Roasted Garlic Olive Oil and White Wine Bucatini


Tonight, I made a dinner without chopping, mincing or grating a single thing. This was about the easiest dinner I’ve yet to make. Some night’s it’s nice to enjoy a home cooked meal that doesn’t take much in the way of preparation, but still feels like you put some time and effort in.

I was at the Temecula Olive Oil Company today where I purchased their Roasted Garlic Olive Oil and a jar of their Herbs de Provence seasoning. That, along with a little white wine left over from a couple nights ago was all I needed to prepare tonight’s dinner. I, of course, needed the noodles to make this pasta dish come together, along with a little kosher salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, but those are always in my pantry.

I enjoy going into the Temecula Olive Oil Company to look around and always leave having purchased something. They have a great selection of soaps made of olive oil, body creams, room sprays, seasonings, salts, peppers, and of course, many different olive oils and vinegars to choose from. Today, I tried several olive oils and balsamic vinegars. One that really stuck out to me was their jalapeño olive oil, wow! The staff at Temecula Olive Oil Company is amazing and are always more than willing to answer any questions you may have and provide you with a little background of each of their oils and vinegars. They also encourage you to try the different olive oils and vinegars at the tasting bar.

The olive oils that they sell are beyond organic. They use no pesticides and no chemicals. Temecula Olive Oil is the grower of the olives and they are family owned and operated, and have over 250 acres across Southern California. This wonderful company is happy to ship to you, wherever you are – they do ship worldwide. I encourage you to check out their website at Their hashtag is #awesomeoil.

Below I have a picture of the back of their brochure which lists their locations in Southern California. I highly recommend stopping in to one of their locations if you happen to live here, or if you are here for a visit and would like to check them out, they would welcome you. When I was in the store today, I was tasting olive oils with a woman who was visiting from Oregon.


I found out today, while chatting with Leisha, that they offer an olive oil club. There are two to choose from. One is an Olive Oil/Balsamic Club and the other is an Olive Oil/Olive Oil Club. With the first, you receive one olive oil and one balsamic vinegar and the second, you receive two bottles of olive oil. If you sign up (you can do so on-line or  in the store), you will receive your product every three months. Temecula Olive Oil Company will charge your credit card when it’s time to send out your shipment and you will receive a fabulous package of the oil and vinegar or oil and oil. I am actually going to sign up for this club tomorrow. I’m heading back to the store to do just that.

For tonight’s dinner, I made a pasta using Temecula Olive Oil’s Roasted Garlic Olive Oil, white wine, fresh lemon juice and Temecula Olive Oil’s Herbs de Provence. It was super easy and as I said earlier, no chopping or mincing involved.

Into a large skillet, I poured 3/4 cup of Pinot Grigio white wine, 3/4 cup of roasted olive oil, 3 tablespoons Herbs de Provence, kosher salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and the juice of two lemons. I zested the lemons before juicing them because I wanted to be able to use the zest as a garnish on my pasta dish.


Once the noodles were done cooking, I transferred them directly into my skillet and tossed them together with the olive oil, wine and herbs de Provence. After they were tossed together with the sauce, I added about 6 tablespoons of grated parmesan/romano cheese blend and tossed again.


The pasta was garnished with a sprinkling of grated parmesan/romano blend and a little lemon zest.


This dish is easy enough for a busy weeknight, but also impressive enough to serve to guests with a simple arugula salad on the side and a loaf of crusty bread.


  • 1 pound box of bucatini
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 3/4 cup roasted garlic olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Herbs de Provence
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • 6 tablespoons grated parmesan/roman cheese blend


  1. Cook noodles per package instructions.
  2. While noodles are cooking, pour wine and olive oil, and lemon juice into large skillet. Add Herbs de Provence, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes into large skillet and heat over medium. Let sauce simmer while noodles cook.
  3. Add cooked noodles directly to the sauce and toss together. Add parmesan and toss again.
  4. Garnish each dish with a little lemon zest and another sprinkling of the parmesan/romano cheese.


Until next time, Kris




Fennel, Date and Lemon Spatchcock Chicken


I did it! I spatchcocked a chicken. I’ve cooked a spatchcock chicken once before, but today was the first time I actually took a whole chicken and spatchcocked it myself. It wasn’t hard at all. You just need a sharp pair of kitchen shears. Mine are by the Pioneer Woman. I have a couple of her knives, as well as her kitchen shears. They are not expensive at all and they stay sharp. I buy them at Walmart. Her Nakiri Knife is my favorite, I’ve recommended it for several people because it is the one I go to most often.

