Warm Spinach Salad

Eating alone does not have to be take out or something boring. Big Pete is away at a conference and I still like to cook something delicious even if I am dining alone…because I am worth it!

This is a simple spinach salad with a half a chicken breast and the dressing is made right in the pan then poured over the salad while still warm.

You will need:

  • a few big handfuls of baby Spinach or Spinach and Arugula
  • 2 strips of bacon
  • 1/2 small yellow onion – sliced into half rings
  • a few slices of red onion
  • great extra virgin olive oil (always!! I am using a beautiful Itrana from Quatrociocchi ) you will use some for cooking and some to finish
  • a dash of balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 chicken breast sliced -cooked then chopped
  • 6-7 white mushrooms sliced
  • 1/2 small tomato chopped into small dice (approx 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tsp of mustard
  • 1-2 tbsp of red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of jalapeno jelly
  • salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: cook a couple of slices of good quality bacon on a medium heat flipping it from time to time to get an even crispiness. I like mine just shy of cooked until it is crumbly but you cook it as you like. Once cooked remove from pan and place on paper towel to absorb excess fat and set aside to cool, then chop.

Step 2: toss a couple of big handfuls of baby spinach and arugula to a big bowl. There are lots of other ingredients here so don’t worry that this is not enough.

Step 3: slice up a half a yellow or white onion and saute on medium heat in a bit of your good olive oil (honestly don’t ever buy that junk stuff from the grocery store buy real oil of decent quality no matter what!) saute until browned. While your onions cook slice up a bit of red onion into half rings and toss along with a handful of blueberries into your bowl with the greens.

Chop up your tomato and set in a small bowl.

This salad is a combination of raw and cold and warm and spicy. The tartness of the blueberries along with the raw onion goes so nicely with the warm chicken covered in the sweet and spicy jalapeno jelly.

Step 4: add a splash of balsamic vinegar when the onions are just starting to brown. Cook for a minute or two more then add your chicken. Remember to add a bit of salt and pepper and cook chicken until browned and cooked through. Remove from heat and chop. You should have your chicken chopped, your tomato chopped and your bacon chopped.

Step 5: in the same pan saute the mushrooms until nicely golden around the edges and then add back the meat, your mustard, the jalapeno jelly and a dash of red wine vinegar. Stir until a simple sauce starts to form.

Step 6: add all remaining ingredients. Cook 1 more minute.

Toss the warm ingredients over the cold taste and adjust for salt and pepper once more. I also always add a little drizzle of my great olive oil for a perfect raw oil finish. Think of olive oil as a condiment here. Eat right away!

Filipino Chicken Adobo

 My pal Dan was talking about his favorite foods from the Philippines and Chicken Adobo came up in the conversation! I said “I have never made Chicken Adobo!” His eyes lit up and he described the sweet, sour and rich tastes he remembered growing up. I said “I have to make that!”

So this one was made with love for Dan! and of course Big Pete!

This is slow simmered until it thickens and gets all dark and wonderful. It is sweet, sour and tangy. Served piping hot over fragrant Jasmine rice, I promise you will love it!

You will need:

  • 8-10 organic chicken thighs
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic -chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 tsp crushed peppercorns
  • 1 cup canned tomatoes (crushed or pieces)
  • 1 small onion
  • scallions or onion sprouts to serve
  • your favorite rice – I like Jasmine
  • 1 small pork tenderloin chopped in large slices(optional for a Pork & Chicken Adobo version – if you prefer!)

Step 1: I like to clean off some of the big pieces of fat on the thighs and then I cut them in half or quarters. Place in a large bowl.

Step 2: take an onion and lots of garlic and mince finely. This will just disappear in the sauce. Add to chicken.

Step 3: add your cider (or white) vinegar and soy to the bowl.

Step 4: add the palm sugar or brown sugar if you don’t have palm (you can find it in any good grocery store or health food store)

Step 5: you can add canned tomatoes but I had fresh seasonal so I just did a rough chop and threw them in the food processor. Add to the bowl. Add the cracked peppercorns – don’t worry you can add lots!

Step 6: marinate for a few hours or overnight.

