The Mountain Kitchen Meatloaf

The Mountain Kitchen MeatloafIt had been a long time since David and I had meatloaf. I used to make one using a Lipton Onion Soup Mix packet, but do you know how much sodium and other weird long word ingredients are in that stuff? WAY TOO MUCH!! I decided I was going to make a meatloaf without that junk. A meatloaf that was made with ingredients I could pronounce and knew where they came from. I was inspired by a recipe from Ina Garten (no surprise there, right?) and adapted it to suite our taste. Here’s how I made it:

The Mountain Kitchen Meatloaf

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 1 hour 45 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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The Mountain Kitchen MeatloafIngredients:

  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme, dried
  • salt & fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 1/2 pounds ground chuck ( I used a meatloaf mixture of veal, pork and chuck)
  • 1 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ketchup (optional)

The Mountain Kitchen MeatloafDirections:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a medium pan, heat olive oil and add the onions, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent but not brown, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat and add the Worcestershire sauce, vegetable broth, and tomato paste. Allow the mixture to cool slightly.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the ground meat, onion mixture, bread crumbs, and eggs, and mix lightly with clean hands. Try not to mash the meat loaf or it will be dense.
  5. Shape the mixture into a rectangle loaf pan, covered with parchment paper. Place the loaf pan onto a foil covered sheet pan, and bake for 1 hour – 1 1/2 hours, until the meat loaf is cooked through (internal temperature is 160 degrees F).
  6. Using the edges of the parchment paper, carefully remove the meatloaf from the loaf pan and place the meatloaf onto a serving plate. Slice and serve hot with ketchup.

This meatloaf is loaded with flavor and is super moist. If you love meatloaf, you need to try this recipe!


Categories: Beef Recipes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ How to Make Caramel Sauce

The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ How to Make Caramel SauceThis was my first attempt ever at making caramel sauce and I have to admit, it was quite challenging. I ended up with a gooey caramel sauce that tastes like a Werther’s Original candy. It has a very slight smokiness to it, because I believe I was on the verge of burning it up! That was after I burnt the poo-poo-ca-ca out of the tip of my finger…(sigh). Here is how I made it:

Caramel Sauce

  • Servings: 1 1/2 cups
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: Somewhat Challenging...
  • Print

The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ How to Make Caramel SauceIngredients:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup heavy cream


  1. In a medium sauce pot, heat sugar over medium heat, stirring often.The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ How to Make Caramel Sauce
  2. The sugar will start to clump together then will begin to break down into a liquid. Keep stirring to get out any clumps.The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ How to Make Caramel Sauce
  3. Once the sugar is in liquid form, continue stirring and heat to 350 degrees F on a candy thermometer.
  4. Once it’s hit 350 degrees Fahrenheit, carefully add the butter. The mixture will hiss and splatter a bit. Continue stirring until all the butter has melted.The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ How to Make Caramel Sauce
  5. Once the butter has melted, CAREFULLY add the heavy cream. Stir the mixture and let it boil for 3 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat, and let the caramel cool completely.
  7. Poor into a jar and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Warm up slightly to drizzle or use for desserts. I make a few caramel apples!
 Notes: If you love salted caramel, simply add a 1/2 teaspoon of your favorite type of salt at a time to get to your desired saltiness, while the mixture is still hot. Remember, you can always add but you can never take it away! I recommend kosher, fleur de selHimalayan Pink or sea salt.

This is one of those recipes that can go bad really quickly, so be really careful. It is definitely worth your effort and so much better than melting down caramel candies. The best part is you don’t have to unwrap all those individual caramels. It tasted really good drizzled on my Apple Ricotta Tart.

The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ How to Make Caramel Sauce

Once the caramel sauce was made I had to enlist the help of my trusty vacuum to help get rid of all the sugar I spilled onto the stove top. I was having a bad kitchen day, just ask my poor finger!




Click HERE for details…


Categories: The Mountain Kitchen Recipes, The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Meatless Monday ~ Apple Ricotta Tart

Meatless Monday ~ Apple Ricotta Tart | The Mountain KitchenI realized that most of my Meatless Monday recipes are about supper or lunch. I haven’t shared too many recipes that could be used for breakfast or a dessert. So today, I am going to share with you a tart recipe I made last weekend, using some of our fresh local apples. Here’s how I made my Apple Ricotta Tart:

Apple Ricotta Tart

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Meatless Monday ~ Apple Ricotta Tart | The Mountain KitchenIngredients:

  • 1 14-ounce sheet puff pastry dough
  • 2 medium apples (I used golden delicious)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese (Click HERE for a recipe)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, diced for dotting the tart & extra brown sugar to sprinkle on top
  • Caramel Sauce for drizzling over the tart (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Remove the puff pastry sheet from the freezer and allow to thaw 20-30 minutes.
  3. Peel, core and slice apples into 1/8 – ¼ inch slices. Place the slices into a large bowl and toss with sugar and spices.
  4. Once the pastry dough has thawed. Roll out onto a flower surface to roughly a 12×14 inch sheet.
  5. Carefully place the pastry dough onto a sheet pan and add the ricotta cheese to it and smear it evenly across the sheet using the back of the
  6. spoon, leaving a 1-inch border all the way around the edge of the dough.
  7. Next, toss the apple slices once more and then add them on top of the ricotta cheese. I put mine in rows to make it look nice. You don’t have to do anything fancy if you don’t want to. Reserve any juice inside the bowl.Meatless Monday ~ Apple Ricotta Tart | The Mountain Kitchen
  8. Fold the 1-inch of plain edge of dough up over the apples.
  9. Using a pastry brush, dip into the bowl of reserved juices from the apple slices and brush the edges of the dough. (If there isn’t any left inside the bowl you can use an egg wash.)
  10. Dot the tart with butter and sprinkle with extra brown sugar.
  11. Place the tart into the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the edges of the pastry dough are golden brown.
  12. Slice and serve warm.

Meatless Monday ~ Apple Ricotta Tart | The Mountain KitchenSlicing was made easier with the use of a pizza cutter. You can also drizzle with caramel sauce if desired. I will be sharing a caramel sauce recipe later this week, so stay tuned… ;)


Categories: Breakfast & Brunch, Meatless Monday Recipes, Sweet Tooth Recipes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , | 16 Comments


FFF SNAPSSnap beans, green beans, or string beans…no matter which name you prefer, they are one and the same. Where we come from, they are called Snaps!

Here are 7 facts you may not have known about SNAPS:

  1. Snaps are actually immature dry beans.
  2. They used to be called string beans because of the string that ran along the outer side of the pod. By 1894, botanists successfully removed the string through breeding experiments.
  3. Snaps are categorized into two different groups, bush or pole beans, based on growth. If the bean plant needs support to grow, they are known as pole beans; if the beans can grow on their own without added support, they are known as bush beans.
  4. If you plant a green bean plant today, you can eat its beans within 60 days.
  5. Snaps should be picked when they reach a length of 4-5 inches long and before the developing seeds begin to bulge on the bean. They should also snap when broken to indicate turgor and freshness of the bean, hence the name SNAPS.
  6. Snaps are found to be a good source of some B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, plus some phytonutrients (lutein, zeaxathin, beta-carotene, etc.). They are also considered a very good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and manganese.
  7. Snaps promote weight loss and overall body health, reduce blood cholesterol levels, can play a role in slowing the aging process, and help to keep a healthy blood pressure.


I have to say my favorite way to eat them is in a big ol’ pot of ham hock liquor, but I do like them sauteed also. What’s your favorite way to eat snaps?



Categories: FOOD FACT FRIDAY | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

Chicken Caesar Sandwiches

Chicken Caesar Sandwiches | The Mountain Kitchen

If you made yesterday’s Caesar dressing here is the recipe in which it can be used:

Chicken Caesar Sandwiches

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Chicken Caesar Sandwiches | The Mountain Kitchen


  • 1 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 thick slices of mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces or 1/2 cup shredded)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 10-15 pepperoni slices, (I like to brown mine, click HERE to see how)
  • 2-4 Ciabatta Buns
  • Caesar Dressing, (get the recipe HERE)
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Tomato slices
  • fresh cracked black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until done.
  3. Before removing the chicken from the oven, sprinkle with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Broil on high until cheese has melted and bubbling brown, about 5 minutes, the remove from the oven to cool a bit.
  4. Slice the buns in half and spread on some of the Dressing.
  5. Top with lettuce, chicken, tomato and pepperoni slices, salt & pepper to taste. Extra cheese is optional, but encouraged. ;)

Chicken Caesar Sandwiches | The Mountain KitchenI served these sandwiches with some baked french fries and sprinkled with some parmesan cheese.


Categories: Chicken Recipes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Caesar Dressing Without the Dragon Breath

I am in search of the perfect homemade Caesar Dressing. David and I both hate really powerful garlic tasting dressings, you know the ones that give you awful dragon breath? I always have to alter the recipes I find.

Here’s one worth making again:

Caesar Salad Dressing

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 4 whole anchovy fillets
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 whole lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Place the anchovies into a blender or food processor.
  2. Add the Dijon mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire, garlic powder and lemon juice.
  3. Pulse the processor or blend on low speed for several seconds. Scrape down the sides.
  4. With the food processor or blender on, drizzle the olive oil into the mixture in a small stream. Scrape down the sides.
  5. Add the Parmesan, salt and pepper.
  6. Pulse the whole thing together and mix until thoroughly combined.
  7. Refrigerate the dressing at least an hour before using it on the salad. It actually get better as it sits, so you could do it a whole day before.

If you make this dressing today, I will show you what to put it on tomorrow! Stay tuned…



Categories: Homemade Sauces, Spices and Seasonings, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ A Featured Kitchen Tip By Colleen Delawder

The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ A Featured Kitchen Tip By Colleen Delawder | How to Hard-Boil EggsDo you like hard boiled eggs? I don’t, but David does. He puts them in his potato salad, his tuna salad and even his chicken salad. He even makes deviled eggs for himself from time to time. He even has a deviled egg dish for them.

I cannot count the number of times I have heard him in the kitchen mumbling a few choice words at hard-boiled eggs. For some reason, there is always a problem with his hard-boiled eggs.  Most of the time when he peels the eggs the shell picks away part of the white. The eggs do not come out cleanly from the shell. Sometimes they aren’t even hard boiled and are under cooked and more like soft boiled.

Most recipes for hard-boiled eggs say place the eggs in a saucepan, cover them with water, bring to a boil, turn off heat and then let them sit for 10 minutes or so. Even Martha Stewart‘s site says to do them this way. This doesn’t work for everybody, especially not David… Does this happen to you too?

Today’s featured kitchen tip was submitted by Colleen Delawder from Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck. Her kitchen tip is how to hard-boil eggs. Here’s what Colleen says you should do:

The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ A Featured Kitchen Tip By Colleen Delawder | How to Hard-Boil Eggs

Hard-Boiled Eggs

  • Time: 1 hour 17 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • Eggs
  • 1 Large Pot
  • Cold Water
  • Pasta Fork
  • 1 Large Bowl
  • Ice


  1. Fill a large pot with enough water to cover the eggs by at least one-inch.
  2. Bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat.
  3. Turn the heat down to medium, and use a pasta fork to slowly place one egg at a time into the hot water.
  4. Cook the eggs for 17 minutes.
  5. Fill a large bowl 3/4 of the way full with ice, and then add cold water. Use the pasta fork to remove the cooked eggs from the hot water and place them into the ice bath.
  6. Allow the eggs to bathe in the ice bath for at least an hour, before removing them for use, or storage in an airtight container to be refrigerated.

When I told David about Colleen’s technique he said “I knew it took longer than 10 damn minutes!” You can believe David will give her technique a try then next time he wants hard-boiled eggs!

How do I know her technique works without even trying? Well that is easy, Colleen is a 2014 Eggland’s Best Finalist! Go over to and vote for her Balsamic Deviled Eggs with Pancetta recipe in the Eggland’s Best “Your Best Recipe” Contest.

Also check out all of her egg recipes:

Balsamic Deviled Eggs with Pancetta  /  Colleen’s Famous Deviled Eggs  /  Italian Caper Deviled Eggs  /  Pumpkin Deviled Eggs  /  Deviled Egg Potato Salad

Thank you Colleen for your kitchen tip submission  and the providing your beautiful images. GOOD LUCK with the contest!! :)


For further improvements and suggestions about hard-boiled eggs: Click HERE to visit Colleen’s blog posting about how to hard-boil eggs.


Categories: The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday | Tags: , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Meatless Monday ~ The BeetNut Tart

Meatless Monday ~ The BeetNut Tart | The Mountain KitchenOn FOOD FACT FRIDAY, I told you about some pretty interesting facts about the butternut squash. As mentioned, David nor I had never had butternut squash until last year, when we tried it roasted in the oven for the first time. We like it because it is pretty unique and really not like anything else. It’s one of those fruits you treat like a vegetable to make it savory.

