BRUSCHETTA AVOCADOS – Luscious tomatoes, FRESH basil and red onion are tossed in a balsamic vinegar with a touch of garlic and avocado oil and then gently stuffed into avocado halves for a incredible summer dinner with no oven or stove to heat up the house. Adapted from Cafe Delites

2 ripe Roma tomatoes,finely chopped
2 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
scant tablespoon avocado oil
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
FRESH ground salt and pepper, to taste
2 ripe avocados – peeled, seeded and halved
2 tablespoons balsamic REDUCTION – store bought or see recipe below
2 tablespoons FRESH chopped basil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • Combine tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper in a bowl.
  • Toss well to evenly meld all of the flavors.
  • Arrange prepared avocado halves onto a plate.
  • Spoon the  filling into each avocado halve and drizzle with balsamic glaze.
  • Top with chopped FRESH basil and Parmesan cheese.
  • Serve immediately.

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon PACKED light brown sugar (OPTIONAL)

  • Combine brown sugar sugar with vinegar in a small saucepan over high heat and bring to the boil.
  • Reduce heat to low; allow to simmer for about 5-8 minutes or until mixture has thickened and reduced to a glaze.

NOTE: If not using sugar, allow plain balsamic vinegar to reduce for 12-15 minutes on low heat.



For a nice change of pace in the spring and summer I try to make lighter AND healthier dishes. I ran across this recipe at the dentist office and instantly fell in love after a few adjustments for our tastes, especially with my new restrictive diet! I’m ALWAYS looking for more flavor and it has been hard to come by – until now!


1 pound large carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/8 inch rounds
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
2+2 tablespoons cup avocado oil
4 ounces dry orecchiette pasta
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3-4 sprigs FRESH thyme
2 tablespoons FRESH chopped chives
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • Preheat oven to 475°.
  • Cover a baking sheet with foil or a silicone mat.
  • Add carrots to a large bowl.
  • Drizzle with 2 tablespoons avocado oil.
  • Generously season with the salt and pepper.
  • Toss to coat well.
  • Spread carrots onto baking sheet in an even layer.
  • Nestle thyme sprigs randomly into carrots.
  • Bake 8-10 minutes until tender and carrots are beginning to curl at the edges.
  • While carrots are roasting cook pasta per package directions. DO NOT ADD THE SALT OR FAT.
  • Drain pasta WELL.
  • Add pasta to large mixing bowl.
  • Add vinegar, 2 tablespoons avocado oil.
  • Lightly season with salt and pepper.
  • Toss to coat.
  • Remove thyme sprigs.
  • Add carrots and GENTLY toss again.
  • Divide among the plates.
  • Top with chives and Parmesan cheese.
  • ENJOY!



Barilla ready to bake lasagna noodles
1 tablespoon avocado oil
3/4 pound ground chicken
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small carrot, grated
1 small stalk celery, diced
1 can petite diced tomatoes, drained VERY WELL
2 tablespoons chicken broth
3/4 cup marinara sauce
8 ounces ricotta cheese
FRESH ground salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1 small egg, beaten
1 tablespoon butter
9-10 button mushrooms, sliced thin

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray a 9×9 deep baking dish with non-stick spray.
  • In a large skillet heat avocado oil over medium high heat.
  • Add chicken, onion, carrot and celery, stirring until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are soft.
  • Add garlic and cook a minute more until fragrant.
  • Stir in tomatoes,marinara sauce, chicken broth, salt and pepper.
  • Reduce heat to low simmer, cover and cook 45 minutes.
  • In a mixing bowl stir together the ricotta cheese and egg until smooth and well blended.
  • Toss together the Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.
  • Over a medium-high heat melt butter.
  • Add mushrooms ans saute until caramelized.


  • Add 1/3 of chicken mixture to baking dish.
  • Top with a layer of lasagna noodles.
  • Add a thin layer of chicken mixture.
  • Top with a layer of the ricotta mixture.
  • Top with a layer of the cheeses.
  • Repeat layers 2 more times ending with mushrooms before final cheese layer.
  • Cover and bake 20 minutes.
  • Uncover, bake another 20-25 minutes until bubbly and cheese is golden.
  • Let stand 10 minutes before serving.


1 1/2 pounds large THINLY sliced boneless and skinless chicken breasts
1 shallot, sliced thin
1 cup sliced mushrooms
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black cracked pepper (adjust to your tastes)
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
5 ounce jar sun dried tomato strips in oil drained (reserve 3 tablespoons of oil for cooking)
3 tablespoons reserved sun dried tomato oil or olive oil, divided
5-6 button mushrooms, diced
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 – 2 cups spinach (optional)
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley to serve

  • Season chicken with salt, pepper, paprika and onion powder.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of the reserved sun dried tomato oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Sear the chicken for 2 minutes or so each side, or until golden and cooked through.
  • Transfer to a warm plate and set aside.
  • Add the remaining oil to the pan.
  • Add shallots and garlic, sautéing a minute or so until garlic is fragrant.
  • Add in the sun dried tomatoes and mushrooms if using sautéing 1-2 more minutes to release their flavors.
  • Add paprika and Italian seasoning, stirring to blend.
  • Reduce heat to a medium-low.
  • Add white wine and then the heavy cream, stirring to blend.
  • Bring to a gentle simmer, while stirring occasionally.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Add the Parmesan cheese. Allow sauce to simmer for a few minutes until cheese melts and blends into sauce.
  • Add in spinach leaves if using and allow to wilt in the sauce.
  • Add the chicken back into the pan; top with parsley and serve over pasta.


NEW CLASSIC CAESAR SALAD with or without Chicken


2 cloves garlic, minced
4 anchovy fillets, minced
1/2 Meyer lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup olive oil (I like to use a lemon olive oil)
large egg yolk, beaten
Fresh ground salt and pepper, to taste
Torn Romaine lettuce
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
grated Parmesan cheese

  • In a small food processor combine 7 ingredients until well blended. Garlic and anchovies should become one with the liquid ingredients.
  • Fold olive oil mixture into beaten egg until well blended.
  • Season to taste with fresh ground salt and pepper.
  • Pour over torn lettuce and sliced green onions.
  • Top with croutons and Parmesan cheese.
  • Toss well and serve immediately.

NOTE: When I use chicken I use chicken tenders with salt and pepper browned in a little butter and then shredded into the salad.

Linking to SOUPER SUNDAY at Kahakai Kitchen and FULL PLATE THURSDAY at Miz Helen’s Cottage.


This is a very altered recipe from the Southern Living Slow Cooker cookbook. I changed amounts, flavor profiles and we really think it was for the best. There was no garlic in the original recipe and they used cheddar cheese! So NOT Italian!

1 pound ground chuck (for something spicier, use Hot Italian Sausage)
1 LARGE shallot, diced
15 ounce jar CLASSICO Four Cheese Tomato Cream Sauce
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup Wondra flour
12 ounces evaporated milk
1/2 cup FRESH grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh ground salt and pepper, to taste
8 ounces uncooked spaghetti, broken into pieces**
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
avocado oil

  • In a large skillet over medium high heat a small amount of avocado oil.
  • Add ground chuck and diced shallot. When just about browned add garlic and saute’ a minute more.
  • Drain off all fat and return meat to pan.
  • Add CLASSICO sauce to meat and blend well.


  • In a small sauce pan over medium high heat, melt butter.
  • Add flour, whisking until golden.
  • Slowly whisk in evaporated milk until well blended and thickened.
  • Remove from heat and add Parmesan cheese.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.


  • Lightly spray the slow cooker with non stick spray.
  • Spoon half of meat mixture into slow cooker and spread evenly.
  • Top with half of the spaghetti pieces.
  • Spoon half of Parmesan cheese mixture over the spaghetti pieces and spread evenly.
  • Top with half of the Mozzarella cheese.
  • Repeat layers.


  • Cover and cook on LOW 4 hours.
  • Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
  • Serve with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

NOTE**: I can sometimes find “pot size” spaghetti which is just half size spaghetti so much less mess with breaking and they fit in the slow cooker perfectly.


I found this recipe made for shrimp, but it is ALSO awesome with chicken.
ASIAGO SHRIMP RISOTTO adapted from What The Fork’s for Dinner?

4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2 tablespoons dry white wine
4 1/2 cups chicken stock, divided 3 + 1 1/2
Juice of 1 lemon
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound large shrimp, thawed, peeled and de-veined**
3/4 cup grated Asiago cheese
1/4 cup tarragon and flat-leaf parsley, chopped for garnish

  • In an electric pressure cooker set on sear, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat.
  • Add shallots and garlic, sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes.
  • Add rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute more.
  • Add wine and cook until wine evaporates, about 30 seconds.
  • Add 3 cups of chicken stock and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper.
  • Secure lid.
  • Set pressure cooker on rice setting for 10 minutes.
  • Vent pressure, then remove lid.
  • Reset to sear setting and stir in shrimp with remaining 1½ cups broth, and cook until shrimp are opaque, 3 to 5 minutes.**
  • Stir in cheese and remaining 1 tablespoons butter.
  • Finish with herbs and serve immediately.

