How to make | Sautéed Green Beans with Almonds | Fast and Easy Vegan Vegetarian| Chef Chaza Smith

Sauté Green Beans with Slivered Almonds
Named after Chef Chaza’s sister, Mama Cooks Love “Dina Green Beans” use simple wholesome ingredients to create a deliciously fresh and rich vegetable dish!


Chef Chaza Smith shows how to prepare one of her little sister’s favorites, sautéed Green Beans with Almonds.  Lovingly called “Dina’s Green Beans,” this fast and easy dish uses only seven simple ingredients, but turns-into a full-flavored, nutty and filling vegan vegetable side dish, or even main course!

Time to Prepare:  20 Minutes




Ingredients for Sautéed Green Beans with Almonds:

2 lbs x washed and trimmed fresh Green Beans

2 ounces x Slivered Almonds (skinless Almonds cut into shoestring pieces)

4 Large Cloves x Garlic (sliced)

1 Cup – Pinot Grigio

1 Lemon – for the Juice and Zest

1 Cup x Olive Oil



Heat a pan on high (to be used for sautéing all the Green Beans)

Blanch the Green Beans:  Boil washed and trimmed fresh Green Beans in salty water (salty like the ocean).  After two minutes, drain the water and quickly rinse the beans in cold water to stop the cooking process.  Set aside.

First cook the Almonds in the hot oil to a lightly browned color.  Remove the Almonds from the Oil, and replace with the Garlic, and also add the Green Beans.  In the hot temperature, you should hear the Green Beans and Garlic sizzling!


Mama Cooks Love presents Chef Chaza Smith as she shares her unique talent for creating delicious vegetable and plant based cuisine, meals she lovingly shares with family and friends.   Chef’s tried, tested and perfected recipes highlight her passion for discovering mouthwatering natural flavors from wholesome farm fresh ingredients.  Chef Chaza also reveals professional insights while showing how any home cook can turn simple ingredients into healthy, colorful, fresh and photo-worthy delights!

How to make Home Made Dog Food

Home Made Dog Food
Chef Chaza’s dog jumps for joy knowing Chef’s about to make dog food!

Have you ever wondered how to make home made dog food?  Making your own dog food is easy, and saves money too!  Plus, your pooch will love it!


Time to Prepare:  30 Minutes (15 mins prep / 15 mins process) + Cook time (60-90 Mins)


Ingredients for Homemade Dogfood with Chicken:

5 lbs x Chicken Thighs and Legs on the bone

1 Cup x Brown Lentils (rinsed, picked-through and cleaned)

1 Cup x White Rice (rinsed)

1 Sprig x Rosemary

½ Cup x Olive Oil

4 Cups x Water


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Arrange Chicken flat in a cooking tray.  Drizzle Olive Oil over the Chicken.  Pour rice over chicken, add Rosemary, Lentils, and water, fully submerging the ingredients.  Cover tray with aluminum foil and place in oven.  Check after 1 hour (be careful of hot steam when opening foil!), rice and chicken should be fully cooked; continue cooking if needed to assure chicken and rice are fully cooked.

Remove from oven, carefully open foil (be careful of hot steam when opening foil) all the Chicken pieces, and allow to cool for a few minutes.  Remove meat and cartilage from the bone, discard the bones.  Combine Chicken meat and cartilage with remaining ingredients and blend to a pre-chewed consistency (immersion blender recommended, but regular blender works too).

Cool to body temperature (or less) and it’s ready-to-serve.  Save unused portion in the refrigerator, avoid allowing food to stay warm longer than needed.

Home Made Dog Food ready to serve
Chef Chaza Smith’s home made dog food has cooled and been pureed, so it’s ready to serve!

How to make | Olive Oil Mushrooms | Futtr bi Zeit | Mediterranean Mushrooms | Chef Chaza Smith

Olive Oil Mushrooms | Futtr bil Zeit
Chef Chaza favorite from her childhood, Futtr bil Zeit is an Olive Oil Mushroom dish cooked with Garlic, Cilantro and Lemon Juice

Eat it with Rice and make it a meal, or just enjoy it like Chef Chaza and plate it with toasted Pita Bread.  Futtr bi Zeit (Olive Oil Mushrooms, or Arabic Mushrooms) compliments many occasions, from a snack to buffet to entre, it’s a hardy dish that prepares quickly and easily!


Time to Prepare:  15  Minutes


Click HERE to view Chef Chaza Smith preparing Olive Oil Mushrooms on YouTube


Ingredients for Mushrooms in Olive Oil:

2 lbs x Mushrooms (any kind, Chef prefers White or Portobello when available)

1 x Lemon

3 Cloves x Garlic

1 Head/Bunch x Cilantro

1 Cup x Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper


Preheat Oil in a pot to Medium-High.  Wash and clean the Mushrooms, then remove the stems and slice Mushrooms (Chef saves the stems in her freezer to later use for future Mushroom stocks).  Pour Mushrooms into the heated Oil.  Don’t Salt (yet)!

While Mushrooms are cooking (and shrinking) in the Oil, de-stem and chop the washed Cilantro (Chef saves those stems to later use for future Veggie broths).  Peel the Garlic and put Garlic into a Mortar, to Mortal and Pestle.  Add Salt, and smash the Garlic into a smooth paste in the Mortar using the Pestle.  Add a large pinch on Salt (to taste) and the juice of the whole Lemon to the Garlic mash.  Add two tablespoons of Olive Oil too.  It should smell delicious!

Add Pepper to the Mushrooms cooking in Oil (do not Salt yet!).  After about 7 to 10 minutes, Mushrooms should be sufficiently cooked (don’t worry, it’s very difficult to over-cook Mushrooms!), removed the Mushroom-cooking pot from the heat, and add the Mortared-and-Pestled Garlic mash, and the chopped Cilantro to the hot Mushrooms.

It’s ready to serve, enjoy!

How to make Roasted Beets | How to Roast Beets

Red and Yellow Beets
Yellow and Red Beets wait to be covered with foil and roasted in the oven


Click HERE to view Chef Chaza preparing Roasted Beets on YouTube

Ingredients for Roasted Beets:

3 x Red Beets

3 x Yellow/Golden Beets

2 x Sprigs of Rosemary

6 to 7 x Cloves of Garlic

1/4 Cup – Olive Oil

Time to prepare:  45 – 55 Minutes (10 Minutes prep)

This is the basic roasting Beet way it’s so versatile.  Make roasted Beet hummus, make it into a yummy salad, or just eat it with Lemon Juice, or even enjoy directly out of the fridge.

No matter what you want to do with it you want to save those drippings!  Roasting Beets is an opportunity to make a delicious dressing to eat with the Beets.  Use whole cloves of unpeeled Garlic; once roasted, squish Garlic paste out for delicious roasted Garlic paste perfect to make a salad dressing (see recipe for Roasted Beet Salad)!  All the drippings that will come-out of this pouch with the roasted Garlic will make the most delicious and aromatic and fresh dressing for either the Beets by themselves, or a Beet salad (or Beet anything!).

To prepare:  Separate beets by their colors, so they don’t steep into each other and change that yummy color.  Using two big nice pieces of tinfoil, and make two pouches with three Beets each (separated by color).  Into each pouch add a generous pinch of Salt and Black Pepper, a sprig of Rosemary and 3 to 4 Garlic Cloves, along with a generous drizzle of Olive Oil.  Close the pouches.

Put pouches into a pre-heated oven four-hundred degrees for between 35 to 45 minutes, so check after 35 minutes.  They’re done when they’re soft with a nice bite in the middle.

Be careful opening pouches and avoid burning hot steam!  Remember to collect all the juices, oils and Garlic paste to use for a fantastic dressing!

Click HERE to view Chef Chaza preparing Roasted Beets on YouTube

Roasted Beets Salad

Roasted Beets Salad
Chef Chaza Smith displays the Roasted Beets Salad just prepared in her home kitchen


Chef Chaza loves making Roasted Beets Salads because they’re beautiful, delicious, healthy and easy to prepare!


Click HERE to view Chef Chaza making Roasted Beets Salad on YouTube


Time to prepare:  10 Minutes (on top of making Roasted Beets)


Ingredients for Roasted Beet Salad:

Six Ounces – Wild Organic Arugula pre-washed and dried

Three to Five – small to medium Roasted Beets (Chef mixes golden & red Beets)

Eight ounces – Feta Cheese

Four ounces – Slivered Almonds

The juice of a whole Lemon

¼ to ½ Cup – Olive Oil

Sprig – Rosemary

Salt & Pepper to taste


Roast 6 beets (see recipe above) and prepare the salad dressing while the Beets are roasting.

Put pre-washed and dried Arugula into serving dish

Toast Almonds in the Olive Oil, add rosemary after a few minutes (when Almonds are mid-roasted), be sure to save the oil to later use for the salad dressing.  Once the Almonds are toasted, drain them and put hot oil aside into a dish that can handle the heat and be used to make the dressing.

Squeeze the juice of the whole Lemon into the Oil (if still hot, juice may sizzle!).

Remove Roasted Beets’ pouches from oven (see MCL recipe).  Be careful opening pouches and avoid burning hot steam!  Collect all the juices from the pouches into the cooling almond-toasting oil; make sure to capture all the oils and Garlic paste from pouches, squeezing Garlic cloves so Garlic paste oozes onto a surface.   Smash Garlic paste with a fork, capturing all the juices while discarding the inedible skins (liquid golden flavor nuggets!).  Remove Rosemary leaves from stems, discard stems, chop leaves and add some to dressing, save some for putting onto the salad.

After cooling, peel roasted Beets and cut into two-bite pieces.

Sprinkle Salt across the Arugula (always better to Salt an undressed Salad!).

Assemble salad, putting Feta Cheese, Sliced Roasted Beets, Toasted Slivered Almonds on top, and drizzling the dressing too (keep it light, it’s much easier to add later than to have to take off).  Top with toasted Rosemary, and enjoy!

Restaurant Style Baked Mac and Cheese

Baked Mac and Cheese
Restaurant Style Baked Macaroni and Cheese works for many occasions.

With its crunchy top and saucy pasta textures, Baked Mac and Cheese reigns as a great recipe for many occasions.  Weather looking for a wholesome entre for a child’s birthday party, or an outdoor bar-b-cue with friends, or even just a simple comfort meal at home, this dish always delivers rich, creamy and easy-to-enjoy flavors!  Chef Chaza’s favorite Mac ‘n Cheese recipe uses professional kitchen techniques to extract the most delicious creamy and crunchy textures, making a wonderful heavenly delight!

Time to Prepare: 1 hour 15 Minutes (30 mins Prep + 45 mins Bake)

Click HERE To view Chef Chaza cooking Baked Mac and Cheese on YouTube

Ingredients for Baked Macaroni and Cheese:

1 lb Pasta – Chef Chaza uses Cevatappi (not Cavatelli)

½ Gallon – Milk

½ to ¾ Cup – Panko Breadcrumbs

¼ to 1/3 Cup – All Purpose Flour

4 Tbsp (1/2 Stick) – Butter

1 Tbsp – Salt

¼ Tsp – Spanish Paprika

½ Tsp – Celery Salt

¼ Tsp – Ground Mustard

1 lb – Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese

½ lb – Colby Cheese


Preheat oven to 400 degrees and boil a pot of water

And as soon as the water boils add 4 to 5 tablespoons of Salt (so water is salty as the ocean)

Shred the Cheese

Add pasta to the boiling salty water and set timer to remove for six minutes, so it cooks ‘al dente’

Make some Béchamel…

In a large saucepan put all of the half a stick of butter except two tablespoons (for the Panko breadcrumbs and to butter the Mac and Cheese pan)

