Bucatini Pasta with Pancetta and Sun Dried Tomatoes

     It has been Winter chilly in Charlotte this week!  I craved a quick to prepare dish that was warm, comforting and ample enough for leftover servings. Bucatini pasta with Pancetta and Sundried Tomatoes to the rescue! If you are acquainted with Bucatini, you already appreciate the hollow center of the noodle that hoards a secret stash of delicious sauce for you to savor with every bite. If you have not experienced Bucatini, I promise you that the two of you will make fast friends…for life! If you have a food mill, take a few minutes to de-seed your tomatoes. This extra step will make your sauce smooth, velvety and devoid of bitterness (***tomato seeds if cooked too long can make a sauce bitter. If this happens, no worries, just add fresh herbs and/or a small bit of sugar to your sauce).
If you want to make this recipe more substantial, add some grilled chicken or sautéed shrimp. Any left over  Bucatini with Pancetta and Sundried Tomatoes can be scarfed cold from its storage container or re-heated with extra cheese for a hearty side dish.

Triple “T” Chili


I must say, I really love this chili.

It has the hearty, stick to your ribs quality that I expect from a good bowl of red. Thankfully, this chili has packs a protein punch that will not side line you for the afternoon if you over indulge with an extra bowl (or two!). Triple “T” means that this chili is a three-time turkey treat. Lean ground turkey, spicy hot Italian turkey sausage and rich smoked turkey legs are slow simmered and seasoned with just enough heat to make this chili one I will reach for time and time again. Try Triple “T” chili over a baked sweet potato with some shredded Chipotle Gouda. Or, eat it over roasted brussels sprouts for a post work out re-booting meal.  Any way you try it, Triple “T” Chili will make your tummy feel good while you feel great about yourself for making a healthy, wholesome meal!

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Chipotle Sausage Bacon Pinwheels

     My four children have all been active in high school and year round sports teams. Taylor, as many of you know, was a Division I distance swimmer in college. My youngest son, currently a high school Senior, will play Division I lacrosse in college. These facts mean that I am an expert by default in three things: distance highway driving, bulk laundry, and making supper. I will confess that the steaming suppers borne out of casseroles, crock pots and stew pots were probably lacking in the looks department, but they were really, really tasty! I would affectionately call my weeknight culinary high art, “ugly but good”. Taylor is still bugging me about the recipe for crock pot Caribbean Chicken ( chicken breasts, jerk sauce, cream cheese and peach jam…you get the picture).

     This said, not all things crazy tasty have to be low-brow in the looks department. Chipotle Sausage Bacon Pinwheels are  make ahead, pert, pretty, meaty, spicy and delicious! Soft yeast dough is made ahead and kept chilled until you are ready to assemble the pinwheels. The roll dough is spread with Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce cream, cooked bacon, sausage and chopped scallions. The rolls are brushed with Tabasco Sweet and Spicy Pepper Sauce butter. Bake them free form or nestle them in round disposable aluminum pans. If you wish, freeze some or all of the rolls and thaw and bake at a later date.
     Chipotle Sausage Bacon Pinwheels make a great  grab and go tailgate breakfast. Or, serve them on a platter as a buffet  brunch selection. The rolls are hearty and stand up well to  tailgate soups and stews.  Bring some whimsy to your next tailgate or gathering and make Chipotle Sausage Bacon Pinwheels.  These piggy pinwheels look like cinnamon rolls and taste like hog heaven!Continue Reading

Feta Greek Yogurt Dip

       Are you excited for college football season? With only a few weeks to go, Sally and I are testing and figuring out what recipes we will take with us tailgating this year. If you are an experienced tailgater, you know that a delicious dip serves a variety of purposes. You can pair it with a vegetable or chip tray for a pre-game snack. When the entrees come off the grill, you can use it as a sandwich spread on top of a burger! A variety of dips are a great thing to have in your tailgating repertoire this season.
     This Feta Greek Yogurt Dip is big on flavor, but won’t leave you feeling weighed down. It is a refreshing mixture of non-fat greek yogurt, crumbled feta, a touch of olive oil, garlic, lemon, capers and parsley. You can pair it with an assortment of vegetables or spread it on a lamb burger, salmon,or lemon grilled chicken sandwich. If you thin it out with a bit of milk, it turns into versatile salad dressing.

Nectarine Galette

nectraine_galette_intro_imageWhen you eat pie, do you prefer the filling, or the crust? If you are like me and prefer the filling, a gallete if the perfect summer dessert for you. With a pie, the fruit filling is sandwiched between a top and bottom and bottom layer of crust. With a galette, you only have a bottom layer of crust with a little bit on the sides. A little warning about transporting a galette: don’t travel with it uncovered. Here is what the galette looked like when I put it in  my passenger seat before the 15 minute drive from Sally’s place to my house. The scale of the image may be deceiving. Keep in mind that this galette is the size of a full pie and is meant to serve 8 people.

Watermelon Peach and Feta Salad with Lemon Allspice Dressing


My love for watermelon isn’t bound by one season. Any time of the year that watermelon is available, I’ll eat it. My love of this pink and green melon started at an early age. At Thanksgiving and Christmas, my Granny (Marjorie) will always bring a fruit salad for our family meal. She knows how much I like watermelon, so she will scour the grocery store to find some in season. My siblings know that if they want watermelon in their serving, they need to serve themselves before I pick out all the watermelon pieces. In college, I discovered a new way to consume my favorite summer food. Creating a small whole in the melon’s surface and adding an inverted liquor bottle turns a the watermelon into a cocktail and a food I have to slow down while eating. I still love watermelon and this summer I plan on eating as much watermelon as I can! After seeing palates of watermelon at the grocery store, I was inspired to paint a photography background inspired by the green exterior and beautiful pink interior of this summer treat.


Thanks to Sally, I have a new way to enjoy my favorite summer fruit. Bite sized pieces of watermelon and peaches are marinated sweet and tangy Lemon Allspice Marinade. The salad is served with the marinated fruit, crumbled feta, and pistachios. It is perfect for tailgating, back yard entertaining, or any other summer meal where watermelon lovers will be dining. If I’m eating this salad with you, be careful, I will pick all the watermelon out of the bowl. Continue Reading

Original Red Roasted Cauliflower Salad

Upon my arrival in Lafayette, I relaxed into the familiar embrace of South Louisiana humidity. In less than 30 miles I was transported to a world unchanged by mixed use zoning and familiar neon signs. I passed through the gate house and onto Avery Island. Past swamps and marshes teaming with wildlife, the terrain began to roll and I was silenced by the beauty of time worn live oak trees draped with Spanish moss.

Garlic Tabasco London Broil

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I have a confession to make. I am a longtime fan of seasoning and cooking with Tabasco. You know this if you are familiar with Taylor Takes a Taste or The Southern Tailgating Cookbook. You may not know that my father, Carl James, introduced me to Tabasco while I spent a college summer in New Orleans. At the time, Carl was the Executive Director of the Sugar Bowl and enthusiastically used Original Red Tabasco on all of his food. Carl passed away 10 years ago and I think of him every time I use Tabasco sauce. Every time.

Strawberry Shortcakes

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In my Mom’s kitchen, there is a dark green granite counter top to the side of the oven. This is where the our recipe development occurs. My Mom has her side and I have mine. Over the years, we have spent countless hours on these two sides of the counter chopping, mixing, stirring and whatever culinary tasks are called for in the recipe.

To celebrate strawberry season, we decided to make a classic comfort food that highlights the berry’s juicy and sweet nature. Strawberry Shortcakes are an iconic dessert. With just three elements to it they are fairly straight and to the point. When you have ripe berries at the peak of their season, straightforward is what you need! Shortcake, a ripe berry filling, and a bowl of fluffy home made whipped cream are the makings of a great dessert.

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Grilled Eggplant Parmesan Sandwich


Are you looking for something new to try at your backyard barbecue or tailgate?
Have you ever considered eggplant?

This Grilled Eggplant Parmesan Sandwich packs the delicious flavors of eggplant Parmesan and delivers them in a portable sandwich that is perfect for summer entertaining. The eggplant slices can be grilled outdoors or inside on a grill pan. The tender eggplant is sandwiched between a creamy Ricotta spread, tomato sauce, fresh basil, Provolone cheese, and two buttery pieces of Italian bread.

We have worked with The Go Bold With Butter Blog to develop this recipe and you can see full recipe over on their site. Here is a link to the Grilled Eggplant Parmesan Sandwich.

Texas Size Blueberry Honey Streusel Muffins


How will your celebrate Father’s Day this year? Will you walk 18 with your dad? Spend the day boating on the lake? Go for a hike in the mountains? Maybe it will be a day of relaxing and watching the last round of the U.S. Open! Regardless of what activities you have planned for Sunday, you must start the day with something to eat! These Texas Size Blueberry Honey Streusel Muffins are the perfect meal for a Dad on the go, or who wants to relax with the paper in their favorite chair. Their larger Texas size makes a muffin that will fill any dad’s appetite.

Blueberry Honey Streusel Muffins

Makes 12 Texas Sized Muffins

special equipment (2) 6 cup Texas Muffin Pans

Muffin Batter:

3 cups all purpose flour

2  1/2 cups fresh Blueberries

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

11 Tablespoons melted unsalted butter

3 large eggs, room temperature

2 Tablespoons honey (we used wildflower)

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Streusel Topping:

1 cup all purpose flour

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

5 Tablespoons melted unsalted butter

1 Tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray the muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray, if desired. Line the pans with 12 paper muffin cups. Set pans aside. Make the streusel topping. In a small bowl, add the flour, sugar and salt. Stir to blend. Add the  honey and vanilla to the melted butter. Stir to blend.  Pour the butter mixture over the flour mixture. Stir streusel with a spoon to mix. Streusel will resemble a thick paste. Set streusel mixture aside.

2.In a large bowl, add the flour, blueberries, sugar, baking powder and salt. Toss ingredients with a spoon until they are well blended. Set bowl aside. In a small bowl, add the milk, melted butter, eggs, honey and vanilla extract. Stir until well mixed. Pour the egg and milk mixture over the blueberry flour mixture. Stir the mixture until a batter just forms. Lumps in the batter are okay. Fill the 12 prepared muffin cups with the batter. Using a fork, fluff the streusel mixture until is breaks apart into pea sized clusters. Top each of the muffins with the streusel mixture. Put the muffin pans in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 20 to 25 minutes or until the muffins are done. Cool muffins in the pan. Serve.

Buttery Brioche Rolls

Buttery Brioche Rolls


These Buttery Brioche rolls are the perfect roll for a summer slider. Here are a few different ways that you can enjoy a Buttery Brioche slider this summer. If you are grilling, these rolls are great with grilled pork tenderloin or with a slider sized burger patty. Taking a picnic on the road? Try filling these buttery brioche rolls with chicken or shrimp salad. If you are camping, you can make burgers the dinner and then finish off the remaining rolls with a fried egg sandwich before packing up your campsite to head home. A roll with this kind of versatility is something that you can enjoy all summer long!

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