Chicken Tinga Taquitos with Avocado Cream for #SundaySupper

Chicken Tinga Taquitos | Savvy Eats

The summer after freshman year of college, Dan and I both spent the summer in Madison, working in research labs. Work-wise, it wasn’t the best experience – my advisor would disappear for days at a time, and it was over a month before I actually received any training for what I was hired to do. But in all other aspects, it was one of my favorite summers: we spent our evenings and weekends riding our bikes around Madison, attending various festivals and events and watching movies at one of our sublets (usually mine. Dan lived with three guys who weren’t the most hygienic, so we both preferred to hang out at the house where I was subletting a room).

It was our first summer on our own, away from our parents and the dorm dining halls, and we didn’t know how to cook much. So we always kept a box of taquitos in the freezer, and ate them for dinner a few times a week, usually with baby carrots or some frozen vegetables.

As I taught myself to cook and started paying a little more attention to the nutritional value of what I was eating, the taquitos slowly got phased out of our freezer. We hadn’t eaten them in years, up until the week before we left for Jamaica last month.

I was trying to empty out our freezer, since we were going to be away for nine days.  The Wednesday before we left, I grabbed a big container of salad greens and a box of taquitos to get us through some of the last few pre-vacation dinners.

Chicken Tinga Taquitos

While the taquitos were less unhealthy than I expected them to be, and still pretty tasty, I knew I could make something even better. So as soon as we got back, I challenged myself to come up with an even better taquito recipe…and with these chicken tinga taquitos, I’m pretty sure I succeeded!

And this avocado cream? It is more of an avocado ranch dip. And I just want to use it on everything – as a dip for taquitos, sure, but also on salads and in scrambled eggs. It may just become a regular staple in our refrigerator. While it does contain some mayonnaise, much of the mayo and all of the sour cream and buttermilk from a typical ranch dressing is replaced by avocado and fat-free Greek yogurt, making it much lighter and healthier. So I don’t have to feel quite as guilty for using it on everything!


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Sage Waffle Breakfast Sandwiches

Sage Waffle Breakfast Sandwiches | Savvy Eats

I seem to have developed a bit of a waffle problem.  i.e.: I made three different types of waffles (cornbread, banana chocolate chip and sage) in the space of a week. I blame the new waffle maker.

See, we had inherited a Belgian-style waffle maker from my parents a few years ago, one that they weren’t using. I was so excited to make my own waffles, but…I very rarely did so. As it turns out, I’m just not that big of a fan of thick, dense Belgian waffles. Every time I made a batch, I found myself thinking wistfully of the waffles of my youth. Admittedly, the waffles I remembered were of the processed frozen variety, but what I really missed was their thin crispness. And I knew that no matter what I did, I’d never be able to get that texture out of my Belgian waffle maker.

Lucky for me, Dan feels the same way about waffles as I do (thin classic-style all the way!), and so he gifted me with a Cuisinart round classic waffle maker earlier this month, and I went to town on the waffle-making!

I’ve found that the only way to get them truly crispy is to retoast the waffles after they are made. But that’s fine by me – this way, I can just make a big batch (or um…three batches) of waffles, freeze them, and then toast one or two in the morning for breakfast throughout the week. Crisp waffles on demand, any day of the week? It’s a win-win!

Waffle breakfast sandwiches for everyone!


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Healthier Chicken and Waffles (+ Dansk Giveaway!)

Healthier Chicken and Waffles | Savvy Eats

Chicken and waffles are a southern classic that seemed like the perfect fit for this month’s “Breakfast for Dinner” theme. Though it is typically made with fried chicken, I decided to make it a little healthier, and swapped in baked chicken thighs that I had marinated in a sweet tea brine. It is still juicy and flavorful, but much lighter. And because I know I can always use another serving or two of vegetables, I added some sautéed collard greens as well. Boom! Healthier chicken and waffles!

I cooked the chicken in a big glass baking dish, but if I could, I would have made it in the Dansk round baker that is part of today’s giveaway – it would have been so much prettier!

Dansk Cookware Giveaway

I first fell in love with Dansk cookware on one of our regular browsing trips to Found, the awesome antique store near our house. They had a big black paella pan, a small butter-yellow round baker and the crown jewel: a bright orange 6-quart casserole. I had never heard of Dansk before, but I immediately fell in love with the bright exterior, white interior, criss-cross handle and heavy, sturdy weight. I’ve been drooling over Dansk cookware ever since, trying to justify the cost to myself: it is so pretty! So solid! So high-quality!

