2 cups rotisserie chicken pieces
2 stalks celery, cleaned and thinly sliced
3/4 cup toasted almond pieces, divided 1/2 and 1/4 cups
1 can small water chestnuts, drained and chopped or sliced
2 mini red pepper, diced
3-4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup + 2-3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup Duke’s mayonnaise
4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
Paprika, to taste

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray a 2 quart baking dish with non-stick spray.
  • In a large bowl combine the chicken pieces, celery, green onions, red peppers, water chestnuts and Parmesan cheese.
  • In a smaller bowl whisk together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, lemon juice and FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Fold cream cheese mixture into the chicken mixture.
  • Spoon mixture into prepare baking dish.
  • Bake covered 25 minutes.
  • Uncover, sprinkle with remaining almonds, Parmesan cheese and paprika. Bake 5 minutes more.
  • Serve hot.


BE SURE AND READ THROUGH THE RECIPE FIRST. The Arancini takes the longest and requires the most attention so be sure and start with the rice!

ARANCINI makes 18 balls Adapted from Joanna Gaines
Total 2 hours and 50 minutes including cooling and chilling times Active 60-70 minutes

1 quart homemade bone chicken broth
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup small-diced Vidalia onion (about 1/2 medium)
2 garlic clove, minced
1 cup Arborio rice
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 cup (4 ounces) Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Juice of 1 Meyer lemon
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 LARGE eggs
3 cups Neutral oil, for deep-frying
2 cups Marinara Sauce, for serving

  • Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a large pot.
  • In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onion and sauté, stirring, until translucent, 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and sauté 10 to 15 seconds, until tender.
  • Reduce the heat to medium, add the rice, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Season to taste with the FRESH ground salt and pepper.
  • Ladle 1 cup of the stock into the rice mixture and stir constantly until the rice soaks up all the liquid, about 5 minutes.
  • Continue adding the stock 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting the rice soak up the liquid before adding more.
  • When all the stock has been added, cook, stirring constantly, until all the liquid is absorbed and the risotto is thickened, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and add the Parmesan, cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Stir until well combined.
  • Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Spread the risotto out on it to cool for 30 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until fully chilled, for at least 1 hour.
  • Make a dredging station of the panko, flour and eggs. Be sure and season the flour and panko with FRESH ground salt and pepper.
  • Shape the risotto into 1 1/2-inch balls, using gloves or lightly spraying your hands with olive oil to keep the balls from sticking. 
  • Freeze the risotto balls on a sheet pan for 10 minutes.
  • Dredge each risotto ball in the flour, coating it well, then dip it in the egg mixture, letting the excess egg drip back into the bowl. Roll the ball in panko to coat it well. Refrigerate while the oil heats.
  • Pour 2 inches of oil into a large pot. Have a wire rack lined with paper towels ready. Heat the oil to 350°F on a deep-fry thermometer.
    Working in batches, use a slotted spoon or spider to lower a few arancini at a time into the hot oil. Do not add more than can float freely in the hot oil. Fry 4-6 minutes until deep golden brown.
  • Drain them on the paper towel-lined rack and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve hot with marinara or divide among plates and cover with the sauce.

CHICKEN FLORENTINE serves 4 Adapted from Joanna Gaines

2 tablespoons avocado oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 LARGE  shallots (1/2 cup minced)
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup QUALITY dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
4 cups baby spinach
1 tablespoon chopped FRESH parsley
Juice of 1 LARGE lemon

  • Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.
  • Season the chicken with the FRESH sea salt and black pepper.
  • Dredge chicken pieces in the flour, shaking off any excess.
  • Place the chicken in the skillet and cook 4-5 minutes on each side until golden brown.
  • Transfer to a plate to cool and set aside.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and melt the butter in the same skillet.
  • Add the shallots and garlic, sautéing and stirring often, until just softened, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the wine, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet. Let simmer 10 minutes until the liquid is reduced by half.
  • Add the cream and cook, stirring often, until the mixture can coat the back of a spoon, 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and add the spinach and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt. Stir until the spinach is wilted.
  • Cut the chicken against the grain into diagonal strips 1 inch wide, 2 to 3 inches long, and return it to the skillet.
  • Sprinkle with the parsley and serve with the lemon wedges.


