Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Slow Cooker Breakfast Casserole ***

This was by far the best slow cooker breakfast egg casserole I've made.  There are some parts left out of the instructions, though.  Ham and salt are both mentioned in the ingredients list, but they're not in the directions.  I skipped the ham and just added the salt in the egg mixture.  I'm thinking about trying it with maple sausage next time, to give it a bit more flavor.  It was really good, but as with any crockpot breakfast casserole, it was just a tad bland.  The sundried tomatoes did help with that, though.  We actually put a little ketchup on ours, to give it some flavor, and I am most definitely not the type of person who enjoys ketchup on eggs.  It would probably be good with salsa, but I didn't have any on hand at the time.  I forgot to take a picture, but the link to Debbi's original post is below the title of the recipe.  She has a good pic on hers.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Debbi Does Dinner)

1 pkg. frozen shredded hash brown potatoes (26 - 32 oz)
1 pkg. sausage, cooked and crumbled (about a pound)
8 oz. ham, chopped
1 cup (4 oz) shredded colby jack cheese
1/2 cup (2 oz) shredded pepperjack cheese
1/2 cup julienne cut sun dried tomatoes, drained
6 green onion, sliced
12 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Spray crock pot with cooking spray. Layer 1/2 of the potatoes on the bottom of the slow cooker. Top with half the sausage, cheeses, sundried tomatoes and green onion. Repeat layering.
Beat eggs, milk and pepper in a large bowl with a whisk until well blended. Pour over potato mixtures. Cook on low setting for about 6 - 8 hours or 3 - 4 on high or until eggs are set.

Grands Meatball Pops **

For the time being, I'm going to have to give this one just 2 stars.  I may make some changes in the future and try it again.  I love the idea.  Even the flavor was pretty decent.  The problem is that there is way too much biscuit per meatball.  You can either roll it out in smaller than 3" rounds (maybe 2"? - just enough to go around the meatball), use regular-sized biscuits, or split them into three layers instead of two.  Not sure which route I will go.  I think it would be really good with just a little bit of the spaghetti sauce smeared inside the pop too.  To just give it a little extra flavor.  And I really don't see the need for the crushed croutons.  That's a total PITA.  So, next time (if there is a next time), I'm just going to use the Italian breadcrumbs.  But like I said, the flavor itself was good...

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Tablespoon.com)

1 can (10.2 oz) Pillsbury Grands refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1/3 cup shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese
10 refrigerated or frozen cooked beef meatballs, thawed
1/4 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup finely crushed seasoned croutons
10 large appetizer picks or lollipop sticks, if desired
1-1/2 cups tomato pasta sauce, heated

Heat oven to 375*F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray with nonstick cooking spray. Separate dough into 5 biscuits. Split each biscuit to make 10 rounds. Press out each biscuit half to form 3-inch round.
Sprinkle each biscuit round with cheese to within 1/2 inch of edge. Top each with meatball. Bring up sides of dough over meatball; pinch edges to seal. Brush rounded tops and sides of dough with butter; coat with croutons. Place, seam side down, on paper-lined cookie sheet.
Bake at 375*F for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Place appetizer pick in each biscuit-wrapped meatball to form meatball pop. Serve with warm pasta sauce for dipping.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Rolo Pecan Caramel Candies ***

I've had this for a million years (or so), and I'm almost certain I got it from BBC. It's a pretty well-known recipe, though.  These are just delicious.  It gets harder and harder to find Rolos, though!  I did finally manage to find the small rolls at Walgreens, thankfully.  Hubby took them to work the next days, and there weren't any leftovers.  That means the boys and I will be making more tomorrow.  Woo hoo!  The very best part of them (other than the chocolate, hehehe) is that the kids can help make them.  They had a blast, and they thought they were really big stuff after making candy almost all by themselves.  :-)


1 package Mini Pretzels
1 (13-oz.) package Rolo Candies (there are exactly 63 pieces in the bag)
1 package Pecan Halves (you'll need 63 halves and there will be about 25 to 30 left)

Preheat oven to 250 Degrees. Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and place pretzels individually to form one layer only. Place one Rolo Candy on top of each pretzel.
Bake at 250 degrees for 4 minutes or until the candies are soft. Immediately remove from the oven and quickly place a pecan half on top of a candy and push down to squish the chocolate into the pretzel and flatten out.
Cool for 15 to 20 minutes, then place in refrigerator (uncovered) until the chocolate candy is firm, usually 10 to 20 minutes. No harm is done if these are left in the refrigerator longer. Transfer to plate or container.
Makes 63 candies, approximately 1 ¼ pounds (M&Ms can also be used in place of pecans. Hershey’s Kisses, Hugs, etc. can be used in place of Rolos.)

Red Pepper Tenderloin ***

I found this recipe in the newspaper ages ago, and I've kept forgetting to make it.  I love roasted red peppers, so that's what initially drew me to it.  I couldn't find a 2-lb tenderloin, so I used two 1-lb tenderloins instead.  I went with about 4 hours on the cooktime, but that was still too long.  Some of the pieces got a little dry.  The flavor was wonderful, though.  I will definitely try it again, just with an actual 2-lb roast instead.  Even both of the boys asked for seconds!  (By the way, my picture of it sucks, because I had just burned my arm on the oven and was in a rush.  I'll get a better one next time, lol.)

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

2 lbs pork tenderloin
1 oz packet ranch dressing mix
1 cup roasted red peppers, rinsed and chopped
1/2 cup water
8 oz sour cream

Brown tenderloins in a large skillet and place in a sprayed 6-qt slow cooker.
Combine ranch dressing mix, peppers, and water in a bowl; spoon over tenderloin.
Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours.
When ready to serve, remove tenderloin from slow cooker and stir sour cream into sauce. Serve sauce over tenderloin slices.
Yield: 4-6 servings

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sweet Potato Peach Bake **

This wasn't too bad, but it definitely could have been better.  I'm still not sure what size casserole dish they are suggesting, but I used a 9x13.  I really wish I'd cut the yams into smaller pieces.  We did like the flavor, but I was disappointed that the sugar and butter mixture didn't carmelize.  I let it sit for a bit and cool after taking it out of the oven, and it never did thicken.  Just kind of a runny liquid around the potatoes.  I could see this as a start to a good recipe, but lots of changes would need to be made.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Bruce's Yams can)

3 (15-oz) cans Bruce's Cut Yams, drained
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup broken pecans
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1 small can of peach slices, drained
1-1/2 tbsp butter or margarine

Combine brown sugar, pecans, ginger, and salt. Layer half the sweet potatoes in a casserole baking dish, then half the brown sugar mixture. Repeat. Dot with butter. Bake covered in 350* oven for 30 minutes. Uncover. Put sliced peaches on top. Bake 10 minutes longer.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Saltine Toffee Cookies/Christmas Crack(le) ****

This is our second year to make Christmas Crack.  It's been called a million things, but we go with Christmas Crackle, because the last thing I need is for the boys to go to school and tell the teachers that Mommy & Daddy made crack over the weekend, lol.  I use milk chocolate chips instead of the semisweet, because that's just my preference.  The youngest doesn't like nuts, so I left them off one end and instead used the little red and green holly sprinkles.  So cute!  Beware, though.  This is mega-addictive.  :-)

Photo courtesy of Allrecipes.com

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Allrecipes.com)

4 ounces saltine crackers
1 cup butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
¾ cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
Line cookie sheet with saltine crackers in single layer.
In a saucepan combine the sugar and the butter. Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Immediately pour over saltines and spread to cover crackers completely.
Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the top. Let sit for 5 minutes. Spread melted chocolate and top with chopped nuts. Cool completely and break into pieces.
*If you choose to line the pan before beginning, don't use foil.  It tears too easily and will stick to the crackers.  I had pretty good luck with parchment paper this year.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Baker's Salt Dough Ornament Clay ****

