White Chicken Chili | Instant Pot

Hey Everyone!  I’m still alive 🙂  Just took a long pause to continue my photography and teach 4th grade full-time for a few months.  Next month I will be a full-time student at the University of Missouri and possibly part or full-time teacher as well… we’ll see how this goes.  🙂

But hey, we are here for the recipes, not my opinion on the last presidential election that we missed on the blog.  Whew!  Maybe that’s a good thing we missed it….

Book Review: 

Rosalind Wiseman has written a comprehensive guide to helping girls through the teenage years and even the tweens. This is a must read for any parent that has a daughter! The author delivers in a conversational tone a plethora of advice from years of clinical experience. Quotations from teenage girls are scattered throughout the book giving firsthand knowledge of the world of “queen bees.”

The first section is about friendships, groups of friends and the roles friends play. Next, parents and parenting styles are discussed. Then, anger management and what to do about parties. Online communication and boys are included in the chapters as well. The book is lengthy… which is a blessing and a curse. “Queen Bees and Wannabes” has so many scenarios that it will probably have what you are dealing with or what you will be dealing with in years to come. All 412 pages will not apply to everyone. But I can guarantee that some of this book will apply to all parents and help them – and their daughters – through whatever physical or emotional hurdles they may have to face and guide them through facing it together.

I received a sample of this book to read from Blogging for books so i can give my honest and unbiased opinion/review.


My Instant Pot is still my new favorite toy!   Check out this blog post with more things to do with the Instant Pot like:  make yogurt from just milk, make a 10 hour roast in 1 hour, cook chicken without drying it out, make chili in 10 minutes, hard-boiled eggs where the shell comes off in one piece, make perfectly cooked brown or white rice.

Now to the chili… we have tons of deer meat and been eating chili like crazy the past few months.  To shake things up a bit, I made white chicken chili.  I have tried several ways and finally came across some ingredients that help a lot:  Trader Joe’s fire roasted diced green chiles.  YUM!  Try to find them if you can.  If not, that’s okay and find the Mexican food aisle in your store and they will have canned green chilies.

*If you want to use dried beans – that works too!  1/2 cup dried beans = 1 can of beans.  So, I used my Instant Pot the previous day to pressure cook the soaked beans.  They were done in 12 minutes on high pressure using natural release.

White Chicken Chili (and Instant Pot Option)
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 6-8 servings
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 3 and ½ cups diced chicken breasts or tenderloin (with tendon removed)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tb. ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika or smoked paprika
  • 4 cups chicken broth (reduced sodium preferred)
  • 2 cans (3 cups) Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 ounces canned green chiles, diced
  • 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  1. For regular pot: Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Once hot, add the diced chicken and onion. Cook until no longer pink - about 8 minutes. Add garlic with the spices and cook 30 seconds.
  2. Once the garlic and spices are fragrant, add the broth, beans, chiles and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer 10-15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste
  3. For Instant Pot: Turn on the Instant Pot to "Saute" on Normal/Medium. Add oil and once hot add the chicken and onion. Cook until no longer pink - about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and spices and cook those another 30 seconds. Turn Instant Pot off.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients. Turn the Instant Pot back on to Manual mode and set for 10 minutes. Or press "Chili" and reduce the cooking time to 10 minutes. Make sure the vent is sealed of course!
  5. Release the pressure and your chili is finished! If you want it thicker, put the Instant Pot on saute with the lid off to reduce the chili.



Chicken Melts

chicken melts recipe, homemade, copycat

Good morning everyone!  It has been for- EV- UH!  I wish I could post more 🙁

I have been working 50-60 hours per week between substitute teaching and photography while the hubby looks for a new job.  The cleaning and cooking still need done… so the blog was put on the back burner.  Currently, I will be working toward applying for a full-time job when the new school year 2017-2018 opens up.

