Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese

Original post is here.


2-3 jalapenos, seeded and diced (I’ve always used 3 and could probably be okay with a 4th. Husband would probably prefer more than that or a spicier pepper used)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream cheese, 1 block (8 oz)

2 cups milk

1 cup water

8 oz dried pasta

8 oz shredded Monterey jack cheese

1/2 cup bread or cracker crumbs

1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil


Preheat the oven to 400*.

In a large skillet, saute peppers with garlic powder and salt, cooking until softened (about 5 minutes).

Stir in cream cheese. Mix until until melted.

Add milk, water, and pasta. Bring to boil and then simmer for 10-15 minutes on medium or until the pasta is cooked through. Stir regularly.

Add in cheese; stir to melt.  Transfer pasta/cheese mixture to an oven safe pan.

In a small bowl, mix crumbs with oil to evenly coat.  Add to the top of your mac and cheese.

Bake for 5-10 minutes or until brown on top.


The original post calls for 1 medium onion, diced, to be cooked with the jalapeno in step one.  Husband isn’t a big fan of onions and I force them on him in enough other meals that I figure I’d spare him on this.

Usually makes 4-5 servings, depending on how hungry we are.

I’ve done some variations.  I’ve added bacon before – 6 slices just chopped up and mixed in.  I’ve switched pastas – penne, cavatappi, rotini.  Monterey jack cheese as listed sometimes or switched with cheddar or colby-jack or pepper jack depending on my mood.  Most recently I used the Monterey jack cheese and added slices of pepper jack cheese on top of pasta/cheese mix and below the crumbs.

I have made this on several occasions and it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite meals.  It doesn’t take too long to make, not too difficult, and is super delicious.


One-Pan Garlic Parmesan Chicken and Veggies

On New Year’s Day, Pinterest’s “Today’s Pick” included a set of Tasty videos from Buzzfeed.  I was home alone and bored and saved probably far more these than was necessary.  The original recipe (along with a video) can be found here.


2 chicken breasts

2 small broccoli crowns

4 medium red potatoes

1/4 cup olive oil

2 teaspoons sea or kosher salt

2 teaspoons black pepper

2 teaspoons onion powder

1 teaspoon paprika

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese



Preheat oven to 400*F

Cut broccoli and potatoes into small pieces and place on either side of a sheet tray.  Place chicken in middle of the tray.  Drizzle veggies and chicken with olive oil.

In a small bowl, mix the spices and sprinkle over veggies and both sides of chicken.  Mix veggies to evenly coat.

Top chicken with crushed garlic and top both veggies and chicken with parm cheese.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is done.



I couldn’t fit all of the broccoli and potatoes on the tray with chicken.  Maybe next time I’ll use two trays instead of one.

Definitely makes more spices than you need.

Baking took more like 25 minute out of the range.

They said this made 2 servings but did make enough for dinner for 2 and lunch leftovers for both of us.

Overall worth making again.


Ranch Roasted Vegetables

I was looking for a good side to go with buffalo chicken quesadillas. Google found me this.


1/4 cup olive oil

1 package hidden valley dry ranch mix

6-8 cups of vegetables


Preheat oven to 425.

Mix olive oil and ranch dressing mix together.  Add veggies and toss to coat.  Pour onto baking sheet and cook for 10-40 minutes depending on the vegetable (link has full list of vegetables and roast times).  Serve.


I made it with asparagus.  Which I learned after making isn’t something husband isn’t a big fan of.  Drats.

1 bunch didn’t need the full amount of olive oil or dry ranch. The link says should be baked for 10-15 minutes which was about right.

The asparagus was underwhelming but it was a bit iffy at the beginning so not sure how much that impacted it.  Will probably try again with another veggie.

Extra Crispy Oven Baked French Fries

Link to original recipe is over here. I just made the fries, didn’t use the seasoning mix.


3 medium Russet potatoes

1-2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons of grated cheese


Wash and peel the potatoes. Cut off the ends and cut the potatoes into thin slices about 1/4″ wide.

Add the fries to a large bowl, cover with cold water, and soak for at least 30 minutes but they can soak for as long as overnight (put in fridge if for more than an hour).

After the fries have soaked, drain, rinse, and lay the fries on a paper towel lined cooling rack to dry while you preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Blot the tops with additional paper towels to absorb any excess moisture.

Line a baking pan with parchment paper or foil and spray with non-stick spray. Make sure the previously used bowl is dry and add the potatoes to it, add 1-2 tablespoons of oil and 1/2 – 1 Tablespoon of the seasoning mixture (if you end up making the one in the link or another seasoning.  I just used plain salt).  Toss to mix.

Evenly line the baking pan with the fries in a single layer. Don’t overlap or they fries won’t cook properly. Bake for about 30 minutes, flipping with a spatula once or twice after 15 minutes of cooking. Remove fries from the oven and turn the oven up to 425 degrees. Return the fries to the oven until they are golden brown and the ends look a little burnt.

Sprinkle the fries with the other half of the seasoning mix and Parmesan cheese (optional). Serve immediately.


A good chunk of the fries ended up burnt despite checking on them regularly.  The ones that weren’t burnt were pretty tasty but also probably not worth the effort.  I was all for a little more effort if it was a more healthy  option but this was probably just more time consuming than the results were worht.

McCormick Bruschetta Chicken

In the seasoning aisle of my supermarket, I happened across a “McCormic Gourmet Sweet Basil & Oregano Bruschetta Chicken Recipe & Seasoning Mix” and decided to give it a try.  Following the shopping list on the back on the pouch (mix, oil, tomatoes, chicken, pasta, balsamic vinegar) and the directions (really easy and straightforward).  10 minutes of prep and 30 minutes cook time meant it was pretty low key.

Both boyfriend and I liked it. Worth getting again or trying other varieties.