Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Home Made Junior Mints

The Menu:
Home Made Junior Mints

The Original Recipe:
Don't ask questions. Just make these. You will not be sorry.

Home Made Junior Mints

3 oz. cream cheese (I used Neufchatel)
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp. peppermint extract
3/4 bag of Hershey's dark chocolate chips

Mix cream cheese (make sure it's room temperature), powdered sugar and peppermint extract. It will be dough like and maybe even a bit crumbly. Shape into small round balls and flatten with palms (they will look like Jr. Mints). Place on cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Melt chocolate on stove until smooth. Using toothpick stab mint in center and dip in chocolate to cover, tap on edge of pan if to thick. Refrigerate on wax paper until hardened. Enjoy!

*Junior Mints are my absolute favorite candy! These are sooo good. I can definitely sub. these for the real thing and not be disappointed!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sloppy Joe Seasoning Mix (Gift Jars)

The Menu:
Sloppy Joe Seasoning Mix

The Original Recipe:
I made a small home made gift this year for some friends. I know I would love it if I had Sloppy Joe seasoning mix all ready made up so that I could just throw it together with some ground beef and Ketchup. I mix mine up every time we have sloppy joes, but these will be so handy for them! I am excited for them to try these!

other Home Made Christmas Gifts...

Sloppy Joe Seasoning Mix (make 3 half-pint jars)

2 cups Chili Powder
1/4 cup paprika
3 tbls. dry ground mustard
1 tbls. cumin
1 tbls. onion powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
5 tsp. beef bullion
2 tsp. McKormick montreal seasoning (optional)
2 tsp. pepper
(You can add salt, but I leave it out in order for them to add their own)

Mix seasonings together. Store in airtight container.

*(You can test the taste by mixing some seasoning with some ketchup and heat through in the microwave. If it taste like sloppy joes then you are go to go! If you think it needs something else, then by all means, add that too! I had my husband taste this, and he picked up right away that it was sloppy joes. I was impressed!)


1 lb. ground beef
2 tbls. sloppy joe seasoning mix
3/4 cup ketchup

Brown ground beef in pan, add seasoning and ketchup. Stir to heat through. Serve on buns.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Weekly Supper Planning

The Menu:
Weekly Supper Planning

I just cannot keep up anymore. I have fallen behind on my blog, making new recipes, and just cooking in general! My schedule has changed for me since all of my kids are now in school this year. I have become so unorganized! I have been a stay-at-home mom for 10 years, and now that all the kids are in school, I have just let everything go. No more routines or schedules in the daytime. I have finally learned to relax a bit. Yay for the people around me, but boo for my household chores and duties. Yikes! I have also ventured into a part-time job recently, too, so I am going to try and do at least one crock-pot meal a week. Now, let's see how I prioritize my life with no kids at home and working part-time! I completely understand how you have little to no time to cook (nor do you want to) if you work. On the days I have been working, we have had grilled cheese and tomato soup, or something simple like that. Who wants to cook when you have been on your feet all day long? I really need to keep this meal planning going so that I can get out my crockpot and use it on those long work days. Ok, so here is a quick meal plan.

Monday- Creamy Orzo with Ham and Peas

Tuesday- Tuna Noodle Casserole

Wednesday- Chicken Spaghetti (I am going to try and turn this into a crockpot recipe. I am going to cook the chicken breasts with the soup, pimentos, green chilies, onion and s&p in the crockpot. When I get home I will add the sour cream and stir to heat through while the noodles cook on the stove (and the oven preheats). I will then mix everything together, pour in a 13x9 baking dish, cover with cheese and bake until cheese is melted. Sounds like a plan to me!).

Thursday- Roast with potatoes and carrots (in which I will be doing this in the crockpot)

Friday- Baked Penne Pasta with a side of green beans

The weekend will consist of some type of Pork Chops. I am not sure how I want to make them yet. I have contemplated between these two: Smothered Pork Chops or Ranch PorkChops and Rice and some type of veggie on the side. Then I also bought some Chicken legs and thighs to make one of my kids favorite meals Butter Baked Chicken with a noodle side dish and a veggie of course.

I am also hosting a Christmas party for our Ladies Book Group for Church. I am not making to much since we decided it should be a potluck. I usually make some sort of soup, but again, with working I am not in the mood to go all out, so I am making something simple and actually not that holidayish, but it will taste good!
Tortilla Appetizers, and my home made strawberry rhubarb sauce mixed with diced jalapenos poured over cream cheese. We use crackers to dip. Yummy. I had also made Chewy Molasses Ginger Cookies to go along with their presents, but we kind of ate them all. The party was delayed from last Friday to this coming Friday, so I didn't want the cookies to sit there for over a week. If I can manage to find time I will make more for them. These are the BEST holiday cookies you will ever eat!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Ravioli with Sauteed Butternut Squash and Thyme

The Menu:
Ravioli with Sauteed Butternut Squash and Thyme

The Original Recipe:
I have had this in my "to-try" file for awhile now. I have mixed emotions with recipes like this only because, I think that I will love it, but I know my kids won't. I hate preparing 2 meals for one supper in order to try a recipe I know I will like. This recipe, however, was more uncomplicated than I had thought. I decided to make beef raviolis in a red sauce (I used my canned pizza sauce) for the kids, and then I made this dish for my husband and myself. Even though I did make 2 different meals, it was simple. I used prepackaged raviolis and just boiled them. This recipe came together so fast. I am blogging about it right after finishing my plateful, too. It was DELICOUS! This is the kind of meal I could eat at every supper time. It was quick to make and the taste was off the charts! I just wish the kids would try it! :)
*I did change a few things, but my notes will follow.

Ravioli with Sauteed Butternut Squash and Thyme Recipe

from Woman's Day Magazine Oct 2011, posted by Michelle (MMmom)

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 medium butternut squash (about 1 lb), peeled and cut into 1/2-in. pieces

Kosher salt and pepper

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (used 3 large)

1 Tbsp small fresh thyme sprigs

1 16-oz pkg cheese ravioli (fresh or frozen)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan (1 oz) (or can use blue cheese for a kick!)

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the squash, season with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook, uncovered, tossing occasionally, until the squash is tender and beginning to brown, 2 to 3 minutes more.

Meanwhile, cook the ravioli according to package directions. Transfer the ravioli to plates, top with the squash mixture and sprinkle with the Parmesan.

 *NOTES: You can also add a broth & milk to make the mixture more "saucy." Make sure you use your pasta water in order to give it a thickness for the sauce. (I used a cube of vegetable bullion with 1/2 cup pasta water and 1/2 cup milk).

Friday, November 25, 2011

Potato and Bean Enchilada's

The Menu:
Potato and Bean Enchilada's
Sorry for the horrible picture... it just tasted way to good to capture before eating! :)

The Original Recipe:
I found the idea for this meatless meal on the internet. What a great meal to have after a huge heavy Thanksgiving supper the night before. The kids even liked these. I am very pleased with these enchilads, too. I could even see adding in some scrambled eggs, too. Or if you wanted to some meat, ground sausage would be good, too. So delicious and so simple!

Potato and Bean Enchilada's

5 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 clove garlic, minced
4 green onions, chopped with greens
1 red pepper, chopped
1 pkg. taco seasoning
1 can black beans, drained (I used seasoned)
1 cup cheese
1 large can enchilada sauce
8-10 large tortillas

Preheat oven 375 degrees.
Heat butter in pan, add potatoes, green onions, red pepper and garlic. Salt and pepper to season. Cover and cook potatoes until almost done. You don't want them smooshy. They need to hold their texture in order to stand out from the beans. Add beans and taco seasoning. Stir to heat through. On large tortilla place filling at one end, fold in sides and roll up. In 13x9 baking dish pour some sauce. Place rolled tortillas in baking dish side by side. Pour remaining sauce over all. Bake 10 minutes until crispy on edges, add cheese all over top and bake 5 minutes more to melt cheese. (*I also added in some jalapeno to my portion!)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Broccoli My Kids Like

The Menu:
Broccoli My Kids Like

The Original Recipe:
I found this on Babycenter's Cooking For Your Family Board. Those ladies just have all the recipes to share. I love talking about food. I found this recipe while looking through someone talking about side dishes. Now, as a side note, I have one son who hates pretty much all vegetables. It takes him hours (yes! hours.) to eat his supper almost every night. I do believe he has texture problems, but he also has a hate relationship with any type of vegetable that isn't corn. My other kids are wonderful about eating. So, this recipe was for everyone, but especially my one boy who doesn't like veggies. Now, you are probably wondering if he like them? He did!! He had 2 spoonfuls. Granted, he did make a face, but with a recipe named "Broccoli My Kids Like" I think he felt that he had to like them. He ate 2 spoonfuls, so I am not complaining!

Broccoli My Kids Like

Sharon -- GatorGrrrl

2 cups cooked, steamed broccoli (or a 10 oz package of frozen chopped broccoli cooked in the microwave)

1/2 stick of butter

2-3 handfuls of seasoned bread crumbs (I used crushed whole wheat Ritz crackers)

salt and pepper to taste (I used Mrs. Dash Table Blend)

Cook broccoli by steaming or in the microwave. Meanwhile heat butter in a medium skillet and heat to sizzling. Toss broccoli in butter and add seasoned bread crumbs. Toss well, season with salt and pepper and serve.

Gooseberry Patch Chicken and Dumplings

The Menu:
Gooseberry Patch Chicken and Dumplings
This is the time of year when lighting is terrible, and my pictures start to look
 not so nice, but it tasted good. That's all that counts, right!?!

The Original Recipe:
I have a Kindle. I love my Kindle and all of the free books you can get from Amazon. I have the very first Kindle they came out with. I love that I am always the first to jump on a bandwagon of new technology, only to find out a year later, they come out with 3 different version (better versions) of the very first one. I do it every time. Oh well, I still absolutly love my Kindle. I also love all the free Gooseberry Patch cookbooks I can find for it. While browsing through Circle of Friends 25 Slow Cooker Recipes, I found this Chicken and Dumpling recipe for the crockpot. It was nice and comforting. I don't normaly make this easy of a dish, but you just cannot go wrong, here. The whole pot was empty by the time we were done.

Chicken and Dumplings

1 1/2 bnlss sknlss chicken breasts, cubed
2 potoates, peeled and cubed
2 cups baby carrots
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 10 3/4 cans cream of chicken soup (I used healthy choice campbells)
1 cup water
1 t. dried thyme
1/4 t. pepper

2 c. baking mix (Bisquick)
2/3 c. milk

Place chicken, potatoes, carrots and celery n a slow cooker; set aside. In medium bowl, combine soup, water, thyme and peper; pour over chicken mixture. Cover and cook on low setting for 7 to 8 hours, until chicken juices run clear. Mix together baking mix and milk; drop into slow cooker by large spoonfuls. Tilt lid to vent and cook on high setting for 30 minutes, until dumplings are cooked in center. Serves 8

Garlic Ranch Turkey Burger

The Menu:
Garlic Ranch Turkey Burger

The Original Recipe:
This recipe can be found over at http://wfdamy.blogspot.com. She has a plethora of yummy recipes! I used ground hamburger in this recipe instead of turkey because I didn't have any. I also had to leave it sit in the fridge overnight after I mixed it because my father-in-law showed up with a cousin, and we all had pizza for supper. These were super good. A tad salty, but still so flavorful. I would make these again in a heartbeat.

Garlic and Ranch Turkey Burgers

Amy - amylz

All Recipes - Servings: 4

1 pound ground turkey

1 (1 ounce) package ranch dressing mix

1 egg

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce (I halved this and only used 1/8 cup)

seasoned salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat, and lightly oil the grate.

2. Knead together the turkey, ranch mix, egg, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, seasoned salt, and pepper in a bowl until evenly combined; divide into 4 equal portions and form into patties.

3. Cook on the preheated grill about 5 minutes per side for well done. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Cheeseburger Macaroni

The Menu:
Cheeseburger Macaroni

The Original Recipe:
I found this online at Babycenter.com. It's a great fast alternative to the boxed Hamburger Helper. It was a bit spicy with the Rotel, but my kids still ate it and loved it.  It was so fast to put together, too. It says that it feeds 4, but we fed 6 with it, and I didn't even double it this time. I absolutely love all-in-one dishes like this! You will not be disappointed with all the flavor in this dish.

Cheeseburger Macaroni

OP: EliseaGrace'sMommy

1 lb lean hamburger meat

1 pkg taco seasoning

1 can Rotel tomatoes and green chilies (or petite diced tomatoes)

2 cups beef broth (or water)

1 cup elbow macaroni

Brown and drain hamburger meat. Stir in taco seasoning, Rotel, beef broth, and macaroni. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat and cover pan. Simmer 12-14 mins until macaroni is tender.

Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce

2 Tablespoons butter

2 tbsp flour

3/4 cup milk

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking for 5 minutes until fragrant and light brown in color. Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil. Whisk until smooth and thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the shredded cheddar cheese until melted. Add the salt and pepper to the cheese sauce. Pour the cheese sauce over the hamburger mixture. Stir gently to combine.

Serves 4

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Tuscan Garlic Chicken

The Menu:
Tuscan Garlic Chicken

The Original Recipe:
This reminded me of Olive Garden's Chicken Scampi dish, which I LOVE!! Oh happy days! I cannot say that I would make it again, however. It was a bit of a lengthy recipe compared to what I am used to making. With 4 hungry boys and a husband, this was a big process for me. But, I am sure that if you make it, you will love it!
I didn't change to much, though. I will just make notes at the end of this recipe. I think it needed some more flavor, in all honesty. I kept adding salt, but it just wasn't enough (and I do not use a lot of salt in my dishes, ever). I think some chicken bullion cubes will add the extra "oomph" that it needed. So, see my notes at the end. Overall, this was a fantastic dish and so comparable to that favorite dish of mine.

Tuscan Garlic Chicken

3 lb(s) Boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 1/2 cup(s) Flour, plus 1 tablespoon

1 Tbsp Salt

2 tsp Black pepper

2 tsp Italian herb seasoning

1 lb(s) Penne pasta (*I used Linguine)

1 Tbsp Garlic, chopped

1 Red pepper, julienne cut

1/2 cup(s) White wine

12 oz Heavy cream

1 cup(s) Parmesan cheese, grated

Preparing the Chicken:

- Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, black pepper and Italian herb seasoning in a shallow dish. *I would add some garlic powder, or even use some chicken seasonings from McKormick.
*I cut my chicken breasts in half to make them flatter--or you could flatten/tenderize them. I think it makes it even better this way!

- Dredge chicken in the mixture, shaking off any excess.

- Sauté the chicken in batches, in a large, nonstick, ovenproof skillet - with enough oil to coat - over medium-high heat for about two to three minutes on each side, or until golden brown and crisp.

- When finished, transfer the skillet to a preheated oven at 350 degrees F. Cook for approximately 15 minutes or until cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.

Preparing the Pasta:

- Cook pasta al dente (or according to package instructions).

- Drain and set aside until needed.

*I would add 1 chicken bullion cube, in the water the pasta cooks in.

Preparing the Sauce:

- While the pasta is cooking, heat 1/2 to 1 fluid ounce of oil in a sauce pan. Add the garlic and the red pepper and cook for approximately one minute. *I would use atleast 3 heads of garlic, smashed.

- Slowly add remaining one tablespoon of flour and stir to combine.

- Next add the white wine and bring to a boil for about one minute. Add the cream and bring to a boil.. Complete by stirring in the parmesan cheese. * I would also add 1 chicken bullion cube in with the wine (or instead of wine, use 1 cup chicken broth). Make sure you season with salt and pepper after you add the heavy cream.

Preparing Tuscan Garlic Chicken Entrée:

- Partly coat the pasta with the sauce, transfer to a large bowl (or individual dishes) and then top with the chicken, the remaining sauce and extra Parmesan cheese. Serve and enjoy.

Kowboy's Party Dip

The Menu:
Kowboy's Party Dip

The Original Recipe:
I wanted a really quick throw-together dip for today. I came up with this dip version of a Beef and Onion Cheese Ball that I make. This is really good! I am glad I came up with an alternative! It still needs to sit awhile for the flavors to blend, but I could taste the awesomness of this dip right away.

Kowboy's Party Dip

1 pkg. dried beef, cut into pieces
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used the new kind made with olive oil)
1/3 cup sour cream (I used fat free)
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
3-4 green onions, chopped with greens
1/3-1/4 cup shredded colby/jack cheese (*optional)

Combine all in bowl. Let sit for an hour before serving (in order to let the flavors combine). Serve with your favorite dipping crackers.
*I did add some shredded colby/jack cheese into mine. I think it would taste great with out it, though. However, I wanted some cheese.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pizza Tot Casserole

The Menu:
Pizza Tot Casserole

The Original Recipe:
Why didn't I ever think of this!?! This was super good. My one son said "Now this is a supper I like." So funny! I know I saw this on a blog somewhere, but I cannot find where. I just did a basic pizza as far as what toppings the kids like, but you can add more. This will be in our rotation from now on. Yum!

Pizza Tot Casserole

1lb. ground beef
1 jar pizza sauce
10-15 slices pepperoni, chopped
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 bag frozen tator tots
*additional toppings optional

Preheat oven 425 degrees. Crumble and brown the ground meat until done, add sauce, pepperoni and heat through. Pour into 13x9 casserole dish. Cover with Mozzarella cheese *(add any other additional toppings you would like such as mushrooms, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, ham, whatever you like on your pizza!). Top with tator tots covering top. Bake in oven uncovered for 30 minutes or until tots are crispy brown.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pumpkin Crisp

The Menu:
Pumpkin Crisp
Finished Product! Yum!

Before Baking-Look at all that butter!

After Baking-Nice and golden brown

I let it cool a bit before I flipped it out. It held together Nicely

The Original Recipe:
It's that time of year again to start using pumpkin. This recipe comes from a long time school friend. She posted it as a note on facebook, and I just knew I had to make it in order to share at our church's weekly book group meeting. This is a sweet and highly fattening dessert, but it is so worth it especially when you get to share it with others. It's like a pumpkin pie with the most amazing crust ever topped with the most fantastic topping ever for pumpkin!!!


32 ounces of canned pumpkin

1 can evaporated milk (12 oz. can)

1 cup sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

3 eggs

1 box yellow cake mix (I used Betty Crocker)

1 and a half cups of chopped pecans

2 sticks of butter melted


1 oz cream cheese

1 carton whipped topping (cool whip found in freezer aisle)

½ cup confectioners sugar

Mix together the pumpkin, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and eggs. Pour mixture into a 9 x 13 pan (I used a glass pan) lined with wax paper (this keeps the dessert from sticking to the pan).

Crumble the dry yellow cake mix over the pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle with chopped pecans, then pour melted butter over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes. Turn upside down onto a platter and remove the wax paper. Allow to completely cool. When completely cooled, cover with topping mixture and refrigerate.

*I subbed 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice for the 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. I used a 29oz. can pumpkin instead of 32oz. because I couldn't find that size. It worked out fine. Make sure you let it cool completely before putting the icing on.

Some other Pumpkin Recipes:
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Pumpkin Oatmeal Baked Pudding
Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake (by Paula Deen)

Pumpkin Dip (to use with Apples or Graham Crackers)

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Bars (one of my all-time favorites!)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chicken Alfredo Biscuit Casserole

The Menu:
Chicken Alfredo Biscuit Casserole

The Original Recipe:
My family has been requesting dishes using these ingredients. I didn't have everything to complete those dishes they requested, but I did search for a recipe using what I did have and came up with this recipe from pillsbury.com. This was delicious!! Comparable to White Chicken Bubble Up Pizza, but I love the addition of broccoli and not all that extra cheese. This was just good. You won't be disappointed. I pretty much made this the way the recipe calls for (can you believe it!?!). I only subbed a few things for things I had on hand, so my notes follow.

Chicken Alfredo Biscuit Casserole via pillsbury.com


1 tablespoon butter
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 jar (16 oz) Alfredo pasta sauce
1/4 cup milk
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 cups Green Giant® SELECT® frozen broccoli florets, thawed
1/4 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1 can (7.5 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese


Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 8-inch square (2-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray.

In 10-inch nonstick skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Cook mushrooms and onion in butter, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in Alfredo sauce, milk, chicken, broccoli and basil. Cook until mixture is thoroughly heated and bubbly, stirring constantly. Spoon into baking dish.

Separate dough into 10 biscuits. Cut each biscuit in half crosswise. Arrange around edge of baking dish, overlapping slightly. Drizzle biscuits with melted butter; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown.

*kowboys notes: I used fresh steamed broccoli instead of frozen. I used fat free evaporated milk. I used a 13x9 pan and used 2 cans of biscuits. I cut the biscuits into fours and spread them all over the top of the casserole and baked it that way. I also subbed canned chicken instead of chicken breasts cooked.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Asian Glazed Drumsticks

The Menu:
Asian Glazed Drumsticks

The Original Recipe:
I had some drumsticks/thigh pieces that I wanted to use with a different recipe. I have used them in Butter Baked Chicken which is one of my kids favorites. I just wanted something different. This was good. My kids were weird about the bone in chicken this time for some reason though. They were very juicy and not dried out at all. We loved the sauce though. It tastes good on rice. I get to impatient for sauces to reduce though. I wonder if the flavor would of been stronger if I would have actually taken the time to wait for the sauce to reduce. I ended up adding some cornstarch to it. Still good though! Enough to share!

Asian Glazed Drumsticks

via skinnytaste.com via JDTMamma

8 medium chicken drumsticks, skin removed

Pam spray oil

1 cup water

1 tbsp Sriracha hot sauce (more or less to taste)

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup soy sauce

4 tsp agave nectar (or sugar)

3 cloves garlic

1 tsp ginger, grated

2 tbsp chives or scallions, chopped

1 tsp sesame seeds

In a heavy large saucepan, brown chicken on high for 3-4 minutes with a little spray oil. Add water, balsamic, soy sauce, agave, garlic, ginger, hot sauce and cook on high until liquid comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for about 20 minutes. Remove cover and bring heat to high, allowing sauce to reduce down, about 8 minutes until it becomes a thick glaze, turning chicken occasionally. (Keep an eye on glaze, you don't want it to burn when it start becoming thick) Transfer chicken to a platter and pour glaze on top. Top with chives and sesame seeds and serve.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Weekly Supper Planning

I know that I have been slacking on my posting latley. The fact is -- I have been making meals that I have all ready posted! I have really slowed down on copying new recipes to try. I know, bummer, right!?! Another fact is that we are very busy since school started. I have two boys in soccer, one boy in marching band, and one boy who takes piano lessons. Can we say busy? Busy! See it wasn't hard to say, and it's not hard to admit that we are truly busy. Five nights a week. So, a nice menu will have to suffice in lieu of a new recipe review. (Ok, total honesty here. I have made 2 new recipes since I last posted. One of them I don't have a picture to share. It's for Pumpkin Spiced Latte made in the crockpot! Yes, the crockpot. So yummy. The second one is off season, but I made a faux Key Lime Pie. It was good. It didn't get gobbled up by my family, but it was taken to a pot luck where they downed it in no time flat. I will share some day. Soon. I promise.)
The Menu:

Monday- Asian Glazed Drumsticks, (yes! It is a new recipe, but I do think with 41 degree weather and rain, soccer practice may be cancelled tonight.) snow peas and rice.

Tuesday- Unstuffed Zuchinni Sausage Skillet. I have had this zucchini sitting around awhile. I need to do something with it! Since I recall my kids loving this, I will make it again.

Wednesday- Baked Penne Pasta I am not a big red sauce and pasta fan (*gasp! I know!) However, this dish is just good. It's one of my new "go-to" recipes that is a favorite of everyone in the family

Thursday- Salmon Pattie Sandwiches , Cheesy Broccoli and Rice (nice and simple!)

Friday- Hard and Soft shell Tacos (refried beans, taco rice and loose ground taco meat with toppings) It's Friday night, who wants to cook? I also need to pack something for my teenager since his game is an away game tonight. Comforting tacos...

Saturday- Pennsylvania Dutch Ham and Noodle Casserole (quick and easy)

** Upcoming Dishes that I want to make, but in no particular order
 (I have been rummaging through the cupboards and found a few things that I should use up):

*Shake and Bake Chicken (I found that I have a packet of this just sitting around. Interesting, since I am not sure when I bought it.) I will dip the chicken in BBQ sauce and then the shake and bake and then bake it. I will probably bake some french fries to go along with them. A veggie, too. Broccoli sounds good.

*Hamburger Stroganoff probably with some type of veggie. Right now green beans sound good.

* I have some tilapia to use up. For some reason one of the top recipes on my blog is Long John Silver Fish Batter. So, sure, we can make that soon, too. I will probably make Mac and Cheese and some (fresh frozen) corn to go with it.

***Recipes that I have been making as of late that required no blogging since I have all ready blogged about them. Yet worthy of mentioning so that I can show we do love the foods I cook, and I do make them more than once!

Crockpot Beef Barley Soup

Chicken Bruscetta Bake

Crockpot Cheesy Potato Soup

Kowboy's Chili

Zesty Crockpot Meatloaf with Roasted Cauliflower

Kowboy's Home Made Sloppy Joes

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

German Potato Salad

The Menu:
German Potato Salad

The Original Recipe:
I decided to make an unoriginal potato salad (compared to our usual consisting of mayonaise) for our bonfire/cookout that we had here over the weekend. This turned out so good. I think I must just love food because I feel that every time I post a recipe I use the words Delicious and Yum. I cannot help it. When it's good, it's good! And this German Potato Salad was delicous and yummy! You just cannot go wrong with these tangy flavors and of couse bacon!

German Potato Salad

Recipe adapted by Our Best Bites from The Big Book of Backyard Cooking


2 lbs. small baby potatoes (red, Yukon gold, etc.)

6 oz. bacon (about 1/2 of a standard package)

1/2 c. minced onion

4 cloves minced garlic

1/2 c. white wine vinegar

1/2 c. water

2 tsp. Creole mustard (or a mild coarse-grain mustard, not a strong one in the stout little glass jars)

1 Tbsp. sugar

1/4 c. fresh dill or 1 Tbsp. dry dill

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While the water is heating, quarter or slice the potatoes. When the water comes to a boil, add the potatoes and cook until you can pierce them with a fork but not to the point where they are mushy or falling apart. Drain the potatoes and run some cold water over them.

While the potatoes are cooking/cooling, cut 6 ounces of bacon into bite-sized pieces. Place the bacon in a cold skillet and then turn the heat up to medium and cook until the bacon is crispy. While the bacon is cooking, whisk together the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, pepper, and mustard. Set aside. Remove the bacon from the skillet with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate, reserving the drippings in the pan.

Add some minced onion and minced garlic and cook until fragrant and the onions are translucent. Add the vinegar/mustard mixture and turn the heat to high. Cook on high for about 3 minutes or until the dressing has reduced by about 1/3. Remove from heat and add the cooked potatoes. Gently toss the potatoes in the dressing and let it stand for about 5 minutes. Add the bacon and dill and gently toss again and then transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with fresh dill sprigs and serve immediately. Serves 6-8

Creamy Spinach Tortallini Skillet

The Menu:
Creamy Spinach Tortallini Skillet

The Original Recipe:
I have had this recipe in my "to try" file for a long time. I decided to try a "Meatless Monday" and it worked out well. I did a few things differently so my way follows after this one. I really want to try and get into making one dish a week with out any meat in it. My family didn't complain either. It's recipes like this that I need to find more of . They really didn't realize there was no meat in it. My 6-yr. old was happy though. He is going through a "no meat" stage for some reason.

Creamy Spinach and Tortillini casserole


1 pkg. Tortellini

2 Tbls. Olive oil

3 cloves Garlic minced

1 Medium onion diced

1 9oz. Pkg. frozen spinach thawed and chopped and drained

1 cup Tomato (diced tomato in a can is fine; do not drain)

2 tsp. Basil

1 cup Whipping cream

1 Chicken bullion cube

¼ cup Grated parmesan or Romano cheese

Salt and pepper to taste


Cook tortellini to desired doneness as directed on package. Drain; keep warm Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add onion and garlic; cook until tender and lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add chicken bullion cube, spinach, tomato, basil, salt & pepper; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in milk and butter (or 1 cup whipping cream). cook until mixture just comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and stir in cooked tortellini. Cook an additional 4 or 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve with grated cheese on top if desired

Cook's Notes
1 cup whipping cream = ¾ C milk + 1/3 C butter

The Way I Made It My Own:
I think I made it a bit quicker this way using up some ingredients I had in my pantry. I didn't want to make the alfredo since I had some in a jar premade (*gasp!). This came together pretty fast for a nice easy meal. I did have to double a few things. This fed 6 of us nicely. I am not sure what it is about meatless meals, but my family feels they need to eat more just to fill up. Well, with this meal they were full in no time. It is nice and hearty.

Creamy Spinach Torallini Skillet

2 pkgs. Tortellini
2 Tbls. butter
3 cloves Garlic minced
1 Medium onion diced
1 9oz. Pkg. frozen spinach thawed and chopped and drained
2 cups Tomatos, diced (I used pureed that I had frozen from the garden)
2 tsp. Basil
1 Jar Light Alfredo Sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Cook tortellini to desired doneness as directed on package. Drain; keep warm Meanwhile, heat butter in large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add onion and garlic; cook until tender and lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add spinach, tomato, basil, salt & pepper; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add Alfredo Sauce cook until mixture just comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and stir in cooked tortallinie. Cook an
additional 4 or 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Cracker Barrel Grilled Chicken Tenderloins

The Menu:
Cracker Barrel Grilled Chicken Tenderloins

The Original Recipe:
I saw this recipe on a blog (and I hate to say I cannot find which one!), and I knew I had to try it. There will be a lot of liquid in the pan, but you just have to boil it off and until it starts to glaze the chicken and browns it a bit. This was delicious! I received 10 thumbs up! This will be on my menu to make again. I did have some tenderloins to use. I think using chicken thighs would taste great, too.

Cracker Barrel Grilled Chicken Tenderloins

4 - 5 chicken breasts, cut into pieces or 12 chicken tenderloins

1 - 8 0z bottle Italian Dressing (1 cup)

2 - teaspoons fresh lime juice (I used bottled)

4 - teaspoons honey

Cut each chicken breast into strips or use tenderloins pieces. If using tenderloins cut and remove the white tendon off each end. In a bowl that has a cover or large Ziploc bag add the dressing, lime juice and honey; mix to combine. Add the chicken and mix to coat all the pieces. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Braise the tenders in a non-stick pan until golden brown in color, but not dry. Start the stove temperature at medium high to get things going. After it comes to a boil reduce the heat to low-medium and continue cooking. You just want them to simmer until all the liquid has cooked down. You still want a bit of glaze left in the pan. When chicken is done remove and serve.

Cooking time: 40-45 min

Monday, September 19, 2011

Orange Creamsicle Dessert

The Menu:
Orange Creamsicle Dessert

The Original Recipe:
I am not a fan of those fluffy fruity desserts...especially ones that might include cottage cheese and whatever else. My husband on the other hand loves that kind of stuff. I decided to be nice and make something close to what he likes. He not only liked this but he loved it.
AND--this is one of the best desserts I have had that doesn't include chocolate! I live by my own law that if a dessert doesn't include chocolate I don't like it. However, I had to taste test this in order to make sure it tasted ok before serving it. That's what any good chef does, right? I am so glad I am a taste tester! This tastes just like the creamy orange popsicles you get in the store (or from the ice cream man!). I just mixed it all together and didn't layer it. It worked just fine. Yum!

Orange Creamsicle Dessert
 1 sm. Jell-O (orange)
 1 cup sour cream
 1 (8 oz.) container Cool Whip
 1 tsp. vanilla
 1 can mandarin oranges, drained well

Mix the Jell-O packet with the sour cream. Add vanilla and mix well. Fold in Cool Whip. Layer fruit and Jell-O mixture in parfait glasses. Chill. Serve cold.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cous Cous Provencal

The Menu:
Cous Cous Provencal

Spiced Fish Bake and Cous Cous Provencal

The Original Recipe:
I have been on the look out for some more side dishes. I knew my kids would like this one. I even heard a little "mmm" as one of the boys took his first bite. It went well, as a side, with our Spiced Fish Bake. I will be making this again. I will have to double the recipe though, as it didn't feed 6 people enough. Oh, and the only thing I did a bit different is to use pureed tomato. I picked some fresh tomatoes from the garden today, and I puree them and cook them and then freeze them (no canning this year. not enough bushels of tomatoes to make it worthwhile). Anyway, I took 2 ladles and cooked it down with the garlic. I also used fresh herbs from the herb garden.

Cous Cous Provençal

Michelle--MMmom's DH

1 tomato, diced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tbsp. butter

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

½ cup cous cous

½ cup water, boiling

a pinch of dried, chopped basil (to taste)

a pinch of herbes de provence (to taste)

salt (to taste)

black pepper (to taste)

Put tomato, garlic, olive oil, and butter into a sauce pan and cook over medium heat until most of the water leaves the mixture.

Add ½ cup cous cous. Quickly add basil, herbes de provence, salt, and black pepper to taste. Quickly stir together, add just under ½ cup boiling water, and then remove from heat. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, fluff cous cous with a fork and serve.

Spiced Fish Bake

The Menu:
Spiced Fish Bake

The Original Recipe:
I found this recipe on Menus4Moms.com. It looked fast and flavorful, and it didn't disappoint. It was easy to bake, and we had Cous Cous Provencal as a side dish in which they worked well together. (We also had some butter beans heated up, too!). A+ from the whole family. And you know, I meant to cook this out on the grill... that would work out great, too!

Spiced Fish Bake

• 6 fish fillets

• 1 tsp paprika

• 1/2 tsp salt

• 1/2 tsp lemon pepper

• 1/4 tsp dry mustard

• 1/4 tsp garlic powder

• 1/8 tsp poultry seasoning

• dash cayenne pepper

• 3 Tbsp butter, melted

Heat oven to 350°F. Place fish in a lightly greased baking dish. Combine spices and sprinkle evenly over fish. Drizzle with melted butter and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until fish flakes easily. (*keep an eye on the fish. Mine cooked in only 15 mintues)

Apple, Grape, Walnut Salad

The Menu:
Apple, Grape, Walnut Salad

The Original Recipe:
Ok, so my family loves their sweets. They have been over-doing it a bit lately, so I thought I would take matters into my own hands and make healthier "desserts." I found this recipe from Menus4Moms, and I thought it would be a hit. The loved it. I, however, didn't have walnuts or apples, so I just used grapes. I thought I had recalled seeing this at a party one time with just grapes, so I figured why not? My kids really liked it, and they asked for it again the next night, so I know they truly did enjoy this as their dessert. I am also sure that had I had the other ingredients, it would of gotten the same reviews, too (or maybe even better!).

Apple, Grape, and Walnut Salad

 3 sliced and cored Granny Smith apples

 1 bunch red grapes, pulled from the stems

 chopped walnuts

 8 oz. vanilla yogurt

 3 oz. cream cheese

Combine fruit and nuts and serve with vanilla yogurt mixed with cream cheese (use a mixer for a smooth blend).

Spaghetti Tacos

The Menu:
Spaghetti Tacos

The Original Recipe:
My kids adored these. They have watched ICarly in the past and have always wanted to try these. When I saw Amy write about them, I knew I wanted to make them for my kids. The only thing I did different was to use garden fresh tomatoes that I pureed. I didn't use the spaghetti sauce mentioned, so all those herbs in the sauce were left out. I pretty much made it like I was making tacos, and then I added in about 1 cup of pureed tomatoes. I also used fettuccine noodles, too. They absolutely loved these. My oldest had 2 plates, and then the leftovers for lunch deeming this the best spaghetti I have ever made.


(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

1 lb ground beef or ground turkey

1 packet taco seasoning

1 cup water

1 jar Sauteed Onion and Mushroom spaghetti sauce

1 box spaghetti noodles

12 hard taco shells

Salsa, optional

Cheddar cheese, optional

Lettuce, optional

Prepare noodles according to package directions. Drain and return to pot.

Brown meat in pan until no longer pink. Add taco seasoning and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-6 minutes, until sauce thickens. Add spaghetti sauce and cook until warmed. Add to noodles and mix thoroughly.

To assemble the tacos, place a spoonful of salsa in the shell. Sprinkle with a small amount of cheese. Finally, finish filling the shell with spaghetti. Add lettuce on top, if desired.

Very messy, but very yummy!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Green Beans with Feta

The Menu:
Green Beans with Feta

The Original Recipe:
My husband loves green beans. I don't cook them to often as my kids don't like them. I found this recipe and thought that maybe with a few different flavors added they would at least try them (again). It was mixed reviews. So, 3 out of 6 liked them. Not bad, I say!

Green Beans with Feta

Michelle (MMmom) from Kraft

1-1/2 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed

1/2 cup red onion slices

1/2 cup KRAFT Zesty Italian Dressing (I used caesar italian and less of it)

1 pkg. (4 oz.) ATHENOS Traditional Crumbled Feta Cheese (I used less)

TOSS beans and onions with dressing in large skillet; cover.

COOK on medium heat 10 to 12 min. or until vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.

STIR in cheese.

Oven Easy Beef Bake

The Menu:
Oven-Easy Beef Bake
(what? No picture? Nope, it was devoured in seconds by hungry boys!)

The Original Recipe:
This was amazing! It only took 1 1/2 hours in the oven, but I would love to convert it to the crockpot, which I think could be done. This was just good. I served it with greenbeans as a side. I also had some garlic french loaf left that was good to use with the gravy. This is definitely a favorite! I am so glad I took the time to make this tonight.

Oven-Easy Beef Bake

(Maggie via a Gooseberry cookbook)

1 1/2 lbs. stew beef, cubed

2 T. oil

1 can (10.5oz) can mushroom gravy (I used jarred)

1 can (12oz) tomato juice

1/2 c. water

1 pkg. dried onion soup mix

4 potatoes, peeled & quartered

Brown beef in oil in stockpot; drain, set aside.

Combine gravy, tomato juice, water & onion soup mix stockpot; bring to boil. Reduce heat, return beef to pot & simmer 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350. Arrange potatoes in a greased 13x9 baking pan. Pour beef mixture over top of potatoes. Cover with foil and bake for 2 hrs.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Pesto Pasta with Chicken

The Menu:
Pesto Pasta with Chicken

The Original Recipe:
This was a quick supper night. I used my oven roasted tomatoes. This came together fast and was eaten even faster. Simple and delicious. Also kid friendly (especailly since there are 2 of us that doesn't like red sauce).

Pesto Pasta with Chicken

1 (16 ounce) package bow tie pasta

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

crushed red pepper flakes to taste

1/3 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and cut into strips

1/2 cup pesto sauce


1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic until tender, then stir in chicken. Season with red pepper flakes. Cook until chicken is golden, and cooked through.

3. In a large bowl, combine pasta, chicken, sun-dried tomatoes and pesto. Toss to coat evenly.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Chicken in Tomato and Basil Cream

The Menu:
Chicken in Tomato and Basil Cream

The Original Recipe:
I won a Taste of Home contest and came in 3rd place with my recipe!! ** is my addition to the end. I have made it a few times, and I ended up grilling the chicken one of those times, so I thought to add it to my post!

Chicken in Tomato-Basil Cream Sauce Recipe

Chicken in Tomato-Basil Cream Sauce Recipe
Chicken in Tomato-Basil Cream Sauce Recipe


  • In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook chicken in 2 teaspoons butter until no longer pink. Remove and keep warm. In the same skillet, saute tomatoes and onion in remaining butter until onion is softened. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
  • Stir in broth. Bring to a boil; add orzo. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until orzo is tender. Stir in the chicken, milk, basil, salt and pepper; heat through (do not boil). Sprinkle with cheese just before serving. Yield: 4 servings.
Nutritional Facts 1-1/2 cups equals 417 calories, 12 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 94 mg cholesterol, 723 mg sodium, 41 g carbohydrate, 9 g fiber, 35 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1/2 whole milk, 1/2 fat.
Originally published as Chicken in Tomato-Basil Cream Sauce in Healthy Cooking August/September 2012, p48

The History of Feta

FETA is a white, salty, semi-firm cheese. Traditionally it was made from sheep or goat's milk but is now also made with cow's milk. After feta is formed in a special mold, it's sliced into large pieces, salted and soaked in brine. Although feta cheese is mostly associated with Greek cooking, "feta" comes from the Italian word "fette", meaning slice of food.

Full-Bodied White Wine
Enjoy this recipe with a full-bodied white wine such as Chardonnay or Viognier.

**Since it is summer, I grilled my chicken out on the grill with some Italian seasonings and a bit of garlic powder on them. I then diced them up and added them in with the tomatoes. However, in the winter, I would do as the directions state.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

White Bubble Up Pizza

The Menu:
White Bubble Up Pizza

The Original Recipe:
When I saw this recipe, on Cooking for Your Family board, I immediately printed it out to try. My family loves the Mexican Bubble Pizza (actually, this is a request when I ask, "what do you want for supper tonight?" all the time!) My family absolutely loved this dish! They devoured the 13x9 pan in no time flat! This will be a favorite for years to come.

White Bubble Up Pizza

Via plainchicken.com

2 (12oz) cans Golden layers buttermilk biscuits

1 (15oz) jar alfredo sauce or homemade

2c mozzarella

1/2tsp garlic powder

2 c chicken, cooked and chopped or shredded

Opt: mushroom and onion

---Preheat oven to 375. Cut biscuits into quarters and place in a bowl. Toss biscuits with alfredo sauce and garlic powder. Add chicken, mushrooms, onion and 1c cheese; toss till well blended. Grease a 9x13 pan. Pour biscuit mixture into pan and top with the remaining cheese. Bake for 25-30 min or until biscuits are done.

* I seasoned my chicken with Chicken Montreal seasoning, and I grilled it, and then I shredded it. I only used 1 cup of Mozzarella cheese mixed in with the alfredo. I used simply Pillsbury biscuits and Ragu Lite alfredo.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Blue Cheese Burgers

The Menu:
Blue Cheese Burgers
MMM! See the bits of blue cheese in there! With fresh chives and a tomato from the garden! YUM!

The Original Recipe:
I have been asking around, Babycenter's Cooking for your family board, for some burger recipes. I have been wanting to try something new, but I don't want them to seem like I am eating meatloaf on a bun. This recipe didn't disappoint. It was delicious! So much flavor! I am not a fan of blue cheese unless I eat it with hot wings and celery sticks! However, this was just good. It was probably the best burger I have ever had!

Blue Cheese burgers
via jpsc recipe from allrecipes.com

3 lbs lean ground beef

4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled

1/2 c. minced fresh chives

1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp black pepper

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp dry mustard

In a large bowl mix everything together, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Preheat the grill for high heat. Gently form the burger mixture in to 12 patties. Oil the grill grate. Grill patties 5 minutes per side or until cooked as well as you like. Obviously we didn't eat 12 burgers, so we froze 6 for dinner at a later date.
Amy's notes: I think next time I will half the recipe and make 6 burgers or even 4 really big burgers!
4kowboys notes: I used A1 steak sauce in place of the Worcestershire (I was out). It worked out great!

Potluck Beans Slow Cooker Recipe

The Menu:
Potluck Beans Slow Cooker Recipe

The Original Recipe:
We have potlucks at our church. There is this one "chili" dish that someone brings and it's an absolute favorite of mine. I have yet to ask for the recipe. When you see it, it has every type of bean in it possible. If there is a word bean in the phrase of the product, it is in this dish. So, I found this recipe on Crockpot365.blogspot, and I changed it a bit. I wanted to make it as close to possible to see what I could do with it next time to make it more like theirs next time!

Potluck Beans Slow Cooker Recipe

1 pound lean ground meat, browned and drained

1 pound smoked bacon, browned, drained, and diced

1 medium onion, diced and browned

1 cup ketchup (no need to brown!)

1/4 cup brown sugar (already brown!)

1 (30-ounce) can Pork n' Beans (I love products with the "n" instead of an &)

1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15-ounce) can butter beans, drained and rinsed (they look like huge lima beans, and if they aren't in the bean section, try the canned veggie section)

1 tablespoon liquid smoke (yup, it's gluten free!)

The Directions.

Use a 6-quart or larger crockpot. This makes a lot.

In a large skillet, brown the hamburger, bacon, and onion. You could probably do this all together, but I did the bacon separately (and woah, mama. pork bacon spatters *way* more than turkey bacon, but it tastes a whole lot better, so I sort of got over it rather quickly. for me. I hate spattery messes.)

While the meats and onion are browning, add the rest of the ingredients into the slow cooker. No need to really stir things up quite yet, or the beans will fall apart. Drain the meats well, and dump into the slow cooker. Use a large spoon to gingerly fold in the hot ingredients.

Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Stir well and serve to your very best friends.

remember to clean the stove!
The Way I Made It My Own:
I added a few things. I would of liked to of used spicy ground sausage in this, but I didn't have any. I used hamburger, but then I added some red pepper flakes to spice it up. I think next time I will use at least 2 tablespoons chili powder to make it more of a chili. I didn't want to change it to much this first time around until I ate it and tried to figure out what else I wanted to add. I definitely had to add the mustard this time. I kept tasting it and something was missing up until I added it. Then it was very good!
Kowboys Potluck Beans
1 pound lean ground meat, browned and drained (preferably use spicy ground sausage)

1 pound smoked bacon, browned, drained, and diced

1 medium onion, diced and browned

1 small green pepper, chopped

1 cup ketchup (no need to brown!)

1/4 cup brown sugar (already brown!)

1 tablespoon Course brown mustard

1 (30-ounce) can Pork n' Beans (I love products with the "n" instead of an &)

1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15-ounce) can butter beans, drained and rinsed (they look like huge lima beans, and if they aren't in the bean section, try the canned veggie section)

1 (15-ounce) can green beans, drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon liquid smoke (yup, it's gluten free!)

The Directions.

Use a 4-quart or larger crockpot.

In a large skillet, brown the hamburger (or pork), green pepper and onion. Microwave your bacon, covered, on high for 5 minutes or until crispy. Drain off fat. You could probably do this all together on the stove, but I did the bacon separately.

While the meats and onion are browning, add the rest of the ingredients into the slow cooker. No need to really stir things up quite yet, or the beans will fall apart. Drain the meats well, and dump into the slow cooker. Use a large spoon to gingerly fold in the hot ingredients.

Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Stir well and serve to your very best friends.
* Try adding at least 2 tablespoons chili powder.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Faux Thin Mints

The Menu:
Faux Thin Mints

The Original Recipe:
My mom had told me about these super easy faux thin mints. They taste almost like Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies, and if you buy the fat free Ritz, it makes them even better! These are an easy and fast summer cookie to throw together in a matter of minutes! I have been craving yummy winter cookies, and this is a great substitute so that I don't have to heat the oven! I want more! They disappeared on me!?! (humph)

Faux Thin Mints

1 (10 oz) bag of Andes Creme De Menthe Baking Chips
1 sleeve Ritz Crackers

Empty the bag of mints into a sauce pan. Heat on low until nice and smooth and creamy. Plop a cracker down in the melted chocolate and cover completely. Take out, draining off some chocolate (as to not make a big mess!), and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. 1 bag of chocolate covers 1 sleeve of Ritz, so to do a whole box of Ritz crackers you will need more bags of chocolate or a bigger bag (which I couldn't find, so I used the 10 oz. bag). Place tray in the refrigerator until hardened. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Corn, Black Bean and Lime Salsa

The Menu:
Corn, Black Bean and Lime Salsa

The Original Recipe:
There are thousands of recipes for salsa out there. This is a version that I use. I have a garden, and my tomatoes are just now coming on, but not enough to can, so I decided to make something with them. I normally can spaghetti sauce and diced tomatoes and salsa. But, I love my bowls of fresh salsa even more!
Ahhh... fresh salsa in the morning. Yum! (Yes, I like to eat spicy things in the morning!)

Corn, Black Bean and Lime Salsa

10 Roma tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
15 sprigs cilantro (with longer end stems cut off)
1/2 small purple onion
1/2 cup corn
1 cup black beans
1 jalapeno (seeded)
1 small green pepper (seeded)
1/4 to 1/2 cup lime juice
1 tsp. cumin
kosher salt

In food processor, add jalapeno, green pepper, purple onion, garlic, cilantro and lime juice (start with 1/4 cup).  Pulse until chopped and blended. Meanwhile, chop Roma tomatoes into small pieces. In small bowl, add tomatoes, kosher salt, cumin, corn and black beans. Pour cilantro mixture in with tomatoes and gently stir to combine (add remaining lime juice if you think it needs to be juicier).  Chill and serve with your favorite tortilla chips (or if you are like me, just eat it with a spoon!)