BBQ Meatloaf

>> Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I recently found a new blog called The Fit Cook. I have already tried several of her recipes and have enjoyed them all. This one was delicious. The combination of barbeque and blue cheese may turn you off at first, but it really does work together beautifully. And because of the intense flavors of both the barbeque sauce and the blue cheese, you don't need to add a bunch of other ingredients. You can make this super low-fat, low-cal by choosing the leanest ground beef you can find. I already had 80/20 on hand, though, so that's what I used. Even so, this is pretty rich, and so a sliver of the meatloaf was plenty to satisfy.

1.5 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 egg
3 tablespoons barbeque sauce
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
salt and pepper
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350*. Meanwhile, heat a small bit of olive oil in a skillet, and sautee onions until they are tender. Remove from heat, stir in 1 tablespoon of barbeque sauce, and set aside.


Then combine the ground beef, egg, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in a bowl, and mix until combined. Add half of the cooled onions, and mix those in. If you're using low-fat ground beef, spray a loaf pan before you put your meatloaf in. If you use 80/20 like I did, you don't need to spray the pan. Put the meatloaf mixture into the loaf pan, and top with remaining onion mixture. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, and set the oven to broil. Top meatloaf with blue cheese, then place under broiler until cheese melts. WATCH VERY CAREFULLY because this will only take a few seconds. Enjoy!


I served this with sweet potato fries and dinner rolls.  M’mm.


What are your favorite combinations of flavors?


Meal Plan Monday

>> Monday, April 9, 2012

Hi!/Merry Christmas!/Happy New Year!/Happy Monday!/School is kicking my butt!/I'm back (again)!

Basically........Yes, I've been gone for a long time! Sorry about that. Life has seriously gotten in the way, but I want to get back into blogging again. I sure miss it! Between work (in-home daycare), college (almost done!), being wife/mom, transporting my kids to karate/dance 3 days per week, it's just hard to find time to blog. Bear with me as I try and make it a routine again. :-)

I have still been menu planning every week! Although I have a few new fitness goals, so my recipes and menus have changed a bit. I'm not going crazy counting calories like mad or avoiding anything in my diet - I just want to try harder to eat a much more well-balanced diet that is lower in fat. My goal is to drop 5-7 pounds by the end of May and to just do a general firming/toning of my entire body.

As a result of that goal, you may notice a few changes to my weekly menus:
-Much less dairy than before - mainly cheese and sour cream. I ate way too much of both of those in the first place, but in order to lose the weight I want I am cutting my consumption down by 50%.
-Doing more "vegetarian" dinners. For me this just means no meat. (Some people include dairy, but I don't.)
-I am focusing more on making sure each meal contains protein (which is what keeps you feeling full).
-I am switching to more health-conscious products, such as Greek yogurt.
-Menus will now include breakfast, lunch, and dinner to make sure I am eating properly all day long.
-I have added protein powder to my diet, so you will see protein bars and protein shakes listed on the menus as well. Some days the protein powder items aren't listed, and that's either because I'll be drinking them after my workouts instead of during the day (some days I can't workout until later in the evening) or because I don't need it that day. If there is another meal listed with the protein one, that's for the rest of my family.
-All of my salad dressings and breads are homemade.

Hopefully I didn't just scare off all of my readers! ;-) I promise I will still be posting delicious recipes! I have learned a lot about fitness over the past few weeks, so if anyone would be interested in learning any tips just let me know! As always, I will come back and add links to new recipes once I've posted about them. Enough babble, on with the menu.

breakfast- protein shake/scrambled eggs and toast
lunch- pita pockets and chick's peas
dinner- BBQ meatloaf

breakfast- granola bars and yogurt
lunch- avocado spinach egg salad
dinner- Monterrey chicken and salad

breakfast- bagels and cream cheese
lunch- apples and peanut butter, veggies and dip, nuts
dinner- crock pot pork, mashed potatoes, and salad

breakfast- protein shake/cereal
lunch- sandwiches
dinner- leftovers

breakfast- bagels
lunch- leftovers or dress to impress salad
dinner- tomato, basil, and feta pasta, rolls, and salad

breakfast- protein shake/breakfast pockets
lunch- out
dinner- chicken noodle soup, rolls, and salad

breakfast- protein shake/oatmeal
lunch- sandwiches
dinner- tostadas with homemade refried beans

So, did ya miss me? ;-) Are you interested in lower fat recipes?
Any recipes in particular you'd like to see made into a lower fat version?
Have any of your own fitness goals or tips/tricks you'd like to share??


Meal Plan Monday

>> Monday, September 26, 2011

Happy Monday!

My brother came to live with us for a few months, so my menu plans are going to be full of meals that will feed a lot of people for not much cash. I'm also hoping to find meals that are easily doubled because with a 19 year old boy in the house, our leftovers are going to be a lot less! And since those are the meals I typically use for lunches throughout the week, that's going to make things a bit more tricky.

Last night I was browsing around Pinterest and came across a lot of new recipes. Almost my entire menu this week is stuff I have pinned. I actually dreamed about some of the recipes last night. Does that make me a total nerd?! Don't answer that. ;-)

So, here's what we've got going on:
tuna noodle casserole
fiesta chicken casserole
BLTs (I'll serve with fruit, veggies and dip)
world's best macaroni and cheese (we'll see if it actually is!)
pizza pancakes
taco pasta
cheeseburger soup

Do you care much about how much meals cost?
Or are you more the type that just makes whatever looks/sounds good?



>> Wednesday, September 7, 2011

For your sakes, I hope it’s cooling off where you live. But we’re in the desert, and it’s still 115* here most days. Because of this, I’ve been making smoothies a lot lately! This week at my local grocery store they had strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries on sale, so I grabbed some of each. Yesterday’s smoothie was strawberry banana, and today’s was a little bit of everything.

These are SO super easy, VERY healthy, and refreshing. You can go spend a couple bucks to get a smoothie at Jamba Juice, or you can make one yourself for a fraction of the cost that tastes just as great. This is one of those “method more than recipe” type recipes. You can add anything you like to customize. This is just the way I’ve been doing it. You could even add yogurt to yours if you have it on hand to make it more creamy. Or use orange juice (or any other kind of juice) or even just water to thin yours out a bit if you don’t want to use milk. You could even add protein powder or Slim Fast type powder if you’re into that sort of thing.

I think smoothies are a great idea to serve at a breakfast or brunch function. It would be super easy, and you could even have your guests customize their own before you blend them up.

I just saw a breakfast smoothie today on Pinterest that I’m super excited to try out (it has oatmeal in it!), so I’ll post that as soon as I do!

Printable recipe

splash of milk

Just put everything except milk into the blender…

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…and blend away!

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Add a splash of milk, if desired, to thin the consistency. This is because we like straws at our house. Smile

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Look at those pretty colors!

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Meal Plan Monday

>> Monday, September 5, 2011

Hey, everyone! This week's recipes are almost all brand new, mostly ideas I found from Pinterest. Have you checked out Pinterest yet?? Do it if you haven't already! It's a really neat place to keep everything you find online organized in one easy-to-find spot. I use it mostly for recipes I want to try, but I have boards for gift ideas, projects, etc. Once I try a recipe and decide it's a keeper, then I'll write it down so I don't have to get on the computer every time I want to make it.

So here's what's cooking at my house this week:
Ham and cheese pretzel bites with nacho cheese dipping sauce
Cheese and potato enchiladas
Macaroni and cheese and rolls
Chicken Fricassee
Pork chops and sweet potato fries
General Tso's chicken and rice

What have you got on your menu this week?


Sticky Wings

>> Tuesday, August 30, 2011

HELLO!!!!!!!!!!!  I cannot believe it’s been several months since I last posted!  Things have been super busy around these parts, and then we left town for the summer.  I’m back and promise this blog will become active again!  I’ve missed it so much!

While we were on vacation, I got a new cookbook.  I tried my first recipe from it on Sunday night, and it was really tasty.  The cookbook is called Slow Cooker Revolution.  I got it from Costco for about $17.  It was really simple and was a big hit with the kids especially.  I served it as a main course, but it would be a perfect side dish.  It would even be great served at a party. 

Don’t shy away from the cayenne.  It really does need the balance of sweet and spicy.  And I promise, it’s NOT too spicy.

3/4 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark will work equally well)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons minced or grated fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 pounds whole chicken wings (they can be frozen or thawed)
salt and pepper
vegetable oil spray
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup tomato paste

Stir 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne into slow cooker.  Add chicken to slow cooker, then add some salt and pepper.  Give it a quick stir to coat the chicken in the sauce.  Cook on low for about 4 hours, or until chicken is tender.

Place the oven rack about 10 inches from the broiler.  Place a wire rack in an aluminum foil lined rimmed baking sheet, and coat with vegetable oil spray.  Transfer the chicken to the wire rack, and discard the cooking liquid. 

Combine 1/4 cup sugar, water, tomato paste, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne in a bowl.  Brush chicken with half of sauce mixture and broil until lightly charred and crisp, 10-15 minutes.  Flip chicken over, brush with remaining sauce, and broil an additional 5-10 minutes, or until second side is lightly charred and crisp. 

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Grab yourself a whole package of napkins (or better yet, a whole roll of paper towels!), and dig in!  Yummy, gooey, sticky goodness.

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So how was your summer?! 
Cook anything delicious?


Meal Plan Monday

>> Monday, March 21, 2011

Greetings, loyal readers! I say this often, but I want to say again how grateful I am that you all stick around, despite how dead this blog has become lately! I’ve even noticed we’ve gotten a few more readers on board, which is amazing! I sure love doing this blog, so the more readers the better! Smile

This week’s menu is full of our family favorites. I spent the last week cooking meals that are more fancy (to impress company!), so I feel like just having a really easy week this week. Here’s what we’ve got going on:

Easy cheesy meat and potatoes
Baked potatoes and green bean casserole
Lasagna, oatmeal rolls, and salad
Pizza night and salad
Café Rio pork salads
Baked teriyaki chicken and fried rice

Talk to me: what's on your menu this week?


Egg Salad Sandwiches

>> Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Well, hello!  I can't believe it's been almost a month since I last posted.  I keep hoping I'll get used to being Mom/Student/Wife, but finding my groove hasn't been as easy as I thought.  I think I was crazy when I decided to go back to school!  Today I’m taking a much-needed break from school work to get caught up on things, and this was the first item on my list!

So, being in school means I’m short on time.  That translates to needing to find quick meals.  I’m still usually good about making nice dinners, but lunches need to be quick and easy.  I haven’t made egg salad in a very long time but had a hankering for it the other day.  I forgot how delish it is!  And easy.  And it made enough for me to eat for like 3 days in a row.  Gotta love being able to cook once and have 3 meals worth! 

Plus, it’s something you can make ahead of time and keep in the fridge.  You can either make the recipe from start to finish and keep the prepared egg salad in the fridge, or you can hardboil your eggs and pop them back in the fridge for whenever you’re ready to make this recipe.  I love make-ahead recipes!

This is one of those where it’s more a method than anything.  You can change it up to your own likes/dislikes.  I’m just going to type up the recipe how I made it, but again, it’s super easy to change adjust.

8 hardboiled eggs, cooled
1/2 cup mayo
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
salt, pepper, and dill
sandwich bread (or make your own!)
lettuce and tomato

Peel the eggs, and just toss them into a bowl whole.  Add remaining ingredients. 

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Then take your potato masher (that’s just to show you what it looks like – you can find them for WAY cheaper at Walmart, Target, etc.) and smush it all together. 

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At this point, you can chill it or just serve it up.  I’m impatient (and in a hurry), so I just serve it up.  Toast up your bread, dump on the egg salad, and top with lettuce and tomato, if desired.

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I served mine with some celery and a bit of ranch (use your favorite dressing, or make your own ranch dip).  It was a really quick and easy lunch.

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Do you have an egg salad recipe you love?
Post it!

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Meal Plan Monday

>> Monday, January 3, 2011

Hello, foodies! So sorry for the prolonged absence, but things have been crazy around here with Christmas break, holidays, etc. I'm so excited to get back into blogging and share with you all the yummy things we had to eat this holiday season! I hope you all had as wonderful a holiday as we did. It's hard to believe Christmas is over already!

I've done the el cheapo menus before, but I'm doing it again this week. We really need some recovery in the pocketbook after Christmas! ;-) So here's what we're doing for food this week:

Easy cheesy meat and potatoes
Gnocchi and crescent rolls (homemade)
Shredded beef enchiladas and sweet corn tamalitos
Baked potatoes and salad
Ravioli (homemade)
Spaghetti and crescent rolls

The other days we're eating out for dinner (my oldest turns 9...where did the time go?!) and having leftovers.

Did you eat anything fabulous over the holidays?! Do share!!