Add Flour after the butter starts cooking, do not overcook or burn the butter.  This is the Roux.  Instead cook until flour is a very light blonde color (before adding the Milk), as a dark roux usually would need more Flour

Add a little bit of Milk at a time to prevent clumping; break-up any clumps that do form, the Béchamel should have a smooth, silky texture.  When the Béchamel feels smooth and that the Milk is incorporated with the Butter Flour mixture or with my roux mixture, add the rest of the Milk and season with Salt and Black Pepper.  Add enough Milk for a very thin Béchamel (the cheese is going to make it nice and thick and creamy).

Check the Pasta to make sure it’s ‘al dente,’ and drain when cooked enough (do not overcook)

Béchamel should start boiling and thickening, taste to make sure it has enough salt and pepper, and that it doesn’t have a raw flour taste anymore.  Continue stirring to bring to boil.

Reserving two cups of cheese to put on top at the end, add most of the cheese into the Béchamel as soon as it boils and TURN OFF THE HEAT so Cheese melts but does not boil (cheese should melt quickly).  Check to make sure there’s enough Salt and Pepper (do this constantly throughout cooking so it doesn’t taste like both were only added at the end).

Pour most of the Béchamel over the pasta and delicately stir so sauce is thick and evenly spread, reserve a cup or two on the side.  The pasta should be “swimming” in the Béchamel.

Assemble the Mac and Cheese into a baking pan, stating by generously Buttering the dish to prevent the Mac and Cheese from sticking when serving

Sprinkle a little bit of breadcrumbs at the bottom (for a double crunch factor top and bottom), then pour the Mac and Cheese Béchamel into the pan (be generous with the sauce because nothing worse than dry Mac and Cheese!)

Put leftover sauce on the top

Make layers of Panko then Cheese then Butter then Panko again

Put a couple dots of Butter on top of the Panko.

Put pan onto a baking sheet to catch spillover, line baking sheet with tinfoil for easy cleaning.  Put into a preheated oven four-hundred degrees for 35 to 45 minutes (depending on the time it takes it to bubble and color the Panko to golden-brown delicious)

Check after 35 minutes, make sure the Panko is golden-brown and sauce is bubbling before removing.  Let sit 20 to 30 minutes before serving, and enjoy this most wonderful Baked Mac and Cheese!

Eggplant Parmesan southern Italian style

Eggplant Parmesan served with Spaghetti
Authentic southern Italian Eggplant Parmesan uses simple ingredients and tastes amazing!

Time to prepare:  1 hour and 30 minutes

Click HERE to see Chef Chaza prepare this on YouTube

Anyone can make this simple but perfect main course star with flavors straight from Italy.  This recipe comes from when Chef Chaza worked in kitchens along the Amalfi Coast in Sorrento, Italy.

Ingredients for Eggplant Parmesan:

2 x Large Eggplant

6 x Eggs (not 4!)

1 x Cup of Flour

2 ½ Cups x Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

1 ½ Cups x  Smoked Mozzarella Cheese

1 x handful of Basil

2 ½ to 3 Cups x Extra Virgin Olive Oil


1 x  Jar of Marinara Sauce *

* Click this link for How to make | Marinara Sauce | Authentic Italian Red Sauce | Chef Chaza Smith


Cut the tops and bottoms of the Eggplant and then peel zebra style (half peeled half not).

Slice lengthwise (so they fit better into the tray).  Salt each side of the Eggplant to remove the bitterness (salt will be washed away later).  Layer Eggplant pieces with Salt, and set-up in a colander with a bowl to catch all the dark bitter water that comes out.  Place a small weight on the stack of Eggplants to help squeeze out dark-water bitterness (a jar of marinara sauce works great!).  Allow to sit for about 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to four-hundred degrees.

Set-up the dredging station; a cup of Flour with a pinch of Salt in one large pan or plate, break Eggs and mix them with Parmesan in a 2nd pan or plate.

