Monday, April 28, 2014

Mango Salsa Chicken Salad

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Mango Salsa Chicken Salad

This is one of my favorite salad recipes! It is so easy, so healthy, and so fresh. You can add more of what you like or keep it simple.

Ingredients, Mango Salsa Chicken Salad

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2-3 c. mango salsa (we love the kind from Costco)
  • 1 head cleaned & chopped romaine lettuce
  • 2 bell peppers diced in strips
  • Olive oil
  • Fajita seasoning (I make it homemade with cumin, garlic salt, and chili powder)
  • 2 avocados
  • cilantro & lime for garnish
  • optional: cheese, tortilla strips, black beans (when I’m trying to keep it light I leave these off but they are delicious on top too!)
  • Cilantro lime ranch dressing (see recipe here)

Mango Salsa Chicken Salad


  1. Start your recipe early in the day by placing your chicken in the crock pot and adding 1-2 cups of mango salsa. Cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
  2. Once you are ready to assemble the salad, remove the chicken, cut it into chunks or shred it, and then add another 1 c. of mango salsa. Mix salsa in and set aside chicken in a bowl.
  3. Once you’ve cleaned and chopped your romaine, set that aside as well.
  4. Next, add a small amount of olive oil to a pan and saute the bell peppers with 1-2 tbsp. of fajita seasoning until soft.
  5. Dice avocados & limes, and prep any other toppings you’d like.
  6. Assemble salad by placing the chopped romaine in a bowl, then the sauteed bell peppers, then mango chicken, then top with avocados, lime juice, cilantro & dressing.
  7. Add any additional toppings you’d like!

Mango Salsa Chicken Salad

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Cranberry Almond Bacon Broccoli Salad with Greek Yogurt Dressing

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Cranberry Almond Bacon Broccoli Salad with Greek Yogurt Dressing I love broccoli, I love cranberries, I love bacon, and I love almonds. You know what I don’t love about most broccoli salads? The dressing is STRAIGHT UP mayonnaise. All the recipes I look at are basically 95% mayo, 2% sugar, and 3% vinegar. I really just can’t stomach the idea of taking a piece of broccoli and dipping it in some mayo and eating it. So here is my broccoli salad that’s about 30% mayo in the dressing. It’s there as a base but you cannot taste it. I promise! Make this a couple hours before you’re going to eat, and chill in the fridge covered in saran wrap. It is SO delicious. Like it’s supposed to be a side salad but I just end up eating it as my meal.

Ingredients, Broccoli Salad:

  • 2 heads broccoli florets (chopped off the stems – I prefer them smaller but make them whatever size you like)
  • 1 c. dried cranberries
  • 1/2 c. sliced almonds
  • 1 package bacon, cooked and diced into small pieces
  • 2 handfuls of spinach leaves
    • Dressing:
      • 1/2 c. plain greek yogurt
      • 1/2 c. mayonnaise
      • 1/4 c. honey mustard dressing
      • 1/4 c. vinegar
      • 1/4 c. honey
      • 2 tsp. minced garlic
      • juice of 1 lemon
      • 1/4 tsp. salt

Cranberry Almond Bacon Broccoli Salad with Greek Yogurt Dressing

Combine all salad ingredients and set aside. Whisk dressing ingredients together in a medium sized bowl pour slowly over salad. I like to pour about half, mix up the salad, then pour more as needed. You don’t want it to be over dressed but you want it coated. Cover the bowl with saran wrap, stick in the fridge until you’re ready to eat. You can serve it right when you make it but I think an hour in the fridge makes the flavors really come together. Enjoy!

Cranberry Almond Bacon Broccoli Salad with Greek Yogurt Dressing

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Lemon Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce

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Lemon Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce

A couple weeks ago I made this when friends came over for dinner. I always get nervous making a new dish when guests come but yet I ALWAYS seem to be doing it! Oh man I don’t know why I do that to myself. But this was amazing. Like delicious. I tripled the sauce recipe because it was that good. And then that week I ate it on salads and and sandwiches (like the turkey club I just posted). Please make this salmon next time you need a nice but easy meal. It is delicious.

Original recipe from Cooking Classy here. GREAT site!!

