I come from a family of amazing cooks! Those a generation or two older than me are true Southern Cooking Queens…southern cuisine at its best. With my generation, we started trying some new foods and techniques, as well as continuing to cook like our Mothers and Grandmothers. This section will contain tips, recipes, menu suggestions and party planning ideas…a blend of yesterday, today and days to come.

Ratatouille Stuffed Peppers

Ratatouille Stuffed Peppers

Ratatouille Stuffed Peppers
Tess Hutchens
(Original recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray)
Yield: 6 servings


About ½ C EVOO and/or coconut oil

2 T butter

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 C grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

¼ C fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped

7 medium red and orange bell peppers (pick square-ish/rectangular shaped ones for better

plate presentation)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 firm, medium eggplant, peeled and cut into ½ inch dices

Olive oil spray or coconut oil

2 T fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped

1 small fresh red chile, finely chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium zucchini, ½ inch dices

3 ripe plum or small vine tomatoes, chopped

2 C tomato sauce or marinara sauce (I used my homemade marinara)



Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Heat about ¼ C EVOO (I use coconut oil) in a small skillet with the butter.  When the butter foams, add the garlic and stir 1 minute.  Add the breadcrumbs and stir to soak in the oil and butter. Toast until lightly golden, then remove from the heat and cool.  Mix the cooled breadcrumbs with the cheese and parsley.

Trim the tops off 6 peppers and reserve, then scoop out the seeds.  Season the peppers on the inside with salt and pepper, invert and place on a baking sheet, tops alongside.  Seed and chop the remaining bell pepper and reserve.

Salt the eggplant and drain 15 – 30 minutes in a strainer, then rinse salt off and allow to drain.

Spray the peppers with cooking oil or rub with coconut oil and roast to char the peppers at the edges and tender-crisp doneness, 10 – 12 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool to handle.  Turn oven down to 400 degrees F.

Heat the remaining EVOO (I use coconut oil) in a large, deep skillet.  Add the reserved peppers, thyme, chile, eggplant and onions.  Cook the vegetables, partially covered and stirring occasionally.  After about 5 minutes, add the zucchini and then after about 5 more minutes add tomatoes, then 1 C of the tomato or marinara sauce.  Stir another minute or so and remove from the heat.

Combine the breadcrumbs with the vegetables and taste to check seasoning. Pour enough tomato or marinara sauce to cover the bottom of a greased casserole dish.  Stuff the peppers, overstuffing the cavity a bit and set the tops alongside.  Place the peppers into the dish as you fill them and dab each with the remaining tomato or marinara sauce.  Roast in the oven until the peppers are hot through, 30 – 35 minutes.

And you WOULD know that I sprinkle mine with Parmesan cheese right before serving.  This is an amazing meal for Meatless Monday.

Crazy Good & Easy Comfort Food Menu

Crazy Good & Easy Comfort Food Menu

Crazy Good & Easy Comfort Food

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Grilled Sharp Cheddar on Rosemary Bread

Super simple but, oh, so comforting!

Sautéed Cabbage with Onions & Garlic

Sautéed Cabbage with Onions & Garlic

Sautéed Cabbage with Onions & Garlic
Crazy Good Side Dish

Prep Time: 5 – 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 – 15 minutes
Serves: 8

1 cabbage head, large (I prefer a mountain cabbage), sliced thinly
½ red onion, sliced thinly
2 – 3 cloves garlic, sliced or chopped
1 T coconut oil
salt & pepper to taste

Saute onion in coconut oil until soft.  Add garlic and saute for for about 2 – 3 more minutes.  Add sliced cabbage, salt and pepper and cook until desired doneness.  It is easiest to toss with tongs.   We prefer ours with a bit of a crispness which takes 5 – 10 minutes depending upon temperature of pan/stovetop.  I half the recipe for hubby and myself and we still have some left over for another meal.