Jon Boy loves him some shrimp. Shrimp poboy, shrimp gumbo, shrimp stew, shrimp soup, shrimp étoufée, coconut shrimp, lemon shrimp, shrimp and potatoes… you get the idea. [Also – great movie.] Jon Boy asks for this all the time, and I’m happy to oblige because it takes less than 10 minutes to make, it’s healthy, and it makes that hunk happy.

lemony boiled shrimp with honey mustard dipping sauce

Here’s whatchya do:

Bring a biggo pot of water to a boil. Throw in some seasoning, the juice of 2 halved lemons, then throw the lemons in, too. Add your shrimp and boil for about 3 minutes or until they’re pink. Depending on the size of your shrimp, it could take more or less time.

lemony boiled shrimp with honey mustard dipping sauce

Drain the shrimp and discard the lemons. Set aside for a bit.

lemony boiled shrimp with honey mustard dipping sauce

In the meantime (or beforehand – it’s better if you make the sauce ahead and let it chill in the fridge), make your homemade Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce. Okay – don’t stop reading and just buy the stuff from the store! I promise this sauce takes the dish over the top! Plus it takes no time to make, so you got no excuses, buddy. Make it.

lemony boiled shrimp with honey mustard dipping sauce

Alls ya gotta do is mix everything together. Not so bad, right? I like to have mine chill in the fridge to let the flavors get better acquainted.

lemony boiled shrimp with honey mustard dipping sauce

Just before serving, toss your cooked shrimp with a little EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil) with some chopped flat-leaf parsley. It’s fine if you serve the shrimp warm, at room temperature, or cold. It’s completely up to you!

lemony boiled shrimp with honey mustard dipping sauce

Lemony Boiled Shrimp + Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

Lemony Boiled Shrimp
1/4 cup Tony’s seasoning or Adobo all-purpose seasoning
2 lemons, halved
1 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp (I use frozen and just thaw them overnight)
2 tbs. EVOO
2 tbs. fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbs. whole grain mustard
1 tsp. lime juice
1 tsp. agave nectar (or honey)
1 tsp. light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

To Make the Shrimp
In a large stockpot, bring about 6 cups of water to a boil. Add the seasoning, squeeze in the juice from the lemons, and throw the lemons into the pot. Return the water to a boil. Add the shrimp and simmer until pink and cooked through (about 3 minutes depending on the size of your shrimp).

Drain, discard lemons, and set shrimp in a bowl to cool. Just before serving, toss the shrimp with the EVOO and parsley.

To Make the Dipping Sauce
Whisk together all the ingredients until combined. Dipping sauce can be made up two 2 days ahead. Cover and store in the fridge.

Click Here for Printable Recipe: Lemony Boiled Shrimp with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

Halloween: costumes, candy, a cool breeze (hopefully), and my Crock Pot. I love this time of year for all the neighborly activities plus the stick-to-your ribs goodness that comes out of my kitchen. I thought chili would be perfect for Halloween because it’s something you can make ahead, throw in a slow cooker, and serve warm whenever the trick-or-treating is all done. Pair that with some cheesy cornbread and red wine, and it’s a Happy Halloween indeed!


But seriously. This cornbread. Pioneer Woman knows her stuff. This time, I just added about 1/2 cup shredded cheddar to the mixture before I poured it into the cast iron pan. Definitely doing that every time from now on. So cheesy, savory, and perfect for crumbling on top of a hot bowl of chili.


Eeesh. Sorry, Daddy. There’s beans in this here chili. As he would say, this is a “Yankee Chili” because it’s not 100% meat. Well, Daddy-O, Mama is in charge now. And she likes her some beany goodness in her chili. [But yours is still my favorite version.]

I’m sure you know this, but ALWAYS rinse + drain your canned beans. It gets rid of all that briny mystery fluid and allows your beans to take on the flavor of whatever dish they’re in.


My parents always made chili using the 2-Alarm Chili Kit. This is basically that same exact kit, but just uses things you’ve probably already got in your spice drawer. If you don’t have these spices, check out that 2-Alarm Chili Kit the next time you’re at the store. It’s a great shortcut for making delicious chili.


