Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Green Bean Casserole

I, Taralyn Smith, have never, ever liked a green bean in my entire life. Until this casserole came along. Fresh green beans are so much better than the canned ones! We had this as a side dish on Christmas Eve and it was fantastic. Thanks Food Network and a mother who makes me try yucky vegetables. Thanks also go to my favorite guinea pigs; Aunt Rae, Uncle Brad, and Dad. Happy Holidays to everyone!

Family Fresh Green Bean Casserole

1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans, ends trimmed

4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
4 ounces mushrooms, cleaned and finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
Freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 cups corn cereal/crackers
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium heat. Add the beans and cook for until just tender but still firm, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the beans from the water to a large bowl of ice water to preserve color and stop the cooking. Drain the beans and set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent. Stir in the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and saute about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the flour and stir for another minute, to cook out the raw flour taste, and then whisk in the sour cream. Simmer for just a couple of minutes to bring the flavors together and taste for seasoning.
Cut the green beans into 2-inch pieces.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a small pan. Crush the cereal flakes in a resealable plastic bag and add them to the pan with the butter. Toss to coat.

Spread the green beans over the bottom of a 9-inch casserole dish.
Pour all of the mushroom sauce mixture over the beans and top with the grated cheese.
Sprinkle with the buttered cereal flakes.
bake in the preheated 400 degree F oven, until light golden brown and bubbly, approximately 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Carrot Cake

This carrot cake is AMAZING! My momma got this recipe from a sweet Greek woman she works with at Costco. We have really enjoyed this recipe. I mean, really. I have made it three times in the last two months. The canned carrots make the cake fantastically moist, and as you can see, there aren't too many steps.

2 cans of sliced carrots (drained, mashed into submission)
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups oil
4 eggs
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Mix ingredients together, pour into 9X13 greased pan. Bake @ 350 for 45 minutes. My oven runs hot, and cooks it in 35, so check the cake well before the time.

Cream Cheese frosting

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 8 oz pkg cream cheese
1 lb powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

soften cream cheese butter, stir in sugar until desired consistency is achieved.

** I made this today, but I forgot the oil! (oops) It still tasted fantastic but had a similar density to banana or zucchini bread. I would dare say that you could divide this recipe into two loaf pans and make carrot bread. Maybe substitute the oil with applesauce? You might have to play with the amount, but if you try it let me know:)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Blonde Brownies with Brown Sugar Frosting

Compliments of Sarah Lemmon, who is currently sharing her love with the people of Fukuoka Japan.

Brownie mix:
1 cup white sugar
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
sift in:
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour.

Pour into 13X9 pan, bake @ 350 for 20 - 23 minutes, or until toothpick comes clean at center.

Frosting: in a sauce pan
1/3 cup butter
2/3 cups brown sugar

cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
stir in
3 TBSP milk. Cool from rolling boil, remove from heat.
Gradually stir in 2 cups powdered sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla.
Pour over top of blondies, top with chopped walnuts if so desired.


2 cups bisquick
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
2 eggs

mix until combined. Fold in:
1 cup fruit.
(blueberries are the best, you can use frozen!)
(raspberries, strawberries, chocolate chips??? Chocolate chip banana?)

bake @ 350 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes, they are particularly awesome.
Eat them fresh, and the top is deliciously crispy. Eat them a day later, they are moist. Enjoy the greatest muffin recipe that is five ingredients.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Blue Cheese Pear Salad

1 bag (6 oz) Spring Greens
1 bosc pear
1 oz Gorgonzola
1/2 small red onion
1/2 chopped, roasted walnuts

1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
4 tbsp olive oil

whisk dressing, pour over salad ingredients.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookie S’mores: Simple and Sublime

I am sure that some of you have done this before, but I just had this recipe a couple of weeks ago and I thought it was the best thing ever!

1) Make home-made chocolate chip cookies (find any recipie)

2) Roast a marshmallow

3) Put it between two warm, fresh out of the oven cookie for the best S’more you’ve ever had!

Now, this takes a bit of work to have and oven and a campfire close enough to pull this off, but it is worth trying at least once!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Southwest Chicken Quesadillas

I made up a new recipe today. My dad was the Guinea Pig. Thanks Dad for being the ever supportive taste tester.

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Mesquite grill seasoning

1 can black beans
1 can yellow corn
1 1/2 cups salsa
2 cups shredded cheese (Mexican blend, Monterey Jack, or Cheddar)

6 Burrito size tortillas

Dipping Sauce:
2 cups Ranch Dressing
2 tsp mesquite seasoning rub

Cook chicken in skillet, sprinkle rub liberally while cooking. You want your chicken pretty seasoned.
Drain cans of beans and corn, and mix in bowl with salsa.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Divide bean mixture evenly on six tortillas, and top each with one half of ea sliced chicken breast and 1/3 cup of cheese. Fold tortillas in half (Omelette style), and place three on cookie sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and tortilla is golden brown.

Slice each quesadilla into 4 pieces. Serve with ranch dipping sauce.

Serves: 6... or 4 hungry bears.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Eggplant Parmesan

I have always loved Chicken Parmesan, but it takes so long to ensure safety from raw chicken diseases! This is the same basic recipe only made with eggplant instead. I like this for several reasons --
1) It cooks fast
2) It is more inexpensive yet just as impressive
3) Eggplant can be delicious! It tastes like a Portabella mushroom:)
4) You are eating a vegetable as a main dish and yes, it is a great way to introduce someone to my new purple friend.
5) Eggplant does not have a funky texture! It does not need to be mush or chewy.

Eggplant Parmesan:

1 large eggplant, or 2 small ones

next three need separate plates (or bowl) for dipping
1 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten, plus 2 tbsp water
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
1/2 -1 cup grated parmesan cheese (mix with bread crumbs)

1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil

1 16 oz (or approximately thereof) Spaghetti sauce
cheese to top**

Step 1: Slice your eggplant into 1/2 inch disks and lay flat on a cookie sheet. You should get between 10 and 12 rounds from a large eggplant. Sprinkle liberally with salt, and leave for 5 minutes. Pat dry with paper towel and turn eggplant over. Repeat. (This ensures that the eggplant won't be rubbery and also helps maintain firmness throughout cooking process)

Step 2: Take your dry eggplant and press lightly into flour on both sides, shake to remove excess. Dip into egg wash on both sides. Transfer to the bread crumb and Parmesan mixture, try to have an even coating. (this is the messy part, but oh so worth it)

Step 3: In large skillet, heat oil and lightly toast each eggplant round on both sides (1-2 minutes per flip) and place onto cookie sheet for later baking. You want a golden brown crust, and make sure your oil is hot before cooking eggplant!

Step 4: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Step 5: When your eggplant is all crispy on the outside, line them up on the pan and spoon spaghetti sauce on top of each one. (about 1/4 cup of sauce)
Top with cheese and bake for 12-15 minutes.

I have used shredded mozzarella, sandwich slices of swiss, provolone or havarti and I have used slices of monterey jack cheese too. Basically, whatever white cheese you happen to have on hand will work! (I wouldn't use cheddar)

enjoy! I love this recipe and have found that one large eggplant will serve 4.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bread, that isn't a day old.

Did you know that bread is delivered fresh to the stores five days a week? Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Each day has a different color twist tie. They are:

Monday = Blue
Tuesday = Green
Thursday = Red
Friday = White
Saturday = Yellow

So if today was Thursday, you would want a red twist tie -- not a white tie which is Fridays (almost a week old)!

To remember the colors of the twist tie, they go alphabetically by color - Blue-Green-Red-White-Yellow, Monday through Saturday, skipping Wednesdays.

Sweet Pork Enchiladas

My family had an enchilada cook off this past weekend (pictures to follow, I promise!) and my recipe landed me in second place. There were 31 people, 5 tables, 6 bowls of tortilla chips, and 11 full pans of different enchiladas. This is our 5th or 6th recipe competition in our family, and they always are loud, crowded and delectable. These enchiladas have a first place taste, no matter what those 31 voters thought of my delicious dish;)

Refer to a previous posting of Cafe Rio Pork for full direction of meat preparation.

