Slow Cooker Ham and Barley Stew

This is perfect for when the weather is getting cold outside, and you want to come home to a pot of hearty stew. There is very little prep time, and it’s a very filling dish.



  • 1 large and meaty ham bone, or 1 ½ lbs. hickory smoked pork hocks
  • 14.5 ounce can green beans, drained
  • 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups red potatoes, cubed
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 3 celery, diced
  • 1 cup pearled barley
  • 64 ounces beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon Roasted Beef Base
  • salt and pepper to taste


Place all ingredients in a slow cooker, and cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Remove and discard bay leaves. Take the ham bone or hocks out, remove the meat and chop it into small chunks if need be. Put the meat back into the stew and serve


  • If you want a meatier stew, add 1 lb. of ham to the pot
  • You can make it gluten free by substituting rice for the barley
  • Goes great with a salad and a nice sourdough baguette

Easy Cheesy Lasagna

One of my favorite dishes to make is lasagna. When my mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday dinner, every year I requested lasagna (just like Garfield the cat). It’s actually super easy to make, but for some reason people think it’s difficult. To me it’s as easy as preparing spaghetti, or homemade mac and cheese.



  • 1 lb. Jimmy Dean® Natural Sausage
  • 26 oz. jar Blue Parrot® Marinara (or your favorite brand)
  • 24 oz. tub cottage cheese
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon Amore® Garlic Paste
  • 1 cup sherry
  • ½ package (or 9) lasagna noodles
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups mozzarella, shredded


Boil noodles according to package, drain. In a large sauce pan, brown the sausage over medium high. Add the onion and stir occasionally until translucent. Add the garlic, Italian seasoning and Sherry. Reduce. Add the marinara and bring to a simmer over medium. Simmer for at least 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°. Spoon the sauce into a 13 x 9″ pan, enough to cover the bottom. Layer 3 lasagna noodles on the sauce. Top with ½ of the remaining sauce. Layer another three noodles. Cover with the cottage cheese, and half of the mozzarella. Layer the last three noodles, and cover with the remaining sauce.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil, and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and top with the remaining mozzarella. Bake for 10 more minutes. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.


  • You can make this gluten-free by switching out the noodles.
  • This freezes really well. If you are making for future meals, just use an aluminum foil style 13 x 9″ dish instead.
  • You can make this Paleo: use zucchini sliced thin instead of pasta, and ditch the cheese.
  • I buy the sausage at Costco, and then I freeze it in 1 lb. sections for future recipes.
  • I love using Amore Garlic Paste. It tastes so much fresher than the canned minced garlic, and you don’t get your hands stinky from handling garlic. You can find it in the pasta and marinara section of your grocery store.