Monday, June 24, 2013

Crockpot French Dip & Roasted Radishes

Mmm - Mmm!
Don't you just love when you come and dinner is already made?
I know I do!!!
Plus, I ALSO love when I have enough leftovers for dinner the next night - Sweet!

Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches is an easy-peasy recipe-peasy     
 (I apologize...not sure where that comment came from...must be the inner "cornball" comin' out.)
Wanna know how easy this is?
Just literally 1) open cans, 2) put a roast in the crock pot, and 3) push start
I'm not lyin'.
It's that easy.

Okay, well you do have to shred the roast with a fork when you get home and assemble the sammies, but, ya know, that's so easy, say...the hubby could help? (Just a thought.)

I served this with a side of Chips & Dip and Roasted Radishes
Yeppers! Roasted Radishes!

I spontaneously purchased a bag of radishes the other day during my grocery run, and, thought I'd eat them raw. Well, apparently, it's been a looong time since this chick has eaten raw radishes - them suckers are hot! Whew! After I ate one, I scoured the Internet for "cooking radishes." Gotta find a solution - I just didn't think I would eat a whole bag of 'em raw. So, what did I find?
The aforementioned Roasted Radishes.
Huh. I honestly have never thought of or didn't think I had ever tasted of cooked radishes. 
When you think you've tasted it all.....

A blogger wrote that the bitter hotness is magically transformed into "soft and luscious."
Well, it was time for me to find out. 

Wow! Who knew?!?! (Obviously, not I.)
Roasted Radishes are waaay different than raw radishes! Say good-bye to hot-bitter-crunchy wang (that's probably not a word.) From now on, I will not shy away from radishes but look forward to the roasty-goodness. If you are currently not a lover of radishes, I highly recommend roasting them. I strongly think your mind will be changed.

Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches - LINK HERE for original recipe
3 lbs chuck roast

  • 1 (10 3/4 oz) can French onion soup
  • 1 (10 3/4 oz) can beef consomme
  • 1 (10 3/4 oz) can condensed beef broth*
  • 1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules*
  • **I also added spices: 1 Tbs dried parsley, 1 tsp dried onion, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, & 1/2 black pepper
  • Provolone, slice (optional)
  • 8 -10 kimmelwick or hoagie rolls
*(I omitted the beef broth and added extra au jus base + water instead.)

1) Cut roast in half, place pieces into crockpot.
2) Combine canned soups with bouillon granules-DO NOT DILUTE SOUPS!
4) Pour over meat. Add additional spices, if desired.
5) Cover, cook on low 8 hours.
6) Remove meat from crockpot,shred with forks.
7) Skim fat from aujus in crockpot.
8) Return meat to crockpot, to rewarm.
9) Pile meat (and Provolone, if desired) on rolls.
10) Serve juice as dipping sauce on the side.


Thyme & Dill Roasted Radishes 

  • 1 lb Radishes, cleaned and halved
  • 1 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Tbs dried Dill
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2) Combine all ingredients on a cookie sheet
3) Roast for about 30 minutes or until tender and lightly browned.
4) Serve and Yum!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Bit of This & That

What's crack-a-lacking?
This & That for moi. 
As far as workouts, I've been participating in Fitnesssista's {free} Summer Shape-Up Plan. 
Whew! It's Great!
I love her how workouts kind of "sneak up" on you in that you don't realize how well they work you body until the day AFTER. 
This week, my calves are screaming! (In a good way, naturally.)

As far as other stuff....

My first time making Tina's from Carrots 'N Cake 2-Ingredient Pancakes (<--Link with Tips).
I think I need to work on perfecting Tina's techniques, but, but overall, I liked it - One of the better non-traditional pancakes I've tried. I kept me full all morning long! Score!!!

The Hubby's "new" car!
It's a gently used Hyundai Genesis - manual 6-speed Rspec (which means not a ton to me, except for I need to now learn to drive a "stick.")
I told my husband I'd proudly be his "hot babe in the passenger seat." Ha!

