Thursday, April 30, 2009

Spicy Pasta Salad

Here's a meal you can make the night before so you don't have to heat up your kitchen in the afternoon.
1/2 cup diced green pepper
1/2 cup diced onion
1 can corn
1 pkg. polska kielbasa
1 pound rotini
Italian dressing to taste
1 can black beans
Just cook your pasta according to pkg instructions. Throw everything else together. It's good right away at room temperature or chill it and enjoy later.

Spinach-Pasta Toss

1 can Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups of penne pasta, uncooked
1 cup water
1 pkg (9 oz) baby spinach leaves
1 cup Italian cheese blend

Bring tomatoes, pasta, and water to a boil in a large saucepan; stir and cover. Simmer on medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Uncover and simmer for one more minute or until the pasta is tender. Add half the spinach and simmer covered for two minutes. Stir and repeat with remaining spinach. Serve topped with cheese.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Fill the Freezer Friday - Spaghetti and Meatballs

Using the sauce and meatball recipes from earlier.....

14 cups of spaghetti sauce
80 meatballs

Freezing: Double line two large cereal boxes with gallon size Ziploc Freezer Bags. Please 20 meatballs in each bag. Pour seven cups of spaghetti sauce into each bag. Seal bags well and repeat with two other bags.

Serving Day Instructions: Thaw overnight in refrigerator. Place in covered casserole dish and microwave until hot. Serve over spaghetti noodles or on sub buns with mozzarella cheese on top for a meatball sub.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Corn Stuffed Pork Chops - Crockpot

6 thick pork chops, 1 to 2 inches thick
3/4 cup thawed frozen corn kernels, or use canned, drained
1 cup soft bread crumbs
1 teaspoon onion, minced
2 tablespoons green bell pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried leaf sage

With a sharp knife cut a horizontal slit in the side of each chop forming a pocket for stuffing. Mix undrained corn, bread crumbs, onion, pepper, salt, and sage. Spoon corn mixture into the slits. Secure with toothpicks or small skewers. Place on a metal rack or trivet in crockpot. Or, crumple a piece of aluminum foil to form a makeshift rack. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours, until pork is tender.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Roasted Potato Wedges

This recipe is from The Pioneer Woman. Her website is

4 Russet or Baking Potatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
Several tablespoons of butter
Kosher Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper

- Preheat oven to 450.
- Scrub and dry four potatoes (russet or baking potatoes)
- Cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Then cut each half into quarters to make 8 long wedges per potato.
- Drizzle 1/4 cup olive oil. Then drizzle a couple of tablespoons of melted butter (To keep the recipe a bit lighter I only added 2 tablespoons of olive oil and one teaspoon of butter.)
- Toss around. Add plenty of Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (I used regular salt since I didn't have Kosher salt).
Note: You can add minced garlic, seasoned salt, 2 or 3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar, cayenne pepper, or paprika.
- Arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast 15 to 20 minutes
- Stir around and shake pan a bit. Return for another 20 minutes or so until potatoes are golden brown.
- Sprinkle fresh herbs such as flat leaf parsley or minced rosemary (I didn't have any herbs)

Italian Grilled Chicken

This Spring/Summer I am planning on grilling out a lot. So I am looking for new grilling recipes. Here is a simple one.

3 Chicken Breasts
6 Tablespoons of Newman's Light Italian Dressing
Lemon Pepper
Shredded or grated Parmesan cheese

- Marinate 3 chicken breasts in Newman's Light Italian Dressing for at least an hour.
- Once you place chicken breasts on the grill, lightly sprinkle lemon pepper on one side (chicken facing up).
- Grill chicken on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Flip chicken on other side and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Grill for another 5-10 minutes.

