One-Pan Ranch Pork Chops and Vegetables

There was a running joke in college that I would only do the dishes if I had been drinking. I hate washing the dishes and apparently that was the only way it was tolerable. Now, I don’t have to do the dishes often because Mark and I have a deal worked out – if I cook, he’ll clean up.

The problem is that he’s been working late a lot lately so I’ve been having to do both. Solution? One pan (or pot) meals. And lots of them. This was one of the best I tried – super easy and super flavorful. Tiny and I loved them!


One-Pan Ranch Pork Chops and Vegetables
(adapted from Damn Delicious)
Serves 2

2 pork chops
2 large white potatoes, dices
8 oz. green beans
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. Ranch Seasoning and Salad Dressing Mix
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400F degrees.

Coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Add the  pork chops, potatoes and green beans to the pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with Ranch Seasoning and garlic; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss then shake into a single layer. Bake for about 20 minutes, until pork is cooked through and vegetables are soft. Serve immediately.


Chicken Tortilla Soup with Hatch Chilies

I’m really having a love/hate relationship with this cooler weather in the morning. I love fall and this summer was humid beyond belief so the break is so, so welcome. But it’s also reminder that winter’s knocking on the door. I feel like my favorite season is going to get crowded out fast this year so I’m trying to savor every minute of it.

This quick and easy soup is our first of the fall season. I always anticipate soups taking a lot time to prep but using a rotisserie chicken sped this along nicely. I loved the kick the hatch chilies gave it, but you could also use canned, chopped green chilies or omit the chilies altogether.


Chicken Tortilla Soup with Hatch Chilies
(from The Wicked Noodle)
Serves 8

4 large tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1/2 white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. cumin
32 oz. chicken broth
4 hatch chiles, roasted, peeled, stemmed and seeded, then diced
4 cups shredded chicken (or one whole rotisserie chicken)
Toppings: sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, avocado

Preheat the broiler. Half the tomatoes and place them cut-side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp. olive oil and season with salt. Broil until the skins are beginning to blister and blacken, about 5 minutes.

In a large pot, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook for about five minutes. Stir in garlic and cumin and cook for another minute, stirring frequently. Add the roasted tomatoes and their juices along with the chicken broth to the pot. Stir to combine and let simmer for 15 minutes. Puree with a hand blender, then stir in hatch chilies and chicken. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes and then serve.

Hatch Chili Chicken Burgers

Grilling season is waning here. We’re getting that chill in the morning and I actually wore pants all day yesterday. Pants! So now, of course, I’m regretting all of the grilling I didn’t do all summer long.

We cooked these up while watching the football game. I always try to make something fun in case the game is lackluster – and in this case, the food was the highlight. If you’ve still got some hatch chilies around, this is a great way to use them!


Hatch Chili Chicken Burgers
(adapted from MJ + Hungryman)
Makes 6

4 hatch chilies – roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. honey
1 lb. ground chicken
½. tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
½ tsp. cumin
1 egg, lightly beaten
2/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
Garlic mayonnaise
6 slices pepper jack cheese
6 hamburger buns



In a small bowl, toss together first 4 ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix the ground chicken, salt, pepper, cumin, egg and breadcrumbs until thoroughly combined. Divide into 6 equal servings  and form into patties. Chill for a half hour then grill over medium-high heat until cooked through, about 8 minutes per side.

Top patties with cheese and let melt. Serve burgers on buns topped with the hatch chili relish.


Hatch Chili Mac ‘n Cheese

For the first time since I started this blog, one of our local grocery stores stocked hatch chilies. I feel like I’ve been watching my more-Southern food blogger friends rave about them for years and could never participate in the hatch chili fun. So now that they’re here? I’m making hatch chili everything.

First up: mac n cheese. I really, really loved this. The roasted chilies paired really nicely with the jack cheese sauce. I had split this into two pans with intentions to freeze one for later – but it all got eaten before it made it to the freezer. Oops!



