Category: Recipes

Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage with Red Potatoes

Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage with Red Potatoes

This Pressure Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage with Red Potatoes recipe is designed to offer the most perfect results for each ingredient…If you are using your Instant Pot, or other pressure cooker, because you need to hurry up and get this food on the table, […]

Bacon Wrapped Smokies with Pineapple- The best addictive appetizer

Bacon Wrapped Smokies with Pineapple- The best addictive appetizer

When I think about perfect appetizers, I automatically think of bacon, and these Bacon Wrapped Smokies with Pineapple are one of those appetizers that is hard to stop eating.  Your guests will both love and hate you for serving these, as they will continue to […]

Bacon, Brie, and Cheddar Twice Baked Potatoes

Bacon, Brie, and Cheddar Twice Baked Potatoes

This twice baked potato recipe happened because of leftover Super Bowl ingredients, kind of like my Creamy Avocado Dressing, and I couldn’t be happier.  They are amazing!  The brie flavor isn’t overpowering, so even the couple of people in my family who don’t care for brie absolutely loved these potatoes.  It was just enough to add a dimension to the flavor, along with some creaminess.

I don’t know that I would have ever thought to mix brie into twice baked potatoes, except that I had some in the fridge I never got around to using, and do I decided to give it a try in there, not even sure it would combine well, but it was a risk worth taking.  I can’t get over how good these are!

Click “Jump to Recipe” above if you want to skip right to it.

I had leftover boiled potatoes, cheddar, and bacon, because I had done some potato skins the day before.  We had so many other snacks too, though, including bacon wrapped pineapple and smokies, and guacamole and chips, that we never went back to make up anymore potato skins.

This made me realize that keeping some baked potatoes, wrapped in the fridge, could be  a great way to plan ahead for the week.  I was already past the longest part of making twice-baked potatoes!

Prep as much as you want ahead

Do the First Bake Ahead:

In the first step, I brush them with bacon grease and put them in the oven for an hour.  I think you are normally supposed to poke them with a fork first? I forgot to do this though, and they were fine.  Perhaps that’s just for the microwave?

It takes a little bit for these to cool down afterwards too, so that is even more reason to do this stage ahead.  You could just pull them right out of the fridge when you’re ready to make twice baked potatoes, or other potatoes for that matter.  In fact, you can keep a bunch of them in there, and keep ingredients on hand for people to make up their potato how they like.

Assemble it Ahead:

You could also do the assembly step ahead if you want, and then just wrap them and have them ready to go into the oven.  I haven’t tried freezing and re-heating these yet, but I’m going to guess that it will work well.

Here’s what they look like when you assemble them:

Assembled potatoes ready to bake a second time
Assembled potatoes ready to bake a second time

You could Completely finish them, and then bake them a third time!

These can be completely made ahead, and then popped into the oven when your ready to heat them back up.  I would then melt a little more cheese on the top, because you can.  I’m going to be trying to freeze some sheets of them, so they’re easy to pull out whenever we want…because my family just loved them.

These beauties are getting ready to go back in and get thrice baked!

Substitute the Brie

I suppose if you hated brie, you could substitute cream cheese in these twice baked potatoes, but I really want to stress that it isn’t overpowering, and it does add a very subtle yet wonderful dimension to the flavor, so I would really encourage you to give it a try.

5 from 1 vote
Twice baked potatoes with bacon brie and cheddar
Bacon, Cheddar and Brie Twice Baked Potatoes
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 20 mins
Total Time
1 hr 30 mins

These baked potatoes have a unique and surprisingly delicious combination of flavors.  They can be made ahead and tossed in the oven as soon as you're ready to heat them up.

Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Servings: 10
  • 5 small or medium Russet Potatoes
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/8 cup chives chopped, more if you like
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1/2 cup brie
  • 5 slices bacon
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/8 cup cheddar cheese for garnishing
Stage One
  1. Preheat oven to 350°

  2. Stir chopped chives into sour cream and place in refrigerator so the flavors can marinate.

  3. Scrub potatoes clean of dirt, brush them with bacon grease (or coconut oil, or other oil of choice), and place in preheated oven for one hour.  Let cool about 10 minutes until you can comfortable handle them

Stage 2
  1. Slice each potato in half length wise and scoop out the insides of the potato, down to about 1/4 -1/8" edges.  Place insides in a mixing bowl and mash with a potato masher.

  2. Add remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl, minus the cheddar that is being left for garnishing (so add 1/2 cup, and leave out the 1/8 cup), and mash it all together until it is fairly well combined.

  3. Scoop the mixed ingredients back into the potato skins.

  4. Return to oven at 350° for 10 minutes, then turn to broil for approximately 5-10 minutes WATCHING CLOSELY in order to turn the top slightly golden.  Don't burn them!

Avocado Dressing

Avocado Dressing

Do you ever throw something together and then get really excited because it turns out amazing?  That’ s how I felt last night when I tossed these ingredients into the Vitamix blender and ended up with my new, favorite, creamy, and healthy Avocado Dressing! Push the “Jump […]

20 Valentine’s Day Dinner Recipes for a Romantic Dinner at Home

20 Valentine’s Day Dinner Recipes for a Romantic Dinner at Home

Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Home? You could go out to a restaurant for your Valentine’s Day dinner, if you make reservations in advance and then sit among the crowd of other people who chose to do the same.  If you’re like me, you won’t be […]

Surf and Turf – A Romantic Dinner at Home on a Budget- In time for Valentine’s Day

Surf and Turf – A Romantic Dinner at Home on a Budget- In time for Valentine’s Day

This surf and turf is simple, yet absolutely mouthwatering.  The few ingredients compliment it wonderfully, rather than competing with it.  It only takes a half hour to make, at most, but is an impressive plate that really says “I love you.” If you are looking for something to make your special someone, or for something you can make together, this is a fun, easy, and rewarding meal fit for a king.

If you’re intimidated by the grill, don’t own a Traeger (you should fix that), or otherwise don’t want to grill these…All of these steps can be done in a pan.

My favorite romantic meal

This recipe is actually my husband’s, and I am the lucky lady who gets it made for me on special occasions.  With Valentine’s day around the corner, and with it being my birthday today, it’s the perfect time to get and share his recipe.  I loved the excuse to eat it again.  So delicious.

As always, you can use the “Jump to Recipe” button above to skip right to the printable recipe.

Preparing the Meat

Bringing the steak to room temperature ensures that they will be able to cook evenly.  This is important with steak, if you want to get it to a perfect level of doneness, such as medium rare (which is what I would absolutely recommend.)

Sprinkle each steak with a little salt and pepper, and then sprinkle a pinch of garlic powder over that.  Let them sit out for about 20 minutes before cooking.

raw new york steak
Look at these beautiful things! I could eat them already!

Preparing the Shrimp

The best way to do shrimp on the Traeger or grill is to put them on skewers.  That way they won’t fall in between the grates, and they are easy to flip from one side to the other.

You can use metal skewers or soaked wood skewers.  If you use metal, don’t forget they will be hot.  That should be common sense, but I was lacking it one day and grabbed the hot metal skewers.  Hard to enjoy your food while you’re crying, so be careful.

1 lb of shrimp should be about 4 skewers, so 2 each.  My picture has more because we had to feed the kids too.  We have often pushed our own romantic dinner back until after bedtime, by just snacking while we fed them, but we ate nice and early today so I could get good pictures of our food for you.

raw shrimp on skewers

Steak first, then Shrimp

It’s important for the steak to rest before you cut into it.  This makes it perfect to pull it from the grill first, and then put the shrimp on.  The steak should rest about 5 minutes, and the shrimp is going to take 6, so it’s a perfect couple.

You’re going to brush that garlic and dill butter all over the shrimp, and then brush it again in a few minutes when you flip it.  Just paint it right on.

brush shrimp with melted garlic butter and dill

Pull them off very carefully when they’re finished.

cooked shrimp in butter
Glorious shrimp!


Surf and Turf
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
30 mins

This Surf and Turf is done with minimal ingredients, that work just perfectly to bring out the natural deliciousness of the steak and shrimp.  

Course: Main Course
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 998 kcal
Author: Blake Seward
  • 2 New York Steaks
  • 1 lb Shrimp (41/50) peeled, deveined, with tail removed
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 pinch garlic powder
  • 1 cube butter
  • 6 cloves garlic fine chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill chopped
  1. Sprinkle each piece of meat with salt, pepper, and a pinch of garlic powder, and allow to sit out to get to room temperature

    raw new york steak
  2. Heat Traeger to high (recommended), or heat grill to high heat.

  3. Slide shrimp onto the skewers (picture shows a larger batch)

    raw shrimp on skewers
  4. Place steak on grill and cook:
    Traeger--6 minutes per side for medium rare

    Grill--5 minutes one side, and 3-5 on the other side for medium rare.

  5. Melt butter and garlic in a bowl for the shrimp, and add fresh dill.

  6. Remove steaks before they reach your desired level of doneness (they will continue to cook). Wrap them in aluminum foil and let rest.

  7. Place shrimp skewers on the grill and brush with half of the garlic, butter, dill mixture

    brush shrimp with melted garlic butter and dill
  8. Cook shrimp (on direct heat if on grill) for 3 minutes per side, re-basting it with more garlic butter when upon turning.

  9. Remove from grill or Traeger carefully (metal skewers will be hot).

  10. Plate and serve (I recommend a fresh salad and some mashed potatoes).

    plated surf and turf
Nutrition Facts
Surf and Turf
Amount Per Serving
Calories 998 Calories from Fat 477
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 53g 82%
Saturated Fat 21g 105%
Cholesterol 763mg 254%
Sodium 1951mg 81%
Potassium 1268mg 36%
Total Carbohydrates 3g 1%
Protein 117g 234%
Vitamin C 14.7%
Calcium 36.6%
Iron 65.7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Creamy Dill Chicken Salad with Grapes and Bacon

Creamy Dill Chicken Salad with Grapes and Bacon

  Every now and then we crave a creamy chicken salad around here, and every time I try to make it better.  I just can’t help it. This recipe is the best yet; it is creamy and has the perfect set of flavors….but I already […]

Best Shredded Pork for Tacos

Best Shredded Pork for Tacos

Enough for a crowd, or to freeze some for later When I try to do a Taco Tuesday, we end up with a taco week, as I’m sure you can imagine when you see this recipe!  If you’re not cooking for a crowd, you can […]

Homemade Mayonnaise, real food ingredients- It’s white!

Homemade Mayonnaise, real food ingredients- It’s white!

I am so surprised at how white this mayo is!  Normally homemade mayonnaise is more yellow in color, and I thought this recipe was going to turn out even darker because I used apple cider and red wine vinegar instead of the white wine vinegar that normally gets used, and I also substituted raw honey for the sugar.  The ingredients were darker, but the mayo is white, and I’m stumped.

I should probably add that it is delicious.  Way better than store bought mayonnaise, and totally worth the 10-15 minutes it took to make it.

I was planning to explain how the yellow color is real and good, and the store-bought stuff being white is concerning, but….shhh.  Lets pretend that getting it white was one of the goals! I promise that this mayo was made with all the ingredients I list, and that I didn’t just scoop store bought stuff into a jar!  In fact, this recipe was important to me because I had another allergic reaction to soy tonight…and they keep getting worse every time.  I’m planning chicken salad sandwiches soon, and I am trying to eat real food, and I have to stay away from soy….so I gave homemade mayo another shot.

When I say I gave homemade mayo “another shot”, I mean since the time in 2014 that it ended up all over me and my ceiling. I didn’t think it was worth it then; especially since it “broke” and I had to Google how to fix it; and then when I finally got it emulsified, I removed the lid and looked right in it with the blender still on, like a lunk-head, to try to stir it around a little…and that’s when it shot straight up into my face and all over my ceiling.

mayonnaise disaster

This time it was pretty clean.  I cleaned up my blender by blending some soap and water in it when I was done, and gave a little wipe around the base because my measuring cup wasn’t the best tool for dripping oil with, and so that part got a little messy. Nothing on the ceiling though!

I really want to stress that using a blender is a lot different than using a hand mixer, or especially stirring by hand!  I don’t know about a hand-held emulsifier because I don’t have one yet.  Mayonnaise seems to be more forgiving in a blender than with a hand mixer.

Also, the part where I capitalize SLOWLY adding the oil? It’s important.  It’s not because I want to make things look more difficult than they are.  If you get impatient and put the oil in too fast, it will “break.”  That basically means the oil and acids will separate again, and you will have a curdled mess, which can be fixed with some more egg yolk, or water if you’re making it into a dressing…but you don’t want to invest more time and get more ingredients out, right?  It seems like forever, but it’s really no more than 10 minutes after you get your ingredients out.

As far as how long you can keep this in your fridge, I keep seeing 1 week is the safe answer.  We will probably make it two weeks here at my house, because I think “they” are always being overly safe, but we’ll see.  So, you decide what you will choose for your family as far as that goes.

real food mayonnaise

Real Food Mayonnaise

January 24, 2018
: Makes about 2 Cups
: 15 min
: 10 min
: Intermediate

This mayonnaise actually turned out white, despite the fact that I used darker colored vinegar, and honey in place of sugar. I made it with healthy, real ingredients. The results may not be the same without a blender.


  • 1 whole large egg
  • 1 egg yoke
  • 1 tsp freshly ground Himalayan salt
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cup avocado oil
  • Step 1 Place eggs, salt, mustard, honey, and lemon juice in blender and blend on medium speed (I’m using a Vitamix. Trying to do this without a blender may not give you the same results that I had.)
  • Step 2 Mix vinegar into separate dish (I used the jar I would store the mayo into).
  • Step 3 SLOWLY drip in 1/2 cup of oil, just a few drips at a time, while blender is still running.
  • Step 4 Add 1/2 of the vinegar mixture, while blending.
  • Step 5 Drip in another 1/2 cup of oil, while blending,pouring too fast will cause the mixture to “break.”
  • Step 6 Add remaining vinegar.
  • Step 7 Drip in the remaining oil, still while blending, stirring as needed to combine ingredients.
  • Step 8 Let it sit out for a couple hours so that the acids can kill the bacteria in the eggs, making it safer to eat.
  • Step 9 Seal in a jar, refrigerate it, and keep for 1 week (but I’m doing 2 weeks).
Beef Stew- A flexible recipe

Beef Stew- A flexible recipe

I am trying to stick to real food (for at least 6 days a week), stay on a budget, and reduce the food we waste around here.  This stew is really good for this.  It’s very flexible; You can substitute for whatever you have on […]

How to ruin your potatoes

How to ruin your potatoes

Ruining Potatoes with Parsnips I thought I had a brilliant idea last night.  I was going to mix my potatoes half and half with mashed parsnips!  Everybody who has known me for awhile is now wondering who this alien is that took over Christina’s body.  […]