2 tablespoons FRESH chopped Thyme
½ cup Basmati Rice
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoon sour cream
2 large green onions, thinly sliced, whites and greens separated
1 LARGE lemon, juiced
3/4 pound chicken steaks
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup crushed Pistachios
2 teaspoon avocado oil
2 tablespoon butter
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Adjust rack to top position and preheat oven to 425°.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a small pot over medium-high heat.
  • Add scallion whites; cook, stirring occasionally, until just softened, 1 minute.
  • Stir in rice, ¾ cup water, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a low simmer. Cook until rice is tender, 15-18 minutes. Remove from heat and keep covered until ready to serve.


  • While rice cooks, pat chicken dry and season all over with paprika, salt, and pepper.
  • Heat a drizzle of avocado oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add chicken and cook until browned and cooked through, 3-5 min per side.
  • Transfer to a plate.
  • Wipe out pan. If you forget to do this or choose not to, your sauce will take on a red hue 😀
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter in the same pan over medium heat.
  • Add chopped thyme; cook until fragrant, 30 seconds.
  • Stir in stock and bring to a simmer, then immediately turn off heat.
  • Stir in sour cream and lemon juice.
  • Season to taste with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Fluff rice with a fork; stir in lemon zest and pistachios.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Divide rice and chicken between plates.
  • Top chicken with sauce and sprinkle with scallion greens.



Golden cheesy crispy chicken is ALWAYS a recipe for success. When you add melted cheddar and BOLD spices along with a CHEESY stuffed mashed potatoes you have WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER.

3/4 pound thin chicken steaks
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/3 cup FINELY shredded cheddar cheese
¼ cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon QUALITY season salt
scant 2 tablespoons butter
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Adjust rack to top position.
  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Lightly oil a baking sheet.
  • Pat chicken dry and season with FRESH ground black pepper.
  • Place on prepared baking sheet.
  • Evenly spread a thin layer of mayonnaise onto tops of chicken.
  • Melt butter in a medium microwave safe bowl.
  • Stir together the melted butter, Panko breadcrumbs, seasoning salt, and cheddar cheese.
  • Divide the Panko mixture evenly between the chicken steaks, pressing to adhere.
  • Roast on top rack until chicken is cooked through, 15-20 minutes. TIP: For a deep golden crust, broil chicken for the last 2-3 minutes.

3/4 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, diced into ½-inch pieces.
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 slices bacon, cooked crisp
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons minced chives

  • Place potatoes in a large pot with enough salted water to cover by 2 inches.
  • Bring to a boil and cook until tender, 15-20 minutes.
  • Drain and return potatoes to pot.
  • Add sour cream, 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, and 1 tablespoon butter.
  • Mash until smooth and creamy, adding heavy cream as needed.
  • Stir in half the bacon and half the chives.
  • Season to taste with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.


  • Divide chicken and potatoes between plates.
  • Top potatoes with remaining bacon and remaining chives.
  • Serve immediately.



adapted from Eliza Winograd at Marley Spoon

1 tablespoon FRESH chopped parsley
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped thyme leaves
1 small can Le Seur peas, drained WELL
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
3/4 pound chicken breast strips
3 LARGE carrots, halved and sliced
1 bunch scallions, sliced thin
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 cups gnocchi
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 tablespoon butter
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon WONDRA flour

  • Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil.
  • Add gnocchi and cook about 3 minutes, stirring gently, until tender and most of gnocchi float to the top. Drain well.
  • Pat chicken dry and generously season with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
Melt butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Sear chicken tenders 1-2 minutes per side.
  • Remove chicken to a plate.
  • Add carrots, onions and garlic, stirring occasionally and cooking until softened and lightly browned, 3–4 minutes.
  • Stir in flour and cook, about 1 minute.
  • Add chicken stock to skillet and return chicken to skillet. Bring to a simmer.
  • Stir in mascarpone cheese.
  • Fold in peas and gnocchi.
  • Simmer a few minutes more.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.


This recipe is adapted from Eliza Winograd Marley Spoon and provides a hearty and complete comfort meal with rustic mashed potatoes, flavorful chicken with its sweet and tart apple with a creamy sauce and crisp tart salad as a companion. The recipe as written didn’t have enough OOOMPH for us (it was actually quite bland), so I OOOMPED it up a bit 😀

CHICKEN & APPLES over Mashed Potatoes with Spinach Salad

2  cups torn baby spinach
1 1/2 tablespoons avocado oil
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon FINELY diced shallot
1 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced into 1/4 inch cubes
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted if desired

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons oil, 2 tablespoons vinegar and 1 tablespoon of the chopped shallots.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Set aside.
  • Just before serving, toss spinach leaves and chopped apple, nuts and dressing.

1/4-1/3 cup sour cream
2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and large diced
2 tablespoons butter
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Place potatoes in a small saucepan with 1 teaspoon salt along with enough water to cover by 1-inch.
  • Bring to a boil, then simmer until tender, about 15 minutes.
  • Drain, return to pot, add 2 tablespoons butter and keep covered. 

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (see note)
2 teaspoons BETTER THAN chicken concentrate
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon salt + FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenders
1 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced into 1/4 inch cubes
1 shallot, FINELY chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 + 1 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon WONDRA flour
1 cup water

  • Pat chicken dry and generously season all over with a mixture of the onion powder and FRESH ground sea salt and pepper.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a medium skillet over medium-high.
  • Add chicken until well browned on both sides but not cooked completely through, 2–3 minutes per side.  Transfer chicken to a plate and keep warm.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon butter in reserved skillet over medium-high.
  • Add apples, garlic and the remaining shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned and slightly softened, 3–5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle flour over skillet and cook 30 seconds.
  • Whisk together water, chicken concentrate and Dijon mustard. Add to skillet, gently stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom.
  • Return chicken to pan, simmering 5-7 minutes until chicken is cooked through, apples are tender and sauce has thickened.

  • Return saucepan with potatoes to medium-high and add sour cream and 2 tablespoons butter. Coarsely mash using a fork or potato masher.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Serve chicken with apples and sauce spooned over top with mashed potatoes and salad alongside.

NOTE: I substitute a creamy horseradish for the Dijon due to an allergy that works well for me, but the flavor base is up to you 😀


Our family has been making some version of this casserole, each their OWN way, and each called Overnight Breakfast Casserole, for as long as I can remember. Each and every one of those casseroles was excellent on their own merit, but the real plus is that it’s a MAKE AHEAD (anywhere from 3 hours to overnight) casserole and take the stress off of the holiday morning. Just pop it in the oven while you’re watching the kids open their stockings and gifts or if you have guests you don’t have to spend time in the kitchen and away from your togetherness time. Be sure and take the casserole out of the refrigerator at least a half an hour before you put it in the oven so it can come to room temperature.

The other beauty of this recipe is that the innards are up to you – either what you prefer or what you have on hand. It is just a basic strata with eggs, bread chunks and add ins of a protein, veggies and cheese. It is also a GREAT way to use up stale bread. You can use whatever bread you prefer, but we love sourdough ourselves. Some people also prefer to cut the crust off, but we are definitely crust on people.

We also tend to always use the same add-ins where as my niece changes it up EVERY time she makes it, but they always have a protein, veggies and cheese(s). Seasonings are another area that can change this up, but we tend to stay pretty traditional with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper. Occasionally I’ll use tri-color pepper for a hint more heat.

My normal proteins are diced ham and crumbled bacon, but I have been known to use rotisserie chicken also. My traditional veggies are diced red peppers, sliced green onions and thinly sliced mushrooms. Sharp cheddar is our cheese of choice, but we also like shredded Gruyere and/or pepper Jack.

Oh and did I mention that it makes a wonderful leftover dish for a quick lunch over a holiday weekend.

