Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mom's Easy Lasagna

So this recipe should have been up first on this blog... its the favorite of just about everybody in our family.  But I hadn't made it until the other day, so here it is now.  Seriously... the best lasagna you'll ever have.  And easy too.  (Always a plus.)  Only 5 ingredients!  But yeah, amazingly good.  Its my mom's recipe and people can't get enough of it when she makes it.  Its a treat in my house.  Oh, and did I mention its delicious??  :)

Mom's Easy Lasagna

  • 1 lb of ground hamburger 
  • 1 pkg. noodles - Lasagna (I only use about half of the package.  That's all that will fit in the layering.)
  • 1 lg. pkg. Mozzarella Cheese 
  • 1 lg. tub of cottage Cheese 
  • 2 bottles of Prego Marinera sauce (Hum... I've only been using one bottle... I didn't realize I should be using two!)

  1. Cook the noodles.
  2. Cook hamburger and season with seasoning salt to taste.  (My mom says: I like lots of pepper and parsley.)
  3. Layer a thin coating of sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 12 pan. 
  4. Mix remaining hamburger with sauce.
  5. Layer in a 9x13 casserole:
    1. Noodles
    2. Hamburger sauce
    3. Cottage cheese
    4. Mozzarella 
  6. Make about three layers, ending with noodles and sauce and Mozzarella.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes in 400 degrees.
  8. Serve with sweet white corn, french bread and a salad. 
Prepare for your taste buds to dance.  Mmm...

Happy Eating!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Wheat Thin Appetizers

I made these in a snap out of stuff we had already and they were super-simple and pretty and of course, tasty.  I just took some Wheat Thins and melted a little square of cheese (any kind of chesses would work - play around here) on them, then stuck a ham cube (other kinds of meat would work here as well... play) on top when the cheese was still soft, then stuck on a tiny piece of something green, just for the pretty factor.  Anything could work here too... play!  Way simple and there are so many options... just use stuff you already have (that's what I mostly do!)

Happy Eating!

Peanut Butter Banana Ritz

Well, this one's pretty self-explanatory by the title, but I just love the snack idea.  While most of you probably already do this, I just thought of it, so I thought maybe someone else hadn't thought of it yet.  And I'm always looking for healthy snack ideas to keep things interesting (mostly for me... I get bored easily), so I figured I'd share the idea.

I love the combination of peanut butter and banana, and I love the combination of peanut butter and Ritz.  (Even though I don't really buy Ritz anymore and they're more of a treat now...)  So the combination of peanut butter, banana and Ritz is awesome!  Give it a try!

Happy Eating!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Potato and Double Corn Chowder

Sadly, once again, no picture, but this was requested so here it is.  This recipe is soo simple and soo delicious.  Its made in the crock pot and its fabulous for relief society and ward dinners, etc.  Its pretty much a dump-soup and you can't beat that!

Potato and Double Corn Chowder
6 Servings

  • 1 bag (16 oz) frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed (4 cups)
  • 1 can (15 ¼ oz) whole kernel corn, undrained
  • 1 can (14 ¾ oz) cream-style corn
  • 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk (I used fat free)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 C) (quick tip: use frozen chopped onion)
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (quick tip: use a bag of bacon pieces from salad section of store) (I’ve also had great success using cut up ham instead of bacon.  Can also use leftover cut up cooked turkey or chicken)
  • ½ t salt
  • ½ t Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ t pepper

  1. Mix all ingredients in 3 ½ to 6 quart slow cooker.
  2. Cover and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours; high 3-4 hours to develop flavors.
 Source: From Betty Crocker’s Slow Cooker Cookbook

You won't be disapointed.  Happy Eating!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

"Cafe Rio" Pork (Pulled Pork)

I was typing this up for some friends, so I thought I'd post it here instead (since this IS what I created the blog for!)

This recipe is A-MAZING... seriously.  A bit tedious removing the fat, but sooo worth it.  This stuff is delicious, you seriously won't be able to get enough.  My Grandma Marlene's made it for a group I was in and I just couldn't stop eating it!

I know this is pretty popular right now, so sorry for the repeat if you already know about this little gem, but some of my friends hadn't had it, so here it is girls!

(Unfortunately I'm not quite in the habit of always taking pictures of stuff I make yet because I forget about the blog, so I don't have a picture.  But I'll add one next time I make it.

We've done this full Cafe Rio style, as well as my Grandma Marlene's modified style, as well as just with tacos - and even very simple tacos with just corn and black beans on tortillas.  This is so full of flavor that you don't need much else really.

It's amazing with the Lime-Cilantro Rice and Creamy Tomatilla Dressing, which I make links out of later, but I'm just going to put the pork recipe up for now.  This stuff freezes really well too.  It makes a lot, so I've just put it in a few individual baggies and frozen it, and there's several days worth of dinners!

Cafe Rio Pork


  • 4 lbs. pork roast (I use a pork shoulder)
  • 1 1/2 cups salsa (My grandma told me just to use one tub of that fresh salsa)
  • 1 can coke (the recipe says no diet.  I got the caffeine free coke, and it works just great.)
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1 t. salt
  • Put pork in crock pot and fill half way with water (I only put about a cup and a half in and it was fine.)  Cook roast on high for 5 hours.  (I just cooked it on low for 10 overnight.)  
  • Drain off water.  Shred pork.
  • Mix together other ingredients and put on top of pork (I just dump them all in and stir it up.)
  • Cook an additional 3 hours on high.  Leave on low until ready to serve.
The original way to serve it: tortilla, then beans (black or pinto), rice, pork, chopped lettuce and dressing.  Garnish with shredded cheese, pico de gallo & guacamole.

The way my grandma serves it which is way simple and soo delicious: chips, then chopped lettuce, then pork then sour cream.  LOVE IT!

Source: not sure where I got this recipe... if its from you, please let me know!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Potato Cheese Soup

I got this recipe from a friend when we were in Dental School in Cleveland.  They made it for us for dinner and it was sooo delicious.  Friend - I'm sorry I don't remember which one of you it was!  I'd love it if you'd remind me!

I had some baby potatoes that needed to be used, so I tried to think of what I could do with them and remembered this delicious recipe I used to make a lot but haven't made in years.  Instead of the veggies it calls for, I used some chopped broccoli I had in the freezer and another bag of carrots/cauliflower/broccoli mix and I happened to have some celery in the fridge!  Score!  I've told you this before, but I don't chop onions anymore.  I only use the frozen chopped onions from the freezer.  Its just not worth the pain it causes my eyes - I'm super sensitive to it.

I also love that this soup is meatless - you could add ham if you wanted and I'm sure it would be great, but I love having some meal recipes that don't use any meat.

This recipe is super easy, and even more tasty.  And a huge hit with my kids!  My 4-year-old little girl says "Mmm.... I can't believe how yummy this is!"  And, later in the meal, she asks, "Can you put this on the yummy list?"  (I actually do have a 'yummy list' I keep on the inside of a cupboard door of things that were big hits in our family - very handy!)  Isn't that cute though?  And, don't you LOVE it when your kids LOVE a meal that's full of veggies?!  How awesome is that??

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Potato Cheese Soup
Carrie Horlacher

  Soup base:
  • 4 c. water
  • 2 T. chicken bouillon
  • 3c. cubed potatoes
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 stalk broccoli
  • 1 large carrot, cubed
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  White sauce:
  • ½ c. butter
  • ½ c. flour
  • 4 c. milk
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
Add to completed White Sauce:
1c. grated cheese

Simmer soup base till tender.  Make White Sauce.  When sauce is completed, add cheese.  Add White Sauce with cheese to soup base.  Mix & serve.

If anyone knows how it would turn out without/with less of or an alternitive to using an entire cube of butter, I'd love to hear it.  The soup makes a TON, which is my only consolation for using so much butter, but I'd still love to hear of an alternative if anyone has one.

Happy Eating!

Meatball & Noodle Casserole

So, I accidentally left the meatballs out of the freezer long enough to thaw completely the other day, so I stuck them in the fridge not wanting to re-freeze them.  (Can you re-freeze cooked meat?)  So I had to use the meatballs, so I tried to think of something I could make with them.  I looked up some 'meatball casseroles' but couldn't find anything that used already made meatballs.  So I decided to just to wing it on my own. (I do that a lot... luckily, somehow my mom's skill of it rubbed off on me and I'm pretty good at it.)  So here's what I came up with, using the rest of the pasta sauce in the fridge and some mozzarella I had on hand from the week before, that also needed to be used.  Since I 'winged it' I really don't know about measurements... use your best judgment and what looks right.  I'll estimate, but use those exact measurements at your own discretion.

Since I made it up, I had no idea how it would turn out, but my family GOBBLED it up!  Both my kids (ages 2 & 4) loved it, and my husband actually put it on the same level as his two all-time favorite meals I make!  I couldn't believe it.  He ate the leftovers every day for the next two days and loved it. Pretty simple meal, but a HUGE hit!  Gotta love that!

  • Pasta - probably about 2 C uncooked - I used some tri-color (probably vegetable) fusilli I had
  • Pasta sauce - our favorite brand is Safeway, although I've started shopping differently and probably won't be buying it anymore.  The flavor was artichoke pesto.  I used a jar and about a half cup of what I had left in the fridge.
  • Meatballs - as many as you like - I probably had about 10-15 in the bag still - frozen meatballs
  • Mozerella cheese - probably about 2 C
  • Bread crumbs - I used homemade ones I had, but any would work
  1. Cook pasta an put in 3 qt. casserole
  2. Warm and add meatballs, dispersing as desired
  3. Cover with pasta sauce
  4. Cover with shredded mozerella
  5. Top with bread crumbs
  6. Bake till heated through - probably about 30 min. at 350 degrees.

Happy Eating!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

CrockPot Apricot Chicken

We had this for dinner tonight and it was oh-so-good!  I wish there was more, but sadly, there were no leftovers tonight.

Since I only had regular mustard and no minced onion flakes, I used part of an onion soup mix I had.  Turned out great.  I also didn't have red chili flakes so I used a bit of red pepper flakes instead.  (Are those the same thing?  Hum...)  I served it with brown rice and broccoli (obviously from my picture.)  It was an awesome combo.  The sauce (there's lots of extra after the chicken is cooked) is way yummy on the broccoli.  The "I" below isn't me.  I think it might be my friend Olivia, but I'm not sure.  (Olivia, let me know if it is!)

•    11 oz jar of apricot preserves
•    1 t dried minced onion flakes
•    1 T Dijon mustard
•    1 T soy sauce
•    1/4 t ginger
•    1/4 to 1/2 t red chili flakes (optional)
•    6 chicken thighs or equivalent body parts

     I used frozen thighs.  Drop the chicken into your crockpot.  In a small bowl, mix all the other other ingredients and pour over chicken.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, high for 4-6.  Note: If your chicken isn't frozen, your dinner will cook faster.  Serve with white or brown rice and veggies. In our case, we had leftover cabbage and potatoes.

Let me know how it turns out!  Happy Eating!

Edit: This recipe is from the food blog, A Year of Slow Cooking.  Thanks Olivia!

Honey-Lime Enchiladas

This is one of my favorites, and I'm making it for my BIG family (Aunts, uncles, grandma, cousins...) on Sunday so I thought I'd put it up here.  I'll have to take my own picture when I make it on Sunday.  For now, here's the picture from the blog where I got it, shared with me by my friend Angie.

And I'll add a tip for cooking chicken that I learned recently and LOVE.  For a SUPER EASY way to cook and shred chicken, put it in the crock pot the night before you'll need it, with just a tiny bit of water.  Let it cook on low all night and in the morning, it is so tender, practically all you have to do is stir the chicken (after you've removed it and those nasty little fatty pieces) and it totally shreds apart.  Amazing, and sooo easy!  (I LOVE easy... don't you?)

One more note: The last time I made it I didn't have time to buy the chicken before I had to make the meal, so I just boiled it.  I used my Pampered Chef food chopper to chop up the chicken instead of shredding it, and a friend who also ate the meal said she really liked it that way.  I do too.  It gets it chopped up pretty small which gets the honey-lime sauce all over the chicken.

Click the picture for the recipe.  And prepare for your tummy to be very happy with you.

Happy Eating!

Croissant and Chocolate Bread Pudding

This dessert was sooo yummy.  Unfortunately when I made it a few months ago, I didn't take a picture.  (frown)  But a friend requested it, so I found the picture from the book online.  Trust me, you're gonna want to try this!


  • Unsalted butter for the baking dish (I probably just used cooking spray)
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 C heavy cream
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t ground nutmeg
  • 6 croissants, cut into 1-in. pieces (about 1 lb.)
  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, cut into chunks (important note here: I just used chocolate chips, and I ONLY use Guittard chocolate chips now... once you taste them, you'll know why.  They're amazing.)

1) Heat oven to 375.  Butter an 8-in. square baking dish or other shallow 2-qt. baking dish.

2) In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks, milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, salt and nutmeg.  Add the croissants and chocolate and mix to combine.  Transfer mixture to the prepared baking dish.  Bake until set and knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 30-40 min.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Apparently its from Real Simple - Best Recipes.

I imagine it would be amazing with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or doused in milk... Mmmm....

If not, make sure to at least have a glass of milk close by... it is RICH!

Happy Eating!

Edit: I wondered why, the first I made this it was sooo dry.  I got great reviews about it, but I thought it was way too dry.  Well, in making it this time (and I don't know why I didnt notice before...) when it said "whisk together... milk... salt..." I wondered, there is no milk or salt in the recipe... So, thinking it was my mistake in the typing (I had printed out my typed version), I went upstairs to check the original recipe from the magazine I tore it out of (a local magazine) and sure enough, I had typed it correctly.  So, I googled it (my spell checker still doesn't recognize 'googled' as a word yet... get with the times!  Shiesh! :) )  And, sure enough, the magazine had left two whole cups of milk out of the recipe!  Along with some salt.  NO WONDER IT WAS DRY!!  So sorry to all of my Bunco friends who had to endure the dry chocolate croissant bread pudding.  It won't happen again.  But in any case, here is the updated and correct recipe:

  • Unsalted butter for the baking dish (I probably just used cooking spray)
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 2 C whole milk (I used 1% because I didn't know about the extra ingredient until after I went shopping, and it turned out great.  I'm glad it ended up that way because I wouldn't have probably tried the 1% otherwise, and I'd much rather use that.)
  • 1 C heavy cream
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 1/2 t ground nutmeg
  • 6 croissants, cut into 1-in. pieces (about 1 lb.)
  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, cut into chunks (important note here: I just used chocolate chips, and I ONLY use Guittard chocolate chips now... once you taste them, you'll know why.  They're amazing.)

1) Heat oven to 375.  Butter an 8-in. square baking dish or other shallow 2-qt. baking dish.

2) In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks, milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, salt and nutmeg.  Add the croissants and chocolate and mix to combine.  Transfer mixture to the prepared baking dish.  Bake until set and knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 30-40 min.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Chicken Piccata Pasta

I swiped this recipe card from my sister (thanks Janeal!  You can have it back now.) because this pregnancy has made me seriously crave lemon and it looked delicious.  Its a Pampered Chef recipe, but (sorry PC) I'm going to take out all of the pampered chef specific words they bold like cutting the chicken on the 'cutting board.'  Seriously?  Because I was going to cut it up on my counter.  Lol.

It was simply delish, even though the chicken turned to 'blackened chicken' (when I got distracted on the phone - it didn't have a burned taste though... it was still good) and I didn't have artichoke hearts or fresh parsley and I don't like capers.  Oh, and I just (now) realized, I HAD Parmesan cheese, but I forgot to put it on.  Nice.  Oh well, I'm definitely going to be making it again, so I'll try again next time.  Enjoy!

"Creamy and lemony, this dish is a fresh take on piccata and is made in a fraction of the time!"  (I don't actually know what piccata is, but I don't care because this dish was awesome.)

1 1/4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 T olive oil, divided (I use coconut oil and its yummy and smells like a pina colada!)
1 1/2 T Lemon Pepper Rub (I use a Wild Tree one that was awesome)
3 cans 33% reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 medium onion
12 oz uncooked angel hair pasta (my favorite kind of pasta)
1 lemon
2 oz cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 oz) quartered artichoke hearts in water, drained
1/4 C capers, drained and rinsed
Chopped fresh parsley and grated fresh Parmesan cheese (optional)

1) Cut chicken into 1 inch pieces.  Combine chicken, half the oil and all of the rub in a bowl and toss to coat.  Heat remaining oil a large skillet over med-high heat 1-3 min. or until simmering.  Add chicken to skillet; cook and stir 10 minutes or until chicken is golden brown and centers are no longer pink (duh.)  Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.

2) Meanwhile, pour broth into pan (they say to put it in the microwave but I just did it on the stove) and bring to boil.  Chop onion (unless you use frozen chopped onion like me... no more tears!) and add to skillet; cook 10-20 seconds or until onion is fragrant.  Carefully add broth and pasta to skillet; cook, uncovered, 7-8 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally.

3) Zest lemon to measure 1 T.  Juice lemon to measure 2 T.  Add zest, juice and cream cheese to skillet; stir until cream cheese is fully incorporated.  Add chicken and artichokes to skillet.  Cook, covered, 1-2 min. or until heated through.  Remove skillet from heat; stir in capers.  Garnish with parsley and Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Lemony and delicious!  (I think I used that word like five times in this post.)  Happy eating!
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