Category Archives: Cooking

Chicken Taco Hashbrown Casserole

Chicken Taco Hashbrown Casserole 

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If you want extreme comfort food to the max, coupled with doritos, breakfast, mexican food and dinner all in one dish, you’ve found yourself a winner. This meal is born to satisfy and bound to please the entire family. It is amazing.

If you have yet to find your happy place today, land on this meal and be prepared to be wowed. Sometimes we need a little extra lovin’ in the winter. Our hips and thighs will thank you for keeping them extra warm. Okay, this meal is not that unhealthy for you. Though it sounds and looks utterly unhealthy, you will be surprised! :)

Ingredients:

  • 15 oz hashbrowns
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 cup cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups chicken, cooked and diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 can chopped green chiles
  • 2 cups Doritos, crumbled

In a greased 4 quart casserole dish, layer hashbrowns, garlic salt, pepper, salt and green pepper.

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Toss with cheddar cheese and cottage cheese. Stir well.

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Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, add chicken, paprika, chili powder, cumin, tomatoes and green chilies. Add in about 1/2 cup water and once the liquid is absorbed and heated through, remove from heat.

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Top hasbrown mixture with chicken mixture.

Crumble chips into large chuncks and spread on top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until hashbrowns are cooked. 5 minutes before it’s done, top with cheese and allow to melt.

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Top with onions, tomatoes and even more crushed doritos. :)

Parsley Pesto

Parsley Pesto

Surprisingly, I still had a massive garden of fresh parsley piled up outside that had not yet frozen. Quickly snipping it all, I rushed inside to make pesto before my poor bunch decided to freeze.

Glad I did this as two days later we had a giant cold spell freeze the remainder of my kale and carrots.

I must say my carrots were a weird bunch this year as they grew and grew but never decided to sprout out of the ground, I had the looks of growing carrots, but never actually produced a single one. I was pretty bummed about this. :(

Anyway my parsley is the main topic right now as I made this delicious pesto from the fresh parsley hanging on by a thread fighting the bitter cold.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup toasted whole almonds
  • 3 handfuls of fresh Italian Parsley (or basil if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Avocado olive oil (or EVOO)
  • pinch black pepper
  • 1/3 cup + extra for topping, fresh Parmesan cheese

In a food processor add your parsley (I did not chop nor stem my parsley)
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Add in almonds, 1/4 cup oil, garlic, salt, pepper and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese. 

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Blend on high until fully mixed and parsley is minced. 

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Top with Parmesan cheese for an appetizer or stir in if using for a spread.

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Homemade pesto is extremely easy and not worth the $4 you would spend at the store for a tiny jar. Make your own and you can freeze batches of it as well for future use.

Chorizo & Portobello Pasta

Chorrizo & Portobello Pasta

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This is for all you goat cheese lovers out there….and this is for all my non goat cheese lovers. I say this because I couldn’t stand soft goat cheese. Gross. Disgusting. Barf. Eww that flavor. Yup that was me, a goat cheese hater. My husband insisted he wanted to make this meal and by all means I sent him on his jolly way to making this plateful of grotesquely smelling cheese.

This night would be a night we ate for ourselves, I would have cereal for all I cared. While he was making this dish, the aroma of goat cheese began to fill the entire house. Did it become more appealing, absolutely not. Once he finished this dish he desperately wanted me to try it, so as any good wife would do, I did so. To my surprise, I actually didn’t mind the bite I tried. As I took a couple more bites my mouth was in utter confusion. Some bites tasted beautiful while others tasted like a raw milk straight from a goat. Blah. The problem lied within the chunks of cheese that hadn’t fully been melted and squished themselves up into the crevice of many noodles. These were the bites I despised. I found myself enjoying the faint taste of the cheese if it were spread evenly amongst the meal.

Needless to say, I melted the remainder of the cheese in my small little bowl and accomplished the task in eating my very first meal containing goat cheese.

Now, with that in mind, my husband made this dish again about a week ago. I actually was looking forward to it this time around and I must say, I actually enjoyed it. I strongly believe a little goat cheese goes along way. If you want to ease yourself into it, than I suggest this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1/2 pound chorizo
  • 2 tbsp butter, divided
  • 4 tbsp oil, divided
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 lb portobello mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup goat cheese
  • 3 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 1 lb Rigatoni pasta
  • 3/4 cup pasta water

In a large skillet add onions, chorizo, 1 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp oil.

Add 1 tsp salt and sugar and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until onions are browned and caramelized. Transfer to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, slice the mushrooms to be roughly 1/4 inch thick. In the same skillet, melt 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp oil. Add mushrooms and 1/2 tsp salt. Cook over medium heat until tender and browned.

Stir mushrooms into large bowl of onions and chorizo. Toss with your fresh parsley and set aside.

Begin to cook the pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 3/4 cup pasta water.

In that same large bowl of all your goodies, toss the pasta and 1/2 cup pasta water, goat cheese, 3 tbsp Parmesan and 1 tbsp oil. If pasta still seems a little dry, add remaining pasta water.**

Serve immediately with sprinkled parsley on top and fresh Parmesan cheese. Delicious with garlic bread. 
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**If you are not yet a goat cheese lover, please try this recipe and be sure to stir until all goat cheese is melted. If you are a goat cheese lover, you can leave chunks throughout. :)

Carmelitas

 Carmelitas

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Oh my, simply heavenly. This is heaven in a bar, well as close to heaven in a bar as one could possibly imagine. I mean this with utmost respect to our Heavenly Father as well. :) I love these precious little puppies more than you know. This will FOREVER remind me of high school volleyball team dinners. Our entire team LOVED my mom’s cooking and always requested Chicken Alfredo with my moms homemade sauce and these delicious dessert cups.

The memories are fond but the bars are even better than that. I turned my non-loving oatmeal man into a oatmeal lover with this simple dessert. Michael hates oatmeal in any cookie as it “ruins” the cookie entirely. Well, to his great surprise, he became a oat-lover within one single bite of this heaven in a bar.

See for yourself.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 jar caramel sauce
  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips

Grease a 9×13 bake dish and set aside. Meanwhile, mix together flour, oats, salt, baking soda and brown sugar together in a stand mixer.

Add in melted butter and mix until combined.

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Take half the mixture and press into the baking dish reserving the other half.

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Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

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Remove from oven and top with chocolate chips

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And drizzle the caramel sauce one top of the chocolate chips.

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Drop the remaining mixture onto the top of the chips and caramel sauce. 
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Return to the oven and bake an additional 15-18 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool before cutting. 
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Enjoy with a delicious glass of milk or cup of water for those who are like me and despise milk. :)

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Tater Tot Casserole

Tater Tot Casserole

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Have you ever enjoyed a good comfort meal full of flavor, creamy and deliciousness? There is nothing more satisfying than a wonderful meal full of comfort especially on a cold, cloudy day.

This meal will forever remind me of post pregnancy and my mom visiting and helping out for two weeks. She made this meal and it was one of the only meals I would/could eat. I was sick as a dog but this cheered my upset tummy to no end. My tummy craved tater tot casserole made from the very hands of my adorable mother.

Not only was this meal great for post pregnancy but my mom was recently in the hospital as well. This meal is the epitome of hospitals and healing, full of comfort. Praise be to God as my mom is doing okay and has high spirits given the situation! Bless her soul.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 tbsp minced dried onion
  • 2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • dash of pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 cups fresh green beans (frozen works too)
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup**
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 32 ounce tater tots

In a large skillet begin to brown the meat with chopped dried onion, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper.

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Stir in chopped onion.

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Cook until meat is no longer pink and onions are tender.

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Turn on low heat and Cream of mushroom soup**

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Mix together well and pour into a greased casserole dish.

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Top with green beans

IMG_6479Sprinkle with cheese and…
IMG_6468Top with tater tots.

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Bake at 350 degrees for 45 min -1 hour. Or until bubbling and tots are golden brown.

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IMG_6474MMMMMM amazingly comforting and great for healing.

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**If opting out of using the cream of mushroom soup. Follow these instructions:

When it comes to adding the cream of mushroom simply add in

  • 6 ounces of cream cheese
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk

Continue as normal with the remainder of the recipe. :)

Sweet And Savory Crockpot Beef Stew

Sweet and Savory Crockpot Beef Stew

Fall weather is officially taken a turn and come to land in Portland for the next few months. I know this to be true because at 3 am when I heard a ticking sound, I thought to myself how something horrible was about to happen. But in all reality, that horrific sound that scared me still as could be was only our rain gutters. They finally failed to keep up with the rain that was quickly filling to the brim. The amount of rain these past few days had been impossible to keep up with. Needless to say, my evening scare was fulfilled with something entirely meaningless which allowed me to peacefully fall back to sleep.

