Roasted Maple Glazed Pumpkin and Sweet Potatoes

This next one is one of my own creations and a favorite holiday recipe. I made it this past Thanksgiving and for a Friendsgiving celebration that I had with my close friends and family. I came up with this recipe while creating my menu for the holidays. We all usually have mashed potatoes at most holiday spreads as well as a Sweet Potato Casserole topped with sweet and fluffy marshmallows. Well that just seemed redundant to me. Two mashed roots on the same table was one too many. So I thought, “Why not roast one of the dishes but still make it spiced and somewhat sweet?!”

The best part of this recipe is that you can mix up the type of squash you use in place of the pumpkin. The last time I made this, I used butternut squash and acorn squash. Whatever you may find to make it easier for you the better. Another thing, to make this the best possible dish on that table, you have to make sure you buy REAL MAPLE SYRUP. You can tell it’s the real deal by looking at the ingredients. It should ONLY say that it is made with 100% MAPLE SYRUP. That is my only exception if you make this dish. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE use REAL MAPLE SYRUP. Don’t ruin an incredible dish for your friends and family by using Aunt Jemima’s. She ain’t got nothing on this sweet tree nectar. Anyway, here goes!

Maple_Syrup_Bottles maple-syrup-trees

Serves 8-10


  • 2# of sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 2-3″ spears (Sweet potatoes are not uniform so don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect. Most importantly is that you make each piece similar in size for even cooking.)
  • 1-2# of pumpkin squash, peeled and chopped into 2-3″ spears (You can vary the type of fall (hard) squash if you can’t find any pumpkin. Squash usually takes a bit longer to cook. So when you cut them into pieces, you can make them thinner or smaller than the sweet potatoes.)
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • salt & pepper TT
  • 1 cup 100% maple syrup
  • 1 cup golden raisins, garnish
  • Maple Glazed Walnuts:
    • 2 cups raw walnuts
    • 2 tbsp 100% maple syrup
    • Method: Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix two ingredients together in a small mixing bowl. Please on a small roasting pan and roast for 25 minutes



  • Preheat your oven to 375°F. 
  • In a large mixing bowl, toss your sweet potatoes and pumpkin/squash with all four spices. Spread root vegetables onto a non-stick roasting pan or baking sheet trays. (If not a non-stick surface, line the pan with foil or oven proof parchment paper.) Drizzle maple syrup over the root vegetables evenly. (To prevent burning, try to get as little as you can onto the baking tray itself) Roast for 45 minutes until sweet potatoes are tender. Do NOT overcook.
  • Once root vegetables are  cooked, to prevent overcooking, remove from tray and place in a service dish.
  • Garnish with your Maple Glazed Walnuts and the holden raisins. To add some more color, sprinkle a bit of finely hipped parsley on top. Serve and enjoy!
Maple Roasted Pumpkins and Sweet Potatoes (minus walnuts and raisins)

Happy Holidays!


-Chef Flo

Green Beans with Pecans and Clementine Dressing

Happy holidays y’all! We’re getting close to our Christmas celebration and I personally can’t wait to finally put these dishes together and wow my family. I’ve been professionally cooking for the past 7 years. However, living in Las Vegas with just my ex-wife and daughter I never got a chance to show my magical powers off to my family. Now that I get a chance, I can hardly wait to have them taste my creations and inspirations I’ve been conjuring up.

Today’s recipe is another one from the powerful and almighty, Whole Foods Market. It’s a plant-strong recipe, low in sodium and zero fat and cholesterol. Once again folks, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. This recipe is so simple and tasty that why not share it with y’all and feature it on my countdown? It has only 6 ingredients and takes 20 minutes in total to make. Depending on your skills in the kitchen, if you know your way around prioritizing a prep list, this should be a cinch. I always say that “Simplicity is key to greatness!” Sometimes there are just those ingredients that speak for themselves and don’t need that much fuss and muss to attract many palates. Enough said, here’s the recipe…

Green Beans with Pecans and Clementine Dressing


  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Zest and juice of 3 clementines
  • 1 1/2 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped


  • (Boil a medium to large pot of water. Add a teaspoon of salt for every gallon of water to bring out the natural flavor of the beans.)
  • In a blender, combine shallot, mustard, salt and clementine juice and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  • Steam beans until bright green and barely tender, about 6 minutes. (If you have a steamer, this is perfectly fine way of cooking the beans. However, most home cooks don’t have a steamer handy so boiling, or rather blanching, would be a better solution. To Blanch Beans: Boil water. Fill a large bowl [enough to cool down beans] with ice water. Once the water is a-boiling, dunk the beans for about 4 minutes. You’ll notice that its green color will brighten. Then, quickly remove beans from the boiling water and submerge into the ice water to stop the cooking process and to freeze the color in the beans. Yum! This way will keep it bright green and crisp!)
Courtesy of the Johnson’s Backyard Garden
  • Transfer to a large bowl and drizzle with citrus dressing. Sprinkle with pecans and clementine zest to taste and serve.

THAT’S IT! Told you it was quick and easy. And oh, so tasty! Now for my little holiday twist.

SMN Variations:

  • Sprinkle 1 cup of pomegranate seeds over the green beans to add more texture and another bright burst of color. Plus it just boosts the flavor profile that much more.

  • If you want to be bold and brave, lightly toast your pecans before sprinkling over the beans. In a dry sauté pan, toast your pecans over medium heat while constantly moving the pecans around in the pan to prevent burning. You can tell the pecans are perfectly toasted once you start smelling a warm, nutty flavor and the pecans start to brown a bit.
Courtesy of Cooking For Seven

Any questions, you know where to reach me! Enjoy! 🙂

-Chef Flo







Holiday Cioppino

Well, only 4 more days until Christmas and these recipes are making my mouth water! What did you think of the holiday roast? I promise you won’t be disappointed. Now, it’s Day 2 of recipes and I’m going to share with you my FAVORITE HOLIDAY RECIPE and it comes from Whole Foods Market. For the past 3 years, I have featured this recipe at my Holiday Tasting Table at WFM Henderson, NV. It was always a hit and man did we sell seafood that day. It’s a fairly easy recipe with a handful of ingredients but I promise that if you didn’t knock their socks off with the roast, you’ll definitely do it with this stew!

If you ask most Americans, they have either heard of this stew and have had it at an Italian or seafood restaurant or this may be their first time even hearing the word “Cioppino.” This dish was created by Portugeuse and Italian fisherman on the north side of San Francisco. Cioppino is loosely translated as “to chop” or “chopped” regarding leftover seafood from the day’s catch. It originated as a “poor man’s stew” and slowly grew in popularity at the local Italian eateries. Found at most seafood restaurants, this Cioppino will taste just as good as any fisherman’s best stew.

WFMs Holiday Cioppino
WFMs Holiday Cioppino

First and foremost, this recipe can be found on Whole Foods Market‘s website. This recipe is featured as their Holiday Cioppino. I’ll be adding my own variation based on my experience with following this recipe and adjusting it to my own palate.

Serves 7-8

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bulb fennel, trimmed, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 1 (28 ounces) can diced tomatoes, with their liquid
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 demi-baguette, cut crosswise into thin slices
  • 1 pound thick skinless white fish fillets, such as cod, cut into (1-inch) pieces
  • 1 (8 ounces) tub lump crab meat
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 pound mussels or clams, cleaned
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, onions, fennel and bell peppers and cook until softened and onions and fennel are translucent. Stir in tomatoes with their liquid, broth, wine, tomato paste, oregano and thyme and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, brush baguette slices all over with oil then arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake, flipping halfway through, until toasted and golden, 8 to 10 minutes; set crostini aside.
  • Stir fish and crab into pot with broth mixture and simmer for 5 minutes. Add shrimp and mussels, cover and simmer until shrimp are just cooked through and mussels have opened, about 5 minutes more. (Discard any unopened mussels.)
  • Stir in basil, salt and pepper then ladle into bowls and serve with crostini on the side.

SMN Variations:

– Add 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika to add another level of flavor. Full bodied and smoky. Yum!

– Use both mussels and clams. The great thing about this is that you can satisfy both mussel and clam fans. Shellfish are an acquired taste. I think if you provide various selections for all your guests, the easier to satisfy them with, my dears!

raw-squid rawlobster1

-Along with all the seafood on the ingredient list, I added two lobster tails cut in half and squid (grilled, if possible). The flavor from the lobster tail shell keeps the full flavor flowing. With the addition of the squid, it will become a seven-fish dish and be considered an entire meal for the Feast of The Seven Fishes (however nontraditional).

Serve this amazing Cioppino with your favorite bold, full bodied red wine. Find an amazing Chianti and you’ll be set to be labeled the Holiday Host/Hostess of the year!


-Chef Flo

Beer Braised, Coffee-Rubbed Prime Rib

Now this recipe came about by combining a few of my favorite recipes that I have encountered through my years at Whole Foods Market. This will definitely be a non-traditional recipe but will captivate your guests for its originality.

My Beer Braised, Coffee Rubbed Prime Rib serves about 14-16. It really depends on how hungry your crowd is. If you have kids at the dinner table, this will stretch to about 20 guests.  Just remember that every rib makes about 2-3 servings. Here it goes! Enjoy!


