Oven Roasted Bacon

I know this seems simple enough, but surprisingly, many people don’t know about this method for cooking bacon.  Oven roasting the bacon is quick, easy, and produces a nice crunchy evenly cooked bacon slice everytime.  I promise you that once you do this, you’ll never scorch your poor little hands frying bacon in a pan ever again!   And best of all, there’s no greasy messy stove top to clean when you’re done.

Oven Roasted Bacon

  • 1 pound thick cut bacon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper or aluminmum foil.  Lay out strips of bacon on pan side by side.  Bake in oven for about 15 – 20 minutes until the bacon is nice and crispy.  Remove from oven, and drain bacon on paper towels to remove excess grease.  Serve.

So, you can probably guess from the picture above where I’m going with this… crispy bacon = BLT!  I don’t eat this sandwich a lot, but something about smelling that bacon cooking and knowing that I had some wonderful ripe pearl tomatoes in my fridge made me start thinking about how good a BLT would taste.

I like mine that plain, old fashioned way.  Just 2 slices of lightly toasted white bread, laid out open faced, each with a dollop of Best Foods mayonaise spread on it.  Then I line each slice with 3 slices of bacon.  Put some tomatoes on one side, some lettuce on the other and press the 2 together.  Delish!

Just try to tell me you don’t want one of these right now!  Go ahead, make yourself one… it’s easy!

Cranberry Wild Rice Salad

We have this wonderful deli downtown.  It serves the best sandwiches I’ve ever had, hands down.  But what makes them truly unique is the beautiful salads displayed in their cold case.  I always have to get one on the side.  They are all so yummy!  This is one of my favorites, recreated by me… try it, it’s a  winner!

Cranberry Wild Rice Salad

  • 3 cups cooked wild rice
  • 1 box  (1 lb) orzo pasta, cooked as directed
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup whole pecans
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ½  cup chopped green onion
  • 1 cup blush wine vinaigrette, more or less to taste

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients.  Serve cold.  Serves 14.

Linking up at Stuff and Nonsense, It’s a Keeper Thursday, Somewhat Simple, Miz Helen’s Country Cottage, The Shabby Creek Cottage

Butter Roasted Lemon Shrimp

Butter Roasted Lemon Shrimp

This recipe is adapted from one that is floating around on Pinterest right now.  It’s super easy to make and my family LOVED it.  The butter melds with the shrimp and the lemony Italian hues are just right, not over powering.

  • One stick butter
  • 2 lemons, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (I use Emeril’s Italian Essence)
  • 2 lbs raw shrimp

In a 9×13 pan, and a 350 degree oven.  Melt a stick of butter in the pan. Remove pan from oven and put sliced lemons on top of butter.  Then layer the shrimp.  Sprinkle with the Italian seasoning and bake for 15 minutes.  Stir halfway through to coat shrimp with butter and seasoning.

Serve over rice with your favorite veggie.

Margie’s Energy Bars



My friend Margie brings these to our tennis matches for a quick pick me up, or an after match refresher.  They are simple to make and simply delicious to eat!  An added bonus, my kids LOVE them.


  • 2 ½ cups crisped rice cereal
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup raisins
  • ½ cup unsalted nuts (peanuts, sliced almonds, pecans, or use your favorite)
  • 1 bag mini marshmallows
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter


On a jelly roll pan, in a 250 degree oven, warm the cereal, oats and raisins for 10 minutes.


Meanwhile in a large pot over low heat, melt the butter, peanut butter and marshmallows.  Heat through and stir until well combined.


Add the warm dry ingredients to the marshmallow mixture, and stir to thoroughly coat.


Pour into a buttered 9×13 pan and press down to condense mixture.  Cut into squares and serve.

Shepherd’s Pie for St. Patrick’s Day

I used to make corned beef and cabbage every St. Patrick’s Day, but as it turns out, no one in my family is a big fan of that.  So, I found myself inviting friends over to help us eat the traditional Irish meal (Pereira’s, who know who you are), while the rest of my family surfed around the kitchen for something else to eat.  So, about 5 years ago I switched to another Irish favorite, Shepherd’sPie, and my family loves this!  One of their favorite meals, but I save it just for St. Patty’s Day/  They have to have something to look forward to, right?
Shepherd’s Pie
  • 2 pounds potatoes, such as Yukon gold, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons creme fraiche
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup cream or half and half
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil,
  • 1 3/4 pounds ground beef
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup beef stock or broth
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire, eyeball it
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup frozen tender white corn
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Boil potatoes in salted water until tender when poked with a fork. Drain potatoes and pour them into a bowl. Combine creme fraiche, butter, and cream. Add the cream mixture into potatoes and mash until potatoes are almost smooth.

