Thursday, February 28, 2013

Yummy Taco Meat

This is a quick and easy one that we enjoy, in various fashions, around our house fairly frequently. I love tacos, enchiladas, burritos, and my boy's really like nachos!

I use pre-made seasoning and always add in some green pepper and onion to bulk out the meat, and oftentimes add in a can of mushrooms too.

A few simple ingredients ready to go.

Dicing up the vegetables.

Adding the ground beef to the peppers in a large non-stick skillet.

 Browning the meat and softening the pepper and onion.

Adding water, seasoning, and mushrooms once the mixture is well cooked.
Everything mixed up, and ready for tacos!

My perfect taco, melted cheddar cheese and a warm tortilla, meat mixture, lettuce, tomato, and sour cream. Yumm!

1 lb ground beef
1 large onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 can mushrooms, drained (optional)
1/4 cup taco seasoning
1/3 cup water
Desired toppings: cheese, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, queso, etc.


  1. Brown ground beef in a large non-stick skillet with the onion and green pepper. Cook 10-15 minutes, or until beef is cooked through and vegetables reach desired tenderness. Drain grease if necessary.
  2. Add in taco seasoning, water, and mushrooms. Stir well to evenly distribute seasonings; allow to simmer a few minutes.
  3. Prepare tortillas - spread a little cheddar cheese on one and microwave for 20-30 seconds until tortilla is warm and cheese begins to melt. Add desired amount of meat and additional toppings. Roll and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Faceless Frenzy: Skillet Spaghetti Supper

I am part of the AllRecipes AllStar program and one of our monthly challenges is to prepare and photograph a set number of "faceless" recipes from the website, meaning any that don't have a photograph associated with them. I dug through TONS of possibilities and decided this one looked like something my family would most likely enjoy and I could prepare it quickly for an easy weeknight meal! I did make several changes to the original recipe, reflected below.

It turned out really good! It was a quick and easy spaghetti recipe, easily tweaked to your personal flavor preferences depending on what seasonings you choose to use. It was super quick and easy and I would definitely add this in to the weeknight rotation. Would be great with a caesar salad or steamed green beans and some garlic bread!

Laying out the ingredients.

Sauteing the onions.

Mixing in tomatoes and seasoning into the beef and onions.

Adding in 1 cup of cheese.

Adding in the cooked pasta.

Added the final cup of cheese to the pasta mixture and letting that melt.

Plated up and ready to enjoy!

Skillet Spaghetti Supper by sal (slightly modified) from

1 cup diced onion
1 clove minced garlic
1 pound lean ground beef
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (or 2 15-oz cans diced tomatoes)
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 pound uncooked linguine
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided


  1. In a large skillet over medium heat cook onion and garlic with the ground beef. Cook until beef is no longer pink, drain grease if necessary. Add in tomatoes, parsley, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and pepper (taste test and adjust seasoning as necessary). Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer while pasta cooks.
  2. Simultaneously, bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions.
  3. Add 1 cup mozzarella to the beef mixture, stir in well and allow to melt. 
  4. Stir in cooked pasta, cover with the rest of the cheese and simmer on low until cheese melts. 
Suggestion: Top with a little fresh grated Parmesan.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Turkey Club Sandwiches

This is a great basic club sandwich recipe that we all enjoyed! It assembles quickly and would be great with some mustard, avocado, or some cucumber too! I used honey turkey for my sandwich, and peppered turkey for my husbands. I like cooking up thick cut applewood smoked bacon in the cast iron skillet - always comes out great. Yumm!

Laying out the slices of bread and beginning assembly.

Stack of meat, bread, and veggies!

Lorraine's Club Sandwich (slightly modified) by LORRAINEWINKEL on
Makes 1 sandwich

2 slices bacon
3 slices bread, lightly toasted
1 tablespoons mayonnaise, divided
2 leaves lettuce
3-4 slices cooked deli turkey breast
2 slices tomato


  1. Place bacon in a heavy skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain on paper towels.
  2. Spread each slice of bread with mayonnaise. On one slice of toast, place the turkey and lettuce. Cover with a slice of toast, then the bacon and tomato. Top with last slice of toast.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Secret Recipe Club: Pot Roast

This is my first month participating in the Secret Recipe Club! I love the idea - so much fun to have a chance to get to know another blogger's site and look through their recipes and figure out which one looks just right for my family (and hope another blogger isn't having too hard of a time finding something they will enjoy here!) This month I had So Tasty, So Yummy and had a great time browsing her fabulous recipe index! SO many delicious options ranging from tasty, filling dinners to sandwiches to yummy cookies!! I had a tough time deciding which direction to go. I was really drawn to several of the cookie recipes, like the Big Fat Chewy Chocolate Chips (drool) or the Monster Cookies! There were TONS of great chicken recipes as well that I debated on, but in the end I settled on Pot Roast! I've had one thawed in the refrigerator for a couple days now and needed some inspiration for how to prepare it. I was excited to find this option and knew it would go over well with my boys. Anything meat and potatoes is usually pretty well received here.

The roast cooked beautifully in the oven, although I did think it needed a tad more seasoning (salt and pepper). It was tender, and the veggies were perfectly cooked and delicious. My boys very much enjoyed this dinner, and I loved being able to put this one in the oven and forget about it for 4 hours!

All the ingredients, ready to go.

Cutting the potatoes into large chunks.

Sauteing the carrots and onion.
Sauteing the potatoes.

Adding salt and pepper to the roast.

Browning the roast in the Dutch Oven.

Adding red wine and deglazing the pan.

All loaded up and ready for slow cooking in the oven.

Straight out of the oven after 3 1/2 hours.

Plated up and ready to enjoy.

Pot Roast slightly modified from So Tasty So Yummy

1 3-4 pound chuck roast
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 whole onion
7-8 small russet or red potatoes (or mixed)
1 pound of carrots, peeled (5-6 large)
1 cup red wine
1 14-oz can beef broth
2 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dried)
1 bay leaf

  1. Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, then add olive oil. 
  2. Cut the onion in half, cut peeled carrots into 2-inch chunks, and cut the potatoes into rough chunks (about 2-3"). When the oil in the pot is very hot (but not smoking), add in the halved onions and carrots, browning them on one side and then the other. Remove the vegetables to a plate or bowl. 
  3. Throw the potatoes into the same hot pan and toss them around a bit until slightly browned, about a minute or so.
  4. If needed, add a bit more olive oil to the very hot pan. Season the roast generously with salt and pepper. Place the meat in the pan and sear it for about a minute on each side until it is nice and brown all over. Set the roast to the side with the vegetables.
  5. Turn off the heat, but leave the pan on the burner, and use the red wine to de-glaze the pan, scraping the bottom with a whisk to get all of that little browned bits off the bottom. 
  6. When the bottom of the pan is sufficiently de-glazed, place the roast back into the pan and add enough beef stock to cover the meat halfway. Add in the onion, carrots, potatoes, as well as the rosemary, thyme and bay leaf (if using dry seasonings instead of fresh, add them to the liquid before adding the roast and vegetables to the pan).
  7. Put the lid on, then roast in a 275 F oven for 3 hours (for a 3-pound roast). For a 4 to 5-pound roast, plan on 4 hours.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Meal Plan week of 2/25/2013

Dinner: Stuffed Burgers (with Bacon, Onions, and Cheese), baked Onion Rings, garden salad

Dinner: Meatballs, Pasta, Steamed Veggies

Dinner: Martha Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Biscuits & Steamed Veggies

Dinner: BBQ Chicken Pizza

Dinner: Shrimp Scampi with steamed broccoli

Dinner: Sausage, Peppers, Onion & Pasta

Dinner: Leftovers

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Seared Pork Tortas

This is such a good sandwich recipe! I found this awhile ago on and we've enjoyed it several times since then. I omit the suggested onion and jalepenos and had to make an additional tweak this time since I realized as I had everything else out on the counter that somehow I'd run out of salsa and hadn't bought more! Not sure how that happened - salsa is one of those condiments we ALWAYS have in the refrigerator, up there with ketchup, relish, and jam. I ended up using 2 TBS of Rotel Tomatoes with diced green chilies and it worked really well! I didn't notice much of a flavor difference.

I used 2 pork chops and 1 large baguette and ended up having a lot of leftover meat, enough for a 2nd full baguette for lunch the next day, so you may choose to not use the full amount of meat for 1 sandwich, just depends on how "stuffed" you want yours. The original recipe calls for shredded cheese but I used slices since I find them to be much easier to work with for a sandwich - I also used Colby-Jack since I couldn't find Monterrey Jack slices at my grocery store. This is a fantastic recipe and is so fresh tasting with the wonderful tomatoes and avocado.

