Tami’s Orzo Salad


12 ounces orzo
2 TBSP plus 1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup crumbed seasoned feta cheese (about 6 ounces)
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
3/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives
4 green onions, chopped
2 TBSP drained capers


3 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1 TBSP white wine vinegar
1 TBSP minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp ground cumin

Cook orzo in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain.

Rinse with cold water; drain well. Transfer to a large bowl. Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add crumbed feta cheese, chopped bell peppers, Kalamata olives, green onions and capers.

Combine lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, oregano, mustard and cumin in small bowl. Gradually whisk in remaining 1/2 cup olive oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Add dressing to orzo mixture and toss to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 6 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Optional: garnish salad with toasted pine nuts; serve.

Rocky Road Candy


1 bag 10-12 oz. dark choc chips
1 bag 10-12 oz. butterscotch chips
1/2 cup peanut butter

Mix these, then add:

1 cup unsalted peanuts
1 bag mini marshmallows

Put in 9X13 plan and chill overnight.

Stephen’s Beef Stew

– 3 pounds boneless beef chuck (well-marbled), cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
– 2 teaspoons salt
– 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
– 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 2 medium yellow onions, cut into 1-inch chunks
– 7 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
– 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
– 1-1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
– 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
– 2 cups dry red wine – Instead I use one cup of Dry vermouth (Martini Rosso)
– 2 cups beef broth
– 2 cups water
– 1 bay leaf
– 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
– 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
– 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into one-inch chunks on a diagonal
– 1 pound small white boiling potatoes (baby yukons), cut in half
– Fresh chopped parsley, for serving (optional)
– 1/2 cup of cream (15% cooking cream)

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F and set a rack in the lower middle position.

2. Pat the beef dry and season with the salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven or heavy soup pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering. Add parsley, garlic and whole black peppercorns to flavor the oil. Brown the meat in 3 batches, turning with tongs, for about 5 minutes per batch; add one tablespoon more oil for each batch. (To sear the meat properly, do not crowd the pan and let the meat develop a nice brown crust before turning with tongs.) Transfer the meat to a large plate and set aside.

3. Add the onions, garlic and balsamic vinegar; cook, stirring with a wooden spoon and scraping the brown bits from bottom of the pan, for about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute more. Add the beef with its juices back to the pan and sprinkle with the flour. Stir with wooden spoon until the flour is dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine, beef broth, water, bay leaf, thyme, and sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon to loosen any brown bits from the bottom of the pan and bring to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid, transfer to the preheated oven, and braise for 2 hours.

4. Remove the pot from the oven and add the carrots and potatoes. Cover and place back in oven for about an hour more, or until the vegetables are cooked, the broth is thickened, and the meat is tender. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve the stew warm — or let it come to room temperature and then store in the refrigerator overnight or until ready to serve. This stew improves in flavor if made at least 1 day ahead. Reheat, covered, over medium heat or in a 350°F oven. Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired.

Inspired by: Once Upon a Chef

Peppercorn Sauce

Recipe serves 4

– 1 Tbsp butter
– 1 cup salt-reduced beef stock
– 3 Tbsp green peppercorns (or whole black peppercorns)
– 2 Tsp cracked black peppercorns
– 1/8 cup white or red wine
– 2 teaspoon brandy port or sherry, optional
– 1/8 cup heavy cream
– 1 teaspoon onion powder optional
– sea salt to taste
– 3 teaspoon cornstarch or flour as thickener
– 2 teaspoon cold water

1. In a small saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Add green and black peppercorns and cook for 20 seconds in bubbling butter

2. Add stock, wine and bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes to reduce the sauce and cook off the alcohol. Add cream and cook for a further 5 minutes for the sauce to thicken slightly

3. Whisk in onion powder, if using, and flour mixed in with two teaspoons chilled water. Whisk for a further minute for the sauce to thicken

4. Serve over steak

Note: You can keep leftover sauce in the fridge for up to 2 days. Reheat on the stove top, adding a dash of extra water if necessary, or in a microwave.

