Dinners

Recipe—Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Queso Stuffed Chiles

There are some recipes that are summer staples, this recipe is one of those in our household. Zesty citrus grilled pork tenderloin medallions paired with cheesy grilled stuffed peppers. Looks and sounds amazing, doesn’t it?

One of the reasons we primarily make this in the summer is because that is when peppers are in season, and you can usually find pretty large ones at the store. The bigger the better when it comes to this recipe! That way you can pack them full of all the cheesy goodness. 

I absolutely love pork tenderloins. They are so lean and are actually a really great grilling meat. With this recipe, the meat is so flavorful and juicy, and takes on really great citrusy and smoky flavor as it plumps up on the grill. 

There are so many things to love about this recipe. It is relatively easy, looks amazing, tastes amazing, and all the components of this dish are cooked outside, so you don’t have to deal with a hot oven during warm summer nights. What’s not to love?

TENDERLOIN INGREDIENTS

4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 c fresh squeezed orange juice
2 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 lb. pork tenderloin

STUFFED PEPPER INGREDIENTS

3/4 c queso fresco, crumbled
3/4 c jack cheese, shredded
1/2 c cilantro leaves, chopped
1 small tomato, diced
4 anaheim or hatch chile peppers, sliced open lengthwise, seeds removed

GARNISH

1 lime, cut into wedges
additional chopped cilantro

STEPS

  • Combine the apple cider vinegar, oregano, orange juice, olive oil, and garlic in a large resealable bag. 
  • Add the tenderloin to the bag and marinade in the fridge for 2–12 hours.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the queso, jack cheese, cilantro, and diced tomato. 
  • Spoon the cheese mixture into each pepper half.
  • Preheat the grill to 400º.
  • Add the pork tenderloin to the grill and cook for 10–12 minutes. 
  • Flip the tenderloin and cook for another 10–12 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145º.
  • Remove the pork from the grill and allow it to rest.
  • While the tenderloin in resting, add the stuffed chiles to the grill and cook for 10–12 minutes or until the cheese is nice and melted. 
  • Slice the pork and serve with the grilled chiles and sliced lime and garnish with additional fresh chopped cilantro.

If you like this recipe, then I highly recommend you check out my recipes for The Most Awesome Pork Tenderloin Ever or Pork Tenderloin Sammies with Red Cabbage Coleslaw and Sriracha.

Sweet Treats

Recipe—Old Fashioned Strawberry Ice Cream

The other day as we were driving into our subdivision, we spotted a little pop-up fruit stand with the most vibrant red strawberries on the side of the road. They were so fresh and ripe that you could smell the sweet strawberry aroma from over 10 feet away. It literally just drew me in. 

It was the first really warm weekend of the year so making some homemade strawberry ice cream just seemed obvious. Fresh churned old fashioned strawberry ice cream is just an iconic summer treat and the key is ripe fresh strawberries. The kind that you can only find in the warmer months and that are a deep red throughout.

Now the trick to getting a really good creamy strawberry ice cream, is to make it with an egg/custard base. Strawberries have so much juice in them that your ice cream can take on an icy texture if you just use milk and cream. So, this recipe may be a bit more work than others, but it is so worth it. The final product will be so creamy and decadent. Absolutely worth it!

So as the weather really starts to warm up as summer creeps in, and you start seeing your market and fruit stands flooded with ripe strawberries, make sure to keep this recipe in mind. It is the perfect dessert to make this summer.

Note: This recipe requires that you make a custard egg mixture over the stove that needs to be completely chilled before being placed in the ice cream maker. The steps below guide you to put the custard in the fridge for 4–5 hours. However, if you don’t have the time, you can place the bowl of warm custard in a second large bowl filled with ice water and stir frequently. This will allow your mixture to cool within 30–40 minutes. Just make sure to keep it well stocked with ice.

INGREDIENTS
4 large egg yolks
3/4 c sugar, divided
1/4 c  brown sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 c heavy cream
1 cups whole milk
1 tsp vanilla
4 c strawberries, sliced 
1 tbsp lemon juice 

