Honey Spiced Glazed Chicken

Sweet and spicy, these glazed chicken thighs are packed full of flavor. Chicken breast are an option for this dish also, but I would make sure that they are on the thinner side. Chicken thighs tend to stay moist and not dry out as easily as chicken breast. If you don’t have smoked paprika in your pantry, now would be a great time to stock it. You can easily substitute it in place of regular paprika in any dish you wish to add a little smoky flavor. The glaze is as simple as honey and apple cider vinegar. I prefer to grill these, but I also live where it is at least 80 degrees year round. So whether you broil or grill your chicken thighs, enjoy!


1 package of boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 8 thighs)
2 tsp. smoked paprika (regular works but smoked has more flavor)
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. fresh cracked pepper
1 tsp. red pepper flakes (less if you don’t like heat)
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 C. honey
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Mix spices together and set aside. Mix honey and vinegar together and set aside. Un-tuck chicken thighs so that they are flat. Cover both sides with spice mix and set flat on a sheet pan. At this point you can either grill or place under a broiler.

With the broiler on low, cook for 5 to 7 minutes on one side and flip. Cook for another 5 to 7 minutes on other side. Flip again and baste the chicken with the honey/vinegar mixture. Be sure to really coat the chicken well. Broil for another couple of minutes until the honey thickens.

If grilling, after placing the chicken on the grill, coat with the honey/vinegar mixture and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Flip and coat the other side and cook for a couple of minutes.

Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce

Memorial day is a few days away and barbecue ribs, chicken and what have you will be on many tables. Why not make your own barbecue sauce for the occasion, one that you can customize to you and your families taste. Most store bought barbecue sauce has high fructose corn syrup as a main ingredient. If this is a concern for you, make sure your ketchup and pineapple juice doesn’t have it either. Testing a few recipes, this one is a winner for my husband and I. My preference is to use the apple cider vinegar, though the pineapple juice was delicious. The juice added more sweetness and I think the sugar and molassess adds plenty. I also use an organic white sugar, which still has some of it’s natural molasses still in it, instead of brown sugar in this sauce. Since we do not prefer a barbecue sauce with a lot of heat I only use 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper. This is a super simple sauce that will surprise you that it tastes as good or better than the store bought sauce. Refrigerates great so you can always have it on hand. Enjoy!

1 1/4 C. ketchup
1 C. brown sugar
1/4 C. molassess
1/4 C. pineapple juice or apple cider vinegar
1/4 C. water
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 1/2 tsp. ground mustard
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (or less)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. pepper

Combine all ingredients in a medium size sauce pan. Bring to a boil and reduce and simmer for 5 minutes or until the sugar is dissolved. Serve immediately or store in a glass jar in the refrigerator.

Banana Cream Cheese Muffins

This morning I was thinking about muffins for breakfast and wanted to try something new. I had bananas that were not quite banana bread material but were “mashable”. I went searching and found these amazing banana muffins at bakedbree.com. Oh how decadent and rich! A batter with cream cheese, bananas, and cinnamon has a cream cheese filling piped into the center of each muffin and topped with chopped walnuts. Funny thing, I used pasture raised eggs, which have bright orange yolks and caused my filling to look orange. Enjoy!

6 Tbsp. butter, room temperature
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 C. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C. flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 bananas, mashed
1/4 C. walnuts

Cream Cheese Filling:

4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream together butter, cream cheese, and sugar. Add egg and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer until combined. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add mashed bananas, mix until just combined.

In a small bowl, mix cream cheese, egg, flour, sugar, and villa until smooth. Divide batter evenly into 12 muffin cups. Add cream filling to a piping bag. Pipe cream cheese mixture into muffin batter. Top with walnuts. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

Yields: 12 muffins

Spinach Salad with Mozzarella, Tomato & Pepperoni

This is another super simple salad that will become a favorite for you. Great as a light lunch or served as a side with any protein. If you don’t have Mozzarella or want a sharper tasting cheese feel free to use a different one. I have used a sharper Monterey Jack that I can find here and love it. Tossed in a dressing with Italian seasoning is perfect. Enjoy!

