Sunday, December 27, 2015

Chicken & Black Bean Tamale Pie

Tamale pie. Creamy cornbread, flavorful Mexican spices, bubbling cheese, and fresh cilantro. This is comfort. It's also pretty simple to throw together... AND if you happened to have turkey for your holiday celebration you could easily swap it out for the chicken below and cut back on a step (I love re-purposing leftovers into a new, fun dish).

1 box corn muffin mix (such as Jiffy)1/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 can cream-style corn
1 (4oz) can of green chilies
2 tbsp chili powder, divided
2 tsp cumin, divided
2 tsp garlic powder, divided
1 tsp each, salt & pepper, divided
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 1/2 cups shredded chicken (you can use leftovers or a rotisserie chicken)
2 tbsp cream cheese, softened (optional)
1/4 cup red or green onion, diced
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1 can red enchilada sauce (or use this homemade version found here).
chopped cilantro for garnish

Preheat oven to 400°.

Step One
In a medium size mixing bowl, stir together first four ingredients. Add in 1 tbsp of the chili powder and 1 tsp each of the cumin & garlic powder, and 1/2 tsp each of the salt and pepper. Pour mixture into a round pie dish (coated with spray)

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly golden and cooked through.

Step Two
While corn mixture is cooking, stir together black beans, chicken, cream cheese, remaining spices + red pepper flakes, and onion.

Step Three
Pull out corn mixture and pierce with fork (the texture will be a little mushy like a tamale). Pour enchilada sauce over the mixture, layer the bean & chicken mixture over the top, sprinkle with cheese.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro and cut into 8 pieces. Serve with a side salad and some tortilla chips. Yum!

Enjoy, y'all!


Monday, December 21, 2015

Banana-Coconut Muffins

Merry (almost) Christmas, y'all! We have visitors in town for the holidays, so I always try to have some fresh muffins or {sweet} bread on hand when anyone is coming through town. These muffins are one of my go-tos, and are great with a cup of fresh coffee!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 c granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 (ripe) bananas, mashed
3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut, plus some extra for topping (up to your liking)

Preheat oven to 350°

Step One
Mix flour, baking soda & salt in a separate bowl and set aside

Step Two
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter & sugars until fluffy. Add in eggs, vanilla and bananas and mix until smooth. Fold in the coconut until blended.

Step Three
Pour into muffin cups (filling about 3/4 of the way full), sprinkle some of the remaining coconut on top and bake for 25-30 minutes (or until cooked through).

Enjoy, y'all!


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Fresh Blueberry Bread

Blueberries are one of my toddler's favorite things to snack on...he also loves to help me in the kitchen so I try and include him as often as I can. So, when you have an excess of blueberries from the Farmer's Market or blueberry patch, tyou invite that cutie in to help make fresh blueberry bread (and hope he doesn't eat all of the main ingredient before you get it finished)! Watching him help in the kitchen and "sneak" bites of the ingredients is seriously one of the cutest things I've ever seen, though. I know, I am biased. : )

If you are a blueberry fan and enjoy the smell (and taste) of fresh baked bread, give this recipe a try... and include your munchkin if he/she is interested in helping out. It is a simple recipe and they will be so proud to measure, pour and stir!

What You Will Need
½ stick butter, melted & slightly cooled
1 egg

½ cup milk
2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar + 1 tsp, divided
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

2 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350°.

Step One
Whisk butter, egg and milk in a mixing bowl.

Step Two
In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients together (except the 1 tsp sugar). Slowly pour into wet ingredients and mix until all combined.

Step Three
Stir in blueberries, being careful not to break them. Pour into greased loaf pan and sprinkle remaining tsp of sugar on top. Cook for 50-60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean and top is golden brown.

Enjoy, y'all!


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Whole Grain Vegetable Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is a summer side dish go-to! In an effort to up my intake of whole grains and veggies but not cut back on flavor I made this Whole Grain Vegetable Pasta Salad. The summer veggies were just what I had on hand from the farmer's market so no worries if you don't have this exact ingredient list...the idea is to use what you have and in the amounts you like...I promise you can't go wrong!

Ingredients for pasta
½ box whole grain penne pasta
1 medium summer squash, thinly sliced
1 medium hothouse cucumber, thinly sliced
½ cup red onion, thinly sliced
½ pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 green pepper, thinly sliced

Ingredients for vinaigrette

2 small garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar

Juice from half a lemon
1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp each dried oregano & parsley
½ tsp each salt & pepper

Dash of red pepper flakes

Step One

Cook pasta according to package. Rinse, drain and set aside.

Step Two
While pasta is cooling, mix vinaigrette ingredients in a mason jar and shake up (you can also mix in bowl and stir but I enjoy the shake method).

Step Three
Mix pasta, veggies & vinaigrette together in a large mixing bowl. Let set in refrigerator for at least an hour before eating (the longer the better it tastes), stir once more and pour into a serving bowl.

Enjoy, y'all!

Vinaigrette recipe adapted from Budget Bytes.


Friday, June 26, 2015

Sweet Corn & Black Bean Salad

This salad is one of my go-tos in the summertime. It's light, fresh, flavorful and healthy. It's also the perfect side dish for a cookout because it goes with anything (and is olive oil based so it's safe to sit outside for a bit longer than your usual mayonnaise based side dishes). It's delicious on top of fish, in tacos, with grilled chicken or steak, scooped up with some tortilla chips, or just by itself.

2 ears sweet corn (I prefer Silverqueen), shucked, rinsed & cut off the cob
1 large fresh tomato, chopped
2 green onions, diced
1 avocado, chopped
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, diced
1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar
Juice from 1 lime
tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

Step One
Pour all the veggies & cilantro in a large bowl.

Step Two

In a seperate dish, mix together the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, salt & pepper. Pour over veggie mixture and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

This salad is even better the next day so be sure to save some leftovers. Enjoy, y'all!


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Father's Day Breakfast Ideas

Put a smile on Dad's face by surprising him with a yummy breakfast in bed (or at the table if you are a neat freak like me). : ) Here is a compilation of some of my favorite breakfast recipes, including a little something for every Dad's taste!

The "Classic" Dad
For the Dad who likes the basics...scramble up some eggs, cook some sausage and simmer some delicious Creamy Grits to go alongside. This breakfast won't disappoint!

The "Foodie" Dad

For the Dad who appreciates the details of a meal, try this Tomato, Scallion & Ham Quiche.

The "Go For It" Dad
For the Dad who loves something hearty, buttery and cheesy...this Everything Breakfast Bake is the way to go.

The "Trying to Cut Back" Dad
For the Dad who still wants to indulge but cut a few (calorie) corners along the way, try this cheese-less & crust-less Spinach & Bacon Frittata.

The "Sweet Tooth" Dad
For the Dad who likes a little sweetness to start the day...slice up some fresh, warm Banana Bread and spread a little butter on top. Yum!

Happy Father's Day to all the special men in your lives! Enjoy, y'all!


Monday, June 15, 2015

Slow-Cooked Creamy Chicken Tacos

I am not ashamed to admit that I could eat Mexican food every day... and luckily my boys share the same sentiment. We definitely have some form of it one to two times per week around here...and I always have tortillas, black beans, avocados, cilantro & Mexican spices on hand as a back up. These are kitchen staples, folks!

During the summer (especially when the temperature is 90+) I don't looooove cooking over a hot stove or around a heated oven. Who does?? We're also tied up in the busyness that summer brings. You feel me?? My solution: heat up your slow-cooker, not your house, and let it do the cooking for you. And if you're craving something Mexican these Slow-Cooked Creamy Chicken Tacos are the bees knees.

3-4 medium-sized chicken breasts
Spice blend: 1 tsp each: salt, garlic powder & cumin; ½ tsp each: pepper & chili powder
1 cup salsa verde

4 oz cream cheese, cut into small cubes
2 green onions, diced

Step One
Rinse off chicken breasts and pat dry. Place in bottom of crock pot and spread spice blend on top.

Step Two
Pour salsa over chicken, then layer cream cheese on top. Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 8, whichever you prefer/works easiest for your schedule.

Step Three
When cooking time is complete, shred chicken with two forks, add in green onions and mix everything together. Leave setting on warm until ready to eat.

Serve with warm tortillas and top with your favorite fixins' (we like red onion, lettuce, tomatoes and avocado)...and of course add a salad or rice & beans to the side. Enjoy, y'all!


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Grilled Shrimp Scampi

It's grilling season! My favorite time of year. We cook outside every chance we get... there's just something about fresh food off the grill and eating under the sunset that make me SO happy. Make sure and add this easy-to-follow recipe to your spring/summer grilling rotation!

½ dozen large shrimp, peeled & deveined (leave tails on)
½ tsp each salt, pepper & sugar
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ lemon, juiced
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
½ tsp parsley flakes

Step One
Make sure and pat shrimp dry with paper towels after they have been peeled/deveined/washed. Sprinkle salt, pepper & sugar evenly on both sides.

Step Two
Grill shrimp for 2 minutes on each side (it is okay if they are a little undercooked as they will continue to cook through in the next step). Transfer to a plate.

Step Three
In an aluminum pie plate, melt butter and mix in remaining ingredients. Cook for 30 seconds then add in shrimp and cook through for an additional minute.

Stir and serve with warm crusty bread and a side salad for a light, simple & yummy dish.

Enjoy, y'all!


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Pulled Pork Tacos with Sweet & Spicy Slaw

Sometimes the best tasting meals come out of the slow cooker! This pulled pork is tender, juicy and full of flavor. It's good "naked," on a bun or how we like it for #TacoTuesday: in a warm tortilla. Combined with the crunch + sweet and spicy flavor of our fave slaw... so so good y'all. This meal is always a win with the fam or company. It is also a win for YOU because it takes minimal prep time -- just let the slow cooker do the work. Winner winner Pulled Pork Tacos dinner!

What You Will Need: 
for the pulled pork
4 lb pork butt or pork shoulder (bone-in), washed & patted dry
2 tbsp each: smoked paprika, brown sugar
1 tsp each: garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper
Dash of red pepper flakes (optional)
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup water (or chicken broth for more flavor)

for the slaw
1 - 16oz package tri-color cole slaw (shredded green & red cabbage + carrots)
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup (reduced-fat) mayonnaise
¼ cup yellow mustard
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp sugar
½ tsp each: salt, pepper, cayenne pepper

Step One

Pour vinegar and chicken broth in the bottom of your slow cooker.

Step Two
Mix spices and rub over the top and sides of pork. Place pork carefully in crock pot so that rub stays on. Cook on the low/8-hour setting.

Step Three
Pour slaw and sliced red onion into a large mixing bowl.Whisk together remaining ingredients, then pour over slaw. Stir the mixture together, coating the slaw evenly. Refrigerate for at least an hour, or until ready to serve that evening.

Step Four

When pork is finished, remove and place into a deep pan. Take two forks and pull/shred it apart, then pour some of the juices (from slow cooker) on top. I prefer doing it this way instead of putting the meat back in the slow cooker; by adding it a little at a time it will help to keep it from drying out but also keep it from getting too liquidy (<--- made up word).

Serve pork in tortillas and top with slaw + cilantro. Enjoy, y'all! xo


Slaw recipe adapted from The Neely's.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Quinoa-Spinach Bites

These quinoa-spinach bites are the perfect superfood snack! The quinoa, garlic, spinach and touch of cheese are the perfect blend of savory and healthy. You can also swap some ingredients (without compromising flavor) to make it gluten and/or dairy free.

We like to eat these right out of the oven, but I think they are even better as a grab and go out of the refrigerator. Take your afternoon or post work-out snack time up a notch by including these on the list of options!

Note: this recipe will make about a dozen so make sure and double or triple accordingly. After they cool you can store them in your refrigerator for up to five days.

What You Will Need: 
cup quinoa
1 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth (you can use water if you prefer)
¼ cup yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup carrot, shredded
1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and liquid removed
¾ cup plain panko bread crumbs (use gluten-free if preferred)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, freshly grated*
1 tbsp parsley flakes (or equivalent of fresh parsley)
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°

Step One
Thoroughly wash and drain quinoa. Add to small sauce pan along with broth and bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Once at a boil, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes (or until all liquid is absorbed).
Tip: Anytime I make quinoa as a side I like to save about a cup so I can make these bites the next day.

Step Two
After letting quinoa cool for about 10-15 minutes, mix together with the remaining ingredients. Form into small (flat) patties, place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes.

*If you want to go the dairy-free route but still want a flavor similar to Parmesan try swapping in nutritional yeast.

Enjoy, y'all!


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Spicy Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Friends, this right here is a a goody! The taste is quite comparable to your favorite lettuce wraps from that famous Chinese restaurant chain we will leave unnamed. ;) Don't get me wrong, I love those wraps—and chicken fried rice for that matter—BUT sometimes when you find an at-home hack you just gotta share the deets!

This is an easy weeknight meal that is naturally dairy-free and can be gluten-free (with a simple substitute). It's healthy, delicious, filling, the list goes on. AND the children (at least around here) scarf it down—I think they enjoy scooping and rolling their own wraps. Fun + healthy eating =

You can either marinate lean ground turkey or use leftover chicken from another meal. I'm all about a leftover repurpose! Whichever poultry you choose, you marinate it in a delicious blend of flavors, then quickly cooked up on the stove and serve in cool, crisp lettuce wraps with a yummy cucumber-cilantro relish on top. What more can I say to entice you? Try this recipe. Trust me.

Ingredients for the turkey wraps
3 tablespoons honey
1 tbsp sriracha
1 tbsp chili garlic sauce (you could use 2 tablespoons of chili garlic sauce OR 2 of sriracha if you only have one of the ingredients on hand)
2 tbsp + 2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce, divided
Juice from one lime
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil + 1 tsp, divided
1 pound lean ground turkey
4 green onions, diced
2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 head of iceberg lettuce, washed and divided into leaves
Optional: additional soy sauce, Chinese mustard

Ingredients for the cucumber-pepper relish (optional)½ cup cucumber, diced
½ cup red onion, diced
½ red bell pepper, diced
¼ tsp each salt & pepper
Splash of lime juice

Step One
In a medium-size mixing bowl, stir together honey, sriracha, chili garlic sauce, 2 tbsp soy sauce, lime juice, ginger and 2 tbsp olive oil. Mix turkey into bowl and let marinate for 20 minutes (at room temperature).

Step Two
In a small mixing bowl, stir together the cucumber, onion, red pepper, salt, pepper and lime juice. Cover and put in refrigerator until ready to use.

Step Three
Heat remaining oil on medium in a large skillet. Sauté green onions and garlic for 2-3 minutes, or until cooked through.

Step Four
Add in meat mixture and cook, stirring/breaking up meat occasionally, about 6-7 minutes or until no longer pink.

Step Five
In a ramekin or other small bowl, mix together cornstarch and remaining soy sauce. Add to pan and cook through for an additional minute or two (this will help to thicken up the meat mixture).

Serve immediately with lettuce leaves, cucumber-pepper relish, additional soy sauce/Chinese mustard/Sriracha, alongside some edamame, if desired.

Enjoy, y'all!

Recipe adapted from Simply Scratch. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Everything Breakfast Bake

Weekends are meant for enjoying savory breakfasts! This egg bake is an easy throw-together that's hearty and delicious...and a go-to meal in the Fry house! I use this same recipe often and just switch up the protein/veggie ingredients based on what I have on hand. Serve with some fruit and I guarantee all will enjoy. :)


2 tbsp + 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small potato, thinly sliced

½ cup red onion, thinly sliced
½ lb sage sausage (or whichever flavor you prefer)
3-4 handfuls fresh baby spinach
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
5 eggs 

¼ cup half & half (or milk)
1 tsp each: salt, pepper & oregano 
½ tsp thyme
¼ tsp garlic powder
1 package crescent rolls

Preheat oven to 400°.

Step One

In a cast iron skillet, heat oil on medium heat. Sauté potatoes, onions, salt & pepper for 15-20 minutes, or until soft/slightly browned. Remove potatoes and set aside.

Step Two
Using same skillet on medium heat, crumble the sausage and cook until no longer pink. Set sausage aside and wipe out grease.

Step Three
Pour remaining oil into skillet. Sauté spinach until wilted. Set aside.

Step Four
Beat eggs and half & half in a small mixing bowl. Stir in remaining spices. 

Step Five
Lightly grease a 9x13 pan with non-stick cooking spray. Spread the crescent rolls across the bottom, making one crust. Spread the potatoes, sausage, spinach & cheese across the pan, then pour the egg mixture on top.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until set. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Enjoy, y'all!


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Roasted Chicken, Black Bean & Corn Enchildas with Homemade Red Sauce

At the Fry house we could eat Mexican food all day every day. It is definitely a weekly go-to, whether enchiladas, quesadillas or tacos of some sort, so I always have most of these ingredients on hand.

I also usually roast a few chicken breasts at the beginning of each week to have for lunch or quick prep for a dinner like this one. Just sprinkle with salt, pepper & garlic powder and rub a little olive oil on them. Cover a baking sheet with foil and roast chicken at 375° anywhere from 30-60 minutes (depending on if they fresh or frozen and the size).

Now, let’s talk enchilada sauce. You can always use the canned stuff if you want to save a step…BUT making your own is pretty easy, much tastier and definitely better for you!

Homemade Red Sauce
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp flour
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
¼ cup chicken broth
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp each: cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, paprika, salt & pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
½ cup sweet onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups chicken breast, roasted & cut into small cubes
1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 cup frozen corn, thawed (use fresh off the cob if you have it)
1 can green chilies (optional)
½ cup pepper-jack cheese, shredded
½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
3 tbsp red sauce (recipe follows)
8 flour or corn tortillas (soft taco size)
Garnish with chopped green onion, tomatoes & cilantro (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°.

Step One:
Heat oil in a small saucepan on medium heat. Add in flour and whisk until smooth.

Step Two:
Add in tomato sauce, chicken broth and spices and bring to a low boil. Once at a boil, turn to medium-low heat and simmer about 10-15 minutes, or until thickened.
*You will use about half of the sauce for this recipe, so store the rest in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Step Three:
Heat oil in large skillet. Sauté onion until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add in garlic and cook for an additional minute.

Step Four:
Add in chicken, black beans, corn and green chilies (if using) and sauté until heated through. Add in 3-4 tablespoons of your red sauce and your pepper-jack cheese. Mix well and set aside.

Step Five:
Using a large 9 x 13 pan (or something similar), spread about 1-2 tablespoons of your red sauce along the bottom.

Step Six:
Place about ¼ cup of your chicken mixture down one side of a tortilla. Start rolling up, first going over the mixture, trying to keep it pretty tight. Place seem side down in pan. Repeat.

Step Seven:
Pour red sauce over enchiladas, using as much or as little as you prefer. Top with cheddar cheese (and green onions, tomatoes & cilantro if using) and bake for 20-25 or until cheese is golden brown.

Let sit 5-10 minutes, then serve with some quinoa and guacamole and you'll have yourself one happy family!

Enjoy, y'all!