Category: Recipes

Meat Sauce featuring Clarion Farms Beef!

We would all love to meet the farmer that feeds and raises the cows that supply our beef, right?
You should and you can!!

Photo Courtesy of Clarion Farms Beef. John and son John-Scott hanging out!

If you are in Pittsburgh, Clarion Farms Beef sells their family farm beef at the Pittsburgh Public Market on Saturdays. Shop local and buy fresh, no hormone, no antibiotic beef from a local family farm. True farm to table and focused on sustainability, Clarion Farms Beef sources local feed and mixed it fresh on the farm. Go see John-Scott! Bonus, the prices are incredible!

I paid $4 for the 80% ground beef (that yields about 2 tsp. of fat!! So technically its a grocery store’s 95% lean?)
And $5 for the most lean ground beef! (That yields about 1 tsp. of fat- which is 98% lean or almost no fat?)

The ox tail ($5) for a 1lb. package. Cook it all day for a tender finish!!

The steak? Amazing!! Just buy some, seriously, I have no words. (Imagine that!) Timmy Reynolds from Penn Avenue Fish Co. and I made Clarion Farms Beef filets and lobster live for Valentine’s Day at the Pittsburgh Public Market ‘s Ikea kitchen!

I bought some ground beef this weekend and put it to the test in a quick and classic bolognese sauce. Local, fresh, and delicious! This beef did not disappoint!!


20 Minute Meat Sauce
1 32oz. can Ciao San Marzano tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small onion finely chopped
1 lb. Clarion Farms Beef ground beef
1 lb. of your favorite pasta, boiled until al dente and drained
1 tbsp. chopped basil
1 tbsp. chopped rosemary
1 tsp. olive oil
parsley for garnish



In your largest, deepest frying pan, heat olive oil and golden the chopped garlic.

Add onion and cook until softened and light.

In a separate pan, brown beef and drain.


Add beef, tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper to garlic and onion mixture. apart

Break apart whole tomatoes with a wooden spoon.

Cook for 8-10 minutes until heated through and bubbling.

Spoon sauce onto your favorite pasta.

Always top with fresh grated parmesan cheese and Enjoy!



Clarion Farms Beef
On Farm Store The Beef Barn
82 Port Farm Lane
Clarion, PA 16214
Hours: Tuesday -Friday 10-5
Saturday 8-5
Pittsburgh Public Market
Saturdays 9-5

Visit on Facebook

Farm To Table Ticket Giveaway! Plus, A Vegan Mexican Beer Chili Recipe!

Pittsburgh’s 9th Annual Farm to Table Conference is right around the corner. This year it is being held on March 27th and 28th at the David Lawrence Convention Center. The two day event will feature speakers, demos, local farmers, kids activities, and a taste of local food!


Spend your Friday Happy Hour at the Friday Night Tasting! Stop in for Breakfast Saturday! There are many ticketing options to meet your needs!

Get your tickets here!

Enter the ticket giveaway HERE!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This year’s theme is “Cook At Home,” the first step in your family’s health and wellness journey!

Here is an easy and delicious recipe I prepared at Farm to Table Pittsburgh’s For The Love Of Pittsburgh event in February!


Vegan Mexican Beer Chili
(serves 6-8)

2 tbsp. Olive Oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
1 12oz. bottle of your favorite Mexican beer or something lime, jalapeño, chipotle flavored
2 bell peppers, chopped
2 jars Clarion Farm Organics jar tomatoes- 1 32 oz.can of diced or crushed tomatoes
1 16oz. bag black beans, cleaned and soaked until plump, or 2-15 oz. cans of you favorite beans, rinsed.
1/3 cup chili powder
2 tbsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. cumin
3 squeezes of Sriracha
Salt/pepper to taste


Warm olive oil in a large, deep pan.
Add garlic and cook until golden.
Add onion, bell pepper, and beer.
Cook until vegetables soften, but are still crisp.
Add tomatoes and seasonings.
Cook 15-20 more minutes until bubbly.
Add beans and heat through.


Top with scallions, diced onions, a scoop of fresh guacamole, and/or your favorite Mexican toppings!


Farm to Table Pittsburgh will email the tickets to the winner directly! Thank you for entering and supporting Farm to Table, Cook At Home, and Shop Local, Pittsburgh!!

Apple Pear Tart ! A Simply Delicious Dessert!

Those of you who have been following Parmesan Princess know I’m on a mission to “up my baking game.” I feel like it will be an ongoing goal because I am slow to catch on to the baking patience, the annoyingly important precision of baking times and temps, not to mention the humidity in the air of which a baker has absolutely zero control.

With that said, those of you who know me well are probably saying, “OK, giving up control and requiring patience…Poor thing, I hope she sticks to cooking!”
True. Yes, but I am diving into a new world of fancy French pastry words because this impatient control freak also enjoys a good old fashioned challenge. Bring it on!!


I love the taste of pear and apple mixed together, smothered in layers of sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla, wrapped in a flaky sweet crust. Yummy! So technically we make a páte brisée and wrap it up galette -style. I know it sounds ridiculously complicated, but it’s not! What is páte brisée? Actually a really easy and perfectly flaky pastry crust, but a Pilsbury pie crust works just fine! And what is galette -style? Folding up the pastry crust on the sides and leaving the center open. The process is really not that complicated! Pie -ish. So I figured out an easy, totally doable tart recipe!! Here it is!

Apple Pear Tart

Pâté Brisée
Adapted from Jacques Pepín
1-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 stick unsalted butter, cold and sliced into 1/2 inch squares
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup ice water
Use Pilsbury refrigerated pie crust – let stand until room temperature.

2 apples, cored and sliced mixed with lemon juice to prevent browning
2 pears, cored and sliced mixed with lemon juice to prevent browning
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. Ground cinnamon
1/2 tbsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 cup whipped honey
2 tbsp. flour
1/3 cup white or light brown sugar
Egg white wash and
Sugar for sprinkling


If making the pâté brisée…
Add flour, butter, and salt to
a food processor.
Run for 5 seconds, the butter will still be in pieces.
Add ice water and run for 5 seconds just until dough forms. The butter will still be seen.
Roll dough in a ball.
Roll out into an oval 1/8 inch -1/4 inch thick .
Transfer to a baking sheet and refrigerate 30 mins.

Roll out one Pilsbury Pie crust.


Preheat oven 400 degrees.

Meanwhile, add apples, pears, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, sugar and whipped honey, and flour. Mix to coat.


Fan out slices in the center of the pastry dough.
Create a fan pattern or a pattern of your preference.


Galette-Style : Fold up the dough 1 inch over the filling and pinch.
Continue folding and pinching until a crust is completely formed in a complete circle.


Brush with egg white wash and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake 40-50 minutes or until tart is golden brown and fruit is softened when pierced with a fork.

Top with mascarpone cheese, whipped cream, and/or a scoop of your favorite ice cream!



Chicken Pancetta Pan Pasta!

If you are having company at your home this weekend…They are probably going to end up getting snowed in and spending the weekend!

Here in Western PA, the snow and cold have been relentless. The desire to leave the house is about a zero, and pantry- fridge raiding dinners are what’s in! My go-to option is a quick pan pasta!


Depending on the what ingredients you have, your pan pasta can consist of rich vegetables, a meat, and definitely some beautiful greens! Simply boil your favorite fork pasta like penne, bow ties, or even rigatoni. Get the other ingredients cooked in a large pan and toss the pasta to coat! Don’t forget to top with fresh grated Parmesan and/or Locatelli Romano for a beautiful finish!

Chicken Pancetta Pan Pasta
(Serves 4-6)

4 tbsp. Olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup roasted red pepeprs chopped
3 medium 1-1/2 inch chicken breasts, cubed
3 slices of pancetta, chopped small and fried in a pan until crisp
1 lb. of your favorite fork pasta- penne, bow ties, rigatoni, etc.
3 handfuls of fresh spinach



Heat oil in a large deep frying pan.

Add garlic and cook until softened and golden.

Add chicken, and cook until no longer pink.

Meanwhile, add pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente, drain and toss in pan.

Mix in roasted red peppers and crisp cooked pancetta.

Add spinach and top with fresh grated Parmesan and Locatelli Romano



Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo! Happy Mardi Gras!

“I wiggled my nose and… poof! a beautiful roux appeared!” said nobody ever!


