It’s all about the sauce! Sauce is the BEST way to add extra flavor to ANY dish! I use pineapple jam, but have also used apricot pineapple, tart cherry, peach and even fig. When you add your favorite jam to a QUALITY balsamic vinegar and FRESH herbs the flavors mingle with the pan drippings and caramelized onions so that the flavors explode into the PERFECT sauce.


12 ounces Yukon gold potatoes, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 Red Onion, halved – one half sliced thin, the other half diced
2 tablespoons FRESH thyme leaves
1 LARGE Lemon, juiced
2 boneless, skinless chicken steaks
4 tablespoons WONDRA flour
2 tablespoons QUALITY Balsamic Vinegar
3 tablespoons Pineapple jam
1/3-1/2 cup homemade chicken stock
2 cups halved and trimmed small BRUSSELS SPROUTS
1 + 1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 + 1 tablespoon butter
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

  • Preheat oven to 450°.
  • Toss potato pieces and Brussels sprouts
  • Dice potatoes into ½-inch pieces; toss on a baking sheet with a drizzle of oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Roast on top rack, tossing halfway through, until browned and tender, 20-25 minutes.
  • Pat chicken dry with paper towels.
  • Generously season all over with FRESH ground salt and pepper.
  • Dredge in WONDRA and and shake off excess.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add chicken and cook until browned and cooked through, 3-5 minutes per side.
  • Transfer to a cutting board and set aside to rest.
  • Add the remaining oil to the pan oil in pan.
  • Add the onion slices and thyme leaves, cooking 2-3 minutes until softened.
  • Whisk vinegar, lemon juice and jam together.
  • Add jam mixture to pan and simmer 2-3 minutes until syrupy.
  • Stir in stock and simmer 2-3 minutes until thick and glossy.
  • Remove pan from heat and stir in remaining butter until melted.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Thinly slice chicken crosswise if you’d like.
  • Divide chicken, potatoes, and green beans between plates.
  • Drizzle to your heart’s content over the chicken and or potatoes and Brussels sprouts. ENJOY every bite.
  • Serve with lemon wedges on the side if desired.


I’m trying to clean up some old recipe posts. This was originally posted on March 24, 2010 and again on November 4, 2010. I then posted it for the Magazine Monday meme on March 24, 2011. I’m now changing it to a current date so I can update it. It was originally done tutorial style, but I was never happy with the pictures so am updating it a bit.

Magazine Mondays was hosted by Ivonne over at Cream Puffs in Venice.  She HAD a great blog with some great recipes, but has since deleted it I guess. I really intended to stick with this recipe as it was originally written, really I did! But, as I read it more closely I felt some changes coming on. You know that feeling you get when you realize hubby won’t like ingredient 5 or your son would hate ingredient x, etc… The more I messed with the recipe the further it got from what they intended.

So here is their recipe as written:

8 ounces cream cheese
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 pound cooked medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined
2 – 6 ounce cans crab meat, drained and flaked
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup cooked rice, prepared
4 1/2 ounce jar sliced mushrooms, drained
1 teaspoon garlic salt
3/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup crushed butter-flavored crackers
  • In a small saucepan, cook and stir the cream cheese and 2 tablespoons butter over low heat until melted and smooth. Set aside.
  • In a large skillet, saute the onion, celery and green pepper in remaining butter until tender.
  • Stir in the shrimp, crab, soup, rice, mushrooms, garlic salt, pepper sauce, cayenne and cream cheese mixture.
  • Transfer to a greased 2 quart baking dish.
  • Combine crackers crumbs and cheese. Sprinkle over top.
  • Bake, uncovered 25 minutes or until bubbly.

and here is the new recipe as made and enjoyed and savored as the plates were licked clean!

