Balsamic Strawberry Shortcake

Balsamic Strawberry Short Cake

Balsamic Strawberry Shortcake – So, I am not a big fan of desserts. I have never really had the “sweet tooth”, but I have kids. So I thought… do I let them eat moon pies or do I come up with something a little healthier with ingredients that I can pronounce?

Guess who won? Yes that is right…the moon pies. No just kidding. I won. So, I searched deep and wide into the dark dark interwebs for the best ideas, ingredients and strawberry recipes. None of them quite fit what I was going for. Therefore, I had to dig deeper and deeper into the dark dark dark interwebs until I found this… Balsamic Strawberry Short Cake. So here we go…

Balsamic Strawberry Short Cakes

Balsamic Strawberry Short Cakes


  • Ingredients:
  • 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 ½ lbs. strawberries
  • ¼ cup sugar (for strawberries)
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (for shortbread)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Whipped Cream
  • 1 ½ cups whipped cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Directions:
  2. Cut stems off strawberries and cut into quarters. Place into bowl with ¼-cup sugar along with balsamic vinegar and stir. Using a potato masher, mash ¼ of the strawberries and allow time to sit for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 400
  4. Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1-teaspoon salt with a pinch of nutmeg.
  5. Add cream and mix to combine.
  6. Spread mixture into an ungreased 8in pan and bake until golden brown (18-22 mins).
  7. Remove shortcake from pan and allow time to cool.
  8. Cut short cake into 6 pieces and half the 6 pieces just like a biscuit.
  9. Using a mixer beat heavy cream, 3 tablespoons of sugar and vanilla extract until nice stiff firm peaks appear.
  10. Spoon strawberries and juice onto each cake bottom with cream, add cake top and top with more strawberries and cream
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This delicious dessert takes a little time and there are a few moving parts involved but it is so worth it. As always, just don’t’ go through life…Life44 it… Live, Laugh, Love & Learn.

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Cheesy Stuffed Meatballs


Cheesy Stuffed Meatballs

I had the opportunity to buy some grass feed and hormone free ground beef this past week for $4.00 a pound. You heard that right, $4.00 a pound. So, I jumped at this chance and picked up 5 pounds of the beef. The next issue to tackle is what to do with 5 pounds of ground beef? Cheesy Stuffed Meatballs!!!

I went on long sunset walks, I climbed mountains and I emailed monks for their thoughts on what to do with this ground beef. By the way, the monks never emailed back. Strange.

So after all this thought, debate and interpersonal struggles I decided to combine my two favorite things… meatballs and cheese.


  • 1lb ground beef
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red chilies
  • 3 cheese sticks cut into approximately ½ inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Fresh basil
  • Fresh or jarred marinara sauce


  1. Pre-heat cast iron skillet with oil to medium heat
  2. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
  3. Combine all ingredients except cheese, oil, basil and marinara sauce in a large mixing bowl
  4. Grab a small handful of the mixed ground beef and flatten in your palm
  5. Place cut cheese (LOL, cut cheese) in the middle, place another small handful of ground beef on top and shape into a ball
  6. Place stuffed meatballs into heated skillet for just 2 minutes. We only want to get a nice crust on them. Make sure to turn meatballs 1 minute into cooking
  7. Once they are nicely browned place skillet into pre-heated oven.
  8. Bake for approximately 5-6 minutes
  9. Chiffonade basil and sprinkle of meat balls as garnish
  10. Serve with heated marinara as a dipping sauce or pour over meatballs


  • You may need to brown meatballs in more than one batch
  • You can also use a sheet pan with parchment paper to bake the meatballs
  • You can also use these for spaghetti and meatballs
  • Once placed in the skillet do not touch until ready to flip. You want to form a nice crust on the meatball

And there you have it. Cheesy stuffed meatballs. These things are amazing and other possibilities and uses are endless. I may even make these again and use them for meatball subs. Enjoy and as always… Life, Laugh, Love & Learn

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Asian Style Sloppy Joe Sliders


Asian Style Sloppy Joe Sliders

So there is this amazing Asian Market in Nampa, ID that the wife and I go to quite often. The staff there are so friendly and the products are incredible. We have found the best green tea at this market. Ok, so I am getting of topic but the tea is that good.

So we were shopping at the market looking for inspiration when the girl said “I want Sloppy Joes for dinner tonight”. Now, whenever any of those bottomless pit teenagers tell me what they want for dinner I inform them that they will get what I give them but for some reason I decided to listen to the girl. Sloppy Joes do sound good but how about an Asian inspired Sloppy Joe? The gears grinding in my brain, here is what I came up with. Enjoy!

Asian Style Sloppy Joe Sliders

Asian Style Sloppy Joe Sliders


  • Ingredients:
  • · 1 lb ground pork
  • · Slider buns
  • · 1 tablespoon oil
  • · Melted butter
  • · Sesame seeds
  • For the sauce:
  • · ½ cup sweet chili sauce
  • · ½ hosin sauce
  • · 1 inch knob ginger (peeled and finely chopped)
  • · 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • · 2 green onions (thinly sliced on a bias)
  • For the picked vegetables:
  • · 1 carrot julienne cut
  • · ½ cucumber julienne cut (remove seeds from cucumber)
  • · ¼ head of cabbage thinly sliced
  • · ¼ red onion thinly sliced
  • For the pickling brine:
  • · ½ cup water
  • · ½ cup rice wine vinegar
  • · ¼ cup sugar
  • · 2 teaspoons salt


  1. Directions:
  2. 1. Heat oven to 375 degrees
  3. 2. Place your pickling brine ingredients into a pot and heat on medium heat until the sugar and salt has dissolved
  4. 3. Place your chopped vegetables into a Mason jar or bowl and pour the brine over the vegetables. Cover and set aside
  5. 4. Add all the sauce ingredients and mix to combine
  6. 5. Heat an oiled skillet to medium heat and cook the ground pork, braking up the pork through the cooking process
  7. 6. Once the pork is fully cooked, drain fat from pork, pour the combined sauce into the cooked pork and mix cooking slowly over low heat for 2-3 minutes.
  8. 7. On a sheet pan, split your slider rolls in two and brush with melted butter. Place in oven until golden brown (3-4 minutes)
  9. 8. Top browned slider rolls with your sloppy joe mixture, sesame seeds and add a handful of your pickled vegetables
  10. 9. Enjoy
  11. Notes:
  12. · Toasted sesame seeds are also a great option
  13. · Instead of sliders you can use regular burger buns
  14. · The longer your pickled vegetables stay in the brine the better
  15. These sliders turned out pretty darn good. I have to give the girl some credit and maybe I will start listen to what those bottomless pit teenagers say. No, no I won’t. As always… Live, Laugh, Love & Learn
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Enjoyed these, try our beer battered onion rings!

Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese


Do you ever have one of those days where you can’t decide what you want to eat? Do I have a grill cheese or pulled pork Sammie? Well today was one of the days where I said to heck with it. I am going to do both.

Now, I made a homemade coffee rub pulled pork that was just so tender and moist and… amazing. That’s right, amazing. We all need a pat on the back sometimes. Anyways, there was some leftovers. I asked the kids if they wanted to have some pulled pork and being kids they said in unison “we don’t want leftovers”. I am 99.9% sure every parent alive has heard that at least 100 times. So, I told the boy, the girl and the younger boy to eat cereal then. Once again in unison “yeah”. So after a 3 minute argument about what I said they could eat (obviously they didn’t record me saying that so there was no proof), I sent them off so that I could come up with something to feed those kids. Hence, the pulled pork grill cheese Sammie. Now this recipe will feed four adults or one teenage boy.

Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese

Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese


  • Ingredients: 
  • · 4 cups of leftover pulled pork (tell the kids it’s fresh. They will never know)
  • · 2 slices of bread ( I really like Texas toast for this)
  • · 4 slices of cheddar cheese
  • · Mayonnaise
  • · S&P to taste (Salt and Pepper)


  1. Directions:
  2. 1. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat
  3. 2. Place approximately 1 cup of pulled pork on a slice of Texas toast
  4. 3. Top with a slice of cheddar cheese and place the other piece of bread on top
  5. 4. Coat the slice with good quality mayonnaise and place in the pan mayonnaise side down
  6. 5. Now coat the top slice with mayonnaise
  7. 6. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side or until a beautiful golden crust has appeared and the cheese has melted
  8. 7. Remove from the pan and serve to teenagers that now what to eat leftovers
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Using mayo instead of butter just gives it a better flavor and color. Once I learned about this trick, I have never used butter on any grill cheese. As always, live, laugh, love & learn.

Bacon Cannoli


Bacon Cannoli! I was invited to a graduation party for a friend who just finished nursing school. I thought I would make her something special for this celebration. Everyone loves sweets and everyone loves bacon. Why not combine the two. In my opinion, sweet and salty are the best flavor combinations. This dessert was a big hit. Nutritional information is not included because… Well it’s bacon, cream and sugar and it is best if we just don’t know. Anyways, without much ado…I bring you bacon cannoli, Mother Nature’s greatest gift.


· 2 1/4 Cup Heavy whipping cream

· 1 1/2 Cup Ricotta

· 1/2 Cup Powdered sugar

· 1/4 tsp Vanilla

· 1 1/4 tsp Cinnamon

· Pin of Nutmeg (whole is best)

· 1 1/2 Cups Mini chocolate chips

· 20 Slices Bacon

· Aluminum foil (unless you have cannoli tubes)

· Maple syrup

I will say that the first batch of cannoli filling I made turned out very gritty. You really have to strain the ricotta or this is what will happen. Well I did not have the time to let it strain for a day or two because, as always, I waited until the last few hours to make this dish. I searched into the dark underbelly of the inter-webs for a solution and I found one that worked like a charm.

3. Wrap a slice of bacon around the foil tube you just made (arts & crafts with cooking is so cool if you don’t have an actual cannoli tube). Continue with remaining bacon while I worked on the cannoli tubes. I will say the second batch turned out much smoother and creamier.


1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

2. Time to make your cannoli tubes. See image.

3. Wrap a slice of bacon around the foil tube you just made (arts & crafts with cooking is so cool). Continue with remaining bacon.

4. Coat the bacon with a thin layer of maple syrup.

5. Place your bacon into the pre-heated oven for about 18-20 minutes. My oven tends to be a bit of a @#$%@# sometimes so I rolled my bacon over mid-way through and got perfect crispiness all over. Remove from oven and allow time to cool.

6. Using a handheld or stand mixer, beat your heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form.

7. Combine powdered sugar, nutmeg, vanilla and cinnamon into the cream.

8. Combine the pulverized ricotta and mini chocolate chips. Gently fold into the cream mixture.

9. Pipe the cannoli mixture into the bacon and add more mini chocolate chips as garnish.

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Breakfast Sammie


Breakfast Sandwich (aka Sammie)

We have all had those days. Hit snooze a couple times and before you know it, we are rushing the kids out the door for school. Trying so hard not to be late to work and of course the teenagers want breakfast. The regular go to is always an option, but really, cereal again… how would you love to have a homemade breakfast Sammie that only takes less than 3 minutes. Those crazy teenagers will be happy and so will you.

These Sammies can be made way in advance and frozen. After making them just wrap them in aluminum foil and freeze. When ready to enjoy, just take out of the foil and wrap in a damp paper towel and heat in Mike (microwave) for one minute and forty-five seconds. As always folks, microwaves vary so adjust accordingly.

So without further ado…let’s get cooking.

You are going to need the following…

1 Egg

1 English Muffin

1 Sausage Patty (Bacon or Canadian Bacon can be used instead of Sausage)

1 Cheddar Cheese Slice

Butter (to spread on English muffin)

Cooking Spray

Mason Jar and Lid

Melt a little bit of butter and slice your English muffin. Slather the melted butter over the cut ends of your muffin and place in a heated skillet and cook until golden brown. Golden and brown… what amazing adjectives.

