This Week in the Charming South Kitchen

I like normal weeks.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love doing fun things and love out of the ordinary with people, and events, and cooking times – but I also like the ordinary weeks.  This week…we have no guests, I’m cooking one meal for a family in our church, I will probably do some baking with the boys – but other than that it is pretty normal and I’m trying to use ingredients I already have in my kitchen.

Pepperoni and Cheese Crescent Rolls for a quick dinner for my men on Tuesday night while I run to Target before the ever important NCIS comes on

Broccoli Rice Chicken Cheddar One-Dish Casserole (recipe coming soon on this blog)

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Slow Cooker Soup

Shaved Greens and Caesar Salad (making this without the mandolin and using bottled dressing – but you get the hint)

We are eating on this cake that I made this past weekend

My friends Red Beans and Rice (pinto beans here)


Sweet Chili Kung Pao Cauliflower

a healthy warm satisfying dish
a healthy warm satisfying dish

When moving to a new place you always want to scout out a couple of things: parks, hiking trails, great local Mexican restaurants, and definitely a favorite sushi/chinese take out place.  One of my favorite things to do is to sit on the couch eating take out Chinese.  We haven’t done it in a while because we’ve not found a place that’s not really expensive here in our area.

There was a great local dive in Chapel Hill called Charlie’s.  It had the best corn egg drop soup and was just down the strip mall from where I worked for a while.  I loved everything on their menu.  Would love to grab lunch with a sweet friend there or take some home for dinner.  This is especially worth it for those cold, rainy winter nights.

It might not be winter yet, but its been constantly raining and cloudy with much of the same in the coming forecast – and I’ve been wanting to try something healthy with cauliflower.  Speaking of cauliflower – I hope my Mister will eat this.  There are only a few things that my mister doesn’t like – and I’ve changed his mind about one of them already since we got married.  So, I think the flavor of this dish will win him over to the cauliflower side!

Sweet Chili Kung Pao Cauliflower
Recipe type: main dish
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4
A healthy satisfying twist on a Chinese favorite
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ⅓ cup sweet chili sauce (bottled) - divide into three
  • ½ cup chopped sweet peppers (red, orange, yellow)
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic (1-2 cloves)
  • ¼ cup salted peanuts
  • 2 T water
  1. Heat butter in a non-stick pan or wok.
  2. Add cauliflower and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Saute with the water for about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add some of the chili sauce.
  5. Add peppers and garlic. Saute about 2-3 minutes
  6. Add peanuts and more chili sauce. Stir until all combined
  7. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining chili sauce.
  8. You can add some green onions/chives or more peanuts on top for presentation.
  9. Serve with rice for a complete meal.
Trader Joes has a great Sweet Chili sauce that we use for some chinese chicken dishes.  It was perfect in this dish as well.  I also had chopped up some yellow, orange, and red peppers and had them in the freezer.  This dish took all of 10 minutes.  I love quick dishes – in between refilling preschooler sippy cups and singing the Dino Train song – quick is good for this busy momma!

This Week in the Charming South Kitchen

Pumpkins Galore

Let the new month begin – and I’m two for two in sticking with the budget.  This week I’m trying to cook more healthy and less meat.  Going hard after this until the half I’m running here in ATL on Thanksgiving Day.  Then, maybe celebrate with a favorite piece of pie!

Lentil Chili & Sweet Potatoes

Butternut Squash caprese salad

Green Smoothies

Chicken Tender Farm Salad

Butternut Squash and Apple Hash

Pumpkin Ravioli with a Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce (ravioli thanks to TJ – sauce, I’ll see what works)

Roasted Fall Veggies

This Week in the Charming South Kitchen

butternut squash

I think its been almost 2 weeks since I blogged. We’ve had family in town and then traveled to see friends – and I have a hectic 3 and 2 year old  – that says a lot right now.

But, here it is the end of the month and it is the second month in a row I’ve stayed on budget!!!  I’m so excited!  I’ve even come under budget this month!