STEPS

  • In large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, 1/2 cup of the sugar, brown sugar, and salt until it is nice and smooth and set aside.
  • In a large saucepan combine the heavy cream, milk, and vanilla and heat over medium heat until it begins to simmer. 
  • Remove the pot from heat and VERY slowly add the egg mixture to the pot while whisking the entire time. (By slowly mixing in the egg mixture and whisking continuously you are tempering the eggs but not cooking them.) 
  • Return the saucepan with the creamy egg mixture to the stove and heat through over medium heat.
  • Stir the mixture frequently until it just starts the slightly thicken. You do not want to overdo it or the eggs will begin to cook/scramble.
  • Once the custard mixture is done, transfer it to a large metal or glass bowl, cover it with plastic wrap or a lid, and place it in the fridge for 4­–5 hours until it is well chilled. 
  • When you are ready to start making the ice cream, combine the strawberries, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a large bowl.
  • Using a metal masher, break up the strawberries until they are really saturated in their juices.
  • Add the mashed strawberries to the custard mixture, stirring to combine.
  • Pour the final ice cream mixture into your ice cream maker and churn according to your device’s directions. 
  • Transfer the finished ice cream to an airtight container and store in the freezer. 
  • If you like this recipe, make sure to also check out my recipe for Blackberry Ice Cream, another favorite in our house. 
Salads, Side Dishes

Recipe—Creamy Dill Red Potato Salad

Summer is upon us! Well not quite, but we are so close! I can literally smell it! The smell of grilled meat has infiltrated the warm evening air in my subdivision and I am itching for a good ol’ fashioned cookout.

One thing I absolutely love about summer BBQs are all the cold salads. Macaroni salads, potato salads, mmmmmmm… mmmm… mmmm! (I really should not write these posts when I am hungry because right now, I am salivating just thinking back to this potato salad.)

I have a go to potato salad that is loaded with bacon, olives, bell peppers, onions, and so much more and it is amazing, but sometimes I am looking to mix it up with something a little more simple and lighter. 

The red potatoes really come out fluffy and then the super creamy dressing is a little tangy from the vinegar and sour cream and then you have this delicious dill flavor. So simple and so lite. Perfect for these warm summer days!

INGREDIENTS
8 large red potatoes, diced
1 c sour cream
1 c mayonnaise
1/2 c red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp dill
salt and pepper
4 green onions, chopped

STEPS

  • Add 1–2 tablespoon of salt to a large pot of water and bring to a boil.
  • Add the diced potatoes and boil for 10–14 minutes or until fork tender.
  • While the potatoes are boiling whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, vinegar, dill, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  • When the potatoes are done cooking drain them in a colander and transfer to a large bowl.
  • Add most of the green onions (saving a handful for garnish) and dressing and toss to coat. 
  • Garnish with the leftover green onions and a little bit of the dill.
  • Cover with a lid or saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. The longer it rests, the better the flavors.

If you like this recipe, then I highly recommend you check out these other awesome salads that make for great additions to your BBQ menu!

Italian Pasta Salad

Italian Pasta Salad

Classic Macaroni Salad

Classic Macaroni Salad

Orzo Pesto Pasta

Orzo Pesto Pasta

Sweet Treats

Recipe—Lemon Italian Ice

If you think a cold glass of lemonade is refreshing on a hot summer day, wait until you try this frozen treat, Lemon Italian Ice! There is no comparison. This is better, hands down. Your kiddos will think so too.

My son and I make this during the summer and it is the most refreshing thing I have probably ever had. The lemon mixture with fresh zest is just the perfect amount of tart and sweet and it is crazy how light and fluffy it is! Absolute heaven! 

I absolutely love how easy this recipe is to make. So easy that my 11-year-old does most of the work. I pretty much just zest the lemons and he does the rest. Plus, it is basically 4 ingredients. Fresh lemons, sugar, salt, and water. So simple and relatively healthy compared to other frozen treats.

So as the weather warms up and you are looking for creative ways to cool off, give this a try. It is sure to do the trick!

Notes: 

  • The trick to making this is to work quickly when you are processing the frozen cubes and keep the fluffy ice from melting. We had a container ready to go in the freezer and as soon as I emptied each batch from the blender to the container, it went back into the freezer. This really kept it light and fluffy and it never froze together. 
  • To get 1 1/2 cups of fresh lemon juice, you will probably need between 8–10 lemons.
  • This makes a pretty decent sized batch so you can easily get 6–8 servings out of it. 

INGREDIENTS
grated zest from 2 lemons
1 1/2 c fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 c sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 c water

GARNISHES (optional)
fresh raspberries
fresh mint leaves

STEPS

  • In a medium saucepan, combine the lemon zest, juice, sugar, salt, and water.
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until the sugar is dissolved. 
  • Allow the mixture to cool for about 30 minutes.
  • Pour the liquid into ice cube trays and freeze overnight.
  • Put 6–8 ice cubes at a time into a food processor or blender and pulse until all the cubes are broken up and you have a fluffy mixture.
  • Immediately transfer the “fluffy ice” to serving dishes OR a freezer safe container to be enjoyed later.
  • Repeat this process with the remaining cubes.
  • Garnish your Italian ice with some fresh raspberries and mint sprigs.
  • Store the leftover Italian ice in the freezer in a tightly covered container. 
  • To serve later, remove the Italian ice from the freezer and allow it to sit for 5–10 minutes to help soften it up for scooping. 
Dinners, Soups

Recipe—Keto White Chicken Chili

Okay, you may be thinking, “Why is this Diva posting a chili recipe as the weather is warming up? Isn’t chili a cool weather dish?” Here is my response, this is probably one of the best keto meals I have ever had, and the flavors are so good that I absolutely eat this any time. Plus, it is just so easy to make, and in my opinion, an easy one pot recipe is welcome year-round.