I am still reading Ron Chernow’s Washington and it is STILL one of the best biographies.  Which probably explains that little Pulitzer Prize that it won.  The most recent tidbit I did not know is that Washington really wanted to go back to Mount Vernon and be home after the Revolutionary War.  He was happy to help with the Constitutional Convention and get the new government on its feet.  From his personal letters, it can be deduced that he only really expected to be president a couple of years.  He was there to get the ball rolling so to speak.  If Washington had known he was going to remain president for 8 years, he may never have volunteered in the first place.

chicken melts recipe, homemade, copycat


This recipe has a short story!  So, about 6 months ago the kids and I discovered these delicious Chicken Melts at Costco.  “Really….Really Tasty Sandwiches” is their motto and they are right!  For the price and time, they are really good and really tasty.  There are 15 chicken melts in one box and all 4 of us really like them.  Plus, they are so tasty and low in calories that we want to eat one or two!!  A box of 15 of them goes super fast!

So – I decided to try and make a copycat recipe.  It would taste almost exactly the same, but perhaps have more chicken so that it felt more like a meal than a snack.

The kids gave them 4 thumbs up!!

Woo hoo!  Eureka!

What do we do with this recipe??

  1.  You can freeze them like the Sandwich Bros. do!  Just seal in plastic and reheat in the microwave (out of the plastic bag of course!).  Start at 60 seconds per sandwich and wrap in a paper towel first with the cheese side UP.  Or you will have a cheesy microwave!
  2. Eat them for lunch!  The kids are in school and cannot heat up their own meal.  So, I send the sandwich cold to school and they still love it.  More like a deli type feel.
  3. Eat them for dinner!  Yum!
  4. Have the fixin’s stashed in the fridge for any time.  I make a large batch and then keep the chicken with cheese in a large container in the fridge.  If someone wants to make a chicken melt, they just have to add the cooked chicken to the pita pocket.
  5. Easy and cheap and tasty!  My favorite triad 🙂

Here is a photo of the whole wheat pita pockets that I purchased for making the chicken melts.  You can purchase pita pockets almost everywhere now!  Since Trader Joe’s avoids preservatives and such, I try there first.  **IMPORTANT** When opening up their pita pockets, heat them first a little.  I store my bread in the fridge and the pockets would tear when I opened them up.  BUT, they won’t tear if you heat them up for like 15 seconds in the microwave!


This recipe is a new staple in our household and I hope you enjoy it!

Chicken Melts
Serves: 16 sandwiches
  • 1-2 Tb. olive oil
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup all-purpose or white whole wheat flour
  • (about) 1 tsp. garlic powder (add to taste, we like it and I cover the flour with a layer of garlic powder)
  • (about) 1 Tb. paprika (I used smoked paprika and increase or decrease based on how fresh it is)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 slices of American Cheese
  • 8 round pita pockets
  1. To start, I heat up my large 12" cast iron skillet on medium heat with a tablespoon of olive oil. I add more if it doesn't cover the bottom of the skillet.
  2. While that heats up, slice the chicken in half LENGTHwise. You now have 8 chicken breasts. Now, cut those to fit you pita pocket. I cut mine in half again the other way to fit into the pita pocket. Now, I have 16 pieces of chicken.
  3. In a shallow bowl or baking dish, mix the flour, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Dredge each piece of chicken through the flour mixture on both sides until coated. Repeat on all the chicken.
  4. Add chicken to the skillet one layer at a time. Mine holds 4-5 pieces of chicken. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Flip. Cook another 3 minutes and make sure the chicken is cooking nicely. About 2 minutes before it is done, add the cheese. Melt the cheese for 2-3 minutes and remove the chicken from the skillet onto a wire cooling rack over paper towels. This will keep the chicken crispy on the bottom and the top.
  5. Repeat by adding a little more oil to the skillet if necessary and repeat with the remaining chicken.
  6. Heat up the pita pockets for about 15 seconds in the microwave. This will allow them to open easier.
  7. Slice the pita pocket circle in half to get two half circles. Fill the pita pocket with the cooked chicken and eat while hot!
  8. Or assemble and freeze in the freezer. To reheat from frozen, wrap in a paper towel and place in the microwave with the cheese side on top. Heat for 60 seconds and check to see if it is done. If not, add a few more seconds until heated thoroughly.
  9. Or keep separated in the fridge and assemble any time you are hungry.



Homemade Honey Roasted Peanut Butter

Homemade Honey Roasted Peanut Butter FB title Mary Riley Photography Wentzville Missouri

There are few foods yummier than peanut butter.  Covered in chocolate, hidden in smoothies or eaten straight out of the jar, many people eat it even on a daily basis.  Entire cookbooks are dedicated just to this one ingredient!

Today my friends, we take it up another notch.

Homemade Honey Roasted Peanut Butter 2fb Mary Riley Photography Wentzville Missouri

Another reason to consider making homemade peanut butter:  the deforestation of the earth because of palm oil.  This is why Trader Joe’s natural peanut butter will state “palm oil sourced from sustainable sources” on the back.

Plus, homemade peanut butter can be made crunchy or smooth.  You can whip up peanut butter any time of day you have a craving… and the best part is?  We found something even tastier!  Honey Roasted Peanut Butter!

Whole Foods and Fresh Thyme grocery stores have their own peanut butter machines.  You press the button and freshly made peanut butter oozes out into the empty container for all your peanut butter needs.  Honey Roasted runs $3.99 per pound.  Regular peanut butter runs $2.99 per pound (at Fresh Thyme).  The savings are pretty negligible to say the least when making your own peanut butter with just peanuts.  But, these stores are far away and the drive is no where near where I drive.  So – to save gas and time, I make my own.

Homemade Honey Roasted Peanut Butter 4fb Mary Riley Photography Wentzville Missouri

Made too much?  Fresh peanut butter on sale?  NO worries.  Freeze it!  Peanut butter will freeze just fine 🙂  Just like real butter!  I always freeze real butter.

So, buy that jar of Honey Roasted peanuts for about $3 (less than $3 at Aldi!)  and try making your own honey roasted peanut butter.  It will be hard to go back to regular.

Homemade Honey Roasted Peanut Butter 3fb Mary Riley Photography Wentzville Missouri

Storage:  Store in an airtight container.  You can use the peanut butter immediately.  You can store it in the pantry for up to 1 week.   Ours never lasts that long, but for longer storage than 1 week keep it in the fridge.  For even longer storage, keep airtight in the freezer for a few months.

Don’t like peanut butter?  Need almond butter?  Cashew butter?  Try the same recipe with different nuts!  Or your own combination of nuts.

Mary Ellen’s All Time Favorite Lunch Sandwich:

Homemade Honey Roasted Peanut Butter 5fb Mary Riley Photography Wentzville Missouri

Homemade Honey Roasted Peanut Butter
Serves: 1 and ¾ cup peanut butter
  • 3 cups unsalted roasted or honey roasted peanuts
  • Optional: peanut oil, honey, salt
  1. Put the nuts into your food processor or high speed blender like Vitamix.
  2. For the food processor: turn the machine on for 1 minute. Scrape the sides down if necessary. Run the machine for 1 more minute. Scrape the sides down. Run the machine for just 1 last minute. During this last minute, add a tablespoon of peanut oil or drizzle of honey or ¼ tsp. of salt if you wish. The peanut butter will be soft, thick and glossy.
  3. For the Vitamix, turn the machine to 1. Slowly, turn the machine up to 10. Use the tamper to press the peanuts towards the blades. In about 1-2 minutes, you will have yummy creamy peanut butter! Once the peanut butter becomes smooth and the blades move freely, turn off the machine. Scoop out with a scraper.


Crockpot Lentil Soup

Detox Lentil Soup

What’s so awesome about lentils?

Lentils are cheap.

Lentils can be stored a long time because they are dried.

