Cream Cheese Spinach Chicken Casserole

   Who doesn’t need another quick chicken dish that is great anytime but especially during a busy weeknight?  Are you tired of the same chicken each week?  This dish is not just quick to prepare and have on your family’s dinner table, it is full of flavor.  The chicken breasts sit in a marinade of olive oil, garlic, Italian seasonings, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper while you wilt the spinach.   Cream cheese is then spread over the top of the chicken breasts and layered with wilted spinach and mozzarella.   Quick and easy and sure to be a new family favorite!  Enjoy!

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 C. fresh spinach
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
4 oz. Mozzarella, shredded
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, optional
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning, optional

     Add olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to a Ziplock bag and shake to mix. Add chicken breast, seal and massage to cover chicken with the marinade. Set aside for 10-15 minutes while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

     Wilt the spinach in a skillet with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, set aside. Arrange the chicken breast drained from the marinade in a baking dish. Spread the softened cream cheese over the chicken breast and layer the wilted spinach over the cream cheese. Sprinkle the Mozzarella over the top.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes till chicken is cooked through and the Mozzarella is golden.

Strawberry Cheesecake Pancakes

Delicious cheesecake filling spread in between stacks of fluffy Ricotta pancakes, drizzled with a strawberry sauce is what’s for breakfast! These would be a wonderful brunch idea also. The strawberry sauce can be made ahead of time or while your pancake batter is resting, and the cheesecake filling whips up in no time. If you overmix your batter you will remove all the tiny air bubbles that help make your pancakes fluffy, so take it easy on the mixing. I have to say, this isn’t your chain restaurant cheesecake pancakes! Enjoy!

1/2 + 2 Tbsp. flour (I used Einkorn)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tsp. lemon zest
1 egg, separated
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. milk
1/3 C. Ricotta cheese, room temperature
2 Tbsp. cooking oil (I used avocado oil)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 C. graham crackers, crushed
3 Tbsp. butter, melted

Strawberry Sauce
1-lb strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 C. sugar

Cheesecake Filling

12-oz. cream cheese, room temperature
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 C. whipping cream
1/2 lemon, juiced

To cook the pancakes:

Whisk or shift together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add the lemon zest and whisk well. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, ricotta, egg yolk, oil and vanilla extract by whisking. Add mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until mostly combined. Whisk your egg white separately until stiff peaks form. Fold in gently to the batter to incorporate. Allow the batter to sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes. Melt butter over a medium-low heat in a nonstick pan. Spoon pancake batter in using a 1/4 cup measure. Cook until bubbles begin to appear on the surface, and the edges begin to darken; turn gently. Cook through. In a separate bowl, mix the crushed graham crackers with the melted butter. Set aside.

Strawberry sauce:

Combine all ingredients in a small pot over medium heat. Simmer and cook over medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes, until thickened as desired.

Cheesecake filling:

Beat cream cheese, sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Add whipping cream gradually. Continue beating until well combined and stiff, about 3 minutes.

To assemble, stack the pancakes while spreading a generous layer of cheesecake and a little strawberry sauce between each pancake. Drizzle strawberry sauce over the top and top with the crushed graham cracker crumbs.

Taken from

Coconut-Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

A crust with graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and pecans lay the foundation to an amazing desert bar. Topping this crust with a creamy cheesecake filling that has a hint of brandy (if using) and topped with blueberries, and wow, you can’t eat just one! The hardest part is waiting for them to chill. Enjoy!

1/2 C. butter
3/4 C. finely crushed graham crackers
1/2 C. all-purpose flour (I used Einkorn)
1/2 C. flaked coconut
1/2 C. ground pecans
1/4 C. sugar
12 oz. cream cheese, softened
2/3 C. sugar
4 eggs
1 Tbsp. brandy or milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 C. blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 13×9 baking pan; set aside.

For crust, in a small saucepan heat butter over medium heat until the color of light brown sugar. Remove from the heat; set aside. In medium bowl stir together graham crackers, flour, coconut, pecans, and 1/4 cup sugar. Stir in butter until combined. Evenly press on bottom of prepared pan. Bake 8 1o 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Meanwhile, in large mixing bowl beat cream cheese and 2/3 cup sugar on medium until combined. Add eggs, brady, and vanilla. Beat until combined. Pour over hot crust. Sprinkle blueberries.

Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until center appears set. Cool in pan on rack. Cover and refrigerate. Cut into bars. Store covered in refrigerator.

Creamy Chocolate Cupcakes

A chocolate cupcake with a creamy filling, what’s not to love! This recipe is super simple also. Feel free to replace the chocolate chips in the filling with another of your favorite flavored chip, and any nut you have on hand or prefer is perfect to use. Enjoy!

Cupcake batter:

1 1/2 C. all-purpose flour (I use Einkorn flour)
1 C. sugar
1/4 C. baking cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 C. water
1/3 C. choice of cooking oil (I use avocado)
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract


1 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 C. sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/8 tsp. salt
6 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
1 C. chopped walnuts

In a large mixing bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Add eggs, water, oil, vinegar and vanilla; mix well. Pour into 18 greased or paper-lined muffin cups.

For filling, beat cream cheese and sugar in another mixing bowl. Add egg and salt; mix well. Fold in the chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoons into center of each cupcake. Sprinkle with nuts.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Yields: 1 1/2 dozen

Greek Chickpea Salad

Short on time? Need a fast yet delicious side/salad to go with dinner? This chickpea salad will check all the boxes. Feel free to change up the veggies with what you have on hand or what you like. If you have mini bell peppers, cut them into rings to add to the presentation. The dressing is simple and you might just have all the ingredients in your pantry already. Enjoy!

