I wouldn’t dare call this an “alfredo” or a “carbonara”. It has some elements of both, but I won’t call it either.

It is a very easy quick pasta dish that will pair well with a chopped salad and some garlic bread.

Here’s how I made it.


  • 6 ounces of bucatini pasta (you can use spaghetti or fettucine0
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter ( I like to use Irish butter in the recipe)
  • 2 garlic cloves, thin sliced
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 thick slices of bacon, cooked
  • 3 tbsp chopped chives or green onions


  • Cook the bucatini in salted water until al dente, about 9 minutes. Do not drain
  • Place a medium skillet over medium low heat and add the butter. When the butter has melted, add the sliced garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
  • Add the cream and bring to a simmer. Let it simmer, stirring, for about 5-6 minutes until slightly reduced and thickened.
  • Dice the cooked bacon. Add 2/3 of it to the skillet. Add the parmesan cheese and stir in until melted. Add 2/3 of the chopped chives and turn off the heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Do not drain the pasta. Using tongs, place the cooked pasta in the skillet and toss until completely coated.
  • Plate with chopped chives and more bacon.


Fried rice should be made with day old rice. Most of the time, I use day old jasmine rice, but almost any white rice will do. It just needs to be allowed to sit overnight in the fridge. In this case, I made Spanish Rice 2 days ago…and this Pork Fried Rice came out really flavorful.

You’ll find find Fried Rice recipes all over the internet and YouTube, but this one is just one of my favorites. Please note that MSG is in this recipe but is totally optional. It most certainly adds a level of umami that makes your fried rice, well…just like fried rice! MSG has made somewhat of a comeback of late. It was really given a bad rap in the 80’s, but it is not really that bad. Leave out some salt when you use MSG…you won’t need the extra sodium from salt.


  • About 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil (I like to use avocado oil)
  • 2-3 large eggs, beaten well
  • 1/2 cup shallot, chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrot, 1/4 inch dice
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • Kosher salt
  • White pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 4 cups day old cooked white rice
  • 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp MG (optional)


  • Mix together in a small bowl the soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, and sugar and set aside.
  • In a wok or large skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tsp of oil and add the eggs. Stir and and cook for about 30 seconds. Then remove to a plate a set aside. When cool, slice into slivers.
  • Heat 2 more tsp oil and add the shallot and diced carrots. Cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes.
  • Raise the heat and add the ground pork. Cook while breaking it up with a large spoon. Cook until no loaner pink. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.
  • Stir in the ginger, garlic, and peas and stir for about 1 minute.
  • Add the rice and start tossing to cook, abut 2 minutes. Add more oil if needed so it doesn’t stick in the wok.
  • Stir in the green onions. Season with MSG if using.
  • Toss to combiner then fold in the scrambled eggs. Serve immediately.


These are boneless skinless chicken thighs!

So, how can I be sold bold as to call it Southern California Fried Chicken? Well, first…I was raised in Southern California. And, it’s my name for boneless skinless chicken thighs fried crisp and moist with a crunchy coating of seasoned flour and buttermilk. And here’s how I do it.

To start, the method is important…but not as important as the seasoning. The flour must be seasoned enough. See below.

After trimming some of the excess fat from boneless skinless thighs, I marinate them for at least 2 hours in buttermilk. Then, I season the flour with…wait for it…some Ranch Seasoning. Not the dressing mix, but the seasoning mix in the plastic jar. It is an incredibly versatile seasoning that works well with a lot of recipes. Is it cheating? Who cares. It produces a wonderfully seasoned coating for the chicken. No egg in this recipe. Just the buttermilk, then heavily flour…the back into the buttermilk…then into the flour again. Then, let them sit for about 20 minutes in the fridge. A classic southern fried chicken method that is the most basic. One of the keys: properly seasoning the flour. Besides the Ranch seasoning, I add my salt-free Southwest seasoning (recipe below) and some lemon pepper. No salt added! The Ranch takes care of that. I do sprinkle on a bit of coarse Kosher salt right out of the fryer. And, yes…they are deep fried!!!


