Thursday, November 17, 2011

super easy cheater indian tacos..

we went out of town with tina and lo this past 3 day weekend.. we drove to northern nevada to tina's family cabin.. it was about a 6 hour drive.. and usually when tina and i sit in the back our conversations span from what the kids are doing to swapping recipes.. i had been seeing on the internet food blog world recipes for indian tacos.. and tina said she used to make them all the time.. they sounded yummy so i thought i would try them.. now i call mine cheater ones because i improvised with what i had and not how others i have seen make them.. you see we didn't get home from our trip until late in the afternoon on sunday and i had no time to go to the store for the week for meals so i had pete go on Monday after work and he will only go if the list is very short and doesn't call for anything to complicated.. so pizza dough and taco seasoning made its way to the list and that's what i used to make these indian tacos.. now you may be asking yourself why would packaged taco seasoning make its way onto my list. well let me tell you why.. ha last month for my birthday one my best friends, helene  hosted bunco and her mom was in town and i just love her cooking!! so her mom made enchiladas and tacos.. i love love her tacos.. i love them so much that when it came time for dessert that night even though she had bought me 2 of my favorite kinds of pies i had another taco instead of pie.. *which i really wish i had at least taken a piece home* so i emailed my friend and asked how her mom made her tacos.. and i am thinking i am going to be let into some mexican family tradition that if i repeat to anyone they will have to kill me... and believe me i was prepared for that type of sworn secrecy type agreement.. but nope she emailed back lawry's or shilling taco seasoning!! umm hello what?? the heck!! but yep that's what she used.. i had never used package taco mix for my tacos.. ha.. go figure.. i've used it for my chili but never tacos.. so i decided i would try it and well then the convo of indian tacos came up and well the rest as they say is history and let me tell you they were so good.. i will definitely be making these again.. the pictures don't have shredded cheese but i had it for everyone else to use i guess mine didn't have any on it :( now i am sad i forgot to add the cheese on mine..

indian tacos

prep time: 15 minutes
cooking time: 15 minutes
servings: 3


1 premade purchased pizza dough (i used wheat)
1.2 lb ground turkey (or beef)
1 package shilling hot taco mix
1/4 cup of water
canola oil
refried pinto beans (recipe below)
shredded cheddar cheese
onion, diced
tomato, diced
cilantro, chopped
sour cream

in a medium pot over medium low heat brown meat until crumbly.. add package taco seasoning and water and combine and turn heat to simmer.. while its simmering take your pizza dough and cut off a chunk...on a well floured surface roll out your "chunk" to about a 1/4 inch thick and mine were like a 6" by 3" rectangle.. then i took my flat iron skillet i use for tortilla's and put it on a medium-high heat and then added a very light coating of oil and "fried" my shell that way they kinda puff up.. but there really wasn't that much oil at all.. i repeated that until i had made six shells.. then spread refried beans, layer on meat mixture, top with cheese, onions, tomatoes, cilantro and sour cream.. yummyyyy.. we ate it like a tostada..

refried beans

prep time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 1 hour
servings: approx. 6

1 large can of pinto beans (we like sun vista)
3 slices of bacon cut into lardons
cheese (optional)
fresh rosemary (optional)

cut up your bacon and cook in an iron skillet until tender but not crispy.. add pinto beans juice and all.. simmer for about an hour or until most of the liquid is evaporated.. about 10 minutes before serving mash with a potato masher.. i keep some beans still whole because I really don't like totally creamy smooth beans.. just unappealing to me.. top with cheese if desired.. my mom used to chop fresh rosemary from our back yard and stir that in at the last minute too..

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

take my word for it wednesday.. thanksgiving edition..

well can you believe thanksgiving is only a week away.. i can't.. seriously where did the year go? and it's been one heck of a year that's for sure.. my son turned 21, my daughter turned 16 and i lost both my grandparents in a 2 month span.. definitely a year of highs and lows.. but it is the time for giving thanks and i wanted to share with you a couple of my families favorite thanksgiving recipes.. but your going to have to take my word for it that they are good... because not until after thanksgiving will i be able to post pictures.. but seriously if anyone reads this besides my mother take my word for it these recipes are awesome!! (she already knows they are good so she doesn't need to take my word for it.. ) i will start off with the best recipe of all.... grandmommy's sweet potato casserole.. their legendary.. their amazing.. their everything thanskgiving should be baked in a casserole dish.. are they a dessert?? are they a side dish?? you be the judge.. it will be bitter sweet making them this year but i know in my grandmothers 94 years (she died just short of 95) hundreds of people enjoyed this dish.. how do i know that? because my mother has thanksgiving every year and we have had as little as 20 people and as large at 65 at my mothers house on thanksgiving day and every year people rave about my grandmothers sweet potatoes.. here is the recipe as written by my grandmother..

sweet potato casserole

prep time: 15 minutes
cooking time: 40 minutes
servings: 8-10


1 40 oz. can of yams, mashed (or 3 cups mashed sweet potato or yams)
1 stick of butter, melted
1/2 cup of white sugar
2 tsp. vanilla


1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 stick of butter, melted
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped pecans

mix casserole ingredients together in a glass casserole dish (not sure it has to be glass but my grandma always liked it in the glass) then in separate medium mixing bowl combine topping mixture and pour over yams as a topping.. (don't mix in) bake at 350 degrees (f) for 35-40 minutes or until light brown..

jalapeno cornbread stuffing

1 cup butter, melted
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup apple, chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 jalapenos seeded and chopped (more if you like more heat or you could even leave the seeds in.. and remember these little babies are hot so wash your hands when done and don't touch your face or eyes before washing.. been there done that.. no fun)
1 cup chicken broth
2 6 ounce packages of mrs. cubbison's seasoned corn bread stuffing (one box)
salt and pepper to taste (i like alot of pepper in mine)
in a large mixing bowl combine all the above ingredients.. if it seems dry add a little more chicken brother and/or melted butter.. i let mine sit over night.. then in the morning i stuff my bird.. now if not cooking in the bird then place stuffing in a greased baking dish, cover and bake in a 350 degree (f) oven for about 45 minutes.. remove cover (check again to make sure its not dry.. if it is melt a 1/2 a stick of butter and pour over the stuffing) and bake another 10 minutes longer uncovered..

(picture borrowed from

overnight pumpkin bread pudding

prep time: 20 minutes
cooking time: 45 minutes
servings: approx. 12

10 croissants, ripped into small pieces
1/2 cup butter, melted
6 large beaten eggs
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups half-half
1 cup pure canned pumpkin
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 tsps. pumpkin pie spice


1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
1 cup coursley chopped pecans
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup light karo syrup

melt butter and pour into a 9x13 casserole dish.  put ripped up croissant pieces into buttered casserole dish.. in a large bowl add milk, half and half, beaten eggs, sugar, pumpkin, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice. mix well.. pour mixture over the croissant pieces.. gently press down croissant pieces so the milk and egg mixture is absorbed.. cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

when you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees (f).  to prepare topping, mix melted butter, brown sugar, pecans and karo syrup in a small bowl.. pour over top of croissants.. bake uncovered for 45 minutes.. serve immediately..

Thursday, November 10, 2011

{45 by 45} chicken fried steak with pan gravy

growing up i disliked chicken fried steak with a passion.. i now regret all those times i wouldn't eat my grandma's :( we would go to her house once a week for lunch and she would make chicken fried steak usually once a month.. she also would make roast once a month and if you read my previous post i really hate roast.. so i must gone for the company because i remember bringing my own lunch on those days.. ha ha well after years of refusing to eat  the chicken fried steak she one time put it on a peppridge farm sour dough roll with a little miracle whip (she loved her miracle whip) and actually i really liked that and for years that's how i ate it.. probably about 15 years ago (sadly when she stopped making our lunches) i discovered i truly liked chicken fried steak.. for breakfast with an egg and country potatoes or for dinner with mashed potatoes and green beans.. i truly do love me some chicken fried steak *now*.. unfortunately up until now i have never been able to make it.. i did give it the ole' college try about 25 years ago.. it was a disaster and i never tried again.. now this isn't my grandma's recipe, however i do believe she would have been proud of me for this dish.. i plan on making hers one weekend real soon, well hopefully.. i found this one here.. at eating well.. it's a little on the less fat side.. and i know what your thinking chicken fried steak low in fat?? well not really but this recipe is a lot less calories than your standard recipe.. i did discover why mine never worked before.. i used to much oil in my pan and my oil was way to hot!!! a small amount of oil, about 1 tbls. spoon and at medium heat is the ticket!! i followed this recipe pretty darn close since i had never made it successfully before, but now that i know how boy oh boy will i be adventurous with this dish!!

