Simple Potato Gratin <3 Olivia

image (6)
Hi! First post since December for me… been in a pretty major cooking slump. Anyway, this is from the Smitten Kitchen (one of my favorite cooking blogs). We had this for Christmas dinner and it was delicious.

Simple Potato Gratin:
– 3-4 tbs. butter
– 1 1/2 yukon yellow potatoes (peeled)
– 1 cup half & half (or milk or cream)
– approx 1/2 cup shredded cheese (gruyere or parmesan)
– salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
1. Slice the potatoes thinly (use mandoline if possible)

2. Grease a 9×12 glass dish with butter/oil. Place a single layer of sliced potatoes on the bottom of the pan, and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Place 1/3 of the shredded cheese over the first layer.

3. Repeat the layering process, til you end up with 3 layers– but don’t put cheese on top of the final layer, you will do this later.

4. Pour the half & half into the dish, it will come up to the third layer–add more if needed. Place in the oven.

5. After about 30 minutes, remove the dish and press down the potatoes with a spatula so the potatoes are kept moist. Place back in the oven for another 30 minutes. 15 minutes before it is done, sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

eat & enjoy 🙂

Mexican Chicken Casserole


I love a good recipe to last the week. Or just for a big dinner. This dish is totally from my brain and a great combination of veggies and protein in one. It’s super low fat and high in protein. Here’s what you’ll need:

1 pound of chicken breast, sliced as thinly or thick as you’d like
bread crumbs
1/2 can of black beans
1/2 can of corn
1 can of diced tomatoes
shredded cheese (of your choosing, I did Mexican mix)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Slice your chicken into pieces, I just halved each chicken breast piece, and coat in the bread crumbs. Place the chicken in a casserole dish.

Sprinkle the top of the chicken with salt, pepper, parsley, and Tabasco to your liking.


Next, drain and rinse the corn, beans, and tomatoes.

I layered half the can of corn on top of the chicken, then half the can of beans. Finally, I added the whole can of diced tomatoes.

I sprinkled a little bit of salt, pepper, and parsley on top of the tomatoes.

The last step is evenly coating the top of the casserole with shredded cheese of your choice.


Put in the oven at 375 for 45 minutes.

Eat hot or save for the next day! This was FULL of flavors and the Tabasco gives it a nice kick. It is so delicious and you can have a totally guild free meal. You can eat this on its own or with a side of pasta or quinoa. Nomz.



Spiced Pear Loaf


I love pears. I cannot say that enough so I will say it again, I love pears. Being that this is the case, I needed a study break a couple weeks ago and decided to make a dessert with pears. Here’s what you’ll need:

2 cubed pears (I used Bartlett because they are my favorite)
1 cup of whole wheat flour
1 cup of white flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of cinnamon
1.5 tablespoons of ginger
1 banana (VERY ripe)
6 oz of Greek yogurt
3/4 cup of white sugar (or brown sugar)
2 eggs
1/2 cup of almond milk (or your favorite milk)
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Spray nonstick cooking spray on your loaf pan (or your muffin/cupcake pan- either will work).

Mix the banana and Greek yogurt with a fork. Then mix in the sugar and vanilla extract. Then one egg at a time.

In another bowl, mix the flours, baking powders, salt, ginger, and cinnamon.

Then, combine 1/3 of the flour mix with the banana mix. Add in half the milk of your choice. Mix, then repeat those steps until everything is well mixed.

Finally, add in the cubed pear pieces. Do not over-mix the pears with the dough.


Pour into the baking dish of your choice. Put in the oven at 400 degrees for at least an hour. I would suggest an hour for muffins and maybe an hour and 15 minutes for the loaf. Check the middle with a butter knife to know when it is done. The change in length of time baking is going to be how based on much moisture the pears have. So keep an eye on this and use your judgement.

This load turned out SO GOOD. I took more than half of it to work and it was gone in an hour! The dessert is very spiced, as I love ginger and cinnamon, obviously you can change this to your liking.



Skinny Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup


We DEEPLY apologize for the hiatus we have had. Graduate school had taken over our lives for a while but WE ARE BACK. During our graduate school hurricane, I needed to make various recipes to last me the week. So, the Crockpot was my best friend. I made this Skinny Chicken Noodle Soup and I couldn’t even eat the whole batch in a week. Here’s what you’ll need:

6 oz of reduced sodium chicken broth
1 can of corn (I used creamy corn)
4 carrots chopped up
4 celery stocks chopped up
1 pound of chicken breast, cubed
2 cups of diced up mushrooms
1/2 of a finely chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 a package of rotini pasta (of whatever past of your choice)

Step one, put everything in Crockpot, including the raw cubed chicken (trust me). Add the ingredient to your liking and taste.


Step 2, set Crockpot on high for 4.5 hours.


Step 3, enjoy.

This recipe is genuinely the easiest recipe ever and its delicious. You’ll enjoy it and so will people you give it to. I ate it over the week for lunch then froze the other half. Deeeeelish!



Shortbread Cookies


Super Bowl is one of my favorite times of year. It’s always so much fun and full of energy…well, that was debatable this year. Anyway, I got to try a new recipe to take with me to my friend’s annual party. I decided on sweet since I figured there would be lots of savory. Here’s what you’ll need:

2 sticks of unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt

Dark chocolate chips

Combine the butter and sugar with a handheld mixer.

Add in the egg and vanilla- I used vanilla sugar, worked the same.

Then mix in the flour and salt. Add in the flour, little by little, and keep mixing.

Once mixed together, use your hands to create 2 logs of dough- about 2 inches round. The dough is VERY dry; it is suppose to be like this so that the shortbread consistency is there.

In foil or saran wrap, cover the logs of cookie dough tight!

Stick in your fridge for about 1.5 hours. At least an hour!

When the time in the fridge is up, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Spray 2 cookie sheet with nonstick spray.

Unwrap the logs and cut up into cookie sized pieces, about ¼ of a inch.

shortbread2 shortbread1

Then, roll each cookie piece in your hands so that it is round and flat. I rolled the sides of half of them in sprinkles and just rolled the other half into round balls and put a few dark chocolate chips in the center of each.

I put in both cookie sheets in the oven at the same time and baked for about 18-20 minutes; rotating them about half way through.

When done, let them cool before you take them off the cookie sheets.


These were really yummy. They were delicious as a dessert and as a treat with my morning coffee. Everyone who tried them seemed to like them! Which, of course, makes me a happy girl. I definitely suggest these for a good treat, but fair warning, the dough isn’t the easiest to work with. It will definitely be worth it in the end though! Next time, I think they would be really good to try with dried cherries or some nuts. Play!




Roasted Chickpeas


I love a good snack. Especially a healthy one! This recipe is one I found while peeking through Pinterest, but like most other ones…I changed it up. You can add in whatever spices you want to make this to your liking. Here’s what you’ll need:

1 can of garbanzo/chickpeas
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Whatever spices you like- I did Italian seasoning, basil, and paprika

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Drain and rinse the chickpeas.


In a bigger bowl, put the drained chickpeas and olive oil and mix it up well.

Take a cookie sheep and spray it with non stick spray.

Take your spices and add them to the chickpeas. I added a lot, because I like very flavorful things. But do this to your taste.


Now, put the chickpeas on the cookie sheet. Make sure you spread them all out.


Stick in the oven for about 35 minutes- or however crispy you want them.


Eating them right out of the oven is best. But I store them in the fridge and eat them as a snack throughout the week. Lots of diets use a ton of chickpeas because of their low fat, high fiber content. About ½ a cup of these is approximately 110 calories- pending on what spices and how much oil you put on. So healthy and delish.



Banana Nut Scones


After tons of hours spent studying, a pick me up was needed. I found a few recipes online for scones, and I’d made them before, but I wanted something new. Here’s what you’ll need:

2 mashed bananas
1.5 cups white flour
2/3 cup of whole wheat flour
6 packets of Truvia
6 tablespoons of white sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons of butter
1 egg
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
¼ cup almond milk
(or you can just do ½ cup of your favorite milk instead of the two above)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1 egg white
½ a packet of stevia or sugar

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Mix up the flour, truvia, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Add in the butter cut up into small pieces. Use your hands to mix the butter and flour combination.

Now, add in the mashed bananas, egg, heavy cream, milk, and vanilla.

Mix it up well; it’s going to be very sticky.

Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray.

Make two loaves with the dough and place on the cookie sheet (pictured below).

Take the chopped almonds and sprinkle on top of the 2 loaves.

Now, using a pizza cutter or butter knife, cut small triangles from the 2 loaves. Mine made between 5 and 6 scones per loaf.

Now, take the egg white and either using a spoon or a brush, brush the tops of the scones with the egg white.

Finally, sprinkle the scones with the sugar/stevia lightly.

Place in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the sides are brown.


Enjoy hot or cold. These turned out yummy! Definitely satisfies a sweet tooth without overwhelming the calorie in take. These will be good leftovers with coffee in the morning. Noms!