Lemon Pinenut Stuffed Artichoke Hearts

I brought these tasty bites alongside the Cucumber Feta Dill Rollups for dinner at our friends' house and they both were perfect appetizers to enjoy together!

 Lemon Pinenut Stuffed Artichoke Hearts

2 cans drained and dried artichoke bottoms

1 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/3 cup mayonnaise

3 cloves garlic, minced

zest of 1 large lemon

1/2 large lemon, juiced

1/4 cup pinenuts

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley,

salt and pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 375°F
  • Coast 9 x 13" baking dish with cooking spray
  • Place artichoke bottoms in baking dish
  • Combine all other ingredients in a bowl and mix.
  • Mound mixture into artichoke bottoms.
  • Bake 20-24 minuyrd until lightly brown and bubbling
  • Garnish with additional parsley if desired

Cucumber Feta Dill Rollups

Need a colorful and tasty appetizer to bring to your next gathering? This is fun to make and tastes healthy!

 Cucumber Feta Dill Rollups

1 English Cucumber

1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled finely

1 1/2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt

2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes (I used the ones packed in oil)

8 pitted kalamata olives, chopped

1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill

1 teaspoon lemon juice

salt and pepper

dill springs for garnish

  • Using a mandoline (if you have one- I just used a peeler), slice cucumbers long ways into thin strips.
  • Lay the cucumber slices on top of paper towels and top with paper towels to soak up excess moistures. Let sit while you prepare filling.
  • Mix all other ingredients together in a small bowl.
  • Put a dollop of filling on end of stip of cucumber. Roll and place filling side up on plate. Top with spring of dill.


Crunchy Cucumber Vegetable Salad

When you are craving a fresh, flavorful salad filled with crunchy vegetables and protein, throw this one together! Great for lunch with a dollop of cottage cheese or jammy eggs. It is also delicious as a side salad with grilled fish, chicken or steak. Enjoy!

 Crunchy Cucumber Vegetable Salad


9 ounces shelled edamame (one package of Trader Joe's edamame with sea salt work great)
4 mini persian cucumbers, cut into rounds
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 bell peppers, cut into small cubes (whichever color you like)
1/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil


1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 large cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
1/2 teaspoon pepper


George's at the Cove Soup

I recently visited my daughter in her new home in La Jolla and brought her out to dinner at Georges at the Cove, a lovely restaurant overlooking the ocean that is known for "George's Famous Soup" in addition to its gorgeous view. I remember loving the soup when I visited this restaurant many years ago and it was still just as delicious. I made a healthy adaptation of it at home with much less cream plus more broccoli and beans and it tasted amazing!

Joy's Healthy Adaptation to George's Famous Soup

2 T olive oil

2 diced carrots

1/2 diced onion

2 stalks celery diced

1 head broccoli, stalk stems chopped small and florets small

2 teaspoons dried thyme

2 teaspoons dried oregano

4 cups chicken stock, hot

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1⁄2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce 

1 cup diced smoked chicken (I used rotisserie chicken that I flavored with 1/2 teaspoon Mesquite Liquid Smoke)

1 can rinsed black beans

1/2 cup heavy cream

salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste

Sauté carrots, onion, celery and broccoli stems for 5 minutes. Add thyme, oregano and basil; sauté 5 minutes more. Add hot chicken stock and reduce by one-third. Add Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, smoked chicken, beans, broccoli florets: simmer for 5 minutes. Add cream, simmer for 5 minutes more and season to taste (thickening with cornstarch if desired). 


      Georges by the Cove Soup as served at the Restaurant           

George's Famous Soup Original Recipe Ingredients:

1⁄2 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup dices carrot

1⁄2 cup diced onion

1⁄2 cup diced celery

1 cup broccoli stem, peeled and diced

2 teaspoons dried thyme

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1⁄4 cup dry white wine

4 cups chicken stock, hot

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1⁄2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce 

1 cup diced smoked chicken

1 cup cooked black beans

1 cup broccoli floret

2 cups heavy cream

salt and pepper to taste


Mushroom Bites Appetizer

Are you ready to start entertaining outside in your backyard? These Mushroom Bites are the perfect appetizer to serve before your barbecue dinner with friends and family!

