Recipe HIT – Chili

It may seem odd to people that I’d make chili in the summertime.  But, I love it and 1 pot will feed the Hubs and I for 3-4 days and it’s easy to bring to work for lunch.  Plus, my chili tastes pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.  I’ve made this before with ground turkey, and it’s equally delicious.  Make it now, thank me later.

Holly’s Chili (it’s fairly spicy – fyi)



  • 2 pounds of lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1 yellow onion, rough chop
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 jar of Ragu (traditional, flavored with meat)
  • 1 8-oz jar of salsa (I like Chi-Chi’s Medium)
  • 4 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 1 15-oz can of spicy chili beans (get non-spicy ones if you want)
  • 1 15-oz can of dark red kidney beans
  • 1 can of corn (I actually use 2 cans b/c I worship corn)
  • Tabasco, to taste (use caution)
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste (use caution)


  1. In a large frying pan, brown the beef with the onions until the beef is no longer pink and the onions are translucent.  Drain grease.
  2. Pour the meat/onions into a larger pot.  Add the tomato sauce, salsa, chili powder, black pepper, garlic salt, kidney beans, chili beans, and corn.  Mix well
  3. Slowly add in Tabasco and red pepper flakes – SLOWLY.  Get the chili to the spice level that floats your boat.
  4. Simmer on low for 1 hour.
  5. Eat for the next 3-4 days.

Recipe Hit – Spicy Sesame Noodles

Last weekend we had our traditional Spaghetti Sunday…with a twist.  I wanted to branch out from the typical Italian recipes I usually make for Sunday nights.  I decided to go with a recipe inspired by The Pioneer Woman (nothing but love for her).  It was GREAT!  I think this dish will become a staple in my recipe routine, because it’s absolutely delicious and it couldn’t be easier to make.  Next time, I think I’ll make a double batch because I have a feeling these noodles would be fantastic as a cold salad.  Give this one a whirl, folks!

Spicy Sesame Noodles (inspired by The Pioneer Woman)


  • 1 box of Barilla Plus Angel Hair pasta
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of hot chili oil (check for this in the Asian section of your grocery store)
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 whole green onions, sliced thin
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Kosher salt, to taste (if necessary)


  1. Prepare the pasta according to package instructions.
  2. While pasta is cooking, whisk together soy sauce, sugar, garlic, rice vinegar, sesame oil, hot chili oil and olive oil.
  3. Taste the sauce and add red pepper flakes, pepper and salt to taste.  As always, add the red pepper flakes gradually!
  4. Once you get the level of spiciness you like, pour the sauce over the warm noodles and toss to coat evenly.
  5. Sprinkle with green onions and serve with pride.

sesame noodles

Recipe adapted and image from 

Recipe HIT – Crock Pot Taco Meat

You guys. I’m so excited about this recipe.  It is SO easy, inexpensive, and really delicious! You can even make it as healthy as you want by subbing the beef for ground turkey or chicken.  And you can also choose healthy toppings if that floats your boat, 2% cheese, low-fat sour cream, etc.  You can serve this meat on a taco salad, in burritos, or on good old hard taco shells.  I went old school with hard taco shells.  I used 90/10 lean ground sirloin and low-fat sour cream.  I splurged with extra sharp cheddar cheese.


  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning
  • 2/3 cup of water
  • 1 jar of salsa (I used a 16 oz. jar of Chi-Chi’s Medium Salsa)
  • Tabasco, to taste


  1. Brown the ground beef in a frying pan
  2. Add 2/3 cup of water and taco seasoning packet. Mix well.
  3. Taste the beef to see if you want it spicier, then add Tabasco (just add a drop at a time, a little goes a long way!).
  4. Let simmer for about 5 minutes
  5. Put the beef in the Crock Pot
  6. Add the jar of salsa and mix well
  7. Cook on low for 4-6 hours
  8. Chow down


Recipe HIT – Bow Ties with Bacon

Yesterday’s Spaghetti Sunday was a big success.  I made Bow Ties with Bacon, and this might just be my favorite dinner I’ve ever made.  Actually, it definitively IS my favorite dinner ever.  And it’s easy and you probably have most of the ingredients on hand…making it inexpensive.  It earned rave reviews from the Husb too, so it’s a “man friendly” meal as well.  You should make it because you’ll love it.  I promise.

Bow Ties with Bacon

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 package of turkey bacon (I like Butterball), diced
  • 3/4 cup of dry white wine (I used a Chardonnay)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 28-ounce can of San Marzano peeled tomatoes
  • 1 box of Barilla Plus Farfalle
  • 1 16-ounce bag of frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons of sugar
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried basil
  • Fresh Parmesan cheese (optional)


  1. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the turkey bacon and saute it until it starts to brown and crisp (several minutes).  Add the onions and minced garlic and cook until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add the white wine to the saucepan and turn up the heat a bit.  Let the wine cook until the smell of alcohol is gone.
  3. Add the tomatoes to the saucepan. If you are using whole tomatoes (I do), just smash them with your wooden spoon and break them up into smaller chunks.
  4. Season the sauce with salt and pepper (to taste).  Add 1-2 tablespoons of white sugar (start with 1 tablespoon and add more to taste). Sprinkle in some dried oregano and dried basil to taste (again, start with a little and add more if you see fit).  Stir it all together, turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Cook your frozen peas according to package directions
  6. Cook your pasta according to package directions
  7. Once the sauce has simmered for 20 minutes, stir in the heavy cream and add the peas. Toss it all together with the drained pasta, top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Bon Appetit!

bow ties with bacon

Recipe HIT – Brookies – Life Changing.

Yesterday, I whipped up a delicious confection with a really cute name.  “Brookies” are a hybrid of a brownie and a cookie.  And they are life changing.  Make them, make them now, and be forever changed.

Brookies – Makes 3-4 dozen



  • 16 ounces chocolate chips
  • 4 tablespoons butter, room temp
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt (I used fresh ground sea salt and it was delish)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder


Preheat oven to 350.  Spray cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

Melt chocolate chips with butter in a saucepan over low heat.  Stir constantly until smooth.

Mix eggs, vanilla and sugar in a mixing bowl. Combine thoroughly and set aside.

Add melted chocolate to the egg mixture. Slowly add in flour, salt and baking powder. Stir until it’s all combined.

Spoon 1 tablespoon of batter onto cookie sheet.  The batter is pretty thin and spreads out right away.  This is fine.  Cook for 10-12 minutes. Let the cookies cool completely on baking sheets.

Chow down.

Weekend Cooking Plans

We’re heading out of town on Tuesday, so I don’t want to get too crazy in the kitchen this weekend since nobody will be around to eat the leftovers.  And that would be a crying shame (assuming they’re awesome).  I am super excited about this week’s Spaghetti Sunday recipe…Spicy Turkey Sausage Pasta.  If it turns out as good as it sounds, the Husb is going to flip.  I’m also making these cool looking peanut butter/chocolate cookies that look like ying yangs.  Remember ying yangs from when we were kids?  I’m really going through a throwback phase this morning between the Wagoneer and the ying yangs.  I’ll let everyone know how things taste! TGIF.

Quick & Easy Dinner

The Husb and I work out with our demonic trainer on Tuesday and Thursdays, right after work.  We don’t get home until 7:30 and we’re always completely exhausted. I never cook anything earth-shattering on those nights.  That said, I’m always on the look out for quick and easy things to throw together.  Last night it was store-bought pesto and pasta. I kicked it up a notch with freshly-grated Parmesan cheese.  It was yummy, relatively healthy (I used reduced-fat pesto and protein pasta), dirt cheap, and it was ready in under 20 minutes. I’d call that a win.

pesto pasta