Baked Chicken and Dumplins

4-5 large chicken breast, boneless
1 stick real butter
1 1/2 c self-rising flour
1 1/2 c milk
1/2 c sour cream
3 c chicken broth (reserve for further use)
1 can(s) cream of celery soup
1/2 tsp savory (rosemary or thyme may be used)
4 Tbsp real butter
salt and pepper to taste

How to Make Baked Chicken and Dumplins

NOTE: ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, use self-rising flour. I DO NOT recommend using margarine, low-fat or fat-free items as this will change the texture and taste of the dish.
Place chicken, 4 tablespoons butter and salt and pepper in a large stock pot and cover with water, at least 2 inches over the chicken. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to simmer and boil chicken until tender, about 30 to 45 minutes. When chicken is done remove from broth and let cool. Reserve broth. When cool, shred chicken into pieces.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
Melt 1 stick butter and pour into 3 quart baking dish. Spread chicken on top of butter. In a separate bowl, whisk flour and milk together and carefully pour evenly over top of chicken, scrape bowl. In the same bowl whisk together 2 cups of the reserved chicken broth, cream of celery soup, sour cream and savory. Carefully pour this mixture over top of chicken and flour mixture.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a golden brown. Let cool for about 15 minutes. Then pour the remaining 1 cup reserved chicken broth evenly over the top. Let stand for about 5 minutes or until the broth has "soaked" into the chicken and dumplins.
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Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake



1/2 c butter, softened
3 Tbsp butter flavor shortening
1/3 c brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 c pecans, diced fine


2 pkg cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
3/4 c sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp zest of lemon


3 c rhubarb, 1/4" dice
1 1/2 c strawberries, rough chop
1 c sugar


4 tsp cornstarch
1/4 c water

 Prep:30 Min
 Cook:30 Min

How to Make Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake

Preheat the oven to 375. Grease a 13 x 9 glass dish with coconut oil (it smells heavenly). Mix all the crust ingredients in a bowl and press into the greased dish. Bake for 10 minutes.
Use your Kitchen-Aid or mixer and thoroughly beat together the cream cheese, eggs, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest. You don't want big lumps! Pour over the baked crust and smooth out. Bake for 25 minutes or until it is set.
In a large saucepan, add rhubarb, strawberries and sugar. In a cup mix together the cornstarch and water to have ready when you need it. Cook rhubarb/strawberry/sugar until bubbly. DON'T leave it for long. After it is bubbly, add the cornstarch mixture to thicken. Remove from heat and allow to cool a little.
Spread the fruit mixture over the cheesecake and allow it to sit in the fridge for 8 hours before cutting.

Alice Springs Chicken


2 large boneless skinless chicken breast pounded to 1/2 inch thickness
2 Tbsp seasoning salt
1/2 lb bacon
1 c fresh mushrooms
1/4 c prepared mustard
1/3 c honey
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp dried onion flakes
2 c shredded colby jack cheese

Serves:2 to 4
 Prep: 15 Min
 Cook: 30 Min

How to Make Alice Springs Chicken

Pound the chicken and salt both sides. Set aside. In large pan cook bacon. Remove bacon with slotted spoon to paper towel. Set aside.
Add mushrooms to bacon grease and saute until they release their moisture and brown up a bit. Remove with slotted spoon to plate and set aside.
Add chicken to pan and brown on both sides. Add more oil if needed.
Place chicken in greased baking pan.
Mix together the mustard, honey, mayo and onion flakes. Spoon evenly over breasts. Top with mushrooms.
Chop bacon into bits and add on top. Top with cheese.
Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

This recipe gives around 4 servings.

4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling potatoes after cooked
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Lay the sweet potatoes out in a single layer on a tray. Drizzle the oil, honey, cinnamon, salt and pepper over the potatoes. Roast them for 25-30 minutes in oven, or until tender. I kind of like to leave them in longer, so just check on them and poke them with a fork!

When you take them out and transfer them to a serving platter, drizzle more olive oil on top of them.
And that's it! So very simple! Once you get the hang of cooking these, it's a lot easier to make your own version of it, or add it into another dish. Sometimes I don't even dice them, I just cut them into sections, but those take longer to cook, because they are thicker portions. If you wrap them in aluminium foil and bake for about 45 minutes, they are also so delicious! Sweet potatoes are the bomb, I think that is my conclusion.

chili wendys style

Chili {Wendy's Style} Ingredients:

4.5 pounds ground beef, browned and drained
2 large yellow (sweet) onions, chopped
7 large green bell peppers, chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
2 heaping tablespoons minced garlic 
2 cans Ranch Style Beans, NOT drained (15 ounce cans)
2 cans dark red kidney beans, drained (15 ounce cans)
2 cans Original Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chili (10 ounce cans)
2 cans stewed tomatoes (15 ounce cans)
4 cans plain tomato sauce (15 ounce cans)
2 packages McCormick Mild Chili Seasoning (1.25 ounce packages)

Chili {Wendy's Style} Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot. 
Simmer for at least three hours (I let mine cook all day long). 

Cinnamon Roll Cake


3 c flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 c sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 c milk
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla 
1/2 c butter, melted


1 c butter
1 c brown sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp cinnamon


2 c powdered sugar
5 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla

Cook time: 30 Min  Prep time: 20 Min  Serves: 12

How to Make Cinnamon Roll Cake

Mix everything together except for the butter. Slowly stir in the melted butter and pour into a greased 9x13 pan. For the topping, mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Drop evenly over the batter and swirl with a knife. Bake at 350 for 28-32 minutes.

While warm drizzle the glaze over the cake.

Baked Ham and Cheese Poppy Seed Sliders

2 packages of 12 mini King's Hawaiian Sweet Rolls
2 lbs honey ham sliced deli meat
1 pound sliced swiss cheese 
2 onions, sweet or brow, finely diced
1 and 1/2 sticks of butter
1/4 cup dijon mustard
2 tbs worcestershire sauce
2 tbs poppy seeds
a couple shots of hot sauce if you want a little kick (I like Tapitio)

How to make it

Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter in a large skillet. 

Once butter is melted, add the finely diced onions. Cook until onions become translucent - 8 to 10 minutes. 

Add dijon mustard, worcestershire sauce, poppy seeds, and hot sauce. Stir and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. 

Meanwhile, slice rolls in half without separating the individual rolls. Line a baking pan with foil and place bottom half of rolls in the pan.

Once onion mixture is done, spread 2/3 of onion mixture over the bottom half of the rolls. Maxing sure to get an even layer. Then layer ham over the onion mixture and finally cheese on top of the ham.

Top with the roll tops. Spread remaining onion mixture over top of rolls.

Cover with aluminum foil. You can make these ahead and and refrigerate until ready to bake. 

Bake covered at 350 for 20 minutes. Remove foil briefly at the end to get a nice golden color on the sandwiches.

makes 24 sliders

Texas Pecan Cobbler


8 eggs
2 cups local honey
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup Texas Pecan Oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound brown sugar
1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust
1 pound pecan pieces


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. In a large bowl, beat eggs well. Add honey; mix. In a separate bowl, combine flour and pecan oil. Add flour mixture to eggs. Stir in salt and brown sugar and beat by hand until well-mixed.
3. Place crust in the bottom of a large, deep casserole or pie plate . Sprinkle the pecans evenly over the crust. Pour the filling mixture on top, being careful that the pecans stay evenly distributed.
4. Bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes (check after 50 minutes) or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm or cold; top with vanilla ice cream if desired.

Servings : 16
Recipe Type : Baking

Prep Time : 15 Minutes
Cook Time : 1:10 hours Minutes
Yield : 16

Chicken & Tater Tot Casserole


1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
2 cups sour cream
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 lb. bag frozen tater tots (not thawed)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all of the ingredients together and put into a 9 x 13 baking dish.
Bake for 1 hour or until hot and bubbly.

Victory's Taco Tater Tot Casserole

2 lbs lean ground beef
1 (1 1/4 ounce) package taco seasoning
1 (15 ounce) can corn, drained
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can Fiesta nacho cheese soup
1 (32 ounce) package tater tots
1 (8 ounce) package cheddar cheese


brown beef drain.
stir in taco seasoning and water and simmer for 5 minutes.
add corn soup put in 9 x 13 pan and top with tater tots.
bake at 350 for 35 minutes.
take out top with cheese put back in oven for 5 minutes or till cheese is melted.
add ketchup or taco sauce when served tastes very good enjoy.

