Monday, September 25, 2017

Theme Night: Mexican Edition


So, if you haven't realized this yet, we like to do a lot of theme nights. Here are some great finds from our Mexican theme night that we had recently.




1 (3-1/2 to 4 lb.) pork shoulder, boneless and well-marbled
1 (12 oz.) bottle or can of beer or beef broth
Water, as needed
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tbsp. lard or vegetable shortening
Corn tortillas, for serving
Favorite toppings, for serving (salsa verde, diced onions, shredded cabbage or lettuce, pico de gallo, sliced radishes, fresh cilantro, guacamole, shredded cheese or crumbled cotija cheese, etc.)


Slice the pork into 2-inch chunks and arrange in a Dutch oven or roasting pan.

Add the beer (or beef broth) and enough water to barely cover the meat. Stir in the salt and the cumin. On the stove top, over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a boil.

When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 300 degrees F. and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.

Carefully transfer the pan with the meat to the grill grate. Roast the pork, uncovered until the meat is very tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Add a bit more water to the pan if most of the liquid has evaporated.

When the pork is tender, drain off any remaining cooking liquid and discard. Break the meat into bite-size chunks with a fork. (The recipe can be prepared to this point up to three days ahead. Let cool and refrigerate.)

Add the lard to the pan and return the pan to the grill grate. Increase the temperature of the Traeger to 400 degrees F.

Let the meat "fry" in the lard until it is browned and some bits are slightly crisp, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve with the suggested accompaniments. Enjoy!

Source: Traeger Grills website. You can find the recipe here.

Notes: If you don't have a Traeger Grill, you could always slow cook the meat...but the flavor and texture of the meat won't be the same, of course.


Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Elotes)


1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream or Mexican crema
1/2 cup finely crumbled Cotija or feta cheese, plus more for serving
1/2 teaspoon ancho or guajillo chili powder, plus more for serving
1 medium clove garlic, finely minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
4 ears shucked corn
1 lime, cut into wedges


Light 1 chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread coals evenly over half of coal grate. Alternatively, set half the burners of a gas grill to high heat. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes.

While coals heat, combine mayonnaise, sour cream or crema, cheese, chili powder, garlic, and cilantro in a large bowl. Stir until homogeneous and set aside.

When grill is hot, place corn directly over hot side of grill and cook, rotating occasionally, until cooked through and charred in spots on all sides, about 8 minutes total.

Transfer corn to bowl with cheese mixture and use a large spoon to evenly coat corn on all sides with mixture. Sprinkle with extra cheese and chili powder and serve immediately with lime wedges.

Source: We found this on the Serious Eats website. You can find it here.

Notes: Holy cow, this was good. I could eat a meal of this and only this.



Mexican Chopped Salad



1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
Salt, to taste, if needed

Tortilla Strips:

6 6-inch corn tortillas
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt


1 medium head romaine lettuce, chopped in approximately 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium bell pepper, diced in 1/4-inch pieces, any color
1/2 medium red onion, diced in 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 medium jicama, peeled and diced in 1/4-inch pieces
1 medium zucchini, diced in 1/4-inch pieces
4 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced into 1/4-inch pieces
4 ears corn, cooked (if fresh corn is not in season, substitute 1 1/2 cups of sweet, tiny frozen corn, thawed)
1 1/2 cups canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro, plus whole cilantro leaves for garnish, if desired



Combine lime juice, honey, cumin, garlic, and salt. In a slow, steady stream,a dd the oils, stirring continuously with a fork or small whisk. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed. Set aside.

Tortilla Strips:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Stack corn tortillas on a cutting board. Cut in half. Cut each stack of halves into thin strips, width-wise, about 1/4-inch thick.

Transfer tortilla strips to a sheet pan. Drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with salt and toss to coat.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, or until light golden brown and crisp. Set aside to cool.


Combine corn and other salad ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to combine. Add dressing and stir to coat all ingredients. Garnish with cilantro leaves, if desired.

Serve with tortilla strips on top or place a bowl on the side for people to garnish their salad as desired.

Source: The Cafe Sucre Farine. You can find it here.

