Roasted Tomatoes

I LOVE Roasted Tomatoes! My tomato plants are like the little shop of horrors, growing everywhere with tomatoes all over the place! I had to do something with them before they went bad and roasting them is the best way to go, since they are the small plum and grape type.

Not only do they make a great snack with every sweet and salty bite, but they make an amazing quick pan sauce for pasta and chicken dishes. You can even use them as a beautiful garnish!

Simply place the whole tomatoes on some parchment paper on a baking sheet.

Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and House Blend. Roasted at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, until they are dark golden brown and caramelized around the edges.

Store and refrigerate in a sealed jar with a little olive oil.

March 03, 2014


Tortilla Soup with Chorizo & Turkey Meatballs

We love tortilla soup around here, so I thought I would try spicing up my regular recipe with a few new ingredients like chorizo and turkey meatballs (instead of chicken) and corn. It was hearty and delicious with just the right amount of spice. Perfect for any kind of day and the Buttery Cornbread hit the spot!

The base of ingredients for the soup are onion, carrots, garlic and a poblano pepper. Chop these babies up and get them ready for a little saute.

I like to keep the dirty pans to a minimum, so using the soup pot, brown the chorizo. Don't be afraid of chorizo, its just a spicy pork sausage that is popular in Spanish, Portuguese and Mexican cooking. Sometimes it is smoked or cured, which does not require further cooking, or you can get it "raw", which requires it to be cooked. Here I am using the kind that needs to be cooked. Squeeze it out of the casing into a hot pan, brown it up and remove it with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel to drain any excess fat.

If you have a lot of excess fat from the chorizo, drain it, if there's just a little bit in there, than its ok to leave it. Toss in the carrots and onions and saute for a minute or so.

Add the chopped poblano pepper. I like to use poblano or pasilla peppers because most often they are on the mild side. If you like spice, you could always add a few serrano peppers as well. Saute veggies for a few minutes, just until the onions begin to turn opaque.

Add the garlic and cilantro.

Add in about a tablespoon of South O' the Border Blend, which is a combination of of chili powder, chipotle, cilantro, bell pepper, oregano, cumin and garlic.

 About a teaspoon of House Blend. These Spice Spoons are so cool, not to mention cute, I love using them!

Stir in 4 cups chicken stock.

And about 3 cups water, stirring to combine. Lower heat and simmer for about an hour. While the soup is simmering, we can get the meatballs made.

Add the cooked chorizo to a pound of extra lean ground turkey. I'm using extra lean, because of the chorizo being a little fatty. Add 1 tablespoon of South O' the Border Blend and a few tablespoons of chopped cilantro.

Add about 1/2 teaspoon of House Blend. The chorizo is a little salty, so you don't want too much salt.

And 1 egg to help bind everything together. I'm waiting until I have everything in the bowl to mix because I don't want to over work the meat, otherwise it tends to get dense and heavy. So just combine everything once you have it all in the bowl.

Raw meat isn't very appetizing looking, I know.......lets make some meatballs!

Heat pan with oil and using an ice scream scoop, drop spoonfuls into hot pan.

Brown meatballs on all sides and remove from pan. You want to get a good golden crust on as much of the meatball as possible since they will be submerged in the soup, this way it doesn't fall apart. They will finish cooking in the soup.

After soup has been simmering for an hour, add the meatballs back in.

And add a package of frozen corn. Continue to simmer for another 30 minutes.

Even though we drained the fat from the chorizo in the beginning, there is still going to some residual fat that cooks out of the meatballs. Skim any excess fat off the top of the soup and discard.

At this point we're ready to serve. Always taste your dishes before serving them to make sure they are seasoned properly. In this case, it still needs a little salt.

Yummmmmm! Look at all those veggies and delicious meatballs. Ladle soup into bowls and top with shredded cheese, cilantro and lime wedges.

Look how juicy these meatballs are. And the cornbread.......oh the cornbread!!!





Prep Time: 10 Minutes  Cook Time: 1 Hour 45 Minutes Difficulty: Easy Servings: 4-6


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 poblano or pasilla pepper, chopped
  • 1 7 ounce package corn kernels, frozen
  • 4 tablespoons cilantro, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 pound extra lean ground turkey
  • 6 ounces Mexican chorizo
  • SplenDishes South O' the Border Blend
  • SplenDishes House Blend
  • 1 egg
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups water
  • salt to taste
  • Shredded cheese and lime wedges for garnish


In large soup pot, squeeze chorizo from casings and brown in hot pot. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.

