Jack-O-Lantern Stuffed Bell Peppers

Each coming season in Louisville calls for unique change. Our culture embraces each season with energy and excitement for new weather, new outfits, new themes and especially new foods! Halloween is upon us and there is no better time to try creative new recipes than the month of October. The cold weather begins to ease through the Bluegrass and so does the eagerness of fall foods that include chili, soups, casseroles, and spices. For this recipe, we are going to create a stuffed Bell Pepper so bold in flavor that you wont have a choice but to make it again! But wait, there’s a twist! The peppers are carved to look like jack-o-lanterns and the ingredients are fresh. If you are trying to impress someone with your culinary skills even though you don’t have any then this is the recipe for you. Let’s hit the kitchen!

What you will need:
3 bell peppers
2 Tsp. olive oil
1/2 lb ground Chuck
1 finely diced yellow onion
1 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Grated Parmesan cheese
Finely chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms

1/2 cup Franks Red Hot Chili Sauce
1 lime

Cooking Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While everything cooks use the time to hollow out the bell peppers for stuffing! With a small knife, carefully cut out triangular eyes and rigid mouth so that the peppers look like tiny jack-o-lanterns. Be sure to keep the top of the pepper to be used as a lid. In foil, place peppers into oven for 10 minutes in order to soften the skin. After the 10 minutes take peppers out and place to the side until its time for stuffing.

In a medium sized skillet, cook ground chuck,veggies, garlic and onion on medium-high heat. While meat is cooking add olive oil, salt, and pepper to the mixture. In a medium sized pot, bring to a boil about 1 1/2 cups of water. Boil rice until al dente (cooked through) Add the chili sauce, cheese, cilantro, fresh squeezed lime,salt and pepper to the finished rice.

Once everything has cooked combine the meat and the rice mixture into a bowl. Thoroughly mix the ingredients and then begin stuffing each pepper to the brim. Generously top with cheddar cheese and place peppers in the oven for about 5-7 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Grab some fphoto (17)riends and eat up!

Cook Time: 25 Minutes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Feeds: 3-4
Costs: $10

By: Ben Graven


Savory & Sweet Asian Grilled Chicken

Looking for a wallet-friendly meal to satisfy your taste buds? Well, this is the dish for you. Covering every body of flavor this dish provides a unique and healthy dinner option for those of you who enjoy cooking and are also on a budget.

Let’s get started! Hopefully this will
provide you with an impressive and healthy meal to share with someone close to you.

What you will need:

2 Fresh Chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups wheat or white rice
1 large head of broccoli
1 fresh tomato
1 ball of fresh mozzarella
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp lime juice
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 bottle store bought teriyaki sauce

Let’s get cooking!

First, place breasts in a ziploc bag and beat it with your fist so that the breast becomes flat – about 1/4 of an inch. (Just don’t Ray Rice it.) This will tenderize the meat. Turn the grill on high heat or if you have a stove top turn the heat on medium heat. Make sure there is a light drizzle of olive oil in the pan to prevent the chicken from sticking. Cook the chicken for about 4 minutes on each side until the skin of the chicken is a light brown. Once cooked, THEN add all of the seasonings.

In a small pot, boil 1 1/2 cups of water. Place rice into the boiling water for about 5 minutes or until al dente. (Soft & cooked through) add to the rice pepper and the lime juice.

In a plastic container with about 1/4 a cup of water, place broccoli inside and cover with a moist paper towel. Microwave on high for 3 minutes. By doing so, you will steam the broccoli without cooking out the essential vitamins it contains.

Time to plate! Place the chicken over a bed of rice and drizzle neatly with the teriyaki sauce. On the side, add a spoonful of broccoli as well as a fresh slice of tomato and mozzarella cheese.

Boom! Fresh, filling, and flavorful.

Feeds: 2-3
Cook time: 25 minutes
Cost: $10


Remembering 9/11 – The Sean Higgins Story

Louisville man Sean Higgins relives his story and experiences from the tragic day of September 11th, 2001: The day America was silent.

