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.