Friday, June 7, 2024



Recipe adapted from Bella Sun Luci Recipes

Just purchased the most amazing Tuscan Garden Sauce Starter from Bella Sun Luci – owned and run by a good high school friend, Mary Mooney.  This starter makes this dish super easy and very tasty!

Bella Sun Luci’s overview: “Rich and hearty flavors of this authentic cacciatore can be yours in minutes. We love this recipe for its effortless preparation of gourmet Italian meal. Umami flavors of mushrooms and (artichokes) blend with sweet tomatoes and tender chicken to create a true food of comfort.”

Total Cook Time: 30 minutes        Serves: 4


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 Tbsp. olive oil

¼ - ½ thinly sliced onion

1 tsp. Better Than Bullion

¼ cup white wine

One 28 oz. can diced tomatoes

3 generous Tbsp. Bella Sun Luci Tuscan Garden Sauce Starter

1 cup mushrooms, sliced thick or quartered

½ cup marinated artichoke hearts, sliced

½ lb. asparagus cut on the diagonal into 1” pieces

1 lb. pappardelle or choice of favorite long pasta

Salt and pepper to taste

Freshly chopped basil for garnish

Freshly grated Parmigiana Reggiano for garnish


1. Cook pasta as directed on package, set aside.

2. Marinade chicken for at least :30 in favorite Italian marinade.

3. Grill chicken over medium-high heat, ~ 4 min. each side. Set aside. Chicken will finish cooking in sauce.

4. Heat a large pan over medium heat and add olive oil.

5. Sweat the onions until soft but not browned.

6. Add the Better Than Bullion and cook into onions for 1 min.

7. Add white wine to the pan and stir, slowly scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze the brown bits, turn up the heat to medium-high

8. Add diced tomatoes and sauce starter to the pan over medium heat.; stir to combine the tomatoes and Sauce Starter, I recommend smashing about half of the diced tomatoes with a wooden spoon or potato masher to get a smoother consistency.

9. Add the mushrooms, artichoke hearts, asparagus, and grilled chicken (with juices) to the pan and let simmer partially covered over medium-low heat until the chicken is cooked through, approximately 10 minutes.

10. Plate immediately over pasta and garnish with basil and Parm.

Thursday, June 6, 2024



Quick and easy, this grilled rosemary chicken is full of exceptional flavor. The rosemary and garlic marinade is brightened with lemon juice - A Must-Try for Summer.

Prep Time: 20 mins         Marinade Time: 30 mins                Cook Time: 10 mins                         Total Time: 1 hr

Serves: 4


6 cloves garlic, minced or grated on a microplane

3 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary

1 ½ Tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 ½ Tbsp. lemon juice

1/4 cup white wine

Zest of ½ lemon

¼ tsp. ground black pepper

tsp. kosher salt

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves or 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs


1- Whisk garlic, oil, rosemary, mustard, lemon juice & zest, wine, pepper, and salt together in a bowl. Reserve 2 tablespoons for basting.

2- Place chicken breasts in a resealable plastic bag. Pour garlic mixture over top; seal the bag and massage marinade into chicken. Let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature.

3- Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate. Remove chicken from marinade and shake off excess. Discard remaining marinade.

4- Cook chicken on the preheated grill for 4 minutes. Turn, baste with reserved marinade, and continue to grill until no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear, about 5 minutes.  An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 160°F.  

5- Transfer chicken to a plate and cover with foil.  Let rest for at least 4 minutes before serving.

 I was in the mood for something light, summery and a little savory to have before dinner one weekend and ran across a version of this recipe.  As always, after a few of JD's tweaks I came up with the following tasty treat...

Adapted from Mario Batali & Smitten Kitchen 

In addition to making great crostini, toss some of the leftover paste with pasta for dinner the next night – it’s delicious. I think it would be especially good in a cold pasta dish, like a salad.


1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed, or 1 tsp. garlic powder
1 cup large green pitted olives*
1 ½ - 2 Tbsp. capers, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can of artichoke hearts, drained**

Zest of ½ lemon
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 large slices of crusty bread


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a food processor, process the garlic (powder), olives, capers, artichoke hearts, zest and olive oil to a coarse paste.

2. Toast the bread on the oven rack for 6 minutes, or until crisp and browned. Spread the olive paste thickly over the toast and serve.

Do ahead: The olive paste can be refrigerated for 2 days. Let it return to room temperature before using.


*TJ Grilled & Pitted Olives in Oil (11.64 oz. jar)

**Cucina & Amore ¼’d, marinated artichoke hearts (14.5 oz. jar)

Monday, May 20, 2024




Grilled corn tossed with mayonnaise, sour cream, lime (zest and juice) and spices in this delicious side dish that makes you think back to those street carts (without the Mayo sitting out all day 😉)


Prep Time – 10 min.       Cook Time – 10 min.     Total Time – 20 min.

