Friday, May 29, 2009

Homemade Baked Beans

These are REALLY good baked beans!! In fact, we had these for Memorial Day and my friend's husband ate all the leftovers by himself! I got the recipe from my Mom when I first got married and she's been making it since she got married, but where it originally came from, I don't know.

Baked Beans

2 large cans Pork-n-Beans
1 green pepper
1 chopped onion
1 lb. Hamburger
7-8 slices bacon
2/3 cup ketchup
½ cup brown sugar
1 Tbs. molasses
¼ cup chili sauce

Brown hamburger, add pepper, onion and pork-n-beans and cook. Fry bacon and cut up. Combine all ingredients and bake at 325 for 1½-2 hours. Make sure you DO NOT over bake or they will be dry. It's definitely worth the frying of the bacon and browning of the meat!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Pasta Bake

This is great when I need something fast with minimal preparation. It's very kid-friendly and adult pleasing.

16 oz. box of chunky pasta
28 oz. jar pasta sauce
1/2 lb. brown & serve sausage, crumbled (I use the cooked sausage links and slice them)
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

In a 13x9 pan mix the pasta, sauce, one jar full of water and the sausage. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake at 425 for 30 minutes. Stir well, recover and bake another 10 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle with cheese and bake until cheese is melted.

Cheesy Chili

I serve this when the missionaries come over because it makes a ton. I also like to take it to ward chili dinners. My kids think it's great that you eat it with a chip instead of a spoon.

2 1/2 lb. ground beef, cooked (I usually use a pound)
3 cans (15-oz ea.) tomato sauce
2 cans (16-oz ea.) pinto beans, rinsed and drained (I sometimes use more to make up for less meat)
1 can (10-oz.) diced tomatoes & chilies (undrained)
2 envelopes chili seasoning
2 lbs. Velveeta, cubed
1 c. whipping cream
Fritos Scoops chips

Heat all the ingredients together except for the Velveeta cheese and the whipping cream (and obviously the chips!). Once it's heated through add the cheese and stir until melted, then add the whipping cream. Serve with the chips, using them like spoons.

Mexican Stew

I got this recipe from a good friend who is also an excellent cook. This recipe looks weird and the ingredient list looks like it would taste horrible BUT IT DOESN'T. It is really, really yummy. The kids love it because they can 'customize' it.

1 lb. ground beef, browned
1 c. cooked rice
1 can tomato sauce - med. soup size
1 can tomato paste - 7 oz. size
1 small can chopped green chilies
1 green pepper, chopped
1/4 c. mushrooms, sliced (okay, I usually add the whole 8 oz package)
1 c. water
salt and pepper to taste

Cook all the above ingredients together until thoroughly heated through.

Serve on plates with the following toppings:
Fritos corn chips
chopped olives
grated cheese
avocados, chopped
Italian dressing
tomatoes, chopped

Wet Burritos

I originally got this recipe from These are big and messy, but really yummy. They're also really filling. We usually have leftovers for lunch for several days afterwards. The long list of ingredients makes it look complicated, but it's super easy and fast to put together. The sauce is a bit spicy (not really unless you're a total wimp, like our kids) so we don't put the sauce on theirs.

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 glove garlic, minced or 1 tsp. minced garlic from the jar
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 can (4.5 oz) diced green chile peppers
1 can (16 oz) refried beans
1 can (15 oz) chili without beans
1 can (10.75 oz) condensed tomato soup
1 can (10 oz) enchilada sauce or the equivalent homemade
tortillas - flour works best
shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, shredded Mexican blend or cheddar cheese, sour cream, etc

Brown ground beef in a skillet. Add onion and cook until translucent. Drain and season with garlic, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir in green chilies and refried beans until well blended. Turn off heat, but keep warm. In a saucepan, combine the chili without beans, tomato soup and enchilada sauce. Mix well and cook until heated through. Turn off heat and keep warm. Spoon a generous amount of ground beef mixture into center of tortilla. Top with cheese if desired. Roll up and spoon generous amount of sauce over the top of the rolled burrito. Top with lettuce, tomato, sour cream, whatever.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I have made these a few times and they are really tasty, if you make sure to soften your butter and don't over bake them, I repeat do not over bake them or they will be really crispy. Recipe found on Stephanie's Kitchen blog.

makes 3 dozen

3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tarter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tarter, baking soda and salt. Set aside.2. Using a mixer, cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add in eggs. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until well incorporated.3. Mix together the 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon. Shape in to 1 1/2 inch balls and dip in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350 degrees for about 10-12 minutes. Do not over bake or they will be too crispy. Bake just until light and golden.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Chicken Curry

I love curry. Love it. If I see a recipe for curry something I want to make it and eat it. Fortunately my family shares my love for it, or at least they humor me by eating it cheerfully. This has a very straightforward curry taste.

1 lb. chicken breasts, cut into 1" cubes
2 tsp. curry powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 can (13 1/2 oz) coconut milk
2 tbsp. tomato paste (okay, I leave this out sometimes and it still tastes great)
3 c. fresh baby spinach
hot cooked rice

Throw the chicken and onion in a skillet and sprinkle with curry, salt and pepper. Sauté until chicken is no longer pink. Stir in the coconut milk and tomato paste. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until thickened. Add spinach and cook for 2 minutes until spinach is wilted. Serve over rice.

The kids like this a lot, but they tend to push the spinach to the side. I've decided that it's better to not add the spinach to the curry, but to serve it as a side salad. They happily eat the fresh spinach this way. You do what's best for you though!

Crispy Fish Tostadas

These are fabulous. My husband asks for them more than just about any other dish. My fish-hater sister loved these too!

Fish fillets or fish sticks - 2 or so fillets per person
tostada shells
cheese - we grown-ups put sliced pepper jack on ours, the kids use shredded mozzarella
angel hair cabbage
avocado, sliced

Bake fish according to directions. Put cheese on shells at bake at 475 degrees for 2-3 minutes. Top with fish pieces, salsa, avocados and then cabbage. You can use guacamole instead of the avocado slices. I do that when the avocados are yucky or really expensive. I also cook up tilapia with some salt and butter and use that instead of 'fish fillets'. It just depends on what I have on hand or can find at the store. The kids usually eat 2 each.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Spinach Empanaditas

I really like spinach and have been trying to incorporate it into meals (Brian doesn't really like it, so I'm trying to convince him through wonderful tasting food). I was searching the food network site trying to find spinach filled main dishes. Emeril Lagasse provided this dish, which is spinach filled AND cheesy (which makes it extra good)! UNFORTUNATELY, while they are quite delicious, they are in no way a main dish (if I spoke Spanish, I could have deduced that from the name). And, they are just little dry, I felt like I needed to dip them into something. The crust was really flaky, so that's good. But I'm labeling this recipe as an appetizer. Brian ate some chicken tortilla soup after a couple empanaditas. For the record, he did like them. And I would add the picture from, but it honestly doesn't look as appetizing as they really are. AND this recipe may look pretty involved, but to me, it was no different than a regular meal.

Spinach Empanaditas

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and lightly grease a baking sheet.

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt

2 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, drained and crumbled (drippings reserved)-I tried to use 6 pieces, but Ellie ate 2...I would definitely go with more bacon
½ pound fresh spinach leaves, washed
2 tablespoons minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup cottage cheese, farmer's cheese, or ricotta cheese-I used ricotta
Ground black pepper
Pinch ground nutmeg-I didn’t have any and it turned out well
Egg, lightly beaten

In the bowl of a standing electric mixer using the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on high speed until very smooth, pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, little by little, and the salt, and process until just combined. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly. Form the dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to overnight. I didn’t do that, I just stuck it in the fridge until I was done with the filling.

Heat 1 teaspoon of the reserved bacon drippings in a medium nonstick skillet and, when hot, add the spinach. Cook, stirring frequently, until the spinach is wilted and has released its liquid, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the spinach to a colander to drain. When the spinach has cooled enough to handle, squeeze to release any excess water, then transfer to a cutting board and finely chop. Set aside. I didn’t squeeze any excess water either, it was fine.

Add 2 more teaspoons of the bacon drippings to the same skillet, then add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft but not browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the reserved spinach, crumbled bacon, cottage cheese, pepper, nutmeg and mix thoroughly. Transfer to a mixing bowl and allow to cool thoroughly. It doesn't take long to cool, maybe 5 minutes.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and, working on a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough to a thickness of about 1/8-inch. Using a biscuit cutter or a small glass as a guide, cut the dough into as many 3-inch circles as possible. Place a teaspoonful of the spinach filling in the center of each dough circle. Using your fingers, lightly moisten the edges with some of the beaten egg-water mixture, then fold 1 side over so that the edges meat, and press to seal. Crimp the edges using the tines of a fork and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all of the empanaditas are assembled. Brush the tops of each empanadita with some of the beaten egg and bake uncovered until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. I also didn’t use the egg on top, I just used butter, maybe that’s why it was all nice and golden and flaky.