I have been “doing keto” since June 2020 and am down 33 lbs. Yay me! Now don’t worry, this blog is not suddenly turning keto. I am just all about offering variety to my followers and I could not keep this recipe to myself, it is just too good! If you are a long time follower, you know my blog is anything but a keto or diet blog.

Now even if you aren’t on a ketogenic diet, you can absolutely enjoy this recipe as is, or what I do for my husband and son who are full on carbivores (I just made that up), is split the cooked chili into two batches after it is all cooked. One keto batch for me, and one carb loaded version for them. I have integrated carbs two different ways for them. One time I added a can of white cannellini beans to their chili and another time I served this over a bowl of cooked rice. Both of those options were very well received.

Hope you love this recipe as much as I do because it is definitely one of my new favorite “go tos”.

INGREDIENTS
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground chicken (or turkey)
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
4 tbsp butter
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 a yellow onion, diced
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, deseeded and chopped
1 1/2 c chicken broth
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 c heavy cream
4.5-ounce can diced green chiles, drained

GARNISHES
avocado
cilantro
cotija cheese, crumbled

STEPS

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat and add the ground chicken breaking it apart as it cooks.
  • Season the meat with cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper and continue cooking until it is almost cooked through.
  • Add the butter, bell pepper, onion, garlic, and jalapeño to the pot.
  • Sauté until all the veggies are cooked through and tender, about 5–10 minutes.
  • Add the broth to the pot and bring to a simmer.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes and then add the cream cheese, heavy cream, and green chiles.
  • Continue simmering for another 15 minutes stirring every once in a while, making sure that the cream cheese melts and is nicely integrated.
  • Garnish with avocado, cilantro, and crumbled cotija cheese.
Salads, Side Dishes

Recipe—Cauliflower Tabbouleh

To me, spring means transitioning those hearty comfort foods to lighter more refreshing dishes. Gotta start getting this body bikini ready! Just kidding, this mom bod hasn’t rocked a bikini in over 11 years. A good ol’ tankini is more my style. LOL In reality, I just crave lighter foods as the weather warms up, and the produce section of the grocery store transitions with the season. Everything just seems more vibrant and robust.

This cauliflower tabbouleh is perfect for warmer weather as it requires no cooking, so you can leave that hot stove off. The flavors in this dish are so refreshing as it is PACKED with herbs! You have lemon zest, mint, garlic, and red pepper. Freaking delish!

This dish is one of those that actually gets better as it sits. I like to make it the day before I plan on eating it so the cauliflower bits really take on all those yummy flavors. It is one of those perfect dishes to make on Sunday to have for lunches throughout the week. You know I am all about that meal prep! (Just beware, you may have some garlic breath so pack some gum too.)

While traditional tabbouleh is made from bulgar wheat, I actually use a bag of riced cauliflower in this recipe making it keto friendly and low calorie. It goes fantastic with some grilled Greek chicken and tzatziki!

INGREDIENTS
10 oz bag frozen riced cauliflower, thawed
cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 cup small tomatoes, cut in half
1 c fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 c mint leaves, chopped 
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt

STEPS

  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. (Yes, it really is that easy.)
Snacks

Recipe—Baseball Munchie Mix

My son has been playing little league baseball for the last six years and that means I have six years of experience being the team mom, six years of experience coordinating snack sign ups, and six years of watching moms try to outdo each other with their creativity with their snacks. Myself included.

I made up this baseball munchie mix at the peak of my team mom career (that was two years in) and it was all down hill after that. However, I will never forget the faces of our little farm ball players after their game when I passed these out. They thought the plastic hats were the absolute coolest, especially because it had their team logo on them.

I had found these adorable plastic ball caps on Amazon and knew I had to plan a snack around them. I took all of my son’s favorite salty and sweet snacks, mixed them up in a big bowl, and combined them into one epic snack mix served in the cutest hats. Now, if you don’t want to spend the money on plastic hats, you can absolutely make this mix and just put it in some plastic bags. Trust me, the kids will still be super stoked. I mean after all, there is candy involved.

