Last year I gave the Keto diet a try and was pleasantly surprised when my doctor told me to keep doing what I was doing as my labs came back great and I lost 25 pounds! So what did I do? I went to Italy! When we returned from our trip it was very hard to go back on Keto 100%. Well, Teresa is off to Greece so I'm back on Keto. For those of you eating Keto, this is a quick and easy breakfast that satiates you until dinner time and it's a tasty way to start your day. You don't have to follow a Keto diet to enjoy this hearty breakfast!🥓 😋
2 large eggs, beat well with a fork
A 1/4-inch thick slice of onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 tsp coconut oil (I use LouAna® Coconut Oil, it has no coconut aroma or taste to distract from your other ingredients.)
salt & pepper to taste
3 slices of bacon (preferably with no antibiotics, sugar-free, & nitrate free)
1-2 Tablespoons shredded Swiss cheese (may be substituted with your favorite cheese)
1 tsp fresh parsley for garnish
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Line a small baking sheet with foil and place the 3 slices of bacon on top.
Cook 4 minutes then turn and cook another 2-4 minutes. Drain on paper towels (You will have perfectly rendered bacon fat that can be stored in a glass container in the refrigerator for future sautéing).
In a small skillet on medium heat place 1/2 tsp coconut oil.
Add the bell peppers and onions, salt & pepper. Saute until translucent.
Lower heat & add the eggs and stir quickly to mix in the peppers & onions.
Gently cook for 1-2 minutes or until the bottom is set and can be flipped over.
Flip eggs and sprinkle Swiss cheese on top.
Cook another 1-2 minutes until eggs are fully cooked but not overcooked.
Slide omelet onto a dish and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Barbara first made Penne Ala Vodka for her son’s engagement party using a recipe from a friend of a friend. It has undergone a few changes over the years before it became an all-time family favorite. As you may know, whenever possible we always make a gluten-free version of our recipes for Teresa’s husband Jack. We don’t want him to ever feel left out. This recipe was very easy to convert since you just replace regular penne pasta with Gluten-Free penne pasta. Thanks to great improvements in gluten-free products, having Celiac’s disease no longer means you have to miss out on delicious pasta meals.
This recipe is delicious and not your typical restaurant flavor. If you’re not a fan of a little heat, omit the cayenne but it’s really not a strong kick.
Prepare basic tomato sauce ahead of time (see recipe link below)
One of our best Sunday morning memories is of our mother frying meatballs for our Sunday dinner. There is something to be said for the wonderful aroma of meatballs frying along with the anticipation of the meal to follow, as it was usually shared with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. It wasn't just a meal...it was an event! Sundays were always special in our home because we would get to spend time with our cousins who we had so much fun with. As soon as Mom started placing the cooked meatballs in the bowl we would sneak into the kitchen to grab them out of the bowl while they were still hot; a tradition that our children and husbands still carry on today! Most of our followers know my husband Jack has celiac disease and I've had to adapt all our recipes to gluten-free when cooking for him. Converting some recipes can be quite challenging; however, I used some really good GF Italian style bread crumbs to substitute for the Italian bread and Jack loves them! Without a doubt the best Italian style Gluten-Free meatballs ever! 😋😋
1 lb ground beef 80-85% lean/20-15% fat
1/2 cup whole milk
4 ounces Aleia’s Italian Bread Crumbs* (please see note below)
4-5 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
3 Extra-Large eggs
1 ½ large handfuls grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
EVOO (for frying)
Place ground meat in a medium size mixing bowl, break up with a fork and set aside.
In a small bowl, soak bread crumbs in 1/2 cup milk until completely absorbed (about 2-3 minutes). This should yield about 1 cup of bread crumbs. (If too loose add a little more bread crumbs. If too dry, add a little more milk).
Place bread crumbs on top of ground meat.
Add the onion, garlic, salt, and pepper to combine well.
Make a well in the center of the meat mixture and place all the eggs, Pecorino Romano cheese, and the parsley.
