Thursday, August 22, 2013

Cilantro Black Bean and Corn Salsa with a side of White Cheese Dip

I'm so addicted to this salsa. It's so good with just chips, but I've also used it as a side to grilled chicken. You could also put some grilled chicken pieces in it, and serve it as a salad.

Cilantro, Black Bean and Corn Salsa
1 can of yellow corn drained
1 can of white corn drained
2 cans of black beans drained and rinsed
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 bunch of chopped fresh cilantro
5 green onions, sliced
1 small red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 avacados, diced
1 TBS minced garlic
1/4 cup lime juice
3 TBS olive oil
3 TBS honey
Mix them all together and YUM.
(Use good chips...they make all the difference.)

I also served this with this recipe and the kids LOVED it:

White Cheese Dip
1 pound of white American cheese, cubed
1/2 cup milk
1 TBS butter
1 4oz. can chopped green chilies
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
cayenne pepper to taste
Place cheese, milk and butter in a saucepan over low heat. Cook and stir until cheese has melted. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Add a little more milk if it's too thick for you. Heat through and serve immediately.
(Take a good chip, dip in salsa, drizzle the cheese dip on top...and now you know that you too have a terrible addiction.)

My Apple Pie

Here is my "famous" apple pie recipe.

The only reason why this pie tastes good, is because NO ONE makes homemade pies anymore. So make one, and you too, will have a hit!
(And here's a secret to make it even easier...if you don't have time to make the crust, use the roll out Pillsbury refrigerated kind. No one can taste the difference, trust me on this one.)

The Filling
10-12 apples (I usually use Macintosh, but any old apple will do.) Peel and slice and put in large bowl.
1 cup sugar
1 TBS. cinnamon
2 TBS. flour
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp lemon juice
1 TBS butter
Mix together.

Pie Crust
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter
6 TBS cold water

Smash together with fork till doughy. Split in two balls, and roll out on floured countertop, with rolling pin.

Lay one crust in pie plate that has been buttered or sprayed.

Dump filling indredients in.

Lay other crust on top and seal the edges.

You don't have to be fancy. It tastes the same whether there are nice little fluted edges or NOT. The kids love when there is extra crust left and they can make designs...monograms, leaves, Sponge Bob...we've had it all.

Important Part:

Take about 2 TBS milk and brush over crust before baking, then sprinkle about 1 TBS sugar over top. This makes it look really good.

Bake at 425 for 45 minutes.

Halfway through, lay a piece of foil over top so crust doesn't get too brown.

A piece of foil in the bottom of the oven makes it easier to clean up too.

Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Pasta

In your slow cooker:
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp lemon pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
6 skinless boneless chicken breast halves

Mix in separate bowl:
10 oz. cream of mushroom (or chicken) soup
8 oz. sour cream
1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken broth (I use wine)
1/2 # fresh mushrooms, sliced

Combine both chicken, seasonings, and soup mixture together in your slow cooker. 

Cover and cook on high 5 hours, or on high 1 hour and then on low 5-7 hours.
I serve this over egg noodles.

Bread Maker Breadsticks

Soft, chewy, buttery breadsticks are a hit at this house, and something easy, cheap and filling to make for the evenings we have friends over and a snack is necessary.

Put these ingredients in a breadmaker (I have a Zojirushi Breadmaker):

1 cup warm water
1/4 cup oil
3 cups of bread flour
1 tsp. salt
3 TBS brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

Once the dough cycle is finished, I roll the dough onto a 10 x 12 lightly buttered cookie sheet.
Using a pizza cutter, I cut the bread sticks into 24 pieces.
Let rise for about an hour.

Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes.

When breadsticks come out of oven, drizzle this mixture on top:
4 TBS melted butter
1/2 tsp garlic salt

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve with pizza sauce for dipping.

Best Banana Bread

3 soft ripe bananas, mushed up
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 salt
2 cups flour

Mix together.
Divide into 2 buttered loaf pans.
Bake at 375 for 40 minutes.

Cool and remove from pans.

Tortilla Chili

4 split boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cans of Mexican style chopped tomatoes, undrained
2 cans of black beans, undrained
1 can tomato sauce
1 jar of medium or hot salsa
1 can chopped green chiles

Add all ingredients to a slow cooker.
Cook for 8 hours on low.
Take chicken breasts out when cooked through, and shred or cut into small pieces and then put back in slow cooker.
(I keep some chicken out for the picky kid who won't eat chili...I wrap it up in tortilla with some cheese.)
Spoon chili in bowl and top with cheese and chips and sour cream.
This recipe makes a lot...great for a party instead of traditional chili, or to freeze.

Melt in Your Mouth Peanut Butter Cookies

Mix together in bowl:
1 cup softened butter
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda

Roll or scoop into balls, and mash down lightly in a criss cross pattern with a fork dipped in granulated sugar.
Bake for 8-10 minutes at 375.

