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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Grilled Dr. Pepper Pork Tenderloin

  • 1 12-ounce can Dr. Pepper
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, smashed or roughly chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped (plus green ends for garnish, if desired)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce
  • 2-3 lb. pork tenderloin
  • 1
    Pierce pork tenderloins several times with a fork and place in a Ziploc bag. Set aside.
  • 2
    Whisk together remaining ingredients and pour over the pork. Marinate for at least four hours, not longer than overnight.
  • 3
    When ready to cook, preheat grill over medium-high heat. (My grill temp was roughly 425 degrees.)  Set one side of the grill to high and the other to low. Lightly oil grates. Place the tenderloins on the side set to medium-low and cook for 7 minutes. Flip and cook for 6 minutes. Leave the lid closed, turn off heat, and allow to stand for 5 more minutes (an internal temperature should read at least 145 degrees F.) Slice into 1/2" slices and serve with veggies and rice if desired. (I served mine with mashed potatoes.)
  • *

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Crack Bars

  • 6-8 chocolate graham crackers
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup peanut butter chips
  • ⅔ cups coarsely chopped salted peanuts (I used sliced almonds.)
  • 1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used half semi-sweet and half dark chocolate.)
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Line a 9x9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly spray with nonstick spray.
  3. Place crackers in single layer of pan to fully cover the bottom. Break the crackers as necessary to fit.
  4. Spread brown sugar on the bottom of a small saucepan. Cut butter into about 8 slices and place on top of sugar. Place pan on top of medium-high heat and without stirring bring to a boil. Let boil about 2-4 minutes or until smooth and brown in color.
  5. Pour toffee mixture (sugar and butter) over graham crackers and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Bake for about 5 minutes at 425 degrees F to set.
  6. Sprinkle peanut butter chips evenly over crackers and place back in oven for about 2 minutes or until chips start to melt. Remove from oven and spread chips evenly over crackers.
  7. Sprinkle chopped nuts on top and gently press into the smooth peanut butter chips. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over nuts and place back in oven for about 2 minutes or until chocolate chips start to melt. Spread chocolate evenly over nuts. Cool.
  8. Place in refrigerator for about an hour or until chocolate sets. Break or cut into pieces.
Need a step-by-step visual?  To see the video demo of this recipe, click here!


Crockpot Sweet Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Serves 10-12.
In the Crockpot:
  • 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 and 1/2 - 3 pound boneless pork tenderloin
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup chicken broth
Chipotle Honey Sauce:
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup + 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Seasoned salt and pepper
  • 1/2 - 1 full chipotle chile in adobo
  • Sandwich buns
  • This coleslaw recipe
  1. Grease a large crockpot (I use a 6-quart) with nonstick spray. Line the bottom with the thinly sliced onions (2 medium or 1 very large).
  2. Place the pork on top.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, chili powder, minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of seasoned salt, and ground cumin. Rub into the pork. Pour the chicken broth over the pork.
  4. Cook for 6-8 hours on high or 9-11 hours on low.
  5. Once the meat is completely cooked through, drain the liquid and discard (or eat) the onions.
  6. Using two forks shred the pork.
  1. In a blender combine the ketchup, brown sugar, honey, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, minced garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper.
  2. Add in 1/2 to 1 full chipotle chiles (to taste and heat preference. Add VERY slowly because it's always easy to increase if you want more heat. If you are very sensitive to heat just add the sauce around the chiles in small quantities.)
  3. Blend until smooth.
  4. Pour the sauce over the pork and mix until combined.
  1. Prepare the coleslaw according to directions (click the above link).  (I made a few modifications to the coleslaw recipe.  First, I used 1/2 a head of green cabbage and 1/2 a head of red cabbage.  Instead of grating carrots, I used one bag of pre-shredded (matchstick) carrots.)  For the dressing, I only used 1 tsp. of celery salt.  
  2. Top sandwich with prepared coleslaw and enjoy!


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Easy! Mini Bacon Cheeseburger Quinoa Bites


  • 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • scant 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 slices bacon
  • 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup chopped pickles
  • 3 Tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 - 2 Tablespoons mustard (optional) (Use it.)
  • 2 eggs + 2 egg whites


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees then place mini muffin tin (24 mini cups total) on top of a baking sheet and set aside. Whisk eggs AND egg whites together in a small bowl then set aside.
  2. Combine quinoa and chicken broth in a small saucepan then bring to a boil. Place a lid on top then lower heat and simmer until quinoa has absorbed all the broth and is tender, 10 minutes or so. Fluff, then set aside to cool.
  3. Meanwhile add bacon to a medium-sized skillet over medium heat then cook until crisp. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, then chop or crumble when cool enough to handle. Turn heat up to medium-high, then add beef to bacon grease, season with salt and pepper, and saute until cooked through. Drain beef then return to skillet and stir in Worcestershire sauce. Set aside to cool.
  4. In a large bowl, combine slightly cooled quinoa, beef, bacon, cheese, pickles, ketchup, mustard, eggs, salt, and pepper, then stir until well combined. Spray mini muffin tins VERY well with nonstick spray then scoop mixture to the top of each mini cup. Place back on top of baking sheet then bake for 15-20 minutes or until tops are golden brown. (Mine took 20 minutes.) Let bites cool in the muffin tins for 5 minutes before running a knife around the outside edges and popping out.
  5. To freeze: Place baked bites on a baking sheet then freeze until solid, and then transfer to a freezer bag. Microwave for 20-40 seconds on high to reheat.
  6. *

Friday, July 22, 2016

Easy! One Pan Cheesy Enchilada Pasta

  • 1 lb. lean hamburger (I used ground turkey.)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles (I used a 4 oz. can)
  • 2 (10-ounce) cans red enchilada sauce (Use mild.)
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can chicken broth
  • 1/2 lb ziti noodles (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Optional toppings: tomatoes, avocados, sour cream, cilantro, olives, green onions


Cook the hamburger in a large skillet over medium heat until browned. (If you are using hamburger, I would assume you would have to drain.  I did not have to with the turkey.)  Stir in the onions, green chiles, and taco seasoning and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in enchilada sauce and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Then stir in the noodles and bring the heat to low. Stir and then cover. Cook for 10-12 minutes, or until the noodles are cooked. Stir halfway through to prevent the noodles from sticking.  DON'T FORGET TO STIR AT HALFTIME.  PASTA STICKS!
Remove from heat and stir in sour cream and 1/2 cup cheese. Then sprinkle the remaining cup of cheese on top and cover with the lid until melted.
Top with your favorite toppings.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Creamy Parmesan Pesto Chicken Skillet

While this dish looks difficult because of its more lengthy ingredient list than usual, it is super easy once the ingredients are all prepped and ready to go.  
Once you have your ducks in a row, this dish is a piece of cake!  Soooooo good!


  • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced horizontally to create 4 thin fillets
  • olive oil for cooking (I used garlic infused.)

Pesto Chicken Rub
  • 3 tablespoons pesto
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Parmesan Pesto Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (I used garlic infused.)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8 ounces cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, thinly sliced (I probably used about 6 oz.)
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced (I used 4.  I got nervous.)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup half and half or heavy cream or more to taste* (see notes below)
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon (optional) (one bouillon cube works too!)
  • 1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. CHICKEN: In a small bowl, whisk together all of the Pesto Chicken Rub ingredients. Rub mixture all over chicken and let sit at room temperature while you prep your veggies (up to 30 minutes) or refrigerate up to 8 hours, then bring to room temperature before cooking.
  2. When ready to cook, heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Once very hot, add chicken and cook 2-3 minutes or until golden, flip, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Continue to cook 4-7 minutes (depending on thickness) or until chicken is cooked through. Transfer to plate and tent with foil.
  3. SAUCE: Reduce heat to medium and melt 1 tablespoon butter in same skillet you used to cook chicken (do not wipe out skillet). Add mushrooms, and cook, stirring often, for 4 minutes then add shallots, oregano, thyme, and optional red pepper flakes; cook 3 more minutes, stirring often. Sprinkle in flour and garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring often (it will be thick).
  4. Turn heat to low. Slowly stir in half of the chicken broth. Whisk remaining half of broth with 1 tablespoon cornstarch and gradually add to skillet followed by optional cream/half and half. Bring to a simmer for 1 minute or until slightly thickened. Add 1/4 cup pesto, optional chicken bouillon, and asparagus, and simmer 2 minutes or until asparagus is crisp tender and sauce has thickened. If sauce becomes too thick, add chicken broth or cream to thin.
  5. Stir in peas followed by Parmesan until melted. Add chicken back to skillet. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve with/over noodles, potatoes, or rice and garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.


The half and half or cream is completely optional, as the dish is totally flavorful without it. While it does make the dish a bit more creamy, it is definitely not necessary.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

One Pot Italian Chicken and Orzo



  • 2 chicken breasts, chopped into bite size pieces (about 1 pound)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons pesto, divided
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup quartered zucchini
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped (I used yellow.)
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 14.5 oz. can crushed tomatoes (14.5 was hard to find, so buy a 28 oz. can and measure accordingly.  Freeze the other half!)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (I didn't have low-sodium and it was totally fine!)
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon or (one chicken bouillon cube), optional*
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt*
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I used Romano cheese...that's what I had on hand.)


  1. Heat olive oil in a large NONSTICK pan over medium high heat until very hot.  (I used a Dutch oven.)  Add onions, carrots, zucchini, and red peppers to hot pan.  Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and sauté for about three minutes.  
  2. Toss chicken with 1 tablespoon pesto and add to the veggie mixture in pan.  Sauté for about two minutes, then add uncooked orzo and garlic and cook for an additional two minutes.
  3. Stir in crushed tomatoes, 2 tablespoons remaining pesto, chicken broth, chicken bouillon, and seasonings. Bring to a simmer, cover, and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for 8-12 minutes, or until vegetables and orzo are tender, stirring every 5 minutes so the orzo doesn’t burn and covering pot after each stir.  (The orzo does stick, so be sure to stir.)
  4. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if desired. Garnish with fresh Parmesan and parsley (optional).


*If you omit the bouillon, then increase salt to 1/2 teaspoon.