Thursday, October 30, 2014

Make Ahead Pizza Casserole

As usual, anything with pizza in the title catches my eye immediately. I know that it is usually a sure fire hit with the kiddos and it is going to be a meal that I don't have to fight with them over. I also liked the idea of "make ahead" so that got me excited as well! I doubled this recipe so that I could throw the extra pan in the freezer and have another go round of it in the future... We've actually already eaten the second pan - that's how good it was and/or how busy our schedules are! :) I mixed up the meat a bit, since I had some italian sausage in the fridge and used a pound of beef and a pound of italian sausage. I love the taste of italian sausage but not the fat that goes with it, so this was a nice way to use it! It was a great meal at our house, hope you enjoy as well!

Make Ahead Pizza Casserole
(recipe found at

1 pound mild italian pork sausage
2 cups water
1 can (15 ounces) pizza sauce
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with sweet onion, undrained
4 cups uncooked rotini pasta (use gluten free noodles if desired)
1 can (2 1/4 oz) sliced ripe olives, drained
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella or pizza cheese blend

In a skillet, cook sausage over medium-high heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until no longer pink; drain. In ungreased 13x9-inch baking dish, mix water, pizza sauce and tomatoes. Stir in cooked sausage, uncooked pasta and olives (pasta should be completely covered with sauce). Cover tightly with foil; refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight. When ready to bake, heat oven to 350°F. Stir casserole; cover with foil and bake 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until bubbly. Uncover baking dish; stir mixture. Sprinkle with cheese; bake uncovered 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Peanut Butter Cookies

I had a really rough day today... Between things going wrong with the house, the kids having issues and a million other fires that I felt like I had to put out I had enough - it was time to do some baking!! As my husband teases about himself "I had to eat my emotions!" That doesn't bode too well for the eating healthy trying to lose the summer weight idea that is going on right now, but I guess - you have to have those days!! So, peanut butter it was... I found this recipe and it was dubbed "the best peanut butter cookies ever", so you know that I had to try it!! Seriously, they were so delish!! Soft and melty in my mouth and just what I needed. I know these won't stay in the cookie jar for long!

Peanut Butter Cookies
(Recipe found on pinterest via

1 cup brown sugar, packed firmly
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/4 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350. Cream together the sugars, shortening, butter and peanut butter. Add the eggs and vanilla, mix until well combined. Mix the dry ingredients together and add to the cream mixture. Roll the cookie dough into tablespoon size balls. Roll the cookie balls into sugar. Place on the cookie sheets- DO NOT mash with a fork in normal “peanut butter cookie” fashion. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bacon Cheeseburger Nacho Bake

The boys in my house are SUPER into nachos right now... Anytime we go anywhere to eat that they are on the menu, they know immediately what they are ordering! So, when I saw this recipe, I knew that it was a no brainer that we had to try it! I should have made 2!!! These were literally inhaled before I could get the rest of the food on the table and they were quickly asking for more. So, definitely a redo in our house...

Bacon Cheeseburger Nacho Bake
(recipe found

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 (8 oz) velveeta, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup cooked real bacon pieces (from a jar or package)
3 cups lightly crushed tortilla chips
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Diced pickles, if desired
Ketchup, if desired
Mustard, if desired
Lettuce, if desired

Heat oven to 350. Spray 13x9 inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. In 10-inch skillet, cook beef, onion and garlic salt over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is thoroughly cooked. Add cubed velveeta and bacon; cook and stir until cheese is melted. Remove from heat Place half of the chips in bottom of baking dish. Top with half of the beef mixture. Repeat layers. Top with shredded cheese. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve immediately with pickles, ketchup, mustard and/or lettuce, if desired.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Oven Baked Chicken

For my second son's pick of the week he requested chicken legs... he didn't care how I fixed them, he just wanted chicken legs! :) I have had this recipe saved for a while and decided that it was a quick and easy way to make them up. They were super yummy and I loved the crunchiness that came with them, even with out deep frying. It was a hit with the whole family and it tasted great as leftovers the next day as well!

