Every now and then we like to spice up a red sauce and just eat plain pasta with it. No veggies. No proteins. Just a good handmade pasta and full bodied spicy sauce! YUMMY! 😀

1 tablespoon avocado oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, FINELY diced
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1 1/2 teaspoons Calabrian chile paste
1/4 cup water
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons Marscarpone cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Prepared pasta of choice, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water

  • Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.
  • Add garlic and shallots, sauteing 2 minutes until softened.
  • Add tomato paste and chile, stirring to blend well for 2 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes and water.
  • Season to taste with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper and cook 2-3 minutes until liquid is reduced by half.
  • Fold in prepared pasta and add as much of the pasta water as necessary to reach your desired consistency.
  • Turn off heat and add Marscarpone cheese, blending well.
  • Adjust seasoning to taste.
  • Top with grated Parmesan cheese.


4 flattened chicken breast steaks
1/4 cup flour
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 + 1 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped parsley
1/4 cup cream sherry
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons QUALITY honey

  • Heat avocado oil and butter in large skillet over medium heat.
  • Generously season chicken with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Dredge through flour, shaking off excess.
  • Sear chicken 2-3 minutes per side until cooked through.
  • Remove chicken from pan and keep warm.
  • Add cream sherry, vinegar and parsley to pan.
  • Cook stirring constantly and scraping bits from bottom until thoroughly combined and slightly thickened.
  • Turn off heat and stir in remaining butter and honey.
  • Serve immediately.


1 pound steak tips in bite size pieces
torn romaine lettuce
sliced cucumbers
halved cherry tomatoes
sliced red onions
sliced green onions
marinated artichoke hearts
crispy onions
FRESH grated Parmesan cheese
or any other toppings of choice

½ cup Bragg’s liquid aminos
½ cup FRESH squeezed orange juice
4 tablespoons QUALITY honey
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
3 tablespoons avocado oil

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the liquid aminos, orange juice, and honey.
  • Add the salt and pepper and whisk together.
  • Put half of the marinade in another bowl to use as a vinaigrette if not preparing the honey poppy seed dressing.
  • Add the avocado oil to the vinaigrette mixture and put aside in the refrigerator until ready to dress the salad.
  • Add the steak tips to the marinade bowl and cover. If possible, marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Otherwise, marinate for at least an hour in refrigerator before cooking.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon avocado oil in a cast-iron pan to medium-high, cook steak tips 2-3 minutes per side (for medium rare), turning every few minutes to brown all sides.
  • Let steak tips rest for 5-10 minutes.

Zest of 1 lemon plus 1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4-1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, to taste

1 tablespoon (17 grams) honey mustard
2+ tablespoons (42 grams) QUALITY honey, to taste
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1/3 cup (72 grams) avocado oil

  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon zest and juice, vinegar, honey mustard, honey, poppy seeds, salt and several grinds of pepper.
  • Add the avocado oil and whisk to emulsify.

KARAAGE AMAZU? AMASU? Chicken I’ll just call it TANGY YUMMY Fried Chicken

I have a small piece of a note that says AMASU Chicken on it from an old folded recipe in an antique box I found in an antique store. I have no idea when or even when I found it. I started researching it and came up with a few recipes that sounded interesting, but none of them sounded interesting enough by themself to be worth trying in my book. So, I piece mealed the bits and pieces of all of them into a recipe we like.

Karaage is basically a Japanese term/technique for deep frying in oil. It is most often used for chicken. The meat is usually coated in a corn or potato starch dredge before frying.

Amasu – means “leave over” in Japanese
Amaza – means “ no one knows everything” in Zulu

Karaage Amazu? Amasu? Chicken I’ll just call it TANGY YUMMY Fried Chicken Serves: 4-6 people
3 pounds chicken thighs (cut into bite size) OR chicken wings
1 cup cornstarch
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
1/2 cup Mirin
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar (unseasoned)
1/4 cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1/2 cup water
1 small can crushed pineapple (DO NOT DRAIN)
1/4 cup ketchup (Jalapeno ketchup adds a bit of a kick!)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice (1 LARGE lemon)
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon FRESH, FINELY chopped cilantro coriander
1 teaspoon red chili flakes (or more if you like more heat)
Chopped green onions for garnish

  • Marinate the chicken pieces with liquid aminos and set aside.
  • Combine mirin, rice wine vinegar, water, pineapple, salt and sugar in a pot and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium and cook until the liquid thickens.
  • Completely cool the mixture.
  • Whisk in lemon juice, cilantro and red chili flakes, to taste.
  • In a large ziploc bag coat chicken in cornstarch, shaking to coat well. Tap off excess cornstarch before frying.
  • Heat oil to 350° and fry until crispy and cooked through.
  • Add chicken to large bowl.
  • Pour sauce over and toss to coat.
  • Plate, garnish and serve hot.


