Category Archives: Spices

Spicy Italian Drunken Noodles

New favorite pasta alert!! I made this for my hubby last night for Valentine’s Day and it was all I hoped it would be and more. Full of spice, flavors, beautiful colors, and the pasta was so silky and delicious. You could lighten this up with turkey sausage, but it was a special occasion, so I went all in.

Begin by warming a couple tablespoons of EVOO in a large, heavy saucepan. Remove casings from 5 spicy Italian sausage links and crumble into medium size pieces.

Once browned, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Now add a thinly sliced onion and cook for 5 minutes or so in the sausage drippings until they begin to caramelize. While the onions cook, thinly slice a red, yellow, & orange bell pepper.

Add the peppers into the pot with the onions along with about a teaspoon of Italian seasoning and cracked salt & pepper.

Once the peppers soften, add in about a tablespoon of minced garlic and a half a cup of white wine. Once the wine has reduced, add a 28oz can of diced tomatoes with the juice and fold your sausage back into the mixture.

To finish the sauce, drizzle more EVOO on top, and about 1/4C of fresh chopped basil leaves & around 2tbl freshly chopped Italian flat leaf parsley.

Prepare pappardelle noodles according to the al dente instructions. Toss the noodles into your sausage mixture. Serve and top with additional basil and shredded Parmesan cheese.

So, so good!!!

Adapted From: The Cozy Apron

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Crockpot Pesto & Mozzarella Chicken Pasta

On Sundays we put the lean eating aside for an indulgent family dinner. I look forward to this tremendously.😋

Trying out new recipes makes my heart so happy. As soon as I saw the words pesto, cheese, & pasta I knew this would not disappoint.

I always make my own pesto because it’s super easy and noticeably better, but if you’re short on time you could substitute with a jar variety. My pesto is easy: Simply combine the leaves of 1 basil plant, 1/3C pine nuts, 1/2C shredded Parmesan, 1/2C EVOO, juice of a lemon, and cracked salt and pepper to taste.

Trim 3 chicken breasts and place them in your crockpot. Top with a liberal amount of cracked salt and pepper.

Top with your pesto and one tablespoon of stick butter.

Turn your crockpot to low and let cook for 5-6 hours (don’t remove the lid!).

Shred you chicken and add in 1/2C shredded Parmesan and 1/2lb pasta.

Grate 2C mozzarella. Buying shredded cheese isn’t the same as grating your own. Trust me.

Combine your Parmesan and pasta with the chicken. Top with the mozzarella and cover for an additional 15 minutes.

Serve with grated parm, dried basil, and cracked pepper. Bread and a mixed green salad would complete this meal.😋

Adapted from: The Magical Slow Cooker

Turkey & Spinach Meatballs

So I convinced my husband to do a juice cleanse with me for the past couple of days. About halfway through (in the midst of stomach growling and grumpiness overload), I told him that at the end of the tunnel (today), I would make him anything he wanted for dinner. Much to my surprise he asked for something from the vault…..something I haven’t made in so many years…..something I used to make weekly when we were getting in shape for our wedding.👀

I honestly forgot what they tasted like. That was before I attempted to up my cooking game when I became a stay at home wife. They were part of the menu when there were only about 5 things on the menu. So, I wasn’t sure if they would be worth talking about…but they are!

Start with 2lbs of lean ground turkey in a mixing bowl. Add a pack of frozen spinach (thawed and wrung out with a kitchen towel), 1 large egg, 3/4c Italian bread crumbs, 1/2c grated Parmesan, 2tsp minced garlic, 1/4c milk, & 1/2 of a finely diced onion. With your hands, mix to combine.

Divide your mixture into 4 sections for easy dividing. Now form 12 large meatballs and place on prepared baking sheets.

Drizzle with EVOO and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

These can be served many ways; over sautéed veggies, spaghetti squash, traditional pasta, alone with melted cheese? The possibilities are endless. Tonight, I made homemade marinara and served them over angel hair with pecorino romano cheese. They were so good. Back on the rotation for sure.😋

Adapted From: Rachel Ray

Cajun Shrimp Stuffed Poblanos

Basically everything about this appealed to me – spicy shrimp, poblano peppers, manchego and goat cheese…..talk about a combo made in heaven!

