Roasted Heirloom Tomato and Garlic Sauce

My garden is currently bursting with huge amounts of beautiful heirloom tomatoes and gorgeous herbs. There’s no way I can eat all of that bountiful produce fresh, but what I can do is make amazingly tasty pasta sauce that we can enjoy throughout the winter months. 

Isn’t that one reason we garden, after all? So that we can enjoy the fruits of our labor, even months after growing season has passed? Something about prepping and freezing food for the winter just feels so prairie woman-ish, and that appeals to me. Perhaps not the whole prairie woman life is ideal, but the growing and cooking part is right up my alley. 

This roasted heirloom tomato and garlic sauce is flavorful, herby, and garlicky, and is adorned with the subtle sweetness of the fresh tomatoes. It is wonderful on pasta when it is freshly made, but also freezes very well and still tastes great months after it was made. So if you have an abundance of tomatoes right now, make loads of this sauce. It’s so good that I promise you will run out of your supply before next growing season. 


2 lb. ripe heirloom tomatoes, or any other fresh variety of tomatoes

2 Tbsp. olive oil

3 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed

½ yellow, onion, diced

2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped

1 Tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped

⅔  c. white wine

¼ c. tomato paste

1 tsp. honey

1 tsp. red chili flakes 

Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 

Combine the tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil on a lined baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes, stir, and roast for 15 more minutes. Remove from the oven.

Dump everything from the cookie sheet, including the oil, into a large skillet. Add the onion and cook on medium high heat for about 5 minutes. Add the wine, honey, and tomato paste, stir to combine, and cook for 1-2 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree about half of the sauce until it is somewhat smooth, leaving the other half chunky. Add the fresh basil and oregano, and simmer for 20 minutes or so, until the sauce thickens.

Season with salt, pepper, and red chili flakes and serve with pasta. 


Tartlet Duo: Pear, Goat Cheese, and Caramelized Shallot and Garlicky Oyster Mushroom and Gruyere with Herbs

Fall is officially here, and this year there won’t be Zoom holiday gatherings (so glad that’s behind us). That means that we get to start doing one of the best things about the magical season that awaits: entertaining and enjoying the company of friends and family in real life. And what’s definitely one of the most magical things about these gatherings? The food, namely appetizers, of course!

Appetizers are so much fun to eat. They’re usually smallish, loaded with flavor, and just so much fun to eat. But for me, there’s no appetizer that can quite measure up to homemade tartlets – both savory and sweet! They look fancy, taste amazing, and don’t take long to make. 

This tartlet duo offers the best of both worlds. One is all savory, the other savory-sweet. I can’t decide which one is more magical, but I’ll tell you this: there won’t be any leftovers of these tartlets at a party. In between the oohs and ahhhs from your guests, they will definitely be sneaking more than their fair share of these. But appetizer calories don’t count, am I right?

Pear, Goat Cheese, and Caramelized Shallot Tartlets:


2-3 medium ripe pears, thinly sliced

1 package of puff pastry dough, thawed

4 large shallots, thinly sliced

2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

2 tsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped

2 Tbsp. butter

3-4 goat cheese, crumbled

1 egg, beaten

Salt and pepper

Honey, for topping (if desired)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Heat 2 Tbsp. of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook slowly (about 10-15 minutes), or until soft and browned. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook until the vinegar is cooked down and resembles syrup. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and set aside. 

Lay one sheet of puff pastry out on a floured surface. Cut the sheet into six equal-sized pieces (or 12 pieces if you prefer smaller appetizers). Place on a lined baking sheet with about 1 inch between each piece. 

Place the cooked shallots in the center of each piece of puff pastry. Top with a few slices of pears, followed by the goat cheese crumbles. Sprinkle a little rosemary on top. Brush the edges of the pastry with the beaten egg. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown around the edges. 

Serve with honey drizzled on top, if desired. 

Garlicky Oyster Mushroom with Gruyere and Herb Tartlets


1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed

2 c. oyster mushrooms, cleaned and chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 shallots, finely chopped

2 Tbsp. butter

½ c. gruyere cheese, shredded

1 tsp. thyme

1 tsp. rosemary

1 egg, beaten

Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Heat the butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the shallots and cook for about 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook for about 4-5 minutes, or until soft and fragrant. Add the garlic, thyme, and rosemary, and cook for one more minute. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, and set aside. 

Lay one sheet of puff pastry out on a floured surface. Cut the sheet into six equal-sized pieces (or 12 pieces if you prefer smaller appetizers). Place on a lined baking sheet with about 1 inch between each piece. 

Place the mushroom mixture in the center of each piece of puff pastry. Top with the shredded gruyere. Brush the edges of the pastry with the beaten egg. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown around the edges. 

Top with extra chopped herbs, if desired. 


Rob’s Steak Rub

Don’t use store-bought steak rub, dude. You’re better than that. This steak rub will elevate your steak game and takes only moments to throw together. My brother-in-law’s steaks are famous around these parts for a good reason. They are amazing, and it’s because of this simple, straightforward spice combo. 