8 ounces elbow macaroni
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup WONDRA flour
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 cup half and half
1 cup WHOLE milk
4 ounces Velveeta
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
2 cups medium sharp cheddar, divided 1 1/2 cups + 1/2 cup

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Lightly grease baking dish or individual ramekins.
  • Prepare macaroni per package directions. Drain and set aside.
  • Melt butter in a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
  • Gradually whisk in flour until smooth for 2 minutes.
  • Stir in salt, pepper and granulated garlic.
  • Gradually together the half and half with the milk.
  • Whisk milk mixture into the flour mixture.
  • Cook, whisking constantly 8-10 minutes until thickened.
  • Stir in Velveeta until smooth.
  • Stir in Swiss cheese and 1 1/2 cups of the medium sharp cheese until smooth.
  • Remove from heat and fold in macaroni.
  • Pour into prepared baking dish and top with remaining cheese.
  • Bake 20-35 minutes. The longer you bake it, the crustier the top gets.


We LOVE a versatile bake/casserole that uses up leftovers and can be served as an entree for an easy weeknight family meal or a brunch item or even a potluck dish, but looks and tastes like you spent a lot of time on it.


3-4 cups cubed French bread
1 can Rotel ORIGINAL tomatoes & chiles, drained WELL
1 small can chopped green chiles, drained WELL
1 1/2 cup shredded chicken rotisserie pieces
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 LARGE eggs
1 small shallot, minced
3/4 cup WHOLE milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
FRESH ground black pepper
Salsa for garnish
Sour cream for garnish
1 green onion, minced for garnish

  • Grease 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish.
  • In a large bowl combine bread cubes, chicken pieces, tomatoes, half the chiles, shallot pieces and half of both cheeses tossing well.
  • Whisk together the milk, eggs, baking powder, garlic salt and pepper.
  • Pour the egg mixture over the bread mixture and gently toss together.
  • Pour into the baking dish and top with remaining cheese and chiles.
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight or 6-8 hours before preparing.
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Remove casserole from refrigerator and bring to room temperature while oven is heating.
  • Uncover and bake 35-40 minutes until edges are golden and cooked through in the center.
  • Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
  • Garnish with sour cream, salsa and green onions as desired.



Think scallops of the potato world – perfectly seared tops and golden bottoms on the outside and melting tender flesh on the inside, infused with intense flavor from roasting in a buttery stock.

4- 8 russet potatoes
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons avocado or (neutral) oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
6 thyme sprigs
1 cup homemade chicken bone broth

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Carve cut each potato into cylindrical rounds of even size so you have short scallop sized pieces.
  • Pat potatoes dry.
  • Place in a large bowl and toss with half the oil plus all the salt and pepper.
In an ovenproof heavy
  • based skillet, heat the remaining oil over medium high heat.
  • Add the potatoes and sear each side for 5-7 minutes until golden.
Add butter and thyme.
  • Once butter is melted, spoon the butter over the potato to baste.
  • Add stock, bring to a SLOW boil.
  • Transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes until the potatoes are tender, basting half way or as needed. Your stock will be absorbed by the potato making your potatoes tender and fluffy.

  • Baste one last time then serve immediately!


In Germany potato dumplings are known as Kartoffel Kloesse. They are traditionally served with a brown butter sauce, but I usually serve them with my Chicken Paprikash and top them with that sauce.

3 pounds potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 cup AP flour
3 LARGE eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon FRESH ground nutmeg
1/4 cup minced shallots
6 cups homemade chicken bone broth
6 cups water

  • Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender.
  • Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  • Mash potatoes.
  • Stir in flour, eggs, bread crumbs, salt and nutmeg.
  • Shape into 16 2 inch balls.
  • Bring bone broth and water to a boil in a Dutch oven.
  • Carefully add the dumplings. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered 7-8 minutes until dumplings float and a toothpick comes out clean.