It was an abnormally cool September morning on the New York City streets. Business men and women walked with heavy strides, dressed for the work day. All around, people went about another busy Tuesday morning in the city. The sound of taxis honking and people shouting were heard around each sharp corner. Elevators worked overtime delivering thousands of people to work in the World Trade Center towers and other surrounding buildings.
Louisville businessman Sean Higgins decided he would grab a coffee and read over his notes at the Starbucks in the first floor lobby of the North tower. He had a business meeting for the business we worked for called Cisco Systems. The meeting was at nine o’clock a.m. in the Wall Street building adjacent to the twin towers of the World Trade Center. As he walked out of the tower, the only thought in his mind was whether to get regular, or decaf. Only a single moment after walking out the door, he recalls hearing a sudden muffled explosion noise above him. When he looked up, he saw bursting flames and debris escaping windows from dozens of floors above. The heat of the explosion hit him in the back as he ran away from the tower nut sure of what had occurred. The glass from the first floor had shattered just moments after he had run off. The fire explosion from the planes’ impact had sent a ball of fire down the elevators and out the doors instantly shattering the glass in the lobby on the first floor. Two women he had bumped into in the plaza held each other in their screams. “It was like two trains crashing into each other. I grabbed the two ladies and we ran in shock towards building number five and tucked ourselves into a corner.” Building number five was a nine story low-rise building across the plaza from the World Trade Towers. When he looked up, he saw bursting flames and debris escaping windows from dozens of floors above. “It was not until we had tucked ourselves in the corner of the building that we learned the explosion we had witnessed was actually an American Airlines plane,” said Higgins. Debris fell like rain onto the surrounding streets. The security guards began moving people from the lobby to the Hyatt Regency hotel a block away from building five of the World Trade Center Plaza on Church Street. The moment they walked out of the Hotel lobby, the second plane hit. “It was horrible and chaotic, hundreds of people were running in every direction. The explosion of the second plane knocked me down on the sidewalk as we were trying to run away,” said Higgins. Higgins and the women he was with tucked themselves in the corner of the Hyatt lobby. First responders began to arrive. Dozens of fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances flooded the scene. “The one thing I will never forget about that day is when I saw two firefighters hug each other and say I love you just before putting their helmets on and rushing into the towers,” said Higgins. The first responders rushed to get Higgins and others further away from the scene. They were escorted by New York police officers into another building. The building was called “Digital Sound Box,” a New York recording studio. Higgins and many others piled into the basement of the studio. They sat hip to hip along the walls of the basement talking and praying. Higgins recalls, “I remember sitting in that basement just thinking about my kids and my wife. I wanted to hold them in my arms more than ever before.” At approximately 9:59am, the South tower fell. “The ground shook like an earthquake. We were all afraid that the tower would fall over rather than on itself,” Higgins said. The South tower fell, taking each floor down one at a time like a domino effect. At 10:28am the North tower fell. The city trembled. “When the ground began shaking the first time everyone fell to the floor. Smoke and ash spewed in through the air vents and doorways of the basement. About 40 of us lied there coughing on ash scared out of our own right minds,” said Higgins. Three hours later, Higgins and many others were told by police it was safe to leave the basement refuge. They climbed two staircases to a rear exit on the main level. “The sky was as dark as night and it looked like there was snow on the ground,” said Higgins.
