Sunday, July 29, 2012

Fiesta Taco Rice

I keep making these pretty delicious meals that aren't knocking Daniel's socks off so I've given up. He keeps telling me to keep it simple. Well, I don't know how much simpler I can get as this meal was beyond simple. I on occasion go to the grocery with my mother in law since Daniel has our vehicle during the day for work. She suggested making something like this when she has the girls with her so tonight I finally decided to give it a shot.

There are so many things you can add to this dish that would push it over the top. I added a fresh out of the garden, banana pepper and I would have added a small can of black beans and a can of diced tomatoes had I have had either one. This would also be good with a cooked, shredded chicken breast as well.

I topped mine with some cheese and I served it with lettuce, fresh tomato, and sour cream on the side. I ate mine without a tortilla shell, but Addison made herself a fiesta taco rice burrito. Daniel said it was okay, but once again I could tell it didn't knock his socks off. One of these nights that boy is going to be making dinner for me since apparently my breakfast of scrambled eggs, maple sausage links, and fried green tomatoes are the only things I can get compliments on around here.

Fiesta Taco Rice
Inspired by: My mother in law, Sue.

1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
1 pkg. Knorr's fiesta rice taco version
2 cups of water
1 cup of finely shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese

*Possible additions, small can of drained and rinsed black beans, diced onion, small can of diced tomato, and or your favorite peppers.

1.) In a large skillet, brown ground beef. Drain excess grease.
2.)  Add package of rice to ground beef. Slowly incorporate two cups of water. Gently stir together and cover. Lower heat to around medium. Cook for five to seven minutes or until rice has absorbed liquid.
3.) Un-cover, gently stir once again, turn heat off. Add shredded cheeses to top and allow to melt.
4.) Serve with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Parmesan Chicken Salad

I love chicken salad sandwiches.

Have you ever had Bob Evan's chicken salad sandwiches?

They are my favorite and I look forward to them every summer since they are a seasonal item. Normally when I make chicken salad here at home I use grapes and celery along with mayo but last night I was in a dinner funk. I had been suffering with a bad sinus headache for the past twenty four hours and if it were just me, no dinner would have been made. I had to feed the husband and girls though so I knew I had to whip something up. I had two thawed chicken breasts out and since I was looking for something easy I decided to whip this up. It was so good. Daniel had two sandwiches, I had one, the girls had a couple of scoops each, and we still had some leftover. Addison made little lettuce wraps with her chicken salad.  I plan on making this again to keep on hand for quick lunches.

Parmesan Chicken Salad

2 lg. chicken breast, boiled until cooked through, shredded
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. dried dill
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
Bread of your choice, we used french bread
sliced onion
sliced tomato
ice-burg lettuce
Swiss cheese
Dijon or brown mustard

1.) Boil chicken breasts until cooked through.
2.) In a small mixing boil add mayo, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, dill, onion powder, and garlic powder and mix until fully incorporated.
3.) Slice your choice of bread and lightly toast.
4.) Shred chicken and mix with mayo mixture.
5.) Place two scoops of chicken salad on bottom half of bread. Top with choice of mustard, cheese, onion, tomato, and lettuce, followed by the top half of the bread.
6.) Enjoy with your favorite potato chip or in our case, with your favorite oven baked potato wedges.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Chicken Teriyaki

I'm trying so hard to try new recipes to help liven things up a bit. I feel like I'm always making the same things and not only does that get boring for those of us eating what I make, but it gets boring for this little blog. Personally, I liked this dish. It was different, and while its not something I will make a lot, it will get made again.

I used four chicken breasts that I cut up into cubes and used a few dashes of dried ginger instead of fresh in the sauce. I baked the chicken in the sauce at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for thirty minutes or so. This made a ton and since my chicken was still slightly frozen, it made the sauce a little thinner which made more. Daniel and I both had one helping, as did the girls, and I was able to freeze two more helpings for future meals.

It was quick, easy, and fairly cheap. And by the way, it calls for 1 tsp. of black pepper, not 1 tbsp. like I put in. I really am going to start wearing my glasses when I'm cooking. This is getting ridiculous.

Chicken Teriyaki
*= my changes to the original dish

2 1/4 cups soy sauce
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 (20 oz.) can pineapple chunks in juice, drained, juice reserved
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
* 3 to 4 dashes of dried ginger, original recipe called for fresh ginger
* 4 chicken breasts, cubed
salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 cups of white rice, cooked according to package

1.) Preheat an oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 

2.) Stir the soy sauce, sugar, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, cornstarch, and 1/2 cup of the reserved pineapple juice together in a saucepan until the sugar is completely dissolved; add the onion, garlic, and ginger. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. 

3.) Arrange the chicken cubes in a baking dish; season with salt and pepper. 

4.) Pour sauce over cubed chicken and then sprinkle the top with pineapple chunks. 

5.) Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked thoroughly. 

6.) Serve over rice.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Quick, easy, and cheap dinner ideas!

I know we're not the only family who have been hit hard in this economy. As much as I would like to go back to work full time for the monetary benefit, its just not possible with my health. Between a tight budget, and two little girls that make dedicating a lot of time to preparing a meal impossible, I am always on the lookout for quick, easy, and most importantly, cheap dinner ideas.

Join me as I share with you a few of my favorite dinner ideas that meet the above criteria. Don't hesitate to link up with me by posting some of your own favorites.

1.) Chicken alfredo casserole- This is a favorite of mine and it's always a hit. I've gotten feedback from others telling me that they have added veggies such as broccoli to it. It goes great with garlic bread and a salad and what kid doesn't like chicken alfredo with cheese on top?

2.) Easy tuna casserole- This is a recipe that I first learned to cook from my step-mom, Rhonda. It fed me many times during my days as a single gal out on her own. I always ate mine with a slice of buttered sandwhich bread.

3.) Sausage and crescent roll bake- My sister, Nikki made this for me a few years ago during a night of wedding planning for her upcoming nuptials. I've been making it ever since and I'm sure I'll be making it for years to come. It's great for breakfast and an easy dinner with a side of scrambled eggs. It has cream cheese in it for goodness sake, that's enough said.

4.) Southwest chicken- I just made this for the first time this past Sunday and I am salivating at the idea of making it again. We love Mexican food and this was right up our alley. My aunt Robin made it for her and my uncle Dan's 35th wedding anniversary this week and they loved it.

5.) Chicken noodle soup- I love this dish! Its so comforting and filling and what is great is that it makes enough for leftovers the next day. Ladle on top of a pile of creamy mashed potatoes and be prepared to be taken back to your grandmother's kitchen.

6.) Chicken taco ring-  I whipped this baby up after having something similiar to it this past Christmas. My mother-in-law made a ground beef version for us Christmas day. We branched out this year and did a Mexican theme instead of the tradional ham or turkey.

7.) Holiday crunch- Once again I can't believe I am posting this recipe. My mom made this for us growing up and I loathed it back then. Apparently I have turned over a new leaf because I actually enjoy it now. We always serve ours with a side of corn.

8.) Salsa ranch burgers- I first discovered this recipe over at Cassie Craves. The hard part about this recipe is frying up the burgers in a pan, but you are reminded that its worth the mess and hassle after each bite you take. We love this burger!

9.) White chicken enchiladas with green chile sour cream sauce- There are no words in my vocabulary that would adequately describe just how delictable these are! I love them that much and they are another dish that I discovered over at Cassie Craves.

10.) Broiled tilapia parmesan- I'm not a seafood person by any means. Sadly Daniel loves the stuff so on occassion I do the good wife routine and make him something like this. Don't tell anybody, but this is actually pretty good. I don't even use fresh lemon juice, just squeeze in some of the stuff out of the little yellow

11.) Veggie pizza- If you're looking for a refreshing and light dinner or even lunch, this is right up your alley. It's a great way to get lots of vegetables into your kids and it doesn't hurt that its smothered in a ranch sauce.

12.) Chicken ranch spaghetti- The girls and I adore this meal. I usually make it when Daniel is out of town on business since he isn't the biggest fan. It has three of our favorite things in it...pasta, broccoli, and ranch. They gobble it up and we usually eat the leftovers for lunch the next day.

Now link up and share some of  your favorite quick, easy, and cheap dinner ideas!

Salted Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bark

It's no secret that someone in this house has a serious sweet tooth. Part of being married to Daniel means always having ice-cream readily available. I think it was part of my vows to His sweet tooth goes beyond just ice-cream. In order to quench his need for ice-cream it also means that you must have either chocolate or caramel sauce on stand by, as well as having sprinkles or having some sort of chip available. Chocolate chips, mint chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, he has no preference, as long as he has some chips to sprinkle on top. Personally, I can make a half a gallon of ice-cream last for weeks. He's lucky if he can make his last a week and then my ice-creams safety becomes jeopardized. It's quite entertaining really. He'll eat all of his, then for a couple of days you can tell he's dying to start on my ice-cream but he isn't brave enough to ask. Then after the first couple of days I give in and let him dig into mine. It's my wifely duty to make sure he and his tummy are happy!

Now, I would be lying if I said I didn't have a sweet tooth as well. I couldn't turn down a chocolate chip cookie or a piece of cake, preferably store bought, to save myself. When we don't have this kind of stuff at home I'm fine as I don't typically crave them. Sadly though, when they are in this house, I have a real problem staying away from them. I have an even bigger problem staying away from the sweet recipes I find on-line on a daily basis.

This bark is a little gem that I once again found on Pinterest. That site is doing horrible things to my waist line I tell ya! I just made the Southwest Chicken that I discovered on there the other night, and I'm already anxious to make it again. This bark will be no different. I just made it this morning and I won't admit to how many pieces I have already had. What is great is that I pretty much always have these ingredients on hand. I think the hubby was kind of impressed when I told him I made the caramel sauce from scratch!

The recipe originated over at The Legume Loyalist, but I pinned it from the mama say what blog

I will take this stuff over a bowl of ice-cream any day of the week!

Salted Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bark

2 stick of butter
1 cup of brown sugar
1/2 a bag of pretzel twists, I used pretzel sticks as that is what I had on hand.
1 bag of chocolate chips
Sea salt

1.) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2.) Then line a large jelly roll pan with aluminum foil and lay a single layer of pretzels down.

3.) In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and the brown sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Let it boil gently just until it starts to stick to the bottom and it forms a nice smooth caramel. You’ll want to let it bubble a little and get really thick.

4.) Remove from heat and pour evenly over the top of the pretzels (don’t worry if every single pretzel isn’t covered). Put in the oven at 350 degrees for five minutes.

5.) Remove from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top. Place it back in the oven for a minute or two to allow the chips to melt.

6.) Spread the chocolate chips around with a spatula.

7.) Sprinkle generously with sea salt.

8.) Let cool on the counter top for a few minutes and then pop in the freezer for at least two to three hours.
 * My lack of patience allowed it to freeze up for about two hours. Three hours was out of the question!

9.) When it comes out of the freezer, break it up into uneven chunks with your hands and serve. Or if you skip the aluminum foil step like I did, cut it into pieces and then scrape it out with a spatula. If you don't use the foil, make sure you lightly spray your pan.

How can you say no to something so gorgeous and enticing?
I've linked up this week with The Purple Pumkin blog where I've feature my peanut butter chocolate chips brownies. Be sure to go check it out!

The Purple Pumpkin Blog Link Party

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Southwest Chicken

I've been trying really hard lately trying to come up with new meal ideas for us. Meal ideas that also correspond with the local sales at the grocery store. I did my major shopping trip today and Addison and I hit up two different grocery stores trying to save money.

I love finding new recipes on Pinterest and this recipe I'm about to share with you comes from there. When I do big grocery trips I normally don't feel like doing long and complicated meals afterwards. This recipe fit perfectly tonight for dinner since it was so easy to pull together. I had it done and ready to plate within ten minutes which is right up my alley.

Daniel and I both liked it, however it was a bit to spicy for the girls. If you don't do spicy then I suggest using just a regular can of diced tomatoes instead of the diced tomatoes with chilies.

Southwest Chicken

1 lb. chicken tenders, cut into cubes
*2 tbsp. butter or margarine
*black pepper
*garlic salt
1 can of diced tomatoes with chilies
1 package of taco seasoning
2 cups of rice
1 1/2 cups of water
1 1/2 cups of shredded mild cheddar.

* = my additions

1.) In a large skillet, brown cubed chicken in two tablespoons of butter or margarine. Season with black pepper and garlic salt.
2.) Add un-drained can of diced tomatoes and chilies. Sprinkle with taco seasoning and stir until mixed thoroughly.
3.) Add water, bring to a boil. Add rice and stir. Take off of heat and cover. Allow to sit for five minutes.
4.) Add shredded cheese and stir until combined and melted.

Since the girls didn't care to much for this meal I made them some broccoli and cheese along with some cottage cheese. I could feed them this at every meal and I can't go wrong. Apparently their fingers are the only utensils they need and Addison enjoyed helping herself to Cadence's.

Excuse the bangs in their eyes. We're trying to let a portion of their bangs grow out and they would prefer to not have hair pretties in. The hair in the eyes drives me insane!!!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Au' Gratin Potatoes

It's not a secret that I'm addicted to carbs and anything starchy. I love pasta, bread, and most importantly, potatoes. I could live on mashed potatoes and homemade gravy. One of my favorites meals is pan fried hamburgers with mashed potatoes and gravy made using the pan drippings from frying up the burgers. It's actually the second to last meal I had before I was admitted to the hospital for my surgery in

Anyway, I came up with this recipe at Easter this year. I made it for our dinner that day and it was so good. I typically use whatever shredded cheese I have in the fridge and today I used two different kinds.

The potatoes were so good that I didn't even get a picture of them because we demolished the entire pan.What's even better is how simple they are to make.

Katie's Au'Gratin Potatoes

7 russet potatoes, scrubbed clean (this amount will vary depending on the size of your potatoes)
1 sm. onion, finely diced
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 cups finely shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish.
3. In a medium sauce pan add heavy cream and warm on medium heat. Do not allow milk to boil. Add spices and stir together.
3. Finely slice each potato and add to baking dish.
4. Add diced onion to sliced potatoes. Gently toss onions and potatoes together.
5. To heavy cream, slowly add cheese one cup at a time. Mix until melted together.
6. Pour heavy cream and cheese sauce over potato and onions. Top baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for two hours or until potatoes are cooked through and soft.
7. Allow to cool for five minutes or so before serving.

Lastly, ENJOY!!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July

We're having a small family/friend gathering here at our new house today to celebrate the 4th of July.

Our menu will consist of:
Grilled corn on the cob
Au' gratin potatoes
potato salad

And I'm sure my mother in law will bring her famous fruit salad. I can't wait to get my grub on. Since having my resection surgery and getting my ileostomy, I am finally able to eat whatever I want. It's wonderful to sit back and enjoy the holidays without pain and only being able to nibble at my meal.

I'll be sharing the grilled corn recipe and my au' gratin potato recipe sometime this week.

Be safe and stay cool!