Baked Garlic Rice Pilaf

You might recall that years ago I blogged in a different little corner of the internet. As I mentioned in the other post, What’s Cooking in the Orange Kitchen was truly the bug that bit me when it comes to not only blogging, but also exploring the world of the cooking and baking. Looking back it can be easy to criticize myself for the photos, writing, and recipes that I shared, but I try not to be too hard on myself because it is a nice reminder of both where I came from and how far I’ve come. And truth be told, it wasn’t all so bad. I pulled over 31 of my favorite recipes/posts a while ago, but there are still some gems over there that I hope to bring over to the Sunny Side with updated recipes and photos.

This Baked Garlic Rice Pilaf is one of those gems. From the first time I made this recipe we were in love. The rice is infused with garlic flavor and comes out light and fluffy. The squeeze of lemon I added the first time I made this also adds a nice freshness. You can serve it with fish, chicken, pork… Truly a fantastic versatile side dish.

It might seem time consuming, and it does take while to bake, but most of the time is hands off, so you’re free to work on a main dish or even just relax! I promise it will be worth the wait!



More side dish ideas
Cucumber Tomato Salad
Grilled Brussels Sprouts
Garlicky Green beans
Summer Vegetable Casserole


Creamy Taco Mac

If you browse food blogs at all then there is a good chance you’ve seen this (or a version of this) before. Why has it graced so many food blogs? In short, because it’s amazing. Not amazing in a fine dining kind of way, but in a homey, comforting kind of way. It’s the from-scratch cook’s answer to Hamburger Helper. You can easily throw this meal together on a busy weeknight, but more importantly you can feel good about serving this to your family.

Jesse, bless his heart, has actually been known to request Hamburger Helper from time to time. In order to do my best to indulge him, I’ve made several homemade versions. He says they are all good but this one is the clear winner.


Looking for more easy, weeknight dinners? Check these out-

Shells and Cheese with Kielbasa and Peas
Mexican Lasagna
Sloppy Joes
Creamy Shrimp Pasta


Foil Packet Soy-Lime Salmon with Green Beans

So, technically, I made this salmon in a parchment packet and not a foil packet (because who runs out of foil? me!), but who’s counting? What really matters is that this dinner was fast, easy, delicious, and nutritious.

When Jesse asked what was for dinner and I told him salmon he got that sad puppy dog look. It’s not that he doesn’t like seafood/fish, he just isn’t ever really excited about it. He definitely changed his look after the first bite. The foil (or parchment) locks in the moisture and the flavor leaving you with a perfectly cooked salmon filet and flavorful green beans.



Rigatoni with Chicken, Bacon, and Mushrooms

It’s recipe swap time again! I was excited to see that I was assigned Sarah’s blog for a few reasons. First, Sarah runs the recipe swap! Second, she’s been blogging for over 5 years, so she has lots to choose from. Third, we share a deep love for pasta. Her blog is loaded with delicious pasta recipes, so many that I had a really hard time narrowing it down to just one. In the end I went with what I knew would make a lot and be a crowd pleaser because we have visitors in town!

Jesse’s parents made the long journey to China last week and we have gone non-stop since they arrived. They have done a pretty great job trying (and liking!) lots of new foods, but after 4 days in Hong Kong, I knew they would appreciate something familiar. I made only a few slight changes to this recipe (added garlic and a few minor direction changes). I’m happy to say, they were huge fans of this pasta and so was I (no surprise there).


Also, check out what everyone else made for the swap!