I found a new obsession… my new cast iron skillet pan!
On Mother’s Day, my mom and I took the girls shopping at Marshal’s and Home Goods. I was searching for a good cast iron pan but wasn’t a fan of what they had so we went to Walmart and I found a basic 12″ pan which is what I wanted. I won’t lie…. I have been intimidated to actually use the pan but this is my second dish and wow is it easy and delish! (The first dish is my signature Chicken Paprikash which was amazing too!)
This Baked Ziti dish is so easy and yummy that I had to share it with all of you!
Summertime is coming which means lots of fresh fruits and herbs to enjoy. It also means lots of heat so hydration is important. I’m not one that likes to drink water just plain… I need some taste to my water. One of the best ways to add taste to my water is by infusing it with fruits, veggies and herbs.
When Summer comes so does all of those delicious fruits, veggies and herbs. Plus, when our local grocery stores put some of the fresh fruits on sale I will stock up and freeze them for my waters. Last week, our local grocery store had a super coupon which I had to use… 2 pounds of strawberries for $1.99! I bought 4 pounds which Danyella ate just about 2 pounds herself. The other 2 pounds were cut and frozen. Plus, the best part of freezing the strawberries is they double as ice cubes.
Everyone talks about how the infused waters are great for detoxing your body and other health benefits. I am focusing more on the taste with my infused waters because just drinking water helps to detox the body and gives so many health benefits. I a bottle from a tea company because it has an infuser built into the lid so the leaves don’t get out while I am drinking the water. I use 2 bottles because while I am drinking one then the other one is infusing.
These are my 2 favorite strawberry infused water recipes for the summer:
Strawberry Lemon Basil Infused Water:
1 cup strawberries; sliced or cut
1/2 lemon; sliced or cut
3-4 basil leaves, fresh
16+ ounces of water
Add the strawberries, lemon and basil to the water jug of your choice. Add your water over the fruit then store in the fridge until you are ready to drink it. I will continue to add water to my bottle through the day while I am switching between my 2 bottles. The fruit continues to infuse the water throughout the day and still tastes yummy.
Strawberry Mint Infused Water:
1 cup strawberries; sliced or cut
3-4 mint leaves; fresh
Add the strawberries and mint to the water jug of your choice. Add your water over the fruit then store in the fridge until you are ready to drink it. I will continue to add water to my bottle through the day while I am switching between my 2 bottles. The fruit continues to infuse the water throughout the day and still tastes yummy.
*Another alternative to the mint is using chocolate mint, which I plan I finding a chocolate mint plant soon so I can try it. Chocolate Mint Strawberry water sounds divine!
I love hearing new ideas so what are your favorite infused waters to drink?
This is one of my favorite fish meals to make because it is easy, yummy and it can go in my oven or on the grill in the summer. Personally, I love white fish like tilapia because it is a mild fish. Though, when it comes to my sushi, I pretty much eat any fish.
You can either get fresh fish fillets from your local fish place or grocery store’s fish section. I prefer to get the frozen fillets that are individually packaged because I can just take out how many I want at a time and not end up with leftovers that won’t be eaten. Let’s be honest, fish the next day is just not something you want to eat.
This pairs great with rice or fresh veggies or salad in the summer. I love tilapia with grilled asparagus in the summer. Plus, I use fresh herbs from my herb garden to enhance the taste of my fish. Win-Win!
Now, I can’t get Danyella, aka the sassy tween, to eat fish but she tried this and loved it. This is a huge accomplishment in my mom life!
If you can’t tell, my family has been on a pork chop kick lately since “Christina” gave us a bunch of chops and ham steaks from when they purchased a pig last year. The challenge has been to find different ways to make the pork so that I am not feeding my family the same recipe over and over.
One thing I love to make and eat is breaded chicken but I have never done this with pork before. Hey, it should taste just as good right? Oh it did taste so good! The combination of the bread crumbs, brown sugar and a little bit lemon juice makes this a savory with a touch of sweet pork chops. It pairs well with potatoes, egg noodles or rice really nicely.
