This is a cold (or room temperature) salad. It has a complex taste that actually taste better as you eat it. So many fresh ingredients and fresh citrus makes this perfect for any occasion.


  • 1 cup long grain wild rice
  • sea salt
  • 2 navel oranges
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoon raspberry or apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup seedless green grapes, cut in half
  • 1/2 cups pecans, chopped and toasted
  • 1/4K cup dried cranberries or golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 freshly ground black pepper
  • salt to taste

Place the wild rice in a medium pot with 4 cups of water and 2 teaspoons of salt and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for 50 to 60 minutes, until the rice is very tender. Drain well and place the rice back in the pot. Cover and allow to seam for 10 minutes.

While the rice is still warm, place it in a mixing bowl. Peel the oranges with a sharp knife, removing all the white pith. Cut between the membranes, cut the segments in half, then add the orange sections to the bowl. Add the olive oil, orange juice, vinegar, grapes, pecans, cranberries, scallions, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the pepper. Allow the rice salad to sit for 30 minutes for the flavors to blend. Serve room temperature or refrigerate.

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Now this is a showstopper! Definitely a dessert for your special company! Not only is it delicious, it’s beautiful with just a little creativity and some strawberries and blackberries.


  • 32 ounce ricotta cheese
  • zest from one orange (2 teaspoons)
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 18 graham crackers
  • 1 stick butter plus 2 tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons powder sugar for dusting
  • Optional for decoration: 6-8 strawberries, sliced thin lengthwise and 10 blackberries


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 10 inch springform pan with butter.

For graham cracker crust: Crush graham crackers in food processor until consistency of bread crumbs. Place crumbs in large bowl. Melt 1 stick of butter plus 2 tablespoons in the microwave. Pour butter into the graham cracker crumbs and stir well to combine.

Pour crumb mixture into the pregreased springform pan. Firmly press graham crackers into the bottom and along the sides of the spring form pan. Press down hard with the palm of your hands and fingers. Set aside.

Sift together flour and sugar in small mixing bowl. In another medium bowl, stir together ricotta cheese and orange zest. Slowly fold in flour mixture with spatula untill well blended and smooth.

Add eggs, one at a time, continuing to blend with spatula. Stir in vanilla extract.

Pour batter into spring form pan and gently smooth top with spatula. Bake for 60 minutes until cake is firm all the way to top center. Cool completely and refrigerate for 2-3 hours to set. Dust top of cake with powder sugar.

Optional: After cheesecake is cool, place 10 blackberries in the center of the cheesecake. Place sliced strawberries around the blackberries to form a “flower”. Refrigerate cheesecake.

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Ready for summer? Well here’s the dessert for you! Make it the day ahead and refrigerate, the next day you’ll enjoy a silky delicious cake!


  • 1 Package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon rum extract
  • 2 cups Pina Colada Drink mix (liquid-divided)
  • 1 package (3.4 oz.) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 container (8 oz.) frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 box (14.4 oz.) Honey Graham Crackers (will have some leftover)
  • 1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple, drained well
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut


(Use a 13 x 9 baking dish). In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and rum extract until smooth. Gradually beat in 1 cup Pina Colada Drink mix; beat on low speed until smooth. Fold in whipped topping.

Pour 1 cup Pina Colada Drink mix in a shallow dish. Quickly dip Graham Crackers in the liquid, allowing excess to drip off. Arrange the crackers in a single layer in the bottom of the baking dish. Break crackers as needed to fit. Top with about a third of the cream cheese mixture, spreading it around with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle a third of the pineapple, then a third of the coconut on top. Repeat layer exactly the same 2 more times. The third layer is done with the final amount of cream cheese mixture, scattered pineapple and coconut. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight or minimum of 4 hours. Keep refrigerated!

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A delicious way to serve salmon! You’re use to chicken piccata and veal piccata, why not try something a little different. Still the same piccata flavor you crave! Go ahead, enjoy!


  • 1 lb. angel hair pasta
  • 4 – 5 oz. skinless salmon fillets (wild salmon is best!)
  • 6 tablespoon butter, divided
  • 6 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • all purpose flour for dusting
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, divided
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup capers in brine, drained


Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add small handful of salt. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the box until al dente (cooks fast, approx. 2 min.). Drain the pasta. Keep the pot on the stove for later use. Set the pasta aside in a bowl.

Season the salmon with salt and pepper, then dust with lightly seasoned flour (salt & pepper for the season, mix well).

Add 1 tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. Heat on medium-high heat. Add the salmon to the skillet and fry, flip over in about 4 minutes, then fry for another 4 minutes, until golden on both sides and just cook inside. Transfer the salmon to a plate, tent with foil to keep warm. Keep the skillet for future use.

In the empty pasta pot, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter and the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil over low heat. Return the pasta to the pot, add 2 tablespoons of the parsley and toss well to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In the empty skillet, add the chicken broth, lemon juice, lemon zest, and capers to the skillet. Simmer over high heat, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the skillet, until the liquid is slightly thickened. 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter until emulsified. Stir in the reserved 2 tablespoons parsley (keep about 1 teaspoon for garnish) and season with salt and pepper.

Add the salmon to the skillet containing the sauce and turn the salmon to coat or spoon sauce over the salmon.

Divide the pasta among plates, top with the salmon and sauce (sprinkle some parsley for appearance) and serve right away. Serves 4.

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This makes a delicious spaghetti sauce and can be used with any type of spaghetti. The pork adds the perfect amount of pazazz to this hearty dish. It’s flavorful and filling. Hope you enjoy!


Volka Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 medium Vidalia onion
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
  • 6 oz. tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 3/4 cup half & half
  • 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 to 2 tsp salt (depending on taste)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tablespoon minced fresh basil


  • 1 lb. Ziti Rigati
  • 1 tablespoon salt


In a Dutch oven heat the olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté approximate 3 minutes. Add the ground pork and break up and sauté until cooked, approx. 5 minutes. Drain excess water and oil (you can blot with paper towels, move around with a spoon, then discard the paper towels). Add the garlic and cook about 1 minute.

Add crushed tomatoes and tomato paste, stir well, place water in the empty small tomato paste can and swirl around to capture all the paste in the can, then put the can of water in the pot. Simmer until heated through, about 3 minutes. Pour in the vodka, stir, and let it come to a simmer for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Make sure to keep the lid on because the sauce will splatter a lot).

Stir in the half & half and add shaved parmesan cheese, salt & pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir everything together and simmer until the cheese is all melted and smooth. Stir in minced fresh basil and let it cook for a minute. Set aside.

Cook the Ziti according to the directions on the box. After you drain the pasta, add 1/2 of the vodka sauce into the Ziti and stir gently to combine. Save the other half of the sauce.

Serve a good helping of the Ziti mixed with the Vodka sauce on a plate. Top with some of the reserved vodka sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve hot. Serves 4

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If you always have leftover rotisserie chicken, here’s the perfect “re-purposing” chicken dish for you! I make it in two aluminum square cake pans and freeze one! Makes a delicious lunch or dinner!


  • 10 soft taco shells
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese.
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 can diced green chilies (4 oz.) (Not hot)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use one 9 x 13 pan, or 2 square cake pans, lightly spray Pam on the pan.

Mix chicken and 1 cup cheese. Roll up the chicken mixture in the tortillas and place, bottom side down in the pan. (I put 5 rolls in 2 separate pans).

In a sauté pan, melt butter and stir in flour, cook for 1 minute. Add broth and whisk until smooth. Heat over medium heat until thick and bubbly (about 6 min.). Stir in sour cream and chilies. Take off the burner, you don’t want to curdled sour cream.

Pour sauce over the enchiladas and top with the remaining cheese. Bake 22 minutes, then turn on the broiler and broil for approx. 2-3 minutes. Keep a good eye on the dish, you just want to lightly brown the top. Serve immediately. Serves 5 (2 each)

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This is an old Italian recipe and I have to say, it’s scrumptious. I would say it’s “semi-homemade” and comes together to form a complex and absolutely delicious dessert. Serve it cold, out of the refrigerator, you can make it a day ahead and store in the refrigerator for any dinner party. Trust me on this one, it’s a winner!

Top layer, pudding & coolwhip


For bottom layer:

  • 1 Duncan Hines Marble Cake Mix.
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

For middle layer:

  • 2 lbs. ricotta cheese (32 ounces)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs

For top layer:

  • 1 small instant chocolate pudding
  • 1 cup milk
  • 8 oz. cool whip


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a 9 x 13 pan with Pam spray or a little butter and flour.

Make the Marble cake according to directions on the box. Pour cake mix into the prepare pan.

Mix ricotta cheese, vanilla, sugar and eggs in a bowl with a large spoon. Pour ricotta mixture on top of the Marble cake in the pan and spread around.

Bake in the preheated pan for 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Cool completely.

Mix the instant chocolate pudding, milk, and cool whip in another bowl with a whisk or large spoon. Once the cake is completely cool, spread on the top of the cake. Refrigerate for at lease an hour and serve from the pan. (Keep refrigerated, serves 12)

If you can’t find this at the grocery store, Amazon has it!
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This is a delicious way to prepare chicken! If you want white meat chicken, cook it a little longer, by about 10 minutes. This spice rub works with anything, the smoked paprika blends with the other spices to give a sweetness along with the savory. I make extra spice rub to always have on hand!

Since most of the grease drips to the bottom while cooking this is a healthier version of chicken thighs!

