Monday, November 30, 2009

Boston Butt

Yep, that's actually the name of the BBQ pork recipe my friend Kendra gave me. It's the type of pork roast you're supposed to use. I've made it twice now and it's delicious. The picture is before you shred (actually it falls apart) the meat, but it's all I've got right now! Without further ado:

Boston Butt
3-4 lbs Boston Butt
1/2 can Coke at room temp
black pepper
chili powder
garlic powder
brown sugar
worcestershire sauce
liquid smoke

Sauce ingredients:
(double if needed)
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
juice of one lemon

To cook:
Trim excess fat from butt. Season bottom moderately with all ingredients except the Coke. Put in crock pot and pour Coke over. Season top of butt with all ingredients. Cook on LOW for 12 hours.

When done, it will be very hot! Transfer meat over to a dish to cool. Once cool, remove all fat and connective tissue. Put meat back into clean crock pot and add BBQ sauce (instructions to follow) and cook on LOW for 4 hours. Stir occassionally. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


That's how I've been feeling lately. The past three weeks have been filled with sickness at our house. It started with the kids and worked it's way to my husband and I. Everyone else kicked that nasty virus, but unfortunately, mine turned into bronchitis. Also, my camera was broken for a few weeks, and since I have been told that the pics add so much to the recipes, I had been delaying posting a couple of great recipes. So...once again, I'm apologizing for my absence. I do have some updates--I did the freezer meal swap and loved it. I'm hoping to have a whole post about it this week. Also, I've gotten some new recipes that I plan to try and then share soon. Tomorrow, I'm making this bbq shredded pork recipe that I've made once before and loved--pics and the recipe by the end of the week! :)

Friday, October 2, 2009


So, I know I've been absent for a while, but in the meantime I've painted several rooms in my house, completely reorganized the kids toys, and gone to visit my grandparents and extended family in A-town and taken the kids to the fair. :) But enough excuses...tomorrow, I'm getting together with some friends in Cedarville to plan a freezer meal swap. If you've never heard of one, basically, each person makes enough of a recipe (or two) for each family that's participating and then you bring the food together and swap. So you cook a large quantity of food on one day and end up with 4-12 (depending on how many are in your group) meals to freeze and pull out later. I've never done a meal swap before, but I'm really looking forward to it. I mean, what's not to like about having lots of meals already made in your freezer?? :) I plan to post pics and recipes from our experience to let you know how it goes. Maybe some of you want to try this yourselves? Or maybe some of you have done it already? If you have, I'd love to know what has worked well for you and even what hasn't worked well. Thanks!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

new recipes

A few new recipes are coming soon:
Sesame Stir Fry (adapted from the Pioneer Woman)
Mexically Pie
be on the look out! :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


After having my mom visit, followed by my whole family, I got a bit caught up with some projects around here--including painting our bedroom! However, in the meantime, I let everything else go by the wayside. Here's a glimpse of our menu for the week...better late than never, right?

Monday: Pizza
Tuesday: Roasted Chicken w/ potatoes and carrots
Wednesday: leftovers (church night!)
Thursday: Sweet and Sour Pork
Friday: Taco Casserole (recipe and pics to come)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I just realized that I never posted our menu for this week. Monday, the day I typically post the menu, was extremely chaotic--quick summary: groceries, call from my hubbs saying he was being taken by ambulance to the ER, quickly lining up childcare for my kids, zooming to the ER, hanging out there for a while, taking my dehydrated and sinus infected husband home, back to grocery store to get Rx, then home to take care of all three of my boys! CRAZY! Anyway, he's on the mend, but now my littlest one (almost 2) seems to have a cold or virus of some I said, CRAZY week! But enough about that, let's get back to the menu:

Monday: Chicken Ring
Tuesday: Meatloaf
Wednesday: leftovers
Thursday: Raspberry Balsamic Chicken (it keeps getting pushed to the back burner, but I really want to make it, it's SO yummy!)
Friday: Brats (hubbs fav)
Saturday: Church picnic
Sunday: Shredded Pork Sandwiches--great recipe to come!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Menu

After a busy weekend, I'm a little late posting this, but...better late than never, right? With soccer on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the meals need to be quick and easy,'s the quick and easy for this week:

Monday: leftovers--we had so much leftover from last week!
Tuesday: Beer Chicken Fajitas
Wednesday: Meatball Subs--using the other half of the meatballs from last weeks spag and meatballs that I stuck in the freezer!
Thursday: French Toast, sausage links, and scrambled eggs (at the request of the birthday boy)
Friday: Raspberry Balsamic Chicken

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Chicken Popovers

At the request of my dear friend and neighbor, Nancy, I'm sharing the recipe for chicken popovers. I had these for the first time when we visited my sis-in-law in Michigan over a year ago. She made them in front of me and I immediately got the recipe. Since then, I've made them at least 7 or 8 times and lost the recipe, but I can pretty much wing it. Here's the basics:

Chicken Popovers

2 tubes of pilsbury crescent rolls
1 lb (or a little more) of chicken, cooked and cubed
4 oz (half a block) of cream cheese, softened/at room temp
1/4 cup of butter, softened/at room temp
couple shakes of garlic powder
couple shakes of onion powder/flakes
1/2 tsp of salt
approx. 35-40 garlic croutons

