Brunch Chicken Sandwich

  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 12 slices white bread, trimmed
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sliced almonds

Mix the chicken, cheese and mayonnaise in a bowl. Spread on one-half of the bread slices. Top with the remaining bread slices. Place in a 9 X 13- inch baking dish. Beat the eggs, milk and salt in a bowl until smooth. Pour over the sandwiches. Chill, covered, for 8 to 10 hours. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes longer. Yield: 6 servings

Easy Peach Cobbler

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 cups undrained freshly sliced peaches

Place the butter in a deep 2-quart baking dish. Bake at 325 degrees until the butter melts. Mix the flour, baking powder and sugar in a bowl. Add the milk, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon and mix well. Pour into the melted butter. Spoon the peaches over the batter. Do not stir. Bake for 1 hour. Serve with vanilla bean ice cream. Yield: 8 servings

Apple-Bread Pudding with Brandy Sauce

  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup packed light or dark brown sugar, plus extra
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups milk or buttermilk
  • ¼ cup brandy
  • Ground cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg to taste
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 to 4 cups crustless sourdough, egg, or white bread cubes
  • 3 large pippin or Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled, thinly sliced and mixed with lemon juice (to prevent of browning)
  • ½ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 recipe Brandy Sauce (below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the eggs, sugar, sour cream, milk, brandy, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add the bread cubes, apples, and walnuts. Let sit for abut 15 minutes. Pour the mixture into a 6- or 8-cup buttered casserole dish or soufflé dish and top with the cut-up butter and extra brown sugar if desired. Place the pudding in a larger pan with hot water reaching halfway up the sides of the casserole. Bake until tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cut in squares and top with Brandy Sauce. Yield: 8 servings

Brandy Sauce:

  • 1 cup (2-sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons bourbon

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the butter is melted. Reduce the heat. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Shrimp and Grits with Applewood Bacon

  • 8 strips Applewood-smoked bacon, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • White Wine
  • 1 pound peeled and de-veined jumbo shrimp
  • 1 portabella (or domestic white or shitake) mushroom cap, sliced
  • 1/4 cup diced scallions
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Salt, pepper, hot sauce to taste
  • 1 recipe cheese grits (below)

In large skillet, over medium heat, cook bacon 3 minutes, then add garlic and shallots. Sauté. Add butter and a couple of splashes of white wine. When butter is beginning to melt, add shrimp. As the shrimp begins to turn white, flip over and add mushrooms, scallions and spinach. Sauté for 2 minutes more. Remove shrimp. Pour in heavy cream and let simmer while stirring. When reduced by one-third, add salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste. Return shrimp to sauce and combine. Serve over grits.

Cheese Grits:

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup grits (follow directions on package if using stone ground grits)
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 2 cups Swiss or Asiago cheese, shredded

Heat the milk, half & half, and butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently. When boiling occurs, stir in grits rapidly, mix well. Allow to cook until creamy and thickened, on simmer, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add a small amount of the hot mixture to the egg; add the egg to the hot mixture. Stir in the salt and white pepper to taste. Add the cheese and mix well.

Asian Flank Steak

  • 1 pound lean Flank Steak
  • 1/4 Cup Sherry Wine
  • 1/4 Cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 Cup Honey
  • 2 Tbsp White Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh Ginger, minced
  • 1 Tsp Dark Sesame Oil
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, crushed

Combine sherry, soy sauce, honey, vinegar, ginger, and sesame oil in a zip lock bag. Add the flank steak to the marinade. Seal bag and turn to mix. Marinate in the refrigerator for 8 approximately hours. Remove steak and reserve marinade. Place steak on grill or broiler rack coated with cooking spray. Broil or grill 8 minutes per side. Do not over cook as meat will be tough. Pour remaining marinade in saucepan. Bring to boil and cook over medium for 3 minutes. Slice steak diagonally and serve with marinade.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Dip

This takes very little time to make and is always eaten quickly. Serve with pita chips or Herbed Crostini.

  • 3 cups chopped sweet onions (such as Vidalia), about 2 medium
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons red wine
  • 1 pound chopped mushrooms, wild or domestic
  • 16 ounces of cream cheese, softened Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté the onions in olive oil in a skillet. Add brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, and red wine. Cook until onions begin to caramelize, stirring frequently. Add the mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms begin to soften, stirring frequently. Place cream cheese in processor. Process until smooth and then add onion mixture to the processor. Process with “on-off” bursts until mixed but not pureed. Serve with pita chips.

