Is it a soup or is it a stew? The French call it a casserole. Whatever you call it, it is a hearty warm dish for a cool fall evening!


3 tablespoons butter or avocado oil
1 pound beef kielbasa, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 pound stew meat (or pork pieces, or chicken – it’s up to you)
1 small red onion, diced
2 medium carrots, small diced
2 cloves garlic, FINELY minced
2 cans petite diced tomatoes
2 cups homemade chicken bone broth
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
2 cans navy beans, drained and rinsed

  • Melt butter in saute pan.
  • Add onions and carrots. Simmer 3-5 minutes.
  • Generously season with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper and add garlic.
  • Add stew meat and kielbasa pieces, stirring well and simmering another 5 minutes or until meat is cooked through.
  • Add chicken broth, beans and tomatoes with juice. Simmer 10-15 minutes until heated through.
  • Serve over mashed potatoes or as a soupy stew.

NOTE: If you prefer a thicker stew like consistency, use a 3rd can of beans, but drain them well and run them through a food processor with a 1/4 cup of the broth making a paste. Add this paste along with the beans and tomatoes.



The best part of this slow cooker recipe is that it does all the work! All you have to do is come home to a prepared dinner of sticky, fall apart, melt-in-your-mouth incredible ribs!

2 cups barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup diced FRESH roasted Hatch chiles
4 pounds baby back pork ribs
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

  • Spray inside of a 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.
  • Remove and discard the inner membrane from the ribs and cut into slabs that will fit into your slow cooker.
  • Generously season the ribs with a good amount of salt and pepper.
  • Combine BBQ sauce, brown sugar, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and chiles in a small bowl, mixing well to combine.
  • Completely cover the ribs with half of the sauce. 

  • Cover with lid and cook on low setting for 7-9 hours or high setting for 3-5 hours (see notes).
  • Refrigerate remaining sauce to use later.

  • When ribs are tender and falling apart, transfer onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (Lift them carefully as the meat will be very tender and falling off the bone). 

  • Pour half of the juices from the slow cooker bowl into the remaining sauce.
  • Baste ribs with half of the sauce and broil in preheated oven at 400° for 5-10 minutes or until beginning to char and crisp on the edges. 

  • Serve ribs with remaining sauce.


  • Cook times seriously depend on the desired results you are looking for:
  • Ribs that are soft but stay on the bone = LOW: 5-6 HOURS / HIGH: 3 HOURS.
  • Tender, fall apart ribs that melt in your mouth like butter = LOW: 7-8 HOURS / HIGH: 4-5 HOURS.

HATCH CHILES are my favorite green chile. They are similar to their cousin the Anaheim green chile, but is specific to the Hatch Valley in southern New Mexico. Hatch chiles only come from Hatch, New Mexico. The HATCH green chile is especially popular throughout all of New Mexico, as well as Texas and Southern California.

They have a balanced, smoky heat that enhances both savory and sweet dishes. You can buy a canned version of roasted Hatch chiles, but nothing beats a FRESH roasted one. August and September are the BEST times to find them.

True Parmesan cheese only comes from the Reggio Emilia and Parma region, champagne only comes from the champagne wine region of France and similarily Hatch chiles from the Hatch Valley are like grapes coming from the Napa Valley.

Hatch chiles are extremely versatile. I add them to stews, sauces, dips, dressings, salsa and even desserts. Some of my favorite sandwich cookies in the world (Sweet Lime chile) come from the HEB grocery chain in Texas. Try adding some FRESH roasted chopped chiles to your apple pie or on top of a burger or your slice of pizza.

Green and red Hatch chiles are the same pepper just picked at different times. They do each offer distinct flavors though. I LOVE them best in August when they offer a smoky flavor. But, in September when the turn red they offer a sweeter flavor better suited for the sweeter recipes.

Right now there is a local food truck specializing in Roasted Hatch Chiles in our little town and I have been taking full advantage of buying them FRESH roasted and preparing them for the freezer so I’ll have them all year long.



3 cups FRESH FINELY chopped pineapple (or 2 LARGE cans crushed pineapple)
2/3 cup Frank’s Original Hot Sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon Pampered Chef South West seasoning
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
3 pound pork shoulder cut into large chunks
1 LARGE Vidalia onion, cut into wedges
2 jalapeños, stem, ribs and seeds removed and then diced
3-4 garlic cloves, FINELY minced
Garnishes: chopped onion, FRESH chopped cilantro, Lime wedges and cheese if desired

  • Spray the crock with non-stick spray.
  • Combine the granulated sugar, southwest seasoning, FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Coat pork pieces with seasoning.
  • Arrange pork pieces along bottom of crock.
  • Combine pineapple pieces, brown sugar and hot sauce until well mixed.
  • Pour hot sauce mixture over pork pieces.
  • Cook on low 6-8 hours until meat is tender.
  • Stir combine.
  • Serve with tortillas and garnishes.


