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Appetizers and Sides/ Recipes

Bacon and Brown Sugar Green Beans

Bacon brown sugar green beans recipe side dish easter Christmas thanksgiving recipes

These bacon brown sugar green beans are pretty much the best green beans I’ve ever had. I made them a while back for the first time and I was in love.

I was actually under the impression that I hated green beans when I was a kid. Someone (who shall remain nameless) only ever served me green beans from a can. Sooooo when I had fresh green beans, I couldn’t get enough of them. THEN when I tried fresh green beans with bacon and brown sugar…game changer! This definitely isn’t your every day “figure-friendly” green bean recipe but it’s still a veggie and that counts for something right?!

These green beans are insanely good! They are smothered with savory bacon and sweet brown sugar and seasoned to perfection. They will definitely be a hit with your family as much as they are with mine!

 (See video below for step by step instructions!!)

Bacon brown sugar green beans recipe side dish easter Christmas thanksgiving recipes

 

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Bacon & Brown Sugar Green Beans

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Author Coco and Ash

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh green beans (ends trimmed)
  • 6 slices of bacon (cut into small pieces)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp each: salt, pepper, garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil and boil your green beans for 5-8 minutes. (5 if you like them very crisp)

  2. Remove the green beans from the boiling water and set aside to drain on a paper towel. (You don't want them to be too wet or it will splatter like crazy when you add it to the bacon mixture)

  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook your bacon pieces until they are slightly underdone then drain off the bacon grease. 

  4. Bring the skillet with the bacon back to the heat and add your butter, brown sugar, and seasonings and stir until everything is melted together. (Just about 2 minutes)

  5. Add your green beans to the skillet and toss to coat with the bacon mixture. 

  6. Enjoy!! 

Recipe Notes

(Original recipe adapted from Six Sisters Stuff)

Bacon brown sugar green beans recipe side dish easter Christmas thanksgiving recipes

Bacon brown sugar green beans recipe side dish easter Christmas thanksgiving recipes

Main Course/ Recipes

Poppy Seed Chicken

Poppy Seed Chicken, Casserole easy, dinner,

Poppy seed chicken is something I have been eating since I was a kid and It’s always been one of my favorite comfort food meals! There are so many variations that you can make to this recipe like adding in veggies, rice, or noodles, but it’s perfect even without any extras! The sauce is so rich and creamy and the Ritz cracker topping is so buttery and crunchy! I like to make it with rice in the bottom of the dish to soak up some of that sauce. This might be called poppy seed chicken, but the sauce is totally the star of this dish. (Sorry little poppy seeds)  🙂 My family goes crazy for this stuff!Poppy Seed Chicken, Casserole easy, dinner,

I made this last week and I’m already craving it again looking at these pictures! I don’t think anyone will mind if I make it again soon though! 🙂
Poppy Seed Chicken, Casserole easy, dinner,


5 from 4 votes
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Poppy Seed Chicken

A chicken casserole with a rich and creamy sauce and crispy buttery topping!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 8
Author Coco and Ash

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken breasts (Cut into bite sized pieces)
  • 1 tsp each salt, pepper, garlic powder (divided)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 10.5 ounce cans of cream of chicken soup
  • 24 ounces sour cream
  • 2 cups ritz crackers (crushed)
  • 6 tbsp melted butter
  • 4 tsp poppy seeds (divided)
  • 4 cups cooked rice (optional but super yummy)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

  2. If you would like to add the rice to the bottom of the casserole, layer it on the bottom of your 9x13 casserole dish first. *You can use leftover rice or one of the quick microwavable bags of rice. No need to make it fancy!

  3. Cut your chicken into bit size pieces and season with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, and 1/2 tsp garlic powder. 

  4. Heat a large sauté pan and cook your chicken on medium heat until it's just cooked throughout. Make sure not to over cook since it's going back in the oven. 

  5. Add your chicken to the casserole pan on top of the rice (if you're making this with rice) or just add it to the bottom of the pan. 

