Ham and Potato Bake

This is SO easy and SO delicious...I can't stop eating it when I make it!

1 (26-30 oz) package frozen shredded potatoes
1 lb. ham, cut into bite size pieces (2 1/2 c.)
**I just use ham lunch meat and cut up enough for 2 c.**
1 can cream of potato soup, undiluted
1/2 t. pepper
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 c. (4 oz) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

- Combine first 4 ingredients; spoon mixture into a lightly greased 13x9 baking dish. (it seems dry, but will be fine when you bake it)
- Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 25 minutes; sprinkle with cheeses and paprika.
- Bake 5 more minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Hansen Tacos

These definitely offer a different take on what you might consider your traditional taco...you'll have to read their history at the end. I have never actually made these myself...just enjoyed them countless times at my grandparents...and yes, I ate ALL those tacos on the plate :-)! They are delicious! (and it is typically a friendly competition between the men to see who can eat the most tacos)How To Make Them:
MEAT: Your typical ground beef cooked with chopped onion
TORTILLAS: Heat oil in a large saucepan until boiling. Dip corn tortillas in until they begin to bubble, then remove and fold in half so they dry in "taco form" (when cool fill with beef)
*LETTUCE: This is the secret! Shredded iceburg lettuce, chopped radishes and chopped cherry tomatoes...tossed with oil and vinegar (2/3 oil to 1/3 vinegar) and lots of paprika (put in enough to lightly coat lettuce)
CHEESE: shredded cheddar
FIXINGS: see pic below...you absolutely must sprinkle with garlic salt and Louisiana hot sauce
In case you are wondering how these tacos came to be (Grandma, correct me if I get this wrong)...When my grandma's family moved from their farm in Idaho to southern California when she was young they had never had or heard of tacos before. Her family instantly fell in love with them and this was their attempt to recreate them. Although my grandparents also make delicious "real" Mexican food now, our family still enjoys Hansen tacos...so much so that I requested them for my birthday dinner!

Chicken Alfredo

I found this gluten-free version on Kill The Gluten and really liked it (plus it's healthier...no cream)- just use regular noodles if you aren't a celiac :-)!

- 1 McCormick Creamy Garlic Alfredo packet
- 3 Tbsp butter or margarine
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
- gluten free pasta, cooked

- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the milk and the Alfredo packet and whisk.
- Cook over medium low heat until boiling. Simmer for 2 minutes and remove from heat.
- Layer pasta, chicken and sauce on a plate.
- Enjoy the fact that you have successfully made dinner in about 20 minutes.

Mushroom Asparagus Quiche

- 1 tube (8 oz) refrigerated crescent rolls
- 2 t. mustard (I used honey Dijon)
- 1 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1/2 in. pieces
- 1 med. onion
- 1/2 c. sliced fresh mushrooms (I put extra in)
- 1/4 c. butter, cubed
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 c. (8 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 c. minced fresh parsley
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 t. pepper
- 1/4 t. each garlic powder, dried basil, oregano, and rubbed sage (I didn't have sage and it was still tasty)

- Separate crescent dough into 8 triangles; place in an un-greased 9-in. pie plate with points toward the center. Press onto bottom and up the sides to form crust (I don't own a pie plate...maybe I should get one!...I used a square casserole dish and it turned out fine; you just have to be creative in putting the triangles in).
- Spread crust with mustard and set aside.
- In a large skillet, saute the asparagus, onion and mushrooms in butter until asparagus is crisp-tender.
- In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients; stir in asparagus mixture. Pour into crust.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 min. (or until knife comes out clean). Let sit 5 min. before cutting.


A Fiesta grocery store just opened up near us so today the girls and I went to check it out. We saw quite a few of them when we lived downtown, but never ventured inside and I've always been curious just how good their "international" selections actually were. I was so excited today because they really do have TONS to offer! I bought some real plaintains and attempted to re-create one of the staples I enjoyed during my semester abroad in Uganda...matoke! I LOVED it and since my roommate didn't I would end up eating hers too... so no one would be offended of course :-)(that must be why I gained weight in Africa instead of losing it)! In comparing food from the DR and Uganda, Mike and I had figured that what they call mangu in the DR is probably the same thing as matoke, and we were right! Today I peeled and chopped up some plaintains and put some of the extra African Beef Curry on top from last night and it definitely was close to what I remember. I don't think I let the plaintains boil quite long enough, but I am excited to keep experimenting with them - yum!

Africa Beef Curry

My mom came across this recipe in her Taste of Home magazine and passed it along to me since it came from Africa. I was pleasantly surprised at how flavorful this dish was...and easy to make too!

