Saturday, December 29, 2012

Ham and Sweet Potato Chowder

Now that Christmas is over, you're probably stuck with a myriad of leftovers. I know, it was days ago, but the only leftovers that matter are still good. Especially that ham. Mmmm...ham.

It's no secret around here that ham is my favorite meat. (I even have a little 'I love ham' song that my son has started to sing. It's so cute...) I usually make one a couple times a year because it's such an easy, delicious meal. If you grab a couple when they're on sale and stick them in your freezer then it's awesome, too. It's a great budget friendly food because you can get quite a few meals out of one ham. Super awesome, right? With the leftovers from one ham, I got this soup (three to four meals worth) and some super cute ham and cheese muffins (two to three meals worth). You just can't go wrong.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Peas with Roasted Garlic and Shallots

I hate peas. I'm just not a fan. They're bland and just don't have enough flavor for me to think they're exciting. My husband and son, on the other, love them. And hey, if it's a vegetable and my son will eat it, I'm making it!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Chocolate Coconut Clusters

You know how it goes when you want just have to have it. Well, I was wanting something sweet after dinner one night and an Almond Joy sounded really good. My son got a couple when he was trick-or-treating, but well, those are long gone. Him and my husband both hate coconut so they were all mine. He, he.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Ultimate Holiday Entertaining Check List and Guide

This past week, I was working on a new holiday email newsletter for a client and I thought I'd share some of the content on here. I like to include tips and tricks in every email and this particular one was holiday-related. Since the rest of the email focused on renting equipment for holiday parties, I thought I'd include a check list for entertaining. After some research, I ended up with is probably the most ultimate list ever. I dare you to find one list that includes more than this one does! Well, I'd like to believe that I included everything anyone could possibly think of, but there may be something I missed. If so, let me know!

Please add your own hints, tips, experiences to the comments so this can be the absolute best source for holiday entertaining!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Lemon Roasted Asparagus

I made Oven Roasted Asparagus with Garlic a few months ago and it has changed the entire way I look at asparagus. I was used to steamed asparagus which was good, but there was this fine line between cooked perfectly and mush. The oven roasted method pretty much eliminates the mush factor and produces a nice, crisp, perfectly cooked spear.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Crock Pot Zesty BBQ Meatloaf

Oh, meatloaf. The ultimate in family dinner foods...

Well, it didn't used to be around here but I think this one might become a trend. This meatloaf is actually the first 'traditional' meatloaf I've ever made. I used to make these Mini Mexican Meatloaves, but I never did the standard loaf one. I hated it when I was little so the idea just didn't appeal to me. My husband was the same way.

Since I started this whole blog thing though, I've tried to become more open to new (and some old) ideas. I've been doing the crock pot series so I thought I'd make up my own version of the 'classic' to see if it was what I remembered. Well, it wasn't. This one was actually good. So good, in fact, that my husband said I could make it every week for the rest of his life and he'd be happy. Let me tell you, for the seven and a half years we've been married, I've wanted nothing more than to make up a meal/food/dish/whatever that would make this non-foodie man I married say, "Wow." He just doesn't care much about food in general and I made it my goal a long time ago to make something that would spark his interest enough to evoke emotion about the food he was eating. It took awhile, but I finally did it with this meatloaf. Yes, he's 'liked' food I've made (if he didn't, he wouldn't eat it), but I wanted him to love it. And, boy did he love this meatloaf!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Crock Pot Meatless Lasagna

Lasagna in the crock pot? You better believe it!

I was a little leery at first, but as I was assembling everything, my confidence grew. I had no idea how it was going to turn out because this idea was completely foreign to me for a long time, but since I started doing the crock pot series, I've had to try out new ideas. And it's all been for the better!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Perfectly Simple Mashed Potatoes

These potatoes are the most perfect mashed potatoes I've ever made. They were so good that I just had to post them. Now, mashed potatoes are usually one of those things that you just make as you go, but I just happened to write this one down and I'm going to follow it every single time now. They were just that good! They had the perfect amount of everything and were creamy but stiff enough so they didn't run all over the plate.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Spicy Sausage and Chicken Gumbo Soup

The other day, I asked my husband what he wanted for dinner. His reply was a simple, "There's sausage in the freezer." My rebuttal, "Or...soup!" A nice, hearty soup was sounding good and a warm-up in soup form is always welcomed... Anyways, my husband took my soup idea as a suggestion for a sausage soup. After a few minutes of confusion on both our parts because we were trying to figure out what the other person meant, the gumbo soup recipe was born.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pumpkin Spiced French Toast

I've been trying to get creative with some of the pumpkin dishes I've been whipping up and I think I've found a real winner. What better way to be inventive than to do the unexpected? I'm talking pumpkin french toast here, people. Have you ever even thought about it as a possible pumpkin-infused meal? I didn't until yesterday morning.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Crock Pot Brown Sugar Ham

I've been on this crock pot kick lately so I'm pretty much just cooking whatever I can in there these days. The latest was a ham. I love ham. Seriously. It's so good and really easy to make - easy in an oven and even easier in a crock pot!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Easy Pumpkin Mini Muffins

I made these little, itty, bitty, mini muffins last week and I'm quite pleased with how they turned out. They're part of my 'Pumpkin Event' and, well,  they're just so darn cute! I love creating things in mini form because food of a 'smaller stature' is just so fun eat.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Basic Pie Dough and Apple Hand Pies

Thanksgiving is right around the corner which means it's the perfect time to bake pies. Of course there's the standard pumpkin pie, but if you're feeling adventurous, venture out and get creative with apple, cherry, or even pecan!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

My latest pumpkin idea had me going in a simple cookie direction. It was between Pumpkin Sugar Cookies and Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies so I reached out to my Facebook community to see which one I should make. It was unanimous...everyone wanted the sugar cookies!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Bean and Broccoli Casserole

We love broccoli over here and we're always looking for ways to jazz it up. Broccoli by itself is pretty awesome, but when it's paired with other ingredients, it can be taken to new levels of excitement.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pumpkin Spiced Hot Chocolate

Why not update a classic with a little pumpkin flavor? It is Fall after all, so everything should have a little pumpkin boost!

The cooler weather means hot chocolate and it's the perfect thing to jazz up with a little pumpkin flavoring. Pumpkin is, of course, the theme of the moment and it's a nice, subtle addition in this make-at-home version.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pumpkin Crescent Roll-Ups

Continuing my 'Pumpkin Event' is so much fun. And what's more fun than little pumpkin-flavored bites that are super easy to make and super tasty?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Crock Pot Semi-Candied Sweet Potatoes

You know those sweet potatoes you have every Thanksgiving? Yeah, those. They're swimming in buttery sugar and are good, but they can sometimes be too sweet and make your teeth hurt. Or maybe that's just me... Anyways, those smothered potatoes are okay, but I'm over it. Maybe my tastes are changing as I grow older, but the idea of eating a vegetable dish that tastes like something I can buy at a candy store just isn't my thing anymore.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pumpkin Pancakes

I was recently asked by a friend to do a 'Pumpkin Event' on my blog. If you know me, you know how hard it is for me to say no to friends and that it's even harder to not partake in a food challenge like this. As soon as he asked me about whipping up some pumpkin-inspired fare, the wheels in my head started turning and they haven't stopped yet. It's been a couple weeks of pumpkin-themed food swimming around in my brain and I think I've finally stopped writing recipes for the moment. Well, almost.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Simple Roasted Garlic Pasta

Have you tried making your own Roasted Garlic yet? If so, good for you! If not, what are you waiting for?

My husband roasted up a couple heads of garlic last week and there were a few cloves still hanging out in the fridge. I wanted to use them up before they went bad so I figured I'd use them in one of the tastiest ways I know: tossed with pasta.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Crock Pot Mexican Black Bean Chili

There's just something about chili in the fall. It's not quite winter, but the cold air is definitely on it's way so sometimes you just need that comforting warm up to remind you of the previous months. And when that warm up is in chili form, well, it just makes it that much better. And when it's a healthy chili it's like a double bonus!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Strawberry Bread

I love trying new things in the kitchen. There's just something so exciting about tasting a new food or creating something that you haven't made before.

I never used to be much of a baker, but I've found myself pushing my own culinary limits lately and writing recipes that I would have never even thought about writing. Whenever I would bake a cake or whip up some muffins, I always used recipes in cookbooks or ones I found online. I was always too nervous to write my own since baking is such a precise science. But like most other things in life, a little practice and hard work will usually yield great results. Since I started this whole blog thing, I've tried out a few baked items here and there and I can honestly say that I've gotten better with each one.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Bacon in the Oven

I am a changed woman. I cooked up my first batch of bacon in the oven and I'm never going back to the pan again. Less clean up, less fat, less wrinkle. It was overall awesome.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Crock Pot Apple Pie Pork Chops

I think this has to be, quite possibly, the easiest meal I've ever made. It was easy as pie! (Sorry, I just couldn't resist. I promise I'll try really hard not to do that again...but no guarantees.)

I got the idea for this when I glanced up at my pantry shelf one day. I made and canned some apple pie filling last year and really needed to use it up because the shelf life is only about a year. I'm always looking for ways to cook non-dried out pork chops and the crock pot seemed like the perfect tool for that. In my opinion, applesauce is a pork chop's best friend so why not go with that idea but throw some pie spices into the mix! The spices infused the pork chops and left them with the subtle hint of cinnamon and nutmeg while the apples were the perfect compliment. I felt like it needed a little something else though so I added the onion to offset some of the sweetness of the pie filling. They brought about a nice subtle flavor.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Cheddar Jalapeño Cornbread

Years ago, I decided it was time to create my own cornbread recipe. I tried so many versions by other people but I just couldn't find one that I liked. I wanted more cornmeal flavor and none of them were up to par. It seemed like all the ones I've made before were just too floury and didn't even deserve the cornbread name!

Friday, September 14, 2012

How To Caramelize Onions

The next time you have a little time, grab a couple onions, slice those suckers up, and throw them in a pan to caramelize. When they're done cooking, stick them in the fridge (they'll keep for a few days to a week) and they'll be on hand for virtually anything!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Spinachy Garlic Dip

Love garlic? Love spinach dip? Then you'll love this super easy and extremely tasty dip! Pair it with some of that Hawaiian bread and you're in for a real treat.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Peanut Butter Banana Bites

My kid is weird. I think I may have inadvertently made him skip loving 'kid food' and go straight to the stuff that kids don't usually eat. My sister and I did it when we were little though and I honestly don't really think it impacted anything so it probably doesn't matter in his case either.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Laura and Max's Wedding

I'm sharing a non-food-related subject with you today. Along with my passion for food is a passion for design. Part of that design-life includes creating beautiful invitations and other wedding-related items for Brides and Grooms to be and nothing makes me happier then helping others be happy on their wedding day. 

I was approached by Laura after her mother showed her the invitations I did for Dustin and Lauren. You can imagine my surprise when this girl from Wisconsin loved what I did so much that she wanted to work with someone so far away on something so personal.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Polenta Cakes Topped with Spinach and Tomato Sauté and Fresh Mozzarella

I had polenta for the first time a few weeks ago and it was pretty awesome. It wasn't regular polenta though, it was some pretty nifty polenta cakes! I've seen them on the Food Network a couple times and I always wondered what they tasted like. It had to be somewhere along the lines of a creamy cornbread, right? Well, my expectations were correct and it was darn tasty.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Four (Is Better Than Three) Bean Salad

There's just something so nice about a simple side salad. An easy vinaigrette and some beans can do the trick and it goes with pretty much everything.

It's great to find a side that is easy to make and easy on the budget. Most of the ingredients in this are ones you probably already have on hand and if you have to buy a few, they're really inexpensive. All you need is a few cans of beans, an onion and a few standard dressing ingredients. I've noticed a lot of other bean salad recipes out there have tons of sugar in their dressings but I've cut mine down a ton and you won't even miss it. And because it's full of 'good for you' beans and a small amount of sugar and oil, this is one healthy dish!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Zucchini Feta Frittata

I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, but I don't have any heavy, oven-safe pans. You know, the ones that are perfect for making a frittata. The ones that the Food Network tells you to use. Well, since I don't have those pans, I've created my own little, stove-top version. And you know what? It was awesome. Who says you can't have the good stuff with the easy stuff! All you have to do is cook it in a small pan over low heat and you're eggs will be set in about 15 to 20 minutes. Not that much longer than if you were to use an oven to finish the cooking.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Crock Pot Lemon Chicken Breasts

I tried out my first non-saucy crock pot meal and I'm happy to say that it turned out pretty darn well. I used to be under the impression that cooking in the crock pot meant you had to smother the meat you were cooking in order for it to cook properly, but let me tell you - that is not the case. I have discovered, however, that you do need to have a little bit of moisture in there if you don't want dried out food. But you only need a tiny bit in order to have yummy meat that doesn't taste like you're eating cardboard.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mango and Chick Pea Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

This little salad started out as a side to my crock pot layered enchiladas. I picked up some mangoes at the store the other day and while I sat there in the kitchen smelling cumin and chili powder and all things crock pot, I thought I'd whip up a simple mango salad to go with. Simple it was. Tasty, too.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Spicy Eggplant Rounds

I love eggplant but always struggle to find new and interesting ways to prepare it. I know that eggplant parmesan is pretty popular as well as a breaded and pan-fried version, but those always seem too greasy for my liking. I want to taste the eggplant, not the oil. And since I (usually) try to create healthier versions of a lot of food, I try to stay away from things that just sit in grease. It's true that there are exceptions to that rule, but eggplant - which is pretty much a sponge for oil - is not one of those exceptions.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Grilled Chicken with Lemon, Honey and Rosemary

I sure hope you've been taking advantage of your grill this summer!

I love the freshness that can be created with a grill. Yeah, I know. That's something that doesn't really make sense to me either. But this chicken was just so...fresh tasting! The honey gave the right amount of sweetness, the lemon added a bright note, and the rosemary was the perfect compliment to everything. It's a really easy and quick chicken recipe that goes great with so many things, especially grilled zucchini and potatoes. And it's a healthy way to prepare chicken so...what's not to love!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Time For A Limey Change

Pinch of Lime will be getting a makeover soon!

As time goes on, people change. I am one of those people. Being a designer brings out change in me in terms of the way I do things and the way I look at things. When I look at my blog, it just doesn't seem to reflect my style anymore. I am constantly changing how I design things so this blog as become one of my projects at the moment. I'm sure I'm stressing a bit too much about it, but that's what I do. It just needs to reflect me a little better and what I have now is a little to...out-dated. So I'm going to revamp my logo and blog to a sleeker format. I'll be keeping the same color theme since, well, that's my thing, but the rest will look completely different. New logo, new icon, new layout...yep, it will all be new. But rest assured that my style of cooking and the food you've been seeing will stay the same.

And as always, I'm happy to take suggestions for food to make or things to write about.

Got questions? Fire away!

Got any advice? Send it along!

Keep an eye out for the new look to be unveiled in the next couple weeks. And from the bottom of my heart, thanks for being there to read stories about my life and my food!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Crock Pot Chicken Teriyaki

You may not know, but when I write recipes, I tend to write in phases. My phase of the moment is creating crock pot meals that can be made fresh or from the frozen state. Crock pots are wonderful things and I have to admit that I haven't used mine nearly enough. Well, that's all about to change for the purpose of this blog. I currently have about seven or eight recipes written (I haven't tested them all yet) and I just can't wait to try them out and share them with you all!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

How To Make Your Own Roasted Garlic

I know what you're thinking...

But roasting your own garlic is so much easier than you think. I was a little intimidated at first, but I got through it and so will you. As for the time involved... The prep is virtually nothing. The last step is just a couple minutes. The middle? Well, the middle is where all the good stuff happens and it does take a little time, but you don't have to do anything but wait. And that wait will be sooooo worth it.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Zucchini Linguini with Lemon, Ricotta and Garlic

There's something so refreshing about a pasta that isn't bogged down with a heavy tomato sauce. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of a the traditional spaghetti - especially if it's with my mom's sauce - but it's nice to have options when you're in the mood for something a little bit lighter.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Peachy Nectarine Ice Cream

Since I have this new ice cream maker, I've really been taking advantage of it. I know that sounds like I've been gorging myself on ice cream, but the funny thing is that I make all this food (ice cream and other) and usually don't eat it. I'll taste it and maybe have a little, but my husband or son will eat most or I'll send some to my folks. I just love the actual act of cooking, baking and recipe writing. I could sit here for hours and just write up new ideas and recipes; it's just so exciting to find new flavor combinations and new ways to create in the kitchen. That's how this ice cream got started.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Green Beans Almondine

Green beans are an amazing vegetable. There are so many different things you can do with them and they'll taste great every time. From hot dishes to cold salads, the green bean is the most versatile of all beans.

One of the ways I like to cook them is to make Green Beans Almondine. It is, in my opinion, the absolutely most perfect side dish of all time. When you add butter, almonds and lemon juice to green beans, they are transformed into pure bliss in a pan.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Slow-Cooker BBQ Chicken in Cornbread Cups

The idea for this dish just literally popped into my head one day. I was just sitting there and I thought of pulled chicken and cornbread. And what's better than combining the two into one?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Blueberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

I always thought stuffed french toast would be hard to make so I never really attempted it. Well, the other morning, I thought I'd give it a go. Normally the toast comes from a thick slice of bread with a slit cut through the middle. I didn't have thick bread but I've never actually had stuffed french toast and I since had my heart set on it so I just knew I had to improvise.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Apple Butter Spice Cake with Apple Butter Buttercream Frosting

I made a new cake a couple weeks ago and I can't believe I haven't posted it yet! I guess I'll just say that it's because life keeps getting in the way. We've had a lot going on over here with vacation, being out of town, and setting up a pool...twice. I haven't been getting as much work done as I'd like and I certainly haven't been cooking as much or posting about it. But I'm making it a point to write about this cake tonight because I'm not only too tired to do anything else, but it's just so good that I have to write about it.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Melt In Your Mouth Quiche Lorraine

There are few foods in this world that are as good as quiche. I'm not sure what my fascination is, but it's here to stay. My dad used to make quiche quite a lot so I probably just love it because I was started on it early. It isn't something I have very often, so when I do make it, it has to be good. And I mean real good.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sun (Oven) - Dried Tomatoes


I had tomatoes in my fridge a little bit ago and they were almost past their prime. I hate throwing out food, especially tomatoes that can be expensive, so I decided to do my 'reusing' thing. Sun-dried tomatoes seemed like the perfect thing to do because there are so many ways to use them.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Watermelon Strawberry Fizz

I love watermelon but it's sometimes hard to get through an entire one in our house before we get sick of it. I usually end up throwing about a quarter of it away because it starts to get slimy and gross. Watermelon is great in so many ways but I usually just have it cubed up in a bowl and sprinkled with a little salt. (I know, I sounds weird, but I first learned of this strange way to eat it years ago at my old job. A coworker sprinkled some salt on a slice after lunch one day and I must have made the funniest most disgusted face because all he did was laugh. Well, it took me a a couple weeks to work up the nerve to try it that way, but once I did I never looked back.)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Homemade Sloppy Joes

I have no idea why, but I had a taste for Sloppy Joes a couple weeks ago. This has never happened before. I've never even liked Sloppy Joes! But, for some reason, I just needed to make them. Maybe it was because I ran into my husband's cousin's wife (my cousin-in-law?) at the grocery store a few weeks ago and she said the store's brand of Sloppy Joe mix was really good. Did that somehow make it's way into my subconscious and put the meat mixture into my brain's 'food idea' area?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Apple Pluot Tarts

Have you ever had a pluot? If not, you're missing out. It's this sweet fruit that is almost like a plum but with a little more bite to it. There are a few different varieties but they're all very similar so they can be used interchangeably.

I discovered them last year at the grocery store. I was walking in the produce section when the word 'dinosaur' caught my eye. It's not normally a word you'd see around fruit so I was intrigued. I headed over to the sign and saw a fruit that was green with pink speckles on it. Now, any fruit that has pink dots on it has to make you look twice, right? And it must taste good if it's that pretty, right?