Sunday, March 29, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

The Ultimate Blog Party last week was so fun!!! I met a ton of new people & had so much fun with my Party Food post. I was hoping to find some new food carnivals to participate in, I'm working on ideas for a couple I found and plan to continue looking through all the links I haven't gotten to yet. This week will be pretty basic. We'll mostly be having family favorites, the titles are clickable links that will take you to the recipe.
Tuesday...Chili and cornbread muffins
Thursday...Hamburger & Rice
Friday...Meatloaf w/mashed potatoes
Saturday...Chili Verde
Check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for more Menu Plan Monday.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fresh Strawberry Pie

I think that California is the only place I have every actually seen this. It may be popular in other parts of the country, but I have not seen it since we moved to Tennessee in 2004.


pre-baked pie crust

2 pints strawberries

2 cup sugar

3 cups whipped cream

2 T corn starch

1 cup water

Any type of pre-made pie crust will work. I prefer to make one of my pie crusts & bake it, but a graham cracker crust will work too.

Remove the tops from the Strawberries and slice. Put in a large bowl and pour sugar over them. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Drain all accumulated juice from strawberries and transfer to a sauce pan. Add corn starch to cup of water. Bring Strawberry juice to a boil, stirring constantly and add water. Bring back to a boil and continue stirring for 5 minutes. Allow to cool & thicken for 5 minutes then pour over strawberries, stirring gently to coat. Pour coated strawberries into pie shell. Cover top of pie with whipped cream.
Swing by Blessed with Grace for more Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

Ultimate Blog Party 2009---Party Food!!!

Welcome to our Party!!! This is the first major blog carnival I have ever participated in and I'm just sooo EXCITED!!!

Ultimate Blog Party 2009

I was really enjoying all the weekly carnivals on my main blog, but made the decision that I didn't want to mix food into that blog. Starting a blog dedicated specifically to food was the logical solution. I've finally written down some family recipes that have been favorites for years, I've also found some new recipes and added them. I participate in Menu Plan Monday in an attempt to get myself more organized. I've also done Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, The Household Helper's Christmas Virtual Cookie Swap, The $10 KFC Cooking Challenge, The Lots of Kids Kitchen Challenge and Slow Cooker Thursday. I would love to be able to participate in these types of things every week. I am always on the lookout for new food carnivals....they are just sooo much FUN!

I love to put out a big spread for a party. Come on in, mingle around & feel free to eat to your hearts content. Today's menu is full of my favorites for a Spring gathering. Pour yourself a tall glass of Sweet Tea or Lemonade. If you prefer adult drinks, give my Hubby's homemade Hard Cider a try.

Start with the appetizers, there is sure to be something everyone will like.

Fresh Fruit Salad

Guacamole w/Tortilla chips

Spinach Dip in Sour Dough Bread Bowl

Pickle & Olive Tray

Veggie Tray with Hidden Valley Ranch Dip

Deviled Eggs

Cheese Tray

The Buffet is ready whenever you are. Eat up, there is plenty of food.

Spiral Sliced Honey Baked Ham

Cowboy Beans

Chicken Salad

Store bought Croissants

Potato Salad (sorry no picture)

The Desserts are over here. Go ahead and start here if you like, I won't mind.

Pretzel Salad

Strawberry pie

Jello Salad

Check out all the fun at the Ultimate Blog Party Headquarters.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Monday...Tacos and refried beans

Tuesday...Baked chicken w/mashed potatoes

Wednesday...Cowboy Beans

Thursday...Smoked sausage & Fried Potatoes

Friday...chicken Parmesan

Saturday...spaghetti & meatballs

Sunday...Beef Stew

Go to I'm an Organizing Junkie to see everyone else's menu for the week.

Cowboy Beans

I have seen the term "cowboy beans" refer to pork and beans (baked beans & hotdogs cooked together) But this is a little different.


