Monday, December 9, 2013

Creamy Spaghetti Bake

I am still alive.

Still cooking.

Still snowed in.

For five days now.

And apparently I'm not too motivated to blog this week.  Or last. :)

But I am going to break the dry spell.  And at least try to look productive.

I have seen a recipe like this all over Pinterest, so I decided it was time to try it. I mean, it is pasta and cheese.  How can I go wrong?

What I liked about this recipe (other than the pasta and cheese and creamy taste) is that it was easy.

And I like easy so much.

Even on snow days.

1 pound spaghetti, cooked and drained
1 pound ground beef, browned (or in our case, 1 1/2 pounds)
1 jar spaghetti sauce (or homemade sauce in our case)
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature (that part is important...mine wasn't quite room temperature)
8 oz sour cream
8 oz cottage cheese (I omitted this was just too much for me)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Pre-heat oven to 350.

Mix meat and sauce together.

Mix the cream cheese and sour cream (and cottage cheese if desired) together. I would recommend using a mixer for this. By hand, it is hard to mix it well.

Layer in a 9 x 13:
spaghetti (1/2)

cream cheese mixture (1/2)

meat mixture (1/2)

spaghetti (1/2)

cream cheese mixture (1/2)

meat mixture (1/2)

Top with shredded cheese.

Bake for 20-30 minutes.


It makes a LOT.

We ate ours with Rhodes bread (garlic salt/butter on top) and corn.  A salad would have been nice but I didn't have any on hand.

Happy Cooking!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hamburger Buns

Oh wow.

I don't think I have ever had this much time between posts.

I am still alive. I am still cooking. I am just not posting much at this moment. No reason other than life. :)

I have actually made these before but haven't blogged about them.

(Note:  I have made other buns such as these but I find that this recipe is just a little quicker and just as tasty.)

These are called 40 minute buns.  And they can be made in 40 minutes.  BUT if I have time, I try to let them rise a little bit longer.

Oh, and you haven't had homemade buns, you need to know that the texture is a little different. They tend to crumble a little easier.  But they are also delicious and worth the effort.

2 Tbsp active dry yeast (I use rapid rise)
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp warm water (not too hot, not too cold)
1/3 cup vegetable oil (I used olive oil after reading some of the suggestions on the original recipe)
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp salt
3-3 1/2 cups all purpose flour (more as needed)

Dissolve yeast in the warm water in a bowl.  Add the oil and sugar and let it rest for about five minutes.

Add the egg, flour, and salt to form a soft dough.  If it is too sticky, add more flour.

Knead for about 3-5 minutes. 

Divide into 12 pieces.  The buns will be fairly small so if you want bigger buns, divide into fewer pieces (8-10).  Shape into balls.  Place about 3 inches apart on a greased baking sheet.

Cover and let rest for about 10 minutes.  As I said, I usually let them sit longer if possible.

Preheat oven to 425.

If desired, brush the top with olive oil or melted butter and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

When ready, bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown.

Split in middle when cooked/cooled.


PS I read that these can be formed into hot dog buns but I haven't tried those yet...

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Turtle Cheesecake Bars

Not long ago we celebrated our 17th anniversary. 

I wanted to celebrate with a special dessert.

The one dessert we both love?

Turtle Cheesecake.

I remembered a recipe I had found on Pinterest for turtle cheesecake bars.


It was a little work. You have to plan ahead because the bars have to chill for a while.  And just looking at the ingredients can give me a headache; I like simple.

But there was no doubt that it was worth the effort.


We will be having this again, though not too often.  If we did, I would weigh a TON!

Cheesecake crust:
3 cups finely chopped pecans
1 stick unsalted butter melted
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Cheesecake filling:
24 oz cream cheese, softened (yes, that is THREE boxes!)
1/4 cup full fat Greek yogurt OR sour cream (I used sour cream, full fat)
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla
3 large eggs
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
1 11 oz bag caramel candy, unwrapped (I actually used a caramel worked fine)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 Tbsp milk, divided (unless you use the caramel sauce, then you only need 2)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Line a 13 x 9 inch pan with parchment paper, overlapping on the ends.

