Thursday, September 30, 2010

Corn Bread Taco Bake

Tra-la-la, fall-la-la is in the air-la-la!  Apples, pumpkins, candy corn-la-la!
One thing you all should probably know about me, that most of my college friends knew long ago and my kiddos know all too well now, is that I like to make up songs.  Songs about nothing...songs about whatever I am doing....songs about what I am trying to make my kids do. 
At least I don't sing into the Echo Mic anymore, well much anyway.  But boy did I ever love me some Echo Mic!  Case in point from this old college pic.

My dear, beautiful, friend Scooby (as seen here in this unauthorized-from-her pic) and I took the Echo Mic on tour with us annoying fellow choir members, as well as our bus driver Vern, through several states. 
Yes, my hair was that big and yes, I still have that red IZOD water-proof jacket thing.
Today my little diddy is about fall as you can see!
What does singing about fall have to do with this recipe?  Not too much, other than the fact that because I now have the song "Taco Flavored Kisses" going through my head and instead of going all "Southpark" on you again, I thought I would detour myself, and spare us all.  I am a giver that way :)
This recipe was yummy and a nice change of pace from regular tacos or even Taco Pasta.   It screams fall to me in a way that only corn bread and beans can.

  • 1 package (8 1/2 oz) corn bread/muffin mix (I used trader Joe's Corn Bread Mix and made per directions EXCEPT I used a 9x13 pan) PLUS ingredients on box
  • 2 - 2 1/2 pounds ground beef or turkey
  • 2 packages taco seasoning
  • 1 can Southwest Mexicorn
  • 2 cans Rotel
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 2 cup Colby Jack, Cheddar or Mexican cheese, shredded
  • 5 green onions, green and white parts, sliced
  • 1 (4 ouces) can diced green chilies, drained
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1-2 cup shredded lettuce, to taste
  • 1 can sliced olives
  • Extra shredded cheese, to taste
Preheat oven to  350 degrees. 
Make cornbread mix according to directions. Spread in 9"x13" pan.  Bake for 15 minutes.
Cook ground meat until no longer pink, drain.
Add taco seasoning and 1/3 cup water, can of Rotel (drained) and can of mexicorn (rinsed and drained) Cook until most of liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes.
Spread over corn bread. Combine sour cream, cheese, green chilies, and green onion. Spread over meat mixture. Bake for 30 minutes longer or until heated through and cheese is melted.   I also like to stick mine under a broiler for a couple minutes at the end to get the top golden.
Sprinkle with tomato, lettuce and cheese.

recipe adapted (aka tweaked) from:  Pam's Midwest Kitchen

This recipe has been linked up at:
Mommy's Kitchen
Nikki's Nifty Knacks
Frou Frou Decor
Simply Sweet Home
Tidy Mom
Eat at Home

Monday, September 27, 2010

Brown Butter Sea Salt Rice Krispy Treats

Don't let this unassuming picture fool you.  These are not the Rice Krispy Treats of your youth.  These are the sexy grown-up version of that classic...and by sexy and grown-up, I mean totally, insanely, ridiculously luscious!  I cannot adequately put into words how much I want you to try these.  Treat yourself with these treats.  Just do it.  Pleeassseeeee!!!!

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 bag marshmallows (10.5 oz)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 6 slightly over flowing cups rice krispy cereal
Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray, set aside.
In a large bowl, gently toss together sea salt and rice krispy cereal. Set aside.
To brown butter, heat in a pot over medium-low heat. Continue stirring after butter is melted. It will eventually begin to foam, then turn a brown color and smell nutty. Stay with the butter and stir occasionally so it does not burn. The time it takes from browned butter to turn burned butter is under a minute, so watch it carefully. When butter has browned, remove from heat and add marshmallows. Stir quickly so that marshmallows melt into the butter. If need be, you can replace over low heat to assist the melting. Once smooth and thoroughly combined, add vanilla, and stir to incorporate.
Pour butter/marshmallow mixture over top of sea salt/rice krispy mixture. Working quickly, stir to coat and combine evenly. Press mixture into baking dish and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cutting into squares. Clear your schedule and take a will be there a while!

Recipe adapted (aka tweaked) from Baking Serendipity who adapted from Smitten Kitchen

This recipe has been linked to:
Nikkis Nifty Knacks
Prairie Story
Tidy Mom
Simply Sweet Home
Frou Frou Decor
Mommy's Kitchen

Friday, September 24, 2010

Pumpkin Muffin Cookies

Happy, Happy Fall!!! 
What if I told you that you could have these INSANELY scrumptious Pumpkin Muffin Cookies with 2 ingredients?  How about if I added in that you could customize them in any way you like to make them your own?  Just to make you shake your head even more, I am going to add in there is no oil, butter, or eggs in them!  I am willing to bet you would not believe me.  Well, my friends, believe it!  These things ROCK and are in the oven in about 2 minutes.  So, to keep it short and sweet like these little beauties, and to make me stop sounding like a late night infomercial, let's get to it!

1 box Spice Cake mix
1 can (15 ounces) pureed pumpkin, NOT PUMPKIN PIE FILLING!

Optional add-ins:  Raisins, Chocolate Chips, White Chocolate Chips, Pecans, pumpkin seeds...the list goes on and on.  Our favorite is 1/2 cup raisins and 1/2 cup white chocolate chips.  You could always leave them plain and frost them with a cream cheese frosting.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray cookie sheet with baking spray.  In a bowl, combine canned pumpkin and cake mix.  Stir until smooth, mixture will be thick.  Add whatever optional ingredients you like, as much or as little as you like.
Using a cookie scoop, put desired amount of dough on sheet.  Bake for 7-10 minutes or until slightly browned on edges.  They will not spread, as they are a "cakey" cookie.  ENJOY!

This recipe has been linked to:
Nikkis Nifty Knacks
Prairie Story
Frou Frou Decor
Tidy Mom
Simply Sweet Home
Mommy's Kitchen
Eat at Home

Monday, September 20, 2010

Crockpot Pork Chops and Gravy

Our AC went out last night.  For some of you who are enjoying the amazing crisp air that fall provides, this may not seem like a big thing.  However, for those of you who are still experiencing this sweltering, unrelenting heat, there was sure to be a surge of panic in you when you hear me say "OUR AC WENT OUT LAST NIGHT!!!"
Luckily AC-Man is coming any minute now.  Sitting here feeling the heat in the house climb and climb to over 79 degrees now (at 10:00am), I am reminded how THANKFUL I am for crockpot meals.  Ahhh, to have comfort food without heating up your entire house or slaving over a store for hours and hours to produce such scrumptiousness.
This recipe was given to me by my friend Jill of Sublime Hodge Podge, who told me in no uncertain terms that I MUST make these and if I didn't experience these sent from heaven morsels, I would be doomed to a life of nothingness, blandness, bleakness....or something like that.  So, here you are....the worlds easiest Pork Chop and Gravy recipe.  Consider this your PSA for the day, try not to lick the crockpot while the heavenly aroma of the gravy starts wafting through your home!

  • 4 whole Bone-in Pork Chops
  • 1 envelope Onion Soup Mix (1 Oz. Packet)
  • 1-½ cup Chicken Broth....definitely use low sodium
  • 1 can (10.5 Oz) Cream Of Chicken Soup....definitely use low sodium
  • 1 envelope Dry Pork Gravy Mix (1 Oz. Packet)
  • Optional - I added a can of drained mushrooms and a tsp of Italian Herb Seasoning

Place pork chops in slow cooker. In a separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients and pour over chops. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Serve with egg noodles, mashed potatoes, or rice to take advantage of all the yummy gravy.

