Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hidden Kisses

Every year as I start to make my list of Christmas cookies that I am going to bake for the year, I include a mix of new recipes and old favorites. This was a new recipe that I tried this year and it was super yummy... Not the prettiest looking cookie, but as the post that I found this recipe on said - who needs a pretty cookie when it tastes this good?? Not I, Not I! :) But honestly - check out that picture, they look pretty good don't they? :) I love the surprise hit of chocolate in the middle...

Hidden Kisses
(recipe found at

approximately 70 hershey kisses, unwrapped
4 stickes softened salted butter
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
powdered sugar

Beat butter, sugar and vanilla in large bowl until fluffly. Add flour and walnuts and mix until well blended. Chill dough in refrigerator for about an hour. Preheat oven to 350. Using about one tablespoon for each cookie, shape dough around each kiss. Roll in hand to make a ball and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until cookies are set but not browned on top. Cool slightly before removing from cookie sheet and place on wire rack. When completely cooled sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Weekly Line Up - 12/30-1/5

A little late once again but I have been having too much fun with the family on vacation to keep up with my posting! :) Back to school next week and back into the swing of things... Have a great New Year's!

Thursday - Omelots
Friday - Roast
Saturday - Night out with the family
Sunday - *Bacon Cheeseburger Rice
Monday - Steaks
Tuesday - *Honey and Spice Baked Chicken
Wednesday - Night out
Thursday - *Pasta Primavera
Friday - *Chicken Chimichangas

* New Recipes

Thursday, December 29, 2011

BBQ Chicken Pizza Roll Ups

This was super easy to throw together and the kids ate it up fast! What a great meal idea for those nights that we are on the run... I thought that it would make a fantastic appetizer too - finger foods seems to be great for both! :) Now if I could only master the rolling up of the dough, it would look so much prettier in the end! :)

BBQ Chicken Pizza Roll Ups
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

1 tube (13.8 ounces) refrigerated pizza crust
1/4 cup honey barbecue sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon italian seasoning, optional
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

On a lightly floured surface, roll crust into a 12x9 inch rectangle; brush with barbecue sauce. Layer with cheese, chicken, onion, cilantro and italian seasoning if desired. Roll up jelly roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seams to seal. Place seam side down on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Beat egg white and water; brush over top. Sprinkle with garlic powder. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool before slicing.

Serves: 2 dozen slices
Points: 2 points per slice

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cocoa and Chili Rubbed Pork Chops

You know that my love of pork chops has led me to this recipe! My love for quick and easy also went hand in hand with the choosing... It was so easy that my hubby threw it together for supper when I was running around doing other things. Now that is love and simplicity! :)

Cocoa and Chili Rubbed Pork Chops
(recipe found at

2 pork chops, bone in
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper

Mix cocoa, chili powder and brown sugar in a bowl. Sprinkle and pat down rub on both sides of each pork chop. Let sit for about 10 minutes and then add salt and pepper to each pork chop. heat skillet over medium high heat and add oil. Add pork chops and cover. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, depending on thickness of meat. Flip and leave uncovered, cooking for an additional 4-5 minutes.

Serves: 2
Points: 4 per serving

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Beef and Bacon Stroganoff

I love my mom's stroganoff, so I was hard pressed to try another type of recipe for stroganoff. Besides, why mess with something that isn't broken? But, the allure of BACON won out in the end and it was worth it! ;) Once I got past the "what? no rice" part of me - hey that's what we ALWAYS served it with... I tried it and thought that it wasn't too bad! Josh and his mom raved about it and were very happy with the end result of my newest dish... Guess we'll have to try it again - maybe with rice next time! :)

Beef and Bacon Stroganoff
(recipe found in Taste of Home)

1 pound lean ground beef
5 thick sliced bacon strips, chopped
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium obnion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) beef broth
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom with roasted garlic soup, undiluted
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
6 cups uncooked egg noodles
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1/2 cup shredded white cheddar cheese

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the beef, bacon, mushrooms, onion and garlic until beef is no longer pink; drain. Stir in flour until blended. Add broth, soup, worcestershire sauce, pepper, salt and paprika. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, cook noddles according to package directions; drain. Stir sour creamand horseradish into beef mixture; heat through (do not boil). Serve with noodles. Sprinkle with the cheese.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Crockpot French Onion Soup

One of the wonderful meals that I remember having when I was growing up was French Onion Soup. I always loved the taste of it and try to make it once in a while now that I'm all grown up! :) I found this recipe when I was assigned this blog for Secret Recipe Club and it was one of the two that I actually made before that posting date... It was super easy and tasted wonderful!! Now, if only I could turn my kids onto nothing but soup and broth we would be having this quite often! Guess it's an acquired taste...