Red Velvet Cheesecake

Servings: 12 servings
Author: Marye


Red Velvet Cake
2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour (sifted, then measured)
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup full fat buttermilk , room temperature
2 tbs red food coloring (one bottle)
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs , room temperature


32 oz cream cheese
16 oz sour cream
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla
6 eggs


1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoonful white chocolate instant pudding mix
2 tablespoons of sugar as needed

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hrs 30 mins
Total Time 1 hrs 45 mins

How to make it


Preheat oven to 350°F.
Sift sifted flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl.
Blend the buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla in another bowl .
Beat the sugar and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy.
Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well blended after each addition.
Beat in dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk mixture in 2 additions.
Put about 1/4 inch of cake batter in the bottom of a greased and floured 10 inch springform.
Use the rest of the batter in a 13x9 or 9 inch cake pan.
Bake both pans for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool in pans about 5 minutes and turn out to cool completely.
Break the larger cake (NOT the one in the springform) into large chunks and set aside.
(can be done a day ahead)
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)


Preheat oven to 375F
Beat the cheesecake ingredients together until smooth.
Reserve about 1/2 cup cake crumbs for the top.
Fold the remaining cake chunks into cheesecake batter.
Pour into pan.
Cover the bottom of the springform (the one with the cake layer in it) with aluminum foil, bringing it up the sides.
Place pan in larger pan of hot water. Water should come halfway up the sides.
Bake for 45 minutes.
Turn oven off and leave door closed for 1 hour. Don’t PEEK!
Remove from oven, take out of bain marie.
Let come to room temperature and cover tightly.
Refrigerate overnight.


Whip the heavy cream until it starts to thicken.
Add the teaspoon of instant pudding mix and 1 tablespoon of sugar.
Whip until soft peaks form.
Taste and add more sugar if needed.
Spoon on top of cooled cheesecake.
Sprinkle with reserved red velvet cake crumbs.

Recipe Notes

If you're in a hurry use a store bought red velvet cake. Not as good but it works fine in a pinch!

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Chicken Breading:

3-5 chicken breast
salt and pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup canola oil

How to make it

Rinse chicken, trim off fat or extras and then cut into 1 inch cubes. season with salt and pepper. Dip chicken into cornstarch and coat all the way and then into eggs. Heat oil in large skillet. Cook chicken until browned. Place in baking dish. 3 chicken breasts can be in a 9×9 but 5 chicken breasts fits better in a 9×13.

3/4 cups sugar
4 Tablespoons ketchup

1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt

Whisk until smooth. Then pour evenly over chicken. Turn chicken so the sauce gets on both sides and then put in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. turn chicken and then cook for 15 more minutes.

Classic Cherry Pie

Pastry for a two-crust pie
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
2 (14.5 oz) cans tart cherries in water
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon red food coloring (optional)
Milk & coarse sugar for top crust

How to make it

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out one pie crust and line a 9” pie plate; place in refrigerator.

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar & cornstarch and mix well. Drain the juice from the cherries into the pan with the sugar & cornstarch; set the cherries aside. Stirring constantly, cook the juice mixture over medium heat, until bubbling and thickened. Remove from heat and stir in butter, almond extract, and food coloring, if desired, until butter is melted. Stir in the cherries. Spoon into prepared pie plate.

Roll out second disc of dough and cut into strips with a pastry wheel or pizza cutter. Arrange strips on top of filling to make a lattice design. Seal and flute edges. Brush milk over crust and sprinkle with sugar. Place on middle oven rack and put a cookie sheet below to catch any spillover. Bake 30 minutes, then put a pie shield on the pie to protect the crust from over-browning. Bake another 15 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Cool at least two hours or overnight before serving.

Lemon Garlic Chicken Kabobs

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more, to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
Optional Vegetables
Juice of 1 lemon lemon
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks


1) To prepare chicken: In a bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon zest, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Add chicken and stir to combine. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours.
2) To prepare grill, plank and skewers: Soak a cedar plank in water according to package instructions. Prepare a medium fire in a grill and heat plank. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water to cover for at least 20 minutes.
3) To prepare vegetables: In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup olive oil, the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Set aside. Thread onion and bell pepper onto skewers, alternating pieces and dividing them equally. Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade. Thread chicken onto separate skewers, taking care not to pack pieces too tightly.
4) To grill: Lay skewers on warm plank. Brush vegetables with olive oil-lemon juice mixture. Close lid and cook until chicken is opaque throughout and the vegetables are soft and beginning to brown, 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer skewers to a warmed platter and serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings.

