Chillin' with Summer Chicken Pasta Salad

If you're looking for a low-calorie, cool and delicious summer salad loaded with fresh herbs and lots of flavor, here's one that fits the bill! It's simple and quick to make -- less than 15 minutes start to finish -- and perfect for a cool summer dinner.

Here's how:


1 lb. thin skinless boneless chicken breasts
1/2 lb. penne rigate pasta
Fresh herbs minced -- dill, parsley, basil
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Salt and pepper to taste
Freshly shaved parmigiano reggiano to taste
Extra virgin olive oil as needed


1. Boil pasta, drain, sprinkle with olive oil, stir and let cool in a bowl
2. Quick sauté chicken, remove to platter and let cool
3. In a bowl, mix cherry tomatoes, minced herbs, parmigiano reggiano and a drizzle of olive oil
4. When cool, thinly julienne chicken.
5. Add pasta and chicken to herb mixture, season with salt and pepper, add more parmigiano reggiano if desired.
6. Mix all, cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving, check seasonings and add another drizzle of olive oil.



Here's a delightful, quickly-prepared tarte that will delight your friends and family. Only 45 minutes from start to finish, it's a wonderful summertime dessert or tea-time break!


3 ripe peaches, sliced in 1/4" slices
1 bottom pie crust
2 T butter, in small pieces
2 T sugar
1 T sanding sugar
Freshly ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to taste
Cold water

Preheat oven to 425F.

1. Lay out the bottom pie crust on a cookie sheet.
2. Place the peach slices in in concentric circles, starting 3/4" from the edge of the crust and working towards the center.
3. Sprinkle with the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and sugar.
4. Dot with the butter all around.
5. Brush edge of crust with cold water, and fold crust over/crimp.
6. Sprinkle with sanding sugar.
7. Bake for 30 mins @ 425F. Let cool completely before transferring to a serving dish.

To serve: Top with ice cream or whipped cream.

Fly Me to the Moon: On BBQ Wings!

Keeping with our Memorial Day theme, today we roasted plump little chicken wings. They were smothered in a sticky spicy red BBQ sauce that I made with a base of commercial sauce, and spiked with lime juice, lime pulp, garlic salt, chili powder and freshly ground pepper.  I purchased the wings whole, removed the end parts and cut them into little drumette and wing portions with a cleaver.  I used my trusty wooden reamer to squeeze out every last drop (and a little of the pulp) from a few limes, sprinkled with generous helpings of the garlic salt, pepper and chili powder and poured the sauce all over.  They roast in a preheated oven at 350º for 30 minutes, turning halfway through to re-do the spices and sauce other side.

We added celery stalks and homemade blue cheese dressing with crumbled blue cheese on top.  Every savory bite is a finger-licking juicy treat! Great for appetizers, an entrée, or a mid-afternoon snack while watching the game.  Be sure to have plenty of paper towels handy!

Mother's Day Strawberry/Blueberry Muffins

What better treat for mom on Mother's Day -- or any day -- than home baked muffins with strawberries and blueberries?

They're simple and take only minutes to mix up a batch.

Here's how:


1 c chopped fresh strawberries
1/2 c fresh blueberries
2 c all purpose flour
1/2 c dark brown sugar
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/8 t kosher salt
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1/4 c vegetable oil
1/2 c half and half

Sanding sugar to top muffins before baking


Preheat oven to 375F
Fill large muffin cups with paper liners, or coat well with melted butter.

1. Mix all dry ingredients in large bowl (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt).
2. Mix and beat gently wet ingredients (egg, half and half, oil)
3. Add berries to dry ingredients, mix gently and coat well

4. Add wet ingredients to dry, mix well.
5. Fill muffin cups

6. Top each muffin with sanding sugar (about 1/8 t)

7. Bake for 25 -30 mins @ 375F or until toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out dry.

Added tips:
1. You can use frozen blueberries, but be sure they are completely defrosted and drained well before mixing into batter.
2. You can use milk instead of half and half for a lighter muffin. We like half and half because it adds a creaminess to the muffin.
3. You can use light brown sugar instead of dark brown sugar.
4. You can add rolled oats to batter (1/3 c) to give the muffins even more heft.

What is sanding sugar?
Sanding sugar is a fancy topping for baked goods. It's clear and sparkling, comes in many colors, and doesn't melt in the oven. It adds a wonderful sweetness to every bite of your muffins (and pies). Available in most specialty food stores, or online.

Cinco de Mayo Muffins

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with these easy muffins. Here's how:

Preheat oven to 400F.


1 package Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
3 T chopped red pimiento pepper
1/2 c Mexican cheddar cheese
1/3 c whole kernel corn
1/4 t red pepper flakes or 1 T chopped jalapeño pepper
1/3 c half and half
1 large egg, slightly beaten


1. Mix the half and half and egg, add the corn muffin mix.
2. Add the pimiento, corn kernels, cheese and jalapeño.
3. Mix until just blended.
4. Bake in lined muffin cups for 20-23 minutes or until golden brown.
5. Top and serve with butter for an extra creamy texture.

The Perfect Springtime Dessert

If you've eaten at Joe's Stone Crab in Miami, you'll know about their famous Key Lime Pie, just the best there is. They've generously shared their recipe online, and we are big fans ... making it frequently. It's a hit with young and old. Here's the link to their recipe, and thank you Joe's!!

Gettin' Our Corned Beef On!

It's time for corned beef and cabbage ... now as St. Patrick's Day is tomorrow, and really anytime of the year. It's always delicious and always a big hit ... day of, and day after! You'll need a big pot of water, lots of pickling spices, a quality cut of corned beef, a bunch of yellow or russet potatoes, an onion or two and time to let it simmer on the range. Here's how we do it:

Corned beef simmering in large pot of water with pickling spices (recipe below).

Add cabbage and potatoes ...

Cabbage, cored and quartered, ready to jump into the pool!


One 4-lb. corned beef brisket, thin cut (get the best you can find)
2-6 tbsp. pickling spices
4-6 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
One large onion, peeled and quartered
One medium head cabbage, cored and cut into 8 quarters


1. Put the corned beef into a large pot and cover with cold water. Add 2 tbsp. pickling spices. Cover and bring to a boil.
2. Skim the gray residue that comes to the top of the pot. Cover. Simmer for 30 minutes. Skim residue. Add 1-2 tbsp. more pickling spices to make up for ones you skimmed away.
3. Cover and simmer for 1-1/2 hours on medium heat.
4. Add potatotes, onion, more water (boil it first) to cover corned beef. Adjust spices by adding more if needed. Simmer 30 minutes.
5. Add cabbage and simmer 30 more minutes.

Serve with Irish soda bread and a pint of Guinness! Top of the evening to you, mateys!bread!