1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 pound chuck roast
2 1/4 cups enchilada sauce (see recipe below)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can original ROTEL tomatoes, drained well
1 large russet potato, baked
8 flour tortillas
1 cup salsa
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
FRESH ground salt and pepper to taste
Chopped black olives and onions, optional

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray 13×9 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Season chuck roast on all sides.
  • Heat avocado oil in dutch oven.
  • Sear chuck roast on all sides
  • Add onions to pan, top with 1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce, cover and bake 2 hours until meat is easily shredable. Shred meat into sauce.
  • Add black beans and rotel tomatoes to the meat mixture.
  • Wash and dry potato. Bake potato until tender along side the dutch oven.
  • Cool potato enough to e able to handle it. Peel off skin and coarsely chop.
  • Ladle 3/4 cup of enchilada sauce into the bottom of the baking dish.
  • Divide potato among the tortillas and top with a sprinkle of cheese.
  • Add about a 1/2 cup of the meat mixture.
  • Fold sides over the filling and roll up placing seam side down in baking dish. Repeat.
  • Top tortillas with remaining meat and sauce, brushing to cover the tops.
  • Bake covered for 20-25 minutes.
  • Uncover and top with remaining cheese.
  • Bake 5-10 minutes more until cheese is melted.
  • Sprinkle with cilantro and Serve.

NOTE: You can easily replace the potato with rice of choice for a change.


8 ounces elbow macaroni or small pasta shells
8 slices thick bacon, diced
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons WONDRA flour
2 ½ cups WHOLE milk
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese* (see note)

  • Cook pasta per package directions and drain well.
  • Cook bacon in skillet until crisp.
  • Remove bacon to paper toweling to drain.
  • Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings.
  • Add shallots and garlic to bacon drippings over medium heat and cook a minute or two until shallots soften.
  • Increase heat to medium high and sprinkle in flour, whisking until golden and smooth.
  • Whisk in milk slowly and bring to a SLOW boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook 4-5 minutes until
  • sauce begins to thicken.
  • Reduce heat to low and gradually stir in cheese(s), stirring until cheese is melted and blended well.
  • Season to taste.
  • Fold in drained pasta and bacon pieces.

NOTE: *For an even creamier texture use a portion of Velvetta cheese to replace some of the cheddar cheese.


These little gems have become an ALL TIME tailgating appetizer favorite for any gathering!  You can change up the meats and cheese for your own liking 😀

1/2 cup butter, melted
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons HEINZ yellow mustard**
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
3 teaspoons sugar
1 package King’s Hawaiian rolls (I use the 8 pack small burger size)
8 slices COLBY cheddar cheese, halved
8 thin slices of deli ham, halved
8 slices Provolone cheese, halved

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the butter, mustard or mayonnaise, onion, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and poppy seeds.
  • Place the bottoms in a 9×13 baking dish.
  • Brush each bottom with butter mixture.
  • Top each bun with layers of Colby cheese, deli ham and Provolone cheese folded to fit accordingly.
  • Brush with half the butter mixture.
  • Put roll tops on. Brush with remaining butter mixture.
  • Bake, uncovered 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted.

NOTE: I’m deathly allergic to mustard and substitute mayonnaise for the mustard and then put mustard on the serving table for others to use at their pleasure.


4 cups rotisserie chicken pieces
1/3 cup sour cream
2 + 1 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1 small shallot, finely chopped
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
8-10 small flour tortillas
3 cups shredded Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese mix
Enchilada Sauce (see recipe below)

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray 13×9 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Ladle 3/4 cup of enchilada sauce into the bottom of the baking dish and spread evenly. Se aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the chicken and 1/2 cup enchilada sauce, tossing to coat well.
  • Add the sour cream, 2 tablespoons cilantro, shallot, salt and pepper, mixing well. Set aside.
  • Warm and soften the tortillas slightly.
  • Add a spoonful of the chicken mixture and 2 tablespoons of the cheese to each tortilla rolling and placing seam side down in the baking dish.
  • Spoon the remaining sauce over the enchiladas.
  • Bake covered for 20-25 minutes.
  • Uncover and top with remaining cheese.
  • Bake 5-10 minutes more until cheese is melted.
  • Sprinkle with cilantro and Serve.

NOTE: this recipe is just as good with corn tortillas if you prefer.

ENCHILADA SAUCE yields 3 cups
3 tablespoons avocado oil
3 tablespoons WONDRA flour
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups chicken or beef stock
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon FRESH ground sea salt

  • Heat oil in sauce pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add flour, whisking to combine until golden.
  • Add chili powder, cumin and cocoa, blending well.
  • Add stock, stir well and bring to a SLOW boil.
  • Reduce to a simmer and add tomato paste, brown sugar and salt, blending well.
  • Simmer 10 -15 minutes, stirring often, until sauce thickens slightly.


Making this recipe as individual pies you can taste the homemade pastry and rich cheddar flavored sauce in EVERY bite. You can make this as rustic or as elegant as you’d like by cutting the crust into cute little decorative shapes or leave it as a single layer. We like to invert the individual pies so the crust is on the bottom absorbing all the yummy gravy.

1 cup soft flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon FRESH ground sea salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons cold vodka

  • 5 minutes before you begin the crust place the vodka and butter cubes in the freezer.
  • Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl.
  • Cut in butter until crumbly.
  • Gradually add vodka, mixing until forms a ball.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate AT LEAST 30 minutes.

1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 cups cubed peeled potatoes
1 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
1 can petite peas, drained WELL
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup Wondra flour
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 cups diced rotisserie chicken
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

  • Bring the broth to a SLOW boil over medium high heat in a large saucepan.
  • Add vegetable and simmer 10-15 minutes until tender.
  • Whisk together the milk and Wondra flour.
  • Stir milk mixture into broth mixture and simmer 10 minutes more or until desired thickness.
  • Stir in cheese and chicken.
  • Fold in peas.
  • Season to taste.


  • Spoon filling into baking dish(es). Set aside.
  • On a floured pastry mat roll crust 1 inch larger than baking dish.
  • Ease crust over dish, sealing the edges to the side of the dish.
  • Make several slits in the dough for steam to escape through.
  • Bake uncovered, for 40 minutes or until golden.

NOTE: DO NOT forget to cut slits in the crust to allow the steam to escape.



1 1/2 pounds breast tenders, diced small
2 large eggs
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, cornstarch or potato starch
1 1/3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or thyme (your flavor choice)
1/2 teaspoon FRESH ground sea salt, to taste
1/8 teaspoon FRESH black pepper
2 tablespoons Avocado oil

  • Whisk together the eggs, mayonnaise, salt, pepper and dill.
  • Add flour, stirring until smooth.
  • Fold in cheese and then chicken pieces, stirring until well blended.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight is better.
  • Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat with avocado oil.
  • When oil is hot, add the chicken mixture a heaping Tablespoon at a time. Slightly flatten out the tops and sauté uncovered 3-4 minutes on the first side, then flip and saute 3 more minutes on the flip side or until golden brown and chicken is fully cooked through.  Repeat with remaining fritters adding more oil as needed. DO NOT CROWD THE PAN.

1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon FRESH ground salt
1/8 teaspoon FRESH black pepper

  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, stirring together until smooth.


  • To test for doneness, cut a pancake in half and the chicken should be completely white inside.
  • Partially frozen chicken breasts are easier to dice.
  • Sometimes I cook the tenders in advance and shred them so the pancakes take less time to actually cook.
  • Changing the cheese flavor makes a nice change.  Using pepper jack for the cheese and a splash of Frank’s hot sauce in the dip spices it up a bit.



2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, pounded thin (1/8 inch)
6 ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained WELL and chopped small
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
2 green onions, sliced thin
4 thin slices Provolone cheese
2 tablespoons avocado oil
FRESH ground salt and pepper, to taste

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • In a small bowl combine artichoke heart pieces, parsley, garlic and green onions.
  • Generously season chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
  • Top each chicken breast with 2 cheese slices.
  • Top cheese with artichoke mixture and spread evenly.
  • Roll up chicken and secure with toothpicks.
  • In an ovenproof skillet heat avocado oil and turning frequently sear chicken bundles until golden.
  • Place skillet in preheated oven until cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  • Let stand 5 minutes.
  • Slice into roulades and serve with pasta or mashed potatoes.



FRENCH ONION SMOTHERED PORK CHOPS adapted from the Chunky Chef serves 4

1 Vidalia onions peeled, cut in half, and sliced into half-moon shaped slices
1 shallot cut in half, and sliced into half-moon shaped slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 1/4 cups beef stock
4 boneless pork chops about 1 – 1 ½ inches thick
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
2 ½ tablespoons WONDRA flour
4 slices provolone cheese
1 cup shredded Swiss or gruyere cheese
fresh thyme sprigs

