Lulu's Homemade Guacamole

Did someone say Cinco de Mayo? Ole! Mexican food is a favorite standby in our home. If I had to pick one type food to eat for the rest of my life – hands down I’d pick Mexican. Since it can be less than gentle on the waistline (and the wallet if you eat out), I’m always looking for ways to bring a little south of the border flare into my homemade cooking, where I can control the ingredients and cost.

After watching in horror as a Washington D.C. restaurant charged over $12.00 for guacamole last spring, I decided to create my own recipe. I’m not sayin’…I’m just saying that it’s darn good!

My 9 month old chows it down and prefers it to regular baby food. Before you protest that avocados are “too fatty” – rest assured that they are the “good fat” you want to eat (good for hair, nails, skin, and helps lower bad cholesterol). But before you start consuming Lulu's Homemade Guacamole every day and then blame me for unexplained weight gain, I insert the caveat that, as with everything, eat in this guacamole in moderation. It may be hard, but feel free to treat yourself to the good fat when you feel the need to shake your maracas.

My best tip is to use fresh/ripe ingredients. Farmer’s markets are wonderful, and home-grown ingredients are even better!

While on vacation in Palm Springs, I found a woman collecting lemons from her lemon tree. Since her condo was on my running route, I made a point to “borrow” a few lemons every day. Using lemon juice in your guacamole not only brings out the flavors, but it prevents your guacamole from turning brown too quickly (same tip works on apples).


1. two ripe avocados (tip – do not put avocados in the fridge. It slows the ripening process and makes them inedible). Leave on a sunny window sill for a day or two and they will be perfect!
2. 2-4 ripe tomatoes – depending on variety and size.
3. ½ Large red onion or 1 small red onion
4. 1 ripe lemon
5. Generous amounts of salt and pepper to taste

1. Cut avocado in ½. Remove pit. With a knife, cut avocado into pieces while still in the skin. Scoop pieces out with a fork.
2. Chop red onion up into small, but rough chops
3. Chop tomatoes into small pieces (I drain the seeds and the liquid from my tomatoes so as not to water down the guacamole).
4. Roll lemon (if very hard, microwave for 30 seconds). I usually pull out my lemon and place it in the sun for a bit of time before using. This allows the juices to run freely. Squeeze over the bowl with avocados, onion and tomatoes. Cup your hand under lemon when squeezing to avoid the seeds from getting into the mixture.
5. Salt and Pepper to taste.

You can refrigerate leftovers. It may look “brown” the next day, but give it a quick stir and you’ll find green just under the surface. Perfectly fine to eat – but I would eat within 2 days.

I love to use this with chips, on my burgers, on top of chicken, and on my enchiladas, quesadillas or what have you.

It is a condiment, so experiment with it!


Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Even though we're into Spring, don't put away your slow cooker yet. You can season and cook a pork roast in your Crockpot, and then serve on buns or bread as Pulled Pork Sandwiches.

If you are looking for a low-carb option, then skip the rolls and serve over fresh salad greens. Either way, you'll love this easy recipe.


1 pork roast (approx. 3-4 pounds)
1/2 c. sliced yellow onions
3 packets sloppy joe seasoning mix
1 1/2 t. lemon pepper
1 t. paprika
1 bottle chili sauce, or use a bottle of BBQ sauce for a less spicy option
1/2 c. beef broth
2-3 T. olive oil

For another pulled pork recipe option, check out the following video:


In a large pot over medium heat, warm oil and brown pork roast on each side, about 5 minutes, turning.

Combine remaining ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.

Place pre-browned pork and onion slices into Crock Pot and pour mixture over top. Cover and cook on high 4-5 hours, or low 8-9 hours.

Remove the roast from the pot and shred. Reserve sauce from the pot and use to pour over the top of the pork, whether you're enjoying open face sandwiches, or a salad.


Easy Coleslaw Salad Recipe

On a recent vacation to Palm Springs, our family enjoyed this Easy Coleslaw Salad Recipe. Fast and delicious, it can be a vegetarian meal (without chicken), or even a way to use leftover grilled chicken. For extra quick and easy, try using frozen breaded chicken nuggets/breasts.

With longer days ahead, you may be looking for potluck ideas. Because the coleslaw is made without mayonnaise, it keeps longer. We just love this as refreshing side dish, or for a meal.

As an accompaniment, this will serve about 8, but as a main dish, about 5-6:


1 bag of coleslaw mix (you can make your own by shredding cabbage and carrots in a 2:1 ratio to make 3 cups)

1 bunch of green onions chopped

2 cups crispy won-ton noodles

1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar or Mozzarella)

4-6 T. creamy poppyseed or sweet and sour dressing (buy it, or make your own)

1-2 cups sliced black olives (optional)

1-2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast (optional)


Simply place all ingredients into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and shake until everything is coated with dressing. Taste and decide if you wish to add more dressing.

C'mon - I know you'll try it soon! Bring on summer and picnics!


Penne With Tomatoes, Olives and Capers

Looking for a delicious vegetarian pasta recipe? When you make Penne with Tomatoes, Olives and Capers, you won't be hungry an hour or two later. This wonderful pasta dinner recipe will satisfy both your stomach and your taste buds. Even better, its low-calorie, so you might even want to go for seconds!

As always, we recommend you use fresh herbs and other ingredients for the most authentic taste. Spending just a bit more on cheese and olive oil will make a big difference in enjoyment.

This recipe makes 4 servings, at an acceptable 68 grams of carbs per serving (1 3/4 cup).


1 T. olive oil
1/4 t. crushed red pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 c. chopped plum tomatoes (about 5-6 tomatoes)
1/2 c. chopped kalamata olives
1 1/2 T. capers
1/4 t. sea salt
6 c. cooked and drained penne pasta
3/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 T. chopped fresh basil


Heat oil in a large skillet, then add pepper and garlic. Saute for 30 seconds. Add tomato, olives, capers and salt. Reduce heat and simmer 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add previously-cooked and drained pasta to the skillet, and stir to coat. Cook for 1-2 minutes until warmed.

Remove from heat, then add cheese and basil for a fresh, delicious meal.

A vegetarian dinner never tasted so good!


Homemade Hot Wings

In less than 1/2 hour (the time it would take you to drive to KFC and return), you can enjoy Homemade Hot Wings that you make yourself. Adjust the heat and frying time to your own taste. No more mystery spices, either!

Ready to give the Colonel a run for his money (actually, its your money)?

Let's get cooking.


5 pounds chicken wings
1/2 c. butter (1 stick)
1/2 c. hot sauce (you pick your favorite)
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
3 T. brown sugar or molasses
3 T. honey
2 T. lemon juice
2 T. celery salt
2/3 c. all purpose flour
1 t. salt
1 t. paprika
1 t. cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 t. garlic powder
Vegetable oil for frying


Cut the wings into three sections and discard wing tips.

In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together butter, hot sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, honey, celery seed and brown sugar (or molasses) and slowly bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until reduced in half.

In a large resealable bag, combine flour and spices. Shake to combine. Add wings to mixture and shake to coat.

In a deep fat fryer or electric skillet, heat oil to 375 degrees. Fry wings for about 7 minutes, turning once. Drain on paper towels.

In a large bowl, add wings and then pour sauce over the top. Stir to coat.

This Homemade Hot Wings recipe makes about 4 dozen wings.

Perfect for your next sports gathering or party. Get lots of napkins!


Cordon Bleu Bites

My mom told me about this recipe, which can be served either as an appetizer or as an accompaniment to soup (she suggested Split Pea Soup). Either way, I think you'll find these Cordon Bleu Bites wonderfully tasty. Plus, they only take 1/2 hour to make.

Ready for a quick, virtual trip to France? Pack your bags....


4 oz. softened cream cheese
1 1/2 t. Dijon mustard
1 c. shredded swiss cheese
3/4 c. diced cooked ham
1/2 c. chopped chives (divided)
18 slices crusty French bread.


Beat together cream cheese and mustard. Stir in the Swiss cheese, ham and chives.
Spread about 1 T. of the mixture on each slice of French bread, then put onto a baking sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes until bubbly and browned. Sprinkle the top with remaining chives.

Ooooh, la la! I can taste it now!

Where will Cordon Bleu Bites take you? Paris? Lyon? The Riviera?


Orzo and Bean Salad

A quick salad recipe that will take you 20 minutes, tops, is this favorite of mine: Orzo and Bean Salad.

Perfect for Vegetarians, and an excellent dish for spring and summer barbeques, I've been making this delicious, fresh-tasting salad for years.

The beans and pasta make it filling enough to stand in for main course!


2/3 c. orzo pasta
1 can black beans
1 1/2 c. corn kernels
1 chopped tomato
1/3 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 c. sliced green onions
1 t. grated lime zest
1/3 c. PLUS 1 T. lime juice


Cook pasta until tender (about 10 minutes), then drain and rinse

In a large bowl, mix pasta together with remaining ingredients.

That's it! You'll have a delicious, fresh pasta salad that everyone can enjoy. If you like, serve with mashed avocado (or your homemade guacamole), sour cream and/or tortilla chips!


Chicken and Goat Cheese Salad

Springtime is a lovely season - family gatherings, holidays and - if you're lucky, perhaps a bridal or baby shower. If you're looking for a nice, light party recipe, this is it! Chicken and Goat Cheese Salad tastes like it came from the caterer, but is not difficult to pull together at all. Fresh greens make this a perfect dish for the new season.

Because this recipe only serves four, you may want to double it. Another tip - this is good for a sit down meal, instead of a buffet. With a slightly artistic presentation of the salad on a plate, your guests will feel extra special.


1 c. pecans
1/2 c. plus 2 T olive oil (divided)
1/4 c. plus 2 T sherry vinegar
4 t. Dijon mustard
1/2 t. thyme (if you use fresh, increase to 1 t)
1/2 t. oregano (same as above)
freshly ground black pepper
1 prepared rotisserie chicken
9 c. spinach leaves - washed and dried
6 c. arugula
3 c. torn dandelion greens (or another bitter leaf of your choice)
1/2 c. thinly sliced red onion
1 c. brined olives (kalamata.... yum)
1/3 c. capers
1/2 lb. fresh goat cheese


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the pecans with 2 T olive oil and a healthy pinch of sea salt. Roast for 10-15 minutes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Remove and allow to cool.

Prepare the dressing while the pecans are toasting. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup olive oil, sherry, mustard, and the herbs. Add 1/2 t. salt and grind some fresh black pepper to taste.

From the breast of the chicken, slice into cubes or other pieces and set aside.

Take all your salad greens and place into a large serving bowl. Add red onion, capers and olives and toss with about 1/2 cup of your dressing. Add in chicken and more dressing and continue tossing.

Divide the salad onto 4 plates and top with goat cheese crumbles and pecans.

Enjoy Spring!


Steph's Marinated Flank Steak

This is my signature summer recipe, but its so great, that you can make it any time of the year. If you think its too cold to grill on the BBQ, then just broil it in the oven (8-10 minutes each side).

But, since we're going into spring - let's get ready for some delicious grilling! This one was originally called Garlic Flank Steak, but since I've been making it for about 10 years, we now call it Steph's Marinated Flank Steak.

1/2 c soy sauce
2 T. balsamic vinegar
2 T. olive oil
3-5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1 beef flank steak (approx. 2 lbs)


In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients, except steak. Pour into a heavy plastic freezer bag.

Separately, trim fat from meat, then rinse and dry, Score the meat several times on each side with a sharp knife.

