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Crockpot Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce

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Bring on the cozy meals and the crock pot creations.  Winter is here and that means shorter days and chilly nights.  I am most happy when tucked inside my warm house binge watching Netflix and binge eating comfort foods.  (….and wrapping presents and baking cookies…..)

Currently, I’m busy buying Christmas gifts and doing some last minute decorating.  So choosing something simple for dinner is a top priority.  When kids the kids return home from college next week, things will become a bit more hectic and there will be more mouths to feed.  So anything I can make in a crockpot is welcome.

Spaghetti squash isn’t a typical crockpot creation.

I’ve cooked spaghetti squash only a handful of times.  I am truly amazed by this vegetable.  (Is it a vegetable?  Yes, a winter vegetable. I did double check.)  A spaghetti squash shreds into spaghetti like strands with a fork when fully cooked or roasted or microwaved.

Mind blowing, I know.

The few times I have prepared spaghetti squash, I have roasted it in the oven.  It’s much healthier than noodles, but I don’t think you could ever completely trick someone into thinking it was actual pasta noodles.  (If you have a picky eater, I would suggest using a combination of both pasta noodles and spaghetti squash noodles.)  But, in my opinion, cooking the squash in a slow cooker is the closet you can get “consistency wise” to actual noodles.  The spaghetti squash was more tender and buttery, yet not mushy, when slow cooked.

Cooking a spaghetti squash can be downright dangerous.  Well, it’s not the cooking that’s the dangerous part but the preparation.  Cutting a spaghetti squash in half.  It’s a trick that could cost you a finger, I’ve actually watched videos to perfect a safer method.  This recipe removes the fear factor and will eliminate a chance visit to the ER.  You actually drop the entire spaghetti squash into the crockpot, nestle it right there in the middle, and cover with the meat sauce.

Crockpot Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce

  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausage
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced or grated
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 32 ounce can of peeled tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 medium to large spaghetti squash rinsed
  • mozzarella cheese
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the sausage, ground beef, and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until the meat is browned all over and the onion is soft, about 5-8 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the meat to your crockpot. Add the garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, bay leaves, and milk. Stir to combine.

  • Add the spaghetti squash to the center. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  • Carefully remove the squash from the crockpot and transfer to a cutting board. Wipe away any grease and then carefully cut the squash in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds, then using a fork, scrape the squash into strands.

  • Divide the spaghetti squash among bowls and ladle the sauce over the top. Top with the cheeses and enjoy.


*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  
Recipe found and adapted from

Gift Giving: Homemade Moose Munch

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If you live in this country and you have never been to a Harry and David’s store, you’re missing out.  (and you must be living under a rock….ha, sorry). They sell gourmet gift baskets full of things like fresh fruits, fancy chocolates and gourmet nuts.  The best part of visiting any Harry and David’s store is the free samples.  There are always lots of samples.

One of my favorite treats is the Moose Munch.

Per Harry and David themselves……

Moose Munch® Premium Popcorn is not your average caramel popcorn. Every detail of the recipe went through intense scrutiny, from the type of corn we use to how the caramel coats each popped kernel. It took over 160 attempts to get the original recipe absolutely perfect, and that dedication and effort can be tasted in each sweet and crunchy bite of our gourmet popcorn. Delight in several delicious flavors, including classic caramel, s’mores, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate.

What a great description, is your mouth watering yet?

Sometimes it’s nice to think about giving homemade gifts at Christmas.  Instead of knitting a dish cloth or pouring a coffee cup candle, I prefer to make culinary gifts from the heart.  (although I personally would love to receive a hand knitted dish cloth or a homemade candle)  And Moose Munch seemed like a great idea this year, easier and more unique than homemade macarons or Christmas cookies.

A few years ago, my husband bought me a miniature movie theatre popcorn maker.  We used it all time, it made the best popcorn.  I grew quite a reputation for my outstanding popcorn making skills.  A few weeks ago, the popcorn maker quit popping.  My very smart friend told me that I didn’t need a fancy machine to make homemade popcorn and promptly taught me how to make it on the stove.   It’s simple and believe me when I say anyone can do it.

