Lightened Up Individual Chicken Shepherd’s Pie

This post is sponsored by Progresso. All opinions expressed are all my own.

I recently had a good friend ask me if I would help her out with some recipes that are healthy, fairly low carb and delicious. Her New Year’s resolution was to lost a little weight and to feel better. I told her I would brainstorm and come up with a few ideas.

Keeping that in mind, during one of my last grocery runs to Wal-Mart I had an idea that I had to try. Progresso has a fantastic line of soups for any palate. I happen to be in love with their Tomato Basil soup – it’s perfect for a weeknight dinner paired with a grilled cheese. Although they’re delicious by themselves I wanted to come up with a new recipe idea using their Light Chicken Noodle Soup.

I love a good challenge.
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The typical Shepherd’s Pie is a layered casserole with beef and vegetables in a broth or sauce topped with mashed potatoes and baked.

This one tastes just as indulgent, but sooo much better for the waistline. That’s not mashed potatoes you’re seeing there – that’s mashed cauliflower.

This is SO good. I boiled the cauliflower until it was tender and put it through my food processor with some milk, cream cheese and a few other things. It was so easy.

I had my friend over for dinner the night that I made this and she LOVED it! I was surprised myself – it turned out so much better than I anticipated. The cauliflower was so dense and rich; it added just the right amount of contrast to the soup. It’s a brilliant substitute for potatoes.
Shepherd's Pie You get your veggies and protein, and lots of flavor but less fat and calories.

Get your printable here –

Lightened Up Individual Chicken Shepherd’s Pie

Lightened Up Individual Chicken Shepherd’s Pie


  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 4 oz reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 1/4 fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • Progresso Light Chicken Noodle Soup - 1 can per serving


  • Boil the cauliflower in a large pot filled with water until tender, about 10-12 minutes; drain and roughly chop.
  • Add the cauliflower through thyme to a food processor and pulse until smooth, adding salt and pepper to taste.
  • Warm the chicken noodle soup in individual bowls or ramekins and spread the whipped cauliflower on top.
  • Sprinkle more Parmesan on top and serve.

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Spicy Pineapple Beef

Can you tell that I’ve had fresh pineapple in the fridge lately?

You’ll like this one.
Pineapple Beef | Dixie Chik Cooks I think I want to do that thing where you plant the top of it in soil and try to grow a tree. Not sure if I could do it, though. I tend to kill plants in my house. I’m not very good at keeping anything green alive.
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So, this dish was made because I had a hankering for something “orange peel” (think P.F. Changs). I initially wanted to make orange peel shrimp for a friend that completely flaked out on me so I went with my real craving and made beef with some fresh pineapple I had in the fridge.

I can’t stand the typical Chinese take out restaurants. They just gross me out and make me feel all heavy and shit. For whatever reason, I do love P.F. Changs – I love their orange peel line and lettuce wraps. The quality is different to me. Now, I’m leaving out the sushi restaurants, because they’re in a different category as far as I’m concerned. I’m just talking about the regular Chinese fare.

This isn’t a difficult dish to make; it’s simply slicing, dredging and flash frying. You can leave out the carrots if you want to, but I added them for a flavor contrast and color.
Pineapple Beef I dredged the beef in a flour mixture, but you could also use cornstarch, which will give you a crispier texture.

The sauce I made is a little bit sweet from the pineapple and a little bit spicy from the Sriracha. You can control the amount of heat by adding more or less Sriracha.

Y’all know I love heat, so my version might just set your mouth on fire.
Spicy Pineapple Beef Here’s your printable-

Spicy Pineapple Beef

Spicy Pineapple Beef


  • 1 lb. top sirloin, brought to room temperature and sliced thin
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 2 tbsp seasoned salt
  • 1 tbsp pepper
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 3 cups peanut oil
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple, diced
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp Sriracha, more or less depending on your taste
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • 1 lb. vermicelli, cooked
  • 1/3 cup carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • Additional pineapple, diced


  • Combine flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  • Dip beef slices in egg, then dredge in flour mixture.
  • Bring oil to 350 degrees and fry beef slices for 30 seconds, or until crispy; remove and drain on paper towels.
  • Whisk together soy sauce through brown sugar and toss with vermicelli; add beef and carrots and combine thoroughly.
  • Top with additional carrot sticks and pineapple, if desired.

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Fried Pineapple with Spicy Mayo

Fried Pineapple with Spicy Mayo I know what you’re thinking.
Fried Pineapple | Dixie Chik Cooks Just put that negativity shit out of your mind.

Yes, I fried pineapple. Fresh pineapple at that.
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Fried Pineapple with Spicy Mayo I literally have no idea why I thought to do it, but it worked. I went into recipe overload this past weekend; I made so many things but didn’t quite get around to shooting all the photos.

It’s ok; that seems to be the norm here lately. The whole cooking-is-my-therapy thing has been officially kicked straight into high ass gear – based on a few things. If you don’t know, I’m now a divorcee (as of a year and a half ago), my children are essentially grown and out of the house, and my home life has changed drastically.

There’s no more coming home after work to a busy household with two teenagers and their friends running around making messes and asking for homemade pizza, a husband asking what we’re going to have for dinner and a 40 pound dog barking at the back door wanting attention.

There’s no more two hour long grocery store trips on Saturday morning to feed my full household, trying to make sure I remember the important things that I would be immediately asked for when I got home; things like chocolate milk, green iced tea, whole milk mozzarella cheese and those damn big ass dog treats.

Now, I come home to deafening silence.

Sometimes I welcome it, sometimes I don’t. It’s just not fun to eat alone.

BUT – I’ve accepted it as a transitional period in my life and I know this is ok. I’m OK. I’m embracing my new normal.

Why did I decide to ramble about all this? Well, because while I was chopping the pineapple with no real direction to go in as far as a recipe, I remembered how much the copious amount of cooking and chopping and baking drove my ex-husband and kids crazy (although they say now that it didn’t, but I think I did). I think sometimes we don’t really understand until later/after the fact what and how much we can handle in a relationship. The truth is, that shit just really got on their damn nerves. The good news is my ex-husband and I are good friends and talk everyday and he doesn’t hold that against me.

I think they miss my food. At least I tell myself they do.

Back to the pineapple…

This simple dip has a nice kick to it; not too spicy. Feel free to adjust it if you need to.
Fried Pineapple Here’s your printable!

Fried Pineapple with Spicy Mayo


  • 1/2 fresh pineapple, sliced into 2 inch spears
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 2 tbsp seasoned salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 egg, slightly whisked
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 4 cups vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1 tbsp Cholula hot sauce (or your favorite hot sauce)
  • 1 tsp Creole seasoning


  • Combine flour, salt and pepper.
  • Combine egg and milk.
  • Dip pineapple spears in egg mixture, then dredge in flour. Repeat.
  • Bring oil to 350 degrees.
  • Fry spears in batches until golden brown and drain on paper towels.
  • Combine mayo, hot sauce and seasoning.
  • Serve pineapple spears with dip.
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Anything and Everything Bacon Wrapped – 18 Irresistible Recipes

Because there’s constantly a reason to entertain or be entertained by family and friends, neighbors and coworkers, we all need delicious and easy appetizer recipes for get togethers or just to hang out and enjoy good food. Sometimes, we get tired of the same familiar dishes.

Shrimp en Brochette

Shrimp en Brochette from Unorthodox Epicure

One thing most of us have in common is a love for bacon – it’s one of the most beloved foods ever…

I’ve put together a round up of 18 delicious bacon wrapped goodies for your recipe arsenal that will give you plenty of new ideas for those holiday parties. However, these recipes are so great, you can make anytime. From bacon wrapped peppers to shrimp, to hot dogs and even corn muffins, you’ll find something here to please everybody.

Go here to see my round up of Anything and Everything Bacon Wrapped – 18 Irresistible Recipes!

This article was originally published by me on Parade/Community Table.

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Polynesian Burger – WFC 2016

I sooo didn’t mean to take this long to post this for you.
World Food Championships 2016 Forgive me?

Life got in the way.

Anyway, I was in the burger division in the World Food Championships back in November and had an absolute blast. This was my second year competing, and I’m so in love with it.

I had no idea how much I would love it.
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Meet my team –
World Food Championships 2016 Left to right above – Quetta, me, Lynn and Natalie.
photo-nov-11-5-35-54-pm They were awesome; I couldn’t have asked for a better team. Moore’s Marinade was my sponsor – which was so fitting because I used their marinades in my burgers.

I wouldn’t use any other marinade.

They don’t know it but I’m family to the Moore’s company…..sssshhhhh!
15036561_10208966001685538_8253990688075440254_n I made two different burgers; one was a Southern Burger with fried green tomatoes and a spicy remoulade sauce and the other was a Polynesian Burger, which I’m sharing with you today.
Polynesian Burger | Dixie Chik Cooks
This is hands down one of my favorite burgers to date. The combination of pineapple, bacon and the spicy ketchup is off the charts delicious.
imgp5477 Not to mention those fried onion strings…

Here’s your printable-

Polynesian Burger and WFC 2016

Polynesian Burger and WFC 2016


  • 1 lb ground round
  • 3 tbsp Moore's Original Marinade
  • 4 slices Provolone cheese
  • 1 onion, sliced very thin
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 cup corn meal
  • 1 tbsp seasoned salt
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 cups peanut oil
  • 1/2 lb bacon, cooked
  • 4 pineapple rings, preferably fresh
  • 2 tbsp salted butter
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp Sriracha
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp pineapple juice
  • 4 burger buns or 8 slider buns


  • Combine ground round and marinade together; form beef into 4 patties.
  • Cook or grill burgers until desired doneness; top with cheese slices and cover until melted. Set aside.
  • Mix flour, corn meal, seasoned salt and cayenne pepper together in a mixing bowl.
  • Whisk egg and milk together in a separate bowl.
  • Heat peanut oil to 350 degrees.
  • Dip onions in egg/milk mixture and dredge in flour mixture; fry for 1-2 minutes until golden brown and drain on paper towels.
  • Melt butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat and add pineapple rings; cook for 1-2 minutes on each side until slightly golden; remove and set aside.
  • Mix ketchup through pineapple juice in a small bowl.
  • Build burger in this order - sauce on bottom bun, burger, bacon, pineapple and onion strings.
  • Serve.

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