Creamy Bacon Alfredo

Have you every had a craving hit you like a ton of bricks and you knew you HAD to have it? That is how this recipe was born. I was craving something creamy and filling, warm and familiar but with a twist. I wanted Alfredo! But not your regular old alfredo, with chicken and white sauce and noodles. No. I wanted bacon….because, well, why not?! Plus, I can sell any recipe to my family if I mention the words ‘bacon’ or ‘pasta’, so I knew going into it that this was going to be a crowd pleaser.

Now, before I deemed it ‘blog worthy’, I had to test it out. First I made it for my crew…rave reviews. Then, we had not one but two weekend visits in a row with our families, so I put it to the test again. Both times I heard the same things: ”MMmmmm” and “Amanda I need this recipe!”. Now, if that’s not enough to convince you that this is a winner, we also made it for our Father’s Day dinner and it was STILL raved about, even though my family had eaten it 3 times already this month! I think that deems it ”blog worthy”.

Here’s what you need- bacon, pasta, onion, heavy cream, butter, parmesan, salt & pepper, garlic (not pictured because I was out after making it 4 times….), and parsley (if you want to garnish. As my 6 year old says, you do you booboo)

Start by cooking your bacon. We like it crispy, so I bake it at 400° until crisp. Set aside on paper towels to drain. Now is a great time to start your pasta as well, just cook it according to the package directions. In your skillet, melt your butter. Sauté your onions until translucent.

Add your garlic and give it a good stir. Once fragrant (be careful not to burn it!), pour in your cream. Continue to stir and allow to thicken a bit. This part will seem to take the longest, but just keep moving it around.

Once it is just starting to thicken up, add most of your parmesan. Be sure to save some for garnishing, if you’re into that sort of thing (I am). Continue to stir and move it around until it your sauce is thick and you can swipe your spatula down the center of the pan and it doesn’t come back together right away. My dad calls this ‘parting the Red Sea’, and I always think of that when I’m making sauces and gravies (See Dad, I was listening!)

Ok, so this is an absolutely horrible photo, but here’s the ‘Red Sea Effect’ we are going for.

This is when you want to add your salt, pepper, and bacon. Give it a good stir so it gets seasoned throughout. Add your cooked and drained pasta and toss. You want to coat each noodle with your sauce and bacon.

Serve warm with garlic bread and watch in amazement as your whole family cleans their plates. You will for sure be making this a regular in your dinner rotation!

I mean, come on…how can you say no to this beauty?

Bonus tip! An easy and fool proof way to make garlic bread. I buy the Italian loaves from Walmart (they’re only $1 and freeze beautifully). In a bowl, melt 1 stick of butter. Sprinkle in about 2 teaspoons garlic powder and parsley. Slice the bread horizontally, and spread the butter mixture all over both halves. Bake at 350° until golden. Bam…you’ve got garlic bread!


Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes with Lemon Whipped Cream Frosting

There are few things that bring joy quite like a lemon flavored dessert. The sweet and tart combination just puts a smile on my face! I love spending time baking in my kitchen, and I find that times when I’m feeling particularly stressed or hectic, baking up something delicious and pretty to look at just makes me feel like things are gonna be OK. So when I was a couple weeks into quarantine homeschooling and my husband was traveling back from training in Norway, only to be quarantined away from us for a few more weeks, I was in need of something to brighten my day. So I looked around my kitchen and found that I had quite a few lemons just begging to be turned into something beautiful. And what is more beautiful than a cupcake?? Not much, and this is a hill I’m willing to die on!

I mean, just LOOK at this delicious drop of sunshine

Gather your mise en place. Be sure you have melted your coconut oil and butter and allowed them to cool slightly. Scroll to the bottom for the recipe card.

While your oven is preheating to 375°, mix your dry ingredients in a bowl.

In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream your butter, sugar, oil, and vanilla.

Add your eggs one at a time, fully incorporating them.

Add your milk and lemon juice. Mix to combine.

In batches, mix in your dry ingredients. Remove from your stand mixer and use a spatula to make sure the batter is fully combined.

Next, add your lemon zest and poppy seeds, using your spatula to mix thoroughly. They will already smell amazing!

