Italian Stuffed Bell Pepper


Lately I have been on a much cleaner eating kick. Don’t get me wrong; I still indulge and make sure nights I eat out are times where I enjoy the food I am eating. But I have begun to appreciate the importance of amping up vegetables, and this dish does just that.

With no carbohydrates, and a spicy kick, you won’t miss anything from this Italian pepper. It cuts that pasta craving with the same flavors as any spicy sausage dish.

1 hot Italian sausage (not pre-cooked, go for a raw pork sausage)
2 bell peppers (any color works)
1/3 cup chopped mushrooms
1/4 red onion
1 cup spinach
1/3 cup frozen peas
1/3 cup vegetable stock
4 ounces goat cheese
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp garlic powder
2 ounces shredded Parmesan cheese
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
tomato sauce, optional


Start by setting the oven to preheat at 375. The onions and mushrooms need a little help getting cooked down, so the first step is to get them in a pan with some olive oil. Dice up both vegetables into even small pieces.


As for the sausage, you want the meat integrated in the pepper, but without the casing. Once the mushrooms and onions have cooked down a bit, cut the sausage, remove the casing, and add the meat to the pan. Once the meat has begun to cook, add the dried oregano, basil, rosemary, chili flakes and garlic. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper.


In a bowl, add the frozen peas and spinach. Set to the side.


When the sausage has cooked down, and the vegetables are caramelizing, add 1/3 cup vegetable stock to the pan to deglaze it. Scrape off all the delicious flavored goodies from the bottom of the pan and let the mixture reduce down a bit.


Once everything has reduced, pour the hot mixture over the peas and spinach. Stir everything together. You should begin to see the spinach wilt.


While the mixture is cooling, cut off the tops of the bell peppers. Gut them and remove as much of the inner membrane as you can. Set to the side.


The mixture should cool off quite a bit as the peas counteract the hot sausage and onions. Once the mixture is warm, but not hot, dollop in the goat cheese. Stir just to incorporate everything but NOT to melt the cheese.


Stuff those mushrooms! No seriously, get that delicious meat goodness in those peppers. As you start filling them, you may think that the mixture is too much to fit. Not so. You really want to get them as compact as possible. If you followed the above measurements, the meat mixture is exactly enough to stuff two peppers to the brim.

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Bell peppers take a bit of time to cook, but you run the risk of burning the tops of the inner ingredients. Which is why its is important to start slow and steam them at first. Place the peppers in a dish with about 1 inch of water.  Cover with a foil tent and cook for 45 minutes in the oven.


After the 45 minutes, take the peppers out of the oven. Crank the heat up to 400. Place one ounce of Parmesan cheese on top of each pepper. Put back in the dish and bake for another 25 minutes.


The pepper will come out soft, the top golden brown, the insides warm and delicious.


Optional, but totally worth is and delicious. Lay down a bed of your favorite tomato sauce and place the pepper in the middle. Sprinkle with some basil. Then… dig in!

How To: Buttercream Frosting


Buttercream frosting is the most delicious of all the frostings and the easiest to make. Jackpot!

I really cannot understand why people buy fake frosting, especially when making a batch at home is better for you, tastes better, and about the same price. All you need are three ingredients.

3 cups powdered sugar
2 sticks butter
Up to 1/4 cup milk
vanilla extract (optional)


The butter must be room temperature to be able to make frosting. IT CANNOT BE MELTED. Make sure you set your butter out on the counter when you begin baking your cake, or whatever you are making, to soften up.

Beat the butter with a whisk and slowly add the powdered sugar. I also like to add a tablespoon of vanilla extract. Add a little of the milk at a time, alternating with the powdered sugar to smoothen out the mixture. In the end, the entire box of sugar should be used and about no more than 1/4 cup milk should have been added. The milk is just there to help thin the frosting out a tiny bit.


You can do anything to the frosting, like color it to help decorate cakes. Pipe it, smear it on, add sprinkles whatever you like. Homemade buttercream is just as versatile as what comes in the can.

If you want to make variations of the frosting, you can! Try some of these ideas:

  • Add cocoa powder to turn the frosting into chocolate.
  • Try mixing in different extracts. Almond gives frosting an amaretto flavor, but you can also go for something like an orange or lavendar.
  • Lemon zest adds a fresh kick to your frosting. Lime tastes delicious too!
  • Mix in a tablespoon or two of smooth peanut butter to make a peanut butter frosting.

San Fransisco 49ers Superbowl Cake


I just had to do a quick post to share the amazing cake I made for the Superbowl. I must say it is one of my favorites.


My friend Rachel had this really cool stadium cake pan that we wanted to try out for this event. COOLEST PAN EVER! I made a raspberry cake which I thought was going to come out red once baked… and it was more purple. Ironic huh? (The Niners played the Ravens)


Really, this cake comes to life when it’s decorated. Here is what it looks like before.


