Ally's Sweet & Savory Eats: 2019

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Roasted Red Pepper Chicken Penne

In need of an easy 30-minute meal?
Then this Roasted Red Pepper Chicken Penne is for you!

roasted red pepper chicken penne

Before we start chatting all things penne pasta, I just want to say thank you!

To all of you who have ordered and promoted my book these past few weeks I will be forever grateful.  My first batch of books sold out in 6 days!  With the demand still there I re-ordered another batch and in just 4 days I've sold another big chunk.

You guys are great!

This book was fun to create and it's even more fun to see you all using it!  Your support means the world to me.  If you are still wanting to order one there is time.  Visit here {make sure if you are local and near me to use the local link to skip on shipping}.

More good stuff to come before the holidays - stay tuned!

roasted red pepper chicken penne

Now on to this easy peasy dinner.

Our life right now can be summed up in one word.  CHAOS.  Three kids going in three different directions, two jobs, one dog all in a small house.

Just for giggles this was last night's afternoon and evening schedule {don't forget school all day!}

3:15 - pick up kids from school and take friend's kids and ours to Youth Group at church 
5:15 - early pick up for kid #1 at youth group to take to football practice
5:30 - pick up kid #2 from youth group and take home
5:45 - scarf down this pasta dish with kid #2 & #3
6:15 - take kid #2 to volleyball practice
6:50 - husband and kid #1 arrive home from practice and scarf down this pasta dish
7:45 - kid #2 arrives home and eats a late dinner of said pasta dish

Honestly, I felt like last night was even a bit easier as we didn't have a softball practice thrown in from 3:30 to 4:45.  Whoa!  But reading it I'm reminded it was BUSY.

roasted red pepper chicken penne

We are all busy, I'm not here to say our family is busier than yours.  Hardly.  What I am saying is that our evening dinners I'm guessing look at LOT like yours, so therefore I wanted to create a dish that was quick, yet healthy and tasty.

I made this chicken penne earlier in the day {to photograph - food blogger life} and simply reheated it when everyone eventually arrived home to eat.  It worked great!

Even my son who isn't fond of peppers ate it up {football practice can do that to a kid}.  It's tasty, yet light and doesn't feel like your usual heavy pasta meal.  I love the addition of the sweet roasted red peppers and the creole seasoning.  It's a good combo!  

I had picked up a $4.99 package of rotisserie chicken leg quarters {deal!} at Costco last week and shredding up a bit of that worked perfect in this meal.  Let's face it this meal is cheap and easy.

roasted red pepper chicken penne

I spinkled freshly grated Parm on ours right before serving, because well sharp Parm kinda makes the world go round.  Plus, don't skip out on that fresh lemon zest!  It brightens it up and brings out all the flavors.

I'm calling this my One-Last-Light-Pasta-Dish-Before-Summer-Ends.  As pretty soon we'll all be eating hearty, thick soups and heavy, comforting casseroles.  Don't say I don't ever look out for your waistline!

If you make this penne dish tag me on social media {@sweetsavoryeats} and I'll share the love!

Roasted Red Pepper Chicken Penne

Yield: 6-8
prep time: 5 Mcook time: 25 Mtotal time: 30 M
This quick and healthy pasta dish is easy enough for a weeknight meal or it can be fancied up with salad and side for a heartier meal!


  • 1/2 box penne pasta
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
  • 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 2 cups chicken broth 
  • 1 t creole seasoning
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 2 T olive oil
  • green onions, sliced
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • salt 
  • pepper


How to cook Roasted Red Pepper Chicken Penne

  1. In a pot of salted water boil the penne pasta according to directions.
  2. Meanwhile heat a rimmed skillet to medium heat.  Drizzle in the olive oil and saute the onion until tender.
  3. Add in the garlic and roasted red peppers, stirring to combine.
  4. Transfer the cooked penne pasta and shredded chicken to the skillet.  Gently pour in the chicken broth just until it covers the ingredients (you may not use all 2 cups).
  5. Add in the creole seasoning, salt, pepper and lemon zest and simmer for 5 minutes, continuing to stir.
  6. Stir in the shredded Parmesan cheese, top with sliced green onions and serve warm.


