Thursday, June 28, 2012

Taco Pasta

Another hit hotdish at our house! Love those 1 or 2 pot meals that don't take a lot of time to prepare and when my kids love it too then I know that I have a keeper... Who needs hamburger helper with a recipe like this?

Taco Pasta
(recipe found at

1 pound ground beef
8-12 ounces medium pasta shells or other small dry pasta shapes, cookedand drained
1/2 cup pasta water
1 small onion, chopped
1 (14 ounces) can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies, drained
1 packet taco seasoning
3 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 cup cheddar cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

In a large skillet, cook the ground beef and onion over medium high heat until no longer pink. Add in diced tomatoes and taco seasoning and let simmer over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes. Stir in cooked pasta, cream cheese, sour cream and pasta water. Continue to stir until the cream cheese is melted and sauce is well combined. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer over medium low 3-5 minutes to reduce sauce. Toss in cilantro, stir and cover with cheese. Serve when cheese has begun to melt.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Red Velvet Cake

My mom had been hinting that she was craving red velvet cake for the past few weeks so what better type of cake to make for her birthday then the one that she has been craving. The problem with this was the fact that she has the recipe and I didn't want her to know that I was going to make her the cake... I then searched the wonderful internet and found Paula Deen's recipe for red velvet cake - who better to teach me how to make a red velvet cake?? Since I am not a big fan of red velvet, it always seems really dry to me, I figured if anyone would have a recipe that was moist, it would be Miss Paula... She didn't let me (or my mom) down! :)

Red Velvet Cake
(recipe found at

2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cocoa
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups canola oil
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 (1 ounce) bottle red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 cup butter
1 (8 ounces) cream cheese
1 box confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped lightly toasted pecans, optional

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour 3 (9 inch) round layer cake pans. Sift flour, baking soda and cocoa together. Beat sugar and eggs together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl mix together oil, vinegar, food coloring and vanilla. Add to the bowl of eggs and sugar and beat until combined. Add flour mixture and the buttermilk to the wet mixture by alternating the buttermilk and dry ingredients. Always start with the flour and end with the flour. Pour batter into pans. Tap them on the table to level out the batter and release air bubbles. Bake for 25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted near the middle comes out clean but be careful not to over bake or you'll end up with a dry cake. Let layers cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before turning out of pan. Cool completely before frosting.

Let butter and cream cheese soften to room temperature. Cream well. Add sugar and beat until mixed but not so much that the frosting becomes "loose". Add vanilla and nuts. Spread between layers and on top and sides of cake.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mini Meatballs

I don't make meatballs very often - they seem like a lot of hassle too me, but when I saw this recipe I wanted to give them a try because they seemed like they would be super tasty. They were a lot of work but they were also worth it. They tasted awesome and were nice and moist! The kids and I definitely enjoyed them... I did find that the 12-15 meatballs that the recipe said that they make was a very low ball number!! When they say mini, I expected smaller so I rolled them smaller... This meant that I ended up with about double what they said.

Mini Meatballs
(recipe found in Parents Magazine)

8 ounces mushrooms, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 egg
1/2 cup fresh whole wheat bread crumbs
1 pound uncooked ground turkey breast (I used ground beef)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a large skillet, cook mushrooms and onions in 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium high heat for 5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and starting to brown, stirring once. Remove and set aside to cool slightly. In a bowl, beat egg with a fork. Stir in bread crumbs, turkey, garlic powder and salt. Stir in mushroom mixture. Using an ice cream or cookie scoop, shape mixture into 12-15 balls. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Add meatballs. Cook 10 minutes or until done.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Garlic and Herb Chicken Kabobs

I love kabobs!! They are so yummy straight off the grill and fun to eat... Not that I would like to make a bunch for a group of people but they are a nice treat for our family! The kids weren't too excited for the peppers but the rest of it was well liked by everyone...

