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BBQ Sauce – BEST Homemade Sweet & Tangy!

BBQ Sauce – BEST Homemade Sweet & Tangy!

It’s like BBQ sauce candy! My Homemade BBQ Sauce is the perfect balance of sweet, tangy and a little spicy! This recipe is one of my versions of a classic “Kansas City” style sauce, meaning it is a tomato based sauce with a sweetener and a vinegar. Ketchup, dark Molasses, brown sugar, cider vinegar and spices are the core ingredient’s that make up this delicious blend of barbecue sauciness. It’s not too sweet or too tangy and it has just a pinch of heat to remind you that it’s a BBQ sauce. It really can’t get any easier to make BBQ sauce then this here recipe. It will definitely make it hard for you to go back to the bottle stuff with the high fructose corn syrup. In fact, I guarantee that you will find yourself dipping that spoon back into the pot to get one more lick of this homemade sassy sauce!

One of my favorite things to do with this sauce is adding a couple tablespoons of bourbon in the last 5 minutes of simmering.  Everyone will be asking you for the recipe for sure! If you have a mix of adults and children spilt the sauce into 2 portions, keeping one with bourbon and one with out.

Using the liquid smoke, which is simple to find at your local grocer now a days, is ideal for emulating that smokiness you would get with outdoor barbecuing. I have you adding in chipolte chile powder and a Spanish smoked paprika too which gives off a delicate flavor to the sauce without being too overbearing.

The 3 basic BBQ sauce type’s out there are a tomato based, a vinegar based and a mustard based. Believe it or not, there actually is a mayo based as well. The “Kansas City” style is the tomato based and probably the most popular through out the U.S. There’s a “Memphis” style similar to Kansas City with the tomato base but a thinner, more vinegar type sauce. The actual vinegar and mustard type sauce’s are quintessential to the Carolina’s. South Carolina being partial to the mustard type sauce and North Carolina to the vinegar type sauce. Then there’s that white BBQ sauce that’s mayo based, a signature sauce of Big Bob Gibson out of Alabama.

Once you see how easy it is to make your own delicious, sassy BBQ sauce I have a feeling there will be no stopping you! Enjoy your summer with this introductory BBQ sauce recipe! You might want to tag team all this barbecuing with some crab cakes, zucchini spaghetti, or spanakopita, and end with my amazing blueberry pie made with my perfect pie crust in 5 minutes!!























  • 2 cups Ketchup
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark molasses
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tsp garlic granules
  • 1/2 tsp onion granules
  • 1/2 tsp chipolte chile powder (If you can’t find “chipolte” chile powder just use chile powder it will still be wonderful)
  • 1/2 tsp Spanish smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp finely ground black pepper
  • 2 dashes of Wocestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp of Bourbon – If you are a party of adults …it’s AMAZING!


  1. Put all above ingredients into medium sauce pan and whisk to combine
  2. Bring to a low simmer 20 minutes
  3. The sauce will be delicious in only 5 minutes – delvelops more depth of flavor by simmering longer!
  4. Basting your grilling meats in the last 3-5 minutes with BBQ is deal so as not to burn and oven cooking meats in the last 10 minutes (the sugars in the BBQ Sauce will burn if you put it on too early)


Lobster Mac & Cheese at David & Eileen’s

Lobster Mac & Cheese at David & Eileen’s

With this homemade gourmet lobster mac & cheese at David & Eileen’s you get the best of both worlds! Two of my very favorite things to eat all in the same dish! What more could you ask for? What, did someone say “smoked Gouda, please”? The Lobster goes with out saying and for those of you who appreciate that slightly salty, yet sweet and rich in every meaty bite know what I’m talking about. Then to add this succulent lobster to pasta that’s covered in a delicate, smokey, cheesy sauce put’s it right over the top!

When my dear friends David and Eileen suggested making lobster mac & cheese for my cooking show it was like bells went off. I thought it was a great idea. David had discussed the idea with our other foodie friend, Marco, who offered up his recipe to David. Marco and his wife, Sheryl, own an Inn near by called Lathrop Manor where Marco cooks up a five course gourmet breakfast if you’re a guest there.  Marco was also the chef in my “Salmon BLT Sliders at Marco’s Show” from this past summer. Needless to say, our group here loves to cook, eat and have fun. Even frequenting the Farm and Vine Dinner’s at The Ocean House together. 

Sharing family recipes, like Dave and Laurie did with their yummy “Caruso Salad” and the amazing lobster mac & cheese recipe between Marco and David is what brings friends together. Cooking, eating, laughing and enjoying each other’s company is the foundation of life in all cultures around the world . I am grateful to have such wonderful family and friends to do this with.

I hope you enjoy this homemade “Lobster Mac & Cheese at David & Eileen’s” show as much as we did making it! Have fun with this recipe. You may also want to check out my Caesar Salad for a side dish or some Arancini Reuben Balls, stuffed mushrooms ,or baked asparagus wrapped in Prosciutto for an appetizer. Although , we don’t have David’s incredible chocolate meringue pie recipe yet, you could check out a chocolate pecan pie recipe that’s to die for.



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Ingredients for Lobster Mac & Cheese at David and Eileen’s:

  • 2 Lobsters – meat from 2 – 1 1/2 lb. steamed lobsters
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 1/2 tbsp flour
  • 2 small onion finely chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 3 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsp lobster base – OPTIONAL it gives a wonderful flavor to the dish… we did forget to add it in the show and the lobster mac & cheese was still delicioso!
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups smoked Gouda
  • 1 1/2 cups Cabot cheddar or similar
  • 1 lb. cellentani pasta or elbow
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 tsp garlic granules
  • 1/4 tsp onion granules
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • s&p
  • 2 tbsp rm temp butter for coating the baking dish

Topping Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Directions for Lobster Mac & Cheese at David and Eileen’s:

  1. Per-Heat oven to 400º
  2. Coat the baking dish with 2 tbsp rm temp butter and set aside
  3. Cook Pasta til firm in salted water- al dente (2 minutes less than directions call for)
  4. Drain and rinse to cool pasta and set aside
  5. Melt butter in sauté pan
  6. Sauté the chopped onion til soft and translucent
  7. Add a s&p
  8. Warm milk in a pan on low heat
  9. Add flour to onions to make a roux
  10. Continue on stove stirring mixture for 1 minute to cook out raw flour flavor
  11. Gradually add warmed milk to roux while continuing to whisk so as not to get lumps
  12. Add in bay leaves
  13. Cook over medium heat while stirring until sauce thickens
  14. Taste here to see if you need more salt and pepper
  15. Add in lobster base
  16. Simmer for a few minutes
  17. Turn heat to low and add in smoked Gouda and cheddar while whisking
  18. Sauce should have consistency of heavy cream
  19. Mix pasta, sauce and lobster meat
  20. Transfer to an oven safe baking dish
  21. Add in heavy cream and 1/4 cup Parmesan and mix gently
  22. Make the breadcrumbs by combining breadcrumbs, Parmesan, onion and garlic granules, s&p and 2 tbsp olive oil
  23. Mix with you hands or a spoon and sprinkle evenly over the lobster mac & cheese
  24. Bake in a 400º oven for 20-25 minutes until bubbly
  25. NOTE: The pasta will absorb a lot of liquid in the beginning when you first mix it, AND then when you bake it, AND as it sits, AND then as it cools, so it’s a good thing to have a little extra sauce in the beginning …it will keep absorbing -you don’t want a dry lobster mac and cheese sauce 🙂



Happy Roasted Chic Peas!

Happy Roasted Chic Peas!

iphone pictures 970These roasted chick peas are a tasty and healthy treat that will definitely put a smile on your face. My daughter, Bella, thought it only logical that the name should be “happy” roasted chic peas if they make you smile like that and “because they are just happy”… lol

It’s amazing how this creamy bean can turn into this delicious crunchy snack. You are going to love them as much as I do. After being pleasantly surprised by the full flavored crunch you get with this roasted bean you’ll be back for seconds! A golfing friend of mine, Lisa, turned me on to these roasted chick peas a few years back. I’ve been happily making them ever since.

These roasted chic peas are wicked easy to make and a great on the go healthy snack. What’s so fun about making these happy roasted chic peas is you can totally change up the spices making them as spicy and flavorful as you want. Add in a 1/4 tsp of smoked paprika, chipotle pepper, or go for some Indian spices like a coriander/cumin combo, or one of my all time favorite spice’s garam masala. Garam masala differs depending on what region it’s from but basically it’s a combination of black pepper, mace, cinnamon, cloves, cardamons and nutmeg so you’ll get a big burst of flavor from that one alone!

After you happily roast these chic peas you may find yourself wanting to make my baked asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, zucchini torta or even some baked coconut shrimp.

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  • 2 cans chick peas
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic granules
  • 1/2 tsp onion granules
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper OR 1/4 tsp finely ground blk pepper for flavorful but not spicy
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • OPTIONAL: a few dashes of Siracha for a little extra spice
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt -1/4 before baking and 1/4 after they are roasted


  1. Pre-heat oven to 450º.
  2. Drain and rinse 2 cans of chick peas.
  3. Gently rub and pat dry with paper towels.
  4. This action will loosen the skins off of the chick peas (you don’t have to get off every single chick peas skin..this just naturally happens as you are patting them dry).
  5. Put the chick peas into a medium bowl and add olive oil and spices.
  6. Mix and turn out onto a cookie sheet.
  7. Put them into the oven and bake for approx. 35 minutes.
  8. Shake the pan rolling around the chick peas every 10 minutes…at 25 minutes, 15 minutes and DEFINITELY at 5 minutes
  9. They will burn quickly at the end so you need to keep an eye on them especially during the last 5 minutes.
  10. Remove the chic peas from the oven and sprinkle with the other 1/4 tsp salt and let cool on tray

Sweet Potato Fries & Green Goddess Dip lll

Sweet Potato Fries & Green Goddess Dip lll

IMG_3827The colors orange and green were stuck in my head for this Halloween episode and that’s why I decided to share my sweet potato fries & green goddess dip recipes with you! These baked sweet potato fries are so delicious all on their own but wait until you dip them into the green goddess sauce you’ll want to put green goddess dip on EVERYTHING! I make this dipping sauce when I cook up swordfish, shrimp, tuna, chicken and steaks also. Being able to make a homemade gourmet sauce like this in 5 minutes, in a blender is basically a no-brainer for me. I can’t wait until you taste this sauce. And here I go again, making my dipping sauce with Greek yogurt to balance out the mayo giving it yet another layer of flavor and tangy richness.  I do this also with my pink remoulade sauce too.

Baking the sweet potato fries is definitely healthier then frying and a lot less work!  Now if you don’t have cornstarch in the cabinets don’t let it keep you from making these fries because they will still be delicious. Dusting the raw sweet potatoes fries with a couple of tablespoons of cornstarch helps with the moisture content and gives them a little extra crunch.

I hope you enjoy making the sweet potato fries and green goddess dipping sauce and that they will become part of your go to appetizer list. You may want to venture off and some other appetizer’s like my Feta-Basil Pesto Dip,  Crab CakesSpanakopita Triangle’s, or some yummy Homemade Hummus! You can end with my Chewy ChocolateChip Cookies!




















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Ingredients and Directions for Sweet Potato Fries:

  • 3 extra lg sweet potatoes ONLY need 2 but I like to have an extra just in case
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 1 tsp onion granules
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425º.
  2. Peel and Slice sweet potatoes in 1/4″ sticks -CUT ENDS FLAT so they don’t burn
  3. Dab with paper towels to dry excess sweet potato moisture
  4. Drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil and sprinkle with 1 tsp garlic granules,  1 tsp onion granules  and 1/2 tsp salt
  5. Mixed with hands and then spread out into even layer on cookie sheet
  6. Bake for 15 minutes then flip and back into the oven for 8-10 more minutes
  7. BE SURE TO keep an eye on them at this point so they don’t BURN 🙂

Ingredients and Directions for Green Goddess Dip lll:

  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup mayo (I use Hellmans)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove put thru press
  • 1/2 jalapeño diced
  • 4 green onion stalks
  • 1 tsp. grated vadalia onion ( or yellow onion)
  • 1 tbsp ( 1/2) fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp “seasoned” rice wine vinegar ( “oops” – I accidentally said red wine vinegar in the show but it’s rice wine vinegar)
  • s & p
  • Optional: dash of Siracha (Siracha is a hot chili sauce sold next to Tabasco at the store)
  1. Place all of the ingredients into a blender an purée and you will probably need to stop and stir everything a couple of times to get it going but do not add any more liquid (you will see that once it gets going it will be just right).
  2. You can make this ahead of time and keep sauce in a plastic container and refrigerate.  It  gets thicker as it sits in the fridge chilling and stays nice for a few days…  Yum!

Ingredients and Directions for Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:

  • Pumpkin Seeds for 2 pumkins
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 1 tsp onion granules
  • 1/2 sea salt (plus a sprinkle at the end for a pinch more seasoning)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  1. Pre-heat oven at 425º.
  2. Wash pumpkins seeds to remove pulp.
  3. Dry between paper towels and leave on cookie tray to dry further over night (can roast right away if you don’t have time – just by sure to completely dry seeds)
  4. Drizzle olive oil over seeds and sprinkle all of seasonings and toss to evenly mix
  5. NOTE: you can add in cumin, cayenne, chili powder … add your favorite seasonings
  6. Roast for 10 minutes, take out and stir seeds, put back in oven for approx. 4 more minutes – Keep an eye on them at this point so they don’t burn




Cucumber Salad

Cucumber Salad

This homemade cucumber salad is my version of tzatziki sauce which is a Greek cucumber yogurt dip except I use 1/2 Greek yogurt and 1/2 sour cream. My mother has been making this dish since I was little although mine is a somewhat different version. You can have it as a side with lunch or dinner or even jazz up chicken and steak sandwiches or vegetarian dishes with humus and mango salsa and or guacamole…YUM! . It’s really refreshing and bright on your palate. The Vadalia onion, which is the sweetest, is a wonderful addition to a Tzatziki sauce and fresh dill is always best. The cucumber and onion can be grated instead of sliced to make it more of a sauce then a side dish.

I use thinly sliced cucumbers instead of grating here, garlic, onion and cumin granules in this gourmet sauce which really develop nicely in flavor as you let them sit for a bit. This homemade cucumber salad is certainly not for summer only! I promise you will be delighted with my cucumber salad  recipe…let me know what you think. Enjoy.





























  • 2 cucumbers peeled with thin stripes left on them (only 3 – 1/4 ” stripes) AND sliced PAPER thin on Mandolin or carefully with a knife
  • 1 lg Vadalia onion sliced paper thin with mandolin or sharp knife
  • 1/2 c. Greek yugurt
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 1 tsp onion granules
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt to release water from cucumbers and onions
  • s&p to taste at the end


  1. Put sliced cucumbers and onion into a lg Ziploc with 1/2 tsp salt and let sit for 1-2 hrs. or over night
  2. Gently squeeze cucumber-onion mixture and drain liquid from Ziploc
  3. Put into a lg mixing bowl with the next 8 ingredients like in photos
  4. Mix with spatula
  5. Add desired s&p
  6. Can chill and serve or serve immediately …mangia mangia

Baked Sweet Potato Haystacks

Baked Sweet Potato Haystacks

These baked sweet potato haystacks are done in 10 minutes!  What an easy way to put some pizazz into your dish in no time at all. I love sweet potatoes anyways but my sweet potato haystacks give a light crispiness to the sweet potatoes and they make for such a wonderful presentation. Keeping it fun without a lot of work is always nice when your cooking that’s why I came up with these baked sweet potato haystacks. It’s a great way to get kids and then again some adults to try something good for you.

Use a lemon zester to make the potato strands and then bake for only 10 minutes and no more or the strands will begin to burn and get a little bitter. Top any grilled steak, sautéed chicken or fish with these hay stacks to change up the dish. You’ll have to give my Chilean sea bass, spinach and green goddess sauce II a try with these sweet potato haystacks. Before serving up the sweet potato haystacks to highlight your entrée you may want to go with a couple of starter dishes like fresh mozzarella, pesto, roasted tomato on crostinis, smoked salmon on crostinis with a cream cheese-caper spread, bacon wrapped scallops or a zucchini torta before making a chocolate-avocado mousse, or pavlova with fresh berries for dessert the night before.

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  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 2 Tbsp oilve oil
  • 1 Tsp onion granules (do not use garlic …they make the potato strings bitter)
  • 1/2 Tsp salt


  1. Pre-heat oven to 375º
  2. Use a potato peeler to peel the skin off of the sweet potato
  3. Then begin to zest strands from the sweet potato
  4. You will get little mounds of pulp like texture from the potato while you are zesting so just keep putting that aside…you don’t want the pulp in with the haystack strands.
  5. Once one side is hallowed out just flip the potato around and zest the arc of the other side
  6. Take the pile of sweet potato strands, place them on a cookie tray and squeeze them with a paper towel to get some of the moisture out.
  7. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil
  8. Add 1 Tsp onion granules and 1/2 Tsp salt and mix stands with your hands
  9. Using your fingers spread strands in an even layer on the cookie tray as best as possible
  10. Bake for exactly 10 minutes
  11. Take out of the oven and scoop mounds of potatoes onto the beds of spinach to make your sweet potato haystacks
  12. Then place your fish on top of the haystack and drizzle green goddess sauce II around the plate