Fill your prepared muffin tins 3/4 full with your batter. This amount of batter makes about a dozen cupcakes. Place the trays in a 350° oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Set aside to cool.

While the cupcakes cool, start on your Lemon Whipped Cream.

In your stand mixer, or a regular whisk if you’re way more badass than myself, whisk the heavy cream until it starts to thicken. Add your powdered sugar and lemon juice and whisk some more.

Pipe or spoon the whipped cream onto your cupcakes and enjoy! We garnished ours with extra lemon wedges and some zest on top for that little bit of boujie. Make a batch or 2 or 5 and share them with your fellow quarantine prisoners. Or keep them and devour them yourself. You’ve earned it after 39487 days of covid-19 quarantine!

Whole30 & Paleo Ketchup

I just finished my first round of Whole30, and it was quite the learning experience! I started strong, with the intentions of creating new and exciting dishes that were not only Whole30 compliant, but also delicious and easy. Then, BAM! Covid-19 threw a wrench in my plans. I found myself having to switch my daily focus from my blog and food creations to being a full time homeschool mom. I was committed to my Whole30 goals, and decided to do a bare bones version of the plan. Using a few basic Whole30 approved ingredients, I was able to keep myself satisfied and stay compliant!

Now, it is no secret that I LOVE my sauces. I’m a dip-everything-in-sauce type of girl. So, I was determined to make Whole30 compliant sauces to help kick up my recipes. Of course I used my 3 Easy and Delicious Sauces regularly (I probably made 10 batches of my homemade mayo!), but I needed the sweet and tangy flavors of ketchup. I saw tons of recipes for Paleo ketchup online, but I just didn’t love any of them, until I came up with this one! Tangy with a hint of sweetness, this recipe is just the ticket! In fact, I love this recipe so much that I still am using it even after completing Whole30!

First gather your ingredients. Most of these things are pantry staples I always keep on hand, with the exception of the dates. Although my post Whole30 pantry has them available always! *If you prefer your ketchup more sweet than tangy, cut the vinegar in half and add more water. It is so easy to customize!

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and warm through for about 5 minutes. You don’t need to boil this, just warm it enough to meld the flavors together.

Carefully pour your warm mixture into a blender and blend until thoroughly combined. I tried using a food processor, but the blender gave me a much smoother texture. (Now, I need you to do me a solid and ignore the horrible photo quality here. Just focus on the deliciousness that is happening inside the blender.)

That’s it! You now have deliciously tangy homemade ketchup that is both paleo friendly and Whole30 compliant. Now go dip everything you can in this….trust me!

Southern Style Lemonade

Kids love lemonade. Adults love lemonade. It is a spring and summer staple for every picnic lunch or barbeque dinner. Like most families, we used to buy the premade stuff (convenience is a big thing when you’ve got kiddos). But have you ever seen the ingredients list on those? Artificial color, artificial flavor, and chemical sweeteners. Yuck.

That got me thinking….how hard is it to just make it at home? I mean, you really only need 3 simple ingredients. Water, sugar, lemons. You get all the flavor and none of the artificial-chemical laden junk. This will be, hands down, the most simple recipe you will have in your arsenal and your family will thank you this picnic season! Scroll to the bottom for the easy to Pin recipe card.

For your prep, all you need is a pitcher, ice, water, sugar and lemons. Ice is optional, but I love a tall cold glass of lemonade and always add it to my prep.

Squeeze the lemon juice into your pitcher. I like using my cupped hands or a mesh strainer to catch any seeds that fall out. Nobody likes seeds in their lemonade. Nobody. Top the lemon juice with your ice, water, and sugar. Stir to combine.

Serve cold and ENJOY! This lemonade is tart and sweet and the absolute easiest thing you will ever make for your family. You will never go back to the premade stuff again!

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins with a Lemon Glaze

My kids go through these phases where they will ask to buy a fruit and then completely devour all of it in a day. Then they will ask for more of the same the very next day, and it will sit in my fridge for a week with me reminding them to ‘hurry up and eat those before we have to throw them out!’ I can’t be the only parent, right?? Now, blueberries very rarely make this list. My 5 year old is a blueberry fanatic and can eat a whole container of them in one sitting (and as a parent who was a picky eater as a kid and hated most fruits and berries, I gladly let her), but when I found myself with a container of blueberries that I knew were days from being soft, mushy, messes destined for the waste bin, it got my mind going.

