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!



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!!



Deconstructed Burrito….with Quinoa!

With the start of college football last week, that has been my main focus!! I look forward to it starting again every year right after the National Championship game.

With that being said, it was time for me to get back to cooking, and more importantly, posting on here for you all to see. I had started by laying out boneless, skinless chicken breast earlier today. I really had no idea what I was going to make. And honestly, I did not know what I was making until about 15 minutes before I started cooking.

So, I took to Pinterest and looked through some recipes I had pinned. I had come across a recipe for black bean burrito bowls. I did not have all the ingredients to make it as in the original recipe. Below is my version.

Deconstructed Burrito


1 cup quinoa
2 1/2 cups chicken stock, divided
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup minced red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Salt to taste


Rinse the quinoa thoroughly in a mesh strainer, and drain. Pour quinoa into a saucepan along with 2 cups of chicken stock. Bring the quinoa to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover. Let the quinoa simmer for about 20 minutes until it becomes tender and all the liquid has been absorbed.

While quinoa is cooking, heat 1 tbsp of oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Pour minced onion into the saucepan and saute for a few minutes till it softens. Add the minced garlic sauté 1-2 minutes. Be sure not to burn the garlic.

Add the black beans and thawed corn to the pan of onions along with 1/2 cup chicken stock, chili powder and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low. Let simmer for 15 minutes till the liquid is mostly evaporated. Stir in 2 tbsp of fresh lemon juice. Season with salt to taste.

When the quinoa is fully cooked, remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Use the fork to mix in 2 tbsp of lemon juice. Season with salt to taste.

Place desired portion of quinoa on plate, and top with some of the black bean mixture. I also then topped with a spoon of store bought salsa.

I served this along with baked taco chicken with avocado cream sauce, as I had made in a previous post.


This was a delicious, quick meal!! It would be great for when you are limited on time through the week.


Chicken Enchilada….a healthy version!

When I was completing my clinical fellowship a couple years ago, there was a Mexican restaurant near by that a coworker and I would go to often. And we always ordered the same thing….the chicken enchilada! They were so yummy!! For some reason, I thought they were really difficult to make and very unhealthy. Well, I was wrong on both!

Thanks to Pinterest I found a great recipe!


Healthy Chicken Enchilada


16 oz. fat free sour cream
1 can fat free cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup water
1 tbls. fresh chopped cilantro
1 rotisserie chicken
1 can Rotel with green chilies
1 medium size onion, chopped
10-12 small corn tortillas
1 cup low fat shredded cheese
1 can diced green chiles
Cooking spray


Combine sour cream, chicken soup, water, and cilantro in a sauce pan and heat through. Keep an eye on it, it will bubble quickly.

In a sauté pan with cooking spray, cook chicken, onion, Rotel, green chilies until onions are transparent.

Warm tortillas wrapped in a damp paper towel for 45 seconds in the microwave.

Fill each tortilla with 2 tbsp of the chicken mixture. Top with a pinch of shredded cheese. Roll the tortillas tightly and place seam side down in greased 13×9 baking dish.

Repeat until the baking dish is full. For me this was about 12 small tortillas. If you use a bigger tortilla, it will be about 8.

Pour sour cream and soup mixture over tortillas. Making sure they are covered.

Top with desired amount of shredded cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

**Recipe credit: Skinny Mom

Along with the enchilada, I served a black bean and corn salsa that I typically serve with tacos or make to have at a BBQ. I have been making this for a few years now, and I have not strayed much from the original recipe. Tonight (thanks to Pinterest), I made one change. I added edamame to make it more substantial. So it could be more of a side dish rather than just a salsa. I have now made my parents and many other family members fall in love with this salsa.


Black Beans, Corn, and Edamame


1 can black beans, rinsed, drained
1 pkg frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
1 pkg frozen edamame, shelled and thawed
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 envelope GOOD SEASONS Garlic & Herb Dressing Mix
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 jalapeño, chopped
1/4 tsp ground cumin

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Stir. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes before serving. It’s even better if you make it the night before!

**Recipe inspiration: Kraft Recipes

Finally, I used some leftover corn tortilla to make some tortilla chips like I had done in a previous post, White Chicken Chili.


Protein Packed Dinner!


I absolutely love seafood, and probably my all time favorite is sea scallops! I have my father to thank for this. He really likes them too. I remember, as a kid, him ordering them all the time at restaurants, and occasionally making them at home. He would always tell me which restaurants had really good ones. Ahhh… be a kid again!

I’m working on convincing my husband that seafood tastes really good, not just fried shrimp. Hopefully this meal has made my convincing a little easier!

This is a healthy and delicious meal, and between the scallops and beans it is packed with protein!

Scallops with Sautéed Spinach and White Beans


2 strips bacon, chopped into small pieces
1 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans white beans, rinsed and drained
1 bag baby spinach
1 dozen large sea scallops
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
juice of 1 lemon


Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium saucepan over low heat.

Cook the bacon until it has begun to crisp.

Add the onion and garlic; cook 2-3 minutes until tender.

Add the white beans and spinach Cover and simmer until the beans are hot and the spinach is wilted. Keep warm.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in another pan over medium-high heat.

Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper on both sides.

Add the scallops to the pan and sear for 2-3 minutes per side, until caramelized.

Just before serving, add the lemon juice to the beans. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

**Recipes credit: Women’s Health

Not only did my husband and I enjoy this, so did our son!!



Almost White Chili…..with homemade tortilla chips!


No matter the time of year, my family and I always enjoy a bowl of soup or chili. Something about it is so comforting. For me, when I make homemade soups and chili, it tends to remind me of my childhood. I immediately flashback to the days when my grandmother would make chili, ham bean soup, or chicken corn soup for us. I could never get enough of her soups!

Now with having my own family, I still get that warm and comforting feeling when sitting around the table with a bowl of soup. And , it’s a bonus when little man enjoys the soup too!

Below are the recipes for tonight’s comforting meal:

Almost White Chili

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast
4 cups of water
2 tbsp canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 15-ounce cans of white or Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained
3 ears of corn, cut off the cob
1 4-ounce can chopped green chiles
2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, place water and chicken. Bring to a boil, and poach chicken about 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken and put on a plate to cool before chopping/shredding.

Strain poaching water used to cook chicken. Set water aside for use in chili.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir about 30 seconds.

Add the beans, corn, chiles, cumin, cayenne, and poaching water.

Bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes.

Add the chicken and continue to cook until heated thoroughly.

Add salt and pepper if needed.

Serve with toppings of your choice (shredded cheese, sour cream, cilantro, etc.).

**Recipe adapted from: Flora Dawn

Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips

8-10 small corn tortillas
Cooking spray
Salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut corn tortillas into mini triangles (I cut the small ones into 8 triangles each).

Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Arrange tortilla slices and spray with cooking spray.

Sprinkle with salt.

Bake at 400Âş until they start to brown (about 5 minutes).

**Recipe credit: