Cheeseburger Soup

Cheeseburger Soup

Yes, you read that right…..I said CHEESEBURGER SOUP.

And, it is so scrumptious, filling and tasty that you are going to find it becomes a regular in your meal plan rotation.  My husband devoured it and BOTH kids came back for seconds….and the only soup they will eat is the Clear Broth at the Hibachi Style Restaurants and Chili (if you count that!). So, take my advice, and give this one a try… you will NOT be disappointed!  The soup literally tastes like a hot, juicy, delicious cheeseburger.  Although it does not photograph well, please do not doubt the tastiness!  My entire family will vouch for it!  Enjoy!

Cheeseburger Soup


In large soup pot, brown beef with salt, pepper and spices.  Add Onion and Celery and sauté 3 minutes.  Add Carrot and Garlic.  Cook 2 minutes or until Garlic is fragrant.  Add Tomato Paste and let cook out.  Add Mustard and Ketchup.  Mix to Combine.  Add knob of butter and sprinkle flour over mixture.  Stir to combine flour and cook for 3 minutes until flour is incorporated.  Gradually add Beer to thicken mixture.  Add Beef stock and bring to a simmer.  Add Hashbrowns and simmer until soup thickens.  Lower heat and add the Cheese in slowly, by the handful, until melted into the soup.  Slowly pour in Half & Half and stir to combine .  Taste.  Season with Salt, Pepper and Fresh Parsley.  Serve with Crispy Fried Onion Rings, Bacon, Sour Cream, Shredded Cheese, Scallions…..


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Cheeseburger Pie

Have you Ever Heard of

CheeseBurger Pie???

…Me neither! 🤣

But, My Kids LOVE it!!!

My MIL made them Cheeseburger Pie when she came to babysit last month,  and now they are BOTH requesting it.  That’s right….


So, I just had to share with you a dinner that I can add to the (very short) list I like to call:  “Dinners Both Kids Will Eat”.  These dinners, as we all know, are few and far between, so when I find one, I feel its my parental duty to share!!!

I made my first one this week, by request, and only have one picture taken right out of the oven, pre-slicing.  The kids (and hubby!!!) gobbled it up so fast, I never had a chance to get a good pic of a slice. I’m sure I’ll be making this again next week. I’ll try and snap a pic then and update the post.  As for now, I wanted to get the recipe out to y’all asap!!! Enjoy and share with all the parents you know!  This ones a life changer!  Nana made the original recipe from and I have made a few adaptations.  Here’s my version below:

cheeseburger pie



  • Heat Oven 400° F.  Make sure the oven rack is in the middle.  Coat one 9-inch pie dish with Cooking Spray.
  • Warm frying pan over medium heat.  Warm 1 tablespoon Oil.  Add diced onion.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook for 5 mins or so until golden but not brown. Raise Heat to Med-High and add ground beef, salt, pepper, and dry mustard. Stirring occasionally until the meat is browned.  Add Worcestershire sauce and stir.  Then add garlic and cook 1-2 mins until fragrant, but not burned!!! Take off heat and Drain Off Fat.  Spread cooked meat mixture evenly into the pie dish.
  • In food processor, pulse together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.  Add the cold butter pats and pulse until mixture starts to look like breadcrumbs.  Add milk and eggs and pulse until mixture is blended.
  • Pour batter over meat mixture in the pie dish.
  • Top with shredded cheese of choice (totaling about a cup).
  • Bake until set and a gorgeous golden brown.  About 25-35 mins or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  • Let cool for 5 minutes.  Slice and served garnished with fresh chopped parsley or chives.


You can change this basic recipe up tons of ways!!! Simple additions depending on your families tastes and preferences.  Heres a list of some simple, delicious ingredients to add:

  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Red Pepper
  • Roasted Red Pepper
  • Pepperocini
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Tomatoes

If your kids won’t eat chopped Onion and Garlic, you can always try adding 1 tsp Onion Powder and 1 tsp Garlic Powder.

 Or try adding Sliced Scallions or Green Onion.

Experiment with your favorite 🧀Cheese on top.  Feta, Mozzarella, Parm, Goat,Blue, Fontina…the list goes on and on!!!

🌶🌶🌶Spice It Up a little with some Hot Sauce, Crushed Red Pepper or Cayenne.


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Skinny Baked Chicken Fajitas

Skinny Baked Chicken Fajitas

Skinny Baked Chicken Fajitas

Skinny Baked Chicken Fajitas


Ok, we’ve all seen this recipe floating around.  I’ve personally seen it so many different places, I can’t give proper credit to the original.  For that, I apologize.  As for you, dear readers, I decided to try it out!  I made up my spice mixture, and the results were DELICIOUS!!!! I couldn’t wait to share it with y’all!  Try it, you’ll love it.  Skinny, delicious, and easy clean-up!  The perfect recipe for a Weeknight supper!  These are the ingredients I had onhand, so this is what I used!  Feel free to add or omit as needed! For example, if you don’t like mushrooms or tomatoes…leave them out! Only like red bell peppers and not green….no problem, double up on the red or add an orange or yellow.  The recipe is basic and pretty much foolproof.  Make it like you like it!!!

Gather Your Ingredients

Gather Your Ingredients

Slice Ingredients

Add Sliced Ingredients into Greased Dish


Coat with Spice Mixture

Coat with Spice Mixture & Oil.  Mix to Combine.


Bake in Oven

Bake in Oven…it smells YUMMY!!!


It's Taco Time!!! Top with fresh Cilantro and a squeeze of fresh Lime!

It’s Taco Time!!! Top with fresh Cilantro and a squeeze of fresh Lime!

Skinny Baked Chicken Fajitas


  • 1 lb Organic boneless, skinless Chicken (Breasts or Strips), cut into strips
  • 2 T Organic Grapeseed Oil (or light Oil)
  • 1 Organic Red Bell Pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 Organic Green Bell Pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 Organic Red Onion, cut into half moons
  • 1 Organic Yellow or White Onion, cut into half moons
  • 1 Package Organic Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 Cup Organic Grape or Cherry Tomatoes, whole
  • 3-5 Cloves Organic Garlic, chopped


  • 2 T Organic Chili Powder
  • 1 T Ancho Chile Powder
  • 1 T (Roasted) Ground Cumin
  • 2 tsp Organic Oregano
  • 1 tsp Organic Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Organic Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Organic Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Organic (Smoked) Paprika
  • 1/8 tsp Organic Cayenne
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper


  • Tortillas of Choice (La Tortilla Factory)
  • Organic Greek Yogurt or Light Sour Cream
  • Organic Cilantro
  • 1 Organic Lime
  • Organic Lime Wedges

*Preheat Oven 400.  Combine all Seasonings into small bowl and mix to combine.  Lightly grease a 9 x 13 Baking Dish.  Add all Ingredients to the dish.  Sprinkle Seasoning over Chicken and Veggies.  Drizzle Oil.  Mix with your hands to combine and evenly distribute the Seasoning.  Bake 30-45 minutes, stirring once.  Enjoy!



* Pop chicken in the freezer for 15 mins before slicing.

* Like it spicy?  Substitute Poblano Peppers or add in a few Jalapeños.

* Have some Leftover?  Make a Fajita Taco Salad or a Fajita Wrap, or add some chicken broth and have a nice Soup the next day for lunch or dinner!!!


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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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Sensational Make Ahead Stuffing

Sensational Stuffing

For Anyone Interested in a Turkey Day Time Saver!

Make Ahead!!!

Make Ahead!!!

Ok.  So, with Thanksgiving coming up this week, I am always scrambling at the last minute.  This year I VOW NOT TO DO THAT!!!  (ha, right?!?!?!)  Seriously.  At least I’m going to put forth some effort.  So, I am trying to do a few Make Ahead things to help myself out.  This recipe is only HALF COMPLETE!!!! So, I am posting what I have done so far, so you, my dear reader, can be ahead of the game right along with me!  You’re Welcome!!!  All I am doing is making the super yummy “filling” for the stuffing.  I have made TONS of different types of stuffings over the years.  From Homemade Corn Bread to Rye Bread, Oysters to Sausage, and finally to Pepperidge Farms in a bag.  This year I am sharing a Semi-Homemade Version using the Pepperidge Farms Stuffing Mix you can pick up at your local grocery store.  Yes, I know…..this is not how I usually cook.  But I was thinking of you, my reliable reader, who prefers a quick and easy method that still tastes delicious.  I think you will be pleased with this one.

Gather Your Ingredients

Gather Your Ingredients

  • Neese’s Sausage (I would have preferred the Sage but couldn’t find it)
  • 1 Small Yellow Onion, diced
  • 2 Shallots, diced
  • 2 Medium Carrots, diced
  • 3 Celery Stalks & Leaves, diced
  • 1 Carton Baby Bella Mushrooms, torn
  • Handful Dried Cranberries
  • 3-5 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 Sprigs Rosemary (can use 1 T dried)
  • Few Sprigs Thyme (can use 1 T dried)

Brown Sausage, Veggies & Aromatics

This is super easy to make.  Just get a big skillet.  The biggest one you have.  Or you can always use a pot if you have to.  Heat up the Skillet.  Add the Sausage FIRST so it can start to brown.  Crumble it up a bit and now add all your chopped veggies in, minus the Mushrooms, Garlic & Dried Cranberries.  Season with a little Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper.  Mix and let the sausage cook with the veggies.  Meanwhile, if you like mushrooms, just take one in your hand and tear/crumble it into the skillet.  This creates a different “meatier” texture that you will love.  You can slice them if you want, but I have been just tearing them into pieces with my hands for all sorts of different recipes (especially Chili) and have been so impressed.  I really think you will like it if you give it a try!  And, its super easy!!!  Next add your herbs on top!

Garlic & Dried Cranberries

Garlic & Dried Cranberries

When the sausage is fully cooked, go ahead and add in your garlic and dried cranberries.  Cook for a few more minutes so the garlic will soften and you should be able to smell it.  Also, the cranberries will plump up a little bit from absorbing all of the yumminess.

Should look like this:

Should look like this:

This is as far as I have gotten so far.  I let it cool then put it into the fridge.   I plan on warming it and adding it to the stuffing.  I’ll cook the stuffing per the instructions on the package.  (I think you just add some vegetable stock or water…).  I’ll post the rest on Wed when I make it!!!  But, it should be pretty simple and straightforward from here on!  The directions on the bad just say Onions and Celery….but trust me…..this is WAYYYYY better!!!!

Sorry to post half a recipe, but I figured some of you might want to go ahead and do this part!!!

Happy Cooking!!!!

See Ya in a Few Days!!!! KARI



OK, so I left off with the Sausage Mixture for the stuffing in the fridge/freezer.  Hopefully if it was in the freezer, you took it out last night and let it thaw out.  Now, we are ready to go!

Here's what you Need

Here’s what you Need

Get out your Sausage Mixture, Stuffing Mix (or homemade breadcrumbs/cornbread), and one Organic Low Sodium Broth.  (I used Chicken.  Any stock/broth will do.  Try NOT to use water….you really need that extra flavor.  But try and always get the Low Sodium!!!  I have found my favorite brands are Pacific and Imagine….and I usually buy whichever is on sale.  If neither of them are, I buy the one with the Least Sodium!!!)

Seriously, this is ALL YOU NEED!!!! It can NOT get any easier than this!

Warm the Sausage Mixture

Warm the Sausage Mixture

In a large Pot, warm the Sausage Mixture over Med.

Seasonings of Choice

Seasonings of Choice

Next, add a few herbs of choice for a flavor boost.  I used an Italian Mix.  Sage is the BEST!!!!

Stuffing & Broth

Stuffing & Broth

Gently Mix 1/2 of Stuffing and 1/2 of Broth.  Stir. Add rest of Stuffing and enough broth to moisten.  Gently Stir to Combine.

So Easy!!!!

So Easy!!!!

Spray your baking dish and add stuffing.  I had about 1/3 of the box of broth left.



Pour another 1/2 cup or so of broth over the top to keep moist while baking.



Cover and Refrigerate until ready to bake!

Bake 350 for 30 mins.

***For a Crispy Top, bake UNCOVERED***

I can’t WAIT to get ours into the oven!!!!  I’ll post some pics later on, but for now:

Go Get Your Stuffing ON!!!!!

Gobble Gobble Gobble till ya Wobble Wobble Wobble!

Happy Thanksgiving.

Be Kind. Kari


*COPYCAT* Homemade Japanese Hibachi

*Copycat* Homemade Japanese Hibachi

Copy Cat Japanese Steakhouse

So. Darn. Good.

Kabuki, Benihana, Kobe, Makoto, Fuju, Sakura, Ichiba, Genji… matter what the name, it’s still your typical Hibachi Style Restaurant.  We all know and love them.  However, as fun as it is to go and sit around the table with a group, it is NOT fun on your wallet.  That’s why I decided to make my own copycat version.  It is delicious and tastes exactly like the restaurant version, albeit, I did not possess the incredible showmanship of the chefs there.  I had no “onion volcanos”, didn’t make a “sesame street”, and couldn’t flip and spin my spatulas about.  However, I did decide next time I could get a handful of shrimp to cook and try to toss them into the open mouths of my family!!!  But, I’m still not convinced that the hefty price tag at the restaurant is worth the show.  Some nights I’d just rather eat in and save the $$$, especially when you have a family of 4 and can’t fill up an entire table.


  • 2-3 Chicken Breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Mushrooms, sliced
  • Onion, sliced
  • Mung Bean Sprouts
  • Long Grain White or Brown Rice
  • 1 Cup Frozen Mixed Veggies
  • 1 Egg
  • Soy Sauce
  • Teriyaki Sauce
  • Ginger Dressing
  • Yum Yum Sauce
  • GrapesSeed Oil

*I use GrapeSeed Oil because it is a lighter oil with a high cooking temp.

