Mom's Overnight Egg Bake

This is the last recipe from Christmas I have to post. I actually made it for us for dinner last night because I had coupons for croutons and sausage and Mike really likes it. Thanks for the recipe Mom :-)!

2 1/2 Cups Seasoned Croutons (1 normal sized box)
2 Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 Jimmy Dean Sausage Roll (we like spicy)
8 Eggs
3 Cups Milk, divided
1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup (I used 98% FF)

Grease 9 X 13 inch pan. Layer Croutons, cheese and cooked, drained sausage. Beat eggs and 2 1/2 cups milk. Pour over ingredients. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, Mix mushroom soup and remaining 1/2 cup milk. Pour over eggs. Bake, uncovered, at 300 degrees 1 1/2 hours, until brown.

French Onion Soup

This was a recipe featured on The Lil' Peanut Patch and I've been wanting it ever since I saw it! I was a little nervous, but was very pleased with how it turned out!

5-6 medium sweet onions, cut in 1/2 and then sliced (so you have a bunch of 1/2 circles)
4-5 Tbsp. butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 tsp. thyme
1/2 cup sherry cooking wine
6 cups beef broth
3-4 Tbsp. worcestershire sauce
loaf of french bread (I just put croutons in Mike's and skipped it altogether in mine to leave it sans gluten)
sliced mozzarella or swiss cheese (we used Swiss)

Heat a deep pot over medium-med/high heat. Add butter and onions. Cook and stir occasionally until they are somewhat caramelized. Then, season with salt, pepper, and thyme. Add sherry to the pot, slowly deglazing the pan as you pour it in. Then add the beef broth and worcestershire sauce. Let the soup sit on med/low heat for at least 20 minutes.

While soup is simmering, turn on your oven to broil. Toast both sides of a thick slice of french bread. Then, place broiler safe bowls onto a cookie sheet and ladle the soup into your bowls, add the toasted bread (push it lightly into the soup) and lay a slice of cheese on top. Broil until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned. YUM!

Puffed Pancakes

Another stolen recipe from my mom...we had it with our Christmas Day brunch. Ella LOVED them :-) and next time she wants pancakes I think this is what I'll do...much less time consuming that making a whole batch of actual pancakes!

1/2 cube butter (not margarine)
6 eggs
1 cup Milk
1 Cup Pancake Mix (or Bisquick)

Preheat oven to 425 Degrees. Place butter in a 9 X 13 inch pan. Put in preheating oven until butter is melted. In a blender, combine eggs, milk and pancake mix. Pour batter into baking dish. Bake for a bout 15 - 18 Minutes until pancakes are puffy and lightly browned. Do not open oven while pancakes are cooking. Top with sifted powder sugar.

Serve with warm maple syrup or fruit toppings.

24 Hour Salad

My mom has made this salad for our Christmas Eve dinner ever since I can remember! The first Christmas Mike and I had together I made it for the two of us, not a good idea. It makes a lot and it doesn't save longer than a day, but it was delicious!

6 Cups lettuce chopped
Sugar, Salt, Pepper
6 Hard Boiled Eggs, sliced
1 10 oz. pkg. Frozen Peas thawed
1 lb. Bacon , cooked and crumbled
1/4 C. sliced green onions
2 Cups( 8 oz.) shredded Swiss Cheese
1 cup Mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream

In a large salad bowl, place 3 cups lettuce. Sprinkle with sugar, salt and pepper. Layer in order the eggs, peas, bacon, remaining 3 cups lettuce, green onions and cheese. Combine mayonnaise and sour cream, spread over top of salad. Cover, refrigerate 24 hrs. Toss before serving.


Tonight I made Sweet and Spicy Slow Cooker Chicken and was planning on using it to make tacos, but then I decided to try making some home made taquitos instead...and they were delicious (although less healthy!)!

-shredded chicken, beef or pork
-shredded cheese
-tortillas of choice (I used corn to be gluten free but I'm sure flour would be easier to work with)
-oil for frying!

-Heat enough oil in pan to cover tortillas when rolled up.
-Place a small amount of cheese down center of tortilla, then top with some of your meat mixture (to make my corn tortillas easier to work with I place 3 in a paper towel, wrap them up and heat in microwave for 30 seconds).
-Tightly roll up tortilla and place 1 or 2 toothpicks in to hold in place.
-Place in hot oil until they turn golden brown.

Sweet and Spicy Slow-Cooker Chicken

I found this recipe on My Kitchen Cafe. The chicken turned out really well, but was definitely more sweet than spicy (I only used 1/4 t. red pepper). I definitely plan to make it again...we could use it for tacos one night and then put it in tortilla soup the next night (tonight I tried it in homemade taquitos). I will however add some additional spices though (extra red pepper, some cumin, maybe some chili powder and garlic salt) and I'll probably add some sliced onions as well. It was super easy and definitely worth a shot!