1. Cook and cube chicken, then preheat oven to 350F.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, butter and seasonings, then add chicken and stir until well mixed
3. On a baking sheet, lay out two crescent roll triangle and press the seams together making a rectangle.
4. Spoon a couple spoonfuls of the chicken mixture and seal the crescent roll around the mixture.
5. Repeat until all the crescents and mixture are gone--should make 8 popovers
6. Press 4-5 croutons onto the top of the popovers and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

What's for Dinner

Due to various members of my family being sick--including but not limited to me--a couple of the recipes I had planned to make last week are reappearing because they did not get made. Thankfully, we're all on the mend! :)
Monday: Chicken Popovers
Tuesday: Taco Casserole (recipe to come)
Wednesday: Pizza
Thursday: Spaghetti and Meatballs
Friday: leftovers/date night?
Saturday: Ribs

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mongolian Beef

So ever since a girls day I had back in April, I've been wanting to make Mongolian Beef. However, two picky little eaters and the lack of a good recipe has kept me from trying it. Then last week, much to my delight, I came across this food blog that looks quite promising: A Year of Slowcooking. I'm continually amazed at what tasty food can come out of my crockpot and how much more I enjoy the hours between 4 and 6pm. You moms out there know what I'm talking about--the kids are getting hungry, tired of each other, tired of you and yet want your full attention and you're trying to be loving and patient and kind and cook a healthy and tasty meal. Yet all you want to do is scream and run to the nearest spa and get a pedicure? Well...the crockpot doesn't give me a pedicure, but it sure does free me up to at least pay a little more attention to my kids--or check my facebook. Anyway, without further ado, here's the recipe. It should be noted that this only makes enough to serve approximately 2 people-double or triple accordingly. Also, this recipe is designed to be gluten free, but you can use regular soy sauce.
**pics to come later--when the rice is done. currently just looks brown and lumpy**
Mongolian Beef

--1 1/2 pounds flank steak
--3 cloves of garlic, minced
--4 sliced green onions--one is for garnish
--1 t dried minced onion (or 1/2 fresh onion, diced very small)
--1/2 cup gluten free soy sauce (I used La Choy)
--1/4 cup white wine
--1/4 cup cooking sherry*(I didn't have cooking sherry or white wine vinegar
--1/2 T white wine vinegar* so I used red wine vinegar and red cooking wine)
--1 t sesame oil
--1 t molasses
--1 t ginger
--1/4 t black pepper
--1 t red chili pepper flakes
--1/2 T peanut butter (if allergic, use black bean paste)
--3 T brown sugar
--1/4 cup cornstarch (to dredge meat--don't add to sauce mixture)

1. slice your meat in thin strips and toss in a Ziploc bag with cornstarch.
2. add all of the liquid and dried spices to your crockpot, and the peanut butter, and mix well. Add the garlic and three of the sliced green onions. If you are using fresh onion, add that now, too.
3. put your meat on top, and toss gingerly to coat.
4. cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours. (Flank steak is thin and have very little fat, and will cook quickly. There isn't a lot of liquid in this dish, so if your crock tends to cook hot, please check it after 3 hours. The meat is done when it is no longer pink and has reached desired tenderness. I cooked our meat in a 6qt oval crockpot and it was done after 3 hours on low.)
Serve over steamed or fried rice, and garnish with freshly sliced green onion.

source: A Year of Slowcooking

Menu Monday

Here's what I'll be making this week:

Monday: Mongolian Beef(recipe to come), rice, green beans
Tuesday: Cornflake Chicken, corn, fruit salad and rolls
Wednesday: leftovers
Thursday: Chicken popovers, peas, fruit, rolls
Fri-Saturday: trip to Indy to see the Browns!
Sunday: brats, beans, fruit

Monday, July 27, 2009

errr, maybe not...

Last week, I didn't even plan a menu for the week b/c I was exhausted from our trip to Virginia...little did I know that by not planning, I would be making more work for myself later. I ended up having to run to the store 2 extra times later and calling my husband and having him stop one other time--CRAZINESS!'s the menu plan for this week:

Monday: Chicken Parm, salad, bread, corn
Tuesday: Hotdogs, baked beans, chips, fruit salad
Wednesday: leftovers
Thursday: Ham and Swiss sandwiches(recipe to come), peas, fruit
Friday: Marinated grilled chicken, green beans, rolls, fruit
Saturday: pizza
Sunday: BBQ sausage for church potluck

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I quit...

Well, not really, but currently many other things in life--like trying to manage my home and discipline/train my two toddlers--have taken priority over blogging. So...I apologize for being sporadic, but know that I have not left forever, I will continue to post new recipes as I find them. For now, I have great news--the amazing Pioneer Woman, Ree, has started a recipe site. Go there immediately and find/share recipes--you will not regret it! :)
The Tasty Kitchen

Monday, July 6, 2009

Hawaiian Bread Sandwiches

Hawaiian Bread Sandwiches

One loaf Hawaiian bread
1 pkg sliced ham
1 pkg sliced turkey
1 pkg sliced swiss cheese
8 slices of bacon, cooked
10 thin sliced dill pickes—sandwich stackers work best
A few tablespoons of olive oil
1 garlic clove crushed or minced
A few tablespoons of mustard

1. Slice the Hawaiian bread in 4 pieces, as shown in the picture. You should have two middle pieces that are about the same size and two outer pieces that are similar size to make two huge sandwiches out of the loaf.

