Juanita's Baked Chicken Leg Quarters with Red Pepper Vinegar Sauce

Thursday, June 22, 2017

I spend my quiet time, usually at night when my husband and sons are sleeping, developing recipes. Most of the time they are of foods I remember growing up on in NC. This one I created based on my Grandma Juanita's  bbq chicken. I have never tasted anything like it except when we would gather at her house in the summer. She made it a bit different than I do, using a huge pot and lots of chicken . I think there may have been broiling involved. I adapted the recipe from what I remember it tasting like. Trial and error. I ended up using chicken leg quarters . They are inexpensive and I have a house of hungry boys who can eat. No exaggeration when I say they are eating me out of house and home. This recipe I used 4 chicken leg quarters. the sauce can be doubled or tripled depending on how much you need. The sauce has a vinegar tang with a bit of heat from the crushed red pepper. I added extra pepper for my husband and I . We like hot. I also kept the skin on the chicken and roasted it. I prefer it that way. It cooks up crispy and when the sauce is poured over it, the flavor is incredible. I serve the chicken with roasted potatoes and asparagus.

Juanita's Baked Chicken Leg Quarters with Red Pepper Vinegar Sauce

4 chicken leg quarters
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 c melted butter
1/4 c white distilled vinegar
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes ( or more if you like it hot)

1.Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9x13 glass dish.
2. Place the chicken quarters in the dish. Sprinkle evenly with the salt, pepper and garlic powder.
3. In a medium bowl, mix together the melted butter, vinegar and red pepper. Using a brush, brush the chicken with the sauce. an even layer will do. Reserve the rest of the sauce.
4. Place the chicken in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through, basting once after 20 minutes. 
5. When the chicken is done, pour the rest of the sauce over the chicken and let it rest for a few minutes. Serve .

Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

As  you have probably figured out by now, we grill often in the warmer months. It is so easy to marinate chicken, beef or seafood during the afternoon and grill it after  a  long day. This a simple marinade that  uses ingredients that I usually have on hand. I used large chicken tenders for this recipe (12 count) and it worked perfect. I have used chicken thighs and shrimp before and it has been wonderful with both. I have also left out the tequila (once) when there was none here, and it still turned out so yummy. Why not make a few extra pieces of chicken to toss on a salad or add to brown rice and black beans for a tasty lunch the next day.

Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or tenders)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons green onions, minced
1 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup tequila
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
2 teaspoons cumin
salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients except chicken in a large zipper bag. Shake to combine. Add chicken, turn to coat well. Refrigerate and marinate for about 3 hours.
Heat grill to medium high. Remove chicken and discard remaining marinade. Grill chicken 4-5 minutes on each side, or until juices run clear.


One of the joys of summer to me is the fresh produce. I am always making quick salads for our lunches and snacks throughout the week. This panzanella, or bread salad, is a favorite of mine. The vinaigrette is so simple, but so full of flavor. And it is a great way to use up leftover bread!



1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 T red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper to taste
2 c sourdough bread, diced
1 c cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cucumber, seeded and diced
1/2 small red onion, diced
2 oz shaved parmesan cheese
1/4 c chopped fresh basil


In a small bowl, whik together the olive oil, red Wine vinegar, minced garlic and salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a serving bowl, Toss together the remaining ingredients. Whisk the vinaigrette again and pour it over the salad.Gently mix all together and let it sit 10 to 15 minutes to let the bread absorb the vinaigrette. Garnish with fresh basil.

Rustic Peach Tart

Monday, June 19, 2017

This rustic peach tart is so easy to make. It is a perfect summer dessert when you use fresh peaches. You can make your own pie crust, but I cheat and use a premade one. If you do not have heavy cream, I would use an egg wash and not regular milk. It will seep into the dough and make it soggy.


9" pie crust
5 peaches,  sliced
1 T lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c light brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 T cornstarch
2 T heavy cream
2 T coarse sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment and roll out the pie crust. Set aside  in the refrigerator to stay cold while you make he filling.
2. In a large bowl, toss together peaches, lemon juice, vanilla extract, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, pepper and cornstarch. Mix well.
3. Take the sheet pan out of the refrigerator and pile the peaches and juices into the middle.
4. Fold and pleat the crust over the peaches.
5. Brush the crust with the cream and sprinkle with the coarse sugar.
6. Bake 40-45 minutes or until peaches are tender and the crust is golden.

Mexican Stuffed Shells

This is one of those recipes that take a short amount of time to make, yet it has the flavors that most everyone enjoys. Especially kids. Think taco pasta cups. The thing I love about this particular recipe is that I can make the individual toppings that make both kids and parents happy. Usually my kids load their shells with lots of cheese and sour cream. But I always dice a red onion and let it sit in lime juice for about 15 minutes, chop up a small bunch of cilantro and avocado for the adults. I served these shells with a cumin spiced black bean and corn salad, which I added to my shells before adding the sour cream. Super yummy meal to make on a weeknight.

