Tortilla Crusted Chicken and Simple Green Beans

In an attempt to waste less food, I decided to find a use for the small broken tortilla chips that always seem to be left after a party. This recipe is an adaption of the classic breaded chicken. Substituting bread crumbs for crushed tortilla chips creates a unique flavor and uses those last, salty crumbs in the bag.

I am tempted to try this with Doritos….

Tortilla Crusted Chicken

2 chicken breasts
1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips
1 egg
2 handfuls green beans
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
2 tablespoons sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Begin by setting up your dredging stations, with the beaten egg in one bowl and the crushed tortilla chips in the other. There is no need to season the tortilla crumbs since they are usually salty (delicious) enough. Pound both chicken breasts until they are a similar thickness.

Heat a little oil in a large skillet. Dredge the chicken first through the egg and then the tortilla chips. Place the chicken in the skillet, cooking for about three minutes on each side. Place the entire skillet in the oven to finish cooking – about 8 to 10 minutes (depending on thickness).

Tortilla Crusted Chicken

I served the chicken with simple sautéed green beans tossed with dried cranberries and sliced almonds.

Cranberry Green Beans

How gorgeous are these green beans?!



Quick Vegetable “Curry”

I know this is technically not a “curry” – but I am easing my husband into liking Indian food and think this is a good place to start! Not to mention this is a great, quick weeknight dish that can easily be adapted to anything you have on hand.

And the best part? It makes an amazing lunch the next day. Makes any day at the office a bit more bearable.

Veggie Curry

1 potato, diced
2 cups cauliflower, chopped
1/2 onion, sliced
1/2 cup peas, frozen
3 gloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Curry powder – add more or less to taste
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 can (14.5-ounce) chickpeas (or about 1 1/2 cups)
1 can (14.5-ounce) diced tomatoes
Salt & pepper to taste

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add potato and saute for 5 minutes – until it begins to soften. Add all remaining ingredients – Veggie Curry
but the peas – stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 to 12 minutes – until vegetables are tender (as soft as you like them, we prefer some crunch) and broth reduced. Add frozen peas and cook until thawed.

Serve over rice or quinoa and/or crusty bread.



Shrimp and Veggie Stir Fry

Vegetable trays always seem like a good idea when hosting a party. However, when sat next to something with cheese or chocolate and infinitely less healthy – they usually are left untouched. Which leaves you with the ingredients for a great stir fry. The recipe below calls for carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, onion and celery but you can use whatever vegetables you prefer.

Shrimp veggie stir fry

6 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 clove minced garlic

Stir Fry
2 cups cooked rice
2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup carrots, sliced
2 cups cauliflower florets
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)
3 tablespoon green onion, diced (optional)

Begin by whisking together all of the ingredients for the sauce. I usually adjust the ingredients to taste – depending on how I am feeling that day. Set aside.

Cook rice according to package.

In a large skillet, heat some oil over medium heat and begin cooking your vegetables. We prefer ours with a bit more crunch – so saute for only five or so minutes. Remove vegetables from the pan. Add a bit more oil and cook shrimp about half way – they will finish cooking in the sauce. Turn heat lower, add vegetables back into the skillet, pour in sauce and cook until sauce begins to thicken and shrimp are cooked through.

Serve over rice with sesame seeds and green onion.



Almond Cookies

We are only a few days away from Christmas and I decided to begin my baking a few days early. The first recipe is always my husband’s favorite – almond cookies. This recipe comes from my his aunt and he requests at least one batch every Christmas. Which I don’t mind since they are so easy to make and only take a few pantry staples. The original recipe calls for pecans – but I prefer the taste of almonds a bit more. I am guessing you can use any nuts you have on hand and it will still be delicious. It is powdered sugar and butter after all…

almond cookies, gingerlife, cookies

You will also notice my attempt to decorate sugar cookies. Clearly my decorating could use some improvement – but this dough recipe works every time!

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 powder sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup finely chopped almonds (use the food processor – its easier!)
Powder sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Begin by beating butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth, about two minutes. Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Then slowly add the flour and mix until just combined. Lastly, add the almonds.

The dough will look very dry and coarse, but as the butter softens it will hold together.

almond cookies, gingerlife, cookies

Shape dough into small rounds, about 1 1/2 inches wide.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 – 22 minutes. While they are still warm, roll in or dust with the extra powdered sugar.

almond cookies, gingerlife, cookies

almond cookies, gingerlife, cookies


On a side note, how amazing do this ombre icing look?!? This was dumb luck.

On a side note, how amazing do this ombre icing look?!? This was dumb luck.

Butternut Squash and Mozzarella Strata

My top 5 reasons to love stratas:

  1. Prep in the morning and its ready for the oven when you get home from work
  2. Great use of left over veggies and protein
  3. Eggs, milk and bread are relatively  inexpensive
  4. It’s difficult to screw up
  5. It just feels fancy

5 cups cubed stale bread
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cups cubed, roasted butternut squash
1/2 cup roasted broccoli
1/4 cup sliced red onion
2 cups milk
6 eggs

Begin by arranging the bread in a single layer on a bake sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.

Saute onion and garlic in pan for three minutes, or until soft. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients – using only half of the mozzarella. Pour mixture into baking dish. Top with remaining cheese. Cover and chill for about eight hours.

Strata, gingerlife, ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Leave covered, bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and cook another 20 – 30 minutes.

Strata, gingerlife, ginger


strata, gingerlife, ginger

Bean and Greens with Sausage

There is a restaurant/bakery here in Pittsburgh called Enrico. Growing up I only loved Enrico for their biscotti and chocolate dipped macaroons (life changing). But as I developed my love for Italian food and red wine – Enrico became a staple for me. It was at Enrico that I had beans and greens for the first time. This is a perfect, quick weeknight meal and can easily be adapted to match different tastes – just switch up the herbs, protein and even throw in some wine. I strongly suggest trying this recipe with a poached egg on top.

Beans and Greens

Large bunch of kale
Handful of spinach (confession, I had some left over that was beginning to wilt – in the pot!)
2 links Italian sausage
1  cup white beans
I small onion, sliced
2 gloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon oregano
Red pepper flakes to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Begin prepping the kale by de-ribbing it. The larger, center ribs can be tough despite cooking so it is best to tear the leaf from the rib.

In a large skillet, heat some olive oil and cook the sausage. Remove from the pan, slice and set aside.

Return the pan to medium heat and add the onions. Sautéing for two minutes or until soft. Add garlic and stir for another minute or so.

Stir in kale and spinach and let it begin to wilt.


Can we talk about how pretty this kale is?

Add chicken broth, beans, oregano, red pepper, salt and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes until the liquid reduces. Add sausage, stir to combine.

Beans and Greens with Parm

Everything tastes better with fresh Parm


Saturday Night Turkey Meatballs

Saturday nights used to be spent checking out the latest restaurants in town before meeting up with friends for drinks into the early hours. Now, with a five month old, my Saturday nights entail a home cooked meal and a glass of wine (from a box) on the couch. Though we usually save meatballs for the weekend – this recipe is easy and quick enough for any weeknight. And since its just the two of us, I usually end up freezing half of the meatballs – which makes a even simpler meal later!

Turkey Meatballs

Meatballs are always a good idea.

1.3lb ground turkey
1/3 cup finely diced onion
2 cloves finely minced garlic
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 egg
1 teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoon dried parsley
salt & pepper to taste
Olive oil (for the pan)
Preferred red sauce

Simply begin by combining all ingredients, except the red sauce, in a large bowl and mixing completely. Unfortunately, your hands are the best tools to ensure everything is combined.

Take the meat mixture and form the meatballs – about golf ball sized.

Heat some oil in a large skillet on medium heat and add the meatballs. Brown on all sides before adding a bit of the red sauce into the skillet. I find this prevents the meatballs from burning and keeps them moist. Simmer the sauce and meatballs for about 10 to 15 minutes – or until the turkey is cooked through. Serve with extra sauce over pasta, polenta, spaghetti squash, in hoagies… you get the idea!

Turkey Meatballs




Welcome to my new blog, The Ginger Life! A few things you might like to know:

  • Below is a picture of my family – that little nugget is our son Max


  • After a short stint in Chicago I recently moved back to my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA – but Chicago was not a total waste, I brought back a husband
  • “I feel the same way about clothes as I do about food, I want everything.” (Mindy Kaling) – This quote sums it up!
  • Every birthday and anniversary must be marked with red sauce, red wine and dark chocolate
  • I love to cook

Thank you for stopping by. I’m excited to share my recipes and stories of kitchen disasters.

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