Katrina Kozar

Food, Love, and Mustard

Summer Salads with Oro di Oliva

Katrina KozarComment

I hosted a cooking class all about Summer Salads last night at the Milwaukee Public Market. It was a hit and the class sold out, plus this group was amazing! A class I won't forget.  I used all of Oro di Oliva's oils and different kinds of vinegar. Here are the four recipes that I shared with the class and everyone had their favorites. Let me know what your favorite one is too. 

Grilled Shrimp Cups with Pineapple Vinaigrette inspired by Oro’s Chicken with Pineapple Vinaigrette

Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 1/2 pound shrimp (30/41 count, peeled, tails removed, deveined)
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 3 TBS Blood Orange Olive Oil
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 of Persian Cucumber, peeled and diced small
  • 2 cups of fresh pineapple, medium dice
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chow mein noodles
  • 2 heads of Butter lettuce, about 20 leaves


  • 1/4 cup Blood Orange Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Pineapple Balsamic
  • 1 tsp Dijon
  • 1 tsp honey or sugar
  • 1 TBS Soy Sauce
  • 1 small jalapeno chile, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Season the shrimp with salt and pepper place in a bowl or gallon size plastic bag.

Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together Oro’s Pineapple Balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, soy sauce, honey, jalapeno, salt, and black pepper. While whisking, slowly drizzle in Oro’s Blood Orange oil until the vinaigrette is creamy and emulsified.

Prepare all your ingredients for the salad and put them in a medium sized bowl. (Which is the French word for mise en place).

Heat a grill on high heat, make sure to oil your grill so the shrimp doesn’t stick. Place the shrimp on the grill and turn the heat to medium. Grill the shrimp for about 2 to 3 minutes per side or until it is cooked and opaque. Set the shrimp aside and let it cool slightly. Place the cilantro, cucumbers, scallions, pineapple, and radishes in a bowl. Pour the salad dressing over the salad and toss. You may have some leftover salad dressing.

Add the shrimp and toss. Fill the lettuce cups with the salad and top with chow mein noodles. You can make the salad ahead, but assemble this salad right before eating. Do not save leftovers, the Bromelain in pineapple will make the shrimp gummy. Thank you, Aunt Jeanie, for all your wisdom and your love and support. 

KK’s Potato Salad with Dill Vinaigrette and Cornichons

Make this a day or two before hand, you will not reget it. 

Serves 6 to 8

  • 2lbs of small red potatoes
  • 2 TBS of kosher salt
  • 2 TBS brine-cured capers, rinsed
  • 1 TBS chopped cornichons (gherkins pickles)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh chives
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh dill
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh leaf parsley


  • 1/2 cup Dill Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup White Lemon Balsamic
  • 1 tsp Dijon
  • 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp fresh ground pepper

Make the potatoes: Fill a medium saucepan with water and 2 tablespoons of the kosher salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the potatoes. Simmer until a paring knife easily slips into the largest one, 9 to 12 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander and set aside until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Quater the still-warm potatoes and transfer them to a large bowl.

Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together Oro Lemon Balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, the salt and black pepper. While whisking, slowly drizzle in Oro’s Dill olive oil time until the vinaigrette is creamy and emulsified.

Pour the vinaigrette over the still-warm potatoes, using a spoon to combine, and set the mixture aside to cool completely, about 30 mintues. Once the potatoes have cooled to room temperature, add the capers, cornichons, chives, parsley, dill, and remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and the ½-teaspoon of black pepper. Serve the salad at room temperature. 

KK’s Provencal Salad with Tapenade Crostini’s and Goat Cheese

Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 bag of mixed greens 
  • 1 head of radicchio, quartered, cored, sliced ½ inch lengthwise pieces
  • A large handful of thin French beans, blanched
  • 1 pint Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • 1 jar of quarter Artichoke hearts, rinsed


  • 1 baguette, sliced on the diagonal, ¼ inch thick
  • 3 TBS Oro’s Rosemary Olive oil
  • 4 oz goat cheese (room temperature)

Arrange the bread slice in a baking tray. Brush with Oro’s Rosemary olive oil and bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 6 to 8 minutes. Allow to cool. For each of the crostini, spread about 1 teaspoon Goat Cheese and top with 2 teaspoon Black and Green Olive Tapenade. 

Provencal Dressing:

  • ¼ cup Herb de Provence Oil
  • ¼ cup Oregano white balsamic
  • ½ Shallot, minced
  • 1 Tsp Dijon
  • Salt and pepper

Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together Oro’s Oregano Balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, the salt and black pepper. While whisking, slowly drizzle in Oro’s Herb de Provence oil a few drops at a time until the vinaigrette is creamy and emulsified.

Black and Green Olive Tapenade:

  • 1 1/2 cup of Kalamata, pitted
  • 1 6 oz can of Medium Green Olives, no pimento and pitted
  • 6 anchovy filets (oil-brined)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 TBS capers, rinsed
  • ¼ cup Oro garlic olive oil
  • ¼ cup Oro basil olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon, squeezed
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 TBS minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 TBS chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine the olives, capers, anchovies in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, and pulse 6 times. Add the olive oils, lemon juice, mustard, thyme and parsley then process until chunky.

