A true Panzanella is made with stale Italian bread, but croutons can be used in a pinch for a quick week night meal. It also calls for prosciutto, but I rarely have that on hand and have found that bacon works just as well for my family. Personally, I do not like olive oil so have substituted avocado oil and butter. You can also adjust the vegatable combinations to what you have on hand and/or your family’s taste palette.  The key is the bread ratio to making this a true Panzanella salad.

At this time of year especially, I have plenty of homemade croutons for the Thanksgiving stuffing making this the perfect time to have this wonderful salad. **I use a combination of sourdough bread and hamburger buns. I tuck away in the freezer all the stale bread for several weeks/months before the holiday season just to have the versatility of flavors.


2 cups stale rustic Italian bread, torn into bite size pieces**
1/8 cup avocado oil
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 cup baby spinach
1 cup torn romaine leaves
1/3 cup diced red onion
1 English cucumber, halved and sliced
1/2 pound grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
1/2 pound bacon, diced
1/2 – 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Pepperoncinis, to taste (optional)

DRESSING          also see alternate VINAIGRETTE BELOW
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons avocado oil
2 tablespoons Golden Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper, to taste

  • Preheat oven to 300°.
  • Combine avocado oil and melted butter.
  • Add bread pieces and toss to coat.
  • Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper and toss again to mix.
  • Arrange bread pieces in a single layer and toast in oven until crisp – about 30 minutes or so.


  • In a large skillet brown bacon pieces in a single layer until browned and crisp. Drain. Set aside to cool.
  • Whisk dressing ingredients together until emulsified. Set aside.


  • While the bread is toasting prepare vegetables by washing and chopping.
  • In a large salad bowl toss together the spinach, torn romaine, red onion, basil, tomato halves, mozzarella cheese, cooled bacon pieces and cooled toast pieces.
  • Drizzle dressing over salad and toss.
  • Serve immediately.

3 tablespoons tequila
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (2 large limes)
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro, chopped
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1⁄2 cup avocado oil
fresh ground salt and black pepper, to taste

  • Whisk together all the ingredients except for the avocado oil in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  • Slowly incorporate the oil into the bowl with a whisk until the mixture becomes emulsified.
  • Season as necessary.



Need a quick, easy and pretty side dish for Thanksgiving?  I have it right here for you!



1-2 large cucumbers, sliced thin
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
Champagne Dressing
  • Arrange cucumbers, green onions and pomegranate seeds on serving plate.
  • Generously salt and pepper.
  • Drizzle dressing over top.
  • Chill.
  • Enjoy!

1/3 cup peanut oil
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons sugar
salt & pepper to taste

  • Whisk together peanut oil, champagne vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, salt & pepper. Chill for several hours.
  • Enjoy!


1 bunch romaine lettuce, torn and washed
3 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
2 Granny smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup candied walnuts (recipe below)
1/2 cup shredded cheese, Parmesan or cheddar
1/3 bacon, diced
vinaigrette dressing (recipe below)

  • In large skillet cook bacon until browned and crispy. Drain on paper toweling and cool.
  • Toss apple pieces with lemon juice.
  • In a large bowl toss together the lettuce, green onions, apples and pomegranate seeds.
  • Top with bacon pieces, cheese, walnuts and toss again.
  • Drizzle with vinaigrette, toss again and serve immediately.

3/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup golden balsamic or apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Sipping Vinegar – Ginger Honey
1 tablespoon Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon tarragon
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon celery flakes
1 tablespoon Ponzu

  • Whisk everything together.
  • Chill for several hours before serving.

1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 pound chopped walnuts
1 egg white, beaten
1 tablespoon cold water
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

  • Preheat oven to 225°.
  • Place butter on 15×10 jelly roll pan and place in oven to melt.
  • Whisk together the egg white and water.
  • Toss nuts with egg mixture until well coated.
  • Sift together the sugar, cinnamon and salt.
  • Toss nuts in dry mixture until well coated.
  • Spread in a single layer on jelly roll pan.
  • Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring to mix EVERY 15 minutes.
  • Cool completely.

NOTE: Nuts will be sticky and gooey if not turned regularly.

Linking up to FULL Plate Thursday.