Step 7: OPTIONAL* you can  also add some pork tenderloin but, I do not add until the last 1/2 hour of cooking. I have chopped into similar sized pieces as the chicken and you can add some of the sauce to it to marinate before adding to the pot.

Step 8: add to a large heavy pot – this is when I bring out the heavy enamelled cast iron Le Crueset.(they are worth every penny by the way!) Turn on medium heat, let come to a boil and then just lower to a steady blip for 3 hours or until the sauce is reduced and the chicken is tender. If you are adding the pork add it in the last 15- 30 minutes because the meat is so tender.

It gets all thick and dark caramelly brown!! My mouth is watering just looking at this picture.

Serve over Jasmine rice and a few onion sprouts or scallions to make it pretty!

The boy could hardly wait to eat a big bowl of it! Big Pete approved!!

I hope Dan liked it too!!

Potato and Pesto Chicken Soup

I can’t believe how simple and delicious this soup is. You can make your own pesto (I have a really excellent pesto recipe on this blog!) or you can just buy a good quality one from the store. By the way it’s absolutely delicious with or without the chicken. You decide.

You will need:

  • 2 tbsp great extra virgin olive oil -I used Solla Stella from Texas Hill Country
  • 2 slices of bacon
  • 1 small onion -finely minced
  • 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large baking potato -peeled and cubed into dice that fits on a spoon size
  • 2 cloves garlic – minced finely
  • 4 oz cannellini beans- rinsed
  • 1 litre chicken broth
  • 1 chicken breast – sliced finely and tossed in 1 tbsp pesto.
  • 1/2 cup small pasta
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp pesto
  • fresh grated Parmesan to serve with another drizzle of good oil.

Step 1: I like to assemble everything so I don’t forget things. I chop and have things ready to go when I start.

Step 2: cook bacon in some olive oil until crispy. Drain and set aside. I drain oil and then start with fresh olive oil for the next step.

Step 3: add a bit more olive oil and butter to saute your onions. Cook for 4-5 minutes and then add potatoes.  Toss and cook another 3 minutes until all potatoes are coated .

Step 4: add lots of salt and pepper. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute before adding broth.

Step 5: add your box of chicken broth -if you have homemade even better! and add beans.

Step 6: saute a chicken breast sliced and tossed in a bit of pesto. Add to soup.

Step 7: cook approximately 20 minutes until potatoes are soft. Add pasta shells and  chili flakes – cook another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add pesto to taste. Adjust salt and pepper if you want more.

If you don’t want the chicken just add the bacon back in at the last minute, a drizzle of good oil and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan.

If you like add the cooked chicken along with everything else!


Honey, Mustard and Zahtar Grilled Chicken

This is a very quick honey, mustard grilled chicken. Perfect over a salad or as a COB (chicken on a bun!) If you have never tried Zahtar it is a fantastic seasoning mix of thyme, sesame seeds, dried sumac and salt. It is wonderful on chicken, fish or even just added to olive oil to dip bread.

You will need:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp zahtar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic -finely minced
  • 2-3 fresh basil leaves – sliced finely
  • salt and pepper

Step 1: mix all ingredients and pour over chicken breasts. You can let this marinate for an hour or so if you like or grill right away.

Step 2: rub over breasts.

sprinkle over the basil



 Eat it!

Debra’s Fantastic Chicken Burgers

My dear friend Debra told me about her burgers that are a huge hit with the boys in her house and I had to try them. Debra is a fantastic cook and uses great ingredients which she lovingly prepares for the people she loves. She is a damn fine gardener too (my kind of gal!). Debra grinds her organic chicken but, of course you can use a good quality store bought ground chicken. She uses mostly thighs and a bit of white meat. These are truly fantastic and your family will absolutely want you to make them again and again. If you partially freeze the burgers before grilling it helps to keep their shape until the cooking firms them up for easy flipping.


