Saturday, November 23, 2013


I have seen so many PINs and google postings about oreo brownies...even Bryan came home the other day talking about this brownie recipe that had oreos baked in the middle.  Psst...I had seen it on Pinterest for months before this...come on Bryan, get with the  Anyway, I decided we would have this treat even though it would be all my calories for the entire week :( !  I wanted to make my own brownies for my first batch, but after running all over town searching for vacuum screws, roasting a pumpkin for puree and then pureeing it, cooking dinner (shephard's pie with steak instead of ground beef and sweet potato fries that seemed to take hours), cleaning the kitchen and then eating, making brownies from scratch just didn't appeal to me.  So, I used the boxed mix of dark chocolate fudge brownies. 
I prepared the brownies according to the package.  I used skim milk instead of water and coconut oil instead of vegetable oil.  I sprayed my 12 muffin tin with baker's joy and put 1 tbsp of the batter in the bottom of each space.  I then put an oreo in the middle of each one...topping it off with more batter for each muffin.  One box was EXACTLY enough for 12.  I sprinkled the top with Resse's pieces (the more the merrier for me, but not everyone likes, I put ALOT on half of them and only a few on the other half).  I put the pan in the oven for 20 minutes and they were perfectly cooked.  If you are like some people who like the inside brownie, you could make this recipe in a square cake pan.
ENJOY!  The joy of brownie, oreos, and Resse's

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Chicken Potpie

On Monday, I had some chicken I had put in the fridge to be marinated (with Frank's red hot sauce, lime juice, garlic, and olive oil) for no specific reason, just to have ready when I needed it.  So, yesterday, I wanted something easy to either have with it or put it in.  I came across a bubbly up chicken pot pie that uses puff pasty, so I ran in to HEB and got a box of puff pastries.  I didn't use the recipe I found on facebook....noo...I couldn't use the one that called for ingredients that I had ALL of...noooo....I had to use Paula Deen's recipe that calls for cream of celery and cream of cheese soups, neither of which I had.  Well, then I went in search of recipes for those cream soups and used the ones found here:
 This turned out the best thing I believe I have ever made..well, if not the best, then close to it.  I made a few MINOR changes, but basically went by what Ms. Deen suggested.  The following is the recipe:

 2 sheets frozen puff pastry
2 large chicken breasts cooked and diced or shredded (I marinated mine in 1/2 c Franks red hotsauce, 1/4 cup olive oil, and juice of 2 limes overnight in refrigerator.  I then baked in the oven (in the marinade) for 45 minutes while I went to get my daughter at school.)
1 can cream of celery soup
1/4 tsp minced sauteed ginger
1 can cream of cheddar cheese soup
1/2 c skim milk
bell pepper
2 stalks celery
about 2 cups frozen peas
2-3 carrots...depending on size and how much you love carrots, diced and cooked (I cooked my carrots in the marinade from the chicken  and boiling water)
salt and pepper

I put the carrots on to boil and then I concentrated on my soups (instead of making 2 seperate soups, I just doubled the base and followed the 2 soup recipes together...I also added some fresh ginger to the celery while sauteing).  I set the soups aside and sauted the onions and bell pepper until they  were a little under crispy (these would soften up more during oven cooking).  After I added the milk to the soup, I put it back on the stove and brought to a boil to combine completely.  I removed the pot from the heat and then added the diced chicken, carrots, peas, onions and bell pepper, and salt and pepper to taste then combined completely.  In the bottom of a 9x13 pan, I sprayed with bakers joy and lay one sheet of the puff pasty.  I then added the filling.  You could just put the other sheet of puff pastry over the top, but I cut the pastry in 1/2 in strips and put it as a latice over the top.  Paula Deen shows you how to do that in her book, or you can find a tutorial online.  It's easier than you think, especially if you didn't have to make the crust to begin with :). 