The original recipe called for using the slow cooker which is great, but NOT always necessary so I converted this to an oven recipe.

6 bone in pork chops (6-8 ounces each)
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 tablespoon butter
24-30 ounce package frozen shredded hash browns, thawed
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 can Campbell’s cream of celery soup
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup FULL fat sour cream
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 can French fried onions

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • In a LARGE skillet heat oil and butter over medium heat until melted.
  • Generously season pork chops on both sides with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Sear pork chops quickly on both sides. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the soup.
  • Stir in 1 cup of the cheese and half of the onions.
  • Fold the hash browns into the soup mixture.
  • Arrange potato mixture in the bottom of a large baking dish.
  • Nestle browned pork chops into potato mixture.
  • Cover and bake 45 minutes.
  • Uncover and top with remaining cheese and onions.
  • Bake another 15 minutes until pork is cooked through and cheese is melted.


  • To convert to a CROCK-POT recipe you don’t need to thaw the hash browns first, just break them up into smaller pieces.
  • Also be sure to spray CROCK-POT well with non-stick spray.
  • Prepare the same as for the oven by layering the potatoes under the pork chops and saving the remaining cheese and onions for the last 15 minutes.
  • Slow cook on low 5-6 hours.


HONEY ROASTED RIBS adapted from Cook’s Country

Cut the racks into thirds to allow them to fit into the plastic bags while they marinate. The used marinade is then boiled and transformed into a glaze for the ribs.

This recipe turns the humble into the extraordinary and perfectly tender, meaty, crusty, sticky, honey glazed, finger licking great ribs that leaves your family reaching for more ribs until the plate is empty so be sure and make plenty.

5 – 6 pounds baby back ribs (2 racks, 2 1/2- to 3-pounds each), trimmed, membranes removed, each rack cut into 3 equal pieces

1 1/4 cup QUALITY honey
5 tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup Dijon mustard, optional
1 bunch green onions, white parts minced, green parts sliced thin
4 garlic cloves, FINELY crushed
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • Divide ribs between two 1-gallon zipper-lock bags.
  • Whisk honey, liquid aminos, vinegar, mustard (if using), scallion whites, garlic, salt, pepper, and cayenne together in bowl.
  • Divide marinade between bags, seal, and turn to coat ribs evenly with marinade. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours, turning bags ­occasionally.
  • Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325.
  • Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and set wire rack in sheet.
  • Add enough warm tap water to cover entire bottom of sheet (about 2 cups). The water gives off extra steam keeping the ribs extra moist and prevents the drippings from burning.
  • Transfer ribs, meaty side up, to prepared wire rack; reserve marinade in refrigerator.
  • Tent ribs loosely with foil and bake for 1¼ hours.
  • Uncover ribs and continue cooking until just tender, about 1 hour longer.
  • Bring reserved marinade to boil in large dutch oven over medium-high heat and cook until thickened to glaze consistency, about 5 minutes.
  • Brush ribs with 1/3 cup glaze, return to oven, and continue to cook 15-30 minutes until glaze begins to bubble and ribs are brown.
  • Transfer ribs to cutting board (leave hot water and sheet in oven to cool), tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Cut ribs between bones, add to Dutch oven, and toss to coat with remaining glaze.
  • Transfer to platter and sprinkle with scallion greens and ½ teaspoon salt.
  • Serve.



1 tablespoons avocado oil
1 pound QUALITY bacon 
6 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
5 tablespoon raw slivered almonds
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons QUALITY honey 
1 large shallot, THINLY sliced (see notes)
2 heads romaine, chopped
3 cups mixed chopped radicchio, frisée and trimmed fennel
1 tablespoon FRESH thyme leaves
1/4 cup FRESH chopped flat leaf Italian parsley

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • When hot, cook the bacon slices in batches in the hot oil, turning them regularly and adding more slices, one by one, as the first slices brown and shrink.
  • When crumbly crisp and browned to your desire, about 10 to 12 minutes, transfer bacon slices to a paper towel-lined plate. Drain, (reserving the drainings for the dressing) all BUT 1 tablespoons of fat from the pan. 

