I am not a fan of turkey burgers! I like turkey, but it just doesn’t float my boat. I love chicken…so, I decided to grind my own chicken.

Whether it’s ground chicken or ground turkey, it will be much leaner than a standard 80/20. Ground beef patty. I used boneless chicken thighs. And, it does require some marinating to add flavor. Plus, I ground it in a food processor with a little bread crumbs and an egg. The recipe is below. Also, no medium rare burger here…165 degrees to properly and safely cook it.

It was surprisingly flavorful and tender! Certainly a different profile than GB, but really good…and not as fatty for sure.


  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, 3-4 small thighs
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 3 brioche hamburger buns
  • Shredded lettuce
  • 1 thin sliced tomato
  • Sliced onion (opt.)
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Pan spray


  • In a small bowl, mix together the paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. In another bowl, add the olive oil, minced garlic, chopped parsley, and spice mix.
  • Place the chicken thighs in a large sealable freezer bag then pour over the marinade. Press out the air, seal the bag, and massage the marinade all over the chicken so it all gets coated. Place on a plate in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  • Remove chicken from the marinade and place in a food processor. Pulse until the chicken is completely ground. Remove the blade then using gloved hands, scoop out 1/3 lb patties. Using patty paper or parchment paper on a plate, press into 1/2 thick patties the size of your buns with a small divot in the center. Season lightly with Kosher salt and pepper. Note: they will not shrink like ground beef patties.
  • Mix together the mayonnaise and the Dijon in a small bowl.
  • Heat a flat griddle over medum high heat. Spray generously with pan spray. When the griddle is very hot, add the chicken patties and cook about 3 minutes then flip over and cook another 3 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
  • Lightly coat the buns with butter and griddle to golden brown on another flat griddle or large skillet.
  • Spread the mayo/Dijon mix on the top of the bun. Place a cooked patty on the bottom bun. Add some shredded lettuce to the patty then the sliced tomatoes. Add the top bun and serve.


Ah…Taco Bell. Some of their menu items are good…some are nasty. Nachos Bellgrande are good, and here’s why. They’re loaded nachos…nachos with chips, refried beans, spicy taco meat, sour cream, and diced tomatoes…plus, any of their various taco sauce packets you want to drizzle on. I believe you can request pickled jalapenos and a spicier cheese sauce as well.

This recipe is for two people. Since we’re not big fans of the pickled jalapeno thing, we have left those off…but added sliced green onions. We also fried our own corn tortilla chips, though any good, crispy store bought chips will do…I would suggest you avoid Doritos Nacho Cheese as this is kind of a cheese and spice overload…but go ahead and use them if you wish. The nacho cheese recipe is wide open…make it as mild or as spicy as you want. This recipe is kind of medium spicy and utilizes a Mexican cheese blend of a sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack. To make the nacho cheese sauce, I chose to eliminate the flour roux and milk thing and opted for heavy cream and half and half. It makes such a creamy, smooth sauce. Be sure to make your nacho cheese sauce just before serving as it will form a thick film on the surface if it sits for any length of time. If you are not serving right away, just place piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper on the surface of the sauce until ready to serve.

I usually make my own refried beans from scratch, but this time I used Rosarita Refried beans and they work great as well as being a childhood favorite. I will include my taco seasoning recipe below for the meat since those taco seasoning packets from the grocery store are just gross!

This recipe makes one big nacho platter, enough for 2-3 people.


