Grilled Pineapple with Honey Sriracha Sauce

Grilled Pineapple with Honey sriracha sauce


Fresh Lime Juice and Cilantro really brighten this up!


Grilled Fruit.  Any Grilled Fruit.  But, especially grilled PINEAPPLE….

Grilling Fresh Pineapple Rings on my Indoor Grill Pan

Grilling Fresh Pineapple Rings on my Indoor Grill Pan

Fruit.  One of my favorite things to eat in the Summer.  The heat of the grill pulls out the natural sugars in the fruit, letting the flavors come alive with a caramelized sweetness that is explosive.  It’s the best.

Sweet & Simple.

Hit it wish some fresh aromatic Cilantro & acidic Lime……. Perfection.

And the Results are AMAZING!!!

And the Results are AMAZING!!!





Honey Sriracha Sauce

*Put all Ingredients into a smallMason Jarand Shake It, Baby!!!


Grilled Pineapple

  • Preheat Grill Pan Med High
  • Core and Slice Fresh Pineapple into thick rings
  • Lay on paper towel to absorb excess moisture and pat dry
  • When grill is hot, lightly spray sliced Pineapple Ring with Coconut Oil Spray and place spray side DOWN on grill pan
  • Repeat with all slices
  • Let sit 1-2 minutes until char mark has formed and they lift easily off the pan
  • Spray other side with Coconut Oil
  • Flip pineapple rings and grill the other side for a minute
  • When ready, remove and plate immediately (or slice) and drizzle the sauce over so it can absorb into the warm pineapple
  • Garnish with Fresh Cilantro Leaves and Grilled Lime Wedges


Fresh off the Grill

Fresh off the Grill


I also serve it sliced with Grilled Mushrooms mixed in!!!

I also serve it sliced with Grilled Mushrooms mixed in!!!

This is a super crowd pleaser!!!  Make this dish for your Memorial Day Cookout.  You will NOT be disappointed…..I promise!!!  Even the kids like it.  You can always tone down the heat some by adding less Sriracha.  Always Season to YOUR Taste!

Dinner is Served

Dinner is Served


Tonight, I served my Grilled Pineapple along with Grilled Citrus Chicken, Peppers & Onions, Coconut Cardamon Rice and garnished with Fresh Chopped Cilantro and Fresh Grilled Lime.  And, perhaps, just a little extra Honey Sriracha sauce on the side! 🙂

Eat, Drink & Be Kari



Kari’s Queso

Kari’s Queso

Gooey, Cheesy, Melted Deliciousness

Ooey, Gooey, Cheesy, Melted Deliciousness…with a Kick!!!


queso. Queso. QUESO!

This is NOT the recipe for Mexican Cheese Dip.

This is NOT the recipe for Rotel + Velveeta.

This is NOT your average Queso.

This is Queso.  Karified.

And  its ah-mazing.

I could go on and on and on and on and on (do ya get my drift!??!?!) about the absolutely outrageously scrumptiousness of this queso….but I don’t think I could do it justice. I’ll let the pics speak for themselves.

Gather Your Ingredients

Gather Your Ingredients (Blackberry Mint Mojito Optional!)

TIP: If you like a kick, a poblano would be absolute perfection! I only had these on hand, so that’s what I used.  Instead, I added some fresh jalapeño slices at the end to boost the heat!

First, Brown the Sausage

First, Brown Sausage & Drain.


Next, Saute Chopped Onion, Red Pepper & Orange Pepper in Cast Iron

Next, Sauté Onion & Peppers in the same Cast Iron Skillet in the delicious Sausage drippings!

Toss in a couple of diced garlic cloves the last 2-3 minutes of sautéing.

