Monday, November 24, 2008

Hearty Winter Soup

This recipe originally came from my friend, Melissa. She served this to us at her house one night with homemade rolls and it was so delicious!!!!! Today was a colder day so it was the perfect soup day so I pulled out this recipe. Even the kids gobbled it up tonight...and they're not usually too thrilled w/ the veggies.

Here's the original recipe:

1 ½ cups water
1 cup cubed potatoes
½ cup chopped carrots
1 lb Velveeta cheese
1 cup cubed ham
dash pepper

Bring water, potatoes, and carrots to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes. Put in remainder of ingredients. Stir until cheese is melted.

Tonight I added chopped celery and frozen broccoli. It tasted just as good as usual and warmed us right up!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Beef Taco Skillet/Soup

Here's how I usually make this recipe:

1 lb ground beef
1 can tomato soup
1 cup salsa
½ cup water
8 flour tortillas, cut into 1” strips
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Cook beef in skillet until browned. Pour off fat. Add soup, salsa, water, tortillas, and half the cheese. Heat to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat 5 minutes or until hot. Top with remaining cheese.

This time I added 1 can of kidney beans drained and about 1 cup frozen corn. We ate this more like a taco soup. We ate it with tortilla chips. It was very yummy and hit the spot on a cool day!

Sorry for the somewhat disgusting picture...I took the picture as one of the kids dished up their second-helping and the last of the pan so I needed a picture before it was gone!!

Peanut Butter Cups

This is a recipe I received when I was in high school from a friend from church. My favorite candy bar is a Reese's Peanut Butter you can see why I like this quick, easy substitute :)

4 large graham crackers
1 cup peanut butter
1 ¾ cups powdered sugar
½ cup butter or margarine, melted
1 large chocolate bar or chocolate chips

Put graham crackers in a plastic bag or between sheets of waxed paper. Crush with a rolling pin or hammer. Pour in mixing bowl. Blend in melted butter with cracker crumbs, peanut butter, and powdered sugar until completely mixed. Press into an 8-inch square pan. Melt chocolate bar or chocolate chips. Spread chocolate over peanut butter mixture. Let cool and cut into bars.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Mandarian Orange Salad

I had a salad similar to this at a family reunion this summer made by my CIL, Melissa. It was so delicious that I searched the internet. This is as close as I've come to her actual recipe so far:


1/2 c. sliced blanched almonds
1/2 c. sugar


1 tsp. salt
Dash pepper
4 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. parsley
4 tbsp. vinegar
1/2 c. salad oil
Dash hot pepper sauce (I just use a little salsa)


1 head Romaine lettuce
2 c. chopped celery (I haven't added this)
4 chopped green onions (I haven't added this)
1 (15 oz.) can mandarin oranges

To caramelize almonds, cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sugar melts and sticks to nuts. Remove immediately from heat and cool in pan. Break into pieces. (Can be done ahead.)

Combine all dressing ingredients; shake until well mixed; chill.

Just before serving, assemble salad; toss with dressing and sprinkle 1/2 cup almonds on top.

Maria's Italian Meatballs

I just tried these on Friday night for "witches' eyeballs" in our brains (spaghetti) we had for dinner on Friday night. They were pretty good...but Dave and I really think they need a little bit more spice. They were just right for the kids so that's why I'm sharing :)

1 lb hamburger
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 egg (or 1/3 cup water)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic (this could of been part of the problem since I had to use garlic powder rather than a clove of garlic because I was actually out of garlic...which is kind of crazy since it seems I usually have 2-3 heads in the fridge at all times)
salt & pepper

Mix all ingredients together. If you use the water rather than the egg, don't add all of the water at one time. Mixture should be moist but not so that the meatballs fall apart. Shape meatballs to desired size and place on a broiler pan (I just used a glass 9x13 pan). Broil until outside is slightly brown on one side and then turn and broil the other side (I found that on high broil it took just under 3 minutes on each side). When finished, add to spaghetti sace and simmer at least 20 minutes. I added mine to a crockpot with spaghetti sauce and cooked on low for about 4 hours.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

November Menu

Yes, I really do try to stay as close as possible to this menu for the month. Although, like any "normal" family, we have crazy days and things don't happen as planned so I haven't adjust here and there. And let's face it, some days I just don't feel like making what I have planned. But I would say about 90 percent the time, it's just easier to stick with the plan...that's how I am :)

