Chile con queso

Easy homemade queso

This homemade chile con queso is the perfect appetizer or side to any meal. 

Easy homemade queso

Yall.  Quesoooo!  Or chile con queso.  Or cheese dip with chiles in it.  Or chips best friend.  Or your new best friend.  Or all of it.  I say all of it.  When we go out to eat at any Mexican restaurant this is what I order.  Chile con queso with flour chips.  I don’t think there is anything better.  Nay.  I know their isn’t anything better. 

I love the queso that we get when we go out, but nothing beats homemade.  And being able to make it whenever you want.  Ahhh.. now that’s the best. 

Homemade queso

The great thing about this chile con queso recipe is that you can adapt it anyway you like.  Some people put sausage or chorizo in their queso.  Or use a spicier pepper.  I used a jalapeno but if you like queso with a bite then serrano or habanero.  I don’t like too much spice in my queso.  Weird, I know.

Fun fact – I’m not really a big fan of spicy food.  I barely like pepper on my food.  I know.  I know.  Weird.  But this queso?  Just the right amount of spice and absolute perfection. 

Chile con queso
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, deseeded and diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1-2 cups of milk
  • 6 cups of shredded white cheese
  • 1 -15 ounce can of diced tomatoes, drained
  • cilantro for topping
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan add the butter, onion, jalapeno and garlic. Allow to cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent and the garlic fragrant. About 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the flour and allow to cook for about a minute.
  3. Whisk in the milk, slowly, and allow to cook until it starts to thicken.
  4. Turn the heat down to low and add in the cheese. Stirring to combine. Add in the tomatoes and give a final stir. Pour into bowls, top with cilantro and enjoy!

 

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Chile con queso recipe!  Make this easy dip at home

Sweet and salty popcorn bark

Sweet and salty popcorn bark

This popcorn bark is the perfect combo of sweet and salty! 

Sweet and salty popcorn bark

Thank you BOOMCHICKAPOP for inspiring today’s recipe! 

Hello, hello!  Do yall love a good sweet and salty combination?  I do!  Just thinking of sweet and salty together my mouth starts to water.  I LOVE IT THAT MUCH.  

I remember when I was a little girl I would sit with my grandma after dinner for dessert.  We would have a sweet and then a side of pretzels or popcorn.  We would alternate between the sweet dessert and a pretzel or two.  Our own sweet and salty combo!  

BOOM CHICKA POP sweet and salty kettle corn

Today I still love the sweet and salty mix.  Sometimes I’ll have a chocolate cake or something similar and all I can think is “This would be perfect with a pretzel or two!”  I’m not sure that’s the correct way to respond to CHOCOLATE CAKE, but it’s how I feel.  (I mean seriously.. isn’t chocolate cake perfect in itself??)  

The same goes when I’m having popcorn.  (Or pretzels.)  All I want is a piece of chocolate or peanut butter to smoosh together with the popcorn.  In my mind sweet and salty just go together.  

Sweet and salty homemade popcorn bark

Of course BOOMCHICKAPOP has an amazing kettle corn that solves my sweet and salty dilemma.  Kettle corn has always been my favorite.  Still, all I could think about was tossing the popcorn on top of some chocolate.  So I did.  

I made this SUPER EASY sweet and salty popcorn bark.  It’s perfect for after school snacking, as a game day appetizer or just a quick dessert.  No matter when you enjoy this popcorn bark I can guarantee it will satisfy your sweet and salty tooth!  

Sweet and salty popcorn bark
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 10 ounces chocolate bark
  • 1-2 cup BOOMCHICKAPOP kettle corn
  • handful of salted peanuts and almonds
  • handful of peanut butter chips
  • handful of white chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Melt chocolate bark in a double boiler on the stove on in the microwave. If using the microwave - set for 30 second intervals and stir each time after. It should only take 2 or 3 intervals for the chocolate to full melt.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and pour out over the paper. Spread out evenly.
  3. Sprinkle the kettle corn, nuts and chips over the wet chocolate bark.
  4. Place in the fridge or freezer to harden.
  5. Break once hard. Store in an airtight container.
  6. Enjoy!

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Delicious sweet and salty popcorn bark recipe!  This is so easy to toss together and everyone will love the sweetsalty combo!

 

Chocolate cheesecake stuffed strawberries + video

Chocolate covered cheesecake stuffed strawberries

Looking for the perfect sweet treat?  I’ve got you covered!  (In chocolate!)

Easy chocolate covered cheesecake stuffed strawberries

Yall.  Seriously.  Chocolate covered cheesecake stuffed strawberries.  Yes!  So much yes.  I didn’t even think this much goodness could fit in one strawberry.  But let me tell you – it can!  And you NEED to make these bad boys ASAP.  

As soon as possible may not be fast enough.  But that’s just my chocolate cheesecake stuffed strawberry belly talking.  

Chocolate covered cheesecake stuffed strawberries

You need to know two things about these strawberries.  First.  They are ridiculously easy to make.  No lie.  They took about 30 minutes to make two dozen.  And that included letting them set in the freezer for a few minutes to harden.  THAT EASY.  

Second.  They will disappear.  Seriously.  You will have a cookie sheet full of two dozen strawberries and if you look away they will be gone.  I mean – it’s easy to figure out where they went because you will see chocolate smeared smiles all around you.  But still.  They will be gone LIKE THAT.  

Cheesecake stuffed strawberry recipe

I should put a third disclaimer here too.  They are SO much cheaper to make at home then to buy.  I know this time of year everyone is pushing store bought chocolate covered strawberries.  And they look good!  I know.  I get tempted to buy them too.  

But walk away.  Walk straight to the baking aisle and grab some powdered sugar and chocolate bark.  Then grab a stick of cream cheese and at least 2 dozen strawberries.  They strawberries will be the most expensive thing – but don’t you worry.  It’s all worth it!  

And just so you can see how easy they are to make a did a quick (super quick) video tutorial.  With some super cheesy Valentine’s music.  Because what are chocolate cheesecake stuffed strawberries without a little cheesy music??


Chocolate cheesecake stuffed strawberries + video
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 24 strawberries, washed and dried
  • about 8 ounces of chocolate bark, melted
Instructions
  1. In a stand mixer or using a handheld, whip the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Slowly add in the powdered sugar. Mix in the vanilla extract. If your cheesecake mixture is too runny- add a bit more powdered sugar. You want it to be able to hold a peak for a few seconds.
  2. Cut a triangle in the strawberry, with the point facing toward the bottom of the berry. (See video for tips)
  3. Pipe in the cheesecake mixture. (I added mine to a plastic baggy and cut the tip.)
  4. Place on a baking and put in the freezer for 5 minutes to allow the cheesecake mix to harden.
  5. Remove from the freezer, dip the strawberry in the melted chocolate bark and return back to the cookie sheet. Allow to harden completely before eating. Keep in fridge or freezer if not eating right away.
  6. Enjoy!

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Easy and so yummy - chocolate covered cheesecake stuffed strawberries! Make these for your sweetie (or yourself!) today!

 

Weekly family menu plan 23

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Looking for menu inspiration for the week?  We’ve got you covered! 

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Hello, hello!  I feel like a slacker!  I haven’t has a menu post in two weeks.  Gah.  My site was down for a few days.  Completely down.  I couldn’t log in to anything.  It was nuts.  And I might have eaten way too much Mexican food during that time.  (Stress eating.)  Then my site was up and down for a week after that.  Ahhhh.  It was frustrating.  I understand things happen but holy smokes.  

Anyways, I think that everything is fixed and running normal.  And I have a new menu!  Hoooray!  All is right in the world!  

Monday – Roasted vegetable nachos // These are so so so so delicious!  And I consider them healthy.  Don’t you??

Tuesday – Scrambled egg tacos with cojita cheese // Yesss!  Breakfast for dinner!  And cojita cheese?  Yall.. its amazing!! 

Wednesday – Paleo shrimp and grits // I think I could eat grits all the time.  You can do anything with them!  

Thursday – Mini meatloaf pepper rings // My kids would love these mini meatloaves!  I think I would too.  

Friday – Slow cooker chicken Parmesan sandwiches // Oh yess.  Slow cooker comfort food?  That’s my jam!  

Dessert – Thin mint dark chocolate pots de menthe // Mmm.. is there anything better in this world then Thin mints?  I think not!  

Breakfast option – Taco egg muffin cups // Tacos and breakfast just go together!  These muffin cups are perfect for grab and go breakfasts too! 

Strawberry funfetti cupcakes

Homemade strawberry funfetti cupcakes

These homemade strawberry funfetti cupcakes are bursting with flavor AND sprinkles!

Homemade strawberry funfetti cupcake recipe

Hey friends!  How about some strawberry funfetti cupcakes today??  I think I could eat these cupcakes everyday.. but that’s just me!  They are homemade and full of strawberry goodness.  Once I started making cupcakes from scratch and realized how easy they were, I tossed the box.  This homemade version is 9 million times better then anything at the store and so moist because of the fresh strawberries. 

