Tailgate success!!

Yesterday was our first official tailgate of the football season. With a little one now, it’s a little more difficult to organize and pull it off, but yesterday we had a babysitter, and took full advantage of it!

With some help from the grocery, as well as some of my fellow tailgaters, we put together a great spread! We had burgers, hotdogs, macaroni salad, hummus and pita, black bean-corn salsa, brownies, cookies, and my favorite……

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

2 lbs ground chicken
1 large egg
1 cup plain bread crumbs
4 tbsp wing sauce
2 tbs milk
Salt and pepper, to taste

3 cups buffalo wing sauce (I used Ken’s)
1 1/2 cups light ranch dressing


Place ground chicken in a large bowl, add in egg, breadcrumbs, wing sauce, milk, salt and pepper.
Mix well with your hands.

Form into balls (not to big) and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

In a large pot combine wing sauce and Ranch dressing, heat it through, stirring often.

Once meatballs are out of the oven add them gently to the sauce and heat through for a bit (about 10-15 minutes).

I then transferred them to a foil pan, and covered with foil to take to transport to the game. Once we got to the game and unloaded everything, I placed the covered meatballs on the grill over low heat just until warm.

**Recipe inspiration: Soufflé Bombay


Along side, I served some celery sticks and additional ranch dressing. They were a huge hit!!

Unfortunately, my team did not win, but we had a great time at our tailgate!



Thanks to a coworker….

…..otherwise, I would have never come across this simple recipe.

Typically, when I ask my husband what he wants for dinner, being the creature of habit that he is, I almost always get one of two responses. Either, Chinese food or baked chicken. Since we are trying to be conscience of what we eat, Chinese food is not an option right now. So, baked chicken it was!

But….what to serve with it??? I wanted to make something new so I could post something to share with you all. Lucky for me, one of my coworkers had brought in some magazine she had at home with several different recipes. I came across this dressing.

Simple Dijon Vinaigrette

2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste

Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside until ready to use.


I actually doubled the recipe above for dinner tonight. The original recipe recommended serving the vinaigrette over steamed broccoli, but I had some fresh carrots I wanted to use up. So I steamed them along with the broccoli.


The dressing was delicious. I think it would be great on a garden salad as well!


FINALLY……the wait is over!!!

For many years I have been waiting to get my grandma’s chili recipe. This is THE one recipe that truly reminds me of my childhood and growing up. I just love her chili, and I was sure no one could make it like her!

When I asked for her recipe, this is what I got:

Mammal’s Chili recipe

Brown hamburger and onion.
Tomato sauce–med and small can each.
Diced potatoes
2 Large cans and a small can of kidney beans
Chili powder to taste.
Bring to boil. Simmer on low heat.

Clearly, as you can see, there are no real measurements. There are no directions. Gotta love old family recipes!

So, in speaking with my mom on the phone one day last week, she told me she was making this chili. She then went on to say, that her and my dad have adapted it a bit and combined my grandma’s recipe with another they came across. I then changed it a bit myself, and designated actual measurements! Below is what I came up with.

Mamal’s Chili …with a few changes

2 pounds ground turkey
2 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cans (16 ounces) Dark Kidney Beans
2 cans (16 ounces) Pinto Beans
2 cans (15 ounces) Black Beans
2 cans (8 ounces ) tomato sauce
2 cans (15 ounces) diced potatoes
2 tsp chili powder, or to taste
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
Water (16 ounces), or to desired thick/thinness

Brown ground turkey and chopped onion. Drain excess grease off.

Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Cook on low heat for at least 1 hour (I actually cooked mine for about 2 hours, until it was time for dinner).


As when I was a kid,we often just crushed some saltine crackers in the soup, or served them on the side for dipping. On occasion, we would also serve grilled cheese sandwiches.


I hope you and your family enjoy this as much as I have throughout the years. Maybe one day it will be one of your family’s old recipes!


If only……..

……there were more than 24 hours in a day!!!!

I apologize for not getting this up yesterday. After working almost 2 weeks without a day off, last night after we ate dinner, I finally reached the end of my rope!! I was absolutely EXHAUSTED!! So, I went to bed at 6:30PM 🙂

Anyway, back to food! Yesterday day before leaving for work (which I was late for….LOL) I put a few things in the crockpot to cook while I was working.