1 lb browned & seasoned ground beef (salt, pepper & garlic to taste)

2 28 oz cans of Bush's baked beans (any flavor)

Combine meat and beans in a casserole dish. Cover with lid or foil and bake at 400 for 30 minutes. The flavor of the beans will determine the flavor of the casserole. Remove from oven and uncover, then allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. This is one of those things that tastes even better the next day when the flavors have had time to soak into the meat.

Deviled Eggs

These always remind me of EASTER!! They have got to be one of THE most Spring foods around. I think my association with Easter is based on the fact that for most of my life I've helped make deviled eggs out of the hard boiled Easter Eggs after they've been found.

Boiling eggs is very easy, but it is also easy to mess up.

Start with a medium sauce pan 3/4 full of water, add a couple sprinkles of salt and bring to a boil. When the water is boiling, turn the burner down and carefully add as many eggs as will fit in the bottom. Let them simmer in the water for 15 minutes, being careful not to allow the water to boil. After the 15 minutes, take the pan off the heat & allow to sit an additional 5 minutes. Put the pan of water in the sink and run the cold tap into the pan of eggs for a few minutes, then allow the eggs to sit in the pan for a few more minutes to cool. Transfer the eggs to a bowl and wait 30 minutes before peeling.

Once the eggs have cooled, you can make them into deviled eggs.


6 hard boiled eggs peeled
3 T mayonnaise
1T sweet pickle relish
1 T spicy brown mustard

Slice the eggs in half, remove the yoke completely and set the whites aside. In a bowl, smash the yokes and add the mayonnaise, relish and mustard. Mix well. Fill the whites with the yoke mixture and refrigerate until time to serve.

Potato Salad

This is a modification of the potato salad my Mom has always made. Warm weather always says "Potato Salad time" to me!!!

6-8 large potatoes boiled in the skins
1 yellow onion chopped
2 stalks celery
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup miracle whip
1/2 cup sweet pickle relish
1/4 yellow mustard
2 hard boiled eggs

Boil potatoes until fork goes in easily. Pour potatoes into a colander and allow to cool for at least an hour.(potatoes can be cooked & refrigerated up to 2 days in advance, but don't peel until ready to make the salad) When potatoes are cool, peel skin (cold potatoes are easiest to peel). Cut potatoes into 1 inch dices. In a small bowl combine chopped celery, chopped onions, mayonnaise, miracle whip, relish and mustard. Mix together thoroughly then mix into potatoes being sure to evenly coat all potatoes. Slice hard boiled eggs and garnish top of salad. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate a minimum of one hour before serving.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Jello Salad

small box cherry jello
small box orange jello
small box lime jello
small box lemon jello
small box strawberry jello
miniature marshmallows (optional)
whipped cream

Mix each package of jello in a separate bowl with one cup of boiling water each. Stir until completely dissolved. Pour into into pans or molds so that jello is about 1 inch deep. Refrigerate until fully set and firm. Slice into squares and pour into a large bowl. Stir in miniature marshmallows. Spoon into bowls to serve and garnish with whipped cream.

Pretzel Salad

This is a fabulous three layer dessert that my Sister in Law always makes for family gatherings.

1 bag pretzel sticks (crushed)
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar
one tub coolwhip
8 oz package of cream cheese
Large box of Berry jello (I use strawberry, but any kind of berry is good)
pint of fresh or frozen strawberries

In a 9 by 13 pan

(Crust) 1 bag pretzel sticks crushed (place into bottom of pan), pour 1/4 cup melted butter evenly over crushed pretzels. Bake at 350 until bottom looks firm and golden brown. Cool on rack

(Middle Layer) mix 1 cup sugar, one tub coolwhip and 8 ounces cream cheese (this takes a while as the cream cheese doesn't like to blend) Spread over fully cooled pretzel layer

(Top)Large box of berry flavored jello, pint of strawberries (chopped with tops removed if using fresh) and one cup boiling water. Boil water, stir into jello add strawberries set in fridge for 5-10 minutes until jello begins to set up. Spread jello/strawberry layer over middle layer. Return to fridge until jello is firmly set.