There are 3 of us in the house now and this potpie has disappeared already.  As soon as my 14yo daughter took her first bite, she yelled "I want this for lunch tomorrow".  That's always a good sign.  I will be taking this to any potluck.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Pork Rib enchilada casserole with tomatillo/hatch chili sauce

Yes...that does sound a little weird.  First of all, pork rib?  You would be amazed how awesome the country style rib meat is in stews and casseroles.  When you cut it off the bone and into bite size pieces, it is so very tender and more flavorful than chicken.  I combined tomatillo and hatch chilis together to make the enchilada sauce.  Wow, what a flavor boost.  I love both of them as green enchilada sauce and when you combine them...well, words can't really explain it.  Add some cheese and corn tortillas and the casserole is a great dinner and could easily travel for a potluck.  Here is how I did it:

Country Style Pork Rib enchilada casserole with tomatillo/hatch chili sauce:

8 medium tomatillos
3 medium sized roasted/skinned/seeded hatch chilis
6 cloves garlic
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 medium onion
3 cups water

Add above ingredients in to a large sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until tomatillos are very soft.  Using emersion blender, blend until smooth and set aside until needed.  You will only need about 1/2 of it.  Either freeze or can the rest.

Meat mixture and casserole layers

6 full size (about 1lb) country style pork ribs
3 medium russet potatoes (or whatever potatoes you prefer)
1 pkg taco seasoning (or 7 tsp homemade taco recipe)
2-3 cups preferred cheddar or Mexican queso
12-15 small corn tortillas
1 cup greek yogurt or sour cream
2 cups baracho beans (left over from previous meal.  used recipe from using both pinto and black beans)  or 1 can of drained black beans or pinto beans.

cut up ribs into bite size pieces.  cut potatoes into bite size pieces.  combine in large bowl with lid and add taco seasoning.  Shake to cover.  Add to large sauté pan and sauté until potatoes soft and pork browned.

Start with tortillas...add to large casserole dish.  Cover tortillas with meat mixture, then add yogurt, then half the cheese.  repeat layers except for the cheese.  Add the green sauce and put in an oven preheated to 350 degrees.  Bake for 20 minutes then add rest of cheese and put back in the oven until cheese is melted. 

Quick and Easy Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole Recipe

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Dang Good Pizza Sauce

I have been making my own spaghetti sauce for a while and believe I have just about got it perfected based on what veggies are in season.  So, today, I decided to make my own pizza sauce for some homemade deep dish pizzas.  As usual, I got some ideas and guidance from various recipes, but went out on my own for the most part.  It turned out better than I had expected...yum!  I used roasted tomatoes, peppers, and onions that I roasted about a month ago and froze.  There were about 8-10 medium size Roma tomatoes, a jalapeno, a bell pepper, a sweet onion, and a couple of sweet peppers.  I also roasted a few slices of zucchini and a sliced carrot as well as fresh herbs.


1 onion
1 bell pepper
4 stalks celery
hand full of fresh spinach
2 cloves of garlic
hand full of fresh basil and oregano
a sprig of fresh rosemary
(you can also use dried herbs...about 1/3 of the amount you would use of fresh)

I put all of this in my ninja and pureed.  I then added 2 tbsp of olive oil to a large pot...heated it and then added the above pureed mixture.

While that is sauteing, I added the roasted tomatoes to the Ninja and pureed until thick.

I added the tomatoes to the pan with the veggie mixture along with a bay leaf, 1 tsp of sea salt, some fresh ground pepper and a few shakes of some dried italian seasoning.  I also added 1 tsp of fennel seed and a few shakes of dried roasted garlic.
I brought it to a boil and then lowered the temp to keep it at a slow simmer.  I put the lid on the pot and let it simmer for about an hour.  It was the perfect thickness but if you want it really thick, let it simmer for about 30 minutes longer, uncovered.
I think next time I am going to start this in the morning and put it in the slow cooker on low for about 8 hours.
This recipe made enough sauce for 2 pizzas with 2 pints left over for later.  This would be great to use as dip for crusty breads and mozzarella sticks.  You could also use it as pasta sauce or in casseroles.  Don't forget to remove your bay leaf after it has cooked or someone will get an unwelcome surprise.
Easy Pizza Sauce III Recipe

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

zesty smoked sausage pasta

I got an idea from a Pinterest recipe today.  It called for pasta, smoked sausage, rotel, onions, and chicken broth.  Me, having an abundance of different vegetables, decided to go out on my own with the above base ingredients.  Here is what I came up with:

1lb smoked sausage-sliced
1 onion-diced
2 cloves garlic-minced
2 cups broth (I made my own vegetable broth, so I used a pint of that)
2 cans rotel (I canned some rotel with the abundance of tomatoes I had, so I used a pint)
2 cobs of corn (corn cut off the cobs)
1 small zuchinni-finely chopped
1 stalk of celery - finely chopped
3 mini rainbow peppers (not sure what they are really called)-chopped
2 Italian peppers (bell pepper would be ok)-chopped
salt and pepper to taste (I used an herb seasoning sea salt blend)
2/3 cup half and half
12 oz pasta (I used garden rotini)

in a large skillet heat a little olive oil...add sausage, onion, zuchinni, celery, corn, and peppers and sauté until veggies are soft and sausage is a little curled then add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.  Add the broth, rotel, and seasoning and bring to a boil.  Add the rotini and stir.  reduce heat and cover.  simmer on low for about 10 minutes or according to pasta instructions and soft.  Top with parmesan cheese.

This turned out really good.  It was well like by everyone and again, no one knew they what vegetables they were eating or even that they were eating vegetables :)

I hope you enjoy.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Meatballs with Peach Barbeque Sauce

My daughter LOVES meatballs...I mean really really LOVES meatballs.  I tried to keep up with that love by making homemade meatballs, but you know, sometimes I just can't.  I now buy frozen meatballs from Sam's club to supplement that LOVE of hers.  With that said, she, of course, asked for meatballs (for the second time this week).  I'm not a huge fan of meatballs, but I got a bright idea talking to her about them.  Just that morning, I had opened up a pinterest post on grape something or other meatballs...sounded pretty interesting, but something that I am just not interested in trying....and it popped into my head as we talked about what she wanted for dinner.  After deciding I didn't want to try the grape whatever, peach barbeque sauce popped in to my head.  I have been doing quite a bit of canning lately and had seen that recipe in the Ball canning book...which I was seriously considering.  Sooooo, I decided before I can this stuff we may not does sound a little more out there than my kids would care to even make it with meatballs and throw it over brown rice.  As I'm cooking this stuff and throwing in the ingredients it called for, I'm seriously thinking it was going to be a flop.  I wouldn't even tell anyone in my family what it was for fear they wouldn't even try it.  I never tell them what is in stuff because I tend to hide a lot of vegetables they would normally not eat in any sauce or casserole.  As this is cooking I put on fresh green beans and new potatoes (Paula Deen recipe) and cut up sweet potatoes for sweet potato home fries (another Paula Deen recipe..she really does know her stuff).  After I get all of this completed, I call everyone in to dinner.  Of course they are to tell them what the yellowish orange stuff is that the meatballs are swimming around in and, of course, I didn't tell them until they took at least one bite.  That one bite is all anyone was a HUGE hit.  Even my 18 year old that hates different stuff..she's worse than a 3 year old...came back for seconds...and I think she actually licked her plate.  My honey started putting the leftovers away and started eating  He is going to get me a box of peaches today to get this stuff canned to have all year...awesome.  I am going to try this in meatloaf, on chicken, in melted cheese for dip...the ideas are endless with this stuff.  So, I just had to post this recipe!!  I hope it is enjoyed by everyone else like it was by my family.

Peach Barbeque Sauce


  • 1 pound fresh peaches
  • 3/4 cup chopped sweet onion such as Vidalia
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minutesced fresh jalapeño with seeds
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/4cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons mild honey
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


Cut an X in bottom of each peach, then blanch in a medium saucepan of boiling water 10 seconds. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice and cold water and cool. Peel peaches and coarsely chop.
Cook onion, jalapeño, and a pinch of kosher salt in oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 to 10 minutesutes. Add peaches and remaining ingredients and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until peaches are very tender, about 30 minutesutes.
Purée in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids).

Read More
Again, I served this with meatballs over brown rice, fresh green beans and new potatoes, and sweet potato home fries.  All of the recipe reviews used it on pork ribs and tenderloin...that sounds awesome as well. 

Monday, July 29, 2013


I have come to the point where I am just using recipes to get ideas but really don't go by them at all.  Yesterday I was looking for a recipe to use some steak I HAD to use by yesterday or it would be inedible, but I didn't want to grill it.  I also had some corn tortillas that MUST be used, so I decided on some kind of fajita casserole.  I went on the hunt of a good fajita marinade that wouldn't take over night but could become fully marinated by the time I got through canning some tomatoes (which I have become addicted to).  I came across this recipe found here: .  Of course, I only used it as a "guide".  It called for flank steak...I had ribeye.  It called for jalepeno pepper and chiles de arbol...I used jalepeno and fresh cayenne pepper (I had the chiles but needed to use the cayenne).  I also did not use the cumin seeds and peppercorns but cumin powder and fresh ground pepper since really that's what it turned out to be for her after she used her morter and pestle and ground them up.  I let them marinate just like she said.  instead of broiling the meat after it was through marinating, I grilled it on my George forman.  The rest of the casserole I made up as I went along and here is what I came up with:

2 medium size ribeyes
6 cloves garlic minced
1 jalapeno pepper finely diced
1 cayenne pepper finely diced
1 tbsp. oregano (didn't have Mexican oregano so I added a little paprika...don't ask me
fresh ground pepper (about 30 turns on the grinder)
1 tbsp. chili powder

I also made a tomatillo sauce but slightly different than her it is:

5 tomatillos (pretty big)
1 Anaheim pepper
lots and lots of cilantro (fresh)
juice of 1 lime

I also used the following in the actual casserole body:
18 corn tortillas (you could use flour but I have found that flour tortillas turn a little slimy in casseroles)
about 3 or 4 cups of cheddar and pepper jack cheese mixture
1/2 cup salsa (I used my own salsa)
2 tbsp. sour cream (mix with the salsa)
1 onion
1 bell pepper

after the meat has marinated 3 hours in the fridge and then taken out and let sit for 30 minutes, add it to a preheated grill (discard remaining marinade).  While that is grilling, prepare a casserole dish (I used a 9x13 glass dish) with cooking spray and then put 9 tortillas across the bottom.  Add the salsa mixture, then some cheese (how much ever you like).  Put the grilled steak next, then a little sprinkle of more cheese (I love cheese).  Add the remaining tortillas and then top with the tomatillo sauce.  Bake for about 20 minutes then add the remaining cheese and bake for another 10 minutes (or until cheese is melted).  My ENTIRE family loved this and that is saying something to me because my oldest daughter HATES steak...any form of it is gross to her.  Very easy meal to prepare when your canning everything under the sun.  I went crazy at the market this weekend!!
I hope you enjoy!

Saturday, July 6, 2013


I have neglected this blog lately...phew, what a year.  My oldest daughter graduated and keeping her on task was almost impossible.  I was really sad at the beginning of the year but by the end, I was so ready for it to just be over....for a couple of reasons.  One for the reason mentioned above and the second was because I was taking her on a 5 day cruise to Mexico.  I so needed was a great relaxing way to end the school year.  I'm ready for another one!
I have made this stew/soup/goulash thing several times.  I've been telling my girls lately they are going to have to start coming up with names for my dishes.  I have gone from HAVING to have a recipe to just creating stuff on my own.  I still use recipes from time to time as a guide or idea, but I rarely go completely by a recipe.  Anyway, I made this concoction for a house full of family and friends on graduation day, but before that, I made it when my mother was staying with us around Christmas.  My family told me that I need to take this around and sell it at festivals and markets...things like that...out of a  Hey, I do want to open a restaurant some day...I guess that would be a great way to start!  Since I do not have a real recipe for this anywhere but in my head it is different every time depending on what veggies are in season really...but I do basically use the same stuff and definitely the same spices and herbs (I am adding all of the veggies I have used before in the recipe, but you can mix and match what you prefer and put as little or as much as you prefer.  This is also a wonderful recipe to you moms who are trying to "hide" veggies so your kids don't even know what they are eating ).  So, here goes:

First, let's start with the base of this stew that is homemade veggie broth.  I make that by putting all of the clean peals, seeds, membranes, tops...whatever you cut off and are not using to eat of the veggies below along with a couple of cloves of garlic, some peppercorns, basil, oregeno, and about a tsp of sea salt and let it boil in about 6 cups of water for about an hour (also, if you have a ham bone or some chicken bones and/or skin left over from something else, you could add that for a little more flavor).  I also add a jalepeno or chili pepper and a small onion for a little extra flavor.   After it has boiled an hour, put it through a food mill or like I do, through a strainer/sieve. 

1 lb boneless pork spare ribs (trim as much fat off as you can but not ALL...adds flavor to the broth)
10 large roma tomatoes peeled and diced (you can use whatever tomatoes you have...this just gives you an idea of the size of the tomatoes)
1 medium onion
1 large green bell pepper
1 Chayote (I contribute to Bountiful Baskets and often get the Mexican add-on.  This squash is often in there and is perfect for stew because it is harder than zucchini or yellow squash so it doesn't get mushy and tastes wonderful)
1 Mexican squash (looks a lot like zucchini but is a little firmer and as the Chayote, gets soft but not mushy)
1 zucchini (always need a little mushy in stews)
1 yellow squash
4 carrots peeled and roughly sliced
4 russet potatoes (or large red potatoes or really whatever you like and how much you like)
2 stalks of celery finely chopped (I finely chop them because I do not like celery but it adds great flavor to stew and as long as I can't tell I'm eating it, it's ok :) )
1 jalepeno
1 hatch chili or any mild green chili
1/2 pound fresh green beans
1 large ear of corn (cut corn off the's much better..haha...and yes, add the cob to the veggie broth above)
 3 or 4 leaves of fresh cabbage finely chopped
a bunch of spinach finely chopped
4 flowerettes of broccoli and cauliflower finely chopped
1 tsp cumin
2 tbsp fresh basil finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh oregeno finely chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp fresh rosemary finely chopped (I use kitchen shears to cut this up)
1 tbsp fresh cilantro
4 or 5 cloves of garlic minsed (I love my little minser that I got from a home and garden show...I don't know what it is called but I have seen it several times at different shows and markets.  It looks like a little plate with teeth :)
salt and cracked pepper to taste (I also add a few red pepper flakes for a little extra kick)

While the veggie broth is boiling in another pan, I dice up about 6 of the tomatoes and add them to a large soup pot along with some olive oil (about a tbsp) and let it boil to mushy.  I also add half of the onion to the tomatoes along with a pinch of salt.  While the tomatoes are cooking I dice up the rest of the veggies.  Last nights stew consisted of the zucchini and yellow squash (I sadly did not have any of the Mexican squashes), celery, potatoes, carrots, corn, green beans, and cabbage along with the onion and all of the peppers.  After I get those diced, I get out a skillet and add about a tbsp of olive or coconut oil and let get hot.  Then I add the pork (that I have diced in to small bite size pieces) and cook for about 2-3 minutes then add the spices and herbs and cook for another 2-3 minutes (the pork does not have to be completely done and best if not because it will cook in the stew.)  While the pork is cooking, add the broth and veggies to the tomatoes, then add the meat to that (make sure to not drain the want that extra flavor that is in the oils).  If the broth does not cover the concoction, either add a can of rotel or tomatoes with the juices, or just more water (if it was me and I added more water, I would also add about a tsp of chicken broth granules).  Let it simmer for about an hour so the flavors melt together and serve with zucchini, green chilli cornbread...recipe found here:  Best cornbread recipe ever!  I did add an ear of corn cut off the cob and sauted the green chilli and onion in some olive oil. 

This is a really easy recipe and to make the prep time a lot quicker, just add frozen veggies (I wouldn't do canned veggies...too much sodium and preservatives...yuck) and use broth from the store...veggie or chicken.  ENJOY!
I did not take a picture of the stew I made last night, but here is one that is similar I made a while back.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


I was actually kind of skeptical of Pumpkin Chili.  I mean, really, pumpkin in chili?  I've always thought of pumpkin in sweet stuff only.  I'm in a groove right now trying out new recipes and making them my own.  I get the basic ideas from posted recipes and then I add, subtract, and enhance the ingredients.  I was a basic kind of cook who thought of making dinner as a chore until I had bariatric surgery, lost 125 pounds, and have amazing energy.  I now LOVE to cook and enjoy making my own recipes and enhancing others, or just trying things that I thought would be too hard.  I have come to realize that fresh herbs are the only way to go and you can hide vegetables in just about EVERYTHING.  So, I made the pumpkin was just too intriguing...and it being a slow cooker recipe made it even more appealing.  I got the recipe on Pinterest and here:
I basically went by the recipe with just a couple of additions and subtractions.  Here is what I came up with.

Anaheim chili pepper, green (2oz) - I had a fresh one that I roasted in the oven, removed the skin and cut up
Dried chili pepper, red (1) - I pulled the stem out and poured out the seeds.  I then put it in my Ninja and made it in to a course powder.
jalepeno pepper (1) - finely chopped with seeds removed
2 cans black beans - rinsed
Fresh Cilantro - as much as you like..I LOVE cilantro
Ground Cumin - 1Tbsp
Fresh garlic - 3 cloves minsed or 1Tbsp
Green Bell Pepper - 1
Onion - 1 medium to large
Fresh Oregeno - 2 Tbsp
Fresh Rosemary - 1tsp
Fresh basil - 2tsp
15 oz fresh pumpkin puree (you can use 1 can puree, not pie filling)
28oz fresh tomatoes (I had some fresh frozen roasted tomatoes but you can use 2 14oz cans diced tomatoes)
1lb ground beef
1Tbsp chili powder
2tsp Olive Oil
Sea Salt and fresh ground black pepper - to taste
Dash of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper - to taste
1 yellow squash
1 zuchini squash
1 carrot
1 celery stalk

Brown ground beef until almost done and then add herbs and seasonings...sautee for about 2 more minutes then remove and set aside.  In the same skillet, add some olive oil and saute onions, bell pepper, jalepeno pepper, squash, carrot, and celery until almost soft then add garlic and saute for another minute.  In a blender (I use my awesome Ninja) add tomatoes and sauted veggies.  Pulse a few times until almost pureed.  Add beef, tomato veggie sauce and the rest of the ingredients into a slow cooker (crockpot).  Cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 8-10 hours.  Remember, the longer you cook this, the more the flavors will be incorporated and enhanced. 
We put this on fritos for frito chili pie and added some cheese and sour cream (or greek yogurt for more nutrition.)
I now have a favorite chili...and yes, I'm from Texas and like the beans in this chili.  About the really do not taste it but it does enhance the flavor with just a tad sweetness to tame the peppers, and add a little thickness.  This is a must try.  The following picture is from the original recipe owner.  Thank you Kaylynskitchen for this wonderful concoction. 

Monday, March 4, 2013


I cannot believe I have not added this recipe until now.  It is the best "refried" beans recipe you will ever find.  I have tried to make refried beans before and failed terribly.  These are no fail and extremely easy.  I got the recipe on Pinterest and here:

Slow Cooker Refried Beans (without the Refry!)

**This recipe makes a lot, but you can also use it to make bean burritos, bean dip, topping for a salad, etc . . . you will definitely want to use a large 5-6 quart slow cooker for this recipe.

Slow Cooker Refried Beans
1 onion, peeled and halved 
3 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed 
1/4-1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (I used about 1/4 because I wanted my kids to eat it and not think it was too hot) 
2 tablespoons minced garlic 
3 teaspoons salt 
1 3/4 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper 
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin (optional) 
5 cups water 
4 cups chicken broth

    -Place the onion, rinsed beans, jalapeno, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin into a slow cooker. Pour in the water and chicken broth and stir to combine. Cook on High for 8 hours, adding more water as needed. Note: if more than 1 cup of water has evaporated during cooking, then the temperature is too high.
    -Once the beans have cooked, strain them, and reserve the liquid. Mash the beans with a potato masher, adding the reserved water as needed to attain desired consistency. 
     -If you want to turn this into a big batch of bean dip, add the following: 
     2 cups salsa
    2 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese
    2 cups shredded pepperjack cheese
    8 oz. cream cheese
    16 oz. sour cream 
    2 Tbls chili powder
    1/2 tsp. ground cumin
    Mix in with the beans and let cook a couple hours longer so flavors can blend. Makes a huge batch so just freeze leftovers!

    Sunday, March 3, 2013


    I contribute weekly (most weeks) to Bountiful Baskets for my fruits and veggies...bread and tortillas also...well, and coconut and olive oil...oh yeah, and pure honey.  This coop is amazing.  When I just get the basket, it's $15 for at least 15 lbs of fruits and veggies.  Some I love, some I've never tried before, and some I'm not crazy about and usually hide them in recipes that overpower the taste of the particular veggie I, or someone in my family, doesn't like.  I did that today.  One of my teen girls is not a big fan of very many vegetables, so I have to desquise them in any way I can to give her the daily amount she needs.  I didn't go by any recipe, just started getting things out of the fridge.  First of all, I made some veggie stock from the CLEANED peelings of the vegetables I was using for the stew including the tops of the leeks and bell pepper, onion peels, carrot, potato and squash peelings and garlic peels.  I peeled the vegetables into a stock pan, covered those peelings with water, added some pepper corns, bay leaves, and about 2 tsps of chicken broth granules (just for a little added flavor).  I let that simmer for about an hour while I cut up my vegetables, then a poured the juice through strainer.  Came out GREAT!  It made about 2 1/2 quarts.  I used 1 quart for the stew, put some in an ice cube mold for individual stocks, and put the rest in a container and into the freezer for next time.  Saved about $5 on stock!!
    The good thing about this stew is it is really fool proof.  You can add whatever vegetables you have on hand...fresh, frozen, or canned.  The meat is really by preference as well.  I used pork because there was a big sale on pork sirloin).  You can also use fresh or dried herbs and whatever stock you have or can make...the vegetable stock I made was very easy and tasted AWESOME.  Here is the recipe for the Pork stew!

    1 ONION (the size depends on how much you LOVE onions)
    1 mexican squash (dark green squash...not zuchini)
    1 chayote squash
    2 leeks (the white and light green part..I put the dark green leaves in the pot for the veggie stock)
    1 bell pepper
    1 chili pepper
    1 jalepeno pepper
    4 carrots
    1 fresh tomato
    5 butter potatoes..small to medium
    1 cup sweet corn (fresh or frozen or 1 can sweet corn)
    1 lrg can diced tomatoes (I had some fresh ones that I froze)
    1 quart stock of choice
    1 can rinsed black beans
    4 cloves minced garlic
    1 tbsp fresh rosemary or 1tsp dried
    2 tbsp fresh oregeno or 1 tbsp dried
    1 tbsp fresh basil or 1 tsp dried
    cilantro to taste...fresh or dried
    1 lb pork sirloin
    sea salt
    fajita seasoning
    about 1 tbsp barbque sauce ( I used tequilla barbque)

    Peel and dice all vegetables and saute in large skillet until peppers and onions are tender (make sure potatoes do not get tender...just a little browned for taste.  While vegetables are sauteing, put fajita seasoning and barbque sauce on pork, coat, and add to heated George Forman.  Cook until browned...juices DO NOT have to run clear.  Add vegetables, meat, herbs, seasonings, and stock to Dutch Oven or stock pot and simmer for 1 hour (you can cook this until the potatoes and carrots are tender, but to get all of the flavors incorporated, at least 1 hour is best...I let me simmer for about 2 hours while I was running erands.)  This recipe could also be cooked in the crockpot...just add everything to the crockpot, bypassing the sauteing and grilling, for about 8-10 hours on low.  My friend says this is the best stew he has ever tasted. 
    Note: To make this an easy weeknight meal, just dice veggies, grill pork for about 3 minutes, and add all to stock pan and bring to a rapid boil...boil for about 10-15 minutes, then lower to simmer for another 10 minutes or until all veggies are tender.  Enjoy with cornbread, or tortillas (I made no fry refried beans that I put on a flour tortilla with cheese...very tasty).

    Tuesday, February 26, 2013

    Salisbury Steak


    1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed French onion soup
    1 1/2 pounds ground beef
    1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
    ... 1 egg
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    1/4 cup ketchup
    1/4 cup water
    1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

    In a large bowl, mix together 1/3 cup condensed French onion soup with ground beef, bread crumbs, egg, salt and black pepper. Shape into 6 oval patties.
    In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown both sides of patties. Pour off excess fat.
    In a small bowl, blend flour and remaining soup until smooth. Mix in ketchup, water, Worcestershire sauce and mustard powder. Pour over meat in skillet. Cover, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    Salisbury Steak Recipe

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013


    I have 40 lbs of fresh tomatoes thanks to Bountiful Baskets.  My daughter wanted ravioli casserole for dinner and I wanted to make the sauce from scratch to put on it.  I started googling spaghetti sauce using fresh tomatoes and most of them called for canned tomato paste along with the fresh tomatoes.  I don't have tomato paste, so I decided to go out on my own and just use the recipe as a guide to how many tomatoes I needed.  Here is what I came up with:

    12  medium fresh tomatoes (blanch tomatoes in boiling water for 30-60 seconds depending on how ripe the tomatoes are and dunk immediately in ice water.  remove skin and cores) - diced
    1 medium to large yellow onion - diced
    1 small zucchini - diced (I had ALOT of zucchini and yellow squash from Bountiful Baskets that I put in the freezer from last summer and fall.  They are not good fried due to them being very mushy, but work GREAT in this recipe...I just threw them in there still frozen)
    1 small yellow squash-diced
    1 stalk celery-diced
    1/2 red bell pepper-diced
    1/2 green bell pepper-diced
    3 tbsp fresh oregeno
    3 tbsp fresh basil
    2 cloves garlic
    3  bay leaves
    2 8oz cans tomato sauce (if you have it..I think it would be fine without it)
    1 can rotel (I just love rotel and had could add another tomato and a can of chilis for the same effect)
    2 tbsp sugar (I used splenda)
    1/4 c olive oil
    1 tbsp salt (little less if you use sea salt)
    1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
    cracked pepper to taste

    Add olive oil to large sauce pan along with onion, zucchini, squash, celery, and peppers.  Allow to cook until almost soft and then add herbs and saute for just a minute or two.  Add rest of ingredients.  Simmer for 60 minutes (the more it simmers, the more the flavors become pronounced).  Remove from heat and, using emersion blender or stand blender, blend until desired consistency.  Some people like chunky sauce...for those, you don't even need to blend (I like it chunky, but to get my honey and one of my daughters to eat it, I had to hide all the veggies I added to the sauce and they didn't even know it had any.)  REMEMBER TO REMOVE BAY LEAVES.  EVEN IF YOU BLEND, THEY DO NOT BLEND WELL. 
    This makes about 2+ quarts.  I used about a quart for the ravioli casserole and put the other half in a quart jar.  It seals due to the heat and will last in your fridge for weeks in that sealed jar.  DO NOT LEAVE IT OUT THINKING IT IS CANNED.  UNLESS YOU FOLLOW CANNING TECHNIQUES FOR TOMATOES WITH NON ACIDIC VEGGIES, IT IS NOT TRULY CANNED.

    My 17 year old daughter told me "I love your spaghetti sauce.  You should be on the next great baker...well, no, you can't should be on Master Chef."  I told her I'm not that good.  She said "Oh yes you are!".  That was the most amazing compliment I could ever get.  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family did.  If you have a non veggie loving family, don't tell them they are in there and I promise, they will not know.  Most of these veggies came from Bountiful most favorite find.  Thanks Liz for the heads up.