Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Two-Ingredient Fruit Dip (Fat Free) ***

We actually got this recipe at the 8-year-old's school Christmas party.  Someone else had brought it in, and he just fell in love and insisted on making it at home.  I freaked out when we first mixed it up, because the Cool Whip was so cold that it stiffened the marshmallow creme up quite a bit and left a lot of marshmallow chunks.  They all combine well once refrigerated, though, and it was definitely a hit with our kiddos.  They were practically licking their plates afterwards, lol.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

16 oz tub Fat-Free Cool Whip, thawed
7 oz jar Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme
Assorted fruits, sliced

Combine Cool Whip and Marshmallow Creme in medium-sized bowl.  Use mixer to blend well (there will still be some lumps - this is okay).  Refrigerate overnight.  Serve with sliced apples, strawberries, raspberries, or any other fruits that you prefer.

Gluten-Free Crockpot Chex Mix (Gluten Free) *

This was just okay, in my opinion.  It was a little too buttery, though.  It's a basic mix, but it just didn't taste right, for some reason.  It was also REALLY salty.  I'm going to keep looking for a better one.


4 cups rice chex cereal
4 cups corn chex cereal
4 cups pretzels (GF)
2 cups bagel chips (GF)
1 cup mixed nuts
6 T unsalted butter
2 T worcestershire sauce (GF)
2 t salt
2 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
1/2 t sugar

Add first 5 ingredients to a crockpot. Melt the butter & worcestershire sauce in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in salt, garlic powder, onion powder & sugar. Pour mixture over ingredients in crockpot. Mix well until chex mix is coated. Cook on low for 2.5 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. When the chex mix is done cooking, spread it out to cool. Store in an air-tight container.
Yield: 15 cups

Pickle Wrap Dip ***

First off, sorry for the crappy picture.  I forgot to take one when I was making it, so I had to grab one at the last second.  It's blurry and hard to see much detail.  Maybe I can get a better one next time.

We absolutely adore the Dill Pickle Roll-'Em-Ups, but they take forever to make.  As soon as this popped up on Pinterest, I knew I had to try it.  The flavor in this is really wonderful.  I did the ham and pickles in my food processor, but that actually makes them a bit too small.  It makes the texture more like that of a ham salad.  Next time, I would use the dill pickle relish and just chop the ham by hand.  Either way, though, it was really good!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ via KeyIngredient)

16-oz cream cheese, softened
12-oz deli-sliced ham, chopped
16-oz baby dill pickles, drained, diced
Ritz crackers

In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, chopped ham, and diced pickles; mix well.
Place mixture in the refrigerator for 1 hour, before serving.
Serve chilled, with crackers.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Cowboy Caviar ***

This was loosely based on a few different recipes I pulled from Pinterest.  We loved it.  I can eat just about anything with corn, though.  Oddly enough, even though I normally don't care for mayo-based dips, I really liked this one.  The sour cream adds enough of a damper on the mayo taste that you really don't even notice it.  I used mild Rotel this time, but I think I might try it with hot as well.  The sour cream brings down the heat a lot, so I think I could get away with the hotter version.  All in all, a really easy and tasty recipe.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

2 cans Mexicorn
1 can hot or mild Rotel (according to taste)
1 green pepper, chopped (optional)
2-1/2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
6 green onion stalks, sliced
1 cup mayo
1 cup sour cream

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate for at least an hour.  Flavors are best if refrigerated overnight.
Serve with Fritos.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Pie ***

This was pretty good.  It's really easy, which I obviously love, lol.  I let mine go about 6 hours, and that was honestly a bit too long. In my crockpot (which always runs hot), it probably would have been better around 5 hours.  But the kids absolutely loved it.  Hubby and I liked it too.  I used whole grain noodles, so they held up a bit better than plain ones would have.  I'll definitely make it again.


8 oz. spaghetti
2 eggs
1/3 c. Parmesan cheese
1 lb. ground beef
32 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
3 c. cottage cheese
4 oz. mozzarella cheese

Boil spaghetti until al dente, about 7 minutes.  Meanwhile, brown the beef, drain, and return to pan.
Next, add sauce to pan, cook on low heat a few minutes.
After spaghetti is done, drain, cut, and add to separate large bowl; add parmesan cheese and beaten eggs and stir to combine.
Next, pour 1/2 c. meat sauce to the bottom of the crock. Layer 1/2 pasta, 1/2 cottage cheese, 1/2 meat sauce, 1/2 mozzarella. Repeat layers.
Cover and Crock on LOW 6-8 hours.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Overnight Ham and Cheese Breakfast Enchiladas ***

These were a hit yet again.  I still subbed unsweetened almond milk for the half-and-half.  It tastes better that way, in my opinion.  I forgot that I wanted to use green peppers this time, and I ended up doing the onions again.  I'm just not a fan of the ham/onion flavor combo, though.  That's absolutely nothing against this recipe, because I absolutely adore it.  I just need to remember to leave out the onions.  I'm thinking ham and mushrooms would be a tasty idea as well.  I'm going to change it up some next week.  Still a keeper for us, and they reheat beautifully in the microwave.  I did leave out the salt this time, and it was perfect.  I don't see any need at all for the salt, since you have the salt from the ham.  Anyway, I'm already looking forward to trying them again next week. :-)

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ TheGirlWhoAteEverything)

2 cups cubed and cooked ham
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
10 flour tortillas (6-8 inches)
1 1/4 cup half-and-half
4 whole eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon flour
salsa, sour cream, and additional green onions for serving

In a medium bowl stir together ham, green onions and 2 cups of cheese (save the remaining 1/2 cup for later). Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Use a 1/3-cup measuring cup to scoop out cheese mixture onto a tortilla. Roll up tortilla and place seam side down in the baking dish. Roll up all tortillas and place them into the baking dish with the sides touching.
Whisk together half-and-half, eggs, salt, and flour. Pour over tortillas. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, preheat oven to 350*. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Remove and sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of cheese over enchiladas. Bake for 10 more minutes or until tops are golden brown and the egg mixture is set.
Serve with salsa, sour cream, and additional green onions.
*Amy's notes: I leave out the salt and sub almond milk for the half-and-half.

Previous reviews:
4/10/13 ~ These were actually pretty good, and they took less than 5 minutes to throw together, since I used presliced onions.  I subbed almond milk for the half-and-half, and I would absolutely do that again.  Worked beautifully.  My only complaint was that it was a bit too salty.  There's honestly no need for the salt when you're using ham.  I'm going to leave it out next time.  I'm also thinking of subbing green peppers for the green onions, since that just sounds good to me for some reason.  I loved that I got to throw it together after supper last night and then throw it in the oven this morning while I was still in my zombie state.  I normally dread mornings, and this made it just a little bit easier.  :-)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Crockpot Cube Steak and Gravy *

Sorry for the lack of posting. I've been cooking, but with all of the holiday rushing around, I've basically stuck to the good old reliable classics (in other words, the ones I can make from memory, lol).

