Get Stuffed!

It's a flavor-splosion

Giant Ho Ho!

DIY Hostess Cake

Soup Season

Warm up with spicy beer cheese soup

Baked Apples

Filled with ooey gooey caramel

Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice

With a cream cheese surprise!

Nov 29, 2015

Mango & Avocado Ceviche

Over the summer, Nick and some friends and I went on a Caribbean cruise. The seafood was the freshest I had ever tasted and since then I have been absolutely craving it. While scrolling through my vacation photos recently, I had a sudden craving for some ceviche, something we ate on almost every single stop on our cruise. While the seafood isn't quite as fresh up here in Ohio, going to my local grocer with seafood flown in daily was close enough for me.

One of my favorite ceviche combos I tried on our cruise was a fresh mango and shrimp ceviche. In my recipe, I used small cherry tomatoes, mango, and avocado to offset the blindingly hot sauce I also added into the marinade.

It's important to let the shrimp marinate in the lemon and lime juices until it's no longer translucent. This process generally takes about 30-40 minutes at room temperature; however, some people prefer to marinate their shrimp longer, to ensure it is properly "cooked."

Once the shrimp is mostly pink, add in the mango, avocado, and cherry tomatoes. Also season with salt and pepper, as desired. Garnish with fresh slices of lime and cilantro.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Marinating time: 30 mins +

Makes 2-3 servings


  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled & chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1 mango, cubed
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon favorite hot sauce (optional)
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • cilantro, for garnish

Here's How:

  1. Wash and chop the shrimp. Add the shrimp to a large bowl with the lemon and lime juice. Let marinate 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the hot sauce.
  2. Add the chopped mango, avocado, and tomatoes into the bowl with the shrimp and juices. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Let marinate for 20-30 minutes, or until the shrimp is no longer translucent and is a pale pink throughout. Serve garnished with cilantro and enjoy!


Maple Sausage and Sweet Potato Bake

Around this time of year, sweet potatoes must be consumed more than any other time of the season. Of course, don't quote me on that, I use sweet potatoes year round, but you have to admit, eating sweet potatoes feels more frequent around the holidays.

Instead of taking the traditional route of roasting my potatoes or piling them high with pecans or marshmallows, I decided to take the "breakfast route" and whip up a quick sausage and sweet potato bake.

It works marvelously for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and can be made casserole-style if you don't want to make individual servings. I used canned sweet potatoes and drained them from their syrup, but you can definitely take the time to chop your own sweet potatoes too.

Start by sauteing the onions, garlic, spices and sweet potatoes until tender. The sweet potatoes should be just beginning to mash when gently pressed upon. We don't want to mash them in this recipe, but that's always a fun option!

In a separate pan, fry the maple sausage until crisp, then toss it into the pan with the sweet potatoes. Remove the potatoes from the oven and place into a large bowl. Then gently stir in the remaining rosemary and add a pinch of salt and pepper.

I used a mandolin slicer on my squash to get them to be about 1/16 of an inch thick. If you trust your knife skills, and don't have a mandolin slicer, just cut the squash as thinly as you can. Next, toss the squash in a tablespoon of olive oil until covered, and arrange the squash in the bottoms of each ramekin - or arrange in rows along a casserole dish, if you decide to go that route.

Spoon the sweet potato mix into the ramekins and press slices of the squash around the edges between the sweet potato and the edges of the ramekin.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the tops of the sweet potatoes are just beginning to brown. Sprinkle the goat cheese on the sweet potatoes and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the goat cheese has started to brown and melt.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 40-45 minutes

Makes 4-5 servings


  • 4 cups sweet potatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 lb maple sausage (breakfast links)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 small yellow squash, thinly sliced
  • 4-5 tablespoons goat cheese
  • 1 tablespoon sage
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • sprigs rosemary
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • olive oil. for sauteing and tossing

Here's How:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a large skillet over medium high heat, saute the onions, garlic, and chopped sweet potatoes until the potatoes have softened. Add the sage, paprika, salt and pepper.
  2. Transfer the sweet potato mix into a bowl. Stir in the fresh rosemary. 
  3. In another skillet, fry the sausage until cooked through, then roughly chop and let cool for a few minutes. Stir into the sweet potato mixture.
  4. Thinly slice the squash with a mandolin slicer. Toss the squash in about a tablespoon of olive oil, until completely covered. Arrange the squash on the bottoms of each ramekin or on the bottom of the casserole dish.
  5. Spoon the sweet potato mix on top of the squash lined baking dish. Press slices of squash between the sweet potato and the edges of the ramekin or dish.
  6. Pop the ramekins into the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the tops of the sweet potatoes are just beginning to brown. Add a tablespoon of goat cheese to the top of each dish, then return to the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the goat cheese is browned and melting.
  7. Let the ramekins cool for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh rosemary, serve, and enjoy!


Slow Cooker Recipe: Rainbow Roasted Potatoes

I live in a "one oven" household; meaning, like the average person, I only have one oven to cook in, and around the holidays, timing cooking around large meals can be complicated. Here's a tip I learned over past Thanksgiving festivities: use your slow cooker as a roaster!