We make these every year, but since I've been feeling so puny lately, hubby made them with the kids this past weekend.  They had a blast!  It's fun to look back at the old ones and see how they've improved over the years.  :-)

(Cindy ~ mommy_of_love1)

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1/3 cup water

Mix all to form a dough. Add food colorings, if desired, or paint once baked and dry. Roll out and cut with cookie cutters, or shape as desired. Make a hole in the dough, before baking, or insert an ornament hook. Place on foil sheet in pan. Bake in a 275 degree oven, for 1 hr. Once painted and dried, spray with a clear coat varnish, to preserve.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Crockpot Cheesy Smoked Sausage and Potato Soup ****

I'm not at all a fan of Velveeta, but this tastes more like a heartier, less cheesy version of hashbrown casserole.  We love it.  This time, I added some instant mashed potato flakes and some milk to thicken it up and stretch it a little further.  It dulls down the cheesiness of it a bit, which makes me happy.  Dh likes it either way, lol.  Definitely the perfect meal for a cold winter night.  :-)  Sadly, it was all gone again before I even remembered to take a picture.  :(  I did find the one below that is similar to it, however.

Photo of a similar recipe on Recipezaar

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

1 (30 oz) bag frozen shredded hashbrowns
16 oz turkey smoked sausage, cubed
2 (14.5 oz) cans low sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 onion, diced
Pepper, to taste
12 oz light Velveeta cheese

Rinse sausage to remove juice.
Combine everything but Velveeta and one cup of broth in crockpot. Stir well and cook on low 6-7 hours.
30 minutes before serving, cut cheese into cubes and stir into soup. Add remaining broth.  Cover and cook on high 30 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pizza Tot Casserole ***

The second I saw this, I knew we needed to try it.  I don't know what it is, but I am absolutely in love with tater tots.  There.  I've said it.  The first step is admitting it, right?  So you throw tater tots in a recipe, and chances are pretty good that I'm going to like it.  I'm like an overgrown kid in that respect.  Except for the regular tater tot casserole with the cream of ___ soups.  Never been a fan of that one.  I'd gladly pick the tots off the top of it, though.  :-)
I really thought I had mushrooms when I bought the ingredients, but I was wrong, unfortunately.  We had just the basic recipe, as is, but it was still great.  The kids and dh all enjoyed it as well.  Next time, I want to use the little mini pepperonis, just to save a little time (like a whole 5 seconds, lol), and I'll make sure to do the mushrooms and add a little more cheese.  Other than that, this one is a winner with us just as it's written.  Thank you, Rachel, for another awesome recipe.  :-)

(4kowboys ~ Rachel)

1lb. ground beef
1 jar pizza sauce
10-15 slices pepperoni, chopped
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 bag frozen tater tots
*additional toppings optional

Preheat oven 425 degrees. Crumble and brown the ground meat until done, add sauce, pepperoni and heat through. Pour into 13x9 casserole dish. Cover with Mozzarella cheese *(add any other additional toppings you would like such as mushrooms, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, ham, whatever you like on your pizza!). Top with tator tots covering top. Bake in oven uncovered for 30 minutes or until tots are crispy brown.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Chili Dog Spaghetti ***

I thought this was pretty good.  Nothing fabulous, by any means, but a good, easy weeknight meal.  Oldest ds loved it.  Youngest ds said there was "too much ketchup sauce." lol.  Dh and I both liked it.  I used angel hair pasta and turkey hot dogs, but other than that, I pretty much stuck to the recipe.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Taste of Home)

8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
1 package (1 pound) hot dogs, halved lengthwise and sliced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the hot dogs, onion and celery in oil until tender. Stir in the tomato sauce, mustard, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Cook, uncovered, for 5-8 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally.
Drain spaghetti; toss with hot dog mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Yield: 6 servings.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Salmon Patties ****

This was the third time I've made this recipe, and just like the other times, we loved it!  I got requests for thirds from my youngest, who is an extremely picky eater, so that's pretty amazing.  I made a few changes this time, though.  This time, I cut back to a sleeve and a half of crackers (I originally used 2 sleeves).  I did cut back the salt to about 1/4 tsp this time.  With the salted crackers, it's really not that necessary.  I also used fat free Saltines instead of regular.  They don't mush up as well as the others, but the flavor stayed the same.   I did have to add back a little of the salmon juice this time, to make them stick better.  They were so yummy, though.  My mom always served salmon patties with fried potatoes growing up, so that's what we have with them too.  It's kind of a comfort factor for me.  :)

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

2 (15 ½ ounce) cans salmon
1 ½ sleeves saltine crackers
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
4-6 tablespoons onions, chopped
oil, for frying

Drain liquid from salmon.
Remove large bones, skin, and dark brown spots from salmon.
Gently break up salmon and set aside.
Crush sleeves of crackers into crumbs, and add to salmon.
Stir in egg, onions, salt, and pepper.
Roll salmon into balls and squash into patties.
Brown in hot oil a few minutes on each side until golden.
* Reserve some liquid from the salmon if the patties are too dry to hold together, add 1-2 teaspoons.

Crockpot Overnight Oatmeal with Maple and Brown Sugar ****

Oh. My. Word.  I am absolutely in love with steel-cut oatmeal!  I tried overnight oats with the old-fashioned oats once, and I ended up with a horrid, clumpy mess.  I was slow to try it again, but I decided to give it one more chance.  I am so very glad I did.  This is delicious!  The texture is a little different than regular, obviously, but it's just wonderful.  I will experiment with other flavors later, but for now, this is my craving.  The best part is that I could just put the leftovers in a tupperware bowl in the fridge.  Three different mornings this week, I took it back out, scooped some in a bowl, microwaved it, added a little milk, and had a hot breakfast with hardly any effort.  So yummy!  I never did get a pic, but I'll try to get one when I make it again next time (probably next week, lol).

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

8 cups water
2 cups steel-cut oatmeal (ONLY USE STEEL-CUT)
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup

Add all ingredients to 5- or 6-quart slow cooker.  Cook on low for 6-7 hours.  Drizzle each serving with maple syrup if desired.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fast as Lightning Mississippi Mud Cake ***

Dh LOVES Mississippi Mud Cookies, so he requested a cake like that for his b-day.  I didn't have much time to do the more involved recipes I found, but this one seemed like a good sub.  He wasn't crazy about the marshmallow topping, but the rest of us loved it.  I only used one box of brownies and put it in a 9x13 pan.  I also melted the frosting in the microwave for a minute or so, to make it easier to drizzle.  The boys and I snacked on it all weekend, so it was definitely a keeper for us.  :-)

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Food.com)

1 cup chopped pecans
2 (17 5/8 ounce) packages fudge brownie mix
2 large eggs (or as directed on pkg.)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (or as directed on pkg.)
1/4 cup water (or as directed on pkg.)
1 (10 1/2 ounce) bag miniature marshmallows
chocolate frosting (store bought or homemade)

Place the pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until toasted.
Prepare mix according to the package directions using eggs, vegetable oil, and water; pour into a greased 15x10 x 1-inch jelly-roll pan.
Bake at 350° for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, and top with marshmallows; bake 8 to 10 more minutes.
Drizzle warm cake with Chocolate Frosting, and sprinkle evenly with toasted pecans. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Best Meatloaf ****

This one has been around the BBC board for a long time.  I believe the first time I tried it was back in 2006, if my old records are correct (your guess is as good as mine on that one).  It is hands-down my favorite basic meatloaf recipe.  After looking for pictures on Recipezaar, I noticed that the same recipe on there defines the "seasoned bread crumbs" as being the stuffing breadcrumbs from Pepperidge Farm.  I always just use Italian breadcrumbs, but I'll bet the stuffing ones would make it even better than it already is.  I'll have to give that a try.  Oh, and as always, I subbed ground turkey.
Anyway, I like that this one doesn't have any tomato ingredients in the actual meatloaf itself.  It allows you to taste the meat, and it lets you enjoy the sauce more, as the flavors are different.  Complementary, but different.  One of my favorite parts is the addition of the mustard to the topping.  In my opinion, that keeps it from being overly sweet.  There were "oohs" and "ahhs" coming from all around the table tonight, so I definitely need to make this stuff more often! 