PREP TIME: 20 minutes
BAKE TIME: 50-60 minutes

12 slices sandwich size bread, flavor of choice, cubed
3/4 cup diced ham steak
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
3 green onions, THINLY sliced
1/2 red pepper, FINELY diced
4 cups grated cheese, flavor of choice
6 LARGE eggs
3 cups WHOLE milk
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Coleman’s mustard (optional)

  • Preheat the oven to 300°.
  • Cube bread and place on a baking sheet.
  • Add baking sheet to oven for 15 minutes, just long enough to dry out the bread cubes, but not toast them.
  • Whisk together the eggs, milk and seasonings.
  • Spray 9×13 baking dish with non-stick spray.
  • Layer the bread cubes evenly into the bottom.
  • Even top the bread cubes with half of the proteins, veggies and cheese.
  • Layer again ending with cheese.
  • Pour the egg mixture over top.
  • Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight.


  • Remove baking dish from refrigerator to bring to room temperature.
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Remove plastic wrap and cover with foil.
  • Bake 50-60 minutes or until center is set when you test with a knife and it comes out clean. If you’re using a deep baking dish or baking multiple pans, you will need to increase the baking time by another 15 minutes.
  • Return to oven for 5 minutes.
  • Serve immediately.


1 tablespoon avocado oil
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup Bragg’s liquid aminos or soy sauce
2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
FRESH ground black pepper
1 red pepper, diced
1 LARGE carrot, diced
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup snap peas, trimmed
1 bunch green onions, sliced on the diagonal – reserve a few for garnish
4 cups cooked rice, chilled
2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken

  • In a large skillet heat half of the oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add eggs and swirl to coat pan bottom.
  • Cook 1-2 minutes until set.
  • Transfer egg to cutting board.
  • Cool slightly.
  • Roll up like a jelly roll and thinly slice crosswise. Set aside, keeping warm.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the liquid aminos and chili sauce. Set aside.
  • Add remaining oil to skillet and heat over medium heat.
  • Add peppers, onions, corn and peas, cooking 4-5 minutes.
  • Add rice, chicken pieces and reserved sauce mixture, cooking 4-5 minutes until heated through.
  • Toss with reserved scallions and egg pieces.
  • Serve immediately with additional soy sauce if desired.


ITALIAN WEDDING CASSEROLE adapted from Ree Drummond

2 cups (dry) bowtie pasta
2 tablespoons butter 
2 tablespoons avocado oil 
1 cup diced celery 
2 tablespoons chopped FRESH oregano 
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped thyme
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped Italian Parsley
1 teaspoon FRESH chopped rosemary
3 cloves garlic, minced 
2 carrots, diced 
1 onion, diced 
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
4 cups chicken broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
1 1/2 pounds of homemade meatballs OR a 26-ounce bag frozen Italian meatballs 
2-3 cups chopped baby spinach *SEE NOTES
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese

  • Preheat the oven to 375°.
  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water until less than al dente; set aside.
  • Melt butter and avocado oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add celery, carrots and onion, cooking until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add oregano and garlic, sautéing until fragrant.
  • Sprinkle with the flour, stirring and cooking for an additional minute.
  • While whisking constantly, slowly add chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and allow the sauce to thicken, about 2 minutes.
  • Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  • Add the meatballs, spinach, Parmesan, stirring to combine.
  • Fold in pasta.
  • Transfer to 9×13-inch baking dish.

1  cup PANKO breadcrumbs
1/4 cup FRESH grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons salted butter, melted
2 tablespoons chopped FRESH parsley 
2 tablespoons chopped FRESH oregano 

  • Mix together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, butter, parsley and oregano in a bowl until well combined.
  • Sprinkle the breadcrumb topping over the casserole.
  • Bake until golden and bubbly, about 20 minutes.
  • Allow the casserole to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

NOTES:  Baby spinach can be easily replaced with broccoli or green beans, but both of those need to be added during the saute’ process.