For most of my life I was intimidated by cooking because it seemed so complicated to make a meal worth eating and tasted good. So many pots and pans and other kitchen gadgets to use and I didn’t know what I was doing. Which pot was the correct one? Which utensil was correct? How did you use this gadget or that? Plus, it seemed to take me FOREVER to cook a single dinner.
For years, I have had a couple of key meals that I knew how to make and they tasted great like my chicken paprikash. Pasta was a weekly, sometimes more than once a week, staple meal in my house because it was easy and you really can’t fail at it. Add that to my breakfast for dinner like pancakes or eggs with a side meat. That was 2 simple meals that were fast and edible. The rest of the time we would eat out… we have kept our local pizza and chinese places busy for many years now.
Since I barely ate through my pregnancy with Evie because of my hyperemesis gravidarum, I wanted to eat everything in sight after I gave birth. The thing was, I no longer wanted to eat the quick meals that I was used to cooking everday. I wanted foods with more flavor. I wanted the meals that they cook on my favorite cooking show… The Chew!
All of the cooking shows that Danyella and I watch make cooking look soooo easy! So, I decided it was time to get out of my comfort zone and start cooking real meals. I have come up with some really delicious chicken and pork meals like my Mushroom Pork Chops and Baked Lemon Chicken Printable Recipe .
My Instant Pot has made it so easy to make delicious meals without getting completely overwhelmed. I love to experiment with different veggies and flavors. I can’t wait until my herb garden grows so I can start adding fresh herbs rather than dried herbs to my dishes. Plus, once we have our veggies grow over the Summer, I can incorporate even more fresh veggies into our meals.
Not only have we been able to put the take out menus away (ok we eat out about once every 2 weeks because somedays its just easier to let someone else cook!) but we have saved money because it costs us less to eat in then out. I try to cook at least 5 times a week with one night for leftovers (I hate wasting the food) and one free night where I don’t cook (aka find a box of cereal and be happy!). I hope that I can continue to enjoy cooking and learn new skills to make delicious meals for my friends and family.
Drop a link to your favorite recipes for me to try in the comments below!
One of my favorite things to eat with my dinner dishes is mushrooms. Now, I know a lot of people do not like mushrooms but there are the few of us that do like/love them. My love of mushrooms start back in grade school. During our Friday lunch breaks, we were allowed to walk downtown to the pizza place to eat (or home but most of chose to eat pizza) and I fell in love with mushrooms on my pizza. Since then, I will add mushrooms to whatever dinner meals I can which thankfully my husband likes mushrooms too.
Typically, I will add mushrooms to my chicken dishes like my Chicken Paprikash. This time, I wanted to try a new version of my mushroom gravy but I had pork chops already defrosted. Well, it couldn’t hurt to try the gravy and pork chops together… worst thing that happens is that we don’t like it and I whip up some pasta instead.
Well…. they were mouth-watering amazing! I think this is one of the best meals I have made in a long time. My husband, who doesn’t usually say much about what I make for dinner, even said how good it was. I hope that you try this out and enjoy it like my family did.
With the start of my garden, I have been craving veggie based meals to feed my family. Then our local grocery store had ground beef on sale. Instead of using the beef for Taco Tuesday, I decided to make Stuffed Peppers because it was satisfy my veggie craving while making something different for the family.
Being obsessed with my Instant Pot, I adapted my recipe to be made in my Instant Pot so that I could just set it and do something else while it cooked. This was super easy and yummy to eat. I hope your family enjoys it as well!
I am an exclusively pumping mama so I know that keeping my breastmilk supply is super important. A few weeks ago, my supply took a huge dive and I have no idea why. I haven’t had any diet changes or anything that I would think that would change my supply so I did research on what helps with increasing a mother’s supply. There are a list of different foods and supplements that can help so I decided to put them together into one of my energy bites.
After 2 days of eating one of these bites every time I pumped resulted in my supply getting back to normal and after a week of doing this my supply increased about 1-2 ounces per session! This was amazing to me!
Notes about the recipe: I used dip mixes for fruit dips that I found in the baking and spices aisle of the grocery store to roll the bites in to make them tastier but they are still delish without the garnish. Also, for an extra crunch, I use crunchy peanut butter.
