Egg Roll Wrappers

After working all day, I traveled to three stores last night to find egg roll wrappers. Who would’ve thought they’d be so hard to find! Eventually, I gave up. Instead, I looked up the ingredients of egg roll wrappers and set my sights on making it happen in my kitchen. And it happened. And I’ll never buy them again because these were just too easy. I noticed they didn’t crisp up quite the same, but it’s easily fixed with a quick bake in the oven after frying them or tossing them in a dry skillet to “toast” them once they’re done. But, in all reality, I just ate them as is and didn’t miss the super crisp bite. It was crispy enough for me. 😉

2 1/4 c flour
1/2 ice cold water
1 t. salt
1 large egg, beaten

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until combined. Cover and let rest for up to an hour. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about 3 minutes, adding flour to the workspace if needed. The dough should be soft, pliable, and have good elasticity but not too sticky. Cut the dough into 12 equal(ish) pieces. Do the best you can, but there’s no need to bust out the scale here.

Use your fingers to gently flatten the dough, and then using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough into a very thin piece. Mine had no actual shape to them. I started with wanting them square, then moved to circle, then just wanted them thin enough to do what they had to do.

Use wax paper or parchment paper to separate them as you make them (don’t be like me). You definitely don’t want to stack the raw egg rolls on top of each other. When I was ready to fill them, I pulled the edges a bit to restretch the dough… think of what it looks like when someone is working a pizza dough. Fill them with your desired filling (I’ll post one soon). Once I have my filling in there, I fold the sides in and roll it up. I use a bit of egg to seal the dough on the seam.

Warm a cast-iron skillet that’s filled about halfway with vegetable oil over medium heat. Cook the egg rolls for about 3 minutes or until the desired color, turning often.


Skillet Gnocchi with Brussels Sprouts

We’ve talked before about how we can roast gnocchi instead of boiling it – you can see the recipe for Roasted Veggies and Gnocchi here.

Did you know you can also cook shelf stable gnocchi in a skillet? You can, and I’m going to show you how. 😉

First, you pour your favorite wine into your favorite wine glass.

10 oz shaved brussels sprouts
500 g shelf stable gnocchi, uncooked
Zest from 1 lemon
4 T butter (in 1 T pats)
Olive Oil
Kosher salt
Red pepper flakes
3/4 c shredded parmesan cheese

Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil into the pan and add the brussels sprouts. Sprinkle with about a teaspoon of kosher salt and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring often. Add 1/2 the lemon zest and cook for another 5 minutes or until done. Remove to plate.

Into the same skillet, add another drizzle-1 tablespoon olive oil and add gnocchi in a single layer. Cook for 3-4 minutes without stirring. Continue cooking, stirring often until soft and golden on all sides. Add butter the skillet (separate it through the pan, though, don’t drop it all in one spot. 😉 ) and allow it to cook down until it’s browned and smells a bit nutty.

Add brussels sprouts back to skillet, add salt and pepper to taste. To serve, top with red pepper flakes, lemon zest, and fresh parmesan. Enjoy!


Okay, so hear me out. I’ve never had picadillo that hasn’t been made in my kitchen. I didn’t even know what it was until May 2020, when a friend mentioned it was his favorite meal. Of course, anyone’s favorite is something I want to conquer – we already know this about me! 😉

This recipe makes a lot. If I had to guess, I would say 8 healthy servings if you’re eating it without rice. Feel free to cut the recipe in half if that makes more sense for you!

2 1/4 lbs ground beef*
3 russet baking potatoes, peeled and diced
2 red peppers, diced
1 large sweet yellow onion, diced
8 cloves garlic, roasted and smashed*
2 c. Beef broth or 2 cubes bouillon + 1 1/2 c water
29 oz can tomato sauce (you won’t use all of it)
1 T. cumin
1 T. coriander
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper

Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat and drizzle with olive oil. Add ground beef and cook until mostly done – we want the meat to remain soft. Remove from burner and drain off fat. Add vegetables–except garlic, mix it with the beef, and cook for about 10 minutes or until the onions and peppers soften. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add about 3/4 of the tomato sauce, the beef broth or bouillon/water combo, and mix. Add all the seasonings and stir well to combine. Add bay leaves and gently mix them in. Lower the heat to a low simmer, cover, and cook for about 10 minutes.

Remove lid and cook for another 10 minutes or so until the potatoes are done, and the liquid has reduced. In fairness, I cook mine for nearly 40 minutes because I think it’s one of those dishes that tastes better the longer it cooks. We don’t want the potatoes to break apart, so stop short of that, but feel free to cook it as long as you want.

Remove bay leaves and serve.

You can eat it with rice, on its own, with tortillas, or however you fancy. I top mine with crushed red pepper and eat it with fresh tortillas! If I had any cilantro (I think it’s lost in a supply chain), I would’ve topped with some of that, too!

*about the beef – you could sub ground turkey here, but I wouldn’t. The richness of the beef is essential. I also wasn’t entirely sure how much meat it was since it was broken down from another package, so I made an estimate. It was definitely more than 2 pounds, but not too much more.

*about the garlic – you don’t have to roast it if you don’t want to roast it — you can easily use fresh garlic but use half the amount – Roasted garlic is much more subtle than fresh garlic. However, I think roasted, smashed garlic adds a whole different flavor to it.

To roast garlic (you may as well do a few heads at once and keep it on hand!), preheat the oven to 400. Remove the loose, papery skins, cut the top off each head, exposing the garlic cloves, and place in a small baking dish. You can also use muffin tins, ramekins, or whatever is easiest. I have a perfect little baking dish that holds about 7-8 heads of garlic, and I do them all at once. Drizzle with olive oil and cover each head with foil. Roast until they’re a nice caramel color and soft to the touch, about 30-40 minutes. Allow to cool and then squeeze the cloves gently out of the skin, using a cocktail fork or small knife to help.

(insert choice of meat) and Broccoli

Hello! It’s an odd name for a recipe, I know, but I’ve made it with so many types of meat, I don’t want to tell anyone they can’t do what they want! 😉

Last night, I made this meal with ground turkey. I’ve also used ground beef, chicken breast, and beef stew meat. It’s really versatile.

What you need:
1 pound ground turkey (or whatever you like)
2 crowns fresh broccoli (sorry, no frozen for this one)
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil and sesame oil
Hoisin sauce
Soy sauce
Salt and pepper

Heat a large skillet with drizzles of both sesame and olive oil over medium heat. I’m not a *huge* fan of sesame oil, but I appreciate the flavor add it brings to this party. I use equal amounts here. Once the oil is warm and shiny, add the onions and cook until they’re soft and translucent. While those are cooking, grate your broccoli crowns using a normal, ol’ box grater, and set aside. When onions are nice and soft, add garlic and cook for another minute. Add grated broccoli and cook for about 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Remove to plate.

In the same pan, add another drizzle of olive oil, and add ground turkey. Cook and crumble meat until no longer pink. I wish I would’ve measured the sauces, but – you know me, I didn’t. I added a *few circles” of soy sauce and “one circle” of hoisin sauce – then I tasted, and you should, too. You can always start low and add more as you like for your personal tastes. Add salt and pepper. Remove cooked meat and place it atop the broccoli. Enjoy!

French Toast Egg Sandwich

Have you had a Monte Cristo before? Well, this is kinda like that but different. 😉

I love egg sandwiches, so I’m always looking for new ways to make them. This was really easy to make, and it will “WOW” company, or maybe just your family.

Trader Joe’s has really yummy brioche, and I bought some. It just made sense to make french toast with it, but I’m not a big fan of french toast. I mean, I am. But I trick myself into not liking it because I really have no self-control with any type of bread. So, I’m not a fan of it, and that’s my story.

Here’s what you’ll need:
2 eggs
2 slices thick-sliced brioche
half & half
thinly sliced turkey
2 slices cheese of choice, I used American
powdered sugar, if desired
syrup, if desired

Here’s what I did:
Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and melt a tab of butter. Scramble 1 egg with a bit of half & half, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a few drops of vanilla. Coat both sides of the brioche and add to the warm skillet. Cook about 3 minutes on one side, over medium heat, and then flip. (At this point, I added my turkey to the skillet to warm up because I think cold meat on a warm sandwich is disgusting. I just kept it to the side of the french toast while it finished cooking.)

Once you flip the toast, crack your remaining egg into an egg pan that’s been warmed with some melted butter. Cook until set and then flip. Check your toast, and flip one more time, lay cheese slices–on each side of the bread, turkey on each side, and remove to a plate. Lightly salt the egg while it’s still in the pan and then transfer on top one of the bread slices.

Close sandwich and sprinkle with powdered sugar and drizzle syrup. Enjoy!