Salad:
3 C. baby spinach, roughly chopped
1/2 lb. cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 small red onion, minced
1 1/2 C. diced Mozzarella, or fresh Mozzarella balls
Chopped pepperoni or salami, to taste

The dressing:
1/4 C. olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon (or 1 1/2 Tbsp. white vinegar)
A pinch of salt
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning

In a small jar, combine the ingredients for the dressing. Shake vigorously. In a salad bowl, combine spinach, tomatoes, red onion, and Mozzarella. Sprinkle with cracked pepper and drizzle with the dressing. Toss the salad to combine. Serve the spinach salad immediately or chill before serving.

Yields: 3-4

Pasta with Creamy White Beans

This pasta dish is courtesy of chef Giada De Laurentiis. You can use any pasta you have on hand, but one that can capture the sauce is best. By smashing a few of the beans while the sauce is simmering you will begin the makings of a beautiful creamy sauce. Add cheese of choice and a little of the salty starch water from the pasta until desired creaminess. I use a lentil pasta and do not use anywhere near a pound. Between the lentils and the beans this has become a meatless meal for us. Enjoy!


1 pound shell pasta
1/4 C. olive oil
1 carrot, diced
1 small red onion, diced
1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
Pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (or less)
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1 15oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 C. chicken stock
8 oz. smoked provolone or smoked mozzarella
cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
1 5oz. container baby spinach, chopped

Bring large pot of water to a boil. Season well with salt. Add the pasta and cook for 3 minutes less than indicated in the package directions, about 7 minutes. Drain well reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the oil, carrot and onion to the skillet. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring often, until fragrant and begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the pepper flakes and thyme and cook another minute. Stir in the drained beans and chicken stock. Reduce the heat to medium to maintain a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Use the back of a spoon to gently smash some of the beans. Set aside.

Add the cooked pasta to the sauce. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the pasta and toss to coat well. Stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and add the 1/2 cup pasta water as needed to maintain a creamy, broth-like sauce. Sprinkle in the spinach and cook until wilted. Taste for seasoning.

Juicy Skillet Pork Chops

If you have lost faith in being able to cook pork chops without drying them out, try again with this quick, simple, and delicious dish. As you can imagine, the spice rub of chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika brings so much flavor to the pork, and then they are smothered in a beautiful, simple sauce. If you are leary of over cooking your pork, make sure to use a thermometer to ensure your success. Enjoy!

4 pork chops, 1-inch thick
salt to taste
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour (I used chickpea flour)
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 C. chicken stock
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. honey or brown sugar
1 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. fresh chopped parsley

Remove pork chops from the refrigerator and season both sides with salt and pepper. Set aside for 30 minutes. Meanwhile make the spice rub. In a small bowl, mix the flour, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika. After 30 minutes, use a paper towel to pat the pork chops dry then rub both sides of the chops with the spice rub.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet(with lid) over medium-high heat. As soon as the oil is hot and looks shimmery, add the pork. Cook until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the chops, reduce the heat to low then cover with lid. Cook 6 to 12 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer reads 145 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the chop. Transfer chops to a plate then cover loosely with foil. Let rest for 5 minutes.

While the chops, rest make the pan sauce. Increase the heat to medium-high then add the chicken stock, vinegar, and honey. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan so that any stuck bits of pork come up. Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced by half. Taste then adjust but adding salt, more vinegar or honey. Slide the skillet off the heat and when the sauce is no longer simmering, swirl in the butter. Slide the chops back into the pan and spoon some of the sauce on top. Top with chopped parsley.

Honey Balsamic-Arugula Salad

Need a salad but don’t want your typical lettuce, cucumber, and tomato salad for guests? This arugula salad is super simple with a dressing full of flavor. If you are serving just a couple of people I would not recommend tossing the salad with the dressing, but just adding to individual salads. Enjoy!

