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Filtering by Category: Recipes

a Kefta kinda night...


There is always a constant struggle of missing my old "life" in North Africa. I usually get asked about life there at least once or twice a week - still nearly three years later... and I'm constantly thinking of friends there and looking for ways to incorporate parts of my life then into my life now. One of those ways is to cook up some of my favorite meals or serve up some yummy mint tea. The other night, I was having an especially strong "I miss North Africa" kinda day so I made Kefta and bread, one of my favorite meals! Kefta is a basic meat and egg dish with lots of yummy spices and eaten with homemade bread. And of course, if you just happen to have a tagine lying around - it's a simple dish to prepare. 


Kefta Tagine


  • 1 lb. ground meat (lamb or beef)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes, drained
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs


1. Mix together meat, onion, 1/2 of the cilantro, 1/2 of the cumin, 1/2 of the paprika, 1/2 of the salt. Roll into balls (like meatballs).

2. Either in a tagine or sauté pan, add the tomatoes,  remaining cilantro, garlic, cumin, paprika, and salt. Cook on medium-high heat for 5 minutes. 

3. Evenly spread out the meatballs on top of the tomato mixture and cook until meat is done, stirring often. 

4. Crack the eggs on top of the mixture and cook until the eggs are done. 

Serve with North African bread

This recipe was adapted from one of my favorite North African cookbooks and by watching and cooking with my sweet friend, Sue. She would be really disappointed in me using canned tomatoes though (it's so much simpler). 

Thai Pineapple Fried Rice


I have to admit, sometimes I forget to get a menu together and after the crazy week that I've had (and it's just Tuesday), menu planning hasn't even been on my radar, sadly... We also had a "clean out the fridge week" last week, that was successful - and for some reason, because I didn't take time to plan a menu last week, I didn't take time this week either.... anyway, I digress... 

Needless to say, when Dan asked me what was for dinner tonight (he usually cooks on Tuesdays because he works from home), I didn't have anything planned... I threw out the idea for fried rice because I knew we had rice in the pantry and random veggies and at least one egg in the fridge.

Well, if you know Dan at all - you know he can't be having just plain fried rice - he had to come up with something quite yummy and he didn't fail! It was yummy and easy and, did I mention yummy!?! 


Thai Pineapple Fried Rice


1 tablespoon oil 

1 or 2 shallots - diced

3 cloves garlic (chopped) 

1 red chili (chopped) 

1 red pepper (diced) 

1 egg (lightly beaten) 

3 tablespoons vegetable broth (we used turkey broth that we had in the freezer)

1 tablespoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce 

1 tablespoon curry powder 

1 teaspoon sugar 

1/2 cup cashews (roasted)

3 cups cooked rice

1 cup pineapple chunks

1/4 cup peas (fresh or frozen) 

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup cilantro (chopped) 


1. Heat the oil in a pan. 

2. Add the shallot, garlic, chillies and red pepper and stir-fry until fragrant, about a minute. 

3. Add the egg and stir-fry for a minute. 

4. Add the stock, fish sauce, soy sauce, curry powder and sugar and stir-fry. 

5. Add the cashews and stir-fry for 30 seconds. 

6. Add the rice, break up any clumps and stir-fry for a few minutes. 

7. Add the pineapple, peas and raisins and stir-fry to mix them in. 

8. Remove from heat and serve garnished with cilantro. 

This would be great with chicken or shrimp - but we preferred it to be meatless. It was still very filling! Dan adapted this recipe from the Closet Cooking Blog.  He has other great recipes too - so you should totally check this blog out! 

Sausage, Green Pepper and Onion Pizza


This afternoon in the middle of the Carolina/Packers game Kimmy tells me that she's in the mood for pizza and not being one to disappoint, I obliged and left for the store as soon as I had a list of things to get!

Now a couple weeks ago we had friends over for homemade pizza and on that occasion I tried both a new crust recipe and a new sauce recipe. Luckily the resulting pizza was A-maz-ing as Kimmy would say, so I decided that today I'd use the same recipes. For the crust I'd use a clone of Macaroni Grill's rosemary bread (recipe link) and for the sauce, the amazing sauce recipe found on Scraping the Skillet blog (recipe link). They work fabulously together and I do believe these will be our go-to recipes for future traditional-style pizzas!

A few notes though:

  • I halved the bread/crust recipe since we only wanted one pizza. I also used half bread flour and half unbleached all purpose, and I cut the amount of rosemary down significantly. (I probably only used half a teaspoon of dried rosemary and I didn't use fresh rosemary at all.)
  • For sauce with less of a bite reduce or cut out the red pepper flakes, it's a little spicy with the full amount.
  • I preheated the oven to 475º, then raised the temperature to 500º when I put the pizza in the oven. I baked the pizza for 10 minutes on the second rack from the bottom, then raised it to the third for an additional 5 minutes.

As you can see, the resulting pizza looks great and tastes even better. I can't wait for cold pizza leftovers! :)


Birthday Dinner: Authentic Lasagna


Kimmy's birthday was this past Saturday and to celebrate, we invited friends over and all seven of us crammed around the kitchen table for some delicious food.

Do be warned though, the original recipe informs you that you should block out at least two hours to make this lasagna and I will second that. You can do the sauces the day before though, so I definitely recommend doing that.

