Thursday, May 31, 2012

Snicker Doodles

Every time I make Snicker Doodles, I always wonder why I don't make them more often. They don't take long and they are super tasty! Cooked right, these have that perfect crunchiness around the outside edge with a soft middle. Mm-MMM!


1 C Shortening
1.5 C White Sugar
2 Eggs
2 3/4 C All-purpose White Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Cream of Tartar
1/2 tsp Salt

 3 Tbsp White Sugar
2.5 tsp Ground Cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2. In a Medium bowl, cream together the Shortening, Sugar (1.5 Cups), and Eggs. I have a superstition about beating the sugar/egg/shortening mixture for five minutes until it's good and fluffy. I do this with all cookies (or try to) and have no idea it it does anything special, but I like to think it does.

3. In a Small bowl, sift together the Flour, Soda, Tartar, and Salt (or not. Sometimes I add them separately.). Gradually add the dry mixture into the Sugar mixture until nice and incorporated.

4. In a cereal bowl, mix together the Tbsp Sugar and tsp Cinnamon.

5. Taking a heaping teaspoon full, roll the dough into a little ball and then roll it around in the cinnamon until the entire ball is coated.

6. Place on an unprepared cookie sheet two inches apart.

 7. Bake for 7 - 10 minutes. I do mine for 7 minutes and they're perfect! Cool on a wire rack.

8. Share them. Or DEVOUR them. Whichever you prefer.

Source: LKUEHL, on All, a little personal variation added


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Brownie Bites

I think I found this recipe on Pinterest way back in February.  I used it then to send in for a Valentine party at school for one of my girls.  But, this would be a great end of school party treat!  This is soo easy!

Mini Muffin pan
Box of your favorite Brownie Mix
Reese's Peanut Butter chips
Semi-sweet chocolate chips
Peanut Butter

Set oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin pan. Mix up the brownie mix by the box directions. Fill the muffin pan cups to about 3/4 of the way up. Bake until done...about 15-20 min (depends on how chewy you want them) When they come out of the oven use the back of your spoon, or something rounded that you can press down into the brownie, to form a little cupped space for the peanut butter. (This step must be done immediatly after you remove them from the oven.)  Then let them cool for a bit, and dump them out to finish cooling.  Melt your peanut butter in the microwave until you could pour it!  Then spoon into the brownie cup tops and quickly add the chips.  As they cool the peanut butter will stiffen back up and the chips will be set!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Pretzel Dogs

Happy Memorial Day to all my fellow Americans!

Years ago, when my husband and I were newly married and still attending Brigham Young University, we had some great friends who shared a great pretzel recipe with us.  We've made it countless times in the last twenty years...sometimes plain, sometimes cheese-stuffed, always good.  But a couple of years ago we decided to try using our favorite Nathan's Hot Dogs as a filler.  It was a tasty experiment and has turned out to be one of my favorite ways to eat pretzels!

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tbsp. yeast
1/3 cup brown sugar
4-5 cups all-purpose flour
coarse kosher salt
1 egg white, beaten
Nathan's Hot Dogs (8)
2 cups water
2 Tbsp. baking soda

1.  Mix water and yeast until dissolved.  Stir in brown sugar.  Slowly add flour, stirring constantly.
2.  Knead dough till stretchy and smooth.

3.  Divide dough into 8 equal pieces.  Shape each piece into a log 1" longer than the hot dog (the dough will stretch as you pull it over the ends).  Flatten the log and place the hot dog on the dough.  Fold in the ends, then fold one long side over tightly.  Roll the whole thing over onto the remaining flap.  Pinch edges to seal, getting out as much air as possible.

4.  Fill a pan with the water and baking soda and bring to a simmer/gentle boil.  The pot should be wide enough to allow for the pretzel dog to sit "comfortably" inside.  (They get cranky if they're not comfortable.)  Carefully lower one pretzel dog at a time into the water, making sure to gently move it around a bit at first so it doesn't stick to the bottom.  Allow it to bathe for 30 seconds, then carefully lift it out of the pan and onto a cooling rack.  Continue until all 8 have taken their baths.

5.  Brush each pretzel dog with the beaten egg white and sprinkle with the coarse salt.  Grease a cookie sheet and sprinkle it with the salt also.  Place the pretzel dogs on the cookie sheet and bake in a 475 degree oven for 8-12 minutes.

