Spicy Baked Chicken with Mango

I’ve been seriously obsessed with mangoes this year.

Nearly every week for the past couple months, I’ve been piling them into my cart at the store, pressing and prodding each one to find one perfectly soft.

Every week I’d cut up miscellaneous fruit and mix it together for breakfast – sometimes cantaloupe, strawberries, pineapple, all kinds of different things.  But one thing remained constant – the mango.

And then I found this recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks – Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless.  It’s insanely easy and uses one of my favorite fruits – mango.

I truly apologize for not posting this sooner – now it’s nearly then end of mango season.   So hurry up and go find some good, ripe mangos.  And make this dish before time runs out.

I think I’m going to make a big batch of this sauce and freeze it to use it all winter long….

One year ago: Guinness Milk Chocolate Ice Cream
Two years ago: Summer Bolognese and Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells

Spicy Baked Chicken with Mango
adapted from Rick Bayless and Mexican Everyday

1 tbsp vegetable oil
16 (1/4 oz total) dried arbol chiles, stemmed and seeded, or 2 (1/2 oz total) guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
3 garlic cloves, peeled
4 medium tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and halved
2 boneless-skinless chicken breasts, fileted into cutlets
1 large mango, peeled and diced
1 tbsp honey

To make the sauce: Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the chiles to the hot oil.  Turn occasionally until they are aromatic and have changed color slightly, about 30 seconds.  Scoop the chiles into a food processor, leaving behind as much oil as possible.  Add garlic and tomatillos to the hot oil.  Cook until well browned, turning halfway through.  Scoop into food processor, add a pinch of salt and blend into smooth.

Lay chicken out in a glass baking dish and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and scatter the mango over the top.  Bake 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through.  Remove chicken to a platter.  Scoop sauce and mango into food processor with honey.  Pulse a few times to combine.  Spoon sauce over chicken and serve.



Sweet Pork and Pears

I’ve mentioned before, Pork chops aren’t exactly my favorite piece of meat.  I think I might have one or two pork chop recipes in the entire recipe history of PLFF.

But if I’m being honest?  We might start having pork a bit more regularly with this dish.

This pork was a little bit of everything – juicy, tart, sweet, salty and just seriously delish.  And EASY.  Less than 30 minutes from start to finish.  Perfect for a weeknight dinner.

And now when I see pork chops in the sale ads, I much more likely to pick up a package.

Don’t forget to enter the Yes, Chef giveaway by Friday!

One year ago: Porch Pounder Sangria
Two years ago: Triple Berry Cakes

Sweet Pork and Pears with Goat Cheese on Quinoa
adapted from Clean Eating Magazine

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or stock
1 cup quinoa
olive oil
4 4oz boneless pork loin chops
1 tsp dried tarragon
salt and pepper
2 ripe Bartlett pears, cored and chopped
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp honey
goat cheese, for serving

In a medium saucepan, bring broth to a boil.  Stir in quinoa, reduce heat to low and cover.  Cook for around 15 minutes, or until tender.  Fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Season both sides of the pork with salt, pepper, and tarragon.  Add to skillet and brown on each sided (around 2 minutes each side).  Add pears, vinegar and honey, stirring to combine.  Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until pork is cooked through.

Divide quinoa among serving plates and top with pork, pear mixture, and sauce.  Top with goat cheese and serve.


Veggie Hash and Eggs


Is it breakfast?  Is it dinner?


I’ve always been an advocate of breakfast for dinner.  Whether it’s pancakes, waffles, breakfast burritos, or hash.

Hash – i.e., an excuse to throw any and everything into a saute pan, cover it with an egg, and see what happens.  You really can’t go wrong.

That’s kind of what happened when I first started making this.

I was home alone and left to fend for myself for dinner.  I found some random veggies in the fridge and pantry – a few potatoes, zucchini, squash, a few bell peppers.  My new favorite meal was born.  It’s grown a little each time I’ve made it, and by the third or fourth time I made it, I figured it was time to share it.  I thought it was “too easy” to share and “not really a recipe.”  But we all need ideas to mix things up a little, right?

I can’t wait to take this recipe camping – camp food =/= healthy food like 99% of the time.  This would be great to do over the fire/stove in a cast iron skillet!

