Lisa's Recipes for a Great Dinner

The hardest part sometimes in opening your home to guests is WHAT ARE WE GOING TO EAT?

I think I have the solution.

I recently hosted 10 in my home, and it was a perfect warm Arkansas fall evening. Guests were greeted with Brie cheese and an apple chutney and sourdough crostinis along with a glass of wine. Then I prepared the Caesar salad, and it was served as a first course. My podcast producer Darrin helped me with this, but I whipped up the dressing right as guests arrived, and the key is egg yolks, Parmesan cheese and stone-ground mustard and really dry romaine lettuce leaves. Then after the salad, Darrin, again, helped me prepare plates to serve the guests. I had roasted the 7-lb. beef tenderloin earlier that afternoon and pulled it from the oven after 30 minutes at 400° to let it rest after it reached an internal temperature of 115°. It was rare when I pulled it out. I sliced it into filets and asked each guest how he/she preferred beef. One wanted medium well; most were medium rare, and two of us (yes me!) love it when it moos almost. The plates included the beef, mushroom cream sauce, farmers market focaccia bread, shakshuka (posted on here previously) and a delicious avocado salad. Desserts included Dempsey Bakery gluten free cookies and Darrin's amazing Texas Trash Pie.

Here are the recipes:

Caesar salad dressing:


  • 1 (2-ounce) can oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 TB. olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Make a paste of the anchovies and garlic. Then whisk in the other ingredients. I washed and dried my romaine lettuce earlier and left it towel wrapped until ready to serve.


7-lb. whole beef tenderloin

Roast in a 400° oven for 30 minutes. Check the temp of the meat, and pull it out at 115°. Then let it rest and slice it. Ask the guests how they want their beef. Sear the beef according to each guest's preference.


3 packages of sliced mushrooms

1 stick of butter

1/2 cup of Madeira or sherry wine

1 cup of heavy whipping cream

This is my own recipe so I don't know the exact measurements. But I cooked down the mushrooms with only heat and no butter or oil. I let them lose much of their water (about 5 minutes). Then I covered them and let them cook down about 10 more minutes. I added a stick of butter, let it melt, and then I added the sherry wine (something sweet). Whisk that up and then add the cream. Stir well and keep on low until dinner is ready.


APRIL 3, 2022

SHAKSHUKA (some sources spell it shakshouka)

No better way to eat delicious eggs and flavorful tomatoes. Serve over cheese grits, recipe included.

2 T. garlic olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tsp. paprika

2 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. cumin

¼ tsp. chili powder

½ tsp. cinnamon

1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes

6 large eggs

4 oz. crumbled feta cheese

salt and pepper, to taste

1 small bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

1 small bunch fresh parsley, chopped

Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the chopped bell pepper and onion and cook for 5 minutes or until the onion becomes translucent. Add garlic and spices and cook two more minutes. Pour the can of tomatoes and juice into the pan and break down the tomatoes using a large spoon. Season with salt and pepper and bring the sauce to a simmer. Use your large spoon to make small wells in the sauce and crack the eggs into each well. Sprinkle feta cheese throughout. Cover the pan and cook for 5-8 minutes, or until the eggs are done to your liking.

Garnish with chopped cilantro and parsley.


adapted from


  • 1 avocado, cored, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup orange and yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup cucumber, small dice
  • 1 cup zucchini, small dice
  • 1 cup tomato, small dice
  • 2 TB fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 TB red wine vinegar
  • 1 TB lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper


  1. Combine all vegetables and set aside.
  2. Using a whisk, combine oil, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper

Texas Trash Pie



  • 1 (10-inch) frozen piecrust or 1 (9-inch) deep dish piecrust

  • 1 cup chocolate chips

  • 1 cup pretzels, crushed

  • 1 cup graham crackers, crushed

  • 1 cup shredded coconut

  • 1 cup pecan pieces

  • 1 cup caramel bits

  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  2. Heat butter in a microwave-safe bowl until completely melted. Crush pretzels and graham crackers into small pieces. Combine all filling ingredients (chocolate chips, pretzels, graham crackers, coconut, pecans, caramel bits, butter, and sweetened condensed milk) in a large bowl until well blended.

  3. Pour the entire filling into a frozen pie crust, and bake in the oven for 35 minutes or until the pie is set and the top is golden brown. Let pie cool for 30 minutes before cutting and serving.

Stay Connected.

Sign up for the newsletter.

My posts, delivered straight to your inbox! Always free & unsubscribe anytime.