Search This Blog

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Source- Meijer Meal Planner

I'm not really sure how I'm going to source these recipes. is the website for the grocery store that H and I shop at.  They have a meal planning tool where you can look through their recipes, add them to a list, and then add all the grocery items to a shopping list which you can then print.  Very convenient and they even offer coupons for some items.  
This was the first recipe H and I tried from the meal planner. 

The pizza crust I bought came with 2, so I actually doubled everything and made 2 pizzas for us.  Leftovers are fantastic.

  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 pre-cooked 12-inch pizza crust or focaccia
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Place pizza crust on baking sheet, brush lightly with small amount of olive oil.
  • Bake 5 minutes.
  • Remove from oven, leaving oven on.
  • Cut chicken breasts into 1/2-inch wide strips; sprinkle lightly with salt and black pepper to taste.
  • In medium skillet heat remaining oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add chicken; cook and stir 3 to 5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.
  • Spread barbecue sauce on heated crust.
  • Top with onions, red peppers, chicken, and cheese.
  • Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until hot and cheese is melted and lightly browned.

Next Time-  H and I both loved this pizza.  He actually raved about it for a few days after.  The flavor is awesome.  H will definitely be asking me to make this again.  I think I'd be willing to add more red onion then I did.  I was worried about it being overpowering, but I think baking them took away their power. 

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

Source- adapted from My Grandma

I changed things up a bit with this recipe.  The original is regular ole Banana Nut Bread.  I decided to change things up a bit by adding some chocolate chips because I was craving something chocolate, and lo-and-behold I was out of walnuts. 

I always use bananas that I've frozen and then thawed out.  If you have a banana going brown throw it in your freezer instead of throwing it out.  Then whenever the mood strikes you for something with mashed bananas, you just have to pull out 1 or 2 of these guys and let them thaw.  

If you want to sub the walnuts for the chocolate chips, make sure they are chopped well and you only need 1/2 cup.  

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup mashed banana, I use 2 full bananas
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Mix dry ingredients- flour, sugar, soda,  and powder
  • Add wet ingredients- banana, butter and eggs
  • Beat until well blended
  • Mix in chocolate chips
  • Spray bread pan with cooking spray
  • Pour mixture into pan
  • Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees (My oven cooks faster so mine only needed about 50 minutes)

Next Time- I really liked the addition of the chocolate chips, as did my H.  I'll certainly be willing to make it this way again.  I also want to try it this way with the addition of the walnuts. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Beef & Cheese Manicotti

Source-Giada De Laurentiis via Food Network

I love Giada.  Her recipes are so good, and some of them are so easy.  This one takes a little bit of time, but trust me, it is well worth it.  And since it is just H and I there were lots of leftovers, which both of us love.  Especially since we both liked this recipe so much.

  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 14 (8-ounce package) manicotti
  • 1 (15-ounce) container whole-milk ricotta
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups marinara sauce
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
  • Heat a heavy medium skillet over medium heat. 
  • Add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, onion and ground beef. Season with salt and pepper. 
  • Saute until the meat browns and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and cool.
  • Brush 1 teaspoon of oil over a large baking sheet. 
  • Cook the manicotti in a large pot of boiling salted water until slightly softened, but still very firm to the bite, about 4 to 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the manicotti from the pot to the oiled baking sheet and cool.
  • Meanwhile, combine the ricotta, 1 1/2 to 2 cups mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and parsley. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper to taste, and mix. 
  • Stir the cooled meat mixture into the cheese mixture.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Brush the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil over a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. 
  • Spoon 1 1/2 cups of the marinara sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. 
  • Fill the manicotti with the cheese-meat mixture. 
  • Arrange the stuffed pasta in a single layer in the prepared dish and spoon the remaining sauce over.
  • Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese, then the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan over the stuffed pasta. 
  • Dot entire dish with the butter pieces. 
  • Bake the manicotti uncovered until heated through and the sauce bubbles on the sides of the dish, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let the manicotti stand 5 minutes and serve.
Next Time- Wow is this dish good!!  H really liked it too.  It may be a bit time consuming filling the shells, but it's worth it.  Nothing needs to be changed!

Roasted Rosemary Pork Chops

Source-Betty Crocker

Not sure what to say about this recipe.  I was just looking for another pork recipe since I bought a family pack when it was on sale. 

I used up our potatoes with the beer braised beef, which is why I omitted them.  Didn't take nearly as long to cook with just the onions and no bone in the pork.  But faster isn't a bad thing!


  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic-pepper blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 4 cups) (omitted)
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2-inch-wide wedges
  • 4 bone-in loin pork chops, 1/2 inch thick

  • Heat oven to 425°F. Spray 15x10x1-inch pan with cooking spray. 
  • In large bowl, mix mustard, oil, rosemary, garlic-pepper blend, seasoned salt and paprika. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the mustard mixture.
  • Add potatoes and onion to remaining mustard mixture in bowl; toss to coat. Place vegetables in pan.
  • Roast uncovered 25 minutes. Turn and stir potato mixture. Brush pork chops with reserved 1 tablespoon mustard mixture. Add pork chops to corners of pan.
  • Roast uncovered 15 to 20 minutes longer or until pork is no longer pink when cut near bone and vegetables are tender.
Next Time- These had great flavor, and H and I both really liked the red onions.  It'd be nice to try this with the potatoes next time, but nothing else needs to be altered. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Beer Braised Beef with Onions

Source-The Pioneer Woman

A sad note, I don't have a dutch oven that is oven safe.  So instead of wallowing in my inability to make this recipe, I decided to adapt things a bit and use my slow cooker.  Took about 4 hours instead of 3 for the meat to reach that fall apart doneness.

  • 1 whole Chuck Roast, 2 1/2 To 5 Pounds
  • Salt And Pepper To Taste (Be Generous!)
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 4 whole Onions, Peeled And Sliced Thick
  • 5 cloves Garlic Chopped
  • 2 cans Beer
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Thyme
  • ½ teaspoons Rosemary Leaves
  • Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
  • Heat oil in a large dutch oven over high heat.
  • Season meat generously with salt and pepper. Sear meat on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Remove meat from pan. Lower heat to medium.
  • Throw in onions and garlic. Stir for 30 seconds. Pour in beer, and add thyme, rosemary, and salt to taste—about 1 teaspoon. (Do not undersalt!) Add meat to pot, put to submerge, and place lid on pot.
  • Cook in oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until meat is fork tender and falling apart.
  • Shred meat with two forks. Serve on dinner plates and spoon juice and onions over the top.
  • Serve with very crust bread to sop up the juice.
Next Time- I wish I had had the crusty bread Ree mentions!!

Chicken Ranch Tacos

Source-Betty Crocker

H and I are big taco fans.  I make them usually about 1 a month, which is often when you're making as many new recipes as I am.  When I saw this come up while searching Betty Crocker I wanted to try it as something a little different for our taco "fix."

Preparation Note- I hate doing anything in the microwave.  I cooked the chicken on the stove
and added the ingredients to the pan.


  • 1 box (4.7 oz) taco shells (10 shells) (used regular soft shells)
  • 3 cups cut-up deli rotisserie chicken (from 2- to 2 1/2-lb chicken) (used 3 chicken breasts and cooked myself)
  • 1 package (1 oz) taco seasoning mix
  • 1/2 cup ranch dressing
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded lettuce
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped (3/4 cup)
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 oz)
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions (4 medium), if desired
  • Thick 'n Chunky salsa, if desired
  • Additional ranch dressing, if desired
  • Heat oven to 325°F. Heat taco shells in oven as directed on box.
  • Meanwhile, in medium microwavable bowl, place chicken. Sprinkle with taco seasoning mix; toss gently to coat. Microwave uncovered on High 2 to 3 minutes or until hot. Stir in 1/2 cup dressing.
  • Spoon warm chicken mixture into heated taco shells. 
  • Top with lettuce, tomato, cheese and onions. 
  • Drizzle with salsa and additional dressing.

Next Time-These were a great change, but still filled that taco craving.  Nothing needs to be changed.

Chicken Pot Pie Penne

Source-Joelen's Culinary Adventures

I made this recipe for my H.  He loves pot pies, but the frozen kind are so bad for you.  I'm not a fan of those crusts.  So I thought we both could win with this recipe.  It certainly didn't disappoint.

