Category Archives: Easy

Black and Blue Crisp with Oatmeal Pecan Topping

Black and Blueberry Crisp with Oatmeal Pecan Topping

As you can tell by my teeny tiny dessert section on this blog, we don’t do a lot of desserts around here. Don’t get me wrong, we eat plenty of sweets, like granola bars, sweet breads, or fancy granolas. We just don’t do very many traditional desserts. The main reason is lack of self control. There are only two of us and we know no limits. So, in order for my skinny jeans to continue to fit, we just forgo them.

Black and Blueberry Crisp with Oatmeal Pecan Topping

Or at least we did…until these blackberries kept staring at me. They were just begging to be made into a fancy, warm, ooey, gooey, sweet, sticky fruit crisp with a perfect crunchy topping. So, one Sunday afternoon I decided to make it happen. The result? A-mazing. Seriously. So good. So good, in fact, that I ate it…ate almost all of it.

Oops.

Black and Blueberry Crisp with Oatmeal Pecan Topping

Don’t judge.

But once I put the ice cream on it for the photos what was I supposed to do?! It would be irresponsible to let food go to waste. Right?

See, I told you, total lack of self control.

There was a very small portion left for Mr. Maebell when he got home. He inhaled  it and requested that I please make more.

No problem. No problem at all!

Black and Blueberry Crisp with Oatmeal Pecan Topping

5.0 from 3 reviews
Black and Blueberry Crisp with Oatmeal Pecan Topping
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • For the Filling
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 1½ cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • For the Topping
  • ½ cup old fashioned oats (I used gluten free oats)
  • ¼ cup flour (I used gluten free flour)
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. In a mixing bowl combine the berries, sugar, and corn starch until berries are completely covered.
  3. Grab a large cast iron skillet or deep dish pie pan and spray with cooking oil.
  4. Pour berries into pan.
  5. Wipe your mixing bowl clean and combine the oats, flour, pecans and brown sugar well. Then cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or use your hands to blend in the butter. It should be combined well and the mixture will be crumbly.
  6. Pour the oatmeal topping over your berries, making sure to distribute it evenly.
  7. Bake 20 minutes and serve warm with ice cream.

 

Balsamic Vinegar Grilled Chicken and Zucchini Skewers

We grill a lot. Which is weird because I have a food blog and only like one real “grillin” recipe. There is a really simple explanation.

Balsamic Vinegar Chicken and Zucchini Skewers, super simple and healthy!

I cannot operate our grill.

It is a charcoal smoker/grill and I just don’t get it. There is some sort of science behind lighting a charcoal grill and it makes no sense to me. The placement of the coals, the air flow…I know all of those things matter, but I don’t know why. After about year five, Mr. Maebell stopped trying to teach me and just accepted the fact that the grill is just his territory.

Do you see me complaining? Nope.

Balsamic Vinegar Chicken and Zucchini Skewers, super simple and healthy!

The only time it is inconvenient is when I want to grill something for the blog, and he isn’t around. Which has been the case lately. Fortunately, we had the same night off and I put him to work. I actually had no idea what I was making when I started this meal. I had chicken and zucchini so I just kind of rolled with it. I marinated all of the ingredients in a mixture of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, a little dijon and a handful of spices. I put the chicken and zucchini on skewers, grilled them, and topped with crumbled feta and freshly chopped basil.

Balsamic Vinegar Chicken and Zucchini Skewers, super simple and healthy!
It was fantastic! It had a ton of flavor, it was super easy, and made a quick healthy meal. Usually, when I make kabobs I use different meats and lots of different veggies. This was a less fussy version with simple well chosen ingredients.

Balsamic Vinegar Chicken and Zucchini Skewers, super simple and healthy!

Sometimes less is more!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Balsamic Vinegar Grilled Chicken and Zucchini Skewers
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound chicken breast, cut into small chunks
  • 2 medium sized zucchini, cut into small chunks
Instructions
  1. In a measuring cup or bowl mix the first nine ingredients (balsamic vinegar-salt). Make sure your marinade is well combined.
  2. Place your cut up chicken breast into a plastic bag and pour in half of the marinade.
  3. Place the zucchini pieces into a plastic bag and pour in the second half of the marinade.
  4. Let your meat and veggies marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Heat your grill to 400 degrees.
  6. (If you are using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least 20 minutes before assembling your kabobs.)
  7. Assemble your skewers, alternating chicken and zucchini.
  8. Grill for 5-6 minutes on each side.
  9. Garnish with freshly chopped basil and crumbled feta cheese.

 

Cake Batter Bars

Cake Batter Bars, a super simple, sweet, sticky treat! And it happens to be gluten free!

I am not spontaneous. Like, not at all…well, maybe when it comes to home improvement projects. But other than that, I am definitely not spontaneous. A couple weeks ago, Mr. Maebell had the idea to go for some frozen yogurt at about 9pm. When he told me I just looked at him. I actually thought it was a joke. I am such an old person. I am in bed by like 9:30 every single night. I have been like this my whole life. As a kid, a teen, and as an adult. I am the only kid I know that never had a specified curfew. My parents never had to wonder when I would be home because my bedtime was pretty much set in stone.

I like to sleep! What can I say?!

Cake Batter Bars, a super simple, sweet, sticky treat! And it happens to be gluten free!

We did get froyo that night. I changed out of my pajamas, we loaded the dogs in the car, and drove across town to get the frozen yogurt. So we walk in and there are tons of flavors and these massive dispensers of topping choices and a big bar of fresh fruit, chocolate, nuts, syrup and whipped cream.

I am standing there trying to decide what I want and he grabs a cup, walks right up to the vanilla dispenser and fills his cup all the way up. Then he makes a B line for the register and then turns to look for me.

Vanilla? Are you freaking kidding me?! You drag me out of the house at night, make me change clothes, and drive all the way across town for a cup of vanilla?!?!

Cake Batter Bars, a super simple, sweet, sticky treat! And it happens to be gluten free!

I couldn’t believe it. Now, I know some of the foods were off limits because they weren’t gluten free, but still he had a TON of choices. I asked him why he didn’t put anything on it and he said, “Why would I?”

Good Lord.

I choose mine (coffee and dark chocolate, is anyone surmised by that?) grabbed a couple toppings and we left. My sad little cup of chocolate coffee and his uninspired cup of vanilla. But after we left all I could think about was the cake batter flavor that I had passed up. Days passed and I couldn’t get it out of my head. Cake batter, cake batter, cake batter…it is all I wanted.

Cake Batter Bars, a super simple, sweet, sticky treat! And it happens to be gluten free!

Luckily, the Vanilla Chex cereal already tastes similar to cake batter, so I just kind of ran with it. The result are these super sweet, sticky, fantastic cereal bars that taste just like cake batter! And a big bonus, no weird ingredients! They include cereal, butter, marshmallows, vanilla, and of course, sprinkles.

Cake Batter Bars, only five simple ingredients!

So,  just in case all of this cake batter talk has you craving it, too. Know you’re only five ingredients away from these sweet treats!

Cake Batter Bars, only 5 ingredients and gluten free!

 

Cake Batter Bars
Recipe type: Sweets
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8+
 
Ingredients
  • 5 cups Vanilla Chex
  • 5 cups of marshmallows
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-2 teaspoons sprinkles
Instructions
  1. Heat a medium size sauce pan to medium low heat, add butter and let it slowly melt. When butter is mostly melted add in the marshmallows and stir them regularly.
  2. When the butter and marshmallows are totally melted add the vanilla extract.
  3. Grab a 9x13 pan (for thin bars, if you want thick bars use an 8x8 pan) and line with wax paper, lightly spray with cooking oil and set aside.
  4. Add the cereal to the marshmallow mixture, stir well, and spread into the pan then top with sprinkles.
  5. Place in the fridge and let the bars firm up.
  6. When you are ready to cut turn them out onto a cutting board, removing the wax paper and cut into squares.
  7. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

Bacon, Ham, and Egg Wrap with Honey Dijon Sauce

Sometimes when I ask Mr. Maebell what he wants for dinner he looks at me with pleading eyes and says, “please..just something simple.”

