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Chicken in White Wine Sauce


How many time have you tried to make chicken and it has come out flavorless and dry? Be honest! We have all been there. You are standing there with the chicken breast or thighs and think, “Well I guess I will just throw them in the pan.” A lot of people cook them completely dry with just some salt and pepper. Snooze button!




I have a lot of people constantly asking me how to make chicken or how to make a quick meal because they just don’t have the time. Let me say that making something that tastes and looks fancy doesn’t have to take 2 hours!


This is also perfect for a college student. They don’t have a lot of room for a bunch of ingredients or seasonings. I made this in my Aunt’s kitchen while I was watching her 3 dogs for 8 nights and she is not a cook at all and therefore has absolutely no kitchen stuff! Yes, this week I made this meal while watching her 3 dogs, my 2 dogs and a baby! It can be done people. This was a perfect meal because I just went to the store to pick up a few things and I was done! You can throw it over rice, pasta, quinoa, or some steamed veggie and you’re done!


Have you ever watched that many dogs? It’s crazy! There were dogs everywhere. I had no alone time, ever! I couldn’t even go to the bathroom without at least 3 dogs following me. Could I have just 2 minutes of privacy please! I finally found a baby gate to put up so that I could just have about a 2 foot bubble away from anything that was drooling or panting. Well, except Graeyson, he does drool at times.


This week we are in San Diego celebrating Mr. Graeyson’s first birthday! I will be anxious to get home after this. I have spent one night at home in three weeks. It has been a very busy few weeks for us! I can’t wait to get back in my own kitchen and whip out some goodness!


Happy Hump Day! Mike, Mike, Mike…


Chicken in White Wine Sauce
Author: Nicole Nilsen
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 3-4
  • 10 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon shallots, finely minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely minced and 12 single sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon and 1/2 teaspoon arrowroot powder
  • 10 tiny drops of liquid smoke (optional for a slight hickory flavor)
  • 1 tablespoon of good balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes (you could also do mushrooms instead)
  • 2 cups dry white wine (preferably Italian)
  1. In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  2. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the chicken thighs
  3. Arrange the chicken thighs in the skillet
  4. Cook the chicken thighs for about 4 minutes on each side
  5. Once the chicken has cooked through set them aside
  6. Add the shallots, garlic, and the chopped thyme (not the sprigs) to the remaining chicken juice in the skillet
  7. Cook for about 3 minutes until it starts to get bubbly
  8. Add in 2 cups of dry white wine
  9. Add in the arrowroot powder and allow it to dissolve before adding anything else (you may need to chase it around with a wooden spoon and break it down)
  10. Add in the balsamic vinegar, worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke
  11. Add in the thyme sprigs
  12. Allow the sauce to cook on medium/low heat for about 20-25 minutes
  13. Once the sauce has thickened give it a taste and add a couple dashes of salt and pepper if needed
  14. If the sauce is not thick enough for you add a little more arrowroot powder
  15. Add the chicken back in and smother it in the sauce
  16. Add your tomatoes or mushrooms (thinly sliced if using) and cook on medium heat for about 2-3 minutes.
  17. Serve with quinoa, rice, potatoes, veggies, on top of pasta…


St. Louis Ribs with Homemade Rub and Sauce!

Nothing screams summertime more than a delicious rack of St. Louis ribs. I mean am I right or am I right? Here is the thing as much as I love to BBQ, there is nothing better than oven roasted ribs. They sit in their pretty little tray for hours and hours and get sticky, gooey and unbelievably tender.


Don’t you just love ribs that fall off the bone. You hardly even need to chew these! Babies could eat them. My brother used to say babies could eat things when food was amazing. He would tell people this at the farmers market when he would sell my Dad’s salsa. “This is great on eggs, cereal, oatmeal, even babies could eat it.” Yes, I am sure babies would love salsa. Children say the cutest things sometimes.

These ribs are like the filet mignon of ribs. They melt right in your mouth. The key to this is an amazing sauce, an flavorful rub and cooking them for hours on a really low heat. These ribs will take about 4 hours to bake, but let me just say that they they are worth every sticky second. Make these on a lazy weekend day when you are catching up on laundry and housework, which is like every weekend anyway (RIGHT?!).


Okay, lets talk sauce and rub. Yes, you need both. Trust me, its amazing! They are both really easy and quick to make! They give the ribs such great flavor and the rub helps the sauce stay on better. Everything from a bit of spice, to a sweetness and even a smokiness. What else could you want in ribs?


Yummy yummy in my tummy!

St. Louis Ribs with Homemade Rub and Sauce!
Author: Nicole Nilsen
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
  • 3 pounds St Louis style pork ribs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon red chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried garlic (either granulated or powdered will work)
  • 1/2 tablespoon granulated onion
  • 1/2 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon adobe chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons grape seed oil
  • 1/3 cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 -1 tablespoon Himalayan salt (start with 1/2 and add more later if desired)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 6 ounce can of tomato paste
  • 10-15 small drops of Hickory Liquid Smoke
  • 3 tablespoons agave
  1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees
  2. Prepare a baking sheet by covering it with foil
  4. Add all ingredients to a medium sized bowl and mix well
  6. Grab a medium saucepan and add the oil, onion, salt and garlic
  7. Cook for a few minutes until the onions are translucent
  8. Add in everything else except the tomato paste, agave, and liquid smoke
  9. After about two minutes mix in your tomato paste and agave
  10. Allow for it to simmer for about ten minutes
  11. Add in the liquid smoke
  12. Allow to cook for 2 more minutes and give it a taste!
  13. Make any necessary adjustments (more salt, pepper, liquid smoke or agave)
  15. Slather both sides of the ribs with about 2 tablespoons each side. You want the ribs completely covered.
  16. Place the ribs on the baking sheet and completely wrap it with the foil (close it all up!)
  17. After 3 hours pull your ribs out of the oven
  18. Slather both sides with about 1/3 of the sauce
  19. Close the foil up and cook the ribs for another 30 minutes
  20. Pull the ribs back out of the oven and slather more sauce on both sides, leaving a thick layer on the top
  21. Stick it back in the oven for the last 30 minutes or until cooked, uncovered
  22. Leave it uncovered so that the sauce thickens right on the top!


Baked Dill Salmon

I hated fish my whole life, that is until I met a Norwegian. It is absolutely not allowed to hate fish because that is all they eat! So I really had no choice but to give in. The first bit of fish that I ever liked was a teriyaki glazed salmon that my Father-in-Law BBQ’d. I started eating it by taking tiny pieces. Over the years I managed to work up to eating an actually serving size of salmon. After that I started trying it cooked different ways and then finally moved into other realms of the seafood world!


As of today, my favorite way of enjoying salmon is baked with lemon and dill. Dill and salmon is like peanut butter and jelly, they belong together. They should just get married already. It gives the salmon this incredible buttery taste! Have I died and gone to heaven? Yum!


A lot of people are really scared to make salmon. It is really not hard at all! Just follow the instructions step by step and everyone will think you are a pro!


Baked Dill Salmon
Author: Nicole Nilsen
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 3-4
  • 1 1/4 pound Atlantic Salmon (get the body part which is thicker and has more fat, which will give you more flavor)
  • 1/2 tablespoon Santa Maria Seasoning (Purchased from Whole Foods)
  • 1 lemon, 4-6 slices
  • Fresh dill, finely chopped
  • Ground pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Grab a large piece of foil and put it on top of a cooking sheet or baking pan
  3. Set the salmon on the foil
  4. Sprinkle the seasonings or Himalayan salt on the fish, then fresh dill and lastly set the lemon slices on the very top
  5. Close up the foil all around the salmon completely
  6. Bake it in the oven for about 20 minutes (depending on the size and thickness)
  7. ** It is done when you are able to easily to flake the salmon off with a fork**


Pear Salad with Citrus Dressing


We are closely embarking on the long hot summer days! During the summer nobody wants to turn on their oven! So hot, right? I find that I make a lot of salads during the summer months. There is nothing like a nice crisp, refreshing salad!


Salads can become so boring! I think it is funny how the salads we make at home feel more like a chore to eat than anything. However, as soon as we go out to eat we can’t wait to get a side salad and want to be served the salad before our meal. Hmm, yes that makes sense, right?



Are restaurant salads really that much better than the ones we make at home? Most definitely! Salads at home are so boring. Here’s the good news. This salad is amazing! It is a total restaurant quality salad. Gorgeous spring mix with cranberries, tangy and creamy blue cheese, pears, grapes, all topped with crunchy toasted almonds and dressed with tangy citrus dressing. Lets see, the word you are searching for is “YUM!” If that doesn’t make you want to get off your butt to make a salad I don’t know what will!