A roux pronounced “roo” is the thickening base used in traditional gumbo recipes. The ultimate test of patience and perseverance, the flour and oil mixture is whisked constantly over about one hour so that the flour doesn’t burn. I was terrified to burn it, so I used a super low heat and slowly ramped it up.

Don’t do it…
It took about 1-1/2 hours…
Here is what I learned…

When the roux eventually turns a dark chocolate color, the rest of the ingredients are added. After 25 minutes of whisking, I was convinced that the mixture got lighter? At 45 minutes, I realized it was getting dark outside …not my poor roux. My burner was definitely on? Yes! And the moment it started smelling like burnt popcorn ? Yep, I burnt the roux! So I started over. This time I started on a moderate medium temperature instead of extremely low heat. The process went much faster and in about 40 minutes the roux was a dark chocolate color. I am not the most patient person, it probably could have been darker, redder, but it was delicious!

So my initial plan was to add the celery, okra, onions, and bell peppers to a few cans of San Marzano tomatoes. Totally my style. Maybe call it Sicilian Gumbo?? I was inspired to learn something new and to share it with you! How amazing to make a traditional Gumbo at home for your family!

Here is the recipe…

Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo
Makes one large stock pot


For the Roux,
2 cups flour- 1-1/2 cups vegetable oil or Crisco

1 large onion, chopped
5 celery stalks, chopped
1 14 oz. bag frozen okra
2 green bell peppers (I used orange and yellow)
1/2 lb. hot sausage or andouille sausage (I used hot)
1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and tails off
3-4 tbsp. olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 32 oz. can diced tomatoes or 4 fresh tomatoes, diced
1 48 oz. can chicken broth
1 12 oz. bottle of your favorite beer
2 tbsp. chile powder
1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic salt


Brown the sausage in a frying pan.


Prepare all chopped vegetables and set aside.


Prepare the roux in a dutch oven or heavy pan or pot by whisking the flour and oil mixture at a medium heat.

Do Not Stop Whisking- Do Not Walk Away
The roux will get darker. When it is a dark chocolate color, remove from heat.


Heat olive oil in the bottom of the stock pot.

Add garlic and onions. Cook until softened.

Add celery, peppers and okra, cook until softened.

Add beer, chicken stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, and spices. Mix well.

Add roux and bring to a boil.
Cook for 1 hour.



Add sausage and shrimp. Cook until shrimp are cooked, approximately 5-7 minutes or until opaque.




Chocolate Lava Cake: The Perfect Dessert For Your Valentine!!

Chocolate cake with a hot lava chocolate center…Maybe for 2? And it’s quick and easy to make? Yes!! Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate? Sign me up! This lava cake recipe is the perfect Valentine’s Day dessert!

The “lava cake” originates in the late 80’s when a chef in NYC took a sponge cake out of the oven too early. The result was the birth of the lava cake. A decadent chocolate cake with a runny center. The chocolate lava cake became extremely popular in exclusive high-end restaurants, and now is one of the most popular main stream restaurant desserts!


Chocolate Molten Lava Cake
(Makes 4-6 individual cakes)

1 4 oz. Ghirardelli Semisweet Chocolate bar
1 stick butter
1/2 cup flour
1-1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 eggs
1 tbsp. Vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Grease and flour creme brûlée dishes.


Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler.



Add the flour and powdered sugar to the chocolate mixture.

Whisk the eggs and vanilla and stir until smooth.

Pour the batter into each dish 3/4


Bake for 12-15 minutes or until outside is set.

Use a knife to loosen the edges.

Drizzle with melted chocolate, hot fudge, ice cream and top with your favorite toppings!



Enjoy your Valentine and your Dessert!

Breakfast In Bed!


There are so few surprises in life. For the majority of us, Valentine’s Day will bring the expected- a romantic card, sweet smelling flowers, delectable chocolates, maybe some jewels!! Ok, maybe jewels if it’s a big year.
The ultimate form of pampering with an unexpected exciting element of surprise is breakfast in bed!


Breakfast in bed does not need to be a complicated breakfast recipe. Nope, it can be as simple as a quick egg and toast served on a TV tray!
With a few simple details, your sweetie’s surprise Valentine’s Day breakfast in bed will be perfect! Let’s get started!

First Shhhhhhh! It’s a surprise!
Be sneaky! Get up early and start cooking. Prep your tray, serving items, and glassware the night before. Store it in a closet or under the table overnight!

Create an amazing presentation with color!


•Prepare a beautiful bowl of fresh fruit.
•Garnish the plate with parsley.
•Serve a bright fruit juice.

Get fancy!

•Serve breakfast in bed on your china.
•Add a soft texture with a linen napkin.
•Add a valentine, flower, or personalized note to the tray.

Here are 3 quick and easy breakfast basics …

#1 Eggs!!


Butter a hot pan with a pat of butter. It will sizzle.
Crack eggs onto pan.
Flip when white becomes opaque.
Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
Add Parmesan cheese, Sriracha, salt and pepper.
Lay the eggs on toasted bread atop a bed of greens and veggies!


#2 French Toast!!
Panettone French Toast
Eggnog French Toast



#3 Pancakes!!
Banana Bread Pancakes


Remember, serve your valentine breakfast in bed because it is a gift from the heart, homemade with love, and most importantly, totally unexpected!



Parmesan Crusted Artichoke Hearts !

Artichokes, when they are in season, are one of my favorite “vegetables” to prepare. The artichoke is actually the flower’s bud and is a great source of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K, potassium, iron, and calcium!


One of our traditonal Italian family recipes is to stuff the artichoke leaves with a breadcrumb butter mixture. To eat, pluck the leaves and pull through your teeth to get a meaty, buttery, breadcrumby bite! Yum!

Don’t count out the great flavor of the artichoke hearts. Typically frozen or canned, artichoke hearts can be a pizza topping or a delicious casserole. Here is one of our favorites!


Parmesan Crusted Artichoke Hearts
(Serves 8-10 as a side dish)

2 lbs. frozen artichoke hearts, thawed (OR 2 cans artichoke hearts, drained)
3 tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp. fresh basil
1/4 tsp. Sriracha dry seasoning (or red pepper flakes)
Salt/Pepper to taste
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/3 cup chicken broth
Brown Butter Breadcrumbs
3 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup bread crumbs


Heat olive oil in a large, deep frying pan, add garlic until softened and golden.

Add the artichoke hearts and cook until browned on edges.


Add basil, dry seasoning, salt, and pepper.

Cook 3-5 minutes stirring to blend together.

Add chicken broth and simmer.

Meanwhile melt butter in a small saucepan.

Add breadcrumbs until golden brown.


Transfer artichokes to a shallow baking dish and top with breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.

Broil on high on top rack until golden brown.



Coast To Coast Super Bowl XLIX Seafood Panini Topped With Old Bay Fries!

Super Bowl XLIX is here! The Steelers didn’t make it (BOO!) We will definitely watch to see the amazing commercials! Good luck to the Seahawks and the Patriots! These two coastal teams have inspired me to create a Seafood Super Bowl Panini, Pittsburgh- style loaded with Old Bay Fries!


Seafood Panini
(Makes 6 panini sandwiches)

1 loaf Italian bread, sliced into 12 thick slices
1 lb. package Pana Pesca clam meat and juice
1 lb. jumbo lump crab meat
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
12 slices of fontina cheese
2 tbsp. butter
Old Bay Seasoning
Lettuce, Tomato


Heat olive oil in a pan and add garlic until golden brown.

Add clam and crab meat, worcestershire and heat.


Meanwhile, start the fries. See Recipe Below.


Butter both sides of bread slices. Grill and flip until golden brown.


Add 2 slices of fontina cheese on 6 slices of bread and let it bubble and melt.

Top with Old Bay Fries- see recipe below- seafood mixture, lettuce, tomato, and a few shakes of Old Bay seasoning.

Old Bay Fries

Potatoes –
Old Bay Seasoning
3 tbsp. Olive Oil

Oil if using a fryer
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Chop 5 potatoes into fries (1/4 inch thick).

Place them into bowl with water for 10 minutes to extract the starch.

Boil a pot of water and add potato fries.

Cook until tender when pierced with a fork.

Drain fries, place in one layer on a cookie sheet.

Place into freezer 20 minutes or until frozen.

Deep fry them or bake in the oven.
If you fry them,
season with Old Bay.
If you bake them,
drizzle with olive oil and season with Old Bay before baking.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until edges are crispy and browned.


Enjoy the game, the commercials, and the food!!

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!