Ingredients, Lemon Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce:

  • 4 6-oz salmon fillets
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Creamy Dill Sauce (I tripled this! But do what you think is best ;)

    • 1/3 cup fat free plain Greek Yogurt
    • 3 Tbsp mayonnaise (full fat)
    • 1 clove garlic, finely minced (I used minced garlic in olive oil)
    • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill (They were out of fresh dill at my grocery store so I used dried and chopped it up and it was still so good)
    • 2 - 3 tsp milk
    • 1/2 tsp honey
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Lemon Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon zest and lemon juice. Grease a 13 by 9-inch baking dish and place salmon fillets in baking dish. Season tops of salmon with salt and pepper then rotate to opposite side. Drizzle tops evenly with lemon mixture and gently rub over salmon, then season tops with salt and pepper. Let rest at room temperature 10 minutes, then bake in preheated oven 12 - 16 minutes, or until salmon has cooked through (cook time will vary based on thickness of fillets and how well done you liked them). Serve warm topped with Creamy Dill Sauce.
  • For the sauce:
    • In a bowl, mix together Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, garlic, dill, honey, and enough milk to reach desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Store in refrigerator, allow to rest at room temperature 20 minutes before serving (just so it's not ice cold over warm salmon).

Recipe Source: Cooking Classy

Lemon Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce

Friday, April 18, 2014

Chocolate Chip Butterscotch Oatmeal Walnut Cookies

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Chocolate Chip Butterscotch Oatmeal Walnut Cookies Pretty much all my favorite cookie ingredients rolled into one cookie!! Adapted from my traditional chocolate chip cookie with more butter and more salt (the extra salt is crucial with all the extra sweets going in!).

Ingredients, Chocolate Chip Butterscotch Oatmeal Walnut Cookie

  • 1 c. butter (2 sticks)
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 c. flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c. butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 c. chopped walnuts
  • 1 c. rolled oats

Drop onto cookie sheet and slightly flatten. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 8-9 minutes each. You have to take them out the minute you see any brown, then though they’ll still be soft let them sit on the cookie sheet about 10 minutes after they’re out of the oven, to continue cooking through. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Butterscotch Oatmeal Walnut CookiesChocolate Chip Butterscotch Oatmeal Walnut Cookies

Turkey, Bacon, & Avocado Club with Creamy Dill Sauce

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Turkey Bacon Avocado Club with Dill Sauce

I made this creamy dill sauce a couple weeks ago for a delicious new salmon recipe I tried (recipe coming soon!) and after we had lots of leftover sauce. I couldn’t stop putting it on everything. It’s so delicious and made mostly of greek yogurt so I don’t feel bad eating it. We tried it on some club sandwiches the other week and it was so yummy.

Ingredients, Turkey Bacon Avocado Club with Creamy Dill Sauce:

  • Nice bread or buns, or bagels (I used potato bagels which are so so soft), toasted
  • 3-4 slices of bacon per sandwich
  • Turkey slices (I like the thick cut herbed turkey from Costco)
  • Avocadoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Cheese, optional (I actually like mine without cheese … there’s so much else going on)
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • Creamy dill sauceTurkey Bacon Avocado Club with Dill Sauce

Ingredients, Creamy Dill Sauce

  • 1 c. plain greek yogurt
  • 1/4 c. mayonnaise
  • 3 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 3 tbsp. chopped dill
  • 2-3 tbsp. milk
  • salt to taste

Directions, creamy dill sauce: Whisk all ingredients except milk together. Slowly add milk until you reach a smooth consistency that’s not too runny. Turkey Bacon Avocado Club with Dill SauceTurkey Bacon Avocado Club with Dill SauceTurkey Bacon Avocado Club with Dill SauceTurkey Bacon Avocado Club with Dill Sauce

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Complete Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Salad / Cafe Rio Copycat Salad

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Cafe Rio Complete Sweet Pork Salad Recipe

Okay as promised here is the mammoth all-encompassing, start to finish Cafe Rio Sweet Pork copycat recipe. I have made this dozens of times and experimented with what I like best and don’t like best about other recipes. If you have not had a Cafe Rio sweet pork salad, then add this to your menu for next week. Seriously your family/spouse/roommates will thank you. It is so fresh and delicious but so filling and satisfying.

