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Game Day Taquitos

January 19, 2018 Appetizer, Entrees, Menu No Comments

Game time is here, and football fever is running rampant! Even if your beloved team didn’t make it to the playoffs, chances are that you will still be joining family and friends for fun food at a game day party.

As I’ve discussed in previous game day posts, the key to a successful party dish is to make it a quick hitter that is fun, tasty and easy to eat. The recipe that I’m sharing with you today tackles all of those requirements!

Taquitos are a Mexican dish that consists of rolled-up flour tortillas stuffed with a filling, and is crisp-fried. Think of it as a rolled-up taco. During one of our recent holiday gatherings, I decided to make my own version of taquitos, coming up with a few different filling options and choosing to bake the taquitos instead of frying them. Not only were they a big hit, they were also enjoyed by both adults and kids. Prep time (for the most part) was minimal, and the ingredients were tasty. Although the taquitos were served as a picky appetizer, they were filling enough and tasty enough to keep everyone satisfied and coming back for more. Hence, the perfect game day food!

The best part about taquitos is that you can get as creative as you wish with the fillings. While traditional fried taquitos use a flour tortilla, I found that the baked version works just as well with both flour and wheat tortilla shells. I’ve used both types of tortilla shells for my taquitos and and was happy with both versions. Listed below are a few of the fillings that I prepared, along with a few other filling suggestions that I think would work well. As always, I encourage you to get as creative as you wish.



The key to a good taquito is the filling. So far, I have made two different types of taquito fillings: sautéed vegetables and chicken, cheddar and bacon. Both were able to be prepared ahead of time, and both worked well and were enjoyed by everyone.

For the sautéed vegetable filling, you will need the following:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 zucchini, finely chopped
1 yellow squash, finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon dill weed
salt and pepper to taste
shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese

Heat oil in medium skillet or wok over medium-high heat until hot. Add bell pepper, onion and garlic; cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until crisp-tender.

Stir in zucchini and squash; cook and stir 5-7 minutes or until tender.

Stir in herbs, cook until thoroughly heated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool slightly. You will top the vegetables with the shredded cheese when you assemble the taquitos.


For the chicken, cheddar and bacon filling, you will need the following:

1/2 lb cooked and seasoned chicken breast, chopped (Perdue Short Cuts works well for this)

8-ounce package of shredded cheddar cheese

4-6 slices of cooked bacon, cut into small pieces


Other filling suggestions:

• steak, peppers and provolone

• meatballs and mozzarella

• seasoned chicken with blue cheese

• pulled pork, roasted red peppers and broccoli rabe

• marinated shrimp and scallops

….honestly, you can go any number of directions!

Regardless of what filling you prefer to try, one suggestion that I would make is to not make your fillings too wet. If you think that your fillings would go well with a sauce (say a marinara or a barbecue sauce), I would suggest that you serve those sauces as a side for dipping. Incorporating the sauces into the filling may make the tortilla shells soft and mushy, and they may not bake properly.



Preheat your oven to 400˚.

As I mentioned earlier, I have used both flour and whole wheat tortilla shells and was very happy with the results of both.

To assemble your taquitos, lay a tortilla shell out flat, and place a 1″ strip of your filling down the middle. Tightly roll up the tortilla shell, as if you were rolling up a cigar.

Place the rolled tortilla shells seam side down into a lightly sprayed 9″ x 12″ baking dish. Medium-sized tortilla shells will work the best with a 9″ x 12″ baking dish. If you have larger sized tortilla shells, you can trim the rolled shells to fit into the pan. You will fit about 8 rolled shells into the pan.

Lightly spray the top of the shells. Place the dish, uncovered, into the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the shells start to brown and crisp. Remove from oven, let cool for a few minutes. Remove from baking dish and cut the baked taquitos in half. Serve and enjoy!


A Little of This and Some of That!

December 4, 2017 Menu No Comments





Featuring memories and photos of my life as a food blogger,
along with new and updated original recipes…
including some that are ONLY available in this book!

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My Interview on WSBA Radio

November 22, 2017 Menu No Comments

You can now listen to my interview with Mark McKenzie on WSBA Radio.


Our Dinner with Les Dames

September 25, 2017 Menu 1 Comment

My wife Daria and I recently celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary. We don’t get to dine out as often as we would like, so we always make sure to honor our anniversary by going out to a nice, romantic dinner. This year, we decided to celebrate with our daughters over a nice breakfast. However, our romantic dinner took place at a special event that we will remember and cherish for along time to come.