Heat your sausage until nice golden crusty bits appear, once again great adjectives. I really am killing it tonight. My 5th grade English teacher would be so proud.

Spray your mason jar lid and top with cooking spray and place in skillet heated to medium. Crack an egg into a small bowl and whisk. Pour your scrambled egg into the mason jar lid, sprinkle with S&P. Cover and cook for 4 minutes. Remember folks ovens vary so your oven will differ from mine. Honestly, my oven freaking sucks, so keep a eye on your egg.

Assemble your Sammie… place sausage, egg and then cheese on your muffin. To get your cheese nice and melted, wrap your Sammie in aluminum foil and place in your skillet over medium low heat for about 5 minutes.

Now this sounds like a lot of work for a Monday morning. I bet you were thinking… how is this faster than cereal? Here’s how. Make a whole bunch over the weekend and freeze them. Well, just see above and get those cranky teens out of bed and helping. With the kids help, we can crank out 50 in an hour. As always… Live, laugh, love & learn.

Smoky Polenta with Sausage and Sunday Gravy


I’m not Italian.  I’m Polish, but I love the cuisine from Italy. I really don’t know how authentic this is but wholly crap this Smoky Polenta with Sausage and Sunday Gravy tastes so good. Let’s get started…

We will need the following

  • 1 cup of polenta (corn meal)
  • 5 Italian Sausage links
  • 1 small onion (diced)
  • one small can of tomato paste
  • one can of whole tomatoes
  • garlic
  • liquid smoke
  • butter
  • chicken stock (4 cups)
  • red chili flakes
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Parsley
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • Garlic
  • one small onion, diced

Let’s first begin with the sausage and 1/4 cup of water. Place on medium/high heat in a sauté pan until brown (8-10 minutes). Add the onion and 2-3 cloves of minced garlic. Sauté for 3 more minutes. Crush the canned tomatoes by hand. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste. Simmer for 1 hour.

For the polenta…….4 cups chicken broth (homemade is best) to one cup polenta. Bring broth to a boil then add polenta… Stir for approximately 30 minutes. Add a tbs butter and a tbs of liquid smoke. Cook for 5 more minutes.

To serve, place a heaping spoonful of polenta, add gravy, sliced sausage, shredded cheese, and parsley and enjoy.

What is the “con”fusion?


So the better half came home the other day and had to tell me what she had for lunch. Now, I love my wife so much and she is a very good cook but her palate really sucks. Anyways, she told me that she ate a shrimp couscous with carrots, peas, chickpeas and some other crap…I have to be honest I was rewatching the Game of Thrones (Battle of the Bastards) and wasn’t really paying attention. So she who will be obeyed told me to recreate it. After hearing her explain it, I choose to fusionize it (yes fusionize is now a word because I am using it). I choose to combine a little Asian flair with Mediterranean influence. So I came up with this Mediterranean Asian Shrimp couscous. Now this dish is really healthy and has so much flavor and texture. It also requires a bit of time but it is so worth it. So enough jabbing and let’s get to work. By the way, I really suck at taking pictures and this tastes so much better than it looks. Trust me ( I did that in my best politician voice).

Here are our needed ingredients…

  • Shrimp
  • Chickpeas
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Couscous
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Onion
  • Shrimp broth (don’t worry we will make our own)
  • Parsley
  • Feta Cheese
  • Soy sauce
  • Peruvian peppers
  • Chili oil
  • Ginger
  • Parsley

I had to go to Whole Foods to find the Peruvian peppers and it was so worth it. I also bought even more there beacause….well when you are at Whole Foods you always get more than you came for. Anyways. Peruvian peppers are really unique. I have never tried them until this recipe and wow is all I can say. They have a nice sweetness to them.

As you know from above there are no amounts. This is a dish that you really need to make your own. Change proteins or vegetables and heat levels (hint…Sriracha). It is really up to your tastes. Just use this “recipe” as a blueprint and make it your own.

So let’s start with the water for the couscous. I never ever ever cook any grain in just plain old water. There really is no flavor there. So take your shrimp and peel them and place the shells in a pot. Add three cups of water with a nice little piece of ginger and a tablespoon of soy sauce. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes. The flavor will be amazing. By the way, broth works great for beans and rice also.