SEAFOOD CASSEROLE EXTRAODINAIRE inspired by Taste of Home’s Blend in the Bayou
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 large bunch green onions, chopped

4 large mushrooms, chopped2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green or red pepper, cleaned of ribs and seeds, diced

1 – 8 ounce package crab meat, chopped & flaked
2 – 6 ounce cans white albacore tuna, drained and flaked
1 can cream of celery soup
3/4 cup cooked rice, prepared
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 + teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
3/4 cup shredded cheddar/jack cheese
1/2 sleeve crushed butter-flavored crackers (I used Keebler herb and butter)
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • In a small saucepan, cook and stir the cream cheese, soup and 2 tablespoons butter over low heat until melted and smooth. Set aside.
  • In a large skillet, saute the onion, mushrooms and garlic in remaining 1 tablespoon butter until tender.
  • Stir in the tuna, crab, soup, rice, mushrooms, salt, pepper sauce, chili powder and cream cheese mixture.
  • Transfer to a greased 2 quart baking dish.
  • Sprinkle crackers over top.
  • Bake, uncovered 25 minutes or until bubbly.
  • Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake 5 minutes more.


These super simple and oh-so-scrumptious ‘cupcakes’ are quick and easy, but look and taste like they took you all day!! You can make the glaze as thick or thin as you like to change your look. I was trying for a new Easter recipe and I was looking for a new version of a hot cross bun 😀

Yields 24-26 cupcakes


1 1/2 cups ginger snap FINELY ground crumbs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon QUALITY ground cinnamon

  • Preheat oven to 325°.
  • Line two regular sized muffin tins with cupcake liners.
  • In a small bowl, mix together cookie crumbs, melted butter, sugar and cinnamon.
  • Pour 1 tablespoon of graham cracker mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner.
  • Using a juice glass, press crumbs into an even packed layer.
  • Bake for 5 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let rest while you make the filling.

32 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 LARGE eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

  • Beat cream cheese until fluffy.
  • Gradually add in sugar and mix until smooth.
  • Add eggs, one at a time.
  • Add vanilla and salt, mixing to combine.
  • Pour 3 1/2 tablespoons of the cheesecake filling into each cupcake liner.
  • Tap muffin tins on the counter to bring the bubbles up to the top and pop them with a toothpick.
  • Bake cheesecakes for 22 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  • Transfer to a wire rack to cool to room temperature.

8 ounces SMUCKERS tart cherry jam (or jam/preserves of choice)

1 cup powdered sugar
2-4 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract

  • Place 2 teaspoons of jam on top of each cheesecake where a little dip forms.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla until smooth. Vanilla glaze will be a little on the thick side, but should still drizzle off a spoon. Add more heavy cream as needed to reach your desired consistency.
  • Drizzle over cheesecake tops.

  • Chill for 2 to 4 hours.
  • Remove from liners and enjoy!



Simple ingredients make an elegant looking side dish for any picnic or BBQ. This is the perfect pasta salad for a quick bite or pick me up!

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes

1 pound penne pasta (or large pasta shape of choice – cavatappi works well too), prepared al dente per package directions in salted water, drained WELL
1/2 cup basil pesto
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes drained and chopped
1/2 cup FRESH grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup micro greens of choice
1/4 cup diced red pepper
FRESH salt and pepper, to taste

  • Whisk together the pesto and vinegar.
  • Toss pasta with pesto mix.

  • Add sun-dried tomatoes tossing to combine well.
  • Fold in micro greens, diced red pepper and Parmesan cheese. 
Chill in fridge until ready to eat.

NOTE: This makes a full meal just by adding some chopped salami, pepperoni or rotisserie chicken pieces.



Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 20 minutes Total Time 30 minutes

1 pound penne pasta (or large pasta shape of choice – cavatappi works well too), prepared al dente per package directions in salted water, drained WELL
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 cup Caesar dressing (you choose)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 LARGE lemon, juiced
2 cups micro greens of choice
1 cup container grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
1/2 cup FINELY shredded QUALITY Parmesan cheese
2 cups chicken grilled, diced or shredded (I use rotisserie chicken breast pieces)

  • Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  • Add sea salt and pasta then stir to prevent sticking.
  • Return water to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and cook pasta according to directions on package until tender but still slightly firm.
  • Drain then immediately rinse under cold water to cool pasta and stop cooking.
  • Set aside to drain completely.
  • Using a very large bowl, add Caesar dressing, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder and lemon juice then stir to combine.
  • Add chopped Romaine, grape tomatoes, Parmesan, black pepper and well-drained pasta then stir until ingredients are well coated.
  • Add diced or shredded chicken then toss to distribute chicken evenly through salad.
  • Season to taste with salt and additional black pepper if desired.
  • Serve immediately or cover and chill until ready to serve.



I remembered a target commercial from a few decades ago that featured Betty White making Gingerbread men so thought this was a good day for this recipe in honor of her would be 100th birthday. I even found a youtube of the old commercial.

I have been trying to recreate my grandmother’s gingerbread recipe for years. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to have been written down anywhere and she is no longer with us so I cannot even try to coax it out of her 🙁

Her recipe was super moist, spicy with complex flavors. Each time I try a new recipe that sounds like it might come close I am sorely disappointed time after time. And then I ran across Jane’s recipe from The Heritage Cook. It didn’t sound right, but it sure looked right! So, I decided to give it a try and WHOA with a couple tweaks it’s so darn close that I’m calling it a day on my search.

It was the black pepper that didn’t sound right, but who am I to say that grams didn’t use black pepper? I know she didn’t use fresh ginger, but she may have compensated with a much larger amount of ground ginger.

This REALLY is NOT a timid gingerbread. It is EXTREMELY bold and FULL of bold flavor. This is really NOT like most gingerbread that you remember, but is spicy, bold and flavorful. The taste will linger on your tongue and that’s a good thing. This recipe is PERFECT for the holidays, but truly wonderful year round.

1 cup unsalted butter
½ cup water
¾ cup mild unsulphured molasses (NOT Blackstrap)
¾ cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup  or QUALITY flavorful honey or Agave Nectar (see note)
1 cup PACKED dark brown sugar
3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 ½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 ½ teaspoon QUALITY ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
3 LARGE eggs, at room temperature
½ cup WHOLE milk
2 packed tablespoons FRESH peeled and grated ginger

  • Combine the butter, water, molasses, honey and brown sugar in a medium saucepan over low heat stirring frequently until the butter is melted and the ingredients are smoothly incorporated. Remove from the heat and pour into a large aluminum bowl as an aluminum bowl will cool much quicker than those made of other materials.
  • Set aside and cool to lukewarm. If you are in a hurry you can cool down the bowl by placing it in a cool water bath.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • Lightly grease a muffin tin and set aside. Bundt and loaf pans also work well with this recipe.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice and cloves.
  • When the molasses mixture has cooled to lukewarm, add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Add the milk and stir to combine.
  • With a wooden spoon fold in the dry ingredients gradually. Gingerbread is like brownies, you don’t want to over mix it.
  • Stir in the grated ginger.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake in the center of the oven for 45 minutes – 1 hour, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when touched and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. If making a bundt or loaf pan bake time will be 1 – 1 1/4 hours. If the top is browning too quickly, tent with a piece of foil.
  • Cool for 10-20 minutes in the pan set on a wire rack, then invert onto the wire rack and cool completely.
  • Store in the refrigerator to keep it fresh. Bring to to room temperature before serving.
  • Serve with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream if desired. A dollop of whipped cream will temper the spiciness a lot.


  • Lyle’s Golden Syrup has a delicate butterscotch flavor and it allows the other flavors to shine through. It is a byproduct of refining sugar cane and you can use it in place of corn syrup, maple syrup, or honey. A company that follows fair trade practices and has a low carbon footprint, Lyles has created a product to be proud of.
  • There are several types of molasses available on the market and using one over another can drastically change the flavor of your baked goods. Unsulphured molasses is the highest quality, made from sun-ripened sugar cane and is from the first boiling in sugar processing while sulphured molasses is made from unripe sugar cane, treated with sulphur fumes, and is from the second boiling. It has a darker color and stronger flavor. The strongest form is called Blackstrap and is the most bitter. Whenever a recipe calls for a specific type of molasses, the balance will be off if you use a different kind.

On a side note Betty White was a fabulous dancer and while I believe she had a stunt double for parts of the season 3 dance scene that starts around the 5 minute mark in this clip, I do remember hearing that she still danced several hours a day well into her 60’s.



Yukon Gold potatoes plus a couple sweet potatoes mixed with QUALITY FLAVORFUL  cheese, and lots of FRESH herbs come together to make a show stopping delicious side dish perfect for the holidays – any holiday, or Sunday family gathering meal!

SERVES 8-10      PREP TIME 20 mins     BAKE TIME 50-60 minutes

2 small sweet potatoes
8 small Yukon gold potatoes
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon FRESH dried parsley
1 teaspoon FRESH thyme
1/2 teaspoon FRESH ground sage
1 teaspoon FRESH chopped rosemary
8 ounces (2 cups grated) QUALITY Gruyère OR Fontina cheese
1/2 cup thinly sliced Vidalia onion, chopped
1/2 cup whole milk or half-and-half
1/2 cup chicken broth

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Spray baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Peel potatoes.
  • Using a mandolin or vegetable slicer, cut potatoes into VERY thin slices.
  • In a large bowl, gently toss potatoes with salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley, thyme, sage, rosemary, cheese, and onion, until everything is evenly mixed. Be careful not to break the thin potato slices.
  • Working with a small handful of potatoes at a time, gently line up coated slices in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or 2-quart baking dish.
  • Whisk together the milk and broth. Pour over and around potatoes.
  • Cover pan with foil and seal around edges.
  • Bake 50 minutes.
  • Remove foil. Continue to bake 15-20 minutes more until potatoes are tender and golden. Test the potatoes with a thin knife to see if they are tender throughout.
  • Cool slightly, but serve hot.


Recently Sandra over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom mentioned she was cooking her Dad’s Favorite Chicken, a recipe handed down from her grandmother, great grandmother for dinner one night. You can find her recipe here. As I was reading her recipe I realized that everyone’s grandmother must have a similar recipe. My Gram’s recipe was used primarily at the end of the week to use up things from the veggie bin and such and she used dried herbs. I’ve freshened it up over the years with FRESH. Sandra’s recipe is made with Portuguese fries, but mine is made with either mashed potatoes, pasta or crusty fried potatoes.


2 LARGE skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into small bite size chunks
1/3 cup WONDRA flour , seasoned to taste

1 LARGE bunch green onions, THINLY sliced
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
2 LARGE carrots, halved and sliced in half moons
1 tablespoon FRESH thyme leaves
1/4 cup chopped FRESH Italian leaf Parsley

1/2 teaspoon smokey paprika
FRESH ground sea salt and tri-color pepper, to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup homemade bone broth
1 tablespoon
avocado oil
1 tablespoon butter

  • Melt avocado oil and butter in saute pan.
  • Add carrots and saute 2-3 minutes.
  • Add onions and tomatoes, cooking 2-3 minutes more until onion is translucent. 
  • Add seasoned WONDRA flour to a paper bag or large ziploc bag. Add chicken pieces shaking to coat. Shake off any excess flour.
  • Arrange veggies around the edges and add in chicken pieces, thyme, paprika, minced garlic, salt and pepper, searing chicken pieces for a few minutes. The dredged chicken pieces will help with your gravy as they cook.
  • Add in bone broth, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Check frequently to make sure you still have cooking liquid – add broth as necessary to keep everything moist and have a good amount of gravy.
  • Serve over mashed potatoes, rice, noodles or fried potatoes.


This recipe is really versatile!  You can make it like plain old oatmeal cookies or you can roll it our and use cookie cutters at Christmas time, glaze them and decorate with sanding sugar!  Today’s picture is a “June” version.  I’ll try and get a picture next Christmas to add to this post.

1 cup butter, softened
1 LARGE egg
1 teaspoon QUALITY vanilla extract
2 1/4 quick cooking oats
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon QUALITY cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup small chopped walnuts’
3/4 cup PACKED brown sugar
1/2 cup FINE sugar
1/2 cup chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and oats.
  • Beat together the butter, sugar and egg until fluffy.
  • Add vanilla.
  • Gradually add the sifted dry mixture into the egg mixture, blending well.
  • Add nuts and chocolate chips.
  • Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.
  • Bake 10-11 minutes.
  • Cool.


2 EXTRA LARGE red or orange peppers, halved
1 pound ground beef
2 shallots, diced SMALL
2 cloves garlic, minced
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons Garden Gourmet Italian herbs
1 1/2 – 2 cups marinara sauce
2 cups prepared dilitani or small shell pasta
4 slices mozzarella cheese

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Coat baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Halve peppers tip to root. Clean out seeds and ribs.
  • Brown ground beef and onion together. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drain off grease returning meat to pan.
  • Add garlic, Italian herbs and marinara sauce, simmering 5-10 minutes.
  • Stuff pepper halves with meat mixture.
  • Layer remaining meat mixture into the baking dish.
  • Arrange peppers on top of meat mixture in baking dish.
  • Top each pepper with mozzarella cheese.
  • Coat one side of a piece of foil with non-stick cooking spray. Cover baking dish.
  • Bake 35-40 minutes until tender and hot. Remove foil during the last 10 minutes.

NOTE: This prepares well in advance of baking making it a great weeknight meal.


BRAISED LAMB SHANKS inspired by and adapted from Darryl’s Corner Bar in Boston
Easy to prepare with a strong molasses flavor yet superbly sophisticated and unforgettably delicious, while the braising of the lamb shanks mellows out the complex flavors and will win you many praises at the dinner table!

4-6 large lamb shanks or shoulder
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 shallots, THINLY sliced
2 large carrots, FINELY diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup dry red wine
1 cup HOMEMADE or QUALITY beef broth

2 cups HOMEMADE or QUALITY chicken broth plus more as needed to keep lamb shanks immersed
1 LARGE sprig FRESH rosemary
6 sprigs FRESH thyme
3 FRESH bay leaves
1 tablespoon ground Porcini mushrooms** (OPTIONAL)
8 ounce can plain tomato sauce
1/3 cup QUALITY balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup molasses
2 tablespoons QUALITY tomato paste
1 packed heaping tablespoon brown sugar
FRESH ground sea salt and trim-color pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
zest of one LARGE orange, plus juice
1/4 cup chopped FRESH parsley
2 cloves garlic, FINELY minced

  • Tie the rosemary sprigs, thyme sprigs and bay leaves together with some twine OR place in a cheesecloth bag. The cheesecloth bag is my favorite way to make it easy to fish out at the end.
  • Preheat the oven to 325°.
  • Season lamb shanks with FRESH ground sea salt and tri-color pepper.
  • Heat the oil in a cast iron Dutch oven or heavy oven-proof pot. I like to use my enameled cast iron crock pot
  • Generously brown the lamb shanks on all sides and transfer to a plate. 
  • Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the oil.
  • Saute the onions, shallots, carrots, celery and garlic until softened, 6-8 minutes.
  • Stir in the ground Porcini mushrooms if using.
  • Add the red wine and orange juice, bring to a boil, and de-glaze pan, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom. Boil for 2 minutes.
  • Add the remaining ingredients except for the butter and stir to combine. Bring it to a boil.
  • Return meat to pan.
  • Cover with the lid and place the hot pot on the lowest rack in the preheated oven.
  • Bake for 2 ½ to 3 hours or until the meat is very tender, turning the lamb shanks over halfway through. 
  • Remove the cover during the last 30 minutes of cooking until the lamb shanks are nicely browned on top. 
  • Remove the herbs and bay leaves.
  • Skim from surface of cooking liquid.
  • Bring braising liquid to a simmer and cook until reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
  • Return lamb to pan; cook for 2 minutes.

  • Transfer the lamb shanks to a plate tented with foil and place in the warm oven with the oven door open. 
  • Place the pot on the stove top.  If needed use a slotted spoon to remove any herb sprigs/leaves.
  • Bring the sauce to a boil and stir in 2 tablespoons of butter. 
  • Simmer until thickened. 
  • Season to taste.
  • Serve over mashed potatoes with some gravy spooned over top.


  • **STRONGLY recommended for the BEST flavor (use a spice/coffee grinder, blender, or pound to grind them in a ziplock bag)
  • Alternatively, to speed up the thickening time, you can dissolve 2-3 tablespoons of cornstarch in 1/4 cup of water and then stir the slurry into the gravy.  Bring it to a simmer and stir for a couple of minutes until thickened.



1 pound QUALITY Ground Beef
9 ounces QUALITY bacon extra crispy, rough chopped
1½ cup cheddar cheese shredded
⅓ cup QUALITY ketchup
½ cup panko bread crumbs
1 LARGE egg
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Combine all ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
  • Form into tablespoon size balls and place an inch apart on parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes.
  • Serve with Special Sauce or your favorite burger condiment.

1 cup Dukes mayonnaise
⅓ cup QUALITY ketchup
¼ cup dill pickles, minced

  • Combine all ingredients together in mixing bowl.
  • Transfer to a resealable container and refrigerate until ready to use.