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

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

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

Cauliflower Cream Soup

I know this Cauliflower Cream Soup involves cauliflower, which usually is a harbinger of doom, but trust, me your kids will not only eat it, they will devour it. The secret is blending the veggies to oblivion. Ingredients 16 oz bag of cauliflower, frozen or fresh 1 c. carrots, diced 1 medium onion, diced 6 c. water 3 T. chicken base or bouillon 4 c. milk (we used 2%, use the fat content of your choice, even skim will turn out a creamy soup) 1/4 c. corn starch salt and pepper to taste Cauliflower Cream Soup Directions First I have to give a caveat.  I never actually measure when I cook much of anything and especially not soup.  So as I wrote down the ingredients (after I made and ate the soup and decided it was up to standards for sharing) I was estimating in my head, especially the liquid … click to read more

Chicken Roll-Ups

Chicken roll-ups is one of our go-to family meals.  The kids love to help me make them because they all get to pitch in when it comes time to roll up the little dough pockets.  They are also quick – less than 15 minutes from start to finish.  They travel really well too, so if we’ve got a game or an event to be at, we can bake them up and then eat them in the car or wherever we’re headed, no utensils required.  Oh, and they are also really, really yummy. Here’s what you need: 2 cans Canned white meat chicken (12.5 oz.) 2 tubes of crescent rolls (the homemade version works too if you aren’t in a rush) 1 package of cream cheese (8 oz.), softened Here’s What You Do: Combine the cans of chicken (drain if necessary) and the cream cheese.  You can use boiled, shredded chicken as … click to read more

Cheesy Chicken Tenders

There is nothing better than fried chicken, unless maybe you add cheese.  We had these Cheesy Chicken Tenders the other night and the kids gobbled them up . . . I might have done some gobbling as well.  We served it with homemade mashed potatoes and cheesy chicken gravy, green salad, and homemade rolls.  We’re sorta fans of cheese.  You can fry these in a pan or bake them in the oven for a less fatty option, either way they are tasty. Cheesy Chicken Tenders Recipe 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken pieces 1 sleeve saltine crackers (or whatever crackers you have on hand) 1/2 t. pepper 2 t. salt 1/2 c. milk 2 c. shredded cheese, whichever is your favorite kind cooking oil or cooking spray Crush crackers.  Add salt and pepper to crackers. Cut the chicken up into pieces about 2 inches long by 1 inch wide, like big … click to read more

Easy Cheesy Manicotti

I’ve loved manicotti since I was a little kid, but I HATE, HATE, HATE to make it.  Individually stuffing all those shells drove me crazy, especially after a long day on the homeschool front.  By dinnertime I’m tired, and I want dinner to be quick and easy without resorting to fast food. Several years ago I decided I was done stuffing manicotti and started making it this cheater way.  It’s not exactly the same, but it has all the same flavors without all the insane fuss.  The trick?  String cheese.  Instead of making a fancy schmancy filling, you just fill up the noodles with string cheese.  When it bakes it all becomes ooey, gooey, cheesy goodness.  And the real flavor comes from putting the extra good stuff in the sauce that it bakes in.  Easy peasy. Ingredients: manicotti noodles string cheese pasta sauce/tomato sauce your favorite Italian herbs and spices … click to read more

Second Breakfast and a Chocolate Coffee Cake Recipe

I am most definitely not a morning person.  I roll out of bed moments before our 8am beginning of school scheduled time.  That would be why we instituted the great tradition of Second Breakfast. We named it “Second Breakfast” {yes, it’s capitalized on purpose!} in honor of J.R.R Tolkien and his Hobbits and because for a portion of the family at least it really is their second breakfast.  The kids sometimes get up at the ridiculous hour of 7am  {if you are a morning person you are not allowed to comment on my hour of rising}.  They’re hungry when they wake up and so they are allowed to get a bowl of cereal or some toast. We start school at roughly 8am.  Though the kids have been told to start as soon as they want.  Because when they finish their work it is play time, at whatever hour that might … click to read more