This is one of those recipes that was immediately altered (because I ended up not having the ingredients on hand that I thought I did so I substituted 😀 ) and was such a hit that we’ll never go back and make it the way the recipe directed.

4 teaspoons cornstarch
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup butter
1 can Green Giant white shoepeg corn
3 green onions, sliced thin
2 cups frozen corn
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped thyme leaves
1 tablespoon sugar
3 LARGE eggs
2/3 + 3/4 cups WHOLE milk, divided
3 cups bread cubes (I used a buttermilk)
1 1/2 cups Crispix cereal (or rice Krispies), crushed
3 tablespoons butter, melted

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the cornstarch and water until smooth.
  • In a large skillet melt butter over medium heat.
  • Add corn, green onions, 2/3 cup milk, thyme leaves, FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, stirring to blend. Bring to a SLOW boil.
  • Stir in cornstarch mixture and reduce heat, simmering until the moisture is absorbed and the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  • While the corn portion is cooling, whisk the eggs together with the 3/4 cup milk.
  • Fold in bread cubes, stirring to absorb the egg mixture.
  • Fold in corn mixture.
  • Transfer to prepared 8×8 baking dish.
  • Bake, uncovered, 30-35 minutes.
  • In a small bowl melt butter.
  • Fold in cereal pieces to form a crumbly mixture.
  • Spread evenly over top of the casserole and return to the oven for 10 minutes until golden brown.


1 pie crust OR a pre-made PILLSBURY pie crust
1 egg
4 tablespoon butter
1 LARGE shallot, diced
2 LARGE carrots, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons WONDRA flour
1 1/2 cups homemade chicken broth
1 1/2 cups WHOLE milk
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped thyme pieces
3 cups chopped cooked chicken *see notes
1 can LeSeur Peas, drained WELL

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Roll the crust to 1 inch larger between two sheets of parchment paper.
  • Remove the top parchment paper.
  • Fold and crimp the outer edge to decorate the crust.
  • Arrange parchment on baking sheet.
  • Refrigerate 15 minutes.
  • Beat egg with 1 tablespoon water and brush crust. Save remainder for later.
  • Bake 10-12 minutes until LIGHT-MEDIUM golden brown.
  • Remove from oven to cool, but leave oven on.
  • In large skillet melt butter.
  • Add carrots and shallots, sauteing and cooking 8-10 minutes until carrots have softened.
  • Add garlic, sauteing 30 seconds more.
  • Add flour, stirring to blend.
  • Add chicken broth and milk, stirring regularly, until sauce thickens.
  • Add thyme, FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Fold in the chicken pieces and peas.
  • Arrange crust on top.
  • Lightly brush with another layer of beaten egg.
  • Place pan in oven baking 10-15 minutes until crust is golden and filling is bubbly.


  • To make this recipe easier I use COSTCO rotisserie chicken pieces.
  • You can also use frozen peas, but I find the canned Le Seur peas are much more tender.


Not the prettiest looking casserole, but after you dig into it, the flavor makes you forget how it looks!
4 servings spaghetti or fettuccine
2 sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
1 LARGE shallot halved and sliced thin
1/2 of a LARGE red pepper, diced
2 cups spaghetti sauce
1 cup chopped pepperoni pieces*
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons FRESH chopped herbs (Italian Parsley, Rosemary and Thyme), divided

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray 2 quart baking dish with non-stick spray.
  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  • In a small skillet heat avocado oil.
  • Add Italian sausage, cooking until crumbly and shallots are caramelized.
  • Add red peppers, cooking a few minutes more peppers are tender and juicy. Drain sausage mixture of excess grease.
  • In a mixing bowl combine sauce, two-thirds of the chopped herbs, pepperoni pieces and sausage mixture until well blended.
  • Add half of each cheese, blending well.
  • Fold in pasta.
  • Arrange mixture into baking dish.
  • Sprinkle remaining cheese evenly on top.
  • Sprinkle remaining herbs over cheese.
  • Bake 25-30 minutes until heated through.