Suffice it to say, I am going to be supremely jealous of whomever wins this week’s giveaway. I’ve teamed up with 10 bloggers to give THREE Dansk pieces to one lucky winner: a 6-quart casserole, a round baker and a 2-quart saucepan. Yup, one of you could win all of that (valued around $300). Just enter using the Promosimple plugin below!

And of course, check out the other bloggers who are participating: Lauren of Healthy Delicious, Alejandra of Always Order Dessert, Caroline of Taste Love and Nourish, Samantha of Little Ferraro Kitchen, Susan of Girl in the Little Red Kitchen, Dani of The Adventure Bite, Nicole of The Marvelous Misadventures of a Foodie, Ari of Ari’s Menu, Carrie of Bakeaholic Mama and Angie of Big Bear’s Wife!

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Cincinnati Chili for #SundaySupper

Cincinnati Chili

Okay, I realize that this, my first submission to Sunday Supper, is a bit of a cheat.  I’ve published this recipe before, nearly four years ago. The flavor was excellent, the writing was fine and the photos were…dark and dreary. And just kind of terrible, in general.

But this Cincinnati chili is such a staple, it seems a shame to let it languish in the terribly-photographed-and-therefore-never-mentioned-again depths of my archives. This recipe is my fall-back. When I am craving chili, I make Cincinnati chili. When I don’t know what to make for dinner, I make Cincinnati chili.  When I don’t feel like cooking and have very little food in the house, I make Cincinnati chili; we almost always have the ingredients on hand.

Oftentimes, we stick with just the three- or four-way version.  The beans take a little extra effort and planning ahead, since we rarely have canned beans in the pantry, only their dried counterparts. Which is a bit sad, because the five-way Cincinnati chili is stellar.

Not sure what I’m talking about with the three-, four- and five-way stuff? Let me explain: Cincinnati chili, or at least Cincinnati chili a la Skyline Chili, is served over spaghetti, topped with cheese.  That’s a three-way chili. A four-way adds onions or beans.  A five-way adds both. Let’s get to it!

(And if you like it, can I ask you to vote for my chili in the Sunday Supper Chili Cook-Off?)


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Jam-Glazed Chicken Wings

Jam-Glazed Chicken Wings

I’ve never been one for chicken wings, bone-in or boneless.  They have just always felt like so much work and so much mess for so little meat. But these chicken wings are worth the mess, for sure. I mean, they are glazed with strawberry jam.  Or peach jam. Or whatever other jam you have on hand. But still, jam on chicken wings! The jam provides just the right amount of sticky sweetness, which is tempered by the tart lemon juice and smoky paprika.

Now, I know that chicken wings are usually fried. But a) I was looking to make these a little bit healthier and b) frying is a bit too much work for a weeknight dinner.  So instead, I marinated the wings in the jam-based sauce, tossed them on a hot grill pan, and brushed them with some more jam. Easy and done.

Let’s do this!… 

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Marmalade-Glazed Shrimp Stir Fry

Marmalade Stir Fry

When I started brainstorming recipes for February’s Using Your Preserves theme, one of the first jars I pulled off of our canning shelves was a jar of lemon-lime marmalade. I love that marmalade, but to be honest, it doesn’t have as much flexibility as its orange counterparts, thanks to its intense citrus flavor. The last jar has been waiting patiently to be picked out and carried upstairs to the kitchen, and so I wanted to find a way to let that marmalade shine.

Lemon pairs nicely with ginger, so I decided to try using it in an Asian dish. After a little experimenting, I found that it made a great stir fry sauce, especially when paired with vegetables and shrimp.  I’ve now tried making the sauce with both the lemon-lime marmalade and blood orange marmalade, and the shrimp stir fry had the perfect balance of sweet-tart flavor each time.


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Veggie-Packed Fried Rice + Giveaway

Veggie Fried Rice2

You all know I love using up leftovers in new and creative ways. The beauty of fried rice is that is the ultimate “use up all the veggie scraps in your fridge” meal. Just make sure everything is cut to approximately the same size and shape so that it cooks evenly, and you’re good to go. I’m now realizing I should have used up the collard greens in my refrigerator for this fried rice, because it’s looking limp and past its prime. I guess tonight’s soup is going to have some thinly sliced collards mixed in!

Psst: Don’t miss the cookbook giveaway after the recipe!

Veggie Fried Rice


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Cilantro Lime Chicken

Cilantro Lime Chicken

I have this tendency to get sucked into things.  Once I get going on a project, I have trouble pulling myself away, whether it be redesigning my blog or editing a new podcast episode.  I get caught up in TV shows (currently Veronica Mars), obsessed with new-to-me breakfasts (hello, avocado + scrambled eggs on toast) or wrapped up in board games, wanting to play the same one over and over (um, Le Havre).

But this week, I’ve found myself floating from project to project, struggling to actually sit down and commit to doing any one thing for more than 20 minutes.  It makes it difficult to actually get anything done.

So I’m focusing on two things:

1. Putting short, actionable items on my to-do list.  I’ve been doing a lot of research lately for various projects, but this week the focus just hasn’t been there and what should take me 30 minutes to read about is taking an hour. So when I can’t concentrate, I’m doing all the little tasks I need to catch up on – making phone calls, sending emails, filing paperwork.  It gets me into “work mode,” and gives me the momentum to leap into bigger projects.

2. Being mindful of my time and how I’m feeling. This week, I’ve been working what Dan and I call “second shift.”  I’ve been more on-task in the evenings lately, so I’m using the mornings to run errands, work out, and relax.  I start working mid-afternoon, take a break for dinner, and work until bedtime. I don’t want to make this schedule a regular thing (I’d never get to hang out with Dan or our friends if I did), but mixing up my timeline and working when I have the energy and motivation to do so seems to be helping.

One area where I’m not struggling for motivation? My food. I’ve been all about the whole grains lately. On any given day, we have two or three containers of different leftover cooked whole grains in the refrigerator, ready to be used as the base for any number of meals.  At breakfast, I top some brown rice with eggs and avocado, or stir some almond butter, fruit and flax seeds into a bowl of quinoa.  I toss some farro with wilted greens and some pork for lunch, or reheat some fried rice.  Or, in this case, I mix barley and guacamole with a cilantro and lime-marinated chicken for a quick burrito bowl dinner.

Cilantro Lime Chicken


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Ranch Chicken Sliders on Pretzel Rolls

Ranch Chicken Sliders #appetizer #partyfood

We’re hosting the second annual Grice Game Night New Year’s Party tomorrow night, and I couldn’t be more excited. Fifteen people, cocktails and forty-plus board games to choose from sounds like an amazing way to ring in 2014 to me.

Last year, I made the mistake of serving steak and pasta.  While delicious, nothing that I served, save for the snack mix, lent itself well to being eaten during game time.  It meant that games were slow to get off the ground, and that nobody was really going back for seconds.

So this year, I’m serving all hors d’oeuvres, appetizers and snacks. Everything can be eaten in a few bites or by the handful, so the food is more conducive to gaming. I was a bit worried that people wouldn’t find it to be filling enough to count as dinner, but I’m pretty sure I’m making more than enough food to leave everyone satisfied. Our menu is:

Ranch Chicken Sliders #appetizer #partyfood

Ranch chicken sliders on pretzel rolls (see below).

Mini buffalo-blue potato skins from Healthy Delicious.

Savory pumpkin dip from Gimme Some Oven.

Crudites platter.

Cheeseball (my gramma’s recipe) with crackers.

Puff pastry cups with mascarpone, pear and balsamic drizzle.

Jalapeno popper pinwheels from A Few Short Cuts.

Baked arancini from Oh My Veggies.

Mini baked egg rolls from Vegetarian Times.

Mexican hot chocolate roasted pecans.

Homemade snack mix from Chex.

Chai puppy chow from A Spicy Perspective.

Salted caramel brownies from Smitten Kitchen.

White chocolate lemon truffles from How Sweet It Is.

Now that I look at the list, I realize that nearly all of my recipes come from some of my favorite food bloggers, so this should be fun!


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Thanksgiving Leftovers Breakfast Casserole

Thanksgiving Leftovers Casserole My whole “go to the grocery store mid-day on Monday instead of over the weekend to avoid the crowds” plan did not pan out the way I’d hoped.  There were more people at Wegman’s than I’d ever seen there before, so I was stuck navigating crowded aisles with a heavy dairy- and baking supply-laden cart. There was no fresh sage or thyme to be found, two of the most vital herbs for a fantastic Thanksgiving meal. Plus, apparently everyone was making my mom’s wineberry salad, because every brand of raspberry gelatin was sold out. Luckily, I was able to find those three missing ingredients at another grocery store.  Between the two grocery stores, a trip to the Farmers’ Market on Saturday, a trip to the butcher for some chorizo, and another trip to the Farmers’ Market on Tuesday to pick up the turkey, I finally had everything I needed for Thanksgiving dinner. So now it is the day after Thanksgiving. The refrigerator is filled with leftovers, my canning shelves and chest freezer are packed with fruits and vegetables, and I would rather steer clear of going grocery shopping for at least a week.  But as much as I love turkey and gravy, if I have to eat my Thanksgiving leftovers straight-up for that entire time, I might go crazy. Which is why I’m coming up with fun ways to use my leftovers, like this breakfast casserole. Do it! Thanksgiving Leftovers Casserole … 

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