Now, do you need a recipe for this? Probably not. But my blog is about all things in the kitchen and inspiring people to have fun. And that may even be to help all my fellow baseball moms out with a creative and fun snack idea for your little sluggers. I know Folsom moms aren’t the only baseball moms trying to outdo each other with their creative snack ideas. Plus, this is a fantastic recipe for a baseball or World Series watching party too!

INGREDIENTS
7 oz bag Boom Chicka Pop Kettle Corn
10 oz box Honey Teddy Grahams
8 oz Rold Gold Pretzels (I used the big ones and broke them up)
2 cups M&Ms (I found their team colors available)
6 full size Hershey bars broken up

STEPS

  • Mix all the ingredients together in a big bowl and portion into individual snack bags or plastic ball caps. 
Sweet Treats

Recipe—Classic Whoopie Pies

There is something so fun about whoopie pies. That creamy marshmallow filling sandwiched between two fluffy chocolate cakes. Yes, please! 

The other day I saw an article about the history of whoopie pies and it is too cute not to share. According to legend, Amish wives would take leftover cake batter and make the tiny cakes. Husbands and kids would then find the little “pies” in their lunch boxes the next day and would exclaim “Whoopee!” Cute right? That would probably be my reaction if I found one of these in my lunch too.

They may seem complicated but actually are super easy to make. You basically make cookies out of cake batter and just bake them for a few minutes, let them cool, and then fill them with gooey goodness. Oh, and then add a glass of milk or a good stout. 

Notes: 

  • This recipe makes about 10–12 assembled pies. 
  • You can put the marshmallow filling between the cakes just by scooping it on, or I like to use a piping bag with a large tip to get really smooth edges. You can have fun using decorative piping tips too. 
  • Store uneaten whoopie pies in an airtight container in the fridge for best results. Then allow them to come to room temperature for about 10–15 minutes. This will allow the cake to soften back up. My husband and son actually like to keep them in the freezer and they eat them frozen so they are like a super indulgent ice cream sandwich. 

CAKE INGREDIENTS
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa
2 c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 c sugar
1 egg
1 c whole milk
2 tsp vanilla

MARSHMALLOW FILLING INGREDIENTS
1 c powdered sugar
1/2 c unsalted butter, softened 
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 c marshmallow creme/fluff

STEPS

  • Preheat the oven to 400º. 
  • Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  • Stir together the cocoa, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. 
  • In a separate mixing bowl, beat together the vegetable oil, sugar, egg, milk, and vanilla extract until well integrated.
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and beat until just combined. 
  • Scoop large equal sized spoonfuls of batter onto the lined baking sheet keeping them a couple of inches apart.
  • Bake the “cakes” for about 6–7 minutes. Make sure they are puffed up and looked cook through but don’t overcook them.
  • Using a spatula, immediately transfer the cakes to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely.
  • Prepare the marshmallow filling by beating together all the powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla until nice and smooth. Gradually add the marshmallow creme until it is mixed in. (If the frosting doesn’t seem thick enough, add in a bit more powdered sugar a little at a time. You want it to be about the consistency of frosting.)
  • Take one of the cakes, turn it upside down, and put a nice sized dollop of the marshmallow filling in the center of the underside of the cake. (If your filling is squishing out from the weight of the cake on top, you can place the filling in the fridge for about 30 minutes. The butter chilling will help to thicken it up.)
  • Place a matching cake flat side down on top of the filling and push it down to spread the filling evenly from edge to edge. I like my filling to be about 1/2” thick.
  • Repeat until all the pies are complete!

If you like this recipe, check out my recipe for Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies which are made with a cream cheese marshmallow filling. 

Brunch

Recipe—Southwest Frittata

Southwest Frittata

My current brunch obsession is frittatas. You can basically throw any combination of ingredients together in a skillet and as long as you have eggs, heavy cream, and cheese, you can make a delicious meal.

I came up with this Southwest Frittata when I was working on developing a new recipe for my live cooking demo with UNIQUE Programs. The challenge when doing live cooking demos is you need something quick to make sure you fill your time slot and don’t have any lag time. With this recipe taking less than 20 minutes it worked out great!

The key to any good frittata is to cook about 2–3 cups worth of any combination of ingredients in a cast iron skillet, and then add the perfect egg mixture, which is 8 eggs, a 1/2 cup of heavy cream, and 1 cup of any cheese. You just pour the egg mixture over the cooked ingredients, simmer for 2–3 minutes and then finish it off in the oven. It is such a great use of leftovers. Got leftover steak, make a frittata! Leftover veggies, make a frittata! Leftover potatoes, you know it, fri-freaking-ttata! You catch my drift.

