Pulled Chicken Tostadas

My entire weekly dinner menu this week comes from one of my favorite magazines and staples for great recipes…Food Network Magazine!  It never disappoints and here is another example of that with their recipe for Pulled Chicken Tostadas.  Change up “Taco Tuesday” and try this great tostada recipe.  My 3 teenage boys gobbled them up in minutes!




1 package of bacon, chopped
1 – 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
2-3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken, skin removed
1 chipotle chili pepper in adobo, chopped, plus 1 – 2 Tbsp sauce from the can
1/4 tsp ground cumin
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
2 cups shredded coleslaw mix
Juice of 1/2 lime
8-10 corn tostadas
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 acacado, chopped, for serving


Cook the bacon in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring, until lightly browed and crisp, 5-6 minutes.  Drain the grease from the bacon and return to stovetop.

Puree the tomatoes in a blender.  Add to the pan along with the chicken, chipotle, adobo sauce and cumin.  Cook until warmed through 1 – 2 minutes.  Add up to 1/4 cup water if the sauce is too thick; season with salt and pepper.

Toss the coleslaw mix with the lime juice, 1/4 tsp salt and a few grinds of pepper in a medium bowl.

Place tostadas on a foil/parchment lined baking sheet.  Top each with the a few Tbsp. of the chicken mixture and a few Tbsp. of the shredded cheddar cheese.  Place in a preheated oven on Broil for only a few minutes until the cheese melts.

For serving, top with the coleslaw mixture, sour cream and chopped avocado.

Bang-Bang Chicken ? with Sweet Chili Mayo Sauce


Found another amazing cookbook!  Damn Delicious, 100 Super Easy, Super Fast Recipes by Chungah Rhee.  This recipe for Bang-Bang Chicken was one of our favs!  The sweet chili mayo sauce is delish!  When these bad boys hit the table you had to act fast…they were gone in no time!

Serves 6 – (I increased the ingredients from the original recipe which serves 4.)



2 cups vegetable oil, plus more as needed
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 large egg
few dashes hot sauce or more as tastes call for
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch chunks
3 cups panko breadcrumbs (found in the Asian section of your local grocery store)

For the Sweet Chili Mayo Sauce:

1/4 cup mayo
2 Tbsp sweet chili sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray’s Sweet Red Chili Sauce & Marinade)
2 Tbsp honey
may add hot sauce if desired


  • Make the sweet chili mayo sauce.  Whisk together all sauce ingredients and small bowl;  set aside.
  • Heat oil in large pot/Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the buttermilk, flour, cornstarch, egg, hot sauce, salt and pepper.  Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat.
  • Working with one piece of chicken at a time, dredge the chicken in the panko, pressing to make sure each piece is coated.  Set aside.
  • Working in batches, fry the chicken in the oil until evenly golden and crispy on all sides, and until chicken is cooked through, about 2-3 minutes on each side.  Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  • Serve immediately, with the sauce for dipping.


Pimento Cheese Queso Dip

This recipe comes from a great food/recipe/cooking blog, Creole Contessa, and is also featured in the cookbook, The Classic Slow Cooker.  This recipe which can be an appetizer, snack, side dish or sometimes in my case a main dish, it terrific!  Very easy and sure to be a crowd pleaser.  Great party dish as it can be made ahead of time and kept warm in the crock pot until ready to serve.  Enjoy with crusty french bread, tortilla chips, pretzels or even veggie crudités.  Sooooo much better than that store bought jar of queso cheese dip!

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1 (4 oz.) jar diced pimiento peppers, drained
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup mozzarella, diced
1 cup jack cheese, grated
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup green salsa
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cream cheese, room temperature
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder


~Place all the dip ingredients into a slow cooker and mix well.  Cook on low for about 2 hours, stirring a few times.

~Serve with toasted french bread dippers (as shown in photos here), tortilla chips, pretzels, bread cubes and could even do veggie crudités.