2. Mix the olive oil and the garlic in a small bowl
3. Spread mustard on the inside layer of two slices of the bread.
4. Layer ham, then turkey, then bacon, the swiss, then pickles*
5. Top with other piece of bread, brush outside of bread with olive oil mixture
6. Cut the sandwich in half—makes for easier flipping.
7. Cook in a frying pan at medium heat for about 7 minutes with a heavy pan on top (my mom-in-law uses a cast-iron skillet, I improvised--see pic) to flatten the sandwich and encourage cooking clear through faster.

8. Flip and repeat step 7.
9. Slice, serve and enjoy.

*pickles are optional—my husband does NOT like them, I love them!
**leftovers taste great reheated later

This recipe is a favorite that my mom-in-law makes often

oops! menu

Last week was so busy, I thought I posted our menu, but I didn't! Here's a brief recap and the menu for the next few days. On Thursday, the little ones and I take off for Virginia to visit my family. I'm sure I'll help cook while I'm there, so maybe I'll post from there as well. But don't be surprised if I'm quiet next week--at least online, I'm not usually quiet in person for very long! ;)

Last week:
Marinated grilled chicken
meatball subs
and a couple other things, obviously, but I can't remember...isn't that sad!

This week:
Monday: brats, corn on the cob, pasta salad
Tuesday: chicken enchilladas, salad, rice
Wednesday: Meatloaf, rolls, green beans

Monday, June 22, 2009

What's for dinner?

Today, I'm trying something new and linking to a blog that I just started following. She has Menu Plan Monday, where over 200 other bloggers link their menus for the week. Check it out--I'm sure you'll find some great ideas! :)
And now, back to your previously scheduled program...
It's nice to have a whole week where we'll be sleeping in our own beds! Don't get me wrong, I love traveling and visiting loved ones, but especially with two little ones, it's nice to be home! :)
Here's a glimpse at our menu for the week:

Monday: Rotisserie Chicken, peas, salad, wheat rolls
Tuesday: BBQ Ribs, baked potatoes, salad, rolls
Wednesday: Chicken Enchilladas, corn, chips and salsa
Thursday: Hawaiian Bread sandwich dealio that my mom-in-law makes--recipe to come!!
Friday: Hamburgers/hot dogs on the grill, green beans, watermelon
Saturday: My birthday--no cooking going on here! :)
Sunday: leftovers

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My latest favorite dessert--Strawberry Shortcake Cake

Last weekend, some of our favorite college friends came to visit. Kim and I have both grown to love cooking and baking more and more in the past few years and love to compare notes about recipes. In fact, many of the recipes that I post on here were recommended to me by Kim. But I digress, this past weekend, Kim offered to make a dessert that has become one of their favorites--Pioneer Woman's Strawberry Shortcake Cake. I'm SO glad that she did--it's absolutely delicious. Seriously, it's amazing--you must try it! :) It does take a little bit of time, but it's nothing to crazy, just bake a shortcake from scratch, mash up some strawberries, make icing from scratch and assemble. Here's a picture--this is on day 2, so not as pretty as it would have been had I thought to take a picture the day she made it. Honestly, I was to enraptured by the cake itself to think straight! ;)

Strawberry Shortcake Cake

1 1/2 cups flour
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 pound cream cheese, room temperature
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter
1 1/2 pounds powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 pound strawberries

1. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and corn starch.
2. Cream 9 tablespoons butter with the sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well each time. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until combined.
4. Add sifted dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just barely combined.
5. Pour into greased and floured 8-inch cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes, or until no longer jiggly like my bottom.
6. Remove from cake pan as soon as you pull it out of the oven, and place on a cooling rack and allow it to cool completely.
7. Stem strawberries and slice them in half from bottom to top. Place into a bowl and sprinkle with 3 tablespoons sugar. Stir together and let sit for 30 minutes.
8. After 30 minutes, mash the strawberries in two batches. (or puree them in a food processor or blender) Sprinkle each half with 1 tablespoons sugar and allow to sit for another 30 minutes.
9. Make icing: combine cream cheese, 2 sticks butter, sifted powdered sugar, vanilla, and dash of salt in a mixing bowl. Mix until very light and fluffy.
10.Slice cake in half through the middle.
11. Spread strawberries evenly over each half (cut side up), pouring on all the juices.
12. Place cake halves into the freezer for five minutes, just to make icing easier.
13. Remove from freezer. Use a little less than 1/3 of the icing to spread over the top of the strawberries on the bottom layer.
14. Place the second layer on top. Add half of the remaining icing to the top spreading evenly, then spread the remaining 1/3 cup around the sides.
15.Leave plain OR garnish with strawberry halves.
IMPORTANT: Cake is best when served slightly cool. The butter content in the icing will cause it to soften at room temperature. For best results, store in the fridge!

For pictures that walk you through this recipe, check out the original on the Pioneer Woman's blog. It's one of my favorites! :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

This Week

Well, Friday we're off again for a quick weekend with relatives, but here's the menu for Monday through Thursday:
Monday: Spaghetti and meatballs
Tuesday: Spanish Rice Casserole
Wednesday: Grilled BBQ Chicken Wraps
Thursday: leftovers
Hope you're having a lovely summer!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sweet BBQ Sausage

At a family member's graduation party recently, there was quite the spread of delicious food. On my first trip (we were there for 7 hours) I completely missed the sweet bbq sausage. Thankfully, when I asked my husband if I could get him anything a bit later, he requested it. Of course, once it was requested by my picky hubby, I knew I needed to at least give it a try. YUMMMMM! Am I ever glad that I did. Directly after delivering it to him, I searched for his aunt, the hostess, to find out what was in it. I suspected brown sugar and maybe ketchup, and while I was right on the ketchup, I was wrong on the br. sugar. Instead, it's SOOO simple and even healthier than brown sugar--cranberry sauce! Here's the recipe--if you can even call it that!

