Cranberry Granola Breakfast Cookies

Trying to figure out what to call these was harder than making it a cookie?  A teeny tiny scone?  A fluffy granola bar?  So yeah, it’s kind of a delicious hybrid.

How this came about was my sweet, sweet lil boy was sick and wouldn’t eat a thing!  In turn making me feel horrible..then one morning he told me he wanted a ‘cookie’!  At this point I would of given him whatever he wanted to get food in his belly, but…. I figured why not add some nutrients??  *disclaimer, I’m not claiming these to be “healthy” but they’re more nutrient full than your average triple chocolate chip! 😉

All in all they’re pretty yummy and I can promise you that if your picky child won’t eat breakfast, offer him one of these cookies..and a piece of fruit of course! 😉

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 1/2 cup granola
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl we’ll start with some of our dry ingredients.  Mix together the granola, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon & nutmeg. 

Next up, your stand goes your softened butter and both the granulated & brown sugars.  Beat those together about 4 minutes till light & creamy.  Slowly, add one egg in at a time and your pure vanilla extract.

Once combined evenly, pour in your dry mix (little by little) till the beater has fully incorporated it. 

Ok, the hard part is done and you’re getting closer to your reward… Take the bowl off of the stand mixer base and fold in your cranberries, chocolate and chopped nuts. 

Roll 2″ balls of dough and place about 1-2 inches apart on prepared, parchment-paper lined baking sheets.  This dough is a lil sticky, recipe makes about 3 dozen cookies. 

Bake your goodies for 10 minutes, then allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.  Enjoy!! 

Chilé con Carne Enchiladas

I love, love, love how you can change up enchiladas with any number of ingredients.  There are times I like a plain ol cheese or maybe go modern and do a funky goat cheese and roasted veggie…but today, I’m thinking Tex-Mex.   

Here in Texas, they love LOTS of cheese and LOTS of meat with their Mexican food.  So I’m going to do just that!  Let’s begin..

The Starting Lineup

  • 12-14 corn tortillas 
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped white onion, plus more for garnish
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • Guajillo Árbol Sauce | Railroad Wife (divided. 1 part for tortillas, 1 part for beef)
  • 2 cups beef/chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp cumin
  • 3 Tbsp + chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground pepper
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp Mexican oregano
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper 

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

In a blender combine 1/2 cup water with the chopped onion and garlic.  Cover and blend till smooth.

In a large pot, add together the onion purée with your ground beef and simmer for 25-30 minutes.

While your beef is cooking, dip each tortilla in the Guajillo Árbol Sauce.  You can either let sit in a shallow dish. **or (even better) lighty ‘fry’ each tortilla in a bit of oil for just 15 seconds and then dip in the spicy sauce just before assembling.

Once your beef and purée has almost cooked down, heat your vegetable oil in a separate pan to medium-high.  Turn heat down to low and slowly add in your flour while whisking quickly to create a rue.


Next, add the broth, 2 cups of water and all of the spices to your rue.  Keep whisking over low heat.  Once combined, whisk in your Guajillo Árbol Sauce till a nice even reddish-brown color appears.

Pour this gravy-like sauce into your cooked ground beef.  Let simmer for 10 minutes.  ***make sure to taste along the way for needed salt, etc.

While your chilé con carne is simmering, grate your cheddar cheese.  A great workout for your arms here with that pile o’ cheese needed!

With dipped tortillas, cheese and casserole dish ready, it’s assembly time!!

Lay a tortilla flat and place a nice layer of grated cheese down the center.  Roll up like a cigar and place in your casserole dish seam side down.

Repeat and repeat again until you’ve filled your dish…or dishes perhaps 😉

Once assembled, pour that beefy, chilé con carne directly over top your cheese filled enchiladas…its unfolding nicely isn’t it?!

Top your dish evenly with the remaining mound of grated cheddar cheese and pop in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbling.

Remove from oven and top with some extra chopped onion, cilantro and serve with sour cream.  Delicious.

