Beets Don’t Kale My Vibe


Sometimes we end up with kind of random ingredients at the end of the week. This is what happens when I go grocery shopping on an empty stomach and I go a little produce happy without a solid plan in place.  Today was that day. Bone-in chicken breasts, beets, and an ungodly amount of kale. I knew what to do with the chicken, but wasn’t sure what we would eat with that chicken. A kale salad seemed too obvious…I wasn’t feeling it for tonight.

I did a quick search through my recipe apps to see what I had favorited, or saved. Which is where I found a recipe (Epicurious) with perhaps the most fun name ever…Beets Don’t Kale My Vibe Salad! Unfortunately, it was a salad…but the flavors looked amazing, so I adapted it to make dinner tonight. Oh. My. Word. Delicious!


2 Bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts

3 cloves garlic, halved

3 Tbsp Vegetable Oil

Salt/Pepper to taste

2 Tbsp Butter

Preheat oven to 325*

I soaked my chicken for 4 hours in a cold water bath with 2 Tbsp of sugar and 4 Tbsp of salt in the refrigerator. You can skip this step if you are pressed for time or forgot to do it.

Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Heat the vegetable oil in a cast-iron (or heavy) pan over medium-high heat. Place chicken in the cast iron pan skin side down. Arrange halved garlic around the chicken. Set a timer for 4 min. I recommend a splatter guard, it gets messy! When the timer goes off, stack the garlic on top of the chicken breasts and top each with 1Tbsp of butter. Put in preheated oven for 30min. Increase oven temperature to 425* and roast 10 more minutes.

While the chicken gets delicious…

Beets Don’t Kale My Vibe

3 rainbow beets, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 small red onion, diced

3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp agave nectar

Salt and pepper to taste

4-6 cups chopped kale

3 cups of cooked wild rice

Preheat oven broiler

Combine beets, onion, vinegar, and agave nectar in a bowl. Salt and pepper to taste. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Dump the bowl of beets onto the baking sheet and make sure beets are in single layer. Broil beets for 6-7 minutes or until browned. Put a piece of foil over the baking sheet and continue broiling another 7-8 minutes or until tender.

Cook wild rice according to package directions. In the last 10 minutes, add kale to the rice and finish cooking. When the beets are finished under the broiler, add them to the kale/rice mixture.

Plate and top with chicken.

High-five yourself for making something delicious out of what is left in the refrigerator!



Tuna Poke Bowls with Brown Rice and Kale

IMG_6664.PNGWe’ve subscribed to Blue Apron, which I’ve grown to love. The convenience of it is nice, but truthfully, what I like best about it is that it causes me to try ingredients and flavor combinations that I wouldn’t normally try out. While I love testing out new recipes, I tend to stick to the ingredients and flavor combos that I know are winners. I’ve seriously NEVER used so much vinegar in my cooking (That-Boy-I-Love swears he hates vinegar, the recipes that he has enjoyed  from Blue Apron would say otherwise).

When I came across this recipe in my Cooking Light magazine, I knew we needed to try it out. We are big fans of this happiness! You guys, this was super delicious! I generally do Ahi Tuna as a salad topping, but the brown rice and kale combo was spot on.

If you, like me, don’t live in a place where Yellow Fin Tuna is guaranteed fresh and sushi grade, you may want to sear it just a little. This is probably all in my mind, but I think that in Colorado, the searing is a safer choice to make sure it is delicious (food source peeps, please tell me all the reasons I’m mistaking!).

Recipe is here, if you want to try the seared version, substitute the raw Tuna for a pan with Sesame Oil over medium-high heat. Salt and pepper your Tuna to taste and then sear both sides. We like the raw so I truly just sear it. The only other adjustment, I didn’t have brown short grain rice, but I did have brown rice couscous. So, I made that. I’m assuming that the results are equally tasty with either!


Recipe on Cooking Light here.



Sunday Night Roast Chicken Happiness

We are a week away from Thanksgiving in the US. This week is a marathon of food, good deals, and “bring-on-the-Christmas.” We have the week off. The WHOLE week. If there is anything more glorious than that, I’m not sure what it is.

Happiness is a project- Sunday roast chicken

Then there is this dinner. It is without a doubt a pre-game for Thanksgiving. That-boy-I-love declared it his favorite meal of fall/winter. I have to say, it is a darn good one.

Even though this dinner takes a bit of time to cook, it is pretty stinking low on the prep work and the result is dynamite. If you use a disposable roast pan like we do, the clean up is easy-peasy, too. You know you’ve done well when @jtenkely comments about the amazingness of said dinner while there is a Broncos game on TV (and they are kicking tail in the first). Starting with a stick of butter doesn’t hurt!