Makes 8 pretzel dogs

Source:  Kari Hafen
Incidentally, if any of you know Kari Hafen from Alaska, PLEASE let her know I'm looking for her.  We lost touch after BYU.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

God Doesn't Grade On The Curve

God does not grade
On the curve,
I'm sure of it.

But we sit around
Like high school students
In an important class,
Whose teacher has drawn
On the blackboard
The tiny wedges
For the A's and E's.
And the great bulge
For the C's.

We sigh in veiled relief
As the person down the row
Messes up,
Because it makes us
Look better
And probably means an E
For him, which is good,
Because while we have
Nothing against him personally
It means an A is more
Available to us.

And we secretly sorrow
When the person in front of us
Does really well,
Although we like her okay,
Because there goes another good grade,
Darn it and we're looking
Worse and worse
And slipping further down the curve.

And God, I think,
Sits at the front of the class
Holding A's enough for all,
Watching us
Working out our salvation
In fear and competition.

          -Carol Lynn Pearson

That last stanza really gets you doesn't it?  I've read this poem a hundred times and it still hits me just as hard as the first time I read it nearly 30 years ago.  I'm still learning how meaningful AND powerful AND so very individual that the atonement really is.  Let's try to visualize Him at the front of the class holding A's enough for ALL and see if we can't let some of the competition fall by the wayside.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Succulent Steak Marinade

This is a mild, yet sweet and tangy marinade!  Yum!

1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup pineapple juice
3 gloves garlic, crushed/pressed

Wisk all ingredients together in a bowl and use as a marinade.  For types of steak and their marinating time, check out THIS page.

We used only half of the marinade for one HUGE steak.  We're going to try marinating a few chicken breasts in the leftovers.

Source:  Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Chile Rellenos

Our traditional Christmas Eve dinner is Mexican food.  Usually we have tamales, rice, beans and a salad.  This year we chose Chile Rellenos because my tamale source-no I have never attempted tamales, and my friend makes them as a fundraiser for summer programs for her kids--was not available. I also opted for guacamole salad (like in a Mexican restaurant) instead of my usual tossed salad, because my daughter was home from college and she makes the BEST guacamole--maybe she will share in a future post!

whole long green chilies (Anaheim)
all-purpose flour
Monterey Jack cheese, cut into 3 or 4 inch pieces
Eggs, separated
Vegetable oil

DO AHEAD TIP:  Since the chilies need to be roasted, I do this ahead of time and put them in the freezer in zippered plastic bags so that they will sweat and the skins will separate more easily from the meat of the chiles. When I need to use them, I just take them out of the freezer and let them thaw.  It is super easy to peel the skins from the chilies and I always have some on hand.  I also do this with jalapenos for making salsa.

1.  Roast the chilies on a hot grill, or in a broiler on high heat, turning so that the skins are blistered and charred on both sides.  Let them cool to room temperature and then peel the skins off.  Be careful to not tear the chilies while peeling (you can also use canned whole chilies).

2.  Make a small slit (about 2-4 inches) in the side of each chile and carefully remove the seeds.  

3.  Place a slice of cheese into each chile, trimming the cheese if necessary.  You want to be able to bring the sides of the chile together over the cheese.

4.  Lightly dredge the stuffed chile in flour--this helps the batter adhere better.

5.  For the batter you will need about 2 large eggs per pound of chilies.  Separate into whites and yolks.  Beat the egg whites until stiff.  In a separate bowl, beat the yolks.  Fold the yolks and a dash of salt into the whites, incorporating carefully.  

6.  Dip each chile into the egg batter, then fry in about an inch or so of hot oil or grease.  I use an electric skillet because I can do about 8 or 10 chilies at a time.  Fry until golden brown, flipping to get both sides (you can also bake these, but my crew wants FRIED).

7.  Place cooked chilies on paper towels to drain off excess oil.

8.  Serve with salsa.

Source:  I got the basic recipe from the Internet several years back but found better directions HERE while preparing this post.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sweet and Spicy Pork Loin

Have you ever had those days when the universe converges against you?  That is how this recipe came to be.  What I needed for the original recipe from Southern Living wasn't what I had - so I substituted - a lot.  The results were Delicious!  I must add at this point, I am having the same type of day today which is why there isn't a picture of this awesome nummines yet.