Servings: 6 servings



6 ears fresh corn on the cob husked

Vegetable oil

2-3 Tbsp mayonnaise

2-3 Tbsp sour cream

1 Tbsp lime juice

½ Lime zest

1 tsp chili powder*

Dash of cayenne pepper*

Salt and pepper to taste

*Can sub taco or fajita seasoning for the spices

¼ cup crumbled queso fresco

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro



~Preheat grill for high heat. Brush 6 ears fresh corn on the cob with Vegetable oil. Grill corn, turning every 2-3 minutes, until slightly charred on all sides. Cool and cut corn kernels off cob.

~In a medium bowl, combine 2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise, 2-3 tablespoons sour cream,1 tablespoon lime juice, lime zest, 1 teaspoon chili powder and Dash of cayenne pepper. Season with Salt and pepper, to taste.  

~Fold in corn kernels.

~Garnish with ¼ cup crumbled queso fresco and ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro.



Produce: fresh corn, fresh cilantro – frozen or canned corn will work in a pinch, brown in a pan first

Vegetable oil – olive oil works too, but it has a lower smoke point and may not be the best choice for grilling

Mayonnaise – regular or low fat

Sour cream – regular or low fat

Lime - juice and zest

Spices: chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Taco or Fajita seasoning works great also

Queso fresco – feta or cotija cheese will also work


No, you can use drained canned corn or thawed frozen corn. You won’t be able to grill it, but you can roast it in the oven or char it in a cast iron skillet.


Yes. Just reheat it in the microwave before serving.


The best way to get a good char on your corn without a grill is by using a cast iron skillet on the stove top or using the broiler in your oven. Grill or not…make sure to keep an eye on your corn. You want to use high heat, so you get a nice char, but it can burn quickly, so be careful and turn it often!


Tuesday, May 7, 2024


Italian Chopped Salad (inspired by Nancy Silverton’s Pizzeria Mozza recipe)

Prep: 30 min.                    Serves: 4 to 8


For The Vinaigrette

2 ½ Tbsp. red wine vinegar

2 Tbsp. dried oregano

Freshly squeezed juice from ½ lemon (1 Tbsp.), or more to taste

Zest from 1/2 lemon

2 medium cloves garlic, 1 smashed flat and 1 grated

½ tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

1 ½ cups extra-virgin olive oil

For The Salad

¼+ small red onion, cut in half from top to bottom

1 head (22 ounces) iceberg lettuce

1 head (11 ounces) red lettuce or radicchio if not too bitter

1 pint small, sweet cherry tomatoes, such as Sun Golds or Sweet 100s, cut into quarters

Kosher salt

1 ½ cups no-salt-added chickpeas, drained

I pint container of mozzarella pearls, drained

½ cup black olives, sliced thinly

¼ pound shredded parmesan cheese

¼ pound Genoa salami, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices, then cut into ¼ -inch-wide strips

5 pepperoncini (stems discarded), cut into thin slices (about ¼ cup)

Freshly squeezed juice from ½ lemon (1 Tbsp.), or more to taste

Dried oregano (preferably Sicilian oregano on the branch), for sprinkling


For The Vinaigrette

Add together the vinegar, oregano, lemon zest & juice, the smashed garlic and grated garlic and the salt and pepper in a medium-large jar with a lid. Shake well to mix.  Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes (to marinate the oregano).  Add the oil and shake well to form an emulsified vinaigrette. Taste for seasoning and add salt or lemon juice as needed. The yield is a generous 1 1/2 cups; you'll use up to 1/2 cup for this salad, and the remainder can be refrigerated for another use (up to 3 days).

For The Salad

Separate the layers of the onion and stack two or three layers on top of one another, then cut them lengthwise into 1/16-inch-wide strips. Repeat with the remaining onion layers. Place the onion in a small bowl of ice water to sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Drain the onion and pat dry with paper towels before adding to the salad.

Cut the iceberg lettuce in half through the core. Remove and discard the outer leaves and discard the core. Separate the lettuce leaves, stack two or three leaves on top of one another, then cut them lengthwise into ¼ -inch-wide strips. Repeat with the remaining leaves; thinly slice the red lettuce/radicchio in the same way. Cut the tomatoes in half, season them with salt to taste, and toss gently.

Combine the lettuce, red lettuce/radicchio, tomatoes, chickpeas, mozzarella, olives, salami, pepperoncini, and onion in a large, wide bowl. Season with salt to taste and toss to thoroughly combine. Drizzle 1/3 cup of the vinaigrette over the salad, then sprinkle with the lemon juice; toss gently to coat the salad evenly. Taste, and add the remaining portion of the 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette, plus salt and/or lemon juice as needed.