Notes: This was fantastic even without the tortilla strips. This was such a light, fresh salad. Everyone loved it. It also kept surprisingly well the next day if you have any leftovers.


Vine-ripe Tomato Salad with Queso Fresco and Serrano


2 large round tomatoes
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 serrano pepper, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 cup queso fresco
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste


Slice tomatoes about 1/4-inch thick and arrange on a plate with the sliced onion. Place the sliced chile alongside the tomatoes and sprinkle the cilantro on top and around the plate. Crumble the queso fresco on top.

In a bowl, combine the oregano, oil, and vinegar and mix well. Drizzle the vinaigrette on top just before serving. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Source: Food Network, recipe by Aaron Sanchez. You can find it here.

Notes: Those serrano peppers do give this some heat, so if you don't like spicy stuff, eat around them! However, I thought this was absolutely fantastic. So delicious and such a great way to use up fresh garden tomatoes.

Pico de Gallo


1 medium tomato, diced
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 sprigs fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 green onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper


In a medium bowl, combine tomato, onion, jalapeno pepper (to taste), cilantro, and green onion. Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir until evenly distributed. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

Source:, submitted by grneyedmustang. You can find it here.

Notes: Poor Mom. After all the work to make this, she forgot to set it out at our family dinner, so none of us got to partake, and I didn't get to take pictures. I'm sure it was fantastic though!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

This is the Way to Do It


I always worry about overcooking steak. Overcooked steak is just the worst stuff ever. This is one of those recipes that is hard to screw up. It's the perfect way to cook steak. You are going to love these fajitas. They are easy and delicious.


Easy Sheet-Pan Beef Fajitas


2 cups sliced onion (1/4-inch slices)
1 medium red or yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch strips
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 package (1 oz) Old El Paso original taco seasoning mix
1 lb. boneless sirloin steak
8 (6-inch) Old El Paso flour tortillas
Sour cream, salsa, shredded cheese, chopped fresh cilantro, and lime wedges for topping, if desired


Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray 18x13-inch rimmed sheet pan with cooking spray. Add onion and bell pepper to sheet pan. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and 2 tablespoons of the taco seasoning mix; stir to coat, spreading mixture evenly in pan. Bake 15 minutes; stir.

Meanwhile, cut steak into 1/4-inch strips; place in small bowl. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon oil and remaining seasoning mix until combined and coated. Place on pan with vegetables. Bake 7 to 9 minutes longer or until beef is no longer pink and vegetables are tender.

Heat tortillas as directed on package. Using tongs, transfer steak mixture to serving platter or, if serving on sheet pan, carefully drain excess liquid from pan before serving.

Spoon steak and veggies onto each tortilla. Serve with remaining ingredients.

Source: Betty Crocker. You can find it here.

Notes: I used a 1 lb. flank steak instead of sirloin steak. I also used a fajita seasoning mix instead of a taco seasoning mix. In addition to that, I increased the bell peppers because I wanted more veggies. I used three: a red, an orange, and a yellow bell pepper.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Dip That Fruit!

I made some fruit dip because my oldest son asked me to. He really wanted to dip his green grapes into some fruit dip. So, heck, why not!?

Fruit Dip


1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow creme


Using an electric mixer, blend cream cheese and marshmallow creme until mixed thoroughly.

Source:, submitted by Crystal Gossett. You can find it here.

Notes: Simple and sweet...and a crowd pleaser, especially with the kids.


Brown Sugar Fruit Dip


1 (8 oz) container sour cream
Brown sugar, to taste


Stir brown sugar, to taste, into sour cream until smooth. Use as a fruit dip or serve a dollop on top of some fresh berries.

Source: I found an idea in a cookbook where strawberries were served with sour cream that had brown sugar sprinkled on top. I tried it, but I thought the sour cream was a little too tart and the brown sugar was a little too few and far between. So, I tried mixing in the brown sugar and discovered that I really liked the dip that way. 

Notes: It is great with all fruit, but particularly good with berries. This one isn't as popular with the kids. Even with the brown sugar mixed in, it is a tad too tart for little taste buds. However, I really love it and perhaps you will too.

Pasta Repeat!

This is an old favorite, originally posted here. We made this recently and I thought, "Why haven't I made this in awhile? This is so, so good!" It's easy, it's on the lighter side, and it is absolutely delicious.


