Thursday, January 31, 2013

John Wayne Casserole

I'm from MN and don't you know I love a good hot dish! :) Even being away from MN for a few years didn't take that away from me... Although they are called casseroles other places, they are all still the same and definitely yummy... The kids and I enjoyed this one and it was easy enough to make!

John Wayne Casserole
(recipe found on pinterest via

2 pounds ground beef, cooked and drained
1 (1.25 ounces) taco seasoning packet
4 ounces mayo
4 ounces sour cream
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
1 onion, chopped
2 cups bisquick
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 (4 ounces) can jalapeno peppers

Heat oven to 325. Add taco seasoning and water to ground beef and cook according to package directions. Set aside. In a separate bowl combine sour cream, mayo, half of cheese, and half of onions, set aside. Stir bisquick and enough water to form a soft dough. Pat dough on bottom and slightly up sides of a greased 9x13 pan. Saute remaining onions and green peppers until slightly tender. On top of bisquick mix evenly distribute ground beef, tomatoes, green peppers, onions, jalapenos, sour cream mixture and ending with remaining cheese. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until dough is browned on edges.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Peppermint Kiss Sugar Cookies

These were one of my favorite new finds for Christmas cookies this year. They were fabulous with or without the kiss on top! Quite a few of them didn't make it to the freezer... :)

Peppermint Kiss Sugar Cookies
(recipe found on pinterest via

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/4 cups butter, softened
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup finely chopped candy cane flavored hershey's kisses
granulated sugar
about 30 unwrapped candy can flavored hershey's kisses

Preheat oven to 350. In a large mixing bowl, combine powdered sugar, butter, extracts and egg. Beat at medium speed until creamy, about 2-3 minutes, scraping the bowl often. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry mixture to wet mixture and combine, scraping the bowl often. It will be a bit crumbly. Stir in chopped kisses. Shape dough into 1" balls; roll in granulated sugar and place on cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until set. As soon as they come out of the oven, press a kiss in the center, holding the cookie together as you press down. (According to the original poster of this recipe, if you at this point in time, place the entire cookie sheet into the freezer you will get the kiss to hold its shape. I tried a million different times but never had it work for me. I also tried freezing the kisses before putting them onto the cookies, a combination of both of this and nothing worked. They still tasted wonderful though, they just didn't retain their "kiss" shape.)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Peppermint Popcorn Bark

If you know me at all you know that I am not one to go halfway with anything! I throw myself into everything and anything wholeheartedly and go all out... Not only did I start with the cinnamon bun popcorn, I had to add some of this peppermint popcorn bark too. Can't be having anyone getting bored with just one thing! This was pretty tasty too, but I definitely liked the cinnamon bun popcorn the best. So, if you are just making one, go for that one! :) I did make this one twice also, but forgot to take a picture of it either time... Whoops!

Peppermint Popcorn Bark
(recipe found on pinterest via

16-20 cups popcorn
1 6 ounces box of candy canes, crushed
1 package white almond bark
1 teaspoon peppermint extract

Place popcorn and candy canes in large bowl. Melt almond bark according to directions on package. Add peppermint extract and stir to combine. Pour over popcorn mixture and stir to coat. Pour mixture out onto wax paper and allow to set. Break apart and store in sealed containers.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Cinnamon Bun Popcorn

I found this recipe a long time ago and knew immediately that this was going to be the gift that I made up for my kids' paras, sunday school teachers, specials teachers and so on... After I made it twice (and doubled the batch each time) I decided that I needed to get it out of my house before I ate all of it! :) It is so delicious and I have had so many of those same people that I made it for ask me for the recipe... Well, finally, here it is!! Enjoy, cause if when I make this again, I am devouring it on my own! :)

Cinnamon Bun Popcorn
(recipe found on pinterest via

12 cups popped popcorn (about 1/2 cup kernels)
1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup karo syrup
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 squares white almond bark

Preheat oven to 250. Place popcorn and pecans in a large bowl and set aside. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in large microwaveable bowl and mix well. Chunk butter into bowl and cover with karo syrup. Place in microwave for 30 seconds. Stir to combine and microwave for 2 minutes more. Stir once again and remicrowave for another 2 minutes. Remove from microwave and add in vanilla and baking soda. Stir to combine. Add caramel mixture to popcorn mixture and stir to coat. Place on greased or foil lined baking pans and bake for half an hour, stirring every 10 minutes. Remove from oven and place on wax paper to cool. Drizzle with melted almond bark. When popcorn and almond bark is cooled and set break apart and place in sealed containers. At this point, try not to eat it all!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Weekly Line Up - 1/25-2/1

Well, it's been a little while since I did a weekly line up!! I am finally getting settled back into a routine with my blogging and boy is the hubs happy! Having recipes scattered all over my house and pictures of food galore on the camera has a way of making me feeling super disorganized... My meal planning is still there, I just haven't taken the time to put it on the blog!

So, here's the plan for the week... Hope you have a great one!

Friday - *slow cooker ravioli
Saturday - *chicken and mushroom soup
Sunday - steaks on the grill/roasted broccoli
Monday - chicken on the grill, baked sweet potatoes
Tuesday - slow cooker chili
Wednesday - *melt in your mouth chili
Thursday - night out!
Friday - wrestling! which means a quick run through a drive through! :)

*new recipes

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pepperoni Pizza Rice

I made this as a main dish and added in the sausage and it was delicious... The kids loved it and it was pretty filling. I think that it would be great as a side dish as well, but this was super quick and easy to throw together!

Pepperoni Pizza Rice
(recipe found on pinterest via

2 slices onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
6 slices turkey pepperoni, chopped
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup raw spinach, chopped
1/4 cup pizza sauce
1/2 ounce shredded mozzarella
1 pound sausage, browned and drained (optional)

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Spray with cooking spray and saute onion and bell pepper. Add rice, spinach and pepperoni. Continue to saute until spinach cooks down and is wilted. Add pizza sauce and sausage if adding and stir until everything is warmed through. Remove from stovetop and add cheese to the top, allowing it to melt before serving.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Slow Cooker Fiesta Chicken Soup

I love a good open and dump kind of soup! Especially one that I can throw in the crockpot and let get ready on its own... This one was hearty and tasty and perfect for a cold winter day.

Slow Cooker Fiesta Chicken Soup
(recipe found at

1/2 tablespoon olive oil for sauteing
1/2 cup diced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (15 ounces) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounces) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (4.5 ounces) can diced green chili peppers
1 (14.5 ounces) can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup corn
juice from 1 lime
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon pepper
salt to taste
1/2 cup freshly chopped cilantro
2 chicken breast fillets, skinless, cut into 1-2" cubes (no need to precook)

Saute onion in olive oil over medium low heat until tender, about 5 minutes. (This step is optional. If you prefer simply add all the ingredients to the slow cooker and eliminate the oil, this is how I made it...) Add sauteed onion and all remaining ingredients to slow cooker and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours.

Serves: 8
Points: 2 per 1 cup

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tyroleon Hard Cake

This was one of my favorite Christmas treats as I was growing up... Not sure what struck me about it, I mean, I am kind of a chocolate girl but I remember loving every time that my mom made it! I knew that I had made it before and could not find the recipe anywhere... Since my mom was at work I racked my brain to try and remember where I might have the recipe... Found it in a cookbook that my class made when I was in 2nd grade! So, that's how long I have LOVED this recipe! :)

Tyroleon Hard Cake
(recipe found from my mom!)