Sunday Chicken Dinner Happiness:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened (if you haven’t tried Kerrygold butter, it is a must! You think that butter brand isn’t important until you have had this butter. There is no going back.)
  • 1 TBSP Rosemary
  • 1 TBSP Thyme
  • 1 TBSP Parsley
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Fennel
  • 1 whole chicken (giblets and neck removed…because I hate that part)
  • 6 small gold potatoes cut in half
  • 1/2 large yellow onion roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh green beans
  • 5 radishes cut in half
  • 4 cloves garlic

Preheat oven to 400* Combine softened butter with rosemary, thyme, parsley, fennel, salt and pepper. (It looks like a mess when you combine all of these, @jtenkely calls it goop…it is wonderful). Loosen skin from chicken starting at the neck and working until all skin is loosened. A spoon can help with this step. Separate 3TBSP of the herb butter and spread it evenly under the skin of the chicken. Take two additional TBSP of the herb butter and massage it into the surface of the chicken (over the skin).

Place chicken in roasting pan. Spread the potatoes, onion, carrots, green beans, radishes, and garlic around the chicken. Place in oven for 30 min.

Use a baster to spread juices (let’s be honest, it’s butter) over chicken and veggies. Brush on some of the remaining herb butter mix over the chicken and veggies. Bake 30 more minutes.

Repeat the basting and brushing of herb-butter mixture and bake 30 minutes.

The last basting and brushing (really layer on all of the remaining butter and herb mix). Bake 30 more minutes.

Your house should be smelling INCREDIBLE right about now. Use a thermometer in the meatiest part of the thigh to ensure that the chicken is cooked through. It should be at least 165* (ours was 189* and perfect).  I tend to go a tad over on internal temp readings with chicken because I would rather go a little over than a little under.

Pair with a good white wine and you can’t go wrong!

We like this particular meal with LaCrema Chardonnay. We don’t always love Chardonnay, but LaCrema KNOWS how to do it right.

Happiness is a project- shiba inu

You know that you have a win when @jtenkely comments on Instagram and the dogs look longingly up at you throughout the meal.

The green beans are outstanding…how can they not be marinating in butter goodness for 2 hours?!

There are only two of us, so of course we have left overs. I love that this happens, we get two more meals out of this deal. Homemade chicken pot pies (that will now be super simple to make!) and chicken and rice soup are in our future. Winning.

This is Sunday night roast chicken happiness.

Stuffed Roasted Vegetable and Cheese Meatloaf with Balsamic Glaze Happiness

Full disclosure, when I was a kid I hated meatloaf.  Hated.  I may have even asked what was for dinner, learned that it was meatloaf, and subsequently called every friend I knew to get “invited” to dinner at their house.  My mom is an amazing cook.  I loved almost everything that she served.  Meatloaf was not one of them.  I hated the dryness and lack of flavor. I really hated the thick goopy ketchup on top.

You may be wondering why I decided to give meatloaf another go after a history like that.  Jonathan and I recently had dinner at a friends house where they served stuffed meatloaf.  It was delicious!  It gave me a whole new vision about what meatloaf could be.  I searched today for a recipe similar to what she created but came up empty.  So, I made up my own version.  We just finished eating and it didn’t even last long enough for me to take pictures.  Maybe next time 🙂

I stuffed my meatloaf with diced carrots, onion, garlic, mushrooms and parmesan.  Other than that, the meatloaf is pretty “normal” with the addition of balsamic vinegar.  I think that you could use any veggies that you have on hand (squash, zucchini, etc.) and the result would be equally yummy.

The following is my version of stuffed meatloaf for 2.


  • 1.5 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 diced carrot
  • 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup diced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (divided)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 1 lb of ground chuck
  • 1/4 tsp tarragon
  • 1/2 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup ketchup (divided)
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (divided)


  • Preheat oven to 425*
  • Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat.  Add carrots, onion, garlic, mushrooms, 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper, salt, pepper and cook until almost soft (5- 8 min).  Set aside to cool.
  • Whisk together herbs and egg in a large bowl. Add meat, panko crumbs, 1/2 of cheese, 1/2 of ketchup, 1/2 of balsamic vinegar and mix until just combined.
  • On a lined baking sheet, mold meat into a “boat” shape with the center hollow.  Mix remaining cheese and vegetable mix together.  Put this mixture in the center of the hollow boat.  Shape the meat up, over the vegetable mixture so that the mixture is enclosed and mold into a meat loaf “roll” shape.    Bake the meat loaf for 1 hour.
  • Whisk together remaining ketchup, crushed red pepper and balsamic vinegar.  Brush over meatloaf and bake 15 more minutes.  Slice and serve!


Jonathan is a big fan of gravy so I added some prepared beef gravy to the table for him.  This is so not the meatloaf of my childhood.  It is cheesy, flavorful and delicious.

This is meatloaf happiness.