Have I sold you them yet?  If not – they are filled with sprinkles!  Which makes everything better, of course. 

Homemade strawberry funfetti cupcakes

Now these cupcakes are not blazing pink because I didn’t add any food coloring to them.  The fresh strawberries give them a nice pink tint without having to use artificial dyes.  WHICH I LOVE!  I’m not anti-food coloring but we try to avoid it when possible.  So if I can make a homemade pink cupcake without dye – I’m there! 

I’ve made these cupcakes many times too.  We’ve had them for Ryley’s birthday and I’ve made them for friends parties as well.  They always go over well.  And by that I mean they DISAPPEAR.  People love them.  This batch was made as test run for one of my friends little girls birthday party this month.  The recipe makes 2 dozen.  With 4 kids and 2 parents around at the time we put a nice dent into them but I ended up sending more then a dozen home with her. 

So yes.  They are tasted tested and approved by my exclusive tasting committe.  Aka my kiddos and their friends.  Enjoy!

Strawberry funfetti cupcakes
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • For the cupcake -
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 3½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¾ cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups of washed, cut strawberries
  • 1 cup of sprinkles
  • For the frosting:
  • 2 sticks of butter, softened
  • 4 -5 cups of powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line cupcake liners with paper.
  2. Cream the butter and the sugar.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, beating in between.
  4. Add the vanilla, oil and milk.
  5. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt to the wet ingredients.
  6. Mix until all lumps are gone.
  7. Add the strawberries and mix on the highest speed for 1 minute. Fold in the sprinkles.
  8. Pour mixture into cupcake pan, filling ¾ of the way with batter.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean in the center.
  10. Let cool completely.
  11. Beat the butter until smooth.
  12. Add the powdered sugar slowly to the mix. Add milk slowly until you've reached your desired consistency.
  13. Frost cooled cupcakes. Enjoy!

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Homemade strawberry funfetti cupcakes!  Make these easy cupcakes for a birthday party or just for fun!

Roasted vegetable nachos

Roasted vegetable nachos - loaded full of delicious veggies and cheese!

These roasted vegetable nachos are perfect as an appetizer or dinner!

Roasted veggie nachos

Hey yall!  Confession time.  I’m a stress eater.  And I wish I was a fruit and green tea stress eater but I’m not.  I’m a straight up comfort food seeker.  When the ish hits the fan, I hit the fridge.  So when my site was down for 4 (maybe 5 days.. I stopped counting) I went straight for my foodie favorites.  

I made homemade guacamole twice in the 4 (or 5) day period.  I made homemade queso (recipe coming soon) and I made these roasted vegetable nachos.  

Roasted vegetable nachos - loaded full of delicious veggies and cheese!

Clearly my idea of stress-induced comfort food is anything Mexican.  Which sort of surprised me because I would have guessed pasta for myself.  But during the time my site was down all I wanted was Mexican eats.  I even made shredded chicken tacos with homemade mango salsa.  

I had a serious case of “eat all the Mexican food”.  And I’m not saying that it was a bad thing.  

Easy roasted veggie nachos

I feel like these roasted vegetable nachos are my attempt at a comfort food with a dash of healthy.  As much as I love tortillas and cheese I also love fresh vegetables.  I bought a steamer basket a few months ago and it’s one of my favorite kitchen gadgets.  

Since it was cold-ish out down here when I was eating all the cheese and guacamole, I decided to roast my veggies instead of steam them.  I added a little garlic powder and salt to them before sliding them in the oven to roast.  Let me tell you – my house smelled ahhhhh-mazing! 

Roasted veggie nacho recipe

And I didn’t feel TOO bad eating half of the cookie sheet either.  I mean.. it’s covered in fresh roasted vegetables.  It can’t be that bad for you, right?!  (That’s what I told myself anyways.) 

For the nachos I used flour tortillas and baked them until crisp.  I love a soft/semi-crispy flour tortilla chip over the plain ones.  Feel free to use whatever chips you prefer.  

Roasted vegetable nachos
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 10-15 flour tortillas
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced
  • 1 large yellow squash, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup of slivered carrots
  • 1 cup of black beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup of corn
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-3 cups of white cheese of choice, shredded (I used a white sharp cheddar)
  • cilantro to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Slice the tortillas into triangles and place on a lined cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, or until they start to get crispy.
  2. While the tortillas are baking, mix together all the vegetables in a large bowl. Add in the olive oil and spices. Toss to coat.
  3. Spread the vegetables over the tortilla chips evenly. Cover with the cheese and place back in the oven.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and starting to bubble.
  5. Remove, top with cilantro and enjoy!

