Dinner In Under An Hour

Recently I was craving the Cheese and Onion Pie from Cafe Swiss the long-gone restauran once located t at 450 Rodeo Drive. I used to eat there with my Nana and Papa Warner and always ordered the same thing. Cafe Swiss originally opened in 1950 and closed in 1985. The beautiful back patio was the scene of many wonderful lunches for me and my grandparents. The continental fare was peppered with some typical Swiss dishes and the Cheese and Onion pie has remained in my heart (and probably arteries too) forever. Here is the recipe. Enjoy!

Cafe Swiss Cheese and Onion Pie 

2  1/2 cups grated Swiss cheese

3 eggs beaten

8 oz. half and half

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons butter

1 box of chopped white onions

3 tablespoons butter

1 deep dish pie crust

Heat oven to 375.

Spread 3 T. butter in crust.

Beat eggs. Add half and half and salt.

Saute onions in remaining 3 T. butter for 10 minutes.

Place all of onions in crust.

Top with cheese.

Pour egg mixture over.

Bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown.

We adore our best friends and their two kids. So this Memorial Day we decided to make a dinner that everyone would love. What's an American holiday without a bbq in the backyard? We had guests aged 10 to 60 and had to keep that in mind while planning a yummy menu. That wasn't hard. With some prep work the night before, I was truly able to prepare dinner in under an hour. Thanks to my wonderful friend M, who provided gorgeous desserts, and a delectable ice cream cake too! I am going to organize the day before and day of schedule so you can make this wonderful meal any time over the long, hot summer!

Shopping list:

Mary's Chicken (Whole Foods) 5 breasts split with skin

Mary's Chicken (Whole Foods) 4 whole legs with skin

1 bottle Newman's Own Olive Oil & Vinegar Dressing

1 bottle Guy Fieri Kansas City BBQ Sauce

Sea Salt

Fresh Ground Pepper

2 lbs. Weiser Farms Fingerling Potatoes  (Farmshop) or any brand

Garlic olive oil

2 shallots

1 package Organic peeled garlic

3 boxes fresh plump ripe strawberries, picked over

2 boxes fresh plump ripe raspberries,  picked over            

1 box fresh blueberries

Ceasar salad ingredients (see recipe in previous post)

Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese (Whole Foods)

Kitchen Table Parmesan Crisps (Whole Foods)

1 16oz Knudsen Hampshire Sour Cream

1 loaf La Brea Bakery French Bread

1 stick salted butter

chopped parsley

1 packet Lipton Onion Soup & Dip Mix

1 bag Ruffles Original Potato Chips


The Day Before:Cool

Put chicken into a bowl.

Poke holes with a fork into all pieces.

Pour salad dressing over and marinate in refrigerator overnight.

Prepare salad dressing. Refrigerate.

Grate cheese for salad. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Wash potatoes. Store at room temperature.

Wash tomatoes. Store at room temperature.

Soften butter and add two cloves of garlic, minced. Add 1 tablespoon parsley. Seal in airtight container.

Set table.

Morning of:

Remove salad dressing from refrigerator.

Put lettuce in a salad bowl. Cover with "cling" wrap. Refrigerate.

Wash all fruit. Blot dry with paper towels. Discard any bruised fruit. Cut stems and tops off of strawberries. Arrange in shallow dish with stem side down. Distribute raspberries and blueberries on top. Garnish with fresh mint if you like. Cover with "cling" wrap. Refrigerate.

Remove butter/garlic mixture from refrigerator.

Make onion dip according to directions on packet. Refrigerate.

Run to market because you forgot mint.

Make sure wine is chilling.

Make sure Coke, 7-Up, Perrier, Flat water, etc. is chilling.


Mid-Afternoon (3:30)Cool

Heat oven to 350 degrees.


Using 4 disposable pans, remove chicken from marinade and place a few inches apart into baking pans. Brush with a thick coat of BBQ sauce.


Bake chicken for about 60-80 minutes, just until it is white inside and juices run clear. Remove from heat. Cover with foil.


At 4:00, toss fingerlings in another disposable pan with 3/4 cup garlic olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Throw in about 15 peeled garlic cloves and 2 sliced shallots. Bake with chicken but for about 90 minutes. (Leave in after you take chicken out. If not done yet, turn oven temperature up to 450 degrees. Potatoes will cook quickly as they are almost done.) 

Now you can put out cheese, parmesan crisps and onion dip and chips. It should be around 4:40.


Slice bread into 1" pieces. Line a cookies sheet with foil. Spread butter mixture on bread. You are going to broil when the potatoes come out. Broil for about 2-3 minutes or until bubbly and golden.


At 5:30, Light bbq. You will only bbq for about 1 minute on each side, just to get the smokey flavor of the sauce. The chicken is already done but will NOT burn! Instead it will be moist and juicy.

Toss salad.

Serve everything on festive red, white, and blue dishes. Clean up is easy if you use the great new paper goods that look like China! Our only mess was the ice cream cake that we all were too busy to notice melting all over!


I have had the great honor of mentoring a lovely teacher, Ravit, Feldman, this year. Along with her sparkling personality, passion, and warmth, Ravit  brings something else very important...the world's best Israeli Salad! Ravit was kind enough to share her secret recipe with me and I, in turn, am going to share it with you! All ingredients are measured to taste. Ravit and I sit with a shaker of Himalayan Pink Sea Salt nearby to enhance the already wonderful flavor.


Ravit's Israeli SaladHeart

Romaine Lettuce


Shredded Green Cabbage

Cherry Tomatoes

Persian Cucumbers



Fresh Lemon Juice

Good Quality Olive Oil




Wash tomatoes and chop lettuces, cabbage, cucumbers and scallions. Dry.                                          

Combine olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Toss and serve.



So I decided today that I was craving Rao's. Being that I live in Calabasas and that Rao's is in Hollywood (and that it's totally booked) I ran over to Gelson's and Trader Joe's and made Rao's happen at home. At Gelson's I picked up Rao's Vodka Sauce, then high-tailed it over to TJ's. At TJ's I grabbed a sesame baguette, some Kerrygold Irish butter, fresh garlic, a sweet onion, some organic penne pasta, butter lettuce, about a pound of organic ground beef, and a nice bottle of wine, and I was all set. An hour later, we were ready to eat!


My Rendition of Rao's Vodka PenneHeart

1 pound penne pasta, cooked al dente

1 sweet onion sauteed

1 pound ground beef

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 jar  (24 oz) Rao's Homemade Vodka Sauce


Chop onions.

In a cast iron skillet saute onions until golden, about ten minutes.

Add meat and brown. Drain off excess oil. Place back in skillet.

Add sauce and cook at very low heat.

Meanwhile set water to boil and cook pasta. Drain and cover with sauce

Top with your favorite Italian grated cheese.


While the pasta cooks, slice the bread in half lengthwise. Spread a mixture of butter and garlic on the bread and broil for about 3-4 minutes. Cut into 4 inch pieces.


For salad, put butter lettuce, thinly sliced English cucumbers and mini cherry tomatoes in a bowl. I make a simple dressing of Spanish Olive oil, Champagne vinegar, a clove of garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. It takes about 2 minutes.


Every once in a while I come across a recipe that is too special not to share. So, on this Thanksgiving day, I give thanks to you, my readers. Cheddar Streusel Apple Pie has been a favorite in my family for decades. I hope it becomes a tradition in yours too. Happy Thanksgiving to all!


Cheddar Streusel Apple Pie


Heat oven to 400 degrees


For Streusel:


1  frozen deep dish pie crust, defrosted

1 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 pound unsalted butter, melted

1 cup shredded sharp chedddar cheese

1/4 t. salt

Melt butter and add flour, sugar, cheddar cheese, and salt. Mix until a bit crumbly. Set aside.

For Filling:

5 Garanny Smith apples, peeled and sliced to 1/8"

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

1 t. Cinnamon

Mix together apples, sugar, flour, and cinnamon.


Pour apple mixture into pie shell.

Crumble streusel mixture on top of pie, using your hands to pat down.

Make sure streusel mixture covers all of apple filling.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (in case of drips).

Place pie in the middle of the baking sheet.

Bake 45-50 minutes or until golden brown.

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