2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350. In large bowl combine flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir well. Add remaining ingredients, stir until well mixed. Grease 9 or 10" round cake pan. Roll dough into 1" balls. Arrange in circular patter to fill pan. Sprinkle 2 tablespoon sugar on top. Bake 50 minutes or until lightly browned on top.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Chicken and Rice Skillet

This was a tasty dish that didn't require a lot of effort to make so I especially like that on a busy week night! We all really liked it but the rice was a little crunchy... I actually picked up the wrong kind and there wasn't enough for it to cook up to tender. So, make sure you grab the long grain and not the wild rice with long grain! :)

Chicken and Rice Skillet
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

1 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) reduced sodium chicken broth
1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained
3 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
1 cup frozen peas

In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, saute onion in oil until tender. Add rice and garlic; cook and stir for 3-4 minutes or until rice is lightly browned. Add broth, tomatoes, water, cumin and oregano. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until rice is tender. Add chicken and peas; heat through.

Serves: 4
Points: 7 points per 1 1/2 cups

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Penne Beef Bake

Pasta in our house is a sure fire hit... The kids all enjoy it and it's easy for the little ones to eat. This one was paired up with some extra veggies so it made it a bit healthier - gotta love that!

Penne Beef Bake
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy)

1 package (12 ounces) whole wheat penne pasta
1 pound lean ground beef
2 medium zucchini, finely chopped
1 large green pepper, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 jar (24 ounces) meatless spaghetti sauce
1 1/2 cups reduced fat alfredo sauce
1 cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Cook penne according to package directions. Meanwhile, in dutch oven, cook the beef, zucchini, pepper and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the spaghetti sauce, alfredo sauce, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and garlic powder. Drain penne; stir into meat mixture. Transfer to 9x13" baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover and bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake, uncovered, 3-5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

Serves: 8
Points: 8 per 1 1/3 cups

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Slow Cooker Pork Chops

This recipe was pretty simple... as much of a pain as it is to brown the pork chops first, I love the texture of having that crispy outside on the pork chops!! The kids enjoyed them and I love a nice juicy pork chop...

Slow Cooker Pork Chops
(recipe found on pinterest via

6 pork chops
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 (10 3/4 ounces) chicken and rice soup
1 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons oil

Mix together flour, salt, dry mustard and garlic powder. Coat pork chops in flour mixture and brown in oil in a skillet. When browned, place pork chops in crock pot and pour chicken and rice soup over top. Cook on low 6-8 hours.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken

I love finding easy make at home recipes for some of my favorite eat out foods! Sweet and Sour Chicken is a favorite of mine and I definitely think that this version is much healthier then the one I have at my favorite chinese restaurant! :)

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken
(recipe found on pinterest via

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped
salt and pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup canola oil

Sweet and Sour Sauce:
3/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt

Preheat oven to 325. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dip chicken into cornstarch to coat and then eggs. Heat oil in skillet and cook chicken until browned on all sides, but not cooked completely through. Transfer chicken to greased 9x13 pan. Mix all ingredients for sweet and sour sauce with a whisk and pour over chicken in pan. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Baked Chicken Fajitas

Although the hubs isn't a big fan of fajitas and not all the kids are too wild on peppers and onions, I thought that this was a fantastic meal... It was easy to throw together without all the frying and it was so yummy! Guess I'll have to make it again when there are less picky eaters at my house! Sorry about the picture, I forgot to take it before I dove right in to eating it! :)

Baked Chicken Fajitas
(recipe found on pinterest via

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into strips or chunks
1 (15 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 (4 ounces) green chilies
1 medium onion, sliced
1 large bell pepper, sliced
2 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 400. Spray a 9x13 pan and set to side. Mix together chicken, tomatoes, chilies, onion and pepper. In a small bowl combine spices and oil. Drizzle over chicken and toss to coat. Place in greased pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Serve with tortillas.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

3 Packet Roast

This was seriously such an amazingly easy recipe and it turned out so delicious! We have quite a few roasts in our freezer and while I am still partial to my original roast recipe, this one is definitely coming in a close 2nd. Especially with how easy it was to throw together!!

3 Packet Roast
(recipe found on pinterest)

1 packet zesty italian salad dressing mix
1 packet brown gravy mix
1 packet hidden valley ranch mix
1/2 cup water

Combine all packets with water and mix until incorporated. Pour over roast placed in crockpot. Cook on low 6-8 hours.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Mexican Turkey Hash Brown Bake

This was a great sneaky way to get my potato fix in without freaking out my son who HATES anything potato... We don't have cubed hashbrowns a lot, so he wasn't sure what exactly it was and ate it up perfectly! Again, a simple meal to throw together and pop in the oven right when I need it to be done!

Mexican Turkey Hash Brown Bake
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

1 pound ground turkey (or I substituted beef)
1/4 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
32 ounces cubed hash browns, thawed
10 ounces enchilada sauce
8 ounces tomato sauce
4 ounces green chilies
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
1 cup shredded cheddar

Cook turkey, onion and garlic until meat is no longer pink. Add remaining ingredients, except cheese and stir to combine. Transfer to a greased 3 quart baking dish. Cover and bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar; bake until melted.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Enchilada Chicken

I love finding a new chicken recipe, especially one that is as easy and delicious as this one!! I don't own a cast iron skillet, so I made do by transferring my chicken to a 9x13 pan after I had browned it. It was still pretty tasty though...

Enchilada Chicken
(recipe found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 teaspoons salt free southwest chipotle seasoning blend
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup enchilada sauce
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

Sprinkle chicken with seasoning blend. In an oven proof skillet, brown chicken in oil. Top with enchilada sauce, cheese and cilantro. Bake at 350 for 18-20 m inutes or until a thermometer reads 170.

Serves: 4
Points: 6 per chicken breast

Monday, January 7, 2013

Blueberry Coffee Cake and the Secret Recipe Club

What a better way to jump back on the horse then to start out with this month's Secret Recipe Club recipe?? This month I was assigned Evelyne's blog Cheap Ethnic Eatz and can I just tell you that I had a blast checking out the recipes that she makes?? Some of them were a bit beyond the cooking that I do but I definitely found a bunch that I wanted to try out right away! She also has a link to pinterest and you all know how much I love my pinterest! Make it so easy to find those recipes that you want to try later on...

So many ideas went through while I was checking through her blog... I usually try to stay away from anything that has been on SRC in the past, but seriously - I wanted to blog about her brown sugar bacon waffles!! My husband is going to flip when I make those! But, I steered clear and headed for the blueberry coffee cake instead! And next will definitely be her blueberry upside down cake... GOod thing I have all those blueberries waiting for me in the freezer!!

I made this for a breakfast for my daycare kids and they LOVED it... They all came running back for seconds, which made me extremely thankful that I had made a double batch! :) I used milk instead of light cream as she called for and I have a feeling this might have cause some issues with it looking a little "curdled" when I mixed in the milk and lemon juice. I was a little concerned but went through with the rest of the recipe and no worries, it tasted fabulous when it came out and looked delicious!!

Blueberry Coffee Cake
(recipe found at

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/4 cup milk
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl mix butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg, mix well and add milk and lemon juice. Mix until combined. In another bowl combine all dry ingredients. Add to wet ingredients and mix well. Spoon half of batter into bottom of 9" round pan sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle blueberries over the top and gently cover with remaining batter. Bake for 45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Did you miss me?

Wow, kinda checked out for a while there... What can I say? We had the flu, or something, go through our house. 3 days of 3 sick kids and just when I got one healthy, the last one fell victim. We FINALLY got healthy on Christmas morning so that we could spend at least part of the holidays all together! :) Then it was a 2 week dash of spending time with friends and family and MY KIDS... Love when I am able to do that.

Of course something had to give and it was definitely my 2 blogs... But I am back now and back with a whole lot of recipes stock piled!! I was hoping to get all the cookie baking recipes up before Christmas, but I guess they will be here tempting you for next year. Plus we had a few gatherings since the last time I blogged and I have some fun new recipes from there too!

Hope life has been fabulous for all of you and that 2013 is starting off right for you... For me - healthy kids, family, friends, jobs for the hubs and I and lots of great food are a great start!