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 (14 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I will use at least 1/2 next time)

Place all ingredients in the crock pot. Cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 8-10 hours, or until chicken shreds very easily with a fork. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Chicken will absorb liquid after it is shredded.)

Chicken and Rice Bowls

This meal idea comes from Taste Buds and was a nice change from our stir fry meals. I only marinaded the chicken for a few hours because I didn't read the recipe close enough the first time through, but it was still tasty...and healthy too! I was reminded of Teriyaki Stix by this meal (and Sara's short lived work experience there).

-chicken breasts
-equal parts teriyaki sauce & fat free italian dressing
-1-2 cloves garlic, minced
-veggies of choice
-rice of choice

-combine sauce, dressing, garlic and chicken in a ziploc bag & marinade over night.
-roast or grill chicken (I used my George Foreman grill!) and serve over steamed brown or white rice with your steamed veggies of choice.

White Chiken Chili

This was THE perfect meal for our chilly day today! I LOVED it...SO easy and flavorful! I came across the blog Delicioius Dishes at some point while looking for recipes at the beginning of this week and this was definitely a winner!

3 chicken breasts, cubed (I used 1 can)
1 med. Onion, chopped
1 ½ tsp. garlic powder
1 T. vegetable oil

Saute until chicken is golden brown and add:
2 cans (15oz) great northern beans (drain and rinse)
1 (14.5 oz) can of chicken broth
2 cans (4 oz) of green chilies
1 T. jalapenos (I didn't have and it was still VERY flavorful)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp. black pepper

Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and add:
1 C. sour cream
½ pint whipping cream

Stir in and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve with chips, avocado and cheese.

Cream of Rice

No recipe here...just a gluten-free breakfast idea for winter. I LOVED this growing up!
Follow directions on Cream of Rice box to prepare.
Then add LOTS of brown sugar, some butter and milk.
It's like our version of oatmeal :-).

Chili-Beef Soft Tacos

This is another mystery recipe...I ripped it out of a magazine long ago, but all identifying information was cut off. You can't go wrong with shredded beef tacos in my opinion and these definitely didn't disappoint! And they are so easy; just throw it in the crock pot in the morning and by evening you're ready to dig in.

-2 16-oz. jars mild or med tomato-based salsa (4 c.)
-2 T. cider vinegar
-5 t. chili powder
-1 1/2 lb. beef chuck pot roast
-12 corn tortillas
-sour cream, shredded lettuce, avocado (and cheese if you're like me)

-Spoon 1 c. salsa into small bowl; reserve. In slow cooker, combine remaining sals with vinegar and chili powder. Add beef, cover and turn heat to low. Cook until beef shreds easily with a fork, 10-12 hours. Shred meat, meat using 2 forks and spoon into serving bowl.
-Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Stack tortillas, wrap in foil and bake until warm, about 10 minutes. Serve with sour cream, lettuce, avocado and remaining salsa.

2 Pot Roast Recipes

Mike's Favorite Pot Roast(from a church cookbook)
-1 can cream of mushroom soup (we use 98%FF)
-1 envelope onion soup mix
-1/2 c. milk
-beef chuck roast (about 2 lbs.)

-Sprinkle roast with salt and pepper and place in crock pot on low setting.
-Mix together soup, soup mix and milk. Pour over roast.
-Cook on low 8-10 hours until meat is done, stirring occasionally.
Serve with mashed potatoes and use sauce in crock pot as gravy.

Marci's Favorite Pot Roast (from Better Homes and Garden cookbook)
-beef chuck roast
-2 T. cooking oil
-3/4 c. water or dry wine
-1 t. beef bouillon granules
-1 T. Worcestershire
-1 t. dried basil, crushed
-2 medium potatoes, sliced
-handful baby carrots or 2 carrots, sliced
-1 onion, sliced

-Place veggies at the bottom of crockpot. Place roast on top.
-Combine water, Worcestershire sauce, bouillon, and basil.
-Pour over meat and vegetables. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 8-10 hours.
(For gravy: Measure pot juices and add water if need to equal 1 1/2 cups. Combine 1/4 c. flour/cornstarch with 1/2 c. cold water. Stir into juices until thickend and bubbly.)

Mom's Taco Soup

My mom makes this every Halloween and we all love it. Scott even requested it for his birthday dinner one year :-). It's like a chili with a Mexican twist...perfect for fall!

-1 can chili beans (15 oz)
-1 lb. hamburger
-1 chopped onion
-1 can tomato soup (8 oz)
-1 can water (8 oz)
-1 can whole stewed tomatoes (28 oz)
-1 can kidney beans (15 oz)
-1 can green chilies (4 oz)
-1 can whole kernel corn
-1 package taco seasoning
*brown sugar
-Toppings: crushed tortilla chips, cilantro, cheese, sour cream, green onions, avocado.

-Brown hamburger and onion and drain fat.
-Combine all ingredeitns and simmer at least 2 hours or cook in crockpot.
*Add brown sugar to taste...this really makes the difference!
-Top as desired!

Classic Hashbrown Casserole

I just made these on a whim yesterday...I saw the words "potato casserole" somewhere, this came to mind and I had to have it :-). When Mike and I first got married we had this for dinner probably once a week (no wonder I gained weight!) and I hadn't made it in forever. It tastes just as good use FF creamed soup and FF sour cream and it would have saved me a few pounds I'm sure.

-1 package frozen hash browns
-1 can cream chicken soup (can use FF)
-1 chopped onion
-1 container (16 oz) sour cream (can use FF or light)
-1 stick butter (I think just 2 T. is good enough)
-shredded cheddar cheese

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Place butter, sliced, in bottom of 9x13 baking dish with onion while you mix the other ingredients (for the cheese, I put one handful in the mix and use the rest to top the casserole at the end) until onions are clear.
-Mix onions in with other ingredients and spread the mixture in dish.
-Bake for 30-45 minutes. Add cheese to top during last 10 min. of baking.

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Thanks to Annemarie (Taste Buds) for this festive cookie idea :-). The girls and I made up some little plates for the librarians at our library last night and they turned out so cute. I'm not a baker, so the fact that they turned out presentable was definitely a success :-)!

1/2 cup butter; room temp
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg; room temp
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
Hershey Kisses

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together butter and peanut butter. Mix in both sugars, vanilla and egg. Combine dry ingredients and stir to combine. Add to peanut butter mixture & mix just until combined. Roll dough into 1" balls, roll in granulated sugar and place on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 6-8 min. Remove from oven and immediately press Hershey Kiss into center of cookie (I put mine in the fridge while the cookies are baking).

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

I took the beginnings of this recipe from one I found on All Recipes and went from there. My pumpkin seeds always tend to get overdone. I only had them in about 40 minutes and some of them were still a little burned. I put them on a baking sheet though I just realized so maybe that was the problem. The flavors in this are great - just watch them closely while they bake!

3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon seasoned sale
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3 cups raw whole pumpkin seeds
(optional: 1/4 t. chili powder)

-Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
-Combine the butter, salts, garlic salt, Worcestershire sauce and pumpkin seeds. Mix thoroughly and place in shallow baking dish.
-Bake for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Cheesy Baked Mexi Rigatoni

This is the first recipe I have tried from Picky Palate and it was pretty good. The more I ate, the more I liked it. Ella and Addie both LOVED it and wanted more (although while Ella didn't eat the tomatoes, Addie picked them out to eat first). We used ground turkey instead of beef and I didn't have any chilies, but we'll definitely make it again! (oh, and I made a half recipe of it and it was plenty for the 4 of us)

1 lb dry Rigatoni pasta or any other pasta of choice (we used our Gluten Free Penne)
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 Anaheim green chili’s finely chopped
1 lb lean ground beef
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon Lawry’s garlic salt
1 can cheddar cheese soup
½ Cup milk or half and half
1 Cup sour cream
2 15 oz cans fire roasted tomatoes
Heaping ½ Cup fresh chopped cilantro leaves (add more if you love cilantro)
2 Cups Mexican blend shredded cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook pasta according to package directions, making sure it’s not overcooked. Drain and set aside.
2. Place olive oil into a large skillet or pan over medium heat. Saute onions and chilies until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in beef, salt, pepper and garlic salt; cook and crumble until browned. Stir in soup, milk, sour cream and tomatoes. Stir until well combined. Reduce heat to low. Stir in cilantro and cooked pasta.
3. Pour mixture into a large 9 x 13 inch baking dish or individual size baking dishes of choice, see my link above. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and bake until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 20-25 minutes. (I broiled mine a minute or two at the end)

Black-Eyed Pea Jambalaya

Sorry for the lack of posts this week - I haven't felt like cooking much. But today Mckell made this for us for lunch and it was DELICIOUS!!!!