- 1 lb. lean beef stew meat, cut into 1/2 in. cubes
- 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained (I used one that had onions and garlic in it)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 small sweet red pepper, chopped
- 1 small green pepper, chopped
- 1 to 2 T. curry powder (I used 1 1/2)
- 1/2 t. salt
- hot cooked rice AND raisins, chopped salted peanuts, and flaked coconut to top it (I am not a fan personally of sweet toppings, but used the peanuts and they added SO much to the meal!)

- In a large saucepan combine all ingredients (the first 7, not the rice, etc.).
- Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1-2 hours (until meat is tender).
- Serve with rice and top as desired.

Chicken and Chiles

This is a recipe my friend McKell posted on our short lived recipe blog Katy Cuisine. Our family really loves it and we've made it countless times since. It's easy, flavorful and healthy too.

- 2-3 chicken breasts cubed (I typically use my canned chicken)
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can (4 oz) chopped green chiles
- 1 tsp. chili pepper
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- hot cooked rice
Toppings: sour cream, cheese, sliced avocado

- Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Coat a large non-stick frying pan with no-stick spray. Add the chicken and cook over medium heat for five minutes or until the pieces begin to brown. Set aside until the chicken is cool enough to handle.
- In the same pan, combine the oil, onions, garlic, and 2 T. of the broth. Cook stirring frequently for 5-6 minutes until the onions are soft.
- Add the tomato sauce, beans and remaining broth to the pan. Stir to mix well. Add the chiles, chili powder, cumin and reserved chicken. Bring to boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. or until the chicken is tender and the liquid has thickened.
- Serve over rice and top as desired!

Habichuelas Rojas Guisadas/Dominican Republic (DR) beans

This is one of Mike's meals...it's healthy and tasty too!

- 2 cans light kidney beans
- 1/2 c. chopped celery
- 1/2 c. chopped onion
- 1 cube chicken stock
- 1/2 t. chopped parsley
- 1/2 t. thyme leaves
- 1 T. chopped cilantro
- 1 T. tomato sauce (I just use spaghetti sauce)
- 1 T. oil
- 1/2 t. minced garlic
- 1 pinch of oregano
- Salt and water

- Heat oil in pot and add oregano, onion, garlic, celery, parsley, cilantro and thyme.
- Stir and add 2 T. water. When the water has almost evaporated add the chicken stock and 2 more T. water, stir.
- Add the beans and then add enough water to cover them. Let them reach a boil and then mash the beans over heat.
- Continue to let boil at medium heat until it reaches a creamy consistency. Adjust salt to taste. Serve over rice.

Seashell Hot Dog Bake

Although this wasn't Mike's favorite meal ever, Ella LOVED it and ate it all up!!! So, if your kids are hot dog fans, here's a way to make them more of a meal (I really liked it too)!

8 oz. dried medium shell macaroni (I used my Gluten-Free Penne)
1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp butter
1 16oz pkg. beef frankfurters,halved lengthwise & sliced (I used a 12 oz. pack of 98% FatFree dogs)
1 1/2 c spaghetti sauce
1 large tomato, chopped (1 cup)
1 4 oz. can mushrooms, drained
1 8 oz. carton sour cream (I used FF again and tasted great still)
2 oz. provolone cheese, shredded (1/2 c)
2 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded (1/2 c)

- Preheat oven to 350. Prepare noodles according to package; drain and set aside.
- In a large skillet cook onion and garlic in hot butter over medium heat until nearly tender. Stir in frankfurters and cook until lightly browned.
- Stir in spaghetti sauce, tomato, and mushrooms. Bring to boiling. Remove from heat.
- Stir in sour cream and half of the cheeses. Stir mixture into the drained pasta.
- Spoon into a 2-quart casserole dish.
- Cover and bake about 30 minutes or until hot. Uncover and sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Bake, uncovered, 5 minutes more or until cheese melts.

Shredded Beef Nachos/Tacos

For a quick and tasty shredded beef (so much better than ground beef) in a Mexican meal we use our trusty canned beef from Costo (see pic below). Once you prepare the beef you can serve it how you wish - we make tacos, nachos and I even ventured to try chimichangas once.
(These are just to get you started, then add more spices until it tastes delicious to you!)
- 1 can roast beef
- 1/3 c. salsa
- 1/4 pack taco seasoning
- 1/4 c. water or leftover broth from the can
- 1/4 t. chili powder
- 1/4 t. cumin
- 1/4 t. garlic salt

- Mix all ingredients in sauce pan over med-high heat until it starts to boil.
- Cover and reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer while you finish your other meal preparations.

*My Guacamole:
For each avocado you smash, add in 1 tsp. lemon juice and 1/4 t. each garlic salt, cumin, and chili powder. I usually add more garlic salt, but those are just to get you started again.*

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

I recently posted a similar recipe, but this one in Southern Living caught my eye when it was described as, "...the true definition of comfort food: soft, warm, cheesy...." Of course I HAD to try it :-), and although this version is more work, it was worth it! It is tasty and I will definitely make it again!