For the southwest seasoning:

  • In a small bowl, combine 1 tbsp paprika, 1 tbsp garlic powder (not garlic salt), 2 tsp onion powder, 2 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp chile powder, 1 tsp sugar, 1/4 tsp cayenne. Mix well and put aside. You will have more than you need.

For the chicken:

  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 4), excess fat trimmed, cut in half
  • 1 1/2 cups whole buttermilk
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp Ranch seasoning mix
  • 2 tsp southwest seasoning
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • Canola oil for frying


  • Place the chicken thighs in a small baking dish and cover with 1 1/2 cup of buttermilk. Turn the thighs to make sure they are completely coated. Cover with plastic and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  • Place the flour, cornstarch, and the seasonings in a large mixing bow and mix welll. Remove the thighs from the buttermilk and dredge the chicken in the flour…then back into the buttermilk. Then back into the flour. Make sure the pieces are completely coated in the flour. Place them on a parchment lined plate in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
  • Heat about 2 inches or canola oil in a large pot to 350 degrees. Use an oil or candy thermometer.
  • When the oil is hot, fry the thighs for about 7-8 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden brown and the internal temperature is 165 degrees. Remove from the oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt. Place the cooked thighs on a wire rack over a sheet pan in a warm oven while you fry the remainder. DO NOT OVER-CROWD THE POT or they will stick together and not cook properly.


O.K….so, there are 10,000 recipes for Meatloaf out there. And I have made half of them. Well, now…there are 10,000 and 1!

Without going too crazy, I have taken some of the best elements from my best meatloaf recipes and included them in this one.

One of the things you should do regardless of the ingredients is to saute your vegetables. Yes! I don’t like crunchy vegetables in my meatloaf! Many recipes say not to mix everything too tightly …however, if you don’t find a happen medium here, it will fall apart! So, do a little pressing when you shape this thing. After cooking, allow it to sit at room temp for at least 20 minutes before slicing.

My method with this latest recipe involves pressing the meatloaf into a sprayed loaf pan, then turning it out on a foil lined sheet pan to cook. It cooks a little more evenly on all sides. Plus, it doesn’t wallow in the grease as much. If you want, place the formed meatloaf on a wire rack over a sheet pan, but be careful…it may be more difficult to remove from the wire rack then fall apart if you don’t press it together tightly.

I have included a recipe for the glaze, but this part it wide open. Add BBQ sauce or chipotles to mix it up.


  • 20 ounces lean ground beef
  • 8 ounces ground pork
  • 2 thick slices of bacon
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar


  • To the bowl of a stand mixer, add the bread crumbs, milk, eggs, Worcestershire, fish sauce, salt, pepper, garlic powder, allspice, nutmeg, and parsley. Mix with the paddle about 30 seconds then let it sit for 20-30 minutes.
  • Place the onions, celery, carrots, and bacon in a food processor. Process until everything is minced. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet and saute for about 4-5 minutes. Remove the vegetables to a plate and place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  • To the stand mixer, add the cooled vegetables, ground beef, and ground pork and mix until well combined, about 2 minutes. You can co all of this with your hands if you choose.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mix together the glaze ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Line a sheet pan with foil. I chose to use 4 little loaf pans this time. Spray the loaf pans with cooking spray then place some parchment paper in them. Spray the paper. Press the meatloaf mixture into the pan making sure you press it into the corner and it is not too loose. Carefully turn over the loaf pan on the foil lined sheet pan then remove the pan. Use a spatula if you need to reshape them. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and brush the meatloaf with the glaze. Cook another 15 minutes them brush with the glaze again. Return to the oven and and cook until the internal temperature is 165 degrees. Remove from the oven. Brush on some more glaze and let it sit for 15 minutes before slicing and serving. Garnish with chopped parsley and offer more glaze at the table.


Is there a better pairing of two foods in this universe? Scampi and risotto were just meant for each other!

