Saturday, March 29, 2008

The BEST Tacos

So this one comes straight from my mom. Never have I been of fan of premade taco shells that you buy at the store. They are hard, they break in half as soon as you touch them! No thank you! Tacos were a family favorite in my home growing up, and it was all because of the shell! My mom always bought fresh corn tortillas and fried them herself. It makes the taco so much better!

Brown the meat and add whatever you like to it. This time all I added to it was seasoning salt and kidney beans. (the beans were a request from my son.) Fix all the toppings you like. Now for the shells. I use canola oil, but I think my mom uses Crisco. Heat the oil on medium high heat. Add the corn tortilla, and let it fry for a couple of seconds open (like in the picture below).

Then carefully fold it over (with tongs!) :0 Let it cook on one side and then flip it over to cook the other side. The longer you leave it cooking on one side, the harder the shell will get. I like my taco shells softer than harder, so I only cook it about 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side.

(Sheesh, next time I'll have to clean my stove before taking pictures!!)

Line a baking sheet with paper towels and place taco shells on it when done. The extra grease will soak into the paper towels. These are the best tacos! Thanks mom for showing me the secret!!

Try this Pizza. . .

So, I am usually not of fan of pizza unless it is cheese or pepperoni. (Yes, I realize I am very boring!) One day my personal Pampered Chef consultant, Megan :), needed me to sample this pizza for a show she was thinking about making it at. I agreed, and was so glad I did!! It was really good!! I have been making it ever since. Here's the recipe:

Tomato-Basil Squares


refrigerated pizza crust, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, 2/3 cup mayo, 2 T fresh basil or 2 t dried basil, 1 garlic clove, 4 plum tomatoes sliced.

Roll pizza crust onto stone or pizza pan. Sprinkle with one cup of the mozzarella cheese. Layer tomatoes evenly over crust. In bowl, mix remaining mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, mayo, garlic, and basil. Using scoop of spoon, scoop cheese mixture evenly over tomatoes. Spread evenly. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

No Fuss Dinner

So, for dinner tonight we had the yummiest lasagna, and I'll admit it. . .I didn't make it. Our family loves the Wal-mart brand frozen lasagna. Unfortunately, I have never perfected the art of making lasagna! I like a nice thick lasagna, and mine always turns out flat! So. . Wal-mart saves the day for us. :)

We also had a strawberry-spinach salad and bread with an herbed oil dip. The salad is one of the best salads and very easy to make. It is so good, that almost all my kids will even eat the salad!

Heres the recipe (which came from a Pampered Chef recipe book):

sliced strawberries; half of a diced, peeled cucumber; sliced red onion (which I don't use); and a bag of baby spinach leaves.

Just toss all ingredients in a bowl, and then for the dressing:

In a small bowl mix:

2 T of lemon juice; 1 T of vegetable oil; 2 T of white wine vinegar; 1/3 cup of sugar; 1 t of poppy seeds

Once thoroughly mixed, pour over salad and toss.

We also had a very yummy bread dip. When we went over to our friend Megan's house the other day, she served the best oil dip! Since the dip she had only could be found in her home town, I tried to make my own. I'll admit I was a little worried since it was my first time making it, but it turned out to be really good.

In a small bowl mix:

1/4 cup of olive oil; 2 cloves of garlic, minced; 1 t of oregano, and 1 t of crushed red pepper flakes.

Microwave for 20 seconds. Let cool for a minute and then add 2-3 t of balsamic vinegar.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Dinner

Some of our favorite friends, the Leyes family, were kind enough to have us over for dinner. Ok, so basically we invited ourselves over for dinner, but we had a great time! The food was so good! We had spiral sliced ham, "funeral" potatoes (which I will let Megan tell you about on her recipe blog, hint, hint) :), macaroni and cheese, zucchini casserole, corn, salad, and bread. For dessert we had freshly baked apple pie and a yummy frozen chocolate cake. It was so good. Matt and I ate so much, we had to roll each other out of there!

I contributed the zucchini casserole to the meal, which is another of our family favorites, and came from non other than my mother-n-law, Janet. I am so lucky to marry someone who's mother is such a good cook! I thought I would share the recipe:


2 good sized zucchinis, 1/2 onion diced, small can of tomato soup, shredded cheese, and salt and pepper.