Adapted from: Wholesome Cook

Iron Skillet Whole Chicken

– 1 3.5-4 lb whole chicken
– 2 Tbsp olive oil divided
– 1 Tsp minced garlic
– 1 Tsp minced rosemary
– Salt and pepper

1. Heat skillet to 500 F staring in a cold oven. About 30 min
2. Prep chicken: cut out backbone of chicken, flip over and press flat (cracking bones)
3. Tuck the wings towards inside of chicken
4. Flip chicken and season with salt & pepper
5. Flip chicken, pat skin dry and rub with olive oil, salt & pepper
6. Take skillet out of oven and place chicken in with skin side down
7. Put chicken back into oven at 450 F for 30 min
8. Mix together 1 Tbsp olive oil, garlic and rosemary
9. Take chicken out, flip and apply oil mixture on skin
10. Put chicken back in oven for ~10 minutes until 165 F
11. Let rest ~15 minutes (do not tent)
12. Carve and serve

Iron Skillet Steak

– 2×1 lb steaks (approx 1.5″ in thickness)
– 2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Optional compound butter topping
– 1 shallot
– 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
– 1 Tbsp minced parsley
– 1 garlic clove, minced

1. Put iron skillet in cold oven and heat to 500 F. About 30 min
2. Salt steaks on both sides and set aside
3. If using, combine the butter topping ingredients together
4. Put hot skillet on burner at medium-high heat and add vegetable oil
5. Pat dry the steaks and season with pepper
6. Place steaks in skillet for 2 minutes, then flip for 2 minutes
7. Lower heat to medium-low and flip steaks again 2 min/side
8. Check temperature of steaks and remove when desired temp is reached
9. If using, put butter on steaks, tent with foil and wait 5-10 min

From: America’s Test Kitchen

Garlic Bread

– 1 Italian loaf bread sliced in half longways
– 5 cloves of garlic made into paste
– 8 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened and divided
– 1 Tsp garlic powder
– 1/8 Tsp cayenne pepper
– 1/2 Tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 450 F
2. Melt half the butter and add the garlic paste and microwave for 1 minute on high
3. In a medium mixing bowl, mix the garlic powder and 1 Tsp water until in a slurry
4. Add remaining butter and garlic butter mix to slurry
5. Add cayenne pepper and salt to mixture and stir into a paste
6. Spread pasted on both slices of bread and put on a baking sheet
7. Put bread into oven with buttered side up for 3-4 minutes
8. Remove and flip bread over to butter side down and place a second backing sheet on top of bread and lightly depress
9. Put back in the oven with second sheet on top of bread for 5-10 minutes

Remove, cut and serve

From: America’s Test Kitchen

Crispy Baked Potato

This recipe is for 6 potatoes, but you can obviously do more or less.

– 6 Russet potatoes
– 2 Tbsp salt
– 1 Tbsp vegetable oil (duck fat, bacon fat, etc. are other options)

1. Preheat oven to 450 F
2. Poke each potato 6 times with a fork (all around it)
3. In a medium bowl, mix salt with 1/2 Cup water
4. Brine the potatoes in the salt water mix coating the entire potato and set on a baking sheet with a cooling rack
5. Put the potatoes in the oven until internal temp is between 205-212 F (approx. 45-60 minutes)
6. When temperature is reached, remove the potatoes and brush with vegetable oil
7. Put back into the oven for 10 minutes
8. When finished, take out of the oven and immediately cut an ‘X’ into the top and serve

From: America’s Test Kitchen

Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs

– 8 Boneless skinless chicken thighs
– 1/4 Cup flour
– 1/4 Cup honey
– 2 Tbsp soy sauce
– 6 Garlic cloves, minced
– 1/2 Tsp salt
– 1/2 Tsp pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375 F
2. Put flour in a large ZipLock bag, add chicken in batches and shake to coat
3. Shake off excess flour and place in greased 8×8 baking dish (keep chicken rolled up and not flat)
4. Mix honey, soy sauce, garlic, salt & pepper in a small bowl
5. Pour mix evenly over chicken
6. Cover and bake for 30 min
7. Uncover and continue baking for an additional 15 min (bast when uncovering)

From: Genius Kitchen

Moscow Mule

– 1.5 oz Vodka
– 0.5 oz Ginger syrup
– 4 oz Club soda
– 1/2 lime juice

Alternative: Replace Ginger Beer for syrup & club soda

1. Fill copper mug with ice
2. Add ingredients in order listed
3. Garnish with lime wedge