How to make popcorn on the stove:  Using a large, heavy bottom saucepan or pot, toss in a couple of popcorn kernels and about 2 Tablespoons of oil.  (I used canola oil.). Cover the pan with a lid.  Heat on medium heat until you hear those few kernels pop.  Then, add 1/2 cup of kernels and return the lid to the pot.  Shake the pan continuously as the popcorn pops, and remove from heat once the popping subsides.  This will yield about 16 cups of popped popcorn, a little bit more than needed for the moose munch.

Homemade Moose Munch

  • 12 cups popped popcorn
  • 1.5 cups nuts of choice (I used cashews and chopped pecans)
  • 1  1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1  1/4 cups butter
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Spread popped popcorn and nuts into a baking dish, or better yet, divide between two pans or dishes.
  3. In a heavy bottom saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup. Cook over medium heat for about 8 minutes, or until mixture comes to a boil.  Continue boiling for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove pan from heat and stir in baking soda.
  5. Pour warm mixture over popcorn and nuts and stir well so that the popcorn is coated.
  6. Bake for 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and transfer popcorn to wax paper lined sheet pans, don’t break into chunks.    (Two quarter sheet pans are perfect.). Allow to cool completely.
  8. Once cooled, melt chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second intervals on 50% power, stirring after each interval. You can also melt chocolate in a double boiler.
  9. Using a fork or spoon, generously drizzle chocolate over the popcorn.  Put your sheet pans into the refrigerator for an hour or until completely cool and chocolate is set. Break into pieces.

The most difficult part of making moose munch is allowing enough time for everything to cool between steps.  Be sure to budget your time wisely.

*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  
Recipe found and adapted from

Slow Cooker Ham and Potato Soup

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Winter has seemingly arrived overnight.  I’ve already worn my winter coat, hat and gloves.  The bird bath is frozen.  The leaves, which were beautiful, are falling quickly.  It’s too cold, even for them.

As a result, our palates are shifting to warm comfortable foods.  (The pumpkin spice trend shows no sign of slowing down.). I personally crave hearty soups and homemade breads.  On Sunday I made soup, Ham and Potato.  I made it in the slow cooker and the house smelled wonderful all day.

I believe it’s really difficult to make a bad soup.  (Unless you burn something, then it would taste very bad). Soup is good.  Who doesn’t love soup?  This one is pretty simple.  It’s really simple thanks to the addition of frozen hash browns.  (although you could totally use fresh potatoes if the mood strikes or if you have an excess in your pantry). And it’s also a great way to use up extra holiday ham.  It takes 6 hours to cook, so start early in the day and enjoy the aromas wafting out of the crockpot.  It also makes a large amount of soup.  So you will have leftovers for days, unless you’re willing to share with your friends.


  • 32 oz. cubed hashbrowns, thawed
  • 5 oz. heavy whipping cream
  • 32. oz chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups ham steak”, cubed, or leftover ham
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 4 oz.cream cheese, room temperature


In your slow cooker, combine your thawed hash browns, broth, diced vegetables and spices. Stir to combine.
Cook on low for about 6 hours or until your vegetables are tender.
Remove lid, take out some broth and put it into a bowl with your room temperature cream cheese.  Whisk together until it is smooth, dump back into your crockpot and stir in slowly.
Add in your diced ham and whipping cream and stir until combined.  At this time, taste your broth.  I added some additional salt, pepper and smoked paprika.
Put lid back on and cook for an additional 20 minutes.
*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  
Recipe found and adapted from

Salted Caramel Stuffed Chocolate Cookies

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We are normally team chocolate chip cookie.  My mom truly makes the best chocolate chip cookies in the world.  And, even with the recipe, no one can duplicate the consistency and excellence of her cookies.  So, I don’t even really try anymore.  I am pretty satisfied with a tube of pre made Nestle Tollhouse cookie dough to be honest.  (and yes, I totally eat more of the raw cookie dough than the baked cookie).

