Cook Like a Champion bio picture

Key Lime Pie with Macadamia Nut Crust

Key Lime Pie with Macadamia Crust

There’s something about a good pie that makes me so happy. I guess because I don’t make them very often, they hold special occasion status for me. As much as I’d like to have a pie in my fridge all the time, I only make them when I know I’ll be serving a group of people. It’s totally because I don’t have enough willpower to stop myself from eating one straight out of the plate.

This key lime pie isn’t traditional, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t awesome. The filling is no-bake, which means minimal oven time while the crust bakes. I don’t know about you, but I love that in the summertime. The filling is reminiscent of one of my favorite cupcakes from the shop where I worked before Clara was born, and I find this pie every bit addictive as that cupcake. My favorite part, though, is the macadamia nut and shortbread crust. Graham crackers are just fine, but this crust is one you’ll want to eat before there’s even any filling inside of it. The texture of the crushed macadamias is a perfect contrast to the creamy, sweet-tart filling. As we gear up for more cookouts, I know I’ll be turning to this dessert over and over again.

If a whole pie isn’t your thing, these key lime pie bars are pretty high on my list of favorite summer desserts, too.

Key Lime Pie with Macadamia Crust

Get the recipe »

Bacon Roasted Chickpeas

Bacon Roasted Chickpeas

Our summer is usually filled with cookouts, pool parties and birthday parties. This summer is especially celebratory with weddings and some big 30th birthdays coming up (Eric’s included). When we host or attend cookouts, I like to have some kind of snack on hand for people to munch on while food is on the grill. Enter these crunchy, bacon roasted chickpeas.

If there’s a way to make snack food better, it’s by adding bacon. These chickpeas are addictive little bites that you can grab by the handful and pop in your mouth, and the bacon makes them even more flavorful. Meant to be a pub or bar snack, they work equally as well for outdoor gatherings because they don’t wilt/melt/otherwise get gross sitting in the heat. The key to getting them crunchy is to dry the chickpeas really well before roasting. The chickpeas roast in the bacon fat, giving each bite a hint of smoky bacon flavor. They’re good with a simple seasoning of salt and pepper, but the Old Bay adds a bit of a kick that really takes them over the top.

Get the recipe »

Grilled Chicken with Creamy Green Chile, Tomatillo and Avocado Sauce

Grilled Chicken with Creamy Green Chile, Tomatillo and Avocado Sauce

Summer is synonymous with grilling, and we’ve been doing quite a bit of it the past several weeks. Hamburgers are my go-to summer weekend dinner, but this grilled chicken recently made an appearance on our menu and was a huge hit. It’s quick enough that you can fire the grill up on a weekday and have this dinner done in practically no time.

The sauce is the real star of this dish. Made of grilled/broiled tomatillos and peppers, it’s got a smoky flavor with just a hint of spice. The avocado and Greek yogurt cool it off enough to consider it kid-friendly. We only made enough chicken breasts to feed the three of us (which meant a small one for Clara), so we had leftover sauce which I enjoyed with tortilla chips the next day. I also think this would be fab over scrambled eggs or on top of steak. The sauce was so delicious that I ate a spoonful of it while I was putting away the leftovers. No shame. If you’re looking for a way to spice up chicken, this sauce is definitely the way to go.

Get the recipe »

Vanilla Bean Lemonade

Vanilla Bean Lemonade

Summertime is my favorite time to drink fun drinks. Something about the hot weather makes fruity drinks that much more enjoyable. We typically drink water, cold brew coffee and wine/beer/cocktails. Sodas are rare in our house, but occasionally I want something other than water to drink. This lemonade is perfect for summer, and it’s going to have a permanent spot in our fridge for the foreseeable future.

When we were in Charleston last year, Eric and I ate at this adorable little place inside, of all places, a laundromat. They had a vanilla bean lemonade sitting in a beverage dispenser on the counter. I love lemon and vanilla together, so the pairing enticed me before I even took a sip of the drink. When I did, it was hard not to drink all of it at once. I’ve been dreaming of recreating that lemonade ever since, and now I finally have.

I served this lemonade at a wedding shower last weekend, and it all but disappeared (and that was with a double recipe). This is going to be my go-to party drink for summer, along with my favorites from previous summers – blackberry limeade and sparkling strawberry lemonade.

Vanilla Bean Lemonade
Get the recipe »

Baked Tex-Mex Macaroni and Cheese

Baked Tex-Mex Macaroni and Cheese

We’re no strangers to one pan meals around here. You can’t beat them when it comes to relatively quick dinners with minimal clean up. There are some nights I want to cook really involved dinners, and there are other nights when recipes like this are more my speed.

This recipe has all the makings of comfort food – pasta, cheese, bubbling sauce – with a Tex-Mex spin. There’s a bit of heat, but Clara didn’t find it too spicy (or, as she says, “patsy”). We all loved this dinner so much that we got seconds, something that rarely happens in our house, and I was pretty happy to have leftovers for lunch a couple days later. You know it’s good when you’re eagerly anticipating the leftovers!

Get the recipe »