Slow Cooker Mexican Torte

1# boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
15 oz. seasoned black beans, drained
15 oz. diced tomatoes with green chiles
4 8" tortillas
shredded cheddar cheese
lettuce, tomato, salsa, guacamole and/or sour cream for fixings

Cut chicken into bite size chunks, throw in skillet with onion and brown on all sides.
Season this mixture with salt and pepper.
Stir in beans and tomatoes.
Place wide strips of foil in slow-cooker, so you can easily lift out torte when done. Spray well with cooking spray.
Place 1 tortilla on bottom of cooker, layer on chicken mixture then cheese. Repeat.
Finish with a sprinkle of cheese.
Cook on low 4 to 5 hours.
Cool 10 minutes in cooker and gently lift out.
Add toppings and serve.

The Most Comforting Comfort Food That Has Ever Made You Comfortable

I will admit, when I first read this recipe, my first thought was..."ugh"...not very healthy.
But then, one morning, in desperation, I pulled it up (from Allrecipes by Janiece Mason) and threw it in my slow cooker.  That night my kids and husband couldn't get enough...EVERYONE sung it's praises.  I think maybe you could throw a bag of frozen peas in there and maybe that would be enough to offset the butter/soup/biscuit part?  I don't know...I'm just a happy I have another '7/7 loved it' recipe.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (I cut mine in half or quarters)
2 TBS butter
2 cans of cream of chicken soup
1 onion finely chopped
2 packages of refrigerated biscuit dough, torn into pieces

Place the chicken, butter, soup and onion in a slow cooker, and fill with just enough water to cover.
Cover and cook for 5-6 hours on High.  About 30 minutes before serving, place the torn biscuit dough in the slow cooker.  Cook until the dough is no longer raw in the center.
(I've served this as is, and with egg noodles too...both are great!)

Minestrone Soup

4 TBS butter
1 medium chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 (19 oz) can of cannellini beans
1/2 shredded cabbage
1 (14 oz.) can stewed tomatoes
1 TBS tomato paste
11/2 cup cubed potatoes
2 quarts vegetable broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBS dried parsley
1/2 cup elbow macaroni
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Melt butter in a heavy stock pot over medium heat.  Add onion and carrots; saute for a few minutes.
2. Add beans, cabbage, tomatoes, tomato paste, potato, stock, garlic, parsley to the pot.  Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat.
3. Simmer for abou 1 hour until vegetables are barely tender.
4. Add pasta and simmer for 30 minutes more.
5. Serve hot with grated cheese.

Pamelas Most Addicting Caramel Corn

I love caramel corn.  I became addicted to it when my BF’s mom made us up a batch years ago, and I haven’t stopped eating it since.  Thanks Pam, I owe those extra pounds all to you! Smile

Here’s what you need:

6 quarts of popped corn  (I fill my air popper twice…about two large bowls worth)
1 cup butter
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. soda
2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla


In heavy saucepan, melt butter.  Stir in sugar, corn syrup and salt; bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Boil for about five minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in soda and vanilla.  (Keep stirring after this till you see it foam up and “grow”.)  Then gradually pour over popped corn.  (I pour it over the popcorn while the popcorn is IN the bowls.)  Mix it up to coat the popcorn.  Put the popcorn in two turkey roaster, or shallow baking pans that have been buttered.  Bake 1 hour in a 250 oven, stirring every 15 minutes.  Cool completely.  Break apart.


You can order cute labels like this from Good Gravy Designs.

Greek Dressing So Good You Could Drink It Straight

1 cup olive oil
1 cup red wine vinegar
2 1/2 tsps. garlic powder
2 1/2 tsps. dried oregano
2 1/2 tsps. dried basil
2 tsps. pepper
2 tsps. salt
2 tsps. onion powder
2 tsps. Dijon-style mustard
Mix together and shake well. Store at room temperature tightly covered.

Hush Puppies

Ever since we've had Hush Puppies down south on vacation, my kids have asked me to give them a try.  This recipe was a keeper.  Good 'ol fried food.  There's nothing like it. You need a deep fryer for this one.

2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large onion, diced
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup self-rising cornmeal
1 quart oil for frying

In a medium bowl, mix together eggs, sugar and onion.
Blend in flour and cornmeal.
Heat oil in deep fryer.
Drop batter by rounded teaspoon (if you make them too large they won't cook through), in hot oil, and fry until golden brown.  This doesn't take very long, so watch them carefully.
Cook in small batches to maintain oil temperature.
Drain briefly on paper towels.
Serve hot.