Lasagna Spaghetti Squash

1 large spaghetti squash or 2 small ones
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can diced or crushed fire roasted tomatoes
1/2 can (3 oz) tomato paste
1 cup ricotta cheese
1-2 cups shredded mozzarella
Olive oil
~ 1 T. Balsamic vinegar
Salt and Pepper
1/2 t. Red pepper flakes
1/2 t. Smoked paprika
1 t. Italian seasoning
6-8 Fresh basil, chopped

Tip: to more easily cut your squash, poke several holes in it and microwave it for 5 minutes, turning once. It will soften it a bit. Also, use a good knife.😉

Heat oven to 400. Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Season inside with olive oil and salt and pepper, place on baking sheet, flesh side up, and roast for 30 minutes. Depending on the size of the squash, it may need more time. If it doesn’t easily shred from the sides, give it another 10 minutes. Just keep doing that until it’s perfect.

While the squash is roasting, add olive oil to a large skillet and once it warms, add the onion. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until softened. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add the ground turkey and cook until browned. Add diced tomatoes (if you have a meat chopper, use that to break them down a bit more – I prefer them less chunky, but it’s also hard to find fire roasted in the crushed variety, so just do what feels right and good to you and I’ll do the same.😛) Add tomato paste, stir to combine. Add seasonings (by now, everyone knows I don’t measure well because I’m terrible as a “test kitchen” person, so we’ll default to doing what feels right to you. I tried to make guesses shrugs shoulders). Also add a bit of balsamic vinegar and the bay leaf.

Now, I need you to trust yourself. If you have chicken broth, this is a good time to get it out, but if not water is fine, too. (If you use water, be sure to taste it because you may want to adjust the seasonings some.) We want the sauce to have a thicker consistency than a traditional “spaghetti sauce” and be more of a ragu sauce, so you might have to add just a little liquid or a bit more. We don’t want it runny, we want it meaty, but it needs to still be a little saucy. Does this make sense? I hope so. Let the sauce continue to cook while your squash is finishing up.

While the squash is roasting and the sauce is cooking, shred some mozzarella. I used provolone because it’s what I had, but mozzarella would be fine, too. Add half the shredded cheese to a small bowl with the ricotta and about 5-6 fresh basil leaves, mix well.

When the squash is done, carefully shred the flesh away from the skin with a fork and add the squash to the pan with the ragu (remove the bay leaf first). Divide the ricotta mixture evenly among the squash skins and add squash/ragu on top. Layer with the remaining mozzarella and broil until browned. Top with remaining fresh basil, and eat!

Roasted Veggies and Gnocchi

You guys know I love me a good sheet pan dinner. I know it’s summertime and who really wants the oven on in the summer? Well, apparently, I do. And I assume some of you are okay with it, too. 😉

One of the things I like about this recipe is its versatility. Roasted gnocchi is probably one of the best things to eat! The veggie combos are endless.

So, first things first… this is shelf-stable, store-bought gnocchi. One day I will conquer it from scratch. Yesterday was not that day. Second, did you know you can cook gnocchi without boiling it? You can. I dare you to try it!

Here’s what I used and how I used it for this recipe.
Preheat oven to 450 (I know, I know, it’s hot) and cover a sheet pan in parchment paper.
While it’s heating to that hades level temperature, prep your veggies.
1/2 purple onion, rough dice (that means you don’t have to make it exceptionally small, pretty, or even uniform)
2 zucchinis, halved and sliced
A bunch of asparagus tips, snap at its natural snap point*
3 ears of corn, kernels removed*
Pint of sweet tomatoes
1 pound (or a little over) package gnocchi*
Olive Oil
Salt (the kosher variety, if you have it), fresh cracked pepper, and garlic salt
Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil

Place all the veggies and the gnocchi in a spot on the pan. Drizzle about 1/4 c (I didn’t measure) of olive oil over the whole pan. Add a touch of kosher salt and pepper. Mix each little section, trying to keep them separate but recognizing it will not ruin the dish if corn mixes with asparagus.

Place on the middle rack of the oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn the pan halfway and roast for another 10 minutes.

In the end, the gnocchi should have a bit of color, and all the veggies should be nice and roasty.

Give it another drizzle of olive oil, add garlic salt, stir together and taste. Adjust seasonings to your preference. Top with fresh parmesan and fresh basil!

Okay. A couple *’s to address:
Asparagus will naturally snap at the point that the woody ends of it are no good. Just work your way up from the bottom, bending it lightly until it snaps.
To easily remove kernels, you can place the ear of corn on the middle of a bundt pan and let the pan collect the kernels. If you do it on a cutting board (this is what I do), please make sure it’s secure and won’t slip on you. Of course, frozen (and thawed) corn is an option, too. You’ll want about 1 1/2 cups of corn. Or however much you want. I’m not the boss of you or your kitchen.
If you use frozen gnocchi, be sure to thaw it for about 45 minutes before tossing it on the pan.

