Category: Recognition

Cook With Me! Pittsburgh Public Market’s Ikea Kitchen! Cheesy Meatballs

I was so nervous my hands were shaking, I prepped extra chopped garlic and basil because I could barely handle the knife…
Lights, camera, action. The fear melted away and turned into feelings of excitement and calm. It was as if I was in MY kitchen cooking for MY friends. I finally figured it out EEEEK! THIS is what I should be doing. THIS is what they talk about when they say doing what you love is not a job.


For my first time cooking live, I figured it should be familiar. I decided to cook Sunday Sicilian Sauce and cheesy meatballs. I only make this 40-45 Sundays per year! And I am pretty well versed in tomatoes, olive oils, and parmesan cheese- thought this would ease my nerves- Ha!


We are so lucky in Pittsburgh to have the Pittsburgh Public Market, where farmers and vendors sell fresh, local products. I get to cook in the Ikea Kitchen using the best quality ingredients and the audience can easily pick them up on the way out!
Other fresh ingredients not sold at the market come from Pittsburgh’s Strip District and other local businesses.

Thanks to all who shop local, support small businesses, and cook with me! I will be at the Pittsburgh Public Market on February 14th at 11am with a Valentine’s Surf and Turf menu featuring Timmy Reynolds from Penn Avenue Fish Company and Canonsburg’s Sarris Candies Chocolate Fondue for Dessert! Stop down and Cook with me! Free samples and open to the public! RSVP today!


So for the sauce, I used Cobrancosa olive oil from The Olive Tap, garlic, fresh rosemary and fresh basil from Lengel Bros. Farm Market, Ciao San Marzano tomatoes and Parmesan Reggiano from Pennsylvania Macaroni Co., and the pre-made sauce was full of fresh ox tail from Clarion Farms Beef. We were lucky to sample the sauce by sopping it up with Mediterra Bakehouse Italian Bread sold by The Olive Tap.
Topping it all off with fresh grated parmesan and Shof Kase cheese from Wheel and Wedge is the most important part!!


Cheesy Meatballs
Makes 18-20 1-1/2 inch meatballs

1 lb. Ground Beef (Clarion Farms Beef)
4 garlic cloves, chopped (Lengel Brothers Farm Market)
2 tbsp. basil, chopped (optional)
1 egg
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan Reggiano (Penn Mac’s cheese counter)
1 cup fresh grated Wheel and Wedge Shof Kase cheese (Or pecorino romano or even better Locatelli or all 4! Play around and see what you like!)
1/2 cup Cento plain breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper to taste (approx. 10 shakes)

Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl.
Completely mix by hand until well blended.
Roll 1-1/2 inch meatballs.
Place meatballs 1 inch apart on a jelly roll pan.
In a rush?
Bake 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until browned and cooked through.
Place into sauce and cook for 15-20 minutes.
Top with fresh grated parmesan cheese.
Not in a rush?
Throw them in the sauce raw and cook for 2-3 hours or until center is cooked through.
Don’t cook them in the sauce longer than 3 hours. Unless you want a chunky meat sauce! The meatballs will break down and fall apart.

Serve with your favorite pasta and always top with fresh grated parmesan!

Zillow Features Pittsburgh AND Parmesan Princess In Upcoming City Roundup PLUS Organizational Ideas For Your Kitchen!

Zillow, America’s most popular real estate site, is casting a spotlight on Pittsburgh in an upcoming city roundup!

The boats in the water, the fountain, the bridges!!! Pittsburgh from Mount Washington
The boats in the water, the fountain, the bridges!!! Pittsburgh from Mount Washington
How about living a short walk from downtown Pittsburgh's sexy new rooftop Il Tetto! Or go down one floor for pizza or down one more for meatballs! Neighboring Seviche, Sonoma Grille, Nine on Nine,  Meat and Potatoes, Six Penn Kitchen, Butcher and the Rye all amazing, fantastic, and fun! I say it is Pittsburgh's food that is getting attention... and with that, everything else follows. Welcome to Pittsburgh!
How about living a short walk from downtown Pittsburgh’s sexy new rooftop bar Il Tetto! Or go down one floor for pizza or down one more floor for meatballs! Neighboring Seviche, Sonoma Grille, Nine on Nine, Meat and Potatoes, Six Penn Kitchen, Butcher and the Rye- all amazing, fantastic, and fun!  Welcome to Pittsburgh!

The city roundups help Zillow readers make informed moving decisions! The city’s arts, sports, entertainment and dining options all factor into relocation decisions. Yes, the food! That’s where I come in!

My pick for Pittsburgh's Best kept secret is our amazing food! Young professionals would love living in revitalized Lawrenceville or the new condo communities in the Strip! Just a walk to Luke Wholey's Wild Alaskan Grille where fresh  oysters are shucked on the sidewalk!
My pick for Pittsburgh’s Best Kept Secret is our amazing food! Young professionals would love living in revitalized Lawrenceville or the new condo communities in the Strip! Just a walk to Luke Wholey’s Wild Alaskan Grille where fresh oysters are shucked on the sidewalk!
I can't imagine being able to walk to Matteo's on Butler Street in Lawrenceville!!
How incredible would it be to walk to Matteo’s on Butler St. in Lawrenceville for dinner!

Maybe one day…

Here is Zillow’s Helpful Post for us on Kitchen Organiztion Ideas!!

10 Organizational Ideas For Your Kitchen!!
By Tali Wee of Zillow

Source: Michelle Workman
Source: Michelle Workman

Residents and houseguests naturally gravitate toward the kitchen, making it one of the highest-traffic living spaces in homes. As the heart of the home, the kitchen needs welcoming design but also requires a significant amount of organization for functionality.

Here are 10 simple ways to declutter kitchens, free up workspace and install systematic organization for easier, more organized food preparation.

1. Containers
Purchase inexpensive mason jars to store prepackaged foods, reducing bulkiness and transitioning into aesthetically-pleasing, consistently-sized containers. Mason jars are fashion-forward, timeless and seal freshness. If jars aren’t preferred, opt for containers with wide, easy-to-clean openings. Additionally, contain colorful fruits and veggies in a single basket for tidy countertop display.

2. Stackable Kitchenware
Invest in a single brand of kitchenware designed to nest graduating sizes to save space. Stack mixing bowls, casserole dishes, plates, mugs and measuring cups/spoons. Always buy one brand of disposable travel containers for simple stacking and quick lid matching.

3. Kitchen Islands
Splurge on a kitchen island to increase workspace and additional storage. Some islands include open shelving for fruit baskets, pots and trays. Alternatively, islands with cabinets create discrete space for lesser-used kitchen necessities such as a stand mixer, food processor and mandolin.

4. Hooks
Use available vertical space by adding hooks for dish towels, aprons, gloves, cooking spoons, spatulas and tongs. Install an accessible rack with numerous S-hooks for handy utensils and reduced clutter in drawers. Screw in smaller hooks to the underside of cabinets and shelves to hag mugs, optimizing cupboard and counter space.

5. Dividers
Purchase drawer dividers to keep kitchen tools separated, especially in deep drawers where untensils tangle. Dividers are ideal for orderly spices and silverware. When premade dividers don’t fit, build wood sorters into drawers. Create vertical dividers in kitchen cabinets for storing cookie sheets, griddles, cutting boards and pot lids with ease and minimal space usage.

6. Pull-Out Shelving
Deep cabinets are great for surplus storage but tough to access. Replace fixed shelves with sliding, pull-out shelves to reach the items in the back without shuffling the organization in front. Beyond shelves, squeeze pull-out cabinets into tight kitchen spaces where traditional cabinets do not fit. Narrow pull-outs are perfect for spice displays and vertical storage. Blind corner cabinets with revolving shelves or pull-outs make great use of vacant space.

7. Wall and Door Mounts
Clear counters by mounting racks on walls and the backs of panty doors. Suggested racks include can shelving, snack pockets and pot lid organizers. Install magnetic strips to forgo bulky knife blocks and hanging racks for paper towels.

8. Pot Racks
Hanging pot racks were popular years ago, but clutter preferably open layouts. Instead, mount a pot rack or rod on an accessible wall and hook pots with S-hooks. Pot racks on walls are less cluttered and more organized.

9. Trays
Avoid disorderly counters and cabinets by sorting loose items on trays. Include countertop trays of cooking oils and common seasonings in fashionable containers. Create a tray for tea, sugar, honey and mixing spoons just inside the cabinet. Add a sturdy tray under the sink for cleansers, gloves and dishwashing liquid.