Guajillo~Árbol Chile Sauce

Today I’m making some enchiladas.  Yes, this IS my kind of comfort food.  You can keep your chicken noodle soups, I’ll gladly sit on my couch curled up by the fire with a heaping plate of spicy enchiladas.  Did I say gladly??…that being said, you MUST have a flavorful base for your sauce.  The canned variety can be great, but, my, my…just heaven…

The Starting Lineup

  • 7 guajillo peppers, dried
  • 4 New Mexico peppers, dried 
  • 1/4 cup chile de Árbol peppers, dried
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano 
  • 1 tsp kosher salt  

Bring about 5 cups of water to a boil.  Meanwhile, get your peppers ready by deseeding your hot peppers.  Place the deseeded peppers in a large heat proof bowl.  *Don’t worry if you don’t get all of the seeds removed, a fine mesh sieve will help out with that in the end. 


When your water has come to a boil, pour over your pepper mix and cover with plastic wrap and/or plate.   Let steep for 25 minutes to soften.


Times up!!  Transfer the semi-softened peppers into a blender, along with 1 cup of the water the peppers steeped in.  (Reserve all the water in case you like your sauce thinner).

In addition to the peppers, add in the remaining ingredients to your blender.  Cover (place an additional hand towel over your blender lid.  Heat expands and you’d hate to have this hot concoction ‘blow up’) and pulse till nice & smooth. 


Once your sauce is to your desired consistency (remember, you can add more of the pepper infused water to thin), slowly pour a little at a time into a mesh sieve that overhangs a clean bowl.  With a rubber spatula press the liquid through.  The sieve will collect any excess seeds, pepper skins, etc.  What you’re left with is a spicy chile sauce that’s a perfect base for many Mexican inspired dishes, especially my Tex-Mex fave, Chilé con Carne Enchiladas! 


Bacon Bolognese

This is quite likely the best bolognese this side of… well, somewhere..  It has bacon in it, yes, bacon!  Which is actually quite authentic of bolognese recipes.

It’s not enough of the pork delicacy to think you’re eating breakfast or a strange BLT, but just enough to add some smokiness and an underlying flavor to the dish.

The Starting Lineup

  • 1/2 package (6-8 strips) bacon
  • 8-12oz ground beef
  • 8-12oz ground pork
  • 28oz can of quality whole tomatoes, hand crushed
  • 1 cup chicken broth/stock
  • 1 cup of dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup of Marsala or Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb spaghetti or tagliatelle noodles
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Parmesan, grated
  • Kosher Salt & Pepper

I always like everything in order before I begin cooking…and I mean everything.  So after I get all of my ingredients ready, I’ll then ‘prep’ the veggies, etc.  It makes for a much more efficient and clean kitchen.  I like things CLEAN! ✨

In a large Dutch oven, heat 1-2Tbsp of EVOO over med-high heat.  Once oil is hot, add in your carrots, onion and bacon.  Cook till soft and onions start to look translucent.

This should take about 8-10 minutes.  Now add in your meats (pork & ground beef).   Season liberally with salt & pepper.  Cook with the bacon/veggie mixture for another 8-10 minutes,

Once meat is basically cooked through (this recipe will cook all day, meat will be done by day’s end), drain a bit of the ‘grease’ out.  You still want to maintain some of it though.  There’s a LOT of flavor there friend!  A LOT..

Next, add in your smashed up garlic cloves.  Let simmer about 1 minute and then deglaze your pan with your Marsala or Sweet Vermouth.  Pour in your wine and chicken stock here after you scraped up any brown bits while deglazing.

Next up, those glorious (San Marzano) tomatoes.  You’ll want to take your rings off here and literally hand crush these suckers straight into your meat and veggie mix.  *Take note: wear an apron and/or do your best to point these tomatoes towards the back wall and straight into your pot.  Tomato juice is no joke!