1/2 cup butter, cubed
1 tablespoon chopped shallots
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs

  • In a small saucepan melt butter and onions over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 5-7 minutes or until butter is golden brown.
  • Remove from heat and stir in bread crumbs.


Here’s another version of the infamous King Ranch TEX MEX RANCH CHICKEN CASSEROLE, none of which have any real affiliation to the ranch itself based on what research I can find.

1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 LARGE onion, FINELY chopped
2 stalks celery, FINELY diced
2 small sweet red peppers, FINELY chopped
2 cloves garlic, FINELY minced
3 cups diced or cubed rotisserie chicken
2 cans undiluted cream of celery soup (see NOTE)
1 can ROTEL tomatoes, drained but reserve juice
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder (see NOTE)
12 small corn tortillas cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheddar/Jack cheeses

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Lightly spray 3 quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add onions, celery and peppers, sauteing until crisp tender.
  • Add garlic, cooking until fragrant.
  • Add chicken pieces, tomatoes and spices, stirring to combine and heat through.
  • Whisk together soups and reserved drained Rotel tomato juice until smooth.
  • Fold soup mixture into chicken mixture until well combined.
  • Line the bottom of baking dish with half of the corn tortilla strips.
  • Top with half the chicken mixture, followed by half of the cheese.
  • Repeat layers.
  • Bake uncovered 30-40 minutes until cooked through and bubbly.


  • You can mix up the soup flavors of your choice – I like to use a combo of cream of celery and golden mushroom or tomato bisque – really whatever is on hand works just fine!
  • I also use Pampered Chef TEX MEX seasoning instead of chili powder.
  • Rotel heat is your choice – mild, original or HOT.


It’s been a while since I’ve done a cooking Thursday, but I’m excited to be back among the regular blogging crowd and having the time to sit down and write 😀

This technique is just pure genius – I wish I’d thought of it first. All the yummy gooey cheese mix seeps in between each and EVERY layer adding to the scrumptious outcome.

adapted from

4-5 medium yukon gold potatoes (1 1/2 pounds), thinly sliced into 1/8th inch rounds
1-2 large shallots, cut into thin slices
2 tablespoons salted butter
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Preheat the oven 375°.
  • Spray a 1 quart square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Toss potato slices in melted butter and sprinkle with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.

  • Arrange sliced potatoes in semi-tight slanted vertical rows. Don’t make them too tight, leaving enough space to add in the shallot slices randomly between the rows and on top of potatoes wherever you can fit them.

2 tablespoons salted butter
3 tablespoons WONDRA flour
3/4 cup whole milk
1 cup FINELY shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Add butter and place over medium heat in small saucepan.
  • Once butter is melted, whisk in the flour until golden.
  • Slowly add in milk, vigorously whisking away any lumps. Bring mixture to a simmer.
  • Turn heat to low and stir in shredded cheddar cheese, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
  • Pour the sauce evenly over the potatoes and onions to cover them.
  • Cover the pan with foil.
  • Bake for 45 minutes.

1/3 cup gruyere cheese
1/8 – 1/4 cup grated parmesan
FRESH chopped parsle

  • After 45 minutes, remove foil, sprinkle with Gruyere and Parmesan.
  • Return to the oven and bake for 30-45 more minutes or until potatoes are tended and golden brown on top.
  • Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh chopped parsley.
  • Enjoy!


Is it a soup or is it a stew? The French call it a casserole. Whatever you call it, it is a hearty warm dish for a cool fall evening!


3 tablespoons butter or avocado oil
1 pound beef kielbasa, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 pound stew meat (or pork pieces, or chicken – it’s up to you)
1 small red onion, diced
2 medium carrots, small diced
2 cloves garlic, FINELY minced
2 cans petite diced tomatoes
2 cups homemade chicken bone broth
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
2 cans navy beans, drained and rinsed

  • Melt butter in saute pan.
  • Add onions and carrots. Simmer 3-5 minutes.
  • Generously season with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper and add garlic.
  • Add stew meat and kielbasa pieces, stirring well and simmering another 5 minutes or until meat is cooked through.
  • Add chicken broth, beans and tomatoes with juice. Simmer 10-15 minutes until heated through.
  • Serve over mashed potatoes or as a soupy stew.

