Friday, March 6, 2015


On a snowy day, it makes sense to get some goodness in your tummy. My son and I decided to bake some brownies. 
I turned here and my brownie stash didn't find him anything he wanted to make, but he was on board with these brownies from Cravings of a Lunatic, which we found on Pinterest.

They came together really easily and are quite delicious. I don't know if they're "The Best Brownies in the World," but they are quite good. They even made me, someone who dislikes the taste of milk, craving a glass of milk to go alongside.

Give them a try; you'll be happy you did!

The Best Brownies in the World Via Cravings of a Lunatic
  • 8 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs. beaten
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper. 
  • Melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate together over low heat in a medium saucepan. Stir with a rubber/silicone spatula (I used my spoonula and it worked great!).
  • Remove from heat and add the sugar. Stir well.
  • Now add your eggs and vanilla, stirring until it’s smooth.
  • Add chocolate chips, flour and vanilla salt. Stir until well blended.
  • Pour into pan and place in oven. 
  • Bake for 35-45 minutes, toothpick inserted should come out clean when done.
  • Remove and cool on a rack, about 10 minutes.
  • Slice, serve, and enjoy!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Easy peel boiled egg

I've discovered the way to perfect hard boiled eggs, through much trial and error. Here's how:
Put eggs in a pot, cover with cold water, don't cover the pot. Put over high heat on the stove, and bring to a rolling boil. Let boil about 1 minute. Remove from heat, cover the pot, and let sit 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl filled with ice water and let sit at least 5 minutes.
But then peeling was always a bear. When this came across my radar, I had to try it... see, I've been making my eggs on the weekend but only recently started peeling in advance.
I tried and didn't have much success. It was easier than my previous methods, but no pinch the whole shell off as in the original.
I tried again on this snowy day and it worked! This time I used a straight glass, a little bit of water, and shook more than I thought I should.
Here's how it went for me, a regular person!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Chopped Thai Salad

I hate shredding vegetables. I do an excellent job of shredding my knuckles when I do. I have purchased one of those Kevlar gloves, but in reality, I just use my mini chopper when shredding is required.

I love Thai food, but we never as a family seem to get to Thai restaurants; I think the last time I had Thai food was when I was in labor with my now 7.5 year old. I really need to get on that!  When this popped into my Pinterest feed, it was really a no-brainer. Healthy, fast (weeknights have been insane with my having gone back to school in January), and all the trappings of delicious.

I rushed home after work and threw this together while my husband picked up the kids from school. All told, it probably took me 20 minutes, maybe 30, but only because my cabbage would not cooperate with being cut in half. I was really wishing I had bought coleslaw mix, with the cabbage and carrots already shredded, but it wasn't bad to take care of and certainly less expensive to do it myself.

My husband and I enjoyed this, and he even enthusiastically packed it up for our lunches today. I was concerned (I ate before the rest of the family) that it wasn't enough food, so I took an uber small portion and was quite hungry about 2 hours later, but the others had plenty.

The boys gave it mixed reviews, but my 4 year old has really only been eating tried and true favorites lately, so there's been a lot of skipping for him.

I omitted peanuts simply because I didn't have any. I think they would have jazzed things up a bit, but my husband said they wouldn't have been good in the salad.

Chopped Thai Salad via Pinch of Yum
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 small head green or white cabbage (2 cups chopped)
  • 1 large carrot (1½ cups shredded)
  • 1 small papaya, chopped
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ½ cup green onions, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped peanuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon fish sauce
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • ¼ cup water
  1. Cook and cube your chicken into bite sized pieces. I love this method.
  2.  Toss the chicken and vegetables in a large bowl and keep chilled.
  3. Mince the garlic in a small mixing bowl with the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, lime juice, oil, and fish sauce. Whisk until smooth. Add the peanut butter and water and whisk again until smooth and creamy.
  4. Toss the salad with the dressing. Add the crushed peanuts. Serve chilled. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to one day. For best results, keep the leftover salad and dressing separate until ready to serve.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Meal Prep Sunday

It has been a really long time. I want to get back into this, because I keep trying new recipes, but they get lost to the ether since I never record what is great and what is not. I'm not trying to make excuses, but it really became a hassle taking pictures of our food. You know, you just want to sit down and eat? So you don't bother taking the 20 seconds it takes to take a crappy camera phone picture just for posterity.

So it's meal prep Sunday. On the stove I have 6 eggs hard boiling, and I'm excited to try this method. (The verdict: First I tried 4 eggs in a Tupperware container; it worked ok--not as easy as in the video, but easier than my typical method. I found that it was even better with the egg submerged in cold water).

In the red crockpot, I have chicken cooking for shredding. This method is so easy and I do it several times a month, sometimes remembering to freeze some of the shredded chicken.

In the white (and apparently very dirty on the outside) crockpot is black beans. I love this no soak method!

Most of my meal plan requires cooked chicken, so I really hope I made enough.

My meal planning method is to work out the meals on Friday night, planning through the weekend, so that I can grocery shop super early on Saturday morning. My meal cooking plan, however, usually means that I forgot to check the reality of our week when doing my meal planning and that I left a 45 minute dinner for a night we need dinner on the table at 4:30. I also never plan a dinner out, though it happens typically once a week.

B: Breakfast Sandwiches (made by my husband)
L: Tacos (leftovers from last week's Not so Sloppy Joes)
D: Chopped Thai Chicken Salad

B: English Muffins
L: Mac and Cheese (not sure if it will be Annie's or homemade just yet...depends if I can get it made in my meal prep today)
D:  Burrito Bowl

B: Smoothie Pop
L: Chicken Nuggets
D: Chicken and Broccoli with Sun Dried Tomato Cream Sauce

B: Cereal
L: Mango and Black Bean
D: Pizza

B: Overnight Oats
D: Turkey Pesto Sliders

D: Honey Chicken Stir Fry (I actually made this last night; next time use half the garlic chili sauce)

D: BBQ Chicken Pockets

How do you get ready for a super busy week?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Meal Plan

I did not do a great job of planning breakfasts and lunches this week. It was a busy weekend, and I had to change my schedule and chaos ensued.

I actually planned ahead and cooked the chili on Sunday night, but well, I made modifications and the boys refused to have it in their lunches for today.

So here's what's up for dinners this week:

Pumpkin chili
weeknight turkey bolognese
cilantro lime shrimp
crockpot salsa verde chicken
chili mac
monte cristo
mexican pizza


Monday, October 6, 2014

Turkey Taco Chili

I used cannellini, dark kidney beans, pinto, and navy beans.

Here's another post I found in my drafts. Looks yummy!

Portobello Pizza

This was sitting in drafts; since it's been so long since a post.....
I liked, M said it needed something, boys refused to try it.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Meal Plan

I have been horrible about blogging. I've realized, though, the necessity of posting a meal plan here. Many times, my husband will have to take care of getting dinner started, and I have no idea what to tell him or which recipe to send him because the meal plan is at home. Putting it here will help in those situations, and give me a starting point should I need to pick up anything last minute. It's just a matter of actually posting it.

Lunches and breakfasts are the plan for the boys. Usually, the lunches happen while the breakfasts do not. I don't plan ahead for myself, which I know is incredibly foolish.

Breakfast: Crockpot Apple Oatmeal
Lunch: Meatballs (leftover from my mom's party; in a thermos)
Dinner: Weeknight Turkey Bolognese 

B: Green Monster Smoothie
L: Taco
D: Crockpot Potato Soup

B: Waffle Sandwich
L: Mac and Cheese
D: Cilantro Lime Shrimp with Cilantro Rice

B: Slow Cooker French Toast
L: Black Beans and Mango (I really have to blog this; it's their favorite! It's really just cooked rice, cooked black beans, and diced mango)
D: Peanut Butter Chicken

B: Banana Roll Up
D: Slow Cooker Pineapple Chicken

Monday, September 15, 2014

Egg muffin cups

I think I'll be selling this one big time in the morning, but here's the source:

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Apple wiches

Super long time...

Trying out a new lunchbox treat. This came from

Sides were watermelon and sliced apple.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Firecracker Chicken

This is a recipe that seems to be floating around the blogosphere these days, and since I'm hardly on blogs these days, it looks like I missed it.  So I'm super glad that Stephanie shared this because we LOVED it.  Most telling, though, was that the boys said they liked it even though it was spicy.  Wow!

This came together really quickly, which was a saver on the crazy day we had when I made it.  I thought it was really great; the flavors were awesome and the broccoli had a nice crunch since I chose not to precook it.  I was really disappointed when these reheated very poorly for lunch the next day.