2 cans Trappey's black-eyed peas with Jalapenos (undrained)
1 1/2 cups uncooked rice
1 med. onion, chopped
1 can beef broth
1/2 c. butter (we put in 1/4 c.)
1 lb. smoked sausage, cut in pieces
Chopped garlic, salt and pepper to taste

Fry sausage pieces. When almost done, saute onion & garlic.
Combine the black eye peas, rice, onions, beef broth, butter, and sausage in electric rice cooker. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
Cook according to the instructions on the rice cooker.
Gently stir once when cooker reaches the warm mode.

Gluten Free Pad Thai

This was one of the first recipes I tried when I found the Kill the Gluten blog. It gets better each time we make it I think. I added my alterations in italics.

1 box Original Pad Thai
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced thin
we use 1 can chicken and season with 1/2 t. each pepper, garlic salt, onion salt and 1 t. curry
3 Tbsp oil, divided
I use 1/2 sesame oil, 1/2 canola or veggie oil
1 egg, scrambled (we like 2)
2 green onions, sliced
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 lime...optional (I forgot tonight and it still tasted great)
2 Tbsp peanuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 c. shredded carrots
- Boil 4 cups water. Add the noodles and remove from heat. Let the noodles soak for about 5-8 minutes, then drain and run under cold water.
- In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp oil. Add egg(s) and cook until done. Remove the egg and set aside.
- Add the other 2 Tbsp oil and heat. Add the chicken (and carrots) to the skillet, cooking until just done, about 3-5 minutes. Add the noodles and the sauce packet. Stir fry for a few minutes, or until the noodles are done, adding water if necessary to keep them from sticking to the skillet.
- Add the egg, green onions, cilantro, and squeeze the juice from the lime over the top. Stir for 1 minute and remove from heat.
- Garnish with peanuts. (and some soy sauce if desired)

Kelley's Banana Bread

This is my mom's is delicious :-)!!!

2 c. sugar
1 c. oil
1 tsp. allspice
3 bananas, mashed (I double the bananas)
4 eggs
2 1/2 c. flour
1 t tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda

Combine all ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 t0 50 minutes. Makes 2 loaves.

Liz's Red Beans and Rice

This recipe is passed on from one of my old college roommates, Liz. It was delicious!!!

1 – 16 oz. package of Kielbasa cut into ¼ inch slices (any sausage would do)
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
2 – 15 oz. cans red beans, drained (we used light red Kidney beans)
1 – 16 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained (per her suggestion we used Rotel for some spice)
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. pepper and salt
cooked rice

While rice is cooking, in large skillet cook sausage over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes.
Stir in onion, green pepper, and garlic. Sauté until tender.
Pour in beans and tomatoes. Season with oregano, salt, and pepper.
Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes serve over rice.

Optional garnish from Liz: "We always have limes in our fridge, so once when we made this we squeezed a lime wedge on it and it was really good. Now we do it all the time!"

Mom's Green Beans

My mom has always been a green bean lover...I, on the other hand, have grown to appreciate them :-). Recently though I have really been loving them, so I finally asked her how she does it! Whenever my mom makes them when we are over for dinner, the girls can't get enough of them, so I figured I may as well start making myself every once in awhile. Tonight was our first attempt and they were DELICIOUS!

- canned green beans
- butter
- Goya All Purpose Seasoning (with the RED cap)
- Dump beans into sauce pan with a generous amount of butter (I put 1 1/2 T. for 1 can of beans tonight).
- Season with Goya salt and pepper...lots of both, to taste.
- Let the flavors mix together and enjoy!

Favorite Potato Soup

When I graduated high school my church Young Women leader gave us each a little cookbook she had compiled. Some of our favorite family recipes are from her (ie.Creamy Lemon Chicken), including the base recipe for this soup. I change this one up depending on my mood and who is going to eat it. When I make it for just us girls, I put in lots of frozen broccoli and no meat, but for Mike we add some meat to make it a little more hearty :-). Tonight I had bacon and half and half in the fridge for other recipes this week so we threw those in. It was delicious as always!

- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1/2 c. onion, diced
- 2-4 T. butter
- 1 t. garlic, minced
- 3-4 potatoes, diced
- 2 c. water (or enough to cover potatoes)
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 t. pepper
- 1/2 t. seasoned salt
- 4 T. flour/cornstarch
- 2 c. milk
Optional: diced ham/bacon, corn, broccoli, shredded cheese

- Melt butter in large pot; Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic, saute until tender.
- Add potatoes, water and spices (and any frozen veggies). Cook until potatoes are tender.
- Combine flour/cornstarch and a small amount of water to make a paste; add to pot.
- Add milk; cook on low heat until thickened.
- Add ham and/or cheese; stir through till heated.