Half your cherry tomatoes and pour olive oil over them with some salt and broil for about 6 minutes.

Once your broth is done, strain the liquid to use for the couscous.  Using the broth in place of water cook your couscous according to package directions. Don’t forget to fluff the couscous.

Heat your wok up with the chili oil. Once very very hot add your vegetables, chickpeas and shrimp. This will not take very long to cook…maybe three to four minutes.

Place couscous on the bottom of your bowl and then add a good serving of the shrimp and vegetables. Finish with roasted tomatoes, Peruvian peppers, feta cheese and parsley. Add Sriracha.

Make this dish your own and always remember what’s important…food, family, friends and fun.

Egg Roll S’mores


Egg Roll S’mores
So an amazing friend (Andrea) from high school has been begging for this recipe for Egg Roll S’mores. I have waited to give it to her for a very long time because it is so simple and I know she will make so much fun of me.

It takes some time rolling each one, but it is very simple. So Andrea, here we go…

Egg Roll S’mores


  • 1 package of egg roll wrappers
  • 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 jar marshmallow fluff
  • Canola oil
  • fresh mint from your garden or the Wal Mart if you don’t have a garden


  1. You will need a very hot cast iron skillet. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet get one now!

  2. Take an egg roll wrapper and place it like a triangle

  3. In the bottom 3rd place a spoonful of marshmellow fluff
  4. Place 5-6 semi-sweet pieces of chocolate
  5. Tightly roll up your roll
  6. I left mine sit in the refrigerator for 20 mins
  7. Heat oil to 375˚

  8. Deep fry egg rolls until golden brown 3-5 minutes
  9. Allow the egg rolls to cool and slice on an angle.
  10. Garnish with fresh mint.

And there we go Andrea, it is so easy even I could do it.

The “Dip” and I don’t mean my son


So the better half loves an amazing French Dip sandwich. And as we all know, every man does what the better half tells us. Many of you know my son Landon Smith. Well he is my taster, the only issue is he will eat anything and I mean anything. So I decided to make a French dip sandwich on homemade hoagie rolls using the human garbage disposal as my taster. If the recipe sucks, hunt down Landon and kick his butt. Are you ready? Here we go…

We have to start with our homemade hoagie rolls. Now I know what you are thinking…I can get these from the Walmart for $1.79. Well you’re right…you can. But mine cost about .10 a roll. It just takes some time and dare I say a little ‘love’.  Let’s start with our needed ingredients…

Hoagie Rolls

  • 1 1/3 cup warm water. About 105 degrees.
  • 1 tbs yeast
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 3 tbs soft butter
  • 3 3/4 cup bread flour

In your mixing bowl add the water, yeast, honey and sugar. Let bloom for 7 minutes. Once bloomed (and I am really wanting a Blooming Onion right now) add the dough hook and mix on low for about 3 minutes. Next add the salt and soft butter and mix for 5 more minutes. It will be greasy and that’s good. Add the dough to an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and drink some wine. Let rise for 2 hours. Next separate the dough into 6 pieces. Add flour to your work station and roll into a rectangle. Now here’s the part I suck at…roll the bread up into a roll. Now I know these directions suck but go to frickin you tube and see how it is done, because I suck at it. Let rise for another 2 hours. Mix an egg and one tablespoon of water and slather the tops of the bread.

Meanwhile add your beef round into a crockpot with the following ingredients…

  • 2 lbs beef round
  • 1 French onion soup mix packet
  • 2 whole cloves of garlic
  • 2 cups of beef broth
  • 1/2 bottle of domestic beer (drink the rest)

Add all the ingredients and place crock-pot on low.

Heat your oven to 375 degrees and baste your rolls into the egg mixture, then and bake your rolls for about 20 minutes.

I sliced the bread added meat and provolone cheese and placed under the broiler until melted. I dipped the top half of the bread into the juice.

I must say that this turned out very good. Take this and make it yours.

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