Today, for Meatless Monday, I am excited to share with you a recipe for a Beet and Butternut Squash Tart that I made last week. David renamed it “BeetNut Tart” I made a dressing to drizzle over it when it was ready to eat. It was so colorful and so good! Here’s how I made it:

BeetNut Tart

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Tart Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (1 medium sized) butternut squash, cubed (Click HERE to learn how to cut up a butternut squash)
  • 3 cups (3 medium sized) beets, cubed
  • 2-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 (14-ounce) sheet puff pastry, defrosted if frozen
  • 1/2 cup homemade ricotta (Click HERE to learn how to make your own ricotta)
  • 10-15 fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, rough chop
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • Egg Wash – 1 Egg & 2 tablespoons of water slightly beaten


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut off the ends of each butternut squash and discard. Peel the squash and cut in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, remove the seeds.
  3. Cut the squash into 1/2″ – 1/4” cubes, as uniform as possible and place them on a baking sheet.
  4. Cut the ends off the beets and peel with a veggie peeler. Cut into 1/2” – 1/4 pieces, about the same size as the squash.
  5. Pour olive oil over the beets and squash. Toss and spread out in a single layer on the baking sheet.Meatless Monday ~ The BeetNut Tart | The Mountain Kitchen
  6. Place the sheet pan into the oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn the beets and squash with a spatula to be sure it browns evenly and bake for 10 more minutes.
  7. After the second 10 minute interval, the beets and squash should be fork tender, but not mushy.
  8. Roll out the sheet of pastry dough on a lightly floured surface to about 10 x 16 inches (As long as it fits your pan, size is not important).
  9. Transfer pastry to the baking sheet.
  10. Using a knife, gently score a 1 inch border around the edge of the dough.Meatless Monday ~ The BeetNut Tart | The Mountain Kitchen
  11. Spread ricotta evenly on pastry, leaving the 1-inch border around the edge. (I used the back of a spoon)Meatless Monday ~ The BeetNut Tart | The Mountain Kitchen
  12. Make sure the spinach leaves are dry, blot with paper towels if needed, then place individual leaves of spinach onto the ricotta, until there is no ricotta cheese exposed.Meatless Monday ~ The BeetNut Tart | The Mountain Kitchen
  13. Add the beets and squash on top of the spinach.Meatless Monday ~ The BeetNut Tart | The Mountain Kitchen
  14. Next add chopped walnuts and feta.Meatless Monday ~ The BeetNut Tart | The Mountain Kitchen
  15. Fold the 1 inch edge of pastry dough up over the edges of the beet and squash mixture.Meatless Monday ~ The BeetNut Tart | The Mountain Kitchen
  16. Brush with egg wash.Meatless Monday ~ The BeetNut Tart | The Mountain Kitchen
  17. Place into the oven and bake at 400 degrees for about 20-30 minutes, until the crust of the pastry is golden brown.Meatless Monday ~ The BeetNut Tart | The Mountain Kitchen

While the tart is baking, prepare the dressing as follows:

Balsamic Maple Cinnamon Dressing Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 6 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste


Put all the ingredients into a glass jar or bottle (you could also whisk together in a small bowl). Seal and shake well to mix. Shake well before using.

When the tart has cooled slightly, slice (I used a pizza cutter) and serve with a drizzle of dressing.Meatless Monday ~ The BeetNut Tart | The Mountain Kitchen

The dressing brought the tart full circle. We enjoyed it again for lunch the following day. This will happen again, yum!


Categories: Meatless Monday Recipes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

FOOD FACT FRIDAY ~ Butternut Squash

FFF Butternut Squash

Here are 5 facts you may not have known about butternut squash:

  1. The health benefits of fall-harvest squashes are much higher than their summer cousins the zucchini.
  2. Butternut squash is technically a fruit because it contains seeds. Cut into its pale, yellow-beige hard skin, though, and you’ll discover a vibrant flesh that’s much denser than that of its relatives. This squash is used as a vegetable that can be roasted, toasted, pureed for soups, or mashed and used in casseroles, breads, and muffins.
  3. Butternut squash are low in fat and delivers an ample dose of dietary fiber, which makes it heart-friendly choice. It provides significant amounts of potassium, important for bone health, and vitamin B6, essential for the proper functioning of both the nervous and immune systems. Rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants this hourglass-like gourd is the perfect addition to an autumn meal.
  4. In Australia it is regarded as a pumpkin, and is used interchangeably with other types of pumpkin.
  5. In South Africa, butternut squash is often prepared as soup or grilled whole. Grilled butternut is typically seasoned with spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon, or stuffed (e.g. spinach and feta before wrapped in foil and then grilled). The grilled butternut is often served as a side dish to barbecues and the soup as a starter dish.

I’ll admit last year was the first time I had ever had butternut squash. I’ve used it in soups and side dishes. Wait until you see what I did for this past Meatless Monday, I get hungry just thinking about it! Stay tuned…



Categories: FOOD FACT FRIDAY | Tags: , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Crock-Pot Mexican Chicken Soup

Crock-Pot-Mexican-Chicken Soup | The Mountain KitchenI was inspired by Ina’s Mexican Chicken Soup. I wanted something I could put into the crock-pot so that I wouldn’t have to cook when I got home from work. Using the ingredients mentioned in Ina’s recipe, I came up with a slow cooker version of this soup. Here’s what I did:

Crock-Pot Mexican Chicken Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: Prep: 15 Minutes Cook: 6-8 Hours
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Crock-Pot-Mexican-Chicken Soup | The Mountain KitchenIngredients:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped 
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped 
  • 2½ quarts chicken stock
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in puree, crushed 
  • 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

Serving Suggestions:

Fresh cilantro, avocado slices, grated cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips (options are endless).