Shred your Cheeses of Choice

Oh, and Shred your Cheeses of Choice

You can use any cheese you’d like that melts nicely.  I think I used Mozzarella, Pepper Jack, and White Cheddar.  You don’t have to use 3 different cheeses, you can just use one!  Experiment around to find what you like! Good Options: Monterey Jack, White Cheddar, Havarti, Manchego, Fontina, Mozzarella, Queso Fresco, Asaigo.  TIP: Remember, if you go with a Stringy Cheese (mozza, queso fresco, etc) I DO recommend mixing it with another Creamier Cheese (havarti, jack, fontina) for a better melthing consistency in the end. No one wants a grainy mess at the end! To be extra safe, you could mix a few ounces of Cream Cheese in with the Veggies so the Queso will melt into creamy deliciousness. I just don’t like a cream cheese in my queso….it kinda feels like cheating! But, it will work if you’re worried about it! TIP: Also, and I can not reiterate this enough: Do NOT use Pre-Shredded Cheese!!! They contain anti-clumping agents that will prevent it from clumping, therefore ruining the texture of your queso! If you’ve had problems with melting cheese in the past, this might be your problem! Gross, right?!?!?!

Next, Layer!!!!

Next, Layer!!!!

Sausage & Veggies, Cheese, Sausage & Veggies, Cheese…..

End with a Cheese Layer

End with a Cheese Layer

Sprinkle some Aleppo Pepper on top!

Sprinkle some Crushed Aleppo Pepper on top and Bake!

TIP: You can also use Chili Powder or Smoked Paprika

Top with Fresh Jalapeños, Fresh Chopped Tomatoes & Cilantro

Top with Fresh Jalapeños, Fresh Chopped Tomatoes & Cilantro

After cooling for a few minutes, I added some more Fresh Cilantro because we love it! If you don't like it, don't add it!!!

After cooling for a few minutes, I added some more Fresh Cilantro because we love it! If you don’t like it, don’t add it!!!


Here's the Hubby going in for a dip!!!!!

Here’s the Hubby going in for a dip!!!!!

I served with Blue Corn Chips.

Kari’s Queso

  • 1 lb Sausage, Browned
  • Red Bell Pepper, Chopped
  • Orange Bell Pepper, Chopped
  • Large Onion, Chopped
  • 2-3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • @ 3 Cups Grated Cheese
  • Crushed Aleppo Pepper
  • Fresh Jalapeño, Sliced
  • Handful Fresh Cilantro, Chopped

Grate about 2 1/2- 3 cups of Cheese. Set aside. In Cast Iron Skillet, Brown Sausage. When browned, remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Sauté Peppers and Onion until almost translucent, about 5 mins on Med. Add Garlic and sauté 2-3 mins more. Remove about half of the sautéed veggies.  Add layer of Sausage, then a layer of cheese.  Add another layer of veggies & sausage, then another layer of cheese.  (you can do 2 or 3 layers….it really doesn’t matter…just make sure you are using the same amounts of veggies, sausage & cheese each time!)  Be sure to finish with a layer of cheese.  (any leftover veggies, sausage or cheese make a killer omelet or scrambled eggs the next morning!!!!)  Sprinkle with Crushed Aleppo Pepper and Bake 375 for 10-15 mins.  Be sure to check your Queso and make sure its not overcooked. You just want to MELT THE CHEESES TOGETHER. If you overcook it, it will become stringy!!!! Let it cool only 1-2 mins if not adding any toppings before you dig in.  Let the cheese settle for a minute, but not cool.  If topping with jalapeños, cilantro, and tomatoes, simply top and serve!!!!! ENJOY!


Skinny Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

Skinny Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

Skinny Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

Skinny Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

Under the weather?  Feeling a little blah? Or just need some soup to help you warm up?  The normal “go to” recipe would be basic Chicken Noodle Soup.  But, I am not a huge fan.  So I created a new “go to” soup for the sick soul.  A Thai version of Chicken Noodle Soup that packs a little heat to help open up my stuffy nose.  I’ve also cut the fat and calories down as much as possible to create a “skinny” version.  This soup is packed full of so much flavor, you don’t even miss it!  The onions, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and fresh lime juice add some serious health benefits to get me back on the road to recovery!

Warm and Comforting with a little KICK!

Warm and Comforting with a little KICK!