Slow Cooker Ranch Chicken

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into large pieces
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into large pieces
2 cans fat-free cream of chicken soup
1 package dry Ranch dressing mix
1 cup 1% milk
Salt and pepper, to taste

Spray your slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray and put potatoes on the bottom. Salt and pepper potatoes.

Place the chicken breasts on top of the potatoes. Salt and pepper chicken.

Mix together the condensed soups, Ranch dressing mix and milk. Pour on top of the chicken and cook on LOW for 6-7 hours or on HIGH for 4 hours.

**Recipe developed from: Six Sisters

For some reason, that was not good enough. Then, of course I couldn’t just leave it, so I went a few steps further!

About 45 minutes before I was ready to serve, I removed the chicken to a plate. Using a slotted spoon, I put all the potatoes into a bowl. And returned the chicken back to the slow cooker to keep it warm.

Meanwhile, I added a 1/4 cup fat free sour cream and dried parsley, to taste, to the bowl of potatoes. Blended until smooth.

Then I put the mashed potatoes into a greased 8×8 glass baking dish, and dotted the top with a bit of margarine (about 1 tbsp total). Baked in a 350 degree preheated oven for about 20 minutes.

With about 10 minutes left to bake, I returned the chicken back to the plate to rest a bit before serving. I then poured the sauce into a sauce pan, brought it to a boil, then simmered about 5-10 minutes to thicken it a bit.


From cooking low and slow all day, the chicken was so tender, and the potatoes were delicious after having absorbed all the flavors!

ENJOY!!! 🙂

Too much cabbage!

Over the weekend when I was at the grocery store to buy ingredients for the fish tacos, I had purchased an entire head of green cabbage, not really even thinking that I would only need about a quarter of it.

Now…..I was in need of a use for the rest of it! I really did not want it to go to waste. Initially, I looked on Pinterest, but I did not find anything that intrigued me. Next, I headed to Food Network, and simply used the search term “cabbage”. About 10 recipes in I found the perfect one (mostly because I knew my husband would like it 🙂 ).

Hot Asian Slaw


2 tsp canola oil
1 green cabbage (I used about 3/4 since that what I had left), shredded in food processor
2 medium carrots, shredded in food processor
1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, grated
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated or finely minced
1/4 cup lite soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
Red pepper flakes, to taste
Sesame seeds, to taste


In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, add the canola oil and heat.

Add the onion, garlic and ginger and saute, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add the cabbage and carrots. Cook until just starting to wilt, about 2 minutes.

In a small combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Add half to the cabbage and mix to combine. Cook 2-3 minutes.

Stir in desired amount of red pepper flakes to remaining half of soy mixture. Add to pan.

Stir well and cook just until cabbage is wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir in sesame seeds.

**Recipe developed from: Food Network


Along with the Hot Asian Slaw, I served some chicken pieces that I marinaded in a store bough teriyaki marinade. Actually, in my fridge, I had half a bottle each of a honey teriyaki and plain teriyaki. So the chicken was marinaded in the honey teriyaki for 2 hours. Then the other marinade was reduced with a tablespoon of honey, 1/3 cup chicken stock, and sliced onions to use as a sauce, just as I had done previously.

The spicy slaw was a perfect with the sweet teriyaki marinade!


Leftovers and Coworker Treats!


First, let me say, as you can tell from the picture above, our leftover fish tacos and black bean soup were a success!! Click here for recipes. They were just as delicious as last night, but I changed it up a bit.

Instead heating the tortillas and making a traditional taco, I made tortilla chips, as I had previously posted here, and using the shredded cabbage as my base, I made a fish taco salad. It was equally delicious! The crunch of the oven-baked tortilla chips were a perfect compliment to the salad.

So, since I did not make dinner tonight, I felt compelled to make a treat for my coworkers. Only problem was, after being on-call this weekend, I had zero energy to drive to the grocery to buy anything. Therefore, I needed to make something of whatever I already had on hand.

I took to my Pinterest profile to see what I had pinned that I could make, and I discovered these yummy lemon poppy seed cupcakes with lemon glaze. My version altered slightly from the original recipe, in that, I tried to make them a bit healthier and cut down on the amount of lemon zest because I only had a few lemons on hand.