Les Dames d’Escoffier is a worldwide philanthropic society of professional women in the fields of food, fine beverage and hospitality. Their mission is to foster a healthier, more fair food system; recognize women who have contributed to the industry; and to mentor young women in their field. Proceeds from their events go towards their scolarship fund. There are 36 individual chapters across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Mexico, the Philadelphia chapter being created in 1984.

My dear friend (and sister from a different mister!) Chef Jacquie Peccina Kelly, who is a member of the Philadelphia chapter, extended an invitation to Daria and I for a special farm dinner event honoring Ann Karlen, which was to be held at the beautiful Grace Winery, located in Glen Mills, PA. This was no doubt an opportunity that Daria and I could not pass up!

The Event

Before I get into the wonderful meal that was planned for the evening, I first must tell you about this inspiring event. Chef Jacquie, up to this point, was the only person who Daria and I knew who was involved with Les Dames. From the second that we arrived, we were surrounded by 120+ guests who were all there for the same reason. We all have a deep appreciation for locally grown and healthier prepared fresh foods, backed by a community of farmers, artisan producers, chefs, and the retail food community who all work together to offer us this healthier food system. The evening’s guest of honor, Ann Karlen, is the founding executive director of Fair Food, a non-profit organization formed in 2000 to build a local food economy for the Delaware Valley region by connecting family farms to the Philadelphia marketplace. In 2003, she opened the Fair Food Farmstand, Philadelphia’s first all-local food retail grocery store, in the Reading Terminal Market.

Before the award presentation, a number of friends and colleagues offered up praise and thanks to Ann for her passion and strive to help make the local food community a better place. As one person said, she was ‘farm to table’ before the phrase was even coined. Although I had never met Ann prior to this event, I felt an immediate bond with her, and to say that I was deeply inspired by her contributions to the culinary world would be an understatement.

The Dinner

The evening’s entire menu was planned out and prepared by the Philadelphia Les Dames committee, so we knew that we were in for a meal that would be top notch. Due to early predictions of rain in the forecast, the dinner was forced to be moved into the winery’s barn, instead of being set up in the vineyard as originally planned. The forecast fell through, and the sun was shining throughout the afternoon. We were allowed to wander around the vineyard with drink in hand, but the warmer than usual temperatures made the air conditioned barn setting quite comfortable!

We first entered the converted 1750’s bank barn, which housed a beautifully crafted wooden bar. The bar top is fashioned from the original steps of Independence Hall. Various beverages were offered, including the winery’s Chardonnay and Dragonfly Red, Three Springs Farm’s Ploughman Cider, craft beer, and a new seasonal favorite of mine, Rye Peach Smash. We then made our way to the huge, open spaced back area of the barn, which was set up this evening as a banquet hall. A beautiful Hors d’Oeuvres table was set up, featuring seasonal salads, various dips, roasted vegetables, oysters, flatbreads, local cheeses, salumi and jams, again all prepared by the chefs. Normally, I could make a meal out of this course alone, but I knew that we were in store for many more fantastic dishes to come.

The Hors d’Oeuvres table.

We were all seated at long tables that each stretched the width of half of the barn. Being that we were all there for the same purpose (good food and good wine), it was very easy to start up conversations with those who sat with us at our table. The main course was brought out family style, one scrumptious bowl being passed around after another. This also helped the overall flow of conversation and camaraderie at our table.

The menu was made up of unbelievable dishes that all worked incredible well together:

  • Exotic Mushroom Ragout
  • Roasted Beets with Balsamic Glaze
  • Pan Seared Pocono Rainbow Trout with Lemon, Thyme and Horseradish Chive Yogurt
  • Succotash with Spicy Chile Glaze
  • Sautéed baby potatoes with green beans
  • Brisket with Fall Fruit

Dessert was also served family style, and again offered up phenomenal seasonal treats:

  • Home made croissants
  • Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Palmiers
  • Weckerley’s Ice Cream Sandwiches
  • Spiced Apple Cake with Tartin Apple Compote and Calvados Cream (which, by the way, was out of this world).

Dessert…fully assembled!

As the evening came to a close, we exchanged contact information with our new friends and then said our goodbyes. The sun was starting to set on the vineyard, which made for a lovely, picturesque ending to a truly wonderful and romantic anniversary celebration.

The entrance to the winery.


The view from the winery.


We have to thank Chef Jacquie for extending this invitation to us. We really enjoyed ourselves and look forward to future Les Dames events. And congratulations once again to Ann Karlen. Your efforts and dedication to the culinary world are inspiring and encouraging!

With my good friend, Chef Jacquie.

For more information about Les Dames d’Escoffier, please click the following links:


For more information about Grace Winery, please click the following link:


To find out about Chef Jacquie’s Philadelphia tasting tours, please click on the following link:


To visit the Fair Food Farmstand, please click on the following link:


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