Chicken w/ Maple Mustard Dill Sauce

A really great way to be “good” on a diet or on your healthy-eating kick is to change things up.  Make interesting food and don’t get stuck with the same old.  Experiment with spices and flavors.  You’ll be surprised at how many different things there are to try and how pleased you will be eating healthy when it’s exciting.

Something I like to do is to change up the sauces I use when I cook simple things like Chicken.  I had this recipe saved for about a year in my books and was really intrigued to try it.  Honestly- it seemed a little weird but I had everything in my fridge already so I figured why the heck not?

Pan-Roasted Chicken w/ Maple Mustard Dill Sauce

Serves 2


2 (6-oz) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
Cooking spray 
1/2 chopped or sliced red onion 
6 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
4 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1 tablespoon Water
1 teaspoon chopped Fresh Dill or 1/2 teaspoon dried (I used 1 tsp of Gourmet Garden)
1 teaspoon Grated Orange Rind


  1. Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound each to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Sprinkle chicken evenly with salt and pepper. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan.
  2. Reduce heat to medium.  Combine the syrup, mustard, water, dill, and orange in a small bowl and stir with a whisk until well combined.
  3. Add onion to pan; cook 1 minute. Add sauce; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently. Serve sauce with chicken.

Very slightly adapted from: Cooking Light 

Makin' the sauce!

Makin’ the sauce!


The one thing I wanted to do for this recipe was make it only for two (original was 4) but keep the same amount of sauce.  Dave loooooves lots of sauce with everything, so I thought it would be best for us.  It really worked out and I think the amount of sauce was perfect!

Served this with tons of veggies:  Roasted Asparagus, Roasted Tomato, and some Garlic Sauteed Spinach :)

Served this with tons of veggies: Roasted Asparagus, Roasted Tomato, and some Garlic Sauteed Spinach 🙂


I also have to mention that I recommend using REAL maple syrup.  Not the Aunt Jemima sugary crap.  If you haven’t yet, spend an extra couple of dollars and buy yourself the real stuff- it will work better in the recipe and then you’ll have plenty leftover for some life-changing pancakes.  This is also like, the bagillionth time I’ve used my Gourmet Garden tubed herbs… I cannot stress how awesome they are.

Meanwhile, as I mentioned earlier… I totally get that the maple-dill-mustard-orange combination seems a little strange.  I thought the same thing.  Get past it.  This sauce rocks- the flavors just work.  Don’t ask any questions, just do.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Now let me go watch this show on Sci with Dave about King Crabs and how they are destroying their ecosystem!  AHH!  #HowISpendMyNights.


Marin Joe’s Special

Forever ago, I was watching one of my Food Network shows when Tyler Florence introduced me to one of the best things he’s ever eaten:  The Marin Joe’s Special from Marin Joe’s in Corte Madera, CA.

He's sexy and he knows it!

He’s sexy and he knows it!

Seeing as I won’t be traveling to Corte Madera, CA anytime soon, I decided I had to try this one out myself.  It sounded so easy… “Hamburger, Spinach, Eggs”.  Three things I love to eat.

My grand idea of trying out my first recipe as seen on “Best Thing…” was spoiled when I told Dave the three simple starring ingredients.  What I got back was a different simple three words, “That. Sounds. Disgusting.”, and put the recipe back in my book of hundreds.  I forgot about good ole Marin Joe’s until one night during our “Lets not go food shopping and save money” week.  I had ground beef… a huge bag of spinach… and we always have a plethora of eggs.  Perfect.

And would you have guessed… Dave ended up loving it?  We both did!

This is an awesome recipe packed with protein from the beef and eggs and it even includes your veggies too!

Before you’re turned off by the eggs just like Dave was, let me reassure you, this doesn’t turn out to be scrambled eggs on top of a hamburger.  The eggs are mixed into the ground beef and turn into more of a thickener.  Eggs combine all of the other ingredients together and make it just deliciously rich.  Seriously, try it.

Marin Joe’s Special


1lb Lean Ground Beef 

1/2 Onion, thinly sliced

1 clove of Garlic, thinly sliced or crushed

1 Jalapeno, seeded and sliced

1 bag Baby Spinach (or more!  I had a giant bag so I used a ton)

3 Eggs

1/4 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese


1.  Add ground beef to a large saute pan.  Chop into small pieces as it cooks.  Add the onion, jalapeno, and garlic.  Saute with the grease from the ground beef.  Season with Salt and Pepper to taste.  