Sweet Tea

This is most of my family's favorite year round drink.

2 family size teabags
1 Lemon Zinger double teabag
1 cup sugar
1 gallon water

Fill a gallon pitcher half full with very hot water. Put teabags in pitcher to steep for 5 minutes. Remove teabags. Add 1 cup sugar, stir well. Fill pitcher the rest of the way with cold water. Serve over ice in tall glasses.

Chicken Salad

Most of my family will not eat this, but I LOVE it so much I just had to share. This is part of my Ultimate Blog Party 2009 menu.

2 cups leftover chicken
1 celery stalk
8-10 grapes
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish

Cut chicken into chunks. Dice celery. Slice grapes in half. Combine all ingedients in medium bowl

Salt and pepper to taste. Serve on croissants or toasted sourdough bread.

I'm linking this up to Tasty Tuesday Parade of Food over at Forever, hop over there to view the other parade entries.


Guacamole is very simple to make and oh so delicious!!! A little tip I learned while living in California: Save the pit & put it in the guacamole until you are ready to serve, it will keep it from turning brown.


4 soft ripe avocados
1/2 cup chunky salsa

To peel the avocados, slice in half and pull apart the avocado. Scoop out all the avocado and put into a bowl, smash the avocado up with a fork until it is smooth with no large lumps. Mix in salsa. Salt to taste.

Serve with Corn Tortilla chips or on taco's, burritos, etc.

Fresh Fruit Salad

My kids LOVE this!!!

1 can mandarin oranges in juice
1 lb green or red grapes washed & removed from stems
1 lb fresh strawberries remove tops and slice
1 can pineapple cubes in juice or 1/2 of a cored fresh pineapple cut in chunks
1 peeled and sliced kiwi (optional)

In a large bowl, combine all fruit, except kiwi, add juice from mandarin oranges. Not all of my kids like kiwi, so I put it on a separate plate to be added by anyone who wants it.

Spinach Dip in a Sourdough Bread Bowl

This is one of my absolute favorite appetizers. I mostly follow the recipe on the back of the Knorr Vegetable recipe mix.


1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed & squeezed dry
16 oz sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1 package Knorr vegetable recipe mix
1 can chopped water chestnuts (drained)

Combine all ingredients and chill for 2 hours.

While it is chilling, hollow out a large round of sourdough bread. Start by cutting a circle into the top of the round. Pull out as much of the bread as possible and put on a tray to be eaten with the dip. Cut up an additional round of sourdough for dipping. Transfer the chilled dip to the hollowed sourdough round for serving.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Taco Pie

My Hubby is the one who actually came up with this recipe. Over the years it has been one of his favorite things to take to work potlucks.

2 lbs ground beef
2 packets taco seasoning
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 small can diced black olives
1 small can diced green chillies
10 corn tortillas

Brown the ground beef and drain thoroughly. Return the ground beef to the skillet, add the taco seasoning according to the packet directions and add water as directed. Add can of black olives and can of green chillies. Cook until water is cooked out.

Spoon a 2 inch layer of meat into the bottom of a large casserole dish. Cover with 1/2 cup shredded cheese. Cover with layer of corn tortillas. Continue layering meat and cheese and tortillas. Cover with cheese and bake at 400 until all cheese is melted and top is golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing to serve.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Chicken & Stuffing Casserole

This is something I came up with recently from things I had in the kitchen. It turned out really well, so I thought I better write it down.

6 chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 lbs)
bag of frozen vegetables (the one with broccoli & mushrooms & a few other things is my current favorite for this)
1 can chicken broth (2 cups)
box of stuffing mix
herb seasoning or poultry seasoning

I prefer to cook my chicken first for things like this so that I don't have to worry whether it is DONE. Cook chicken with skin on in baking dish at 400 for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer chicken to a plate, reserving the drippings, allow to cool for one hour. After an hour, transfer the drippings to a sauce pan and add 2 cups of chicken broth. Heat to boiling. Thicken with flour or cornstarch & water to make gravy. Remove skin from chicken, and chicken from the bone. Discard the skin and bones. Break chicken into irregular chunks and add to gravy. Once all the chicken has been added to the gravy, season with either an herb blend for chicken or poultry seasoning. Heat a 16 oz bag of frozen vegetables until they are no longer stuck together, they don't have to be HOT.