Crock-Pot-Mexican-Chicken Soup | The Mountain KitchenDirections:

  1. Sprinkle chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper. Place the chicken into the bottom of the crock-pot. Add all the ingredients to the crock-pot. Hand crush the tomatoes when adding to the crock-pot.
  2. Cook 6-8 hours on low heat.
  3. Once the soup has cooked, stir well and break up the chicken using a pair of tongs or fork until it is shredded and mixed into the liquid of the soup.
  4. Ladle into bowls. Serve the soup hot topped with a dollop of sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, cilantro and tortilla chips.Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ Tips About Bell Peppers
This is a great soup for cold weather and the best part is that it is hot and waiting for you when you get home! :)

Categories: Slow Cooker / Crock Pot, Spanish Inspired Dishes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Why We Need to Rethink Home-Cooked Meals

This is a great article that showed up in my Facebook feed this morning from National Geographic: Why We Need to Rethink Home-Cooked Meals.

Please read!



Categories: Worth The Blog | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed-Bell-Peppers | The Mountain KitchenFriday I gave you facts about the bell pepper. Yesterday I gave you tips about peppers and as promised, today I am giving you a wonderful recipe for stuffed bell peppers. Here’s how I make them:

Stuffed Bell Peppers

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Stuffed-Bell-Peppers | The Mountain Kitchen


  • 4-6 Bell Peppers
  • 1 Cup Rice
  • 1 Pound Ground Chuck
  • 1/4 Cup Onions, chopped
  • 1 15-ounce Can Tomato Sauce
  • 15-ounces Water
  • Taco Seasoning Mix (click HERE for the recipe)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Cheese, for stuffing and topping


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare rice according to package instructions and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, brown hamburger with chopped onions until cooked through, medium high heat. Drain off any excess grease from the hamburger mixture.
  4. Add tomato sauce, water and taco seasoning mix and rice to the hamburger mixture. Simmer of low heat until warmed through. Be careful to stir often to ensure the rice does not stick.
  5. Bring a pot of water, with enough water inside to submerge the peppers, to a boil.
  6. Cut the tops off the peppers, as if you were carving into a pumpkin. Scoop out seeds and membranes and discard.
  7. Carefully place the peppers into the boiling water. Make sure they are completely submerged (they tend to float if the water does not enter the cavity of the pepper). Boil for approximately 5 minutes.
  8. Carefully remove the peppers from the water and allow them to drain.
  9. Place some cheese into the bottom of each pepper.
  10. Ladle the stuffing mixture into the peppers and place them inside the pot with the extra stuffing mixture.
  11. Cover and place into the oven. Back for about 25-30 minutes or until the peppers are tender.
  12. Top with cheese and melt just before removal from the oven.
  13. Allow to cool about 10 minutes before serving.

Note: If you do not have a Dutch oven, simply make the mixture in a large skillet or pot. After the stuffing the peppers, place them in a backing dish with approximately 1 inch of water in the bottom. You can use wadded up foil rings to sit the peppers down inside so that they do not spill over. Bake the same way.

Stuffed-Bell-Peppers | The Mountain KitchenAs I mentioned on Friday, I did not like bell peppers as a child. This recipe is altered from the one my mama used to make. Whenever she made them, I would just eat the stuffing. It’s a good thing she always had extra stuffing. I like this recipe for exactly that reason. The extra stuffing gives you a place to nest the peppers when baking. I hope you will try this recipe and let me know what you think!

Categories: Spanish Inspired Dishes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ Tips About Bell Peppers

Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ Tips About Bell Peppers | The Mountain KitchenHere are some tips about Bell Peppers:


The variety of the pepper plant and the stage of the ripeness determines the flavor and color of each pepper.


Bell peppers are available in good supply all year, but they are plentiful and less expensive during the summer months. As you know from FOOD FACT FRIDAY, fresh peppers come in variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. When selecting a pepper, no matter what variety, follow these same guidelines:

  1. The skin should be firm without any wrinkles.
  2. The stem should be fresh and green.
  3. The pepper should feel heavy for their size.
  4. Avoid peppers with sunken areas, slashes or black spots.