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil 
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 ounces white or cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced (used a small can)
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup half & half or heavy cream  (used milk)
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup frozen peas & carrots mix
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (omitted)
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme (used dried)
  • 1-2 cups whole wheat dry penne pasta (or any penne pasta will do)
  • water for boiling pasta
  • Cook the pasta according to package directions. When done, place hot penne pasta in a large bowl and set aside.
  • Melt the better (or oil if using) in a large skillet over medium high heat. 
  • Cook onion, garlic and mushrooms in the skillet until golden brown. 
  • Sprinkle in the flour over the mushroom mixture in the skillet and stir. Cook for a few seconds to rid the floury smell then add the broth, half & half (or heavy cream) to the skillet. 
  • Deglaze the skillet, scraping up any bits of fond at the bottom of the skillet. 
  • Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered until the liquid is slightly thickened.
  • Add the chicken, frozen peas and carrots mix, lemon juice, and thyme to the skillet.
  • Cook until heated through and season with salt & pepper to taste. 
  • Place the hot penne pasta into the skillet and toss to combine. 
Next Time-  This turned out good, and doesn't need any changes.  Although I think I would try it with the heavy cream instead of milk to see if the sauce is a bit thicker. 

Dripping Roast Beef Sandwich

I found this recipe while going through the coupons one weekend.  I love little gems that are hidden in uncommon places.  

  •  1 can (10 1/2 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed French Onion Soup
  • 1 tablespoon reduced sodium Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 pound thinly sliced deli roast beef
  • 4  Soft Hoagie Rolls with Sesame Seeds
  • 4 slices deli provolone cheese cut in half
  • 1/4 cup drained hot or mild pickled banana pepper rings (omitted)
  • Heat the oven to 400°F.
  • Heat the soup and Worcestershire in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat to a boil. 
  • Add the beef and heat through, stirring occasionally.
  • Divide the beef evenly among the rolls. 
  • Top the beef with the cheese slices and place the sandwiches onto a baking sheet.
  • Bake for 3 minutes or until the sandwiches are toasted and the cheese is melted.  
  • Spoon the soup mixture onto the sandwiches. (Put into a bowl and dipped sandwiches)
  • Top each sandwich with 1 tablespoon pepper rings.
Next Time- These are sooo easy to make, and are tasty.  Next Time I'd saute some peppers and onions up to put on top of the meat under the cheese.  I loved how the bread got crunchy. 

Asian Orzo

Source-Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations

I have come to love Mary Ellen's recipes.  I have never been steered wrong when I try something she has posted.  I knew I wanted to make the Chinese BBQ Pork Chops that I got from her website, and I went in search of a side dish to serve with them.  Lucky me my search found the side dish on her blog!

  • 1 c dry orzo pasta
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 1/4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 4 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • Heat olive oil in a small pot
  • Add onion, saute 3-4 minutes or until soft.
  • Add orzo, toss to coat/toast for 1 minute
  • Mix the broth with the soy sauce, sesame oil, and brown sugar. Add the broth mixture to the pot, stir, bring to a simmer then lower heat and cover.
  • Cook on low heat, covered, for about 15 minutes or until done. The broth should just be absorbed as the pasta finishes cooking.
  • Stir to fluff and serve.

Next Time- This was easy to make, and had good flavor.  But it was just missing something.  I'm not a chef, so I don't know what it was missing.  I just know it needed something more.  Someone have an idea?

Layered Mexican Bake

Found this recipe in the Kraft Magazine.  I'm slowly working my way through recipes I've ripped out of magazines.  I like when they turn out as well as this one did. 