Mary’s Secret Spice Rub

  • 1 Tablespoon Himalayan Pink Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons Onion Powder
  • 3 Tablespoons Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 Tablespoon ground black pepper

Mix all the above ingredients in a bowl. Set aside

Crispy Chicken Thighs

  • 8 chicken thighs (skin and bone on)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pat chicken with paper towels, (you want to make it as dry as possible). Place chicken in large bowl and pour olive oil over the chicken. Mix with your hand to evenly spread the olive oil on chicken.

Sprinkle about 1/2 of the spice mixture over the chicken. Using your hands, make sure all the chicken is coated with the rub.

Place chicken on sheet pan with rack (keep chicken above drippings, it crisps better). When chicken is on the sheet pan, sprinkle a little more spice rub, pat it down with your fingers into the chicken so it won’t burn (You may have leftover spice rub, save it for future use).

Place in oven and cook for 20 minutes, skin side up. After 20 minutes, turn the chicken around and cook for another 20 minutes.

Raise oven temperature to 425 degrees, turn chicken again to skin side up and cook for another 20 minutes (if large chicken thighs and 15 minutes if small chicken thighs). Serve hot with your favorite sides!

Mary’s Secret Spice

Note: make extra spice rub and use it on chicken, steaks, hamburger, and vegetables, especially hand-cut oven fries (toss in olive oil, sprinkle rub and bake along side the chicken!)

Great for hostess gifts!!

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If you love artichokes like I do, this is the dish for you! It comes together quickly and has a distinct flavor. The chicken and potatoes are tender and pack a delightful punch. Good for weeknight dinners or a dinner party!


  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 4 chicken thighs with skin and bones
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 red-skinned potatoes, cut in quarters
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat the oil in large ovenproof fry pan over high heat. Sprinkle the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Fry the chicken in the pan until golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. When the chicken is browned, take it out of the pan and set aside in a dish.

Fry the potatoes in the same pot (add a little more olive oil if needed) and cook them until they are golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the wine and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the broth, oregano, and thyme. Return the chicken to the pan. Add the juice of 1/2 lemon. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil.

Cover the pot and place in the oven until the chicken cooks throughout, about 30 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter, arrange the potatoes around the chicken. Place the frying pan back on the stove and add the artichokes to the sauce in the pan. Simmer for about 3 minutes, add the butter and stir until combined, simmer about 4 minutes more. Taste the sauce and add more salt and pepper only if needed.

Place the artichokes around the platter then pour the sauce over the dish and serve. Serves 4

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This is a delicious, moist, and flavorful pound cake! Made without a mixer, just whisk and fold! Makes one layer of the perfect dessert. I chose to double the recipe and make small loafs for presents! This is definitely a keeper!


  • nonstick oil spray
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup ricotta
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 stick unsalted melted butter
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use a 9 inch cake pan sprayed with nonstick spray and lined with parchment paper.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl until well blended.

Whisk eggs, ricotta, and vanilla in another bowl until smooth; fold into dry ingredients just until blended. Then fold in butter, followed by 3/4 cup raspberries. take care not to crush berries. Scrape batter into prepared pan and scatter remaining 1/4 cup raspberries over top.

Bake cake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean (50-60 minutes. Let cool at lease 20 minutes before removing from pan.

(Note: I doubled the recipe and put it into disposable loaf pans, baked 60 minutes, let cool and wrapped for gifts (made 7 – 1 lb. loaves)

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  • 8-9 tomatoes if using smaller Campari tomatoes (less if vine ripe larger tomatoes)
  • 5-6 tomatoes—Heavenly Village Mariano (or cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup mozzarella, fresh, cut up in small squares
  • freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste
  • 1 puff pastry sheet


Slice the tomatoes in about 1/2 inch slices. Place slices on paper towels, single layer and sprinkle with salt and let sit at least 15 minutes.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Have a sheet pan with a silicone mat ready (works best). Mix the sea salt, vinegar, honey, thyme and olive oil in a small bowl and whisk to mix.

Lay the puff pastry on the mat and roll a little with roller or round glass. Make a small line with a knife around the edge of the pastry. Brush the pastry with the olive oil mixture. Blot the tomatoes with paper towels well. Place tomatoes on the pastry in rolls, filling most of the pastry, but leaving about 3/4 inch around the edge. Roll the edges up a little to make a rim. Brush tomatoes with olive oil mixture.

Sprinkle the pieces of mozzarella around the tomatoes, brush again with the olive oil mixture. Sprinkle with a little more salt and ground black pepper.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes, keep an eye on the crostata so it won’t burn. Take it out of the oven, plate, and serve warm! Serve it for lunch or cut smaller for appetizers.

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You can make this decadent desert with items you probably already have! I’ve elevated it with the addition of golden raisins and sliced almonds for crunch. It’s easy and really delicious enough for company!


  • 3/4 cup Jasmine rice
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup slice almonds
  • cinnamon for dusting


In a large saucepan bring water to a boil. Add rice and salt and return to a boil. Lower the burner to simmer, cover with lid and cook approximately 20 minutes (until water is absorbed.)

Increase heat to medium low and add milk. Cook until thick and creamy, stirring constantly, approximately 20 minutes. (Keep a good eye on it, because it can overflow). If it looks too thick after 20 minutes, add a touch more milk.

In a small bowl, whisk egg. Add 1 tablespoon of the hot rice mixture (to temper the eggs), whisking constantly. Repeat by adding another tablespoon of the hot rice mixture to the egg, constantly whisking. Repeat one more time with another tablespoon of the hot rice mixture, the egg mixture should be warmed.

On low heat, slowly add the egg mixture into the rice pudding, stirring constantly. Add the sugar and stir. Add the butter and vanilla extract, stir. Add the raisins and almonds and stir. Cook for about 2 minutes more, stirring a little. Take off the burner.

Use a large spoon and divide the rice pudding into individual ramekins, place a few sliced almonds in the middle and dust with cinnamon. Refrigerate for at lease 4 hours or overnight. Serve cold. 6 servings.

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Ready for spring and summer, this delicious No-Bake dessert is both simple and elegant. No heating up the kitchen since it does not need baking. You have to make it the day before serving, so it’s great for make-ahead dinner parties too!


  • 1 cup strawberry jam or preserves (no seeds).
  • 3/4 cup Prosecco or white wine
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese (8 oz. container)
  • 1/2 of 8 oz. cream cheese block
  • 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 pints of sliced strawberries
  • 28 lady fingers
  • 1 tub cool whip


Have a pyrex glass 11 by 8 casserole dish ready to use.

In a small bowl, combine strawberry preserves, wine or prosecco, and balsamic vinegar.  Whisk until combined.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine mascarpone cheese, cream cheese, cream, sugar, and vanilla.  Beat with an electric mixer or stand mixer on medium high speed for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until smooth and thicken.

Dip the lady fingers in the strawberry mixture to coat them (let them absorb some of the liquid).  Line the lady fingers in a single layer in the bottom of the 11 by 8 baking dish.  I used approx. 14 ladyfingers for each layer.  You will have to break a couple up to fit.  Use a spoon and spoon some of the strawberry liquid over the lady fingers on first layer. (just about 4 teaspoons).

Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers and then layer half of the sliced strawberries on the mascarpone mixture.

Repeat with the remaining lady fingers, making another layer. Next layer with the remaining mascarpone mixture.  Add a layer of cool whip on the top spreading it around equally.  Place the remaining strawberries on top.

Cover with cling wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight!

Serves 8-10

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A perfect flavorful dinner if you love orange marmalade as I do  Easy and no frying!  Serve with white rice (with the juice left in the pan) and a nice vegetable, you’ll be definitely pleased!9D13E0A1-411F-49FB-8F8C-4CF05E3AFB40



  • 1/2 cup orange marmalade
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoons each salt and pepper
  • 2 oranges, thinly sliced
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 large chicken breast, skin and bone-in, cut in half
  • 4 chicken thighs, skin and bone-in
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, more as needed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Optional:  white rice for serving (use juice from dish to top rice)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Make the glaze:  whisk together marmalade, vinegar, honey, chopped thyme, salt and pepper in a small bowl and set aside.

Arrange orange slices in a single layer in the bottom of a large, oven safe, lasagna pan.  Scatter garlic cloves, thyme and rosemary sprigs on top of the oranges.

Rub the front and back of chicken with olive oil.  Season both sides well with salt and pepper.  Arrange in dish, skin side up, on top of the oranges.

Bake for approx. 30-35 minutes, or until the chicken is beginning to brown.  Place about 1/2 of the marmalade mixture into another bowl (in order not to contaminate half).    Generously brush tops with about half of the marmalade mixture using a pastry brush.

Return to oven and bake for another 20 minutes or until skin is browned and internal temperature in the thickest part of the breast is 165 degrees.  Remove from oven and brush with the remaining marmalade glaze that hasn’t been used before.  Serves 4-6

(Great served with white rice, pour some of the juice over the chicken and rice when serving)

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This is so delicious and although there are different versions, after testing, I found this recipe to have the perfect blend of spices, heat, and all out deliciousness!  Go ahead, give it a try, what do you have to loose!F61B8D93-44FB-4D7A-AA7C-1BFA9D03A035



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3-4 large chicken breasts, skinless & boneless
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic – minced
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • fresh parsley for garnish

optional:  noodles or spaghetti of choice for serving


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large oven safe skillet, heat oil over medium high heat.  Season chicken with salt and pepper on front and back.  Sear chicken in oil about 4-5 minutes per side.  Transfer to plate and set aside.

Turn skillet to medium heat.  Add garlic to same skillet and sauté for 1 minute. Add the spinach and stir for 1 minute more.   Stir in thyme, red pepper flakes,  chicken broth, and heavy cream.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.  Stir in sun-dried tomatoes (make sure and drain the sun-dried tomatoes on paper towels to remove excess oil) and parmesan cheese.

