"A passion for cooking is what I have...Sharing that passion is what I love to do." -Sarah Vasques, The Home Chef


Easy Spanakopita with Creamy Marinara

Published by: Sarah

  • Mar
  • 2

Spanakopita AppFor the Spanakopita:

1 (10 oz.) pkg. Frozen Chopped Spinach, thawed & squeezed dry with a clean towel
c. Scallions, chopped
1 (8 oz.) container Light Garden Vegetable Cream Cheese, softened
1 c. Feta Cheese, crumbled
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Filo Dough
Melted Butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine first 5 ingredients.
Mix well.
Open filo and place on a lightly damp clean towel.
Have another ligtly damp clean towel read.
On a clean work surface, lay 1 sheet filo.
COVER the filo waiting to be used with the other damp towel!
Brush with butter.
Cut the filo sheet lengthwise into four 2″ strips.
Place a spoon full of the spinach mixture on the short side of the each filo strips.
Beginning at the spinach end, fold filo into a triangle; then fold straight up; then fold into a triangle continuing up the strip to the end.**
Seal with a bush of melted butter.
Place onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
Repeat process until all the spinach mixture is used.
Brush the triangles again with butter.
Bake 25 minutes.
Serve hot with Creamy Marinara.

For the Marinara:
1 c. Homemade Marinara (if using jarred  Prego Traditional recommended)
1/4 c. Heavy Cream or Half and Half
2 tsp. Fresh Thyme Leaves, chopped

Combine all in a sauce pan and heat through.

**NOTE: Folding the triangles can be tricky. Here is a link to my “how to” video taken by a student during a cooking class. I was using half sheets of filo not full. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyVSDSlazbE



T2: Did You Know…….

Published by: Sarah

  • Mar
  • 15

Insert into post

… “Brascalla” means air dried in French?

… The 19th Century Inuits Eskimo’s would put fish on snow banks to freeze it?

… “Naver” is a French dish made with cured beef & turnip?

… “Potie” means the finished dish in South African Zulu language?

… Dijon Mustard is made with green grape juice to give it its tart flavor?


X2: Did you Know…….

Published by: Sarah

  • Mar
  • 1

Insert into post

… The best woods to make bowls are Maple, Beech, Walnut & Cherry?

… The Dutch oven came from German immigrants? They migrated slowly through South Africa.

… “Apptretse” is French for preparation?

… “Amanzi” means water in South African Zulu?

… Cucumbers have a high Silica content for silky hair?


“Mom, You’re Wearing White!”

Published by: Sarah

  • Mar
  • 23

There is a long-standing joke with my kids when they were younger (and even now) that when I wear/wore white, I was always cooking something that was red.

Today I had the wonderful privilege to teach a mom & step-daughter an Italian meal which included; Tomato Basil Bisque and a Basic Marinara Sauce.

WELL, I THOUGHT I made sure that when it came to getting anywhere close to the “red” stuff, that  the students did the work & not me. I obviously didn’t stay out-of-the-way as well as I thought.  Oxi-clean, here I come – AGAIN 🙂




Z1: Did You Know…….

Published by: Sarah

  • Mar
  • 15



… Cucumbers fight cancer?

… Cucumbers rehydrate & remineralize the body?

… Cucumbers are high in silica content whch makes hair silky?

… Cucumbers help to cure diabetes?

… Cucumbers help to control blood pressure?


Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon

Published by: Sarah

  • Mar
  • 10

As most women of her era, Julia Child  had only time on her hands; which is why she was such a good chef. She had all the time in the world to perfect her recipes. If you have a day where all you want to do is be in a house that smells absolutely divine, I urge you to take the time & make this recipe! And NO a crock pot doesn’t cut it!!

This recipe is written in method format with pictures. All the ingredients are listed in bold only the first time they are used or mentioned. Be sure to read through completely before beginning.

Begin 6 hours ahead.

Boil 6 ounces of center cut bacon cut into ½” pieces in 4 c. water for 10 minutes.
Drain & dry with paper towels.
Preheat oven to 450°.
Heat 3 T oil in a large Dutch oven & add the bacon.
Cook & stir until bacon is golden brown.
Remove bacon to a bowl lined with paper towels (top center).
3 lbs. of stew beef cut into 3” cubes, pat dry with paper towels. VERY IMPORTANT STEP!
Add the meat to the Dutch oven & sear on all sides.
Remove meat to a plate (left).
Add to the pot, 1 lg. sliced onion, ½ lb. baby carrots & 2 fresh bay leaves.
Cook & stir until browned (right).












Return the meat & bacon to the pot with the veggies.
Season with a good pinch of course kosher salt & a good grinding of black pepper.
Sprinkle with 2 T flour & stir (top).
Place uncovered in the oven for 4 minutes.
Stir meat & veggies again and bake another 4 minutes (bottom).
Remove from oven & turn the temperature down to 325°.





















Remove the bay leaves & reserve.
Smash 4 cloves of fresh garlic.
Chop 2 tsp. of fresh thyme.
Measure out 3 c. red wine.
Measure out 3 c. beef stock (here I’ve used homemade)












Add 1 T tomato paste, garlic, thyme, wine & stock to the pot.












Return the bay leaves to the pot & bring to a simmer (top).
Cover & bake for 3 hours (bottom).
























Peel 20 +/- small white onions.
Remove 90% of the root end leaving a little intact to hold the onion together (top).
Make an herb bundle of 4 sprigs parsley, 2 sprigs thyme & 1 fresh bay leaf (top).
Tie together with kitchen twine (top).
Measure out ½ c. – 1½ c. beef stock (top)….. NOTE: Larger onions require more stock.
Quarter 24 oz. mushrooms (top).
Measure 2 T butter & 2 T oil into a ramekin (top).
Measure 1 T butter & 1 T oil into a large skillet (bottom).























After the stew has been cooking 2½ hours, heat the skillet with the butter & oil over medium high heat until bubbling.
Add the onions: sauté & roll until onions are lightly browned – about 15 minutes (top).
Add the herb bundle & ½ c. beef stock (center).
Reduce heat to medium low; simmer until onions are tender and liquid has evaporated (bottom).
     NOTE: This process takes about an hour and you will need to add more stock, ½ c. at a time, for larger onions as shown in the top picture.
































Cover during the last 10 minutes of cooking time to ensure tenderness (top).
Pierce the largest onion with a sharp knife. If it goes in easily, it’s done (center).
Transfer onions to a bowl & set aside (bottom).































Wipe out the pan & add the remaining butter and oil (top).
Heat to bubbling & add the mushrooms (center).
Shake the pan to coat the mushrooms.
Cook mushrooms over medium high heat for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown (bottom).
NOTE: They will give up a lot of liquid. Allow that liquid to evaporate by half.


































Place a colander over a large pot.
Remove the lid from the stew (top).
Strain the stew to gather the juices (center).
Return the meat & veggies to the Dutch oven (bottom).
Place the pot with the juices over high heat.
Add 1 c. water & bring to a boil.
Reduce heat & simmer while finishing the mushrooms.































When the mushrooms have achieved their golden brown-ness, place a heavy pan on top of them (top).
Cook another 8-10 minutes or until deep golden brown (bottom).























Make cornstarch “slurry” with 1 heaping T cornstarch & enough water to make smooth.
Whisk the slurry into the juices (top).
Add the mushrooms & onions to the meat (center).
Pour sauce over all (bottom).


































So, after 6 hours, there you have it, Julia Childs’ Beef Bourguignon.


Here it is served over egg noodles with biscuits & a good chardonnay 🙂 BON APPETITE!!




Y1: Did You Know…….

Published by: Sarah

  • Mar
  • 1



… Cucumbers help to relieve joint pain caused by arthritis & gout?

… Cucumbers help reduce cholesterol?

… Cucumbers can aid in weightloss?

… Cucumbers promote good digestion?

… Cucumbers help to prevent headaches?


B1: Did You Know…….

Published by: Sarah

  • Mar
  • 15

… Recipes seen on TV are meant to be a “loose map” and not to be followed to the letter, unless of course you’re baking?

… Mise En Place (meez-en-plass) means to prepare & measure out?

… Greens such as kale, spinach, chard, cilantro, parsley & beet tops, are “Phyto” enriched & may help with menopausal symptoms?

… Garnishing a plate can make it look more appetizing?

… Filo (proper pronunciation is fee-low) means “leaf” in Greek?


Published by: Sarah

  • Mar
  • 13


… Cucumbers can relieve joint pain from arthritis & gout?

… Cucumbers can reduce cholesterol?

… Cucumbers can aid in weightloss?

… Cucumbers promote good digestion?

… Cucumbers can prevent headaches?


A1: Did You Know…….

Published by: Sarah

  • Mar
  • 1

… Land O Lakes was the first to put measurements on their packaging of butter sticks?

… Curry is a powerful cancer fighter?

… If you put all the butter Land O Lakes makes in 1 year end to end it would go around the world 1 1/2 times?

… Swordfish, pink salmon, tuna in water, white & shitaki mushrooms are all a great source of vitamin D?

… Land O Lakes butter is the only butter available in all 50 states?