2 Tbsp. garlic powder

2 Tbsp. onion powder

2 Tbsp. kosher salt

2 Tbsp. black pepper

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 Tbsp. dried dill 

Place all ingredients into a spice jar. Shake to combine. 

Salads Uncategorized

Best of Winter Salad

It’s winter, which I know doesn’t necessarily cause most of us to conjure up images of salads in our minds. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t salad season all winter long. It just means that salads can include heartier, more comforting combinations of ingredients. Enter the Best of Winter salad. 

This salad is chock full o’ all of the best winter-themed add-ins, like bacon, rich gorgonzola cheese, pears, and salty-sweet pecans lightly drizzled with a light, but savory shallot dressing. Now if that doesn’t sound good, no matter the season, I just don’t get you.


6 oz. mixed greens

½ c. gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

4-6 slices of bacon, cooked and cut into small pieces

½ c. pecans

2 pears, sliced

Shallot dressing

Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Add the shallot dressing slowly, tasting and tossing until the desired amount  of dressing is on the salad. Enjoy!

Chicken/Turkey Sandwiches Uncategorized

Hot Pesto Chicken Sandwich with Arugula

This Italian-inspired hot sandwich is just the thing to get you through a cold winter day. While most of the ingredients in this sandwich would normally be associated with summer, this hot version is cozy and filling and just what your body needs on a frigid day. 

I prefer to serve the hot pesto chicken sandwich on a small country loaf filled with plenty of pesto chicken, red peppers, mozzarella and arugula. What takes this sandwich up a notch is definitely the last step of baking it in the oven so that all of the flavors meld together perfectly.  


2 small country loaf buns

½ c. shredded chicken

¼ c. pesto

¼ red pepper, thinly sliced

2 tsp. olive oil

2 slices mozzarella

Handful of baby arugula

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425. 

Heat 1 tsp. olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the red pepper and cook until slightly browned. Add the chicken and pesto and cook quickly until hot. 

Cut the buns lengthwise and place mozzarella slice on the bottom half and drizzle a bit of olive oil on the top half. Season the olive oil side with salt and pepper. Place the chicken, red pepper and pesto mixture on top of the mozzarella. Top with a handful of fresh arugula. Wrap tightly with foil and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and arugula is wilted.

Enjoy immediately! 

Breakfast Uncategorized Vegetarian

Breakfast Superfood Power Bowl

If you’re sick of eating the same ol’ breakfast every morning, try this breakfast superfood power bowl. Not only is it savory and super-tasty, it will make you feel like you can do anything. This little bowl of superpower-inducing foods is packed with protein, healthy fats, and healthy greens. It tastes like yummy brunch food, but instead of weighing you down and making you wish for a nap, it gives you power! 

This breakfast bowl would be perfect for a pre-climbing, hiking, or skiing meal because it is warm and comforting, and will keep you full and energized for many hours. If you eat this before you head to the hills, you can just keep adventuring right through lunch. 


1 c. cooked quinoa, seasoned with salt and pepper

1 avocado, sliced

2 green onions, sliced

4 c. fresh baby spinach

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. olive oil

Lemon juice

2 eggs

1 Tbsp. butter

½ c. feta cheese crumbles

½ c. microgreens

Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Cook spinach and garlic until the spinach is wilted. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. 

In another skillet, heat butter over medium high heat and cook eggs until they are done to your liking. I like mine sunny-side up! Season with salt and pepper. 

Divide the quinoa equally among two bowls. Squeeze lemon juice over the top of the quinoa. Top with spinach, egg, avocado slices, green onions, feta cheese, and microgreens. Season with salt and pepper.  Enjoy immediately!

Fish/Seafood Uncategorized

Creamy Fish Florentine

Fish Florentine is one of those great meals that looks beautifully presentable and tastes decadent, but is still reasonably healthy. This is a good go-to meal when you want a meal that is loaded with veggies, but also a little naughty and rich. Fish Florentine makes you feel like you’re eating a calorie-packed pasta dish with creamy sauce, but with much less guilt and just as much satisfaction.

I like to serve my Fish Florentine over seasoned quinoa, rice, or potatoes, which definitely takes the guilt up a notch. But it’s worth the extra guilt because of the scoop factor. You’ll definitely want to pair this fish with something that will help you to scoop up every last morsel of this sauce, trust me. You may even opt for a baguette on the side because the last thing you’ll want to do is let this sauce go to waste. 


4 pieces of halibut, sea bass or cod

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. butter

10 c. fresh baby spinach leaves

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 roma tomato, chopped

1 large shallot, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 oz. cream cheese

¼ cup whole milk

Salt and pepper to taste

Shredded Parmesan cheese, for topping

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add red bell pepper and shallots and cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic and tomatoes and cook for one more minute. Add spinach leaves and cook until the leaves are wilted, but not soggy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the cream cheese and milk. Stir until the cream cheese and milk are warm and melted. Set aside. 

Pat your fish dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides. In a new, clean skillet, heat butter over medium high heat. Place the fish into the skillet and cover. Cook for about 4-6 minutes, flip over and cook until the fish is flaky and cooked through. 