Skinny Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

  • 1 TBS Grapeseed Oil
  • 1 Large Onion, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Stalk Lemongrass, cut into 2 inch pieces and smashed
  • 2 tsp Grated Ginger, plus a disc size to sauté in soup
  • 3 Kaffir Lime Leaves
  • 2-3 Limes, zest & juice
  • 2 TBS Green Curry Paste
  • 2 32 oz Boxes Low Sodium Chicken Stock
  • 1 15 oz can LITE Coconut Milk
  • 2 TBS Fish Sauce
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz Rice Noodles, broken into thirds
  • 2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 Cup Cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt & Pepper

*Heat Grapeseed Oil in large soup pot over Med-High.  Add Onion, season with Salt and Pepper, and cook about 8 mins, stirring occasionally, until softened and starting to brown.  Turn Heat to Med add Garlic, LemonGrass, Ginger & Kaffir Lime Leaves.  Sauté 2-3 mins until fragrant, stirring occasionally so the garlic doesn’t burn!  Add Green Curry Paste & Lime Zest and sauté another minute or so.  Add Chicken Broth, Coconut Milk & Fish Sauce.  Turn up heat and bring to a slight boil.  Add Red Bell Peppers & Rice Noodles and simmer about 3 mins until noodles are al dente.  Add uncooked sliced chicken and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 3 mins.  Turn down heat.  Add Crushed Red Pepper, Lime Juice and Cilantro.  Taste.  Adjust Seasonings as needed; fish sauce, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, etc. Serve with a sprinkle of Cilantro and a Fresh Lime Wedge!

A great "go to" Feel-Better Soup!

A great “go to” Feel-Better Soup!

Onions, Ginger, Garlic, Lemongrass & Kaffir Lime Leaves

Onions, Ginger, Garlic, Lemongrass & Kaffir Lime Leaves


*The heat of this soup is easily adjusted.  Cut the Green Curry Paste in half, and leave out the Crushed Red Pepper Flakes if you don’t care for too much spice.  The garlic and ginger gives it a natural heat!

*Lemongrass.  Amazing flavor.  I used a whole stalk.  If you don’t grow your own, or can’t find it, you can use 2 tsp dried lemongrass.  For the stalk, I simply cut it into 2 inch pieces, sliced it lengthwise, then smashed it with my knife.  That was the soup can absorb all that amazing flavor.  I also took about a 1/2 inch and THINLY THINLY THINLY chopped it up into the soup.  It is very woody, so you really need to get it chopped up as fine as you can!

*Kaffir Lime Leaves.  You should be able to find these in the International section of your grocery store.  They are not usually in the regular herbs and spices section.  I hope you can find these.  It will change and intensify the flavor of the soup!

*UNCOOKED CHICKEN!?!? What??? Is this OK??? Yes.  My tip here is to pop 2 cleaned chicken breasts into the freezer when you start to prep for the soup (15 mins).  If it is slightly frozen, it is MUCH easier to slice crosswise into small “shaved” pieces.  They really do cook up superquick in the soup.  Literally, like 3 mins if you have the soup hot enough and chicken thin enough.  Just don’t overcook the chicken…it will become rubbery and a tad chewy.  This soup is best served right when finished.  If you need to have is simmer for a bit, do so after you added the Broth.  The Veggies and Broth are fine to simmer, just wait to add the Coconut Milk, Red Peppers and Chicken as you don’t want to overcook them!

*I used 2 Limes.  One for zest, added to the soup.  1 1/2 added for juice.  And 1/2 cut up into wedges for serving.  I was only making this for the hubby and I last night, so we have some serious leftovers for lunch today!!!! Yippiee!!!  But you need at least the juice of one whole lime to really brighten up this soup!

*If you don’t like Cilantro, try replacing it with Thai Basil!

A healthy, satisfying spoonful!

A healthy, satisfying spoonful!