Transfer the salad to a large platter or divide it among individual plates, piling it like a mountain. Sprinkle the dried oregano leaves on top and serve.



This Greek chicken bowl is exactly what you need for an easy lunch or dinner! Made with quinoa, fresh cucumber, kalamata olives, and grilled chicken breasts for a well-rounded Mediterranean-inspired meal.

Prep Time: 5 min.        Cook Time: 23 min.     Total Time: 28 min.

Serves: 4



¼ cup olive oil

2 lemons juiced

1 Tbsp honey

½ Tbsp lemon zest

1 garlic clove minced

2 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried basil

S&P to taste

Quinoa Bowls

1½ cups quinoa uncooked

4 chicken breasts boneless, skinless

1 English cucumber diced

4 Roma tomatoes chopped

1 red onion medium, diced

1 cup feta cheese crumbled

1 cup kalamata olives pitted

4 cups mixed greens



-Add the quinoa to a small saucepan together with 2 cups of water and a generous pinch of salt. Place over medium heat bring to a boil then drop the heat and allow it to simmer for about 15 minutes, or until quinoa is tender. Once the quinoa is done cooking, set aside and allow it to cool.

-To a small jar add all dressing/marinade ingredients and shake vigorously to emulsify.

-Pour about 1/3 of the marinade over the chicken and toss to completely coat. Reserve the remaining marinade to use as dressing, making sure it doesn't touch the raw meat.

-Heat a grill pan or an outside grill over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and grill for 4-5 min per side, or until cooked through and internal temperature reads 155°F.  Chop chicken to desired sized pieces.

-Divide the cooled quinoa among 4 serving bowls. Top with the grilled chicken and prepped veggies.

-Add the crumbled feta cheese and kalamata olives over the chicken bowl and drizzle with the remaining dressing.

-Can also serve over mixed greens or a combination of greens and quinoa.

-I make extra dressing and use it for a lot of other tasty items…



This Whole30 egg roll in a bowl with creamy chili sauce is a wonderfully flavorful, quick Whole30 recipe. This low carb, keto, and paleo recipe is an addictive Asian dinner the whole family will love. Made in one skillet/larger wok.

Prep: 5 min         Cook: 20 min                      Total: 25 min                      Serves: 4 people



2 tablespoons sesame oil

6 green onions sliced, green and white parts divided

1/2 cup red onion diced. Skip for keto. See Note

4 oz. button mushrooms, sliced thin

5 cloves garlic minced

1 pound ground pork, or 1 lb. cubed rotisserie chicken

1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

1 8-oz. can water chestnuts chopped. Skip for keto

1 8-oz. can bamboo shoots, sliced thin lengthwise

1 tablespoon sriracha or hot sauce (see Note 1)

14-ounce bag coleslaw mix

3 tablespoons coconut aminos (see Note 2 for keto or low carb)

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon white pepper or black pepper

salt to taste

-Creamy Chili Sauce

1/4 cup mayonnaise (see Note 3)

1-2 tablespoons sriracha or hot sauce

salt to taste



1- Heat sesame oil in a large skillet and place over medium heat. Add white parts of green onions, diced red onion, and garlic and sauté, stirring frequently, until the red onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes.

2- Add ground pork, grated ginger, water chestnuts (Skip for keto), and 1 tablespoon sriracha hot sauce or chili-garlic sauce and cook until pork is browned, broken up, and cooked through about 7-10 minutes.

3- Add coleslaw mix, coconut aminos or soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, white pepper, and salt, to taste, and stir until well combined. Cook, stirring regularly, until cabbage is tender, about 5 minutes.

4- Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together 1/4 cup mayonnaise and 1-2 tablespoons compliant hot sauce. Add a pinch of salt, to taste. To drizzle, place creamy chili sauce in a small plastic sandwich bag.

5- To plate: spoon a hearty helping of the pork-cabbage mixture in a serving bowl. Snip off the corner of the sandwich bag with the creamy chili sauce and drizzle over egg roll in a bowl recipe mixture. Garnish with green parts of the green onions and black sesame seeds.

6- Garnish with regular or black sesame seeds and green parts of sliced green onions from above


Recipe Notes

1- If on Whole30, make sure your hot sauce or sriracha is compliant. Make my Whole30 Sriracha super easily or use something like Frank's Red Hot. Frank's Red Hot is also keto-friendly, whereas conventional sriracha is not.

2- If keto or low carb, use Lite Tamari or Bragg's Aminos for the least number of carbs, as shown in the second nutrition label.

3- If Whole30, make sure your mayonnaise is compliant. Avocado mayo will work perfectly.