Pesto Potatoes Au Gratin

It has been raining for the past 5 days over here on my side of the world. Luckily there was a pocket of sunshine yesterday and I was able to shoot this dish! Whew!

I love the rain on a normal day. But of course it would rain on the day I planned to shoot a dish for the blog. Oh well, right? I waited patiently and after what felt like hours (I’m dramatic) I finally saw the sun peek through the clouds!

I can not get enough pesto…. I mean, I will try to put pesto on everything- fish, chicken, meatballs, veggies, sandwiches, salads, even eggs! I especially love the kind of pesto that is super garlicky (yuuuummmmm!).

When I first tried adding pesto to my potato au gratin recipe I was so excited! It gives the dish the bright note that it needs to help cut the richness from the half and half.

Make sure you use russet potatoes for this recipes because they have a higher starch content which releases and helps bring together the sauce for this dish. SO good!

Happy eating!


4 russet potatoes, peeled and sliced thin on a mandolin (or carefully by hand)

1 1/2 c half and half (canned coconut milk if dairy free)

2 tbs pesto

1 tbs whole grain mustard (the jar with actual mustard seeds inside)

1 tbs dijon mustard

1/2 tbs garlic powder

1/2 tbs onion powder

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 c Gruyere cheese, divided (or dairy free cheese alternative), divided

1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese (or dairy free cheese alternative)

Basil and Parmesan to garnish


Preheat the oven to 375.

Place the sliced potatoes in a buttered baking dish in rows- I used a 1.8 quart oval dish found here but an 8×8 glass dish works perfect too(just add an extra potato).

In a mixing bowl combine the half and half, pesto, wholegrain and dijon mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, 1/2 cup Gruyere cheese, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine. Pour mixture over the potatoes and top it with the remaining Gruyere and Parmesan cheese.

Cook, uncovered, for 40-45 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Garnish with basil and a sprinkle of Parmesan.

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!


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


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.

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!


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


Spicy Pickles

Green onions

Extra Spicy BBQ Sauce


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.

Toscana Soup

Today felt like a very lazy day in our household! I think mine and Troys internal clocks are still trying to figure themselves out from our late night/early morning New Years Eve celebration.

With it being a bit chilly outside, I wanted to warm us up with one of our favorite dishes, Toscana Soup! This Italian soup feels like a warm hug on a cold day….MmmMmmMmm

I substituted Swiss chard for kale because of the earthiness it gives the soup. But if you have kale on hand, or like the taste better, use it. Live your best life! 🙂

I also like to add nutritional yeast at the end to help round out the soup and add a hint of cheesy flavor. If you are lactose intolerant or don’t eat dairy, give nutritional yeast a try. It amazes me every time I use it for its cheesy goodness! If you are able to eat dairy then 1/2 cup grated Parmesan will work too :). Just add the Parmesan at the same time the nutritional yeast was added.

Happy Eating!

Toscana Soup


1 lb hot Italian sausage

1 tbs Braggs Organic Sprinkle Mix

1 tsp salt

1 yellow onion, diced

pinch 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

4 garlic cloves, minced

6 cups low sodium chicken stock

2 russet potatoes, cubed

5 slices of bacon, sliced into 1 inch pieces

1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed, chopped

1 cup Nutpods Original creamer (or heavy whipping cream if you eat dairy)

1 tbs Braggs Nutritional Yeast

salt and pepper to taste


In a heavy bottom pot on medium high heat, saute the sausage with 1 tsp salt for 3-5 minutes. Add in onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes and saute until onions are translucent.

Add Braggs Organic Sprinkle Mix, chicken stock, and potatoes and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to medium heat. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are easily pierced with a knife.

While soup is cooking, add sliced bacon into a saute pan and cook until crispy. Add bacon, bacon fat (yes, you read that right), Swiss chard, creamer, and nutritional yeast and mix to combine. Let simmer for 3 minutes more to soften the Swiss chard. Taste for seasoning.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Spanish Tapas- Potatoes Bravas with Lemon Garlic Aioli

New Years Eve in our household was full of relaxation, watching the countdown, and comforting our fur babies from the sounds of the fireworks.

Our last appetizer of the night were these tasty fried smashed potatoes. Fried in herb infused oil and topped with a smokey tomato sauce, it was just what the hunny wanted! My spin on this classic Spanish Tapa is smashing my potatoes. Smashing the potatoes allows for more of everyone’s favorite part- the crispy edges! The smokiness from the smoked paprika plays nicely with the bright acidity of the lemon garlic aioli.

I hope 2020 brings you more yummy food, laughter, and happily ever after!

