Tag Archives: cheese

Salad with Hard-boiled Egg and Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

The pool. Boy, I love our neighborhood pool. We can walk there. We can, and have, spent 7 hours a day there. Being a stay at home mom allows me this luxury… if you can call catching your child as he jumps in the pool nine thousand times a luxury. I swear some days I had bruises on my arms from him landing awkwardly. I was also stabbed in my thigh by a toenail once or twice. So fun. I also got kicked in the … um, let’s just call it the “if I was a man, I’d have probably drowned area”… twice in one day. Oh and every 45 minutes there is a break for 15 minutes. During those 15 minutes my kids eat like I haven’t fed them in days. I pack a cooler with water and snacks. You’d think some pretzels and a sip of water would be good. No… not for my family. My boy can eat everything I’ve packed for him in ONE break. Sheesh. Slow your roll, monkey. We have another break in 45 minutes! I have ONE snack for each kid for each break.

Anyhooooo… I ate during those breaks too. And I ate whatever my kids didn’t finish. You better believe a couple potato chips, two bites of a cheese stick, half a bag of Swedish Fish did NOT go in the trash can. Momma ate it.

Fast forward to September and momma is a little larger than she used to be. And I do NOT have money or the desire to go buy larger jeans for the winter. So I’m making some changes. I’m putting the kids on the bus and exercising in the mornings. And at night, when I usually eat a big fat bowl of ice cream, I am using the Wii Fit to do Step Aerobics. Last night I stepped 2700 times. (That is NOT a typo.) And I’m making changes to my diet. No more lazy days at the pool stuffing my face with pizza and soda and cheese curls!

homemade honey mustard vinaigrette drizzled over a simple salad

homemade honey mustard vinaigrette drizzled over a simple salad

“Salad!?” you ask. Yes. A simple salad. I need to make this recipe public. It’s my desire to teach those of you that drown your lettuce in ranch dressing and croutons (as I REALLY love to do) that there is a better, healthier version that’s just as tasty. And guilt-free!

Salad with Hard-boiled Egg and Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

a nice pile of romaine lettuce – chopped or torn into bite size pieces

1/4 cup roasted almonds – chopped if you’d like. I eat them whole

1 hard boiled egg – chopped (tips on how to make the perfect hard boiled egg follow)

2 pieces of lunch meat – rolled up and sliced to make long slivers. I used roasted chicken today but honey ham would be delicious! And of course, if you have leftover rotisserie chicken or ham from dinner the night before, use it!! It’s a healthier option than lunch meat. I just used what I had.

1/4 cup of chopped monterrey jack cheese – I chopped up a cheese stick that I had. Momma’s gotta’ do what momma’s gotta do.

honey mustard vinaigrette – recipe follows


place the washed and drained lettuce in a large bowl, top with almonds, cheese, lunch meat, chopped hard boiled egg and vinaigrette. Eat promptly. Lick the bowl. The end.

Hard boiled egg – the secret to a perfect hard boiled egg

Place cold water in a sauce pan. Place eggs in sauce pan so they are covered with cold water. Put a lid on it. Bring it up to a boil. Allow to boil for a minute and then turn off the heat. Leave the lid on and set the timer for 12 minutes. When the timer goes off, drain the hot water and add a huge pile of ice to the eggs in the sauce pan and fill the pan with cold water. The ice water shocks the egg shells and the egg shrinks and the shell expands. I think. I don’t know. It’s too scientific to explain. Just do it. Allow to cool as you make the dressing. Do not peel them yet!

Use local honey, spicy brown mustard, and low sodium soy sauce for salad dressing!

Use local honey, spicy brown mustard, and low sodium soy sauce for salad dressing!

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

1 T spicy brown mustard

1 T low-sodium soy sauce

1 T honey (locally grown is best!)

whisk thoroughly

This can be made in larger quantities and kept in a small jelly jar tightly closed in the fridge. The trouble with this is you might use more than you are supposed to for your salad. Trust me. The recipe as written above is enough for a nice size salad. I suppose you could just measure out two to three tablespoons per salad.

Now go back and peel and chop that egg. Place it on the salad and drizzle with dressing. Now stuff your face.

You’re welcome. A simple salad you can feel good about.





Mexican Lasagna

The tortillas in this dish take on many different textures. The one on the bottom gets soft from all the broth and turns into a sort of giant lasagna noodle while the top tortilla gets crunchy and sort of turns into a cheese cracker. Also, this dish is fairly inexpensive to make. It has the lasagna-esque layers but doesn’t require expensive ground beef, expensive cheeses, and cooking lasagna noodles. Again, I can’t decide which layer I liked best in this Mexican Lasagna; the soft, flavor-filled bottom layer or the crunchy, cheesy top layer? Either way, it was so yummy I wished I had taken pictures throughout so I could do this justice. Alas, all I have is the picture I took with my phone.

Update: I made this recipe again but used ground chicken instead of chicken breast. Delicious. Also, I made it in my Pampered Chef Rock Croc instead of a spring-form pan. I cooked all the ‘filling’ in the Rock Croc and then removed it to a mixing bowl. Then sprayed the pan with non-stick cooking spray and started making my layers. It worked perfectly! (While you may not have a special pan like this from Pampered Chef, you just need to know – any round casserole dish will do.)

Mexican Lasagna


1 tsp cooking oil

2 small chicken breasts or 1 large, salt and pepper, garlic powder

1 15 ounce can black beans, drained

1 10 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chilies, DO NOT DRAIN

1 T Worcestershire sauce

2-3 T smoky Chipotle pepper sauce (I recommend using 1 Tablespoon and allowing it to simmer for a while and then add more if you like more heat.)

1/2 tsp dried thyme, crushed in your palms before added

1 1/2 C sharp cheddar cheese

4 8 inch flour tortillas

1/4 C sour cream


Place teaspoon of cooking oil in sautee pan and bring to medium high heat. Add chicken breast that have been sprinkled with salt and pepper and garlic powder. Brown lightly and then add drained beans and un-drained tomatoes. Put a lid on the dish and allow the chicken to simmer on low for 20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and shred or chop the chicken and place it back in with the beans and tomatoes. Now add Worcestershire and chipotle pepper sauce. Add the thyme and allow to simmer another couple minutes. Taste the sauce now and see if it needs anything. Salt? Pepper? More hot pepper sauce?

Prepare a pan that can hold 8 inch tortillas with a little space around the edge. Spray it with non-stick cooking spray. (I used a spring form pan lined with foil. Which was convenient because I just popped the spring form pan open and removed the lasagna via the foil.)

Place a tortilla in the bottom. Place one ladle (with juice) atop the tortilla. Sprinkle some cheese over the chicken mixture. Top with another tortilla, another ladle of chicken mixture with juice, cheese and continue until you’ve layered four tortillas. Top the last tortilla with cheese and any remaining broth (not chicken and beans – just the broth – that’s left in the pot).

Place pan in preheated 325º F oven uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes.

Using a sharp knife cut into wedges and serve with a dollop of sour cream. Using a pie server is helpful in removing it from the pan. I have this recipe written as 4 large wedges but it could easily be sliced into 6 wedges to feed 6 adults with a nice salad to complete the meal. ENJOY!



Pork Quesadillas

So one evening we had pulled pork, with rice and broccoli.

pork, rice, broccoli

pork, rice, broccoli

The next night we had all of that chopped up and put between two tortillas. I’ll be honest I can’t remember exactly how I made this. I can’t even recall what kind of cheese I put in it either. I’d imagine something mild like Mozzarella. Just something to help hold it all together but not take away from the yummy tangy  flavors infusing the pork. My goal here is to get you to think farther than a boring container of leftovers in your fridge. Think of how you can transform it and present it again at the table and have your family ooh and aah over it. Instead of, “I don’t want what we had last night,”  …have fun thinking of something new! Sometimes you discover the leftovers are better than the first meal. My favorite (re-)creations are pizzas and quesadillas. Good luck! “Fix yourself a dang case-uh-dilla.” (name the movie!)

Leftover Pulled Pork Quesadillas

Leftover Pulled Pork Quesadillas

Pull Apart Pizza Crust

Pull apart pizza! Genius!


The other week Pillsbury refrigerated dough was on sale and I had a coupon. I bought buttermilk biscuits for dirt cheap. I also bought pizza sauce and cheese on sale. This was a very budget friendly meal. I’d guess $2 for the whole pizza.

I used my cast iron skillet to make this pizza. I sliced the biscuits in half and sometimes in thirds if I could do it. Then I had the kids help me put the pieces in the bottom of the skillet and sort of up the side of the skillet. Just a bit. Then I pinched them together so there wasn’t any space between the slices of biscuits. Then I baked them at 400 degrees F for about 5 minutes. Then I topped the hot biscuits with olive oil and fresh herbs and garlic.

par-baked with oil and herbs

Pull Apart Pizza Crust Par-baked and topped with oil and herbs

Then topped that with pizza sauce. Go a little heavy on this as the biscuits are pretty dry. Then top the sauce with some cheese. I chose provolone and  mozzarella. Then I topped that with fresh thyme and basil. My two favorite herbs. (you pick your favorite) Then I baked the whole thing until the cheese was melted and toasty just like we like it.

To serve I took the whole pan to the table. Be careful of little fingers. The pan is super hot.

Be careful. The pan is HOT!

Finished Pull Apart Pizza!

I waited about 5 minutes and then called the family to the table. You need to wait a little while because if you try to scoop the pizza out the cheese will fall off. I served a big chunk to Josie and told her to rip it apart. This would’ve been impossible with normal pizza and would’ve required mom or dad to cut the pizza. That’s what I love about this Pull Apart Pizza Crust. You can serve a big spatula full and the kids can pull it apart to help it cool and to eat smaller pieces. None of that, “Can you cut my pizza?” request just as you sit down to eat yours. They can “cut” their own pizza. It was a huge hit! As usual, serve with salad or grapes and apples and call it a meal.