Thursday, September 29, 2011

Shout Out to the Taco Salad

There are some meals that really require no recipe, but sometimes we just need a reminder that they could be an option for dinner tonight. For the sake of this blog, I will give a "Shout Out" to some of my favorite easy dinner ideas. These "Shout outs" are meals that require less than 15 minutes of preparation, and a lot of times you can use left over materials that you have in your pantry and fridge to put them together. The first was Hawaiian Haystacks. I love these kind of meals, because they use ingredients that I keep well stocked in my kitchen, and if i don't have all of them, or have others to throw in, it usually works out.
I love taco salad, and let's be honest because it is so easy, we eat it a lot. Especially on those late home from work days.

Taco Salad

ground beef (browned)
1 can of beans, drained (any kind really)
taco seasoning
1/4 onion, diced
lettuce (any kind works)
tomatoes, diced
olives, sliced
salsa (we open a can of Pato)
ranch or sour cream
avocado (if you have it, I rarely have them on hand)

1. I like to brown the ground beef with onion, beans and taco seasoning. (you could replace the ground beef with shredded chicken or keep it vegetarian with just beans)
2. Throw on what you like, how you like it. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Grandma Sullivan's Chilli

If you are a Sullivan/ Wells/ Webb and visit Grandma Sullivan during lunch time, you know Grandma Sullivan's Chilli. She makes a big pot of it and keeps it hot on the stove for anyone to that drops by. And it will be what you get for lunch everyday until it is gone. It is so easy to make and so delicious and great for big families.
Sunday I had my sullivan cousins over for dinner and made a big pot of this chilli. I also surprised them with a Grandma Sullivan Cake! I was in St. George on Saturday and asked Grandma to make me a cake to bring for this occasion. I knew she could not say no to pleasing a few of her grandkids. It was so fun. Just like old times when we would sit for hours on Grandma's front porch eating that cake and just laughing. I am so grateful for those memories and for cousins. It felt as though not a week had been missed spending a Sunday together. We laughed just as we did before.

Grandma Sullivan's Chilli

1 lb of ground beef (browned and drained)
1/4 onion diced
1 large can of Pork N Beans
1 small can of baked beans
2 cans white beans (drained)
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans tomato soup
1 1/2 packets of chilli seasoning
(I also like to add 1/4 cup brown sugar and a little extra chilli powder)

1. brown meat and onion and drain off grease.
2. open cans and poor it all together. (don't forget to drain the white beans) add seasonings and let simmer until cooked together.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Six-Week Bran Muffins

I got this recipe from the Food Nanny's Cookbook. (If you haven't checked this cook book out, you should be convinced by now to go and get your own copy. Every recipe is SO GOOD! I have not been disappointed yet.) I have been wanting to try this one for awhile, because I love bran muffins but thought it was a little big for just the two of us. We have had James' parents at our house for a few days and I thought this would be a perfect time to try it out. More people to eat the muffins and hot muffins every morning,... I come off as a very impressive house wife, when really it takes seconds to pop them in the oven.
The theory is the dough lasts for six weeks as long as it is stored in an air tight container in the fridge. So you can pull it out, bake as many or as few muffins as you would like and then pop it back in the fridge for another day. And they are SO GOOD! Did I mention I love bran muffins? Plus it is really impressive to have fresh hot muffins any morning of the week.

Six-Week Bran Muffins

5 cups whole wheat flour
5 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
6 cups raisin bran or bran flakes cereal
3 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup canola oil
1 quart buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a very large bowl. Add the cereal and sugar, and mix.
2. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Blend in the oil, buttermilk, and vanilla. Pour the egg mixture into the cereal mixture and stir well.
3. Transfer the batter to a large plastic container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate until ready to use. The batter will keep for 6 weeks.
4. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and generously grease muffin cups or use cupcake liners (way faster). Do not stir the batter before filling the cups about 2/3 full. Bake until the tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes.

Red Sauce and White Sauce

James really likes Italian food, so I think that is why I am so interested in Italian cooking. I like to please him since he is my biggest critic... or only critic. (Unless you come over for dinner, then I promise you I will aim to please.) So while most people are interested in making bread from scratch (I tried once. Failed. Have yet to try again. Don't judge me. I will master bread making another day.) I wanted to know how to make spaghetti sauce (or red sauce) from scratch. The Cake Boss made it on his show one time and it looked fairly easy.... Well, let me tell you, I made it. It is delicious, but it is NOT easy. It takes a good amount of time and if I were to make it again, I would like a lot of help, a big kitchen, and lots more tomatoes like they had on Cake Boss. I share the recipe with you today, and if you are ambitious enough, it is REALLY good. But if you are not, stay ignorant and stick with your favorite bottled brand. (PS. mine is Barilla both tomato basil and the spicy marinara... YUM)

Red Sauce

about 12 tomatoes-seeded
3 cloves garlic
1 onion quarted
fresh basil
fresh oregano
olive oil
salt to taste

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. put ingredients in oven safe dish and drizzle olive oil over the top. bake for 45 min to an hour
3. remove skin from tomatoes and process everything in a food processor. add salt to taste
4. place in a sauce pan and simmer until reduced and thick to your liking
5. serve over your favorite pizza or pasta

*Holds in the fridge for a few days or freezes well.


The next is your basic white sauce or Alfredo Sauce rather. I got this recipe from Traci and I have loved it ever since. You can use it for anything; pour over veggies, use as a pizza sauce, mix with red sauce over pasta, ... or just over some chicken and noodles is how we most often eat it. I like this recipe because most recipes I've tried are much more fatty and use thick cream as a base. This isn't fat free but it is much less fat filled than most Alfredo recipes out there. So enjoy.

White Sauce (Alfredo)

2 or 3 Tbsp butter
1 8 oz package of cream cheese (I always buy the 1/3 less fat kind)
1 cup milk
1 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and ground pepper to taste

1. in a sauce pan melt butter on low add cream cheese and melt on a very low temperature until creamy and with out chunks.
2. add milk slowly. adding a little and letting it combine with the cream cheese and a little more until blended and warm
3. stir in Parmesan cheese and continue to warm on stove until melted completely. Add salt and ground pepper to taste.

Best Foods: Parmesan Crusted Chicken

I don't very often have the time to watch TV. But one night it was on and I am glad it was because I saw a Best Foods Mayonnaise commercial with this recipe. I went to the website and planned to try it immediately. All I can say, is DELICIOUS! Only four ingredients and you are on your way to a delicious mealtime. (That sounds like a commercial). It is actually part of a contest. You can go on and challenge the recipe with another one, and if voters like yours better there is a prize to be won. There are a couple of challenger recipes and I might give them a try but for now this is a WINNER. Go to to see details. I share it also with you today.
***This would be SO good over some noodles and red sauce. A SUPER easy Chicken Parmesan! (Way easier than the one I shared before, although I still like that recipe).

Parmesan Crusted Chicken

1/2 cup Best Foods Mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 boneless chicken breasts halved (or chicken tenderloins)
4 tsp. Italian seasoned bread crumbs (I make my own with just crushed crackers, Italian seasoning and garlic salt, SO EASY and delicious. You can use it whenever you need bread crumbs)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Combine Mayonnaise with Parmesan cheese. Arrange chicken on baking sheet and spread mayo mixture over the top of each breast. Sprinkle bread crumbs over top of each chicken breast.
3. Bake for 20 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Surprise Fruit Cobbler

This is a small disclaimer: This recipe blog is NOT a healthy recipe blog. I like healthy food, and I like to make healthy food, but let's be honest, healthy does not always equal delicious or decadent or ... yummy. I share delicious, decadent and yummy recipes on this blog. Sometimes they are healthy... this one is NOT. Hence the disclaimer. But it is DELICIOUS!
This recipe comes from the Food Nanny's cook book. I've mentioned her cookbook before. I like it a lot. I went to a demonstration she did and someone asked the question, if so many of her recipes are filled with cream, butter, or cheese, how she is able to stay so thin. She said that she just eats less. She would rather eat less good tasting food, than more of the other stuff. I agree. Thank you Food Nanny.
I made this the other day because we had a bunch of peaches that were going bad that needed to be used. And since it is that time of year when peaches are in season (and other fruit) I thought it appropriate to share my favorite cobbler recipe. It is so good. You can use whatever fruit you want, fresh, frozen, or canned. And any combination, but she says that in the recipe. So check it out for yourself.

Surprise Fruit Cobbler

1/2 c butter cut up
1 c flour
1 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 c milk
3 1/2 c fresh, or canned fruit drained (I have used frozen before, and it works fine)
3/4 c firmly packed brown sugar
Ground cinnamon

Ice cream or whipped cream (Necessary)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Melt the butter in a square baking pan in the oven. Remove the pan from oven
3. Stir the flour, sugar, baking powder in a medium bowl. Stir in the milk. Gently pour the mixture into the melted butter in the baking pan. Do not stir.
4. Place fruit of your choice evenly over the batter, top with the brown sugar, ad sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake until the cobbler is well browned and fruit is cooked. The baking time will vary depending on the fruit. Start checking for doneness at 40 minutes.

*Serve right out of the oven, with ice cream.

**The surprise is that the fruit starts out on the top and ends up on the bottom... SURPRISE!