For the taco meat:

  • 1/2 pound 80/20 ground beef
  • Canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp taco seasoning (recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup pac Chunky salsa
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

For the cheese sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Mexican cheese blend (half sharp cheddar, half Monterey Jack)
  • 1/4 cup Pace Chunky salsa
  • 1/2 tsp taco seasoning (recipe below)
  • 1/2 tsp chile powder
  • Cayenne to taste
  • Crispy corn tortillas, store bought or home made
  • Rosarita Refried beans, store bought or home made
  • Sour cream
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Guacamole (optional)


  • Brown the ground beef in a medium saucepan or small skillet. Drain. REturn to the saucepan. Season with Kosher salt and black pepper to taste. Add 1/2 tsp taco seasonning. Add 1/4 cup salsa and 1/4 cup water. Bring to a simmer, lower the heat, cover, and cook about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and keep warm.
  • Heat the refried beans and add 1 tbsp unsalted butter and stir in.
  • To a small saucepan over low heat, add the cream and then the cheese. Stir while it slowly melted, don’t let it simmer. Add the salsa and the taco seasoning and continue letting. Add cayenne to taste for heat. Cover and keep warm.
  • To put together, warm the chips on a sheet pan in the oven for few minutes. Spread one layer of crispy tortilla chips on a platter. Add spoons of refried beans down the center. Add more corn chips. Then add spoons of taco meat until all of it is gone. Dot sour cream around the plate. Garnish with sliced green onions, chopped cilantro, and diced tomatoes. Add pickled jalapenos if using. Add guacamole if using. Serve immediately.


Contrary to some people’s beliefs…Bolognese is not a meat sauce made from bologna…or is it bologne! Just kidding…I digress.

So, what’s the different between Bolognese and plain Meat Sauce? Well…meat, basically. Meat Sauce is a tomato based sauce flavored with meat, usually ground beef. Bolognese is a meat based sauce flavored with a little tomato. Here’s how I make mine.

You’ll find dozens of recipes….a lot of them a very tomato forward. This one is meat forward all the way.

Where you can make a meat or marinara sauce in less than an hour, bolognese typically takes at least 2 hours. Take your time with it…stir it a lot…taste it….reseason it if necessary.


  • 1 medium onion, rough chop
  • 2 medium celery ribs, rough chop
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled, rough chop
  • 2 small cloves garlic
  • 3 ounces pancetta, diced
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds 80/20 ground beef
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 ounces wide pasta like pappardelle or tagliatelle
  • Grated parmesan cheese


  • To the bowl of a food processor, add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and pancetta. Process on low until everything is minced. Remove to a mixing bowl and set aside.
  • Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add 2 tbsp of olive oil. Crumble in the ground beef and break up with a wooden spoon. Let it cook, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink. Drain the liquid from the meat, place in a bowl, and return the pan to the heat. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil then add the minced vegetables and pancetta. Saute, stirring, for about 5 minutes until the vegetable are translucent. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the cooked ground beef and the wine (I used chardonnay) to the pan and bring to a simmer. Let it simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated. Smashing with a wooden spoon.
  • Add the tomato paste and incorporate into the meat and vegetables with the spoon. Add the chicken stock, the milk, and the bay leaf. Bring to a simmer again, stirring so everything gets incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. Not too much salt as the pancetta is salty. Lower the heat to a bare simmer. Cook, uncovered, for about 2 hours. If if becomes to dry before the 2 hurst’s, add little more stock. Stir the sauce often.
  • Taste and reseason if necessary. Cover and keep warm while the pasta cooks.
  • Cook the pasta in salted water al dente, do not drain.
  • Spoon a quantity of the sauce in a medium to large skillet over medium heat. The amount of bolognese should be determined by how much pasta you are making right now. You will have a lot of bolognese left over.
  • When the pasta is done, using a tongs, add the pasta to the bolognese in the skillet. Turn off the heat and toss the pasta in the Bolognese. Plate to pasta bowls, add more bolognese if desired, and serve with grated parmesan and chopped parsley.


I guess the avocado makes this a “California Chicken Club”. No matter why. Just take sliced roasted chicken breast, toasted sourdough bread, shredded iceberg, crispy bacon, ripe tomato, and a ripe Haas avocado…oh, and lots of mayonnaise…that’s it. Yo certainly can muddle it up with cheese and onions and other junk. But we don’t! The only question is should you have it open-faced or not? I prefer open-faced with a knife and fork as this is one messy thing to pick ip and stuff in your mouth?


  • Roasted chicken breast, sliced (rotisserie chicken works well)
  • 4 slices thin sliced sourdough bread
  • Unsalted butter
  • Whole mayonnaise like Best Foods or Hellmann’s
  • 2 slices bacon cut in half, cooked crispy
  • 1 large vine ripe tomato, thin sliced
  • 1 large ripe Haas avocado, peeled, sliced
  • Iceberg lettuce, thinly shredded
  • Kosher salt and black pepper


  • Cut the bacon slices in half and cook until crisp. Drain on a paper towel.
  • Slice the chicken breast against the grain into 1/4 inch slices. Leave the skin on if you have it. Season with salt and pepper
  • Peel and cut the avocado in half. Slice 1/4 inch. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Lightly butter both sides of the bread and grill on a flat griddle until golden.
  • Slather mayonnaise on all 4 slices of bread.
  • Thinly shred the iceberg lettuce.
  • Slice the tomatoes into 6 thin slices. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Build the sandwich in this order from the bottom up:
  • Bread
  • Mayo
  • Chicken
  • Lettuce
  • Bacon
  • Tomato
  • Avocado
  • Mayo
  • Bread


Never thought I would succumb to this “fair food” type item…but, I thought I would give it a try. Let’s face it, Arancini (fried cheesy risotto balls) have been around for a long time, and this is similar!

The Cheesecake Factory has a great menu that includes a lot of appetizers, and this is one of them.

I opted to adjust the breading from just regular bread crumbs to a mix of panko crumbs and crushed cheese puffs. It was a good move.

They were surprising lighter than expected…just make sure you are able to deep fry them at the right temperature. They really didn’t absorb a lot of oil.

Of course, one of the keys to great tasting Fried Mac and Cheese is the Mac and Cheese itself. My recipe below includes a Mac and Cheese recipe that works really well. Just allow it to cool completely, as in leftover Mac and Cheese, before making them.


For the Mac and Cheese:

  • 6 ounces of elbow macaroni
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded fontina or mozzarella cheese
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, cubed

For the cheese balls:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 1 cup Cheetohs cheese puffs
  • 1 cup panko crumbs
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • Creamy marinara and Ranch dressing for serving
  • Chopped parsley


  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  • To a large saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and allow to melt. Add the flour and stir for 1 minute Whisk in the milk and bring to a simmer. Add the cheeses and allow to melt completely, stirring. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the cook pasta and fold together completely. Pour into a flat baking dish, place in the refrigerator, and cool at least 2 hours. If cooling overnight, let cool then cover with plastic wrap.
  • Place the cheese puffs and panko crumbs into a food process and pulse until crumbled completely.
  • For the cold mac and cheese into 2 inch balls, pressing together so they don’t fall apart.
  • Set up a 3 bowl breading station. Place flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and cayenne in a bowl. Place eggs and 2 tbsp milk in another and beat well. Place breading mixture into the third. Bread the balls by dusting in the flour, shaking off excess. Drip in the egg wash. Then into the bread, rolling and patting until well coated.
  • Heat at least 2 inches of oil in a fryer or saucepan to 350 degrees. When the oil is hot, fry the balls until golden brown and crispy, about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels,
  • To serve, plate some cream marinara sauce on a plate, place 3 balls on the marinara. Serve with Ranch on the side and garnish with chopped parsley.


One of the 5 Mother Sauces in French cooking is red sauce, tomato sauce…marinara sauce. The basic difference between a classic tomato sauce and a marinara sauce is simplicity. Classic tomato sauce recipes use onions, carrots, celery, garlic, herbs, beef stock, a few spices and several hours of cooking. A simple marinara, like this one, comes together in less than an hour with only a few ingredients.

This marinara sauce works so well with any pasta or as the sauce in a lasagna or baked ziti.

It uses whole canned San Marzano tomatoes, though fresh ripe tomatoes works as well.

