Sliced Baked Potato

Looking to spice up your typical baked potato?  "Hasselback potatoes" are the answer! I'd never heard of a "hasselback" potato, but when I saw this recipe from Seasaltwithfood, I had to try it.   These are VERY filling and while I made two potatoes for J and I, one would have been enough to split. J might think differently seeing as he ate his potato and half of mine. 

Slicked Baked Potato (Let's just call it what it really is)
Serves: 2
Cook time according to Seasaltwithfood: Doesn't say 
Cook time according to Rachel: about an hour
How difficult was this for Rachel to make? Easy!


2 baked potatoes
1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
olive oil to drizzle
sea salt, pepper & butter to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F

Place potatoes on a chopping board flat side down. Slowly slice each potato almost all the way through.  
Once entire potato is sliced, insert garlic in between each slice. 

Spread some butter on the top of each potato then drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt & pepper.

Bake for about 40 minutes or until potatoes turn crispy on top and soft on in the inside. Enjoy!


{Recipe} 4 Ingredient Chicken

Wow, it has been a while since I cooked! These past few weeks have been insane with trips and visitors. I finally had a second to make a meal and I have to admit, I was a tad rusty...and was quickly reminded that while I THINK I generally know what I'm doing, if I don't pay attention problems will arise. At least this latest incident only involved some burnt garlic. 

What I loved about this recipe is it only involves FOUR ingredients, INCLUDING THE CHICKEN! I am all about simple and easy, especially when it comes to food that bores me.  I was a bit hesitant though that the 2 seasoning ingredients were brown sugar and garlic. The combination was actually delicious! I will definitely make this again. Thanks Food.com for the recipe!

Serves: 2
Cook time according to Food.com: 30 minutes
Cook time according to Rachel: 45 minutes 
How difficult was this for Rachel to make? Pretty simple had I been watching my garlic

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2-3 cloves garlic, minced (I chopped it because thats how J likes it)
2 tbsp brown sugar
1.5 tsp olive oil
baking spray (not pictured)

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F and lightly grease casserole dish.

In a small sauté pan, saute garlic with oil until tender. Garlic burns fast and if you aren't paying attention, you will find yourself chopping up more garlic. Good thing I had plenty. Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar. 

Insert picture of chicken in baking dish. Somehow, I forgot to take one. Told you I'm rusty.

Place chicken breasts in a prepared baking dish and cover with  the garlic/brown sugar mixture. Bake uncovered for 15-30 minutes. Enjoy!!!

Yeah, there's no other pictures. 



My First Giveaway!

Welcome to my FIRST blog giveaway!

Last week I was approached by Slimkicker, a healthy living/fitness app, about doing a contest for my readers with a giveaway. I was wary at first because I had never heard of Slimkicker, but after learning a bit more about what they do, I was sold!

What IS Slimkicker?

Slimkicker is a fantastic way to stay motivated while dieting OR while just trying to live a healthier lifestyle (which we could all use). It basically turns your diet & weight loss goals into a game with points, challenges, and rewards! They offer calorie & fitness trackers and healthy recipes, which I cannot wait to try.

The Contest

Slimkicker is looking for new and FUN challenge ideas, which is where you all come in.  A challenge is something like, "giving up soda for a week".  This idea is not fun nor creative, so get your thinking caps on.

How to Apply

Simply leave a comment on THIS post with you challenge idea. It only needs to be 1-2 sentences long. After a week, Slimkicker will pick their favorite and most creative idea, feature it on their site, AND you will win..
A 6 quart Stainless Steel Crock Pot!

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Due to shipping costs, this crock pot can only be shipped within the United States.

Good Luck!


Dilled Peas, Peppers & Onions

Who knew my next recipe would come from About.com? The other night I made Balsamic Chicken Topped with Feta and wanted a solid vegetable side. I asked google what would be a good side with this chicken and a bunch of Greek inspired sides popped up. Must be the Feta reference? When I found this recipe for Dilled Peas and Peppers I was sold. This is really a great vegetable side for any chicken dinner. Oh and I forgot to mention, it is EASY to make. 

Dilled Peas, Peppers & Onions
Serves: 4
Cook time according to About.com: 30 mins
Cook time according to Rachel: 30 mins!
How difficult was this for Rachel to make? Easy!


1 lb frozen peas
3 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup water

(what an awful picture. I didn't realize it was so dark!)


Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and cook for 30 minutes. I did stir occasionally.




{Recipe} Balsamic Chicken Topped with Feta

Well, Betty Crocker knows her chicken. As I said over and over again, chicken for dinner does not excite me. However, throw some feta on it and you have me interested.  Overall, this recipe is SUPER easy, healthy and took no time at all. However, there are a few key directions you must follow as noted below. And no, I did not follow the directions and as a result I burned the chicken just a bit. Oops. I did modify the recipe just slightly, but the original recipe can be found here.

Serves: 2
Cook time according to Betty: 25 minutes
Cook time according to Rachel: 25 minutes!
How difficult was this for Rachel to make? Easy!

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup crumbled feta
1 large roma tomato, sliced (no thanks)

(you don't have to measure out seasoning, feta or pepper. You can just apply freely like I did)

Set oven control to broiler (this was a first for me!) and make sure your oven rack is on the level closest to the top of the oven (so chicken is about 4 inches from heat). 
Brush both sides of chicken with balsamic. 
Sprinkle both sides with Italian seasoning & pepper. 
Place on broiler pan in oven and broil for 8 minutes TURNING ONCE..I skipped this step and, well, don't. 
Remove from head and check to see if chicken is no longer pink. 
Once chicken is cooked through, crumble feta on top and return pan to oven for an additional 1-2 minutes. 
One feta is slightly golden on top, remove and serve immediately. 
I served this chicken with Dill Peas and Peppers (coming soon!) 



Guest Post! Cowboy Spaghetti

In my first Guest Post I found it necessary for it to be from a good friend of mine, Erica, who is also learning to navigate her way through the kitchen. I haven't made this dish yet, but I will definitely add it to my list of must trys! Erica just launched a blog of her own, A Tale of Two in the City, and I urge you all to check it out. Thanks for the guest post Erica!

Rachel and I go way back...aka college years :) I am a huge fan of her blog and kept telling her how I envy her ability to get out there and cook! She tells me all I have to do is start.  I’ve been married for about 6 months and really haven’t used any of our new gadgets or cookware. So my friend Lindsay lent me her Rachael Ray Express Lane Meals to help me along. This recipe seemed fairly easy and to be honest, I picked it because it didn’t scare me.

I learned a lot with this recipe. First, I have never cooked with garlic before. I had to watch a YouTube video on how to chop garlic! Ha. I also didn’t know what scallions were. Turns out they are just green onions. The scallions were for garnish, so I didn’t miss out on much. Also, I learned that I should really read the whole recipe (not just the ingredients) before heading to the grocery store. The recipe called for 8 ounce of sharp cheddar cheese. And the directions say to grate it over the finished product...well I just got shredded cheese from the dairy aisle - woops! All in all, it was great dish and we’ll be having it again.

Cowboy Spaghetti
Serves: 4-6 (with leftovers) 
Cook time according to Rachael: 30 minutes
Cook time according to Erica: 45 minutes 
How hard was this for Erica to make? ....harder than it should have been.

1lb spaghetti (too much, could cut in half)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 slices smokey bacon, chopped
1lb ground sirloin (I used ground turkey)
1 medium onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp hot sauce
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 14oz can chopped or crushed tomatoes
1 8oz can tomato sauce
8oz sharp cheddar cheese
4 scallions, chopped (I nixed these)
salt & pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and add the spaghetti. Cook the pasta to al dente (which is something I had to Google as well). Drain the spaghetti. Leave a little water so the noodles don't stick to each other. Set aside.

Heat a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the EVOO and bacon. Brown and crisp the bacon for 5minutes (I added a couple minutes here), then remove with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel-lined plate.

Drain of a little excess fat from the skillet if necessary, leaving just enough to coat the bottom. Add the beef and crumble it as it browns, 3 to 4 minutes (again, added more time here). Add the onions and garlic and stir into the meat. Season the meat with salt and pepper, hot sauce and Worcestershire.

Cook for 5-6 minutes more, then stir in the tomatoes and tomato sauce. (Rachael never said when to put the bacon back into the mix or even to put over the top when finshed, so I put the bacon back in here so it can get mixed in with the sauce).

Add the hot spaghetti to the meat and sauce and combine. Adjust the seasonings and serve up the pasta in a shallow bowls. Grate some cheese over the pasta and sprinkle with the scallions.


Garlic Shrimp with Cilantro & Lime Rice

So I am the genius that decides to go shopping for an entire weeks worth of meals on Memorial Day. Not thinking that people would be serving jumbo shrimp at their BBQs, I head to the seafood counter at my corner grocery store and am stunned that there are no jumbo shrimp. Frustrated, I finish my shopping and head over to Whole Foods. I leave Whole Foods with two bouquets of flowers and no shrimp. I head to a third grocery store and BINGO they have jumbos left...well barely. I took every single one of their shrimp that was left. Too bad for those that came after me!  This meal was worth the trips to each grocery store. Simple, easy, delicious and light. Can't get much better than that!  Gina at Skinnytaste serves her shrimp with a scallion rice. I opted for Chipotle syle Cilantro lime rice from Chef in You and found it was a perfect match.

Garlic Shrimp with Cilantro & Lime Rice
Serves: 2
Cook time according to Gina for shrimp: 5 minutes (she crazy)
Cook time according to Rachel: 10ish minutes
Cook time according to Chef in You: Under 30 minutes
Cook time according to Rachel: about the same
How easy was this for Rachel to make? Easy!


1lb jumbo/large shrimp (de-tailed...I forgot this step. See below)
6 cloves garlic, sliced thin
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
crushed red pepper flakes
pinch paprika
lots of chopped cilantro
1 cup Bismati rice
1/2 tsp sugar
salt to taste
1-2 limes or lime juice

Directions for Shrimp:

Soak rice in water for 10 minutes. While rice is soaking, in a large skillet,  heat  1 tbsp oil on medium and add garlic and some red pepper flakes (however much you prefer). Saute until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Be careful not to burn.
What NOT to do
What TO do

Once garlic is ready, add in DE-TAILED shrimp. I was so nonchalant about this meal I totally forgot to chop off the tails. Whoops. Had a great time removing them from the garlic & oil. Season shrimp with salt & paprika. Cook shrimp until golden brown. Once shrimp are ready, transfer entire pans contents to small/medium saucepan. Heat the pan on low and keep a lid on the pan.  This way the shrimp stay warm and continue to soak up the garlic, while the rice is being prepared. 

Directions for Rice:

After rice has soaked for at least 10 minutes, add rice, 1 tbsp olive oil & sugar to your large skillet. Make sure rice is completely coated with oil. You may need to add a bit more to the pan. The directions say once rice becomes aromatic add juice from 1 lime. Well my rice never got "aromatic" so after a few minutes, I added the lime juice. I got a bit excited and dropped the lime in. Whoops.  I also added a bit of extra lime juice because I love limes. Stir for about a minute. Add 2 cups of water and cover with lid. Most rice only requires 1 cup of water. Bismati requires 2. 

After all water is absorbed, usually 10-15 minutes later, add in chopped cilantro. Use as much as you prefer. 

Remove from heat and gently mix in chopped cilantro. Taste and add more cilantro/lime juice if you feel necessary.

Remove shrimp from sauce pan, leaving garlic behind and serve with rice immediately. Garnish with lime & more cilantro.  Enjoy!