Pear Salad with Citrus Dressing
Author: Nicole Nilsen
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-5
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons total of zest (from tangelos and lemons)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup tangelo juice
  • 1/4 lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons coconut sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Himalayan salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 12 -16 ounces spring mix salad
  • 1 pear, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup of red grapes, halved
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, unsweetened
  • 1/3-1/2 pound of blue cheese, thinly sliced (I used IGOR from Whole Foods. You don’t want a really overpowering cheese. Try to choose something mild. Point Reyes is another good choice)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  3. Add all of the ingredients to a ball jar or salad dressing shaker and shake well (Thats it!)
  4. SALAD:
  5. Put your almonds, salt and coconut oil on a baking sheet and bake them for about 8-10 minutes until the almonds are toasty brown.
  6. While you are waiting on the almonds put your salad together. Put the lettuce leaves on the bottom then layer with grapes, cranberries, slices of pear and blue cheese
  7. Top with almonds as soon as they are done toasting
  8. Serve with fresh ground pepper and your citrus dressing!


Raw Key Lime Pie Parfait



Hello Friends!


I have a confession to make and I hope you don’t hate me forever. I have been making this for years! I have been selfishly keeping this yumminess all to myself. This has always been a major hit with anyone that has every had the Raw Key Lime. It is one of those desserts you make when you have people over and you secretly want to tell them how disgusting it is so you can eat all of it later in the closet when nobody is looking. I have only done this twice, okay four times. I’m telling you it’s just that good! Don’t judge me.




From the first bite you get a major pow of lime, citrus, sweet agave, and butter crumbled nuts. Wow-wee it’s amazing! I used to make this all the time in a pie form, but this way is way more fun and plus everyone gets there own personal mini dessert. It just doesn’t get any cuter!




There is no baking involved at all! No baking, plus lots of lime and avocados, means perfect summertime dessert! I have had this dessert year round. Just because it tastes like Summer, doesn’t mean you can’t eat it the rest of the year. It is like Thanksgiving food, just too good to have only once a year. Am I right?


I haven’t even mentioned the best part. It is actually good for you! Yes, as you eat this you will think how is this possible? Am I in heaven? These parfaits are gluten, dairy, and refined sugar free!




For this recipe I used my coconut milk whipped cream instead of the typical heavy whipping cream. The only downside is it does take an overnight of refrigeration to make this happen. So don’t forget to throw this in your fridge the night before you want to make it! I get into the habit of leaving a can in the fridge all the time so I always have my coconut cream ready for a dessert or dressing.


Trifle glasses up!


Raw Key Lime Pie Parfait
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Nicole Nilsen
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 1/4 cup macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 3/4 cup brazil nuts
  • 1/4 cup packed dates, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 3/4 cup lime juice
  • 7 1/2 ounces avocado (about 1 1/2 avocado)
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons coconut milk (full fat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 2 tablespoons liquid lecithin (Can find it at Whole Foods in the Whole Body section)
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon coconut oil, slightly melted (Don’t melt it to the point of it being clear it needs to just be partially melted and not warm or it will get chunky in the blender)
  • 1 can of Thai Kitchen coconut milk (must be full fat and needs to be refrigerated overnight)
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  2. Place all of the ingredients, except the dates, into a food processor with the “S” blade intact
  3. Pulse until all the nuts are halfway broken down and chunky
  4. Add the dates and pulse until it has small crumbles (not into a paste)
  5. Set aside
  7. In a high powered blender add all of the ingredients except the coconut oil and the liquid lecithin and blend until smooth
  8. Add in the coconut oil and the lecithin (Make sure the oil is not warm, it needs to be at room temperature)
  9. Blend until well mixed
  10. Set aside
  12. After allowing the coconut milk to chill overnight, scoop out the coconut cream into a medium-sized bowl. (Be careful not to get any of the liquid on the bottom)
  13. Reserve the liquid for smoothies
  14. Add 1 tablespoon agave nectar to the bowl
  15. Grab an electric mixer and mix for about 30 seconds until the agave is mixed in and the cream is fluffy
  17. Take one of your parfait glasses and pack the bottom with about 2 tablespoons of the crumbles mixture
  18. Then place a couple of scoops of the filling on top of the “crust” (easily work it in so it doesn’t get crumbles on the filling
  19. Then sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of the crumbles on top of the filling
  20. Repeat once more (filling then crumbles)
  21. Lastly top it with coconut whipped cream and a lime wedge (and/or lime zest, more crumbles)


Hambone Soup

Happy Friday!