8 ounces Louis Kemp Crab, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1/3 cup minced red onion
salt and pepper
mayo (about 1/4 cup)
Romaine lettuce
Roma tomatoes, sliced
Snap peas, halved

  • Wash lettuce, peas and tomatoes. Arrange on plate. Salt and pepper.
  • Mix crab, celery, onion, salt and pepper together until well blended using enough mayonnaise for desired consistency.
  • Place a large scoop of crab salad over the romaine mix.
  • Serve over chopped romaine lettuce, sliced tomatoes and snap peas.
  • Top with dressing.

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
3 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
1 heaping tablespoon minced red onion
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper

  • In a mini blender blend all ingredients to desired consistency.

He all but licked his plate and drank the rest of the dressing straight from the bottle.



Do you play games on facebook?  I have to admit I do.  But, I digress, I play a few of the games while sitting on hold or watching TV late at night.  One of the things that came to mind was CAFEWORLD 6-7 years ago and I thought, “are these real recipes?”  So, I did a search for some of the cool ones and I did find a recipe for VOODOO CHICKEN SALAD, but it was nothing like I expected so I am made my own!
Romaine Lettuce, torn and washed
1 large Heirloom tomato, diced
1 small red onion, sliced thin
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces

2 cups Flour
1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1/2 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce
hidden valley ranch dressing mix (DRY) OR Good Seasons Italian dressing mix (DRY)

1 teaspoon lime juice
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup crumbled Bleu Cheese
  • I prepare the chicken breasts the same as you would HOT WINGS.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Wash and dry the chicken pieces.
  • Mix together the flour and seasonings in a plastic ziploc bag. Using a ziploc bag makes it easy to throw away the whole mess after dredging all the chicken pieces and it helps you coat every possible spot of the chicken pieces.
  • Add chicken a few pieces at a time and coat them well. Set chicken pieces aside.
  • While you’re doing this, have the butter melting in the pan. Start with 4 tablespoons and add as necessary, but make sure you don’t run out dry.
  • Once all the chicken has been dredged start frying. After you have the pan full pepper the pieces again. Don’t turn the chicken until you can see blood. You only need to turn the chicken one time. Brown evenly and then set aside on paper towels until all pieces have been fried.
  • As the last batch is frying melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a flat bowl. To that add 1/2 cup of Frank’s hot sauce.  Whisk them together well.
  • Spray a cookie sheet with PURE.
  • Dip each piece of chicken into the hot sauce mixture and put on cookie sheet.
  • After you’re all done and if you have hot sauce & butter mixture left, pour a little over the top of each wing.
  • Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Toss the torn lettuce, onion and tomatoes with the lemon and lime juice.
  • Add cooled chicken pieces and bleu cheese crumbles.
  • Pour on the desired amount of dressing and toss well.
  • Enjoy!



1 tablespoon salt
5 cups small shell pasta*
1 1/4 cups penne pasta*
1 cup egg noodles*
2 tablespoons avocado oil
2 small cans tuna in water, drained WELL
1 cups sweet pickle juice**
1 3/4 cups mayonnaise
1 1/2 cups sweet pickles
1 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons dried tarragon leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper

  • Bring a LARGE pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
  • Add all of your pastas and cook for about 8-10 minutes until al dente.
  • Drain pasta and cool by running cold water over pasta in strainer.
  • Drain pasta completely and immediately coat with canola oil to prevent sticking.
  • Drain pickles, reserving juice and chop pickles.
  • Drain tuna completely and use a fork to break apart into flakes.
  • Whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, pickle juice, vinegar, salt and pepper until well blended.
  • Fold in tuna and pickles into dressing.
  • Combine the dressing and cooked pasta, mixing thoroughly.

NOTE 1*: or 2 pounds of your desired pasta mix
NOTE 2**: One small jar of sweet pickles contains about 1 cup of juice




1 + 1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin angularly – separate whites from greens
2 stalks celery, halved lengthwise and sliced thin angularly
2 ounces sweet chili sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 pound ground pork
2 tablespoons Ponzu sauce (store bought or make your own – recipe below)
1 small package slaw mix (cabbage with shredded carrots and red cabbage)
Fresh Gourmet crispy wonton strips
salt and pepper, to taste

  • Heat oil in skillet.
  • Add pork and white portions of green onions. Add a pinch of salt and cooking until pork is broken up and pink is gone.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of Ponzu sauce and stir to mix well.
  • Remove pork mixture and set aside.
  • Add 1 tablespoon avocado oil to hot pan.
  • Add celery, slaw mix and a pinch of salt and pepper, stirring for a couple minutes until celery is crisp tender.
  • Add pork mixture bak to pan along with remaining Ponzu sauce and stir to mix well.
  • Divide the mixture between bowls and top with crispy wontons and green onion tops.
  • Drizzle sauce over top.
  • Enjoy.