Okay, let’s be honest with ourselves. Raw meat ain’t cute. BUT – I wanted to share this picture because I wanted to show you that this is a DOUBLE BATCH of chili. So, the pictures will all look a bit over-the-top compared to the recipe. Chili freezes PERFECTLY, so I thought, “Work smarter, not harder.” You know? Make double now, freeze it up, and then we’ve got dinner (or two) for another day.


I usually always press my garlic in a garlic press (like the one below) because it gives you perfectly tiny bits of garlicky yumminess without a lot of mess. The press is extremely easy to use and to clean – it’s dishwasher safe.

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Steps to making your Halloween (or any day) Chili:

Brown the meat.

Throw in the garlic.


Throw in the spices.


Give it all a stir.


Throw in the tomato sauce + 1 cup water.

**Now – you could either keep cooking everything in the pot on the stove (if you’re eating it within a couple of hours), OR you can throw it all into a slow cooker at this point.**

Either way, now you add your beans (again, sorry not sorry, Daddy).


Give it all a good ole stir. Cover, and cook on low for up to 12 hours (or low heat on the stove for 1 hour). About 30 minutes before serving, whisk 1/4 cup masa harina with 1/2 cup water. Slowly stir the masa mixture into the chili, cover, and cook another 30 minutes.


Serve it with whatever garnishes you like:

shredded cheddar, sour cream, red onion, cilantro, lime wedges, tortilla chips, Fritos

BUT definitely serve that ole cornbread on the side.


To freeze, allow the chili to cool completely (I throw it in the fridge first), place in a large Ziploc bag (be sure to label it), flatten out as thin as you want, and freeze this bad boy for up to 6 months. To warm it up later, I’d suggest thawing it overnight in the fridge on a plate because it drips as it thaws. Then, just pop it in a microwave-safe dish with a lid, zap it, and dinner is served! You could also let it thaw on your counter for about 20 minutes, then slowly warm on the stove top or microwave.


MMMM yeah, baby. Halloween Chili. [Or any day chili].


 Halloween Chili

2 lbs. ground beef (90/10)
5 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 8-oz. cans tomato sauce
1 cup water
2 tbs. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground oregano
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. Kosher salt
15-oz. can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
15-oz. can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup masa harina (corn flour)
Garnishes: shredded cheddar, diced red onion, tortilla chips, lime wedges, sour cream, cilantro

In a large Dutch oven or skillet, cook the beef over medium-high heat until it’s browned (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, stir, and sauté 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the tomato sauce, 1 cup of water, and spices (through salt). Stir to combine and reduce heat to low*.

Add the beans, stir to combine, cover, and simmer for 1 hour or until all the flavors are blended. If the chili gets too thick, add 1/2 cup of water.

In a small bowl, whisk the masa harina and 1/2 cup water until combined. Stir masa mixture into the chili, and cook an additional 30 minutes.

*If you want to use a slow cooker, this is the point to stop and transfer the mixture. Carefully pour everything into the slow cooker, add the beans, stir, and cook on low for as long as you need (up to 12 hours). About 30 minutes before serving, add the masa harina + water as above.

Click Here for Printable Recipe: Halloween Chili

This recipe is the thing of dreams. It’s super low-calorie, good for you, and it’s easy enough for a weeknight [oh, and yummy, too]. You can prep everything ahead of time, so that when it’s time to eat, all you’ve gotta do is brown the chicken cakes in a skillet then cook ’em in the oven. Dinner could be done in less than 15 minutes, my friends.

tuscan chicken cakes

healthy + simple + delicious + make ahead

tuscan chicken cakes

Forming the patties and then chilling them helps them to bond together a little more than they would if you just formed them and cooked them right away. The same kind of technique can be applied to things like meatballs (like these or these).

tuscan chicken cakes

You can make the chicken patties ahead of time (up to a day ahead), cover them, and keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to eat. When it’s chow time, pour some breadcrumbs in a shallow dish.

tuscan chicken cakes

Brown the chicken cakes on both sides.

tuscan chicken cakes

Then, throw ’em in the oven to keep cooking the insides. Keep them warm until you’re ready to eat. I use oven-proof skillets for this dish, but if you don’t have those, just brown them in a skillet and pop them in a large Pyrex or oven-proof dish to warm them through.

tuscan chicken cakes

I’d definitely recommend making the Tomato Basil Relish ahead of time as well. The flavors get better then longer they can marinate together.

Tuscan Chicken Cakes Tomato Basil Relish

Basil is one of the rare plants I’ve managed to keep alive* since we’ve moved to Houston. This little guy has given us fresh basil for months now – which is both delicious and thrifty. I’d recommend trying your hand at basil growing if you’re a green-thumb newbie.

*Please note Basil’s dead neighbor in the picture. Sorry, little flowers. RIP.*

fresh basil

This relish is light, full of flavor, and packed with all the tang you need to even out the chicken cakes. There are similar ingredients in the cakes + the relish and they compliment one another perfectly.

Tuscan Chicken Cakes Tomato Basil Relish

The relish doubles as a salad dressing, too. Just spoon it over some mixed greens and you’ve got dinner covered, baby.

tuscan chicken cakes

This Golden Aioli is friggin’ yummy. It’s super simple, too: mayo + yellow mustard + honey. Doesn’t get much easier to make a creamy dollop to spread on your crispy chicken cakes. Definitely make this guy ahead, too, if you can. One less thing to worry about at dinner time!

Tuscan Chicken Cakes Golden Aioli

I wanted to make these as healthy (but still delicious) as possible, so I subbed out some mayo for Greek yogurt. I also didn’t use a lot of honey mustard like the original recipe calls for. You can definitely use honey mustard instead of the Dijon, but I liked the zip the Dijon gives it.

tuscan chicken cakes

Either way, enjoy this delicious dinner without any guilt – each chicken cake has only 130 calories.

Tuscan Chicken Cakes with Tomato Basil Relish and Golden Aioli

Chicken Cakes
3 cups (1 lb.) cooked chicken breast, shredded and chopped
1/2 cup red onion, minced
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs, plus more for breading
1 5.3-oz. container plain Greek yogurt
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/3 cup roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1/4 cup basil pesto
2 tbs. EVOO
Mixed greens, for serving

Tomato Basil Relish
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup red onion, minced
1/4 cup basil leaves, chopped
1 tsp. basil pesto
2 tbs. balsamic vinegar
2 tbs. EVOO

Golden Aioli
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. yellow mustard
2 tsp. honey

For the Chicken Cakes
In a large bowl, mix together the chicken, red onion, breadcrumbs, Greek yogurt, egg, Dijon, roasted red peppers, and pesto (everything but the EVOO and mixed greens). Form 6 equal patties and place on a plate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to a day ahead.

When you’re ready to serve, remove plate from fridge and let sit at room temperature for a few minutes. Preheat the oven to 300. In a shallow dish, add about 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs. Heat the EVOO in a large oven-proof skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. One-by-one, coat each patty in breadcrumbs and cook 3 minutes per side. Place in the oven for 10 minutes or until heated through. Keep warm until ready to serve.

For the Tomato Basil Relish
Whisk together all ingredients until well combined. Serve immediately or make ahead and store, covered, in the fridge (best made ahead of time to allow ingredients to marinate).

For the Golden Aioli
Whisk together all ingredients. Serve immediately or make ahead and store, covered, in the fridge.

Serve the chicken cakes on a bed of mixed greens. Drizzle tomato basil relish on top with a dollop of the golden aioli.

Tuscan Chicken Cakes with Tomato Basil Relish and Golden Aioli

Adapted from Genius Kitchen

I’ve been waiting until the light was just right to take a picture of our entryway fall deco. I LOVE this little nook and the chance to decorate a little something extra that people can see when they first walk into our home.

fall deco

I also forgot to take a quick pic of the little bit of deco we have on our kitchen island. These pumpkins were way too cute to pass up at Hobby Lobby (hello… on sale!!!) and that frame gives a little nod to THE Texas A&M (we won’t mention last weekend’s game…). I’ve just got to get some pictures printed from Walgreens so I can throw one in the frame.

fall deco

This past weekend was my Aunt Joann’s (really, she’s my dad’s aunt so – Great Aunt Joann’s) 90th birthday! My WHOLE Pitcher family gathered in Chicago to celebrate her. We couldn’t make it because of Harvey – both logistically and emotionally it was just too much. One of our relatives took this picture of my great grandpa’s tombstone.

I know it’s kind of strange, but I’d really love to meet ALL my relatives. I wonder if that’s a section of Heaven we’ll be apart of one day: the Relative Meet-and-Greet. You know? Like, “Heyyyyyy great, great, great uncle Andy! What’s up, brotha!” I dunno… that would be kind  of awesome.

Anywho – I’m very proud to be a Pitcher, and I’m very, very sad I missed seeing so many of our relatives. Hopefully we’ll see them again soon!

albert w pitcher

I had to share this… Target had this in their “As Seen on TV” aisle. Sriracha 2 Go. It’s a thing, y’all. Like mini-hand-sanitizer-sized Sriracha bottles. Talk about a sincere First World Problem: SOLVED.

sriracha 2 go

And then there was this: the Angry Mama Microwave Cleaner. I mean, why’s she gotta be mad? I’d be happy if my microwave was easily cleaned, you know? It is kinda cute, but I’ll stick to my glass bowl of water + vinegar.

angry mama microwave cleaner During Hurricane Harvey, we started to run low on supplies in the kitchen, so I was having to get creative. I had some cooked chicken breast, spaghetti, and a few other pantry staples. So, I thought Chicken Spaghetti would be a super comforting meal to have while we were in the middle of watching all the awful things going on around us. This is a simple, scrumptious recipe that can also be frozen beforehand! Gotta love a good freezer meal.

Sautéing the onion and bell pepper beforehand really gives the dish an added punch that some other Chicken Spaghetti recipes don’t have. I’m also not the biggest pimento fan, and many other recipes use this instead of tomatoes. Feel free to sub as you wish, but just be prepared to have some licked-clean plates after dinner is done!

chicken spaghetti

Chicken Spaghetti

1 yellow onion, diced 1 green bell pepper, chopped 1 tbs. EVOO 1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained 3 cups uncooked spaghetti noodles, broken into thirds 2 cups cooked chicken breast, chopped 8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded, divided 2 cups chicken broth 1 tsp. Lawry’s seasoned salt 1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper (omit if you don’t like spice) 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper 2 11-oz. cans/boxes cream of mushroom soup Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, sauté the onion and bell pepper in the EVOO until softened (about 8 minutes). Add the tomatoes, stir to combine, and cook an additional minute. Set aside and allow to cool slightly.

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water (think: salinity of the sea) to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 7 minutes, drain and rinse in cold water. Set aside.

While the pasta cooks, in a large bowl, combine the chicken, half of the cheese, chicken broth, Lawry’s, cayenne, pepper, and cream of mushroom soup. Stir to combine. Fold in the cooked pepper, onion, and tomatoes once they’ve cooled slightly. Fold in the spaghetti noodles.

Spray a 13×9 oven-proof dish with cooking spray. Pour in the mixture, then top with remaining cheese*. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 45 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly.

*To freeze: cover with heavy-duty foil and store in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and bake as directed.

*To refrigerate: cover with heavy-duty foil and store in the fridge for up to 2 days. Remove the foil and bake as directed above.

Hurricane Harvey is here! Well, technically not here where we are, but in Texas anyway. We’ve been spared the bad stuff for now, but we’re getting ready for flooding and some heavy winds. Until then… we’re just hanging out and playing with the big boy and cookin’ some yummy stuff.

mozzarella stuffed chicken meatballs

Jon Boy actually helped me make these meatballs since we weren’t feeling super rushed like a normal weeknight dinner. He did a great job, I must say! I might have to make him my sous chef soon. He also made some AMAZING Italian Margaritas to go with our dinner, and holy smokes. Imma have to post that one ASAP.

mozzarella stuffed chicken meatballs
This recipe is super simple and fairly healthy when you compare it to others in the meatball world. I’d say this makes 4 good-sized portions that each come in at around 560 calories per serving. We had ours with Creamy Parmesan Orzo (orzo is basically the result of pasta + rice having a baby). It was delicious, but honestly, we would’ve been just fine with zucchini noodles or roasted veggies on the side. These meatballs can stand on their own!

mozzarella stuffed chicken meatballs

Here’s the step-by-step for how to make these little nuggets of Italian deliciousness:

[Photo Cred: Jon Boy]

Mix all the goodness together.

Using a tablespoon or a tablespoon scoop, portion out some meat.

mozzarella stuffed chicken meatballs

Flatten the meat into a disc.

mozzarella stuffed chicken meatballs

Place some mozzarella in the middle (I didn’t have the right sized mozzarella balls – thank you, Hurricane Harvey). The ciliegene sized (about the size of a cherry) ones are perfectly round and adorable.

mozzarella stuffed chicken meatballs

These are the ones you want:

mozzarella stuffed chicken meatballs

Gently fold the meat around the mozzarella until all sides of the cheese are covered.

mozzarella stuffed chicken meatballs

Roll into a ball (it’s okay if just a little cheese shows).

mozzarella stuffed chicken meatballs

The key to easily browning meatballs: chill them in the freezer for about 10 minutes. This will keep them formed so they don’t fall apart while you’re browning them in the skillet. If you’re making them ahead, throw them in the freezer for 10, then move them to an airtight container in the fridge. They should keep for a few hours until you’re ready to brown + bake.

mozzarella stuffed chicken meatballs

Roll them in some flour to coat all sides. Place them in the hot oil and brown on all sides (about 2 minutes per side).

mozzarella stuffed chicken meatballs

I flip mine 3 times – think: top, bottom, side. Make sure you work in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan – this will make the heat of the oil go down too much which would result in mushy meatballs. Yuck. Set the cooked meatballs aside.

mozzarella stuffed chicken meatballs

In your oven proof skillet or Dutch oven, heat the sauce until warm. Nestle in your lovely meatballs. Bake at 350 for about 12 minutes or until cooked through. Cover and keep warm until serving. Garnish with Parm and basil. Voila.

mozzarella stuffed chicken meatballs

MMMMM Vinho Verde! If you’ve never tried it, you’ve got to. It’s less alcohol-per-volume (and calories) than other white wines. It’s light, a little fizzy and perfect to have while you’re cooking or hanging out on the patio.

vinho verde sonalto

nom nom nom nom nom

Everyone stay safe out there during this crazy weather! Also… get groceries delivered so you can make these…

mozzarella stuffed chicken meatballs

Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Meatballs

1 lb. ground chicken
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 eggs, whisked
3/4 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped (or 1/2 tsp. dry)
1 tsp. fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped (or 1/2 tsp. dry)
1/2 – 1 tsp. red pepper flakes (depending on how much heat you want)
Ciliegine (cherry size) mozzarella balls
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup EVOO
1 1/2 jars marinara sauce
Fresh basil leaves, julienned, for garnish
Freshly grated Parmesan, for garnish

In a large bowl, combine chicken, Parmesan, Panko, eggs, S&P, oregano, parsley, and red pepper flakes. Using a tablespoon (or tablespoon scoop), scoop out portions of meat and flatten with your hand. Place 1 mozzarella ball in the middle of the flattened patty. Fold the sides of the meat around the mozzarella so that you completely cover the cheese. Add more meat if you need to. Repeat the process with the remaining meat, and save any extra mozzarella balls for later. Place the formed meatballs on a plate and chill in the freezer for about 10 minutes, until meatballs are firm. (You can move them from the freezer to an airtight container in the fridge and cook them later.)

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350. Place the flour in a shallow dish. Heat the EVOO over medium-high heat in a large skillet until shimmering. Roll the chilled meatballs in the flour until fully coated. Brown meatballs on all sides (about 2 minutes per side). Work in batches so that you don’t overcrowd the pan. Set cooked meatballs aside.

In a large Dutch oven or oven-proof skillet, heat the marinara sauce until warm. Place the cooked meatballs throughout the sauce, coating the meatballs with the sauce. Sprinkle in any extra mozzarella balls throughout the pan. Bake at 350 for about 12 minutes until meatballs are cooked through. Cover and keep warm until serving. Garnish with basil and grated Parmesan.

Adapted via Whats Gaby Cooking?