Add steak to marinade in freezer bag. Seal and then squeeze through meat several times.

Chill for 2-24 hours, turning occasionally.

Pre-heat gas grill and lay steak on each side for about 8-10 minutes, depending on desired temperature. Reserve marinade and boil over medium heat on stove-top.

Once meat is grilled, allow to rest for about 8 minutes, then slice and serve.

TIP: It is important to let the steak rest after grilling - it continues to cook and makes an especially tender, juicy meal.

Excellent with garlic bread and salad!


Delicious Homemade Chicken Broth

A staple for many recipes, chicken broth (aka chicken stock) is a key ingredient that can take your dishes from good to great! Why settle for the canned version at the supermarket, when you can make delicious homemade chicken broth?

Add some noodles, celery, carrots and pieces of chicken and you'll have the best tasting homemade chicken noodle soup too! Your entire kitchen will be filled with savory smells. Pick up a loaf of french bread, and a nice light dinner is served.

I'm dedicating today's post to my husband, who is sick in bed. Here's hoping that homemade chicken soup will raise his spirits a bit too!

This recipe makes about 8 cups of broth. It will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, or you can freeze it for several months.


1 whole chicken (about 3-4 pounds) - do NOT buy a rotisserie chicken. You need an uncooked chicken!
2 yellow onions, coarsely chopped
1 T vegetable oil (not olive oil)
1 head of garlic - yep the entire head - cut into 3-4 pieces
1 thick slice of lemon
3 ribs celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 T chopped fresh thyme
whole peppercorns
salt (to taste)
9 cups water


Take a heavy Dutch Oven pot and warm the oil over medium heat. The chicken will need to be cut into about 4 pieces: leg, thigh, breast and back. Add chicken and chopped onion, then reduce the heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes until the onions are soft and there is a glaze on the pan.

Slowly add the water, taking care to scrape the pieces off the bottom of the pot. Add the garlic and lemon slice and then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and allow to simmer for 35 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the pot and place onto a plate (to catch the juices). After it has cooled enough to handle. Take the meat off the bones and set aside.

Put the bones, juice and skin back into the pot, and add about 1/2 of the chicken meat. You can reserve the rest for sandwiches or pizza toppings. Add the celery, carrots, thyme and a few whole peppercorns. Bring to a boil again, and then cover and reduce the heat, simmering for about 45 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes and press the chicken and vegetables on the side of the pot to extract flavor.

Turn off the stove and allow the stock to cool. Strain into a large bowl. Salt, if desired.

Finally, you'll want to cover and chill the homemade chicken broth overnight. After it has chilled, you can scrape off the fat from the top and discard.

Now you have delicious homemade chicken broth to use in a recipe, or just enjoy as a soup.


Classic Chicken Cacciatore

Mmmmmmm! Chicken Cacciatore (now, how do you say that again?) Catch-a-torrey?

Well, no matter. This dish should bring back some memories, because it does for me! Legend has that the original recipe was first published in 1934, in a book called "The Mystery Chef's Own Cookbook."

My mom made Chicken Cacciatore when I was growing up, and the smell of chicken and spices still takes me back to 1980.... well, never mind! I'll show my age!

Let's get on with the recipe.

What you'll need:

1 fryer chicken (3-4 pounds), cut into pieces
1 large yellow onion
3 cloves minced garlic
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 large green pepper, sliced
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
3 T olive oil
1/3 c. flour
2 1/2 t salt
1 t freshly ground pepper
1/2 c. dry red wine
2 T cold water
3 T Italian seasoning

How to make it:

Put 1/3 c. flour, 1 t. salt and 1/2 t. black pepper into a freezer/storage bag and shake to mix. Add the chicken and then shake again.

Use a Dutch oven and heat olive oil over medium heat. Brown the prepared chicken in pieces, taking about 8-10 minutes with each batch. Remove chicken and leave the drippings. Add onion, garlic and mushrooms and saute for about 1-2 minutes.

Now, add in the wine, tomatoes and remaining salt and pepper, plus the Italian seasoning. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and then return the chicken to the pot. Cover the pot and allow to simmer for about an hour. Yum..... can you smell it now?

Stir the remaining 1 T of flour with 2 T of cold water, then whisk into the pot. Add sliced green pepper and bring everything to a boil, while the sauce thickens.

Ready to eat??


Garlic Parmesan Chicken Breasts

Ho hum. What to do with the chicken breasts in your fridge? Sure, they are low-calorie and healthy, but are you tired of all your chicken recipes?

Jazz things up a bit tonight by making Garlic Parmesan Chicken Breasts instead. This is a quick, half-hour recipe. No need to marinade or take a lot of prep time.

What do you need?

4-6 boneless chicken breasts
2 heads of garlic - peeled to produce 20-30 whole cloves
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup prepared Caesar dressing
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (use the real stuff, not from a can)
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. fresh ground pepper
1/4 t. paprika

Whip it up:

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook chicken and garlic cloves together. Turn after about 3 minutes on each side.

Stir in broth and dressing, then reduce heat to prevent boiling and cover. Turn the chicken again after about 4 minutes.

Remove from heat and sprinkle cheese and spices over the top. Add freshly chopped parsley if desired.

We love having red potatoes and steamed broccoli with this dinner. Add some hot french bread, and dinner is served!

Told you it was fast and easy!


Spicy Texan Taco Dinner

My grandfather lived in Waco, Texas most of his young life until he met my grandmother. They say you can take the boy out of Texas, but you can't take the Texas out of the boy.... That man could eat whole, fresh jalapeno peppers without blinking.

Nothing was too spicy for Grandpa!

I love spicy food too (but just a bit cooler than Grandpa's taste). Since we're on a Mexican streak this week, its time to pull out the chili pepper. Let's whip up a Spicy Texan Taco Dinner!


1 pound ground beef (you can do ground chicken or pork if you desire)
1 T. chili powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. ground black pepper
1 T. fresh chopped cilantro
2 cups chopped lettuce
1 large tomato, chopped
1/4 c. chopped green onions
1 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese
2 c. instant rice (I prefer brown rice)
1/2 fresh lime (optional)
Tabasco sauce (optional)


Brown meat in a large skillet, drain
Stir in chili powder, salt, pepper, broth and 1 c. water
Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally
Stir in rice and cheese
Cover and allow to simmer 5-8 minutes until rice is cooked

Top with lettuce, tomato, green onions. Add sliced black olives, squeeze lime juice, additional cheese and Tabasco, if desired. My husband always adds sour cream on top too.

This is a terrific, versatile dinner. Spoon into Taco shells or tortillas. Or, just add some corn chips on the side.

A fresh tasty dinner is only 1/2 hour away!


Quick Mexi-Dip

I love 7-layered dip as an appetizer for parties and gatherings, but it can be labor intensive and expensive to make. So, I use a short-cut that is tasty and versatile. This Quick Mexi-Dip can be served with tortilla chips, crackers or fresh vegetables.

You can whip this up on an evening when you don't feel like making dinner, or include it at your next party. Kids love it too!

With Cinco de Mayo coming up soon and the long summer months ahead, this can be your go-to recipe.


1 8 oz. package of cream cheese - softened
1 12 oz. can black beans - drained
1 cup prepared salsa
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or use a Mexican cheese blend)


Cream the cream cheese with a hand mixer until soft.
Spread the cream cheese about 1/2 inch thick in a serving bowl
Layer beans, salsa and cheese on top


For a fresh salsa option - try chopping 2 medium tomatoes, 1 yellow onion and adding 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, 1/4 cup green onions, 1 chopped garlic clove and a squirt of lime juice, plus salt and pepper to taste.

You can also add sliced avocado or guacamole between the cream cheese and beans, if you desire. Try black olives on top, too! So many options. Ole!