Saturday, November 30, 2013


This is a recipe you can throw together when you have no idea what to make, and/or are short on time.  It uses ingredients that are low cost, shelf stable and usually already in your kitchen.  The olives are optional, since there's usually a clear divide between lovers and haters.  The flavor of olives can really overpower this if you're not a fan.

First, boil a bag of frozen beef ravioli.  If you want this meal to be vegetarian, choose a cheese or veggie filled pasta.

Brown a pound of ground turkey (or beef or chicken or Boca crumbles, whatever you like) then pour in enchilada sauce, salsa (I used the store brand with black beans and corn), sliced olives and drained black beans.  You could even use a plain, non chunky salsa to make this kid friendly.  Simmer while the ravioli cooks.

When ravioli is done, scoop using a small strainer (I'm lazy and didn't want to drain the entire thing over the sink with a larger colander) into the meat mixture.

Add cheese and stir.  Now, I know I'm always demanding you to use freshly grated cheddar cheese.  I am so tired of shredding and really not in the mood to do dishes.  I purchased shredded cheddar.  Please don't tell anyone.  It's lactose free!!!

This is a delicious, hearty and comforting meal.  Feel free to mix it up by going meatless, using different cheeses, or kick it up a notch and use spicy enchilada sauce and/or salsa.


1 bag frozen beef ravioli, 25 oz
1 lb lean ground turkey
1 can red enchilada sauce, 16 oz
1 jar salsa, 16 oz
1 can black beans, 15.5 oz, drained
1 small can sliced olives, drained (if you choose to omit the olives, you may want to add salt for additional flavor)
2 cups shredded cheddar

Boil ravioli according to package directions.  Meanwhile, brown ground beef in large nonstick skillet.  Drain off any fat if necessary, then add enchilada sauce, salsa, black beans and olives.  Simmer over low heat until ravioli is done.  Add drained ravioli to meat mixture, along with shredded cheese.  Gently stir until combined.  Serve with extra cheese, if desired.


I haven't cooked anything new in awhile.  Please forgive me and trust that I'll be trying new recipes soon!  Until then, I'll be recommending delicious treats for you to try in your kitchen.

When I saw these at Giant, I knew I had to get them.  Regular biscuits can get boring if you serve them too often, so having a variety of flavors can keep things exciting.  Cornbread is a great side for soups and stews, but baking cornbread is WORK and can turn out crumbly or dry.  These biscuits have all the flavor of cornbread without the hassle or dryness.  I served the corn biscuits with chili and it was a perfect flavor combination.  I also brought them to my sister's house when she made beef stew. 

The blueberry biscuits were delicious for breakfast.  The addition of butter and honey made them irresistible!

Just honey, YUM!


I love cheese.  I am lactose intolerant.  Sounds like a problem, right?  Not anymore!  After some intense research (okay, a quick google search) I discovered that most cheddar cheese, especially sharp or extra sharp, contains little to no lactose.  BEST NEWS EVER, right?!  Additionally, many aged cheeses also fit into that category, such as aged swiss.  It has something to do with time and fermentation.  Science.  Next time you're at the store, read some labels and prepare to be surprised.

This cheese is always, always, always in our fridge.  It's the tastiest choice for snacking, making toaster oven nachos, topping a baked potato, creating a creamy cheese sauce, the list goes on.


Also recently discovered, Cracker Barrel Aged Reserve.

To my knowledge, it's just their extra sharp white cheddar, but aged for a very long time.  Again, SCIENCE.  This cheese is especially creamy and flavorful, packaged in a fancy looking black wrapper, and has a prestigious sounding name.  In an effort to keep all of that from going to its head, eat it atop saltine crackers.  YUM!

Monday, November 18, 2013


I really enjoy quiche, but I do not like pastry crust.  I eat it like a child, managing to only get bites of filling, then throw away the crust.  Imagine my surprise when I found out a frittata is simply a crustless quiche.  Am I the last person to be aware of this fact?

Frittatas are wonderful because they are so versatile.  You can go all veggie, meaty, dairy free, light or heavy.  I chose to use breakfast sausage, onions, green peppers, mushrooms, spinach, potatoes and a layer of cheese on top.  But really, go wild and use whatever you want!


7 eggs
1-2 containers sliced mushrooms
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 bag fresh baby spinach
1 roll Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage, original flavor
1-2 cups cooked diced potatoes (I sauteed frozen diced hash browns to save myself from cooking/chopping potatoes)
1 cup shredded cheddar
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350.  Saute onions, peppers and mushrooms in a large nonstick skillet until soft, about 8-10 minutes.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Brown and crumble sausage in same skillet, then add the cooked veggies back in.  Add spinach handfuls at a time, stirring to help it wilt.  Stir in the potatoes.  At this point you can taste the mixture and add salt/pepper accordingly.  Spray a glass dish (I used a pie dish) with Pam, then pour the meat mixture in the dish.  Beat eggs in separate bowl, then add salt and pepper.  Carefully pour eggs on top of meat mixture.  Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top.  Bake, uncovered for about 30 minutes, or until eggs have set.


Is this picture fancy or what??  My friend, Andrea, is a photo editing whiz!

I fall in and out of love with my crockpot.  I go through phases where it seems like a pain to clean the big dang thing or to have to plan a meal hours ahead of time.  But the other phase is complete infatuation with my crockpot!  That is my current state.  I don't even bother putting it away now because of its constant presence on the counter. 

This meal is stupid easy to make.  That's not an insult, it's just a fact.  Chicken, buffalo sauce, powdered ranch.  That's it!  This shredded chicken is perfect atop a salad, inside a wrap, scooped up with celery or grilled as a quesadilla.  I usually do a salad with blue cheese crumbles and ranch dressing.  For the wrap, I roll it up in a large flour tortilla with lettuce, ranch dressing, shredded cheddar and extra buffalo sauce.  If the chicken is too spicy, stir in a wedge or two of laughing cow cheese.  The swiss and blue cheese flavors work best.


2 1/2 lbs boneless chicken breasts or tenders (fresh or frozen)
1 bottle Frank's Buffalo Wing Sauce (not hot sauce!)
1-2 packets Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing dry mix

Place chicken in crockpot.  Pour about 3/4 the bottle of buffalo sauce over the chicken.  Sprinkle on ranch powder.  Cover and cook on low about 4-6 hours for fresh chicken, 8 hours for frozen.  Tenders cook quicker than chicken breasts.  Break apart chicken with tongs, mix into sauce and taste.  This is the point where I decide if I need that additional packet of ranch powder or the remaining buffalo sauce.  If it tastes vinegary/too spicy go ahead and add that extra packet of ranch.

Monday, November 11, 2013


I've never made chili before.  I know, that's a shocking declaration from a professional chef such as myself.  I enjoy all types of chili: white chicken, beef, veggie, spicy, Hard Times Cincinnati, beany, etc.  I decided it was time to finally make my own, so I did some research and decided I just didn't LOVE any recipes, so I made one up.  I think it resembles Wendy's chili a bit, but is also just a simple meaty and hearty chili.  And dare I say, healthy?  It was super delicious and I feel comfortable using the L word now.  As with all chili, the longer you cook it, the better it tastes.  I cooked it 9 hours overnight then left it on warm for a few hours before serving.


1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork
3 cans petite diced tomatoes (I like Hunt's) undrained
2 cans Bush's Chili Seasoned Beans (medium heat) undrained
1 can light red kidney beans undrained
1-2 cups diced onion
1 cup diced green peppers
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons cumin
2-3 teaspoons fresh minced garlic
Tabasco sauce, chipotle smoked flavor, to taste (I used about 8-10 splashes)
salt to taste

Brown ground beef and pork in skillet, crumbling it as you go.  Stir in salt to flavor the meat, then drain off any liquid.  Pour in crockpot and add remaining ingredients.  Stir, cover and cook on low for about 8-9 hours.  Keep on warm setting until ready to serve.  Serve with cheese, sour cream, additional hot sauce and chips.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


This dip is named after its creator, my lovely friend DG.  She makes this dip for every gathering.   Each time she serves it, a new record is set for how quickly it's finished.  I still remember the first time I had it.   We were at a party where tons of other (less worthy of the space in my belly) appetizers, desserts and snacks were laid out.  My friend Julia and I discovered the DG Dip at the same exact time.  We decided together that we would remain hovered over the dip until it was gone, and each time someone approached and asked what we were eating, we responded, "Nothing, it's disgusting, don't even bother trying it" because we didn't want to share it.  My other half even requests this for dinner.  Yes, as the main meal.

This recipe couldn't be simpler.  All you need is sausage, cream cheese and Rotel.  Oh, and don't forget the Fritos Scoops.  Don't even attempt to use any other chip to scoop this deliciousness!

So simple.