Lentils are a great source of potassium, calcium, niacin, zinc and Vitamin K.

Lentils are rich in fiber and lean protein.

Lentils are a super food!  We love our super foods here on Whisk Together!  🙂

Lentils are like chicken… they take on the flavor of whatever ingredients they are cooked with.

Detox Lentil Soup 3


This soup is great for those of you trying to lose weight!  Lots of protein, fiber and veggies.  Or trying to maintain weight.  Or just need a nice warm bowl of soup.  It is a nice blank canvas for anything you would like to add to it.  Parmesan cheese, lemon zest, lemon infused grapeseed or olive oil, red wine vinegar, etc. all taste great as a finishing touch.  If you are trying to add a “Meatless Monday” to the dinner menu, this soup would definitely fit the bill!  Simply add a side salad or whole grain bread.

Detox Lentil Soup 2

To keep the week going smoothly, I try to get a few things done on Sunday.  One of those is making a big batch of soup and one large bowl of salad.  That way I always have something to grab for lunch or a back up for dinner.  Especially since these soups and most of my salads don’t contain meat or dairy mixed in, then I don’t feel like it is going to turn bad in 6-7 days.

Crockpot Lentil Soup
Serves: 8 servings
  • 2 cups chopped butternut squash (peeled and cut into ½" cubes)
  • 2 cups chopped carrots (peeled and cut into ½" silces)
  • 2 cups chopped potatoes (Yukon Gold works well) or sweet potatoes (peel if you prefer and chop into ½" cubes)
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 5-7 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced (more garlic for more garlic flavor)
  • 1 and ¾ cup dried green lentils
  • 8 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1-2 handfuls baby spinach or kale chopped into 1" pieces, optional
  • 1 lemon, squeeze the juice into the soup
  • Optional garnishes: fresh parsley, dried parsley, Parmesan cheese
  1. Into a large slow cooker, add all of the ingredients from butternut squash through ground pepper.
  2. Cook on high 4-5 hours or low for 6-7 hours.
  3. Add baby spinach and squeeze lemon juice into soup. Allow to wilt about 5 minutes.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste! I added quite a bit of salt and pepper. I also added Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute because it tastes great on everything.
  5. Add 1-2 cups of additional broth for a thinner soup. I like my soups on the thick side.
  6. Serve warm and enjoy.
Recipe adapted from Grace and Salt



Homemade Baguettes

Quick Baguette-4527 on Whisk Together

Okay, I should call these “Quick Baguettes” because true French baguettes require a very long overnight rise time.  If you have that kind of time, here is a good French Baguette recipe.  Great for sandwiches, side dishes and soups!

As for me and my house…. we will be making fast baguettes.  🙂  These are super delicious and super easy – especially when you have a bread machine.  You can make them without a bread machine as well!  The kids and hubby LOVED these baguettes.  They didn’t have a super hard crust on them like some baguettes do.  They were nice and soft and chewy.  Plus…. there is the fact that all-purpose flour tastes like CANDY after eating 100% whole wheat for the past 7 years.

Why make your own?  There are only 4 ingredients.   No preservatives, no caramel color, no polysorbate 60, no anything but flour, water, yeast and salt.  If you have those things in your pantry, then you CAN make these.  This is a great yeast recipe to start out on.

Quick Baguette-4528 on Whisk Together

Tips for Yeast Bread Making (or any baking!):

1.  Preheat the oven 25 degrees higher than baking temperature.  This is because once you open the oven, it will reduce in temperature anyway.  Preheating higher allows for more initial “spring” in the baking process.

2.  Test your yeast if you aren’t 100% positive it is alive.  It is a bummer to wait 2 hours and find out right before dinner that the yeast was dead.  To test the yeast, I use active dry yeast.  I add the yeast, water and a little bit of sugar if the recipe calls for no sugar.  If the recipe does call for sugar, like a pizza dough, then simply add the sugary substance to the water and yeast.  After 5 minutes, you should see a little foam on top telling you the yeast is burping carbon dioxide and alive!

3.  Weigh your flour.  On a scale.  And pay attention to the author of the recipe.  King Arthur Flour thinks that AP flour weighs 4.25 ounces per cup and scales their recipes based on that.  America’s Test Kitchen think s that AP flour weighs 5 ounces per cup.  Most places and most recipes will yield 5 ounces per cup of all purpose flour.  King Arthur Flour weighs and scoops their flour differently.

4.  For a shiny crust, brush a mixture of 1 egg and 1 Tb. of water on top before baking.  It will be a little crisper, too.

5.  Pay attention to the bread more than the time!  Sometimes bread can get a little crazy and proof too fast.  Just look at it once in a while.

6.  I like active dry yeast.  I’m not patient and neither is this yeast.  It is fast and great for bread machines or bread that you need made in 2 hours or less.

Slow Cooker Chicken Philly Cheesesteak-4521 on Whisk Together Label

Ok, really….  The reason I made my own baguettes is because I was too lazy to go to the store and buy sandwich bread for the Slow Cooker Chicken Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches.

Homemade Baguettes
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 and ¼ tsp. active dry yeast (1 packet)
  • 3 cups (15 oz.) all purpose flour (plus more on hand)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  1. For bread machine: Throw everything into the machine per the machine's directions and hit "dough cycle". Shape the resulting dough into 2 or 4 logs. Make shallow diagonal slashes on the top. Cover with plastic and preheat the oven to 400. Once up to temperature - reduce the oven to 375 degrees and bake the bread for 15-25 minutes.
  2. For by hand: Add yeast to the water and let sit for 5 minutes. I would recommend adding a pinch of sugar too if you are not sure that the yeast is alive. If bubbles form on the surface because they ate the sugar, the yeast is alive.
  3. Add flour and salt. Mix together by hand or in a mixer with the paddle attachment.
  4. When combined, switch to a dough hook and knead for 5 minutes. (or knead by hand for 8-10 minutes). Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Rise 1 hour or until doubled.
  5. Punch down the dough and break into 2 or 4 pieces. Roll into a log about 6" long for 4 baguettes. Use a serrated knife to slash 2 to 4 shallow slices on the top diagonally.
  6. Place baguettes on a cookie sheet covered with parchment or silicone. Or on a baking stone. Cover back up with plastic wrap and rise another 20-30 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees while the bread rises.
  8. Remove the plastic wrap and REDUCE THE OVEN to 375 degrees. Bake for 15-25 minutes (depending on if you made 4 small ones or 2 big ones).
*If the dough is not coming together, add a little more flour.

*For a pretty and shiny crust, brush the top right before baking with a mixture of 1 beaten egg and 1 Tb. water.


Slow Cooker Chicken Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches

Slow Cooker Chicken Philly Cheesesteak-4521 on Whisk Together Label

I made these on homemade baguettes.  That recipe will be next!  Why homemade baguettes?  Because I’m too lazy to run to the store when I can dump the ingredients into my bread machine.

Quick Baguette-4528 on Whisk Together

These sandwiches are awesome and you DON’T need to make your own baguettes!  You DO need to make these sandwiches.  Please, pretty please.  They are delicious, and easy and great for leftovers.  Add the chicken to soup, or a tortilla or keep making sandwiches!  Freeze the contents and always have sandwich fixin’s on hand.

Slow Cooker Chicken Philly Cheesesteak-4522 on Whisk Together
(I forgot to add the cheese before taking the photo!)

This recipe will easily feed a crowd as well – just increase the cooking time and add more of everything.  Slow cookers are great to serve from since they keep things hot.  Serve with fries, slaw, chips, veggie sticks, salad or with a soup.

Slow Cooker Chicken Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches
  • 1 tsp. paprika (regular or smoked, I like smoked)
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. coriander
  • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes (omit if you don't like spicy)
  • ½ tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 bell peppers (any color), sliced into strips
  • 1 yellow or white onion, sliced into strips
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs
  • ½ cup water or chicken broth
  • sliced provolone
  • baguettes or hoagie buns
  1. In a small bowl, combine the spices.
  2. Add the peppers and onion to the slow cooker. Sprinkle half of the spice mixture on top.
  3. Add the chicken onto the peppers and onion. Sprinkle the rest of the spices on top.
  4. Pour the water or broth into the slow cooker on the side so that the spices don't come off the chicken.
  5. Cook chicken breasts for 3-4 hours on low. Cook chicken thighs for 4-5 hours on low.
  6. Towards the end of cooking time, slice the buns or baguette in half lengthwise. Shred the chicken in the slow cooker with some tongs and place on top of the bun. Add cheese. Top with a bun, or broil it with the cheese and then place the top on.
Recipe slightly adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe




Harvest Pumpkin Soup

Harvest Pumpkin Soup on Whisk Together and Pinterest

This could be considered the “low carb” version of the classic hot dog.  My daughter wanted her hot dog wrapped in a piece of bologna.  Gag me!  But she ate every last bit of it.  I was afraid no one would believe me and took a photo.  You know… for when she gets married and we pull out all the embarrassing photos 🙂

Bologna Hot Dog_1 on Whisk Together


This recipe is America’s Test Kitchen – one of the go to places for good recipes.  I like making a big bowl of soup because it is so easy to heat or freeze and goes well with sandwiches or a slice of bread or just an apple.  Pumped with lots of vitamin A – there is an entire can of pumpkin in this soup with just enough spices in the background to bring out the flavor without being overwhelming.  If trying to do a fancy or fun meal, try it in real pumpkin bowls!  But prep the bowls first, this soup only takes  a few minutes to whip together.

Harvest Pumpkin Soup_2 on Whisk Together

There is coriander in this recipe (sorry Bryn! :-))and I know that is a rare spice sometimes.  I use this spice all the time to make tacos, so you could just increase your cumin a little bit and omit the coriander or save the rest for Taco Tuesday.

Pumpkin Harvest Soup


  • 2 Tb. butter
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 15 ounces pureed pumpkin (one regular can)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (or pancake syrup, or sugar free pancake syrup)
  • 1/2 cup half and half


  1. In a dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add in your onion and cook 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add the spices and stir for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the broth, water, pumpkin, maple syrup. Simmer 15 minutes.
  4. Add half and half. Turn the heat to low and heat through. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Recipe from America's Test Kitchen

Harvest Pumpkin Soup_4 on Whisk Together

Harvest Pumpkin Soup
serves 4-6

2 Tb. butter
1 onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
15 ounces pureed pumpkin (one regular can)
1/4 cup maple syrup (or pancake syrup, or sugar free pancake syrup)
1/2 cup half and half

1.  In a dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add in your onion and cook 5-7 minutes.
2.  Add the spices and stir for 30 seconds.
3.  Add the broth, water, pumpkin, maple syrup.  Simmer 15 minutes.
4.  Add half and half.  Turn the heat to low and heat through.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen

And That’s a Veggie Wrap!

Veggie Wrap_3 on Whisk Together

**Book Update**  I’ve almost finished “Try This: Traveling the Globe without Leaving the Table” by Danyelle Freeman.  Truthfully, I thought it was a recipe book.  Nope!  She’s a food critic in New York City.  Now that is a city to be a food critic in!  I really enjoyed the book and fully think it is worth the 99 cent kindle price.  She goes through each type of major cuisine and breaks down the good, the bad and the spicy.  For example, if there are flour tortillas at a Mexican restaurant – that is Tex Mex.  Real Mexican restaurants would only use corn tortillas.  Most of what we eat here in St. Louis is Tex Mex.  Italians eat pasta as a second course after the appetizer  — not part of the main meal.  French toast was invented by a New Yorker named Joseph French – it didn’t originate in France.  It is considered the norm to arrive 30 minutes late to your reservation in Mexico (which sounds really familiar to the rule I read about in “Bringing up Bebe” where everyone shows up late for birthday parties as the norm in France).

It also gave me an idea to do this summer with the kids:  do our own traveling around the globe at the dinner table.  Using another library book: The Multicultural Cookbook for Students and perusing a few close restaurants in St. Louis, we are going to try different cuisines from around the world.

The first task was where to start.  I asked Juliana and Maddox to pick out a country on our map.  They pointed to Korea.   Oh boy, what a place to start.  Kimchi is served everywhere over there… but I don’t think any of us but the hubby would eat it.  So, we are going to try Beef Bulgogi.

**Recipe Update**  I was trying to come up with healthy and quick lunch ideas that also incorporated by co-op produce basket and came up with this.   I also include below a few variations I have made over the years.  These have been a favorite of mine since my second ever Pampered Chef party back in 2005.

Veggie Wrap_2 on Whisk Together

Garlic Veggie Wrap


  • 2 flour tortillas (whole wheat, spinach, flour, etc.)
  • 2 Tb. roasted garlic hummus (Trader Joe's carries it), or favorite hummus
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup chopped lettuce


  1. Lay out the tortilla on a place.
  2. Spread hummus.
  3. Chop vegetables into sticks (julienne). Lay on top of the tortilla in the middle. Lay lettuce on top
  4. Roll up and cut in the middle!
  5. Eat immediately. Or make a few and wrap in plastic wrap to grab and go for later.

Cumin or Goin' Wrap


  • 2 tortillas (flour, whole wheat, spinach, etc.)
  • 2 Tb. soft cream cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 lb. sliced deli turkey
  • 1 cup lettuce
  • 1 roma tomato


  1. Lay out tortilla.
  2. Mix cream cheese and ground cumin. Spread on tortilla.
  3. Lay out the turkey and lettuce on the cream cheese.
  4. Slice the tomato thin and lay on top of the tortillas.
  5. Roll up, slice and eat!

Roast Beef Roll-up


  • 2 flour tortillas
  • 2 Tb. softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. horseradish
  • 1 roma tomato, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 lb. roast beef, deli style


  1. Lay out tortillas.
  2. Mix cream cheese and horseradish. Spread onto tortillas
  3. Layer veggies.
  4. Layer beef on top.
  5. Roll, cut and eat!

For more healthy and fun food, we used cucumbers and carrots to create words on a platter 🙂

Healthy Mom on Whisk Together


Pumpkin Lunch for Halloween for Kids

This week is Halloween and I made a lunch for Maddox last Friday that I thought would be a fun idea for some.  Most of us have or have seen the cheap little orange pumpkin trick-or-treat pail at the stores.  I used this for a lunch box instead of his normal lunch.  Since I bring him his lunch on Fridays, I didn’t worry about it keeping cold.  This is something to consider, but peanut butter sandwiches and the like don’t require refrigeration anyway.

Here is what I did:

1.  Since the plastic containers were hard to get in and out, I used baggies this time.  I normally don’t, but it was a one time thing to use baggies.

2.  Make your child’s favorite sandwich.  Then take a pumpkin cookie cutter (I found this Wilton one on clearance after Halloween last year) and cut the sandwich to look like a pumpkin.

3.  Make pumpkin apple slices: I cored the apple first and then sliced it into 1/4″ slices.  I used my Pampered Chef little cutter set to cut the small pumpkins out of the center of the apple.

4.  Make pumpkin pumpkin bread!  I sliced up some pumpkin bread I had in the fridge into 1″ slices.  Then I cut them out using the same little pumpkin cutter.

Here is what was inside.  We all had a blast eating our “pumpkin lunch”!

Copyright © 2011 - 2018 Mary Ellen Riley All Rights Reserved. WP Plugins