Friday, November 20, 2015

Weekly Line Up

Snow is on the ground - okay only a light dusting, but it makes it seem a little more wintery than the weather that we have been having. It's nice to see the snow, not so much the cold temperatures! :( Thanksgiving week is upon us and it seems that we are soon headed for the busyness of our winter schedule. Basketball schedules have come home and we are about to be in thick of it all. Can't wait for the nice quiet weekend that we have planned to regenerate and get ready for the chaos! Lots of new recipes this week... Can't wait to give them a try! I really need to blog about the sweet corn cake... We have had it a few times already, so it isn't new to us but I haven't gotten it on the blog yet. So yummy!! The hubs always asks why I don't make a double batch! :)

Thursday - *No Bake Reese's Pieces Cheesecake/Eat out
Friday - Oven Baked Taquitos/Refried Beans
Saturday - *Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Sauce
Sunday - *Spanish Rice
Monday - Grilled Cheese/Spaghettios
Tuesday - ECFE
Wednesday - *Paula Dean's Crockpot Potato Soup
Thursday - Sweet Potato Supreme
Friday - Burgers/*Sweet Corn Cake

*new recipes/not on blog yet

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Best Ever Chinese Chicken

This was a HUGE favorite of my family! I made a double batch and there wasn't much left. I think that the hubs got to take some for leftovers, but the rest of us had to find something different = which NONE of us were happy about! Don't forget to make sure that you have all your ingredients chopped and ready to roll as this is a stir fry and it cooks very quickly! Yummy!

Best Ever Chinese Chicken
(Recipe found at

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoon peanut oil
1 green bell pepper, sliced
4 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 pound snow peas, cut in half
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

6 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoon white wine
1/2 tablespoon cider vinegar
3 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon oil

In a large bowl combine chicken with cornstarch and soy sauce, stir well and let sit at least 5 minutes. Clean, cut and prepare all ingredients ahead of time, including sauce mixture. In a large frying pan or wok over medium-high heat, heat oil, add chicken and quickly stir-fry until done, 2-3 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and set aside on a plate. Add sliced green pepper and mushrooms to pan and stir-fry 2 minutes. Add pea pods and nuts, stir fry 2 more minutes and add ginger and cayenne. Return chicken to pan with vegetables, add sauce and stir. Cover skillet and cook 5 minutes over medium heat. Serve over boiled white rice.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Salted Pumpkin Fudge

Let me tell you - my daughter knows the routine by now... It was coming up on Halloween and I was browsing through pinterest. She saw a pin about salted pumpkin fudge and immediately said "we should make this for my teacher for Halloween mommy". You got it babe! I mixed up double batch of these AMAZING fudges and the kids brought them in. I also brought a few for my co-teacher that I was subbing with for the day and everyone was raving about them. They were so delicious and decadent! In the original post she mentions drizzling dark chocolate over the top... That might need to happen the next go round!

Salted Pumpkin Fudge
(recipe found at via

1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
5 ounces evaporated milk
1/2 cup mashed pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 (7 ounces) container marshmallow crème
1 (12 ounces) package white chocolate chips
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Sea salt for garnish (2 tablespoons to ¼ cup)

Line square baking pan with parchment paper for easy fudge removal. Combine sugars, butter, evaporated milk, pumpkin, and spices in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir until melted and combined. Continue stirring until temperature reaches 234 (soft ball stage). Quickly remove from heat to prevent burning, stir in white chocolate chips, marshmallow crème, and vanilla extract. Stir until melted and combined. Garnish with sea salt. Cool completely. Cut into squares. You can also chill before cutting to make it easier to cut perfect squares.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

French Toast Sticks

I recently started a new job as community education director in my hometown. One of the responsibilities of this job is to set up classes for kids and adults in our community. I have heard a lot of people mentioning that they would love a freezer cooking class and I knew that this one would be right up my alley. So, I am diving right in and trying to figure out a few different recipes to make for the class. I have a few that I have done for myself and I know that they will work awesome, but I wanted to try a few new ones and that means testing them out before the class. Freezer breakfasts in our house are a big hit, they are so nice to be able to throw in the microwave or toaster and warm up - especially if it is something that the kids can do on their own. These were just the thing and they hit all that criteria!! I made these for supper one night and did a double batch so that I could test out the freezer side of it. They are a hit!! The kids were devouring them as they came off the griddle and are eating them every morning with the same enthusiasm. They are easy for the kids to reheat and that is a huge bonus, especially on those mornings when I get called to sub and we are trying to get out the door!

French Toast Sticks
(Recipe found at via

10 slices Texas toast
4 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Begin by slicing each piece of bread into four sticks and set aside. Mix together in a large bowl, eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon until well combined. Begin dunking each slice of bread into egg/milk mixture and placing into the heated skillet. Let cook on each side until browned. When done remove and place onto a plate and repeat with remaining sticks. Once cooked and all cooled, line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place each stick on sheet and place in the freezer for about one hour or until frozen. Then remove and transfer to a large gallon sized freezer bag. Make sure to label with contents and date. Try to remove as much air as possible from bag to prevent freezer burn. Store in freezer until ready to use. When ready to serve, remove desired number of sticks and heat in toaster or in microwave.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Puking Pumpkin Dips

Every year we have a scavenger hunt that the hubs and I put on for our group of friends. It is a fabulous time and I think that I have more fun getting everything ready for it than the people that are participating in the hunt have... It is a fun and VERY competitive night with our group of friends. Although I love to cook and bake, we do it "potluck" style and everyone brings a dish to share. I have stopped making anything for this night because we usually have more food than any group of people can consume! So, I stick with my mulled cider, some beer and all the paper products. Well, this night was different... One of my friends tagged me in this fabulous Halloween treat that I knew I HAD to make! There wasn't another party that we were heading to, so I made it for the night of our scavenger hunt. It turned out awesome! Everyone loved the "display" and it was super yummy! The queso was a bit thick so I would definitely make it a little runnier next time, but that didn't stop me (or anyone else) from chowing it down!

Puking Pumpkin Dips
(Link found on Facebook)

ingredients for guacamole
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 cups cheddar cheese
2 cups monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 (4 ounces) can green chilies
1 small pumpkin, carved with a sad face
tortilla chips

Prepare guacamole according to recipe. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Melt butter in small saucepan. Saute garlic in melted butter until fragrant. Add both cheeses, milk and cornstarch and stir until melted and combined. Add additional milk until as thin as you would like for serving purposes. Stir in can of green chilies and place into small bowl that will fit inside the top of the pumpkin head. To serve, place pumpkin in corner of serving platter. Place guacamole in front of pumpkin, creating a path that comes out of the pumpkins mouth. Place chips around guacamole and serve.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Caramel Apple Pretzel Salad

I found my new favorite side dish! This was like heaven in a bowl and I got asked for the recipe more than once in the few hours that we were at the gathering I brought this to. So delicious and my mouth is watering just thinking about tasting it again! It was a definite hit!

Caramel Apple Pretzel Salad
(Recipe found at via

1 cup pretzels, roughly chopped (measure after chopping)
1/2 cup pecans, chopped (measure after chopping)
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted

Cream Cheese Mixture:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
3 cups diced apples (about 2 large apples)
1/2 cup caramel sauce
3 cups whipped topping or whipped cream

Sugared Pretzels:
Mix together crushed pretzels, chopped pecans, brown sugar and melted butter. Spread in a large baking sheet with sides and bake at 400 for 7 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool and then break it into small pieces.
Cream Cheese Mixture:
Beat the softened cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the caramel sauce until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Stir in the diced apples and sugared pretzels

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

I have noticed that a lot of the gluten free recipes that I make for my brother in law end up being super crumbly and hard to keep together while you eat. This one didn't seem to be as extreme as the rest of the recipes I have tried. It was super tasty and very rich! I would definitely try this one again, but maybe skip the gluten free cake mix part if I am not making it for my brother in law! :)

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
(Recipe found at via

1 box Betty Crocker Gluten Free yellow cake mix
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoons whipping cream
2 eggs