Bacon-Tomato Linguine


8 oz. uncooked linguine
2 tsps. olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 (2.5 oz) pkg. cooked bacon pieces (such as Hormel)
1 1/3 cup grape tomatoes, halved
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup (1 oz) pre-shredded fresh Parmesan cheese


Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add onion; saute 2 minutes. Add bacon; saute 2 minutes. Add tomato, garlic and oregano; saute 30 seconds. Remove from heat.

Add pasta, reserved pasta water, salt and pepper. Stir well and cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 3 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese.

4 servings (1 1/4 cup). 301 calories, 11 g fat, 14.4 g protein, 37.1 g carbohydrate, 2.8 g fiber, 21 mg cholesterol, 745 mg sodium.

Source: Cooking Light, from the Superfast cookbook. You can find it on the MyRecipes website here.

Notes: Trust me, you're going to love this! The only thing I change is that I double the recipe.


Above: This is the kind of bacon I used. This is a 4.3 oz. package, which worked perfectly for my doubled pasta recipe. I just used this one package. You can usually find this by the salad dressings and toppings. If it isn't there, look for it by the tuna fish and other canned meats like Spam and dried beef slices.

Quick and Easy Chicken

We have chicken a lot, but that's because it is so versatile. You can serve it with all sorts of sides and it is often quick and easy to prepare. This is one of those main dish recipes. This particular recipe is also an easy one to alter to your own tastes.

Grilled Honey-Lime Chicken Recipe


3/4 cup oil and vinegar salad dressing
1/2 cup honey
3 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
8 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 ounces each)


In a small bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Pour 1 cup marinade into a large resealable plastic bag; add the chicken. Seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Cover and refrigerate remaining marinade.

Drain and discard marinade. Lightly oil the grill rack. Grill chicken, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 inches from the heat for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until a thermometer reads 170 degrees F, basting occasionally with reserved marinade.

Yield: 8 servings.

Nutrition information:

1 chicken breast half: 286 calories, 9 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 94 mg cholesterol, 476 mg sodium, 15 g carbohydrate (15 g sugars, 0 fiber), 34 g protein.

Source: Taste of Home. You can find it here.

Notes: I almost tried this with a lime vinaigrette that I had on hand, but decided to keep closer to the recipe and use a balsamic oil and vinegar salad dressing. However, you could really use any kind of salad dressing you wanted to mix up the flavor of this chicken. I'm actually going to make this again with the lime vinaigrette as well! My kids like dipping sauce for their chicken, so I doubled the marinade. I used half for marinating the chicken and rather than basting the chicken, I heated the other half of the marinade for a dipping sauce. I would have basted my chicken if I grilled it, but I opted to broil it and as a result, basting wasn't necessary. We served ours with some corn on the cob, grapes, and a side salad. Tasty stuff!

More Pasta, Please!

Here's another recipe I found because I was influenced by those Hillshire Farm commercials I saw. Ha ha! It's a good one!

Hillshire Farm Naturals Sausage and Tomato Skillet


1 package Hillshire Farm Naturals Smoked Sausage
8 ounces dry whole grain pasta
1 cup whole cherry tomatoes
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly chopped basil
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese


Cook pasta according to package instructions.

Sliced sausage into coins and heat in a large skillet over high heat for 2 minutes or until browning starts.

Add the tomatoes and mushrooms and cook for an additional 5 minutes over medium heat.

Toss in the pasta and olive oil and heat for an additional 3 minutes, stirring often. Top with basil and Parmesan cheese.

Source: Hillshire Farm website. You can find it here

Notes: This was delicious and super easy. As you can see, it also makes for a really pretty pasta as well. My only suggestion would be to save some of the pasta water to add to your pasta if it is a little dry (or you could increase the olive oil slightly). Also, add salt and pepper, to taste.

Easy, Satisfying, and Very Few Ingredients


It's been a long time and I am really behind in my food blog posts. I have a lot of catching up to do! Here is an easy, delicious weeknight meal that will definitely hit the spot.

Hillshire Farm Sausage Alfredo


1 package Hillshire Farm Smoked Sausage
8 ounces pasta, cooked, drained
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Prepare pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.

Saute sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, turning occasionally.

Add cream and Cajun seasoning; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer gently for 3-4 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat, stir in Parmesan cheese. Add pasta to sauce and toss.

Source: Hillshire Farm website. You can find it here.  Also found on the Allrecipes website here.

Notes: So, I've been playing a game on my phone and I was definitely affected by the ads I had to watch to earn diamonds for my game. :) I had to watch a bunch of Hillshire Farm recipe videos and it just sounded so good, I had to try it! This actually isn't a recipe from one of the ads, but one I found on my own. The Allrecipes website (though it is posted by Hillshire Farms on that site too) changes the recipe slightly and suggests using 2 cups cream instead of 1 cup. I think this is a great suggestion to help make your pasta creamier (though more heavy calorie-wise).

I doubled the pasta and used a whole pound (16 oz). Because of that, I doubled the sauce, but I only used on 14 oz. package of smoked sausage. If you want things meatier, you could use two packages, but I don't think that is necessary. As noted, you could increase the cream even further, if you want things more creamy. I thought it was super flavorful as is, but increasing the cream would have made the sauce much more creamy. It just depends on your tastes. It would be a really easy thing to adjust in this recipe. So, just experiment and do what you like best!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Crowd Pleasing Mexican Pasta Salad


As the title suggests, this pasta salad with a definite crowd pleaser and fan favorite. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!


Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad


1 lb. uncooked pasta (we used macaroni)
1 tablespoon butter
3 ears fresh sweet corn, husks removed
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 package (1 oz) taco seasoning mix
1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chiles
1/4 cup crumbled queso fresco cheese


Cook and drain pasta as directed on package. Cool 10 minutes.

While pasta is boiling, heat 10-inch skillet over high heat. Add butter and corn to skillet. Char the corn on each side, about 10 minutes total. Cut corn off cobs; place in large bowl.

Add cooked pasta to bowl. Top with remaining ingredients. Stir well to combine.

Refrigerate about 4 hours or until chilled before serving.

Source: Betty Crocker. You can find it here.

Notes: Everyone went back for seconds with this pasta salad. Good stuff.

Caprese: Pasta Salad Style


You can't go wrong with caprese salad. It's awesome pretty much any way you choose to make it. Here's a pasta salad version you will enjoy.


Pesto Pasta Caprese Salad


1 1/2 cups rotini pasta
3 tablespoons pesto, or to taste
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup halved grapte tomatoes
1/2 cup small (pearlini) fresh mozzarella balls
Fresh basil leaves, finely shredded, to taste (at least 1 tablespoon)


Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente.

Mix pesto, olive oil, salt, granulated garlic, and black pepper in a bowl; add rotini. Toss to coat. Fold in tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh basil.

Source:, submitted by the dailygourmet. You can find it here.

Notes: We used this homemade pesto recipe so that it would be nut-free because of my son's tree nut allergies. Be sure to let the pasta cool before adding the mozzarella, otherwise the cheese will melt, and you don't want that in this salad.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Southwestern Pasta Salad


Here's a pasta salad for you if you like a little southwest flavor to your food. The flavor of your pasta salad will largely be determined by what barbecue sauce you use. So, you can tailor it to your tastes. If you want something hot and spicy, use a hot and spicy barbecue sauce. If you want something sweeter, you can go that direction. It's really up to you!


Barbecue Chicken Pasta Salad


3 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 cups barbecue sauce, divided
1 (16 ounce) package small whole-wheat pasta shells

1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon ground cuin
1 cup jicama, peeled and diced
2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced
2 orange bell peppers, seeded and diced
1 (15.25 ounce) cans whole kernel corn, drained
3/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped (optional)
1 small red onion, chopped (optional)


Place the chicken breasts into a saucepan over medium-low heat and pour in 1 cup of barbecue sauce. Simmer the chicken until the meat is no longer pink inside, about 15 minutes. Allow to cool, and dice chicken meat.

Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain well and rinse with cold water until chilled. Drain again thoroughly.

