Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Velveeta Mac n Cheese

True comfort food!!!

2 C dry macaroni
1 16 oz box of Velveeta (the smaller box)
1/2 C milk
1/2 stick of melted buttah
1/2 roll crushed Ritz crackers

Cook and drain macaroni. Melt cubed velveeta on stovetop on low with milk, stir frequently. Remove saucepan from heat. Combine noodles and sauce in saucepan and coat noodles well. Pour mixture into greased casserole dish. Sprinkle with cracker crumbs that have been combined with the melted buttah. Cook in a 350 degree oven for 25 min.

The recipe can be doubled and comes out great. You can also mix and warm in crock pot on low for 3 hrs. If you do the crockpot version, make sure to add about 1/4 C more milk and a T of butter to keep the mac and cheese moist. Large groups LOVE this and it's often an unexpected and delicious addition at gatherings. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Delicious Cornbread

This cornbread recipe is so easy and mouthwatering - it's almost like dessert. You will never want to use another recipe again.

* 1/2 c. butter (softened)
* 1 c. sugar
* 2 eggs
* 1 c. cornmeal
* 1 1/2 c. flour
* 2 tsp. baking powder
* 1/2 tsp. salt
* 1 1/2 c. milk
Combine butter and sugar. Add eggs, stir. Add cornmeal, stir. Add flour, baking powder, salt and milk. Stir. Pour into a greased 8x8 pan or muffin tins. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

You don't even need butter and honey to go on top!

PS - I made this to go with our left over taco soup. YUM!

Quick & Easy Taco Soup

I LOVE fall season - it's SOUP time. Here is a relatively new taco soup we have been enjoying - very easy. This makes a 5 qt. pot/pan.

Quick & Easy Taco Soup
* 1 lb. turkey sausage (or ground beef)
* 1 onion
* 3 cans of beans (Light Kidney, Dark Kidney, Pinto, Black)
* 1 can of corn
* 2 cans of dices tomatoes (or chopped fresh, if you have them (3-4 cups)
* 1 cup of salsa
* 1 packet of taco season

Brown sausage and onion. I didn't have an onion, so I used a palm full of dried onion. Season with Salt & Pepper.
Open above cans and DUMP - you can rinse the black beans, if you don't want it to turn a funny color - but I just dump it all.
Add Salsa and packet of taco seasoning. Bring to a boil, cover and turn on low to simmer. NOTE: No water was added, just the juices from all your cans.
Serve with shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream and tortilla chips (we love the chips with lime!)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Crumbly Zucchini Bread

We all know how much zucchini one garden can produce, so I found a great zucchini bread recipe that I tweaked a little. The original recipe is here.

Start by beating 3 eggs until light and frothy (I used a hand mixer):

Add 1/2 cup vegetable (or canola) oil and 1/2 cup applesauce:
Mix in 2 cups of sugar (I ran out, so I used 1 1/4 cups sugar and 3/4 cups Splenda)

Mix in 2 teaspoons vanilla

And 2 -3 cups shredded zucchini - no need to peel- and stir together (I stopped using the hand mixer on this step):

In a separate bowl stir together flour, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, salt, baking soda, and baking powder (see measurements below):
Let your 3 year old help, if you're so inclined (yes, she painted her hair green with her finger paints):

Stir together with a spoon or fork and fold into the egg mixture

Grease two 8x4 loaf pans and divide the mixture between the two pans:

Now for the yummy crumbly top (this is optional, but I HIGHLY recommend it!):
Mix together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter (stick butter is better, but again I had to improvise!)

Be sure your toddler tests it out to make it's edible :)

Mix together (your hands are your best tool here!) until the butter is well incorporated, then sprinkle it on top of the batter. You'll think there is WAY too much, but believe me, use it all!!!

Bake in a 325* oven for an hour. Warning, you'll want to open the oven while this is baking, it smells SO yummy


  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2-3 cups grated zucchini
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (high altitude, add 1/2 cup flour and 1-2 tbsp water)
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F ( 165 degrees C). Grease and flour two 8x4 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs until light and frothy. Mix in oil and sugar. Stir in zucchini and vanilla. Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; stir into the egg mixture. Divide batter into prepared pans.
  3. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until done.
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons margarine or butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Roasted Pineapple

I LOVE grilled pineapple, but I don't like having to get the grill going (we use charcoal) just for that. I was SO happy when I found this recipe for roasted pineapple in the oven. It's by Claire Robinson of 5 Ingredient Fix, you can find the entire recipe here (she pairs it with shaved ginger ale for a yummy dessert).

Start with a fresh pineapple. Cut off the top and outside, then slice it into 8 slices (don't bother coring it at this point). Place the slices on a cookie sheet.

Brush both sides of each slice with Vegetable Oil (I used Canola Oil) - don't use too much or they'll be soggy! Then sprinkle the side that is up with sugar and salt (not too much salt, but it helps bring out the pineapple's juices).

Cook in a 400* oven for 20 minutes, turn, sprinkle with sugar and salt and cook for 10 more minutes.