Sweet BBQ Sausage

1 or 2 rings of polish sausage (Johnsonville has links--that would work fine also)
3 cups of ketchup
1 can of whole berry cranberry sauce

1. Slice the sausage (however thick you want the bites to be).
2. Spray the crockpot and turn to low heat.
3. Pour the ketchup and cranberry sauce into the crockpot and mix together with a whisk.
4. Add the sausage and stir again.
5. Cook on low for at least an hour and a half, but really as long as you'd like.

I should mention, that my mom-in-law is actually the one who made this for the party and that she only makes it as an appetizer, but I liked it so much that I wanted it to be a main dish. So I served it up with some green beans and some homemade rolls. Yum! :)

Monday, June 8, 2009


This week might look a little familiar, b/c of a few things that came up last week there are some repeats from last week. Here it is:

Monday: Tacos (got pushed back from Saturday)
Tuesday: marinated grilled chicken, potato salad, fruit (forgot to marinate the night before last week, so we just did a lawry's 30 minute marinade--not nearly as good as this recipe!)
Wednesday: Crockpot Pork Chops and Gravy (*new recipe*)
Thursday: leftovers
Friday: chicken ring
Saturday: brats/hot dogs on the grill, coleslaw, watermelon, corn on the cob

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sweet and Tangy Meatloaf--take 2

I told the story behind this recipe once before, but I'll briefly tell it again. When I was in middle school, my mom and I had a deal--I'd make dinner and she'd do the dishes. Since I despised doing the dishes, it was a really good deal for me. Since she was working, it was a really good deal for her as well--she got to come home to dinner in the oven or on the table! Typically, she would leave a recipe and I would just follow the directions. Being the only girl in the family, I had been by my mom's side cooking for a long time. day, she left the recipe for meatloaf and we were out of ketchup. So...I went looking for anything else that was red that I could throw in. I added Catalina dressing and BBQ sauce. It turned out pretty good. Thus began my experiments with meatloaf. Over the years, I definitely stopped using measuring cups and just added what seemed right. That led to the guestimates on the measurements that I posted earlier. Monday, I tried measuring and think that I may have figured it out. Here's our favorite version of my meatloaf:



1 1/2 pounds of ground beef (I try to use fairly lean beef--(85-90%)
1/3 cup of ketchup
2 Tbs of BBQ sauce
1/4 cup of brown sugar
2 eggs
~15* crackers crumbled (I prefer whole wheat Ritz crackers, but often use saltines)

1/3 cup of ketchup
2 Tbs of BBQ
3 Tbs of brown sugar

*if the meatloaf seems too runny, add more cracker crumbs, if it seems really dry, add a little extra ketchup

1. Preheat oven to 375, get out a 9 x 13 pan. (I prefer cooking it in a 9x13, b/c then the grease has someplace to go besides back into the meat, unlike in a loaf pan)
2. Mix all ingredients in a big bowl with your hands
3. dump the meat mixture into the pan and form into a loaf

4. Mix sauce ingredients in a small saucepan over med heat until it comes to a boil.
5. Drizzle, or spoon generously over the meat mixture

6. Bake at 375 for 50-60 minutes.

This is great served with baked potatoes. I usually stick the potatoes in the oven before I start the meatloaf and they're all done around the same time. Make some steamed veggies or a side salad and some rolls and you've got a great meal!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Menu and more

We're back home after our trips to Michigan and Kentucky and I'm excited to be home for a while. We still have a lot on the calendar, but at least we get to sleep in our own beds! :) Here's a look at our menu for the week:
Monday: meatloaf--I plan to take pics of this one and update my recipe with more specific measurements, baked potatoes, homemade rolls and fruit salad
Tuesday: grilled marinated chicken, potato salad, leftover rolls and fruit salad
Wednesday: Pizza, corn, and fruit
Thursday: sweet BBQ sausage(this is a new and yummy one, recipe to come), green beans, rolls, fruit
Friday: cookout with friend from church, I'm bringing cheesy potatoes
Saturday: tacos
Sunday: leftovers

In other news, while we were gone, my sweet 3 year old (or as he says, "free and a haff") had a yummy m&m cookie at a bakery. He's been hooked on the chocolate chip cookies from Annie's Eats for months--he and my husband--and wants them constantly, with the butterscotch chips added in as I do here. So, since returning home to find that there are no homemade cookies *gasp* he requested chocolate chip/butterscotch cookies with m&m's. I gave it a whirl this afternoon. When he got up from his nap, he could smell them. He followed his nose and this is what I found when I got downstairs:

Then I gave him permission to eat one, here's the results:

Thursday, May 21, 2009

late menu

Whoa...where has this week gone? Here's a late posting of our meals for this week:

Monday: marinated steaks, corn on the cob, and salad
Tuesday: Pizza
Wednesday: French toast (it's a family favorite), scrambled eggs, sausage
Thursday: leftovers
Friday: grilled chicken, green beans, fruit salad

We're leaving Saturday for a trip to Michigan to see my husband's brother and his family. We won't be back until Wednesday or Thursday, so I probably won't post until next Friday or so. Hope you all have a marvelous holiday weekend! :)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Creamy Chicken Bacon and Tomato Pasta

I stumbled upon this recipe from several months ago and knew it was something my husband would like--anything with bacon in the title wins around here. It was really quick and easy to make. It's not a new favorite, but it will definitely be in the rotation. It has a unique creamy tomato sauce that I really like. I bet you will, too. So, the next time you feel stuck in the recipe rut, give this one a try!

