Is the Doctor In???

So many people knock using jar sauce…well I use jar sauce.  I don’t have the time to make sauce from scratch, so I do the next best thing…. I doctor up a jar of sauce. Now you may be asking what do I mean by doctoring a jar of sauce?  Well we can compare it to surgery…we just aren’t cutting up any people.  First things first you’re gonna need a jar of sauce. I went with Ragu because it was on sale.



Now here’s where the cutting begins.  I started by dicing onions, bell peppers and portabella mushrooms.


I then took about a pound of ground beef and browned it off. Added some sausage and some diced bacon.

IMAG1044After I added the diced vegetables along with a can of diced tomatoes ( you see I like a chunky sauce).


Now what most people don’t understand about cooking is that it is not a true science. It’s about what you like and how it makes you feel.  You have to find out what works for you and your palette and make it WORK.


I love, love , love a lot of garlic ( especially in Italian food). Maybe that doesn’t work for you ( guess what don’t add it).  After that’s done I added the jar of sauce and began a prescription of seasonings. Thyme, crushed pepper flakes, kosher salt, black pepper, dried Italian herbs and some slow simmering……

Sauce fit for a king

Sauce fit for a king

Let your imagination and your taste buds run free when trying to doctor a jar of sauce.  maybe you want to add just vegetables,,,, diced or shredded zucchini, carrots, spinach, sweet peas or maybe you want to try adding seafood, or alternative to ground beef…It’s all up to you.

Now because I’m always taking it to the next level I decided I would doctor the pasta, too.   I used thin spaghetti cooked according to to package directions.  Then I sauteed garlic with red pepper flakes in olive oil, making sure not to burn the garlic ( nothing worst than the taste of burned garlic)



Then I added the pasta with some of the cooking water and minced parsley. Time to serve it up

IMAG1053Go buy a jar of sauce and get to doctoring.











A Day Off??

So what does a retired chef, fashionista who has returned to the work force in retail do on her day off?  Well I know most would say sleep….Hell I planned for SLEEP but that was not in my future for my day off.  Apparently when it’s your day off you have to get everything you weren’t able to get done, done. ( had it really been that long since I’ve punched someone’s time clock?)  All the things you are too tired to do after work needs to be accomplished. Like laundry, unless you don’t mind wearing dirty clothes (please don’t stand beside me if you do). I did over 3 loads not including sheets and towels. All for the sake of looking, smelling and feeling good.


At this point I am truly feeling sleepy but there was so much more for me to do. Time to prep dinner so that when I finally get that sleep in it’s one less thing I have to worry about. Steak & peppers it is or was .  Sliced bell peppers, onions and seasoned my beef and stored them in the fridge until later.

Not quite what i did but you get the picture

Not quite what i did but you get the picture

Well since my mind was on food I decided to research my next food attempts.  Do you know how easily you lose track of time while surfing the internet.  Only to have it interrupted  by the plea of a child that needs to be picked up from her La-cross game ( hey wasn’t Dad supposed to do that?) off I went to wait on her bus. Thank God the bus beat me there so it wasn’t a long wait.

Ok it's only one kid but that's how i was feeling at the time

Ok it’s only one kid but that’s how i was feeling at the time

On my way in I remembered that I was supposed to pick up something at he supermarket. Conveniently….I forgot the list.  So I had to go off memory (not a good thing for those that know me).  After getting everything I could remember I head to check out only to realize I didn’t have my wallet.  Did I just waste time on my precious day off? Thank God that not only was my wallet in the car but they hadn’t put my groceries back. Winning (it’s the little things).

how I must've looked to the cashier

how I must’ve looked to the cashier

After unloading and putting away groceries I realized that I hadn’t cooked dinner.  The whole getting some sleep was no where on the radar for me.  Good thing I had already prepped.  Whipped up some steamed rice with steak and peppers.  And no there are no pics of it either.  Have you not realized the trend in this post? None of the pictures are ones that I have taken.  It was supposed to be my day off.  Let’s just say I finally made it to bed that night after 12am.

Ahh Sleep

Ahh Sleep

Thank God I had another day off…. back to back…wait I forgot I booked a jewelry show.  There goes that day off…..too

Fat Tuesday

Okay so this post is a tad bit late…like a week late but I have committed to writing it and so I shall.

