Lemon Risotto With Fried Halloumi Cheese & Cherry Tomatoes

Lemon Risotto With Fried Halloumi Cheese & Cherry Tomatoes

Lemon juice and zest gives this warm and comforting Lemon Risotto a double punch of flavor. Topped with pan-seared sweet grape or cherry tomatoes and pan-fried Halloumi cheese slices,  it’s a luxurious winter entrée to enjoy on a chilly day.

Lemon Risotto
4 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons butter
1 large shallots, chopped
1 cup arborio rice
4 tablespoons lemon juice
½  cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons grated lemon peel
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley


Add the chicken stock to a pot and bring to simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and cover to keep warm. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté about 6 minutes or until the shallots are tender. Add rice and sauté about 2-3  minutes. Add the lemon juice and stir until absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup hot broth and simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently. Add remaining broth 1 cup at a time, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently until rice is creamy and tender, about 30-35 minutes. Stir in cheese and remaining lemon juice and peel. Season the risotto with salt and pepper. Transfer to warm bowls and top with the sautéed tomatoes, Halloumi cheese, and a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley. Makes 4 servings


Sautéed Tomatos & Halloumi Cheese 
1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
8 ounces halloumi cheese
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
2 springs fresh oregano or ½ teaspoon dry


Slice the halloumi in slices about ¼” thick. Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium high heat and fry the halloumi cheese slices for about 2 -3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil to the sauté pan then the tomatoes and oregano. Sautéing for 4-5 minutes until the tomatoes start to pop. Add the over the top of the Lemon Risotto with the fried Halloumi cheese and tomatoes.

Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas

Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas

Kick the post-holiday blues with healthy and delicious Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas. A tasty and colorful combination of oven-roasted butternut squash, corn, red bell peppers, and onion stuffed in a tortilla with enchilada sauce, chihuahua cheese, and cilantro.  Baked and topped with more cilantro, cherry tomatoes, and thinly sliced fresh green onions.

1 pound butternut squash, cut into ½ “ cubes
1 cup frozen corn kernels, slightly thawed
1 onion, sliced into thin wedges
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½  cup fresh cilantro leaves, divided
8 (8-inch) flour tortillas
2 ½ cups shredded Chihuahua cheese or white cheddar, divided
2 cups enchiladas sauce, homemade or high-quality store purchased
5 medium green onions, thinly sliced
10 multi-colored cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 cup sour cream

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Toss the squash, corn, onion, and red pepper slices with the olive oil and salt, and arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until tender, with slightly browned edges, and caramelized, 20 to 25 minutes. Turn the vegetables over once halfway through. Cool slightly. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

Place the roasted squash, corn, onion, red pepper, black beans, and ¼ cup cilantro in a large bowl, and stir to combine. Spread ¼ cup of the enchiladas sauce in an even layer over the bottom a 9” x 12” baking dishes

Assemble the enchiladas by placing the tortillas on a flat surface and spread about 2 tablespoons of sauce over each tortilla. Top with of the vegetable mixture and about 2 tablespoons of cheese. Roll tightly to close, and place seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas then spread the remaining sauce over the top center of the enchiladas.  Sprinkle over any remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool for 15 minutes. Top the enchiladas with the green onion, tomatoes, remaining cilantro and serve.

Hasselback Butternut Squash with Birch Syrup, Sage, & Pecans

Hasselback Butternut Squash with Birch Syrup, Sage, & Pecans

Always a holiday favorite, Butternut Squash get a new look when being served “hasselback” style. A Swedish technique using thin slices, the squash is baked with birch syrup, butter, and garlic creating a tasty dish that’s as delicious as it is pretty. The finished squash is then topped with parsley, chopped pecans, and freshly ground pink peppercorns.


Birch syrup comes from White Birch Trees and has a delicious earthy flavor. It can be ordered online or substituted with maple syrup.


Olive oil for the pan
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, finely grated
3 tablespoons birch syrup, or substitute preferably grade B maple syrup
Kosher salt
1 butternut squash
2 tablespoons fresh chopped Parsley
¼ cup chopped toasted pecans
Freshly ground pink peppercorns 


Heat oven to 425°F . Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly brush the paper lightly with olive oil.


Melt the butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat until it starts to turn golden. Add chopped sage and, allow the sage to “fry” slightly in the hot butter. Remove from the heat and whisk in the grated garlic, birch syrup, and a ¼ teaspoon kosher salt.


Meanwhile, peel butternut squash and halved it lengthwise; scoop out and discard the seeds. Place the squash flat side down. Place a wooden chopstick or thin handled wooden spoon, one on each side, of the squash half. Carefully cut slits ¼ inch apart down the rounded side of squash, using the chopsticks or wooden spoon as a guide so you avoid cutting all the way through squash. Place the 8 small bay leaves in some of the slits.


Season squash the with ½ teaspoon salt and place in the oven. After 20 minutes, remove and lightly brush with the butter/syrup mixture. Continue cooking, brushing with the butter/syrup mixture every 10 minutes, until the squash is tender about 20-30 minutes longer.


When the squash is tender, remove from the oven and carefully move to a serving platter. Arrange tightly together. Pour over the remaining butter mixture and top with fresh chopped parsley, chopped pecans and fresh ground pink peppercorns.

Mushroom & Sausage Skull Calzones

Mushroom & Sausage Skull Calzones

Perfect for a Halloween dinner – not-so-scary meat, veggies, and cheese stuffed inside skull calzones floating in a pool of delicious marinara tomato sauce. These sausage, mushrooms, onion, red pepper, mozzarella, and ricotta Halloween twisted calzones will make a delicious and fun start to your evening festivities.