- 1 whole chicken (I have never bought a whole chicken in my life - I just used two frozen breasts)
- 2 celery ribs, cut into 3 pieces each
- 2 carrots, cut into 3 pieces each
- 2-3 t. salt
- 1 T. butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, pressed
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup (98% FF)
- 1 can cream of chicken soup (98% FF)
- 2 (10 oz) cans diced tomatoes and green chiles, drained
- 1 t. dried oregano
- 1 t. ground cumin
- 1 t. chili powder
- 3 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 12 (6-in) corn tortillas, cut into 1/2-in. strips

- Place chicken, celery, carrots, and salt in pot with water to cover. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 50 minutes - 1 hour or until chicken is done.
- Remove from heat. Remove chicken from broth; cool 30 minutes. Remove and reserve 3/4 c. cooking liquid.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute 6-7 min or until tender. Add bell pepper and garlic, and saute 3-4 minutes.
- Stir in reserved 3/4 c. liquid, soups, tomatoes and spices. Cook, stirring occasionally, 8 minutes.
- Shred chicken meat into bite-size pieces. Layer half of chicken in a lightly greased 13x9 baking dish. Top with half soup mixture and 1 cup cheese. Cover with half corn tortilla strips.
- Repeat layers once. Top with remaining 1 cup cheese.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 55 min - 1 hour or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Fancy Ground Beef

Well, I decided to try this recipe because it sounded like something Mike would like...and it uses beef, which I am always looking for a way to fit in the week. I thought it was pretty good, as did the girls. I was going to serve it over rice (like pretty much everything we eat) but went with mashed potatoes because I needed to use our potatoes up. I think it would be equally good on either though.

- 2 honey-wheat bread slices (I used 1 regular wheat)
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 t. pepper
- 1 T. vegetable oil
- 1 envelope brown gravy mix
- 1 1/2 c. water
- 8 oz. fresh mushrooms (1 pack)
- 1 medium sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced

- Process bread slices in a food processor until finely chopped (I don't have one so I used my pampered chef food chopper and it worked well. This was a wedding gift by the way and I had no idea it cost so much - wow!)
- Place bread crumbs in a mixing bowl; add ground beef and next 4 ingredients. Gently combine with hands. Shape into 4 (4 in) patties.
- Whisk together brown gravy with water.
- Cook patties in hot oil in a large skillet over med-high heat 2 min. on each side or just until brown. Remove patties from skillet.
- Add mushrooms and onions to skillet, and saute 6 min. or until tender. Stir in prepared gravy, and bring to a light boil.
- Return patties to skillet, and spoon gravy over each patty. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 8-10 minutes.

Reece's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

So, I decided I needed to put at least one dessert up. In our house that is really Mike's specialty since ice cream and candy are my treats of choice, so I'll have to post some of his recipes. These are one of my mom's trademarks and are

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough:
Mix Together: 2 Cups Brown Sugar
1 1/2 Cups White Sugar
1 lb. butter (1/2 hr. at room temp.)
4 Eggs
2 Tablespoons Vanilla
Add to Mixture: 6 Cups Flour (scraped across top)
1 1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
Add: 3 Cups Chocolate Chips

Scoop the dough into greased mini-muffin tins and bake 350 degrees, 10-13 minutes, until golden brown. After baking, immediately place a Mini Reeces Peanut Butter Cup in the middle of each cookie. Let them cool for 5 - 10 minutes and carefully removed with a butter knife. Place on a cookie rack to cool completely.

Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

As I have mentioned before I love curry! This has been a favorite of mine for a long, long time!

- 1 can chicken
- 4 c. frozen broccoli (I prefer florets only)
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- 3/4 c. mayonnaise
- 1 t. lemon juice
- 1 t. curry powder
- 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
- bread crumbs (I never use them since I'm not supposed to eat bread, but I'm sure they are delicious on top)
- Combine soup, mayo, lemon juice and curry in a bowl.
- Spread broccoli in a 2 quart baking dish. Evenly spread chicken over broccoli and cover with soup mixture.
- Top with cheese and sprinkle lightly with bread crumbs.
- Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Freeman Curry Chicken

(these are similar to Hawaiian Haystacks but with different - and better - flavors) I believe this recipe comes from Grandma Freeman and I loved it the first time I had it at Mike's parents house. I have not personally tried the banana topping, but they all LOVE it!

