Category Archives: Sauces

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.😋

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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

Spinach Lasagna

Here is yet another version of Lasagna that I love. This is perfect for a rainy, meatless Monday, or a cozy Sunday dinner (like we had last night). In fact, when I started dating my husband 12 years ago, this was one of the few things that I knew how to make; and it’s still a favorite.

Begin with your marinara sauce. Homemade is always better (my recipe is on this blog), but jar is fine if you are in a pinch.

Now you will need the following: 1 box frozen chopped spinach (thawed), 16oz of ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella, 1 cup grated parmesan, 1tbl minced garlic, and 1 egg (slightly beaten).

Ring out your spinach well in a kitchen towel before combining everything into a medium mixing bowl.

Cook your Lasagna noodles according to the package instructions (al dente). I like to use multi-grain but that’s totally up to you. Lay out your assembly.

Layer marinara, then noodles, then mixture. Repeat a second time, finishing with a layer of noodles, more marinara, and top with mozzarella and shredded parmesan.

Bake at 350 degrees covered with foil for 10 minutes and uncovered for another 15 or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with garlic or cheese bread and enjoy!

Classic Chicken Parmesan

We love comfort food in my house and this ranks right up there with all things warm and cheesy. It’s so simple, anyone can do it.

Begin with a couple of large chicken breasts and slice them horizontally. Make an assembly line of 1C of flour, 3 beaten eggs, and 2C Italian style Panko bread crumbs.

Salt and pepper your chicken and dredge them through the flour (pressing the flour in tightly), then the egg, and finally the breadcrumbs. Lay them onto a plate and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.

Now I like to prepare my homemade marinara that is super easy and about a million times better than the store bought variety. That recipe is also on this blog. If you are short on time, the jar variety is just fine.

Warm a few tablespoons of EVOO over medium heat in a sauce pan and add in the chicken. Cook 4-6 minutes per side until the chicken is cooked through.

Transfer the chicken into a prepared baking dish. Slice fresh mozzarella onto each piece.

Set oven to broil and cook until cheese is melted and bubbling.

Prepare the pasta of your choice – I like angel hair with this dish but anything is fine. Lay a spoonful of marinara on top and some shredded Parmesan cheese.

Now place a piece of chicken on top with more marinara, cheese, and parsley. Serve with garlic bread and a Caesar salad. 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. 

Roasted Poblano & Chicken Enchiladas

We love enchiladas in my house. LOVE. These were so amazing that my husband insisted we put them into our regular rotation. 

Begin by rinsing and drying 3 poblano peppers. Brush them lightly with EVOO and place them on a lined baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 35-45 minutes until the skin is dark and the outer lining is wrinkled. Let stand for 30 minutes. 

Salt & pepper 1.25lbs of chicken tenders and cook them over medium heat in a sauce pan with 1tbl of EVOO.Set aside. Add into the same pan 1 sliced green pepper and 1 small sliced yellow onion. Cook until soft. Dice the cooked chicken and place into a large mixing bowl. 

Add the cooked onions and green pepper into the mixing bowl. Now skin and seed the poblanos and add them to your mixing bowl. Your filling is complete.

In the same saucepan, melt 1tbl of butter and then add 2tsp minced garlic. Once garlic becomes fragrant (1 minute), add 1tbl flour and whisk to combine. Slowly add 1.25C of whole milk and then 1/2C sour cream. Whisk until it becomes thick and then stir in 1/2tsp cumin and 1/2tsp chili powder. Continue stiring until sauce thickens and warms through. 

Lay a couple spoonfuls of the sauce into the bottom of a baking dish. Using freshly cooked flour tortillas, roll approximately 1/2 cup of the chicken mix into each tortilla. Top chicken with remaining sauce. 

Top with more pepper jack and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. 

Top with avocado and enjoy!

Adapted from: Will Cook For Smiles

The most EPIC Mac & Cheese

This is not an over statement – it really is the best Mac I’ve ever had, and my friends and family would agree. It’s a bit tedious, but WELL worth the effort!

Begin by shredding 8oz of gruyere, 10oz of white cheddar, and 10oz of yellow cheddar. 

Now warm 3.5 cups of whole milk and 2 cups of heavy cream together over medium heat in a saucepan. 

In a large saucepan melt 6 tablespoons of butter. Once the butter bubbles, whisk in 1/2 cup of flour. Whisk for about a minute until it combines and thickens. 

Slowly add in your warm milk/cream mixture whisking continuously until sauce thickens and bubbles. 