Photo courtesy of Recipezaar


1-1.5 lb. lean ground beef
1/3 C seasoned bread crumbs
¼ C grated Parmesan
Freshly ground pepper
1 egg
1 tsp. dehydrated onion (or ½ c. chopped onion, or some onion powder)
1 garlic clove, minced (I use more)
½ tsp. Italian seasoning
Red pepper flakes, to taste
Salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 350*.
Combine all ingredients and put into loaf pan.

In a small bowl combine:
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. ketchup
1 TB mustard

Pour this on top of meat mixture, and bake for about 45 minutes to an hour.
*Amy's notes: I like to double the meat mixture (using ground turkey) and keep the sauce amounts the same.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli ***

First of all, I have never tried roasted broccoli in any way, so this really kind of blew my mind.  Sad as it may be, it never even occurred to me to try roasting it.  I've done asparagus and green beans and even spinach, but I never even considered broccoli.  I loved it.  Unfortunately, I cut my stalks WAY too small, so most of mine burnt.  The few I got to try that weren't, though, were heavenly.  I've already bought a new head of broccoli to try again this week.  It's part of our supper for tonight, hopefully.  I let the youngest boy try it with me, but the oldest just turned his nose up at it because of the burnt ones on there.  Same with dh (gee, wonder where he gets it?).  We'll see how it goes this week, and I'll post a new review. 
I obviously didn't take a picture of my nasty burnt ones, but there is a picture on the OP's website.  The link to her review is below the title of the recipe.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ via What a Dish!)

1-2 pounds broccoli (2 small heads)
3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
Good olive oil
1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest, optional
1-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon julienned fresh basil leaves, optional

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalks, leaving an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets, discarding the rest of the stalks. Cut the larger pieces through the base of the head with a small knife, pulling the florets apart.
3. Place the broccoli florets on a baking pan (I used 9x13) large enough to hold them in a single layer. Toss the garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.
4. Remove the broccoli from the oven and immediately toss with 1 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, Parmesan, and basil. Serve hot.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

White Chicken Chili ****

A favorite as always.  The boys were eating with us this time, so I eliminated the jalapeno pepper and instead subbed a second can of chilies.  I also didn't drain the beans this time, and I really liked it that way.  For the cayenne, I just used about 2-3 shakes of it in there.  I'm guessing it was around 1/4 tsp or so.  It was so, so yummy.  I normally add some mashed potato flakes to thicken it a bit, but I forgot to do that this time.  The boys gobbled it up, which is unusual for them on any soup but broccoli cheddar, lol.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cooked, boneless skinless chicken breast halves, chopped
2 (14-oz) cans chicken broth
1 (4-oz) can chopped green chilies
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (original recipe said 1-1/2)
3 (14.5-oz) cans great northern beans, drained, divided
1 (4-oz) cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Chopped jalapeno pepper, optional

In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the onions and garlic in oil for 10 minutes or until onions are tender. Add chicken, chicken broth, green chilies, cumin, oregano and cayenne pepper; bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low. With a potato masher, mash one can of beans until smooth. Add to saucepan. Add remaining beans to saucepan. Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until heated thoroughly. Top each serving with cheese and jalapeno pepper if desired.
Yield: 10 servings

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Maple Sausage and Waffle Breakfast Casserole ***

I've had this on my to-try list since well before my oven went out, so I was thrilled to finally have a chance to make it.  I threw it together last night while supper was cooking, so I was able to let it refrigerate overnight.  I just noticed what it says about using the plastic wrap and putting something over it to hold that down.  My baking dish has a plastic cover, so I just put that on it.  It came out fine, so I don't really see what the purpose is of doing it the other way.  Oh well.  I really didn't make any changes, other than I left out the red peppers (because I forgot to get any), and I sauteed the onions and green peppers with the sausage while it cooked, instead of doing the steps separately.  Again, it came out great, so I don't see a need to do it the other way. 
Anyway, we really loved it!  The kids are even looking forward to having the leftovers for breakfast tomorrow, which is an absolute shocker.  We love maple-flavored sausage anyway, but the taste of the green peppers and eggs added in give it another wonderful dimension.  Normally, casseroles with bread in them tend to be too doughy and mushy for me, but the waffles held up a little better than the bread.  Toasting them first just helps even more.  As easy as this is, I think we'll be having it on the weekends many, many times in the future.  :-)

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ from Cassie Craves website)

8 frozen waffles
1 small onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 pound maple sausage
1-1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
6 eggs
1/4 cup maple syrup
1-1/4 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

1. Toast waffles in a toaster until browned. Meanwhile, brown sausage in a skillet until no longer pink and drain on paper towels. Transfer to bowl and set aside.
2. In the same skillet, sauté onions and peppers until softened. Transfer to bowl with sausage.
3. Coat an 8 x 8 inch square baking dish with non-stick spray or butter. Arrange 4 waffles in the bottom and sprinkle with half the sausage/vegetable mixture and half the cheese. Repeat layer, with remaining waffles, sausage/vegetable mixture and cheese.
4. Whisk eggs and milk in a bowl with the syrup, salt, and pepper. Pour egg mixture over the waffles layers. Cover with plastic wrap and set a weight on top (like a baking dish holding a couple cans of food). Refrigerate overnight or for at least 1 hour.
5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, uncover casserole and bake 45 to 50 minutes until edges are puffy. Cool 5 minutes and serve.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Yummiest Green Beans Ever **

These were pretty good.  I like the flavor of the honey mustard and ham, which totally surprised me.  I don't think they work well with the frozen beans, though.  I had to cook them twice as long, just to get them to stop having that "wet" feeling to them.  I know Amy said she used fresh green beans, and I think that would be delicious.  I'd also consider trying canned beans, and just cutting out the salt.  You would just have to cook it long enough to warm the beans, which would probably be better than the frozen.  Either way, for as easy as they were, I'd probably make them again.  They didn't wow us or anything, but everybody ate some, with no complaints.