In a large salad bowl, whisk 1 cup of barbecue sauce with mayonnaise until thoroughly combined. Mix in the cumin, then stir in cooked chicken. Place cooked pasta, jicama, red and orange bell peppers, corn, cilantro, black beans, jalapeno peppers, and red onion into the salad bowl, and gently fold to combine with the chicken and dressing. Serve warm or chilled.

Source:, submitted by nenithel. You can find it here.

Notes: Ours was a sweeter pasta salad because of the barbecue sauce we used. It was great as a sweeter pasta salad, but would also be great if you opted to go more on the spicy side, or the smoky side, etc. Just use your favorite barbecue sauce and enjoy!

Dress That Salad

Here are a few homemade salad dressing recipes that we have found. You can't beat the convenience of store-bought bottled dressing, but you can't beat the taste of homemade salad dressing.

My apologies, but I can't find any of my pictures for these dressings. I will have to post them when I find them, or make these again and take pictures again!

Lighter Green Goddess Dressing


1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts (3 to 4 scallions)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
1 medium clove chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Put the mayonnaise, sour cream, scallions, basil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper into a blender or food processor and whirl just until silky smooth.

Store in the fridge for up to four days.

Source: We found this at Mom's Kitchen Handbook. You can find it here. On that site, it says it was adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten. (Clarkson Potter, 2006).

Notes: This makes a thick, creamy dressing that can be used as a vegetable dip or a salad dressing. If you like thinner dressing, you can thin it down with a little olive oil and vinegar, or add a little milk.

Green Goddess Salad Dressing


2 cloves garlic
1 scallion
1 handful (about 1/2 cup) fresh herbs (parsley, dill, basil, or cilantro are good options)
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup water (omit if you prefer a thicker, dip-like consistency)
Salt and pepper, to taste


Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. If you don't have a food processor, mince the garlic and herbs with a knife and add in some finely chopped chives instead of the scallions.

Notes: Experiment with the combination of herbs to find what you like best. If needed, you can add a pinch of sugar, to taste. You can also substitute half of the mayonnaise with fat-free Greek yogurt to lighten this up.

Source: Busy in Brooklyn. You can find it here.

Miso Dressing


1 rounded tablespoon white or yellow miso
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar, or 1 tablespoon rice vinegar and 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 small garlic press, minced or put through a press
Pinch of cayenne
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
2 tablespoons peanut oil or grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons low-fat yogurt


Combine the miso and vinegar (or the vinegar and lime juice) in a small bowl and whisk together. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until amalgamated. You can also mix this in a blender.

Toss with the salad of your choice.

Source: NY Times by Martha Rose Shulman. You can find it here.

Notes: The recipe suggests that this dressing is great for cooked vegetable salads, spinach salads, tofu and noodle salads, and that it is also delicious with a simple bowl of rice.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Summer is for Salads


Bring on the veggies! This is a salad that will round out your meal nicely. I like salads with a lot of stuff in them, and this is definitely one of those salads.

Lemon Artichoke Romaine Salad


10 cups torn romaine
4 plum tomatoes, sliced
1 (14 ounce) can water-packed artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained, and quartered
1 (2.25 ounce) can sliced ripe olives, drained
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese


In a bowl, combine first four ingredients. Combine water, lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Pour over salad; toss to coat. Sprinkle with cheese.

Source:, submitted by Kathleen Law. You can find it here.

Notes: I love artichoke hearts. I could go for some of this salad right now!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Gooey Sugar Cookie Bars


Here is a dessert that will hit the spot. It is the perfect dessert if you are craving fresh strawberries.

Gooey Sugar Cookie Bars



1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup butter, melted


3 cups coarsely chopped strawberries (about 1 lb)
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped


Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray bottom of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray.

In large bowl, stir cookie mix and 1/2 cup softened butter until mixture forms coarse crumbs. Spread mixture evenly in pan; press lightly.

In large bowl, beat cream cheese, 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, eggs, and vanilla with electric mixer on low sped until blended; scrape bottom and side of bowl. beat on high speed until smooth. Beat in 1/3 cup melted butter until blended. Pour over cookie mixture; spread evenly.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely, about 2 hours.

Just before serving, in medium bowl, mix strawberries, 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, and the lemon juice. Let stand 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. To serve, cut bars into 5 rows by 3 rows. Top each with strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate any remaining bars.