Spread the vegetables in the bottom of a 9X11 baking dish or a casserole dish. Spread the chicken and gravy over top of the vegetables, covering the vegetables completely. Prepare the box of stuffing mix according to the box directions. Allow the stuffing to cool about 10 minutes, then spread it evenly over the gravy layer. Cover with foil and cook in the oven at 400 for 20 minutes or until hot all the way through.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tasty Tuesday...a little GREEN for St Patrick's Day

The kids are home from school all week for Spring Break. Since it is St Patrick's Day, we decided to make something GREEN. The kids always prefer to bake, so we made cupcakes.

Ingredients Boxed Cake Mix (prepare as directed for cupcakes)

3 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup softened butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons milk

Green food coloring

My 10 year old son and 8 year old daughter made these. They started with a yellow cake mix. They prepared the mix following the directions on the box. When it was thoroughly mixed they added enough green food coloring to get a nice lime color. They tried a few drops of blue first to see if it would mix with the yellow of the batter to create green, but it didn't work.

The frosting was made using a mixer. Creme together the softened butter and the powdered sugar, then add the vanilla, milk and food coloring. Whip with mixer until fluffy. They had to add additional food coloring a couple times to get to the desired grassy Spring color.

Let the cupcakes cool completely, then frost!!! Yum!!!
Drop by Forever...Wherever to see her Irish inspired recipes & see what everyone else brought for the Parade of Food this week.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

This week the kids are on Spring Break.

Monday...Hot dogs, chips & potato salad
Tuesday... (St Patricks Day) Corned Beef & boiled potatoes
Wednesday...Breakfast for Dinner. Homemade waffles w/ sausage patties
Saturday...Hamburger & Rice
Menu Plan Monday is being hosted at $5 Dinners this week, go take a look!!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Enchilada Casserole

My family loves enchiladas. We usually eat cheese enchiladas, but this recipe works well for any type of enchilada. The basic recipe is pretty simple.


corn tortillas (about 8 to 10)

shredded cheddar or jack cheese (2 to 4 cups depending on how much you like cheese)

can of red enchilada sauce

can of diced chilies (optional)

can of sliced olives (optional)

I usually make this in an 11X9 baking dish. Pour a thin layer of enchilada sauce into the bottom of the pan. Next I tear corn tortillas in half and line the pan with them.

For cheese enchiladas, I put 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese in next covered with a layer of diced green chillies and then another layer of corn tortillas. Add another thin layer of enchilada sauce and then another layer of shredded cheese. Sometimes I garnish the top with sliced black olives.

To make chicken enchiladas, I shred 2 to 3 cups of chicken that has already been cooked & soak it in enchilada sauce. I substitute the chicken for the two cups of shredded cheese in the center and sprinkle about 1/2 cup of shredded cheese over the meat.

Green chillies are good with the chicken, but I don't always put them in. Cover with a layer of corn tortillas. Add a thin layer of sauce and then another layer of shredded cheese. I don't use the black olives in my chicken enchiladas & sometimes garnish the top with green chillies instead. Shredded beef or seasoned ground beef also work well for the center layer.

This can be made ahead in a foil pan, covered tightly with foil & frozen until ready to cook.

Cover pan with foil, cook at 375 for 30 minutes. Remove foil and cook until cheese is golden. If cooking from frozen, cook at 375 for 50 minutes before removing foil, then return to oven until cheese is golden brown. To store after it has been cooked, slice into portion size squares & put in Ziploc bags. Reheat in microwave until hot all the way through.