French Green Beans with Caramelized Onions and Almonds

French Green BeansSometimes the hardest part of deciding what to  cook for dinner isn’t the main entrée, but actually coming up with a side dish. My go to vegetable side dish is French green beans. They pair nicely with most proteins. And they are fairly quick and easy to cook.


  • 1 pound of French green beans (haricot verts)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/3 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 small red onion cut in half and sliced


  1. Boil water in a saute pan. Add 1 tablespoon salt once water is boiling.French GB2
  2. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath for the beans. (Large bowl with ice and water.)French GB 1
  3. Carefully add the green beans to boiling water for 1 minute.French GB3
  4. Blanch green beans by removing them from the boiling water and immersing them into the ice bath.French GB4
  5. Clear saute pan of remaining water and wipe down with paper towel.
  6. Bring saute pan back to stove on medium high heat.
  7. Add oil and butter and combine using a wooden spoon.
  8. Once oil and butter begin to ripple, add garlic, red pepper flakes and almond slices and stir.
  9. Next add red onion slices and stir every minute until onions are translucent and caramel in color. French GB7
  10. Strain green beans from ice bath and add to saute pan. Combine beans and onion mixture for 2 to 3 minutes until beans are heated throughout. French GB8

Triple Chocolate Chip and Cherry Cookies

cherry triple chocolate chip cookies (1)For Christmas, I like to gift my family boxes of homemade baked goods. I usually rotate what I bake each year, but these cookies are always included. Mmmmmm. Chocolate chip cookies! Who can resist them? Even better, who can resist a chocolate chip cookie made with three types of chocolate and dried cherries? I’ll admit it. I can’t.  If I see them. I will eventually eat them. Maybe that’s why I generally only bake them during the holidays. You know what they say about having too much of a good thing?! (But don’t let my lack of self-control prevent you from making these any time of the year.)

I came up with this recipe because I wanted to make a festive, combination chocolate chip cookie. One that was not chocolate chips and nuts because I’m not big on nuts in my cookies. But chocolate and dried fruit sounded fantastic. You can substitute dried cranberries or even apricots if you prefer.

This recipe yields about 24 to 28 cookies. (But I won’t tell if you make an extra batch for yourself. I’ve been known to do the same.)


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup chopped dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare 2 large baking sheets with non stick baking mats or use parchment paper
  3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.
  4. Using a mixer combine the butter, sugar and brown sugar and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat on medium speed until combined, about 1 minute.
  6. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 batches, stirring until just combined.
  7. Add the dried cherries, and the 3 types of chocolate chips to the mixture.
  8. Mix manually with a wooden spoon until chips and cherries are combined.
  9. Drop the dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between cookies.
  10. Bake until light golden brown and just set, 9-10 minutes.
  11. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: These cookies can be baked ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

Miso Chicken

Miso ChickenIn the winter time I love to make all kinds of soup, especially miso soup. But now that it’s spring and the weather is getting warmer, a hot bowl of soup just doesn’t pique my interest. So what do I do with that tub of miso paste I still have in the refrigerator? Well, I always have chicken in my freezer so why not make miso chicken? And once I saw how easy this was, I was kicking myself for not trying this sooner.


  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 tablespoons white miso paste
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seed oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons chopped ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil


  1. Place chicken breasts in a one gallon Ziploc bag and set aside.
  2. In a measuring cup combine: miso paste, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, pepper flakes and water. Mix well.
  3. Pour marinade over chicken breasts and seal bag tight.
  4. Massage marinade over chicken pieces and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  5. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken when oil begins to ripple.
  6. Cook chicken about 4 minutes per side, until no longer pink in center and internal temperature reads 165 degrees.
  7. Serve with jasmine rice and/or your favorite vegetables. Enjoy!

Chocolate Banana Pudding Poke Cake

Chocolate Banana Pudding Poke  CakeWith my family, there doesn’t have to be a holiday or celebration to have dessert. If we get together for a family dinner, you can bet there will be dessert. Homemade or store-bought. It doesn’t matter. But there must be dessert. This was originally an “experiment recipe” and of course I tested it on my family. But now it’s my go to dessert when I want to make an effort to actually make dessert, but don’t necessarily have the time or energy to be a Master Chef.


  • 1 box Devil Foods cake mix. (You can make your own from scratch. But why? Take the help when you can get it.)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 package instant banana pudding mix 5.1 ounce size
  • 3 cups cold milk
  • 4 medium bananas
  • 1 carton Cool Whip topping 8 ounce size
  • Optional: sprinkles or fruit for decorating


  1.  Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix the cake batter according to directions using the water, oil and eggs.
  3. Pour the cake batter in a 9X13 baking pan that has been lightly coated in baking spray or wiped throughout with vegetable oil.
  4. Bake for 35-38 minutes.
  5. Let the cake completely cool down.
  6. When the cake is cool, use the bottom of a wooden spoon and poke holes throughout the cake. Yes, I know you just baked it and watched it rise to become a smooth surfaced chocolate cake. But I mean it. Get to poking! That’s why it is called a “poke” cake. 
  7. Next, whip the banana pudding mix with 3 cups cold milk for 2 minutes.
  8. Immediately pour the pudding onto the cake, making sure all holes are filled with pudding.
  9. Put the cake into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to let the pudding completely set.
  10. In the meantime, cut up 4 bananas into slices.
  11. Pull the cake out of the refrigerator and arrange the banana slices on top of the pudding layer. Be sure to cover entire cake.
  12. Now layer the Cool Whip topping over the bananas.
  13. Add sprinkles and/or fruit to decorate.Choc Banana Cake 7

I hope that you and your family enjoy this cake as much as my family does. You don’t have to tell them how easy it was to make. That can be our little secret.

Greek Lemon Chicken and Potatoes

Greek Chicken and Potatoes My daughter moved out about a year ago. Until she left, I did all the cooking for our family. Oh sure, she could cook the basics like ramen, macaroni and cheese and spaghetti. But handling and cooking meat was something she did not like to do. I wasn’t worried since I knew there was always the internet and cable TV to teach her how to cook.  Growing up with so much technology and information at the touch of a few keystrokes is amazing. More amazing was the fact that she still asked for my recipes. Imagine my surprise when she shared one of her recipes with me! Mind you, I did tweak the recipe to suit my tastes, but the recipe is essentially hers. This recipe should feed up to 4.


  • 1 whole chicken cut into sections or 4 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs or breasts
  • 5-6 russet potatoes cut into quarters
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder or 6 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth


  1. Preheat oven at 425 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl add chicken, kosher salt, black pepper, dried rosemary, dried oregano, cayenne pepper, garlic powder (or minced garlic), lemon juice and olive oil.
  3. Mix well with your hands.
  4. At this point you can either put in the refrigerator and let marinade for an hour or cook right away.
  5. Add chicken broth to your roasting pan.
  6. Add chicken and seasonings to roasting pan. Be sure to spread pieces apart.
  7. Add potatoes to roasting pan, placing around the chicken pieces in an even layer.
  8. Roast at 425 degrees for 45 minutes or until the chicken is well browned and cooked through with an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Greek Chicken and Potatoes plated