If I’m going to make cookies from scratch, I will most likely choose oatmeal chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies.  This saves me from the disappointment of making sub par chocolate chip cookies.  But seeing this recipe for a Salted Caramel Stuffed Chocolate Cookie turned me in a new direction.  Salted chocolate anything is always a good thing.  And, we were not disappointed.  I think we just found a new favorite.

Take these to your tailgate parties, halloween parties or family reunions.  Take these to your holiday cookie exchange and you will instantly find new friends and possibly win lots of money…..if your cookie exchange has prize money to be won.

My only complaint with these treats is that they disappeared too fast.

Salted Caramel-Stuffed Chocolate Cookies

6 Tablespoons Butter

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

3 eggs

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons flour

2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

nonstick cooking spray for greasing fingers

24 milk chocolate caramels (I used Rolos)

flaky sea salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

In a small saucepan or double boiler, combine the butter, bittersweet chocolate and the chocolate chips.  Cook over low heat, stirring often so that it doesn’t burn, until fully melted .  It will be thick.  Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cools slightly.

In a small bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together on high until light and fluffy.  (2-3 minutes). A stand mixer or handheld mixer will do the trick.  Add the vanilla and the melted chocolate mixture and beat for 1-2 minutes more, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.  Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and beat until fully combined.  (3 minutes). The batter will be thick but pourable.  Cover the bowl and chill in the fridge for at least an hour but up to overnight.

Scoop out 2 Tablespoons of dough and place on prepared baking sheet approximately 2 inches apart.  I ended up with about 2 dozen cookies.  Unwrap about 24 Rolos.  Grease your hands with cooking spray and push 1 Rolo into the cookie.  This part is a little messy.  It was almost easier for me to reshape the cookies into balls with my hands.  Either way, make sure that the caramel is completely covered by the cookie dough.

Bake for 15-17 minutes, remove from the oven and sprinkle each cookie with the flaky sea salt.  Let cool (on baking sheet) for a few minutes before serving.


*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  
Recipe found and adapted from the Half Baked Harvest Cookbook.

Beer Braised Bratwurst with Sauerkraut

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In the late 1600’s, my father’s family migrated to America from Germany.  (Apparently some of my ancestors beat William Penn to the punch.). My mother’s family also migrated to America from Germany and both sides of my husband’s family are also of German descent.  I mean, can you think of a more German last name than Ernst?  Maybe it’s my lineage that makes me feel German.  I don’t own a Dirndl, but I’m thinking about it…..but I do love German foods.  Sauerkraut, pretzels, bratwurst, Viener Schnitzel, strudels and streusels.  Or, maybe that’s the Americanized version of German foods? Either way, bring it on.  It’s on my bucket list to travel to Bavaria for Octoberfest someday.  But, for now, each October, I try to recreate the flavors of this German Holiday.

And obviously, no Octoberfest celebration could happen without sausages and/or bratwurst.

But what is the difference between sausage, kielbasa and bratwurst.  After all, aren’t they are all sausages?  The main differences lie in the herbs and seasonings used for flavoring.  Bratwurst is a specific type of German sausage, made with pork or veal or a combination of the two.  It can be subtly seasoned, most likely with caraway, coriander, ginger or nutmeg.  Kielbasa, or Polish Kielbasa, is usually made with pork or beef and is either smoked or only lightly smoked.  It will likely have a strong garlic flavor along with pimentos, cloves or marjoram.  Kielbasa is often paired with sauerkraut.  That’s probably more information than you needed or wanted, but maybe it helps to explain the differences.  I like all 3, and will probably continue to substitute either in most recipes and forget all of the details listed above.

And sauerkraut, it’s also a given.  This recipe slow roasts the kielbasa and the sauerkraut together.  The result is a sauerkraut that is browned, almost caramelized, and delicious.  It smells pretty heavenly too.