** This is good with roasted potatoes wedges and a salad

Cajun Spiced Chicken

2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 boneless chicken breast halves

Combine the seasonings and oil to form a paste, adding more oil if needed. Rub all over the chicken breasts; place in a food storage bag and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Grill or broil the chicken for about 5 to 7 minutes on each side, depending on thickness. Chicken is done when juices run clear when pricked with a fork.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Fill the Freezer Friday - Meatballs


1 15 oz can tomato sauce
2 cups bread crumbs
2 T parsley (dried or 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley)
4 eggs
2/3 cup onions finely chopped
1/3 cup green pepper, finely chopped
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp marjoram
5 lbs ground round

Mix all together in a large bowl. Use a very small school to shape. Place on broiler pan. (If you don't have one, line cookie sheets with parchment paper and drain meatballs on cooling rack as soon as they come out of the oven.) Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for30 minutes. Should make 80 meatballs.

You will use the meatballs for other recipes to come: spaghetti and meatballs and meatballs stroganoff.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Paula Deen's Italian Chicken and Vegetable Soup

I found this receipe on Paula Deen's website.

2 tablespoon olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces (about 1 3/4 pound)
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup sliced carrots (about 3 small)
2 1/2 cup sliced zucchini (about 2 medium)
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano
2 (14.5-ounce) cans chicken broth
Grated Parmesan, optional

In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add onion and carrot, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in zucchini, diced tomatoes, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Top each serving with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired. In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add onion and carrot, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in zucchini, diced tomatoes, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Top each serving with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Chicken Fajita Casserole

1 can (16 oz) refried beans
1can (15 oz) tomato sauce
1 package (1 oz) fajita seasoning mix
1 package (9 oz) frozen cooked Southwest-seasoned chicken breast strips, thawed
8 flour tortillas for soft tacos & fajitas (6 inch
1bag (1 lb) frozen stir-fry bell peppers and onions, thawed, drained
2 cups shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese blend

Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. In medium bowl, mix refried beans, tomato sauce and fajita seasoning mix. Stir in chicken.

Spread 1/2 cup of the bean mixture over bottom of baking dish. Arrange 4 tortillas, overlapping if necessary, in baking dish. Top with half of remaining bean mixture, half of the stir-fry vegetables and 1 cup of the cheese. Repeat layers with remaining tortillas, bean mixture, stir-fry vegetables and cheese.

Cover baking dish with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 15 to 20 minutes longer or until hot and bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Crockpot Southwestern Chicken and White Bean Soup

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces1
3/4 cups chicken broth
1 cup salsa
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 can (about 16 ounces) small white beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until it's well browned, stirring often. Stir the chicken, broth, salsa, garlic, cumin, beans, corn and onion in a 3 1/2-quart slow cooker. Add the chicken. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 9 hours (or on high for 4 to 5 hours) or until the chicken is cooked through.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Here's all you need to make a basic quiche. You can add anything you like.
1 pie shell (or not)
6 eggs
1 cup milk
I like to add cheese and roma tomato slices with basil leaves. Another good one is ham and swiss. Spinach, feta, tomato, and fiesta blend cheese (thanks to Claire Henson for that idea).Possibilities are endless. And if you want to skip the pie crust just cook your in a greased pie plate. Cook 350 for about 35 minutes depending on your oven and ingredients. I just watch it closely after 30 minutes to see that the very center just starts to set up. Then turn off the oven and leave it in the oven until oven cools down-it should be perfect. We like it with canteloupe and a tossed salad.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Mexican Stuffed Shells (for the freezer)

I hope I'm not repeating this recipe (thought I shared it already, but I could not find it on the blog.)
24 jumbo pasta shells
1 pound lean ground beef
2 cups salsa
1 can (8oz) tomato sauce
1 cup corn
1/2 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup (4oz) shredded cheese (cheddar or Mexican work well)
Toppings (you'll need when ready to serve it)
sour cream, salsa, ripe olives, green onions...
Cook shells, drain. Brown,& drain beef. Mix beef with beans, corn, salsa, tomato sauce, corn. Spoon this mixture into shells. Place shells into baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover, label, and freeze. (*Now, no one else may be as crazy as me, but if I use seran wrap, I make a note of that on the lid because I have been known to put things into the oven with plastic wrap on-yikes!) Cook covered from frozen for 45-50 minutes or until heated through. From defrosted state, maybe heat 30 minutes.