And there you have it.  Simple ingredients and easy to change up as you like.  Swap out the Chicken for Steak or Shrimp, or go all out and use all 3!!!  I combined some sliced Onion with both the Chicken and the Mushrooms when sautéing.  You can add this or leave them plain.  I just love the combo together.  I tried to keep it easy by using about a cup of the organic mixed veggies (peas, carrots, green beans & corn).  It worked fabulously.  I used 2 large skillets.  The first skillet I cooked the chicken and onions, plated, then cooked the mung bean sprouts in the leftover yumminess in the pan.  The second skillet I used for the mushroom & onions, plated, then fried up the egg, then added the frozen veggies, then the rice.  This method was GREAT!!!  Just like the Hibachi Restaurants.

Step 1: Cook the Mushrooms in 1 Skillet and the Chicken in the other one!

Mushrooms & Onions

Mushrooms & Onions

The trick to this is to sauté the onions first in a little bit of GrapeSeed Oil.  Season with salt & pepper. When they start to turn translucent, move them over to the side of the pan.  Next, add the Mushrooms (and a little more oil if needed).  DO NOT TURN THE ‘SHROOMS.  Let them sit for a few minutes to get color.  Resist the urge to move them about the pan!!!!!  After one side is nice and brown, flip them over and mix in the onions so they can all finish cooking and caramelizing together.  Plate ’em up!

Chicken & Onions

Chicken & Onions (this pic was taken about 1/2 way through the cooking…as the marinade seeps out, it will continue to brown and caramelize into heavenly hibachi bites)

I know my Ingredients List says Teriyaki Sauce.  If you have that handy, marinade the chicken in that for a time saver!  It doesn’t get much easier than that.  If I had one of my favorites, Trader Joe’s Soyaki Sauce, I would have marinated the chicken all day in that.  Unfortunately, I was all out.  So much for simple.  So I threw a quick marinade together, and it was bursting with flavor!  Here’s what I used:

Kar-aki Marinade:

  • 3 T Low- Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 2 T Ponzu
  • 1 t Fish Sauce
  • 3 Cloves Smashed Garlic
  • 1 t Ginger
  • 1 Green Onion sliced
  • 1 T Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

I chopped the chicken earlier in the day, popped into a tupperware and just drizzled each ingredient over top.  Then I just put the lid on and shook it up.  I let it marinade all day.  I recommend at least 1 hour to get the flavor in the meat.  Every now and then I would go to the fridge and give it a shake to make sure all the chicken on top was getting some of the love bath as well!

Now, while you have the mushrooms going in one pan, you should have the chicken going as well.  Just drizzle a little oil in the skillet and put in the chicken pieces and onions.  I didn’t just dump the chicken in because I didn’t want to excess marinade or the chunks of garlic and scallions going into the pan.  Sauté until cooked.  Plate it up!

Step 2: Cook the Rice in 1 Skillet and the Sprouts in the other!

Rice, Veggies & Egg

Rice, Veggies & Egg

Cook you rice of choice per the instructions. (Usually 1 cup Rice to 2 cups Water).  I used a Local Long Grain White Rice.  Some recipes say to rinse the rice, some say to toast the rice.  I know Rice, at least for me, is extremely difficult to get right.  We usually always use Brown Rice, but I found this Local Rice and wanted to give it a try.  HOLY MOLY… It actually cooked RIGHT!!!  I couldn’t believe it.  I almost hated to fry it up because it was so light and fluffy.  Here’s what I did.  I diced up about a half of a small onion.  I did NOT rinse the Rice first.  I added a T of GrapeSeed Oil and the diced onion, salt and pepper and sautéed for about a minute.  Then I added 1 Cup of Rice and toasted it for about 2-3 minutes.  Be sure to stir it so the rice won’t burn.  Then I added 2 Cups of Water, 1 T butter and a bit more salt.  Brought it to a boil, covered, then turned the heat to low.  Cooked for about 20-25 mins. DO NOT LIFT THE LID!!!  NOT ONCE!!! NO PEEKING!!! Move off the hot burner and let rest for 5 minutes before lifting the lid.  Fluff with Fork.  TIP: I did the rice first before starting the rest of the meal, that way the rice was ready to go when I was ready to make the fried rice!

Fried Rice

Fried Rice

Making the Fried Rice was super easy with the prepared rice.  First, in the same skillet that the Mushroom and Onions were cooked in, I cracked and egg and fried it up.  Then I tossed in a Cup of the Frozen Mixed Veggies.  Cooked them for a min or so to warm them up.  Then, just added the prepared rice on top and fried it up!  Mix it a few times and then take the Low Sodium Soy Sauce a few turns around the pan.  Toss.  Let cook a minute longer.  If you let the bottom get a little crispy it is so so soooo worth the wait!  Plate up!