Firecracker Chicken and Broccoli, Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks via Stephanie Cooks

1 T. olive oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 t. salt
1 t. black pepper
1/2 c. cornstarch
2 eggs

For the Sauce: 
1/3 c. buffalo sauce
1/2 c. light brown sugar
2 t. rice wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced 
1/2 t. salt
2 c.  broccoli florets

1- Preheat the oven to 350.
2- Dice chicken into 1" pieces.
3- Pour the cornstarch in a shallow dish. Beat the eggs in a separate shallow dish.
4- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Dip the chicken into the cornstarch and then in the eggs. Cook the chicken for 5 minutes or until just browned. Place in a 9 x 13 greased baking dish along with the broccoli florets.
5- In a bowl combine the buffalo sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, garlic, salt. Pour evenly over top of the chicken and broccoli and bake for 30 minutes (until chicken is cooked through), stirring every 15 minutes, until the sauce is completely coating the chicken.
6. Remove from oven and serve over top of rice.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Bbq turkey meatloaf

I made this one a long time ago and haven't made it since.  This was foolish, because this is an amazing meatloaf.  My husband made it this go around.  The BBQ sauce on top is sweet and yummy while there's a real savory flavor in the meat itself.  The onions and pepper add some nice crunch too.  

Make this one soon when you're craving some comfort food!

BBQ Turkey Meatloaf, courtesy of The Neely's 


  • 1 tablespoon Neelys' BBQ Seasoning, recipe follows (I used a pinch of paprika, a pinch of sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon crab boil seasoning, (recommended: Old Bay)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups BBQ Sauce, reserving 1/2 cup for the top (this was a bottle's worth)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 pounds lean ground turkey (I used ground chicken)
  • 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, mix BBQ seasoning, crab boil seasoning, soy sauce, beaten egg, 1 cup of the BBQ sauce and Worcestershire sauce.
In a saute pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil. Add onion, bell pepper, salt and pepper and garlic. Saute until tender. Remove from heat and add to wet mix.
Pour mixture into bowl with the ground turkey. Add bread crumbs and mix all together with your hands.
Transfer the meat mixture to a cookie sheet or baking pan. Using your hands, shape the meat into an oblong or rectangular shape. *Cook's Note: Alternately, you can pat the meat into a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan and pour 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce on the top of the loaf.
Bake for 35 minutes. Remove and add the reserved 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce to the top and continue to bake for 20 more minutes.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Smothered Italian Chicken

When I see something on Stephanie's blog, I know I will enjoy it; when she raves about something, I know I will as well.  This is no exception.  I've made this before, but wanted to highlight it again since I found a way to not waste the rest of the Philly Cooking Creme, again thanks to Stephanie...  see my next post to see how I used it up with amazing results.

This dinner also inspired my husband to make this into a sandwich.  I made more than enough chicken cutlets, which he topped with the leftover sauce, tomato, lettuce, and bacon on a whole grain ciabatta roll to rave results.


Smothered Italian Chicken Source:  Stephanie Cooks
2 chicken breasts, butterflied
1 egg
3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
Olive oil
2 roma tomatoes, sliced
1.5 cups baby spinach
1/3-1/2 tub Philadelphia Italian Cooking Creme
Salt and pepper

1- Preheat the oven to 350.
2- Slice the tomato and place in a small baking dish. Season with salt and pepper. Bake covered for 15 minutes or until soft.
3- Meanwhile, dip the chicken in egg, then bread crumbs, until coated. Heat oil and fry chicken until crisp and cooked through. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
4- Add the spinach and cooking creme to the tomatoes. Cover with foil and bake for another 10 minutes or so, stirring well.
5- Spoon the sauce mixture over the hot chicken. Serve immediately.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Meatless Monday: Baked lemon orzo

It's no secret that my kids are gonzo for Mac and Cheese, so when I saw this recipe, I figured it would be a more sophisticated version of mac and cheese for us to try.  It also happened that I was reading a book, and "orzo" was the hip new thing, in the early 80s.  So, it was clearly Kismet for us to give this a go.

As for the result, I liked it, but wasn't super jazzed about it.  I took it for lunch leftovers (as written, it makes a LOT) but it was really missing some pizzazz.  Definitely a good side dish, though I'm certainly not likely to put this much time and effort into a side dish.

But, maybe it's for you or you can think of a way to get this suited to your family's tastes better!  (Side note:  I did skip the bread crumb topping, which could have been my problem here)

Baked Asiago and Lemon Orzo Source:  Sarcastic Cooking
  • For the Pasta:
  • 1 Pound Orzo Pasta
  • ¼ Cup Unsalted Butter, plus more for greasing
  • ½ Cup Diced Yellow Onion
  • 1 Clove Garlic, grated
  • ¼ Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1 ½ Cup Shredded Asiago Cheese, plus more for topping
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Chopped Dill
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • ½ Teaspoon Pepper
  • Pinch of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • For the Topping:
  • 1 Cup Cubed Stale Bread
  • 3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add orzo, cook according to packaging.
  3. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, sauté for two minutes until translucent. Add garlic, stir to combine. Sauté an additional minute.
  4. Add the flour to the saucepan. Whisk to combine flour and butter. Cook for one to two minutes.
  5. Slowly pour in the milk, while stirring/whisking. Stir/whisk until the sauce and roux are totally combined.
  6. At this time the pasta should be ready to be drained. Drain pasta and set off to the side.
  7. Add the cheese to the sauce, stir, and cook until completely melted. Turn off the heat and stir in all the seasonings, zest, dill, and lemon juice.
  8. Grease a large 9×11 inch baking dish with butter. Add pasta to the baking dish, pour sauce over the pasta, and stir to evenly coat all the orzo with sauce.
  9. In a food processor, pulse the stale bread until a medium/fine crumb is formed. It doesn’t have to be uniform.
  10. In a small skillet, heat butter over medium/high heat until it melts. The butter will crackle and foam and then start to slowly turn brown. Once the butter starts to turn brown, add in the breadcrumbs and stir. Cook for another minute or two and then remove from heat.
  11. Pour the brown butter breadcrumbs over the cheesy orzo along with a little bit more shredded asiago and parmesan cheese.
  12. Bake in the oven uncovered for 20 minutes. Let sit for three to five minutes before serving.
  13. Store pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. Reheat in microwave or oven.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Cilantro lime shrimp

I wasn't thinking when I made this shrimp dish, and served it over plain brown rice.  While it was certainly delicious, I should have served it over Cilantro Lime Rice.  Not only would I have made a side dish that better complimented the dinner, but I also would have used up some of the extra ingredients I bought to make the shrimp dish.

And the shrimp dish was lovely.  I brought it in for lunches for a few days after, and while the shrimp definitely get rubbery in the microwave, I still enjoyed this the second time around.

Cilantro Lime Shrimp Source:  Skinnytaste, via He and She Eat Clean
2 lbs shrimp, shelled & deviened
2 tsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)

1. Heat a large frying pan on medium-high heat.
2. Add oil to the pan & once the pan is hot add shrimp.
3. Season with salt & pepper.
4. When the shrimp is cooked on one side (about 2 minutes), turn over & add garlic.
5. Saute another minute or two until shrimp is cooked, careful not to overcook.
6. Remove from heat.
7. Squeeze lime over shrimp & toss with cilantro.
8. Serve & enjoy!

Makes 4 servings (each serving is 6 oz)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Chili mac

Ah the days of school lunches.  According to my son, a lot of my favorite lunches still grace the cafeteria (chicken patty, anyone?), so it was with fond memories that I stumbled across this recipe in the midst of a clean eating challenge.  Of course my beloved chicken patty was not real food, and it's likely even worse now, but I can make chili mac with all real ingredients, and it will be delicious too.

All three boys enjoyed this too, though the two youngest of them have this thing about onions lately, and spent more time picking onions out than enjoying.  I enjoyed it for several days after as lunch, and the boys even asked for it in the lunchboxes one day.

Clean Eating Chili Mac Source:  The Gracious Pantry


  • 1 1/2 pounds lean, ground turkey
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder (or 8 fresh cloves, minced)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce, no sugar added, low sodium is best
  • 1 cup water
  • Whole grain macaroni, cooked to package directions (I used half a box)
  • Salt to taste
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish


  1. In a medium to large soup pot, cook the turkey in the oil.
  2. When the meat is about half way cooked, stir in all the spices.
  3. When the meat is finished cooking, stir in the pasta and remaining ingredients.
  4. Serve topped with parmesan cheese.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Weelicious Veggie Tortilla Wrap

You may have heard that lunchboxes are no longer what they used to be.  Moms across the internet (and surely Dads too, but they don't seem to have as much of an online presence) cut foods into cute shapes for their kids to eat (or, perhaps, turn up their noses at).

I don't do any of that.  I have been known to use a cookie cutter on a sandwich and also got the Cute-Z-Cute cutter  as a Christmas gift, but I try to keep the lunchboxes full of interesting foods and keep my fingers crossed they will like them.  Pinterest is a huge source of inspiration, but one of the mavens of the lunchbox world has recently published a cookbook, Weelicious Lunches:  Thinking Outside the Lunchbox, and I knew I had to give it a try.

I wish I'd packed one of these for myself, but I didn't quite have enough of the ingredients.  It was not a hit for the boys, though I will likely make it for them again in the hopes their tastes will change, but my husband and I both thought this might be one for US to try one day.  Unfortunately I didn't plan ahead and make the homemade hummus ahead of time, but it took so little time that it was really no big deal (even though I pack lunches after cooking dinner and just want to crash on the couch).  Since I made the hummus from scratch, though, I didn't get around to making the suggested veggie salad for the side.  Maybe next time I'll plan better, but the boys got a side of the hummus, pita chips, and grape tomatoes and baby carrots instead.

Weelicious Veggie Tortilla Wrap Source:  Weelicious Lunches:  Thinking Outside the Lunchbox
*Makes 4 servings
  • ½ cup hummus
  • 4 whole-wheat tortillas
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and grated (about 1 cup)
  • 1 avocado, sliced
1. Lay the tortilla flat on a work surface, and spread hummus along the inside.
2. Top each tortilla with 1/4 of the grated carrots, then 1/4 of the sliced avocados.
3. Roll everything up, cut into half, and lunchbox it.

I used this hummus recipe, from the Weelicious website, for this wrap.  


  • 1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons tahini (can be usually be found right next to the peanut butter at your local grocery)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil


  1. 1. Place all the ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor and puree.
  2. 2. Add the olive oil and continue to puree until creamy.
  3. 3. Serve.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Pineapple Glazed Chicken

Sometime last year, I reorganized many of the photos on my Photobucket account, and as a result, many of my older blog posts no longer have photos.  So, even though this is a terrible photo of a yummy meal, I'm posting it to update the older post.  I've made this a few times, and if you have the book in which the recipe can be found ( Best 30 Minute Recipe), I also recommend the cranberry version (which I also don't seem to have shared here).  

Although my husband is not generally a fan of curry flavors, I continue to make this because the curry is subtle and adds some interesting balance to the sweetness of the pineapple.  This is really nice with rice on the side, especially if you use some of the pineapple sauce on top of it.

Pineapple Glazed Chicken Cook's Illustrated's Best 30 Minute Recipe
  • boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • salt & fresh ground pepper
  • tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks in juice (not syrup)
  • ¼ cup honey
  • tablespoon soy sauce
  • teaspoons curry powder
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • teaspoon cornstarch
  • tablespoon cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds , toasted (see note)


  1. Lightly pound chicken so it's roughly the same thickness.  Season with salt and pepper.  Heat 1T olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and brown the chicken, about 4 minutes per side.
  2. Meanwhile, drain pineapple chunks, reserving 1/2 cup juice. Whisk pineapple juice, honey, soy sauce, curry powder, and cayenne together.  Add this mixture, along with the pineapple chunks, to the skillet with the chicken and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer about 8-12 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink and an instant read thermometer through the thickest part of the chicken reads 160 degrees F, 
  3. Transfer chicken to a plate, cover with foil, and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Return glaze to simmer and cook, uncovered, until thickened slightly and glossy, about 8 minutes.
  4. Add accumulated chicken juices to glaze. Whisk cornstarch and vinegar together until smooth, then whisk into glaze. Continue to simmer glaze until thick and syrupy, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour glaze over chicken, sprinkle with toasted almonds, and serve.
  5. Note: To toast the 1/4 cup almonds, put them in a dry skillet over medium heat. Shake the skillet occasionally to prevent scorching and toast until they are lightly browned and fragrant, 3 to 8 minutes.
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