10. Digital Cookbooks
Lastly, purchase electronic cookbooks and transfer favorite recipes onto tablets or mobile devices. Attach a tablet mount to the wall or inside a cabinet at eye level, keeping electronics distant from liquids but easily legible. Haul cookbooks out of the limited kitchen space and display on a book cabinet elsewhere, or store in water-safe containers in the attic or garage.

Kitchens are typically the most expensive rooms to remodel, due to costly appliances, cabinets, countertops and chic finishes. Whether making upgrades for personal use or increased resale values, focus on these 10 tips for improved kitchen functionality and greater home shopper appeal when compared to other Pittsburgh homes on the market.

I would never change  my cookbook stash!!! I love a real cookbook in my hands!
Follow Zillow and watch for the Pittsburgh feature! I will share it, too!


Sweet And Spicy: The Perfect Sauce !

Sriracha is basically Thai "ketchup" and was named from a town called Si Racha!
Sriracha is basically Thai “ketchup” and is named after a town called Si Racha!

I am totally shocked when people ask me, “What is Sriracha?” Sriracha is America’s #1 condiment! According to the Huy Fong Food Co., Sriracha is made of sun ripened chiles ground into a paste with garlic.

Photo via The Washigton Times 4/23/14. Photo depicts a Sriracha demonstration in CA as residents fought to shut down the Irwindale plant because the air was "too spicy."
Photo via The Washigton Times 4/23/14. This photo depicts a Sriracha demonstration in CA as residents fought to shut down the Irwindale plant because the air was “too spicy.”

The fight was over by the end of May. The Sriracha plant, 1, the eyes and nasal passages of residents, 0.

I have created an amazing spicy, sweet sauce using a Sriracha, honey, brown sugar base. Since being featured by Emeril Lagassee on Good Morning America, fans have asked that I simplify the recipe for a quick sauce. I have been experimenting with the base ingredients and the result is an intense, flavorful 3 ingredient sauce!!
Here is the full recipe:
Parmesan Princess on GMA

So far this sauce had made an amazing pulled pork, pork chops, chicken, shrimp, and even grilled veggies!
So far this amazing sauce has made the most mouthwatering pulled pork, pork chops, chicken, shrimp, and even grilled veggies!

Spicy Sweet -The Perfect Sauce!


1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp. Honey
2 tbsp. Sriracha


Dissolve brown sugar in water. Stir until smooth.

Mix in other ingredients.

Use sauce as Marinade.

Add additional sauce to browned pork, fish, chicken, etc. To create a saucy layer.

Spicy Sweet Sauce will not disappoint! Try it today!

These chops had a kick! I am loving a hint of Sriracha with pork.
These chops certainly have a kick! I am loving a hint of Sriracha with pork!

You will be in love, too!

The 2014 Emmy’s Are Here! I Have Been Nominated for A Liebster!

I am thrilled to except this award!

Thank you for the nomination!
Thank you for the nomination!

Liebster is a German word meaning “sweetest, kindest, sweatheart,” and a Liebster award is passed along to a new blogger! The nominator chooses a blog that is new, sweet, charming, and intriguing, in an attempt to get to know the blogger behind the blog better! The idea is that the award will move through the blogging community like a chain letter. I have been nominated by the beautiful and talented Bethany at
Thank you my salty blonde friend!


66th Primetime Emmy Awards hosted by Seth Meyers! Monday August 25th @8pm!
66th Primetime Emmy Awards hosted by Seth Meyers! Monday August 25th @8pm!

11 Randoms About Me:

1. I am a mom of 2! Brady is 5 and Bella is 3!

Photo by
Photo by

2. Most days, I would rather cook than go out.

3. That being said, I could eat Mexican food everyday of my life, for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert.

4. I met my husband while eating breakfast bagel sandwiches in the cafeteria of our office building. Food=Love!

5. I have never been able to replicate that exact breakfast sandwich. A warm bagel, not toasted, with super fluffy scrambled eggs, crisp almost burnt bacon,and a gooey cheese sauce that most definitely came from a generic large can.  Fantastic!

6. I love to put outfits together, especially for others. I’m a good stylist if you ever happen to need one ; )

7. I am a bit OCD. I can’t relax or go to bed with a mess, a dirty dish in the sink, or the worst!! a clean dishwasher to unload.

8. I love Pittsburgh; shopping in the Strip District, the restaurants, the vibe.

Enrico Biscotti while we shop!
Enrico Biscotti while we shop!

