I’ve always been a firm believer in pork cuts in a tomato sauce. It adds an unbelievable richness and depth of flavor that cannot be attained with simply beef. But, to make a proper “gravy”, it’s an all day process. Browning the sausage, beef, and pork. Sauteing the onions and tomato paste, reducing down the sauce for-ever. Delicious, but time consuming.

My mom always made spaghetti sauce to use up leftover ham. Apparently, her mother opted to use ham in her sauce as well. It’s delicious, easy, and a change of pace from your run-of-the-mill spaghetti sauce using ground beef. Since I’ve got a house full of boys, I opt to add ham as well as ground beef. But, feel free to make the recipe using exclusively ham. Great way to use up those Easter leftovers!

It’s springtime here on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and that means that crabs are starting to come back into season. Crab soup traditionally comes in two varieties; Cream of crab – a, well, cream based soup. And, Maryland crab – a tomato based soup. My husband is a fan of the Cream, where I am a Maryland kind of gal.

This recipe is for the tomato based soup, and it’s wonderful. A little heat from the old bay, lots of flavor from the crab meat, and tons of veggies! My 3 year old loves it. I always find that soup is a good way to get anything I want to into him!

On another note, we have a new addition to the family. I’m such a horribly slack blogger, you would think I would have posted something earlier…but time is just running away with me these days! So, without further adieu, this is William or “Will” for short. He was born December 19th, and was a hefty 10 lbs at birth. He’s now going on 5 months, and is close to weighing 20 lbs. He is a beast! While Andrew is a carbon-copy of Jon, I think I’ve finally got one that resembles me now. He’s such a sweet and happy baby boy, we are truly blessed!

Okay, back to the soup. It makes a relatively large batch. But, leftovers freeze well. I like to make my own seafood stock with various shells that I leftover from seafood. Crab, shrimp, lobster – all cook down to make a beautiful stock. If you don’t have any of those things available though, try substituting bottled clam juice. I think it would be just as good!

I confess, I used to be a boxed macaroni and cheese person. As a teenager, I worked front desk at a local hotel. An older lady there made the best baked macaroni and cheese. While at the time I diddn’t have my heart set on re-creating the dish, it managed to stick with me for a decade. My mom always made homemade macaroni and cheese, but it wasn’t a cheese sauce. It was elbows, butter, and lots of cheddar cheese layered and baked. Still delicious, but there’s something about a gooey, cheesy sauce that really captured my heart.

Fast forward 10 years, I decided to try to find a recipe that I would consider “a keeper” for baked macaroni and cheese. I tried several recipes I’d found on the internet that looked good, but none really resonated with me. Then, I decided to give the recipe off the side of the elbow macaroni box a shot. Low and behold, I fell in love. I’ve changed it some over the years, but I’m glad I gave that “side of the box” recipe a shot. You never know! Feel free to top with a seasoned breadcrumb if you like, but I think that’s more of a “Yankee” thing, and just not the way I was raised. I like my macaroni and cheese soft and creamy. But, I have done it that way before…and it was delicious. Enjoy!

I consider today to be the last day of summer. Here in Maryland, there is already a crispness in the air in the mornings. School buses are on the move, and dare I say it, but I’ve already seen a few leaves changing color. It’s been a wonderful summer for me and my family. We’ve got a new baby on the way (due on Christmas Eve!), had an abundance of fresh seafood, many glorious days at the beach, and plenty of good food on the table. Even though I have not been regular with my blogging, rest assured I still have been putting out “good eats” on the regular. This, my friends, was one of our favorite dishes this summer. Beef tacos and chicken tacos are wonderful, but a good fish taco is on another plane of existence!

Now, of course you could grill or pan sear your fish for a healthier option. But, I gotta give two-thumbs up for the beer batter. I used my husbands home brewed 60 Minute IPA, and the beer flavor really shined through. The fish also stayed crispy long after frying. We were nibbling on fish nuggets long after dinner was over! I like to employ a double-shell technique for these. I had some wonderful blue corn taco shells that I got while in the “big city” a month or so ago. But, they are very fragile. My solution was to wrap a flour tortilla around the corn, and it really does give it a little something extra as far as the texture is concerned. We topped ours with a spicy chipotle ailoi, pico de gallo, and of course the traditional thinly sliced cabbage.

They’ve definitely become a favorite in our household, even with our 2 year old Drew. He couldn’t get enough of the fish, as well as the Spanish rice I served it with (which, I will have to blog on it’s own in another post…it’s insanely good as well!). I see us having this dish in the cold winter months as well for sure!