Seared (Chopped) Sirloin with Mushrooms

This dish went so fast we forgot to take an actual picture of it plated properly; but man, was it good!  This is my Pan-Seared Chopped Sirloin with Mushroom Gravy.  We all had to be rolled away from the table.  Check out the video of “how-to” on my youtube channel (Simply Chef Renée) Season 2 for the full episode and watch me make it come alive!  Give me feedback and let me know what you think.  See you next week with a new recipe.  “Eat in Color, It’s Good for You!”

Ingredients (for the steak)

2 eggs

¼ cup minced onion

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

½ tsp liquid smoke

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup crushed salt crackers

1½ pound ground sirloin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon fresh black pepper

Ingredients (for the gravy)

2 tablespoon unsalted butter

8 ounces button or cremini mushroom, sliced

½ cup diced onion

2 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 cups beef broth

¼ cup fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish

Method of Preparation

Preheat oven to 350º

For the steaks, combine eggs, minced onion, parsley, Worcestershire, garlic, and crackers.  Add sirloin, salt, and pepper; mix to combine.

Shape meat mixture into four 8 ounce patties.  Sear patties in a large pan over medium-high heat and cook until browned and desired doneness, about 6 minutes.  Flip patties and cook for about 6 more minutes (or transfer entire pan to oven and cook until desired doneness).  Remove from oven and transfer steaks to a plate and loosely tent with foil.

For the gravy, using the same hot pan melt the butter and add the mushrooms.  Sauté over medium-high heat until loose and browned and most of the moisture has been released from the mushrooms.  Allow most of the liquid to evaporate about 6 minutes.  Stir in the diced onion and flour; cook for 2 or 3 minutes.  Stir in the broth and cook until the gravy starts to thicken.  Remove from the heat.  If the gravy is too thick thin it with broth or water.  Serve Mushroom Gravy over steaks and garnish with fresh chopped parsley.


Collard Greens with Smoked Turkey

I grew up in the South and collard greens were a staple dish on our table every Sunday and for the rest of the week until they were gone (which usually was only the next day).  My mother seasoned them with pork neck bones, fatback or another part of the pig and they were delicious!  I loved them!  I still do except now with the awareness of health and wellness information at my fingertips I have vowed, not to abandon my traditional foods which bring back memories of family gatherings and cousins and friends sitting around the table or at a picnic bench in the park, but to modify the recipes so that I maximize the natural vitamins and nutrients the foods contain.  I don’t want anyone telling me that I can’t have this or that I can’t have that so in order to avoid that most serious conversation with my physician I will do my part and make the traditional foods I’m used a little healthier (there, I said it).  In this dish there is no loss of flavor, just a slighter different one.  The intake of vitamins and nutrients is significantly higher and the cooking time in my recipe is shorter.  Sounds like a win, win, win situation!  Try it out and let me know what you think.


2 large bunches of collard greens, stems removed

3 quarts of water

2 cups chicken broth

1¼ – 1½ lbs. smoked turkey necks or legs

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon ground pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

¼ cup canola oil

1 tablespoon EVOO

Optional:  1 teaspoon cider vinegar, ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Method of Preparation

  1. In a large Dutch oven (or other heavy bottom pot) add the water, turkey, salt, sugar, ground pepper, paprika and oil.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce to medium heat and allow turkey to cook for 40 minutes creating “pot liquor.”
  2. Thoroughly wash/rinse the collard greens. Chop greens into small pieces.
  3. After 35 minutes check the turkey and pot liquor. Liquor should have reduced by about ¼ and the turkey should be soft but still on the bone.  Add the chicken stock (or vegetable stock) and replace the lid and cook for another 5 minutes to blend.
  4. Add the greens to the pot and sprinkle with a little more sugar, salt and olive oil drizzle. Stir and cover.  Cook for another 30 -35 minutes or until greens are tender and tasty.  The turkey should be falling off the bones.  If not, cook a little longer until desired tenderness.
  5. Note: Serve with cornbread.
  6. Collard Greens with Smoked Turkey

Summer Berry Crisp!

Chef Renée’s Berry Crisp

Berries are back!  This Berry Crisp recipe is best when made in season, but cab be just as tasty if you freeze and store your fresh berries for a winter treat and all through the year.   Fresh is best for me but feel free to use store bought berries as well.   I used popular berries but feel free to use your own selection of berries.  I added blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries. The farmer’s market is a great place during the season to purchase berries and it also helps support the local farming. (Below is my dear friend Chef Christiane of Arugula Restaurant located in beautiful West Hartford, CT withe her delicious Apple Crisp.  Yummy!)  Choose your favorite fruit this summer or fall and enjoy.



2¼ cups fresh blueberries

2 cups fresh blackberries

2 cups fresh raspberries

2¼ cup fresh strawberries

Zest of 1 orange

2¼ cups whole oats

1¼ cup light brown sugar

1½ cups granulated sugar, divided

1¾ cups plus 1 teaspoon of all-purpose flour, divided

Pinch of salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ cup of toasted pecan pieces (optional)

2 sticks of Butter plus 2 tablespoons, very cold and cubed


  1. You will need 2 9-inch pie plates.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  3. Rinse the berries, drain and pat dry using a paper towel. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl add ½ cup flour, ½ of the granulated sugar, orange zest and cinnamon and whisk together.
  5. Add the berries to flour mixture and gently toss to coat the fruit.
  6. Divide evenly among the pie plates.
  7. For the topping, place the whole oats in a food processor and pulse 3 to 4 short bursts. Do not pulse to a flour but small enough to recognize and chew the oats.
  8. Pour oats into a large bowl. Add the remaining flour, the sugars and the salt. Mix Thoroughly.
  9. Add the cold butter to the flour/sugar mixture using a pastry cutter and mix until mixture resembles small peas.
  10. Spread over the berries and cook until browned and bubbly.
  11. Serve with whipped cream, sweet cream, or ice cream and top with Triple Berry Sauce (found on


Rum & Coke Braised Short Ribs

Rum & Coke Braised Short Ribs

Turn your favorite drink into a meal.  Sometimes I throw my hands up and just indulge in a dish that makes me want to sing and this is one of those dishes.  To try and help myself not to get too carried away I make it as an appetizer and not the main course (at least not this yet).  Lol!   I wanted something that would melt in my mouth but also something that would provide me with a sweet delicious taste with a little bite to it and short ribs did the trick.  Hmmm hmmmm!  They were awesome!

Don’t look at the recipe and think, “Oh no!  That’s just too many ingredients I can’t do it!”  You can do this.  Half of the recipe is for the dry part and the other is for the wet part.  Then you just combine the two and into the oven the ribs go.  Try this recipe and let me know what you think.


4 lbs short ribs

4 tablespoons canola oil

2 onions, chopped

3 tablespoons garlic, minced

¼ cup all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ cup brown sugar

¾ cup dark rum

¼ cup soy sauce

1¾ cup Cola

1/3 cup dried dark cherries

2 cups beef stock

Juice of 1 lemon

Sea Salt

Fresh Ground Pepper


Method of Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Season short ribs with salt, pepper, onion powder and paprika. Set aside
  3. In a large Dutch oven, add oil and heat until hot.
  4. Sear short ribs on each side (top, bottom, sides, etc.). Remove to a paper towel and allow to drain.
  5. To the Dutch oven, add onions and dried cherries. Cook until cherries are plump and onions are translucent.  Add garlic and cook until very fragrant.
  6. Stir in flour and ginger.
  7. Add stock and cola; allow cooking for 5 minutes while whisking.
  8. Add soy sauce, lemon juice and brown sugar, continue whisking until all is well incorporated and has begun to boil.
  9. Return short ribs to pot, cover and place in preheated oven.
  10. Reduce oven temperature to 350ºF and cook for 2 ½ hours or until ribs are tender and a thick, dark, sticky sauce has formed. (It will thicken more as it sits.)
  11. Remove from oven and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes.
A Great Meal for Bone Health

A Great Meal for Bone Health

“Salmon with Garlic-Dill Yogurt Sauce”

