Zucchini boats with signature

1 package chicken tenders

3 zucchini squashes

1 medium onion

1 small red bell pepper

4 or 5 cloves garlic

1 tomato chopped

Parmesan Cheese grated

1 teaspoon Italian spice mix

1/2 teaspoon thyme

2 teaspoons capers

1 cup Italian bread crumbs

Salt and pepper to taste

Rinse and pat dry chicken tenders, slice raw chicken in bite sized pieces, sprinkle with an Italian salad dressing and let marinate 30 minutes.

Chop onion, red pepper, tomato, and garlic.

Slice each zucchini in half lengthwise. Using a small melon baller, scoop flesh from each squash, leaving enough flesh next to the skin to retain shape. Place squash pieces in a mixing bowl. Salt and pepper lightly.

Place marinated chicken on cooking tray and broil ‘til almost done.

In a large frying place 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add onion, red pepper and garlic. Salt and pepper lightly and sauté ‘til soft. Add squash flesh, tomato pieces, capers, Italian spice mix and thyme. Sauté over medium heat for approximately 2 or 3 minutes.

Fill zucchini boats with the cooked mixture, sprinkle with Italian bread crumbs and grated Parmesan Cheese. Place in 375-degree oven for approximately 15 to 20 minutes until cheese is melted, bubbly, and slightly browned.

Serve with a garden salad or my Roquefort Cheese cold slaw and crusty Italian bread.

If your family loves olives, add ¼ to ½ cups of chopped olives (any variety) to the sauté mix before stuffing. This makes a wonderful company meal or busy day supper which can be prepared ahead, refrigerated, then cooked just before company or family arrives.




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2 medium sweet potatoes wrapped in foil and baked ‘til tender. Cool and mash.

3 cups flour

1 Tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

6 Tablespoons butter

1 cup of mashed sweet potatoes

1 cup buttermilk

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional-or use shredded pepper jack cheese)

¼ cup well-drained and chopped pickled or fresh jalapenos (optional, to taste, and omit seeds)

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Turn oven to 425 degrees.

Mix dry ingredients, add cubes of butter and mix with pastry cutter ‘til crumbly.

Mix sweet potatoes, buttermilk, Parmesan cheese and jalapenos then fold into dry ingredients.

Lightly flour pastry sheet or wax paper and knead together a few times then press into a rectangle large enough to get 12 to 14 biscuits using a 2 ½ to 3-inch cutter. Place on sprayed baking sheet, and paint with melted butter. Bake at 425 degrees for 12 minutes.

Sweet Potato Biscuits 2

And oh, my goodness! They are delicious left-over, sliced and buttered for breakfast, then slipped under the broiler ‘til the edges are toasted. Serve with honey or jam—what a way to start the day! They are just as delicious without the cheese and jalapenos—your preference. But, being from Texas you know which way we love ‘em!

Enjoy … DiAne

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Mama’s Crunchy Nothing Pie

The holidays are at hand and we’re looking for quick, easy, but delicious desserts. And here’s a tasty treat you can whip up with less than twenty minutes prep time followed by a quick half-hour in the oven.

Puttin On The Ritz 2

Serve warm or cold. With ice cream (Blue Bell, of course). Or a healthy portion of Redi-Whip or the real stuff!


30 Ritz crackers

1 cup chopped nuts (your choice)

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 eggs whites

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pinch of salt

¾ cup of chocolate chips (optional)

¾ cup of shredded coconut (optional)

Place crackers in plastic zip lock bag and crush ’til fine. Add baking powder, chopped nuts, chocolate chips, and coconut. Set aside.

Beat egg white stiff, add sugar, vanilla and salt.

Fold dry ingredients into whites and pour into a greased pie plate. Bake for thirty minutes (or a little longer, depending on your oven) at 325 degrees.

Puttin On The Ritz 1

If there’s any left, cover and refrigerate.  This pie’s just as good cold as straight from the oven. Mama’s original recipe didn’t include the chocolate chips or coconut. That’s my zingy taste buds. And I’ve even added dried cherries with the chocolate. What’s not to like about chocolate and cherries?