I used a little over a pound of peeled and deveined shrimp. Coat them with EVOO and a couple of tablespoons of Cajun seasoning. Lay them out on a lined cookie sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes depending on the size of your shrimp.

Once they’ve cooled, chop them up and toss them into a mixing bowl. Add 8oz goat cheese, 8oz shredded manchego, 18-20 chopped basil leaves, and 2+ tablespoons of your favorite hot sauce. Stir until thoroughly combined.

Clean the seeds ands ribs out of 3-4 poblanos and fill with the shrimp mixture. Roast in a 375 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. Top with chopped cilantro and more hot sauce. Enjoy!😋

Adapted From: Chili Pepper Madness

Homemade Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

So I realize I just published the recipe for tacos using this sauce. It deserves it’s own post. In fact, we are grilling bbq chicken tonight JUST to have it again!

Begin by warming 2tbl EVOO over medium heat. Add 1 large, finely diced onion and cook until it becomes soft and translucent. Then add 3tsp minced garlic and continue cooking for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Add 3/4tsp salt and 1/4tsp pepper. Pour in 1/2 cup white wine. Whisk to combine. Now add the following: 1/4 cup tomato paste, 1/4 cup honey, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2tbl Dijon, 1 chopped chipotle pepper and a tablespoon of the adobo sauce that it comes in. Reduce your heat and let that simmer for 25-30 minutes. Now add 2tbl white wine vinegar and 1tbl Worcestershire.

Once it has cooled, pour sauce into a food processor or blender and purée.

We marinated our chicken for 3 hours (but it would’ve kept getting better over time, we’re just impatient) and wow, just wow. You will never buy a jarred variety again.😋

Chipotle BBQ Pulled Pork Tacos with Cilantro Lime Slaw

Honestly this was the first time I had made a new dish in a while. We were attending my cousin’s wedding last weekend and a version of these were served during cocktail hour. My husband and I had at least 3 each (they were minis I swear!) and haven’t stopped thinking about them since. So, we had to give it a try…🌮🌮🌮

I’ll start by saying that there is quite a bit of prep work. Luckily most can be made in advance. I began with a 7lb pork shoulder and trimmed off about 80% of the fat. You will want to soak it in a brine for at least 5 hours. It can soak up to 24 hours, but we couldn’t wait that long.😄

For the brine you’ll need 6 cups of cold water, 1/4 cup of lime juice, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 1/4 cup of salt, and 3 smashed garlic cloves.

Once everything is combined and you submerge your pork, cover it and set it in the fridge.

Meanwhile, I went ahead with the slaw prep. Combine 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, 1tsp Dijon, 2tbl chopped cilantro, 1 lime zested and juiced, 1tbl sugar, and 2 green onions sliced (green and white parts).

Fold in 4 cups of finely shredded cabbage and 1 cup of shredded carrots. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate.

For the chipotle barbecue sauce begin by warming 2tbl EVOO over medium heat. Add 1 large, finely diced onion and cook until it becomes soft and translucent. Then add 3tsp minced garlic and continue cooking for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Add 3/4tsp salt and 1/4tsp pepper. Pour in 1/2 cup white wine. Whisk to combine. Now add the following: 1/4 cup tomato paste, 1/4 cup honey, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2tbl Dijon, 1 chopped chipotle pepper and a tablespoon of the adobo sauce that it comes in. Reduce your heat and let that simmer for 25-30 minutes. Now add 2tbl white wine vinegar and 1tbl Worcestershire.

Pour into a blender or food processor and purée.

For the meat seasoning combine: 2tbl brown sugar, 2tsp onion powder, 2tsp garlic powder, 1tsp cumin, 1tsp salt, 1tsp pepper.

You can use an oven or slow cooker to cook the pork, but we used our pressure cooker to drastically speed up the process. If you don’t have one of these magical machines, I HIGHLY recommend you get one!