All the ingredients, ready to go!

Yummy fresh tomatoes and avocado.

Pork, cooked and smelling spicy and delicious!

Pile of yummy french baguette breadcrumbs for later.

Toasted baguettes, ready to fill.

Not very pretty, but tasty bean mash.
All the ingredients, layered on the bread.
Delicious, fresh, and tasty sandwiches!

Seared Pork Tortas slightly modified from
Makes 4 sandwiches

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 ounces boneless center-cut pork loin chops
1 (12-ounce) baguette, cut in half horizontally
1/2 cup canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons refrigerated fresh salsa
2 slices Monterrey Jack cheese, in halves
1 large tomato, cut into 8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices
1/2 ripe peeled avocado, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices

  1. Preheat broiler to high.
  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Slice pork into bite sized pieces and add to hot skillet. Sprinkle cumin and salt evenly over pork and stir to coat. Cook until done, about 5-10 minutes, stirring as needed. Pork should be well browned.
  3. Hollow out top and bottom halves of bread, leaving a 3/4-inch-thick shell; reserve torn bread for another use. Place bread halves, cut sides up, on a baking sheet. Broil 2 minutes or until golden brown.
  4. Place beans and salsa in a small bowl; mash with a fork until almost smooth. Spoon bean mixture into the bottom half of baguette. Top with pork, cheese slices, tomato, avocado, and top half of baguette. Cut into 4 pieces.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Chicken Philly Sandwiches

These are so simple and so yummy! I used this recipe as inspiration and adjusted for chicken sandwiches. My husband likes these with some Worcestershire, I don't particularly think it adds to the flavor and prefer just salt and pepper. Kent and I like adding ketchup to our sandwiches.

The ingredients, ready to go!
Cooking up the chicken,

Adding in the vegetables.

The onion and peppers are nice and tender.

Adding the cheese slices to melt onto the meat.

Buns filled up and ready to enjoy!

Chicken Philly Sandwiches

2 large chicken breasts, cut into thin strips (about 1-1 1/2 lbs)
2 green bell peppers, cut into long thin strips
2 onions, sliced into thin strips
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
4-5 hoagie rolls, split lengthwise and toasted
4-5 slices provologne cheese
1 TBS Worcestershire (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute chicken until lightly browned (about 10 minutes). Stir in green pepper and onion, and season generously with salt and pepper. Saute until vegetables are tender, and remove from heat (about 15-20 more minutes). Add some Worcestershire if desired for additional flavor.
  3. Toast buns for about 5 minutes in preheated oven. While buns are toasting, spread cheese slices on top of meat mixture (turn off heat, and make sure meat mixture is even distributed in pan before adding cheese). Allow cheese to melt onto meat.
  4. Once buns are toasted, evenly distribute meat and cheese between them. Serve immediately.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Italian Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs

This is a wonderful spaghetti and meatball recipe! I've made it a couple times now and really like the way it comes out each time. The meatballs are delicious and come out nice and tender after simmering in the sauce. I didn't have the full 2 1/2 hours when I made this today; I simmered the sauce about 30 minutes before adding the meatballs and it still came out great. I had 1 1/2 cans of whole tomatoes and added a 15-oz can of diced tomatoes to round it out and that worked really well. This is great served over hot spaghetti with some fresh shaved Parmesan on top and some crusty garlic bread on the side.

Lots of ingredients ready to go!

Dicing up the onion.

Sauteing the vegetables (I added about 1 1/2 cups of fresh mushrooms to our sauce).
Tomatoes are in!

After adding the meatballs and remaining ingredients, and simmering for 30 minutes.
Topped with fresh Parmesan and so yummy!
Italian Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs by Jeremy on

1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 egg, beaten

3/4 cup chopped onion
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 package fresh mushrooms (optional)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 (28 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes (or 4 15-oz cans diced tomatoes)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 bay leaf
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, garlic powder and beaten egg. Mix well and form into 12 balls. Store, covered, in refrigerator until needed (or prepare right before you're ready to add them to the sauce).
  2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute onion and garlic (and mushrooms, if using) in olive oil until onion is translucent. Stir in tomatoes, salt, sugar and bay leaf. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 90 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, basil, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and meatballs and simmer 30 minutes more. Remove bay leaf. Serve.