Note: If you do not have a skillet that can be put in the oven, just transfer the cooked ingredients to a baking dish, add the egg mixture over the top, and bake in the oven. Just note that you will need to extend the cooking time in the oven since you won’t be cooking the egg mixture on the stove top.

Southwest Frittata

INGREDIENTS
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground breakfast sausage
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, sliced
8 eggs
1/2 c heavy whipping cream
1 c pepper jack cheese, shredded
salt and pepper
fresh parsley or cilantro, minced (optional)

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 400º.
  • Over medium high heat, warm up 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a cast iron skillet.
  • Add the breakfast sausage to the skillet and break it apart with a spatula as it cooks.
  • As the sausage starts to brown up, add the chopped onion.
  • While the sausage is cooking, whisk together the eggs, heavy cream, shredded cheese, salt, and pepper and set aside.
  • When the sausage is completely cooked, add the red bell pepper to the skillet and continue cooking for another 2–3 minutes so the bell pepper just starts to soften up.
  • Using the spatula, evenly spread the sausage mixture in the bottom of the skillet.
  • Pour the egg mixture around the skillet making sure it is all evenly covered.
  • Allow the egg mixture to start to cook in the pan making sure not to stir, about 2–3 minutes.
  • Once the eggs have started to set around the edge of the skillet, transfer the skillet to the preheated oven and cook for about 12–15 minutes or until it is nice and puffed up and set in the center.
  • Remove the skillet from the oven and allow it to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the freshly minced herbs over the top of the frittata.
  • Cut the cooked frittata into wedges and serve.
Etsy Shop

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother’s Day is THREE weeks away! Do you have a gift for your momma yet? If not, I am here to help!

You may recall me posting back in October that I was going to launching my very own “kitchen boutique” on Etsy. I am happy to report that it is doing so much better than I could have anticipated! I am absolutely loving getting to combine my passion for cooking and design into a little side hustle that brings me so much joy!

I recently have been working on some ideas with moms specifically in mind and thought I would share here with you! All orders ship out within 1–2 days so you still have some time to get your order in.

Mugs
These mugs are my favorite mugs ever and there are three different designs to pick from. They are massive and hold 16 ounces of mom’s favorite hot beverage, or wine if that’s her style. I love how classy these all look with their matte exterior, high gloss white imprint and then a high gloss interior. The artwork is silkscreened on and cured using a heat process making them dishwasher and microwave safe. In other words… Best. Mug. Ever!

You can see all my available mugs here.

Oven Mitts
My husband certainly knows his way around the kitchen and can grill up some mean meals but both my boys know, momma kids “Queen of the Kitchen”. These adorable oven mitts are available in both red and black. These oven mitts are fit for any queen who enjoys cooking with style and grace. This handy home essential is the perfect addition to bring a little pizazz to any “queendom”. The oven mitt is all black with a bright white design screenprinted on. These are quilted and padded and made of high-quality 100% cotton and has a convenient loop for hanging as well as a pocket. Add a box of muffin mix and a wooden spoon for a perfect gift. It can be washed and reused and most importantly will protect your hands when handling hot pots.

You can purchase this black oven mitt here or the red one here.

Words of Affirmation Magnet Set
We can all use more positivity and self love in our lives. This magnet set confirms, supports, and uplifts your mom in the best way possible. Having these on display will remind her that she is important, powerful, strong, enough, brave, beautiful, wise, and worthy. 

These are available in both blush pink or black. Each set comes in a small sheer drawstring bag all ready for gifting!

You can purchase this pink magnet set here or the black set here.

Flour Sack Towel
We all know moms can sometimes obsess with being people pleasers. It’s just in our DNA. But, sometimes I think mom’s need a reminder that we can’t make everyone happy. These hilarious towels are a good reminder for mom that only tacos have that kind of power.

This 100% cotton towel is made from an incredibly absorbent flour sack and the artwork is silkscreened on. It’s heavy duty, machine washable, and lint free. These towels maintain an excellent quality even after multiple washes! 

I now have 9 different fun designs to pick from in my shop if this one isn’t mom’s cup of tea.

You can purchase these towels here.

Wine Glass
Last but not least, if anyone knows me, a wine glass is always a welcome gift and these are my favorite ever! Stemless wear is all the rage and provides the ideal handhold to look, swirl, smell and taste wine of all kinds. It is the perfect glass for parties, wine tastings, or just lounging around with its wide base and smooth rim. The text is silkscreened on in a black ink making it durable and high quality. 

You can purchase these wine glasses here.