Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 35)

Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 35)

Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 35).  This has been a crazy, hectic,  fun week with family and friends visiting from abroad and down south. This means lots of time on the beach and lots of grilling and good food! Balancing dinners out with friends, I’m keeping things light and easy in the kitchen.

Pictured below is The Skinnytaste Meal Planner where I plan my dinners for the week (you can of course use any meal planner). Meal planning is a great way to get organized before heading to the supermarket to get ready for the week! My breakfast is usually something quick like eggs with fruit, a smoothie or avocado toast. We’re a family of four, so if a recipe serves more, it’s either packed up for everyone’s lunch or eaten the next day as leftovers. If you would like to see some of the previous week’s dinner plans, click here

Skinnytaste Meal Planner

Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 35)

Monday: Three Cheese Zucchini Stuffed Lasagna Rolls with Salad

Tuesday: Grilled Chicken Tacos with Lettuce Slaw, Avocado and Cojita

Wednesday: Grilled Salmon Kebabs with Salad

Thursday:  Quick Garlic-Lime Marinated Pork Chops with Mexican Cauliflower Rice

Friday: Chicken and Zucchini Noodle Caprese

Saturday: Dinner Out

Sunday: Dinner Out



Asparagus and Artichoke Breakfast Casserole

Asparagus and Artichoke Breakfast Casserole

Today I have a tasty summery asparagus and artichoke breakfast casserole recipe for you! This recipe was inspired by spinach and artichoke dip which is one of my favourites and I could hardly resist turning it into a breakfast! Who wouldn’t want spinach and artichoke dip for breakfast? Because it’s summer and there is plenty of asparagus around I started out by replacing the spinach with asparagus! The base of this casserole is eggs along with cottage cheese, though ricotta would also be good! The dips remaining flavours of artichokes and cream cheese are added using nice big chucks of the cream cheese so you really notice it and everything is rounded off with some parmesan cheese which adds a ton of flavour! The egg casserole takes almost no time to make so it’s just as perfect for weekday breakfasts as it is for weekend brunches! Make a double batch of this asparagus and artichoke breakfast casserole on the weekend and enjoy the leftovers for quick weekday breakfasts with just a few seconds in the microwave to warm it them up!

Read the recipe »

Fun on the Fourth by Ree

IMG_5105This might be one of the only times over the past ten years that I haven’t posted a photo of the aftermath of our fireworks show! But I got busy doing dishes yesterday morning, and by the time I stepped outside, over half of the mayhem had been cleaned up already.

Rest assured, wasn’t purty.

But the party was so much fun! I have no idea how many people showed up-I never count, so I never have any frame of reference-but all we had at the end of the evening were a few meat scraps, about a cup of corn casserole, and (fortunately for my taste buds and unfortunately for my bottom) about 30 jalapeno poppers.

As always, it was a loaves and fishes miracle! I make what I make, all the guests bring a dish, and we always have just enough food. Never too much, and never not enough.


IMG_5109A bonus of the Fourth of July weekend is that it always propels us to get the mowing, weedeating, power washing, dog washing, human washing, car washing (not really), and other homestead matters done that the busyness of the summer sometimes prevents us from getting done. We don’t have any drive-by traffic out here, you see, so sometimes things like edging and pruning trees takes a backseat to things like, oh, I don’t know-taking care of a cattle ranch. Haha.

So basically it’s like this: We spend three days cleaning everything up. Then we have a big party and everything gets destroyed again. But at least the driveway is nice and edged!

Here are some things that happened this year.

* Our kitchen sink broke and developed a leak. This, after we made the painful decision this year to bring in portable bathrooms for our guests because our septic tank backed up last year the night of July 4th after all the guests left. It’s just one of those challenges of rural living. So we went to this effort of getting a portable bathrooms and I put up signs on our bathroom doors in the house that read “S.O.S. (Save our septic!) We have nice portable bathrooms outside!” (I thought I was so hilarious. I’m weird.) And then what happens? Our kitchen faucet breaks and we have a leak that lasts 24 hours.

It’s situations like this that just make me stronger!