Penne with Chicken and Alfredo Sauce

My son will eat lots of things. He’s not particularly picky. His favorite dish and most requested for his birthday dinner is Taco Salad. He’s easy to please in the food department! Another favorite of his is “Chicken Alfredo” — so delicious.

When I was getting processed foods out of my diet a zillion years ago, it forced me to learn how to make lots of things that were really easy to buy already made. Alfredo sauce was surprisingly easy to make, much easier than I expected due to it’s decadent taste. I always make mine with chicken, but that can be skipped, obviously, if chicken isn’t your jam!

This is also one of those dishes that is hard to measure out and I’m pretty positive I’ve never measured any of it. So, exactly everything below is an estimate! Alfredo sauce is very much a feel and taste recipe!

Olive oil
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Italian Seasoning
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup of butter (1 stick, I used a bit less, but I want you to live your best life)
1 c heavy cream, warmed
1 c milk (I used 2%), warmed
2-3 T flour
2 c parmesan, freshly grated
Penne pasta, cooked according to package directions

Wash and pat dry chicken breasts. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season one side of the chicken with salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of Italian seasoning. Once the oil is warm, lay the chicken, seasoned side down in the skillet. While it’s cooking, season the other side the same way. Cook for about 5-6 minutes each side – the chicken will NOT be done. Remove from pan to a cutting board.

While the chicken cools off, begin the alfredo sauce in the same pan. Cut up the stick of butter and add to the pan, add the garlic and cook for about one minute. Now we’re making a roux – add the flour – start with two heaping tablespoons and stir, scrapping up any bits left from the chicken in the pan. If it’s still a bit runny, add a tiny bit of flour at a time. We want it to have the consistency of … uhm, wet or kinetic sand? LOL
We’re cooking off the flour so it’s not raw… it should turn a light tan.

Once there, start adding the warmed cream. (I just blast it for a minute or so in the microwave – I don’t want to add cold cream to a hot pan.) Stir. Add milk. Stir. Add more cream. Stir. Add more milk. Stir. Add cheese (please don’t use the stuff in the can or the bag, grate it fresh from the block, please and thank you.). This is where the feel comes into play. We want it to be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, but not stick there. It’ll take some practice. Season with salt and pepper. And maybe Italian seasoning if that’s how you wanna roll. It’s definitely how I wanna roll.

Cut chicken into chunks or slices or star shapes if that’s how you wanna do things – add to pan with sauce. Mix well. Reduce heat to low-medium, and cook for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is done. Taste your sauce. Adjust to your taste. Serve over pasta of your choice. Top with more fresh cheese. Or eat it straight from the pan – do you, boo boo. Enjoy!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

I will get better at food photos – one day. Until then, Roasted Butternut Squash Soup!

A few months ago, I needed to have a second surgery on one of my feet. So, my momma came to take care of me! Before she came, I prepped lots of food in the freezer and the fridge so she wouldn’t have to spend too much time shopping and prepping for meals. One of the meals I left for her to make was this beautiful soup. My apartment is an open concept, so while I laid on the sofa with my foot up – I gave her instructions for the soup.

A few days later, I remembered to write it down – and we think this is pretty close to how it was done. 😉

Large butternut squash
1-3 jalapeño peppers, diced (to your preference)
1 small onion, diced
4 c. Chicken broth (or veggie broth!)
1 can coconut milk (to preference)
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp sugar
couple pinches of thyme (dried, see note if using fresh)
Salt and pepper
Olive oil and butter

Preheat oven to 400. Peel squash, remove seeds, and dice into about 1 inch squares (it doesn’t have to be perfect). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, toss the squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper until well coated. Place on baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for about 25 minutes, give it a stir, and roast for another 10-15 minutes.

While the squash is roasting, dice onion and *jalapeño peppers. Add about a knob of butter and a swirl of olive oil into a deep pot. Once those are melted together, add the onions and peppers and sauté until translucent and tender. Add ginger, salt, and pepper.

Once the squash is done, add it to pot with veggies and mix well. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add 1/2 can of coconut milk (note: add more depending on your preference to taste and consistency). Add dried thyme and sugar, mix well and heat through.

Use a immersion blender to purée the soup to your desired consistency. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can blend it in small batches in a regular blender. Keep in mind to only fill your blender about halfway and cover with a towel. The soup is HOT! But really, immersion blenders are amazing to have around! Enjoy! 😉

Note: if you have fresh thyme, skip the dried thyme and garnish with the fresh thyme instead. You can also garnish with crema or nothing at all.

*for milder flavor, remove seeds and ribs from the peppers. It’s all about how much heat you want in the soup.