3-4# Boneless Pork Loin
1/3 cup Red Plum Jam
2 tsp Tones Canadian Steak Seasoning
2 tsp Tone's Rosemary Garlic Seasoning
2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 medium onion chopped
tin foil long enough to make a "pocket" around the roast

1.  Place pork loin on tin foil
2.  Rub jam over pork loin use more if needed.  Note:  The spice amounts are an estimate, I just sprinkle what looks right over the top of the pork loin
3.  Sprinkle chopped onions over and around pork
4.  Pull tin foil ends over pork and fold together, bring sides of foil up and around pork
5.  Place in Crock pot with 1 cup of water in the pot not foil pouch and cook for 7-8 hours on high or in regular roasting pan with 2 cups water in pan and bake at 350 for 4.5 hours.
Note:  If meat is thawed, shorten cooking time in Crock pot by 2 hours and oven by 1 hour.

Source:  A Jennie original

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Kale Chips

Move over potato chips.......kale chips are here to stay!  Kale is a super food!  So, why not make it part of your regular diet?  I made these the other day and got kudos from all age groups.  Give it a try yourself.
Sorry about the picture.  I have too many white dishes I guess.


kale (about a salad spinner's worth or a grocery produce bag stuffed lightly)
2 t. olive oil
kosher salt


1.  Tear the leaves off the thick stems into bite size pieces.  Spread out on cookie sheets.
2.  Drizzle with oil.  Sprinkle on desired amount of salt.
3.  Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes, until edges are brown and kale is crispy when moved in pan.

Source:  Kath Eats Real Food

Sunday, May 20, 2012

What's Your "Something?"

"You can do something for another person that no one else ever born can do."
            --President James E. Faust, former counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, October 2005 Talk.

Pretty bold statement, don't you think? I mean, think about all the billions of people who have ever lived and do live on the earth. No one else can do something that little old me can do? It's hard to believe, isn't it?

But a prophet of the Lord, Jesus Christ said it.

And I believe him.

So, why the random picture to go with this topic? Well, it's random to you. It's not random to me, however, and I am the writer so I get to choose the picture.

This is the Greenville 2nd Ward Primary as of Oct. 2011. Every man, woman, and child in this picture has effected me in a positive way. By their kindness, their examples, their words of wisdom (even the kids!), their random acts of service. They have touched me in ways no one else ever could!

The question now stands: What is the something that I was born to do? Have I done it yet? Is it still to come? And is it just one something, or is it many somethings?

I'm not sure the answer to that question. But the thought that my work here is undone, that I still have someone left to help in a way that no one else can, makes me want to BE better and to DO better, every day. It makes me want to be the kind of child that my Heavenly Father would be proud of.

What about you?

Friday, May 18, 2012


It's 5 o'clock. You have no idea what to make for dinner. You go to your pantry to see what you can throw together. Chances are, you have everything for this meal. 

1 lb. ground beef
16 oz. elbow macaroni
24 oz. jar pasta sauce
6 oz. can tomato paste
2 1/2 C. shredded cheddar cheese

1. Crumble ground beef into skillet, brown and drain.
2. While meat is browning, bring water to boil and cook pasta (about 8 minutes). Drain.
3. Add meat to the pasta. Pour in pasta sauce and tomato paste. Stir.
4. Place in a greased 9x13 casserole. Top with cheddar cheese. 
5. Cook at 350 for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and sides are bubbly. 

If you're like me and have a small family to feed, then simply freeze half of this recipe and enjoy it later!

(This is only half the recipe, I froze the other half!)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Grandma's Spare Ribs

I inherited this recipe from Mr. Blue Eyes' grandma when I married into the family. Lucky me! When cooked right, the meat falls right off the bones. You can't beat that!

3 - 4 lbs Pork Spare Ribs
3 small Onions, sliced
3/4 - 1 Cup Ketchup
3/4 (or less) Cup Water
2 Tbsp Vinegar (we use white)
2 Tbsp Worchestershire Sauce
1 Tbsp Salt
1/2 tsp (or less) Red Pepper (we usually leave this out because we have small children)
1/2 tsp ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Chili Powder

1. In a 9x13 pan, or Large Cast Iron Pot, cook meat at 450 degrees F until brown.
2. Remove the meat from the oven and cover with the sliced onions.
3. Mix all other ingredients together. Pour the mixture over the meat and onions.
4. Cover with tinfoil (or lid) and bake at 250 degrees F for three hours (or 350 for 1.5 hours), basting occasionally. It really depends on your time frame. Just remember, cooking at a lower temperature for longer will make it more tender.
5. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes more.

Serve with rice, potatoes, or egg noodles.

Note: I don't dig a whole lot of fat on my meat, so I usually trim fat off as I go, depending on how hard it is or how much time I have.

Source: Grandma M., who told me she cut it out of a newspaper umpteen years ago.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012


We love popsicles at our house, and we always have some handy.  We saw these sipper popsicle containers at the dollar store, and ofcourse the kids wanted to make some pops of their own! Fruit popsicles is just a great idea!  Because as a mom we are always trying to get the right amount of fruit portions into their daily diet! Right!?  So, my kids helped chopped the fruit and they loaded the popsicle containers and then...they ate them!  They loved them!  I even let them have one for breakfast! Popsicles for breakfast!  Yay!  ....Yes, I am that good of a mom! (wink..wink)  

(chopped or sliced depending on the look you want)
(you can use any kind of fruit you have or like...blueberries,etc. Oh, watermelon might even be yummy!)
juice boxes
pineapple juice, etc.

Add the fruit in the container first, and then the juice. Freeze. Then enjoy!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mexicali Pork Chops

Want an easy, quick, tasty pork recipe?  You got it.

pork chops
taco seasoning mix (or make your own)
canola oil (for the skillet)

1.  Coat the pork chops on both sides with taco seasoning mix (I pour mine into a shallow bowl wide enough for the chop).

2.  Cook the chops on medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes per side, or until cooked through.

I told you it was easy.

Source:  no clue where I got this, but I do know it was NOT my idea!


  • Use any cut of pork chops you like.  I usually use the small boneless ones, but I try to get whatever is on sale.
  • One packet of taco seasoning is enough for about 6 chops, but again, make the seasoning yourself like Maven Mica does!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

There may not be any day so worth celebrating as Mothers Day.  No other profession can compare to motherhood, and it is a job that can often go unnoticed. Quiet, selfless nurturing is what mothers do best. Whether you are a mother yourself, or you are appreciating your own mother on this day, may this Mother's Day be one of joy and gratefulness! 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Save the Cilantro!

How much fresh cilantro have you had to throw out because it went bad before you could use the whole bunch? Me, too.  I hated that!  Then one day I was watching Emeril Live when a viewer shared a great cilantro tip...

1.  Coarsely chop the fresh cilantro.
2.  Place loosely in sections of ice cube tray.
3.  Fill each section with water.
4.  Place in freezer until frozen.
5.  Pop cilantro cubes out of tray and place in a plastic, zippered freezer bag.

Now you have fresh cilantro to put in soup, salsa, etc., and none goes to the trash can or down the garbage disposal.  Holla!

Source: Emeril Live

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Zucchini Pizza Bites

We're always looking for ways to sneak veggies into our meals.  We have found that 
zucchini is stealth.  And what better way to disguise it than as Pizza?  

All you'll need is:
1 or 2 medium size zucchini
1T olive oil for brushing
About 1C Pizza sauce 
1/2 C (or more) grated parmesan cheese
Pepperoni (or any other pizza topping of your choice)
Shredded Mozzarella cheese

Wash the zucchini and slice them into rounds
Lightly brush each round with a little olive oil and toss it on the grill. 
Cook for about a minute on each side
I used my new grill pan today. =) (Thank you MIL!) 

 Once you see some nice grill mark on each side, transfer the 
slices to a baking sheet,foil-lined for easy clean up.   
Spoon a little pizza sauce on each slice and sprinkle with Parmesan
Add a pepperoni, a little sprinkle of shredded mozzarella 
(and maybe even an extra sprinkle of parmesan, just for good luck), 
and pop it in the oven under the broiler until the cheese is golden and bubbly! 

*CAUTION: These little guys know how to hold their heat!! Be careful...
even when you think they've cooled, they might surprise you!  

*Thank you Kalyn @ for this yummy recipe! 

Easy Blender Salsa

Don't let the canned tomatoes fool you.  This salsa is still better than many I've had in "authentic" Mexican restaurants.  It's 5 o'clock somewhere.  So get your blenders out, make some salsa and maybe a virgin frozen concoction as well (clean blender between use, of course)!