Mexican Stuffed Shells

1 box jumbo pasta shells
1-2 T butter
1.5 lbs lean ground beef, turkey or chicken
2T taco seasoning ( I use Penzey's)
3 oz  cream cheese ( I use reduced fat)
1 c salsa
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 c shredded hot pepper jack cheese
1.5 cups tortilla chips, crushed ( I use tortilla strips)

Preheat oven to 350*. Cook the pasta shells according to the package directions.Drain shells, gently toss in butter and set aside.

In a large skillet, brown the meat, turkey  or chicken. Season with the 2T taco seasoning. Stir in the cream cheese until well blended. Let the meat mixture simmer on low for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Fill each shell with meat mixture and set in a lightly greased casserole dish. (9 x 13 ). Spoon the salsa over the shells and top with the cheese and tortilla chips. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until cheese is melted and the meat is warmed through. Serve with sour cream, onions, lettuce;or any other taco toppings you prefer.

Root Beer Float Popsicles

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

One of the most requested foods at our house in the summertime is homemade popsicles. The boys love them and I try to make them at least every other day so they can enjoy them .  I have made these root beer float pops for years and they are always a hit. Especially with my youngest. They are his favorite flavor. You can use any brand root beer for these. I usually just grab a store brand one when I am out shopping. Super easy to put together. Just two ingredients and you are done. All you have to do is wait for them to freeze. If you guys have any favorite popsicles recipes, please send them my way! I am always looking for new ones to try out!

Root Beer Float Popsicles 
makes 6

3 cups root beer
1 cup sweetened condensed milk

In a large bowl, combine the root beer and the sweetened condensed milk. ( I use a whisk to make sure it is combined well)
Let it sit for a few minutes to let the foam recede.
Pour into popsicle molds, insert sticks and freeze.


Fresh Peach Cobbler

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

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I get excited when the first peaches start arriving in markets in the summer. I love fresh peaches. I usually end up buying so many that we get burnt out on peach related dishes pretty quick. Which is fine, because it just makes us think of fresh peaches until the next year. I can a few quarts of peach pie filling , so we still have peach pie in the cooler months. (Which is awesome when I want a desert on a snowy night) . The first thing I usually make when I get my hands on peaches is a cobbler. Plain, simple peach summer goodness. Topped with vanilla ice cream, and you have an impressive, flavorful ending to  a meal.The sweetness comes from the peaches and a bit of sugar and cinnamon added to those before baking. The batter bubbles up and bakes over the sweet , juicy peaches to perfection! So head on out to your local farmers market and grab yourself fresh peaches. You can thank me later! :)

Fresh Peach Cobbler
3 cups fresh peaches, peeled , pitted and sliced
1/2 c sugar ( more or less depending on the sweetness of the peaches)
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp fresh lemon zest
1 c Bisquick
1 c almond milk
1/2 c butter, melted
2 T brown sugar , packed
2 tsp cinnamon sugar (optional)
1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.In a large bowl, combine the sliced peaches, sugar, cornstarch,nutmeg ,cinnamon and lemon zest. Mix well to incorporate the sugar and spices.
3.In a separate bowl, mix together the Bisquick,almond milk, butter and brown sugar.
4. Pour the Bisquick mixture into a 9x9 baking dish.
5. Pour the peach mixture over the batter. Do not stir.
6. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (optional)
7. Bake at 375 for 50-60 minutes, or until bubbly and the batter is cooked through.
8. Serve warm with a side of ice cream or whipped cream (optional)

Carne Asada Marinade

One of our favorite foods to eat on busy nights is tacos. We make a lot of ground beef, chicken, fish and shrimp tacos. My favorite are carne asada tacos. This marinade gives the meat a garlic citrus note that is so flavorful. You will want to plan ahead for this recipe. The meat has to marinate for 48 hours. To make the carne asada, just take the met out of the marinade and grill to your desired doneness. We like ours  medium. Then you slice it very thinly and chop the strips into tiny pieces. The best taco meat! Serve on warm corn tortillas with cilantro and onion .

Carne Asada Marinade

1/4 c olive oil
1 c malt vinegar
1/3 c lime juice
1/3 c orange juice
1 c water
2 T minced garlic
1 T ground black pepper
1 T salt
1 T cumin
1 T chili powder
1 T oregano
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 orange, sliced
1 onion, sliced into half moons
1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped
5-6 lb skirt steak

Combine all ingredients except the skirt steak in a large bowl. Whisk to combine.
Place the skirt steak in a shallow glass dish. Pour marinade over the meat and cover. Marinate for 48 hours in the refrigerator. Grill meat, slice, chop and serve.

Baked Parmesan Chicken

Monday, June 12, 2017

You guys! Chicken parmesan is one of my very favorite chicken dishes. The breaded chicken, warm marinara and gooey cheese. Yes, please. This recipe is so much healthier than the traditional fried chicken breasts . I use whole wheat bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and a little bit of salt, pepper and garlic powder to bread the chicken. Bake it off and add a generous portion of marinara sauce and low fat mozzarella cheese. Perfection. And you don't miss the calories. So, so good. My boys love this dish as well and clean their plate every time. Serve it with a salad and you have a yummy dinner.

Baked Parmesan Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half horizontally ( 8 breasts total)
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 c grated parmesan  cheese
1 tsp Garlic powder
1 tsp italian seasoning
2 T butter
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 c marinara sauce
basil, shredded (optional)

1.Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie/baking sheet.
2. In a shallow bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Mix well.
3.In a second shallow bowl, melt the butter.
4. Brush the butter on the chicken breasts and dredge in the breadcrumbs. Place chicken on the baking sheet.
5.Bake chicken for 25 minutes.
6. Remove chicken from the oven and spoon @1 T marinara sauce on top of each breast. top each with a heaping tablespoon of mozzarella cheese,
7. Bake 5-7 more minutes  , or until the cheese I melted.
8. Sprinkle shredded basil over the chicken and serve,

Fire and Ice Pickles

Friday, June 9, 2017

You guys!  have no idea why I haven't shared this recipe with you before. I have made these yummy pickles for years and every time I do, I fall in love with them all over again. These pickles are so easy to make . Just mix, let sit and refrigerate. No canning involved. I promise these things are addictive. They are sweet and crunchy when you first taste them. But then the hot kicks in from the Tabasco and red chili pepper flakes. And oh man! You just can't  eat just one.  These make great hostess gifts and Christmas gifts for teachers and neighbors.

* note * use hamburger chips , not kosher dill slices. The kosher dills leave a weird aftertaste. I find the 32oz jars of hamburger pickles at Aldi . They are perfect for this recipe.

Fire & Ice Pickles
32 oz jar sliced dill pickles ( I use hamburger chips)
2 c sugar
1 T Tabasco Sauce ( or other hot sauce)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes ( I use a bit more. I like the heat)
1 clove garlic, whole

1. In a medium bowl, add all ingredients and mix well.
2. Cover the pickles and let them stand for two hours.
3. Stir the pickles well and transfer all ( pickles and juice) to a jar.
4.Store in the refrigerator. Will keep for a few weeks .


Fig Balsamic Glazed Steak Kabobs

Thursday, June 8, 2017

I am a huge fan of quick, flavorful,  uncomplicated cooking. When the weather gets warmer , I tend to grill almost every night. It is so easy to marinate meat, add a few veggies and maybe a starch, and grill outside. These kabobs are so good. I have been making them on regular rotation for a few years now, just switching up the veggies depending on what I have. Tonight it was just vidalia onions and red peppers, but normally I would have a zucchini or yellow squash to add to the skewers.
The glaze is super easy to put together and the fig and balsamic marriage is spot on. I tend to gravitate towards jellies to make my glazes. They always give me the consistency I want for a glaze. This one caramelizes the meat and there is a sweet contrast to the tangy balsamic.


1 lb boneless sirloin steak, 3/4" to 1" thick
1 onion, cut into 12 pieces
1 large red pepper, cut into 12 pieces
1/2 c fig preserves *see note
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 T olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

* some fig preserves will have chunks of fig . Make sure you chop the figs into small pieces for the glaze.

1. Soak bamboo skewers in water for about 30 minutes  and pre heat your grill.
2. Cut the sirloin into @16 pieces
3.Using the skewers, alternately thread the beef, red pepper and onion onto skewers. Set aside.
4.In a bowl, combine the fig preserves, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper. Reserve 1/4 for dipping.
5.Brush the kabobs with the fig sauce.
6. On a preheated grill. grill the kabobs 8-10 minutes, or until desired doneness, turning and basting with the fig balsamic sauce every 2-3 minutes.
7. Serve with reserved sauce for dipping.

Strawberry Pie

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

One of my favorite late spring activities is strawberry picking. We take the boys every year and pick enough strawberries to feed a small army. We eat them right out of the fridge, and I make jam, strawberry coulis, muffins, shortcake and our favorite, strawberry pie. I have to say, this is one of my favorite desserts to make . The glossy strawberries and their gorgeous red hue ! Perfection!  This recipe so easy to make. I make the crust with graham cracker crumbs , but you can definitely use a store bought crust. It makes this recipe even easier. Top the pie with whipped cream and  a bit of shaved chocolate and you have a beautiful, tasty dessert to serve to friends and family.

Strawberry Pie

1 9" pie crust or make your own
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 T cornstarch
1/4 cup strawberry gelatin (Jell-O)
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled

1.Prebake pie crust and set aside to cool to room temperature .
2. In a saucepan over medium high heat, stir together water, sugar, cornstarch and the gelatin. Bring to a gentle boil while whisking constantly,
3. When the mixture comes to a boil, remove it from the heat  and allow the glaze to cool . as it cools, it will set and thicken a bit.
4. Add your strawberries to the pie crust.
5. Stir the glaze well and gently pour it over the strawberries, coating all of the berries, and in between them as well.
6. Chill the pie in the refrigerator or a few hours. serve with whipped cream .

Grilled Cheerwine BBQ Pork Chops

These grilled pork chops are so good. Cheerwine is used for the bbq sauce and it creates a nice sauce with a hint of cherry flavor. For those of you not familiar with Cheerwine, it is a cherry soda made in Salisbury, NC. It is very popular and it is beginning to make its way to states  other than NC. I can find it here in WV/VA stores. I have also been known to bring a few 12 packs home with me from NC when I go home to visit my family. If you cannot find Cheerwine, you can use a cherry coke or pepsi, but the flavor will not be the exact same as using Cheerwine.
This recipe uses a flavorful rub , then the chops are grilled and the bbq sauce is brushed on the meat near the end of grilling. The pork chops come out perfect.You can use any kind of pork chop. I use thick bone in chops. But use what you have. Just adjust the grill time accordingly if you have thin chops. You don't want to over cook them .
 Make sure you save some of the bbq sauce for dipping at the table. I had a bit left over from dinner and I made a bbq ranch dressing with the leftover sauce for grilled chicken salad for lunch the next day. I just mixed in the bbq sauce one tablespoon at a time into homemade ranch dressing until I got the bbq flavor I wanted. I used about 3 T sauce to 1 cup dressing.

Grilled Cheerwine BBQ Pork Chops

BBQ Sauce:
1 T butter
1 tsp minced garlic
1 c ketchup
1 c Cheerwine
3 T worchestershire sauce
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dry mustard
2 T white distilled vinegar

1. Melt butter in a saucepan. Add garlic and cook in the butter, stirring , for about 45 seconds. Stir in all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about half an hour.

Pork :
6- 8  bone in  pork chops, about 1 1/2 thick
1 T thyme
1 T oregano
1 T paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

1. Mix all of the rub ingredients together well.Coat the pork , on both sides, with the rub using your fingers to get the rub all over the meat. Place the pork in a large ziploc bag and marinate for 4 hours.

1.Preheat grill to medium heat. When grill has been heated, place the pork on the grates and grill 6 o 8 minutes.
2.Turn he pork and grill on the other side  until the meat is cooked through, about 5-6 minutes.
3.Using 1 cup of sauce ( reserve the rest for serving)  brush the pork with the sauce. Grill for about 2 minutes, then turn the pork and brush the other sides with the sauce and cook another 2 minutes.
4.Remove the pork from he grill and tent it with aluminum foil for about 5 minutes to le the meat rest.
5.Serve with reserved bbq sauce.

I am sharing this recipe over at
Weekend Potluck

Bourbon Street Chicken with Coconut Basmati Rice

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

This recipe for bourbon chicken is hands down the one recipe I know that my family will inhale when it is put in front of them! It is so good and really easy to put together. Reading the recipe it seems like it would be a drawn out process but if you prep beforehand and have all of the ingredients together before you start, it really is easy to get on the table on a weeknight. I make a large pot of coconut basmati rice and usually serve a green salad with ginger dressing. Try it, I promise you will not be disappointed! * I would recommend doubling the sauce if you like to put more over your rice! I always double it  because 2 of my 3 sons like more sauce for their rice.

Bourbon Street Chicken

2 lbs boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1-2 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 teaspoon ginger
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup apple juice
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tsp cornstarch ( more for a thicker sauce)

Heat oil in a large skillet.
Add chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned.
Remove chicken.
Add remaining ingredients, heating over medium heat until well mixed and dissolved.
Add chicken and bring to a hard boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Serve over hot rice

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Homemade Pimento Cheese

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

I can't believe I have never posted this recipe!  Pimento cheese is always in my refrigerator. It is a staple food in our house. I use it to make grilled pimento cheese sandwiches, as a dip for crackers or celery, and in scalloped potatoes. I just use pimento cheese in place of the shredded cheese.  My nana always told me to use blocks of cheddar cheese and to grate it myself. The cheese you can buy preshredded doesn't work well . And the sharper cheddar the better :)


1 lb sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 4oz jar pimentos
1 cup mayonnaise (I use Dukes brand)
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp garlic powder

1. In a large bowl, add all of the ingredients and stir until everything is mixed well.
2. Refrigerate.

Greek Yogurt Strawberry Chocolate Chip Parfaits

This is a great dessert to make if you love strawberries. I made these for an after school treat for my boys and they were a huge hit. I used greek yogurt because that is what I had on hand, but regular vanilla yogurt would work too.


8oz cream cheese, softened
2 c vanilla greek yogurt
2 T milk
6 tsp powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 c strawberries,  hulled and halved
1 c chocolate chip cookies, crumbled

1. In a large bowl, mix together the cream cheese, yogurt,  milk, powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix until smooth.
2. In jars or glasses, layer with crushed cookies, yogurt mixture and strawberries.
3. Serve cold.


Thai Coconut Lime Chicken

Oh my goodness, this is a great, quick chicken recipe for warmer nights when you can start up the grill and have  a great tasting dinner in about 30 minutes. The flavors of the coconut, lime, ginger and cilantro are such a great combination. If you are like me and like extra sauce for the chicken and to spoon over the rice, make a second batch of the marinade. I warm it in a saucepan and pour it over chicken and a side of rice. So, so good. 
I usually let the chicken marinate for a few hours, but I think that even half an hour/45 minutes would work. 



 3T canola oil
1 tsp cumin 
3T sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp ground ginger
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lime
2 T soy sauce
1 c canned coconut milk
Fresh cilantro
Lime wedges


1. If your chicken breasts are thick, cut them in half for quicker cooking time. 
2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together all marinade ingredients.
3. Place the chicken in a glass dish or a large ziploc bag and let it marinate in the fridge for a few hours.
4. Remove the chicken from the marinade, discarding the marinade.
5. Grill the chicken until cooked through, and no longer pink.
6. Serve with chopped cilantro and lime wedges.

Looking for other recipes and ideas? Head on over to Served up with Love to browse great ones on this weeks linky party !

Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

 photo ee6829eb-7200-4572-822d-f2205f50fbf3_zps92c25d7f.jpg

This is  a repost from last year. I have had a few people email me about this recipe this week alone, so I thought I would share it with my newer readers. It is a great summer recipe.

We were invited to a party last night and my husband asked me to fix a side dish. Since I knew they were having hot dogs and hamburgers, I decided to make a macaroni salad. I always  get nervous when I make food for people.I  am always fearful that they might think my food is gross and I will leave with as much food as I came with. thankfully, last night I came home with an empty bowl.This salad is so easy to make. It is a sweet salad, but tastes so good when it is cold and the flavors have melded for a few hours. I do not think it is as good right after making it. So plan ahead and refrigerate it for awhile before serving it. I promise it gets better as it sits. You can add and omit as well. Although I would leave in the celery and onion. I leave out the peppers if I do not have any (as in this picture), just as long as I have the onion, celery and egg. And it is kid friendly as well. I think  they like it because it has such a sweet taste too it. As we left the party last night, I received a few compliments on it. I hope you do as well.


  • 1 box uncooked macaroni
  •  4 hard boiled eggs, chopped 
  • 1/2 cup  celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup  onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red pepper, chopped
  •  1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Directions : Cook and drain macaroni. Cool. Add eggs, celery, peppers and onion. Mix mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, and sugar thoroughly, then add to macaroni mixture. Chill well .

Mediterranean Feta Dip

Thursday, March 2, 2017

I am always looking for great appetizers to take to friends parties and get togethers. This feta dip is wonderful and is very easy to put together. I was a hit with everyone who tried it. I snapped the picture before I added the drizzled balsamic vinegar, which was right before serving.  I serve these with fresh warm pita bread that I cut into triangles for easy dipping.

Meditteranean Feta Dip

6 oz crumbled feta cheese
6 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 c plain greek yogurt
2 large garlic cloves
1 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 c diced tomato ( I use roma tomatoes)
3 T sliced green onion
fresh ground black pepper
balsamic vinegar
pita bread or crackers

1.In a food processor, blend together the feta cheese, yogurt, garlic, lemon juice and oregano until smooth.
2. Transfer to a serving dish.
3. Top the dip with the tomato, green onion and black pepper. Right before serving , drizzle with a bit of balsamic vinegar .
4. Serve with pita bread or crackers

Roasted Peruvian Chicken with Spicy Green Sauce

A few years ago, a Peruvian restaurant opened in our town , and ever since then, I have been hooked on their roasted chicken. It is super flavorful and everyone in my family loves it. But what sets it apart , imho, is the green sauce that is served with it. Spicy, creamy,tangy.  So much awesomeness! I always ask for extra sauce and use I on everything from chicken to top shrimp tacos, spread over eggs, potatoes or rice. I may or may not have just eaten with a spoon :) I cannot say enough about the sauce.  So I set about recreating the chicken and the sauce a home.  I have to say, the chicken was easy. I just made a spicy marinade to put under the skin and all over the outside. Let it sit for a few hours in the fridge, then roast off. I didn't use a whole chicken like the restaurant does, I just used skin on breasts, thighs and legs and slow roasted them on a bed of onions on a rimmed cookie sheet.

The sauce was a bit more tricky. I used sour cream as the base at first and I could not get the taste right. Way to tangy. So I threw it out and started again, this time using old reliable, Duke's Mayonnaise. And that was exactly what I was looking for. Now, I have to say, the flavor may be altered a bi if you use Hellmans or Miracle Whip. I only use Dukes brand mayo , and it tends to be a bit sweeter than other mayos. Just experiment and adjust the salt, pepper and cilantro to get the taste you like.

Roasted Peruvian Chicken with Green Sauce


3 garlic cloves, minced

1 T ground cumin
1 T paprika
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 T olive oil
1 T distilled white vinegar
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 whole chicken or 1 cut up chicken ( 2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 legs)
1 sweet onion, sliced

1. In a medium bowl, combine the garlic, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, oregano, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and lemon zest and combine until mixed well.
2.In a 9"x13"  baking dish, place the sliced onions in an even layer. Place the chicken or chicken pieces on top of the onions.
3. Carefully lift the skin off of the chicken and massage the garlic spice mixture under the skin and then all over the top of the skin. Refrigerate the chicken for 30 minutes to meld the flavors.
4. Heat the oven to 425 degrees . Roast the chicken on 425 degrees for about 15 minutes, then reduce the het to 375 degrees and continue to roast for an additional hour, basting with the juices every 15 minutes or so.
5.When the chicken is cooked through, take out of the oven and let the chicken rest for  few minutes.
6. Serve with green sauce ( recipe follows)

Green Sauce
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, packed
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 c mayonnaise
1 lime, juiced
1 tsp distilled white vinegar
2 T olive oil
salt and pepper , to taste

In a food processor or blender, combine the jalapenos, cilantro, garlic, mayonnaise, lime juice, and vinegar. Blend until smooth. Drizzle in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Smoked Sausage & Black Eyed Pea Stew

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

This a slow cooker meal that is perfect for hurried nights. It uses ingredients that I have on hand to make a great tasting take on traditional hoppin' john. I use a large bag of frozen black eyed peas, but you can sub canned ones in this recipe  if you have them on hand . 4 cans would be the right amount. This cooks up to a nice stew and is perfect with corn muffins on the side.

Smoked Sausage & Black Eyed Pea Stew
1 large bag frozen black eyed peas ( or 2 small ones)*
2 cans Rotel tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can beef broth
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
1/8 tsp salt
1 lb beef smoked sausage , sliced
2 bags of boil in bag rice,cooked per package directions
* you can substitute  bag of frozen black eyed peas with 4 cans of black eyed peas

1. In a slow cooker , add all the ingredients except the rice. Stir to mix well.
2. Cook on low 6 -8 hours or high 4-6 hours . ( Times will vary depending on your slow cooker)
3. The last 30 minutes of cook time, add both bags of rice and stir well into the stew.
4. Cook for 30 minutes longer, or until the rice is hot.
5. Serve warm with cornbread.

Simple Garlic Noodles

Sunday, February 26, 2017

One of the easiest  , quickest meals to make for lunch are these  simple garlic noodles. While the noodles are cooking you make the sauce , which is just mixing the ingredients in a bowl . Then cook the onions and garlic in a skillet and mix everything together. You can add a protein like chicken or shrimp for a heartier more filling dish. If I have leftovers from the night before I will add them, but I prefer them as is. I make these often for myself and my 19 year old before he heads to work.
You can find oyster sauce and sesame oil in the Asian food section of the grocery store.

Simple Garlic Noodles
8 oz spaghetti pasta
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
6 green onions, thinly sliced
4 T butter
2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
2 T light brown sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
2 T oyster sauce

1.Cook the spaghetti according to package directions. drain and set aside.
2.In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil and oyster sauce. Mix well and set aside.
3.In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium low heat. When the butter is melted, add the garlic and green onion. cook for @2 minutes, until they are soft and fragrant.
4.Add the pasta and the sauce to the skillet and mix well to incorporate the sauce and the garlic and onions.
5. Garnish with extra green onion . These can be served warm or cold.

Asian Lettuce Wraps

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

One of the perks of being a say at home mom is that I can menu plan and get meals prepped during school hours to have ready to prepare when everyone gets home from school. I am a sucker for easy weeknight meals that showcase different flavors that I know my children and husband will love . These lettuce wraps fit the bill. I prep the sauce in the morning, which serves the dual purpose of the  awesome Asian flavors melding together and  having the sauce already made to add to the ground turkey mixture , making getting dinner on the table a breeze. I also get the lettuce rinsed and spun dry to hold the filling with. This recipe calls for a few Asian ingredients that you may no have on hand, but once you have the jars of hoisin sauce and roasted  red chili paste, you can make this recipe two or three times to use up all the ingredients. Hoisin sauce can be found in the Asian section of the grocery store. There are a few different brands of hoisin sauce on the market and they are very comparable in taste and price. The roasted  red chili paste that I  use is made by Thai Kitchen. Sometimes I have a hard time finding it, but he larger grocery store chains and our local wal mart carry it. When I first starting making these wraps a few years ago, I would buy an 8oz can of sliced water chestnuts ( also found in the Asian section) and cut them into smaller pieces. Now they have a diced water chestnut that I buy and just drain them and give them a quick chop with a hand chopper for more smaller, manageable dice. These wraps are very versatile. You can use ground turkey, chicken or ground beef. I usually always use ground turkey, although ground chicken is more traditional. Totally your preference. The lettuce you use is up to you. I usually use boston lettuce or romaine. Any lettuce that is sturdy and hearty work. you can even use cabbage leaves in a pinch.
I serve these lettuce wraps with baked brown rice and steamed veggies on the side. I usually have a family of 5 eating and there is plenty of meat mixture to feed us all 2 or 3 wraps each. To serve, I drizzle with a sweet chili mayo and sliced green onions. Enjoy!

Asian Lettuce Wraps
1 1/2 lbs ground turkey, chicken or ground beef
1 T coconut oil or olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 c shredded carrots
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1 (8oz) can diced water chestnuts, cut into small dice
3 T hoisin sauce
2 T soy sauce
1 T rice vinegar
2 tsp roasted red chili paste
1/4 tsp salt
12 lettuce leaves ( boston or romaine)

1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, add 1 T of olive oil (or coconut oil).
2. When the skillet is hot , add the ground turkey, garlic cloves and ground ginger. Cook the turkey until cooked through, about 6-8 minutes. Crumble the turkey .
3. In a medium bowl, add the browned turkey, diced water chestnuts, shredded carrots and green onions . Stir well to mix.
4. In a separate small bowl, add the hoisin sauce,soy sauce, rice vinegar and roasted red chili paste. whisk together vigorously to combine.
5.Pour the hoisin sauce mixture over the turkey mixture and stir well to combine.
6. Add a scant 1/2 cup of turkey to each lettuce leaf. Drizzle with sweet chili mayo sauce and green onions. Serve .

Sweet Chili Mayo Sauce
1/4 c mayonnaise
2 T  sweet chili sauce

Mix the mayo and the sweet chili  sauce together in a small bowl.

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Weeknight Baked Chicken Spaghetti

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

This chicken spaghetti recipe is one that I have been making since my babies were small. It is full of flavor and is filling, especially when you add a side salad and a loaf of italian garlic bread. I usually reserve this meal for those busy weeknights when everyone has sports, meetings or are working a bit late. You can prep it in the morning, or even the night before and refrigerate it until it is ready to bake off. The cream of mushroom soup and the dry packet of Mccormicks spaghetti sauce mix makes it a breeze to mix together and get into the oven. You can find the dry spaghetti mix next to the chili seasoning packets at the grocery store. And if you have leftovers,  you can make a chicken spaghetti fritatta for breakfast the next day ;) Happy Eating!

Baked Chicken Spaghetti

4 chicken breasts *
1 lb spaghetti , cooked al dente and drained
1 T canola oil
1/3 c green peppers,chopped
1/2 c onion,chopped
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 (10oz) can mild Rotel tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
1 packet McCormicks Spaghetti Sauce mix
1tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 c cheddar cheese, shredded

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.Boil or bake the chicken breasts. Dice into bite size pieces and set aside.
3. Break spaghetti noodles into thirds and cook to al dente. Drain and place in a large mixing bowl.
4. In a medium skillet on medium heat, heat the oil. Add the chopped green pepper and onion and cook until soft.
5. Add the green pepper and onion to the bowl with the pasta. Add all other ingredients except the chedddar cheese. Mix well.
6. Transfer the spaghetti to a large casserole dish. Sprinkle the cheese evenly on top.
7. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes more. Serve hot.

* you can use rotisserie chicken to make this recipe even easier. 

Mini Blueberry Galettes

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

I seem to always have blueberries in the refrigerator. I think they secretly multiply in there :) I love blueberries and eat them every morning. Problem is, no one else will willingly grab them out of the fridge and snack on them. So I have to make something that involves sugar and butter to sway their taste buds. I usually just end up making blueberry muffins, but every now and then I will make these galettes. They are perfect for a small dessert, travel well and make great gifts for friends and neighbors. And you can use any fruit you have on hand. Strawberries, raspberries, peaches. Yum! They are super easy to put together , especially if you use a package of store bought pie crust.

Mini Blueberry Galettes
1 box refrigerated pie crust
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 lemon
1 egg
1 T water
cinnamon sugar, for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 425*. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, 1 tsp lemon zest, juice from 1/2 of a lemon, vanilla, salt. Combine well and set aside.
2. Unroll the 2 pieces of dough. Using a 5" bowl, trace 3 circles on each round disc of dough. Reroll the leftover dough and make 2 more circles.
3. Place the dough rounds on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Using a 1/4 measuring cup , place a mound of blueberries in the center of each piece of dough. Fold the edges of the dough over the blueberries , creating a crimp.
4. In a small bowl , whisk the egg and water. Brush the edges of each galette with the egg wash and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
5.Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake at 425*  for 15 minute, or until the crust is golden and the filling is hot and bubbly. Remove from the oven and let the galettes rest on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes to cool.
6. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.
* you can garnish with fresh herbs for a pop of color. I used mint in the picture.

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Spicy Salmon with Avocado Salsa

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Our family loves salmon. My boys could live on salmon and pork. They never get tired of either. I am always on the lookout for salmon recipes that are new and fresh. A friend recently sent me a link to The Cookie Rookie blog and this salmon recipe. I will eat avocado with every meal if I could, so there was no question I bookmarked the recipe to make for dinner . I usually have every ingredient for this meal in the house. So it was a no brainer for me. And ya'll : It was good! The spice mixture was perfect for the salmon and the salsa, well, the salsa will be made weekly for us to eat with chips , or on lettuce for a quick lunch. It is yummy! I tweaked the original recipe a bit to our liking, and it will be a staple salmon dish for us. Thanks, Cookie Rookie!

Spicy Salmon with Avocado Salsa

recipe adapted from The Cookie Rookie



4 salmon fillets (@2 lbs total)

1 T olive oil ( I use persian lime olive oil)

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp black pepper


2 ripe avocados, peeled and diced

1/2 cup red onion, diced

juice from 1 lime

2 T cilantro, chopped small

1/4 tsp salt



1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, mix the salt, cumin, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder and black pepper well.

3. Place the salmon fillets on the cookie sheet and brush liberally with persian lime olive oil.

4.Rub the spice mix into the salmon fillets, making sure to cover the entire surface.

5. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through and easily flakes with a fork.

6. Serve topped with a generous helping of avocado salsa (recipe below)


Carefully mix all of the salsa ingredients together. Chill well. Use to top salmon fillets. Print Friendly and PDF

Glazed Balsamic Chicken

Friday, January 20, 2017

Definitely in my top ten favorite chicken dishes. This one is super simple to make . And it uses bone in chicken  breasts that are cheaper than boneless. This is a go to recipe that always that always comes out perfect. And with so little ingredients, it is great for hectic nights.The balsamic gives it a sweetness that is kid friendly.A+ weeknight dinner!

Glazed Balsamic Chicken


4 chicken breasts, bone-in 

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 T  olive oil

1 1/2 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp salt (I use kosher)

1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper


1.Preheat oven  to 400 degrees

2. Place the chicken  into a 9x13 casserole dish (bone side down)

3.  Carefully pour the balsamic vinegar over all the chicken .

4. Sprinkle the breasts  evenly with the olive oil,oregano , salt and pepper

5.Bake at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes,or until the juices run clear and the chicken is cooked through

6.Let rest for a few minutes and serve warm. 

* we like to spoon the pan juices over   the chicken, and even add it to potatoes or rice for a great sauce

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Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken

So let me first start by saying that there is no chinese food that my kids will not eat. From General Tso's Chicken to Beef and Broccoli to this Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken, they all clean their plates. There are weeks when I experiment with new recipes every night of the week. And some of those recipes are duds. We have been known to resort to pitching whole meals and making soup and sandwiches. Such is the life of a foodie . So when the kids have had enough of weird recipes , I make it up to them with homemade chinese. With lots of rice. And chop sticks. And fortune cookies ;) This chicken dish is a tried and true dish that is easy to make and brings smiles and clean plates. Double the sauce ingredients if you like sauce on your rice (like me).

Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken

1 1/2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 T olive oil
kosher salt, to taste
fresh black pepper, to taste
1 tsp garlic powder
1 small pineapple, cored and diced
1 green pepper, cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup teriyaki sauce
1 tsp cornstarch
cooked white rice

1.Cook the rice according to package directions and set aside.
2.In a skillet over medium heat,add the oil .
3. Season the chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Add the chicken to the oil and cook the
chicken until no longer pink and the juices run clear. Drain any liquid from the skillet.
4.Mix together the teriyaki sauce and the cornstarch. Pour the sauce over the chicken in the skillet.
5. Add the pineapple and the green pepper to the chicken mixture and toss to coat. Warm for a few
6. Serve pineapple chicken over rice.

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Chocolate Cobbler

Saturday, January 14, 2017


I figured since I am such a huge fan of Christy Jordan's cookbook , I should make a few of her recipes  to post. I decided to make the chocolate cobbler. I had every ingredient here, which is a plus. Oh my goodness, I have a favorite new dessert! This cobbler is wonderful. It is cake on the top and a layer of fudgey goodness on the bottom. I do  want to mention that is not overly sweet. The recipe uses cocoa powder and not chocolate, so it has an old fashioned taste to it. But warm out of the oven, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side, it is a perfect way to end a meal. I   will definitely be making this again in the future. Thanks for a great recipe, Christy!
Chocolate Cobbler

from Christy  Jordan  of Southern Plate
1 Cup self Rising Flour
3/4 Cup sugar
2 Tablespoons Cocoa
1/2 Cup Milk
1 teaspoons Vanilla
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Cocoa
1 3/4 Cup hot tap water
1 Cup chopped pecans (optional)
Mix together flour, sugar, and cocoa. Add milk, vanilla, oil, and nuts (if using). Mix well. Pour into greased 8×8 inch pan. Mix 3/4 C brown sugar and 1/4 C cocoa together. Sprinkle over batter. Pour, very slowly, hot tap water over dry mixture and batter. Bake in 350 oven for forty to forty five minutes.
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Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings

Friday, January 13, 2017

This is a go-to recipe for me when I have a full calendar day and need to make a slow cooker meal to get dinner on the table without a mommy breakdown . ( You moms know what I am talking about) . I am a slow cooker user, but it has to be a really good recipe for me to go back and make it again. The texture of slow cooked food is unappealing to me, so I try to stick to recipes that are soups, stews, chilies or pulled meats for sandwiches. This chicken and dumpling recipe is a tried and true that my husband and sons love. I serve a side salad and make a big pitcher of sweet tea is a great weeknight meal. Especially for the cooler months. There is something about comfort food that is perfect for a cold  night.

Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings
4 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
2 T butter
2 (10.75oz) cans cream of chicken soup
1 onion, small diced
2 (10 oz ) packages refrigerated biscuit dough ( I use Grands)

1. Place the chicken, butter, soup and onion in the slow cooker. Fill with enough water to cover .
2.Cover and cook on high 5-6 hours. The last 30 minutes of cook time, tear each biscuit into pieces and  drop in the slow cooker.
3.Stir and cover the slow cooker and cook for 30 minutes, or until the bread has cooked through.

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