  • 3/4 lb. extra-lean ground beef (used 1 1/4lbs)
  • 1   onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 tsp.  chili powder
  • 1-1/4 cups Thick 'N Chunky Salsa
  • 1 pkg.  (10 oz.) frozen corn
  • 3 high-fiber whole wheat tortillas (8 inch)
  • 1/2 cup  Light Sour Cream
  • 3/4 cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese, divided

  • HEAT oven to 375ºF.
  • BROWN meat with onions and peppers in large skillet on medium-high heat. Stir in chili powder; cook 1 min. Add salsa and corn; mix well. Simmer 5 min.
  • SPREAD 1 cup meat sauce onto bottom of 8- or 9-inch square baking dish; top with layers of 1 tortilla, 1/2 cup meat sauce, sour cream and 1/4 cup cheese. Cover with 1 tortilla, 1 cup of remaining meat sauce and 1/4 cup of remaining cheese; top with remaining tortilla and meat sauce. Cover with foil.
  • BAKE 25 min. or until casserole is heated through. Top with remaining cheese; bake, uncovered, 5 min. or melted.

Next Time-  This was pretty easy to put together.  And leftovers were great.  Nothing needs to be changed.

New Potato Chicken Stew

Source- Adapted from

This recipe sounded good as listed on the site.  But before adding it to my grocery list I read over the reviews by others who had made the recipe previously.  I took their advice and added a bunch of extra stuff to the recipe. 


  • 2 cups broccoli flowerets or snap pea pods
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, julienned
  • 1 cup water 6 new red potatoes, (3/4 pound), cut into fourths
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, (3/4 pound), cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 jars (12 ounces) chicken gravy

  • Mix all ingredients in 3-quart saucepan.
  • Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally; reduce heat. 
  • Cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender and chicken is no longer pink in center.
Next Time- This was a great stew.  The only thing I really need to change it to hold off on adding the pea pods awhile.  They completely came apart by the time the stew was ready to eat.
  1. Mix all ingredients in 3-quart saucepan.
  2. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender and chicken is no longer pink in center.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Baby Sign Language

When I first heard about this concept I loved it.  I've always been interested in sign language, and know the alphabet, but that's the extent of my knowledge.  So getting to learn signs while teaching them to my baby sounded awesome.  

The idea of teaching my son "words" so that he could communicate with me at an early age seems so amazing.  I've heard of so many success stories.  Some parents worry about a delay in speech development, but as long as you are saying the word when you sign it the child will learn both. 

Since Baby Rebel has been born I've checked out 2 different books from the library.  And they have sat mostly untouched at our house until it was time to return them 3 weeks later.  Since Baby Rebel was getting older, and the small amount I read in the books recommended starting around 3-4 months I knew I needed to make a decision.  So, this past weekend armed with a 30% off coupon I bought Baby Signing Time.  The reason I went with a video is that it gives me a person actually making the sign so that I can see how to do it right, and it frees up my hands from a book when I'm learning to sign. 

It arrived last night, and Baby Rebel and I watched it right before bedtime.  I really like it so far.  Together, we just watched the first chapter, which was about eating and drinking.  The woman shows the signs, sings a song, and then they show babies and toddlers of different ages showing how they make the sign.  I think that last part is important so that you can get an idea of what a child making the sign is like, since they aren't precise like the lady.  

Obviously it will take time (read: months) before we see any signing from Baby Rebel, but we have to start sometime.  H and I watched more together when he got home.  We need to be on the same page, and consistent, in signing if we really want the baby to learn.  

I'll keep you updated on any progress.  :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Recap

So, you saw the recipes I posted already from Thanksgiving.  The Spinach & Artichoke Dip, along with the Herb & Onion Dip.  While they were opposites in how well they went over, you have to live and learn.  The spinach dip will be saved, and made for future get togethers.  I'll have to find a different recipe for chip dip. The Oatmeal Cranberry Bars are still to come. 

Since Baby Rebel had a complete meltdown just as we were serving dinner, I completely forgot to take a picture of all the food I made.  I'm actually kind of bummed about this, since all the food looked really good.  I got out the china my mom gave to me from when she got married.  So the table looked really nice.  Everything looked nice dammit!  But it's not the baby's fault.  Mommy and Daddy weren't in the room, and he was around people he's not familiar with.  He had reached his limit.

We'll just have to live with the pictures I took of the appetizers, and the bars I made since they weren't served with dinner. 

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Source- Kraft Foods

This recipe rocked!!  My sister-in-law, Jen, had only tried this and was already threatening to take me home to Chicago so I could cook for her!  

I've changed the preparation instructions because the Kraft site had you making it in the microwave, which I absolutely hate to do, and they had you spreading the cream cheese on the bottom first.  So, if you want the original directions, click the Kraft link.  Also, the addition of the sour cream made the dip less dry, and definitely was needed.

  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) Cream Cheese, softened 
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 pkg.  (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained
  • 1 jar (7.5 oz.) marinated artichoke hearts, drained, chopped
  • 1/2 cup  Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (plus more for topping)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup  Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Mix everything in a bowl. 
  • Spread into a oven safe baking dish.
  • Sprinkle extra mozzarella on top.
  • Bake in 350 degree oven until cheese is melted and dip is heated through.  Mine took about 10-15 minutes.

Next Time- I like the changes I made in the preparation.  I think it was much nicer to have everything mixed together, and I liked the extra mozzarella melted on top. 

Homemade Onion & Herb Dip

I was very excited to make this chip dip.  I love chip dip, and being able to make it myself would be spectacular.  Unfortunately, this dip turned into a big fat FAIL!  I'm not sure if the cause was the Miracle Whip I used instead of Mayo, or if there was something else wrong.  But it just didn't have good flavor.  I even tried fixing it, and nothing improved it.  

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups diced onions
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise (used Miracle Whip)
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced parsley  (used 2 tsp dried)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper (used black)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • In a saute pan over medium heat add oil, heat and add onions and salt. 
  • Cook the onions until they are caramelized, about 20 minutes. 
  • Remove from heat and set aside to cool. 
  • Mix the rest of the ingredients, and then add the cooled onions. 
  • Refrigerate and stir again before serving.
Next Time- Not sure how to make this taste good.  I think I'd rather just start from scratch with a whole new recipe.  

Homemade Baby Food

So it seems to be all the rage on the online forum I frequent to make your own baby food.  I didn't give it a whole lot of thought, and it certainly wasn't a priority for me to make my own baby food.  At Baby Rebel's 4 month appointment, his pediatrician said that we could start solids with him.  Pick a cereal, and then start with orange vegetables.  From there it was our choice.  Just be sure to wait 3 days before starting a new food to make sure he doesn't have a food allergy.

We tried the cereal, and he did OK the first time.  Waited about a week, and tried again and he did better.  Then I just let it lapse.  Feeding him cereal is a lot messier and more time consuming than just giving him a bottle.  Lately he has seemed much more interested in our food, so I decided to try cereal again.  He did much better.  He opened his mouth for the spoon, kept leaning forward to get to the spoon, and spit out a lot less.  Now, I really feel like he's ready to start solids.  

Honestly, we chose carrots because we already had some in the house from Thanksgiving, and I doubt we'll eat them ourselves.  They may not be the first choice, per Wholesome Baby, but it's what we went with.  

I followed the website, and set about making my first baby food.  

Peeled, and cut up the carrots into chunks.  Steamed them, and then pureed.  I'm not sure how long they took to cook, just waited till they were fork tender.  The site says not to use the cooking water in the puree, so I used fresh tap water.  

After wards, I set aside some to put in the fridge for Baby Rebel.  The rest I froze in an ice cube tray.  

Baby Rebel was already in bed by the time his food was ready, so he'll have to try carrots tomorrow.  I'll share more as I expand my horizons in the world of making baby food.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fiesta Chicken & Black Bean Enchiladas

Source- Adapted from

If you click the link you'll see the recipe called for hamburger, not chicken.  I intended to make it with hamburger, but I took chicken out of the freezer and thought chicken enchiladas sounded good so I switched things up.  

I also have never used the prepared cheese product before.  It seems way too processed for my taste, but I gave in and decided I'd try it for one recipe.  It's not like I was gonna eat the cheese plain.  It would be melted in the recipe just like any other cheese that I have used before.  

  • 1lb chicken breast
  • 1/2 lb.  (8 oz.) VELVEETA Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, divided
  • 1-1/4 cups Thick 'N Chunky Salsa, divided
  • 1 cup  rinsed canned black beans (used a full 16 oz can)
  • 12 flour tortillas (6 inch) (used 10, it's what came in my package)
  • 1/2 cup  Sour Cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (omitted since I dislike cilantro)
  • Heat oven to 350ºF.
  • Spray 13x9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Add oil to large skillet, cook chicken until no longer pink in center.  
  • Remove from pan and shred chicken with 2 forks.
  • Return chicken to pan and stir in half of the VELVEETA and 1/2 cup salsa; cook 5 min. or until VELVEETA is completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring frequently. 
  • Stir in beans.
  • Spoon 1/4 cup meat mixture down center of each tortilla; roll up. Place, seam-sides down, in 13x9-inch baking dish.
  • Bake enchiladas, uncovered, 10 min. 
  • Top with remaining VELVEETA and salsa. 
  • Bake 20 min. or until enchiladas are heated through and VELVEETA is melted. 
  • Top with sour cream and cilantro.

Next Time-The enchiladas themselves were really good.  I think they actually were better with the chicken than they would have been with hamburger.  

I wasn't a fan of the Velveeta melted on the top.  It reminded me of American cheese when you melt it on toast.  Ever have cheese toast?  The cheese mixed in with the chicken was fine.  So I'd say next time I'd just top the enchiladas with the salsa, and maybe mix a little more cheese in to the meat mixture.  

Herb Crusted Pork Roast

This recipe starts out pretty similar to the Herb Roasted Pork Loin I made a few weeks ago.  The only real difference is the bread crumb crust you put over the herbs.  I also used dried herbs this time around rather than fresh.  This changed the amounts used, so I've noted them in bold. 

  • 2-3 lb pork loin roast (just over 4lbs)
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs (doubled)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (doubled)
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus an additional 2 teaspoons
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup packed fresh parsley or basil leaves (2 1/2 Tbsp dried basil)
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves  (1/2 tsp dried)
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves (1/4 tsp dried)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. 
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack in the middle, set aside. 
  • In a large bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, minced shallot, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, pinch of salt and pinch of pepper. 
  • Using a fork, toss the mixture until the breadcrumbs are evenly coated with oil. 
  • In the bowl of a food processor, combine the parsley (or basil), thyme, rosemary, garlic, remaining Parmesan cheese, garlic, 3 tablespoons olive oil and a pinch of salt and pinch of pepper.   (just mixed in a bowl since my dried herbs didn't need to be processed)
  • Process until smooth, about 10-12 1-second pulses.  
  • Rub the outside of the roast with this herb paste and coat with the breadcrumb mixture. 
  • Place the roast in the prepared wire rack and baking sheet.  
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 50-75 minutes or until the thickest part of the roast registers 145 degrees on an instant read thermometer. 
  • Allow the roast to rest for 10 minutes before cutting and serving. 
Next Time- The turned out super moist, and with great flavor.  I wouldn't change anything.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thanksgiving Menu

For about the 4th year in a row H and I are hosting his family for Thanksgiving.  This year it will be his parents, his brother and his brand new sister-in-law, plus the 3 of us.  Sister-in-law, Jen, has said that she'll help me with the cooking.  I told her we'd cook and let the guys take care of the baby!  

Anyways, we've worked out our menu, and even bought all the groceries.  The turkey is thawing the fridge, and I just have to bide my time to start the prep work for my stuffing.  

The Menu 
Roasted Turkey
Homemade Stuffing
Mashed Potatoes
Gravy made from drippings
Cream-Style Corn
Brown N Serve Rolls
Pumpkin Pie- the frozen kind
Oatmeal-Cranberry-Sour Cream Bars
Appetizers- homemade chip dip and warm artichoke-spinach dip

I'm hopeful that I'll remember to take pictures to show off.  If MIL thinks it is weird I'll let her know it is for the blog.   

Friday, November 12, 2010

What to say?

I want to give an update, but don't know what to call it. 

I've been in school for four weeks, and it's going well so far.  The math aspect has just been review so far.  Dealing with fractions and decimals isn't fun, but easy enough and review from my high school math days.  The pharmacy aspect hasn't been that hard.  But next week we start to get into medical and pharmacy terminology and it looks to have a lot to remember.  But I'm looking forward to digging in.  I've taken 2 quizzes, 1 in each class and I got 100% on each.  Go me!!

Now for the stuff you really want to hear about, the little man!  :)  He's growing like a weed.  He doesn't really have a lot of baby fat rolls, so he's just a very solid little boy.  

He's been reaching for his feet the last couple weeks, so he'll have them in his mouth once he figures out how to actually grab them.  That'll be adorable!  He loves to stand up, and can hold himself up if you stand him up next to the coffee table or in his crib.  Of course he can't stand there forever.  

Speaking of his crib, he started sleeping in it this past Monday.  He's doing really well in there, and has actually slept for 12 hours the past 3 nights.  We'll see if he continues that trend.  Pretty crazy that he's not waking up for a night feeding at all.  Of course I prep the bottles just in case.  

We're also planning Thanksgiving.  H and I will be hosting it again this year for his parents and his brother/sister-in-law.  Jenn, my sister-in-law, will be helping me cook while the guys take care of Baby Rebel.  I think that is a fair trade!  

Four Cheese Baked Penne

I decided to make this recipe since it looked really easy, plus it didn't have any meat.  I have enjoyed the meatless recipes I've made and it decreases the expense of groceries.

  • 1 pound whole-wheat penne
  • 1 1/2 cups small-curd low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (8-ounce) can low-sodium tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan (3/4 ounces)
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Combine the cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup mozzarella and parsley in a bowl and stir with a fork to incorporate and set aside. 
  • Cook pasta until tender but still firm, a minute or 2 less than the package directs. Drain.
  • Heat the oil in the same pot over medium heat. 
  • Add the onion and cook stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. 
  • Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. 
  • Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, oregano, rosemary, chili flakes, salt and pepper. 
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes until sauce thickens slightly. 
  • Return pasta to pot with sauce and turn off heat. 
  • Add cottage cheese mixture.
  • Spray a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray then transfer pasta mixture to pan. 
  • Top with remaining 3/4 cup mozzarella and the parmesan.
  • Bake until heated through and cheese is melted, 30 minutes. 
Next Time- This recipe had great flavor and made awesome leftovers.  Nothing needs to be changed. 

Herb Roasted Pork Loin


Found this recipe awhile ago, and when pork loin was on sale I decided to go ahead and make it.  The rub gives awesome flavor to the pork.  I definitely wasn't a fan of the Parsley Shallot Sauce, but that could be partly due to not following the measurements exactly.  H liked it, so it wasn't a complete waste.

Sorry, no picture I forgot to take one.  :(

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (1 tablespoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage leaves or 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (2 1/2-pound) center cut boneless pork loin, trimmed of all visible fat
  • 1/2 cup Parsley Shallot Sauce, recipe follows
 Parsley Shallot Sauce:
  • 1 1/2 cups lightly packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped shallot
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Mash the garlic and salt together with a fork until it forms a coarse paste.
  • Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the oil, fresh herbs and freshly ground pepper. 
  • Rub the garlic-herb paste all over the pork. 
  • Transfer the pork to a roasting pan and roast for 1 1/4 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. 
  • Transfer the roast to a carving board and let rest for 15 minutes. 
  • Carve the pork into slices and serve with the sauce.
 Next Time-As stated the sauce wasn't that great, but the pork was fine.  I'd say that nothing needs to be changed. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Creamy Fiesta Salsa Chicken

Source- My Happy Meals

This recipe sounded so easy to make.  You let the chicken cook in a slow cooker, add the other ingredients towards the end and serve!  It was so easy that I put the chicken on, and H did the rest, since I was gone to class.

I followed Molly's advice about making Spanish rice to serve the chicken over.  Was a great idea.  Leftovers did not last long with this recipe!

  • 3-4 chicken breasts (frozen is fine) (used just over a pound of tenderloins)
  • 1 jar salsa
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 8oz block cream cheese
  • 1 16oz can or bag of corn
  • Put chicken in bottom of slow cooker.  
  • Cover with salsa. 
  • Cook all day on low.
  • 45 minutes before serving add in the black beans (drained and rinsed), corn and cream cheese.
  • Heat through, and serve.  (I mixed quite a bit to make sure the cream cheese melted and was mixed throughout)
Next Time-  Nothing needs to be changed with this recipe.  I used Medium salsa, and it gave a nice little kick.  Super easy to make and tastes great!