Store unwashed bell peppers in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. They will stay fresh for about a week. Green bell peppers will stay fresh a little longer than the yellow and red ones.

I hope this helps you have a better understanding about peppers, so you can select quality peppers for your dishes. Tomorrow I am going to share with you my stuffed pepper recipe. Stay tuned…


Categories: The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Meatless Monday ~ Portobello Mushroom Pizzas

Meatless Monday ~ Portobello Mushroom Pizzas | The Mountain KitchenI really didn’t know what to make for Meatless Monday last week, but David spotted some beautiful portobello mushrooms at the grocery store and pointed them out to me I knew exactly what we were going to have Portobello Mushroom Pizzas! I had some extra baby Bellas in the refrigerator and decided to stuff some of them too. Here’s how I made them:

Portobello Mushroom Pizzas

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 35 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Meatless Monday ~ Portobello Mushroom Pizzas | The Mountain KitchenIngredients:

  • 2 Large Portobello Mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Black olives, (optional)
  • Marinated artichoke hearts, diced (optional)
  • Fresh Basil leaves (rough cut) optional


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Make the pizza sauce: In small sauce pan, mix together tomato sauce oregano, basil and oregano and warm over low heat until warmed through.
  3. Meanwhile, wipe down the mushroom caps with a damp paper towel to remove any dirt. Gently scrape off the gills inside the mushrooms caps with a teaspoon.Meatless Monday ~ Portobello Mushroom Pizzas | The Mountain Kitchen
  4. Mix olive oil, garlic powder, salt & pepper together in a small bowl. Brush the caps all over with the olive oil mixture.Meatless Monday ~ Portobello Mushroom Pizzas | The Mountain Kitchen
  5. Line a baking sheet with foil, arranging the mushrooms on it stem side up.
  6. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the pizza sauce into each mushroom.
  7. Top each cap with mozzarella cheese.Meatless Monday ~ Portobello Mushroom Pizzas | The Mountain Kitchen
  8. Add olives and artichokes and fresh basil along with any other topping of your choice.
  9. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.Meatless Monday ~ Portobello Mushroom Pizzas | The Mountain Kitchen
  10. Bake the caps for 15 minutes or until the cheese starts bubbling. Turn on broiler and broil until cheese is golden brown, about 5 additional minutes.Meatless Monday ~ Portobello Mushroom Pizzas | The Mountain Kitchen

I wanted to make mushroom cap pizzas for a long time. I was kind of on the fence as to whether to back the caps before adding the cheese and toppings. During the cooking process, some liquid cooks out of the mushrooms. I chose to skip pre-baking the mushroom caps go with a pizza topped portobello from the start. I didn’t think mushroom liquid would be a bad thing. Turns out it was a good thing. A very good thing indeed! David and I loved them mushroom juice and all. Do-Againer!


Categories: Meatless Monday Recipes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments


FFF PeppersHere are 10 facts you may not have known about bell pepper:

  1.  Bell peppers can be found in a rainbow of colors and can vary in flavor.
  2. Bell peppers are the only member of Capsicum genus that does not produce capsaicin, a lipophilic chemical that can cause a strong  burning sensation (or simply the hot taste) when it comes in contact with mucous membranes. The absence of capsaicin in bell peppers is related to a recessive form of a gene that gets rid of capsaicin. It is actually why the are called sweet pepper at times.
  3.  Peppers are actually fruits, because they are produced from a flowering plant and contain seeds.
  4.  Peppers were named by Christopher Columbus and Spanish explorers who were searching for peppercorn plants to produce black pepper.
  5. In terms of nutrition, it is a fact that bell peppers are rich sources of antioxidants and vitamins.
  6. Go for the red peppers! Compared to green peppers, red peppers are known to have more vitamins and nutrients and contain the antioxidant lycopene. The level of carotene is nine times higher in red peppers. Red peppers have twice the vitamin C content of green peppers.
  7. The white inner cavity of the bell pepper (usually cut off and discarded) is a rich source of flavonoids and can be eaten. However, many do not know this fact about peppers.
  8. Bell peppers can be eaten at any stage of development. However, recent research has shown that the vitamin C and carotenoid content of bell peppers tends to increase as the pepper ripens. Bell peppers are also typically more flavorful when completely ripe.
  9. Bell peppers are not seasonal fruits. They are available all year round.
  10. Traditional Chinese medicine uses bell peppers as a natural treatment for certain medical conditions relating to digestive issues and blood circulation such as indigestion, loss of appetite, swelling frostbite (Injury or destruction of skin and underlying tissue) and stagnation.