Poolside Relaxation!
My apartment complex recently opened the pool. 
Oh, yeah. It's been nice going for a quick swim and lounge after work.
(Yep, workout on my tan lines - with SPF, of course.) ;)

Egg + Veggies + Hummus
I just now tried Hummus with my Eggs. The combination is DELICIOUS!
What have I been missing?
Yummy-ness, that's what. 

I lightly sauteed some zucchini in a non-stick skillet with salt and pepper. 
Then, seasoned my eggs with Rosemary (I love rosemary & eggs), basil, salt & pepper.
Add the eggs and tomato to the skillet. 
Cook until eggs are no longer runny. 
Remove from pan and top with Hummus! (I like Red Pepper Hummus.)

What about you? What have YOU been up to lately?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Southwestern Quinoa

I really need to quit slacking on the quality of my food photos....'Cause this picture doesn't do this recipe justice.

Again, this recipe is a result of my trying to plan ahead for the recent (and temporary) change of working 4 10-hour shifts. Plus, I don't know about you, but, sometimes, you just want to eat food that is better for you, fresher, and tastier than "freezer food." I mean, frozen meals are convenient "in a pinch," but, who doesn't love some homemade goodness all the better? Ain't that the truth.

As such, I'm utilizing Quinoa a lot more. It's tasty cold or hot, stores well in the fridge, and takes minimal prep time. Did I mention it is darn good for you? Well, it is!
Check out these stats:

  • 7 grams of protein per serving 
  • all 9 of the essential amino acids
  • a complex carb 
  • a great substitute for rice or couscous (okay, maybe that fact is just a bonus) 

Oh, yeah, and to sweeten the deal..I found an organic, pre-washed bag at Sam's Club!
Whoot-Whoot! I love me some savings! ($$$) :)

I based my version of Southwestern Quinoa from THIS RECIPE on, but I changed up the proportions of the ingredients plus added and omitted a couple of ingredients, as well. 

This is a great on-the-go/portable lunch - just prep on Sunday and store in the refrigerator to eat during the week. 
Southwestern Quinoa
Makes 3 Servings

3/4 cup uncooked Quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 (14 oz) can of Black Beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup of Corn
2 Roma Tomatoes
1/2 - 1 Red Bell Pepper, seeded and diced
1 Green Onion, diced
1/4 tsp Cumin
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Coriander OR 1 Tbs of fresh Cilantro
Juice of half a Lime
Salt & Pepper, to taste

1) Cook Quinoa according to packaged directions. 
2) After Quinoa is fully cooked, remove quinoa from direct heat. 
3) Stir in remaining ingredients. 
4) Portion as preferred and store in refrigerator or Serve and Yum!

Recipe Fail: Roasted Chickpeas!!! (Argh!)

First off...Does swimming make anybody else starvin' like a crazy person???
What is it with swimming?
Also, swimming usually makes me want Cheetos and Hot Dogs. Yeah, real nutritious. What can I say? It's a childhood thing. the foodie fail. (Oh, the horror!)

The pictures say it all. 
1) They are burnt
2) I didn't follow the directions exactly (go figure - but it was an accident!)
3) I will probably not attempt these for a while. :)

I tried to make THIS RECIPE from FitSugar for Roasted Honey Cinnamon Chickpeas
How could I go wrong? 
I love Honey. I love Cinnamon. I love Chickpeas. 
It's a win-win, right?

I dunno. I think I just had some bad luck with this recipe the first go around. 
I've you have great success with Roasted Chickpeas, help a girl out!
What can I say, you can't win 'em all. (Whomp. Whomp.)

On the other hand, the same day I had two recipe success - Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins and a Southwestern Quinoa Recipe (to come later!). 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins

Since I've (temporarily) switched to working 4 10-hour days, I've been making an extra effort to prep all I can in the night or weekend before the workday. 
Lately, I've been cooking my lunches and making up breakfasts on Sunday, so, I can just "grab and go" in the mornings - that way, I will have something healthy and yummy!
Plus, I have to rearrange my typical routine to squeeze in my preferred Eeeaaarrlly morning workouts!
 But, ya know...I'm finding out how much time it saves if I just prep the night/weekend before. Who knew how much time I've been wasting? Well, now I know. 
Crazy how we all get use to doing things "a certain way" and fall into a routine (B/c I am a routine-lovin' gal!)
Yeah, anyway...the Muffins! 
It seems like I pinned the recipe, oh, forever ago, and, now, I've finally made them.
Check out these Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins on FitandHealthywithDebi
They are Tasty!
They are Filling!
They are Easy!
(Do I have you excited now?)
Nummers! (translation: Yum)


 Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins

Blurry Pic! But, you get the idea. :)
  • 2.5 cups old fashioned oats 
  • 1 cup plain low fat Greek yogurt (I used Fage 0%)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup honey (I ran out of honey, so, I used 1/4 cup honey + 1/4 cup Truvia Baking Blend)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 TBSP ground flax seed
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 ripe bananas
Instructions:1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray tin with non-stick cooking spray or line 12 muffin tins with silicone or foil liners.
2. Place the oats in the food processor and pulse for about 10 seconds. Add remaining ingredients to the food processor.
3. Process until everything is mixed together and oats are smooth.
4. Divide batter among cupcake liners, and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

I whipped up the recipe, which makes 12 muffins, and ate on these all week for breakfast.
Just bake and store in the refrigerator or freezer (depending on when you plan to eat them).

When you are ready to eat them, heat them in the microwave for a few seconds, top with peanut butter, and Ooh-wee!

(I strongrly recommend eating them warm AND with Peanut Butter...unless you're a weirdo person who doesn't like peanut butter
I love how the muffins "stuck with me" and kept me FULL!
Perfect Portable Breakfast!

P.S. I calculated these to be 125 calories each (5g protein, 20g carbs)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Roasted Garlic & Mozzarella Chicken Sausage Pizza

YES, this is another pizza recipe...I can't help it!
I have really been lovin' me some pizza lately.
Guess I've got my Lovin' in the Oven.

Roasted Garlic & Mozzarella Chicken Sausage Pizza  is based off THIS RECIPE recipe I found at 

I had been "eyeing" some Chicken Sausage at Sam's Club and finally "bucked up" and bought a package.
(Plus, Julie at PBFingers always makes chicken sausage look so delicious!)
Sam's Club had several flavors including Fajita, Red Pepper, Italian, Spinach & Asiago, and Roasted Garlic & Mozzarella. 

Clearly, I went with the Roasted Garlic & Mozzarella

Now, I have 15 chicken sausage links to use....
1st recipe using 2 (of the 15) sausage links was this:


It was Yum in my Tum!
For the crust, I used one of the hubby's friend's recipes (Dan's the name, cooking's his game - har har). 
Yeah. I've had that crust recipe for, oh, 2 years and just now finally decided to make it, BUT, better late than never!
The crust was great! The best homemade crust in this house to date! 
The Dan's Pizza Crust was thick, sturdy, yet soft, with a nice crispy bottom. 
Oh, yeah.

Dan's Pizza Dough (aka the crust)
1 envelope active dry yeast
1 cup warm water, 110-120 degrees F
1 1/2 tsp sugar
2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
dried Oregano, Garlic, dried Basil, to taste
cornmeal, for dusting dough

1) Put Warm water in a cup; sprinkle yeast over water and stir in sugar; let stand for about 10 minutes, or until mixture begins to bubble
2) Separately, combine 2 1/4 cups of flour and salt in a large bowl; pour in oil and yeast mixture and stir until a stiff dough is formed.
3) Turn dough out on a floured surface; knead for about 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Add extra flour as needed to keep from sticking to hands and surface.
4) Place dough in a large, greased bowl; turn dough over to coat dough well; Cover with a wet towl and let rise in a warm place (like a warm oven) for about 30 minutes. Dough should double in bulk.
5) After rising, punch down dough. Sprinkle dough with cornmeal and shape to fit a lightly greased pizza pan.
6) Top with toppings (below) and bake on 425 degrees  for 15-20 minutes

The Toppings:
10 ounces of diced tomatoes (if using canned tomatoes, drain tomatoes well)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
Roasted Garlic & Mozzarella chicken sausage links (a different flavor would do fine)
1 cup of shredded Italian 5-cheese blend
5 oz. fresh mozzarella


On a side note: I think my new favorite flavored coffee is Red Velvet coffee!!!
This is actually my 2nd variety of Red Velvet coffee - I had tried a different brand before this and wondered if my new love was dependent on the brand itself. 
Nope! I think I just looove Red Velvet coffee. 