(someone asked why i put a black background on some of my photos.. i don't its my black granite counter tops!)

chicken fried steak with pan gravy

prep time: 15 minutes
cooking time: 35 minutes
servings:  4

1/4 cup ap flour
2 large eggs whites, lightly beaten
1/4 cup corn meal
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup plus 1 tbls. cornstarch, divided
2 tsp. smokey paprika
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 lb. cube steak cut into 4 portions
salt and pepper
2 tbls. canola oil
1 14 oz. can of reduced sodium beef broth
1 tbls. water
1/4 cup half and half

preheat oven to 350 degrees (f).. coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.. place ap flour on a large plate.. place egg whites in a shallow dish.. whisk cornmeal, whole-wheat flour, 1/4 cup corn starch paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper in another shallow dish.. season both steaks with a little salt and pepper.. dredge the steak in the flour, shake off any excess.. dip steak in egg whites, then dredge in the cornmeal mixture..heat 1 tbls. oil in a large nonstick skillet (another thing i was doing wrong i used an iron skillet and burned mine) over medium-high heat.. reduce heat to medium (key super important ha) and add 2 pieces of the steak.. cook until browned on both sides, turning once, 3-5 minutes total.  transfer steak to the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining 1 tbls. of oil and 2 other pieces of steak.. transfer the baking sheet with your 4 steaks to the oven and bake until cooked through, about 10 minutes.  while its cooking add broth to the pan you just cooked your steaks in and boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally.. getting up all those yummy bits and pieces that stuck to the pan from frying the steaks.. cook until reduced to about 1 cup.. 3-5 minutes.. whisk water and remaining tbls. of corn starch until smooth..remove pan from heat and stir corn starch mixture.. return pan to heat and cook, stirring until thickened, 1-2 minutes.. stir in half and half and season with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.. serve the steak topped with the gravy..

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

take my word for it wednesday.. brrrr it's cold outside.. you need clam chowder

this is a segment where sometimes you have to have a little faith.. ha i will either not have a picture or the picture will be awful, like in this case.. so you have to take my word for it when i tell you something was good or i might tell you a book was a great read.. ect..soo take my word for it this past weekend was a whirlwind.. my niece got married.. i will actually do an entire post about that awesome event.. it was "perfect".. but on sunday.. i was running a little low on energy.. we got up and had breakfast with tina and lo to plan our veteran's day trip.. we are going up to tina's family cabin.. it's 10 degrees there right now.. yikes!! but with that in mind i decided to make clam chowder for sunday supper.. ohh it was so good like a warm hug for your tummy.. but like i said the pictures are horrible :( so your going to have to take my word for it was good!! alot of folks think chowders are hard.. let me tell you they are not.. with a few simple ingredients you can have a wonderful stick to your ribs supper.. i jammed packed mine with chunks of potatoes, celery, clams and onions..

creamy chunky clam chowder

prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time:
servings: 6


2 slices of bacon, diced
1 onion, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
7-9 white rose potatoes, chopped
4 cans of clams, drained and juice reserved (i used 2 minced and 2 chopped)
4 cups skim milk (you can use whole milk i didn't have any, it would make it thicker also with whole milk or even half and half would be ideal)
2 tbls. corn starch (optional)
salt and pepper

take your reserved clam juice and add to a pot and add your potatoes.. if it doesn't cover your taters add water until it does.. cook the potatoes until fork tender.. while they are cooking start your soup, so in a heavy bottom pot over medium heat cook your bacon, not until crispy but cooked, about 5 minutes.. then add your onions, celery and salt. cook until tender.. another 5 minutes.. your potatoes are probably done about now.. (don't drain them) with a slotted spoon remove 2 cups of the potatoes and 1 cup of the claim juice they were cooked in.. using a food processor (if you have one, if you don't then use a blender or hand mixer or even just a regular hand potato masher will do) cream the potatoes.. add your milk to the bacon, onion and celery mixture.. then add the creamed potatoes.. then with a slotted spoon emove the remaining potatoes and add to the party .. stir.. now add our clams and salt and pepper.. i like alot of fresh ground pepper but some like white pepper because the clam chowder is white.. i however like the look of the fresh ground pepper against the white creamy soup.. ok now you might be happy with the consistency.. i know i was.. but pete likes his much thicker and creamy.. so i took 2 tbls. of corn starch and 1/4 of a cup of the clam/potato juice whisked it together and added it to the clam chowder.. cranked the heat to high until it started to thicken up then turned to low and let it simmer for about a half an hour.. i served mine with crusty rolls..  some folks like crackers.. etc.. i like bread and dip the bread in the hot soup.. *sigh* soo good.. you have to add more pepper (well because i said so and remember this is "take my word for it wednesday"  also add tobasco.. its simply delish!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

slow cooker pot roast w/ gravy

as i have said before i don't like food cooked in a crock pot.. and i detest stringy meat.. but i have a family that loves both and pete requested pot roast this week.. when i was spooning everything out it really smelled and looked awesome so i tried it and ohh my gawwd.. it was awful.. you thought i was going to say i've been converted and wrong all these years, but nooo it was horrible.. when jake heard me say it was horrible he looked at me like i was crazy and said it was amazing .. everyone else agreed it was wonderful.. i however will never like it.. i did try it like a big girl.. so i can now go another 10 years or so before i have to try it again.. it's pretty easy to make and according to the family it's scrumptious..