NOTE: If you prefer a thicker stew like consistency, use a 3rd can of beans, but drain them well and run them through a food processor with a 1/4 cup of the broth making a paste. Add this paste along with the beans and tomatoes.


Flavorful chicken made with a creamy tomato rose sauce in your slow cooker and ready to serve over your favorite pasta in no time at all.


1 pound boneless chicken breasts, sliced into bite sized pieces or slivers
1 small bunch green onion FINELY minced
2-3 cloves garlic, FINELY minced
1/2 cup of your favorite Alfredo sauce
1/2 cup of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese + more for serving
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoon dried oregano
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
FRESH chopped Italian parsley

  • Whisk together the garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Generously season chicken pieces with seasoning mix.
  • Spray the bottom of your slow cooker with non-stick spray or line with liners.
  • Place chicken pieces in the bottom of the cooker.
  • Top with onions and garlic.
  • Whisk together the alfredo and red sauce and pour over chicken pieces.
  • Sprinkle both cheeses over the sauce.
  • Cover and cook on high for 1-2 hours or until cooked thoroughly. (See notes)
  • Gently toss together to coat chicken.
  • Serve over your favorite pasta.
  • Garnish with parsley and a bit more grated Parmesan

NOTE: If you wish to cook your chicken on the low setting, increase your cooking time to 3-4 hours, depending on the size of your chicken pieces.


2 cups stone-ground yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup sour cream
2 LARGE eggs
1 can Mexican Corn niblets
1/2 cup FRESH chopped roasted HATCH chiles or 4 ounce can chopped green chilies, rinsed and drained
2 cups rotisserie chicken pieces

1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese

  • Preheat the oven to 400°.
  • Lightly coat an 10 inch round cake pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • In another large bowl, whisk together the sour cream, eggs, and corn.
  • Fold in the cornmeal mixture, chicken pieces, green chiles, and cheese into the dry ingredients JUST until blended.
  • Spread evenly in the prepared pan.
  • Bake 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Cool in the pan on a wire rack.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.
  • Garnish with minced green onions, sour cream and minced cilantro.

HATCH CHILES are my favorite green chile. They are similar to their cousin the Anaheim green chile, but is specific to the Hatch Valley in southern New Mexico. Hatch chiles only come from Hatch, New Mexico. The HATCH green chile is especially popular throughout all of New Mexico, as well as Texas and Southern California.

They have a balanced, smoky heat that enhances both savory and sweet dishes. You can buy a canned version of roasted Hatch chiles, but nothing beats a FRESH roasted one. August and September are the BEST times to find them.

True Parmesan cheese only comes from the Reggio Emilia and Parma region, champagne only comes from the champagne wine region of France. Similarily Hatch chiles from the Hatch Valley are like grapes coming from the Napa Valley.

Hatch chiles are extremely versatile. I add them to stews, sauces, dips, dressings, salsa and even desserts. Some of my favorite sandwich cookies (Sweet Lime chile) in the world come from the HEB grocery chain in Texas. Try adding them to your apple pie or on top of a burger or your slice of pizza.

Green and red Hatch chiles are the same pepper just picked at different times. They do each offer distinct flavors though. I LOVE them best in August when they offer a smoky flavor. But, in September when the turn red they offer a sweeter flavor better suited for the sweeter recipes.


2 LARGE cans pineapple chunks, drained – save juice for a cocktail 😀
1 LARGE can crushed pineapple, also drained reserving 1/4 cup of juice
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 sleeve RITZ crackers, crushed
1/4 cup butter, melted

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Lightly spray 2 quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl combine sugar, flour, salt, cheeses, pineapple, most of both cheeses and reserved juice until well mixed.
  • Add crushed crackers to melted butter and mix well before folding into pineapple mixture.
  • Pour into prepared baking dish.
  • Top with remaining cheese.
  • Bake 30-35 minutes until golden and bubbly.
  • Serve warm.