Hatch Chili Mac ‘n Cheese
(from Life’s Ambrosia)
Serves 6-8 as a side

5 hatch chilies
2 cups elbow macaroni
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 yellow onion, diced
4 Tbsp. flour
2 cups whole milk
3 cups shredded jack cheese
4 oz. cream cheese
Salt, to taste
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 Tbsp. olive oil

On the grill, roast the chilies over high heat until charred and blistered. Transfer to a bowl. When cool enough to handle, peel the chilies, seed, remove the membrane and dice.

Cook macaroni according to package directions.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the diced onion and cook until nearly translucent. Whisk in flour until the mixture is a play dough consistency. Add milk, whisking constantly, and cook until starting to thicken, about a minute. Stir in cheeses and stir frequently until melted. Stir in cooked macaroni and diced chilies and season with salt to taste. Spread the macaroni in a greased baking pan.

In a small bowl, combine the panko and olive oil. Spread over the top of the macaroni.

Bake at 350F degrees until bubbly, about 15 minutes.

Cheddar Ranch Chicken

This is one of our newest family favorites. And my newest favorite meal to take to new moms. I think I’ve brought it to my last three or four friends that have had babies. It’s a hit for two big reasons: it only requires about 5 minutes of prep time and it reheats well.

I’ve been pairing it with wheat dinner rolls and green beans. It’s been a perfect, comforting dinner with almost no effort.


Cheddar Ranch Chicken
(from Damn Delicious)
Serves 4-6

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 package ranch dressing mix
3 cloves garlic, minced
8-12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup Panko

Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. Spray a 9×11 pan with non-stick spray. Arrange chicken thighs in the pan. Season with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, cheddar cheese, ranch mix and garlic. Spread evenly over the chicken. Sprinkle the panko evenly over the top of everything.

Bake for 25-50 minutes, until cooked through and golden brown on top.


S’mores Fudge

I’ve been in full-on declutter mode lately. My closet got a thorough purge a few weeks ago. Jake’s clothes got a big reorganization with all of his now-too-small things packed up into space bags into the basement. And this week, I’ve been working on the refrigerator and pantry. There are a lot of things I just need to use up (or accept that I won’t and throw them out).

I realized I had two, half-full containers of chocolate icing the other day. Which automatically meant I needed to try another version of the Reese’s fudge I posted last week. And in the pantry, I found some white chocolate peanut butter and leftover ingredients from the S’more Pizza. S’mores Fudge was the obvious choice. It came out delicious – Mark and I both agreed we liked this version better!


S’mores Fudge
(adapted from Reese’s Fudge)
Makes 1 pan

1 container chocolate icing
1 1/2 cups white chocolate peanut butter spread
Mini marshmallows
Crushed graham crackers

Line a small loaf pan with parchment.

Scoop the icing and spread into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute and whisk until thoroughly combined. (Microwave in 15-second increments if it’s not melted enough.)

Pour the chocolate mixture into the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle mini marshmallows and crushed graham crackers over the top and press in slightly. Refrigerate for several hours before slicing and serving. Store covered in the refrigerator.

Grilled Dijon Chicken

Lately, dinner has been all about whatever I can get on the table the fastest. Mark’s been working late and as soon as Jake realizes I’m cooking, he’s at my feet whining like he’s never been fed before. Our weekends, though, have been much more laid back so I’ve been doing as much prep as I can then.

This chicken is a brilliant two-fer. I made it on the weekend but it’s quick enough for a weeknight, too – just throw the marinade together in the morning and it’ll take you just a few minutes to grill it up in the evening. The best part, though, is using the leftover chicken to make these melts another night. Leftovers that don’t feel like leftovers are always appreciated here!


Grilled Dijon Chicken
(from Homemade by Holman)
Serves 4-6

2 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt

In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, honey and lemon juice. Stir in spices. Add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for several hours.

Grill over medium- high heat until cooked through, turning halfway, about 15 minutes.


Sweet Potato & Black Bean Salad

This weekend, Babywearing International of Central NJ celebrated their first anniversary of becoming a Babywearing International chapter. If there’s one thing that’s saved my sanity during the past year, it’s baby wearing. I feel incredibly fortunate to have found this community so early in motherhood and that my local chapter is so awesome.

Saturday’s celebration was a potluck picnic at a beautiful local park. This salad was my contribution to the feast. It’s something I’ve made before and have been meaning to make again since Jake is currently loving sweet potatoes and black beans. And this is one of the best potluck dishes I’ve found – it can be served warm, chilled or at room temperature and it’s gluten, nut and dairy free so it’s perfect for pretty much everyone.

Stuck with leftovers? It also makes an awesome burrito filling!


Sweet Potato & Black Bean Salad
(slightly adapted from Beantown Baker)
Serves 10-12 as a side

3 Tbsp. olive oil
5 large sweet potatoes
3 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
Juice of 3 limes
Zest of 1 1/2 limes
1 tsp. salt, divided
Pinch or two cayenne
1/3 cup chopped cilantro

Preheat the oven to 400F degrees.

Peel the sweet potatoes and cube into bite-size pieces. Toss with olive oil and 1/2 tsp. of salt and spread on a baking sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes, until tender but not smushing, tossing halfway through. Remove and let cool for five minutes.

While the sweet potatoes roast,  rinse and drain the black beans.

Whisk together lime juice, zest, remaining salt and cayenne in a large bowl. Toss with black beans and slightly-cooled sweet potatoes. Stir in cilantro.

Quick & Easy Reese’s Fudge

Do you believe in fate? Occasionally, I think the universe just begs for things to happen. Like, this fudge popped up in my Facebook feed right after I put little man down for a nap. And I had all the ingredients handy. It was like the whole world was just begging for this to get made. Of course, I obliged.

This was ridiculously easy. Like, I had it finished and the kitchen cleaned up before Jake’s power nap was over. That never happens! It’s not my favorite fudge ever (that’s Mom’s!), but it’s reminiscent of the fudge we get on the boardwalk and my husband has been munching it happily all week. I’m sure this will be my go-to way to use up leftover icing in the future!


Quick & Easy Reese’s Fudge
(from Real Housemoms)
Makes 1 pan

1 container vanilla icing
1 1/2 cups chocolate peanut butter spread
Mini Reese’s Pieces

Line a small loaf pan with parchment.

Scoop the icing and spread into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute and whisk until thoroughly combined. (Microwave in 15-second increments if it’s not melted enough.)

Pour the chocolate mixture into the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle Reese’s Pieces over the top and press in slightly. Refrigerate for several hours before slicing and serving. Store covered in the refrigerator.

Mango-Mint Turkey Burgers

In a lot of ways, this has been the perfect summer. We’ve had friends from all over visit, we made trips to Boston and Hershey and the shore, we introduced little man to swimming and ice cream and county fairs. We celebrated my 30th birthday, little man’s first birthday and our 6th wedding anniversary. I’ve also gotten back into a few things that had fallen by the wayside during the last year – mainly, working out and reading.

Instead of spending a lot of time in the kitchen, I’ve been revisiting old favorites that I know I can whip together quickly. It’s been nice to have a few weeks to just cook and not worry about trying new things or photographing meals. The break was good for the soul and helped revive my drive to cook – my dinner plans for the next few weeks are more ambitious than I’ve felt in a while!

These burgers were, mostly, a “use up what you’ve got” recipe. I had turkey that needed to get cooked that day and some mint that I had forgotten to toss in another dish (oops), so when I saw this on Pinterest it became dinner for the night. I was still on “blogging break” when I made these so I half-heartedly snapped a picture before I dug in – but despite the lackluster snapshot, these were too good not to share! These are a really great summer burger.


Mango-Mint Turkey Burgers
(from No Biggie)
Makes 4

1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 large mango, finely diced
1 Tbsp. mint, chopped
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 Tbsp. steak seasoning
1 Tbsp. Mrs. Dash original seasoning
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
Buns, for serving

In a small bowl, whisk together the barbecue sauce and teriyaki sauce. Set aside.

In a larger bowl, combine the turkey, mango, mint, onion and seasonings with your hands. When thoroughly mixed, divide into 4 equal balls and shape them into patties. Brush the tops of the patties with the sauce mix.

Cook the burgers on a medium-high grill. Place them glazed-side down and brush sauce on the other sides. Flip halfway through cooking and glaze again.

Serve on buns.