Beef · Main Courses · Pasta · Pork

Bolognese Sauce

BologneseA family favourite in our house, and so easy to put together.  It does take time, so its a good ‘Sunday afternoon when there is nothing much to do’ project.  The good news is that the flavours are even better the next day, so make on Sunday to enjoy later in the week.  After a long day at the office, dinner will be a snap!  Just boil your favourite pasta and you have a quick and easy mid-week dinner.  This serves 8 generously, and freezes very well.


Bolognese Sauce


3 Tablespoons oil

2 yellow onions, diced

5 celery ribs, diced

3 medium carrots, shredded

6 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 lb bacon finely chopped

1 lb lean ground beef

1 lb lean ground pork

1 can tomato paste (6 oz)

14 oz can tomato puree

1 cup dry red wine

1/2 cup water

1 cup milk (whole milk is best, but skim will work too, if that’s what you have)

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Get your big pot out… not that one, the bigger one – 6 – 8 quarts.   There is lots of stirring and simmering involved here and you will want the extra room a larger pot gives you.

Heat oil in pot over medium heat.   Add onion, celery, carrot and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until onion is translucent and vegetables are slightly soft.  Do not let them brown.  About 15 minutes.

Increase heat to medium- high, add bacon, beef and pork and cook, stirring to break up  any chunks until meat is no longer pink.  About 10 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium and stir in tomato paste  until well combined with meat and vegetables.  About 2 minutes.

Stir in tomato puree, wine, water, milk, salt and pepper.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered until liquids reduce and sauce is thickened.  About 2 hours.  Remember to stir occasionally while sauce simmers.

Spoon over cooked pasta and serve immediately or cool sauce uncovered, at room temperature.  Once sauce has cooled, cover and refrigerate.  Will keep  3 days in the fridge or frozen up to 3 months.



Desserts · Pies

Key Lime Pie with Cinnamon Toast Crunch Crust

 Seeing this recipe brought back a great memory.  I used to buy Key Limes by the bag full for my step-daughter.  It was their small size that first caught her eye, and from her very first taste, she loved these tart little limes so much that she would demand them in her lunch every day.  I quartered them and she ate them like tiny oranges. 

As adults, our best use for limes seems to be using them to top off a bottle of Corona.  While that is a good use, limes do have more to offer the culinary world than that.  Like this pie, for example.  If you don’t have key limes, regular ones will do just fine. 

The original recipe is for mini pies and can be found here.  I modified it to make 1 large pie instead. 

My one complaint about this recipe is that we are left with about 1/2 cup of Sweetened Condensed Milk at the end of the recipe.   I really hate when that happens.  What to do with the extra?  Add a spoonful to your morning coffee for a sweet treat, mix into hot chocolate or spoon it over fresh fruit for a quick dessert.

Key Lime Pie with Cinnamon Toast Crunch Crust


3 cups Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal

5 Tablespoons melted butter

1 Tablespoon packed brown sugar


3 cups sweetened condensed milk (from 3 14 oz cans)

1/2 cup sour cream (not low fat)

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice


1 cup whipping cream

2 teaspoons white sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons grated lime zest (see cooks notes)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Put cereal in food processor and pulse until ground into fine crumbs.  Add melted butter and  sugar, pulsing a few times until fully incorporated and mixture looks crumbly. Pack well into 10″ pie plate and bake in oven until lightly browned.  About 10 minutes.  

While crust is baking whisk together the lime juice, zest, sweetened milk and sour cream, making sure mixture is well blended and there are no lumps.

Pour into filling into the hot pie crust and put back in oven and bake for about 30 minutes.  Just until filling starts to set (See Cooks Notes below).

Remove from oven, place on rack to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold.  (At least 2 hours, overnight is better)

Just before serving, make the whipped cream.   Whisk cream until soft peaks form.  Add sugar, vanilla and lime zest and continue whisking until peaks are stiff.  Careful not to overdo it or you will end up with butter!

Slice pie into servings, put on plates, top with whipped cream and serve.

Grated Lime Zest – best removed from the limes before you juice them.  Grate whole limes over the small holes on a box grater to remove just the green part of the peels. 

Baking time – I always have trouble deciding if the filling has started to ‘set’ or not.  For this one, I baked until the edges of the filling started to bubble just a little bit.  It was slightly over cooked, but I knew it was set when it came out of the oven. 


Hot Toddy

When you are down with that Mother of all Colds, this is a comforting drink to sip.

There are more versions of this drink than I can count. Every distillery has their own version, as do most bartenders. Here is mine. Sub in rye whiskey if you prefer.

Hot Toddy

1 Tablespoon rum
1 Tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup hot water
Mix all in mug, stir and enjoy.
Beef · Main Courses · Pork

Meatloaf with Tomato Gravy

Meatloaf with Tomato Gravy

The dish that was so popular in the 50’s & 60’s but something I rarely see anymore.

The list of ingredients is loooooong, but you probably have most of them sitting in your cupboard right now, just waiting to be put to work.

A food processor makes quick work of the chopping so it really isn’t as difficult or time consuming as your first glance may lead you to believe.

This will make one large meatloaf, or 8 individual ones.  I like the individual ones because you can customize them to match certain preferences and still make one meal for a group.   One of our guests didn’t like onions, so I  mixed everything else together and portioned out his serving before adding the onions.

The tomato gravy that goes with this is optional, but highly recommended.


2 lbs lean ground beef

1 lb regular ground pork

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 bay leaf

2 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper

1/4 teaspoon mace

3 cups fresh basil, leaves and tender stems loosely packed

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, loosely packed

1/4 cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped

8″ piece of baguette, crust removed, torn into chunks

6 cloves garlic, peeled, roughly chopped

1 1/2 Tablespoons dried oregano

1 large onion, roughly chopped

3 large eggs, beaten well

1/2 cup red wine

1/4 cup water

1 cup tomato sauce, divided

Preheat oven to 375 and spray 8 individual loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray.  Arrange on a cookie sheet and set aside.