Garlic and Herb Chicken Kabobs
(recipe found at Nourishing Hearts)

1/2 cup olive oil
6 small cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons each - basil, tarragon, oregano, thyme
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of ground black pepper
2 pounds cubed, boneless skinless chicken breasts

Mix all ingredients in a gallon freezer bag, massaging and blending well. Freeze.

To prepare: allow meat to thaw completely. Skewer the chicken chunks onto the skewers. If using wooden skewers, don't forget to soak skewers in water for 10 minutes prior. Grill meat until cooked through and done. Add whatever additional veggies and fruit you choose to skewers as desired. I used pineapples and red, orange and green peppers...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

BLT Mac 'n Cheese

Mac 'n Cheese with bacon?? Yes please! This was definitely a super cheesy version that was delicious... Next time I made this I will definitely chop up the spinach into smaller pieces - I left them way to big and that was not very appetizing...

BLT Mac 'n Cheese
(recipe found at

1 loaf (32 ounces) prepared cheese product, cut into large cubes
1/4 cup butter
4 cups whole milk
1 package (16 ounces) elbow macaroni
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups small cherry tomatoes
1 bag (9 ounces) fresh spinach
1 pound bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled
1 cup progresso plain or italian style panko crispy bread crumbs

In large microwavable bowl, pace cheese cubes, butter and milk. Microwave uncovered on high 8-10 minutes. Stir with whisk; microwave on high 4 minutes longer. Stir again; repeat microwaving until all cheese is melted and mixture can be stirred smooth, a total of about 15 minutes. Heat oven to 350. Cook macaroni in boiling salted water 3 minutes less than directed on box (macaroni should be firm). Drain; place in 4 quart baking dish. Pour melted cheese sauce over macaroni; mix well. Stir in shredded cheese, tomatoes and spinach. Cover dish with foil; bake 30 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle bacon and bread crumbs evenly over top. Bake 5 minutes longer or until top is lightly browned. Cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

California Chicken BLT Salad

This was a super yummy salad that was easy to throw together and light enough for those hot spring and summer days!! The kids weren't super excited about the avocado but that just meant more for me! :)

California Chicken BLT Salad
(recipe found at

1 box Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad ranch and bacon pasta salad mix
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 cups cut up cooked chicken
1 large tomato, cut into wedges
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into wedges
1 bag (12 ounces) ready to eat salad greens

Cook pasta as directed on box. Drain pasta; rinse with cold water. Shake to drain well. In large bowl, stir together seasoning mix and mayonnaise. Stir in drained pasta and remaining ingredients. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. Cover and refrigerate any remaining salad.

Serves: 7 (1 1/2 cup each)
Points: 8

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Slow Cooker Chicken Alfredo Stew

Definitely not a low fat meal on this go round!! With the alfredo sauce this soup is definitely rich and tasty... It's also a nice quick meal that can go straight into the crockpot! It calls for chicken thighs, but I used chopped chicken breast.

Slow Cooker Chicken Alfredo Stew
(recipe found at

1 jar (16 ounces) alfredo pasta sauce
3/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups refrigerated cooked diced potatoes with onions (from 20 ounce bag)
1 1/4 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1" wide strips
1 bag (1 pound) frozen mixed vegetables

In small bowl, mix pasta sauce, water, basil and salt. Spray 3-4 quart slow cooking spray. In cooker, layer half each of the potatoes, chicken strips, frozen vegetables and pasta sauce. Repeat layers ending with pasta sauce.

Serves: 6

Monday, June 18, 2012

Bacon Egg Cheese Bagel Sandwich

These were a great grab and go meal for my family. I actually reheated them all and we took them to a baseball game... They would be nice to have made already for a run out the door breakfast!

Bacon Egg Cheese Bagel Sandwich
(recipe found at Nourishing Hearts)

6 pre sliced plain bagels
9 slices cooked bacon, divided
6 slices cheese
6 eggs

Fry, bake or microwave bacon until done and crisp. Cook each egg in skillet by dropping cracked egg in pan with butter and breaking the yoke. Cook both sides of egg until over hard. Set up bagels in assembly line fashion, layering cheese, cooked egg and 1 1/2 slices of cooked bacon on each bagel. Wrap each bagel in plastic wrap and then place in freezer bag.

