Pineapple Bacon Fried Quinoa

I got a new wok for Christmas! Thanks Nana & Bobba :) To break it in, I made up a new recipe. It is SO GOOD! Instead of fried rice, it’s fried quinoa!


I also got a new lens for Christmas, a nifty fifty! I feel like a bonafide food blogger & and am loving the look it gives my pictures. Thanks Pops!


If you’ve had quinoa before, you know that it can be pretty bland. I cook my quinoa in chicken stock instead of water which helps give it more flavor. The bacon also helps give more flavor to this dish, too. I hope you like it, my family gobbled it up and finished the leftovers for lunch the next day!

Pineapple Bacon Fried Quinoa
  • 1½ cups quinoa
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 5 bacon slices
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups frozen pineapple chunks (or canned or fresh)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Rinse quinoa and place in a medium pan along with the chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, cut the bacon into quarters and fry in wok until crisp. Remove from wok and pat off grease. Set aside.
  3. Drain the grease from the wok, but don't clean it. Scramble the eggs in the remaining bacon grease and season with salt and pepper. Add eggs to plate with bacon, setting aside for later.
  4. Add peas and pineapple to the hot wok, stirring until thawed.
  5. Fluff the quinoa with a fork, then add to wok. Add the bacon & eggs as well, tossing to combine with the peas and pineapple. Pour some of the soy sauce over the mixture a little bit at a time mixing as you go until your desired taste is reached.
  6. Enjoy!

Stuffed Blue Cheese Potatoes

I received four glorious cookbooks for Christmas and have been having the best time poring over them and making food from them. This twice-baked tater recipe comes from Our Best Bites, a blog I love (see here and here) I was so excited to receive their cookbook from my sister-in-law! Thanks Liss!

I’ve made these twice now, and have adjusted them to my tastes. More cheese, basically!

Look at that piece of bacon falling off the edge…makes you want to grab it and eat it! Which I did, promptly after taking this picture.

The potatoes freeze beautifully and taste so good after just a minute in the microwave. A perfect side dish for weeknight meals, or a meal in and of itself! I won’t tell you how many days in a row I had one for lunch.

Stuffed Blue Cheese Potatoes Recipe – adapted from Our Best Bites

4 medium russet potatoes

1-2 Tablespoons vegetable oil, for rubbing on the potatoes

1/4 cup butter, cut into chunks

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

1/2 cup milk or buttermilk

3/4 teaspoon salt

Dash of pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

8 pieces bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

Shredded gouda cheese


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Scrub potatoes clean and dry them, then rub with vegetable oil (this makes the skin nice and crispy). Place potatoes in oven, directly on the rack, and bake for one hour or until fork-tender.

When potatoes are fully cooked, remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes (leave oven on). They will still be hot, so using a towel or potholder, cut each potato in half. Hollow out each side, emptying contents into a large bowl. Add butter, sour cream, blue cheese, milk, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Beat with an electric mixer until fluffy. Then spoon whipped potato mixture back into the potato skin shells.

Arrange filled potato halves in a 9×13 baking dish and bake in oven for 12-15 minutes. Remove, top with shredded gouda and bacon, then return to oven until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Enjoy!!


Carnitas is my go-to meat while ordering at Mexican restaurants. I love the saltiness of the pork, and the fact that it isn’t too spicy. I like a little spice, but not the kind that makes me cough and cause a scene…it always happens to me while trying salsa. A little spice attacks the back of my throat and I’m left trying to drink water without choking!

You don’t have to worry about that with this meat. You get a mild, salty, citrus-infused flavor that is to die for. The outside of the meat gets this caramelized crust and the inside is tender as can be. You will be amazed by the end result from so few ingredients! My little brother made this for he and his friends and they all loved it. My hubby & toddler approve too!

I chopped up some potatoes and cooked them in the pot after I took the pork out. They tasted incredible on the tacos and even better with eggs and salsa the next morning!


Carnitas Recipe, from smitten kitchen who slightly adapted it from the Homesick Texan Cookbook

3 pounds boneless pork shoulder or pork butt, cut into 2-inch cubes
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice (from about 2 to 3 limes)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste

Corn tortillas, for serving

Avocado slices, chopped cilantro and fixings of your choice

Place the pork in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot. Add the orange juice, lime juice, garlic, cumin, salt and enough water to just barely cover the meat. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for two hours. Don’t touch the meat.

After two hours, increase the heat to medium-high and while occasionally stirring and turning the pieces, continue to cook for about 45 minutes, or until all of the liquid has evaporated, leaving only the rendered pork fat. Let it sizzle in this fat long enough to brown at the edges, turning pieces gently (they’ll be eager to fall apart), only as needed.

When pork has browned on both sides, it’s ready. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve on warmed tortillas with fixings. Enjoy!

Pulled Pork Sandwiches & Homemade Cole Slaw

We love BBQ pulled pork sandwiches and corn on the cob in the summertime! This is a different recipe than I’ve used in the past, and is delicious as well. Not as moist, but you can always add more BBQ sauce. The cole slaw (adapted from Ina Garten) is so easy to put together and tastes a million times better than store-bought in my opinion!

Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Serves: 12
  • Pulled Pork:
  • 3- lb. boneless pork shoulder
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Tabasco sauce
  1. Put pork in slow cooker. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over pork; turn to coat.
  2. Cook covered on high for 6 hours or on low 8 to 10 hours, or until pork is tender.
  3. Shred pork with two forks, discarding any fat, and stir into juices.
  4. Butter up your buns, toast them under the broiler, and load 'er up!

Homemade Cole Slaw
Serves: 12
  • Cole Slaw:
  • 1 pound white cabbage (1/2 small head)
  • ¾ pound red cabbage (1/2 small head)
  • 5 carrots
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons celery seeds
  • 1 tsp. garlic salt
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Fit a food processor with the thickest slicing blade. Cut the cabbages into small wedges and place horizontally into the feed tube. Process in batches. Next, fit the processor with the grating blade. Cut the carrots in half and place in the feed tube so they are lying on their sides. Process in batches and mix in a bowl with the grated cabbages.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayo, mustard, sugar, vinegar, celery seeds, garlic salt, and pepper. Pour enough of the dressing over the grated vegetables to moisten them.

Watermelon is another great side for this summertime dish!

Mango Jalapeno Pork

This pork is absolutely delicious! It makes a TON though, so make sure you are feeding a crowd or really like pork. We have two containers in the fridge and one in the freezer! It’s very versatile though, you can make tacos, burritos, eat it alone or over rice…our house smelled so good while this was cooking, it was hard to leave it alone.

1 pork butt or shoulder roast
Juice of 3 limes
1 jar of salsa verde
1 onion, sliced
1-3 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
10 cloves of garlic
3/4 bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
1 mango, sliced

Cook above ingredients in slow cooker on low for 8 hours or 4 hours on high. Once meat is cooked, use two forks to shred the pork. Remove and discard any fat and shoulder bone.

Serve with warm tortillas, shredded or grated cabbage, rice, Monterey Jack cheese, lime wedges, salsa and cilantro.


Brie & Bacon Quiche

I saw this recipe over on the Tasty Kitchen Blog. Just by reading the title, I knew I would be making it soon! This quiche is simply divine. The melted brie against the salty, crispy bacon is eggy perfection in a pie crust! The three of us ate half of it for dinner, then for breakfast & lunch the next day.

1 package deep dish pie crust, pre-baked if instructed
4 ounces, weight brie cheese (rind removed if preferred – I left some on)
4 ounces, weight swiss cheese, diced
10 slices bacon, cooked crisp, drained, & crumbled (I like cooking bacon in the oven on a cooling rack over a pan or jelly roll pan, it makes it nice and crispy without a bubbly mess. I do 350 degrees for about 30 min.)
6 whole large eggs
½ cup whipping cream
½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 dash each nutmeg, salt, pepper

Lay out the sliced brie in the bottom of the pie crust, then sprinkle the swiss over it. Spread crumbled bacon on top. Mix all remaining ingredients thoroughly and pour into the pie pan.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven for about 45 minutes, until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool slightly before serving.

Just look at that melted brie! Mmm…enjoy!

Ham Glaze

For Easter, we had a spiral cut ham. It didn’t come with a glaze packet, so I made this up. Evidently you’re supposed to get hams that are not pre-cut, as they will retain their moisture better than one that is already sliced.

This glaze was perfect with the ham…a little sweet, and a little tangy. And I had all of the ingredients on hand. Major bonus!

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup prepared mustard (I used half dijon and half stone ground)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Pour over ham, cover with foil, and cook in oven as directed.

Honey Lime Enchiladas

I found this recipe via The Sisters Cafe. They have so many good recipes over there!

I have tried many enchilada recipes, and this is the last one! I’ll never make another again. The meat has a sweet taste to it and is complimented well by the green sauce.

I did the rice Chipotle style…thanks to miss Jasmine for the idea! It tastes so much better than original Mexican rice, in my opinion. I was there with my mom last week (oh if only she was on spring break all year long) and the girl working said they put cilantro, lime (or lemon?) juice, and salt in it. So easy & yummy!

Honey Lime Enchiladas

1.5 lbs pork or chicken, cooked and shredded


1/3 c honey

1/4 c lime juice

1 Tb chili powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder


2 (10 oz) cans green enchilada sauce (I couldn’t find these, so I used a 15 oz. can and it was the perfect amount for us)

equal parts mixed together of:

mozzarella cheese, shredded

cheddar cheese, shredded

flour tortillas

Mix together sauce ingredients then add to shredded pork or chicken. Let the sauce soak into the meat for about 30 minutes.

Lightly spray 2 pans with non-stick baking spray. (She usually uses one 9×13 and one 9×9…I used a 13×15) Pour green enchilada sauce into pans to coat the entire bottom. Fill tortillas with shredded meat and desired amount of cheese. Roll and place in dish.

Pour remainder of sauce over enchiladas and sprinkle more cheese on top – don’t be stingy! (I even poured the remaining marinade sauce on top) Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Then turn on broiler and place enchiladas nearer the top of oven. Let it broil until cheese is slightly brown and crispy.

I make two pans and freeze one for a later dinner. It’s so nice to have a homemade dinner without all of the work on a busy day. Do the work once and enjoy the food twice!

BBQ Pulled Pork

Have I ever mentioned how much I love my slow cooker? There is nothing better than knowing you will come home to a house that smells like you’ve been in the kitchen slaving all day. This recipe is wonderful, we’ve been eating the leftovers & loving them all week. Shout out to all of my Sweet Baby Ray’s lovers out there…the best BBQ sauce!

Throw some cole slaw on top, corn on the grill and you’re good to go!

BBQ Pulled Pork
Cook time
Total time
  • 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder
  • 1 onion, sliced in rings
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • ½ cup warm water
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  1. Use a 6 quart crockpot. Trim meat, and place into your crockpot. Add sliced onion. Squeeze in 2 cups of ketchup, and then pour ½ cup warm water into your crock. Add vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire, and salt.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or until meat shreds easily with a fork.


Cafe Rio Recipes

A while back this pregnant lady was seriously craving herself some Cafe Rio! And, since Santa Cruz doesn’t have one, I pulled out these recipes I found a few years back. Sorry to whoever posted them, I don’t remember whose blog I found them on.

Oh how I LOVE this dressing! Matt and I were gobbling it up with chips while we were waiting for the pork to finish up. Mmm :)

Café Rio Dressing

1 buttermilk ranch dressing packet (make as per recipe)

2 tomatillos (tomato like vegetable with a husk around them)

½ bunch of cilantro

1 clove garlic

Juice of 1 lime

1 jalapeño (Use the seeds too if you like it spicy. You could substitute a few drops of green Tabasco for the jalapeno.)

Use a food processor to blend all the ingredients well. Refrigerate.

The pork barbacoa is my favorite! Makes sense since a can of Dr. Pepper is in it :)

Sweet Pork

3lb. Pork Roast

16-oz. Chunky Salsa

1 Can Dr. Pepper

2 Cups Brown Sugar

Put pork in crock pot and fill half way with water.

Cook 4 hours on high. Drain water, cut the pork in thirds. Mix together sauce (blend in blender) and pour on top of pork. Cook 4 more hours on low. Shred pork.

Cafe Rio Chicken

1 small bottle Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing

1 T chili powder

1 T cumin

3 cloves garlic—minced

5 lbs chicken breast

Cook all together in a crock pot for 4 hours, shred meat and cook 1 additional hour.

Café Rio Rice

4 c water

4 t chicken bouillon

4 t garlic –minced

½ bunch cilantro

1 can green chilies—or equivalent fresh

¾ t salt

1 T butter

½ onion

2 c regular white rice

Blend cilantro, green chiles and onion together in food processor. Bring water to a boil and add all ingredients, simmer covered 30 minutes. (Watch carefully to prevent scorching on bottom of pan.)

Black Beans

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 1/3 cup tomato juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

In a nonstick skillet, cook garlic and cumin in olive oil over medium heat until you can smell it. Add beans, tomato juice, and salt. Continually stir until heated through. Just before serving stir in the cilantro.

You need warm flour tortillas and shredded cheddar cheese (I popped the bowl in the microwave for a few seconds with the tortilla in it and the cheese in the bottom).

Then add the rice, beans, meat, romaine lettuce, pico de gallo (or just tomatoes in our case), guacamole, cheese, cilantro, tortilla strips (or chips) and dressing.

EAT and ENJOY! You’re welcome :)