Dried Cherry and Cranberry Sauce

Cranberries and cherries offer a wide range of health benefits and adding dried sour cherries to this chunky cranberry sauce makes it appealingly sweet and tart.

·        1 ½ cups cranberry juice cocktail

·        1 cup water

·        ¾ to 1 cup light brown sugar (Depending on how tart you like your sauce).   

·        ¼ tsp cinnamon

·        6 ounces dried cherries

·        1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries

Place the cranberries in a colander and rinse them. Pick out and discard any damaged or bruised cranberries.

Stir the cranberry juice cocktail, water, brown sugar, cinnamon and cherries together in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, reduce heat to medium and cook 2 minutes. Add the cranberries; continue cooking, stirring occasionally about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and chill in refrigerator 8 hours to overnight.

Can refrigerate 1 week. 


Maria’s Apple Crisp with Oat Topping








This is my most-requested dessert. This exquisite apple crisp wins me more compliments than any other dessert I make. The secret?

Using two varieties of apples and the addition of baking powder and baking soda to the crumb topping. And be sure to use Ceylon cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon is “true” cinnamon and is healthier and safer than grocery store “cassia” cinnamon.

Apple Filling:

  • 10 cups baking apples peeled, cored, and cut into wedges ( For a rich flavor,I like to choose 2 types: Jonagold, Granny Smith, Braeburn, Honeycrisp, Gala, or Gravenstein)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tsp Ceylon Cinnamon


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Ceylon Cinnamon
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • Reduced Fat Vanilla Ice Cream, to serve on top if desired


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the fruit filling:

In a large mixing bowl, toss together the apples, sugar, flour and cinnamon. Pour the apple mixture into a buttered 2-quart baking dish and set aside.

For the topping:

In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and stir to combine ingredient.  Add the melted butter and with a fork, mix the butter into the flour mixture just until it comes together and large clumps form.

Sprinkle the topping evenly over the fruit. Bake the apple crisp until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown and crisp, about 45 minutes.

Serve the crisp warm with reduced fat vanilla ice cream, if desired.


Maria’s Lightened Chicken Piccata 

A reduced fat version of a classic chicken dish. I like to serve it with brown rice medley and asparagus, broccoli or as shown here, delicata squash. 

Mushrooms make a nice addition. Add sliced crimini mushrooms when you return the chicken to the pan the last 5 minutes.

Serves 4

  • 2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Flour, for dredging
  • 2 + 1 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 + 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup brined jarred capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped


Start by prepping all the ingredients and having them handy. Cut chicken as if you were going to butterfly it but cut in half, i.e., butterflied to make 4 pieces. Pound the chicken to flatten so that each piece is fairly even thickness. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Place about a half cup of flour in a pie pan or plate and then dredge chicken in flour to coat with flour and shake off excess.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons olive oil.

When butter and oil start to sizzle, add 2 pieces of chicken and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate.

Add another 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 Tbsp butter to the pan. When oil starts to sizzle, add the other 2 pieces of chicken and brown both sides in same manner.

Remove chicken to a clean plate.

Add the lemon juice, chicken stock and capers into the pan. Return to the stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Taste to check for seasoning.

Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove chicken to platter. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley.