Baked Sweet Potato Egg Nests

sweet potato egg nests

It’s my darling husband’s 40th birthday today!! In honor of his big celebration, we had a huge yard party this past weekend with a taco and nacho bar which included fresh salsa, smoky guacamole, chipotle bean dip and chile con queso. We studded the yard with fun yard games, had some kickin’ karaoke in our garage and ended the night with a bonfire that went into the wee hours of the morning.  We ended up having about 70 guests throughout the night and it was a GREAT time!  All of the party prep and planning meant I’ve gotten a bit behind in my posting of awesome recipes for all of you but this one is sure to put me in your good favor again.  Baked sweet potato egg nests are a perfect way to start the morning with a bit of protein, a bit of carbs and a splash of veggie value.

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Shredded and seasoned sweet potatoes are lightly baked in a ramekin first to make the nest.  Then I added a layer of spinach and cracked a beautiful farm fresh egg into each nest. Baked until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny makes the BEST gooey delicious breakfast treat. I topped them off with a sprinkle of chives and some fun chili pepper threads for good looks. These sweet potato egg nests are sure to be a new breakfast (or lunch) favorite!sweet potato egg nests

Baked Sweet Potato Egg Nests
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: paleo, vegetarian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and shredded
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder or Cajun seasoning
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped spinach (about a small handful of leaves prior to chopping)
  • 4 eggs
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives or cilantro
  • Dried chile threads, for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Toss shredded sweet potato, chili powder and salt together in a small bowl.
  3. Divide potato mixture evenly among 4 greased ramekins (or jumbo muffin pan) and press on bottom and up onto sides to make a nest.
  4. Divide spinach evenly inside potato nest.
  5. Bake 15 minutes.
  6. Gently crack an egg into each of the ramekins and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  7. Bake an additional 13-15 minutes until egg whites are set but yolk should still be runny (if you prefer a firm egg yolk, bake a little longer until fully set).
  8. To plate the egg nests, gently run a butter knife along the edge and slide onto plate. Garnish with chopped chives and chile threads.

 

 

Chorizo Meatloaf

chorizo meatloafI thought I was done with casserole type meals for awhile as the weather has been that perfect temp where I’m equally comfortable wearing jeans and a long sleeve shirt or shorts and a tee.  Two days of gloomy rain and more yet to come lends itself completely to crockpot meals and baked dishes like chorizo meatloaf.

For this spicy riff on a classic meatloaf, I’ve substituted part of the ground beef for chorizo. I’ve also added a poblano pepper (you can use a regular green bell pepper if you prefer) and topped it off with sriracha sauce rather than ketchup. I snuck in a few other healthy additions to the chorizo meatloaf mix including chopped kale and ground flax in place of the bread crumbs.  I’m sneaky like that.  If you’re into a flavorful bit of spice but not so much that it will knock you on your butt (a.k.a. my kids and will still eat it), THIS is the meatloaf for you!

chorizo meatloaf

Chorizo Meatloaf
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Main Dishes
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound chorizo (or use ½ pound chorizo and ½ pound ground pork/beef for less spice)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced
  • 1 large stem of kale, stem removed and leaves chopped
  • ½ cup ground flax (flax meal)
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • Sriracha hot sauce for topping
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl except the sriracha hot sauce. The best way to combine these is to get dirty and use your (clean) hands to mix it evenly.
  3. Once mixed, press into a cast iron skillet or loaf pan.
  4. Squirt sriracha sauce over top.
  5. Bake about 60 minutes until internal temp reaches 160 degrees.
  6. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.

 

 

Pina Colada Peach Smoothie

pina colada ginger smoothie

Every year for the past ten years, we’ve held a garage sale at our house over mother’s day weekend.  It was tradition in the neighborhood we had lived it. Last year was the last garage sale as we’ve moved to an acreage and its gotten me feeling a bit off.  The neighborhood garage sales were a group of nearly 200 sales going on at the same time.  The streets were lined with food vendors and it was such a fantastic weekend.  I miss it already.  Of course we can still go to the sales and party it up with the neighbors but it just wouldn’t be quite the same. Instead, we’re taking our littles (or not so littles anymore) to the farm so they can help lead train their show animals for the fair. It’s going to be a crazy warm weekend too which is going to feel downright tropical. Since I’ve got palm trees on the mind, I prepared an awesome tropical inspired pina colada peach smoothie.

This smoothie has the traditional pineapple and coconut milk for pina colada flavor but then gets a little kick of fun flavor from either a pinch of ginger or a cardamom. I round out the flavors with a touch of peach to bring you a sipping delicious pina colada peach smoothie!

Pina Colada Peach Smoothie
 
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Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • ½ cup fresh or canned pineapple, diced
  • ½ peach (or use about 6 frozen slices)
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • ¼ cup pineapple juice (can add more to make smoothie thinner if desired)
  • Pinch of ground ginger or cardamom
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth!