(Amy ~ amylz ~ All Recipes)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped cooked ham
2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 (16 ounce) package frozen cut green beans, thawed and drained
1 tablespoon honey mustard
kosher salt to taste

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and ham; cook and stir until brown bits start to show up on the bottom of your pan, 5 to 10 minutes.
2. Mix the red wine vinegar into the pan, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom. The vinegar will evaporate quickly - don't panic. Mix in the mustard, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the green beans and stir to coat. Cook just until tender but still crisp, about 5 minutes. Season with kosher salt and serve.
Yields: 5 servings

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Spaghetti Tacos ****

I love that when I tell the boys we're having Spaghetti Tacos for dinner, my announcement is met with excitement and not the usual griping that we encounter with meals.  No, this is not the healthiest main dish, so I always make sure to serve it with lots of veggies.  I want to try it with shredded zucchini sometime.  I've done that with regular spaghetti before, and it's always turned out great.  This time around, I tried angel hair pasta instead of spaghetti, thinking it would be easier for the kids to keep it in the tacos.  Score!  They loved the change, and so did hubby and I.  As usual, the kids had theirs on the taco shells, and hubby and I had ours plain with salsa and cheese on top.  So good!  That's my favorite part about them.  They are so versatile.  This has become one of our favorite meals.  The taco seasoning makes it so much tastier than regular spaghetti.  So good!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

1 lb ground beef or ground turkey
1 packet taco seasoning
1 cup water
1 jar Sauteed Onion and Mushroom spaghetti sauce
1 box spaghetti noodles
12 hard taco shells
Salsa, optional
Cheddar cheese, optional
Lettuce, optional

Prepare noodles according to package directions.  Drain and return to pot.
Brown meat in pan until no longer pink; drain.  Add taco seasoning and water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 5-6 minutes, until sauce thickens.  Add spaghetti sauce and cook until warmed.  Add to noodles and mix thoroughly.
To assemble the tacos, place a spoonful of salsa in the shell.  Sprinkle with a small amount of cheese.  Finally, finish filling the shell with spaghetti.  Add lettuce on top, if desired.
Very messy, but very yummy!

Previous reviews:
My boys both love iCarly. As with so many other kids, they saw the episode where they were eating Spaghetti Tacos and begged me to make them. This was my attempt at them, and I have to say, I was very impressed with it. The whole idea seems kind of crazy, but the salty crunch of the taco shell is wonderful with the spaghetti. Hubby wasn't as crazy about the shell part as the rest of us were, but he did love the addition of the taco seasoning to the spaghetti. He ate one taco and then ate the spaghetti by itself, with spaghetti and cheese on top. This is definitely a winner for us. The kids both raved about it. Plus, it makes enough that I could send some spaghetti with Hubby for lunch tomorrow and still have leftovers for the kids to have the tacos again this weekend. Score! I served it tonight with Roasted Asparagus.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Baked Parmesan Tomatoes ***

Oh, wow.  We loved these babies.  The kids didn't want to even try them, since they don't normally like tomatoes, but since we have the "try a bite" rule around here, they gave it a shot.  They both loved them!  The best part was that the house smelled divine while they were cooking.  I got the recipe from my friend Leah (thank you, girl!), and I knew as soon as she posted it that I had to try it.  That alone is really strange, since I don't care for cooked tomatoes at all.  Leah suggested putting a little mozzarella on each tomato and then sprinkling it with the parmesan.  I'll definitely stick with that.  I think I'll put the parmesan on underneath the mozzarella next time, though, just to soak up some of the juices.  I have to admit, I didn't measure anything with this, lol.  I just sprinkled all the spices over everything.  Definitely use foil on the pan, because the cheese that comes off will burn and stick a bit.  This is so easy and so yummy that I am going to be making it many, many times.  Yum!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ My friend Leah, via Eatingwell.com)

4 tomatoes, halved horizontally
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 450* F.
Place tomatoes cut-side up on a baking sheet. Top with Parmesan, oregano, salt and pepper. Drizzle with oil and bake until the tomatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
* Amy's notes: I used mozzarella and just sprinkled a little on each tomato.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Taco Pie ***

We love Jiffy cornbread around here, so I'm always on the lookout for new recipes that use it.  I've had this one in my "to try" file for ages.  I should have made it a long time ago.  We loved it.  The only problem I had was that the cornbread didn't set up all the way in the middle.  The outer edges were perfect, and the top of pie was a beautiful golden brown.  I put it back in and let it cook a little longer, and even though it got a little darker on top, it seemed to set up much better.  I will definitely have to go the full 20 minutes and possibly longer next time.  Other than that, no complaints here.  I think I may try adding corn to the mean mixture next time, though.  Overall, it's definitely a keeper for us.  Yum!

(Michelle ~ MMmom)

1 lb ground turkey (or beef)
1 medium onion, chopped
½ green bell pepper, chopped
1 packet taco seasoning
1 ½ tsp garlic powder
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
1 small can sliced black olives
1 can refried beans
¾ to 1 cup sour cream
1 c shredded cheese (whatever you like)
2 boxes cornbread mix prepared according to pkg directions (need eggs & milk)

Preheat oven to 450.
Brown ground beef along with onion and bell pepper. When browned, add taco seasoning and follow directions on packet, adding water and simmering. Add garlic powder, drained tomatoes, and black olives and simmer a few more minutes.
While meat mixture is cooking, warm refried beans separately.
Add the meat mixture, in a layer, to the bottom of a 13 x 9 dish. Top with a layer of refried beans. Carefully spread sour cream over the bean layer. (This seems to work better if sour cream is not just out of the fridge.) Sprinkle shredded cheese over the sour cream layer.
Prepare boxes of cornbread mix according to package. Pour over the top of the casserole. Bake at 450 for 15-20 minutes. Let sit 5-7 minutes before serving.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Spinach-Artichoke Cheesy Tortellini ***

As soon as I saw this on Amy's WFD Blog, I knew I had to make it.  This one was definitely a fan favorite around our house tonight.  The sauce is very similar to spinach-artichoke dip, which the boys and I love.  Dh is not so much a fan of artichokes, so I compromised by rinsing them out really well before chopping them up.  That took a lot of the bitter flavor away (which is, of course, some of the yumminess, but the things we'll do for our loved ones, lol), so it was more tolerable for him.  I also added about a cup and a half or so of diced cooked chicken right before I mixed the sauce with the noodles.  When I did that, I added a cup or so of milk, to thin it out a bit.  It was perfect, and I'll definitely keep doing that.  I was kind of wary of the nutmeg, since it's definitely not my favorite spice, but you really can't taste it at all.  I'm guessing you could probably even leave it out, but since it's not over-powering, I don't mind it being in there.  I'll definitely be making this again.  Thank you for posting it, Amy!

(snoelles - Rachael Ray's Express Lane Meals)

1 (10 ounce) box frozen spinach , thawed and drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small onion, grated
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 (14 ounce) can water-packed artichoke hearts , drained and chopped
1 cup parmesan cheese or romano cheese
1 lb cheese tortellini

1. Heat a deep skillet over medium heat with the oil and butter.
2. When butter melts, add garlic and grated onion. Saute for 5 minutes.
3. Sprinkle the flour into the skillet and cook for 1 minute.
4. Whisk in the broth, then the cream and bring to a bubble.
5. Season the sauce with nutmeg and reduce heat to low.
6. Separate spinach into pieces as you add it to the sauce.
7. Stir in the artichokes and cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper.
8. Cook the tortellini in salted boiling water according to package directions, about 7 minutes.
9. Drain and toss with the spinach artichoke sauce.
10. Serve immediately with additional grated cheese and diced tomatoes, if desired.
*Amy's notes: I added a cup and a half of diced cooked chicken and a cup of skim milk before combining the pasta with the sauce.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mexican Macaroni Salad **

I loved that this was a spin on the traditional macaroni salad.  I normally gag when thinking about macaroni and mayo, but the fact that this used rotini and ranch really interested me.  Sadly, the kids didn't like it at all.  Dh and I thought it was okay.  It really could have been smoother, in my opinion.  I'm thinking about maybe subbing sour cream for half the ranch next time.  That would help it "blend" more, I think.  I really did like the flavors, though.  I made the mistake of using whole grain noodles, which didn't go well in here at all.  Regular would have been much better.  I'll definitely try it again.  It's possible if I cut down on the taco seasoning, I might be able to get the kids to eat it as well.  I let it refrigerate for about 2 hours, but I'll bet it would be even better if you could do it overnight, to give the flavors more time to soak in.

(Amy – amylz ~ Pillsbury)

6 cups uncooked rotini pasta (1 lb)
1 to 2 tablespoons grated lime peel (from 2 medium limes)
3 to 4 tablespoons lime juice (from 2 medium limes)
1 cup ranch dressing
1 package (1.25 oz) Old El Paso® taco seasoning mix
1 large avocado, pitted, peeled and finely chopped
1 pint (2 cups) cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 oz)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 medium green onions, sliced (including tops)
1 can (19 oz) Progresso® red kidney beans, drained, rinsed
1 can (6 oz) pitted large ripe olives, drained, cut in half
1 can (4.5 oz) Old El Paso® chopped green chiles, drained

1. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package. Rinse with cold water to cool; drain well.
2. Meanwhile, grate peel from limes; place in small bowl. Squeeze juice from limes; add to peel in bowl. Stir in dressing and taco seasoning mix. Stir avocado into dressing mixture.
3. In large serving bowl, toss pasta with all remaining ingredients. Pour dressing mixture over salad; toss gently to mix. Cover; refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving to blend flavors.
Makes: 8 servings (1 1/4 cups each)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Easy Mac and Cheese Lasagna ***

Tonight was the second time I made this.  The kids were just so-so about it the first time, but they were crazy about it this time.  Just goes to show you how fickle kids are with their favorite foods, lol.  It can change from day to day.  I meant to add veggies to the sauce, but I completely forgot about it when I started cooking.  I think it would be really good with shredded zucchini in it.  I definitely want to give that a shot.  I used skim milk and ground turkey, and I cut back on the butter and cheese.  It was still good with all of the changes.  It's obviously not a healthy meal, lol, but it will do in a pinch, which is what I was in today.  If nothing else, it's always better than McDonald's!  :-)

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Recipezaar)

2 (7 1/4 ounce) packages macaroni and cheese dinner mix
2 1/4 cups spaghetti sauce
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
3 tablespoons parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350* F. Lightly grease 9x13 baking dish.
Cook and drain ground beef and mix with spaghetti sauce.
Prepare Macaroni and Cheese using the directions on the box.
Place a layer (exactly half) of Mac and cheese in the baking dish, top with a layer of meat then a layer of cheese. (Repeat).
After the 2 layers are complete, bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until heated through.
Then top with Parm Cheese.
**For meat substitute you can use pre cooked chicken.
**For a complete meatless dish you can use just the spaghetti sauce and leave out all meats.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Parmesan Roasted Asparagus ****

My 5-year-old (almost 6, OMG!) has been begging me to make this again ever since the last time.  That was back in April, so he was getting pretty peeved.  With my oven being out of commission for 2 months, I never got a chance to do them for him.  So, since we got the new oven in last week, I made them for him again tonight.  I kid you not, my kids actually FIGHT over these things.  They're nothing really special, but for some reason, the kids are just crazy about them.  Of course, they also think it's hilarious that asparagus makes their pee smell funny, but what can I say?  Whatever gets them to eat their veggies, right? ;-)

(Reagan ~ Recipes Made My Way)

1 lb medium stalk Asparagus
abt. 1 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt
1/4 cup Bread Crumbs
Fresh Parmesan for Grating (I just used dried parm. and I'm sure it would be a lot better with fresh!)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees with a rack set in the middle. Rinse and pat dry the asparagus. One spear at a time, snap off the bottoms of each stalk where it wants to break naturally. Lay the asparagus on a sheet pan with just enough extra virgin olive oil to coat and a generous pinch of salt; toss to coat. Sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly across the spears and put the tray in the oven to toast for 7-10 minutes, when the bread crumbs are golden brown. Grate Parmesan over the asparagus.

Previous reviews:
4/6/11 ~ I'll start by saying that my kids are not huge veggie fans. I can get them to eat veggies, but it's always with the knowledge that there's going to be a lot of whining involved. From the kids too. Ha! Seriously, though, spinach is about the only veggie that they continually will eat without much complaint. When I told them we were having asparagus with dinner tonight, I got the typical moans and groans. The end result was that both kids ate two helpings, and my extremely picky 5-year-old actually tried to go back for thirds! Hubby wasn't home to eat with us, so I was saving some for him. Out of the entire bunch of asparagus, hubby and I got 5 stalks each. The kids devoured the rest. The only way I could convince my youngest not to eat the 5 I was saving for hubby was to promise to make it again this weekend. Seriously. I am still in shock. Needless to say, we will be making this one many, many, many times!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Smoked Sausage Pierogi Bake ***

We do love pierogies around here, so when I saw this one pop up on my blogger dashboard from Cassie Craves, I knew I had to make it.  Especially now that I have an oven again (can I say "woo hoo!" one more time? lol).  It definitely did not disappoint.  The kids absolutely loved it.  They kept going on and on about how it was restaurant-quality.  If you know my kids, you know that they're full of baloney most of the time, but they really did seem to like this one.  Especially since it combined two of their favorites: ravioli and mashed potatoes, lol.  I used turkey smoked sausage, neufchatel cheese, no-fat and low sodium chicken broth, and diced fire-roasted tomatoes.  Browning the sausage first gives it a really nice smoky flavor.  It took me all of 35 minutes to make everything, from start to finish.  It was so unbelievably easy.  Definitely a keeper for us.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ via Cassie Craves, adapted from Lemons and Love)

1 16-ounce package frozen potato and cheese pierogies
1/2 pound smoked sausage, cut into small pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Green onions, thinly sliced

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the frozen pierogies in a baking dish coated with cooking spray.
2. In a large skillet, cook smoked sausage over medium heat until edges are browned and crispy. Add garlic; cook and stir for 30 seconds. Add cream cheese, chicken broth, diced tomatoes and pepper. Heat through until cream cheese is melted.
3. Pour the smoked sausage-cream cheese mixture evenly over the pierogies. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes until thoroughly heated. Add cheddar cheese; bake an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with green onions.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Blog Hop!

I love these things! There are several good recipe links on here, so feel free to browse. And make sure to let me know if you try any that are really good! ;)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dirty Rice ****

I made this for the third time tonight, and we still love it!  My 7-year-old has actually requested that I make it again tomorrow night.  And this is coming from a boy who claims to hate red and green peppers!  He cleaned his entire plate!  I really do need to make it more often, since it's so easy and so good.

(Mommy2Serena ~ TheRecipeReview.com ~ Adapted from Allrecipes)

1 lb hot sausage
1 onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 cup white rice
2 cups beef stock

In a skillet, over medium-high heat, cook sausage, onion, red and green pepper until the sausage is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Add the cup of white rice and two cups of beef stock and stir well. Bring this to a boil, put a lid on the skillet, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 20-25 minutes.
*Amy's notes: I like to double everything but the meat and veggies.  I also sub turkey smoked sausage and roasted red peppers.

