Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Turkey Shepherd’s Pie

My parents made lots of leftover turkey so we could take some home. I decided to use it to make Shepherd’s pie. This particular recipe was simple and fast! I liked it but Joey wished for regular gravy - so you can use that instead of this sauce!

2 C chopped leftover turkey
1/2 onion chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 C frozen peas or frozen vegetable mix
1 1/2 C beef broth
2T tomato paste
1T worsteschier sauce
2t olive oil
2 C mashed potatoes
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 C grated cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 350 or if you want a crispy top, turn on the broiler
2. In a small skillet sauté onion and garlic until the onion is soft
3. Add salt, tomato paste, Worsteshier sauce, broth and thyme, stir and bring to a simmer
4. Simmer 2 minutes then add peas and turkey. Simmer 2 more minutes. Salt to taste
5. Divide meat mixture between two oven-safe ramekins
6. Top meat mixture with mashed potatoes and add cheese on top
7. Bake 5-10m at 350 until cheese is melted and dish is warmed through
*If broiling, keep a close eye because cheese can catch on fire 2-5m
**If you want to use gravy instead of the sauce, omit broth, tomato paste and worsteshier sauce and replace with gravy.

Happy Eating!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Cheesy Garlic Bread with Pizza Dough!

We've had some pizza dough in the fridge that we have just been putting off using. Today I was making soup and thought it would be nice to have some bread with it - but I didn't want to go to the store.  I decided to try for some cheesy garlic bread.  WOW!


1lb refrigerated pizza dough, at room temperature
3-4 cloves garlic
2 T butter
1/4 C parmesan cheese, shredded
1 C mozzarella cheese, shredded
flour for rolling

1. Preheat a pizza stone or upside down cookie sheet in the oven to the highest setting (450-500 degrees)
2. Cut a piece of parchment paper the size of your stone and flour it
3. Roll/Stretch the dough out into the shape of your stone - ours is a rectangle on your parchment paper
4. Crush garlic into a bowl and combine with butter
5. Butter the dough with the garlic/butter mixture
6. Sprinkle the cheese over the butter
7. Bake for 10-15 minutes until cheese is bubbly and dough is cooked through
8. Cut and serve warm

Monday, September 18, 2017

Pork Medallions & Apples

Hazel is a big meat eater but she likes it even more if she gets to help cook. I recently stumbled upon the perfect recipe to do together, pork medallions and apples!  Hazel likes to help with the pounding, flouring and Apple eating. And, if I'm lucky, she might even do a few dishes while washing her hands!

1 pork tenderloin
1 C flour (or more if you are working with a toddler)
salt & pepper
1 C apple juice or cider
2-3 apples chopped
2 T butter
1 T olive oil

1. Slice the tenderloin into 1-inch medallions, salt & pepper them to taste.
2. With a kitchen hammer, pound the meat thin
3. Pour flour on a plate. Dip meat in flour and shake off excess. Set on another plate
4. Heat oil over medium in a large frying pan. Add meat in batches and cook 2 minutes per side and remove to a plate
5. Add apples to the pan and saute 1 minute
6. Add juice and let simmer and reduce 2-3 minutes.
7. Add butter to form a sauce and let melt while stirring.
8. Add medallions back in to warm nestled in the sauce.  Serve warm.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Mini Raspberry Pies

Last week I bought some raspberries at Costco. Many of them were delicious and some of them were hard or weird (probably previously frozen?). Anyway, I didn't want to waste them so I decided to make some mini pies.  As luck would have it, we also had a broken pie crust in the freezer!

I made up this recipe a little bit but I think I can recreate it for you here. The mini pies are pretty good, good enough to serve for an impromptu party. Delicious warm, okay cold - so maybe reheat for a few seconds before serving.

For the pies
1 Pie crust
1 1/2 Cups raspberries
Juice of one lemon
2 T tapioca
2-3 T sugar (depends on how sweet your berries are)
cooking spray
a little water

For the topping
2-3 T flour
3 T cold butter
2-3 T brown sugar
1/4 t ginger
1/4 t cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 350 and spray 8 muffin cups with cooking spray
2. Place raspberries in a bowl with lemon juice, sugar and tapioca. Stir and let sit until ready to use
3. Roll out the pie crust (add water if it is dry) on a floured surface and cut into 8 parts
4. Place one piece of dough in each prepared muffin cup and press up the sides
5. Make the topping and mix together with your hands until small peas
6. Distribute raspberry mixture among pies. Top with topping
7. Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown around the edges

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Jello Jigglers

Jello jigglers are a kid pleaser and so easy! I know jello is full of sugar but somehow I feel better about it than cake, for example. If you have for some reason never had jigglers, you are missing out and must make them right away!

Jello comes in so many colors you can adapt this to practically every holiday! Cookie cutters come in all shapes too!

Don't worry, is you forget the recipe, it is on the Jell-o brand boxes.

2 boxes (6oz each) Jello in a single flavor
2 1/2C boiling water
9x13 pan
Cookie cutters (small ones are best)

1. Stir the jello mix and boiling water until dissolved.
2. Pour into a 9x13 pan
3. Let set in the fridge at least 3 hours
4. Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes or be boring and just cut squares.
5. Refrigerate until ready to serve

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Beef Ribs in the Instant Pot

Beef Ribs! One of my favorite things to get at a bbq restaurant are something I've never made at home because it sounds like it takes too much time. Plus, I don't have a smoker. Plus, I don't want to use the bbq for 5 hours.  Enter the Instant Pot. Talk about an all-around useful appliance! With minimal ingredients and only 40 minutes (+natural release time), I made fall-off-the-bone beef ribs. These got an A+ from everyone in my family!  Try it tonight.


~10 beef ribs (that's all that fit in my pot)
1/2 Jar Stubbs Original BBQ Sauce (best all around sauce I believe)
salt & pepper
1/2 C water or broth

1. Place the tray that came with the Instant Pot in the bottom of the pot. Stand the ribs up on the tray campfire style.
2. Sprinkle salt on the ribs
3. Pour water or broth into the pot
4. Pour half the jar of bbq sauce over the ribs
5. Set to sealing and use the Meat/Stew setting and add 5 minutes
6. Cook 40 minutes and let it release the steam naturally for at least 10 minutes. Do the rest of the release.
7. Serve with more bbq sauce on top

Note: You could put bbq sauce on and put it on a foil-lined cookie sheet under the broiler to caramelize it a bit but we didn't take that step so I can't speak to it

Monday, June 12, 2017

Slow cooked BBQ Pork with Tangy Broccoli Slaw

We had a busy day and guests on Sunday so I decided to put something in the slow cooker for dinner.  I decided to make pulled pork which I thought would be easy and crowd-pleasing.  It WAS easy, just dump everything in and cook.  Sadly, as per always for me, the pork did not 'shred' easily. So, I just chopped it up and it was still delicious!  Highly recommended.

Served 5 hungry people with leftovers

For the Pork

5 lbs boneless pork shoulder, netting removed and cut into large chunks
1 jar Stubbs Original BBQ Sauce
3 T Smoked Paprika
1 T Garlic Salt
1 C water
1 onion, cut into large slices or chunks

For the slaw
1 bag broccoli/carrot slaw
zest & juice of 3 limes

For serving
BBQ Sauce (your choice, I used a Carolina style which was fabulous)
Hamburger style buns

1. Put all the Pork ingredients into a slow cooker (onions on the bottom!). Set for 8 hours and forget it!
2. For the slaw, juice and zest the limes and toss with broccoli slaw. Add a dash of salt to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
3. When the pork is done shred it (hahaha!) or cut into cubes.  Serve with slaw, buns and sauce.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Slow cooked country style ribs

We bought some country style pork ribs intending to Sousa vide them but we just never se it up do I slow cooked them instead.  I thought these were pretty good butwhat a weird cut of meat! It was like two giant ribs. Joey and I shared one!  Next time I would blend the sauce b/c there were big bits of of chipotles.

Country style pork ribs (2 ribs)
1C BBQ sauce
1/2C preserves - I used four berry
Seasoning rub - I used smokehouse maple
Garlic salt
3 chipotles in adobo plus 1T sauce

1. Blend chipotles, preserves and BBQ sauce
2. Sprinkle rub, salt and garlic salt all over meat.
3. Place meat inside the slow cooker
4. Cook on low in the slow cooker 6 - 8 hours until tender, serve.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Roast Chicken & Oven Fries

We recently discovered the best roast chicken recipe and we make it nearly twice a month now! Whole chickens are usually cheap $3-5 and feed as many people. This recipe takes a little advance planning but it's worth it! This time I served it with oven fries because I needed to use up some potatoes.


 1 whole chicken rinsed and patted dry
Kosher salt
1/2 orange
1/2 onion or 3 shallots

Special equipment:
Metal rack that fits in rimmed baking sheet
Refrigerator space for the above
8-24 hours

Fries (cut the potatoes day of)
1 small russet potatoes per person, cut into matchsticks
1 T olive oil per potato
cooking spray

1. 8-24hrs before you want to cook your chicken dry it off, truss the legs and rub salt all over the chicken. Use a lot of salt, don't worry, you will rinse before you cook!
2. Place the chicken on a metal rack over the rimmed baking sheet and put it in the refrigerator for 8-24hours- the longer the better.

3. Preheat the oven to 450
4. Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Then place back on the rack
5. Stuff the chicken cavity with half onion and oranges
6. Bake the Chicken 40-50 minutes or until juices run clear and cooked through (just use a thermometer). Let rest 5 minutes before carving.

7. Meanwhile toss the potato matchsticks with olive oil and lay them on a foil-lined baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
8. Toss with salt and spread fries flat
9. The fries take about 25-30 minutes so put them in when you are about 30 minutes into your chicken cooking.
10. Serve the chicken with hot fries.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Red Lentil & Roasted Cauliflower Tacos with Creamy Chipotle Sauce

One of my vegetarian friends had a new baby and I wanted to make a meal for her family to share. I decided on red lentil tacos. Red lentils, who knew? I loved these lentils and struggled to actually give them away (although not a hit with the family).  Lentils are high in protein AND filling. And the best part? This is quick to make!

This recipe is only a base for the versatility of red lentils. Change up the spices and make it your own! In the original recipe, I read that red lentils cook quickly because they are already split while other lentils take a long time.

Red Lentil & Roasted Cauliflower with Creamy Chipotle Sauce
Feeds 4


  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika (or use regular paprika)
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup dry red lentils, rinsed
  • 2 cups water

Creamy Chipotle Sauce:
   1/3 C mayonaise
    2-3 Chipotle's plus sauce from the can
    juice of 3 limes

Roasted Cauliflower:
    olive oil
    cauliflower, broken into medium florets

For Serving:
    Corn Tortillas
     Favorite Taco Toppings

Preheat the oven to 400

1a. Toss cauliflower (any color!) with olive oil until just coated and toss with salt in a rimmed baking pan. Roast 25-35 minutes until tender and browning.
1. In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook ~5 minutes until starting to get soft
2. Add garlic and cook one minute more
3. Add all the spices and cook 30 seconds until fragrant
4. Add lentils and water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer 15 minutes until lentils are tender. Adjust salt to taste
5. Meanwhile, in a mini blender combine all ingredients for the chipotle sauce
6. Serve lentils warm with cauliflower and desired toppings. Add Chipotle Sauce on top.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

CJ'S Chewy Chocolate Dream cookies.

Have you been craving the perfect chocolate cookie lately? Well, these cookies are bound to satisfy you. Eat them right out of the oven, frozen, plain, or in a bowl of ice cream. Whatever way you eat them, there is no hiding the incredible taste and flavor of these delicious chocolate cookies.

                                CJ's Chewy Chocolate Dream Cookies

1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup White Sugar
1/2 cup Butter
1 Egg
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
1 cup Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
2/3 cup chocolate chips (for melting)
1/2 cup chocolate chips ( If you want a crunch. If you don't want that, make it just 1 cup of chocolate chips.)

Preheat oven to 350 F
Cream in electric mixer butter, and both kinds of sugar. Add egg, mixing until combined, then put in vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Very slowly, add the flour mix to the wet mix, and combine. Put a pot of water on to boil, then find a heatproof glass bowl (or use a double boiler). When the water is boiling, put the glass bowl on top of the pot and pour the 2/3 cup chocolate chips into the glass bowl. Stir until melted. After they are melted like this:
turn the stove off, and spoon the now melted chocolate chips into the mixer fast, so they don't harden. Turn the mixer on, and mix until combined. Mix in the rest of the chocolate chips. If you wish to add nuts, add a couple handfuls of chopped walnuts. Put onto trays:

 and bake for first 8 minutes, then if they do not look done enough, bake for a minute more, and repeat until done. Serve as desired. Enjoy!

Friday, March 17, 2017


This week we bought some red lentil pasta and we decided that since it is red we would eat it with pesto instead of red sauce.  Disappointingly, the red lentil pasta turned tan after cooking.  The pesto was great though! I wanted to use it with everything! We even planned to marinate chicken but the chicken spoiled.  This recipe makes 3 Cups of thick pesto but we still have a lot left because I watered it down for pasta sauce and a little goes a long way. It's even good as a dip!

Pesto is super simple to make and a great way to eat your greens! Not a big hit with our toddler but what else is new?

1/4 C basil
1 bunch spinach, washed, stems removed
1 bunch green kale, washed, stems removed and blanched 30 seconds
3 cloves garlic
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 C raw cashews
2T olive oil or water

1. Put everything in a food processor and blend it. Add more oil or water to get the desired consistency.
2. Refrigerate until ready to eat

To use as pasta sauce: heat desired amount in a small pot over medium heat and add pasta water or regular water to make into sauce, stir

To use as a marinade: mix with a little oil and rub all over chicken. Put chicken in a ziplock in the fridge until ready to cook.

To use in eggs: add pesto to scrambled eggs just as you stir it into the pan. Green Eggs and Ham!

Let me know how else you use your pesto!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Shepard'a Pie

Sometimes it's hard to decide what to do with ground beef. Today was one of those days so I made Shepard' pie. The toddler didn't eat it for unknown reasons but the rest of the family loved it. This recipe is so customizable to your tastes and what you have in your fridge, freezer and pantry. I was proud to have all the ingredients at home!!

1 lb ground beef or turkey
2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 T butter
Milk or broth up to 1 cup
Salt & pepper
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 C carrots, chopped
1/3 c frozen peas
1/3 c frozen corn
1/2 c broth
1 T worstescheir sauce
2 t olive oil

1. Boil water in a medium pot, add potatoes and cook simmering until soft when pierced with a fork. Drain and return to pot.
2. Mash the potatoes with a masher or immersion blender. Add butter and then milk in 1/4 c increments until desired texture. Season with sale and pepper. Set aside.
3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet.  Add onion and carrots and cook until onion is soft. Add beef, garlic and cook until meat is browned. Add broth and worstecheir. Cook 5 minutes on medium.
4. Add peas and corn and cook 5 more minutes. Liberally season with salt and pepper
5. Preheat oven to 400
6. In a 2 qt oven proof container or an 8x8 dish, add meat mix and layer potato on top.
7. Cook 30 minutes until potatoes are browned.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Zuppa Toscano

It was cold and rainy today and I thought it was the perfect day for soup! This recipe comes together quickly relying on the flavors of the sausage to make the soup. Maybe a bit too much spice for kids - we served ours a mild sausage instead.

Adapted from the kitchn where the measurements seemed off

1 1/2 quarts chicken broth
1lb spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
1t olive oil
1 lb russet potatoes, sliced into 1/4" half moons
1 bunch curly kale, ripped into bite sized pieces
1 onion, chopped
3-4 cloves Garlic, crushed
1/2 C heavy cream

1. In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium then add sausage and brown. Break up large chunks.
2. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is soft. 
3. Add chicken broth, potatoes and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20min until potatoes start to fall apart
4. Add kale and cream and cook until kale is bright green and wilted
5. Serve warm with warm bread

Friday, January 13, 2017

Chicken Tortilla Soup (No Beans)

There is a Mexican restaurant by us and it has delicious Chicken tortilla spup.  I looked for recipes like it but all the recipes have beans and no potatoes. This recipe has the right flavor profile but also no potatoes. It is delicious!  Very quick to make and can be adapted for the slow cooker! Plus it is a one-pot meal!

1lb chicken breasts or thighs, cut into small chunks
32ox chicken broth
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
1 lb carrots cut into rounds
2 ears corn, kernels removed
1 jalepeno, ribs and seeds removed, diced
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2T tomato paste
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ancho chili powder
Olive oil
1/2 bunch cilantro

For Serving:
Lime wedges
Shredded cheese
Tortilla chips

1. In a large pot over medium heat add olive oil and then sauté pepper, onion, carrot and garlic until onion is soft.
2. Add spices and stir on the bottom of the pot vigorously for 30 seconds
3. Add all other ingredients except cilantro
4. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for at least 20min or until chicken pieces are cooked through but longer is fine
5. Add cilantro just before serving
6. Top with desired toppings

Spaghetti & Quick Meat Sauce

We used part of a can of crushed tomatoes for pizza sauce and then scrambled around to find other recipes for the rest of the can. I decided on spaghetti and meat sauce. I even had ground beef in the freezer! (We never use what we have in the freezer).  This meat sauce is really quick to come together and pretty tasty too.  You can make this in that 20 minute period where you realize you have nothing for dinner while the pasta is boiling!

1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
3 carrots, shredded (I shredded mine on a cheese grater because I didn't want big chunks of carrots in the sauce)
1 onion, chopped
2T olive oil
3/4lb ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 box long pasta of your choice
parmesan cheese for serving

1. Prepare pasta according to instructions
2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
3. Add garlic, onion and carrots and cook until soft
4. Add beef and brown breaking up with a spoon
5. Add salt, pepper and tomatoes
6. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer at least 10 minutes or until ready to serve
7. Serve sauce on pasta with parmesan on top

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Cross Rib Roast

This Christmas season, I came across a cut of beef called cross rib roast. It was on sale and very red in color so I bought one. Amazing! It cut like butter and could almost be compared to the very expensive Beef Tenderloin in texture and flavor. The next day, I went to the store and bought another. Then we sliced the leftovers thinly for French dip sandwiches. Now I have made this roast four time and will keep it up as long as I find it in the store!

Celery salt
Garlic powder
One onion, sliced in thick rounds*
Cross rib roast

Preheat oven to 450
1. Season roast all over with celery salt, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
2. Place roast on top of onion slices on a rimmed baking sheet
3. Insert oven-safe thermometer if you have one and set to 125
4. Roast 15 min then reduce heat to 350 and roast until internal temperature reaches 125.  A two pound roast takes about 1 1/2 hours.
5. Remove from oven and let rest a few minutes before slicing

*I use an onion to mimic a roasting pan to hold the meat up from the tray. You could instead use a roasting pan or a rimmed baking sheet with built in tray. The onions are pretty good after though..