I picked up this yum at TJ Maxx.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Lemony Greek Yogurt "Cheesecake"

Hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day!
I am indebted to all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice one can give - I'm glad I live in the good ol' U.S.A.!!!


As Americans, what do we generally do on all holidays?
I shouldn't judge, because I am right up with the rest of us "gettin' my grub on."
What can I say, I AM an American. :)

Well, I've been havin' one of my hankerin's.
A hankerin' for a good desert.
Either something uber-chocolatey or something dreamy-creamy.
I went with the dreamy-creamy.

Although, alas, my sweet tooth was rarin' up. 
However, I still thought I'd try to make a healthier dessert - but I wanted the dessert to be G-O-O-D. Because, I don't know about you, but to me, almost nothing is as disappointing as wasting all those calories on something that just isn't worth it. 
Ya feel me, dawg?

I stumbled upon THIS RECIPE for 
Lemony Greek Yogurt Cheesecake.
The recipe replaces the cream cheese and sour cream in traditional cheesecakes with Greek yogurt. 
Hmmm...I was a bit skeptical.
The recipes take out ALL of the cream cheese and sour cream????
I decided to be "gutsy."
Just call me a risk-taker.
Bring. it. on.

I (of course) tweaked the recipe both on purpose and accidentally.
Don't judge.
Yes, doing both is possible.

On purpose: Instead of sugar, I used Truvia Baking Blend (It consists of both sugar and stevia and cuts calories by 75% of white sugar). 
Accidentally: I omitted one egg (Darn!)


Lemony Greek Yogurt Cheesecake
Makes 1 cake
Graham Cracker Crust (you can also use a store-bought crust):
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs (about 9 whole cookies)
¼ cup Truvia Baking Blend
¼ cup melted light butter (plus 1-2 tsp for preparing pan)

1)  Preheat oven to 300° F. 
2)  Break cookies and place in food processor*. Pulse until ground into medium-fine crumbs. 
3)  Put crumbs into medium mixing bowl. With a fork, stir in melted butter and sugar. 
4)  Turn out crumb mixture into a buttered nine-inch springform pan (or other pan, if you don't have a     
      springform pan) and, using your fingers, press mixture into an even crust along the bottom. (You can also    
      use a buttered glass pie plate and form the crumbs into a traditional crust along the bottom and up the   
5)  Bake the crust for 10-15 minutes until firm and dry. 
6)  Remove from oven and set on a wire rack.

*Don't have a food processor? You can also make crumbs in the blender or by hand. Place crackers in a heavy duty plastic freezer bag and crush with a rolling pin.

Lemon Greek Yogurt Filling:
4 eggs
1/3 cup + 1 Tbs Truvia Baking Blend
1 Tbs. cornstarch
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups plain Greek Yogurt (I used 0% b/c it's what I had)
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest

7)   With an electric mixer, beat eggs a few times to combine. 
8)   Beat in sugar, cornstarch, salt, vanilla, and yogurt until light and slightly bubbly. 
9)   Add lemon and lemon zest and pulse or beat briefly to incorporate. 
10) Pour mixture into prepared crust (it's fine if the crust is still warm).
11) Place in center of oven. Start checking cheesecake after 50 minutes and then every 5-10 minutes after that. Shake pan gently. The filling should look creamy but firm at the edges, and still appear slightly jiggly in the center. It will firm up as it cools. 
12) Remove from oven and set on a wire rack. Cool to room temperature. 
13) Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or overnight) before serving.

Optional topping: 3 cups of sliced strawberries, raspberries, blackberries or mixed berries tossed with two tablespoons sugar. Let mixture sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour so the berries get nice and juicy. Spoon desired amount of topping over a slice of cheesecake before serving.