Mung Bean Sprouts

Mung Bean Sprouts

After plating the Chicken and Onions, you should still have a little ooey gooey caramelized goodness in the pan.  For the love of food, do NOT get rid of it!  Throw your sprouts into the pan and let them soak all that delicious Kar-aki Sauce, or whatever you may have used.  These only take like a minute to warm up.  You don’t want to overcook them and loose the crunch.  OMG.  I could eat an entire plate of these!!!!  TIP: If you don’t have any delicious drippings left in the pan, just toss the sprouts in and add a tsp of Soy Sauce.

Now, dinner should be all plated up and look just like the restaurant.


I used 2 bottled sauces  to serve it with.  For the White Sauce, my brother bought me Terry Ho’s Yum Yum Sauce.  It was pretty good.  On its own, it wasn’t exactly like the ones in the restaurant, but when you dipped the rice in it….DELISH!!!  Not bad for a copycat bottled sauce.  For the Ginger Sauce I used Whole Foods Organic Ginger Soy Vinaigrette.  Vegan and only 50 calories per serving (2 T).  This worked out wonderfully and was absolutely amazing on the chicken!!!!

Bon Appétit

Bon Appétit

Like I said, this really is simple to make and so delicious and filling.  It tastes exactly like the restaurant, just a lot lighter on your wallet!!!  To make it easier to make at home,  I did a few copycat cop-outs.  The White Sauce and Ginger Sauce.  So, I am going to try and recreate some of these on my own.  I’ll try and make  a homemade Yum-Yum Sauce and a Ginger Dressing to share with y’all.  I already know how to make the delicious soup….but I’m saving that one for another day!



Drunken Punkin’ Chili

Drunken Punkin’ Chili


Guilt-Free Chili!  Super Healthy except for the Beer!

Guilt-Free Chili! Super Healthy except for the Beer!

It’s Fall Y’all!   Happy October 1st.  I don’t know about you, but I’m in the mood for all things pumpkin.  Super healthy and super versatile, it’s simple to take from sweet to savory.  Oh the Joys of Pumpkins.  Nothing says Happy Fall better than a house full of pumpkins.  From Food to Decor, Pumpkins are Perfect!  You can even imbibe in a delicious Pumpkin Beer.  Hence, the name for my chili: Drunken Punkin’ Chili.  Now, Let’s get this party started!!!

Gather Your Organic, Local or HomeGrown Ingredients

Gather Your Ingredients and get to Choppin’

And, as always, try and use Fresh Organic, Local or Homegrown Ingredients as much as possible.  Mine is Organic Drunken Punkin’ Chili (all except for the Beer).


Chopped: Red Pepper, Green Pepper, Carrots, Red Onion, Yellow Onion

In a LARGE SOUP POT Heat 2 T EVOO.  Add 1lb. of Ground Pork seasoned with Salt & Pepper (or your meat of choice. You can substitute Chicken, Turkey, Beef, or omit the meat altogether to make Vegetarian Drunken Punkin’ Chili).  After Meat is Nice and Brown, Add in Chopped Veggies.

Yes, this is a LOT of Veggies!!!!

Yes, this is a LOT of Veggies!!!!

Sprinkle with Salt & Pepper. Simmer on Med-High about 5 – 8 mins until Veggies start to turn translucent.  Meanwhile…

Slice Your Shrooms

Slice Your Shrooms

When Veggies are softened, Add Mushrooms to the Pot.

Simmer Shrooms until Softened

Simmer Shrooms until Softened.  DO NOT SALT!

Next, Add Garlic and Spices

Garlic and Spice Goodness

Garlic and Spice Goodness

Simmer the Garlic and Spices for about 5 mins.  Your house should start smelling heavenly right about now…

Add Fresh Tomatoes

Add Fresh Tomatoes, Seasoned with Salt and Pepper

Simmer until Tomatoes start to BURST.

Pumpkin Beer

Pumpkin Beer

Add 1 Bottle Pumpkin Ale and bring to a Boil.

Tomato Paste + Pumpkin

Tomato Paste + Pumpkin

Add 2 T Tomato Paste and 1 can Pumpkin.  Reserve about 2 T of the Pumpkin and set aside.

Should look something like this....

Should look something like this….

Add Cans of Beans and Simmer.

Handful of Fresh Greens

Handful of Fresh Greens

About 5 mins before serving, toss in a handful of sliced Tatsoi.

Drunken Punkin' Chili....DONE!

Drunken Punkin’ Chili….DONE!

Garnish with Scented Sour Cream, Parsley & Oregano

Garnish with Scented Sour Cream, Parsley & Oregano

Drunken Punkin’ Chili w/ Scented Sour Cream

1 Pumpkin Beer

1 lb. Ground Pork (chicken, beef, turkey, or omit for Vegetarian)


1 Red Onion diced

1 Yellow Onion diced

1 Red Pepper diced

1 Green Pepper diced

3 Carrrots diced

1-2 cups Whole Cherry or Grape Tomatoes

1 lb. Baby Bella Mushrooms sliced

2 cups Crushed Tomatoes no salt added

2 T Tomato Paste

1 Can Pumpkin (reserve 2 T)

4-6 Cloves Garlic minced

2 T Oregano

3 T Chili Powder

2 T Ground Roasted Cumin (or regular)

1 T Smoked Paprika

1 t Saigon Cinnamon

1/4 t Cayenne

1/8 t Red Chili Flakes

1/8 T Allspice

1/8 T Nutmeg

2 Cans Black Beans

1 Can Red Kidney Beans

1 Can Chili Beans

Handful of Tatsoi (or kale, chard, spinach…any hearty green)

Brown Meat in Large Soup Pot.  Add Chopped Onions, Peppers & Carrots. Season with Salt and Pepper. Simmer 8-10 mins until softened.  Add Mushrooms. Cook about 5 mins until Shrooms are cooked a bit. Add Garlic and Spices. Simmer 5 more mins until house is fragrant. Add Fresh Tomatoes and cook until they start to Burst.  Add Pumpkin Beer and Boxed or Canned Crushed Tomatoes. Bring to a Boil.  Drop Heat to Med-Low and Add Tomato Paste and Canned Pumpkin. Simmer 15-30 mins. Taste for Seasonings. Adjust. Add Beans. Simmer till Dinner!!!


Pumpkin-Scented Sour Cream

1 Cup Sour Cream

2 T Reserved Pumpkin Puree

1/2 t Cinnamon

1/2 t Cumin

Mix to combine.  Refrigerate until ready.


Healthy & Satisfying

Healthy & Satisfying


Again, feel free to adjust the seasonings and spices to your tastes.  And you can switch up the beans as well. Use up what you have on hand! I was thinking about adding corn, but went with the greens instead. You could try adding a cup or so of frozen corn in at the end and omit the greens.

Always use ingredients that YOU like!  If you hate mushrooms, like my Mom, leave them out or chop them in smaller pieces.  If you don’t have any Fresh Grape or Cherry Tomatoes, use and extra cup or so of canned or boxed diced tomatoes.  Or, if you don’t like them whole, chop them up before adding!

Also, in many Pumpkin Chili recipes, you see chipotle peppers in adobe sauce.  It is basically a super smokey jalapeño. I, personally, do not care for them. But, if you like it: use 1 or 2 peppers (seeds scraped out) and a few spoonfuls of the sauce.  A little goes a long way with these. Instead, I use a good Hot Sauce when serving, if need be. In this recipe I replaced it with some Cayenne Pepper. If i had a a fresh jalapeño, serrano or thai chile pepper, I would have sautéed those up with the veggies.

This recipe makes a HUGE Pot.  If you want to make it for yourself or a couple, cut the onion and pepper down to one and only 2 cans of beans.  And be sure to cut the spices in about half.

Also, I will adjust the seasonings at the END and take out a few ladlefuls to cool in bowls for the kids.  Then, I add the Hot Sauce or a tad more chili powder, or whatever else I think it might need.  That way I can add a bit more spice for the adults, but still keep it kid friendly!

Chili is one of the most versitile and forgiving dishes.   So easy to modify and make your own. I don’t think I have ever made a pot of chili that tasted the same as the next!  It all depends on what I have in stock in the pantry or what veggies I need to use up!  You could also change out the pumpkin for squash!

Really, With Chili, Anything Is Possible!



Veg-Tastic Frittata

Veg-Tastic Frittata

One of my wonderful girlfriends and I try to make a girls trip to the beach at least once a year.  Doesn’t always happen, but it’s awesome when it does.  Rachel is an amazing cook and we have so much fun in the kitchen.  She can plate food and turn it into art, beautiful to look at and super tasty to enjoy!  For this frittata, we used all sorts of produce we brought with us from our organic home gardens.  Between the 2 of us, we had all sorts of different options.  From 10 different kinds of peppers, radiant radishes, gorgeous greens, lush lettuces, beautiful & bountiful tomatoes, to herbs galore… and everything in between.  It’s like being in Fresh Organic Culinary Heaven.  A fabulous week with a fabulous person!  

saute ve

Quick Sauté of Vegs in Organic Coconut Oil, S&P

Preheat Oven 350. Simply sauté all the fresh ingredients in an oven safe pan over Med in 2 T Organic Coconut Oil.  Season with salt and pepper.

Veggie Mixture:

We used about a cup of Kale, handful of various peppers, onion, tomato, all sliced.  Cook 2-3 Mins.

Add Minced Garlic.  Cook 1 Min more.

Pour in Egg Mixture over the Kale and Veggies and spread evenly.  Cook about 3-5 Mins on stove.  Gently Scrape/Push the sides of the pan down and redistribute towards the middle.  Do this a few times. You can even lift the egg mixture off the bottom of the pan so it doesn’t burn.  It will start to “set”.  At this point, sprinkle with cheese if using, and pop it into the oven.  It will ‘puff up’ a bit (this is normal…it will deflate and sink when it cools)  It is done when it won’t jiggle in the middle and is completely set.  Should take  30-45 mins depending on size of pan.

Egg Mixture:

6-1o Organic Eggs (or 4 whole eggs + 1 cup egg whites)

1/2 to 1 cup Coconut Milk (or any milk you desire)

1 T Organic Parsley, 2 T Chives (or any herbs you desire)

1-2 T Hot Sauce (more, less, or none to taste)

Salt & Pepper

Whisk to Combine

*You change the amount for the size of the pan you are cooking in.  We used a 12″ skillet.  If you use 10″-12″ you want to use 8- 10 eggs and 1 cup milk and bake 45 mins.  If you are making a smaller frittata, 6″-8″ skillet, you want to use about 6 eggs and 1/2 cup milk and bake 30 mins.

egg muxture

Breakfast is Served!

This is SUCH an easy recipe to change up with fresh ingredients that you need to use.

Change the Kale to Chard.

Use a different Onion….Leeks or Shallots.

HERB CHANGE…always simple.  Use whatever you have fresh and organic on hand! From Thyme to Sage to Chives to Parsley….it doesn’t matter.  They will all be delish.  Dill is tasty, too!  Marjoram is magnificient!!!

Change your Milk.  You can use cow, coconut, rice, almond.  Whatever your dietary restrictions require.

Throw in a habanero!!! Spice it up!

Have leftover potatoes to use??…they are GREAT in frittatas.

Feeling Italian or have leftover pasta noodles (spaghetti, etc).  Throw them in….sounds weird, but it is AMAZING!!!  Don’t forget the fresh Parmesan Cheese!

Bloody Mary with House-Made Pickled Garnish

Bloody Mary with Olives, Celery, Pickled Green Beans & TONS of Horseradish is a excellent accompinament!

Thanks Rach!  You are the best friend to me that I could ever hope for, and such an inspiration!  I am grateful to have you in my life everyday!  I Love You!!!!  To many, Many, MANY more girl beach trips!!!! xoxox Kari


Steak Tacos, All Grown Up!

It’s Taco Nite, Kari-Style!!!

Who doesn’t LOVE Taco Nite?!?!  We sure do, so I thought I’d Karify it!  Why not?  Adult Tacos. All Grown  Up.  Kari-style.  Let’s add a little fun, flavor & flair, while we keep it healthy AND utilize leftovers!!!  Now, that’s what I’m talkin’ about!  We grilled out last night.  Steaks (with Karinade, of course!!!), Veggies and a Fresh Organic Spinach Salad.  It was delicious. Here’s what I came up with to use our leftovers!  So, I’ve got 2 dinners ready for you for the price of 1!  All you have to do is: grill out a steak one night…throw in some veggies…enjoy a fresh spinach salad…then I’ve got a KickAss dinner waiting for you the next night, just add Tortillas. Here ya go!

Steak Tacos

Looks pretty tasty for leftovers, eh?!?!

Steak Tacos, All Grown Up

  • sliced Organic Onion
  • sliced Organic Mushrooms
  • sliced Organic Red & Orange Bell Pepper
  • Leftover Organic, Local, Grassfed Steak
  • 1 T Organic Chili Powder
  • 1/2 T Organic Cumin
  • 1/2 T Organic Smoked Paprika
  • 1 T Organic Steak Seasoning
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2-3 Cloves Organic Garlic, minced
  • Handful Organic Cherry/Grape Tomatoes
  • Fresh Thyme
  • Handful Organic Spinach
  • La Tortilla Factory Handmade Style Corn Tortillas
Get Your Ingredients Ready

Get Your Ingredients Ready

Slice Mushrooms, Peppers & Onions. Mince Garlic. Slice Steak. Whole Tomatoes.

Sautee I

Peppers, Mushrooms & Onions

Cast Iron Skillet (or pan) on Med-High.  Sauté Peppers, Mushrooms & Onions in Good Organic EVOO (be sure only to season the peppers and onions with salt and pepper…NOT THE MUSHROOMS!!!)