Source: Betty Crocker website. You can find it here.

Notes: This was really tasty and addicting.

Another Great Slow Cooker Potato Recipe

I love potatoes in every form and prepared by every cooking method. They just never get old for me. Here's a great slow cooker mashed potato recipe for you to try.

Crockpot Three Cheese Mashed Potatoes


5 pounds russet potatoes or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed (you can leave the peels on, if you like)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
3 cups whole milk
1 cup low sodium chicken broth or water
1 teaspoon salt and pepper, plus more to taste
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon sage


Add the potatoes, garlic, 1 cup milk, the chicken broth, salt, and pepper to your slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 5-6 hours, or on low for 6-8 hours. When the potatoes are fork tender, mash them using a potato masher or a hand held mixer until completely creamy, adding the remaining 2 cups milk, if needed, to thin. Stir in the cheese, cover and cook another 15 minutes or until melted and creamy.

Meanwhile, in a skillet, melt the butter over medium heat until just browned, whisking the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Stir in the sage and let cook for 30 seconds. Pour the browned butter into the warm mashed potatoes. taste and season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Source: Half Baked Harvest. You can find it here.

Notes: You can serve with the butter poured over the top, or you can stir the butter in to mix it throughout. One picture shows pools of butter while the other shows the butter mixed in.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Another Great Main Dish

Well, we like our pork. What can we say? Here's another great way to prepare it.

Maple-Garlic Marinated Pork Tenderloin


2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin


Combine msutard, sesame oil, garlic, pepper, and maple syrup. Place pork in a shallow dish and coat thoroughly with marinade. Cover, then chill in the refrigerator at least 8 hours, or overnight.

Preheat grill for medium-low heat.

Remove pork from marinade, and set aside. Transfer remaining marinade to a small saucepan, and cook on the stove over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.

Brush grate with oil, and place meat on grate. Grill pork, basting with reserved marinade, for approximately 15 to 25 minutes, or until interior is no longer pink. Avoid using high temperatures as marinade will burn.

Source:, submitted by LESLEYCAN. You can find it here.

This Veggie Side Dish Won't Make People Complain


Poor brussels sprouts get a lot of flack...but if you cook them like this, you will wish you doubled the recipe because they will get gobbled up.

Ina Garten's Balsamic Brussels Sprouts


1 1/2 lb. brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half through the core--leave the small ones whole
4 oz. pancetta, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, or more or less to taste
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
1 tbsp. reduced (syrupy) balsamic vinegar, or 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup standard store-bought balsamic, reduced until syrupy (see instructions in recipe)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the brussels sprouts on a baking sheet, including any of the loose leaves. Cut the pancetta into 1/2-inch dice and add to the pan. Add the olive oil, the 1 1/2 tsp. salt (or to taste), and the 1/2 tsp. pepper and toss with your hands. Spread out the mixture in a single layer.

Roast the brussels sprouts until they're tender and nicely browned and the pancetta is cooked, 20 to 30 minutes, tossing once at the 20-minute mark.

Meanwhile, if using standard store-bought balsamic vinegar, pour vinegar in a small saucepan and simmer gently until it is reduced by half and syrupy in consistency. Be careful because this can burn easily. It is better to have it less syrupy and unburned. Once ready, transfer to a small bowl to cool slightly.

Remove pan from the oven, drizzle immediately with the balsamic vinegar, and toss again. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Source: Alexandra's Kitchen. Recipe by Ina Garten. You can find it here.

Notes: Oh my, oh my, these were good. You have to try them to understand just how good they are.

Pasta Salad is the Perfect Side Dish

I just love pasta. It's my ultimate comfort food. I love that it can be a main course and a side dish. You're going to love this recipe.

Sun-Dried-Tomato Pasta Salad


12 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and divided
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon capers, drained
Kosher salt, to taste
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound orecciette or other small pasta
1/2 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, medium-diced
3/4 cup good black olives, such as kalamata, pitted and diced (optional)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup packed basil leaves, julienned


Add half the sun-dried tomatoes, all the vinegar, olive oil, garlic, capers, 2 taspoons salt, and pepper to a food processor, and process until almost smooth.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain well, then toss with the dressing in a large mixing bowl. Meanwhile, mince the remaining sun-dried tomatoes.