I’m talking about a different kind of pepper this week. David and I got some strange looking purple and white peppers from our local farmers market a few weeks ago. They were very mild and delicious. Growing up, I always hated bell peppers. I started eating poblanos at Mexican restaurants and somehow have developed a taste for peppers of all kinds. I guess it is true that your taste buds change as you get older.

Is there a food that you couldn’t stand as a child that you love now?


Categories: FOOD FACT FRIDAY | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Italian Sausage Tortellini

I decided I wanted to make a meat sauce for pasta using Italian sausage instead of ground hamburger, just to try something different. Here’s what I did:

Italian Sausage Tortellini

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Italian SausageTortellini | The Mountain Kitchen


  • 1 pound Italian Sausage (I bought link sausage and cut it out of the casing)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano, dried
  • 1 teaspoon basil, dried
  • 1 (6-ounce) can Tomato Paste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can Tomato Sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • Cheese Tortellini | Three Cheese Tortellini 9 oz. | BUITONI®
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish, optional
  • Fresh Basil for garnish, optional

Italian SausageTortellini | The Mountain KitchenDirections:

  1. Brown the ground sausage with spices in a dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté until browned, stirring to a crumble. Drain the sausage and set aside.
  2. Next, add tomato paste and brown paste (click HERE to learn the most important tip I ever learned about making tomato sauce). Do not skip this step!
  3. Once the paste has browned, add tomatoes sauce and add the sausage. Stir making sure to scrape up all the wonderful browned bits off the bottom of the pot.
  4. Bring the sauce up to a simmer and add in the bay leaf. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Cover and allow to simmer no less than 45 minutes (the longer you simmer the better it will be). Remember to remove bay leaf before serving.
  6. Meanwhile, cook tortellini in large pot of boiling salted water per package instructions. Drain tortellini; return to same pot.Add sausage mixture to tortellini in pot. Toss over medium heat until blended.
  7. Sprinkle with parmesan and fresh basil. Serve with your favorite bread.Italian SausageTortellini | The Mountain Kitchen

David loved it, but I wasn’t completely happy with my choice of sausage. I want to make it again using Italian sausage from a different source. Stay tuned…


Categories: Italian Inspired Dishes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , | 11 Comments

Mountain Fried White Perch

Mountain Fried White Perch | The Mountain Kitchen

I was practically raised on fried fish. My daddy grew up on a river and loved to fish. He would have fish fries and invite friends and family to help eat up a big catch. He enjoyed every minute of it. Not a single person would leave hungry from those fish fries. Today whenever I eat fried fish, I cannot help to think of him and those wonderful fried fish he used to cook and the good times everyone had at his shop on the farm. Goodness me, I sure do miss my daddy!

A few weeks ago, family of family gave us some fresh White Perch. David’s mama grew up on a river also, so he was practically raised on fried fish also. He and I agree that there was no other way we would want them other than fried in hot grease. So that is exactly what we did! Here’s how we fried them:Mountain Fried White Perch | The Mountain Kitchen

Fried White Perch

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Mountain Fried White Perch | The Mountain Kitchen


Peanut Oil, for Frying
yellow cornmeal
Salt & Pepper, to taste
6-8 White Perch, or other small freshwater fish, cleaned, beheaded and gutted


  1. Heat oil in a deep fryer or large skillet over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350˚.
  2. In a paper bag, pour in cornmeal, salt & pepper.Mountain Fried White Perch | The Mountain Kitchen
  3. Working in batches, dredge fish in cornmeal mixture. Roll the fish around shaking off excess.Mountain Fried White Perch | The Mountain Kitchen
  4. Gently place 2 fish at a time in the hot oil, turning occasionally, until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Lay the fried fish on a serving platter lined with paper bags or paper towels to drain. Repeat and serve.

Mountain Fried White Perch | The Mountain Kitchen

To go along with it we had some cold slaw that David’s sister made the weekend before, some french fries and cornbread.

To keep the smell out of the house, we used an electric deep fryer outside on the deck. Somehow, I think the fresh air makes the fish even better. With all that fried fish goodness, I couldn’t help but wonder if we might attract a bear that night… luckily, we didn’t.


Categories: Seafood Dishes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday ~ A Featured Kitchen Tip from Roxanne Lynnes

Today’s Kitchen Tip comes from Roxanne Lynnes, from Grand Forks, North Dakota. She wrote about her discovery of Smoked Paprika:

TMK-KTT-LetterYou know it is funny, I can remember as a child watching my mama sprinkle paprika over deviled eggs and chicken salad. When I asked her what that was for, she told me that it was just for looks. That memory is very vivid to me. I never questioned her I just took her word for it, after all it was Mama. Just as recently as last Monday, I made some paprika brown butter for a garnish for a soup. Paprika is a wonderful spice and is just too underutilized.

