On Hiatus


Hey everyone! Sorry for the state of non-communication over this past year. Life has thrown me a few curve-balls from my own accident to losing my Nana to watching my dad battle stage 4 esophogial cancer having to put my dog to sleep to many other things. In the midst of this chaos, blogging has not been a priority. And frankly, I’ve been enjoying just cooking and creating for myself and my boyfriend (the one good outcome of this past year!) rather than forcing new recipe development.

Lately, though, I’ve been missing sharing my creations and connecting with fellow foodies and healthy lifestyle enthusiasts. So I won’t be gone forever, I just need to re-tool, refresh, and find my inspiration again. In the meantime, I’m leaving my site up so you can grab what recipes you want and enjoy them on your own table.

Bon appetit!

Hot Italian Chicken Sausage Stuffed Portobellos

Hot Italian Chicken Sausage Stuffed Portobellos - Colleen's Kitchen

Sometimes the best recipes come out of necessity. I mean, there I was, rummaging in the fridge, trying to decide what to make for dinner. I have a tomato that’s just starting to pucker, a carrot that’s beginning to dry out, a bit of onion left over from a previous meal, some parsley that’s looking a little ragged, and a couple of portobello mushrooms left over from some grilling I did last week. And let’s not forget the hot Italian chicken sausage in the freezer.

Sounds like the beginnings of a fantastic meal, right?

Hot Italian Chicken Sausage Stuffed Portobellos - Colleen's Kitchen

Of course you’re right. And, it’s easy too.

After a quick saute of the carrot and onion, I added some garlic and the chicken sausage until the sausage was browned and crumbled. Then I added in the tomato and let it cook until the tomato got soft and saucy. No need to add herbs because the sausage is already full of Italian seasonings.

Hot Italian Chicken Sausage Stuffed Portobellos - Colleen's Kitchen

I then simply removed the mixture from the heat, mixed in a little parmesan cheese, and stuffed the portobello mushrooms, mounding the meat mixture generously. Once topped with another sprinkle of parmesan cheese, I baked them in the oven for 30 minutes.

The result? Perfection. At once tender, hearty, and spicy, it’s a gourmet quality dish that’s ready in almost no time. It’s also perfectly adaptable to baby portobello mushrooms for a superb appetizer.

What are you making with your fridge finds tonight?

Hot Italian Chicken Sausage Stuffed Portobellos
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 2 servings
  • Calories: 349.3
  • Fat: 15.7
  • Saturated fat: 6.0
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.7
  • Monounsaturated fat: 4.7
  • Carbohydrates: 19.3
  • Sugar: 2.1
  • Sodium: 1208.2
  • Fiber: 4.5
  • Protein: 35.2
  • Cholesterol: 101.8
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Poultry
At once tender, hearty, and spicy, these Hot Italian Chicken Sausage Stuffed Portobellos make a gourmet quality meal that is ready in almost no time.
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large carrot, quartered lengthwise and diced
  • ⅓ cup diced red onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ lb. raw, bulk hot Italian chicken sausage
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • ¼ cup minced fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 oz. shredded parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 portobello mushroom caps, stems removed and caps cleaned
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the carrot and red onion and cook for 5 minutes on medium.
  4. Stir in the garlic and chicken sausage and continue to cook until the sausage is browned and crumbled, stirring frequently.
  5. Add in the tomato and continue to cook until the tomato is soft and a sauce begins to form in the pan.
  6. Remove from heat and mix in the parsley and 1.5 oz. of the parmesan cheese.
  7. Place the mushroom caps on a baking sheet so that the tops are down and the stem side of the mushrooms are facing up.
  8. Stuff the mushroom caps with the sausage mixture, mounding it high above the mushroom caps.
  9. Top the mushrooms with the remaining parmesan cheese.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes, remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.




L de Lyeth 2011 Malbec

L de Lyeth 2011 Malbec - Colleen's Kitchen

When I find a wine I love for under $15/bottle, I just want to shout it from the rooftops.

So hear goes…

L de Lyeth 2011 Malbec!

Lyeth is based in Sonoma County, California, and is a meritage pioneer. What’s a meritage? Well first, don’t try to French-ify the word like I always want to do. Keep it simple, it rhymes with “heritage.” A combination of the words merit and heritage, the title is used to describe red wines that are blends of typical Bordeaux varietals, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot being the most common as well as others like Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.

Many wines, even those with a single varietal named on the label like this one, have some small amount of another varietal thrown in to round out the flavor.

