husband's baked "nacho-sagna"

i've been wanting to do a post on this recipe for quite some time.  looking back on my relationship with cory, i think it was when he first made me his famous baked nachos (aka: nacho-sagna), was when i realized it was true love!  hah!  all kidding aside, this is one of my favorite meals to eat (especially after a particularly long work week, when calories are the last thing on my mind). 
it's also a fun recipe to make together... i normally handle the prep while cory is in charge of the nacho assembly :) the recipe is essentially baked nachos, but cory's given it the moniker "nacho-sagna" due to multiple layers of delicious nacho goodness!  he's even sweet enough to whip up a separate batch of vegetarian nachos for me, since i don't eat beef (you'll see in the photos that we made a double batch, which makes for lots of delicious leftovers for both of us for the next day or two)!  here's the details with a few tips, as well (also, please forgive the horrible lighting in the photos.  can we somehow petition to keep daylight savings time year round, if not just for the sake of acceptable food photography?):

baked "nacho-sagna":
serves: two extremely hungry people, or four adequately hungry people


1 small onion, diced
1 lb. 80/20 ground beef (or one bag vegetarian meat crumbles, for vegetarians) 
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 bag tortilla chips
4-5 green onions, chopped
6 oz. can large black olives, drained and chopped
8 oz. shredded mexican cheese blend


preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  add a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a large sauté pan and heat over low-med flame.  add the onions and cook until soft (just a few minutes).  add the beef (or veggie crumbles) and heat until cooked through.  add the taco seasoning and mix until it's distributed well.  remove from heat.  in a 13x9 inch baking dish, begin with a layer of evenly distributed tortilla chips.  top with half of the beef (or veggie crumble) mixture.  continue with half of the green onions, then half of the black olives, and finally add half of the cheese mixture.  now, do this all over again for the second layer (starting with the chips and ending with the cheese) with the other half of the ingredients.  pop the baking dish in the oven for about 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted to your liking.  allow the nachos to cool for just a few minutes before you dig in!

sautéing the onions...

one of the best tips i've learned on pinterest... use kitchen scissors to "snip/chop" green onions.

 adding the taco seasoning to the meat...

 one of the best tips i've learned from cory... squish the olives between your fingers rather than chopping them.  it sounds gross, but it's so much easier than chasing a bunch of rolling olives around your cutting board.  you could also use a food chopper if you're fancy like that.

 louie was on the lookout for any rogue olives that slipped out of my hands!
layering the chips...

adding the meat layer...

adding the green onions...

next the black olives...

then the cheese!  now repeat with layer two...

pop in the oven @ 350 degrees...

bake for 10-15 minutes...


excuse me, while i wipe the drool off my computer.

i like to douse mine in hot sauce and serve with a dollop of sour cream!


mesquite marinated chicken thighs with roasted sweet potatoes & brussels sprouts

my friend katie changed my life this past summer when she introduced me to McCormick Grill Mates marinade packets.  since their discovery, i've experimented with many different flavors and recipes.  i'd like to share with you one of my favorites that i've come up with thus far.  this meal has a quick prep time, it's super easy and healthy, and it's very delicious (it's the husband's favorite weeknight meal, at the moment)!

mesquite chicken thighs with roasted sweet potatoes 
& brussels sprouts:
approximately 4 servings


about 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 McCormick Grill Mates Mesquite marinade packet
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
1 batch of brussels sprouts (rinse and chop off stems)
2-3 small/medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 yellow or white onion, coarsely chopped 


preheat oven to 400 degrees.  whisk together water, oil, and marinade in a bowl.  pour the mixture into a large ziplock freezer bag and add the chicken thighs.  seal the ziplock and shake to thoroughly coat the chicken.  place the ziplock back into the refrigerator.  meanwhile, spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with nonstick spray.  add the sweet potatoes and toss with a little olive oil or cooking spray.  place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, turning the potatoes once or twice.  add the onions and brussels sprouts and bake for another 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft.  finally, add the chicken (be sure to let all of the marinade drip out of the bag onto the veggies) and toss with the veggies to coat everything with the marinade evenly.  cook for another 25-30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.  Voilà... a delicious and easy one-pan meal!



i was fortunate to have a long weekend a few days ago, and i figured it was the perfect time to visit my bff and her lovely family!  while i'm devastated that they live so far away, i'm somewhat comforted by the fact that at least they now live in the glorious city of milwaulkee!  it's basically a wonderland for all things i consider holy: beer, cheese, soft pretzels, and fun accents (oooh yah, doncha know)!  she showed me around to some of her favorite spots, and we had such a great time eating, laughing, and eating some more  :)  she even took me to a huge apple orchard, where we picked our own apples!  it was my first time apple pickin' (ya know, not too many apple orchards around, growing up in florida).  i was in awe of all the different varieties of apples, and the fact that you could just pick an apple from the tree and give it a taste test!

i've known emily for almost 20 years now (woah, i'm almost hoping my math isn't right... insert old lady emoji here...), and she's the kind of friend whom you pick right up where you left off, no matter how long it's been since you've been apart.  just the sight of her smile feels like home, and she's as close to a sister as i've ever had.  she's made me an aunt to one of the most beautiful, creative and hilarious child i've ever met (and expecting another in december... woo hoo)!!!  while i miss her being around to keep me "in the know" about all the coolest restaurants, makeup trends, and to go see cheesy chick flicks i know nobody else will see with me... i can't wait to go back to wisconsin to see her beautiful face again.

first stop... cheese curds!

 ^^^ my beautiful niece!  

a restaurant with pbr in it's name cannot be bad!

the raphael family!!

yes, these are fried cheese curds... and yes, they were heaven.

i'm officially a converted custard gal!


love you to the moon and back, em!  'till next time, wisconsin!