ENTREES            SOUPS             DESSERTS            BREAKFAST

·         2 tablespoons oil
·         2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
·         1/4 cup rice vinegar
·         1 tablespoon lime juice (from about 1 lime)
·         1/2 teaspoon salt
·         1/4 teaspoon pepper
·         1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
·         4 tablespoons rice vinegar
·         4 tablespoons sweet Thai chili sauce
·         1 teaspoon sesame oil
·         Salt and pepper (pinch of each)
·         1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
·         2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
·         1 tablespoon rice vinegar
·         1 tablespoon Thai sweet chili sauce
·         2 tablespoons very hot water, plus more as needed
·         4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
·         2 cups chopped napa cabbage
·         1 cup chopped red cabbage
·         1 cup diced cucumber, peeled or not
·         1 cup edamame
·         1 cup small diced carrots
·         1 cup chopped red bell pepper
·         4 green onions, white and green parts finely chopped
·         1 cup chopped cilantro
·         Peanuts for topping (optional)
1.     For the chicken, whisk together the oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, salt and pepper. Place the chicken in a ziploc bag or shallow dish and cover with the marinade. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or up to 24 hours (the longer it marinates, the better the flavor). Remove the chicken from the marinade and grill 6-7 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and let cool. Chop into bite-sized pieces.
2.     For the vinaigrette, combine all the ingredients in a liquid measure or small mason jar and whisk (or shake) until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to use. The dressing can be made up to a week in advance.
3.     For the peanut dressing, whisk together (or again, shake in a mason jar), all the ingredients until well combined. Add additional hot water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dressing is smooth and thin enough to drizzle.
4.     In a large bowl, toss together all of the salad ingredients with the cooled and chopped chicken. Pour the vinaigrette over the top and toss until the ingredients are coated with the dressing.
5.     Serve the salad with the peanut dressing on the side to drizzle on top.
(I added some spinach and romaine lettuce to the salad)


Honey Lime Fruit Salad ( 

1 (20-ounce) can pineapple chunks,
drained well, or 1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
1 (15-ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained well
2 to 3 ripe kiwi fruit, peeled and chopped into bite-size pieces
1 cup green grapes, halved
1 cup strawberries, quartered
Zest from one lime, about 1/2 tablespoon
1 to 2 tablespoons honey
1/2 to 1 teaspoon poppy seeds (optional)

Combine the fruit in a serving bowl.
Add the lime zest and toss.
Drizzle the honey over the fruit and gently mix until the fruit is evenly coated.
Sprinkle the poppy seeds on top and toss to combine.
Serve immediately or within an hour.


Green Salad with Pears and Parmesan ( 

0-12 cups mixed greens (I use the large rectuangular box from Sam’s Club)
optional - 1 pound white button mushrooms, sliced
2 ripe, fresh pears, sliced thinly (you can also use fresh strawberries, raspberries, or apples)
1/4 cup thinly sliced Parmesan cheese (use a vegetable peeler to slice of thin peels off Parmesan block)
1 large carrot (or about 5-6 baby carrots), thinly sliced
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 to 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
5-7 slices of bacon, cooked and coarsely chopped
3 cups of homemade croutons (see below for a how-to)
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup red onions, finely grated (about 1/4 of a large red onion)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons salt
ground pepper to taste
2 cups canola oil

For the salad, put mixed greens in a large salad bowl. Top with other ingredients and toss. Serve with red wine vinaigrette dressing below (or any other favorite salad dressing).
For the dressing, add all ingredients except oil in a blender. Blend well. While processing, slowly add the canola oil and blend well. Transfer dressing to a jar or cruet. It keeps well in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks (although I’ve found it gets a little thick if it is too cold so I’ll pop it in the microwave for 5-10 seconds to help thin it out before I use it if it has been in the refrigerator for several days).

Barbecue Chicken Salad

5 heads romaine lettuce, chopped
3 cups frozen corn, thawed
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup cilantro leaves 
2 large tomatoes, chopped
3 or 4 chicken breasts, seasoned, baked and chopped
1 cup chopped green onions
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded 
1 cup ranch dressing
1 cup barbecue sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's from Costco)


Fruit Salad With Pudding (November 2014)

1 29-oz can peach slices, drained and reserve juice
1 20-oz can pineapple chunks, drained and reserve juice
1 3 1/8-oz box dry vanilla instant pudding mix
1 lb strawberries, stemmed and quartered
1 banana sliced
1/2 pint blueberries
1 bunch grapes
1-2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
In a large bowl, combine pudding mix with juice from peaches and pineapple. Mix well until pudding is dissolved. Stir in fruit and chill.