First, slice zucchinis, then spread in bottom of casserole dish. Next, layer with the diced onions. Spread the tomato sauce, so that it covers everywhere. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover, and put in microwave, for about 12 minutes (may be more or less, depending on microwave), or until zucchini is fully cooked. Remove from microwave, sprinkle as much or little cheese as you like, and cover again. Let sit till cheese is melted.

Dessert was a huge hit, and Megan was kind enough to provide it!! The apple pie was very good and the chocolate cake was great! Personally, I can't get enough chocolate and I know a little girl who can't either!

Mmmm. . .Thanks Megan. . dinner was awesome!!

Easter Brunch

Mmm. . .my family LOVES breakfast casserole. It used to just be a special treat that we would get on Christmas morning at Matt's house. Then I found a really good recipe courtesy of Emeril! It is so good and so easy to make! If your on a diet this might not be the recipe for you! :)
Here's the recipe:

8 oz. of breakfast sausage, 12 to 16 1/2 inch slices of day old French bread, 6 oz of shredded cheese, 10 large eggs, 2 1/2 cups of half-and-half, 1/2 t salt, and 1/4 t ground pepper.

Brown the sausage over medium heat. Drain and set aside. Butter a 9 inch baking dish and line the bottom with half of the bread slices. Top the bread slices with half of the sausage, then half of the grated cheese. Make another layer with remaining bread, sausage, and cheese.

In mixing bowl combine the eggs, half-and-half, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the layered bread mixture. Cover and refrigerate for a least one hour and up to overnight.

Remove casserole from fridge and allow to come to room temperature for about 20 minutes. Position rack in center of oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Bake casserole, uncovered, until puffed and golden brown, about one hour. Remove the casserole from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe originally appeared in Emeril's "There's a Chef in My Family".

This is one of our family favorites and we do eat it for dinner also!

Monday, March 17, 2008

OK. . .

So. . .here is my first meal! Today is St. Patrick's day, so I figured I had to have something that was Irish, or least something I think is Irish! Since my kids wouldn't eat corned beef, and I couldn't give them cold beer, I decided I needed to come up with Plan B. Kaiden's favorite dish is Shepard's Pie, and I think it is an Irish dish, or from somewhere around there, so that is what we had for dinner!! I also thought about putting green food coloring in the kids' milk, but then decided not to after remembering how the kids were a little grossed out when I made green eggs for a green eggs and ham dish. (I don't know what's wrong with my kids!) The Shepard's pie was a hit, but not as much of a hit as dessert!! For dessert, we had a ice cream pie that I saw on the Internet somewhere!! The whole meal was so simple, and very satisfying!!

Shepard's Pie

Grasshopper Pie

So here are the instructions for the meal:

Shepard's Pie-

(Thanks to my mother-n-law for this simple, yet yummy recipe!)


1 lb of ground beef, 1 can of tomato soup, 1 can of green beans, family size serving of mashed potatoes

Cook the ground beef. Drain the grease. Add the tomato soup and green beans to the skillet and mix.

Put that mixture in a casserole dish and then spread the mashed potatoes on top. (Note about the potatoes: A good cook will make potatoes from scratch, aka my mother-n-law, but I just use instant potatoes. The trick is finding a good instant potato!) I had the oven warmed to make garlic bread, so when I was done making the Shepard's Pie, I put it in the oven to keep warm till we ready to eat! That's it!! It is so easy, yet really good!!

Now for dessert.

Grasshopper Pie


mint chocolate chip ice cream, tub of whipped cream topping, pre-made chocolate cookie crust

This was VERY simple!! I let the whipped cream topping thaw completely out and set the ice cream on the counter to get a little soft. When it was soft, I just spread the ice cream on the crust. Next, I spread on the whipped cream. Then I put the pie back into the freezer to set for about an hour and a half. Again, the recipe I saw online called for crushing Oreo cookies and spreading in a pie tin for the crust, but I am all about easy, so I bought an already made crust in the pie tin from the store!!

This is my Disclaimer!

Welcome to my online cookbook! This was a simple way for me to organize my recipes and get rid of all the scraps of paper and/or junk mail that had recipes scribbled on them. I am not claiming to be a great cook, or even a good cook!! :) However, these recipes are our family favorites, so we think they are pretty darn good!!