If you are anything like me, you have a drawer or even a box full of recipes from newspapers, magazines, old maiden aunts, grandmothers, friends and every potluck you ever went to and said I have to have that recipe! I originally started making this recipe (and posted it too) about 15 years ago. I haven’t made many changes since that initial time – it’s just that good!

While I usually keep the combination of ingredients, spices and seasonings somewhat intact, I do make changes to those recipes to make them more palatable to my family. So I always keep a list of likes, dislikes and allergies and am constantly altering recipes to fly by the seat of my pants.

These recipes have been floating around so long in the box that I have no idea where they actually originated, but one looks like a page from an old, and I mean OLD magazine and the other is handwritten. I have them stapled together with a note to combine them together.

I’m like that – whatever works for my family. I had a girlfriend in college who loved fashion but was on such a strict budget there wasn’t room for the things she eyed the most. I remember Julie borrowing a fancy designer dress from a Joann, a girlfriend of ours for an event and then later that night she took it apart, made a pattern and made her own dress before putting Joann’s dress back together. To my knowledge Joann never knew. Now I can’t do that with recipes literally, but I do do it in my mind while I’m reading the recipe(s) as if I’m eating a particularly tasty tidbit. Some days I feel like an archaeologist unearthing pieces to make a whole from.

This is one of our particularly favorites recipes from my archaeology days of recipe hunting. It’s also versatile in that you can easily change the sauce to whatever your tastebuds crave that day whether it’s one of the ones I have listed or one you make up to fit your family. Serve it with salad, in a pasta dish or even on a sandwich!

1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
3/4 cup quick cooking oats
1/4 cup Panko read crumbs
1/2 cup WHOLE milk
1/4 cup powdered Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup garlic salt
FRESH ground tricolor pepper, to taste
1 small Vidalia onion, chopped fine
2 LARGE eggs

  • In a large bowl combine the quick cooking oats, milk, eggs, onion and garlic salt.
  • Crumble the beef over top and then mix in well.
  • Shape into 1-2 inch balls.
  • Place in slow cooker.
  • Pour sauce of choice over meatballs. If using my whiskey sour sauce, save sauce until serving.
  • Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or until the meat is no longer pink.

3 tablespoons QUALITY vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup tart cherry jam (or jam flavor of choice)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup jalapeno ketchup

  • Mix together the ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire, jam and brown sugar

NOTE: Cherry, raspberry and apricot pineapple jams work extremely well with this recipe.

3 limes, juiced (6 tablespoons)
2 lemons, juiced (6 tablespoons)
1 orange, sliced, rind removed, each slice quartered
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup bourbon
3 ounces liquid pectin (1/2 of a foil pouch)
1/4 cup maraschino cherries, quartered

  • In a heavy saucepan stir together the lime juice, lemon juice, sugar, water and bourbon.
  • Bring to a FULL rolling boil, boiling hard for a full minute, stirring constantly.
  • Quickly stir in pectin.
  • Return to boil, boiling hard for a full minute more, stirring constantly.
  • Fold in oranges slices and cherry pieces.
  • Pour over meatballs before serving.

NOTE – Make a LARGE batch of sauce and use it for pretty gifts. Add an orange slice and maraschino cherry before ladle into sterilized jars. Water bath to seal.



This is a super simple weeknight meal – it can even be prepared in advance and be all the better for it as the flavors meld to make deep and rich sauce!

