Coconut Curry Roast

This is a little more involved than my typical recipe and requires about 20 minutes of prep time, but totally worth it. Don’t let the spices scare you off, this is a deliciously tender roast with a slightly sweet, velvety sauce. If you’re tired of plain-old pot roast, this is a great change.

What you need:

  • Fat of choice, preferably coconut oil
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 1 lb baby carrots
  • 2  cloves of garlic
  • 1 TBSP minced fresh or jarred ginger
  • salt and pepper (to season the roast), about 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper
  • 3 lb chuck roast
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp or 1 tsp red pepper flake – more if you like it spicy, less if you don’t!
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock
  • 1 14oz can of coconut milk
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cardamom pods (lightly smash)
  • 2 bay leaves

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 325 while you prep all your ingredients – chop the onion, salt and pepper the roast on both sides, get out all other ingredients. Prep the spices by measuring them out into a small bowl so you can add them all at once when the time comes:  coriander, cumin, red pepper, turmeric, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and cardamom pods.

In a large dutch oven add a couple TBSP of coconut oil and add the onions and carrots (leave the baby carrots whole or they will cook to mush). Cook until the onions are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger for the last minute or so because you don’t want them to burn. Remove it all to a bowl. Add a bit more coconut oil and brown the roast for about 5 minutes a side and then remove to a plate. Add the beef broth and scrape up all the bits of goodness from the bottom of the pot. Add the spices, coconut milk and bring to boil. Add roast and onions/carrots back in, cover and pop in oven or 2 1/2-3 hrs until the roast is tender. This is great served with some basmati rice, roasted/mashed potatoes or just a salad on the side if you’re doing the lower carb thing.

Note: this one doesn’t freeze or serve very well as a left over because the sauce tends to separate. The flavor is still amazing, the sauce just doesn’t look as good the second time around as it does when you first make it.

Pumpkin Chili

I know what your thinking and I thought this sounded pretty gross too, but give this one a chance. The pumpkin just adds a nice rich texture to the chili, but no pumpkin flavor. Plus its really easy to make. Despite the long ingredient list, most of these things are typical pantry items.


2 lbs ground beef
1 large onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, diced
1 can plain canned pumpkin (not the stuff already spiced for pie)
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 7oz can roasted green chilies, diced (optional)
1 cup chicken or beef broth
2 TBSP chili powder
2 TBSP cumin
1 TBSP paprika
2 tsp salt
2 tsp coriander
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne (optional)

Brown the onion and ground beef. Add everything else. Bring to boil and then simmer for at least 30 minutes or however long you’d like.

Easiest Beef Stew Ever

This will never be confused for gourmet, but it was pretty darn good and great for a week-night dinner.

What you need:

  • 2-3 lb chuck roast (the more marbling the better)
  • can of cream of mushroom soup
  • can of french onion soup
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • baby carrots (or if you aren’t lazy you can peel and cut regular carrots)
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • small red potatoes, halved

What to do:

Preheat oven to 350. Put the chuck roast in an oven safe pot with a lid, add in both cans of soup. Cover and put in oven for an hour. After an hour, remove lid and chuck in the carrots, potatoes and celery. Recover and cook for another hour. Remove from oven, take the roast out and cut it into chunks. Add the meat back into the pot and stir. Serve as is or over rice.

Roasted Cauliflower

What you need:

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, broken up into florets
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

What to do:

Preaheat oven to 400. Toss florets with olive oil and spice. Spread out on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, tossing half way through the baking time.

Chili Verde

My hubby says this is good enough to serve to Texans…I guess that means it’s close to the “real deal.” Definitely more labor intensive than what I usually cook, but it’s worth it. And it makes enough for two dinners so there’s that plus. This is an Everyday Paleo recipe…the original version is available on her site!

What you need:

  • 3 lb pork shoulder roast cut into 2 inch cubes – I like bigger cubes because if you cut them too small, they fall apart to easily this simmers.
  • 2 lbs tomatillos
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil (or your fat of  choice)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 2 TBSP lime juice (or the juice from a lime if you have a fresh one)
  • 1 jalapeno (leave out if your kids don’t like heat)
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (not regular paprika, the smoked kind)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

What to do:

Heat coconut oil in large dutch oven or soup pot and brown the pork in batches. I always hate this step, but suck it up and do it. Remove the pork to a large bowl.

After you  brown the pork (and it’s in a bowl resting), add the onion to the pan and cook until soft. Sometimes I add a smidge of the chicken stock to help start deglazing the pan. When the onions are almost done, add in the garlic for the last 1-2 minutes. Turn the heat down and add the cumin, paprika and black pepper and stir well…this will get a little pasty, that’s what you want. Add the chicken broth and deglaze the pan well. Then add in the pork, plus any drippings that accumulated in the bowl. Bring to boil and turn down to simmer.

While the meat simmers, peel and wash the tomatillos. Dry them well and char them in a large skillet over medium heat (cast iron is perfect for this if you have one). Alternatively, you can put them on a large baking sheet and char them under your oven broiler, just be sure you turn them often to char them all over. This is the labor intensive part b/c you do need to babysit them. If I plan to char them on the stove, I actually do this before I start browning the pork.

Place the charred tomatillos, jalapeno, cilantro (the entire bunch, stems & leaves) and lime juice in a food process.  Blend until smooth. Add to the simmering pork and continue to simmer uncovered for 2-3 hours until the pork is tender.

Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake

I don’t usually like chocolate cake, but this is chocolate cake with a twist…a delicious twist.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 Dutch cocoa
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

What to do:

Heat oven to 375. Grease & flour 13x9x2 cake pan

In a medium sized bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

In large saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, water and cocoa – stirring constantly until well blended and remove from heat. To chocolate mixture, add the flour mixture, eggs, buttermilk & vanilla and beat at medium speed with a  hand mixer until smooth (about 2 minutes)

Pour batter into cake pan and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes (yes, preheat to 375 and then turn it down to 350 when you put the cake in).

When the cake comes out, I use a flat spatula to *gently* push the puffed up part of the cake down so it’s relatively flat. Allow the cake to cool COMPLETELY before you pour the frosting on top.


  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar (16 oz box)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 TBSP cocoa
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 TBSP half and half (or cream)
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)

In a large saucepan, melt butter, milk & cocoa. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and whisk in powdered sugar & vanilla. Pour over cooled cake and top with chopped pecans.


Rice Pilaf

A basic pilaf recipe

What you need:

  • 1 cup uncooked white rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 TBSP celery (1 stalk)
  • 2 TBSP finely chopped onion
  • 1.5 TBSP butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • dash red pepper
  • pinch of ground white pepper (you can use black pepper, white pepper just looks nicer)

What to do:

Combine all ingredients an a baking dish. Cover and bake in preheated 350 oven for an hour or until all liquid is removed.

Mom’s Banana Bread

My mom’s recipe, so of course it’s amazing.

What you need:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 crushed, *very* ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cup flour – sifted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

What to do:

Sift together flour, baking soda and salt, set aside. In a bowl, use hand mixer to beat the butter for 30 seconds. Add the sugar and beat until creamy. Incorporate the eggs (don’t over mix). Now mix by hand to add in the flour and bananas, alternating in 1/3’s. Mix until smooth. Add buttermilk, mix well. Pour into a greased/floured loaf pan and bake at 325 for 60-70 minutes.

Yogurt-Spiced Chicken Thighs (instant pot version)

If your kids are like mine (anti-flavor), this is not a recipe to make for them…let them eat a PB&J or something. But this IS worth making. It’s even guest-worthy!

What you need:

  • 1/2  tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or 1 TBSP dried cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce (I prefer Franks Original Hot Sauce)
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or half and half
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 TBSP soy sauce
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

What to do:

Combine all ingredients except chicken in a gallon sized  Ziploc bag and mix well. Add chicken and marinate in the fridge 8-24 hours. Give to husband to grill or cook in a glass baking dish at 350 for an hour. Broil for the last few minutes to crisp up the skin.

You can also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Marinate as above, and dump the entire bag of chicken and marinade in a glass baking dish. Cook at 425 for about 35 minutes.

For Instant Pot: Sadly, there is no crispy chicken skin with the IP version, but it does make this a much quicker meal for a week night:

Marinate 8-9 boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Add the entire contents of the bag – chicken + marinade – and cook at high pressure for 10 minutes with 10 min NPR.  Remove chicken to a bowl and shred, adding a bit of the sauce from the pot if you’d like. Serve on top of basmati rice, “cauliflower rice” or just as-is.

Southern Green Beans

What you need:

  • 4 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 medium  onion, finely diced or 3/4 cup frozen diced onions
  • 1 lb fresh green beans
  • 1 10 oz can chicken broth (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

What to do:

In large pan, cook bacon over medium heat until it’s rendered most of it’s fat and begun to brown. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the green beans and the chicken stock (enough water to cover), bring to boil and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper, cover and cook uncovered until beans are tender (about 15 minutes) and most of the liquid has evaporated.