Don’t forget: season in layers…taste…then season again. Finishing with a couple pats of cold unsalted butter makes this sauce silky smooth.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onions
  • 4 small garlic cloves, thin sliced – about 2 tbsp of garlic
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 sprig of fresh basil and leaves
  • 1 tsp sugar (opt.)
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp of cold, unsalted butter


  • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium low heat. Add the diced onions and saute, stirring, abut 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Season with salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Add the tomatoes paste, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, basil sprig, and sugar.
  • Bring sauce to a simmer, lower the heat to low, and place the cover askew. Simmer for 45 minutes, checking and stirring once in a while.
  • Taste and reseason if necessary.
  • Turn off the heat. Add the cold butter and stir until melted.


I posted a version of this back in September, but this recipe is slightly different. It uses lean ground pork (instead of ground veal) and ground beef for the meatballs. Also, I chose to poach the meatballs in the stock instead of browning and baking them. I found this leads to a more tender meatball and is much easier in the long run.


For the meatballs:

  • 12 ounces of lean ground beef
  • 4 ounces of lean ground pork
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs, torn in small pieces
  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 egg

For the soup:

  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1/2 cup minced celery
  • 1/2 cup minced carrot
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry or white wine
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup Acini pasta (or Orzo)
  • 4 ounces baby spinach, stems removed
  • Grated parmesan for garnish


  • Place the bread crumbs and cream in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low for 1 minute. Add the rest of the meatball ingredients and mix on low for 3 minutes.
  • Form the mix into 1/2 ounce meatballs, about the size of a large marble, and place on a large plate. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • Place 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and saute for about 4-5 minutes until the vegetable begin to soften. Season lightly with salt and white pepper (black pepper is O.K.).
  • Add the dry sherry and stir for about 2 minutes. Add the stock, 1/2 tsp Kosher salt, 1/4 tsp of white pepper, and 1 tsp dry dill. Bring to a simmer, lower the heat, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Add the meatballs to the soup, cover, and simmer on low for 15 minutes.
  • Add the acini pasta to the soup, cover, and simmer for 7 minutes. Add the spinach and simmer for 1 minutes, making sure the spinach is covered. Taste and reseason if necessary.
  • Serve with grated parmesan cheese.
  • Note: Cool the soup immediately if not serving right away or for leftovers. If not cooled, the pasta will absorb too much of the soup.


Sure, it’s all about the meatballs…but, it’s also about the gravy.

I’m Danish and my Danish grandparents made Frikadeller (Danish meatballs) quite often when they came to visit. This recipe is similar, but closer to classic Swedish meatballs in Sweden. You’ll find many different recipes, but I settled on this one a long time ago.

I used ground pork, ground beef, and ground veal. Substitute ground chicken for the ground veal as ground veal can be hard to find.


  • 1 cup white bread, torn into small pieces
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup yellow onions, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 ounces leans ground beef
  • 4 ounces ground prok
  • 8 ounces ground veal or ground chicken
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp fresh ground nutmeg

For the gravy:

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

For serving:

  • Chopped parsley
  • Lingonberry preserves


  • To the stand mixer bowl, add the bread crumbs and 1 cup cream. Mix with paddle for 30 seconds. Let sit for 30 minutes.
  • Heat 1 tsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Add the minced onion and saute for 4-5 minuets until softened. Add the minced garlic and cook another 30 seconds. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Remove to a bowl and place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to cool.
  • To the mixer bowl, add the rest of the meatball ingredients including the onions and garlic. Using the paddle on low speed, mix for about 2-3 minutes until totally combined. Cover the bowl with plastic and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes for all the flavors to combine.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Using a small scoop or melon baller, portion out the meatballs the size of a ping pong ball and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. When all the meatballs are portioned, using your hand dipped in water, mold them into smooth ovals and return to the parchment paper. Do not smash them together, leave them a little loose so they remain tender. Bake for about 15 minutes, longer if you made the meatballs bigger. Remove from there sheet pan to a bowl and keep warm in a large bowl.
  • For the gravy, heat the butter in a small saucepan. Then add the flour to make a roux. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring. Whisk in the stock and bring to a simmer, letting it thicken. Add the Worcestershire and stir in. Add the cream and heat through. Taste and reseason if necessary.
  • Add most of the gravy to the meatballs in the bowl and gently fold in. Save a little bit of the gravy for plating.
  • Plate with more gravy and chopped parsley. Serve with buttered egg noodles or butter parsley potatoes…and lingonberry preserves.