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Cheese Ballin’ & Jalapeño Poppin’

Cheese Ballin’


Jalapeño Poppin’


Ok, Folks!!! Today I’m giving you a 2 for 1. The EXACT SAME CheeseBall, also doubles as a kick ass Jalapeño Popper Filling. I’ve learned a few things along the way, so I’ll share and let you run free! This is a super easy recipe that I just threw together on the fly. I’ve never made Jalapeño Poppers before, but have always wanted to.  They were super tasty and…. pretty easy to assemble. So, here’s what you need:

Jalapeños & Ingredients Prepped

Jalapeño & Ingredient Prep

  • 8 oz. Organic Lower Fat Cream Cheese
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup diced Fresh Pineapple
  • 6-8 oz shredded Sharp Cheddar
  • Handful of Cilantro chopped (stems & leaves)
  • as many jalapeños as you want to make (seeds and membrane removed)
  • Applewood Bacon

TIPS: I used 9 LARGE Jalapeños. I mean, these suckers were HUGE!!!! We def had to use a knife and a fork for these bad boys! (You can also use the smaller jalapeños and make them more “popper” size. Instead of wrapping an entire piece of bacon around them, you would just use half. Easy Peasy!!!) Also, I recommend the Neufchatel Cream Cheese as it has 1/3 less fat than regular cream cheese. But, I would NOT Substitute Fat Free ANYTHING EVER!!!! Usually the Fat Free versions are chock full of other bad ingredients (sugars, calories, preservatives, natural flavor, etc). The small amount of added fat in the lower fat or even the full fat versions are in actuality better for you. The more natural and wholesome the product, the better! And, for the love of food, Do NOT use Fat Free Cheese. I mean, YUCK!!! That stuff doesn’t even melt right!!! Also, if you don’t like pineapple…leave it out! And if you hate cilantro, you can sub in another herb of choice. I’d recommend Parsley, Chives, Garlic Chives, or Thyme.


For the Filling/CheeseBall

Yeah, Yeah….I know this is a blurry pic, but I was working fast in the kitchen. I just wanted to show you what I did with the Pineapple. After dicing up, I placed it on a paper towel to drain off the excess water and juice while I prepped the rest of the ingredients. Nobody likes a soggy CheeseBall!!!

Cheese Mixture

Cheese Mixture

Now, the cheese mixture should look like this. Yes, that is a LOT of pineapple. We love pineapple and cilantro. I thought that the sweetness of the pineapple might counteract the spicy jalapeño. Here’s what I learned. Yes, you CAN taste the pineapple in the cheese ball. And, no, you can NOT taste the pineapple in the poppers. I’m not sure if its because we smoked them on the grill with apple wood, or if the heat of the jalapeño masked it. But, if I make poppers again, I will leave out the pineapple, I think.  Maybe it does do some undercover work making the mixture a little sweeter?  And, it IS a healthy addition!!!  In fact, it was delicious in the cheese ball…….until the next day. We had some leftover and ate it for a game day appetizer on Sunday. For some reason it tasted BITTER. Not very good. So, apparently the cheeseball is best eaten the day its prepared if you add pineapple. And, be sure not to roll it in the bacon and jalapeños until the day you serve. You want to bacon to be crispy, but once it is refrigerated, it becomes chewy.

Stuff the Jalapeños

Stuff the Jalapeños

I wasn’t sure how to go about the Jalapeños. I could either slice them lengthwise and try to clean out the seeds and some of the membrane (this is where the heat hides in peppers). I did that to my first Jalapeño, I started with 10. I ruined it. I think they were so large that this method was difficult to accomplish without splitting the pepper. Down to 9 peppers. This time I decided, Off With Their Heads!!!! This worked fabulously!!!! So, for smaller “popper” size jalapeños, I would use the slice down the middle method. For these Big Daddy Jalapeños, the Off With Their Heads method worked best. TIP: When stuffing the peppers, be sure to start with a small amount of filling and push it down to the tip of the pepper. Then go back for more filling for the upper half of the pepper. No bite left unfilled!!!

Put the Tops back on!

Put the Tops back on!

Now, secure with a toothpick. Not really sure what I was doing here since these guys were HUGE. I inserted 1 toothpick through the top “hat” of the pepper and tried to secure it to the base. Maybe next time I’ll use 2 toothpicks and secure them in a crisscross fashion??? I didn’t use 2 because I thought the bacon “wrapping” would help keep them intact.  Lesson Learned.



