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Blog posts

  • Instant Pot Frozen Chicken and Potatoes

    Hello blog friends and Happy November.  

    I love cooking fast and easy weeknight meals as many of you may know.  One of the ways I can accomplish this is by cooking a meal using my Instant Pot.

    I usually have frozen chicken cutlets in the freezer to thaw for a weeknight meal.  One day I didn't take out the freezer the chicken cutlets.  Instead, I decided to make this chicken dish using the frozen chicken in the Instant Pot for a quick meal.

    I was amazed at how this dish came out tasting so fresh and delicious.  I also made Instant Pot White Rice as a side to go with this meal.  

    This chicken dish reminds me of Chicken Stew.  If you like using the Instant Pot, I hope you'll try out this easy weeknight meal.

    Chicken and Potatoes just finished cooking in the Instant Pot



    5 frozen chicken cutlets
    1 cup of chicken or vegetable broth
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    1/4 teaspoon turmeric
    1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
    12 small potatoes - cut up small
    1 small bag of frozen mixed vegetables
    1 tablespoon butter
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper


    Spray bottom of Instant Pot with cooking spray.  Add butter, garlic, and broth into the pot.  Place frozen chicken, potatoes, mixed vegetables, and spices into the pot.  Close the lid and make sure the vent is sealed.  Press the Manual Setting/High Pressure and set to 25 minutes and natural release.


    You can make rice or mashed potatoes for a side and then place the chicken mixture on top.

    Click HERE to see the great parties I will be linking up to!

  • Butternut Squash, Chicken, Dried Cherry & Kale Casserole

    Everything you need – all in one dish. Efficiency at it’s finest. I hesitate to call this a casserole because in my mind that draws up the picture of some sort of creepy canned soup or cream sauce. This doesn’t have any of that. It’s held together by the goodness of all the ingredients – not a sauce.


    Butternut squash provides a hefty dose of vitamin A + the kale is also a heavy hitter for this same antioxidant and vitamin C. Maybe this will help your house stave off these colds that have been ravaging ours – maybe.

    The dried tart cherries add a fun pop of flavor and you know we love tart cherries around here for their crazy high antioxidant content that can help decrease post exercise muscle soreness and promote recovery.  

    Chicken was an easy addition to make this higher in protein – but feel free to sub in your favorite protein food. Make it vegan with some tempeh. Use leftover turkey around the holidays. Or, leave protein out completely if you want.

    The brown rice is definitely not the star of the show here. If you want to extend this dish a little further, add 6 cups of brown rice instead of the 4 I used. Or, try quinoa, wheat berries, or whatever grain you like best.


    This recipe is a solid option for meal prep. You can easily get a week’s worth of lunches out of this from cooking once – plus a good dinner!

    If you don’t like to eat the same thing every day, freeze a couple servings for next week.

    Fall Casserole 2

    Enjoy all the fall flavors in this delish dinner – or lunch – or snack. I guess I can’t discriminate against breakfast – I heard savory non-breakfast foods are a thing these days. How trendy do you wanna be?!

    Fall Casserole


    Servings: 6 BIG servings (2 1/2 cups)


    4 cups cooked brown rice (1 1/3 cup brown rice, dry & 1 1/4 cup chicken broth)

    3 Tbsp avocado or olive oil

    1 onion, chopped (approx. 1 cup) 

    1 butternut squash, diced (approx. 4 cups) 

    1/2 tsp salt

    1/4 tsp pepper

    1/2 tsp thyme

    1 tsp sage

    3 cups chopped kale

    1 # chicken, diced


    1/2 cup dried tart cherries

    1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or 1/3 cup pre-grated) 


    1. If your brown rice is already cooked, ignore this step. If you have a pressure cooker, add 1 1/3 cup brown rice + 1 1/4 cup chicken broth. Set to high pressure and cook for 20 minutes then quick release. Or cook according to directions on the stove top.
    2. In the meantime, heat oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add the onion and butternut squash. Cook until squash is cooked through and tender.
    3. Add kale, salt, pepper, sage, and thyme to squash mixture. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until kale is wilted.
    4. Remove veggie mixture from skillet – place in a large bowl. No need to wash skillet. Add 1 Tbsp oil, heat, and cook chicken. Add a little more salt and pepper to the chicken. Once cooked through, add to veggie mixture.
    5. Add rice, cherries, and parmesan cheese to the chicken and veggies. Stir well. Pour into 9×13 inch pan. Top with a little more cheese.
    6. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until warmed through.  

    Other Thoughts:

    • Vegetarian: omit the chicken + use vegetable broth or water to cook the rice. It would still be delicious!!
    • Vegan: do the above + omit the Parmesan cheese
    • If you are reheating it, if it gets a little dry – add a couple Tbsp chicken broth to the container before rewarming.
    • If you can find pre-cut butternut squash, or even the steamer bags of diced squash – this would be a real time saver. If you get the steamer bags, you will just want to saute quickly because it will already be cooked through.


    Athletes: One huge serving has 60 grams of carbohydrates and 30 gm of protein. I dig it. If you’re training hard, you may need a little more rice. Or a higher carbohydrate side or snack before bed.

    Healthy Eating: I really like the balance of this meal. A HUGE serving has 10 gm fat, 60 gm carbs, and 30 gm of protein. Too much?! Cut back the serving size.

    Kids: My daughter couldn’t get enough of this. She thought the rice was ‘pasta’ but she also devoured everything else in it. Although, she was partial to the cherries. Hope you have some success with your kids too. My son on the other hand – he had mac n’ cheese. Some day he’ll join the rest of us.

  • Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars

    This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Dairy MAX, your local dairy council. All opinions are 100% mine.

    A 3 Course dinner fit for any get together with friends and family.  Start off with the best White Queso Dip followed by White Chicken Enchiladas and then topped off with Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars.  A Mexican feast everyone will love!

    The holidays are approaching and that means lots of parties, get togethers and dinners with friends and family. Today I am partnering with Dairy MAX; a non-profit dairy council representing dairy farm families across Colorado, southwest Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, western Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming.  I am here to  bring you an epic 3 course dinner, that is centered around dairy, that will be perfect for all your dinner parties! 

    The first course is a white queso dip that is made with white American cheese, jalapenos and plenty of spices.  The perfect snack for when guests arrive.  The main course is chicken enchiladas that are in a creamy sour cream and green chili sauce.  And finally sopapilla cheesecake bars for dessert.  A Mexican dinner everyone will love! 

    Did you know that Americans over 9 years of age should enjoy 3 daily servings of dairy? In general, a serving of dairy is equivalent to 1 cup of milk or yogurt, and 1.5-2 ounces of cheese. Between all 3 courses of this dinner, we have the dairy covered.  Not only is it delicious, it has superfood nutrition powers that do the body good.

    Dairy has always been a big part of my family’s diet. It can be cheese for a snack, a glass of milk with dinner, and yogurt for breakfast.  It is easy to fit into any part of your day.  Studies show that when you eat dairy as part of a healthy eating pattern and overall quality diet, you may reduce the risk of osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes.  That is huge, and definitely something that I take seriously.

    For this dairy centered dinner we are going to start with the best White Queso Dip.  It is super simple to make and great for any occasion.  My family loves it for game day as well. 

    Let’s start with the ingredients:

    1 pound white American cheese, cut into cubes
    1 Tablespoon butter
    1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
    1 cup milk
    1 Tablespoon cornstarch
    1 teaspoon chili powder
    1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    To make the dip melt the butter in a skillet over medium high heat.  Then you add in the jalapeno and sauté for a couple minutes until it is tender.  Next you pour in the milk and add the cornstarch.  You want to mix until it is bubbling, this is what is going to make your sauce nice and thick!  Add in your cheese and then just stir until it is melty and nice and smooth.  Finally you mix in all your seasonings.  Then you just need the chips!  You can serve in a bowl if everyone is going to eat it right away. Or you can put in a crock pot over warm to keep it nice and smooth.  Sometimes I garnish with a few diced tomatoes and cilantro on top, but that is optional.  The important part is you have enough chips, because people are going to go crazy for this dip!  

    For the main course we are making White Chicken Enchiladas.  I love the sour cream in this sauce because it not only makes it super creamy but it tastes amazing.  It is a simple white sauce that gets poured over the top and then topped with cheese.  Really easy to make and a show stopper when you bring it to the table.  

    Here is the breakdown: 

    12 corn tortillas (warmed in wet paper towel)
    2 cups shredded chicken tossed with 2 Tablespoons taco seasoning
    2 cups cheddar cheese, divided
    4 oz can diced green chilies
    4 oz cream cheese

    White Sauce
    3 Tablespoon butter
    3 Tablespoon flour
    2 cups chicken broth
    1 cup sour cream
    4 oz can diced green chilies
    Salt and pepper to taste
    Start by mixing your shredded chicken with 1 cup of the cheddar cheese, cream cheese and green chilies   Once that is all mixed together you will fill the tortillas and roll them up.  You want to place them seam side down into your baking dish.  
    Next up is the sauce. In sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add flour and cook for 2 minutes, you want to stir constantly. Slowly whisk in chicken broth and ring to boil.  Let it cook for a few minutes until it thickens slightly. You want to keep stirring so the sauce doesn’t burn. Then you remove the pan from the heat and stir in sour cream, chilies, salt and pepper.  Pour the sauce over enchiladas and sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes until hot and bubbly.  Let the enchiladas sit for a couple minutes before serving.  This makes it so much easier to serve them!  

    And to cap off this delicious dinner we can’t forget dessert!  A Mexican feast wouldn’t be complete without sopapillas!  But I turned sopapillas into cheesecake bars.  How fun and tasty is that?!  Super creamy cheesecake in between flaky layers that are coated in cinnamon and sugar.  Decadent and perfect for this tasty dinner.

    The cheesecake bars use crescent rolls to get the flaky layers.  That also means they are super easy to make and you can assemble them in just minutes!  The cheesecake layer is cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract.  Super simple, but so good! 

    If you are looking to host a dinner party this season, you can not only do it easily, but feel good about what you are serving.  This meal has dairy in every course, so you know you are helping to build stronger bones and healthier bodies with a powerful package of nutrients. 

    There are so many delicious ways to incorporate dairy into every part of your day. For more #DairyAmazing recipes,  visit


    Yield: 24

    Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars

    Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars

    Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars - top off a Mexican feast with these flaky, creamy, and delicious cheesecake bars. Coated in cinnamon and sugar and such a fun treat.

    Prep Time 10 minutes
    Cook Time 40 minutes
    Total Time 50 minutes


    • 2 packages crescent rolls
    • 2 (8oz) packages cream cheese
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup butter, melted


    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 2 tsp ground cinnamon


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Mix together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth. Set aside.
    3. In a bowl combine the sugar and cinnamon for the topping. Mix well. Set aside.
    4. Unroll 1 package crescent rolls and press into the bottom of a 13x9 inch baking dish.
    5. Sprinkle about half of the cinnamon mixture over the base.
    6. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over the base.
    7. Top with the remaining package of crescent rolls.
    8. Pour butter over the top and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon mixture.
    9. Bake for 35-45 minutes until the top is golden and set.
    10. Let cool completely before serving.

    Nutrition Information



    Serving Size


    Amount Per Serving Calories 105 Total Fat 5g Saturated Fat 3g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 1g Cholesterol 13mg Sodium 44mg Carbohydrates 16g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 0g Sugar 15g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 0g
    Nutrition Disclaimer: All information presented on this site is intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information shared on should only be used as a general guideline.
    © Erin S

    The post Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars appeared first on Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts.

  • Menu Monday + A 30 Minute Comfort Food Meal


    Even though I tend to spend more time in the kitchen this time of year, full meals of home-cooked food don’t have to take forever. On Friday night I was able to put meatloaf, mashed potatoes and green beans on the table in 30 minutes!

    The recipes I used are linked in the menu plan below, but there are a couple things that helped it come together so quickly.

    1. Cut distractions: Turning off Netflix, setting down my phone and staying focused helped me get the meatloaves in the oven with about 5 minutes of prep time.
    2. Take Shortcuts: My instant mashed potato hack saves so much time!
    3. Think Small: a full meatloaf doesn’t cook in 20 minutes, but mini meatloaves do! I scooped them out using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, making sure they were uniform in size but also small enough to cook quickly.
    4. Work Smart: I started on the thing that took the most time to cook and worked from there. Once the meatloaves were in the oven, I put the green beans on and then went to the potatoes.

    Here’s the rest of the menu from last week. We had two cold, rainy days that were perfect for soup!

    On The Menu


    • Breakfast Burritos from the freezer
    • Oatmeal
    • Biscuits w/Apple Butter


    • Leftovers
    • Avocado Toast


    Snacks: I took this apple dip to a work meeting last week – it was delicious! I made it the night before, and the flavors really combined in the fridge. This is such a simple recipe that is perfect for taking to a party! I put the dip into plastic containers (from Dollar General) so that I could quickly make everyone a plate before the meeting.

    Happy Menu Monday!

  • Meow Monday

    Meow Monday

    Meow Monday - pictures of cute cats to start the week. Come see what Felix, Mack, and Mango have been up to! #cats #kittens

    Cat Photos to Make You Happy

    Happy Meow Monday! I'm here to brighten your day with some photos of cute cats! I know it helps me! I hope it helps you get the week started on the right foot.

    Keep reading to get updates on each cat.

    If you want more cat photos and videos, follow us on Instagram: @mackandmango and @plainchicken

    Nurse Mango

    I had gallbladder surgery on Friday. I am recovering nicely thanks to Nurse Mango. This little girl stayed by my side all weekend long. She made sure I was feeling OK and gave me lots and lots of snuggles. She is the sweetest baby.


    We took a quick trip to the beach before my surgery last week. We were gone for three nights. That is the longest we have been away from the kittens. Mack was SOOO excited when we got home. He ran around the house for two hours straight before he could calm down. 


    We had a cold front come through this week. I can't remember it being so cold this early in the year. Mr. Felix found a new spot to keep warm. He is loving sleeping on the soft blanket on the sofa. He has never gotten on the sofa before this week. He looks really happy!

    Pin It!

    post signature
  • Basic chicken stock

    It looks as though Autumn is here again. I turned my back briefly by going back to the UK and when I returned to Berlin the balmy days of late summer had given way to a certain nip in the air. As is standard when the seasons change I have managed to get a cold and feel, quite frankly, like ass. So there’s only one thing for it, some nourishing soup to perk me up.

    The basis for most soups is some kind of stock, be it chicken, fish, veggie or beef, which means that the better the stock, the more flavourful the soup. And let’s be honest, we’re not just talking soups here, so many recipes call for stock (risottos, stews, sauces, braised veg, polenta etc.) that its worthwhile knowing how to make some, even if it’s to keep in the freezer in an ice cube tray to drop in some flavour when the time is right.

    But what happens if you want to make some chicken stock, but just don’t cook meat that often? Or if when you do you’re unlikely cook a full bird? The freezer is your friend here. Every time I cook chicken thighs or drumsticks I take the bones and add them to the growing quantity in an old ice cream tub at the back of my freezer. When the box is full I make stock. This is super thrifty and means that you’re squeezing every bit of joy out of the chicken that you eat, which is better all round really. The only time I would make chicken stock from a full bird would be to make (a special) chicken soup, where I want the flavour to be as intensely chicken-y as possible. For this I would buy a ‘Suppenhuhn’, which is essentially a chicken that used to lay eggs. It needs cooking for a long time to be tender enough to eat, but they taste great. These are much easier to find in Germany than in the UK, which is a shame as they’re a more environmentally friendly and economical alternative to a younger chicken bred for meat.

    Stepping down briefly from my soapbox, making stock also helps to use up any veg odds and ends you might have lurking in the back of the fridge. Limp carrot? Whack it in. Celery seen better days? Throw in a stalk or 2. Stay away from brassicas like cabbage or broccoli as they can make the stock sulphurous when cooked for that long, but don’t be afraid to experiment. The same goes for spices and herbs. This here will make a basic chicken stock with bay, thyme, coriander seed and peppercorns amongst others, but if you know that the stock is destined to be an asian broth or ramen dish you could add some star anise and chilli at this point too.

    So without further ado, here is the recipe.

    Chicken stock

    Makes 500ml

    Preparation time: 10 minutes

    Cooking time: 2 hours


    • 1.5kg chicken/poultry bones
    • 2 onions
    • 4 cloves garlic
    • 1 bay leaf
    • ½ tsp whole peppercorns
    • 1 tbsp oregano
    • 1 tsp coriander seed
    • 2l water (or enough to cover your bones, depending on the size of your pan)
    • Any additional kitchen scraps


    1. Halve your onions, smash your garlic, chunk up any additional veg you have lying around (celery, carrots etc.) and shove all bones and aromatics in a large stockpot.
    2. Cover with water and bring to the boil over a medium-high heat.
    3. With the lid on turn the stock down and simmer for around 1hr 30.
    4. Take the lid off for the remaining half an hour to allow the flavour to intensify.
    5. Strain the liquid and leave to cool before storing for whatever delicious thing you have in mind next.