Beer Braised Bratwurst with Sauerkraut

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 bottle of bock style beer (or any kind of beer, I think I used a lager)
  • 1 lb. Kielbasa, Bratwurst or Italian Sausages 
  • 2 cups Beef Broth
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups Sauerkraut, drained on paper towels
  • salt and pepper
  1. Heat a tall sided skillet or wide, shallow pot over medium high heat.
  2. Add onion, beer, and bratwurst. Simmer, turning sausages occasionally, until beer is reduced to a syrupy constancy and onions are caramelized-about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove sausages and add beef broth to the pan, scraping the bottom until mixture is fully incorporated.
  4. Add sausages back to the pan and simmer until fully cooked, about 10 minutes more.
  5. Remove sausages and bring broth to a full boil until reduced to syrupy constancy, watch that it doesn’t reduce too much and burn off.
  6. Lower heat to medium low and melt the butter, scraping up the caramelized bits in the pan.
  7. Add sausages back to the pan.  Place sauerkraut around sausages and cook until heated and somewhat crisp.  Turn sausages and stir often to mix sauerkraut with caramelized onions so it doesn’t burn.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste-depending on the flavors of your sauerkraut and sausages you may not need extra seasoning.
*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  
Recipe found and adapted from

Crispy Hash Brown, Kale and Sausage Sheet Pan Bake

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There are a few things in life that I know for sure.

I do not like Goat Cheese…….

I do not like cilantro……..there is an ongoing debate about cilantro.  Apparently it’s genetic.  Tastes like soap to me.

I recently discovered homemade kale chips and they are life changing.

I hope you weren’t expecting something deep and revealing.  This is a food blog after all.  I can’t spill all of my secrets.

Kale chips have changed my life.  Rocked my world.  Put a spring in my step.  I’ve never been a kale fan.  I guess I’ve only tried to eat it in salads.  It’s tough.  It’s bitter.  When I worked for my mother in law’s catering business, we sprayed it with Pam cooking spray and used it as a garnish.  Always the garnish, never the dish.

But a few weeks ago, I was making some potato soup.  This particular recipe wanted me to make kale chips to use as a crunchy topping for the soup.

And so I did.

Kale chips are nothing new.  I know people who eat kale chips, they obviously think they are delicious.  But kale chips are not something people really talk about.

But they should be.  You should be.

When cooked this way, until nice and crispy, they are perfect on just about anything.  On soup, on a salad, squeezed in a sandwich or as a stand alone snack.  Which is how they came to be sprinkled on top of this breakfast sheet pan bake.  It’s a match made in heaven, well actually in my kitchen.  Which could be someone’s version of heaven.

I encourage you to go out in the world this week and talk about kale.  (Forget politics and that fact that it’s constantly raining in Pennsylvania.)  I think it’s been overlooked, shadowed by spinach and arugula perhaps.  Coming from a former picky eater, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.  Maybe it’s just this one thing we can all agree on.

Crispy Hash Brown, Kale and Sausage Sheet Pan Bake


2 large potatoes, peeled and shredded (you can also use sweet potatoes if you prefer) or a bag of Frozen Hash Browns
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 lb. Breakfast Sausage

4-6 eggs

Shredded Cheddar Cheese

fresh chopped chives

Homemade kale chips (recipe below)


PREHEAT oven to 425 degrees. If using fresh potatoes, shred the potatoes in a food processor or by hand.  Toss shredded potatoes or shredded hash browns with diced onion and bell pepper.  Add in olive oil.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the shredded potatoe mixture evenly on the baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.  Trust me and use the parchment paper, crispy hash browns like to stick to baking sheets.
Cook for about 30 minutes.  I like my potatoes crispy, so keep an eye on them.
Meanwhile, pre-cook the sausage in a skillet for about 5-10 minutes. The sausage does not have to be entirely cooked through because you will be returning it to the oven.
Once the 30 minutes is up on the potatoes, pull the baking sheet out.  Broil potatoes on high for a few minutes until they are really crispy.  Then add in the sausage, chopped chives and kale chips.

Turn off the broiler and turn the oven back on to 425 degrees.  Crack the eggs and nestle them on top of the potatoes/kale/sausage.  Pop the baking sheet back in the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the eggs are cooked.  (I also liked my eggs cooked pretty well.). Sprinkle on the cheddar cheese and cook until the cheese is melted.

Serve immediately.

“Ignore my blue fingernails. These are the best Kale Chips.”