Gifting spices is a great way to probe people to eat better. Good ingredients matter and make all the difference in the world. A lot of people do not realize that. I look forward to checking out Penzey’s Spices.

Thank you, Roxanne for submitting your kitchen tip!

I hope to share tips from others. I think it is a fun way to get to see what others are doing in the kitchen to make a difference. If you have a kitchen tip you would like to submit email it to I would love to share it!



Categories: The Mountain Kitchen Tip Tuesday | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Meatless Monday ~ Roasted Carrot-Apple Soup

Meatless Monday ~ Roasted Carrot-Apple Soup | The Mountain Kitchen


Somehow I stumbled upon a wonderful website called “An Edible Mosaic™” This site is a recipe collection of international favorites and updated American classics, with an emphasis on seasonal dishes, by Faith Gorsky. She focuses on real foods that sustain body and mind, bring people together, and make a house a home. I have only begun to discover some of Faith’s recipes. Today, I am sharing one of her recipes called “Roasted Carrot-Apple Soup {With Paprika Brown Butter}“.

When Faith shared this recipe, she went on and on about Brown Butter. I had never tried brown butter before this recipe. Now I see why she spoke of it so highly. Oh my goodness, it is good! I have to admit, it took me two tries to make the Paprika Brown Butter for this soup. Brown butter burns up quickly, so be careful!

Meatless Monday ~ Roasted Carrot-Apple Soup | The Mountain Kitchen

Roasted Carrot-Apple Soup With Paprika Brown Butter

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 4-5 medium-large carrots, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium-large onion, chopped into large chunks
  • 1 medium-large sweet/tart apple unpeeled, cored and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt & Black Pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 large cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sweet paprika
  • Sour Cream, for garnish (optional)
  • Minced fresh chives, for garnish (optional)

Meatless Monday ~ Roasted Carrot-Apple Soup | The Mountain KitchenDirections:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place carrots, onions, and apples on baking sheet and toss with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread out in an even layer and roast, until tender and starting to turn golden, about 30 minutes; stirring once halfway through. Once they are done remove the skins from the apple. They should peel right off.
  3. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium-sized soup pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and pepper; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the vegetable stock and roasted vegetables, and turn the heat off.Meatless Monday ~ Roasted Carrot-Apple Soup | The Mountain Kitchen
  4. Puree the soup using an immersion blender. If you do not have an immersion blender, you can puree in batches in a regular blender. Pour the soup back to the pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Taste add more seasonings if desired.
  5. While the soup is coming to a simmer, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and the paprika in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Once melted, cook until the butter starts to smell nutty and turn golden, about 1 minute, whisking constantly.
  6. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve topped with paprika brown butter, sour cream, and chives.

I made some mini cheddar cheese crostini to go along with the soup. It tastes like Fall gives you a warm hug, love it!


Meatless Monday ~ Roasted Carrot-Apple Soup | The Mountain Kitchen

Categories: Meatless Monday Recipes, The Mountain Kitchen Recipes | Tags: , , , , , | 13 Comments


FFF Peppercorns

Here are 11 facts you may not have known about pepper:

  1. Pepper has been used in cooking for over 2000 years.
  2. In the Middle ages a mans wealth was measured by his stock pile of pepper. (Wow, I’m rich!!! We buy it in bulk and have to restock it often.)
  3. Pepper was mostly eaten by the wealthy in the past as it was so expensive and sought after. Traders formed spice routes from India to Europe and would often fight over them.
  4. Romans demanded pepper as a ransom when besieging a city.
  5. Pepper grows as a tall vine with the peppercorns as flowering drupes. It is native to India.
  6. Pepper can be green, black, red and white but each color comes from the same plant. The color is determined by how ripe the peppercorns are and how it has been processed.
  7. Pepper is the number one selling spice in America.
  8. The compound peperine gives pepper its kick.
  9. Pepper loses its flavor and aroma through evaporation so its best to keep it in an airtight container.
  10. Consider using whole peppercorns and grinding just before use to maintain flavor and add near the end of cooking.
  11. Pepper can bring out sweetness and makes it more intense. (Have you ever put it on fresh beets with vinegar? TRY IT!)

We love pepper and use it every single day! David takes a small pepper grinder to work with him. That always draws his coworkers’ attention and the lunch table. I keep a grinder in my desk at work. Do you love pepper that much?


Categories: FOOD FACT FRIDAY, Homemade Sauces, Spices and Seasonings | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

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