Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Banana Caramel Tiramisu


1 (4 oz) pkg instant Banana Pudding
1 C cold milk
1 1/3 C Caramel Dipping Sauce (your favorite)
1/2 C sour cream
2 C whipped topping
30 Ladyfinger cookies
1 C orange juice
2 ripe bananas-peeled and sliced

1 1/2 C whipped topping
1/4 C caramel dipping sauce
ground cinnamon


Combine pudding mix and cold milk in a large bowl and whisk to thicken. Add 1/3 C Caramel dip and sour cream. Whisk to combine. Fold in whipped topping.

Dip 15 Ladyfingers in orange juice and arrange on one layer of a 9"x11" pan. Spread 1/2 C of caramel dip over soaked Ladyfingers. Spoon half of cream mixture over caramel and spread into an even layer. Top with half of banana slices. Repeat process with remaining ingredients. For topping, spread whipped topping over all, drizzle with caramel and sprinkle with cinnamon. Store covered in fridge until ready to serve.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Stuffed Peppers

Oh my heavens this is a goodie!
I found this recipe while cutting coupons. I knew coupon cutting was worth it! And this recipe is!

Stuffed Red Peppers
4 lg red bell peppers (I'm sure green would work too)
1 c. minute rice, uncooked
2 Tbs Mrs Dash Tomato Basil Garlic seasoning
1 pound browned ground beef
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 c. bread crumbs (Italian style is delish!)
1 jar marinara sauce
1/4 c. shredded Parmesan cheese

Remove tops and seeds from peppers. Place in a 9x9 baking dish.
Combine uncooked rice, seasoning, beef, egg, and bread crumbs. Mix well. Stuff mixture into peppers.
Pour sauce over peppers and sprinkle with cheese. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or till peppers are tender.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What's for dinner

We'll be having this.
You can get the recipe here.
I LOVE Picky-Palate.
I'll probably put my own spin on it, cuz that's what I do.
I'll let you know how it all turns out.
I'm already drooling!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cooking Tricks

I love to cook and make new things, but I hate spending a lot of time in the kitchen doing so. This last year my life was crazy, but I didn't want my family to suffer and my wallet was too thin for take out and fast food each night. I found a few little tricks that helped me do what a love, feed my family a home cooked meal each night so I thought I'd share some of my cooking tricks.

1. Buy hamburger meat in bulk and cook it up.
It does take a little time to cook up so much meat, but when you have 8 bags of meat cooked and ready to go it cuts cooking time in half! You can do chicken as well. Dice it, shred it or leave it alone.

2. Make a weekly menu
Write out everything you need and add what you don't have to your shopping list. This helps you not spend too much money at the store as well as finding out later that you don't have something for the meal you are cooking.

3. Create a meal list
I was getting stuck in a food rut. Spaghetti or enchiladas. It seemed I was making the same meals over and over again. As soon as I made a meal list I remembered meals I had forgotten about, added new favorites to the list, and was no longer stuck in a rut.

4. Crock pot
I forgot how much I loved my crock pot! Set it, forget it, and when you get home it's ready. You can even put them outside so your house doesn't heat up. That's the last thing we need in AZ!

5. Rhodes Rolls
These bad boys are so yummy! I'm not a baker at all. When I try nothing works out for me. I am so banned from yeast! You buy these in the freezer section and they taste like homemade. I set mine outside for faster rising. They have turned out perfect every time. I like to bake mine in a muffin pan. They end up being pull apart rolls.

So, these are a few little tricks I've found. What are some of yours?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tamale Pie

1 1/2 lbs browned hamburger meat
1 small can tomato sauce
1 cup corn-frozen or canned, drained
1 small can sliced or chopped olives-drain if needed
1 small can green chili's
2 cups shredded cheese
1 pgk taco seasoning
2 pkgs crescent rolls
In a greased 9x13 pan, place 1 can of rolls. They roll out like a square, so you just need to spread to the sides. They may come apart a bit, but that's okay. Mix together meat, tomato sauce, corn, olives, green chili and taco seasoning. Spread on top of rolls. Top with cheese. Place the other can of rolls on top of meat mixture. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Top with sour cream.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Salsa Verde Enchiladas

This recipe freezes REALLY well for up to 3 months. See instructions below on how to thaw and reheat. Ingredients
•1 rotisserie chicken

•1 jar (16- to 17.6-ounce) mild salsa verde
•3 green onions, thinly sliced

•1/8 cup fresh lime juice

•1/4 cup (loosely packed) fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

•8 (6-inch) corn tortillas •1/2 container (8-ounce) reduced-fat sour cream
•1/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

•1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend


1. Remove meat from chicken and coarsely shred; place in medium bowl (you will need about 2 cups; reserve any extra for use another day). Discard skin and bones. Stir 1/4 cup salsa verde into chicken to evenly coat.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 13" by 9" glass or ceramic baking dish; set aside. In 12-inch skillet, heat remaining salsa verde, green onions, and lime juice to boiling on medium-high. Boil 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1 tablespoon cilantro; keep warm over very low heat.

3. With tongs, place 1 tortilla in salsa verde mixture; heat 10 seconds. Place tortilla on waxed paper; top with about 1/3 cup shredded-chicken mixture. Roll up tortilla and place, seam side down, in prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas and chicken mixture.

4. Stir sour cream and broth into remaining salsa verde mixture in skillet; spoon over filled tortillas. Cover baking dish with foil and bake 15 minutes. Remove foil; sprinkle with 1 cup cheese and 1 tablespoon cilantro. Bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese melts.

From freezer: Thaw overnight in covered container. Heat, loosely covered, at 350 degrees F 45 minutes; uncover and heat 10 to 15 minutes longer.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

White Chicken Chili

I'm in a rotisserie chicken phase and have been looking for quick and easy recipes to use it up. This one was FABULOUS! More like a hearty soup than a chili, it is very filling and VERY health-conscious.
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 15 oz. cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz. can navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups cooked, diced Rotisserie chicken meat
  • 1 4 oz. can diced green chiles
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (optional)
  • 4 sliced green onions (optional)

Heat oil over medium heat in a dutch oven or heavy saucepan. Add onion and garlic. Cook 2-3 minutes. Process one cup chicken broth and 1 can cannellini beans in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add to onion and garlic mixture. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to medium-low. Simmer 20-30 minutes. Top with cheese and green onions.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Baked Chicken Chimichangas

This meal was super easy and used up part of a rotisserie chicken, which I love. The filling was so good, I'm tempted to use it atop a green salad for a quick fix.

1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, roughly chopped (I used half a rotisserie chicken)
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
5 scallions, finely chopped
1/2 cup drained & rinsed black beans
2 tblspns chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup salsa
8 oz shredded cheese
7 flour tortillas
oil for brushing

Preheat oven to 400F. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, cumin, oregano, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, scallions, black beans, and cilantro. Add the salsa and cheese. Stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.

Brush tortillas on one side very lightly with water then stack on a paper towel. Wrap twel around tortillas and microwave about 25 seconds.

Remove one tortilla from towel and add 1/3 cup of filling to center. Wrap like you would a burrito. Take care not to roll too tightly or the tortilla will tear or burst during baking. Place chimi seam-side down on foil-lined baking sheet. Repeat with other tortillas.

Brush tops and sides of each chimi with oil. Bake for 23 to 26 minutes or until golden and crispy. Serve with additional salsa, cheese, guacamole and sour cream.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Glazed Mini Meatloaves

(adapted from the Best 30-Minute Recipe)
Makes 4-5 mini meatloaves.

17-20 saltine crackers, crushed fine (about 2/3 cup)
1/4 cup whole milk
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 large egg
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 pounds ground meat (I used a combination of lean ground chuck and lean ground pork)
2 teaspoons oil (I used canola oil)

1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
4 teaspoons cider vinegar

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Stir cracker crumbs, milk, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, egg, mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together in a large bowl. Add ground meat and combine until uniform. Shape mixture into oval loaves (I doubled the recipe and got 10 mini loaves, so when I make the recipe without doubling it, I plan to shape into at least 5 loaves - they were definitely big enough to be perfectly filling!).

Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until the oil is rippling. Add meatloaves (without letting them touch sides) and brown well on one side, 3-5 minutes. Carefully flip loaves over and tidy up edges using a spatula (I didn't need to do this - my meatloaves managed to hold their shape really well). Brown on this side for another 2-3 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix glaze ingredients together until smooth. Transfer mini meatloaves to a foil-lined baking pan and spoon the glaze over the top of each meatloaf. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the center of the loaf registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer (or do like I do and cut one of the little babies open and if it looks done - pull 'em out of the oven!).

Submitted by Tay Lynn Gudmunson

Chicken with Green Curry Sauce

(adapted slightly from Robin Miller)

2-3 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, sliced into 1/2-inch strips
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chilies
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon Garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup couscous, cooked according to package directions
2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro leaves

Season both sides of chicken with salt and black pepper. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook 2 minutes per side until golden brown.

In a medium bowl, whisk together coconut milk, green chilies, curry powder, garam masala, and cumin. Add mixture to chicken and bring to a simmer. Simmer 5 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and sauce reduces slightly. The sauce will be quite runny. To thicken it up a bit, I mixed one teaspoon cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water and added it to the sauce and let it simmer for a few minutes to thicken. Serve chicken and green curry sauce over couscous and garnish with cilantro.

Friday, June 12, 2009


I have been so busy and things have been going on every night, so dinner has not been served! Unless you call cold cereal and string cheese dinner. Here's what's for dinner next week! I've got some new recipes to add, so come back!

Monday: Potato Casserole
Tuesday: Scrabbled Omelets
Wednesday: Ranch Parmesan Chicken
Thursday: Loaded burgers
Friday: Homemade pizza
Saturday: out-Dad's home from Scout Camp!
Sunday: Chicken Burros

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dipity Dip

I love chips and dip, but when summertime hits I'm really in the mood! Especially for guacamole and 7 layer bean dip! My friend gave me this super easy fail proof recipe for the green stuff. Sure to be a crowd pleaser for sure!
3 ripe avocados
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp garlic salt
2 Tbs white onion (optional)
2 Tbs fresh salsa (optional)
I like to add some homemade salsa to half the recipe. It's so good!
7 layer Bean Dip
1 small can refried beans
guacamole (recipe above)
sour cream
shredded cheese
diced tomato
sliced olives
green onion
In a 9x9 dish layer starting with the beans on down. After you add the guacamole, place dish in the fridge for 10 minutes. It will make it more solid to spread the sour cream on top. Serve with chips. yum!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ranch Bits

Last night we had steak, veggies and homemade potato ranch bits. They were tasty and fresh!

Ranch Bits
4 medium size baking potatoes
1 Tbs oil
1 Tbs dry ranch packet

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Dice potatoes into bite size bits. Rinse and place in a mixing bowl. Drizzle oil over potatoes and mix making sure each potato is coated. Pour onto baking sheet and sprinkle ranch over potato bits. Bake 15 minutes, or till tender. Homemade and delicious!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Friday night pizza in

It's Friday night. The mood is right, but your wallet says no way! Here's your answer! Easy as pizza pie!

In a mixing bowl add:

1 packet yeast

1 C. warm water

Then add:

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

2 TBL oil

2 1/2 C. flour

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place dough in the middle of a greased jelly roll pan and roll out to each side. Bake for 3 minutes. Then pour pizza sauce in the middle allowing a small edge of crust to show around the edges. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and top with your favorite toppings. Bake 6- 8 minutes or till the edges are a golden brown. Slice and serve! Don't forget the root beer!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


May 4 to 10

Monday- Out to Mi Amigos

Tuesday- Rigatoni

Wednesday- Chicken burros

Thursday- Sweet and Sour chicken

Friday- Homemade pizza- recipe to come

Saturday- Out

Sunday- Mother's Day- hopefully I'll have something yummy to post

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Here's a new spin on my fav potato casserole. I'm always looking for ways to create something delish, but not spend a lot time in the kitchen preparing. I don't mind if it takes a bit to bake, I just don't like too much prep time. Usually you slice the potatoes and layer it. I was in a hurry to just get it in the oven that I decided to dice, mix and bake and it was perfect!
Potato Casserole
4 med baking spuds diced and rinsed
1 1/2 pound browned hamburger meat-season with dry onions, salt and pepper
1 can tomato soup
1 1/2 c. shredded cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together diced spuds, hamburger, tom soup and 3/4 c. shredded cheese. Pour in a greased 9x9 baking dish. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. It's really good with ketchup on top.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I totally forgot to take a picture of this dish. I'm so bummed because it is so good! And did I mention super easy? Now that's what I'm talking about!

1 1/2 pounds browned ground beef
1 jar Prego, Ragu or store brand spaghetti sauce
1 8oz pkg shredded mozzarella cheese
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 8oz container cottage cheese
1 box oven ready noodles or reg. lasagna noodles cooked as directed

Mix together mozrella and cheddar cheese. Set aside.
Mix together meat and sauce. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 425. Layer 4 noodles (oven ready or cooked. I use oven ready because it's so fast!) in a 9x13 pan. There will be some space at the end, so break another noodle in half and fill the space. Spoon 1/2 of the cottage cheese onto the noodles. Pour half the meat mixture onto noodles and sprinkle half the cheese mixture on top. Layer again and repeat. Cover with foil and cook for 1 hour. If using boiled noodles, bake for 30 minutes or till bubbly.
Serve with garlic bread or Texas toast.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Weekly menu

So, I'm ready to jump back on the dinner bandwagon! I've been slacking in that department for several weeks now. Who am I kidding! It's been months! I used to make up weekly menus and do my shopping around that. I'm going to start that again and hopefully be out of my dinner rut. Though my family has enjoyed cereal and cheese crips for dinner every night, I'm ready for something new! I'll post my recipes too. So, here's this weeks menu:

Monday: Lasagna
Tuesday: Omelets-Something easy cuz it's girls night for mama!
Wednesday: Potato Casserole
Thursday: Chicken Pillows
Friday: to be determined later
Saturday: out
Sunday: Parmesan chicken

Crock Pot Sunday

This was dinner tonight. So yummy, so easy. I am a huge fan of Rhodes Rolls as well. You buy them in the freezer section. I did mine in a muffin tin. Super easy, super good. You can't mess them up! Just follow the directions on the back.
Pot Roast
1 pot roast
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 can - 3/4 can water
1 pkg onion soup mix
1 pkg brown gravy
1 small pkg petite carrots
3-4 med baking potatoes
Set crock pot to high. In crock pot, mix cream of mushroom, gravy, water and onion mix. Put in roast. In 2 hours, add carrots. In the next 2 hours, add potatoes, cut into chunks. Cook for another 4 hours. It'll be perfect! 8 hours total in the crock pot.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Black & White Cheesecake Bars

2 cups (12oz) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter or margarine
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
8oz cream cheese, softened
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

In a double boiler or microwave, melt chocolate chips and butter, stirring occasionally. Stir in the graham cracker crumbs. Set aside 1/4 cup for topping. Press the remaining crumbs into an ungreased 13x9 inch baking pan. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in milk, eggs, and vanilla. Pour over crust. Sprinkle with reserved crumbs. Bake at 325 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Refrigerate for 3 hours or until completely chilled. Cut into bars. Store in the refrigerator.

Chicken Pot Pie in a Biscuit

2 cans (10 ¾ oz each) cream of chicken soup

1 cup milk

¼ tsp dried thyme leaves, crushed

¼ tsp pepper

4 cups cooked diced vegetables (broccoli, carrots, potatoes, peas, your choice)

2 cups cubed cooked chicken or turkey

1 can (10 oz) refrigerated biscuits

1. In 3 qt baking dish combine soup, milk, thyme and pepper. Stir in vegetables and chicken.

2. Bake at 400^ for 15 minutes or until mixture begins to bubble. Meanwhile, cut each biscuit into quarters.

3. Remove dish from oven; stir. Arrange biscuit pieces over hot chicken mixture. Bake 15 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown.

Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Cup finely chopped onion
1 lb ground turkey breast
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic salt
1 12 oz bag of Broccoli Slaw
1 small can drained water chestnuts
½ Cup Teriyaki Sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Approximately 15 Butter Lettuce leaves (you can also use iceberg lettuce leaves)

1. Place oil into a large 5 qt skillet or other large pan over medium heat. When hot, add onion and cook for 5 minutes to soften. Add ground turkey, salt, pepper and garlic salt. Brown and crumble until cooked through.

2. When turkey is cooked, stir in broccoli slaw, water chestnuts, teriyaki sauce and sesame oil. Cook for another 10-15 minutes or until heated through. Reduce heat to low until ready to serve. Serve spoonfuls inside lettuce leaves. Enjoy!

Cookies 'n Cream Banana Bread

Oreos and Banana Bread together? Could there be a better combination? This recipe was taken from Jenny Flake has some AWESOME recipes on there. Check it out!

1 1/2 sticks butter
1 Cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
4 medium size ripe bananas (or 3 Large bananas)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
15 Oreo cookies, broken into pieces

1 Cup powdered sugar
2-3 Tablespoons heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a stand or electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until well combined. Slowly beat in egg, bananas and vanilla until combined. Place flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt into a large bowl. Slowly add to wet ingredients. Stir in Oreos until just combined.

2. Scoop dough into 16 very mini loaf pans or 2 bread pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray. Muffin tins would work great too. Bake for 28-35 minutes or until toothpick comes clean from center.

3. Whisk powdered sugar and cream in a medium bowl until a nice drizzling consistency is reached. Drizzle over top of each bread and serve. Makes 16 mini loaves or 2 full loaves.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Whatcha Got?

Hey hey ladies!
I'm out of dinner ideas!
Someone needs to post something yummy or I'm heading to Taco Bell!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Spinach Artichoke Dip

This fabulous side dish is brought to you by Jackie. I've sampled (ate nearly the whole dish) this stuff and it is g.o.o.d.!!

1-8oz pack cream cheese
½ cup frozen chopped spinach (1/2 cup after defrosted and drained)
¼ cup mayo
1 garlic clove (minced)
¼ cup mozzarella cheese
1-14oz can artichoke hearts (drained and coarsely chopped)
½ cup fresh parmesan cheese (grated)
½ tsp dried basil
¼ tsp garlic salt
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350*

Allow cream cheese to get to room temperature. Cream mayo, cream cheese, parmesan cheese, garlic and basil. Add garlic salt. Mix well. Add artichoke hearts and spinach. Mix until blended. Spray pan with Pam. Pour mixture into pan and top with mozzarella. Bake at 350* for 25 minutes until top is brown.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Zuppa Toscana (knock off from Olive Garden)

I think we all know by now that I am a soup junkie. Here is my latest fave for all you soup fans out there. This one is good. Mad good. And good for you! I compiled it from a few websites and added my own twist to get it just the way I like it.

1/2 lb. spicy Italian sausage - crumbled
1 qt. water
(2) 14.5 oz. cans (about 3 2/3 cups) chicken broth

2 lg. russet potatoes - scrubbed clean, cubed
2 garlic cloves - peeled, crushed
1/2 med. onion - peeled, finely chopped
2 cups chopped kale OR Swiss chard
1 cup heavy whipping cream
salt and pepper - to taste (the sausage provides a nice salt content, so you shouldn't need much).

freshly grated parmesan cheese for garnish

-In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown sausage, breaking into small pieces as you fry it; drain, set aside.
-Place water, broth, potatoes, garlic, and onion in a pot; simmer over medium heat until potatoes are tender.
-Add sausage to pot; simmer for 10 minutes.
-Add kale and cream to pot; season with salt and pepper; heat through.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Easy Chicken salad

It's been a while since I posted, so I thought I'd share a little quick and easy chicken salad. It's great on crackers, whole wheat bread, a bagel or just by itself. It takes 5 mintues to whip up and lasts for a few days depending on how hungry you are! I love it on toasted bread with some lettuce and a tomato. YUM!

Easy Chicken Salad
1 can chicken-drained and shred with a fork
1/2 small red apple-diced
2-3 Tbsp sliced almonds
2 Tbsp mayo
salt and pepper to taste

See, easy. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Week 2 Ingredients: Ground Beef, Pasta & Corn

The Menu & Recipes:

Southwest Baked Ziti

Stuffed Bacon Cheeseburgers & Pasta Salad (make your own recipe and add 1/2 cup corn)

Shepherd’s Pie

Taco Soup

The Plan:
Brown 3 pounds ground beef in skillet over medium heat. Drain and cool. Separate into thirds and freeze each pound in Ziploc bags for use later in the week. Boil 6 ears of white or yellow corn for 12 to 16 minutes or until tender. Remove from water and cool. Remove kernels from corn, reserve 1 cup and freeze the rest in Ziploc bags for use later in the week.

Prepare Cheeseburgers & Pasta Salad with remaining (uncooked) ground beef and reserved corn.

Southwest Baked Ziti

• 1 pound ziti noodles
• 1 pound ground beef, cooked through
• 2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with seasonings (green pepper and onion or garlic and oregano, or any flavor you want)
• 1 cup yellow or white corn
• ½ cup sliced black olives
• 2 teaspoons dried thyme
• 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
• 1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
• 4 cups grated mozzarella cheese, reserve 1 cup, for topping
• 1 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, heat ground beef in a hot skillet over medium. Add tomatoes, corn, olives, thyme and rosemary and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese and garlic powder and mix well. Spoon 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 4-quart casserole dish. Top with half of the cooked ziti. Top with half of the cheese mixture. Top with 1 cup of the tomato sauce. Repeat layers (remaining ziti and remaining cheese mixture). Top with remaining tomato sauce. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese over top. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 more minutes, until cheese is golden and bubbly.

Stuffed Bacon Cheeseburgers

•1/2 cup shredded Monterey jack
•4 slices cooked bacon, chopped
•1 pound ground chuck
•Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
•4 large hamburger buns, split
•Ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard, for serving
•Lettuce, sliced tomato, onion, and avocado, for serving
Combine the jack cheese and chopped bacon in a bowl. Put the beef in another bowl and season with salt and pepper; use a rubber spatula to mix it in. Flatten 1/4 of the meat mixture in the palm of your hand. Squeeze together about a tablespoon of the cheese and bacon mixture to make a little nugget; put it in the center of the ground beef. Bring up the sides of the patty over the filling, making sure the cheese is completely covered by the meat. Flatten slightly for a nice patty shape. Set them side by side on a platter in the refrigerator while preparing the grill.
Place a large grill pan on 2 burners over medium-high heat or preheat an outdoor gas or charcoal barbecue and get it very hot. Brush the grates with oil to keep the burgers from sticking. Grill the burgers for 8 minutes per side for medium. (The USDA recommends cooking ground beef until it is no longer pink and the internal temperature is 160 degrees F.) Remove the burgers to a clean side plate while you toast the buns.

Rub the grill rack with more oil and place the buns cut-side down, toast for 1 minute. Serve the burgers with your favorite condiment and any garnish you like, such as lettuce, sliced tomato, onion, and/or avocado.

Sheperd's Pie


  • 1 small onion
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed vegetables or niblet corn, prepared
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 to 10 medium red new potatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 12 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups instant biscuit mix


Beef Layer: Saute onions in 2 tablespoons butter. Add ground beef. After beef is browned, add tomato sauce; Mix in vegetables. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Potato Layer: Peel and slice potatoes 1/4-inch thick. Cook in boiling water for approximately 15 minutes or until fork-tender. Whip potatoes with electric mixer; mix until moderately smooth. Don't over beat them; a few lumps are nice. Add 1/2 cup heated milk, 1/2 cup butter, and sour cream. Salt and pepper, to taste. Whip until mixed. Adjust thickness by adding more milk, if desired.

Biscuit Layer: Combine biscuit mix and 1 cup milk. The mix should be thinner than normal biscuit mix but not runny.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a 9 by 9 by 2-inch pan, or any similar casserole dish. Layer half way up with the mashed potatoes. Next, spread a layer of mixed vegetables or niblet corn on top of potatoes. Then add a layer of the meat. Pour biscuit mix over meat. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over top. Bake for approximately 35 to 45 minutes until top is golden brown.

Note: Leftovers make this dish easy to put together. So if you have leftover pork roast or beef roast with gravy and mashed potatoes from Sunday dinner then this is an easy mid- week meal that will take only a few minutes.

Taco Soup

•1 pounds ground beef, cooked and drained
•1 cups diced onions
•1 (15 1/2-ounce) cans pinto beans
•1 (15 1/2-ounce) can pink kidney beans
•1 cup yellow or white corn
•1 (14 1/2-ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
•1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
•1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomatoes with chiles
•2 (4 1/2-ounce) cans diced green chiles
•1 (4.6-ounce) can black olives, drained and sliced, optional
•1 (1 1/4-ounce) package taco seasoning mix
•1 (1-ounce) package ranch salad dressing mix
•Corn chips, for serving
•Sour cream, for garnish
•Grated cheese, for garnish
•Chopped green onions, for garnish
Sauté onions over medium heat in stock pot. Add in cooked ground beef, beans, corn, tomatoes, green chiles, black olives, taco seasoning, and ranch dressing mix, and cook in a slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours or simmer over low heat for about 1 hour in a pot on the stove. To serve, place a few corn chips in each bowl and ladle soup over them. Top with sour cream, cheese and green onions.

Rosemary Lemon Salmon


  • 1 fillet salmon, skin-on, between 5 to 7-pounds
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 to 3 bunches fresh rosemary sprigs, plus more, for garnish
  • Lemon or orange slices


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Using small fish tweezers remove pin bones from the length of the salmon and discard.

Place salmon skin side down on tin foil in a large roasting pan and season with a tablespoon of butter, salt and pepper. Place the sprigs of rosemary and lemon slices over the salmon so that they are overlapping and form a tent over the salmon. Wrap each salmon in the tin foil and roast for 15 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.

Remove the salmon from the oven and bring to a well ventilated outdoor area. Light the oven dried rosemary on fire over the salmon. Let the ash fall over the salmon leaving streaks of concentrated rosemary flavor.

Using a large fish spatula, remove the side of salmon from the roasting pan and place on a platter. Garnish with sprigs of fresh rosemary and lemon wedges.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Week 1 Ingredients: Chicken, Black Beans & Rice

The Menu:

Southwest Chicken Salad

Chicken Burritos

Chicken Enchilada Soup

Chicken & Black Bean Enchiladas

The Plan:

Bake or Grill 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast (family of four) seasoned lightly with salt and pepper. Cut into 1 inch chunks. Prepare 2 cups of rice (I prefer jasmine or basmati) to use in 3 of the above meals.

The Recipes:

Southwest Chicken Salad

Chicken Burritos

1 cup rice, 2 cups chicken, 1 can black beans, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, cheese, olives, tortillas.

Chicken & Black Bean Enchiladas

Chicken Enchilada Soup

Heat 4 cups chicken broth in stock pot. Add 1/2 tray of enchiladas from earlier in week and mash lightly with potato masher. Add 1 cup red enchilada sauce. Heat through. Garnish with sour cream, cilantro, cheese and tortilla chips.

Southwest Chicken Salad


* 1/2 pound canned black beans, drained and rinsed
* 1/2 cup cooked corn (cut from about 2 ears)
* 1 pounds cubed chicken breasts, cooked
* 1/4 cup minced cilantro sprigs, washed well and spun dry
* 1 avocado, chopped
* 1 head green leaf lettuce, rinsed and roughly chopped


Toss together and drizzle with dressing (below).

Cilantro & Lime Ranch Dressing

* 1/2 cup ranch dressing
* juice of 1 lime
* 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped

Blend together well and serve over salad.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Chicken & Black Bean Enchiladas

  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pound cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 2/3 cup prepared salsa, mild, medium or hot
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 8 (8-inch) flour tortillas
  • 2 2/3 cups shredded Monterey jack and or Cheddar


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute 2 minutes. Add chicken and saute til heated through.

Stir in black beans, green chiles, and salsa and simmer 5 minutes, until sauce thickens and reduces. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro and rice.

Arrange 4 tortillas on a flat surface. Top each tortilla with an equal amount of chicken mixture. Roll up tortillas and place side by side in a shallow baking dish. Top tortillas with shredded cheese (1/3 cup per tortilla).

Bake enchiladas 15 minutes, until cheese is golden and gooey!

Makes 8 servings

Introducing: MENU PLANNING

I've had several people ask for my recipes and weekly menu, so I've decided to post here. Each week I choose two to three main ingredients (generally using what's on sale at my local grocery store) and prep those ingredients for 3-4 meals of the week on one day so I don't have tons of prep time each evening. The remainder of the days in the week we'll have a couple vegetarian meals, leftover night, Dave's night (which usually turns into a fend for yourself night), and a night when we eat together with extended family. Stay tuned for my weekly menu!