Monday, December 15, 2008

Taco Bean Burgers

I thought I'd share my husbands favorite meal because it is ridiculously easy and he loves it so much. I'm not a fan of sloppy joes, but this alternative is one that everyone in our family likes:

1 lb ground beef, browned
1 can baked beans
1 pkg taco seasoning

Mix together and warm. Serve on hamburger buns.

I usually serve this with potato salad, french fries, or another more labor intensive side dish because the main is so effortless. Of course, in a pinch, I just chop up and steam some veggies.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Peppermint Bark

I just made this today for my neighbor gifts. It is really easy and addicting!

1 1/2 -2 pounds of white melting chocolate
10-12 candy canes crushed
4 drops of peppermint oil (All I could find was extract and it seemed to work fine.
red gel food coloring (opt)

Melt chocolate in microwave 2 minutes and stir in everything else (I saved a little bit of the candy canes to sprinkle over top)
Pour onto heavy foil (I used regular and it worked) lined cookie sheet. Put in refrigerator until set. Break off in brittle-like pieces. Very yummy. Enjoy!

Sorry the picture is of my bags too with my shortbread cookies. I didn't have any left over out and I didn't want to unwrap the bags. =)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Yummy Potato Casserole, with a twist

Commonly referred to in Mormon Culture as "Funeral Potatoes", this is one of my favorite dishes. But it's a bit much work and makes A LOT just for a side dish. Thus the name...this is usually made only for funerals or other such large gatherings. Well, a coworker of mine once made this as a breakfast casserole with ham. In addition instead of shredding the potatoes, she simply cut them into large chunks (you could do any size you like, I'm sure). This cuts down prep time and the addition of the ham makes it a great meal in and of itself. So with those additions, here is a YUMMY casserole with the changes added.

Yummy Potatoes and Ham (or other meat :)

8 (or so) boiled potatoes (cut into chunks, or shredded)
1 C Ham or Turkey chunks (***I've use the stuff that comes in the packages, already cut for salads, the measurement is a guesstimate. When I made it I just used all the leftovers I had and actually used both AND Turkey***)
1 can cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup
2 C shredded cheese (I use cheddar)
2 C sour cream
1 tsp salt
1/2 C chopped onions
2 C crushed cornflakes (***or any other plain cereal, tonight I used rice crispies and bread crumbs, because that's what I had...back to the recipe...***)
3/4 C melted butter, divided
1 tsp pepper

Mix potatoes, meat, soup, cheese, sour cream, salt and pepper together. Melt 1/2 C of the butter in a pan and saute the onions until soft. Add the butter and onions to the potato mixture. Put in a 9 x 13 pan. Mix remaining 1/4 C butter and cornflakes and put on top of casserole. Cover with foil and back at 375 for 30 minutes.

Also, this I think is the best recipe for this dish that I've tried. I usually try several when I have it at functions (like the Christmas Party tonight) and I can never find one I love as much as this...

And ANOTHER plug...please review any recipes you try...we hope your trying them!!!

Red Velvet Cake

This is a very festive red cake. It is great for this time of the year. I also make it at Valentine's day. It is great for a Christmas birthday cake. Enjoy and let me know if you like it.

Red Velvet Cake
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 Tablespoon cocoa
2 oz red food coloring( it comes in small bottles in the spice part of the grocery store)
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
Cream sugar and shortening and then add eggs. Make a paste with the cocoa and food coloring in a small bowl. Add to creamed mixture. Mix salt and vanilla with buttermilk and add alternately with the flour to the creamed mixture. Mix baking soda and vinegar in a small cup. Fold into the mixture. Don't beat.Bake in 9x13 or 2-9 inch round floured and greased pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. You can check to make sure it is cooked with a toothpick and poke it into the center to make sure it is all cooked.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Black Bean Quesadillas/Burritos

This is another recipe from the Dinner Diva (Saving Dinner). I did this one today for lunch and it took me about 20 minutes from start to serve. I will admit regular burritos are probably faster, but this gives you a really nice variation on that theme for just a few extra minutes.

I Tbls olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 package frozen corn (5 ounces)
12 flour tortillas (she suggest whole wheat, but this is one thing I really prefer with white flour...)
1 C Cheddar Cheese

In a large skillet, add half the oil and saute the onion and garlic until soft. Mix in beans, bell pepper, tomatoes and corn. Cook until heated through.

***Kristy's version (faster). I then just warmed the tortillas and used the mix as burrito filling, including the cheese. My husband also added sour cream and avocados to his and that was really good. Also I didn't have the red pepper on hand, so just made it without and it was still great. Back to the original version:

Place a tortilla on a plate or flat surface. Sprinkle some Cheddar cheese over the tortilla. Spoon some of the bean and veggie mixture over the cheese. Top with another tortilla. Repeat until all the tortillas are used.

Heat remaining oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place quesadillas in the skillet and heat and flip until both sides are brown.

***UPDATE: We used the leftovers a few days later to bulk up some chicken tacos we made. My hubby liked it better that way. I loved it the first time as it was, but this is another option for you.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Scones, Navajo Tacos

This is a REALLY yummy scone recipe. It's a little sweet so is great with butter and jam or honey. But it also works really well for Navajo Tacos. We usually throw on chili beans or regular canned chili, tomatoes, lettuce, olives, cheese, sour cream...whatever you like. These go together really quickly also. REMINDER: If you are trying these recipes PLEASE review makes me feel like my effort is not in vain:)


Navajo Bread:

4 C Flour
1 tsp Salt
1/2 C Sugar
2 tsp Baking Powder
2 C Milk

Mix dry ingredients, add milk. Mix until you get a good dough. (I usually have to add a little flour until it's not too sticky). Fry in hot oil.

I make smaller scones from golf ball sized balls, and just press them down quite flat as they rise in the oil. Today I also used 1 C of wheat flour and 3 Cups regular flour and that turned out well.

NOTE: One reviewer said she didn't like these so much because they were heavy. They ARE a little heavier than some scone recipes. This is a QUICK recipe without yeast, so it does turn out that way. I don't mind it. My husband on the other hand really prefers the lighter scones I make with my white bread recipe. It just depends on your preference. But if you are a hurry, these are a great option :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Mexican Chicken in a Crock Pot

I LOVE this recipe. It sounds a little different, but is really good and appealing to picky eaters I think. Give it a try.

2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (can be frozen)
1 can black beans
1 pkg taco seasoning mix
1 can corn
1 can green chilies
1 jar salsa

1 can refried beans

Cook all ingredients except the refried beans in a crock pot on low for 4 hours. Shred chicken and add the refried beans to thicken. Stir well. Serve in flour tortillas or with tortilla chips. This makes quite a bit so is a good dish if serving lots of people or for leftovers.

Ritz/Triscuit/Cornflake/Breaded Chicken

The above title was used because I've tried basically the same recipe with a variety of breading options, depending on what you have on hand.  I really like all of them and have even used homemade bread crumbs on my most recent venture.  This is DELICIOUS and simple to put together.

1-2 C Breading (Crushed crackers, cereal or bread crumbs)
3 TBLS Parmesan Cheese
2 tsp Garlic Salt
1 tsp Season Salt
1/2 C Melted butter
1 small container of plain yogurt (I have also used sour cream when no yogurt on hand, still good)
1 lb Chicken Tenders  (I usually just cut up chicken breasts into thinner that what tenders are?)

Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl or zip lock bag.  Wash chicken and dry with paper towels.  Dip chicken into yogurt then in dry mix.  Place in a greased pan.  After chicken is in pan pour melted butter over the top.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

This recipe came from our SLC ward cookbook.  My friend Jaclyn made it for us one time and since then my husband declared I can make anything in the cookbook by her, because he liked it so much.

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

OK, one more from Lara...then I'm off to make dinner and will post another tonight if it turns out good.

Chicken Noodle Soup and Breadsticks:

Dump 3 cans of chicken broth in a large pot, throw in 3 stalks of celery sliced, 3-4 big carrots that have been peeled and sliced, 1/2 of a small onion chopped (or 1 TBSP dried onion) and a chicken breast that has been cut into bite size chunks. Set that to boil for about 20 minutes till the chicken is done and the veggies are as tender as you'd like.

Dump in about 16 oz. of dry noodles (penne holds up the best for this soup). Add more water if you need to - you don't want a whole lot of liquid, just a couple of inches over the top of the noodles and stuff. Boil (stir often) till the noodles are done. Stir in 2 cans cream of chicken soup and serve.

We eat this about once a week in the fall/winter. I always mix up a batch of breadsticks to go with it.

Those are easy too - after you get the veggies and chicken boiling, put 1 1/3 cups really warm water in your mixer bowl. Add 1 TBSP yeast, 1 TBSP sugar, 1 tsp salt, and mix. Let this sit for just about a minute to get started. Then add in 3 1/4 cups flour (sometiems a bit more or less depending on the humidity - you want a soft dough that is not sticky). Mix for 10 minutes by hand or machine. (You can do this in a bosch, kitchenaide, or bread machine). Melt 1/4 cup butter and pour it onto a large jellyroll pan. Spread the dough onto the pan. You'll have to stretch and press the dough to get it as close to the edges as you can. Cut the dough into breadsticks - we do one cut across the middle and then about 7 the long way, but you can cut them however big or small you'd like. Let rise until puffy (sometimes I put them in the oven and then turn it on to pre-heat if I'm in a hurry). Bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes. Brush with butter and sprinkle with garlic salt. Really good!

If you want sweet breadsticks for a treat, at the end instead of using garlic salt, sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar.

Honey Mustard Chicken

This is another recipe from Lara's blog. Again, I haven't tested it, but sounds good...

Honey Mustard Chicken (from Rachael Ray)

3 TBSP honey
2 TBSP spicy brown mustard
2 TBSP vegetable oil
2 limes, 1 juiced & 1 cut into 8 wedges
8 skinless, bone-in chicken thighs (I actually used about 10-12 chicken tenderloins and it worked fine)

In a resealable plastic bag, combine the honey, mustard, oil and lime juice. Add the chicken and let marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes (I thawed my chicken in the microwave first.)

Grill chicken for 10 minutes on each side, or if you are grill-less like me, pan fry it!. Serve with lime wedges. Enjoy!

Crock Pot Fettucine

Disclaimer:  I haven't tried this recipe.  I stole it off of my friend Lara's blog.  She's who basically inspired the idea of this website with her post asking for help.  She got a lot of recipes in response to her request...this is one of them.  I might post more later.  This is just one of the first and sounds good.  PLEASE post a review if you try it...

Fetuccine in crock pot
2 chicken breasts (frozen or not)
1/4 C butter or margarine
1 pkt. italian dressing mix
Cook for 4-6 hrs in crockpot, cut up chicken, then add 
1 8oz cream cheese
1 can cream of chicken
1/2 can water
cook for another half hour. while this is cooking, boil fetuccine noodles. Mix together with chicken/cream cheese mix. I always serve this with french bread.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Cream of Mushroom Pork Chops and Potatoes

This recipe is very similar to the pork chop recipe with sour cream in it, but just a little different. It is so easy and my family LOVED it. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

4-6 pork chops
2 cans of cream of mushroom soup
about 6-10 potatoes(cut up)
garlic salt if desired

Wash potatoes and cut them up in chunks and put cream of mushroom soup, potatoes, pork chops and seasonings in crock pot. Let cook for approximately 3 hours depending on if pork chops are frozen or not.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Garlic Broccoli

My sister discovered this in Rachael Ray and it is YUMMY! To illustrate, 6 out of 7 of my daycare kids (ages 1-5) loved it today and most asked for seconds or thirds. The one that didn't eat it is very little and refused to even try it. This is the recipe right off of Rachael's site. I actually have not tried it with the chili powder or the seasoning blend. I usually use the garlic cloves, but today used the Garlic Salt and it worked really well. I also season it with salt and pepper.

Garlic Broccoli

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, eyeball it
5 to 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped OR Garlic Salt
1 tablespoon chili powder ***(optional)
1 tablespoon grill seasoning blend (recommended:Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick Grill Mates) *** (optional)
1 large head broccoli, cut into thin, long spears (including stems)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, chili powder and grill seasoning in the bottom of a large bowl and add the broccoli spears. Toss to coat broccoli evenly then transfer to a large nonstick baking sheet. Roast the broccoli until ends are crisp and brown and stalks are tender, 17 to 20 minutes.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Crock Pot Pork Chops with Sour Cream Sauce

I found this recipe online and it was YUM! The chops were SO tender and I loved the sauce. A+ from me. Speaking of which...PLEASE review this and other recipes you try on this site! THANK YOU!


4 to 6 pork chops
salt and pepper
1/4 C oil
1 Large onion, sliced
2 cubes or equivalent chicken boullion or base
2 cups hot water
8 oz. sour cream (fat free is OK)


Season pork chops to taste and dredge in flour. Lightly brown in oil and place in slow cooker; top with onion slices. Dissolve or soften boullion in hot water and pour over chops. Cook on low 7-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. After the pork chops have cooked, stir 2 tablespoons flour into the sour cream; stir into cooking juices. (It is not necessary for this to be totally blended into boullion, but don't just dump it on top either.) Turn slow cooker to high for 15-30 minutes or until liquid is slightly thickened. Serve with rice, noodles or potatoes as you choose.

Friday, November 21, 2008

San Francisco Chops

I have no idea why this is called San Francisco Chops, I got the recipe from my sister who doesn't remember where she got it or why it has this name either. It is super yummy and an easy slow cooker recipe. I changed it a little bit by decreasing the amount of soy sauce and increasing the chicken broth, I felt it was too salty once it cooked down with the original ratio.

4 - 1” thick bone in pork chops or 6 thinner chops (Cut off fat layer if it is thick)
1-2 Tbsp. oil
2 garlic clove, minced

Brown chops in oil in a skillet, remove to greased slow cooker. Add the garlic to drippings in pan and cook till golden, stirring. Stir in:

1/4 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup chicken broth (or 3/4 tsp chicken bullion mixed with 3/4 cup hot water)
4 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

Cook sauce, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Pour over chops in slow cooker. Cook on low for 7-8 hours (high 4-5 hours) until tender. Remove chops from slow cooker. Combine 1 Tbsp. cornstarch and 1 Tbsp. water till smooth. Stir into sauce to thicken. Remove bones from chops and place meat back into the sauce. Cook for 3o minutes more. Serve over rice.

Easy Easy Pumpkin Cookies

I am sure most of you have heard of this recipe but to those that haven't I thought I would share one of the simplest recipes that I know of for pumpkin cookies. It would be great to have these items in storage for emergencies because it is so simple.

1 spice cake mix( or carrot cake mix)
1 small can pumpkin
chocolate chips

Mix the cake mix and the pumpkin together and then add chocolate chips. (No eggs, oil, water etc)
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 min.

Great low fat recipe

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Super Easy Taco Salad

1 lb. ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning mix
1 can beans (any kind you like: kidney, pinto, etc...)
chopped veggies (whatever you like: lettuce, cilantro, tomato, onion, olives, avocado, etc...)
sour cream
tortilla chips (plain or Dorito's)

Brown ground beef then add taco seasoning mix according to package directions. While that cooks drain your can of beans and heat it in the microwave if you want them warm. Chop up all your veggies and shred your cheese.

At this point you can do one of two things. You can mix everything together in a big bowl, or you can leave everything out for people to make there own salad on their plate with what they want. I just leave everything out and let people add whatever they want to theirs. Start with a layer of chips, then meat and beans, then whatever else you want on it.

Enjoy! This comes together so fast and so easily and is really yummy!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tortilla Taco Soup

My sister just sent me this recipe and I thought I would share.

3 can Diced Tomatoes
1 can Kidney beans Drained
1 Can Corn
1 Can Chicken
1 pkg Taco Seasoning
Tortilla Chips
Sour Cream
Grated Cheese

Mix all ingredients into crockpot and warm on high for a couple hours. Serve over crushed Tortilla Chips then add cheese and sour cream on top.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Key Lime Pie

This recipe is real easy. It can be used as a treat when on a diet because it is lower in calories, depending on if you choose to use light cool whip and a reduced fat graham cracker crust.
ENJOY!!! This is real yummy. Try it for Thanksgiving.

Key Lime Pie
1(3 oz) pkg sugar free lime jello
1(8 oz) carton fat free Cool Whip( or regular)
1/2 c boiling water
Graham cracker pie crust( or reduced fat graham cracker crust)
2 (6 oz) containers of key lime light Yoplait yogurt

Mix lime jello with boiling water until dissolved. Add yogurt and gently fold in Cool Whip. Pour into pie shell and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Chicken Divan

Because I thought this site needed more chicken recipes, the other exception to my anti-cream soup stance.

Chicken breasts baked on a bed of rice and broccoli with a creamy tasty sauce and cheese on top.


2 C. cooked rice
2 lb. broccoli, cut up
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1/2 C. milk
1/2 C. Mayonaise (not miracle whip, fat free ok)
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 C. shredded mozzerella cheese
1 C. italian seasoned bread crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spread cooked rice in the bottom of a 9x13" baking pan.
3. Spread the 2lbs of cut up broccoli evenly over the rice.
4. Place chicken breasts on top of broccoli.
5. Mix soup, milk, mayo and lemon juice. Pour over top of chicken.
6. Sprinkle cheese and then bread crumbs over chicken.
7. Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 1 to 1-1/2 hour, removing foil for last 20-30 minutes so that topping will get brown and bubbly.

Number Of Servings:6

Chicken in Orange Sauce

One of my exceptions to my anti-cream soup stance, easy and really yummy.

To make a healthier version of this dish substitute the cream soups with reduced fat versions and cut the hot oil back to 2 Tbsp.


1/2 C. Flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. paprika
Dash pepper
Dash garlic powder
6 chicken breast halves
1-4oz. can mushroom with juice
1/4 C. hot oil
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
2/3 C. orange juice
2 tsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Blend first five ingredients. Coat chicken with flour mixture and brown in hot oil. Blend remaining ingredients. Turn chicken and pour mixture over it. Cover and simmer about 20-30 minutes or until chicken is tender. Serve with rice and vegetable of your choice.

Number Of Servings:6
Preparation Time:about 45 minutes start to finish

Meal Swap?

Kristy, please tell me if me posting this is ok with you, I don't want to be out of line or anything, I just think that something like this might be fun.

I am wondering if anyone on here who lives in the Cedar City area would be interested in a meal swap group? I could organize it and everything if anyone is. Basically, once we have a group set everyone would email me 3 recipes that they would like to use that will survive freezing and re-heating. I would review them to make sure that there aren't any duplicates and request new recipes if necessary. Then everyone in the group would vote for their favorite recipe from each group of three. Each persons recipe that got the most dish would be the one they make for the swap. Everyone then makes enough of that recipe fro each person in the group to have a frozen meal of it, we all come together and swap. Everyone just makes a bunch of one recipe and goes home with a variety.

I don't know if I explained that very well, but it works great and is usually a lot of fun. If anyone is interested or has any questions just let me know... I love sharing recipes like this and have been doing it on a family website for a long time, but I think a meal swap group would be a fun thing to try as well.

From scratch tuna casserole

I really, really hate cooking with cream soups most of the time (I do have two exceptions that I can think of and I will share them later) so I make the sauce for my tuna casseroles from scratch, it is so easy and the taste is so much better.


· 6 Cups medium noodles (about 8 oz.) or 2 cups elbow macaroni (about 7 oz.) (I usually use either egg noodles or small shells)

· 1 sleeve saltine crackers (I like to use whole wheat or multi-grain ones the best. most people top a tuna casserole with bread crumbs but I tried saltines once when I was out of bread crumbs and have never gone back)

· a few shakes garlic powder (optional)

· 2 Tbsp. butter, melted (for cracker topping, more if you would like)

· 1 C. chopped celery

· ½ C. chopped onion

· 1-2 cloves garlic, chopped or a few shakes of powdered (optional)

· 6 Tbsp. butter

· ½ C. all purpose flour

· 1 tsp. dry mustard (optional, although it is good with it, if you don't have any leave it out)

· salt and pepper to taste

· 2 C. milk

· 2 C. chicken broth (or 2 tsp. chicken bullion dissolved in 2 cups hot water)

· 3 (6 oz) cans tuna, drained and broken up into chunks

· 1-2 cups frozen peas (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Cook noodles or macaroni according to package instructions. While pasta is cooking, take your saltines and crush them inside the sleeve. Combine saltines with 2 Tbsp (or more) melted butter and a few shakes of garlic powder if you are using it.
  3. Cook celery, onion and chopped garlic (if using) in the 6 Tbsp. of oil until tender. Stir in flour, mustard powder, salt and pepper. Add milk and chicken broth. Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly (it should look like any good thick white sauce). Combine sauce, tuna, peas and noodles. It will look a little like there is too much sauce for the amount of noodles but it will thicken more during baking. Transfer to a 13”x9” sized pan (I use a glass pyrex one) and sprinkle top with buttered saltines.
  4. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until bubbly.

Julia's Revenge

My mom always called this Julia's revenge, in reference to Julia Child, because it only uses one pot and is so quick and easy.


1 lb. hamburger
1 medium onion, chopped
1 - 28 oz can stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 can corn, drained (optional)
1-1/2 cups uncooked white rice
2 to 2-1/2 cups water
salt and pepper to taste
shredded cheese, any kind

Brown hamburger and onion in a large pot. Drain. Drain tomato liquid into a 4 cup measuring cup. Add tomatoes to the pot and break up if necessary, also add corn if using ( Ialways use corn because we like it that way. Add enough water to tomato juice to measure 3 cups, pour into pot and bring to a boil. Add the rice and some salt and pepper (maybe 1/4 tsp pepper and 1/2 tsp salt to start, I don't know because I never measure it) and stir everything together. Reduce heat (low or med-low), cover and simmer 20-30* minutes until rice is done. Add more salt and pepper if necessary. Top with shredded cheese.

During cooking time, check occasionally to make sure rice isn't sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Orange Breakfast Biscuits

I make these for breakfast on some Sundays and especially when I have a special breakfast or have company over. They are very yummy and very easy. Let me know what you think.

Orange Breakfast Biscuits
1/2 c sugar
1/2 cube butter
2 Tablespoons orange juice concentrate

Combined above ingredients in a saucepan and heat until sugar is dissolved. Place 1 package, small refrigerator biscuits in a 8x8 inch pan.( If you are feeding more people use more packages and you can use a 9x13 pan) Pour juice mixture over rolls and bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes.

Friday, November 14, 2008

One Pot Meatball and Gnocchi Soup

I was really wanting soup and was browsing the net when I came across this recipe. It is so easy and very hearty. I made the meatballs with my melon baller and scooped them right into the soup. You don't need to use the red wine, you can just substitute more chicken broth. I also used Canadian bacon instead of turkey bacon because that is what I had on hand. This makes really good left overs. Enjoy!


2 Tbs. olive oil
4 pieces turkey bacon, diced
4 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks (with leafy parts), chopped
1/2 onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, roasted
2 bay leaves
1 Tbs. fresh thyme, minced
1 Tbs. fresh rosemary, minced
1/4 C. red wine, preferably cabernet
1 lg. can diced tomatoes(with liquid)
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 C. gnocchi, store-bought or hand-made
4 C. chicken broth
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 C. fresh parsley, minced

meatball recipe
1 1/2 lb. ground turkey
1 egg
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp. red pepper flake
1 Tbs. fresh rosemary, minced
1 Tbs. fresh thyme, minced
1/4 C. grated parmesan cheese
1 lemon, juiced and zested


Combine ingredients for the meatball mixture and set aside. Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook until crisp, about 5-7 minutes. Remove bacon and drain on paper towel, set aside. Next add the carrots, celery, onion, roasted garlic, bay leaves, fresh thyme and rosemary and let cook another 5-7 minutes.

Deglaze pan with red wine and let cook for 1 minute before adding the canned tomatoes, garbanzo beans, broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and begin forming meatballs and dropping them into the soup. Also add the gnocchi and let simmer for 7-10 minutes, until both meatballs and gnocchi are floating to the top. Return bacon to the soup and garnish with fresh parsley just before serving.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Improvising, Skillet Pasta

OK, so much hubby has issues with spaghetti.  I like homemade spaghetti for many reasons, including that it's EASY and FAST.  Well tonight was one of those nights, it was after 5 and I had no dinner plans.  I have shied away from that above mentioned dish most of the time because I only get complaints when I make it.  But he agreed tonight that was fine.  I had to get out the door to book group.  As I started cooking however I decided to "improvise" (which always scares Joey...I swear I get no appreciation!).  Inspired by Rachael Ray and the "Dinner Diva" I threw this together:

Skillet Pasta (Anyone have a better name, let me know)

Get Pasta cooking.  I used Penne.

Saute Veggies and pressed garlic in some olive oil until tender. (I used one chopped onion and some left over green peppers.  You could also add mushrooms, shredded carrots, whatever you have on hand.  You could also skip this step if your in a real crunch!)

Add 1 lb ground beef, brown and drain off fat.
Add 1/2 - 1 C oats.  (this may sound weird, but you can't taste it, it adds whole grain and some bulk to the meat, extending the food for just a few pennies)

Mix these until incorporated.

Add 1 jar store bought spaghetti sauce and 1 C cottage cheese.  Mix well.  Top with Mozzarella Cheese and let melt.  Serve over pasta.

You can also mix the sauce and pasta together, top with cheese and bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes until the cheese is melted, but this adds more time and more dishes...

The end result...Joey really liked it and Tyler had 3 helpings (he ate more than my husband!)

The Soup that Started it all

This is yummy, easy and quick.  For the most part it can be done with things you probably already have in your pantry.  Add a veggie on the side and it's totally well rounded...good luck, let me know what you think.

Black Bean and Salsa Noodle Soup

3 cans (14 oz) vegetable or chicken broth (I used chicken because I had it)
1 16 oz jar salsa
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 package (5 oz) curly noodles or other uncooked pasta
1/3 C chopped fresh cilantro (optional, I didn't use this in mine)
1 TBLS lime juice
1 tsp chili powder (I think I goofed and used a TBLS and it was still really yummy)
1/4 tsp each of ground cumin and pepper
Shredded Parmesan or other cheese

In 4-QT pan heat broth to boiling.  Add all ingredients except cheese.  Reduce heat to medium.
Cook until noodles are tender, stirring occasionally.  Sprinkle with cheese and serve.