So, how was it?
I was pleasantly surprised. 
Lemony Greek Yogurt Cheesecake is actually a GREAT substitute for a traditional cheesecake. 
I honestly really enjoyed it (and it satisfied my hankerin').
This recipe even passed the hubby test!!!
He likes it!
Trust me, my husband will tell me what he thinks about the new recipes I make - he's like my own personal food critic. :) 
(No worries, he's not like a "Gordon Ramsay" or anything.)
It's funny b/c as "foodies", we critique a new recipe and discuss what, if anything, the recipe is missing, whether it's better than a previous recipe, etc.- just to give you some idea- this couple takes our food seriously.

 Oh, yeah, Great News, I calculated the calories per serving for each piece of "cheesecake":
6 slices per pie: about 270 calories
8 slices per pie: about 200 calories
Plus, a major "bump up" in protein and less sugar than typical cheesecake.
Could it get any better?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Ham & Swiss Hawaiian "Party" Sandwiches

Oh, oh, oh....YUM!
Yeah, these Ham & Swiss Hawaiian "Party" Sandwiches truly deserve that kind of response.
They make me wanna sing that song, "Yummy, yummy, yummy, I've got love in my tummy!" (<---click to refresh your memory of this jazzy tune.)

I have to give credit to the hubby for asking for these for dinner. He asked for me to make them about a week or so ago, so, I picked up the all the necessary ingredients (or so I though I picked up all the necessary ingredients...more on that later) from the grocery store. As we were eating this for dinner, ooooh's and aaahh's and mentions of "Darn, I forgot how good these are" were spoken. The hubby may have bragged that making this recipe was his idea and that "this was the best idea" he's ever had. (You know who guys are!). Although, I have to admit, I kind of agreed.
Ham & Swiss Hawaiian "Party" Sandwiches are definitely making a more frequent occurrence in our dinner rotation. Without a doubt.

Served with Sabra Red Pepper Hummus & Carrots...Okay, I may have put back some of the hummus  & carrots in favor of another sandwich...They're SO good! Don't judge. ;)

Firstly, the recipe is as follows:
Adapted from

Makes 12 mini sandwiches

  • 1 pack of Hawaiian mini sandwich rolls
  • Deli Ham, 1/3- 1/2 pound of sliced  (I used Black Forest Ham)
  • Swiss Cheese, 3 squares, sliced - each square cut into quarters
  • Butter or Margarine, 1/4 cup melted (I used Blue Bonnet Light Margarine simply to cut down on the calories)*
  • 1 Tbs Poppy seeds
  • 1/2 Tbs of Worcestershire sauce*
  • 1 Tbs of Dijon Mustard*
  • 1/4 tsp of Onion powder

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together butter, poppy seeds, onion, Worcestershire sauce and prepared Dijon mustard.
  3. Slice rolls in half horizontally and set aside tops. Spread bottoms with the butter mixture. Top with ham and Swiss cheese. Replace tops.
  4. Arrange rolls in a single layer in a medium baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven 10 to 12 minutes, until rolls are lightly browned and cheese is melted.

*Now, speaking of my "thinking" I had all the necessary ingredients....when I went to makes these, I realized I had 1) no Dijon mustard and 2) no Worcestershire. Um, yeah, out of the 9 necessary ingredients, I didn't have 2. That's almost like I was missing 1/4 of the required ingredients! Well, darn. So, what did I do?
I improvised!! (I feel like there should be a "Ta-da!!!" to go with that comment.)

I found a Dijon Mustard Substitute on and tasted & tweaked to my liking and used Soy Sauce instead of Worcestershire. I'm not going to lie, I was a bit worried the soy would adversely affect the taste of the sandwiches...and the Dijon substitute was a bit spicier than normal....
I don't know how, but it all worked - the sandwiches tasted just as they should!
Dinner is saved!

Now, I won't make a habit of subbing soy for Worcestershire or using a Dijon substitute, but it's good to know they work "in a pinch."

Never a dull moment in this kitchen.

P.S. Sorry I've been MIA - changed in work schedule, work travel, and excessively tired!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Bit of "Yum in My Tum"

My, oh, my it is a gorgeous Saturday in Arkansas! 
I had a zip of a morning. 
Before noon, I had my oil changed, wash & vacuumed my car, browsed the farmer's market in town, and finished a 9-mile run. 
Now, I'm showered and relaxin' (and thinking of mustering up the courage to attempt the grocery store - it can be chaos).

