Easy Peasy At-Home Dinner Date

Steve and I try to go on a date a couple times a month (carving out time for marriage is hard sometimes with everything going on!! But necessary… and fun!) but when we can’t get out we try to do something nice together at home.

Most of the time we end up eating dinner and picking a good movie. But one of the things we like doing together is cooking! Steve called me on his way home from town this weekend and asked if it sounded good to feed the kids and cook something for us as a date! He was in the mood for salmon, and I thought pasta sounded good with it so I sent him a list and we put together this crazy simple menu.

Do you know how easy salmon is to cook?? First of all, it hardly takes any time at all, second of all, it doesn’t take much to have an awesome-tasting piece of fish – salt and pepper, butter, dill, lemon, you’re done! Here is the recipe we followed.  Also, this made enough for us to eat it twice and still have a little left over…

This pasta recipe is fast and we really loved it! It’s creamy and garlicky and the perfect side for the salmon. Steve said:

All I can say is you need to make this more often. We need to figure out what else we can eat this with.

I made this easy peach cobbler from Trisha Yearwood with a jar of fresh peaches that my friend, Lisa, canned this summer! It made the dessert amazing.

We got the kids in bed and went to work! Since everything was pretty simple we ate in about 45 minutes. I’d recommend adding a vegetable, but we were just ready to eat, so… I think I might have been a little low on my fruit and vegetable count for the day… Oops. Do the peaches in the dessert count??

I’d love to get some more easy recipes from you AND ideas for dates – at-home or out on the town!

(P.S. pictures via the recipes linked to!)

Six Family-Tested Soups You Need to Make {and the Best Bread Ever}

I’m going to be honest… After writing a post like this one, it’s hard for me to transition to anything… Nevertheless, we are called to care for those around us – our neighbors – whether that translates to family, friends, actual neighbors, coworkers… And part of caring means feeding. So, yes, even when the world is reeling I’ll do what I can do to care for those around me – by making soup and doing laundry, and giving baths, and getting together for coffee. And I’ll keep praying for those around the world who have a very different life from me right now.

This post was originally entitled “FIVE Family-Tested Soups You Need To Make {And The Best Bread Ever}, and then my friend made Pioneer Woman’s amazing Sherried Tomato Soup, and I about died.

So, I give you SIX soups that I know you’ll love and you should try as fast as humanly possible. Click on the photos (courtesy of the respective sites) for the recipes!

First up, three soups from Edie at Life{in}Grace (if you aren’t following her blog yet, DO. You’ll love her as much as I do, I just know it.)

life{in}grace's Broccoli Cheese Soup // Six Family-Tested Soups You Need to Make {and the Best Bread Ever} from ordinaryawesome.com

Her Broccoli Cheese Soup is easily my favorite soup ever. It’s also a cinch to make, and fast (about 30 minutes.)

life{in}grace's Chipotle Pumpkin Barley Soup // Six Family-Tested Soups You Need to Make {and the Best Bread Ever} from ordinaryawesome.com

Edie’s Chipotle Pumpkin Barley Soup is a revelation. A revelation of the fact that I love pumpkin in soup and not to be afraid of chipotle peppers. You have to try it.

life{in}grace's Potatoe Corn Chowder // Six Family-Tested Soups You Need to Make {and the Best Bread Ever} from ordinaryawesome.com

This Potato Corn Chowder is now my go-to corn chowder. I don’t even bother with any other recipes. Yum.

So, three soups from Edie are a tribute to how much I love her. And her soups. She calls herself the Soup-Whisperer. She ain’t lyin’.

And this is where I’m going to have a moment, and insert the picture where I met Edie in person at Allume last year… Sorry for the bad lighting… But, eek!

Soups from Edie Wadsworth ... and me meeting her :)  // Six Family-Tested Soups You Need to Make {and the Best Bread Ever} from ordinaryawesome.com

I was so excited to meet her. She’s been such an encouragement to me over the internet without even knowing it!

Now… I’ve got two words for you – slow cooker. Am I speaking your language?

Picky Palate's Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Soup // Six Family-Tested Soups You Need to Make {and the Best Bread Ever} from ordinaryawesome.com

This soup is so beefy and deliciously savory… and you can come home to dinner DONE! Thanks, Picky Palate!

Spicy Sausage Potato and Kale Soup from The Candid Appetite //  Six Family-Tested Soups You Need to Make {and the Best Bread Ever} from ordinaryawesome.com

This Spicy Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup was one of my first pins on Pinterest. It made me want to eat that soup right then and there. I finally actually made it in real life, and it’s exactly as good as it looks – hearty, creamy, great kick from the sausage… Love it. And you will love The Candid Appetite – his photography is just beautiful. But you may end up eating your computer screen, so beware…

And, last but not least for the soups – Pioneer Woman’s Sherried Tomato Soup. I love the bits of tomato, and the fresh basil… And I’m a sucker for heavy cream. What can I say?