Thai Chicken Curry

This recipe comes from Jamie's Cookbook and it is DELICIOUS! I seriously had to come upstairs to get away from it and stop eating :-)! Thai inspired dishes are definitely her speciality, so check it out (most are gluten free too). Yum, Yum, YUM!!!

- 1 large chicken breast
- 1 (13.5 oz) can coconut milk
- 1/2 cup golden raisins (I used 1/3 and was pleasantly surprised, we are not raisin lovers over here!)
- 1 medium yellow onion, cut into wide slices
- 1 medium tomato, cut into thick 1 inch pieces
- 1 bunch asparagus or green beans, ends cut off and then cut into thirds (I used green beans)
- 1 1/2 T. Thai red curry paste
- 1-2 t. curry powder
- 1 t. salt
- 1/2 t.pepper
Optional Ingredients:
- pineapple
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/4 cup water (I added the water and a little more curry powder to provide some extra sauce and was glad I did!)
INSTEAD OF CURRY PASTE: 1 tbsp fresh ginger, 1 tsp curry powder, 1 tsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp cayenne

- Cut chicken into thin strips. Season with curry and broil on low, DO NOT overcook as it will simmer later.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large pan. Saute onions first, add asparagus/beans, then add tomatoes.
- Add the following ingredients one at a time and taste it as you go: raisins, curry paste, coconut milk, curry powder, salt, pepper, chicken.
- Simmer and taste and re-season until you can't wait anymore. (I thought it was great as is)
- Serve with steamed rice.

EASY Peanut Butter Cookies

I found this great, AND gluten-free, cookie recipe in this month's Parents magazine! I figured with only 3 ingredients (4 ingredients if you add chocolate chips like us), even I could probably manage these without messing them up :-)! They were easy and delicious...even Mike liked them and he is quite the cookie expert.

- 1 c. peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
- 1 c. sugar, plus more for rolling
- 1 egg
(we doubled it and had about 24 cookies)
- chocolate chips, if desired

- Heat oven to 375 degrees. Stir together peanut butter, sugar, and egg in large mixing bowl.
- Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Put some sugar on a plate and roll balls in it to coat. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
- Press each ball down with a fork to make a crisscross design. Bake for 10 minutes or until cookies just start to brown on the edges. Remove from the oven and cool on wire racks.

Southwest Brown Rice & Black Bean Burgers

I'm stealing yet another recipe from Taste Buds :-)...AnneMarie keeps posting yummy gluten-free food that I just have to try (not to mention this is meatless and I needed one for the week)! These were SO good! While I was just mixing all the ingredients together I knew we had a winner because it already smelled delicious. Addie devoured hers! We served them with sour cream and salsa on top, tortilla chips, and a green salad.

- 2 cups brown rice, cooked
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1-3 tablespoons minced jalapeno or green chilies, (canned is fine)
- 1/4 cup salsa
- 1 egg white
- 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup flour/rice flour
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- cheese to top

- Mix rice, beans, chili powder, cumin, salt, garlic, onion, cilantro, chilies, salsa, and egg white in large bowl. Mixture will be very moist.
- Add flour, using only enough so that you can shape the mixture into patties. Dust the outside of the patties lightly with flour.
- Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil and warm. Add patties and cook until nicely browned, about 3-4 minutes per side.
- Sprinkle with cheese, reduce heat to low and cover with lid to melt cheese.

Chicken and Rice Bake

As soon as I saw this recipe on Taste Buds, I knew I would love it! What I didn't realize until I actually began making it tonight is that it has many of the same ingredients as one of our all time favorites, Creamy Lemon Chicken on Rice! It was sure to be hit and it definitely was! A great new take on one of our usuals! AnneMarie's pictures are WAY better by the way!

- 1 1/2 c. rice
- 3 c. water
- 4 chicken breasts, cubed and cooked with salt,pepper,onion powder and garlic powder (I used a can and simmered it with the seasonings for a little while)
- 1/2 c. plain yogurt (or FF sour cream)
- 1/2 c. light mayonnaise
- 1 can cream of chicken soup (fat free)
- 1 T. fresh lemon juice
-salt and pepper to taste
-3/4 cup corn flakes, crushed
-1 T. melted butter

- Add water and rice to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Put a lid on it and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 20 minutes. Set aside.
- Mix yogurt, mayo, chicken soup, lemon juice, and salt and pepper until creamy and smooth. Add chicken and rice and mix well.
- Scoop into individual ramekins or a baking pan and top with crushed corn flakes and drizzle with butter.
-Put into a 350 degree oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.

