Category Archives: Meals

Baked Ham and Cheese Tart

Baked Ham and Cheese Tart

This didn’t start with me.

Every Sunday was the same growing up in my house. Both mom and dad were in the kitchen cooking, sometimes good ole eggs and bacon, sometimes kimchi fried rice.

It didn’t matter. We just loved waking up to the smell of something delicious coming out of the kitchen.

We all sat down to Sunday morning breakfast before going to church as a family. The table was always filled completely with amazing food. And if we were having Korean food, my mom was sure to have several different kinds of banchan (Korean side dishes and veggies) at the table. This is how we did Sundays.

Baked Ham and Cheese Tart. Flaky, cheesy and everything right. Perfect for brunch, lunch or a quick and easy snack!

As a kid, I remember helping my mom in the kitchen and when I was old enough, she would lure me into the kitchen with promises of kimchi jjigae or soft tofu jjigae. .  only thing was, I would have to make it myself. She was trying to teach me how to make Korean food.

My mother wanted me to learn my roots, to know who I was, where I came from and to celebrate and love the food that she grew up eating. I wish I could say that I embraced those times with my mother in the kitchen. .  but I was a punk teenage kid who didn’t care and the kitchen was the last place I wanted to be.

It was about 10 -12 years later . .  but I finally did discover my love for cooking, learning different ways in which to prepare foods and embracing my Korean heritage and now being able to feed my family the Korean food that my grandmother, mother and I grew up eating.

I’m certain this was because I had parents who were active in the kitchen and they just loved and appreciated good food. And when I would finally move out of my parent’s house and on my own for the the first time in San Francisco, CA, discovering the cookbooks (probably the only 3 or 4 Korean cookbooks published in English she could find at the time) my mom purchased and snuck into one of my moving boxes showed me just how much she loved me. And the countless phone calls we would have later. .  asking for her Korean recipes that I would make for my family always bring a smile to my face.

This didn’t start with me and you’d better believe it’s not going to end with me. My kids will learn how to cook and it’s my hope that they will teach their children and this will continue . .

Baked Ham and Cheese Tart. Flaky, cheesy and everything right. Perfect for brunch, lunch or a quick and easy snack!

And with my passion for food and cooking, I now can’t look at food the same. I can’t just slap together a simple sandwich for myself ..  I have to add something or make a sauce . .  or even bake the bread myself. I prep our family’s weekly dinner menu over the weekend and even plan out my lunches.

Baked Ham and Cheese Tart

This tart happened one week when I had numerous deadlines. I just made it for myself not intending this to be for the blog. .  but it was so delicious and simple. I had to share this with you today. I mean, I would expect nothing less when puff pastry is involved.  . . but this is REALLY good. The ingredients that really bring this tart to life are the dijon mustard + the fig jam. Oh yes, you heard me right. I hoarded this all to myself and ate this everyday for lunch for three days straight. I added some fresh arugula on top and went to town.

Baked Ham and Cheese Tart with Arugula

My mother will be here soon visiting us and I’ve already started compiling a list of things I am going to make for her while she is here. It’s not just about Korean food. She loves all foods and this tart made the list.

Baked Ham and Cheese Tart. Flaky, cheesy and everything right. Perfect for brunch, lunch or a quick and easy snack!

I hope you give this one a try!

Baked Ham and Cheese Tart
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Recipe type: Main

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apricot or fig jam
  • 1 package (2 sheets) all-butter frozen puff pastry, defrosted but still cold
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced country ham or Black Forrest ham
  • 6 ounces cheddar cheese or gruyere cheese, freshly grated
  • 1 large egg plus 1 to 2 teaspoons water, beaten

  1. Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Combine and whole grain mustard, dijon mustard and the jam in a small bowl and mix together. Unfold or unroll one sheet of the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Gently roll with a rolling pin if needed and place the puff pastry sheet on the prepared baking sheet and brush on the mustard/jam mixture over the puff pastry, leaving about an inch border between the mustard and the edge of pastry. Place the ham evenly over the mustard and then evenly sprinkle the grated cheese over the ham.
  3. Unfold and roll out the second sheet of puff pastry and gently place it on top of the ham and cheese and fold the outer edges over and together with your fingers, creating a thick crust. You can use a fork to create lines around the edge if desired. (Dip the fork in flour if it sticks to the puff pastry during pressing.) Lightly brush a layer of egg wash over the top and edges of the pie. Cut a few small slits into the top/center of the pie and bake until cooked through and golden brown, for about 30 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

Recipe adapted from Bobby Flay

Baked Ham and Cheese Tart. Flaky, cheesy and everything right. Perfect for brunch, lunch or a quick and easy snack!

Zucchini Ricotta Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter Sauce

Zucchini Ricotta Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter Sauce

One of the great, truly rewarding things about blogging is connecting with other people. The readers, fellow bloggers, foodies, other home cooks. It’s wonderful to connect with people who share the same passion: cooking and food.

Today, I’m guest posting over at Laura’s Mess. Laura is my friend over in Perth, Australia. Her writing is lovely, her photography gorgeous and her recipes, truly amazing. If you haven’t visited her blog, you absolutely need to. You’ll leave feeling inspired. For sure. This is one of my favorite recipes from Laura and this is one of my favorite posts from her. So beautiful and touching.

Laura is currently taking the vacation of a lifetime. In July, she was in Paris, then Sweden where she made these fabulous Swedish Cinnamon Buns. Then on to big, beautiful Berlin and then to England. And she’s still going. .  I told you this was the vacation of a lifetime, right?!

She is currently in Scotland, then will be road tripping for the next three weeks, then back in England, and then London before heading back home. Who wants to be her right now? Well, as Laura is traveling, I have the great pleasure of guest posting for her today.

Zucchini Ricotta Gnocchi Prep

Fall is upon us and I’m turning to filling, comforting food today. I made gnocchi! I took the skills from my one pasta making class back in Seattle and went for it. I love the feeling of dough in my hands and shaping the gnocchi.

So, I hope you grab some zucchini and try this! It’s really not hard at all. I added some roasted tomatoes because we have so many from our garden. .  I also love the added flavor and color it adds to this dish.

Zucchini Ricotta Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter Sauce by Hip Foodie Mom

So, head on over to Laura’s beautiful blog and check out my post and this recipe. . and tomorrow morning, I’m on a jet plane heading over to Allentown, PA to attend Big Harvest Potluck!! I’m super excited and ready to be inspired, learn and re-connect with friends and meet some new ones! Have a great weekend everyone! If you want to follow along, you know I’ll be posting photos on Instagram.

Have a great weekend everyone. .  and go check out my zucchini ricotta gnocchi recipe and leave Laura a comment!! Cheers!



Quick and Easy Soba Noodle Salad Bowl

Quick and Easy Soba Noodle Salad Bowl

It’s funny. .  whenever I think I have control of everything and am in some kind of groove, I feel like it all kinda comes crashing down. OK, I’m just being dramatic. I’ve been reminded recently that things are never fully in our control and we have to just let go sometimes and take each day as it comes.

I feel like you can know the state of my mind by looking at my house. If it’s a wreck with stuff, mail, toys and papers with my recipe scribbles everywhere, you know it’s been a busy and crazy week. And I feel the way my house looks.

My little Madeline fell off the back of our couch a week and a half ago and fell head first onto our hard wood floors. Kid’s fall right? She cried immediately, which is always a good sign, and we gave her lots of TLC and didn’t think much about it. On Monday, the next day, she told me her head was still hurting so I took her to the doctor to get checked out. They did a quick neurological exam and she was fine. Her balance was fine. She was in good, lively spirits so off we went.

Then, on Wednesday, her head swelled a little (the swelling usually happens immediately I think) so I called the doctor again asking if I should bring her in. .  “Has she thrown up?” “No” “Is her balance ok?” “Yes” “Is she acting different?” “No”. .  “Um, ok, she’s probably fine. Just continue to watch her.” Then, last Friday morning, I actually get a chance to feel her little head. Wednesday, she really wouldn’t let me touch it. And I feel the spot where she fell on her head. It’s like mush. Extremely squishy, like a very ripe peach, but even softer and mushier than that. Like there’s lots of liquid or blood underneath.

So, I panic. I worry. A million things are racing through my head.

I wait until 8am to call the doctor’s office to get an appointment to bring her in. I’m on the phone shaking. .  worrying. .  and still trying to keep a smile on my face in front of Madeline. We get to the doctor’s office and the doctor is feeling her head and feels something. Just to make sure she does not have a small fracture, in addition to the fluid, they tell us we should get an X-ray. We head down to radiology and she has to lay on a bed and put her head on a metal square. We get all the X-rays done and head back to our doctor’s office. They come in almost immediately and tell us the X-rays are good and everything is fine and there is no fracture as far as they can tell and that we should come back in a week and have her checked out again. And the fluid will just be re-absorbed .  . eventually.

As I’m driving home, I say a little “thank you” prayer and breathe a big sigh of relief. Phoebe, my oldest, never fell much at Madeline’s age.  .  Madeline is my crazy one so I think this probably won’t be the first fall on her head.

When we get home, we’re both starved and I whipped up one of her faves for lunch. Soba noodles!! And I threw on some raw veggies so today I’m calling this. .  a soba noodle salad bowl!!

Quick and Easy Soba Noodle Salad Bowl by Hip Foodie Mom

I like making quick meals for lunch so I can quickly get back to working, writing or playing. .  and this dish delivers.

And like I mentioned above, I left my veggies raw, with the exception of the broccoli, plus I love a little crunch and bite mixed in with my soba noodle salad. If you don’t do tofu, you can use chicken.

I hope you enjoy! And if you’re wondering about Madeline’s check-up . .  it’s tomorrow. .  we’ll keep you guys posted but I’m sure everything is fine!

Quick and Easy Soba Noodle Salad Bowl
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In order to get the best results, pat your tofu dry as much as possible before using. Additionally, I left the red bell peppers and cabbage raw but you can definitely add these in for a bit when you are stir frying the tofu and broccoli.
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4

  • ⅓ cup low sodium chicken broth
  • ⅓ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon peeled fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper; optional for some heat
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 package, 8 oz firm tofu, drained, rinsed, patted dry and cubed
  • 5 oz cooked soba noodles (buckwheat noodles)
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced lengthwise and into strips
  • red cabbage, sliced into strips
  • fresh green onions, diced
  • sesame seeds

  1. Combine ⅓ cup chicken broth, peanut butter, grated ginger, soy sauce, honey, crushed red pepper (if using), and garlic in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Using a large sized wok over medium-high heat, heat the sesame oil. Add the broccoli and dry, cubed tofu and stir fry until nicely browned, for about 8 to 10 minutes. Add in the cooked soba noodles and quickly pour in the sauce mixture (reserving a little for the end) and stir together until everything is nicely coated. After a few minutes, remove from the heat and mix in the raw bell peppers and red cabbage and drizzle on the remaining dressing mixture. Garnish with the diced green onions and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light.

Quick and Easy Soba Noodle Salad Bowl. Dinner in under 30 minutes!

White Bean and Chicken Chili Soup

White Bean Chicken Chili Soup_main

The official first day of autumn is tomorrow. Not that I needed an official day to get into my fall mindset and whip up one of our favorite chili soups. Now, initially, this soup happened by accident. .  or maybe I should call it experimenting. .  My kids love white beans and chicken and we love chili so in an effort to not make a vegetarian chili, (even though I wanted to) and wanting to compromise with my meat loving husband, we came up with this one.

Loaded with meat and veggies, this hearty chicken chili soup will definitely satisfy. Bring on the White Bean Chicken Chili Soup!

It has a little bit of everything and everyone is happy. And it’s relatively quick. My trick? I use shredded rotisserie chicken. It’s already cooked for you and tastes delicious. You simply shred it up and add it at the end. And if you want to do this recipe as a “Make-Ahead”: just prep and cut all of your veggies the night before and shred the rotisserie chicken as well. This way, everything is ready to go when you get home from work.

Loaded with meat and veggies, this hearty chicken chili soup will definitely satisfy! And feel free to use whatever veggies you have at home. I used swiss chard, zucchini, corn, bell peppers and onion.

White Bean Chicken Chili Soup2

I hope you enjoy! And who else is excited for fall weather, warm sweaters and thick socks?

White Bean and Chicken Chili Soup
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Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4 to 6

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ large zucchini, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoons chili powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 (15 ounce) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed and leaves chopped
  • 1½ cups frozen corn
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 to 3 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded, no skin
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes; optional
  • chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

  1. Using a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, for about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the diced zucchini and the bell peppers and season with the cumin, oregano, chili powder, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the beans, Swiss chard, corn, and chicken stock.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn the heat down low to a simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until some of the liquid has reduced. Add the shredded rotisserie chicken and red pepper flakes (if using) and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes. Season with more salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.


Mexican Biscuit Casserole

Change up taco night with this Mexican Biscuit Casserole! Taco seasoned ground beef with black beans and beef, topped with big flaky buttermilk biscuits!

I’d like to think that my kids are pretty adventurous eaters. Well, sometimes. .  and when bribed with ice cream, we can usually get them to try something new. I might try this tactic every now and then and especially when I’ve slaved away at something fabulous and I want my kids to try it.

What I don’t have to worry about is Mexican food. My kids inherited my husband’s love for Mexican food. They crave and ask for tacos and beans and rice and now love snacking on tortilla chips and salsa. Like, all the time.

My kids think Chipotle is fabulous. Well, I do love their burrito bowls.  .  .

This dish was inspired by my craving for big buttermilk flaky biscuits and buying some Pillsbury Grands at the grocery store and wanting to mix up taco night just a little bit.