Salisbury Steak with Caramelized Onion Gravy

Onion Gravy
2 large red onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups low-sodium beef broth
1/2 cup dry red wine (optional)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
Salt and pepper
Meat Patties
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup cooked white rice
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 clove minced garlic
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil


1) To make gravy: Heat butter in a large sauté pan. Add onions and cook over medium-high heat, until onions start to brown, stirring occasionally. When onions are slightly softened and turning a deep honey brown, add 1/4 cup broth. Reduce heat, cover and continue cooking, adding more broth as needed to prevent caramelized bits at the bottom of the pan from burning. It should take at least 25 to 30 minutes to properly caramelize onions. Stir in flour and cook for about 2 minutes. Add wine and reduce by half. Stir in remaining beef broth and tomato paste. Stir in cider vinegar. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to low and keep warm.
2) To make patties: Mix ground beef, rice, egg yolk, salt, pepper, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, parsley and thyme in a bowl. Shape into 4 oval patties about 3/4-inch thick. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Sear patties about 3 minutes per side, or until a brown crust forms. Pour gravy over patties and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Serve warm with mashed potatoes or noodles. Yield: 4 Servings.

Salt and Pepper Pork Chops

3 tablespoons soy sauce 
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 pounds boneless thin-cut pork loin chops
2 tablespoons vegetable oil


1) Combine soy sauce, cornstarch, pepper, sugar and salt in bottom of 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking pan. Stir with a fork until all ingredients are combined and marinade is smooth. Add chops, turning to coat both sides. Cover dish with plastic wrap. Refrigerate, turning occasionally, for 1 to 24 hours. 
2) Heat oil in a large frying pan set over medium high heat. Add pork, working in batches if necessary. Cook 1 to 2 minutes per side, until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to serving plate or serve from pan. Yield: 4 servings.

One-Bowl Chocolate Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup baking cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup canola oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup hot water
Frosting of your choice
Colored sprinkles, optional

How to make it

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 13×9-in. baking pan, or spray with cooking oil. In a large bowl, whisk the first six ingredients. Stir in eggs, oil and buttermilk. Add water; stir until combined.

Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Frost cake. If desired, decorate with sprinkles.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting: In a large bowl, beat 1/2 cup softened butter until creamy. Beat in 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, 1/4 cup baking cocoa, 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract and 3-4 tablespoons 2% milk (I used heavy cream) to achieve desired consistency.

*Veronica’s notes: I sifted my dry ingredients since my cocoa powder was really lumpy. If you find yourself in the same boat, with big clumps of cocoa powder in the dry ingredients that won’t mix out, I would suggest sifting so you don’t have any clumps.

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Oatmeal

2 cups quick-cooking oats
4 packets stevia*
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup peanut butter
2/3 cup milk
1 (4 oz) snack cup of unsweetened applesauce (heaping 1/3 cup)
1 egg
2 tablespoons oil or melted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ cup chocolate chips, plus more for top if desired

How to make it

Mix all ingredients together well until blended. Pour batter into an 8×8 pan sprayed with oil. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.

*If you want to use sugar, I’d recommend brown sugar for a more cookie dough-like flavor. I’m not certain on the amount, but I’d try 1/3 cup and add more to your taste if needed.

Funnel Cake Fries

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
3-4 cups canola or vegetable oil
1 jar marshmallow creme or marshmallow fluff

How to make it :

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
With a mixer, beat eggs, sugar, milk and vanilla in a large bowl until foamy and well combined. Carefully add in the flour mixture and mix until you have a smooth, thick batter. Place the batter in a bag or bottle for piping.
Add about 1 inch of oil to a large pot with high sides. Heat the oil to 350 degrees F. Pipe the batter in long straight lines into oil and fry until golden, about 30-60 seconds per side. Remove to a plate and serve with powdered sugar while still hot.
Marshmallow Fluff Dip: Place marshmallow creme in a bowl for dipping and warm in the microwave for 15-20 seconds. Stir until smooth and serve with funnel cake fries.
To Reheat: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place funnel cake fries on a baking sheet and bake at 450 for 3 minutes