Panera's Strawberry, Poppyseed and Chicken Salad

3 chicken breast halves, about 1 1/2 lb total skinless, boneless
Mrs. Dash seasoning
olive oil

Lay the chicken on a plate. Generously salt and season one side of the chicken breast with Mrs. Dash seasoning.

Heat a heavy pan over medium to medium-high heat. Pour the olive oil in the pan while it’s heating up and place the chicken, seasoned side down in the pan and cook over medium to medium-high heat for 5 minutes. While the chicken is cooking, season the side facing upward. If needed, add a little more oil to the pan when turning chicken. After the chicken has cooked for a total of ten minutes ( 5 minutes on each side), remove the pan from heat and cover loosely with foil. Let sit for an additional 5-7 minutes in pan. Remove the chicken from the pan and let cool completely on a cutting board.
Slice thin and set aside for salad. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Poppyseed Dressing:
1/4 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon stevia sweetener (or two additional tablespoons sugar)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced onion
1 cup vegetable oil or canola oil
1 tablespoon poppy seedsIn a blender or food processor, combine the sugar, stevia, vinegar, orange juice, salt, mustard, and onion, and process for 20 seconds. With the blender on high, gradually add the oil in a slow, steady stream. Remove from the blender and stir in the poppy seeds. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use. Shake well before using on salad.

1 large head romaine lettuce, washed, chopped

1- 6 oz bag spinach or spring mix
(greens combined should equal about 15 cups total)
1 can mandarin oranges, drained well
1/2 lb strawberries, washed and sliced
1 pint blueberries, washed and patted dry
1 cup pineapple, sliced into chunks, then thinly sliced (about 1/2 of a medium size pineapple)
1 cup pecans, toasted and cut in half

To prepare salad:Using a large bowl or platter, arrange the greens on the platter. Sprinkle with a few pieces of fruit. Layer additional greens. Place the remaining fruits and chopped pecans on the greens. Top with sliced chicken. Drizzle about half of the dressing on the salad. Toss before serving. you may also plate the salad individually. In this case, toss the greens with the dressing and place on plates. Top each plate with fruit, nuts and chicken. Serve immediately.  Yields about 15 generous side servings.

Cafe Rio Pork Salad

1 pork shoulder butt roast (3-4 lbs.)
1 ½ cans Coke Classic
1 cup sugar
1 (7 oz.) can Chipotle Chiles in Adobo sauce (you will use the sauce only).
1 heaping teaspoon of Dry Ground Mustard
1 heaping teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Place pork in crock pot and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until the pork pulls apart with a fork.  Drain the pork.  Place contents of can of chilies in colander over bowl and rinse with coke to get all of the sauce out.  Mix all other ingredients together and pour over pork.  Cook on low for 3-4 hours longer.

Creamy Tomatillo Salad Dressing:
Place the following in a blender:
3 fresh tomatillos, cut into quarters (can roast in oven first if desired.
Juice of ½ of a lime
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
1 package dry buttermilk ranch dressing mix
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
5 stalks of green onions
4 teaspoons sugar
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
Mix well in blender and refrigerate one hour.

Lime Rice:
2 cups rice
4 cups water
2-3 bouillon cubes
¼ bunch cilantro leaves
½ teaspoon dried onion
1 tablespoon oil

Combine all ingredients and cook rice until done. Add juice of 1 lime and mix well.

Serve with tortillas, chopped lettuce, black beans, crumbled Queso Fresco (Mexican cheese), cilantro leaves and guacamole. You can purchase small tins at the Dollar Store to serve the salad in.


·         10 tablespoons honey
·         5 tablespoons Dijon mustard
·         4 tablespoons rice vinegar
·         6 ounces baby or regular spinach, chopped
·         1/2 cup sweet, crisp apple, peeled and diced
·         1/4 cup finely chopped shallot or red onion
·         1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
·         1/2 cup smoked Gouda cheese, cubed
·         1/3 cup chopped lightly salted almonds, toasted
1.     For the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve (or up to a week or so).

2.     For the salad, toss all the salad ingredients together. Add the dressing, to taste, and toss to combine or serve individual servings with the dressing alongside.