Monthly Archives: February 2022

Butternut Squash Chili…

Hi Everyone,

Well, we in the Northeast had another crazy weather weekend. It started out on Saturday morning with the sun shining and a little breezy and then suddenly changed to snow squalls with almost white-out conditions and the temperature dropped and stayed that way all day and into Sunday.

When the weather gets like this my first instinct is to head to the kitchen for some comfort food. I don’t know what it is about the cold and snow but it makes me want to cook either bread, a stew, or a dessert.

I chose chili for Sunday afternoon.

I love all types of squash and I just purchased a butternut squash that I wanted to use. I looked around at the other ingredients I had on hand and decided to make chili. I had some canned beans, a little bit of fresh spinach (leftover from last night’s spanakopita melts), and some ground beef. So this was the perfect meal coming together nicely.

I also bought a jar of “Za’atar” spice recently (Za’atar is a Middle-Eastern spice combining oregano, thyme, marjoram, sumac, and toasted sesame seeds) and I wanted to use that in the dish as well.

I had two separate chili recipes and I combined what I liked from each one and added some of the spices I wanted to try. The following is my combined recipe. I hope you try it and enjoy it.

Butternut Squash Chili


  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1-2 lbs. of ground beef (or turkey, pork whatever you prefer for chili)
  • 2 bells peppers any color cut in strips
  • 2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled and diced in bite size pieces
  • 2 cans (14 oz) of fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 32 oz of chicken broth (homemade or low sodium)
  • 1 can (14 oz) black beans -no salt- rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (14 oz) of garbanzo beans – no salt – rinsed and drained
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsps. canned green chilis (found in Mexican section of grocer)
  • 1 pkg of fresh spinach cut in strips (or a bag of fresh or frozen spinach) KALE or your favorite leafy green can be substituted
  • 1/8 tsp Calabrian chili pepper paste or ground red pepper (Optional for a little heat)

Spices: mix together in a ramekin

  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp Hungarian paprika
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Za’atar spice
  • 1 tsp black ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • Salt to taste

For garnish (optional)

  • Green onions for garnish (optional)
  • Sour cream for garnish (optional)
  • pumpkin seeds (optional)


  • Heat oil in a large pan, over medium heat. ADD the onions and peppers and sauté until soft (5 minutes).  ADD the garlic and sauté 2 more minutes. ADD the Calabrian chili paste and tomato paste and sauté 1 additional minute until the onions are soft and all is incorporated
  • ADD the ground meat and season with salt and pepper and break the meat with the back of a wooden spoon into medium pieces and cook until no longer pink.
  • ADD the butternut squash and all the spices and mix well.
  • ADD the roasted diced tomatoes and the chicken broth. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
  • ADD the beans to the pot and mix well.
  • Partially cover the pot and simmer on medium for 40 minutes.
  • ADD the baby spinach the last 10 minutes to wilt.
  •  Adjust seasoning and serve with a dollop of sour cream and green onions and pumpkin seeds.


I hope you try this recipe and enjoy it and make it your own. Change the greens and beans to whatever you prefer, no recipe is set in stone.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,


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Roasted Cauliflower Steak & Spanakopita Melts ….

Hi Everyone,

I hope all is well. I just had to pop in real quick to share a great recipe I found yesterday and I think that all of you will like this one.

Very easy, very tasty, and a nice presentation. Something that you could serve for a luncheon with a side salad or as a side dish for dinner.

I know there are times when we all feel that we cook the same food over and over again and there isn’t much variety in our meals. That is how I was starting to feel about cauliflower.

Cauliflower has made a big comeback over the past few years with cauliflower pizza crust and crackers and riced cauliflower and I have tried it all because Bob loves cauliflower.

I have made cauliflower many different ways but Bob prefers roasted cauliflower so I just had to find a new recipe.

The search ended when I found a very intriguing recipe on the EatingWell website by author Adam Dolge. This is a great site and this recipe serves 4 and combines the flavors of Greek spinach pie (spanakopita) and tops it on a roasted cauliflower steak.

Bob and I both loved it and I knew this had to be shared with all my members. So the recipe is below and please let me know if you try it and enjoy it. I served it with chicken cutlets but this dish is filling and so versatile it can even stand on its own.

Stay well, stay safe, and stay warm.

Some of my other cauliflower recipes….. type “cauliflower” in the search box to bring them up:

  • Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
  • Fusilli with Roasted Cauliflower & Chickpeas
  • Cauliflower Veggie Stir Fry Rice & Black Bean Stuffed Peppers
  • General Tso’s Cauliflower
  • Cauliflower Tater Tots


Roasted Cauliflower Steak & Spanakopita Melts


  • 2 medium heads cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup chopped shallot
  • 1 (11 ounce) package baby spinach
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 6 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
  • ½ cup shredded smoked Cheddar cheese


  • Step 1

Arrange racks in the middle and upper third of oven; preheat to 450 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil.

