Category: Recipes

Red, White, and Blue Fruit Salad

Happy 4th of July y’all! This is one of my favorite holidays! I love any excuse to decorate the house all red, white, and blue including my food! This is our second 4th of July in our house and we are finally settled in so we decided to have a bbq to celebrate this 4th of July with friends and family.

 

I wanted to make a side dish that would for sure be a firecracker hit at dinner! This watermelon blueberry feta salad dish is refreshing, sweet, and tasty for a wonderful bbq side dish.

 

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups watermelon stars
  • 1 cup blueberries rinsed
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • 2 limes juiced (save 2 slices for garnish)
  • Mint leaves for garnish

 

  1. First you start by slicing the watermelon in thin slices.DSC_0488
  2. Lay each slice down 1 by 1 and use a star cookie cutter to cut watermelon out in the shape of a star. After all of the stars are cut set aside in large bowl.
  3. Rinse blueberries and add to watermelon stars.  DSC_0522
  4. Next, squeeze limes over blueberry/watermelon mixture.
  5. Slowly fold in feta cheese to fruit mixture. Be careful not to break watermelon stars.
  6. Lastly garnish your fruit salad with a cut lime wedge and mint sprig!

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I hope you all have a wonderful 4th of July and enjoy this delicious dish!

Watermelon Chicken Salsa

Happy first week of summer! It has been so hot here in California and it finally cooled down for some outdoor bbq-ing. What better way to celebrate by making one of my summer favorite go to recipes. I love this recipe because it is easy, quick, refreshing and delicious.  When I first came across this recipe I thought watermelon and chicken together?! I was a little unsure of it, but now it is a summer favorite in my family. Not to mention it is incredibly easy to make on a week night.

 

I quickly threw all 4 ingredients for the marinade this morning in a bag before leaving for work, and let the chicken marinate all day to give it the perfect chili lime flavoring.

Chicken Marinade:

2 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce

2 tbsp. chili sauce with garlic

1 tbsp. dark sesame oil

4 skinless chicken breasts (you can also substitute for chicken thighs)

 

 

After getting home from work, I made the watermelon salsa. You want to make the salsa early enough, so that it will have enough time to chill in the refrigerator before serving.

 

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Watermelon Salsa:

2 cups diced seeded watermelon

1/4 cup diced yellow bell pepper

2 tbsp. thinly sliced green onions

1 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

1 tsp. grated peeled fresh ginger

2 tsp. mirin (sweet rice wine)

1 tsp. fresh lime juice

1/8 tsp. salt

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

 

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Mix all of the above ingredients in medium mixing bowl and stir together.  Then place in the refrigerator to chill until chicken is cooked.

Next, grill chicken on the bbq until cooked. After, place chicken on a plate and garnish with watermelon salsa, a lime wedge, and a sprig of fresh cilantro.  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!

 

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xx,

Ashley

Jalapeño Mango Chicken Meatballs

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My mom is always trying new recipes to prep throughout the week. She made this one awhile back, and I was hesitant to try because I am not a fan of spice.  I am such a wimp about it! I am constantly asking people if the salsa is super spicy, or just a little spicy. Whenever I get told, “Oh, it is just a little spicy,” I still usually always think it is waaayyy to spicy, so when my mom told me that these meatballs weren’t spicy, I was scared to try, but went for it and loved them!! I had to remake them for myself. :)These are great to make and freeze for the future, or to bring to a party.  The best thing about these meatballs is that they are Whole30, so you can eat them guilt free!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lbs. ground chicken
  • 1/4 onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 C. mangoes chopped small
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • ⅓ C. cilantro chopped
  • 1 finely diced jalapeño* (feel free to add more for additional heat)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 C. almond flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

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  1. Preheat oven to 375*
  2. Lightly grease a baking dishes (I needed two) with some olive oil to prevent sticking (I used olive oil cooking spray from Trader Joe’s)
  3. Add all ingredients into a large bowl

4. Once combined, form into small balls

5. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes*

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6. They should be golden brown on top and cooked through

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*Mine didn’t really keep shape, but I was fine with it. My mom even smashed her meatballs into little patties. Another alternative is to grill the meatballs in a cast iron.

 

This recipe originally came from The Whole Smiths.

Enjoy!

 

xo,

Amber

Lavender Lemon Cocktail

I love anything lemon, and when I came across this new recipe, I couldn’t help but try it out. Plus, I love any excuse to have a glass of Ruffino Prosecco. I work for a wine distributer and am always trying new drink recipes. Ruffino Prosecco is a favorite of mine. It is produced in Italy and I love the crisp and refreshing taste of fruit flavors.

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This drink is great for Sunday brunch, or for an afternoon summer cocktail by the pool.

To make the lavender lemon syrup, mix 1 cup of sugar, 3/4 cup of water, 1/4 cup of lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of lavender. I used fresh lavender off a plant I have, but you can use dried leaves if you wish. I also twisted the leaves to bruise them a bit to help get out the flavoring while simmering. Let these ingredients simmer on low to medium heat for 15 minutes. After, let it cool for another 15 minutes and add purple food coloring to give the syrup the pretty purple color. Finally, pour through a thin mesh to remove leaves from syrup.

When you are ready to mix your cocktail, pour some of the lavender simple syrup into the bottom of a champagne glass. Then add Ruffino Prosecco on top. Garnish with a slice of lemon and a lavender flower.

Enjoy!

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Lemony Chicken Risotto with Roasted Zucchini

Since I had the day off today, I decided to cook up my favorite meal from a past HelloFresh meal. Find the original recipe here. I also love any chance I get to cook in my cast iron skillet. It has become my favorite pan. Thanks Mom and Dad!

HelloFresh has been a great addition every couple of weeks, it gives me a new recipe to try and it comes right to my door step. If I don’t like the recipes that are coming up, I simply skip that week.

I decided to try HelloFresh awhile back since I had a free box. I then purchased a Groupon to get a few more discounted boxes. They currently have a deal right now. Click the link to check it out!

These have been great on busy weeks when I don’t have time to go shopping. I also love that they send you exactly the right amount of ingredients, so no wasting of food, and I get leftovers for lunch the following day. Click the link to check out HelloFresh for yourself.

This recipe was originally made with shrimp, but I changed up things a bit and used chicken this time. I also seasoned my chicken with some homemade lemon pepper seasoning. This recipe does take about 55 minutes to cook, so make sure you have the time. Even though it takes awhile to cook it is so worth the wait!

Ingredients:

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  • 8 oz of Chicken Stock
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Zucchini
  • Mushrooms
  • 3 cloves of Garlic
  • 1 Lemon
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 3/4 cup of Arborio Rice
  • 1/4 oz of Thyme
  • 1 slice of Chicken Breast
  • 1/4 cup of Parmesan Cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small pot, bring chicken stock and 2 cups of water to a simmer over low heat. Halve, peel, and finely dice onion. Cut zucchini into 1/2-inch cubes. Mince or grate garlic. Zest and halve lemon.

2. Make your chicken seasoning. Place pepper, lemon zest (save 1/2 tsp for later), salt, and garlic powder in a small container and mix. Rub 1/2 seasoning on each side of the chicken. Place the chicken into your pan to sear on each side. Remove and place into a pan for the oven.

3. Add olive oil to your lemon pepper seasoning. Pour over seared chicken. Add lemon slices and thyme leaves to the pan. Place in the oven for 20 minutes.

4. Toss zucchini on a baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast until lightly browned, about 20 minutes, tossing halfway through.

5. Wipe the cast iron skillet clean. Heat 1 TBSP butter in a large pan over medium heat. I used my cast iron skillet for this part and it worked out perfectly. Add onion and garlic. Cook until softened, 5-6 minutes, tossing occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Add rice and toss until grains are translucent, 1-2 minutes. Add entire bunch of thyme to pan. Add desired amount of mushrooms.

 

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6. Add stock to pan 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition. Allow rice to absorb stock before adding more. Continue until rice is nearly al dente, about 25 minutes. (This only took about 15 minutes before it was ready.)

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7. While rice is cooking, remove chicken and zucchini from the oven. Cut the chicken into small pieces.

8. Remove thyme stems (some leaves will have fallen off). Stir in chicken and parmesan cheese. Stir in 1/2 tsp lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon. Season with salt and pepper.

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9. Divide risotto into bowls and top with a mound of zucchini.

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Enjoy!

xo,

Amber

Holiday Popcorn & Homemade Play Dough

Valentine’s Day is probably my favorite holiday in the classroom. The students get so excited about the little treats they make for each other. This year I pulled out a favorite of mine, homemade play dough and chocolate popcorn. Luckily it was Lincoln’s birthday on Monday, so I was able to get together with my mom to make these fun treats.

Growing up, my mom made play dough for my sister and I all the time. In sixth grade she decided to make homemade play dough hearts for my valentine’s treat and it was a hit. I remember everyone being so excited and playing with it immediately. Luckily, my mom held onto her recipe after all these years.

Follow the steps below to make your own play dough.

  • 1 cup of flour

  • 1 cup of water

  • 1/2 cup of salt

  • 1 teaspoon of cream of tarter

  • 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil

  • food coloring of your choiceimg_8337

  1. Mix all ingredients into a sauce pan over medium heat.

img_83382. Continue to mix until all ingredients are gathering together. Keep stirring so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

img_83413. Remove from the heat. Once it is cool enough you can work with it. If you are making goodie bags, cut into a cute shape. If you are making a big batch for you kiddos to play with make sure to keep it into a sealed bag.

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I decided to pair this valentine treat with an edible one for my class and sweet coworkers. Chocolate popcorn is always a go to for any holiday treat. It is simple to make, you can make in huge batches, and it taste delicious. I first got this recipe from my sweet friend Suzanne. I LOVE popcorn, so it quickly became a favorite. You can change up the color or add different candies to make it pop.

My mom and I decided to go with the traditional white chocolate, add some valentine’s colored sprinkles, and M&M’s. The original recipe I got was for microwaved popcorn, which I have done and turns out great, but my mom and I had a bunch of popcorn kernels, so we popped our own. See the directions below to make your own holiday popcorn.

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  • 1/2 cup of Popcorn kernels*

  • 3 tablespoons of Coconut oil*

  • 2 tablespoons of Butter*

  • salt for taste

  • Wilton Chocolate**

  • Holiday M&M’s (Optional)

  • Holiday sprinkles (Optional)

*If you choose to make microwave popcorn, you won’t need these ingredients. Instead you will need 5 bags for every 12 oz of chocolate.

**You can get Wilton Chocolate in the bulk section at some stores. Make sure to use the melting chocolate. It is easier to work with.

  1. Heat chocolate so it melts. We used my mom’s instant pot on the keep warm setting. It was so easy to put in and walk away. We didn’t have to worry about it burning. If you don’t have that option, place in a microwave safe bowl to melt, or create a double boiler to melt the chocolate. Make sure to keep water away, or it will ruin it.

  1. To make popcorn, use a popcorn Whirley Pop Popcorn Maker. Put popcorn kernels, coconut oil, and butter into pot over medium heat.

img_83502. Let popcorn kernels heat. Once you hear them begin to pop turn the handle.

3. After the popping slows down, remove from heat.

4. Place in a large container and add salt. My mom found these amazing foil containers at our local grocery store for .89 cents! They were great for tossing the chocolate and popcorn.

5. Once popcorn and chocolate are ready, pour chocolate over popcorn and toss. Once popcorn is tossed, spread out over parchment paper.6. Add candies and sprinkles.

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7.Once cool place in cute baggies.

Both of these fun treats can be modified for any holiday. St. Patrick’s day could have green four leaf clover play dough or green chocolate covered popcorn. Changing it up for every holiday is easy and fun. 🙂

xo,

Amber

Valentine’s Day Rice Krispies

Happy Valentine’s Day Loves! I usually don’t have an excuse to make sweets that often so I love a good holiday to dress one of my traditional favorites up! Since the hubby and I are planning on staying in tonight and not trying to deal with the crowds I thought I would make a quick and easy snack/dessert. Warning these are addicting! 🙂

 

Ingredients:

6 cups Rice Krispies

3 tablespoons of butter

1 package of marshmallows

pink, red, or white sprinkles

white chocolate for melting

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Step 1:

Place the marshmallows and butter in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Stir the mixture, then replace in the microwave for 1 more minute.

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Step 2:

Measure the 6 cups of Rice Krispies into the marshmallow mixture. Add in as many sprinkles as you wish.

 

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Step 3:

Place mixture on wax paper. Then place another sheet of wax paper on top. Flatten with a rolling pin.

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Step 4:

Using a cookie cutter cut into hearts. Then place on rack or wax paper. Melt white chocolate chips in microwave for 30 seconds at a time. Once chocolate is melted place the melted chocolate in a Ziploc and cut the corner of the Ziploc slightly allowing only a small amount of chocolate out. Then drizzle across all of the hearts.  Before chocolate dries add more sprinkles! Enjoy!

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xx,

Ashley

Mediterranean Spinach Chicken

Tonight’s dinner was an easy one to plan. I’ve made this dish several times for dinner and my husband absolutely loves it. Close friends of our just welcomed their baby boy into the world. We wanted to take them dinner tonight so they wouldn’t have to worry about cooking and attending to their new bundle of joy.

When trying to think of what dinner would be good to take to the new family of 3, I thought about what dinner dishes are healthy, tasty, and quick to make. The best part is this dish is made in one pan, so it makes clean up easy! My husband loves this dish and so do I. I modify it slightly from the original recipe. I also make my husband a side of whole wheat pasta to add in with his chicken.

I love that this dish is Whole30 compliant, it is low carb, tasty, and fulfilling, not to mention perfect for when you have leftover chicken from the previous nights dinner in the fridge.

I found this dish on a Facebook post for Whole30. Recipe from the Paleo Newbie on Facebook or Instagram: @paleo_newbie_recipes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced (optional)
  • 3 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 8 oz. artichoke hearts, liquid drained and sliced
  • 1/3 cup black olives, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 lb pre-cooked chicken (I usually bake mine in the oven for 15 minutes @425F)
  • a couple handfuls spinach
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

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1. In a large skillet over medium heat add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the chopped onions for 3-4 minutes.

2. Add minced garlic in with the onions, and sauté together 1 more minute.

3. Add the sliced mushrooms to the sautéed onions and garlic, cook 5-7 minutes until the mushrooms are golden.

4. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan then toss in the roma tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and olives. Sprinkle in the parsley and oregano while stirring for a few minutes.

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5. Next add your chopped precooked chicken and spinach to the pan. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Stir and cook only about 1-2 minutes to heat chicken. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.

 

6. Serve garnished with freshly chopped basil leaves and a glass of vino!

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Ashley

 

 

Tomato Tortellini Soup

Yesterday I had a major headache and was dreading coming home to cook. My husband went in for a dental check up earlier in the day, and ended up having some unplanned work done. He was needing something that would be easy to eat. Originally, I had planned to make a chicken dish, but knew that I needed to think of something that would be more realistic for dinner. I did not want to go out to eat, and I knew that it would be my husband’s first choice. That is when it hit me, Mom’s Tomato Tortellini Soup.

It is easy for me to throw together and I already have most of the ingredients.  This was a favorite of mine growing up, and something my sister and I both love to make on a cold winter day.

I love making recipes that my mom made for us when we were younger. My mom is an amazing cook. My husband always jokes that he married me for my mom’s cooking, so I like to make her recipes any chance I get.

A majority of the ingredients are items that are always in my pantry and refrigerator besides the tortellini, but seeing as I am in and out of grocery stores all day for work it was easy to just pick up the tortellini at my last stop.

My mom originally found this recipe in a magazine before there was internet 🙂 It quickly became a staple in our family. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

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Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium Zucchini
  • 1/2 a Yellow Onion
  • 3 (14 1/2 oz.) cans of Beef Broth
  • 1 pkg (9 oz) Cheese Tortellini
  • 1 (14 oz.) jar Tomato & Basil Pasta Sauce
  • 1 tsp. Italian Herb Seasoning
  • Parmesan Cheese

*If you want to make this a little more hearty, add some of your favorite sliced sausage in as well.

1. Bring broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Add tortellini and cook 5 minutes.

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2. While cooking tortellini cut zucchini and onion in half and slice.

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3. Add zucchini, onion, pasta sauce, and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes longer.

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4. Top with grated parmesan cheese if desired.

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Enjoy!

 

xx,

Ashley