With a large fork scramble the eggs, cheese, and parsley in the well, then start to combine into the entire meat mixture. You can do this best with your hands that are scrupulously clean or with gloves…your preference.
Once well combined (don’t over mix) scoop out about 1/2 handful of meat mixture and roll into a ball and place on parchment or waxed paper. Continue making meatballs until all meat has been formed.
In a large skillet pour enough EVOO to half the size of your meatball. Let the oil get hot, then working in batches, brown all sides (Don’t overload, allow each meatball some breathing room).
When meatballs are browned and crisp remove to a paper towel lined bowl or tray. Repeat until all meatballs are cooked.
30 minutes before your tomato sauce is ready, place cooked meatballs in the tomato sauce and continue cooking the sauce.
Serve with your favorite pasta and enjoy!
Notes: These meatballs are delicious as a stand-alone meal with or without tomato sauce. Make them smaller and they become a delicious appetizer
* As a substitute for the breadcrumbs above, I have also used with great success UDI’sGluten-free white bread soaked in milk or Against the Grain gluten-free baguettes soaked in milk. Against the Grain is my preference; however, this brand is not available in the Wilmington, NC area.
Mixing breadcrumbs with ground beef, onions, and garlic
Now that Easter is over, what do you do with all the leftover ham? There's no better time than now to make my hearty, delicious, and comforting split pea soup using all the leftover ham including the bone. Jack looks forward to this soup so much that while it's cooking on the stove he's always asking 'is it done yet'....just like Barbara's dog, Lexi, barking while she waits to be fed! I think you get the picture!!! 🤣
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 cups chopped yellow onion
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup carrot, diced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb dried split peas, rinsed
1 meaty ham bone (leftover from holiday dinner)
2 small bay leaves
2 tsp thyme, divided
7 cups Swanson Bone Broth Chicken or Swanson Low-Sodium Chicken Broth, both are gluten-free
1 cup water
1½ cups diced or shredded ham
In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter.
Add the onion, celery, & carrots.
Cook the vegetables on a low flame until vegetables are soft and just starting to show golden color, about 8 minutes.
Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add the split peas and stir to combine.
Add the ham bone, bay leaves, and 1 tsp of thyme.
Stir in chicken bone broth and water.
Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for approximately 90 minutes.
Stir often until peas are cooked down and soup has your desired consistency. (Add more water or broth if it thickens too much).
Add the diced or shredded ham 10-15 minutes before the soup is done.
When done, remove the ham bone and bay leaves. If any fatty chunks fell off the bone during cooking remove them as well.
Add remaining tsp of thyme and stir.
Ladle hot soup into your favorite bowl and enjoy!
Notes: This recipe does not contain any flour, and is naturally gluten-free if you use our recommended Swanson brands. It’s been my experience that other brands may contain wheat so please make sure you read the labels carefully.
We are so excited to share with you our chili recipe which today took first place for 'Traditional Chili' at Brunswick Forest Fitness & Wellness Center's '3rd Annual Chili & Mac n' Cheese Cook-Off'. We are especially excited that the chili was judged by several professional chefs & owner from our local area restaurants including Executive Chef Scott Euvrard from The Forest at Cape Fear National, Sous Chef Jon Michael Rehm from UNCW, Chef Garrett Swain from The Joyce Irish Pub, and Tom Mills, owner of Little Pond Catering. Thank you so much for voting for our chili.
2 to 2.5 lbs 80% lean chuck ground beef
2 lbs Neese’s hot sausage
2 large sweet onions, chopped
1 red bell peppers, seeds & ribs removed, diced
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, seeds & ribs removed, diced
In a large dutch oven brown the meat, using a slotted spoon remove the meat & set aside. Discard all except 2 Tablespoons of remaining liquid in dutch oven to sauté the vegetables.
Add bell peppers & onions to the dutch oven & cook about 10 minutes until onions start to turn golden. Add garlic, chili mix, mild green chiles, salt, pepper, cumin, harissa paste, and smoked paprika, combine well then cook another minute.
Return meat mixture back to dutch oven and mix well.
Add Hunt’s tomato sauce. Mix well and cook for 1 minute. Add all the beans with their liquid. Bring to a boil, then cover with lid partially open & reduce heat to low, stirring regularly for 2 hours.
Remove cover and continue to cook on low 30 minutes or longer until chili thickens to your liking. (We love thick chili!)
Ladle into bowls. Serve hot with your favorite garnishes: Sour Cream, green onions, shredded cheddar cheese, guacamole and our Rustic Cornbread-Gluten Free. Enjoy!
Notes: To say that Jack & Gary love spicy food is an understatement. If it were up to them, we would be eating this chili every other night! The blend of beef, sausage, beans, & spices makes this a delicious hearty chili for any night of the week and oh so simple to make. Our recipe is for a crowd so if you’re just feeding a few, cut the recipe in half. Any leftover chili can be frozen for 3-4 months at zero degrees in the freezer. Serve with your favorite toppings. For those who like extreme heat like our husbands, add your favorite hot sauce, chili peppers or Sriracha.
Our chili recipe originated from Teresa’s daughter Tracy, a long time ago. Over the years we have adapted it to what it is today. Thank you Tracy. ❤️
We have been experimenting with cornbread for a while now. Not only did it have to taste good but we wanted to make it gluten-free as always for Teresa's husband. We don't want to leave him out of our recipes because anyone that knows Jack, knows he loves to eat!!! Traditionally northern style cornbread is sweet while southern style is savory with no sweetness. To us the perfect combination would be both slightly sweet & savory. After may experiments we finally agreed we really liked this one; you won't know it's gluten-free. We hope you like it as much as we do.
Panna Cotta is one of those special desserts we have been serving at dinner parties for several years. It tastes heavenly, is refreshing, incredibly smooth and creamy, not too sweet, naturally gluten-free, and loved by everyone who has ever eaten it. Preparing it the day before makes this recipe so easy. Your family and guests will love it.
2 tsp (1 packet) unflavored gelatin powder
3 Tablespoons cold water
3 cups heavy cream
2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean
3/4 cup sugar
8 cups sliced fresh strawberries or raspberries
5 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar glaze
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
freshly grated lemon zest, for garnish
In a small bowl sprinkle the gelatin over 3 Tablespoons of cold water.
Stir and set aside for 10 minutes to allow gelatin to dissolve.
In the meantime, in a medium bowl whisk together 1½ cups of heavy cream, yogurt & vanilla extract.
Split the vanilla bean and use the tip of a knife to scrape the seeds into the cream.
Heat the remaining 1½cups of cream and the sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat & add the softened gelatin to the hot cream and stir to dissolve.
Pour the hot cream/gelatin mixture into the cold cream/yogurt mixture and stir to combine.
Place the empty ramekins on a baking sheet. Pour into 8 (6-8 oz) ramekins or custard cups. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, about 1 hour. When the Panna Cottas are thoroughly chilled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
30 minutes to 1 hr before serving, combine the fresh strawberries or raspberries, balsamic vinegar glaze, sugar & pepper. Set aside at room temperature.
When ready to serve, surround the Panna Cotta with the fruit/balsamic mixture then dust with freshly grated lemon zest on top & serve.
Note: This recipe has been adapted from Ina Garten.
Before Barbara retired from the corporate world she would always ask the President of the company what his wife made the night before for dinner. Hal would come into work the next day and heat up his lunch. You cannot believe the wonderful aromas wafting through the entire office. It made everyone hungry! He told me to ask Lynda, his wife and I did. She was kind enough to send me and the entire office handwritten recipes of her chicken dishes as chicken was the only 'meat' her family would eat. She learned to make chicken many different ways and they were all delicious. Thank you Lynda for sharing them with us, you are the best!😋
4-6 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in (you can also use chicken breasts in place of thighs)
2 Tablespoons EVOO
2 Tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2/3 cup white wine vinegar
2/3 cup chicken stock
2 tsp all-purpose flour
14-ounces can/jar artichoke hearts, drained and halved
salt & pepper to taste
parsley for garnish
2 sweet onions, cut in half then sliced
2 cans sliced mushrooms
Season chicken with salt, pepper, garlic, & basil
In a large skillet heat the EVOO and 1 Tablespoon butter. When melted and hot, add the chicken, skin side up & fry for 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove from skillet and set aside.
Toss the onions in the lemon juice and add to skillet. Gently fry, stirring for 3-4 minutes until just beginning to soften.
Return the chicken to the skillet. Pour in the white wine vinegar and chicken stock, bring to boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove chicken from skillet, reserving the cooking juices and keep warm. Bring juices to a boil and boil rapidly for 5 minutes.
Add the remaining butter to the skillet and add the flour. Stir well until flour in blended & smooth and juices start to thicken. Lower heat to a simmer.
Adjust seasoning to taste if needed.
Stir in the artichoke hearts and mushrooms then cook about 2-3 minutes
Plate the chicken then pour sauce over each one with some artichoke hearts and mushrooms.
Pan Seared Loin Pork Chops with Sauerkraut & Onions
We found some delicious looking loin pork chops at Costco that were about 1-inch thick and we thought we would bring you this basic recipe that is quick to make & produces the juiciest pork chops that are Mmmm Good!😋
8 thick loin pork chops (bone-in, about 3/4 to 1 inch thick)
2 Tablespoons butter
salt & pepper to taste
1 large sweet onion, chopped
pinch of caraway seeds
Rub a drizzle of EVOO on each side of pork chop, then sprinkle with salt, pepper & garlic powder to your taste.
Preheat large skillet with 2 Tablespoons butter & 1 Tablespoon EVOO. Sauté onions until golden.
Add sauerkraut & caraway seeds then continue to cook until juice is absorbed. Remove from skillet & set aside.
Raise skillet heat to high in order to produce a nice sear on the pork chops. When skillet is hot enough lower heat to medium-high & add pork chops, don’t crowd them and don’t move them until ready to flip over. Cook for 4-5 minutes. Once browned, flip over and continue to cook another 4-5 minutes on medium-high. When pork chops are done, remove from skillet & arrange on a platter. Cover with foil until sauerkraut is done.
Put the sauerkraut & onion mixture back into the hot skillet. Add 1 pat of butter. Heat for 3 minutes & stir regularly until hot. Place sauerkraut & onions in center of platter then place pork chops all around. Garnish with parsley, rosemary or thyme and serve.
Fennel Sausage, Peppers & Onions in Spaghetti Squash Boats
Today was the day to use up the spaghetti squash that was sitting on the counter for 2 weeks. We were remembering the zucchini or eggplant boats we used to make many moons ago & decided this was perfect for the spaghetti squash. Spaghetti squash is always a big hit with Jack & Gary. We had all the ingredients on hand so it was a no brainer. It's really delicious and satisfying.
2 small spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeds scooped out
1 lb chopped bulk pork
1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
2 extra-large cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons fennel seeds
EVVO to drizzle over squash
1½ tsp dried oregano
1 Tablespoon garlic powder for squash
salt & pepper to taste
2 bell peppers, seeded and sliced into 1/4-1/2 inches pieces (we had 1 orange & 1 yellow on hand)
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Pecorino Romano or Parmesan Cheese for garnish
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with tin foil.
Drizzle some EVOO over each half of squash then rub entire squash interior surface.
Sprinkle each half with salt, pepper, oregano and garlic powder.
Place each squash half face down on sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes depending, on squash size. Don’t over bake… squash skin should be tender but firm to touch.
While the squash is baking, brown the sausage meat & fennel. Once browned, add the salt & pepper, onions, minced garlic, and sliced peppers. Sauté until soft and golden. Keep warm.
When squash is done, remove from oven and let cool.
Once the squash is cooled take 2 forks to shred the squash, being careful not to cut through the skin. Spoon sausage mixture on top of each half.
Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella and return to oven until cheese melts.
Top with grated cheese and serve hot.
Note: We served this dish with sautéd Kale and garlic along with an arugula & baby spinach salad with a homemade lemon/balsamic vinaigrette.