Rice Pilaf in the Rice Cooker

Making the main dish the center of attention for your meal makes sense, but sometimes you have to make your side dish just as delicious!

For years, I have made my rice and pasta sides from bag or box mixes. I still make some meals with the bag or box mixes, but I definitely prefer making from scratch. The flavor just seems more savory, and pastas from scratch just taste better with milk and fresh cheese instead of the powdered stuff.

I have a recipe below for rice pilaf made partially in a saucepan then transferred to a rice cooker. I haven’t made the recipe completely in the rice cooker because the onion should be cooked in the saucepan prior to being cooked with the rice. You can also make this in your Instant Pot, just set the pot on the sauté mode to cook the onion and garlic then switch it to the rice mode when you cook the rest of it up. I made this recipe and paired it with air fried Mahi Mahi we made and it was a perfect match!

Instant Pot/Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

With all this cold weather we are having, eating a nice, hot bowl of chili sounded amazing. The wonderful smell that comes from slow cooking this makes it tempting to eat it before it’s done 😂 But trust me, waiting those few hours makes it worth the wait once you take that first bite! I included my recipe below, but feel free to make changes where needed for your taste preferences. You can substitute the ground turkey with ground beef, red onion with yellow onion, but you absolutely need to have the chicken broth, I wouldn’t substitute this with water.

You can also make this in a regular slow cooker, you would just need to cook the onions, bell pepper, and ground turkey in a skillet prior to adding to your slow cooker. I have made this both ways, in the Instant Pot and slow cooker and both turned out delicious. I prefer to use the Instant Pot because you can use just one pot for everything instead of using the skillet and slow cooker. Less dishes to clean after dinner makes this mama happy! I also made cornbread to go along with this and cornbread always goes great with chili.

All of my ingredients are in and ready to slow cook!
Beautiful hot and yummy chili! Worth the wait.
Chili garnished with Colby Jack cheese, cornbread on the side, and a small bowl with chili for our daughter. She was anxious to start eating, that’s why her hand is in the pic reaching for the bowl! 😂

Leftover Buffalo Chicken Wrap!

If you happen to have any leftover chicken legs from the Buffalo chicken recipe you just made, this wrap is going to be the perfect lunch for you!

I enjoy a cold chicken wrap for lunch every now and again, especially when it’s chicken flavored with Buffalo sauce. Mmm! Check out my recipe below for a fun wrap to spice up your weekday lunch. Leftovers are the best!

Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken Legs

I love Buffalo sauce. That spiciness, tanginess, vinegary flavor, but not too hot. I’m not a fan of the super hot Buffalo sauce, more of a mild to medium gal. I like Buffalo Alfredo pasta, Buffalo chicken wraps, and of course, I like Buffalo chicken legs! I have a recipe for baking them up in the air fryer below, but you can also make them in the oven as well. We made these last night, and they were delicious!

FYI : If you decide to bake them in the oven instead, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Place the legs on a foil-lined baking sheet sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake the legs in the oven for approx 40 minutes turning over halfway through. Since I have only made them in the air fryer, make sure to check them while baking in the oven for doneness as they may be done sooner than 40 minutes.

After being air fried and about to be coated in the yummy sauce!
Nom, nom, nom!

Mac & Cheese, The Best!

Even for our pickiest eaters, they all seem to love mac and cheese!

Our toddler’s go-to meal is anything with noodles, preferably with some cheese on top. Her absolute favorite though, is mac & cheese! I have made a few different versions of mac and this one seems to be her favorite so far. Hope y’all will enjoy this as much as she does (and us too, of course!)

Quality Matters

I used to buy my produce from big chain grocery stores, I thought that cheaper was just the way to go. I remember cutting up a Roma tomato one day and said to my husband, “this tastes so bland, like I’m eating a mushy piece of water. There HAS to be a better tasting tomato out there, somewhere!” Since my husband isn’t a fan of tomatoes, I knew I had to figure this one out on my own. We always stuck to our budget, and never ventured out to see what our different options could be.

After we moved to our small town, I looked up local farmers markets and found one just 10 minutes from our home. I wasn’t sure how the pricing would be, but I wanted to check it out. I picked up a couple items (tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers) and the pricing was actually cheaper than I was paying at the grocery store. To top it all off, the people that worked there were also very friendly. From that first bite into one of the tomatoes, my tastebuds were on sensory overload. The best tomatoes I have ever eaten were from our local farmers market.

Ever since then, I have gotten my favorite veggies and fruits from our local farmers market in town. If you can, buy from your local farmers market and support your local farmers too! Until I start venturing into creating our own garden, the farmers market is where I will be picking my fresh fruits and veggies.

When My Mouth Woke Up!

I can’t really remember exactly when I started searching for flavorful food. I’m talking REALLY tasty food. I felt like the rat on the movie Ratatouille, everything tasted so bland. I wanted to try something new. I wanted to be a Foodie. I like to cook and I knew that if I followed a recipe, I could make a decent dish. But I wanted to take it further than that, I wanted to add spices and flavor to the dishes I was already making and then also venture out to make a new dishes. But how could I start?

And then it happened! I was watching Food Network one morning while our newborn daughter was napping, and I came across The Pioneer Woman. With her fire red hair and bubbly personality, I liked her instantly. While we were living in the suburbs at the time, her life on the ranch also made me yearn for country living! Ree Drummond makes cooking and baking in her kitchen look like a breeze, and all of her dishes look so delicious.

I started looking up some of her recipes online and found a couple that became regular staples for us over time. Recently, I ordered her cookbook “The Pioneer Woman Cooks: The New Frontier” and I am so excited to start cooking like Ree!

Being Green

We are definitely “carb-ivores” in this family, as you can tell by our Mac & Cheese and Buffalo Chicken Legs! And we also like to have a healthy helping of meat in our diet. Because of that we needed to start adding more fruits and veggies into our diet. Our toddler is a really picky eater, and I don’t blame her, I also like chicken nuggets and pb&j sandwiches on the regular! But we wanted to make sure that she was getting at least some fruits and vegetables in her diet so we started making green smoothies.

I know, they look weird and green, but honestly they are pretty tasty. It’s the way I make them! And the ingredients I add. I have a recipe below so you can make your own green smoothie at home, without having to pay that fresh smoothie price at your local smoothie shop. And it will also make you not feel so guilty when you decide to carbo-load later because you know you at least had some fruits and veggies during the day!