Jacket Potatoes with Chili

I love chili. And when I lived in Warwickshire, one of my favorite things was walking into town to hit the Jacket Potato truck for lunch. A nice walk, great lunch, and some time to myself.

Now that I’m back home in the States, I miss that potato truck.

Anyway, here are the recipes:

Jacket Potatoes


  • 6 Russet potatoes, scrubbed clean and poked with a fork
  • Aluminum foil
  • A little salt
  • Olive oil or vegetable oil


Preheat oven to 400°F. Oil potatoes and sprinkle all sides with salt. Wrap in foil and roast for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the potatoes.

Remove from oven and set on a rack to cool slightly.

Chili Recipe


  • Half a sweet Vidallia Onion, diced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds ground beef (I use ground round)
  • Olive or vegetable oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pot
  • 2 cans dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 Tbs Chili powder
  • 4 Tbs AP flour
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprkia
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp Black ground Pepper
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 bottle Boston Lager
  • 2 cups Beef Broth
  • Sour Cream
  • Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese


Heat oil in a large pot and saute the garlic and onions. Add ground beef and cook on med high heat until all pink is gone from the meat. Add seasonings and stir, then add beans and mix well. Add beer and broth and stir.

Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer 2 hours in lidded pot.

(This can also be served over rice or mashed potatoes. I usually make the chili with rice and then use the leftovers to make these potatoes!)


Open the foil and split the potatoes lengthwise, leaving bottom skin intact. Use a for to fluff out the potato. Add a little butter, salt and pepper, then top with cheese. Ladle some chili over the potatoes and add a dollop of sour cream and a little sprinkle of cheese. Serve.


Mozzerella Sticks!

It was kinda late at night. My husband got off work late again. And he was snacky. So was I…so I cut up this block of mozzerella cheese I had in the fridge and tried making fresh cheese sticks for us.

I really liked how they came out. I didnt bother trying to freeze before I fried… I’d bet they’d be even better if I freeze them an hour or two next time!

Here’s the recipe:

Mozzerella Sticks

  • 16 oz block of mozzerella cheese, sliced into fat sticks
  • 1 1/2 cups ap flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 cups plain bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 Tbs dried parsley
  • 2 to 4 eggs and a little milk
  • Enough oil to fry sticks in a small pot


Mix flour, salt, pepper and garlic in a pie plate.

Beat eggs and milk in a small bowl.

Combine bread crumbs. Parsley and cheese in another pie plate.

Heat oil in pot. As oil comes gets hot, coat mozzarella in flour. Three at a time, dip sticks into egg wash and then coat in crumbs. Repeat with egg wash and crumbs, then set aside on a plate. You want the mozzarella sticks to be completely coated in breadcrumbs with no gaps. Fry 2 to 3 sticks at a time until golden, and remove to a clean plate with paper towels to drain.

Farmer’s Soup

When I was little, my mother had a subscription to Taste of Home recipe.

One day, she showed me a recipe for a hearty soup which required special oven proof bowls, in which the completed soup was topped with french bread and gouda cheese to broil until it melted right into the soup. She went crazy trying to find a place that sold the things, and after a few weeks we had the soup for the first time. We had to wait for the bowls to cool down and have trivits at our place settings. We’ve long since lost the recipe, and I could not find it to link you to the original.

I must say, though…

We were not the smartest people. It never occurred to any of us that slapping the cheese topped bread on a greased or oiled cookie sheet would yield the same results without running the risk of 3rd degree burns.

Anyway, here is how I make my version of the soup that wont risk injuring your small children or spazzy adults :

Farmer’s Soup

  • 8 Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 8 Carrots
  • 1 Vidalia onion
  • 1 head Cauliflower
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3-4 sticks Butter
  • French Bread Loaf
  • Apple wood smoked Gouda Cheese
  • 4 cups water and 2 cubes chicken bullion


Cut potatoes in half lengthwise, and do the same with each half. Cut into thin slices. Do the same with the carrots. Large dice the onions and break up the cauliflower into small pieces.

Melt the butter in the bottom of an 8 quart pot. Toss in the vegetables and coat with butter. Saute for about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the bullion and water. Add a little salt and pepper, about 1/4 each. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Simmer 20 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.

Slice French Bread into thin rounds and top with slices of Gouda. Place on greased cookie sheet and broil on high heat until cheese melts. Ladle soup into bowls and top with cheesy bread rounds. Let cool two minutes and serve.

And check out Taste of Home. They have some great recipes.

LARPmom’s Insomniac Milk

I have two kids. So that means I have had two pregnancies where, at about 3 months in, suddenly I could not sleep. Bad insomnia, and terrible indigestion. The only thing that helped was this milk. I doubt you’d need to be pregnant to enjoy this. Just…brush your teeth before you go back to sleep. Cavities and all.

Here’s the Recipe:

LARPmom’s Insomniac Milk

  • 8oz while milk
  • 1-2 tsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla
  • A pinch of Nutmeg

Whisk in a saucepan over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and milk is hot but not boiling. Pour into a mug and sip.

