Saturday, December 25, 2010

Breakfast Casserole ***

This time, I made this with sausage instead of ham.  It was okay, but I think that hubby picked up the wrong sausage.  It definitely didn't taste like the mild that we normally get.  The store was also out of the shredded hashbrowns, what with all the hashbrown casseroles for Christmas, so I had to use the diced potatoes.  I definitely won't do that again.  It makes too big of a potato layer, in my opinion.  I did use the 6 eggs this time, and I'll definitely continue doing that in the future.

Photo courtesy of Recipezaar

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Recipezaar)

1 (12 ounce) bag frozen shredded hash browns, thawed
1/2 cup melted butter
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 lb bacon or ham, cooked and crumbled
1-1/2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese

Squeeze excess moisture from potatoes.
Mix potatoes and melted butter.
Press into 13X9 baking pan, coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425*F for 25 minutes.
Remove from oven.
Sprinkle bacon or ham and cheese over potatoes.
Beat together eggs and milk.
Pour egg mixture over meat and cheese.
Bake an additional 30 minutes or until set.
** Amy's notes: I used 6 eggs.

Previous reviews:
6/13/10... We all really liked this. Unfortunately, when I originally read the directions, I only noticed the 25 minute cook time. I completely overlooked the 30 minutes before that. Oops. I was worried about getting it ready in time for us to eat before church, but it ended up working out, since DS1 woke us up so early, lol. My backup plan was to cook the hashbrowns in the skillet and then cook the second half of the recipe in the oven, as directed. I think that would work as well.

Anyway, I actually made no substitutions that I can think of off the top of my head. I did, however, add in an extra egg. Four eggs just didn't seem like enough for a 9x13 pan, in my opinion. Overall, it was a crowd-pleaser. I wish I'd had some salsa to put on top of mine, but oh well. Cooking the hashbrowns first gives them just a little bit of a crunch, which is actually really nice. It was nothing spectacular, but it was nice and easy and tasty, which is always a plus in my book. :)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Smoked Salmon Spread **

This was just okay for us.  It's a great base for a recipe, but it just seemed like it was missing something.  It was kind of bland for my tastes.  I first served it on regular crackers, but that just didn't taste right.  I ended up doing pita and bagel chips, and those were much better.  The salt from those gave it a bit more flavor.  I think it would have been even better on the garlic bagel chips.  I want to try another version of this sometime, since I think it does have potential.

Photo courtesy of

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~

12 ounces smoked salmon
2 (8 ounce) packages Neufchatel cheese
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons milk
1 ½ teaspoons dill weed
¼ cup green onion

Beat cream cheese, lemon juice, milk and dill weed until well combined.
Crumble or shred salmon and add to cheese mix.
Mix until blended and desired consistency. More mixing breaks up salmon more - less keeps it chunkier.
Chop green onions and garnish the top of spread with them or mix into spread.
Serve well-chilled with crackers, toast points or sliced/cubed bread.

Cranberry Rollups **

I've had these on my "to try" holiday list for over a year now.  I finally got around to making them for my family's Christmas get-together, since we do appetizers and finger foods.  They were good, and they got a few compliments, but they just really didn't "wow" me.  For one thing, I think that 8 oz of cranberries is a bit too much for my tastes.  I adore cranberries, and I will eat Craisins straight out of the bag.  I only used 6 oz of cranberries in this, and the sweetness of them was just too overwhelming, in my opinion.  They're absolutely gorgeous on the tray, though.  The red of the cranberries and green of the onions against the white of the cream cheese is beautiful and very festive. 

(mymayoctbabycj aka jaime)

One pkg tortillas
8 oz cream cheese (soften)
8 oz dried cranberries
Scallions (cut small, only green)

Mix cream cheese, cranberries, and scallions. Spread mixture on to tortillas and roll up.. Wrap in foil and chill for about an hour. Remove foil and slice the rolls.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Southern Pineapple Dressing ****

My kids always call this "Cranberry Stuff," but it's requested every year.  Dh would eat the entire dish by himself if we would let him, lol.  It's best hot out of the oven, but I've even eaten it cold from the fridge.  It's yummy no matter what.  I can't see myself eating it with ice cream, although I know dh would like it.  In my opinion, it's perfect all on its own.  I've been making it since right after my 5-year-old was born, and we look forward to it every year.  I use 1/2 cup of "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter," and I always end up having to cook it closer to 55 minutes or an hour.  It's a little time-consuming, but it's SO worth it.  :)  This time, I halved the recipe (as a surprise dessert for dh and the kiddos) and put it in an 8x8 baking dish.  Came out perfect as usual.  It ended up having to cook for about 40 minutes total.

Photo courtesy of Recipezaar

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~

1 cup unsalted butter
3 ½ cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup milk
2 (20 ounce) cans crushed pineapple, DRAINED WELL
1 cup dried cranberries, Craisins
½ cup chopped pecans
22 slices de-crusted bread, torn into pieces

In large bowl, cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, milk and pineapple, mix well. Stir in "craisins" and pecans. Fold in bread. Pour into greased 13x9 glass baking dish, do not smooth flat, leave tiny peaks.
Bake, uncovered, in 350º oven for 45-60 minutes till caramelized and peaks are tinged brown.
(OP’s notes: I serve this warm, not hot. Goes great with turkey, ham, chicken, and pork as a side dish. Leftovers even go great re-heated with vanilla or butter pecan ice cream!)
** Amy’s notes: 1 cup of butter is too much for us. I always use just ½ cup.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chicken Lasagna Florentine ***

We haven't had this in ages, but for some reason, it just hit me when I was making our grocery list that it would be a good addition to this week's menu.  I love this recipe!  It's almost like a spinach dip with chicken and noodles.  All the best foods, lol.  I used frozen diced chicken and didn't do the one hour on high.  I cooked it on low for 7 hours.  That was really a bit too long, so I'll probably cut it back a bit next time.  Other than the noodles on bottom sticking a bit, it was pure perfection. 

Photo courtesy of Cooking Light

(Sandy ~ Bettyinthekitchen via Cooking Light)

2 (10-3/4oz) cans condensed reduced-fat, reduced-sodium cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 (10oz) pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
1 (9oz) pkg diced cooked chicken (two small or one large boneless skinless chicken breast)
1 (8oz) carton low-fat sour cream
1 cup 1% low-fat milk
1/2 cup (2 oz) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
9 uncooked lasagna noodles
cooking spray
1 cup (4 oz) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Combine first 10 ingredients in large bowl.
Spread about 1/4 cup sauce in bottom of a 5-quart slow cooker coated with cooking spray. Add 3 uncooked lasagna noodles, breaking noodles in half as necessary to fit slow cooker. Spread one-third of chicken mixture over noodles, sprinkle with 1/3 cup mozzarella. Layer 3 more noodles, half of remaining chicken mixture, and 1/3 cup mozzarella. Top with remaining noodles and chicken mixture; sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese.
Cover with lid; cook on high-heat setting 1 hour. Reduce to low-heat setting; cook 5 hours or until pasta is done. Yield: 8 servings. (serving size: about 1 cup)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Layered Ramen Casserole ***

I made this for lunch today, and we all liked it.  I made the mistake of using both flavor packets, since I was using ground turkey.  Won't do that again.  It made it way too salty.  Other than that, though, it was really good.  I wish that I could figure out a way to dirty up less dishes with it, though.  When it's a pretty simple type meal like this, I don't like dirtying up a lot of plates with it.  All in all, I'll be doing this again. 

