Menu Banner

Friday, March 1, 2019

Entrepreneur and Children’s Book Author Rana D’Orio Shares Her Entrepreneurial Career Path, Her Latest Book and Italian Food (Ep. 49)

This Week for Dinner Podcast Header for Episode #49 Interview with Rana DiOrio

In episode #49 of the This Week for Dinner Podcast I get the chance to speak with Rana DiOrio. Rana is an entreprenuer, author, mom to 3 and life learner. Rana has an interesting background. She started out as a corporate securities lawyer and took a winding road through a few endeavors, eventually matching her values with her career by creating a publishing company for really cool children’s books. She is a great example of a working mom who cooks for her kids all the time. (You’ll find out in the episode what her kids thought of the time she tried a meal delivery kit service.)

Cover of "What Does it Mean to Be American?"

Rana and I talk about how her new book What Does It Mean to Be American? came to be, and of course Rana shares with us one of her favorite recipes and a great kitchen tip. You can follow Rana on Twitter @ranadiorio and on Instagram @ranedear. In addition to Rana’s interview I also share this year’s first plant-based eating hack. Enjoy the episode!

Bowl of pasta topped with Italian sausage, peppers and onions in red sauce


Rana's Crock Pot Sausage & Peppers
Adapted from The Spruce Eats
  • 2 pounds sweet or hot Italian sausage
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, sliced into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can of crushed San Marzano tomatoes
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley leaves
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 4 fresh basil leaves OR 2 Trader Joe's frozen basil cubes
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • Additional ingredients for transforming into a Puttanesca sauce:
  • 1 cup red wine (whatever you're drinking with dinner that night!)
  • Olives, chopped or sliced (Rana prefers green Castelvetrano, but any olives will work)
  • Handful of sun-dried tomatoes
  • Red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
  1. Over medium heat in a heavy skillet, cook the sausage until browned, slipping occasionally during cooking time. Remove skillet from the heat and set aside.
  2. Lay half of the onions in the bottom of a 4-quart crockpot then top with half of the bell peppers. Add all of the sausages then do another layer of the onions and peppers along with the bay leaves and garlic.
  3. Add the diced crushed tomatoes, red wine, parsley, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper to the skillet and mix well. Pour the tomato mixture into the crockpot
  4. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours or until sausage is 165º F. Resist opening the lid until near the end of the cook time to check on the sausages.
  5. Once sausage is done, remove the bay leaves. Taste the sauce and add any additional spices to taste if needed.
  6. To adapt the above recipe to make a Puttanesca sauce:
  7. Once the sausage is done cooking, remove them from the slow cooker and slice into rounds.
  8. Add the additional 1 cup wine, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, red pepper flakes (if using) and the sliced sausages to the slow cooker.
  9. Simmer in the crockpot until you are ready to serve over the pasta of your choice.


It’s easy to listen to the show!

  • Via the web: Just click play below!
  • Via an app: Just search “This Week for Dinner Podcast” on your favorite podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Overcast and Spotify.

Other Stuff!


  1. 1
    Vicki Tunell


    We love Knuffle Bunny and Mo Willems too! Those books are just so great :). I’ve read Mo Willems books so many times to my little guy 🙂


Leave a comment