So why are they called “PORCUPINE”? As the meatballs bake in the incredible sauce and the rice bakes it plumps up and starts sticking out the sides just like porcupine quills. 😀

1 pound QUALITY 80/20 ground beef
1 LARGE egg, lightly beaten
1/2 small onion, finely diced
1/2 cup long-grain white rice
1 tablespoon chopped FRESH parsley
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 cloves garlic, FINELY minced
FRESH ground sea salt & black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons avocado oil
One 28-ounce can tomato puree
1/4 cup jalapeno ketchup

  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • Use your hands to mix together the ground beef, egg, onion, rice, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon of the Italian seasoning, half the garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper in a large bowl until well combined.
  • Roll the meat mixture into 24 golf ball sized meatballs.
  • Heat the avocado oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium high heat.
    Once shimmering, add the meatballs and cooking 1-2 minutes  on each side until lightly browned all over.
  • Reduce the heat to medium.
  • Whisk together the tomato puree, ketchup, remaining Italian seasoning, remaining garlic, FRESH ground sea salt and pepper to taste.
  • Stir into pan, simmering until the  sauce is WELL combined and meatballs are WELL coated.
  • Cover tightly and transfer to the oven.
  • Bake 45-60 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through and no longer pink, the rice is tender and poking out and the sauce has reduced slightly.
  • Garnish with more chopped parsley and serve.


This recipe is an adaptation of a Molly Yeh recipe. The croutons are still hers, but I adapted the actual salad and vinaigrette to our likes. 😀


Level: Intermediate Total: 50 min Active: 50 min Yield: 4 to 6 servings

1 LARGE navel orange, segmented with pith and peel removed
1 can mandarin oranges and juice (use juice in the vinaigrette)
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper 
3 tablespoons avocado oil 
Torn romaine lettuce
1 small red onion, thinly sliced 
2 green onions, sliced thin
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon toasted white sesame seeds
Vinaigrette from below

Fried Wonton Croutons from below

  • Place the lettuce in a large serving bowl.
  • Add the onions and tomatoes.
  • Drizzle with the dressing, tossing to coat.
  • Season to taste with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Top with orange segments, sesame seeds and Wontons.
  • Drizzle with more dressing, as needed.
  • Serve immediately.

1 tablespoon unseasoned rice wine vinegar
1/2 – 3/4 cup avocado oil
3 tablespoons FRESH lemon juice (2 medium lemons)
3 tablespoons FRESH orange juice (1 LARGE orange, mandarin orange juice from above or a combination of both)
1 tablespoon QUALITY honey
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 clove garlic, FINELY minced

  • Whisk together all ingredients until well-combined and emulsified.
  • Store in the refrigerator no longer than 3 days since it contains fresh garlic.
  • Shake WELL before each use.

Neutral oil, for frying
3 ounces (84 grams) soft goat cheese 
1/4 cup (7 grams) chopped fresh chives
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper 
12 wonton wrappers 


  • Heat about 2 inches neutral oil in a large saucepan to 365.°
  • Fill a small bowl with water.
  • Set a wire rack over a baking sheet and set aside.
  • Combine the goat cheese, chives, honey, a pinch of salt and several grinds of pepper in a small bowl.
  • Mash with a spoon to combine.


  • Lay out the wonton wrappers and add 1 teaspoon filling to the center of each.
  • To seal, dip your finger in the water and wet the perimeter of the wrapper.
  • With your thumb and forefinger, fold 2 opposite corners of the wrapper in half and then bring them together to meet in the middle.
  • Pinch to seal.
  • Repeat with the remaining 2 opposite corners to create a four-cornered star.
  • Add half of the wontons to the oil and fry, turning occasionally, until crisp and deep golden, 2 to 3 minutes. DO NOT CROWD PAN.
  • Drain on the wire rack.
  • Season with salt.
  • Repeat with the remaining wontons.


ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL? or FOR SOME RACING? or HOW ABOUT SOME OLYMPICS? On this weekend we are doing grazing meals and this recipe I found on Facebook will be perfect!