  • Step 2

Remove any outer leaves from cauliflower but keep stems intact. Place on a cutting board, stem-side down. Using a large chef’s knife, cut two 1-inch-thick slices from the center of each head to make 4 cauliflower “steaks.” (Reserve remaining cauliflower for another use.) Place the steaks on the prepared baking sheet. Brush both sides with 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with salt.

  • Step 3

Roast, turning halfway through, until the cauliflower steaks are tender, 30 to 35 minutes.

  • Step 4

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 1 minute. Add spinach in batches and cook, stirring, until wilted, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in dill, parsley, garlic and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer the spinach mixture to a large mixing bowl. Stir in ricotta and feta.

  • Step 5

Turn the broiler to high. Top each cauliflower steak with 1/2 cup of the spinach mixture and 2 tablespoons Cheddar. Broil the cauliflower until the cheese melts and starts to lightly brown, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately.


Serving Size – 1 melt

Nutrition Facts per serving

305 calories; protein 16.6g; carbohydrates 12.8g; dietary fiber 4.2g; sugars 3.3g; fat 21.8g; saturated fat 9.8g; cholesterol 52.2mg; vitamin a iu 5584.5IU; vitamin c 70.6mg; folate 68.3mcg; calcium 455.7mg; iron 3.3mg; magnesium 79.8mg; potassium 379.3mg; sodium 576.4mg.


2 vegetable, 1 1/2 fat, 1 high-fat protein, 1 medium-fat protein


Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,


Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” “share” and JOIN 

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

Valentine’s Day 2022

Hi Everyone,

(Click on the photos to enlarge and then the back arrow to return to the original post).

Happy Valentine’s Day! …. I am so sorry this posting is a day late but for the life of me, I could not get my pics to post yesterday. I don’t know what happened to my computer but I was completely frustrated all day. But things happen and you have to go with the flow as they say and make the best of a bad situation.

I was considering deleting the post since it was late and then I decided to share the post anyway with everyone because I wanted to wish you not only on Valentine’s Day but every day, a day of love, happiness, peace, and joy and you can still take away a few ideas for any celebration that you have coming up.

So here is Valentine’s Day 2022……

I chose the colors red, pink, and white for the tablescape and found a great new tablecloth that is stain-resistant on Amazon. This tablescape was quick to put together and I used standard red placemats to start.

I still can’t find a well-made heart-shaped placemat and if anyone has a source please let me know.

The dishes are a great set that I have had for years and unfortunately, I don’t usually use them because I have been favoring the pink heart-shaped dishes over and over. This set is pearl white and includes a dinner plate, salad plate, soup/pasta bowl, and a mug.

In between the dinner and salad plate, I used a paper plate by Papyrus that was a brilliant red with gold trim to bring a little bit of color to the all-white set.

I used everyday casual red enamel flatware.

Add a pink cotton napkin with a red metal napkin ring with the word “Love” in script with some filigree around the word. Plain, pretty, and simple.

Here is the place setting with a pink heart paper doilie for a little more color and another heart added to the table…….

Table accents were just some mini crystal hearts in rose and red and they added a nice little sparkle to the table especially when the sunbeams caught them from the window and I added a few paper red rose petals.

The second little table accent I used was a heart-shaped measuring spoon set in baby pink to remind us all to “measure our blessings”. I saw this in Macy’s and just thought it was too cute to pass up.

And the last table accent was a Willow Tree statue that my son sent me for Valentine’s Day that reads “Everyday Blessings” and I thought that was a good message for the table. I placed it on a “Love” trivet I had and placed the trivet in a pink heart dish surrounded by Valentine’s Day candy.

My centerpiece was also simple as well and I chose Valentine’s Day spray from Party City and 3 heart-shaped balloons in red and pink.

I added another bowl to the table that matches the trivet and used it to hold assorted candy.

We had a late lunch early dinner combination because the food was so rich and we knew we had a lot of dessert coming up.

I made our first course, heart-shaped cheese ravioli with a Vodka cream sauce. Always a crowd-pleaser. I purchased the ravioli at an Italian grocery store that we have locally (Uncle Giuseppe’s). I would have made them myself but I felt like relaxing this year.

Our second course was heart-shaped shrimp stuffed with crabmeat stuffing and instead of the traditional way to stuff the tails and have them sit upright in the dish, I wanted to make the shrimp heart-shaped. So I skewered the tops of two jumbo shrimps (shells removed except for the tip of the tail) and stuffed the crabmeat stuffing inside and baked. I think they looked cute and went with the Valentine’s Day theme.

I served this alongside a simple salad with oil and lemon dressing and added heart-cut-out shaped mozzarella bites and beets.


