Banana Walnut Bread

I don’t know about you, but this quarantine has made me very open to baking. I am a self proclaimed NON baker. In fact, I destroy every sweet thing I try to bake. I blame it on my lack of love for sweets—the one thing my hubby absolutely loves in this world!

I figured since I am here at home-for who knows how long- that I should try to evolve and sharpen my baking skills. I have a feeling Troy is going to be very excited about this new outlook on sweets.

Wish me every ounce of luck!

Happy Eating!

Ingredients

2 c flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 c softened butter

1/2 c brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, beaten

2 c mashed ripe bananas

1 cup walnuts l, chopped

1/2 tbs cinnamon

1 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp nutmeg

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375.

In a bowl, sift the dry ingredients together- flour, salt, and baking soda.

In a separate mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and sugars. Once combined, add in the eggs and mashed bananas and mix thoroughly.

Next, add the walnuts and spices and stir to combine. Slowly fold in your dry ingredients-making sure not to over mix.

Pour your batter into a buttered loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes-until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.

Let the bread cool before serving.

Enjoy with a pad of butter or your favorite jam.


Meatball Pizza

Blogging during this quarantine has been….interesting, to say the least. I have not stepped foot inside a grocery store for weeks and have been cooking off what we have in our freezer and pantry.

This meal was inspired by my pantry staples. We wanted something that felt indulgent-like we were sitting at our favorite restaurant. I searched through my freezer and pantry and made this-Meatball Pizza! I did not have pizza sauce so I made my own using a jar of spaghetti sauce we had left in the refrigerator (recipe for that is included).

I really hope everyone is making the best of this time apart. Honestly, my personal Facebook feed has never showed more home cooked meals than it has this quarantine! Everybody is cooking, and that makes my heart so happy!

Substitute whatever you have in your pantry–all of ours look different right now.

Happy Eating!

Ingredients

1 frozen Cauli-Power pizza crust (or any crust of your liking)

1 cup pizza sauce- Below I have how I whipped one up out of my pantry staples

1/4 cup sliced peppers

1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Drizzle of avocado oil

4 frozen meatballs cooked to packet directions, sliced

Parsley, oregano, and Parmesan to garnish

Instructions

Preheat oven according to your pizza crust directions.

To make the pizza sauce: In a small pot, combine 1 cup pasta sauce, 1 tbs tomato paste, 2 tbs milk of choice, 1 tbs dried Italian seasoning, 1/2 tsp salt, pinch of red pepper flakes and 1 tsp of honey. Stir to combine over medium heat as you prep the pizza ingredients.

Spoon the pizza sauce over the frozen pizza crust, leaving room at the edges.

Next, sprinkle on half of the cheese. Place the onion, peppers, and meatballs on the pizza in an even layer. Sprinkle the pizza with salt and Italian seasoning. Then drizzle the avocado oil over the top and sprinkle on the remaining cheese.

Cook according to pizza crust directions. Once the pizza is done, set your oven to broil. Broil the pizza for a few minutes. Make sure you keep your eye on it! It can go from delicious ooey-gooeyness to burnt in 5 seconds flat!

Remove from oven once the cheese starts to bubble.

Garnish with parsley, oregano, and Parmesan cheese.


Parmesan Herb Crusted Acorn Squash

As I was putting in my online grocery order I noticed that my supermarket right now still has acorn squash on its shelves. I put one in my online basket, checked out, and patiently waited for my delivery. I don’t know if I have ever been so excited to receive a grocery order-not just because of the acorn squash- but because of how crazy supermarkets are right now.

Once it was delivered, the driver informed me of the changes that had been made due to their inventory and how many of my items were not able to get fulfilled (bummer). My grocery bill went from $150 to $60! Troy was more than thrilled with the money saved….

Not surprisingly, the acorn squash was delivered though. I love acorn squash! It is so versatile in cooking. It can be roasted, steamed, stuffed, mashed, or pureed into a soup. I was excited to roast these up as a side to our roasted chicken (YUM!).

Check out your grocery store for these and pick a couple up. I promise you will not be disappointed! Happy Eating!

Ingredients

2 acorn squash

1/2 tbs avocado oil

1 1/2 tbs garlic and herb seasoning

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnishing

Instructions

Vertically slice off a piece of the squash to have a flat surface. This will help stabilize the squash as you cut it. Chop off the end of the squash that has the stem.

Next, cut the squash into 1 inch rings. Using a spoon, gently scrape the inside of each ring to remove the seeds.

Place the rings in a bowl and coat with the avocado oil. After, toss the rings with the garlic spice, salt, and pepper.

Arrange the rings on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes. Remove them from oven and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Place them back into the oven and cook for another 5 minutes or until the Parmesan is golden.

Remove from oven and garnish with Parmesan for serving.


Evie’s Yum Sauce, Chipotle Lime Sauce, and Mayonnaise

Hello all! I don’t know about you, but this quarantine has had me playing a game of Chopped everyday!

Luckily, I have a kitchen basic and two sauces to add an extra pop of flavor to your dishes!

Mayonnaise is such a kitchen staple that I always have in my refrigerator. It’s the base to many of my sauces. I smear it on fish before I top them with breadcrumbs and I even use it instead of butter when I grill bread on the stove. Mmmm….I love mayo….

Evie’s Yum sauce has an Asian flair that I spoon over veggies, chicken, and seafood—I even recently drizzled this over avocado toast and it was amazing!

The Chipole Lime Sauce is great drizzled over eggs, in tacos, with dipped quesadillas, on veggies, and pretty much anything I want to add a kick to. These two sauces are pretty much always in my fridge.

If you are looking for a flavor boost to one of your dishes, try one of these out!

Happy Eating!

Ingredients

Mayonnaise: 1 egg

2 tbs red wine vinegar

juice of half a lemon

1 cup light olive oil salt to taste

Evie’s Yum Sauce:

1 cup mayo

2 tbs coconut aminos

1 tbs coconut aminos teriyaki sauce

1/2 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp chili garlic sauce

squeeze half of lime

salt and pepper to taste

Chipotle Lime Sauce:

1 cup mayo

1 small chili in adobo (or 1/2 of large chili- the more chili you use the spicier it will be. Start small and build to heat taste)

1 tsp of the adobo sauce

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp chopped cilantro

juice of half a lime

Instructions

To make the mayo: In a wide mouth container, crack egg and pour in vinegar and lemon juice. Pour in 1/2 cup of the light olive oil. Using an immersion blender, place the blade on top of the yolk. Turn it on without moving the blender. Slowing stream in the remaining oil. Salt to taste.

To make Evie’s Yum Sauce: Combine all the ingredients in a wide mouth container and blend with an immersion blender. Salt and pepper to taste. **A magic bullet or blender may also be used**

To make Chipotle Lime Sauce: Combine all the ingredients in a wide mouth container and blend with an immersion blender. Salt to taste. **A magic bullet or blender may also be used**


One Pot Enchilada Hamburger Helper

What a gloomy morning it was today! But these types of mornings are my favorite- cloudy, gray, and rainy. It feels like one of those days where you cozy up to a bowl of comforting goodness. Why not hug a bowl of good ol’ nostalgic hamburger helper?

I decided to give this one pot wonder a spin and combine it with the flavor of beef enchiladas. Cooking the pasta this way creates a luscious creamy sauce due to the starch being released as it cooks. Adding in the cheese at the end brings the ooey-gooeyness to the dish that we all remember and love.

Now excuse me as I go build myself another bowl of this tastiness….. Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 tbs avocado oil

1 lb ground beef

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tbs chili powder

1 tbs cumin, divided

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

2 1/2 cups dry fusilli pasta (I used red lentil pasta from Barilla)

1 cup milk of choice

1 10oz can enchilada sauce, divided

1 cup water

1 4.5 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes, with juice

1 tsp salt

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream (or milk alternative)

To garnish:

chopped cilantro

sour cream

Monterey Jack cheese

squeeze of lime

Instructions

In a large saucepan, salt and saute the ground beef in 1 tbs of avocado oil. Once browned, add in the chopped onions and garlic and saute until softened, about 3 minutes.

To the saucepan, add 1/2 tbs cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce. Saute for 3 minutes longer. This will allow the dry spices to bloom.

Next, add the dried pasta, 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce, milk, water, and the fire roasted diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil and add 1 tsp of salt. Once at a boil reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the pasta is cooked add in the remaining enchilada sauce and 1/2 tbs cumin. Simmer for 5 mins.

Remove from heat and add in the Monterey Jack cheese and cream. Stir to combine.

Spoon into bowls and garnish with sour cream, cilantro, cheese, and a squeeze of lime.


Strawberry Blueberry Pop Tarts with Lemon Icing

As a kid there was an on the go breakfast I absolutely loved: Pop Tarts. Actually, there were two…the other one was the egg and bacon toaster strudel (YUM!). Perhaps that will be a future recipe to try out….

Troy loves when I make cleaner versions of our childhood favorite treats. Not because we feel like it’s healthy, but because we rest easy knowing the ingredients I use in them are better than what we see on the shelves.

I also really like to make homemade jam! I add chia seeds to naturally thicken the jam into a spreadable consistency. The jam itself is only slightly sweet to balance out the sweetness you get from the icing. The zing from the lemon helps cut through the sweetness as well. If you are in a rush you can totally use a store bought jam (not jelly) though-you’re the boss applesauce!

I can’t wait for Troy to try this batch of pop tarts! I hope you enjoy them as much as I did….excuse me as I go grab my 2nd helping 🙂

Happy Eating!

Ingredients

1 box pie crusts (in the refrigerated section)

1 cup strawberries, quartered

1/2 cup blueberries

1/2 cup water

2 tbs honey

1 tsp each dried orange peel, lemon peel, and lavender (substitute orange and lemon zest if you do not have these)

2 tbs chia seeds

juice of half a lemon

pinch of salt

Sprinkles

Lemon Icing:

1 cup confectioners sugar

2 tsp lemon zest

juice of half a lemon

1/4 cup milk of choice

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 425.

In a small pot, place the berries, water, honey, dried herbs, chia seeds, lemon juice, and salt and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a medium low and simmer for 30 minutes. **This can be done the night before so you can easily whip these up in the morning.** Remove jam from the heat and place in the refrigerator until cooled.

On a lightly floured surface, slightly roll out the pie crust to create a greater surface area. Cut into 6 equal rectangles- you may need to roll out your scraps to make all six. Repeat with the second pie crust.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay out 6 of the pastry rectangles. Place 2 tbs of cooled jam into the center of each rectangle. Top them with another rectangle and crimp the edges together using a fork.

Bake until the pastries are golden brown, 8-10 minutes. Once golden brown, remove them from the baking sheet and let cool on a wire rack.

While the pastries are in the oven, combine the ingredients to make the lemon icing. Slowly add the milk to reach a spreadable icing. If you add too much milk, add in a bit more of powdered sugar to reach the desired consistency. Drizzle the icing on the cooled pop tarts and top with sprinkles.


Filet Mignon with Chimichurri Shrimp and Gorgonzola Mash

Wow guys! It has been a hot minute since I have posted a new recipe. I am so sorry! My life has finally settled down and has allowed me to finish writing this special date night recipe. I was diagnosed with the flu the day after Valentines Day! I of course forgot to get my flu shot, so when it hit me, it hit me hard. I was so sad to be sick on one of the biggest date nights of the year!

One of Troy’s favorite meals is steak and potatoes-classic right? But I wanted to take his love of this dish and add a steakhouse flare. I decided to play with the classic pairing of steak and blue cheese. Gorgonzola is like the cousin of blue cheese-less pungent, leaving a smooth finish to the sauce.

The creamy mashed potatoes are the perfect vehicle to explore this flavor if you haven’t before. If I can be honest here, I love Gorgonzola so much that sometimes I add an ungodly amount to my mashed potatoes! Thank goodness Troy is a human garbage disposal.

I love seeing the look of delight on Troy’s face when he digs in to any of my dishes, but this one really holds a special place in my heart. I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

Ingredients

3-4 large russet potatoes

4 tbs ghee, or butter

1/2 cup coconut milk, or milk of your choice

1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese-more if you are like me and can’t get enough of this stuff!

salt and pepper to taste

6 jumbo shrimp, peeled and de-veined with tails still attached

2 tbs avocado oil

1/2 cup chimichurri, recipe follows

2 6oz filet mignon

2 tbs butter

2 tbs avocado oil

kosher salt

Gorgonzola cream sauce to finish, recipe follows

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

For the potatoes:

After scrubbing potatoes under running water, pat the potatoes dry and peel completely. Quarter each potato and place into a medium pot. Cover with water and heat on medium high until boiling. Once boiling, heavily salt the potatoes and turn down heat to medium to help keep the starch from boiling over.

Boil for 20 minutes or until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork. Drain the potatoes, mash, and add the butter. Once melted, add your milk of choice and stir to combine. Add in the Gorgonzola cheese and stir until melted. Salt and pepper to taste.

For the Shrimp: Salt and pepper the shrimp. Saute shrimp in avocado oil until pink and opaque. Once cooked, place in a bowl and toss with chimichurri sauce.

For the steak:

Heavily salt steak with kosher salt.

In a heavy bottom skillet, I use cast iron, place butter and avocado oil. Heat over medium high heat. When the butter and oil mixture starts to glisten and is smokin’ hot, place in the steak away from each other so they will crust and not steam.

Sear on each side for 2 1/2 minutes and then transfer to the oven and cook for 5-6 minutes for medium-rare. Remove steaks from oven and rest them on a plate under a light tent of foil for 5 minutes before serving.

Chimicurri Sauce: In a food processor, combine 1/2 cup of parsley, 1/2 cup of cilantro, 1 small shallot, 1 clove of garlic, 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp of pepper and red pepper flakes. Process until smooth.

Gorgonzola Cream Sauce: Saute 2 cloves of minced garlic in 1 tbs avocado oil in a small pot until soft. Add 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to medium low and add 1 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese. Stir until the cheese melts. Salt and pepper to taste.


Seared Scallops with Crab Risotto

Valentines Day is very special in my household. Although I use everyday to tell and show my husband how much I appreciate him, it is nice having one day that is dedicated to those we love.

We have stumbled upon a tradition in my house where I use this day to make Troy’s FAVORITE dish. If you ask him what it is he will always say, “Ribeye, medium rare, goat cheese mashed potatoes, and asparagus.”

You might be asking yourself why I would be posting this dish then if it is not his favorite. This year I wanted to give him choices. (This is when the true first grade teacher comes out in me, lol!) When I told him the options he could choose from he said that BOTH sounded great….of course.

Both?? Oh my! If you have been following my page though you should know that just made my heart pitter patter! I LOVE being in my kitchen. Any excuse to make something my husband loves brings a smile to my face.

So I set to work making this recipe for him and I must say, this dish looks like it may be difficult but it is so simple. You will look like you spent hours in the kitchen when in all actuality you only spent 30-35 minutes!

**Tip: Always have your ingredients out and prepped. This includes measuring everything out. This will help keep you organized, on track, and sane!**

Happy Eating!

Ingredients

4 cups low sodium chicken stock

1 tbs fresh marjoram

3 tbs avocado oil, divided

1 shallot, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups aborio rice

1 cup dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)

1/3 cup marscapone

1/2 cup crab meat, any shell remnants removed

1 cup peas, frozen

salt and pepper to taste

6 scallops

lemon, to finish

Instructions

For risotto:

In a small pot, bring the chicken stock and marjoram to a simmer.

While the chicken stock heats up, place 2 tablespoons of the avocado oil in a wide skillet with sides. When the oil is glistening, saute the shallot and garlic on medium heat until soft and fragrant. Add the aborio rice and toast for 3-4 minutes.

Next, add the wine to the rice and stir with a wooden spoon. Continue to stir until almost all the liquid has been absorbed. From here, add the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, and stir with a wooden spoon. Do not add the next 2 ladles until the previous ones have almost completely absorbed. The stirring will help the rice release its natural starch and add to the creaminess of the risotto.

Once all the stock has been added, fold in the marscapone cheese, crab meat, and peas and heat through. Salt and pepper to taste.

For the scallops:

Place the scallops on a sheet of paper towels and pat both sides dry.

In a heavy bottom skillet (I used a cast iron) on medium high heat, pour in 1 tablespoon of avocado oil. When the oil just starts to smoke, salt and pepper both sides of the scallop and carefully place them into the skillet. Sear for 1 1/2 minutes on each side. The scallops should be golden on each side and translucent in the center.

To plate:

Spoon risotto into the middle of desired dish. Place scallops on top of the risotto. Squeeze fresh lemon over the plate and garnish with fresh marjoram. Enjoy!


Chocolate Cherry Cake with Vanilla and Cherry Frosting

I feel the need to be honest with you…. I am NOT a baker. In fact, I burn everything I try to bake from scratch! But my husband Troy has the biggest sweet tooth which motivates me to continue trying my hand at baking.

I wanted to make something sweet this Valentines Day for Troy. I was brainstorming some traditional Valentine flavors and the idea of chocolate and cherries popped up, mmmmm….But how was I, a total non baker, going to accomplish this???

Well, I needed something that was completely uncomplicated. Something that would allow me to feel successful and deliver a delicious bite this Valentines Day. So I decided to throw the scratch made cake out the window! I used a boxed cake mix (Gasp!) and zhuzhed it up a bit. This delivered the flavor profile I was going for!

**SPOILER ALERT** This recipe is for the non baker like me. This is for the person who burns cookies, makes rocks for brownies, and sets off their fire alarms. Even I was successful! Whew!

Happy Eating!

Ingredients

1 box chocolate cake mix

1 1/2 cups of frozen cherries, thawed–plus more for decoration

1 tbs flour

3/4 cup chocolate chips

2 16 oz containers of vanilla icing

1/2 cup powder sugar

Instructions

In a mixing bowl, combine cake ingredients according to directions. Mix flour with 1 cup of halved cherries. Fold cherries and chocolate chips into the batter. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake.

In a food processor, blitz the remaining cherries. In a separate bowl combine the icing with the blitzed cherries. Stir to combine. If too thin, add in powder sugar, 1 tbs at a time, until you achieve a spreadable consistency.

Once the cake comes out of the oven, cool for 15 minutes. After, turn cake out and let cool in freezer on a wire rack for 20 minutes.

To decorate: Line up 2 pieces of parchment paper onto cake stand or plate. The edges should meet in the middle of the stand. Place the cake on top of where the two pieces meet. Start by placing a dollop of icing on top. Using an offset spatula, spread the icing around the top of the cake and then bring it down the sides. Turn the stand and continue spreading the icing, adding more as you need it. Decorate with halved cherries and sifted powder sugar.


Loaded BBQ Pulled Pork Tator Tots

I have a confession to make. The above picture you see was devoured the moment I put the camera down…..there, I said it! I ate through that mound of loaded tots like I hadn’t eaten in DAYS! But dang, it was worth every bite! Thankfully, Troy stopped at the store and picked up more tator tots so I could make them again for him later during the Super Bowl.

I know it might not be the prettiest crayon in the box, but I must tell you that these loaded tator tots are everything you are imagining….and more!

The BBQ sauce I used is from Alamo Gristmill and Spice, a local vendor I found at our Pearl Farmers Market. They have a Spicy BBQ Sauce that has a little kick at the end that pairs amazingly with the sweet and creamy slaw. Honestly, every product I have used from them is amazing! I can’t wait to visit them again this Saturday for more inspiration!

If you are ever here in San Antonio, the Pearl Farmers Market is a great stop. We have fresh produce and meat from local farmers, different types of cheese, eggs, spices, sauces, jams, artisan chocolate and nuts, fresh dried pasta (they are out of this world!), not to mention all of the non food items that are made local too. There is usually live music-and in the summer, your littles can play in the fountains! Oh, I love our farmers market!

Happy Eating!

Ingredients

1 pkg frozen tator tots

For the Pork

1 small pork loin, silver skin removed

2 tbs yellow mustard

2 tbs garlic and herb seasoning (I use McCormick)

Salt and Pepper

2 tbs avocado oil

3 cups beef broth

1 1/2 cups Alamo Gristmill and Spice Spicy BBQ Sauce

For the Coleslaw

1 pkg coleslaw mix

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tsp caraway seeds

1 tsp celery seeds

1 tsp poppy seeds

1 tbs honey

Salt and pepper to taste

Garnish

Spicy Pickles

Green onions

Extra Spicy BBQ Sauce

Instructions

For the Pork: Spread mustard all over pork. Season with garlic and herb seasoning, salt, and pepper. In a hot heavy bottom skillet, brown the pork on all sides in 2 tbs of avocado oil. Transfer pork to the Instant Pot with beef broth and set on manual mode for 40 minutes.

While the pork is cooking, preheat the oven and cook tator tots according to package directions. Salt them when they are ready to be taken out.

To make the slaw: Combine mayo and vinegar and whisk until it is a smooth consistency. Next, add in the seeds and honey. Salt and pepper to taste. Add in the slaw mix and toss to fully coat cabbage. Set aside.

When pork is finished, carefully release pressure valve. Shred the pork in the broth. Transfer to a bowl and combine with the spicy bbq sauce. If you would like your meat a little more sloppy, add a bit of the broth from the Instant Pot.

To assemble: Place down tator tots on desired dish. Top with pulled pork, slaw, pickles, green onions, and a drizzle of the bbq sauce.