Oro's Roasted Sesame Chicken Salad

Serves 4 to 6

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame 
  • 4 cups Napa Cabbage  
  • 2 cups matchstick carrots 
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped 
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped 
  • 1 cup snap peas 
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds 
  • 1/2 cup cashews 
  • 1 TBS sesame seeds, toasted 


  • 2 TBS Roasted Sesame Oil 
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
  • 1/3 cup Lemongrass Mint Balsamic 
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce 
  • 1 TBS minced ginger 
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes 
  • 1 tsp sugar 
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, minced 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 

In a bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Take 4 TBS of the dressing and put it into a resealable bag, add the chicken breasts to the bag.  Bring a small pan of water to a boil, add the edamame and boil for 3 mins. Drain well.

Refrigerate for 2 hrs. Set the rest of the dressing aside for later. In a large bowl, combine napa cabbage, carrots, cilantro, green onions, snap peas, edamame, slivered almonds, cashews, and toasted sesame seeds. Add to the salad. Grill chicken 6-10 mins, per side, until no longer pink inside. Cut the chicken into strips, add to the salad. Pour the dressing over the salad, and toss. 



KK Suppers: The Kentucky Derby Party!

Katrina KozarComment

Did you know that I am hosting a party? Yes!!! 

There will be bourbon, hats and fun people to meet. Plus, tons of red roses. I would love you to come and try our food and experience a KK Suppers Event. 

Questions: kksuppers@gmail.com

Sign up below:



February was spent in Slovenia and Bahamas

Katrina KozarComment

It’s March today and it snowed in a beautiful white snow on Ash Wednesday. I have been traveling a lot as of late. I went to Slovenia, where my great grandparents are from and then went to Bahamas to see Derrick and Kim say, I do.

SLOVEnia was amazing! I went with my sisters Kelly and Heidi and my father Jerry. We haven’t taken a trip together since 2001! My last name is Kozar, and I have never met anyone with the same last name in the United States, that I am not related too.

When I was in Slovenia, we saw forms of my last name everywhere! Also, even though Slovenia is a small country, the size of New Jersey, they have the biggest hearts! They have these amazing Julian Alps, Castles, beautiful rivers and waterfalls, caves, wine, honey, prosciutto, salt and the sea!

Here are some photos of my trips! I really can’t wait to go back to Slovenia and discover and spend more time there. It’s the gem of Europe and I can totally see why people call it that!

Gingerbread house with Kelly. 

Gingerbread house with Kelly. 

Honey, you are so Sweet and Delicious!

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I had the chance to be part of Verto Winery's 1st annual Buzz Festival. I was asked to create and use honey in recipes! My mom always her homemade salad dressings since I was little and I took inspiration from that. I also include one of my favorite recipes that I use during this time of the year, because my garden is exploding with cherry tomatoes. Theses recipes are keepers and are great to bring to your next pot luck or block party!  Last year, Wisconsin honey bees produced over 3.4 million pounds of honey. Honey flavor and color can differ based off the type of flowers the nectar comes from. Common Wisconsin flavors include wildflower and clover.

Jicama, Citrus, Fennel Salad with Avocado

Serves 4-6

A fresh and refreshing summer salad.

1 Jicama, (1 medium) julienned

1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, cut into thin slices

1 grapefruit, cut into supreme

2 oranges, cut into supreme and reserve the juice in a bowl

1 fennel bulb, cored, trimmed and thinly sliced

Handful of chopped cilantro

Using a sharp knife, cut the tops and the bottoms of the grapefruit and oranges. Supreme the oranges and grapefruits by cutting off the skin and pith until you see the flesh of the fruit. Over a medium sized bowl, cut between the membranes of the grapefruit and oranges to release segments.  Once all segments are released, squeeze the grapefruit and the orange juice into your bowl. If seeds are collected in the bowl, remove them.


1 shallot, minced

1 teaspoon, Katrina’s Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon flower honey

3 tablespoons of fresh lime juice

3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

A big pinch of kosher salt

A couple of grinds of fresh ground pepper

Whisk these 6 ingredients into the bowl with the grapefruit and orange juices. Combine all the fruits and vegetables, toss lightly and serve at room temperature.

Honey-Tomato Bruschetta with Honey Ricotta

Recipe by: Susan Spungen (Food and Wine) Adapted by: Katrina Kozar

Serves 6

This is the appetizer of all appetizer, especially when your garden is full of cherry tomatoes!

2 pints of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved length wise

1 ½ tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons of  honey

2 teaspoons thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes

1 teaspoons kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 baguette, cut in ½ inch thick rounds (have your bakery do this)

1 cup fresh ricotta (8 ounces)

1 ½ tablespoons buckwheat or chestnut honey

6 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade


1.       Preheat the oven to 300°. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes with the olive oil, honey, thyme leaves, salt and pepper. Scrape the tomatoes onto the prepared baking sheet and turn them cut side up. Bake the tomatoes for about 1 hour and 25 minutes, until they begin to shrivel and brown. Let cool.

2.       Preheat the broiler. Spread out the baguette slices on a baking sheet. Broil for about 30 seconds on each side, until the edges are golden brown.

3.       Mix the red pepper flakes with the ricotta. Spread the ricotta over the baguette slices and top with the slow-roasted tomatoes. Lightly drizzle the tomatoes with the buckwheat honey, sprinkle with the sliced basil and serve with additional buckwheat honey on the side.

White Bean and Sun-dried Tomatoes with Albacore Tuna over Mixed greens

Serves 6 to 8

A delicious and traditional salad from Italy. It’s a pantry staple in my home.

1 can of Cannellini beans, drained and washed
½ small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
One 3-ounce can albacore tuna, well drained and gently flaked
½ cup minced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained (reserve the oil for the vinaigrette)
1 bag of mixed greens
Kosher Salt to taste
Layer the salad on a platter. First with the greens, then the bean, red onions, tuna, and then sun-dried tomatoes. Lightly salt the mixture and gently toss to combine. Drizzle on the vinaigrette and toss lightly to thoroughly coat the ingredients.

 Basil Vinaigrette

¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of Katrina’s Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
6 to 8 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
½ cup oil from the sun dried tomatoes and then use extra virgin olive oil, if needed
 In a mason jar, combine all the dressing ingredients and then close with the lid and shake the dressing until incorporated. Taste for seasoning. This dressing will keep about 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Grilled Sirloin Tip Kabobs with Chimichurri sauce, Cheesy Polenta and Charred Broccolini

Katrina KozarComment

I was asked to give a grilling demonstration at the Johnson's Creek Fireman's Festival this year! It was a blast and I grilled my heart out! Here is the recipe that I shared with everyone who attended. Where you can take  a lean and inexpensive steak and turn it into something mouth watering!  Hope you enjoy! xo, KK

Marinade for Grilled Sirloin Tip Kabobs

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pounds sirloin tip steaks

 Put soy sauce, vinegar, Dijon, syrup, garlic, dried oregano and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a mason jar. Mix until well combined.  Toss steaks with mixture in a gallon sized plastic bag. Marinate at steaks up to 8 hours or overnight.

Prepare a grill for direct-heat cooking over hot charcoal. Discard marinade and pat steaks dry. Oil grill rack, then grill steaks, turning occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes total for medium-rare. Let rest on a plate, uncovered, 10 minutes.

Chimichurri Sauce:

  • ½ bunch of parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ cup minced green onion
  • 1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste

 Combine all ingredients into a food processer. Pulse until everything is mixed well.  This is better done an hour before using, so the flavors can marinate. Must be refrigerated and best to use within 24 or 48 hours.

Cheesy Polenta:

  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 cup of yellow cornmeal or polenta (Not instant)
  • ½ cup Milk
  • 2 tablespoons, unsalted butter
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher Salt and Pepper

 Place the water in a large saucepan and wait until it comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and very slowly whisk in the cornmeal, whisking constantly to make sure there are no lumps. Switch to a wooden spoon, add the salt and pepper, and simmer, stirring on and off, for about 10 minutes, until thick. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan thoroughly while you're stirring. Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan, milk, and butter. Taste for seasonings and serve hot.

Charred Broccolini:

  • 1 pound of broccolini
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • A large pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • A lemon, cut in half
  • Kosher Salt and Pepper

 Heat a grill. Place broccolini in a medium bowl; drizzle with oil and juice of 1/2 a lemon. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and shallots and then add EVOO, toss to coat. Marinate for 10 minutes. Add broccolini to grill rack coated with oil. Grill 6 minutes or until charred, turning once. Add remaining lemon half, cut side down, to grill rack; grill 3 minutes or until charred. Arrange broccolini on a platter. Sprinkle with cheese, and serve with charred lemon.

Me, My Backpack, and my Chef’s Knives

Katrina Kozar5 Comments

At the end of my final episode of Masterchef, Gordon said:

“Katrina, you have been an amazing student.  You cook from your heart and...I would love to see you in France…I have two restaurants in France.  I can’t wait for you to go spend time in them.  When you’re ready to go...you let me know and I’ll arrange that for you, personally.”

The stars have aligned, tickets have been booked (thank you Gordon), Airbnb reservations have been made--and I leave on Saturday, 4/30 for my first trip to France!  Gordon is sponsoring my first 10 days in Paris and has arranged for me to work at Gordon Ramsay au Trianon in Versailles under chef Simone Zanoni.  I am so excited to work in his kitchen and plan to learn as much as I can.  Other Paris plans include seeing the catacombs, walking the streets, shopping at E. Dehillerin, taking a riverboat ride down the Seine river, visiting the Centre Georges Pompidou, finding the photo booth from Amelie, attending mass at Norte Dame, eating baguettes filled with ham and french butter, and slurping it down with a glass of rose.

After a week and a half in Paris I will travel east and then south to the coast.  I’m excited to spend time in the Champagne region (Reims)--drinking champagne (obviously) and walking the streets and enjoying the countryside.  I then will be heading down to Lyon (the food capital of France), where I will be taking a random cooking class, visiting the markets, and learning about France's third-largest city. Then I will make my way to Montpellier, Narbonne and end up in Carcassonne which is all in the Langeudoc-Roussillon region. Where I will be eating oysters on the Mediterranean, drinking red wine, and learning about the Roman influence in this region. Finally making way to a small town called Vaison La Romaine which is part of the Cote du Rhone region. This by far my favorite wine (a combination of mainly Grenache and Syrah grapes).  Here I will explore this small town and then meet Olivier Hickmann who will give me a lovely wine tour of the region.

Overall I’m looking forward to walking, riding trains, meeting new people, sitting in cafes, and simply letting time slow down a bit. I am thrilled that I will be in the birthplace of food, trying new things, and picking up new skills.  I can’t wait to bring that knowledge back to my friends, family, and business, Katrina’s Kitchen.  But most of all I can't wait to share it all with you.

Please check back here for more updates of my month long food journey through France.  I’ll also be posting regularly on Instagram (Katrina Kozar) and Facebook (Katrina’s Kitchen). 

 Au Revoir!



Holiday Cocktail Appetizers: Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Apricots

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Tomorrow night is Kathy and Jon's Annual Holiday Party, we wear bad sweaters, make ornaments and then eat a lot of great food! Here is a new recipe, that I have been dreaming about to inspire my craving for BACON wrapped everything! Don't worry, Jon, I am bringing the water chestnuts too! 

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Apricots

Makes 24 appetizers

24 dried apricots (about 7 oz.)

4 oz. cold brie, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch squares, 1/4 inch thick

24 almonds (about 1 oz.)

12 strips bacon (about 12 oz.), cut into thirds

24 toothpicks, soaked in water

Spiced Maple Glaze

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1 Tb. sherry vinegar

1/4 tsp. ground allspice

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. salt

Heat oven to 375º F.

With a small sharp knife, cut a lengthwise slit on one side of each apricot and gently pry open. Cut the brie into pieces small enough to fill the cavities of the apricots. Stuff each apricot with a piece of brie and an almond. Wrap with a piece of bacon, secure with toothpick and place seam-side down on a baking sheet.

Bake until the bacon is beginning to crisp, about 12 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the ingredients for the glaze together. After 12 minutes, brush the glaze over the bundles and place them back in the oven for another 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Tip: Dried figs or dates are a complimentary alternative to the apricots. Keep your cheese cold for this appetizer. You can use any type of cheese you would like. Blue cheese, Havarti, Pepper Jack Monterey cheese, or just use a cheese that will melt. I decided to stuff them with brie!

For the love of Julia Child: My Chicken Liver Mousse Recipe

Katrina Kozar1 Comment

Hey, everyone! I thought I'd fill you in on one of my annual traditions: the Julia Child Party!

My friend, Sarah Z, is one of the best home cooks I know. She also hosts a fun party in honor of Julia Child (my cooking inspiration!) each year. I have been to all six of them and the meals just get better and better. 

The party plan is simple: everyone takes an entry course (out of 5 or 6 courses) and it MUST be a Julia Child's recipe. 

This year, I have fallen madly in love with Pate and Mousse and anything that reminds me of "old world" cooking - you know, what my parents and their parents were raised on. So LIVER it is! I can't even begin to describe how lovely liver and onions smell in a pan and the aroma that comes when you deglaze the pan with Brandy. 

So for the 6th Julia Child party, I brought Turkey Liver Mousse, Homemade Mustard and Pickled Shallots. If you have never had this combination, you are missing out! You might be scared about trying it, but you need to come to the dark side with me and bath in it, because once you go into this universe, you will question everything before! Plus, you get to hang out with me and my foodie friends. HA! 

Here's a quick, gourmet, and inexpensive appetizer that will impress your guests this holiday season:

adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking
makes about 2 cups

2 cups (about 1 lb) chicken livers

2 tablespoon minced shallots

2 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/3 cup brandy

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/8 teaspoon allspice

a pinch of ground nutmeg

1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried

1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh sage leaves or 1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1/2 cup melted unsalted butter

Kosher salt and pepper


Clarified Butter:

2/3 cup clarified butter

Fresh Sage or Thyme, for garnish

Remove any greenish or blackish spots from the livers then cut into 1/2″ pieces.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a sauté pan (preferably cast iron) until foam has subsided. Sauté livers with the shallots in butter for 2 to 3 minutes, until the livers are just stiffened, but still pink inside. (Yes, don't you worry about them being pink, I know it sounds scary, but just go with it!)

Remove any liquid then scrape into the food processor.

Pour the brandy into the pan and boil it down rapidly until it has reduced to 3 tablespoons. Scrape it into the food processor.

Add the cream and seasonings to the food processor. Cover and blend at top speed for several seconds until the liver is a smooth paste.

Add the melted butter and blend several seconds more.  Taste! Then adjust the seasoning.

Add a sprig Thyme or a leaf of Sage on top of the mousse. Then, pour the clarified butter over the surface of the chicken liver mousse
Pour into a pretty jar with a lid and put in the fridge and have it chilled for 2 to 3 hours or overnight.

Mousse can be made 5 days ahead and chilled, covered after 4 hours,

Serve mousse with cornichons, grainy mustard, pickled shallots , olives and assorted crackers.

Bon Appetite! 

This isn't your Mama's Tater Tot Casserole!

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Sausage, Bean, Corn and Ancho Chili Tater Tot Pie

Sausage, Bean, Corn and Ancho Chili Tater Tot Pie

Get your cast iron pans out for this delicious recipe! It was pretty much gone at my work's potluck and I wanted to share this recipe with you all. The recipe, is an easy way to use up ingredients that are in your fridge or it's a quick meal for your hungry family or friends. The best part is, you just need a pan and a wooden spoon and the rest is history! 

Sausage, Bean, Corn and Ancho Chili Tater Tot Pie Recipe

Serves 6 to 10
2 tablespoon EVOO (extra virgin Olive Oil or whatever oil you have on hand, I like to use bacon fat too!)
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced (optional)
1/2 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork sausage (Mild, Hot, and Chorizo would all work here)
2 tablespoons Ancho Chili powder (Chili powder can be substituted
1 tablespoon  ground cumin
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
1 26 oz diced tomatoes
1 15 oz black beans, drained and washed (may use chili beans, pinto, or kidney)
1 cup frozen corn
3 tablespoons Kosher salt
2 tablespoons fresh ground pepper
2 cups of Tater Tots

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 

Add the oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Then add garlic and jalapenos and saute for 5 more minutes.  Add the beef and pork to the onion mixture and cook until the meat is brown, stirring and scraping the bottom of the skillet to release the yummy brown bits, about 10 minutes.

