Receive Newest Posts by Email!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Sweet Potato Farro Salad

I prepped the farro, dressing, and fixins mid-afternoon so it was ready to throw together at dinner time!
  • 1 cup Pearled Farro, plain
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 cup chicken broth or water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 3/4 cup Italian flat leaf parsley not curly parsley, not packed
  • 2 and 1/4 cups (1-2 large) sweet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries or cherries
  • Optional: shaved Parmesan cheese
  • (I added chicken, so you can grill a couple of seasoned/marinated breasts or just buy a rotisserie!)
  • 1 large lemon 4 tablespoons juice & 1/2 teaspoon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a medium saucepan, add the farro, apple cider, chicken broth/water, bay leaves, and 1 teaspoon salt. Follow package instructions to cook (bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer until the farro is tender and liquid evaporates). Remove and discard bay leaves.
  3. Meanwhile, peel and chop a sweet potato into small bite-sized pieces.
  4. Place the sweet potato pieces on the pan and drizzle olive oil on the pieces. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes and then flip/stir around and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until tender.
  6. While the potatoes are cooking: prepare the dressing. Combine all of the dressing ingredients except the olive oil in a blender or food processor. I like to add about 1/4 teaspoon salt to the dressing (optional)
  7. Pulse for about 10 seconds and then add in the olive oil. Pulse 1-2 times until just combined.
  8. Coarsely chop the pistachios and coarsely chop the parsley.
  9. When the farro is done, allow to slightly cool and then add 2 tablespoons of the prepared dressing.
  10. In a large bowl, pour in the farro mixture, roasted sweet potato, pistachios, parsley, apple, cranberries, and arugula.
  11. Toss with dressing to taste (you might not use all the dressing) and add some shaved Parmesan if desired.
  12. If you want to meal prep or have leftovers, only add arugula to what you will be eating.


Friday, September 22, 2017

Lasagna Soup

While THIS and THIS lasagna soup is equally delicious, this new one is ready in a flash!

  • 1 pound lean ground beef or half Italian sausage
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 24 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
  • 8-10 cups low sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1 14 oz. can can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tsp EACH dried parsley, dried oregano, salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 10 uncooked lasagna noodles broken into approx. 1-2 inch pieces*
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream,optional**
Cheese Garnish
  • shredded mozzarella cheese
  • freshly finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • ricotta cheese

  1. Heat large Dutch oven/large soup pot over medium high heat. Add beef (or beef/sausage combo) and onion and cook, stirring occasionally until beef is browned. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for 30 seconds. Drain off any excess fat.
  2. Add spaghetti sauce, 6 cups chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, sugar, spices, and broken lasagna noodles. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer until lasagna noodles are tender, stirring occasionally (approximately 20-30 minutes).
  3. Discard bay leaf, stir in heavy cream (optional), add and 2-4 cups chicken broth to reach desired consistency. Garnish individual servings with desired amount of cheeses.

*You can also replace the noodles with 2 1/2 cups uncooked small shells if desired and simmer for less time.
**If you want to omit the heavy cream but still would like a thicker soup, I suggest whisking 2 teaspoons cornstarch with some of the chicken broth and adding to the soup to simmer and thicken.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Enchilada Stuffed Shells

Make ahead of time, cover and refrigerate, then bake when ready to serve!

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb. jumbo shells (I used about 15 shells.)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 2 cups enchilada sauce (I use this homemade recipe, but only 3T of chili powder as opposed to 4.)
  • 1 4½ oz can green chiles, drained
  • 2 c. shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 2 c. Mexican shredded cheese, divided
  • 1 tbsp. cilantro, plus more for serving


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350º.  If desired, prepare homemade enchilada sauce and set aside.  
  2. 2. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain.
  3. 3. In a large sauce pan or large high-sided skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Season with chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper.
  4. 4. Add enchilada sauce and DRAINED green chiles to the pan, stirring to combine. Bring to a bubble and let thicken slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. 5. To the chicken, add 1 cup of the prepared sauce, 1 cup of cheese, and the cilantro. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
  6. 6. Spoon a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a large casserole dish. Stuff chicken mixture into shells and arrange stuffed shells on top of sauce, side by side. Spoon remaining sauce over shells and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  7. 6. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the rest is warmed through. Cool slightly, top with cilantro and serve.  (I had sour cream and avocados on hand, too!)

Monday, August 28, 2017

Caramelized Sweet Potato and Kale Fried Wild Rice

*I prepped ALL of these ingredients ahead of time and dinner was ready in a flash!  This is delicious!

3/4 cups wild rice blend + chicken broth (see package directions)
1 Tablespoon butter
1.5 cups of 1/2″ cubed sweet potato (about 1 medium-sized sweet potato)
2 teaspoons brown sugar
4 cups packed chopped curly kale (about 1/2 bunch) (*De-stem the kale.)
1/4 cup roasted and salted pepitas
*cooked chicken (see notes)

For the Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette:
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar 
1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup 
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 
2 cloves garlic, microplaned or finely minced 
salt and pepper

1. Prepare rice according to package instructions using chicken or vegetable broth in place of water. Set aside. (This can also be made ahead of time!) (My rice soaked up the chicken broth way before cooking time was complete.  I added a bit more broth than package directions suggested, so be mindful of the fact that you may need to add a bit more so rice doesn't burn.)
2. Add ingredients for Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette in a jar with a tight fitting lid, shake to combine, and then set aside.
3. Fill a wok or large skillet with water, then bring to a boil. Add a heavy dash of salt and kale then boil until tender, 4-5 minutes. (Be sure that kale is submerged.)  Drain in colander.  When kale is cool enough to handle, squeeze out excess water with hands (I use a thick paper towel), crumble, and then set aside.
4. Turn heat down to medium-high then melt butter in skillet. Add brown sugar and sweet potatoes, season with salt, then sauté until tender and caramelized, 8-10 minutes.
5. Add kale, cooked rice, and Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette to the wok, then toss to combine. Serve topped with pepitas.

This recipe does not call for chicken, however, I had a half of a chicken breast from the night before sitting in my fridge, so I chopped it up and added it to the recipe---complete meal!  If you wish, add some cooked chicken to your meal too!


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Grilled Pork Tenderloin

1 whole pork tenderloin, apporox. 1 pound
1 lime, zest finely grated
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup honey
1.5 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves


1. (Watch video HERE for by by play.)  Trim the pork tenderloin of any excess fat and silver skin.
2. Place the lime zest, lime juice, honey, salt, and garlic powder in a small, lidded jar and shake to combine. Pour half of the marinade mixture into a 1-gallon resealable bag, add the chipotle pepper, and move around to combine. Add the pork tenderloin to the bag and seal, removing as much air as possible and place in a container to catch any leaks. Marinate in the refrigerator for 6 to 24 hours, rotating the bag halfway through the time. Place the remaining marinade in a covered container and refrigerate until ready to use.
3. Remove the tenderloin from the bag and allow to sit at room temperature while preparing the grill. Remove the reserved marinade from the refrigerator.
4. Brush the grill with vegetable oil and set to medium-high heat (I set mine at 400 degrees). Remove the tenderloin from the bag and place in the center of grate. Discard bag with marinade. Cover and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, turning every 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until the tenderloin reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees F.  (I turned every 2 minutes for a total of 15.)
5. Remove the tenderloin from the grill and place on a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil folded at the edges to create a basket, and pour on the reserved marinade. Wrap tightly and rest for 10 minutes. Remove to a cutting board and slice. Garnish with cilantro and serve.
* (Alton Brown)

Monday, August 7, 2017

Cheesy Taco Sticks

  • 1 lb. ground beef (I use 1/2 pound.)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning mix (I made my own mix and used a heaping tablespoon of seasoning.)
  • 1 tube Pillsbury Pizza Dough
  • 5 colby jack and cheddar cheese sticks, halved
  • 4 Tbsp. butter, melted (I halved the butter recipe, so 2 tablespoons of butter and 1/2 teaspoon of both spices.)
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Lightly coat a large baking sheet with non-stick spray and set aside.
  3. Cook the ground beef in a skillet, breaking up with a wooden spoon until fully browned and crumbled. Drain any fat and return skillet to stove top. Mix in the taco seasoning packet (but no water) (I added a little bit of water.), and stir until fully coated. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.*
  4. (If desired, watch THIS video for a play by play.)  Spread the pizza dough out until it's flat and cut in half horizontally and then sliced 4 times vertically, creating a total of 10 small rectangles. Place about a tablespoon or more of the taco meat in the center of each pizza dough, top with a halved cheese stick and then carefully roll up the pizza stick, making sure to pinch all seams closed.  Turn stick over so that the sealed side is face-down on the baking sheet.
  5. Combine the melted butter, garlic powder, and parsley in a small bowl and brush it on the tops of the cheesy taco sticks. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown on top.   Be sure to check on sticks as they bake.  (I actually baked mine at 400 for about 12 minutes because I got nervous.  They should be golden brown (see pic).) Serve hot with your favorite taco toppings!
*You can use leftover taco meat in this recipe. But if you do make the full 1 lb. of ground beef, you will have lots of leftover taco meat, so you can freeze it and save for later use!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad

  • 2 cups miniature farfelle pasta, uncooked
  • 3 cups {either 2, 15-oz. frozen bags/cans, or 3-4 corn on the cob}
  • 1 large avocado
  • 3 green onions
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeño
  • 6-8 strips hardwood smoked bacon
  • 1/2 cup Cotija cheese (or queso fresco or feta -- add cheese to preference (we like 1/2 cup)
  • Optional: 1/2 canned cup black beans
Dressing (I actually doubled this for leftovers, so if you'd like to also, just double the dressing ingredients!)
  • 1/2 cup full fat regular mayo no substitutes
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice and 1/4 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha or hot sauce
  • Pinch of salt and ground black pepper


1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Make sure the pasta is completely dry.

2. Corn: If using corn on the cob, heat the grill to medium. Pull back the husks to the base and take off all the silk from each ear of corn. Fold back the husks into place.

3. Place the ears of corn in a large bowl of water with 1 tablespoon of salt for 10 minutes and then remove from water and shake to dry. Place the corn on the grill, cover the grill, and cook for 15-20 minutes, turning the corn every 5 minutes.

4. (You'll know the corn is done when the kernels are tender and easily pierced with a fork.)

5. Corn: If using pre-roasted canned/frozen corn, drain (canned) and allow to dry. If using regular canned/frozen corn, heat a large cast iron skillet on medium high heat for 3-4 minutes or until very hot. Drain (canned) corn and place in a single layer and cook for about 5 minutes stirring once in between or until browned. Avoid stirring too often as this will keep the corn from getting a good roast.

6. Meanwhile, prep the veggies.  Chop the avocado into small pieces, chop the green onions, coarsely chop the cilantro, very finely chop the jalapeño, and cook then crumble the bacon. Crumble the cheese. Add black beans if desired.

7. In a large bowl, combine the completely dry and cooled pasta, cooled corn, avocado, onions, cilantro, jalapeño, bacon, and cheese. **If you don't plan on eating this in one sitting and immediately after making, don't add the bacon, cheese, or avocado. Add those in separately right before enjoying.**

8. Toss together.

9. In a small bowl, combine all of the dressing ingredients and whisk together until completely combined.

10. Toss with the salad and enjoy!