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Melt butter and avocado oil in a large cast iron or other oven safe skillet, over MED-HIGH heat.
  • Add sliced onions and shallots, saute’ 3-5 minutes, until soft.
  • Add garlic and saute’ another minute until fragrant.
  • Add 1/4 cup beef stock and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 12-15 minutes, until onions are extremely tender and golden brown.
  • Whisk together the salt, pepper, dried thyme and garlic powder.
  • As onions are sautéing, season both sides of pork chops with seasoning mix.
  • Transfer onions to a plate, do not wipe out skillet.
  • Reduce heat to medium, add a drizzle of avocado oil to the skillet if needed, and cook pork chops, about 3-4 minutes per side, until golden brown.
  • Transfer pork chops to plate.
  • Return cooked onions to pan and sprinkle with flour.
  • Stir to coat and cook about a minute.
  • Add remaining 1 cup beef stock and stir often until mixture comes to a boil.
  • Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Nestle pork chops back into the pan, spooning some of the beef stock over the tops of the chops.
  • Top with a slices of provolone cheese and a 1/4 cup mound of the shredded Gruyere on top each chop.
  • Add a few sprigs of fresh thyme to the skillet.
  • Place skillet in oven and bake 8-10 minutes, until cheese is melted and gooey.
  • Before serving, spoon some of the beef stock/onion mixture over the top of the cheese.
  • Garnish with some additional black pepper if desired.



I usually make my version of  HOT BROWNS from THE BROWN HOTEL recipe from the OFF THE EATEN PATH cook book by Morgan Murphy. BUT, tonight we’re trying DAMARIS PHILLIPS’ version and fell in love with the different assembly method making it a casserole instead of a knife and fork dish. Next time we will be using a new combination of our norm and DAMARIS PHILLIPS’ assembly version. 😀 I also use the sweet & spicy bacon – YUMMY!

1 skin-on, bone-in turkey breast half (about 2 pounds)
4 teaspoons avocado oil
FRESH ground sea salt pepper
4 ounces slab bacon, chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups whole milk
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)
1/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers
2 slices stale sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (2 heaping cups)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • Rub the turkey with 2 teaspoons vegetable oil; sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
  • Place turkey on baking sheet and roast until the thickest part registers 160°, about 45-55 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let rest 15 minutes before chopping; the internal temperature will rise to 165°.
  • Meanwhile, place the bacon on a baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 20 minutes.
  • Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 250°.
  • Coat the tomatoes with the remaining 2 teaspoons avocado oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Place the tomatoes cut-side up on a separate parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until they start to dehydrate and wrinkle, about 45 minutes.
  • While the tomatoes are cooking, start the Mornay sauce.
  • Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  • Heat the milk in a separate small saucepan over medium heat.
  • When the butter is melted, add the flour and stir continuously so the roux doesn’t scorch, but becomes golden, about 2 minutes.
  • When the milk starts to simmer, slowly add it to the roux, stirring continuously so lumps don’t form.
  • Increase the heat and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Add the cheddar and roasted peppers and stir until smooth.
  • Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.


  • Preheat the broiler.
  • Distribute the bread cubes evenly among four 6-inch cast-iron gratin pans (or use disposable pie plates or other small pans).
  • Cut the turkey into 1/2-inch pieces; discard the skin and bones.
  • Divide the turkey evenly among the pans.
  • Spoon the Mornay sauce over the turkey, then top with the tomatoes.
  • Sprinkle with the Parmesan and bacon and broil until golden and bubbling, about 5 minutes.
  • Serve immediately.



With having to give up bread I have found it challenging to eat satisfying meals. Years ago I started a Bunless Burger series, but never did much with it so I’m back to add to the selections with these Italian flavored cheeseburgers are layered with tons of satisfying flavors.

3/4 pounds ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small Vidalia onion, halved and sliced into half rings
White cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar or Balsamic Vinegar
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 pound fingerlings or tri-colored potatoes, cut lengthwise into 1 inch wedges.
1-2 teaspoons sweet paprika
Avocado oil

  • Place an oven rack in the center of the oven, then preheat to 450°.
  • Place the potato wedges on a sheet pan.
  • Drizzle with avocado oil.
  • Sprinkle with paprika, salt and pepper; toss to coat.
  • Arrange potatoes in an even layer, skin side down.
  • Roast 28 to 30 minutes, or until browned and tender when pierced with a fork.
  • Remove from the oven.
  • While the potatoes roast, in a medium pan, heat a drizzle of avocado oil on medium-high until hot.
  • Add the diced onion; season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes, or until lightly browned and softened.
  • Add the garlic; season again with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until softened and fragrant.
  • Add the vinegar and sugar, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until well coated and most of the liquid has cooked off.
  • Re-season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Transfer to a bowl and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
  • While the onion cooks, in a medium bowl, combine the beef, Italian seasoning and a generous sprinkling of the salt and pepper.
  • Gently mix to combine. DO NOT OVERWORK the meat.
  • Using your hands, form the mixture into two 1/2-inch-thick patties; transfer to a plate.
  • Heat 2 teaspoons of avocado oil on medium-high until hot.
  • Add the patties and cook 4 to 5 minutes on the first side, or until browned.
  • Flip the patties.
  • Evenly top with the sliced cheese.
  • Loosely cover and cook 4 to 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the patties are cooked to your desired degree of doneness.
  • Leaving any browned bits of fond in the pan, transfer burgers to a plate. Loosely cover with the foil to keep warm.
  • Add the buns (if using), cut side down, to the pan of reserved fond adding a drizzle of oil if the pan is too dry.
  • Toast on medium-high 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until lightly browned.
  • Transfer to a work surface and assemble the burgers using the toasted buns, cooked patties, and glazed onion (you may have extra onion).
  • Serve the burgers with the roasted potatoes on the side.
  • Enjoy!


For some reason hubby LOVES Hamburger helper. Must be left over from his bachelor days BECAUSE IT IS NOT SOMETHING I HAVE EVER MADE. Since I can’t have pre-prepared foods I made him a substitute recipe for his favorite box that he says tastes even better. I make in advance too which makes a great weeknight casserole ready to pop in the oven when you get home. Hubby likes the texture of Velveeta, but I find it a bit rubbery. So I tried Land of Lakes American cheese and it slices great while still giving you that smooth creamy cheese texture when it melts. 

6 bacon strips cooked crisp and crumbled
1 1/2 pounds hamburger
1 small Vidalia onion, chopped
2 cups green giant frozen corn, thawed
2 large Yukon potatoes, sliced
Land o’ Lakes American Cheese Slices
Grated Cheddar for garnish
Corn chips (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Toss bacon and corn together.
  • Layer potatoes over top.
  • Generously salt and pepper the potatoes.
  • Place a thin layer of cheese slices over potatoes.
  • Brown hamburger and onions together. Salt and pepper well while meat is browning. Drain off fat.
  • Layer over the potatoes and top with another layer of potatoes.
  • Salt and pepper again and layer with another layer of cheese.
  • Cover and bake for 45 minutes.
  • Uncover and bake another 15 minutes.

NOTE: **I like to make these back to back (that way I also have 2 meals ready to go with half the mess) so the left over bits of browned sausage and caramelized onion add flavor to the hamburger.


I LOVE egg dishes like omelets and quiches, but especially frittatas with their blend of savory sautéed vegetable fillings and fluffy eggs! Frittatas are EXTREMELY versatile and are good warm and cold, kind of like pizza.

One of the keys to a GREAT fritters is to saute’ your vegetables first. This will remove excess moisture so it is NOT released during baking which would make your frittata tough and watery.

MY FAVORITE FRITTATA formula serves 6-8
1 LARGE bunch green onions, sliced thin (a small diced shallot is good also)
10-12 button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced thin
2 carrots, cleaned and diced small (zuchinni is a good substitute)
1/2 cup halved grape tomatoes (optional)
1/2-3/4 cup fresh corn kernels (optional)
1/2 pound bacon, diced and cooked crisp (shredded chicken, pork or sausage are good choices also)
12 eggs
1/4 cup WHOLE milk
FRESH ground salt and pepper, to taste
3/4 cup grated Gruyere, Swiss, Provolone, Pepper Jack or Cheddar (whatever your favorite is)
1/4 cup basil pieces (thyme, cilantro or rosemary work great too depending on your flavor combos)
3 tablespoons butter

  • Preheat oven 450°.
  • In a 10 inch cast iron (or ovenproof skillet) melt butter.
  • Add carrots and sauce 5-8 minutes until soft.
  • Add corn and onions next, cooking 2 minutes more.
  • Add mushrooms and tomatoes next, cooking 3-5 minutes more until moisture is removed from veggies.
  • Cook off all moisture.


  • In a mixing bowl whisk together all the eggs until well blended.
  • Add milk and whisk again until well combined.
  • Add basil or whatever herb you’re using along with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pour egg mixture over veggies and cook 2-3 minutes over medium heat, stirring with a spatula to create large waves – eggs should be just about cooked through on the bottom and a bit wet on top still.
  • Sprinkle with your cheese choice and press gently into eggs.
    Transfer to oven and cook 1-2 minutes until cheese is melted and golden.
  • Let stand 10 minutes.
  • Slice and serve.