Higgins and many others routed to lower Manhattan to escape the haze and the sirens. Thirty blocks later, they reached midtown which is also known as “Hells Kitchen”. A lower class area south of the city also called the “Irish Slums” for its large Irish American demographic. “I won’t forget the lady who appeared to be homeless on the side of the street. She offered us bread and milk that was sitting in her old shopping cart,” said Higgins. Midtown is where Higgins and the two women he was with parted their ways. Higgins continued to walk further south towards Soho, an art district in lower Manhattan. Higgins, covered in gray ash from head to toe saw a J-crew clothing store just down the block. Afraid to go inside looking the way he did, he began knocking on the door to get someone’s attention. “I was so uncomfortable and dirty I just needed some clean clothes. A lady ran to the door with a lot concern on her face, and told me to pick out anything I needed. Those clean jeans and that t-shirt they gave me was the best thing that happened to me on that day,” said Higgins. It was not until he had left the store and walked around the corner that he saw the rising smoke and the open sky where the towers once stood.
It was not until 1:58pm when Higgins was finally able to get cell phone service and make a call home. Due to the large amount of cell phone traffic in the city, cell phone service was interrupted for hours surrounding the tragedy zone. The wireless networks were unable to withstand the large amounts of calling loads which left many people like Higgins, stranded without communication. “I remember sitting at home with my parents and the kids around the telephone in our living room, just waiting for his call. I will never forget picking up the phone and hearing his voice,” said Sean’s wife, Lisa Higgins.
Higgins continued to walk for almost two hours until he reached lower New Jersey. He found a Hertz rent-a-car store just around the corner. He immediately rented a car and decided to drive home. Seven hundred and sixty-six miles and 12 long hours of driving, Higgins finally made it to Louisville. “I took the car straight to my house, I was in such a rush to get inside and see my family that I left the car running in the driveway,” Higgins said. His oldest daughter Riley remembers that day vividly. “I was in the fourth grade when it happened. It was so hard to understand what was going on and why. I had so many questions. That night my little sister, older brother, mom and I had fallen asleep on the couch in the living room. He got home really early in the morning. I remember hearing the door open and looking up to see him in the doorway. I had never been so happy to see my dad than I did in that moment.”
That day had a huge impact on Higgins and his outlook on life. One year after the tragedy, Higgins decided to quit his job to spend more time with his family. Working out of a suitcase and constantly on a plane or in a hotel took its toll. In the spring of 2006, Sean and his wife Lisa created their own Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour company called “Mint Julep Tours”. Higgins designed the company to encompass fun and to show tourists the beauty of Kentucky. The business slogan presents a clear theme towards the goal of their company. Down the side of each of their four tour buses says, “The purpose of fun is to have some” Today, the company has grown drastically with a headquarter office in the famous Galt House hotel in downtown Louisville. “This is the life for me now. I get to spend more time at home with my kids and better yet I get to be with my wife every day. I have realized that life is too short and too precious. You have to begin concerning yourself with the little things in life to appreciate the big things,” said Higgins.