Let me start this by saying that I don't really care for cube steak all that much in the first place.  However, the OP made a point of stating that she normally wasn't a cube steak fan until she found this recipe.  She said it was unbelievably tender.  It was still dry and chewy, in my opinion.  The sauce was decent, but as you can see from the picture, it came out with way too much liquid.  Hubby liked it okay, but I just wasn't a fan at all.  The flavor of the gravy was good, but the chewy meat was just too much of a distraction.  I might actually try this again with pork chops instead of cube steak.  That might make it a little less icky.  I don't know.  I'll have to think about it. :-(

(The Post-It Place ~ via Pinterest)

Cube steak   (I used a family size pack)
2 cans (10.75 ounce size) cream of mushroom soup
1 envelope onion soup mix
3/4  cup water
Salt and Pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a crock pot. Cook on low all day. Serve over rice, noodles, mashed potatoes or with your favorite side dishes.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Crockpot Taco Soup ****

This is one of my very favorite recipes.  It's kind of like a chili, but not quite as thick.  It's very hearty, thanks to the beans and veggies.  Even the boys like it.  Dh and I always eat ours over Fritos and topped the cheese.  The kiddos both like theirs topped with cheese and then use the Fritos to dip in it.  Whatever works, right?  ;) 
You can sub 1 lb of shredded cooked chicken and shorten the cooking time, but I prefer to cook the chicken directly in the soup. It comes out so tender and soaks in the flavors of the soup.  Amy has a happy tummy tonight.  :)

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ inspired by

3 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
2 (16 ounce) cans pinto beans
1 (11 ounce) can niblet corn
1 (11 ounce) can Rotel tomatoes and chilies
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies
1 (4 ounce) can sliced black olives
1 (1-1/4 ounce) envelope taco seasoning mix
1 (1 ounce) envelope Hidden Valley ranch dressing mix
Sour cream (optional)
Fritos (optional)
Shredded cheese (optional)

Add all ingredients to crock pot. DO NOT DRAIN CANS. Stir.
Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Shred chicken before serving.  Keep on low until serving to keep hot. Garnish with sour cream, shredded cheese, or Fritos.
* Amy's notes: I've also used 3 frozen b/s chicken breasts and cooked for 10 hours on low.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Hormel Casserolé ***

This one was a spur-of-the-moment decision, but it came out pretty well.  I had a craving for tamales in the store last week, so I picked up a can.  This recipe was on the back.  Next time, I'm going to use a smaller can with it as well, so that dh will have leftovers for lunch the next day.  We all liked it, but the 8-year-old requested that I serve it with sour cream next time, to cut some of the spice from the tamale/chili combo.  Overall, we all enjoyed it, though.  Definitely perfect for a quick and easy meal.


1 (25-oz) can Hormel Chili with Beans or Hormel Chili No Beans
1 (28-oz) can Hormel Beef Tamales
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Spread chili in a 9x13-inch baking dish.  Remove paper from tamales; place tamales on chili.
Sprinkle with onion and cheese.
Bake in 350*F oven for 30 minutes or until hot.

Kari's Smothered Burritos ****

We absolutely adored this one.  I couldn't find green chili in any stores in our area (and trust me, I looked everywhere I could think of), so I had to look one up online.  I decided on World's Best Chili Verde. It was perfect.  It made enough chili to do this recipe and then bag up and freezer two more servings for future meals.  I'm definitely making this one again soon, because every single one of us loved it.  I'm not sure what size pan was meant to be used, but I only had a 9x13 casserole dish.  I was only able to fit 9 or 10 burritos in there, and I squished those suckers in there tight, lol.  I had quite a bit of the meat mixture left over as well.  I did have to cook mine for about 20 minutes, but that was mainly because I was using ground turkey that I'd cooked in the crockpot earlier and placed in the refrigerator (see recipe for Slow Cooker Crumbled Beef).  Not sure how to fix that without messing up the other numbers, but I'll think on it for a bit.  This was most definitely a winner for us, though.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ my friend Kari)

Green chili of your choice (I made my own - World's Best Chili Verde)
1 lb ground beef...season with chili powder, garlic salt, and pepper.
1 (30 oz) can refried beans
1 (7 oz) can green chilies, chopped
1 (15 oz) can of regular chili with beans
1 lb package of shredded cheese
12 tortillas

Brown the ground beef with the seasonings; Drain grease from ground beef.
Mix in the can of regular chili, can of refried beans, and the chopped green chilies with browned ground beef.
Wrap the beef and bean mixture in tortillas; add some shredded cheese in if desired.
Put in a shallow baking pan. Smother with green chili, top with remaining cheese.
Bake at 400 for 10 to 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

World's Best Chili Verde (Crockpot) ***

I needed green chili to go with a new recipe for Kari's Smothered Burritos that I've been wanting to try, but no store around here sells it.  I finally just decided to find a good recipe on my own.  This was wonderful.  I think that next time I'll just use some chicken breasts, though.  At least for when I use it in the burrito recipe.  I left out the jalapenos and used an extra can of chilies.  It doesn't say what size of tomato sauce to use, so I used the soup can size.  It was kind of liquidy because of that, but it was perfect for my purposes.  I was able to use the chili on the recipe and bag up two extra servings for the next time I make the burrito recipe.  :-)

(Diary of a Stay-at-Home Mom)

3 lb. boneless pork roast, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 1/2 bell peppers, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 cans tomato sauce
1 7-oz. can green chilies, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped coarse
1 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup beef broth
2 tsp. salt to taste
2 jalapenos, chopped fine (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a crockpot. Mix. Cook on low for 8 to 9 hours. Serve with flour tortillas, shredded cheese, sour cream, and guacamole.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Creamy Tortellini Soup *

This was good, but it came out really runny.  I doubled the recipe, since it said it only served 4.  I think something must be off on the liquid amounts.  I knew it looked like too much when I first got the recipe, but I went against my better judgement and did it anyway.  Should have listened to myself.  I still don't know what purpose the evaporated milk served.  I mean, yeah, they made it a white color, but that's about it.  With all of that liquid already in there, the milk just became watery too.  I'm not sure what changes I would make, but I would definitely cut down on the liquid.  Maybe use sour cream instead of evaporated milk?  At this point, I think it would probably just be easier to make something else next time than to try to redo the recipe. :-(

(Better Homes and Gardens ~ via Pinterest)

