a teeny zucchini

Zucchini isn’t a big part of our lives. Not purposefully, but somehow it just never comes up and I’m not sure it’s the kind of food you get a craving for. Well, until now. Most meals with the word “stuffed” in it tend to make it on this list—the “hey we haven’t had THAT in a while” list that has often surfaces when we’re in a pinch at 5:45. Starving and confused. A dangerous time to hit the grocery stores, by the way (how did 3 boxes of nutter butters get in our cart??). This recipe was as easy as your classic stuffed pepper but with less of a southwestern twist. The flavors are hearty with cumin and a little chili powder lending it a robust flavor that goes great on the zucchini base. The feta and tomatoes add a fresh, light flavor. Pair with some brown or white rice and enjoy a new, healthy and inexpensive  meal that packs flavor and will feed your family all week long.

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east meets south

No, not the far east….put your chopsticks down and back it up. I saw a picture of this recipe and had to try it. It looked unique and it wasn’t until as I was preparing it that i realized that it was Italian meets Mexican. It’s like a lasagna, but instead of noodles there is tortilla. And there is ricotta, but it is mixed with salsa verde. The flavor is unique and delicious, and it’s so fun to stack the layers. It’s cute to look at, easy to prepare, and unlike any recipe I have ever tried. We loved the flavor and I know this will be a new go-to recipe. Healthy, quick, and delicous. It’s sure to please!

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slow buffalo

I took a trip. A week long work conference in Vegas (I got wild and took a picture in front of a slot machine! lol) and of course what would my poor sweet husband do without me all week long? Who would watch him play video games and eat pizza all night long feed him and make sure he gets to bed okay?? So I perused the wonderful world wide web for an easy slow cooker recipe that screamed out man-meal (yes, okay, there are recipes like that. They usually involve some combination of cheese, bacon, sausage, and as seen here—buffalo sauce never hurts). I was not surprised and secretly excited when I came home to find he’d been eating fruit and vegetables a large pizza for days and I would get to make this recipe myself. I was a little skeptical about lasagna in the slow cooker and also about the idea of mixing buffalo and marinara sauce—are there Italian cowboys?–but bleu cheese and buffalo flavors are one of our favorites and they sure didn’t let us down. I love a good twist on a classic and this was awesome and so tender and thick, cooked to perfection as I walked through the door after a long day which is awesome because lasagna normally involves an hour of pressing your face up against the oven door and watching the cheese slowly bubble for an hour or more. Subtly classic, with a true flavor kick. Try it out and then give your slow cooker a hug!

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chili with a twist

I was so pumped when I found another way to eat quinoa. It’s delicious and packed with so many good things (see my post ‘whoa quinoa’). And it adds a great texture to chili, making it wonderfully thick and hearty. There is nothing bad about this recipe—its got quinoa, lean ground beef, and an assortment of veggies. Use ground turkey if you like for an even healthier option. And my husband and I got a week’s worth of dinner out of this meal, a side of yummy honey cornbread. It is a filling and inexpensive meal, simple to make, and a great addition to your New Year’s resolution to eat awesome healthier food.

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the most in your roast

I don’t know how I did it, but until recently I had never made pot roast. I have eaten it plenty, it’s always the dish of choice when we are invited over to eat at someone’s house and it’s always well loved for it’s ease and almost foolproof assembly. Whether you add a little or a lot, it will always be good. And boy is it the perfect meal for a chilly day. I love coming home after work to find that those slow cooker fairies have done it again—filled my home with a wonderful, savory smell and prepared a delicious meal that I’m sure I couldn’t have made on my own. This version is my own mix and match from several different recipes and friends. It packs a lot of flavor easily with a few packets from the condiment aisle—-it really makes a difference for bringing it up a notch from a traditional style. Throw it all together in the morning and by the end of a long work day you have yourself a wonderful, welcoming meal that is served best with a blanket and a good movie. This will stay on our favorites list for a long time, I just wish we had chillier weather to enjoy it with more frequently.

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honey lime, anytime!

Enchiladas are always good. But with most things, I almost always enjoy a white sauce version over red. So the classic enchilada you will not find here on my blog, but a few variations are quickly becoming favorites (see white chicken enchiladas—yum!). This is a sweet version that is a great twist with delicious chicken marinated in a sweet lime sauce. So cheesy and, as with most hispanic foods, gets better as leftovers which is great since this was almost a whole week worth of dinners for my hubby and me. Serve with some yellow rice and a dollop of sour cream. Sweet with a little kick.

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hey there dumplin’

With the winter weather finally visiting us here in Florida, now come the marathons of crockpot recipes. I probably don’t need to explain why I love crock pots, but I’m going to do it anyway because there is just something wonderful about unlocking the door after a long day to be greeted by the most welcoming smell of magically cooked, hot food (thank you crockpot fairies!). And down south we like our chicken and dumplings, so here’s a delicious recipe that whips up a whole pot full of creamy, gravy goodness with the perfect doughy dumplings.

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chicken saltimwhatta?

Finally. I have been meaning to post this recipe for a LONG time. It’s one of the best chicken recipes I’ve got. Sometimes I notice I will do anything to avoid a “plain old chicken breast recipe”. Lots of recipes are for chicken in this sauce or rolled in that breading, and I feel like a lot of them end up tasting the same—good because its chicken covered in cheesy or crunchy or whatever it is, but nothing spectacular. THIS is spectacular. Truly. Full of flavor and complexity. Juicy, to say the least. I’ve never had another chicken like it. We love it with a side of quinoa for a flavor-packed, nutritious meal (the recipe is on the blog too!).

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oh. my. please try.

I only post the good recipes. I know I must sound silly in entry after entry, raving about each recipe as if it were the best thing since the last recipe sliced bread. But I want you to know, there are recipes that don’t make it. There is the occasional recipe that just lacks flair, doesn’t cook quite right, or just isn’t as good as it sounded. I figure these aren’t ones to share with friends, I want to build a collection that is the best of the best–to develop a great resource for myself and others to feel like any choice is a good choice.

Now, that being said, the meal we had tonight was really one of the best we’ve made. We’ve had our share of good meals, impressive and flavorful. Tonight’s meal has earned its rightful place at the top of our favorite meals ever. I honestly am not exaggerating, I hope that you will consider trying it out—-it’s sooo amazing. I’m glad my husband and I were the only ones in the room when we ate it because the whole time we were making noises and exclaiming how amazing it was, and he kept telling me that from now on he wanted this meal to be his special yearly birthday dinner (replacing the long time favorite of corn dogs and mac n’ cheese). It was easy and just wonderful for this time of year—a wonderful spin on the classic grilled cheese and tomato soup. Buffalo and blue cheese—-a wonderful flavor combination, in happy balance. Once you try it you’ll understand. It is remarkably good. A new favorite for sure.

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chili for the chilly

I used to work at the University of Florida Digital Library. At first I spent my days scanning old newspapers into a computer, and later graduated to cropping and brightening these images. Let’s just say it’s not the most stimulating activity so you tend to start reading the articles, looking at pictures….perusing a little to keep your mind going. In between the obituaries and ‘Dear Abby’ columns (uh—‘my husband likes to wear my underwear, what do I do?’) I stumbled across a few strange pictures and this recipe I have saved as little souvenirs, clips from a time in my life in college. I have tweaked the recipe over the years to what I consider to be a delicious, unconventional chili I go back to every year for it’s simplicity and great flavor. I like to throw it in the crock pot at lunch time and am always greeted with a wonderful scent when I walk through the door after work. I have recently discovered that Ritz makes a version of their classic cracker with a touch of honey which pairs wonderfully with this recipe and probably has influenced that extra scoop of chili I put in my bowl this time around. Double the recipe to make enough for the troops, or share the regular size with your hubby for a few nights—-it’s easy on the wallet. And good in your belly : )

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