Serve the fish on top of the spinach mixture or on the side. Top with Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Sandwiches Uncategorized Vegan Vegetarian

Vegan Tofu Banh Mi Sandwich

This meatless version of the Vietnamese banh mi sandwich is blow-your-socks-off good. The banh mi sandwich is nearly the perfect food because it marries together foods from two very different culinary empires: Vietnam and France. Rumor has it that the French introduced Vietnam to the baguette long ago when Vietnam was part of French colonial territories. Over the years, the Vietnamese embraced the baguette and eventually, these sandwiches were created and became very popular street food. This amazing sandwich later landed here, where we now know and love them. 

While traditional banh mi sandwiches are packed with pork, this version showcases marinated tofu. And it’s delicious. It might even be better than the original version. Try it for yourself, and let me know what you think!



½ block extra firm tofu

1 inch knob of ginger, minced

1 clove of garlic, minced

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

2 tsp lemongrass paste

Pickled veggies:

2 carrots, julienned or thinly sliced

1 cucumber, julienned or thinly sliced

½ c. apple cider vinegar

½ c. rice wine vinegar

½ c. water

1 Tbsp. sugar

2 tsp. sesame seeds

Salt and pepper


2 demi baguettes

1 jalapeno, thinly sliced

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

2 green onions, sliced

Vegan mayo (or regular if you’re not vegan)

Sriracha (optional)

Mix all of the ingredients for the pickled veggies together and let them marinate for at least 30 minutes (or even for several days). 

About 30 minutes before cooking, drain the tofu, wrap it in a kitchen towel and press it. You can do this by placing a plate on top of the tofu, and then a heavy item, like a stock pot, on top of the plate for about 10 minutes. This will help remove excess water from the tofu. 

Slice the tofu into ½ thin inch pieces that are long and flat. Mix together all of the other ingredients for the tofu in a bowl. Add the tofu carefully and let it marinate for 15 minutes. Place it on a foil-lined baking sheet. 

Turn the oven to broil (low) and broil for 8-10 minutes. Flip over and broil the other side for 8-10 minutes, or until browned and crispy on both sides. Set the tofu aside to cool. 

To assemble the sandwich, split the baguettes lengthwise. Spread one half with vegan mayo and the other half with sriracha (if you like it). Add the tofu, topped by the pickled veggies. Place the jalapenos, cilantro, and green onions on top. Close the sandwich and tear into it!


Insanely Delicious Slow Cooker Carnitas

In this house, we call carnitas meat candy.  This stuff is addictive, and none of us can stop eating when we have these magical pieces of shredded pork around. One time, my daughter’s friend spent the night at our house when we had carnitas for dinner. By the next morning, literal pounds of the meat was missing from the fridge and she admitted to eating all of it because “she couldn’t help it.” I took it as a compliment. This is not a made up story . . . you know who you are!

Anyway . . .these carnitas are the bomb. They are tender, but crispy. Brimming with savory flavor with a tangy twist. They taste like a day on a Mexican beach. Add them to tacos, burritos, taquitos, salads, nachos, or anything that would taste better topped with carnitas. And, sorry . . . but you might be sneaking to the fridge all night for “just one more bite.” 


3 lb. pork shoulder

1 large yellow onion, sliced

3 garlic cloves, smashed 

One orange, halved

½ c. olive oil

1 c. chicken broth

1 Tbsp. cumin

2 tsp. oregano

Salt and pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients in the slow cooker, except for the salt and pepper. Turn the heat on low and cook for 8 hours, or until the pork is easily shredded with two forks.

When the pork is tender, remove the orange halves and shred the pork using two forks. Set your oven to broil and spread out carnitas evenly on a baking sheet. Broil the carnitas for about 5 minutes or until brown and crispy. 

Salads Sides Uncategorized

Kale Caesar Salad

There’s just something about those curly, hearty leaves that makes a kale Caesar salad even better than the original. A kale Caesar is substantial, filling, and made especially delicious by the way the dressing sticks to all of those nooks and crannies in the kale leaves. It’s like kale and Caesar dressing were made for each other. 

This salad is amazing on its own or topped with chicken, salmon, or baked tofu. It’s quick, simple, and tastes like a garlicky, heavenly treat. Whip up this 5-minute salad for lunch and you’ll be happy for the rest of the day.


1 bunch of organic kale, curly or lacinato 

¼ c. grated Parmesan

1 garlic clove, minced

4 flat anchovies, patted dry and finely minced

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 Tbsp. mayonnaise 

¼ c. olive oil

2 Tbsp. water

Salt and pepper, to taste

Parmesan cheese, for topping

Italian breadcrumbs, for topping

Whisk together the Parmesan, garlic, anchovies, lemon juice, mayonnaise, olive oil, and water until an emulsion is formed. Add salt and pepper to taste.

In a large bowl, massage the kale with your hands for about 30 seconds. This helps to make the kale more tender. Toss in dressing, mixing with your hands. Top with Parmesan and breadcrumbs. Enjoy!