  • Add the garlic to the pan. Cook, stirring often until the edges of the garlic start to turn golden.
  • Add the almonds and continue cooking, 5-7 minutes, stirring, until both the garlic and almonds look golden and toasted.
  • Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to the paper towel-lined plate also. Do not discard the pan drippings. You will use them in the dressing.

  • In a large bowl, mix the red wine vinegar and honey with a whisk until dissolved then add the shallot, season with salt and pepper. Set aside for 5 minutes.
  • Pour in  5 tablespoons of the warm pan drippings from the skillet while straining it into the vinegar mixture.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper, whisk again.
  • Drizzle vinaigrette over bowl of greens and herbs, tossing well.
  • To serve, top the salad with the crispy garlic and almonds then crumble the bacon over it tossing it again as desired. 


  • I often will crisp additional shallots for the top of the salad.
  • I also add a handful of halved grape tomatoes and/or chopped hard salami when I have it on hand.


This is another one of the several of my “new to me” recipes are courtesy of my friend Diana’s mom and grandma’s recipe boxes. This recipe 45 years old and was from her aunt, Carol Booth in 1978. I made only slight alterations to bring it into the 21st century.

SWEET & SOUR MEATBALLS yields 12-18 meatballs
3/4 pound ground beef
3/4 pound ground pork
2/3 cup cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon Johnny’s seasoning salt
2/3 cup evaporated milk

  • Preheat oven to 300°.
  • Gently combine all the ingredients together.
  • Roll into meatballs.
  • Brown meatballs (they will finish cooking through in oven) and transfer to baking dish.

13.5 ounce can pineapple tidbits
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons Bragg’s liquid aminos
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 small green pepper, chopped (OPTIONAL)

  • Drain juice from pineapple pieces into saucepan.
  • Add liquid aminos and vinegar.
  • Whisk in cornstarch until smooth.
  • Fold in green pepper if using.
  • Cook slowly until thickened.
  • Pour over meatballs.
  • Bake 20-30 minutes until heated through.


I originally found this recipe in an old Taste Of Home magazine and it’s now a family favorite. It’s perfect for a crowd or a church potluck. You’ll get lots of requests for the recipe 😀

I altered it a bit to accommodate my mustard allergy, but it’s absolutely delicious!


3-4 pound boneless pork shoulder butt roast
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
2 cups homemade chicken stock
1 cup creamy JIF peanut butter
3/4 cup SMUCKERS apricot pineapple preserves
1/4 cup PACKED brown sugar
1/4 cup finely choppedVidalia sweet onion
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons Bragg’s liquid aminos
8 ounce can crushed pineapple with juice

1-2 garlic cloves, FINELY minced
2 tablespoons butter, melted
6 ciabatta rolls, split
Coleslaw, optional

  • Generously sprinkle roast with FRESH ground salt and pepper.
  • Transfer to a 5 quart slow cooker.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the broth, peanut butter, preserves, brown sugar, onion, vinegar, liquid aminos, pineapple and garlic.
  • Pour over meat.
  • Cook, covered, on low 6 hours or until meat is tender.
  • Preheat broiler.
  • Remove roast; cool slightly.
  • Shred pork with 2 forks.
  • Return pork to slow cooker; heat through.
  • Brush butter over cut sides of rolls.
  • Place rolls, buttered side up, on an ungreased baking sheet.
  • Broil 3-4 inches from broiler for 30-60 seconds or until golden brown.
  • Using a slotted spoon, spoon pork mixture onto roll bottoms, top with coleslaw if desired and replace tops.



More and more of my FAVORITE recipes are adapted from Taste of Home recipes that just looked too good to pass up. With this recipe the overnight chilling allows the seasonings to meld well with the meat.

This recipe may have has its original roots in the Calgary Stampede, an annual Western culture festival and exhibition in our province, but it’s now a Pacific Northwest as well as a midwest favorite in our family.

4 pounds pork baby back ribs, cut into serving-size pieces
3 garlic cloves, FINELY minced
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons PAMPERED CHEF salt & vinegar seasoning
1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
2 teaspoons white pepper

  • Preheat oven to 325°.
  • Rub ribs with garlic and place in a roasting pan.
  • Bake, covered, until tender, about 2 hours.
  • Mix sugar, salt and vinegar seasoning, paprika and pepper.
  • Sprinkle evenly over ribs.
  • Remove from pan; cool slightly.
  • Refrigerate, covered, 8 hours or overnight.