As osteoporosis month comes to a close let’s continue to be mindful about good care for our bones.  This meal is bone supportive and anti-inflammatory as it contains essential ingredients like calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, potassium and other important nutrients that our bodies need for healthy bone development and maintenance.  Foods such as yogurt, kale, broccoli and bok choy (to name a few) are calcium rich; but we also need foods such as salmon which contains vitamin D to help the calcium move through our bodies. Magnesium is another thing our bodies need in healthy bone development.  It is found in foods like pumpkin and sunflower seeds, quinoa, sweet potatoes and black beans which help neutralize acids formed in the body and that could over time cause bone loss.  Potassium is another essential component in developing healthy bones.  Potassium aids in  increasing bone formation.  It also helps in neutralizing acids that would otherwise have a negative impact on our bones.  Foods rich in potassium are romaine lettuce, sweet potatoes, plums, prunes and other foods found in this recipe.  So go ahead…be Bone Healthy and enjoy your food while you’re at it!  Let me hear from you soon and thanks for stopping by!

Garlic-Dill Yogurt Sauce


1 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 lime wedges

1 tablespoon shallot, diced

3/4 teaspoon salt

½  teaspoon honey

½ teaspoon dried dill weed

3 to 4 tablespoons water, as needed

fresh ground pepper, as needed

Method of Preparation

In a small pan, drizzle a little oil.  Sauté shallots and garlic.  Squeeze lime wedges into pan.   Add 2 tablespoons of water and remove from heat.  In a bowl, add all the remaining ingredients and stir.  Combine the shallot mixture.  Pour mixture into a blender or a Nutribullet and process until desired consistency.  Add remaining water if needed.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.


Seared Salmon


4 – 2.5 oz. cuts of Wild Salmon

Chipotle paprika seasoning

Pinch of kosher salt

1 tablespoon garlic infused olive oil

¼ teaspoon lemon pepper, optional

Method of Preparation 

Season the salmon.  Rub the seasoned fish with oil.  Heat a heavy bottom skillet on medium-high heat.  Drizzle with a little oil.  Sear the salmon for about 3 or 4 minutes on the first side, turn it over and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.   Proper cooking temperature for salmon is 145ºF.

Rainbow Vegetables with Prune Dressing


2 cups each kale, red cabbage, bok choy, broccoli and romaine lettuce                                              

1 small sweet potato, diced                                                                                                               

2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves                                                                                            

Pumpkin seeds, garnish                                                                                                          

Almonds sliced, garnish                                                                                                        

Sunflower seeds, garnish                                                                                                         

Cognac Prune Dressing

Kosher salt and Fresh ground pepper to taste

Method of Preparation 

1.  In a large pan drizzle a little oil.  Sauté bok choy and remove to a bowl.

2.  Sauté kale with a pinch of salt and parsley.  Add to the bowl with the bok choy.

3.  Drizzle a little oil to the pan and add the sweet potatoes to the pan.  Add a little water to steam the potatoes and allow to evaporate.  Add the potatoes to the bok choy mixture.

4.  Drizzle a little more oil to the pan and add the red cabbage.  Add a pinch of salt and pepper.

5.  Add some of the Cognac Prune Dressing to the pan and continue to sauté the cabbage for        another minute.

6.  Add the cabbage to the vegetable mix and stir.  Stir in the romaine lettuce.

7.  Garnish with sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds and/or sunflower seeds.

Prune Dressing


12 prunes, pitted, chopped

2 ounces of Cognac

3 sprigs of fresh thyme

1/3 cup all natural grape juice

1/3 cup of vegetable stock

2 tablespoons water

1 shallot, finely chopped

Kosher salt, to taste

Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Avocado or Extra-virgin olive oil

Method of Preparation

  1. In a pan drizzle a little oil.
  2. Add the shallots and stir.
  3. Add the thyme and prunes, reduce heat to medium and stir.
  4. Add the broth and molasses.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Allow to cool. Place in a blender or Nutri-bullet and process.  If too thick add water a tablespoon at a time.
A Simple Seared Salmon Salad

A Simple Seared Salmon Salad

What is it about Salmon that we love so much?  Is it the beautiful color of the fish?  Is it that its quick and easy to prepare?  Or could it be because of all the yummy vitamins and nutrients we get from it.  I don’t know your reason, but I just love the little fish and you are like me, well, you are in luck as it is salmon season!  That’s right, it’s here.  You can get all the fresh salmon you want. Salmon season began in  April and runs straight through November.  (So be sure to check your local grocery store and ask the fish monger, “Excuse me, but what day is your salmon delivered?”)  Lol

FYI:  Here are some of the vitamins and minerals we get from our up-stream swimming friends:  Vitamins B3, B6 and B12; we’ve got Vitamin D and selenium.  But don’t stop there!  We’ve got Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Protein too!

