Recipe: Christmas Oatmeal (Chocolate Pomegranate Oatmeal)

It’s hard to come up with new and exciting breakfast ideas for my kids.  Something that will fill their little bellies and keep them full until lunch.  We definitely eat a lot of eggs and peanut butter oatmeal… foods with protein.


I decided to mix up a festive “Christmas” oatmeal for breakfast this weekend.

Christmas Pomegranate Chocolate Oatmeal (makes 1 bowl)

1/2 c Quaker oats (I used about half regular oats and half quick oats. I like the mixed texture and the heartier reg oats)
2/3 c water (my husband usually makes the kids oatmeal with almond milk or reg milk)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 heaping tablespoons greek honey yogurt
2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds/arils

Mix oats, water, cocoa, cinnamon and brown sugar.  Microwave for 45-60 sec.  Stir together.  Top with yogurt and pomegranate arils.  Serve immediately.  I loved the contrast of the hot oatmeal topped with the  cold yogurt and fruit plus the light chocolate flavor.

The kids loved that it had chocolate and yogurt.  Two of their favorite things!


Recipe: Mexican Tilapia Ricebowl

Don’t you love when you throw something together and “test it out” and it turns out delicious.  It’s a happy surprise because when you’re not going off a recipe – anything goes.  I’ve definitely had a few failures this way, but sometimes we get an unexpected success that the whole house loves.  And our house loved these Mexican Tilapia Ricebowls

The great thing about a rice bowl is you can pick and choose what you put on them and make them somewhat customized.  Like a salad bar.


Mexican Tilapia Ricebowl

3 cups of dry rice (white or brown) – prepared according to package instructions
coconut oil/olive oil/veg oil
6 tilapia filets – if frozen, thaw first
1/2 med onion – chopped
1 can chili beans in sauce
1 can black beans – rinsed and drained
1 can green enchilada sauce
1 tablespoon cumin
Pear Corn Salsa – recipe below

Prepare rice according to package instructions. (I like to add a little cumin or seasoning into my rice to give it a little extra.) In a separate skillet, put a few tablespoons of oil and then start to pan fry your tilapia with the onions.  Cook about 3 mins per side until it’s almost cooked through.  Be sure to season with salt and pepper.

Once tilapia is nearly cooked through add chili beans, black beans and enchilada sauce. Add cumin. Cook for about 5-7 more minutes until beans are heated through and fish is cooked.


Then top with Pear and Corn Salsa.

Pear and Corn Salsa
1 pear, diced
1 cup frozen corn, thawed.  I serve with corn at room temp, not warm.
3 tablespoons of onion – small dice
3 tablespoons of fresh cilantro – chopped
splash of Girard’s Champagne Vinaigrette – enough to wet the mixture but not soak it.
Juice of half a fresh lime
S&P to taste

Mix all ingredients together and serve.

Since we were making this to bring to my brother’s house and they don’t do diary, we didn’t put any cheese or sour cream on top but I bet that would be a tasty addition.

Recipe: Coconut Mango Rice

I read a blog a year or two ago about a girl who visited Thailand and while she was there enjoyed tons of Mango Sticky Rice.  I’d never heard of it and it kinda seemed like a weird combo.  Flash forward to a few weeks ago when I picked up some of the most delicious mango (on sale for $.55 each!) during our weekly grocery trip. The boys and I ate it up one night and the next week, I saw they still had some great mango – albeit not the same price – so I grabbed a few more.

I then randomly remembered the girl talking about how much she loved sticky mango rice so I decided to see if there was a recipe.  It turns out it is more of a dessert thing and the recipes I saw had tapioca powder and toasted sesame seeds, etc.  So I decided to make my own recipe by combining some of the same ingredients I saw in those recipes and modifying it for what I had in the house.

It was surprisingly delicious. I tend not to be big on “sweet” dinner foods (like Orange Chicken), but I think I’d make this again.  And all three of my boys seemed to like it.

mango rice

Coconut Mango Rice

Brown Rice – 4 cups
Coconut Milk – one can
Mango – 2 fruit, diced
Sugar – 1/2 c
Vanilla – splash

In a rice maker, I cooked 4 cups brown rice, with water. (I made a big batch because this was a meal share recipe with my sister. I’d suggest halving if you want to feed a family of 4.)

While rice is cooking, I peeled and diced the mangoes.  Then when my rice was about 10 mins from being done, I put the can of coconut milk in a small pot and heated on medium. I watched it the whole time and only let it slightly start bubbling on the edges (don’t let it boil).  Once it started bubbling, I whisked in sugar, a splash of vanilla and a pinch of salt. I let it cook together for just a minute or two until the sugar dissolved into the coconut milk.

Once the rice was done, I poured the warm coconut milk and mango on top and mixed it together. It was creamy, slightly sweet and delicious.  I served it with BBQ chicken.

(P.S. if you love ChickFila sauce as much as I do, here’s an at home trick:  honey mustard sauce plus BBQ sauce – Sweet Baby Ray’s – mixed together tastes like ChickFila sauce – so good! You can see that’s what is drizzled on our chicken.)

Recipe: Garlic Shrimp Tacos with Watermelon Tomato Salad

Summer is time for light, easy to prep meals.  It’s not time for slaving over a hot pot of stew or a running oven!  This recipe was on the table in about 20 mins and it was delicious!


Garlic Shrimp Tacos
Olive Oil
Chopped Garlic – used about 2 tablespoons
Medium Shrimp – I had about a lb to feed 4 people
Red onion – sliced (about a half of a small onion)
Cilantro – a small handful, with leaves torn
Juice of a lime

Heat skillet on medium. Add oil and when hot, add a couple tablespoons of chopped garlic. Don’t skimp on the garlic, it makes it delicious.  Once garlic has been cooked for a minute, add the shrimp.  After about 3 minutes of cooking the shrimp, throw in a half of a small red onion, sliced thin.  Let the onion and shrimp cook together until the shrimp is pink and cooked through.  Season with salt and pepper. The last minute, add the torn cilantro and juice of a lime.  Then serve on hot flour tortillas with Watermelon Tomato Salad (see below).  (Usually, I just wrap a stack of tortillas in a wet paper towel and microwave for 30-60 seconds – depending on how many I’m making.)

Since I had tail-on shrimp, I just de-tailed them once they were done cooking and I was piling the shrimp on the tortillas.


Watermelon Tomato Salad
1/2 cup diced seedless watermelon
1/2 cup diced tomato
1/4 cup diced seedless cucumber
2 radishes – finely diced
2 tablespoons red onion – finely diced
chopped fresh cilantro
Champagne Vinagrette – I use the store bought Girard’s (in the fancy glass diamond shaped bottle)

Mix first 6 items together in medium bowl.  Add a few tablespoons of dressing and mix.  Taste and add more dressing and S&P, if desired.

This salad is delicious on it’s own, it’s really a great summer taste.  Would be good on a bed of bibb lettuce.

The hot tortilla and shrimp are perfect with the cool salad on top. Definitely a dinner win.


Recipe: Pierogi Lasagna

I don’t know if you’ve ever had pierogies.  They’re polish dumplings with a pasta shell holding a mashed potato based filling.  They are delicious.  Of course, fresh, homemade ones are the best.

Making homemade pierogies was a holiday tradition in my mom’s house growing up and we’ve definitely had our share of these potato pockets over the years. But they take a ton of time and work.  The dough making, rolling, filling, boiling, etc. It’s like a 6 person job.

I saw someone post on social media about an attempt at turning pierogies into a quick lasagna and figured… sounds easy and delicious, I’ll bite. (Literally.)


Pierogi Lasagna:

White onion
ButterReady-bake lasagna noodles
Mashed potatoes  (I’d overmade a batch two nights before as the side dish for dinner with the plan that I’d use the leftovers for this.)
Shredded cheddar
Toppings: Green onion, bacon, sour cream

First slice your white onion and pan cook in melted butter until they get golden brown and soft. In the bottom of a 13×9 pan, I laid one single layer of lasagna noodles (uncooked). Then I splashed a few tablespoons of milk over the noodles.  I figured since they were uncooked they may need some extra moisture and I didn’t know how much the potatoes would give. Then drop dallops of mashed potatoes and spread them evenly over the noodles.  After that, sprinkle a thin layer of cheddar cheese and then a layer of your browned, buttery onions.

Repeat all layers two times.

Finish with a layer of noodles/milk then cheese and grilled onions. (And a sprinkle of green onion if you feel like it.)

I covered it in plastic wrap and let it sit overnight so that the uncooked noodles had some extra time to absorb the milk/moisture.  (I think if you needed it the same night you may want to use precooked noodles just in case. Wouldn’t want it to be crunchy!)

The next night I cooked at 350 for 30 mins.  This was right before we ate… it’s such an excellent shot!  We put a little green onion and sour cream on top but next time it would be awesome with some crumbled bacon bits.



Recipe: Meatball Sub-oli & Garlic Dijon Vinaigrette Green Beans

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe on the blog.  Partially because I’ve cut back on how often I post. Partially because I’ve been in a little bit of a cooking rut and haven’t tried many new things lately.

Well this was a brand new meal.


First up, Meatball Sub-oli.  Part Meatball Sub, Part Stromboli.  I choose to make this because my kids always pick the meatball sub when we’re at Subway, so I decided to make something similar.

Meatball Suboli
Frozen cooked meatballs
1 prepackaged pizza dough (the pop-tube kind, where you get the Pillsbury premade baked goods – biscuits, croissants, etc)
Premade spaghetti sauce – I had Ragu Meatball on hand. How fitting – meatball sauce for a meatball sub-oli
Pepperoni Slices
Shredded Mozzarella
Parmesan Cheese
Italian seasoning and garlic salt

Preheat oven to 400°.  While the oven is preheating, throw your frozen meatballs in a skillet and start cooking. It’s good to get them nice and browned on the outside so they have some color.  I had them cooking on med high heat and just kept stirring them as I prepped the dough.

Hit a cookie sheet with cooking spray and then unroll and spread your dough across.  I tried to make mine fit the entire length and width of a medium size sheet.  Then down the middle longways, I spooned spaghetti sauce – a little more than a cup – but you decide how saucy you like it, then topped it with some extra pepperoni slices I wanted to use up – I had about 15 slices.  Then I covered that with a cup of shredded mozz cheese and a sprinkling of parm cheese and Italian seasoning.  By now, my meatballs were cooked through and browned on the outside.  I spooned those on top and the covered them with a little more spaghetti sauce.  I then folded the sides onto the top of the meatballs to make a nice long pocket.  On the outside of the dough, I spread some EVOO and hit the outside crust with another sprinkle of Italian seasoning and garlic salt.

Bake for 20-25 mins until its golden on the outside and fillings are heated through.

Garlic Dijon Vinaigrette Green Beans
There were some fresh green beans for sale at the grocery store this week so I decided to get some. I’m usually a canned green bean girl, but I was feeling crazy!

Here’s how I prepped them.

I used the skilled that I cooked the meatballs in because it already had some cooking grease in the bottom of the pan and some flavorful scrapings on the bottom (if you didnt have some grease, I’d just start with a little EVOO or veg oil). I cut the stems off of several handfuls of fresh green beans and put them into the skillet.  I cooked them on Med High for about 5 mins and then I added 1/4 c water and covered so they would start to steam in there.  I left the lid on and cooked for about 5 more minutes until they were al dente.  Then I added a generous tablespoon of minced garlic and cooked a minute or two more.  While they were finishing, I had the last bit of Girard’s Champagne Salad Dressing Vinaigrette in the fridge that I wanted to finish up, so I squeezed about a teaspoon of Dijon mustard into the dressing bottle and shook together.  (There was probably only about 3-4 tablespoons of dressing left.) Then I plated the green beans and topped with the mustard-dressing sauce. I love recipes with less than 5 ingredients!

Here’s to hoping for more inspired dishes to come this spring and summer. With our garden plants going in later this month, I should have no excuse to try some fun salads and recipes with my garden fresh ingredients!




Recipe: Easy Pizza Biscuits

These are easy.  Too easy.  Make in 20 mins easy.

Which is perfect for a hectic weeknight.

And a picture is worth a thousand words.  So I’ll keep them to a minimum and let the pictures do the talking.


Start with can of large biscuits – like Pillsbury Grands. Cut each biscuit in half and put each half into a greased muffin tin. Top as you’d like (sauce, cheese, veggies, meats, etc.)

Bake in preheated 375° oven for about 15 mins.


Super easy and kids love to help making them.  They can pick and choose what they want on their own individual pizza.