The L de Lyeth 2011 Malbec is a blend of 76% Malbec and 24% Cabernet Sauvignon. The brilliant add of Cabernet Sauvignon lends an air of dark complexity to the otherwise fruity Malbec. Overall, the wine is lush and silky with flavors of dark red berries and black currants.

L de Lyeth 2011 Malbec - Colleen's Kitchen

It’s perfect with a hearty, mildly spicy dish like my Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Bowls. The peppery curry is tamed by the jamminess while also bringing out just a hint of smokiness in the wine. Together, they make for one happy Meatless Monday. Or Wine Wednesday. Or any day of the week for that matter.

The best part? This baby is a steal at under $13/bottle! Yes, that’s correct, just $13/bottle. So what are you waiting for? Go pop open a bottle and taste for yourself how good it is.

Get the recipe for Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Bowls here.

Buy a bottle (or more) of the L de Lyeth 2011 Malbec here.

As with any part of a healthy lifestyle, always enjoy alcohol responsibly and in moderation.

Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Bowls

Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Bowls - Colleen's Kitchen

If you haven’t been living in a cave these past few months, then you know the new rage of the food world is cauliflower rice. It’s not really rice, it’s just cauliflower minced up finely and sauteed to the texture of rice. It packs a nice nutritious punch without all the carbs of rice, which makes for a very smart substitution.

I love the idea of cauliflower rice, but the reality is that I have a very small kitchen and my appliances are put away in cupboards to make the most of the limited counter-space that I have. Call me lazy, but I don’t want to get all the pieces of my food processor out to chop the cauliflower down into rice-sized pieces and then have to clean said pieces.

But I do love the idea of cauliflower rice.

So I decided to use my favorite chef’s knife and chop up the cauliflower head into small pieces. I don’t have the patience to get it to rice-sized pieces, but it does chop quickly and easily into pieces almost that size.

Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Bowls - Colleen's Kitchen


A quick saute with some carrot, onion, garlic, and ginger then creates the base of the dish. Adding in curry powder and bit of turmeric turns the cauliflower from a dull white to a golden, glowing yellow. Then to add some protein and heft to the meal, I mix in some organic tri-color quinoa. Easy peasy, right?

Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Bowls - Colleen's Kitchen

Oh but I’m not quite done. The absolute essential finish to the dish adds the final flavor punch: a handful of chopped fresh cilantro, a dollop of nonfat Greek yogurt, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Oh my deliciousness!

Does Meatless Monday get any better?

Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Bowls
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 2 servings
  • Calories: 364.0
  • Fat: 12.8
  • Saturated fat: 1.2
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 3.3
  • Monounsaturated fat: 2.9
  • Carbohydrates: 55.5
  • Sugar: 4.8
  • Sodium: 724.4
  • Fiber: 12.9
  • Protein: 13.0
  • Cholesterol: 0.0
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Meatless Monday isn't complete without these easy, golden Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Bowls finished with cilantro, Greek yogurt, and a squeeze of lime.
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp peeled, minced fresh ginger root
  • pinch of coarse sea salt
  • 1 medium (5-6" in diameter) head of cauliflower, diced
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp red curry paste
  • ½ cup dry tri-color quinoa, cooked according to package directions
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the carrot, onion, garlic, and ginger. Stir to coat with the oil. Cook for 5 minutes or until the onions are slightly transparent, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add in the salt and cauliflower pieces, stirring to combine. Cook for 5 minutes more or until the cauliflower is slightly soft, stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking.
  4. Mix in the curry powder, turmeric and curry paste. Cook for 2 more minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the quinoa and cilantro.
  6. Serve topped with a dollop of nonfat Greek yogurt and a squeeze of fresh lime juice (optional).


Helioterra 2013 Pinot Blanc

Helioterra 2013 Pinot Blanc - Colleen's Kitchen

With the gray skies and rain lifting here in the Pacific Northwest, I find myself breaking out the white wines more and more. A little sunshine always makes me yearn for a cool, crisp white to accompany a light meal. An excellent example of that is this Helioterra 2013 Pinot Blanc with my Spring Pea Farro Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette.

A small, artisan winery based in Portland, Oregon, Helioterra operates in the capable hands of winemaker Anne Hubatch. Anne studied at the hands of well known vintners including Eric Hamacher, David Adelsheim, Dave Paige, Joe Dobbs, and Alfredo Apolloni before launching her own label, Helioterra, in 2009. And thank goodness she did, because the 2013 Pinot Blanc is truly outstanding.