Homemade Kale Chips

1 bunch curly kale, stemmed and leaves coarsely torn

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine the kale, olive oil, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Toss to coat.  Using your hands, massage the kale for about 1 minute to soften.  Spread onto a baking sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes, tossing once or twice during cooking, until crispy.


*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  

Loaded Crab Nachos

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If you look closely….fall is in the air.  I saw a few colored leaves on the sidewalk.  Pumpkins and mums are for sale everywhere.  And the hurricanes are lined up in the southern Atlantic.  Of course, I fully expect to suffer through a few more hot and humid days and I will try to resist the urge to pull out my wool sweaters and flannel shirts.

A few weeks ago, we had a bumper crop of crabs at the beach.  We caught over 7 dozen in our crab traps.  Maybe the crabs know winter is coming?  So why not celebrate the flavors of summer just a bit longer.  Although, I guarantee that these crab nachos would be a hit at upcoming football parties and tailgates.  So maybe it’s a perfect blend of summer and fall.

Start with a base of chips and crab, then you can add anything and everything on top.

Loaded Crab Nachos

  • Tortilla Chips
  • 16 oz. Canned Crab Meat, I went with the super lump
  • 2 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons minced Chives
  • 1 cup fresh or thawed Corn, optional
  • 1  1/4 cups Shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
  • Salsa
  • chopped Green Onions
  • Grape Tomatoes or Diced Tomatoes
  • Avocado slices
  • Shredded lettuce
  • chopped Jalapeños
  • Sour Cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon each of Cumin, Chili Powder and Paprika
  • Limes
  • Guacamole
  • Old Bay


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, whisk together the mayo, the mustard, Sriracha, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and chives.  Add the crabmeat and gently fold, trying not to break up the crab.  Place the tortilla chips on an oven proof platter or baking sheet. Spread the crab evenly over the chips. Next, sprinkle some of the toppings over the pita chips. (corn onions, tomatoes, salsa, jalapeños and the seasoning mix.).  I would save the lettuce, sour cream, etc. until later.

Place the serving platter in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the crab meat is hot.  Then top with the shredded cheese and return to the oven for another 5 minutes.

Remove the serving platter from the oven. Garnish the crab nachos with the remaining ingredients.  (avocado. shredded lettuce, fresh guacamole, limes, sour cream and a sprinkle of Old Bay).

Serve while hot and enjoy!

*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  

Asian Blackened Salmon

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I don’t consider myself a salmon person.  I never order it when I’m eating out.  I never buy it to make for dinner.  And obviously we don’t catch it when we’re fishing in Delaware.  (We usually don’t catch much of anything.)  I am trying to cook fish once a week.  I can’t recommend my Cajun Blackened Fish Taco Bowls recipe enough. It’s knee buckling and I could easily eat it once a week.  But for the sake of variety, and since Johnnies stocks several varieties of frozen Salmon, I thought it was time to experiment.

On my first attempt, I might have gone a bit overboard on the spices.  This is actually “an asian seasoned and blackened salmon” recipe.  I wanted to make sure it wouldn’t be too fishy tasting.  I succeeded.  And, if heat isn’t your thing, skip the blackening process.  The asian-style marinade would probably be fantastic on it’s own.  Even to a non-salmon eater such as myself.

But, if you choose to double season, you’ll be in for a treat.  It is quite an explosion of flavor for your taste buds.

Asian Grilled Salmon 

Blackened Spice Mix

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

Combine all spice ingredients in a small bowl.  Pat fillets dry with paper towels. Season the fish generously with the  spice mix on both sides, pressing the seasoning into the fish with your hands.

Marinade Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. of Salmon fillets or loins
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 6 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • ½ teaspoon Garlic, minced

Combine the mustard, soy sauce, olive oil, and garlic in a small bowl.  Whisk until combined.  Pour half of the marinade onto the salmon, allow it to sit/marinate for about 10 minutes.  (Discard the marinade the raw salmon was marinating in.)

Place a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add butter or oil. When the oil/butter is hot, Place the salmon skin side down in skillet and cook it for 5 minutes. . Turn carefully and cook the other side for another 4 to 5 minutes.