Mexican Salad
Chicken Roll-Ups
Cheesy Chicken Over Noodles
Super Breakfast
Beef & Broccoli Stir-Fry
Pigs in a Blanket
Crock Pot Chicken
Cheesy Chowder
Ham & Baked Potatoes
Chicken Enchiladas
Tator Tot Casserole
Tuna Casserole
Jerk Chicken
Cinnamon French Toast
Fried Rice
Chicken Tomato Garlic Alfredo
Beef Stew & Rolls
Idaho Chicken
Beef Enchiladas
Taco Trimmed Tators

Taco Trimmed Tators

This recipe is from my Aunt Trice. It adds a nice flavor to a "regular" baked potato.

1 lb hamburger
½ cup minced onion
¼ cup water
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp oregano
½ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp pepper
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cumin
¼ cup chili salsa or tomato sauce
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (garnish)
½ cup sour cream (garnish)
6 baked potatoes

Brown beef and onion. Crumble the meat and add the remaining ingredients and simmer 2-3 minutes. Top the baked potatoes with the beef, then grated cheese, and sour cream.

Beef Enchiladas

This recipe is my mom's. Every time I make it I can't help but think of my grandpa and grandma Roberts. I remember going over to their house and making enchiladas with my mom. My Grandpa...the stubborn guy that he was...would always be so upset that we would bring our food over to feed him. I miss his you, Grandpa!

Brown 1 lb of hamburger. Add chopped onions if desired. Add ½ to 1 can of enchilada sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes. In a 9x13 pan, cover the bottom with a thin layer of enchilada sauce. Spoon meat into a tortilla shell, topped with chopped olives, and grated cheese. Roll tortilla and put in pan. Continue with tortillas until meat is gone. Top tortillas with enchilada sauce and cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

I've made one adjustment to this recipe...I usually add one can of refried beans to the hamburger. Everything I do the same as mom. :)

Idaho Chicken

This recipe is from my Aunt Trice. I made this a lot when we were first married because it was quick and easy when we were both gone so much. After about 2 years of marriage, Dave told me that he really didn't like this dish. I couldn't believe that he was just telling me this after 2 years....he told me that he knew how much I liked it so that's why he didn't tell me...TRUE LOVE! So I try to only make this when I know he won't be home because I really do like this dish :)

4 chicken breast halves
1 tsp onion flakes
3 lg potatoes
½ tsp pepper
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 cube margarine (optional...I don't usually use this)
½ cup milk
½ tsp garlic salt

Set chicken in a greased 9x13 pan. Slice potatoes into bite-size pieces, surrounding the chicken. Melt the margarine and pour over chicken and potatoes. Add milk to the soup and stir. Pour over the potatoes and chicken. Sprinkle with onion flakes, garlic salt, and pepper. Bake at 375 for 1 ½ hours or until chicken is brown.

Fried Rice

This recipe comes from my Aunt Trice.

3 strips bacon, diced
¾ cup chopped green onion
1/3 cup red or green pepper, diced (I just add a mix of fresh veggies...the more the better)
2 eggs, beaten
4 cups cooked rice
2 TBL soy sauce

Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towel. Add onions and peppers. Stir fry 1 minute. Add eggs and scramble. Stir in rice and cook until heated, gently separating grains. Add soy sauce and bacon. Cook and stir until thoroughly heated. Serve immediately.

Jerk Chicken

This recipe is from my sister-in-law, Cara. It's a nice variation on grilled chicken.

8 chicken portions
Oil, for brushing
salt and black pepper

1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
2 tsp brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 TBL vinegar
2 TBL oil
1 TBL lime juice
1 hot fresh chili, chopped

To make marinade, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mash them together well to form a thick paste. Lay chicken portions on a plate/board and make several lengthwise slits in the flesh. Rub the seasoning all over the chicken and into slits. Place chicken portions in a dish, cover with plastic wrap and marinate for several hours (overnight is best) in the fridge. Preheat grill. Shake off any excess seasoning from chicken. Brush with oil. Place chicken either on baking sheet or directly on grill. Cook on grill until juices run clear, turning often.

Tuna Casserole

This is the only thing I'll eat that contains tuna...I'm NOT a fan of tuna fish...too many long hours on warm buses with other people's smelly lunches. This recipe comes from my mom.

Boil noodles. Drain. In a 9x13 baking dish, combine noodles, tuna, 1 can of cream of mushroom soup, and grated cheese. Bake at 375 for 35 minutes. I remember sometimes my mom would add crushed potato chips to the top of this casserole.

Tator Tot Casserole

Of course, I grew up eating this casserole (one more thing Mom could make out of hamburger since we had a plethora of living on a farm). When I went to college, my roommate Clarice introduced me to the "variation" of adding green peas...which I really enjoy! I've also added grated cheese a few times just to entice the kids a little more and "mask" the green veggies.

¾ lb hamburger
1 can cream of mushroom
½ bag of tater tots
½ bag of frozen peas (I'm sure you could easily substitute most frozen veggies here...but I haven't been that adventurous yet :)

Brown hamburger, add cream of mushroom, peas, and half of tater tots. Mix until the mixture is warm. Put into a pan and spread the rest of the tater tots on top. Put in oven at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Cover with foil until almost done and then uncover to crispy tater tots.

ETA 9/5/2016:  I made this for a freezer meal swap.  The only change would be to cook it at 350 for 1 hour since it would be frozen at the start.

Crock Pot Chicken Dinner

This recipe is from my mom...simple to make...just throw everything in the crock pot...but very yummy! I like to start mine in the morning and let it cook all day though....just because I would forget if I tried to start it in the middle of the day. This is very yummy served with rolls or breadsticks.

Dice: Chicken, potatoes, carrots, and onions. Layer in this order in crock pot. Add 1 can cream of mushroom soup and 1 can of cream of chicken soup. Sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper. Turn on crock pot on high (3-4 hours). Stir occasionally.

Pigs in a Blanket

This is definitely a stand-by recipe when nothing else seems to please the kiddos :)

1 package hot dogs
1 pkg refrigerator biscuits (crescent rolls work best)
Sliced cheese

Slice hot dogs lengthwise. Insert piece of cheese. Wrap biscuits around hot dog. Cook in oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until biscuit is cooked thoroughly.

Hamburger Pie/Sheperd's Pie

This is a recipe that I grew up on with a slight cousin Gayleen adds BBQ sauce to her' definitely adds a little zing to a sometimes boring casserole.

1 lb. ground beef
1 md. onion
1 pint jar of tomato sauce (16 oz)
1 pint of green beans (1 can from store)
BBQ sauce ( about 1/2-3/4 cup, just add as much as you like)
Mashed potatoes
Cheddar cheese

I brown the hamburger and the onions, then I add the tomato sauce and BBQ sauce. let simmer until thickness you'd like. Add the green beans to mixture and put in bottom of 9x13 casserole dish. Next layer on the mashed potatoes, the add cheese on top.

Beef & Broccoli Stir-Fry

1 lb Round steak cut crosswise (very thin slices)
½ cup water, divided
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 TBL brown sugar
3 TBL white grape juice (I've substituted vinegar and it works just the same)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cornstarch
3 TBL oil
4 cup broccoli
1 large onion, cut in wedges

Marinate steak in mixture of ¼ cup water, soy sauce, brown sugar, grape juice, garlic, ginger, and cornstarch at least 10 minutes. Drain well, reserving marinade. Heat oil in skillet. Add steak slices, half at a time, and stir-fry over high heat until browned. Remove from skillet, set aside. Add broccoli and onion to skillet. Stir-fry for 1 minute. Add remaining ¼ cup water. Cover and steam 3 minutes or until broccoli is crisp and tender. Return meat to skillet with marinade. Stir-fry to heat thoroughly. Serve over rice.

Cheesy Chicken

6 boneless chicken breasts
¼ tsp salt, or to taste
¼ tsp black pepper, or to taste
¼ tsp garlic powder, or to taste
2 cans (10.75-oz) cream of chicken soup
1 can (10.75-oz) cheddar cheese soup

Rinse chicken and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Mix undiluted soup and pour over chicken in a crock pot. Cook on low all day (6 to 8 hours). Serve over rice or noodles.

Santa Fe Salad

My mother-in-law made this AWESOME salad when we were visited her this summer. She got the recipe from her daughter Emily.

Romaine Lettuce
1 can corn, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 avocado, diced
1 tomato, diced
Chicken, cooked/grilled (can use lemon pepper to taste), diced

Combine ingredients together in a salad bowl. Pour tortillas chips on plate and smash. Top with salad. Original recipe calls for blending ranch dressing and salsa together…we just used salsa and/or our choice of salad dressing.