Staying in? We’ve got you covered. Try your hand at these delicious, hassle-free recipes as three-course meals you can prepare in the comfort of your home from some of our area’s favorite chefs and home cooks.

Maria-Nalbandian Cafasso

DIY With Maria Nalbandian-Cafasso // Zucchini Lasagna with Pomodoro Sauce

There are two philosophies Maria-Nalbandian Cafasso lives by: the teachings of culinary titan Julia Child, “People who love to eat are always the best people,” and Dr. Seuss, “Life’s a great balancing act.” With that, you can always find her in her happy place — her kitchen — whipping up, well, a little bit of everything.

“I love food and I love to cook,” she says. 

Naturally, Maria’s love for wholesome food led her to another great love: her other half. A serendipitous run-in with Cafasso’s Fairway Market {1214 Anderson Avenue, Fort Lee;; 201.224.7900} owner David Cafasso in the produce aisle circa 2007 eventually led to a walk down that aisle!

“It turned romantic after he suggested some figs for a tart I was making, and to thank him, I brought him a slice the next day, and it’s history ever since!”

When she’s not dipping strawberries or filling cannolis at the gourmet fixture, Maria is preparing dinner for her family. The wife and mother of Armenian-Lebanese descent describes her eclectic cooking style as equal parts naughty and nice: the name of her newly-launched Instagram page that she is devoting entirely to her recipes (@naughtyandnicerecipes). One of its first featured posts? Zucchini lasagna with pomodoro sauce.

“I like that it’s incredibly delicious and light. When I posted it on my social media, there was such a response that I actually had to video it the next time I made it and repost,” she said. “I feel like people like guilt-free yet kind of naughty food!”

Just how do you make such a dish? Maria shows us how below! 

Simple Pomodoro


  • 3 pints Sunset Angel Sweet Organic Cherry Tomatoes
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, rinsed, cleaned, dried, chopped
  • 3 tablespooons Cafasso’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt to taste, about 2 teaspoons to start

Sautee the onions and garlic with salt over medium heat until translucent. Add tomatoes and 3/4 of the basil, chopped (save the rest for garnish.) Cover and simmer over medium-low heat one hour. Using a fork or small masher, break any remaining tomatoes open in the pot and cook uncovered one more hour over low heat or until liquid has mostly disappeared. Taste for Salt. Garnish with remaining basil.

Zucchini Lasagna


  • 13” X 9” casserole dish
  • 4-5 medium zucchini, peeled into wide ribbons using a vegetable peeler
  • Simple Pomodoro sauce warmed
  • 13 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella (two for layers, reserve two for top)
  • Kosher salt (to sprinkle atop each layer)

To avoid a runny lasagna, lightly drain or use a baster to remove water once or twice near the end of the process. Layer the pomodoro gingerly.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees; you will need both the bottom and top rack. Ladle the bottom of the casserole dish with a thin layer of sauce. Layer zucchini, similar to lasagna, sprinkle salt. Gently ladle the pomodoro sauce over the zucchini. Add dollops of ricotta, then sprinkle mozzarella over the layer. Repeat the process adding zucchini and spreading the cheese until you reach four layers, finishing with zucchini. Cook uncovered for 45 minutes on the bottom rack of the oven. When finished cooking, experienced chefs can either lightly tip the casserole dish in the sink to drain excess liquid, or use a baster in the corners. Return to oven for 15 more minutes. Repeat the draining process if necessary. Remove the lasagna, turn the oven up to 425/450 degrees. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and return to top level of the oven for a last blast of heat to make the top layer of cheese golden and bubbly.

Betty and “Produce” Pete Napolitano

DIY With Peter “Produce Pete” Napolitano and his wife Betty // Broccoli Rabe Pie

If anyone knows how to work with broccoli rabe, it’s Peter Napolitano. Known from television as Produce Pete, the lauded grocer and celebrity chef stars in weekly fruit and vegetable segments that air on WNBC in New York City and WCAU in Philadelphia. Take a stab at this creamy pie using the Mediterranean staple as the star ingredient.


  • 1 pound broccoli rabe, cleaned
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • ½ pound sausage, no casing
  • 1 pound ricotta cheese (whole milk)
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup grated Romano or parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 frozen deep dish pie crust shells or 1 pie shell and 1 pie crust top
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Remove two pie shells from freezer. When able, remove one pie shell from its aluminum pan and place on wax paper. The second crust must remain in the pan. Sauté broccoli rabe with garlic and oil until tender. Strain the broccoli rabe and garlic mixture to remove the excess liquid. Chop the mixture finely, and move aside for later use. Cook the sausage meat and the diced onions until the mixture is fully cooked. Drain the sausage mixture of any excess liquid. Make sure the sausage and onion mixture is chopped, without any large pieces of meat. Add sausage mixture to the broccoli rabe mixture. Blend well. Next, add the ricotta, mozzarella, salt and the grated cheese. Add the beaten eggs. Mix the contents until well blended. Add entire mixture to the pie crust, and distribute evenly. Add flattened pie crust shell to the top. Cut a vent hole in the center of the pie. Pinch the edges of the two crusts together. Brush the top of the pie and the edges with a beaten egg yolk. Place pie on a cookie sheet and bake at 375° for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Let it sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Chef Bob Langkammerer at Stew Leonards’s in Paramus NJ

DIY With Stew Leonard’s // Avocados with Bruschetta

Since opening its first New Jersey location in September 2019, gourmet grocery chain Stew Leonard’s {700 Paramus Park, Paramus; 201.649.0888;} has been delighting their 30,000-plus customers with a vast array of wines, meats, fish, cheeses, freshly-baked goods, and, most notably, their large produce department! This springtime, you’ll love sinking your teeth into Chef Bob Langkammerer’s avocados with bruschetta. This antioxidant-packed snack is rich in avocados, tomatoes and onions — all of which you can grab at their store located next-door to the Paramus Park Mall.

