Sheet pan veggies…

My kids call it the veggie meal which may immediately illicit wailing and gnashing of teeth on your kids part. My kids have learned to enjoy this meal (one child tolerates it). Its really just a veggie dump meal of things we have in the fridge. We like squash but you could go heavy on other veggies if that’s what your family enjoys. I have noticed if I use carrots or sweet potatoes they need to be precooked in the microwave just a bit. They take longer to cook than the rest of the veggies.

SHEET PAN VEGGIES (for two large sheet pans)
2 packages of Turkey Kielbasa Sausage (we buy the hillshire farms U shape package)
Blend of veggies (I use 2 zuchinnis, 3 yellow squash, red onion, 1 red bell pepper, head of broccoli. We’ve also added in other veggies when we have them on hand like asparagus, brussel sprouts, and sweet potatoes)
Vegetable oil
Lemon Juice
Italian Seasoning
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Salt and Pepper

  1. Cut all veggies and sausage. Toss with lemon juice, oil and spices to taste. This is really user discretion based on how many veggies you have – I use a couple tbsps of oil and lemon juice, a little garlic and onion powder and little heavier on the italian seasoning.
  2. Bake at 400 for 20 mins. Sprinkle with cheese of your choice (we do one pan parmesan and one pan monterrey jack) after its removed from the oven. You can serve with rice or pasta!

Hunter’s Beans and Rice…

Years ago, Hallie learned how to make a meal we dubbed Hallie Chicken. It’s become a family favorite and she makes it about every other week.

Last year, we got Hunter in the kitchen to learn how to make a dinner. He started with Hallie chicken and then we branched out to another recipe. Originally it was called Stacy’s Beans and Rice because I got the recipe years and years ago from my friend Stacy. For some reason it got lost in the cookbook and then revived again in the last couple years. When I was telling her how much we love the recipe, she had no clue what recipe I was even talking about. Once Hunter learned how to make it we dubbed it Hunter’s beans and rice…sorry Stacy (it obviously wasn’t a recipe she used anymore because she didn’t remember it!)

This meal is very similar to the meal Hallie makes – a one pot wonder – which makes it easy for kids to make. This isn’t fancy by any stretch, but years from now, he’ll go to college and he won’t starve!

1 lb of ground beef
2 cans of dark red kidney beans
2 cups of salsa (16 oz jar)
1 1/2 cup water
2 cups minute rice
1 1/2 TBSP taco seasoning (or to your liking, we like taco seasoning)
Shredded cheese

Cook ground beef (Hunter often throws in some onions with the meat). Drain any fat. Add kidney beans (with liquid), salsa, water, rice and taco seasoning. Cook over medium heat. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook until rice is fully cooked and liquid is mostly gone. Stir in cheese to your liking. Use as a burrito filler. Or top with guacamole, sour cream and lettuce and eat with chips. Its not very pretty, but it’s tasty!

Note: My family eats this up so we usually 1.5x the recipe, but we don’t increase the meat – we increase everything else. For many families this recipe would be plenty, or cut it in half.

Lemons into lemonade…

We were on a walk when we ran into neighbors and they shared how they wish they had a lemon tree to make fresh lemonade. We live in an old citrus grove and I knew there had to be lemon trees full of lemons (because let’s be real, who needs more than a couple of lemons and the trees produce so much!)

We found a widow with a tree halfway full and we’re nearing the end of lemon season. She had picked the low hanging fruit and we offered to pick the fruit higher on the tree.

We came home with two large laundry baskets – remember – who needs more than a couple of lemons?!

We delivered some to our neighbors and offered them to friends. We were still left with lots of lemons, so we started juicing. We froze a lot in ziplock bags for later use and then we started making lemonade. We tried several recipes and landed on our favorite.

This recipe calls for a simple syrup. I’d never made simple syrup before but it was really easy. It requires mixing equal parts sugar and water and cooking it over the stove until it dissolves and then refrigerating the syrup. You can also buy simple syrup, our Wal-mart has it near the alcohol for mixing drinks. For two weeks now we’ve had a large batch of simple syrup sitting in the fridge to use when we need.


1 part simple syrup, 1 part fresh lemon juice, 4-5 parts water. Depending on the fresh lemon juice, I’ve added a little more syrup to sweeten it a little more. (Steve likes his lemonade a little tart so his water is usually around 4 parts)

If you’re looking for some variety, you can blend some strawberries or buy strawberry puree and add it in – strawberry lemonade is my very favorite.