Change up taco night with this Mexican Biscuit Casserole! Taco seasoned ground beef with black beans and beef, topped with big flaky buttermilk biscuits!

My kids don’t like a lot of cheese (yes, they are really my kids) so I only added a little chipotle cheddar cheese towards the end of baking. I also slathered butter on my biscuits before and during baking to get the nice, golden brown tops. You can scoop up the taco meat with the biscuits or eat the biscuits separately and use taco shells (what we did for my kids).

And they liked this!! They really liked it! Winning right here.

I hope you enjoy!

Mexican Biscuit Casserole
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Depending on how you arrange the biscuits in your casserole dish, you may have 2 extra biscuits. I baked these separately and ate them before dinner was on the table.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 6

  • ½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ large onion, diced
  • ½ green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 pound extra lean ground beef
  • 1 – 1.25 oz package taco seasoning mix
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 – 15 oz can black beans
  • 1 package Pillsbury Grands biscuits
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • ¼ to ½ cup chipotle cheddar cheese, freshly grated
  • serve with salsa and sour cream

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Using a large skillet over medium high heat, heat the olive oil. After a minute or two, add the diced onions and bell peppers and saute for about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the lean ground beef and cook until no longer pink.
  2. Add the taco seasoning mix, frozen corn and black beans and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. Immediately pour the hot ground beef mixture into your casserole dish and top with the biscuits. Brush the melted butter on top of each biscuit and bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove from the oven and sprinkle on the cheese. Brush biscuits with more butter and bake for another 3 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from Midwest Living

Change up Taco Night with this Mexican Biscuit Casserole!


Three Cheese Chicken Broccoli and Orzo Casserole

Three Cheese Broccoli and Orzo Casserole_main

Last week I was participating in the Love Your Kitchen Challenge with The Kitchn and Every Day with Rachael Ray (check this out, it’s going on all month and you can win $2,500 for a kitchen upgrade!) and I got to clean out my pantry. This was a very big job because my pantry (actually I have two) is huge and I have a lot of stuff. I tend to pack things in the back and forget about them so cleaning out my pantry and organizing was very needed. During my clean-up, I discovered just how much pasta I have (because I rarely cook the entire package for one meal so I had a lot of pasta boxes half full) and that I am a chips and snacks hoarder. Yes, I admit this.

The big win in this clean-up was finding a package of orzo that I forgot about. Now, I love orzo. We have to stop and take a moment and acknowledge what orzo really is. The poor misunderstood short-cut pasta, which often is mistaken for rice.

Orzo is pasta.

And I’ll be the first to admit that this dish isn’t going to win any beauty contests. .  I still have not found my groove when shooting casseroles ..  but boy, let me tell you. .  this Three Cheese Broccoli and Orzo casserole is freaking delicious.

Loaded with parmesan, cheddar and mozzarella, this Three Cheese Chicken Broccoli and Orzo Casserole will not disappoint!

The ingredients that make this casserole for me, or any casserole for that matter, is the cheese. And I used the good stuff today.

Sartori Cheese

I love cheese so when I received this glorious package of cheese from Sartori, I couldn’t help myself ..  I invited friends over and we enjoyed the Merlot BellaVitano, the Rosemary and Olive Oil Asiago and the Espresso BellaVitano right away. I was left with the utterly delicious and perfect SarVecchio Parmesan so I used this in my casserole and added some Wisconsin cheddar and mozzarella.

Loaded with parmesan, cheddar and mozzarella, this Three Cheese Chicken Broccoli and Orzo Casserole will not disappoint!

The cheese, the orzo and the chicken and broccoli make this casserole. This is comfort food. Good hearty food at it’s finest. You have to try this. .  and the next time you’re at the grocery store, look for the Sartori Cheese (a Wisconsin cheese!). .  they were all so good but I enjoyed the Merlot BellaVitano the most. So good!! Look for it!

Three Cheese Broccoli and Orzo Casserole
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Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4-6

  • 2 cups chicken or mushroom broth
  • ½ pound orzo pasta
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 to 3 cup broccoli florets, chopped
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup parmesan, freshly grated + more before baking
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, freshly grated or shredded
  • shredded or chopped cooked chicken (can use breast, thigh meat or rotisserie chicken)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking casserole dish.
  2. Using a medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the broth to a boil. Add the orzo and cook until almost tender, for about 7 minutes, mixing occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Using a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil and add the onions and saute until tender, for about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and broccoli and continue to saute for about 5 to 6 minutes.
  4. Turn the heat to low and add in the cooked orzo. Pour in the heavy cream and the parmesan, mozzarella, cheddar cheese and cooked chicken and mix well to combine everything. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking casserole dish.
  5. Sprinkle on a little more parmesan over the top if desired and bake until golden and the cheese has melted, for about 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before cutting and serving. Enjoy while hot.

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. Sartori Cheese sent me the cheese as shown above. All opinions expressed here are 100% my own. 


Slow Cooker Spicy Asian Beef Short Ribs

Slow Cooker Spicy Asian Beef Short Ribs

It seems totally fitting that I whipped out my slow cooker this week. It’s getting cooler here in Wisconsin ..  yesterday was a brisk 46/47 degrees and today it’s 55 degrees! Fall is a comin’ and I love it!

Your kitchen will smell heavenly with this slow cooker SPICY Asian Beef Short Ribs dish! With just 5 ingredients, plus salt and pepper, you've got to try this!

I absolutely love the smell when you walk into your kitchen if you have something cooking in your slow cooker. There’s nothing like it. And I especially love slow cooking beef because it just falls apart and practically melts in your mouth. So flavorful and so amazing. I mean, come on, just look at this.

Slow Cooker Spicy Asian Beef Short Ribs by Hip Foodie Mom

One thing I’ve learned with cooking with my slow cooker is that if you have good quality meat, you don’t really need a lot of ingredients to get something that’s flavorful and delicious. This recipe uses one of my favorite Korean ingredients, gochujang. So, if you’re feeling spicy, because, believe me, this one has some nice heat to it, I hope you give this one a try . . it’s really delicious!

Slow Cooker Spicy Asian Beef Short Ribs2

And don’t forget! Today is the LAST DAY to enter my cookbook giveaway with America’s Test Kitchen. I adapted their Asian Braised Beef Short Ribs recipe (pg. 262). .  so enter the giveaway. .  this cookbook is fabulous and perfect for fall!!

Slow Cooker Spicy Asian Beef Short Ribs
When slow cooking the beef for this recipe, you just want to make sure there is enough mixture to cover your beef entirely while slow cooking.
Recipe type: Main

  • ¼ cup beef broth
  • ¾ cup hoisin sauce
  • 3 to 4 scallions, diced + some for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 to 3 lbs. beef short ribs, bone-in or boneless
  • salt and pepper
  • serve with white rice

  1. Whisk together the beef broth, hoisin sauce, diced scallions, gochujang and honey in the slow cooker. Season your short ribs with salt and pepper on both sides and nestle into the slow cooker ensuring the gochujang mixture is covering your beef.
  2. Cover and cook until beef is tender, for about 7-8 hours on low or 4 to 6 hours on high.
  3. Transfer short ribs to serving platter. Skim off any excess fat (if any) from the surface of the sauce and pour the sauce over the short ribs and garnish with more diced scallion greens. Serve with white rice.


Slow Cooker Spicy Asian Beef Short Ribs_bite



One Pan Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables + A Cookbook Giveaway!

One Pan Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables_main

Everyone is now back in school and back to their weekday school year routines. I don’t know about you but I’m always pressed for time the few hours leading up to dinner time. I tried the cook 4 meals over the weekend thing and freeze/store for the rest of the week but then found myself just cooking all day on a Saturday. .  and who wants to do that?

I’d much rather prep some things the night before and have dinner ready to go the following day. Enter this glorious cookbook. The Make-Ahead Cook by America’s Test Kitchen. Oh my gawd you guys. This cookbook is a life saver and a gem.

“The Make-Ahead Cook presents eight different strategies that provide solutions for the time-pressed cook who appreciates the ease of make-ahead meals, but demands great taste. Each chapter focuses on a different path in make-ahead cooking, taking into account a variety of needs, budgets, and lifestyles, adding up to what is essentially eight cookbooks in one.

The 150 recipes (see full recipe list here!) in the book are specifically designed for preparing and cooking ahead: time-intensive stews reengineered to spread the workload over two days, favorite casseroles and pot pies reimagined to taste fresh after reheating, and hearty roasts reinvented into completely different meals for the following day.”

The Make-Ahead Cook Cookbook

If you are crazed during the week and are always being asked, “What’s for dinner?” This is the cookbook for you. The fact that it is written by America’s Test Kitchen was a huge selling point for me. Why? Because I know the recipes have been tested like crazy and they provide the rationale as to why they did what they did and what works.

One Pan Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables going into the oven!

For example, for this recipe, when laying everything down onto your baking sheet (you prep and marinate everything the night before), “to ensure that the delicate white meat stayed moist while the darker meat cooked through, we placed the breasts in the center of the pan and the thighs and drumsticks around the perimeter where the heat was more intense. And similarly for the vegetables, Brussels sprouts in the middle, hardier potatoes and carrots on the outside, also proved effective. And placing the chicken on top of the vegetables was a simple way to infuse them with savory flavor.”

So, you just come home from work, (remember, you prepped and marinated everything the night before), assemble everything on the baking sheet, bake and dinner is served!

One Pan Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables fresh out of the oven!

I seriously love this cookbook. It couldn’t have come to me at a better time. I’ve already made a few more things in here and have the Slow-Cooker Asian Braised Beef Short Ribs (pg. 262) next on my list.

Infused with garlic, fresh thyme and rosemary, your family will love this "make ahead" one-pan roast chicken.

One Pan Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables
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I used chicken thighs and drumsticks only so if you opt to not use chicken breast, this dish will still taste fabulous. I also did not add the sugar at all and this meal was still delicious. NOTE: follow instructions on how to arrange vegetables and chicken on your baking sheet. PREP TIME: 25 minutes + overnight storing time.
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4

  • 12 ounces red potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 12 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 8 shallots, peeled and halved
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces, thick ends halved lengthwise
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 3½ pounds bone-in chicken pieces (breasts, drumsticks and thighs)
  • salt and pepper
  • To finish and serve: 1 teaspoon sugar

To Prep:
  1. Place potatoes, Brussels sprouts, shallots, carrots, 2 tablespoons oil, garlic, 2 teaspoons thyme and 1 teaspoon rosemary in 1-gallon zipper-lock bag. Press out the air and seal; toss to coat.
  2. Place chicken, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, remaining 2 teaspoons thyme, remaining 1 teaspoon rosemary, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper in separate 1-gallon zipper-lock bag. Press out the air and seal; toss to coat.
To Store:
  1. Refrigerate chicken and vegetable mixture zipper-lock bags for at least one hour or overnight, up to 24 hours, flipping the bag at least once or twice to ensure the chicken marinates evenly.
To Finish and Serve:
  1. Adjust the oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. Spread vegetables in a single layer in rimmed baking sheet, discarding any excess liquid and arranging Brussels sprouts in center and potatoes and carrots along the outside. Season vegetables with sugar, salt and pepper.
  2. Place chicken skin side up on top of vegetables, arranging breast pieces in the center and leg and thigh pieces around the perimeter of the sheet. Bake chicken until breasts register 160 degrees and drumsticks and thighs register 175 degrees, for about 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through baking.
  3. Transfer the chicken to serving platter, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Return vegetables to oven and continue to bake until lightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Toss vegetables with any accumulated chicken juices and transfer to platter with chicken. Serve and enjoy.

Recipe reprinted here on Hip Foodie Mom with permission from America’s Test Kitchen.

One Pan Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables by Hip Foodie Mom

This cookbook is filled with over 150 fabulous recipes like this one! And one of you will get a chance to win this . .  today!

The Giveaway!!

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Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. America’s Test Kitchen is sponsoring the cookbook giveaway.

Back to School with Tuna Veggie Rolls #BumbleBee101

Tuna Veggie Rolls

I can’t believe my kids will be back in school in less than one week. It’s been a glorious and fun summer and even though I’m not looking forward to pulling them out of bed in the mornings, I am looking forward to getting back into a regular schedule. Hooray!

Back to school. Getting the kids ready and excited and packing school lunches. Do you pack one everyday? Now, I don’t pack lunch for my kids everyday. Sometimes, my kids actually prefer the hot lunches at school, but at the same time, they are also somewhat picky eaters so when the cafeteria is serving something that my oldest daughter doesn’t like, I whip up the packed lunch. Phoebe is only going into 2nd grade so I haven’t been packing lunches for that long but even in this last year, I’ve become more creative and have expanded the packed lunch repertoire to go beyond her favorite pasta, fish sticks and apple slices.

Tuna Veggie Rolls by Hip Foodie Mom_on board

With a recent delivery of canned albacore tuna, my excitement grew. My kids actually love tuna and will eat it by itself by the spoonful. They are currently into eating rice rolls and love raw veggies . .  so the Tuna Veggie Roll was born! This might look super complicated but it’s really not. When you get into the swing of it, these rolls can be made in a flash!

Bumble Bee Tuna

Tuna Roll Prep

Tuna Veggie Roll_closeup

You guys, these are absolutely delicious and I love that they are packed with albacore tuna! Bumble Bee Prime Fillet Omega-3 Albacore Tuna is an excellent source of Omega-3 EPA and DHA. It’s a perfect way to add this important nutrient to your family’s diet and can be used in all of your favorite tuna recipes.

Tuna Veggie Rolls by Hip Foodie Mom

And here’s a bonus recipe for kids who like edamame.


Simply prepare your edamame as you normally would, either boiling them or placing them in the microwave until ready and then soak them in a mixture of soy sauce + sesame oil + a little salt + sesame seeds (and if you want a little kick, add some Shichimi Togarashi – Japanese Mixed Chili Pepper). You will never want to eat plain ole edamame again. Try this!

Tuna Veggie Rolls
Note: Seaweed Gomasio is a blend of sesame seeds, seaweed and sea salt, and it can be found at Whole Foods. If made in the morning, these rolls can keep just fine in your child’s lunchbox (in an airtight container) until lunch time at school. RECIPE yields 4 rolls.
Recipe type: Main or Snack

Special equipment needed:
  • A bamboo rolling mat
  • Disposable gloves
  • A small bowl of water
  • A wood cutting board or other clean surface
  • A sharp knife
For the rice:
  • 2 cups cooked white medium grain rice; slightly cooled
  • Sesame oil; start with 1 tablespoon
  • Pinch of salt
  • Roasted sesame seeds or seaweed gomasio to taste
For the rolls:
  • 4 sheets dried roasted seaweed (gim)
  • 2 cups cooked seasoned white medium grain rice
  • 1 can albacore tuna, drained and mixed with 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced, seeds removed
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced, seeds removed
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 1 seedless cucumber, unpeeled and julienned
  • serve with soy sauce
  • Roasted sesame seeds

  1. For the rice: Place cooked white rice into a large bowl and let cool for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Starting with 1 tablespoon, mix in the sesame oil and salt (or Seaweed Gomasio if using). Mix well and taste. Add just a touch more sesame oil if needed but do not overdo it. Your rice only needs a hint of sesame oil for taste. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, mix one last time and set aside.
  2. Step 1: Take one sheet of the dried gim and place onto your bamboo mat (make sure the bamboo sticks are horizontal). Spread about a ½ cup of cooked, seasoned rice onto ⅔ of the gim, spreading it evenly with your fingers. Tip: leave at least one inch uncovered (with no rice at all) at the top. This will help you to seal your roll at the end.
  3. Step 2: Lay in the tuna and then all of the ingredients (bell peppers, carrots and cucumbers) on top, leaving about an inch of exposed rice down at the bottom. Using the bamboo mat on the end closest to you, roll from the bottom up and over the ingredients (like you’re rolling a sleeping bag), pressing down gently but firmly to make the fillings stay in. As you continue to roll, pull the mat up and straighten it so that it doesn’t get caught in the roll. Continue until you have reached the edge of the gim.
  4. Step 3: Using your fingers, dab just a little bit of water along the top seam of the dried seaweed and roll to seal it closed. Roll and gently squeeze one last time with the bamboo mat, set aside and continue with the other seaweed sheets.
  5. Step 4: When all of the rolls are finished, using a sharp knife, dip the knife into the water and lift the knife up so the water runs down the blade. This will help you to get a nice, clean cut. Slice each roll into about 8-10 pieces. Sprinkle on some sesame seeds, serve with soy sauce if desired and enjoy!

For detailed photos and more tips on how to roll a rice roll, click here. Visit Bumble Bee Tuna on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. And for more recipe inspiration with tuna, click here.

And since most of us are heading back to school soon (if you have not started school already) and might need some lunchbox inspiration, here are some tips that have helped me with my kids’ lunches.

My Tips for Packing Lunches

  1. Keep it simple.
  2. Keep it healthy and colorful.
  3. Personalize it.
  4. Bento box it.
  5. Change it up.

Keep it simple.

Remember, your child probably only has 15-20 minutes to actually eat so I say keep it simple. My kids like easy finger foods or things they can easily pop into their mouths. Have the fruits and veggies already sliced. And for you, Mom or Dad: prep the lunches the night before. Everything is ready and easier to pack up in the morning. Or, sometimes when I need to pack a lunch at the last minute, I just pack all of her favorite things. Easy peasy.

Keep it healthy and colorful.

The way our kids are learning to eat now is shaping them into how they will eat as adults. Let’s teach them by example. Eat healthy. Pack healthy. Now, of course, if given the option of a cookie or a carrot, my kids will go for the cookie. But I’ve always given them raw veggies to snack on so they eat those as well too. Kids love eating the colors of the rainbow. Keep the skin on those apples. Pack some raw veggies. Keep it colorful. You’d be surprised how your child’s eyes will light up in excitement.

Personalize it.

Leave a sticker or write a little note or card just to say “Hi”, “Have a great day” or “I love you.” It really brightens their day. And it gets even better when they are old enough and can actually read!

Bento Box it.

I really think kids love food more when it’s organized. My kids love food and food containers that have compartments. That’s why I love lunch containers that keep all the food separate. And this keeps it clean and fun for the kids. Remember, kids are visual too. Also, pay attention to the container. Is it easy to open? Make sure your child can open his or her lunch container with no problems.

Change it up.

This is probably why we parents stress so much about packing the lunches but we have to change it up a bit. They can’t eat chicken bites everyday.  And even if they can, change up the protein and add different dipping sauces for more flavor and fun. Instead of a sandwich, try a tortilla wrap or tortilla wheel or circles. Try to change it up as much as possible. But do not introduce a brand new food in a lunchbox. Save these new foods for dinner time at home.

Here’s to a great school year!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and I was compensated for this post. Thank you for allowing me to work with brands that I love and support. All opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

The Ultimate Chicken Sandwich + A Giveaway from Maille

The Ultimate Chicken Sandwich with Honey Dijon Mustard with Balsamic Vinegar by Hip Foodie Mom

Sometimes you just need a sandwich. A big sandwich. Or a chicken burger. One that drips when you take a bite and is juicy and full of flavor. This is for the days when a salad won’t cut it. When you just need more.

The Ultimate Chicken Sandwich by Hip Foodie Mom

I could have grilled a big, juicy ground beef patty but I had lovely chicken thigh meat in my fridge and couldn’t let those babies go to waste. Grilled to perfection and the grill marks get me every time. Oh baby.

This chicken sandwich rocks on so many levels. .  the bacon, the chicken thigh meat, the perfectly toasted bun, and fresh, crisp green leaf lettuce and the big, luscious slices of fresh tomatoes.

But you wanna know what the kicker is?

Honey Dijon Mustard with Balsamic Vinegar with sandwich

Maille’s new Honey Dijon Mustard with Balsamic Vinegar. Now, I’m a HUGE lover of honey dijon mustard (or any kind of dijon mustard; love the stuff) and balsamic vinegar.  . so combining the two?!

This is perfection.

And should be spread on every burger, sandwich, wrap, whatever . .  out there. You guys need to try this.

The Ultimate Chicken Sandwich_main by Hip Foodie Mom

The Ultimate Chicken Sandwich
Prep time

Cook time

Total time


The “prep time” is the refrigeration time for the chicken thigh meat with the dry rub. And the cook time is an estimate. Chicken is done when cooked through to an internal temperature of at least 165°F.
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4

For the dry chicken rub:
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ tablespoon ancho chili pepper powder, you can add more if you want more heat
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ tablespoon turmeric
  • ½ tablespoon coriander
  • ½ tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon star anise powder
For the chicken sandwich:
  • 4 big chicken thigh pieces, boneless and skinless
  • 4 buns, toasted
  • mayonnaise
  • honey dijon mustard with balsamic vinegar
  • dijon mustard, optional
  • 4 slices cheddar cheese
  • cooked thick, crispy bacon strips
  • green leaf lettuce
  • tomato slices

For the dry rub:
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and mix until well blended. Taste and adjust any seasonings as needed. Sprinkle dry rub onto each chicken thigh piece, on both sides, and gently rub in. Cover and place into the refrigerator for at least an hour.
For the sandwich:
  1. Fire up the grill. Remove chicken thighs from the fridge and place into the hot grill and let cook undisturbed until browned, for about 3 minutes. Flip the chicken thighs and repeat. Continue this until the thigh meat is nicely charred and cooked through to an internal temperature of at least 165°F. Remove from the grill and let rest for a few minutes before assembling your sandwich.
  2. To assemble: generously slather on the mayonnaise and dijon mustard on the bottom piece of the bun and slather on Maille’s honey dijon mustard with balsamic vinegar on the top side of the bun. Place the slice of cheddar cheese on the bottom bun, add the chicken thigh meat (which should still be hot), layer on the tomatoes, lettuce and thick, crispy bacon. Top with the top bun and devour immediately.

Dry rub inspired directly from Tom Douglas’ Chicken Rub, Rub With Love. I figured out the proportions on my own.

And just to make sure someone gets to try this fabulous Honey Dijon Mustard with Balsamic Vinegar. .  We’re giving away the entire product line of Maille’s dijon mustards and cornichons. One reader will win everything featured below.

Maille Product Giveaway hosted by Hip Foodie Mom

You guys have to try each and every product shown above. These are the best. Enter the giveaway below and GOOD LUCK!!
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Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I was provided with all of the products featured above to sample. I wanted to host a giveaway because I truly love these products.