I've made and eaten a bit of This & That lately, so, here's a few random blurps of what's been
  Yum in my Tum.


My Current Obsession
Especially since I found this GIANT jar at Sam's Club for about $3.26 (or something like that). I'm a sucker for anything pickled. 

At-Home Egg, Cheese, & Yellow Mustard on an English Muffin.
Yum! Every time I make these, I wonder why I don't make them more often - I love 'em.

1) English Muffin - Toasted
2) 1 egg - in my case, seasoned with rosemary, salt, and pepper
 (Option to spray a ramekin and microwave for about 30-45 seconds, but watch out! You don't want an "egg explosion!)
3) 1 slice of cheese - again, in my case, American 2% (I know, it's processed, I know.... ;) )
4) Mustard

Cupcakes made with Greek Yogurt (instead of oil).
Hungry Girl has a fantastic review on the different types of oil/butter substtitues and the results in cake (highly recommend looking at the site.)
I like the cupcakes with Greek Yogurt - the taste was great, but they fell apart a bit. 
Eh, I'd make it again. 

Oven-Roasted Curried Caulifolower
The idea is from, but my only seasonings were curry powder, salt, and pepper.
I really, really liked it! 
Plus, I didn't feel guilty eating so much at one time.....Delicious!

 Ranch Potatoes with Bacon & Cheese
Okay, hold your horses. I made this dish healthier by using Greek Yogurt + Dry Ranch in place of ranch dressing. Save this couple some major calories. Husband didn't even mention tasting a difference (so, I didn't tell him! ha!)
To make follow THIS RECIPE from Joyously Domestic except swap the ranch dressing for the yogurt + dry ranch. And, sorry, I totally "eyeballed" it. 
I also used real chewy bacon bits instead of "real" bacon (less clean up!)
Oh, and I suggest to use something bigger than an 8x8 dish to bake. 
That's what I used and the potatoes were overcrowded and took longer to cook. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Sweet Pepper Pizza with Artichoke Smear (and Chicken!)

Yes, I've made another pizza!
I can't help it! It's delicious (and the Mamma Mia's pizza crust I purchased comes in a pack of 2, so, ya know...)

This is another example of a tasty, yet "nontraditional" pizza.
Sweet Pepper Pizza with Artichoke Smear (and Chicken!)

In place of traditional pizza sauce, this recipe calls for a simple, whipped up Artichoke Smear
Yum, artichoke.

It ended up taking me a bit longer than I expected to make this, however, it didn't take terribly long. 

Here's the recipe:

The Crust:
-1 pizza crust of choice (already cooked)

The Toppings:
-1 red bell pepper, sliced into rings
-1 orange bell pepper, sliced into rings
-1 tsp olive oil
-2 cloves of garlic, crushed
-1/2 lb chicken breast
-salt, pepper, and bit of thyme (to taste)
-1/2 cup of feta cheese (I used a Mediterranean flavored feta)
-1/2 cup of Parmesan, shredded

The Smear:
-1/4 cup of mayonnaise (I used Kraft Olive Oil Mayo)
-1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
-1/8 tsp black pepper
-9 oz artichokes, drained well


1) Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. 
2) Add the olive oil to a medium skillet set over medium high heat. Add the bell pepper rings and saute for 3 minutes, or until just tender. Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic. Cook another 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant but not browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
3) In the same pan, season chicken with salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook chicken until no longer pink. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Once, cool, shred chicken.
4) Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the mayonnaise, crushed red pepper, black pepper, and artichoke hearts. Process until finely chopped and somewhat smooth.
5) Place the pizza crust on a baking sheet. Spread the artichoke mixture evenly over the crust and top with the bell pepper rings, garlic, and chicken. Sprinkle with the cheeses and additional thyme (if desired). 
6) Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the cheeses are melted and bubbly

Monday, May 6, 2013

Honeybun Cake (Make this NOW!)

If you have never eaten a "Honeybun Cake," I strongly suggest you should eat one shortly!
This Honeybun Cake is AWESOME!

I've had Honeybun Cake several times before, but this was the first time I had made it myself. 
So easy and so delicious. 
I brought the cake along as the "dessert" at a friend's house where they served us Brisket, Potatoes, Salad, and Rolls.
Yeah, all that AND a Honeybun Cake?
Flippin' Sweet.

You can find this recipe at Betty Crocker's website (as well as numerous sites on the internet-it's a popular cake). 

1 box of Yellow Cake Mix
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream (I used low fat)
2/3 cup of vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
3/4 cup of packed brown sugar (The original recipe calls for 1 cup)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1 cup of powdered sugar
1-2 Tbs milk
1 tsp vanilla

1) Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Grease and lightly flour 13x9-inch pan, or spray with baking spray with flour.2

2) In large bowl, beat cake mix, oil, eggs and sour cream with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Spread half of the batter in pan.

3) In small bowl, stir together brown sugar, pecans and cinnamon; sprinkle over batter in pan. Carefully spread remaining batter evenly over pecan mixture.

4) Bake 44 to 48 minutes or until deep golden brown. In another small bowl, stir powdered sugar, milk and vanilla until thin enough to spread. Prick surface of warm cake several times with fork. Spread powdered sugar mixture over cake. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Store covered.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Mediterranean Chicken

Ever since the hubby and I have eaten at this amazing  Mediterranean restaurant here in town, I have been on a "Mediterranean kick!" I just can't get enough!
Since then, I think my awareness for and desire to make Mediterranean-style recipes has been amplified. 
Hence, this Mediterranean Chicken recipe. 
The original recipe is made in a crock pot, but since I have a crock pot on steroids  I changed up the cooking method and use my Dutch Oven (Omg, I love, love, love my D.O.- my fav kitchen appliance!)

I did however, follow the ingredient portion of the recipe - I promise, I didn't change a thing (this time)!
Oh, wait, I just remembered....
I did change what kind of chicken I used....I used boneless chicken breasts instead of bone-in legs and thighs (because of a "hubby preference"). 

Slow Cooker Mediterranean Chicken Recipe (serves 4 large portions) 

1/3 cup white wine
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
6 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tablespoon capers
1/2 cup prunes
1/3 cup pitted green olives
4 small chicken breasts (about 2-1/2 pounds)
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped (I used 1 Tbs dried parsley)
1 cup long-grain white rice


1) In a stove-top in a dutch oven, add wine, brown sugar, oregano, vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper; whisk together. Add garlic, capers, prunes, and olives; mix. Let the mixture "bubble" for a bit. 

2) Add chicken, nestling it among olives and prunes. Cover the dutch oven with lid, bring chicken and mixture to a boil, then reduce to low and let cook for about 30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. (A longer, slower, cooking helps the flavors meld together.)

3) In a separate pot, cook rice according to package directions. Serve chicken, prunes, olives, and sauce over rice. Sprinkle with parsley. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Queso Fresco Chicken (aka "Popcorn Chicken")

Who doesn't love Chicken Smothered in Cheese?
Need I say more?

One of my favorite dishes at a Mexican restaurant is something generally called a "Rice Bowl" which is typically a protein (I choose Shrimp!) served over Mexican rice and covered in Queso. 
Then, I add in some of the salsa from our chips and dip...awesome.
Yeah, it IS that good.

So, when I seen a recipe for Queso Chicken, I definitely pinned that one.

I found this recipe over at Negle's Nest's blog. 
Queso Chicken is an easy recipe requiring very few ingredients. 
Negle's Nest's recipe is only for the chicken itself, so, I chose to serve Queso Chicken with Mexican Rice (see above favorite Mexican Dish) and mushrooms. YUM!

Okay, so, I also referred to Queso Fresco Chicken as "Popcorn Chicken."
For some strange reason, the husband noted that it "kind of tastes like popcorn."
After he mentioned that, I kind of agree.
I am not sure why, but this chicken had a buttery-corny taste like popcorn.
I dunno.
I've "googled" the different types of Queso cheese for a descirption of their taste to see if it's the cheese, I wondered if it was the cheese plus the browning of the chicken, but, honestly, I dunno. (I welcome any explanations to this unknown wonder).
But, I DO know, it was tasty! 
I mean come on, this dish has cheese AND chicken
'Nuff said. 
From this point onward, in our house, this dish is referred to as "Popcorn Chicken." :)

  • 1 1/2 lbs of chicken breasts
  • Half of a large yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, diced and seeded
  • 4-6 ounces of mushrooms, sliced
  • Chili Salt ------> 1/4 cup sea salt, 1/4 cup pure chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, pinch ground oregano. Mix together and store in an airtight container. (This makes 1/2 cup of chili salt.)
  • 8 ounces of Queso Cheese (I found this at Wal-mart near the butter, cream cheese, etc).
  • about 1/3 cup of milk (just enough to "loosen" up the cheese to make a sauce)

1) In a lightly greased large skillet or dutch oven, saute onion, jalapeno, and mushroom until onions are translucent. Remove veggies from the pan and set aside. 
2) Season chicken breasts with the chili salt. Cook chicken in the same large skillet until cooked through. Remove chicken from skillet. Set aside. 
3) Whisk together queso and milk in the skillet until smooth. Add chicken and veggies back into the cheese/skillet. 
4) Serve and Yum!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Spicy Chicken and Pepper Jack Pizza

Again, I apologize for the less than stellar pictures.
And again, this recipe for Spicy Chicken and Pepper Jack Pizza is way better than the pictures. That's a promise!

This is a quick, tasty, and different from the usual "at-home" pizza. 
At first bite, the hubby and I both thought, "Man, this IS spicy! What is causing this to have such a "kick"?".
Then, I checked the salsa jar...I purchased HOT salsa by mistake. 
Don't misunderstand, this Spicy Chicken and Pepper Jack Pizza is delicious, just be mindful (and not distracted, like me) enough to grab the correct type of salsa according to your "heat" preference. 
Can we say "Caliente?"

I found this recipe on EatCakeForDinner's blog and immediately thought, "Tasty!" and pinned for later cooking. But deviated slightly from the recipe. 
One thing I changed, instead of making my own pizza crust, I used Mama Mary's Whole Wheat Pre-made Crust - purchased at Walmart. I really like that crust. Definitely would buy it again. 

Spicy Chicken & Pepper Jack Pizza
Pizza Dough for 1 pizza (Again, I use Mama Mary's)
1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
1/2 large Onion, diced
1 cup + 1/2 cup of jarred salsa (I really like On The Border salsa)
1 1/2 cup cooked chicken, shredded
2 cups of Pepper Jack Cheese, shredded
Cilantro, to taste

Directions: (With pre-made crust)
1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2) While oven is preheating, sautee red bell pepper and onion in a skillet until onions are clear and soft. Add 1/2 cup of salsa. Remove veggie/salsa mixture from heat.
3) Top pizza crust with remaining 1 cup of salsa. Top with veggie/salsa mixture, then, chicken, then cheese.
4) Bake pizza for 10-12 minutes or until crust is brown and cheese is bubbly.
5) Remove from oven. Sprinkle with cilantro if desired. Let cool slightly. Serve and YUM!

Overall: I would make this again. Tasty, differently and spicy (with HOT salsa, of course :)). I really don't think this would be spicy at all with mild salsa. Yummy!!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Random Eats & Reviews

(Okay, don't be fooled, I actually doubled that recipe to make one GIANT blueberry muffin.)
Husband review: Tasty indeed, but needs more sugar.


My Review: Pretty Darn Tasty. I have to say, I was suprised at the tastiness and quality of the ingredients. There was not "weird" sausage pieces. If the price were a bit cheaper (Currently, $4/meal), I'd buy it more, but for now, I will buy it if I again have a coupon. (Yeah, I know, I'm a cheap-skate.)


Simple Smashed Avocado on a Toasted English Muffin 
*Drool* This is darn tasty and simple. Just Toast. Mash. Top. 

1) Toast an English muffin (I like Thomas' 100% Whole Wheat),
2) Mash up 1/2 of an avocado and some salt (Trust me the salt is necessary - Do Not Leave Out the Salt!)
3) Top the english muffin with the smashed avocado and salt. Oh, my. Truly, truly yummy.

My Review: Obviously, tasty.