Chicken Tinga Bowl

I love a bowl. And this is super easy, especially since it’s made primarily of leftovers! The chicken Tinga is a recipe I have made often thanks to Valerie Bertinelli and her Food Network cooking show. She makes everything look so easy and this one really is! I’ll post her recipe as I made it below but you can also click the link above and see her full chicken Tinga taco recipe, including toppings.



1 tablespoon grapeseed oil (or any high smoke point oil)

1 small yellow onion, chopped (I used sweet onion)

2 chipotles in adobo, finely chopped (look for these in re-sealable jars now!)

2 garlic cloves, minced 

1 tablespoon ground cumin 

1 teaspoon kosher salt 

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 

One 10-ounce can diced tomatoes and green chiles 

1 cup chicken stock 

1 rotisserie chicken, shredded 


1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and heated with cumin, cayenne, and homemade pico de gallo all to taste

1 cup fire roasted corn, thawed to room temp (I used Trader Joe’s frozen)

1 quarter of a head of iceberg lettuce, shredded or chopped

1 half of an avocado, sliced

1 handful of pickled red onions (or to taste)

1 handful of crumbled cotija cheese (or to preference)


Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the chipotles, garlic, cumin, salt and cayenne and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and stock and cook until they begin to simmer, about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and carefully ladle the sauce into a heat-safe blender. Puree until smooth. Pour the sauce back into the pan over medium heat and add the chicken, stirring to incorporate the chicken into the sauce. Cook until the sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes.

Either let the chicken cool a bit if using for the bowl right away, or reheat if using leftovers because Valerie’s Chicken Tinga Tacos looked so good you had to make those first and now you’re using leftovers. Which was the case for me. Either way, you want the chicken warmed but not piping hot as it will wilt the lettuce.

First layer is your shredded lettuce. I used iceberg because I wanted crunch. But you do you. Why do people give iceberg such a bad rap? They say it’s mostly water. Well, last time I checked water was good for you!

But I digress, layer your crunchy water lettuce on the bottom, then I like to put the beans in one third, then the corn in another and the chicken in the last third (see photo). Then in the center top with slices of avocado and picked red onion, and then sprinkle the whole thing generously with the crumbled cotija cheese. I mean – you can just throw it all in the bowl at once and have a party. No need for such precision. It will taste just as good. But I like my food to look styled before I eat it. I probably watch too much Food Network.


You know me, I’m a fork-stacker. And this is the perfect dish for that. Just get in there and get a little of everything. Guaranteed to be the perfect bite. I also love that this dish has the perfect mix of hot and cold. Cold, crisp lettuce and the sweet crunchy, corn contrasted with the warm, spicy chicken and tangy beans is utterly delightful.


I know most would say that an ice cold beer would pair best with a chipotle heavy dish… but if you’re like me and prefer wine over beer, I suggest a chardonnay. It’s buttery texture will help cool your palette from the heat of the chilis. Or, to stay in the Mexican theme try making my Pineapple Aqua Fresca. It’s really refreshing!


The vitamin A in chipotles is in the form of carotenoids like lutein and beta-carotene, which are antioxidants. Your body converts carotenoids into vitamin A. The antioxidants in chipotle peppers can help to lower blood pressure, thus reducing your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

I also love that when you blend Tinga sauce it becomes rich and creamy with no dairy whatsoever… making this pretty guilt free!


Peppermint Chocolate Martini

I typically don’t like super sweet drinks.  But man-oh-man this is one tasty beverage. More boozy desert than anything.  Very simple to make and perfect on a cozy winter evening.  Enjoy!

Tools you’ll need:

  • cocktail shaker
  • measuring cup
  • grater or plane
  • handful of ice
  • chilled martini glass


  • 4oz your favorite vodka 
  • 4oz chocolate liqueur (I used Trader Vic’s because they were out of Ghirardelli)
  • 4oz Bailey’s original
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Ghirardelli peppermint bark square (or any chocolate you have – but this is the peppermint element) 

Combine first three ingredients in the cocktail over ice. Shake really well.  Shave about a tablespoon of the chocolate bar of your choice and set aside. Put a small dot of the chocolate syrup on your finger and run it around the rim of the frosted glass. Repeat until the rim has chocolate syrup all around it. Roll through the shavings until coated. You could also use crushed candy canes for this.

Right before you are ready to pour, drizzle chocolate syrup along the walls around the inside of the glass.  Immediately pour shaken mixture into glass before the chocolate starts to drip.

PRO TIP: Having all ingredients cold helps the look of  the drink hold up. So does frosting the glass. 

Grown-up Grilled Cheese with Sherry Tomato Basil Soup


Who doesn’t love grilled cheese and tomato soup on a cold wintery day? If you don’t, we probably can’t be friends. This grilled cheese is a result of LOTS of experimentation. I have a bit of a reputation because of these – and countless requests to finally get it posted. So here you go… now you can stop bugging me make your own whenever you like!

The soup recipe comes from the one and only Pioneer Woman. I mean, she puts sherry and cream in it. She can definitely be my friend.

Ingredients for Grilled Cheese

  • Any bread that can stand up to some weight. I personally love sough dough bread.
  • 1 slice of TWO of your favorite cheese (2 slices total – swiss ,cheddar, gruyere, etc)
  • 1 tablespoon whipped cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon butter

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Cheesy Asparagus Tart


After all the filling holiday meals I decided to go vegetarian the week between Christmas and New Year’s. So l was looking for some creative ideas, as well as a way to clean out the freezer and unused veggies… I came up with this (Inspired by Carla Hall’s Acorn Squash Tart). It took all of five minutes to assemble and 30 minutes to bake – and I guarantee you everyone will ohh and ahh. I posted a photo on social media (because yes, I’m that girl) and my notifications blew up!

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Santa Fe Chili


About five years ago, I began an annual tradition of making my first pot of chili of the season on Halloween night.  Typically, it’s a cool evening, I can invite a few friends over and we can enjoy a pot of chili as we pass out candy to the kiddos in the neighborhood.

I started a new job a few months ago, and it turns out that they have a annual tradition of having a chili cook-off on Halloween. How perfect! UPDATE: I won Best Chili Theme with this recipe – was told I was only one point away from taking Best Overall Chili. I wasn’t able to add the fried Hatch chili rings because they got soggy in transport – that would have clinched it for sure!

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Honey Walnut Shrimp


I love Chinese food. Not only are they the masters of blending sweet and savory but I can make a meal out of nothing but the appetizers! I love variety and a Chinese menu gives me the opportunity to try many things. And I’m not referring to the fast food “Panda” or food court walkup. I’m talking a real sit down restaurant with a legitimate chef. 🙂

That said – my new found favorite is Honey Walnut Shrimp. It probably one of the more expensive items on the menu but you can make a pound of shrimp at home for under $15.00. I purchased tail off, peeled and deveined raw shrimp but you can save even more if you do the work yourself. Just be sure to devein them – poop tracks are No Bueno.

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Vegetable Lasagna with Homemade Ricotta and Béchamel Sauce

lasagna close up

I love lasagna. I mean, it’s layers of cheese and pasta and assorted yummy things. How can you not like it? But this particular recipe is especially good – and was created rather “accidentally” as I just started putting things together. I had ordered some spinach and garlic noodles from Papardelle’s. I first discovered them at their booth at one of my favorite places in the U.S… Pike’s Market in Seattle, WA. And I have been ordering from their incredible selection of pastas and oils ever since. I knew I wanted to do a vegetable lasagna with the green noodle layers… and a white sauce would let you see the color of the noodles. So I mixed up a traditional bechamel with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Then I added my homemade ricotta mixed with my homemade pesto Genovese and then the magic happened. I took lots of photos of the preparation to hopefully help take the mystery out of it all! Bon apetito!

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