Cheesy Enchiladas

This is another recipe that my husband came up with.  We love it.  You may say that they are more like burritos, but since we bake them we call them enchiladas.

Cheesy Enchiladas
2lb hamburger
1 cup chopped onion
1 (4oz) can green chilies
1 (10oz) can mild green enchilada sauce
1 (19oz) can mild red enchilada sauce
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese*
1 cup shredded cheddar jack*
¼ cup picante sauce
~8 medium tortilla shells
4 cloves garlic

Cook  (preheat oven to 350°F)
1. Chop onion and garlic
2. Brown hamburger, season to taste
3. Add onions, cook until translucent
4. Add garlic and chilis, cook for 1-2 more minutes
5. Turn burner down to low
6. Add picante sauce, ½ can green sauce and ¼ can red sauce
7. Add ½ cup sharp cheddar and 1 cup cheddar jack, stir until melted
8. Set aside off heat

1. Coat bottom of 13×9 baking dish with red sauce (~¼ cup)
2. Spoon about ¼ lb of meat mixture onto a tortilla shell, ~8 times and place into baking dish.
3. If any meat remains, sprinkle over top
4. Cover with remaining red sauce, use spatula to coat so no tortillas are bare
5. Use all remaining cheese to cover top
6. Cover in foil
7. Bake for 20 minutes
8. Remove foil and cook for an additional 10 minutes until cheese is slightly browned
9. Let cool at least 10-15 minutes before serving
10. Enjoy!

*You could also substitute sharp cheddar and cheddar jack for a mexican blend cheese, which is what we usually use.


Penne Pasta with Sausage

This recipe is a huge hit for my family.  My husband came up with this meal, and it is delicious!

Penne ~6oz dry
5 mild Italian sausages
1 can beef broth
½ tsp each oregano and basil
1 jar roasted garlic and herb pasta sauce

Put large pot on to boil for pasta
Heat ~1tbsp vegetable oil in pan on medium heat
Add sausage, cover and cook for 4 min on medium-high
Flip and cook another 4 min
Add can of beef broth and sprinkle herbs evenly around, cook 10 min
Remove sausages to plate, drain fluid from pan and rinse pan
Add sauce to pan and simmer on lowest heat while cutting sausages
Cut sausages into ¼” slices, return to pan
Simmer on medium-low for 10 min before starting pasta
Cook pasta while continuing to simmer sausage
When pasta is done, drain
Turn off heat to sausage
Add pasta to sausage until desired consistency
Serve with Italian blend shredded cheese.

Cheesy Chicken Bake

(I apologize ahead of time, I forgot to take pictures of this.  Oops!)

Cheesy Chicken Bake
Prep: 5min    •     Bake: 35-45min

1 can cream of chicken soup (regular or fat-free)
1 1/3 cups water
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
3/4 cup UNCOOKED regular long-grain white rice
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 can (or enough to cover) french fried onions

1. Stir the soup, water, Worcestershire, rice, chicken, and cheese in a 2qt casserole.  Cover.
2. Bake at 350°F for 35-45min or until hot.  Stir.
3. Sprinkle with onions.  Bake for 5min more or until golden.
4. Let sit for 10min
5. Enjoy!

Added notes:
a. I seasoned my chicken with fresh ground garlic and sea salt and seasoning salt.
b. I added a shake of onion powder, and quite a bit of garlic sea salt and seasoning salt to the soup mixture to taste.  My family prefers well seasoned food, though.
c. The recipe called to cook it for 35min, but it was still watery at that point so I cooked it for 10 more minutes.  It was a TAD on the dry side, so I might try 5 more minutes next time.  Just play with the cooking time according to your particular oven.  The next day I just added a tiny bit of water to it before I microwaved it, and it was perfect.

Menu September 30th – October 15th

We haven’t done a menu in a LOOOOONNGG time. We finally have things sorted out, so we can do them again. This menu is a long one. It is for a little bit over two weeks.

Cube steak sandwiches
Stroganoff pasta
Seasoned green beans

Hot dogs
Fried potatoes

Taco pie

Grilled cheese sandwiches
Bean and bacon soup

Homemade Cheeseburger Macaroni

Mac & cheese, tuna, and peas
Tater tot casserole

Chicken broccoli alfredo

Rotini w/meat sauce
Seasoned green beans

Homemade pancakes
Homemade sausage patties

Biscuits and gravy

Sausage and penne w/tomato sauce
Broccoli and cauliflower

Cube steak sandwiches
Fried potatoes

Pork chops

Grilled cheese sandwiches
Bean and bacon soup

Homemade cheeseburger macaroni

Rotini w/meat sauce

Homemade pancakes

Tonight we had pancakes for dinner.  I pulled out my great grandmother’s Good Housekeeping cookbook.  It has been well-loved over the years, and I love that it still has little notes and page markers throughout it that my grandmother put in it.  I love seeing her handwriting again.  This cookbook was published in 1963, and I love the thought that I’m using a cookbook that 50 years worth of people have looked at.  How many meals did this help my grandmother make for her family?

This is the pancake recipe from this book:

Homemade Pancakes

1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp double-acting baking powder
2 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 1/4 cups milk*
3 tbsp melted butter, margarine, or fat or salad oil**

1. Set griddle over low heat to warm up.  Into a medium bowl or wide-mouthed pitcher, sift flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
2. In a small bowl, beat egg well; add milk, butter.  Slowly stir into flour mixture, mixing only until dry ingredients are wet.
3. When griddle is hot enough to make a drop of cold water dance, lightly grease or not as manufacturer directs.  Drop batter from pitcher or large spoon onto griddle, lightly spreading each cake with back of spoon into round about 4″ diameter.  Don’t crowd cakes or they will be difficult to turn.  Cooking about 3 cakes at a time is usually safe.
4. Cook over low heat until rim of each cake is full of broken bubbles and underside is golden brown.  With broad spatula or pancake turner, loosen and turn each cake; brown on other side.  Turn only once.
5. When pancakes are done, remove to heated platter or plates, stacking 4 in each pile.

Serve at once with butter or margarine and syrup, apple butter, honey, marmalade, molasses, shaved maple sugar, etc.  Makes about 12 4″ cakes.
*For thicker pancakes, use 3/4 cup of milk.
**We used melted Crisco
***We added 1/4 tsp vanilla extract to the batter

They turned out wonderfully!  They tasted fantastic, and we SO easy to make.  They only took a minute more than boxed pancakes do, but of course were much better.  I’m glad I found this recipe, because we will definitely be making these again in the future any time we want pancakes.

Hawaiian Meatballs

1 1/2 lb ground beef
2/3 c cracker crumbs
1/3 c minced onion
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 c milk
1 tbsp shortening
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 c brown sugar
1 can pineapple tidbits (13 1/2 oz)
1/3 c vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/3 c green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 small white onion, cut into 1/2 inch wedges
1-2 medium carrots, cut into 1 1/2 inch match sticks

Drain pineapple, reserving liquid. Mix meat, crumbs, onion, egg, salt, ginger and milk. Shape mixture by rounded tablespoons into balls. Melt shortening in large skillet; brown and cook meatballs.** Remove meatballs and keep warm. Add onions and carrots to skillet and saute until they just start to soften, usually about 2 minutes. Remove onions and carrots and set aside. Pour fat from skillet. Mix cornstarch and sugar, stir in pineapple syrup, vinegar, and soy sauce until smooth. Pour into skillet; use medium heat, stirring constantly until thick and boiling. Cook 1 minute. Add meatballs, tidbits, onions, carrots and green pepper. Heat thoroughly. Serve over hot cooked rice.

**We usually have to cook the meatballs in multiple batches.


Homemade Cheeseburger Macaroni “hamburger helper”

Our family likes the taste of a couple of flavors of Hamburger Helper, but I’ve been trying to steer away from boxed meals so we only had them if I wasn’t up to cooking the planned meal or we needed a quick backup.  I looked online and found a recipe for both of the types that we like, and I attempted one of them tonight.  It turned out really good!  It tasted better than the boxed version, we got away from the preservatives and other nasty stuff, and it was CHEAP!

We added it up, and this recipe makes enough for two meals for us (or one dinner and a couple lunches).  In total this cost us $6.00, including the hamburger, milk, macaroni, and cheese (which we would have had to provide with the boxed version anyway), two cans of corn and watermelon as a side dish.  Not too shabby, huh??

Cheeseburger Macaroni

1lb ground beef
1 cup hot water
2 cup milk
1 1/2 cup large elbow macaroni
1 cup cheddar cheese

Sauce packet:
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

Brown hamburger

Add water, milk, macaroni, and sauce packet.

Cover and simmer ~12 minutes (or until noodles are done), stirring occasionally, in last few minutes add cheese and cover again. (I forgot and added the cheese at the end, and it turned out just fine.)

Turn off heat and uncover.  Let stand for 5 minutes.

Easy peasy.  The hardest part was measuring out all the spices.  haha

Just an FYI…seasoning is really taste specific, but I thought it was a bit bland at the end, so after adding the cheese I also added a pinch or two of more salt, and some more garlic salt (not sure how much exactly, I just shook it over a couple of times).  You may want to taste it before you serve it and adjust the seasoning to your personal tastes.

Garlic Chicken Stir-Fry

Prep:  20 Min    Marinate:  30 min    Cook:  6 min    Makes:  4 servings

12 oz skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 cup water
3 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp dry white wine
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp cooking oil
10 green onions, bias-sliced into 1-inch pieces
1 cup thinly sliced fresh mushrooms
12 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped, or
            2 tbsp bottled minced garlic
1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts
Hot cooked white rice (optional)

1.  Cut chicken into 1/2-inch pieces.  Place chicken in a plastic bag set in a shallow bowl.

2.  For marinade, combine water, soy sauce, and white wine; pour marinade over chicken in bag.  Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.  Drain chicken, reserving the marinade.  Stir cornstarch into the reserved marinade; set aside.

3.  Pour oil into a wok or large skillet.  (If necessary, add more oil during cooking.)  Heat over medium-high heat.  Add green onions, mushrooms, and garlic to wok; cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes or until tender.  Remove vegetables from wok.  Add chicken to wok;  cook 2 to 3 minutes or until no longer pink.  Push chicken from center of wok.  Stir marinade mixture; add to center of wok.  Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.

4.  Return cooked vegetables to wok; add water chestnuts.  Cook and stir about 1 minute more or until heated through.  If desired, serve with hot cooked rice.

Garlic Chicken Stir-Fry with Cashews:  Prepare as above, except stir 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper into marinade.  Stir in 1 cup cashews with water chestnuts.

**We add additional vegetables – broccoli and thinly sliced carrots – because we like a bit more to our stir fry. 

(After our first attempt at cooking this, I have a couple of suggestions.  I added garlic powder and pepper to the marinade, but would use garlic salt next time.  The sauce is very thin in the end, so I would add some chicken broth mixed with a bit of corn starch to thicken it up if you like your stir fry to be coated like we do.  Otherwise it was really good, and we’ll definitely be having this again in the future!)

Salmon Patties

This is one of our family’s favorite meals.  We LOVE it!  It is very time-consuming, though, so we don’t have it very often.  We usually pair it with a pasta side dish and some peas. It serves four, but I always double the recipe b/c they are really good as leftovers (and we are pigs lol).

Salmon Patties with Lemon-Herb mayonnaise


1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped green onion
1/4 cup mayonnaise (we use miracle whip)
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp seasoned salt
1 pinch cayenne (red) pepper
1 egg, beaten
12 oz Chicken of the Sea boneless/skinless pink salmon, drained
6 tbsp dry bread crumbs
3 tbsp butter
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh prepared horseradish
2 1/2 tsp fresh thyme or 1 tsp dry thyme

Lemon-Herb mayonnaise: (make this first so the thyme can soften and it doesn’t get stuck in your teeth)
Combine mayonnaise, fresh lemon juice, prepared horseradish, fresh or dry thyme, and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl; blend well; set aside in refrigerator for later.*

In small mixing bowl, combine chopped red pepper, green onion, mayonnaise, lime juice, seasoned salt,  and cayenne pepper.  Taste and adjust seasonings to personal preference.  Stir in egg, salmon, and 4 tablespoons of the bread crumbs.  Divide and form mixture into 8 balls.  Roll salmon balls in remaining bread crumbs (I usually need MUCH more than what is called for); flatten into cakes.  Fry salmon cakes in melted butter** in skillet over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes per side.  Serve with Lemon-Herb mayonnaise.

*Feel free to adjust the amounts of lemon juice and horseradish to personal taste.  I usually have to use twice as much lemon juice and 3x horseradish to get it the way I like it, and that is BEFORE I double it.

**Frying the patties in half butter and half vegetable oil will make the butter less likely to burn and cause the patties to taste funny.  Just a suggestion, though.  😉

Use any leftover lemon-herb mayonnaise as a sandwich spread or as a vegetable dip.  Yumm!!


Taco Pie


A couple weeks ago I was invited to a Celebrating Home catalog party by my new neighbor.  I had a bunch of fun, and learned a couple new recipes.  One of the recipes that I learned was something that my husband has named “Taco Pie”.  It is a croissant shell with layers of taco meat, refried beans, and lots of cheese.  It is SUPER quick and easy to make, and my family loves it!

Taco Pie

1lb Hamburger

1 can Refried Beans

8oz bag Shredded Cheese of your choice

Packet of Taco Seasoning

Two 8oz tubes of Croissant Dough

Brown hamburger and season to taste.  Add taco seasoning and cook according to package directions.

In a bread pan, line the croissant pieces around the edge of the pan.  The wide end goes down inside the pan, about an inch or so into the bottom of the pan.  Drape the pointed ends of the dough over the edge of the pan for later.  You need quite a few, I usually use 12.  They will overlap. Save the remaining dough for later.

Put the taco meat into the bottom of the pan inside the croissant dough.

Next layer with a can of refried beans.

On top, put the entire package of cheese.

Lay the tops of the croissant pieces across the cheese, making a braid pattern.  If you have any bare spots, use the remaining croissant dough to patch them.

Cook at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  (I cook mine for 30 min and it turns out golden brown and delicious!!)

Let cool for 10-15 minutes.  Cut into pieces.  Enjoy!!

My family likes to eat this with sour cream and taco sauce on top.  At the party it was served plain, and that was good too!