Wednesday, January 31, 2018


This is such an easy appetizer to make. If you want to serve a crowd, buy two boxes of the mini tarts and just keep filling!

1 box (15) filo or phyllo mini tarts
1 wedge Brie cheese, rind removed
1 jar of red pepper jelly
15 candied pecans, or regular pecans
Coarse sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place mini tarts on a rimmed baking sheet.

Cut some of the Brie into small pieces that will fit into the tart shell.
Spoon a small amount of red pepper jelly into the bottom of each tart shell.
Add a piece of Brie and then top with a pecan.

Bake until cheese is melted, about 7 minutes.

Sprinkle with a little sea salt and serve immediately.

Monday, January 29, 2018


My family always loved this recipe for Sloppy Joes. My kids would get so excited knowing we were having Sloppy Joes for dinner. They thought it was so much fun to eat a sloppy hamburger type sandwich. My husband and I like hot sauce on top of ours. You can also make these into sliders, which is a little less messy to eat.

1 T avocado oil
2 lbs lean ground beef
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14-oz) can fire roasted tomatoes
½ cup ketchup
½ cup chili sauce
2 T chile powder
2 T red wine vinegar
1 T brown sugar
1 T dry mustard
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T smoked paprika
1 t sea salt
½ t black pepper

Kaiser buns, lightly buttered and toasted under the broiler
Hot sauce

In a very large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, add oil and swirl around in the pan.
Add the ground beef and brown, while breaking it up with a wooden spoon.  

Add onion and cook another 5 minutes.  
Add the bell pepper, jalapeño, and garlic and continue cooking for another 3 minutes. 

Reduced the heat to medium and add the rest of the ingredients.  
Stir to combine, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.

Using an ice cream scoop, pile onto buns.

Serve with your favorite hot sauce and a green salad.

Serves 6

Monday, January 22, 2018


Cooking scallops at home is so easy and very quick. It is so important to dry your scallops with a paper towel and heat the skillet until almost smoking hot before adding the scallops. They cook in about 2 minutes on each side, so have your mashed potatoes ready and hot on the stove before cooking the scallops.

2 slices bacon, diced
8 large sea scallops
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 T avocado or peanut oil
1 shallot, minced
1 t unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup dry white vermouth

Mashed potatoes
2 lemon wedges

Cook bacon in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat until crisp.
Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate.
Discard most of the bacon grease.

Pat scallops dry with paper towels and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add oil to the same skillet and heat until almost smoking hot.
Add the scallops cook the scallops, without moving them, for 2 minutes, then flip over. If scallops do not release easily, let them cook a few more seconds. Cook another 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown. 
Transfer to a platter and keep warm.
Reduce heat to medium and cook the shallot for 2 minutes.
Add the butter and garlic and cook another minute.

Add the vermouth and stir up the browned flavorful bits from the skillet and cook another minute or two.

Add mashed potatoes to each warm plate.
Spoon the scallops on top of the mashed potatoes.
Sprinkle on the bacon bits and drizzle with the sauce from the skillet.

Serve with lemon wedges and a green vegetable or salad.

Serves 2

Saturday, January 20, 2018


I make this soup once a month during the cooler months. This soup is low on the glycemic scale and high in fiber. Collards are added because I love them...but also because they are a super green food and they lower LDL cholesterol. If you prefer kale or mustard greens, they are also known as a super green food. Rutabagas are added for their high levels of manganese, magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, and zinc. They are also a member of the cruciferous vegetables and have high antioxidant compounds that reduce the growth of cancerous tumors on the body. Mushrooms are added for its immune supporting ingredients and help fight against breast cancer. Turmeric is added for its anti-inflammatory benefits and gives your skin a healthy glow. Ginger is added for its natural cold-fighting properties. Cayenne pepper is added to speed up your metabolism and helps with congestion. 

Lee's Kitchen Tips:

If you want to further the health benefits of your vegetable soup and you are not a vegetarian, the addition of bone broth not only makes this soup even more delicious, but helps boost your immune system to heal disorders like asthma, arthritis, and allergies. You can make your own bone broth or buy it at a store. Adding 1 to 2 cups in place of 1 to 2 cups chicken broth or the water would be beneficial.

4 cups water
2 bunches collard greens, stems removed and chopped

1 T avocado oil or coconut oil
20 of your favorite mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and sliced
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 leek, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken stock, Bone Broth, or vegetable broth
1 large rutabaga, peeled and chopped
2 cups of frozen green beans, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 (14 oz) cans fire roasted cherry tomatoes
1 t dry or grated fresh turmeric
1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated
1 T freeze-dried basil
1 T freeze-dried oregano
1 T freeze-dried thyme
¼ t cayenne pepper   
Sea salt and finely ground black pepper

In a large soup pot, add the water and collards.
Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.
Add the mushrooms and sauté for 7 to 10 minutes, until golden.
Add the celery, leek, and onion and cook another 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and sauté another minute.

Spoon skillet ingredients into the soup pot and add the rest of the ingredients. 
Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, partially covered for 1 hour.

Monday, January 15, 2018


I had this salad at a restaurant several years ago and decided to make it at home with my favorite citrus dressing. If you prefer, roast the beets a day or two before serving. After they have cooled, place them in a covered container and refrigerate. You will also have extra salad dressing for another time.

Lee's Kitchen Tips:

Use disposable latex gloves when preparing beets and use a plastic cutting board instead of a wood cutting board.