Add the tomatoes, mozzarella, olives (if using), remaining sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan, and basil to the salad. Toss to distribute evenly. Season to taste with salt.

Serve at room temperature.

Source: Popsugar. You can find it here.

Notes: Sun-dried-tomatoes just make everything they are in a little better, don't you think? This was a tasty pasta salad.

Strawberry Shortcake...Cake Style


My mom made this cake to celebrate my sister's birthday. It was beautiful, delicious, and it got gobbled up quickly by everyone (even the kids!).


Strawberry Shortcake Poke Bundt Cake



1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist yellow cake mix
1 cup milk
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 eggs

Strawberry Poke Mixture:

1 1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Cream Cheese Glaze:

3/4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla


1 cup sliced fresh strawberries


Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Generously spray 10- or 12- cup bundt cake pan with cooking spray with flour.

In large bowl, beat Cake ingredients with electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl constantly. Increase speed to medium, beat 2 minutes, and pour batter into pan.

Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in food processor or blender, puree Strawberry Poke Mixture ingredients until smooth; transfer to a 4-cup glass measuring cup, and set aside. while still in pan, poke holes in cake with end of wooden spoon at 1/2-inch intervals going almost to bottom. Use wet paper towel to wipe ends of spoon after each poke. Carefully pour poke mixture over holes in cake, using spoon to direct mixture into holes. If necessary, poke existing holes to makes room for more mixture.

Cool 40 minutes, refrigerate in pan 2 hours. Remove from refrigerator, and run metal spatula around outer and inside edges of pan to loosen cake; turn upside down onto serving platter.

In medium bowl, mix Cream Cheese Glaze ingredients with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. If too thick, add additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency. Glaze cake as desired; garnish with strawberries.

Source: Betty Crocker website. You can find it here.

Notes: As I said above, this was delicious and everyone loved it!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Easter Leftovers Part 4


We've posted this one twice before, but we made again this Easter and it is just such a good one, it is deserving of being included in this year's Easter leftovers.

Spaghetti Salad


1 small package spaghetti ( 8 - 10 oz.)
4 medium tomatoes, diced
2 medium cucumbers, diced
Cubed spam or ham as desired
1 red onion, diced
1 small bottle Italian dressing
1/2 bottle Salad Supreme (found in the spice section)


Cook spaghetti according to directions. (You may or may not break into pieces before cooking.) Drain. Rinse.  Add other ingredients and let set 6 to 8 hours in refrigerator before serving.

Originally submitted in our ward cookbook by Naomi Telford.

Notes:  Salad supreme is hard to find.  It's not a must.  I've made the salad with or without and it works great either way.  I don't think I have ever used spam, but it would work great.  Now Barelli brand spaghetti has cut spaghetti in a box.  This works great.  You don't need to break up the spaghetti, but the salad is harder to eat.

I can't stress enough how dependable this salad is for pot luck occasions.

We have posted this awhile back. You can find our original posts here and here.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Easter Leftovers, Part 3


This is a really great recipe. Also, as I discovered, it can also be altered to make a very basic macaroni and cheese if you have picky eaters on your hands.


Ham & Cheese Ziti


1 package (16 ounces) ziti
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups 2% milk
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded white cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 cups cubed fully cooked ham
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry


Prepare ziti according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth; gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat; add the cheeses, garlic powder and pepper. Cook and stir until cheese is melted.

Drain ziti; add to sauce mizture. Stir in ham and spinach. Transfer to a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until heated through.

Yield: 6 servings.

Source: Taste of Home, submitted by Donna Bailey, Oreland, Pennsylvania. You can find it here.

Notes: This is so flavorful. My kids were eating just the noodles though and it dawned on me that this could easily be made into a very classic and basic macaroni and cheese.


Macaroni and Cheese

Follow the recipe above, but omit the spinach and ham and substitute 1 lb. macaroni noodles for the ziti. You can bake it as directed in the recipe above or just serve it as soon as you toss the pasta with the cheese sauce. It's as easy as that!