Remove from heat and add 2tsp salt, 1/4tsp nutmeg, 1/4tsp cayenne pepper, & 1/4tsp black pepper. 

Stir in grated cheeses. 

Now add 2lbs cooked elbow macaroni. 

Prepare 6 slices good white bread, crust removed and ripped into 1/2inch size pieces. Pour 3-4 tablespoons of melted butter over the breadcrumbs and toss to combine. Cover your pot of macaroni with breadcrumbs and bake at 375 for approximately 30 minutes until top begins to brown. Enjoy!😋

Adapted from: Eat Drink Smile

The BEST Beef Enchiladas

The search is over. These are the best beef Enchiladas I have ever tasted. I’d even venture to say this is my husband’s favorite dish that I make. They are melt in your mouth, cheesy, full of flavor, worth every delicious bite, shear perfection. 

Begin with 4lbs of pot roast style beef, excess fat trimmed off. Coat all sides of the meat generously with cracked salt and pepper. Heat a couple tablespoons of EVOO in a large skillet over medium high heat. Sear it quickly on all sides until it has a beautiful brownish black color. Now put it in your crockpot. 

Cover with 1 large chopped onion, 20oz diced green chiles, 2tbl chili powder, 2tbl cumin, 2tbl garlic powder, 5oz Franks Hot Sauce, and 1/4c of water. Cook on low for 8-9 hours or until beef shreds easily with 4 forks. 

For the enchilada sauce (which is different from my normal variety) – Heat a tablespoon of EVOO in a medium saucepan and sauté 1/2c minced onions until soft. Stir in 24oz tomato sauce, 8oz diced green chiles, 2tbl chili powder, 1tbl cumin, and a few dashes of hot sauce. 

Cover the bottom of a baking dish with your enchilada sauce. Prepare fresh flour tortillas and spoon in your meat (which now looks like this).

Top meat with Pepper Jack or Monterey Jack cheese. Roll up and place in baking dish. When you have finished rolling up all the meat, cover completely with the remaining enchilada sauce and top with more cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cheese is melty and bubbly. Top with avocado, jalapeño, hot sauce, etc. Enjoy!!

Adapted From: Mrs. Happy Homemaker

Honey Cilantro Shrimp

We are SO very lucky to live by the water where fresh seafood is easy to come by. I could eat shrimp every day. Yes, every single day. My husband is an amazing grill master. Thank goodness, since he is no use in the kitchen. Lol!

These shrimp literally take no time to make and taste amazing. We paired them with my husband’s superb filet and a salad….it truly felt like date night!

Warm 1tbl EVOO and 1tbl butter over medium heat. Add a pound or more of fresh shrimp and a teaspoon+ of minced garlic. Sauté for about 3-5 minutes until shrimp are pink. 

While shrimp are cooking combine:

-Juice of a lime, 3tbl chopped cilantro, 1tbl soy sauce, and 3tbl honey. 

Once shrimp have cooked through, pour mixture into saucepan and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Serve with slotted spoon over salad, pasta, quinoa, anything really. Enjoy! 

Eggplant Parmesan


Tip of the day: Eggplant is another veggie that many folks seem to avoid. The most common complaint is that they taste bitter. Well, the simple secret to bringing out their wonderful flavor without a trace of bitterness is salt. Peel and slice your eggplant. Arrange a layer of slices in the bottom of your colander and salt HEAVILY on both sides. Now stack the remaining slices on top of each other ~ now you only need to heavily salt the top (see what I did there?!). Let those beauties sit in the colander in their salt rub for a good 30-45 minutes. Now rinse well, dry, and they are ready for your grill, oven or pan.🍆🍆🍆
Aside from eggplant lasagna, eggplant parmesan is one of my favorite dishes. It’s a bit labor intensive, but so worth it!! Once you have prepared your eggplant slices, coat each in beaten egg then Italian style breadcrumbs. I place 4-5 slices at a time in EVOO warmed to a medium heat. They take about 3 minutes per side depending on thickness. Once all of the slices have been lightly fried and placed on a paper towel lined plate, prepare your marinara as follows:

This is how golden I like mine. (I have a freezer meal business and this is a top seller. This pic is from a meal prep.)

One pot of homemade marinara (or you can use a store bought jar if you like) plus 1 can fire-roasted tomatoes and 2 8 oz cans of tomato sauce. 

Layer your eggplant in a baking dish, top with marinara, then mozzarella and parmesan. Repeat. 


Finish with a healthy amount of cheese.


Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes until hot and bubbly. Enjoy!

Adapted from: EatingWellSpendingLess