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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Barbacoa Tacos (in the crock pot!)

  • 3 lbs. chuck roast, fat trimmed and cut into large chunks
  • ½ medium white onion, coarsely chopped
  • ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (add 1 Tablespoon of adobo sauce if you like it spicy) (For a kid-friendly version, I only used one chipotle chile and also seeded it.)
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Toppings: cilantro, cheese, chopped tomatoes, avocado, sour cream, limes
  • Your favorite soft flour tortillas

1. Place the chunks of roast in a 6-8 quart slow cooker.

2. Add all of the remaining ingredients (onion through beef broth) to a blender. Blend until smooth.

3. Pour over meat and top with the bay leaves. Cook for 6-8 hours on low or until meat starts to fall apart.

4. Remove bay leaves and shred meat with two forks and then return to the juices in the slow cooker. Serve with a slotted spoon onto tortillas. Top with favorite fixins'; cilantro, cheese, tomatoes, sour cream, avocado, and a squeeze of lime.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Chili-Lime Chicken

The original recipe called for boneless, skin-on thighs, but I used chicken tenders.  

2 – 2.5 lbs. chicken tenders or breasts
Marinade Ingredients: 
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
3 teaspoons fresh lime zest
1/4 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped finely
2 jalapeño, chopped finely (Remove the ribs and seeds for less spice.)
4 garlic cloves, chopped finely
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon chili powder or to taste
(I put handful of cilantro, ribbed/seeded chunks of jalapeño, and whole garlic cloves in food processor for easier prep!)
1. Place the chicken in a Ziploc bag.  In a bowl, mix all the marinade ingredients together using a whisk.  Make sure it is well combined.
2. Add marinade to the Ziploc bag and make sure to stir and coat the chicken evenly. Marinate for 2 hours.  (I marinated for 4.)
4. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.  For tenders, grill for 3-4 minutes per side, or until chicken is fully cooked.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Maple Mustard Chicken Thighs

  1. Ingredients:
  2. 1/3 cup spicy brown mustard
  3. 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  4. 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  5. 1/4 cup real maple syrup
  6. 1 tablespoon grated onion
  7. 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  8. 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  9. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  10. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  11. 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
  12. kosher salt

  1. Place the chicken thighs in a large Ziploc bag.
  2. Combine brown mustard, brown sugar, maple syrup, yellow mustard, grated onion, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, and black pepper in a small mixing bowl. (It makes about one cup.)  Pour half of the mixture (I used 3/4 cup) over the chicken thighs and refrigerate for 2-4 hours. 
  3. When ready to cook, preheat grill to medium heat (about 400 degrees). Remove the thighs from the bag and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Cook the thighs 3-5 minutes per side. Brush both sides of the thighs with reserved sauce before serving.


Cheesy Garlic Parmesan Spinach Orzo

  • 1½ cups uncooked orzo pasta (I used DeLallo whole wheat.)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2½ teaspoons minced garlic (I used 2 large cloves.)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 1 cup milk (I used 2%.)
  • ⅔ cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped (I didn't want big chunks of spinach, so I put two large handfuls into a mini food processor and finely chopped.) 
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese (plus extra for topping) (Add in increments...I don't think it needs that much.)

  1. Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. (I used a 12" skillet.)  Add garlic, a pinch of salt and pepper, and saute for 1 minute until garlic is fragrant.
  3. Add flour to garlic and oil and whisk for one minute. Add about ¼ cup of the milk to the pot and whisk to work out any lumps. When lumps are gone, add the remaining milk and whisk to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 8 minutes or until sauce is thickened.
  4. Add chopped spinach to sauce. Cook an additional 2 minutes or so until spinach is soft and dark. Remove sauce from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese. When cheese has melted, add orzo and stir to combine. If desired, serve with extra Parmesan cheese and serve immediately. Enjoy!
  5. (Over time, the cheese really soaks up the milk, so if you feel that it is not creamy enough, use a little bit more milk.  Next time, I'll probably use 1 1/4 cup.)


Reese's Pieces Soft PB Cookies


1 large egg
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (do not use homemade or natural peanut butter; use Jif, Skippy, or similar)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
1 cup Reese's Pieces
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large bowl and electric hand mixer), cream together the first 5 ingredients (through vanilla) on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, baking soda, optional salt, and mix on low speed until just incorporated, about 1 minute; don't overmix.
  3. Add the Reese's Pieces and chocolate chips, and blend until just incorporated.
  4. Using a medium 2-inch cookie scoop, form heaping tablespoon mounds (I made about 27). Place mounds on a large plate, flatten mounds slightly with your palm, cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 5 days, before baking. Do not bake with warm dough because cookies will spread and bake thinner and flatter.
  5. Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat or spray with cooking spray. Place mounds on baking sheet, spaced about 2 inches apart. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just beginning to set, even if slightly undercooked, pale and glossy in the center. Do not bake longer than 11 minutes because cookies will firm up as they cool (The cookies shown in the photos were baked with dough that had been chilled overnight, allowed to come to room temp for 15 minutes, and were baked for 8 minutes, with trays rotated at the 4-minute mark. They have slightly chewy edges with soft, pillowy centers). Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a rack to finish cooling.
  6. Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 4 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.

One-Pan Italian Sausage Tortellini

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups diced onions
  • 1 pound mild Italian sausage
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ cup chicken broth (Use low-sodium so you can regulate salt later.)
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup regular or heavy cream
  • 9 ounces tortellini (fresh or frozen)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach, loosely packed (I chopped mine.)
  • (I had carrots to get rid of, so I also food processed about 1/4 cup to add to "sauce.")


1. Heat olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. When the oil is very hot, add the onions. Squeeze the sausage from the end of the link to remove it from its casing and add directly into the pan. Use a spatula to break up the sausage into bite-sized pieces. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is browned. Reduce heat to low, then add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Add broth, tomatoes, cream, (carrots), and tortellini to the skillet. Stir to combine. Increase heat and bring to a boil.

3. Cover, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes until tortellini are tender and heated through. Taste the sauce and add of salt and pepper to taste. 

4. Add spinach and stir until softened and wilted. Remove from heat and serve.


Sunday, June 21, 2015

No Bake Energy Bites

so yummy!


  • 1 cup (dry) oatmeal (I used old-fashioned oats.)
  • 2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes (I used unsweetened.)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips or cacao nibs (optional) (I used dark chocolate chips.)
  • 1/3 cup honey or agave nectar (I used honey.)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed. Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for about thirty minutes.
  2. Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like. (Mine were about 1" in diameter.) Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.
  3. Makes about 20-25 balls.