Potatoes Bravas with Lemon Garlic Aioli


For the potatoes

10 small red potatoes

3 tbs avocado oil

3 garlic cloves, lightly crushed

2 sprigs rosemary

2 tsp smoked paprika

salt and pepper to taste

For the Bravas Sauce

2 tbs avocado oil

1 small yellow onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves chopped

2 tsp smoked paprika

2 15 oz cans crushed tomatoes

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or more if you like a kick!)

salt and pepper to taste

Lemon Garlic Aioli can be found here


In a large pot of salted (like the sea) boiling water, drop potatoes and cook until fork tender-about 15 minutes.

While potatoes are boiling, prepare the rosemary and garlic infused oil. In a large saute pan, put avocado oil, garlic, rosemary, and smoked paprika on medium low heat. Let the ingredients simmer until the garlic and rosemary become nice and crispy. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon, roughly chop them (remove leaves from stem and discard), and reserve for garnish. Remove pan from heat as you wait for the potatoes to finish.

Once potatoes are tender, drain, and place them on a paper towel to remove excess moisture.

Now it is time to smash the potatoes! Using the bottom of a coffee mug, gently press down on each potato. They should resemble fat disks- this allows for more surface area to crisp up when pan fried in the infused oil. Salt and pepper them before placing in the pan.

Bring the infused oil to medium high temperature. Once the oil in glistening, place potatoes in the pan and fry on both sides until nice and brown. Remove from pan, finish with salt and pepper, and garnish with reserved rosemary and garlic.

For the Bravas Sauce: In a medium pot, saute onions, garlic, and smoked paprika until onions have softened. Add in tomatoes, cayenne, salt and pepper. Taste, taste, and taste again- do not be afraid to experiment with your food! I am a big supporter of seasoning to your liking. In my recipes you will notice that I do a lot of “salt and pepper to taste” and that is because our love of salt will always differ. So go on, do your thing! 🙂

Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before blending into a smooth sauce.

To assemble: Spoon Bravas sauce to the bottom of a small serving dish. Place fried herb potatoes on top. Finish with a drizzle of Bravas Sauce and Lemon Garlic Aioli.

Extra Bravas Sauce is super yummy when spooned over fried eggs, omelets, fish, and chicken. OooOoo I might need to play around with this more and add a leftovers recipe :).

Spanish Tapas- Pulpo a la Gallega (Poached Octopus with Potatoes)

Happy New Years Eve! As I reflect back on 2019, I am honestly grateful for everything I was blessed to give, have, and experience in all aspects of my life. I am growing more confident as an educator, I am finding balance between work and home life, and life is allowing me to pursue my passions beyond teaching. Overall, 2019 rocked!

This New Years Eve Troy and I will be celebrating from the comfort of our sofa in our jammies. Troy is not much of a champagne man, so red wine will be our toast of choice. I can not wait to ring in the new year with the love of my life, our fur babies, and these Spanish Tapas! The ball drop is going to be happening with a delicious assortment of appetizers!

Tonight we will be enjoying Pulpo a la Gallega, Potatoes Bravas, and Cherry Pepper Rellenos alongside a bottle of Becker Vineyards Reserve Cabernet-Syrah.

Pulpo a la Gallega (Poached Octopus with Potatoes)


2 cups thawed frozen octopus (found precooked in frozen section of seafood department)

1/4 cup avocado oil

1 tbs smoked paprika

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)

1 lemon, zested and juiced

Salt and pepper to taste

3 tbs chopped parsley +more to garnish


In a heavy bottom saucepan, add the avocado oil, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and garlic. Cook on medium heat for 2 minutes or until the garlic becomes fragrant. Add in octopus and lemon juice and saute until warmed through. Add salt and pepper to taste. To finish, toss with reserved lemon zest and parsley.

Serve on a bed of Paprika Dusted Potatoes and lemon-garlic aioli:


1 cup mayo- I use Primal Kitchen Mayo

1 lemon, zested and 1 tbs juice reserved

1 garlic clove, grated

salt and pepper

1 russet potato, peeled and cubed

1 tbs ghee

2 tsp smoked paprika

2 cloves garlic, minced

salt and pepper to taste


Make the garlic aioli: Mix together the mayo, 1 tbs lemon juice, 1 tbs lemon zest, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil- water should taste salty like the ocean. Add potatoes and cook until tender, 8-10 minutes. Drain and return back to pot. Add ghee, paprika, and garlic. Saute on medium heat for 4-5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To serve: Place potatoes in a tapas bowl (or any small plate), top with lemon-garlic aioli and then spoon the octopus on top. Garnish with parsley and lemon wedges on the side.