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 😀


3/4 cup QUALITY (Bonne Mamam) raspberry apricot preserves
3 tablespoons Seagrams 7
Juice of 2 FRESH limes
2 tablespoons BRAGG’s liquid aminos
1 tablespoon GO CHU CHANG
1 small 6 ounce can pineapple juice
2 1/2-3 pounds chicken wings and/or drumettes

  • Whisk together everything except the chicken in a LARGE bowl. Set aside 3/4 cup for later.
  • Add chicken pieces and toss to coat.
  • Cover and refrigerate 3-4 hours.


  • Heat grill to medium low.
  • Toss chicken once again before laying on grill in a single layer.
  • Grill 10 minutes.
  • Flip and grill 10-15 minutes more until cooked through.
  • Toss with reserved sauce before serving.




This wonderfully moist coffee cake is loaded with FRESH blueberries, topped with a delectable brown sugar crumble and  drizzled with a creamy vanilla glaze that hardens as it cools. You’ll end up with a super moist and chewy cake with a crunchy crisp sweet topping.  The glaze is optional and no even really needed! 😀

1/2 cup PACKED light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature

  • In medium bowl stir all the dry ingredients together.
  • Cut butter into smaller chunks and mix with mixer until combined or using fingers or pastry cutter mix until butter is combined and you can squeeze together to form clumps.
  • Chill mixture until ready to use.

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup salted butter, room temperature
3/4 WHOLE cup milk
1 egg, rood temperature
2 cups FRESH** blueberries, washed and dried
1/4 cup WONDRA flour, for blueberry dusting

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Spray 9″ springform pan with nonstick spray and if desired, cut out a piece of parchment paper for easier transfer to serving dish.
  • In large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt stirring to combine.
  • Add milk, egg and softened butter, in chunks mixing until mostly smooth and combined. The batter will be thick, but if too thick, add additional 1/4 cup milk.
  • Dust blueberries with WONDRA flour.
  • Gently fold in blueberries into the batter.
  • Pour into prepared 9″ springform pan. If you use a smaller pan for a deeper cake add 10 minutes baking time and if you use a larger pan for a larger shallower cake, decrease baking time by 10 minutes.
  • Remove crumble from refrigerator and crumble on top of coffee cake batter in marble sized chunks.
  • Bake 50-65 minutes until top is golden and center is firm, toothpick may or may not come out clean.
  • Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes on a wire rack.
  • Glaze.

GLAZE (optional)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons milk or cream

  • While cake is cooling, mix together the powdered sugar, vanilla and milk/cream until smooth and pourable consistency.
  • Pour over top of warm cake for glaze that hardens and melts into cake, or if preferred, wait until cake is cooled completely then pour glaze over.


  • To serve, using a butter knife, gently run around the edge of the spring form pan.
  • Transfer to serving platter and enjoy.


  • **Frozen blueberries may be used, if possible thaw and drain, toss gently in a couple tablespoons of flour to coat, that will help the blueberries to not bleed as much.
  • You can substitute any other sliced or diced berries; strawberries, blackberries, raspberries… to make you happy.
  • *Glaze is GREAT, but can definitely be left off the cake and still be flavorful and moist.



4-6 bone in THICK pork chops
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup Hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Whisk together the Hoisin sauce and vinegar in a small bowl.
  • Transfer 3 tablespoons to a small bowl and set aside.
  • Pat chops dry and generously season with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Brush pork chops with the sauce mixture.
  • Grill pork over hot grill 3-4 minutes per side until seared and cooked through.
  • Transfer pork to platter and brush with reserved Hoisin sauce mixture.
  • Tent with foil and let rest 5 minutes.

1 pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 inch rings
1 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced OR 1/4 cup minced mini red peppers
1/4 cup FRESH chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons FRESH grated ginger

  • Brush pineapple all over with oil.
  • Grill over hot grill 3 minutes on each side until charred.
  • Transfer to cutting board.
  • When cool enough to handle, chop into 1/2 inch pieces.
  • Toss pineapple, green onions, cilantro and ginger with sesame oil.
  • Season to taste with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.


1/3 cup Bragg’s liquid aminos
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon FRESH grated ginger
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or tenders

  • Whisk together the liquid aminos, sugar, mirin, ginger and cornstarch together in a small saucepan.
  • Bring to a SLOW boil over medium heat until thickened, about 2 minutes.
  • Marinate chicken pieces for 1 hour.
  • Grill chicken 2-3 minutes per side on a medium hot grill.
  • Brush chicken with remaining sauce as grilling.

1 pineapple, diced
4 cups watermelon cubes
2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
1 cup cherries, diced
1 small red onion, diced
1/3 cup chopped cilantro

  • Toss all together.
  • Chill at least 2 hours before serving.

1 1/2 pounds FRESH green beans, trimmed
1 LARGE shallot or SMALL red onion, diced
4 cloves or chicken in garlic, minced
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1/4 cup FRESH orange juice
1/2 cup red pepper jelly
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons butter

  • Heat butter until melted over medium heat.
  • Add shallots or red onions and saute 2-3 minutes until softened.
  • Add garlic and stir 30 seconds until fragrant.
  • Add green beans and orange juice, stirring to coat.
  • Add jelly to top of beans, cover and cook over medium heat 10-15 minutes until beans are tender.
  • Stir in cilantro to blend flavor and serve immediately.



16 ounce can apricot halves, drained WELL
2 tablespoons QUALITY balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon white wine
1 tablespoon water
1 large garlic clove, FINELY mined
1 teaspoon FRESH minced thyme
2 tablespoons avocado oil

  • In blender, everything except the avocado oil; blending until smooth.
  • With blender running, slowly add oil, blending until smooth.

NOTE:  Canned peaches or pears work really well also for a bit of a different flavor profile.


One of my favorite summer treats is juicy red ripe watermelon and sweet navel oranges drizzled with a thick and sweet balsamic glaze with a bit of Cotija cheese (Mexican Parmesan) sprinkled on top.  You can use ANY balsamic vinegar, but I like to use flavor infused (pear or coconut pineapple are my favorites) for a bit of extra flavor.

1 3/4 cups QUALITY balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup sugar

  • In a small saucepan bring balsamic vinegar and apple cider vinegar to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, whisking often,  until reduced by half.
  • Whisk in sugar and bring back to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes, whisking often, until glaze coats the back of a spoon.
  • Cool before pouring into squeeze bottle or cruet. Will keep in refrigerator 2 months or so.


4 cups diced watermelon
3 Roma tomatoes, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 SMALL jalapeno, seeded and minced
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/2 cup small diced red onion
1+ teaspoon sea salt, to taste

  • Combine everything but the watermelon and toss to mix well.
  • Gently fold in watermelon.
  • Chill and enjoy!



1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
the zest of one lemon
1 cup FRESH small wild blueberries or defrosted frozen berries

  • Combine  sugar, and salt in bowl.
  • Stir in melted butter, lemon zest, and vanilla extract.
  • Fold in blueberries.
  • Set aside while you prepare the dough.

1 1/4 cup whole milk, divided
4 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
2 tablespoons granulated sugar; divided
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon poppyseeds
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

  • Butter a cast iron baker or basking dish.
  • In a small heat proof bowl heat ¼ cup of the milk in the microwave until 110 degrees (about 15 to 20 seconds).
  • Stir in yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar and let sit until bubbly.
  • Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, poppy seeds and remaining 5 teaspoons of sugar together in large bowl.
  • Stir in 2 tablespoons butter, yeast mixture, and remaining 1 cup of milk until dough forms.
  • Transfer dough to a floured counter and knead until smooth ball forms, about 2 minutes.
  • Roll dough into a 12 by 9 inch rectangle, with long side parallel to counter edge.
  • Brush dough all over with 2 tablespoons melted butter, leaving ½-inch border on far edge.
  • Sprinkle dough evenly with filling, then press filling firmly into dough.
  • Loosen dough from counter and roll away from you into a tight log and pinch seam to seal.
  • Roll log seam side down and cut into 8 equal pieces.
  • Stand buns on end and gently re-form ends that were pinched during cutting.
  • Place 1 bun in center of prepared pan and others around perimeter of pan, seam sides facing in.
  • Brush the tops of the buns with remaining 2 tablespoons butter.
  • Cover buns loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • After rising, bake buns until edges are well browned, 23 to 25 minutes.