Enjoy . . . DiAne

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Nana's Apple Nut CakeUntitled

Fall is in the air and what could taste better on these cooler evenings than an easy apple nut cake topped with either ice cream or whipped cream? Mama used to whip these loaf cakes up in a jiffy. They are fun, easy, and oh my, delicious!


½ stick butter softened

1 cup sugar

1 cup flour

2 eggs

2 teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon ground ginger root

1 cup nuts

2 cups apples sliced thin

Cream the sugar and butter…add eggs.

Sift flour with other dried ingredients and add to first mixture.

Stir in apples and nuts.

Pour into a lightly greased loaf dish and bake at 325 degrees for approximately 35 to 45 minutes. Test to see if toothpick comes out dry. Let sit at least 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Scrumptious, easy, and economical!


Nana's Apple Nut Cake 2Untitled


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Aunt Lisa's Pizza



1 pkg. yeast

1 tsp sugar

1 cup warm water

2.5 cups flour

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 tsp salt


Dissolve yeast in warm water, add sugar, cover, and let rest until foamy.

Combine flour, olive oil and salt in mixer, add yeast mixture.

With dough hook mix slowly at first, then turn mixer on high until dough does not stick to sides.

Leave dough in mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a towel, let rise in warm place for 1 hour.

Cut dough in quarters for very thin crust, or in half for thicker dough.

Flour a sheet pan, place dough you will use immediately on sheet and cover to rise a second time (45 minutes).

Place remaining dough in a freezer bag to be used another day. Remember when using the frozen dough, let it thaw, then rise…I leave mine out most of the day.

After the 45-minute rising time, roll out dough and place on stone if you have one or on baking sheet.

I pre-heat my oven to 500 degrees.



1 large can of tomatoes (I use whole or pieces – Cento Brand)

Garlic (fresh or powder)

Basil (fresh or flakes)

Italian Spice

Sugar to taste (I use 2 teaspoons)

Red wine

Red Pepper flakes (according to your family’s tolerance to heat)

Kalamata olives

Salt and Pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor, blend.


This mixture will make way more than enough for one pizza. If I’m making spaghetti and meat sauce the next week, I use the remainder of this mixture with the sauce. Also, any Italian chicken dish you make, combine the remainder of this sauce with your regular mixture. It’s great!


Toppings…Your Choice! But I use:


Black olives sliced

Bacon baked and crumbled

Red Pepper, sliced

Mushrooms, sliced

Shallots, sliced

Monterey Pepper-Jack Cheese

Crumbled Goat Cheese

Marinated artichoke hearts


Aunt Lisa and Uncle Mike like their crust thin, with a small amount of sauce. They also don’t like the all the supreme junk we put on ours. I use more sauce and for a regular sized pizza I bake it—fully loaded about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how much crunch you like in your crust. Be creative! Prosciutto, Italian sausage, bacon…all good choices. Be sure to cook any raw meat, onions and garlic you use before putting them on the pizza. Enjoy ~







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 Pasta Yummy

Pasta (I used a small amount of angel hair pasta)

¼ cup butter

¼ cup olive oil

2 thin slices of deli ham rolled and sliced thin

A handful of fresh green beans

1 tomato cubed

½ red bell pepper

2 ears fresh roasted corn on the cobb

2 shallots sliced

4 cloves fresh garlic chopped

Fresh cilantro chopped

Zest of one lime

Juice of two limes

Parmesan Cheese (optional)

1 tablespoon dried orange peel

1 teaspoon ground ginger root

1 teaspoon coarse ground pepper

Salt to taste

Roast ears of corn in shucks in a 425-degree oven approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Remove and cool.

Rinse, string green beans, and chop in half. Chop red bell pepper in short strips. Cut corn from cob. Slice shallots and chop garlic and tomato. 

Place olive oil and butter in large skillet. (I use my cast iron one for any stir fry.) Add green beans, tomatoes, red peppers, shallots, garlic, and corn. (Or use your family’s favorite green veggie.) Sauté ‘til tender. Add dried orange peel, ginger root, salt and pepper, and the zest of one lime. Add ½ cup of good white wine and stir.

Drain cooked pasta (I used angel hair…any pasta will be yummy!) Add pasta and sliced ham to sautéed mix and squeeze juice of two limes then stir to combine. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and dust with grated Parmesan Cheese for a delightful finishing touch. Enjoy! 

Inexpensive. Quick. Easy. And delicious! What more could you ask for on a hot summer evening?


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The doctor’s announcement of hubby’s new low sodium diet sent shock-waves through my tummy and then my kitchen! Then I wandered through the grocery store, dumb-founded–salt saturates everything. This ole’ Southern Side of Flavor gal can’t tolerate bland food.

If you are facing the same dilemma, grab a pencil and a pad stay tuned–we’ll learn together. Here’s my first low sodium meal and it was full of flavor. Recipes are listed below.

Hamburger steak, potato dinner

Meet my four new friends…

My four new friends

Herbs, spices, and zests will join these four to keep delivering a zing and zap those of us from the Southwest love. Hope you’ll try these two new recipes and the icing on the cake? Hubs and I have each lost ten pounds these past two weeks. High-five!!!



2 ears corn roasted in husks

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 chopped red pepper

½ large red onion chopped

3 cloves garlic minced

1 ripe mango, peeled and cubed

1 or 2 ripe avocados, peeled and cubed

3 Tablespoons of chopped cilantro (optional)

1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

Zest of 1 lime

Juice of three limes

¼ cup olive oil

Corn, black bean, avocado salad


This delicious relish, salad, or salsa…whatever you want to call it…is a delicious, colorful accompaniment to most any summer meal. And it’s even better the next day. And the best thing is, I didn’t use any salt. If you have no salt problems, GO FOR IT! But it’s just as good without.

Roast corn in husk, at 425 on your oven rack for about 25 minutes. Cool, pull off husks and silks and slice off the cobb. (I stand the ear of corn on end on a cloth dish towel to slice—keeps the corn from rolling all over the kitchen.) 😊

In a large bowl place chopped avocado and cover with the juice of one lime to preserve the freshness and color of the avocado. Mix all other veggies and fruit. Add the zest of one lime and the remaining lime juice and olive oil and toss.

Add 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper and 2 teaspoons of Mrs. Dash’s Southwest Chipotle Seasoning Blend.

This yummy dish can be served at room temperature or cold…your choice. Enjoy!





Bunch of fresh, crisp green beans

2 or 3 shallots sliced

3 or 4 cloves of garlic chopped fine

Sliced, fresh mushrooms (optional)

Zest and juice of one lemon

1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper (more to taste)

1 to 2 teaspoons Mrs. Dash Lemon Pepper Seasoning Blend

1/3 cup balsamic sauce

2 Tablespoons olive oil


Fresh Greens Beans with balsamic dressing

Here’s a tasty, quick option for a vegetable that’s in great supply during these spring and summer months, and is sure to please. Wash and dry green beans. Snap off stem end, but leave the bean whole.

Sauté shallots, garlic, and mushrooms in olive oil. Add green beans and stir. Add zest and lemon juice, black pepper, and balsamic vinegar. Lower heat, stir, and simmer with lid on pan for ten minutes.

Add the lemon pepper seasoning, toss, and serve! Another tasty, sodium free side dish. If you are the specimen of great health give that salt shaker a few shakes and sprinkle with crispy bacon bits…’til the doctor tells you to shape up!

Southern Side of Flavor TIP:  Vinegar contain no salt and there are many flavors that produce tasty substitutes. Zests from oranges, lemons, and lime pack a wallop of flavor. Add their juice to vegetables, fruits, and salads and you’ve got a winner, winner, chicken dinner as the Guy from Diners, Drive-Inns, and Dives proclaims.

‘Til next time…happy cooking!





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