Return chicken to skillet and spoon sauce all over the chicken breasts.  Bake until chicken is cooked through about 15-18 minutes (depending on size of the chicken breast).  Serve over noodles or spaghetti of choice.  Add some of the juice over the pasta.   Garnish with parsley and grated parmesan cheese.  Serves 4

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  • 1 Package Duncan Hines German Chocolate cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup white Rum
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • optional:  candied cherries and walnut halves for decoration


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup white rum
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour 10 inch Bundt pan.  Place chopped nuts in the bottom of the Bundt pan.

Mix the cake mix, eggs, oil, water, and rum in an electric mixer for 2 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

To make rum sauce:  melt butter, run, and sugar in small saucepan for about 2 minutes.

While cake is in the Bundt pan, make some holes with a large skewer stick and spoon some of the rum glaze around the cake.  (Don’t put too much, or it will get soggy, you might have extra)

Invert the cake onto a cake plate.  Using a pastry brush, brush the rum glaze all over the cake.  Top with alternating layers of cherries and walnuts.  Brush again with glaze.  Serves 12

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This is a rich, delicious pasta dish and will satisfy your tastebuds with the smoothness of the combined cheeses.  It’s very filling, but worth it, go ahead indulge!42102A48-E638-4F2F-9254-323B26E42BA3


  • 2 large skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut in half length wise making 4 pieces* Marinate
  • 1 lb. linguine
  • 2 cups reserved pasta water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package fresh baby spinach
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • lemon zest from one lemon
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1 cup finely shredded Parmesan, plus more for serving

*Marinate: 2 Tbs. olive oil, 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar, garlic salt, Italian seasoning, salt, and 9D929A22-BFC2-4A69-87BF-71051615343Epepper.  Cut the chicken breast in half lengthwise.  Sprinkle with the above seasonings, then put in plastic bag with the olive oil and vinegar and let marinate at lease 2 hours.


Grill marinated chicken on grill pan on stove (or outdoor grill).  Turning once until throughly cooked, set aside. (At least 5 minutes per side, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees)

Cook pasta according to the directions on the package (remember to boil the water, then add salt after it boils).  Reserve 2 cups pasta water before draining pasta.  Drain the water and return the pasta to the pot.  Set pot over medium-low heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, ricotta, 1/2 cup hot reserved pasta water and parmesan.  Toss to evenly coat.  Add more pasta water if desired to thin (it will be thick, so don’t hesitate to add the pasta water).  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook and toss about 2 minutes, until ricotta is heated through.  Toss in spinach.  Cut grilled chicken into bite size pieces and add to the pot.  Mix well and stir over low heat about 1 minute.  Serve warm topped with more parmesan cheese.

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  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon creole seasoning
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 oz. ) can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 lb. wild caught shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Optional:  1/2 to 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (to taste)
  • salt to taste


Heat the olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add the green pepper, onion and celery.  Cook approximately 5-7 minutes.  Decrease the heat to low, add garlic and creole seasoning, cook for 1 min. More.  Stir in Worcestershire sauce, stewed tomatoes, fire roasted tomatoes, tomato sauce and brown sugar.  Cover skilled and simmer for 20 minutes.  Take off the cover and add the shrimp.  Simmer for 2 minutes or until shrimp are opaque and cooked through.  Season with Tobasco Sauce to taste if you want it hotter!  Serve over white rice.  Serves 4

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CORNED BEEF BRISKET with Honey Mustard sauce & Instant Pot- CABBAGE, POTATOES, & BACON



  • 1 (3 TO 4 LB.) corned beef brisket, flat cut,  rinsed
  • 2 T pickling spice
  • 1 orange – cut in round slice
  • 2 large carrots, cut up
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • large oven bag


  • 1/2 cup brown sugar with enough honey mustard to make a glaze


Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Rinse meat.  Place brisket into a large oven bag in a large roasting pan (add 1 T flour to bottom of bag).  Sprinkle with pickling spice and salt & pepper on top of brisket.   Top brisket with cut orange & onion.  Place carrots and celery around the brisket.   Add 1/4 cup water.  Tie the bag and make 6 slits on top of bag.  Bake at 300 degrees for 5 hours.

Take meat out and gently scrape off the fat.  Discard everything else.  Put meat on a foil lined baking sheet.  Put the glaze on the meat and then place under the broiler until the glaze bubbles.   Transfer brisket to carving board,  tent loosely and rest for 20 minutes.  Slice brisket against grain into 1/2 in. thick slices.  Arrange on serving dish.




  • 1 small cabbage, cut into quarters
  • 1 small onion, cut in rings
  • 3 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 lb. small potatoes, washed
  • 1 bottle lager beer
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp. Pickling spice
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • *Optional, baby carrots

Place the cabbage in the bottom of the instant pot.  Top with onion, small potatoes, and bacon.  (If using baby carrots, add them now).   Add beer and water and pickling spice.  Salt & Pepper to taste, cook For 30 minutes under pressure.  Manual release.  Serve along side Corned Beef.

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  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided (plus more if needed)
  • 1 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 (14-oz.) cans cherry tomatoes, divided (such as Mutti; you can purchase on AC8DC103-B946-47BC-BBE3-12EB6108AAF7Amazon)
  • 1 bunch fresh basil roughly chopped
  • 1 -4 oz. box fresh mushrooms
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
  • 1 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, divided (more if needed)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups Panko seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
  • 4 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves, cut in half lengthwise (Makes 8 pieces), pounded to about 1/4 in. Thick
  • *optional, Angel Hair pasta cooked according to package directions.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In large Dutch oven, heat 2 tbsp. Oil.  Add chopped onion and garlic and cook about 4 minutes.  Add 2 cans of the cherry tomatoes with the liquid.  Strain the remaining 4 cans, then add to the pot.  Add 1 tsp. Italian Seasoning and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.  Using a wooden spoon or potato masher, break up the tomatoes.  Add the mushrooms.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Simmer for about 20-25 minutes.  Turn off the heat and add the basil.

Cut the 4 skinless boneless chicken breast in halves lengthwise making 8 pieces.  Place the pieces between plastic wrap and pound with a mallet until about 1/4 inches thick.  Salt and Pepper both sides.

In a shallow bowl or paper plate, whisk eggs, lightly add salt and pepper.  In another bowl or paper plate, combine breadcrumbs and 1/2 cup Parmesan, add small amount of salt and pepper and mix.   Place the chicken in egg mixture, then dredge in breadcrumb mixture, turning to coat.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 3 tbsp. Oil.  Working in batches, cook chicken about 2 1/2 minutes per side or until golden.  Transfer to a plate with paper towels to drain.

In a 13 1/2 by 10 inch baking dish, layer sauce, chicken, and a little more sauce on top.  Top with the remaining mozzarella and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.   Bake 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.  Serves 8.

*(serve over your favorite pasta cooked according to package directions.  I like Angel Hair, put a little sauce over the pasta with some cheese).

Side Note:  After you put sauce over the chicken, and  you want more sauce for the spaghetti,  you can add a jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce to what’s left in the Sauce pot to stretch out the amount of sauce available for the spaghetti.

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A perfect weekday dinner and very easy to put together!  Your entire family will be asking for more!  This is a hearty meal and will go a long way!  You must try this classic Baked Ziti dish!




  • 1 lb. ziti noodles
  • 2 jars of your favorite marinara sauce
  • 1 small container ricotta cheese (15 oz.)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4  cup fresh parsley
  • 1 egg slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Boil noodles according to instructions on box, making sure it’s Al dente.   Pour 1 cup of sauce in the bottoms of a 9 x 13 pan.

Mix mozzarella, ricotta, parsley, egg, oregano, pepper, garlic powder and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese in a large bowl.  When Ziti is done, drain and add it to the bowl and mix well.  Add 2 cups of spaghetti sauce into the bowl and mix.

Pour the mixture into the 9 x 13 pan and top with the rest of the sauce.  Sprinkle the top with some Parmesan cheese.  Bake in the oven for 45 minutes.  When serving, top with a little more sauce and cheese if desired. Serves 8BDD30183-254C-48E6-8B59-835D3FFAC655

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Nothing saids decedents like Strawberries & Nutella Crepes!  After trying and experimenting with different recipes, this one definitely was the winner.  It’s really simple and a lot of the ingredients you probably have on hand!  This will be a hit at any dinner party and is delicious!  Enjoy!41E55A99-76D5-433F-8C23-A863953C908924C14B83-4288-459A-B017-E654F8F69ABD

408B7716-BC1D-46C9-9134-26B6A2431609Ingredients for Crepe Batter:

  • 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Ingredients for Filling:

  • 1 Cup Nutella
  • 1 lb. strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • can of whipped cream

Optional:  Powder sugar for sprinkling


Crepes batter:  Mix the flour, sugar and baking powder together in a medium bowl and set aside.  Combine the milk, egg, and oil in a blender, food processor, or immersion blender until smooth.  Add the flour mixture.  Blend just until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl.  Strain the mixture through a large strainer into another bowl.  Let the batter rest in the refrigerator at lease for 30 minutes or up to overnight.  (cover with plastic wrap)  (NOTE:  IF YOU CHOOSE, YOU CAN JUST USE A WHISK TO MIX ALL THE INGREDIENTS TOGETHER, JUST MIX WELL AND STILL STRAIN!)

Make the crepes:  Heat a nonstick crepe pan or large nonstick fry pan over a medium heat. (Or use a crepe maker machine and follow the directions).  Spray the pan with cooking spray.  Ladle about 2 ounces of the crepe batter into the center of the pan and swirl.  When the center begins to set, flip with a spatula or wooden stick and continue cooking until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side.  Repeat with the remaining crepe batter (it will make 8 to 10 crepes).

Putting it together:  Place a single crepe on a plate.  Spread Nutella over one half of the crepe.  Arrange strawberry slices on top of the crepe over the Nutella.  Fold the crepe in half, then fold it one more time to form a triangle.  Top with more sliced strawberries.  Add a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle with some powder sugar.   Serve immediately.  Serves 8–10







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Chicken Marsala is a classic dish that never goes out of style.  It’s delicious for a weeknight meal, as well as for a dinner party.  Serve it along side some homemade mash potatoes and some roasted asparagus and you have a meal that will satisfy and impress your guest!0CDCBF18-29A2-46ED-91A1-26696197E218EE127586-2828-4B4E-AB7A-B70A0F19382D

  • 2 large chicken breast (skinless and boneless), cut in half lengthwise to make 4
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup flour for dredging (Sprinkled with salt & pepper) Plus 1 tsp. For thickening
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (divided)
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 8 oz. sliced mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup dry Marsala wine
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. Onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Place chicken cutlets between plastic wrap and pound until 1/3 inch thick.  Season with salt and pepper on both sides.  Dredge both sides in flour and shake off excess flour, then set aside.

Heat 3 Tbsp. olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat, add 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter.   Add chicken and cook for about 3 minutes on each side or until browned.  Remove chicken from pan, set aside and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil to the pan.  Add the mushrooms to the pan.  Sauté the mushrooms in the pan for about 5 minutes.  Stir in 1/2 tsp. Onion powder and 2 minced garlic cloves and sauté another 30 seconds.  Add Marsala wine, scraping the bottom.  Let the Marsala reduce about 4-5 minutes then add 3/4 cup chicken stock and while stirring add 1/2 cup heavy cream.  Lower the heat and reduce sauce for another 4 minutes until slightly thickened.  Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste.  (If needed:  Add 1 tsp. Of flour to further thicken the sauce.)

Return the chicken to the pan, turning to coat well.  Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Sprinkle with parsley and serve.  Serves 4

Optional:  Serve with homemade mash potatoes and pour some gravy over the chicken and mash potatoes.


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This is a dish from Northern Italy and is very easy to make, yet rich and delicious.  You can buy bulk Italian sausage and I suggest buying it at a Italian Market such as Mazzaro’s in St. Petersburg, FL.  If you only can find Italian sausage in casings, just remove the casings.  Grate your own Parmigiano Reggiano, it’s better than pre-grated.  This is a simple recipe, but you’ll get raves from your family or guest!  Enjoy with some Italian red wine!  Ciao!3473E4FA-0995-4A0C-806F-DDF69CA2D2C119F45795-BD27-4311-A7CC-0C87CE14E4D9



  • 1 package (16 oz.) rigatoni pasta cooked al dente
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage casings removed (buy bulk if available)
  • 8.5 oz.  heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. Saffron threads
  • 3 tbsp. Marsala (dry)
  • salt for pasta
  • pepper to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil as required


Place saffron threads in 2 tablespoons of hot water to soak.   Put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta.  Add salt once it starts to boil and bring to boil again.*

Meanwhile, drizzle olive oil in a fry pan or skillet on medium-high heat and brown the Italian sausage, breaking it up into chunks until well browned.  (Pat some of the excess oil up with clean paper towels, then discard the paper towel.)  Add the Marsala.  Let the alcohol evaporate about 1 minute and then add the cream and season with salt and pepper.  Continue cooking on a medium heat for about 4 minutes.  Add the saffron and water to the sauce, Stir and mix well.   Let it thicken, approximately 3 minutes.

*Cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the box.  When the pasta is ready, save 2 cups of the cooking water and drain the pasta.  Add the pasta to the pan along with the grated cheese.  Mix everything together well.  If the sauce seems dry, add some of the pasta cooking water little at a time.  Serve immediately with some more grated cheese.   Serves 4


Bulk Mild Italian Sausage

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This is a show stopper for sure and takes a little planning, but the results are worth it!  There’s no one recipe for this appetizer, use what ever you like.  Study the picture to get an idea of how to place the treats!

CEDED326-4C38-4496-BCA3-9499426E3DFF99D4E2B8-63F6-4766-A3F4-F4484C0A9ED2CF160616-8B13-407E-8547-023E3621B62D Instructions on making a CHRISTMAS TREE CHARCUTERIE: Use a styrofoam Christmas tree and using a glue gun, glue it to a plastic plate (one you can dispose of, I got this one at Publix for $2.99).  Then using the glue gun again, glue parchment paper around the cone to hide the white.

6519B988-3B84-46DA-9C85-E6B67E582B4CI had so much left over, that I made a tray of charcuterie to go along with the tree.  I used sharp cheddar, white cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses.  Just cut them into cubes.  Lay out all your different cheeses, meats, and olives and alternate placement based on color and size.   I brushed the finished tree with a little olive oil.  It’ll be a hit at any Christmas Party!

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We love these cookies at Christmas time, but they are delicious anytime of the year!  This makes enough to share (6 to 6 1/2 doz.), so go ahead, indulge and treat your friends!




  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 pound (16 oz.) ricotta cheese (whole milk, such as Galbani)
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 room temp. Large eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tsp. Salt

For the Icing:

  • 2 cups powder sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Christmas sprinkles for decorating
  • Zest of two lemons for decorating (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat sugar and butter until blended.  Increase speed to high; beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

At Medium speed, beat in ricotta, vanilla, lemon juice, and eggs until well combined.

Reduce speed to low and add flour, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest.  Beat until dough forms.  It will be sticky!

Use a one inch melon scooper  to scoop dough and then drop the dough onto large cookie sheet covered with a silicone mat or parchment paper.  Drop about 1 1/2  inches apart.

Bake about 15 minutes or until cookies are very lightly golden.  Cookies will be soft.  Take out of the oven and cool on cookie sheet about 15 minutes, then move to a cooling rack until cooled.  Repeat process until all cookies are baked.


In small bowl, stir powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth.  With small teaspoon, spread icing on cookies.  Use the back of the spoon to gently spread the icing.  Decorate with Christmas Sprinkles (add a few specs of lemon zest to each cookie at this time also, if you like). (Do not wait too long to add sprinkles, they will not stick, do it in batches).  Set cookies aside to allow icing to dry completely (about 2 hours).

(Store the cookies in an airtight container.  The cookies do not need to be refrigerated.  For best results frost them the night before serving.)

Makes 6-6 1/2 dozen.

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This is a classic dish, but it’s also so delicious!  It goes great with mash potatoes or dressing!  The lemony taste with the flour and egg breading makes each bite a delight.  It’s pretty simple so give it a try, you won’t regret it!



  • 4 skinless boneless chicken halves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. pepper
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp. Lemon zest
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • One whole lemon thinly sliced

Place chicken breast between 2 sheets of plastic wrap or inside a large baggy and gently pound chicken with flat side of a meat pounder or with a rolling pin until 1/4 inch thick (salt and pepper both sides).

Heat the oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until hot (not smoking).

Work in batches:  (Preparation)- Stir the flour, salt and black pepper in a plate or shallow bowl.  In another shallow bowl, crack 3 eggs and beat (put a little salt & pepper in the eggs too).    Dredge two pieces of chicken, one at a time, in the flour, shake off excess flour, then dredge the chicken in the egg mixture.  Place the piece of chicken in the frying pan.  Do the same with the other piece.  Fry the two pieces until lightly browned, then turn and brown the other side (about 4 minutes total).   Transfer to a plate and keep warm with some foil on top.  Now go back and dredge the other pieces in flour, then egg.  Then fry the other two pieces in the same manner.

After all the chicken is fried and nicely browned, clean the frying pan with paper towels.  Heat the butter over low heat until melted.  Add wine, broth, and lemon juice.  Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until sauce is reduced, about 6 minutes. Stir in the parsley.  Add the chicken back into the pan and spoon the chicken with the sauce.  Top with lemon slices for appearance!  Enjoy! (Serves 4)

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This is such a simple, yet elegant meal and it makes any occasion special.  When ordering a beef tenderloin from a butcher ask for the middle of the center cut of the tenderloin, have them trim and truss the tenderloin so that it is as even as can be.

TIPS FOR MAKE-AHEAD BEEF TENDERLOIN:  Making beef tenderloin ahead of time and reheating it puts you at risk of over cooking.  However, you can make your tenderloin ahead, up to two days before,  and serve cold or let it sit out for 1-2 hours until it’s room temperature.  A great serving suggestion is to slice your tenderloin as thin as you can and place it on a large serving platter.  Accompany it with toasted baguette slices, arugula, Parmesan cheese savings and creamy horseradish sauce for dressing.



  • 4-5 lb. Prime beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh, coarsely ground pepper

*Take out the tenderloin approx. 45 minutes before roasting.  

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Have a roasting pan fitted with a rack ready.  Add freshly ground pepper to a small bowl, add the salt and stir to mix.  Set aside until ready to use.

Pat the tenderloin dry with a paper towel.  Spread 2 tablespoons of the butter all over the beef with your hands.  Sprinkle the beef all over with the salt and pepper mixture. Place the tenderloin on the roasting rack and roast for 40 minutes.    

At this point, begin checking the internal temperature using an instant read thermometer.  Insert the thermometer into the center-most part of the tenderloin.  For perfect medium-rare, pull the tenderloin once the thermometer reads 130 degrees.  If your tenderloin has yet to reach the desired temperature, return it to the oven and check it every 6-10 minutes thereafter.

