Saturday, February 27, 2010

Seven Layer Tortilla Pie

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I've been making this recipe for years and it's one of my favorites. My kids all HATE this though but if yours like beans then it won't be a problem. In the past I would give them chicken nuggets because I knew they didn't like it but now I want them to get used to it. I'm so mean aren't I? I love the flavors of the fresh cilantro, garlic, and tomatoes in this. This can also be lower fat by using low fat sour cream and cheese. Enjoy!


2 (15 oz) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 TB chopped fresh cilantro
2 big cloves garlic, minced
1 C salsa, divided
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 C chopped tomatoes
2 C shredded cheddar cheese
7 (8 inch) flour tortillas
Sour cream and salsa for topping

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, mash pinto beans. Stir in 3/4 C salsa and garlic.
In a separate bowl, mix together 1/4 C salsa, cilantro, black beans, and tomato.
Coat a deep pie plate with cooking spray and place one tortilla in it.
Spread 3/4 C pinto beans mixture over tortilla to within a 1/2 inch of edge.
Top with 1/4 C cheese and cover with another tortilla. Spread 2/3 C black bean mixture over and top with 1/4 C cheese. Repeat layers twice more.
Cover with remaining tortilla and spread with remaining pinto bean mixture and cheese. Cover with foil. (It will be tall!)
Bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve with salsa and sour cream.

My New Food "Rules"

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Have you seen the documentary Food, Inc? We saw it about a month ago and we haven't been the same since. We learned things about the food industry, especially meat, that we had no clue about. My main issue after watching it was with beef. I knew that the cows were treated badly but it hit me hard actually seeing it. Also, did you know that they feed cows corn now? Did you know that is the reason for all of the e.coli outbreaks? Cows aren't meant to eat corn but they are "training" them to and as the corn is trying to digest it can form bacteria. Grass fed cows don't have this problem and I realized that we should eat animals that have eaten well themselves. Makes sense doesn't it? I could go on and on but I'll let you see it for yourself because I highly recommend it (we got it from Netflix). After seeing it, Ben and I made the decision to eat way less meat and to only buy organic beef from grass fed cows. This will cost more, but if we eat less meat and less junk food, then we can certainly afford it or at least feel better about spending more. I still have issues with chicken but not as bad. I haven't bought potato chips, Pop Tarts, Little Debbie cakes, etc for a month now. Guess what? No one has complained! If it's not there, they are forced to choose something else so the transition has gone smoothly. I'm reading a book right now called Food Rules by Michael Pollan and he says "junk food" is fine, just make it yourself. If you have to make it yourself you won't do it often and you know what ingredients are going into it. I was worried about what the heck I was going to cook if we didn't have meat but we actually went 5 days straight last week with vegetarian dinners. Unfortunately Ethan hates beans (except green beans) so he's having a hard time with all the new bean dishes. I haven't bought any beef because I have to go to Whole Foods Market for that and haven't had a chance. We've been eating chicken once a week, fish/shrimp once a week and the rest of our dinners without meat. I feel healthier already! As much as I am a "city girl" I would love to have a home where I could raise my own organically fed chickens for the eggs and grow a huge organic garden. You will now be seeing more vegetarian foods but don't worry I still love beef but I won't be cooking it as often. Ok, off my soapbox now!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Fish Fillets Italiano

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I made this for the first time the other night and it was a hit! We eat fish or shrimp at least once a week and all of us like it. I get most of my fish from Schwan's because it's just so good from them. I buy our salmon and cod from them and sometimes tilapia. I got tilapia fillets from Sam's a month or so ago and was really happy with that too. I like to buy fish that has been flash frozen because it never has that "fishy" smell to it. I also never buy fish that is pre-seasoned because I don't like all the sodium and junk that they put on it. This recipe would work well with any mild white fish like cod, tilapia, or halibut. Also, the amount of time you cook the fish depends on how thick it is. I served this over plain white rice. I didn't think my kids would like this one but they ALL ate it and said that cod was their new favorite fish. Yay!

adapted from Allrecipes

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup black olives, pitted and sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 pound cod fillets
Salt & Pepper to taste
1. In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic in olive oil until softened.
2. Stir in tomatoes, olives, parsley, and broth. Simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Place fillets in sauce and add a little S&P to the tops of the fish. Simmer for about 5-10 more minutes, or until fish turns white. (No opaqueness)

My Favorite New Kitchen Gadget

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I got this Rachael Ray Bench Scrape Shovel a couple of weeks ago and LOVE it. I am using it way more than I thought I would. I cook dinner 6 nights a week and usually have to chop something. This tool helps you scrape up the chopped food to transfer to a pot/pan. Before, I used my hands or the side of my big knife but this gets most of it, if not all, in one scoop. It is also useful for clearing away the unused parts from chopping to transfer to the trash. Love this! I got it on Amazon for around $14 and it was worth it.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Especially Dark Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting

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My mom gave me this recipe several months ago but I hadn't found a good excuse to make it yet. I finally made it to take to a dinner invite where I was asked to bring dessert. The batter is so runny that I was skeptical but wow it was so good! The recipe calls for dark chocolate cocoa and I only had regular. It turned out great, though, but next time I'll try dark. I think the dark cocoa would make the cake flavor stronger but I thought the frosting was perfect. It reminded me of the frosting on chocolate topped donuts! My absolute favorite dessert is chocolate cake with chocolate frosting so even though it wasn't my "cheat day" I couldn't keep my hands off of it. I now know what my 30th birthday cake will be! I have to have something to look forward to that dreadful day don't I?

It made 24 cupcakes and I still had batter leftover. I used the rest in some mini bundt pans of mine. For cupcakes, only bake for about 15 minutes. The recipe says a cake would take 30 minutes but I'd check it after 20 just to be safe.


2 cups sugar
1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
¾ cup Hershey’s special dark cocoa
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
½ cup vegetable oil (canola worked for me)
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup boiling water

Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour two 9 inch pans. Stir together dry ingredients, add eggs milk, oil and vanilla. Beat at med. speed 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water, batter will be thin. Pour into pans, bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

1 stick butter
2/3 cup Hershey’s dark cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
½ tsp vanilla
Melt butter in a saucepan, stir in cocoa, alternately add powdered sugar, milk, beat till spreading consistency, add vanilla, and add a little more milk if needed.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Pasta with Sausage and Peppers

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I whipped this up the other night with no recipe and it turned out so good! I had seen these Chicken with Spinach and Asiago Cheese sausages at Sam's and thought they looked good. They'd been sitting in my freezer for a while and I needed to use them. This recipe would work with any kind of smoked sausage really. You could use turkey sausage, pork kielbasa or Sam's actually had lots of other flavors of chicken sausage. This is an easy, quick, flavorful dinner! I took these pictures with our new camera and love how they turned out!



1 TB olive oil
Approx 1-1.5 lb smoked sausage, sliced (I used 6 links, not sure how much it was exactly)
2 bell peppers, any color (I used red and green)
1 medium onion, sliced
1 lb penne rigate pasta
1 jar prepared alfredo sauce (Newman's Own or Bertolli are my faves)

Start cooking pasta according to package directions and when it's done, drain and set aside. Meanwhile in a large skillet or pot heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add sausage, peppers and onions and saute for about 15 min or until onions are caramalized and peppers are soft. Add alfredo sauce and heat through, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan. Add pasta and mix well. Serve!

Doesn't this look pretty?

You want it to have some good color on it like this:

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

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This recipe is from my favorite recipe finder website It said "High Altitude" Banana Chocolate Chip cookies but it says for a lower elevation to "increase baking powder to two teaspoons, and reduce flour to three and one quarter cups." They are cakey and soft and delicious! My kids absolutely love these too! Be careful not to overcook these or they will get dry really fast. You only want the edges to be a very light golden brown. The top doesn't need to brown.

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies


3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mashed banana
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


1.Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside.
2.In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and brown sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla and mashed banana. Mix in the dry ingredients until just blended, then fold in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets.
3.Bake for 11 to 13 minutes in the preheated oven or until edges are just barely light brown. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Butternut Squash and Bacon Mac-n-Cheese

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I tried this the other night and Ben and I loved it! I found this on a blog and they said that they got it from Cooking Light magazine. We both love butternut squash but I never buy it because the kids don't like it. That is understandable, though, because I hated squash too as a kid. Not surprisingly, my kids picked out the noodles and left the squash. We made them eat 2 bites of the squash and they all hated it. So, next time my plan is after I roast the squash I'll put it in a food processor or blender and add a little chicken broth. I'll add the puree in the cheese mixture and they'll never know! I just love the sweetness that the squash added. I used cavatappi pasta because it's my favorite for mac-n-cheese. This makes a whole 9x13 pan which was way too much for us but I think it would freeze well. Just divide it into two pans and don't cook the one you plan to freeze.

Butternut Squash and Bacon Mac-n-Cheese
Cooking Light

1 Butternut Squash, peeled and cubed
Cooking Spray
1 Tbsp Dried Rosemary
1 box Pasta of choice
7 slices of Bacon
1 cups Shallots, diced
1/4 cup Flour
2 cups Milk (1 or 2%)
1 cup Italian Blend shredded cheese
1/3 cup grated Fresh Parmesan

Preheat to 425. Coat the squash lightly in cooking spray, rosemary, and S&P. Roast in a pan for 45 minutes until squash is tender.

While the squash is roasting, cook the pasta, and fry the bacon. When the bacon is done, pour off all but 1 Tbsp of the drippings. Set aside the bacon, and cook the shallots 7 minutes or until translucent in the leftover drippings. Crumble the bacon and set it aside with the shallots. When the squash is done roasting, mix in the bacon and shallots and turn the oven up to 450.

Put the flour in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan over medium-high heat and slowly whisk in the milk. When all the milk has been added, bring to a boil for 1 minute or until slightly thickened (don't let it get too thick!!). Remove from heat and stir in the shredded cheese. Combine the pasta and the squash mixture in a 9×13 casserole dish, and pour the milk and cheese mixture over the top. Stir to coat. Top with grated parmesan and pop back in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese starts to brown.

Monday, February 1, 2010

What do you think?

Pin It If you try one of the recipes from my blog PLEASE tell me what you think! Just leave it in the comment section if you love it or hate it. I promise I won't be offended if you didn't like it because I know everyone has different tastes. Thanks!