BBQ Chicken Chili

 My family loves chili…especially living in the midwest with our cold winter months.  I have my go-to chili recipe that I have been making for years and it’s great, but I was excited when I came across this recipe in Seriously Delish by Jessica Merchant.  A different spin on the traditional chili recipes that we are used to and it was great!  Paired with corn bread muffins…this is some serious comfort food!  And the best part was I made it in the morning before leaving for work and left it warming in the crock pot all day so dinner was done when we walked in the door later that evening.

Serves 4 – 6


2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 jalapeño chile pepper, seeded and diced
1 1/2 Tbsp paprika
1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch of red pepper flakes
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (I put these in a steamer and cook while preparing the remainder of the dish…then just shred and add to the pot when called for)
1 – 12 oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1 – 14 oz. can cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained
1 – 14 oz. can light or dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 – 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup BBQ sauce (Be aware of  the sweetness in the BBQ sauce you choose for this dish if you don’t want your chili extra sweet)
Freshly grated cheddar cheese, for garnish
Sour cream, for garnish
Torn fresh cilantro, optional for garnish

*The original recipe calls for 1 red onion diced and 2 garlic cloves minced which would be added in step 1 w/ the jalapeño.  I omit these as my family doesn’t care for onions or garlic.


~Heat a large pot over medium heat and add the olive oil.  Add the jalapeño and stir to coat.  Cook until it has softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the paprika, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, salt and red pepper flakes.  Stir to combine.

~Add the chicken, red peppers, beans, stock, tomatoes, and BBQ sauce and stir well to combine.  (You may add a cup or 2 of water at this point if chili needs to be thinned out a bit)  Cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low.  Cook the chili for 20 minutes.  Remove the lid and stir.  Taste and season w/ more salt, pepper or spice if you desire.  Cover and cook for 10 more minutes.

~Top each serving with cheddar cheese, sour cream and cilantro if using.  Great served with corn bread.

*When meal is cooked you may transfer to a crock pot on the keep warm or low setting and the chili will be ready to eat whenever you are.


Make your own Pizza Dough

Here is another favorite recipe of mine from Giada’s Happy Cooking.  I love making my own pizza dough.  I know dough can be intimidating to some people and it seems like it would be so time consuming, but this is really an easy recipe that only takes a few minutes to throw together.  While you do have to let the dough rise for at least an hour, the actual prep is pretty quick.  One of my teenage sons who is 17 said to me the other night after we had this for dinner, “This is the best pizza I’ve had in a really long time”.  That was a pretty huge compliment considering how often he eats pizza when he’s out and about.  It is also so much more economical and budget friendly considering it costs much less to make at home compared to  ordering out at $20 – $30 a pizza!  Top with your favorite sauce, cheese and any other pizza toppings you favor.  Give this a try…I bet you’ll be glad you did!




1 cup warm water
1 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp honey
2 & 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp kosher salt
Extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp cornmeal

* I usually double the above ingredients for my family of 5 to make 2 large pizzas.


In a mixing bowl, combine the warm water, yeast and honey.  Stir to dissolve.  Allow mixture to sit for 3 minutes to make sure the yeast is alive.  It should foam and start to bubble a bit.

Place the flour and salt in a separate large mixing bowl.  Add the yeast mixture and stir to combine.  As it begins to thicken and come together, use your hands to form the mixture into a dough.  The dough should start to pull away from the sides, but still remain soft and slightly sticky.  Add an extra Tbsp of flour if needed.  Coat your hands in a bit of olive oil and form dough into a ball.  Place the dough in a bowl that is coated with olive oil.  Cover with a towel and allow to sit in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size.  Kneed the dough on a floured work surface for several minutes.  The dough is now ready to use.  Roll out and top with your favorite pizza sauce and toppings.  I use about 1 Tbsp of cornmeal and spread it out on my baking sheet before placing the rolled out dough on it to prevent sticking.  Bake in a 375ºF preheated oven.  Bake times may vary depending on ovens, thickness of crust and toppings, usually anywhere from 12 – 2o minutes.

*You may use an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook to mix the dough if you prefer.