Once the tenderloin has the reached desire internal temperature, transfer to a carving board, tent with aluminum foil, and allow to rest 15-20 minutes.  Remove any string used for trussing.  Slice, serve, and enjoy!  UNLESS YOU MAKE IT AHEAD AND REFRIGERATE IT FOR A DAY OR TWO!   (serves 8 to 12 as entree or up to 20 cut thinly)

 (Option for presentation:  place some thyme twigs or rosemary twigs for garnish around and on top of the tenderloin)

Degree of Doneness:4BE94ECD-73E3-45C0-B3EF-9D24EEF25DA6

Rare: 125 degrees       Medium-Rare: 135 degrees       Medium: 145 degrees                  Medium Well: 150 degrees              Well Done: 160 degrees  

CREAMY HORSERADISH SAUCE: ( Recipe for Horseradish sauce serves 6–you can double if necessary)

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 tsp. Lemon zest
  • squeeze of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon chives, finely diced

In a small mixing bowl, stir all of the ingredients together.  Serve right away or cover and   place in the refrigerator until ready to use.  Can be refrigerate for about 2 weeks.




  • 1 (12 oz.) can frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 1 (12 oz.) can frozen limeade concentrate
  • 2 bottles white wine, chilled
  • 2 bottles Prosecco, chilled
  • 2 liter sparkling water
  • 1 lemon, sliced for garnish
  • 1 container blue berries, for garnish
  • 1 cup fresh mint, garnish
  • 1 cup raspberries or cranberries, for garnish

In large punch bowl, combine the frozen lemonades, white wine, ProSecco, and sparkling water.  Stir, then add the garnishes.   Serve cold!  Enjoy


CLICK ON 10 Make-Ahead Tips for parties


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  • 2 cups regular sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, soft
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped (such as Gala or Granny Smith)
  • Optional:  walnuts for decoration and whipped topping for serving.


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Use pam spray for baking on a 9 inch Bundt pan and set aside.  With a mixer on low speed, cream together the sugar and butter.  Once well blended, add the applesauce, vanilla, and eggs (one egg at a time).  Mix until combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on slow with your mixer until well combined.

Fold in the apples by hand and then transfer the mixture to the 9 inch Bundt pan.  (The batter will be thick!).   Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and set on cooling rack.  Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes, and then remove from the pan.

Time to Glaze:     Combine the powdered sugar, milk and butter in a small bowl and whisk together until well blended.  Drizzle over the cake while it is still warm.

(Optional:  make a ring of walnuts around the top of the cake for decoration and top with a dollop of whipped cream when serving)

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Time for some real comfort food!  Here’s a recipe that will fit the bill!  A little splash of wine turns this gravy to something special and can easily be used at a Thanksgiving meal!  Go ahead, get comfortable!




  • 2 lb. 90% lean ground beef
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/3 cup Italian panko bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 1/2 tsp. whole milk
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. oil to sauté


  • 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 8 oz. mushrooms sliced (1 package)
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup watr
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup white wine (such as a Pino or Chardonnay)
  • 1/2 Tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. ketchup
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper


In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the Salisbury Steak patties (EXCEPT THE OIL).  Mix until well incorporated (I use my clean hands).  Shape into 6 oval or round patties, flattening the center for even thickness throughout.

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a non-stick pan, once hot, add patties to the pan and fry approximately 5 minutes on each side until the patties are nice and brown.  Once cooked, remove from pan and set aside.

In the same pan, saute the onion (under the Mushroom Gravy ingredient list) for a few minutes, then add the garlic and butter and mix.

Add the mushrooms and saute until browned, mixing frequently.  Season with salt and pepper.

In another bowl, whisk together 2 Tbsp. flour, 1 1/2 Cups broth, 1/2 Cup water, 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire, 1/2 tsp. dijon, 2 tsp. ketchup, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper and 1/4 cup white wine (all the remaining ingredients under the Mushroom Gravy ingredient list).  Pour into the mushrooms.  Cook on medium until the gravy thickens.

Add the patties back into the pan and completely cover with the gravy and mushrooms.  Cook on low medium just until the patties are heated through.

Serve over mash potatoes and a side of peas.  Serves 6.

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Want a simple, delicious, yet elegant appetizer, look no more!  Follow these simple directions and arrange your appetizer on a round tray.  I used single serving spoons for an extra nice presentation.


  • 8-10 oz. smoked salmon
  • package of Boursin (garlic and herb) cream cheese
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped chives
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 English cucumber cut in 1/2 inch rounds
  • small cherry tomatoes
  • decorative toothpicks


Cut the smoked salmon into the number of pieces depending on how many spoons and cucumber rounds you want to fix.  Arrange the spoons on a round plate or tray, put a flat smaller plate in the center (to hold the cucumbers).  Place a piece of smoked salmon on the spoons and on the cucumber.

Divide the Boursin cheese between the smoked salmon spoons and cucumber.  Place approx. 1/2 tsp. of the Boursin cheese on top of the smoked salmon.  For the cucumbers only, use a decorative toothpick and a cherry tomato and place it on top of the salmon, cream cheese into the cucumber.

Sprinkle the chopped red onion, chives and lemon zest on top of the appetizers.  Garnish with a little cracked black pepper.  Serves 10 as an appetizer.

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This is my interpretation of a delicious and attractive charcuterie board.  It doesn’t need a lot of planning, but just some creativity.  You can use some items you may have in stock.  Several basics are 3 to 4 types of cheeses, I used a Wisconsin yellow cheddar, Brie, Manchego, and amish white cheddar.    It helps to cut up the cheeses (except the Brie),  in order to facilitate eating.

Select the appropriate size cheese board.  Set the cheese first on the board (spread them out in a creative way, yet keeping the same cheese together).  Then place two to three small containers on the board (I used 3).  In these containers I put gherkins (small pickles), mixed nuts, and roasted pecans.  You can put olives, or other snack foods as you prefer.

Next I used three types of Italian meets, prosciutto, sweet sopressata, and dry coppa.  You can use a variety of meets, such as pepperoni.  I purchased a package of Charcuterie meats at Sam’s Club.  Lay the prosciutto in a pile, no need to fold.  The round meats fold in half, then fold again to make it look like a triangle, then arrange the meets around the board tucked between the containers and cheeses.

Next add the fruits and give it some color.  I used red grapes (cut the grapes in batches of 5 or 6 grapes), cherry tomatoes, medjool dates, mission figs (cut in half), and small strawberries. (Of course wash and dry all fruit).  Place these fruits around the board where there is still openings.

I also used a small honey jar just above the brie which contained a honey stick, just incase someone wanted honey drizzled on their Brie.

Put some crackers along side the honey jar, above the Brie.

Now fill in any empty spots with some sort of nuts.  The object is to fill the entire board with edible food.  A little parsley or fresh rosemary tucked in at the edges gives it a fresh look.

Use the picture above to actually see the placement of the foods.  By now you should have an impressive and delicious Charcuterie board that you will be proud to serve your friends or take to a party!  Enjoy!

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This is an easy and simple dish that comes together quickly.  It will delight Chinese food lovers and is great for leftovers too.  Hope you enjoy!


  • 1 LB. flank or skirt steak:  Sliced very thin into bite-sized strips
  • 4 T olive oil (divided)
  • 1 lb. broccoli florets (about 6 cups):  cut up into smaller pieces
  • 2 T sesame seeds

(Stir-Fry Sauce ingredients:)

  • 1 tsp. fresh ginger: grated
  • 2 tsp. garlic: grated (approx. 3 cloves)
  • 1/2 Cup hot water
  • 6 T soy sauce
  • 3 T packed light brown sugar
  • 1  1/2 T corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 T sesame oil


NOTE:  Start cooking white rice first so it’s ready when the stir fry is done.  Cover and freeze steak 30 minutes for easier slicing.

Combine all stir fry sauce ingredients in a bowl, whisk well to dissolve the sugar and set aside.

Place a large skillet over medium heat and add 2 T oil.  Add broccoli florets and saute 4-5 minutes, partially covered with lid, stirring several times until broccoli is bright green and crisp-tender then remove from pan and set aside. (If you prefer softer broccoli, add 2 T water before covering with the lid and it will steam cook the broccoli.)

Increase heat to medium hight head and add 2 T oil.  Add beef in a single layer and saute 2 minutes per side, just until cooked through.  Cook in two patches in order not to crowd the pan.

Put all meat back into the pan, reduce heat to medium low and add the sauce.  Simmer 3-4 minutes, it will thicken.  Add broccoli and stir to combine.  Stir in 1-2 T water to thin the sauce if desired.  Add the sesame seeds and stir to blend.    Serve over white rice.  Delicious!  Serves 4


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This recipe is one of my family’s favorite and is a special dish for any occasion.  Tender chicken breast, salty prosciutto and flavorful sage make a mouth watering combination.  I enjoy it served with fettuccini , but you can just serve it along side a salad, you’ll love the flavors! (Serves 4)


  • 2 skinless, boneless large chicken breast (cut each breast in half long way, seasoned with salt and pepper and pounded)
  • 4 oz. Prosciutto (thinly sliced)
  • 1 shallot (diced)                                                                      
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup Pino Grigio (or other dry white wine)
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 2 cups flour (seasoned with salt and pepper)
  • 2 oz. olive oil for frying
  • toothpicks for securing sage and prosciutto for chicken
  • parsley for garnish (optional)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Begin with slicing the two chicken breast (long way) in half, making four separate pieces.  Place each piece, one at a time, into a plastic bag and pound with a mallet to tenderize and flatten them to the same thickness so they cook evenly and in a shorter time.

Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breast.  Layer each chicken breast with two to three slices of prosciutto.  Top off with four sage leaves.  Use toothpicks to sew in the sage leaves and to hold in the prosciutto so that they don’t fall off when cooking.  You can use two toothpicks per chicken breast (two sage leaves per toothpick)

Coat each side of the chicken breasts with flour.  (The easiest way is to put the flour in a paper plate or bowl, add some salt and pepper, and dredge the chicken in the flour).  Set aside.

Drizzle about four tablespoons of olive oil into a large, oven safe frying pan, set temperature to medium low.  Add in the diced shallot and fry for about a minute.   Begin to add in the chicken breast, starting with sage side down.  Add the remaining three pieces of chicken breast.   Raise the heat to medium setting and add in four tablespoons of butter.  Cook for about 3 minutes or until the sage side is golden in color.

Flip onto the other side and add the wine.  Cook for about two minutes to allow the alcohol to evaporate and to allow the wine flavor to infuse into the chicken.  Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a boil over medium/low flame.  Once boiling, place the pan into the oven and cook for about eight to ten minutes.

Remove from the oven.  Serve over your favorite spaghetti or along side your preferred side dish.  MAKE SURE TO REMOVE THE TOOTHPICKS!  Pour some of the saltimbocca gravy over the chicken and spaghetti (sprinkle with parsley for garnish-Optional)  and enjoy!



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All I can say is this is delicious!  The flavors of the creamy sauce will delight your palette and please even the most finicky eater.  It’s loaded with a healthy dose of spinach, but you don’t have to tell your kids!  Serve it over fettuccine for the perfect dinner that would be a hit at your next dinner party!1116FA7E-42CD-4849-90CC-31A2E8F79456



  • 2-4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 Cup flour                                                                              
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breast
  • salt and ground pepper (to taste)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • dash red pepper flakes
  • dash of curry powder
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 5 oz. package baby spinach
  • 3 oz. package sun-dried tomatoes                                                                    
  • fettuccini for serving (follow package directions for pasta)


Place flour in a plate or bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then mix.  Sprinkle each side of the chicken breast with salt and freshly ground pepper, and a small sprinkle of curry powder.  Dredge the both sides of the chicken in the seasoned flour,  shake off any excess flower and place the chicken breast on a plate and set aside.   Heat the olive oil in a skillet on medium-high heat.  In patches of 3, fry the chicken approximately 5 minutes per side, just until browned and no longer pink in the center.  The timing depends on the thickness of the chicken breast.  Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.

If the skillet is dry, add a tiny bit more olive oil.  Add the garlic and shallot and cook for about 1 minute, just until fragrant.  Add chicken broth and scrape browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.

Add cream, Italian seasoning, dash of red pepper flakes,  and Parmesan cheese.  Cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens.

Stir in spinach and sun-dried tomatoes and simmer for 1-2 minutes, until spinach wilts.  (Taste with a spoon and adjust salt and pepper to taste)

Add chicken back to the skillet and spoon a bit of sauce over each piece, simmer on low for 5 minutes.  Serve with pasta.  (Spoon pan juices with spinach and sun-dried tomatoes over the chicken and pasta.). Serves 6

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fullsizeoutput_aa1dINGREDIENTS: (Rum Cake) (Serves 8-10)

  • 1 (15.25 oz.) yellow cake mix (I like Duncan Hines)
  • 1 (3.4 oz.) pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup rum (use any brand, but it should be white rum)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups chopped pecans


  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup rum
  • pinch of salt

(items needed:  Pam Spray, standard 10-cup bundt pan)

Optional:  Whipped Cream for serving


Position rack in center of oven, preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Coat your bundt pan with baking spray (Or wipe with oil and dust with flour),  add a small circle of chopped pecans around the bottom of the bundt pan set aside.

Add yellow cake mix, vanilla pudding mix, 1/2 C cold water, 1/2 C oil, and 1/2 C rum and 4 large eggs into mixing bowl.  Mix on low speed with electric mixer for about 2 minutes, fold in 2 cups chopped pecans.  Pour into prepared pan.  Lightly tap pan on counter to remove excess air bubbles.  Bake 55-60 minutes or until cake pulls away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes our clean.

Meanwhile, prepare glaze.  Melt 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter in heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in 1 Cup sugar and 1/4 C water.  Bring to a boil, cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until sugar has melted and mixture is syrupy.  Remove from heat; carefully stir in 1/2 cup rum (mixture will bubble at first) and a pinch of salt.  Set aside.

When cake is done, cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes.  Invert onto a serving plate.  Prick top and sides all over with a toothpick.  Slowly drizzle some of the glaze all over the sides and top of cake.  Allow to absorb before drizzling with more glaze (you do not have to use all the reserved glaze!).  Cool cake completely.  Serve with whipped cream if desired.

Totally optional:  Chocolate glaze drip:   Melt one cup of chocolate chips in a bowl in the microwave in 20 second intervals. Attempt to stir after each time. Chocolate can be melted but still hold it’s shape. Once it is smooth you can try drizzling with the end of a knife or a spoon, (mix with a bit of melted butter to make it more drippy if needed).

 This cake is delicious with or with this drizzle,  it’s your choice!  Enjoy!






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Ever wonder what to do with that left over rotisserie chicken, well, here’s a way to stretch it out and repurpose it for dinner the next night!  It’s delicious and is a complete meal:


  • 8 Oz. Corkscrew or similar shaped pasta (cooked as directed on package)
  • 3/4 cup Italian-style salad dressing
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 T dijon mustard
  • 2 cups chopped cooked rotisserie chicken
  • 4 slices crispy cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1 cup cubed cheddar cheese or Muenster cheese
  • 1 cup cubed Feta cheese
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped green or red bell pepper
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 avocado-peeled, pitted and chopped


Bring a large to of lightly salted water to a boil.  Cook pasta in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until cooked through. (Follow package directions).  Drain and rinse under cold water.

Whisk Italian-style dressing, dijon, and mayonnaise together in a large bowl.  Stir in pasta, chicken, bacon, cheeses, celery, bell pepper, shallot, cherry tomatoes, and avocado into the dressing until evenly coated.

Keep refrigerated, store in refrigerator, serves 6.

OPTIONAL:  add 3/4 cup chopped walnuts!

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This is one of those meals that’s both hearty and nutritious.  If you love to cook, as I do, you’ll enjoy making this for your family.  It’s definitely a full meal and will feed a lot of people.  Serve it with crusty bread and top it with a good amount of grated Parmesan-reggiano cheese!IMG_1894


  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 4 oz. diced pancetta
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. dry basil
  • 1 tsp. dry oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 2 cans 15 oz. each tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1 can 10 oz. Rotel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies
  • 2 -32 oz. chicken broth
  • 1 (15 oz.) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz.) can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups ditalini pasta

Optional:  Parmesan reggiano graded cheese on top when serving, also crusty bread on the side.


Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat, crumble in ground beef and cook, stirring occasional until cooked through.  Drain fat from the beef then transfer to a plate and set aside.

Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil in the same pot.  Add Pancetta and saute for 2 minutes, add onions, carrots, and celery and saute until tender, around 6 minutes.  Add garlic and saute 1 minute longer.

Add chicken broth, tomato sauce, tomato paste, Rotel diced tomatoes, sugar, basil, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper.  Add set-aside cooked ground beef.

Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low, cover with lid and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally until veggies are soft, about 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare ditalini pasta according to directions on package, cooking to al dente.

Add cooked and drained pasta to soup* along with kidney beans and great northern beans.  Thin with water or broth if desired.

Allow to cook 1 minute longer.

Serve warm with grated Parmesan Reggiano on top and a side of crusty bread.

*If you do not plan on eating all of the soup right away, I recommend adding the pasta to individual servings.  The pasta gets soggy and absorbs too much broth if left in soup.

Serves 8-10




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This is one of those cakes you make when you are having a dinner party!  It looks so impressive and it’s so delicious.  You can make it the day ahead and refrigerate it and it’s even better the next day!

  • 663373DF-3E29-4C46-8559-CB8FD8FD401D1 Package French vanilla or white cake mix (regular size, make according to package directions, usually calls for vegetable oil, water and eggs)


  • 1 carton (15 oz.) ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 C confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 ounces semisweet miniature chocolate chips
  • Optional (1 T Malibu Coconut rum)

Whipped Cream Frosting:

  • 2 C reg. whipping cream (1 pt. is 2 cups)
  • 3 T confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Chocolate Ganache:

  • 1 C dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 C whipping cream

Optional for Garnish

  • 1 bottle candied cherries
  • 1 C chopped walnuts or pecans
  • whole store-bought cannoli for the top


Prepare and bake the cake mix according to package directions, using two greased and floured 8 inch round baking pans.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

In a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon and extracts mix until well blended; stir in chocolate chips. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Beat the whipping cream on high speed in bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form.  Beat in sugar and vanilla.  Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Make Ganache:  In a microwave safe bowl, add chocolate chips and whipping cream.  Microwave on HIGH for 1 min. and 10 seconds.  Whisk together until completely combined.  Set aside on counter to cool and make sure it cools completely before dripping on the cake. (Store any unused ganache in refrigerator.)

After cake is completely cooled, cut each cake in half down the middle with a large serrated knife.  Place first cake layer on a serving plate, spread with about 3/4 C of the ricotta filling, place another layer of cake, spread with about 3/4 C of the ricotta filling, place 3rd layer and spread the remaining filling. Top with last layer of cake.fullsizeoutput_aadf


Frost top and sides of cake with whipped cream frosting.  Spread nuts on top of cake.  Use a spoon, drip chocolate ganache around the edge of the cake and let it run down the sides.  Place candied cherries around the top of the cake.  Place the whole store-bought cannoli on top of the cake in the center.  Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve.