Classic Apple Pie

>> Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Tuesday! Today I have a fabulous apple pie recipe to share with you all! I never had to worry about cooking Thanksgiving dinner until a couple of years ago when we moved away from home. And this year was the very first time I'd attempted my own apple pie. My mom ALWAYS made apple pie for Thanksgiving, but last year I decided not to do it (again, because of that tricky crust recipe of hers!). It just wasn't Thanksgiving without apple pie. So a few weeks back, when I found that awesomely easy pie crust recipe, I decided to also try out the apple pie recipe in my cookbook. It. was. delish!!! I was going to just make this pie instead of pumpkin this year, but my kids all begged me to make both. So both it is!


2 pounds McIntosh apples (4-6), peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4" thick
1.5 pounds Granny Smith apples (3-4), peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4" thick
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 recipe double-crust pie dough, bottom crust fit into pie plate
1 egg white, lightly beaten

Adjust oven rack to the lowest position, place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack, and heat the oven to 500 degrees. Toss the apples with 3/4 cup of the sugar, flour, lemon juice, zest, salt, and spices, and set aside.

Roll out the top crust to a 12-inch circle. Spread the apples in the unbaked pie crust bottom, mounding them slightly in the middle. Lay the top crust over the apples, seal and crimp the edges, and cut four vent holes in the top. Brush the crust with the egg white and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.

Place the pie on the heated baking sheet and lower the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Bake until the top crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet, reduce the oven temperature again to 375 degrees, and continue to bake until the juices are bubbling and the crust is deep golden brown, 30-35 minutes longer (**at this point, I suggest covering the edges of the pie crust with foil, but the recipe doesn't say that**). Transfer the pie to a wire rack and cool to room temperature before serving.

What's your favorite kind of pie?


Double-Crust Pie Dough

>> Monday, November 22, 2010

We're on the countdown to Thanksgiving now!! I've got 3 great posts lined up for you this week, and we'll be doing it a bit differently. Instead of the typical Monday, Wednesday, Friday line-up, I'm going to post Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday instead. :-)

For years, I've been trying to make pie crust. My mom has a fabulous pie crust, but whenever I try her recipe, it's been a total flop. Last Thanksgiving I was in tears (seriously...) because the pie crust was just horrendous. It was either too flaky and wouldn't roll out without crumbling or it was too tough. My sweet hubby suggested I look in our trusty America's Test Kitchen cookbook to see if they had a pie crust recipe instead. SCORE! This is SO easy, especially compared to my mom's recipe. Apparently my mom is the only one that can get her recipe to turn out perfectly. ;-)

2.5 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough
2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon salt

8 tablespoons Crisco, cut into 1/2" pieces and chilled
12 tablespoons (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4" pieces and chilled

6-8 tablespoons ice water

Process the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined. Scatter the shortening over the top and process until the mixture has the texture of coarse sand, about 10 seconds. Scatter the butter pieces over the top and, using short pulses, process the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 pulses. Transfer to a bowl.
Sprinkle 6 tablespoons of the ice water over the mixture. Stir and press the dough together, using a stiff rubber spatula until the dough sticks together.

If the dough does not come together, stir in the remaining water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it does.

Divide the dough into two even pieces and flatten each into a 4 inch disk. Wrap the disks tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Let the chilled dough soften slightly at room temperature before rolling it out and fitting it into a pie plate.

To make ahead: The dough can be refrigerated, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months. Let the frozen dough thaw on the countertop until malleable before rolling.

Stay tuned for a fantastic apple pie recipe tomorrow!



>> Friday, November 12, 2010

A couple of years ago, I posted a recipe for wanna-be hummus. This is another version that is even easier. It's super yummy and has tons of flavor. You could use it as a dip for veggies or pita bread, or you could put it on a sandwich or wrap. I used it on Middle Eastern Pita Pizzas (recipe coming soon!).

1 can great northern beans
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt

Drain beans, but reserve 2 tablespoons of the liquid. Then, in a food processor, blend all ingredients (including reserved bean liquid) until smooth. Spoon dip into a serving dish, and enjoy!

What's your favorite dip?


Black Bean Burgers

>> Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I went out and started our Christmas shopping. We hit Barnes & Noble to get the kiddos some new books, and while we were there a couple of new cookbooks caught my eye. My husband made me save one for a Christmas present for myself, but I got to keep one out to use right away. ;-) They are both Betty Crocker cookbooks, and the one I kept out is called Betty Crocker Easy Vegetarian. I was super excited to see this because I'm always on the lookout for new meatless meal ideas to make my grocery budget stretch further.