Use a fork to mix together the crust ingredients.  Press into the bottom of the 13 x 9 pan.

Bake for 20 minutes.

While the crust bakes, prepare the filling.

Cream together the cream cheese, yogurt/sour cream, sugar, and vanilla with a mixer.

Beat in eggs, one at a time.

After the crust finishes, sprinkle 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips over the crust.

Pour the filling over the crust and return to the oven.  Bake for 50 minutes.

Allow the cheesecake to cool off for an hour, then put it in the refrigerator overnight.

When ready to serve, remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator.  Lift the parchment paper off/out and place the cheesecake on a serving dish.

Toast pecans at 350 for 10 minutes.

If using unwrapped caramels, microwave the caramels and 4 Tbsp of milk at 30 minute intervals.  Stir until sauce is smooth.

Pour over the top of the cheesecake.

Microwave chocolate chips with 2 Tbsp milk.  Cook for 30 seconds, stirring in between.

Drizzle the chocolate over the top of the cheesecake bars.

Allow the chocolate to harden before serving.


And don't think about the calories!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Fried Pork Chops

I feel like I have neglected this blog.  Not on purpose.  Just been busy.

But I am still cooking.  Well, mostly.  I haven't cooked dinner for the last two nights but that is because I have some other food projects going on.

However, the other night hubby was out of town, and I still cooked a real meal.

I think that should count for something...a gold star or a pat on the back at least.

Fried pork chops and roasted potatoes, rolls...


I fry chicken on occasion but haven't fried pork much.

This week that changed.

I am pretty sure I went up like five notches in my oldest child's eyes...fried pork.  He was smiling from ear to ear.

This is the recipe I followed...

Note that the original author is cooking like 14 pork chops.

I cut that about in half.

Unfortunately I forgot to cut the rest of the recipe in half.

Not a big deal but I wasted some ingredients.


So here is my recipe for 6 or 7 pork chops...

6 or 7 thin boneless pork chops

2 eggs

1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce (I used a homemade version)

3/4 to 1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 Tbsp salt

1 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp pepper (I used freshly ground peppercorns)

About 1 cup oil


 Heat oil over medium high heat in a skillet.

Prepare egg wash by stirring eggs and Worcestershire sauce in a shallow bowl.

In another bowl, mix the flour and seasonings.

Dip pork chops in egg wash then coat both sides with flour mixture.

Place in skillet (do not crowd) and cook for 3-5 minutes on one side until it begins to brown.  Flip over and cook for another 3-5 minutes until gold brown.  You don't want to mess with them much; you will lose the coating.  And of course, the coating is the good stuff.

Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel. 

Obviously, this is not something you want to eat frequently nor is it healthy.

But once in a while, it is a treat...


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Still Cooking...

I am still here, still cooking.  Just buried in schoolwork right now.

Hope to post a recipe in the next few days!


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Month O' Menus

Here we are, halfway through October.  And I am now posting the menu for September.


It is just the way our life is right now...

The good news is I still do plan.  And I still do cook as much as is possible with our crazy schedules.

It may be the one thing keeping me sane...

Week of September 1
Sunday: Mostaccioli, Rhodes bread, salad, chess pie

Monday:  Fried Chicken, mashed potatoes, buttermilk biscuits, green beans

Tuesday: OYO (On Your Own Night)

Wednesday: brisket (just brisket cooked in a crockpot with beef broth and homemade onion soup mix) on Rhodes rolls, chips

Thursday:  Korean Beef, rice, carrots/Ranch, cheese-stuffed rolls

Friday: Football game (snacks at the game)

Saturday: OYO (on your own)

Breakfast: banana nut bread

Week of September 8
Sunday: bacon wrapped shrimp, white potatoes, corn on the cob, rolls

Monday:  deep dish pizza

Tuesday: OYO

Wednesday: burrito casserole

Thursday:  Amish chicken, bowtie pasta, carrots, Rhodes rolls

Friday: Football game (snacks)

Saturday: hamburgers and fries

Week of September 15
Sunday: Out for dinner

Monday:  Waffles, bacon

Tuesday: OYO

Wednesday: Pork Tenderloin, roasted potatoes, rolls, black eye peas

Thursday:  Teriyaki chicken and white rice

Friday: Shakes/Popcorn

Saturday: Grilled swai, angel hair pasta, carrots, French bread

Breakfast: cinnamon donuts (I used the cinnamon donut muffin recipe but cooked them in my donut pan), peanut butter chocolate chip oatmeal bars

Week of September 22
Sunday: pizza (out)

Monday:  OYO

Thursday:  Leftovers

Friday: Lasagna, rolls

Saturday: OYO

Now off to plan this week's menu...


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Breakfast Bake

Not the best picture but considering the craziness of the week, I have to take what I can get...

So this past week I have been clipping recipes from the paper and then actually trying them instead of just sticking them in a pile to deal with later.

This recipe caught my eye because it is a breakfast casserole. Now I have another recipe that is actually similar. 

But with ONE major difference.

At least a major difference to me.

This recipe uses bacon.



Oink. Oink.

I LOVE bacon.

Most recipes I have seen use sausage.

I don't love sausage as much.

So I decided to give this a try.

And I loved it. 

In fact, I have been eating the leftovers for lunch.

Most of my family liked it, with the exception of one child who doesn't care for eggs (though she admitted this wasn't so bad) and another who won't touch a potato to save his life...

By the way, this is EASY to put together. It does take a while to cook though so plan ahead.

2 cups milk
1/4 tsp salt
1 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled (or in my case, just cut into small pieces)
1 package frozen hash browns, thawed (I used Southern style)
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
8 eggs
pinch paprika (optional...I left it out)

Pre-heat oven to 350. 

In a large mixing bowl, mix the bacon crumbles, hashbrown potatoes, salt, and half the cheese.

Spread into a greased 9 x 13 dish.

Whisk the eggs and the milk together and pour over the top of the potato mixture.  Sprinkle paprika if desired. 

Bake for 45-50 minutes (mine took more like an hour).

Remove from oven and sprinkle remaining cheese over the top.


We actually ate it for dinner (we like "breakfast for dinner" around here) with fruit and toast.




Sunday, September 29, 2013

Chocolate Chip and Walnut Blondies

 The other day a recipe in the paper caught my eye.  It looked easy enough and looked yummy enough, I decided to give it a try. 

This is a miracle in itself because I often clip recipes then forget that I clipped them. 

Thankfully this one was fresh on my mind (and on my counter).

Today we went for a hike which meant I had a whole bunch of extra calories to enjoy. :)

So tonight after dinner, I threw these together and baked them.

Oh, yum.


Here is my version of the recipe. I followed it fairly closely though I adjusted the actual chocolate part.  The original recipe calls for 1 1/4 pounds of semisweet chocolate chunks. I used chocolate chips and only used about half that amount.  We agreed that any more than what I used would have been TOO much and too rich for us!

1 cup butter, room temperature (the original recipe calls for unsalted, I just had salted)
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, room temperature
1 egg white, room temperature (I just put three eggs out when I put the butter out)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts (I think I used only about 1 cup)
9-12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used about 9 oz which was plenty for me)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease/flour a 9 x 12 inch baking pan.

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar with an electric mixer.  Mix on high for 3 minutes.  It should be fairly light and fluffy.

With the mixer on low, add vanilla.  Then add the eggs one at a time.  Add the egg white.  Mix well, scraping the bowl as needed.

In a separate bowl, sift together (or just stir in my case :) the flour, baking soda, and salt.

Add to the butter mixture with the mixer on low. 

Fold in the walnuts and chocolate chips.

Spread/spoon the batter into the pan.  Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (no batter).  Don't overbake. 

Cool completely before slicing.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

French Dip on Homemade Sub Rolls

The other day I really wanted to make French Dip. And that is fairly easy.  But the hard part for us is finding the rolls for sandwiches that don't contain a lot of things we avoid (like preservatives).

So I did a quick search via Internet and found this recipe It had great reviews.  And it didn't look too hard.

So one night, after a long day of school and parent/teacher conferences, I threw them together.

A little while later I had this most amazing scent coming from my kitchen.

Homemade rolls.

When I took them out of the oven, I just had to have a little nibble.


My teenager wandered in, ready to sample.  Or devour.  Whichever I would allow.

The next night we ate our French dips on these rolls.

And they were still delicious.

Here is the recipe for the rolls...
2 packages (or 5 tsp) active yeast (I use instant)

3 cups warm water (divided...1/2 cup and 2 1/2 cups)

2 Tbsp sugar divided (1 and 1)

1/4 cup vegetable or olive oil (I used olive because I LOVE olive :)

1 Tbsp salt

5-9 cups all purpose flour (I think I used close to 8 but I lost track)

sesame seeds (optional)

 Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup water.  Add 1 Tbsp sugar.  Let it sit for about five minutes.  It should kind of "foam" up.

After a few minutes, add the remaining water and sugar.  Add in the oil and begin adding flour (about 4 cups).  Add in the salt.

Knead to make a soft dough, adding flour as needed until it is "not sticky", about 6-8 minutes.  Do NOT over-knead.

Form into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl (again, I used olive oil).

Cover and let rise, about 45 minutes.

Punch down the dough and divide the dough into small pieces.  The original recipe called for 18 pieces; I decided 16 was easier so my buns were just a bit bigger.  Shape the pieces into an oval.  I need to work on my shaping skills but thankfully that doesn't affect taste. :)  Place on a greased baking dish, about 2 inches apart.

Use scissors to cut a small slash across the top of the buns.

Cover and let rise for about 20 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Add sesame seeds if desired.

Bake for 12-18 minutes, until golden brown.


They were my favorite "sub" roll that I have made so far.  The original recipe is A LOT so if you don't want that many, I would just halve the recipe. I ended up freezing our leftovers for future meals.

Onto the French dip.

I had a recipe I liked for French dip but with changes in diet around here, I had to re-think some recipes. That was one.  Thankfully one day a good friend of mine posted this recipe.   Perfect!  All things I could use or improvise.

So, here is my version based on her version. :)

French dip
1 lb thin cut sirloin steak  (I actually use a bigger sirloin though I have never weighed it)
14 oz beef broth (though I add a whole container since I am using a bigger sirloin)
1 packet onion soup mix...this is where I have to improvise.  I make my own using the following recipe instead of using a packaged mix:
  8 teaspoons dried onion flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Combine soup mix and beef broth and pour over the sirloin in the crockpot.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Shred meat with a fork.

I had provolone cheese on hand for those who wanted cheese.

We then ate it on our buns (which we toasted slightly in the oven).

And of course, we used the "au jus" from the crockpot for the dipping part.


Easy and yum.



Saturday, September 21, 2013

Baked Pork Tenderloin

I just can't take pork pictures.

I know what you are thinking.

I just can't take food pictures at all.

And that is true.

But I really can't take pork pictures.

They just don't do the food justice.

So go to the original recipe site and ooh and ahh over their pictures.

Though my pictures didn't turn out quite right, I will say that this was delicious.

My kids LOVED it. 

And they aren't typically big pork eaters.

Even I horded the ONE small leftover piece for my lunch a couple days later, threatening anybody who suggested eating it.

And though it takes a little bit to cook (around 45 minutes), it was easy to assemble.  And worth every bite.

1 package pork tenderloins (around 2 to 2 1/2 pounds).  I buy the Farmland which has two tenderloins together.

4 garlic cloves quartered/slivered/sliced

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 Tbsp whole grain mustard (I used a spicy brown mustard because that is what I had...)

4 Tbsp honey (I HIGHLY recommend raw honey; I could eat it by the bowl full)

2 Tbsp fresh orange juice (with food sensitivities, we avoid orange so I used lemon juice)

1 Tbsp fresh rosemary or Herbs de Provence (I used rosemary)

3 Tbsp olive oil

freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Rinse and pat dry the pork tenderloins and place in a 9 x 13 baking dish.

Use a paring knife to poke holes all over the pork.  Place the garlic slivers inside the holes.  I know, it looks funny but YUM, tastes really good.

Mix together the remaining ingredients for the marinade (add the olive oil last, whisking together). Pour over the top of the tenderloins.

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes.  Baste halfway through the baking process with the sauce.  I think I forgot that part.  Oops. :)

Let it rest about 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Then enjoy.

The sauce/marinade is delicious.

We ate it with black eye peas, baked potato halves, and parkerhouse rolls.

Happy cooking!


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Deep Dish Pizza

As you may or may not know, I LOVE Chicago pizza.  LOVE it.  Like we have it shipped to us on occasion. We made a special stop there on our way to Niagara to eat some.

So once in a while I will see a recipe for deep dish pizza on Pinterest.

And I usually pin them then put them to the side.

Mainly because I know that I am not going to make anything that tastes like Chicago pizza does.

At least I haven't.

Until tonight.

I decided to give this recipe a try.

I actually tripled the recipe and made three "pies".

And the verdict is...


Okay, it isn't Chicago pizza.

It can't be.

I don't live in Chicago.

But it is a really good deep dish pizza.

I wanted to eat the whole thing.

The only warning I have with it (other than it is a LOT of calories if you eat the whole thing) is that it is a bit time consuming due to the rising of the dough.  I did it on a Monday which was a bit of a challenge with school, homework, and kid activities.  Next time I will make this on a weekend...

Here is the recipe for the crust.

1 1/2 cups plus 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 1/8 tsp yeast (I use instant)
5 oz warm water (or 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp)
1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
1 tsp olive oil
2 Tbsp  unsalted butter, softened

 Mix the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and yeast together.

Add in the water and melted butter.

Mix together for about five minutes.  (You can use a mixer like in the original recipe; I usually just do it by hand)

Roll dough into a ball.  Place in a bowl with a little olive oil, coating the ball with the oil.  Cover and let rise until almost doubled (45-60 minutes).

After the dough has doubled, roll out into an 8 x 6 rectangle.

Spread the softened butter over the top of the dough (leaving a border around the edges).

Start at the short edge and roll up into a cylinder.  Flatten the cylinder (into another rectangle).

Fold the rectangle like a business letter, folding into thirds.  Form into a ball, pinching the seams.  Place back into the oiled bowl and let it rise again (about the same amount of time, until doubled).

Lightly oil a 9 inch pie plate/pan with olive oil.

Take dough and roll out into a 13 inch circle.

Place in the pie plate, pressing down on the bottom and up the sides.

Add cheese (I used about 8 oz of shredded mozzarella), the toppings (we had a cheese, a pepperoni, and a salami/sausage version), then top with sauce.  Add a little shredded Parmesan to the top.

Bake at 425 for 20-30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.

Let it sit about 10 minutes before cutting.


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Menus Galore

I am SOOO behind on my menus. How did that happen? 


End of summer, beginning of school. 

That explains a lot.

I don't know if anyone really cares if I post a menu.  Or even a recipe.

I will share anyway. :)

Here are the menus for July/August:

Week of July 7
Sunday: Korean Beef, basmati rice
Tuesday: Potato Casserole, Bacon, Toast
Wednesday:  OYO
Thursday:   Ham and Cheese Sandwiches, chips
Friday:  Pizza Rolls
Saturday:  Pork Chops/Potatoes

Week of July 14
Monday:  Waffles, Bacon
Wednesday: pizza/out
Thursday:   Fried Chicken, shoestring fries, buttermilk biscuits (canned)
Friday:  OYO (On your own)
Saturday:  grill/cook out (with friends)

Week of July 21
Sunday: grill/cook out (with friends...yes, again)
Monday:  Swai/angel hair pasta, "beer" bread (I used Sprite instead :)
Tuesday:  OYO (baseball game)
Wednesday:  Chicken Chimichangas, chips
Thursday:  Popcorn/Shakes
Saturday: Homemade pizza

Week of July 28
Sunday:  Grilled Steaks, baked potatoes, parker houserolls
Monday: OYO
Tuesday:  Chicken/dumplins
Wednesday:  Spaghetti Bread
Thursday:  Pancakes/bacon
Friday:  Roast Beef, Mashed Potatoes
Saturday: Teriyaki Chicken, Rice

Week of August 4
Monday: Mellow Mushroom pizza
Tuesday:  OYO
Thursday: Pork chops, potatoes
Friday:  Spaghetti

Week of August 11
Sunday: Taco Pie
Monday: Breakfast burritos
Tuesday:  Hawaiian chicken, rice,
Wednesday: Pork Chops/potatoes
Thursday:  OYO
Friday:  Out for pizza
Saturday: Hamburgers, fries

Week of August 18
Sunday: Stuffed chicken shells, green beans
Monday: Swai, angel hair pasta, carrots/Ranch, rolls
Tuesday: Pancakes, bacon
Wednesday: OYO
Friday:  Shakes/Popcorn
Saturday: Marinated steak bites, Ranch potatoes, garlic bread toast, black eye peas

Week of August 25
Monday: Ham and cheese eggcups, toast, fruit
Tuesday: Hot Dog Dinner (from school)
Wednesday: OYO
Thursday:  Tacos, salsa, refried beans
Friday: Pizza (out)
Saturday: OYO

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Chocolate Chess Pie

Last night we had company over.  I wanted to have some sort of dessert but couldn't decide what to have.  I checked out this recipe from my Pinterest Sweet Treat board and decided to give it a try since it was simple and I had all ingredients on hand.

I know, it is always a risk trying a new recipe with company coming over. BUT I figured with chocolate, how could I go wrong?

And the answer is...? You can't.  Not with this.  It is easy and delicious. Almost sinful.

1 sleeve graham crackers crushed (the original recipe used chocolate graham crackers but one of my kiddos can't do that so I used regular)
1 stick butter.  Yes, a whole stick.
1 Tbsp sugar

1 stick butter (yes, another stick)
1 oz unsweetened chocolate (or 3 Tbsp cocoa powder...I used the unsweetened chocolate square)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Pre-heat the oven to 350. 

Melt the butter. I just stuck it in the microwave.  Mix with the sugar and graham cracker crumbs until well combined.  Press into a 9 inch pie pan (I did spray mine first), forming the bottom/sides of the pie.

Bake for 8 minutes.

Let it cool for a bit then chill for an hour or more.

When ready, preheat the oven to 325.  Meanwhile, melt the butter and chocolate over low heat in a sauce pan on the stove.  Stir.  Remove from heat and add sugar, again stirring until well-combined.  Next add the eggs, vanilla, and salt.  Again stir.

Pour into the now chilled pie crust.

Bake for 40-50 minutes depending on how gooey you want it.

Let it cool for 20-30 minutes before serving.

You can serve it warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream.  However, I have to say that I have found that I like it best chilled from the fridge. Oh, yum.

Sinful.  Absolutely sinful.

And rich.

Oh, yum.



Friday, August 23, 2013

Chicken Enchiladas in White Sauce

My family loves Bubble Up Enchiladas. And I love easy chicken enchiladas

However, about a year ago, we realized that one of our kiddos has some food sensitivities.  And unfortunately, one of those sensitivities includes tomatoes.  He/she can handle them in small doses but we really just steer clear for the most part. I have even learned how to make an "untomato" spaghetti/pizza sauce using pomegranate juice and carrots.

The other day I was cruising on Facebook and happened upon a recipe for chicken enchiladas in a white sauce. The recipe wasn't quite what I wanted (or had on hand) but it inspired me to do a little Googling to find others.

And finally I found one that worked for us.

So last night I made them.

And today they are gone.

They were a hit.

Actually, probably more than the easy chicken enchiladas I usually make...

I had one leftover enchilada for lunch today. I was actually counting down until lunch to eat it. And then I was sad when it was gone.

10 tortillas (I used flour)
4 cups cooked, shredded chicken (I browned my chicken tenderloins in a skillet with just a little oil)
2 cups shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend; Monterrey Jack would be good too)
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
4 oz can green chilies (my food sensitive kiddo doesn't eat chilies, so I just added a little cumin instead)

Pre-heat oven to 350.

Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan.

I did not do this but I would start the sauce NOW.  It takes a little time to thicken.  You can thicken the sauce as you assemble the enchiladas.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan.  Add the flour.  Stir.  Cook for 1 minute.  Add the chicken broth.  Whisk until smooth.  Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly.  Once it is thick and bubbly, remove from heat and whisk in the sour cream.

As the sauce thickens (before adding the sour cream), assemble the enchiladas.  Mix together the shredded chicken and half of the shredded cheese.  Put a couple spoonfuls in the middle of each tortilla and roll up.  Place in the baking dish.  (Mine were in there pretty tight)

Pour the sauce over the top and then add the remaining shredded cheese.

Bake for about 20 minutes.  Place under broiler for just a few minutes to brown the cheese a bit.


We at ours with chips (and I added guacamole for me :).

Good stuff.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Pancake Squares

So sorry I have been MIA. I started back to school this week.  Life has been a bit hectic.

Anyway, I try to make a breakfast of some sort about two times a week just to break up the cereal/granola bar/oatmeal routine.  I had pinned this recipe once upon a time on Pinterest and decided to give it a try last weekend. 

What is it?

Basically, pancakes in a casserole dish form.

I love pancakes and make them fairly often (usually homemade).  But usually when I make them, it is for dinner.  Mainly because who has time to make them for breakfast? I don't have a lot of time in the mornings to stand in front of the griddle, flipping pancakes. 

If my kids get pancakes for breakfast, it is only because we had some extras and we froze them.

Until now.

Now that I know about this, we will have them more often.

No, they don't look like pancakes. They aren't circles.

But they taste pretty close. AND they are quick and easy.

Perfect for mornings!

3/4 cup milk

2 Tbsp melted butter, slightly cooled

1 large egg

1 Tbsp sugar (granulated)

1 cup flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

Pre-heat oven to 350.

Slightly grease or spray an 8 x 8 baking dish.

In a mixing bowl, pour the milk, butter, and egg.  Beat together.  Add the sugar.  Next, add in the flour, a little at a time.

Stir in the baking powder and salt.

Pour batter into the greased baking dish. Bake for about 25 minutes.


I topped it with melted butter, and we used syrup if we chose to the top of it.

It was good stuff.  Easy and good.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Taco Pie

The other night, I needed a quick and easy recipe.  I was kind of craving Mexican food but didn't have the time or energy to make tacos or tostadas.  And though my kids LOVE Taco Pasta Bake, they had had it not that long ago.  Then I remembered a dish that we had when I was a child.  Taco Pie.  I rummaged through my family cookbook and found the recipe.  Easy.  Quick.  Perfect for us.

One little note:  This is very similar to Easy Cheesy Beefy Crescent Squares but with a Mexican twist.  One of the kids noticed that right away.

1 lb ground beef, browned

1 packet taco seasoning prepared according to directions on package (I just use a homemade version and 1/4 cup of water)

8 oz sour cream

1-2 cups cheddar cheese (I actually used a Mexican blend)

1 cup crushed corn chips

1 tube crescent rolls

Preheat oven to 375.

Roll the crescent rolls out (and up the sides of) into a pie dish.  (I sprayed cooking spray so it wouldn't stick)  Honestly, next time, I think I will roll this out into a bigger dish like a 11x7.  My crescent rolls puffed up a LOT, leaving little room for the meat. The crescent rolls wouldn't necessarily go up the sides of the dish like it does the pie dish but that is okay with me...

Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the taco seasoning/water to the ground beef.  Simmer for a few minutes.  Remove from heat and add in the sour cream.

Once the "pie crust" is baked, layer with 1/2 of the crushed chips, 1/2 of the cheese, the ground beef mixture, the remaining chips, and the remaining cheese on top. 

Bake for another 10-15 minutes.


Like I said, very simple, very quick.

I think we had 1/2 of a serving left at the end of dinner; I ate it the next day for lunch. :)


Friday, August 9, 2013

Bacon, Chicken, and Rice Casserole

Oh wow, how did a whole week go by without any posting? I am usually much better with this.  I will blame it on a road trip and finishing up our summer vacation.

Meanwhile, I have been cooking.  I didn't cook while on the road trip but I did some cooking before I left so the kids would have some food. Just in case it sounds like I have become a "lazy bones".

Last night, I decided to try a new recipe.  It was fairly simple which is always a "plus" in my mind.   Plus, it involved three of my favorite ingredients...chicken, bacon, and rice.

And the verdict is?  It was a hit.  I will be making it again (though I will change a couple things up...).

Bacon (not thick cut)

Chicken legs/thighs or breasts, preferably bone-in.  That being said, I used bone-in chicken leg quarters for ours.  Next time I will be trying it with boneless chicken breasts.  The original recipe said to NOT use boneless but we found it really difficult to eat with bones.

2 cans/containers of Cream of Chicken soup

1 cup water

Paprika/Cajun seasoning to taste (I omitted due to food issues at our house)

1 cup long grain uncooked rice (I think next time I will try minute rice and I may even cook it rice didn't cook all the way through)

salt and pepper to taste

garlic salt to taste

nutmeg to taste

1 tsp oregano

dried parsley (a sprinkle or two)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Lay bacon (around 8 slices) in the bottom of a 9 x 13 dish. I think I will pre-cook this next time, at least partially.

Mix 1 can of cream of chicken soup with the rice and pour over the top of the bacon.

Lay chicken on top of the rice.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add paprika and/or Cajun spices if desired.

Mix garlic salt, nutmeg, oregano, and parsley in the remaining cream of chicken soup and add water.  Pour over the top of the chicken. 

Bake for 2 hours.

Like I said, the flavor was delicious. We just had a hard time eating the chicken on the bone.  I will definitely make again, just changing a couple things along the way...

Oh, and we had ours with carrots/Ranch and skillet rolls.

Happy cooking!


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Crockpot Corn on the Cob

I will give a disclaimer:  This is nothing fancy at all.  I don't know if I would even call it a "recipe". But I wanted to share because apparently it is good stuff.

Another disclaimer:  I do not eat cooked corn. I like corn in corn dip but beyond that, I just don't. I try it periodically because it looks good to me. But it doesn't taste good (to me).  However, the people in my family who DO eat corn have loved it this way.  Thus, I am sharing.

Corn on the cob, husk removed and corn washed (I break mine in half to make it easier to eat, per hubby's request)

Melted butter (2-3 Tbsp)

Salt and pepper (I use sea salt and freshly ground peppercorns)

After cleaning the corn, rub with melted butter.

Salt and pepper the corn cob.

Wrap in aluminum foil.

Place in a crockpot (no water added) on low for about 4 hours.


Like I said, simple but apparently really tasty!


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars

 On occasion, I make "breakfast energy bites" which usually Child 4 and I eat ourselves.  But this week I saw this recipe (very similar but cooked and in "bar" form and gave it a try. 

Well, all I can say is that they were gone really fast.  And it was NOT just because of Child 4 and me.  The whole family (minus Dad who was gone) chowed down on them. I WILL be making them again, especially during the school year. They are quick, fairly healthy, and can be made ahead of time then just reheated (if preferred). 

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter (I used creamy/natural)
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour (the original recipe used whole wheat, I just had all purpose on hand)
1 cup old fashioned oats (I am not sure how it would work with quick oats)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup other add in (original recipe used raisins, I used flax meal)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray an 8 x 8 baking dish with cooking spray.

With a mixer, mix the peanut butter and brown sugar on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. The original recipe called for using the paddle attachment.  My mixer does not have that so I just used the regular beaters and they worked fine.

Mix in the vanilla.

Continue mixing on medium speed, adding in the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt.  It will be thick. Just be patient. :)

Slowly pour in the milk.  Mix until a dough forms.

Fold in the chocolate chips and the other add in.

Once all is combined, press into the baking dish. 

Bake for about 17-20 minutes until gold brown. 

Allow to cool completely before cutting. 

I stored them in the fridge, but I am guessing they would be fine on the counter.