Basic Bread in Bread Maker

This is a great basic bread recipe:

1 cup warm water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 TBS white sugar
1 tsp salt
3 cups bread flour
1 package of bread machine yeast or 2 1/2 tsp regular yeast

Place the warm water, sugar and yeast in the pan of the bread machine.
Let the yeast dissolve and foam for about 10 minutes.
Add the oil, flour, and salt to the yeast.
Select Basic (or Bread) setting, and press start.

Garlic Bread

I double this batch for my family because this bread goes so fast.  You can refrigerate the spread, and save it for later also.

1 baguette sliced lengthwise

Mix together:
1/2 cup softened butter
2 TBS mayo
1/4 tsp dried sage
3 cloves of garlic, chopped (I use chopped jarred garlic)
2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 TBS grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to broil.
Spread mixture evenly on generous!
Put bread, open, on cookie sheet and lightly toast it under broiler.

Gone before you know it!

French Baguettes Using Bread Maker

I love these for the feta dip, or for meatball subs, or just because.

1 cup very warm water
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 TBS white sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast
1 egg yolk
1 TBS water

Place first five ingredients in bread machine, in the order listed. Set on dough cycle.  When cycle is done, place dought in warm place for 30 minutes (or more if necessary), and let rise until doubled.

Once risen, punch dough down.  On a lightly floured surface roll (I use a rolling pin) into a 16x12 rectangle.  Cut dough in half to form two 8x12 rectangles.   Roll up each half tightly, long wise.  Taper end.

Place loaves on a greased cookie sheet.  Make deep diagonal slashes every 2 inches.  
Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled.

Mix water and egg yolk and brush on tops of loaves.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.


My kids love these little breaded cheese raviolis.  We don't have them often, but when I do make them, they are gone in seconds.

2 TBS whole milk
1 egg
1 1/2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
25 oz. package frozen cheese ravioli, thawed
3 cups of vegetable oil for frying
2 TBS parmesan cheese
1 jar of spaghetti sauce, for dipping

Thaw raviolis.  

Combine milk and egg in a small bowl.  Place breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese in another bowl.  Dip ravioli in milk mixture, and coat with breadcrumbs.

Heat sauce in a small pan for later.

In a large heavy frying pan, pour oil to depth of 2 inches.  Heat oil over medium heat until a small amount of breading sizzles and turns brown. Fry ravioli, a few at a time, until each side is golden.  Drain on paper towels.  Serve with heated sauce for dipping.

(These are very hot and take awhile to cool after frying.  Beware!)

Tomato Parmesan Chicken

An easy favorite.  Great served with a side of pasta and garlic bread.
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded thin and cut into 8 small cutlets
2 TBS olive oil
24 oz. red pasta sauce
8 slices of Montery Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Pour beaten eggs in a bowl.
In another bowl mix together Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.
Dip chicken into eggs and then press into bread crumb mixture to coat well.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat.
Saute chicken for about 8-10 minutes on each side, until done.
Pour tomato sauce into a lightly greased 9x13 baking dish.
Add chicken then top each piece with slice of cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Cocktail Wieners

My mom has made these every Thanksgiving and Christmas, and my family loves them.

1 bottle chili sauce
1 jar red currant jelly
4 TBS brown sugar
1 package Lil Smoke Sausages

Mix first three ingredients on stove over low heat.  
Add sausages.
Heat through till hot.

Apple Bars

This a nice easy recipe-no mixer!  The bars were gone in seconds at my house.
1 cup sifted flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped apple (any kind)

For topping:
1 TBS white sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350.
Grease 9x9 inch pan.
Sift together dry flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a large bowl mix together melted butter, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup white sugar with a wooden spoon till smooth.
Stir in egg and vanilla.
Blend in flour mixture until just combined, then add apples.
Spread the mixture evenly in pan.
In a small cup stir together sugar and cinnamon for topping and sprinkle evenly over top.
Bake for 25 minutes in oven.  Cool in pan and cut into squares.

Great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


I love hummus.  Since I don't eat meat, I crave this for the great protein it provides.  This is an easy recipe-no fancy food processor needed, I make it right in my blender.

2 garlic cloves, minced and mashed
1 15 oz can of garbanzo beans, drained
1/3 cup of tahini (roasted not raw)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp salt

I put all of that in my blender and blend till smooth-I add a little water if it needs to get "unstuck" and thinner.

Kid Wont Eat? This Works for Me!

Here's what I have always done for my 1/2 dayers over the years. When they get home it's lunch time, but they claim they "aren't hungry"...although the mood tells a different story.

Get a cute divided plate. Target always has them. Call it a "snack plate". No pressure to eat a whole meal.

Put anything and everything you can on toothpicks. Kids will eat anything with a toothpick stuck in it. Amazing.

No big sandwiches...just little healthy snacks.

Works every time.

Garlic Roll Ups

1 loaf of frozen bread dough, thawed
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 TBS fresh chopped garlic 
2 tsp Italian seasoning
Parmesan cheese

Butter 2 pie plates.
Roll out thawed bread dough until about 9x13 size.
Spread butter and garlic on top of dough.
Sprinkle Italian seasoning on top of butter and garlic.

Starting with the long side, roll up dough tightly.
Once rolled up, cut in half.
Cut each half into 8 pieces.
Transfer to buttered pie dish, 8 on each plate.
Cover with clean dish towel and let rise till doubled in size.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese after removing from oven.

Another Great Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

I found this recipe on Shawni's blog, tried it and loved it.  It makes LOTS of cookies, which for our family is essential.

3 sticks of butter
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 1/4 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 TBS vanilla
4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
As many chocolate chips as you'd like.

Throw it all together and mix it up.
Bake at 375 for about 8 minutes.
I like flat cookies so I rolled mine into balls and then smooshed them down with my hand.

Mexican Pizza

1 16 ounce can refried beans
1 pound lean ground beef
1 (1.25oz) package of taco seasoning mix
1 TBS vegetable oil
8 6" CORN tortillas (I have used flour tortillas but corn does taste better with this recipe)
8 oz shredded Cheddar cheese

sour cream
chopped tomatoes 
shredded lettuce
chopped fresh cilantro
green onion, diced

Heat the beans in a small saucepan over low heat.  
Brown the ground beef.  When cooked through, add the seasoning packet and stir.  Turn on low to simmer.
Place oil a large skillet.
Let the oil heat, then place one corn tortilla in the skillet.
After 15 seconds, flip the tortilla over and let it fry another 15 seconds.
Repeat this process with remaining tortillas, adding oil if needed.
Let tortillas drain on paper towels.
Once all tortillas have been toasted, arrange then on cookie sheets.
Spread a thin layer of beans on the tortillas, followed by seasoned beef, and then cheese.
Bake the tortillas at 350 for 20 minutes.
Top with desired toppings, and slice into pizza wedges.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe Ever and I Would Know Because Ive Tried Them All

Thanks, Stephanie, from Barefoot In The Kitchen ,for this recipe.
2 1/2 sticks of butter
1 1/4 DARK brown sugar
1 c granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
Cream together.
Then add:
3 2/3 flour
2 T. corn starch
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
a bag of semi sweet chips
Mix together.
Put in freezer for an hour.
But don't forget to eat the dough before it freezes. That's the best part.
Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. Give or take.

Easy Pasta Primavera

3/4 of a 16 oz. box of pasta (I use rotini or ziti)
1/4 cup butter
1 envelope Knorr's vegetable soup mix
1 1/2 teaspoon all purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 TBS grated Parmesan cheese

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add pasta.  Cook till al dente, and drain.

2. In a saucepan melt butter.  Blend Knorr soup mix with flour and milk, and then add to saucepan.  Stir.  Bring to a soft boil, and then reduce heat to low and simmer for 7-10 minutes.  Stir in grated cheese.

3. Toss with cooked pasta and serve.

(This makes enough for all seven of us....I usually serve with a salad and garlic bread.)

Stuffed Chicken Roll-ups

This is the kid's favorite dinner recipe.

1 package stuffing mix (like Stove Top)

2 eggs-beaten

6 small chicken breasts, pounded (or just sliced thin) to 1/4 thickness

2 cans cream of chicken

3/4 cup milk

1 tsp. paprika

1.Combine stuffing and 1 cup of water. Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in eggs.

2. Spread stuffing mixture evenly over each piece of chicken.

3. Roll up chicken from one short end to enclose stuffing.  If the piece is to large for a small serving, I will slice it in half once it is rolled.

4. Place seam sides down in 13x9.

Mix soup and milk; pour over chicken .

Sprinkle with paprika.

Bake uncovered @ 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

I usually make a side of mashed potatoes...they all taste perfect need for gravy, just use the soup mixture the chicken is baked in.

Raspberry or Blueberry Lemon Muffins

Abbey served these for her birthday snack at school, which they have right when they get there in the morning.  I doubled the recipe. 

In our house the boys prefer blueberries, the girls raspberries.

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 TBS baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 cup half-and-half cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. lemon extract
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries or raspberries, whatever you'd prefer

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
Combine the eggs, cream, oil and lemon extract: stir into dry ingedients just until moistened.
Fold in berries, carefully!
Spoon into paper lined muffin cups.
Bake at 400 for 18-20 minutes.
Yields 18 muffins.

Our New Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

1 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl cream together butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla.  Add dry ingredients.  Mix well.  Add chocolate chips.  I put the dough in the fridge for about 2 hours.

I wanted to make large cookies, so I used my ice cream scooper to measure and scooped dough onto parchment covered cookie sheets.  I flattened each cookie a little before baking.

Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes (keep in mind my oven is fast).  Cool before removing from sheets.

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