Add the chili powder, cumin, Mexican oregano, and the can of tomatoes. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Once the liquid has reduced, add the beans, corn, salt and pepper and combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust. Top with frozen tater tots. Bake uncovered for 1 hour, the tater tots should be golden brown and the mixture should be bubbling. 

Fresh Cranberry Relish and Cranberry Margaritas

Katrina KozarComment
FOX 6 Wake Up with Jessop Reisbeck

FOX 6 Wake Up with Jessop Reisbeck

Did you catch me over the weekend on Saturday? I was on FOX 6 Wake Up showing off my Homemade Cranberry Relish and delicious Cranberry Jam Margaritas! Below are the recipes for the holiday!  Happy Thanksgiving everyone! xo, KK

Cranberry Relish

  • 1 package of cranberries
  • 3/4 cup - freshly squeezed orange juice (2 oranges)
  • 2 oranges (grate their zest, us a Microplanner)
  • 1 teaspoon - ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon - ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup- Agave Nectar Syrup (you can use sugar here too)

Combine the cranberries, orange zest and juice, Syrup, cinnamon, and cloves in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries are tender and the sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes.

Taste, and add more syrup if desired. Set aside to cool. Serve at room temperature. (The sauce can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.)

Cranberry Margaritas

  • 1/2 cup Cranberry Relish
  • 1 lime, squeezed
  • 3/4 cup Sliver Tequila
  • 1/4 cup Triple Sec
  • 1/4 cup Orange Juice
  • 4 Cups of Ice

Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.  

  • 2 limes – Cut 1 lime into quarters and the other lime into a wheel (for garish)
  • ¼ cups sugar (place this on a small plate)

While blending, cut a lime and rub it on the rim of the glass and then dip the glass on a plate sugar




Thanksgiving Green Bean Casserole from the Midwest

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Homemade Green Bean Casserole from the Midwest

Homemade Green Bean Casserole from the Midwest

I was listening to NPR yesterday driving home from work and they were talking about Green Bean Casserole. They were saying how very Midwestern this classic Thanksgiving side dish is and I had to agree, since I am from the Midwest and have had this on our holiday table for years! But did you know if was invented in New Jersey? "Dorcas Reilly, a now-retired home economist in the Campbell's Soup Co. test kitchen in New Jersey, created it in 1955 after an Associated Press reporter called, asking for a vegetable side dish."

Anyways, I grew up on this stuff, but I have decided to include a recipe that doesn’t include the “canned” ingredients. I am a foodie, and if I can make this from scratch and not have a panic attack, I will. But, this is simple and you will stop buying that canned stuff for years to come!

Food for thought, instead of using something that is easy, just do a few more steps and know that you will be serving your guest with something that is delicious and better for them. Less chemicals = tastier meals.

Thanksgiving Green Bean Casserole from Scratch

  • 4 cups of fresh green beans or 32 oz frozen green beans, thawed (skip the first step if frozen)
  • 3 large onions
  • 1 pound assorted (or not) fresh mushrooms
  • ¼ cup butter for the onions and 2 T for the mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or ½ teaspoon dried
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 can crunchy onion topping, if you dare
  • ½ tsp salt
  • As much fresh ground pepper as you are willing to add

Cook the fresh green beans in salted boiling water until just tender. Drain and lay on a tea towel to dry. This and other steps keep the dish from becoming too mushy.

Thinly slice the onions and put in a large fry pan with ¼ cup butter. Keep heat low and cook for about 45 minutes until tender and caramelized (just starting to brown).

In a separate fry pan, melt the 2 T butter and add the olive oil. Sauté the mushrooms and thyme until they release their liquid and then allow that liquid to cook off, leaving the mushrooms cooked and shiny with the oil, with no extra liquid in the pan.

Combine the beans, onions and mushrooms and add the yogurt, salt and pepper. Put all into your prettiest baking dish and top with the crunchy onions. Bake at 350° F for 30 minutes.


* Interview credit: 



A Dog Licked the Pan - Tom Kha Gai

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Tom Kha Gai

Tom Kha Gai

I’ve been obsessed with Thai food since I was 16 years old. My cool sister, Sarah, (a fellow foodie) introduced me to this cuisine and I fell deeply in love. I dream about vegetables swimming in coconut milk, chilies, ginger and kaffir lime leaves. I want to bath in fish sauce and eat green papaya salad forever. When trying out a new Thai restaurant, I always try their soups and curries to give my assessment and to see if it worthy of a revisit. What I love most about Thai cuisine is the fresh vegetables, the heat and the sweet & sour combinations. I also love the crunch of lettuce wraps and spring rolls. The liquid gold of all Thai food, however, is the rich, sweet and buttery peanut sauce.

I am drooling as we speak.

Over the weekend, I cooked three different soups (Guatemalan Spicy Pork Stew, Tom Kha Gai and a Vegetarian Chipotle Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili) for 65 of the nicest and hungry disc golfers at a tournament event hosted by Disc On! Ladies League. Feel free to check them out at this website. http://disconladiesleague.com/

My dishes went quickly and even a dog licked a pan of my Guatemalan Spice pork stew. But, what I kept on thinking about was the Tom Kha Gai soup I made for them. I wanted to share the recipe so you can make this lovely, mind-blowing soup for your friends and family.