Oven Baked Chicken
(recipe found on

1 tablespoon butter
2/3 cup Bisquick
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cut-up whole chicken (3 to 3 1/2 pounds or I used 12 chicken legs)

Heat oven to 425. Melt butter in 13x9 baking dish in oven. Stir together bisquick, paprika, salt and pepper; coat chicken. Place skin sides down in dish (dish and butter should be hot). Bake 35 minutes; turn chicken. Bake about 15 minutes longer or until juice is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Asian Beef and Broccoli

I was on a bit of an Asian kick this past week and while I was making the Asian Grilled Pork Chops, I decided that I would try this Asian Beef and Broccoli! It had a lot of the same ingredients, so it worked well for the shopping list! :) I usually just throw my roasts in the crock pot and call it good, but I decided to pull one out and try it with this recipe. It was worth the extra chopping that I had to do. I loved the taste of this recipe and the kids thought that it was pretty delish as well. I served it over the hot brown rice and it made for a perfect week night meal!

Asian Beef and Broccoli
(recipe found in Parents Magazine)

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup orange juice, divided
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
2 1/2 cups frozen broccoli florets
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon orange marmalade
1/2 cup dry roasted cashews
brown rice

In a bowl, mix soy sauce, 3 tablespoons orange juice, sugar, ginger and garlic. Coat the inside of a slow cooker with cooking spray and add beef and soy sauce mixture. Stir, cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Just before beef is done, microwave broccoli, covered on high 4 minutes. Drain any liquid. Transfer beef to a bowl, shred it (if desired) and add broccoli. Cover and set aside. Place a small fine-mesh sieve over a small saucepan. Pour juices from the slow cooker into the pan. In a bowl, mix cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water. Add to saucepan. Cook on medium and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in marmalade, remaining 3 tablespoons orange juice and pepper. Add about half of the swauce and cashews to the beef and broccoli mixture. Toss to coat. Serve over brown rice and additional sauce.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Blueberry Sauce Crepes

I had a few blueberries left and decided that for an after school snack for the kids I wanted to make some blueberry crepes. I went looking for my recipe for crepes and discovered that I had to let my batter rest for 4 hours. Well, being the non planner that I sometimes am, I didn't have 4 hours. That meant that I needed to look at making a different crepe recipe. Well, I found this one and I knew that I would enjoy it since it includes vanilla and I love me a little vanilla flavor! :) The kids loved these crepes as much as the other recipe that I have made and they were all inhaled as soon as I made them!

Blueberry Sauce Crepes
(recipe found on

1 1/2 cups flour
pinch of salt
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
cooking spray

Blueberry Sauce:
1 pint blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt; set aside. In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together milk, lemon juice, vanilla, and eggs. Gradually add milk mixture to flour mixture, whisking until smooth. Let stand 15 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the blueberry sauce. Combine blueberries, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice in a small pan. Cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until juices are bubbly and fruit is tender. Remove from heat and set aside. Lightly grease a nonstick frying pan, or a crepe pan, with cooking spray and set over medium heat. Add 1/3 cup batter and swirl to completely cover bottom of pan. Cook until edges of crepe curl-up and underside of crepe is golden brown; about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the crepe and continue to cook for 1 more minute, or until lightly browned. Remove crepe from skillet and repeat with remaining batter. Coat pan with cooking spray in between each crepe. Place blueberry sauce down the middle of the crepe and roll up. Top with whipped cream if desired.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hot Pepper Plum Jam

After I made my regular plum jam, I started remembering this raspberry chipotle jam that I had at a party one time. It was a simple recipe for an appetizer that included covering a block of cream cheese with a jar of this jam. You then used crackers to spread it on to. It was delish!! So, since I had a few hot peppers still on the vines of my raised beds I decided that I needed to make another batch of jam and include the hot peppers. It turned out fabulous and although it isn't the raspberry flavor that I LOVE so much, it was still pretty tasty!

Hot Pepper Plum Jam

2 quarts chopped plums
1-3 cups sugar (based on taste)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 hot peppers, diced (leave seeds in for a hotter jam)

Chop plums into chunks, removing seeds as you go and leaving peelings. Place in large pot and add remaining ingredients. I started with 2 cups of sugar and added another cup about halfway through. Mix well, cover with lid and turn heat to medium low. Bring to a boil and remove lid. Remove lid and continue to boil until thickened to the thickness that you desire for your jam. Mine took about 2 1/2 hours so be patient. Once jam is at the desired thickness, add to jars and seal. Place in a hot water bath to seal jars. For this I just place the jars in a big pot, fill with water to cover the jars and then bring to a boil for 20-30 minutes. Remove from water bath and wait for your jars to "pop"! Serve over a block of cream cheese and with triscuits, wheat thins or other crackers.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Plum Jam

My brother in law called me this fall and asked if I had an ice cream bucket. When I said "of course" he said to get my booty out to his house and pick some of the plums that he just discovered at his house. Turns out, after almost 10 years of living there the plum trees decided to bear fruit! Man it took me back! i remember picking plums back when we were little... taking a little bite and sucking the fruit out... it was great! Now that I am older and can get my hands on all these plums, I knew that I had different plans for them and that definitely included jam! :) It's a little tart, but definitely worth the time that it took. Since this is a pectin free recipe and uses less sugar it takes a while to make, so be sure that you have enough time to make it!

Plum Jam
(recipe found on

2 quarts chopped plums
1-3 cups sugar (based on taste)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice

Chop plums into chunks, removing seeds as you go and leaving peelings. Place in large pot and add remaining ingredients. I started with 2 cups of sugar and added another cup about halfway through. Mix well, cover with lid and turn heat to medium low. Bring to a boil and remove lid. Remove lid and continue to boil until thickened to the thickness that you desire for your jam. Mine took about 2 1/2 hours so be patient. Once jam is at the desired thickness, add to jars and seal. Place in a hot water bath to seal jars. For this I just place the jars in a big pot, fill with water to cover the jars and then bring to a boil for 20-30 minutes. Remove from water bath and wait for your jars to "pop"!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Grilled Asian Ginger Pork Chops

If you read my blog at all, you know that I have a love of pork chops and I enjoy finding new ways to flavor them. This was a recipe that I pulled out of one of my magazines and I couldn't wait to try it. The timing was perfect for grilling and they turned out perfect, even with me grilling them! The hubs was out of town late that night but he enjoyed them for leftovers the next day also, what little I could save for him - my boys were eating us out of house and home when it came to this meal! :)

Grilled Asian Ginger Pork Chops
(recipe found in Good Housekeeping)

1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon garlic chili paste (I used chile powder)
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 pork loin chops

In a shallow container, mix orange juice, orange zest, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, chili paste and salt. Add pork chops, then turn to coat evenly. Chill, covered, turning the chops in the marinade occasionally, for at least 4 hours or overnight. Preheat grill for medium to medium high heat and lightly oil grate. Grill pork chops for 5-6 minutes per side or to desired doneness.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Oatmeal Brown Sugar Cookies with Raisins and Pecans

I was digging through my folders of recipes that I have printed out because I wanted to try (this was pre-pinterest era) and I found this one for a new version of oatmeal cookies and knew that I had to try it. I still have some pecans left from the stash that my mother in law was kind enough to send me from their pecan grove and who doesn't love a good oatmeal cookie? :) These were delish, especially straight from the oven. The kids couldn't keep their mitts off of them either!

Oatmeal Brown Sugar Cookies with Raisins and Pecans
(Recipe found on

3/4 cups coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 steak unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350. Place chopped pecans on a baking sheet and toast in oven for about 5 minute, until crisp. Set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and stir to mix well. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and brown sugar on medium until creamy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with a spatula, then add egg and vanilla and beat again until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add flour and oatmeal mixture and mix on low speed until just combined; add pecans and raisins and mix again,. Do not over mix. Drop dough into 2 tablespoon mounds about 3 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake until edges are slightly golden but centers are still pale, about 15 minutes. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for a few minute, then transfer cookies onto wire rack to cool.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Cheesy Potato Nugget Skillet

While this recipe originally calls for making it as a one dish recipe in a skillet, I chose to double this so that we would have leftovers for the next day. This meant having a few extra dishes, but I was able to make it easily in a 9x13 dish. Basically another take on tater tot hotdish and it was super good. In fact, we were discussing what one of my sons wanted for his pick of meals the next week and he was trying to get me to make it for him again!! I think that means that they liked it!

Cheesy Potato Nugget Skillet
(recipe found on

1 pound ground beef
1 pouch (9 ounces) progresso™ recipe starters™ creamy three cheese cooking sauce
3/4 cup frozen sweet peas
1 cup shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese blend
1/2 bag (28 ounces size) frozen mini potato nuggets

Heat oven to 425. In 10-inch cast-iron skillet, cook beef over medium heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink; drain. Stir in cooking sauce. Layer frozen peas and cheese on top of beef mixture. Top with even layer frozen potato nuggets. Bake about 20 minutes or until potato nuggets are crispy and golden brown and mixture is bubbling.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Blueberry Lemon Tea Bread

I made this recipe a few years ago when I had some blueberries on hand and to this day my grandma still talks about it. So, when I got some fresh blueberries I knew that I wanted to try this recipe again... It was so moist and delicious and just as yummy as I remembered it!! I made up two batches and shared one with a good friend of mine as a housewarming gift for her and her fiance. I hope she enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed mine! :) The middle caved a bit on both of my batches, but what it lacks in "prettiness" it made up for in taste!

Blueberry Lemon Tea Bread

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups blueberries
1/4 cup lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour 9x5 loaf pan. In a large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat butter and 1 cup sugar just until blended. Increase speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder. Reduce speed to low, add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until well blended. Alternately add flour mixture and milk, mixing just until blended. Pour into pan, add berries to top. Bake about 1 hour. Cool 10 minutes on wire rack and then remove from pan. With skewer, prick top and sides of warm cake in many places. In a small bowl, mix lemon juice and 1/3 cup sugar and brush on tops and sides of bread.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Easy Garlic Chicken

This was a quick and easy chicken recipe that used mostly ingredients that I always have on hand. I love that!! Usually I plan out my meals for the week, so there is no guess work as to what I am going to make and I have everything that I need to make it but things come up! :) This chicken was yummy and the kids enjoyed it as well.

Easy Garlic Chicken
(Recipe found on

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 450. Line a baking dish or cookie sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat with cooking spray or lightly brush with oil. In small sauté pan, sauté garlic with the oil until tender. Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar. Place chicken breasts in a prepared baking dish and cover with the garlic and brown sugar mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bake uncovered for 15-30 minutes, or until juices run clear.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Sirloin Casserole

Cutting up a big roast into little pieces is not something that I usually do. To me, a roast is an easy crockpot meal that I can just throw together and walk away from. Well, when we buy a half a cow, we end up with a lot of roasts in our oven and I thought that this was something that sounded pretty tasty to try! So, I mixed everything up and popped it into the pan. While it takes a bit of prep work and it cooks for a long time - the end results are super yummy and worth the effort. I will definitely be making this again!

Sirloin Casserole
(recipe found on

2 1/2 pound top sirloin roast chunks, bone in
1 1/2 cups kentucky seasoned flour - if you can't find the kentucky brand flour, just mix 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and onion powder together.
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon lawry's seasoning
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 potatoes, peeled and sliced into large hunks
6 carrots, peeled and sliced into large hunks
1/2 cup red wine
1 package onion soup mix
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups water

Combine flour, garlic powder and Lawry's seasoning in a zip lock bag and shake it to combine. Add sirloin chunks and shake to cover them. Add olive oil to your hot cast iron skillet. Brown sirloin chunks in olive oil. Be sure all sides of sirloin are brown. Take sirloin chunks out of the cast iron skillet and place in a large casserole that has a cover (or cover later with aluminum foil). Add 2 cups of water to the hot pan and mix up the drippings. Add potatoes, carrots, wine, onion mix, and drippings into the casserole dish and cover. Roast at 280 degrees for 3 hours; then 1 hour at 350 degrees. You can play around with the degrees and time.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

BBQ Country Style Ribs

These were amazing and amazingly easy!! I just threw them into the crockpot and let them go. They were super tender and had a fabulous taste. I will definitely be making these again.

BBQ Country Style Ribs
(recipe found on pinterest via

1 small onion, peeled, cut in half, and sliced into rings
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 pounds country style boneless pork ribs
9 ounces barbecue sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch dried ground chipotle powder (or squirt of hot pepper sauce)

Spray inside of slow cooker crock with nonstick spray. Place sliced onion in bottom, and sprinkle garlic on top. Rinse and pat ribs dry, and place them on onion. Pour barbecue sauce over top, sprinkle with oregano, cumin and chipotle, put lid on and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours. Remove ribs from sauce and set aside. Place sauce in small saucepan and boil until sauce thickens. Serve ribs in wide bowl and pass sauce in a gravy boat for diners to serve themselves.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Cornbread Topped BBQ Chicken

Reminder to self - make a double batch the next time that I make this! The kids were going nuts over this and asking for seconds and thirds as I was trying to just get a little bit of my first helping down. That is definitely the sign of a good meal. The kids each get to pick a meal and they rotate through once a week for the month. My oldest son picked this as the meal that he wanted the very next week!! So, we have had this meal a few times already and it is definitely worth a redo.

Cornbread Topped BBQ Chicken
(recipe found on pinterest via

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 red or green bell pepper, diced
1 small jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
3 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 cup prepared barbecue sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 (8 1/2 ounces) box cornbread mix
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup shredded white cheddar

Heat oven to 375. In a saucepan, combine olive oil and onion over medium-high heat. Cook until onion is soft, about 4 minutes. Add bell pepper and jalapeno and cook another 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in chicken, barbecue sauce and broth; heat through. Transfer mixture to a 1 1/2 to 2 quart baking dish and set aside. In a bowl, combine cornbread mix, egg, milk and cheese; stir just until combined. Spoon batter in mounds over chicken. Bake until cornbread is cooked through and juices are bubbling, about 25 minutes.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

BLT Pasta Salad

Again, on the 4th of July I was looking for a gluten free recipe to bring along for the potluck that we were heading to. I have been wanting to try this recipe for forever but it was making me a little nervous with the thought of pasta and lettuce together. It seemed like kind of a weird combo to me but the thought of a BLT salad was too much to resist. I should have tried it sooner!! I got so many comments on how good the salad was and asking about the recipe. I guess that means that I need to make it again sometime...

BLT Pasta Salad
(recipe found on pinterest via

3 2⁄3 cup large macaroni shells pasta, cooked
4 cup tomatoes, diced
4 slice bacon, cooked and crumbled
3 cup lettuce, thinly sliced
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp cider vinegar
1⁄2 cup fat free mayonnaise
1⁄3 cup light sour cream
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 salt
1 pepper

In a large bowl, mix pasta, bacon, tomatoes, and lettuce. In a small bowl, mix sugar, vinegar, mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour dressing over pasta mixture, stir to combine, and chill until ready to serve.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Pineapple, Raspberry and Peach Sangria

One of my friends LOVES sangria so when I saw this recipe I knew that I needed to try it on a day when we were going to be together. So, I mixed it up for the 4th of July and it was a huge hit for both of us... Since I prefer white wine, this was a great one for me! Plus I love raspberries so it is a huge win for me. I will definitely be making this again!

Pineapple, Raspberry and Peach Sangria
(recipe found on

1 bottle of white wine
13 oz of peach schnapps
2 cups of pineapple juice
2 cups of raspberry juice, I used cran-raspberry
1–2 cans of club soda
1/2 a pineapple, peeled and chopped
1 cup of fresh raspberries

In a large pitcher or bowl, combine all the ingredients on the list starting with the top and working your way down. Once you have added all the ingredients, stir gently to combine. Serve in wine glasses or in short martini glasses and make sure to get a little fruit in each glass.
If you like ice in your sangria, put it in the glass first, don't put it in the big pitcher or your sangria will get watered down.