Adobo Beef with Roasted Vegetables and Fresh Salsa

A few years ago, Charlie and I decided to upgrade our date-night ins with Blue Apron meal boxes. For more than two years, we enjoyed cooking dinner together every Thursday night and trying new foods and flavors.

While we discontinued our weekly Blue Apron subscription about a year ago when co-parenting times shifted a bit, I love adapting those fun meals to enjoy today.

This meal is full of Mexican flavor and is a great way to get more vegetables on your plates, too. It comes together in 30-45 minutes, so add this one to your week-night meal rotation!

Adobo Beef with Roasted Vegetables and Fresh Salsa

adapted from Mexican Beef Bowls recipe by Blue Apron


  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons of Mexican spice blend, see recipe below
  • 2 carrots, halved lenth-wise and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 cups fresh broccoli florets
  • 1 cup long grain rice, uncooked
  • 1 tablespoon pickled jalapeños, diced (less or more, depending on your heat preference)
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1 lime, halved

Mexican spice blend: 1 tablespoon each of Adobo chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, and smoked paprika. 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Mix together and store in airtight container. 


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine carrots and broccoli. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper to taste, and toss to coat. On an aluminum foil-lined sheet pan, arrange carrots and broccoli in one layer. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the Mexican spice blend. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until vegetables are browned.
  2. While the vegetables roast, add rice, 2 cups of water, and a pinch of salt to a small saucepan on high heat. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer on low until water is absorbed. Remove rice from heat, fluff with a fork, and cover until the rest of the meal is prepared.
  3. While the rice cooks and the vegetables continue roasting, combine quartered tomatoes, juice from 1/2 of lime, and diced jalapeños in a small bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  4. In a large saute pan, brown ground beef over medium heat, breaking into smaller pieces. Drain fat from the pan and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons of Mexican spice blend. Add 1/2 cup of water and stir to combine. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes until liquid is absorbed.
  5. While beef cooks, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, and juice from 1/2 lime in a small bowl. Whisk to create a Baja sauce for drizzling or dipping.
  6. Serve rice alongside beef with roasted vegetables and salsa on top. Finish with a drizzle of Baja sauce and sprinkle of cotija or parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Serves 4.


Garden Pasta Salad

If you’re looking for a quick, healthy alternative for lunches or light dinners, I’m here for ya, sister. In my family, we pull together a big batch of this delicious pasta salad for family vacations every year. Mix it all together in a large tupperware bowl and you’re set!

Garden Pasta Salad


  • 16 oz. rotini pasta
  • 1 medium cucumber, sliced
  • 16 oz. grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup Balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1 cup Italian dressing
  • Parmesan cheese, for garnish


  1. Cook pasta to ‘al dente’ according to box directions. Rinse with cold water in a colander until pasta is no longer warm.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, add vegetables and dressing to a large bowl. Stir to combine and place in refrigerator to chill.
  3. Once pasta is cool, add to vegetables and dressing and mix thoroughly. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
  4. Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.


Hot Mulled Apple Cider

Trees dropping their leaves, green grass fading to gold, winds picking up… fall is happening here at Crangle Hall, though it seems to be moving at a snail’s pace.


Among my favorite recipes for the ‘ber months (you know, September, October, November…) is hot mulled cider. We pour ours over an ounce or two of bourbon, but hot mulled cider is great without the booze, too!

Hot Mulled Apple Cider


  • 1/2 gallon apple cider
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 orange, sliced


  1. In a large pot on medium-high heat, combine all ingredients and stir.
  2. Bring to a boil and drop heat to low. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Serve warm in a glass mug with a cinnamon stick for garnish.

Baked Penne

Growing up, my sweet Momma made homemade bolognese and spaghetti for dinner almost every Monday night. I try to do the same, but if I’m being honest, most Monday nights I’m reaching for marinara in a jar. And I am decidedly feeling no shame in my game!

This Baked Penne dish comes together quickly, and you’ve probably got most of these ingredients sitting in your cupboard. It calls for minimal ingredients preparation, which frees me up to spend time with my kids or enjoy a cold one on the porch instead of sweating it away in front of the stove after working all day.

Baked Penne


  • 16 oz. penne pasta
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 t. onion powder
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 t. black pepper
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 24-oz. jars marinara sauce
  • 12 slices provolone cheese


  1. In a large pot, cook penne pasta to al dente according to package directions.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 9×13 inch baking dish.
  3. Brown ground beef over medium heat and season with onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  4. Once cooked through, add sour cream and stir to combine. Lower heat to low and add one jar of marinara sauce to the beef and sour cream, stirring occasionally until heated through.
  5. Once penne pasta is cooked to al dente, drain and place back into the large pot. Add marinara mixture and stir to combine.
  6. Next, layer half of pasta, 6 slices of provolone, and half of marinara in baking dish. Repeat layering one more time and bake for 25 minutes or until bubbly.
  7. Allow to stand for at least five minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Teriyaki Marinade


Last night, Charlie and I hosted my sweet cousin and her husband for dinner. Rachel and I (pictured at left visiting the Tennessee Brewery a few years ago) share a bond that is hard to describe, and we have waded through some tough life mess together. I am so thankful that she and Clay live close by so that we can spend more time together. They are welcoming their first child in the next couple of weeks, so Charlie and I were anxious to get a little more time with them before a new season of their life begins.

When hosting friends and family for mealtime, I like to keep things as simple as possible. Usually, that means that I make a big casserole or lasagna, throw in a vegetable side and garlic bread and call it a day. Over the past few weeks, though, I’ve been looking for ways to clean up our meals while also not making my kids and husband hate me. It can be difficult to do when you’re cooking for more than four or five people and don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen. My answer? Delicious grilled chicken thighs, garlic sticky rice and roasted broccoli with lemon and parmesan. (Recipes for those last two in posts to come.)

I don’t know about your family, but Charlie, the boys and myself can throw down on some Asian food. This teriyaki marinade takes about 2 minutes to assemble and is a healthier stand-in for the bottled stuff since you can control exactly what’s going into the recipe. The dark brown sugar in the marinade turns to a delicious glaze as the chicken grills over an open flame, making this one of Charlie’s favorite chicken preparations. It also features lime vitality essential oil, giving a burst of refreshing citrus flavor without the prep of juicing or zesting the fruit. This recipe can also be used as a sauce base if you go the vegetable stir-fry route. So many options with this one! Try it out and let me know what you think.

Teriyaki Marinade | Adapted from this recipe at


  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ginger paste (available in the produce section of most grocery stores)
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 drops lime vitality essential oil


  1. Combine all ingredients into a large bowl or gallon-sized resealable bag.
  2. Add your choice of protein, making sure to coat evenly in the marinade.
  3. Refrigerate for at least twenty minutes (up to two hours).

Notes: This can be made ahead of time and refrigerated in a larger mason jar. If you don’t use essential oils in your cooking yet, 2 tablespoons of fresh-squeezed lime juice can be subbed for the vitality oil.