Creamy Chicken, Bacon & Tomato Pasta

3 cups whole wheat farfalle (bow-tie pasta)
uncooked 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
3 slices OSCAR MAYER Bacon, cooked, crumbled
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA 1/3 Less Fat Cream Cheese, cubed
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 Tbsp. KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese

1. Cook pasta as directed on package.
2. Meanwhile, cook chicken in large skillet on medium heat 5 to 6 min. or until chicken is done, stirring occasionally.
3. Add bacon, tomatoes, cream cheese, water and pepper; mix well.
4. Cook 3 min. or until cream cheese is completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring frequently.
5. Drain pasta; place in serving bowl. Add sauce; mix lightly. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

What's for dinner?

Well, after a lovely weekend, I'm refreshed and ready for a new week. I'm trying one new recipe this week. I'll blog about it soon. With the weather turning warmer, I'm definitely looking for some grilling favorites to try. I'd love to hear from you. What's your favorite thing to grill or your favorite marinade? What's your favorite summertime food? Around here, our favorite is probably marinated grilled chicken and baked beans and summery fruits--watermelon, strawberries, blueberries, etc.
Here's our menu for the week:
Monday: brats, baked beans, fruit
Tuesday: Creamy chicken, tomato and bacon pasta
Wednesday: bbq ribs
Thursday: Raspberry Chicken
Friday: Spaghetti and Meatballs
Saturday: leftovers

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Nancy's Pizza Roll/Calzone

For at least 6 months, I have been hearing about this calzone/pizza roll that my friend and neighbor makes and often gives to other families. I knew it was something that my family would like since we love pizza and stombolli. And actually, while we lived in Virginia there was a great place called Vinnie's that had calzone's that Pete and I loved, so I was eager to try my hand at making them at home. It really was pretty easy and the results are fantastic. Everyone loved it--even the picky toddlers!! :) When I asked Nancy about it, she was excited and said that she was actually planning to make it soon and would send me the recipe with some pics., my sweet friend Nancy is our guest contributor. I also recommend trying to find a cute helper like she did! :)

Here's her recipe and pics:

Nancy's cute helper, Natalie

Pepperoni Roll

1 box Pillsbury hot roll mix
1 egg
1 bag mozzarella cheese
Marinara sauce (for dipping sauce)

Follow the directions on the back of the hot roll mix. (mix all ingredients, knead, let sit 5 mins, ) Then, roll out the dough into a large circle-- about 18" in diameter. Sometimes I sprinkle a little oregano on top of the dough at this point.

*From here there are 2 rolling options--

"Pepperoni ROLL" -- lay pepperoni and cheese all over the dough, then roll up like a cinnamon roll.

"Pepperoni CALZONE" (this has become my favorite, because the dough will rise a lot bigger!)) Only layer LOTS of pepperoni and cheese on half of the dough. Fold over the unused dough and crimp the edges (kind of like on a pie).

Cover and let rise for as long as you can-- I usually let mine rise for like 3 hours! (I start the recipe when the kids go down for naps around 2!)

Brush the top with milk or egg white. Bake at 375 for 15-20 mins, until golden brown.

Slice and eat with warm dipping sauce. I like to serve with a salad.

***Just another note-- I had tried adding more ingredients/toppings inside, and it just is NOT as good as just cheese and pepperoni. Trust me-- and I love LOTS of toppings on my pizza!

Monday, May 4, 2009

This Week

Hubby's traveling this week until late Wednesday, so...meals will be sparce at the beginning of the week. Here's what I'll be serving up:

Monday: French toast--a favorite with the boys, sausage links (aka little hot dogs)
Tuesday: my sweet friend is having us over!
Wednesday: leftovers
Thursday: Barbeque Chicken*--a crockpot recipe from Cooking Light via my mother in law.
Friday: PW's Pot Roast (YUM!) w/ potatoes and carrots, salad and homemade rolls
Saturday: my friend Nancy's calzones*

*recipes w/ pics to come!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Baked Ziti pt.2

Long ago--okay, only a couple of months ago, but long ago sounds so much more...poetic or something--I posted the recipe to Baked Ziti, a family favorite recipe given to us by Heather W. I decided to make it tonight for our church Mannafest meal tomorrow, so I took some pics, since I found the missing camera, and updated that recipe with them. Check it out! :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Salsa Chicken

At long last, I bring you....drumroll please...Salsa Chicken. Not to be confused with it's cousins Cha-Cha Chicken and Mambo Chicken. I know, my humor, it's way corny. I was told once that it is what made me a good elementary teacher. Anyway, I digress. Salsa friend, Kim, recommended this recipe that she found online at Christy's Kitchen Creations quite some time ago. It's been on the list but kept getting moved to the, and the puns just keep on coming. Today was the day, I finally tried it and I'm so glad. It meets all my criteria for becoming a regular around here:
1. easy
2. yummy
3. everyone in my family ate it!
4. pretty inexpensive/low key ingredients
It's a crockpot meal, which is always nice. Since this was my first time making it, I stuck to the directions and served it with rice, as Christy has in her picture that I'm borrowing below. (I've misplaced my camera and even with the help of my superhero sons we can't seem to find it!) The only change I made was that I cut up the chicken into chunks before cooking it. Also, as I was putting away the leftovers tonight, I had a good idea for variation. I would love to pour this stuff over tortilla chips...similar to a chili, chips and cheese but with chicken chunks. Yum! it is folks, enjoy! :)

Salsa Chicken

3 to 4 skinless-boneless chicken breasts
taco seasoning (as much or little as you want)
1 (16 oz.) jar salsa (mild, medium or hot...please your own tastebuds)
1 can fat free cream of mushroom soup
1 cup fat free sour cream

1. Layer first four ingredients in crock-pot in order listed.
2. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
3. During last 15 minutes of cooking time, stir in sour cream.
4. Serve over rice.