2 (1-1/2 to 2 ounce) envelopes white sauce mix
8 cups water
28 ounces vegetable broth
3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup chopped onion
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon  dried basil, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1/4 teaspoon  cayenne pepper
14 to 16 ounces dried cheese tortellini (about 4 cups)
2 (12 ounce) cans evaporated milk
12 cups fresh baby spinach leaves or torn spinach
Ground black pepper (optional)
Finely shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

Place dry white sauce mix in a 6-quart slow cooker. Gradually add the water to the white sauce mix, stirring until smooth. Stir in broth, mushrooms, onion, garlic, basil, salt, oregano, and cayenne pepper.
Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours or on high-heat setting for 2-1/2 to 3 hours.
Stir in dried tortellini. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 1 hour more or high-heat setting for 45 minutes more.
Stir in evaporated milk and fresh spinach. If desired, sprinkle individual servings with black pepper and Parmesan cheese. Makes 8 servings.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mexicali Hashbrown Taco Casserole***

We all enjoyed this one.  I didn't measure anything, so my amounts were probably off.  I did use about 4 oz of cream cheese, just because it was easier to use a half of the 8-oz container.  I also probably used a full cup of corn.  Overall, it was really pretty good.  Nothing overly special, but a nice change from the usual.

(TheMidnightBaker ~ via Pinterest)

1 lb very lean ground beef (90%)
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper, divided
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper, divided
1/2 cup corn
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 can (10.5 oz) tomato soup
1 pkg (3 oz) low-fat cream cheese*
1/2 cup chopped onion, divided
2 cups Mexican-style shredded cheese, divided
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 bag (30 oz bag) frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease or spray a 2 or 2 1/2 oblong casserole dish.
Brown ground beef and onion in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  Drain fat from pan, reduce heat.
Add the undiluted tomato soup, corn and the cream cheese. Stir until well combined and no chunks of cream cheese are visible.  Stir in taco seasoning and 1 cup of the shredded cheese.  Turn mixture into prepared pan, spreading mixture evenly across the bottom.
In a separate bowl, combine the defrosted hash browns, the peppers, salt, pepper and remaining 1 cup shredded cheese.
Top ground beef with potato mixture, pressing it down slightly.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until topping is browned and crispy on top.
Serves 6
*In some locations, cream cheese is still sold in 3 oz packages.

Meatball Lasagna **

This was okay.  The bottom layer of noodles didn't soften much at all, though.  Next time, I would probably just boil the noodles and make it like a regular pasta.  In all actuality, I think it would be really good to do it stovetop with egg noodles, but I'd have to mess around with that one a bit.

Photo from


1 jar (26 oz) tomato pasta sauce (any variety)
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with Italian herbs, undrained
1 box (12 oz) frozen Italian-style meatballs, thawed, each cut in half
1-1/2 cups frozen bell pepper and onion stir-fry (from 1-lb bag), thawed, drained
1 container (15 oz) ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
8 uncooked lasagna noodles
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (12 oz)
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (1 oz)

Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. In large bowl, mix pasta sauce and tomatoes. Reserve 1/2 cup tomato mixture. Stir meatballs and stir-fry vegetables into remaining tomato mixture.
In medium bowl, mix ricotta cheese, egg and basil.
Spoon reserved 1/2 cup tomato mixture over bottom of baking dish. Top with 4 noodles. Top with about half of the ricotta mixture and half of the meatball mixture. Layer with remaining 4 noodles, remaining ricotta mixture, 1 cup mozzarella cheese and remaining meatball mixture. Sprinkle with remaining 2 cups mozzarella cheese and the Parmesan cheese. Spray sheet of foil with cooking spray; cover baking dish with foil. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
Heat oven to 350°F. Bake covered lasagna 45 minutes. Uncover; bake 15 to 20 minutes longer or until bubbly, edges are golden brown and cheese is melted. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Manwich Cheesy Chicken Pasta ***

I was really surprised by how tasty this was.  I'm not a fan of sloppy joes in general, but this was pretty good.  The cheese and chicken help to soften the sweetness of the sloppy joe mix, which helps a lot.  I had shredded chicken in the freezer, so I just pulled that out to use.  Between that and not having to precook the noodles, this recipe is beyond easy.  I had it on the table in less than 30 minutes.  Woo hoo!  I'm definitely putting this one in the "keeper" file!

(Yellow Bliss Road via Pinterest)

2 cups shredded or diced chicken
2 Tbsp minced onion
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 can Manwich Bold  + 1 can water
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 pound of small dry pasta (I used penne)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1. Heat a small amount of oil in a large pot. Add onion and garlic and saute for one minute, then add cooked chicken* and saute for a couple of minutes.
(*Tip: I happened to have cooked, shredded chicken on hand so I used that, but I think I would start with raw chicken next time and cook the diced chicken and in the pot).
2. Add chicken broth, Manwich Bold Sloppy Joe Sauce, water and pasta to the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for about 25-25 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and stir in shredded cheddar until well incorporated, reserving a handful to sprinkle on the top. Cover for a few minutes to allow the cheese to melt, and stir.
4. Serve

Monday, October 14, 2013

Crockpot Meatloaf and Potatoes **

This was good, but it wasn't what I wanted it to be.  The flavor of the meatloaf was great.  That wasn't a problem at all.  I cooked it for 9 hours, and while the meatloaf was slightly dry and overcooked, the potatoes were still pretty hard.  Some of them turned out perfectly, but at least 2 of them were way undercooked.  I think that next time, I would increase the meatloaf amount and use smaller potatoes.  That would probably help.  It would be great if you could mix up the meatloaf ahead of time and freeze it.  Then, by the time it had thawed and cooked, the potatoes should be pretty perfect.  I need to think on it some more, because I really do love the idea of it.