After fifteen minutes of allowing bitter water to ooze out of the Eggplant, rinse the Eggplant and discard the dark (bitter) water then dry Eggplant with a little piece of paper towel.

Heat-up oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat.  Begin dredging by coating a piece of Eggplant with the Flour mixture, then coating the same piece with the Egg-Parmesan cheese mixture.  Then put coated Eggplant into a stack, or if ready, the hot Oil to fry the Eggplant.

Reuse any drippings that come on the plate

Fry them so the Parmesan and the Eggs do not get burned before the Eggplant is actually cooked all the way through, they will finish in the oven

When done frying the Eggplants start assembling into a large oven tray, laying Tomato Sauce and Eggplant.  Between each layer of Eggplant spread a little bit of Sauce, a little bit of Cheese and a little bit of Basil, and on the very last layer spread a generous amount of Tomato Sauce.

Top with the Basil and the Cheeses then place in the oven for about 25 minutes, until it gets ‘yummy oowey-gooey bubbly the Cheese melts into the Sauce.’  Remove from the oven, allow to rest for 30 minutes, and serve!

Marinara Sauce | Authentic Italian Red Sauce

Ingredients for authentic Italian Marinara Sauce
Chef Chaza worked in kitchens Italy’s Amalfi Coast where she learned the secrets of authentic Italian Marinara sauce.

Starting with a few basic ingredients and easy-to-follow techniques, anyone can make this simple but perfect Marinara with flavors straight from Italy!

Time to prepare:  45 Minutes

Click HERE to view Chef Chaza making this on YouTube


3 Cloves – Garlic

½ – White or Yellow Onion

3 cans – San Marzano Tomatoes

¼ to 1/3 Cup – Extra Virgin Olive Oil

10 leaves – Basil




The order you start cooking your ingredients with makes a difference. If you start Garlic before Onions in the Olive Oil, it tastes like toasty garlicy sauce.  If you start your sauce with the Onion it would have a sweeter oniony taste without that super garlicy taste.  It’s really up to you.  Chef Chaza starts with the Garlic, then adds the Onions…

Peel, chop and sauté the Garlic on medium heat.  Don’t allow the Garlic darken, cook to a lightly golden color.  Once the Garlic is golden-brown delicious, add the Onions and reduce the heat to medium-low.  Season with a ¼ teaspoon of Salt.

Every couple minutes check the Onions and give them a little stir, cook until Onions are translucent.

Either use an immersion blend to blend everything together in the pot or take Tomatoes from can into your blender and blend them and then add the pureed sauce.

Lower the heat to low and add the Tomatoes; the Tomatoes are a little bit more dense and tend to splatter.  After they’re all added, turn it back up to Medium-Low and continue heating.

Cover it and set alarm for thirty or thirty five minutes.

When fully cooked, turn off heat, check to see if it needs Salt, and add the Basil.  Add the Basil leaves at the very last minute, tear them with your fingers to prevent bruising the leaves and get black on the edges.  Add a tablespoon or two of raw Olive Oil (like they say in Italy ‘Al Crudo’) to give extra depth to the flavor.

Burgle and Lentil holiday dish Mjedrah

A favorite Chef Chaza meal from her childhood, her mother’s special Arabic Burgle and Lentil holiday dish Mjedrah

How to make Arabic Burgle and Lentil holiday dish Mjedrah by Chef Chaza Smith

Usually reserved for special occasions, Mjedrah has been a favorite across the Middle East for generations, and Chef shares the traditional family recipe she remembers for favorite Arabic Burgle and Lentil holiday dish Mjedrah.


Time to prepare:  90 Minutes

Click HERE to see the video on YouTube


Ingredients for Arabic Burgle and Lentil holiday dish Mjedrah:

1 lb x Lentils (rinsed and cleaned)

2 Cups x Coarse Burgle Wheat * (to make Gluten Free, use a natural form of Rice instead of Burgle)

2 x Large Onions

1/2 to 1 Cup – Olive Oil

1/2 Tsp – Cumin

1 Tbsp – Cornstarch

Salt (approx. 1-2 tablespoons)

Water (8 cups H2O for Lentils + ~1 Cup H2O for Burgle)


Chop the Onions julienne (half-moons).  Add the Cornstarch to the Onions, making a coating of the powder over the Onions.  Put that aside as is while the Lentils are prepared.