Mom’s Goulash

1/2 lb macaroni
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 large onion, diced
garlic salt, pepper, chili powder, & hot sauce to taste
2 (14.5 oz) cans whole stewed tomatoes, undrained
2 tablespoons ketchup
Tomato juice as needed

How to make it

Cook the macaroni to al dente according to package directions. While it’s cooking, brown the ground beef and onion together in an extra-large skillet or in a dutch oven. Drain and season with spices to taste. In a large bowl, mash tomatoes with potato masher and add to beef along with the ketchup. Drain macaroni and add to the beef mixture, stirring well. Taste and add additional seasoning as needed. I didn’t need to add any tomato juice to mine, but if you like yours very juicy you can add as much tomato juice as you like. Phyllis adds it to her leftovers, which I would also recommend, because the noodles tend to soak up all the juice with time.

italian meatloaf cupcakes

2 pounds extra lean ground beef
2 eggs
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
3/4 cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

How to make it

mashed potatoes (homemade or store bought- great use for leftover mashed potatoes!)
gravy (I used leftover gravy from when we had a roast earlier in the week)
bacon bits 

Prepare muffin cups by lining each one with a square of foil.  Lightly spray each cup of foil with nonstick cooking spray. 
In a large bowl, combine ground beef, ground chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, tomato sauce and  oregano.  Make sure the ingredients are mixed well.  Use a round 1/3 cup scoop to scoop up the meat mixture and put one into each cup.
Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.  
Warm some mashed potatoes and put them into a sturdy zip-lock bag.  Force the potatoes into one corner.  Snip the corner like a pastry bag and pipe the potatoes onto the "cupcake".  Sprinkle some bacon bits on top and drizzle with gravy.

Pasta Soup with Little Meatballs

For the meatballs -
1 slice white sandwich bread, torn into pieces
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 lbs 90% lean ground beef
For the soup -
8 oz dry elbow macaroni (2 cups)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, minced
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
fresh chopped basil


For the meatballs:  mash the bread and milk together in a large bowl.  Stir in the cheese, garlic, thyme, egg, salt and pepper.  add the meat and mix until combined.  With wet hands, form the mixture into 1-inch (or smaller if desired) meatballs.

For the soup: In a non-stick skillet over medium heat, add the meatballs and cook about 5 minutes, turning halfway through.  The meatballs will not be cooked through.  Drain and set aside.

Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a Dutch oven.  Add the macaroni and cook, stirring often, until al dente.  Drain the macaroni, rinse under cold water, and set aside.  Wipe the pot dry.

Heat the oil in the now empty pot over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the onion and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.  Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in the the tomatoes and broth.  Add the meatballs (do not stir), bring to a simmer, and cook until the meatballs are tender, about 10-15 minutes.

Stir the pasta into the soup and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle individual portions with Parmesan and basil.  Enjoy!

world's best lasagna

Note:  I made it simpler and lower in fat.
2 pounds hot chicken Italian sausage (see image below)
1/2 cup onion, minced
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons sugar (I used 1 Tbsp sugar substitute)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
10 no-bake whole wheat lasagna noodles (see image below)
16 ounces ricotta cheese (I used fat free)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
handfuls of shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

How to make it

In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned.  Stir in crushed tomatoes, paste, sauce and water.  Season with sugar, basil, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and half the parsley.  Simmer, covered for 1 1/2 hours.
Combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley and 1/2 teaspoon salt. 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
To assemble, spread 1 1/2-2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.  Arrange 5 noodles over meat sauce.  Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture.  Top with a couple handfuls of mozzarella cheese.  Spoon 1 1/2-2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.  Repeat layers and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.  Cover with foil.  To prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.
Bake in a preheated oven for 25 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake an additional 25 minutes.  Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Crock Pot Mexican Shredded Beef

1 (2 pound) london broil or pot/chuck roast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 small can diced green chile pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2-4 ounces hot pepper sauce
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 Tbl cilantro, minced
Enough water to cover 1/3 of the meat


Remove any fat from the sides of the meat.
In a skillet over medium heat, add the oil.
Add the meat and pan sear all sides to where you a get a nice deep sear on it - watch for splatters!
Add the meat to the crockpot.
Top with chopped onions, both peppers and garlic.
Sprinkle the dry spices on top trying to best evenly distribute.
Add the hot sauce and chopped cilantro.
Add enough water to go to 1/3 the way up the meat.
Cover and turn on high for 5-6 hours.
During the cooking time refrain from removing the lid. ONLY remove the lid briefly to add more water if it dissipates.
After 5-6 hours, remove the meat to shred replacing the lid while you are shredding it.
Using 2 forks, shred the beef.
Add the shredded beef back to the juices and mix.
Replace the lid and turn the crock pot to low.
Cook for 1-2 hours to allow the meat to soak up all the juices and flavor.