  6. In a large bowl, mix together your sour cream and **cream of chicken soup, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 1/2 tsp, garlic powder and 2 tsp of poppy seeds. Once combined, spread this on top of the chicken. (This is why the rice is so great! It mixes with all that yummy sauce!)

  7. In a small bowl, mix together your crushed ritz crackers, melted butter, and ***poppy seeds. Sprinkle this on the top of the casserole. 

  8. Place in the oven for 25 minutes until the top gets a little browned. I let it cool for about 15 minutes before serving. ENJOY!! 

Recipe Notes

*The rice in this dish makes it a little heartier but I have made it plenty of times without the rice and it's still just as delicious! 

**I have made this dish with low fat sour cream and it's still great. However, I would NOT make it with low fat or "heart healthy" cream of chicken soup. It makes the casserole watery and have less flavor. 

***Also I know this is called "poppy seed" chicken but I've also make it quite often without the poppy seeds because I didn't have any on hand. It's still amazing! (And you won't have little black things stuck in your teeth hee hee)

(You can serve it with any kind of veggies you like too! The sauce is delicious on veggies!)

 

Coco and Ash

Poppy Seed Chicken, Casserole easy, dinner,

Cuban Food/ Main Course/ Recipes

Ropa Vieja – Cuban Shredded Beef

Ropa Vieja, shredded beef, cuban, recipe, slow cooker, crockpot, easy, roast, beef,

I had this ropa vieja simmering away in my slow cooker yesterday and it smelled so good I thought I’d go crazy waiting to eat dinner! Even my all-American hubby loves it! I actually just had a big bowl full for lunch again today and I’ll probably have it for dinner tonight. Is that excessive? 🙂

If you’re not familiar with Ropa Vieja, it’s a Cuban dish (actually the national dish of Cuba!) and it literally means “old clothes”. I’m guessing it’s called that because the meat is so tender and falls apart so easily! It’s made with a large cut of beef that’s slow cooked in a tomato based sauce and by the end of the cooking time, the meat is so flavorful and tender and shreds so easily. It’s traditionally served with white rice so you can soak up all that extra sauce!Ropa Vieja, shredded beef, cuban, recipe, slow cooker, crockpot, easy, roast, beef,

This is one of the things that I definitely order if I see it on a menu. It’s not a fancy dish but it’s one that is so hearty and flavorful! And by the way, if you drain some of the liquid off, ropa vieja is amazing in tacos!!

I normally try to give you guys step-by-step photos but in a slow cooker dish (whoop whoop), it’s pretty much just dump and go so I’ll just give you the pictures of the finished product this time. 🙂 By the way, if you don’t have a slow cooker, you NEED to get one! HERE’S A LINK for some to choose from. It will easily become your favorite kitchen appliance!


Ropa Vieja, shredded beef, cuban, recipe, slow cooker, crockpot, easy, roast, beef,

5 from 4 votes
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Ropa Vieja - Cuban Shredded Beef

Cuban shredded beef in a tomato based sauce flavored with peppers, onions, and garlic and more! 

Servings 8
Author Coco and Ash

Ingredients

  • 2-3 pound flank steak (you could also use chuck)
  • 1 tbsp adobo seasoning (if you don't have adobo, use 1.5 teaspoons of salt and 1.5 teaspoons of garlic powder)
  • 1 green bell pepper sliced into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced into strips
  • 1 large yellow onion sliced into strips
  • 6 large garlic cloves peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup green spanish olives (optional but highly recommended)
  • 1 cup white cooking wine
  • 28 ounce can of tomato pureee
  • 6 ounce can of tomato paste
  • 1 tsp each: ground cumin, dried oregano, white sugar, salt

Instructions

  1. Take your flank steak and rub each side down with the adobo seasoning then add it to the slow cooker.

  2. Slice your peppers, onion, and garlic and add those to the slow cooker along with the olives. 

  3. In a large bowl, whisk together your white wine, tomato puree, tomato paste, and seasonings and then add that in the slow cooker. 

  4. Cook on low for 8 hours. 

  5. After the 8 hours, remove just the meat and shred with 2 forks. Ropa vieja is traditionally served shredded very finely so I don't leave any large chunks. Add the meat back in the slow cooker and cook for 20 more minutes. 

  6. During that 20 minutes is when I make my rice using my rice cooker

  7. I serve my ropa vieja over the white rice with a big extra scoop of the sauce on top! 

Coco and Ash

Ropa Vieja, shredded beef, cuban, recipe, slow cooker, crockpot, easy, roast, beef,

Main Course/ Recipes

Honey Lime Shrimp and Broccoli

Honey Lime Shrimp and Broccoli, shrimp, dinner, broccoli, easy, recipe, garlic, soy

This honey lime shrimp and broccoli dish is one of my favorite dinners!! I’ve actually made it twice just this week! One reason being that it tastes amazing and the other being that it is so quick and easy. It has a touch of sweetness from the honey and a little tang from the lime which tastes amazing with that savory soy sauce.  I also used a Publix “steam in bag” veggie pack which made it even that much easier!

It starts with a simple marinade/sauce. You’re going to add in your honey, soy, garlic, and lime juice and whisk that together. Here’s a little tip for you…when you’re going to measure your honey, spray the measuring cup with non-stick cooking spray and the honey will slide right out instead of sticking!Honey Lime Shrimp and Broccoli, shrimp, dinner, broccoli, easy, recipe, garlic, soy

After whisking your sauce together, set aside 1/3 cup of the sauce for later and add the shrimp to the remaining sauce. Pop that in the fridge for 15-20 minutes. Honey Lime Shrimp and Broccoli, shrimp, dinner, broccoli, easy, recipe, garlic, soy

While the shrimp are marinading you can get your rice ready (if you’re having rice). I use a rice cooker so I don’t have to really think about it. Here’s a link to the one that I have. This is also when I steam my broccoli. I just use these steam in bags from Publix but you can use a steamer or prepare it however you’d like. Just leave it a tiny bit under cooked. Honey Lime Shrimp and Broccoli, shrimp, dinner, broccoli, easy, recipe, garlic, soy

When you’re ready to cook your shrimp, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Once the skillet is hot, melt the butter and then add in the shrimp (discard the marinade) and cook for about 1 minute per side. Honey Lime Shrimp and Broccoli, shrimp, dinner, broccoli, easy, recipe, garlic, soy
After cooking the shrimp, you can add in the steamed broccoli and the remaining sauce that you had set aside and cook for 2 more minutes. You’re not really “cooking” the broccoli any further. You just want to incorporate it into the sauce. Honey Lime Shrimp and Broccoli, shrimp, dinner, broccoli, easy, recipe, garlic, soy

After cooking for the 2 minutes, you’re all done!!

Honey Lime Shrimp and Broccoli, shrimp, dinner, broccoli, easy, recipe, garlic, soy

Honey Lime Shrimp and Broccoli, shrimp, dinner, broccoli, easy, recipe, garlic, soy

5 from 4 votes
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Honey Lime Shrimp and Broccoli


Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Coco and Ash

Ingredients

  • 1.5 pounds medium shrimp (peeled and deveined)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 large garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 tbsp butter (you could also use olive oil)
  • 2 cups steamed broccoli (I use Publix "steam in bag")

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, soy sauce, lime juice, and garlic.

  2. Scoop out 1/3 cup of the sauce and set it aside to use later. 

  3. Add your shrimp to the bowl with the remaining marinade and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes. 

  4. While your shrimp is marinading you can steam your veggies. I use Publix "steam in bag" veggies so I pop it in the microwave and just let it hang out until I need it. If you are making this with rice, you can also start that while the shrimp is marinading. (This is the rice cooker that I use. You can actually steam veggies in there too!)

  5. When you're ready to cook the shrimp, add your butter to a skillet on medium-high heat. When the butter is melted, take a slotted spoon and add in just the shrimp. You can discard the marinade. 

  6. Cook the shrimp for about 1 minute per side. 

  7. Add the steamed broccoli and 1/3 cup of reserved sauce to the pan and cook for 2 more minutes. 

  8. I serve mine over white rice and a little extra squeeze of lime juice on top. 🙂

Recipe Notes

I used broccoli for this recipe because it's my favorite but you could use any veggie you like! 

Coco and Ash

Honey Lime Shrimp and Broccoli, shrimp, dinner, broccoli, easy, recipe, garlic, soy

Recipes/ Sweets

Cherry Cream Cheese Hand Pies

Cherry cream cheese hand pies, dessert, valentines day, cherry, cream cheese

The first time I made these little pies was for my husband and I’s first Valentines Day after our daughter was born. We didn’t feel like leaving the house (probably because we were so sleep deprived) and decided to make a nice dinner at home and just relax. We have definitely had our fair share of eating out and dressing up for dinners but sometimes I just love the simplicity of a meal made at home. Now our little ones are 4 and almost 2 and every once in a while we put them to bed and enjoy a late night dinner date at home. These little pies are perfect for these date nights! They’re so easy, you can make them a day ahead of time, they’re even great for school lunch treats! And you really can make with any shape cookie-cutter that you have!

They start off with the cream cheese mixture which is just cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. You cant’ go wrong with that! Cherry Cream Cheese Hand Pies Valentines Day Dessert

The crust is just a store bought pie crust! It doesn’t get any easier than this! They come 2 per box but I just use one of the crusts and freeze the other one for later. You can easily double this recipe and make more pies to share with the kids though! If you’re looking for a heart shaped cookie cutter, HERE’S one that would work great!Cherry Cream Cheese Hand Pies Valentines Day dessert

The pies get filled with your cream cheese filling and some store-bought pie filling. I have made these before with fresh fruit but this is honestly just so much quicker and easier and there’s just something about those store-bought pie fillings that so gooey and delicious! Cherry Cream Cheese Hand Pies Valentines Day dessert

Now before I put the top crust on, I like to take my fingers and just spread it out a little thinner and wider so it will cover over all that filling and still reach the edges. Seal the edges with a little of your beaten egg using your finger, then they get dusted with a little sugar.Cherry Cream Cheese Hand Pies Valentines Day dessert

When they come out of the oven, they will be perfect little crispy pockets of goodness!


Cherry cream cheese hand pies, dessert, valentines day, cherry, cream cheese

 

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Cherry Cream Cheese Hand Pies

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6 Pies
Author Coco and Ash

Ingredients

  • 1 Store bought pie crust (They come 2 per box so you can freeze the 2nd one for later!)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (softened)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • A sprinkle of flour for dusting your work surface
  • 3/4 cup canned cherry pie filling (You can sub any flavor!)
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.

  2. In a small bowl, mix together your cream cheese, 2 tbsp of sugar, and vanilla extract. Set aside.

  3. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on your counter or a board large enough to hold your pie crust and unroll your pie crust onto the flour. I only use one of the pie crusts that comes in the box. You can freeze the other one for another time!


  4. I use a rolling pin and roll my dough a little bit thinner. I just like makes the dough a little bit easier to work with. 

  5. Using your cookie cutter, cut out as many pieces as you can. I used a 3" heart for these and I cut out 12 (for 6 total pies). You can keep squeezing together the scraps and re-rolling them to get as many cut-outs as you can. Just make sure you are flouring your surface so the dough doesn't stick. 

  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicon mats and lay out your cut-outs. 

  7. Spoon 1 tbsp of the cream cheese mixture onto half of them (The other half will be the tops of the pies)

  8. Then take a heaping tbsp of the pie filling and spoon it on top of the cream cheese mixture. Try to stay clear of the edges as best you can. 

  9. I do this next part with my hands because I've found it to be the easiest way. Just take your finger, dip it in the beaten egg and run it around the inside edge of of each pie then place the remaining pie pieces on top to cover and seal each pie. You can either just press the edges tightly together or use a fork to crimp the sides

  10. Brush the tops of each pie with a little bit of the egg wash and then sprinkle each pie with sugar. 

  11. Cut 2 slits in the top of each pie. This lets the steam out as they cook so they don't burst or get soggy. 

  12. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. The filling will be extremely hot so make sure you allow them to cool slightly before eating.  

Coco and Ash

Cherry Cream Cheese Hand Pies Valentines Day dessert