Cheesy Ranch Potatoes

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I’m currently sitting at my desk with a chicken on my shoulder watching an exciting lightning storm outside while sipping a small glass of wine. I’m good at multitasking.  The dear hubby is gone on a business trip this week so I’ve been gladly bombarding him with text photos of the kids and chickens. It makes me happy… and really, I’m pretty sure pics like that would bring a smile to anyone’s face.  Meanwhile, when he’s outta town, it’s a comfort food all the way kind of day. So I made cheesy ranch potatoes. Yes, like the kind from my childhood with that totally unassuming name of cheesy potatoes but in true fashion I re-did the recipe to make them healthier and added herbs that lend a ranch flavor to them.  You know, because I used to dump in a packet of hidden valley ranch seasoning to the mix. That seemed totally wrong and too processed so now I have cheesy ranch potatoes made from scratch with hidden veggies. And they. are. GOOD.  My daughters even proclaimed that I should DEFINIETLY make these again!

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I know, cheesy potatoes have a calling in potluck situations in the Midwest (or for Easter and mother’s day brunch) to serve as that totally cheesy, over the top creamy deliciousness that is smothered all over the shredded (or diced) potatoes.  It’s always one of my absolute favorite dishes but I decided it was time to give it a little makeover in the nutrition department.  I haven’t bought a can of condensed soup in over two years. There’s just no need when you can put more nutritious combinations together or make your own version of the same thing in nearly the same amount of time.  Anyway, in place of the traditional cream of chicken soup that’s normally used in “cheesy potatoes” I subbed chicken broth and pureed squash (or pumpkin would work too).  Then, instead of the sour cream, I used plain Greek yogurt.  You could totally use a mix of yogurt and sour cream but I really liked the yogurt with the ranch herb mix as it gave it just enough of that buttermilk tang that fresh ranch dip has without the processed ingredient list.  Gotta love that!

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This little riff on cheesy potatoes still has a crunchy topping but it’s accomplished with a sprinkle of corn meal rather than over buttered crushed cornflakes. Honestly, it’ll be great either way. I just decided to make it a bit lighter with the cornmeal sprinkle and a toss of chopped chives on top to accent the ranch flavor.  Seriously, this is my new favorite comfort food!!

Cheesy Ranch Potatoes
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Sides
Cuisine: vegetarian
Ingredients
  • 1 pound diced potatoes (or ½ of a 2lb bag frozen diced potatoes)
  • 1 head of cauliflower, diced a similar size to the potatoes
  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt (or use a combination of sour cream and yogurt)
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup squash or pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar
  • 2 tsp parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon chopped chives
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup cornmeal
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine yogurt, broth and squash puree in a blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients except cornmeal in a large bowl and stir to combine.
  4. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan or in a bunch of ramekins and sprinkle with cornmeal.
  5. Bake 60-75 minutes until veggies are tender.
  6. Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes before serving.
  7. Garnish with chopped green onion or chives if desired.

 

 

Mushroom Dijon Chicken Skillet

dijon mushroom chicken

I am so happy right now!  I’ve been outside in a tank top all morning shoveling dirt and getting my garden soil prepped for planting.  Yeah, I realize that sort of work isn’t necessarily fun for all but I LOVE it.  AND it’s only April and nearly 80 degrees!!  I feel like I should be at the beach. It’s been sunny and dreamy wonderful for the past three days so we’ve been outside every single day soaking up the sun finishing the last parts of our chicken coop build and starting other outdoor projects.  Know what else is dreamy wonderful? I bet you can guess…  yep, this mushroom dijon chicken skillet!

dijon mushroom chicken

Creamy, dreamy and full of earthy mushroom goodness with a touch of pancetta (or bacon) to give it a salty kick, the Dijon mustard elevates it to just the right level of full bodied flavor. I’ve added a touch of coconut milk to provide additional creaminess but you can use sour cream or dairy cream to accomplish the same.

There’s a few similar recipes for mushroom dijon chicken out there but many of them have sauce that’s waaaaay too saucy (I like mine thick and creamy rather than drippy) and many recipes have you add things to the skillet and take them out, and add them back in later.  Why bother?  We’re just going to do all the prep and cooking in the same skillet. No messing around here!  That’s easier and much less cleanup.  Less things to clean makes for happy chefs everywhere.

dijon mushroom chicken

Mushroom Dijon Chicken Skillet
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Main Dishes
Cuisine: paleo
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4-5 ounces pancetta, diced (or use 8 strips of thick cut bacon, diced)
  • 5 ounces shitake (or other) mushrooms, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • Splash of dry white wine (about 1 ounce)
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • ½ can coconut milk
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 to 1.5 pounds chicken breasts
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a cast iron skillet, or other oven safe skillet, sauté onion, garlic, pancetta and mushrooms in olive oil until pancetta is cooked through.
  3. Add wine and stir.
  4. Then add mustard, coconut milk, paprika, salt and pepper. Stir until evenly combined.
  5. Make a small well in the mixture for each of the chicken breasts and place each chicken breast in that space.
  6. Spoon some of the sauce over top of the chicken.
  7. Bake for about 30 minutes until chicken is cooked through (internal temp should be 160 degrees).
  8. Spoon additional sauce on top of chicken for serving.

 

 

 

Grilled Corn with Cilantro Butter

grilled corn

Grilled Corn…simple and summery, buttery with a slight smoky flavor, crisp and oh-so-sweet.  This side dish comes with a generous shout out to summer… as in, summer, let’s get this warm weather rockin’ so we can be outside all the time!  I guess I’ll have to settle for a little grilled corn goodness slathered in cilantro butter instead.  I’ll take that option, at least for now.

If you’re not a fan of cilantro, you can definitely us another herb like parsley or chives or even a combination of herbs.  Simply chop the herbs and stir into softened (not melted) butter and brush with the butter after the corn has been grilled.  Grilled corn is great just as is on the cob but can also be cut off the cob to add awesome grilled flavor to fresh salads.  Bring on the summer!

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Grilled Corn with Cilantro Butter
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Sides
Ingredients
  • 4 ears of corn, shucked
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro (or other herbs like parsley and chives)
Instructions
  1. Heat grill to medium heat.
  2. While grill is heating up, brush ears of corn with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Grill corn about 4-5 minutes on each side.
  4. While corn is grilling, mix cilantro into the softened butter.
  5. Brush cilantro butter on ears of corn just after removing from grill. Serve immediately or cut corn kernels off the cob for adding to fresh salads.

 

Chicken Avocado Lime Salad

chicken avocado lime salad

Happy almost Easter!  I survived having the kiddos home on Spring break last week and also hosted four of my daughter’s nine-year-old friends for her birthday sleepover.  It never fails to surprise me at how rambunctious and LOUD a small group of young girls can be.  And gross… because, of course, they’re at that age where bathroom humor is INCREDIBLY funny so despite my efforts to curtail any mention of bodily bathroom functions, they still managed to crack a bunch of jokes about it and end up in a fit of giggles on the living room floor.  Seriously.  Ugh.   Anyway, this awesome chicken avocado lime salad is nothing to laugh at. It’s light, refreshing and makes a fantastic use of leftover chicken for an easy lunch.

Salads are always a great way to get in your daily dose of greens and this one is no exception.  Pack on a little protein in the form of sliced grilled chicken.   Add a little julienned carrot, diced avocado, cilantro and some slivered almonds. Toss with a yogurt and avocado based lime dressing and you’ve got an awesome answer to spring in a delicious chicken avocado lime salad!

chicken avocado lime salad

Chicken Avocado Lime Salad
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Salads
Ingredients
  • 4 oz grilled chicken breast, sliced into strips
  • ½ avocado, diced
  • 1 small carrot, julienned
  • 1 cup or more salad greens like spinach, romaine or butter lettuce
  • sprinkle of chopped cilantro and slivered almonds
  • AVOCADO LIME DRESSING:
  • ¼ cup plain greek yogurt (or use mayonnaise for dairy free)
  • ½ avocado
  • 1 tablespoon lime
  • ¼ cup water (or more if you want it thinner consistency)
  • ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon onion powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Place salad ingredients in a bowl or layer on a plate with greens on bottom.
  2. Make dressing by combining all dressing ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Add more water if desired for a thinner consistency.
  3. Toss salad with dressing.
  4. Leftover dressing will keep in fridge for about a week.

 

 

Sweet Potato Miso Soup

sweet potato miso soup

Guess what?!?!?  I have baby chicks!  Yes, for real. Live, adorable, fluffy baby chicks! These fluffy little ladies are the start of my backyard egg layers that will provide entertainment, enjoyment, and nutritious delicious eggs for my family.  The breeds are a variety of mostly brown egg layers and a few Easter eggers which lay gorgeous blue-green eggs. I’m SUPER excited!  The kids love them (so do I, who am I kidding?!?) and my two school-age girls are ready to do chicken chores just like being out on the farm. Are they not the cutest little things!!!

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My husband is in the process of building my new little ladies a chicken coop and then I’ll be preparing them a nice large run with fun chicken friendly plants for them to forage and play around in.  I’m planning to let them free range our backyard whenever I’m outside too as they eat all kinds of bugs and weeds so it’s mutually beneficial and creates the BEST tasting eggs.  Speaking of things that are great tasting… sweet and salty tend to go well together and this sweet potato miso soup is no exception.