This year National Pancake Day fell on Fat Tuesday…how cool was that. Every year I participate in IHOP’s fundraiser for The Children’s Miracle Network with my kids.  They give away a short stack while collecting donations for the group.  My date that morning was my oldest child, Akeem. Nothing like some Mother-Son time : )


We enjoyed a lovely breakfast together and helped a good cause while we were at it.



Now the start of my day was good…pancakes and family..I’d say that was an excellent start to Fat Tuesday but it got better as the day went on. You see I was to have lunch with one of my inner circle( what I call my handful of TRUE friends).  Now I know some of the most fun loving, life enjoying people and Nykki Burkes is one of them.  For our lunch together I made Panko-Parmesan Encrusted Cod with a Brown Rice Pilaf and Steamed Broccoli. Now I tried to share the ease of making this dish with her but she was more interested in eating it than actually learning how to make it…gotta love Nykki


We chatted about new things, old things, lives she saved while flying and all the things that make being a flight attendant great and …..not so great. She had made some great plans for the rest of our day and I was looking forward to it. We decided to add one more to person to the mix (another inner circle member) my sister-in-law Sandy.  We were definitely going to have fun whether we wanted to or not. Our first stop on Nykki’s agenda was a restaurant in the Inman Park area of Atlanta named Parish. I loved it from the moment we pulled up to the building. It’s the only remaining building from a 1890’s pipe factory. It had been restored to show off the building’s  great structure and turned into a restaurant.


We went to Parish to enjoy some wine and that we did….along with a tasting from their small plates.We sampled the Pan-Fried Pierogis, the Black Truffle Grilled Cheese and the Rosemary-Garlic Fries.  Let’s just say I’m definitely looking forward to a return visit. Learn more about the restaurant, their menu and extensive wine list at Parish

Sparkling Rose` Wine

Sparkling Rose` Wine




Black Truffle Grilled Cheese

Black Truffle Grilled Cheese

Rosemary Garlic Fries

Rosemary Garlic Fries

Our next stop on the Fat Tuesday train was Kat’s Cafe for Comedy Night.  We had a wonderful host who kept in real and had us laughing all night.  The drink special for the night was the Summertime Martini so we had a round or two…not bad for a special but Sandy ordered a Juke Joint and she said it had a nice kick to it. What we learned….drink special aren’t as strong as the other drinks they make( if you’re into strong drinks).  We, of course, ordered something to eat…..the Bayou Pizza.  It was soooo good. The toppings included tilapia, shrimp, onions & bell peppers with the right amount of spiciness…I would order that again.  Check out Kat’s Cafe they have something going on every night of the week.

Bayou Pizza $ Summertime Martini

Bayou Pizza $ Summertime Martini

Well my Fat Tuesday was a blast with great people.  Sandy & Nykki can’t wait until next time.






If you’re a “Scandal” fan, of which I am, you have heard on several occasions them mention the infamous burger joint Gettysburger,  Well you can only imagine the shock and awe that came across my face when I found out that Gettysburger did not exist. How was I gonna replicate one of their burgers, for the mid-season premier, if they didn’t really exist. In my mind I had already planned this post detailing how I went about gathering ingredients, prepping and then preparing my wonderful version of a Gettysburger burger. what would I do now?

I did the next best thing. I created a burger I felt would exist on the menu at Gettysburger. I created the Insde-Out Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger with a side of Garlic Parmesan Steak Fries. I went as far to make the pickles from scratch and a chipotle mayo for the buns.  I mean if you gonna go with something that doesn’t exist why not go all out.

cucmbersI used half of an English cucumber cut on the bias. I then brined the slices  in a heated mixture of salt, sugar, a crushed garlic clove, a few red pepper flakes, fresh dill, a bay leaf and vinegar.

PicklesViola …..Pickles….. well they became pickles once the liquid cooled.