Don’t overcook it nor feel intimidated when you see it in the store instead, feel encouraged and follow the recipe below.  Thanks for stopping by!

Seared Salmon with Salad

4- 4 oz salmon filets

1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning

1 tablespoon Blackening Seasoning

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 tablespoons butter

Juice of ½ lemon

4 cherry tomatoes

1 peach, diced

2 cups (packed) Arugula

2 cups (packed) Mixed Greens

Balsamic Glaze

Your favorite vinaigrette (I used Lemon – Honey)

Method of Preparation

  1.  Season the filets with the seasonings.  Drizzle with EVOO and rub into filets.  Set aside.
  2. Place a large pan on the stove and turn the burner to medium-high heat.
  3. Drizzle the pan with the olive oil and add the butter (when you are ready to put the fish in the pan).
  4. When the butter has melted add the salmon, skinned side a cook until easy to move and nice crisp has formed on the top of the fish.
  5. Place the entire pan into the oven and cook until desired temperature.  The proper cooking temperature for fish is 145ºF.  Please fish, cook and eat responsibility.
  6. Allow fish to sit while you prepare the salad.
  7. Place the lettuce and arugula in a large bowl and mix with a small amount of your favorite vinaigrette.  Place a handful onto each plate.
  8. Add tomatoes and peach bites on the plate.
  9. Dot with drops of glaze around the salad and top with the salmon (crispy, non skin side up).  Enjoy!
Israeli Couscous, Make it Good!

Israeli Couscous, Make it Good!

Who likes to hear the word healthy?  I do, I do!  I think these days we count it all joy to hear those words especially from our physicians.  Well, guess what, you can create something that is healthy, TASTY and colorful without losing flavor.  Here I have prepared a colorful, delicious and nutritious meal within minutes.  Try this and your friends and family will thank you, their heart will thank you.


Tri-color Israeli Couscous

¼ cupSun-dried Tomatoes, chopped

5 Black Olives, sliced

2 stalks, Celery, sliced

½ each of Bell Peppers, Red, Yellow and Orange, med dice

½ English Cucumbers, diced

Kosher Salt, to taste

Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Your favorite dressing (I used a Lemon-Honey Vinaigrette)

Method of Preparation

  1. Cook Israeli couscous according to package directions and set aside.
  2. Allow to cool.
  3. Place all ingredients into a large bowl and stir together.
  4. Add  cooled couscous!
  5. Shazam! You’re a superstar.

ENJOY THIS HEALTY DISH…it has all the freshest ingredients your heart could ever imagine!


Recipe for Success

Recipe for Success

If you are looking for a recipe, have I got one for you…

It’s my recipe for success!  It’s easy, the recipe is to surround yourself with people who believe in you as much as you believe in yourself.  People who encourage and inspire you, people who go the extra, extra mile to make sure something is done the “right” way.  People who want you to succeed.  Here are a very few of those individuals.  There are hundreds and even thousands who inspire me each day to stay forward and keep doing what I am doing.  For that and to you I say, “Thank you.”

This post is for all of you.  Thank you to everyone over at WinTV, Jenny, Dee, Mike, Vivi, Howard, Justin, all of the interns past and present, the Windsor Community Television Board Members, Simsbury Community TV, Enfield Comm. TV, Manchester, Newington, Glastonbury, Southington and the list goes on to all who caught on and are now airing the show.  Thank you to ALL of my favorite libraries and librarians!  Suffield, Rocky Hill, Friends of the Cora J Belden Library, Kent Memorial Library, Bloomfield Library (hi everyone!), Windsor Locks Public Library (the beginning…thanks), Glastonbury (love you Nicole) and the many more librarians whom we love and adore, thank you.  To friends and family and people I meet out, thank you.  I appreciate each and everyone of you.  And this is my recipe for success!  Yummy!

And to all of you who are not pictured!


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