Yield: 20 servings

Dirty Corn Dip

  • 1 can Ro-tel Tomatoes, drained
  • 16 ounces whipped cream cheese
  • 1 cup chipotle salsa
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 cups finely shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cans white niblet corn, drained
  • Corn chips

Combine the tomatoes, cream cheese, salsa, mayonnaise, cheddar cheese and corn in a bowl and mix well. Serve with corn chips.

Yield: 30 servings

Sweet Potato Salad with Cider Vinaigrette

  • 5 Jewel sweet potatoes or 2 to 3 regular sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (4-5 cups)
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup apple-cider, plus more
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic or cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
  • Salt and pepper

Cook sweet potatoes in salted water until tender but still firm. Drain potatoes and chill overnight. Combine cranberries, raisins and cinnamon in a small saucepan with cider. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes to soften. Cool, then drain, reserving cider. Add more cider to reserve liquid to make 1/2 cup.

In a small bowl, whisk together cider, vinegar and canola oil. Combine chilled potatoes, scallions and pecans. Pour dressing over and mix to combine. Adjust seasoning of salt and pepper and serve cold.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Brat Bites with Plum Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup plum jam
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 4 bratwurst, precooked
  • 12 cocktail buns
  • 6 scallions cut into 3-inch lengths
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
  • Prepared hot mustard

Sauté ginger, five-spice, and pepper flakes in oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until ginger softens, about 2 minutes, then add jam, vinegar, and soy sauce. Simmer until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, whisk in sesame oil. Cut a slit in the top of each cocktail bun.

Grill bratwurst until cooked through and browned, 5-6 minutes total. Slice crosswise into thirds, and then toss into plum sauce.

To assemble, tuck 1 or 2 scallion pieces and a piece of bratwurst inside each bun. Drizzle with some of the plum sauce, sprinkle with sesame seeds, then top with a small dollop of mustard.

Yield: 12 bites


One of my favorites from my new cookbook coming out in October!

  • 1 (16-ounce) package bacon
  • 1 (10-ounce) package chopped frozen spinach, thawed and well drained
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
  • 1 (1-ounce) can extra hot Rotel tomatoes, drained
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
  • 4 to 5 green onions, chopped
  • Chips for serving

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until brown.  Drain on paper towel, crumble and set aside.  In medium saucepan combine spinach, cream cheese, and sour cream.  Cook over medium heat until bubbly, stirring frequently.  Add tomatoes, Cheddar cheese, and Parmesan cheese; continue to cook, stirring frequently.  When cheese is melted, add garlic.  Then add green onions and crumbled bacon.  Keep warm until ready to serve.  Serve warm with chips.

Serves party of 25

Brandied Raisin Brie

Microwave preparation makes this appetizer a breeze to prepare. Serve with a selection of crackers or bread rounds.

  • 3 tablespoons brandy
  • 4 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 1  8-ounce brie round or wedge
  • 4 tablespoons toasted walnuts, chopped

To toast walnuts: Preheat oven to 350°. Spread chopped nuts in a single layer on ungreased baking sheet. Toast about 3 minutes stirring at 1 ½ minutes. Watch carefully. Cool on paper towel.

Place brandy and raisins in microwave cup covered loosely with a paper towel and microwave about 40 seconds. Place brie on microwave safe plate and microwave about 40 seconds.

Top with brandy soaked raisins and sprinkle walnuts over. Serve warm.

HoT Spinach Artichoke Dip

  • 1 1/4 cups artichokes, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 8 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups Parmesan Regianno cheese, grated
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powers
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup heavy cream*
  • Swiss cheese, shredded for topping

Combine all of the main ingredients and mix well. Let dip sit in refrigerator overnight (if you want to make ahead). The next day, place dip in greased casserole dish and sprinkle top with Swiss cheese. Bake in the preheated 350° oven until bubbly, about 30 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips or scoops

* to cut fat content, substitute 1 package softened 8-ounce “no-fat” package of cream cheese for the heavy cream