Add Spices.

Add Spices.

Season to YOUR TASTE.  We like a little more Kick!  Add as much or as little as you like.  Change the flavors by adding Chipotle, Sweet Paprika, Ancho Chili Powder….whatever floats your boat.


Sweat Veggies 3 Mins

Add Garlic & Tomatoes

Add Garlic, Tomatoes & Fresh Thyme

Cook until Tomatoes Start to Soften and you can Smell the Garlic. 2 Mins. It should smell AMAZING in your kitchen!

Add Steak to Heat

Add Steak

Cook Until Steak is Heated Through.

Add Handful Organic Spinach

Add Handful Organic Spinach

Mix and cook until just Wilting.  1-2 Mins

Should look somehting like this

Should look something like this now…BEAUTIFUL

Fill Your Tortillas

Fill Tortillas & Top with Cheese

TIP: Turn a muffin pan over and use to keep Tortillas Upright for easy filling! (or Tacos, Philly Cheese Steaks, Hot Dogs, Kielbasa Hogies, etc)  This is an Awesome Trick that I use ALL THE TIME!!!

Fill and Top with Cheese of choice. (I used Monterey Jack & Mozzarella)

Pop under the Boiler for a quick 30 seconds or so to melt the cheese.

Mark's Plate

Mark’s Plate

My Plate

My Plate

I kept it light and healthy for myself by adding a healthy chopped salad on the side!

Mark, on the other hand, devoured 3! Although, he did take a few bites of salad!

Delish!!!  Make it and ENJOY!!!

Great for Cinco de Mayo coming up!!!



Smoky Brussel Sprouts

Sweet, Smoky & SpicyA Gorgeous Trio of Deliciousness

Smoky, Sweet & Spicy
A Gorgeous Trio of Deliciousness

I did these in the oven last night, very similarly to my Bangin Broccoli recipe.  They turned out freakin awesome!  The hubby and I couldn’t get enough!!!  Even if you don’t like Brussels, I bet you will like them like this.  My Mom is not a fan of BS (or Brussel Sprouts…ahhahaha!!!!).  I am going to let her try these later today and see what she thinks!!!  The key is the SMOKED APPLEWOOD BACON.  I got mine from the Fresh Market.  It really penetrates that cabbage flavor and takes the Brussel Sprouts to a whole new level.  Depending on the heat factor you are wanting, you can adapt the amount of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes used. There are just a few ingredients and this is supereasy to do.  I highly recommend trying these!

Toss EVOO, Brown Sugar & Crushed Red Pepper Flakes with Brussel Sprouts and Thinly Sliced Onion

Toss EVOO, Brown Sugar & Crushed Red Pepper Flakes with Brussel Sprouts and Thinly Sliced Onion

Clean & Slice your Brussels in half.  Thinly Slice half an onion (like a rainbow).

Put Brussels and Onions in a bowl. Toss with EVOO, Brown Sugar & Red Pepper Flakes


Preheat your Oven to 500 and put the oven rack on the bottom rung.

Place your pan in the oven to get nice & hot!

Now, Slice your Applewood Smoked Bacon into lardons.

Lardon (cut bacon into thin strips)

Lardon (cut bacon into thin strips)

Great!  Now your work station should look something like this:

(minus the PorkChop that has been Karinading overnight!!!)

Get have to be able to move fast!!!

Get Ready….you have to be able to move fast!!!

Now, get the pan out of the oven CAREFULLY….remember its HOT!!!

Lay the Brussel Sprouts FACEDOWN first.  You should hear a sizzle if your pan in hot enough.

Next, its BACON TIME!  Try and get the bacon spread out over the pan so the greasy goodness love can spread.

Last, top with the Onions and pour any leftover EVOO on top.

Brussel Sprouts, Bacon, Onions

Brussel Sprouts, Bacon & Onion LOVE

Pop into the oven and wait 7 – 10 minutes….

Done & Delicious!

Done & Delicious!

My hubby likes his bacon super crispy.  If this looks too done for you, just pull it out at your desired doneness!

Smoky, Sweet & Spicy

Smoky, Sweet & Spicy


Smoky Brussel Sprouts 

1/2 Bag of Fresh Brussel Sprouts, cleaned and halved

1/2 Onion thinly sliced (i used white, any color will do…red would be delish!)


1 heaping T Brown Sugar

1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

2 slices Applewood Smoked Bacon, cut into lardons

s&p to taste!

When I first made this I was intending to drizzle a Balsamic Reduction overtop before serving.  After tasting it and the intense burst of flavors, I decided it didn’t need anything else!  Wow!  Flavor to the MAX!  Hope you enjoy as much as we did!