Green Beans with Breadcrumbs, Garlic and Almonds

Easy green beans with breadcrumbs, almonds and garlic come together in 15 minutes with just a few basic ingredients.

Is it weird that I love, love, love veggie side dishes? Plain veggies are good for you, but dressing them up makes them a lot more appealing. I’m seriously excited about these green beans with breadcrumbs, almonds and garlic, a recipe I’ve been perfecting for several months now. This recipe comes together in just 15 minutes with a few simple ingredients from the freezer and pantry. I usually have the ingredients for this recipe on hand, so I can whip it up on short notice.

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Creamy Tomato Basil Soup for the Instant Pot

Easy, inexpensive creamy tomato-basil soup will be your new favorite recipe for the Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker.

If you read this blog regularly, you might have noticed that we make a lot of soup, especially tomato soup! Is there anything better than a hot mug of tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich on a cold winter day? One of my favorite recipes is this creamy tomato basil soup for the Instant Pot. My family loves this soup, and I love it because it’s easy and inexpensive to make.

I got my Instant Pot electric pressure cooker more than a year ago, and it’s become one of my favorite kitchen gadgets. The thing I use it for the most is making soup. It has a pre-programmed soup setting, so cooking the soup is automatic.

This creamy tomato basil soup is packed with flavor, and with healthy veggies. Just a touch of heavy cream gives the soup richness without too many calories.

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Italian Salad with Pears, Shaved Parmesan, and Honey-Balsamic Vinaigrette

This beautiful Italian salad combines pears, shaved Parmesan and honey-balsamic vinaigrette.

I’m always looking for new salad combinations, especially since I’ve somehow become the go-to salad person for our family get-togethers. Two things I’ve learned about making a good salad are 1) you need a balance of flavors and textures, and 2) you can always look to Italian cuisine for inspiration. This Italian salad with pears, shaved Parmesan and honey-balsamic vinaigrette is a perfect blend of sweet, salty, sour and bitter flavors, with a variety of textures from tender salad greens to juicy pears to crunchy toasted pine nuts.

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Christmas Deviled Eggs

Christmas deviled eggs will be the hit of any holiday party.

Deviled eggs are classic appetizers, welcome at any party table. This week I was asked to bring an appetizer to a big family Christmas party, and I thought if I dressed them up in Christmas colors, deviled eggs would be perfect. I had to smile when I named this recipe “Christmas Deviled Eggs,” because normally Christmas and the devil don’t go together. When I looked into the history of deviled eggs, I learned that sometimes people in the Midwest and South call deviled eggs “angel eggs” when bringing them to church functions.  So you can definitely call these Christmas Deviled Eggs “Angel Eggs” if you prefer.

Plain deviled eggs get dressed up for the holidays with festive red and green garnishes.

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Homemade Roasted Chili Oil

Sichuan-style toasted chili oil brings a toasty heat to all your favorite foods.

Lately I’m in love with Sichuan-style roasted chili oil – a little obsessed, in fact. Roasted chili oil (or toasted chili oil) has a complex, toasted chili flavor that’s mellow and not acidic. Sometimes I buy roasted chili oil from my local gourmet supermarket, but it’s expensive and hard to find. I decided to try making my own, so I would never run out. I eat it with scrambled eggs, roasted vegetables and potatoes. It’s also fantastic with our 10-Minute Wonton Soup, Crock-Pot Honey Balsamic Chicken, Korean Beef and Noodle Stir-Fry and Easy Homemade Kung Pao Chicken.

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Creamy Tomato Basil Soup With Orzo

Creamy tomato basil soup with orzo is one of the best soups you will ever make!

One thing I love about fall is the return of soup season! One of the first soups I make every year when the weather turns cooler is this creamy tomato basil soup with orzo, which is based on a ready-made soup from Costco. It’s probably my favorite “Costco hack” recipe. I’ve made this soup dozens of times – for my family, for company or for potlucks – and people always ask me for the recipe.

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Southwest Salad with Quinoa and Black Beans

There aren’t many foods I dislike, but I don’t really like quinoa. There, I said it. I know quinoa is trendy and good for you, but I just have never liked the taste of it. Until now. Recently, I was at a food blogger event, and one of the lunch selections was this amazing Southwest salad with black beans, quinoa, queso fresco, and fresh vegetables. With this recipe, I’ve found a way to eat quinoa that I really love.

This salad is substantial, super tasty, and vegetarian. I serve it with a cilantro lime vinaigrette, and even kids will eat it. I love how healthy it is, and how easy it is to make.

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Chipotle Lime Honey Vinaigrette

Chipotle Lime and Honey Vinaigrette tastes great with salads, grilled chicken, shrimp or fish.

During the past week we’ve celebrated a high school graduation, bought season passes to the water park, and fired up the grill at least three times. I guess you could say summer is underway! I love the tastes of summer, especially tangy citrus flavors like lime and lemon. I developed this recipe for Chipotle Lime Honey Vinaigrette to go with my Chipotle Lime Chicken Kabobs, but it goes great with any kind of salad, grilled fish or shrimp.

There are so many flavor directions you can go with a basic vinaigrette, but this combination of chipotle, lime and honey is one of my favorites. This dressing is tart, sweet and spicy without being overpowering. It’s fresher and less expensive than bottled dressing.

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Very Veggie Marinara Sauce

Very Veggie Marinara Sauce is easy, economical and full of fresh vegetables.

There’s something so satisfying about a plate of pasta with a hearty, flavorful marinara sauce. It’s a meal that can be put together in a hurry, when you’re low on groceries or have no idea what to make, and it’s inexpensive but still delicious. 

When my husband and I were dating, he pretty much lived on pasta. At the time, we were both waiting tables at the Old Spaghetti Factory, and they gave us a free plate of pasta every shift. I’m pretty sure he would have eaten spaghetti and pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. His Italian mama made him spaghetti at home, too, always with her homemade sauce.

Over the years, I’ve developed my own marinara sauce recipe, and I usually make it using the pressure cooker or Crock-Pot. My recipe uses carrots and celery in addition to tomatoes, onions and garlic, with a touch of extra virgin of olive oil. I love having this sauce on hand, to top pasta, grilled chicken or zucchini noodles, or to use as a dip for breadsticks. You can also use it for baked pasta dishes like Allie’s Baked Caprese Tortellini.

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Avocado Green Rice

This Avocado Green Rice (Arroz Verde) is full of flavor and color. It's simple to make, and is perfect for burritos, tacos, salads, or on it's own.

If you’ve spent much time on our blog, you know we love rice and Mexican food. 5-Ingredient Spanish Rice is our most popular recipe, and Mexican or Southwest recipes always seem to be our favorites. This week I’m making another rice recipe that I absolutely love – Avocado Green Rice. If you’ve never had Green Rice (or Arroz Verde) before, you’re missing out, and the avocado just takes it to the next level.

This Avocado Green Rice (Arroz Verde) is full of flavor and color. It's simple to make and is perfect for burritos, tacos, salads, or as a side dish.

This recipe gets its fresh flavor and touch of spice from cilantro, parsley, jalapeno, lime and garlic. I’ll be honest – this rice is actually great before you even add the avocado, but adding the avocado just gives it an extra kick. It adds a creamy texture that is so satisfying, and the avocado flavor complements the basic green rice perfectly.


Add this rice to tacos, use it in burritos or salads, or (if you’re me) eat it on its own. It’s so good, I could eat a big bowlful all by itself.

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