NOTE ** If using chicken use 1 pound cut into small bite sized pieces and adjust cooking time until chicken is cooked through.  I have also prepared chicken in a skillet getting a good sear on all sides before adding to risotto and then only stirring to coat well with sauce.

Linking up to FULL Plate Thursday.


Have you ever heard the funny story about cutting off the back of the ham? Zig Ziglar tells a story about a new bride who would always cut the end off the ham before baking it. Her husband asked why she did it and the wife responded that she did it because her mother always did it so that was the way it was supposed to be.

Well, her husband wasn’t happy with her “the way it’s supposed” to be answer and decided to ask his mother-in-law that same question. Her answer was the same making him more curious than ever.

The husband called his wife’s grandmother to see what her answer was. Grandma told him that she had a small oven and it was the only way the ham would fit inside.

This story always makes me laugh because grandma had an extremely legitimate reason for doing it, but daughter and granddaughter not so much. I personally like to push the boundaries and do not blindly follow without rhyme or reason, but I do stop and ask myself if there is a better way on many things.

Why did I tell you this story? Because you’ll notice a pat of butter in the center of the soup bowl.  I did this out of habit because grams always did.  LOL I do believe it gives it a richer flavor as you eat though so will keep blindly following grams norms…

2 tablespoons butter
3 medium carrots with tops**, chopped
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
3 LARGE cloves garlic, minced
1- 26 ounce box POMI finely chopped tomatoes
small 50 ml bottle QUALITY bourbon (3 1/2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup chicken broth
FRESH ground Himalayan Pink and Black pepper, to taste

  • Melt butter in large saucepan over medium high heat.
  • Add carrots and onions, sautéing until soft.
  • Add garlic and carrot tops, continuing to saute’, but watching so garlic does NOT burn.
  • Stir in chicken broth, bourbon, brown sugar and tomatoes.
  • Bring to a SLOW boil, reduce heat, season with salt and pepper, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, occasionally stirring.
  • Stir in half and half, heating through.
  • Garnish with parsley and Parmesan crisps.

NOTE: **You can substitute flat leaf Italian Parsley for the carrot tops.

1/2 cup grated QUALITY Parmesan

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Pour a heaping tablespoon of Parmesan onto a silicone mat** lined baking sheet and lightly pat down.
  • Repeat with the remaining cheese, spacing the spoonfuls about a 1/2 inch apart.
  • Bake for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden and crisp.
  • Cool.

NOTE: **You can use parchment paper, but I have better success with silicone.


CHICKEN PARMESAN MEATBALLS – This makes 12 or so meatballs
1 1/4 pounds ground chicken

1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
1 egg, whisked
zest of half a lemon
3 tablespoons sesame oil
Marinara pasta sauce
3-4 slices mozzarella

  • Preheat oven to 400°F, setting rack to upper third part of oven.
  • In a large bowl, using your hands, gently mix together first 10 ingredients.
  • Shape into golf-ball size balls and place a few inches from each other on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  • In a small bowl, mix one spoonful of your pizza sauce with olive oil.
  • Brush this mixture on top of each meatball.
  • Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Remove meatballs from oven, spoon some sauce on top of each meatball, and cover each with a slice of cheese.
  • Broil another 3 to 5 minutes until cheese is bubbly and golden.
  • Heat remaining sauce in a small saucepan.
  • Serve meatballs with pasta and a dollop of sauce.




3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced*
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 ounces white wine
1 lemon, juiced
4 ounces bacon, diced
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
3 cups fresh spinach, washed and stemmed
spaghetti, cooked and well drained
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 large tomato, diced
*While I prefer fresh garlic, I have found that the roasted jar garlic is a great substitute, especially in the winter.
  • Brown bacon until crisp.
  • Add onion slices and garlic, sauteing until tender.
  • Move bacon and onions to the sides and add butter.
  • When butter is melted, add chicken and brown well on both sides.
  • In the meantime, prepare the pasta per package directions.
  • Remove chicken, keeping warm.
  • Add spinach and saute’ until spinach wilts.
  • Move spinach to outer sides.
  • Toss pasta with wine and lemon juice.
  • Mound pasta in center of pan.
  • Top with Parmesan cheese.
  • Layer chicken pieces over top.
  • Serve immediately.