2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. minced shallot
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. honey
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
6 cups arugula
1/4 C. sliced red onion
1/4 C. shaved Parmesan
2 Tbsp. chopped walnuts

Whisk together first 9 ingredients until combined in a large bowl. Add arugula, onion, Parmesan, and walnuts; toss gently to coat.

Coconut-crusted Red Snapper

Not being big on fish, this is my first red snapper recipe I have tried and I was surprised first that the fish was so mild, then the coconut coating with curry, coriander, and cumin had such great flavor. Since first preparing this red snapper, it has become a repeat meal for us. Quick and super simple to prepare, this can easily become a great new dish for your busy weeknights. Enjoy!

4 8 oz. red snapper fillets with skin
1/2 C. shredded coconut
1/2 C. flour (I use chickpea flour or tapioca flour)
2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 egg
1/2 C. milk
1 Tbsp. olive oil or avocado oil

In a shallow bowl combine coconut, 1/4 cup of flour, curry powder, coriander, cumin, pepper, and salt. In another shallow bowl whisk together the egg and milk. Place the remaining 1/4 cup of flour in a shallow bowl.

For each fillet: working with the skin side only, press each fillet into the flour, then into the egg/milk mixture, and then into the coconut mixture.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan until hot. Add the fillets to the pan, coconut side down. Cook 3 minutes, then turn and cook until done, about 1 minute.

Kale and Quinoa Salad

This festive looking salad was a great healthier dish to add to our holiday table. The pomegranate seeds and dried cranberries add sweetness next to the kale and quinoa, and the walnuts give you a little crunch. The dressing is a super simple but delicious combo of apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey and olive oil. If you have not used kale before, especially in a fresh salad, remove leaves from the stems (which are hard) and chop according to your preference. Kale can be tough and bitter, massaging it once chopped can help break it down and soften. Acids, like the apple cider vinegar in the dressing, help to reduce the bitterness and brighten the taste with a contrasting flavor. Enjoy!

1/2 C. uncooked quinoa, rinsed
6 C. chopped kale (typically 1 bunch)
1 C. pomegranate seeds
1/2 C. dried cranberries
1/2 C. chopped walnuts

For the dressing:

1/4 C. olive oil
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. honey
Salt and pepper to taste

To make the quinoa, add 1/2 cup of water to a small saucepan and add quinoa. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat and simmer for about 13 minutes. Remove from heat, keeping quinoa covered, and allow it to sit for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

In a large bowl mix together the kale, pomegranate seeds, dried cranberries and walnuts.

To make the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour dressing over salad and toss together until evenly coated. Top with additional pomegranate seeds, cranberries or walnuts if desired.

Blueberry Oatmeal with Cheesecake Swirl

Who loves a bowl of warm oatmeal to start your day off? Who loves cheesecake? Taylor at Food Faith Fitness combined them and created this warm, delicious, desert-like oatmeal that will have you looking forward to breakfast. Depending on your appetite this can yield 2 servings, but doubling the recipe is super easy also. If you are using fresh blueberries, just adding them to your bowl instead of adding while cooking the oatmeal is an option. Enjoy!

1/2 C. old-fashioned oats
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Sweetener of choice, to taste
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
1 C. milk, water if you prefer
1/4-1/2 C. blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 1/2 Tbsp. cream cheese, softened

In a small pot, combine the oats, cinnamon and sweetener of choice. Add in 1 cup of milk or water and 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract and bring to a boil over medium/high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium/low and simmer until the oats are thick, stirring constantly.(about 5 minutes) Add in the blueberries. Take off heat and let cool for about 5 minutes.

While the oatmeal cools, combine the cream cheese, 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla and sweetener of choice in a small bowl.

Transfer cooked oatmeal to a bowl and stir in the cream cheese.

Yields: 1-2 servings