This recipe combines a couple elements borrowed from Marion’s Kitchen, ie, some Asian influence. Simply, I infused the risotto stock with a little star anise, green onion, fish sauce, and Shaoxing wine. Then, I finish the scampi cook with a splash of soy sauce. This just adds a level of flavor that can’t be beat without overwhelming the basics of this classIc dish.


  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup Shaoxing wine
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1 green onion, cut into 4-5 pieces
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter + more
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup white onion, diced
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • Chopped parsley
  • Zest of 1/4 lemon
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 8-10 (u15, extra large) shrimp, peeled, cleaned, tails left on
  • 1/4 tsp red Chile flakes
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce


  • Place the chicken stock, star anise, green onion, Shaoxing wine, and fish sauce in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the star anise, turn off the heat, and keep warm until ready to use. Leaving the star anise too long will infuse too much of it’s essence for my taste.
  • Place a large saucepan over medium low heat and add the butter and olive oil. When the oil and butter is hot, add the onions and saute, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Do not let them brown. Add the risotto and saute another 5 minutes, stirring.
  • Add the wine and let it cook until almost gone. Then begin ladling in about 4 ounces of stock at a time, stirring and letting it cook until mostly gone before adding more. Do this until almost all of the stock is gone. Turn off the heat, cover, and let sit about 5-10 minutes. Stir in 1 tbsp butter and the parmesan cheese. Taste and make sure the risotto is cooked al dente or to your liking, It shouldn’t need salt as the parmesan is salty. Stir in some chopped parsley and the lemon zest.
  • Heat a medium non stick skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil.
  • Make sure your shrimp is completely dry using paper towels.
  • When the oil is hot add the shrimp and let it cook about 1 minute. Turn the shrimp over and add the chopped garlic and red pepper flakes, stirring it all together. After another 1 minute, add the soy sauce and toss together. Do not overcook the shrimp or it will become rubbery and tough. Turn off the heat.
  • To serve, ladle some risotto in your bowl or plate and add a few shrimp. Spoon some of the garlic chile oil from the skillet over the shrimp. Serve immediately.


Red sauce enchiladas at home can’t be beat if you make your own enchilada sauce. Canned (Las Palmas) enchilada sauce is not bad, but nowhere near as tasty as one you make from scratch. And you know what? It is super easy!!! And, taking it one step further, if you grind your own chile powder fresh it becomes even better.

For this recipe, I took dried Fresno chiles and ground them finely in a spice grinder. Sometimes I use dried Pasilla (Ancho) chiles but it makes for a much darker sauce.Try to make the sauce early in the day or the day before as the flavors will meld better. Experiment with other chiles if you wish like guajillo. Also, introduce a half teaspoon or so of cayenne if you want more heat as this recipe is relatively mild.


For the enchilada sauce:

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil (I used avocado but canola works well, any neutral tasting oil)
  • 1/4 cup chile powder
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried Mexican oregano
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 4 ounces tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter

For the enchiladas:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • Canola oil
  • 1 cup onions, diced
  • 1 small can diced green chiles
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 2-3 cups enchilada sauce , home made or canned
  • 8-10 white corn tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup diced green onions


For the enchilada sauce:

  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the oil and the chile powder, cumin, and oregano. Stir and cook about 30 seconds. Add the flour and stir, cooking for another 30 seconds.
  • Whisk in the stock and bring to a simmer. Add garlic powder, Kosher salt, and sugar and simmer to 4-5 minutes, whisking so it doesn’t burn on the bottom. Season to taste with salt.
  • Add 2 tbsp of cold unsalted butte and whisk until melted. Lower the heat and simmer for another 8 minutes. Taste and reseason if necessary.
  • Cover and keep warm.

