Southwest Black Bean Chicken

ISO: A Dinner That Cooks Itself. I’m feeling desperate.  We’re getting into another busy sports season in our family {four kids in basketball . . . YIKES!} and that means crock pot dinners at our house.  Either that or pizza every night, and I can’t handle the mom-guilt that comes by pizza night #3.  By the time we’re winding up our school day I’m simply too tired to figure out what we’re having for dinner anyway, so it’s better all around if I’ve got that particular hurdle squared away early in the day. Enter Southwest Black Bean Chicken. Yes indeed, it practically cooks itself.  And it’s ready whenever we are, just a-waitin’ in the crock pot for us in between homeschool and dashing off to sports. Southwest Black Bean Chicken Ingredients: 1 small bag frozen corn or 1 can of corn 1 can black beans 2 large frozen boneless skinless … click to read more

Crispy Parmesan Zucchini

Zucchini and Parmesan cheese – a delicious match made in heaven!  Crispy Parmesan Zucchini is quite possibly my favorite vegetable in the whole wide world.  I love how quickly it comes together, because boy, do I need quick and easy by the end of a whole day of teaching four kids, doing laundry, and running errands.  Crispy Parmesan Zucchini helps all that melt away.  Just wait.  You’ll see the delicious crispy perfection in a moment. Here’s what you need: Zucchini, sliced into rounds 2-3 eggs, scrambled in a shallow dish Bread crumbs (you can use plain bread crumbs, or for even more zip, use Italian style bread crumbs and add some garlic salt into the crumbs) Parmesan cheese Here’s What You Do: Prepare a baking sheet with non-stick spray.  I like to put aluminum foil down on the sheet before spraying it for easy clean up later. Once you’ve sliced the zucchini … click to read more

Candy Bar Salad

A few years ago a sweet neighbor of mine brought us this candy bar salad and my whole family fell in love.  She kindly gave me the recipe and we’ve been making it ever since.  We especially love that it’s called a “salad” even though it has candy bars in it! Here’s what you need: apples 6-8 apples (depending on size) 3-4 Snicker’s bars 1 8 oz. tub of Cool Whip 1 8 oz. block of cream cheese Here’s what you do: Start by cutting your apples into little bite-sized pieces. Now mix your cream cheese and Cool Whip together.  I make sure to let my cream cheese soften on the counter for about 30 minutes before I start so it’s soft enough to mix together well.  I use my Kitchen Aid mixer and let it fluff and combine really well for a few minutes.  Your goal is to have … click to read more

How To Can Applesauce

Our apple tree produced abundantly and so I made applesauce.  I make a variety of flavors, including red hot applesauce (my absolute FAVORITE).  Here’s how to can applesauce step by step: 1. Dump your apples into a big tub of water or a filled sink to rinse off the dirt.  If they are commercial apples they probably have chemicals that need to be washed off as well.  They don’t need to be perfect apples.  You can see plenty of imperfections in mine, but they make perfect applesauce even if they aren’t perfectly beautiful apples. 2. If you can buy or borrow one, this apple sauce mill makes the job absolutely easy.  With the mill you can just quarter the apples and once they’re cooked the mill automatically separates out the peel, seeds, and stem.  If you don’t have a mill you have to peel and core the apples before you … click to read more

Taco Melts

Taco melts are a family favorite at our place.  A favorite of mine because they are so quick an easy, even on a really busy night.  A favorite of all my little eaters because they are like a mild little taco pocket.  I have a couple of kids who would be thrilled if I served tacos every week, so these hit the spot without serving the exact same meal week after week. Here’s what you need: 1 packet taco seasoning 2/3 cup water 1 1/2 cups salsa 1 pound ground beef, cooked and drained 1 package refrigerated biscuits (or use one batch of your favorite biscuit recipe) 1 cup grated Mexican cheese Sour cream, guacamole, or other taco toppings Here’s what you do: 1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 2.  In a medium saucepan, combine the meat, taco seasoning, water, and 1/2 cup of the salsa.  Cook while stirring … click to read more