While potatoes boil, preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil to hot pan with beef. Season meat with salt and pepper. Brown and crumble meat for 3 or 4 minutes. . Add chopped carrot and onion to the meat. Cook veggies with meat 5 minutes, stirring frequently. In a second small skillet over medium heat cook butter and flour together 2 minutes. Whisk in broth and Worcestershire sauce. Thicken gravy 1 minute. Add gravy to meat and vegetables. Stir in peas and corn.

Preheat broiler to high. Fill a small rectangular casserole with meat and vegetable mixture. Spoon potatoes over meat evenly. Top potatoes with cheddar cheese and broil 6 to 8 inches from the heat until cheese is melted and potatoes are evenly browned. Top casserole dish with chopped parsley and serve.

Farm Fresh Yumminess = THE BIG SALAD

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I just have to say again how lucky I am to live in the San Francisco Bay Area, where good food is plentiful and fresh food is easy to find.  I have 3 outstanding weekly Farmers Markets within a couple of minutes of my house, not to mention all the fabulous grocery and speciality food stores.  One of my favorite things is a little farm called  Capay Organic Farm, and the service they offer called Farm Fresh To You .  They are a completely organic farm that delivers fresh food straight to my door.  I subscribe to a once a month delivery, and I’m fully in love with the service!  In my delivery box each month are all the in-season vegetables , fruits, and even flowers.  It’s always such a treat to have the box arrive at my door.  I take it in the house, place it on the kitchen counter and tear into it to see what delicious fresh foods I’ll get to enjoy!  This month my box was full of pink lady apples, grapefruit, navel oranges, eureka lemons, mandarins, Haas avocados, strawberries, red leaf lettuce, cauliflower and carrots.  Can you imagine my delight?

Organic produce, on the whole, tends to go bad more quickly than say, produce you’d buy at a grocery store.  I’m not bashing grocery stores, they serve a purpose and most times the produce I buy there is really good, but getting this organic stuff make me feel like I’m doing something good, for the environment and for myself.  One of my favorite things to do is take the veggies, chop them up and crunch them down in a yummy BIG SALAD, like on Seinfeld, remember that?

There really nothing better than fresh lettuce, it’s just so sweet and light.  And farm fresh carrots?!?!  Carrots, like tomatoes, are one of those things that just taste entirely different when they are fresh.  They are earthy and crisp and so so yummy!  And this month I got cauliflower, which I prefer to eat raw, rather than cook all the flavor out of it, so of course that got chopped up and put in the BIG SALAD.

So, ok, this is more of a post than a recipe, but it’s just me, reminding you to eat fresh.  Eat organic.  Put good food in your body so good things can come out of you!  Food is the fuel for our productive days, so I say, eat the good stuff!  EAT A BIG SALAD!


Look what I’m making today… Sugar Cookie Perfection

This is a picture of our famous, light and fluffy sugar cookies.  Emily and I both make these as a regular item on our catering services.  We get hundreds of orders for these all year long.  They are ridiculously popular with our clients.  They are sugar cookie perfection!

So, I’m making some for my handsome nephew’s Eagle Court of Honor tonight.  They are his favorite, so I can’t disappoint by showing up with anything less.  He has worked so hard to achieve this huge goal, and we are so proud!!!!  The sugar cookies shall be his!

Unfortunately for all of you out there in “web land”, Emily and I have decided that this recipe, among others, will be saved only for our cookbook.  We have to keep you guessing, and we have to let you know that some of the VERY BEST recipes will only be available in our book.  But I just couldn’t resist putting up some pictures… maybe try to tempt you a little…

Stay tuned, the book will be coming out soon.  We are hard at work, and getting really excited to get it released!

Toasted Coconut Thumbprint Cookies with Salted Caramel

I cannot tell a lie.  This recipe comes from the queen, Martha Stewart.  It has been floating around on pinterest for a while now and I’ve always looked at it and thought, “hmmm, maybe I’ll try those.”  Then one day, my fabulous friend, Stacey, showed up at my door with a plate full of these in her hands!  They are so yummy.  And so worth the little bit of extra effort it take s to make them.  I served them at an event my mom and I catered in San Francisco the other night and they were a huge hit!

Toasted coconut Thumbprint Cookies with Salted Caramel

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Table salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 12 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
  • 44 small soft caramel candies (12 ounces), such as Kraft
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Large, flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. With mixer on low, gradually add flour and 1/2 teaspoon table salt, and beat to combine.Press dough together in plastic wrap, then roll into 1 1/4-inch balls.