This was the first recipe I tried from this new cookbook, and it was actually really tasty. My husband was very skeptical, but even he said that it was really good. My kids didn't even know the patties weren't ground beef until I told them. I expected my 8 year old to immediately stop eating at that point, but she kept on eating and said it was yummy!

I changed this recipe just a bit. I didn't think my kids would eat it unless I made it look exactly like a traditional burger. The recipe calls for topping the patties with, mayo, salsa, and lettuce. That's the way my husband ate it and said it was good. But for the kids and myself, I did mayo, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese.

Another change I made was that I didn't use the green chiles. I was planning to but ended up using the last can I had for something else instead. So I just poured in a little green taco sauce instead.

One more thing. For the black beans, try and find a can with cumin and chili spices if you can. I couldn't, so I just added some cumin and chili powder when I opened the can.

1 can black beans
1 can (4.5 ounces) green chiles
1 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 burger buns, split and toasted

In a food processor or blender, process beans until slightly mashed. Remove from food processor and place in a medium bowl. Stir in chiles, bread crumbs, and egg. Shape mixture into 5 patties, about 1/2 inch thick. Coat each patty with cornmeal. In a 10 inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add patties, and cook 10-15 minutes, turning once, until crisp and thoroughly cooked on both sides.

Then assemble burgers with remaining ingredients.

Have you ever had a veggie burger?
What did you think?


Meal Plan Monday

>> Monday, November 8, 2010

The weather is finally starting to cool off here in the desert! We've been able to turn off the air conditioning, open the windows, and we've even busted out the pants and jackets! I'm so excited to start cooking all my favorite soups that it's too miserably hot to make the rest of the year!

This meal plan is a super easy one. My husband has been out of town for almost the last week on business, so I really felt little need to make anything more than the bare minimum while he's gone.

The plan for this week:
Baked potatoes and salad
Huevos Rancheros (I'm trying a new recipe this week, though)
Breakfast for dinner (buttermilk pancakes, homemade syrup, and scrambled eggs)
Southwestern corn chowder
Chili's chicken enchilada soup and oatmeal dinner rolls
Crockpot Mexican pork


Oatmeal Dinner Rolls

>> Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Last Thanksgiving, we went to a friend's house for dinner and had oatmeal dinner rolls for the first time. They were SO good, and I just had to ask for the recipe. I didn't get the exact recipe from the girl who brought the rolls because she didn't have it with her at the time, but she did tell me the secret was the oatmeal. So I did some searching on the Internet and found a recipe on Taste of Home's website. They are so soft and fluffy and yummy! The oatmeal really does make a huge difference!

Take a look at my tips for working with yeast before you begin!

2 cups water
1 cup quick-cooking oats
3 tablespoons butter
1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1/3 cup warm water
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
4-3/4 to 5-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

In a sauce pan, bring the 2 cups water to a boil. Add oats and butter, and cook and stir for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, and cool to lukewarm. Meanwhile, in the bowl of your mixer, dissolve the yeast in the 1/3 cup warm water. Add the oat mixture, sugars, salt, and 4 cups of flour. Beat with a dough hook until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured counter, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, and turn to grease top. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch down dough and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Then form into 18 balls. Place in 2 greased 9-inch round baking pans. Cover and allow to rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

What's your favorite dinner roll recipe?


Meal Plan Monday

>> Monday, October 25, 2010

Even though I've been absent (again), I've still been doing lots of cooking. So there are some yummy recipes ready to be posted!

My mother-in-law just left today after spending the last week with us. We spent a couple of days in fabulous San Diego, California where we took the kiddos to Sea World. Tons of fun! It's fun eating out for a change, but it always makes me anxious to get back home and get back in my own kitchen. Once I developed a love of (and a talent for) cooking, no restaurant can really compare. I really love trying to re-create my favorite restaurant recipes! My first attempt was Chili's Chicken Enchilada Soup, and I honestly love my version more than theirs. I also have a fabulous recipe for Applebee's Maple Butter Blondies, which I'll be posting soon!

Anyway, on to this week's menu! I recently got a new cookbook, so almost my entire menu this week is from that cookbook. The hubby and I went out to start on some Christmas shopping this last week while my mother-in-law was here to watch the kiddos, and while shopping for the kids, I just had to get something for myself, too! We were at Barnes and Noble getting them some books, and I saw a Betty Crocker vegetarian dishes cookbook. I am always having major trouble coming up with meatless meal ideas, so this was a MUST-BUY for me. It's a total success so far!

So, up this week we have:
Black bean burgers, veggies & dip
Middle Eastern pita pizzas (pitas will be homemade)
Easy cheesy meat and potatoes
Huevos rancheros
Baked potato soup
Vegetable manicotti

What recipes have you tried lately that were a big hit?


Meal Plan Monday

>> Monday, October 11, 2010

It's been quite a while since I've done a Meal Plan Monday post, so I figured it was time to start it up again! I love seeing other people's meal plans and getting fresh, new ideas!

This week I wanted to see how cheaply I could feed us. I ended up spending only $45 at the store for the entire week's worth of food! I was pretty stoked about that. I'm usually really good at planning my meals around as much of what I already have on hand as possible, but this week I did an even better job than usual. Typically we spend anywhere from $60-$75 per week on groceries, so this was quite drastic difference. It helped that we stocked up a couple weeks ago on all the meat, so I didn't have to buy any of that this week. But still!

So, on the meal plan are (in no particular order):

Lemon linguine
Chicken and dumplings
Fettuccine Alfredo & rolls
Chicken poulet
Tuna noodle casserole
Chili mac

What's on your meal plan this week??


Chicken Enchilada Pasta

>> Friday, September 24, 2010

I stumbled across this gem of a recipe several months ago (my picture file says June) on a website called My Kitchen Cafe. I was frantically searching through my files trying to find a recipe to post. I stumbled across this one and can't believe I've neglected it before now! It's so super good. I was skeptical when I first read it because I thought, "Enchiladas and pasta? Together? Really?" But the combination is a perfect marriage of texture and flavor. It's just perfection.

This dish has the potential to be super spicy, depending on what kind of enchilada sauce you use. I use mild because I'm a, I mean, because my kids don't love spicy food. I made it once using medium enchilada sauce, and even that was a bit much for us. So if you're not big into spicy, make sure you use mild.

2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed or shredded
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
4-ounce can diced green chilies
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
2 (10-oz) cans green chili enchilada sauce
2/3 cup red enchilada sauce
1 can large black olives, cut in half
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
16-20 oz. penne pasta

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook the pasta until tender. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet and cook the onion for 2-3 minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic and red pepper and cook for another 2 minutes, until pepper is barely tender. Add the cooked chicken, green chilies, spices, enchilada sauces and olives. Let the sauce simmer for about 8-10 minutes. Add the sour cream and cheese and heat through, until the cheese is melted. Be careful not to boil the sauce, otherwise your dairy will curdle. Pour the sauce over the hot pasta. Garnish with extra sour cream, cheese, diced tomatoes, green onions, crushed tortilla chips, diced avocado, shredded lettuce, etc.

Have you ever tried something that originally sounded weird, but you ended up loving it?


Baked Spaghetti

>> Wednesday, September 22, 2010

This is another recipe I found on Full Bellies, Happy Kids. And oh. my. goodness. It was GOOD! Super good. I might need to get the cookbook she keeps referencing!

This is definitely not healthy food. But man alive, it is delish! It's totally worth the 5 hour workout you'll need after consumption to burn all those calories! ;-)

6 slices bacon
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped bell pepper
3 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes with liquid
1 2.25-ounce can sliced ripe black olives, drained
1–2 tablespoons dried oregano, according to taste
1 pound ground beef, browned and drained
12 ounces thin spaghetti, cooked and drained
2 cups grated cheddar cheese (5 ounces)
1 10-ounce can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350*. Grease a 9x13 baking dish.

In a large skillet, cook the bacon until slightly crisp, then chop into smaller pieces. Remove bacon from pan, then saute onion, garlic, and bell pepper in the bacon drippings until tender. Add the tomatoes, olives, oregano, bacon, and cooked ground beef. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.

Place half of prepared spaghetti in the prepared baking dish. Top spaghetti with half of the meat mixture, then sprinkle with 1 cup of cheese. Repeat layers.

Mix the canned soup and water until smooth, then pour evenly over the top of the spaghetti. Sprinkle the top with Parmesan.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, or until heated through.

Try not to eat it all in one sitting!

What's your favorite pasta recipe?