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the pan
One pound pizza dough, home-made or high-quality store purchased
4 spicy Italian sausages, pork or chicken, casings removed
½  large red bell pepper
1 cup of onion, sliced thin
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 cups coarsely grated mozzarella cheese
8 ounces ricotta cheese
2 teaspoons parmesan
Special Equipment – Nordic Ware Halloween Mini Skull Cakelet Pan

Preheat oven to 400˚F. Lightly brush the skull pan with olive oil. Cut the pizza dough into 6 equal pieces. Stretch or roll into 4”x 8” pieces. In a sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the sausage. Cook until slightly brown then add the bell pepper, onion, and mushrooms and cook 10 minutes longer or until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat and add the mozzarella, ricotta cheese, and parmesan. Working one at a time, lay dough into a skull cavity. Add one sixth of the mixture. Gently stretch and fold the dough over the fillings and pinch together to seal. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Place in the oven and bake 30- 35 minutes. Rest for 5-10 minutes, remove from molds and place in a shallow bowl of the marinara sauce.

Quick Marinara
16 ounce can chopped Italian tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Combine tomato sauce, olive oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper in a blender and process to a slightly chunky consistency. Transfer the sauce to a saucepan and heat on the stovetop or in a bowl and microwave until warm. Pour a small amount to just cover the bottom of warmed serving bowls and serve with a skull placed in the center of each bowl.

Maple, Cider & Thyme Glazed Roast Chicken with Chicken Sausage, Potato, Petit Poivrons and Apple Sauté

Maple, Cider & Thyme Glazed Roast Chicken with Chicken Sausage, Potato, Petit Poivrons and Apple Sauté

It’s our Lexington William Sonoma Fall Recipe.  Maple and cider-glazed chicken over chicken sausage, potatoes, peppers, and apples that’s tossed in a sauté with boiled cider and mustard. It’s a delicious addition to your fall menu.

Maple, Cider & Thyme Glazed Roast Chicken
One 3-to 4-lb. whole chicken, cut into 6 pieces – breasts, legs & wings
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper
2 tablespoons thyme leaves
½  cup grade B pure maple syrup
½  cup boiled cider
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
½  teaspoon ground cinnamon
teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes


Preheat the oven to 425°F. Dry the chicken skin. Salt the chicken and season with pepper. Place the chicken in roasting pan and roast for 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 375˚F and roast 30 minutes longer until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165˚F. 


While the chicken roasts. in a small sauce pan combine the thyme, maple syrup, cider, sage, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes. Simmer over medium heat until the mixtures reduces in half and become a thick glaze. Remove from the heat but keep warm.


Remove the chicken to a platter and baste with half the maple cider sauce. Let it rest for 15 minutes then baste with the remaining sauce and serve over the sauté.


Chicken Sausage and Potato, Petit Poivrons and Apple Sauté
1-1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
½  large yellow onion, cut into medium dice
6 ounces chicken with sage breakfast sausage, finely chopped
1 large apple
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup boiled cider
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup jarred Petit Poivrons (Sweety Drop Peppers) drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Heat an immersion circulator to 190˚ F. Vacuum seal the potatoes with 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 teaspoon salt. Place in the water bath and cook for 1 hour.


Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat in a 12-inch sauté pan. When the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic, and sausage and cook, stirring and breaking up the sausage with the side of a wooden spoon, until the sausage is golden brown and broken into small pieces, 8 to 10  minutes. Scrape the cooked sausage and onions into a medium bowl. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the Sous Vide potatoes, the liquid in the sous vide bag and apple to the skillet; cook, stirring frequently, until the potatoes and apple are golden brown and the apple is tender. In a small bowl, whisk together the boiled cider, mustard, and thyme. Return the sausage and onions to the skillet and stir in the cider mixture. Add the Petit Poivrons, cook, stirring gently, until the hash has browned nicely, about another 2-3 minutes. Season to taste with more salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh parsley and serve hot under the chicken.

Grilled Halloumi Cheese Skewers with Cherry Tomatoes and Za’atar Spice

Grilled Halloumi Cheese Skewers with Cherry Tomatoes and Za’atar Spice

Nothing beats a grilled cheese sandwich except this skewered, deconstructed sandwich, cooked on a bbq grill. Tossed in olive oil and Za’atar spices, it’s a grilled baguette, halloumi cheese, and cherry tomato delight finished with a sprinkle of olive oil, more Za’atar, and fresh basil leaves. Great as an appetizer for six or dinner for three.

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 tablespoon Za’atar spice plus more for sprinkling
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
18 cherry tomatoes
12 two-inch cubes of baguette
8 ounces of Halloumi Cheese, cut into 12 cubes
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, small leaves or larger torn into smaller pieces

6 metal skewers

Heat a grill or grill pan to medium high. Add the olive oil, 1 tablespoon of Za’atar spice, garlic powder and the salt to a large bowl. Whisk the spices and oil together. Add the cherry tomatoes and baguette cubes to the bowl; toss to coat. Make each skewer by alternating two pieces of baguette, three cherry tomatoes, and two pieces of Halloumi per skewer. Brush the remaining oil mixture left in the bowl over the cheese pieces on the skewers.  

Grill, turning frequently, until the cherry tomatoes skins just start to break, the bread is toasted and the cheese is slightly browned. 

Remove from the grill on to a platter. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle over a little more Za’atar spice and top with the fresh basil leaves. Makes 6 skewers.