I love Fridays. It isn’t like my week ends or anything because blogging and Mama time never really stop. Thank goodness! They are two of my three most favorite things in the world. What’s the third? Chocolate! Ok, my husband of course! Fridays have always been a fun day because even though I am not done “working” most everyone else is! It is a time to get together with friends and family for good food and lots of laughs.


This Friday we have a new cousin in town! His name is Landon Anthony and let me tell you he is the cutest thing. He came out with a full head of hair! Isn’t he the cutest?!


I remember when I had Graeyson one of the most difficult things was having time to eat, let alone actually preparing a meal. I think I lived off of kale chips. I would just tear up pieces of kale, pour a little coconut oil, salt and pepper, throw it in the oven and call it a day. That’s probably one reason new moms lose their baby weight so quickly, because there is no time to eat. It would have made it easier to have someone bring some prepared meals over.


This hambone soup is a great idea! It is well balanced, lean, hearty, and best of all quick and easy. They could even throw this in the freezer if they ended up with too much food being brought over. If you don’t have ham you could easily substitute for turkey or chicken. This was made last week when we still had leftover Easter ham! If you had a lot of Easter ham leftover and didn’t know what to do with it, you should hang onto this recipe for next time you make a big ham! It is absolutely delicious and boy does it hit the spot!


Bring this to all your new Mama friends, they will love you!

Hambone Soup
Recipe Type: Soup
Author: Nicole Nilsen
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
  • 1 hambone
  • 7 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups ham, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 4 garlic cloves (2 in stock and 2 with veggies), minced
  • 2 golden potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup yellow onions, diced
  • 2 carrots or about 14 baby carrots, diced
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (you could also use extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil)
  • 1 cup corn (canned, frozen or from a cob)
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained (not rinsed)
  • ½ tsp Himalayan salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  1. Place your hambone and stock in a large pot and boil
  2. Once the stock is boiling turn the heat down to a low simmer
  3. Add in 2 cloves of minced garlic, 2 bay leaves and 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
  4. Allow it to simmer for 30 minutes
  5. Meanwhile get your onions, carrots, and potatoes diced
  6. In a large skillet heat your oil and add in the onions, potatoes and carrots
  7. Cook for about 3 minutes until the onions become translucent
  8. Remove the hambone from the pot and add in the ingredients from the skillet to the stock pot
  9. Next add in your beans, corn, pepper and salt and cook for 8-10 minutes until your carrots and potatoes are tender
  10. Add in the diced ham, just enough to warm it up (about 2 minutes)
  11. Serve!


Almond, Lemon, Poppyseed Loaf



It is finally starting to feel like Summer! I love Summer until about July time and then I am over it. After that I just get tired of the sweaty/sticky grossness, no sheets sleeping, bathing suit only wearing, bug bite landing pad, downright this weather is too darn bright and hot! Bleh! I know that’s a lot for you to retain. Thank goodness its only April so you wont have to hear that rant for a few more months.


For now, the weather is perfect and Graeyson and I don’t have a care in the world this week, except posting some blogs! We will be reporting to you from sunny San Diego this week as per our usual routine of visiting the husband every other week. #when will this be over!!# We can’t wait to finally be in the same household again. And as it still seems so far away, we are almost there! I can taste it!


Speaking of tasting it. Looks below! I am telling you right now you need to make this immediately (okay, if you are being lazy at work and reading this you can wait until you get home, but if you are not then get in the kitchen!) because it is for sure one of the best things ever! I swear to you, your mind will be blown when you find out there is no butter, nasty oils, cream, or white flour in sight. The only dairy in here is greek yogurt. I am calling this the “Almond, Lemon, Poppyseed Loaf.” I should really call it poundcake or crack for short. It is that good. You are going to say to yourself, “Self, how is this healthy for me, it tastes amazing!!” I know because I had the same conversation with myself but, I made it and I wrote the recipe so I am telling you it is true. Every time I make this bad boy it is gone within a day. It will not last! Especially if you have a cookie monster Graeyson like me.


So enjoy it while you can because it is going to go fast!

Until next time!

x Nicole

Almond, Lemon, Poppyseed Loaf
Author: Nicole Nilsen
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8 slices
  • 2/3 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 cup agave
  • 3 large eggs, beaten (MUST be room temperature, if you forget to set them out for a while before you start put them in a bowl of warm water until they are no longer cold)
  • 2/3 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups spelt flour, sifted (MUST be sifted)
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoons Xantham Gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  1. Preheat your oven to 295 degrees
  2. Grease a loaf pan (don’t use glass, it must be the metal one) and set aside
  3. Take out two large mixing bowls.
  4. In the first one mix together the oil, agave, eggs, greek yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of the lemon zest and almond extract
  5. In the second bowl mix together the sifted spelt flour, baking soda, Xantham Gum, baking powder and salt
  6. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well
  7. Fold in the poppy seeds
  8. Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 55 minutes uncovered and 10 minutes covered with foil. It will bake for a total of 1 hour and 5 minutes on 295 degrees.
  9. You can cover the loaf with foil as soon as it is the the right color you want. I found it to be at about 55 minutes.
  10. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before cutting and serving

Meat Lover’s Breakfast Strata


Somedays I am really lazy, I mean so lazy that I don’t even leave the house or change out of my pajamas. Those types of mornings I drag out of bed and cross my fingers that some magical fairy made something for me the night before and just threw it in my fridge. Wouldn’t that be nice? Oh magical fairy, where are you?


Since I can’t have a magical fairy or a husband that can make anything past a bowl of cereal, no offense babe, breakfast strata’s are the next best thing. You prepare it the night before, it soaks in all the yumminess while you are off counting sheep in the night and then bam all you have to do is preheat the oven and throw the strata in.


Okay, I can handle that. Two steps in the morning. Preheat oven and put in oven. That sounds like a caveman. I bet a caveman could even do this! There ought to be more meals like this. What an awesome lazy Saturday meal! Or Sunday, or Monday, or Tuesday… Okay lets just say Monday thru Sunday!


Breakfast strata typically has a lot more bread, but since my recipes are not “typical,” something had to change! Honestly, this is way better! I try to stay away from all the bread, plus it isn’t adding any flavor. This is where ham and sausage come in. I used a couple cups of our leftover Easter ham. I have made so many things with that ham and I still have more! You could really use whatever meat or vegetables you wanted. I just used what we had on hand. It’s kind of like the kitchen sink strata. Hmm that would be a good title for my next strata!



x Nicole

Meat Lover’s Breakfast Strata
Author: Nicole Nilsen
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
This is a do ahead meal! It must set in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours!
  • 6 cups rosemary sourdough bread, cut into one inch cubes
  • 9 eggs (room temperature)
  • 3 Italian sausages, cooked and sliced
  • 2 cups leftover Easter ham, diced (can substitute for any other meat, but make sure the meat is cooked before adding it to the casserole)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow onion, diced
  • 5 stalks of kale, stems removed and cut into thin ribbons (chiffonade)
  • 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups smoked gouda, shredded (depending on how cheesy you like it)
  • Fresh thyme
  1. In a medium saucepan heat the coconut oil on medium heat
  2. When the oil has melted add in the onions, half of the salt, half of the pepper and all of the nutmeg
  3. Cook the onions until translucent, about 3-5 minutes
  4. Stir in the shredded kale and cook until the kale has had a chance to cook, about 3-5 minutes. Then set aside
  5. Grease a 3 quart baking dish and place 1/3 of the cubes of bread in the bottom, then 1/3 of the kale mixture, 1/3 of the smoked gouda shreds. Continue to layer two more times by starting with bread, then kale, then cheese. You will have a total of three layers and end with the cheese on top.
  6. Take out a large mixing bowl
  7. Mix together the eggs, almond milk, and the other half of salt and pepper
  8. Pour the mixture over the top of the casserole as evenly as possible
  9. Tightly cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight (at least 8 hours)
  10. Pull the strata out of the refrigerator and then preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  11. Top the strata with fresh Thyme (about 1-2 teaspoons)
  12. Bake it for 45-50 minutes uncovered
  13. Poke it with a toothpick to make sure the egg has cooked through.
  14. Let it set for 5 minutes before serving
  15. Top with more Thyme if desired!

Sweet Potato, Sausage and Brussels Sprout Casserole

I used to work in the cheese department at Whole Foods Market. Did I ever mention that? It was a great experience and a lot of fun. I learned so much about cheese, obviously. I remember when my boss called to screen me for an interview and she asked me what my favorite cheeses were. I answered her with brie and cheddar. What a generic answer. Well, to tell you the truth I really knew nothing about cheese. I thought that curds and whey were just part of a nursery rhyme. I had no idea it was much more than a silly song!


Did you know how many different types of blue cheese, cheddars, goudas, bries and parmesans there are? Do you know how they make blue cheese blue? Or that they make cheese from many animals, not just cows! There is a whole big world out there, of cheese.


When I make recipes with cheese I try to go out of the comfort zone of mixed yellow and white cheese shreds. I found my love for smoked cheeses during this journey as well. It gives them a nice meaty, jerky, maple flavor that I love! In this recipe I am included a fabulous smoked cheddar and a danish fontina. Fontina can be a little stinky, but when it is cooked and mixed with another cheese it gives off such a wonderful flavor and really enhances whatever you add to it! If you don’t like these cheeses feel free to substitute, but I feel they go really well with this dish.


Give it a try!

Sweet Potato, Sausage and Brussels Sprouts Casserole
Author: Nicole Nilsen
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-6
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 6 cups peeled and diced sweet potatoes (2 medium sized)
  • 3 cups of brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1 1/4 pound Italian sausages
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 ounces shredded danish fontina
  • 3 ounces smoked chedder
  • (Plus more cheese for topping)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 1/4 cup spelt flour
  • 2 cloves garlic
  2. Cook brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes about 15 minutes (with coconut oil, thyme, salt and pepper
  3. In a second skillet cook the sausages until browned
  4. Once they are both cooked, combine them and mix
  5. Pour them into a 9 inch square baking dish and pour the cheese sauce over the top. Add more grated cheese on top is desired
  6. Bake on 350 for 10 min
  7. SAUCE
  8. Heat almond milk and chicken broth
  9. Once hot, add the spelt flour
  10. When it has thickened add in the white wine, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper
  11. lastly add in the cheese
  12. Cook over medium heat until all the cheese is melted.


Enchilada Pasta Casserole

Hey Mike, Mike, Mike, what day is it? Yup, it’s hump day! I love Wednesdays because you are in the clear from the “Monday’s,” but you are also just a hop, skip and a jump away from Friday!

This morning Graeyson decided 5:45 am was a great time to start the day. Ouch. My eyes hurt! I may not have actually had to get ready to go anywhere at that time, but it’s just the fact that I have to be up, standing, moving around and grabbing everything Graey puts in his mouth.

My child ate probably a handful of sand today at the park. He licked every stick possibly. What is wrong with boys. We went with two of his friends, Margot and Mary. They sit in the sand perfectly still and play with the sand toys. My child? Oh yes, he is the one taking off in the other direction with a mouthful of sticks and a handful of sand.


Speaking of a mouthful. Hello? Have you seen this new dish I made (look up or down). Deliciousness to the maximum! It took me two days to figure out what to call it and when people ask me to explain what I have been working on it takes forever! It’s taco, meets enchilada, meets italian, meets nachos, meets in my belly! Do I need to say more?


I told my father-in-law it reminded me of hamburger helper from when I was a kid and he looked at me totally disgusted. He said, “Noooooo this isn’t even in the same ballpark, it’s way better!” Ok I can live with that, but you know how hamburger helper had a meat, pasta, and sauce? So it is kind of like that, but adult version, rated “R”. Ok fine, babies can have it.

Until next time!

Mexican Pasta Casserole
Recipe Type: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican/Italian
Author: Nicole Nilsen
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 5-6
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 small onion diced
  • 1 1/4 pound dark turkey meat
  • 2 1/2 cups dry rotini brown rice pasta noodles (I use Tinkiyada)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can of Hatch Enchilada Sauce (14 oz)
  • 2 cups of cheese, I used cheddar but you could use any type of omit it to keep it non-dairy
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 1 can black olives, drained
  1. Set your oven to broil
  2. In a cast iron skillet or a large pot, melt the coconut oil
  3. Add the garlic and onions to the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes on medium heat
  4. Add the turkey meat and cook until browned
  5. Once the turkey meat is cooked add in the chicken stock, enchilada sauce and rotini noodles.
  6. Cook it for about ten minutes, right about when the noodles are still al dente. You don’t want them to be completely cooked
  7. Take it off the burner and let it sit covered for about five minutes
  8. Add in half of the cheese and mix
  9. If you aren’t already using a cast iron pour it into one now and top with cheese and olives
  10. Place it into the oven and allow it to broil about 3 minutes until it starts bubbling and is lightly browned on the top
  11. Pull it out of the oven and top it with green onions and sour cream or yogurt if desired
  12. Serve immediately!