Crockpot French Onion Soup
(recipe found at

3 onions, sliced
3 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 (32 ounces) containers beef broth
french bread
gruyere cheese

Turn crockpot on high, add butter and let melt. Add onions, cover and cook for 45-50 minutes until they have caramelized. Mix flour, worcestershire, sugar and pepper in a bowl. Slowly add mixture, along with broth, to crockpot, stirring well while adding. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Top bread with cheese and toast for about 20 minutes at 250. Pour soup into bowls and top with bread slices.

Serves: 5
Points: 2

Friday, December 23, 2011

Weekly Line Up - 12/23-12/29

Only 2 more days until Christmas!! I can't believe that it is here already... and no snow still! Makes me a little sad and it definitely is part of the reason that I can't believe that it is here already! Busy weekend planned and then a week of enjoying my kids. Usually we have a ton of plans, but I think that a week of vegging and being together sounds pretty good right about now! Have a fabulous Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Friday - Christmas at mom's - I'm bring Tastefully Simple Cheesy Chive Warm Dip Mix with Beer Bread
Saturday - Chicken Bacon Alfredo Pizza for our family Christmas lunch! Orange Juiced Pork Chops for Christmas Eve supper with a few of our family...
Sunday - I'm bring a cookie tray!
Monday - Brats on the grill
Tuesday - *Bacon Cheeseburger Rice
Wednesday - Taco Night
Thursday - Omelots
Friday - Roast

* New Recipes

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fluffy Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

I tried this pie at my mom's house and I just knew that I had to have it again! So, since Thanksgiving was at my house this year and one of the things that I was in charge of was the pies, I decided to make it for then... It went over just as well at my house as it did at my mom's!! Yummy!

Fluffy Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie
(recipe found at

2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 eggs
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
1 extra serving size graham cracker crust

In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese on medium speed of electric mixer until fluffy. Add sugar and spice. Beat until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until just combined after each addition. Stir in pumpkin. Pour into crust. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on wire rack for 1 hour. Refrigerate at least 3 hours.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Short Ribs

When we got our half a cow there were a couple of packages of short ribs that came with it. Short ribs? How in the heck are they cooked and what am I going to do with them? So, they have sat in the freezer for a while, getting pushed back each time that I dig out some steaks, a roast, a pound of hamburger and then it happened. As I was browsing through some of my favorite blogs there appeared a recipe for short ribs!! Thank the heavens - I didn't even have to search for it, it just fell in my lap! :) This recipe was definitely time consuming and the results were pretty tasty... I'm not going to run out and buy a bunch of short ribs just to make it again, but if we get some again I know what recipe I can go back to!

Short Ribs
(recipe found at

8 boneless short ribs (mine had the bone, I rolled with it)
extra virgin olive oil
2 onions, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
8 ounces portabella mushrooms, chopped
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 raosted red bell peppers, chopped
1 (12 ounces) can tomato paste
1/4 cup prepared horseradish
2 tablespoons ground mustard
2 cups dry red wine
3 bay leaves

Season the ribs generously with salt. Coat a large stock pot with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Add teh ribs to the pan and brown very well on all sides, it may take up to 20 minutes or more, but it is worth the time...

While the ribs are browning, put the onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms and garlic in a food processor and puree to a coarse paste; set aside. When the ribs are very brown on all sides, remove them from the pan. Throw out the fat, add some fresh olive oil and add the pureed vegetables to the pan. Season generously with salt and cook over medium high heat until the veggies are very brown and crud has formed on the pan, about 8-10 minutes. Scrape the bottom of the pan and continue cooking.

Preheat oven to 375. Add the roasted red bell peppers, tomato paste, mustard and horseradish; cook, stirring frequently, until it starts to brown, about 2-3 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a boil and stir frequently to scrape the brown bits off the bottom. Continue cooking until reduced by half, about 3-4 minutes.

Return the ribs to the pan and add enough water to cover the meat. Toss inthe bay laeves and cover tightly. Cook for 2 1/2 hours, checking every 45 minutes to make sure the meat is covered with liquid, if not add more water. Remove the lid during the last 20 minutes of cooking.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Orange Juiced Pork Chops

Once again, the pork chop recipe caught my eye... I thought that this sounded a little bit different, definitely easy and would feed a lot of people. My mind has been on trying to figure out what we are having for Christmas Eve dinner, which is usually something that I can throw in the crockpot before we leave for church, and this seemed to fit the bill... So, this was my trial run and it was a hit at our house! The pork chops had a different taste to them but were still delicious... Josh was not expecting the sweetness of the orange juice though so he was a little put off at first - by the end of the meal he was sold too! Guess next time I need to warn him in advance what we are eating so he knows what to expect! :)

Orange Juiced Pork Chops
(recipe found in A.C.C. cookbook)

1 (12 ounces) can frozen orange juice, undiluted
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons soy sauce
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon garlic powder
12 (1" thick) boneless center cut pork chops

Combine all ingredients, except the meat, in the crockpot. Stir well. Add the meat and stir well to coat. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Spice Rubbed Turkey with Cognac Gravy

So, I hosted my first Thanksgiving this year and to tell you the truth - I had never made a turkey before... I had an idea where to start and instead of asking mom for her recipe I set out to find my own. Actually my own landed right in my lap when I was researching recipes for the Secret Recipe Club that I am a part of! Thanks to Lisa at I didn't have to search long. Her recipe sounded delicious and it was!! I got a lot of compliments on the turkey that I made and no one got sick (at least that I am aware of! :) So, all in all, I would say my first Thanksgiving was a success - at least in the turkey department!

So, my post is slightly late for your own Thanksgiving turkey, but I thought I would get it up and running for the next holiday that is right around the corner! :) Enjoy!!

Spice Rubbed Turkey with Cognac Gravy
(recipe found at

1 (18-20 pound) turkey; neck heart and gizzard reserved for giblet broth
5 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
3 tablespoons smoked sweet paprika
5 1/2 cups chicken broth

Giblet Broth:
5 cups chicken broth
2 pounds turkey necks

Giblet Gravy:
1 cup dry white vermouth
1/2 cup cognac
salt and pepper to taste

Mix coriander, cumin, black pepper, cinnamon, salt and paprika together. Rinse and dry the turkey well. Then set the turkey on a rack set in large roasting pan; tuck wings under. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon spice mixture in main cavity of the turkey and spread the remaining spice mixture all over turkey skin; tie legs together to hold shape. Turn turkey breast side down. Refrigerate uncovered for 24-48 hours.

Before roasting, let turkey stand 1 hour at room temperature. Set rack at lowest position in oven and preheat to 450. Pour 3 cups of chicken broth into pan with turkey. Cook for 20 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 350. Roast turkey 1 hour and then pour 2 cups broth over turkey. Continue roasting until thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast registers 161, about 1 hour longer.

Meanwhile, prepare giblet broth. Place the turkey necks as well as the reserved turkey neck, heart and gizzard in medium saucepan; add 5 cups chicken broth. Simmer 1 hour. Strain and then skim any fat from surface of giblet broth.

Once turkey reaches temperature, transfer turkey to platter, tent loosely with foil and let stand 30 minutes (internal temperature of turkey will rise 5-10 degrees.)

Giblet Gravy - Skim off the fat from the surface of the pan juices. Place roasting pan over 2 burners set at medium high heat. Add vermouth and cognac to pan and bring to a boil, scraping up the born bits. Sprinkle in about 1/4 cup flour and whisk. As the pan juices start to thicken whisk in the giblet broth and bring to a boil. Add more flour if necessary until gravy coats the back of a spoon or to the gravy consistency that you desire. Salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Mint Oreo Fudge

It seems as if every year during my Christmas baking I find a new fudge recipe that I want to try... This one caught my eye because it includes a few of my husband's favorite things - mint and oreos! :) So this one was for him!

Mint Oreo Fudge
(recipe found at

3 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1 (14 ounces) can sweetened condensed milk
dash of salt
approximately 20 oreo cookies, broken into pieces
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

In heavy saucepan, melt chocolate chips with sweetened condensed milk and salt over low heat. Remove from heat; stir in cookies, mint and vanilla. Spread evenly into wax paper lined 8 or 9" square pan. Chill 2 hours or until firm in the refrigerator. Lift fudge out of pan, peel off paper and cut into squares. Store covered in refrigerator.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Surprise Package Cookies

I started my Christmas baking, better late then never and wanted to share at least a few of my newest treats before Christmas gets here so I thought that I would actually try to post on the weekend for once! :) Enjoy...

I love the combo of mint and chocolate and Andes mints are one of those yummy treats that I don't get often enough. There is a restaurant that we go to once in a while and they give you a few at the end of your meal and that is about the only time that I get them... Never have I indulged in buying them at the store, but I finally did just for this recipe! I know why I don't usually buy them - I almost didn't have enough for the recipe! :) These are one of my new favorite cookies and I can't wait to make them again!

Surprise Package Cookies
(recipe found in A.C.C. cookbook)

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
65 Andes mints

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add eggs, one at at time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. With floured hands, shape a tablespoonful of dough around 42 candies, forming rectangular cookies. Place 2" apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool on wire racks. In a microwave, melt the remaining candies and drizzle over cookies.

Yields: 3 1/2 dozen (I actually got 5 dozen out of this recipe)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Weekly Line Up - 12/16-12/22

It's the week before Christmas and can you believe that we STILL don't have any snow?? I don't know about you all but to me if it is going to be cold, there might as well be snow to play in! Oh well, I guess that I'll just stay inside and keep baking! :) Have a fabulous week...

Saturday - *Deconstructed Pear Pork Chops
Sunday - Christmas Program/Potluck
Monday - *Cajun Beef Casserole
Tuesday - Boy Scout Christmas Party
Wednesday - Night out!
Thursday - *Bacon Cheeseburger Rice

*New Recipes

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

See, I promised! Here is the recipe for spaghetti squash lasagna... Now hopefully you have one laying on your cupboard so that you can try this little piece of heaven. It was so yummy that you just need to try it. I couldn't believe how much it actually tasted like pasta... and all the stuff that went with it? It really was like eating lasagna, but much healthier! :)

Side note: in the original recipe it calls for making 4 individual servings in separate baking dishes. You all know that I am all about quick and easy, so I went with a bigger baking dish and just cut it into 4 servings...

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
(recipe found at

2 cups marinara sauce
3 cups cooked roasted spaghetti squash
1 cup part skim ricotta
8 teaspoons parmesan cheese
6 ounces part skim shredded mozzarella

See instructions for roasting a spaghetti squash here. Preheat oven to 375. In an 8x8" baking dish ladle 1 cup marinara sauce on the bottom. Top with 3 cups cooked spaghetti squash and spread it out evenly. Top with 1 cup ricotta. Sprinkle 4 teaspoons parmesan cheese and 3 ounces mozzarella on top of ricotta. Add the remaining sauce, parmesan and mozzarella cheese to the top. Cover with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the edges begin to bubble; uncover and cook an additional 5 minutes.

Serves: 4
Points: 6

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Roasted Spaghetti Squash

Who has cooked a spaghetti squash before? Not I said Raina... My mother-in-law brought me one and said "my friend said you would know how to cook it." Umm, okay. So, off to the computer I was going to go - eventually. It sat on my counter for a while and then I was checking in on some of my favorite cooking blogs and the recipe for Spaghetti Squash Lasagna appeared. Normally I would look at it and move on, but not this time. This time I had a spaghetti squash sitting on my counter, ready to use! First off though, it called for roasted spaghetti squash. Okay, so now I needed to find that recipe - lucky for me, she had it linked, just like I am going to do for you! :) So, today we are learning how to roast a spaghetti squash and tomorrow you will find the recipe for Spaghetti Squash Lasagna. Lucky you! :)

Roasted Spaghetti Squash
(recipe found at

1 large ripe spaghetti squash
salt and pepper

Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and fibers with a spoon. Place on a baking sheet, cut side up and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 350 for about an hour or until the skin gives easily under pressure and the inside is tender. Remove from oven and let cool about 10 minutes. Using a fork, scrape out the squash flesh a little at a time. It will separate into spaghetti like strands. Place in a serving dish and serve hot.

Easy as pie!! I have heard that it works perfectly as a spaghetti substitute which I am going to try soon, since my mother-in-law brought me another spaghetti squash that is sitting on my cupboard! :)

Serves: 6 1 cup servings
Points: 0

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cheese Tortellini with Tomatoes and Corn

This was a fabulous dish - the kids, not such big fans! :) It was not a hit in the Connor house that night. Oh well, I enjoyed it and now I have leftovers for a bit. I thought that it would be better as a side dish though, so not sure if I will make it as a main dish again. It's so pretty with all the colors...

Cheese Tortellini with Tomatoes and Corn
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

1 package (9 ounces) refrigerated cheese tortellini
1 package (16 ounces) frozen corn, thawed
2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
4 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper

In a dutch oven, cook tortellini according to package directions, adding the corn during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Drain and rinse in cold water. In a large serving bowl, combine tortellini mixture and remaining ingredients; toss to coat.

Serves: 4 (1 3/4 cup servings)
Points: 8

Monday, December 12, 2011

Meat Loaf

This may be my new go to meatloaf. It was so moist and yummy - I wanted to keep eating it. It also gave you a big amount for not too many points, so my Weight Watchers is thanking me for that! :)

Meat Loaf
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

1 egg white
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon steak sauce
5 medium fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried sage leaves
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 pound lean ground beef

In a large bowl combine all ingredients and mix well. Shape into a loaf; place into an 11x7" baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake uncovered at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until no pink remains. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Drizzle with barbecue sauce if desired.

Serves: 4 (2 slices per person)
Points: 6 points per 2 slices

Friday, December 9, 2011

Weekly Line Up - 12/9-12/15

Got a busy couple of weeks planned, like the rest of the world I am sure! :) Between program practices for all three kids, finishing up the Christmas shopping and a whole lot of baking I am going to find a way to get it all in... Hopefully this week will be the start of the baking, since I plan to finish the Christmas shopping tomorrow! Bring it on! :) I got a new cookbook for Thanksgiving from my cousin Ann and I am busting it out this week! A lot of the recipes are from this cookbook, which she said is full of never fail recipes! Can't wait to check it out... Thanks Ann!

Saturday - pizza for the kids (I'll be shopping!)
Sunday - *BBQ Chicken Pizza Roll Up
Monday - *Chicken Nuggets
Tuesday - *Wigglers Casserole
Wednesday - *Angel Hair Pasta with Chicken and Veggies
Thursday - *Orange Juice Pork Chops
Friday - *Beer and Cheese Soup

Extras: *Surprise Package Cookies, *Oreo Balls, *Hidden Kisses, *Mint Oreo Fudge, Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies

* New Recipes

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Simple Corn Chowder

Oh how wonderfully delicious and super simple this recipe was!! I love a quick soup that you can throw on the stove a half an hour before you want to eat and have it ready! I doubled this recipe and had enough for our family with leftovers and some to share with my grandparents!

Simple Corn Chowder
(recipe found at

1 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
1 cup sliced carrots (about 12 baby carrots)
1 cup chopped celery (about 3 stalks)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups frozen corn
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups milk

In a large saucepan combine broth, potatoes, carrots, celery, salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes. Add corn and simmer for 5 minutes more. Stir in 2/3 cup cheese and milk. Raise heat to medium and cook until cheese is melted and chowder is heated through, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to simmer and allow to cook until vegetables are cooked to your liking. Top with remaining cheese.

Serves: 4 1 cup servings
Points: 4

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Nacho Cheese Beef Bake

As I was making supper this night my mind kept wandering to the thought of "this is really just a homemade version of hamburger helper".... It was super easy to make and I prepared it ahead of time so that all I had to do was throw it in the oven when we got home. I loved the crunch of the chips on top that gave it a little more texture. It was gone quickly and everyone enjoyed it. That's what I call a great meal!

Nacho Cheese Beef Bake
(recipe found in Taste of Home)

2 cups uncooked egg noodles
1 pound ground beef
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed nacho cheese soup, undiluted
1 jar (5 3/4 ounces) sliced pimiento stuffed olives, drained
1 can (4 ounces) green chilies
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups crushed tortilla chips
1/3 cup prepared ranch salad dressing
shredded lettuce, sour cream and/or salsa, optional

Cook noodles according to package directions; drain. meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomatoes, soup, olives and chilies. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Stir in noodles.

Transfer to a greased 11x7" baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until heated through. Top with tortilla chips; drizzle with salad dressing. Serve with lettuce, sour cream and/or salsa if desired.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Garlic Chive Baked Fries

These fries were a huge hit with my family! They got a little doner then I would have like, but the kids thought that they were like eating chips (since their dad sliced them that way)... They had a great taste which meant that we all kept going back for more!

Garlic Chive Baked Fries
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

4 medium russet potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 teaspoon dried minced chives
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cut potatoes into 1/4" julienned strips. Rinse well and pat dry. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with chives, salt, garlic powder and pepper; toss to coat. Arrange in a single layer on two 15x10" baking pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450 for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned, turning once.

Serves: 4
Points: 4 per serving

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pan Fried Tilapia and the SRC

Once again, I was super excited to get my Secret Recipe Club assignment and once again, I was not disappointed. I received the blog I Was Born to Cook and man was she ever! There is recipe after recipe that I wanted to try and I could not wait to get started... Melissa and I share a lot in common as I was browsing through all of her recipes... We both have daughters named Bella, we both love food (especially chocolate) and we are both trying to keep our love of food in check with Weight Watchers! This meant a lot of recipes to go through and try to decide which would be my pick for this month's SRC???

A few tasty tidbits that drew my attention included these recipes for crustless quiche, since anyone that reads my blog knows about my love of breakfast, roasted asparagus with garlic, cocoa and chili rubbed pork chops, again with my love of pork chops! These were just the recipes for main dishes that I found!! I also have added hot artichoke dip, chocolate zucchini muffins, mint oreo fudge and hidden kisses Christmas cookies on my list of recipes to try very soon! I tried two recipes before I blogged for SRC and they included this great recipe for french onion soup (IN THE CROCKPOT!!) and the recipe that I ultimately decided to blog on for today's SRC - Pan Fried Tilapia.

I usually have issues cooking fish but I wanted to give it a go again... These looked delicious, healthy for me and my family and super easy and I was right on all counts! The fish had a fabulous taste and my sometimes fussy kids gobbled it right up - that makes it a winner to me! This is definitely going on the repeat list!

Pan Fried Tilapia
(recipe found at

2 tilapia fillets
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 egg
1/4 cup seasoned italian bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Beat an egg in one bowl and mix bread crumbs and seasonings in another bowl. Dip fish in egg first, followed by bread crumb mixture. Put oil in a hot non stick pan on medium high heat. Move the pan around so the oil covers the entire surface and add fish. Cook each side for about 4-5 minutes. Squeeze some lemon over fish before serving, if desired.

Serves: 2
Points: 5

Friday, December 2, 2011

Weekly Line Up - 12/2-12/8

It's DECEMBER!!! I can't believe that it is here already... My shopping isn't as done as it normally is, my Christmas cards aren't sent out - what kind of chaos am I running this year? Oh yeah, 4 kids, husband gone at training for 2 weeks in November, work - that's the kind of chaos that I am running! :) I'll get there. Now if we could just get some snow, it would feel a lot more like December!

Friday - Subway
Saturday - Roast
Sunday - Chicken on the grill
Monday - *Cocoa and Chili Rubbed Pork Chops
Tuesday - *Beef and Potato Soup
Wednesday - Night out
Thursday - *BBQ Chicken Pizza Roll Up
Friday - *Crustless Quiche

* New Recipes

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Asian Burgers

I know, I know - we are in the beginning of December and I am posting about burgers... I can't help it - we use our grill even when the snow is on the ground and we have to shovel it off the top of the grill! I love it!! These were some tasty burgers and they had a unique taste that was easy to whip up since we always have the ingredients on hand... Garlic Chive Baked Fries were on the menu with these burgers - look for that recipe coming soon! Beau even ate them and he is my "nothing potato will ever touch my mouth" kid... :)

Asian Burgers
(recipe found in Parents Magazine)

1 pound lean ground beef
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 tablespon minced fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons reduce sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

In a large bowl mix together the beef, scallions, ginger, garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil. Shape mixture into 6 burger patties. Grill until desired doneness and enjoy!

Serves: 6
Points: 3 per burger