Loosen buns from sides of pan with paring knife and let cool for 5 minutes.

2 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons butter, softened
Juice of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt
*More lemon zest for topping

  • Mix together softened cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  • Add lemon juice, confectioners sugar, vanilla, and salt and mix until combine.
  • Pour glaze evenly over tops of buns, spreading with spatula to cover.


This is an oldie, but goodie right out of the grandma archive of recipes. I bet most of you have the ingredients right in your pantry.  The pineapple cooks up through the cracker crumbs and bonds with the cheese creating a ‘stuffing’ like texture.

2 large cans crushed pineapple DO NOT DRAIN
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups Ritz cracker crumbs* (see note)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • In a small saucepan combine pineapple, juice and sugar, whisking until sugar is dissolved and pineapple is heated through. Remove from heat. Set aside.
  • In a small mixing bowl use a fork to combine cracker crumbs and melted butter until well combined. Set aside.
  • In baking dish or individual ramekins evenly layer the pineapple mixture.
  • Top that with an even layer of the cracker crumb mixture.
  • Evenly top with shredded cheese.
  • Top with nuts, if using.
  • Bake uncovered 20 minutes until bubbly and golden brown.

*NOTE: Keebler club crackers can be substituted, but it does alter the flavor a bit. You do need a cracker with a bit of a buttery flavor to them.


8-10 whole carrots or 5 large Granny Smith apples*(see note)
3/4 cup golden raisins
1 large can crushed pineapple, drained WELL
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons pineapple juice

  • Shred carrots into large mixing bowl. If using apples, peel, core and small chop.
  • Whisk together the mayonnaise, sugar and pineapple juice.
  • Fold in mayonnaise mixture, pineapple and raisins until well coated.
  • Chill several hours until ready to serve.


  • If using apples alone, be sure and toss them with lemon juice to prevent browning.
  • This also makes a good combination to use both carrots AND apples.


This was a Bobby Flay French toast recipe, but with a few changes, it’s now a cake!  You could still call it French toast and serve it for Brunch, but it’s yummy enough for dessert too!

APPLE PIE CAKE majorly altered and formerly known as APPLE CRISP FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE ala Bobby Flay

1 loaf day-old sourdough bread, crust removed, cut into 1-inch cubes

  • Preheat the oven to 275 °.
  • Spread the bread cubes on a large baking sheet and bake 20 minutes.
  • Let cool.
  • Adjust the oven to 350°.

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup apple cider, plus more for syrup if needed
Juice of 1 lemon
4 LARGE Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
2 tablespoons Coconut Rum
1/2 cup golden raisins

  • Combine the sugar, apple cider, lemon juice and coconut rum in a large saute pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  • Stir in the apples and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and caramelized, about 15 minutes.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apples to a bowl (you don’t want the apples to be too wet) and let cool 10 minutes.
  • Reserve the apple cooking liquid for serving.
  • Fold in the golden raisins.

1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup crushed walnut pieces

  • While the apples cool mix together the butter, salt and sugar in a large bowl until smooth.
  • Add the flour, oats. crushed nuts and cinnamon and mix until well combined.
  • Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Softened butter for greasing the baking dish
3 LARGE eggs
2 LARGE egg yolks
1 teaspoon  PURE vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 1/2 cups half-and-half
2 tablespoons PURE maple syrup, for apple syrup
4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces for syrup

  • Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with some softened butter.
  • Whisk the eggs, yolks, vanilla and cinnamon in a large bowl until smooth.
  • Whisk in the half-and-half, then fold in the cooled apples.
  • Add the bread and stir to coat, pressing down to make sure bread is totally submerged.
  • Let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the apple-bread mixture to the buttered 9×13 baking dish, pressing down to make sure the top is an even layer.
  • Scatter the streusel evenly over the top.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Uncover and continue baking until set, slightly puffed and lightly golden brown, another 30 minutes or so.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
  • Reheat the reserved apple cooking liquid. (If very thin, simmer briefly over medium heat until reduced to a syrup; if there isn’t much, add some apple cider and simmer briefly.)
  • Turn the heat to low and whisk in the maple syrup and cold butter, piece by piece, until emulsified.
  • Pour syrup over each piece as you serve it.