To spatchcock a chicken, you cut out the backbone. If you google this, you will find excellent instructions that are really easy to follow. I used my kitchen shears to cut on both sides of the backbone out of the chicken.


Once the backbone was out, I turned the chicken over and pressed down to break the wishbone and make sure my chicken was flat.


I sprinkled the underside of the chicken with kosher salt and pepper and turned it over. Once it was turned over, as you see in the above picture, I patted the chicken dry with a paper towel. Next, I drizzled olive oil over the skin and rubbed it all over, before sprinkling the skin with kosher salt and pepper.


I then minced the leaves of four stems of fresh rosemary and removed the leaves from four sprigs of fresh thyme and sprinkled it over the chicken.


I let my chicken sit for a minute while I sliced and sautéd one onion and two bulbs of fennel in olive oil, salt and pepper. While the onion and fennel were sautéing, I removed the pits from 16 ounces of dates and sliced three lemons. When I felt the onion and fennel were softened and starting to caramelize, I poured a half cup of white wine (I chose Pinot Grigio) into the cast iron skillet and then added the dates and lemons. Oh my gosh, the wine smelled so good when it hit the heat, wow!

Next, I placed my chicken on top of the vegetables and fruits and placed it in a preheated 450 degree oven for an hour. Depending on the size of your chicken, this could take just 45 minutes. I had a pretty good size chicken, however, so mine took a little longer. You want to make sure the dark meat reaches 165 degrees. That’s when you know your chicken is done. The great thing about spatchcocking your chicken vs. cooking it whole, is that it cooks much faster.

I have to say that the sweetness of the dates provided a great flavoring for the “sauce”. I was very pleased with how much flavor there was in this dish. I’m totally patting myself on the back on this one … can you tell?

I served the chicken over the fennel, onion and dates, and spooned some of the juices over my chicken. Nothing but a piece of crusty bread was needed to complete this meal. I sopped up my bread with the juices from the sauce, no butter needed for that bread!


Oh wow! Please try this recipe, I promise you will love it! I would definitely make this for my Dinner Club, it was that good.


1 whole chicken, spatchcocked

1 medium onion, sliced in half rounds

2 fennel bulbs, sliced

16 ounces fresh dates, pits removed

3 lemons, sliced thin

1/2 cup white wine

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus a drizzle

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling on the chicken

1/2 teaspoon pepper, plus more for sprinkling on the chicken

4 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed from stems and minced

4 sprigs thyme, leaves removed (no need to mince)


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Sprinkle under side of spatchcocked chicken with salt and pepper and turn over. Pat chicken skin dry with paper towel and rub with a drizzle of olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper over skin. Add rosemary and thyme to chicken and set aside.
  3. Remove pits from dates and slice lemons. Set aside.
  4. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in cast iron skillet. Add onions and fennel and cook until they start to caramelize.
  5. Add wine to skillet. Next add dates and lemon slices.
  6. Place chicken on top of vegetables and fruit, sticking a few lemon slices on top of chicken.
  7. Place in oven for 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken. Start checking the temperature of the meat after 45 minutes.


Until next time, Kris



Shishito Pepper and Beef Enchiladas


I have been looking for an excuse to use Shishito Peppers since I first saw them at the market last spring. I never noticed them before that, but once I saw them, I knew I needed to come up with a recipe that would incorporate these beauties. Today, while I was doing my shopping at Trader Joe’s and saw these wonderful peppers, it came to me. I would make enchiladas using them in the ground beef as my main “seasoning”. I added nothing more than salt and pepper to my meat and onion mixture. I really wanted the flavor of these peppers to stand out.


I picked up a pound of lean (90% lean) ground beef, along with the Shishito peppers and formed a plan in my head.

When preparing to make my enchiladas, I first cut the tops of the peppers off and scraped the seeds out of the inside. (You can leave the seeds in tact if you prefer, I chose to remove them. I think they will add a little kick, but not too much. I understand they are a milder pepper with not too much heat.) I did some research and found that Shishito peppers are “13 to 160 times milder than a jalapeño”. However, about one in every 10-20 peppers will be a little hotter, but still milder than any mild jalapeño. I did cut a piece off and try it raw, just so I could see what it tasted like raw. It was really good! Now that I’ve finally used these wonderful little peppers, I know I’ll be using them in many recipes to come.

I started by drizzling olive oil into my cast iron skillet (about one turn of the pan) and heating it. While the oil was heating, I removed the tops of the peppers, as well as the seeds.

Next, I added the peppers to the hot oil with a 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. I let them blister in the skillet, stirring periodically … this took about 5 minutes. Once they were blistered, I removed them and set them on a cutting board. I then diced the peppers to add to the ground beef.

I sautéd a small sweet yellow onion I had diced, until it became soft and translucent. Then, I added 1 tablespoon of refrigerated, jarred minced garlic (because I was being lazy and didn’t feel like mincing garlic. Feel free to mince fresh garlic if you prefer.) I let the garlic cook together with the onion for about 45 seconds before adding the ground beef, kosher salt and pepper to the skillet.


Once the beef was browned and crumbly, I added the chopped, blistered Shishito peppers and let them heat through with the meat for about 5 minutes.


Meanwhile, I heated the corn tortillas in my cast iron skillet. I also heated two 12 ounce bottles of enchilada sauce in a separate sauce pan. Wanting to make sure I’d have an easy clean-up, I sprayed my 9×13 glass dish with non-stick cooking spray before adding a cup or so of enchilada sauce on the bottom of the dish.

I placed two tablespoons of the meat mixture on each tortilla, along with a little pepper jack cheese, that I shredded.


I then rolled my enchilada and placed them seam side down in my baking dish. Once they were all nestled together, I scraped any of the meat that was left in my skillet onto the enchiladas. Next, I poured the enchilada sauce onto the enchiladas and sprinkled the rest of the shredded cheese over the top.


I placed my enchiladas in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes.

I served the enchiladas with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, a dollop of sour cream and a few sliced black olives over the top.


These were so good! Dennis and Kylie both asked if we could have leftovers for dinner tomorrow night. This is a win-win for me, I don’t need to cook tomorrow night, just reheat.


1 package Shishito peppers

1 pound lean ground beef

12 corn tortillas

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus a drizzle for the peppers

2 teaspoons kosher salt (divided)

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1-1/2 cups pepper jack cheese, shredded

shredded lettuce

diced tomatoes

light sour cream

sliced black olives


  1. In cast iron skillet, heat drizzle of olive oil.
  2. Remove tops and seeds from Shishito peppers.
  3. Place peppers and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt into hot cast iron skillet. Let cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally while peppers blister. Remove peppers from skillet and set aside.
  4. Sauté onion in olive oil until soft and translucent (about 5 minutes). Add garlic and cook together for 45 seconds.
  5. Add ground beef, salt and pepper and cook until meat is browned and crumbly.
  6. While meat is browning, chop peppers.
  7. Add peppers to meat mixture and cook together for 3-5 minutes.
  8. Heat corn tortillas in cast iron skillet.
  9. Place 2 tablespoons of meat mixture in center of tortilla, along with 1/2 tablespoon shredded cheese.
  10. Pour 1 cup of heated enchilada sauce into bottom of 9×13 glass dish. Place enchiladas, side by side, seam side down onto sauce until pan is filled.
  11. Scrape any extra meat over enchiladas and add the rest of the enchilada sauce over the top of the tortillas.
  12. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top and bake for 30 minutes, until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.


Until next time, Kris


Cinnamon Walnut Banana Bread


I’ve been hanging on to a few bananas this week knowing I wanted to make a banana bread. Dennis bought me a Breville Smart Oven Air (countertop oven) for my birthday. I love it! It can make up to a 14 pound turkey as well as fit a 9×13 pan. I’m looking forward to using all the fun features this oven offers. This oven has many functions and they are -toast, bagel, broil, bake, roast, warm, pizza, proof, airfry, reheat, cookies, slow cook, and dehydrate. I can’t wait to try them all. Today, I used the bake function so I could make my banana bread.

I was so excited to use my new Breville oven, I took a picture of the banana bread once I placed it inside.

I added cinnamon and nutmeg to my bread, knowing my house would smell wonderful once the bread was baking in my new oven.

I started by creaming softened butter and sugar together and then adding two large, eggs, 1 cup of mashed, ripe bananas, milk (I used fat free because that is always what I have on hand), and vanilla.

In another bowl, I combined all-purpose flour, chopped walnuts (1 cup, I wanted a lot of walnuts in my bread, not just a few bits and pieces), cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and kosher salt.

I slowly added the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mixed everything together. Next, I poured the mixture into a greased (bottom only) 9×5 inch loaf pan and placing it into a preheated 350 degree oven for 65 minutes, checking after 55.

Dennis and I live in a neighborhood filled with the most wonderful neighbors anyone could hope for. Our next door neighbors, Seth and Deanna have the two cutest little girls, Abby and Madelyn. They are so sweet! Deanna’s parents came in from Chicago today. I know they’re going to enjoy the nice weather we’ve been having. Deanna’s parents are always so kind and say hello whenever they see me outside. I knew they’d be coming in today, so decided I’d make two banana breads, one for us and one to take next door for Seth and Deanna to share with their family. I hope they enjoy my Cinnamon Walnut Banana Bread and I hope if you try it, you enjoy it too. I know I’ll be enjoying a slice of this with my coffee tomorrow morning!


3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 large eggs

1 cup mashed, ripe bananas (2-3 bananas)

1/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon baking soda

1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease or spray bottom of a 9×5 loaf an.
  3. In large bowl (or bowl of an electric mixer), cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs and beat.
  5. Add mashed bananas, milk and vanilla and blend.
  6. In another bowl, combine flour, walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, kosher salt and baking soda. Mix.
  7. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix together until moistened.
  8. Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 55-65 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.


Until next time, Kris

Mascarpone and Pomegranate Crostini



Looking for an appetizer to please the ladies at your Super Bowl party? I think I’ve come up with one they will love … The guys are going to love it too. I just had Dennis try it and he thought it was fantastic. I had some pomegranate’s in my fridge that I wanted to use as well as a carton of mascarpone. I picked up a baguette while at the market this morning and decided to make a crostini with my pomegranates and mascarpone.

I cut my baguette in diagonal slices, brushed them with a little olive oil and baked them in a 375 degree oven for 12 minutes.


I let them cool for just a bit before spreading my mascarpone/goat cheese/honey mixture on them. Once that was on the bread, I sprinkled fresh thyme leaves and pomegranates. Easy as pie.  Only I don’t think pie is this easy.

In a small bowl, I mixed together one cup of mascarpone cheese, 4 tablespoons of goat cheese and 2 tablespoons of honey with my hand mixer.


8 ounces mascarpone

4 tablespoons goat cheese

2 tablespoons honey

olive oil for brushing

fresh thyme leaves

pomegranate seeds


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cut baguette into slices (on the diagonal).
  3. Brush each slice with olive oil.
  4. Mix together mascarpone, goat cheese, and honey with hand mixer.
  5. Spread cheese on toasted bread.
  6. Sprinkle with thyme and pomegranate seeds.


Until next time, Kris


Cookbook Book Club, an Idea I’ve had


I belong to three book clubs. Two of those we pick a book, read it and discuss once a month. The other is now called “Book Club, Non-Bookclub, Yak, Chat, Social, Friendship Club”. I love all my book clubs and look forward to each month when we gather to discuss our latest read, share a lovely dinner and glass of wine with one another and just be together. Or perhaps not discuss the latest read, just gather for breakfast at someone’s home and laugh ourselves silly … as is the case in the Social Club. Don’t get me wrong, we definitely laugh and have fun at my other book clubs as well.

I stopped at Barnes & Noble this morning after my nail appointment. It is right across the street from my nail salon and yesterday, was reminded of a cookbook I’d been looking at right before Christmas that I had somehow forgot to go back and purchase. My daughter is dog sitting for our neighbors and I like to walk over with her to say hi to their two wonderful dogs, Harbour and Henry. They are so lovable and sweet.

As they were eating their breakfast yesterday morning, I stood with them and Kylie in Donna’s kitchen and noticed a cookbook she had displayed, open, in a cookbook holder, next to her stove. It had many pages marked, which I loved to see. I told Kylie “This is such a great sight, to see that Donna has so many recipes marked. I love this! I have to look at which cookbook she is using.” I picked it up to look at the cover and realized it was the cookbook I’d been looking at. It is by Good Housekeeping and is called “400 Heart Healthy Recipes and Tips”. I love to read about eating healthy and definitely love reading about heart healthy tips. When I can’t sleep at night, I google articles on how to be my healthiest and how to keep myself young, while aging.

I mentioned to Kylie that I was heading to Barnes and Noble right after my appointment this morning because I didn’t want to miss out on a cookbook I’d been eyeing, especially since I noticed someone who I really and truly respect as a cook (I remember her telling me once she likes to cook) and reader (Donna loves to read as well), reading the cookbook I thought looked so fabulous.