9. I am the oldest of 5, which makes me the caretaker, the advice-giver, and the one who ensures everyone has enough to eat! (Plus leftovers)

10. I gained 75lbs. and 65lbs. with my pregnancies. Usually I weigh right around 100 lbs. I would eat the tops off of a dozen cupcakes driving 3 blocks.
(Not sharing a photo…ever!!)

11. I am humbled by this award and thrilled to be sharing my love of food with you!

Here are Bethany’s question to me and my answers:

1. Fave restaurant?
Right this minute it is Matteo’s in Lawrenceville! When I was there for Pittsburgh Restaurant Week, I had a dish I can’t stop thinking about…. The Porcini Cappelletti. It is amazing!

Matteo's Lawrenceville
Matteo’s Lawrenceville

2. How did you meet your husband?
Funny how I chose this for one of my randoms. Over breakfast sandwiches!

3. Biggest Fear?

4. Celeb crush?
We all have our lists, don’t we?! David Beckham

5. Heels or Flats?
Heels. Being 5’2″, I dont feel like people take me seriously unless I am wearing high heels, but a perfect high wedge will do.

The higher the heels the closer to God, right? Or is it hair?
The higher the heels the closer to God, right? Or is it hair?

6. Any beauty trend you wish you could try?
Can you try botox/ fillers and never go back? I know I’m only 29 ; ) but I’m sure eventually I will need something.

; )
; )

7. Beach or CIty?
I love the sun! I actually begin to relax when I’m laying in a lounge chair with a good book, but the best restaurants seem to be in city!

8. Best Vacation Spot
We honeymooned in Aruba and it had everything! Beach, resorts, restaurants, shopping (Aruba had just opened a new Louis Vuitton store while we were there! And I got to pick out my wedding gift from Kevin ; )

9. Fave Movie?
I am not a movie person!

10. Biggest accomplishment?
Raising our two beautiful kids!

Love them to pieces!!
Love them to pieces!!

11. Favorite month?

Cozy comfort food and a warm fire!
Cozy comfort food and a warm fire!

December! We entertain all month! Baking, Cooking, cocktails, family and friends! It’s the best!

I am nominating the gorgeous and very talented Amy Wilson of, a photography blogger!

Amy Wilson of Amy Wilson Photography!
Amy Wilson of Amy Wilson Photography!

Amy, here are your questions:

1. If you could visit any country in the world, where would you go?

2. Solid cream cheese or whipped?

3. If you could go back and change one thing in your past, what would it be?

4. Where is your favorite driving distance travel destination and why?

5. Favorite magazine?

6. What does your favorite go-to outfit look like and how long have you had it?

7. Walking or running?

8. Did you eat wings with your husband while dating him?

9. What is your favorite sport? Team?

10. What is your #1 dish to bring to a party? Recipe?

11. What makes you smile the biggest in life?

Thanks again! Congrats, Amy!!

Easy Summer Grilling- BBQ Baby Back Ribs and Grilled Asparagus!

Cook quick, easy, healthy and delicious meals for your family on the grill all summer long! All you need is a great marinade or BBQ sauce recipe and a side dish! Here is one of my favorites this summer! (I have served this meal more than 4 times already!!)

Amazing ribs! It's all in the sauce!
Amazing ribs! It’s all in the sauce!

BBQ Baby Back Ribs
Inspired by Mario Batali’s Kicka$$ BBQ sauce -My way!
Makes 3 cups

1 medium onion
6 garlic gloves, finely chopped
2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. molasses
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. dijon mustard
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. Tabasco or hot sauce (I used Sriracha)

Here is my edit:
2 cups of Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce instead of ketchup
1 cup of orange juice instead of lemon juice
No molasses
4 tbsp. brown sugar
Sriracha instead of Tabasco

Put everything into a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil.

Simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and cool. Keep sealed and refrigerated for up to one week!

Use this sauce to marinate ribs overnight.

Heat grill to 350 degrees.

Place ribs on grill and coat with sauce.

Grill for 8 mins. and flip, coating with sauce again.

Cook for an additional 5 mins. or until juices run clear.

Don't forget to top with fresh grated parmesan!
Don’t forget to top with fresh grated parmesan!

Grilled Asparagus:

Cut hard bottom inch off of asparagus.

Add 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese salt, pepper, and asparagus to a Ziploc bag.

Grill asparagus on a grill vegetable tray or on aluminum foil.

Cook until the asparagus can be poked with a fork, but is still crisp!