I think I was watching an episode of “Worst Cooks in America” and one of the hosting chefs had mentioned that sweet potatoes and miso are a match made in heaven.  They were totally right.  I opted to puree the sweet potato miso soup which gave it a very smooth decadent texture like that of a thick cream soup. It’s VERY satisfying on the tongue.  It’s otherwise, very simple to make and has few ingredients besides the sweet potatoes and miso paste. Round it out with a topping of caramelized shallot and chives and little side salad you’ve got quite a lunch!

sweet potato miso soup

Sweet Potato Miso Soup
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Soups
Cuisine: vegetarian, vegan
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups vegetable (or chicken) broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoon miso paste (either red or white)
  • 1 small shallot, caramelized in olive oil or butter
  • chives or green onions for garnish
Instructions
  1. Bring sweet potatoes, broth and water to a boil in a medium saucepot and boil until potatoes are soft.
  2. While potatoes are boiling, sauté onion and garlic in oil or butter until translucent.
  3. Add sautéed onion and garlic and the miso paste to the sweet potato saucepot.
  4. When potatoes are soft, puree the soup with an immersion blender or by pouring it into a blender and pureeing.
  5. If desired, top with caramelized shallot and chives.

 

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Asian Steak Tacos

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Spring break is starting tomorrow. Yep, TOMORROW.  Ever since college, spring break has always meant that it’s officially spring and time to bust out the warm weather clothes and go on vacation!  Okay, well, I’m not actually going on vacation. A girl can dream right?!?  Instead, my girls will be home with me all next week which will inevitably result in all sorts of chaos and some educational moments in spring cleaning (I made them a list of chores already). Sounds like quite a school vacation, eh?  In the meantime, it’s also time to break out the summery fun food like these Asian steak tacos.

A couple of posts ago, I made this awesome Korean flank steak.  Flank steak is usually quite large so there were plenty of leftovers which are always fun to dress up in new ways. The great thing about leftovers is that they are WAY easy.  Especially this kind because these Asian steak tacos are quite literally a toss it together and eat it sort of variety.  I use a sriracha mayo as the “hot sauce” and you can easily make it yourself by making homemade mayonnaise and just adding a bit of sriracha hot sauce until it reaches your desired spice level. Grab your favorite beverage, fill up a few tacos with a mix of avocado, cabbage, radish and cilantro and give a toast to the onset of spring!

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Asian Steak Tacos
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Main Dishes
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 8 taco shells (I used toasted white corn tortillas)
  • Leftover Korean flank steak (or any other cooked steak will work)
  • 1 avocado, cut into slices
  • 1-2 radish, cut into matchsticks
  • ¼ of a red cabbage, sliced and chopped
  • couple sprigs of cilantro, chopped
  • Sriracha mayo (mayonnaise combined with sriracha hot sauce to taste)
Instructions
  1. Slice the steak into thin slices and gently heat in a small sauté pan or microwave.
  2. Fill each taco shell with a few steak slices, a handful of red cabbage, a couple slices of avocado, sprinkle of radish and cilantro.
  3. Drizzle Sriracha mayo on top.

 

 

White Bean Chicken Chili

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Oh man, do I have spring FEVER!!!  I’m dying to get my garden planted though I can’t plant anything in ground here until mother’s day. I found a cute little inexpensive five shelf greenhouse last week so I’ll start some seedlings in the next few weeks. With any luck, I’ll have beautiful baby plants in eight weeks that I can successfully transplant into my garden for fresh veggies to be garnished all summer long!  But, before cozy soup season completely leaves us behind for the advent of Spring, I want to give you this white bean chicken chili.

Most chicken chili recipes have shredded chicken but I think that gives it a somewhat odd mushy-stringy consistency at times so I used diced grilled chicken instead.  This isn’t an extraordinary revelation, of course, but this chili is perfectly comforting, creamy without having dairy and spiced just right. Topped with a little corn and cilantro and you’ve got yourself a soulful white bean chicken chili soup fit for a chilly almost spring day.

white bean chicken chili

White Bean Chicken Chili
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Soups
Ingredients
  • 3 cans white beans (I use a combo of northern white and cannellini beans)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3-4 cups diced grilled chicken (about 3 grilled chicken breasts)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 jalapeño or red fresno peppers, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • ½-1 teaspoon salt (to taste - smoked salt is awesome in this if you have it)
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro
Instructions
  1. In a blender, puree half of the beans with half of the broth.
  2. Add this puree plus all other ingredients in a crockpot and cook on high 3 (or more) hours to incorporate the flavors.
  3. Alternately, place ingredients in a stockpot and simmer 30 minutes.
  4. Serve hot with additional corn and cilantro as a garnish.