I don’t know why I don’t make these more often…they’re so good!

This is my recipe for Twice Baked Potatoes. Changed up the ingredients to suit your taste, that’s the fun part. Even if you just add a little butter and salt and pepper, it’s a winner.

My suggestion: Don’t whip the potatoes, as this can make them too gummy. Just scoop out the flesh and fold in the stuff.


  • 2 large Russet potatoes
  • Canola oil
  • Kosher salt and white or black pepper
  • 1 stick (or more) of unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes plus more for melting
  • 3 thick slices of bacon, cooked, chopped
  • 1/3 cup cream (warmed)
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled, smashed
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 1/2 cup shredded white cheddar
  • 2 tbsp sour cream (opt.)


  • Place the cream in a small saucepan with the garlic clove, thyme, and rosemary sprig. Bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for 20 minutes to steep and infuse with all that flavor from the garlic and herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
  • I like to minced my bacon in a small food processor. Save 1/3 of it for garnishing.
  • Preheat the oven to 400. Wash and dry your potatoes. Rub with canola oil. Bake for about 1 hour until fork tender. Remove from oven.
  • Slice off the top 1/3 of the potato. Save the top for later. You need to remove the flesh while it is still hot, so place the potato in a kitchen towel. Using a large soup spoon, scoop out the flesh into a mixing bowl. Scoop the flesh out of the top you cut off and save the top.
  • While the potato flesh is still hot, add 1/3 of the butter and fold in until melted. Add 1/2 the warm infused cream and fold. Add another 1/3 of the butter and fold it in. Add the rest of the cream and the rest of the butter and fold together. Fold in the minced bacon. Season with salt and pepper. Taste and reseason if necessary.
  • Place the cut off tops of the potato in the bottom of the potatoes. This will help give it more height for a better presentation. Spoon the potato flesh into the skins evenly and smooth a rounded top. Take a fork and rough up the surface of the flesh. Brush the tops of the potatoes and sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until the top is nice and golden brown. Garnish with minced bacon and chopped chives.


If I had to choose today, this would be my favorite soup. It’s got Italian sausage, potatoes, a lot of garlic, and kale. A full meal soup that comes together in less than an hour, and, the leftovers freeze well.

You can substitute spinach for the kale, but kale holds up better. Also, if you aren’t going to eat this soup right away, then cool it down quickly as the potatoes can get mushy if it sits around on the stove too long.


  • 2 thick slices of bacon, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3/4 lb Italian sausage links (about 2), casings removed
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt and white pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 large Russet potato
  • 1 cup cream or half and half
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • Chopped chives


  • Place the leeks, garlic, onion, and bacon in a food processor. Pulse until it is all minced fine.
  • Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil and butter. Add the vegetable/bacon mixture and the Italian sausage. Crumble and chop the sausage. Stir and cook everything for about 8 minutes until the sausage is no longer pink. Add the red pepper flakes, thyme leaves, bay leaf, and salt and white pepper to taste.
  • Deglaze the pan with the dry sherry and bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat, cover, and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Do not peel the potato. Cut lengthwise twice into quarters then slice 1/4 thick pieces. Add the potatoes and cook on low, covered, for about 9 minutes until the potatoes are just fork tender but not mushy. Add the cream and heat through. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Taste and reseason if necessary.
  • Serve garnished with grated parmesan and chopped chives or green onions.