Sherried Tomato Soup from The Pioneer Woman // Six Family-Tested Soups You Need to Make {and the Best Bread Ever} from ordinaryawesome.com

I’m a firm believer that you need bread with soup… About 10 years ago a friend made this sort of bread for me, and although this isn’t the exact recipe (I LOST IT!!), this Garlicky Party Bread with Cheese and Herbs is the closest I can find. This bread is garlicky and cheesy and everything bread should be… AND it’s fun to pull apart.

Smitten Kitchen's GarlickyParty Bread with Herbs and Cheese // Six Family-Tested Soups You Need to Make {and the Best Bread Ever} from ordinaryawesome.com

If you’d like to pin any of these, head over to my Soup board on Pinterest…

What are some of your favorites?

Cranberry Scones

One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is waking up in the morning, and watching the parade while eating brunch. We all stay in our pajamas, the fire is going, there’s usually snow on the ground (there definitely will be this year!), and we watch all the big balloons and musical acts do their thing. We usually make a sausage and egg breakfast casserole and cinnamon rolls or scones.

Cranberry Scones from ordinaryawesome.com

I don’t want to be in the kitchen missing the parade, so I try to plan a breakfast that can be made ahead of time. That’s why I love these Cranberry Scones – I make them ahead, freeze them without baking them, and pop them in the oven when I’m ready.

Cranberry Scones from ordinaryawesome.com

Some scones come out dry and tough – these, never. Just handle the dough as little as possible, and you’ll have fluffy cranberry-studded, lemon-glazed goodness.

Cranberry Scones

2 c. flour
1/4 c. granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/3 c. chilled, unsalted butter
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 lg. egg
1  tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. cranberries (or more if you prefer)
cream for brushing on the top
parchment paper

1 c. powdered sugar
2 1/2 tsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper (I hardly bake anything these days without using it… Everything comes out beautifully!)

You can do this by hand with two forks or a pastry cutter, but it’s faster in a food processor! In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, and whir a few times to mix. Cut butter into 1/2 inch cubes and distribute over flour mixture. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, stir together the cream, egg, and vanilla. Add cream mixture to flour mixture and pulse until combined. Scoop the dough out onto a floured surface. Start forming the dough into a 3/4 in. circle, and as you do, push the cranberries into the dough.

Cranberry Scones from ordinaryawesome.com

I bring the dough together with my hands into a rough circle without messing with it too much, put half of the cranberries on the side up and press the cranberries in, then turn the dough over and press in the rest, and finish forming my circle. Use a knife to cut the circle in half, then in quarters, then cut the quarters in half. From there you can decide if you want larger scones or if you want to cut smaller ones. I go for 12 small ones. Lightly brush the tops with cream. If you aren’t glazing them, you may want to sprinkle them with a bit of sugar. Bake 13 to 15 minutes until lightly browned.

While the scones are baking, mix the powdered sugar and lemon juice to make the glaze. (If you like more glaze, just double it.) When the scones come out, transfer them to a wire rack and drizzle with the glaze.


I think they are best eaten warm right away, but they will stay fresh for a couple of days in an airtight container. I like to make the dough, and cut the scones, then let them freeze for an hour on a cookie sheet, transfer them to a plastic freezer bag, and pull them out to bake whenever I want them. They bake perfectly from frozen!

Cranberry Scones from ordinaryawesome.com


Happy Thanksgiving!


{Recipe Favorite} 30-Minute Dinner Rolls

I know I’m not the only one who, at times, needs to get dinner on the table fast. And when fall comes around I love making soup and having bread to serve with it.

I stumbled upon these 30-minute dinner rolls on Pinterest, and at first I was a little skeptical, but these are the real deal. They are good and they’re fast.

Here’s a shot via Kitchen Meets Girl:

30-minute Dinner Rolls via Kitchen Meets Girls - Ordinary|Awesome Blog

That’s literally how they turn out every time. They’re great as a side with soup and salad, but they’re also really nice sandwich buns for pulled pork or Leftover Christmas Ham sandwiches etc…

Give these a try! I know they’ll be a hit! Thanks Kitchen Meets Girl for this great recipe!

Coming soon – my favorite soup recipes, and how I turn these rolls into fast cinnamon rolls!

P.S. I’m leaving for Allume tomorrow! Thanks for praying for us!

Looking For The Ordinary Awesome - Write 31 Days ChallengeTo read all the posts in this series, check out the series page as I post the link for every day! And don’t miss a post – subscribe via email by signing up using the form in the sidebar!

This post is part of 31 Days – “an online writing challenge started by home blogger, Myquillyn Smith (The Nester) where bloggers pick one topic and write a post on that topic every day in October.”

Buffalo Chicken Pizza {a.k.a. Your New Favorite Pizza}

Buffalo Chicken Pizza from Ordinary|Awesome blog

Okay, I’m really giving you something when I give you this recipe. This is quite possibly my very favorite pizza ever. I love pizza with red pizza sauce, olives and pepperoni – classic. But this pizza… I had it for dinner Saturday night, and I made a small one for Steve and I for lunch yesterday. I could eat it for three meals in a row – that’s how good it is.

Don’t judge me.

Papa John’s has a buffalo chicken pizza that they bring back every so often – usually at the start of football season. When Steve and I lived in town, just around the block from Papa John’s, we’d get it as soon as they had it back on the menu. We live 20 minutes away from PJ’s now, so I decided I should try to figure out how to make it myself. Especially since it’s not on their menu right now.

I was wildly successful. Seriously – you’re going to love me for this recipe.

Start with a basic pizza dough recipe. I love to use The Pioneer Woman’s easy peazy pizza crust – yeast, water, flour, salt, olive oil. Here’s the recipe. The recipe makes two thin crusts, but I used 3/4 of the dough to make a pizza last night that took up most of this pan. You want the crust to be on the thick pillowy side. <swoon> Feel free to just make one big pizza, but I like leftovers.

The photo below is my smaller pizza today. I kept the dough in the fridge and it made enough for a nice lunch pizza today. The one last night fed three.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza from Ordinary|Awesome blog
I always use parchment paper for my pizzas. Parchment paper is your friend – for pizzas and cookies and breads… It makes life so much easier (nothing sticks!) and makes things cook and bake perfectly. Get you some.

Here is the cast of characters:

Buffalo Chicken Pizza from Ordinary|Awesome blog

Ranch dressing, some cooked chicken (I cubed two chicken breasts, added some salt and pepper and garlic powder and cooked them quickly – had some left over), a few strips of bacon (however much you like), mild banana pepper rings, half monterey-jack, half mozzarella cheese (I grated more than you see here – probably about 8 oz.)

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees so when you’re done assembling it you won’t waste any time. For goodness’ sake. You want to eat this as soon as possible.

Drizzle the ranch over the crust. There is no scientific measurement, but I found this spiral method worked nicely.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza from Ordinary|Awesome blog

You don’t want too much ranch or it will be gloopy. You want it to melt into the crust (oh my goodness)…

Buffalo Chicken Pizza from Ordinary|Awesome blog

Next, scatter as much chicken as you like around the pizza.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza from Ordinary|Awesome blog

Then cut the bacon up with scissors (it’s the only way to do it… I use scissors for everything.) I used three strips. It’s your call.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza from Ordinary|Awesome blog

Grab your neon yellow banana peppers – don’t be afraid they are not spicy and they add a great tang. I love the color!

Buffalo Chicken Pizza from Ordinary|Awesome blog

Top it all with lots of cheese!

Buffalo Chicken Pizza from Ordinary|Awesome blog

Now stick it in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.

You might be thinking I totally forgot the wing sauce. Wait for it…

By the way – this Sweet Baby Ray’s wing sauce is the bomb. I didn’t even know they made wing sauce. We’ve tried a few of them out there including designer ones and store brand. This is probably one of my favorites. I’m looking forward to trying it on wings for football season.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza from Ordinary|Awesome blog

Ok, so it’s been 15 minutes, and this is what your pizza will look like coming out of the oven. Bubbly and perfectly browned on top. You can peek underneath and the underside will be slightly browned as well.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza from Ordinary|Awesome blog

Enter: wing sauce. Drizzle some evenly all over the pizza. You don’t want to drown it – just kind of spiral it around again.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza from Ordinary|Awesome blog

Then serve it up and chow down!

Buffalo Chicken Pizza from Ordinary|Awesome blog

Add it to your meal plan for the week! Maybe during a pre-season football game!

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

1 recipe The Pioneer Woman pizza dough

Ranch dressing

2 chicken breasts, cubed, tossed with garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste, and quickly cooked in some olive oil

3-4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled or cut into pieces

Mild banana pepper rings

Monterey-jack cheese (4 oz. or however much you like)

Mozzarella cheese (4 oz. or however much you like)

Wing sauce (or some brands call it hot sauce – we like Sweet Baby Ray’s Buffalo Wing Sauce & Glaze)

Parchment paper

Make pizza dough and let rise. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. To make a large pizza, use all the dough, and using your fingers, flatten the dough to the shape of your liking, keeping it on the thick side. Drizzle the ranch in a spiral over the whole pizza. Not too much! Spread with a spoon. Scatter the chicken, bacon and banana peppers (as much as you like), and top with the cheeses. Bake for 15 minutes. When the pizza comes out, drizzle with the wing sauce and enjoy!

30-Minute Coconut Curry {with Chicken, Chickpeas and Kale}

A week ago I was going to delve into one of the recipes I’ve pinned but have never actually made (ahem – are you a pin-horder too??) – Green Chickpea and Coconut Curry with Swiss Chard from Crepes of Wrath (her blog is beautiful, by the way, and love her pictures of Thailand in this curry post.) Makes me want to go somewhere.

Anyway, we’re not talking about traveling; we’re talking about curry.

Warm coconut curry over rice… I don’t even have the words… Comfort food at its best.