Photo courtesy of Recipezaar

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Recipezaar)

2 (3 ounce) packages ramen noodles (chicken flavored)
1 lb ground beef
3 eggs
2 cups shredded cheese (any kind)
1 tablespoon minced onion (rehydrated)
1 cup spaghetti sauce

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Separate the ramen noodles from their flavor packets.
Brown beef, mixing in ONE ramen noodle flavor packet and the rehydrated onion. Add the other Ramen flavor packet if beef needs more flavor. Typically you won't need to.
Drain beef and pour into the bottom of a 8x8 dish or a 2qt glass dish, both work. Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese over the top of beef while it's still hot, so it melts into it.
Cook egg in same pan as beef, I usually just mix the egg really well and cook through, but you can scramble it if you prefer. Place egg on top of beef and add another 1/2 cup cheese.
Boil ramen noodles until softened and drain. Mix Prego (or any preferred spaghetti sauce) into ramen noodles and pour on top of the eggs. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top of the noodles.
Place in oven for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Slow Cooker Chicken Alfredo Stew **

This wasn't as good as I had hoped, but it has great potential. The problem was just that it was a little bland. Some of the descriptions on the website said that using the garlic alfredo sauce was an option, so I think I'm going to try that next time (and there will be a next time!). I'm also going to leave out the basil and use 1 tsp of Italian Seasoning. Other than that, it was a really hearty soup with lots of yummy veggies. I used a Spring Vegetable mix, which had broccoli, squash, and carrots. I couldn't find refrigerated diced potatoes, so I just got the ones in the freezer section by the hashbrowns and thawed them out. Worked perfectly. :)

Photo courtesy of

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~

1 (16 ounce) jar alfredo sauce
3/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups refrigerated diced potatoes with onions (cooked, from 20-oz bag)
1 1/4 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch-wide strips
1 (1 lb) bag frozen mixed vegetables

In small bowl, mix pasta sauce, water, basil, and salt.
Spray 3- to 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In cooker, layer half each of the potatoes, chicken strips, frozen vegetables, and pasta sauce.
Repeat layers, ending with pasta sauce.
Cover, and cook on Low heat setting 6 to 8 hours.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Martha Stewart's Cheesy Hash Brown Bake ***

This was really nothing special, but because of how simple it is to throw together and how yummy it tastes, we all gave it two thumbs-up. The potatoes get just a little crispy on top, which gives the perfect contrast for the chili. The cheese is just slightly mixed into the potato, so it's not an overly cheesy taste. I used the Hormel chunky chili, which was actually really good.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Martha Stewart Living)

4 cups chili
1 (16 ounce) bag frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
2 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
coarse salt
ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425, with rack set in upper third. Divide chili among four individual baking dishes (10 to 12 ounces each). Set aside.
Place potatoes in a double layer of paper towels; squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
In a large bowl, combine potatoes, cheese, and cilantro; season with salt and pepper. Scatter potato mixture over chili. Place baking dishes on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until potatoes are golden brown and chili is bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve.
*Amy's notes: I made mine altogether in a 9x13 baking dish.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Crockpot Pork Chops and Stuffing ***

As my 5-year-old said when he was little, "This was dee-hishus!"  I ran through this morning, looking for something I could easily pick up from the grocery store and throw in the crock on my lunch break.  This was perfect.  As I've mentioned before, sometimes I get a craving for StoveTop, and nothing else will suffice.  The pork chops come out so tender and flavorful.  I made a few changes, as always, but nothing drastic.  I used 10 thawed boneless chops, added an extra 1/4 cup of water, and cooked for 6 hours on low.  I also used onion-mushroom soup mix instead of plain onion and StoveTop cornbread dressing instead of stuffing, since those are my preferences.  It was a little salty, but I just noticed that I used two packets of soup mix when it only called for one.  That explains the saltiness, lol.  Other than that, it was great.  Definitely a keeper for us.

Photo courtesy of Recipezaar

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~

8 frozen pork chops
1 package dry onion soup mix
2 boxes Stove Top stuffing mix
4 cups water

Place 2 cups warm water in bottom of crock pot.
Place pork chops in crock pot.
Sprinkle onion soup mix on top of pork chops.
Pour stuffing mix on top and pour water on top of stuffing mix.
Cook on High for 2 hours and then cook on low for about 4 more hours.
Usually the stuffing comes out mushy and moist, just the way my family likes it.
If you don't want to change temps while cooking, just cook on low for 6-8 hours.
*Amy's notes: I used 10 thawed boneless chops, added an extra 1/4 cup of water, and cooked for 6 hours on low.  I also used onion-mushroom soup mix instead of plain onion and StoveTop cornbread dressing instead of stuffing.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Chicken Stuffed Shells ***

I've had this one for so long that I can't even remember where I got it.  I know it was somewhere on the web. 
Anyway, we loved this one.  It takes a little bit longer to cook than most recipes like this, but it was really good.  I sometimes get a craving for Stove Top, for some reason, and this really hit the spot.  The gravy on it is yummy too, even though it's just broth and cream of mushroom.  The kids ate it up.  I did have to use manicotti noodles, since the store didn't have the jumbo ones.  I hate stuffing manicotti noodles, but I really think I like the way they taste in this more than the jumbo shells.  I didn't have enough time to put it all together tonight, so I mixed up the stuffing and stuffed the shells last night.  I also mixed the soup and broth but left them in another container.  I threw both in the fridge until I got ready to cook them tonight.  It still only took an hour to cook.  I'll definitely do it that way again next time, since it cuts down on the overall time in the evenings.

Photo of similar recipe,
courtesy of

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ somewhere on the web)

2 cups cooked, chicken cut in small pieces
1 box Stove Top chicken stuffing
½ cup mayonnaise
1 box large shells, boiled
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 1/4 cup chicken broth
Parmesan cheese

Cook stuffing. Mix the chicken, stuffing and mayo together. Stuff the shells and put in 9 x 13 pan.  Set aside. Combine soup and chicken broth; stir. Pour soup mixture over the shells; sprinkle with cheese. Place in oven 350 degrees for an hr.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Banana Bread ***

I combined different aspects of several banana bread recipes on the web and came up with this one.  We loved it.  It's actually a tad bit too moist, so I will probably reduce the applesauce next time.  Other than that, it was amazing.  We all inhaled it at breakfast this morning.  :)

Photo of similar recipe from Recipezaar

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup mashed banana
1/2 cup chopped nuts (omit if you don't like nuts)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Grease 1 large loaf pan.
Combine applesauce, sugar, eggs and vanilla; mix well
Add dry ingredients, then bananas, nuts, chocolate chips, and sour cream; mix well.
Bake at 350 F for 1 hour.
*Amy's notes: I want to try cutting the applesauce amount in half next time.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Crockpot Chili Pork Chops **

This is another one that I had in my old files, but I had labeled it as one that we really liked.  It was good, but nothing special.  Definitely not as good as the Creole Pork Chops in Crockpot.  In my mind, they were very similar, but they're really not.  The sauce on this was good, but the meat was really dry.  Dh and I were talking, though, and we really think it would be better with a more tender side of meat.  A pork steak would probably be excellent in it.  Maybe I'll try it again, maybe I won't.  For now, this one's getting demoted to 2 stars.  Sorry, Charlie.  :)

Photo courtesy of Recipezaar

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Recipezaar)

¾ cup chopped onions (I used minced)
3 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves (I used minced)
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 ¼ cup water
1 ¼ cup ketchup
1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
8-10 pork chops, bone-in preferred (I used 10 boneless)
salt and pepper

Cook onions in oil until lightly brown.
Add garlic, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, water, ketchup, salt, and pepper.
Cover and simmer the sauce for 10 minutes.
Arrange pork chops in crock pot, pour sauce over the chops.
Cover and cook on low heat for 6-7 hours.
OP’s notes: I find that the longer you cook them, the more tender they are. I normally serve them with mashed potatoes and a vegetable. I put the sauce over the mashed potatoes (yummy!).

Monday, August 16, 2010

Rachael Ray's Grilled Beer Chicken With Potato Slabs ***

I doubled the recipe on this, since it said it only made 4 servings, and I like to make enough for dh to take some to work for lunch the next day.  That's absolutely wrong.  It's more like 6 servings.  Next time, I'll keep the marinade the same and just add a bit more chicken.  I used boneless/skinless thighs instead of drumsticks, since that's what I had.  The marinade smells divine.  The flavor is wonderful.  I forgot that I would need to cook it longer with thighs than with drumsticks.  I ended up cooking it an extra 10 minutes, but it could have used even longer.  Of course, if I hadn't doubled the recipe, there wouldn't have been more on the grill, so the 10 extra minutes probably would have been fine.  The chicken was so moist and flavorful, though.  I'll be doing that again soon.  The potatoes weren't a keeper for me.  I expected them to crisp up some on the grill, but they never did.  The outer edges were mushy, while the inner circles weren't even completely cooked.  It says to only cook them 3 minutes per side, but I cooked them a total of 15 minutes, and they were still slightly raw.  Next time, I'll skip them and just do baked potatoes.

