Category Archives: Sides

Roast Beef and Giardiniera Mac n’ Cheese

I’m a huge fan of mac n’ cheese. You all should know that by now. I’ve made everything from a Cajun mac n’ cheese, a nacho style mac and cheese,  a mac and cheese loaded with bacon and jalapenos, a buffalo chicken mac and cheese, and even a mac cheese loaded with beer. You get the idea. I love me some mac and cheese. So it wasn’t too long ago where my colleague had mentioned when travelling he was eating at some restaurant and noticed they had a roast beef mac and cheese. I’ve never heard of such a thing, but thought it would be awesome in flavor, and that’s when I decided to make a roast beef and giardiniera mac and cheese.  Let’s just say it was awesome.

Roast Beef and Giardiniera Mac 'n Cheese

Let’s get started.


  • 1/2 pound penne past, cooked under al dente
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 oz giardiniera, oil strained
  • 1/2 pound deli style roast beef, chopped
  • 1 tsp canola oil

Cook your pasta, drain, and set it to the side.

Start by adding a pot on medium heat. Add in the butter, and let it come to a bubble. During this time, heat a skillet on medium heat and add in the canola oil. Toss in the roast beef into the skillet, and cook until slightly crisp. This is for some texture.

Once the butter has come to a bubble, add in the flour, and begin stirring with a wooden spoon for a minute or two to cook out the flour flavor. Once lightly browned, slowly pour in the milk, and turn up the heat just slightly. Use a whisk to break up the cooked flour, then continue stirring with a wooden spoon.  The sauce will begin to thicken. That is the awesome part. As soon as it comes to a simmer and the sauce has thickened, reduce the heat, and slowly add in the cheese. Do this in batches until you have a nice creamy sauce.

Add in the slightly crispy roast beef, along with the giardiniera. Give it a good stir and pour into a casserole dish.

How to make Roast Beef and Giardiniera Mac and Cheese

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Place the casserole dish into the oven and cook, uncovered for 20 minutes, or until nice and bubbly.

The end result was total comfort food. It was everything you love in a mac and cheese but then loaded with the roast beef, and ever so spicy and vinegary giardiniera. My wife, who did not realize there was giardiniera stated she loved those vegetables and little did she know that it was giardiniera as she would never eat that on a sandwich. Win! Hope you enjoy!

Spicy Stir Fried Celery

I don’t know if you are like me, but it often bothers me when I go to the store and buy a bunch of celery, let’s say for just using it in chili, and granted it is a bit pricey (as far as I am concerned), and then you are left with a bunch of leftover celery. The celery is placed in my bottom refrigerator door, and if not opened in time, well it gets forgotten and then tossed. Never a good thing. So recently I decided to combat that waste and do something different with the celery, and turn it into a spicy stir fried celery.

Spicy Stir Fried Celery

I wanted to have the celery shine and as I was thinking about what I could do with the ribs of celery, I looked over to my lazy susan filled with condiments, and immediately looked at the Chinese fried red chili oil I had made in the summer.

Let’s get started.

  • 4 ribs of celery, but into large match sticks
  • 3 tbsp Chinese chili oil
  • 1/4 cup crushed peanuts, optional
  • 1/4 tsp salt, to taste

Start by heating a large skillet, on medium-high heat, for about one minute.

How to make spicy stir fried celery

Add the chili oil, and toss in the celery. Cook for about 3 minutes, tossing and stirring along the way. Remove and pour onto a plate. Season with salt, and shower with the crushed peanuts.

Dig in.

The result is really, really good. If you have not made the chili oil yet, please do it. IT’S AWESOME. The great thing about this recipe is that it goes really quick, and it is a great use of celery. The subtle spiciness, along with the peanuts, really make this a great side dish, or snack for that matter. Hope you enjoy.

Mushroom Stuffed Potatoes

I am a big fan of leftovers, and I will be quite honest about that. I know a lot of people who probably are not, but to me the leftovers always pose a creative challenge for me, and I am always game for that.  When I made those Renaissance Faire style mushrooms back in September, well, I was left with plenty of them to eat. With that said, I was also sitting on some leftover shredded beef roast that I slowly braised during that time. I knew exactly what I was going to make with, mushroom stuffed potatoes. Whoa, was this awesome.

Mushroom Stuffed Potatoes

Let’s get started.


  • 1 whole baked potato, cooked
  • 1 cup of Renaissance Faire Style Mushrooms, or your favorite sauteed mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup of cooked, shredded beef
  • 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tbsp chopped chives

Start by slicing your cooked baked potato down the middle, but not all of the way through.

Use your fork and lightly mash some of the cooked potato. Add in the butter, and gently mix into the potato.  Top with the shredded beef, and pour over the mushrooms. Shower with the chopped chives and serve.

How to make Renaissance Faire Style Mushrooms

It doesn’t get any easier than that, right?

The beauty about these leftovers is that you get that great taste from the mushrooms that have been bathing in their wine and herb stock for a couple of days, and the great shredded beef that adds just the right texture when eating the baked potato. It’s heavenly, filling, and just a perfect meal in itself.

So, question for all of you… Like or dislike leftovers?

Denver Omelette Cups

I love breakfast, don’t you? It’s one of the first things I ever taught myself to make back in middle school (if not earlier), and it was the eggs that I started to master.  I still lean towards making eggs when I make breakfast for myself or for my family. Weekends are the best time for me to teach my kids how to make things like sausage egg mcmuffins or homemade egg mcmuffins, but recently I was sitting on some awesome leftover Nueske’s ham steak, and some fresh green bell peppers from my garden. This is when the light went off, to come up with a new twist on the Denver omelette.  I decided to create little Denver omelette cups, very similar to what I did in the past when making my taco cups.

Denver Omelette Cups

These Denver omelette cups were so fun to make, and super delicious. Did I mention they were awesome the following morning?


  • 6 whole eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 cup of thick cut, cooked ham, diced
  • 3/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • muffin tin

Crack the eggs in a large bowl. Add the salt and pepper to the eggs, and beat the eggs until they are slightly frothy.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly butter about 8 of your muffin tins.

How to make Denver Omelette Cups

Ladle the eggs into 8 of the tins, about 90% to the top.

Add in the shallots, ham, and bell peppers into each of the cups. Gently stir each cup. Top each cup with shredded cheese.

Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the eggs are set and the cheese is nice and melted.

Use a knife and run it along the outer edge of each cup and gently lift the Denver omelette cup out of the muffin tin.

Plate and serve.

These things were awesome. They were everything you could ever want in a Denver omelette but in great little bite size muffins. The great thing is that you can get as creative as you want with these which I am a big fan of. These were great as leftovers as well and perfect for a quick bite before heading out the door for work. Hope you enjoy!