Butterflied BBQ Chicken with Ranch Potatoes

 My husband and I both love BBQ’ed chicken. (Who doesn’t?) It also works out nicely because he likes the white meat breast which leaves the dark, delicious leg quarters for me. We also both like it smoked, and with a delicious dry rub. However, we have differing opinions on the accoutrement to said whole chicken. I like a saucy, red, spicy bbq sauce to finish it off and he would prefer to keep just the dry rub. Now. Me thinks if we could perfect the chicken so that the chicken still has crispy skin, but is accentuated by a bbq sauce caramelized to all the nooks and crannies of the crispy skin we would have a winner for all! As you can see, the pictures of sauced chicken are a bit burned, but we have since found the proper heat level and have had a more successful dry rubbed chicken with caramelized bbq sauce exterior, smokey, moist interior.


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Balsamic & Honey Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese

I love Saturday mornings,  AJ makes cappuccinos while I cook eggs, homemade toast and hickory- smoked pepper bacon….then we’ll head down to the Warrenton Farmer’s market to get some fresh produce for the week. This particular Saturday we got some beautiful beets, green beans, poblano peppers and salad greens. I decided to make a roasted beet salad for a cookout we were going to that night and it turned out pretty delicious!

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The garden is overflowing with zucchini and yellow squash so I created this veg & bean casserole with a corn masa crust. The husband named it Cass-amalé because of the topping reminiscent of tamalé filling; so clever! It’s a perfect dish for sharing and can be made with anything you have on hand, sweet potatoes, acorn squash, greens…




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Rustic Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce

Since my last post mentioned big bowls of pasta & garlic bread and my garden is beginning to overflow with tomatoes I believe I will share my beloved tomato sauce recipe…I like to make a huge batch and freeze in mason jars to use as needed. This is not only an Italian sauce (we use on our homemade pizza’s, calzones, pastas) but also a fabulous soup with a chunk of toasted Ciabatta bread. YUM!

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Shirataki Stir-Fry

I kept hearing and reading about these “miracle” Shirataki noodles. They are made from tofu and yam flour (don’t freak yet…look to the final result) and I found them in the natural section at Wegmans for about $2.39. Compared to 210 calories and 42 grams of carbs for a similar size of regular Spaghetti, I thought it was worth a shot!

  • Only 3g of Carbs per sering
  • 20 Calories per (4 oz.) serving (of course who eats 4 oz. of noodles?)
  • No Sugar, No cholesterol
  • Dairy free, Gluten Free
  • Vegan

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Grilled Chicken, Garlic Cheese Mashed Potatoes & Salad: Cooking on Location with MT Mommabear

A typical Mommabear meal at the ranch; creamy cheesy mashed potatoes, a robust salad and a Papabear whole grilled chicken. I put my spin on the meal with a delicious spicy and sweet homemade BBQ sauce modified from Bobby Flay’s Mesa BBQ sauce. The brown sugar and honey play nicely with the heat from the peppers and also form a nice caramelized crust. The sauce is also fabulous on grilled veggies or anything else you desire to grill.

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AJ’s Birthday Supper: Grilled Stuffed Poblano & Jalapeño peppers, Grilled Flank Steak & Red Onion Salad, Ciabatta Bread, Devil’s Food Cake with Whipped Espresso Buttercream

For AJ’s 26th Birthday I surprised him with behind home-bench tickets to DC United vs. AC Milan. (3-2 win!) For his birthday dinner I made Grilled Stuffed Poblano & Jalapeño peppers, Grilled Flank Steak & Red Onion Salad, Ciabatta Bread and a sumptuous, dark chocolate cake with a rich, fluffy coffee frosting sprinkled in slivers of dark chocolate and espresso beans; Devil’s Food Cake with a Whipped Espresso Buttercream.



Squash with Spicy Black Beans

Sweet and nutty baked Acorn squash stuffed with a spicy Mexican blend of beans, corn and tomatoes, topped with cheese and crispy salted seeds.


Squash with Spicy Black Beans
This low and slow heat caramelizes the natural sugars and will be a perfect balance with the spicy beans.
  • Squash, Acorn or Butternut
  • One can of black beans (or ½ cup dried prepared)
  • One can of diced tomatoes w/liquid
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Chili Powder
  • 1 Smoked Chipotle pepper in Adobo sauce
  • dash Cocoa Powder
  • Cheese
  • Reserved seeds
  1. Halve a butternut or acorn squash; scoop out seeds and reserve. Place cut side down in a baking dish and angle a bit against each other or the side of the dish so steam can escape.
  2. Bake at 300 degrees for 2 hours
  1. Combine all in saucepan, simmer for a minimum of 15 minutes. Like any good sauce, the longer it has to simmer the more the flavors will meld; I like to do at least an hour. Adjust the amount of seasonings to your tastes- it's hard to say how much of each I use, I just sprinkle it in until it smells right : ).
  2. After 2 hours, pull your squash out of the oven, flip over, spoon the filling into the squash, and grate cheddar, Pepper Jack or Manchego cheese over top.
  3. Stick back in the oven and broil until cheese is melted and browned.
  1. Wash in a sieve or small colander, pulling any fibers off with your fingers. Spread on a cookie sheet, spray with Olive Oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake/broil until browned and crispy, 5-10 minutes. (I usually do this while I brown the cheese on the squash as well) Sprinkle on squash when ready to serve (otherwise they will become soggy).