(Gleams of Sunshine via Pinterest)

2.5 pounds of ground turkey (or beef, if you prefer)
1 egg
3/4  cup smashed cornflakes (or bread crumbs, but I prefer corn flakes)
1 envelope of Lipton onion soup mix
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
salt, pepper, paprika, garlic salt, Italian seasoning to taste
5-6 baking potatoes

Mix the ingredients well and form a “loaf” in the bottom of your crock pot.
Then, wash 5-6 potatoes, prick them with a knife or fork, and wrap them in foil.  Place them around the meatloaf.  Cook for 8-10 hours on low.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Mexican Cornbread Casserole ***

Another winner for us.  I was afraid that it would be too spicy between the Rotel and the sauce, but the cornbread tamped that down a bit.  I couldn't find the Rotel Green Chili Sauce, so I just used green enchilada sauce.  We all liked it.  The kids and the hubs really liked it.  Definitely a keeper. :-)

( via Pinterest)

2 (8.5-oz) packages corn muffin mix
1/2 cup Egg Beaters Original (or two fresh eggs)
2/3 cup reduced fat (2%) milk
1-1/2 cups frozen whole kernel corn, divided
1 pound ground chuck beef (80% lean)
2 (10-oz) cans Ro*Tel Original Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies, drained
2 (8-oz) cans Ro*Tel Original Tomato and Green Chili Sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups shredded reduced fat Mexican cheese blend

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray 9x13-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray; set aside. Stir together cornbread mix, Egg Beaters, milk, and half of corn in bowl. Pour into prepared dish.
Meanwhile, cook beef in medium skillet over medium-high heat 3 to 5 minutes or until crumbled and no longer pink, stirring occasionally; drain. Stir in drained tomatoes, tomato sauce, remaining corn, and cumin. Pour mixture over top of cornbread batter. Top with cheese.
Bake 25 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and cornbread is done.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Best Pot Roast Ever ***

I'm torn between two stars and three stars on this one.  It's good, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it the "best" pot roast I've ever had.  I used a Boston Butt, since I'm not a huge fan of beef roast.  The roast itself was divine.  However, the gravy/sauce was just too peppery for the kids and me.  Hubby loved it.  I doubled the recipe when I made it, so that we'd have lunch leftovers.  I'll do that next time as well, but I'll stick closer to a 4-lb roast and only use one envelope of Italian dressing.  I think that's what put it over the edge.  I used a 5-lb roast, and it was just a bit too big when I put it on top of the potatoes.  4 or 4.5 even would be much better.  I'll definitely make it again, though.  It doesn't get much easier than this.  I cut my potatoes in quarters so that they would lay better in the pot.

(Marie's Cooking Adventures ~ via Pinterest - recipe has been doubled)

4-4.5 lb roast. (any kind)
2 envelopes ranch dressing (dried)
2 envelopes Italian dressing
2 envelopes brown gravy mix
14 baby red potatoes
1 lb carrots
2-3 cups water

Put any carrots and potatoes in the bottom of your CrockPot. I usually quarter my potatoes and use baby carrots.
Put Roast on top of vegetables.
Sprinkle all 3 spice envelopes on top.
Add the water.
Cook on LOW for 6-10 hours until tender and veggies cooked through.It is better to cook the roast longer. This will be sooooo tender and yummy!!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Brownies ***

Oh wow.  I found this one on Pinterest earlier this week, and I just knew I had to make it.  I love brownies and pumpkin, so I was dying to see how well they combined.  They were delicious.  The texture is very strange.  It's kind of like a dense, moist pudding.  The slices separate and hold together easily, though.  I tried the OP's suggestion of lining the pan with foil, and it worked really well for me.  I didn't bother with the frosting, since I wanted to get the full effect of the brownies themselves.  You can't really taste the pumpkin, but you get a whiff of it every now and then.  I did use a 9x13 pan, since I prefer more brownies over thicker brownies.  It makes them last just a teeny bit longer.  :-)  Overall, this was definitely a winner for us, simply because of how easy and yummy it was.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Cookies and Cups)

1 "Family Size" box (19.5 oz) brownie mix
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
Frosting - optional:
     1/2 cup butter
     2 cups powdered sugar
     1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350°
Line a 9x9 pan with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.
In a bowl mix together brownie mix and pumpkin until smooth.
Spread batter into pan and bake for 25-30 minutes until set.
Let cool completely. Frost if desired.

Cream butter and pumpkin pie spice until smooth.
Turn mixer to low and add in powdered sugar
Turn mixer up to medium and beat until fluffy.
Spread on brownies, if desired.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Crockpot Chicken and Potatoes **

We all agreed that this was good, but it's missing something.  It's based on a Tastefully Simple recipe, but I had to make several changes to make it work for us.  I still want to change a few things around, but I'm not really sure how yet.  The flavor is wonderful.  I'm thinking I might try it with noodles instead of potatoes, but I'm not 100% on that yet.  I need to do some more thinking.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

6-8 frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts
18-20 miniature red potatoes, quartered (or 6 medium potatoes, cubed)
2 (10.75-oz) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
2 (10.75-oz) milk (use soup can to measure)
2 packets Knorr Vegetable Mix
1-2 cups frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

Put the chicken and potatoes in a greased slow cooker. Whisk remaining ingredients together; pour over chicken and potatoes.
Cook for 8-10 hours on low.  Makes 6-8 servings.


Original recipe:

(Tastefully Simple)

6-8 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
6 potatoes, cubed
2 (10.75-oz) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
2 (10.75-oz) milk (use soup can to measure)
2 packets Artichoke and Spinach Warm Dip Mix

Put the chicken and potatoes in a greased slow cooker. Whisk remaining ingredients together; pour over chicken and potatoes.
Cook for 8-10 hours on low.  Makes 6-8 servings.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Amy's Easy Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings ****

I've been making my chicken and dumplings the same way on the stovetop for years and years.  Hubby loves it and begs for it all the time.  It normally just takes too long to mess with, though.  This was my lazy way of trying to avoid all that hassle, lol.  I will never make them stovetop again.  These were delicious!  I normally do regular mashed potatoes to serve with the dumplings, but at the last second, since we were having to head out to football practice with the oldest, we decided just to add them to crockpot instead.  Absolute brilliance (and it was actually hubby's idea!).  With such a long cook time (thanks to using the frozen chicken), this is now one of my favorite weeknight meals.  :-)

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts, frozen
1 cup chicken broth
3 cups water
2 (10.75-oz) cans cream of chicken soup
2 tsp pepper
1 tin Grands flaky layered biscuits
1 (4.1-oz) packet Idahoan Baby Reds Instant Mashed Potatoes

Spray 6-7 quart slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray and turn to LOW heat.
In crockpot, mix together broth, water, soup, and pepper.  Slide frozen chicken underneath mixture so that it's completely covered.  Split each biscuit in half along the layers, and then tear or cut each layer into 3-4 strips.  Add to crockpot, stirring a bit to moisten each of them.
Cook for 8 hours on LOW.  When there are 30 minutes remaining, shred the chicken and add the mashed potatoes.  Stir well to combine.
* Amy's notes: You can sub 1-2 cups prepared leftover mashed potatoes.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Casserole **

We all enjoyed this, but it really needs even more than 8 hours, in my opinion.  The cabbage was still pretty firm at the 8-hour mark, even though my crockpot normally runs pretty hot.  I loved that I didn't have to cook the ground turkey beforehand, though.  That was absolutely wonderful.  I do hate browning ground turkey or ground beef.  Plus, I hate dirtying up an extra pan.  Overall, though, it was pretty good.  I would make it again, but I'd probably cook it for 9-10 hours instead.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~

1 -1 1/2 lb lean ground turkey or 1 -1 1/2 lb extra lean ground beef
2 cups chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 small head green cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce, can add another 8- 15 oz if you like more sauce

Spray crock pot with nonstick cooking spray.
Crumble the raw ground turkey (or beef) and spread along bottom of crock pot.
Add the onions, green pepper, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme and cabbage.
Pour the diced tomatoes over top.
Mix the sugar into the tomato sauce and pour over everything. If you like more sauce, add another 8-oz or 15-oz can of tomato sauce.
Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours or on high for about 4 hours.
When done, remove lid and stir to mix well.