Stir together, bring to a boil and then cover this baby up while reducing heat to a simmer.  She’s going to sit, cook, marinate and smell your casa up good!!  Let cook down for a solid 4-6 hours.  It will thicken up over this time.image

Once you’re ready for dinner, cook noodles to 1-2 minutes UNDER package directions.  Do not drain the noodles, but add straight from boiling water to sauce filled pot.  *reserve some pasta water if your sauce needs thinned.  You can also add a cup of milk.  Sounds weird,  but it works and is wonderful.  Trust me.*. The noodles will continue to cook in your warm, aromatic sauce.

Garnish your Bacon Bolognese with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a glass of vino!

Caramelized Pecan & Banana Pudding

I’ve yet to meet a soul who doesn’t enjoy this.  My kids would take a bath in it if they could…quite frankly, after they’re done enjoying a bowl it literally looks like they did.

Cool vanilla pudding, warm pecans, brown sugar and bananas topped with vanilla wafers.  Indulge a little!  This is a great treat at anytime of day loved by kids and adults alike.

Though I will admit that this could be easier.  You can NEVER beat the taste and texture of homemade pudding, BUT (yes there’s a but) I will completely understand if you just buy a box of Jell-O.  It would be much easier for any cook and with the warm topping, I promise you it will be just as delicious.

Please, please promise me though that you’ll at least attempt the homemade ‘Nilla Wafers!  They’re stupid easy…however, if you buy a box, I won’t fault you either ;). Enjoy!! xo

The Starting Lineup 


  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt  

Pecan Banana Topping

  • 3 ripe bananas, sliced
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 4 Tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt 

Vanilla Wafers

Let’s start this pudding!  Get together an ice bath (larger bowl with a few cups of ice and a slightly smaller bowl fit snugly inside, over the ice). Set aside.

In a small bowl, separate your egg yolks from the whites.  Beat the yolks until their light colored and smooth.

With a small pot on your stove top whisk together your flour, sugar and salt.  In same pot over medium heat whisk in your milk and vanilla.  Whisk these 5 ingredients together till combined.  Keep cooking on the stove top, whisking occasionally until you see it just start to boil.


Now verrrrryyyy slowly and fluidly, (*tempering) take the hot liquid and pour into your bowl of beaten egg yolks while whisking.  Again, do this VERY slow at first or the hot liquid will literally ‘scramble’ your eggs and it’s over for ya.  This is the trickiest part for sure but absolutely doable.  *I could NOT get a picture of me doing all of this while attempting to temper the eggs.  Any photographers out there??

Once you have your liquid and egg yolks combined into a smooth, custard like cream, pour back into your pot on the stovetop.  While whisking often, cook this cream over med-low heat for roughly 5-7 minutes.  It will thicken as it cooks.  *If it seems a bit loose, make a slurry of cornstarch and milk and whisk right in.

Now back to that ice bath you made earlier.  Place a fine mesh sieve over your top bowl and pour your pudding through it while gently pressing it through with a rubber spatula.  That ice from under your top bowl will begin the cooling process of your pudding.

Once all of the pudding is pressed through the sieve, take a sheet of Saran Wrap and cover the entire bowl.  Make sure the Saran Wrap is actually touching the top of the pudding.  This will help it not form that unsightly “skin”.

Place your bowl of homemade pudding into your fridge and allow to cool completely.  Prepare your cookies once your pudding has thickened.  While the cookies are cooling on a wire rack, you can begin your topping and it will all come together nicely.


This part is the easy part.  I promise.  This also would be crazy delicious over ice cream, waffles or a slice of creamy cheesecake!

In a saucepan on the stovetop, place in you chopped pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and butter.

Over medium heat stir together till the brown sugar and butter melts together forming a glaze, about 3 minutes.

Once those ingredients are incorporated, gently fold in your sliced bananas.  Cook for another 3 minutes and it’s done!  It’s ready to spoon onto any dessert and enjoy!

In a small dish or bowl, spoon in 1/2 cup of pudding.  Layer a bit of your caramelized pecans & bananas over top. Repeat with another layer of pudding and your warm topping.  Garnish with a few of your vanilla wafers and serve!