Do not expect a super creamy sauce, since it is broth based - this dish is light and healthy!
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Created using The Recipes Generator

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Savory Ham and Cheese Dutch Baby

Eggs aren't just for breakfast!
This Savory Ham and Cheese Dutch Baby is a hit that everyone loves.

This post is sponsored by the Iowa Egg Council.

savory ham and cheese dutch baby

I recently read a meme that said, "who knew the hardest part of being an adult is trying to figure out what to cook for dinner everyday for the rest of your life until you die."

Ha!  So true.  

Planning dinners can be hard!  Even as a long-time food blogger I can struggle at times.  There are days when the last thing I want to do is cook.  Yep, I said it!  Even I get tried of cooking.

There are also days when I don't mind cooking but I certainly do not want it to be complicated.  I have about 30 minutes to feed the crowd and it needs to be good!  With hungry kids and a husband, even we {lovers of spaghetti and soups and casseroles} need a change-up in the dinner routine.

savory ham and cheese dutch baby

This fall, I've partnered with the Iowa Egg Council and other experts from top egg farming states to share easy dinner recipes to keep busy weeknights stress-free.  Check out for dozens of deliciously quick, family-friendly recipe ideas to add to your weekday dinner routine! 

My friends, egg aren't just for breakfast anymore!  They add protein, flavor and texture to dinner dishes.  We've seen it all over - the new rage is to top burgers with eggs, fill tacos with eggs, to drag a runny egg on pizza.

It's all SO GOOD.

savory ham and cheese dutch baby

I wanted to create a "savory" dutch baby for a million different reasons.  1) I love using my cast iron skillet 2) I love the crispy, flaky and buttery crust you get anytime you make a dutch baby and 3) anytime I'm at a diner I order a ham and cheese omelet because it is just the best egg combo.

If you are a dutch baby virgin - think of it as a combination pancake and omelet.  Sound odd?  It's not, it's delicious.  It bakes up puffy and golden, then immediately "deflates" when you remove it from the oven, creating a flat, flaky savory pancake like dish.

You could create a million and one versions!

savory ham and cheese dutch baby

We eat eggs often at our house.  They are an excellent source of high-quality protein - with no sugar and zero carbs - all for just 70 calories.

As said previously, I have three kids {ages 10, 8 and 5} and now that we are back in school they come home HUNGRY.  There is no better way to fill them up than to give them a nutritious dinner featuring eggs.

Eggs are also an excellent source of choline, a nutrient kids often lack.  It is essential for kid's brain health and development and helps them to retain information and concentrate in the classroom throughout the day {hello...common core math!}.

savory ham and cheese dutch baby

Being a born and raised Iowan, did you know Iowa is the top U.S. state for egg farming?  You're probably eating an egg from here, as 1 and 5 eggs eaten by families around the country are from an Iowa egg farm.

We love our eggs!

And I love easy dinners.

Dinners that start to finish can be on the table in around 30 minutes.  If you're like me, I can always use more recipes that fit into that category.

savory ham and cheese dutch baby

If you like what you see here, give me a shout-out!  Tag me on social media {@sweetsavoryeats} and let me know what you thought of this savory dutch baby.

We think it is a keeper at our house and I have a hunch you will too.

A big thanks to the Iowa Egg Council for sponsoring this post.

Savory Ham and Cheese Dutch Baby

Yield: 8
prep time: 10 Mcook time: 22 Mtotal time: 32 M
Eggs aren't just for breakfast, they are for dinner too! This savory ham and cheese dutch baby comes together quick and satisifies all of your dinner cravings.


  • 4 T butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup whipping cream
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 t salt
  • 3/4 cup shredded Colby Jack cheese
  • 3/4 cup ham, cubed
  • 1 T fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 T green onions, chopped


How to cook Savory Ham and Cheese Dutch Baby

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Place 2 tablespoons butter in a 10 in. cast iron skillet and when the oven is hot, place the skillet in the oven for 5 minutes.
  2. While the oven is pre-heating in a blender combine the eggs, whipping cream, flour, salt and remaining 2 tablespoons of the butter (melted).  Blend on high until incorporated until the batter is smooth, scraping down the sides halfway through.
  3. Remove the hot cast iron skillet from the oven and quickly pour the batter into the skillet.  Then sprinkle on the cubed ham, shredded cheese and chopped basil.
  4. Place the cast iron skillet on the bottom rack of the oven and bake for 20-22 minutes or until the pancake is fully "puffed up" and golden brown.  DO NOT OPEN the oven door during cooking time, or the pancake might deflate.
  5. Remove the dutch baby from the oven, cut into 8 slices, topping with sliced green onions and serve warm or at room temperature.


Eat this savory dutch baby plain or feel free to top with extra cheese or a dollup of sour cream.
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Created using The Recipes Generator

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

I Wrote a Book! And It's Finally on Sale.

After almost 10 years of food blogging I wrote a book.
And it is on sale!

Bread & Butter: Embracing the Practicalities of Life, While Making Time for What Matters.  Cookbook, meal planner, shopping list organizer, recipe booklet.

Many of you know my story and many of you do not.

I started food blogging in December of 2009, just three months after the birth of my first child.  If you are doing the math correctly I am this close to reaching 10 years of food blogging.

Who flippin' knew, that is all I can say.

Who knew I'd stick with something this long, many of the first years not earning a penny.  Many of the first few years juggling it with 3 kids under the age of 5.  Many of the first years not telling anyone my side gig, but yet still plugging away.

It's been a ride!

Bread & Butter: Embracing the Practicalities of Life, While Making Time for What Matters.  Cookbook, meal planner, shopping list organizer, recipe booklet.

If you're an early blog reader then you'll know I did write a self-published cookbook years ago {in fact some of you may still have it}, but let's be honest it was awful.  I mean, the recipes are good, but the writing, photographs and layout were very amateur.  Saying that I'm still proud of it.  It was a lot of work and well, everyone has to start somewhere.

Fast forward a few more years and everyone kept asking for me to write ANOTHER cookbook.  You know, like a real published by a big publishing house and sold on Amazon.  That kind of cookbook.

What most people don't know is that is HARD.

It is hard to get into the hands of publishers.  Hard for them to get to know you.  Hard for them to trust your blog platform.  Hard for them to think you'll actually sell cookbooks for them.  In the end, it's all about what sells and what topic will sell.

Bread & Butter: Embracing the Practicalities of Life, While Making Time for What Matters.  Cookbook, meal planner, shopping list organizer, recipe booklet.

In the beginning of 2018 I did actually get my foot in the door of a mid-major publishing house.  One that friend's of mine have published books with.  From January 2018 until August of 2018 we talked and chatted and submitted proposals and talked some more.

I drafted chapters and ideas and sample recipes. I jumped on conference calls and went back and forth via email with an editor for months.

In the end, come August, I decided to take a break from it all. We both couldn't settle on an idea that #1 wasn't already in the works from another author #2 would sell cookbooks and #3 was something that I was passionate about.  We parted away amicably and on good terms.

I was frustrated beyond belief. 

I was seeing fellow bloggers publish books left and right, many simply by answering a random email from an editor who saw their work.  Even one who magically "bumped" into an editor at a sporting event and struck up a deal.  I felt like I wanted it so bad and was working so hard, yet no one wanted to work with me.

Bread & Butter: Embracing the Practicalities of Life, While Making Time for What Matters.  Cookbook, meal planner, shopping list organizer, recipe booklet.

About this time, when I decided to take a break on negiotating cookbook deals, I had one last idea - one that I pitched to that publishing company and they basically said take a hike, it will never sell as there wasn't a market for it.

I took that Fall off, but still with this book idea in my head I made a goal in January of 2019 to sell something.  Anything really.  My blog income was coming from ad revenue and brand collaboration revenue.  I felt I needed another piece of pie in that chart....I wanted to sell something!

Once the new year hit I started thinking, researching and sourcing out designers, printers, and the like.  I knew my book idea was different, but I felt that if it was something I'd like to have around, I felt other women would enjoy it too.

Long story short, in May I met with my designer to plot it out. By July we were in edits and the first week of August my book was in my hands.

Bread & Butter: Embracing the Practicalities of Life, While Making Time for What Matters.  Cookbook, meal planner, shopping list organizer, recipe booklet.

Bread & Butter: Embracing the Practicalities of Life, While Making Time for What Matters is finally here.

I designed this book for all the Moms out there.  Personally in my life I needed something that allowed meal planning, shopping list organization and easy recipes to be found all in one book.  A book that could travel with me in my busy life.

So this book has just that - three sections - a meal planning calendar, a shopping list organization and note section and a back recipe booklet with my top 50 easy recipes.

The inside cover of the book explains all of my thinking about this.

I titled this book Bread & Butter, because since having kids and being a wife and most recently being a stay at home Mom for 5 years, it is pretty much how I run my life.

Bread is the practicalities of life {schedules, work, mortgages}, but the butter is what makes your life full {your children's laughter, hearty soups on a chilly night, Friday night football games, a crisp glass of wine on your front porch}.  The bread is okay by itself, but adding butter makes for the most delicious life.

Bread & Butter: Embracing the Practicalities of Life, While Making Time for What Matters.  Cookbook, meal planner, shopping list organizer, recipe booklet.

Bread sustains us and holds us up, it will wake us up each morning to our various responsibilities, but when you finally add the butter that is when life gets real.  Life becomes full.

I created this book, as I wanted something to mirror how I feel about life.  For most that meet me, they will say a few adjectives - laid back, kind, witty, content - someone who strives to keep their priorities aligned.  I am NOT trying to play myself up, I've made many, many mistakes in my life, but I feel like I'm finally in a place where I'm happy with who I am.

I wanted a book that I could take with me to the grocery store with all my lists in one spot.  I wanted a book that I could take on the run in the van while shuttling kids here and there. I wanted a book that I could write in at 5 a.m. when ideas pop up.  I wanted a book on hand so that when I'm in a dinner funk {yes, even I get in dinner funks} I could turn to the back section and find that one recipe my family loves.

So basically I wrote this book for myself.

But I figured some of you would like it too.

Bread & Butter: Embracing the Practicalities of Life, While Making Time for What Matters.  Cookbook, meal planner, shopping list organizer, recipe booklet.

I have so many people to thank for this book.  First my designer Regan at Doe a Deer Design. She is amazing and we click. Working with her was so easy. I cannot wait to work with her again. I have two behind the scenes web designers who have helped me to figure out how to sell something online.  I'm pretty sure they've wanted to throw in the towel with me at times {I can be demanding, wanting things done yesterday}, so I appreciate them sticking around.  They know who they are.

And of course my family - many of them didn't know I was writing a book until it was done, but that is how I do things - secretly!

So now for the details.

Please know I have ordered a LIMITED QUANTITY of Bread & Butter.  That is how small businesses do things.  Order small, then order more if needed.  I could sell five today or I could sell out.  If sold out, it will notify you at check out.  If that happens quickly I will do my best to re-order quickly.

Lastly, if you are local and I know you {as in we are friends and you know where I live}, please make sure the use the second order link on the form so to avoid shipping costs. You will be able to pick up from me.

When you order and receive this book in hand, I'd love to see a photo of you with it!  Tag me on social media {@sweetsavoryeats} and I'll be sure to share the love.  My hope is this book can help ease the stresses of life and help you enjoy those "butter" moments.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake

My two favorites pumpkin and cinnamon rolls came together and made a sweet baby.
This Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake needs to grace your Fall table.

pumpkin cinnamon roll coffee cake

Well, I broke the moral code and I'm showcasing a pumpkin recipe prior to September 1.

I follow most rules, but when it comes to pumpkin all bets are off.  She's one of my best friends and I'll share her any chance I get.  I've been known to sneak these early pumpkin recipes out in August before.  Remember my Pumpkin Pie Spice Coffee Creamer from 2017?  Or my Caramel Cashew Pumpkin Cheesecake from last year?

All were well before their October due date.

pumpkin cinnamon roll coffee cake

And....I did the same this year with this coffee cake.

I just can't help myself!  

School is back in session and my days have become MUCH more productive.  While typing this I've had two very busy days in a row, crossing all the things off my list.

It feels great!  And I feel blessed.  Blessed to be able to stay home and work, while still keeping this house in order.  It allows my kids to come home to less chaos, often with dinner on the horizon.  I do not take this for granted.

pumpkin cinnamon roll coffee cake

Has anyone gotten the PSL {pumpkin spice latte} that came out this week?  I believe both Starbucks and Dunkin' are already on board.  I personally love it, but I realize many get very annoyed by it all.  But in my opinion, what is it hurting?

A little love for pumpkin doesn't cause world problems.

Let it go.

I have not yet gotten to that PSL, but I'm sure I'll be ordering soon - most likely during my grocery pick-ups later this week.  Because grocery shopping alone can not be done WITHOUT COFFEE IN HAND.

pumpkin cinnamon roll coffee cake

So let's chat about this coffee cake.

First off, there are no rules.  You do not need to be drinking coffee with your ladies in order to eat this.  In fact, you don't even have to like coffee.  Secondly, coffee cake qualifies as breakfast.  The end.

This cake.  How do I describe it?  If I had the choice to either save either my children or this cake.....I might pick this cake {kidding}.  It's incredible.  I was unsure when it came out of the oven, because you just never know what you'll slice into, you know?

No need to doubt.  It was heavenly.  Incredibly moist {stop, I don't mind this word}, full of pumpkin spice flavor and has the most delicious streusel topping that reminds you of a glorious cinnamon roll.  And that glaze!  Simple, yet tasty.  

pumpkin cinnamon roll coffee cake

If you are not into eating pumpking this early, let alone baking with it - I get it, not everyone is like me, but at least print this recipe off and save it for October.  By then we'll all be in our sweatshirts, watching football and dreaming of comfort foods.

Then, you WILL want to bake this up.  Saturday morning breakfast?  Sunday brunch?  Or maybe just for dessert?  It works for all occasions.

Tag me on social media {@sweetsavoryeats} if you make and enjoy!  I'd love to share your photos with my fans and followers.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake

Yield: 12
prep time: 10 Mcook time: 35 Mtotal time: 45 M
My two favorites pumpkin & cinnamon rolls made a sweet little baby! Rich, fluffy, sweet and full of pumpkin and cinnamon flavor - this coffee cake will make an appearance on your table this Fall.


Cake Ingredients
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 t baking powder
  • 1 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1 t nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup half & half
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
Streusel Topping
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 T honey
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 T flour
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 T half & half + more if needed to thin out
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 t almond extract


How to cook Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a stand mixer or bowl combine the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and seasonings.
  3. In another bowl whisk the eggs, half and half, pumpkin and vanilla.  Slowly pour in the melted butter to combine.  Pour the wet mixture into the flour mixture and combine to a batter.
  4. Spread the batter into your pan.  In another bowl combine the streusel ingredients until it makes a crumbly paste. Drop by the spoonful into the cake and swirl with a butter knife into the batter.  Bake for 35 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.  Allow to cool slightly.
  5. While the cake is slightly cooling, whisk together the powdered sugar, half and half and extracts to a semi-thin glaze.  If too thick, add more half and half by the tablespoonful.
  6. Drizzle the glaze over the warm cake.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature.  Cover to keep fresh for up to 3-4 days.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Roasted Cherry Tomato Cream Cheese Appetizer

Garden produce is wonderful, but it can also be overwhelming!
Here is a great dip to use up some of those cherry tomatoes.

roated cherry tomato cream cheese appetizer

Back to school countdown is ON.

T-minus two days! The kids are ready, I'm ready, my house is ready and I'm pretty sure the dog is even ready for some quiet.

If you see me in public please do not ask me what I will be "doing with all my time" because frankly I feel it's a bit rude and I'll find you up in my personal space.  Call me testy, but I'm a bit over everyone and their brother trying to figure out what I do with my time.  I don't ask you what you do from 8-3:30 Monday through Friday, do I?

I have a part-time job {which seems most days like a full time job}, I raise three children and keep them alive, I keep our house and finances afloat, I shuddle said children to all their activities and I stay home because we have decided that is what works BEST in this phase of our life.  I didn't even mention I have a husband who often works weird and unconventional hours so I need to be here.

Moving on!

roasted cherry tomato cream cheese appetizer

So....back to this end of August stuff.

Vacations are over, school supplies have been bought, back to school night is under our belt and of course ALL THE PRODUCE in my garden is currently on overload.

Everything always happens at the same time, right?

This is the first year I've planted a cherry tomato plant {a yellow one, because my middle daughter loves them} and it's taken off.  Other than eating them straight off the vine and in salads I wanted to find something different.

roasted cherry tomato cream cheese appetizer

When I took the girls for haircuts last week {cut off all that chlorine pool damaged hair!} my hairdresser mentioned something about mixing roasted cherry tomatoes with cream cheese and putting it on a cracker.

I didn't ask much more about it, but I kept thinking about it!

It sounded absolutely delightful.

Give me a good dip and a good dipper to dunk with and I'm usually game.

roasted cherry tomato cream cheese appetizer

So a few days later I set to work on roasting up half a bucket full {which makes your house smell amazing by the way} and then mixed those babies up with my own concoction similar to what my hairdresser was chatting about it.

It worked!

It's heavenly on a cracker.  Chilled straight from the fridge to my mouth!  We are loving this stuff!  It's great eaten as a dip or appetizer, but you know what else I found out is good?

Slathering some on a toasted sandwich.  Good god, it's wonderful.

roasted cherry tomato cream cheese appetizer

Give this one a try!  Share with me on social media, I'd love to see your photos or your versions.  It's perfect for a snack or to take to a party.

People will love it. 

Roasted Cherry Tomato Cream Cheese Appetizer

Yield: 2 cups
prep time: 3 Mcook time: 20 Mtotal time: 23 M
Here's a fun way to use up those garden cherry tomatoes! Give them a roast, season them up and mix with some cheeses. Serve with a good cracker or baguette and it is the hit of the party!


  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes (red or yellow)
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 T Trader Joe's Onion Salt (or any brand)
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t pepper


How to cook Roasted Cherry Tomato Cream Cheese Appetizer

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Lightly wash the tomatoes, remove stems and pat dry.  Place on a rimmed cookie sheet or roasting pan and drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the onion salt.  Toss to coat.
  3. Roast the tomatoes for 15-20 minutes or until soft.  Allow them to cool.
  4. When cool, in a bowl mixture together the softened cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.  Gently mash up the roasted tomatoes and fold them into the cheese mixture.
  5. Chill the dip for at least an hour before eating.  Serve with crackers or toasted baguette slices.
Created using The Recipes Generator