You can keep the bites in the fridge for up to a week or put into the freezer and defrost them for the day if you want to make a large batch!
*Please note that I am not a medical professional or lactation consultant, just a breastfeeding mother who found a recipe that works for me and wanted to share with all of you!
A super easy, no bake snack that aids in increasing breastmilk supply for breastfeeding moms.
1/2 cup of peanut, almond or a butter of your choice
2 tablespoons of warm water
1/2 cup of oats
1/3 cup honey, preferred raw for lactation increase
1/3 cup of ground flaxseed
2 teaspoons of ground brewer’s yeast
garnish for rolling the bites in ie: fruit dip mix, mini chocolate chips, coconut flakes, raisins, etc
In a medium bowl, mix the butter of your choice and the water until the butter is softened.
Add the honey and mix well.
Add the dry ingredients and mix well.
Put an oil like olive or coconut on your hands for the next part for an easier time: Take a tablespoon of the mixture, roll it into a ball (this is where is gets sticky and messy), then roll the ball into your garnish.
Place the garnished bite onto a baking sheet with parchment paper lining.
Put the bites on the baking sheet into the fridge to firm up. In about an hour they are ready to eat!
This Baked Lemon Chicken has become a must have for Danyella who is my super-duper picky eater! This is a simple recipe which is great for a quick prep dinner. Danyella loves this chicken paired with baked or mashed potatoes and a veggie side (always my vegetarian!).
I used chicken quarters because it was on sale but using other chicken, such as boneless, will adjust the cooking time to a shorter time frame. Please just watch and check your chicken temperature while cooking this recipe. Check the chart below to get an idea on cooking times for different chicken cuts.
Set oven to 400 degrees. In a pan, melt butter and brown each side of the chicken piece (3-4 minutes per side).
In a bowl, add the broth, honey, garlic and salt together. Whisk to get the ingredients to mix well.
Add the chicken to a rimmed pan, pour the broth mixture over the chicken and set the lemon slices on top of the chicken.
Bake the chicken for the recommended temperature: Breast, Bone In: 30 minutes, Boneless: 20 minutes, Quarter: 45 minutes, thigh 30 minutes, wings 30 minutes. Please use your good judgement in checking your chicken to be sure it is done and ready to serve.
Serve and enjoy your Baked Lemon Chicken with your delicious sides!
Lately, I have been on carb OVERLOAD… the more breads, pasta and sweets fed/fueled my emotions the better I thought I would feel. Well we all know that is far, far from the truth! The carb hangover has been horrible and just fed with more carbs. Let’s just say the weight I have lost from breastfeeding the baby has come back with every delicious carb I eat.
If I am going to change my mindset and emotions, then I need to change my eating habits as well. I need more proteins to keep my energy level up with being on the go, raising an infant and running a business. In the mornings, I just don’t have time to make breakfast so my go to is/was toast with peanut butter or an english muffin but that’s more carbs and I need to stop my carb addiction!
This egg muffin recipe is one that I loved in the past because I would freeze them, heat them in the morning and run out the door. The great thing about this recipe is that you can add anything you want… sausage, bacon, ham, spinach, peppers, onions, really the possibilities are endless and easy!
An easy breakfast recipe you can make ahead for your busy week.
6-7 slices of bacon, cooled and chopped
1 cup shredded cheese of your choice
salt and pepper, to liking
Set over to 350 degrees. Generously spray the muffin tin with spray oil so that the cups come out of the tin easily.
Place one egg in each cup and whisk with a fork, if easier you can do this in a separate bowl and divide among the cups evenly.
Sprinkle the bacon in a cup.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake for 20 minutes on bottom rack.
Top each cup with cheese, return to the oven. Bake for another 8-10 minutes.
Allow to cool before taking them out of the tin.
Serve for breakfast, place in the fridge for easy on the go breakfast for the week (heat for 45 seconds in the microwave) or place in a freezer bag, place in the freezer and eat in the future (heat for 1-2 minutes in the microwave.