3 lb pork butt/shoulder roast -- bone in or out, whatever you feel is best. (or on sale)
3 cans tomato sauce
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups Dr. Pepper (divided)
1 tbsp minced garlic

Whisk last 4 ingredients, and pour over meat in slow cooker. Cook on low 4-6 hours, until meat is fork tender. Remove roast, shred meat removing fat and bones and place back in sauce to cook for 1-2 more hours, adding extra Dr. Pepper)

Black beans
2 cans black beans
1 tsp garlic powder, or 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 small onion, finely minced
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried oregano

in small pan, saute onion in small amount of oil, until clear. Add in beans, with liquid from cans, with rest of ingredients. cook until heated through.

Cilantro Lime Rice
3 Cups cooked rice
3 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp chopped pickled jalepeno

mix together, set aside.

2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese
10 tortillas
1 Can tomato sauce

** Separate meat from sauce out of slow cooker using slotted spoon, add extra can tomato sauce to cooked sauce**

In 9X13 pan, spoon out 1 cup of liquid from pork on the bottom. (spreay with cooking spray before!). Assemble each enchilada with 1/4 cup each of rice and beans, and equal amounts of meat. Sprinkle with small amount of cheese. Roll and place in pan. After assembling, top with remaining sauce from pork and remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, covered with aluminum foil.

Go win an enchilada competition, or really impress your friends and family, or, eat by yourself for a week.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Overnight Carmel FrenchToast

I love this recipe because it is deceptively easy and obviously tasty! My mother found this family favorite in an old cook book and we have loved it ever since:)

• 1 cup packed brown sugar
• 1/2 cup butter
• 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
• 12 slices bread
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
• 6 eggs
• 1-1/2 cups milk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, bring the brown sugar, butter and corn syrup to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat. Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Top with six slices of bread. Combine sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon; sprinkle half over the bread. Place remaining bread on top. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon-sugar; set aside.
    In a large bowl, beat the eggs, milk, vanilla and remaining cinnamon. Pour over bread. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
    Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30-35 minutes. Yield: 6 servings.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Lemonade Ice Cream.... Cake?

This is the perfect summer dessert, I like to serve with a strawberry on top or perhaps a nice slice of Kiwi. I have no idea what to call this, my mother calls it Lemonade Cheesecake, but there is no cheese and my taste testers have doubted my skill when they don't taste any cream cheese texture. However, the rich, velvety texture will still refresh on any warm day.

1/2 gallon Vanilla ice cream (generic brand is just fine!)
1 can lemonade concentrate

9X13 pan
6 graham crackers, crushed
1/4 cup butter (or similar substance...) melted

In large bowl, mix together softened ice cream with lemonade.
In separate bowl, mix cracker crumbs with butter and press into bottom of pan.
Pour mixture on top of the crust and freeze for 3 hours or more.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Lemonade and Lemon Bars

I have had a love affair with lemons recently.

Lemon Bars
For the Crust:
* Vegetable oil, for greasing
* 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, diced
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
* 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, plus more for garnish
* 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Filling:
* 4 large eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
* 2 cups granulated sugar
* 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
* 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
* 1 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 8 lemons)


Make the crust: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan with vegetable oil and line with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides; grease the foil with oil. Pulse the butter, flour, both sugars and the salt in a food processor until the dough comes together, about 1 minute. Press evenly into the bottom and about 1/2 inch up the sides of the prepared pan, making sure there are no cracks. Bake until the crust is golden, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling: Whisk the whole eggs and yolks, sugar and flour in a bowl until smooth. Whisk in the lemon zest and juice. Remove the crust from the oven and reduce the temperature to 300 degrees F. Pour the filling over the warm crust and return to the oven. Bake until the filling is just set, 30 to 35 minutes.

Let the bars cool in the pan on a rack, then refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. Lift out of the pan using the foil and slice. Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.


1 gallon of water
1 can frozen lemonade concentrate
2 packets of KoolAid Lemonade
1 cup sugar

*this is a really lemony flavor that can't be beat!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Day Old Bread

What is day old bread? Well unless you made it yourself, I doubt it is anything but day old bread. Here is what I do with my old loaf that is about to go bad.

Bread Crumbs:
6 slices of bread, toast it if not already dried out and crusty.
1 tbsp parsley flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp Italian Herb Blend
2 tbsp bread crumbs

combine in food processor. In 350 degree oven, toast crumbs for 10 minutes. (spread on cookie sheet in uniform layer) Use the Middle rack.

6 slices of bread
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tbsp dried basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 tbsp oil (any kind you have is fine)

Cut bread into bite sized cubes, you should be able to get 20 cubes out of a slice of bread. In a large bowl, toss with oil and remaining ingredients.
In 400 degree oven, bake for 15 - 20 minutes, or until your bread has browned.

*This is cheaper than buying any crouton and will impress any salad lover!

Last one. I just found this recipe for quiche on the food network website. They use bread cubes instead of crust! I thought this was really cool, you should check it out. Crustless Quiche Master Recipe

Shepherd's Pie

I generally have an aversion to most shepherd's pie recipes. This one is surprisingly excellent! With no tomato sauce or deplorable green beans, I'd say this is a winner. Many times when I am cooking, I skip some herbs and spices and substitute with what I have. Be sure to add the Sage, whatever you do!

6 medium potatoes
1 pound carrots, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups of beef gravy
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

Peel and cube the potatoes; place in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cover and cook for 20 minutes or until tender. Add 1 in. of water to another saucepan; add carrots. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until crisp-tender, about 7-9 minutes. Drain.
    In a large nonstick skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the carrots, gravy, 1/2 teaspoon salt, sage, thyme, rosemary and pepper. Transfer to a shallow 3-qt. baking dish coated with cooking spray.
    Drain the potatoes; mash with milk, butter and remaining salt. Spread over meat mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 40-45 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 6 servings.

** If you want to used artificial potatoes, I think you should be fine. Save yourself 20 minutes! I often add canned corn or other vegetables I need to use up. Bell peppers are really great, as are peas!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Household hint--laundy

This has nothing to do with the kitchen, but it has made laundry day infinitely easier at the Zollinger house.
At the dollar store I found a bunch of those tiny brass safety pins( 150 for a dollar!) and every night when I take off my socks I use one to pin them together. NO more matching for me! They are washable, and I am to the point where I just leave the safety pin on one of my socks when I wear them.There was a day a week ago where one of my students was in dire need of a safety pin due to a ripped pants issue, and he was amazed when I took one off the cuff of my sock and saved his day. If you are a super laundry hater like me, you don't even have to fold the socks, you can just throw them in a drawer already pinned together.
I hope this saves a few people from having a basket full of mismatched socks!

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches

I am sure there are better recipes for this out there, but I can't think of any easier. Jake and I love to do these on a day we have planned to be busy.

2-3 lbs picnic pork roast (this is a cheap meat--we have found it on sale for 99 cents a lb. before!)
1 cup chicken or beef broth ( I suppose you can use water too, this just keeps it from burning in the slow cooker)
2-3 tbsp hot sauce
Dash garlic, pepper, paprika (whatever flavoring you like, it will be just a hint when the roast is done)
1-2 drops of liquid smoke(totally optional)
1 bottle BBQ sauce
Hamburger buns, split potato rolls, or hoagie buns

Put the roast in a crock pot with all ingredients except the last two (buns and sauce).
Slow cook 6-8 hours on low.
You will know when the roast is done when you can shred the meat by stirring it with a fork in the pot.
At this point you can pour in your desired amount of sauce in the pot, or you can just place the meat on buns and  each person top it with their own amount of sauce.
This recipe can easily be doubled, tripled or whatever to feed a crowd. To me it is reminiscent of the wallaby's pulled pork sandwich that my Uncle Ryan used to run.
It would be fun to get several unique BBQ sauces when you are feeding a group for them to try.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Vegetable Chowder

I am in a dinner group with a ton of people in my student ward at BYU. My good buddy Adam made this soup for dinner and it was amazing.

2.5 lb bag of Normandy blend frozen vegetables
(broccoli, cauliflower and carrots)
5 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
2 8 oz packages of cream cheese
6 cups of water

Place frozen vegetables in pot with bouillon cubes and
Water. Boil covered for 20 minutes. Mash with potato
Masher until lumps are small. Cube the cream cheese
Bricks into small pieces, and whisk into soup mixture.
Turn heat to medium low and stir until cream cheese
Is incorporated and melted.

Serve immediately.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Cheese Ball

This is a Thanksgiving Staple in the Smith and Beckstead homes. My dad always makes it, and my grandma thinks my mother is the chef:) Delicious!

Ingredients: 1 pkg Cream cheese, softened
¼ cup mayonnaise
½ cup grated cheese
1 pkg wafer ham, chopped into small pieces
Chopped walnuts
Combine first four ingredients, mix well. Shape into ball, roll in nuts if desired. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Baked Potoato Soup

Most potato soups are more difficult to make because of the thickening methods. Not this one. I like this soup because it is different from every other creamy potato soup out there, yet it is still delicious! Enjoy during the last of your winter season!

4 medium (6 small) potatoes chopped bite sized
Seasoned Salt, oil
1 onion, chopped
4 tbsp butter
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 pint of Half and Half.
2 chicken bullion cubes
4 cups milk.
Preheat oven to 400. Coat potatoes with seasoned salt and a small amount of oil, spread into one layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes. In large stock pot, sauté onion in melted butter, add potatoes and coat with butter mixture. Stir in remaining ingredients, boil until thickened.
Serve with: grated cheese, sour cream and green onions… bacon bits if you so desire.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Fool Proof Pizza Dough

There is something about a homemade pizza that says I love you. Growing up, our mother would make her own BBQ chicken pizza and a family signature Bean Pizza.

1 pkg (1 tbsp) active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
2 ½ cups of flour
Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water, about five minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients, beat vigorously 20 strokes. Let rest about 10 minutes. I use baking sheets to make pizza and this dough fits perfectly! After ingredients have been placed on dough, cook in 350 degree oven for 15-18 minutes.

Friday, January 22, 2010

My Mother's Marvelous Meatlaof.

If you have ever been to Boston Market, you have probably been blessed with tasting their amazing meatloaf. Well, when our mother happened upon a likely facsimile years ago, it became one of our classic dinners. To this day when people complain about their mother's yucky meatloaf, I just don't understand. This recipe is delicious and utterly easy.

1 cup Tomato sauce
1 1/2 tbl Barbecue Sauce
1 tbl Sugar
1 1/2 pounds Ground sirloin
6 tbl Flour
3/4 t. Salt
1/2 t. Onion powder
1/4 t. Ground black pepper
Dash garlic powder

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Combine the tomato sauce, barbecue sauce and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat the mixture until it begins to bubble, stirring often, then remove it from the heat.
3. Reserve 2 Tbl sauce. In a large bowl combine the remaining sauce and meat until throughly mixed.
4. Add the remaining ingredients to the meat mixture and stir until combined.
5. Place the meatloaf into a loaf pan. Cover with foil and place in oven for 30 minutes.
6.Remove meatloaf from oven, uncover, and carefully drain the fat.
7. Using a knife, slice the meatloaf all the way through into 8 slices while still in the pan. Pour the reserved sauce over the top of the meatloaf, in a stream down the center. DO NOT SPREAD THE SAUCE.
8. Return the meatloaf to the oven, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes or until done. Remove and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.
8 slices, 4 generous servings.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sanitary Sponges?