Mmmmm! These are a really good side with steak.

gorgonzola cream sauce

i was a little too bashful with the sauce. note to self: next time lay it on thick!
This recipe was DIVINE.
The catch?
You must like Gorgonzola or Roquefort (blue cheese).

The sauce:
4 cups heavy cream
3 to 4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese (I happened to have Roquefort so that's what is used)
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese (the real fresh kind, not the kind from a plastic tub)
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper

Bring the heavy cream to a full boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, then continue to boil rapidly for 45 to 50 minutes, until it's thickened, like a white sauce, stirring occasionally.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the Gorgonzola, Parmesan, s/p. Whisk rapidly until the cheese melt, and then serve. If you must reheat, warm the sauce over low heat until melted, then whisk vigorously until the sauce comes together.

I served this sauce on top of steak. It was so delicious and is totally compatible with the same dish i had at a high end restaurant. It's a splurge and definitely special occasion worthy, not to mention NOT low fat, but it was oh so worth it!

Thanks to Ina Garten - Barefoot Contessa - for this recipe.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

All American Mini Meatloaves

Sorry I don't have a photo. Next time I make it I'll take pics.

17 Saltines crushed fine
¼ cup whole milk
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
3 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 large egg
1 ½ tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 ½ lbs meatloaf mix* (3/4 lb of ground pork and 3/4 lb 90% lean ground beef)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

½ cup Ketchup
¼ cup light brown sugar
4 teaspoons cider vinegar

*Walmart did not have meatloaf mix so I bought a pound of 90% lean ground beef and 1 lbs ground pork and mixed them together and took out what looked like 1/4 lb. of each And put it in the freezer for next time.

1. Heat oven to 500 degrees and put oven rack in the middle position.

2. Mix saltines, milk, parsley, wors. Sauce, egg, mustard, onion powder, garlic powder and meat together. I used my hands to make sure it got incorporated well. Shape the meat into 4 oval loaves.

3. Heat the oil in a nonstick 12 inch skillet and brown the meatloaves on one side for about 5 minutes then carefully flip them over to brown the other side. Neaten up the edges with a spatula. In the meantime, while the meat is browning mix the glaze.

4. If your skillet is oven safe, top the meatloaves with glaze and place in the oven until the center of the loaves reach 160 degrees, this takes about 15 minutes. My skillet was not oven safe so I rubbed the bottom of a casserole dish with vegetable oil and placed the meatloaves in there before glazing them. Bake for 15 minutes. Enjoy!

If you try it let me know what you think!

Egg Rolls

NOTE: I usually don't measure ingredients, I just dump. However, I will do my best to give estimations. If I don't - know it is a dash (which for me is less than a tsp.)

* 6 cups cabbage, shredded
* 1 carrot, shredded
* 2 TB. chopped onion (I used dried onion)
* 1 lb. ground pork
* 2 TB. soy sauce
* 1 TB. Hoisin Sauce
* 1/4-1/2 tsp. sesame seed oil
* Garlic Powder to taste
* Black pepper to taste
Saute pork in pan, add onion and veggies for remaining 5 minutes. Add soy sauce and seasoning. Remove from heat to cool a little before you wrap them.
NOTE: This go around, I didn't have pork or carrot - so I used ground beef and corn instead. They were still very tasty. My 2 1/2 year and 18 month old LOVE these.

Next you will need:
* 1 egg, beaten
* 1 pkg. egg roll wrappers
* olive oil
Stuff egg rolls - direction are on the back of the egg roll wrapper. I brush all edges with the beaten egg. Then, instead of deep frying, I brush the outside with olive oil and broil them for 3-4 minutes on each side. Much more healthier!!
Serve with sweet and sour sauce. (sorry, not a very good plate to display.)

Sweet & Sour Sauce
* 1 c. sugar
* 1/2 c. white vinegar
* garlic powder
* onion powder
* ginger
* pepper
* apple cider vinegar
* pineapple juice
* red & yellow food coloring
Bring to a boil, thicken with corn starch, reduce and simmer. Serve with Rice on the side (not shown)

There is a better picture on my blog - and also features an idea for a dessert roll with left over wraps. They were yummy!

Also - if you don't think you'll ever use Hoisin sauce - think again. If you like Chinese food - BUY IT. I always make lettuce wraps - which I will feature next time I make them.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Baked Ziti

1 lb. Lean Ground Turkey Breast (or ground beef)
1 jar Spaghetti Sauce (any kind)
1 box Ziti pasta (any brand)
16 ounce bag of shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1 tsp. Olive Oil (for greasing casserole dish)
~~Kitchen Supplies Needed~~
Large Non-Stick Skillet to cook Turkey
Large Pot to cook Pasta
13x9 Casserole Baking Dish
Pre-Heat oven to 350 degrees
Brown turkey in skillet, once cooked, add spaghetti sauce, simmer on low
Cook Ziti pasta while turkey & spaghetti sauce are simmering on low
Once pasta is cooked, DRAIN and keep in same pot
After draining, add turkey & sauce to pasta (Stir)
Grease casserole dish with olive oil
Layer casserole dish with 1/2 of turkey/sauce/ziti mixture
Sprinkle 1/2 of shredded cheese
Layer remaining turkey/sauce/ziti mixture over the cheese
Layer remaining shredded cheese
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until cheese is all melted
This is a modified recipe from

Monday, September 21, 2009

chicken enchiladas and mexican rice

While my husband Mark thinks this picture looks unappetizing - a pile of hud is what he called it - I assure you it is a go to favorite at our house.
For the enchiladas:
In a crock pot combine 2 chicken breasts (beef can also be used), 1 onion chopped, 1 small can green chiles and s/p. Cook on High for 3-4 hours, until chicken shreds and onions are browned.
Add to chicken mixture 1/2 - 1 cup salsa, 1/4 cup sour cream, 1/4 tsp cumin.
Roll mixture into tortillas (this makes enough filling for about 6 tortillas) and place in oven safe dish. Pour 1/2 -3/4 14 oz can enchilada sauce (i use green sauce) on top of tortillas and cover with monterey jack cheese. Keep in 350 degree oven until cheese is melted.
For Mexican rice:
In saute pan, brown 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 chopped onion on high heat. When onions are nearly brown, add 1 cup uncooked white rice. Add 1 tbsp cumin and 1 tsp garlic powder. Add 1/4 cup tomato sauce, 2 cups chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes.
Both of these recipes feed my family of 4 with enough left to fight for left overs!

Double Stuffed Chicken Breasts

I got this recipe out Rachael Ray's magazine (October 2009 issue, pg 110)

Serves 4
Prep 30 min
Bake 50

1/2 cup small shell pasta (I only had elbow so that's what I used)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup chopped parsley
(I used a bit of dry instead)
2 large eggs
2/3 cup breadcrumbs
4 eight to ten ounce chicken breasts
(I used boneless skinless, so I "stuffed" them differently I cut a pocket in them and stuffed them.)
3 cups store bought marinara sauce (I used homemade that I had frozen.)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (I used foil). In a pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta for 4 minutes; drain and rinse with cold water. Transfer to a bowl and add the mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup parsley. Season with salt.

2. In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs. Place the breadcrumbs in another shallow bowl.

3. Stuff the pasta-cheese mixture under the skin of each chicken breast.
Dip the stuffed chicken breast in the eggs, roll in the breadcrumbs, then place skin side down on the prepared pan. Bake until instant-read thermometer inserted in the breast reads 165 degrees, about 50 min.

4. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat the marinara sauce. Serve each breast on a bead of sauce, topped with 1 tablespoon parsley.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Super Delish Burritos

The great thing about this recipe is that the burritos can be frozen and reheated as you need them.

Beef roast (any kind you like is fine, I usually use about 2-3 lbs worth)
1-2 can green chiles (depends on how spicy you like your food)
1 can of refried beans
1 package of large flour tortillas
1 block of monterey jack cheese (any cheese you prefer will do)
Assorted toppings of your choice such as lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado, salsa or taco sauce, mexican cheese, sour cream, etc...

Place salt and peppered meat, green chiles, and about 2 C of water in the crockpot. Cook your roast--I usually cook mine on high for 6-8 hrs. When roast is done cooking, shred with a fork. Remove all but about 1 C of the liquid from the crockpot. If this seems like too much liquid while addding the refried beans, you can always take more out. Add your refried beans and stir together in the crockpot. Warm tortillas in the microwave according to directions. Spoon beef mixture onto center of tortilla. Add a generous hunk of cheese on top of the burrito mixture.

Next, roll up your burrito. If you aren't sure how, check out these directions:

Once burritos have been rolled, I like to freeze them in a freezer storage bag until ready to use. Once frozen, they can be reheated in about 1.5 min. in the microwave. If serving them now, microwave the assembled burrito for about 25 seconds to melt the cheese. Top the burrito with your favorite ingredients, and ENJOY!

Serve with a salad or a mexican rice.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Blueberry-Nectarine Buckle

Blueberry-Nectarine Buckle

2 cups Biscuit Baking Mix
1 cup White Sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup Low Fat Milk
1 teaspoon Lemon Peel
1 nectarine, chopped
1.25 cup Blueberries, Fresh
1/2 cup Flour
1/4 cup (1 stick) Butter

1. Heat oven to 350 F. Grease the bottom and 1/2 in. up sides of a 1-1/2 to 2qt. baking dish. In medium bowl, combine biscuit mix, 1/2 c sugar, egg, milk, and lemon peel. Stir until moistened.

2. Spoon batter into pan. Top with fruit. Mix flour and remaining sugar in a bowl. Using fork, cut in butter until crumbly; sprinkle over fruit. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool for 1/2 hour. Serve warm.

You can use peaches or nectarines in this, I used canned peaches (the larger can, 28 oz I think). I also substituted lemon juice for the lemon peel. At first I wasn't sure about the blueberries, but I'm sure glad I added them. We happened to have fresh blueberries, but I think I could also use frozen ones since I usually have those on hand.