Honey Grilled Chicken

There are very few things in the culinary world that are greater than a perfectly grilled piece of meat. For this dish we are going to grill chicken with a sweet twist, Honey! We are using Fundraising Zoo Organic Honey to add a nice sweet and savory crisp to the grilled chicken. Add to your plate some seasoned green beans and grilled texas toast and you have yourself a perfect summer meal!

What you will need:

  • 2 Chicken Breasts cut into tenders
  • 1 Jar Fundraising Zoo Honey
  • Garlic Powder
  • 1 Can Blue Lake Green Beans
  • Salt/Pepper
  • 1 diced small red onion
  • Texas Toast

How it’s made:

  First and foremost make sure your chicken breasts are cut into tenders so they can grill faster. Season the chicken tenders with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Throw the chicken onto the grill. Generously apply Fundraising Zoo Honey over top both sides of the chicken and close the grill top until each side of the tenders have dark brown grill marks. On the side, fill a small pot with the green beans, diced onions, salt, and pepper. Let the green beans simmer for 10 minutes under medium high heat. Add a crispy piece of grilled Texas toast to top off this tasteful dish! Eat up and Enjoy!

Feeds: 2

Costs: $6

Prep/Cook time: 25 minutes

Featured Organic Honey: https://fundraisingzoo.com/our-product


Grilled Pineapple Guacamole



This recipe calls for simple ingredients and a small budget to work with. The dish is great to eat at dinner parties, cookouts, and healthy late night snacks. The dish pairs well with margaritas and or red wine. The combination of these things will have you feeling coastal!

What you will need:

  • 5-6 Avocados peeled and cored
  • 1 diced red tomato
  • 1 diced shallot
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • Freshly chopped cilantro
  • Grilled Pineapple diced
  • Fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 bag of blue corn chips

How to make it: First, take the avocados and use a knife to cut through the skin. Cut the avocado in half and use a spoon to take out the core seed. Then, scoop the avocado out of the skin using a spoon and place into a mixing bowl. Use a fork or large wooden spoon to mash the avocado into a thick paste. Once that is completed, add all of the above ingredients. Note: Add the diced grilled pineapple last. Lastly, find a mixing spoon and combine all of the ingredients well. Sprinkle the mixture with salt and cover bowl in plastic. Place the bowl in a refrigerator for about a half hour in order for the flavors to become one and the mixture to cool. Take bowl out and place freshly made guacamole into a serving dish and circle with blue corn chips. Eat up and enjoy!

Prep Time: 20-25 minutes

Costs: $10

Feeds:  6-8 people

Note: If you want to add an additional flavor profile to the dish, precook some bacon, dice it finely, and add it to the guacamole! BOOM!

Baked Cod with Sauteed Summer Veggies


Cod fish is a great source of B vitamins with very few calories. The white fish is a great food to help boost and maintain a healthy metabolism. For this dish, we are going to lightly batter the fish with panko bread crumbs and various spices. Alongside the fish we will make some sauteed summer vegetables and a mango peach dipping sauce. Let’s get to business!

What you will need:

Fresh Atlantic Cod Filet

1 cup Panko bread crumbs

1 egg


1 Diced yellow squash

1 Diced zuchinni

1 diced shallot

Store bought mango salsa


Fresh garlic

Diced chives


2 tsp of margarine


Instructions:  First, make an egg wash by stirring together the egg yolk and a drop of cream or milk. Then, place the cod fish into the wash and make sure it is completely covered. Then, take the fish and place it atop a plate of Panko bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and paprika. Make sure the fish is all the way covered in breading . Place in an oven at 400 degrees on a cooking sheet for 10-15 minutes or until the fish is breaking apart (indicating it is cooked through) While that cooks, place a 12″ skillet on the stove-top at medium heat. Add fresh veggies, margarine, fresh garlic, salt, pepper, and a drop of water. Place a lid over the veggies and let them steam for about 7 minutes while occasionally stirring the veggies. Take the cod out of the oven and dab with a fork. If the fish breaks apart and the edges of the crust are beginning to brown, then it is finished. Plate the fish with the steamed veggies on the side. Add a scoop of mango salsa on the side as well to be used as a sweet and tangy dipping sauce for the fish. Top with diced chives to add a finishing touch of flavor. All done! Eat and Enjoy.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 Minutes

Feeds: 2

Costs: $7

Baked Chicken Mozzarella


This dish is a healthy chicken dinner with a laundry list of bold flavors and textures. The cheesy baked chicken painted with fresh chives makes for one yummy meal to remember!

What you will need

2 beat chicken breasts
Fresh ball of mozzarella cheese
Fresh chives diced thin
Garlic powder
Red bell peppers
Fresh asparagus
Brown rice
1/2 cup green peas
1 egg
Veggie oil
Unsalted butter

Instructions: Begin by seasoning chicken with salt, pepper and garlic. Place the chicken in an oven at 425 degrees for about 8 minutes. While that is cooking heat a 12″ fry pan (medium heat) with veggie oil and 2 tsp of butter. Add the asparagus and red bell peppers. Place lid over top the veggies and them let simmer and cook down for about 10 minutes while occasionally stirring. After the 8 minutes is up in the oven, take the chicken out and top with thick slices of fresh mozzarella cheese and diced chives. Place back in the oven for additional 5 minutes. Once veggies have cooked down turn the heat completely off and let them sit. In a pot, boil the rice until al dente. Drain. And keep the heat on low. Add salt pepper, egg, and peas. Stir consistently until egg is cooked through and everything is mixed together. Take chicken out of the oven once the cheese begins to bubble. Place the chicken aside the rice and veggies. Add a sprinkle of garlic powder to the rice. That’s it! Eat up and enjoy.

Feeds: 2-3
Costs: $15
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

The Perfect Gumbo


Gumbo is the godfather of Louisiana cuisine and has long been a favorite in southern cuisine. The unique spice and hearty flavors of Gumbo make this dish a must try in creole cooking and for a good reason. The combination of cajun spices, shrimp, sausage, tomatoes,okra and rice makes for one savory and filling soup. Do not fear! Gumbo is easier than it looks to make. Just gather the plethora of ingredients, a big pot, and a strong wrist for stirring is all you really need. Lets get started.

What you will need:

1 diced yellow onion

2 cups white or wheat rice

1/2 cup flower

1 stick of unsalted butter

1 diced green bell pepper

1 diced red bell pepper

1 cup of okra

1 cup diced celery

1 smoked sausage link diced

1/2 LB large shrimp-uncooked and de-veined

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp garlic

2 tsp granulated sugar

1/2 bottle franks red hot






Country Baked Veggies


Coloring a plate is the most important part of a healthy diet so why not make it both healthy and appetizing? This serves as a great side dish or appetizer for any meal. Fresh. Hearty. Fast.

What you will need:

  • 2 squash diced thin
  • 2 zucchini diced thin
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 jar chopped banana peppers
  • 1 chopped yellow onion
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese
  • Salt/Pepper

First, find a skillet that can also be put in the oven. Drizzle a few teaspoons of olive oil onto the pan. Turn heat to medium. Once the oil starts to simmer add the vegetables. All of them. Make sure all the ingredients are mixed well in the pan. Place a lid on the pan and let the veggies cook for 5-7 minutes while occasionally stirring them. Then, set the oven to 400 degrees on bake. Generously sprinkle both cheeses over the mixture. Add salt and Pepper. Place the skillet in the oven for another 5-7 minutes or until the cheese on top the veggies is bubbling and speckled brown. That is it! A simple recipe with dynamite flavors you have to try!

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Cost: $5

Feeds: 4-5 


Grilled Chicken Bacon Alfredo

Who doesn’t love pasta? A true take on Italian cuisine that’s both easy to make and easy on your pocket. Pasta has endless potential when it comes to ingredients! Anything and everything goes. This recipe will focus on a favorite of mine. Grilled seasoned chicken topped with bacon, seasoned tomatoes, garlic and basil.

What you will need:

1 chicken breast cut into cubes
Minced garlic or 1tsp garlic powder
1 Red tomato diced
Fresh basil leaves finely chopped
Penne Noodles
Parmesan cheese
Store bought choice of Alfredo sauce
Light olive oil
Cooked and crumbled bacon
Diced avocado

The steps:

First, drizzle olive oil into a pan on medium-high heat. Place chicken into pan and cook until light brown color. Add salt, pepper, and garlic while it cooks. On the side, bring a pot of water to a boil and place penne noodles into boiling water for 5-7 minutes until al dente. (Soft & cooked through) Once chicken has cooked through, add tomatoes and fresh basil and crumbled bacon. Sautée mixture and then add Alfredo sauce. Let simmer for a few minutes. Drain cooked noodles and then place into pan with the chicken mixture. Stir all the ingredients together until sauce and noodles become one. Generously scoop chicken pasta onto a plate. Top with fresh avocado to add some color and texture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and salt/pepper. That’s it! Eat up and enjoy.

Cook and prep time: 25 minutes

Feeds: 2 hungry people

Expenses: $10