In efforts to make our blog a well rounded, educational place of reading, I would like to introduce a hint section. My hint of the day involves keeping sponges more sanitary, thus prolonging the life of your dish washing tools! After doing dishes and cleaning kitchen surfaces, rinse off your sponge and pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds. It kills bacteria and gets rid of the beginning mildew smell.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Homemade Mac N Cheese

Once upon a newspaper clipping, and ten years later, this is a family favorite!
    Makes 10 servings
    1 large package macaroni
    1 stick butter
    1 pint sour cream
    1 pint heavy cream
    2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
    Dash salt
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    Dash white pepper
    1/2 cup salsa
    1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
    1 1/2 pounds grated Cheddar cheese
    Cook macaroni in water with a little oil and salt. Drain and set aside.
    In a pan, melt the stick of butter, add sour cream, heavy cream, Worcestershire, salt, garlic powder, white pepper and salsa. Blend in most of the cheese, reserving just enough to sprinkle on top of the casserole. Add macaroni and stir well.
    Put mixture in a large, greased casserole dish, top with reserved cheese, cover with heavy foil or layers of plastic and freeze. Defrost on serving day and bake, covered with foil, for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes, then serve.

Crustless Quiche

1/2 c. ham cubes
1 c. shredded Swiss cheese
1/3 c. finely chopped onion
2 c. milk
1/2 c. Bisquick
4 eggs
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
Sprinkle ham, cheese and onion evenly in lightly greased pan. Place remaining ingredients in bowl and beat on high 1 minute. Pour into 9" or 10" pie pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 or 45 minutes until golden or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Meatball Casserole

For two
I am obsessed with this recipe. I love the tiny meatballs and the lasagna-ish taste of this casserole. Sometimes I just make the meatballs and freeze them for spaghetti night.
3/4 cup uncooked penne pasta
2 tbsp seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, Divided
1 egg
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning ( I use pizza seasoning)
1/8 tsp onion powder
Dash Salt
Dash garlic Powder
1/4 lb ground beef or turkey
3/4 cup marinara or spaghetti sauce
1/4 cup cottage cheese
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Cook pasta according to directions. Meanwhile in a small bowl combing the bread crumbs, 2 TBSp parmesan cheese, egg, Italian seasoning, onion powder, salt and garlic powder. Mix in meat and shape into 1/2 inch balls, place on a coated baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.
Drain meatballs and combine in a bowl with the pasta, cottage cheese, mozzarella and marinara sauce.
Spoon into a 1 qt. baking dish and top with 1 tbsp of parmesan cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted.


Baked Chimichangas--trying to be healthy

Baked Chicken Chimichangas
I got this recipe out of a healthy eating magazine and make it all the time. Only 300 calories per chimichanga  :)
(makes six chimis)
1 1/2 cups cubed chicken
1 1/2 cups picante sauce, divided
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2/3 cup chopped green onions, divided
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
6 (8 inch) flour tortillas
1 tbsp butter, melted

In a small bowl combine the chicken, 3/4 cup of the picante sauce, cheese, 1/4 cup green onions, cumin, and oregano. Spoon 1/2 cup of the mixture down the center of each tortilla. Fold sides and ends over filling and roll up. Place seam side down in a square baking dish coated with cooking spray and brush with butter.
Bake uncovered at 375 for 20 minutes and top with remaining picante sauce and green onions.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Spaghetti in a pop bottle

I don't have a recipe today, just a very helpful hint that has saved me so much stress when it comes to spaghetti.
Keep your large 2-liter bottles for storing spaghetti. After you wash the bottles, stuff paper towels inside to help draw out the water. In a sunny window, it should take less than an hour.
Making sure the bottle is dry, put in your spaghetti. This takes time, but the result is worth it to me, because it will dispense a serving of spaghetti with just a shake of the wrist. It's easier for me than having to deal with spaghetti from a bag or plastic container. It seems to scatter all over the place and just my luck that is when Jake will decide to walk through the kitchen and step on a few pieces. Sweeping pasta is hard.

The best part about this is that the amount of spaghetti that comes out of the bottle is the perfect serving of pasta for two people with a bit of leftover. Easy measuring!

Black Bean and Rice Burritos

This is my go to vegetarian dish when I know I am cooking for someone who isn't a meat lover. Very flavorful and can feed a crowd easily!

Black Bean and Rice Burritos

1 package yellow rice (it has saffron in it to make it yellow)
1 can black beans (can use 2 cans if needed)
7 oz can of green salsa verde
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey or pepper jack cheese
8-10 Flour Tortillas

Cook rice according to package directions, stir in black beans that are
Rinsed and drained. Add half of salsa, and most of cheese reserving 1/3 cup.
Put 1/2 - 3/4 cup of rice mixture in to each tortilla, and roll up placing into
A greased 9x13 pan. After burritos are assembled, top with remaining salsa
And then cheese. Place in 350 degree oven for 20 - 25 minutes, or until Cheese is bubbly.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Café Rio Pork

Literally, it tastes similar to the real deal. My family loved me forever when I made this for a fancy Sunday Meal! Meat works well in tacos, salads, over rice, or in a pulled pork sandwich.
Ingredients: 5 lbs pork roast
6 cans tomato sauce
2 cups Dr. Pepper
2 cups brown sugar
Combine all ingredients but 1 cup Dr. Pepper.
Slow cook in crock pot for four hours
Add last cup of Dr. Pepper.
Slow cook in crock pot for 4 more hours or until pork can be shredded with a fork.
Shred pork and serve.


Our Recipe Blog

Taci and I have decided to share our recipes (mostly with each other) in a place visible for others to enjoy as well. As you can see, Taci has many helpful hints and tricks that make the everyday extraordinary. We hope to keep up with ourselves and are excited to have all of it in one place. Enjoy!


These oreos have been used for years as a way to acquire positions of power in the PTA, bribe neighbors and coworkers into getting something, and mystify the masses with magical cooking abilities.
Once used, do not expect your children to accept just any old cookie. Do not be shocked when they turn up their noses at a packaged, store bought oreo.
Simply, these little cookies have the ability to change your life.
Homemade Oreo Cookies

1 package Devils Food Cake Mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup shortening

Combine ( the hardest part. At some point when I make these I give up the spoon and use my hands.)
Roll into 1/2 inch balls. Place 16 in 4 rows of 4 on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for exactly 8 minutes.
Once all of the oreos are baked and cooled its time to make the frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 brick cream cheese
2 cups powered sugar
A small splash of vanilla (During Christmas we add a few drops of peppermint extract instead and dye it green)

Soften (not melt!) cream cheese in the microwave at 1/2 power until it is pretty easy to stir.
Stir in the vanilla then gradually add the powered sugar until it is the right consistency for frosting.
When you frost the cookies, be generous! The best oreos have the most frosting.



I had the chance to celebrate New Years Eve in Hagerman with my inlaws again this year. It was fun because I got to watch my father in law play in his band but my favorite part was the fondue.
After a few hours of extensive google research I decided (with the aid of my mother in law) that a simple cheese sauce and a dessert sauce would do the trick. I found the coolest recipe for "any flavor dessert fondue" and I will swear by it always. I am officially in love. Here it is:

Any Flavor Dessert Fondue

1 (16 oz) can of frosting, any flavor. (we made a chocolate one and a coconut pecan one)
1/3-1/2 cup heavy cream

Combine in a small sauce pot on low heat until smooth.
This literally took 5 minutes to make, it is cheap and super easy.
Great, I found another way to gain weight.

What we dipped in the stuff:
Maraschino Cherries
Angel food cake cubes
Banana Slices
Sliced fruit on a tray from costco

Things I have dipped in chocolate before:

Rice Krispy Squares
Swedish Fish
Lady fingers
Cheesecake squares
Cream puffs

Cheese Fondue (also pretty darn easy!)
4 tbsp butter
5 tbsp flour
1 can evaporated milk
2 tsp ground mustard (enhances the cheesy flavor)
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 -2 cups grated cheese, any kind ( we did some cheddar jack and mozzarella)

Melt butter in a small sauce pan and add and stir/whisk in flour to make a roux. Add milk, salt, and mustard and stir until thickened then stir in cheese. Keep this one warm or it may be a little stringy.

What we dipped in our cheese:
Green and black olives
Pieces of bagel
Cubed leftover steak

What I wish we also had to dip:
Roasted fingerling potatoes
Cubed ham and turkey
Roasted pearl onions
Chunks of steamed tender crisp carrot and broccoli
I never knew fondue was so easy! I found a pot at D.I. for 5 bucks and it came with a warmer and a bunch of sticks. I hope this has converted the people sitting on the fondue fence.

Happy New Year!