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 C. diced cucumber
1 1/2 C. diced bell pepper
1 C. halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 C. Kalamata olives, pitted
and halved
1/2 C. feta

3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 C. olive oil

Drain and rinse chickpeas. Add to a mixing bowl with the cucumber, bell pepper, tomatoes, and olives. Whisk together all ingredients for the dressing. Toss salad with the dressing and top with feta.

Chocolate Coconut Candies

Some will remember the commercial “almond joy has nuts, mounds don’t” and some may not. Well, these candies taste like an almond joy bar, but you could leave out the almonds and then you have a mounds bar. I have made these with unsweetened coconut and bitter chocolate which I feel was a better balance of sweetness for me. Play around with the ingredients to find what you prefer. Even though the holidays are over, these make great gifts for a house warming, a hostess, neighbor or friend. Enjoy!

1 3/4 C. confectioners’ sugar
1 3/4 C. flaked coconut
1 C. sweetened condensed milk
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 Tbsp. neutral flavor oil (I use avocado oil)

In a large bowl, combine the confectioners’ sugar, coconut, almonds and milk. Shape into 1-in. balls. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips and oil; stir until smooth. Dip balls in chocolate, allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper; let stand until set. Store in an airtight container.

Yields: 2 1/2 dozen

Company Green Beans

A green bean dish will beautifully accompany just about any meal whether you are serving beef, pork, chicken, or seafood. Here is another quick and simple but elegant green bean side dish. If you don’t have slivered almonds, chopped or sliced almonds are fine or any other nut you have. Enjoy!

1 pkg. (16oz) frozen green beans
2 Tbsp. dry white wine, chicken stock or water
2 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
1 C. (4oz) Monterey Jack shredded cheese, divided
2 Tbsp. toasted slivered almonds

Cook green beans according to package directions; drain. Stir in wine, bacon, butter, seasoned salt and 1/2 cup cheese. Place in a 1-1/2-quart casserole dish. Cover. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of cheese and the almonds on top. Bake 5 minutes more.

Yields: 5 servings

Baked Stuffed Acorn Squash

It’s fall and even though here in St Croix it doesn’t feel like it, I still want the foods that remind me of cooler weather. I found these cute orange acorn squash at the grocery store and thought I need to find a great recipe for these. On a YouTube cooking channel, Anitacooks, she was preparing acorn squash using some of my favorite ingredients. Well, it was a winner for both my husband and I. Feel free to change up any of the ingredients or leave out what you don’t like. I don’t typically use sage so I substituted with basil, use what you like. Enjoy!

1 Acorn squash
1/2 medium onion
Thyme/sage or other herbs
Apples, chopped (2 cups or 2 apples)
1/4 C. pecans or walnuts, chopped
1/4 C. dried cranberries or rasins
1/2 C. cheddar cheese
2 pinches of nutmeg

Slice acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Either melt butter or spread softened butter over each half of squash and sprinkle with salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Bake at 400 degrees up to 1 hour depending on the size of the acorn squash. Test for doneness by sticking a knife in the flesh of the squash after one half hour.

While the squash is baking, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan and slowly cook the onions and herbs until the onions are soft. Add the chopped apples to the pan and cook till softened. Add the pecans, cranberries, cheddar and nutmeg to the pan.

When the squash is done, remove from the oven and take a spoon and remove a layer of squash and add to your onion mixture. Now add all of the onion mixture to your acorn squash, packing it in and top with a little extra cheese if desired. Return the squash back to the oven for 10 minutes.

Nutmeg Spiced Whipped Cream

Okay, I know it is easy to just pick up a container of Cool Whip and be good to go, but there is no comparison to having fresh whipped cream to top your favorite desert, breakfast, or hot drink. It is extremely simple to prepare, and you can change up the flavoring any way you choose. If you have ever looked at the ingredients on a Cool Whip container you will see that it isn’t simply whipping cream, vanilla and sugar, there are so many things that should not be consumed. This nutmeg spiced whipped cream added another level of deliciousness to our pumpkin pancakes this morning. I have whole nutmeg so I just grated mine in over my bowl, tasting as I went to get the perfect amount. A few tips when making whipped cream: powdered sugar mixes better than granular sugar, also ahead of time place your beaters and bowl in the fridge to get nice and cold and your cream will stiffen up faster. Enjoy!

1 C. whipping cream
2 Tbsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

Beat all ingredients in a bowl with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.

Stuffed Mushroom Casserole

This dish transforms a favorite appetizer into a super easy casserole that will easily become a repeat request with your family. If you are looking for a new side dish for your holiday table, look no further. Feel free to use what cheese you would like, I have exchanged the mozzarella for Monterey Jack and love it. Enjoy!

16 oz. mushrooms, sliced (button or cremini)
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 C. finely chopped onion
6 cloves garlic, minced (2 Tbsp)
3/4 C. grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 C. grated parmesan cheese
1/2 to 3/4 C. Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
salt and pepper, to taste
fresh parsley to garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Clean and slice mushrooms (or use pre-sliced for a speedy shortcut). Bring a pan or skillet to medium-high heat with 1/2 tablespoon of butter and saute onion until translucent, then add garlic and mushrooms and cook until golden and tender adding the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of butter if the veggies start to stick. Transfer veggies to a baking dish and sprinkle with cheese. Use as much or as little as you’d like here. If you’re using a cast iron skillet you can actually bake everything right in the skillet. Combine melted butter and seasoned breadcrumbs and mix well. Add about half the breadcrumbs to the mushrooms and stir slightly. Then top with the remainder. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Serve piping hot with your favorite main dish.