- chicken (enough for 3 c. cubed)
- 1/4 c. diced onion
- 6 T. butter or margarine
- 6 T. flour (or cornstarch)
- 1 1/2 t. curry
- 1 1/2 t. ginger
- 1 t. salt
- 3/4 c. milk
- 3/4 c. chicken broth
- 1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk (I use the FF)
Toppings: chopped green onion, crumbled bacon, chopped walnuts, sliced bananas

- Boil chicken and cut up.
- Saute onion in butter (I usually use a little less than 6 T.)
- Add flour, curry, salt and ginger.
- Stir in both milks and chicken broth.
- Stir over med. heat until thickened (can thin with extra broth if desired), then add chicken.
- Serve over rice and top as you wish!

Anna's Curry Chicken

Anna's Curry Chicken
(Mike likes this one a lot because it's similar to the my favorite curry dish, but without the broccoli)
- 2 lbs. chicken breasts, cut in half
- cream chicken soup
- 1/4 c. mayo
- 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
- 1 t. curry powder
- white rice
- Spray 9x13 casserole dish with non-stick spray. Layer chicken in dish.
- Mix soup, mayo, parmesan cheese and curry powder in bowl.
- Spread mixture over chicken and cover with foil.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Let stand without foil for 10 minutes.
- Serve over rice.

Ginger Chicken Stir Fry

2 tsp. cornstarch
1 1/2 cups Swanson® Chicken Broth
2 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. fresh grated ginger OR 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips
4 cups broccoli flowerets
2 medium carrots, sliced (about 1 cup)
1 small onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro OR parsley leaves (optional)
3 cups hot cooked regular brown rice (optional)

MIX cornstarch, broth, soy sauce, lemon juice and ginger until smooth. Set aside.
HEAT 1 tbsp. oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and stir-fry until browned and done. Remove chicken.
HEAT remaining oil over medium heat. Add broccoli, carrots and onion and stir-fry until tender-crisp.
STIR cornstarch mixture and add. Cook until mixture boils and thickens, stirring constantly. Return chicken to skillet and heat through.
Sprinkle with cilantro and serve over rice.

Beef 'N Potato Bake

This isn't one of our healthiest meals....but hey, there are vegetables in it and it is definitely tasty!

Beef 'N Potato Bake
4 c. frozen hasbrowns, thawed
3 Tbsp. oil (I usually use about half that, but the crust probably gets crispier if you use it all)
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 lb. ground beef (I always add chopped onion and garlic when I cook any meat)
1 (3/4 oz) package brown gravy mix
1 c. water
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1 (10 oz) package frozen mixed vegetables
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 (3 oz) can fried onions (so, the recipe actually calls for 7-8 oz can which I think would definitely be TOO MUCH, but if you love them, go for it!)

- In 1 qt. dish combine potatoes, oil and pepper. Firmly press across bottom and up sides of dish to form a shell.
- Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
- Brown beef and drain. Stir in gravy mix, water and garlic salt. Bring to boil.
- Add veggies; reduce heat to med. and cook 5 minutes.
- Stir in 1/2 c. cheese and 1/2 can onions.
- Place in potato shell. Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 15 min.
- Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and onions; bake 5 more mine.

Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Who's craving soup when it's 84 degrees outside? ME! I always look at this recipe on my can of FF Rosarita Refried Beans and decided this was the week to give it a try. It was super easy and I really like it!

Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup
2 cans Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies
2 cans chicken broth (14.5 oz)
1 can refried beans (16 oz)
1/2 c. whole kernel corn
2 cups shredded cooked chicken (I used my trusty canned chicken)
Toppings: tortilla strips/chips, shredded cheese

- Combine tomatoes and broth in saucepan. Stir in beans and corn.
- Bring to boil; reduce heat to low and simmer 5 min., stirring frequently.
- Add chicken and heat through. Top as desired!

Crock Pot Chili

I got this recipe at a church activity a couple months ago and it is my new favorite chili recipe. It has more beans than meat, which I prefer, but if you are a meat lover you could add an extra 1l/2 lb. ground beef.

Crock Pot Chili
3 (16 oz) cans pinto beans
28 oz. can crushed or diced tomatoes (I used crushed)
1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1 onion chopped
1 green pepper chopped
3 stalks celery chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
2 T chili powder
1 t pepper
1 t cumin
2 T sugar
1 1/2 t salt

Directions:-Brown ground beef with onions and green pepper.
-Add all ingredients to crock pot.
-Cover and cook on low 10-12 hours or on high 5-6 hours.

(Out of curiousity, do you eat crackers or tortilla chips with your chili? I grew up using tortilla chips, but Mike thinks it is a little strange and said they always serve crackers with chili at restaurants, etc. - which is true. So I have been wondering if my family just did it for me since I can't eat crackers, or because we are such Mexican/Southwest food lovers that we eat tortilla chips with everything? Let me know what you prefer!)