Now on to the best part of any meal- Dessert…

I started out just making heart-shaped brownies. Just a simple dessert for the two of us.

Later in the day Bob and I were discussing how we should have purchased a few chocolate-covered strawberries and Bob said he would go out and see if the bakery had any left.

Well, Bob came home with a lot more than chocolate-covered strawberries and said that he couldn’t decide what to get because they had so many of our favorites so he bought a sample of “Everything”.

We now have dessert for a month and we cut little pieces to sample and made a small dessert plate for each of us and all the leftovers are now in the freezer. It was a great variety. Let me share…..


Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Heart-shaped Linzer tarts and sugar cookies and chocolate lace cookies…

Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake

Bite-size Heart-shaped Rainbow Cookies


It was a wonderful celebration!

And lastly, two wonderful gifts from my honey, who never forgets any occasion no matter how many years that pass. You think he would run out of ideas since 1986.

This Valentine’s Day is our 36th Valentine’s Day together- It is truly a blessing and our time together each year gets better and better.

Two everyday eternal wedding bands full of hearts (one in pink and one in red) to remind me that I carry Bob’s love everywhere I go and a lovely ring tray.

And a new bag (he knows all my weaknesses) to match the rings along with a Valentine’s Day card that plays music, flashes lights and I can’t get this song out of my head now.

Have you ever had that happen where you hear a song and it stays with you for days? I am a current victim. The song on the card is Happy by Pharrell Williams- take it from there, the song is addicting.

But the way I see it, it’s much better to be “HAPPY” and sing rather than be sad.

That was our day. I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into our Valentine’s Day tablescape this year and maybe picked up a few ideas for a special occasion in your home or a birthday or even a regular weekday that you want to celebrate with your love.


Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,


Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” “share” and JOIN 

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Escarole, Beans and Pork Spareribs

Hi Everyone,

We had very odd weekend weather here in the Northeast this weekend. It was sunny and 60 degrees on Saturday and then it was 30 degrees and snowing on Sunday. It made you want to have ice cream in the park one day and then the next day crave warm comfort food.

Well, I chose one of my favorite comfort foods for Sunday and the cold weather and it was an Italian peasant dish that my mother used to make quite a lot when I was a child. It’s “escarole and beans” and you have probably tried it or have at least seen the dish on an Italian restaurant menu.

The escarole is wilted in chicken stock and garlic and cannellini beans are added with lots of grated cheese. It can be made a little spicy with the addition of red pepper. My mother used to make this dish quite often and on occasion added pork spareribs.

I found the most beautiful pork spareribs at my local butcher and this dish came to mind immediately. And the escarole I bought was beautiful and organic and I was all set. I had all the other ingredients I needed in my pantry at home.


It turned out to be a great Sunday meal and I served it with grilled olive bread (ciabatta would be perfect as well). I suggest you give this recipe a try on a cold day.

Escarole and Beans with Pork Spareribs – 4 servings


  • 1 lb. pork spareribs (St Louis or country style)
  • 1 quart of chicken stock (homemade or low sodium boxed)
  • 1 medium yellow onion – diced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic -minced
  • 2-4 tbsp olive oil– (enough to cover the bottom of the pot).
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 lbs. of escarole or 2 medium heads (it will shrink)
  • 2 (14 oz) cans of cannellini beans (I prefer low sodium) – drained and rinsed
  • Salt and pepper and garlic powder to taste
  • 1/8 tsp of red pepper flakes or Calabrian chili paste (optional)
  • Parmesan rind (optional)


In a large pot, coat the bottom of the pot with olive oil and brown the spareribs.  Add chopped onions and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes.

Add the garlic and red pepper flakes or Calabrian chili paste plus a pinch of salt and sauté for a minute or two.

Add the tomato paste and sauté or toast it for a minute in the pan before mixing it well with the garlic.

Add the broth, cheese rind (if using), garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cook on medium heat (partially covered) for 45 minutes to 1 hour to braise and tenderize the spareribs.

In the meantime, thoroughly wash the escarole (it can be very dirty and I wash it twice in water and baking soda than a good rinse). Cut the escarole into large pieces.

Add the escarole to the broth and cook until the escarole wilts to your liking (some like it with a little crunch some like it completely soft- your choice). Add another pinch of salt.

Stir in the beans (1 ½ cans whole and ½ can mashed) * you can mash by hand or in the food processor.

Simmer for 10-15 minutes

If extra liquid is needed, add a little more broth and let the flavors blend for a few minutes stovetop. Adjust seasonings.

Serve with a drizzle of more olive oil over each serving, add grated cheese and more red pepper flakes (optional).

In addition, serve this with a little grated cheese and grilled ciabatta bread to dunk in the broth.

Enjoy every bite…


Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,


Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” “share” and JOIN 

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.