Remove excess fat from pot. Saute onions, carrots, and poblano pepper for 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and 2 tablespoons of cilantro and saute another 2-3 minutes.

Stir in South O' the Border Blend and House Blend. Add chicken stock and water. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 1 hour.

In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, cooked chorizo, 2 tablespoons of cilantro, South O' the Border Blend, House Blend and egg. Stir just to combine.

Heat saute pan, add a little vegetable oil, using ice cream scoop, drop spoonfuls into hot pan.

Brown meatballs, in batches, forming a dark golden crust around the meat. Remove from pan and set aside.

After an hour of simmering, add the meatballs and frozen corn. Continue simmering for another 30 minutes.

Skim excess fat from top of pot and discard.

Taste soup and add additional salt if needed.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls, top with shredded cheese, cilantro and lime wedges.

Serve with Buttered Cornbread.

January 16, 2014


Italian Vegetable Soup

Keeping up with the healthy diet for 2014? This Italian Vegetable Soup is packed full of healthy veggies and zesty Italian sausage. Served with a side of flaky, buttery biscuits and its the perfect meal on a cold winters day. Soup is delicious year round, no matter the weather, its a great way to use seasonal vegetables too!

What's great about soup, is that you can use any veggies you have on hand. It's also a great way to use veggies that are on their last leg. I pretty much use onions and garlic as a base in everything I cook.  They bring such flavor to every dish and the smell of just those 2 ingredients sauteeing is heavenly. Fresh herbs are a key ingredient as well, added towards the end of cooking, they bring a brightness, not only in color, but in flavor too.

I love all things pork, especially sausage.  It adds so much flavor to the dish rather than using plain ground meat. Here I'm using a sweet Italian sausage.  Spicy sausage would add a nice kick to this soup, if you want it spicy. Heat a soup pan on high heat and add a touch of oil. Using kitchen shears, cut sausage straight into hot pot and brown on both sides, then remove from pan and set aside.

See all that nice caramelization on each piece? This will add alot of flavor when you add it back into the soup.

Next we're going to saute the onions, carrots and celery, for about 4 minutes, just until the onions become translucent.

Throw in the chopped garlic and combine, then it's time for some spices. I'm using 3 different spice blends, each one is going to add it's own flavoring. I use House Blend in everything, its the perfect all-purpose seasoning with salt, black pepper, garlic and red pepper. Rainbow Lemon Pepper is going to give it a zesty kick from the lemon peel and a little more pepper for spice. And the star spice is Super Tuscan Blend, which is full of Italian herbs and tomato powder which will add to the richness of the soup. Stir these guys in and cook for another 2-3 minutes, letting the spices marry with the onions and other veggies.

Rosemary is not as delicate as the parsley and thyme, so we want to add it in the beginning, so it has a chance to break down and release those woodsy flavors. The house is smelling so good right about now....

It's wine time! It's always wine time around here....a dry white wine will give it that extra layer of flavor. Pour in about a cup and scrape up all those brown bits off the bottom of the pan.

White beans, cannelini beans, navy beans, you can use any of these. I'm using navy beans, honestly, I don't notice the difference in taste between any of them, especially in soup, so I've used them all. Also, add a can of diced tomatoes. I didn't have stock on hand (I know, its shocking!) so I used water instead. I wanted to show that you can still get great flavors by using different spice blends and fresh herbs. So about 6 cups of water, bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer and cook for about an hour. If you taste it now, you're going to want to add salt, don't do it yet. Your going to add the sausage back in soon and you want it to absorb the salt from that first.

After about 45 minutes to an hour, add in chopped zucchini. The zucchini is a more delicate vegetable, so it doesn't need to be cooked as long, so it gets added later.

Now it's time to throw the sausage back in. Since it's already cooked, you want to add it in about 30 minutes prior to the soup being finished so it doesn't break down and you lose its texture. 30 minutes will give it time to mesh with the other flavors but still keep it intact. 

Fresh herbs are a beautiful compliment to almost any dish. Fresh flat leaf parsley and thyme will bring brighten the soup and add another layer of flavor. Continue simmering an additional 30 minutes, then season to taste. You may want to add some salt at this point.