Creamed Spinach Happiness

Sometimes the very best discoveries happen totally by accident.  This recipe was one of those.  A few months ago we had the most amazing creamed spinach at a local steak house.  Of course I had to try to recreate!  I hopped online to find creamed spinach recipes.  Most had cream cheese in them which majorly bummed me out because I had no cream cheese.  I was determined that we were going to have creamed spinach (because other veggies available were going to take too long for the rest of the meal I was making).  I dug through the refrigerator and had a moment of pure culinary genius: Laughing cow creamy swiss.  YES!

photo 1

I took about 4 other recipes and mashed them together to make something similar to what we had at the steak house.  Here is what I came up with:

photo 2

Creamed Spinach Happiness 

Yield: 2 servings  Prep Time: 10 min  Cook Time: 20 min


  • 2 Tbsp butter + 2 tsp
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 Leek, finely minced (this could also be onion but the leek was fabulous!)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 oz (2 wedges) of Laughing Cow creamy swiss
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dash of ground nutmeg
  • 6 oz baby spinach (frozen works as well)
  • 3 Tbsp grated parmesan
  • 3 Tbsp havarti cheese (optional but always a good idea)


Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a pot.  Sprinkle in flour and salt and whisk together until smooth.  Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until it is a light golden brown (keep whisking so you don’t end up with a brown lump).  Slowly stir in milk, whisking constantly.  Stir in the Laughing Cow creamy swiss and cook for another 5 minutes while you cook the spinach.

In a separate pan melt 2 tsp butter and add garlic and leeks, sauté until transparent.  Add spinach and cook until wilted (4-5 min).

Season the cream sauce with salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Add the spinach/leek/garlic mixture to the cream sauce.  Stir to combine.  Add in havarti cheese and parmesan and stir until melted and combined.

**If you want to get really fancy, mix up some of the grated parmesan with some panko bread crumbs.  Top the spinach mixture with panko and parmesan and broil until golden brown (2 min).

I have to say, this creamed spinach was amazing!  It may even be better than the creamed spinach I was working to recreate.

photo 3

We had chicken, salad, crusty bread and a grapefruit with our spinach.  The chicken looks pretty amazing, but I wasn’t thrilled with the recipe, it just needed something…I’ll have to play with the flavors a little bit before sharing.  You should know that the fire alarm went off 3 times while creating this meal, it isn’t dinner until I’ve set off our super sensitive alarm!

photo 4

Our salad is a simple one: mixed greens topped with blue cheese, dried cranberries, almonds, citrus olive oil and O&Co Balsamic.  This is my go to salad because it is SO simple and is SO good!

Happy cooking!


Pumpkin Sausage Lasagna

Fall is a perfectly wonderful time of year.  At our house it includes a lot of pumpkin, leeks,  and sage- I seem to buy all of these at least once a week.

I had some left over pumpkin from some Pumpkin Waffles with Apple Cider Syrup that I made for breakfast (those things were AMAZING), so naturally, I had to create a dish to use all of that extra deliciousness.  No sense in being wasteful.

I decided to throw together some ingredients I had on hand and came up with this gem.

Pumpkin Sausage Lasagna

Ingredients (serves 2-3)

.5 lbs ground Italian sausage

1 Tbsp fresh, chopped sage leaves

3 Barilla no boil lasagna noodles

3/4 cup shredded Italian cheese

1 cup pumpkin puree (also known as canned pumpkin, unless you want to get really fancy)

1/2 cup milk (we used 2%)

3 Tbsp chopped leek (white part only)

1/2 Tbsp butter

1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup sliced baby bella (crimini) mushrooms

1 clove garlic, minced

1/8 cup ricotta cheese

1/8 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Fresh Ground Pepper (to taste)


1.  Brown sausage in a sauce pan

2. Melt butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Saute leeks, garlic, sage and mushrooms until leeks have just started to caramelize.

3.  Add drained sausage to leek/mushroom mixture.

4.  Heat pumpkin puree and milk over low heat.  Stir until combined.  Add pepper to taste.

5.  Spread 1/3 of pumpkin puree into bottom of a small bread loaf pan.

6. Top with 1 lasagna noodle.  Spread thin layer of ricotta over noodle.

7. Layer 1/3 of sausage mixture, 1/3 of the Italian cheese and pumpkin puree.

8. Continue layering (step 6 and 7) until you are out of the good stuff.

9.  Sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan over the top layer of Italian cheese (don’t skip this step, it makes it EXTRA tasty).

10.  Cover with foil and bake for 50 minutes.

You will get something that looks a lot like this:

Jonathan thinks it is very hilarious to call creations he has never seen before “goop;” as in, “mmm, that goop smells like fall.”  He calls it goop right up to the moment he puts a bite in his mouth. Then it gets a shmancy name worthy of its deliciousness.

Prepare to be happy in your mouth.

We recommend you light some candles, put on the soundtrack from Midnight in Paris, open a bottle of wine (we like LaCrema Chardonnay or Beringer Knights Valley Cab), tear off a chunk of crusty bread, and enjoy some time together dreaming up your next project.