Chickpea pesto pasta

This is amazing. I made the pesto from my garden basil. I have used the standard pine nuts as well as pecans. Both turned out fabulous but I think we really enjoyed the pecan version better. That recipe will follow shortly.

1/2-3/4 cup prepared pesto

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 pound pasta, cook al dente, cooled and drained

1 can chickpeas, drained

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon fresh chopped green onion

Mix together the pesto and mayonnaise fully. Add in the parmesan. Finally, mix in the chickpeas and pasta.


Tom Kha Gai Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 yellow onion, rough chopped

2 cloves garlic, rough chopped

1 whole jalapeño, rough chopped

3 1/4 inch slices of fresh ginger

1 lemongrass stalk or 1 tablespoon lemongrass paste

3 teaspoons red curry paste

4 cups chicken broth

2 cans of coconut milk (light is fine)

2 medium chicken breasts, thinly sliced

8 ounces of mushrooms (oyster or shitake)

2 tablespoons fish sauce

3 green onions, chopped

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice – 2 limes

fresh cilantro for garnish

In a large pot, head the oil over medium heat. Add the yellow onion, garlic, jalapeno, lemongrass, and curry paste. Cook about 5-10 minutes or until the onions are soft. Add the chicken broth, continue to simmer for 30 minutes.

Now that there is a flavorful base, strain the broth and discard all of the onions, chili, lemongrass, and ginger. Replace the broth into the pot over low heat. Add in the coconut milk, chicken, fish sauce, mushrooms. Simmer on low for about 20 minutes. Add in lime juice, cilantro, and the green onions. Let sit 5 minutes and then serve.

Meatballs on the grill

16 ounces ground beef

16 ounces ground pork

3 ounces prosciutto, diced

1/4 cup fresh parsley, diced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

3 eggs, beaten

2 onions, small diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup unseasoned bread crumbs

Combine all the ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours.

Make the meatballs in golf ball size portions (3-4 tablespoons). Place the meatballs on parchment paper and freeze for 1 hour before cooking.

Set the green egg with an off set plate. Bake the meatballs directly on the grill at 325 degrees. Place a shallow pan under the grill to collect any fat and juice as the meatballs cook. Continue to cook the meatballs (rotating often) until they are 155 degrees internally. We have added hickory and mesquite chips with this recipe but we really prefer the flavor of non-smoked meatballs better.

At this point the meatballs can be stewed in tomato sauce or eaten as is.

3 pepper casserole – stuffed peppers


This meal cooks in about 45 minutes. It is a one pan meal so it does not require much clean up. It tastes best if made the morning before eating or even the day before. It warms really well in the oven.


1 pound lean ground beef

1/2 large yellow onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 large green bell pepper, diced

2 large sweet banana peppers, sliced into rings

1 large jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and diced

1 cup jasmine rice, uncooked

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/2 cups beef broth OR 1 1/2 cups water with 2 teaspoons bouillon

1 8 oz can tomato sauce

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes


In a large skillet, saute the ground beef until fully cooked. Break it into small pieces as it cooks. Add the garlic and onion. Saute another 3-5 minutes. Add the peppers, cook another 3-5 minutes.


Add the uncooked rice. Saute another 5 minutes stirring often. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, paprika, thyme, black pepper, and Worcestershire. Bring to a boil. Stir. Cover with a lid. Reduce the heat to low or just above (maintain a slow simmer). Simmer for 25-30 minutes. Do not lift lid and stir while cooking unless it appears that the water has all disappeared.


After 25 minutes, lift lid and fluff. Test the rice to make sure it is tender. If it is not, cook another 3-5 minutes and add water if needed. When finished, remove the lid and allow it to sit without stirring much for 5-10 minutes. Stirring too much when just cooked with cause the rice to become mushy.

Place the mixture in a prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese (optional). At this point, either move to the oven or refrigerate.


Bake in a 350 degree oven covered for 30 minutes.



Baked mushroom barley


I have always enjoyed side dishes that are low maintenance so I can put my time into other things. This dish is filling enough to also be a vegetarian main dish.

3 tablespoons butter

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound sliced mushrooms

1 cup pearled barley

2 3/4 cups chicken broth

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a dutch oven, over medium heat, melt the butter. Sauté the onion, garlic, and mushrooms for 5 minutes. Add the barley and cook 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and thyme. Bring to a boil. Cover and place the dutch oven into the preheated oven. Cook 60-70 minutes without peeking or stirring.

When you first open the dutch oven all of the mushrooms will be on top. Stir and top with parsley.


Chicken and wild rice soup


6 whole white mushrooms, diced

1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced

3 ribs celery, sliced

2 large carrots, sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup wild rice uncooked

10 cups water

1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon thyme

4 teaspoons chicken bouillon

3 cups shredded cooked chicken

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup flour

2 cups milk
Place the rice in the bottom of a crock pot. Add all of the diced vegetables. Then add the spices. Lastly add the water. Cook on high for 2-3 hours. Add the chicken. Remove the bay leaf. Time to add the cream sauce.

In a saucepan on medium heat melt the butter. Add in the flour and stir until fully mixed. Slowly add the milk stirring constantly until all the milk is added. Continue to stir mixture constantly until thickened. Add this to the crock pot. Cook another 30-40 minutes. Serve.


Turkey meatballs and lentils

These were a big hit with everyone. Not only did they cook quickly for a weeknight meal, I felt that the leftovers tasted even better than the original night.

What do I like about this meal? The spice level is perfect. There are very complex flavors in this meal. Also, this is a food that has minimal fat. It is full of vitamins and healthy proteins.

I found the original version at The real changes I made were to leave out the cinnamon and cloves as recommended. I also changed parsley for cilantro.


1 pound ground turkey

1/2 sleeve saltine crackers crumbled – about 15

1 egg

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper



2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup brown lentils

1 can diced tomatoes, undrained – 14.5 oz

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 cup sliced carrot

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

5 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix all of the meatball ingredients until fully combined. Make meatballs that are about 2 inches in diameter or 1/3 cup of filling. Lay them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for about 30-45 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

As the meatballs cook, prepare the lentils.

Cook the onions, garlic, and carrots in the olive oil over medium heat. Cook for about 5-6 minutes or until soft. Add the lentils, chicken broth, tomatoes, and the dry spices. Do not add the cilantro yet. Cover and reduce head to low. Simmer about 20-25 minutes or until lentils are done. Add the meatballs and cilantro. Toss to coat the meatball.. Let sit 5 minutes and then serve.






Ginger sriracha soy salmon


4 tablespoons olive oil


salt and pepper
For the sauce:

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup low sodium soy

1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

1 tablespoon sriracha
Lightly season the salmon with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil on medium high heat and a large flat non-stick pan. Add the salmon skin side down. Cook 5 minutes. Flip. Cook another 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and keep warm.

In the same pan, lower temperature to low. Add 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the ginger, soy sauce, sriracha, and honey. Stir constantly. Be careful to not but  the mixture but cook until reduced. Pour this sauce over the cooked salmon.



Pasta con broccoli


This is a leaked recipe from one of my favorite restaurants in St. Louis called Pasta house.  It is simple and fabulous. Serve it alone or with grilled chicken.


4 ounces uncooked large shell pasta

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons butter

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons tomato sauce

1/2 cup chopped fresh broccoli

1/3 cup sliced fresh button mushrooms

1/4 grated parmesan cheese

salt and pepper


Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook 4 minutes. Drain pasta. Return the pasta to the pot.

Add the cream, butter, garlic, tomato sauce, and broccoli. Bring to a boil. Boil until noodles are fully cooked. Add the mushrooms and parmesan. Salt and pepper to taste. Toss and serve.

Pinto bean soup


I think I prefer this pinto bean recipe to taco soup. It is just that good. I made this using dried beans that I had soaked in water for 20 hours. At one point I learned that the longer you soak dried beans, the easier they are on the tummy. It is true. I know that the soaking time could be decreased if you wanted.

The meat I used for this was from a butcher. I purchased the bacon and ham end pieces. You could use any type of ham or bacon for this recipe. You do not have to purchase premium meat as it cooks for a such a long period of time that the meat will tenderize.

This soup cooks for approximately 2-4 hours. It is an all day type meal but most of the work really happens in the first 30 minutes. It is kind of slow and low cook type meal that is very hard to mess up. This recipe makes enough for 6-7 very large bowls of soup.


1.5 pounds of bacon ends and ham ends

1 large yellow onion, diced

5 cloves garlic, minced

2 large jalapenos, sliced

15 ounces of canned diced tomatoes – undrained

1 pound or 2 cups of dried pinto beans

5 chicken bouillon cubes

10 cups water

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon mexican oregano

1 bunch fresh cilantro, cleaned and roughly chopped

1 teaspoon black pepper


In a large dutch oven, cook the bacon and ham over medium heat until done. Remove the cooked meat from the pan and drain any fat.

Add the onion, jalapeno, and garlic. Replace approximately 2 tablespoons of the fat. Add the meat back as well. Cook on medium to low heat for approximately 20 minutes or until the onions are soft and reduced.

Add the diced tomatoes, water, and all spices (including the cilantro). Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 2-3 hours. Stir the soup every 20-30 minutes and add more water if needed.


Serve this with corn bread or toasted tortillas.