Hawaiian Ham and Cheese Sandwiches *

I just really wasn't impressed with these.  They were WAY too cheesy, in my opinion.  And that's coming from a gal who is really crazy about her cheese.  They would have been much better without the cream cheese layer.  That's just a bit too much.  The topping didn't spread very well either.  I expected it to spread out and be kind of even, but it just stayed right on top.  I think maybe I'd cut back the Parmesan a bit.  Honestly, though, this just needs a lot of work.  I made 24 rolls, since they were 12-packs.  I only used half a slice of Provolone cheese on each sandwich, so I used a total of 12 slices.  Even with doing that, it was still far too cheesy and rich.  I won't be making them like this again.  I do like the idea, though, so I plan to play around with that.


20 small Hawaiian sweet rolls
1 pound of black forest ham deli slices
20 slices of provolone cheese
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons dried minced onions
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with the bottom halves of 20 small Hawaiian sweet rolls, setting the top halves aside.
Top with 1 pound of black forest ham deli slices.
Top with 20 slices of provolone cheese. Yes, that is a lot of cheese, but you will thank me in about 30 minutes.
Generously spread cream cheese onto the bottoms of the sweet roll tops (one 8-oz. container will take care of them all). Place the tops over the cheese slices in the pan, lining them up with the bottoms of the rolls.
In a medium bowl, combine melted butter, yellow mustard, Worcestershire sauce, minced onions, and Parmesan cheese.
Mix well and pour evenly over the tops of the sandwiches in the pan.
Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and sandwiches are warmed through. Cut at the seams with a sharp knife and serve warm! These are addicting, to-die-for snacks or appetizers and can even be a satisfying meal.
(Refrigerate leftovers, if there are any.)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Double Trouble Banana Bread ****

Wow.  This thing was GOOD.  I combined several recipes I found online, and this is what I came up with.  Hubby has been begging for banana bread, but all of my old recipes use applesauce.  This way uses a little extra banana to compensate for no applesauce.  It comes out so moist and flavorful.  I didn't do the part about letting it cool, though.  I popped that sucker out of the pan as soon as it came out of the oven, and we dug right in.  Nothing like warm banana bread. :-)

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
4 medium size overripe bananas, mashed
2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350*.
Lightly grease 9x5 loaf pan.
With mixer, cream together butter and brown sugar.  Add in eggs and bananas, and mix until well blended. Slowly mix in flour and pecans, just until moistened.
Pour batter into loaf pan. Bake in preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.
Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Nutella Gooey Butter Cake ***

I'm a St. Louis native, and Gooey Butter Cake is kind of one of our "things."  Well, that and pork steaks, Provel cheese and toasted ravioli.  Basically all the good stuff in life, lol.  Anyway, I decided I wanted to introduce the kids to their first gooey butter cake.  When perusing Pinterest, I came across the Nutella one on accident.  I knew I had to make it.  It definitely did not disappoint.  Wow.  This thing is delicious!  It really doesn't taste much like gooey butter cake, but it's so good on its own.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ via Little Kitchie)

for the cake, you'll need:
1 box chocolate cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix)
1 large egg
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

for the filling, you'll need:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup Nutella
3 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13x9 pan with cooking spray.
Add cake mix, egg, and butter to the bowl of an electric mixer and mix until completely incorporated. Use your fingers to press into the bottom of the prepared pan.
Clean the bowl, then add cream cheese and Nutella and beat until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter. Beat on low until incorporated, then slowly add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add to the pan and evenly spread over cake batter.
Bake for 40-45 minutes. Allow to cool completely, then dust with powdered sugar. If desired, top with fresh whipped cream. Aaaaaaand devour.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cheesy Stuffed Pepper Casserole *

This was just one big mess.  First of all, the recipe doesn't even tell you where to add the beef or rice.  I just mixed it all together in the stock pot.  Second, there is way too much liquid in here.  Two sauce cans would be plenty.  Either that, or cut down on the tomatoes.  Maybe I'd do both.  I don't know.  It just didn't work at all.  It all bubbled out of my 9x13, so now I get to clean that up out of the bottom of my oven.  I most definitely will not be making this again.  It's not even worth fiddling with the recipe to try to fix it.  There's just too much wrong with it.  The flavor isn't too bad, but it's just so soupy.  Plus, the tomato flavor is extremely overwhelming.  

(Mostly Homemade Mom from Five Minutes for Mommy - Pinterest)

2 cups cooked rice
1 lb ground beef
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large green peppers, diced
1/2 cup frozen diced onion
29 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
3 (14 oz) cans tomato sauce
2 (14 oz) cans corn, drained
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Brown ground beef in a large stock pot, drain, remove from pan and set aside. Heat oil in stock pot on medium high heat and add green peppers and onion. Saute 5-10 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally. To stock pot, add tomatoes, sauce, corn, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Pour into a 9x13 baking dish. Top with shredded cheese. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Serves 10 - 12

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cheesy Crockpot Cowboy Casserole ***

We really enjoyed this.  It was nothing special, but we all liked it.  It's a very hearty dish.  Hubby and I added a little hot sauce to our servings, but the kids had it plain.  I didn't put the cheese on while it was in the crockpot, but I just sprinkled a little on each serving.  As usual, I used ground turkey in place of the beef, which worked out great in here.  I didn't have any Mrs, Dash, so I subbed Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning.  I'll keep doing that, because it gave it some nice flavor.  I also replaced the kidney beans with pinto beans, since Hubby hates kidney beans with a passion.  Oh, and I used fire-roasted diced tomatoes, just because that's my preference. :-)

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Family Fresh Meals via Pinterest)

1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Mrs. Dash
1 lbs small red potatoes, sliced thin (about 4-5 small red potatoes),
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 lb ground beef browned and drained
1 can of diced tomatoes with liquid
1 cup canned corn
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

Place all of the ingredients except the cheese in a 4- 6 quart crockpot and stir well.
Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 7-8 hours. Uncover crock-pot and sprinkle shredded cheese over top and recover and let cook an additional 30 minutes.
*luckymommy's notes: I subbed ground turkey, fire-roasted tomatoes, Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning, and pinto beans.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Slow Cooker Crumbled Beef Sandwiches ***

I don't have a real link for this one.  I got it from Pinterest, but when you click the link, it just takes you to the Tastefully Simple website.  I looked it up on there, but it didn't show any results.  This turned out really well, though.  I subbed ground turkey, but I don't think I'd do that again.  The turkey crumbles just a bit too much.  I'm going to try it again next week with beef, but overall, we really liked it.  My only complaint is that it's not very flavorful once it's on the sandwich.  It tastes great right out of the crockpot, but once it's on the bread, some of the flavor is masked.  I'm thinking I might try just a dash of liquid smoke next time.  We'll see. Either way, this is a keeper, since it has such a long cook time (which I love) and is so easy to throw together.

(Tastefully Simple via Pinterest)

2 tsp seasoning salt
1 tsp garlic powder
2 lbs ground beef
2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp pepper
1-1/2 cups water
hamburger buns

Combine first six ingredients in slow cooker. Mix until ground beef is very moist and crumbly.
Cook on low 7-10 hours. Stir and drain. Spoon onto buns.  Garnish with mustard, ketchup, and cheese.
*Note: This meat mixture can be used for spaghetti, tacos, soups, etc.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Creole Pork Chops in Crockpot ***

This was another one from my older files, but it was still every bit as yummy as ever.  I doubled the entire recipe, so that dh would have leftovers for lunch.  This makes the pork chops so tender and flavorful.  The only change I might make next time is to add a bit more rice.  I used brown rice, so it didn't fluff up as well as white would have.  I like being able to use the brown rice with it, though.  I also used the fire roasted diced tomatoes, since that's our favorite.  Oh, and I cut down on the salt by about half.  The kids even ate every bite of the rice, which is unusual when something has green peppers.  Eight thumbs up on this one!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Recipezaar)

1 tbsp. oil
4 loin pork chops
2 tbsp. flour
1 can (19 oz.) tomatoes
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 med. onion, chopped
1-1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup rice

Dredge the chops in the flour and brown on both sides in oil. Add 1 cup water to 1/2 cup rice in bottom of crock pot. Add browned chops and other ingredients. Cook 8 hours on low.
*luckymommy's notes: I double the recipe, add a bit more rice, use fire-roasted tomatoes, and half the salt.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Pepperoni Lasagna in the Crockpot ****

I've been making this one for years, but this time around, I had an extra can of spinach that I needed to use up.  I stirred it into the cottage cheese mixture, and it was so good.  I'm going to keep doing it that way, so I'm updating the recipe with the addition.  It seems like a lot of water in the sauce, but it will be soaked up by the noodles.  Dh made me promise to make this again soon.  :)  Sorry for the bad picture.  I'll take a better one next time, lol.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

2 lbs ground beef or ground turkey
1 small onion, chopped
4 cups water
2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules
1 (7 ounce) can mushrooms
2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
4 teaspoons Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 eggs
1 (12 ounce) carton small curd cottage cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 can chopped spinach, drained
9 no boil lasagna noodles
1 (3 1/2 ounce) package sliced pepperoni
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz.)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

In a skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.
Add water, tomato sauce, tomato paste, bouillon, mushrooms, and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
Break noodles in half.
In a bowl, combine eggs, cottage cheese, spinach and sour cream.
Spread 1/4 of meat sauce into a greased crockpot. Layer with three noodles, 1/3 of the cottage cheese mixture, and 1/3 of the pepperoni. Repeat layers twice more (3 total layers, beginning with the noodles), and top with remaining noodles and meat sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
Cook on low for 4-6 hours. (We like our noodles kind of soft, so I go for at least 5 hours. For firmer noodles, stop at 4 hours.)

Previous posts:
This was my first attempt at turning an oven lasagna recipe into a crockpot recipe. I changed up quite a few things, but the recipe below is written with my changes. Overall, the flavors were wonderful. The only problem was that it cooked a little too quickly, which was simply due to the crockpot not being full enough. I think that next time, I'm going to up the meat amt to 2 lbs and double the sauce mixture. I'll probably keep the cheese layer the same, since I don't want it to be too overpowering. I also want to start adding mushrooms, to give it a little extra veggie boost. This was SO perfect, though. Even the 6-year-old lasagna conoisseur gave it his seal of approval. :)

Cowboy Lasagna ***

This isn't anything all that special, but it was actually pretty good.  The kids kept asking why it was called Cowboy Lasagna, but I couldn't come up with a good answer for them.  It just is, lol.  I love anything with tater tots (as I've mentioned once or twice before - ha!), so that gave it a good shot from the beginning.  We all loved it, and I'll definitely make it again.  The only difference is that I'll probably use less cheese next time.  I think you could easily get by with just 2 cups.  The 4 cups makes it just a little bit too cheesy for me (and that's coming from a cheese lover).

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Peppermint Mocha Mama)

1 lb of ground beef
4 tbsp minced onions
Worcestershire sauce, generous sprinkling
3 tbsp parsley, divided
1 (10.75oz) can of tomato soup
1 (15.25oz) can of corn
3 tbsp dried ground mustard
1 (32oz) package of tater tots
Salt and Pepper to taste
4 cups mozzarella cheese

Brown ground beef with spices - drain.  Add can of soup and can of corn, simmer for about 10 minutes.
In a greased 9x13 baking dish, arrange tater tots in single layer.  Cover with 2 cups of cheese.  Pour ground beef mixture over top and cover with remaining cheese and 1 tbsp of parsley.
Place in a 350F oven for 30 minutes.  Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Simple Supper Tuesday 8/13/13 (Blog Hop)!

Check out Hun... What's for Dinner? Cindy's doing her Super Simple Tuesday blog hop, and there are some really great recipes for quick weeknight recipes. My "to try" file is growing bigger with each link that's added!  :-)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Cabbage Lasagna ***

I just love this recipe, and we don't have it nearly often enough.  It's so easy and so good.  I love that we get the pasta taste without the actual pasta.  That means I can make garlic bread on the side without feeling guilty for the carb overload, lol.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

1 head cabbage
1-1/2 lbs ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp basil
32 oz spaghetti sauce
1 cup uncooked brown rice
2-1/4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

Cut cabbage into quarters. Peel, boil for 3 minutes, and drain.
Brown turkey with onion and drain. Mix with garlic powder, oregano, and basil.
Put 1/3 of cabbage leaves into bottom of crockpot. Cover with 1/3 of meat mixture, 1/3 cup of rice, 1/3 of spaghetti sauce, and 3/4 cup of cheese.
Repeat layers two more times.
Cook on low for 6-7 hours.
*Make sure to drain and dry all cabbage leaves.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Simple Supper Tuesday 8/6/13 (Blog Hop)!

Check out Hun... What's for Dinner? Cindy's doing her Super Simple Tuesday blog hop, and there are some really great recipes for quick weeknight recipes. My "to try" file is growing bigger with each link that's added!  :-)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Shrimp and Spinach Alfredo with Angelhair Pasta ***

I don't know how, but I had completely forgotten about this recipe.  I love, love, love it.  Two of my favorite things are spinach and shrimp, so this is a pretty easy win for me.  The kids actually request leftovers when I make this one, which is really, really rare around our house, lol. 

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

2 lbs extra large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
26 oz jarred alfredo sauce
12 oz whole-grain angelhair pasta
1 tbsp olive oil
12 oz frozen cut leaf spinach
6 oz sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup diced onions
Garlic powder, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese, if desired

Cook noodles in soup pot as directed on package.  Drain.
While noodles are cooking, remove tails from shrimp if necessary and chop into 2-4 pieces per shrimp.  Heat oil in saucepan on medium heat.  Add shrimp to pan.  Season with pepper and garlic powder to taste.  Saute 4-5 minutes, until all shrimp are pink.  Remove from heat.
While noodles are draining in colander, heat spinach with water in soup pot.  Add mushrooms and onions.  Saute until all spinach is thawed and most water has cooked out, about 5 minutes.  Add shrimp and alfredo sauce and heat through.  Mix in the noodles, and serve immediately.  Sprinkle servings with grated Parmesan if desired.
Yield: 8 servings

Previous reviews:
5/29/12 ~ I had lots of thawed raw shrimp to use up, and since I got off work so late, I didn't have time to do anything fancy like I had planned.  I came up with this based on what I had in the pantry, and we loved it.  Such a shocker for me.  Well, not so much on my end, since anything with shrimp, alfredo sauce, and spinach is bound to be divine, but I was shocked that the kids loved it as much as I did.  My 8-year-old has already requested that we have it again tomorrow.  For kids who never want the same meal (or leftovers) two nights in a row, this is a huge deal.  As written, the recipe makes about 8-10 servings.  That gives us enough for two nights.  You could easily half it, though.  I'm actually looking forward to seeing how it is after sitting in the fridge and soaking up the flavors overnight.  I do want to make a homemade alfredo sauce next time, but this worked for now.  :)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Crockpot Cheese Tortellini with Sausage **

This was pretty good.  The original poster mentioned that she had used a chicken sausage, so I tried it with Emeril's chicken apple sausages.  The boys and hubby loved it.  It was a bit too salty for me.  I didn't brown the sausages first, so maybe that would have helped.  It was really soupy, but that wasn't much of a problem.  The recipe itself kind of reminded me of Tomato Alfredo Tortellini (which I adore).  It just wasn't as good, though.  Like I said, everyone else raved about it, so maybe it's just me.  Makes me want to try the Tomato Alfredo Tortellini in the crockpot, though.  ;-)

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Little Fellows via Pinterest)

1 (19oz) bag of frozen cheese tortellini
1 small bag of fresh spinach (I used about half of a 5 oz package, but more is better!)
2 (14.5 oz) cans of Italian style diced tomatoes, drained
1 block (8 oz) of cream cheese or neufchatel (less fat)
1 lb. of ground sausage or chicken/turkey sausage
4 cups of chicken broth

Brown the sausage and put all ingredients in crockpot, chunking up the cream cheese.
Cook on low for 4-6 hrs.
Serves 4-6
*Keep an eye on your tortellini, it may be done sooner.
*If still soupy, leave lid off for the last half hour or so of cooking.
*For a vegetarian version, omit sausage and use vegetable broth instead.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Taco Tater Tot Bake ****

I. am. in. love.  Deeply.  This recipe went way beyond what I expected.  My kids had THIRDS.  That's right, even the scrawny one who rarely even finishes one helping.  Granted, they were small helpings, since I assumed they wouldn't eat much, and they had just finished swimming and were famished...  But still, they raved about this.  They've already requested that I make it again next week.  The only change I made was to use ground turkey, as usual.  I'm a tater-tot-aholic, so I was fairly certain I'd like this one from the get-go.  I just had no idea how much.  It has a longer cook time than I like on a weeknight, but you could cook the ground beef and mix up everything but the tots the night before.  That would save a lot of time.  All I'd have to do when I got home from work was throw in the tots and toss that bad boy in the oven.  I absolutely this recipe!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ BlogChef)

1 lb ground beef
1 small onion (diced)
1 garlic clove (minced)
1 small can black olives (sliced)
1 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 (16 ounce) bag frozen corn
1 (4 ounce) can green chilies (diced and drained)
1 (12 ounce) can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 (16 ounce) bag shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 (16 ounce) package frozen tater tots
1 (10.5 ounce fluid ounce) can enchilada sauce

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Heat a skillet to medium high heat. Add ground beef, garlic, and onion and cook while breaking the meat apart with a spoon or spatula until the ground beef is completely browned. Drain off any excess fat. Add taco seasoning mix, green chilies, frozen corn, and black beans to the ground beef. Cook until heated through.
In a large bowl combine ground beef mixture, 3/4 of the Mexican cheese blend, and all of the tater tots. Stir well to combine.
Pour about 1/3 of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Add the tater tot mixture to the baking dish and lightly pat the mixture down into a solid, even layer. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the tater tots.
Place into the oven and bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. During the last few minutes of baking, top the casserole with the remaining Mexican cheese blend and the sliced black olives. Return to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
(Makes 6 Servings)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Cheesy Broccoli Chicken Foil Packs ***

This was much better than I thought it would be.  The chicken was absolutely wonderful.  The kids actually said their favorite part was the broccoli!  That's not as huge as it might be in other families, since my kids do like broccoli anyway, but the veggie isn't normally the highlight of the meal in their eyes.  Needless to say, I was pretty excited at their response.  I didn't measure anything, other than the water that went into the Stovetop (I always use the cornbread dressing instead of the stuffing), but I was able to stretch it into five packs, so that hubby would have one for lunch tomorrow too.  There was plenty to go around, and we were all stuffed when we finished.  I really think that shoving it all into four packs would have been a bit much.  Mine cooked exactly 40 minutes and were perfect.  I also used the pre-cooked bacon pieces, since that's all I had.  Over all, it was a yummy meal that was fairly easy to throw together.  Definitely a winner for us!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Best Life for Moms)

1 package Stuffing mix; chicken flavor
1 1/4 cups Water
4 Boneless skinless chicken breast halves
4 cups Broccoli Florets
1 cups Shredded cheddar cheese
4 slices cooked bacon; crumbled
4 tbsp Ranch dressing divided

Preheat oven to 400*.
Spray 4 large sheets of heavy-duty foil with oil.
Combine stuffing mix and water.
Spoon 1/4 of the stuffing mixture onto the center of each foil sheet.
Top stuffing with a 6oz. chicken breast half.
Top chicken with 1 c. broccoli.
Sprinkle with 1/4 of the cheese and 1 slice of bacon, crumbled.
Drizzle with 1 T. ranch dressing
Bring up foil sides and fold to seal, leaving room for heat circulation inside
Place packets on a cookie sheet and bake 35-40 minutes (depends on the size of your chicken breasts).
Remove packets and let stand 5 minutes.
Cut slits in foil for steam before opening.
*Amy's notes: I split mine up into 5 packets, which was perfect.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Crockpot Country Ham ***

This was some good stuff.  I used the pickle juice, but I honestly think it would have been just as good without.  I threw it in the crockpot this morning (Saturday), and we got to run around and do all of our fun stuff during the day, while still coming home to a hot meal tonight.  Perfect!  The best part is, now we have stuff for sandwiches this week, and I have some ham to use in my Crockpot Ham and Lentil Soup later this week.  Woo hoo!

(Amy - amylz)
1 fully cooked ham that can fit in your crockpot
1 liter Dr. Pepper
1 cup sweet pickle juice, optional

Put ham in crockpot.  Pour Dr. Pepper over top and the pickle juice.  Cook on low about 8 hours.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

2-Step Italian Burger Melt ***

For as simple as this is, it's actually really good.  Dh made it for us, since I was late leaving work, and he said it came together in no time.  I subbed 2 lbs of ground turkey.  I'd like them a little flatter than we had them, but other than that, the flavor is pretty good.  I served them on crustini hamburger buns with a little of the sauce on top.  I put dill pickle relish on mine and the oldest kiddo's.  Youngest had his plain.  Hubby had his as an open-faced sandwich with jalapenos.  They're really pretty versatile!  Definitely adding to the rotation.

(Dottie ~ hokiesmom ~ via Campbell's Kitchen)
1-1/2 lb. ground beef
1 (10-3/4 oz) can Campbell's Tomato Soup
1/3 cup water
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves, crushed
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Shape ground beef into 6 patties, 1/2" thick each. Place in 2-qt. shallow baking dish. MIX soup, water and oregano. Pour over patties. Top with cheese. BAKE at 400F. for 20 min. or until done. Serve on rolls or over pasta. Serves 6. ***For a change of pace, substitute fontina or provolone cheese for mozzarella.****
luckymom's notes: I used 2 lbs of ground turkey.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta ****

This recipe was actually inspired by the Crack Chicken recipe that is circulating Pinterest.  Once I started making it, though, I realized that one wouldn't really work for us, so I kind of redid it and changed some stuff around.  The original recipe can be found here.

This is the second time I made it, and I accidentally doubled the sauce without thinking.  I had it in my head that it was 4 cups of milk instead of 2, so then I had to double all of it.  Anyway, I just used the full 16 oz package of noodles.  It was SO GOOD.  I am seriously going to do that from now on.  Every single person cleaned their plates, and they all told me over and over how much they loved it.  Cha-ching!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

12 oz dried medium egg noodles
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
Small bag real bacon pieces
1-1/2 packages dry Ranch salad dressing mix
4 Tbsp Flour
2 cups milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions and return to pan.
Place chicken in saucepan with bacon bits, flour and ranch dressing. Stir well to coat chicken. Stir in milk, cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook for another minute.
Add in Parmesan cheese and add to noodles.  Stir well to combine.  Serve hot.
Yield: 6-8 servings
*Amy's notes: I like to double the sauce and use 16 oz of noodles.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Apple Butter Spice Cookies ****

These are my very favorite road trip cookies.  I've been making them every summer for years, but I only let us indulge on trips. That always makes them a little more extra-special.  :-)  They're kind of fluffy and cakey, so they're perfect for our early morning drives.  I let the kids snack on them in place of muffins sometimes.  I always use the Stevia sugar substitute, and they still come out great.  I meant to try them with whole wheat flour this time, but I was completely out.  Oh well.  Next time, I guess.  Anyway, they're extra yummy and make the house smell divine.  I get about 40 or so cookies out of a batch.  Sorry for the not-so-great picture.  I had to take it on my phone, since I seem to have misplaced the camera, lol.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

2-1/2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup apple butter
1/2 cup Craisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Cream sugar and oil until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Stir in apple butter. Add flour and cinnamon. Mix well. Stir in Craisins and pecans.
Drop dough by heaping spoonfuls onto lightly greased baking sheets. They won't spread much, so make them the size you want them to be in the end.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool on racks.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Crockpot Ham and Lentil Soup ***

I concocted this recipe with the help of several other recipes I found online.  I tried to take the best of each recipe and combine them together.  We all loved it.  It's not listed in the ingredients, but I served the boys' soup with just a little sprinkle of shredded cheddar on top.  It made for great leftovers the next day too!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

40 oz box chicken broth
2 cups water
8 oz tomato sauce
1 lb dried lentils
1-1/2 cups chopped celery
1-1/2 cups chopped carrots
1-1/2 cups chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups diced cooked ham
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 bay leaves

In 5-6 quart crockpot, combine water, chicken broth, and tomato sauce.  Stir in remaining ingredients.
Cook for 10-11 hours on low.  Remove bay leaves before serving.
Yield: 8 servings

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Ham Asparagus Gratin ****

This was our second time to have this one.  It's so quick and easy that it's hard to pass up.  I used canned asparagus, since I was pressed for time, and I used the diced cooked ham.  I normally don't like how salty that ham is, so I rinsed it really well in a colander.  I also doubled the recipe so that we would have leftovers for lunches.  It would be much better with steamed asparagus, obviously, but it was still wonderful. 

Photo courtesy of Campbell's

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ via Campbells)

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Asparagus Soup
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked cut asparagus
1 1/2 cups cubed cooked ham
2 1/4 cups rotini pasta, cooked and drained (about 4 cups)
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheeseor Swiss cheese (about 4 ounces)

Heat the oven to 400°F.
Stir the soup, milk, onion powder, black pepper, asparagus, ham, pasta and 1/2 cup cheese in an 2-quart baking dish.
Bake for 25 minutes or until the ham mixture is hot and bubbling. Stir the ham mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Bake for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
Serves: 4
Amy's notes: I double everything except the pasta. I use 5-6 cups of that.