Fill The Freezer Friday - Spaghetti Sauce

For the next few Fridays, I thought I would share some "Fill the Freezer" recipes every Friday. I got this set of recipes from my friend, Karen (yes, Kristie, I still have your copies). Please share YOUR freezer meals with us, too. If you have something that your usually double and freeze, let us know. I know we are all looking for a good, easy meal.

Spaghetti Sauce
This recipe will make around 2 gallons of sauce. You could work with a friend and split it ;or if you have freezer room, you could make it all.

6 medium onions finely chopped
12 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
5 cups water
54 oz tomato paste or 9 6 oz cans
18 oz canned sliced mushrooms
1/3 cups sugar (or to taste)
2 1/2 T oregano
1 T salt
1 1/2 T basil
6 bay leaves
2 tsp ground pepper
2 cups red wine

Saute onions and garlic until soft on medium heat. Add remaining ingredients and simmer on low for 3 hours. Don't forget to use large pots!

You will use this same recipe for future recipes: spaghetti and meatballs, cavatini, chicken parmesan.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Easter Story Cookies

Here's another recipe from my friend, Julie. She found this on It looks like this recipe is a wonderful way to explain the crucifixion and resurrection to young children.

Easter Story Cookies (or "Good News" Cookies)

1 cup whole pecans
3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt (I used a small pinch)


*Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

1. Place pecans in a zip lock bag, close the bag, and let the children beat the bag with a wooden spoon to break the pecans into small pieces.
Explain to the children that after Jesus was arrested, the Roman soldiers beat him.

2. Let the children smell the vinegar.

*Put the vinegar into a mixing bowl.
Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given vinegar to drink.

3. Add egg whites to the vinegar.
Eggs represent life.
Explain that Jesus gave his life to give us life.

4. Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hands.
Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl.
Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our sin.

So far the ingredients aren't very appetizing.

5. Add 1 cup sugar.
Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us.
He wants us to know and belong to Him.

6. Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until the stiff peaks form.
Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sin have been cleansed by Jesus.

7. Fold in Broken Nuts.

8. Drop by teaspoons onto a cookie sheet covered with wax paper.
Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid.

9. Put the cookie sheet in the oven and turn OFF.

10. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door.
Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed.

11. Go to bed.
*Explain to the children that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed.

12. On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie.
Notice the cracked surface and take a bite.
The cookies are HOLLOW!
On the first Easter Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty.
He has risen!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Barbecue Meatballs

photo by The Pioneer Woman

My friend, Julie, posted this on her blog. When I read it was from The Pioneer Woman, I knew I had to share it, too! Make sure you check out the link for The Pioneer Woman. It's a great site!

Barbecue Meatballs

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
3/4 cup oats
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons very finely minced onion
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
plenty of ground black pepper

1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire
4 to 6 tablespoons onion
Dash of Tabasco

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all meatball ingredients. Roll into medium-small balls and place on a cookie sheet. Place sheet in freezer for five minutes.
Remove from freezer and immediately dredge in unseasoned flour.
Brown meatballs in canola oil until just brown. Place into a baking dish.
Combine all sauce ingredients. Pour over meatballs and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve with egg noodles, mashed potatoes, or crusty french bread.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Breakfast Casserole

12 oz sausage
6 English muffins , cut into 1-in cubes
1/4 cup butter, melted
4 oz shredded cheddar cheese
4 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup onion
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
12 eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Cook sausage according to package directions. Cool slightly and crumble into small pieces. Place English mucffin cubes in a greased 13x9 baking dish; drizzle with butter. Layer with sausage, cheese, onion and red pepper. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour over cheese. Cover and refrigerate over night. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Uncover and bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let stand for 5 minutes. Makes 12 servings.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Lemon Ice Box Pie

This recipe comes from my friend, Shelley. It's a wonderful dessert on a hot day!

1 8" Nilla waters crumb pie shell, chilled
1/2 cups lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon rind or 1/4 tsp lemon extract
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs, separated
1/4 tsp, cream of tartar
4 T. sugar

Combine lemon juice and grated lemon rind or extract. Gradually stir in in condensed milk. Add egg yolks and stir until well blended. Pour into chilled crumb crust. In a separate bowl, add cream or tartar to egg whites. Beat until stiff enough to hold a peak, approximately 5-7 minutes. Then add sugar gradually, beating until stiff but not dry. Pile lightly on pie filling. Bake at 325 degrees for approximately 15 minutes. Peak of meringue should be golden brown. Cool. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Hoppin' John

I first tried this when Doe Barbee made it for me. (She should open a restaurant.) Since I love black eyed peas, this was an instant hit. Doe grew up in Memphis and her cooking reflects that. I don't have a recipe, just a list of ingredients in my head (which is how Doe told it to me). I'll do my best to estimate amounts. We eat this as part of our "vegetable plate lunch" along with choice of 2 other veggies: sweet potatoes, fresh corn on the cob, steamed/buttered cabbage, or spaghetti squash with pesto. It costs around $3 for 3 vegetables to feed all 6 of us for lunch! And we sometimes have homemade bread or cornbread with it. Sometimes I'll make 4 vegetables and each child will get to "pick" the 3 they want.
1 can black eyed peas
1 can diced tomatoes
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup onion, diced
1/4 cup green pepper,diced
cumin, salt, pepper,and chili powder or cayene to taste
little olive oil
Saute the onion,pepper, garlic, and spices until tender in the olive oil. Then place beans and tomatoes into a pan and heat thoroughly.

Creamy Chicken and Pasta Bake

I saw this recipe in the newest Kraft Food and Family Magazine. It looked yummy!

1 1/2 cups rotini pasta, uncooked
1 small bunch of broccoli, cut into florets (about 3 cups)
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup of chicken broth
2 oz of cream cheese, cubed
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tsp grated parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta in large sauce pan as directed on package, adding broccoli for the last 3 minutes. Then heat large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken, cook 3 minutes or until no longer pink, stirring frequently. Stir in broth; simmer 3 minutes. Add cream cheese; cook and stir on low heat for 1 minute or until melted. Stir in 1/2 cup mozzarella. Drain pasta and broccoli. Add to chicken mixture and mix lightly. Spoon into 8-inch square dish; cover. Bake for 15 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Bake uncovered for 3 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Asian Coleslaw

This goes well with the Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches I posted.
2 cups slaw (sliced into long strips as opposed to chopped)
1/2 cup mayo
2 T rice wine or other vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
fresh grated ginger to taste (sub 1 tsp powder if you don't have)
Mix all and chill. You can also try variations on this by substituting some of the mayo with peanut butter, adding carrots, almond slivers, and pineapple chunks. And a tablespoon of hoisin sauce gives it a little spice.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

3-4 cooked and shredded chicken breasts
1/2 pkg taco seasoning
1/3 of of 8 oz block of regular or light cream cheese
3/4 cup salsa
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar or Mexican style cheese
1/2 - 3/4 can of enchilada sauce
6-8 soft tortilla shells
2-4 T oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a skillet on medium heat, add oil and first four ingredients. Let the cream cheese heat until melted, stirring constantly. In an 9X13 casserole dish, spoon out enough enchilada sauce to cover the bottom of dish. Then layer two soft tortillas side-by-side on top of sauce. Place some chicken mixture on top of tortillas and spread out evenly. Sprinkle a layer of shredded cheese on top of tortillas. Repeat layers (sauce, tortillas, chicken mixture and cheese) two more times. Top with two more shells and a layer of cheese. COVER and bake for 25-30 minutes.