2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, FINELY chopped
1 cup jalapeno ketchup
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
Juice of 1 LARGE lemon
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • In a small saucepan, heat butter over medium heat.
  • Add onion and saute onion until tender.
  • Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat, cooking uncovered 8-10 minutes, until thickened, stirring frequently.
  • Brush ribs with some of the sauce.
  • Grill, covered, 12-15 minutes over medium heat until heated through.
  • Turn occasionally and brush with additional sauce.
  • Serve with remaining sauce.


I was leafing through an OLD (2015) COOK’S COUNTRY magazine and ran across these amazing looking pork chops with a side of white baked beans that was just calling my name repeatedly until I finally tried them. What took me so long?? is all I can say. This yummy, flavorful meal will get repeated regularly at our house.

I did adapt the pork steaks to being done inside as our weather has stayed colder than I want to deal with for preparing a meal using the grill, but you could easily grill these instead 😀 You can also make these spicier or milder to taste without compromising their flavor.


FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon QUALITY paprika
1/2-3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon cornstarch
8 bone-in blade cut pork steaks, 1/2 inch thick, fat snipped if necessary to prevent curling

  • Generously season pork steaks on both sides with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Combine cayenne and paprika in a small bowl, mixing well. Reserve this half for the sauce.
  • Transfer half of the cayenne mixture into another small bowl and add cornstarch.
  • Sprinkle cayenne cornstarch mixture evenly over pork steaks on both sides.
  • This is where you need to make a choice – indoors or outdoors – charcoal or gas. I used a cast iron griddle pan over a gas burner. Make sure your grill or griddle pan is well oiled.
  • Over medium high heat sear chops 3-5 minutes without moving them.
  • Flip chops and repeat on second side 3-5 minutes more until they register 140°.
  • Transfer chops to a deep platter, pouring sauce over chops and turning to coat well.
  • Tent with foil and allow chops to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Serve and Enjoy.

8 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
Reserved spice mixture

  • Heat butter in small saucepan over medium low heat 4-5 minutes, swirling frequently until butter turns dark golden brown and has a nutty fragrance.
  • Add reserved spice mixture, cooking 30 seconds or so until fragrant.
  • Add vinegar carefully as it WILL bubble up and bring to a quick simmer.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly, but not enough that the butter solidifies.


Every now and then SIMPLE is BEST! 😀

4-6 boneless pork chops
2 tablespoons butter
1 LARGE shallot, chopped
1 cup halved grape tomatoes
1 cup homemade chicken OR beef broth
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons WONDRA flour
1/2 cup water

  • Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Quickly sear pork chops on both sides, remove from pan and keep warm.
  • Add onions and saute a few minutes until tender.
  • Add broth, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to simmer, return pork chops to pan and simmer 5-7 minutes until pork chops are cooked through (145°).
  • Whisk together the water and flour until smooth.
  • Plate pork chops, keeping warm.
  • Whisk flour mixture in sauce until smooth and heated through.
  • Serve over mashed potatoes or rice.



2 tablespoons avocado oil
1 pound lean ground beef
1 LARGE onion, diced
4-5 garlic cloves, to taste, minced
4 1/2 cups homemade beef broth
14.5 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes
2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
2-3 teaspoons Italian seasoning, to taste
FRESH ground salt and pepper, to taste
8 lasagna noodles, broken into bite size pieces
shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup (2 oz) finely shredded Parmesan cheese
8 ounces ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped FRESH parsley, plus more for garnish, OPTIONAL

  • Heat one tablespoon oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  • Crumble beef into pot, season with salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring occasionally until browned.
  • Drain fat from beef and set beef aside. 
Heat remaining oil in pot, add chopped onion and saute 2-3 minutes until it begins to soften.
  • Add in garlic and saute 30 seconds longer. 
  • Add in broth, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, browned ground beef and season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Bring JUST to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20 minutes.
  • While sauce is simmering prepare lasagna noodles according to package directions.
In a mixing bowl, using a fork, stir together mozzarella, Parmesan and ricotta.
    Fold cooked pasta into soup along with parsley, then thin soup with a little more broth if desired.

  • Ladle soup into bowls, dollop with a large scoop of the cheese mixture and sprinkle with chopped parsley.


  • Cheese dollop will melt well once stirred into soup.
  • Adapts well to slow cooker also