Yield 12 servings

Note: I found this handy filled pastry bag, so easy to use and it helps keep the filling from coming out, just squeeze it around each layer of cake and put the filling inside of it!

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This is a easy, delicious meal that’s good enough for company!  I have to give credit to my friend, Frankie, who gave me the recipe.  It’s packed full of flavor and goes perfect with Jasmine rice.  You can make the sauce ahead, peel and devein your shrimp and refrigerate the shrimp until ready to use.  Leave the cooked sauce on the stove and at the last minute add the shrimp and cilantro.  It takes less than 2-4 minutes for the shrimp to cook (depending on the size), then serve your dish!  Delicious!!

  • 1 3/4 or 2 lbs. Large or Extra Large shrimp, shelled and deveined (Key West Pinks Preferred)
  • Olive oil-enough to cover pan (approx. 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and peppar to taste
  • 4-5 scallions, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned and cut in half
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes, (14.5 oz), drained well
  • juice of one lime
  • 1/4 C cilantro, chopped
  • 1 can coconut milk (14 oz.)


Heat the red pepper flakes in the olive oil, add garlic, scallions, red peppers, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Saute until tender on med.-high heat for approx. 4 minutes.  Add lime juice, coconut milk, and petite diced tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  *Add shrimp and cilantro and cook until shrimp turn pink, approx. 2 to 4 minutes depending on the size of the shrimp.  Taste the sauce and add salt & pepper to your taste.  Serve over Jasmine rice.

*Note:  If making ahead, do not add the shrimp at this time.  Leave the shrimp in the refrigerator until ready to serve and add at the last minute along with the cilantro! Great for a dinner party!


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Here’s your EASY Memorial Day, Summer, no bake dessert that will surely please all palates and ages!  Light and fresh and chilled! You can even make it the day ahead!  Go ahead, permission to indulge!! (Note:  If you just want delicious Ambrosia Fruit Salad, stop the recipe as noted and do not buy the Angel Food Cake!)

Ingredients: (Serves 8-10)

  • 16 oz. frozen whipped cream, thawed (such as Cool Whip)
  • 2- 5.3 oz. vanilla flavor Greek yogurt
  • 23.5 oz. canned or jarred mandarin oranges, well drained (24 segments set aside for garnish)
  • 1 C crushed pineapple, well drained
  • 16 oz. jar maraschino cherries, well drained (14 held aside for garnish)
  • 2 C green seedless grapes, halved
  • 2 C shredded coconut
  • 2 C mini marshmallows
  • 1 C walnuts, chopped
  • 1 small can pineapple rings (for garnish-optional)
  • 1 prepared, store bought Angel Food Cake


Stir together whipped cream and Greek yogurt in a large bowl.

Add coconut and marshmallows and stir until completely combined.

Fold in oranges, pineapple, grapes, cherries, and walnuts (except the 14 cherries and 24 orange segments you separated).

(NOTE:  If you just want delicious Ambrosia Fruit Salad, you can stop here and refrigerate at least 4 hours for plain Ambrosia!)

Take the prepared Angel Food Cake out of the container and cut it up in large chunks.  Have your Trifle bowl ready!

Layer as follows:  one layer of Ambrosia, spread around, one layer of Angel Food Cake, then another layer of Ambrosia, another layer of cake, and top of last layer of Ambrosia.  (Each layer should be thick).

Smooth out the top and decorate with the cherries, mandarin orange slices and pineapple ring as shown in the picture.

Let sit covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator a minimum of 4 hours, but you could leave overnight!

(Note: you might have a little leftover cake and pineapple, just use at your discretion for another time!)


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One Dish Meal! The sweetest of the carrots adds just the right flavor to this simple, yet hardy meal.  This dish also gets it’s classic richness from the ground pork.  So delicious, even as leftovers! INGREDIENTS: (Serves 6)

  • 1 lb. good ground pork
  • 1 lb. favorite spaghetti (I used thin: Cooked according to directions)
  • 2 cans 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 2 large carrots (peeled and cut into small chunks)
  • 2 cloves garlic (rough chopped)
  • 1 large shallot (large dice)
  • 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

In a large, high-sided pan (or pot), heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high until hot.  Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high (for spaghetti).

Add the garlic, carrot and shallot; season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring frequently, 4 to 6 minutes, or until slightly softened.

Add the ground pork, season with salt and pepper.  Cook, frequently breaking the meat apart with a spoon, 6 to 8 minutes, or until browned and cooked through.

To the pan, add the tomato sauce and 1/2 Cup of water: season with salt and pepper and Italian seasoning.  Cook, stirring occasionally and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, 6 to 8 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.  Turn off the heat.

While the sauce is cooking, add the spaghetti to the pot of boiling water.  Cook 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente (following instructions on the box).  Reserve 1/2 Cup of spaghetti cooking water, drain thoroughly.

Transfer the cooked spaghetti to the pan of sauce.  Cook on medium, stirring vigorously to coat the spaghetti, 1 to 2 minutes, or until thoroughly combined.  (If the sauce seems dry, gradually add the reserved cooking water to achieve your desired consistency.  Turn off the heat.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Top with some parmesan cheese if desired and serve along with your favorite salad!

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This is a summer treat with all the fresh strawberries and blueberries available.  It’s a “no bake” icebox cake that is simply delicious!


  • 1 box graham crackers
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened (make sure very soft)
  • 2 (3.4 oz.) packages Vanilla Instant Pudding
  • 2 1/2 C cold milk
  • 12 oz. Cool Whip
  • 3 C fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1 1/2 C fresh blueberries
  • 2 oz. white chocolate chips for drizzle (optional)
  • 1/2 C sliced almonds for garnish (optional)


Spread a thin layer of Cool Whip in a 9 x 13  just to coat the bottom, set aside.  Beat cream cheese and dry pudding mixes in large bowl with electric mixer until blended.  Gradually beat in milk.  Gently stir in Cool Whip.  Layer 5 graham crackers across the length of the pan, breaking the crackers as needed to fit the entire pan.  Spread a layer of pudding mixture over the grahams and top with a layer of blueberries and sliced strawberries.  Place graham crackers on top of berries, then pudding mixture, then layer of berries again.  Repeat the graham-pudding-berries layers 1 more time (3 times total) and you should reach the top of the pan.  Refrigerate for at lease 4 hours or overnight.  The longer the better!

When ready to serve, melt white chocolate chips in a bowl as directed on package and drizzle over dessert.  You can use a spoon to drizzle or you can put it into a small zip top bag and snip off the corner for an easy piping bag.  Sprinkle some toasted almonds on top.  Serve on a plate or in a dessert bowl.  serves 6

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  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 4 extra-large egg yolks
  • 1/2 C sugar, plus 1 T for each serving
  • 3 C heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 T orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier)
  • 1 vanilla bean, cut in half and scraped
  • Optional:  Whipped cream, sprig of mint,  and strawberry for garnish


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Place the egg, egg yolks, and 1/2 C of sugar in a mixer bowl.  Mix together on low speed with the mixer until combined.  Meanwhile, scald the cream in a small saucepan until it’s very hot, but not boiling.  With the mixer on low, slowly add the cream to the eggs, tempering it.  Keep blending on low and add the vanilla extract, the scrapings of the vanilla bean,  and orange liqueur and then pour into 6 ramekins until almost full.

Place the ramekins in a baking pan and carefully pour boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the custards are set when gently shaken.  Remove the custards from the water bath and cool to room temperature.  Refrigerate until firm.

Before serving, bread 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly on the top of each ramekin and spread evenly with the back of a spoon or your fingers.  Heat with a kitchen blowtorch until sugar caramelizes evenly.  Allow to sit at room temperature for a minute until the caramelized sugar hardens.

Optional:  Top with a dollop of whipped cream, sprig of mint,  and a sliced strawberry.

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INGREDIENTS:  (Serves 6)

  • 6-8 Slices thick bacon
  • 1/4 C dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 C Sake
  • 1/2 C Mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 2 T miso paste
  • 3 –8 oz. bags baby brussel spouts, cut off root end and cut in half


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Dip the bacon in brown sugar.  Place bacon in pan and bake for about 20 minutes, until nice and browned.  When cooled, cut into large pieces, set aside.


Combine sake, mirin, and sugar in a pan and bring to a boil to burn off alcohol (lower heat and simmer about 5 minutes).  Add miso paste and blend with a whisk in the pot until well blended.


Quickly fry sprouts in a fryer at 375 degrees (if possible, use frying thermometer to get to correct temperature).  Transfer to sauce pan and add candied bacon and miso sauce.  Saute until sprouts are caramelized.

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BEEF WELLINGTON w/ Spinach, Artichoke & Mushrooms

fullsizeoutput_981efullsizeoutput_981fimg_0296Heat oven to 425 degrees, Bake 20-25 minutes. Rest 10 minutes.  Serves 6

  • 6 Premium filet mignon (cut 1 1/2 in.)
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 (10 oz.) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 3/4 C frozen or canned artichoke heart quarters, thawed if frozen, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 4 oz. size gourmet blend mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 C (about 3 oz.) garlic and herb cheese spread, such as Boursin
  • 1/2 C gated Parmesan
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 T water
  • 4 sheets frozen puff pastry (from a 7 oz. box, thawed
  • all purpose flour for rolling pastry
  • Optional:  flaky sea salt for sprinkling

Season the beef all over with 1/2 tsp. salt and a generous grinding of black pepper.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil.  Sear the beef on all sides until well browned, about 5 min. total.  Let cool, then refrigerate until cold, at least one hour, up to overnight (covered in plastic, and placed on paper towels to drain).    I prefer a cast iron skillet for searing!

