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


Chantilly Cream

Published by: Sarah

  • Nov
  • 15

2 c. Whipping Cream
1 T Vanilla Extract
1/2 c. Sugar

Beat the cream with a hand mixer until slightly thickened.
Add the sugar & vanilla.
Continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
Serve over desserts such as mousse, cheesecake, apple pie or fruit crisps.


Chicken & Spinach Risotto

Published by: Sarah

  • Nov
  • 14

3 strips Hickory Smoked Bacon, cut into 1″ pieces
1 medium Sweet Onion, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
½ c. Arborio Rice
3 c. Chicken Stock, warmed **
Salt & Pepper to taste
3 c. Baby Spinach
2 c. cooked Chicken, cubed
Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly grated

Saute the bacon to render the fat over medium high heat.
When bacon is brown and crisp, remove & drain on paper towels.
Immediately add chopped onion.
Saute 2 minutes.
Add garlic and rice and saute until onions are translucent and rice is lightly browned.
Add stock, one ladle at a time, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid and stirring often.
Half way through adding the stock season with salt & pepper.
With the last of the stock add in the spinach.
Stir to wilt and blend it.
Taste for seasoning and tenderness of the rice (it should NOT be firm).
Finish with the chicken and warm through.
Plate and top with crumbled bacon and parmesan cheese to taste.

**NOTE: All of the stock may not be necessary!


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



Grilled Creamery Potatoes

Published by: Sarah

  • Oct
  • 19

2 T Mayonnaise
1 T Dijon Mustard
1 T Whole Grain or Country Style Mustard
2 T Honey
1/2# Baby Yukon Gold Potatoes
Fresh chopped Tarragon, Chives & Parsley for garnish

Combine first 4 ingredients and set aside.
Par cook potatoes whole in salted, boiling water.
Strain and cut in half.
Toss with mayonnaise mixture.
Grill about 5-7 minutes.
Garnish with herbs and serve.



Alfredo Florentine with Chicken & Roasted Red Peppers

Published by: Sarah

  • Aug
  • 14

creamy-seafood-alfredo (427x640)





















1 pkg.  Perdu Perfect Portions Chicken Breast
2 c. Heavy Cream
1 – 2 c. Half & Half
1 c. GOOD Parmesan Cheese (off the block NOT from a can)
3/4 c. Shredded Mozzarella
1 bag Express Mix Spinach and Arugula Blend
1 jar Roasted Red Peppers, drained and cut into strips
Salt & Pepper
Garlic Infused Olive Oil
1# Cooked Fettuccine or Linguine

In a heavy saucier or pan heat the cream to boiling.
Stir often until reduced by half.
Add 1 c. half and half and reduce for about 5 minutes.
Add all the cheeses and season with a lot of fresh ground black pepper.
Add the bag of greens and stir to wilt.
Remove from heat and set aside.

Season the chicken with salt & pepper.
Heat 3-4 T oil in a large skillet.
Cook chicken 5 minutes each side or until just cooked through.
Place on a platter to rest.

Bring the sauce back up to a low simmer and add the pasta.
Toss with tongs to blend.
Place pasta on a large serving platter.
Slice the chicken and fan over pasta.
Top with sliced peppers and serve.

NOTE: You can sub in shrimp for the chicken!!


Easy Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Published by: Sarah

  • Nov
  • 2

Begin 1-2 Days Ahead

1/2 cup paprika
1/4 cup kosher salt plus extra for seasoning
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons mustard powder
1/4 cup chili powder
1/4 cup ground cumin
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
1/4 cup granulated garlic
2 tablespoons cayenne
4-5# Pork Shoulder (also known as pork butt)
1 c. Angry Orchard Original or Apple Juice
BBQ Sauce of Choice

Special Equipment (this is not absolutely necessary – SEE INSTRUCTIONS BELOW)
Stove Top Smoker
Cherry, Hickory  & Apple Wood Chips or your choice of flavors

Combine all dry ingredients and mix well.
Season the meat all over with salt.
Massage the rub well into every part of  the meat.
Wrap in plastic wrap & refrigerate 24 – 48 hours.

Remove meat from refrigerator 1 hour before beginning cooking process.
Prepare your smoker by putting a mix of the 3 wood chips on the bottom.
Place the drip pan on top of the chips.
Place 4 single serve tart pans on the drip pan.
Fill  tart pans half way with warm water.
Spray the rack with cooking spray.
Place the rack on tart pans.
Your smoker is now ready.
NOTE: If you do not have a smoker, combine 1 tsp. hickory or mesquite liquid smoke with the Angry Orchard before adding to the crock pot.

