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Pork Posole

August 29, 2019

We are back in the swing of the school year, and I’ve been scouring my cookbooks and the internet to find new dinner ideas. My criteria has been dishes that are easy, delicious and feed a crowd. And I guess I’ve also been looking for things that are a little different, something we’ve never tasted before.

This Pork Posole checks all the boxes. When you find a dish that has SO much flavor, and is so simple and easy, and is a little bit different than anything you’ve had before, you have to share it. The amazing flavor comes from three things: the salsa verde…

the hominy…it was a little hard to find for me so I bought six cans from Amazon and I am very excited to have the makings for more posole in my pantry. Amazon Prime for lyfe. (Seriously, what did moms of little kids do before it existed?)

…and the addition of 3 cups of tortilla chips at the end. It sounds so weird but then you realize that the corn chips dissolve and when they do, they thicken this dish and add salt and fat that makes you crave more. It’s loaded with veggies that help to balance this decadence though, right?

I was a little worried that the fresh poblano pepper would make it too spicy, but my normally picky nine year old loved this dish along with my big kids.

My six year old did not love it though and ate what we always serve the kids who think something is too spicy: a cheese roll up. This is the name we give a tortilla sprinkled with shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese, rolled up and microwaved for 30 seconds with some avocado. (Just looking out for you mommas out there.)This dish has got to be one of the best bowls of stew/soup I’ve ever had. I’ve seen a lot of posole recipes around using chicken instead, and you could easily swap the pork for the chicken here. But the pork was so flavorful and satisfying I highly recommend trying it. There are a lot of crock pot versions too, but I think sautéing the veggies adds so much flavor and once you’ve done that you might as well just let it simmer on the stove for 30 minutes.The salsa verde and the lime make this taste so fresh, but at its heart this is comfort food and perfect for fall. I hope you get to try it and fall in love with it like we did. 

Happy Eating,

xoxo Katie


Olive oil

1 1/2 pounds lean, boneless pork loin, 1/2-inch diced

2 cups chopped yellow onion (2 onions)

1/3 cup small-diced poblano pepper

2 Holland yellow or orange bell peppers, seeded and 3/4-inch diced

1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

6 cups good chicken stock, preferably homemade, simmering

1 (12-ounce) jar medium salsa verde

2 (15-ounce) cans white hominy, rinsed and drained

1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

3 cups yellow corn tortilla chips, plus extra for serving

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Lime wedges, sliced or diced avocado, sliced scallions, sliced radishes, grated Cheddar, and sour cream, for serving


  1. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a medium (11-inch) pot or Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset, over medium-high heat. Add the pork and saute for 5 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned on all sides. Transfer the pork and any liquid to a bowl and set aside. (Don’t worry about crowding the pan here). Heat 2 tablespoons oil in the pot, add the onions, and saute over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the poblano and bell peppers and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, chili powder, and oregano and cook for one minute. Return the pork and its juices to the pot.
  2. Add the chicken stock and salsa verde and bring to a simmer. Stir in the hominy, black beans, corn chips, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1 teaspoon salt, depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock and the chips.
  3. To serve, ladle the posole into large soup bowls. Garnish with a squeeze of lime and top with avocado, scallions, radishes, tortilla chips, Cheddar, and sour cream. Serve hot.

Recipe from Ina Garten can be found here on

Chicken, Bacon, Spinach and Tomato Pasta Bake

May 17, 2019

You guys, it’s been a while since we had a casserole here on THO. But I have a friend who just had a baby girl (hi Meaghan!). When I thought about what meal I could bring her I was bored with every casserole I had made before.

Enter this Chicken BLT one.

I’ve been on a BLT kick ever since I ordered one at Panera a few weeks ago. So simple! So delicious! My daughter even asked me if I had bought a large package of bacon or something because I had been cooking with it a lot. Does bacon come in bulk? If so, sign me up.

We all loved this dinner, it’s comfort food and it freezes and travels well, so it makes a great dish to share. Like most casseroles there are a few steps, but you could bake it in the same pot as the pasta is cooked in and you stir it all together if you wanted to.

The thing that makes this SO delicious is I cooked the tomatoes and the spinach in the bacon grease so it would take on the bacon flavor. I got the idea from a pasta dish at the Mother’s Day brunch we went to, where I bit into a cherry tomato and was like, that tastes like bacon! Wait, it’s been cooked in bacon grease!  This had to be duplicated. And voila! It works perfectly here. I love when greens are cooked in flavor too.

I didn’t use bacon grease for the roux as I thought it would make the dish too heavy. Instead in the same pan as I cooked the diced chicken (to save time though you could use rotisserie or bake the chicken in the oven and then dice it) I made a roux with butter, onions and chicken stock and just a little cream and parm to make it delicious.

Then I poured it over the pasta to combine it. It’s important to let the sauce coat the pasta first and then add the tomatoes, spinach and bacon so you don’t burst the tomatoes or crumble the bacon too much.

Then you toss it all together and add this delicious parm and panko topping that really mimics the toast in a BLT.

Drizzle the top with a little olive oil so it turns brown in the oven (channeling my inner Giada here since she does this topping for every casserole she makes).

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until the panko turns golden, and then when you remove it, add another little crumble of bacon because why not?

True story, when I was taking these photos, I was getting my kindergartener ready to go to LaCrosse practice, and I took a few bites from this plate. It was so ridiculously good that the whole time we were at practice I was counting the minutes until we could go home and have this for dinner. (I finished reading My Brilliant Best Friend to keep my mind off of it thankfully).

Here’s to new babies, comfort food, and good books!  Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Chicken, Bacon, Spinach and Tomato Pasta Bake


1 pound penne pasta

1 pound of bacon

2 c. cherry tomatoes

4 c. packed fresh spinach

1 Tbsp. olive oil

3 chicken breasts, diced (or meat from 1 rotisserie chicken)

1 tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

1 onion, diced

4 Tbsp. of butter (½ a stick)

¼ cup flour

2 cups chicken stock

¼ cup cream

½ + ⅓ cup freshly grated parmesean

⅓ cup panko


Cook pasta in salted water according to package, drain, and return to pot, drizzling with a little oil so it doesn’t stick. While it cooks, fry bacon (may need two pans or to work in batches if pan is too small). Once it’s cooked, remove and place on paper towel lined plate. Pour off all but 2 T. of the bacon fat. Add tomatoes and spinach to remaining bacon fat and cook on medium heat, tossing in pan instead of stirring so you don’t break tomatoes. Cook for 3-4 minutes until spinach is wilted and tomatoes are slightly blistered, taking care not to overcook. In another large pan, heat olive oil on medium high heat, then add diced chicken, salt and pepper. (If using precooked or rotisserie chicken you can skip this step). Cook until chicken is nicely brown, then remove from pan on a plate and set aside. In the same pan, melt 4 Tbsp. butter, and then add diced onions. Cook until onions are soft, about 4-5 minutes. Then whisk in flour for 1 minute. Then add chicken stock and whisk well. Then whisk in cream and ½ cup parmesan and mix until its melted into sauce. Taste for seasoning, adding salt if needed. Pour this mixture over the pasta and stir to combine. Then add the cooked tomatoes, spinach and chicken. Seperate 3 strips of bacon, and cut up the rest and add to the pot. Gently combine all these ingredients so as not to break the tomatoes and then pour them into a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Combine panko and remaining ⅓ cup parmesan and sprinkle over the top, then drizzle with a little olive oil. Cook at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until panko is slightly browned. Remove and sprinkle with remaining 3 strips of bacon, cut up.

Weekly Meal Planning 8/27

August 27, 2018

I used to be a lot more lax in my meal planning, preferring to have three or four recipes on hand and letting our inspirations take us where they may each day. And then sports with four kids happened! And needing to coordinate with a sitter/au pair person!

And you know what? Now I love that I spend zero energy each day wondering what we will have for dinner. It’s automatic, turn-key and so much simpler. I also like to have a few options for how to make something really simple and quick, but sometimes I like to know how to maximize the flavor. Example: the enchiladas for Sunday’s dinner. I have made my own enchilada sauce before and it is not hard, and it’s so yummy! But if I only have 10 minutes, I’m going to go with the super easy Betty Crocker version and use rotisserie chicken and canned sauce. Or my Easy Shepherd’s Pie, which uses all natural store made mashed potatoes but I link to the original recipe by Alton Brown with his delicious mashed potatoes. I am giving you both so you can pick which one works.

I hope these links help you build your meal plan!


Easy Shepherd’s Pie 


Mini Meatloaves

We start school today! Mini meatloaves our our traditional first day of school meal. Here is one year where I made it with Turkey Bacon but we usually go back to this recipe from Martha Stewart.


Wednesdays will be our crock pot dinner night for sure, with overlapping sports practices. If you have favorites in your family please share them in the comments!

Chicken Taco Bowls


Cheesy Baked Gnocchi




We love to do a date night at home, so the kids will have something simple, and I’ll make this Filet au Poivre recipe in a cast iron skillet with a red wine reduction.  

We usually like to eat this with roasted veggies, but sometimes I like to make a yummy artichoke risotto on the side.


Chicken Enchiladas:

Easy & Quick

Healthy & Flavorful


Farfalle with Salmon, Asparagus, and Heirloom CherryTomatoes

August 4, 2012

Farfalle with Salmon, Asparagus, and Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes


This dish is great for a quick summer dinner but nice enough to bring to a party.  

I put it together on one of those nights you only had 10 minutes at the store to get something for dinner. Luckily, they had beautiful grilled salmon in the prepared food section.  It turned out SO good, I had to share it with you!

If you can’t find it prepared you can use pre-cooked chicken, or cook which ever you prefer at home first then cut up into 1 inch pieces. 

2 T. olive oil
1/4 c. shallots, chopped
2 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 bunch fresh asparagus
1 pint cherry tomatoes (heirloom if possible, so pretty and good!)
1 lb. farfalle pasta
1/4 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese (more to taste)
2 salmon fillets,  or 2 chicken breasts, grilled or baked

Boil salted water, then add farfalle.  Cook according to package.
While it cooks, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then saute the shallots for 2 min until soft, then add garlic for 1 minute more. Add cherry tomatoes, and cook for an additional 3 minutes. 
I then added blanched asparagus, cut into thirds.  (Blanched means I boiled it for 2 minutes then put it into an ice bath, then into the saute, which is an all around great technique for any vegetable.)

Meanwhile drain farfalle, reserving 2 c. cooking water. The starch in the water will help mix with the parmesan and give it a delicious sauce.  Add the farfalle to the veggies, stir to combine, then add salmon/chicken and parmesan and stir.  Toss with 1 c. cooking water until pasta is well-coated.  Add more water if more sauce/moisture is desired.  

The flavor cold the next day is delicious.  

Roast Chicken and Potatoes with Thyme

July 25, 2012

Hello there!

Making Roast Chicken is like a meditation.  It is simple and pure, requires some attention, and has lasting positive residual effects later that week.  It has a special place in my heart since it was one of the first married meals I ever made, and is still one of my family’s favorites.

I talked about it on earlier blogs , but I recently made one and grabbed some pictures along the way.  It is so easy and so delicious, I hope it inspires you to make one at home soon.

This recipe was helped by the herb garden growing nicely in the back yard.

You start with a 4-5 Roaster Chicken.  You remove the giblets, rinse it, pat it dry, and salt and pepper the interior cavity and outside with about 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper.  When I was first married, I followed Julia Child’s recipe, so much of what I do is from her directions.  I can always hear her voice when next I rub about 2 T. Butter, softened on the skin, since she said/wrote the chicken likes it when you massage the butter into it.

Next, I stuff the cavity with these goodies:


A whole lemon cut in half, a head of garlic cut in half, 20 sprigs of fresh thyme (Julia uses Herb de Provence so if you want to use that, use about 2 Tablespoons), and another Tablespoon of butter for good measure.

I cut up 4 carrots, 3 celery and 1 onion, and made a bed out of the veggies so the chicken doesn’t stick to the pan, and it will help flavor the gravy. (This trio of oinion, carrot and celery is called mirepoix and is a famous aromatic flavor base of French Food).  Also, I use a plain old cook sheet, NOT a roaster pan.  These birds are so small, the sides of the roaster pan slow the cooking way down and doesn’t allow the yummy browning to occur.  The cookie sheet gives all the surfaces of the bird a chance to turn glorious.

Place the bird in the oven, breast side up, and cook for 15 min.  Rotate every 15 min on the back, side, side, breast.

If the veggies start to brown, use a spatula and scoop them off. If the chicken starts to brown too quickly, reduce heat to 375 or you can tent the part with foil.

After one hour, slice the leg of the chicken and see if the juices run red or clear/yellow.  If it is red, cook for 15 more minutes. If yellow/clear, the meat is done. You can also use a meat themometer in the thigh and see if it is 165 degrees (the recommended safe temperature for poultry).

While the chicken was cooking, I also sliced up some potatoes in true French peasant style. 

I tossed the with olive oil, salt, pepper, and 1 T. of chopped thyme. Then I cooked them for 25 min at 425, flipping halfway through cooking. They were unbelievably delicious.

This was a meal fit for company, but in fact it was just me and the kids since my husband was traveling.


My daughter gets very excited when this is for dinner since it is her favorite:

I will use the leftovers for salads for lunch, then make stock out of the carcass.  I will show you how next time.  Happy Eating!

Spicy Chicken with Avocado Salsa

July 9, 2012


This is one of our favorite quick, healthy meals.  The combination of heat from the cayenne rub with the cool creamy citrus from the lime soaked avocados makes it a meditation in flavors and textures. 

It is super easy, and I think I got it years ago from a Martha Stewart mag, and it is worth trying at home.  I even made this for my husband’s boss one time. We always have the ingredients on hand.

If you are making it for kids, or if you don’t like heat, just cook the chicken breasts without the cayenne, or even use the packet of seasoning for Ranch Dressing as the rub.

Spicy Chicken with Avocado Salsa

2-3 chicken breasts 
Rub: 1 t. salt, 1/2 t. pepper, 1/4 t. cayenne pepper (I like it with a bit more but this is safe)
Salsa:  3 avocados, cubed, juice of 2 limes, 3 T. diced red onion or shallot, pinch of salt

Heat oven to 425.
Dry chicken with paper towel, then divide rub evenly on 2 large or 3 small pieces. 
Heat 2 T. olive oil in oven proof pan on high heat. When hot, sear chicken on each side for 3 min. 
Then place in oven for 8 min or cooked through.(Mind the hot pan handle!)

Meanwhile, toss avocado cubes, lime, onions and salt together.
Plate chicken with a mound of avocado salsa on top. 


I love the system of searing chicken breasts with a flavoring/rub/herbs, then putting it into the oven because it always gets cooked in the middle that way.  Otherwise I always feel like I am burning the outside flavors in order to cook it through.


Did you know that, according to James Beard in Beard on Food,  avocados used to be called alligator pears?  And they used to be so expensive they were a rare delicacy.  I will remember that the next time I grumble about paying $1 for each one.

And in case you haven’t heard this trick before, when you are trying to take an avocado seed out, try (carefully) hitting it with the blade of a large knife, so that the knife is lodged in the woody center, then twisting.  It comes right out very easily.  This is especially helpful when you are doing big batches of guacamole.  

Happy Healthy Eating!