What is something delicious that I can make:
1-with ingredients I have on hand
2-quick and easy
(and I mean delicious! As someone who still doesn’t like the texture of most fruits and berries, I ate 3 of these muffins. THREE. Of course that was before I started a Whole30….but that’s a whole different post)

So I got to work creating this AMAZING Blueberry Oatmeal Muffin recipe! I knew I wanted to kick them up a notch, and knew that a sweet and tangy lemon glaze would match perfectly with the blueberries and oats. This one is a definite winner and I have already made promises to my husband to make them for him when he returns home from training. As always, scroll to the bottom for an easy to save recipe card.

First gather up all your ingredients. And take a picture of them if you’re into that sort of thing.

I soaked the oats in the milk for a few minutes while I was preparing everything else. This helped soften the oats and gave me a smoother muffin texture instead of having big bits of oats throughout. Now is also a great time to melt your coconut oil.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk your melted coconut oil and sugar. Add in your vanilla and egg.

Now, I’ve seen enough British Baking Show to know that having your fruit sink into your confection is a no-no, so I gave my blueberries a good dusting of flour to help them stay afloat in the batter. This step is totally optional, but I know Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood would have approved. And maybe even shook my hand.

Add your oil/sugar mixture into your dry mix. It will be a weird lumpy texture, don’t freak out!

Add in your milk and soaked oats. Stir until a smooth batter is formed.

Now add in your blueberries and give it a good mix.

Spoon the batter into prepared muffin tins. You can use parchment paper liners or regular store bought liners, I tried both and it worked great each time. This batter is thick so don’t worry if it seems hard to work with. The muffins will come out smooth and delicious, I promise. Bake in a 375° oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick comes out clean.

While the muffins are baking, you can make the lemon glaze. It’s only 2 ingredients: lemon juice and confectioners sugar. Whisk them together to make a smooth glaze. If the glaze is too thick, add more lemon. If too thin, sprinkle in more sugar. It’s pretty fool proof!

And there you have it! Deliciously simple and bursting with flavor!

Pour your Lemon Glaze over these and SAVOR THEM. You will come back to this recipe over and over again!

New Orleans Style Beignets

”Mom, I want to make sweet bread tomorrow for breakfast”. This sentence was given to me, along with a pencil sketch of ingredients my son needed in order to give us this sweet bread he was so excited about. In the drawing, it looked like a piece of toast with squiggles and a splotch over the center. ”Ok bud, what exactly do you need for this sweet bread?” I asked, in hopes of making sense of what I was looking at without outright saying “what the heck is sweet bread?!”. “Toast, flour, honey….” he said as he pointed to each item in the drawing. The look on my face must have still seemed lost because my 5 year old chimed in, “You know, like Tiana makes!”

Bingo! This was no ordinary sweet bread they wanted….and even in cartoon form they were drawn to these deliciously puffy pockets of dough, generously dusted with powdered sugar. Immediately I knew they were talking about the beignets that Princess Tiana was famous for making in The Princess and the Frog. I already had all the ingredients on hand and decided that this would be a perfect Saturday morning breakfast! Fast forward to Saturday and sleeping in until 8….but they still made a fabulous lunch.

Yes, we ate beignets for lunch. And if anyone tells you that is wrong, shove one of these suckers in their mouth and tell them to mind their own politely smile and walk away. While shoveling these into your own mouth. We don’t need that kind of negativity in our lives, right?

Start by gathering your ingredients. Or, since we’re doing these French style, your mise en place if you will.

In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl for your stand mixer, add your yeast to your warm milk. Be sure the milk isn’t too hot or else you risk killing your yeast. Set aside and let it bloom for about 5 minutes.

In a separate bowl, combine your evaporated milk, egg, vanilla, sugar, and a pinch of salt.

With your dough hook attachment, add the sugar mixture to the yeast and mix on low to combine. Start adding the flour to your yeast mixture about a half cup at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Once all your flour is combined, pour in your melted (and slightly cooled) butter. Mix just to combine and make a sticky dough.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and begin to knead it. It is important to activate the gluten and get a nice ‘bouncy’ dough so you will in turn have beautifully puffy beignets!

