Category Archives: Recipe

Melt in Your Mouth Chocolate Cupcakes

cupcake

Last Sunday we headed over to my parents to hang out by the pool, grill some good food and just relax.  I’m not much of a grill master.  Actually I pretty sure I’ve burned everything I’ve ever tried to grill.  So I usually just leave the grilling to J and I work on other tasty items to bring along.

I had been craving some chocolate cupcakes with buttercream icing.  I searched and searched until I found what looked like the best chocolate cupcakes that didn’t take all day to bake.  I mean, come on!  I do not want to spend all day in the kitchen making 2 dozen cupcakes.  It’s just not worth it to me.  I would be better off buying pre-made cupcakes for that time.

chocolate cupcake with buttercream icing

You need to know something about these chocolate cupcakes… I feel like I owe it to you.  You will struggle only eating one.  Seriously!  These are that good.  I couldn’t help myself!  So much chocolate, but not in the struggle-getting-it-down kind of chocolate.  I’m talking about the kind that stays on your mind once you’ve tasted it.

That’s when you know it’s good.

Here’s what you need for melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cupcakes recipe:

1 box of chocolate cake mix (I bought the cheapest box I could find.  I’m not about to spend $3.00 on a box of cake mix when there is one for less than a $1.00 on the shelf)
1 box of chocolate pudding mix
4 eggs
3/4 cup of canola oil (any oil will do, that’s all I had on hand)
1 1/2 cups of mini chocolate chips
3/4 cup of very warm water
8 ounces of sour cream

Combine the cake mix and pudding mix in your stand mixer bowl.  Add the chocolate chips, stir to combine.  Put the paddle attachment on and put on low speed.  Add one egg at a time, waiting for them to combine before adding the next.  Mix in the oil and water.  Finally add the sour cream.  Stir on low speed until well mixed.  Using a rubber scrapper, get any mix off the side of the bowl.

chocolate cupcake recipe

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Prepare two cupcake pans with liners and fill with mix 3/4 of the way full.  Bake for 30 minutes or until fully done.  I used the toothpick method to tell.  Once the toothpick came out clean then it was done.

The mix will freak you out a bit.  Before you add the sour cream, the batter will look a bit watery.  But don’t worry.  Just keep mixing and add in the sour cream.  Once the sour cream is fully incorporated, it will pull together.

chocolate cupcake

Let cool completely before icing.  I made a delicious buttercream icing to go with mine.  I’ll post the recipe later this week for you.

classic buttercream icing

recipe adapted from i heart naptime.

Fried Chicken Salad and America

lake

For the 4th of July J and I got out of the house for a little while.  We drove about 30 minutes out of town to find the best fishing spot.  After we wondered around for a bit we discovered this (new to us) creek.  As you can tell… I caught the only fish of the day, a baby catfish.

4th of july 4th of july fried chicken salad

I prepared a yummy picnic for us.  I made a tasty, like melt in your mouth, fried chicken salad.  It was perfect for a day out by the lake.  It a no fuss, no mess lunch.  Just what we needed!

After we fished, we headed over to my parents where J grilled some pork steaks for everyone.  Then him and my Dad disappeared for almost an hour to find some jaw-dropping fireworks.  They showed back up with J’s truck bed full, I mean overflowing of massive fireworks.

Bud

J and my Dad designed the perfect show that blew the neighbors’ out of the water.  We even let Bud come sit outside with us and he did great.  He wasn’t scared at all!  He just laid next to the truck and kept his eyes on J the whole time.  We laughed, we were in awe, and it was overall a great night.

IMG_4494 Untitled design (1)

Now I want to share with you the recipe for my oh-so-yummy fried chicken salad.  Here’s what you need for a perfect snack by the water:

4 cups of fried chicken, diced*.
3/4 cup of mayo
1/4 cup of mustard
3 green onions, diced
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
pinch of salt and pepper

*I found it easier if the chicken is cold when you cut it.  That way the skin stays on the meat.

Mix the mayo, mustard, onions, italian seasoning, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper in a medium-sized bowl.  Add the chicken and toss to coat.  Set it aside for about 25-30 minutes so the flavors can meld together.

fried chicken salad

I made the fried chicken salad and then went ahead slicing the yummy bread I brought just for the sandwiches.  I decided not to pre-make the sandwiches before we left.  My bread was a bit soft and I didn’t want it turn mushy before we could eat it.  So I brought paper plates and tongs with us to build the fried chicken sandwiches.

I have to say that I out did myself this time around.  J loved them!  So much so he ended up having one the next day at 10am!  Perhaps it was because I overslept and didn’t feel like making breakfast, but I’m going to say it’s because they were that good!

fried chicken salad

Recipe adapted from Southern At Heart.

Coke Zero Pulled Pork Recipe

Note: Some links in this post contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you make a purchase. Thanks for supporting my blog!

slow cooker pulled pork recipe

I’m not going to lie – I lucked out in the husband department big time.  There are a lot of days that when I get home J has already started dinner.  All i have to do is make a side dish then pull up a chair.  I’m one lucky lady!

This past week J and I had one of those days… you know the kind.  You wake up extra early because you just have too much going on.  I had a few meetings and things to finish at the office, studying for my next CFP exam, a luncheon and then I was heading to Crossfit.  Poor J had to get up early to get to work then he spent most of the day lifting and moving beer around.  Ah the glamorous life of the Bud Man!

Those are the days that the crock pot is my best friend.  A crock pot dinner has to be the best invention.  On a day that I know will be crazy long and filled with meetings, the last thing I want to do is come home to cook.  I try to plan ahead and look at my calendar the night before.  If I know it’s going to be a crazy day then I usually try to plan a slow cooker meal.

I want to let you in on something, okay?  I’m in love with my slow cooker.  It’s a love affair that has taken off very slowly.  It started with dishes that I was comfortable with, like salsa chicken and beef tacos.  Now, I’ve slowly been venturing into new territory with different recipes.

I haven’t quite cooked anything for breakfast in the slow cooker yet.  I guess I’m waiting for the perfect recipe.  J isn’t a huge egg fan and most of the recipes I find call for loads of eggs.  The ones that don’t use a ton of eggs seem to feed a small army and well, it’s just the two of us.  I don’t like wasting my food.  So I’m sort of waiting until family come to visit before busting out a breakfast dish.

Let’s get back to my dinner recipe I tried out.  It’s a pulled pork recipe that turned out amazing!  It literally melted in my mouth – it was so good!

Here’s what you need for my coke zero pulled pork recipe:

– 3lbs pork shoulder
– 1 1/2 cups of Coke Zero (any soda will do)
– 1 tsp. salt and pepper
– 2 tsp. onion powder
– 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce

slow cooker pulled pork recipe

Directions:

Rub the pork roast with salt, pepper and onion powder on all sides.
Place in the slow cooker and pour soda on top.
Cook on low for 7-8 hours (or high for 4 hours)
Grab a fork and start pulling the meat apart.
Pour on the BBQ sauce, cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!

slow cooker pulled pork recipe

I made some cornbread to go with the dinner.  I ended up having a fried egg, carrots and some salad with homemade Greek dressing with mine.  The perfect busy day dinner!

My Favorite Ice Cream Topping

2 ingredient ice cream topping

If you love ice cream as much as me then you are going to love this homemade topping. With just 2 ingredients you can take any ice cream from great to exceptional!

Lately, I’ve been munching down on some Arctic Zero ice cream. I love their ingredients and nutritional information in comparison to other frozen treats. I have to admit that their taste isn’t always a sugar-filled yummy explosion like the other brands, but it’s definitely tasty.

I had a few macros left the other night and decided to pull out a childhood favorite to pour on top. Now I couldn’t completely relive my childhood, because I did have to measure/weigh out the ingredients. But it still tasted just as my 8 year old self could remember.

