Welcome to Yummy Fixins!

Thanks so much for checking out my blog. My name is Arica, I am a Personal Chef serving the Lake Tahoe area. Please visit my new website at www.yummyfixins.com

Cooking is my passion, I love spending time in the kitchen creating yummy dishes. I originally created this blog to share healthy yummy recipes with my friends and family but now I'm sharing them with the world. Most of the dishes you will find here are very healthy and can be altered to fit any dietary restrictions. I hope you will find something delicious!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Creamy Asiago Pasta with Portobello & Spinach

Last week we went to Hawaii to soak up some sun and take a break from the snow. It was an amazing trip and a much needed getaway. We went diving, canoeing in an outrigger, took a long walk to a semi deserted beach and went on an amazing sunset catamaran canoe cruise  . It's always hard leaving Hawaii but I was happy to get back home to my pup. 

Our flight landed pretty late and by the time we got back to town I had no time to menu plan before the busy weekend of work, so I cheated  I popped in the local grocer and picked up some mushrooms, pasta and a jar of alfredo sauce. I have not bought pasta sauce in a jar/can in quite some time and I was a little disappointed in my self but what can ya do when you have little time to prepare. It was delicious of course but I needed a redemption dinner and here it is. This pasta sauce is simple to make and only takes a few ingredients. You can use just about any cheese but asiago is one of my favorites so that's what I went with and it was scrumptious!  

  • 3 cups of pasta
  • 2 cups of chopped spinach
  • 2 portobello mushroom caps, gills removed and chopped
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbs butter
  • 1 cup asiago
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tbs flour
  • 5 basil leaves

Bring a large pot of water to boil then add in the pasta and cook for 13-15 minutes.

While the pasta is boiling saute the spinach and the portobello in 1 tbs of olive oil and set aside while you make the sauce. 

Melt the butter in a large pan on low heat. Add in the garlic and a pinch of salt, cook for 3 minutes. Whisk the flour in the milk until all clumps are gone then add into the butter and mix well. Add in the cheese and bring to a boil then quickly reduce to a low heat, stirring constantly. 

Once the pasta is done, drain it and add it along with the portobello and spinach mixture into the cheese sauce, toss well. Serve warm. Garnish with fresh basil and cracked pepper.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Tortilla Pie

You can't go wrong with a baked tortilla pie. This dish will make just about anyone happy! This recipe is super quick and easy and you can probably find most of the ingredients in your cupboard. If you have time to cook dried beans and shuck fresh corn this dish will taste even better but there is nothing wrong with using some canned goods. This is a vegetarian recipe but if you are in the mood for some meat just add some ground turkey or beef cooked in taco seasoning. 
1 Pie - Serves 2-3 

4 soft taco tortillas
1 can of black beans rinsed
1 can of re-fried beans
1 tomato, sliced
1/4 cup cilantro
1/2 lime, squeezed
1 cup corn kernels
1/4 cup sliced olives
1/4 cup sliced jalapenos
taco seasoning - see recipe below
Preheat the oven to 425 and prep your fixins. Add the tomatoes in a small bowl with the cilantro and lime juice and set aside. Mix the taco seasoning into the re-fried beans and set aside.
Start the layering process by putting 1 tortilla into a spring form pan and spread a few tablespoons of re-fried beans onto the tortilla then a little corn, black beans and a a sprinkle of cheese. Place another tortilla on top and press it down starting in the middle so the fixins spread around the tortilla. Repeat but this time add half the tomatoes. Repeat again then top the final tortilla with cheese, green onions, jalapenos, and a few black olives. Bake for 15-20 minutes. 
Slice and serve with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt. 
Taco Seasoning: 
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Cheesy Cauliflower & Leek Rice

This is a very yummy cheese casserole that makes a great side dish or entree. I really like the cauliflower puree in this dish, it is even delicious on its own. You only need 2 cups of puree for this dish so you could make more rice or eat it as soup. I really like using white cheddar with peppercorns for this entree but you could use any creamy cheese that you have laying around. 

1 cup brown rice, rinsed
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 cauliflower, cut into small florets 
1/2 cup sliced leeks, sliced
4 cups vegetable broth, 1 cup separated
4 oz peppercorn white cheddar, shredded
1/2 tsp thyme

Place 2 cups of vegetable broth in a large pot and bring to medium heat. Place the cauliflower in the pot, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until cauliflower is soft. Preheat the oven to 350.

While the cauliflower is cooking bring 2 cups of vegetable broth to a broil and add in the rice,  then bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until the broth has been absorbed. Once the cauliflower is soft use a food processor or immersion blender to puree and set aside. (I like to press the mixture through a sieve to make it extra smooth but it is not necessary.) 

In a separate pan heat 1 tbs of olive oil to medium heat and saute the garlic and leeks for 3-5 minutes. Place the cooked rice, leeks & garlic, and cauliflower puree into a baking dish and toss well. Mix in 1/2 of the shredded cheese and seasoning. Top with the remaining cheese and bake for 15 minutes then broil on high for 5 minutes or until cheese is golden and crispy. 

I served my cheesy rice with Sauteed Leeks & Greens and a baked sweet potato.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Makes 7-8 bagels

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 tbs sugar
1 1/4 cup warm water (1 packages of yeast)
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 cup wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp salt

Shredded Cheddar & Sliced Jalapenos
Shredded Asiago
Everything: Poppy Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Dried Garlic and Dried Onions

Add the yeast and sugar into a measuring cup with 1/2 cup of warm water. Pour the water in yeast mixture so that it gets to the bottom of the measuring cup, do not stir. Let the yeast mixture sit for 5-7 minutes until it is foamy. 

Place the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl and mix while making a well in the center of the flour. Pour the yeast mixture into the well and use a dough hook on your mixer (or stand mixer) to combine. Pour in the rest of the water a little at a time while mixing with the dough hook. Add more water if needed until a smooth dough forms. 

Put the flour mixture onto floured surface and knead the dough for about 10 minutes until a firm, smooth elastic dough forms. Shape the dough into a ball and place into a lightly oiled bowl, tightly cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel. Place in a warm place* and let the dough rise for 1 hour or until doubled. 

Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down then divide into 7-8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth round ball. Make a hole in the center of the ball and twirl around your finger until a large hole is formed. 
Place the bagels on a non-stick pan, cover with the plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 10 minutes. 
While the dough is rising preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Fill a large pot 3/4 full with water and bring to a boil then reduce to a medium high heat. Place the bagels in the water and let the bagels cook for 2 minutes on each side. 
Remove the bagels from the water with a slotted spoon, shaking off excess water then place back on the non-stick baking sheet. Repeat until all bagels are done. Place the fixins of your choice on each bagel and bake for 20-25 minutes, until bagels are golden. 
Remove from the oven and let cool completely before serving or storing.

What is your favorite way to dress a bagel? 
My favorite bagel is an asiago bagel with cream cheese, avocado and sliced tomato. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Okra Gumbo - Vegetarian

I ate a lot of delicious gumbo growing up in Louisiana and it seems like everyone had their own way of making it unique. I didn't get into cooking until after I moved out of Louisiana so I didn't spend much time watching my family cook. and learning their ways and I totally regret it. 
 This was my first try and making gumbo and since the b/f doesn't eat meat I decided to see how a vegetarian gumbo would turn out. I know I should have cooked the roux much longer but I started cooking dinner very late and just gave up way too soon so make sure you have a good 45 minutes to make the roux until it is brown. I still loved the taste of my gumbo but I do wish it was darker. 

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup butter or vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp Cajun seasoning 
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced celery
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 3 cups cut okra
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp gumbo file (optional)
  • 32 oz no-chicken broth 
  • 2 cups of cooked rice
Heat the butter or oil in a large pot over medium heat then add in the flour and stir constantly for at least 15 minutes. Add in the Cajun seasoning and continue to stir for another 15-20 minutes or until roux is a very dark brown. 

Then add in the onion, garlic, bell peppers, celery, okra, salt and gumbo file and cook for 5 minutes. Add in the broth, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for atleast 15 minutes or longer. 

While the soup is cooking make your rice. Serve warm over rice with a sprinkle of gumbo file. and enjoy! 

*I bought some lump crab meat or myself and threw it on top of my serving and next time I will have to add in some shrimp and make a good seafood gumbo.

Carrot, Beet & Apple Juice

I don't know about you but I love fresh fruit and vegetable juice. Not only is it delicious but it is very good for you. If you are interested in getting into juicing this juice is probably a good stepping stone.

The sooner you drink the juice the more nutrients and antioxidants you will get from the juice.

Makes 2 Servings
 4 carrots
2 beets, with greens
2 red apples

Cut the fruit and vegetables so they will fit into the juicer. Put the carrots through the juicer then the beets, then the apples. Enjoy!

Lentil & Vegetable Stew

There is nothing fancy about this stew I just though it was delicious and easy so I decided to share it with you. The fixinxs in this stew are the random vegetables I had in the fridge left over from my CSA box from the past few weeks but you could add just about any other vegetables to this stew and it would be tasty.
 I used my crockpot for this one and because this stew cooked for so long the lentils practically disappeared and gave the soup a nice thick consistency. If you don't use a crockpot your stew may come out differently but still just as tasty.

Makes 4-6 servings

 1 tbs olive oil
1 rutabaga, peeled and cubed
1 daikon radish, peeled and cut into slices
3 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 small carrots, peeled and sliced
1 spring onion, sliced (any type on onion will do)
2 celery stalks, sliced thin
3 cloves of garlic, diced
1 cup lentils (red or green), rinsed
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt 

2 tsp herbs de provence
4 cups of broth (plus more in case the stew thickens too much)

Crock-pot Directions 

Place the above ingredients into a crockpot and stir until everything is mixed well. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours. 

Stove-top Directions 
Place the olive oil in a large pot and bring to a medium heat. Add in the garlic, onion and celery, cook for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add in the rest of the ingredients and stir well, cover and cook for 40 minutes or more. You may have to cook for up to an hour but this depends on the time you have in the kitchen and your preference on the consistency.