Heat oven to 350. In medium bowl, stir together cake mix and pecans. With pastry blender or fork, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Reserve 1 cup mixture for topping. In bottom of ungreased 13×9-inch pan, press remaining mixture. Bake 10 minutes. In large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add remaining ingredients; beat until well blended. Pour over warm crust. Sprinkle with reserved topping. Bake about 35 minutes or until center is set. Cool 30 minutes. Refrigerate about 2 hours or until chilled. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Gingerbread Scones

Scones are so much fun for me to make... they have the sweetness of a cookie, but the easiness of a recipe where you throw everything together, pat it into a circle and bake it. No in and out of the oven a million times, just one baking cycle and you are good to go! I am a fan of the gingerbread flavor, so I definitely wanted to try this out. It was super yummy tasting, but the texture of this was more cake like than I prefer in a scone. While they tasted awesome I wanted a little more crunch to go with my scone!

Gingerbread Scones
(Recipe found at via

2 cups flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup cold butter
1/3 cup molasses
1/4 cup milk
1 egg, separated

Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, ginger, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; set aside. Combine the molasses, milk and egg yolk until smooth; stir into the flour mixture just until moistened. Turn the dough onto a floured surface; knead gently 6-8 times. Pat into an 8 inch circle; cut into 8 wedges and place 1 inch apart on a greased baking sheet. Beat egg white until frothy; brush over scones. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to wire rack. Serve warm and enjoy!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Chicken Taquitos

Taquitos are one of my favorite appetizers to order when we head out to a Mexican restaurant, especially at a certain chain restaurant that we have been to quite a bit in Arizona. this was my first go round with trying to do taquitos at home. They were less time consuming than what I thought they were going to be and not quite as good as when you get them made for you, but they were pretty tasty and definitely a redo at our house! We had them for a main dish, but they would be great for appetizers at a party!

Chicken Taquitos
(Recipe found at via

4 chicken breast
4 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
salt and pepper, to taste
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4-6 green onions (no more than ½ cup), finely chopped (including the green part)
2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
3 garlic gloves, minced
1 small jalapeno, finely chopped
2 roma tomatoes, finely chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon oregano
30 corn tortillas
olive or vegetable oil, for brushing the taquitos before baking

First cook the chicken breast in a large stock pot or in a crock pot. If cooking chicken on the stove top, use 2-4 cups of broth. If using a crock pot use about a cup of broth.
Cover and simmer chicken until falling apart tender. If cooking in the crock pot cook on high for 3 -4 hours. Shred chicken once chicken has cooled. If using a stand mixer you do not need to shred the chicken before mixing. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Next in a large mixing bowl, add chicken breast, softened cream cheese, green onions, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, tomatoes, and all seasonings. Mix everything together until combined well. Next, line a baking sheet with foil. Then wrap 5 corn tortillas in parchment paper, at a time, and heat in the microwave on high for about 30 seconds, or until soft and flexible. Now add about 2 tablespoons of chicken filling and spread it in the middle of a tortilla.Tightly wrap the tortilla and place seam side down. Repeat this process until all the chicken filling has been used. Once all the tortillas are made, spray the tortillas with vegetable or olive oil. You may also brush on the oil as well. Cook for 25-30 minutes at 425 degrees. Serve oven baked chicken taquitos with a your favorite hot sauce, green sauce, sour cream, and/or avocado salad.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Mac and Cheese Pizza

While I am not a super fan of mac and cheese, it does have a tendency to show up on our menu from time to time, especially around lunch time or when I am in a crunch to get something on the table before running out the door. When I saw this mac and cheese pizza, I knew that it was going to be a hit with the rest of my family. I was definitely a good guesser on that one! They thought it was fabulous, even the next day! It was an interesting combo for pizza, but it made be made again since everyone enjoyed it so much.