Here’s what you need to make this delicious ice cream topping:

2 Tablespoons of Peanut Butter – I used Nuts n’ More in Peanut Butter. I love the high protein and low carb count compared to other brands.
1 teaspoon syrup – I used Aunt Jemima original

Put in a small microwave safe dish. Cook on high for about 10 seconds. Stir and continue to cook in increments of 10 seconds until desired consistency is reached. I like it to be soft enough to pour on top of my ice cream.

2 ingredient ice cream topping

The cold temperature of the ice cream will freeze the topping pretty quickly, but I like it like that.

The whole topping (if using what I used) has 205calories / 10g Carbs / 12g Fat / 14g Protein

My Favorite Greek Salad Dressing Recipe

Greek Salad Dressing Recipe

While living in St. Louis I had the chance to go to some amazing restaurants for one of my jobs.  We hosted seminars a few times a month and for coming to hear my boss speak, we provided you a tasty meal.  After the seminar was given, questions were answered and dinners were served, we would sneak away to eat our own dinner.  Usually it would be after 8pm before even getting a chance to order.  I would be starving and so excited about something new to try.  One thing I always got was a Greek salad.  I just loved them!  I devoured it every time it was placed in front of me.  I of course would order steak, sea bass or some other delectable entree to go with it.

Ever since moving home, there as been one thing missing – Greek salads.  There just isn’t a good place around here that serves a Greek salad.  So I’ve had to make due.  With a few trial and errors, I’ve finally pinpointed the best tasting Greek Salad recipe.  …and the good part!? It’s not that bad for you!

Greek Salad Dressing Recipe

Here’s what you need for homemade Greek salad dressing recipe:

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon Oregano

Greek Salad Dressing Recipe

Mix the ingredients together and voila!  Serve on top a bed of lettuce and other toppings.  I like my Greek salads with a little bit of Feta cheese, tomatoes and artichoke hearts on top of Romaine lettuce.  When I made this I was out of pretty much everything except lettuce and cheese.  So my salad is a little blah, but the flavor of the dressing totally makes up for it!

Greek Salad Dressing Recipe

It makes about 5-6 servings.  You can store in an airtight container on the counter or in the cabinet for a few days.

41 calories / 0 carbs / 4g fat / 0 protein per serving

Cheesy Ranch Chicken Recipe

I am in love with this cheesy ranch chicken recipe.

cheesy ranch chicken recipe

It was another night of coming home and having absolutely no desire to cook dinner.  I was hungry.  You know those days, right?  The ones where making it until 5 took the last bit of energy you had stored.  But I had made a promise to myself that I would workout at least 4 times that week.  So there was no backing down from going to CrossFit.  So right after work, I headed to the gym.  After getting done with my workout I started feeling pretty weak.

By that time I got home I needed something easy for dinner.  I wanted something that I could put in the oven and then walk away from it.  Those are my favorite types of recipes to be honest.  The least amount of work required with the best taste.  Those are the best!

I opened the fridge and thankfully I had some thawed chicken.  So the hard decision was already made for me.  I had seen a few recipes on Pinterest using chicken and honey mustard dressing.  I thought that sounded good, but I didn’t want to use what little honey mustard we had left.  So my light bulb went off and I swapped it for ranch.

I’m not going to lie… it was amazing!  It was so good that I didn’t even get a chance to snap a good photo before we scarfed it down.  All I have are these quick photos I took with my phone.  I told you I was hungry!

Here’s what you need for this easy cheesy ranch chicken recipe:

4 chicken breasts
4 Tablespoon of ranch dressing
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 cup of shredded cheese (I used fiesta blend because that’s all I had, but any kind will work)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, spray your dish with a cooking spray.

cheesy ranch chicken recipe

Season both sides of the chicken breast with salt and pepper.  Place the chicken in the baking dish.  Pour the ranch dressing on top and spread around with a pastry brush or spoon.  Make sure you cover the chicken evenly.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.

cheesy ranch chicken recipe

Add cheese to top of chicken and cook for about 2-3 more minutes or until cheese is melted.

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts
4 Tablespoons of ranch dressing
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 cup of shredded cheese (I used fiesta blend because that’s all I had, but any kind will work)

Directions:

1) Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, spray your dish with a cooking spray.
2) Season both sides of the chicken breast with salt and pepper.
3) Place the chicken in the baking dish.  Pour the ranch dressing on top and spread around to cover evenly.
4) Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.
5) Pull out baking dish and add cheese to top of chicken.
6) Place back in the oven for about 2-3 more minutes or until cheese is melted.

The Best Chicken Casserole Recipe

the best chicken casserole recipe

 

The best chicken casserole recipe is right here.

It takes a lot to declare something the best.  I realize that, but TRUST me.  This recipe fits the bill.  J even ate 3 plates.  It’s that good.

the best chicken casserole recipe

If you’ve ever had tuna casserole then it’s an improved version.  J loves my tuna casserole recipe, but I don’t like tuna.  So he rarely gets it, which is not fair to him.  This past week I had a late meeting and needed a quick recipe for dinner.  I thought about a tuna casserole, but quickly nixed that idea.  Then I thought about grabbing food on my way home, but J and I trying to stick more to our budget.  So that was out.

the best chicken noodle casserole recipe

I came home and was really thinking about this tuna casserole idea.  I wondered how it would be if I swapped chicken for tuna.  I found my old recipe and made some changes.  It came out to be the BEST chicken casserole recipe.

Ingredients:

16 oz. of cooked chicken breast, shredded
1/2 bag of egg noodles, cooked and drained according to package
1 can of cream of chicken soup, you could use a cream of mushroom soup too
1 1/2 c. milk, I used unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. garlic pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup pita chips, crushed

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a square pan and set aside.

In a bowl, mix together cream of chicken soup, milk, chicken and seasoning.  Add cooked noodles and stir to combine.  Add 1 1/2 cup of cheese and mix well.

Pour mixture into greased baking pan.  Top with remaining cheese and crushed pita chips.  Bake in oven for 30 minutes.

NOTE: If you don’t have pita chips, any crackers will work.

the best chicken casserole recipe

We barely had any remaining.  I also wasn’t sure if this one would turn out so good.  That’s why the pictures were taken after we ate half of it.  Oops!

Trust me this chicken casserole recipe is amazing!

the best chicken noodle casserole recipe

I mean, look at all that cheese! Yummy!

 

Pizza Inn Chocolate Chip Pizza Recipe

Note: Some links in this post contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you make a purchase. Thanks for supporting my blog!

pizza inn chocolate chip dessert pizza recipe

I love Pizza Inn’s chocolate chip dessert pizza.

I have an obsession.  It’s not healthy, but I can’t stop myself.   It’s delicious.  I have to limit myself, it’s that good.

A few weeks ago J and I planned to go to my parents to watch a game.  Mom was making snack foods so I agreed to bring dessert.  Chocolate chip pizza was the only thing I could think of.  It had been awhile for me and I needed my fix.

I scoured online and found a few different recipes.  I decided to combine two recipes.  I feel my recipe is a legitimate Pizza Inn chocolate chip pizza recipe.

Pizza Inn Chocolate Chip Pizza Recipe

–  baking pan, you can use either round or rectangle.  Just make sure it’s on the large size.  I used this pizza pan set, which is a favorite because with a little Pam, nothing sticks to it and it’s super easy to clean.
–  1 THIN pizza crust in a can
–  2 sticks of butter, melted
–  1 box of yellow cake mix
–  3/4 bag of milk chocolate chips
–  1/4 cup brown sugar
–  1/4 cup granulated sugar

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Spray nonstick cooking  on the pan (I use one made with coconut oil).  Spread crust evenly on pan. Follow can instructions for pre-baking crust.  Mine said to bake for 5 minutes.

While your crust is baking, grab a bowl.  Stir together sugars with a fork to break up any lumps.  Set aside.

Remove crust from oven and set aside.

TIP:  If the crust has any air bubbles after pre-baking, poke with a fork.

Mix together melted butter and yellow cake mix.  There will be a few lumps in the batter.

pizza inn chocolate chip dessert pizza recipe

Spread cake mixture onto the crust.  Leave approximately ½ inch from the edge without any batter.

Sprinkle the chocolate chips on the batter.  Using the palm of your hand, lightly press chips into that batter.

pizza inn chocolate chip dessert pizza recipe

Sprinkle sugar mixture over pizza.  Cover batter and chocolate chips, but avoid the edges of the crust.  You may not need all the sugar mixture.  I used it all to make sure it was covered completely.

Bake for 7-12 minutes.  I would check at about the 7 minute mark and then keep an eye on it every 2 minutes thereafter.

pizza inn chocolate chip dessert pizza recipe

If after 12 minutes the top hasn’t browned then switch to broiler for 1 minute.

TIP: Do not walk away from the oven if you switch it to broiler.  It will burn!

Remove the pizza from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes.  Cut, serve and enjoy!

If you make the pizza ahead of time then heat the oven to 350 degrees before serving.  Place the pizza in for about 2-3 minutes until chips melt.

What is your favorite dessert to share?

Slow Cooker Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken Recipe

pineapple teriyaki chicken recipe

I love a good slow cooker recipe, which is why I’m a fan of pineapple teriyaki chicken.

Ever get in a food rut?  You know when you find yourself cooking the same dishes over and over.  When that happens you find yourself eating out more than you want.  Then your food choices start to slip back to bad habits.  That’s what was happening to J and I.  We were in a food bore.

I needed to shake things up.  I came across a few slow cooker recipes and  that’s when the light bulb turned on.  In the true-to-myself fashion I combined some recipes to make my own.  That’s how the crockpot pineapple teriyaki chicken recipe came to be.  I’m sure I’m not the first person to come up with it, but I’d like to think I’m special.

NOTE: This slow cooker chicken recipe is amazing and super simple.  

pineapple teriyaki chicken recipe

Here’s what you need to make this delicious pineapple teriyaki chicken recipe:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 bag of carrots (I used organic baby carrots)
  • 1 large can of pineapple in 100% pineapple juice, undrained
  • 1 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (optional, but makes it sweeter)
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper

Place the chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker.  Add the seasonings.  Pour the pineapple and juice over the chicken.  Be careful to not wash off too much seasoning from the chicken.

Add the carrots to the slow cooker.

In a measuring cup, pour out 1 cup of teriyaki sauce and mix in the brown sugar.  Pour over chicken.  Place lid on and cook on low for 7 hours.

pineapple teriyaki chicken recipe

NOTE: You could always use 1 small red onion and 4 garlic cloves instead of the powder.  But J does not like onion so when I do use it, I tend to cut it in big chunks so it can be removed.  I didn’t have any onion or garlic on hand so I substituted the seasoning.  It tasted fine to us!

Voila!  There you have it.  A simple chicken recipe that packs a load of flavor.

Whole30 Meal Ideas

I survived my first Whole30.  It was hard, it was rewarding and I will so be doing it again.  I learned a lot about food and my body during those 30 days.  I broke my diet coke habit and my need for chocolate after almost every meal.  Don’t get me wrong, I still plan on indulging from time-to-time.  I will keep it to small, infrequent indulgences.

I put together some meal ideas using some recipes I found or made.  I was pretty new to this whole clean eating thing.  So I thought I could pass along these recipes.  It’s hard to come up with easy dinner ideas when you work full-time.  It doesn’t help either when you have 100+ other things to do.

Whole30 meal ideas

Whole30 meal ideas

Avocado-lime salad dressing without added honey or sugar from merelynne.

Whole30 meal ideas

Grilled tilapia with homemade salsa from merelynne.

Italian Chicken Soup from Your World: Healthy and Natural.

Whole30 meal ideas

Taco chicken with homemade taco seasoning from merelynne.

whole30

Salmon cakes from Our Paleo Life.

Here’s to your #whole30!  May it be as great as my experience and just as hard to get through.