March 14, 2018

Cheddar Cheese Taco Shells (Keto)

A few weeks ago, we had some wonderful teases of spring weather.  I was super excited to take my dog for a long walk and drink in the sun.  I got out some shorts and -- gasp!  Uncomfortably snug.  It was obvious that I packed on some winter bulk over the long, cold months while hibernating in my home.  I had been avoiding the scale... avoiding exercise... but not avoiding 1/2 price donuts.  Oh, glorious donuts, how I sought after thee.  *End sob story*

I decided to drastically cut carbs and sugar from my diet to kick-start some weight loss, and it's really been working quite well!  The first several days were very difficult, but now it's pretty much been smooth sailing!  I've been experimenting with all kinds of low-carb recipes, and I stumbled across this idea from Pinterest.  I honestly was debating on whether or not to post this because it's not technically a "recipe", but it's too good not to share!  It's also very easy.

Storage:  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  

Yields 5 taco shells

  • 1 1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese, divided 
  • Silicone mat 
  • Baking pan with the edges covered in foil, for draping the tacos
  • Taco ingredients:  Beef, corn, avocado, tomato, etc. 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

Place about 1/4 c (doesn't have to be exact) of the cheese on a silicone mat and press down into the shape of a circle, forming a thin layer.  Repeat for the remaining 4 tacos, leaving 2 inches between each on the baking pan. 

NOTES:  If you want a thin, crispy taco shell, press the cheese down to a single layer.  If you'd like a little bit of a thicker, chewy taco with a consistency of almost a chalupa, press down in a layer as shown in the picture below. 

For thin, crispy tacos, bake for 5 to 7 minutes.  For thicker, chewier tacos, bake for up to 15 minutes.  

Allow the cheese taco shells to cool for 1 minute.  Carefully remove the taco and drape over the edge of a baking pan lined with foil.  Allow the shells to cool completely.  Place them in the refrigerator if you want them to set even faster.  

Fill with your favorite taco ingredients! 


January 22, 2018

Spicy Shrimp Sushi Stacks

The Eagles are going to the Super Bowl!!  That was a fantastic game!  There were so many moments last night, where my husband and I would look at each other in disbelief of what we were witnessing.   

What made the game even sweeter were these sushi stacks!  Don't let the picture fool you; these babies are a lot bigger than your average piece of sushi.  The ingredients are layered in a 1 cup measuring cup.  Perfectly seasoned sushi rice is topped with a cool, creamy, crunchy, avocado and cucumber layer, and then it's topped off with delectable, spicy, creamy, shrimp.  Delicious!  They are also very versatile.  You can swap out the shrimp with raw salmon, tuna, or cooked chicken.  My gears were turning as I was making these, and I've decided to make a buffalo chicken version for the Super Bowl, replacing the avocado mixture with a blue cheese and celery mixture and replacing the spicy shrimp with buffalo chicken!  

Note:  For an extra kick of heat, up the Sriracha to 1 tbsp.  

November 28, 2017

Baked Chicken, Bacon & Ranch Macaroni and Cheese

The Christmas tree is up, our coal stove is roaring, and my Pandora Christmas jazz station is softly serenading us.  This is the time of year when I most relate to the hibernating bear... not the sleeping part; the part where he doesn't leave his den.  No, I'm not depressed... it's just that after we deck our halls, our den is at its coziest, and I hate to have to venture into the cold, dark-too-early places on the other side of my walls.  A simple reality check reveals that our schedule has us out every night of the week.  A girl can dream, can't she? 

This time of year, I also find myself using my oven a lot more than usual.  We had this Baked Chicken, Bacon & Ranch Macaroni and Cheese last night, and it really is amazing.  I mean, can you really go wrong with these ingredients?!  I couldn't wait until lunch today to have it leftover, and it was just as good!  Give it a try; you won't be disappointed!

A crisp salad, garlic bread, and steamed vegetables are perfect complements to this dish!

October 16, 2017

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

It's finally feeling like a crisp, fall day; let the baking season commence!  These salted caramel apple pie bars are to. die. for.  Imagine with me.  Buttery, shortbread crust topped with a sweet layer of apples, cinnamon streusel, and a delectable salted caramel drizzled on top.  Perfection.

Note:  Don't let the list of ingredients intimidate you.  Most of them are repeated.  There really are only 10 total ingredients (including the salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg).

September 20, 2017

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

These are our favorite granola bars.  They're amazingly good, super easy to make, perfectly chewy, and they won't crumble on you!  The only problem you'll have with these is suppressing your urge to eat them all!  

Note:  You can substitute the honey with additional maple syrup, if desired.  

September 3, 2017

Harvest Salsa

Well, we're heading into our third week of homeschooling already!  I love spending the extra time with my little sous chef and also the freedom that we have in our schedule.  Fall is my favorite season for so many reasons, but I have a feeling that homeschooling is going to top my list this year!  Speaking of fall, it's not quite here yet, but it sure has felt like it for some time now.  This has got to be the mildest (and wettest) summer that I can remember!  I've only had to water my garden three or four times this year because of how much rain we've had!  Not that I'm complaining.  My garden is bursting at the seams, and I've been trying my best to not waste anything and use the things that I have in excess in creative ways.  Last week, I made some Cinnamon White Chocolate and Zucchini Cookies, and they were ahhhmazing!  Unfortunately, they didn't last long enough for me to blog about them.

This week, I found myself with a lot of extra corn and tomatoes, so I decided to make a salsa to go along with blackened chicken and rice for dinner.  This salsa is bright, refreshing, and uses ingredients straight from the garden.  While the avocado is optional, it really adds a lovely creamy contrast to the crunchy texture of the salsa.  Serve it with tortilla chips, chicken, beef, or seafood!

August 24, 2017

Key Lime Pie... and a little update

There have been lots of life changes happening over our way.  All good things!  For one, we officially began homeschooling this week.  I can't believe that I have a 7th grader; she's growing like a weed!  It's been a lot of fun so far learning and working together.  In history, we're talking about the Rise and Fall of the Western Roman Empire.  Today, we're going to be cooking a meal that the Romans would have eaten over a pit of fire.  I love the flexibility we have and ability to use our creativity to learn.

On the first day of school, we did something that we probably won't make a habit of doing... I think.  We had key lime pie for breakfast!  It was seriously a heavenly start to the first day!  I think pie should totally be an acceptable form of breakfast, don't you?  Oh, and it washes down so well with a hot cup of coffee, too.  This was my very first attempt at making a key lime pie, and it turned out delicious!  It was light and refreshing, and it wasn't overly sweet.  There's a reason this recipe was so highly rated!  The only thing I think I would change next time is halving the sugar in the graham cracker crust. 

May 7, 2017

Easy Homemade Ramen

Well, it's official:  After a lot of prayer, we've decided to start homeschooling my little sous chef starting the next school year!  I'm both excited and nervous for this new adventure we're about to embark upon.  Seventh grade is no joke, and I've been spending countless hours researching curriculum, obsessing over state laws, etc.  One of my plans is to get her cooking more with me in the kitchen during the week, and hopefully I'll be able to incorporate more of her into my blog posts!  As anyone else, I know we'll have good days and bad days, and I am preparing myself for the laughter, tears, victory, and frustration.  Bring it!  

Now on to the recipe.  I had some leftover pulled pork that I had to use up for dinner this weekend, and I decided to use it in Ramen.  This homemade version is so easy and much healthier than the stuff we used to live off of in college!  The broth is so flavorful and delicious, and I know you'll  love the addition of the soft-boiled egg.  

March 12, 2017

Peanut Butter Cup Crunch Brownies

We were invited to a friend's house for dinner and games over the weekend, and she served this fantastic ziti dish that I hope to eventually get the recipe for!  When I was trying to decide on what to bring for dessert, I stumbled across this Peanut Butter Cup Crunch Brownie recipe over at Sally's Baking Addiction.  After reading the reviews and recipe, I knew I had to try them right away.  I was a little nervous how they would turn out, but, honestly, how can you go wrong with these ingredients?!  They have a fudgy brownie base with a center layer of peanut butter cups and peanuts, and then they are topped off with a crunchy layer of melted chocolate and peanut butter with Rice Krispies cereal.  Chewy and crunchy all in one bite!  Serve them with some vanilla bean ice cream on the side, and they will be sure to please!

Note:  These are really rich, so I would suggest cutting them into smaller serving squares.    

February 26, 2017

Breakfast Skillet Pie with Insanely Fast & Easy Hollandaise

Have you ever seen that Weight Watchers commercial, where Oprah Winfrey says, "I love bread," with such passion and conviction in her voice that it makes you want to run into the kitchen and gobble any and every crumb that you can find?  My little sous chef and I giggle every time we see it, and it's come to a point where we'll even quote it when something makes us really happy.  That is exactly how I feel about Hollandaise Sauce.  I could pour a vat of that velvety goodness over almost anything!  Hollandaise sauce is considered one of the hardest sauces to make because it takes patience, requires careful attention, and can be temperamental.  Too much heat, and you have a lumpy, yucky mess.  The results are well worth it in the end, but sometimes I just want to be able to enjoy it without all of that effort.  Cue this Insanely Fast & Easy Hollandaise Sauce recipe.  It takes less than 1 minute to make from start (including gathering the ingredients) to finish!  Promise not to tell anyone this, but it's made... in the microwave.  Gasp!  Yes, really!  With this recipe, you can wait until the very last minute, after everything else is cooked and ready to go, to make the sauce!  That's exactly what I did with my Breakfast Skillet Pie!  

This Breakfast Skillet Pie is made in just one skillet.  Seasoned potatoes are the base, and then you add a layer of onions and ham, top it with cheddar cheese, and then crack eggs on top, which are then finished off in the broiler.  Pour that amazing sauce on top of it all, and I promise you'll be licking the plate, wishing you made more!  

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