I found this recipe on Facebook a couple years back and it was written for 4 dips done in a rectangle. Since it’s usually just the 2 of us I make much smaller quantities and have adjusted the flavors to our liking. I’ll then take the leftovers and mix them together if they are compatible and make another plate for the next day!


serves 12 people if you make ALL 4 dips

1 pound of your pizza dough

Avocado oil

1 3/4 cup sour cream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, split
1 cup cooked bacon bits
1/4 cup chopped spring onions
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1-4 to 1/2 cup Frank’s original hot sauce (depending on your level of heat)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup FINELY grated cheddar cheese
1 clove garlic, FINELY minced
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped chives

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped artichokes
1/2 cup chopped spinach, thawed
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
FRESH ground sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

1 cup cooked beef, minced
FRESH ground sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
cooking spray
1 cup diced red onion
1 cup diced red pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 ounces shredded mozzarella “provolone” cheese

  • Pre-heat oven to 350°.
  • Grease and line a deep sheet pan.
  • Mix together all ingredients for each dip until combined.
  • Roll pizza dough into ping pong size balls (20 grams) and place around the edge of the sheet pan and across through the middle to create four equal quarters. If only making 2 or 3 dips adjust your size and shape accordingly.
  • Spread one dip into each of the areas and smooth out.  
  • Brush the dough balls with avocado oil and let proof for 20 minutes.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes until dough balls are golden brown and dips are bubbling.
  • Serve while warm, enjoy!



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.



We had a power outage the night I made this dish. The power went off and on so many times I lost count. It came on and stayed on for quite awhile so I actually started dinner as planned. Of course half way through it went off again making it difficult to get decent pictures. Fortunately, the power outage didn’t affect the flavor 😀

2 LARGE poblano chiles
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
1 1/2 cups homemade chicken bone broth
1 heaping tablespoon WONDRA flour
2 tablespoons WHOLE buttermilk (not reduced fat)
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

  • Using long tongs , blacken each chile over flame.
  • Add chiles to a bowl and cover with saran for 10 minutes to steam.
  • Using the plastic wrap or gloves, rub the chiles to remove the blackened skin.
  • Remove stems and seeds before FINELY dicing the chiles.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat in saucepan.
  • Add onions and half of the chiles, cooking 3-4 minutes until onions are soft.
  • Add onion mixture to blender with 1/2 cup of the chicken stock and process until smooth.
  • Melt remaining butter in saucepan over medium heat.
  • Whisk in flour, reduce heat to low and cook 3 minutes until golden.
  • Increase heat back to medium and whisk in chile puree and remaining broth, cooking 2-3 minutes until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  • Stir in the buttermilk and heat gently 2-3 minutes allowing the  flavors to blend.
  • Season with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper to taste.


  • Chiles can be prepared a few days in advance and refrigerated until needed.
  • In a pinch you can use a LARGE can of Hatch chiles.


This is a recipe I’ve made repeatedly over the years with whatever I had on hand. Then a few months ago I ran across one of those antique recipe boxes with a bunch of OLD handwritten recipes in them and was surprised to find a recipe ALMOST identical to mine so I had to try it! And you know what I think I like it almost better. 😀 I ended up mixing a bit of mine with a bit of theirs and now have the PERFECT recipe.

6-8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/3 cup WONDRA flour
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons dry white wine
2 tablespoons avocado oil
1/2 pound THINLY sliced mushrooms
1-2 cups sour cream
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Frank’s Original Hot Sauce
Prepared egg noodles
Minced green onions, for garnish

  • Pound chicken breasts to even sizes.
  • Generously season chicken breasts with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • LIGHTLY dredge chicken in flour.
  • Heat avocado oil in large cast iron skillet over medium heat.
  • Saute’ chicken breasts 2-3 minutes per side until golden.
  • Add 1/2 cup of the wine, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20 minutes.
  • Remove chicken to plate and keep warm.
  • Add mushrooms to pan along with remaining wine and simmer 5 minutes.
  • Blend in sour cream and hot sauce, stirring constantly.
  • Adjust seasoning and serve over prepared noodles.
  • Garnish with green onions for color.


Juice of 2 Meyer lemons
1 teaspoon anchovy paste or 3 anchovy fillets, minced
2 LARGE egg yolks
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional*)
FRESH ground sea salt* and black pepper, to taste
3/4-1 cup avocado oil
3/4 cup FRESH, FINELY grated Parmesan cheese

  • Blend the lemon juice, anchovy paste, egg yolks and mustard until creamy.
  • Slowly stream the oil into the mixture until dressing begins to thicken. DO NOT OVER MIX!
  • Once dressing is thick and creamy, fold in Parmesan cheese.


  • I’m deathly allergic so I have never had it with the mustard and it is really good, but hubby says it’s even better with the mustard. 😀
  • Be sure and remember that anchovies are salty so taste before adding salt!