Chinese Green Bean Turkey Stir Fry

All I can say is the first time I made this dish I thought to myself….this girl can cook! I had never ventured much into making Asian cuisine, other than a basic stir fry and even then I still relied on my hubby and talented chef, Greg, to assist with the intricate details, not-so-easy-to-find ingredients and prep work. 

I’m always looking for fun ways to spice up the week with a good ground turkey recipe. I have found that substituting ground beef or other meats with ground turkey can be just as delicious and has wonderful health benefits.

Don’t let the label fool you, when purchasing ground turkey look for “ground turkey breast” vs. “ground turkey”. There  is a difference, believe me! The generic ground turkey uses all cuts and types of the turkey including white & dark meat, trimmings and the skin. If you are looking for the healthiest, cleanest version splurge the extra few cents for the ground turkey BREAST.

This dish is great for a weeknight throw-together and tastes just a perfect as the time it takes to make. So as I expanded my culinary horizon and ventured out of my “norm”, it resulted in a keeper of a recipe that will be sure on my dinner calendar throughout the year.

1lb ground turkey breast
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp ground ginger
1 lb green beans – trimmed and cut in halves
1 small bunch of green onions – thinly sliced
2 1/2 tbsp chili garlic sauce
2 1/2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil

Heat the sesame oil in large saute pan. Add the chopped green onion and garlic. Cook until fragrant but keep a close eye so the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the ground turkey breast

Once the turkey is cooked through, add the chili garlic sauce, hoisin sauce and ground ginger. Cook to heat through. Add the green beans, soy sauce and rice vinegar. Cook over medium heat until the green beans are at preferred doneness.

Serve over steamed white rice. Bon Appetite



Garden Cocktails

With spring well on it’s way and gaining those extra hours of daylight, it’s time to spend more time out in the yard. My husband, Greg, and I love to have a lush garden full of fresh vegetables and herbs.

Having a variety of fresh herbs on hand is wonderful, especially if you like to cook or experiment with different flavors and recipes. An herb garden is something that you can easily plant in any sized yard and can utilize for so many wonderful things like cooking, cleaning, medicinal purposes, the list goes on. Plus, there is definitely a difference using fresh vs. dried that’s for sure.

Did you know that fresh herbs are wonderful enhancements to your favorite cocktail recipes or a great garnish for those non-alcoholic drinks such as lemonade and teas. Pictured here is what we like to call the “Melissa Special”. For all those grapefruit lovers, it’s a skinny version of a greyhound and makes for a perfect garden cocktail.

2 oz vodka
Sparkling water – I prefer lemon, orange or plain flavored
Ruby red grapefruit juice
Snip some fresh herbs from your garden and viola – you have a beautiful garnish and a boost of flavor taken right from your backyard!

We added fresh lemon verbena (on the right) and fresh mint (on the left). It boosted the flavors and added the perfect touch to an already tasty refreshment. The aroma of the lemon verbena quickly brought us back to summer while we enjoyed relaxing in the backyard with the pups.

Looking for other inspirations to add to your adult beverages? You can also add basil, lavender, lemongrass, and cilantro.  Cheers!

Poached Artichokes

Happy National Artichoke day! I absolutely love all things artichoke. I mean come on…what an amazing addition to your favorite pasta dish, on a pizza, in a dip, they make a perfect salad topping or seriously just as good all by its little lonesome. How could you not love this versatile veggie. I could eat a whole artichoke just for din 🙂 As we celebrate this fun holiday – National Artichoke day, I share my favorite way to make this tasty side dish, or full meal…enjoy! When shopping for artichokes, I look for medium to large-sized, tight and bright green colored selections. I also keep an eye out for when they are on sale because they can get a little pricey. The prime artichoke season starts in March and continues through late April.
To prepare your artichokes, cut the stem and remove all the little leaves towards the stalk. Cut the tips of each leaf off with scissors (see above). Once the tips are cut, take a large knife and cut the top of the artichoke off – about 1/4″ to 1/2″. Prepare a large pot of boiling water with the following:

1 onion – thinly sliced
1 lemon – thinly sliced
4-5 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tbsp. ground black pepper
1 1/2 teas. red chili pepper flake
3/4 c. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. whole black peppercorns

Salt the water like you would when preparing pasta. I don’t mean a pinch, salt it up so it tastes like the sea 🙂  Bring the water to a boil, add 1-2 artichokes and boil/simmer covered for 45 min- 1 hour. Cover the artichokes with a plate if needed to keep them under the water. Test the artichokes by pulling the outer leaves and taste for “doneness”. Once done, remove artichokes from water and drain upside down in a bowl. Serve with your favorite dipping accouterments. Bon appetit and happy National Artichoke Day!


Frey’s Famous Rum Cake

Looking for a dessert that will knock their socks off? Look no further than the Frey Family Rum Cake! Seriously, this dessert is so easy and tastes like you spent hours fussing in the kitchen. Shhh don’t tell your guests, it’s our little secret!

I have to give credit to my mother-in-law for this recipe. She is a wonderful cook and I’m always looking for nostalgic recipes that will bring the comforting taste of “home” to our kitchen here in California. I already knew the rum cake would be a winner for my husband, but what I didn’t realize was, that I was soon to win over the hearts and bellies of my own family! Whenever my younger brother comes to visit, I think of making two…he could eat a whole cake just by himself.

The spice of the rum on your tongue with the sponginess of the soft flavorful cake makes this a combined winner. Plus the aroma that fills the house when baking is amazing! Serve with a little ice cream and a powdered sugar dusting.


For the cake:
4 eggs
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 c. cold water
1/2 c. rum (I use Bacardi Gold)

1 c. (2.25 oz.) chopped pecans

For the glaze:
1 1/4 stick of unsalted butter
1/3 c. water
2/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. rum (I use Bacardi Gold)

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine eggs, vegetable oil, cake mix, and cold water in mixer. Mix until ingredients are well combined and there is a smooth consistency.

Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray or coat it well with vegetable oil. Sprinkle pecan chips on the bottom of the pan. Pour the cake mixture into the bundt pan and place in preheated oven. Bake for 40 minutes, or to when an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Towards the last few minutes of the cake baking, you will prepare the glaze. Heat  1 1/4 stick unsalted butter, 1/3 c. water, 2/3 c. sugar in a medium-sized sauce pan. Once the sugar dissolves  and is heated through, add 1/4 c. of rum and heat for another 30 seconds. Remove from heat and immediately pour over cake slowly so it doesn’t overflow.

Let the cake sit for 4-5 minutes. Remove from pan by placing cake plate over the top and flipping the pan upside down to release the cake. Sift powdered sugar over the top and serve with fruit or ice cream. Enjoy!!!

Grilled Pork with Peanut-Lime Sauce & Cilantro

1/4 cup apricot preserves
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
1/2 teas ground coriander
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbs. rice vinegar
2 tbs. creamy peanut butter
1 lime – juiced
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 teas. crushed red pepper
1/2 teas. ground black pepper

Other ingredients:
1lb. pork tenderloin
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
sliced lime wedges


  1. mix all marinade ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk until smooth, make sure the peanut butter breaks up and becomes smooth.
  2. add pork tenderloin and marinade into a large ziplock bag. Refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 48 hours ( I usually prep the night before)
  3. heat grill to high. Once hot, add the tenderloin (reserve marinade) and sear for 3-4 minutes. Then flip to sear the other side for 3-4 minutes.
  4. remove from the grill and finish baking in a preheated 400 degree oven for an additional 10-12 minutes or until the center has reached 150 degrees.
  5. remove from oven and and cover with foil to rest for at least 5 minutes.
  6. meanwhile, transfer the remaining marinade to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and make sure the sauce heats all the way through. Add more water or orange juice to make a thinner sauce. To thicken, add wondra flour in small amounts until you find desired consistency.
  7. sprinkle fresh cilantro over pork and slice. Drizzle with remaining sauce.

Bon Apetite! Don’t forget to comment with photos/comments of your masterpiece!