* No one was hurt during the fireworks show. I’m always grateful for this considering we’re basically dealing with explosives, and the only person who has ever gotten hurt throughout the 15 years (give or take) or our gathering is my brother-in-law Tim, who burned his hand on a sparkler and had to go to the emergency room. It wasn’t the least bit funny, because he really did burn his hand and was in a lot of pain. But now we can’t help but chuckle that throughout all the M-80’s or M-160’s or whatever the powerful pyrotechnics that Tim and Marlboro Man blow through, the thing that finally got Tim was a single sparkler.

I repeat: I’m not laughing! Just chuckling. Very, very quietly.

* I changed my shirt during the party twice because first, I spilled sangria all over myself as I was transferring it to the drink dispenser, and second, I couldn’t stop sweating because we had a huge thunderstorm the night of July 3 and the humidity was through the roof.

I don’t remember ever changing clothes at my Fourth of July party when I was in my thirties.

I also don’t remember our septic tank backing up when I was in my thirties.

I also don’t remember sweating this much when I was in my thirties.

I also don’t remember getting so excited about jalapeno poppers when I was in my thirties.

Actually, scratch that. Yes I do!

Cilantro Lime Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Noodles

Cilantro Lime Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Noodles

Shrimp scampi, which is basically shrimp cooked in a butter, garlic and lemon sauce, is one of my favourite meals! The other day I was enjoying some cilantro lime grilled shrimp and I could not help but think that the fabulous cilantro and lime flavour combo would be great in shrimp scampi! I mean if you take something that is already good, like butter and garlic, and combine it with something else that is great, like cilantro and lime, you can only get something even better! I was right! The buttery, garlicky, cilantro and lime sauce is absolutely amazing with shrimp; and it’s so quick and easy to make! You can serve this cilantro lime shrimp scampi all by itself, with crusty bread, on rice, on pasta, on quinoa, etc. or my current obsession, zucchini noodles to make for a complete, light summer meal!

Read the recipe »

Baked Zucchini Sticks

 Baked Zucchini Sticks

Baked zucchini sticks, a great way to get even the pickiest of eaters to enjoy zucchini! Perfect as a snack, appetizer or side dish. My daughter Karina loves when I make them, it’s her favorite way to eat zucchini and her only complaint is that I don’t usually enough.


Candied Jalapenos

Candied Jalapenos

I am a fan of spicy hot chili peppers and I always have a jar of pickled jalapeno peppers in my fridge so when I heard about candied jalapenos I just had to try making them! Candied jalapenos are pretty much just pickled jalapenos that are sweetened with sugar. Whoa! Spicy and tangy jalapenos that are also sweet? Yum! Candied jalapenos are nice and easy to make; you just need to slice up a bunch of jalapeno chili peppers and simmer them in a combination of vinegar and sugar which adds the tanginess from the vinegar and the sweetness from the sugar to the jalapenos. That’s it! With just a few minutes of effort you have a nice sized batch of candied jalapenos and I can really see why they are called candied jalapenos because they are so good that I just devour them, like popping candy! These candied jalapenos can of course be used in things like sandwiches, salads, on pizzas, etc. in addition to just eating them straight out of the jar!

Read the recipe »

Bacon BBQ Chicken Skewers

Bacon BBQ Chicken Skewers

This weekend is a summer holiday long weekend and a great time for enjoying some sunny out door weather along with plenty of tasty food like these bacon bbq chicken skewers! Grilled meat on a stick is one of the best things about summer and why not add some bacon to the mix? I mean, bacon makes everything better, right? For this grilled chicken I went with a simple homemade BBQ sauce with, you guessed it, bacon! There are also some caramelized onions and maple syrup for sweetness, cider vinegar for tang, soy sauce for saltiness and chipotle chili powder for a smokey heat. The sauce is processed in a food processor to break up the bacon and it’s best to let the sauce hang out in the fridge over night to let the bacon flavours infiltrate the sauce! Next up you simply marinate the meat in the bacon bbq sauce, skewer it and grill it up until slightly charred and good! Summer long weekends are always fun and you can make them even better with these bacon bbq chicken skewers!

Read the recipe »

Honey Mustard Grilled Pork Chops

Honey Mustard Grilled Pork Chops

This weekend is another one of those precious summer long weekends and the perfect chance to do some out doors grilling with these quick, easy and tasty honey mustard grilled pork chops. These pork chops could not be easier to make! You simply marinate the pork chops in the honey and mustard sauce and then throw them on the grill! The marinade is just packed with flavour with the amazing sweet and tangy honey and mustard combo with a touch of garlic (and feel free to throw in some hot sauce if you like!). Since you’ve got the grill out already make it a complete meal with some grilled veggies and throw in a side of fruit like watermelon for dessert!

Read the recipe »

I’m in a Talkative Mood This Morning by Ree

Good morning! I’m in a talkative mood this morning, I’ll just warn you.

grammieWhich reminds me of my sweet mother-in-law, Nan. If you want to talk to her about anything, make sure you call her before 11:00 a.m., and even then, make sure you have time for a nice, long phone call. By her own admission, she uses all her words for the day before noon. After that, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow if you want to have any sort of meaningful conversation.


PW - Olive Cheese Bread - WideI totally get it! I’m shooting some more recipe videos today at the Lodge (videos like this one), and I stopped just short of asking the guy who is helping me with them if we can get started at 6:00 am. I feel I’m at my freshest when the sun is just coming up! After about 8:00 am, it’s a rapid descent to worthlessness for me.

Country living will do that to ya.



Oh, man. I have so much to tell you, and I’ll try to stay organized with my thoughts. Never mind, no I won’t.

First, opening date! We still don’t have a locked-in date, but feel comfortable that it will be the beginning to middle of September. August has sort of been the working date for the past few months, but I have been telling people “August, which probably means September,” and that’s pretty much falling into line. I think. Ha.

Second, I want to take this opportunity to say how very excited I am about The Merc! I’ve referred to it as a labor of love for a long time, but it really, really is. We love that old building and what it represents, and while on paper, it’s sort of a crazy (insane) idea to open a big deli, mercantile store, bakery, and (now) online store/warehouse in a small town in northeastern Oklahoma, the fact that it is in our small town is what makes it so fun.


IMG_4906Okay, so now that I have waxed poetic about The Merc, I’ll turn the tables and list just a few of the things we’ve been working on, in no particular order: built-ins for the store, built-ins for the deli, lighting plans, plumbing, return air, electric, floors, restaurant equipment, restaurant ventilation, deli cases, products for the store, staffing for the store, deli, coffee, and bakery (we haven’t started hiring, but will in a month to six weeks, probably!), warehouse shelving, unpacking goods, photographing products for the online store, deli menu, bakery menu, coffee menu, coffee machines, espresso machines, tables, chairs, uniforms, and (okay, now we’re getting into the fun part)…


IMG_4839Dishes! See? There I was listing the myriad things we’re having to make decisions about and I tried and tried to sound overwhelmed and overloaded…then I said the word “dishes” and all was instantly right with the world! I have been looking over the restaurantware choices for the deli (life’s too short for paper plates, man) and all I can tell you is that I have a new reason for living. Of course, nothing matches. Of course, everything is old fashioned. Of course, everything is making my skirt fly up. And I don’t wear skirts, but still.

I promise to wear a skirt one day before I die.

I sure hope I don’t die anytime soon because I’m just really feeling jeans at this point in my life.

While plenty of construction and progress is happening at the Merc itself, the activity at the warehouse (we’ve been calling it Merc West; haha) has been very exciting. The warehouse is the storage building for excess store inventory, but it will also be the hub for the online store-and we’ve been the summer job spot for a few of our favorite high school and college students in town. They blast music, unpack boxes, organize shelves, and stay out of the Oklahoma heat. It’s been fun to have those whippersnappers around!

Which brings me to the last point of this post: the URL/web address for the online store. I’m going to be including some of my favorite goods from The Merc in the online store, and I’m excited that folks who can’t come to The Merc will still get to experience some of the fun. But the web address is a sticking point for me, and I’d love to get your input! In the grand scheme of life, this is such a minor issue. In the grand scheme of a website, though, it can seem like a bit issue because there’s no going back.

The name of the establishment is The Pioneer Woman Mercantile. The two choices for the web address are:


I won’t tell you my preference, because…well, I don’t have a preference, I go back and forth because I see the benefits to both. Would love for you to weigh in and decide for me! What rolls off the tongue (fingers) more?

Take Our Poll

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Thank you, friends!


P-Diddle-Diddy-Widdy (I think that might be a new one.)