Quickly transfer the fish to a plate, skin side down, and add the remining marinade on top. The fish might seem like it’s not entirely cooked, but that’s fine. It’ll continue cooking while it rests.

Allow the fish to rest for 10 minutes before removing the skin.


*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  
Recipe found and adapted from

Slow Cooked Taco Stuffed Peppers

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Tacos are one of my favorites, and one of my family’s most requested dinner suggestions.  I think everyone would be happy if we had a weekly taco night.  I am partial to my taco recipe, I’ve been using it for probably 8 years consistently.  In an effort to “spice things up”, this time I swapped the taco shells for peppers. After all, my garden is still bursting at the seams with peppers of all shapes, colors and sizes.

I am also proud to say it’s a simplified recipe.  Once you mix together the meat and the seasonings/spices, the slow cooker does the rest of the work.  (Well, you do have to stuff the peppers.  The crockpot can’t do that part.)  Leaving you time to perfect your guacamole or margarita recipe.

This tasty dish will make your kitchen smell delicious.  The only problem will be how impatient your family is to eat them.

3 Little Peppers Cooking in a Crock Pot…….

Slow Cooked Taco Stuffed Peppers


  • 6 small red or green bell peppers
  • 1 cup prepared rice 
  • 1 lb. of ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup water


  1. Cut off the stems on your peppers and scoop out the seeds on the inside, leaving a hollow shell.
  2. In a bowl, mix together your ground beef, salsa, beef broth, minced garlic, brown sugar and soy sauce.
  3. Stir in the rice.
  4. Mix in the shredded cheese.
  5. Pack each pepper shell with the beef mixture, maybe 1 cup of the mix.
  6. Place the stuffed peppers into a crockpot and pour a cup of water into the bottom.
  7. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Top with a little extra cheese 10 minutes before they are done. (I couldn’t fit all of the peppers in my crockpot.  I actually filled a deep oven safe pot with a cup of water, set the oven to 250 degrees, put the peppers in the pot and the cover on top.  Cooked just like the crockpot peppers). You could also top with crushed tortilla chips, bacon or diced jalapeños.



*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  




What to do with all of those tomatoes…..Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Dip

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It’s that time of year again.  Tomato time.  Two or three times weekly, my husband hand delivers a full basket of tomatoes.  (Just once it would be nice to receive a bouquet of flowers instead!) And once again, I’m floundering to come up with ways to use them.  I have already made 4 batches of salsa.  (You can find my updated recipe in the blog archives. I am going to try to make some Bloody Mary mix this weekend.  And still, my basket is half full…..or half empty depending on your point of view.  As I write this, I am enjoying a BLT.  I have tomatoes on the brain.

Our garden is also overflowing with bell peppers, hot peppers and basil.  So, for me, this recipe hits a home run.  It was a “3 for one” to help use up the garden haul.

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Dip


  • 8 ounces feta cheese
  • 1 cup sliced tomatoes
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • ¾ cup roasted red peppers, drained (see recipe below)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Optional: 
  • 3 fresh basil leaves, chopped or a teaspoon of dried basil
  • diced fresh chives or a teaspoon of dried chives


  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Grease a 9×9 baking dish with olive oil, add the tomatoes to the dish and also coat them in olive oil, place feta cheese in the middle of the dish and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Fit an electric mixer with the wire attachment and beat cream cheese for 1-2 minutes on medium high speed. Beat until the cream cheese is smooth and “lump free.”
  • Transfer the cream cheese, feta, roasted peppers and the roasted tomatoes to a blender or food processor and blend until ingredients are incorporated and dip is smooth.
  • Garnish with fresh basil and fresh chives and serve warm with tortilla chips, crackers, toasted bread or cut veggies.
Roasted Red Peppers
Place the washed peppers cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Roast the peppers in the pre-heated 450 degree oven for about 25 minutes; or until the skins are completely wrinkled and the peppers are charred.  Remove from the oven and place in a bowl and seal tightly with plastic wrap.  The steam from the peppers will soften the skin and make them easier to peel.  After the peppers have cooled considerably, remove plastic wrap and peel the skin off of the peppers.
*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  
Recipe found and adapted from