Place the smoker on the largest burner of your stove.
Cover the smoker leaving a gap of 2 inches & turn the burner to high.
When you see smoke rising from the smoker, remove the top, place the meat on the rack & cover tightly with foil.
Reduce the heat to medium low.
Smoke meat for  1 1/2 hours.

During this time, fill the crock pot with hot tap water.
Turn to high & cover (this will preheat the crock pot).

When meat is done smoking, dump the water from the crock pot, and place the meat it.
Add the Angry Orchard and liquid smoke (if using).
Cover and cook on high for 6 – 7 hours.
Shred the meat with tongs.
Serve on warm Hawaiian Sweet Rolls** with your favorite BBQ sauce or just as is – YUM!

**If you like to bake your own bread & rolls look for my Hawaiian Sweet Roll Recipe on this site. Store bought is also fine. “Kings” brand is recommended.




Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

Published by: Sarah

  • Nov
  • 2

⅓ cup milk (warmed to 110° F)
1 tablespoon of active dry yeast (see note*)
½ cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (or canola oil)
¼ cup (1/2 stick) salted butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 large eggs, room temperature & lightly beaten
One 8 oz. can crushed pineapple, NOT drained (about ⅔ cup)
4 – 5 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt

For the tops:
1 egg
¼ cup water

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment: Mix together the milk and yeast.
Let it sit for about 10 minutes.
Add the oil, butter, sugars, eggs, and pineapple and mix to combine. Add 4 cups of flour, ½ cup at a time.
Add the salt.
Add enough of the last cup of flour slowly until the dough comes together (you may or may not need all of it).
Your dough should be sticky to the touch, and it should hold for a few seconds on the dough hook.
Knead for about 10 minutes, in the machine.
Oil another bowl & place kneaded dough in it.
Turn to coat.
Cover with a damp cloth and let the rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled.
NOTE: If your oven has a warming drawer, set it to #1 and set the dough to rise in there.
Butter a 9x 13 inch baking dish.
Punch the dough down and divide into twelve equal balls for jumbo rolls or 24 balls for dinner sized rolls.
Place in prepared dish, cover and let rise again until doubled, about 45 minutes

Preheat oven to 350º F.
Beat together the egg and water for the top and brush the tops of the risen rolls with the egg wash.
Bake for about 25 minutes or until the tops are nicely browned. Serve warm with additional butter.

NOTE: If you purchase your yeast in small envelopes, you’ll need more than 1 packet. Each packet contains 2¼ teaspoons. So you’ll need an additional ¾ teaspoon to make the 1 tablespoon. (1 T = 3 tsp.)


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!!




Basic Pot Roast

Published by: Sarah

  • Feb
  • 24

This recipe is so easy anyone can do it. You can multitask this by chopping the veggies while the meat is searing.  The truffle oil takes the gravy to a whole new level of flavor and elegance.

One 4-5# roast
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
1 lg. Yellow Onion, rough chopped
6 sm. Carrots, rough chopped
2 lg. stalks Celery, rough chopped
Herb Bundle: 2 sprigs rosemary & 4 sprigs thyme tied together with kitchen twine
2 fresh Bay Leaves, bruised
1 envelope Dry Italian Dressing
1 can (12 oz.) Beer (do not use ale or lager)
White Truffle Oil, optional

Heat oil in a skillet over high heat.
Season the roast with salt & pepper.
Sear on all sides.
Place veggies, bay & herb bundle in a crock pot.
When meat is nicely browned on all sides, place on top of the veggies.
Sprinkle with the Italian dressing.
Pour beer around the meat.
Cover & cook on HI for 7-8 hours or until the meat if fork tender.
Remove the herb bundle & bay leaves.
Remove meat & veggies to a platter & tent with foil.
Strain the juices into a 4 c. Pyrex measuring cup.
Allow fat to separate.
Skim off the fat & pour juices into a sauce pan.
Simmer to reduce.
Thicken with a corn starch slurry if desired.
Finish with a few pats of butter & white truffle oil.
Serve gravy over meat & veggies.


Homemade Breakfast Sausage

Published by: Sarah

  • Feb
  • 13

I love this recipe because I can control the amount of salt & seasonings.

1½ # Ground Pork or Turkey
2 tsp. Ground Sage
2 tsp. Fennel Seed
2 tsp. Granulated Onion
2 tsp. Granulated Garlic
2 pinch Ground Cloves
Salt & Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Combine all ingredients except  oil.
Mix well.
Test a quarter size patty in a hot skillet for seasoning.
Adjust if necessary.
Form meat into 8 patties.
Drizzle with oil & cook 3-4 minutes per side or until they center springs back when gently pressed.