One Pot Wonder… Chili-Mac

Evening fellow food bloggers and lurkers! Today was my first day back at school. I drug my heels all the way, but I guess I am ready to get back in to this thing called a crazy school year! It is our preplanning week, so today was rich and heavy in information. The rest of the week will be filled with meetings and getting prepared for my precious babies that will be arriving next week!!! I saw some of their sweet little 11 year old faces and I think I might have shed a tear or two; they are too cute!

Speaking of cute, have you ever witnessed a large room full of cheerleaders? Like a huge high school cafeteria full of K-12 cheerleaders all together in one place? Probably one of the happiest places on Earth. I have these two cuties starting practice this week. Last week was camp and they were just so precious I almost couldn’t stand it. 11811533_10153467846048334_3668629814638028212_n 11817148_10153467845868334_1665413994084710059_n

So I got off work, picked up the girls, and got Becca ready, (she has practice 3 times a week and Katie has it twice), and I dropped her off at cheer practice. While she was there, I relaxed a bit, then cooked dinner. The hubby picked her up while I finished up cooking dinner. Here is what I made.

Chili Mac


1 pound macaroni noodles
1 pound ground beef (chicken, turkey, or even black beans or soy crumbles if you want to go veggie)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 tablespoon of onion powder, garlic powder, and chili powder
red chili flakes to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups of water
3/4 cup of heavy cream


Brown your meat. Add in spices.
Add in tomato paste. Cook down for about 3 minutes. Add in canned tomatoes. Mix well.
Add in pasta and water. Cook about 8 minutes. Check pasta. It should still have a bite to it. Add in your cream and cook until done.

Popsicles for dessert!




Weekend Wrap Up

It has been a great weekend! Here are some fun pics from the weekend!

Katie being a diva…image

Pizza for lunch. Love pineapple on my pizza =)image

Finally a bottle of Coke with my name on it! It was sooooo good!image

I finally cleaned out and organized the “junk” drawer!wpid-20150801_171448.jpg Lots of fun at the pool!wpid-20150802_154401.jpg wpid-20150802_154359.jpg

A fun trip to the farmer’s market with the family. I made a little tomato art <3


Also got some pretty purple potatoes. Had them with some steak tonight. Everyone loved them! Just cut them thinly on a mandolin. Cooked them in olive oil and salt and pepper until crispy and tender, about 25 minutes.image


Brutus does not like jewelry!wpid-img_20150802_194000.jpgBack to school tomorrow…my room is still all packed up, but I am not worried. It will be ready by the time the students show up. wpid-img_20150801_214039.jpg I also got these cool pencils to make sure my 6th graders don’t forget theirs! wpid-img_20150729_190556.jpg

Spinach Salad with Chicken, Bacon, and Eggs

Hope you are having a terrific Tuesday! Here is a quick dinner I made for myself that is both healthy and indulgent. I added some of my oven roasted chicken (3/4 chopped breast), 2 boiled eggs, and 3 slices of chopped bacon on top of a generous serving of spinach. I topped with a few croutons and a tablespoon or so of dressing.



Oven Roasted Chicken Two Ways

Summer has been super amazing! Lots of relaxation, pool time, beach vacation, sleeping late, and cooking whenever and whatever I want. While I am super bummed that it is coming to an end for us, I am still looking forward to a great school year. I can’t believe I am going in to my 17th year of teaching!

Soon school will start back; cheer practice, Girls on the Run practice, homework, weekend ball games at the park, etc. Meal planning always gets tricky, so hopefully I will keep coming up with some fast easy meals for those crazy school nights. Look for lots of crock pot meals, throw together one pot recipes, and super fast meals that will hopefully save us a lot of time and money!

So this week is going to be a bit crazy. The girls have cheer camp everyday, so my dinner meal plan for the week is a great big question mark. I did a little prep to have some things in the fridge to grab for quick snacks and fast meals. I made a whole pot of hard boiled eggs (which after breakfast today are almost gone!), an entire pound of bacon, and cooked up the 2 chickens that I got from the farmer’s market. I love buying those rotisserie chickens from the grocery store in a pinch, but roasting your own is much cheaper and you can do different flavor profiles.

The first one was simply olive oil, salt and pepper. The second one I used this Moroccan dry rub. First I browned all sides on the stove top in my cast iron skillets. Then I put both in a 350 oven for about an hour. Now my family has 2 chickens for our disposal for sandwiches, chicken salad, pasta, etc.





Cinnamon Sugar French Toast

It is a beautiful Sunday morning here in Georgia. We had a lazy morning sleeping in a bit, then I woke up and made the girls one of their favorite breakfasts, homemade french toast. My goal for the new school year is to make a batch of something on the weekends to freeze for breakfast during the week. The mornings can get hectic, so I know I rely on frozen waffles and french toast sticks a lot. Not only is it cheaper to make your own, it is also much healthier. This recipe was a hit, as my girls will eat anything drenched in cinnamon sugar =)

Cinnamon Sugar French Toast

4 pieces of bread- I used the challah bread that I got from the farmer’s market yesterday. PERFECTION!

Mixture- I really don’t use particular recipe… or exact measurements. Usually it just depends on how much I am making and what kind of bread I am using. Today I whisked 4 eggs in about 1 cup heavy cream. I added about a tablespoon cinnamon and 1/2 tablespoon of nutmeg,and a bit of salt to taste. I whisked it all together, then dunked the bread on both sides and let it soak up all that yummy goodness. On medium heat, I warmed up about a tablespoon of butter in a pan and cooked on both sides until browned, about 2 minutes on each side. I topped with cinnamon sugar and warm maple syrup.



Crunchy Baked Shrimp and Simple Sauteed Squash

Hello my sweet followers! Anyone out there? Hope you are all having a great day!

I started mine out by going to the local farmer’s market with my girls. We have a routine…first I get an iced coffee, we look at each stand, we get a few samples (Great Harvest Bread, honey, jelly, olive oil, peaches etc.) then the girls get a King of Pop’s Popsicle. Then we go back through the vendors and I pick out a few lovely gems. Today I bought 2 chicken fryers (only 4.50 for both!), 1 pound of Georgia Coast Shrimp, a loaf of challah bread (french toast in the am!), yellow squash, beets, an heirloom tomato, and some beautiful flowers for Lizzie.

Every week or so since she has passed, I buy some flowers and put them in a vase next to her urn on the mantle. 013

The heirloom tomato with a tiny bit of salt was devoured as soon as I got home. I should of taken a pic…it looked something like this DSCF1699a

I tried bitter melon for the first time today…not a fan. The lady told me she usually only sells that to Asian people because they like the bitter taste =)

Tonight I cooked up the shrimp in a new and delicious way. But first I had to clean them…peeling and deveining shrimp is not hard, but it can be kind of a dirty job. If this is not your thing, buy them from the grocery store already done. It is a pain, but since I got them fresh from the market, it had to be done for this recipe. Bonus- now I have all the shells and tails in the freezer for when I am ready to make seafood stock.

Crunchy Baked Shrimp

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
1 tablespoons each of onion powder and garlic powder
about 1 1/2- 2 cups panko bread crumbs (save a few for the top)
olive oil to coat
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1/2 stick butter, cut in small pieces


So you know about homemade Shake and Bake? I have done it here before

Well, this is kind of like that. Add all your ingredients in a large zip top bag. Shake and mix together well. In a single layer, place the shrimp in a large oven safe dish, pan, or sheet tray (make sure to use non-stick spray or olive oil/butter). I used my large cast iron skillet. Add a few more breadcrumbs on top.

Cook at 350 for about 8 minutes. For the last 5 minutes or so, turn your oven on broil. When the topping starts to turn brown, take it out. 025

Serve with your favorite side dishes. We had some leftover couscous and alfredo pasta, so we each chose what we wanted. I also served a side of peas and some of that squash I got this morning at the Farmer’s market. Here is how I made it…

Simple Sauteed Squash

In a med. skillet, add thinly sliced squash to about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Salt and pepper your squash. Cook until golden brown and tender, just under 10 minutes. YUM! 026

Fish Friday- Cod and Trout Cooked in Herb Butter

Evening guys! Happy Friday! Today the girls and I had a fun day. We went to get our nails done, which was super fun and relaxing. Then we went to lunch and the grocery store. I went to The Fresh Market to see what kind of fish they had. I ended up buying 2 kinds; Rainbow trout and cod. I served with a side of couscous and broccoli.

Tonight I prepared them so simply. For the cod, I dredged both sides in flour. I melted half a stick of butter with rosemary, sage, and thyme. Then I put in the fish and cooked the first side for about 6 minutes. The I flipped it and cooked the other side for 3 minutes. ***COOKING TIME DEPENDS ON THE THICKNESS OF THE FISH. Thinner fillets will take less time.


With the trout, I dredged both sides in equal parts corn meal and flour. I melted half a stick of butter with rosemary, sage, and thyme. I cooked the trout skin side down for about 3-4 min or until browned and crisp. Then I carefully turned the fillet over and continued cooking until just cooked through, about 3 more


Both turned out so good! Looking forward to heading to the farmer’s market in the morning… thinking of getting some fresh shrimp from the seafood guy for dinner tomorrow night!

Honey Barbecue Baked Wings

Evening guys! So you already know how much my family loves wings. Remember this???

So tonight I made a new creation. Super easy.

Honey Barbecue Baked Wings


2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for the pan
2 pounds chicken wings, split at the joints, tips removed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
I added 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 container of BBQ sauce
a few tablespoons of honey and your favorite hot sauce (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat a large rimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil. Dry the chicken wings with paper towels and place in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, the melted butter, granulated garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Pour the mixture over the wings and toss well to coat. Spread the wings in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake the wings until browned and crisp, 45 to 55 minutes. Meanwhile, make the sauce: add 3/4 container of BBQ sauce with a few tablespoons of honey and your favorite hot sauce to taste. Mine had a bit of a bite, but next time I am adding more hot sauce


Just Another Summer Pasta Salad

Summer is not ending, but for some reason we still officially have to go back to school in a couple weeks. Why is it that in August, when Georgia is at its highest heat factor and level of humidity, we have to go back to school. Most schools in the north don’t go back until September. I would think that the school systems would want to save money on air condition. Can you imagine how much money they would save? But no, we have to go back in August. Boo!

Ok, so rant over for now. I was craving a nice summer pasta salad, so I threw this together for lunch. About 2 cups of pasta cooked (whatever you have on hand), a handful of grape tomatoes from my garden cut in half, one small can sliced black olives, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, a tablespoon of Italian seasoning, and a little onion and garlic powder. I also added some feta cheese. Delish! Plenty of leftovers for a few days!


Breakfast For Dinner

Breakfast for dinner! Waffles, eggs, bacon, grits, raisin toast… We had to go pick up the girls cheer camp clothes tonight, (cheer starts next week!) during prime dinner time, so I opted for eating out. So next week starts real life cooking once again. Weekly meal plans back on the blog soon. Soaking up the last bit of summer!


Continue reading