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Easter Lamb Stew

Since I had to work at 5:30am, Easter Sunday. I decided if I was going to cook dinner it had to be something that required very little work. That’s where the good old Crockpot always comes in handy! When I got home from work I tossed some lamb shoulder a can of fire roasted tomatoes and one can of water in the Crockpot. Set it on high and crawled into bed for a nap. I woke up to heavenly smells and finished off the stew with an assortment of rainbow colored veggies. Another hour in the Crockpot for the veggies to soften and right before I serve the stew I popped some crescent rolls in the oven. I also had some yucca leftover from a party I catered so I fried those up and made a garlic butter to drizzle over them.

Dinner is served…

Easter Lamb Stew Dinner


Vegan Winter Stew

On cold winter days I find this soup perfect to warm the body but not too heavy when there is still lots of work to be done. You will get all the nutrients you need to keep your body fueled and full of energy.

I had some leftover veggies from my farmers market shopping trip. They were a little wilted and tired and I wanted to use them before I had to throw them out. A stew is perfect for a little veggie facelift!


  • basmati brown rice

    Vegan Winter Stew

    Vegan Winter Stew

  • olive oil
  • 1 yukon gold potato
  • ginger
  • 1 of each: poblano pepper, yellow bell pepper, anaheim pepper
  • rainbow chard
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tBs cumin
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (or chicken stock if you’re not vegan)

Start with cooking rice, according to package, 2 cups of rice.

  1. heat a saute pan over medium high heat. dice potato, coat bottom of pan with olive oil and add potatoes to pan. season with salt and pepper, cook potatoes until they are golden brown.
  2. peel and thinly slice ginger into math sticks. thinly slice peppers, chop chard starting at the stalks making your way up to the leafy tops, finely chop garlic cloves.
  3. add veggies to pan ending with chard. mix everything together lower heat to medium. sprinkle in cumin and a pinch of salt. saute for about 5 minutes.
  4. pour in vegetable broth and beans. stir and let everything simmer together for about 10 minutes.

To serve: spoon stew into a bowl and top with a scoop of brown rice.

Save the leftovers to enjoy for the rest of the week! TIP: store rice and stew separately

Pumpkin Chowder

I called this stew a chowder because of it’s rich creamy thick broth. Traditionally chowders are made with heavy cream and have chunks of seafood. The most common being clam chowder. Nowadays there are many creative versions of chowder recipes and I’m adding one more to the clan!

My Pumpkin Chowder is a rich and delicious stew, and healthy. It will make a perfect appetizer or side dish for the winter holiday parties.


  • Roasted Sugar Pumpkin
  • Chicken Stock
  • Cranberry Chutney
  • Chicken Sausage with Apple
  • Yukon Potatoes
  • Celery

Pumpkin Chowder

Chicken Verde Tortilla Soup


  • 4 Chicken Thighs (on the bone)
  • 4 Corn Tortillas

    Chicken Verde Tortilla Soup

  • 3 stalks of celery
  • 1-2 Mexican Squash (or zucchini)
  • 1 Poblano Pepper
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 6 cups Chicken Stock
  • Tomatillo Sauce
  • Sour Cream
  • Cilantro
  1. Heat dutch oven over high heat. When pot is hot drizzle with olive oil to coat the bottom. Lay Chicken thighs in skin side down. Season with salt and brown for 10 minutes each side.
  2. In the meantime slice tortillas into thin strips. set aside.
  3. dice celery, squash, poblano pepper and red onion. finely chop garlic and set aside.
  4. remove chicken from pot, lower heat to medium and toss in tortilla strips. brown strips until golden in color and crispy. remove from pot, season with a little salt and set aside.
  5. drain some oil from pan and place chicken back into pot. add all the veggies to pot and saute for about 5 minutes then cover with chicken stock.
  6. Let the soup simmer on low for about 30 minutes.
When ready to serve remove skin from  chicken and gently losen meat from bone. The bone adds extra flavor and makes for a delicious and rustic soup. Garnish soup with crispy tortilla strips, a dollop of sour cream, tomatillo sauce and sprinkle with cilantro leaves.

Bowl of Chicken Verde Tortilla Soup with Cheesy Quesadilla

Rich and Hearty Beef Stew

Every now and then I screw up a dish or meal I’m preparing. I did that on Christmas-eve with a filet mignon roast I had picked up on sale at the market. I’m not a big fan of roasts but I figured it was filet mignon surely I can work with it. I couldn’t and the meal was far from delicious! I couldn’t just toss out all this meat though, so after a day of contemplating what to do with my leftover disaster,  I made this very delicious stew!


Rich and Hearty Beef Stew


  • 1/2 lb filet mignon roast (or any beef roast)
  • 8-12 fingerling potatoes
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  1. let roast come to room temperature. season with salt and peppers and drizzle with olive oil.
  2. heat a large stock or soup pot over high heat. coat pot with olive oil and just when it starts to smoke, place roast in pot. sear on all sides until golden brown. remove from pot.
  3. while roast is searing; peel and slice carrots into hearty pieces, roughly chop onion, peel and finely chop garlic, slice potatoes in half and slice celery into hearty pieces.
  4. add half of the onions and potatoes to pot, lower heat to medium, season with salt and pepper and saute for a few minutes. put roast back into pot and cover with chicken stock, scraping bits off the bottom of pot. cover pot and let simmer 45-60 minutes until roast is tender and falling apart.
  5. remove any fat from roast now (should fall right off) and break meat up. add the rest of the potatoes and onion. add carrots, celery and garlic. cover again and lower heat to low. let simmer 30-45 minutes more until veggies are tender. (add more liquid if needed)

Serve up stew in a big bowl with some buttermilk biscuits and you’ve got a hearty, comforting and delicious meal!

Cooking Time: approximately 2 hours

JJ’s Minestrone Soup

Every week or two I do a little inventory on what’s in the pantry and fridge so I can restock and cook whatever I have left from catering jobs or video shoots. One of the best, yet easiest things to cook when cleaning out the fridge is Minestrone Soup. It’s never an exact science. Use whatever veggies and meat (if you’ve got it) in the soup. In my pantry, I like to keep stocked: canned tomatoes, chicken stock and different kinds of beans. And, I always have some kind of pasta or rice leftover from catering. I used sandwich bread for some garlic toast to serve alongside my Minestrone Soup. With these simple ingredients you can make a delicious, hearty and healthy pot of homemade soup!

What I had on hand…

  • 1 yellow onion

    Minestrone Soup

  • 2 handfuls turkey peperoni
  • 3 celery ribs
  • 2 carrots
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 28 oz can whole tomatoes
  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tbs fennel seed
  • 15 oz can cannellini beans
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • grated parmesan cheese
  1. heat soup pot over medium heat. dice onion, drizzle pot with olive oil and scoop in onions.
  2. rough chop turkey peperoni and add to pot. dice carrots and celery and add to pot. roughly chop garlic, add to pot. season with salt and pepper and mix everything up.
  3. pour in can of whole tomatoes. add fennel seed and grate in nutmeg. let simmer for about fifteen minutes.
  4. after soup has simmered, use a potato masher to break up tomatoes until tomatoes are a chunky consistancy. add cannellini beans and chicken stock and let come to a soft boil again then lower heat to low cover and let simmer about ten minutes more.

Serve alongside garlic toast and garnish with parmesan cheese.

Makes about 4-6 servings

JJ’s Super Power Chili

I’ve been told this Chili will change you forever. It will make you stronger and more loving and make you feel like you’ve lived four extra lifetimes in distance times and places. Now that’s some Chili with super powers!


  • 3 tbs chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup of tomato paste
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 3 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 can ranch style beans (optional)
  1. measure out chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and smoked paprika out into a small bowl. heat dutch oven or large pot over  medium heat. drizzle pot with a little oil and add in spices.
  2. dice onion and add to pot. season with salt & cracked pepper. turn up heat to medium high and cook for about 10 minutes.
  3. add garlic to pan and mix. add ground beef. season again with a little salt and pepper and let the meat brown, about 15 minutes.
  4. mix in tomato paste. pour in fire roasted tomatoes and chicken stock. turn down to low and let simmer. (the longer the better. at least 30 min.)
  5. add beans at the end right before serving.
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