slow cooker pot roast

prep time: 20 minutes
cooking time: 10 hours
serves: 6


3-4 lb. chuck roast
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
6-7 white rose potatoes, chunked
olive oil
1 cup beef stock
1/2 tbls. garlic powder
salt and pepper

salt and pepper your roast.. then heat a heavy bottom pan with olive, twice around the pan, brown your meat on each side about 5 minutes each side.. remove to a plate.. then add a little more olive oil and brown your veggies (except the potatoes they go in last).. add salt.. cook until slightly wilted.. about 5 minutes total.. remove veggies to your crock pot then add meat and any accumulated juice from the plate over the veggies.. in the same pan you just removed your veggies from keep on medium heat and add your beef stock and garlic powder and deglaze pan.. add your chunked up potatoes to the crock pot on top of the meat then pour the beef broth from your pan over everything.. salt and pepper real good... put your crock pot lid on and set on low for 10 hours.. remove meat to a platter and shred.. add potatoes and other veggies around the edges.. i made a quick gravy with the au jus left in the crock pot..

i removed the juice from the crockpot to a pot, skimmed off the fat and turned to high.. i took 2 tbls. of corn starch with 1/4 of a cup of beef stock.. whisked until smooth.. once the "juice" from the crock pot was slowly boiling i added my corn starch-beef broth mixture and quickly whisked until it was the consistency i liked.. now i've been making gravy for 20 some odd years and i know it's tricky.. so here is a quick how to make gravy tutorial so to speak from simply recipes.. good luck and happy eating.. definately a brrr i am cold need warming up kinda meal..

Friday, November 4, 2011


**Update.. this recipe has received so many hits from being featured on all free casseroles I decided to update the recipe and photo that post is here**

so i think i might have fibbed to you big time when i told you there was only a few things i would eat when i was a kid.. i didn't add spaghetti and meatballs which i will share that recipe for on sunday and  my fav.. goulash.. granted i think its safe to say mostly anything i did eat was made with hamburger or pastas.. but i neglected to mention a few when i discussed how picky i was as a child.. but one of my all time favorite is goulash.. one my fondest memories is being in brianhead skiing and my mom made goulash and the lid to the pepper came off when she was seasoning the goulosh and it as soo good and peppery it was very cold outside and we were extremely tired from skiing all day.. but i think it was one of the best meals ever.. and to this day i douse my goulash with a ton of fresh ground pepper.. goulash is the simplest thing in the world to make!! wam bam thank you mam kinda meal.. definitely a under 30 minute meal..


prep time: 5 minutes
cook time: 30 minutes
serving: 6-8


1 lb ground turkey (ground beef obviously would work too ha)
1 small onion, diced
1 small red pepper, diced
2 cans of diced tomatoes (we like to use the mexican ones but any kind or unflavored will do)
1 tbls. paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper
macaroni cooked according to package (16 oz. box or package)
parsley for garnish
olive oil

cook macaroni according to package.. while its cooking in a large skillet heat up two turns around the pan with olive oil over medium heat.. add onions and peppers.. cook until soft about 7 minutes.. add turkey andcook until no longer pink.. add paprika and garlic powder.. cook another minute.. add diced tomatoes and salt and pepper.. cook another 3-4 minutes.. add cooked macaroni and stir until all well incorporated and cook another 15 minutes on low.. check for seasoning if you think it needs it add pepper alot of it.. ha ha I always serve it with wheat sandwich bread and butter.. i put my goulash in my bread and fold over like a taco.. super yummy..

Featured on

i am so excited to be featured on this great site and included in their e-cookbook.. take a look it can be found here.. e-cookbook..