For the enchiladas:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a mixing bowl, mix together the two cheeses and set aside.
  • In a medium skillet over medium high heat crumble in the ground beef and brown for 3-4 minutes. Add the onions and cook another 4-5 minutes. Drain the meat if necessary. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the diced green chiles, tomato paste, garlic powder, cumin, and beef stock. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Uncover and cook another 4-5 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Keep warm.
  • To assemble the enchiladas, heat the tortillas on a hot plancha or cast iron griddle. Keep warm on a plate covered with papers towels.
  • Place a small amount of sauce on the bottom of a baking dish.
  • Place a tortilla on a work plate. Lay down a warmed tortilla and spoon on some sauce. Then spoon on about 2 tbsp of meat and 2 tbsp of grated cheese. Add about 2 tsp diced green onions. Roll up the tortillas as tightly as possible then lay in the baking dish seam side down. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas. Ladle sauce on top of the enchiladas then sprinkle on some cheese. Cover the dish with foil and bake for about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake another 5 minutes.
  • Plate 2 enchiladas per plate. Add some sour cream, diced tomatoes, and green onions.


Who doesn’t love twice baked potatoes? O.K., maybe two or three of you. But most of us do. And when you stuff them with Chili Con Carne and slather it with sour cream, bacon, and chives….well, put the diet on hold for an evening!

Find big Russet potatoes and bake them for at least an hour at 400 degrees. Don’t wrap them in foil or rub with oil…you need the skins to have a little texture. However, do poke a few small holes in them so they don’t explode in the oven when baking (it’s happened!)

You can use canned chili con carne or make your own. Best to leave out the beans. Here we go…


  • 2 large Russet potatoes
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 tbsp sour cream + more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup chili con carne without beans (home made or canned)
  • 4 thick slices of bacon, cooked and diced small
  • Chopped chives


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash and dry the potatoes. With a small knife, poke a few holes in them. Bake for at least 1 hour until they are fork tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool enough to handle.
  • When the potatoes are cool enough, slice off the top 1/3 of each potato. Carefully scoop out the flesh. In to mixing bowl. Also scoop the flesh from the top slice.
  • To the potato flesh, add 4 tbsp of unsalted butter, 2 tbsp of sour cream, 1/4 cup shredded cheese, 2/ tbsp cooked diced bacon, Kosher salt and black pepper to taste. Mash with a fork and mix all ingredients well.
  • Heat the chili con carne in a saucepan. Place about 1/4 cup of chili in each hollowed out potato. Add about 2 tbsp of shredded cheddar to the chili. Top with the potato mixture and shape into a dome. Using a fork, make some ridges to the top of the potato. Melt 2 tbsp of butter and brush on top of the potatoes. Place in a preheated 450 degree oven for about 15 minutes until the tops are golden brown.
  • Sprinkle on some chopped bacon. Then some shredded cheddar cheese. Then some our cream topped with chopped chives.


This is one of the soups I have struggled with getting just right. Just right meaning: like Panera’s version. I took a couple steps back…started over…and used An NYT recipe. It worked this time.

With every so-called “successful” recipe, there is always the variable of seasoning. Add the right amount of salt and pepper, especially, is essential. So, it’s usually “Kosher alt and black (or white) pepper to taste”.

Add more broccoli or more cheese according to your taste. The only thing I would suggest different is something to add heat if you like that sort of thing…probably some red pepper flakes. However, I usually like to give a couple dashes of Tabasco or Cholula when I eat it.


  • 1 1/2 pounds broccoli florets
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup white onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thin sliced
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups cream
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded + more for garnish
  • 1/8 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp lemon pepper
  • Croutons if desired


  • Trim the stems off the florets and cut into small pieces, set aside. Cut the floret into 3/4 inch pieces.
  • Place the stems in a small saucepan, cover with water, bring to a boil, cover, and cook for about 3 minutes, until tender. Drain.
  • Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add the butter. Add the onions and garlic and saute, stirring, for 4-5 minutes. Season with Kosher salt and lemon pepper. Sprinklw with 2 tbsp flour, stir, and allow to cook for 1 minute. Add the blanched stems, florets, and stock. Bring to a simmer. Lower the heat, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.
  • Add the cream, nutmeg, and shredded cheddar.and cook on low until the cheese has melted. Taste and reseason if necessary.
  • Serve in bowls with a sprinkle of shredded cheddar. Add croutons if desired.