This recipe has been linked up at:
Mommy's Kitchen
Eat at Home

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Outback's Mac-a-Roo and Cheese

Who hasn't ordered Outback Steakhouse's yummy Mac-a-Roo and Cheese?  Who hasn't ordered curb-side take-away from Outback and slipped in an order of Mac-a-Roo and Cheese, even though the kiddos are with Grandma Coo Coo for the night?  Come on...surely I can't be the only one??  Let's not even get started on the meltdowns that have ensued over Mac-a-Roo and Cheese mysteriously disappearing of a plate at the restaurant.
Whatever, moving on. 
If you Google out "how to make Outback's Mac and Cheese", you are sure to get tons of recipes, most of which I have tried, that aren't even close.  Well, being the cool chick I really, I am... I have a super secret person on the inside that told me how they make it.  I scoffed...there is NO WAY it could be that easy.  I simply got a nod, a grin, and a "oh yeah, that is it."  Tried it.  Loved it.  Still can't believe it.

  • 1 box Penne Rigate Pasta
  • 1 lb Velveeta, cubed
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream plus more as needed to thin to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain.
In a medium pot, heat cream and add Velveeta, stirring carefully so it does not scorch on bottom.  Continue stirring until cheese is melted, adding additional cream if needed for desired texture and taste.  It will thicken up quite a bit as it cools, so don't go crazy with the cream.  Mix pasta and cheese sauce together, add some pepper to taste.  ENJOY!

Yup...told you it was that simple.

This recipe has been linked up at:
Nikki's Nifty Knacks
Mommy's Kitchen

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cheeseburger Soup

Now that it is officially September, I think I speak for everyone when I say "bring on the comfort food"!  This soup was SO yummy!  I had never made or tasted Cheeseburger Soup before, but it sounded intriguing.  After looking at a couple different recipes, and doing some combining, tweaking, substituting, and short-cutting, here is what I came up with. It reminds me of a yummy Loaded Baked Potato Soup with hamburger in it...definitely stick to your ribs.  I rounded out this meal with some Homemade Breadsticks and a Ranch Wedge Salad.  SCRUMPTIOUS!  Once you are ready to make some soup, don't hesitate to try this one!

  • 1 pound hamburger
  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced green or red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup diced celery
  • 24 ounces roasted cubed potatoes (3-4 cups)   I used the Trader Joe's frozen Roasted Potatoes.  I cannot speak to other brands, but if I was making without that convenience item, I would place cubed potatoes, in a bowl and toss with olive oil until evenly coated.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place potatoes on a baking sheet and roast in a 450 degree oven until tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  • 1 tsp dried Basil
  • 1 tsp dried Parsley
  • 2 TBSP butter, melted
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 10 ounces Velveeta (sorry, just no getting around how this stuff melts), cubed

In a skillet, brown hamburger and bacon.  Add minced garlic and cook an additional minute.  Drain excess grease. 
Saute onions, peppers, and celery in skillet with 2 TBSP extra virgin olive until slightly soft, about 1-2 minutes.  Add frozen potatoes and cook until crispy on outside.  If using potatoes you roasted in the oven, continue sauteing veggies until soft and go to next step.
Add meat mixture, potatoes and veggies to a stock pot.  Add chicken broth and dried herbs bringing to a boil.
In a separate bowl, mix together melted butter, milk, and flour until smooth.  Gradually pour milk mixture into boiling soup, gently stirring, reduce to simmer.  Add cheese and let cook until melted, stirring once in a while so bottom doesn't burn.  Remove from heat and stir in sour cream.  Salt and Pepper to taste.

This recipe has been linked up at:
Nikki's Nifty Knacks
Frou Frou Decor
Simply Sweet Home
Tidy Mom
Mommy's Kitchen
Delightful Country Cookin'
The Country Cook

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Ideas for Labor Day

Happy Saturday!  Yes, it is me on a Saturday :)
I was getting ready to head out to the Farmer's Market and get some fresh fruits and veggies for the festivities this weekend.  As my farewell to summer, I thought I would jump in and give you my top 10 ideas for Labor Day.  Just click on the name of the dish to be taken to the recipe. 
Have a safe and FABULOUS weekend!

                                               A-MAZING Salsa

                                                    Mushroom Salsa

                                                    Best Corn EVER!

                                               Macaroni Crackaroni Salad

                                               Chicken Tortellini Caesar Salad

                                                    New-Dorf Salad

                                                   Nirvana in a Bowl

                                              Creamy Dill Cucumber Salad

                                                    Asian Chicken Salad

                                                               Mango Mojito


Friday, September 3, 2010

Oh So Lemony Cupcakes

Here are the cupcakes I made for my hubby's birthday.  He loves lemon and wanted lemon cupcakes with lemon icing...real icing, and lots of it.  I am actually not a lemon OR an icing person, but these turned out SO SCRUMPTIOUS!  The cake was a great lemon flavor and super moist, with a bit of lemon curd filling...perfect!  The lemon buttercream icing was not too sweet and provided a great balance of flavors.  I have made this same recipe as a cake before and it turns out beautifully as well....but my hubby wanted cupcakes, so cupcakes he had!

For the cake:
  • 1 box lemon cake mix
  • 1 box 3.4 ounce box instant lemon flavored pudding mix
  • 1 1/2 cups 7-up
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients until smooth.  Bake according to package directions for cupcakes or  cake you desire.
Allow to cool.

For Filling:
Purchased or homemade lemon curd.  I always use purchased, I have not had luck as of yet making my own lemon curd.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a round decorating tip with lemon curd.  Insert decoraters tip into each cupcake and squeeze a small amount (about 1 tsp) of curd into each cupcake.  If making a 2-layer round cake, simply spread desired amount of lemon curd in between both layers.

For Icing:
  • 1/2 cups shortening
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 1/2 - 4 cups confectioners sugar, depending how sweet you like it and how stiff you need it to be
  • 2 - 3 tsp clear imitation lemon extract
  • 3 fluid ounces heavy cream
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
Cream shortening and butter until fluffy. Add lemon extract and cream. Beat until combined. Add confectioners' sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat on high speed until frosting is fluffy.

This recipe is linked up at:
Frou Frou Decor
Nikki's Nifty Knacks
Tidy Mom
Simply Sweet Home
Eat at Home

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sesame Chicken

Oh boy do I love Chinese food!  Unfortunately for us, we have not found a decent place to order from since we moved.  So, I have had to improvise.  Luckily for us, Trader Joe's has some great options:  Teriyaki Chicken, Mandarin Chicken, and even a Tempura Sweet and Sour Chicken.  Then of course, I have my Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe that SO reminds me of Pei Wei's or P.F. Chang's version.  When I saw Mommy's Kitchen has a recipe for Sesame Chicken, I knew I had to try it.  After some tweaking (remember, I am a tweaker), I have another AMAZING Chinese recipe to add to my arsenal!  Unlike my Sweet and Sour recipe that takes longer due to having to batter and quick-fry your chicken before you bake it, this uses the convenience of pre-made popcorn chicken.  LOVE IT!  I baked the popcorn chicken as opposed to frying it and it turned out nice and crispy without all the added oil.  Don't miss out on this one!  As sweet Kiddo C says, it is "scrum-dium-dium-cious!"

  • 2 pounds of frozen popcorn chicken.  I used the Popcorn Chicken from Costco.
  • 7 TBSP honey
  • 4 TBSP sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 4 TBSP ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp Sriracha Sauce.  This adds just an undertone of spice.  If you like the spice, add more to taste. 
  • 2 tablespoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1-2 TBSP toasted sesame seeds, to taste
  • Optional Garnishes:  sliced Green Onion, diced Red Bell Pepper

Bake Popcorn Chicken according to package directions.
In a deep skillet, wok, or sauce pan, combine the remaining ingredients and warm over medium heat. Bring to a boil while stirring and simmer until sauce slightly thickens. Once chicken is finished baking, add chicken to sauce and toss to coat. Add toasted sesame seeds.  Serve over cooked rice.  If desired, garnish with sliced green onions and diced red bell pepper.

This recipe is linked up at:
Nikki's Nifty Knacks
Simply Sweet Home
Tidy Mom
Frou Frou Decor
Eat at Home