Source: Christy’s Kitchen Creations

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Potluck/Carry-in/Mannafest Meal

We're having a Mannafest Meal at our church on Sunday...that's code for potluck or carry-in. I'm supposed to bring either a 9x13 casserole dish to share or a crockpot dish. I know there's all kinds of things I could bring, but I'm coming up blank on anything I want to bring. Any suggestions? I'm toying with the idea of trying something new, so if you have a recipe that you think would work, send it my way! :)

Monday, April 27, 2009

this week

Well...sick kiddos here are seriously limiting the amount of time I'm spending in the kitchen. But here's the plan, and I use that word loosely, for this week:
Monday: Grilled pork chops, salad, baked potatoes
Tuesday: Pizza
Wednesday: Hamburgers, salad, baked beans, fruit salad
Thursday: Spanish Rice, chips, salad
Friday: leftovers
Saturday and Sunday: undecided

Italian Meatballs

A couple months back, my cousin, Kristi, had my family over for dinner while my mom was visiting. It was very last minute, so I was amazed that she decided to make meatballs from scratch and serve us spaghetti and meatballs. That would be a lot for anyone on one day's notice, but Kristi has three kids, the youngest of whom was only 3 months old at the time! Anyway, the meatballs were delicious and I, of course, asked for the recipe. A couple weeks ago, I finally got around to trying them myself. I've always thought meatballs = time consuming + a lot of work, however, that wasn't the case. These cook in the crockpot after you bake them, so they're pretty low-key. One thing I really like about this recipe is that it's pretty basic, so you could play with it and make it your own. I think next time, I'll throw in some grated parmesean--my family loves all things cheesy! :) Also, I halved the recipe, but next time I think I'll make the whole thing and freeze the leftovers for another busy time. Here's the recipe and some pics. Enjoy!


1 lb. lean (or whatever you prefer) ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
1 sleeve of saltines (I've used wheat Ritz in the past and they were good!)
2 eggs
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder OR 3 minced garlic cloves
2 tbsp. Italian seasoning (
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (optional...I like mine with a bit of a kick!)

*2 tbsp. olive oil for sauce

1. Preheat oven to 400. Crush crackers until finely ground.
2. In a large bowl combine w/beef, pork, eggs, garlic, Italian seasoning, olive oil and red pepper flakes.

3. Mix well with hands.
4. Shape into meatballs (whatever size you prefer--I made mine the size of my kids toy golfballs).

5. Line up on two foil-lined cookie sheets or 9 x 13 baking dishes.

6. Bake for approx. 35 min. at 400.
7. Add meatballs and 2 jars of spaghetti sauce (w/1 tbsp. olive oil mixed into each jar) to crockpot.
8. Leave on high for 1-2 hrs. then turn to low.

I usually have to add more sauce when having leftovers. Just depends on how much sauce you like.

Monday, April 20, 2009


So, I'm back this week, but it's going to be an abbreviated week. We're going to visit my husband's parents and my grandparents this weekend. Here's the menu around here:

Monday: french toast, sausage links, scrambled eggs
Tuesday: Salsa Chicken, corn, salad
Wednesday: Marinated grilled chicken, fruit salad and leftover corn
Thursday-Sunday: on the road...

This week, I will post the recipe for spaghetti and meatballs that I mentioned a couple weeks ago. Also, I'll post the salsa chicken recipe w/ pics and add some pictures to the marinated grilled chicken. That marinade is really our favorite and has become the favorite of several of our friends. Check it out! :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I know I haven't posted much lately, between Easter and two little boys, I've been BUSY! And this week, we've got friends visiting, so...the break continues. I do have pics and a recipe to post when I get time. Hope you've had a wonderful Easter and that you'll be back to check out some new recipes next week! :)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Roasted, Marinated Pork Tenderloin

My sweet friend, Kim, passed this recipe recommendation to me, but it was supposed to be grilled. The snow and sleet we got today turned it into a roasted tenderloin instead. I have to say that the end result was pretty darn good. I am still planning to try it grilled sometime, but this way the meat was literally falling apart and you can't beat that! :) Hope you enjoy!

