Thursday, July 31, 2014

Last Minute Tortilla Bake

The other day my husband mentioned, in passing, that our daughter and her family were coming over that evening.  I had no plans for supper and no time to go to the store so I threw this dish together "on the fly."  It's not super amazing or anything, but it was tasty and filling and I was able to feed the 6 of us--which included my two grandsons, ages 4 and 2--from items I had at home.  Don't you love throwing things together and having them magically turn into a meal?
12 corn tortillas
rotisserie chicken (left over from a previous meal)
Colby Jack Cheese
Salsa Verde (Herdez is a great brand, in the Hispanic Food section of your grocery store)
Purple bell  peppers (we picked these up at a local farmers' market and I thought they would be a fun garnish)
1.  Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.
2.  Cover bottom of dish with 6 corn tortillas, chop or chunk the chicken and spread over the tortillas, spoon desired amount of salsa over top, and sprinkle with about half a cup or more of cheese.  Repeat layers one more time and sprinkle with purple bell pepper strips.
3.  Bake 30 minutes at 350 F., or until cheese is melted and tortillas are crispy on the edges.
I served this with a big bowl of cut up watermelon, stir-fried zucchini with Mediterranean seasoning, and a Roasted Corn Blend that I found at Sam's in the frozen vegetable section.  I stir-fried that with some olive oil.  Yummy.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Easy Mexican Salsa Rice


2 c. instant brown rice
2 c. water
1 envelope enchilada sauce mix (or you could use taco seasoning)
1 c. salsa
1 4 oz. can chopped green chilis


Combine all ingredients together in a microwaveable bowl.  Microwave on high for 8-9 minutes, or until rice is tender.  Let sit for 3-5 minutes and it will soak up most of the liquid in the bowl.  Fluff with a fork and serve.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Finding Courage in Difficult Times

After I wrote this article, I saw this picture and could not resist it! It's PERFECT! Sometimes you just gotta hold your head high and keep marching forward! 
I am usually a happy and positive person - definitely an optimist. But lately I've had to face the fact that sometimes LIFE IS HARD and there's not much we can do about it! (I really wanted to write "Life Sucks", because that seemed to more accurately express my feelings, but I don't like that word, so I won't use it.) J

I know so many people who are suffering from health issues, terminal illnesses, financial troubles, broken marriages, struggles at work, temptations that haunt them, children who are straying from what they have been taught, the death of a spouse or child or parent, being a victim of name it! These are serious and stressful situations. They are life crushing and life changing, and so hard to deal with. How do we manage and survive these things?

There's only one answer. We need to rely on our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ and the love they have for us. It is real. They know us and love us, and we will feel their love and help when we reach out to them with our humble hearts and honest prayers. We need to trust in the Atonement of Jesus Christ and that it can heal us and make up the difference when we have done all we can. We need to understand that if we are trying and worthy, we can have the wonderful blessing of the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and we can be guided and protected and taught.

COURAGE - We need to have the courage to move forward in the right path, regardless of the consequences. We need to have the courage to just try to hang on one more day. We need to have the courage to try a little harder and do a little better. We need to have the courage to turn things over to the Lord and let go of the burdens that weigh us down or cause us so much hurt and pain. We need to have courage to believe that there are better days ahead and blessings waiting for us. 

One of my favorite scriptures is Joshua 1:9: 
"Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest."

We can find many stories of courage in the scriptures - The prophet Daniel stood up for his beliefs and what he knew was right, even though he was threatened with death. The 2000 Sons of Helaman (the Stripling Warriors) were examples of faith and courage to obey God, to follow the teachings of their parents to be obedient in all things, and to trust that the Lord would protect them. I think of the courage of Esther who risked her life to save her people. The list goes on and on. And we all know of modern day examples of courage from family and friends in our own lives. 

May we have the courage we personally need to pick ourselves up and move forward to happier and better days. Our attitude will make all the difference!  

Here is a beautiful 3 minute video of examples of courage:

I couldn't get the video to load here, so just click this link:
The Courage of Esther and Others 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Chocolate Sorbetto

Earlier this year we took a trip to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia.  I was in the midst of a 3-month elimination diet to help cure some GI problems and was off of all sorts of foods including dairy, wheat, and--of all things--vanilla.  As we were passing through "Italy" my husband spotted a little gelato stand and pointed it out.  I thought this was really cruel at first because I happen to ADORE gelato and obviously couldn't have any.  However, it turned out to be fortuitous because they also had sorbetto.  Now, I'd never heard of it but it sounded like something worth investigating.  We asked and to my delight we were told that it had no dairy and no vanilla!  SCORE!!!  We shared a chocolate sorbetto and later returned for a combo of strawberry and chocolate because it was so good.  I vowed to find some sorbetto recipes and make some for myself.  This recipe comes VERY close to the Busch Gardens one.  All my kids loved it!  We served it with homemade strawberry jam to cut the richness a little.

Chocolate Sorbetto
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract*

1.  Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring often to make sure all the sugar dissolves.  Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 4 minutes.
2.  Take the saucepan off the heat and add in the chopped chocolate, whisking until the mixture is completely smooth.  Add the cocoa and whisk till smooth.  Add vanilla and whisk.
3.  Pour mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl to cool to room temperature.  Stir often while it cools.
4.  Cover and chill at least 4 hours.
5.  Pour into ice cream machine and process by manufacturer's directions.  Transfer to freezer container and freeze at least 2 hours.

To serve, remove container from freezer and allow to stand at room temp for 15 minutes.

FYI--Sorbet and sorbetto are sometimes used interchangeably.  From what I can tell, sorbet is French in origin while sorbetto is Italian.  From what I have experienced, sorbetto seems to be creamier in texture than sorbet.

Source: (slightly adapted)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Fresh Raspberry Pie

I am visiting my parents and my Dad has the most beautiful raspberry bushes.  My Mom makes this pie out of the fresh raspberries and it is so incredibly yummy!

Fresh Raspberry Pie

1/4 cup Sugar
1 Tbls Cornstarch
1 Cup Water
1 pkg. (3 oz.) Raspberry Gelatin
5 cups Fresh Raspberries
1 Graham Cracker Crust (9 Inches)

In a sauce pan, combine sugar and cornstarch.  Add the water and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Cook and stir for 2 min.  Remove from heat; stir in gelatin until dissolved.  Cool for 15 min.  Place raspberries in the crust; slowly pour gelatin mixture over berries.  Chill until set (about 3 hours).  Top with whipped cream. Yield: 6-8 servings

Source: Sheryl Lewis

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Grilled Santa Fe Burgers

Here is a really tasty burger recipe.  Yeah, I don't eat burgers much any more, either, but this is a "framily" favorite at cookouts at our house. I keep getting requests to make them so an opportunity just presented itself yesterday.  It so happens that I am in charge of supper down at the beach for 23 family members so I am making these as sliders, and siding it with a double batch of  Mom's Potato Salad.  Oh heck to the yes!

1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey
1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) Mexican blend shredded cheese
1/2 cup salsa, divided
1/4 cup crushed tortilla chips
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 t. ground cumin or chili powder
1/2 t. garlic salt
4 hamburger buns, split or sourdough bread
Tomato slices

1.  Combine ground beef, 1 cup cheese, 1/4 cup salsa, tortilla chips, green onions, cumin and garlic salt in medium bowl.  Shape into 4 patties, 4 inches in diameter and 1/2-inch thick (if you are doing sliders, just make the patties the desired size.  I have a slider maker so I can press 5 at a time).

2.  Preheat grill or broiler.  Grill patties, 5 minutes per side for burgers and just watch closely for sliders.  We grilled some over charcoal, and did some on a George Foreman grill since we had so many to do.

3.  Grill or lightly toast hamburger buns.  Place burgers on buns; top with remaining salsa; sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Serve with lettuce and, if desired, tomato.

Source:  torn from a magazine, but it is from Sargento.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summertime Peach Ice Cream

Our Father's Day tradition is homemade ice cream and homemade cookies.  Only this year my daughter, Madi, decided to make golf course cupcakes.  Peach is Dad's favorite so we aim to please.  Nothing beats homemade peach ice cream for a real summertime treat!


4 c. peeled, diced fresh peaches (about 8 small ripe peaches)
1 c. sugar
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
1 (3.75 oz) pkg vanilla instant pudding mix
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
4 c. half-and-half


  1. Combine peaches and sugar, and let stand 1 hour.
  2. Process peach mixture in a food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides.
  3. Stir together evaporated milk and  pudding mix in a large bowl; stir in peach puree, condensed milk, and half-and-half.
  4. Pour mixture into freezer container of a 4 qt. hand-turned or electric freezer; freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.  Spoon into an airtight container, and freeze until firm.

Source:  Southern Living July 2002

Monday, July 14, 2014

Charleston Cheese Dip

This is the most amazing dip! The original recipe comes from Trisha Yearwood, and she knew what she was doing when she put this recipe together! How can you go wrong with cream cheese, cheddar cheese and BACON? YUM!

Charleston Cheese Dip

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 - 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
2 green onions, finely chopped
Dash of cayenne pepper
8 Ritz Crackers or any buttery cracker, crushed
8 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

My Variation: I used sharp cheddar cheese and Colby cheese, and then threw in a little shredded Pepper Jack cheese. I did not have any Cayenne pepper, so I used a little Chipotle Seasoning and some black pepper. I also used my freeze dried Green Onions and Chopped Onions from Thrive. I thought about adding some bacon bits to the cheese mixture and then decided not to, but I think that would make it even better! I will definitely do it next time! The thought of that warm bacon mixed in with the cheese...ahhhh...pure heaven! 