Topped with a little shredded Italian blend cheese and a buttered biscuit, you have the perfect winter meal!




Prep Time: 10 minutes  Cook Time: 2 Hours Difficulty: Easy Servings: 4-6


  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, including leaves, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1-15 ounce can navy beans
  • 1-15 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups water or stock
  • 1 tablespoon each of rosemary, parsley and thyme
  • 2 teaspoons each of SplenDishes House Blend, Rainbow Lemon Pepper and Super Tuscan Blend
  • Italian blend shredded cheese


Heat soup pot on high heat and add olive oil. Using kitchen shears, cut sausage into pieces straight into pot and brown on both sides, then remove from pot.

Add onions, carrots and celery and saute until onions become translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in garlic, House Blend, Rainbow Lemon Pepper and Super Tuscan Blend and cook another 2-3 minutes. Add rosemary and combine well.

Stir in white wine and scrape up brown bits from bottom of the pan. Add white beans and tomatoes and stir together.

Add water or stock and bring to a boil. Lower to simmer and cook for about an hour.

Add zucchini and sausage to soup and continue simmering another 30 minutes then taste and season with salt if needed.

Serve soup and top with shredded cheese.




December 30, 2013


Smoked Ham and Veggie Soup

After all the heavy holiday eating, this hearty soup packed with healthy veggies was just what we needed!

Makes 4-6 servings
2 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 small potatoes, chopped
1 sprig rosemary, chopped
4 sprigs thyme
1 Tbs SplenDishes Super Tuscan Blend
1-14 oz can black eyed peas
1-14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups smoked ham, chopped
1 cup dry white wine
8 cups homemade stock from ham bone (you can also use chicken stock)
Salt to taste
In soup pot, heat oil in medium high heat. Sauté onions, carrots, celery, potatoes and garlic until onions are tender (about 5 minutes). Stir in Super Tuscan, a pinch of salt and fresh herbs (leave the thyme whole and pull out twigs before serving). Add wine and reduce for about 5 minutes. Add black eyed peas and tomatoes, stirring to combine. 
Pour in stock and add ham.
Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 40 minutes. Season again with salt and pepper if needed.
You can also do this in the crockpot!

November 18, 2013


Turkey Soup

Steaming hot TURKEY SOUP and flaky buttery biscuits made this very chilly day more bearable.  I used the homemade broth I made yesterday. You can put any of your favorite veggies, but this is what I did.
Sauté onion, carrot, celery, garlic, fresh thyme and sage, SplenDishes House Seasoning and white wine.  Stir in broth and simmer for an hour.  Add chopped turkey and simmer another 30 minutes.  So simple, so healthy.  Make enough to freeze some for later too!
Turkey Soup


November 18, 2013


Pumpkin & Ham Soup

Pumpkin & Ham Soup

1 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3.carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 Granny Smith apple, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp fresh sage, chopped
1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1-29oz can pumpkin purée
1 1/2 cups cooked ham, chopped
2 tsp SplenDishes House Seasoning
1 tsp SplenDishes Pumpkin Pie Blend
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

In a large soup pot, sauté onion, carrots, celery, apple, garlic, thyme and rosemary in olive oil, until onion is translucent.
Season with House Seasoning, Pumpkin Pie Blend and red pepper flakes.  Stir in wine, pumpkin purée, water and stock.  Bring to boil, then simmer for 1 hour.
Add ham and simmer another 30 minutes. Re-season to taste.
Garnish with fried sage leaves.

pumpkin and ham soup

October 28, 2013


Italian Vegetable Soup

Italian Vegetable Soup
1 pkg Italian sausage links, sliced
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 zucchini, chopped
1 cup chopped greens (kale, Swiss chard)
1 Tbs olive oil
3 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp SplenDishes House Seasoning
1 Tbs SplenDishes Super Tuscan Blend
1/2 cup dry white wine
6 cups chicken stock

In a large soup pot, heat olive oil on high and brown sausage.  Add onions, carrots, celery and garlic and sauté until onions are transparent.  Sprinkle SplenDishes House Seasoning and Super Tuscan Blend, then add wine and chicken stock.  Bring to boil, then simmer for an hour.  After about an hour, add zucchini, greens and fresh herbs.  Season again to taste, then continue simmering for another 30 minutes.
Top with Parmesan croutons and fresh Parmesan cheese.

Italian Vegetable Soup