When I walked into Barnes and Noble, I noticed they also had another cookbook by Good Housekeeping called “400 Healthy Recipes”. They were each on the bargain table. One was $9.98 and the other was $7.98. With my Barnes and Noble member discount, an extra 20% off, I paid just over $15 for both of these books. Yay, me!


As I was leaving, I noticed another cookbook on a different bargain table. This one was for desserts under 300 calories and is by Deb Wise, who is a recipe developer for Cooking Light. This cookbook was on sale for $9.98, minus my 20%. I hemmed and hawed a bit, trying to decided if I really needed all three. I googled amazon to check the reviews and they were all very good. Plus, the book is $20 on amazon. I decided I couldn’t be without this one, so bought it as well. I don’t make many desserts, but like the idea that I can make a dessert that I don’t have to feel really guilty enjoying.


I was so happy on the drive home that I was able to buy three cookbooks for just around $20! It’s definitely my lucky day.

On the drive home, I was also thinking about a couple of cookbooks I received for my birthday last week. One is called “The Flavor Bible” and the other is called “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking”. I was so excited to receive both of these books. I can’t wait to spend time this afternoon looking at them both, along with the other three!


All this thinking about cookbooks, and the reading I was going to do of them this afternoon, got me to thinking about another bookclub I may start.

Wouldn’t it be fun to start a “Cookbook Book Club”?! Everyone could choose a recipe together out of a cookbook of the hostess’ choice and all those in the group would be responsible for bringing some of the ingredients to make that recipe complete. We could get together in the hostess’ kitchen, put the dish together and enjoy it as a group. It could be a Cookbook Book Club Tasting Club! I started a dinner club with a friend of mine, and our group has been going strong for over 11 years. For dinner club, the host and hostess are responsible for making the meal and all that goes along with it.

I’ve heard of other dinner clubs, where everyone pitches in and helps cook. My new cookbook book club would be like that, if I decide to get it off the ground. If I do, I may make it into another blog adventure. I’m going to talk to my good friend, Pam and see if she’s interested in starting this up with me. Pam is an amazing cook and she is a fabulous baker. You can visit her blog, A Tiny Taste of Heaven at She makes homemade marshmallows that are unbelievable.

I think this could be lots of fun! Pam and I were talking about starting another blog together with food adventures. We were thinking of going around town, trying different restaurants and bringing our reviews of those places to you all. That would be a separate blog from the new cookbook book club blog, maybe? Or we could combine them, who knows. You will all be the first to know if I decide to take on this new adventure that came to mind this morning.

I would love to hear back if any of you have thoughts on starting a cookbook book club. I welcome any opinions you all may have.


Until next time, Kris


Ground Beef Tostadas


It’s Taco Tuesday! However, tonight at our house, it was Tostada Tuesday. I didn’t need to add much seasoning to my ground beef for our tostadas. Instead, I decided to flavor my ground beef with kosher salt, pepper, a small can of diced green chiles and a can of red Chile sauce.

I started by sautéing an onion in olive oil for about five minutes and then adding three cloves of minced garlic.


Next, I added the lean ground beef, salt and pepper and cooked the meat until it was browned and crumbly. Once the meat was cooked thoroughly, I added a can of green chiles, mixed everything together and poured the can of red Chile sauce onto the meat and stirred again.

I let the meat mixture simmer for about 10 minutes to let the sauce thicken. While the meat was simmering, I heated a can of refried beans. I always choose non-fat refried beans, but feel free to use what you like.


While the beans heated and the sauce thickened, I pulled the toppings for our tostadas together. This dinner was quick and easy to make! It’s the perfect dinner to make after a busy day at the office or a busy day out running errands. Everything came together in about a half an hour.


1 pound lean ground beef

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon pepper

1 4-ounce can of diced green chiles

1 10-ounce can of red Chile sauce

15-1/2 ounce can non-fat refried beans

1 large tomato

1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped

sour cream (I use low-fat or non-fat)

cheddar cheese (I use reduced fat)

small can of sliced black olives


  1. Heat oil in large skillet.
  2. Add onion and cook for 5-7 minutes, until onion starts to become translucent. Add garlic and stir together.
  3. Add beef, salt and pepper to skillet and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until meat has browned.
  4. Add green chiles and stir. Pour red Chile sauce into pan and mix together, cooking about 10 minutes until sauce starts to thicken.
  5. Shred lettuce, grate cheese, and chop tomato and cilantro.
  6. Spread tostada shell with beans and top with ground beef, lettuce, cheese, tomato, cilantro, sour cream and black olives.


Until next time, Kris