Place in an oiled bowl, rotating the dough to cover all sides with oil. Cover and set aside in a warm place for 2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size.

Punch the dough down, then turn out once more onto a lightly floured surface.

Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness.

Then cut into squares.
Yes, there are a few triangles here. if you want all perfect squares, you an cut off the edges of your dough to square them off and get even sizes all around. But I am not a professional baker and we don’t waste scraps of delicious dough around here. Set aside for about 5 minutes.

In a large pot with your oil already preheated, add your dough squares a few at a time. Don’t over crowd them, they need some space. Cook them until golden on both sides.

Set the dough aside on paper towel lined trays and powder generously with powdered sugar.

Grab a cup of coffee café au lait and savor these little pillows of sugary heaven. You will never go back to plain doughnuts again after these. Bon Appetit!

Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries

There are few things in this world that bring me joy like a sweet potato fry. Yes, regular old potato fries are good, but why settle for good when you an have something amazing? The spices, onion, and garlic offer a ton of flavor that bring this basic side dish front and center. You may never look at French fries the same way again!

First gather up your ingredients. I only used 2 sweet potatoes for this, which is plenty for my kids and myself (my husband doesn’t like sweet potatoes in any form…I know, it’s a sad life he leads). I like to keep the skin on, so just give them a really good scrub in the sink before cutting them up.

Once the potatoes are clean, cut them into large matchsticks. If you want a fry that is crisp all the way through, now is a good time to soak them in water and then dry them completely before the next step. I never soak mine, because I prefer to have a light crisp on the outside but soft in the middle. That probably makes me a heathen, but to each their own.

In a large mixing bowl, add the oil, onion, garlic, and spices to the sweet potato sticks. The colors make me happy. And hungry!

Give the fries a good mix with your hands. Make sure every fry is coated in the mixture.

Put your fries on a parchment lined baking sheet. Make sure to space them out so they can get cooked on all sides. Then place your baking sheets into a preheated 400° oven for 20-25 minutes.

And there you have it! Try them paired with my Chipotle Ranch or as a delicious side to my Jalapeno Bacon BBQ Burgers for your families next burger night!

3 Easy and Delicious Sauces

Let me start by being totally upfront. I love the convenience of store bought food. It just seems so easy when you’re walking down the aisle of the grocery store and you can toss a jar in the cart and move on. More often than not, the ingredients in those pre-made sauces will make you cringe. You can always go for the organic and healthier options, but they are pricey and often not worth the convenience you think you’re getting. There has to be a better way that doesn’t cost a fortune and won’t sacrifice flavor!

What if I told you that you can have delicious homemade sauces, in less than a minute, with ingredients you probably already have on hand? Enter these 3 (yes THREE!) recipes below! Easy, inexpensive, flavor-full, and takes less than a minute to put together. They have everything you need for bringing your recipe to the next level, with the added bonus of being Whole 30, paleo, and keto friendly! These cover ALL your bases! Scroll to the bottom for easy to save recipe cards.

5 Ingredient Mayo, Chipotle Ranch, Garlic & Onion Aioli

5 Ingredient Mayo

Let’s start with the 5 ingredient mayo. On top of being a delicious mayo, it is also the base of the other 2 sauce recipes. Egg, avocado oil, mustard powder, salt, and lemon juice are all you need for this, and the flavor is so clean and delicious!

Add your ingredients to a cup or small jar. Make sure it is just wide enough for your immersion blender to fit down in it.

Hold the blender at the bottom for a few seconds to let the sauce start to emulsify. Then slowly bring your blender up and down until the sauce is thoroughly combined.

That’s it. Seriously! In less than a minute you have homemade mayo that is clean and delicious.

Chipotle Ranch

Starting with your 5 Ingredient Mayo as a base, adding some dill and chipotle elevates the flavor up to a new level. This Chipotle Ranch pairs beautifully with my Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries, and even my 5 year old gives it 2 thumbs up!

Garlic & Onion Aioli

This sauce is my new favorite thing! The onion and garlic gives a punch to whatever you pair it with. Burgers, chicken, sandwiches-it is great on everything. Start with your 5 Ingredient Mayo, adding the garlic and onion is all you need to bring this one to life. Trust me on this-you NEED this sauce in your life!

There you have it, 3 delicious sauces that are Whole 30, Paleo, and Keto compliant and take less than a minute to make! All from ingredients you probably already have on hand! Kept in a sealed container these will keep 7-10 days in a refrigerator. If they last that long…you’ll be putting these on everything!

Buffalo Turkey Meatballs

Like any good midwestern girl, I have two main condiments that I will put on any and every dish: hot sauce, and ranch. No matter what it is I’m making, those two sauces will always come in clutch to amp up the flavor. With these Buffalo Turkey Meatballs, it offers so much punch that you can pair it with super simple sides and in about 30 minutes you have made an easy and delicious weeknight dinner! Follow below for step by step ingredients, or scroll to the bottom for a recipe card (yay, something new!) Let me know if you love the card option and I can start adding that to new posts!

First gather all of your ingredients for your meatballs. I like to use almond flour for my meatballs because I feel like it gives the meatball a smoother texture than I get with breadcrumbs or panko.

Once your meat mixture is combined, scoop out your meatballs. I prefer to use my cookie scoop for this so I can get a consistent size throughout. Once your meatballs are all formed, brown them in a hot skillet. Turn them often so they brown on all sides. They may not be cooked all the way through, so I put mine into a 350° oven while I prepare the sauce.

For the sauce, I keep it simple. Just hot sauce, butter, salt and pepper. Wipe out your skillet and add the sauce ingredients. Reduce the heat and let the butter melt and the sauce come together. It won’t take long, but keep stirring it to keep it from burning. If it’s getting too hot too fast, turn it down even more.

Add your cooked meatballs to the skillet. Stir them often to coat them on all sides with the hot sauce mixture.

And there you have it! I served these with jasmine rice and a side salad, and they were a huge hit! My husband and I had leftover meatballs for 2 days with this, and I could have easily eaten them another week without complaint. Serving them on skewers immediately made my kids excited for dinner-because everything tastes better on a stick. There’s a parenting hack for you!

Jalapeno Bacon BBQ Burgers

Sometimes I go into making dinner with a full meal plan and recipe in mind. Other times it’s after 4pm and I have a craving an idea. This meal, is one of those nights come to fruition. Juicy hamburgers sprinkled with jalapenos throughout, topped with caramelized onions, crispy bacon, and dripping with barbeque sauce. It was a craving that just could not be ignored….and what kind of wife and mother would I be to deny my family bacon and burgers?? Probably the divorced kind. (That’s a joke. Although I did serve my husband turkey bacon ONE TIME in our marriage and he still brings it up to this day, so bacon just may be the glue that holds this family together. Again, kidding. Sort of…)

First slice your onions and dice your jalapenos. I did half an onion, but next time I would do more. They will cook down and I greatly underestimated how much my family would want them! I failed to get a picture, but this is a good time to start your bacon. I put mine into a cold oven and set it 410° until crispy (about 10-15 minutes)

My kids aren’t big on spicy, so I stayed on the side of mild for these. I sliced and seeded 2 jalapenos and then gave them a dice. Removing the seeds cuts back on the spiciness.

To caramelize the onions, I put a pat of butter in a skillet over medium low-low heat. Just let this work it’s magic while you are making the burgers. As it cooks, stir it every so often to prevent burning. It will take some time, but be patient. Low and slow is the way to go (that may end up on my tombstone one day).

For the burgers I went simple.
*1 lb ground beef
*2 diced jalapenos
*1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
*1/2 Tbsp onion powder
*1/2 Tbsp paprika
*salt and pepper

I didn’t add an egg or any binder, so you can see later that they were a little fragile. If you choose to add an egg and 1/2 C almond flour to help hold them together, feel free to do that!

Once your meat mixture is thoroughly combined, patty them out. I like to make palm-sized balls and then flatten them out as I add each one into a skillet over medium high heat.

Cook your burgers on one side until brown. As you flip them, spread some barbeque sauce on the cooked side. As they finish cooking on the other side, top with cheese and let it melt over the barbeque sauce.

Toasted buns, crispy bacon, caramelized onion, some spring mix, and a drizzle of sweet barbeque sauce bring this dish to the next level. Your burger game will never be the same after you make these, and your family won’t want it any other way!