One year ago: Bacon Ranch Potato Salad and Watermelon Lemonade
Two years ago: Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies and My Favorite Camping Recipes

Veggie Hash and Eggs
a PLFF original recipe
serves 2

3-4 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 small sweet potatoes (or regular Idaho potatoes), scrubbed and diced
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 large jalapeno, minced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 medium yellow squash, diced
2 tbsp Montreal Steak Seasoning
4 eggs

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add potatoes.  Cook 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until potatoes are almost tender.  Add onions, garlic, bell pepper, and jalapeno (add more olive oil, if necessary).  Saute until softened, about 3-4 minutes.  Add diced squash, season with steak seasoning.  Season to taste with more salt, if necessary.  Saute until squash is almost tender, about 2 minutes.  Reduce heat to low.

After squash gets added, cook eggs to the style of your choice (over easy is our favorite!).  Divide hash over 2 plates, top with eggs.


Grilled Fish Tacos with Cantaloupe-Pineapple Salsa

I’m officially obsessed with summer fruits.  Each week I’ve been coming home from the store with something different – cantaloupe, honeydew, mangoes, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, pineapple, watermelon, and now peaches, nectarines and plums.  I’ve been starting each morning with a HUGE bowl of whatever combination I deem worthy that week.

So when I saw these tacos on Shawnda’s blog, I knew we’d love them.  Well, I love pretty much anything Shawnda puts up, to be honest – we have very similar foodie tastes and really, I trust anyone who loves margaritas as much as she does.

And these tacos took just minutes to throw together.  I actually made the salsa a few days earlier (while I was prepping the rest of my fruit for the week), so it really came together in no time.  Was a little sweet, spicy, and perfect for a summer weeknight on the patio.

One year ago: Pesto Pasta Salad
Two years ago: From-Scratch Mexican Rice and Italian Cole Slaw

Grilled Fish Tacos with Cantaloupe-Pineapple Salsa
adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride

for the salsa:
1 cup diced cantaloupe
1/2 cup diced pineapple
1/4 cup red onion
2 jalapenos, minced
small handful of cilantro, chopped
juice of 1/2 lime

for the tacos:
1 lb white fish (I used tilapia)
1 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lime
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp ancho lime chili powder
shredded cabbage

Stir together all salsa ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (can be done in advance).

Heat grill to high.  Combine olive oil, lime juice, salt pepper, and chili powder into a paste.  Rub over fish.  Grill 3-4 minutes on each side until the fish flakes easily and the center is opaque.  Cut fish into smaller pieces.

To assemble the tacos, place the fish onto each tortilla, followed by a generous scoop of salsa and a handful of cabbage.


Quinoa Burrito Bowls

*tap tap tap*

Is this thing on?

Is anyone still here?

You are?

All 5 of you?


I know, I’ve been totally MIA here lately.  I’ve been swamped with a wedding catering job a few weeks ago and have barely had time to cook anything remotely blog worthy.  And even when I do, I’m usually starving and have no energy to try to take a picture of it.  And if I do manage to take a picture, it just sits on my camera for weeks at a time until I have time to edit pics and actually blog them.

Well, luckily that time finally came this weekend.  I’ve caught up a little on life, edited a few pics, and I might actually start haivng some regular posts again.

If you remember correctly, we’ve been trying really hard here at the PLFF house to cut back on processed foods.  We’ve cut out a ridiculous amoung of carbs from our diet and have been filling up on fruits, veggies, and whole grains.  And in that search for the healthier, I discovered quinoa.

Now some of my favorite blogs have been writing about quinoa for a while now.  Call me jaded, but I was skeptical.  It just sounded… too healthy.  I mean, I like healthy, but I’m not a rabiit food and cardboard for dinner kind of girl.

But quinoa truly is fabulous.  It’s technially a seed, not a grain.  So it’s super nutty, and has a great bite to it, like good al dente brown rice.  Now, will I ever pick quinoa over pasta?  Of course not.  But I certainly like quinoa enough to satisfy my carb craving without blowing my calories for the day.

One year ago: Pasta Primavera with Goat Cheese and Tomatillo Chipotle Salsa
Two years ago: Blackened Chicken over Garlic Lime Pasta and Mega-Berry Crisp

Quinoa Black Bean Burrito Bowls
adapted from the Shiksa in the Kitchen

1 cup quinoa
1 cup chicken/vegetable stock
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp chili powder
pinch of cayenne
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
toppings such as shredded cheese, Greek yogurt, salsa, diced tomatoes, avocado, etc

Pour quinoa in a medium saucepan with chicken/vegetable stock and 1 cup of water (2 cups liquid total).  Bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to medium low.  Let simmer for 20 minutes (closer to 25 for high altitude folks).  Stir occasionally.