Nothing special. So I decided to make homemade buttercream and add food coloring to get this cake covered in red, yellow, and white.

This is a testament to not needing fancy things to be a fancy person. I do not have piping bags and I certainly do not have piping tips. I use good old zip lock bags and cut off the tips to decorate my cakes.


For this one, I just went to town and piped on the red, yellow, and white colors in varying places.  Notice the field I cut out for the base? Super cool. I also printed little flags to place atop the cake in Niners glory.

Loved my little cake. I hope I could inspire some of you to also try something daring at home.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie


My go to sweet is always something chocolate, and nothing beats this classic. I have tweaked my recipe over the years and feel I have come to a point of perfect cookie bliss.

1 bag semi sweet chocolate chips
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
2 sticks butter
1 egg
2 tbs vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

People debate whether to melt the butter in these cookies, beat it when its room temperature, or anything else. I opt for a half melt, half soft butter to combine with the brown sugar. The other important things to a perfect cookie are the type of chocolate you use  (I am a Tollhouse fan), the number of eggs, and how long you bake them.


To begin, preheat your oven to 375. Place your two sticks of butter in a bowl and microwave for 10-15 seconds until about half the butter is melted.


Add the brown sugar to the bowl. The idea behind the half melted butter is to sort of melt the sugar into the butter and form this perfectly smooth mixture. Beat the sugar and butter together until you get a dark, caramely buttery mixture. Add the egg and beat it into the mixture. Add the vanilla and almond and whisk all together.


I know that this next step will have some chefs rolling over in their graves. I have done the separate the dry and add to the wet thing, and really… see absolutely no difference when it comes to these cookies. So instead of dirtying more dishes, add the salt and baking soda to the sugar mixture and mix till it is all incorporated.


Next, add the flour one cup at a time. You want to get everything mixed together really well, and also don’t want to fling flour everywhere and make a mess.


Once everything is mixed together, it should hold nicely and be light brown in color.


Pour in the bag of chocolate chips. Fold it into the dough.20130206_173538

Once the dough is all done, place the cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet. Do not roll the cookie into balls. Do not manhandle it. Just grab a chunk about the size of a ping pong ball (maybe a smidge under) and place it on the sheet.


Depending on your oven, you will bake these cookies between 6:20- 7:00 minutes. You want a brown cookie bottom with a cookie top that is no longer raw. This cookie, if baked right, will have a delicious caramely bottom, soft middle, and chocolate in every bite.

Kalamata Olive and Lentil Pizza


I went to Vegas last weekend and my friend Katie and I craved pizza the ENTIRE time. On Sunday morning, we woke up and checked Katie’s phone call log; it was filled with 12 pizza parlor numbers all of whom didn’t deliver. Talk about REALLY needed to satisfy a craving…

All week I tried to resist it, but the pizza gods were too strong last night. What was worse, I was also craving Tabouli, a Mediterranean salad dish. Needless to say, I made this and completely satisfied both of my cravings.

1/2 white or yellow onion
1/8 cup chopped mint
2 TBS olive oil
2 limes
wheat pizza dough (12 ounces)
8 ounces Kalamata Olive Tapenade
1 1/4 cup cooked lentils
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
6 ounces goat cheese
salt and pepper to taste

The idea behind this pizza was to combine warm pizza with a fresh bit. Tabouli cooked would not be something I would want to eat; I like the light vibrant taste of the citrusy salad. Which is why this pizza is topped with a cold, marinated onion salad, as opposed to cooking the flavors with everything else.  It was a great contrast.


Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Your pizza dough should also be set on the counter for at least an hour before you plan to make this pizza, or any pizza for that matter. It needs to puff up and rise. Once it has doubled in size, add some cornmeal to your pizza stone and stretch the dough out into a circular shape.


The onions need to sit for a while to marinate, so those are the first thing to deal with. Take your half onion and slice into thin 1/8 inch slices. Place in a bowl. Top with the mint.


Squeeze the juice of the two limes over the onions (you can also use 1/5 lemons if you have those on hand). Add the 2 TBS olive oil. Mix everything together and set to the side.


Grab your pizza stone with the dough already formed on top and add the olives. Cover the entire base with it. Next, sprinkle the minced garlic over the top.


Top with the lentils. Make sure everything is covered evenly with the 3 ingredients.


Next, dollop the goat cheese all around the pizza.


Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes. You want the cheese to be browned on top and the dough cooked all the way through.


Once the pizza is done, take the onions and top the whole pie. Don’t forget to drizzle any extra marinade over the top of the pizza.


Cut into slices, and enjoy!

PS! I am making a GIGANTIC stadium cake for the Superbowl this weekend. Stay tuned… It is going to be topped with San Fransisco Niners flags and banners galore :)