1 - 14 oz. can diced tomatoes (I HIGHLY recommend using the roasted variety)
1 - 10 oz. can Rotel
1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2-1 jalapeno, seeded or not (depends on how spicy you like it)
1 t. honey
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. ground cumin
small to medium size handful of cilantro
juice of 1 lime


Put all ingredients in the base of a food processor or good blender and pulse to combine for 30 seconds or so until all the ingredients are finely chopped and salsa is desired consistency.  Taste for seasoning and adjust to taste.  Serve with chips or over tacos.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Cajun Shrimp Skewers

Grilling season is in full swing at our house.  It's so nice not to heat the house up with the oven every night. Especially when it's 90 degrees outside. I am trying to think beyond my regular grilling go-to meals,  and these cajun shrimp added a little excitement--and spice--to our dinner table.  They are great served up with fruit and veggie skewers and some rice.  Keep these in mind for your next backyard BBQ!

Cajun Seasoning:
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme

Mix all the seasonings together in a seasoning shaker or a ziploc bag. Feel free to double/triple the recipe to save for later in your spice cupboard.

Shrimp Skewers: 
1- Oil the bars of your grill. Preheat gas grill to medium heat.
2- Place desired amount of raw, uncooked shrimp (I used peeled, de-veined, tail-on shrimp) in a gallon size ziploc bag.
3- Add enough cajun seasoning to lightly coat all the shrimp (it will take more or less depending on the size of your shrimp and the amount you are going to cook). Close and shake the bag to coat.
4-Skewer* the shrimp through the body and the tail so that they will lay flat on the grill.
5-Place skewers on the grill and cook for 2 min. each side, or until the shrimp are opaque.

*Remember if you are using wood skewers to soak them in water for a few minutes so that they don't burn on the grill. Also, if you are using metal skewers.....don't touch them with your bare hands!!! They are HOT!!!

Source: seasoning is an adaptation from

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Parenting God's Child

Recently I have been blessed with another son. :) He is wonderful. Prior to his coming, I was pondering the responsibilities of parents in raising and teaching their children. It's no coincidence that I came upon this scripture in one of those times when you just open them up to some "random" page:

And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents.

For this shall be a law unto the inhabitants of Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized.

And their children shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old, and receive the laying on of the hands.

And they shall also teach their children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord.

(Doctrine and Covenants 68:25-28)

What a wonderful blessing it is to have so many resources available to us, including the scriptures, that teach how to be good parents. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has said, "If you try your best to be the best parent you can be, you will have done all that a human being can do and all that God expects you to do."

Of course, not everyone becomes a parent in this life. I really like Elder Neil L. Andersen's conference talk "Children" in which he says, "As the Lord's servant, I assure you that this promise is certain: 'Faithful members whose circumstances do not allow them to receive the blessings of eternal marriage and parenthood in this life will receive all promised blessings in the eternities, [as] {sic} they keep the covenants they have made with God.'"

I encourage all of us who currently enjoy the blessing of being a mother or father to raise up our children in righteousness, to "bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4).

I believe one of the ways we can be our best selves is to remember that we are each a child of our Heavenly Father. When we treat our children as such, we recognize where they came from and better honor their divine heritage.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Caprese Salad

I never even knew what a Caprese Salad was until I went on a cruise and saw it listed on the menu.  I tried it.  I...LOVED...IT!! Oh my goodness--so fresh.  And fresh basil--are you kidding me right now?  So awesome.  Anyway, after the most recent cruise, I decided we needed to try this at home and it is so easy to prepare.  I made some yesterday and got requests to make it again today.  This was our entree for supper for two nights in a row.  We probably ate the equivalent of a salad for two...each.  Yes, but didn't I tell you it was really good?  Try it.   See for yourself.  Let me know what you think.

3 fresh tomatoes, sliced in 1/4-inch slices (Romas are good but you can also use cluster tomatoes)
1 lb. fresh mozzarella, sliced in 1/4-inch slices
1/2 pkg. of fresh basil, chopped (or more, to taste)
Balsamic Vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1.  To plate your salad, alternate slices of tomato with mozzarella.
2.  Sprinkle with chopped fresh basil.
3.  Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil
4.  Salt and pepper to taste.

TIP:  I have used a white balsamic vinegar when I didn't want the brown liquid on my mozzarella.  It has a slightly sweeter taste.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Golden Potato Soup

This is such a simple and tasty recipe. It's my Mammaw's Potato Soup (for you non-southerners... Mammaw is a grandma!). It's the ultimate comfort food. Enjoy!