Ham, Bacon, and Egg Wrap with Honey Dijon Sauce

I have said before that spouses of food bloggers will someday need a support group. I totally stand by that. Sometimes I get caught up in an idea and go a little overboard. The dinner might be good, but it is a little much. Or the other side of that is that I get an idea, spend a lot of time on it, and then decide it is terrible and we eat cereal for dinner. That also happens a lot.

So, when he politely asks me to chill the heck out with the meals I don’t really blame him. That is kind of what happened the night that I made this wrap. Luckily, it ended up being a no fuss meal that was actually pretty darn impressive. I combined a lot of basic staples together to make a really filling wrap. Some deli ham, a couple slices of cooked bacon, an egg, swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, and of course a nice little sauce to top it all off.

Ham, Bacon, and Egg Wrap with Honey Dijon Sauce

This has quickly become one of our favorites. It can be thrown together in under 20 minutes and is sure to please even your pickiest eater!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Bacon, Ham, and Egg Wrap with Honey Dijon Sauce
Recipe type: Wrap
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 4 slices of ham
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 slices of swiss cheese
  • 4 lettuce leafs
  • 4 slices of tomato
  • 2 large tortilla wraps (I used Udi's gluten free)
  • 1 tablespoon mayo
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
Instructions
  1. Heat a skillet on medium to medium low heat and cook the bacon until crisp, approximately 4 minutes on each side. Remove bacon from skillet and place on paper towels.
  2. Wipe the skillet clean and return to heat. Place each tortilla in the skillet for bout 30 seconds, or until lightly browned. Place each tortilla on a plate. Top with 2 teaspoons of the honey dijon, two slices of ham, one slice of cooked bacon, one slice of cheese, two leaves, two tomato slices, and set aside.
  3. Spray the skillet with cooking spray and carefully pour a beaten egg into the skillet. When the egg is set, flip, and let it cook an additional 20 seconds. Remove from heat and place on wrap.
  4. Carefully roll your wrap and slice down the center.

 

Vanilla Bean Frappuccino

A couple weekends ago I was at Starbucks with a friend. I ordered my usual caffeine filled macchiato and she ordered a Vanilla Bean Frappuccino. I can honestly say it had never crossed my mind to order something at Starbucks that didn’t have any coffee! But I was intrigued, it looked delicious! I tasted it and was totally in love. It is a super fantastic vanilla loaded ice cold drink. I immediately knew I had to recreate it.

Skinny Vanilla Bean Frappuccino

I did some quick googling and figured out most homemade versions of the Vanilla Bean Frappuccino include loads of ice cream. I really wanted to keep this drink on the lighter side of things so I tried a couple different mixtures of milk/yogurt/honey/vanilla and none of it was quite right. Ultimately, I decided the key to this drink is frozen fat free cool whip! Weird, I know. But it totally works. It mimics ice cream in that it adds a great creamy texture but without the calories.

This version is super simple and can be whipped up in a matter of minutes! The only thing even slightly tricky is the vanilla bean. If you haven’t ever used them before, just slice it lengthwise and you will see all of these little black “seeds” (I know they aren’t really seeds, but I don’t know what else to call them) just grab a small spoon and scoop them right into your blender.

And just in case you end up as addicted to this drink as I am and don’t want to spend all your money on vanilla beans look in the ethnic food section at your grocery instead of the baking aisle. They are likely much cheaper! And If you happen to have a World Market near you, they are even cheaper!

Skinny Vanilla Bean Frappuccino

What are you waiting for? Drink up my friends!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Vanilla Bean Frappuccino
Recipe type: Drinks
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2+
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups ice
  • 1½ cup frozen fat free cool whip
  • 1 vanilla bean split lengthwise and inside scooped out
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons honey
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a bender and blend for one minute or until ice is totally crushed.
  2. This makes 2 large cups or 4 small cups

 

Spicy Sausage Black Bean Pasta

Spicy Sausage Black Bean Pasta, a one dish, 30 minute meal that is delicious and gluten free!