Put the Lentils into a pan with eight cups of water.  Heat on Medium.

In another pot, pour about a half-cup of Olive Oil, turn heat on Medium-High to High, and add the Onions coated with Cornstarch.  Separate the Onions with your fingers to help prevent them from sticking together.  Stir the Onions to make sure the cook evenly, add a tablespoon of Salt to extract extra liquid and to help cook faster.  Stir about every five minutes, and and Cook until golden-brown.

Check on the Lentils to make sure water is boiling.  Do NOT add salt to beans that are cooking, but add the Cumin after 10 minutes.  The Lentils should take about 15-20 minutes to cook to where the Lentils still have a little crunch, not too soft or mushy.  Drain Lentil cooking water into a bowl when done cooking… save that water for later use, and put cooked Lentils aside for now.  Remember to keep stirring the Onions.

Skim the Lentils cooking water and discard the darker water at the bottom.  This is the secret to great Mjedrah!  Put the less-dark Lentil cooking water aside for later use.  Do NOT USE the dark water!

Scoop a 1/2 Cup of the Oil that is cooking the Onions into a new pan to cook the Burgle.  Pour in the Burgle, and stir to toast.  When you can smell the nutty smell of toasted wheat, and they look white, the grains are toasted.  You may need more oil, and a few onions are okay too.  Season with 2 teaspoons of Salt.

Check on the Onions (they should be done by the time the Burgle is cooked).  When the Burgle is mostly toasted, pour-in 3 cups of liquid, starting with the leftover Lentil cooking water.  Supplement with regular water if there isn’t enough leftover Lentil cooking water.  Heat Burgle on high and simmer uncovered (just like cooking rice).  When the water has been absorbed and you can see little bubbles on-top, lower the heat, add the Lentils and cover (less than 5 minutes).  Check to see if it needs Salt too, and add if needed (remember, the Lentils were cooked unsalted).  Set timer for six minutes to check back.

When the Onions are cooked (Golden-Brown), drain the oil to be saved and used later.  Put Onions aside to add to the top later.

When ‘Burgle timer’ alarms, add the Onion Oil that was saved, and mix into the Burgle, and spread evenly throughout.

Dish the Mjedrah into a serving pan, and garnish with the cooked Onions.  Enjoy!







Arabic Yogurt Cucumber Sauce | Leban bil Khyar

Yogurt with Cucumbers and Garlic
Known to Chef as Leban bil Hier (Yogurt with Cucumbers), this savory sauce pair well with one of Chef’s other favorites, Mjedrah.

Leban bil Hier (Yogurt with Cucumbers) features bold and savory Garlicy flavors floating amongst a soft and subtle yogurt sauce intermingled with fresh and crispy cucumber shavings.  A perfect side for Mjedrah!

Time to prepare:  5 Minutes

Special tools:  Mortar and Pestle


Ingredients for Laban bil Khyar (Arabic Yogurt Cucumber Mint Garlic sauce):

2 x Persian Cucumbers

2 Cups x Greek Yogurt

2 x Cloves of Garlic

1/2 Tsp x Dried Mint

1 Tbsp x Olive Oil



How to make Leban bil Kuhar / Yogurt with Cucumber Sauce…

Grate the Cucumbers.  Add them to the yogurt, along with 3 large pinches of salt (more salt makes is more saucy/watery).  Peel the Garlic.  Put the Garlic with a large pinch of Salt into a mortar.  Smash the garlic into a paste like mixture in a Mortar and Pestle.  Add the Garlic paste into the yogurt, along with the olive oil and gently combine all the ingredients.  It should be ready to serve.