3 c. chopped potatoes
3 c. chicken broth
½ c. celery slices
½ c. carrot slices
¼ c. chopped onion
1 tsp. parsley flakes
½ tsp. salt
dash of pepper
1 ½ c. milk
2 Tbsp. Cornstarch
½ lb. Velveeta cheese

 Combine potatoes, chicken broth, celery, carrots, onions, parsley flakes, salt, and pepper. When tender, slightly mash potatoes. Add cornstarch, milk. Then add cheese – turn heat off. Enjoy!

P.S. This recipe makes a small batch of soup. Perfect for a small family. If you have a larger family or want leftovers, make sure to double it!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hot Fudge Sundae Sauce

I may have mentioned before that I come from a family of sweet-tooths...sweet-teeth...whatever. You can blame my mother (and her mother before her) for my appreciation of Hot Fudge Sundaes.

A sweet lady in Colorado gave me this recipe for Hot Fudge Sundae Sauce after I begged her for it when I tasted its goodness at a Relief Society meeting. It's so easy to make and 5,000 times better* than that microwavable junk you can buy at the store (no offense, Microwavable Junk!). Now, that's what I'm talkin' about!


1/2 C Karo Light Corn Syrup
1/2 C Evaporated Milk (not Sweet and Condensed!)
2 Tbsp Water
2 C Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 tsp Vanilla

1. In a medium-sized sauce pan, combine Karo syrup, evaporated milk, and water. Stir over medium heat until it just comes to a boil.
2. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the chocolate chips until smooth.
3. Stir in vanilla.

Yield: About 1 pint

This picture was taken after we and another family dipped into it for dessert, so the amount you see in the jar is not the full amount that was made.

The sauce stores very well in the fridge for a long time. Warm it up in the microwave or over the stove when you're ready to use it again.

Source: B. Buss, Greeley, CO

*Have I ever mentioned that I may exaggerate a bit? Yeah, I'm an exaggerator. But in my defense, it is better than store bought! 5,000 times better? That's for you to decide.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Beef and Bean Taco Casserole

!Delicous! (in my singing voice.)
I usually don't go for the taco soups and taco dips. If I am going to eat something that tastes like a taco, I want a taco! But, I came across a recipe on the Betty Crocker website that pricked my interest. I changed several things and made it my own. And oh my goodness.'s really good! The kids even loved it! What I loved most about it were the warm green bell peppers and warm tomatoes that still had a bite to them! This is really yummy and easy to make. And reheating the leftovers just made it better!
-1 lb ground beef, browned & drained well
-1 can black beans, drained & rinsed!
-1 16 oz jar chunky salsa, mild
-1 package of taco seasoning
-2 -1/2 cups broken tortilla chips
-1/2 medium green bell pepper, chopped (This added alot of flavor! Infact, it was my favorite part. So next time I might add more!)
-1/8 c yellow onion, chopped fine!! (You can add this into the meat when browning it, or just toss it into the mix and the baking will soften   
    them up just fine.)
-2-3 good size Roma tomatoes, chopped (These are my favorite. You can obviously use any tomato you want.)
-1 c shredded cheddar cheese
-1/2 c mozzarella cheese, or your favorite white cheese
  (I will be honest and say, I added cheese until I felt like it was enough!  So, you might want to play with the amount. Cheese adds fat, so take that into    
   consideration if you want this on thisdish on the lean side!)
 -shredded lettuce, to add as a topping, so as much as you want (but at least 1 cup.)
-tortilla chips, for topping or eating this dish with!

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Brown beef, and drain well. Set aside. Saute onions and add beef back into the pot. Drain beans and add into the pot along with the seasoning packet and the salsa. Stir well. Reduce heat to medium. (You may need to add some water if the mix is too thick.) Bring to a slow simmer.

In ungreased 9x13 baking dish, place 2 cups of broken tortilla chips evenly along the bottom. Top evenly with the beef mixture. Sprinkle chopped bell pepper, tomatoes, and cheese over the beef.
Bake uncovered for 25 - 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly and the cheese has melted. Serve and add lettuce, tomato and remaining chips on top.

You can add olives to this and green onions on the top, or whatever you fancy.   Eat this with a fork or scoop with the tortilla chips. We did a bit of both!