Monday, April 16, 2018

Chicken & Veggie Fajitas

This is just a nice chicken fajita recipe, complete with lots of veggies.  It seems that most recipes like this use lime juice, which is of course good, but the lemon juice here is a tasty change.
The recipe is from Taste of Home.  I changed it quite a bit and added a lot more vegetables.
Chicken & Veggie Fajitas

for marinade:
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp canola oil
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cleaned and sliced
canola oil
2 onions, halved and sliced
2 bell peppers, cut into strips
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
pint cherry tomatoes
for serving:
desired toppings (cheese, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, etc)
Stir together marinade ingredients, add to sliced chicken and refrigerate 1-6 hours.
Heat 2 tbsp canola oil over medium in large skillet and add onions.  Saute 2 minutes.  Add bell peppers and mushrooms, saute until veggies are cooked to desired tenderness.  Remove to large bowl and keep warm.
Add an additional tablespoon of oil to skillet.  Add chicken and marinade.  Cook until chicken is cooked through.  Add tomatoes and cook until about half of the tomato skins have popped open.  Add reserved veggies back to skillet and heat through.  Serve in tortillas with desired toppings.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Ham & Cheese Biscuit Sandwiches

This recipe's name pretty much explains what it is.  It isn't anything fancy, but very tasty and could be made for any meal.  The recipe is from Budget Bytes and I thought it was genius to bake the biscuits with the ham and cheese inside instead of adding it later.  This way the cheese gets bubbly and perfectly melted, and the ham gets a little browned.  Yum!  You could add a little mustard if you wanted, but they're very good as is.
The toothpicks keep the top biscuits from falling off and the ham from sliding off.  Go on and leave the toothpicks in until you're ready to eat the sandwiches because you'll probably end up with major "drift" if you take them out too soon.
Ham & Cheese Biscuit Sandwiches
2 1/2 C flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
about 1 1/3 C cream
6 slices cheddar cheese
1/2 lb of your favorite ham from the deli, I used Boar's Head Tavern Ham, sliced
Preheat oven to 400.
Stir together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.  Pour 1 C cream over top and mix together with a spoon.  Add additional cream as needed (only a tablespoon or so at a time) until you have a dough that holds together nicely and isn't too dry.  Form into a ball.
Dust a clean surface with flour and place the ball on top.  Squish with your hands to make a rectangle, then dust with more flour and roll out into a half inch thin rectangle approximately 8 by 11 inches.  Cut into 12 biscuit squares, in 3 rows of 4.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put half of the biscuit squares on the sheet.  Top each with a slice of cheese (broken to fit as needed), then evenly divide the ham among them.  Top with the 6 leftover biscuit squares, then secure with a toothpick so the tops won't slide off.
Bake until the top biscuit is golden, about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on your oven.
Serve immediately, but remember not to eat the toothpicks!

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Instant Pot Mac & Cheese

I'm back!  Wasn't gone for any particular reason and I was still cooking, just not adding new recipes to the blog.  Anyway!
Because I am me, occasionally I just google "mac and cheese."  On my most recent googling, I came upon the photo for this Instant Pot mac and cheese over at Family Fresh Meals.  It looked so good and creamy, didn't have either of the Devil's Cheeses (American cheese or Velveeta), and I love my Instant Pot, so it got slapped on the menu for Easter.  
Oh boy, did this mac and cheese not disappoint!  It is simply phenomenal.  Silky smooth sauce, very cheesy, very creamy, great flavor.  The spiral noodles hold onto the sauce perfectly and the garlic powder- something I had never added to mac and cheese- adds something really nice and subtle.  My beloved husband, who has been staunchly loyal to Creamy Baked Mac & Cheese, gave it 10/10 and thought it was almost as good as his favorite.  Which he says gets 11/10 because why not?
Make this if you have an Instant Pot and love mac and cheese!
Quick Note:  Please be sure to use fusilli pasta.  Different shapes of pasta have different cooking times and need different amounts of liquid to cook properly.  I have no idea how this would turn out with macaroni or some other shape of pasta.  Also, one pound of fusilli means literally a pound.  16 ounces by weight, not by volume.  I'm adding this information because a lot of people in the comments over on Family Fresh Meals experienced some confusion in regards to these two things!

 Instant Pot Mac & Cheese
4 C water
1 tsp dried mustard
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3 Tbsp butter
1 lb fusilli pasta (the larger corkscrew type)
5 oz can evaporated milk
12 oz sharp cheddar, freshly grated
4 oz monterey jack, freshly grated
1 oz parmesan, freshly grated
In the Instant Pot, stir together water, dried mustard, salt, garlic powder, and butter.  Make sure there are no lumps of dried mustard or garlic powder.  Add pasta, stir, and press down gently with the spoon to make sure the pasta is as covered with liquid as possible- there should not be an island of fusilli above the surface of the liquid.
Place on Instant Pot cover, set to seal, and cook on manual for 4 minutes.  Place a dishcloth over the steam release vent, then do a quick pressure release.  There is a very good chance that starchy water will spray up out of the steam release vent, so do keep the towel on it!  
Since the Instant Pot is done cooking, it will have switched to Keep Warm.  Don't turn it off!  
When all the pressure has been released, remove the lid and stir the pasta.  There will still be some liquid in the pot, that's fine- do not drain it.  Add the can of evaporated milk, then stir in half of the cheese until completely melted.  Then add the rest of the cheese.
Enjoy your mac and cheesy heaven!
Yield: 8 side dish servings or 6 main dish servings

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Badass Beet Salad

I found this recipe for Badass Beet Salad on Boots in the Oven.  I made it with a few small changes, and we really enjoyed it.  Lots of texture and flavor variety, but they all come together nicely.  I served it as the main dish, but we had hard boiled eggs on the side to add a bit more substance.  

A note on the beets: I purchased 2 medium beets and thought it may not be enough, but holy moly, do they ever increase in volume when cut thinly!  One of my beets ended up going into the refrigerator to be cooked the next day.

Also, I do not have a picture of this because I made the foolish mistake of stirring it up.  Still tasted good, but definitely not so pretty.  If you want to see how pretty it is, check out the picture on Boots in the Oven!

Badass Beet Salad

1 medium beet or 2 small ones
1 small orange, zested and supremed, juices saved
1 good squeeze of lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
2/3 C shelled edamame, cooked and cooled
about 3 Tbsp crumbled feta cheese

Chop top and bottom off beets and peel.  Cut into quarters and then slice thinly with a mandolin.  Place in a bowl with the orange zest, orange juice, and lemon juice.  Toss.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Divide beets among 2 serving bowls and top each bowl with half of the edamame, orange slices, and feta.  Do not toss or everything will turn pink!  Serve immediately.

Yield: 2 servings

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats

These Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats are so easy to make and only have 4 ingredients.  They're very rich and peanut buttery.  They're almost like candy- I'll bet they would be awesome cut into small squares (or rectangles!) and dipped in chocolate to make candy bars.  I found the recipe on
Quick Note: My finished "sheet" of treats was about 9 by 9 inches, but I found it easier to use a 9 by 13 pan and just not spread the mixture over the entire thing.  My parchment paper is about 15 inches wide and it worked well to just line the pan with a torn of sheet the entire width.  If you do want to use a 9 by 9 pan, cut a sheet of parchment paper about 10 or 11 inches wide.  Alternatively, the mixture is thick enough that you could just put a large piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet, pour on the mixture, and press it into a square as thick as you want with a spatula.
Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats
1 C sugar
1 C corn syrup
1 1/2 C peanut butter
5 C Rice Krispies
Pour Rice Krispies into a large bowl and line a 9 by 9 inch pan with a piece of parchment paper large enough to hang over the sides by a 5 inches.  Set aside.
Place sugar, corn syrup, and peanut butter in a medium sauce pan and heat over medium until it comes to a slight boil.  Stir constantly and let simmer for a couple of minutes.  The mixture will be very thick and can burn easily.  It may not look like much of a simmer because it's so thick and you're stirring the whole time, but just stick with it.
Remove pan from heat and immediately pour over Rice Krispies.  Stir until cereal is completely coated.  Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and spread with a spatula.  Press flat your hand over the folded edges of parchment paper.
Let set an hour or so until cool, then cut into squares and serve.
Yield: Completely depends on how large you cut them.  I got about 16 squares.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Default Green Smoothie

Charming name, no?  I picked it because that's what it is: the default smoothie I make several times a week with the Vitamix blender we received as a gift (thanks, Mom!).  You can get creative with the fruit and use all the same kind or a mix.  Also, if I put in apples, I sometimes leave out the carrots because even with a Vitamix blender, there's a little more texture in the finished smoothie than I prefer.  It's not bad by any means, though.  You could also try adding cucumbers or zucchini or another mild tasting vegetable instead of the carrots.  I'll do that here one of these days and update the post then.  My husband and I both love this smoothie, no matter how I make it!
I would also like to add that an inexpensive blender may not do a good job with the raw carrot.
Default Green Smoothie
1 C plain greek yogurt
1/2 C cold water
2 bananas
about 3 C somewhat packed down spinach or torn up kale
3/4 C baby carrots
1 1/2 to 2 C fresh or frozen fruit, like strawberries, blueberries, mango chunks, pineapple chunks, peach chunks, apple slices, or peeled oranges
optional: 2 or so Tbsp lemon or lime juice
Place everything in the blender in the order listed in the recipe.  Put on lid and blend according to your blender's directions until smooth.
Yield: 2 large smoothies or 4 small ones

Monday, May 8, 2017


I came upon this borscht recipe on the Learning Herbs website and was intrigued.  Neither my husband nor I had ever eaten borscht before, and the recipe just looked good, so I made it a few days later.  As usual, I changed things around a bit: substantially less pepper, no caraway because I dislike it, and more veggies.  I changed the method a smidge as well.  The results? Wow!  Definitely good!  I'm really glad we liked it because it made a huge amount, about 14 cups.  Healthy, delicious, and even rather pretty- what's not to like?  Next time I may even add the caraway!  I'm excited to make it again because we really liked it, it's quite healthy, and extremely flexible.  Got a ton of carrots?  Toss them in.  No celery?  No problem.  Nice!
2 Tbsp butter
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced (had to leave this out but my broth had a ton of garlic)
about 8 mushrooms, diced
1 large potato, peeled and diced
1 small red cabbage, cored and chopped
3 beets, peeled and diced (this was one bunch)
8 C chicken broth (I used homemade)
8 oz can plain tomato sauce
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp caraway seed
3 bay leaves
greens from the bunch of beets, rinsed and chopped
1-2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
garnish (optional):
sour cream
sliced green onions
fresh dill
quartered hard boiled eggs
Melt butter in large pot.  Add onion, carrot, and celery, and saute over medium until onions are tender.  Add garlic and saute another minute or so.  Add remaining vegetables except beet greens, then pour over broth.  Stir in tomato sauce, pepper, salt, optional caraway, and bay leaves.  Bring soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let cook until veggies are tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.  Stir in beet greens and vinegar, then taste and add more salt or vinegar if desired.  Simmer 5 minutes longer.  Serve in bowls topped with optional garnishes.
Yield: About 3 quarts soup