    ( I skipped that last part and just used my small cookie scoop to create the dough balls, straight out of the mixing bowl, it worked just fine.  I’m all about finding an easier way.  I also scooped all my balls into a separate mixing bowl so that once the dipping began, I wouldn’t have to be trying to scoop balls again.  See picture below)

    Dip each ball in beaten egg, and roll in coconut.

    Place balls on parchment-lined baking sheets, and press an indentation into each with your thumb.

    Bake for 10 minutes, then remove sheets from oven, and re-press indentations.

    Bake cookies until golden, 9 to 10 minutes more. Let cool on wire racks.

  2. Place caramels and heavy cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the caramels are melted and mixture is smooth, 4 to 6 minutes.Spoon into indentations in cookies, and sprinkle with sea salt.

    Rewarm caramel if it hardens before all cookies are filled.


Fall Off The Bone Barbequed Baby Back Ribs

Before I came up with this delicious recipe, I wasn’t a big fan of ribs.  They always seemed to be so chewy, and sloppy.   But I live in a house with 4 boys , 3 children and 1 husband, and you know boys, they LOVE all things BBQ and especially ribs.  So, I came up with a way to prepare the ribs so they literally fall off the bone.  The meat is so tender and juicy.  I actually find myself craving these…  you will too!

These are little time consuming to make, (what good BBQ isn’t?).  But they are super easy… it’s just that you have to slow bake them for a few hours to soften them up.  So, don’t go into this thinking you’ll whip them out in half an hour.  Just be prepared for the time it takes.  It’s totally worth it!!!

Fall Off the Bone barbequed Baby Back Ribs

  • 2 slabs baby back ribs (you can use any type of rib, but baby back are really tender)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, whole
  • 1 cup your favorite barbeque sauce

Line a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil.  Place ribs on foil, bone side down (meaty side up).  Drizzle the ribs with the olive oil then scatter the garlic cloves over the top of the ribs.  Then use more aluminum foil to completely cover the pan and seal it up.  Put in a 325 degree oven for 3 hours.

Remove from the oven.  Prepare your BBQ or grill.   I use a gas grill so it just takes a couple minutes to warm up.  I put mine at about 4oo degrees.  Remove foil from top of rib pan, discard garlic cloves.  Slather the tops of the ribs with BBQ sauce.

Place ribs, bone side down, on your grill.  Be prepared for some flare ups, as the ribs are fatty and the olive oil drips.  That’s why the bone side is down, so the meat doesn’t burn.  Close the cover of the grill and let cook for about 7-10 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and adhered to the meat.

Remove from grill and slice between each bone to serve.  Serve with additional BBQ sauce on the side for people to add to taste.

Semi-Homemade Pizza Braid

We all need short cuts once in a while, right?  As I’ve mentioned before, I actually do a lot of semi-homemade cooking.  If there is a product that is just as good as something I can make at home, but it’s already made and probably less expensive to buy when you add up all the ingredients I would have to buy to make it, I totally take advantage and use that product!  In my book, there’s nothing wrong with that.  Work smarter, not harder, right?

I have access to some great restaurants, farmers markets and specialty grocery stores where I live, so I’d be a fool not to take advantage of that.  One of my favorite speciality grocery stores in Trader Joe’s.  They have store throughout the nation, so hopefully you have one near you as well.  If you don’t, let me just say, I’m sorry.  You’re missing out!

Even though we are blessed to have access to a Trader Joe’s right here in town, I’ve had so many people ask me why it’s so great.  They all want to know what I buy there.  EVERYTHING!  Every single thing they make is great, but here’s a recipe using a couple of pre-made TJ’s shortcuts.

Semi-Homemade Pizza Braid

  • 1 bag Trader Joe’s premade pizza dough (found in refrigerated section)
  • 1 container Trader Joe’s Pizza sauce (found by the dough in the refrigerated section)
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese (I buy this at TJ’s as well)
  • your favorite pizza toppings
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Turn out pizza dough onto a floured board and let rest for 20 minutes.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Then roll out in the shape of a rectangle.  In your mind, divide the rolled out dough into 3 vertical sections.  Put sauce (to taste), mozzarella cheese and desired toppings in the center section.  On each of the outer sections, slice the dough diagonally into strips (leaving in inside of the strip attached to the center of the dough).  See photo below

Starting at the bottom wrap the dough pieces over each other, working side to side.  At the top, tuck the edge pf the last piece under the previous piece.  Place on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray.  (I use a jelly roll pan and can fit 3 braids on one pan.)  In a small bowl microwave safe bowl, melt the butter.  Add garlic salt.  Brush mixture over the top of the braid.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until top is golden brown and bottom is cooked through.  Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes before slicing.