Taco Soup

With the polar vortex in town, I thought it only polite to have body warming soup cooked up for its arrival. Bored with chili and chicken tortilla, I opted for this easy taco soup recipe shared by my aunt {also mentioned here}.

While sauteing the meat, chop the onion. As I am from the onion growing capital of the world, I always opt for Vidalia sweet.


Once the meat is brown, let it strain while sauteing the onions. As the onions become clear, combine with meat.


Next, add in the canned veggies along with the mix packets and water. Stir and let simmer for at least one hour.


While the soup simmered, I quickly whipped up jiffy corn bread in my favorite cast iron skillet; one passed down from my Nana’s personal collection.

Once the soup is ready, crumble a piece of cornbread in the bottom of a bowl; add soup and top with jalapeno cheddar cheese.


Easy Taco Soup

1 lb ground beef browned and drained

1 Vidalia sweet onion chopped

1 can whole kernel corn

1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies

1 can red kidney beans

1 can great northern beans

1 can black beans

1 package dry taco seasoning mix

1 pack dry ranch dressing mix

2 cups water

Brown ground beef and drain; saute onions until almost clear then add back drained ground beef. Add all undrained canned items and seasoning packets plus 2 cups of water. Let simmer uncovered for about one hour then cover and put on low until eating.


Mid Week Marinade

As mentioned, Santa left many cooking goodies for me this year and it is all I can do to get in the kitchen and try them out. First up, my reversible griddle {HERE}.


I wanted to add this to my collection as a way to prepare quick grilled meals. With it being the middle of the work week, I’m looking for yummy meal without a lot of time spent stove side. I whisked up this easy marinade found via pinterest {HERE} and let the chicken soak for about 45 minutes.

Once ready to cook the chicken, I let my griddle (grill side up) warm over medium heat before adding the chicken.


I then added my chicken breast and cooked for 6 minutes on each side.

How’s that for a quick meal? Next time, I’ll have my chicken prepared ahead of time to shave off the soaking time needed. Do you have any quick recipes to share? Leave a comment!


Mid Week Marinade

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup vinegar

Whisk all ingredients together. Let meat soak for a minimum of 45 minutes but ideally overnight.

Quick trip, quick bread

Today the boyfriend returns from a 4 day visit with his family and I couldn’t be more excited! After a long day of travel, I’m sure he will be in search of a snack. As mentioned {HERE} he has quite a sweet tooth so this Oatmeal Quickbread recipe my Aunt shared over Christmas will be perfect for his arrival. Lucky enough for me my Aunt took care of most the dirty work! As mentioned {HERE}, our family has a tradition of sharing recipe kits. These have become one of my favorite gifts and am eager to try this years batch of goodies. As promised {HERE} enjoy this week’s installment of The Lovin’ Spoonful.


First, I get the prep out-of-the-way. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, gather materials then butter and flour a 9×5 baking loaf.


As mentioned above, my Aunt took care of combining the dry ingredients (bowl also courtesy of Aunt) so all I needed to handle were the wet. For this, I whisked together melted butter, eggs and buttermilk prior to adding to the dry ingredients.

DSC_1138I used a hand mixer to combine both ingredients but one could easily stir together the mixture.


Once fully mixed together, into the butter/floured loaf pan and off to the 350 degree oven for baking. DSC_1148

Oatmeal Quickbread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnut
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup melted butter


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Stir together 2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 cup rolled oats.

Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Add to dry ingredients along with 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips and 1/2 cup walnut.

In a small bowl, beat 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, 2 large eggs and 1/4 cup melted butter.

Stir wet mixture into dry ingredients just until evenly moistened.

Scrape into a buttered and floured 9×5 loaf pan and bake about 50 minutes.


Perfection: a chocolate chip cookie recipe

The boyfriend has been given a nickname: cookie monster. The below picture of baby boyfriend only solidifies his many years of cookie expertise.

Cookie Monster

Having a cookie expert in home means my baking skills are placed under particular scrutiny when the word cookie is uttered. After accepting a challenge from the all knowing cookie monster, I found myself struggling to find the perfect recipe. A years worth of too thin cookies, burnt cookies, not enough chips cookies, too gooey cookies, ‘my mom’s are better’ cookies finally led me to the ‘these are PERFECT’ cookies. I hope you enjoy! 🙂



Perfection: A chocolate chip cookie recipe

 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
6 Tbs. granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2  cups milk-chocolate chips
1/2 cup pecans 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix on low speed until blended. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir in the chocolate chips and pecans.

Using a heaping tablespoon, drop the dough onto prepared baking sheets, spacing the dough rounds about 2 inches apart.

Bake the cookies 10-13 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Serve with chilled milk.

Perfection: A Chocolate Chip Cookie

TSL: If you were born without wings, do nothing to prevent their growing

Since moving to Atlanta – I have embraced my new town. I find myself listening to Usher, TLC or Ludacris because their from Atlanta. I’m now drinking only coca cola because it began in Atlanta and you guessed it – cheering on the Falcon’s because they are Atlanta’s team.

Since the Falcons are making their first appearance in the NFC championship since I can remember; I dedicate this latest installment of The Lovin’ Spoonful to the Atlanta Falcons. In honor of this weekends playoff game – I have decided to give the Falcons wings to fly by serving up Sweet & Spicy chicken wings for the big game. Recipe thanks to this Pinterest find {Here}

You’ll need 15 chicken wings along with the following:

Wing Marinade

1 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves of garlic – minced
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp Tabasco sauce
1 tsp cayenne pepper or crushed chili peppers
2 tbsp honey


How to Prepare:

1. In a large bowl, mix together the marinade ingredients. Season the chicken wings with salt before coating well in the marinade. Cover, refrigerate for at least an hour (overnight is best but I marinated for 2 hours).
2. Preheat oven to 425F.

3. Line a baking pan with parchment paper, and place the chicken wings on top (keep the leftover marinade for basting later). Drizzle honey over each wing for a nice light glaze. Then sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.


4. Bake for 20 minutes, then flip the chicken wings over and brush them with the remaining marinade.

DSC_0110 Bake for another 15 minutes, or until the chicken is crispy and golden brown. Serve warm – with napkins of course!
Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings


Maybe these extra wings will help the Falcons soar to victory over the 49er’s!

Will you be watching the game or have another Atlanta favorite you’d like to share?! Tweet me @theprettypeach

The Pretty Peach

Title: CoCo Chanel Quote {Here}

The Lovin’ Spoonful: Mixologist

Every Christmas, my Dad’s family exchanges practical gifts; the most popular of such would include spatulas, dish towels and of course pre-packaged recipes. If you are wondering about the latter – you are may not be alone.

A Smith family tradition was born when the first ‘jared’ mix was given at Christmas many years ago. If my memory serves correct, I believe the first were filled with pre-mixed cookies, yet now has now evolved into soups, rubs and any other edible that fits a jar! This fun sometimes silly tradition is the way in which the women of my family share recipes amongst one another.

Along with a fragrant rub, smores bar and toffee chipper cookie mix; I received a Pasta Fagioli soup mix. Between the Boyfriend’s love of Pasta Fagioli Soup and the cold temperatures here in Atlanta, I was eager to try out this new recipe.


Recipe courtesy of Aunt Wanda

Pasta Fagioli Soup Mix
(Yields 14 Servings)

In the bag:
1 cup small pasta shells
3/4 cup dried great northern beans
3/4 cup dried pinto beans
3/4 cup dried minced onion
3 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 teaspoon dried minced garlic
1 bay leaf
Dash crushed red pepper
                                              *****Dried ingredients may be substituted for fresh

Additional Ingredients:
14 cups water (divided)
1 1/2 diced tomatoes
3 medium carrots, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
Grated parmesan cheese


Remove seasoning packet from jar. Remove beans, sort. Set pasta aside. I found this to be a quite humorous statement. After re-reading this line out loud…to The Boyfriend and the parents….I finally realized it indeed did want me to separate each bean from noodle by hand

DSC_0020Place beans in a Dutch oven; add six cups of water. – With no dutch oven, I used the biggest – heaviest pot in my cabinet.

Bring to a boil; boil for two minutes. Remove from the heat; cover and let stand for one to four hours or until beans are softened. Drain and discard liquid.

Return beans to pan. Add contents of seasoning packet and remaining water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for one hour or until beans are tender.


Add tomatoes, carrots, celery and salt. Cover and simmer 30 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf before serving. Garnish with cheese.


Serve with your favorite French bread, buttered.

I really enjoyed this new recipe. Though a little tedious, the moment The Boyfriend and I shared as we separated beans from noodles made it worth its while. As I topped our bowls with the parmesan cheese I felt a huge sense of accomplishment. First homemade soup – check!

Have you tried a new recipe? I want to hear – tweet me @theprettypeach

Note to self: add dutch oven to list of kitchen essentials needed!

Man cannot live by bread alone; he must have peanut butter

Upon a late night craving from The Boyfriend, I found myself digging through the cabinets for something sweet to whip up. Getting to know my boy means soon realizing he has an insatiable sweet tooth. With a few leftover baking items from Thanksgiving, I soon settled on a yummy peanut butter recipe I tweaked to fit what was hanging around my cubbard.




Quote “Man cannot live by bread alone; he must have peanut butter” made by James A. Garfield

Recipe Inspiration:
Courtesy of JoyofBaking.com