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I am seriously looking forward to the cooler weather, while I wouldn't be surprised if we skipped Fall and slipped right into Winter, I'm not exactly dreading that.
The idea of comfort foods for the family, soups, chowders, and one pot wonders get me excited. As does the idea of crocheting warm and cozy things. Fingerless gloves, shawls, hats and of course scarves!! We can never have too many of these fun things.

So...who's with me?

More recipes

I noticed I left out my Slow Cooker Pot Roast...this is more of a tecnique than an actual recipe, but it makes one hell of a gravy!


I use a big roast, bottom or top round usually close to 6lbs.
1 pkg dry Italian dressing
1pkg dry Ranch dressing
1 pkg brown gravy
2 envelopes onion soup mix
2 cups or cans beef stock
1 cup water
A handful of baby carrots
1 onion quartered

In the bottom of the slow cooker you place the carrots and the onion, on topof that with the fat side UP you place the roast.
Mix all packages and the soup mix in with the beef stock and water and pour on top of the roast.

Cook on low 6 hours or on high 4 hours.

Served with Honey wheat bread from my bread machine and egg noodles and steamed broccoli.

Simple Rice Pilaf

printed from

*Serves 4


1 1/2 cups basmati or long-grain rice

2 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon coriander

4 ounces spaghetti or vermicelli, broken into 1-inch pieces (about 1 cup)

3 1/4 cups water

1 1/2 teaspoons table salt

Ground black pepper


Place the rice in a medium bowl and add enough water to cover by 2 inches; using your hands, gently swish grains to release excess starch. Carefully pour off the water, leaving rice in bowl. Repeat four to five times, until water runs almost clear. Using a colander or fine mesh strainer, drain water from rice and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion and saute for 3-4 minutes, until softened but not browned. Add the garlic, cumin and coriander and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the rinsed and drained rice and the broken, uncooked noodles. Cook, stirring, for another 2-3 minutes until lightly browned. Stir in the water and salt and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, about 16-18 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, take off the lid and place a kitchen towel folded in half over saucepan; replace the lid. Let the rice stand 10 minutes; fluff with a fork and serve.


Mexican Tomato and Corn Salad

*Note: Queso fresco cheese is a widely available Mexican cheese usually found in most supermarkets by the other cheeses - it is usually in a round, thick disc. If you can't find it or don't like it, feta cheese would make a unique and delicious substitution.

*Makes 4 cups


For the salad:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels

2 cups halved grape or cherry tomatoes

1 cup crumbled queso fresco cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Salt, pepper and sugar to taste

For the dressing:

1 tablespoon freshly grated lime zest (zest the lime(s) before juicing)

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic (from about 3 garlic cloves)


In a large skillet, heat the 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Stir in the corn and cook until soft (but not mushy), 3-5 minutes, stirring/tossing occasionally. Cool corn slightly and set aside.

Whisk together the lime zest, lime juice, vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil and garlic in a small bowl.

In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, cheese, cilantro and corn. Toss the salad with the vinaigrette and season with salt, pepper and sugar to taste

Mexican Lasagna

*Note: this lasagna isn't super heavy on the sauce, just enough to plump up the pasta noodles perfectly and help everything hold their shape (not dry...just not overly saucy). I split all the ingredients (sauce, cheese, noodles) into three layers but feel free to simplify and just halve everything and do two layers only. Less noodles, more sauce. It's up to you. Also, the ingredient list looks long, but it comes together quickly, especially with the no-boil lasagna noodles.

*Serves 6-8

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef or turkey
1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
dash of ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 ½ cup frozen corn kernels, white or yellow
1 (6 ounce) can olives, chopped
9-12 no-boil lasagna noodles (I love the Barilla brand), or boil and drain regular lasagna noodles
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream, light or regular
8 ounces cream cheese, light or regular

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch pan and set aside.

In a large 12-inch skillet, brown the ground beef or turkey and onion over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink. Drain the grease. Add the minced garlic and tomato paste. Stir to combine well and cook for about a minute. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, cayenne, oregano and salt and pepper. Mix well. Add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir to combine. Add the black beans, corn and olives. Mix well and heat through, about 5 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the heat. Spread 1/2 cup sauce in the bottom of the prepared pan. Layer three (or four, depending on the brand of noodles you use) noodles over the sauce. Spread 1/3 of the sauce over the noodles. Dollop 1/3 of the sour cream and 1/3 of the cream cheese (just pinch off chunks and toss them on top) across the sauce. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheeses. Repeat the layers two more times until all the ingredients are used.

Cover the lasagna with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake 10-15 minutes more, until the lasagna is hot and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into and serving.
Black Bean and Sweet Corn Quinoa Salad

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup frozen sweet white corn
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When shimmering and hot, add the onions and saute for 4-5 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and stir for a minute or two until the garlic is fragrant, being careful not to burn the garlic.

Add the quinoa and cover with broth. Stir in cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes (or until all the liquid is absorbed).

Stir in the frozen corn and black beans. Cover and let the pot sit off the heat until the corn and beans are heated through, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in the cilantro. Serve warm or chilled - it is delicious both ways!
Grilled Island Chicken
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1-2 lemons)
1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
1 clove garlic, finely minced
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2-4 chicken breasts

Combine all ingredients except chicken in a mixing bowl or large airtight plastic bag. Whisk or shake well until the marinade is well mixed. Add the chicken breasts to the bowl or plastic bag so that they are covered by the marinade. If using a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap. If using a plastic bag, press out all the excess air and seal the bag tightly. Refrigerate and marinate up to 10 hours (I would suggest marinading for at least 3 hours at the minimum).

Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium heat. Grill the chicken for 6-7 minutes per side (depending on how thick the chicken breasts are), until the chicken is no longer pink in the center (if you have a meat thermometer, the chicken should register 165 degrees). Tent with foil and let the chicken rest for about five minutes before serving.

Alternately, the chicken can be baked using the following directions:
When ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 350° F. Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish and pour the excess marinade over them. Bake in the oven until cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 165° F, about 45 minutes (exact baking time will depend on the size of your chicken pieces.) Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Boneless Buffalo Wings
recipe image
Rated: rating
Submitted By: BETTYCOOK
Photo By: jessxmickelson
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Ready In: 50 Minutes
Servings: 3
"It's easy to make pub-style boneless chicken wings at home. Just bread boneless chicken bread strips, fry in hot oil, and toss with a spicy butter and hot sauce blend. Don't forget to serve the crispy strips with blue cheese dressing for dipping."
oil for deep frying
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 egg
1 cup milk
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut
into 1/2-inch strips
1/4 cup hot pepper sauce
1 tablespoon butter
1.Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2.Combine flour, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and paprika in a large bowl. Whisk together the egg and milk in a small bowl. Dip each piece of chicken in the egg mixture, and then roll in the flour blend. Repeat so that each piece of chicken is double coated. Refrigerate breaded chicken for 20 minutes.
3.Fry chicken in the hot oil, in batches. Cook until the exterior is nicely browned, and the juices run clear, 5 to 6 minutes a batch.
4.Combine hot sauce and butter in a small bowl. Microwave sauce on High until melted, 20 to 30 seconds. Pour sauce over the cooked chicken; mix to coat.

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6 pork chops
Salt and pepper
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 c. water
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 can French fried onions
1/2 c. sour cream
1 tsp. parsley
Brown pork chops with salt and pepper on both sides. Put in 2 1/2-quart casserole. Combine soup, water and thyme. Heat, then add parsley, sour cream and half the onions. Mix thoroughly.Pour over chops. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until tender. Sprinkle remaining onions and bake 5 minutes longer.


Menu plan Template

After a quick internet search I discovered this neat template for menu plans! It's in a .pdf format which allows you to edit in text and then print it, completely filled in. It even includes a compartmental shopping list!

Download yours here!

If you decide to experiment along with me, or currently use a family notebook, I'd love to hear your ideas. I'll be posting my menu plans, along with recipes, hope you enjoy them!

Getting Organized

In an effort to become more organized...I'm implementing a "Household Notebook"  If you're not familiar with the idea behind this notebook, I'll lay it out for you simply.

You begin with a three ring binder and dividers. You separate the binder into various sections, every families notebook will be different, depending on their needs. Basically the notebook will be a central location for all things important, ie. meal plans, registration forms and permission slips for the kids, a calendar for appointments, church get the idea.

With the start of my "notebook" I've decided to create meal plans, using what is on sale the coming week, I will be planning two weeks worth of dinner menus. I've taken out both the slow cooker pressure cooker and my bread machine. Even if I can't eat "light" I want to at least eat healthy!