  • 7 rib, Standing Rib Roast (16-18 pounds; 2-3 pounds/rib)

  • Coffee Rub (below)
  • 2-3 bottles of Dechutes Jubelale or any holiday brewed ale, enough to cover vegetables


  • 4 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch celery, roughly chopped
  • 3 red onions, halved
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite red wine, preferably one that you are serving. I would chose a Burgundy or Merlot
  • Parsley, finely chopped, for garnish

Coffee Rub (from Lou Lambert’s Coffee-Rubbed Roasted Brisket):

  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 cup chili powder
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely ground dark roast coffee (French Roast for best flavor)
  • 1/4 cup red chili pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup garlic powder


  1. Preheat your oven to 450°F. IMPORTANT: Keep roast out for at least 2 hours in room temperature for proper, even cooking.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients of the coffee rub and combine well.
  3. Arrange vegetables at the bottom of the roasting pan creating a platform for the roast.
  4. Take the rub and distribute evenly around entire roast. Concentrate on the topside of the roast Then, place the roast on top of the vegetables, fat side up/ribs pointing down. Make sure that your roast is placed evenly atop the veggies for even cooking.
  5. Take your Deschutes Jubelale and pour carefully over roast and in the pan. You want the beer to cover the vegetables entirely. (Since we don’t keep it covered for the first hour, the water in the beer will evaporate and the liquid will reduce down to a glaze.)
  6. Roast in the oven for the first 45 minutes uncovered. After searing the roast, lower the temperature to 325°F, then loosely cover the roasting pan for the remaining 3 hours and 30 minutes.
  7. Take your meat thermometer and insert in the thickest part of the roast (away from the ribs/bones) and it should read 125°F (rare). Remove the roast from the oven. Place the rib roast onto a platter or cutting board covered with the foil. DO NOT TOUCH THE ROAST WHATSOEVER! Let the roast rest for at least 15 to 20 minutes. The roast will continue to cook and the temperature should rise up to 135°F (mid rare).
  8. During the 10 minutes of rest, it’s time for you to finish off your jus/glaze. Remove your perfectly cooked maybe even carmelized vegetables and place them onto your serving platter. Turn up the heat on the stove and let the jus come to a boil. Add two tablespoons of whole wheat flour and mix thoroughly with a whisk. Mix in 1/2 a cup of your favorite red wine. I prefer a burgundy or a merlot. Remove from heat and serve. Garnish with chopped parsley and enjoy!

A few tips to consider:

  • For easy carving, ask your butcher to  cut the bones from the roast and reattach them with twine. The ribs offer flavor and proper cooking but with it being removed, it will be easier for you to carve and serve at the dinner table.
  • If you don’t have one yet, invest in a good meat thermometer. Ovens vary in power and temperatures so you can only really trust your own meat thermometer. Check this one out from Williams-Sonoma, the OXO Instant Read Thermometer.
  • When purchasing your Prime Rib, think about how many people you are serving. If you are looking for leftovers or generous portions, you want to remember 1 rib serves 2 people. If you are going to be serving a second roasted meat or if you want to control portions, serve 1 rib for 3-4 people. It all depends on the size that you carve.


Now don’t be afraid if this is your first time. I will be here for you to guide you through your holiday roast. Email me at or just leave me a message and I’ll answer all your questions and concerns.


Enjoy & Happy Holidays

– Chef Flo

Six Healthy Recipes To Countdown The Holidays

Its December 18th and you have only 6 more days until the Fat Man comes swooping down and gracing us with his presents and cheer. You’ll have your family over for fun, gifts, drinks and especially yummy, delicious and plentiful holiday dishes. Not only will we be celebrating the Christmas holiday but we’ll also be six more days until the end of the year. Another year over for all those resolutions. And when those expire, then we can start new ones. Instead of keeping to the mantra of “I’ll make up for it for the new year,” why don’t we start now? There’s no better time than today…sooo….Let’s get healthy now!

Even Santa is concerned!

I want you all to enjoy this Christmas celebration with healthier alternatives to those traditional dishes. I know, I’m the holiday grinch when it comes to the food. But hey, someone’s gotta be the grinch in this sea of fat-filled dishes. I know, I know, too harsh but someone’s gotta say it. So, I want to give you my favorite main courses, side dishes, and desserts that will give you that feeling of Christmas without all the bloating and regret.

Day 6 Until Christmas: Holiday Roast

Day 5 Until Christmas: Holiday Stew

Day 4 Until Christmas: Green Vegetable Side Dish

Day 3 Until Christmas: Root Vegetable Side Dish

Day 2 Until Christmas: Dessert

Day 1 Until Christmas (Christmas Eve): Holiday Cocktail

Now, these will be my favorite choices. Along with those suggestions and recipes, I’ll be adding a few links to my secondary choices and honorable mentions. So stay tuned, subscribe, and keep your eyes peeled for these tasty delights!

If you have any requests or suggestions on a holiday recipe or a conversion into a healthier alternative, please feel free to leave a comment or a post!

Or you can email me at!

Happy Holidays!

-Chef Flo