Archive | February, 2016


  orzotto kutv2

This recipe is a take on risotto, the traditional time consuming Italian dish made with aborio rice.  I’ve streamlined the process by using quick cooking whole wheat orzo pasta and diced sweet potato.  It is super healthy and comes together in a snap, so you can get dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes.


1 # whole wheat orzo pasta                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2t olive oil                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced                                                                                                                                                                                                                       1 medium onion, diced                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       2 cloves garlic, minced                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       1/2C dry white wine, optional                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         2 ½ – 3C low sodium vegetable stock minced                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 bunch chard or kale, coarsely chopped                                                                                                                                                                                                                   salt and pepper                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     ½ C Parmesan cheese, shredded


In a medium saucepan, heat stock until barely simmering. Set aside.

Heat 2t of oil in a large sauté pan over medium high.  Add onions and cook until soft, about 2 minutes.  Add garlic and diced sweet potatoes.  Cook for an additional 2 minutes.  Add whole wheat orzo and stir to coat.  When the pasta smells nutty and is slightly colored.  Add wine if using.  Cook until wine is fully absorbed.  Begin adding broth,  ½ C at a time, stirring continuously until liquid is absorbed and the pasta is al dente, about 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in chopped chard or kale, Parmesan and salt and pepper. 


Here’s the recipe for beef tinga that I served on mini tostadas at the St George Parade of Homes this year.  I was working in a fantastic Thermador kitchen in a lovely home built by Cirlce A builders and decorated by Boulevard Home Furnishings.  The tinga can be used in tostadas, tacos, enchiladas or even nachos. If you like things a little spicier, feel free to adjust the amount of chilies or add cayenne or another spicy pepper.


4# chuck roast
1 t coriander
1 T cumin
1 T Mexican oregano
1 T salt
3 dried ancho chilis, stemmed and crumbled
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 can Mexican style stewed tomatoes
6 pickled jalapeno peppers
4 T butter

For serving: tostada shells, shredded lettuce, radishes, pico de gallo, queso fresco and cilantro


Combine all spices, chilies, garlic and salt in a coffee grinder or blender and process until powdered.
Spray your slow cooker with nonstick spray.  Place roast in the slow cooker and sprinkle the top with the powdered spices.  Place jalapenos on top of spices and pour in canned tomatoes.  Place butter on top.
Set your slow cooker to low and cook for 8 hours. Remove beef and shred.  Pour juices from crock pot on top and mix well.




I’m a big believer in the saying, “just because you can do something,  doesn’t mean you should”.  However, these chips are the exception to that rule!  They are strangely delicious.  I made my own dried chipotle salt and used Valrhona chocolate, but I’ve streamlined the recipe here by using cayenne pepper, sea salt and chocolate chips. Be sure to cool the tortilla chips well before storing to give the chocolate time to set.


1 bag corn tortilla chips                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     1# bittersweet chocolate chips                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       4oz toasted pepitas                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           3T sea salt                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           1T cayenne (use less if you want less spicy chips)


Prepare spicy sea salt:  In a small spice grinder or coffee mill, combine cayenne pepper and sea salt.  Grind until well combined.  Set aside.

Prepare chocolate dipped tortilla chips:  Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler set over medium high heat on stove top.  Take care to not get water or steam in the chocolate.  When chocolate is melted, remove from heat and dip chips into chocolate allowing excess to run off.  Place dipped chips on parchment lined sheet pans.  Working quickly, sprinkle salt mixture and pepitas onto chocolate.  Allow to dry before serving.



Kofta is traditionally made with lamb, but in this recipe, I swapped out the lamb for lower fat, high protein ground turkey.  With the addition of fragrant Middle Eastern spices and toasted bulgur wheat, these kabobs are a definite crowd pleaser.  They can be served in a pita or over greens with the creamy yogurt sauce.



1 #                                         ground turkey

1 C                                        bulgur wheat or ground brown rice or even cooked quinoa

1 T                                         extra virgin olive oil

1 medium                        red onion, grated

3 cloves                             garlic, grated

2 t                                         cumin

2 t                                         allspice

2 t                                         coriander

1 t                                         sumac

2 t                                         cinnamon

1 t                                          turmeric

1 t                                         cayenne

½ C                                       parsley, minced

½ T                                        salt


PREPARE THE KOFTA: In a large sauté pan, heat 2 T olive oil over medium high heat.  Sauté bulgur (brown rice or cooked quinoa if substituting) until well toasted. Add grated onion, garlic and spices to the pan and sauté until fragrant. Set aside to cool slightly.

Combine the ground turkey, onion-spice mixture, parsley and salt in a medium bowl.  Divide the mixture into 8 – 10 equal portions. Form into logs and thread onto metal or bamboo skewers.  Brush with olive oil or spray lightly with pan spray.  Cover with plastic film and refrigerate for 1 hour.

PREHEAT OUTDOOR GRILL, BROILER OR GRILL PAN:  Place kofta on grill and grill over medium high heat, turning, until cooked through.  Take care to avoid turning the kabobs too frequently.  They will hold their shape better if a good sear is achieved before turning. Serve in warmed pita with chopped romaine, tomatoes and yogurt sauce.  (Recipe follows)



PREPARE CREAMY YOGURT SAUCE: Combine 2 C Greek yogurt,  ¾ C parsley,  1 grated clove garlic, 2 T tahini, salt and pepper to taste.  Let stand at least 1 hour for flavors to combine.  Thin with water if needed.



 I’m not usually a dessert eater. But on date night, it’s a must!!!  Here’s a recipe that I made for my sweetheart on our last date night that was super easy & came together in less than 90 seconds – NO KIDDING!  It’s sweet, salty, chocolaty and loaded with caramel.  Seriously, start to finish, it’s about a minute and a half!  You can even make the batter ahead and pop the cakes in the microwave while you’re clearing the dinner dishes.  By the time the table was cleared, dessert was on the table….EASY PEASY





4 T                                        all-purpose flour

4 T                                        granulated sugar

3 T                                         cocoa powder

¼ t                                        baking powder

pinch                                   salt

1                                             egg yolk

1 T                                         vegetable oil

¼  C                                       hot water

2 T                                         caramel sauce ****refrigerated until almost solid

pinch                                   sea salt

Whipped cream and chocolate shavings for garnish if desired




Prepare coffee mugs for baking: Butter and flour two 8 oz coffee mugs for baking.  Take care to tap out excess flour mixture.


Prepare batter:  Stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt making sure there are no lumps and ingredients are well combined.  Make a well in the center and add egg yolk, oil and hot water.  Mix well.


Pour batter into prepared mugs and add a spoonful of caramel sauce and a pinch of sea salt to the center of each mug. 


Microwave on high power for 40-50 seconds or until cake has risen but is not pulling from the edges of the mug.  MICOWAVE POWERS CAN VARY…check your cake after 30 seconds.


Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings