King Ranch Pork Casserole

Quarantine feels like an episode of Chopped where most of my ingredients are leftovers. Is that how you feel?

Growing up we would have a dish called King Ranch Chicken Casserole. I LOVE this casserole! It is the most ooey, gooey, creamy, Tex-Mex dish that screams nostalgia. Luckily enough, this is a big pantry pull. I did not have chicken on hand, but I substituted a pulled pork I had made earlier in the week and it worked perfectly!

A great way to re-imagine leftover proteins is to throw them in a casserole! There is something sinfully satisfying about a dish so cheesy and creamy…honestly, you can’t go wrong with comfort food.

My hubby really enjoyed this re-imagined childhood favorite and I was able to make use of many items I already had on hand.

Substitute what you have on hand in your pantry–this is the time to get creative and have fun!

Happy Eating!


1 onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

2 tbs avocado oil

2 heaping cups of leftover pulled pork (sub any leftover protein in your refrigerator)

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1/2 block of cream cheese

1 can green chilies

2 Roma tomatoes, diced

2 tbs chili powder

1/2 tbs garlic powder

1/4 tsp cayenne

salt and pepper to taste

2 1/2 cups shredded cheese

12-15 corn tortillas (depending on vessel used to cook the casserole in)


Preheat oven to 350.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, saute onions and bell pepper in avocado oil until onions are translucent.

Add in the pork, cream of mushroom soup, cream cheese, chilies, tomatoes, and spices and bring to a boil. Taste and adjust salt and pepper. Take off heat and set aside.

In a 13×9 baking dish (or a 3 quart dutch oven as pictured) spoon some of the mixture on the bottom and layer the tortillas in an even layer-barley overlapping. Spoon an even layer of the mixture and top with 1 cup of cheese. Repeat for 2 more layers-topping with the 1/2 cup of cheese. Bake for 30 minutes.

Garnish with sour cream, cilantro, and green onions.

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!


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


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.

French Onion Soup

What a week back at work it has been! I missed my Firsties like crazy. I feel like in just the 2 weeks of winter break they have grown 10 inches! Their excitement to be back matched mine and we had an amazing week together.

I have faced my reality with being back at work too…. blogging is going to be something that I need to make time for. It feels so natural to devote my extra time to my Firsties- the same could possibly be said for many of us teachers- but I want to continue cooking up dishes that my husband and I love and sharing them with you!

This weekend I wanted to take advantage of the weather and make a comforting soup. Troy and I eat clean on a daily basis, but we definitely never skimp on our cheese. This is one area where we both agree that indulging is worth it every now and then. French onion soup is such a deep, rich, and flavorful soup- slightly sweet from the caramelized onions and nutty from the Gruyere and Asiago cheese. It is a weekend must have that Troy thoroughly enjoyed. Happy eating!

French Onion Soup


1 tbs ghee

1 tbs avocado oil

5 sweet onions, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup water

2 tbs tapioca starch

6 and 1/2 cups low sodium beef broth

6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only

1/2 cup sherry, plus 2 tbs

Salt and pepper to taste

8 slices Gruyere cheese

2 cups shredded Asiago cheese

1 bag of garlic croutons (or bruscetta)

In a heavy bottom pot, saute onions in ghee and avocado oil on medium heat. Add 1 tsp of salt to help the onions soften.

After the onions have become translucent, add in minced garlic, 1/2 cup of water, and thyme and saute for 30 minutes. If you would like to caramelize them more, continue sauteing to your liking.

Add 1/2 cup of sherry and saute for 10 minutes more.

Add in 6 cups of beef broth and simmer for 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, add 1/2 cup of beef broth and tapioca starch. Mix well to combine and stir into soup. Add in 2 tbs of sherry and simmer for 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer soup to oven safe bowls on a baking sheet. Add 2 slices of Gruyere cheese over each bowl followed by croutons and shredded Asiago cheese.

Place under broiler until golden and bubbly.

Spanish Tapas- Cherry Pepper Rellenos

When Troy and I thought about our plans for New Years we decided to stay in and bring in the new year with our fur babies, a glass of wine, and an array of small bite appetizers. One of our favorite places to go here in San Antonio is a Spanish tapas bar. Every single item we have tasted there has been amazing! Guys, Every.Single.One! Since we decided to stay in, we thought it would be fun to recreate our experiences from there for New Years Eve.

Cherry Pepper Rellenos is a spin on a dish that I absolutely love. Traditionally used with piquillo peppers, I swapped them for cherry peppers because their shape makes it easier to enjoy as an appetizer. This dish marries different flavors and textures. They are sweet from the peppers, salty from the Serrano ham, creamy from the different types of cheese used, and crunchy from the bits of toasted walnuts. I picked up my peppers from the olive bar at my local grocery store.

Tonight we opened a bottle of Becker Vineyards Cabernet-Syrah and it paired perfectly with our appetizer extravaganza!

Spanish Tapas-Cherry Pepper Rellenos


14 cherry peppers, de-seeded

2 oz garlic and herb goat cheese

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese

2 tbs almond milk (or regular milk)

1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and crushed- reserve a bit for garnish

4 slices Serrano ham, diced

salt and pepper to taste

chives to garnish


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place cherry peppers into a small oven safe dish.

In a small bowl, mix together goat cheese, mascarpone, and milk. Whip until smooth and slightly fluffy.

Fold in the toasted walnuts and Serrano ham. Salt and pepper to taste.

To fill the cherry peppers: spoon the filling into a zip top bag. Push the mixture into one of the bottom corners of the bag. Snip the tip of the bag and squeeze the mixture into the cherry peppers.

Place peppers into the oven for 5-8 minutes until heated through.

Garnish with reserved walnuts and chives.