Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Best Vinaigrette

I topped a salad with this amazing stuff the other day and couldn't get enough of it.  I seriously am excited about eating salads now.  Its so much tastier than bottled dressings and cheaper too.  It lasts for about a week in the fridge.  It would go well with any greens and with any other ingredients- fruit, savory, greek, whatever...
The Best Vinaigrette

(I usually half this if its just me and Brian eating it)

1 C Canola or Grapeseed Oil
1/2 C Red Wine vinegar (I do more like 3/4 C)
S&P 1/6 C sugar ( you can also use honey )
1/3 C finely chopped purple onion
Shake and refrigerate! You can double or triple this amount as well.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Homemade Tortillas

I made these tonight with this chicken for tacos and they were so delicious.  We can't get yummy tortillas around here so this was my last resort and I'm so glad I tried it.  They were super easy and fun to make.  Plus, there's something so fulfilling about making something from scratch.

Homemade Tortillas
A Bountiful Kitchen

2 cups flour (more if needed)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup warm water
3 Tbs. olive oil

Mix all ingredients together in large bowl or mixer, knead for about 3 minutes by hand or mixer. Scrape sides of bowl down.  Add additional 1/2 - 3/4 cups flour until dough isn't that sticky.  Break off 8-10 pieces and roll out to desired thickness on floured surface with rolling pin.  Grease griddle. Cook each tortilla for about 2 minutes per side on hot griddle.  Serve warm.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice with Chicken Sausage

Mmmmm, this was serious comfort food, but also generally healthy. And I love that it was made in the slow cooker.

photo courtesy of Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice with Chicken Sausage

  • from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 cup diced yellow or white onion
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
  • 4 (15-ounces each) cans kidney beans, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons coarse or freshly cracked black pepper (see note above)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds kielbasa or chicken sausage, sliced (see note above) 
  • Hot, cooked brown rice, white rice or quinoa for serving

  1. Combine all the ingredients except the kielbasa/sausage in a medium slow cooker and give it a good stir. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 7-8 hours. Add the sausage and cook until warmed through (anywhere from 20 minutes to another hour). 
  2. Add additional salt to taste before serving. Serve over hot, cooked rice (white or brown) or quinoa.

Mel's notes:
For the kielbasa/sausage, you're looking for precooked sausage that you slice into rounds - I like using the chicken sausage (Aidell's brand). Something similar, pork or beef or turkey, would work for this recipe.

Fudgy Chocolate Chip Yogurt Cake

The other day we were in need of a quick easy dessert, preferably chocolate, and this one was the perfect solution. Not only was it really delicious, but it was made completely by my 10-year-old! We will definitely be making this again.

photo courtesy of Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Fudgy Chocolate Chip Yogurt Cake

recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup yogurt (see note above)
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped, toasted almonds or toffee bits (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9- or 10-inch round or square cake pan (or a similar sized springform pan if you want cleaner edges) and set aside. 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, vanilla, yogurt and eggs. 
  3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir just until combined and a few streaks of flour remain. Stir in the chocolate chips; don't overmix.
  4. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and sprinkle the nuts, if using, on top. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a knife or toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs - you'll need slightly less baking time the larger the pan you use. Err on the side of underbaking just slightly so the bottom stays melty and gooey. 
  5. Serve warm for the hot fudge effect (the chocolate chips will sink to the middle and bottom of the cake and melt deliciously). The cake is also delicious served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Zucchini Lasagna

I made this on Sunday with fresh zucchinis and fresh pasta sheets (perk of living in London is that you get fresh imported pasta from Italy!!) and it was incredible.  Best lasagna I've ever eaten.  I could have eaten the entire dish.  To cut the zucchini, you need to quarter it, stand it on its side (like a tower, not a boat) and cut thin slices from top to bottom after cutting off the knobby ends)

Zucchini Lasagna
  • Sauce:
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Lasagna:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, light or regular, softened to room temperature
  • 3 cups part-skim ricotta or cottage cheese (I used cottage cheese)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 small to medium zucchini
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 12 no-boil lasagna noodles (or boil and have ready if not using no-boil noodles)
  • 8 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine all the sauce ingredients. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.
  3. While the sauce is cooking, proceed with prepping the rest of the ingredients. In a medium bowl, stir together the cream cheese, ricotta or cottage cheese, salt and pepper.
  4. Trim the knobby ends from each zucchini and cut in half lengthwise (see pictures below) and then slice each half very thinly. The pieces should look like thin, zucchini pasta sheets or noodles. In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini with the garlic and oregano and season with salt and pepper to taste (about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of each).
  5. To assemble the lasagna, spread 1/2 cup sauce on the bottom of the pan. It will be a very thin, splotchy layer - that's ok. Spread out a single layer of zucchini so they aren't overlapping but cover most of the pan. A few empty spots are ok as long as it is mostly covered. Layer four no-boil lasagna noodles, slightly overlapping (I use the Barilla brand that calls for overlapping noodles; consult your particular lasagna noodle box to see if you should use 3 or 4 noodles for each layer - some brands say not to overlap; you basically want the noodles to cover the whole area of the baking pan).
  6. Dollop 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the noodles and spread into a somewhat even layer. Spread 3/4 cup of the sauce over the top, one layer of zucchini and sprinkle with 1/3 of the mozzarella. You'll repeat this two more times (4 noodles, 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, 3/4 cup sauce, zucchini layer and mozzarella). On the final layer if you have more than 3/4 cup of sauce, that's fine, just use it all.
  7. Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and bake for 30-35 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10-15 minutes until golden and bubbly. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Bowtie Chicken and Asparagus Alfredo

Creamy Bowtie Pasta with Asparagus

 I made this tonight and here I am posting it, so it's THAT good! I actually made this without chicken and I didn't miss a thing. The bacon provided enough meat for me! Also, I subbed the asparagus for broccoli since I like it better and it's less expensive:). My kids love this too. Eloise went back for thirds!

Bowtie Chicken and Asparagus Alfredo
from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

  • 3 cups cooked and cubed chicken (optional)
  • 1-2 pounds asparagus, tough ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces (I subbed broccoli)
  • 1 pound bowtie (farfalle) pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (see note above)
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • Zest from lemon (about a teaspoon)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 6-8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the noodles according to package directions. When there is two minutes left on the cooking time, add the asparagus to the pot and cook for the remaining time. Drain the pasta and asparagus and rinse quickly with cool water (to stop the asparagus from cooking more).
  2. For the sauce, while the noodles/asparagus cook, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and add the garlic, cooking for 20 seconds or so, stirring constantly. Stir in the flour and cook for about a minute, stirring, until the mixture is toasty and sizzling. Gradually add the milk and chicken broth about 1/2 cup at a time, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Bring the mixture to a low simmer and cook until slightly thickened, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until the cheese has melted. Add additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed.
  3. Place the pasta, chicken and asparagus in a large bowl or serving dish and pour the sauce over the top. Toss lightly to combine. Sprinkle on the bacon and additional Parmesan cheese (if using). Serve immediately.


Saturday, September 5, 2015

Fresh Peach Pie

My neighbor made this for us when I had the baby and Mom, Dad, and Julie were in town. She brought us dinner that night too and it was so filling that we didn't have enough room for this pie until later that night. I was nursing Caroline at like 10:30pm that night and Mom came in my room and said, "you have got to come try this pie. It's the best pie I've ever eaten." I was soooo tired and just wanted to hit the sack, but I'm so glad that I went and tried it. I could hear the "mmmm's" coming from the kitchen as soon as I walked out of my room. It was so funny. Everyone was dying over this pie. And, it WAS seriously the best pie I've ever eaten. So, get out there and make it before peach season ends!

Fresh Peach Pie
from Kathi Kimble

For crust:
Crush 7 graham crackers in a bag, not in blender (this is key for bigger pieces of graham cracker).
Add 3T. Powdered sugar, then put in pie pan and stir in 6T. melted butter.  Form a crust.

For filling:
Slice and peel about 5 peaches into crust.
Mix 1/4 C lemon juice with 1 can sweetened condensed milk and pour over peaches.
Cover with Extra Creamy Cool Whip (I would prefer fresh whipping cream).
Can be served immediately or refrigerate.

Caramel Brownies

My neighbor made these brownies for us when we moved in and Christian said they were the best brownies he'd ever had. So, naturally, I requested the recipe. I made them for a baby blessing last week and they were the first thing gone. They are so scrumptious.

Caramel Brownies
from Kathi Kimble

Melt together in microwave:
14 oz. caramels (2 Cups)
1/2 C. evaporated milk

1 German Chocolate cake mix
3/4 C. butter
1/2 C. evap. milk
3/4 C chopped pecans - optional (of course I left these out:))

-Spread HALF of cake mixture in 9x13 greased pan.  Bake at 350 for 5 minutes.

-Remove from oven and sprinkle 6 oz. milk choc. chips over top evenly.

-Pour caramel mixture over.

-Drop the remaining cake mix in clumps on top and mix lightly with caramel.

-Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Refrigerate. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

One-Pan Farro with Tomatoes

one-pan farro with tomatoes 
 Pic courtesy Smitten Kitchen

Someone in my ward made me this when I had Caroline and I was blown away by its yumminess. It was my first experience with farro and I'm now a huge fan. It is so simple and so flavorful. I made it again last week and it was just as delicious as I remembered! Oh, and I tripled it for our family.

 One-Pan Farro with Tomatoes
from Smitten Kitchen 

Serves: 4 as a side, 2 as a hearty main
2 cups water
1 cup semi-pearled (pre-cooked) farro (I used Trader Joes 10 minute farro)
1/2 large onion (I usually use a white one, for mildness)
2 cloves garlic
9 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt
Up to 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (to taste)
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Few basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
Grated parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)
Place water and farro in a medium saucepan to presoak (I find just 5 to 10 minutes sufficient) while you prepare the other ingredients. Adding each ingredient to the pot as you finish preparing it, cut onion in half again, and very thinly slice it into quarter-moons. Thinly slice garlic cloves as well. Halve or quarter tomatoes. Add salt, pepper flakes (to taste) and 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan, and set a timer for 30 minutes. Bring uncovered pan (no lid necessary) up to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally. When the timer rings, the farro should be perfectly cooked (tender but with a meaty chew), seasoned and the cooking water should be almost completely absorbed. If needed, though I’ve never found it necessary, cook it for 5 additional minutes, until farro is more tender.
Transfer to a wide serving bowl. If there’s enough leftover cooking liquid to be bothersome, simply use a slotted spoon to leave the amount you wish to behind. Drizzle farro lightly with additional olive oil (I left this part out), scatter with basil and parmesan. Eat immediately. Repeat tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Vegetable and Chickpea Curry

I'm looking for new vegetarian recipes, and this one is a great find, especially because it can be thrown in the crockpot!

Vegetable and Chickpea Curry


1 tablespoon olive oil 
1 1/2 cups chopped onion 
1 cup (1/4-inch-thick) slices carrot 
1 tablespoon curry powder 
1 teaspoon brown sugar 
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger 
garlic cloves, minced 
serrano chile, seeded and minced 
3 cups cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans) 
1 1/2 cups cubed peeled baking potato 
1 cup diced green bell pepper 
1 cup (1-inch) cut green beans 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper 
(14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained 
(14-ounce) can vegetable broth 
3 cups fresh baby spinach 
1 cup light coconut milk 
lemon wedges 

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and carrot; cover and cook 5 minutes or until tender. Add curry powder, sugar, ginger, garlic, and chile; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Place onion mixture in a 5-quart electric slow cooker. Stir in chickpeas and next 8 ingredients (through broth). Cover and cook on HIGH 6 hours or until vegetables are tender. Add spinach and coconut milk; stir until spinach wilts. Serve with lemon wedges.

Monday, March 9, 2015

BLT Pasta salad with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

courtesy of

I have been hooked on's site! She has GREAT recipes! Every twist on a swig cookie you could imagine and delicious main dishes, etc. I have never been disappointed in her stuff! I follow fer daughter (mintarrow) on instagram and found her mom (abountifulkitchen) through her! And for all you folks that miss Naturally Fresh ranch dressing...TRY THIS!!! Delicious!

1/2 lb bacon
1 large head Romaine lettuce, washed and dried (yield about 16 cups of loosely packed lettuce)
1 lb Grape tomatoes or Roma tomatoes
1-1 1/2 lb cheese-filled ravioli  (I used tortellini b/c its what I had on hand)
1-2  tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons dry Ranch dressing mix
( I also added about two chicken breasts, cooked and shredded)

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
adapted from The Huffington Post 

1/2 cup well shaken buttermilk
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons mayo
1 teaspoon chopped fresh: tarragon, dill, parsley, chives (all or a combo of these)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
two dashes Tabasco or other hot sauce
Coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Prepare dressing:
Place all of the dressing ingredients in a jar. Shake until blended well.
Refrigerate until ready to serve. If you have an immersion blender place all of the ingredients in a jar and pulse until the herbs are chopped fine.

Cook bacon over medium heat until crisp.  Remove bacon from pan and place on paper towels. Pat any remaining grease off of bacon. Place on a cutting board and chop. Set aside.Cook chicken and shred and set aside.
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Do not overcook. Rinse with cold water, drain. Toss the pasta with 1-2 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons prepared dry ranch dressing mix. Refrigerate until ready to use.  Let the pasta cool completely before adding to the salad, or the pasta will wilt the lettuce.
Cut the lettuce into bite size pieces.
Slice the grape tomatoes in half, or if using Roma tomatoes, cut into chunks.
Arrange the lettuce in a large bowl. Place the tomatoes over top of the lettuce and top with cooled pasta. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
When ready to serve, toss the salad a bit,  sprinkle with bacon and drizzle with fresh ranch. Serve salad with additional dressing on the side.
Serves12 as a side dish

PF Chang's Copycat Monglian Beef

courtesy of

I found this recipe on pinterest and made it for Sunday dinner. It was AMAZING! Pinterest win for sure (and you never know how pinterest can go). It was easy and delicious. My hubby even took some to his friends at school and then they called for the recipe.

  • 2 lb flank steak
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
For sauce
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 or 3 green onions chopped
  • I added cornstarch (about 2 T) to thicken the sauce...I was probably just not patient enough for it to reduce.

  1. Slice the steak into small thin pieces against the grain. In a large ziploc bag add the starch and add the beef to it. Close the ziploc bag and shake really well until each pieces is coated with cornstarch. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. In a small sauce pan add the oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic and water. Stir and cook over medium heat until sauce thickens. It took me about 20 minutes until the sauce thickened and reduced. Set aside. (Or if you are impatient like me, add cornstarch :) )
  3. In a non stick skillet heat the oil. When the oil is hot, add beef and cook until browned. I had to do in a 2 batches. Also if you need more oil after the batch feel free to add more. Remove beef from skillet to a bowl and empty the oil from the skillet. Return beef to skillet and pour sauce over the beef. Stir and cook for a couple more minutes.
  4. Serve over rice and garnish with green onions.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

This soup was seriously amazing.  I made it for dinner tonight and couldn't wait to post it...its that good.  The flavor is so, so good.  I don't even like sweet potatoes, but the soup is spicy, so it gives the perfect amount of sweetness to offset the heat.  It really is perfect, very filling and super healthy.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

2 Tbsp. olive or grapeseed oil
½ medium yellow onion, chopped small
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 medium carrots, quartered and chopped
1 celery stalk, quartered and chopped
2 chipotle chilis (canned), seeded and chopped (use 3 for more heat and 1 for extra mild heat)
1 medium poblano (pasilla chili), seeded and chopped small
2 c. chicken or vegetable broth (low sodium)
3 cans black beans, drained (or 1 ½ cups dried black beans that have been soaked over night in water that is filled 3 inches above the beans (do this in a sealed container); drained)
1 tsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. salt
¼ tsp. coriander
1/8 tsp. smoked paprika
ground black pepper to taste
1 medium – large sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces

Heat the olive or grapeseed oil in a soup pot and add the first seven ingredients. Saute on medium high heat for 3-5 minutes. 
 Add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium low and simmer until the carrots and sweet potatoes are tender to your liking (about 15-20 min). If you start to lose too much liquid, turn down the heat and put on the lid and add more chicken stock if needed.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Veggie Chili

We loved this recipe...super hearty, but meatless, with both a vegan (no cheese or sour cream for toppings) and a vegetarian option.  Its super healthy, packed with veggies, and really satisfying.  Its delicious!

Veggie Chili
From the Pioneer Woman Cooks

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 whole Large Onion, Diced
  • 1 whole Red Bell Pepper, Seeded And Diced
  • 1 whole Yellow Bell Pepper, Seeded And Diced
  • 1 whole Green Bell Pepper, Seeded And Diced
  • 2 whole Carrots, Peeled And Diced
  • 2 stalks Celery, Diced
  • 1 whole Jalapeno, Seeded And Finely Diced
  • 3 cups Vegetable Broth (can Sub Chicken Or Beef Broth If You Prefer)
  • 1 can (12 To 14 Ounces) Plain Tomato Sauce
  • 1 can (10 Ounce) Ro-tel (diced Tomatoes And Chiles)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt, More To Taste
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
  • 2 Tablespoons Chili Powder (more To Taste)
  • 1 can (14 Ounces) Kidney Beans, Drained And Rinsed
  • 1 can (14-ounce) Pinto Beans, Drained And Rinsed
  • 1 can Garbanzo Beans, Drained And Rinsed
  • 1 can Black Beans, Drained And Rinsed
  • 1 whole Large Zucchini (or 2 Medium Zucchini), Diced

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, 3 colors of bell pepper, carrots, celery, and jalapeno, then cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften. Add the oregano, cumin, chili powder, and salt. Stir and cook for a few more minutes.
Pour in the broth, tomato sauce, and Ro-tel. Stir, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the beans and zucchini, stir, then cover and simmer for 30-45 more minutes, depending on how soft you like your beans.  Taste and adjust seasonings.
Serve with sour cream, cheese and tortilla chips.