NOTE: I buy the mini pepperoni bites so there is no chopping involved.


Fortunately I was watching a Molly Yeh episode of Girl Meets Farm recently and it just happened to be on sides for Thanksgiving. She made the most amazing Brussels Sprouts Casserole, an absolutely wonderful alternative to the tired old Green Bean Casserole and better yet it is ALL from scratch, well except the French’s Crispy Fried Onions 😀 – no canned goods involved!

I only made a couple changes – like trading shallots for the leeks and adding in some crunchy bacon, but nothing that really affected the outcome. I altered her directions to my liking also.

2 teaspoons avocado oil
1/2 pound bacon, diced
2 shallots, sliced thin
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
2 pounds Brussels Sprouts, trimmed, halved or quartered as necessary
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoons FRESH thyme leaves, chopped
3 cloves garlic, FINELY minced
3 tablespoons WONDRA flour
2 cups homemade chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup QUALITY Parmesan cheese
ZEST from 1 Meyer lemon
2 cups crispy onions

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Cook bacon pieces crisp in large saute pan.
  • Remove bacon to drain on paper toweling with a slotted spoon.
  • Add avocado oil to saute pan.
  • Add shallots, sauteing 2-3 minutes until beginning to caramelize.
  • Add garlic and Brussels sprouts, sauteing 6-7 minutes until edges of Brussels sprouts are brown.
  • Season generously with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Add thyme, and saute a bit longer until fragrant.
  • In a separate sauce pan melt butter.
  • Whisk in flour, cooking until golden.
  • Alternately add chicken broth and cream, stirring constantly until begins to thicken.
  • Add cheese and lemon zest.
  • Adjust seasoning.
  • Fold together the sauce and Brussels sprouts.
  • Top with crispy onions.
  • Bake 20-25 minutes until bubbly.


1 stick butter, divided 2 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons + 4 tablespoons
1 tablespoon avocado oil
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
3 cups DRY wide egg noodles
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch green onions, whites only sliced thin
4 cups SMALL broccoli florets (about 3 crowns, stalks discarded or used elsewhere)
14 ounces marinated artichokes, drained WELL
1/4 cup WONDRA flour
4 cups WHOLE milk
1/4 cup cream sherry
4 ounces cream cheese, sliced into 8-10 pieces
2 LARGE cans white albacore tuna in water, drained WELL
1 cup shredded Gruyere
1/4 cup FRESH chopped Parsley
Several sprigs FRESH thyme
1/2 cup PANKO crumbs

  • Prepare noodles al dente per package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  • Melt avocado oil and 2 tablespoons butter in large saute pan.
  • Add green onions and garlic, sauteing 2 minutes until garlic is golden and fragrant.
  • Increase heat to medium-high and add broccoli florets, sauteing 7-8 minutes until broccoli is tender and vibrant green.
  • GENEROUSLY season with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Add artichokes and Parsley, cooking several minutes more until all liquid is absorbed.
  • Pour broccoli and artichokes into colander and drain off any remaining oil.
  • Return pan to stove and melt 4 tablespoons butter.
  • Whisk in WONDRA flour until smooth and golden.
  • Gradually add milk and cream sherry stirring well after each addition. Cook until slightly thickened.
  • Add cream cheese pieces, whisking until smooth.
  • Add Gruyere, whisking until smooth.
  • Adjust seasoning.
  • Fold in tuna until well blended.
  • Fold in broccoli and artichokes until well blended.
  • Fold in noodles.
  • GENEROUSLY season with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Transfer to 3 quart 9×13 baking dish.
  • Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.
  • With a fork blend melted butter and Panko crumbs.
  • Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over casserole.
  • Bake 30-45 minutes until crumbs are golden and casserole is bubbly.
  • Garnish with green onion tops if desired.