Cranberry Chicken

This is another recipe from Anna's 5 ingredient recipes post. I was a little nervous to try this one because I just had no idea what the flavors would be like - I never have had French dressing and I don't particularly care for cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving, but the other recipes I had tried were good so I gave it a shot. I really liked it - it is a little sweet and tangy - it's always nice to throw some new flavors into your typical meal line-up. The girls thought it was just ok (they devoured the Lasagna Soup I recently posted about) but I thought it was pretty tasty. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

1 can cranberry sauce (WHOLE berries)
1 pkg dry onion soup mix
1/2 bottle French salad dressing (6-8 oz)
2 boneless chicken breasts (she called for 4 but I like to have less meat and more sauce)
White or Brown rice

- Mix cranberry sauce, onion soup mix, and salad dressing in a bowl.
- Arrange chicken breasts in a casserole dish and spread sauce mixture over the chicken.
- Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until done.
- Serve over rice.

Hearty Lasagna Soup

We tried this soup recipe last night and I was pleasantly surprised. It was nice and easy and pretty tasty. This one is for you Katherine - just leave out the Parmesan cheese :-)!

Hearty Lasagna Soup
1 lb. ground beef
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 cans (14 oz each) Beef Broth w/ onion(I only found plain broth so I sauteed onion when cooking the beef)
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes (mine had garlic and onions in it)
1/4 tsp. dried Italian seasonings, crushed
1 1/2 c. uncooked pasta (the recipe calls for mafalda or corkscrew shaped, but I used my gluten-free Penne and it turned out great too)
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

-Cook beef and garlic until beef browned. Pour off fat.
-Stir in broth, tomatoes and seasoning into skillet. Heat to Boil.
-Stir in pasta. Cook over medium heat for 10 min. or until pasta is tender.
-Stir in cheese.

It would be delicious served with some garlic bread and an Italian salad!
**My friend Serena recently posted that she tried this recipe and made a couple changes, like adding zucchini - YUM!**

Creamy Italian Chicken

This recipe comes from Anna's blog - and I fell in love with it immediately! It is everything I love about a dish...creamy, great flavors, easy to make and can be served over rice! When I had Addie, one of my visiting teachers from church brought in a very similar dinner to us and I loved it too but had never gotten around to getting the recipe from her - and now I have one :-)!

Creamy Italian Chicken
2 lbs of boneless/skinless chicken breasts (cut in strips)
1/4 cup of butter (melted)
8 oz. container of cream cheese with chives
(I used the 1/2 the fat stuff and then sauteed my own green onions in the melted butter)
1 can cream of mushroom soup (can use 98% FF)
1 (0.7 oz.) pkg. Italian dressing (dry mix)
1/2 cup of water
White Rice
Add-Ins: onions,mushrooms,carrots (*I did the carrots and onions because I forgot mushrooms at the store, but next time will definitely use them!*)

Place Chicken breasts in crock pot.
Combine butter, cream cheese, mushroom soup, italian dressing mix, and water.
Stir any Add-Ins you want into the sauce.
Mix and pour over chicken.
Cook in crock pot for 6-8 hours.
Serve with Rice.

Rotel King Ranch Chicken

This is recipe is taken from the Katy 3rd Ward Cookbook....I love it!

(For a little more labor intensive, but even more delicious version, check this out!)

Rotel King Ranch Chicken
1/4 c. margarine (I just use 2 T.)
1 med. green bell pepper, chopped
1 med. onion, chopped
1 can cream mushroom soup
1 can cream chicken soup
1 can (10 oz) Rotel tomato/chilies
2 c. cubed cooked chicken (I use my trusty canned chicken)
15 corn tortillas, torn into bite-size pieces
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 325.
In a large saucepan, cook pepper and onion in melted margarine until tender.
Add soups, Rotel, and chicken, stirring until well blended.
In a 9x13 baking pan, alternately layer tortillas, soup mixture and cheese repeating twice (in the actual recipe it says 3 layers but I have never made that work).
Bake 40 minutes or until hot and bubbling.
(let it sit for a little while and it will thicken up)

Easy Beef Enchiladas

This is another recipe from my Southern Living cookbook. You may have noticed that I tend to prefer chicken over beef....each week I struggle to work some beef recipes into my menu plan and this one is pretty good. I try and stay away from enchilada recipes that call for creamed soups just as a matter of preference (I'll have to post my 2 favorite chicken enchilada recipes another time) and when I saw this one my only concern was that they would taste too tomato-ey. Luckily they didn't and they are really easy to make.

Weeknight Enchiladas
1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 (10 3/4 oz) can tomato soup, undiluted
1 (10 oz) can mild enchilada sauce
8 (7 or 8 inch) flour tortillas
**I use 12 corn tortillas, see note below**
2 cups (8 oz) shredded cheddar cheese, divided

* Cook beef and onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat until meat is browned; drain and return to skillet.
* Stir soup and enchilada sauce into meat mixture. Spread 1/4 c. meat mixture onto each tortilla; sprinkle tortillas evenly with 1 c. cheese. Roll up tortillas; place, seam side down, in a greased 13x9 baking dish. Pour remaining meat mixture over tortillas.
* Cover and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with remaining 1 c. cheese; bake 5 more minutes or until cheese melts. Serve with sour cream and olives, if desired.
(you could probably jazz these up a little by adding some green chiles to the sauce, etc...I haven't experimented much with them yet)

**If you pour just enough of your sauce to thinly cover the bottom of your dish you don't need to grease it.**
**My trick for getting corn tortillas soft enough to roll without breaking when I don't want to fry them in oil first, is to place about 3 tortillas in a paper towel, wrap them up and place them in the microwave for 30 seconds. They get warm and soft and it is a much easier and healthier option than frying them first.**

Creamy Lemon Chicken and Zucchini

This chicken dish is probably one of our all time favorite meals. We all LOVE it and it is really easy to make...so we typically have it every couple weeks. I also love zucchini and we haven't had it in a long time so I've been in the mood! This is the way I remember my mom making the squash we had in our garden when we lived in NY and it's delicious - not necessarily healthy - but delicious. Even Mike, who was very skeptical the first time I made it (and doesn't like cooked veggies much), will eat zucchini this way.

Creamy Lemon Chicken over Rice (or Noodles)
2 c. cooked, diced chicken (I use canned chicken)
1 can cream chicken soup (I always use 98% FF in my recipes and it tastes just as good)
1/4 c. mayonnaise
2 T. lemon juice
1 t. onion salt
1 t. garlic powder
1/4 c. sour cream
hot cooked rice, egg noodles, etc.

* Cook rice or noodles as directed (we prefer rice).
* Cook remainder of ingredients, EXCEPT sour cream, until just boiling.
* Remove from heat and add sour cream.
* Serve over rice or noodles.
See, so easy!

Here is how I prepare the zucchini:
Preheat oven to 425. Cut 2-3 zucchini in thin slices and arrange evenly in baking dish. This is a great job for your happy-helper :-)!
Place thin slices of butter on top (you don't need tons, but it's all a matter of preference). Sprinkle generously with garlic salt, Parmesan cheese, and pepper. (tonight I prepared 3 large zucchini so I layered half the slices, sprinkled and did a little butter - then layered the rest and repeated)
Cover with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes (until center of zucchini is becoming more clear looking). Uncover and bake 5 more minutes.

New Easy Broccoli Idea

Just a quick note: I received a free sample of a Ziploc steaming bag (Zip 'n Steam)and tried it out yesterday. I cut up a head of broccoli and put them in the bag, tossed it with some garlic salt and Mrs. Dash and put it in the microwave for 3 minutes (they have a little chart on the bag with times for different veggies depending on if they are fresh or frozen, etc.). We sprinkled it with some cheese and the girls and I thought it was delicious (broccoli is our favorite veggie and since Mike doesn't care for it we usually eat it when he's at work). We shared the whole bag at lunch time...It was super easy too so I think I'll buy some to have on hand.

And in case you think we are really healthy over here, yesterday on the way home from Joy School Ella told me they made popcorn but she didn't like it because it didn't have butter on it (it was healthy air-popped). When she got home I put a little bit of salt and butter on it and she said, "Now it tastes good!"
We win some, we lose some I guess :-)!

Green Chile Soup

I'm glad some of you have enjoyed the recipes I've posted, please feel free to share some new ones with me too :-)! Here is some soup we had last night and really liked (and was easy too). Unfortunately I didn't have avocados, but they would have been great in it! This picture is from the cookbook -I posted my own at the bottom (it didn't turn out great). This recipe is adapted from Southern Living's Easy Weeknight Favorites...my mom gave it to me a couple years ago and I have found a lot of tasty recipes from it!

Green Chile Soup
1-1/2 lbs. chicken, cut in cubes
(I used 1 can chicken and used the broth from the can as part of my 2 cups water)
3 (4.5 oz) cans chopped green chiles, undrained
2 (15 oz) cans pinto beans, undrained
1 (14.5) can Mexican stewed tomatoes, undrained
2 c. water
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 t. cumin
1/4 t. dried oregano
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
Toppings: sour cream, cheese, avocado, crushed tortilla chips
* Place all ingredients in a crockpot.
* Cover and cook on HIGH 4-6 hours or on LOW 8 hours.
* Serve with desired toppings.
(For quicker cooking...if you are using a can of chicken you don't necessarily need to wait 4-6 hours, but sautee the onions first, otherwise they will not cook in time )

India Chicken Curry

Well, I'm adapting this recipe from a Better Homes and Garden recipe from 1937, so I don't know how "Indian" it really is, but it still tastes pretty good :-). I love curry and have another recipe I'll post that I got from Mike's mom (and I believe is passed on from Grandma Freeman) the next time we make it....it is best described as a delicious twist on a Hawaiin Haystack. Here is this one for tonight though:

India Chicken Curry

1/2 c. finely chopped onion
1/2 c. finely chopped celery
1 large potato, diced (optional, I like it)
2 T. butter
3 T. flour or cornstarch
1-2 t. curry powder
1-1/2 c. chicken broth
1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce
1-1/2 c. cooked chicken, diced (I boil mine and then use that broth)
1/2 c. tomato juice (I buy 1 can at Walmart (for 30 cents I think) and then just dump the rest out because I don't have any other use for it)
hot cooked rice

* In a medium saucepan cook onion and celery (and potatoes) in hot butter until tender.
* Stir in flour/cornstarch and curry powder.
* Add the chicken broth and Worcestershire sauce.
* Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.
* Stir in the cooked chicken and tomato juice; heat through.
** Season to taste and serve over rice...I add some crushed red pepper, extra curry, a little salt and lots of pepper. We like it over brown rice.

Chicken Peanut Mole with Cilantro Rice

I came across this recipe over the summer (in a cookbook I sent away for using Smuckers and Pilsbury UPC symbols nonetheless). The combination of flavors from the peanut butter and the spices give it almost a Thai taste I think. The spiciness over the sweet rice is absolutely delicious. I love it because it is so different from the typical dishes I make!

Chicken Peanut Mole with Cilantro Rice
Mole Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts (I just use 1) cut in 1/2" strips
1 c. chopped onion
1 t. chopped garlic
1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes and green chiles (I use a 10 oz. Rotel can)
1-3 teaspoons chili powder, to taste (I use 2)
1/4 c. creamy peanut butter
1 T. baking cocoa
1/4 t. cinnamon
2 T. chopped cilantro

Rice Ingredients:
4 cups cooked rice
1 t. cumin
1 t. salt (can be ommitted)
1/2 c. Sweet Orange Marmalade (I use the Walmart brand and it is great)
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro

Directions for Mole:
- Spray skillet and cook chicken over medium-high heat until golden brown. Remove from skillet.
- Spray skillet again. Add onion, cook until softened. Add garlic, cook additional minute.
- Stir in broth, tomatoes, chili powder, peanut butter, cocoa, and cinnamon. Bring to boil, reduce heat to a simmer.
- Place chicken in sauce. Cook uncovered for 5 minutes to combine flavors.
(Sauce may be pureed in blender until smooth if desired - I haven't tried it personally.)

Directions for Rice:
- Cook rice as directed but add cumin and salt.
- Once rice has cooked add marmalade and cilantro; combine ingredients with fork.

Marci's Chicken Tortilla Soup

Well, I know I am always looking for new recipes to try so I decided to start posting some of mine. If you have ever eaten at my house you have probably had this tortilla soup, or chicken enchiladas - well, probably both :-). I guess everyone has their trademark dish though and this soup has become mine. My mom passed the recipe on from my grandma when I first started college and I instantly loved it (I have always been a tortilla soup fan!). It is delicious of course, but also really healthy which is a great bonus.

1 T. olive oil
1 (12.5 oz.) can chicken (do NOT drain)
1/2 c. finely diced onion
2 garlic cloves
1 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. chili powder
1/4 t. ground pepper
(I use "heaping" teaspoons when measuring the spices)
1 (14 ½ oz.) can chicken broth
1 (15 ¼ oz.) can corn kernels (do NOT drain)
1 (15 oz.) can black beans (rinse and drain)
1 (14 ½ oz.) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes (cut up)
tortilla strips (see below)
fresh cilantro
diced avocado
sour cream

-Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
-Heat oil in pan over medium heat and sautee onion and garlic.
-Add can of chicken and spices (cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper).
-Cook 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently.
-Stir in broth, undrained corn, black beans and tomatoes.
(I like a little extra broth in my finished soup so I add some extra water, maybe 1/4-1/3 cup)
-Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.
-Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 min.

While the soup simmers you can prepare the tortilla strips (or if you are pressed for time, just crush tortilla chips):
Using kitchen scissors (there is probably an actual name for them) cut tortillas into thin strips (I cut 3 at a time). Spread evenly in a lightly greased 9x13 dish.
Bake them in oven approx 4 minutes then stir them around and bake 3 more.
I often put them under the broiler for a couple minutes at the end to make them golden brown. Let them cool and harden, then serve on top of the soup with your other favorite toppings. Avocadoes are to die for in it in my opinion.

Southwestern Quiche

Well, this isn't exactly a quiche, but I don't know what it's real name is so I just made that up :-). My friend McKell's baby shower was this past weekend and I brought this dish to it. My mom makes it often whenever our family has a brunch and I LOVE it! This was my first time making it and I thought I'd pass along the recipe.

1 bag OreIda frozen hashbrowns (the bag is 30 oz. I think)
1/2 c. butter, melted (I cut in half and it's still good, although it is better with all the butter :-)
2 c. diced ham (I used a little less and I just use ham lunchmeat)
4 oz. Jack cheese, shredded
4 oz. Cheddar cheese, shredded
4 eggs
1 c. milk
2 cans green chiles (4 oz. each)
Goya or Lawry seasoning salt

- Lightly grease a 9x13 pan and spread hashbrowns (I thawed mine first).
- Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.
- Layer ham, cheeses and chiles on crust.
- Combine eggs, milk, and seasoned salt. Whip really well and pour over top.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Top with sour cream and salsa. Enjoy! It's delicious!

Tortilla Beef Casserole

So, I bought this cookbook, One Dish, at Costco a few weeks ago and I absolutely love it! It was only $10 – quite a steal for how many recipes it has – and everything has been very easy to make and pretty healthy too. Because the recipes are simple they can easily be adjusted to be gluten-free, dairy-free or even meat-free depending on what you need.

We tried this one tonight and I think it is delicious, it was easy to make, and it is healthy too – everything you want in a recipe! (and those of you coming for the joint baby birthday lunch we may have this instead of enchiladas now)
Tortilla Beef Casserole
1 package (about 17 oz.) refrigerated fully cooked beef pot roast
**(or 1 can roast beef – see note below!)
1 jar (16 oz.) salsa
6 corn tortillas, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 ½ cups canned or frozen corn kernels
1 cup canned black beans or pinto beans, rinsed and drained (I used black)
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Mexican cheese blend

1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray 2-quart casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Drain and discard gravy from pot roast; cut or shred beef into bite-size pieces.
3. Combine beef, salsa, tortillas, corn and beans in large bowl; mix well. Transfer to prepared casserole dish. Bake 20 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with cheese; bake 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted.
(I took the picture myself :-)- doesn't look tasty?!)
**I LOVE, repeat LOVE, these canned meats from Costco! I have never been a fan of dealing with raw meat (although I do it when needed). I have long used canned chicken for certain recipes – my tortilla soup recipe for instance is even more delicious with it I think – but was only recently introduced to the canned beef by my grandparents. When we stayed with them while waiting to get into our house last fall my grandma made sandwiches by mixing the canned beef (which is very low in fat I might add) with Miracle Whip and thinly sliced onion. We loved it and have been buying it for ourselves ever since. We use it to make deluxe nachos or tacos by mixing the meat with taco seasoning and I have put it in soups and casseroles too (it is sooo much better than ground beef!).

So there are my plugs for the night! Everybody should run to Costco tomorrow and go shopping :-)!

Curried Chicken Soup

Those of you who know me well know that I am a soup addict! They are especially convenient when feeding a beginning eater though because all the veggies are nice and soft for little gums to mash. I found this on Rachael Ray's website and made it yesterday. The actual recipe was a little bland for my liking, but it leaves you free to spice it up however you want (I tried it spicy with crushed red pepper and more traditional with some seasoned salt)...I also added some cheese on top, because I add cheese to pretty much everything I eat :-). It is nice and healthy too though. Addie LOVED it in original form and Ella liked it spiced up a bit. I know a lot of you have babies about Addie's age and thought you might want to give it a try...
Curried Chicken Soup
From Every Day with Rachael Ray
November 2007

(photo via Rachael Ray)

2 tablespoons butter
1 bunch scallions, white and green portions thinly sliced separately
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 teaspoons curry powder
One 32-ounce container (4 cups) chicken broth
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 large baking potato (12 to 14 ounces), peeled and cut into small cubes
1 rotisserie chicken, skin discarded and meat shredded
(I just boiled some plain chicken, so that probably makes it more flavorful)
One 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt (I used FF Sour Cream)
1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the scallion whites, bell pepper and curry powder and cook, stirring, until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth, cauliflower and potato and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, partially cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
2. Stir in the chicken and chickpeas and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in the scallion greens and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the yogurt just before serving.

Another Recipe Blog

Well, I have finally decided to start a separate blog for my recipes. I have enjoyed posting them so much I keep adding more and more, but I don't want that to be the focus of my personal blog, Day By Day. So, here we go!