Mushroom Bites


    8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms
    1 large shallot, finely diced
    1 garlic clove, minced
    2 tablespoons butter
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1/2 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese
    3/4 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
    1 package puff pastry
    1 egg, beaten
    salt and pepper 

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange baking racks in top and lower parts of your oven.
  • In a large skillet over medium-low heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and add the shallots and salt until beginning to brown. Remove the shallots to bowl and set them aside.
  • In the same skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon olive oil over medium-low and sauté the mushrooms until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, and black pepper and sauté for 1 additional minute. Place in the bowl with the onions. Stir in the cheese.
  • On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the puff pastry into an even 10.5-inch square. With a 2-inch round cookie, cut the pastry into rounds (alternatively, you can slice the puff pastry into squares to limit waste). 
  • Transfer the cut puff pastry to a prepared baking sheet, then brush lightly with the beaten egg. Prick each round with a fork to allow air to escape, then top each round 1 tablespoon of the mushroom and shallot filling. 
  • Bake for 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden and crisp, rotating the pans 180 degrees and switching the positions of the baking sheets on the upper and lower racks halfway through. Let bites cool for 5 minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve warm or at room temperature. Serve with Gazpacho for a perfect hearty appetizer this spring!
  • Mushroom bites alongside gazpacho for a hearty appetizer


One Skillet Roasted Chicken with Peaches and Pesto Rice

Oh my gosh, this one skillet wonder is the bomb! I am not a huge fan of fruit combined with savory (ie. strawberry in salad), so I was a little wary of this one. But the flavor combos totally work! Thanks to Caroline Chambers, this recipe is worth a try. You and your family will love it!

One-skillet Roasted Chicken with Peaches and Pesto Rice
  • Ingredients:
  • 2 pounds bone-in skin-on chicken thighs 

  • Kosher salt and pepper

  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced

  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 1 1/2 cups white rice

  • 2 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken stock

  • 1/4 cup pesto (store-bought!)

  • Juice of 1 large lemon (2-3 tablespoons)

  • 2 peaches, cut into 1/2-inch wedges

  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced basil

  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta 

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Warm an ovenproof skillet or saucepan over medium heat. I used a 12-inch cast iron skillet.

Season 2 pounds bone-in skin-on chicken thighs with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Place the chicken thighs skin-side down in the skillet. After 3 or 4 minutes, when chicken grease starts to pool up in the skillet, add 2 thinly sliced shallots and 4 thinly sliced garlic cloves around the chicken. Season with a pinch of salt. Use tongs to scooch them around to start sautéing them while the chicken cooks.

When the chicken skin is golden, flip it over and scooch it all to the outside rim of the skillet. If your skillet is totally full of chicken, remove one or two to make room to pour the rice in.

To the empty part of the skillet, pour in 1 1/2 cups white rice2 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken stock1/4 cup pesto, and the juice of 1 lemon. Use your tongs to evenly distribute the rice and liquid around the chicken. If you removed a chicken thigh, add it back to the skillet, smooshing it down into the rice and liquid.

Raise the stove heat to high to bring the stock to a boil, then turn off the heat. Place the peach slices over the rice, trying not to put them on top of the chicken so that the chicken skin can get nice and crispy.

Place the skillet on the center rack of the oven and roast for 25 to 30 minutes. Check your chicken and rice at the 25 minute mark. The chicken should be at least 160°F internally, and the rice should be tender (it might look hard on the surface where it was exposed to direct heat, so dig your spoon down in there to check!).

Garnish with 1/3 cup thinly sliced basil and 1/3 cup feta, and dig in!! Serve  chicken over pesto rice with lots of peaches, basil, and feta on top.



Chili Relleno Casserole

When I was growing up, one of my favorite meals my mom made was Chili Relleno Casserole with Flank Steak and green breans. This recipe is a delicious twist on her recipe using fresh poblano peppers instead of canned green chilies. It is easy to pull together (after the chilis are blackened) and is a great side for brunch or dinner!

Chili Rellenos


6-8 large poblano peppers

2 cups freshly shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided

1 cup freshly shredded cheddar cheese, divided

5 large eggs

1 1/2 cups whole milk

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

sour cream and salsa for serving


  • Preheat the oven's broiler and set the rack at about 6 inches from the heat source. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place peppers on the baking sheet and roast for about 10-15 minutes, using tongs to turn them occasionally, roasting until the skins are blackened and charred.
  • Transfer the roasted peppers to a plastic bag for about 10 minutes, allowing them to steam as they cool. Once they are cool enough to handle, peel off the skin, cut off the stems, open them up and remove the seeds.
  • Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly coat a 3-quart baking dish with nonstick spray.
  • Lay half of the roasted chiles in the baking dish in a single layer. Sprinkle 1 cup of the jack cheese and 1/2 cup of the cheddar on top. Repeat layers once.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, flour, baking powder, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper until thoroughly combined and no lumps of flour remain. Pour mixture evenly over the cheese and chiles.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes until puffed up in the center and eggs are set and golden around the edges.
  • Let stand and cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a little salsa,. Enjoy!


Really Green Soup

This really green soup made from the viral tik tok swamp soup recipe is not only delicious but the vibrant green goodness is very healthy! Enjoy!

Really Green Soup

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 heaping cup cooked rice
  • 1 cup cooked and pulled chicken (I used rotisserie)
  • 4 medium cloves of garlic
  • 2 inches fresh ginger, peeled
  • 2 whole stalks scallions 
  • 1 jalapeño, stems and seeds removed (I didn't want it too spicy)
  • 1 cup parsley, packed plus more for garnish
  • 4 cups baby spinach, packed
  • Salt to taste
  1. Bring chicken broth to a boil and add in the spinach and garlic. Cook the spinach until wilted and shrunken in size and garlic is softened. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the spinach and garlic out of the broth and into your blender. Set aside to cool.
  2. Add the rice into the broth, bring back to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Let the rice simmer in the broth until liquid has thickened and rice begins to break apart, about 10-15 minutes
  3. Add ginger, scallion, jalapeño and parsley into the blender with the spinach. Add about 1/4 cup of water and 1 tsp salt. Blend until smooth, about 60 seconds. If the blender gets stuck, add more water. If your blender is too small, you can do this in batches or use a food processor. DO NOT PUT HOT SOUP IN YOUR BLENDER, IT WILL EXPLODE.
  4. When broth is thickened, add chicken and green mixture from blender.  Mix to combine, and taste for salt. Adjust as needed.


Nana's Easter Bread

We are looking forward to carrying on our Easter Traditions of making Easter Bread and Cherry Cheese Bread for Easter this weekend. You can see in the picture of my husband and our kids below that we have been creating this yummy bread for our family for a long time. Our daughters will be making bread in their homes in La Jolla and Brooklyn and made me realize that while I have spoken about our traditions here on this blog, I have not recorded the recipe for Nana's Easter Bread. So here it is! Happy Spring to everyone~


For the Dough
  • 4-5 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 package active dry yeast

  • ½ cup granulated sugar

  • ¾ cup whole milk, warmed

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ½ cup butter, plus 2 tablespoons melted for top of bread before baking

  • 3 eggs, room temperature

  • ¼ teaspoon grated orange peel

  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the Glaze

  • 2 cups powdered sugar

  • ¼ cup whole milk

  •  Sprinkles


  • Mix 1 cup flour, sugar, salt and yeast in bowl of electric mixer. 

  • Combine milk and butter in a saucepan until butter is melted and liquids are warm. Gradually add to dry ingredients and beat together at medium speed for 2 minutes. 

  • Add 3 eggs, orange rind, nutmeg plus another 1 cup of flour to make a thick batter. Beat at high speed for 2 minutes. Change to dough hook and stir in enough additional flour to make soft dough that is no longer sticky. 

  • Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 1 to 2 minutes. Place in a lightly greased bowl, turn in the bowl so the top is greased and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

  • Punch down dough and divide into two equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 24” rope. Twist two ropes together and loosely form into a ring on a greased baking sheet. Brush with melted butter.