It gets kinda messy, but No Worries!!! The filling also acted as a sort of “glue” to let you put the tops back on the jalapeños and secure them with a toothpick. However, we lost some of the tops while grilling. Apparently, I should have used 2 toothpicks for these Big Daddys. I figure 1 toothpick would be sufficient for a normal size jalapeño. TOOTHPICK TIP: I used natural bamboo toothpicks that I had presoaked in a cup of water for about 20 mins. You don’t want them to burn! This will help.

Wrap Em' Up!

Wrap Em’ Up!

Next, take a whole slice of bacon and wrap it around the entire pepper, tucking the ends in. If you are using a “normal size” jalapeño, a half slice should be enough. I used a local applewood bacon for super flavor. We were also smoking these on the grill with applewood chips. Flavor Boost!!! You can also use regular bacon or turkey bacon!

Plate and Pop in Fridge until ready to cook!

Pop in Fridge until ready to cook!

Now, to put these on the grill and try to keep them easy to turn.  I skewered 3 poppers on 2 skewers before placing them on the grill. This helped keep them stabilized and easy to flip. Got to get all sides of that bacon CRISPY in this household, per the hubs.

Throw 'em on the Grill or in the Oven

Skewered Poppers

Throw ‘Em on the Grill.  Smoke ‘Em.  Put ‘Em in the Oven. Broil ‘Em.  Put ‘Em on a Grill Pan.  All sorts of cooking choices.  Use what works best for you.  We Popped ‘Em on the Grill and Smoked ‘Em over Apple Wood for #SUPERFLAVOR.  Yes, yes, YES….it was amazing.  I highly recommend it.  Now, let’s get Cheese Ballin’

Kicked Up Pineapple-Cilantro CheeseBall

Leftover Cheese Mixture

Leftover Cheese Mixture

Ok, so after stuffing all the jalapeños, I had some of the Cheese Mixture Leftover. Hence, the creation of the CheeseBall. Cheese Balls are simply cream cheese mixed with your choice of cheeses and herbs and fillings and rolled into a ball. I thought, what a quick app already made for me!  No waste, No worries. (I also debated using it for stuffed chicken).

Cheese Ballin'

Cheese Ballin’

Simply Roll the Mixture into a Ball and wrap in Saran Wrap.  Let chill in the fridge at least 30 mins or while you get the toppings ready to roll it in. Most people use a variety of nuts to roll their cheeseballs in. The Hubs is allergic to tree nuts, so instead I decided to crisp up some bacon and that naughty leftover jalapeño that I ruined earlier and use that as a crispy outer layer. Turned out DELISH!!!  Do It!!!!

Sautee Bacon & Jalapenos

Can you Smell the SIZZLE!?!?!

Drain the bacon and jalapeños on paper towels until cool.  Make sure they are pretty small.  I chopped mine up roughly with a knife.  You want your CheeseBall to be evenly coated in bacon deliciousness.  Tip: Again, you can sub turkey bacon.  It just won’t be as delicious.

Crispy Coating

Crispy Coating

Roll the chilled cheeseball in the bacon/jalapeño pieces.  Serve Immediately with Crackers, Bread, Crudités, Pita.



Cheese Ballin’ & Jalapeño Poppin’




SuperFruit Salsa

SuperFruit Salsa

With a few healthy, delicious ingredients, you can make a refreshing, revitalizing SuperFruit Salsa.  The sweetness of the pineapple paired with the heat from the jalapeño will tantalize your tastebuds with it’s cool, crisp texture.



Be sure to use Fresh, Organic Ingredients! Local, when possible!!!


Pineapple, diced

Papaya, diced

Red Onion, diced

Jalapeño, diced

2 Cloves Garlic, minced

Cilantro, leaves AND stems chopped

Organic Lemon Zest & Juice (I had an Organic Meyer!!! Oh Happy Day!!!!)

3 Sweet Peppers, diced (I had a Red, Yellow & Orange…such a pretty combo!!!)

1-2 T Local Honey (depending on heat of pepper and sweetness of fruits)

Dash of Fresh Ground Sea Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper



My Secret Ingredient

A Dash of………….



