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I am not a huge Mac and Cheese fan – mainly because the flavors are not vibrant enough for my palate. This Mac and Cheese changes up the game – it is comforting but with a fabulous kick.

12 servings

2 ½ cups macaroni (2/3 lb)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon EVOO
1 medium onion, diced
1 large chipotle chile in adobo sauce, seeds removed
1 ½ teaspoons adobo sauce from can of chipotles
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 14.5 can diced tomatoes
½ cup cilantro, chopped
1 ½ cups grated Jack cheese
1 ½ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups panko bread crumbs
½ tsp kosher salt

Cook macaroni according to package instructions for “al dente” Reserve one cup pasta water. Drain pasta and toss with butter. Set aside in large bowl.

Heat EVOO in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 4 minutes. Add chipotle, sauce and garlic and sauté another minute. Sprinkle flour over and stir to incorporate. Reduce heat and add cream and tomatoes, Cook until thickened – about 2 minutes. Pour sauce over pasta. Stir. Sprinkle cheese and cilantro over and mix thoroughly. Pour into buttered 9” x 13” casserole dish.

Melt butter in medium skillet and add garlic. Gently sauté and then add panko. Cook until lightly browned (watch carefully). Sprinkle over top of pasta.

Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 25-30 mins.


for 4
Easy, easy and quick – my kind of recipe! I serve with a Cilantro Rice to sop the wonderful pan sauce

  • ½ cup fig preserves or fig butter
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 1-2 tbs Asian chile paste with garlic
  • 1 tbs low-sodium soy sauce
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small pork tenderloin (1 ½ lbs)
  • 2-3 tbs low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 tbs cold butter
  • Fresh chives or fresh cilantro, chopped, to garnish
Preheat oven to 350.

Combine preserves, vinegar, chile paste and soy sauce in a small bowl. Set aside.
Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Heat a 10” oven-proof sauté pan over medium high heat. Saute pork on all sides and slip into oven for 18-20 minutes or until temperature reaches 150 degrees. Remove pork from oven and from pan – lightly cover with foil.

With pan over medium heat, add chicken stock and de-glaze scrapping up any of the “good bits.” Add fig preserve mixture and bring to a boil for two minutes or until slightly thickened. Turn off heat and add cold butter swirling it around the pan until it melts. Taste for seasoning. Cut pork on the diagonal and serve napped with Fig and Chile Pan Sauce. Garnish with herb of your choice.


36 small bars

For Crust
  • Butter or cooking spray, for pan
  • Parchment paper
  • ½ cup whole blanched almonds, toasted
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Grated zest of one orange
  • ¾ cup cold unsalted butter, in ½” pieces
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

For Topping
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 6 tbs unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tbs heavy cream
  • 3 cups mixed salted nuts (large nuts halved or quartered)

Prepare a 9” by 13” pan by lightly buttering then lining the bottom with a piece of parchment paper – traced and cut to fit. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor, finely grind the almonds and sugar. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and zest – pulse to blend. Add the butter and pulse until it is the size of small peas - 5 to 6 one-second pulses. Add the egg and pulse until the dough just begins to gather into large clumps. Dump the dough into the prepared pan and then press evenly with your fingertips. Create a 1” crust up the sides of the pan. Using the tines of a fork, dock the dough evenly all over. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool.

Bring sugar, butter and honey to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat – stirring often. Carefully add the cream and return to a boil. Remove from heat and add nuts, stirring to coat. Pour the nut mixture over the crust and spread evenly. Bake for 20 minutes or until the topping has started to slowly bubble in the center. Cool completely. Invert the pan on a flat surface and peel off parchment. Cut bars with a sharp knife.


makes 2 cups
Great as a condiment for turkey, chicken or pork or grab some corn tortilla chips and eat as an appetizer

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 12 oz package fresh cranberries
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2-3 chipotle chiles, canned in adobo sauce, seeds removed and chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 green onion, white and green parts, chopped
  • 1-2 tsp lime juice
  • Kosher salt to taste

Combine water, sugar and cumin in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add cranberries and return to a boil. Gently boil cranberries for 10 minutes without stirring. Remove to a glass bowl and let cool.

Add in cilantro, chipotle chiles, green onions and lime juice. Season to taste with Kosher salt. Serve at room temperature.