Then for the burger I did what my Mom taught me to do oh so many years ago.  A package of onion-mushroom soup mix,  black pepper, worcestershire sauce, an egg and a handful of breadcrumbs.  Once combined I made a thin patty and placed a slice of cheddar cheese that I folded in half along the center of the patty.  Then I made another patty and placed that on top of the first sealing the cheese in the middle.

inside outburgerNow  all I had to do was cook them. I am about the slow and go when cooking a good burger.  Medium heat and I never flatten the patty while cooking ( your squeezing all the luscious juices out…who wants a dry burger?). Haven’t you been told to not play with you food? Well don’t fiddle with your burger while it’s cooking let it do what it has to……that’s cook. I only turn my burger ONCE during cooking.

Besides the pickles and the burgers I also made a quick spread for my burger buns, Chipotle Mayo. I took a 1/4 cup of mayo and added 2 teaspoons of chipolte salsa ( you can find it in a can in the international section of your supermarket) and mixed. Depending on how spicy you like it you can add more or less of the chipotle salsa.

As for the Garlic Parmesan Steak Fries it was simple ( no I didn’t make the fries from scratch) I prepared a bag of steak fries in the oven ( I try to avoid frying as much as possible). I sprinkled them with some olive oil to help crisp them up in the oven and dusted them with a mixture of kosher salt and black pepper.  About 5 minutes before they were to finished in the oven I heated a 1/4 cup of olive oil and 1  1/2 tablespoons of minced garlic. I pulled the fries from the oven  dumped them in a bow,l added the heated olive oil along with a handful of shredded Parmesan and minced parsley. Then I tossed everything together making sure the fries were well coated. This was the end result of my hard work ( not that hard )

the finished product

Yeah if I were running the Infamously Fictitious Gettysburger this would be on the menu.



So yesterday was a pretty cool day for me. I had been working on some projects and had planned on having lunch with my future daughter-in-law. Problem…my hair that I shampooed the night before was no where near being dry.  Do I remove the flexi rods I had in my hair(which is natural by the way) and tackle re-doing it later? Or do I figure out how to cover it all up while still being stylish? The problem with pulling the rods out is that it takes a lot of work to get them in (my hair is long & thick), so I opted for solution #2. I decided to cover it up by doing a turban that incorporated a bow in the tying process. I’d have to say I did a fine job and no one knew I had rods in my hair : )


Now today while scouring the internet for Spring trends what do I behold?


Can we say fashion forward?  Yes I am.  The best thing about yesterday’s look, besides the wonderful compliments, was that I saved my hairdo. I have a head full of fresh curly locs for errands today..  A win-win situation.

Lip Gloss by Lamik Cosmetics

Lip Gloss by Lamik Cosmetics

A Romantic Dinner for….4

No you read that right…and NO it wasn’t me & my hubby with another couple. It was me, my hubby, daughter and son. Now don’t get me wrong I did enjoy being with my family but one tends to think Valentine’s Day was made for lovers. Since business kept my hubby from being able to do the usual Valentiney ( yes I created a word) things I thought it would be nice to prepare a wonderful dinner at home for the family.

We started off with an appetizer of Spicy Garlic-Lemon Shrimp and a loaf of Sweet Italian Bread. IMAG0902

For our entree I prepared my signature dish….Pan-Seared Salmon with Sauteed Spinach & Mushrooms in an Herb Cream Sauce served atop Sour Cream & Chives Mashed Potatoes


The grown-ups at the table had Tequila Sunrises and the youngsters sipped on sparkling Cider.


All in all it turned out to be a rather lovely dinner for 4….Oh yeah my daughter even made dessert a Butter Cream Pound Cake served a la mode.  Who could have wanted a better meal? Hope your Valentine’s Day was filled with LOVE because mine was : )

So you wanna challenge me???

About 2 weeks ago my girlfriend had gone to a new hangout spot and had eaten what she thought was heaven….Philly Cheese steak Egg rolls.  It wasn’t enough for her to post pics of all the fun she was having( without me no less) but she decided to tag me in a challenge on social media.  What? For everyone to see? How could I not accept.

Well since we were having another “snowmegaddon” here in Atlanta I decided I would treat the family to a new meal and take Miss Nykki up on her challenge.







The Chef In Pearls

Cassandra Sinclair is a Lifestyle Chef and Gourmet Cooking Instructor who enjoys demystifying the art of cooking for One. You can catch her live demonstrations across major social media as @TheChefInPearls.

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