2 large red beets 
Extra-light olive oil or avocado oil
4 small seedless oranges and some of the juice

Zest and juice of 1 lime
2 T lemon juice
¼ cup champagne or white wine vinegar
2 t Dijon mustard
1 T honey
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mixed salad greens
½ cup candied pecans or other nuts
8 oz goat cheese, cut into small chunks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut off ends of each beet. Using a potato peeler, peel the skin off of beets and cut into bite-size pieces.
Place beets in an ovenproof container, drizzle with a little oil and cover with a lid. 

Place in oven and bake for 40 minutes.
Place in a bowl and set aside to cool.

Peel oranges and cut out sections between membranes and place in another small bowl.  
Squeeze the juice from the membranes of 2 oranges into a medium bowl.  
Add the lime juice, lemon juice, vinegar, Dijon, and honey.
Whisk in the olive oil. 

In a large bowl, add washed and dried salad greens.
Drizzle on some of the vinaigrette and toss.

Divide among 4 salad plates and spoon on the beets and oranges.  
Scatter on the goat cheese, nuts, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Drizzle with a little more of the salad dressing and serve. 

Serves 4

Saturday, January 13, 2018


The best bloody mary I ever had was at a brunch in Virginia at the Kilmarnock Inn. I made my daughter's recipe for her Bloody Mary mix and added all of these delicious garnishes.

4 cups tomato juice
Juice of 2 lemons
2 limes, divided
1 T Worcestershire sauce
2 T celery salt, divided
2 t prepared horseradish
1 t coarsely ground black pepper
1 t hot sauce, such as Crystal or Louisiana


Celery sticks, lime wedges, stuffed green olives, pepperoncini peppers, pickled cauliflower, pickled carrot slices, and cornichons.

In a large pitcher, add the tomato juice, lemon juice, juice of 1 lime, Worcestershire sauce, 1 t celery salt, horseradish, black pepper, and hot sauce. Stir to combine.

In tall glasses, run a wedge of lime around the rim of the glasses. 

In a small saucer, add some coarse salt and some Tajin (chile peppers & lime) or Sriracha & Lime, dry spice.
Place rim of glasses in the salt mix to coat.
Add ice to tall glasses and pour in 2 ounces of vodka in each.
Fill the rest of the glasses with Bloody Mary Mix.
Add a stick of celery, a small lime wedge, and a cocktail pick fill with above garnishes.

Thursday, January 11, 2018


Arroz con pollo is a traditional Spanish and Latin American one-pot dish. I use a paella pan when I make it, but a heavy pot with a lid will work just fine. If you don't have saffron threads or powdered saffron, add a little more turmeric.

2 T avocado oil
2 T unsalted butter
8 oz Spanish or Portuguese chorizo sausage links, thinly sliced
10 bone-in chicken pieces, of your choice
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 
1 T sweet or hot paprika
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 t ground cumin
1 t ground coriander
1 t freeze-dried or fresh oregano
½ t saffron threads (optional)
2 t ground turmeric
Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
½ cups Arborio, Valencia, or short grain white rice
1 cup dry white wine
2 (14.5 oz) cans stewed tomatoes or diced tomatoes
1 qt chicken stock
2 bay leaves

3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup small pimento-stuffed green olives, cut in half
1 cup frozen peas
Sliced roasted red bell peppers, for garnish
Italian parsley, chopped, for garnish
Hot sauce, for serving

Heat olive oil and butter over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven or paella pan.
Add the chorizo and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes, until slightly crisp.
Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate and set aside.

Season chicken with salt, pepper, and paprika
Brown chicken on both sides then remove and set aside on the same plate.  

Add onion and bell pepper; sauté for 10 minutes.  
Add garlic and sauté another minute.
Add cumin, turmeric, coriander, oregano, and saffron. 
Stir in rice and add wine. 
Simmer for a couple of minutes.
Add tomatoes and break up with a wooden spoon.
Add chicken stock and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Return the chicken and chorizo to the pot and add the bay leaves.
Cover and simmer very slowly for 40 minutes.

After 45 minutes, remove and discard the bay leaves.
Add the green onions, olives, peas, and roasted bell pepper slices.
Cover again and simmer another 5 minutes.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve with hot sauce and black beans, if desired. 

Serves 4 to 6

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


I love a good bowl of French onion soup, especially on a cold winter's night. Serve this with a green salad. This is a truly romantic dinner for two while you listen to the music of French cabaret singer and songwriter, Èdith Piaf. Je suis Paris!

2 T avocado oil
4 T unsalted butter
6 large yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup dry sherry 
2 sprigs fresh thyme, tied together with butcher’s twine
2 bay leaves, preferably fresh
6 cups beef broth or stock
4 cups chicken broth or stock
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 
8 oz shredded Gruyère cheese
4 oz shredded Emmentaler Swiss cheese
1 baguette, sliced

Heat oil and butter in a large Dutch oven over low heat.  
Add onions and cook over low heat, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  
Remove lid and continue to cook for another 20 minutes, until golden, stirring occasionally.

Add garlic and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.
Add sherry and cook another 2 minutes, to reduce.
Add thyme sprigs, bay leaves, beef broth, and chicken broth.
Season to taste with salt and pepper

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer another 20 minutes.
Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaves.

While soup is simmering, arrange slices of bread on a baking sheet and bake in a 400 degree F oven for 6 to 8 minutes, until toasted, then set aside.

Ladle broth and onions in ovenproof soup bowls set on a baking sheet.  
Add the toasted bread, two per bowl and sprinkle with cheeses. 

Heat broiler with rack 6 inches from element.  
Place baking sheet with bowls of soup under the broiler and broil until cheeses are browned and bubbly, about 4 to 5 minutes.

6 servings