Meanwhile, make the filling.  Place the spinach in a clean kitchen towel or paper towels and wring out as much liquid as possible.  Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium head.  Add the spinach, artichokes, garlic, mushrooms and 1/4 tsp salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is dry and no liquid remains in the skillet, about 4 minutes.  Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a food processor and let cook to room temperature.

Add the Boursin spread and Parmesan to the cooked mixture and process to a paste.  Refrigerate the filling until you are ready to assemble the beef. (Can make the day before and refrigerate).


Remove the beef from the refrigerator.  Lightly dust a work surface with flour and roll out 1 sheet of puff pastry.  Cut in a 7 by 7 square.  Repeat with our sheets of puff pastry until you get 6 – 7 by 7 squares.  You might have to blend two cut pieces together.  Beat together 1 egg and 2 T water.

Spread about one tablespoon of the spinach/mushroom mixture on top of each filet, pressing to flatten.  Place one filet, mushroom side down, in the center of a puff pastry square.  Using a pastry brush or your finger, paint the inside edges of the pastry with egg wash.  Fold the pastry over the filet as thought wrapping a package and press the edges to seal.  Place the packages seam-side down on the prepared baking sheet.  Brush the egg wash over the tops and sides of each package, sprinkle with finishing salt if desired,  and bake until the pastry is golden brown and an instant read thermometer registers 140 degrees F for medium rare, about 20 minutes.   (You can prepare the packages and place in the refrigerator a few hours in advance, take them out and let come to room temperature 1 prior to baking)

Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.


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I am obsessed with my new method of cooking!  Sous Vide style!  After seeing a lot of chefs use their Sous Vide machines for superb dishes, I started my research for the home cook.   Sous Vide is a method of cooking in which food is sealed in a vacuum-sealed plastic pouch then placed in a water bath in a temperature controlled environment for longer than normal cooking times at an accurately regulated temperature much lower than normally used for cooking.  The intent is to cook the item evenly, ensuring that the inside is properly cooked, without overcooking the outside, and retain moisture.

This Sous Vide machine by Joule is my choice.  It fits in either a large pot or you can get the plastic container and both are filled with water.  The Sous Vide machine is placed in the water and you set the temperature according to the dish.  The app from Joule is excellent and takes you step by step.  You need to put the food in an airtight bag along with the seasonings.  I’ve already cooked a prime rib and chicken breast!

It’s pretty easy, and cooks at a low temperature for different lengths of time depending on the dish.  You have to pre-heat the water and the app will alert you when the water is at the correct temperature.  It’s ingenious!

My Sous Vide by Joule (Purchased from Amazon.com). img_0846This is what it looks like with the prime rib in the water container. img_0865

PRIME RIB with herb butter sauce:

  • 3 to 4 lb. prime rib
  • stick of butter
  • two sprigs of fresh rosemary, thyme, & sage (you can use any variation of herbs)
  • salt & pepper
  • mixture of garlic salt, garlic powder, & prime rib rub (again, use any variety)
  • horseradish sauce (optional-on the side)

Bring the butter to room temperature.  Dice fresh rosemary, thyme & sage (without stems).  Add to the butter and mix.  Place the prime rib in a large freezer style zip lock bag or in a food storage bag.   Add generous amount of salt and pepper to the rib.  Sprinkle with garlic salt, garlic powder, & prime rib rub (any variation will do).  Add lots of the herb butter to the rib and spread with your fingers all over.  (Try not to get any of the butter on the top of the inside of the bag if you are going to use a food saver machine).   After the prime rib is covered in the butter mixture, you can use your food saver machine to vacuum the air out and seal the bag.   (If using just a freezer zip-lock bag, make sure you get the air out when putting it into the water bath, then clip the top to the side of the container).

Drop in heated water according to the machine’s recommendation.  My temperature was 136 degrees, and according to the size, I cooked it for 4 hours.  This will vary depending on the side and the extend of doneness you want on your prime rib or if it’s fresh or frozen.  The app has it all for you.   Your Iphone will tell you when it’s done, it even tells you on your Apple watch!


Apple Watch Alert!

The final step is to Sear the meat.  There are different methods and they all work well.  You can sear before you place the meat in the bag or you can sear it afterwards.  Here are the 3 methods:

  1. Sear on top of stove in hot pan with oil & butter
  2. Sear on top shelf of oven under the broiler
  3. Use a chef’s butane cooking torch

For this meat, I used the cooking torch:fullsizeoutput_95d4

I liked it because it’s just an easier clean-up.  But you have to be careful with this tool and not catch anything else on fire! 🙂

The prime rib was delicious and really very easy to prepare once you have all the right tools.  I’ll be experimenting and cooking lots of proteins with this method, my next one will be lobsters and shrimp!



  • 3 skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • season salt & pepper
  • sprigs of sage, rosemary, & thyme
  • 3 T butter
  • 3 circles of cut fresh lemon

Place chicken breast in food saver bag.  Season with season salt & pepper.  Put a tablespoon of butter on each breast.  Put a slice of lemon on each breast.  Add the sprigs of sage, rosemary, & thyme.  Seal the bag and cook according to Joule’s instructions in the water bath.   I like the chicken done well, so the temperature I used was 158 degrees for 2 hours.    The water will pre-heat then tell you when to put the food in.  It will alert you when the food is ready.  One great thing is that you can actually leave the food in the water for an extra two hours and it won’t overcook!

I browned the chicken in a hot pan with 1 tablespoon of butter and some olive oil, just 2 minutes per side.  Delicious!!

Posted in CHICKEN, ENTREES | Leave a comment


This recipe makes two meatloaves.  It freezes well and you might as well make two because you will dirty almost the same amount of pans!  The sweetness of the barbecue sauce adds a great flavor, along with the moistness of the roasted peppers!  Use Lean hamburger meat to make this a healthy meatloaf as well!  If you want only one meatloaf, just cut the recipe in half!  This is truly a “Comfort” food!img_1010

  • 3 lbs. lean ground beef
  • 1 sleeve saltines (crushed in the food processor)
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 3/4 C milk
  • 3/4 C Heinz BBQ sauce Kansas City style-Sweet & Smoky
  • 1 C chopped onions
  • 1 C chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 T olive oil for frying
  • 12 oz. jar Roasted Peppers, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder


  • 1 C Heinz BBQ sauce Kansas City style-Sweet & Smoky
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 C Ketchup
  • 1 T apricot jelly


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Have ready two 5 x 9 loaf pans, sprayed with cooking spray, set aside.   Cut onion and bell pepper into small dice, sauté in frying pan in 2 T of olive oil until softened, about 7 min.  Cut Roasted Peppers into dice size.

In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, crushed crackers, eggs, milk, BBQ sauce, saute’ onion & bell pepper, roasted pepper, pepper, & garlic powder.  Mix together with your hands until thoroughly combined.

Pour the mixture into two separate prepared pans and spread evenly.  Lightly brush the tops of the loaves with the glaze.  Place into the oven for 1 1/2 hours.  Halfway through the cooking, brush more of the glaze on the loaves.   Let meatloaves sit for 15 minutes before slicing.  Refrigerate leftovers  Freeze one for future meals or share with a friend!

Directions for Glaze:

Mix BBQ sauce, Ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, & jelly, combined until mixed thoroughly.  (Any leftover glaze can be use for dipping!)img_1011Processed with Snapseed.

Posted in ENTREES | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments


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Key Lime and Coconut Impossible Pie

Processed with Snapseed.

Has a “Cheese Cake” consistency!

It doesn’t get any easier than this, yet it’s so delicious!  The sweetened coconut with the tang of the key limes gives this pie a great twist!  You don’t even need to take out your mixer, this can be hand whisked, go ahead, give it a try!

  • 1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk (Not evaporated milk)
  • 1 C water
  • 1/2 C key lime juice
  • 1/2 C Bisquick baking mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 C butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 (14oz. bag) flaked sweet shredded coconut

Optional:  whipped cream, Key lime slices, & sliced almonds for decorations (place whip cream around the pie, sprinkle almonds on top, slice key limes thinly, then in half and decorate around the inside as pictured above.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place all the ingredients in a large bowl except coconut.  Whisk with a hand whisk for about 2 minutes, until well blended.  Add coconut and whisk again to blend.  Pour mixture into a 9 inch pie pan and baked for 50-55 min., or until golden brown and knife inserted in the center comes out clean!  Cool on a rack, then refrigerate.  Can serve with dollop of whipped cream if desired.   Serves 6 to 8

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This is a side dish that goes great with ham, pork chops, chicken, salmon or turkey! Simple to make and is a mouthwatering dish. It can be served as a side or as a dessert, especially along side a scope of vanilla ice cream!


  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 (20 oz.) can pineapple tidbits, drained (both pineapples in it’s own juice)
  • 1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple drained well with paper towels
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1 cup shredded white cheddar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 40-50 Ritz crackers crushed


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 1 1/2 quart baking dish.

Whisk together flour and sugar. Stir in pineapple and cheddar cheeses. Spoon the contents into a prepared casserole dish.

Place the Ritz crackers in a large plastic bag and crush with a mallet. Combine the melted butter in the same plastic bag with the crushed crackers and massage in order to mix. Sprinkle on the top of the dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cracker crumbs are golden brown and the casserole is heated through. Serve promptly. 8 servings.

Posted in Sides & Misc. | 2 Comments