Photo courtesy of Recipezaar

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Recipezaar)

12 ounces beer, room temperature (can or bottle)
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt, plus more
salt, for sprinkling
6 chicken drumsticks (about 1.5 pounds)
2 baking potatoes
olive oil, for drizzling
lime wedge, for serving

In a resealable plastic bag, combine the beer, butter, garlic, chili powder, brown sugar and salt.
Add the drumsticks, seal the bag and let marinate while you proceed.
Preheat a grill or grill pan to high.
Microwave the potatoes on high until slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
Slice the potatoes lengthwise about 1/4-inch thick.
Drizzle both sides generously with olive oil.
Transfer the chicken and potatoes to the grill.
Grill the drumsticks, brushing with the beer marinade and turning occasionally, until the skin is golden and crisp and the juices run clear, 20 to 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, grill the potatoes until grill marks appear, about 3 minutes on each side.
Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with salt.
Serve the chicken and potatoes with the lime wedges.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Comforting Smothered Chicken ****


3-4 boneless chicken breasts
2 tsp seasoning salt
1 tsp black pepper
2/3 c flour
½ c vegetable oil
1 small onion, sliced
2 c chicken broth, low sodium

Season flour with salt and pepper and mix well. Coat chicken completely with the seasoned flour. Heat oil in heavy skillet. Add chicken and brown on each side (about 4 minutes per side). Remove and set aside. Add sliced onions to the pan drippings and cook for 1 minute. Add remaining flour and continue to stir until onions and flour begin to brown. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil, stir until incorporated and return chicken to the gravy. Cover skillet, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes until gravy is thick and chicken is tender.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Easy Zucchini Bread **

This was pretty good.  I loved the flavor of it.  Even after an hour, though, it was still pretty soggy in the middle.  The flavor was phenomenal, though.  I do love the idea of a cake mix base, so I'm still in search of a better recipe.  I think if you could eliminate some of the liquids, it would make a better density.  I just don't want to change it up so much that it loses the basic taste.  It's definitely a work in progress.

Photo courtesy of Recipezaar

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Southern Living, Oct 2007)

1 cup chopped pecans, divided
1 (18.25-oz.) package spice cake mix
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup canola oil
3 large eggs
2 cups shredded zucchini (1 medium zucchini)

Place 2/3 cup pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan.
Bake at 350° for 6 to 7 minutes or until pecans are lightly toasted, stirring occasionally.
Beat cake mix and next 3 ingredients at low speed with an electric mixer 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium, and beat 1 minute, stopping to scrape bottom and down sides of bowl as needed. Stir in zucchini and 2/3 cup toasted pecans. Pour batter evenly into 2 (9- x 5-inch) lightly greased loaf pans. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup pecans evenly over batter.
Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire rack, and let cool 15 minutes before slicing.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Chicken Marseilles **

This makes a really yummy sauce.  My only complaint was that it made very little sauce.  I ended up adding an extra 1/2 cup sour cream and 1/4 cup water, just to make a little more of it.  Next time, I think I'm going to just double some of the sauce ingredients and add a little chicken broth.  We had enough sauce to go on the rice, but it would have been nice to have some for the chicken as well.  Other than that, I have no complaints.  I used chicken breast tenders, since they were on sale, and I think I would do that again.  We're not big fans of chicken breasts in general, so the tenders work a little better for us.  I just had to cut down the cooking time a bit.  I wouldn't be opposed to having it again, since it was pretty good.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Recipezaar)

3 tablespoons butter
5-6 boneless chicken breasts
2 cups water
1 (1 ounce) package dry vegetable soup mix (I use Knorr's)
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
1/2 cup sour cream

Melt butter in skillet.
Place chicken breasts in skillet and brown for about 15 minutes, turning occasionally.
Stir in 2 cups water, soup mix and dill into skillet and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionallyl for 25-30 minutes until chicken is tender.
Remove chicken to a plate.
Add sour cream to skillet and stir until creamy.
Place chicken over hot brown rice (prepared according to directions) and spoon sour cream sauce over chicken before serving.

Best Dang Fried Banana Peppers ***

Our banana pepper plants in the garden are putting out peppers more quickly than I can find recipes.  These were really pretty good.  I didn't know exactly what they meant by slicing them lengthwise - as in, whether to slice through one side and leave the pepper whole, or to completely slice into two halves.  I went with slicing them into halves.  Dh and I loved them.  The kids tolerated them, lol.  It's not a batter-dip at all, but it just adds some crunch to the peppers.  It was definitely good and worth making again.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Recipezaar)

10 banana peppers (washed, sliced lengthwise and seeds removed)
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup saltine crackers, crushed
1 to taste vegetable oil (for frying)
Heat vegetable oil in frying pan over medium heat. 
In medium bowl, mix together equal parts corn meal and crushed saltines. 
Prepare another shallow bowl of buttermilk.
Dip banana peppers in buttermilk.
Coat with cornmeal/cracker mixture. Fry in veg oil over medium heat until golden brown. 
Drain/cool slightly on paper towels.
* Amy's notes: OP said to serve with marinara, but we served with ranch dressing as a dipping sauce.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Macaroni and Cheese Pizza ****

Thumbs up all around from us! I used ground turkey and added some Italian seasoning. I also added some chopped mushrooms. We all loved it! I do think that I'll halve the noodles, eggs, and sauce, though. This made way too much for our family of 4. Other than that, it was perfect!

Photo courtesy of Recipezaar

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Recipezaar)

1 (14-1/2 ounce) box macaroni and cheese dinner mix
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 (32 ounce) jar pizza sauce
1 (8 ounce) package pepperoni
3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 325*F; grease 13 x 9 inch baking dish and set aside. 
Prepare Macaroni and Cheese according to box directions. 
Stir eggs thoroughly into Mac and Cheese. 
Pour mixture into 13 x 9 inch baking dish. 
Bake for 15 minutes. 
Remove from oven. Spread pizza sauce over Mac and Cheese. 
Cover with as much or as little pepperoni as you like. 
Cover with Mozzarella cheese. 
Bake for additional 15 - 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. 
Let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Chili Tots Casserole ***

This one actually surprised me.  Dh loves Frito Pies, and while I like them, they are just too salty for me.  I found this recipe, in the hopes that dh and the kids would like it, and we could find a decent compromise for the Frito Pies.  It worked!  I love that meat is added to this.  Of course, if you had a chili with lots of beans, it would accomplish the same goal, but the meat keeps it from being "too much" on the chili side, for lack of a better explanation.  There's not the usual chili overkill that some recipes with canned chili have.  The best part was that it was so easy, dh threw it together in no time flat, without leaving me a zillion dirty dishes in the sink.  :)
I subbed ground turkey, as usual, and I actually used 1 1/2 lbs, since that's what I had handy.  I also had dh just use one 9x13 instead of two 8x8 pans.  I didn't make the extra one to freeze.  I love that I normally have most of the ingredients on hand, so this can be thrown together at the last minute.  Keeper for us!

Photo courtesy of Recipezaar

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Recipezaar)

1 lb ground beef (optional)
2 (15 ounce) cans chili without beans
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 (32 ounce) bag tater tots

Cook the beef and drain.
Stir in the chili and heat through.
Pour into two 8" sprayed square baking dishes.
Sprinkle with the cheese and top with the tater tots.
Cover and freeze one casserole for up to three months.
Cover and bake the remaining casserole at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until heated through.
To use the frozen casserole: Remove from the freezer 30 minutes before baking (do not thaw). Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hrs or until heated through.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sauteed Zucchini **

This was just so-so for us.  DS2 is a butter-holic.  He would eat butter from the tub if I'd let him (don't worry - I don't, lol).  He loved this.  He had 3 helpings of it.  The rest of us just couldn't get into it, though.  The butter flavor was just too over-powering, in my opinion.  I did use dried garlic, instead of fresh, and I'm sure that made a difference.  I liked the combo of the lemon juice and garlic, though.  I think I may try this again, using olive oil instead of the butter, and see if that works for us.  It wasn't bad by any means, and anything that can get either of my kids to eat 3 helpings of veggies deserves a second chance in my book.  :)

Photo courtesy of Recipezaar

Michelle (MMmom)

4 medium zucchini
4 tbsp unsalted butter
2 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp lemon juice (I didn't measure, and probably used more)
Salt and pepper to taste

Rinse zucchini and cut into bite sized chunks. In a hot pan, melt the butter, then add zucchini and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add the minced garlic and lemon juice and sauté for 2 minutes more. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, serve. Other vegetables can be used…yellow crook neck squash and carrots work really well.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Spaghetti & Meatballs for Dummies ***

This was a recipe I came up with last summer.  I spent hours pouring over the different recipes on the 'Net, but I couldn't find one that worked for us.  I ended up combining aspects of all of them, and the result was a keeper for us.  This is beyond simple.  Dh made it tonight, and even he couldn't mess it up. :)  It was just as good as usual.  It really is like those "Dummies" books, because it's just about impossible to mess it up.  I normally just add browned ground turkey to my spaghetti, so this is not all that different.  The kids just get a lot more excited when there are meatballs in it.  Overall, it's 8 thumbs up for us.  :)

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

1-1/2 lbs ground turkey
3/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 egg
2 jars Ragu Mama's Special Garden Pasta Sauce
1 box (13 oz) whole wheat thin spaghetti

Combine ground beef, bread crumbs, and egg; shape into 32 meatballs. You can freeze half if you don't like too many meatballs in the sauce.
Bring sauce to a boil in saucepan. Stir in uncooked meatballs.
Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, 25 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.

Monday, June 28, 2010

White Chicken Enchiladas with Green Chile Sour Cream Sauce ***

Another winner for us.  I just love this sauce.  It's actually very similar in taste to the Beefy Bean Burrito Casserole sauce, which I adore.  This one uses homemade ingredients instead of the cream soup, which is always a bonus.  I think next time, though, I'm going to actually shred the chicken.  I made the mistake of just dicing it, and the pieces were just a little too chewy.  Shredding it would spread it more evenly in the tortillas.  Overall, we were all crazy about the dish.  I served it with the Quick Spanish Rice.  This was really simple for as good as it tasted. 

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ via Home Cooking with Sonya)

8-10 soft taco size flour tortillas
2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese, divided
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 can chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
1 7-ounce can diced green chilies
Cilantro for garnish, if desired

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix together 1 cup of the cheese and the chicken. Place an equal amount of the mixture into each tortilla, roll up and place seam side down into a 9 x 13-inch pan.
In a skillet or saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, whisking until smooth. Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Stir in sour cream and green chilies. Pour over the top of the enchiladas; sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro, if desired.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Veggie-Tastic Ravioli ***

We all really liked this.  It was inspired by a recipe that someone posted onto BBC from Taste of Home.  I redid it to make it work for us, and because it became something completely different, I gave it a new name.  The kids ate all their veggies, which just blew my mind.  I personally loved the veggies with the spaghetti sauce.  We will be making this very often.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ inspired by ToH's Ravioli Primavera)

25 oz frozen cheese or beef ravioli
¼ cup olive oil
1/4 tsp minced garlic
16 oz frozen mixed vegetables (I prefer zucchini, corn, etc.)
¼ cup chicken broth
28 oz spaghetti sauce
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese
Cook ravioli according to package directions.  Drain when fully cooked, and return to pot.
In a large skillet over medium heat, cook garlic in oil for 1 minute (if garlic is dried, heat only briefly, so as not to brown).
Add frozen veggies; cook for 4 minutes.  Add chicken broth; cook for 3 minutes. Stir in salt, pepper, and spaghetti sauce; cook for 1 minute.  Mix into ravioli and sprinkle liberally with Parmesan cheese.  Serve while hot for best results.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Chicken Club Pasta Salad ***

Dh and I both loved this one.  The kids were kind of so-so on it.  They liked the noodles, but they didn't care much for the rest of it.  I expected that, though.  They're not fond of any pasta salad that involves anything other than noodles, Ranch dressing, and Parmesan, lol.  The best part of it was that DS2 asked for a bit of avocado as I was cutting them up, and he ended up having me cut up an entire avocado just for him to eat!  Pretty dang cool, if you ask me.  :)
Back to the salad, though.  I used the "real bacon pieces" that are in the salad dressing aisle (by the bacon bits), just because that's what I had on hand.  I love how many veggies are thrown into this thing.  I did end up using quite a bit more dressing that it called for, though.  It was just still too dry after the directed amount.  I used the tri-color pasta, so I don't know if that made a difference.  It was great, though.  It kind of tastes like a pasta made from chicken salad, so it's pretty obvious that I would love it, lol.


8 oz corkscrew or spiral pasta
¼ cup mayonnaise
¾ cup Italian dressing
2 cups chopped cooked rotisserie chicken
1 cup cubed Muenster or Monterey Jack cheese
12 strips crisp-cooked bacon, crumbled
1 avocado, cubed
1 cup each chopped celery and green bell pepper
8 oz cherry tomatoes, cut in half

Cook and drain the pasta according to the package directions and rinse it with cold water. In a large bowl, pour a small a mount of the Italian dressing into the mayonnaise and whisk to incorporate, then whisk in the remaining dressing. Stir in the pasta and the remaining ingredients.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Mexican Chicken Casserole ****

I really don't even need to write another review for this one.  As always, one of our favorite meals - especially for how easy and idiot-proof it is.  :)

Photo courtesy of Recipezaar

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

1 (10 ¾-oz) can Campbell's Healthy Request Cream of Chicken soup
1 (10 ¾-oz) can Campbell's Healthy Request Cream of Mushroom soup
1 can fat-free evaporated milk
1 (4-oz) can diced green chiles
1 ½ cups chopped cooked chicken
1 package plain Doritos
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
1 (4-oz) can sliced black olives
Mix first four ingredients in order. Crush the bag of Doritos into little pieces; add to mixture. Stir in chicken.
Pour mixture into 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle with olives, and then cover with cheese. Bake at 350° for about 30-45 minutes.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Apple French Toast Casserole ***

We loved this!  I've been trying to find a good overnight french toast-type casserole.  Since we all love apples and cinnamon, this seemed an obvious choice.  It was so yummy!  Not to mention that it looks so pretty when you invert it onto a cake plate.  The bread firms up nicely, and you can hardly taste the egg mixture at all.  My favorite parts were actually the crusts of the bread, since they had a chewier texture to them.  The butter/brown sugar doesn't carmelize as strongly as many of the other recipes have, which was a nice change.  It kept the sugary flavor from being too overpowering.  I used Granny Smith apples, and they worked perfectly.

Photo courtesy of Recipezaar

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Recipezaar)

4 tablespoons butter
3 large apples, peeled and sliced thinly 
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
8 slices Italian bread, 1 inch thick
4 large eggs
1-1/4 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Melt the butter in a large skillet and add apples.
Cook and stir for 5 minutes.
Add brown sugar, water, and cinnamon and continue to cook and stir for 10 minutes until apples are tender.
Spoon mixture into 13x9 baking dish.
Cover apples with bread slices, making sure to cover the entire surface.
Trim the bread to fit if you must.
Beat eggs until foamy, then beat in milk and vanilla.
Pour egg mixture over the bread slices.
Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, remove the dish from the refrigerator and let it stand while oven is preheated to 375 F.
Bake uncovered for 35 minutes, or until bread is golden and firm.
Let sit 10 minutes before serving.
To serve on a platter, run a knife around the edges of the casserole, place platter on top of casserole, and carefully flip.
To serve individually, use a spatula to remove serving, place serving plate on top of serving and carefully flip so apple side is up.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Easy Skillet Casserole ***

I spent all evening in the kitchen, getting our breakfast and lunch made for tomorrow (Memorial Day), so this was the perfect meal to throw together in the process.  The kids had a "picnic" on the floor and watched Goonies with dh while I cooked, and this made a nice, easy meal (cooking and clean-up) for them to eat in front of the TV.  I said it last time, and I'll say it again.  The Worcestershire definitely makes the dish, as far as I'm concerned.  Otherwise, it would just be mac-n-cheese with hamburger meat.  As usual, I subbed ground beef for ground turkey.