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

2. In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer until smooth. Add the mayonnaise, cheeses, onions, and spices. Spread this mixture in a small baking dish. (I doubled the recipe and used a 9" x 13: pan, so you might want to try a 8" x 8" dish or a pie pan or something small like that.)

3. Crush your crackers and sprinkle on top of cheese mixture. 

4. Bake for 15 minutes. Then top with the bacon and serve warm with crackers, pita chips, tortilla chips, or whatever sounds good to you. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Dilly Ranch Dressing Mix

My family loves Ranch dressing.  I mean LOVES.  This mix makes a tasty ranch that's sure to please you ranch-lovers out there.  I've also added some variations you can try.

Dilly Ranch Dressing Mix

1/4 cup black pepper
1 1/2 cups parsley flakes
1/2 cup garlic salt (5.25 oz can)
2 Tbsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup garlic powder
3/4 cup onion powder
2 Tbsp. dill weed

Mix together and store in a quart jar.  Makes about 3 1/2 cups of mix.

To make into dressing:  Stir 2 Tbsp. of mix into 2 cups mayo, 2 cups buttermilk, 1 tsp. lemon juice.  Chill for 2 hours.  Makes 1 3/4 quarts.


  • Add powdered Parmesan and/or Romano cheeses to make Parmesan Ranch.
  • Add 4 Tbsp. Dijon mustard and a touch of honey for Dijon Ranch.
  • Add 1/4 cup finely chopped cucumbers and 1/4 tsp. celery seed for Cucumber Ranch.
  • Add a touch of BBQ sauce or Sweet & Sour sauce.
  • Add salsa and cumin for a Southwestern Ranch.
Source:  BYU Aspen Grove 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Chicken Cordon-Bleu Casserole

I love this casserole, I especially love that it doesn't have any condensed soups in it!

6 cooked chicken breast
      -I bake mine in the oven @ 350 for about 40 min, the first 20 of which the pan is covered.
6 slices cooked ham
6 slices Swiss cheese
4 Tbsp. butter
4 Tbsp. flour
2 Cups milk
1/4 tsp thyme (I use my Penzeys Poultry Seasoning in place of this and love it)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp. melted butter

Place the chicken breast in a 9X13 baking pan.  Place the ham on top of the chicken and the Swiss cheese on top of the ham.  In a mixing bowl combine milk, thyme, salt, pepper, and egg.  In a medium sauce pan melt the butter then add the flour and whisk until smooth.  Add milk mixture and cook on medium heat until thick and bubbly.  Pour over the chicken/ham/cheese evenly.  Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top then drizzle the butter over the bread crumbs.  Cook at 350 for about 30 mins.  Serve over rice.

Source: My amazing friend Kym Wood

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Snow Cream

Oh my, it is such a hot day!  Wish I could have some of this.  I made some snow cream this past winter and took a picture of it for future use on this blog and today is that day!  So, file this recipe in your SOMEDAY folder and pull it out the next time you have a beautiful, pristine snowfall and you will have some creamy deliciousness to enjoy by the fireplace.


Hit it guys!

Yes, that's right friends--about a big bowl full.  Then add:
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 t. vanilla
1 regular can of evaporated milk
Mix all ingredients together.  Store in freezer.   

Photo Source:  Google Free Images

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Heavenly Hash Donut Blondies

You know I just had to try this recipe from the name alone!  You are going to think the ingredients are insane.......and they are.  Just be forewarned that they are super sweet.  I used dark fudge for the frosting but I would recommend using a milder milk chocolate.  Enjoy this food adventure!


  • 2 regular size packages of refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
  • 2 jumbo Hershey cookies and cream chocolate candy bars
  • 1 7 oz. jar marshmallow fluff
  • about 20 donut holes, halved
  • about 1/2 cup chocolate icing (canned works)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line and 8x8 pan with foil, extending the sides of the foil over the edges of the pan.  Mist the foil with cooking spray.
  2. Gently press one package of the cookie dough evenly onto the bottom of the pan.  Top with the chocolate bars, breaking the pieces to fit as evenly as you can to cover the surface of the cookie dough.  Top with an even layer of the marshmallow fluff.   
  3. Top the marshmallow fluff with the halved donut holes, covering the surface evenly.  Lastly, break apart and spread the remaining package of cookie dough to cover the tops of the donut layer.  If the donuts peek through, that's okay.
  4. Bake for approx. 25-28 minutes or until the top is golden brown and mostly set.  Allow to cool completely at room temperature before putting in the fridge to set, about 2 hours. They really DO need to set in order to come together, or else they'll be a gooey mess (not as good as it sounds).
  5. After it's cooled,  drizzle on some melted chocolate icing for extra garnish.
  6. Cut into bars and serve.  Store covered, airtight, in the fridge.