While quinoa is cooking, heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat.  Add onions and cook until softened.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute.  Add balck beans, half of cilantro, chili powder, cayenne, and 2 tbsp lime juice.  Reduce heat to low.  Season with salt to taste.  Stir occasionally and keep warm until quinoa is ready.

When the quinoa is fully cooked, remove from heat and fluff with a fork.  Stir in remaining cilantro and remaining lime juice.  To assemble bowls, divide quinoa between four bowls.  Top with black beans and your toppings of choice.  Serve warm.


Chicken and Edamame with Orange Ginger Dressing

So here at the PLFF house we’ve been making a very conscious effort to eat a lot cleaner – we’ve done away with nearly all processed foods in our house.  We still have some ways to go, but we’ve taken leaps and bounds in the past few weeks.

And you know what?

It’s not that hard.

You choose better quality ingredients.

You actually taste your food.

You embrace the whole “less is more.”

And you find that at the end of the meal, you’re still satisfied.

And full.

And after several days without consuming anything processed, you start to notice.

You notice you’re  less tired and bloated.

You notice you have more energy, even though you haven’t had caffeine in days.

Then you wake up one day and realize you’ve drank the metaphorical kool-aid.  And there’s no going back.

And I’m ok with that.

Now don’t worry, that doesn’t mean we won’t still have cupcakes and whatnot around here. But you will be seeing a lot more clean eating recipes.

One year ago: Bug-themed cake and cupcakes
Two years ago: Taco Salad

Chicken and Edamame with Orange Ginger Dressing
courtesy of Confections of a Foodie Bride

1 cup brown rice, cooked
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (about 1/2 orange)
2 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
salt to taste
1 lb chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup shelled edamame
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1/2 an avocado, diced
small handful of cilantro, minced

While brown rice in cooking, whisk together orange juice, lime juice, ginger and salt.  Add salt to taste.

Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat with a drizzle of olive oil.  Add chicken and cook until browned and cooked through, about 5-6 minutes.  Add in edamame, bell pepper, and cooked rice.  Remove from heat.  Add dressing and stir to combine.  Spoon into bowls and top with avocado and cilantro.


Roasted Broccoli

If you’ve been around PLFF a while, this isn’t the first time you’ve seen this recipe.  Shoot, this isn’t even the second time you’ve seen this recipe.  But the first time, there was no picture.  The second time, there was a really bad picture.

So this may be the third time this recipe has been posted, but I’m pretty sure it will be the last.  Not that it will be the last time we eat it.  AT ALL.  I make this recipe typically once a week.  It’s hands down my go-to side dish.  Winter, spring, summer or fall.  It goes with everything.  And it’s freaking fabulous.  Anyone who thinks they don’t like broccoli just hasn’t had it roasted.

So when we needed a side for our elk tenderloin for my 24×24 event, adding the roasted broccoli was kind of a no-brainer.

Feel like you’re in a veggie rut?  Can’t get the kids to eat their veggies?  Look no further.

Favorite veggie side dish, hands down.

One year ago: salsa verde chicken and dumplings and sports cake pops
Two years ago: tortilla pie and caramel pie

Roasted Broccoli
adapted from Ina Garten

2-3 medium heads of broccoli, cut into florets
4 cloves garlic, peeled
olive oil
salt and pepper
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425.

Spread cut broccoli and garlic on baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil, season liberally with salt and pepper.  Toss to combine.  Roast for 20-25 minutes, until broccoli bas browned.

Remove from the oven, zest lemon over top of broccoli.  Toss with parmesan cheese and serve immediately.


Baked Apple Cinnamon Doughnuts

After months of seeing some of my favorite blogs inundated with doughnut recipes, I finally have a doughnut pan of my own!  I totally need a second one to make this process easier, but that’s neither here nor there at this point.


I woke up Sunday morning and decided it was time to christen the doughnut pan.

I have dozens of recipes saved.

But it was Sunday morning, and I was not going to the grocery store.

So I searched through everything I had saved until I found a recipe that involved only ingredients I already had.

Ta-Da!  First doughnut recipe.

And whoa, were they good.  Soft, chewy, sweet and just heavenly.  And relatively healthy according to Nicole over at Prevention RD!  That’s what I call a win-win.  And it gave me an excuse to eat another one.

One year ago: Everything pretzels
Two years ago: Mini chocolate lava cakes and Beef Tetrazzini (my favorite recipe!)

Baked Apple Cinnamon Doughnuts
as seen on Prevention RD, originally from And Her Little Dog Too

12 oz unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
1 tbsp canola oil
1/2 brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon, divided
1/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 425.  Spray doughnut pan(s) with cooking spray.

Combine applesauce, egg, oil, and brown sugar in a large bowl and mix well.  Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, and 1 tsp of cinnamon and mix well.  Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet ones, careful not to over mix.  Stir in vanilla.

Place aprox 3 tbsp of batter in each doughnut mold.  Bake 7-8 minutes, or until they start to brown.

Remove from pan while still warm. Combine 1/4 cup sugar and remaining tsp of cinnamon.  While doughnuts are still warm, spray each top with cooking spray and dunk in cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Yields 22 doughnuts (I overfilled my molds and only got 12).



Classic Minestrone Soup

Here it is, the beginning of a new year – full of resolutions of eating healthier and getting in shape. 

And I’ve started off the year with two cupcake recipes. 

Sorry about that.

Let’s start over.

This soup is everything people start looking for at the beginning of the new year – it’s healthy, quick, vegetarian, freezable, and can easily be doubled for extras.  Which is what I did, with visions of a healthier go-to lunch for the winter months when my typical salad veggies aren’t in season.  I portioned them out in individual sized portions and stuck them in the freezer to pull a few out each week for lunch.  Is working out well so far.  Below is the recipe for just a regular batch. 

And this can easily be adapted to meet the tastes of even the pickiest eaters.  Cannellini beans instead of kidney, zucchini instead of green beans, or all of the above.  It’s just a vessel for cramming as many veggies as you can into one soup.   Which, let’s be honest, after a few weeks of potlucks and cookies and extra calories, we can all use a little more veggies. 

Yes, even you.

Check out some of my other favorite soup and chili recipes!
Sweet Potato and Rosemary Soup
Leek and Potato Soup
Chunky Italian Soup
Gameday Chili
Denver Green Chili
Chicken Chili

Minestrone Soup
adapted from Ellie Krieger, as seen in Food Network Magazine

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1/3 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (or 1 1/2 cups frozen green beans)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
28 oz can diced tomatoes (no salt added)
14 oz can crushed tomatoes (no salt added)
6 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
15 oz can low sodium kidney beans
1 cup elbow or ditalini pasta
parmesan cheese, for serving

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat.  Add the onion, celery, and carrot and cook until starting to soften, about 4 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Stir in green beans, dried herbs, 3/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper (adjust to taste), and cook an additional 3 minutes. 

Add the diced and crushed tomatoes and chicken or vegetable broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.  Stir in kidney beans and pasta and cook until pasta is tender, about 10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper. 

Ladle into bowls and top with parmesan cheese.


Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

“What are we having for dinner tonight?”

“Stuffed acorn squash.”

“What’s an acorn squash?”

*walks over the counter, picks up acron squash and holds it up for husband*

“oh.  It kind of looks like a green pumpkin.”

“Or an acorn.”

“oh yeah ….. that too.”

Clearly this was our first acorn squash experience.  And despite clear skepticism, Scott was a fan.  In fact, it got a ranger large thumbs up from both of us.  It was slightly time consuming, due to the hour-long roast of the squash in the oven, but it was so simple to throw together.  Perfect for a lazy Sunday.  And since they practically give away acorn squash this time of year ($.77/lb?!  done!), this will surely grace our menu plan a few times before the season is up.

and don’t forget to enter the massive chocoalte giveaway!!!

One year ago: re-post of Gooey Butter Cookies
Two years ago: Christmas cookies

Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash
adapted from Prevention RD, originally from Food.com

2 large acorn squash, halved and seeded
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 clove garlic, minced fine
1/2 tsp ground sage, divided
3/4 lb bulk Italian sausage (or links, casings removed)
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1 apple, cored and chopped (I used Golden Delicious)
1 cup panko crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine melted butter, garlic, and 1/4 tsp sage.  Brush insides of each squash with the butte rmix.  Place squash on a baking pan, cut side up, and roast for 50-60 minutes, or until fork tender.

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the sausage.  Once browned, remove from plate to a paper-towel-lined plate and set aside.  Add onions and celery to the pan, cook until starting to soften, 3 minutes.  Add the apples and cook an additional 2 minutes.

Return the sausage to the pan and remove from heat.  Season with 1/4 tsp sage, salt and pepper.  Stir in panko and parmesan cheese.  Add the egg and stir to combine.

Divide the stuffing evenly among the four squash halves.  Return to the oven and bake an additional 20 minutes.  Yields 4 servings.