Mac and Cheese Pizza
(Recipe found at via

1 box of mac and cheese
3 slices American Cheese
1/4 cup milk
1 premade pizza crust or I used my homemade pizza crust
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup shredded cheese

Start by making the macaroni and cheese according to the package. Add 3 slices of American cheese and 1/4 cup of milk to make a little more cheese sauce. Stir over low heat until melted. Make crust for pizza if using homemade crust. Prebake for 5-10 minutes first. Brush pizza crust with olive oil. Top with macaroni and cheese. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake at 450 degrees for 7-10 minutes.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Egg Roll in a Bowl

This was a fabulous, throw together in a few minutes week night meal that we have had a few times! The first time that I made it, I discovered that it was a little saltier than I prefer, so I made sure to buy the low sodium soy sauce the next time and didn't put in the full 1/2 cup that the recipe calls for. I also had to double the recipe the second time around since my family simply devoured the first batch that I made! It was a simple, yummy meal!

Egg Roll in a Bowl
(recipe found at via

1 pound ground country sausage
1 bag dry coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup soy sauce (low sodium is best)
1 teaspoon ginger
sliced green onion

In a large, deep skillet, brown sausage. Meanwhile in a small bowl, combine garlic, soy sauce, and ginger; set aside. Once sausage is cooked through, add dry coleslaw mix to skillet and stir to combine. Pour soy sauce mixture into the skillet and stir, continuing to cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until cabbage is wilted, but still a bit crunchy. Serve with sliced green onion.

Easy Irish Beef Stew

There is nothing like a good stew on a cool fall evening. I love the heartiness of a beef stew and I am always anxious to try new recipes for soups in my crockpot. This was definitely a filling meal, especially when I paired it with my whole wheat bread, which is always a tasty addition!

Easy Irish Beef Stew
(recipe found at via

2 pounds beef, trimmed, cut into bite-size pieces
5 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons oil
2-3 medium onions, cut into large pieces
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) beef broth
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) stewed tomatoes, undrained
2 pounds red potatoes, quartered
small bag of baby carrots
2 tablespoons minced garlic
salt and pepper, to taste

Dredge meat with flour. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add meat; cook until browned. Add the beef to crockpot. Add in broth, tomatoes and vegetables. Add garlic and salt and pepper. Bring to boil, then turn crockpot down to low. Let cook for several hours. Stew may be thickened with cornstarch if desired.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf

Mmmmm.... a burger in the shape of meatloaf! I love when something easy is made even easier and what can be easier than throwing everything into a bowl, mixing it together and slapping it in a pan? Not much! The family really enjoyed this meal, we probably needed to make a double batch, but that would be my only complaint!

Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf
recipe found at

3 slices bread, torn into small pieces
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
8 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup dill pickle relish
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 egg, slightly beaten

1/3 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

Heat oven to 350. Line 9x5-inch loaf pan with foil; spray foil with cooking spray. In large bowl, mix bread and milk. Let stand 5 minutes to absorb milk. Add beef, all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon, the shredded cheese, relish, onion, garlic and egg. Mix until well combined. Shape mixture into 8x4-inch loaf. Place in pan. In small bowl, stir together topping ingredients. Spread on top and sides of loaf. Top with reserved 2 tablespoons crumbled bacon. Bake uncovered 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted in center of loaf reads 160. Cool 10 minutes. Cut meatloaf into slices to serve. Top with desired burger toppings, such as pickle relish, ketchup and mustard.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Weekly Line Up - 10/2-10/8

Busy week again! The hubby's brother and his family are moving this weekend, so we will be having extra company for meals while they are packing, cleaning and moving. Fall is in the air and we are running with football, cub scouts and other fun events that our family is a part of. That means that I am definitely busting out my crock pot a lot more. Love that thing!

Friday - Burgers/Brats, *Broccoli Salad
Saturday - Stroganoff
Sunday - *Ranch Chicken Fajita Bowls
Monday - Eggs/Toast
Tuesday - ECFE
Wednesday - Taco Chicken Bowl
Thursday - *Pumpkin Waffles

Extras: *Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

* - New Recipe

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Zucchini Brownies

I had a couple of zucchini sitting on my counter and I needed to use them up. Now, what better way to use up zucchini, but to find a sweet chocolatey brownie recipe! :) These were super tasty. While the frosting didn't hard set the way that the recipe said it would, it was still delicious and I have been eating on this pan for the past week! It pairs very well with ice cream after a night of sweaty volleyball in an non-airconditioned gym!

Zucchini Brownies
(Recipe found at

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups shredded zucchini (1 large or 2 small zucchinis)
3-5 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9x13" baking pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the oil, sugar, and vanilla until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and stir. Fold in the zucchini. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes so the batter can absorb the moisture from the zucchini. Then, if your mixture is still very powdery, add up to 5 tablespoons water (start with 1 tablespoon and work up from there, stirring well after each addition). The batter will be very thick but shouldn't be powdery. (It partially depends on how wet your zucchini is!) The dough is super thick, like cookie dough. Do not add too much water! I actually didn't need to use any extra water when I made these. Spread in prepared pan.
Bake 25-30 minutes until the brownies spring back when gently touched. To make the frosting: Whisk butter, cocoa, salt, and powdered sugar. Whisk in milk and vanilla. Spread over cooled brownies. Cut into squares and chill to semi-set. The frosting hardens slightly on the top but stays wet and gooey underneath. These brownies are best stored in an airtight container and eaten within 2 days. Chill them to make them last an extra day.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Stuffed French Bread

This was a delicious and EASY meal to throw together. There was definitely not any leftovers with this hearty meal, everyone kept going back for seconds and thirds! It was very tasty and filling.

Stuffed French Bread
(Recipe found at via Pinterest)

1 loaf french bread
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 can cream of mushroom soup (or cream of everything soup mix)
1 tablespoons milk (or more if needed - I didn't need any)
1 tablespoon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2-2 cups shredded cheese

Preheat the oven to 350. Slice french bread in half (lengthwise), scoop the center of each half and crumble it in a large bowl. Place the halves of bread onto a baking sheet and set aside. In a large skillet place 1 tablespoon of olive oil and ground beef and cook over medium-high heat until the beef is browned, stirring occasionally. Add chopped onion, chopped celery and minced garlic and cook a few minutes until the vegetable is tender. Add soup, mustard, salt and pepper to taste and cook for at least 5 minutes. If the mixture is too thick add a little milk. Add cooked beef mixture to the bread and stir to combine. Spread the mixture in the center of one half of the french bread. Spread shredded cheese in the center of other half of the french bread. and place the bread carefuly back on top of first half. Bake 10-15 minutes (until the cheese is melted). If you don’t want to brown the bread too much or to become too crispy, cover with aluminium foil. Let it cool 5-10 minutes before slicing.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Lemon and Garlic Dump Chicken

I love freezer meals, even if I don't cook the recipe using the freezer option! :) I whipped this up and threw it straight into the crockpot, but I know that next time I will probably be making a double batch and freezing one of them for future use. The kids weren't too sure about this recipe the first time around, but they LOVED it cold as leftovers for lunch the next day. Who knew?? I thought it was pretty tasty, although I think that I would like it even better on the grill instead of in the crockpot. I just love the crispness that the grill gives chicken!

Lemon and Garlic Dump Chicken
(Recipe found at via Pinterest)

1–2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
2 tablespoon lemon juice
4-6 chicken breasts (or 8 to 10 chicken tenders)

Place all ingredients into a 1-gallon freezer bag. After sealing the bag, turn the bag over several times until everything is combined and the chicken is well coated. Freeze flat. To prepare, thaw chicken. Pour chicken and marinade into a baking dish, turn chicken to coat. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes, outside on the barbecue grill, until no longer pink inside, or place the frozen chicken in the crockpot and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Chicken and Spinach Pasta Bake

This was a super easy recipe to throw together and bake. My son wanted to help with supper this night, so I put him to work mixing everything together. He tried cutting the chicken and although it took a lot longer than I hoped (mom had a lot of patience that night) he did a great job and he was proud that he was able to help me put together supper. This has now prompted me to have the kids help with whatever meal they pick for the week. Last year we started letting them each have one meal a week to pick whatever they wanted for supper. This year I am expanding it to mean that they have to help cook whatever meal it is that they want to have. Hopefully it gets them to love being in the kitchen as much as their mom! Or at least get them to know their way around the kitchen a bit!

Chicken and Spinach Pasta Bake
(Recipe found at via Pinterest)

8 ounces uncooked rigatoni
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed
3 cups cubed, cooked chicken breasts
1 (14 ounces) can italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (8 ounces) container chive & onion cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Prepare rigatoni according to package directions. Spread oil on bottom of 11×7 in baking dish; add onion in a single layer. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes or just until tender.
Transfer onion to large bowl, set aside. Drain chopped spinach well, pressing between paper towels. Stir in rigatoni, spinach, chicken, tomatoes, cream cheese, salt and pepper into onion in bowl. Spoon mixture into dish & sprinkle evenly with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake covered at 375 for 30 minutes. Uncover & bake 15 more minutes or until bubbly.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Pie Iron Calzones

We used this recipe when we went on our big camping vacation to Canada this summer and it couldn't have been easier... The poor hubs ends up sitting over the fire the entire time, which isn't super enjoyable for him, but these were totally worth all the grumping and groaning that he did! The kids AND adults raved about how wonderful these tasted and they didn't require a ton of prep work... Perfect for a camping meal!

Pie Iron Calzones
(Recipe found at via Pinterest)

pre-made pizza dough in a tube (one tube yields 3 calzones)
pizza sauce
shredded cheese
Other toppings of your choice
cooking spray
pizza sauce, for dipping

Spray cooking spray on both sides of the pie iron. Cut rectangle of dough into three even pieces and place one piece on the pie iron. Spread pizza sauce. Add cheese. Add pepperoni. Fold over the remaining dough to cover your calzone. With your fingers pinch the edges of the dough together before putting the top of the pie iron on. Cook over hot coals until warm and crisp. Time depends on how hot your coals are. Flip pie iron over and continue cooking second side. Serve with pizza sauce for dipping, if desired.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Raspberry Chocolate Squares

This recipe had me at raspberry and chocolate! Two of my favorite flavors combined together!! It was super yummy and I loved the chocolate glaze over the top. Make sure you store it in the fridge and you can savor it for a while! Although there are a lot of steps to this recipe, it is pretty simple. Make sure that you leave enough time for all the "cooling" phases that you have to do!

Raspberry Chocolate Squares
(Recipe found at

1 cup flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoon milk
1 cup white chocolate chips
2 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate squares
1 tablespoon shortening

Preheat oven to 375. In a bowl combine flour and powdered sugar. Cut in butter; mix well. Press mixture into a 9 inch square baking dish. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until lightly brown. Allow to cool completely. Spread jam evenly over cooled crust. In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese and milk together until smooth; set aside. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the white chocolate chips and add to the cream cheese mixture; beat until smooth. Spread evenly over raspberry mixture. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours Cut chocolate squares into small pieces and melt with shortening in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Spread over white chocolate layer. Cool completely before cutting into small squares. Store in the fridge.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Garlic Cheese Pull Apart Bread

Can you say DELISH?? This pull apart bread was so yummy I wanted to eat all of it. I made this for a pool party that one of the community groups that I belong to had for our local high schoolers and by the end of the night there was only a couple chunks left... Enough for the hubs to get at least a taste when I brought it home. It was good, good, good - especially when it was fresh out of the oven! Make sure that you leave enough time to make this, it isn't hard, just a little time consuming with the thawing and rising of the bread. Also, DON'T FORGET to cover the bottom of your springform pan with foil. It makes your house smell HORRIBLE when all that delicious butter seeps out the bottom of your pan into your oven.... Can you tell that I learned this the hard way?? That just shows that I shouldn't leave things to the last minute when I will then be rushing around trying to get everything done in time! Yikes!

Garlic Cheese Pull Apart Bread
(Recipe found at via Pinterest)

16 frozen white dinner rolls (Rhodes brand)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 teaspoon dry parsley flakes
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Remove frozen rolls from freezer and loosely wrap them in plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature for 45 minutes. Cut rolls in half with a clean pair of scissors. Combine melted butter and seasonings together. Pour over dough and gently mix. Add 1/2 cup of grated cheese and combine. You want each piece of dough to be coated. Line the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan with the pieces of dough and then top with remaining grated cheese. Allow to rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 hours. Cover bottom of pan with foil to prevent butter from leaking out. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until center is completely done.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Strawberry Cheesecake Salad

I took this to a family reunion that we had this past summer. Not the best side dish to bring if you are stuck outside in the heat... It was super yummy, but definitely didn't hold up in the heat so well. Good thing that we ate as soon as we got there or I might have had a lot left over when I went home!

Strawberry Cheesecake Salad
(Recipe found at via pinterest)

12 ounces whipped topping
1 small package of cheesecake pudding (powder)
18 ounces strawberry yogurt
1 pound fresh strawberries, sliced
3 bananas, sliced (add just before serving or they brown)
miniature marshmallows (add just before serving)

Thaw whipped topping and in a large salad bowl stir together whipped topping, yogurts, and pudding powder. Let this set up in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. Wash and slice strawberries. You can add strawberries to salad or wait to add them with sliced bananas and marshmallows just before serving. Keep refrigerated.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Weekly Line Up - 9/18-9/24

What a week! First full week of school is under our belts! Not only did we have a couple games that we headed to, the oldest had football practice and we had meetings for the kids "clubs" that they are a part of a few night this week. I am ready to sit around and do nothing this weekend... But, you know that isn't going to happen! The kitchen is hopping once again. My boys decided that they NEEDED to sell cookies and lemonade during our town's garage sale weekend, so I have some cookies that need to be going in the oven today. I thought that I would spice it up with a few added items which are pretty easy to throw together. Who knows what else will end up in the oven before tomorrow morning! :)

Next week seems like it will be a bit calmer, but you know how that goes... Just when I think things are smooth and easy, we have a hectic week once again! Guess it's good that we are all pretty flexible!

Friday - Burgers
Saturday - *Parmesan Garlic Noodles for lunch, Benefit Supper
Sunday - Chicken Quesadilla
Monday - Pick Your Own Night
Tuesday - ECFE - my night to cook! Slow Cooked Taco Casserole, Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins, *Wicked Chocolate Caramel Bars
Wednesday - Roast
Thursday - *Ranch Chicken Fajita Bowl

Extras: PB Cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Sugar Crunch Popcorn

* = New Recipes

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Pepperoni Pizza Waffles

These were a super fun meal that my kids thought were a lot of fun. They were easy to put together and another way to use my otherwise not so often used waffle iron. My oldest was at camp the week that we had these and just picked them this week as the meal that he wants - they should definitely be easy enough for him to put together on his own so we will see how that goes! We used pizza sauce to dip them into and they were a hit!

Pepperoni Pizza Waffles
(Recipe found on

flaky biscuits, uncooked
pepperoni slices, chopped
mozzarella cheese, shredded
pizza sauce, for dipping

Heat waffle iron. Divide each flaky biscuit in half. Flatten each half, putting pepperoni and cheese on one half. Top with other biscuit half and crimp shut, with fingers or a fork. Spray waffle iron with cookie spray. Close waffle iron and cook until dough is done.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Salted Caramel Popcorn

I made this as one of the treats that I took along with us when we went to visit the circus this past summer. It was a hit there, but I forgot to get a picture of it. So, when we got back, I had my nieces and nephews over for a movie night and when they asked if they could have popcorn for a snack during the movie, I knew that I needed to whip a batch up for them. All I can say is that they couldn't get enough of it! My one nephew must have told me three or four times that "this is the best popcorn ever"... Happy teenager means a thumbs up in my recipe book!

Salted Caramel Popcorn
(recipe found at via pinterest)

1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels (about 16 cups popped corn)
1 cup salted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1 1/2-2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, divided

Preheat oven to 300. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Set aside. Place popped popcorn into a large bowl. In a small saucepan melt butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and 1 teaspoon salt together over medium heat. Bring to boil. Boil for 4 minutes without stirring. Pour caramel mixture over popcorn and stir to coat evenly.
Pour popcorn into lined pan, sprinkle remaining salt on top (1/2 teaspoon-1 teaspoon depending on your personal taste preference) and place in oven. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Allow popcorn to cool on a parchment lined counter.