Lighter Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes


For the cupcakes:

2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup 1% milk
1 tbsp grated lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup margarine, softened (Smart Balance Light)
1 and 1/2 cups sugar (I used the Splenda blend equivalent, which was 3/4 cup, divided)
3 large eggs
1 tbsp poppy seeds

For the citrus glaze:

1 and 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 tsp grated lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
For garnish: lemon zest, poppy seeds


For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degree. Line a cupcake pan with the liners of your choice.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt into a bowl.

Stir together milk and 1/4 cup lemon juice in a small bowl.

Using a hand mixer, beat butter, 1 1/4 cups sugar, and the lemon zest on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Mixing on low, and add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour.

Beat in poppy seeds.

Divide batter among muffin tins (filling each cup two-thirds full). Made 22 cupcakes.

Bake until golden around the edges, 20-22 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/4 cup sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Let stand until ready to use

Brush warm cupcakes with half the lemon juice mixture. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack, and let cool for 30 minutes.

Brush cupcakes again with remaining orange juice mixture, and let cool completely.

For the citrus glaze: Whisk all of the ingredients together until smooth. Drizzle on the cupcakes (about 1 tsp each) to cover the tops. Sprinkle with poppy seeds, and garnish with strips of lemon zest if you desire. Let sit for about 20 minutes or so until glaze is set.

Luckily for my husband, I made enough for him to try one tonight! Hopefully my coworkers find them as delicious as he did!


Football Saturday Dinner: Blackened Fish Tacos

A few weeks ago, my grocery store had cod fillets on sale, but when I went to purchase them, they were sold out. Because the price was so good, I got a raincheck. Today, when I went to pick up a few things, I cashed in on my raincheck!

Even before the grocery store,I woke up thinking about fish tacos. Maybe they were in one of my dreams?? So, before I headed off to the hospital early this morning to see a few patients, I got on my iPad to find a recipe. Below is my version!

Simple Blackened Fish Tacos


2 and 1/2 tsp paprika
2 and 1/2 tsp dried Mexican oregano
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp crushed red peppers
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
4 cod fillets
Cooking spray
8 corn tortillas


Spray the grill pan before heating. Heat grill pan over medium-high heat. Combine spices, honey, and lime juice in a bowl. Using your hands, coat both sides of the fish. Grill each side for 3 to 4 minutes.

Wrapped in a damp paper towel, warm corn tortillas in microwave for 30-45 seconds.

**Recipe Inspiration: Some Kitchen Stories

To top the cod, I also made a black bean and corn salsa, similar to what I made with my healthy chicken enchiladas (minus the edamame). Click link for recipe.

And then, I combined 1 cup of fat free sour cream with 1/4 cup chunky salsa.

Lastly, I had some store-bought shredded Mexican cheese and some green cabbage I shredded in the food processor.


Also pictured, a black bean soup I had previously made with my baked taco chicken. Click link for recipe.

A delicious success! Little man really enjoyed the fish and black bean soup too!!



Weekly Ingredient: Chicken Breast

Tonight’s recipe was influenced by the first weekly ingredient I chose: boneless, skinless chicken breast. It is so versatile, and you can pretty much flavor it with your favorite favors. I have marinaded, baked, grilled, and sautéed chicken breast many times, but it can easily get boring!

So, before I left for work this morning, I laid out 4 chicken breasts to defrost. Although, I still had no idea what I was going to do with them. I just knew I wanted to make something I had not previously made.

After some thought in between patients this morning, the idea of chicken cordon bleu popped into my head. I’m not really sure what made me think of it. In times past, I had always bought the pre-made, frozen version at the grocery store. For some reason, it just seemed like a lot of prep work went into making chicken cordon bleu, but in reality, no more prep time than needed for most other recipes. So, below is my version!

Stuffed Chicken Cordon Bleu


4 large, thick boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 slices deli ham (I used Hillshire Farm brand, low sodium, thin slices)
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 oz Swiss cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 paprika
Cooking spray


Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, combine the bread crumbs, pepper, salt, and paprika. In another bowl, lightly beat egg. Set aside.

On the thick side of the chicken breast, with a knife, make a pocket (My pockets were about 2 inches long by 2 inches wide). Be sure not to cut all the way through the other side of the chicken. Continue with the other chicken breasts.

After all the pockets are made, begin to fill. First, I put in 2 pieces of ham and about 2 tablespoons of cheese. Using a toothpick, puncture the chicken to seal and keep the cheese and ham inside. Once sealed, coat stuffed chicken breast in egg, then bread crumb mixture. Place in greased baking dish. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts.

Bake the chicken for 30-35 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through completely, the cheese is bubbling and the bread crumbs are golden (Prior to baking, I also sprayed the tops of the chicken with cooking spray to help the bread crumbs brown, since I omitted the butter from the original recipe).

**Recipe inspiration: The Girl Who Ate Everything



As in the original recipe I found, I made a Dijon-parmesan sauce to go on top.

Dijon-Parmesan Sauce

Ingredients: (NOTE: This made quite a bit of sauce. I think I could have probably halved the recipe and had enough for 4 people.)

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup 1% milk
1/4 cup chicken stock (possibly more if the sauce is too thick, I ended up using about 1/2 cup total)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions: When the chicken is almost done, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour, whisking constantly. Cook the flour/butter mixture for 1-2 minutes. Slowly pour in the milk while whisking quickly. Stir in the chicken stock and salt. Whisk mixture constantly over medium heat until the mixture begins to simmer and thicken, about 3-5 minutes.

Once the sauce has bubbled and thickened, remove from heat and stir in the mustard, Worcestershire sauce and Parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted. Keep the sauce warm until the chicken is finished baking. If your sauce is too thick, whisk in some more chicken stock. If it’s too thin, simmer longer.

Additionally, I made a zucchini and squash gratin. Both of the vegetables were on sale at my grocery store. I could not resist buying them at such a great price!


Zucchini-Yellow Squash Gratin


2 large zucchini, shredded in food processor
2 large yellow squash, shredded in food processor
1 cup shredded cheese (any combination you like, I used 1/2 cup Swiss cheese and 1/2 cup cheddar-jack cheese), plus extra to top
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place shredded zucchini and squash on a clean kitchen towel. Spread evenly over the towel, roll-up and wring the towel over the kitchen sink to extract as much liquid as possible from the zucchini.

In a small bowl, place the cheese, flour, salt, and pepper and toss to coat the cheese with the flour.

Add the dry zucchini to a large bowl, toss in cheese and flour mixture. Stir to combine.

Spread the mixture into greased 8×8-inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle with additional cheese over the zucchini mixture

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Let rest five minutes and serve.

**Recipe credit: RV Goddess


My family really liked these dishes, and I hope yours does too!


Tis the (college football) season!

As I may have mentioned before, other than cooking, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE college football season!!! Growing up, my family was all about Notre Dame football. We would always watch the games on television on Saturdays and on occasion my dad would take us out for a game. I do not know what it is about that campus. Many people say Disney is the happiest place on earth. I say….the University of Notre Dame is the happiest place on earth!! I know my dad would agree too! 🙂

When I went off to college my school had a football team, but they weren’t anything to write home about, and just couldn’t get in to investing myself in the games. But, after finishing my undergraduate degree, and went on for my Master’s degree, I definitely chose right this time. Although the University of South Florida (USF) football is relatively new, considering the deep rooted tradition in Notre Dame football and many of the other NCAA teams, I still love every minute of their games.

Tonight we play Rutgers. Always a tough game for USF! They seem to always have our number. I’m hoping tonight that will change. USF had an amazing win last week end against Nevada, and hopefully they will keep their winning record going.

Anyway, my purpose for posting, tonight will be a night off for me in the kitchen. Look for me on the visitor’s side, 50 yard line cheering on the USF Bulls!


Check back in a couple weeks for some tailgate recipes I have at our game against Florida State!


I couldn’t resist!!!

Tonight’s dinner is a repeat from a previous post. I honestly think the two recipes in this post are the best recipes I have ever made. That’s why, when we were in Trader Joe’s, amongst what seemed like the entire Tampa Bay area, I just had to buy the fresh Brussels sprouts I spotted!!! Do you remember the recipes I’m referring to???

Click here to find out!

I did do two variations from the original post. First, I decided to roast (at 425 degrees for 30-35 minutes, turning halfway through) the Brussels sprouts instead of sautéing them, and I also omitted the garlic (but that was an accident).

Both the chicken and Brussels sprouts were just as delicious, if not more delicious, than the first time!!!


I also have to confess……

I think this is the fourth time I have made these Brussels sprouts since I first posted the recipe. They are THAT GOOD!!!!! If you haven’t made them yet, it is worth giving a try!