Peanut Butter “Better” Brownies

Thank you, Giada De Laurentiis, for brownies I can feel GOOD about eating!  If my kids knew there was a can of black beans in this recipe they would FREAK!  Ssshhhh…don’t tell them, I know I never will!  Oh, and by the way, they ate the whole pan of them and thought they were awesome!  I have to admit, when I saw the ingredient list containing black beans I was a bit taken aback myself, but being a big fan of Giada’s recipes, I gave her the benefit of the doubt and went ahead and tried this.  Boy am I glad I did!  Not a lot of sugar, no flour, no butter, beans and oatmeal up the health quotient…you really need to give these babies a try!  Recipe from Giada’s Happy Cooking Cookbook.


Vegetable oil for coating pan
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed well and drained
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 large egg plus 1 yolk
1/4 cup coconut oil, warmed so it is liquid
1 cup peanut butter chips


Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Coat an 8 x 8 inch pan with vegetable oil.  Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan.  The oil will help the parchment paper adhere to the pan.  Set aside.

In a food processor, place the black beans, cocoa powder, oats, salt, brown sugar, vanilla, baking powder, egg, and egg yolk.  Puree to combine.  With the motor running, drizzle int he coconut oil and puree until smooth, about 3o seconds.  Sprinkle 1/2 of the peanut butter chips on the bottom of prepared pan.  Spread the batter over the chips.  Sprinkle the remaining chips over the top.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or w/ just a few moist crumbs.  Do not overcook as the brownies will be dry.  If your oven tends to run hot, you may want to check a bit before the 20 minute mark.  Allow brownies to cool to room temperature.  Enjoy!!!

*Giada calls these Espresso-Peanut Butter “Better” Brownies and adds 1 Tbsp espresso powder to the food processor with the other ingredients.  We do not car for the expresso flavor so I omit this ingredient.



Parmesan Dutch Baby

Another great recipe from one of my favs, Food Network Magazine, April 2017 edition.  This is a fantastic side dish that is so easy to make!  It is like one giant pop-over that is great to be shared family style in the middle of the table.  This is GOOD!  Even though it may look tricky, it couldn’t be easier!  It is great with soups, salads, pastas, on its own, anytime you would serve dinner rolls, or even for breakfast w/ a little jelly or jam!  Try it…you’ll LOVE it!  I added a bit of grated Parmesan cheese to mine.  The original recipe from FN Mag made theirs with garlic and rosemary.  Really the possibilities are endless with what you could add to this and the flavors you could try here.  It is even fantastic plain, without any extras added in.


3 eggs
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp butter
kosher salt


Preheat oven to 425 º F.  Whisk 3 eggs with the flour, milk, Parmesan cheese and 1 tsp kosher salt, (use 1/2 tsp if you like it less salty).  Let sit for 5 minutes.  In a large ovenproof nonstick skillet, I use my cast iron skillet here, melt the 3 Tbsp butter on the stove top until fully melted, but before starting to burn.  Remove from heat.  Add the batter, just pour over melted butter, no need to mix.  Bake at 425 º until puffed and golden around the edges, anywhere from 15 – 20 minutes as ovens vary.  Start checking after about 15 minutes.  You may sprinkle with salt after cooked if needed, but I find it is plenty salty with the salt previously added and the Parmesan cheese.  Serve and enjoy!

Slow-Cooker BBQ Chili with Corn Chips

This recipe, courtesy of Food Network Magazine, April 2017, is super!

Easy, kid friendly (what kid doesn’t like a meal topped with Fritos?!), delicious and the slow cooker does all the work!  Perfect for a busy day when you don’t have time to cook or if you’re working and want a scrumptious home cooked meal waiting for you and your family when you walk in the door.  So easy to prep quickly in the morning before you have to head out.  Let’s get to it!