UPDATE: someone emailed and said it's to much pasta i always use an entire package but feel free to use less for your family...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

{45 by 45} plum galette aka rustic plum tarte

so i had a bowl full of plums and didn't know what to do with them.. i grabbed my tablet and googled "plum recipes blog" and several galatte recipes popped up.. i was leery at first but when i saw rustic and didn't need to look "pretty" attached to the word galette i knew this was a recipe for me.. i am by no means a baker.. i basically screw up everything i bake.. shell bakes awesome, me not so much.. i hate to measure, i hate to follow a recipe and i am so not patient when it comes to cooking.. but i figured what the heck i would try it.. we were having guests over and i thought this would be nice to serve for dessert... the recipe i settled on can be found here at simple recipes.. and i pretty much followed it a few things i didn't do and the one thing for sure i would do different is not add so much sugar it seemed like a lot when i was adding and it kinda oozed out of the side when cooking.. jake stopped by the next day and couldn't stop eating it.. he said it might be the best thing i've ever baked.. gotta love that kid.. well i know i do.. sunday i am having guests again going to try my hand at a apple galette..

plum galette aka rustic plum tarte

prep time: 15 minutes
cooking time: 45-50 minutes
serves: 6

1 premade pie crust like pillsbury (that's what i used.. not ready yet to make my own pie crust ha)
6-8 tart plums, pitted and sliced
1/4 cup golden raisins
zest from one lemon
2 tblsp. flour
1/2 cup sugar

in a medium size bowl, gently toss the plum slices with the raisins, lemon zest, flour and sugar.. preheat oven to 375 degrees (f).. remove pie dough from fridge and let stand for 10 minutes before using.. unfold pie dough and place in the center of a small rimmed, lightly buttered baking sheet.. (i used my pampered chef baking stone and covered with foil and lightly sprayed it with pam).. place plum mixture in the center of the pie dough round, leaving a border of about 2 inches on all sides.. fold edges of the pie crust up and over that the circle of the filling is visible.. (doesn't need to look perfect.. remember we are going for rustic here *wink*) place baking sheet in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, until the crust is lightly browned and the filling is bubbly.. cool on a rack for an hour before serving.. i served with vanilla ice cream.. can you say yummmmeeeee..

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

{45 by 45} monte cristo sandwich...

sorry for my absence we went camping on the beach last week at doheney state beach in dana point.. it was so much fun!! but the weekend before we left i cooked and made a monte cristo sandwich which is by far my favorite sandwich and quite possibly my favorite breakfast/lunch meal of all time..whenever i see it on the menu i get a little giddy.. i first had one years and years ago at the country club my dad was a member of.. called the las vegas country club (clever huh??) you might have seen it in the movie casino.. well i loved the lvcc and have very fond memories of it... going to lunch, mothers day brunch.. my golf lessons (which didn't last long), tennis lessons (which lasted a few weeks longer than the golf), charging stuff on my dad's account at the pro shop thinking it was one of the perks not knowing my dad would then get a bill ha ha.. but my favorite memory was the monte cristo sandwich.. :) i've been eating it for probably 30+ years so i don't have a "recipe" to credit.. just my love of an awesome sandwich!! now if you've never had a monte cristo sandwich make one, like now... or hyou must order one next time you see it on a menu.. its a cross between french toast and a club sandwich.. it might sound weird but it's amazing.. no kidding.. like totally ahhhhhhmmaaaazzzzziiinnnggggggg..

now i prefer the "stack" monte cristo as opposed to just 2 pieces of bread with the stuff inside.. and maybe because the one i had at the lvcc was always cooked this way no matter which chef we were on.. so i say don't change what aint broke.. *smile* alot of places serve it with jam or jelly but i prefer syrup..

monte cristo

prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 15 minutes
servings: 2


6 slices of white bread (i don't like the texas toast or thick cut it's to bready)
swiss cheese
deli honey glazed ham
deli turkey
4 large eggs
1/2 cup of milk
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
powdered sugar

layer bread slices with cheese, ham and turkey, i put turkey and cheese on one slice of bread  and then top it with another slice of bread, then add the ham and cheese and top with the remaining piece of bread.. in a shallow dish whisk together eggs, milk, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla.. dip each sandwich in the mixture.. turning to coat well.. in a large skillet.. (i used my flat griddle) melt butter over medium low heat.. when butter is foamy add the sandwiches and cook.. turning once.. you want it to be golden brown like french toast on both sides.. about 6-8 minutes.. when done remove to your serving plate and dust with powdered sugar  and serve immediately with warm syrup.. (now pete said the middle piece of bread was a little squishy on his so i took out my middle bread before cooking dipped it in the egg mixture cooked it separately then added it back to the middle of the sandwich and dipped the entire sandwich again and cooked it and mine was not squishy!!)