Chef Bob Langkammerer

  • 24 avocado halves
  • 12 avocados, halved, nutted, scooped, lemon juice sprinkled on top
  • Bruschetta
  • 10- 12 ripe Italian plum tomatoes, small dice, drain slightly after cutting
  • 1 red onion, small dice,
  • 1 green pepper, small dice
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar, ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic, ¼ cup Chiffonade Basil
  • Pepper, salt to taste.

Wash all ingredients in cold water. Carefully core and deseed tomatoes and pepper, small dice. Peel and core red onion, small dice. Combine in bowl, mince garlic, chiffonade basil and combine with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This can be done a day ahead to allow flavors to marry. Cut avocados in half, de-nut, scoop, peel shell and drizzle with lemon juice. Layer in platter; fill each cavity with Bruschetta mixture and garnish with chiffonade of basil.

Jorge Taveras of the Market Basket

DIY With Market Basket // Bourbon Brown Sugar Glazed Ham

Jorge Taveras
Market Basket {813 Franklin Lakes Road, Franklin Lakes; 201.891.2000;} has been catering to Bergen County residents’ gourmet food needs for over 60 years. Since then, the family-run shop has transformed into a local gourmet market with a catering service, a “Gourmet-to-Go” section, freshly baked goods, imported cheeses, top quality meats, and much more.
The Franklin Lakes locale prepares fresh and creative quality meals and dishes for customers to order and carry out with them. On the menu this spring? Bourbon Brown Sugar Glazed Ham.


  • One, 8-10-pound precooked Market Basket Ham
  • ½ cup bourbon whiskey
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon dry mustard

First, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Next, place your ham on a tray into the oven fat-side up and let it bake for 90 minutes.
After the allotted time passes, mix the bourbon, brown sugar, and dry mustard in a small bowl to create a glaze. Then, brush the glaze to cover the ham. Finally, return the ham to the oven for an additional 20 minutes or until the sugar has melted.

Do It Yourself - Recipes from your favorite restaurants and gourmet food shops.

DIY With Chef Mike Cafasso // Blueberry Lemon Tart

Spring has sprung, and for chef Mike Cafasso, who helms the kitchen at Cafasso’s Fairway Market {1214 Anderson Avenue, Fort Lee;; 201.224.7900}, there’s no better way to enjoy the gorgeous weather than with a slice of fresh-baked blueberry lemon tart.

“It’s a delicious, light and fun spring dessert,” says Cafasso. “This recipe features a vibrant lemon curd layer followed by a perfectly-sweetened blueberry filling.”


  • ¼ cup lemon zest plus ½ cup juice (4 lemons)
  • 1 large egg plus 5 large yolks
  • 1/3 cup plus ¼ cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and chilled
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 9-inch tart crust, partially baked and cooled
  • 10 ounces (2 cups) blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and measure out 1 tablespoon lemon juice and set aside. Whisk remaining lemon juice, lemon zest, egg and yolks, 1/3 cup of sugar, and pinch of salt in a medium saucepan until smooth. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with rubber spatula, until mixture thickens slightly registers 165 degrees, about 5 minutes. Off heat, whisk in chilled butter until melted. Strain lemon curd through fine-mesh strainer into bowl, then gently stir in cream with rubber spatula. Pour warm lemon curd into cooled tart crust. Set tart on the baking sheet and bake until the filling is shiny and the center jiggles slightly when shaken, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Transfer tart with baking sheet to wire rack and let cool slightly. Meanwhile, process blueberries in a food processor or blender until smooth, about 2 minutes. Strain puree through clean fine-mesh strainer into a medium saucepan, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible (you should have about ¾ cup); discard solids. Whisk in remaining ¼ cup sugar and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Whisk cornstarch and water together in a small bowl, then whisk into strained blueberry mixture. Bring to simmer over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, and cook until thickened slightly and registers 170 degrees, about 4 minutes. Off heat, whisk in reserved 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Pour blueberry mixture evenly over cooled lemon filling. Tap pan lightly on counter to release any air bubbles, then refrigerate until blueberry mixture is set and shiny, about 2 hours.

Tart Dough Recipe


  • Butter, soft, 2 pounds
  • Sugar, 1 pound
  • Vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon
  • Eggs, eight ounces
  • Cake flour, sifted, 3 pounds

Cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed using a paddle attachment, scraping down the bowl periodically, until smooth and light in color. Add the eggs gradually, a few at a time, scraping down the bowl and blending until smooth after each addition. Add the flour all at once and mix on low speed until just blended. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Scale the dough as desired. Wrap the dough tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before rolling. (The dough can be held under refrigeration for frozen). Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Roll out dough on a floured surface and place into a 9-inch tart pan for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.