Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Sneaky Sneaky Mac & Cheese-y

I could tell you that my kids are wonderful eaters. They are. Some days. Other days, not so much.

While I do serve vegetable in plain view (how else will they become familiar?) there comes a point where you think - I really don't want to sit and battle with my kids tonight. Can't they just eat a good meal, quietly and using their manners?

The answer is no. This is my life.

Enter, this mac & cheese.  Looks delicious, right? Looks to be the right colour. Right shape. Right .. everything. 

Taste? Cheesy. Pasta-y. Delicious.

Both boys (and their Dad) were given samples right after I made it. I turned and headed back into the kitchen, and was followed by Hayden "Mama, I need a bowl and a spoon" and Cameron "Mo'!! Mo'!! Mo'!!


Why is it a win? BECAUSE, inside this pasta hides: butternut squash, carrots and cauliflower.  I couldn't even detect the flavour of the veggies, and I was absolutely looking for it.  My children were not.  Let's be honest - this isn't diet food. But if you have little ones who could stand to gain some weight, and eat some veggies at the same time - this recipe is for YOU.

Here's Cameron digging in (he usually uses a fork, but he actually was shoveling with both hands:

Want to know how to make it? Glad you asked. This is a food blog, and I post recipes and stuff, so it's kind of fitting...



  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 small head of cauliflower, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 small butternut squash, cut into pieces
  • Water
  • 8 oz elbow pasta
  • 1/4 cup milk 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2  cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 2 TBS butter

  1. In a small saucepan, add the carrots and cauliflower and enough water to just cover the veggies.
  2. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, then add the butternut squash, and cook a further 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.
  4. Drain the veggies, and add them to a blender with 1/2 cup of water. Blend until pureed into a smooth consistency.
  5. Add the puree to a large saucepan (I used my dutch oven), and add the milk, salt, cheese, cream cheese and butter.
  6. Heat gently, and use a whisk to blend it as it all melts together.
  7. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce, and mix well.
  8. Serve, and smile.
Note: When reheating any leftovers, add a little extra milk - as it can dry out

Source: Adapted from

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Cilantro-Jalapeno Hummus


Ever eat at a restaurant and have something SO good, you want to eat it ... every single day?

ME TOO. Since my wallet isn't really amenable to this, plus, you know, I can COOK and all - I had to attempt this.  

The cilantro/jalapeno hummus at Pita Jungle is to die for. It isn't overly spicy (so I kicked it up a notch), but it IS full of the fresh cilantro, garlic and lime with a little hint of cumin and garlic.  

I've made hummus before, but have been unhappy with the consistency (too paste-y?), and wondered if it was because I never removed the shells/husks from the chickpeas before using.

A quick search, and I found that the best, creamiest and smoothest hummus recipes say to remove them. But... HOW?  I'm so glad you asked...


  1. Add 2 cans of drained and rinsed chickpeas into a microwave safe bowl. 
  2. Add 3 teaspoons of... BAKING SODA, and mix it around. 
  3. Cook the chickpeas for 2 minutes on high.
  4. Put them in some cold water, rub between your hands... and the shells just kind of float to the top, so you can throw them away! Easy!!

Anyway. Onto this recipe. I took a basic hummus recipe, and added some of the flavors I thought might be in the hummus I love. 

The result? I'm in love. So is the Husband. The Teenager (who is here currently) gobbled it happily too.  Feel free to mess with the amount of jalapeno to your taste - and make this regularly. And invite me over.


  • 2 15oz cans chickpeas, rinsed, drained and shelled (save the liquid from one of the cans)
  • 1/3 cup tahini paste
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium jalapenos, chopped (seeds removed - leave in for extra heat)
  • 1 large bunch cilantro (about a cup and a half), washed, chopped roughly (stems and all)
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil (plus extra if needed)
  1. Add all ingredients (except for the saved liquid from 1 can of chickpeas) to the bowl of a food processor.
  2. Process until well combined and smooth, adding the reserved liquid and extra olive oil as needed
  3. Serve with pita bread, crackers, veggie dippers or straight from the bowl with a spoon.

You want the consistency to be smooth, and almost pourable... like this:

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Cilantro Lime Rice


I love me some Indian food (obviously - see Monday's post). Although I'm from New Zealand, we have a large Indian population in Auckland.  You can usually find Indian restaurants right alongside all the usual fish & chip shops, burger joints, pizza and other takeout food options.

It's somewhat catching on here in the USA, but when I really need a fix, I tend to make it myself.  Making the main dish can be time consuming, but side dishes are super important to really round out the experience.

I have to admit, adding lime is not necessarily typical of Indian food (I don't think), but I think that hint of freshness with the cilantro really adds something to a well spiced and warm main dish.

It's super easy - but, for those who need inspiration/recipe/directions, I'm here for ya!


  • 2 Cups basmati rice, rinsed
  • 2 Cups chicken broth/stock
  • 2 Cups water
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lime - juiced and zested
  • 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped 


  1. Cook rice according to package directions, using the stock and water and adding the garlic.
  2. When cooked, fold the cilantro in, mix the lime and half the zest (reserve the rest of something else)

You may also like Chicken Tikka Masala and Garlic Naan

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Monday, August 17, 2015

Garlic Naan


I think every cuisine has a "bread" that they're known for.

The Greeks have Pita, the Native Americans have Fry Bread, the French have Baguettes, and the Indian people.... well they have Naan. (actually Naan originated in Iran, and naan actually just means "bread").

The Naan is an oven baked flat bread, that can be used to scoop up food, as an accompaniment to a dish, or it can even be stuffed.  My absolute favorite to order is the Amritsari Naan because it's stuffed with mashed potatoes, onion and a bunch of yummy spices.

My go-to at home, has to be garlic naan.

This is a really quick recipe, and makes about 8 good sized naan which goes great with Chicken Tikka Masala, Butter ChickenCoconut Lime Chicken with Chillies and Chickpea Curry with Tomatoes and Spinach


  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp honey
  • 2 ½ Tbs olive oil
  • 1/3 cup plain, unsweetened yogurt (or sour cream)
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 ½ tsp yeast
  • Topping
  • 4 Tbs butter, melted and mixed with
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Chopped cilantro

  1. Heat the sour cream for 10-15 seconds in the microwave.
  2. Add the sour cream, with the other ingredients to a stand mixer, fitted with a dough hook, and set to a medium speed.
  3. After 5 minutes, check your dough. It should be sticky (ie, you touch it and you get some stuck on your finger), but shouldn’t stick to the sides at all. If it does, add flour until you get the right stickiness. If it’s not sticky at all, add water.
  4. Continue kneading (with the dough hook) for another 5 minutes.
  5. Take the dough out onto a lightly floured counter-top, and divide into 8 pieces.
  6. Turn each piece over in the flour, put on a floured tray, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
  7. Heat a pizza stone in your oven to 500°F.
  8. Flatten each piece of dough into a round or tear drop shape (you won’t need a rolling pin, the dough will be very soft and easily pliable)
  9. Wet your hands, then turn each naan briefly in your hands, and place it on the stone.
  10. Bake for about 4-6 minutes. The bottom should be a light brown.
  11. Brown tops using the broiler, if you wish.
  12. Just before serving, brush the tops with the butter and garlic, and sprinkle with cilantro.
Serve warm

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Monday, August 10, 2015

DIY: Fresh Mozzarella


Yay! Another DIY post!  It's been a while since I have done one of these, but it was definitely worth it.

I've always been fascinated by cheesemaking, and although my ricotta experience was so disappointing that I didn't blog it... this was a win!

I wouldn't exactly call it budget friendly, because I'm sure you could purchase a bunch of fresh mozzarella for less than what I paid for the rennet, citric acid, cheese salt and milk, but that's no fun!

I have A LOT of the ingredients left though, so will be able to make this again whenever I want to.

Let's get started!



  1. Dissolve the citric acid in 1/4 cup cold water.
  2. Dissolve the vegetable rennet in 1/4 cup cold water.
  3. Pour the milk into a large pot. 
  4. Gently stir in the citric acid mixture. 
  5. Over medium to medium-high heat, heat milk to 88° F, continuing to stir. Don’t freak when the milk curdles, that's exactly what we WANT to happen.
  6. Add the rennet mixture and stir. 
  7. When the milk reaches 100-105° F, turn off the heat. Cover with a lid and let sit undisturbed for 5 minutes. 
  8. While you  wait, bring another pot of water to just below boiling
  9. By now the curds should have pulled away from the sides of the pot and you should see a lot of whey (yellowish clear liquid) around the sides. If the whey is still a milky color, cover and wait a few more minutes. (see pictures)
  10. Ladle the curds into a strainer and place in the other pot of water (the curds should be submerged in the water). Let the curds sit for 5 minutes. 
  11. Gently stir the curds under the water. Their internal temperature should be 135° F.
  12. Ladle the curds onto a cutting board. (The cheese will be hot so be careful!) 
  13. Sprinkle the salt and stretch the cheese (kind of like kneading dough, but less work).  It will begin to tighten, and become firm and shiny.
  14. Shape the cheese into balls, but don't overwork - a light hand is best here.
  15. Refrigerate, slice, enjoy!

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Monday, August 3, 2015

Zucchini/Squash/Spinach Pasta Bake


We had an abundance of zucchini and yellow squash, so I modified a recipe using an unexpected source, found here, I adjusted it to what we had, what we like and the quantities (we like leftovers, and protein!) and made it as written below.

I'm usually not a huge fan of yellow squash, but it was really good in this dish. I would for sure make this again. I don't know how it will freeze, but have a small portion to test and see!  It was a good throw together on a weeknight. Would be even quicker if I had already cooked chicken, and leftover pasta! Give this one a go!


  • 8oz.  (1/2 of 16-oz. pkg.) pasta, uncooked (I used shells)
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked, diced
  • 1 tsp. oil
  • 3 zucchini, sliced
  • 3 yellow squash, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • ½ tsp. each dried basil leaves, oregano leaves and crushed red pepper
  • 2 cups fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 8oz cream cheese cubed
  • 4 big handfuls of baby spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (any kind is fine)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

  1. Pre heat oven to 375ºF
  2. Cook pasta in large saucepan as directed on package. 
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add zucchini, squash and garlic; cook and stir 3 to 4 min. or until zucchini is crisp-tender (not mushy) 
  4. Add flour, basil, oregano and crushed red pepper, and cook and stir 1 min.
  5. Stir in broth; cook and stir 2 to 3 min. or until thickened. Add cream cheese; cook and stir 2 or 3 min. or until melted. 
  6. Drain pasta; return to pan. Add chicken, zucchini mixture, spinach, parmesan and 1 cup mozzarella; mix. 
  7. Pour into casserole dish; top with remaining mozzarella 
  8. Bake 10 min. or until mozzarella is melted, and beginning to brown on top
  9. When it is done, let it sit for a few minutes, so you can get some good "slices" out, without it all falling apart.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Thai Chicken Meatballs


We are a house that loves MEATBALLS - have a look at this one!

This is a different take on your traditional meatball, adding in thai flavours, and using chicken rather than beef/pork.

I found this recipe in a magazine (Every Day with Rachael Ray), and it was really good as an appetizer - using thai sweet chili sauce (Mae Ploy) for dipping.  



  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp chopped lemongrass
  • 1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil


  1. Combine the ingredients (except for oil) in a bowl.
  2. Roll into 1 tbsp sized balls.
  3. In medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add meatballs and cook through, 6 to 8 minutes (you can also bake these)
  4. Serve with a dipping sauce and enjoy!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Ham & Cheese Stuffed Pork Chops


I'm a huge Food Network fan, and once saw Tyler Florence make these pork chops on his show "Tyler's Ultimate". Ultimate, indeed. These are awesome.

Not nearly as much work as you'd think, but don't skip the brining!


  • 1 quart water 
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup kosher salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 5 cloves
  • 3 allspice berries

  • 2 bone-in pork chops, about 1 1/2 inches thick 

  • 2 slices ham  
  • 2 slices swiss cheese  
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Combine the brine ingredients into a zip loc bag.
  2. Add the pork chops, seal the bag and put in the fridge for about 30 minutes, or however long you have.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (about 220 C)
  4. Take the chops out of the bag, and pat dry. 
  5. Make a cut into the center of each chop to make a pocket. 
  6. Stuff the cheese and ham inside each pocket and secure with a toothpick. 
  7. In a cast iron skillet, heat some olive oil over a medium high heat. 
  8. Cook the chops for 4 to 5 minutes until golden on each side. 
  9. Put skillet directly in the oven (If you don't have a cast iron skillet - switch the chops into an oven safe dish)
  10. Roast chops for 5 to 7 minutes until cooked through and cheese has melted. Remove from oven, put the chops on another plate and keep warm.
  11. Put the skillet back on the stove, and heat to medium high. Add chicken stock, scraping the bottom. Stir in the cold butter while whisking. Season with salt and pepper. Serve chops and drizzle the pan sauce over the top.
  • It would be excellent if you remembered to remove the toothpicks. Apparently, it hurts when you bite into them. Just a tip. 
  • Collect all compliments gracefully, and deny all knowledge of Tyler Florence. Hehe.

Adapted from Tyler Florence

Monday, July 6, 2015

(Freezer Friendly) Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies


Okay, so this is kind of like Spaghetti Bolognaise (or spaghetti meat sauce, or GRAVY, depending on where you live).. in that EVERYONE seems to have a favourite or signature chocolate chip cookie recipe.

I do not.

I have always just used the one off the back of the bag of chocolate chips. 

Is this blogworthy? Probably not. However, I told my Mum I was making some chocolate chip cookies, and she said "recipe please". Mum is in another country, and I don't even know if her chocolate chip bags have recipes on them. So, I am absolutely sharing for her, and for the rest of you that aren't in the USA.

It also occurred to me that I hadn't shared how I get to look like the best wife/mama ever, with a lot less effort than it looks like.  This is where it gets good, folks....

I make a batch of cookie dough. I cook 1/3 of the recipe right away, then I freeze the cookie dough balls on a cookie sheet, put them in a ziplock bag ready for when we "need" fresh cookies, but don't have time (or interest) in making them from scratch again, then I just pull out as many cookie dough balls that I need (I have totally used a toaster oven and made just 2 before). Voila!

Can YOU resist a fresh from the oven cookie?



  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12oz) chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Mix together the flour, baking soda and salt in bowl, set aside.
  3. Using a stand mixer, or large bowl with a hand mixer, cream the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla until fluffy.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each egg. 
  5. Reduce speed, and gradually mix in the flour mixture. 
  6. Stir in chocolate chips.
  7. Use a small cookie scoop, and scoop onto ungreased baking sheets. 
  8. BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. 
  9. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool.
If freezing
  1. Go through to Step 7, then place the cookie sheets in the freezer until hard. 
  2. Put the uncooked dough balls in a zip loc bag, label it, and place back in the freezer until needed.
  3. To cook - pull out the number of cookies you need, and put them (still frozen) onto a cookie sheet. 
  4. Bake at 350 for 11-13 minutes, cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then remove to wire racks and cool

Friday, July 3, 2015

Bailey's Chocolate Mousse


Need a really easy, really tasty and impressive dessert for a special occasion?

Hi there. Meet this Bailey's Chocolate Mousse.  It's decadent, it's rich and it absolutely hits the spot after dinner. 

I couldn't believe how easy this was, and how quickly it came together. The husband went outside to swim with the boys, while I whipped this up and put in the fridge to set. After we got done swimming, and eating dinner - these were ready to be devoured. AFTER the boys were in bed, of course! 

Ha, no really. We stashed these in the fridge because we didn't want to have to share with the boys. I mean, all that alcohol... and chocolate... and deliciousness...



  • 2 tsp unflavored gelatin
  • 2 Tbsp cold water
  • ¼ Cup boiling water
  • ½ Cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder (for a more intense chocolate flavor, add 1 additional Tbsp.)
  • 1½ Cup heavy cream, very cold
  • ½ Cup Bailey's, very cold
  • 1 tsp vanilla

  1. Before preparing mousse, prep bowl and beaters by placing in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill.
  2. Mix the gelatin into the cold water in small bowl and let sit about a minute, to soften/gel.
  3. Add boiling water then stir until gelatin is completely dissolved.  Let stand to cool(it will resemble a thick paste)
  4. Combine the sugar and cocoa in small mixing bowl and add  the heavy cream.
  5. Beat at medium speed until stiff peaks form.
  6. Pour in Bailey's, vanilla, and gelatin mixture, beating continuously at high speed until well-blended and soft peaks form.
  7. Spoon into serving dishes and place in refrigerator to chill for about an hour or until ready to serve.

Monday, June 29, 2015

(Freezer Friendly) Sausage & Spinach Stuffed Shells

Clearly, we love stuffed shells at my house - since I have posted (plain) Stuffed Shells, Mexican Stuffed Shells, and Chicken/Broccoli Stuffed Shells in the past.

This is one I make pretty often when doing shells - because:

1) my kids snarf this like it's their job, 
2) it contains spinach, and if the kids are willingly eating it without me renaming it to something fun, I win, and 
3) they're just so darn GOOD

I like to make two pans at a time (using just one box of the shells) so that there is a decent amount of leftovers, or one batch for the freezer.

The problem with these shells is, I can never get a good picture of them because evenings are chaos at my house.  But I never let the lack of a good photo stop me from blogging (perhaps I should), so here they ARE!


  • 12 oz large shells (can sub manicotti tubes, if you can't find shells)
  • 1lb mild italian sausage
  • 12 oz frozen spinach (thawed and squeezed)
  • 2lb ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp italian seasoning
  • Salt & pepper
  • 24oz pasta sauce (homemade or store-bought, I'm not judging)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan - you choose
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cook the pasta shells according to package directions, drain and let cool. 
  3. In a large skillet, cook the sausage until done, and in crumbles. Let it cool.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, ricotta, eggs, mozzarella, garlic powder and seasonings.
  5. Add the cooled sausage crumbles.
  6. Add a cup of the pasta sauce to the bottom of a large baking dish (or two smaller ones if you are freezing one).
  7. Fill the shells with the mixture, and place (filling side up) in the dish.
  8. Sprinkle with cheese.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes, and serve.
Freezing directions
  1. In a foil or other disposable dish, complete to Step 8. Cover with foil, label with "thaw, then bake 30 minutes at 350" or "from frozen cook 1 hr at 350"
  2. Wrap plastic wrap over the foil, and freeze (I also put this in a ziploc)
  3. Freeze for up to 6 months.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Grilled Zucchini with Lime Salt

When the heat is in the 100s (37C+), the last thing we want to do is cook inside and heat up the cool oasis that is our air conditioned house.  With severe heat warnings across the valley, it was time to get out the grill, for sure.

Enter....vegetables! On the grill!

Yeah, okay FINE, nothing unusual about that - but these were a great addition to a steak dinner we had, and meant that the majority of the cooking was done outside. Best of all, the cooking was taken care of, while I sat in the pool. I did do all the prep, but apparently it's the actual COOKING that counts, when it comes time to shirk clean up duty.  Hmph.

I really enjoyed this dish - grilled zucchini alone is great, but the lime takes it to a whole other level. I had leftover lime salt, and think it'll be great on the rim of a big frosty margarita. Mmmm.... margaritas....


  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 4 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp coursely ground black  pepper
  • 1 lime, zested, divided, and juiced
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt (additional)
  1. Cut off the tops and bottoms of the zucchini and then cut into quarters, lengthwise. 
  2. In a large zip lock bag, drizzle in olive oil, salt, pepper, 1/2 the lime zest and all of the juice. 
  3. Add the zucchini, then seal the bag, and make sure the zucchini is covered by the marinade.
  4. Set aside for at least 30 minutes (not much more though) to marinate 
  5. Preheat the grill to a medium heat, and grill the zucchini on all three sides until tender, but not mushy.
  6. Combine the remaining lemon zest and extra salt in a bowl.
  7. Sprinkle the limed-up-salt over the plate of grilled zucchini and serve.

Based on a recipe from

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

New Button! (And a good way to save recipes for later)

So, if you're browsing the blog and see this at the top of the photos - and wonder what it is.... well, wonder no more.

If you click it, it will save the recipe to your recipe box on Yummly. You can save recipes from pretty much any site (it's similar to Pinterest I suppose, but is just for recipes).  

I've got a recipe collection there of just my own stuff, as well as recipes others have made - so I can go back later - and see the recipes I've saved, and find a few more!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Mesquite Marinated Chicken with Pico de Gallo


Super simple meal idea - thrown together with what I found in the fridge.

It is: chicken, marinated in a smoky mesquite marinade (store bought), and thrown on the grill.

Topped with pico de gallo, and some cheese (could melt this on top, or use queso from a jar like I did), this made a great dinner with very little effort and lots of pretty colours.



  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Store bought mesquite marinade
  • 6 tomatoes (diced)
  • 1/2 medium onion (finely diced)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper (finely diced)
  • Juice of one lime
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup queso cheese dip, or shredded cheddar cheese (you choose)
  • Cooked rice, for serving
  1. Marinate the chicken breasts in the marinade for at least an hour (best when done overnight)
  2. Get the grill good and hot, and grill til the chicken is fully cooked (165 degrees F)
  3. While the chicken is cooking, cut the tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro and jalapeno , and combine with the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. 
  4. Test for seasoning, add more lime or salt and pepper if needed
  5. When the chicken is fully cooked, plate it, and add some of the pico de gallo to each, and top with the queso or cheese if using.
  6. Serve with the rice.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Pineapple/Coconut Cheesecake (Minis)


"Hello, lover... "  

Oh my goodness, those exact words came out of my mouth when I bit into one of these little lovelies. The pecans in the crust, the sweet pineapple flavor in the creamy cheesecake layer, and the coconut on top completing the deliciousness... oh MY.

I immediately packed a half dozen (hehe, I'm not THAT generous) off to a neighbor who appreciates some home cookin' (Hi Wyatt!) so that I wouldn't eat the entire batch.

I saw these on Pinterest, drizzled in chocolate syrup, so they looked amazing. I definitely don't think they need that syrup though!

These were SO easy to make, I swear. I made them while the boys napped. I used a mini cheesecake pan that had 12 individual wells, with removable bases. Made these a snap to pop out and cool!

You really should make these. Immediately.

Makes around 24-30 minis


For Crust
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup pecans or walnuts
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter, melted
For Cheesecake
  • 16 oz cream cheese
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 4 Tbsp milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 16 oz crushed pineapple, drained (I used the kind in juice, but the kind in syrup would be great too!)
  • 1.5 cups flaked coconut, sweetened
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
  2. In a food processor, add the pecans, flour, sugar and melted butter. Blend until crumbs form.
  3. Pat about 2-3 tablespoons of crust mixture into ungreased mini cheesecake pan in each individual cup (you could use mini muffin pans)
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, then cool slightly.
  5. Using a hand mixer, beat together cream cheese, sugar, milk and eggs. Fold in vanilla, and drained pineapple. 
  6. Add the cream cheese mixture to each cup (almost to the top)
  7. Sprinkle each cheesecake with flaked coconut. Bake 15-20 minutes. Let cool, then pop out.
  8. Refrigerate leftover crust and cheesecake mixture until the pan is free 

Source: Adapted very slightly from

Monday, June 15, 2015

Classic Crunchy Chicken Salad


Okay, so the last time I took a blogging break, and actually acknowledged it, I came back with the news that I was pregnant with Hayden (my 3 year old), and didn't feel at all like cooking or blogging.

The time after that, I think I just posted a picture of Cameron (my 1 year old), and let it be.

I really need to get back into meal planning. It just makes my life a bunch easier if I have things prepared and ready or planned, so that when I get home with kids in tow, it's not the mad-dash to the fridge/freezer/pantry trying to figure out what to make in 30 minutes, while juggling snack-demands from both kids, and the clock ticking.

THIS time, I'm just going to post a  picture of chicken salad, tell you I'm not at all pregnant - I just haven't really made anything new lately.  I've been in survival mode, and flying by the seat of my pants at dinner time, just hoping to make it to bedtime.

This chicken salad recipe is super basic, and easy to throw together. I like to make it and keep it hanging out in the fridge ready to throw in a lunch bag with some bread for a yummy lunch.

Switching out most of the mayo usually found in chicken salad for greek yogurt is a great way to keep the calories down, and still have that creamy taste.

This recipe makes enough for around 4 1 Cup servings.

  • 1/4 Cup plain free greek yogurt
  • 3 Tbs low fat mayo
  • 1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1.5 Cups cooked and diced chicken breast
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 2 Tbs red onion, finely diced
  1. Whisk together the yogurt, mayo, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper until well blended, and set aside.
  2. Combine the chicken, celery and onion in a bowl.
  3. Add dressing, and toss to combine completely
  4. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Grilled Pork Chops with Spring Succotash


Thsufferin' Thsuccotash!!

I can never say "succotash" without hearing it in a cartoon voice, complete with listhp... and I don't know that I've ever even MADE succotash before.  I have nothing to compare it to, but this is apparently a different spin on a typical succotash, as it uses edamame beans.

Adapted from Cooking Light, this has amazing flavor and comes together fast - great for a weeknight, and the succotash makes excellent leftovers for lunch the next day.


  • 4 x 4oz pork chops
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup halved and thinly sliced carrots
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups frozen shelled edamame, thawed
  1. Combine garlic, rosemary, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat. Add pork to pan and cook to your liking. 
  3. Remove pork from pan, and keep warm.
  4. Return pan to medium heat. Add garlic mixture; cook 1 minute or until fragrant.
  5. Add 1/2 of the stock to deglaze, scraping pan to loosen browned bits, then add the remaining stock.  Cook until reduced to 1/2 cup, . Remove pan from heat; stir in butter. 
  6. Pour into another container, then heat the skillet again to medium heat.
  7. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil; swirl to coat.
  8. Add carrot and onion; cook 2 minutes.
  9. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 3 tablespoons water, and pepper.
  10. Cover and cook 2 minutes or until carrot is crisp-tender.
  11. Stir in edamame and cook until thoroughly heated. Pour a little of the sauce into the mixture.
  12. Divide succotash among 4 plates.
  13. Top each serving with pork and a little sauce.
Adapted from Cooking Light
7 WW Points+


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