Serves 6

5 cups chicken stock or broth (homemade is the best)

1 scant tablespoon tom yum paste (available in Asian markets and specialty stores)

4 fresh kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped

1 stalk lemon grass, tender inner part only, roughly chopped

 Juice of half a lime

2 tablespoons fish sauce

2 small red Thai chili, finely chopped

½ teaspoon sugar

1 lb chicken breast trimmed, diced

1 15 oz whole and peeled straw mushrooms, drained

1 medium head of broccoli, only use the flowerettes

1 15 oz coconut milk

2 ounces enoki mushrooms, trimmed

1 ½ napa cabbage, cut into 1 inch pieces

2 scallions, cut into short lengths and then into strips

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 limes, quartered


In a medium saucepan, combine chicken stock, tom yum paste, kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, lime juice and fish sauce. Add chili and sugar, and stir.

Place over high heat to bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low. Add chicken breast & straw mushrooms, simmer 10 minutes covered. Then add coconut milk and broccoli and simmer without cover for 5 minutes. Finally, add the napa cabbage, enoki mushrooms, and scallions. Simmer 2 to 3 more minutes.

To serve, divide soup between two bowls. Garnish each with 1 tablespoon cilantro and a squeeze of lime, and serve.



Gordon Ramsay, Burnt and a Girl from Milwaukee

Katrina KozarComment

Today was just a normal day, until this happened. Gordon Ramsay is my mentor and has the biggest heart that I know.  His words today made feel like I can move mountains. May you all discover this in your lives and believe that you can achieve anything you believe in. Be kinder to yourself as would my friend Sammy would tell me. I leave for France in May! Click the link to see what I am talking about. Xo, KK


Tabbouleh (Red Bulgur, Parsley and Mint Salad)

Katrina KozarComment

I made this recipe back in August, when my tomatoes and cucumbers were very abundant – but tabbouleh can be made at any time of the year! If you have garden tomatoes, this recipe is an excellent way to use them before they go bad. This is also an excellent dish for the colder months, when you need to be pulled out of the winter blues.

Give this recipe a try and I’m sure you’ll be saying to yourself, “why I haven’t made this before!”

Xoxo, KK

Serves 6


·         2 cup red bulgur wheat, cook according to the package (I used Bob’s Red Mill Bulgar)

·         2 bunches flat-leaf parsley, finely minced (should make about 1 cup)

·         3 medium-sized ripe tomatoes, finely diced

·         2 Persian cucumbers, finely diced

·         1 handful fresh mint, minced

·         1/2 cup red medium onion, finely diced

·         ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil

·         1⁄3 cup fresh lemon juice

·         3 stalks of scallions, thinly sliced crosswise

·         1 teaspoon ground paprika

·         1 teaspoon ground cumin

·         3 teaspoon kosher salt

·         2 teaspoon black pepper


1.       While the tabbouleh does not take much time to prepare, the bulgur wheat does need to be soaked for 30 minutes in cold water. Begin by soaking your bulgur wheat before moving onto chopping all of your other ingredients.

2.       Next, chop all your tabbouleh ingredients.

3.       To combine, take a large bowl and begin by adding your cucumbers, onions and mint. Stir well with a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients.

4.       Next, add your minced tomato and stir again. At this point, let the ingredients sit until your bulgur wheat is fully soaked and cooked.

5.       Add your parsley and bulgur wheat to your tabbouleh and stir gently until well combined.

6.       Add your olive oil and half of your lemon juice and again stir.

7.       Add your cumin, paprika, salt and black pepper and stir. While stirring, add the remaining portion of lemon juice to help distribute the spices. Taste for seasoning.

8.       Garnish with sliced scallions and more grinds of black pepper.

Pasta al Pomodoro

Katrina Kozar2 Comments

This is one of my favorite recipes of all time. It’s easy, fast, cheap and delicious. Plus, it just gets me when I  need a pasta fix.  The sauce only has 6 ingredients and if you just pair this with a salad, your dinner will be over in minutes and your family, friends or your weekly work lunch will be covered.  Xoxo, KK


·         12-16 ounces angel hair pasta, boiled according to al dente package directions

·         3 tablespoons olive oil

·         6 medium cloves of garlic smashed and roughly chopped

·         1 small onion, diced

·         4 large vine ripened tomatoes, peeled and chopped

·         ¼ t red pepper flakes

·         1-2 t Kosher salt

·         1 t black pepper (about 4 grinds of fresh)

·         basil leaves, julienned


The sauce should take about 5 minutes to cook, so time your pasta accordingly. Use the boiling water for the pasta to parboil the tomatoes for about 30 seconds to make them easy to peel.
Add the oil and onion to a large frying pan and heat over high heat. Until the onion is translucent, 5 min. Then add your garlic until it is fragrant, but don’t let it brown. Add the tomatoes and sauté until the liquid left in the pan isn’t watery anymore. Add red pepper flakes, salt to taste.
When the pasta is done, drain and add it to the frying pan along with the basil. Toss to coat and serve immediately.
Yield: 4 servings

Katrina’s Chuckwagon Beans

Katrina Kozar6 Comments

Driveway World – what we call our little neighborhood and the Thompson's backyard--had its annual Rib Fest over Labor Day Weekend. Grill Master Ben made 9 racks of ribs, each sprayed with Whiskey...bless him and give him a medal! He sure knew how to please this crowd and, man, they were delicious. All of the neighbors that make up Driveway World were asked to bring a side to pass and a BBQ sauce. I wanted to make something I knew my neighbor (and good friend) Jon would eat.  He is one of the pickiest eaters I know! Jon doesn’t like sour cream, mayo, onions, cooked carrots, any type of mushrooms, plus a whole lot of other foods I’d consider bringing. But I knew Jon couldn’t turn down beans—and I knew he’d never had beans like the ones I make! These beans are not straight out of the can, but are filled with bacon, ground beef, sugar, and a touch of vinegar. Jon said these were the best thing I have made for him…ever! Notice, how he said I made these for him. J Thanks to Alex’s Aunt Cindy for the tip and the inspiration to create my version of the Chuckwagon classic, Settler Beans.

The two biggest tips I can give you when doing this recipe are:

1. Make these a day or two beforehand. You’ll want the juices to soak into the beans and just “hang out” together for a while.

2. Taste as you go. If you think it needs more chili powder, salt, sugar, just add it. Above all, get your tasting spoon out and use it!

Katrina’s Chuckwagon Beans

    1 pound ground beef or chuck

    1 medium onion, diced

    1 can (15-3/4 ounces) pork and beans

    2 can (16 ounces) light or dark kidney beans, rinsed and drained

    1 can (16 ounces) butter beans, rinsed and drained

    1/4 cup maple syrup

    1/4 cup molasses

    ¼ cup apple cider vinegar

    ¼ cup ketchup

    3 T prepared course grainy mustard

    1 T chili powder

    2 t salt

    A few grinds of black pepper

    1/4 t red pepper flake   

    1 packet of bacon, diced in lardons (1/4 cut pieces)


·         Preheat oven to 350°F. Brown the beef in a Dutch oven until no longer pink.

·         Add the chopped onion and continue to cook until onion is tender. Drain any excess grease.

·         Add remaining ingredients except bacon and stir to combine. Cover the Dutch oven with the lid.  

·         Bake for 1 hour. While beans are in the oven, cook the bacon over medium low in a cast iron skillet or sauté pan, stirring occasionally until the bacon is crispy. 

·         Remove bacon from pan onto a plate with paper towel and set aside.

·         After the hour baking time is over, add bacon to the bean mixture and bake for another 5 minutes without the cover.

You can either serve this right away or let this mixture cool and throw it in the fridge. When you need to reheat them, put the cover on the pot and heat on the stove top on medium/low until the beans are warm all the way through, stirring gently every once-in-a-while.

Don’t forget to taste them and adjust seasonings to your liking

MasterChef, Top 5!

Katrina Kozar4 Comments

Dear Family, Friends, and Fans,

I have grown a lot this year and am so happy to read all your support and love throughout this crazy time in my life! Thank you for cheering, crying, yelling, and loving me this whole summer. I am overwhelmed with all of your kindness and love! Your love and support is a part of me now and I'll never forget how you all cheered me on! I just wanted to be me, impress the judges, and meet new friends who have the same passion and fight for cooking as I do. It was an honor to work with everyone on MasterChef as the judges, staff, and crew were amazing. They worked even harder than we did! For those of who wrote me letters while I was away - thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your words carried me through the competition.

For those of you who took the time to send positive words of encouragement, please know that I will never forget it. I truly believe that we all need to support each other as we fight our way towards our dreams. In this day and age, it's so easy to take to the computer and tear people down who are letting their light shine. Thanks to all of you who lifted me up when others would tear me down - I want us all to succeed at the things we love best. We need to all support each other on this crazy path we call life

For anyone who is letting fear hold them back from following their dreams - I say this: Follow your heart, your gut, and fight for your dream! Let your light shine, and don't ever let anyone dim it.

A huge thank you to Alex Coon, my side kick, and the man who encouraged me to follow my dreams. Thank you, I couldn't have done MasterChef without your love and support. To the Wonder bar, the place where we met - love you guys! Oh, and France, YES! Thank you Gordon, for seeing in me what people have told me all my life. I just needed a push, from a big shot!

Take a look at this video to see what is next in my future.

Merci, peace and love! -KK

Hot Italian Sausage, Green Beans, Mushroom, Cherry Tomatoes, Egg Pappardelle and Parmesan

Katrina Kozar2 Comments

When I was growing up, one of my favorite meals was Italian sausage crumbled with fresh green beans and parmesan.  Part of me has always wished that I was Italian.  I have this mad lust about pasta, sauce and cheese. My mom would make her own spaghetti sauce with grated carrots and celery. It was never from a jar, and before I knew what was good for me, I wanted that jar. My mom, Judy, wanted to give us wholesome meals that didn’t have any additives and wanted to share her love of fresh ingredients.

My mother’s “Sausage with Green Beans” sounded more like a side dish to me so I expanded the idea and created a fast, simple, and elegant weekday meal for a family. Not only is it tasty, but it also feeds a family of six. That is how I grew up, I was taught how to cook by my mother and she taught us by cooking for a family of six. It’s still hard for me to scale back and think I am only cooking for two. I still can’t cook for two! Thank goodness I love leftovers. J

 My sister Heidi and her family (Pete, Isaac, Silas and Luke) LOVE my mom’s original recipe, it is a staple in their household and I hope that my new revised version will be a staple in yours.

