Friday, December 12, 2014

Garlic Bread Christmas Tree Pull Apart

Anytime we have Italian food for dinner, Nate wants some sort of bread. I had some Rhode's rolls in the freezer so I used them to make this bread concoction last night.

16 Rhode's rolls
2-3 Tbsp. butter, melted
garlic bread seasoning

Line a baking sheet with tin foil. Spray with a little bit of non-stick spray. Lay out the rolls in a Christmas tree shape. One for the trunk, then a row of 5, then a row of 4, then a row of 3, then a row of 2, and then one for the top. Don't place the rolls right next to each other, leave a little room between to allow for rising. Cover with some saran wrap that you've sprayed with a little non-stick spray so it doesn't stick to the top of the rolls. Let rise for 3-4 hours. Once risen, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with garlic bread seasoning. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy warm!

Skillet Chicken Parmesan

Nate said he was in the mood for pasta last night which never happens! So we changed the menu plan to accommodate. I saw this idea over at Mel's Kitchen Cafe, my favorite recipe blog. I hardly changed her recipe at all. We really enjoyed dinner and definitely think this recipe is a keeper.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise to make 4 thinner chicken cutlets
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Hot spaghetti noodles for serving

In a medium bowl, combine the garlic, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, oregano, basil, sugar, salt, pepper and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
In a large 12-inch skillet, heat the canola oil over medium heat until rippling and hot. Thoroughly dry the chicken pieces and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the flour in a shallow dish and dredge the seasoned chicken pieces in the flour, coating both sides. Gently place 3-4 of the chicken pieces in the hot oil and cook for 3 minutes and then flip and cook 3 minutes longer until a nice golden crust has formed on the chicken (they’ll continue to cook in a later step). Remove the chicken to a plate and continue with the remaining pieces, removing them to the plate when they have been browned.
Wipe the skillet of excess oil and pour the sauce contents in the bowl into the skillet, taking care of splatters if the skillet is still piping hot. Turn the heat to medium and gently nestle the pieces of browned chicken into the sauce, making room for all six chicken breast cutlets. The chicken should be mostly covered with the sauce. Cover the skillet and simmer the sauce and chicken on medium or medium low for 15 minutes, checking every few minutes to make sure the chicken isn’t sticking to the bottom of the skillet. If so, turn the heat down a bit.
Uncover the skillet, sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the chicken and sauce. Cover and cook for five more minutes, or until cheese is nicely melted.
Serve over hot spaghetti noodles, if desired.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Rio Grande Quesadillas

We love Mexican food at our house. It makes an appearance at least weekly on our dinner table. Nate would have it multiple times a week if I let him! I have had this little recipe saved forever and we finally tried it last night. It's a cinch to make, and they are super yummy and filling. I saw the idea over at Taste and Tell. Enjoy!

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, seasoned with our favorite Mexican rub*, cooked and shredded
6 flour tortillas
1 (16 oz.) can refried beans
1 Tbsp. taco seasoning
green onions
shredded cheese
chopped cilantro, optional

In a medium sauce pot heat the refried beans over medium heat. Stir in 1 Tbsp. of taco seasoning. Once heated through, add the shredded chicken and cook until nice and hot. Spread the chicken/bean mixture over half of a tortilla, sprinkle cheese over the top, then top that with green onions and cilantro if you want. Fold the tortilla in half. Repeat with remaining tortillas. To cook, place a quesadilla in a skillet prepared with non-stick spray over medium heat. Cook until golden brown and then flip and repeat on the remaining side. Quesadilla is done when golden brown and the cheese is nice and gooey. Serve immediately with sour cream and salsa.

*Rub Recipe:
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Mix all of those really well. Store in an airtight container.

Breakfast Crunchwraps

This is a copy cat version of a dish Taco Bell makes. You layer a hashbrown patty, scrambled eggs, bacon, and some shredded cheese inside a flour tortilla. I'm not sure how close these are to the originals, but we really enjoyed them. This recipe makes 4.

4 large flour tortillas
6 eggs
8 small hashbrown patties
6 slices of bacon
shredded cheese, optional
salt and pepper

You want to cook all your ingredients. Scramble the eggs with some salt and pepper, cook and crumble the bacon, and cook the hashbrown patties until nice and crisp. Microwave the flour tortillas for 20 seconds or until nice and soft and pliable. Then in the middle of the tortilla, place the hashbrown patties right next to each other. If you have large hashbrown patties, you will only need one. then layer on some scrambled eggs, then bacon and some shredded cheese. Carefully fold the edges of the tortilla up and around the center so you have a little packet. In a skillet prepared with non-stick spray, over medium heat, place the crunchwrap seam side down and grill for a few minutes until golden brown and then flip and repeat on the other side. Serve hot with taco sauce, salsa, or ketchup, your choice!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Weekly Menu for Sunday, December 7 - Saturday, December 13

Nate and I had such a busy past few weeks. I still menu planned, but I mainly made family favorites, didn't try a lot of new recipes. Now we're back into a routine and dinners are happening more regularly. Here's what I've got cooking for the next week.

Sunday, December 7
Homemade Breakfast Crunchwraps with Orange Slices
This is going to be a copy cat version of a dish Taco Bell makes. I'm going to layer a hashbrown patty, scrambled eggs, bacon, and some shredded cheese inside a flour tortilla.

Monday, December 8
Rio Grande Quesadillas with Salad

Tuesday, December 9
Asiago Focaccia Turkey Sandwiches with Chips

Wednesday, December 10
Meatloaf and Salad

Thursday, December 11
Cornflake Crusted Baked Chicken with Yellow Rice and Green Beans

Friday, December 12
Spaghetti and Meatballs with Garlic Bread Christmas Tree Pull Apart (something I made up in my head that I'm looking forward to trying) and Salad

Saturday, December 13
Date Night!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Baked Fajita Sliders

I threw out my back last week and haven't been doing my cooking. My cute husband has stepped up and been cooking for us. Last night he made these fajita sliders from Picky Palate and we really enjoyed them. Definitely a keeper recipe.

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 packet of taco or fajita seasoning
1 onion, julienned
1 green or red pepper, julienned
small rolls
shredded cheese
salsa/taco sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray an 8x8 inch baking dish lightly with non stick cooking spray. Place ground beef and seasoning into a large mixing bowl, stirring to combine. Transfer beef to prepared baking dish and press down evenly into dish. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until baked through. Remove and drain grease if necessary. While burgers are baking, heat a little olive oil into a large skillet over medium heat. Add sliced onions and bell peppers, stirring until softened. Takes about 5-7 minutes, stirring often.
Split rolls and layer with a burger, onions and peppers, then shredded cheese, and salsa or taco sauce. Serve warm.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

White Chocolate Cream Pie

Since it's an off year for Thanksgiving with my in-laws, they decided to do a Pre-Thanksgiving where we could all get together before the holiday. Today was our Pre-Thanksgiving and Nate and I were in charge of bringing a pie and the stuffing. I'm grateful we had an easier assignment because I have an awful cold. Anyway, I asked Nate what kind of pie he wanted me to make, and this is what he requested. I found the idea over at The Stir. Nate really enjoyed it and it's something we'll definitely make again.

8 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped
8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 graham cracker crust

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Remove from heat just before it's completely melted; stir to melt completely. Beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until it's smooth. Next, add the chocolate and beat that in, then beat in the sour cream. In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until firm. Then add the whipped cream to the bowl with the chocolate filling and gently fold it in. Add the filling into the graham cracker crust. Sprinkle chocolate shavings over the top. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Enjoy!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Hoping to Adopt!!!

My husband Nathan and I are now officially approved to adopt. We are so excited! Please take a moment to read our profile and feel free to pass it along to anyone and everyone. The more people who know we're adopting, the better chance we have of getting matched.
Nate and Kim Adoption Profile

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Oreo Ice Cream Tartlets

Instead of the traditional cake and ice cream, I made these ice cream tartlets for Nate's birthday. We had family come over last night to celebrate Nate and this is what I served. I doubled the recipe and got 24 tartlets. I saw the idea over at Kraft. Enjoy!

24 Oreo cookies, finely crushed (about 2 cups)
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
3 cups cookies 'n cream ice cream, softened
thawed whipped topping
12 mini Oreo cookies

Mix together the cookie crumbs and the butter. Scoop about 1/4 cup of softened ice cream into each of your 12 cupcake liners in your muffin tin. Top each one with 1 1/2 Tbsp. of the Oreo crumb mixture and press into the ice cream. Freeze for 3-4 hours or until firm. Take the tarts out of the muffin tin and remove the paper liners. Flip them so they are crumb side down on the plate, top with a small dollop of whipped topping and a mini oreo. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Nate loves homemade cinnamon rolls. They are his all-time favorite. I'm a bad wife and have never made them for him. They just always seemed so daunting. I do not feel comfortable with yeast breads. That being said, these cinnamon rolls turned out perfectly! I got the recipe from my favorite food blog, Mel's Kitchen Cafe. She does an awesome job of breaking down the recipe into step by step photos and makes it totally doable. Nate loved these cinnamon rolls and the frosting too. I'll never make another cinnamon roll recipe, this is it baby! So go check out her recipe and make these soon.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Copy Cat Costa Vida Nachos

Nate is a big fan of the nachos from a local restaurant Costa Vida. It's what he orders every time we go there. Since he enjoys them so much, I figured I could make our own version at home. They turned out really really well. We both loved them and they taste just like the restaurant version, but I think even better. Costa Vida serves them in metal tins and I did the same. I just used disposable round cake tins and it worked perfectly. Make these soon, I know you'll like them.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
our favorite Mexican rub*
olive oil
tortilla chips
pico de gallo
shredded cheese
black beans (optional)
sour cream (optional)
guacamole (optional)

Rub a little olive oil over the chicken breasts and then season with the Mexican rub. Bake chicken at 400 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Let chicken rest for 10 minutes and then shred. To assemble the nachos put a layer of tortilla chips in the bottom of a disposable round cake tin, then spread a layer of chicken (and black beans if you want) on top of the chips and finally some cheese. Repeat chips, chicken, and cheese. Place nachos in a 400 degree F oven for about 10 minutes or until cheese is thoroughly melted. Immediately top with pico de gallo and any other desired toppings and serve hot. Enjoy!

*Rub Recipe:
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Mix all of those really well. Store in an airtight container.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Loaded Nacho Dip

Yum! This was perfect. We both really enjoyed this dip. I have this recipe saved for at least two years. I wish I hadn't waited so long to make it! This is definitely a keeper dish and one we'll make again and again. This is hearty enough to serve as a meal, which is what how we ate it, but fun enough to be a filling appetizer too. I saw the idea over at Eclectic Recipes and just adapted it to our preferences.

1/2 - 3/4 lb. taco seasoned ground beef, cooked and crumbled (just depends on how beefy you want it)
1 (16 oz.) can refried beans (we used fat free)
3 Tbsp. taco sauce
1 (15 oz.) jar Tostito's brand salsa con queso
pico de gallo
shredded lettuce
sliced olives

Heat refried beans and taco sauce in a sauce pot over medium heat. While they're warming, also heat up your ground beef and queso. You want all three things to be piping hot. Once hot, get an 8x8" dish and spread hot refried beans over the bottom. Top that with queso. We didn't use the whole jar of queso, maybe 2/3 of the jar. Top the cheese sauce with your ground beef mixture. Shredded lettuce goes next, then the pico de gallo, and finally sliced olives. Serve immediately, and enjoy with your favorite tortilla chips! It's as easy as that!

Weekly Menu for Sunday, October 26 - Saturday, November 1

Here's our menu for the upcoming week. Like usual I've got a few new things planned and I've also got some Halloween favorites too.

Sunday, October 26
Chicken BLT Sandwiches (something new I've dreamed up) with Salad

Monday, October 27
Sloppy Joe Jack O'Lanterns with Salad

Tuesday, October 28
Copy Cat Costa Vida Chicken Nachos - Nate loves Costa Vida's nachos, so I'm going to to attempt an at-home version, think seasoned, shredded chicken with pico de gallo, gooey melted cheese, and chips

Wednesday, October 29
Lasagna (I'll post my version) with Green Beans

Thursday, October 30
3 Packet Crock Pot Chicken with Rice Pilaf and Corn

Friday, October 31
Halloween! We are going over to party with Nate's family and we're bringing Halloween Slush Punch

Saturday, November 1
Date Night

Monday, October 20, 2014

Rice Pilaf

This dish is so so good! As soon as we tasted it, both Nate and I knew it was an instant favorite. In fact, this side dish may make another appearance on the table next week, and I rarely make the same thing inside the same month! So good. I saw this idea over at Allrecipes and it is delicious. The only change I made was to add some salt. I served this alongside some island chicken kabobs and it was perfect. Make this soon!

2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup Orzo pasta
1/2 cup uncooked white rice (I use basmati)
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken broth (I use low-sodium)
1/4 tsp. Lawry's seasoned salt (optional, depends on your preference)

In a skillet (one that has a good fitting lid), melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted add the orzo pasta, stir and cook until golden brown. Add diced onion, stir and cook until translucent and softened, about 4-5 minutes. Next add the garlic, mix well and cook mixture for an additional minute. Now add the rice and chicken broth. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 20-25 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and the mixture is tender. After cooking, remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes before fluffing. Serve hot and enjoy! This makes 4 servings.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Weekly Menu for Sunday, October 12 - Saturday, October 18

It's been a while since I've posted a weekly menu. I've got some favorites I'm making as well as some new recipes to try so I thought I'd share.

Sunday, October 12
Beefy Queso Enchilada Cups with Salad and Corn

Monday, October 13
Grilled Island Chicken Kabobs minus the pineapple (new) with Easy Rice Pilaf (new) and Green Beans

Tuesday, October 14
Pasta with Nate's Homemade Spaghetti Sauce, Mini Garlic Monkey Breads, and Salad

Wednesday, October 15
Potato Soup with Cornbread

Thursday, October 16
Chicken Lettuce Wrap Rice Bowls (new)

Friday, October 17
Grilled Cheese and Chicken Noodle Soup

Saturday, October 18
Date Night!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

All Purpose Marinade

You know how we love our marinades. This is another great one from Plain Chicken. We grilled chicken kabobs that had been marinated, but I think that pork chops would also be great in the marinade.

2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or you could use pork chops)
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Whisk together all the ingredients minus the meat. Combine well. Place meat in gallon size ziploc bag and pour marinade over it. Place in a dish in case of leaks, and marinate in the refrigerator 4-6 hours. Cook meat as desired, I recommend grilling.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Queso Dip

Yesterday we got together with Nate's family for Sunday dinner. We had taco salad. One of Nate's brothers asked if I'd make some queso for the meal. After searching online for some inspiration, this is what I came up with. Just wish I had remembered to take a picture!

1 (32 oz.) package Velveeta
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, mined
1 can Rotel tomatoes (I used mild)
1 1/3 cup milk
1 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. taco seasoning
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. oregano
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Once melted, add bell pepper and onion. Sautee for a few minutes until softened, about 5 minutes. Then add garlic and sautee for one minute. Next add cumin and oregano and cook for another minute. Then pour in Rotel tomatoes and taco seasoning, mix well. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for a few minutes. While it's simmering, cut your Velveeta into cubes. Add Velveeta cubes to your crock pot and the pour in the vegetable mixture. Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally until Velveeta is completely melted. Once it's all melted add the milk and stir until milk is incorporated. If you like a thicker consistency add less milk and add more milk for a thinner consistency. Keep on low heat until ready to serve, stirring occasionally.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Chicken Fajita Casserole

Nate loved this dinner and requested it make repeat appearances on the dinner table. It really does taste just like chicken fajitas. I saw the idea over at Poofy Cheeks. Enjoy!

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
green pepper, diced
small yellow onion, diced
1 Tbsp. butter
3 8" flour tortillas
shredded cheddar cheese
your favorite salsa

Season and bake your chicken breasts. I use this rub when I make Mexican chicken:

2 tsp. chile powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Mix all of those really well. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on chicken breasts and then add some of the seasoning and bake your chicken at 400 degrees F for about 30-35 minutes or until cooked through. Once your chicken is cooked, let it rest for 10 minutes and then shred it.

In a skillet, melt the tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Once melted, add the diced pepper and onion and sautee until vegetables have softened, about 3-5 minutes. Once finished, set aside. Lightly grease an 8x8" glass baking dish with non-stick spray. Layer a flour tortilla into the bottom of the dish. Top the tortilla with the shredded chicken and some shredded cheese. Place a flour tortilla on top. Now spoon the sauteed vegetables over the top of tortilla. Then add some salsa over top of the vegetables. Place a tortilla on top and then sprinkle cheese over the top of the tortilla. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is nice and melted. Serve hot with any desired toppings like sour cream or hot sauce and enjoy!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Dr. Pepper Chicken

This chicken was so good! I was worried about it being too sweet with the soda and brown sugar, but it wasn't. We'll definitely be making this again and again. I saw this idea over at Just Us Four.

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
16 oz. Dr. Pepper soda
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. dried minced onion flakes

Combine all ingredients except the chicken and whisk well to mix. Add the marinade into a gallon size ziploc bag and then add the chicken. Squish out all the air and then seal. Place the bag in a dish in case of leaks, and refrigerate for 4 hours. Once it's done marinating, heat up your grill and cook until chicken is 165 degrees F in the center or cooked through. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Grilled Sriracha Ranch Chicken Skewers

My husband is such a fan of sriracha. He loves the stuff and puts it on everything. He even keeps a bottle of it at my mom's house and his parents' house. When I saw this idea over at Plain Chicken, I knew it would be a big hit with him. We both really enjoyed this chicken. I'm not a huge fan of spice and they had just the right amount of heat for me, if you love spice I would up the amount of sriracha a bit. These will definitely be made again and again at our house. Enjoy!

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup prepared ranch dressing
1 1/2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp. sriracha hot sauce (you can find it in the Asian aisle of your local grocery store)
1/2 tsp. Lawry's seasoned salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp. white sugar

Whisk together all the ingredients except the chicken, combine well. In a gallon size ziploc bag add the chicken and marinade mixture. Squish all the air out and seal bag. Place bag in a large tupperware dish in case of leaks. Place in refrigerator and let marinate for 8 hours. After marinating cut chicken into 1" cubes and thread onto metal skewers or wooden skewers that have been soaked in water at least 30 minutes. Grill skewers over medium-high heat until juices run clear and chicken is cooked through. Serve hot!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Grilled Potato Planks

First of all, a happy anniversary to my sweet husband! Love you Nate! Last night to celebrate our anniversary we made one of our favorite entrees. We made The Best Garlic Steak and I decided on these potatoes as a side dish. They turned out really good. Before we were done eating Nate requested they be made again! Nate loved the crisp exterior and the soft interior, he said they reminded him of a giant french fry. They are so simple to prepare too! I saw the idea over at Real Mom Kitchen, we just adjusted the seasonings to our preference.

2 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed clean
1 1/2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
kosher salt to taste
A1 brand garlic and herb seasoning to taste

Cut clean potatoes lengthwise into 1/4" planks. I recommend using a mandolin but a sharp knife works too. Stick the potatoes in a gallon size ziploc bag and add oil. Seal bag and toss potatoes to coat. Then add the seasonings to the potatoes and again seal bag and toss to evenly coat. To cook, place the oiled and seasoned potato planks right on the grill heated to medium-high heat. Grill for about 5 minutes a side. You want the potatoes to be slightly crisp on the outside and tender on the inside when pierced with a fork. Serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy! Serves 2-3.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Cast Iron Skillet Roast Chicken

Nathan gave me a cast iron skillet for Christmas and I've loved having it. The few dishes I've made with it have been really good. I saw this recipe on Pinterest and it really intrigued me. I've always wanted to be able to make a great roast chicken. We made a few adjustments and it turned out really well. The idea comes from Best Recipe Box.

1 (5 lb.) roasting chicken, giblets removed
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
1/2 Tbsp. poultry seasoning (we like McCormick's GrillMates chicken rub)
1/2 tsp. black pepper (we like Lawry's seasoned pepper)
1/2 tsp. A1 garlic and herb seasoning
Reynold's roasting bag
4 Tbsp. butter

Rinse and thoroughly dry chicken. Place chicken inside a roasting bag. Stir all seasonings together in a small bowl. Now rub the chicken with the seasoning mixture, on top of the skin. Be sure to use it all and get all parts of the chicken, including some inside the cavity. Seal up the oven bag and refrigerate the seasoned chicken for 8 hours. When you're ready to cook your chicken, remove it from the fridge and rinse off all the seasoning and then thoroughly dry. Let chicken sit out for 30 minutes prior to cooking. You can truss the chicken if you'd like. When chicken is ready melt butter and pour/rub over chicken. Heat cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, once hot add chicken and brown on all sides (about 3 minutes per side). Once browned, flip the chicken so it is breast side up. Then bake at 375 degrees F for 60-80 minutes or until juices run clear and when an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees F. Flip the broiler on for just a few minutes to crisp up the skin and then remove from the oven. Tent with foil and then let rest for 20 minutes. Carve and serve.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Beef and Bean Burrito Skillet

Nate really enjoyed this dinner. He wants it made again. But of course Nate loves all things Mexican. We also cooked together last night which always makes me like dinner time more :). This recipe is kind of like a deconstructed burrito, definitely comfort food. I adapted this idea from one I saw over at Deep South Dish.

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 (16 oz.) can refried beans
1 package taco seasoning plus the water it requires
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
3/4 cup salsa
1/4 cup taco sauce
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
6 taco sized flour tortillas, cut into small squares
toppings of your choice, diced green onion, sliced olives, extra cheese, sour cream, etc.

In a large skillet, brown and crumble the ground beef, halfway through cooking, add the diced onion and green pepper. Then add taco seasoning packet plus the water it requires and cook according to packet directions. Once beef is finished, add the refried beans and taco sauce. Cook over medium heat until beans are heated through. Then add the salsa and cook until heated through. Once mixture is nice and hot, add cheese and cook until all melted. Following that stir in the tortilla squares and mix to incorporate. Make sure mixture is piping hot before serving, top with toppings of your choice and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Chicken Casserole

This is definite comfort food, and a great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes or chicken. We made the casserole with corn, but it could easily be made with green beans too. Enjoy!

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
2/3 cup frozen corn
1 packet chicken or turkey gravy, prepared
1 package instant potatoes, prepared

Spread prepared mashed potatoes on the bottom of a 8x8" baking dish that's been sprayed with non-stick spray. Top potatoes with shredded chicken and corn. Then pour prepared gravy over the top. Cover and bake at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes. Serve hot!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Taco Salad Pizza

This was so yummy! I made it yesterday for my mom's Mother's Day lunch. We all really enjoyed it. It's this great Mexican style pizza that's baked then topped with lettuce and your favorite taco salad toppings. We made the taco salad pizza with chicken but it would be great with seasoned ground beef or shredded pork too. Nate and I decided it's a great light Mexican meal that we will be making again and again! I hope you enjoy it too. I saw the idea over at Lauren's Latest.

1 tube Pillsbury pizza crust*
2 chicken breasts cooked and shredded**
1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup salsa
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
shredded lettuce
pico de gallo
sliced olives
crunched up tortilla chips
any other of your favorite taco salad toppings

Line a baking sheet with tin foil and then spray with non-stick spray. Spread out the pizza dough to fit the pan. Par-bake the crust at 400 degrees for 8 minutes. Then top with salsa, black beans, chicken, and cheese. Return to oven and bake another 8-10 minutes or until crust is golden brown on bottom. Remove from oven. Slice into 8 pieces. Top your slice with shredded lettuce and your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Here's what the pizza looks like before topping.

*We used a store bought dough for convenience. You could absolutely use homemade dough. The instructions I included are for the Pillsbury dough. I do recommend par-baking the crust though.

**This is our all time favorite rub to use on chicken for a great Mexican flavor. I just put a little olive oil on the chicken then season with the rub. I bake my chicken breasts, let them cool for 15 minutes then shred them.

Rub Recipe:
2 tsp. chile powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Mix all of those really well. Store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Summertime Pork Chop Marinade

You know how we love marinades around here. This is another good one. We will definitely be making this again and again. I found the recipe over at and we really enjoyed it.

2 thick cut pork chops
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 Tbsp. brown sugar
pepper to taste

Whisk together all ingredients except pork chops. Combine well. Pour marinade into a gallon size ziploc bag and add pork chops. Remove air from bag and seal up. Place in a tupperware dish in case of leaks. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours. Then cook as desired. I recommend grilling.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake

We headed up to my mom's for the second session of conference. She was making lunch for us and when I asked what we could bring she said a vegetable and dessert. I've got several cake mixes upstairs in my food storage so I knew I wanted to use one of those. I had a recipe all ready to try but it called for sour cream and Nate ate some sour cream last night so I no longer had enough for my recipe. I hurried and turned on my computer and searched for a similar recipe but one that didn't need sour cream. I found this one at Gramma's In The Kitchen and so that's what we made. It's titled triple chocolate because it's got the chocolate cake mix, chocolate pudding, and chocolate chips in. I hope you enjoy!

1 (15.25 oz.) package devil's food cake mix
1 (3.5 oz.) package instant chocolate pudding mix (we used the Hershey's brand)
1 3/4 cup milk
1 (12 oz.) package chocolate chips (we used milk chocolate)
2 eggs, beaten
powdered sugar

Mix together cake mix, pudding powder, milk, chocolate chips, and beaten eggs in a mixing bowl. Combine well. Pour batter into a well greased bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 50 minutes or until done. Don't over bake. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto a serving plate. Let cool and sprinkle top of cake with powdered sugar before serving.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Breakfast Burrito Bites

We made this for our conference breakfast this morning. So simple and so good. I saw the idea over at Ella Claire, and since I already had lots of the ingredients on hand we decided to try it.

8 eggs
1/4 cup milk
shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
3 burrito size flour tortillas
salt and pepper to taste
fillings (Use whatever you like, we used green pepper, onion, hashbrowns, and ham. Just make sure your meat is precooked and everything is in little pieces.)

Grease a muffin tin. Cut tortillas into quarters. Line each muffin well with a tortilla quarter, making a little cup. Whisk together 8 eggs and the 1/4 cup milk. Season with salt and pepper. Fill each tortilla cup with your desired fillings. Pour egg mixture over the fillings. If you like cheese, sprinkle cheese over the top. Cover the muffin pan with tin foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes or until egg is cooked through. Serve hot and enjoy!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Garlic and Butter Steamed Baby Red Potatoes

We are a potato kind of family. We love them. I needed an accompanying dish for our pork chops last night and these stood out to me. I saw them over at Deep South Dish. I cut back on the butter and added some garlic and a bit more salt. The dish takes a little while to cook, but it is really simple to get going. I hope you enjoy!

2 lbs. baby red potatoes (or you can cut up regular red potatoes)
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup butter
1 clove garlic, minced
seasoning salt to taste (I used about 1 1/2 tsp.)
black pepper to taste
parsley to garnish

Clean potatoes and peel a strip around the center of each potato. In a skillet add water, butter, garlic, salt, and pepper. Melt butter over medium low heat. Add the potatoes to the skillet, cover, and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Shake the skillet every so often as they cook, but don't remove lid. Once cooked, sprinkle the potatoes with parsley and serve.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Teriyaki Italian Chicken

Here's another simple marinade for chicken. I'm always looking for easy chicken dishes. This has a great flavor that would be great served with rice or chopped over a salad. Yum!

1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup Italian dressing
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-4 chicken breasts

Whisk together marinade ingredients and pour into gallon size ziploc bag. Add chicken to bag, squish out all the air and seal. Let marinate in the fridge for 2-4 hours. Then cook chicken as desired. We prefer grilling.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Meatloaf Casserole

Since we had snow this morning I figured a comfort food meal was appropriate for tonight. Nate loved this casserole and gave it a 10. It's a super easy recipe and fairly quick to throw together. I saw the basic idea over at Ore-Ida and I hope you enjoy!

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 egg
splash of milk
1/3 cup crushed saltine crackers
salt and pepper
steak seasoning
1 Tbsp. dehydrated onions
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
prepared mashed potatoes
shredded cheddar cheese

In a mixing bowl combine ground beef, egg, milk, crushed crackers, salt, pepper, steak seasoning, dehydrated onions, and Worcestershire sauce. Use hands and mix to combine but don't over mix or it will be tough. Prep a square 8" or 9" baking dish with non-stick spray. Pat the meatloaf mixture into the bottom of the baking dish. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through. Once cooked remove from oven. Spread hot mashed potatoes on top of meat and the sprinkle shredded cheese on top. Set oven to broil and then broil casserole for just a few minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve hot.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Shamrock Frittata

This was our festive dinner for tonight. We do breakfast for dinner every so often and this fit the bill. I saw the idea over at Skinnytaste. The recipe doesn't call for any meat but you could totally add a little cooked and crumbled bacon or some chopped ham. Whichever your family prefers. Enjoy!

4 large eggs
4 egg whites
1 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup minced onion
1 russet potato peeled and diced into 1/2" cubes
3 thin slices of green bell pepper (cut crosswise into pepper)
salt and pepper
garlic powder
dried chives

Heat a 10" non-stick oven safe skillet over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp. butter and melt. Add minced onion and saute for 2-3 minutes. Next add diced potatoes. Season with salt and pepper and garlic powder and mix well. Cover and cook potatoes over medium-low heat stirring occasionally. Cook until tender, about 12-15 minutes. While the potatoes are cooking crack the eggs into a bowl and season with salt, pepper, and chives, whisking well. Once the potatoes are cooked pour the egg mixture into the skillet. Arrange the bell peppers on top in a shamrock pattern. Turn the heat down to low and cook until the edges of the eggs are set, about 6-8 minutes. Next put the skillet in a 400 degree F oven and bake until eggs are completely cooked through, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven, cut into fourths and serve!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Carne Asada Lettuce Wraps

These were so so good! Oh my gosh, best dinner we've made in a while! We also cooked together tonight which I always love. Our menu plan got thrown off and so I asked Nate to come up for an idea for dinner tonight. So Nate sent me this link and I thought it looked like a winner. We definitely plan on making these again and again. Enjoy!

1 1/2 lbs. flank steak
1/4 cup oil
juice of 2 limes
2 Tbsp. coarse chopped garlic
1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
8-10 lettuce leaves (we used romaine hearts)
Mexican rice

Combine oil, lime juice, garlic, cilantro, cumin, salt, and pepper in a gallon size ziploc bag. Zip and shake to mix. Add meat. Refrigerate and let marinate for 1-4 hours. Remove steak from marinade and grill to desired doneness. Let rest for 5 minutes and then slice across the grain into thin strips. Spread a little bit of Mexican rice on to each lettuce leaf and then top with some steak slices. Garnish with whatever you'd like, shredded cheese, diced onion, hot sauce etc. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Garlic Bread Rosettes

We wanted some sort of garlic bread to go with some lasagna tonight and these fit the bill. I saw the idea over at Taste and Tell and we really enjoyed them and will definitely be making them again.

1 (11 oz.) package of 12 refrigerated breadstick dough (we used Pillsbury)
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 Tbsp. garlic bread seasoning
1 tsp. sesame seeds

Open and separate dough into 12 breadsticks. Roll each piece out into a thin 10-12" long rope. Tie each rope piece into a knot, tuck the top end piece under the roll and bring the bottom end and tuck up into the middle of the roll. Place rosettes on a baking sheet lined with tin foil and lightly sprayed with non-stick spray. Melt butter and stir in garlic bread seasoning and sesame seeds. Brush over the tops of the rosettes (we had some butter mixture left over). Bake at 375 degrees F for 12-15 minutes or until a light golden brown. Serve warm and enjoy!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Beefy Queso Enchilada Cups

My menu plan got thrown off a bit this week so I was left wondering what to make for dinner yesterday. I asked Nate what sounded good to him and he told me he was torn between these two recipes - Enchilada Cups and Beefy 5 Layer Burritos. Being the good wife I am, I suggested that we combine the two recipes. Sure enough, it was a winner idea. Nate loved these and definitely wants them made again. These beefy queso enchilada cups are rich so I recommend serving them with a nice crunchy green salad. Enjoy!

1 lb. lean ground beef, cooked and crumbled and seasoned with taco seasoning
1 (16 oz.) can refried beans
1 Tbsp. taco seasoning
queso (we like Tostito's brand salsa con queso)
shredded cheese
12 small flour tortillas

Spray a muffin tin with some non-stick cooking spray. This recipe makes 12 enchilada cups. Now cut some circles out of your tortillas. I used the top of one of those hospital mugs and just cut around it with a knife. You want your tortilla circles to line the muffin tin like a baking cup, so it lines the bottom and the sides, but if they are really over-sized you might get some burnt tortillas. I left just a little bit of overhang so it would hold all the filling. Now make your refried beans and taco meat. Add the refried beans and 1 Tbsp. of taco seasoning and cook over medium low heat until hot. Spoon a small amount of refried beans into the bottom of each tortilla cup. Next spoon in some queso on top of the bean mixture. Now add some beef on top of the queso. I made a pound of ground beef and had exactly enough for 12 enchilada cups. Bake filled enchilada cups for 20 minutes in a 350 degree F oven. Remove from oven and top with a little shredded cheese. Return to oven and bake another 7-10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve hot and enjoy!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Hashbrown Breakfast Pizza

We hardly ever make breakfast at our house. It's usually a cup of yogurt or a protein shake for Nate. We do however like breakfast for dinner. I stumbled across this recipe a few days ago and I thought it would be something we'd enjoy. I saw this idea over at Three Kids and a Fish. We made this for dinner last night and had a great time cooking together. Hope you enjoy!

1 package (about 20 oz.)shredded hashbrowns (if using frozen, thaw first)
8 eggs
1 cup chopped ham
1 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 green onions, sliced
1 green pepper, diced
2 tsp. dried chives
shredded cheese
salt and pepper

Spray pizza stone with non-stick spray. For crust combine shredded hashbrowns, one egg, salt, and pepper, mix well. Spread hashbrown mixture into a circle on the pizza stone, use your hands and pat down to help it stick together. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. While crust is baking, scramble and cook eggs with chives and salt and pepper. Chop veggies and meats. Once crust has baked 20 minutes remove from oven. Top with scrambled eggs, ham, bacon, green onion, and green pepper. Add cheese on top if desired. Return pizza to oven and bake for 12 more minutes. Slice and serve!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Caribbean Fruit Punch (non-carbonated)

Okay, easiest punch recipe! And so good! We brought this drink to dinner with Nate's brother and his wife. They don't like carbonation and I swear every punch recipe has carbonation in it. I found this idea over at Macaroni and Cheesecake, and it did not disappoint! We'll definitely be making it again. Sorry, no picture this time, but I'll take one next time I make it.

64 oz. pineapple orange juice, chilled (we used V8 splash pineapple orange)
1/3 - 1/2 bottle of Rose's grenadine

In a pitcher add the juice and the grenadine. Start conservatively with the grenadine and add to taste. That's it!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Mexican Pizzas

Nate and I made these Mexican pizzas for dinner last night and Nate really enjoyed them. You know we love Mexican food at our house. They are a copy cat recipe I saw over at The Country Cook.

1 lb. lean ground beef
taco seasoning packet + the water it requires
1 can refried beans
1 Tbsp. taco seasoning
crisp tortilla shells (we used the Azteca brand found in the refrigerated section at Walmart)
taco sauce or enchilada sauce
shredded cheese
toppings of choice like sliced olives, sour cream, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, etc.

Start by preparing the ground beef. Brown and crumble the ground beef, once browned add the taco seasoning packet plus the water it requires and finish according to packet directions. Next make the refried beans. In a sauce pot add beans and 1 Tbsp. of taco seasoning and mix well. Heat over medium heat until hot. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lay tortilla shells on a pan sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake for 4-5 minutes per side or until golden brown. Now assemble the pizzas. On top of one shell spread a layer of refried beans, then top with some seasoned ground beef. Place another tortilla shell on top. Pour some taco sauce (or enchilada sauce) on top of the shell and then sprinkle on some shredded cheese. Place the mexican pizza back on the baking sheet and return to hot oven and bake until cheese is melted. Top with any desired toppings and serve hot. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Baked Chicken Dijon

Here's a simple weeknight recipe for you. It's quick to throw together and comes out moist and flavorful. I saw the idea over at Normal Cooking. Enjoy!

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 Tbsp. dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. water
1 1/2 tsp. garlic bread seasoning

Combine mustard, water, and garlic bread seasoning. Coat chicken with mixture. Bake at 400 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until cooked through.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sweet and Spicy Bacon Chicken

This is a fun recipe from Sarah. We had dinner with her and Mike the other night and she made this recipe. Very good, we all enjoyed it.

Chicken Breast Strips
Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper
Chili Powder
Brown Sugar

Season chicken w salt, pepper,garlic powder and chili powder,wrap in bacon and roll in brown sugar. Bake 400 till crispy 30-40 min.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Pull Apart Pizza

We love pizza in our house. My favorite pizza dough is this one, it's so tasty and so versatile. I usually keep a batch or two in the freezer. This recipe is a great alternative for when you don't have pre-made dough on hand. The pull apart pizza crust is made up of bite size pieces of French bread, so good! This would also be a fun appetizer, you can just imagine the toppings possibilities. I saw this idea over at Plain Chicken. Enjoy!

2 (11 oz.) packages of Pillsbury refrigerated French bread dough
pizza sauce (we used this homemade sauce)
shredded mozzarella cheese
pizza toppings of your choice

Open one package of dough onto a cutting board. Slice the dough in half lengthwise so you have two long strips. Then slice the dough strips widthwise into 16 pieces each (so you end up with 32 dough bits). Repeat with the other package of dough. You should end up with 64 dough pieces. On a lightly greased pizza pan or pizza stone, arrange the dough pieces into a circle. Top with pizza sauce and toppings. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 16 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cooked through.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Copy Cat Cafe Rio Green Enchilada Sauce

So I made some smothered Cafe Rio style burritos last night. I had seen this recipe for a copy cat Cafe Rio sauce over at Favorite Family Recipes and I figured it was definitely worth a try. Sure enough the sauce didn't disappoint. I think it has slightly more kick to it than the real deal, but it's a great at-home version. This makes enough to smother 3-4 large burritos.

1 small can diced green chilies
1 (7 oz.) can Embasa brand salsa verde
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt

Add all ingredients to a small sauce pan and mix well. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and let simmer for a minimum of 20 minutes. Spoon over burritos or enchiladas, yum!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Menu for January 4-11

It's been a long time since I posted a menu. I'm trying several new recipes this next week so I thought I'd share what I've got planned. Maybe it'll provide you with some ideas for dinner too. The successes I will post here on the blog. I've had several flops lately so let's hope these all turn out well!

Saturday, January 4: Cafe Rio Style Beef Burritos with Copy Cat Cafe Rio Enchilada Sauce (new) and Salad (I'm using our favorite Mexican Shredded Beef and Salsa Rice to fill the burritos. I'll also be freezing the leftover beef for another meal.)

Sunday, January 5: Pull Apart Pizza (new) with Salad

Monday, January 6: Crock Pot Chicken Drumsticks (new) with Yellow Rice and Green Beans

Tuesday, January 7: Spaghetti and Meat Sauce with French Bread and Salad

Wednesday, January 8: BFD (breakfast for dinner) Snickerdoodle Waffles (new) with Bacon and Fruit

Thursday, January 9: Easy Baked Chicken Breasts (new) with Macaroni and Cheese and Corn

Friday, January 10: Shredded Beef Quesadillas and Salad (I'll be using some leftover shredded beef)

Saturday, January 11: Date Night! Kitchen is closed.