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How to make roasted vegetable nachos!  These nachos are easy to make and full of yummy vegetable goodness!  And cheese!

Homemade guacamole + video

Homemade guacamole

Nothing beats a bowl of this creamy homemade guacamole and tortilla chips!

Easy homemade guacamole

Hello, hello, hello!!  I’ve missed yall!  My site was down for 4 or 5 days and I wasn’t able to post anything!  I couldn’t even login or do anything on the back end.  It was sad and I wasn’t sure what to do.  Well, that last part is a lie.  I cooked.  And I ate what I cooked.  And I took pictures before so I can share it all with you!  

Yay! 

Not a horrible hiatus by any means.  

Homemade guacamole

I may have made guacamole twice in the 4 days.  I love me some guacamole and after I finished the first bowl by myself (don’t judge), I realized I don’t have a guac recipe on my site!  Blasphemous!  I set out to right that wrong.  And I went one step further and did a fun little video!

HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!

Homemade guacamole recipe

A few things to note though – first, HOW GORGEOUS IS THAT PIONEER WOMAN BOWL?!  I mean seriously.  Doesn’t it make you want to just swoon?  My amazing sister in law gifted me a few bowls AND the mason jar drink set!  And I just love them!  

Second, I’m convinced that good guacamole is messy.  You mash and mix and there is no way that your bowl should be clean after that.  And there is NO WAY I’m getting a whole new bowl and transferring my guacamole.  I don’t like extra dishes.  So a messy bowl of homemade guacamole it is!  

And now.. the video!  Yall, let me know if you like these kinds of videos.  I think it was pretty fun to make and if yall enjoy them – I will keep making more!  Here’s to more guacamole and hopefully more videos! 


5.0 from 1 reviews
Homemade guacamole
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 large avocados
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1 tablespoon Nature's seasoning (or salt and pepper)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • cilantro for topping
Instructions
  1. Slice the avocados lengthwise and remove the pits. Scoop out the meat of the avocado into a bowl.
  2. Add in the diced onion, jalapeno, and tomato. Mix until combined.
  3. Add the Nature's seasoning and garlic powder. Mix until combined.
  4. Garnish with cilantro.
  5. Enjoy!

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Easy homemade guacamole recipe! I always get asked my recipe when I make this - it's that good!

 

Mexican skillet casserole

Homemade Mexican rice casserole recipe

You have got to try this easy one pan casserole!  It’s cooked all in one dish and so full of flavor.  

Mexican skillet casserole - made all in one pan!

Hey yall!  Can we take a second to appreciate the cheeeeese in the picture above?  So much gooey cheese.  I’m such a sucker for cheese.  On top of casseroles, in sandwiches, in dips and just plain.  I sometimes buy the sliced deli Swiss just to snack on at home.  I say “at home” but what I really mean is on the drive from the grocery store to the house.  

Because.. cheese.  

Homemade Mexican rice casserole recipe

I also have a crazy love of all things Mexican food.  I was born and raised in South Texas around some of the absolute best Mexican food.  Very little things make me as happy as a fresh, homemade tortilla.  (Besides my kids.  And occasionally my husband.  But other then that…) 

I remember when I was in high school I would have breakfast taco dates with my friends.  We would wake up early before school, drive to one of our favorite taco stands and grab a taco or two before school.  Yes, I love breakfast tacos enough to wake up EARLY to get one.  

Easy Mexican rice casserole recipe

There were probably 5 taco places within a 2 mile radius of the school so good food was never a far drive.  If they didn’t close the campus for lunch my sophomore year I probably would have had tacos for lunch every day.   

Then again.. maybe it’s a good thing that didn’t happen.  

So this Mexican skillet casserole is my grown up, gotta get dinner on the table homage to my home town.  It’s made all in one pan and is done with very little effort in under 40 minutes.  Plus, it’s topped with all that cheeeeese.  I mean, how can you go wrong with that??

5.0 from 3 reviews
Mexican skillet casserole
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 12 oz chorizo
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1½ cup water
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 small can of chipotle corn mix
  • 2 cups of cheese
  • avocado and oregano for topping
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, cook the chorizo thoroughly. Remove as much grease as possible.
  2. Pour in the rice and water. Bring to a soft boil and then turn down the heat to low. Cover. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes or until most of the water is gone. Stir constantly so the rice doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
  3. Add in the beans and corn and simmer, covered for another 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat. Sprinkle the cheese of the casserole and replace the lid. Allow the cheese to melt. Remove cover, let cool, top with avocado and fresh herbs of choice and enjoy!

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Mexican skillet casserole - made all in one pan and in under 30 minutes!  Dinner time win!

Chai spice mix

Home chai spice mix recipe

Check out this easy recipe for making your own chai spice mix at home! 

Homemade chai spice mix

Happy New Year friends!  I hope Christmas and New Years were good to you!  We were able to spend both holidays with friends and family – which is my favorite.  On Christmas night we head over to my friend Lori’s house and just decompress from the day.  Our kids are able to hang out with friends and show off their toys.  It’s always a good time.  Plus, they had just remodeled their kitchen so we got to see it finished for the first time.  

It turned out so absolutely gorgeous.  I could literally spend my whole day in there.  It also made me want to come home and start tearing down cabinets at our house.  Ryon said no.  Sigh. 

Home chai spice mix recipe

For New Years we were able to hang out with some other friends.  We all went to dinner and then came home to watch the Michigan State football game.  After the game ended, everyone headed home.  I made it til 11:30.  Not a very wild and crazy New Years, but it was fun.  

How to make homemade chai spice mix

I’m not big on New Years resolutions but I do love that I can re-focus on things.  Family, friends and business wise.  I spent all evening one night writing out goals for both real estate and the blog.  I looked over my top posts on the site and expanded on them.  Plus, I asked my email subscribers what they wanted to see and added those ideas to my editorial calendar.  

I feel all adult-y with an editorial calendar.  

So be on the look-out for more chai recipes.  (My iced chai latte has been my number one post for a few years!)  More one-pot dinners.  And even some product reviews!  And I’m starting off with this easy homemade chai spice mix.  Because if you are going to make chai recipes – you need a good chai mix!  

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chai spice mix
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon allspice, ground
  • 2½ teaspoon cardamom, ground
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon, ground
  • 1 teaspoon cloves, ground
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1½ teaspoon ginger, ground
  • 3-4 star of anise pods, optional
  • 3-4 whole cloves, optional
Instructions
  1. Add all the spices to a small airtight jar and mix together.
  2. To make a cup of chai tea - add two black tea bags to 2 cups of water. Add in 2 tablespoons chai spice mix and bring to a boil. Remove from heat once it starts to boil and let steep for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Pour chai tea into a mug, add sugar (or choice of sweetener) and milk to taste.
  4. Enjoy!

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Chai spice mix

Weekly family menu plan 20

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Looking for dinner ideas for the week?  We’ve got you covered! 

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Hey yall!  Are you still in a holiday hangover?  I feel like I’m just able to see clearly after Christmas, Ryon’s birthday and New years.  Yup, my hubby’s birthday is right between the two holidays.  Which is cool with me – just means making one more dessert and grabbing an extra gift or two.  (This year I finally broke down and bought him some Sperrys.  He has been asking for them.. well.. probably since we’ve got married.  You’re welcome husband.  I listen.)  

Now I am in planning mood.  I took last week off to try and work on an editorial calendar for the site.  And a few other things.  And since I’m a procrastinator – I just started all that tonight.  Yay me!  

But it’s FINALLY starting feel like winter down here.  It’s been in the 40s all weekend and hasn’t stopped raining.  I keep telling Ryon I would much rather have the snow then rain but since we live in South Texas, we get cold, miserable, diagonal rain.  Which, if you were wondering, is perfect soup and cupcake making weather.  But I digress.  Here are some cold weather menu ideas to keep you warm this week! 

Monday – Roasted sweet potato pasta // Pasta?  I’m there.  Pasta with sweet potatoes?  I’m there before it even cools off.  

Tuesday – One pot chili mac and cheese // Comfort food all in one pot?  Yes!  Covered in cheese?  DOUBLE YES! 

Wednesday – Thyme crusted pork roast // I love love love using fresh herbs in meals!  And this pork roast is also covered in a caramel sauce.  Win! 

Thursday – Slow cooker balsamic chicken sandwiches // I love my slow cooker this time of year.  It makes the whole house smell fantastic!  I bet these balsamic chicken sandwiches would fill the house and make me hungry all day!

Friday – Philly cheesecake French bread pizza // I love the classic Philly.. so put it on top of a French bread pizza and I am one happy girl! 

Dessert – French vanilla silk pie // I dream about this pie.  It’s so creamy and NO BAKE!  Oh yea.  

Breakfast – Breakfast stuffed acorn squash // How awesome would this be for breakfast on a cold morning??  (Answer – SOOO awesome!)