Seriously, you can achieve perfect "oven roasted" potatoes in your slow cooker in just a few steps. I recommend starting this dish early in the day, since it will take 2-3 hours to cook the potatoes depending on size. I used extra small rainbow roasting potatoes, which have recently become abundant at my local grocery store.

For seasonings, I used a blend of cayenne, onion powder, garlic, parsley and oregano with a generous scoop of finely grated Parmesan cheese. My favorite kind to use in this step is the Kraft Grated Parmesan because it has a seemingly high 'melting point' - and won't leave the potatoes sticking to the inside of the crock pot. 

Toss the potatoes and seasonings in olive oil and place into the crock. Dot with butter and cover. Roast the potatoes for 2-3 hours on high or 4-5 hours on low, or until the potatoes are softened and pierce easily with a fork. I stirred mine every 45 minutes or so, to make sure the potatoes cooked evenly.

Sprinkle fresh Parmesan cheese over the potatoes and serve right away.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time:

  • On high: 2-3 hours
  • On low: 4-5 hours
Makes 5-6 servings


  • 2 lbs rainbow roasting potatoes
  • 1/3 cup garlic, minced
  • 4-5 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup fresh shredded Parmesan cheese (for topping)
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • cooking spray

Here's How:

  1. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes in the olive oil and cayenne pepper, onion and garlic powder, oregano, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in minced garlic and grated Parmesan.
  2. Spray the crock pot with cooking oil. Pour the potatoes into the crock pot and dot with butter.
  3. Roast the potatoes in the crock pot, covered, on high for 2-3 hours (on low 4-5 hours) or until the potatoes are fork tender. 
  4. Sprinkle the potatoes with the fresh Parmesan and serve right away. Enjoy!


Brie & Date Stuffed Mushrooms

Brie is by far my favorite type of cheese. Its tangy nuttiness blends perfectly with anything and everything, from sweet to savory. This recipe combines the best of all worlds, finding savory in the mushrooms and sweetness with the date and green onion topping.

This recipe is just as simple as it is elegant. Made with fresh ingredients like rosemary and button mushrooms, these mushrooms make for an incredible appetizer or side dish.

Start by sauteing the dates in the butter until they have softened. If you are using dried dates, refresh them for a few minutes in a water bath prior to sauteing.

Add the remaining butter, green onions, garlic and rosemary to the pan with the dates. If using, add the chopped habanero. Splash some wine into the pan to deglaze it while you scrape up the brown bits. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for a few minutes to let the wine evaporate as you start preparing the mushroom caps.

In a clean pan, heat a tablespoon of oil over medium heat until it shimmers, then add the caps, either side first, until just beginning to brown.

Once browned, flip the caps to repeat the browning on the opposite side. Take care to only brown the mushrooms for a few minutes, or else the mushrooms might become too soggy to transfer to the baking pan. Aim for about 45 seconds to a minute per side.

Chop the brie into cubes that are just small enough to fit inside each mushroom cavity. Arrange the mushrooms into a small baking pan and cover with the date and green onion mix.

Bake the caps for 10-15 minutes, or until the brie has completely melted and the tops are beginning to brown.

These puppies are ready to be served hot, room temp, or even cold. Some people prefer to let them rest for a while prior to serving, to really absorb all the flavors.

However you decide to serve yours, just be sure to scrape up any of the date mixture and spoon it over each mushroom again when ready to present to your party.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10-15 minutes

Makes ~ one dozen stuffed mushrooms


  • 1 pkg white mushrooms
  • 1/2 wheel brie cheese, cubed
  • 1/2 C dates, pitted
  • 1/4 C green onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 habanero pepper, chopped (optional)
  • splash white wine (optional)
  • sprig rosemary
  • parsley, for garnish
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Here's How:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Wash and dry the mushrooms, then pop out and discard the stems.
  2. In a pan over medium heat, add two tablespoons of butter then toss in the pitted dates and saute until tender. 
  3. Add the remaining butter and green onions, garlic, and rosemary; stir until fragrant. Pour a splash of wine into the pan to deglaze it. Let the wine evaporate completely, while scraping up the browned bits, then remove from the stove.
  4. Next, add two tablespoons of vegetable oil into a small pan over medium high heat. Place the mushrooms in the pan, top down, and let brown for one to two minutes, then flip the mushrooms stem side down and repeat. Remove the mushrooms to a plate and let cool.
  5. Cut the brie into cubes about a half in thick - just small enough to fit inside the cavity of each mushroom. 
  6. Arrange the slightly cooled mushrooms into a baking dish so the sides are just touching. Press a cube of brie into each mushroom cap, then pour the dates and green onions over the mushrooms.
  7. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the brie is melted completely. Serve right away warm or chill for a few hours to serve cold. Sprinkle with fresh parsley for garnish.


Bison Chili

If you can get your hands on bison, definitely stock up. Usually sold in specialty grocery stores or at a local farmers market, bison is the freshest, most flavorful red meat on the market. I love cooking with bison. From tacos to cowboy steaks, it's hard to go wrong with this deliciously tender beef.

By far one of Nick's most requested meals is bison chili. He asks me to make it the second a chill is in the air. Every time I make this chili, it's a little bit different. I've added habaneros in the past to really spice it up, but this time around, I chose to go a milder route. Feel free to make the chili as spicy as you desire.

Brown the meat in a large pot over medium high heat, then add the freshly chopped veggies, followed by the canned ones. I prefer my chilies to have some nice thick liquid in them for dipping corn bread, so stay away from draining your tomatoes and corn if that's how you like it too.

Stir everything together and let it simmer, covered, for about 25 minutes. At this point, your home will smell so fantastically delicious, you'll be weak in the knees.

Be sure to stir the pot occasionally to prevent any sticking. Add the brown sugar and apple cider vinegar, and let simmer for another 25 to 30 minutes, at a medium low heat, to thicken the sauce.

I always serve mine with a squirt of lime, some sour cream, and plenty of cheddar. Nick can single-handedly eat an entire pot of this all by himself, so I have to be quick if I want to eat any myself!

Another benefit to this chili is that is keeps well for several days, provided your boyfriend doesn't eat all of it in one go, and is great served with simple cornbread or crackers.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 50-60 minutes

Makes 4-5 servings


  • 1 lb ground bison meat
  • 1/4 cup onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup multi-colored sweet peppers, chopped
  • 1 can sweet golden corn
  • 1 can kidney beans in tomato sauce
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 3 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 habaneros, diced (optional)
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Here's How:

  1. Brown the bison in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the chopped onions and peppers, and cook until tender.
  2. Add the canned ingredients and stir well. Toss in the garlic, cocoa powder, chili powder, cumin, and paprika. Season with salt and pepper, to desired taste.
  3. Let the chili simmer at medium heat, while stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes. Keep the pot covered.
  4. Pour in the apple cider vinegar and brown sugar, then let simmer on a medium low temperature for an additional 25-30 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened to the desired consistency.
  5. Serve right away with fresh corn bread and enjoy!


Nov 22, 2015

Easy Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pockets

Sometimes, less really is more. In this recipe, I use just a few ingredients to create these dangerously delicious caramel apple cheesecake pockets.

All you have to do is chop the apples, spread the cream cheese and caramel, and then roll 'em up! Ready in less than 30 minutes, I don't know what could be better.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10-15 minutes

Makes 5 servings


  • 10 Pilsbury Grands! Jr. biscuits or equivalent
  • 5 tablespoons cream cheese, chilled
  • 5 tablespoons caramel apple dip
  • 2 apples, cored and sliced
  • powdered sugar, for garnish
  • butter, for greasing

Here's How:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Butter a round 9x9 baking dish.
  2. Wash and chop the apples. Open the biscuits and flatten. Press a tablespoon of cream cheese in to the middle of the biscuit, top with sliced apples and caramel, then place a second flattened biscuit on top and pinch the edges together. Roll into a ball to remove the seams. Repeat with remaining apples, cream cheese, and biscuits.
  3. Pop the pockets into the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the tops of the biscuits are beginning to brown and have puffed up.
  4. Remove the pockets from the oven and garnish with powdered sugar. Serve warm or cold. Enjoy!


Spicy Orange Pepper Chicken

I'm frequently in the mood for Chinese inspired food, but often too lazy to call them myself. It's true, I'd sometimes rather make my own Chinese food than have to drive and go pick up some myself (where's delivery when you really need it, eh?).

When it comes to making my own DIY Chinese food, I love to experiment to see what flavors work best from ingredients I already have in my fridge. This time around, I wanted to use up some orange juice and just so happened to also have some orange peppers laying around.

Start by whisking together the orange juice with the hoisin sauce, cumin, ginger powder, red pepper flakes, and corn starch. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and then add the chopped chicken pieces.

Remove the chicken from the egg bath and let the excess egg drip off. Drop the chicken into the flour and toss gently until it is completely covered. Then add the breaded chicken to the hot pan with oil.

Fry the chicken for a few minutes on each side, until it is browned and cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Add the onion and orange pepper to the pan and saute, along with the sliced habanero until tender.

Pour the orange sauce into the pan and bring to a rapid boil before reducing the heat to a simmer. Let the sauce thicken before serving.

I served mine alongside a bed of steamed white rice. It was just as good as take-out, and had an awesome sweet to spicy ratio. Plus now I don't have to put pants on to go pick some up for myself!

Prep time: 15 minutes
Simmer time: 10 minutes

Serves 1-2


  • 1/2 lb chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 cup white onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 habanero, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon powdered ginger
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1 cup flour
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • oil, for frying

Here's How:

  1. Whisk together the orange juice, powdered ginger, cumin, red pepper flakes, hoisin, and cornstarch.
  2. Heat a large skillet with a tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the chopped chicken to the eggs. Fill a small bowl with the flour and then take individual pieces of chicken and gently toss them into the bowl of flour. Cover completely, then place into the skillet.
  3. Brown the chicken on each side until cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. 
  4. In the same pan, add the onion, orange pepper and habanero. Saute until tender, then return the chicken to the pan. 
  5. Pour the orange sauce into the pan and bring to a rolling bubble, then reduce the heat to low and let the sauce thicken to desired consistency. Serve over white rice and enjoy!


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