1/2 cup Bragg’s amino acids
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon mirin (sweet rice wine)
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
  • Cover and chill.


A few years back I was reading a novel and it mentioned some interesting recipe titles. I decided to see if they were real recipes or contrived and was pleasantly surprised to find they were real. So over the next few Sundays we can experiment together. I’ve made a few additions over the years and they are getting better and better. Next time I make them I will take yet another new picture, I’m still not thrilled though this one is better than the last.


4 LARGE tomatoes
1 small jar artichoke hearts, drained WELL and chopped (retain 2 tablespoons of juice for later)
3 LARGE egg yolks
4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons Panko bread crumbs
1 LARGE clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 green onions, minced
4 slices Gruyere’ cheese

1/2 pound shrimp
1 lemon

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Carefully scoop out insides of tomatoes and drain juices from the shells.
  • Spray baking dish with non-stick cooking spray
  • Place tomatoes, hole side up, in baking dish and put in oven for 5 minutes.
  • In a small bowl mix together Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, artichokes, pepper, dill, garlic and onion powders until well blended.
  • Remove tomato shells from oven.
  • Fill each tomato with artichoke mixture leaving enough room for the egg yolk.
  • Place “volcanoes” back into oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes. (Time depends on how you prefer eggs cooked… if you want hard yolks – 20 minutes will give you runny yolks.)
  • Top with Gruyere’ cheese and cook 2-3 minutes more until cheese melts.
  • While tomatoes are baking, saute shrimp in butter, artichoke marinade and lemon juice.
  • Serve hot with side condiments of sour cream, chopped chives, green chili salsa, or others of your imagination!



While you cook this, leftovers are good either heated or cold or even on a sandwich.

3 cups cubed cooked chicken OR 1 Costco rotisserie chicken torn into pieces
3 celery ribs, chopped
8 ounce cans sliced water chestnuts, drained and quartered
1 can green enchilada sauce
3/4 cup REGULAR mayonnaise (do NOT use lowfat)*
1 1/2 cups sour cream 1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1 small shallot, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1 small can chopped green chiles
1/2 cup Panko crumbs
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used finely grated SHARP cheddar)
1/2 cup Almond Accents honey roasted sliced almonds, crushed**

  • In a large bowl combine the mayonnaise, yogurt, enchilada sauce, lemon juice, salt and pepper until well blended.
  • Add chicken pieces, celery, water chestnuts, almonds and onions until well combined.
  • Turn into a greased baking dish.
  • Combine bread crumbs and almonds.
  • Top with bread crumbs and then cheese.
  • Arrange green chiles around the edge of the baking dish.
  • Bake uncovered for 35-45 minutes or until heated through.

*I cut this in half for continuity because the enchilada sauce was much thinner than the original cream of chicken soup
**from the produce section – a salad topper


Just in time for Football tailgating!!

6 cups chopped tomatoes
i bunch cilantro, chopped fine
1 medium Vidalia onion, chopped fine
Juice of 1 lime*
4 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
jalapeno, minced to taste

Toss all together and chill 24-48 hours before serving. You end up with about 7 1/2 cups of salsa.



1 1/2 cups broccoli florets
1/2 head shredded red cabbage (optional)*
2 bunches green onions, sliced
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (shelled)
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 pound bacon cooked crisp and crumbled
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar**

  • In a large mixing bowl toss the broccoli, red cabbage, onions, seeds, raisins and bacon together.
  • In a small mixing bowl, blend the mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar together until smooth.
  • Pour over the vegetable mix.
  • Toss well and chill 24-48 hours before serving.

NOTE 1*: add another 1 1/2 cups broccoli florets if omitting cabbage.
NOTE 2**:  can use pineapple juice instead



1/2 head Napa Valley Cabbage, shredded
2 bunches green onions, sliced thin
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup shredded purple cabbage

  • Toss all together in a large salad bowl.

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, seasoned with salt and pepper

  • In a skillet heat oil over medium high heat.
  • Add chicken pieces searing and cooking through, turning frequently.
  • Cool chicken pieces slightly and shred.
  • Add to salad bowl.

2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Bragg’s liquid aminos
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/4 cup avocado oil

  • Whisk all together until well blended.
  • Pour over salad and toss well.

CRISPY noodles (optional)

  • Top with crispy noodles.