A Pan Roasted Bone in Skin on Chicken Breast with a white wine shallot and garlic reduction pan sauce…one of our favorites. It’s easy…it’s relatively light…and comes together quickly. I served it tonight with Orzo Rice Pilaf (recipe below).

Where I live, it’s getting harder and harder to fine bone in skin on breasts. Bug your grocer about it if they don’t have them, they just might respond…ours did. You can muddle through with bone in skin on thighs (lol), but boneless breasts are just too dry. Ideally, I would use an “airline breast” (bone in skin on with the wing attached. Again, cant find them. I have had to just carve up a whole chicken for them.


  • 2 bone in skin on chicken breasts or airline breasts
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • Avocado, canola, or olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 garlic cloves, thin sliced
  • 2-3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (I use Chardonnay)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • Juice of 1/4 lemon

For the pilaf:

  • 1/2 cup jasmine rice
  • 1/2 cup Orzo pasta
  • 2 tbsp chopped shallots
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • Kosher salt and black pepper


  • Make sure the chicken breasts are dry (use a paper towel). Season with salt and pepper.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place an oven proof skillet over medium high high and add 2 tbsp of oil. When the oil is shimmering, place the breasts skin side down in the skillet. Use a saucepan or press to weigh down the breast and let them cook for 4-5 minutes until the skin is deep golden brown. Turn the breasts over and place the skillet in the oven. Let the breasts roast for about 18-25 minutes until the internal temperature is 160 degrees (time depend on the size of your breasts).
  • Remove the skillet from the oven and place the breasts on a plate loosely covered with foil. Set aside.
  • Place the skillet over medium heat and add 2 tbsp of butter. Add the shallots and the garlic and saute for 30 seconds, stirring. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine and let it simmer while scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Simmer for about 3 minutes. Add the stock and simmer another 3 minutes to reduce a little.
  • Add 2-3 tbsp of cold butter and whisk into the sauce. Add 2 tbsp of chopped parsley. Turn off the heat and continue to whisk for about 1 minute. Taste and reseason if necessary.
  • To serve, place some pilaf on a plate and lean one of the breasts on it. Spoon over the pan sauce and garnish with parsley.

For the pilaf:

  • Place a medium saucepan over medium low heat and add 2 tbsp of oil. Add the shallots and garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the rice and the orzo and saute, stirring, for about 3 minutes until the orzo begins to brown slightly. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the stock and the soy sauce and bring to a simmer. Cover, lower the heat, and simmer gently for about 15 minute, stirring occasionally with a fork.
  • Add 2 tbsp of chopped parsley and stir with a fork. Cover loosely until ready to use.


The term “deviled” in food was first referenced in 1786. It referred to spicy or zesty foods, most often prepared with mustard, pepper, or other ingredients stuffed in the yolk cavity.

Bascaillly, they are just stuffed eggs. And my favorite recipe for Deviled Eggs tried to maintain the simplest of ingredients: mayonnaise, mustard, and black pepper with chives and crumbled bacon for a garnish. I have used pickles and minced onions in the past, but I always for back to this faithful rendition.


  • 6 large eggs
  • 3-4 tbsp whole mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1-2 dashes of Tabasco
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Paprika for garnish
  • Chopped chives for garnish
  • Minced bacon for garnish


  • Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a rolling boil. Turn off the heat and cover. Let sit for 12 minutes. Remove from the water and place in a bowl of ice water for 3 minutes before peeling under cold water. Place on a paper towel lined plate and cover loosely with another paper towel. Place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  • Halve the eggs lengthwise and scoop out the yolks into a bowl. Also place one of the egg white halves in the bowl (for volume). Mash it all with a fork.
  • Add the mayonnaise, mustard, black pepper, Tabasco, and salt to taste. Mash some more and stir to a smooth consistency. Taste and reseason if necessary.
  • Fill each egg white with about 1 1/2 tsp of the yolk mixture.
  • Sprinkle lightly with paprika. Then garnish with minced bacon and chopped chives. Refrigerate loosely covered until ready to eat.