As I shared in my Cilantro Lime Cafe Rio Ranch post the other day, I also have made a couple shortcuts to make it easier. I love the site that I adapted most of these recipes from (Fav Family Recipes) but I don’t think there are enough tips for shortcuts. If I made it as directed on the site I’d be cooking for 4 hours straight right before dinner. Here are my tips here for helping it run smoothly when making, especially if making for company:

  1. Make the dressing ahead of time. This can be the morning of or even the night before. Just make it and put it in a sealed container in the fridge. No hassle right before meal time!
  2. Buy pre-shredded cheese. I usually don’t buy this, but with such a time-intensive recipe, this saves me time and cleanup when we’re making it for guests.
  3. Cook the pork in the water/garlic salt all the way through in the morning, then shred it, clean out the crock pot, and put back into the crock pot with enchilada/coke sauce and simmer all afternoon. This not only makes the meat so so delicious but saves you from having to deal with almost any cleanup right before dinner. This will just be ready whenever you are ready to eat.
  4. Prep all the sides you can the morning of the meal, or several hours before. I wash and chop all the romaine and then put it in a huge serving bowl in the fridge, so it’s chilled and ready to go. I also put the tortilla strips, mango salsa, quartered limes, cilantro sprigs, & cojita cheese in serving bowls, and set out all the ingredients for the rice and black beans next to the stove. Then bean and rice, and the guac & tortillas are the only things I have to prep right before dinner.
  5. Buy a tortilla warmer. These things are amazing. After a friend brought the tortillas for a dinner at our house one night, we were so impressed. She’d made them at her house and we ate them 45 minutes later and they were still steaming hot! She bought one for us after and we use it all the time. Then we can prep our tortillas an hour before company comes and they are still hot when we need to eat. If you don’t have one, just get everything else done and you can be making the tortillas as guests arrive.

Complete Cafe Rio Pork Salad, Ingredients (adapted from Fav Family Recipes), Serves 8-10:

  • 8-10 large cooked tortillas (we like the Tortilla Land ones you buy uncooked and make at home)
  • Shredded cheese, Mexican blend, optional
  • Cafe Rio Sweet Pork (see below)
  • Cafe Rio Cliantro Lime Rice (see below)
  • Cafe Rio Black Beans (see below)
  • 2-3 heads lettuce, cleaned & chopped (not iceberg, use leafy green or Romaine)
  • Mango salsa or pico de gallo (*the original recipe calls for homemade pico de gallo (diced tomatoes, diced onion, cilantro), but we love love love these salads with mango salsa from Costco. It tastes better than the original to us, and is easier because this is pre-made. But do whatever you think you’ll like best!)
  • Easy guacamole (1-2 mashed avocadoes, sprinkled with chili powder and garlic salt)
  • Tortilla Strips (we purchase these in the produce area near the salad toppers/croutons/nuts)
  • Cotija cheese, crumbled (or you can use any shredded cheese)
  • Fresh cilantro, for garnish
  • Limes, quartered for garnish & juice on top
  • Cafe Rio Cilantro Ranch (click here)
  • Aluminum deep dish pans (*Optional, but make it easier to eat and look great – get these round cake pans in the baking aisle or near the tupperware & baking dishes)

Directions for assembling the salad, once all ingredients are made:

  1. Place 1-2 cooked tortillas in the bottom of an aluminum tin. At Cafe Rio they put cheese on the tortilla and melt in a hot oven, which you can do, but we don’t do this step because the tortillas taste great on their own.
  2. Once you have your tortillas ready, with or without cheese, add a large spoonful of rice, then beans, then pork, then lettuce. On top add mango salsa, cojita cheese, then sprinkle the tortilla strips and any cilantro you’d like on top. We love adding guacamole too.
  3. Top with cilantro lime ranch and a squeeze of lime. Be ready to be in food heaven. And then be happy you have days worth of leftovers to keep this meal on repeat ;)

Ingredients, Cafe Rio Sweet Pork:

  • 2 pound pork tenderloin/roast (I love the ones at costco that come in a 2-pack. These have been the best/most juicy I’ve tried.)
  • 2 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1 c. water
  • 2 cans Coke (NOT diet)
  • 1 can diced green chilies
  • 1 10oz can red enchilada sauce
  • 1 c. brown sugar


  • Place pork in crock pot. Add 1 c. water and 2 tsp. garlic salt. Cook on high for about 3-4 hours (or until it shreds easily, but don't let it get TOO dry) or on low for 8 hours. Remove pork from crock pot and drain any liquid left in the pot. Shred pork. (Note the original recipe calls to cook the pork with coke and brown sugar but I’ve found cooking with the sugars doesn’t make it as moist and the sugary liquid can dry out the pork a little. If you cook it this way and then add the coke/enchilada sauce mixture after it tastes amazing!).
  • In a food processor or blender, blend 2 cans coke, chilies, enchilada sauce and remaining brown sugar (about a cup, you can add a little more or less to taste..). If it looks too thick, add more Coke little by little.
  • Put shredded pork and sauce in crockpot and cook on low for 2 hours. Serve with tongs.

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Recipe

Ingredients, Cafe Rio Cilantro Lime Rice

  • 1 c. uncooked rice (long-grain, white rice)
  • 1 tsp. butter or margarine
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 can (15 oz) chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro


    • In a saucepan combine rice, butter, garlic, 1 tsp. lime, chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low 15-20 minutes, until rice is tender. Remove from heat. In a small bowl combine lime juice, sugar and cilantro. Pour over hot cooked rice and mix in as you fluff the rice.

Cafe Rio Complete Sweet Pork Salad Recipe

Ingredients, Cafe Rio Black Beans

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small can green chiles (optional) 
  • 1 1/3 c. tomato juice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro


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

Cafe Rio Cilantro Lime Rice & Beans Recipe

Ingredients, Cilantro Lime Ranch (link here to post):

  • 1 bottle, ranch dressing
  • 3 tomatillos, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped + deseeded
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro leaves

Dump ingredients into a food processor or high power blender and puree. That’s it!  Cafe Rio Cilantro Lime Ranch Recipe  Cafe Rio Complete Sweet Pork Salad Recipe   Cafe Rio Complete Sweet Pork Salad Recipe

Saturday, April 5, 2014

General Conference Printables | April 2014


General Conference isn’t even over yet and already it’s been such a wonderful experience. Two weekends a year our church holds a general conference to address all our members and any visitors or investigators, worldwide. It takes place in Salt Lake City but is broadcast across the world. Every 6 months, year after year, my prayers and questions are answered, and often on the first day of general conference! I am so grateful for a gospel and faith that teaches us so much and allows us also so much personal opportunity to learn for ourselves through personal revelation.

Here are some printables from today’s sessions of conference. I love that these quotes are so applicable to all of us, not just Mormons ;) Click the image to access the downloadable PDF links.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Cilantro Lime Ranch / Cafe Rio Copycat Dressing

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Cilantro Lime RanchWhen we moved to Minnesota I quickly began tinkering with Cafe Rio copycat recipes to avert my strong cravings for their delicious fresh Mex. There is nothing like Cafe Rio here. Even the places that attempt fresh Mex just don’t get it right. Oh it is sad. I miss it. But I have found some amazing recipes and made some substitutions that make the food taste just like Cafe Rio and can be done really easily! The first I’ll be posting is the Cilantro Lime Ranch dressing. This dressing is just plain delicious. We sit and eat it with tortilla chips dunking each one in to get tons of dressing. It’s that good. I might dream of drinking it. Just kidding. But really it’s delicious on everything, not just Cafe Rio salads. We marinate chicken in it, put it on regular salads, use it as a dip, and more.

The original recipe I found calls for a packet of Ranch powder (MSG!), buttermilk, and mayonnaise. Not only are these things not on hand in my house, but they aren’t super healthy and they are expensive (Ranch packets are a rip off! Hidden Valley charges like $2 for 1 pack!).  So I’ve substituted and found you can easily replace these with a bottle of your favorite ranch (I love Briana’s ranch!).

Ingredients, 6  Ingredient Cilantro Lime Ranch / Cafe Rio Ranch Dressing:

  • 1 bottle, ranch dressing
  • 3 tomatillos, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped + deseeded
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro leaves

Dump ingredients into a food processor or high power blender and puree! That’s it! And then you don’t have to fuss with mayonnaise. You’re welcome.

5 Ingredient Cilantro Lime Ranch / Cafe Rio Ranch Copycat 5 Ingredient Cilantro Lime Ranch / Cafe Rio Ranch Copycat