Previous reviews:
1/24/11 Wow, we LOVED this one! The kids said it tastes kind of like Granny's jambalaya, and it kind of does. She makes the Zatarain's package and adds a lot of extra white rice to it, to give it less of the heat. This has no heat at all, which makes it perfect for the kids! Dh and I loved it too. You honestly cannot beat how easy and quick this was to throw together. My only complaint is that, as is, it really only makes about 4 servings. I normally make 6-8 of everything, so that we'll have leftovers for lunches and such. I ended up doubling the rice and beef stock mixture, and it was perfect for us. I also subbed the beef boullion dissolved in water for the beef stock, turkey smoked sausage, and roasted red peppers. Sadly, we were in such a hurry to get to the kids' practices that I didn't have time to take a pic. I'll have to do that the next time I make it - because there WILL be a next time. :) Love, love, love this bad boy!!! 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Kramer Crockpot Chicken Tortellini ***

As usual, there were plenty of "wows" around the table for this one. Initially, I was worried about the celery and carrots, but the kids actually had fun trying to guess what all was in it. It tastes almost like a thick chicken noodle soup. Dh said it reminded him of the flavors in a chicken pot pie. I like to use the pre-cut matchstick carrots.  I also usually put in all of the chicken broth from the can and use a 20-oz pkg of refrigerated tortellini.  This time, I had a bunch of sliced mushrooms that would have gone bad soon, so I threw them in.  WONDERFUL addition!  I'm going to do that one from now on!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

2 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of celery soup
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup minced celery
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1 cup chicken broth
1 (12 ounce) package spinach and cheese tortellini

Place everything but tortellini in your crock pot and cook on low all day (6-8 hours) or on high for 3-4 hours.
Either cook tortellini according to package directions and mix in before serving, or place uncooked tortellini in crock one hour before serving and turn it up to high setting, but stir gently often.
* Amy's notes: I use the full can of chicken broth and a 20-oz pkg of refrigerated tortellini.  I also like to add a cup or two of sliced mushrooms.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Grilled Cabbage ***

This was so good!  My kids even ate half a wedge each.  I was shocked.  I threw it on the grill with the brats, and it was absolutely wonderful to cook the entire meal without heating up the house.  My only complaint is that I think my cabbage must have been larger than the OP used.  Even after cooking 50 minutes, the inner parts of the wedges were still just a tad to crisp.  That's easily remedied, though.  Next time, I'll cut the head into 6 wedges instead of 4.  I also used turkey bacon this time, and I really don't think it was the best choice.  I didn't get that smoky flavor that a lot of the reviews mentioned.  I'm going to try it with regular bacon next time.  And there will be a next time.  :-)

Photo courtesy of Food.com

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Food.com)

1 head cabbage
4 teaspoons butter
4 slices bacon
     Spice mix:
     1 teaspoon salt
     1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
     1/4 teaspoon pepper
     2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Cut cabbage into four wedges.
Place each wedge on a piece of doubled heavy-duty aluminum foil.
Spread cut sides with butter.
Mix spices together in a small container and sprinkle all of the mixture equally over each wedge.
Wrap bacon around each wedge.
Fold foil around cabbage, sealing each wedge tightly.
Grill cabbage, covered, over medium heat for 40 minutes or until the cabbage is tender, turning twice.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Slow Cooker Creamy Tacos ***

We loved these.  I followed the suggestion of adding a can of corn and a can of pintos.  That made it come out a little less "creamy" and a little more "runny" than it would have otherwise, but the flavor was delicious.  I'm thinking next time I'll just drain the tomatoes some.  That should help with the runny part.  It was our first time to use the cooking creme, and I have to say, I am definitely a fan.  The kids and I had ours in taco shells with shredded cheese.  I added black olives to mine.  Dh had his on top of tortilla chips, kind of like chicken nachos.  I'm thinking I may do that next time as well.  This will definitely be made again.  It took me all of 5 minutes to throw it all together.  I used b/s breasts and then shredded them after they cooked.  Mine weren't frozen, but since they weren't shredded, they still took about 6 hours to cook.  I just wish I'd remembered to take a picture of it!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ A Year of Slow Cooking via BlogHer and Kraft)

2 pounds chicken breast pieces (mine were frozen solid)
1 (14.5-ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes (you can use garlic-seasoned, or plain in a pinch. I wouldn't do tomatoes with chiles if feeding kids)
1 (10-ounce) container PHILADELPHIA Cooking Creme--- Santa Fe flavor
taco shells or corn tortillas
1 cup frozen corn, or 1 can corn, drained (optional)
1 can black or pinto beans, drained and rinsed (optional)
optional fixins': sour cream, avocado slices

Use a 4-quart slow cooker (if adding the optional add-ins, a 6-quart might be a better fit).
Put the chicken into your cooker. Add the entire can of tomatoes. Scrape out all the Cooking Creme (lick the container. It's GOOD!)
Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until chicken shreds easily with a fork. Stir well and serve in taco shells or corn tortillas with your favorite toppings.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Slow-Cooked Parmesan Chicken ***

This is an old recipe from my 2009 files.  I needed something quick to make (due to having to grocery shop and cook dinner on my lunch break, lol) that I could have ready when we all got home from baseball.  Obviously, I needed something with a long cook time.  Anyway, we loved it this time around too.  The kids devoured theirs.  I used brown rice, which works pretty well in this, considering that it cooks for so long.  I think it would be excellent with wild rice, though.  I'm thinking of trying that next time.  Instead of using six breast halves, I used three full breasts.  I really think that worked in my favor, since it kept the chicken from drying out.  It was amazingly tender.  I also hated the idea of dirtying an extra dish, so I just mixed everything in the crock, put in the chicken, put a dab of butter on each, and then spooned the topping over it.  I let it cook about 8 hours, which seemed perfect.  When we were ready to eat, I just shredded the chicken and stirred it all up.  Easy peasy.  :)

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

1 pkg. dry onion soup mix
1-1/2 cups milk
2 cans (10-3/4 oz each) Campbell's Condensed Cream of Mushroom
1 cup converted long-grain white rice
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
6 tsp butter OR margarine
Pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Mix the dry onion soup, milk, mushroom soup, and rice in a medium bowl.
Put chicken in bottom of greased slow cooker. Place 1 tsp of butter on each breast. Pour soup mixture over all. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Cover and cook on low heat for 8-10 hours.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Creamy Vegetarian Lentil-Mushroom Soup ***

Oh man, I love this one.  There are so many yummy veggies in it, and my kids don't hardly even notice that they're eating them!  I always double the recipe, but that means it has a longer cook time too.  It would do fine with the 10-12 on low, but when I do it on high (which is what I did today), I have to do about 7 hours.  If possible, I add leftover shredded Boston Butt, which was divine.  We ordered one from a fundraiser over the weekend, and my first thought was that I had to make this again.  One time, I just added some cubed ham.  It wasn't as good as the BB, but it was still pretty yummy.  The biggest bonus is that my kids always lick their bowls clean!  I normally just add 8-12 oz of sour cream directly to the crockpot at the end, instead of putting it on each serving.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Recipezaar)

1/2 lb dry lentils (1 1/4 cups)
2 medium carrots, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup mushroom, sliced
1 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup snipped parsley
4 cups water
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
2 teaspoons instant vegetable bouillon granules (or 2 cubes)
sour cream

In a saucepan, saute onions, mushrooms, garlic, and celery till just slightly browned, about 10 minutes.
In a 3 1/2 or 4 quart crockpot, combine the lentils, carrots, onion, garlic, mushrooms, celery and parsley.
Stir in water, mushroom soup, and bouillon.
Cover; cook on low 10 to 12 hours or high 5 to 6 hours.
Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream.
4 servings.
*I always double the recipe and add 8-12 oz of sour cream directly to crockpot at the end of cooking.  When doubled, it can go 10-12 hours on low or 7 hours on high.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Grape Salad ***

I got this recipe from a coworker years ago, and I'm still crazy about it.  I crave grapes all summer long anyway, so it's a perfect way to curb the cravings.  The kids love this one too.  The first time I made it, I worried that it would be too sweet, but the cream cheese and sour cream really tamper down the sweetness.  I've also subbed low-fat and fat-free sour cream and cream cheese, and it's still delicious.  This is one of my favorite things about summer!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

3 lbs grapes (any color or mixture)
½ cup sugar
1 (8-oz) Philadelphia cream cheese (softened)
1 (8-oz) sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup walnuts or pecans

Mix sugar, cream cheese, sour cream, and vanilla until smooth. Fold the grapes into mixture. Mix brown sugar and nuts in separate bowl – put on top of grape salad and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Meatloaf Burgers ***

I've made these before, and we've always loved them.  They're so easy, and they combine two of our favorite loves: meatloaf and hamburgers.  :-)  This time, however, I subbed ground turkey for the beef (as I always do in my recipes).  The first time I make a recipe, I stick to it as-written, so last time, we had it with the beef.  I will just say that without a doubt, this is not a turkey-friendly meal.  I did take into account that the turkey would cook faster, and it was done in about 5 hours.  Way too dry, though.  Next time, it's back to the good old beef on this one.  I will say, though, that the flavor is still phenomenal!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Taste of Home)

1 large onion, sliced
1 celery rib, chopped
2 pounds lean ground beef
1-1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups tomato juice
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 bay leaf
6 hamburger buns, split

Place onion and celery in a 3-qt slow cooker. Combine the beef, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper; shape into six patties. Place over onion mixture. Combine the tomato juice, garlic, ketchup, Italian seasoning, bay leaf, and remaining salt. Pour over the patties.
Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours or until meat is tender. Discard bay leaf. Separate patties with a spatula if necessary; serve on buns.

Cole Slaw with Beans and Bacon ***

Man, I love this stuff!  We've had it before, but it's pretty much just a summer thing.  Tonight was the first time we've had it this year.  Oh man, it's good!  Even anti-kidney bean dh likes it.  The kids aren't all that crazy about the cabbage part, but they compromised and ate all the beans in their portions.  Since there are quite a lot of beans to it, it was a fair trade.  ;)  It's pretty near perfect on its own, so I don't really make too many subs.  I use dehydrated minced onion, so that the kids won't notice.  I just make it ahead of time and throw it in the fridge.  It's better cold anyway.  I also used the "real bacon pieces" from the bacon bits aisle and preshredded coleslaw mix.  I like that the mix has carrots in it as well as the cabbage. 

Photo courtesy of Recipezaar

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Recipezaar)

2-1/2 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 cup diced celery
1/3 cup diced onion
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
15-1/2 ounces red kidney beans, drained
4 slices crisply cooked bacon, crumbled
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon sugar

Lightly mix together the first 6 ingredients.
Whisk together the 5 dressing ingredients and pour this over the salad mixture.
Toss all lightly and serve.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Easy Chicken Parmesan ***

The kids adored this one!  Dh has been working mega OT lately, so he hasn't had a chance to try it yet.  It's a winner for the rest of us, though.  I'm not thrilled that it uses the premade patties, but that's actually what I was specifically searching for when I found this recipe.  I had some in the fridge that I needed to use up.  I do like that these are things I can throw together last minute, though.  You can't beat its simplicity, that's for sure.  Throw in a nice salad, and you have a full meal!  Yummy!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Food.com)

4 frozen breaded chicken patties
1 jar of prepared spaghetti sauce
4 slices mozzarella cheese
8 ounces angel hair pasta

Bake chicken breast patties according to directions on package.
When finished, cover patties with the spaghetti sauce.
Bake an additional 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
Cover each patty with a piece of cheese and bake until melted.
Serve on a bed of cooked angel hair pasta.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Julie's Chicken ***

I've made this at least a zillion times now, and it's always a winner.  I keep trying to change it up each time, to make it work even better for us.  Last time, I used shredded zucchini in it, which we loved.  This time, I was out of zucchini, so I used about half a bag of the coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots).  Couldn't tell at all after it all cooked down, and my kids ate every bite.  :)  I always, always, always make this in the crockpot.  I have actually never even attempted it in any other way.  That just works for us.  I double the sauce and throw everything in the crock for about 5 hours.  Today, I had forgotten to thaw out my chicken, so I threw them in frozen and just cooked it an extra hour.  It was actually even better than usual!  Starting the chicken from frozen kept it even more moist.  After it's done cooking, I add about 6 cups of cooked rice and shred the chicken.  I kid you not when I say that my 7-year-old (who has been complaining about nearly all meals lately) actually licked his bowl!  It was awesome!

(heath ~ BabyCenter)

4 boneless chicken breasts
1 pkg Lipton Onion Soup Mix
1 sm. bottle of Wishbone Russian Salad dressing (must be that brand of dressing)
1 jar apricot preserves

Heat oven to 425*.
Place chicken in baking dish.
In a med. bowl, mix together dry soup mix; salad dressing and preserves.
Pour over chicken and bake for 40 minutes.
* Amy’s notes: I double the sauce mixture, use 1 package of thawed (or frozen) b/s chicken breasts, add about 1-1/2 cups of shredded zucchini or cabbage, and cook in the crockpot for 5-6 hours (add an extra hour if breasts are frozen). I then shred the chicken, cook 3 cups of rice (6 servings), and mix it all together.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Overnight Crockpot Oatmeal **

I really enjoyed this one.  I loved waking up and having breakfast ready for the kids.  That in itself was wonderful.  I liked the flavor too, though.  One of the kids liked it, and the other didn't, so I guess I'll just be making it for myself in the future.  I may try some other flavors to see if I can persuade him.  We'll see.  I didn't have apples or raisins, so I just used Craisins.  I don't like raisins anyway, so that was no big loss for me.  I did stir some milk into each bowl when I served it, since it became pretty thick.  I have a larger crockpot, so I only cooked mine for about 6 hours. I think I'll leave the nutmeg out next time, since it just didn't seem to "fit" with the flavors.  Of course, I'm not a big nutmeg fan anyway, so others may think it's fine.  Either way, this was a yummy, easy breakfast for a cold morning.  Can't beat that!
Photo courtesy of Food.com

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Food.com)

2 cups rolled oats
4 cups water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 apple, diced
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Spray inside of crockpot with cooking spray.
Combine all ingredients, cover and cook on low setting overnight (around 8 hours).

Monday, March 14, 2011

Beefy Pizza Ramen Skillet ****

Dh and I had this when I very first started cooking - back before I started rating my recipes.  I saved it in a file on the computer and forgot all about it.  I pulled it back out to give it another try, and I am so glad I did! We all loved this.  The kids both ate every bite and oohed and ahhed the entire time.  This is such a keeper in my book.  It's so simple and good.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

2 (3-oz) packages beef-flavor ramen noodle soup mix
1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef)
24-30 slices pepperoni (1 to 1-1/4 inches in diameter)
1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano, undrained
1-1/2 cups water
1 small green pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (1/2 cup)
1 cup (4 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese

Break blocks of noodles in half (reserve seasoning packets) and set aside. In large skillet, cook beef and pepperoni over medium-high heat 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is thoroughly cooked; drain.
Stir tomatoes, water and seasoning packets into beef mixture. Heat to boiling. Stir in noodles and bell pepper. Cook 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until noodles are tender and water has evaporated.
Sprinkle cheese on noodle mixture in ring around edge of skillet. Cover and let stand about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Meatball Skillet ***

This was really good.  I didn't notice until I started cooking tonight that this only serves 4.  I normally like stuff to serve 6, so that I have enough to send with dh for lunch the next day.  I added an extra cup and a half of water and an extra cup of white rice.  I also used the entire 2-lb bag of meatballs.  I added an extra handful or so of green beans too.  We all enjoyed it, though.  Of course, the kids would eat just about anything if it had meatballs in it, lol.


1 pkg garlic rice and vermicelli mix
1-1/2 cups water
1 lb frozen fully cooked meatballs or Easy Meatballs, cooked
2 cups frozen French cut green beans
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Prepare the mix according to package instructions, adding 1/2 cup more water and adding the meatballs along with the water and seasoning packet. Five minutes before the rice is done, stir in the green beans. Cook until rice and pasta are tender. Remove from heat, stir in sour cream and cheese. Cover and let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serves 4

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Kale Chips ***

I couldn't find any kale at the store, but I really wanted to try these.  The kids and I are crazy about spinach, and since the OP mentioned in her review that spinach can be a good substitute, that's the route I went.  We all adored them!  I made them Saturday morning, and my five-year-old kept going back and sneaking bites all day long.  I did them with just salt at first, and I put way too much.  It just takes a pinch.  The second time, I just did olive oil and a sprinkling of grated parmesan.  I didn't have fresh, so I didn't add any salt to it.  That was definitely our favorite.  The only problem with the spinach, though, is that it stuck to the pain and was really thin once it cooked.  I'm definitely going to have to try the kale, since the crinkles in it would help hold it off the pan and keep its shape more.  Either way, this sucker was a huge winner for us!
Photo of similar recipe courtesy of Food.com

(All notes are by OP ~ Submitted by Mindy ~ The Sisters Cafe)

1 bunch of Kale (about 6 ounces)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil*
Sea salt to taste***

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees**. Rinse and dry the kale. It is very important to get the kale totally dry - use a salad spinner or quickly wipe down each of the leaves with a paper towel after washing. Cut or tear the leaves off the tough center rib. Toss leaves with olive oil and sprinkle with salt to taste. (I also tried doing this in a large zip lock bag, which actually worked really well. You can rub the oil onto pretty much all the leaves very easily this way. But tossing in a bowl works fine, too.) Arrange leaves on a silpat lined cookie sheet (parchment would work, too) in a single layer. Bake for 26 minutes or until leaves are crisp to the touch, but still green.
*I tried using cooking spray (such as Pam), which actually worked pretty well. I like the taste of the oil better on the kale chips, but using cooking spray is definitely a good option if you are watching calories.
**I had the best luck with 275 degrees, but I also tried baking at a couple other temperatures: 300 degrees changed the bake time to about 20 minutes. 375 degrees changed the bake time to about 15 minutes.
***Other variations on seasonings I have used and liked:
Salt and Vinegar:
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Sea salt to taste
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Sea Salt to taste
2 Tablespoons of fresh parmesan

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Beer Bread ****

I've been down in my back lately, so I haven't been cooking very much.  Sorry for the lack of posts.  I'm going to try to get back in the swing of things this next week.
We just adore this one.  It's so easy to throw together, but it's really good.  It's a really dense bread, but it tastes yummy with some butter spread on it.  I've been wondering if it would be good with soups.  I need to try that sometime.  As it is, we mainly just make it to eat by the slice, lol.  When looking for a picture on Food.com, I just noticed that you can even mix the batter up in the loaf pan, to save on dirty dishes.  Woo hoo! 

Photo courtesy of Food.com


3 cups self-rising flour
½ cup sugar
12 ounces beer
2 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Butter a loaf pan and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and beer and mix well. The mixture should be sticky. Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 55 minutes. At the last 3 minutes of baking, remove from oven, brush the top of the loaf with butter and return to oven.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dripping Roast Beef Sandwiches with Melted Provolone ***

These are delicious!  I've had a recent fascination with French Dip sandwiches, so as soon as this was posted, I knew I had to try it.  Even dh loved it!  The boys ate at my parents', so they didn't get to try it.  I really think they would have enjoyed it too, though.  And it's so easy!  Dh did the shopping for me, and he accidentally got Condensed Beefy Mushroom Soup instead of the French Onion.  I just added a little chicken broth to it to kind of soften the flavor a bit.  It was delicious!  I still want to try it with the French Onion, just to see how different it would be.  Maybe this weekend... ;)

Photo courtesy of Campbells.com

(Dottie ~ hokiesmom ~ via Campbell's website)

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 Pepperidge Farm® Classic 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

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. Top each sandwich with 1 tablespoon pepper rings.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Jalapeno Popper Dip ***

This tastes amazingly like Jalapeno Poppers!  Dh and I love to splurge on Poppers at Sonic occasionally, because we just love those things.  Goodness knows they're not very good for you though, lol.  With this one, I used light cream cheese and light mayo.  I haven't attempted it with the lowfat cheese yet, though.  I figure that it still has to be better than fast food in the long run.  I served it with pita chips, and I'll definitely keep doing that.  I think it would be good with bagel chips too, though.  I also added an extra 1/2 cup of the cheddar cheese, because I didn't want the mayo flavor to be too overpowering.

(Mommy2Serena ~ TheRecipeReview.com)

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1 4-ounce can chopped green chiles, drained
1 4-ounce can diced jalapeno peppers, drained
1/2 cup shredded Mexican style cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup Panko breakcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, green chiles, jalapenos, and shredded cheeses. Mix thoroughly with a spoon or spatula until smooth and evenly combined. Spread the mixture into a baking dish (approximately 9x9-inches).
In a second bowl, combine the Panko and Parmesan and stir with a fork until combined. Sprinkle over the cream cheese mixture in the baking dish. Spray lightly with cooking spray. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the mixture is hot and the topping is golden. Serve warm with baguette slices, vegetables, etc. as desired.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Potato Sloppy Joe Bake ***

We loved this one!  I actually put off making it for a bit (even after I'd put it on the menu, lol), because I can be kind of funny about sloppy joes.  They kind of ick me out sometimes, since the sauce flavor is too strong.  This one totally solved that problem.  By mixing the cream of potato soup in with the sauce mixture, it softened up the harshness of the sauce and gave it a creamier flavor.  I only made a couple changes.  As always, I subbed ground turkey.  I also couldn't find a jar of sauce, so I had to use one of the packets of dry sauce mix.  I covered and cooked it for 20 minutes, uncovered and cooked for 5 minutes, added the cheese, and then cooked for the remaining 5 minutes.  It got rave reviews, so considering how easy it is, I can see us making it again soon.  :)

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Taste of Home)

1 lb ground beef
1 (15.5-oz) sloppy joe sauce
1 (10.75-oz) can condensed cream of potato soup, undiluted
1 (32-oz) pkg frozen cubed hash brown potatoes, thawed
1 cup (4-oz) shredded cheddar cheese

In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Add sloppy joe sauce and soup. Place hash browns in a greased 13"x9" baking dish. Top with beef mixture.
Cover and bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover; bake 10 minutes longer or until heated through. Sprinkle with cheese.
*Amy's notes: I subbed ground turkey and used a packet of dry sloppy joe mix (following the instructions on the packet).  I also added the cheese the last 5 minutes of baking, to let it melt a little more.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Spaghetti-Pizza Casserole ***

We've had this a million times, but it's been quite a while.  We still love it, lol.  It's nothing special, but it's a nice, fairly easy meal.  Several steps, but nothing complex.  You can do the ground beef/sauce mixture while you cook the noodles, so it's all ready to go into the oven at the same time.  The only change that I think I'll make is on the cheeses.  I think I'll cut it to 1 cup of each cheese and then add a little Parmesan in the noodles themselves.  Other than that, it was another good meal!


1 (16-oz) package spaghetti
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 pound ground beef (I use ground turkey)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium-size green pepper, chopped
1 (32-oz) jar spaghetti sauce
1 (4-oz) can sliced mushrooms, drained
1 (12-oz) package sliced pepperoni
2 cups (8 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup (4 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese

Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain and place in a lightly greased 13” x 9” x 2” baking dish.
Combine milk and eggs, stirring well; pour over spaghetti.
Cook ground beef, onion, and bell pepper in a large skillet, stirring until beef crumbles; drain well. Stir in spaghetti sauce; spoon over spaghetti. Place mushrooms and pepperoni on top.
Bake at 350* for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with cheeses; bake an additional 10 minutes. Yield: 8 servings