You will need:


  • 1lb ground chicken thighs or ground dark meat –  if grinding chop thighs into 4 – partially frozen
  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast or 1 cup ground breast if grinding cut into small cubes – partially frozen for easy grinding
  • 1/2 small red onion minced – I used white because I didnt have a red
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper – finely minced
  • 1/8 -1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs (depending on how wet your chicken is)
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce of your choice
  • 1 tbsp dry rub seasoning of your choice
  • salt and pepper to taste



Step 1: start with great quality ground or whole chicken pieces. Gather and chop chicken, onion, garlic jalapeno.



Step 2: grind chicken. I also ran the jalapeno and bread through the machine to clean it. If you want the jalapeno in larger chunks then just add it chopped. I added 1 slice of bread to machine but you can just sprinkle breadcrumbs in the mix. Add all other ingredients to bowl and mix.


Step 3: form into patties and place on oiled parchment paper (brush a bit of oil on paper and tops- look at the beautiful coloured olive oil!)

Freeze 20 minutes.

Step 4: grill over medium-high direct heat and brush with additional sauce to finish. Be careful not to flip too soon as they are delicate until they set and firm up.

Serve on a fresh squishy bun or not! and top with your favorite things.

Bon Appetit!




Chicken Rice Noodle Salad

This is a satisfying salad perfect for a summer dinner and it’s gluten-free. You can cook or grill a bit of chicken or shrimp, rehydrate some rice stick noodles and chop some fresh crunchy veggies. Dinner is served and packed full of flavour with just a hint of heat.

You will need:

 * for 2 servings

  • 1 chicken breast chopped into small pieces
  • 3 cloves of garlic – sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger (I keep frozen and grate it frozen)
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 – 1 whole fresh hot chili – sliced into thin rings (I also keep frozen and slice frozen)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 lime – squeezed
  • 1 tsp miso paste (mine is the light variety – Shiro)
  • 1 clove garlic – crushed
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • half a package of rice stick noodles (my pkg is 225 grams which is perfect for 4 people)
  • 4 leaves of napa cabbage – sliced into thin strips
  • 4-5 mushrooms – sliced
  • 1 carrot – sliced into strips with a peeler or into sticks
  • a handful of baby spinach
  • 4-5 baby English/Persian cucumbers – sliced into sticks
  • a handful of fresh cilantro/coriander leaves
  • a handful of salted peanuts or mixed nuts chopped

Step 1: chop chicken breast into small pieces. Chop and add garlic, chilies and fresh ginger. Add sesame oil, salt and pepper. Mix, cover and let marinate in fridge for at least 1 hour.

Step 2: in a small jar add ingredients for dressing: fish sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, miso paste, garlic, honey, soy. Shake and set aside.

Step 3: chop, slice and shave all your veggies.

Step 4: quickly saute your chicken for a few minutes until cooked. Rehydrate your noodles in boiling water according to your package instructions.

Toss it all together and serve topped with peanuts and cilantro.




PHO GA – Chicken Noodle Soup

My husband Big Pete has been feeling under the weather for the last few days and I made him this lovely soup to soothe and revive him back to health. Chicken soup is always a good idea!

You can roast an extra chicken when preparing your Sunday dinner or even pick one up already cooked from the grocery store. Toss some flavourings in a large pot with some cold water and let it simmer for a few hours and magic happens! Strain the soup, remove the chicken from the bones, and assemble a wonderful soup with all the toppings you like the best.

You will need:

  • a roasted chicken – remove most of the skin and breast meat. Keep the breast meat and discard the skin (I have a few roast chicken recipes on this site or try this one
  • 6 cups cold water
  • 2 onions – quartered and stems removed but I add the skin for colour
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic – just squished to release flavour
  • 5-6 thick slices of fresh ginger root
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1/2 – 1 red pepper – whole
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5-6 szechuan peppercorns – whole
  • 10 black peppercorns – whole
  • a handful of fresh cilantro/coriander

To serve – top with some or all of the following:

  • cooked vermicelli rice noodles or thicker rice stick noodles – mine soak in hot water for a few minutes
  • chopped/shredded chicken (1/2 cup per bowl or more if you prefer)
  • thin sliced yellow onions
  • thin sliced spring onions
  • grated ginger (1/2 tsp or so per bowl)
  • grated garlic  (1/2 clove grated per bowl)
  • bean sprouts
  • fresh cilantro/coriander
  • lime wedges
  • thin sliced radishes
  • thin sliced mushrooms
  • thin sliced snow peas/beans
  • sliced baby greens
  • chili oil
  • sambal olek or other chili sauce


Step 1: Take a roasted chicken (you can buy a quality roasted chicken in many good grocery stores – get one that is plain or has lemon pepper vs a barbecue roasted chicken) Remove most of the skin and remove the breast meat. I discard the skin and then set aside the breast for slices on top of the soup. Break off wings, and legs and place bones and meat in a large pot. Cover with cold water. My pot takes 6 -7 cups of cold water depending on the size of the chicken.


Step 2: add aromatics: chop onions (I like to add the skins of the onions assuming they are clean and organic) remove skins from garlic, squish and toss in the pot. Add slices of ginger, star anise, a red chili, a few szechwan peppercorns, black peppercorns, salt (you need salt in this broth!) and a handful of cilantro stems and leaves.



Step 3: let the broth come to a boil for a minute, turn down to a low simmer and leave it alone for 2-3 hours (you can leave it longer if you like too!) Let it slowly, gently blip away on the stove. If you let it simmer away on low you will get a nice clear broth, if you let it boil it will get cloudy.


Step 4: strain the broth and then strain it again through cheesecloth. Remove all the bits of chicken that you have left on the bones. I like to pick away to make really clean pieces of meat with no nasty bits but…if that’s your thing eat everything! Once you have your clear broth taste it and add more salt if necessary (it will be necessary!) then leave the broth in pot to stay hot until you pour over bowls. I find when you remove the skin there is virtually nothing to skim off the soup.


Step 5: chop all your condiments/toppings and soak your rice noodles.


Step 6: assemble your bowls. I add chicken on the bottom, then I grate the fresh ginger and garlic right on the chicken. I add the noodles, the broth and your condiments. If you like it spicy add more fresh chili or chili sauce, if you like mushrooms add a few slices etc… top with some sliced chicken breast etc.


This recipe makes 4 healthy sized bowls of yummy soup!


Chicken Mango Salad


This is a perfect lunch or dinner. Warm chicken is served on top of tender greens and fresh fruit.




You will need: (for two people)


  • 2 small chicken breasts – chopped into small cubes or slices
  • 1 small onion – grated or chopped fine
  • 2 cloves garlic – chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger (I always freeze a chunk and grate it frozen – lasts forever!)
  • 1/2 jalapeno chili grated (I always fresh chilies too! -grate from frozen – lasts forever!)
  • 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon – juiced
  • 5 oz pkg of your favourite tender salad greens/mix
  • 1 mango – peeled and  cubed in small chunks and then leaving one half to be sliced
  • 1 tomato cut into chunks or slices
  • handful of blackberries or blueberries
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp pear or apple vinegar
  • 1-2 tbsp soy sauce


Step 1: slice and then cut chicken into small cubes. Place in a small bowl.



Step 2: I grate the onion and if you have any little chunks left just chop fine. Chop garlic.




Step 3: grate fresh or frozen ginger, grate jalapeno pepper, add Italian seasoning and Worcestershire sauce. Let marinate up to a few hours or cook immediately.



Step 4: chop tomatoes and mango and prepare your dressing in a small jar. I add all the dressing ingredients and shake. Put the dressing on the salad at the last minute before serving.



Step 5: just before cooking chicken add lemon juice and mix.



Step 6: add a few tbsp of good quality extra virgin olive oil to a hot saute pan and cook chicken until all the water evaporates and the chicken starts to brown. This may take 10-15 minutes.



Step 7: once chicken is cooked add mango chunks and cook a few more minutes just to heat mango. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary



Step 8: add mixed salad greens to tomatoes and toss (you could also add some white or spring onions) with some of your salad dressing (you may not use it all- keeps in the fridge for a few days)

Toss with your fingers and plate. I then add a few blackberries and the slices of mango to make it all look pretty!


Note: you could top with some sesame seeds or a drizzle more of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.











Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup


This is a slightly spicy chicken noodle soup. Quick to prepare and perfect when you need something nourishing.  This recipe is perfect for two big steaming bowls.



You will need:


  • 1 litre chicken broth
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 onion – chopped into large chunks
  • 1 carrot – washed and chopped
  • 1 celery stalk – washed and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic – large rough chopped pieces
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3-4 dried mushrooms (any kind you prefer – I used porcini)
  • 2 lime leaves (mine were dried)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery
  • 1 garlic
  • 2 spring onions
  • 2 nests of thin egg noodles
  • 1 tsp sambal olek
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • serve with cilantro more spring onions 




Step 1: chop your onion carrot celery and garlic. You are using these vegetables to make a great tasting broth and you will throw them away.



Step 2: add broth to a large pot. You can of course use homemade but, I always have some on hand in my pantry.



Step 3: add your chicken breast, chopped vegetables, a small handful of dried mushrooms and a couple of bay leaves. Add water and salt and pepper.



Step 4: Toss in a few lime leaves if you have them. Cook 20 on medium heat (don’t let it boil vigorously just a nice steady simmer) and then strain out vegetables. Shred or chop chicken breast.



Step 5: add strained broth back to the pot, shredded chicken and add nicely chopped vegetables. You can add other vegetables if you have some on hand. I added carrot, celery, garlic and some spring onions/scallions. Let cook on medium heat for 10 minutes until vegetables are tender.



Add a bit of sambal oleck which is rather salty and spicy (always add a bit and taste then add more to your liking) Add a bit of sesame oil and a few nests of thin egg noddles. You can also add a bit of chopped cilantro (you can add more leaves at serving)


The noodles will cook in a few minutes. Once done serve.



Add a few more cilantro leaves or scallions and serve hot.









Balsamic Chicken and Winter Vegetable Stew


This is a deeply flavoured chicken stew with the warm flavours of sundried tomatoes and rich balsamic vinegar cooked with hearty, beautiful winter vegetables. I feel better about the long, cold winter after eating a bowl of this along with a heel of crusty bread and a glass of wine.



You will need:

  • 8 boneless/skinless chicken thighs – excess fat removed
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic – finely minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh chili or hot pickled peppers in a jar
  • 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
  • 6 sundried tomatoes – chopped finely = 1/4 cup
  • 1 small onion – chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt and pepper (each)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 heaped tbsp flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth/ or water

Your favourite Vegetables – washed and chopped into pieces that easily fit on a spoon.

  • a couple of handfuls of each vegetables – I used:
  • 1/2 cauliflower = chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 3-4 carrots – chopped
  • 1 small celery root – chopped
  • 1 small turnip – chopped
  • 1 small sweet potato – chopped
  • 5-6 mushrooms – quartered



Gather all your ingredients.



Step 1: in a medium sized bowl add cleaned chicken thighs, olive oil, garlic, hot chilies/peppers (I used a hot pickled pepper product from Italy but, you can use a fresh chili), Italian seasoning and fresh rosemary. Stir and let sit (covered) in fridge for 1-2 hours.



Step 2: in a large pan add onions, olive oil and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes to just start the onions to release their water and start to brown around the edges.



Step 3: add chicken and let cook 15 minutes to cook out most of the water and to just start to brown the meat.



Step 4: add balsamic vinegar and cook 5 minutes. This should almost evaporate the vinegar.


Step 5: add white wine and cook another 10 minutes until wine is concentrated.



Step 6: add flour and stir. Cook 2-3 minutes.



Step 7: add broth or water and sundried tomatoes. Turn down heat to medium/low for gently simmer for 30 minutes until meat is tender.




Step 8: remove chicken and once cooled slightly shred into smaller pieces (I always remove any fatty bits here)



Step 9: add all chopped vegetables (look at those pretty carrots!) and chicken back to pot and cook 20 minutes until all vegetables are tender. If you need to add a bit more liquid to thin out feel free to make this the consistency you like in a soup or stew. I have also added a bit more fresh chopped rosemary.



Serve big steaming bowls of soup with a drizzle of your best extra virgin olive oil and some chopped spring onions or a bit of fresh spinach or even shreds of baby bok choy.


Don’t forget the crusty bread and glasses of wine!