What kind of grocery shopper are you? Are you super organized and only buy what you need? Do you follow your list to a T? Or are you a free spirit that will purchase whatever looks good? Most of the time I am a strict list follower. We already spend so much money on food that if I get things that I don’t need for that week it would get out of control quickly. So, I normally don’t have much left in my pantry at the end of the week. But last week I found myself in a pinch and needed to make something quickly with only what I had on hand. My first thought was to make breakfast for dinner (that is my go to, I will never turn down bacon and eggs) but I did have a couple things in the cabinets so I decided to get creative.

The result was a super tasty pasta dish loaded with flavor. Not only was it good, but it took just one dish and it was ready in less than 30 minutes! It doesn’t get much better than that!

Here is how I did it!

Spicy Sausage Black Bean Pasta, one dish, 30 minute meal, and gluten free

I thinly sliced some andouille sausage, chopped an onion and sauteed them in a little olive oil in a large cast iron skillet. I tossed in a can of rinsed black beans, rotel, tomato sauce, and some water (not pictured) and then gave it all a good stir. I also threw in some spices and dry rotini noodles.

Spicy Sausage Black Bean Pasta

When everything was mixed well, I  just covered the skillet and let everything simmer for approximately 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the pasta was tender I stirred in some cheese to make it extra creamy. And topped the whole thing off with a little extra cheese on top and some chopped green onions.

Spicy Sausage Black Bean Pasta

Voila! It really is that simple!

Just some basic pantry staples and some andouille sausage are transformed into an easy cheesy pasta dish that your whole family will love!

Spicy Sausage Black Bean Pasta

5.0 from 4 reviews
Spicy Sausage Black Bean Pasta
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 link andouille sausage (1/2 a pack of Johnsonville Andouille Sausage)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can rotel
  • 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups dry pasta (I used Gluten Free Barilla Rotini)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 package taco seasoning* (or spices listed below)
  • 1 cup cheese
  • chopped green onions for garnish
Instructions
  1. Thinly slice sausage, and finely chop the onion. Set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and onion and saute until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. (3-4 minutes)
  3. Add the can of drained and rinsed black beans, the undrained cans of rotel and tomato sauce.. Stir in the cup of water, dry pasta, and taco seasoning (or spices*)
  4. Cover skillet and reduce heat to medium low. Let the mixture simmer for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. When pasta is tender, stir in ¾ cup of cheese, and top with remaining ¼ cheese, place lid back on pasta just until cheese melts. Top with chopped green onions.

* If you prefer not to use packaged taco seasoning or do not have it on hand these spices work great:

  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Fresh Strawberry and Vanilla Pudding Pops

It is hot.

Fresh Strawberry and Vanilla Pudding Pops

Like full on, you-will-melt-if-you-walk-outside. And it is only going to get hotter.

You know how some people love summer and frolic in the water and run around in bathing suits drinking fruity drinks? Yeah that isn’t me. The only good thing about summer is that school was out. Since I am no longer in school I really don’t care for this season. Terrible, right? I know. Give me fall with leggings, boots, and scarves and I am a happy girl.

I do try to like summer. There are certain things I do enjoy. I really like that it stays daylight until almost 8 at night. I like sun dresses and ponytails. I love the fresh produce this time of year, and I like Popsicles.

Fresh Strawberry and Vanilla Pudding Pops

So in an effort to embrace summer I have these Fresh Strawberry and Vanilla Pudding Pops for you. You won’t believe how simple this is, just fresh strawberries, milk, and a couple tablespoons of instant pudding mix. Toss it all in the blender, give it a whirl and then freeze. Not only are these easy, but they are also a great light summer snack. So just in case you are one of the ones that likes sun, summer, and bathing suits, this won’t wreck your bikini bod! :)

Fresh Strawberry and Vanilla Pudding Pops

And just in case you are looking for more “summer friendly fare” here is a list of my favorite things to make that don’t require turning on your oven!


Fresh Strawberry and Vanilla Pudding Pops
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups strawberries
  • 1½ cups milk
  • 3 tablespoons dry vanilla instant pudding mix
Instructions
  1. Remove stems from berries and place all ingredients in a blender and blend 30 seconds to one minute or until berries are crushed and completely combined.
  2. Pour mixture into molds and freeze 24 hours.
  3. Run the molds under warm water for 15 seconds to make them easier to remove.
  4. Enjoy!