Roasted, Marinated Pork Tenderloin

a pork tenderloin (ours was small, approx. 2 1/2 lbs.)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 cup orange juice
the juice of one lime
1 garlic clove minced
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. dijon mustard

1. Combine all ingredients in a large ziploc bag.
2. Add pork and refrigerate for at least 4 hours--best if you can all night.
3. Pour all ingredients in a deep baking dish and bake at 275 for 3-4 hours. (you could also do this in the crockpot for a little longer time)

for the original recipe and grilling instructions, click here. :)


I'm crazy busy right now, but I'm going to try to get a the menu and a new recipe posted real quick! Here goes:

Monday: Roasted Marinated Pork Tenderloin
Tuesday: Chicken Corn Soup
Wednesday: Spaghetti and Homemade Meatballs*
Thursday: Salsa Chicken*
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Brats and Hotdogs
Sunday: lunch at a friends

*these are both new and I'll post recipes and pics as I can! :)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Cornflake Chicken

A month or so ago, my friend Christina mentioned that she was going to try this recipe. Afterwards, she had nothing but good things to say and has mentioned several times that she was making it again. She has a 3 1/2 year old and a 5 month old, so I know she's not into extravagant recipes right now and I think I've loved every recipe she's passed my way. I'm not really sure why I didn't try it sooner. Sunday I decided to put it on the menu for this week. However, when I did my grocery shopping on Monday, I completely forgot to buy cornflakes--seriously!?! I briefly contemplated trying to pick the bran flakes out of raisin bran or using the flakes from Special K, but ultimately ended up running to the store again today. This recipe is simple but tasty. And what really puts it over the top in my book is that both of my little ones, who are 3 1/2 and 1 1/2, loved it! You really should give it a try! :)

Cornflake Chicken


2 cups of cornflakes
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
dash of garlic powder (optional)
1/4 cup of butter, melted (possibly more, depending on how much chicken you use)
1-2 pounds of chicken

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking pan.
2. Crush cornflakes.

3. Mix cornflakes, salt, pepper and garlic powder.
4. Dredge chicken in butter, then roll in the cornflakes mixture.

5. Lay chicken in baking pan. Sprinkle remaining flake mixture over top.

6. Bake for 25-35 minutes--depending on the thickness of your chicken--until chicken is cooked clear through.

Monday, March 30, 2009


Here's the game plan this week:

Monday: BBQ Ribs, rice and veggies
Tuesday: leftovers--Pete has to work late
Wednesday: Cornflake Chicken (recipe to come), mashed potatoes and gravy, peas and rolls
Thursday: Hamburgers, chips, fruit salad
Friday: Grilled Pork Tenderloin (recipe to come), grilled potatoes, fruit salad and rolls
Saturday: grilled brats, baked beans, fruit
Sunday: leftovers

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Annie's Chocolate Chip Cookies

I definitely thought that I had blogged about these cookies before, but I've scoured the posts and it's not there...if it is and I'm re-posting, I apologize. But you've got to try these cookies. I think they're single-handedly responsible for 8-10 of the 15 pounds I want to lose. They're thick and chewy--in fact that's what Annie calls them, Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip cookies. The only place that I vary on her recipe is the size that she makes them. Because my toddler insists on having his own whole cookie, I make mine smaller--using the Pampered Chef medium scoop. I made them huge--the way the recipe calls for them--and my husband LOVED them that way, but my sweet son was getting WAY too much sugar or throwing a fit about not getting a whole cookie. Anyway, these are now a family favorite. Hope you enjoy!!

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips*

*I often put 1/2 cup of butterscotch chips in and only 1 cup of chocolate chips. We've tried it with white chocolate as well, but butterscotch is our family favorite.

1. Adjust oven racks to upper and lower-middle positions. Preheat oven 325°. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl; set aside.
3. With electric mixer, or by hand, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly combined. Beat in egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined.
4. Add dry ingredients and beat at low-speed just until combined.
5. Stir in chocolate chips.
6. *this is where I just use the cookie scoop* Roll a scant half-cup of dough into a ball. Holding dough ball in fingertips of both hands, pull apart into two equal halves. Rotate halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, place formed dough onto cookie sheet, leaving ample room between each ball.
7. Bake, reversing position of cookie sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy (approximately 11-14 minutes). Do not overbake.
8. Cool cookies on sheets until able to lift without breaking. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Blueberry Bread

Organic blueberries were on sale for the same price as regular blueberries today, so I decided to buy a bunch. In the back of my mind, I was thinking about blueberry pancakes with my kiddos and some kind of blueberry breakfast food to share with some girlfriends who are coming over tomorrow. I started searching for recipes and decided I wanted to make a blueberry bread. I found this recipe, which provided a starting point for me. Many people had left comments saying that they thought it was a little bland and dry, but that they added a little sugar or a little cinnamon, I decided to play around with it myself. I'm pleased with the results. It reminds me of a cross between blueberry pancakes and blueberry muffins. We'll see what the girls say tomorrow! :)

Blueberry Bread

2 eggs
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups milk
3 1/2 Tbs. vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp. salt
4 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (could probably use frozen?)
1/2 cup walnuts (optional--I opted against this)

1. Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease 2 loaf pans. (8x5)
2. Mix eggs, sugar, milk, vanilla and vegetable oil well with a whisk.
3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.
4. Slowly fold in the flour mixture--don't over mix.
5. Toss freshly rinsed blueberries with a little (1 Tbs) flour
6. Gently stir the berries into the batter.
7. Bake for 40-45 minutes.

updating the site

In an effort to make this site better, I added you can search more easily. I'm also going to try to remember to take more pictures of food and post them. Any other suggestions?
Keep sending me recipes!! :)

Menu for the Week

Monday: Sweet and Tangy Meatloaf*, baked potatoes, corn, rolls
Tuesday: Spanish Rice Bake, tortilla chips, salad
Wednesday: Barbeque grilled chicken, baked beans, chips, fruit salad
Thursday: Lasanga, salad, no-fail French bread (didn't have this meal last week)
Friday: Barbeque Ribs, rice and veggies, rolls
Saturday: leftovers

*I'm going to re-post the meatloaf recipe, b/c my measurements were off--that's what happens when I actually make up a recipe... :)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Peanut Butter Take 2

As in, Peanut Butter, I'll take 2 please...or 3 or 4! I have made this peanut butter 4 times now in the past two weeks. It only makes about a cup at a time, so don't worry--we are eating more than just peanut butter. :) But I just want to let you all know how much I'm loving this stuff and walk you through the process a bit. First, it takes all of 5 minutes. Second, there's really only one or two ingredients. Third, it's delicous. I could stop there, because really it's already met my criteria--fast, easy, and delicious. However, there's more: no preservatives! start with:

Then you put it in a food processor. Mine is very whimpy, bought only to grind up baby food. Check it out:

Then you grind the peanuts for a few minutes. I stop and use a spatula to get the pieces out of the corners every minute or so. If you stop early, it will look like this and you'll think something is wrong and there's no way it'll ever be creamy...patience...patience...

Eventually, after 4-5 minutes, it will be much creamier. I've even gone an extra minute or so, because I don't really care for crunchy peanut butter. And this is my finished product:

I've eaten more celery in the past two weeks than I have in the past year--I kid you not. Seriously, if you like peanut butter even a little, try this! :)

Also, my friend used her magic bullet to try it and said it worked great. Let me know what type of machine you used and how it worked for you. Thanks! :)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

On an un-food-related topic

Friends of ours have started a company that has been talked about for years making t-shirts. These aren't just t-shirts have to check them out and see for yourselves. I just wanted to put a plug in for these guys and their company. They are definitely a high-quality, trustworthy operation. Check them out here:

Friday, March 20, 2009

Chicken Pie

This recipe is a favorite for my husband who doesn't do veggies mixed in with things. I like it a lot, but would prefer to add some vegetables. You can do whatever you want--that's the beauty of cooking, mix it up a little to make it your own! :) I still remember when I made this for some friends and Luke, who was 4 at the time, told him mommy that I was a really good cook (or possibly cooker). Hope you agree! ;)

Chicken Pie

1 box Pilsbury all-ready pie crust
4 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into chunks
1 cup sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
¼ c. minced dehydrated onions
2-4 oz. mild cheese (Swiss, Havarti, Provolone or Mozzarella)

1. Cook chicken breasts (I boil them)
2. Preheat oven to 350 F
3. Line pie plate with one pie crust
4. Cut chicken into chunks
5. Combine chicken, sour cream, cream of chicken soup, and onions
6. Pour #5 into pie crust
7. Top with a layer of cheese
8. Top with second pie crust and seal
9. Shield edges with strips of aluminum foil to prevent overbrowning
10. Cut a few slits in the top of the pie crust to allow air to escape
11. Bake for 40-45 minutes
12. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing

Serves 6-8
From FCS cookbook

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Snickerdoodle Cookie Bars

I love baking. LOVE it. But unfortunately my metabolism is slowing down, which means I need to slow down on the baking. I actually took about two weeks off of baking any dessert items for just that reason. And now I need to work back into it with moderation or my pants won't moderately fit my not so moderately sized waste!! My friend Jen sent me this cookie bar recipe and I couldn't resist. I love snickerdoodles as cookies and figured naturally I'd love these as well. I just pulled them out of the oven and ate two already! Yum.

Snickerdoodle Cookie Bars

1½ cups flour
1 tsp. cream of tartar
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg

2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease either a 9×9. (Depending on how thick you want them to be)
2. Whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
3. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add egg and mix. Gradually add flour mixture and mix more.
5. Spread into pan.
6. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl; sprinkle over dough.
7. Bake at 350F for 14-18 minutes, or until golden brown (or a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean).
8. Let cool in pan. Cut into bars.
From Something Sweet

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pizza Dough--no bread machine needed

Kendra also passed along Zach's grandma's pizza dough recipe. I have had it twice and it is really good. I will probably stick with my previously posted recipe that I make in the bread machine, just because it's easier and still pretty good. But for those of you out there without bread machines, I thought you might benefit from this yummy recipe. Enjoy!

Pizza Dough from scratch

2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 1/4 tsp. yeast
1 cup warm water
1/2 tsp. salt

1. Combine all ingredients
2. Knead together for at least 10 minutes.
3. Coat a bowl with a little olive oil, place dough inside, cover and put in a warm place to rise for 30-45 minutes.
4. Spread on your favorite pizza pan/stone. Top w/ sauce and your favorite ingredients. Bake at 450 for 10-15 minutes.

Pizza Sauce

One of my favorite people passed this recipe on to me. Her name is Kendra and it's from her husband's Italian grandmother. It's nothing too fancy-schmancy, but it tastes SO good! One of my favorite things about it is that it makes a smooth sauce...I'm not a chunky sauce kind of girl. The recipe she gave me makes tons, so I've adapted it a little.

Pizza Sauce

1 medium can of tomato paste
1 can of water (use the can the tomato paste was in)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 clove garlic minced or pressed
dash of oregano
dash of basil

1. Put all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes* stirring frequently.

*The time helps the ingredients to cook together.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Homemade Honey Roasted Peanut Butter

I just made this tasty and easy peanut butter after my friend, Julie recommended it. It's SOOO simple.

Homemade Honey Roasted Peanut Butter

1 1/2 cups Honey Roasted Peanuts
a pinch of salt

1. pour all ingredients in a food processor
2. grind until it reaches your desired consistency

Yum! I'm dipping my celery in it right now!! MMMMMM! :)

The recipe is originally from Joy the Baker