Vanilla Wafer Cookies

I’m making a pretty fun dessert tonight AND my boys (young & old) wanted cookies.  The yummy recipe that I am preparing calls for ‘Nilla Wafers and I figured if I could make an awesome chocolate chip, then why not try a wafer?!   Easier than I thought and this will be a staple in our home from here on out!

The Starting Lineup

  • 3/4 cup of flour
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 Tbsp (1\2 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

    I left out the 1Tbsp of milk picture..too much work, I assume that you’re reading directions..

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line 1-2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In medium size bowl, sift together the flour, salt & baking soda.  In a small dish, mix together the milk & vanilla.

 In your stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat your softened butter & sugar on medium till light and creamy (about 5 minutes).

On low, slowly add in your dry mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs, followed by your milk & vanilla combo.

Once combined and almost forming a dough ball, remove from mixer and shape into a 1″ x 12″ dowel.  This dough is not sticky and easily molds into shape.  No need for excess flour here!

pretty, isnt it?…

With a very sharp knife, cut into 1/4-1/2″ slices, softly roll and gently flatten with your finger tips.  Lay appx 1″ way from each other on your parchment covered baking sheet.

Bake in oven for 12-15 minutes, until tops are no longer soft.  Let cool on your baking sheet for 5 minutes and then continue to cool on a wire rack.  Done!!  Easy right??! 👍


Carne Asada Fries

When missing the west coast and after a lake bound, fun weekend, we want to devour some good ol Carne Asada Fries!  Mmmmm…..but duh!  Why not just make them ourselves??  These are so tasty and fresh that you do not even have to be tipsy to enjoy them! 😉🍻

The Starting Lineup

  • Marinated Flank Steak 
  • French Fries, frozen
  • Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Guacamole
  • Sour Cream


  • 1 cup Goya Mojo Criollo marinade
  • 1 cup Goya Naranja Agria marinade
  • 1 Tbsp Goya Adobo seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp cumin

*Pico de Gallo

  • 2 large ripe Tomatoes
  • 1/2 red/or white onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Kosher salt


  • 2-3 Avocados, ripe
  • 1/2 red/white onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Serrano pepper, minced UNseeded
  • 2 Limes, juiced
  • Kosher salt & pepper

Well, here is where my ‘Starting Lineup’ picture takes a hit.  There are a few from scratch starter pics that could have taken place, and did,…or you can buy some of these things premade.  

I was also trying to not have an 8-page recipe due to just pictures, so I have condensed it.  I take ZERO accountability for any product that’s been bought and made at your local grocer.  Fresh IS best.  However, it is absolutely acceptable..👌😉

Let us start with the carne.. I either A. go to our local carneceria and purchase ‘a bag’ of premarinted flank steak OR B. go to our local grocer and buy their version.  Both pretty damn good.    

In a large freezer bag (plus dish for spillage) add in your pre-marinated flank steak and the 4 other instructed ingredients.  Keep in fridge for at least 2 hours.  Flip the carne as needed. 

 Meanwhile, preheat your oven to your French Fries instructions.  Also, prepare your pico and guac (if you haven’t already).  You can absolutely deep-fry the French fries, but I think that when baked, they add a good crunch.

 Your carne can be cooked in ANY way you prefer.  When my husband is home, I like him to grill it for me.  Sooo freakin’ tasty!! …and he feels included too 😉


this is just 1/3 of the meat..I always make too much

Cook the steak to your desired doneness and let rest for at least 10 minutes.

Cut the Carne Asada across the grain and then chop!  Take out your daily  frustration right here! 


 My favorite, assembly time, has come!!!  Layer the Carne Asada on top of your crispy fries.  Next, a heavy handful of freshly grated cheddar to melt over the warm meat and fries.  Top it off with a hefty spoonful of fresh pico, guac and the sour cream.  Oh my gosh, please enjoy!!!  We did! 


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