Sugar Cookie Cake…

When the Pothiers get together for a birthday or holiday celebration it is a big crowd. Typically the easiest way to treat so many people to dessert is to make a sheet cake. Depending on the RSVPs it may be one or possibly two sheet cakes. Most everyone is familiar with the traditional chocolate “Texas Sheet Cake”, and it’s a family staple. But last year my SIL Laurel decided to mix things up and bring a “Montana Sheet Cake” to a gathering. It has since been lovingly renamed sugar cookie cake (thanks to the almond extract) by our family and it is delicious. Two weeks ago I decided to make one while visiting my family in Idaho and just 5 days after it was devoured, my SIL had purchased the ingredients for me to make it again. It’s addicting if you like sugar cookies.

Here is the recipe from Laurel, from her friend, from her niece, from her monkey’s uncle. I love how recipes float around!

Life with Fingerprints: Sugar Cookie Cake SUGAR COOKIE CAKE
2 1/4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
2 cubes butter
1 cup water
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup sour cream

Mix flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Heat butter and water in a saucepan until butter melts and pour over dry ingredients. Mix until smooth. Add eggs, soda, extract and sour cream, mixing after each addition. Bake in a half sheet pan (18×13) at 350 for 20 minutes.

2 cubes of butter
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp almond extract
5-6 cups powdered sugar
Heat all ingredients except sugar until butter melts. Remove from heat and add sugar gradually. Let cake cool before topping with frosting.

I make the frosting thick. I like it to resemble sugar cookie frosting but you can alter it to your preference.

Banana Muffins…

I reached a new high in parenting today. We had overly ripe bananas that had seen the end of their life – or so I thought. In passing I suggested the kids make banana muffins, knowing very well they had never made muffins but it might be a fun summer activity. Hallie and Hunter jumped quickly at the idea. I supplied the recipe, gave a couple tips and walked out of the kitchen.

I returned to a kitchen full of delicious muffins (we had enough ripe bananas to quadruple the recipe!) Not only did they make muffins, the dishes had been washed as well. This. Is. A. Game. Changer!!

I’m ready to throw all sorts of recipes at them this summer and see how they do!

banana muffins

Banana Muffins
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup mashed banana (3 medium)
1/2 cup mik
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg

Mix wet ingredients. Add dry ingredients and mix.
Bake @400 for 25 minutes.

Salsa Chicken (Hallie Chicken) Recipe…

We are in the 7th week of our kitchen remodel and our fingers are crossed that we have countertops and working appliances by Thanksgiving. There’s a 50/50 chance at this point and it all depends on if the countertop company can schedule us in time. I’m still holding hope.

If you ask anyone in our family what meal they miss most by not having a kitchen – its this one right here. The official name is salsa chicken but its also known as Hallie chicken and every time we pass the recipe along, it’s Hallie chicken. It’s easy. It’s healthy. And it’s a crowd pleaser. And I miss Hallie making it for us almost weekly. Hopefully we’ll have it in our oven again in no time!

Salsa Chicken Recipe

Here’s the original post:

Often when I’m scrolling through Facebook, I save food recipe videos to view later. Most of the time I never go back and look at them, but I saved a salsa chicken recipe and several weeks later, I scrolled through my saved videos to find it. It looked like a simple, one pan dinner and I’m always looking for recipes for busy weeknight meals.

Salsa Chicken

The first time I made it, we devoured it, although our kids complained it was pretty spicy. We cut back the spice just a bit and I taught Hallie how to make it. She’s the only one who makes it so naturally we renamed it Hallie Chicken. She’s made it for our family, family up in Utah, my parents in Idaho and we’ve delivered it to friends in our neighborhood. Hallie’s willing to make it for anyone!


  • 1 cup rinsed uncooked basmati rice
  • 15 oz can drained and rinsed black beans
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper 
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 16 oz jar salsa
  • 1 cup chicken broth (or water and chicken bouillon)
  • 3 chicken breasts ~1-1/2 lbs – each breast cut in half
  • salt and pepper to taste

Put all ingredients except chicken in a 9×13 pan and stir. Depending on how spicy your salsa is, you’ll want to cut back the cayenne pepper. Place chicken breasts on top, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with tin foil and bake at 375 for 60 minutes. If desired, shred chicken and place back on top of rice, sprinkle with cheese. Eat with tortilla chips or in a tortilla.

Salsa Chicken

Salsa Chicken

Salsa Chicken

Salsa Chicken

This has lit a fire within Hallie and she’s ready to learn a new meal. She’s ready and willing to take on more dinner responsibilities and I’m happy to hand that over to her!