Sunday, October 19, 2014

Field to Fork - Fall Fresh Flavors

Andy Warhol is quoted as saying that everyone experiences 15 minutes of fame. I guess I've had about 15 seconds of it, which is the amount of time it took the nice photographer guy to shoot this particular photo here on the left. I'm the person in the middle of the cover of the October issue of the Greenwood Community Newsletter.  To my left and right are Adam Moody and Cathy Richards. Both are part of the local farm to fork movement.  Each of their third generation family farms has been honored for being a leader in their industry by using best agricultural practices. I had the privilege of featuring them in an article I wrote. My story also included recipes made with the products they raised and grew. The dishes I shared had to be simple and easy to keep the word count down, but they are still delicious - Enjoy! 

Chicken Bombs

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 slices of high quality bacon
2 to 4 fresh jalapeno peppers
1/4 cup prepared barbecue sauce 


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the ends off of each pepper and then slice them down the middle length-wise. Discard the membranes and seeds, keeping each half intact.

Butterfly each breast by slicing it long-wise through the middle, but not cutting all the way through. Place two halves of each pepper inside each piece of chicken and close it up. Wrap two pieces of bacon around each chicken breast by winding one slice of bacon at a time around it.

Place the chicken on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 55 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush each piece with a tablespoon of the prepared barbecue sauce. Replace back in the oven and bake for five more minutes or until the sauce begins to bubble and brown.

Sauted Kale Bacon Salad

2 large bunches of Lacinato kale
6 slices high quality bacon
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
pinch of sugar (optional)


Cook the bacon until crisp, then remove from skillet, and set aside leaving 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan. Rinse and pat the kale dry with paper towels. Fold each leaf in half and remove the rib by slicing along the edge of it with a sharp knife. Chop the kale leaves and saute them  over medium low heat in the skillet with the bacon drippings. After about 5 minutes, add the vinegar and pinch of sugar if using. Saute for 5 more minutes. The kale will be "wilted" but still have a lot of texture when chewed. Remove to a serving dish. Crumble the bacon and sprinkle on top.

Beets and Butternut Squash with Lemon Shallot Dressing

4 medium beets
1 medium butternut squash
1 shallot
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Rainbow chard for garnish


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Wash the beets, slice off the stems, and cut the bottoms off.  Wrap them in another sheet of aluminum foil and place on one side of the baking sheet. Cut the ends off the butternut squash, slice it down the middle lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and place on the other side of the baking sheet.  Place in the oven and bake for about an hour or until tender (easily pierced with a fork). Check at 50 minutes; the squash may be ready, but the beets might take another 10 minutes or so. When the vegetables are done and have cooled down enough to handle, cut the skin away and cube into large pieces. Place the rainbow chard leaves on a serving platter or individual plates and arrange the squash and beets next to them. Peel and finely dice the shallot. Place in a small bowl along with the oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and whisk to combine.  Drizzle the lemon shallot dressing over the vegetables.  

Friday, October 3, 2014

My Mom's Lasagna

Every family has there own way of making lasagna. Here is ours - it's a straight up ground beef/red sauce variety, but it gets rave reviews.  If I offer to bring a casserole to an event or over to another family who is in need of comfort food, I've always heard, "Can you make your lasagna? It's wonderful!" It's actually not my lasagna; its my mother's version and where she got the recipe, I don't know. I do know that people seem to love it so I thought it was time I shared it here -  now my daughters can look up the recipe in a snap as well as anyone else who is craving old school, traditional cold weather comfort food!

Meat Sauce for Lasagna


2 pounds ground beef
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
2 (15 oz.) cans tomato sauce
2 (15 oz.) cans diced tomatoes
2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper


     Place the hamburger into a skillet and break up into chunks with a fork. Dice the onion and add to the pan. Brown the mixture over medium low heat until the meat is no longer pink and the onions are tender. Put the garlic cloves through a press, add to the pan, and saute for 30 seconds. Drain any grease from the pan. Add the sauce, diced tomatoes, oregano, salt, and pepper. Let the mixture simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring every so often.

To Assemble Lasagna:

     Cook 8 oz of lasagna pasta (9 strips)  according to package directions.

      Gather together:
8 oz. ricotta cheese
3 (6 oz.) packages mozzarella cheese slices
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Then, Follow These Steps:

Spread about a fourth of the meat sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking pan.

Cover the sauce with three of the cooked lasagna pasta noodles.

Spread a third of the ricotta cheese over the pasta. It helps to use the back of a spoon.

Curious about making homemade ricotta cheese? Click HERE .

Sprinkle 1/3 cup of the Parmesan cheese over the ricotta cheese.

Next, cover with six of the mozzarella cheese slices

Spoon and spread one fourth of the remaining meat sauce over the cheese layer.
Repeat the process again two more times so you end up with the meat sauce on top.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 50 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling.