Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Bites

Easy no-bake chocolate peanut butter energy bites that are sweetened with honey and chocolate chips and they are healthy, too! Oatmeal for fiber, peanut butter for protein, flaxseed for omega fatty acids.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Bites

Yesterday I got an email from our pool manager. It is time to pay dues for the summer. Summer! I have been making a very conscious effort to prepare healthy dinners, pack my lunch every day, attempt to make smaller portions for all of us. How is summer already this close?

One of my big downfalls during my day is a sugar craving that usually hits just before lunch. My breakfast and coffee has disappeared and what is left a brain that is usually thinking about chocolate. It doesn’t help my case that my office keeps a little bowl of individually wrapped candy stocked at all times. This week, I will resist! Today I made these delicious chocolate peanut butter energy bites that will satisfy my craving but will offer a little more health benefit than what I am used to grabbing.

The best thing about this simple recipe is that no baking is required! The main ingredient for these bites is oatmeal. It adds a great texture to the bites, is cheap, and most likely in the pantry. Chocolate chips simply had to be added, because I need chocolate! The chips also add a little crunch which, to me, helps the bites be more satisfying. Creamy peanut butter acts as a glue to hold them together and honey sweetens them. I added some vanilla extract to give them even more flavor.

One less common ingredient that I added to these chocolate peanut butter energy bites is ground flaxseed. I have been making an effort for the last several months to find ways to sneak this into my diet. My neurologist actually introduced me to flaxseed and a study linking increased consumption of amino acids with a decrease in migraines. Since that discussion, I have been trying to find ways to incorporate more healthy omega fatty acids into my diet. Flaxseed is a great source of omega fatty acids and mixes with the other ingredients in these energy bites so that you would never even know it was present.

Now the hard part for me will be only packing three of these little snacks per day with my lunch. I should make it four. No three. Maybe I will try on that bathing suit for motivation!

Easy no-bake chocolate peanut butter energy bites. Sweetened with honey and chocolate chips and healthy, too! Oatmeal for fiber, peanut butter for protein, flaxseed for omega fatty acids.
Quick and easy no-bake chocolate peanut butter energy bites that are sweetened with honey and chocolate chips and they are healthy, too! Oatmeal for fiber, peanut butter for protein, flaxseed for omega fatty acids.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Bites
Print Recipe
Easy no-bake chocolate peanut butter energy bites. Sweetened with honey and chocolate chips and healthy, too! Oatmeal for fiber, peanut butter for protein, flaxseed for omega fatty acids.
Servings Prep Time
24 bites 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 bites 5 minutes
Quick and easy no-bake chocolate peanut butter energy bites that are sweetened with honey and chocolate chips and they are healthy, too! Oatmeal for fiber, peanut butter for protein, flaxseed for omega fatty acids.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Bites
Print Recipe
Easy no-bake chocolate peanut butter energy bites. Sweetened with honey and chocolate chips and healthy, too! Oatmeal for fiber, peanut butter for protein, flaxseed for omega fatty acids.
Servings Prep Time
24 bites 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 bites 5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: bites
Instructions
  1. Combine oatmeal, peanut butter, honey, flaxseed, and vanilla extract in a bowl. Stir well to combine.
  2. Add chocolate chips and stir until evenly mixed.
  3. Used a small scoop to measure to desired size and roll gently until the dough sticks to form a ball. Place on a sheet pan and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to set.
  4. Transfer to a plastic bag or container and keep refrigerated until ready to eat.
Recipe Notes

Quantity of bites will vary depending on the size of each bite. For a yield of 24 bites the bites were approximately 1 inch in diameter.

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This entry was posted in Other.

Sheet Pan Lemon Baked Chicken and Vegetables

Juicy lemon baked chicken, crispy potatoes, and asparagus sprinkled with smoky bacon, all baked on a sheet sheet pan.

Sheet Pan Lemon Baked Chicken and Vegetables

When I went to college at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I was given an interesting variety of hand-me-down kitchenware. There were some seventies-inspired Corningware baking dishes with the little blue flowers, pastel Tupperware containers, some simple white china plates that I still use, and a set of sheet pans that very well may outdate me. The pans have been used so many times that they are almost black, patina is the nice word for it.

My well-loved sheet pan was just what was needed for a flavorful, healthy meal. I love buying asparagus in the early spring when it is at its freshest. I could eat it every day! If I cut off the ends and serve it to my son, I tell him it is green beans. So far he doesn’t know the difference! All of the other fresh ingredients for the meal, potatoes, garlic, lemon, and parsley, are very easy to find and relatively inexpensive. These easy ingredients made a delicious, family friendly sheet pan meal of lemon baked chicken with vegetables.

There are several part of this meal that make me love it. First, the lemon chicken is amazingly moist and tender. Marinating  the chicken for an hour or two prior to cooking it helps to give it flavor and keep it moist. Giving it a quick sear it a hot pan prior to baking it also helps to keep it juicy and make the skin crispy. Second, the crunchy potatoes with a light coating of lemon, garlic goodness are delicious. Finally, a few smoky bites of bacon mixed in with the vegetables just make everything better. Can you omit the bacon? Certainly. I would not recommend it!

Any meal that can essentially cooked on one pan scores high with me. One pan to keep an eye on I can handle. One pan to clean at the end of the meal, my husband will do.  A few extra dishes along the way, I can handle.

When I use my beat up old sheet pan I can’t help but think back to those college days, in our college kitchen, with our hodgepodge of utensils and bakeware. Me and roommate, Amanda, pretending to know how to cook. Dreading going to the grocery store every week. Catching the kitchen on fire, luckily only once. Those were the good old days. Now I buy herbs, look at sale lists, buy organic when possible, take pictures of my food and write about it for fun.

Juicy lemon baked chicken, crispy potatoes, and asparagus sprinkled with smoky bacon, all baked on a sheet sheet pan.
Juicy lemon baked chicken, crispy potatoes, and asparagus sprinkled with smoky bacon, all baked on a sheet sheet pan.
Sheet Pan Lemon Baked Chicken and Vegetables
Print Recipe
Juicy lemon baked chicken, crispy potatoes, and asparagus sprinkled with smoky bacon, all baked on a sheet sheet pan.
Servings Prep Time
2 people 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
65 minutes 2 hours
Servings Prep Time
2 people 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
65 minutes 2 hours
Juicy lemon baked chicken, crispy potatoes, and asparagus sprinkled with smoky bacon, all baked on a sheet sheet pan.
Sheet Pan Lemon Baked Chicken and Vegetables
Print Recipe
Juicy lemon baked chicken, crispy potatoes, and asparagus sprinkled with smoky bacon, all baked on a sheet sheet pan.
Servings Prep Time
2 people 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
65 minutes 2 hours
Servings Prep Time
2 people 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
65 minutes 2 hours
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Combine garlic, 1 Tbsp of parsley, zest of the lemon, and half of the lemon juice, 2 Tbsp of olive oil, salt, and pepper in a large resealable plastic bag and mix to combine. Add chicken breasts. Allow to marinate for two hours if possible.
  2. Preheat oven to 375F. Heat heavy pan, such as cast iron skillet, on stove over medium high heat.
  3. When pan is hot, add a small amount of olive oil to pan and remove chicken from marinade. Reserve this marinade. Place chicken skin/breast side down in the hot pan to sear for 5 minutes or until lightly browned.
  4. While chicken skin is browning, put quartered potatoes in a bowl and pour the remaining marinade over the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper and stir.
  5. Lightly spray a sheet pan with cooking spray or olive oil. Remove chicken from pan and place on baking sheet. Pour potatoes around the chicken in a single layer.
  6. Bake chicken and potatoes for 30 minutes.
  7. While chicken and potatoes bake, place asparagus in a bowl and toss with the remaining 1 Tbsp of olive oil and the remaining lemon juice. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  8. Remove sheet pan from the oven and stir the potatoes. Pour asparagus on the pan spread out in a single layer as much as possible. Top with the pieces of bacon. You may add slices of lemon to the pan if desired.
  9. Bake for an additional 30 minutes.
  10. To serve, sprinkle with remaining parsley.
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Easy Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper Hummus

An easy and flavorful roasted garlic and red pepper hummus recipe that makes an amazing appetizer and will make store-bought dip a thing of the past!

Easy Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper Hummus

There are some things that I cook that I just cannot top what I can buy at the store or restaurant. It is always my goal when we go out to eat to look at the menu and think, “what can’t I make at home for myself?” Until recently, hummus had always been one of those food items. It seemed a bit too exotic for me to even attempt to make.  It took a few attempts, but I must say that this recipe for roasted garlic and red pepper hummus is easy and tastes better than what I can buy at the grocery store.

The slightly painful part of experimenting with making hummus is buying tahini. The jar was almost ten dollars and you only need a small amount for each batch of hummus. I will make an effort to make this regularly to use this ingredient. As quickly as this bowl disappeared, I don’t think that will be much of an problem!

Part of what gives this hummus so much flavor is the roasted garlic. If you are not a garlic fan then you probably should cut back on the amount of garlic you add. Roasting the garlic does mellow the flavor and makes it less bitter. Other than the tahini, the other ingredients were already in my kitchen.

My next culinary goal is to master making either pita bread or naan. Both breads make for an amazing way to eat this delicious hummus. I’m not going to lie, I could eat nothing but the bread and be perfectly happy!

It really is rewarding when you can make something and it rivals what you can buy from the store. Hummus is certainly one of those things that is so much more flavorful, fresh and delicious when you make it at home.

An easy and flavorful roasted garlic and red pepper hummus recipe that makes an amazing appetizer and will make store-bought dip a thing of the past!
An easy and flavorful roasted garlic and red pepper hummus recipe that makes an amazing appetizer and will make store-bought dip a thing of the past!
Easy Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper Hummus
Print Recipe
An easy and flavorful roasted garlic and red pepper hummus recipe that makes an amazing appetizer and will make store-bought dip a thing of the past!
Servings Prep Time
6 people 60 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 people 60 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
An easy and flavorful roasted garlic and red pepper hummus recipe that makes an amazing appetizer and will make store-bought dip a thing of the past!
Easy Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper Hummus
Print Recipe
An easy and flavorful roasted garlic and red pepper hummus recipe that makes an amazing appetizer and will make store-bought dip a thing of the past!
Servings Prep Time
6 people 60 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 people 60 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Cut off very top of head of garlic to just expose the bulbs. Place in a piece of tin foil. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil to coat. Wrap foil to cover. Roast for approximately 45 minutes. Allow to cool.
  2. In a food processor or blender, combine chickpeas, lemon juice, roasted red peppers, the roasted garlic bulbs removed from their skins, tahini, salt, pepper, olive oil, cumin, and paprika. Process until hummus is a smooth consistency. Add additional olive oil as needed.
  3. Transfer to serving dish and drizzle with additional olive oil and, if desired, additional roasted red pepper slices and parsley.
Recipe Notes

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Spicy Asian Mason Jar Noodle Salad

Spicy Asian Mason Jar Noodle Salad

Spicy Asian Mason Jar Noodle Salad

I think I officially have a new obsession to focus on in the coming weeks in my cooking adventures and that is make-ahead mason jar lunches. If you are a fan of Pinterest, clearly you know this is not a new idea, but is relatively new to me. My idea of a satisfying lunch is not some lettuce in a jar, so to make this concept work I needed something with a little more substance and flavor. I was thrilled when I found a spicy, Asian-inspired, vegetable packed noodle salad that stayed fresh for days and made the work week so much easier.

Last week my husband came home with a jar full of food from work, all excited to tell me about a cooking class he had been to at work. His employer is great about promoting “wellness” and he currently leads the committee. He had arranged to have a nutritionist come in and teach some classes to employees on healthy eating and meal planning. He came home with a salad-based mason jar full of ingredients they had prepared in class. Part of his job on the committee is to try to model the behaviors they are trying to encourage: eating healthy and exercising. I figured if he and the class were excited over these jars for lunch, I could be too.

My mason jar lunch needed to have several things that the one my husband brought home did not. First, I must have something crunchy. Texture really is everything! The spicy Asian noodle salad I made is packed with crunchy vegetables such as red peppers, jalapeno, carrot and green onion. Even though they are not the most healthy touch, and certainly can be omitted, the fried rice noodles I placed on the top of the salad were mainly for texture.

Second, I must have tons of flavor. I put the sauce in the bottom of the jar so it doesn’t make any of the ingredients soggy. Some of it gets absorbed into the noodles and the rest will coat the vegetables when the jar gets dumped over. Don’t be fooled! It is a spicy sauce. I used a hot chili sesame oil and Sriracha sauce for heat mixed with soy sauce, peanut butter, and rice wine vinegar to make my sauce. Certainly you can cut back on the Sriracha sauce or omit it entirely to reduce the heat. You could also use regular sesame oil instead of hot sesame oil to reduce the heat of the dish if you wish. Omitting the jalapeno layer entirely would also be an option. Personally, I would keep everything!

Finally, I added edamame for a source of some protein without having to use meat. I am trying so hard to have us eat less meat and it really is not easy. Lunch seems like a great place to make this a priority.

I loved this lunch. My husband loved this lunch. I now have at least four more mason jar lunches planned for the upcoming weeks to see if I can top my first attempt. It was so nice to be able to make several lunches for us, all at one time, so easily, and with fresh, healthy ingredients.

Spicy Asian Mason Jar Noodle Salad
Spicy Asian Mason Jar Noodle Salad
Print Recipe
A spicy Asian-inspired mason jar noodle salad that is perfect for make ahead lunches and loaded with healthy vegetables and packed with flavor
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
4 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
4 minutes
Spicy Asian Mason Jar Noodle Salad
Spicy Asian Mason Jar Noodle Salad
Print Recipe
A spicy Asian-inspired mason jar noodle salad that is perfect for make ahead lunches and loaded with healthy vegetables and packed with flavor
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
4 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
4 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. In a bowl, combine sauce ingredients together (soy sauce, peanut butter, rice wine vinegar, hot chili sesame oil, and Sriracha sauce) and stir well.
  2. Prepare four, pint-sized mason jars to fill with ingredients.
  3. Distribute sauce evenly in the bottom of the four jars.
  4. Add a layer of cooked Chinese noodles to all of the jars, approximately 3/4 to 1 cup per jar.
  5. Next add a layer of jalapeno to all of the jars.
  6. Next add a layer of shredded carrot to all of the jars.
  7. Next add a layer of green onion to all of the jars.
  8. Next add a layer of red pepper to add of the jars.
  9. Top each jar with cooked edamame, approximately 1 Tbsp per jar, as well as a Tbsp of cilantro and fried rice noodles if desired.
  10. Put lids on jars and refrigerate until ready to eat.
  11. To eat, invert on a plate and enjoy.
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Steel Cut Oatmeal with Roasted Strawberries

Creamy, rich, steel cut oatmeal sweetened with maple syrup and topped with delicious roasted strawberries makes the perfect healthy breakfast

Steel Cut Oatmeal with Roasted Strawberries

I am very much a creature of habit. I suspect for most of us, change is not an easy thing, but I know that I have a tendency to take this to an extreme at times. Just the act of rearranging furniture in a room  to create a new look is pushing the boundaries of my comfort level. That being said, I will admit that I have eaten the same breakfast, literally the same brand and flavor of granola bar, almost every single morning for about 20 years. Weekends will offer the occasion for a special morning of waffles, pancakes, maybe a breakfast casserole, but for my weekday routine there is never a variety. A grown up, healthy remake of my breakfast selection is in order and this amazing steel cut oatmeal with roasted strawberries started the week off right.

As a family we are on a mission, if you will, of trying to make healthier lifestyle choices. Overall we do a decent job of preparing lunch from home to take to work. We rarely go out to eat for dinner. Neither my husband nor I are morning people so quick, processed breakfast foods are our downfall.

My hope is that making a big batch of steel cut oatmeal on the weekend and portioning it for the week will make for a healthy and convenient breakfast. Unlike old fashioned oats, steel cut oats, though time consuming to prepare, reheat well. The recipe below is for a “single batch” but I actually made a “double batch” for the week. After eating our warm, fresh bowl of oatmeal with delicious strawberries I simply portioned out what remained, added a little extra almond milk and refrigerated the containers. Next week I plan to use a different fruit and then it will seem like a new twist on breakfast.

So why this breakfast and why these ingredients?

  • Strawberries are just yummy!
  • Oatmeal, whether steel cut or old-fashioned, helps lower cholesterol and almost all of us can benefit from this
  • Unsweetened almond milk may help reduce inflammation compared to cow’s milk

If only I could eat this while driving, it would be perfect!

 

Creamy, rich, steel cut oatmeal sweetened with maple syrup and topped with delicious roasted strawberries makes the perfect healthy breakfast
Steel Cut Oatmeal with Roasted Strawberries
Print Recipe
Creamy, rich, steel cut oatmeal sweetened with maple syrup and topped with delicious roasted strawberries makes the perfect healthy breakfast
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Creamy, rich, steel cut oatmeal sweetened with maple syrup and topped with delicious roasted strawberries makes the perfect healthy breakfast
Steel Cut Oatmeal with Roasted Strawberries
Print Recipe
Creamy, rich, steel cut oatmeal sweetened with maple syrup and topped with delicious roasted strawberries makes the perfect healthy breakfast
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Toss strawberries in one tablespoon of sugar and spread in a single layer on a lined baking sheet. Roast in preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes.
  2. While strawberries are roasting, bring water, almond milk, and salt to a boil in a pot.
  3. While liquids come to a boil, heat a saute pan to medium and add butter. Lightly toast oats for about 1-2 minutes. Add toasted oats to the boiling water and milk mixture and stir.
  4. Reduce heat to simmer and stir occasionally for 30 minutes or until desired consistency is reached.
  5. Serve warm oatmeal topped with extra maple syrup, if desired, and roasted strawberries. Feel free to add chia seed, flax seed, or other toppings as desired.
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Roasted Vegetable and Potato Medley

Seasoned vegetables and potatoes roasted to perfection with a light coating of panko for added crunch make a healthy side dish the whole family will enjoy.

Roasted Vegetable and Potato Medley

Eat your veggies! Eat your veggies! How many times per week can I say this phrase? I’m sure almost every parent has this battle on a regular basis but it is exhausting. I am always on the hunt for a way to make that part of the meal less painful for our little guy. Hide the vegetables beside some potatoes, for instance. A roasted vegetable and potato medley was eaten without tears from him and by the bowl-full by me as roasted vegetables with this slight coating of panko for a bit of added crunch are just delicious!

To what lengths do we go to as parents to get our littles to eat? Do you make it colorful so it looks like fun on a plate? Not always a guarantee for success. Try to find a texture they love, crunchy in this instance? Hit or miss. Pair something new with something familiar to make it less of a reach?  Cross your fingers. Sauce, sauce, sauce. And finally, bribery.

We are even getting to the point that we are tricking the dog to eat. Our old boy is hanging in there somehow, but doesn’t inhale his food in three bites like he did as a puppy. Some days we sneak a little bite of bread underneath the pile of dog food and it makes him eat his way down to the treat at the bottom. It’s much like my son hunting for the potatoes in the bowl with zucchini and peppers, only the dog is not as smart at picking around the bites he doesn’t want!

I have to remind myself that this is karma, therefore what I get for torturing my parents with my picky eating years ago. I want to raise a strong-willed child, independent and unwavering, yet I want to mold him at the same time. Parenting is tough!

 

Seasoned vegetables and potatoes roasted to perfection with a light coating of panko for added crunch make a healthy side dish the whole family will enjoy.
Roasted Vegetable and Potato Medley
Print Recipe
Seasoned vegetables and potatoes roasted to perfection with a light coating of panko for added crunch make a healthy side dish the whole family will enjoy.
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Seasoned vegetables and potatoes roasted to perfection with a light coating of panko for added crunch make a healthy side dish the whole family will enjoy.
Roasted Vegetable and Potato Medley
Print Recipe
Seasoned vegetables and potatoes roasted to perfection with a light coating of panko for added crunch make a healthy side dish the whole family will enjoy.
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Prepare vegetable and potatoes by chopping them to roughly the same size so that they will roast evenly.
  2. Place chopped ingredients in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Add panko crumbs. Toss to coat.
  3. Spread vegetable/potato mixture on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast at 400F for approximately 45 minutes, stirring gently twice during the process.
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This entry was posted in Sides.

Roasted Garlic Spinach Dip

Creamy spinach dip that is bursting with roasted garlic flavor

Roasted Garlic Spinach Dip

I came very close to naming this recipe “not on a first date dip” because it contains a full head of roasted garlic. If you have never tried roasting garlic before it is so simple to do and is absolutely heavenly! Roasting the garlic turns it almost to the consistency of butter and gives it a sweeter, less powerful taste. This roasted garlic spinach dip is creamy and packed with garlic flavor and the spinach gives it the perfect “dip” texture.

We had never eaten roasted garlic until last year. My husband and I took an overnight trip to a nice hotel and then went to a concert. We made fun of ourselves the whole weekend because we, being in our thirties, were on this trip to see James Taylor perform, who was in his sixties. My husband and I went to UNC Chapel Hill and James Taylor lived in Chapel Hill for some time so we have always enjoyed his music. While on our little getaway we ate at the hotel restaurant and were served the best, fresh bread with a side of roasted garlic for spreading. After the first bite or two my husband and I were both addicted!

Since that I trip I look for ways to sneak roasted garlic into recipes and though it is a bit time consuming, could not be more simple. Just slice of the very top off the head of garlic and pour a bit of olive oil over the top. Sprinkle the garlic lightly with salt and pepper and wrap in foil and bake at 375 F for 45 minutes. Once it is cool you can easily squeeze out the roasted cloves to use in your dish. When I roast garlic I often plan to roast several bulbs at once and then try to plan other meals over the coming days that can use that amazing garlic flavor. For example, this week I made a second bulb and put it in the food processor with some olive oil, fresh herbs, salt and pepper. I then used that mixture to marinate chicken breasts which then were seared and roasted. Delicious!

Creamy spinach dip that is bursting with roasted garlic flavor

 

Roasted Garlic Spinach Dip
Print Recipe
Creamy spinach dip that is bursting with roasted garlic flavor
Servings Prep Time
6 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
65 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
65 minutes
Roasted Garlic Spinach Dip
Print Recipe
Creamy spinach dip that is bursting with roasted garlic flavor
Servings Prep Time
6 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
65 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
65 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Roast the garlic by heating oven to 375F. Cut top 1/4 off head of garlic. Place on piece of foil. Cover cut portion of garlic with olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Close foil. Roast for 45 minutes. Allow to cool.
  2. Lower temperature on oven to 350F. Heat frozen spinach per package instructions. Strain to remove as much water as possible.
  3. In a bowl, mix the cream cheese, mayonnaise, and sour cream. Add all of the cloves of roasted garlic and mix to break up the garlic. Add mozzarella, spinach, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a lightly greased dish. Top with parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes.
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Chicken and Pickled Jalapeno Pizza

Chicken seasoned with a blend of spices, pickled jalapeno slices, caramelized onions, infused olive oil top this pizza to create a flavor explosion!

Chicken and Pickled Jalapeno Pizza

The pizza I concocted this week was admittedly a bit unusual, but ended up being fantastic! As with many of the dishes I make, it  started with the basic concept of something we know that we like, such as pizza, and then experiment from there. I love caramelized onions and cilantro, two things that really would not seem to go together all. My husband loves cherry peppers and pickled jalapenos so I threw those on the pizza, too. Chicken and cheese were all of the additional ingredients that were needed to bring this pickled jalapeno pizza together. Often strange combinations end up being amazing and this pizza was sweet, sour, and spicy, hitting all of the right flavors.

There was a time, not very long ago, that I would have said that I hated pretty much anything pickled. I still will not eat a dill pickle if you paid me to and do not understand why so many restaurants serve them with a sandwich. My husband, on the other hand, literally buys them by the giant jar-full to eat as a snack. I have come to actually like some pickled foods, such as pickled jalapenos and pickled red onions.  The taste of vinegar is definitely an acquired taste. Now if I could only get my family to try eating turnip greens with some vinegar poured over them I would be happy.  This, strangely, used to be one of my favorite foods as a kid. There is no chance anyone in my house will even try it!

My gardening goals for the coming year is to master growing peppers. I have attempted jalapenos in the past but most of them ended up rotting before they were of a decent size. This summer I vow to figure out how to remedy this and grow some yummy cherry peppers as well. Banana peppers would be a fun pizza addition so these may be something I can plant, too. Any great advice on how I can be successful in this venture is welcomed.

Chicken seasoned with a blend of spices, pickled jalapeno slices, caramelized onions, infused olive oil top this pizza to create a flavor explosion!
Chicken and Pickled Jalapeno Pizza
Print Recipe
Chicken seasoned with a blend of spices, pickled jalapeno slices, caramelized onions, infused olive oil top this pizza to create a flavor explosion!
Servings Prep Time
4 people 45 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 45 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Chicken and Pickled Jalapeno Pizza
Print Recipe
Chicken seasoned with a blend of spices, pickled jalapeno slices, caramelized onions, infused olive oil top this pizza to create a flavor explosion!
Servings Prep Time
4 people 45 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 45 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Instructions
  1. Prepare pizza crust if making your own. Preheat oven according to crust directions.
  2. Create infused olive oil by heating 1/4 cup of olive oil to simmering and adding 3 whole garlic cloves and 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper. Simmer for 2 minutes then remove from heat while preparing other ingredients.
  3. Caramelize onions by heating a saute pan over medium low heat. Add butter and then onions. Stir onions occasionally as you do not want them to burn. You may need to add a small amount of olive oil if they seem to be too dry. You may season lightly with salt and pepper. After about 40 minutes (or more) they should be very soft and brown. Remove from heat.
  4. While onions are cooking, proceed to making chicken. Make spice mixture by combining salt, pepper, ancho chile pepper, cumin, onion powder, and garlic powder.
  5. Heat saute pan over medium and add a small amount of olive oil. Season chicken pieces with the spice mixture and toss to coat. Add chicken to pan and cook until just done.
  6. Prepare pizza by spreading a thin layer of infused oil on crust. Sprinkle the Tbsp of minced cherry peppers over the crust. Top with shredded mozzarella.
  7. Top with caramelized onions, seasoned chicken, and pickled jalapeno slices. Bake until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.
  8. Top cooked pizza with chopped, fresh cilantro.
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Southwestern Frittata

A flavorful southwestern frittata loaded with vegetables, chiles, hash browns, sausage, and melted cheese that is great for breakfast or dinner.

Southwestern Frittata

Breakfast for dinner was a complete success this week with this super flavorful southwestern frittata. Frittatas are a great way to use up leftover ingredients, in this case green peppers, onions, and hash browns, and I knew that adding cheese and sausage would make everyone happy. This dish would be great to serve just about any time of day.

I have tried to convince my husband that our next family “pet” needs to be chickens. Fresh eggs would be delightful and would save money. He is always looking for a project to build to use all of those tools that sit in the garage and a chicken coop would be a challenge. Our sweet dog is really struggling and we know that his days are numbered. I don’t want a cat or a fish to replace our dear dog one day and we are too busy for a puppy. Chickens are perfect! Trendy even.

No, no, no he says. I’m pretty sure it is against the homeowner’s association rules as well. I feel quite sure my dog barking is louder than chickens so this rule seems silly. I mentioned the idea to my dad, who happened to grow up on an egg farm of all places, and he thinks it is a stupid idea, too. Apparently wild animals will come after my chickens and chickens poop a lot. So much for my dream of fresh egg frittatas every week.

A flavorful southwestern frittata loaded with vegetables, chiles, hash browns, sausage, and melted cheese that is great for breakfast or dinner.

Southwestern Frittata

A flavorful southwestern frittata loaded with vegetables, chiles, hash browns, sausage, and melted cheese that is great for breakfast or dinner.
Southwestern Frittata
Print Recipe
A flavorful southwestern frittata loaded with vegetables, chiles, hash browns, sausage, and melted cheese that is great for breakfast or dinner.
Servings Prep Time
8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
A flavorful southwestern frittata loaded with vegetables, chiles, hash browns, sausage, and melted cheese that is great for breakfast or dinner.
Southwestern Frittata
Print Recipe
A flavorful southwestern frittata loaded with vegetables, chiles, hash browns, sausage, and melted cheese that is great for breakfast or dinner.
Servings Prep Time
8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Heat saute pan to medium. Add pork sausage and crumble and brown the sausage until cooked. Drain the meat, leaving enough fat to lightly coat the bottom of the pan.
  2. Add green peppers and onion to the pan and stir occasionally until softened, approximately 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add green chiles, frozen hash browns, and garlic to the pan and stir. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Crack the eggs into a bowl. Add the buttermilk. Whisk. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Add sausage and 1 cup of the shredded cheese to the pepper/onion/hash brown mixture and stir to combine. Pour the egg and milk combination into the pan and stir gently for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake at 350F for 15 minutes. Top with the remaining 1 cup of cheese and bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and eggs appear set.
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Crockpot Beef Tacos

Easy, spicy beef tacos slow cooked in the crockpot and topped with your favorite Tex Mex ingredients

Crockpot Beef Tacos

There could be no more perfect of a weeknight meal than spicy beef tacos, cooked effortlessly in a crockpot while I am at work. These crockpot beef tacos are an easy meal that can be pulled together in minutes and they allow for lots of creativity with the toppings you put on them. I can add cilantro and pickled red onions to just about anything, and these tacos are the perfect vessel for both.

My sweet and loving husband knows my love of Mexican food is so great that he gifted me with a trip to a Mexican cooking class together. The chef prepared several amazing dishes, the very best of which was the most delicious taco I have ever eaten. I’m sure my husband would rather have been at a steakhouse, but I was thrilled to be at the cooking class. He sets the bar too high when it comes to creative gift ideas!

Beef tacos have to be my hands-down favorite taco. Beef seems to take on the warm, spicy flavors so well and can be topped with just about any topping that you wish to add. I think my husband requests shrimp tacos even more often that beef, so the struggle to pick what to make can be tough! The local Mexican restaurant that we go to has a taco platter that we love to buy that has a variety of tacos: beef, chicken, shrimp, fish, chorizo. One day I would love to have a dinner party and try to have nothing but unique, fancy tacos. One day…

Tonight, the crockpot!

Easy, spicy beef tacos slow cooked in the crockpot and topped with your favorite Tex Mex ingredients

Crockpot Beef Tacos

Easy, spicy beef tacos slow cooked in the crockpot and topped with your favorite Tex Mex ingredients
Crockpot Beef Tacos
Print Recipe
Easy, spicy beef tacos slow cooked in the crockpot and topped with your favorite Tex Mex ingredients
Servings Prep Time
6 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
7-8 hours
Servings Prep Time
6 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
7-8 hours
Easy, spicy beef tacos slow cooked in the crockpot and topped with your favorite Tex Mex ingredients
Crockpot Beef Tacos
Print Recipe
Easy, spicy beef tacos slow cooked in the crockpot and topped with your favorite Tex Mex ingredients
Servings Prep Time
6 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
7-8 hours
Servings Prep Time
6 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
7-8 hours
Ingredients
Crockpot beef
Jalapeno cream sauce
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Optional step for best texture and flavor: heat heavy bottomed pan on medium heat and add one tablespoon of olive oil. Sear meat on all sides, approximately two minutes per side.
  2. Place meat in crockpot. Season evenly with cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, Ancho chili powder, and chipotle peppers. Add stock to pot.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours.
  4. Remove meat from pot and shred with a fork.
  5. Prepare cream sauce by simply mixing the sour cream and jalapeno. May thin the sauce with a small amount of lime juice if desired.
  6. Assemble tacos with warmed tortillas, beef, and desired toppings.
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