Photo courtesy of Recipezaar

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Recipezaar)

1 lb lean ground beef
1 medium onion
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 (12 ounce) package macaroni & cheese dinner mix

Brown beef in a large, deep pot with onion, garlic powder, salt, pepper and Worchestershire sauce.
Cook macaroni separately according to package directions.
When beef is cooked add tomato paste and prepared macaroni.
Mix thoroughly.
Cook over low heat until thickened. Add grated cheese on top, if desired. Cover and set aside for 5 mins before serving.

2/24/10: No question. This one was a hit. The boys all loved it. All 3 of them, lol. I liked it. It's nothing special, but it's easy enough and has a nice flavor to it. I really like the Worcestershire cooked with the meat. That adds an extra little flavor dimension to it. I used ground turkey with no problems. Definitely a keeper for us.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

4-Cheese Penne Pasta Skillet Sensation ***

This one was originally printed on a recipe calendar where I used to work, but I've made so many changes through the years that it's turned into something else completely, lol.  We still love it, though.  I'm not going to lie.  It's better with the regular penne pasta, but the cheese does a decent job of masking the texture of the whole wheat.  It's a fair trade, right?  ;)  It makes about 4-6 servings, but I normally double it if I want enough for leftovers the next day. 

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

6 oz penne or other tube pasta
¾ lb ground beef
1 (14.5-oz) can chunky pasta style stewed tomatoes
1 cup sliced green onions
1 (3-oz) pkg cream cheese
½ cup shredded Swiss cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Cook pasta as package directs; drain. In skillet, brown meat. Salt and pepper to taste; drain. Add tomatoes. Cook, uncovered, until slightly thickened. Stir in onions and cream cheese. Toss with remaining ingredients. Cover 2 minutes to melt cheese.
Yield: 4-6 servings
* Amy’s notes: I used ground turkey, fire roasted tomatoes, and whole wheat/whole grain pasta.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Arabian Spinach **

As I've mentioned before, we were given quite a bit of fresh spinach from a friend of dh's (thanks again, D & K!), and I've been trying out a few new recipes.  The last one was Spanakoryzo, which was absolutely delicious!  This one was good too.  I wasn't too sure about putting cumin in the spinach, although I truly adore cumin in general.  I just didn't know how well it would mesh with the spinach.  I needn't have worried, though.  It was actually the ingredient that I believe pulled together the spinach and the chickpeas.  Dh wasn't overly excited about it, but he ate it.  He just said it was okay.  I loved it, but there aren't very many spinach recipes that I'm not crazy about, lol.  I'll definitely do this one again.  We had it with the Spaghetti-Pizza Casserole, and they went very well together.  Interestingly, some of the Parmesan I sprinkled on the spaghetti got on a few bites of the spinach, and it was really good.  I'm thinking that I might be able to get dh and the kids to be a little more accepting of it if I add a little Parmesan in next time.  It's worth a shot anyway, right?  ;)  The only other change I made was to do about 4 ½ cups of spinach, just to use up what I had.  I really don't think that 3 ½ would have been enough, though.

Photo courtesy of Recipezaar

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Recipezaar)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 ½ cups fresh spinach, washed and shredded
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion for about 5 minutes until softened.
Add the garlic and cumin seeds; then fry for another minute.
Add the spinach, in stages, stirring until the leaves begin to wilt.
Stir in the chick peas, butter and season with salt and pepper.
Reheat until just bubbling, then serve hot.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Chicken and Ravioli Carbonara **

This was just okay for us.  The ravioli themselves were good.  The sauce was nothing spectacular, though.  I used Zesty Italian dressing for cooking the chicken, and that was yummy.  The times seem to be off quite a bit in the recipe.  I cooked the chicken for about 7 minutes (recipe says 4), and it never did "brown."  I cooked the ravioli in there for about 7 more minutes (recipe again said 4-5), and the broth never evaporated.  After all that time, the chicken got pretty dry.  My biggest complaint, though, was the overly saltiness of it.  But then again, I've been craving water like there's no tomorrow, so that could very well be just me.  Dh and the kids loved the ravioli part. 

Photo courtesy of

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Betty Crocker magazine)

2 Tablespoons Italian dressing
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into ½-inch strips
¾ cup chicken broth
1 package (9-oz) refrigerated cheese-filled ravioli
½ cup half-and-half
4 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
Shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired
Chopped fresh parsley, if desired

In 10-inch skillet, heat dressing over high heat. Cook chicken in dressing 2-4 minutes, turning occasionally, until brown.
Add broth and ravioli to skillet. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to medium. Cook uncovered about 4 minutes or until ravioli are tender and almost all broth has evaporated.
Stir in half-and-half; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered 3-5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and sauce is hot and desired consistency (cook longer for a thicker sauce).
Sprinkle with bacon, cheese, and parsley.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

10-Layer Poor Man's Lasagna Casserole ***

This is yet another attempt at soothing my lasagna-obsessed son, lol.  I kid, but lasagna is one of the few things that the entire family just loves.  I liked that this one was a little simpler than the normal lasagna, but once I got into it, it was actually just as complicated.  It just cooked a little less time.  It was really good, though.  The whole family loved it.  I have a nasty tummy bug, so I couldn't eat, but it does smell divine (praise the Lord the nausea subsided enough for me to cook without vomiting).  I have a strange aversion to macaroni noodles in anything but a macaroni-type meal, so I went with a 12-oz box of whole grain penne instead.  I also subbed ground turkey, as usual, and I cooked in a 9x13 pan.  Other than that, I stuck fairly close to the recipe.  I'll definitely keep this on our "make again" list, since it accomplishes the lasagna thing in less time than normal.

Photo courtesy of Recipezaar

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~

1 1/2-1 3/4 lbs hamburger
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 (4 1/2 ounce) can Green Giant sliced mushrooms, drained
Ragu parmesan and romano spaghetti sauce
8 ounces cream cheese
16 ounces sour cream
1/4 teaspoon beef bouillon granules
3 1/2 cups macaroni noodles, raw
2 cups shredded sargento four-cheese Mexican blend cheese

Brown hamburger in frying pan with salt and pepper, oregano, Italian seasonings, onions and garlic until done.
Drain grease.
Stir in (drained) mushrooms and spaghetti sauce.
Simmer on very low.
Meanwhile, in small bowl, heat cream cheese in microwave until very soft. Stir in the sour cream and beef bouillon well. Set aside.
Cook macaroni until just done or “al dente”. Drain well.
In greased 4 quart roaster or crock pot, place (layer) 1/3 noodles, then 1/3 cream sauce, then 1/3 meat sauce, repeat 2 more times until ingredients are used up.
Top with shredded Mexican blend cheese.
Bake in 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 35 to 40 minutes until heated through and lightly bubbling.
Let rest 5 or 10 minutes before serving.
About 10-12 servings.
Serve with garlic bread and a tossed salad.
* Amy's notes: I subbed ground turkey, 12-oz box of whole grain penne pasta, and cooked in a 9x13.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Zesty Tangy Meatballs ***

We had to rush around and find something late last night that could be thrown together quickly for dh to take to a work potluck.  He decided meatballs in the crockpot would be easy, but I didn't want to do the "same ole, same ole" grape jelly BBQ meatballs.  I lucked into this recipe on the back of the bag, and dh said it got rave reviews.  I cooked them on the stovetop last night, and then he just took them to work and kept them on low all morning.  He and I split one last night, and it was really yummy!  It's almost like a sweet and sour kind of flavor, with just the tiniest little kick to it.  The apricots really tone down the spiciness of the salsa.  They're really good!

Photo courtesy of

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ back of Armour meatballs bag)

2 or 2-1/2 lb bag frozen meatballs, regular or appetizer size
1 1/2 cups salsa
1 1/2 cups apricot preserves
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Place all ingredients except meatballs in a large saucepan.  Cook over medium heat while stirring until preserves are melted.  Add meatballs and continue cooking over medium-low heat for 25 minutes, until all meatballs are warmed through.  Mix thoroughly with large spoon.
Serve immediately or place in crockpot on low.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cheeseburger-N-Fries Casserole **

This was nothing special, but it was a nice, easy, tasty little casserole.  It doesn't really taste like a cheeseburger, per se, but the cheesiness of it came through enough.  One ds loved it; the other could take it or leave it.  It was good, though.  I'd keep it around for something to throw together at the last minute.

Photo courtesy of

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~

2 lbs lean ground beef
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 (10-3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
1 (10-3/4 oz) can cheddar cheese soup
1 (1 lbs) package frozen French fries, any style
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Scramble fry ground beef until cooked.
Drain off grease.
Then add salt, pepper and garlic.
Add both soups and stir until well blended.
Heat through on stove and then transfer to 9 X 13 glass pan.
Cover beef mixture with the french fries.
Bake for 30 minutes, until fries are crispy.
Sprinkle cheese over top of casserole and return to oven until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Country Style Steak ***

Dh absolutely loves country-fried steak, but I hate frying things.  This looked like a nice substitute.  It was actually really good.  Nothing special by any means, but very comforting and filling.  I served it with mashed potatoes and green beans, and it rounded out the meal perfectly.  The only thing I might do next time is cut back the salt a bit.  We're not big salt-lovers, so it was a little overly-salty to me.  Other than that, though, it was perfect!

Photo courtesy of

(*NoDayButToday* via Hillbilly Housewife)

2 pounds ground beef
3 tablespoons dry onions
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons margarine
1/4 cup flour
2 cups beef broth (made from bouillon cubes is fine)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Dash pepper

Begin by preparing the steaks. In a cereal bowl combine the flour, salt and pepper. Mix it up with a fork to distribute the seasonings evenly. Measure 1/4 cup of the seasoned flour, and set the rest aside until later. In a large bowl combine the ground beef, dry onions and the 1/4 cup of seasoned flour you just measured. Use your hands to combine it like meatloaf. Pat the meat flat into a 9" by 13" rectangular pan. The meat will be very thin. Score or cut the meat into 16 squares with a knife or a pizza cutter. Take the reserved seasoned flour and pat it on top of the meat. Bake at 400° for about 20 minutes. The meat will shrink up, and there will be a lot of fat floating in the pan. Carefully drain off the fat and recut the squares.
Prepare the gravy while the meat is cooking. Melt the margarine in a small skillet. Add the flour. Cook and stir this for a few minutes over low heat so that the flour browns a little bit, watch it carefully so it doesn't burn. This will make the finished gravy a pretty and appetizing brown color. After the flour is the color of coffee with cream added, stir in the beef broth. Usually I just add two cups of water and 2 beef bouillon cubes. Also add the onion powder and a sprinkle of pepper. Stir the gravy until it is smooth and bring it to a boil. Simmer for a few minutes, or until it is slightly thickened, but still a little thin. The gravy is thin because this makes it easier for the meat to absorb it some. Pour the prepared gravy over the steaks in the pan, after you have drained off the fat. Serve with instant mashed potatoes, green beans, canned peaches, and butter-bread. This recipe serves 6.
If desired, you can make a double batch. After cooking everything, arrange the cooked meat in a freezer to microwave container. Cover the meat with the gravy and freeze for a month or two. This is almost like the frozen Salisbury Steaks available in family size packages at the market. These are a lot healthier though, and much less expensive too.

French Toast Casserole ***

I posted a French Toast recipe last week, but I didn't give it a glowing review.  Gabrielle, from the BBC board recommended I try this one instead, and boy, am I glad she did!  My biggest problem with last week's recipe was the texture.  It was just too mushy.  Even after cooking it extra time, it was still too mushy.  This one was perfect!  There were less eggs, so you really didn't get the eggy layer going on.  The cream cheese layer is absolutely to die for.  Almost like a little bite of cheesecake in there.  I'll definitely be making this again.

(Jen ~ hmschlin2)

1 pound loaf Italian Bread
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 C brown sugar, divided
1/2 tsp. vanilla or almond extract
1/2 c. chopped pecans, optional
4 eggs
2 c. Milk
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 TBSP. butter, melted

Cut bread into cubes. Place half of bread cubes into greased 9x13 baking dish. **Microwave the cream cheese until melted, stirring midway. Stir 1/4 c. of the sugar and the extract into the melted cream cheese. Pour this mixture over the bread cubes (will not completely cover the bread)Sprinkle nuts over the cream cheese layer. Top with remaining bread cubes.
In a bowl, beat the remaining sugar, eggs, milk, cinnamon and melted butter together. Pour over bread cubes.
Freeze at this point or let sit in refrigerator overnight.
Bake at 350 deg. F for 35 minutes. Serve with warm syrup or fruit toppings.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

King Ranch Casserole ***

I've always wanted to try a King Ranch Chicken recipe, just because it seems like I hear it mentioned so often.  I came across this one on accident, but I loved that it had such a short cook-time.  I did make a few changes, as always.  :)  I used my peppers in another recipe and forgot to buy more, so I subbed frozen corn in their place.  I will most definitely stick to that substitution.  Dh isn't crazy about peppers anyway, and I just loved the sweetness and crunch of the corn with the spiciness of the dish.  I also used garlic powder instead of minced garlic.  Two tablespoons of chili powder is just too much.  I knew that when I read it, and I didn't go with my gut.  I'll probably cut it in half next time.  It wasn't overpowering, but it was just too spicy for my tastes.  I'm glad the kids didn't eat any for that reason.  I had no clue what size tortillas to use, so I used the smaller ones.  I put eight on each layer instead of six.  It gave more of a separation between the layers, so I'll keep that in the future also.  Overall, this was actually really good.  I love that I can cram the veggies in there, and it makes for a perfect easy one-dish meal!

Photo courtesy of

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~

1 cup onion, diced
1 cup green bell pepper, diced
1 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 can low-fat cream of celery soup
1 can 98% fat-free cream of chicken soup
1 lb low-fat cheddar cheese
2 cups cooked chicken
1 can rotel tomatoes with green chilies
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon chicken broth
12 corn tortillas, torn in strips

In a large pan sprayed with cooking spray, sauté onion, bell peppers, garlic and celery.
Add soups, tomatoes, chilies, spices and chicken broth.
Line bottom of 9x13 pan with half of tortilla strips.
Spread half of chicken over tortillas and top with sauce, then half of cheese.
Cover with another layer of tortillas, chicken, sauce and cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly.
*Amy's notes: I subbed corn for the peppers and preferred it that way.  I also used a total of 16 small corn tortillas.  I will half the chili powder next time.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Baked French Toast Casserole *

This was just okay for us.  Dh and the kids liked it enough.  Actually, dh loved it.  It was a little strange texture-wise for me.  Honestly, I'd have been happy just leaving off the topping and using syrup instead.  I think it might have crisped up a little more.  The crust edges were good.  I even let it cook an extra 5 minutes, but it was still too mushy for me.  The egg was fully cooked, so it wasn't that.  It just was too mushy.  I also wasn't crazy about the nutmeg addition.  It would have been better with just the cinnamon, in my opinion.

Photo courtesy of

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~

1 loaf French bread

8 eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup pecans

Place sliced bread in 2 large baking pans that have been sprayed with PAM.
Mix eggs, half and half, milk, sugar, vanilla, and spices.
Pour over bread.
Refrigerate overnight.
The next morning combine the last 3 ingredients and put on top.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until done.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bierock Casserole **

We've had this one before, but it's been a few years.  The last time I cooked it, we had a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old, lol, so they didn't try it.  Both had some tonight.  DS1 loved it.  He even asked for seconds.  He didn't end up eating them, but he did ask.  DS2 ate a decent amount.  He's not much of an eater anyway, so that never shocks me anymore.  He did try it, and he said it was okay.  He ate about half of his.  That's about the best I can hope for sometimes.  I still like it.  I forgot to add the cheese (doh!), so I ended up sprinkling some on each serving.  It worked out just fine.  I also used pizza crust dough, since I'm not a huge fan of the crescents.

Photo courtesy of

(Sandy ~ Bettyinthekitchen)

1 ½ lb ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 small head cabbage, shredded
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cans crescent rolls or pizza dough
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

Brown ground beef and onion; drain. Add cabbage to mixture and steam. Add soup to mixture and steam. Line bottom of a 9"x13" pan with 1 can of crescent rolls (flat). Top rolls with hamburger mixture. Top with cheddar cheese and top cheese with second can of crescent rolls, pinch top together. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Casserole may be frozen.
Sandy's notes: I usually only use 1 lb ground beef or turkey, sub coleslaw mix for cabbage. Two cans of pizza dough can be subbed for the crescent rolls, or make homemade dough.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sausage Oven Pancake ***

The entire family loved this one.  I cooked the sausage last night and then put it in the casserole dish and sprinkled the cheese over it.  Then this morning while we were getting ready for church, I mixed up the batter and poured it on top.  I just had to bake it an extra 5 minutes or so, but it was delicious!  Our only complaint was that it didn't make enough, lol.  I really would have liked a little more of the "pancake" with the sausage, so I think I might double that part and put it in a 9x13 next time.  Other than that, though, there were thumbs up all around.  For as easy as this is, we'll be having it often!

Photo courtesy of

(4kowboys ~ Rachel ~

1 (12 oz) pkg pork sausage
1 cup cheddar cheese , shredded
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp. maple-flavored syrup
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil (I always use canola)
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
3/4 cup maple-flavored syrup

Cook sausage in skillet, stirring frequently, until no longer pink. Drain sausage on paper towels. Spread sausage into a 8 inch of 9 inch square baking dish. Sprinkle cheese over sausage. In large bowl, beat egg, milk, 2 tbsp syrup, and the oil with a wire whisk until well blended. Beat in flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour batter evenly over sausage and cheese. Bake 25 to 30 min at 350 degrees until golden brown. Serve topped with remaining maple syrup.
*Rachel's Notes: I left out the cheese and it was not missed.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Tater Tot Omelette Cups ***

First off, you cannot beat these for an easy, on-the-go breakfast.  Sadly, I read temp as 350 instead of 375, so I had to cook mine longer, which resulted in a more rubbery texture to the eggs.  I obviously didn't want runny yolks for the kids, so I let those firm up completely.  When you do that, though, you get a big bite in the middle that consists of nothing but egg yolk and tater tot.  Way too bland on that bite.  I'm going to try these again soon and just add some sausage or bacon crumbles between the tot and the cheese.  I'd also like to try it with shredded hashbrowns in place of the tots.  Those might crisp up a little better.  Overall, though, these were really good.  I'll definitely make them often.

Photo courtesy of

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

36-48 frozen tater tots, thawed (about 1 lb)
12 eggs
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven 375°F.
Grease 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray or vegetable oil.
Place 3-4 tater tots in each cup, and mash with back of spoon to line the bottoms and sides of the cups.
Add about a tablespoon of cheddar cheese and press down on top of tots.
Cook 5 minutes. Remove from oven and break an egg in each cup. (If you want the yolk to be basted, spoon a little water on top of each yolk.)
Bake 15-20 minutes until whites and yolks are firm.
Check often to avoid burning.  Remove from oven.
Use a heat resistant rubber spatula to loosen edges and bottom of each tater tot cup.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Caramel-Nut Pull-Apart Bread ***

These were actually really good.  Sadly, I was unaware that I possessed a Bundt pan, but I had firm plans to borrow my mom's.  The sadder part is that I forgot to do that also.  So, I ended up doing them in a pie-sized baking dish.  The very center rolls didn't get done, but other than that, it was delicious.  I definitely want to experiment again, since dh and the boys all loved it.  I want to try one with more of a cinnamon glaze, though.  This one is just a bit too sweet and buttery for me.  Definitely yummy, though.

Photo courtesy of

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Southern Living)

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup butter, melted
3 (12-oz) cans refrigerated biscuits
2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine brown sugar and walnuts in a small bowl. Stir in butter. Spoon half of brown sugar mixture in bottom of greased 12-cup Bundt pan.
Cut each biscuit in half, and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle biscuits with cinnamon sugar; toss well to coat. Arrange half of biscuits over brown sugar mixture in Bundt pam. Spoon remaining brown sugar mixture over biscuits in pan; top with remaining biscuits.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until browned. Turn out onto a serving platter immediately, spooning any sauce in pan over bread. Serve warm.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tater Brat Bake ***

This recipe is one we tried about a year ago, and I'd forgotten about it until the other day.  Dh hates sauerkraut, but he remarked to a friend that there is one dish I make where he can stand to eat the sauerkraut.  This is the one.  Dh, ds1, and I all loved it again.  Ds2 wasn't so thrilled.  He liked the tater tots (that's a given), and he tolerated the brats okay.  He was less than ecstatic about the sauerkraut.  I normally get the jarred kraut and try to wash it really well.  This time I had to get the canned, and I just couldn't get it rinsed as well.  Dh remarked about that too.  I'll have to make sure to stick with the jarred in the future.  Other than that, it's still a winner with us.  Even ds2 could eat the tater tots and brats and still have a decent meal.

Photo courtesy of Taste of Home

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Taste of Home)

1 package (1 ¼ pounds) uncooked bratwurst links
2 bottles (12 ounces each) beer or nonalcoholic beer
2 tablespoons butter
1 can (16 ounces) sauerkraut, rinsed, drained and chopped
1 can (10 ¾ ounces) condensed cheddar cheese soup, undiluted
½ cup milk
1 package (32 ounces) frozen Tater Tots
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

In a large saucepan, combine bratwurst and beer. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until meat is no longer pink. Drain and cut into ¼” slices. In a large skillet, brown brats in butter over medium-high heat; drain on paper towels.
Spoon sauerkraut into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Top with brats. Combine soup and milk; drizzle over brats. Top with Tater Tots. Bake at 450° for 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are lightly browned.
Sprinkle with cheese; bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Easy Crockpot Lasagna ***

I've been making lasagna once a week for the past few weeks, since the 6-year-old ds declared himself a lasagna conoisseur last month.  I've been making the Pepperoni Lasagna, as it's his favorite, but it just takes so long.  I decided to try to find a lasagna for the crockpot that might work for us.  This is pretty darn close.  I did throw in a little extra cheese, since I had some that needed to be used up, but I won't do that next time.  It was a bit too cheesy for my tastes.  I have no idea how many lasagna noodles are in 8 oz, so I just used 9 noodles total.  That seemed to work well.  The sauce still tasted fairly "ketchupy" to me when I combined the ingredients, so I ended up added about 2 tsp of Italian seasoning and about 1 1/2 tsp of cumin.  I would definitely do that again.  I also added a can of sliced mushrooms, to put in a little extra veggies.  I really think it would do well with some shredded zucchini or something.  I doubt it would even be noticeable.  As always, I subbed ground turkey for ground beef.
The family loved this, though.  I want to look through some other recipes and maybe tweak the sauce a bit, but this is an excellent jumping-off point for an easy crockpot lasagna recipe. 

Photo courtesy of

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Recipezaar)

1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (29 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
8 ounces lasagna noodles, uncooked
4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cups small curd cottage cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Brown beef, add onion and garlic - cook until onion is softened.
Stir in tomato sauce, water, tomato paste, salt and oregano - mix well.
Spread one fourth of the meat sauce in an ungreased slow cooker. Arrange one third of the noodles over the sauce.
Combine the cheeses.
Spoon one third of the cheese mixture over the noodles.
Repeat layers twice.
Top with remaining meat sauce.
Cover and cook on low 4-5 hours.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Irish Herbed Potatoes ****

These were absolutely delicious!  I can't say enough about them.  I actually picked them out to make for St. Pat's Day, and then I got home and realized my corned beef recipe already had potatoes in it, lol.  Anyway, we finally tried them tonight with hamburgers, and they are so yummy!  My 6-year-old actually asked for seconds of a veggie!  I didn't make too many revisions with this one.  I used small red potatoes, and cut them into quarters, leaving the skin on.  I used dried parsley instead of fresh, since that's all I had.  I only put about 2 tablespoons of that in there.  I melted the butter as I waited for the water to boil, and then I mixed up the other ingredients and let them sit in the butter while the potatoes simmered.  That had the dried herbs nice and soft before combining with the potatoes.  This one will be made many, many, many times in our house!!!  It actually reminds me a lot of another recipe I have, Joe's Crab Shack's Buttered Parsley Potatoes.  I think I prefer this one, though.

Photo by Taste of Home

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Taste of Home)

2-1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
3 tablespoons minced chives
3 tablespoons snipped fresh dill or 3 teaspoons dill weed
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Drain. Transfer to a large serving bowl.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; pour over potatoes and toss to coat. Yield: 8-10 servings.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Chicken Chalupa Casserole ***

This one was actually pretty good.  I don't see how the OP got the amts, though.  I assumed that when it said, "large casserole dish," it was referring to a 9x13 and the larger tortillas.  Maybe not, though.  Maybe it meant an 8x8 dish and smaller tortillas.  There is no way that I could do 6 layers on here, and I ran out of salsas after just 2 layers.  I ended up getting 5 layers out of it, and I used around 2 cups of each kind of salsa.  It was still too many layers for me.  I would have preferred less layers with more in them.  Dh loved it, though.  I'll keep it around for him, I guess, lol.  I've been inspired by this one to try one of my favorite crockpot casseroles in the oven, though.  Check out my Crockpot Stacked Enchiladas.  I'm going to put it on the list soon to follow the same type of format and cook in the oven.  Hopefully, it will work out!
Obviously, the kids wouldn't eat something with so much salsa in it, so I didn't even try to persuade them to try it, lol.  I just made them some ravioli, and they were happy.  :)

Photo from

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Recipezaar)

12 flour tortillas
2 lbs roasted chicken meat, shredded
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup salsa
1 cup green chili salsa
black olives, sliced (to garnish)
cilantro, chopped (to garnish)

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Spray large casserole dish with cooking spray.
Lay two tortillas in bottom of dish, overlapping slightly.
Top with a layer of chicken, a layer of cheese, and a layer of salsas.
Repeat layers until dish is full, finishing with a layer of salsa (pattern should repeat 6 times).
Bake until hot and bubbly (25 minutes.).
Garnish with olives and cilantro, if desired.
*Amy's notes: I cooked in a 9x13 dish and did 5 layers of the larger tortillas, using about 2 cups total of each type of salsa.  Next time, I will use less layers with more in them.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tomato Alfredo Tortellini ****

This recipe has long been a favorite of ours.  I normally sub fire-roasted diced tomatoes for the plain, but this time, the store was out.  I have to say, I could really tell the difference.  The sauce wasn't nearly as flavorful as usual.  I've also used the tomatoes with garlic in them, and that comes out great as well.  I subbed half-and-half for the cream this time around, and it still thickened up nicely.  This stays on my favorites list, but I'll have to make certain not to use the plain tomatoes again.


1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or 2 tsp garlic powder
2 cups heavy or light cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, plain
2 small bags Barilla spinach and cheese tortellini (gives 2 more oz than using 1 lrg bag; about 14-16 oz)

Melt 1/2 cup butter in a medium saucepan over medium/low heat.
Add 2 cloves garlic and cook until translucent; do not brown the garlic
Add the cream, and bring mixture to a slow simmer.
Do not allow cream to come to a rapid boil
Add parmesan cheese slowly, and stir well.
Add tomatoes with juices, and stir well.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Bring to a slow boil, stirring frequently so as not to scorch sauce.
Continue to simmer sauce on low for 15-20 minutes or just until thickened to desired consistency.
Meanwhile, bring large pot of water to a boil, salted to taste like the sea.
Cook tortellini per package instructions.
Drain tortellini, then put back into pot and add tomato Alfredo sauce.
Stir gently, until all is coated evenly, then allow to sit for a few minutes for sauce to cool and thicken.
* Amy's notes: I prefer the fire-roasted diced tomatoes.  I have also subbed half-and-half for the heavy cream successfully.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bacon Cheeseburger Rice *

No matter how hard I try, I just can't get into this one. It's too "oniony" for me. I really think you could leave out the onion soup mix and just cook the ground beef with chopped onion. I ended up having to add 1/2 can of water, 2 tablespoons ketchup, and 1 tablespoon mustard just to get it to where it was decent for me. Dh loves it. I don't think I can make it again, though. I'd like to see if there are some changes I could make to make it a little more palatable. They'd have to be some extreme changes, though.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

5 cups cooked rice
1 lb ground beef
3 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1 (10 ¾ oz) can condensed tomato soup, undiluted
3 tablespoons onion soup mix
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Brown and drain beef.
While beef is cooking, mix together soup, onion soup mix, bacon pieces and cheese. Add to browned ground beef.
Simmer on low until cheese is just melted.
Add rice and mix well.
Serve immediately or allow to cool and ladle into 1-gallon freezer bag.
Label and freeze.
To serve: allow to thaw overnight in refrigerator and reheat on stovetop or in microwave. You could also freeze this in a reusable casserole dish for easier thawing/cooking.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Penne a la Betsy ****

This is delicious. Somehow, though, when I copied the recipe from the Babycenter website, it was missing the last two paragraphs and went straight to the yields. I managed to bluff my way through the end, though. I've gone back and copied it directly from the PW website for this post. I made just a few changes. I used about a pound and a half of medium shrimp, broth in place of the wine, dried basil, dried minced garlic, dried parsley, freeze-dried onions, and whole wheat penne. It was still fairly soupy at the end, so I added about a half a cup of fresh shredded parmesan to the sauce. It was really good. My 6-year-old actually asked if we could have it again tomorrow night. :)

(Tattoedmomma - The Pioneer Woman Cooks)

¾ pounds Penne Pasta
1 pound Shrimp
3 Tablespoons Butter
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 whole Onion (small)
2 cloves Garlic
½ cups White Wine (or To Taste)
1 can Tomato Sauce (8 Oz)
1 cup Heavy Cream
Fresh Parsley, to taste
Fresh Basil - To Taste
Salt To Taste
Pepper To Taste

Cook the penne pasta until tender-firm, also known as al dente.
Peel, devein and rinse (under cool water) 1 pound of extra large shrimp. Heat about 1 tbsp. butter and olive oil in a skillet. Add the shrimp and cook for a couple minutes until just opaque. Do not overcook them. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Now, put the cooked shrimp on the cutting board and pull off the tails. Chop the shrimp into bite –sized pieces and set aside.
Finely dice one small onion. Mince two cloves of garlic.
In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and sauté, stirring occasionally. After the garlic and onions have cooked a bit add your white wine. Let the wine evaporate for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. If you would rather not use wine, you can use low-sodium chicken broth instead (about ½ cup).
Now add an 8-ounce can of plain tomato sauce. Stir well until combined. Then add 1 cup of heavy cream. Continue stirring. Turn heat down to low and let simmer.
Now chop your herbs, about a tablespoon of chopped parsley and about the same amount of chopped basil, or if you’re feeling very proper, chiffonaded.
Now add your chopped shrimp back into the tomato cream sauce. Give it a stir and add salt and pepper to taste. Throw in your herbs and stir until combined. Finally add your cooked penne pasta and give it a good stir.