Friday, October 21, 2011

Restraunt Style Mexican Rice

To be honest, this actually has more flavor then the stuff you get next to your beans at the mexican restraunt. It was so delicious and rather easy, it will surely be a staple in our house!

3 TBSP oil
1 cup dry long grain rice
1/4 cup of onion finely chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 cups chicken broth (I used beef because that's what I had)
I also added some carne asada seasoning. It would really add some more flavor if you had some of that or a sprinkle of taco seasoning but it's not necessary.

Heat oil in pan. Add rice and onion and saute until golden brown.

Sprinkle with seasonings when it's nearly done browning. Mix well and add tomato sauce and broth.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20-25 minutes.

Let me know how yours turns out. I always enjoy hearing when others have tried the recipes I post!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chicken Tortilla Soup

To be honest, I don't know why it took me so long to try this recipe but I'm sure glad I did! I made it for the first time last winter and it is very simple to make and the best part about it: you can pump up the spice level if your family prefers hot food! Here ya go!

1 lb bonless skinless chicken breasts (I use two large ones)
1 medium onion finely chopped (I only used half)
1 can diced tomatos with chilis, undrained
1 can (10 oz) mild enchilada sauce (or medium or hot, whichever you prefer)
1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chilis, drained (I use mild but here's another chance to spice it up)
1 can chicken broth 1 can corn, drained (this time around I used half of a small bag of frozen corn)
chopped garlic (I used about a tablespoon full)
2 teaspoons of chili powder
1.5 teaspoons of cumin (I've made it before without and it tasted just fine)
5 soft corn tortillas cut into 1 inch pieces
1 can of beans drained (kidney, black beans, pinto, whichever you prefer or have on hand)

Spray your crockpot with non-stick spray and place your trimmed chicken breast in the bottom. Top with your "chunky" ingredients.

Top those with the can of tomatos, sprinkle with seasonings and layer with tortilla pieces. Pour the liquids on top.

Cook for 6-8 hours on low. Pull the chicken breasts out, shred with fork then return to pot.

You could top with sour cream and shredded cheese if you'd prefer. Enjoy!

This time around I got smart and rather then let the leftover tortillas from the package go bad, I divided them into groups of five and put them in a freezer bag and froze them for my next round of tortilla soup!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

1-2-3-4 Chili

This is really as easy as 1-2-3-4! I do add a secret ingredient that gives the chili a fabulous nutty flavor (see below).

The ingredients are 1-2-3-4

1 packet chili seasoning
2 pounds of ground beef (browned and drained)
3 cans of beans (2 of kidney beans drained and one of chili beans with sauce)
4 small cans tomato sauce (I use 2 regular size ones)

1 TBSP chili powder
garlic and onion powder to taste
secret ingredient- heaping spoonful of peanut butter (I left this out right now because we've yet to introduce Ashton to peanuts)

Pour tomato sauce into crockpot, add chili seasoning and optional ingredients. Mix well. Add the beans and beef. Cook on low 8-10 hours. It's not quite as tasty but if you're in a time crunch you can cook on high for 3-4 hours.

Serving suggestion- 30 minutes before it's done I mix in 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese. I like to serve ours over rice (it turns it into two meals and really makes it more filling). I use the leftovers to make chili mac!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Russian Chicken

This was by far one of the best meals I've made. I think it was so tasty to me because it has a totally different taste then most meals I make. I am going to post two different ways to cook it. I originally found this as a crockpot meal but our crockpot is not very nice to chicken so I did it in the oven. I'll post both versions :) I guess I should laso mention that while looking up variations of this recipe I found it was made two different ways equally (one with cranberries and another with apricots)

1 8 oz bottle Russian dressing (the kind I used was by Wishbone)
1 can of whole cranberries in sauce (you can choose to replace the cranberries with a small jar of apricot preserves)
1 envelope onion soup mix (dry)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

To cook this in the crockpot simply place your trimmed breasts at the bottom of the pot, mix the other ingredients seperately and pour them over the chicken. Cook on low 5-6 hours.

To bake it, tenderize your chicken breasts to equal thickness. Place them in a 9x13 dish coated with PAM. Mix all other ingredients and pour over the top.