Saucy Creamer Potatoes

3/4 - 1 lbs red creamer potatoes, cut in half or quartered
olive oil
salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons butter, softened
2 Tablespoons sour cream
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon dried basil


Place the cut potatoes in a microwave safe bowl and add 2 teaspoons of water.  Cover with plastic wrap and cook in microwave for 2 minutes.  Carefully remove the dish and shake so the potatoes get mixed around.  Place back in microwave and cook another 2 minutes, or until the potatoes are almost fork tender.  Carefully drain out any excess water and toss the potatoes with salt, pepper and enough olive oil to cover them.  Tear out a large piece of aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Pour the potatoes into the center of the foil and create a packet over them by pulling in opposite sides and folding.  Place potatoes on preheated grill and cook 8 minutes.  Carefully flip packet over and cook another 8-10 minutes.  Remove from grill and allow to rest.

Meanwhile, mix together the butter, sour cream, lemon juice and dried basil.  Pour the potatoes into a bowl and toss with mixture.  Serve warm.  Enjoy!

yummy 3-ingredient potatoes

red potatoes
canola oil
packet of onion soup/dip mix (we used Trader Joe's)

How to make it

I gave my daughter a 9x13 and asked her to pour a little bit of oil in the pan which she did with gusto.  She may have put a little more oil than I would have but the taters turned out crispy which was perfect.  I'd say she put in 1/3 cup of oil.  She then cut up a bunch of red potatoes, enough to fill the bottom of the pan- maybe 8 potatoes.  Then she sprinkled the onion mix on top and combined everything.  We put the pan in the oven at 350 degrees for an hour and a half due to my errand running longer than anticipated.  That's okay because they were PERFECT!

slow cooker garlic lime chicken

4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used frozen)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup lime juice 
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

How to make it

Place chicken in slow cooker.  Combine remaining ingredients and pour over chicken.  Cover.  Cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low 6-8 hours.  Serve with rice and fresh fruits and vegetables.

What I have to say- a family favorite!

creamy cucumber salad

3 pack English cucumbers from Costco (2 to 2.5 pounds), sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup sour cream (I used fat free)
2 tablespoons fresh dill or chives or a combination of the two (I used dill)
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

How to make it

Place a colander or fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl.  Add the cucumbers and 1 teaspoon of the salt and toss to combine.  Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
Line a work surface with 1 layer of paper towels.  Using your hands remove the cucumbers from the strainer and arrange them in a flat, even layer on the paper towels, top with another layer of paper towels, and gently press to absorb any moisture.  Discard the liquid in the bowl and wipe it dry (no need to wash).
Combine the sour cream, herbs, vinegar, pepper and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt in the bowl.  Add the cucumbers and stir to evenly coat.  Serve immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 24 hours.

grilled lemon garlic pork chops

8 thinly sliced pork chops
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper 

How to make it

In a large zip seal bag squeeze one lemon, add garlic, pork chops and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Seal bag and use your hands to mix everything together.  Make sure the pork chops are well-coated.  Place in the fridge for a a few hours.
Remove from the bag and grill to perfection.

crock pot mexican pot roast taco meat

mexican pot roast taco meat (Tyer Florence of the Food Network,) 
2 pounds beef roast
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 large onion, sliced
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes 
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper (I omitted because this new mama has 3 little kids who'll be eating this recipe- can I just say that 1 tablespoon is A LOT?  I'd tone it down for my family and we love spice.)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
3 bay leaves

tortillas, cheese, salsa, shredded lettuce, etc. 

How to make it

Season all sides of the beef with a fair amount of salt and pepper.  In a large Dutch oven, heat oil.  Add the garlic and the beef to the pot, browning the meat on all sides.  Add the onion and allow to brown, about 3-4 minutes.  Transfer to a crock pot.  Add the tomatoes plus 1 cup of water, spices, season with salt and pepper.  Cover with a lid and cook on low all day until meat is tender.  Shred meat.  Fill tortillas with the works!