Flourless Chocolate Cookies

Thank you Grandma for thinking of me when you saw this recipe in the Houston Chronicle! Although I enjoy cooking, I am not the greatest "baker" and I like to blame it on the fact that most baked goods include flour as an ingredient. I'll type the directions as printed in the paper, but I had to make do with what I had (a normal mixing attachment, aluminum foil and 1 baking sheet). This is the only cookie that turned out "pretty" but they all tasted great and that's what counts, right?!

-1/2 c. plus 3 T. Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 3 c. confectioners' sugar (I had to call my mom and see if that meant powdered or regular sugar :-)'s powdered)
- pinch salt
- 2 3/4 c. walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 4 egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 T. vanilla extract

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Combine the cocoa, sugar, salt and walnuts in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 1 minute. With the mixer running, slowly add the egg whites and vanilla. Mix on medium speed for 3 minutes, until the mixture has thickened slightly. Do not overmix.
- With a 2-ounce cookie or ice cream scoop, or a generous tablespoon, scoop the batter onto the prepared baking sheets, to make cookies that are 4 in. in diameter. Space the cookies widely.
- Put the cookies in the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 320 degrees. Bake about 15 minutes, or until small, thin cracks appear on the surface. Switch the pan halfway through baking. Pull the parchment paper with the cookies onto a wire cooling rack. Cool completely before removing cookies from the paper.

Cafe Rio Pork Salad...Freefam Recipe

We just arrived home from visiting Mike's fam in San Antonio. One thing I always look forward to while there is their nearly perfect replica of the Cafe Rio Pork Salad. Through much trial and error they have altered the recipe many times trying to get it just right. I wasn't sure I should post it after all their hard work, but Chrissy posted it awhile back, so I'm assuming I'm safe :-). If you have never enjoyed the real thing you will still find the salad delicious and if you have, and miss it like I do, you will be in heaven!

Without further adieu...
For the Pork:
Buy the cheapest 4 lb pork roast you can find, cut in half and sprinkle with garlic salt, salt and pepper and fry it to brown it. Put it in a crock-pot (or regular baking pan) with 1 cup of brown sugar, 2 cup of Coca Cola (regular), and 1 cup of Salsa. Roast until the pork pulls apart easily and is tender.
(last successful ratios tired: 5 lb roast, 3 c Coke, 1 1/2 c brown sugar and 1 1/2 cups Salsa)

For the Dressing:(this stuff is SOOO good, I could drink it :-), well maybe not, but it is great to dip chips in too)
2 cups Mayo
2 cups of Sour Cream
10 sprigs of cilantro
3 tomatillos
2 green onions
2 clove garlic
2 jalapeno peppers
juice of 1 lime
1 1/2 t salt
Blend all ingredients to let them sit over night!

I used this Cilantro Lime Rice recipe and this Garlic Black Beans recipe the last time and thought it was even better!

To Assemble:
Flour Tortilla (using uncooked ones that you heat yourself is best)
Black Beans
Dallop of Guac and some chips on the side

Thai Tuna Wraps

This recipe comes from Pampered Chef's Main Dishes cookbook. It is a nice cool meal for the summer time (which will be here awhile longer for us) and would also make a great lunch or even an appetizer if cut in thin slices. I thought the wraps were really good...not to mention a great way to use a can of tuna :-)! I served them with chips and cubed cantaloupe...delish!
**Mike approved of this meal too and wraps are not usually his thing so that says something :-)**

- 2 T. lime juice
- 1/2 c. FF mayonnaise, divided (you don't need a whole 1/2 c. - you use 2 T. in the sauce and the rest you spread as you wish on the tortillas before wrapping...I used light Miracle Whip)
- 1 T. soy sauce
- 1 T. sugar
- 3 c. cabbage, chopped
- 1 med. carrot, shredded
- 3 green onions with tops, thinly sliced
- 2 T. cilantro, snipped
- 1 can (6 oz) tuna, drained and flaked
- 1 med. red bell pepper
- 6 (8 in) flour tortillas
- 12-18 large spinach leaves

I will be omitting the irritating plugs for Pampered Chef products included in their recipes :-)
- Whisk together lime juice, 2 T. of mayonnaise, soy sauce and sugar in a bowl.
- Chop cabbage. Shred carrot. Slice green onions. Snip cilantro.
- Add cabbage, carrot, green onions, cilantro and tuna to soy sauce mixture; mix lightly. Cut bell pepper into thin strips.
- For each wrap, spread tortilla with 1 T. remaining mayo. Top with 1/2 c. tuna mixture. Cover with 2 or 3 spinach leaves and 4 bell pepper strips. Roll up tortilla tightly.
- Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling. To serve cut each roll in half diagonally.

Rice and Lentil Pilaf

Yum! I have definitely been converted into a lentil eater (remember the Lentil Curry)! I found this recipe through Swanson's website and it easy, healthy and tasty (I did add a little garlic salt and lots of pepper to ours)!

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup sliced celery
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 3/4 cups Vegetable Broth (1 can)
1/2 cup dried lentils, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup uncooked regular long-grain white rice
2 medium Italian plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

HEAT oil in skillet. Add carrots, celery, onion and garlic and cook until tender.
ADD broth, lentils and rice. Heat to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat 20 min. or until done. Stir in tomatoes and parsley

Oven Fried Chicken

I got this recipe from Taste Buds as well, can you tell I love that site :-)?! This chicken was delish I thought and Mike was excited to have some good old home cooking southern style. We served it with mashed potatoes, gravy and corn.

3/4 cup buttermilk
5-6 drops Tabasco
1 1/2 c. crushed cornflakes
6 Tbsp flour (or cornstarch/rice flour, etc.)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 lbs chicken parts
4 tsp canola oil

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
-In a large, shallow bowl, combine the buttermilk and tabasco.
-In another shallow dish (or large ziploc bag) combine cornflakes, flour, salt & pepper.
-Dip the chicken in the buttermilk, then dredge in cornflake mixture, coating completely.
-Place the chicken on the baking sheet and drizzle each piece with a little oil.
-Bake 30 min; turn over and bake until cooked through, approx. 10-15 min more.

Brown Rice and Veggie Salad

This another recipe from Taste Buds. I tried this one for lunch today and thought it not only tasted good, but is SOOO good for you too! It would be extra delicious (and more of a meal) with some chicken thrown into the mix too. Even without chicken though I was surprised at how filling it was.

1 1/2 cups instant brown rice
1 chopped green onion
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Cook brown rice & let cool. Combine ingredients for vinaigrette & combine with rice & vegetables. Serve at room temp.

Roasted Italian Sausages with Tomatoes and White Beans

Mike is actually the one who discovered this recipe in our USA Weekend newspaper insert. I agreed that it looked pretty good so we gave it a try and we all LOVED it!!!
(I cut everything in half for our little family)

- 2 1/2 lbs. sweet Italian sausage links, cut into 2-3 inch pieces (I used a Pecan smoked garlic sausage because I couldn't find it)
- 3 pints cherry tomatoes
- 1 medium onion, cute into 1 inch chunks
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced
- 3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 T. balsamic vinegar
- 2 t. dried thyme leaves
- 2 whole bay leaves
- salt and pepper
- 3 (16 oz) cans white beans, such as cannellini, drained, with 1/2 c. liquid reserved (I used Great Northern beans)

- adjust oven rack to lowest position and, 5 minutes before you are ready to put the food in, turn on oven to 425 degrees.
- Mix everything but beans and their reserved liquid in a roasting pan. Set pan in oven. Roast until sausages are brown and tomatoes have reduced to a thick sauce, about 45 min.
- Remove from oven, stir in beans and reserved liquid, and continue cooking until casserole has heated through, about 10 minutes longer.
- Remove bay leaves and transfer to a large serving bowl.
(We served it over brown rice)

Fast Easy Lasagna

This recipe was emailed to me through a recipe exchange awhile back and it truly is fast AND easy!

- 1 26 oz. jar pasta sauce (you may want more when serving)
- 1 30 oz. bag frozen large cheese ravioli, thawed
- 1 10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 1 8 oz. bag shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
(optional: I add 1/2 lb. ground beef...brown meat in saucepan and stir in sauce)

- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 9x13 dish with spray and spoon in 1/3 of sauce.
- Arrange 12 ravioli on top and scatter spinach over them.
- Top with 1/2 mozzarella cheese and the Parmesan cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake 25 minutes.
- Uncover and bake 5-10 more minutes, or until bubbly.

Cottage Cheese Chicken Enchiladas

We are BIG Mexican food fans over here and I love trying out new enchilada recipes. These were really good! I used medium enchilada sauce so they had some zing to them, definitely a winner!

- 1 T. vegetable oil
- 2 chicken breast halves, boiled and shredded (I used a can of chicken)
- 1/2 c. chopped onion
- 1 big can (7-8 oz) chopped green chile peppers
- 1 pkg taco seasoning mix
- 1/2 c. sour cream (I used FF)
- 2 c. cottage cheese (I used lowfat)
- 1 t. salt
- 1 pinch pepper (I used less salt and more pepper)
- 12 corn tortillas (I used 14)
- 2 c. shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
- 1 (10 oz) can red enchilada sauce

Meat Mixture: Heat oil in medium skillet over med high heat. Add chicken, onion, and green chile peppers and saute until browned. Add taco seasoning and simmer.
Cheese Mixture: In a medium bowl, mix sour cream with cottage cheese and season with salt and pepper; stir until well blended.
- Preheat over to 350 degrees.
- Heat tortillas until soft (I wrap 3 in a paper towel and heat for 30 seconds in microwave). In each tortilla, place a spoonful of meat mixture, a spoonful of cheese mixture, and a bit of shredded cheese.
- Roll tortillas and place in a lightly greased 9x13 baking dish (instead of greasing I lightly cover bottom of dish with some enchilada sauce).
- Top with any remaining meat and cheese mixture (I had quite a bit of cheese mix left, but not meat), enchilada sauce, and remaining shredded cheese.
- Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Kirk's No-Bake Fudgies

I am once again stealing a dessert recipe from my mom . I definitely remember referring to these cookies as "poop" cookies growing up :-)!

1 cube butter - melted
2 cups sugar
3 heaping T. cocoa
peanut butter
quick cooking oaks

Melt 1 cube butter, 2 cups sugar and 3 T. of cocoa. Add 1/2 cup
milk and mix.Cook to good rolling boil and remove immediately.
Add 1/2 cup peanut butter and 1 t. vanilla. Mix well,then add
3 cups quick cooking oats, 1 rounded cup raisins, 1 cup coconut.
Mix and drop spoonfuls on wax paper to set.

Mom's Notes:
I always simmer the raisins in a little water to make
them little more plump. I also add a little extra
peanut butter. We keep our cookies in the refrigerator
in a Tupperware with wax paper between the layers.

Mike's Chicken Casserole

Mike is our chef on Sundays and typically he grills something or fries up some chicken (which I will have to post next time he does, it's delicioius). Today he made his super easy casserole and it was yummy. He used to make it a lot when we first got married and we haven't had it in forever :-)!

- 1 package chicken flavor rice mix
- water (follow rice package directions for amount)
- butter (again follow directions, optional)
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 1 chicken breast, cut in cubes

- Place all ingredients in a 9x13 glass baking dish and mix together.
- Bake, COVERED, at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. (*Stir half way through*)

Lentil Curry

So, as my first attempt using lentils in a meal I would consider this a complete success! I LOVED the flavors of this dish and it was simple and healthy too (not to mention Mike even gave it his approval)! I got the recipe from an old ward cookbook my visiting teaching partner just gave me - gotta love ward cookbooks! I definitely see lentils again in our near future!

- 2 t. olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped finely
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 c. chicken or vegetable broth (I used chicken)
- 1 c. lentils, rinsed and drained (I just realized I didn't do that)
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 3-4 stalks celery, sliced
- 1 peeled apple, cored and chopped (I used a Granny Smith)
- 1 t. curry powder
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 t. celery seed
- 1/8 t. anise seed (I have no idea what that is and didn't include...still yummy)

- Heat olive oil in a large pot and saute onion and garlic until tender.
- Add remaining ingredients and simmer about 60 min. or until lentils are tender.
- Serve over brown rice.

Why I LOVE Rice Cakes

Some of you may know that I have Celiac Disease and although I sometimes sneak an occasional flour-filled treat when I can't resist, at home I try to be as gluten-free as possible. I use rice cakes, the plain old salt-free or lightly salted variety, pretty much everyday.
Here are some of their many uses:
*Rice Cakes with peanut butter (optional jelly or honey on top)
*Rice Cake Sandwiches...ham, turkey, tuna (the trick is to melt cheese on the rice cake to hold it all together, otherwise they tend to crumble apart. My favorite is to layer miracle whip, mustard, cheese, meat and tomato and place under the broiler in the oven)
*Rice Cake as you desire (I personally prefer Ragu traditional spaghetti sauce, no chunks, and cheese, mozzarella or cheddar. You can melt the cheese under the oven broiler or heat them in the microwave. If you use less sauce you can actually pick them up to eat them like little pizzas and if you use more you'll need a fork - I like them both depending on my mood)

Some people think I'm crazy, but ricecakes are WAY cheaper than GF bread and I've grown up using them. Ella and Addie love the ricecake pizzas and when I would come home from college I remember my little brother and sister begging me to make them each one when I was preparing them for myself!

Book Club Hors D'oeuvres

Well, not the greatest picture, but the night went well. We had a BIG turnout (17 people!) and everyone seemed to enjoy the food. Susan provided dessert (little mini chocolate and strawberry pies) which were delicious and I provided (thank you mom for the cute serving dishes!):
* Black Bean Salsa with scooper tortilla chips
* Pepper Jelly over cream cheese with crackers
* Veggie Bars (thank you Mckell!)
* Fresh Fruit