Cover with foil and bake about 40 minutes, removing the foil for the last 10 or so (it might need a little longer to cook, just check it at 40. I did mine an hour like the original recipe and it was overcooked)
It is a MUST to serve this with rice or mashed potatos and use up all that extra sauce on top!

Parmesan Crusted Chicken

I made this recipe for the first time at my mom's a couple of weeks ago, and I'm pretty sure it is from Kraft. This meal was cheesy, moist and best of all: delicious! Super easy too!

4 boneless skinless chikcen breasts
2/3 cup mayo
1/3 cup parmesean cheese
italian bread crumbs (about 1/4-1/3 cup)

To start, you will want to trim your chicken and then beat it (tenderize) to even thickness. Preheat oven to 425 and spray a 9x13 pan with nonstick spray. Mix together the mayo and parm. Spread it evenly over the chicken breasts.

Next, sprinkle bread crumbs over chicken.

Bake the chicken for 20-25 minutes until cooked through. I served with some Garlic & Olive Oil Vermicelli and green beans. YUMMY!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Candy Bar Pie (as in SNICKERS)

Okay, so this recipe was in my newest edition of the Pillsbury recipe card cookbooks titled Best Holiday Desserts (it should be by the checkstand at the grocery store). Anyways, I have not tried this yet but it looks AH-mazing! I just had to share!


1 refrigerated pie crust, softened as directed on box


5 (2.07 oz) snickers bars

4 3 oz pkgs cream cheese softened

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/3 cup sour cream

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter


3 TBSP whipping cream

2/3 cup milk chocolate chips

Heat oven to 450. Place pie crust in 9 inch pie dish. Bake 5-7 minutes or until light brown. Cool crust while preparing filling. Turn oven down to 325.

Cut candy bars in half lengthwise and then into 1/4 inch pieces. Place candy bar pieces in partially baked crust. In small bowl beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time until well blended. Add sour cream and peanut butter beating until completely smooth. Pour over candy bar pieces. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until center is set. Cool completely.

In a small saucepan heat whipping cream until very warm. Remove from heat, stir in chocolate chips until melted and smooth. Spread over top of pie. Refrigerate 2 to 3 hours before serving.

If you make this before me, let me know how it turns out!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Broccoli Salad

So, there's no pictures to go with this post but this is by far one of my favorite side dishes. It is GREAT for summer, no cooking involved and very little prep. It would also be great to bring to a BBQ. I can't forget to mention that I am one of broccoli's least favorite fans but I LOVE this recipe! The ingredients might sound a little odd but blend wonderfully! (do keep in mind I am estimating amounts for this salad here... it might need a little more, except for the dressing, I have that right)

5 cups (or so) broccoli florets (I cut mine into teeny, tiny pieces)
1/2 cup real bacon bits
1/2 raisins (golden are best but dark raisins work too)

1 cup mayonnaise
3 TBSP vinegar (I used apple cider most recently but white works too)
1/3-1/2 cup white sugar
sprinkle of black pepper

Mix the top three ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Wisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the salad. I like to let this chill in the fridge for a few hours before serving. This is certianly one of those recipes that gets better with time!

Optional add-ins:
sunflower seeds
red onion
shredded carrots
green onion

Monday, July 11, 2011

Gooey Butter Cake

Yes you will gain 3 pounds just by looking at this. You will not, hwoever, regret it! This is just as delicious as it sounds. Not to mention, it's a Paula Deen recipe!

1 18 oz box yellow cake mix
1 egg
1 stick of butter, melted

Gooey Part-
1 8oz pkg cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 stick butter, melted
16 oz of powdered sugar

Mix the ingredients for the crust and press into a 9x13 glass pan.

Beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla and butter until smooth. Beat in the sugar and spread over the crust.

Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes. Remember that the middle should still be gooey and it will become even firmer as it cools!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Yes folks, these are as fabulous as they sound! What could be better then gooey cookie dough encased in delicious, moist cupcake and topped with fabulous cookie dough buttercream icing? Nothing. These do need to be started the day/night before you plan on baking them. Keep that in mind! Also, I short cut these by using box mixes for the cookie dough and cupcake mix but you could very easily use your own facorite recipe to make those from scratch!

Cookie Dough:
1 pkg (I believe it's a 1lb pkg) of betty crocker chocolate chip cookie dough mix
Replace each egg with 2 tbsp of milk

Cupcake mix:
Any box of yellow or white cake mix will work (you can even add a pkg of white chocolate pudding)

3 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temp
1 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup flour
3/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp milk
2 1/2 tsp vanilla

Start by making your cookie dough and forming it into 3/4 inch to 1 inch balls (you can decide how much gooey cookie dough goodness you would like in your cupcakes). Freeze this dough over night.
Mix your cupcake mix according to directions. Fill your cupcake tin no more then 2/3 full.

Take your frozen cookie dough and plop it on top of the cupcake batter. The freezing of the dough will prevent it from cooking in the oven. Bake according to to cake mix directions.

While those are baking, you'll want to make your frosting. Beat the brown sugar and butter until creamy. Mix in powdered sugar. Keep beating and add the flour and salt. Lastly, add the vanilla and milk until it is nice and smooth! Use this top those delicious cupcakes and VOILA!

I would LOVE to hear how yours turn out!

These would also be good with other types of cookie dough and cake! My suggestion would be some peanut butter cookie dough and some chocolate cupcakes... YUM!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Carrot Cake... for breakfast?

Parents magazine recently had an article about veggies for breakfast, I figured I could give it a shot. One recipe in particular looked easy and I already had the ingredients on hand! If you like carrot cake, this is a must for breakfast!

low fat vanilla yogurt
shredded carrots (i used the small side of my shredder so I actually ended up with more of a carrot pulp)
walnuts (I didn't have any on hand)

layer (or mix like I did) yogurt, carrots and raisins. top with walnuts and sprinkle with cinnamon! amazing how a low fat, nutritious breakfast can taste like dessert!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Three Cheese Beef Stuffed Shells

So, when Anthony walked up to get seconds of this meal last night and literally gave me two thumbs up! He said it was the best food he's had in awhile. SCORE! This meal was so delicious!

1 box jumbo shells (cook and drain)
1 lb lean ground beef (cooked, drained and slightly cooled)
1 8oz pkg cream cheese (softened)
2 tsp italian seasoning
2 cup shredded italian blend cheese
1/2 cup parmesean
1 egg
1 jar chunky spaghetti sauce

In mixing bowl combine cream cheese, egg and italian seasoning. mix until smooth. add parm and 1 1/2 cup of italian cheese. stir in beef. spread a small amount of sauce over the bottom of a 9x13 glass dish. stuff shells and place them tightly in dish. cover with the rest of sauce and top with remaining italian cheese. bake at 350, covered for 30 minutes. uncover and continue baking for about 15 more minutes until sauce is bubbling!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dump Cake

I first had this at a work potluck about 7 years ago. I brought home the recipe and made it that night. It was so delicious! I have forgotten all about it until now! This is the easiest cake EVER! I really recommend keeping the ingredients in your cupboard for impromptu dinner guests. Best of all, there is nearly no work involved and it takes less then 5 minutes to throw together! This yummy cake is a cross between cake and cobbler... delish!

1 box of yellow cake mix
1 20 oz can of cherry pie filling
1 20 oz can of crushed pineapple with juice
2 sticks butter or margarine sliced

Preheat oven to 350. Dump cherries into 9x13 glass dish

Dump pineapple (juice and all) into pan and mix with cherries.

This should make a very pretty pink base for your cake.

Pour dry cake mix evenly over fruit, feel free to taste it, Aidan did.

I realyy should have used sticks of margarine rather then spread because this part was a pain!

Bake for 45-60 minutes until cake is bubbly on top. Finished cake pictures in next post!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tex Mex Shells

This is certainly a favorite around our house. I think I might have gotten this recipe off of one of those recipe cards in the meat department at Walmart, go figure :)

1 lb ground beef
1.25-1.5 lbs large shell pasta cooked and drained
1/2 onion, chopped
1 can olives, drained and sliced (or 2 cans pre sliced olives)
1 can diced tomatos, drained (you could also use about 1.5 cupsof halved cherry tomatos)
3 cups shredded cheddar
1 can condensed tomato soup
1 can milk (tomato soup can)
1 package of fajita seasoning (I really think this recipe tastes best with Great Value brand seasoning, I have tried others)

Brown beef with onion and drain.

Mix beef, onion, olives, tomatos and pasta. Mix together seperately tomato soup plus one can of milk and fajita seasoning. Pour this over pasta mixture and add shredded cheese.

Place in pyrex dish and cover with foil and bake at 375 for about 45 minutes.

This is also really yummy topped with crushed fritos!

Monday, April 25, 2011

An experiment...

Spaghetti sounded good today. While at Fred Meyer I thought I would look at their meat specials. Low and behold I found ground pork, at $0.79 a pound! I figured I should try it. I cooked my ground pork with some chopped onion, italian seasoning and garlic. It is better then I expected. It is down right delicious! It tastes like little chunks of lean pork chop. Speaking of lean, the butcher said he estimated the pork to be 85% lean. Not quite as lean as ground turkey (generally ground turkey is 93% lean) but way tastier and much healthier then ground beef. My spaghetti is still simmering (I did half ground pork and half ground beef) but I just had to share with you my fantastic experience with ground pork! By the way, it is normally priced at $1.49 per pound at FM!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Not forgotten....

I have NOT forgotten about my blog, promise. With the rise in price for groceries lately, I have been making super easy, not so healthy meals around here. I need to sit down and cut some coupons as well as really work out a grocery list so I can stay in budget and still make my yummy meals! We've been doing easy, cheap stuff this last week like chili mac, corn dogs and tater tots, fried egg and pastrami sandwiches, etc. I need to get back to making our meals a little less processed and a little healthier, this "to go" food has got to go!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Taco Salad

So, I grew up with traditional taco salad. Lettuce, tomato, cucumber, olives, taco meat, cheese, tortilla chips and ranch dressing. This is a little twist to the traditional salad.

1 head of iceberg lettuce, chopped
1 can olives, sliced
1 lb ground beef, browned and drained (you can add taco seasoning or not, it's your choice)
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups cheddar cheese
1 bag doritos (crunch them all up in the bag)
Catalina dressing

I would normally say to simply toss all of these ingredients but I don't toss them all so that I can save the leftovers without them getting gross. Toss everything but the chips and dressing. WHen serving, add the chips and dressing to each plate. This is such a yummy way to enjoy taco salad! (BTW, this picture is lacking dressing and chips)

Don't say EEEWWWW yet....

I didn't even want to post the name of this recipe because I didn't want to stop people from reading it! I've already ranted about cabbage and now I am going to rant about spam. Spam is something I never ate until about a year and a half ago. At least not that I can recall (my mom says she put it in fried rice growing up but I don't remember that). My friend came over and made this spam and cabbage dish at my house. My first thought, DISGUSTING. Once I tried it, I was asking for the recipe and made it two nights later! Spam really gets a bad reputation and really tastes just like salty ham with a bit of a softer texture. Don't get me wrong, it's not all that healthy for you but it really does not taste as awful as the name implies, or the stories you've heard about fried spam sandwiches (YUCK). So, this recipe has two very widely disliked foods, spam and cabbage. It is however a very tasty, easy, cheap meal and I really suggest you try it before you knock it!

1 can LITE spam, chopped into small pieces
8 oz sliced mushrooms
1/2 bunch of asparagus cut into bite sized pieces
1 small(er) cabbage, chopped (you will use nearly all of the cabbage, it cooks down quite a bit)
soy sauce
olive oil
garlic powder
onion powder
TOASTED SESAME SEEDS (these are important to the flavor)
cooked rice to serve the cabbage and spam over

Take chopped spam and toss it in a large, hot pan, cook until it's lightly browned and then set aside. In the same pan heat up about a tablespoon of oil and saute asparagus. When the asparagus is nearly done add all that cabbage and mushrooms. Drizzle with a touch of olive oil, about 4 TBSP of soy sauce, and the pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. Toss these all together and cook until cabbage starts to wilt (don't overcook the cabbage). Add sesame seeds and spam. Toss together and serve over rice!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Beef Stroganoff

I got this recipe from my mom. While it is not traditional stroganoff this dish has wonderful flavor and is a great comfort food!

2 lbs stew meat (I actually used "taco meat" which is very small chunks of beef)
3 cans cream of mushroom soup (or cream of chicken)
8 oz sliced mushrooms
1 16 oz container of sour cream
1 envelope of onion soup mix

Mix soup, sour cream, water and soup mix in crock pot. Add beef and mushrooms. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Serve over noodles.

This comes out of the crock pot rather thin. What i like to do to rectify that is mix 2 tablespoons of white wine with 2 tablespoons of corn starch to create a slurry. I mix this into the stroganoff about an hour before serving.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pasta, Beans and Greens

First of all, if you don't like cabbage, ask yourself this question: have you only eaten boiled cabbage (like in corned beef and cabbage)? If the answer is yes, then pull on your big girl panties and give it another try! I personally don't mind boiled cabbage but boiling it really takes away it's flavor and gives it a slimy texture. Cabbage really adds great flavor to your meals and is low in calories, high in vitamins and antioxidants, not to mention packed with fiber! Go on, give it a try.

I should also warn you this recipe makes alot of food. Enough for seconds (for the grown ups) and lunch the next day. At my house, we like it that way so I don't have to pack lunches!

1 lb. thick sliced bacon
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1/2 onion, chopped
about 4-5 cups of shredded cabbage (just like you would shred it for tacos)
12 oz (3/4 lb) penne pasta, uncooked
1/2 cup chicken stock (I just use my bouillon)
2 can canneli beans (white kidney beans), drained
salt and pepper to taste
parmesan to top

Start by taking your raw bacon and cutting it into bite size pieces. Then, fry it up until it is fairly crispy.

While doing this, cook penne according to package directions. When bacon is done, drain (reserving 2 TBSP of drippings). Saute onion and celery in 2 tsp of olive oil.

When it is tender, add cabbage and bacon drippings. Cook just until cabbage is wilted.

Add beans, bacon and chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for about 3 minutes. Toss this with the cooked penne and sprinkle with parmesan. Enjoy!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Veggie Breakfast Bake

I am trying something new tonight. Not only is it new but it's just off the top of my head :) Keep in mind, this is one of those recipes you can use whatever you have in the fridge for this. Basically, anything that would be good in eggs can be tossed in this dish! I left this recipe pretty open but for those of you who prefer a more rigid recipe, I listed some ideas below!

** Update: This was absolutely loved by my family!

1 dozen eggs (beat and seasoned, I used black pepper and italian seasoning)
about 4-5 cups of chopped veggies
2 cups shredded cheese
1.5 cups of chopped breakfast meat (can be omitted for vegetarian dish)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Saute your veggies in olive oil until they are still slightly crisp but not raw

(not all veggies should go in at the same time, pay attention to which will take longer to cook, leave tomatos uncooked). After veggies are done pour them in a 9x13 greased glass dish. Top with meat. Sprinkle with your cheese.

Pour the eggs over everything in dish. Top with tomatos.

Bake for 45 minutes (or longer) until when egg is set and toothpick SHOULD come out clean!

* Veggies: for this particular bake I used asparagus, broccoli, yellow squash, mushrooms, onion and tomato. Some other ideas would be bell pepper, zuchinni, greenbeans, snow peas... the possibilites are endless!
* Any cheese will work! Cheddar, monterey, swiss, etc. I also sprinkled mine with parmesan and feta.
* Meat: I used ham for this bake but crumbled bacon, smoked sausage and even some breakfast sausage would work.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sausage, Beans and Rice

This is another super easy meal. We love this recipe around our house, Aidan even requested it for his birthday.

2 boxes of long grain and wild rice (plus seasoning pack)
2 cups boiling water
1 green pepper seeded and diced
1 can cream style corn
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 polska kielbasa, halved and sliced (or any type of smoked sausage)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a casserole dish, add water to rice and seasoning packets. Stir in cream style corn. Add all other remaining ingredients. Cover with lid or foil and bake at least an hour (check to see that all water is absorbed, if not, continue cooking until it is gone).

* For a lighter version, brown the kielbasa in a pan first and drain grease that cooks off.