That said, here are the recipes!

"Authentic" Lasagna (original recipe)

Note: This recipe is a work in progress as it has been scaled to make a larger pan.

Ingredients (makes one 9x13" pan)

  • 1 box no-boil lasagna sheet noodles (these are much easier to use when you're using a 9x13" pan.)
  • 1 T unsalted butter
  • 1 T salt
  • Ragù Sauce (recipe follows)
  • Béchamel Sauce (recipe follows)
  • 10-12 oz grated parmesan cheese (or mix of Italian cheeses)


  1. Preheat oven to 350º F and grease a 9x13" pan.
  2. Spoon enough Béchamel sauce to cover the bottom of the pan and repeat with the Ragú sauce.
  3. Cover the sauce with three lasagna sheets (or the requisite noodles).
  4. Spoon more Béchamel and Ragú over lasagna sheets. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over sauce.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you've made three other layers.
  6. After the final layer of noodles, top with Ragú and cheese and cover with pan with tin foil.
  7. Bake 20 min, remove tin foil, and continue baking until the cheese has browned slightly and a crust has formed.

Ragú Sauce (original recipe)


  • 2-3 T olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery, finely chopped (I skipped this)
  • 1 lb ground beef/turkey
  • 6oz can of tomato paste
  • 2 28oz cans of Italian crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine
  • salt to taste


  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat, adding the onion, carrot and celery (if using) once the oil is hot. Fry to golden brown (guessing around 10 min., depending on the pot).
  2. Add the ground beef and mix with wooden spoon.
  3. After the beef has been browned, add the tomato paste and stir well until it's evenly mixed. Add salt to taste.
  4. Over low heat, pour the wine in and bring to boil. Add the cans of tomatoes, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water if the sauce gets too dry.

Béchamel Sauce (original recipe)


  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium-low heat until melted. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Over medium heat, cook until the mixture turns a light, golden sandy color, about 6 to 7 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, heat the milk in a separate pan until just about to boil. Add the hot milk to the butter mixture 1 cup at a time, whisking continuously until very smooth. Bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from heat. Season with salt and nutmeg, and set aside until ready to use.

Note: The resulting sauce is a fairly thin so adding a little more flour or corn starch might be necessary. Using as-is was fine though (and might even be good if you're using the no-boil noodles).

What's For Dinner: Calzone Amazingness...


For dinner last Friday, we had an amazing calzone! I can't help but share it with you, even if it is a week late! If you are looking for a simple recipe and a recipe that leaves you with lots of leftovers, then this is the one for you! I had never made a calzone before, but how hard could it be, right?!? It's just a folded pizza, right?!?  The original recipe that we used would have made two huge calzones, but I made a batch of breadsticks instead of a second calzone. Dan and I shared the calzone and we had plenty of leftovers for our Sunday dinner.  So Yummy! 

our calzone was a ham and pineapple creation... oh man.... 



3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

 3 cloves Garlic, Crushed

1 can 28 Oz. Diced Tomatoes

2 cans 8 Oz. Tomato Sauce

1 teaspoon Salt

½ teaspoons Dry Basil

8 leaves Or More Of Fresh Chopped Basil ( I didn't have this, so I didn't use it... just use dried basil) 

1 Tablespoon Sugar

Black Pepper To Taste



5-½ Tablespoons Active Dry Yeast

1 Tablespoon Sugar

2 cups Warm Water

4 cups All-purpose Flour

2 teaspoons Salt

12 slices Fresh Mozzarella Cheese: Use 6 Slices For Each Calzone

12 slices Smoked Provolone: Use 6 Slices For Each Calzone

Meat or Toppings of your choice - just fill it UP!! 

MARINARA: Put olive oil in a pan and add crushed garlic – cook until slightly golden. Add remaining 7 ingredients and let simmer while you make the calzone dough. Stir periodically. You can remove the marinara when the calzones come out of the oven! This makes a LOT - you can use the leftovers as spaghetti sauce or other fun recipes that call for marinara. 

CALZONE DOUGH: Pour yeast , sugar, and water into a bowl and let it proof for about 5 minutes. (It will GROW HUGE!)  In a large bowl mix the flour and salt together, then stir in yeast mixture and beat til incorporated. I use a wooden spoon. It will be a sticky dough. If it’s too sticky add a little more flour until you can handle it.

Flour a surface for rolling out dough. I grease my hands slightly with olive oil and then take half of the dough and flatten it to roll out onto a pizza stone or greased pizza pan like you would for a round pizza. (I grease the pan with olive oil and garlic powder) 

Fill the calzone with whatever filling you like on one half.  Use approximately 6 slices of everything for each calzone, living some space on the edge. Be Creative!! 

Fold the empty dough over the toppings and you got a calzone. Be sure to tuck under the end seams so your filling doesn’t come out. Repeat with 2nd half of dough or just make breadsticks! 

Once they are on the pan, rub some olive oil and fresh garlic on top and sprinkle with fresh parmesan . Bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes or til golden.  SOO GOOD!

I made the calzone and while the calzone was baking, I put the marinara together. It seemed to work quicker that way. I found this recipe on Tasty Kitchen but I changed it some! Here is the original recipe.  Hope you Enjoy!