Arroz con Faux-Pollo


Arroz con Pollo (Chicken with rice) can be prepared many ways, from a Spanish take, to a Mexican one. Kind of like Pad Thai really, where you have to ask “what is authentic?”. What I was going for in my version, was for it to taste similar to what a local Mexican restaurant serves. Theirs comes piled high on a platter, on top of a corn tortilla (soaks up the juices), with sour cream, guacamole, lettuce, cheese and pico de gallo on the side, and a smattering of flour tortillas for wrapping it up into. It is messy, 4 napkin messy. Oil running down your hands. Really bad for you. Salty, fatty, and yeah, so good.

So I went into this recipe thinking about how I’d make mine similar, but better for us. Just with lots of flavor still!


Arroz con Faux-Pollo


  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 14 ounce bag bell pepper strips, or 3 bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 4-ounce can fire roasted chiles, mild or spicy
  • 1 14.5-ounce can petite diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups lower sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • ½ cup grated Jack or Mexi-cheese
  • 1 package Gardein faux-chicken or similar


Set faux-chicken on counter to rest.

Mix cumin, coriander and turmeric in a small bowl, remove 2 tsp to a second small bowl. In the first bowl, mix in the chili powder and onion powder.

Heat a large deep skillet over medium-high. Melt butter, add in onion and bell peppers, cook till tender. Add in garlic, cook for a minute. Add in the first bowl of spices (the one with chili powder and onion powder). chiles, tomatoes, broth and rice. Bring to a boil over high, reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, take the remaining spice mix, open chicken bag and shake in. Seal bag and shake gently to coat chicken. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high, add in a Tablespoon olive oil and chicken. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side. Remove chicken, chop up.

The dish will appear to still have a lot of liquid, stir well and turn off heat. Stir in chicken and sprinkle cheese on top. Cover for a few minutes, then stir in.

Serves 4 to 6.

Roasted Red Pepper & Onion Mac and Cheese


I can deem a dinner a success when all three kids scarf down dinner – without any prodding. This was one of those rare dinners! Made for a very peaceful dinner and made me happy as well…..

Now on to looking out the window with my boys, at the storm that is howling outside. Maybe with a cat on the lap even! Spring will come….eventually.


Roasted Red Pepper & Onion Mac and Cheese


  • 16 ounces small pasta
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp brown mustard
  • 4 cups milk, divided
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 roasted red bell pepper, finely chopped (see notes)


Preheat oven to 350°, oil or spray a 9×13″ glass baking dish.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, cook pasta as directed, minus a minute off cooking time, drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, add flour and seasonings to a bowl, whisk in 2 cups of milk till smooth. Heat a tall saucepan over medium high, melt 2 Tbsp butter, then stir in flour mixture. Pour in remaining 2 cups milk, stir smooth. Let come to a slow boil, stirring often, till sauce is thick. Take off heat, add in cheese and stir till mixed.

While pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium. Add in remaining 2 Tbsp butter, and onion. Saute until tender. Add in bell pepper, take off heat. Stir in cheese sauce, then toss in pasta.

Spread in prepared dish, bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Serves 4 to 6.


I used 1 roasted bell pepper out of a jar, removing any seeds and patting dry.

Roasted Red Pepper & Sunflower Pesto


Last week when I saw Frugal Feeding’s Red Pepper and Sunflower Seed Pesto, I had to make it!


A pesto that is vibrant? Vegan and plant-based diet friendly? That has amazing flavor? And oh, is allergy friendly? The flavor though..oh, you have to try it!

My adaptation saved a few steps and got it on the table even faster. Which was good because we were out in the garden till almost dark! The boys were “helping” me get a bed ready to turn over. By helping, that means they got good and dirty while I worked ;-)


My garlic and onion chives have come through the winter and are shooting up:


So far, all but one of my rhubarb plants has shot through, and is bursting up in green and red:


And a Monday selfie in the garden!


But back to that pasta……


Roasted Red Pepper & Sunflower Pesto


  • 1 15.5 ounce jar roasted red peppers (see notes)
  • ¾ cup toasted sunflower seeds + more for topping (see notes)
  • 6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Ground black pepper
  • Fine sea salt
  • 16 ounces spaghetti, wheat or gluten-free


Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add spaghetti, cook as directed on package. Reserve ½ cup pasta cooking water. Drain pasta.

Meanwhile, drain red pepper, discarding any seeds and peeling any remaining charred skin off. Add peppers to a food processor bowl, pulse a few times. Add in sunflower seeds, olive oil, ¼ tsp ground black pepper and a large pinch of salt. Process until mostly smooth, scraping sides as needed. Taste for salt, adding more if needed. Transfer sauce to a large mixing bowl, add in hot spaghetti and toss to coat. Drizzle in a little bit of the reserved pasta water, tossing gently, adding more of the water, until a sauce coats the pasta.

Serve with extra sunflower seeds sprinkled on top, and if desired, grated Parmesan cheese.

Serves 4 to 6.


I can often source Giuliano Roasted Red Peppers at my local Grocery Outlet in the $3 a jar range, which is a great bargain. When I see them, I buy multiple jars to have on hand! A jar is about 3 red peppers. Trader Joe’s also carries jars as well, and sometimes has multi color ones. Even then, a jar for $5 is still a good price, considering that if you live in the PNW like me, 3 fresh red peppers is at least $5, unless it is summer. And you still have to char them ;-)

I cheated and used roasted sunflower seeds, toasting them is easy though. Heat a frypan or skillet over medium, add sunflower seeds to the pan, shake gently until golden and smelling good. Set aside to cool. Use a plain pan, not a nonstick.

When buying sunflower seeds, read the package. Look for ones not roasted in oil, or having salt/other ingredients added, and as well that they were not manufactured on the same line as peanuts (if it applies). I have had good luck with Trader Joe’s for both raw and roasted.

Dinner At The Bork Bork Fork! Not So Swedish Meatballs


With one last bag of Nate’s Meatless Balls in the freezer, I was looking for inspiration. Well, it wasn’t having meatballs at IKEA this past weekend I can tell you ;-) So I channeled this instead:

Food Fight – Muppisode on Disney Video

There isn’t much more comforting than meatballs and pasta, enrobed in a thick gravy! (At least to me…)


Not-So-Swedish Meatballs


  • 1 package “meat”balls
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 24 ounces crimini or white button mushrooms
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups mushroom broth
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp dried or fresh parsley
  • Ground black pepper
  • 12 to 16 ounces dry pasta


Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, cook pasta as directed on package, drain.

Meanwhile, prepare meatballs according to package directions, preferably where bakes (so they will be crispy on the outside).

Heat a large skillet over medium-high, add in oil, mushrooms and a pinch of sea salt. Saute until turning golden. Add in onion, saute until onion is tender. Set vegetables aside in a bowl.

Return skillet to heat, reduce to medium. Add in oil and flour, whisk until flour is golden. Slowly whisk in broth, until smooth. Let come to a boil, whisking often. Once thickened, add in milk, parsley and black pepper to taste. Add vegetables in, heat through. Add in hot pasta, toss to coat.

Take off heat, plate with meatballs.

Serves 4 to 6.

Ten Quinoa Pilafs


Quinoa Pilafs are as quick as white rice, but pack in so much more nutrition (and flavor!). Any rice pilaf you like can be adapted to feature quinoa.


Vegan Spanish Quinoa


Asian Quinoa Saute


Quinoa Chickpea Dressing


Italian Tuna Quinoa


Lemon Quinoa Salad


Beet Quinoa with Green Pea Pesto


Quinoa and Lentils with Cauliflower


Lemon Dressed Quinoa Pilaf


Oven Roasted Sprouts on a Bed of Black Quinoa


Creamy Quinoa Primavera


PS: Have you seen my news?


I now have three trail cooking books in print as of this week :) It has been so much fun (and yes, hard work) bringing my last two manuscripts to life!

Coming soon, in the next week, Oats Gone Wild will be joining in print version!

Lemon-Garlic Spaghetti



Simple can be so satisfying. Capers and lemon juice give it a bite, the cultured cream cheese smooths it out. Yet, unlike a plate of Alfredo pasta, it is still light enough in taste that you don’t feel like a stuffed pig after. Just enough richness, but without the heavy cream.

Lemon-Garlic Spaghetti


  • 2 large lemons, finely zested and juiced (¼ cup needed)
  • 16 ounces spaghetti (gluten-free or regular)
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter (or olive oil)
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 Tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
  • 2 large roma tomatoes, chopped
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp parsley, fresh or dried


Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, cook spaghetti as directed and drain.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high, melt butter, saute onions  until tender. Add in garlic and half of the lemon zest, saute for a minute or two.

Reduce heat to medium, stir milk, pepper and cream cheese, stirring until cream cheese melts. Stir in capers and lemon juice, take off heat.

Add hot spaghetti, tomatoes, a handful of Parmesan cheese, remaining lemon zest and parsley, toss until coated. Add more cheese as desired.

Serves 4 to 6.

Five Mac n’ Cheese Recipes For The Kids


Five Mac n’ Cheese Recipes For The Kids: something for nearly any kid!


Three Cheese Mac n’ Cheese & Mac n’ Cheese Cups


Baked Spinach Mac n’ Cheese Muffins


Baked Sausage Mac n’ Cheese


Stove-Top Bacon Mac n’ Cheese


Pico Black Bean Mac n’ Cheese


4 Golden Mac n’ Cheese Recipes


Mac n’ Cheese can be sneakingly healthier by slipping in pumpkin puree, sweet potato puree or butternut squash puree. They blend in, leaving the pasta a bold and cheery color. I find I can use a lot less cheese than usual, without it feeling skimpy on the taste buds as well.


Pumpkin and Sage Mac and Cheese


Sweet Potato Mac n’ Cheese


Pumpkin Mac n’ Cheese


Butternut & Sage Mac (Vegan)


7 Quinoa Casseroles


Does “casserole” remind you of your childhood? Of tuna noodle and other scary meals, that were made with canned soup and mystery ingredients? Quinoa Casseroles might change that! Fresh, different and with better nutrition than white rice! And an entire week of recipes to get you inspired…..


Broccoli Quinoa Casserole


Quinoa Spinach Quiche


Quinoa Spinach Mac n’ Cheese


Quinoa Pizza (Inspired) “Muffins”


Broccoli Quinoa Casserole


Pizza Quinoa Casserole


Quinoa Mac n’ Cheese


Game-Day Weekend Noshing: Crunchy Veggie Chili Taco Boats


Who doesn’t love tacos? Crunchy, messy tacos? Vegetarian friendly and quick to make:


I’ll admit that football doesn’t do much for me, but oh wow, it is crazy here this weekend. Seahawks are in the Super Bowl tomorrow? Crazy. It is blue and green everywhere! When the home team is winning, everyone goes crazy. The local Starbucks tried to give me blue whip cream yesterday! Sheesh! Since Kirk got invited to watch the game, maybe I will take the boys down to the lake and they can play, like they did on Friday – duck feathers!


The ducks I am sure will be “thrilled” to see the boys ;-)


The boys were excited to see a package of taco goodies from Ortega show up, especially when Mommy said “Taco Night!”:


Loved how the shells sit low and flat, and you can stuff them to the brim!


Crunchy Veggie Chili Taco Boats



I served our tacos with rice in the bottom: 1 cup rice + 2 cups lower sodium broth. Bring broth to boil in a small saucepan, add rice, simmer on low, covered, for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium, add in oil and onion, saute until tender. Add in faux hamburger, heat through, breaking apart.

Shake chili mix on top, stir in the tomatoes and beans. Reduce heat to medium-low, simmer covered for 10 minutes, stirring periodically.

To serve, warm shells as noted on package. Fill with warm rice, top with chili, then sprinkle on toppings as desired.

Serves 6 or so.

FTC Disclaimer: We received food used in this post.

%d bloggers like this: