Tag Archives: easy

Skillet Pork Chops


Buying pork loins and cutting your own pork chops is a great way to get the thickness you desire, and to save a little money as well. I was able to buy one pork loin and cook some of the chops while I froze the other half to enjoy next month! Pork chops are a really easy and quick meal and they are very flavorful as well. This is one of those minimal effort recipes I like to make on nights where I’m very tired and want to give up and go to McDonald’s. My kids love those nights when I can’t talk myself into cooking 😉

This is also a very versatile recipe, because you can change up the seasoning however you want and have different flavors each time you cook it so it never gets old. I personally love my mom’s homemade seasoning, but lemon pepper, Montreal steak seasoning, blackening seasoning, or any of the many options that stores have of spice mixes would be great too.

Skillet Pork Chops

Slice the pork loin into chops of desired thickness. I did about an inch. My 4.25 lb loin yielded 10 good sized pork chops and 2 smaller pieces from the ends. I froze 5 pork chops and prepared the other half.

Season both sides with mom’s seasoning, or any seasoning of your preference, and rub into pork chops. Heat large skillet over medium heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Cook until no longer pink in the center, turning once and getting a nice golden brown to the chops. Remove from heat. Serve with desired sides.

This recipe would also work great, maybe even better, on the grill but it was rainy out the day I made these so we had to go with plan B. Enjoy!

Honey-Chile Chicken on Coconut Rice

I love all in one dishes where you don’t have to worry about cooking several different sides in addition to your entree. This is a wonderful Asian (or Thai?) dish that is spicy and delicious. I found this in a Cooking Light magazine, as I do a lot of my favorite recipes, so it is also low on calories! There are only 283 calories per serving and 6 grams of fat, which is amazing.

My parents and my in-laws came down last weekend to hang out so I threw this meal together for us all to enjoy. The chili sauce is extremely simple and would make a great sauce for so many other dishes. Even if you don’t make this recipe, try out the sauce. It is amazing!

 Honey-Chile Chicken on Coconut Rice

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 14-oz can unsweetened lite coconut milk
  • 1 1/4 cups uncooked brown basmati rice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium chopped onion
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp Asian chili paste (sambal oelek)
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 cups cooked chicken breast
  • Raw chip coconut, toasted, optional
  • 1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedges, garnish

Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat a 3-quart rectangular baking dish with cooking spray. In a small saucepan bring water and coconut milk to boiling. Pour into prepared baking dish. Stir in rice and salt. Bake, covered for 30 minutes.

Bake chicken breasts or cook them however you like.

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Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and sweet pepper. Cook 5 minutes or just until tender, stirring occasionally. Add ginger and garlic; cook and stir 1 minute more. Stir onion mixture and peas into partially cooked rice.

In a medium bowl combine the next four ingredients (through soy sauce); stir in chicken. Spoon chicken mixture over rice mixture.

Bake, covered, 15 to 20 minutes more or until heated through and rice is tender. Sprinkle with coconut, if desired, and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges and/or additional chili paste.

Makes 8 servings. Enjoy!

DIY Tic-Tac-Toe Bags


As a child I was always running around busy doing something. I was either exploring, watching a movie, stealing peoples fries at my parent’s restaurant (hey, you don’t have to be a criminal mastermind, just a 4 year old), or I was making something. Ok, I only stole fries once, and they offered me one…I just ended up taking the whole basket…I plead the fifth. More often than not I was drawing, coloring, taping, and gluing anything I could get my hands on. That crafty spirit has stuck with me in adulthood and it is one of the fondest memories I have growing up. I loved when Mom would take me to Hobby Lobby and we would get feathers, glitter, popsicle sticks, clay, and so many other things. Now that I’m a mother of two kids, I want to try and nurture their creative minds and allow them to have the same crafty opportunities that I did growing up.

Lailah is 2 so she doesn’t do much beyond scribble yet, but Izzy is 4 and at that perfect, fun and creative age. A couple weeks ago I sat down with them and we made tic-tac-toe bags for each of them. I gave them stamps and markers to color one side of the bag and on the other side I drew the lines for the game itself. I had these little wooden hearts lying around so I drew x’s and o’s on them for the game pieces.
They have so much fun with them! Of course Lailah just tosses her bag around, but Izzy really enjoys pulling out her bag that she made and playing with anyone who will sit down with her.

I also made these two bags for them using a few different items as the game pieces. I used my hot glue gun with glitter glue sticks to trace their names.

I put a small piece of cardboard in the bag to keep the glue from transferring to the back and to keep the sharpie from bleeding through. I used a sharpie to write their names so I would have something to trace, as the glue gun can be a bit unwieldy when you’re trying to write neatly. Then I just glued on the other decorations with my glue gun.

Once it dried, which is almost immediately, I flipped it over and traced lines on the back using a ruler to get a straight line.

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For the game pieces I just drew x’s and o’s using a sharpie.

These heart pieces were felt stickers that I had in a drawer. I thought it would be a good idea because Lailah wouldn’t be able to choke on them if she got any bright ideas that they looked like they tasted like candy. Buuuuuut she took the paper off the back and stuck them all over the dang house. Not my best idea folks. They looked cute for a minute!

That’s all there is to it! This is an easy and fun project to do with your littles, and I promise they will love it. If you end up making any please comment with any pictures below or tag me on Instagram, @charlsik123. I would love to see what you create! Have fun crafting!

 

Guacamole

Ask anyone who knows me well and they will tell you that I am an avocado fiend. I will eat that stuff on just about anything! Seriously though. Salads, bread, sandwiches, chicken strips, fries…you name it and I have probably tried it. So, naturally I had to formulate a bomb-diggity guac recipe to make here at home. I know it didn’t cost you $5 to make that tablespoon of guacamole on my plate restaurants. I’m not fooled at all! When my family went on a cruise we did a shore excursion called Salsa and Salsa and Margaritas where we spent the whole time learning to make salsas, guacamole, margaritas (oh yeah) and salsa dancing. They sent us home with recipe sheets and I have formulated my perfect guac. Here it is y’all:

Guacamole

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 clove of garlic, diced
  • 1/4 lime wedge juice
  • cilantro, to taste
  • salt, to taste


Cut avocado in half and scoop out the goodies, minus the seed. I like to wedge my knife into the seed and twist it out of the avocado half. Then you’ve got to get the slippery little sucker off your knife, which is not that easy. Put avocado halves into a small bowl. Depending on how salty you like it, start with 1/4 tsp and work your way up. I usually don’t measure, but for the sake of you lovely people reading my post I did. 😉 I liked the salt at 1/2 teaspoon, but just figure out what works for you. Squeeze the lime wedge into the bowl and add the garlic clove.

Once it is mashed to your desired consistency, add the cilantro. I just snipped my cilantro with kitchen shears. You could nix the cilantro if that’s not something you like, but I love cilantro like I love avocados. Unfortunately my husband loathes a strong cilantro flavor so I have to tone it down.

Mix all the ingredients together until well combined and taste test until the flavor is perfect. I’d say if you feel like it is lacking something, just add a bit more salt. That’s usually the fix it needs. And try not to eat it all while taste testing. I know, easier said than done. Seriously guys, I’ve got a problem.

Now you’ve got some rockin’ guac that is easy to whip up and wonderful on just about everything. I hope you try it out!

 

Kids in the Kitchen: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

My husband absolutely loves oatmeal raisin cookies and thinks we need them in the house at all times. I used to make him big batches, but then they would go stale after a week or so. So I started buying Wal-Mart bakery cookies which kept for a long time, but I got sick of paying for them. Then I started baking up a dozen cookies, and freezing the rest of the cookie dough so I could pull them out and cook a few at a time. They never go stale now, so problem solved! Bingo! I’m not sure if I read it somewhere, saw someone do it or what, but now our house is well stocked on fresh oatmeal raisin cookies, much to my husbands delight!

I have also started working on getting Izzy and Lailah into the kitchen with me as much as I can. This can be challenging at times, as I am one of those people who has a very set system on how I like things done, and I need it done that way and I need it done quickly and efficiently. I’m talking military precision here. A little crazy, yes, but I’ve never been accused of being too normal. It took a lot of mental preparation for me to bring the kids in and let them help, because I knew it would slow down my process and that flour is going to get on the counter…and I just had to accept all of that! I want to keep them involved because I know how good it is for them and how much the littles love to be included. Now Izzy asks me to bake with her every day!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening, room temperature
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups regular or quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large mixing bowl beat butter and shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugars, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl.


Beat in eggs and vanilla. Izzy is quite the little egg cracker! I am shocked at how well she does with it. Lailah seems equally impressed as evidenced by her reaction.

Beat in flour and then stir in the oats and raisins. Yes, we are dough eaters and proud of it!

Drop rounded tablespoons onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12-14 minutes until light brown and centers appear set. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to finish cooling.

For remainder of dough line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Drop rounded tablespoons onto cookie sheet and place in the freezer until firm, about 30 minutes. After the dough has set up, place into a freezer bag and bake as needed.

I bake them while still frozen which takes 15-16 minutes for my oven. You can also set them out to thaw and they will bake at the original time of 12-14 minutes.

I do this will all of my favorite cookie recipes so I can satisfy a craving without having to have the temptation around all the time.

10 Minute Entree: Blackened Salmon

I had one of those nights where I completely forgot to set out anything to thaw for dinner that night. Instead of running out to grab something though, I went and grabbed a couple frozen salmon fillets and made a quick and healthy dinner for us, incorporating some leftover sides from previous meals.

Blackened Salmon

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1 tbsp Zatarain’s blackening seasoning


Preheat a griddle or skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Coat surface with oil of your choice. Currently I am using coconut oil for just about everything. Season both sides of the salmon fillets with Zatarain’s blackened seasoning and then add to your heated griddle.


Cook on one side for 4 minutes, flip and cook for 3 more minutes, until skin is nice and crispy.

Plate those babies and serve and you’ve got a delicious entree in 10 minutes! It doesn’t get much easier than that. I love having fast ready-to-go options in my freezer for when I’m pressed for time. If this happens to you more often than not, then I suggest keeping your favorite fish in the freezer. They thaw out very quickly and cook up fast. Have a wonderful day!

 

 

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From Sweater to Plushy Toy

I was cleaning out the girls closet today as it is getting warmer and Lailah (my youngest) is finally outgrowing her 18 month clothes. I felt inspired by these two sweaters, although at the moment I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do with them, which is how pretty much all of my projects start. Here’s me at Hobby Lobby or JoAnn with my husband:

Me: “Oh I love this fabric! I’m going to get a couple yards of it.”

Him: “Ok, cool. What are you going to do with it?”

Me: “Uhhhhhhhhh……”

Hey, it all works out! Anywho, I thought how cute the fox and the owl would be if they were toys and that’s just what I ended up doing! It’s quite an easy tutorial, so if your kids have any old graphic tees they’ve outgrown you now have a fun way to repurpose them, if you would like.

Side Note: I got these at Wal-Mart for $3.88 (I believe) so you could go check there if you don’t happen to have a graphic tee or sweater.

I started by laying them each flat and then cut through both front and back around the graphic, leaving about a 1/2 inch around the edges.


Then I put right sides together and drew as close of an approximation of the graphic as I could and pinned the pieces together. You don’t have to be dead on with your tracing, I just wanted to know how far out to place my stitch when I began showing.


Now just sew front and back together leaving about a 2 inch gap for flipping inside out and stuffing with poly-fil.

Then I stuffed my little woodland buddies with poly-fil and sewed the hole together, being careful to hide the stitching.


These could also be cute little decorative pillows for your kids bedrooms, although if I’m being honest, I don’t make their beds. I used to and it looked beautiful, but it somehow acted as a beacon to the little twerps to go jump on the beds and muss them up, even though they never jump on the bed when it’s messy. Like moths to a flame, y’all. Hope you enjoyed this quick little tutorial!

Comment below with a picture of your finished product if you feel inspired by my post! I’d love to see what you come up with!

Crockpot Spicy Pulled Pork

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If you read my last post, then you know the plague hit my home over the past couple weeks. Ok, not exactly the plague but we’ve all been down with either ear or sinus infections. So, cooking and cleaning and general hygiene have kind of been put on the back burner for me lately. We’ve been relying heavily on eating out, but the other day I felt pretty good in the morning so I threw this meal in the crockpot to keep us from having to run out to grab food yet again. The main appeal for this meal was its simplicity and ease of preparation. It’s only 5 ingredients which is awesome and took me maybe 10 minutes to get it prepared. So, sick or not, this is a good set it and forget it crockpot meal for anyone! We ate it on regular sandwich bread, but I bet it would be really good on tortilla wraps as well.

Crockpot Spicy Pulled Pork

  • 2 – 2 1/2 lb boneless pork shoulder
  • 18-20 oz bottle BBQ sauce (about 1 3/4 cups)
  • 8 oz Dr Pepper (not diet)
  • 1 onion
  • salt and pepper

1. Slice the onions into thin wedges and layer along the bottom of your crockpot.

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2. Trim the excess fat from the pork shoulder and then season with salt and pepper. Place on top of the onions.

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3. Mix the BBQ sauce (Stubbs is our personal favorite) and the Dr Pepper together and pour over the meat and onions.

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4. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 5-6 hours.

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5. Remove from crockpot when it’s done and shred the meat. It should be good and tender by now. Mmm, nothing quite as appealing as good tender meat in my book. Skim the excess fat off of the sauce left in the crockpot and ladle over the meat to moisten it.

Serve on hamburger buns, regular bread, tortillas, or anything else that floats your boat. Enjoy!