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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Chicken, Feta, Mango Tacos {Yum!}

A few weeks ago on Facebook I mentioned that I had planned a month of oven-free meals.  Living in the desert heat with a swamp cooler makes it so I don't want to turn my oven on unless I HAVE to.  And 3 weeks later, I've only baked some bread, rolls, and a few batches of cookies. I haven't used the oven once for dinner.  It's been great!  I'll be ready for fall time when I cam turn my oven on all I want! :) 

I've tried a few new recipes that have been so yummy! This is one of my very favorites.  I found it on the Atheno's web page.  They make feta cheese, I LOVE FETA CHEESE! 

The flavors here were awesome, there was the savory taco flavored chicken, with sweet juicy mango bits, tangy feta, buttery smooth avacado and fresh cilantro and tomatoes. I'd thought I'd died and gone to taco heaven!  We'll be enjoying these year round for sure, but I thought they were particualry summer appropriate.  I hope you'll love them as much as I do!



Chicken, Feta, Mango Tacos  

Printable Version {Click Here}


1 ½ pounds chicken, cut into bite size pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-2 tablespoons taco seasoning
¾ cup green salsa
The ingredients below are to top your tacos, you don’t have to have these particular measurements, but this is a rough idea of how much you’ll want.
1 mango, peeled and diced
1 avocado, diced
1-2 tomatoes, diced
⅓ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
¾ cup feta cheese, crumbled
6-8 flour tortillas, cooked and warm


1. In a non-stick skillet heat oil over medium heat and add chicken and taco seasoning, and cook until no longer pink and juices run clear.  Turn off heat and toss with salsa.  (can keep warm on low heat if desired while you chop up everything)
2. While chicken is cooking, warm tortillas and chop the rest of the ingredients and place in bowls for topping each taco.  
3. Top each tortilla with chicken mixture, and the desired amount of the rest of the toppings, roll up and enjoy!.

Recipe Source: Adapted from 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

{Thick & Soft} Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oh my goodness, these are goooooood cookies! I don't think I've ever had a PB chocolate chip cookie that really melted in my mouth like this one did.I had been making peanut butter cookies from a classic cookbook,  but they weren't really hitting the spot. So I googled, soft peanut butter cookies and found this recipe. They looked like what I was after, and they sure hit the spot.  We took them to a friends game party and I got lots of comments that they were really good cookies!  So now that they've met my satisfaction and had good reviews from some friends, I thought they were worth saving as "the peanut butter chocolate chip" recipe that I will always go to.  So now I am sharing them with you.  


{Thick & Soft} Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Printable Version

½ cup butter, softened
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon. baking soda
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cup chocolate chips (I prefer 1 cup mini chocolate chips)


1. Mix the butter and sugar with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer on medium speed until light and creamy in color. Add the peanut butter, egg, and vanilla and beat until combined well.

2. In a separate bowl whisk the dry ingredients together: baking soda, flour, and salt. Stir in chocolate chips.  Slowly add the dry ingredients (⅓ of the mixture at a time) and mix until just combined.  Try not to over mix, this makes the cookies more dry.

3. Cover the dough and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 F.

5. Drop tablespoon-size (approximate) balls onto ungreased cookie sheets, and press each cookie down slightly to flatten.

6. Bake for 9-10 minutes until set and very light in color, they will appear under-done. If you cook until they brown they will be dry and crumbly.  That’s the trick with PB cookies, it’s a bit harder to tell if they are done, but you’ll let them cool on the cookie sheet and they’ll continue to cook a bit more.

7. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 5-10 minutes and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

8. Store in an air-tight container for up to 5 days for optimal freshness.  


Recipe Source: Slightly adapted from Rachel Ray's website

Monday, May 12, 2014

Pizza Bites {or Pizza Rolls}

I spied a recipe on a favorite food blog of mine over a year ago, I pinned it, and then finally made them this last week. And they were a hit, we all loved them! My sweet 3 year old loved making them with me (in fact as we made them she starting telling me how to do it each time she made another one, so I decided to snap a video of her. Check out her tutorial below). And because she made them, she knew they'd be good and she ate them.  She goes in spurts of eating good and not, right now she's in one of the not so good eating stages, but she gobbled these right up.   

I used the same dough recipe I use for making pizza dough or breadsticks, with an added tablespoon of olive oil (a tip I got from Leesh). The breadstick recipe makes 24 breadsticks, so I thought that would be about as many pizza bites as I would get out of the dough too. We used two pieces of pepperoni and a small cube of mozzarella cheese inside each roll, it was perfect, not too bready or cheesey.  Just right! They all fit in a 9x13 pan. 

And don't forget to see this cute video on how to assemble them by a 3 year old. My favorite part occurred after I turned the camera off, she showed me the roll and said, "see mom, it's perfect cause I made it!". Guess we need some lessons on humility around here. Ha!

Here is the YouTube link:


Pizza Bites {or Pizza Rolls}


1 recipe pizza dough
48 slices pepperoni
24 cubes of mozzarella cheese (I cut them about an 1” x ¼” - I guess they are more rectangles)
PIzza or spaghetti sauce for dipping (I like Hunts)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
Garlic salt, Italian seasoning, and parmesan to top

Pizza Dough:
3 cups flour (I use 1 cup whole wheat 2+ cups of all-purpose flour)
1 tablespoon yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil


Make pizza dough first.  Combine flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer and mix to combine.  Add water and olive oil and mix.  Mix for one minute, if dough is still sticky add more flour until it cleans the side of the bowl of your stand mixer (knead in mixer for 3 minutes on high).  If doing by hand after your minute of mixing with a spoon add more flour to the table and need for 3-5 minutes adding flour as needed so that it’s slightly tacky but not too sticky to handle.  

Once done kneading coat counter or table with flour and cover the dough to rest for 10-30 minutes. Grease a 9x13 size pan and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Once dough has rested roll it into a large rectangle about 11x17.  Cut the dough into 24 squares with scissors or pizza cutter. Place a cube of cheese and 2 pepperoni in each square and fold the edges together and pinch it into a roll. Place the seam side down in a greased 9x13 pan. Repeat with the rest of the rolls. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with garlic salt, Italian seasoning and parmesan cheese.  

Bake at 400 for 12-18 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.  Eat while warm and dip in pizza or spaghetti sauce.  


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

Cinco de Mayo is tomorrow. This chicken enchilada recipe is a recipe my mom made for us growing up. It's always been a favorite of ours and anyone we've shared it with. 

The original recipe calls for cream of chicken soup in the sauce.  But I've kind of outlawed it at our house - and make my own from scratch. The recipe is a lot faster to make with the cream of chicken soup, so I've included both versions of the sauce recipe. Pick your way of making it and either way they are both tasty!

I love that I can whip these together pretty fast.  If I don't have precooked chicken in my freezer or canned chicken, I will often throw a pound of chicken in my 1 quart crock pot with a 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and 1/3 cup of water in the afternoon and cook it on low for 4 hours and it's ready just in time to bake these for dinner.  I also have froze these ready made and then thawed before baking, so it's a great freezer meal too.  (I love these kind of meals!)

I've posted a few pictures of the process of making these, it's really simple.  Enjoy some Enchiladas! 

FYI, we love these topped with fresh salsa.  Click here for my favorite quick and easy Restaurant Style Salsa

Recipe below pictures.  


Also, if you are in need of some meal ideas for cinco de mayo, check out our recipe index or these quick links to some other favorites. 

Main Dish
Fajita Seasoning

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

Printable Version

8-12 flour tortillas

For the filling:
1 pound or 2 cups of cooked chicken
½ to 1 large can olives, sliced (use as many olives as you love)
3 green onions, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
½ - 1 cup grated cheese (cheddar, pepper jack, monterey jack or colby)

Sauce (without cream of chicken soup):
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ¾ cup milk
1 tablespoon chicken base (or 3 chicken bouillon cubes)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 3-4 oz can green chiles
½ cup sour cream

Sauce (with cream of chicken soup):
1 small can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1 3-4 oz can green chiles
¼ - ½ cup milk (to make as runny as you like)

More grated cheese for the top (about ½ cup)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  And spray grease a 9x13 casserole size dish.

Start with the sauce.  You’ll want to smother a little sauce in the bottom of the pan to help them from sticking to the pan.  

Option 1: For the from scratch sauce:
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium size sauce pan. Add 3 tablespoons flour and mix, then add milk and whisk thoroughly to make sure the mixture is smooth. Add chicken base/bouillon salt and pepper, let mixture come to a simmer and simmer for 5-10 minutes til mixture is thick and smooth.  Remove from heat and add the green chile and sour cream.

Option 2: Sauce with cream of chicken soup:
Mix soup, sour cream, green chile and ¼ - ½ cup milk until mixture is smooth and has a thick, yet runny consistency.  

Mix the filling mixture together and fill tortillas with 2-3 tablespoons of the filling mixture and roll them up.  Place them in the greased and sauce covered pan.  Smother with the sauce and top with a little cheese.

Bake for 30 minute or until bubbly and slightly browned.  

Serve with salsa on top or any other desired toppings (guacamole, sour cream, green chile sauce.)

Monday, March 31, 2014

Chicken Spiedie Sandwiches

Leesh and I both love this recipe! At our house, we've had these sandwiches twice in the last week. I told my husband last night that these sandwiches are on my top 5 list of favorite dinner foods. So with that being said, they are definitely something you need to try! I kind of consider them a summery food for some reason, but they really could be enjoyed all year long.  

I love these sandwiches for so many reasons....the flavor, the ease, and they just scream "yum" to me when I eat them!  The chicken is marinated in bite size pieces in a lemony herb marinade.  You set aside a little of the marinade to mix in with some mayo and red wine vinegar for the sandwich spread/sauce. The sauce is what sets these sandwiches a part for your regular sandwich.  The sweet zing of the lemon and the tang of the vinegar coupled with the herbs and slight flavor punch from the red pepper flakes is perfect and satisfying on a fresh bun with perfectly cooked chicken.  {Side note: I make French Bread Rolls and Subs in bulk and put them in my freezer, they thaw on the counter in a hour or so or if I forget I defrost them in the microwave. I love having them on hand for sandwiches in general.}

I guess the reason these are called "spiedie" sandwiches is because of the original method of cooking the chicken. The chicken was to be marinated and put on metal skewers and cooked over a charcoal pit.  Now there are several ways you can cook this meat and still get a great flavor.   I've cooked them on the grill on skewers, and I've also broiled the chicken pieces in the oven and simply baked it. All the results have been satisfying. I prefer the oven cook method because I don't feel like skewering chicken on skewers and then me lazy, but sometimes I just am. It's really not that much more work, but I'm all about simplifying everything I can.

The last time we made them I drained the marinade and baked them on a silicone baking liner. They meat was so tender and juicy. It was simply perfect! I really hate over cooked dry chicken, and was so glad this turned out so good.  I just use my meat thermometer and make sure they reach 165 degrees. 

Serve these sandwiches hot for the most desired result. And enjoy! You'll be back for seconds...

Chicken Spiedie Sandwiches

**Note: I generally follow the recipe. But this is such a tasty combo that if I’m in a real rush, I usually have chicken in bite sized pieces frozen in a quart size bag and then I’ll just sprinkle and splash all the ingredients [without measuring, I know I’m a rebel]  into the bag to marinate.  It has always turned out fine.  And for the sauce if I do this method, I just get some mayo and with the same idea, splash in some red wine vinegar, lemon juice and a dash or two of all the seasonings.  

Printable Version


½ cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced/chopped fine
½ tablespoon basil
½ teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons grated zest and 1 tablespoon juice from one lemon (if you don’t have a fresh lemon, you can skip the zest and use bottled lemon juice)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1-2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken cut into bite size pieces
6 6-inch sub rolls or sandwich buns


  1. Combine oil, garlic, basil, oregano, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes in a medium sized mixing bowl.
  2. Transfer 1-2 tablespoons oil mixture to separate bowl and whisk in mayonnaise, vinegar, and lemon juice; refrigerate. Sauce can be refrigerated, covered for 2 days.
  3. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces, and transfer to bowl with remaining oil mixture. Refrigerate, covered, for 30 minutes or up to 12 hours.
  4. There are a few ways to cook this.  
    Grilling Method:
Thread chicken onto skewers. If you are using wood, soak them in water for 15-20 minutes before using on an outdoor grill to avoid burning. Grill chicken until browned and cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes, turning once or twice. Or use an indoor grill pan for similar results.
Oven-Broiled Method:
Turn oven to broil on high.  Place chicken on broiler pan in oven and bake 5-7 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Keep a close on in it so it doesn’t burn.
Oven-Baked Method:
Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking liner or foil for easy clean up. Arrange chicken so it’s spread out and not touching if you can.  Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes. Check chicken and bake longer if needed. Make sure it reaches 165 degrees F.  

If you want you can toast the buns/rolls.  Place cooked chicken on rolls and drizzle with sandwich sauce or spread the sauce on the top and bottom of the roll.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe, with a few adaptations.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Apple of My Eye - Valentines {& other Valentine Ideas}

My daughter and I made some Valentines for her preschool class, and I was just tickled that we happened to have these Mike Wasowski apple juice boxes, because they fit the saying, "You are the APPLE of my EYE", just perfectly.  

I don't think there is much explaning to do on how to make this, it was easy-peasy!  And I was happy to not be handing out more candy....we get too much of that around here! 

I also wanted to share some other Valentine treat ideas that have already been posted on the blog.  Feel free to look through these ideas and for other dessert and dinner ideas for your Valentine!

Lots of LOVE!  

Mile High Pie, is a family favorite. And it's even pink from the strawberries in it!  It's a light and airy dessert that will please anyone.  Click here for the recipe. 

 Classic Homemade Oreo's with heart sprinkles and pink or white frosting 
for a Valentine's touch.

 Peanut Butter & Chocolate say "I LOVE YOU" to me! These are a favorite! 

Nothing says "I LOVE YOU" like a Giant Heart Shaped Cookie!
 And if a GIANT heart is too much for you, I think a GIANT cookie will also say "I LOVE YOU" just fine. 

These Chocolate Curls {a how-to} are the perfect topping to a 
favorite dessert or cake! 
They add the perfect LOVEly touch for a special Valentines day! 

Need a gift for your loved one?  These Deluxe Chocolate Truffles are a lovely homemade treat!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pumpkin Coconut Curry Soup

We had some family stay with us this past weekend and my sister-in-law, Alissa, thought that we would love this soup.  So we rounded up the ingredients and made some naan to go with it. It was sooooo good.  Last fall I had attempted a pumpkin coconut soup and really didn't like it, but she said this one was good, and I can trust her taste!  The one I made last year had lime juice in it and it totally ruined the flavor I thought (we ended up getting a pizza or something cause we couldn't' even gag it down).  This soup was a total hit for the whole lot of us at the house last weekend!  It has a slight hint of heat from the turmeric and red pepper flakes, which seemed to really make the soup.  I really loved cooking the onions in coconut oil too, it added so much flavor! 

Since it's pumpkin season and soup season I thought this was the perfect recipe to share! I hope you'll enjoy it as much as we did!  Thanks for introducing us to this soup, Alissa! It will be a family favorite from here on out.

Pumpkin Coconut Curry Soup

¼ cup coconut oil
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups veggie or chicken broth
1 teaspoon curry powder (I use yellow)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon turmeric
pinch of saigon cinnamon
1 (15 ounce) can 100% pumpkin puree
1 cup coconut milk


Heat the coconut oil in a stock pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Mix in the veggie/chicken broth, curry powder, salt, coriander, crushed red pepper flakes, turmeric, and cinnamon. Cook and stir until the mixture comes to a gentle boil, about 10 minutes. Cover, and boil 15 to 20 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Pour this portion of the soup into a blender, filling only half way and working in batches if necessary; process until smooth. Return to a pot and whisk in the pumpkin and coconut milk. Cook another 5 minutes to heat through before serving.
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