We used fresh corn tortillas and layered in the shredded pork, slaw, bbq sauce, and topped them with avocado and jalapeños. Wow, talk about an instant favorite! And I’m not sure I’ll ever buy bottled bbq sauce again either. Ah-maz-ing.🙌🏼💃🏻🌮

Adapted From: Fashionable Foods

Spicy Instant Pot Chicken

The instant pot is certainly the new craze these days. Dinner in under an hour, yes please! Some folks are intimidated by this new machine, but just remember that it’s much like it’s grandfather the crock pot – you can dump whatever you have in your kitchen and voila, dinner is served. This recipe has become a favorite and a staple in our house:

Begin with 3-4 trimmed chicken breasts. Then I grab all the peppers I have on hand plus an onion.

Chop or slice everything into big pieces.

Turn your instant pot on to the brown cycle. Season your chicken generously with your favorite seasoning. We love Weber’s Garlic Habanero. Once heated, add some EVOO to the bottom before browning your chicken on both sides.

Toss in your veggies first. I love adding corn cut from the cob but canned works fine.

Now add in your canned goods. We love hot Rotel, fire roasted diced green chiles, fire roasted diced tomatoes, tomatillo salsa, chipotle in adobo sauce, beans, etc….literally, you can’t go wrong here. Then add 8oz of cream cheese (we prefer the Greek yogurt variety).

Put the lid on and let it cook for 40 minutes. Then shred the chicken inside the pot. We love to serve this over quinoa, but it would be great over rice, potato, or pasta – your pick.

Avocado (and maybe some jalapeño slices and hot sauce) make the perfect topping. Enjoy!

Cajun Pasta Alfredo 2 Ways

This recipe is one of my favorite pasta dishes. Most of the year I make it as a freezer meal with smoked turkey sausage, however, during the summer it’s devine with fresh local shrimp. 

Begin by melting 4 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons of EVOO over medium heat. Add in a large chopped onion and sauté until it becomes soft. 

Now add a container of chopped baby bella mushrooms, a large chopped red pepper, and a teaspoon of minced garlic. Cook 2-3 minutes. 

Add in either your sliced kielbasa or a pound of uncooked fresh shrimp. Cook until the shrimp turns pink or about 4-5 minutes for the sausage. 

Add 1/2 cup grated parmesan, 1/2 cup heavy cream, and a jar of Alfredo sauce. Stir to combine. Add 1/2-1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you like it) and salt & pepper to taste. Let simmer for 5 minutes.

Stir in 12oz penne, rotini, or any pasta of your choice. Top with shredded parmesan and chopped fresh parsley before serving. Pairs perfectly with a mixed green salad and crusty bread. 

Crispy Filet Tacos

We happened to have some leftover steak from a couple of nights ago (doesn’t happen very often). However, when this does happen, we either turn it into amazing steak sandwiches or tacos. 

Begin by chopping off any excess fat and then dicing your steak into small pieces. Dice an onion and a handful of cilantro. 

Add in a bit of cracked pepper and sea salt. Then stir to combine. 

Warm about 1/4C of EVOO over medium heat in a large saucepan. Place cooked corn tortillas into oil and add a couple spoonfuls of your meat mixture and spicy shredded cheese (this variety is pretty tasty). 


Use the back of your spatula to fold the tacos over and cook for ~3 minutes per side until they begin to brown. 

Combine ingredients for your pico (recipe also on blog). 

Serve and enjoy!

Epic Fish Tacos

These tacos can be made with a variety of fish and with a variety of different seasonings. This is how I make our white fish tacos (and will share my red snapper seasoning in another post). 

These are made with tilapia. I season the loins with garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and dried parsley. Warm a couple tablespoons of EVOO over medium heat until the oil begins to ripple. Cook the fish for 4 minutes on each side. Remove from heat and place on a paper towel lined plate. 

I serve these with my 234 sauce (2tbl mayo, 3tbl Greek yogurt, & 4tbl Franks hot sauce) and pico (recipe on blog). As a side I like either my Best Black Beans, Mexican Corn Salad, or Mexican Street Corn (all on blog).

Warm raw corn tortillas (Tortilla Land are awesome) and serve immediately. So, so good.