I do love the cool crisp mornings, but I must say, I truly do not enjoy the rain for extended periods of time. A little here and there but not torrential downpour for days. There’s something about a rainy day that is comforting but not a hurricane taking over my life. I may be protesting a bit because my son loves outside no matter the weather. Tornadoes and hurricanes mixed with a little snow and ice and my son wouldn’t know the difference as long as he was outside playing. I on the other hand, can handle being outside if it’s not too nor too cold. Hmmm we shall see how this will play out the remainder of winter. I’m a little snow bird who loves to bundle up by the fire with socks, jammies (aka pj’s), blankets and a hot cup of tea or coffee. God changed my life when he brought not only a baby to my life, but a boy.

Enough of my complaining about the rain, I have many months I can continue this banter on rain as it is just beginning. ;)

Anyway, Michael’s step dad was coming over for pumpkin carving and dinner. I always enjoy a cozy meal on a beautiful fall day. This meal was perfect and allowed me to spend time carving pumpkins rather then slaving away in the kitchen.

Here’s what to do:

First- have a rainy day (check)
Second- have pumpkins (check)
Third- have a crockpot and LOVE to use it (check)

VIOLA, watch the magic happen!!!!!

Ingredients:

  • I lb Stew Meat
  • 1 cups baby carrots (as is)
  • 4 Celery Stalks, chopped
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 6 Red Potatoes, chopped
  • 2 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 4 tbsp beef Bouillon
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 2 1/2 tbsp flour

In a crockpot add stew meat, carrots, celery, onion and potatoes.

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Add in water and beef bouillon and stir.

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Top off with rosemary, bay leaf, garlic, pepper and parsley. Allow to sit for 6-8 hours on low heat.

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20 minutes before serving, take a cup of broth and add flour. Mix together until no lumps are present. Pour into the stew and give it a good stir. Let sit for 20-30 minutes.

Serve with fresh garlic toast and a fresh cut green salad.

While the crockpot was cooking, I was enjoying watching my son try and drill holes into his pumpkin.

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“Cheez” my boys scooping out the guts…

Yes that’s right, Cooper has scissors in his hands.

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The pumpkins are coming to life…or maybe that’s just us.

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Marlin, Michael’s step-dad getting in on the magic as well.

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Helping daddy cut some eyes out.

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And here is masterpiece in action. 
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Carving pumpkins is never really “my thang,” but I do it for the simple joy it brings my son to watch things transform and get goop all over his hands. It was fun and we had a great time together with good food and good conversation.

Flavorful Beef Stroganoff

Flavorful Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff

Wanting a recipe that is beyond easy, tastes fabulous and is wonderful for company? This meal is all three combined.

I first had this dish while visiting my sister one night and all of us devoured the entire dish. There was absolutely NO leftovers. Isn’t that the type of meal you want to serve your guests? Isn’t this the type of meal you want to be served if visiting family or friends?

I tell ya, this meal is literally too easy but amazing!!! I can’t stress to you enough how important the Dijon mustard is and I would encourage you all to use exactly what the recipe calls for because this is the “secret” ingredient that makes this meal stand out!

See for yourselves!

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp Avocado Oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 lb mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2-3 tbsp beef bouillon (or 1 packet Auju Mix)
  • 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 16 ounce egg noodles cooked to package instructions

Heat oil in skilled and add chopped onion.

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Add in mushrooms and cook until softened.

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Add in ground beef and cook until no longer pink.

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Stir in beef bouillon (Auju mix), mustard and pepper.

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Remove from heat and add sour cream and fresh parsley. Serve on top of egg noodles and enjoy with garlic toast and Caesar salad.

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My sister graciously gave me this recipe and is allowing me to share with all of you this amazing, delicious, easy meal!

Sausage Brie Quiche

Sausage Brie Quiche

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No matter what it is, I LOVE breakfast. I LOVE LOVE breakfast.

Okay, so there’s a couple breakfast places that I frequent and I treat myself to their quiche because I love crust, or anything that has carbs in it for that matter… AND I love breakfast.

Lately, I’ve been craving a good quiche and figured I would make my own for dinner instead. Who says you can’t have quiche for dinner? You can and you should! Boy oh boy oh boy, this is probably my favorite quiche to date. It is soooo tasty my mouth longs for this delicious treat. Anything homemade is well worth the time spent making it.

By the way, the difference between a quiche and a frittata is the crust. It all lies within the crust and though I enjoy myself a good fritatta, I will choose a quiche over a frittata any day simply because of the crust. So why do people call it a “crustless quiche,” I’m not sure to be honest, maybe they want it to sound more appealing than a frittata while making it more complicated for everyone else. Who knows.

Enough said, I think you get the picture and my deep desire for a good crust and good breakfast.

Ingredients:

  • 12 Eggs
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 Brie Cheese, chopped
  • 1/2 shredded cheese
  • 8 breakfast sausages, cooked and sliced
  • Pie Crust (grandma’s pie crust is the best, I simply half the recipe)

Make crust and lay in the bottom of a greased pie plate. Set aside

Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine eggs and half & half. Whisk together for about 1 minute. Add in parsley, salt, paprika and garlic salt. Stir well.

Add in chopped tomatoes, brie and cheese.

Combine sausage and give it a good stir. Poor over crust.

Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the middle does not wiggle. :)

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Served with crunchy grapes and a toasted croissant with garlic butter.

Cowboy Cookies

Cowboy Cookies

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I met a dear of friend whom I haven’t seen in about 8 years the other day at the park. We have been friends since the second grade. She was in town with her family and we had a couple hours to catch up. We finally got to meet one another’s kids and talk life is if no time had passed. It was such a refreshing time and I love how true friendships pick up right where they left off.

We decided to have a picnic at the park and I had treated Cooper to bacon mac n cheese and a cowboy cookie. This inspired my cravings for more oatmeal cookies but the whole gambit was involved in these delicious cowboy cookies.

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Meanwhile, Michael is not a fan of oatmeal cookies so I made him his treat and than proceeded to make these for me. :) Needless to say, he still adored these cookies as well and ate quite a few….not trying to throw him under the bus or anything, but the truth must be told. :)

You can’t beat a giant cowboy cookie.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/3 cup coconut
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chip cookies

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a stand mixer combine butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla.

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Beat until light and fluffy (roughly 2 minutes).

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Add in flour, baking soda and salt. Beat well.

Combine oats, coconut and nuts.

Fold in chocolate chips.

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Drop large spoonfuls on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 8 minutes. Do not over cook or they will taste dry.

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Original Fluffy Pancakes

Original Fluffy Pancakes

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My son has been asking for pancakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

“Cooper, what would you like for breakfast? Eggs or oatmeal?” Cooper replies “Umm…no egg, I want pancake.” This sweet little voice and jumbled sentences keeps me making pancakes for this little weasel. Than lunch time approaches and I ask Cooper if he would like some chicken, pear and yogurt for lunch. He quickly replies…””umm no, I want pancake.” Realizing he just had pancakes for breakfast I opt for my choice instead.

This cycle has been very continuous this past week and by all means, he got pancakes for dinner one evening. His sweet, tiny little body needs calories and I’m quick to force them down. Fine, you want pancakes, alright with me as long as we squeeze in our fruit and vegetables.

With this in mind, our pancake mix has been running low. I have been using our Blueberry Oat Pancake Mix until this morning when I was in need of making more. This time I opted for simple, original and delicious pancakes with this yummy recipe.

This sweet child not only steals my heart with his cute little voice but today he decided to surprise me with silence for a solid 15 minutes. Sneaking back to my room where I had last left him, I find him all snuggled in bed with the television on.

He managed to not only pull to covers up to his neck and settle in, but he also managed to flip the tv on begin scrolling through the channels. I started laughing because he has no clue how to turn the tv on as we only watch the movie Cars with him. He doesn’t watch cartoons or any other movies. He pushed the right button for once and got the tv to come on.

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I put on a little preschool show for him and he quickly lost interest and proceeded to jump on the bed.

Silly goose. I was so shocked and thrilled that his silence was due to snuggling in bed! No messes made!

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Cooper absolutely loves pancakes and the best part about all my mixes, is you can add eggs when cooking to add some protein and extra fluff.

Original Fluffy Pancakes 

For the mix:

  • 4 cups flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

When cooking:

  • 1 eggs
  • 1 cup pancake mix
  • 1/2-3/4 cup milk

For the mix, combine all ingredients and store in a glass container.

When cooking mix all three ingredients together and cook on a griddle.

You will notice how fully they get…

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Smother in butter and cover in syrup. Nothing beats a pancake breakfast!

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They will be extra fluffy and even more delicious!