1 roll Jimmy Dean sausage, 16 oz (I use regular, but if you're wild use the spicy!)
2 packages cream cheese, 8 oz each (the boxed kind is easier to unwrap, but the tubs were on sale)
1 can Rotel, 10 oz (I use mild, but you can get original if you're a spice fan)

Preheat oven to 350.  Brown and crumble sausage in nonstick skillet.  Gradually add the cream cheese, stirring constantly to help it melt.  You don't want to completely cook it, if it's a bit chunky that's ideal.  Pour in can of undrained Rotel, stir to combine.  Transfer to 8x8 glass baking dish.  Bake uncovered for about 25 minutes, stirring once halfway through.  Serve immediately with Fritos Scoops! 

Thursday, November 7, 2013


My other half informed me there was going to be a potluck at his work, and people were being encouraged to bring their meals in crockpots.  Recently at lunch, my coworker brought in leftover pulled pork that looked and smelled AMAZING, so I asked her to email me the recipe.  She insisted it didn't need to be written down because it was so simple.  Put pork in crockpot, pour in root beer, cook forever, shred, add sauce.  Seriously, it's that easy.  I know what you're thinking: root beer?  I'm not a sweets fan and never drink soda, but I promise you won't know there's root beer in this.  You drain it all off at the end.  It's not sweet!

I enjoyed the leftovers on a potato roll with some delicious, creamy coleslaw from the deli at Harris Teeter.  I also added a dash of my latest obsession:

I doubled this recipe and ended up using about 5 lbs of pork tenderloin.  It was on sale at the grocery store, but if it hadn't been, I may have purchased a cheaper cut.  The tenderloin has the least amount of fat, so the time spent searching for fat to be discarded is minimal.  My coworker used the rump roast (and couldn't say the cut of meat without giggling, I might add) and spent a little more time ridding it of the fat, but it was still equally delicious.  Thanks for the recipe, Blair!


2 lb pork tenderloin/roast
12 ounces root beer
1 bottle of your favorite barbeque sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's is so perfect)

Place pork in crockpot and pour on root beer.  Cook on low about 7-8 hours.  Carefully remove pork from crockpot and pour out all the root beer liquid.  Shred pork and discard any fat.  Return shredded meat to crockpot, add desired amount of sauce and cook on low for 1 more hour.  Serve with additional sauce, hot sauce, coleslaw, or whatever your little heart desires.

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Oh my gosh you guys.  I was so excited to share this recipe with you.  I've been making this spaghetti for years and I've got the recipe memorized.  However, today, the day I decided to photograph and post it for you, I screwed it up.  I used three cans of enchilada sauce instead of two, and the end result was a soupy mess.  I should work on my memorization skills.  This really is a delicious recipe, but my pictures of runny pasta will not convince you.  How about the fact that I make it every two weeks?  Does that convice you?  And how I always make an extra big batch so I can bring it to work for lunch.  Now do you believe in the deliciousness?  Good.  Let's move on.

So there's an easy way to make this meal, and there's also a SUPER easy way.  Today, I chose SUPER easy.  I used this instead of raw chicken:
So simple.  Saute some onions, peppers and chopped green chiles then add this frozen chicken.  It cooks quickly and bonus: you don't have to cut raw chicken into pieces!

This recipe calls for enchilada sauce and I always use Old El Paso, so you should too.  I'm not trying to be bossy, it's just the tastiest option.

You know how I'm always raving about one pot dishes?  Well, this isn't one of them.
Make room on the stove people, you are going to need two spots to make this meal.  Do you notice the THREE cans of enchilada sauce in the background?  I don't know about you, but I think they look very smug, just sitting there knowing they are about to ruin my meal.  Like I said before, let's move on.


2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped (this time I used frozen chopped onions and peppers)
2 small cans chopped green chiles, drained
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 heaping tablespoon cumin
1 heaping tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
3/4 pound of dry spaghetti (regular spaghetti works best, not thin)
2 (14 oz) cans red enchilada sauce
1 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese

Cook spaghetti according to directions on box for al dente.  While pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Add chicken, onions, green chiles and salt and let cook until vegetables are soft and chicken is cooked through, about 6-8 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute.  Stir in cumin, cayenne, paprika and chili powder.  Pour in both cans enchilada sauce.  Use wooden spoon to break apart pieces of chicken.  Simmer this sauce for about 7-10 minutes.  Turn the heat off, then add the drained pasta to the skillet in small batches using tongs. Add cheese and mix carefully until everything is combined.  Serve immediately.

I hope you enjoyed the consolation pictures!