2 lbs. cubed beef stew meat
2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp. paprika
2 tsp. ground cumin
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup chili sauce (such as Heinz)
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. yellow mustard
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 16 oz. can chili beans – do not drain ( I used Pinto beans )
Corn chips, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and/or sliced scallions if desired, for topping


Toss the beef with the chili powder, brown sugar, paprika, cumin, 1/2 tsp salt and a few grinds of pepper in a 6 – 7 quart slow cooker.  Whisk the chili sauce with 1 Tbsp vinegar, the mustard and Worcestershire sauce;  add the the slow cooker along w/ the beans (do not drain). Cover and cook on low until the beef is tender, 7 – 8 hours.

Uncover and stir to combine; let sit, uncovered for 5 – 10 minutes.  Stir in the remaining 1 tsp vinegar.  Serve with the corn chips and desired toppings.



Pizza-Stuffed Chicken Roll Ups

At any given time during the year I have a pile of cookbooks from the library that I use for my weekly recipes.  When I have been through my current pile, made a few recipes from each, and am done with the books, I return them and pick out a few new ones.  Every once in a while, I fall so in love with a cookbook, and make so many recipes from it that are hugely successful, that I have to purchase the book…this is one of those cookbooks!  It is terrific!  The following recipe is from skinnytaste fast and slow by Gina Homolka, and my family LOVES this dish!

You can really get creative with this recipe and stuff and/or top the chicken with anything that suites your tastes.  Here, I am keeping it pretty simple and kid friendly with just cheese and pepperoni.  The recipe from the cookbook also adds mushrooms as a stuffing ingredient and tops the chicken with thinly sliced red onion and finely chopped green bell peppers in addition to the cheese and marinara sauce.  For my family, just cheese and pepperoni is most successful, but as you can see anything goes really!


Few Tbsp olive oil
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
8 slices pepperoni of your choice
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup marinara sauce


Preheat oven to 450ºF.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.  If using foil, spread a little oil on the foil so the chicken doesn’t stick to the pan.

Halve each chicken breast horizontally to create 2 thin cutlets.  Cover with a piece of foil/parchment paper/waxed paper and lightly pound to a 1/4 inch thickness.  Season chicken with salt and pepper.

Lay the chicken cutlets flat on your work surface and top each piece with 1 Tbsp mozzarella, 2 slices of pepperoni, and any other ingredients you choose to use for the stuffing.  Roll the chicken cutlets up and set seam side down.

In a bowl, combine breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan cheese.  In a separate bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice and pepper to taste.  Dip a chicken roll in the oil mixture and then in the breadcrumb mixture and coat with the crumbs.  Place seam side down on prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with all chicken cutlets.

Bake until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.  Remove baking sheet from oven and top each chicken roll with 1-2 Tbsp marinara and 1-2 Tbsp grated mozzarella cheese.  Return to oven and bake until the cheese is melted and marinara sauce is hot, about 5 minutes more.  Serve.  This dish is great with a side of spaghetti and a green salad.  Enjoy!

Cinnamon Vanilla Protein Bites

These are awesome, easy, healthy and a great item for school lunches, snacks for sporting events or anytime you need a quick protein pick me up.  The last batch I made was gone in less than 24 hours.  3 teenage boys will do that!  

Recipe from Cottercrunch.com


1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup ground vanilla protein powder ***I have made these without the protein powder and they came out just as great.  I don’t always have that ingredient on hand.
1/4 – 1/3 cup maple syrup (can use honey)
1/2 cup almond meal/flour
1/4 cup nut butter (I use almond butter)
3/4 cup ground oats
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup ground almonds (I use roasted, salted almonds to give it a bit of saltiness and just ground them to form a powder in the blender)


Grind oats in blender until powder like in consistency, like flour.  Put in mixing bowl and add protein powder if using, almond meal/flour, cinnamon and nut butter.  Stir together.  Add maple syrup or honey, and vanilla and mix well.  Roll into 1 – 1 1/2 inch balls and coat/roll in ground almonds.  Put on a plate or baking sheet lined w/ parchment paper and freeze for about 1/2 hours.  Transfer to container  (I use mason jars) and keep in refrigerator.  Can be kept in freezer for up to 6 weeks.