Tropical Rice

I have a strong emotional connection with food.  When I want to conjure a sweet memory, I usually use food to get there. One of our favorite things to do as a family is cook foods from places we’d love to visit. Tonight was such a night. Rice with a Caribbean flair!! It was absolutely delicious. We served the rice with Coconut Shrimp and it took us right to the island of Jamaica. 

tropical rice- final

 I started with 3/4 cup of coconut water, 1 tablespoon of lime zest, and 1 cup of water to boost the flavor of the Jasmati rice.  It was a-mazing!! This rice would be excellent with chicken, steak, or salmon. I also enjoyed the leftovers the next day with a fork!! 

rice ingredients

 The smell in my kitchen from the coconut water and lime zest should be bottled! Yum!  Bring your mixture to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer with the lid on for 8 minutes.


 Remove from heat and add onions and carrots. Replace lid and allow to sit for 10 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. 

tropical rice- add cilantro

 Garnish with Cilantro and serve with a  lime wedge. Your well on your way to a tropical experience for your taste buds! Enjoy

tropical rice- final

 Here’s a little glimpse into our Coconut Shrimp making! Dredged in seasoned panko, egg wash and coconut and baked to golden perfection! Glitter Girl has two servings and we made it again the next day!!  We loved our little tropical experience! Can’t wait to go back! 


Tropical Rice
A simple rice recipe full of flavor with a Caribbean flair.
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  1. 3/4 cup coconut water
  2. 1 cup water
  3. 1 cup Jasmati rice
  4. 1 carrot, shredded
  5. 1/2 purple onion, diced
  6. 1 lime, zested
  7. 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  1. Combine coconut water, rice, lime zest, and water in sauce pan. Bring mixture to a boil. Turn heat low to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 8 minutes. Remove from heat, add onions and carrots (do not stir), return lid and allow to sit for 10 minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff rice mixture with a fork. Sprinkle cilantro to garnish. Serve with a lime wedge.
  1. I served this with coconut shrimp, but it would be delicious with a steak, chicken, or tucked inside a burrito for a tropical twist on a Mexican classic.
Sweets & Whimsy









Simply Delicious Stuffed Peppers

Crazy as it sounds, I’ve never made or eaten a stuffed pepper…. I had a craving for these and it wasn’t on the menu, so I used what  I had on hand and the result was fantastic!  So good and incredibly easy…. they can be eaten as a main dish or a simple side. stuffed peppers- final

 I had some Jasmati rice left over from another blog post (you get to see that later this week!)- so I used that, but any rice will do. I love Jasmati- the texture is amazing. I used 1 cup water and 1 cup beef broth…. the beef broth gave the rice a really nice flavor. This is the perfect recipe for leftover rice, but if you need to make some- here is what you need to do:  Bring your rice to a boil, then cook for 8 minutes with the lid on. Remove from heat and allow to sit for another 10 minute until all the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff the rice with a fork and set aside until needed.

beef broth rice

 Prepare your veggies. For this recipe I used onions and garlic (because I always have those on hand)- about 1/4 cup of onion and 1 garlic clove. 

garlic and onion

 Prepare your peppers… traditional stuffed peppers are usually whole peppers stuffed and  baked upright. I only had a few peppers available so I cut them in half.  If you are going to make this at home…. use 4 whole peppers so your filling and pepper ratio evens out!

peppers to stuff

While your ground beef is browning… add your onions and garlic, salt and pepper. I also took this time to measure out my tomato sauce- about 1 cup and grate some cheese- about 1 cup as well. I decided to use tomato sauce infused with basil and cheddar for my cheese of choice.

tomato sauce and cheese

 After your ground beef is browned and your onions are translucent, add your rice and tomato sauce, stir to combine and remove from heat. 

add to ground beef

 Stuff your peppers! Cover with cheese. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Cover with foil and cook for an additional 10 minutes until the peppers are tender and the filling is warmed through and the cheese is melted.

stuffed peppers cooked

 The thing I love most about this recipe is you can change it up in so many different ways- try chicken, lamb,sausage or ground turkey. Change up your veggies or try a different cheese and add different spices to change up the flavors… taco seasoning to make a Mexican style pepper or oregano and basil for an Italian pepper.  I had some filling left over and it was amazing eaten alone for my lunch the next day or would be perfect eaten in a tortilla if I had any left!

stuffed peppers

 I will definitely be making this recipe again! What a happy,  simply delicious surprise!   Enjoy!!



Simply Delicious Stuffed Peppers
Incredibly flavorful and easy to make stuffed pepper.
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  1. 2 bell peppers (any color)
  2. 1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
  3. 1/4 cup chopped onion
  4. 1 cup cooked rice (cooked with 1 cup beef broth and 1 cup water)
  5. 1 teaspoon salt
  6. 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  7. 1 cup tomato and basil tomato sauce
  8. 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (3 oz)
  1. Cut pepper in half. Remove seeds and membranes; rinse peppers. In 4-quart Dutch oven, add enough water to cover peppers. Heat to boiling; add peppers. Cook about 2 minutes; drain.
  2. In 10-inch skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown; drain. Stir in rice, salt, garlic and tomato sauce; cook until hot.
  3. Heat oven to 350°F.
  4. Stuff peppers with beef mixture. Place peppers in ungreased 8-inch square glass baking dish.
  5. Cover tightly with foil. Bake 10 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with cheese and bake about 15 minutes longer or until peppers are tender.
  1. Experiment with different meats, veggies and cheeses for the fillings.
Sweets & Whimsy


My Favorite Beef Stew

We had another snow event on our little mountain this week! I love it! I woke up, looked outside, and knew it would be a perfect day to slow cook my favorite Beef Stew!! The perfect food for a cold winters night. 

another snowy day

 So- let’s get right to it….lots of yummy ingredients. All the usual’s: stew meat, potatoes, onions, carrots…. and a few surprises….

beef stew ingredients

 Paprika!! What a happy little trick! It is the perfect spice to season the meat! Not too spicy, very flavorful and it gives the meat huge flavor.


 Season the meat with plenty of salt!


 And flour…. you want to make sure the flour covers the meat on all sides. this will help get a really nice brown color on your meat. Oil your pan and place your meat in the pan to sear on medium high heat.

sear meat

 Prep your veggies… I have onions, potatoes and carrots.  You don’t want to cut the veggies too small because they will cook down quite a bit in the next 7-8 hours! Once inch rustic chunks is what we are going for!

veggies for beef stew

 After your meat is seared, place it  into your crock pot and throw in the veggies….  now… it’s time to make our gravy!    I think  I know this is the number one secret to this super flavorful stew. Start the gravy with your tomato paste…. put it in the pan you used to brown the meat and cook for just a minute or so until it turns a nice brick red…

tomato paste in skillet

 Add a cup of wine and 2 cups of beef stock. If you don’t have wine on hand you can use beef stock or water instead. 

wine for stew

 Look at that gravy…soooo rich and flavorful! It’s picking up all of those beef drippings and making a beautiful color! Cook your gravy until it is nice and thick and bubbly.

gravy for beef stew

 Pour your gravy over your meat and veggie mixture…. stir

stew for 6 hours


And 7- 8 hours later….we are done!!  your veggies and meat should be tender! 

its done

 Serve yourself a large portion of this comforting stew! Another crazy, but oh so good twist…. add a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of paprika… a-mazing…

flavorful beef stew- final


There are a ton of Beef Stew recipes out there. This is a winner for the Burtons- 8 thumbs up!!   Enjoy!


My Favorite Beef Stew
Serves 6
A warm, comforting, and flavorful beef stew that is perfect for any night of the week!
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
8 hr
Total Time
8 hr 20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
8 hr
Total Time
8 hr 20 min
  1. 2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  2. 1 teaspoon sweet paprika, plus more for garnish
  3. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  4. 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for coating
  5. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  6. 1 pound small white potatoes, halved
  7. 3 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
  8. 1 medium onion, chopped
  9. 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  10. 1 cup red wine
  11. 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  12. 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  13. 1/2 cup loosely packed parsley leaves, chopped
  14. Sour cream, for serving
  1. Toss the beef with the paprika, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Coat in flour and shake off any excess. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook undisturbed until it begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook, turning the beef as needed, until mostly browned, about 3 minutes more. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the beef to the insert of a 6-quart slow cooker; add the potatoes, carrots and onions and stir to combine.
  2. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the tomato paste and stir until the oil begins to turn brick-red, about 1 minute. Add the flour and wine and whisk until thick (it's OK if there are some lumps). Add the beef broth, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper and bring to a simmer, whisking; continue simmering and whisking until the gravy is smooth and thick, about 4 minutes.
  3. Pour the gravy into the slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 8 hours. The meat and vegetables should be tender.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley. Serve the stew in bowls with dollops of sour cream and a sprinkle of paprika.
  1. The original recipe calls for 1 teaspoon caraway seeds and 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms. I did not have those on hand, but I am excited to add those the next time I make this scrumptious stew.
Sweets & Whimsy


Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

As promised…my Cinco de Mayo enchilada recipe! I have tried many enchilada recipes and this one is very kid friendly- the green chili enchilada sauce is very mild and  slightly sweet and the marinated chicken is full of flavor.baked enchiladas

 I started the dish by cooking my chicken. I poached the chicken in chicken broth and seasoned the cooking water with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Cover raw chicken with cooking liquid and simmer until chicken is cooked through. 


 TIP ALERT!!  I shredded my chicken in my Kitchenaid… really! Just put the chicken breasts in the mixer with the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed. Can you believe it? I met a cooking coach recently who gave me this idea!  I can’t wait for you to try it! Perfect shredded chicken! I see lots of chicken salad in my future! 

shredded chicken

Add your corn to chicken mixture. This is one of those moments I wish I had a gas stove… it would have been nice to get a good char on this corn… oh well…If you have a gas stove, put the whole corn cob onto your gas burner and char it up! 


I added a can of black beans to chicken as well. Rinse and drain beanc.

black beans

 Then I put the shredded chicken, corn and black beans into a gallon size disposable bag to start marinating the chicken… I marinated cooked shredded chicken for about 30 minutes, but it can be marinated for up to 4 hours.

marinade ingredients

Pour about a half cup of green chili enchilada sauce on the bottom of your pan….i used canned sauce.

tortilla down

I shredded about two cups of Monterey Jack cheese. I like to shred my own cheese if I have the time. I recently did some research on what they are putting into our shredded cheese bags to keep it “fresh” and …. um… no thanks!  I had the time today so I went for it! 


 Scoop about a spoonful or two of the chicken mixture plus a sprinkling of cheese onto your fajita size flour tortilla…. 

fajita tortilla

Roll tortilla and place fold size down into your baking sheet.

all tortillas

 Add the remainder of your chili sauce to a cup of whipping cream, stir to combine. This is a perfect “sauce” to make if you are in a hurry. My favorite thing to do when I’m making chicken enchiladas is a white cream sauce that incorporates the cheese into the sauce- it’s very decadent! This is easy and quick and still yummy!

cream sauce

 Pour your chile cream sauce over your enchiladas! It’s important to cover any exposed tortilla surface with your sauce. You don’t want crunchy edges. 

cream sauce1

 Cover with cheese

add cheese

 Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Remember everything is cooked- we are looking to heat everything up and melt that cheese! 

baked enchiladas

Enchiladas are the perfect dish to make ahead and freeze. I had a bunch of the chicken mixture left over and have been having a southwest salad for lunch all week! YUM!


Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas
A yummy chicken enchilada dish with a mild green chile sauce!
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  1. 4 tablespoons honey
  2. 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  3. 1 tablespoon chili powder
  4. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  1. 2 lbs chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  2. 8 flour tortillas
  3. 2 cups Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
  4. 1 cup heavy cream
  5. 20 oz green enchilada sauce
  1. Mix marinade ingredients together and toss with shredded chicken, corn and black beans in a gallon size Zip-lock bag. Let it marinade in the fridge for 30 minutes or up to 4 hours. Pour about 1/2 cup enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan. Mix the remaining enchilada sauce with cream. Mix and set aside. Fill the tortillas with chicken mixture and a sprinkle of cheese. Place tortillas in baking pan, fold side down. Once your baking pan is full, pour your chile cream sauce over your enchiladas and sprinkle with your remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until slightly brown and bubbly.
Sweets & Whimsy