgiving recipe!

Here we are, 4 days until Christmas and I’m finally posting a Thanksgiving recipe. Obviously, it would be great for Christmas too, so if you’re still searching for a new side dish, I highly recommend this one! I found it on Instagram, posted by one of my favorite cheese providers, Murray’s Cheese. The recipe calls for hot honey and burrata.

Burrata is an Italian cow’s milk cheese made from mozzarella and cream. The outer casing is solid mozzarella, while the inside is stracciatella and cream, making it extremely luxurious and delicious when broken open.

I’m posting both Murray’s photo and my own. Murray’s used kabocha squash and shows the burrata still in its whole form. While I used acorn squash and broke up my burrata a bit more and scattered mine throughout the platter, ensuring all guests were able to have some on their plates. Also, the lighting in my photo is atrocious, taking on the stove, under the stove light! Terrible!

If you’ve never had hot honey, you’re really missing out! The brand most popular is Mike’s Hot Honey, which you can find at most grocery stores. Trader Joe’s has their own brand and you can also easily find burrata there.

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December 21, 2022   No Comments


December 12, 2022   No Comments

Lasagna Rolls

I have so much information to give you about this recipe before you even look at the recipe! So please read the important note below. First, I have a question for you. Did you know that crème brûlée was supposedly a mistake? Legend has it that nuns invented it for the occasion of a visiting bishop: originally it was supposed to be a pudding, but it came out too runny and so they sprinkled some hot caramelized sugar on top in order to hide the mistake. I figure if a cooking mistake made by nuns turns into a triumph, why can’t I do it too!

Please read this * IMPORTANT NOTE! My mistake was buying the wrong type of lasagna noodles for the recipe I wanted to make. It wasn’t until I was knee-deep in making this lasagna that I noticed the noodles I’d purchased at Trader Joe’s were the no-boil type. I very much needed the noodles to be at least semi-boiled so that they would be soft and pliable enough to roll. So I threw caution to the wind and threw the entire package of noodles into a boiling pot of water. This was mistake number two! Almost immediately, they began to stick together. No-boil noodles are large and flat, they don’t have the curly edges that lasagna noodles are famous for. I tediously lifted little piles of stuck noodles out of the boiling water and began peeling them apart. Fingers burning and much swearing ensued. As I separated them, I carefully put them, one by one, back into the water, taking great care to stir the pot to ensure they wouldn’t stick a second time. It worked! I did not cook them fully. I cooked them to the point of barely pliable and nowhere near toothsome or al dente. They will continue to cook and soften fully while in the oven with all the sauce, as intended.

All this being said, you are welcome to use traditional curly lasagna noodles, but you will get nowhere near the amount of filling on each and they are in grave danger of tearing, as traditional noodles tend to do. The no-boil noodles are stronger, nice and flat, and substantially larger, holding a lovely amount of tasty filling.

Rolled Lasagna Florentine

Ground Beef Base

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup peeled and diced carrots
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Tomato Base

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Two 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 15-ounce carton ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 12-ounce package shredded Italian cheese blend
  • 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 package no-boil lasagna noodles (I used Trader Joe’s brand) * important see the note above
  • 2 cups Tomato Base (from above)
  • Ground Beef Base (from above)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish
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December 8, 2022   No Comments

Instant Pot vs. Slow Cooker

At my house, I have an Instant Pot and a slow cooker, also known by the brand name, Crockpot.

As far as small electric kitchen appliances go, I also have a food dehydrator, an air-fryer, a countertop grill, a rice cooker, a waffle iron, a citrus juicer, an extractor juicer, an immersion blender, a Vitamix blender, a three-bowl hot pot, an ice cream maker, an electric skillet, a Cuisinart food processor, a KitchenAid stand mixer, 2 hand mixers, a deep fryer, a commercial coffee maker, a popcorn popper, an electric kettle, a 4-slot toaster, a Raclette grill, a sous vide, and the list goes on and on.

I bring this up not to brag about my plethora of appliances. The opposite, actually. If I hadn’t previously owned a cooking school, this would be embarrassing. The fact that the cooking school has been closed for coming up on 10 years makes it ridiculous! When I return to Arizona I plan to do some purging. One of the first things to go will be the Crockpot. When you have an Instant Pot, the slow cooker becomes redundant. In fact, all of the slow cooker recipes I’ve been posting these last two weeks have been made in Marissa’s Instant Pot on the slow cooker setting. Another thing that will be going to charity will be the popcorn popper. I bet that thing hasn’t been used for 25+ years!

As for the recipe below, Marissa and I discussed how to zip it up a bit more and decided that the addition of a diced bell pepper would be a good addition. That is added to the recipe below, though you won’t see it in the accompanying photos.

Instant Pot Lickity-Split Chicken Burrito Bowls

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves peeled and minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 (1.25-ounce) packages taco seasoning
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans corn kernels, drained
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups fresh salsa, homemade or store-bought
  • 2 (4.5-ounce) cans chopped green chiles
  • 2 cups long-grain rice
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese, additional for garnish
  • Sour cream, garnish
  • 1 diced tomato, garnish
  • 1 sliced green onion, garnish
  • Chopped fresh cilantro leaves, garnish
  • Hot sauce, garnish

Set a 6-qt Instant Pot to “sauté” and adjust to “high” or “more”. Add oil, when heated, add onion and bell pepper and sauté until soft and translucent. Season with salt and pepper, add the garlic, and turn off the pot.

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December 5, 2022   1 Comment

Happy Birthday, Marissa!

December 1, 2022   2 Comments