That’s right.  Cinnamon.  Just Remember: a LITTLE goes a LONG WAY!!!!  But, it is a divine addition!  And the numerous health benefits of cinnamon are always a tasty plus! You will thank me for this later.

(quick side note about Cinnamon: this delightful spice is also very tasty in Rum Punch! Really. Try It. You will thank me later for this one too!!!)


Chop and Dice and Throw It In a Bowl!


Add Gorgeous Organic Lemon Zest and Juice


Don’t forget our little secret!!! A Dash of Cinnamon with the Salt and Pepper


The colors are absolutely stunning.


Mix In the Chopped Cilantro and Drizzle Honey


Toss with a Fork to Combine.


I served mine over a Ponzu Marinaded Flank Steak with a side of Grilled Onions. Yes, it was delicious.


Steak turned out just right!!! No complaints from the Hubby!!!


Leftovers for Lunch the next day! Whole Wheat BLT with SuperFruit Salsa and Stacy’s Naked Pita Chips. So good!!! No complaints from the hubby on this one either!!!!

This is a really tasty way to get those fruits in to the kiddos, too!  They LOVED it!!!!

If you don’t have Papaya around (I just like to buy crazy unique fruits at the market when I can find them, especially when they are organic or local!!!!!  The kids love cutting into them and tasting them.  Do this with your kids…you will be surprised with how much they like!!!  Starfruits and Kiwi are always big hits!)  Anyway, as I was saying…….If you don’t have Papaya around, feel free to substitue mango, kiwi, melons, etc This is a pretty basic recipe that you can’t really mess up!  I’ve made it with Mango numerous times!!!


Here’s to Eatin’ Clean in the Dirty South!



The Simple Indian with Thai Red Curry Sauce





The Simple Indian with Thai Red Curry Sauce

Gather Ingredients

Organic Cilantro
Organic Red Onion
Organic Carrots
Organic Red Pepper
Organic Snow Peas
Organic Mung Bean Sprouts
Organic Garlic
Organic Lime
Organic Peas

Secret Ingredient # 1!!! Why I call this dish: The Simple Indian

Sauté Organic Chicken Thighs in Organic Coconut Oil (or substitute Tofu, etc) Add a Dash of Salt & Pepper. Throw in a garlic clove for good measure! Repeat until all thighs are browned. If cooking more than 3, do in separate batches so chicken will brown evenly. Don’t crowd the pan! Remove from pan and place aside.

In the pan the Chicken Thighs were cooked in, (so we have all the YUMMY bits in the bottom of the pan!!!!!!!) place the rough chopped onions, red pepper, carrots and lime (cut side down). Sauté a few minutes.

Remove the Lime! Add minced organic garlic clove, chopped organic cilantro stems and chicken to pan.

Lime Removed!

Secret # 1
Add half bottle of TJ’s Thai Red Curry Sauce. Simmer in Secret # 2
Btw. I’ve never used this sauce before. ❤ me some TJ’s…..I’ll let you know what I think!!!

Secret # 2
The Tagine
Simmer. Simple. Stovetop or Oven. Slow and Low. Will create moist, delicious, tender meat. Seriously. Go buy one, or another type of clay pot. They will change your recipes completely in Indian, African, Middle Eastern, etc cuisine.

After an hour simmering in the Tagine…

Remaining Raw Ingredients:
Chopped Organic Cilantro
Sliced Organic Green Onion
Previously Sautéed Limes

Add a handful of frozen Organic Peas

Mix in Peas until heated through, just a few minutes.

I made Organic Whole Wheat Cous Cous to serve with dinner and mixed in about 1/3 cup of the Trader Joes Red Curry Sauce at the end of cooking…right before letting the CousCous sit for a few minutes before serving.

Top with Fresh Chopped Organic Cilantro before serving. Mix. Serve Immediately. We ❤ cilantro. Use as much or as little as you want.

Top with more cilantro, scallions and mystery pepper. Squeeze sautéed lime juice overtop….and Dinner Is Served!!!

TIP: You can substitute any protein.  I used Chicken Thighs because they stay moist and meaty!

Eat. Drink. Be