Tater Tot Casserole

Tater tot casserole is an absolute staple at our house.  It’s easy to keep the ingredients on hand and yummy, yummy, yummy.  I also love that I can put it together at lunch time (or even the night before), so when dinnertime rolls around and the day has gotten the best of me, all I have to do is stick it into the oven. Here’s what you need: 1 bag of tater tots 1 pound of ground beef, cooked and drained 2 cans cream of chicken soup Grated cheese Here’s what you do: Start by placing the cooked ground beef on the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan.  Put the cream soup and tater tots in as well, then gently stir them all together until the soup is incorporated throughout.  Spread it all evenly in the pan, top with cheese, and put the casserole into the oven to bake … click to read more

Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes

Mmmm . . . chocolate is my weakness . . . nah, chocolate is my strength.  I’m really, really good at it.  These Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes are no exception.  The centers of the cupcakes are a soft, but firm fudge.  The fudge topping is so much more decadent and rich than any frosting.  And the cake itself is moist and delicious.  It’s a trifecta of awesomeness. Also, I don’t do finicky, difficult, or complicated.  I bake only for the results, not because I enjoy the process. First, the cake this is based on is soft and moist.  The tops of the cupcakes are going to fall and be sort of flat, not like a normal muffin top.  That is the price you pay for gooey goodness. Cake Batter 2 cups sugar 1 3/4 cups flour 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder 3/4 cup cocoa powder 1 tsp. salt 1 1/2 tsp. … click to read more

Garlic Twisty Breadsticks

These Garlic Twisty Breadsticks are absolutely DIVINE.  Give me a plate full of creamy alfredo pasta and one of these and I’ll be the happiest diner ever.  Besides yummy, they are also really easy (especially for how fancy shmancy they look).  They are perfect to serve when you’re having company because they look like you went to a lot of work.  They’re pretty simple though.  Are you ready for me to walk you through it? Here’s what you’ll need: 1 Tbsp. yeast 2 Tbsp. sugar 1 1/2 cups warm water 1 Tbsp. oil 1 tsp. salt 4 c. flour 1/2 cup melted butter, divided 1/2  tsp. garlic salt 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning 1 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese  16 – 12″ wooden skewer sticks  And here’s what you do: In a bowl mix the yeast, sugar, and warm water together and let sit for 2-3 minutes until foamy. Add oil, salt, and … click to read more

Strawberry Cream Cheese Waffles

We had these Strawberry Cream Cheese Waffles for dinner.  They are scrumptious. Waffles 1 3/4 c. flour 1 T. baking powder 1/2 t. salt 2 eggs 1 3/4 c. milk 1/2 c. cooking oil Dump all the ingredients into a bowl, mix the batter with a hand mixer until the lumps are gone. Then pour the batter onto a hot waffle iron and cook for a few minutes until the waffle is brown. Cream Cheese Topping This is basically cream cheese frosting. 8 oz. cream cheese 3 T. milk 1 t. vanilla 1 – 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar Mix the cream cheese, milk, vanilla, and 1 c. powdered sugar in a bowl.  Add more powdered sugar until the consistency is what you like. Strawberry Syrup 2 c. sugar 1 c. strawberries, fresh or frozen 1/4 c. water Put all ingredients in a sauce pan.  Cook on high on a … click to read more

Beef and Bean Roll-ups

My mom used to make these Beef and Bean Roll-ups when we were kids.  The other day I rediscovered this recipe in the recipe book Mom made for her kids about 15 years ago.  I made them for my kids.  They’re still as good as I remember. Bread Dough You can make the dough from scratch or you can use canned biscuit dough.  The from scratch version is better though because it includes molasses which gives an amazing taste.  Here’s how to make it from scratch. 2 c. flour 2 t. baking powder 1/2 t. salt 1/4 c. butter 1/2 c. milk 1/4 c. molasses Combine the flour with the baking powder and salt.  Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or fork until crumbly.  Add milk and molasses.  Stir just until the dough clings together.  Knead dough a few times on a lightly floured surface.  Roll the dough … click to read more