Chinese Five-Spice Pork Wraps



This slow cooked pork is amazing!  It takes a while to cook but well worth it and only 15 minutes to prep.  Perfect for tailgating or having friends over to watch a football game.

Chinese Five-Spice Pork Wraps
Serves 10-12
7-8 pound bone-in pork shoulder, trimmed
2 tablespoons Chinese five spice
1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons blended oil
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped    *(see my short cut tool below for garlic)
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons Sriracha hot chili sauce
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a small bowl, mix together the Chinese five spice, salt and pepper.  Rub all over the pork, set aside.
In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat and cook the seasoned pork for 1-2 minutes on each side then remove the pork.
In the same Dutch oven over medium heat, add the onions and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook another 1-2 minutes.  Next, add the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sriracha and chicken broth.  Remove from the heat and place the pork on top of the onion mixture.
Cover and cook 1 hour, then lower oven temperature to 275 degrees and continue cooking another 4-4 1/2 hours.  Baste every couple of hours.
Remove the cooked pork and place on a cutting board to rest until cool enough to shred the pork.
For the wraps
Butter lettuce leaves
Hoisin sauce
3 green onions, chopped
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Lime wedges
Place your lettuce leaves on a serving plate, spread with a little hoisin sauce. Add the warm pork and top with the green onions and cilantro. Serve with a lime wedge.

*Pampered Chef Garlic Press, this is one of my kitchen favorites.

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Easy Pizza Sauce and Toppings


You can make the sauce in advance and keep in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.

For the pizza crust I either buy pizza dough or Naan bread (garlic or plain). I usually have fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, mushrooms and cheese on hand so it’s quick and easy to pull out some Naan bread from my freezer, stored pizza sauce and add my toppings of choice and bake!

Pizza Sauce


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1-2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, grated
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a pot then add the onions and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook another 1-2 minutes then add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, Italian seasoning, Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

Continue cooking for 20-25 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down.  Check for seasoning.

Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth or blend in a food processor or blender.

Be as creative or simple as you like…

Caramelized onions
Mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil
Cherry or Roma tomatoes, sliced
Italian sausage, pre-cooked and sliced
Pepperoni slices
Mushrooms, sliced
Roasted garlic
Red onions, sliced
Bell peppers, diced
Jalapenos, sliced

Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes until toppings are golden and cheese is melted.


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Goat Cheese & Lemon Ravioli



Goat Cheese and Lemon Ravioli
Serves 4
Pasta dough
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 eggs
2 ½ cups flour, extra for rolling
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
Grated zest of 3 lemons
11 ounces soft goat cheese
1/3 teaspoon sea salt
Pinch of chili flakes
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 egg white, beaten
Finish with
2 teaspoons pink peppercorns, finely crushed
1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
grated zest of 1 lemon
grapeseed oil
fresh lemon juice (optional)
To make the pasta dough. Whisk together the oil and eggs. Put the flour, turmeric and lemon zest in a food processor, add the oil and egg mixture and blend to a crumbly dough. It might require extra flour or oil. Once the dough has come together and is smooth (you may need to work it a little by hand), divide it into four thick, rectangular blocks. Wrap them in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 days.

Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Take one piece of dough and flatten it on the floured surface with a rolling pin. Set your pasta machine to the widest setting and pass the dough through. Repeat, narrowing the setting by a notch each time, until you get to the lowest setting. When each sheet is rolled, keep it under a moist towel so it doesn’t dry out.

To make the filling. Combine the filling ingredients, apart from the egg white, in a bowl and crush together with a fork.

Use a pastry cutter or the rim of a glass to stamp out roughly 3-inch discs from the pasta sheets. To shape each ravioli, brush a disc with a little egg white and place a heaped teaspoon of filling in its center. Place another pasta disc on top. Dip your fingers in flour, then gently press out any air as you seal the edges of the two discs together. You should end up with a pillow-shaped center surrounded by an edge that is just under 3/8 inch wide. Seal the sides of the edges together firmly until you can’t see a seam where the two discs meet. As they are made, place the ravioli on a dish towel or tray sprinkled with semolina. Leave to dry for 10 to 15 minutes. (You can now cover the tray with plastic wrap and keep the ravioli in the fridge for a day.)

When ready to cook, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Cook the pasta for 2 to 3 minutes, or until al dente. Drain and divide among four plates. Sprinkle with pink peppercorns, tarragon and lemon zest. Drizzle grapeseed oil over the ravioli and around them, sprinkle with extra salt and a squirt of lemon juice, if you like, and serve at once.

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Easy Cheese & Scallion Quiche


Cheese QuicheCheese & Scallion Quiche
This is not only great for breakfast but also for lunch or dinner served with a fresh garden salad.

1 store bought pie crust OR homemade pie crust
1-1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1-1/2 cups shredded Havarti or Swiss cheese
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 scallions, chopped
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In medium bowl, combine all the ingredients and beat with a wire whisk until smooth and incorporated. Pour into crust.  Bake for 35-40 minutes until quiche is puffed, golden brown, and set.  

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Mexican Chicken Salad


Mexican Chicken Salad
Serves 4
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced lengthwise
3 tablespoons olive oil plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
Mexican spice blend (recipe below)
2 romaine hearts
2 fresh ears of corn, grilled
fresh salsa (recipe below)
fresh quick guacamole (recipe below)
1 lime, quartered for garnish
In a shallow dish place sliced chicken and rub with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, coat with the Mexican spice blend to marinate.  Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Heat grill.
Brush corn with 1 teaspoon olive oil and cook on grill for 8-10 minutes. Remove and let cool then slice off the kernels, set aside.
Grill marinated chicken breasts until cooked, about 12-15 minutes.  Remove and slice.
On serving plates, divide the lettuce then top with sliced chicken, grilled corn, salsa and guacamole.  Garnish with lime wedges.
Mexican Spice Blend
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 ½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon black pepper

Blend ingredients together and store in an airtight container until ready to use.

Quick Guacamole

2 avocados, large diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup red onion, small diced
juice from 1/2 fresh lime
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a food processor add all the ingredients and pulse until combined. 
Hint:  If storing, leave one of the avocado pits in your mixture and place plastic wrap directly on top of mixture to prevent turning brown.

1 large tomato, quartered

1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup yellow onion, small diced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a food processor add all the ingredients and pulse until combined. 

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Italian Sausage Hoagie


These Italian sausage hoagies are quick and easy to make for a quick lunch or dinner.

Italian Sausage Hoagies

Serves 4

4 hot or mild Italian sausage links
1 tablespoon blended oil
1 small yellow onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 hoagie rolls
2 tablespoons butter, softened
dijon mustard

In a large saute pan heat the oil, add the onions and peppers and cook on medium heat until soft (about 10 minutes). Set aside.

Lightly butter the inside of each hoagie roll and lightly grill open-faced for 2-3 minutes.

Grill sausages until cooked, let rest for 5 minutes then slice in half.  Assemble the hoagies and enjoy!

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Mini Red Potato Bites

Mini Red Potato Bites

Your friends and family will love these mini potato bites.  I serve them with sour cream and salsa.   


1½ Pounds red potatoes
1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ Cup mayonnaise
½ Cup sliced green onions
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
10 Slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
Sour cream, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

On a large baking sheet place potatoes and bake 35 minutes or until tender. Let stand until cool enough to handle.  Cut each potato in half, then cut a thin slice from bottom of each potato half to allow them to sit flat.  With a small spoon, scoop pulp from potatoes leaving a ¼-inch shell. 

Place the pulp in a bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients.  Spoon or pipe potato filling into the potato shells.  Arrange filled shells on baking sheet and broil 3 minutes or until golden and heated through.  Serve with sour cream.


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Creamy Broccoli Soup


Creamy Broccoli Soup


Creamy Broccoli Soup

Serves 4
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ half large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 small potato, peeled and chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds fresh broccoli stems removed
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or less depending how thick you prefer your soup)
1/2 cup half and half
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a medium pot, heat the butter and oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onions, carrots and potato.  Cook for 4-5 minutes then add the garlic and cook for one additional minute.  Add the broccoli, chicken stock and bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer uncovered until the broccoli is tender. 
Stir in the half and half.  Next, using either an immersion blender or a regular blender. puree the soup until smooth and return to the pot.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Peach, Strawberry & Blueberry Mini Crumbles

I love desserts but only every once in a while and tend to only make when having friends over.

For this recipe, several hours prior to my guests’ arrival I mix the fruit filling, divide into the ramekins, cover and refrigerate.  Then I mix up the topping and set aside.  Once everyone is sitting down to enjoy dinner I top the fruit filled ramekins with the topping and bake.  Great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

These are so quick and easy to make – Try them, your family and friends will love them!

Peach, Strawberry & Blueberry
Mini Crumbles
Fruit filling
1 Bag frozen sliced peaches
3/4 Cup fresh strawberries, sliced
3/4 Cup fresh blueberries
2 Teaspoons fresh lemon zest, chopped
Lemon juice from 1 lemon
1/2 Cup sugar
1/4 Cup all-purpose flour


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl add the peaches, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and flour. Mix together and let sit 10 minutes. Gradually add the strawberries and blueberries. Divide the fruit mixture into 6-8 ramekins.

1 Cup all-purpose flour
1/3 Cup sugar
1/4 Cup light brown sugar
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 Stick cold unsalted butter, diced

In a medium bowl add the flour, sugar, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and butter.  With a hand mixer beat on low speed until the butter has formed tiny balls then sprinkle on top of the fruit filled ramekins.  Bake for 40 to 45 minutes.


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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup


Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash

1 large butternut squash (1 1/2-2 pounds)
1 ounce hazelnuts3 tablespoons unsalted butter1 yellow onion, chopped4 fresh sage leaves, shredded3 cups chicken stocksalt and pepper to tastepinch of nutmegHeavy cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Using a tip of a knife make a few pricks on the squash to prevent it exploding while roasting in the oven.  Place on a large baking sheet and cook for 1 hour until the squash is soft.  Remove from the oven and let cool slightly then cut in half lengthwise and remove and discard the seeds and fibers.  Scoop out the pulp into a bowl and set aside.Roasted Butternut Squash

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Spread the hazelnuts onto a baking sheet and toast until fragrant and the skins have loosened, about 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and place the hazelnuts into a kitchen towel and rub to remove the skins.  Chop and set aside.

In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter.  Add the onions and half of the sage and cook for 8-10 minutes.  Add the stock and the squash pulp, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for a few minutes to combine the flavors. Remove from the heat.Roasted Butternut Squash



Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender or food processor. Return to a clean saucepan and reheat over medium-low heat.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the nutmeg.  Garnish with the chopped hazelnuts and the remaining sage and drizzle a little heavy cream on top.Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

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