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara (even though I’ve heard bacon can cause cancer)

Roasted Pork Tenderloin

Creamy mac and cheese

Greens and smoothies

Chili and Sweet potatoes

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls (easy treat for Halloween morning from Trader Joes)

I’ll be posting some of these recipes if they turn out!

What are you cooking this week?

This Week in the Charming South Kitchen

PeppersOk – I know this blog post is a little late, but thanks for still wanting to see what we are cooking this week.  My in-laws are here this week and friends from out of state and its my son’s birthday (today!) so we are busy over here.  Doesn’t stop me from cooking though!

Made this enchilada soup and it was good – will be great for leftovers this week – and it is SO EASY!

Bought some persimmons at TJ this week and grilled a TBone tonight – give me a good piece of meat and I can make a darn good steak!

These whoopie pies are going down in the morning

This chocolate cake is happening for my little’s birthday party with family on Thursday


The Charming South Kitchen

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Scratch Biscuits

Its a new week of planning bento lunches for my preschooler, using leftover taco meat for most of our meals, eating healthy for me, and saving up some calories for our 4th anniversary dinner at Antico pizza followed by some gelato.  Celebration time!

Pizza Taco Rolls

Blanco Enchiladas

Spaghetti Squash Burrito Bowls

Tater Tot Taco Bake

Almond Carrot Muffins

And more than likely some other things as we get closer to the weekend

That jam on those biscuits at the top is some peach bourbon vanilla jam from my friend Holly & Flora.

Speaking of packing my son’s lunches.  This is a first for us.  I like the idea of packing healthy lunches for him for preschool with just a touch of sweetness.  And I don’t always have time to bake or throw something together from scratch.  The Tastykake Mini Cakes are great for this purpose.  They fit in the bento boxes and they are just the perfect size for a touch of chocolate and peanut butter.  What kid doesn’t like a tough of chocolate in their lunchbox?  Thankful for Tastykake and Influenster for sending me some!  (All opinions are my own.)


Creamy White Chicken Chili

Creamy White Chicken Chili

This is probably my favorite Fall recipe.  I got it more than 10 years ago, and I finally decided to change it up, write it down, take more pictures, and have it more often.

I got this recipe from friends of mine – so really, food is all about community.  My Mister can tell you how much this is true in my life.  I love cooking for people – if people don’t like what I cook or don’t eat it at all I am really hurt (I know, I gotta get over that), and food is such a comfort for me.  Really the saying is true that everything important happens around the table.  The other night as we were picking out a place to go for our anniversary dinner, I got all mushy as we talked about restaurants.  He definitely knows one of my love languages is food.

Homemade Guacamole

This is probably one of the first recipes I ever wanted to go on my old food blog.  I always shared it with my college girls that I knew.  It was warm and comforting.  You eat it with a spoon.  You put yummy stuff on top of it to make it better – like cheese, sour cream, bacon, avocados, cilantro – I mean – what could be better.

Creamy White Chicken Chili
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
Creamy and comforting with a hint of kick - this is a perfect white chicken chili
  • 1 onion, diced
  • olive oil
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups homemade chicken broth (I don't season mine at all, therefore I can season the soup as a whole)
  • 1 can green chilies (as hot as you might like them), drained
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 2 cans cream of chicken
  • ⅓ cup whole milk
  • 1 can great northern beans, drained
  • 2½ cups chopped chicken (I cook a whole chicken and chop up the meat and use the broth)
  • 1 tsp each of cumin, chili, ground pepper
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup mexican shredded cheese
  • toppings: sour cream, additional cheese, guacamole, bacon, onions, tomatoes, etc
  1. In a dutch oven, saute the onion in the olive oil (about 1 T). After about 3 minutes, add the garlic and the chilies.
  2. While that is cooking, mix together the corn, beans, soup, milk, and spices.
  3. Add that and the broth to the pan
  4. Let simmer for about 15 minutes.
  5. Add the chicken and let cook for about 10 more minutes
  6. Add the cheese, stir, and turn off the heat.
  7. Let your husband taste. Oh, wait, that's just for my home.

This Week in the Charming South Kitchen

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Spiced Muffins

Its the end of the month, but I’ve actually stayed on food budget this month so I’m very excited!  This week is going to be some whole foods for me – and some fun stuff for the boys and my mister.

How do you incorporate healthy foods into your menu each week?  What about your kids lunches?

These muffins that I made over the weekend.

This cinnamon swirl challah bread

This deconstructed falafel salad

These twice baked potatoes

This list is short – may make some random stuff but keeping it pretty simple this week.


This Week in the Charming South Kitchen

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Roasted Jalapeno Soup

This week is the official start to Fall.  I have already baked pumpkin goodies and have loaded up my dining room with all things pumpkin and gourd. This week we should have slightly cooler temperatures – because this wknd was summer again.

Here is what we are having this week:

Chili and baked potatoes (really this is a perfect inexpensive meal that my husband loves.  If you wanna buy chili in the can it is cheaper – but you can’t really control what is in it)

Roasted salmon and fingerling potatoes (these are relatively inexpensive at TJ)

Orange Beer Chicken

Southwest Salads with TJ Chicken burgers

A Rustic Fall salad I’m putting together for a vinegar company (can’t wait)

Banana Chocolate Chip Snack Cake – yall have got to check out her site.  Everything I’ve read and what she is about and her demeanor – I’m loving!

Lots of green smoothies




Fall Sweet and Spicy Party Mix

Fall Sweet and Spicy Party Mix

Fall is the perfect time to have snacks.

I mean, there you are, sitting cozily by a roaring fire (or a gas one, or just some pretty candles in your fire place), and you need something to munch on.

Or, you have a bunch of friends over in your backyard for a fire and smores – but you need something to munch on while the smores get perfectly roasted with the charred edges of sticky ooey gooey marshmallow.

Or you have some sports fans over to watch the game and there is an empty coffee table just needing a big bowl of healthy snacks to get every body through the game (or at least until halftime.

Snacks do not have to be bad for you.  I think we often feel that snacks have to be unhealthy to be fun or to taste good – but that is so not the case.  Nuts is on a mission to share recipes that are healthy, fun, and delicious, and will be good for tailgating, watching the games, or just to snack on at night while watching your favorite movie.  And you can get your pumpkin seeds from a pumpkin and do a lot of work, or you can get them delivered to your door.

One of the things my mister always does for me, including this batch, is make the popcorn.  We got some spices for a wedding gift, and have been making a special spicy blend of popcorn a few times a month since we got married almost four years ago.  We took this special Campbell tradition and made it a little sweet too.

Fall Sweet and Spicy Party Mix
Recipe type: Snack Mix
Cuisine: Snack
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 7 cups
Sweet and Spicy and packed with everything you love about Fall.
  • For the popcorn
  • 5 cups of popped popcorn
  • ½ tsp Penzeys Jerk Seasoning (I've learned that all jerk seasoning is not created equal)
  • fresh cracked pepper and popcorn salt to taste
  • For the candied pumpkin seeds:
  • ¾ cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 T vodka
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ ground cloves
  • ¼ nutmeg
  • ⅓ tsp ginger
  • ¼ tsp cardamom
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • pinch of cayenne
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup craisins
  1. Season the popcorn and let it get cool, but not stale.
  2. For the pumpkin seeds: put everything in a saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly for about 5 minutes, until the liquid is dissolved and the sugar starts to caramelize and the pumpkin seeds pop.
  3. Dump out on to parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.
  4. Spread out.
  5. Let cool.
  6. Break into pieces
  7. Combine popcorn, pumpkin seeds, white chocolate, and craisins all together.
  8. Enjoy.