Place pork and beef in large bowl.   Put the next 13 ingredients in bowl of a food processor and process until everything is finely chopped, stopping several times to scrape down sides of bowl.   (You may have to do this in 2 batches, depending on size of your processor. )

Add to beef and pork mixture along with the eggs, red wine, water and 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce.  Mix gently until well combined.

Divide equally and place in prepared loaf pans.  Brush remaining 1/2 cup tomato sauce over meatloaves and bake until thermometer inserted in centre registers 160F – 30 – 40 minutes.

Let stand 15 minutes before removing from pans and serving.

Tomato Gravy

1 Tablespoon butter

1 Tablespoon canola oil

2 Tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cups hot water

1 tomato boullion cube

1/4 cup tomato sauce

2 Tablespoons ketchup

Heat oil and butter in saucepan over medium heat,  Add flour, stirring to remove any lumps.  Continue to cook mixture over low heat until flour turns a light brown.  Dissolve the bullion cube in the hot water and slowly pour into the flour mixture, stirring constantly to prevent lumps.  Increase heat to high, bring to boil.   Reduce heat add tomato sauce and ketchup and simmer until thickened.   Serve over sliced meatloaf.


Sautéed Radishes

Ah, the dead of winter.  Vegetables at this time of year can get boring.  Here is a little something different for your table.

Sautéing takes the bite out of the radishes, so no need to worry about this side dish biting you back.

Serves 2



Sautéed Radishes

1 cup  red radishes, trimmed and cut into quarters

1 Tablespoon canola oil

1 Tablespoon butter

salt and pepper to taste

Heat pan over medium-high heat.  Add butter and oil.  When butter is melted, add radishes, salt and pepper.  Sauté until skin of radish is no longer bright red and radishes are tender, but still firm.

Serve hot.

Main Courses · Pork

Pamplona de Puerco

What an impressive name this one has!  Really, it is  a stuffed pork tenderloin, but its Spanish name sounds so much more … well, MORE!

Though its name may be daunting, this dish is very simple to put together.   Once stuffed and tied, the pork will need to sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours, overnight is better, so plan accordingly.

The trick, as with most meats lies in the cooking part.  That does take practice, and this is a great recipe to start with.  The fix for this if you happen to under-cook it is to slice according to instructions and place in a hot pan for a minute or two, until properly cooked thru.  Simple, and if you don’t panic, your guests will be none the wiser!  LOL

This recipe is from chef Jose Garces, via Tasting Table.  The only thing I did differently was to cut it in half because our butcher had only 2 tenderloins.  2 tenderloin will serve 3 – 4 people.

Pamplona de Puerco, Salsa Criolla, Chimichurri, Corn with Poblanos, Potatoes w/Dill                      and Sautéed Radishes



Pamplona de Puerco

2 pieces pork tenderloin

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 ounces provolone cheese, cut into ¼-inch wide strips

1 roasted red peppers, cut into ¼-inch wide strips

2 Tablespoons thinly sliced green olives

2 tablespoons olive oil

Make the pamplona de puerco:

Place the meat flat on a work surface. Using a sharp knife, butterfly the meat along its long side. Continue cutting inward so that the meat unrolls like a carpet, until it reaches a ¼-inch thickness. It should measure around 9-inches by 4-inches. Season the pork liberally on both sides with salt and black pepper. Note: You can also ask your butcher to butterfly the meat for you.

With the wide side in front of you, on the bottom ⅓ of the tenderloin, place a few strips of the provolone cheese, red peppers and green olives.

Gently roll the pork tenderloin into a cylinder, making sure to keep the filling in the center. Using butcher’s twine, carefully tie the pork tenderloin in even intervals. Repeat with remaining tenderloin pieces. Place the tenderloin in the fridge, uncovered, for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight.

Remove the tenderloin from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking.

Meanwhile, prepare a charcoal or gas grill for indirect grilling. Brush the tenderloin pieces with olive oil and place them on the hot side of the grill. Cook the meat, turning often, until it’s brown all over, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove it and place on the cool side of the grill, then cover and it allow the meat to cook until the internal temperature reaches 140°, about another 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the pork from the grill and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Remove the butcher’s twine and slice carefully into ½-inch medallions. Arrange the meat on a platter and serve with the salsa criolla and chimichurri.




Salsa Criolla

Specifically, this recipe goes with Pamploma de Puerco which will be published on Thursday, but it works as an appetizer with tortilla chips just as well.  Looking for a new topping for taco night?  Or maybe something different to go with your chimichangas? This will work for that too.

This is from chef Jose Garces via Tasting Table.


Salsa Criolla

Salsa Criolla

2 Tablespoons finely diced white onion

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

salt, to taste

1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper

1/2 cup tomatoes, seeds removed and finely diced

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

In medium bowl, combine onion, vinegar and salt.  Let sit for about half an hour to soften the onion a bit.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Serve with grilled pork, chicken or beef, or just on its own with tortilla chips


Chimichurri Sauce

This a lively green sauce that goes well with nearly any beef, pork or even just drizzled on bread as an appetizer.   It is also a “must have” for the Tri-tip and Pamplona de Puerco,

This recipe is a compilation of about 20 different ones we have tried.  It makes just over a cup, which should be enough for 2 -4 people.



Chimichurri Sauce

3 Tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)

2 cups parsley, finely chopped

1 cup cilantro, finely chopped

1/2 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Serve.