The Southern Women’s Show was in Orlando this past weekend and I had an opportunity to experience it in a way I had never before, as a presenter on the cooking stage.

It was great to see so many people who were interested in getting into the kitchen and cooking with their families. I believe that sitting around the dining table for dinner is a good way for families to become stronger.

At the show, I made a few family friendly dishes and in true southern tradition, I made sure there was enough to feed the entire audience. By the end of the weekend I had dubbed myself the "Oprah of the Culinary World" by making sure everyone at the show got a sample. Thanks to my nonprofit organization Kitch’n Lyfe Skills, we were able to pass out more than 500 samples and introduce parents to new ways to get their kids involved in the kitchen.

I would like to thank Milo’s Tea, Dave’s Killer Bread, Cabot Cheese and Chef Warren, the author of “Cookbook for Two,” for their wonderful hospitality.

Below is the recipe for one of the dishes we made.



4 tablespoons olive oil1/4 cup diced onion1 tablespoon dried basil1 tablespoon salt2 tablespoons dried parsley2 tablespoons sugar1 15-ounce can diced tomatoesfreshly ground black pepper, to taste1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes1 clove of garlic, diced1 tablespoon dried oregano


In a large pot over medium heat, add oil. Once oil is warm, add garlic and onions. Sauté until translucent. Add tomatoes, sugar and spices to pot, stir.Bring pot to a simmer and reduce heat so pot will simmer, not boil. Stir occasionally. Simmer for 10 minutes.Add vegetables, protein and beans. Simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and mix with 1 pound of your favorite cooked pasta. We use rotini at the show.