To prepare: remove bagel from plastic wrap and rewrap in a paper towel. Reheat in microwave for 1-2 minutes or until heated through. If you wish to make all the bagels at once, thaw the sandwiches and remove plastic wrap from each bagel. Rewrap in foil, bake in oven at 350 for about 15 minutes or until heated through.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Raspberry Orange Smoothie

Back to my smoothie kick!! I have found a million different types of smoothies on pinterest and I am on a mission to try a lot of them - I won't say all since some of them don't sound very appetizing! :) Since I love pretty much anything and everything raspberry I knew that this one was right up my alley... So yummy - with my "drinking" chunky stuff aversion, I didn't really care too much for the raspberry seeds that came with it, but hey I handled it (a little)!

Raspberry Orange Smoothie
(recipe found on pinterest via

1 cup orange juice
1 cup raspberries (I used frozen)
1/2 cup yogurt
1 cup ice
sweetener to taste

Blend all ingredients together until creamy and smooth.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Mexican Meat Loaf

This could definitely be my new go to meatloaf. It was so delicious that I wanted to keep eating it and I wished that I had made a double batch so we had more for leftovers... It is not your normal bread pan type of meatloaf, so make sure that you have an 11x7 pan ready!

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

1 large onion, chopped
1 large sweet red pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup dry bread crumbs
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes with mild green chilies, divided
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 pounds lean ground beef

In a large nonstick skillet, saute the onion, red pepper and garlic in oil until tender. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the bread crumbs, chili powder, salt, oregano, cumin, pepper, 2/3 cup diced tomatoes, yogurt and egg. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into a loaf and place in an 11x7" pan coated with cooking spray. Spoon the remaining diced tomatoes over top. Bake, uncovered at 350 for 55-60 minutes or until no pink remains. Let stand 15 minutes before slicing.

Serves: 8
Points: 6 points per slice

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Spicy Cold Beans

The great debate for our family does not revolve around how you say tomato, potato or sauna - it's whether you have your baked beans cold or hot. My family has always had them straight out of the can, there was no heating them up involved. When I married into Josh's family, they make theirs hot. Luckily they are nice enough to me that they usually scoop out a bunch before they throw them on the burner and I try to be nice enough to their son that I throw a few in the pot to heat up when we have them at our house. This is a recipe that has been brought to the Polman gatherings for as long as I can remember and of course it features the cold version! It's also a great camping recipe since you can just make them up ahead of time and throw them in the cooler for the weekend.

Spicy Cold Beans
(an old family recipe - meaning I don't know where it actually came from!)

32 ounce can baked beans
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon onion (I use dry, minced - you know me, I'm not about to just chop a teaspoon of onion! :)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/4 teaspoon worcestershire sauce

Combine all ingredients and stir. Serve cold.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Mock FIlet Mignon

These were super yummy!! My dad and Timmy were once again working at our house and I needed something for them for lunch - they don't go for the squid dogs that my daycare kids all clamor for! :) They were as impressed with these mock filet mignons as I was and Josh thought that the leftovers were pretty good too...

Mock Filet Mignon
(recipe found at Nourishing Hearts)

1 1/2 pounds ground beef, thawed
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoons ketchup
1 1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 1/2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons water
6 slices bacon

Mix all ingredients together except bacon. Form into 6 equally sized patties. Wrap a slice of bacon around the outside of each patty. Secure with a toothpick if necessary. Freeze in a gallon size freezer bag.

To prepare: Thaw completely. Grill to desired doneness or bake in oven at 350 for 30 minutes or until done.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Peach Smoothie

I found another recipe that I love, love, love and it uses pretty much all the ingredients that are already in my fridge or freezer - yay!! The nutmeg gave it a little twist on taste and it was very refreshing!! It would be a wonderful snack for the kids this summer.

Peach Smoothie
(recipe found on pinterest via

2 cups orange juice
1 cup peach greek yogurt (I used low fat vanilla yogurt instead)
2 cups frozen peaches
2 tablespoons raw honey or 1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Blend all ingredients until smooth and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Packets

These were a great lunch or light supper meal that we ate up! I was worried about the heat in them but none of the kids said a word about it... I served this with a side salad and some ranch for dipping!

Buffalo Chicken Packets
(recipe found at Nourishing Hearts)

2 cups shredded chicken
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon chives or finely chopped onion
1/4 cup buffalo sauce
2 (8 ounces each) packages crescent rolls

Mix chicken, cream cheese, chives and buffalo sauce to make filling. Unroll crescent rolls and separate the roll in half, then in half again to make 4 rectangles from each package. Press the perforations together so they will not separate. Place 1/4 cup of chicken mixture into center of each rectangle. Fold dough over the filling and pinch edges to seal tightly.

To prepare: Thaw packets. Bake on a baking sheet at 350 for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

I was looking for a quick and easy snack the other day when my dad was over working and this was a perfect treat for him and the daycare kids! :) I was able to throw this together and get it out on the table in an hour... I cut down the cooking time by using a small 4 loaf pan instead of 1 big pan. Delicious and just the right amount of sweetness!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
(recipe found at

1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup canola oil
3/4-1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, pumpkin and oil. Stir the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture just until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour batter into a greased 9x5" loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 60-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Spinach Cheese Quiche with Potato Crust and the SRC

As soon as I checked out Lesa's blog I knew that I would be hooked... Like me, Lesa is all about the quick and easy recipes that don't call for a lot of ingredients and she is usually on the look out for a recipe that is simple enough for those crazy weeknight suppers!!

While looking through all the recipes I wanted to try I came upon these beauties... Chocolate Banana Muffins! I wanted to blog about these and then I realized that I wasn't alone in that thought and they had already been used for the Secret Recipe Club... Can't do a repeat! So, while I still made them (wow were they good!), I moved on to this fabulous recipe... Spinach Cheese Quiche with Potato Crust. I was so sure that we would like this recipe that I doubled it - this could also have something to do with the fact that I hate wasting packages of food (spinach) yet I don't want to put half packages back in the freezer, just to forget about them... So we ate one and froze one. (I can tell you that we have already eaten the frozen one also and it tasted great too!)

Next on my list of have to tries: Pumpkin Pecan Dump Cake and Pumpkin French Toast with Cinnamon Syrup... I'm sure that I will find more to try too since this is definitely a blog that I am coming back to. Thanks Lesa for the great recipes!!

Spinach Cheese Quiche with Potato Crust
(recipe found at

3 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed and dried
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400. Place potatoes, butter and salt in a bowl. Toss to combine. Spray a 9" pie plate with cooking spray and spread potatoes evenly in bottom and up the sides. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, place eggs, spinach, cheese and salt in a bowl. Stir to combine. Remove potato crust from oven and turn oven temperature down to 350. Pour in egg and spinach mixture into crust and bake an additional 30 minutes, or until cooked through.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Weekly Line Up - 6/1-6/7

Heading into my second week with sick kids... Man, it gets old really quick being quarantined to our house! Seems like I haven't had that much time for baking since I'm on call for a houseful of extra needy kids - guess that's what being a mom is all about! :) Had a little time to get some good eats in for the rest of the family though, since not everyone has been sick... Here's what is in store for the week!

Friday - *Cajun Chicken Fettucini
Saturday - *Asian Veggie Pasta
Sunday - Ring Bologna and Mac-N-Cheese
Monday - *Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas
Tuesday - *Spinach Penne Salad
Wednesday - Taco Night
Thursday - State Softball Tournament
Friday - Cereal

Extras: *Chocolate Banana Muffins

* New Recipes