2.  Once the beef is cooked through, pile on the raw spinach.  Mix into the meat and heat while stirring until the spinach becomes slightly wilted.  

3.  Stir the eggs together in a small bowl.  Once the spinach is slightly wilted, add the eggs to the pan.  Stir constantly until the eggs are completely mixed in and no longer runny.  If you stir it constantly- it won’t turn into scrambled eggs 🙂

4.  Serve in a bowl and top with Parmesan cheese.  

Recipe slightly adapted from:  Marin Joe’s Restaurant

Ground beef is sauteed and chopped up with the onion, garlic, jalapeno with salt and pepper.

Ground beef is sauteed and chopped up with the onion, garlic, jalapeno with salt and pepper.

I told you, I love spinach! This was during the time we had a giant 3lb bag from the Italian Market, so I def. used more than a normal 5oz bag.

I told you, I love spinach! This was during the time we had a giant 3lb bag from the Italian Market, so I def. used more than a normal 5oz bag.

Stir the spinach until it becomes slightly wilted, and then add the eggs.

Stir the spinach until it becomes slightly wilted, and then add the eggs.

In go the eggs!  Don't be afraid :)

In go the eggs! Don’t be afraid 🙂

Anything topped with fresh parm is okay in my book...

Anything topped with fresh parm is okay in my book…

See how good this looks?!  It was the perfect speedy dinner after a long run in the neighborhood.  And I do have to say, I can very much appreciate a one-pan dinner every once in a while!

Take a bite!

Take a bite!

Take a peek at these other recipes I’ve tried from the Food Network:

Blue Cheese n Spinach Orzo from Robert Irvine

Blue Cheese n Spinach Orzo from Robert Irvine

BBQ Deviled Eggs from the Neely's

BBQ Deviled Eggs from the Neely’s

Chicken in Peanut Sauce from Mexican Made Easy

Chicken in Peanut Sauce from Mexican Made Easy



Sweet Baby Ray’s Sloppy Joes

I really have no idea what inspired me to make Sloppy Joe and put it into a wrap.  Let me tell you… the meal was JUST as sloppy as it is on a potato roll, if not MORE!  Grab a few paper towels and make this one for your fam!

Sweet Baby Ray’s Sloppy Joes

Makes 8-10 Servings (3/4 cup)


Olive Oil

1 Red Bell Pepper

4 Large Carrots

2 Stalks Celery

1/2 Sweet Onion

1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic

Sea Salt & Pepper

2.5 lbs Ground Beef (lean, 93%)

2 8oz cans Tomato Sauce

2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste (I used the tube kind)

1 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s Hickory Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce (+more)

3 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce

2-3 Tablespoons Hot Sauce or Buffalo Marinade

Buns (for traditional SJ’s), Wraps (what I did), or a big spoon!


1.  Finely dice all of your veggies.  Heat about a Tablespoon of Olive Oil in a very large skillet or dutch oven.  Season with Sea Salt and Pepper (just a pinch of both will do) and saute for 5-10 minutes.  Add Garlic and cook for another minute.

2.  Add the ground beef to the veggies.  Chop, stir, cook until the meat is no longer pink and is fully cooked.  Chop and chop and chop until the meat is almost the same size as the veggies.

3.  Add your tomato sauce, tomato paste, Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce, Worcestershire Sauce, and Hot Sauce.  Stir, cover, and simmer on medium-low heat until it has thickened (for about 10 minutes).  Serve any way you’d like… buns, wraps, or just enjoy with a big spoon!

Recipe adapted from:  Spenser’s Sloppy Joe’s, Down Home w/ the Neelys

Get your veggies sauteed up!  I liked chopping them really small so they would mix well with the ground beef.

Get your veggies sauteed up! I liked chopping them really small so they would mix well with the ground beef.

Finished product!  YUMMM!

Finished product! YUMMM!

A Sloppy Joe wrap and a side salad

A Sloppy Joe wrap and a side salad

Digging right in... Sloppy is right! :)

Digging right in… Sloppy is right! 🙂

So, for some reason I had imagined Sloppy Joe in a wrap… so that’s exactly what we did.  I used those Ezekiel Sprouted Wraps which are super healthy; they have only 9 ingredients (all organic), are high in fiber, gluten-free, and taste really good.  You can find them in the frozen section of the grocery store if you haven’t tried them yet!


The Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce is so freakin’ good in here.  It is my absolute favorite BBQ sauce as it is, but the sweet & smoky Hickory Brown Sugar flavor is perfect for Sloppy Joe.  I added some extra onto the wrap before I closed it up as a nice finishing touch too.  You can try to use any BBQ sauce but if you see this stuff on sale… pick one up… or two… because it is SO YUMMY!


Although it made the recipe sorta non-traditional… I loved adding the veggies to this Sloppy Joe.  It gave the mix tons of flavor but also they bulked it up allowing you to eat more for the same amount of calories.  Hm… now that I think of it, what a great way to sneak in veggies for kids too!

We shared this batch with our roommate Adam and had enough for extras and leftovers the following day at work.  This is a great recipe for those one-pot cooking nights and for when you need to feed a lot of people!

Sweet Baby Ray’s Sloppy Joes Nutrition

Servings: 8-10 (3/4 Cup)

Calories: 311

Fat: 7g

Protein: 28g

Fiber: 2g

Carbs: 29g

Leftovers Quick


I LOVE New Orleans.  Love love love.  Dave and I traveled there a few years ago on a mini-vacation during Halloween.  I don’t think I’ve ever gained so much weight in such a short period of time.  We walked everywhere, exploring and of course eating (and drinking) our way through the city.

In honor of one of my favorite cities and to celebrate Mardi Gras, I cooked up a pretty sweet Jambalaya recipe on Fat Tuesday.  I think this is one of my best ones yet!

The recipe is adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s “Kicked-Up Jambalaya” from way back when in 2000.  I was really excited because he included the recipe to make his Cajun Seasoning… and I actually even had all of the ingredients!  I made a whole batch and have a little baggie of leftovers for another time.  YUM BAM!

And please, let the records show that I was an Emeril fan long before his “Emeril Live” show even aired its pilot.  My Aunt and I used to watch “The Essence of Emeril” and “Molto Mario” when I’d sleepover back in the late 90’s.  How is this the first recipe of either of their’s for me to try?!

Let’s kick this up a notch and get started… 


Recipe adapted from Emeril’s Kicked Up Jambalaya

Serves: 6-8


2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Emeril’s Creole seasoning (See below)
4 Thin Sliced Chicken Breasts (1 pkg)
14oz Andouille Sausage, cut into slices
2 cups chopped Onion (1 large)
1 cup chopped Celery
1 cup chopped Red Bell Pepper
2 Tablespoons minced Garlic
3 Bay Leaves
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons dried Thyme
1 (14oz) can Diced Tomatoes, partially drained
6 cups Water
2 cups Uncooked Brown Bismati Rice (Quick Cook)
Salt & Pepper
1 cup chopped Green Onions
1/2 cup chopped Parsley


1.  In a large Dutch Oven, heat 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil over medium-high heat.  Cut Chicken into 1-inch strips or pieces and season with the Emeril Creole seasoning.  Saute until cooked through, about 6-8 minutes.  Remove and set aside, reserving oil and all the good juices in the dutch oven.

2.  Add sausage and cook for a few minutes.  Remove and set aside.

3.  Add Onion, Celery, Bell Pepper, Garlic, Bay Leaves, Cayenne and Thyme and cook for about 5-10 minutes, or until the veggies have softened.

4.  Add the can of Diced Tomatoes and Water to the pot.  Season with a pinch of Salt and Pepper.  Simmer, covered for about 20 minutes.

5.  Add uncooked Rice to the pot, stir well and return to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for another 10-15 minutes (Check at 10).  Most of the liquid should be evaporated and cooked into the rice at this point.  Add in the Sausage, Chicken, another sprinkle of Emeril Creole Seasoning, Green Onions, and Parsley.  Cover, and cook for another 5-10 minutes.  Let sit off of the heat for 10 minutes before serving.  Remove Bay Leaves.  Garnish with extra Green Onions and Parsley.

Emeril’s Creole Seasoning
2.5 Tablespoons Paprika
2 Tablespoons Salt
2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder
1 Tablespoon of each:  Black Pepper, Onion Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Oregano, Dried Thyme
Mix in a bowl and reserve leftovers… add it on top of chicken, seafood, or even popcorn!
Emeril's Creole Seasoning... you can make it with the recipe here or buy it in the grocery store

Emeril’s Creole Seasoning… you can make it with the recipe here or buy it in the grocery store

A new skill I learned while I was visiting my friends in Fort Wayne, IN!  Bob taught me how to cut a Bell Pepper in one swoop!  YAY!

A new skill I learned while I was visiting my friends in Fort Wayne, IN! Bob taught me how to cut a Bell Pepper in one swoop! YAY!

Before adding the liquids

Before adding the liquids

I could NOT believe how much liquid was soaked up by the time I opened up the lid.  I love parsley and green onions... mmm!

I could NOT believe how much liquid was soaked up by the time I opened up the lid. I love parsley and green onions… mmm!

I realize this recipe has a lot of ingredients.  But read over… it really isn’t that bad!  You can use the veggies for other recipes if you don’t already have them in the house.  You can also use Shrimp instead of the Chicken if you’d like and any type of rice too!  The Jambalaya is just so flavorful without being overly spicy.  If you wanted it to have an extra kick… add some Cayenne.

I was nervous to try my first Emeril Recipe but this one was super simple and SO delicious.  The best part is that you will probably have leftovers like I did… and it only got better after being reheated.  BAM!
Delicious Jambalaya!

Delicious Jambalaya!

One-Pan Hash Brown Breakfast

OMG!  I made the actual best breakfast ever this weekend, and no one was there to witness it! I recently bought a bag of Trader Joe’s Shredded Hash Browns and I’m lovin’ it.  They are reallllly easy to work with.  The ingredients on the bag?  Potatoes.  That’s all!  It is really nice to have the potatoes pre-shredded.  It’s also really cheap.

After my Saturday morning workout, I come home starving.  I like making smoothies or having some yogurt, but on this particular day I was famished… and nothing light was going to do the trick.

I took out the hash browns, some bacon, eggs, and shredded cheese and went to work.

One-Pan Hash Brown Breakfast

Recipe by:  It’s Good to be the Cook

Serves: 1


1 Tablespoon Oil (you can use Olive Oil but I’ve been using Sunflower Seed Oil)

1 Cup – 1.5 Cups Shredded Hash Browns (I used TJ’s frozen, or you can make your own)

1/2 Onion, sliced or chopped thin

Sea Salt, Black Pepper, and Smoked Paprika

2 Slices Bacon, cooked

2 Eggs

1/4 Cup Shredded Cheese (I used Red. Fat White Cheddar)


1.  Heat the oil over medium-high in a small sized non-stick skillet.  Mix the hash browns and chopped onion together.  Add the frozen hash brown mix to the pan.  Arrange so they are covering the bottom of the pan evenly.  Season with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika.

2.  Let the potatoes be for 5 minutes or longer, until they start to brown on the bottom.  Flip the potatoes (which should now have taken the shape of the pan, almost like a pancake) so you can cook the top side.

3.  Add the bacon.  *I had microwaved mine which makes it really crispy.  If you don’t want to do that, you can fry up the bacon in the pan first, remove- leaving the bacon grease, and only use 1/2 Tablespoon of Oil.  Add the shredded cheese.

4.  Crack one egg at a time over the potatoes.  Cover the pan and let cook.  After about 4 minutes, check on the eggs and slide out of the pan once the egg whites are white and cooked through.

After it was flipped

This was soooooo yummy.  I’m totally into Smoked Paprika now, and it tasted fabulous with the potatoes.  I only discovered Smoked Paprika because TJ’s started selling it ($1.99 I believe btw)… and i love it.  It gives everything a smoked flavor, and almost makes it taste like it came right of a BBQ!  It also helped give the potatoes a really nice looking darker color when they were done cooking.

At first I was bummed the egg didn’t stay completely on the potatoes, but it didn’t matter in the end! SO GOOD!

The eggs cooked perfectly, which is so hard for me to master.  Cooking them ontop of the potatoes, rather than directly on the hot pan prevented the egg whites from being overcooked, while covering the pan helped create steam which allowed the whites cook all the way through without having to flip them.

Look at this amazing bite! I loooooove black pepper, if you couldn’t tell!