Hot Italian Sausage, Green Beans, Mushroom, Cherry Tomatoes, Egg Pappardelle and Parmesan

1 package of mild or hot Italian sausages

1 package of fresh green bean (Haricot Verts) - I get these at Trader Joe’s – cut these into 1 inch pieces

1 container of cherry tomatoes

1 package of button mushrooms - cleaned and quartered

1 T Butter - unsalted

1 red onion - diced

5 garlic cloves – minced

1 C dry white wine

1 C Chicken broth or Turkey broth

¼ t Red pepper flakes

4 Hot & Sweet Cherry Peppers (Trader Joe’s) –Sliced or Quartered

4 sprigs of fresh thyme (this came from my garden) – (http://wholelifestylenutrition.com/recipes/how-to-remove-leaves-from-thyme/)

4 sprigs of fresh oregano (this came from my garden)

8 basil leaves – Chiffonade

Salt and Pepper

2 packages of Egg Pappardelle

Directions: Get a big pot on the stove and follow the instructions for the Papperdelle and add about 2 TBS of salt to the water and bring it to a boil.

Sauce: Heat up a pan, I use a 12’ cast iron pan, but you can use whatever frying pan in your house. Remove the casing of the sausage and crumble the meat into the hot pan.  Brown the meat until all sides are brown. Then transfer the meat into a bowl and set aside. Using the same frying pan, it should still be hot, add the butter and then onions and mushrooms. Let the onions and mushrooms sweat for about 10 minutes and then add the garlic and then about 2 t of salt and 5 big grinds of pepper. Once you can see through the onions, but they are not brown, you are going to deglaze the pan with wine! Pour the wine and then pour yourself a glass too! With the back of your spoon, scrap up all those brown bits from the pan. That is the flavor of your sauce, all those lovely brown bits. Then add your chicken stock, thyme, oregano, pepper flakes, and your cherry peppers. Bring that to a boil. Once at a boil, reduce the heat to simmer for 5 minutes and then add the meat for another and let the sauce reduce and simmer.  After about 5 minutes, add the green beans and cook them until al denti.

While the meat sauce simmers, add the pasta to the water. Follow the instructions and the pasta should be done in 10 minutes. *I always do two minutes less then what it says on the box.

Fold the sauce and the pasta together. Add the basil and taste for seasoning. Sprinkle with parmesan.


Carrot, Jicama, Fennel, Orange & Parsley Salad.

Katrina KozarComment

Last Sunday, I shed my spring skin and jumped into a freezing pool to cheers to summer! It was summer solstice and I thought it would be the best way to toast to the summer of 2015. Sunday is a day that brings sweet memories for me. I was raised in a household that went to church every Sunday. On the rare occasion, my father would bless our family and treat us to lunch! Yes, going out to eat was special to us girls as our family hardly ever went out to eat. My dad either had a coupon or have read about the latest great deal at a local restaurant. Mainly, his plan was that we were going to get the most for our money.

Just picture, a family of six, in the mid 80’s in our red station wagon going to restaurants that had never ending salad bars with bacon bits and Catalina salad dressing, unlimited crab Rangoon and white rice (we were a brown rice family) , and the steady stream of hot fluffy pizza and NOT the frozen kind. If you are a kid from the 80’s, like me, these restaurants were Ponderosa, Shakey’s Pizza, and the local Chinese buffet.

We would spend our time walking around the buffet tables, keeping an eye on the employees to see what their next food dish would be and pounce. These were glorious afternoons!

My Sundays have changed since the 80’s. I am now blessed with Driveway World. Imagine a tree lined street in Milwaukee, a bunch of crazy neighbors that I love dearly, a massive grill and potluck Sundays. Now, this is how I end my weeks in the summer. It’s a treat and it’s my favorite part about the week, second to MasterChef Wednesday's of course. We all bring a dish to pass, so each week I think about what I feel like bringing to the cook out. Believe me, there will be more stories about Driveway World, Block parties, and some of the coolest people I know.

I thought I would share a new recipe with you.

Carrot, Jicama, Fennel, Orange and Parsley Salad.


1 Bulb of Fennel (remove brown stops and core) thinly sliced with a mandolin. Save the tops of the Fennel/Anise and reserve for garnish.

1 Medium Peeled Jicama, julienned with a mandolin

2 Bunches of Spring Carrots, peeled and then grated

3 Oranges cut into supremes (here is a helpful demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjOEGQ18FA)

After the oranges are supremed, squeeze the left over orange pith and save the juice. You will use that to make your dressing.


1 bunch of parsley

Reserved orange juice

2 garlic cloves

½ Deseed and deveined jalapeno - I used the whole thing, because I like a little heat

1/2 t ground cumin

1 t Dijon Mustard

2 Limes squeezed

1 T Sugar

1 t Kosher Salt

A few grinds of black pepper

1/4 C Grapeseed Oil

Get out your food processor and blend all of 9 ingredients first, then add the grapeseed oil. Taste and add salt and pepper.

Then mix gently and dressing with the salad. Serve cold or room temperature. Garnish with fennel fronds.



Socks, Socks, we all scream for socks!

Katrina Kozar3 Comments

If you watch this season's MasterChef, you'll get to know a little bit about a few of my favorite things aside from food. And, it will be hard to miss my obsession with socks!

Katrina Kozar and her socks

I have to admit, I have a serious problem. I am addicted to socks, the crazier the better and if they have a food pattern on them? Pssh, I'm lost.  (Socks, mustard, fascinator's...as you can see, when I get focused on something, I'm all in).  It started out with the socks that I received from my Aunt Jeanie, and then it quickly went downhill. Argyle socks (in every color) followed and, who has the time to match argyle prints?  An organized sock drawer is lovely, but let's be honest, it's not happening.

Let me know what you think of my socks in the comments. Even better...share a picture of your own crazy socks!