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.

S’more Pizza



The latest What’s Baking? theme couldn’t be more appropriate for summer: S’mores. I can’t think of any food I associate more with summer fun. To me, they’re closely tied to summer camping trips and buggy nights around a campfire. Little man took his first camping trip this summer and we used it as an opportunity to introduce him to the amazingness of s’mores. Like his parents, he loved them.

This s’more pizza captures those classic flavors without the campfire. The broiler even gives it a nice, toasted look. (I never get my marshmallows on the campfire to look like that!) This is a perfect dessert for a summer barbecue or even a winter game night.

If you want to check out what other s’more-themed goodies What’s Baking? participants baked up this month, check out the roundup on Joanna’s blog, Kosher Kitchen, soon!


S’more Pizza
(from It’s Always Autumn)
Makes 1 pizza

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
12 oz. milk chocolate chips
7 oz. marshmallow crème
1 cup mini marshmallows
3-4 graham crackers

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.

In a medium, microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter. Whisk in the sugar until well-combined. Whisk in the egg and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk together the graham cracker crumbs flour, baking soda and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet until well-combined.

Press the mixture into a greased pizza pan or a lined springform pan (9-12 inches). Top with 9 oz. of chocolate chips. Dollop marshmallow crème evenly over the chocolate and spread out lightly.

Bake for 18 minutes. Remove from oven and turn on the broiler.

Top the baked pizza with mini marshmallows, remaining chocolate chips and graham cracker pieces. Broil for 1-2 minutes, until marshmallows look toasted.

Let cool for several minutes before cutting and serving.

Firecracker Cookies

I’ve been on a cookie kick for the last week or so. I mixed up batches of my favorites for a few parties last weekend so I wanted to try something new for this weekend’s festivities. These were super fun and super easy. You can make these with your favorite sugar cookie and buttercream recipes, or just use packages – whichever your schedule allows.

Adding pop rocks on top makes these firecrackers for your tongue but you want to add them right before serving or the moisture of the icing will activate all of the “popping” early.


Firecracker Cookies
(from momdot)

Your favorite sugar cookies
White icing
Strawberry or Watermelon PopRocks
Red, White and Blue Sprinkles

Prepare your favorite sugar cookies. Once cook, frost and decorate with sanding sugar and sprinkles. Add Pop Rocks right before serving.

Red, White & Blue Salad

We just finished up our annual June celebrating marathon. It always seems like everything happens this month and we end up over-indulging in party food. Rather than keep the trend going, I’m planning to make some really fresh, seasonal meals for the July 4th weekend, including this salad.

We’ve had really beautiful berries in the stores lately so this will be a perfect accompaniment to any grilled meal we cook up this weekend.


Red, White & Blue Salad
(adapted slightly from Green Lite Bites)
Serves 4 as a side

8 oz. baby spinach
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup quartered strawberries
1/4 cup feta cheese
3-4 Tbsp. poppyseed dressing

In a large bowl, toss together the spinach and dressing until evenly coated. Toss in the berries and transfer to serving bowl. Top with feta. Serve immediately.