Helioterra 2013 Pinot Blanc - Colleen's Kitchen

Fresh and bright, the Helioterra 2013 Pinot Blanc has flavors of meyer lemon, fennel, and a slight minerality that make it a perfect combination with my Spring Pea Farro Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette. Together, the two remind me that spring truly has arrived and summer is just around the corner.

Buy a bottle of Helioterra 2013 Pinot Blanc here.

Get the recipe for Spring Pea Farro Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette here.

As with any part of a healthy lifestyle, always enjoy alcohol responsibly and in moderation.

Spring Pea Farro Salad

Spring Pea Farro Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette - Colleen's Kitchen

This past week my pear trees finished blooming, all that remains of them is a snowstorm of white petals blanketing the front yard. My local farmer’s market also re-opened for the season, bringing with it a bounty of fresh, local vegetables. As much as I love asparagus this time of year, I also look forward to the first snap peas of spring.

My mother is an avid gardener, I always say I inherited my green thumb from her, and I can remember as a child being sent to pick peas from the garden for dinner. I’d head out with my little silver bucket and disappear between the tall rows of peas, it was like my own little green world in there. I’d pick the peas, nestle them in my pail, and then sit down between the rows, hidden from the world. One by one I would open up the pods, scoop out the bright little peas, and stuff them in my mouth, crunching happily on those sweet morsels of spring.

Spring Pea Farro Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

Once my child’s tummy was content, I’d hide the shells someplace and then casually saunter back into the house, proclaiming to my mother that none of the peas were ripe. To this day, I’m not sure if she knows of my deception or if she truly thought that her peas never produced much.

I still love fresh snap peas, although the wisdom of age has taught me that the crunchy shell is just as good as the sweet peas inside. I love to eat a handful as a pick-me-up snack in the afternoon or throw some on top of a salad. But for this recipe, spring peas are the star of the show.

What I love about this recipe is that it’s not only easy to throw together, it also makes for a very large salad with little calorie impact. Filling and magically delicious? That’s right up my alley.

Spring Pea Farro Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

I start by combining chopped fresh sugar snap peas with nutty farro, crunchy fennel, a bit of chopped preserved lemon, and some reduced fat feta. I like using reduced fat feta because it still has a lot of flavor like it’s bigger, fattier sister, but it’s made from skim milk so isn’t full of chemicals like it’s non-fat bastard brother.

I finish the salad off with a vinaigrette made from the juice of a meyer lemon, which are also in season right now. A true vinaigrette calls for more oil, however I prefer to keep the dressing lean and let the flavor of the meyer lemon stand out.

What’s your favorite spring vegetable?

Spring Pea Farro Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 2 servings
  • Calories: 468.4
  • Fat: 10.6
  • Saturated fat: 2.2
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.2
  • Monounsaturated fat: 5.1
  • Carbohydrates: 69.9
  • Sugar: 14.9
  • Sodium: 712.2
  • Fiber: 20.0
  • Protein: 23.5
  • Cholesterol: 5.0
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Hearty and filling, yet lean and packing a nutritional punch, this Spring Pea Farro Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette is a welcome harbinger of the season.
  • 16 oz. fresh peas, chopped
  • ⅓ cup dry farro, cooked according to package directions, drained and rinsed in cold water
  • 1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced and chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped preserved lemon
  • 2 oz. reduced fat feta cheese, crumbled
  • juice of 1 meyer lemon
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
  • pinch of sea salt
  1. Combine the peas, farro, fennel, preserved lemon, and feta in a medium salad bowl.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, thyme and salt.
  3. Toss the pea and farro mixture with the dressing. Serve and enjoy!


Lunatic 2012 Red Wine

Lunatic 2012 Red Wine - Colleen's Kitchen

Okay, I have to admit it, I first picked up this bottle of Lunatic 2012 Red Wine because of the label. I mean, how intriguing is a wine called Lunatic with a picture of hands cuffed together?

And then, the wine steward poured a bit in my glass and I sniffed, swirled, sniffed again, and took a sip. Wow! Supple, dark, and juicy it boasts hints of spicy cedar and a smooth blackberry finish. It’s a standout wine for it’s price category of under $15.

Lunatic 2012 Red Wine - Colleen's Kitchen

I knew right away that this wine was destined for barbecue. Nevermind that it’s not exactly barbecue season in the Pacific Northwest. Yet.

I also happen to have this new bottle of Organic Sriracha and Roasted Garlic Barbecue Sauce that I picked up. Kismet? Definitely.

And so the marriage of this beautiful blend of Sangiovese, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon and my scrumptious Sriracha BBQ Chicken Sandwiches was born. The combination of dark fruit and spicy, tender chicken is a marriage made in wino heaven. So much so, that I already have plans to reunite the two.

Get the recipe for my Sriracha BBQ Chicken Sandwiches here.

But a bottle of the Lunatic 2012 Red Wine here.

As with any part of a healthy lifestyle, always enjoy alcohol responsibly and in moderation.

Sriracha BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Sriracha BBQ Chicken Sandwiches - Colleen's Kitchen

This may be the easiest recipe I’ve ever published on my blog. I mean, a total of 6 ingredients with minimal fuss in the prep? It truly doesn’t get much easier.

It all started with my typical weekly browse of the “What’s New” shelf at my local Trader Joe’s. My eyes lit upon a bottle of Organic Sriracha and Roasted Garlic Barbecue Sauce and I knew that baby was going home with me for dinner. The entire ride home my mind was swimming with ideas of how to use it.

In the end, though, the simplest idea is generally best. And so these Sriracha BBQ Chicken Sandwiches were born.

Sriracha BBQ Chicken Sandwiches - Colleen's Kitchen

In the morning before I leave for work I simply toss some lean chicken breast, this sriracha barbecue sauce, and some slices of red onion into the slow cooker. Heck, I’ve even taken the chicken straight out of the freezer and thrown it into the slow cooker. That’s right, no dethawing.

At the end of the day, when I come home from work the house smells like someone’s been barbecuing all day in my kitchen. I then whip up a simple slaw of a store-bought coleslaw mix, lowfat blue cheese dressing, and a bit of crumbled blue cheese. Now all that’s left to do is shred up the chicken breast and slap my sandwich together.

Seriously, does it get any easier than that?

Sriracha BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 4 servings
  • Calories: 267.7
  • Fat: 8.6
  • Saturated fat: 3.8
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.6
  • Monounsaturated fat: 2.6
  • Carbohydrates: 16.9
  • Sugar: 13.0
  • Sodium: 464.3
  • Fiber: 0.7
  • Protein: 29.2
  • Cholesterol: 75.3
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Poultry
At just six ingredients and minimal prep, these scrumptious Sriracha BBQ Chicken Sandwiches are the dinner savior of busy working families!
  • 1 lb. raw boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup Trader Joe's Organic Sriracha and Roasted Garlic BBQ Sauce
  • 8 oz. (about 3 cups) store-bought coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots)
  • ½ cup Bolthouse Farms Blue Cheese dressing (yogurt based)
  • 1 oz. crumbled blue cheese
  1. Place the chicken, onion, and BBQ sauce in a slow cooker, cover and cook for 10 hours on low.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the coleslaw mix, blue cheese dressing, and blue cheese crumbles. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Remove the chicken pieces from the slow cooker and use 2 forks to shred the chicken.
  4. Stir the shredded chicken back into the barbecue sauce in the slow cooker.
  5. Serve the chicken on a bun, topped with the coleslaw, and bite into a little piece of heaven!
Because the brands and types of buns vary widely, the nutritional value of the bun is not included in this recipe. Make sure to read the label and factor that into your nutritional count.



Terra Vina Simpatico

Terra Vina Simpatico - Colleen's Kitchen

Now you might think that for a pairing with something like Bourbon Molasses Glazed Pork Chops, I would forego the wine and feature a bourbon cocktail instead. Well, you’d be wrong.

A hearty meat dish like this needs a good wine, something big and fruit-forward that will complement the bite of the bourbon, syrupy molasses, dense chops, and sweet carrots and apples that it’s served on. Enter Terra Vina.

Terra Vina Wines is a small, family-owned affair in Oregon that produces grapes grown from their estate in Oregon’s Chehalem Mountains AVA under their La Famiglia label and also sources grapes from eastern Oregon and Washington state for big reds produced under their Terra Vina label. Winemaker Karl Dinger started his life as an architectural engineer and spent many years in the high-tech hustle and bustle of the Silicon Valley and, later, the Silicon Forest, until he followed his passion and turned professional winemaker in 2004. Influenced by the family’s Italian connections, Karl and his wife Carole have sought to make wines here in the Pacific Northwest that evoke the old-world style of Italian reds.
Terra Vina Simpatico - Colleen's Kitchen

The Terra Vina Simpatico is an excellent example of the Italian-style quality that can be found in new world wines. A blend of cabernet franc, dolcetto, merlot, and petit verdot make for a smooth red blend with tart, juicy flavors of raspberry, cherry and dark cola. It’s the perfect wine for a rich meal like my Bourbon Molasses Glazed Pork Chops. I can’t wait to try it with some barbecue this summer.

Get the recipe for my Bourbon Molasses Glazed Pork Chops here.

Buy a bottle (or two) of the Terra Vina Simpatico here.

As with any part of a healthy lifestyle, always enjoy alcohol responsibly and in moderation.

Bourbon Molasses Glazed Pork Chops

Bourbon Molasses Glazed Pork Chops - Colleen's Kitchen

I often hear from people that they just don’t have the time to cook. I tell them about some of the meals I make and they look at me quizzically and say “You cook like that all the time?”

Like you, I have my leftover or takeout nights. Heck, this past week I had a chips and salsa night. But good, gourmet quality meals don’t need to take forever to cook. They can be simple and effortless, yet still restaurant quality that will leave your friends wondering how in the world you do it all.

Bourbon Molasses Glazed Pork Chops - Colleen's Kitchen

Like this recipe. It starts by marinating boneless pork chops in a mixture of bourbon, molasses and brown sugar overnight. An absolute must is to use a quality bourbon with a recipe like this. The marinating process allows the bourbon to impart a ton of flavor to the pork, so use a bourbon that you would also drink straight with no mixers. I’m partial to the Burnside Bourbon from Eastside Distilling, a local to me distillery. It’s smooth with notes of cinnamon and oak that infuse the pork chops in this dish with a wonderful flavor.

Once marinated, when I come home from work the next day, it only takes me about 20 minutes to turn those pork chops into an unforgettable meal. That’s right 20 minutes.

Bourbon Molasses Glazed Pork Chops - Colleen's Kitchen

One of the key ingredients to this recipe is coconut oil. Cooking the pork chops in coconut oil adds a depth of flavor to the bourbon and molasses that simply makes the dish. Using a thick cut pork chop results in a nice amount of renderings left in the pan that makes for a nice base to then saute up a mixture of cut fresh carrots, apples, and rosemary. Of course the bonus is that I only use one pan which also makes for easy cleanup.

Bourbon Molasses Glazed Pork Chops - Colleen's Kitchen

The rosemary is also an essential ingredient to this dish. First, just the smell of it cooking in the remnants of bourbon, molasses, coconut oil, and pork renderings leaves my mouth watering at the prospect of the food to come. But mostly the aromatic flavor adds yet another layer flavor of complexity to the bourbon, molasses, and coconut oil that completes the meal.

So you tell me. Why avoid cooking when it’s this easy?

Bourbon Molasses Glazed Pork Chops
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 2
  • Calories: 320.5
  • Fat: 13.3
  • Saturated fat: 8.6
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0/4
  • Monounsaturated fat: 0.6
  • Carbohydrates: 21.5
  • Sugar: 14.6
  • Sodium: 517.3
  • Fiber: 5.0
  • Protein: 21.9
  • Cholesterol: 45.0
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Pork
Thick cut pork chops are marinated in bourbon and molasses then cooked to perfection and served on a bed of carrots and apples in this 20 minute wonder.
  • 2 4-oz. boneless pork chops, thick cut
  • ½ cup bourbon
  • 2 tbsp black strap, unsulphured molasses
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp organic, virgin coconut oil
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 granny smith apple, diced
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
  • ¼ tsp coarse sea salt
  1. Whisk together the bourbon, molasses, and brown sugar. Cover the pork chops with the bourbon mixture in a shallow dish or resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate overnight, turning in the morning to ensure the chops are evenly marinated on both sides.
  2. Heat the coconut oil in a skillet on medium high.
  3. Remove the pork chops from the marinade, shaking off the excess and discarding the marinade. Add the pork chops to the skillet, reduce heat to medium.
  4. Cook the pork chops for about 4 minutes on each side or until the pork is just cooked through. Be careful not to overcook or the pork will be too tough.
  5. Remove the pork chops from the pan and place on a plate to let the juices set.
  6. Add the carrots, apple, rosemary, and salt to the same pan. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  7. Serve each pork chop on a bed of the carrot and apple mixture. Cut into that beautiful piece of meat and savor every bite!
The nutritional value of the marinade has been reduced by ¾ since the bulk of it is discarded.