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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Chicken Fajita Pizza

Source: Bella's Bistro

H was very excited for this, and after said that it was awesome. It combined two of his favorite meals, pizza and fajitas. This definitely turned out really good.

  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 orange pepper
  • 1/2 large red onion
  • 2 Large Chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Batch Pizza Dough
  • 8 oz shredded Mexican cheese
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Cook chicken. Shred and set aside.
  • Thinly slice the peppers and onion.
  • Saute 5-7 minutes.
  • Add garlic and seasoning, saute another 3 minutes.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Allow to cool slightly.
  • Roll out pizza dough and top with cheese, veggie mix, chicken and more cheese.
  • Bake 14-18 minutes or until the crust is crispy and the toppings are piping hot. (Ours only took 12 minutes)
  • Slice and enjoy!
Next Time- As H said this was awesome. Nothing needs to be changed. Oh, just need to remember to spray the aluminum foil I put on the pizza pan before putting the dough down.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Baked Beef and Ravioli

Source: One Dish Meals

This recipe rocks! We had H's parents over this past weekend for dinner, and we needed something that H's dad could handle. This recipe fit the bill.

  • 1 9oz pkg refrigerated cheese-filled ravioli
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 14oz jar spaghetti sauce (used just over 1/2 of a 26oz jar)
  • 1 9oz pkg frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 4 oz (1 cup) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cook ravioli to desired doneness as directed on package. Drain.
  • Meanwhile, in large skillet, brown ground beef and onions until thoroughly cooked. Drain.
  • Stir in spaghetti sauce and spinach.
  • Spoon and spread 1/2 the beef mixture into ungreased 2-quart baking dish.
  • Arrange cooked ravioli over beef layer.
  • Spoon and spread remaining beef mixture over ravioli. I poured a little extra sauce over top.
  • Cover with foil.
  • Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Uncover; sprinkle with cheese.
  • Bake uncovered for an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until casserole is bubbly and cheese is melted.
Next Time- This turned out so fabulous. It is so easy, and tasted great. I'll make this again for sure, and nothing needs to be changed.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Doctor's Appointment Update

I realized I never updated after I saw the doctor back in September. I saw her for my yearly exam, but we also discussed our efforts to conceive.

Since it was obvious from charts that I was ovulating she recommended we do some tests on both of us. I told her I'd call her office after speaking to our insurance company.

So I came home and called the insurance company, who revealed how truly evil they are! They cover nothing!! And with me being unemployed that means we have to wait to have any tests run. Either for Tim to get a better job with better insurance, or for us to afford to pay out of pocket.

I really liked the doctor though. So I'm happy to be going to her for all my girl stuff. She was really open, and told personal stories about her experiences with conceiving.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Source: My Family

I don't know how other people make goulash, but this is the way my family has always made it. I never questioned my family's definition till I started cooking on my own. We'll just go with what I know.

  • 16oz box of elbow macaroni
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 8oz can tomato paste
  • salt & pepper to taste, we use a lot of pepper in this
  • 8 oz shredded cheese, usually use cheddar
  • Prepare pasta as directed on box, drain and leave in colander.
  • In same pot brown ground beef with onions and garlic.
  • Drain beef if necessary.
  • Add tomato paste, and 1 can of water. You can add more if necessary.
  • Add pasta to pot.
  • Add salt and pepper.
  • Cover mixture with shredded cheese, and cover until melted.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Chicken and Vegetable Skillet Supper

Source: One Dish Meals

Another lovely meal from my One Dish Meals Cookbook. This thing never seems to fail me.

  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 2 lb cut-up frying chicken, skin removed
  • 2 small onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp chicken-flavor instant bouillon (used 3 cubes of bouillon)
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon leaves (omitted)
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • 1 1lb pkg frozen broccoli florets, carrots and cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat until hot.
  • Add chicken onions; cook until chicken is browned on all sides.
  • Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine bouillon, tarragon and 1 1/2 cups hot water; mix well.
  • Add bouillon mixture to chicken; bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken is fork-tender and juices run clear.
  • Add frozen vegetables to chicken; cook 4 to 6 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.
  • Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine 1/4 cup water and cornstarch; blend well.
  • Add liquid to skillet; cook and stir until bubbly and thickened.
Next Time- I thought this had too much liquid, so perhaps cutting down the amount added to the bouillon to just 1 cup would be better. Otherwise this had good flavor, and I have no idea what I missed out by not having the tarragon.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

Source: My Original Creation!

I've been making mashed potatoes pretty much the whole time H and I have been together. I like variety, so I often change up what I use to make them. This is just one of my variations. I used buttermilk instead of milk since I had some leftover after making the Italian Buttermilk Pork Chops.

  • 2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, with the skins on, cut into chunks so they are all the same size. Smaller means less cook time
  • 1/2-1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2-4oz shredded mozzarella
  • Place potatoes in dutch oven, and add water to just cover the potatoes.
  • Cook 30 minutes, or until fork inserted into a potato goes in easily.
  • Strain potatoes and return to pan.
  • Using a hand blender begin to mash potatoes.
  • Gradually add buttermilk, butter, and garlic powder continuing to mix until desired consistency.
  • Fold in shredded cheese.
  • Serve.
Next Time- This recipe has so many variations. Usually I use red skin potatoes. Different cheeses are good, as is chopped scallions and bacon. I also normally use milk, but sour cream can also be used. Whatever you have on hand, or sounds good to you.

Italian Buttermilk Pork Chops

Source: Joelen's Culinary Adventures

Another recipe from the wonderful Joelen.

  • 4 pork chops
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 2-3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Season your pork chops with salt and pepper
  • Place chops in a gallon sized zip top bag.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and place in the fridge for 4 hours to chill (or you could chill overnight too.)
  • Remove the pork chops from the bag and pat dry.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • In a hot skillet with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, brown your pork chops on both sides.
  • Once browned, place the pork chops on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 7-10 minutes. Don't over cook otherwise it will result in dry, tough pork!
Next Time- Didn't like that we bought pork chops with bone, definitely stick to boneless. These had good flavor, but it wasn't anything stellar from having marinated overnight.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Chicken Parm Balls

Source: Lauren's Kitchen and Dish it up

I saw this in my Google reader awhile ago. I didn't completely follow Lauren's way, which is why I linked to the blog where she got the recipe.

I've discovered that I hate working with pizza dough. I've used it a few times to make the Stromboli recipe I posted in the past, and this recipe didn't change my opinion. I've been using the Pillsbury refrigerated cans. Perhaps frozen, or fresh would be better? Anyone have any thoughts?

  • 1 ball of fresh pizza dough
  • 1-2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1-2 cups of diced chicken
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning (combine oregano, basil, parsley, and garlic)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • pizza or marinara sauce
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease pie pan.
  • Grab a walnut-sized piece of dough and flatten.
  • In each dough piece place a couple pieces of chopped chicken and a tablespoon of cheese.
  • Seal dough around meat and cheese and place seam side down in pie pan.
  • Repeat, placing approximately 16 dough balls in each pie plate.
  • Once assembled, drizzle oil over the balls and sprinkle with the herbs and Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake at 400°F for 16-20 min.
  • Serve with warm pizza or marinara sauce.
Next Time- While these turned out good, I wasn't overly impressed. I think it would be better the original way with pepperoni, instead of chicken. Or maybe a combination, to give them a little more flavor.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Chili Cheese Dip

Source: My Family!

This is a great dip. I grew up eating it, so I have no idea where my family actually got it. We usually had this around holiday time, but it is also great for parties. This has become a demand when I have friends over. Super easy, only 3 ingredients and everyone usually loves it!

  • 8 oz pkg cream cheese
  • 15 oz can chili, we use Hormel No Beans
  • 8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
  • Tortilla chips for serving, Fritos also work
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Place cream cheese in 13x9 pan, stick in oven for a few minutes to soften. Remove.
  • Spread cream cheese evenly in bottom of pan.
  • Pour chili over cream cheese, and evenly spread.
  • Sprinkle shredded cheese over chili, evenly.
  • Bake for about 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted
  • Serve warm with chips.

This dip is also great warmed up, if you end up with leftovers.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Taco Casserole

Source: Lauren's Kitchen

Found this in my google reader. Another taco dish, but H and I really like tacos. This dish certainly didn't disappoint.

  • 16 oz. taco sauce (used 8 oz)
  • 12 ounce can buttermilk biscuits (used 16 oz can)
  • 4-6 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (used 8 oz)
  • 4-6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese (used 8 oz)
  • 1 can sliced olives, drained (omitted)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped (used all green)
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped (used 2 full peppers)
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (omitted)
  • 1 jar salsa
  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Lightly grease a 13x9 inch baking dish.
  • Spread taco sauce evenly over bottom of dish.
  • Separate dough into 10 biscuits. Cut each biscuit into 4 pieces.
  • Place biscuit pieces in hot sauce, turn to coat.
  • Sprinkle biscuits with half of the cheese and the olives.
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes.
  • In a large skillet, combine ground beef, peppers, mushrooms, cumin and chili powder.
  • Cook until ground beef is cooked through and add the jar of salsa.
  • Sprinkle the ground beef mixture over the baked biscuit mixture.
  • Top with the remaining cheese.
  • Bake an additional 5-7 minutes, until cheese is melted.
Next Time- I really liked this. We used medium salsa and taco sauce and that gave quite a kick, so maybe use mild in one of those. No other changes need to be made.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Apple Streusel Cheesecake Bars

Source: Betty Crocker

I baked again! I get emails from Betty Crocker, and when I got the most recent it has numerous apple recipes. While they all looked really good, this one stuck out and I wanted to make it very soon. So the ingredients got added to our weekly grocery list, and I made it tonight.

  • 1 pouch (1lb 1.5oz) Betty Crocker oatmeal cookie mix
  • 1/2 cup firm butter or margarine
  • 2 pkgs (8oz each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 can (21oz) apple pie filling
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spray bottom and sides of 13x9 pan with cooking spray.
  • Place cookie mix in large bowl. With pastry blender or fork, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly and coarse.
  • Reserve 1 1/2 cups crumb mixture; press remaining crumbs in bottom of pan. Bake 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, vanilla and egg with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.
  • Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over partially baked crust.
  • In medium bowl, mix pie filling and cinnamon.
  • Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture.
  • Sprinkle reserved crumbs over top.
  • Sprinkle with walnuts.
  • Bake 35 to 40 minutes longer or until light golden brown.
  • Cool about 30 minutes.
  • Refrigerate to chill, about 2 hours.
  • For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.
Next Time- The only change I can think of is possibly using more apple filling. The one can didn't seem to go that far when I was spreading it out. The flavor was great, but I wouldn't have minded more apples.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Three Cheese Chicken Penne Pasta Bake

Source: Kraft Magazine

This recipe uses fresh spinach. I was hesitant at making it at first because while H and I have had, and enjoyed, spinach it was always frozen. I finally gave in and added this recipe to my weekly menu. I was pleasantly surprised with how this recipe turned out. I'd definitely make this recipe again.

  • 1 1/2 cups multigrain penne pasta
  • 1 9oz pkg fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tsp dried basil leaves
  • 1 14 1/2 oz jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2oz cream cheese, cubed (used 3 oz pkg)
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese, dived (used 2 cups)
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Cook pasta, adding spinach to boiling water for last 1 minute.
  • Cook and stir chicken and basil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat 3 minutes.
  • Add sauce and tomatoes; bring to boil.
  • Simmer 3 minutes or until chicken is done.
  • Stir in cream cheese
  • Drain pasta mixture; return to pan
  • Stir in chicken mixture and 1/2 cup mozzarella
  • Spoon into 2-qt baking dish
  • Bake 20 minutes
  • Sprinkle with remaining cheese
  • Bake additional 3 minutes
Next Time- This turned out wonderful. Plenty of cheese like I like. Nothing needs to be changed.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Garlic Parmesan Orzo

Source: Joelen's Culinary Adventure

I have a new love. It's called Orzo!
This recipe was great, and it went really well with the Chinese BBQ Pork that H and I have made numerous times.

  • 1 1/2 cups orzo pasta
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Cook the orzo pasta according to package directions with water; drain.
  • Place the orzo in a large bowl and add the minced garlic and butter.
  • Stir until butter is fully melted.
  • Add the parmesan cheese, parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Next Time- I wasn't a big fan of the fresh parsley, so perhaps either omit it or use dried next time. Otherwise this was fabulous.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Mexican Lasagna

Source: Joelen's Culinary Adventures

Not sure what to say about this recipe. I've followed Joelen's blog for awhile, and lot of her stuff I usually pass on. But when I saw this recipe I knew it was something that was both manageable to make and H and I would really like it.

I accidentally grabbed a can of diced tomatoes with chiles. I've never had them before, and I don't think I'll buy them on purpose. They gave quite a bit of heat, and the sour cream that's suggested as a garnish was nice to cool off that heat.

  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1/2 lb ground beef (85/15)
  • 1/2 soft Mexican chorizo (used all ground beef, no chorizo)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning (+ 1/2 tsp)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 cups refried pinto beans
  • 1 tub ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cup Mexican cheese blend
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes, pico de gallo or your preferred salsa
  • sliced green onions (for garnish)
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a saute pan over medium high heat, crumble in your ground beef and chorizo; brown. Add the minced garlic and diced onion. Stir and cook until softened. Add the taco seasoning, and salt & pepper to taste. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  • In a small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese and egg until incorporated. Season with salt & pepper, and 1/2 tsp taco seasoning. Set aside.
  • In a 9x13 inch baking pan, lightly butter the bottom of the pan. Place 6 corn tortillas on the bottom of the pan, overlapping as needed.
Top the corn tortillas with 1/2 of the refried beans.
Top the beans with 1/2 of the ricotta cheese mixture.
Top the ricotta layer with 1/2 of the beef and chorizo mixture.
Top the beef and chorizo layer with 1/2 of the shredded Mexican cheese.
Top the shredded cheese layer with 1/2 of the diced tomatoes, pico de gallo or your preferred salsa.
  • Repeat the process again with the corn tortillas, adding a little more cheese on top for good measure; bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until cheese is melted.
  • Garnish with sliced green onions and serve up with sour cream and guacamole.

Next Time- This was fantastic. Great flavor. Nothing needs to be changed.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Tuna Casserole

Source: One Dish Meals

Another tuna casserole. I never really had these growing up, but they are so easy to make and usually give plenty of leftovers for H's lunch. I like experimenting with the different ingredients they each use to see what we like best.

Out of this one and the previous tuna casserole, I say this is my 2nd choice. The other one was better.

  • 1 7oz pkg (1 2/3 cups) uncooked elbow macaroni (used medium egg noodles)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 oz (1 cup) shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 10 3/4 oz can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 6oz can water-packed tuna, drained, flaked (used 2 5 oz cans)
  • 1 4oz can mushroom pieces and stems, drained (omitted)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped pimentos, if desired (omitted)
  • 2 tsp instant minced onion
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard (omitted)
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup crushed potato chips
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease 2-quart casserole.
  • Cook macaroni in large saucepan or Dutch oven to desired doneness as directed on package.
  • Drain; return to pan.
  • Add remaining ingredients except potato chips to cooked macaroni; stir to combine.
  • Pour mixture into greased casserole.
  • Sprinkle potato chips on top.
  • Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
Next Time- My changes were good. Nothing needs to be changed.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Crockpot Chicken Salsa Tacos

Source: Bella's Bistro

Another lovely recipe from my fellow May '08 Nestie, Bella. So far I've really liked the recipes of her's that I've made. This one doesn't fail. I've recently discovered that I really like chicken tacos, and this recipe only made that love grow!!

We also usually have pinto instead of black beans in our Mexican dishes, so I decided to change it up and go with the black beans in the recipe.

  • 1lb. Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs (used breasts)
  • 1C. Salsa
  • 1C. Frozen corn
  • 1 15oz. Can Black Beans, rinsed
  • 8 Tortilla Shells (hard or soft)
  • Your favorite taco toppings – cheese, sour cream, lettuce
  • Add frozen chicken, salsa, beans and corn to crock pot.
  • Cover and let cook 6-8 hours on low.
  • Remove chicken and shred with two forks.
  • Ladle out some of the liquid from the crock pot and discard.
  • Return chicken to the crockpot and keep warm while preparing tortilla shells and toppings.
  • Assemble and devour!
Next Time- These had wonderful flavor. Nothing needs to be changed.