Gumbo you didn’t

Mistakes. Mistakes were made.

First of all, I am so, so painfully white. And from the Northeast. But I said, “I’m going to try and create my own as authentic as possible Gumbo recipe!”

But you know, without tomatoes.

Or okra, because my husband hates them.

But I was gonna try anyway. I made the dark roux (it probably could have gone a bit darker but I got scaredssss). I may have added a bit too much liquid. I added the trinity, garlic, the creole seasoning. All the proteins. It looked…pretty killer tbh.

But I know. I know exactly where I messed up. I bought Crystal hot sauce. And then I added not a drop. No, I put a splash in. That one little tiny splash made my wimpy butt dang near pass out.

I ate it anyway and I really loved it.

But the pain. Oh Golly.

Anyway, here is the recipe:


  • 1/2 Cup flour
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 lb Dungeness crab clusters
  • 1lb chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 package andoullie sausage, sliced
  • 1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup diced bell pepper (I used red and green, but I think green is traditional)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp Creaole Seasoning
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbs File powder
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt and pepper
  • Hot sauce to taste (good lord be careful)
  • Cooked white rice

Whisk flour and oil continuously until a dark roux is formed. Add celery, onion, garlic and pepper. Stir until vegetables are a little tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Add creole seasoning, and a little salt and pepper to taste.

Pour broth and water into pot. Stir.

Add chicken, sausage and crab. Add bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes to an hour, adding shrimp the last 15 minutes of cooking.

Add File powder to thicken gumbo and adjust seasoning as needed. Add hot sauce to taste.

I cracked the crab and tossed the meat into the gumbo, removing all the shell as well as the Bay Leaves.

Serve hot over rice.

LARPmom’s Roasted Red Pepper Lasagna

Good evening everyone!

Tonight, I’m going to share a recipe for one of my favorite comfort meals: Lasagna. There’s a big difference between my Lasagna and the normal stuff: I don’t use tomatoes. Not because I don’t like them, I actually love them. But with the birth of my oldest child came a diagnosis for a condition called Interstitial Cystitis, which is a pain in the butt. I can’t have certain high potassium foods, one of which is tomatoes! Ahaha*sobs in Italian*


Here is the recipe:


  • Lasagna noodles cooked to package directions
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese, 2 rounds, cut into small cubes.


  • 4 red bell peppers, halved and roasted for 20 minutes at 450°F, steamed in glass bowl with lid to help remove skin.
  • 8 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 diced carrots
  • 2 diced celery stalks
  • 1 diced onionop
  • 1 handful Italian parsley stems
  • 2-3 cups merlot or red wine
  • 1-2 water or chicken broth
  • 1 parmesan heel
  • 4-6 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • Smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour


Blend red pepper and garlic in food processor until smooth.

Saute’ diced veg in oil over medium heat. Add flour and stir to combine. Cook about 3 minutes. Add wine and whisk to deglaze pot. Pour puree into pot. Add water or broth. Bundle cheese heel, stems and bay leaves with kitchen twine. Add to pot with some salt and pepper to taste. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, cook for 30 minutes with lid on.

Remove lid. Stir, add a small palm full or two of smoked paprika.

Add miniature Turkey meatballs, simmer another 5 to 10 minutes. Remove herb bouquet and cheese rind.

Turkey meatballs (Giada style)*

  • 1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley leaves
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tbs whole milk
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp pepper


Combine ingredients in large bowl and form into little meatballs. Cook stovetop in oil or bake at 375 on cookie sheet for 15 minutes (I bake them on a greased cookie sheet because it is faster overall).

Ricotta cheese mixture

  • 1 handful Italian parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 large container ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano


Combine ingredients in large mixing bowl and set aside.


Spoon a small amount of sauce into bottom of a large casserole or deep rectangular dish. Lay down some noodles lengthwise to cover bottom of pan. Add a layer of ricotta, then sprinkle with parmesan and mozzarella.

Spoon over sauce and meat. Add a layer of noodles crossways in pan this time, and repeat, alternating noodle direction to give strength and bite to layers.

Finish with a layer of noodles running lengthwise, topped with meat sauce, mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

Cover with lid or foil and bake in preheated oven at 375° for 25 minutes.

Remove lid or foil and bake an additional 25 minutes. Rest for 15 minutes prior to serving.

*The meatball recipe I got from Giada de Laurentiis’ Everyday Italian cookbook and I modified it slightly to suite my needs. Please check her out and show her some love! Her recipes are fantastic and I’d use a lot more of them if I were able.

Where you can buy her cookbook

Browse more of her recipes at Food Network

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you love this recipe as much as I do. It was really fun to create.

The Journey Begins


I’m a busy mom with two kiddos who loves cooking, baking and most things geeky and nerdy. Husband and I love to LARP and if you dont know what that is…I would suggest looking up a local group to go and try it! On this blog I’ll be posting mostly my own recipes, or mentioning ones I love from other places on the web with links, and a few stories about the weird nonsense we all get into here. Welcome!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton