Essential Thanksgiving Tools From OXO

This post is brought to you by OXO! I was given product to use for my Thanksgiving feast from a brand I adore. Thank you, OXO!

The past three times we have cooked a turkey, we have used Alton Brown’s recipe. It calls for brining the bird and then roasting it. Every time, we have been blown away by how juicy and delicious it is! A necessary tool for cooking a turkey to perfection is a meat thermometer. This came in handy since he-who-shall-not-be-named left our other digital thermometer outside on the barbecue pit ;) OXO’s Instant Read Thermometer provides quick and accurate temperature readings for cooked meat. The rotating and pivoting head allows you to read the temperature from any angle. A turkey should be cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit, so this bird was not quite ready yet.

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BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad

This post was sponsored by S&W Beans and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.On the beautiful Central Coast of California, we have heat waves in the fall. While everyone else is celebrating Autumn with turning leaves and pumpkin spice everything, we are having beach weather! I never want to turn on my oven on these hot days, so I want to share one of my favorite salad recipes with you. This has been on our family’s dinner menu rotation for years and it never fails to please. I serve it with some bread and butter and it makes for the perfect dinner on a hot Indian Summer day!  I have two ways to make this salad easier at dinnertime. 1. Use a rotisserie chicken 2. Wash and prep all of the ingredients early in the day and pop them in the fridge. I try and get it done during June’s nap time and it makes dinnertime a breeze!  The black beans and chicken give you lots of protein and make this a very hearty, filling salad. S&W Beans have so many different varieties of beans to add to your salads! They have all organic, 50% less sodium, and chili style which have onion and spices included. I have tried buying off-brand beans and have been so disappointed by them. There’s nothing like opening up a can of beans, pouring them into the strainer to rinse, and having them fall apart under the water. It feels like such a rip off! With S&W, there is none of that business. Their beans look great AND taste great! They’ve been doing this for over 120 years, so I guess you could say that they’ve got it down to a science. Here is the recipe, below. Scroll to the bottom of the post if you’d like an S&W Beans coupon!

BBQ Chicken Salad
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  • 2 large chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • ½ bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • cheddar cheese, shredded
  • tortilla chips, crushed
  • Ranch dressing
  1. Stir cubed chicken in with the BBQ sauce until coated, set aside.
  2. Toss together the lettuce, cilantro, green onions, corn, beans, and chopped veggies.
  3. Top with chicken, cheese, and crushed tortilla chips. Drizzle ranch dressing over salad and enjoy!

Now through 12/31/2017 S&W Beans is offering $1 off 2 cans of S&W Beans. Get (and print) your coupon from the S&W Beans website here: S&W Beans Coupon

White Chicken Chili with S&W Beans

This post was sponsored by S&W Beans as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

I love a good bowl of chili! It’s hearty, filling, healthy, and my whole family will eat it. You can’t go wrong with a one-pot meal that will do that! My girls especially love crunching up tortilla chips and blowing/sprinkling them on their chili a la Nacho Libre :) S&W Beans sent me a big old box of beans to try out and I was excited to see some new (to me) varieties in there! The White Chili Beans on the left were perfect for this recipe, as pointed out on the label. I’m so creative ;) Have you ever opened a can of beans before and they aren’t the best quality? I recently bought an off-brand and was so disappointed while rinsing them. They started to fall apart in the strainer! S&W Beans aren’t like that. They’re better…they look great and taste great. It’s no wonder, since they’ve been holding the bean industry to the highest standards for over 120 years! Their beans are beautiful to look at and healthy to eat. One of baby June’s most favorite foods right now is beans! She loved these after they’d been softened, cooked, and cooled down of course. I love having another healthy option to feed her, and all of us for that matter!  This chili won’t be around for long. My husband was scraping the pot for the rest of it once he had a taste and realized how healthy it was! If you don’t like heat, I’d add less jalapeño pepper and cumin to start. To get a great deal on your own S&W beans, see the coupon link at the bottom of this post!

4.0 from 1 reviews
White Chicken Chili
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  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can S&W white beans
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can S&W white chili beans
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 medium jalapeño pepper, seeds and ribs removed, minced
  • 1 medium Anaheim pepper, seeds and ribs removed, minced
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed and meat shredded
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Sour cream, for topping
  • Tortilla chips, for topping
  1. Drain and rinse the canned white beans, set aside.
  2. Add the canola oil to a large French oven and heat over medium-high heat. Add the peppers, onions, and garlic and sauté until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper to taste. Add the cumin (less than 1 Tablespoon if you want to stay on the mild side) and chili powder and continue to sauté for 1 more minute. Pour in the chicken stock and lime juice and bring to a simmer. Add the beans and continue to simmer for 20 more minutes. Use an immersion blender, or transfer some of the chili to a blender, to blend to desired consistency.
  3. After 20 minutes of simmering, taste for seasoning, and adjust if necessary. Stir in the shredded rotisserie chicken and cilantro and simmer until heated through, about 5 more minutes. Serve the chili in individual bowls topped with a dollop of sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, and cilantro.


S&W Beans has a coupon for $1 off 2 cans of S&W Beans! Get and print the coupon, good through April, from their website here.

BistroMD – Perfectly Balanced Meals Delivered to Your Door

This is a sponsored post with Markerly. As always, all opinions are 100% mine.

Happy New Year! Welcome to the time of year where everyone is making resolutions, joining gyms, vowing to get fit, and trying to lose the extra holiday pounds. Are you one of those people? I know one of my biggest hurdles in staying healthy is my diet. It’s easy to stay on top of when I plan ahead, but when I fall behind (life happens) and there’s nothing in the fridge for dinner…fast, unhealthy food is so tempting!

Enter BistroMD. They are a healthy meal delivery service that provides gourmet, perfectly balanced meals to help you on your quest to stay healthy and/or lose weight. BistroMD is different from other services like it because they only use natural, wholesome ingredients that they would serve at their own tables. I loved the Roasted Norwegian Salmon! I was surprised by how good it tasted for being frozen.

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Check out the BistroMD menu here. Doesn’t everything look good? I love that you’re still eating real food, not starving yourself. They also have a Gluten-Free Program and a Women’s Program! Meals are shipped out weekly, so you still have room in your freezer for everything else. They even send you a menu with ideas and options for what to eat every day. And yes, you also get dessert! Extremely important in my book :)

I’ve never heard of Metabolism Dysfunction before. Evidently it’s something that half of us in the U.S. have! Dr. Cederquist, who designed BistroMD’s diet delivery program, saw in her work that the majority of her patients who tried to lose weight have a metabolic dysfunction that makes weight gain easy and weight loss difficult. Eating less and working out more just doesn’t work for them. They need a specific nutritional platform of balanced macronutrients to include lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fat ratios to restore their metabolism so that they can retain their muscle mass and target fat. Every program includes not only great tasting, chef-prepared meals – but every entrée is created within Dr. Cederquist’s scientifically based nutritional platform.


Easy Meals with CPK for the Holidays

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HolidayMadeSimple #CollectiveBias

I am always looking for easy meals to serve my friends and family. Especially around the holidays when things get hectic. This past week, I had 3 parties to go to! I made it to two and had to back out of one. With so many fun events taking place, I love having food in my freezer ready to go. Enter California Pizza Kitchen’s BBQ Chicken Pizza:

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Stocked up on them at the Walmart Market and keep them on hand for last-minute meals. I love that it’s done in 15 minutes! The crispy thin crust is the way to go. Image1  1

My kids always feel like pizza is a treat, so it makes it fun for them when I say it’s pizza night!

Miss Ada declared, “No BBQ Chicken! I want pepperoni!”Karainthekitchen com  1 of 1 2

Two seconds later this happened:

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You know it’s good if the 5-year-old can’t resist!

A video posted by Kara Miller (@kara_j_miller) on

Lola’s a fan too :)

Karainthekitchen com  1 of 1 7 As the holidays get closer, the days slip away from me faster. Suddenly it’s 5PM and I have no idea what I’m going to feed my family! Or unexpected guests! This is why it’s good to have items like these on hand. Anything to help make our lives easier – and these people happier :) Karainthekitchen com  1 of 1 8Check out the Nestlé Holiday Sweepstakes for your chance to win $1,600 in Nestle Gift Baskets! 8 winners will receive a $100 Nestle gift basket and 2 winners will receive a $400 grand prize Nestle gift basket. Good luck!

Chicken Chipotle Sauce Taquitos

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone #VivaLaMorena #CollectiveBias

For this recipe, I used La Morena Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce. They give the chicken filling a nice smoky flavor, and you can add as many or as little as you’d like depending on how much heat you can handle! I had to make mine mild for my girls and I; Matt would love to have the whole can in there :)

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I bought them at Vallarta Market downtown, that place is so much fun! My girls love shopping there and my husband loves the fresh Mexican food. He got a burrito + sides for $7. Their produce section is amazing and I’m so excited a new one is coming closer to us on Broadway, right across from the new El Toro! Mmm :) La Morena items can also be found at Food 4 Less.

La Morena

These taquitos are so easy to make! I like to do the chicken filling ahead of time and refrigerate it until I’m ready to roll the taquitos up and bake them. I put all of the ingredients in my Kitchen-Aid and let it do the work of shredding and mixing it all! La Morena Chipotle Sauce Taquitos (3 of 12)Get your station ready:La Morena Chipotle Sauce Taquitos (4 of 12) Place your chicken filling on top:La Morena Chipotle Sauce Taquitos (5 of 12)Roll it up as tight as you can,La Morena Chipotle Sauce Taquitos (6 of 12)Like so:La Morena Chipotle Sauce Taquitos (7 of 12)And place on a greased, foil-lined sheet.La Morena Chipotle Sauce Taquitos (8 of 12)Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. La Morena Chipotle Sauce Taquitos (9 of 12)Serve with salsa and guacamole (recipe below), or dips of your choice. I made this salsa that is always a favorite! La Morena Chipotle Sauce Taquitos (10 of 12)Enjoy! La Morena Chipotle Sauce Taquitos (12 of 12)

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chicken Chipotle Taquitos
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Cuisine: Mexican
  • 4 cooked chicken breasts
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 7 ounces green salsa
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon diced garlic
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • flour tortillas
  • queso fresco
  1. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, add chicken, chipotle peppers, green salsa, lime juice, onion powder, garlic, cilantro, green onions, and cheddar cheese. Mix on low speed until chicken is shredded, speeding up as necessary to combine all ingredients to make taquito filling.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and spray your pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Scoop about 3 Tablespoons of the chicken filling onto each tortilla and wrap tightly. Lay taquitos next to one another in your pan, not touching, seam facing down.
  4. Spray or rub tops with oil and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crunchy and golden brown.
  5. Sprinkle with green onions and crumbled queso fresco.
  6. Serve with salsa, guacamole, and/or sour cream.
  7. Enjoy!

La Morena Chipotle Sauce Taquitos (11 of 12)
5.0 from 1 reviews
Homemade Guacamole
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Cuisine: Mexican
  • 4 avocados
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup chopped white onion
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  1. Slice and pit avocados, place in a medium bowl & mash. Add tomatoes, onion, cilantro, lemon juice, salt & pepper, and mix to combine. Add more seasoning as necessary.


Lasagna Roll-ups with Classico Family Favorites Sauce

This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FamilyFavorites
I wanted to make a delicious family dinner that the girls could have fun making with me. We decided to do Lasagna Roll-ups & Breadsticks with Classico Family Favorites Sauces.

Click here to save $1 off Classico favorites when you buy two jars!

Heinz Classico Family Favorites Sauce

Ada found the alfredo sauce at Walmart for dipping our breadsticks in!

Heinz Classico Sauce

The breadsticks turned out just okay, so I’m not going to share the recipe with you. If I find a better one then I’ll share it. The Lasagna Roll-ups were AMAZING though, so I will share that recipe with you :) Ada is so serious while helping, it’s adorable. Heinz Classico Lasagna Roll ups  karainthekitchen com   1 of 1

They loved helping twist the dough: Heinz Classico Lasagna Roll ups  karainthekitchen com   1 of 1 2

And spreading the cheese mixture on the noodles with their little spatulas: Heinz Classico Lasagna Roll ups  karainthekitchen com   1 of 1 3

So proud of their work!

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Pretty roll-ups all lined up in the pan, ready to be covered with sauce and cheese. Heinz Classico Lasagna Roll ups  karainthekitchen com   1 of 1 6

After being in the oven for only 20 min. they come out cheesy, melted, and ready to be devoured! Heinz Classico Lasagna Roll ups  karainthekitchen com   1 of 1 7

This recipe made enough to fill two pans, so I cooked one up and froze the other. Try making these with your kids! They will have so much fun. I was really impressed with how well my girls did…even if we did have a little meltdown because cheese was coming out of the sides. I told Lola the more cheese the better :)

Lasagna Roll-ups
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Perfect for little hands to help make!
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6-8
  • 18 lasagna noodles
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion, Diced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 pound Ground Beef
  • 1 jar Classico Parmesan & Romano Cheese Family Favorites Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons Minced Fresh Basil
  • For the filling:
  • 30 ounces Ricotta Cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cups Grated Asiago (or Parmesan) Cheese
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Parsley, Minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Basil, Minced
  • 1 pound Mozzarella, Grated
  1. Cook lasagna noodles until al dente. Drain and lay flat on a large sheet of aluminum foil.
  2. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the ground beef and cook until browned throughout. Drain any excess grease, then add Classico Sauce, salt, pepper, and basil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. While the sauce is simmering, make the filling by combining ricotta, eggs, Asiago, salt, pepper, parsley, and basil. Stir to combine.
  4. To assemble, spoon a little sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 in. pan. Spread 2-3 tablespoons ricotta filling on each noodle, then roll them up. Lay in pan, top with remaining sauce, grated mozzarella, and grated Asiago.
  5. If baking immediately, bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until melted and bubbly.
  6. If baking from frozen bake, covered in foil, at 350 for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and continue baking for 15 minutes, or until lasagna is done.

Black Forest Bacon Quiche

For my sister’s Bridal Shower, I created this Black Forest Bacon Quiche recipe. It turned out so well that I had to make it again to share! It was really nerve-racking not being able to taste it before it was served at the shower (can’t really cut a slice out and then bring the rest to the party), but it was a winner. Whew! Black Forest Bacon Quiche -

Everything for the recipe can be found at Trader Joe’s! The Black Forest Bacon is so flavorful; you have to be careful not to eat it all before it goes into the quiche :) Black Forest Bacon Quiche -

Cook up the bacon until it’s nice and crispy. Quiche is squishy enough, you want to add some depth to it. Black Forest Bacon Quiche -

Caramelize the onions in the bacon grease, because why not?! Black Forest Bacon Quiche -

Bake all of the goodness up in a springform pan Black Forest Bacon Quiche -

And remove it once cooled to show off the beautiful crust. Black Forest Bacon Quiche -

Slice and enjoy!

Black Forest Bacon Quiche -

Black Forest Bacon Quiche
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Perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and any special occasion.
Recipe type: Quiche
Cuisine: French
Serves: 8
  • 12 ounces Uncured Black Forest Bacon
  • ½ large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  • 8 eggs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pie crust
  1. Remove pie crust from freezer to thaw according to package directions.
  2. Coat a 9 inch springform pan with non-stick spray and lay pie crust inside. Prick multiple times with a fork to ensure it doesn't bubble up and bake at 450 degrees for 9-11 minutes, or until golden brown.
  3. Chop bacon into 1 inch pieces and cook over medium heat in a cast iron skillet until crispy.
  4. Remove bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain. Pat off any excess grease.
  5. Leave bacon grease in the skillet and add the onions, turning heat down if necessary, and cooking until soft and caramelized.
  6. Remove onions to a plate and set aside.
  7. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, milk, and salt.
  8. Stir in the cheese, bacon, and onions until combined.
  9. Pour into baked pie shell and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until set at the edges and slightly wobbly in the middle.
  10. Cool on a wire rack until completely set and gently remove the springform pan.
  11. Slice, serve, and enjoy!


New Ragú TraDish Mini Personal Lasagnas

As part of ModernMom Insiders, I was sent a promotional item to facilitate this post. All opinions are 100% mine and this recipe is my original twist on a classic.

Have you ever made homemade lasagna before? The first time I did, I was surprised at how hard it was to keep the lasagna noodles from tearing once they were cooked. It was a long process that was totally worth it in the end, but I don’t have that kind of time on a daily basis.

Today, I’m sharing my twist on a classic lasagna recipe. It’s ready in 30 minutes and your kids will love helping you assemble the personal lasagnas!

I used Ragú®’s Old World Style® Traditional Sauce, cheese raviolis, and mozzarella cheese. So easy!

Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce is made with 11 juicy tomatoes, making it its richest, thickest recipe versus their previous OWS formula.

Ada & Lola were so excited to help me on our assembly line! I did the sauce, they were the ravioli and cheese distributors.

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Sauce, raviolis, repeat.

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Little (clean) helping hands!

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Ready for cheese:

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Finally the messiest & most fun part – topping with cheese!

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Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, brown under the broiler, serve with garlic bread and a green salad and you’ve got a perfect Italian meal!

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We invited the Parkers over for dinner, we go way back! Tiana and I have been best friends since we were three years old. We both married boys who speak French and each have two kids.

I busted out the tablecloth and cloth napkins for our feast! So much fun with this bunch, we could talk and laugh for hours.

I tend to take pictures right after everyone takes a huge bite…look at Lola!

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Mini Personal Lasagnas
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Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 9
  • 1 (16 oz.) jar Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce
  • 1 (20 oz.) package refrigerated cheese raviolis
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place oven-safe ramekins on counter.
  3. Boil refrigerated raviolis according to package directions (approx. 10 min.) and drain.
  4. Spoon about a Tablespoon of sauce into the bottom of each ramekin.
  5. Layer raviolis on top, we used three for each layer.
  6. Follow with another layer of sauce, and another layer of raviolis, repeating until you have reached the top of the ramekin and ended with the sauce layer.
  7. Top each lasagna generously with mozzarella cheese.
  8. Arrange mini-lasagnas on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes, until cheese is melted. Broil for 5-10 minutes until cheese is browned.

For more authentic Italian recipe ideas, visit:

Also, Ragú has a Better and Better Sweepstakes running right now that you should go enter! You can win Authentic Italian themed prizes, including a grand prize trip to Italy for a family of four at Yes, please!

One Skillet Taco Bake

I made this up the week we moved into our house. I had some dry pasta, canned tomatoes and beans, taco seasoning, and ground beef. Voila! Ze One Skillet Taco Bake was born. Seriously easy, incredibly fast, and my whole family eats it. Mark this one down as a winner!IMG_2138

One Skillet Taco Bake
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Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 5
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • ½ packet taco seasoning
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 cups rotelle pasta
  • Garnishes:
  • Tortilla chips
  • Salsa
  • Grated cheese
  • Ranch dressing
  • Sour cream
  1. Over medium heat in a cast iron skillet, brown ground beef.
  2. Drain the fat.
  3. Add taco seasoning and tomatoes with liquid and stir, incorporating all of the seasoning.
  4. Stir in the black beans, pasta, and1/4 cup water.
  5. Cover skillet, and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Check the pasta and give it a stir, covering again, and simmering for 10 minutes more, or until pasta is cooked.
  7. Serve with garnishes of choice and enjoy!