Main dishes

Cilantro-Lime Chicken Fajita Pizza with Grilled Onions

I know this is such a cheater way of updating my food blog, but this accidental leftover turned AMAZING and I HAD to share!!!  These Cilantro-lime chicken fajitas that I posted a while back have been a "go to" fave for our family.  It makes a ton and we always have leftover.  So a few nights back I decided why not make it a pizza???  I LOVE pizza and I'm pretty sure you can make almost anything into one.  So here we go in a few super EASY steps....

  1. Use 1-2 cups of leftover fajitas
  2. Use 1/4-1/2 cup salsa
  3. Use your all time favorite pizza dough...we prefer the one below.  Although as a BUSY Mom of four littles Trader Joes prepared dough & herbed dough are TOTALLY acceptable and SUPER AMAZING!
  4. Top with Cheddar, Monterey Jack, or Mozzarella   :)

Assembly: Pizza dough (follow pizza dough directions below), top with some salsa in place of where your red sauce would be, spread fajita leftovers evenly, and then lightly top with your cheese of choice!  EASY!!! Bake until golden brown and all bubbly!  We also love to slide the pizza off the pan right onto the oven rack for a few minutes to get a crispier crust just at the last 5 minutes or so.  Oh and if you ever grill your pizzas then this would be AMAZING too!  Sadly our grill is out of commission at this time or that would be our preferred method!  Enjoy!!!  Let me know if you give it a shot and what you think.  Our family LOVED it!  I think next time I'll top it with some sliced jalapenos for a little kick!  Happy cooking!!!

Great Pizza Dough

Makes enough dough for 2 pizza's

5c. flour

2tsp salt

2c. warm water

2 pkg's of active dry yeast

2 tbsp. sugar

Creamy Swedish Meatballs

So, I am addicted to  Have you been on there yet?  There is so much eye candy from crafts, fashion, tips, organization, to recipes and MORE! I adapted a recipe I found on pinterest last night and our family is in LOVE!  The homemade Swedish meatballs are super easy to throw together and the sauce is so creamy...(I could seriously get up right now and warm myself up another bowl!!!)  Also, my son had 3RDS!!!  All the kids loved this recipe as well, so it was super family friendly..YAY!  I sure hope you get a chance to make this, It's a keeper for sure!  When my sweet Hubby find a favorite recipe he is sure to ask me to put this in our "favorites" file, and this one made it in!  Btw, please forgive my photo skills, I didn't think to take a picture until last minute and snapped it with my phone.  :)  Happy Cooking!!!

Creamy Swedish Meatballs

•2 tsp olive oil

•1 small sweet onion, minced

•1 1/2 clove garlic, minced

•1 celery stalk, minced

•1/4 cup minced parsley

•1 lb Ground beef

•1 egg

•1/4 cup Plain breadcrumbs

•salt and pepper to taste

•1 tsp allspice

•4 cups reduced sodium beef stock

•8 oz cream cheese, softened

•2 Tbsp cornstarch

•Season salt, to taste

•1/2 tsp garlic powder

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large deep saute pan, heat oil on medium heat, add onions, celery and garlic; sauté until onions are translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add parsley and cook until soft, about 1-2 more minutes. Let cool a few minutes. In a large bowl combine beef, egg, onion mixture, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and allspice. Mix well and form meatballs with your hands 1/8 cup each (fill 1/4 cup then divide the meat in half).  Place on greased cookie sheet & bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.  Place on paper towel to drain any other grease and set aside.

Add beef stock to the pan and bring to a low boil; add cream cheese (cut up in chunks) and bring to a boil stirring continually until the cream cheese has melted down into the broth.  In a separate little bowl put 2 Tbsp corn starch and just enough cold water to make a paste.  Add to cream sauce and  continue to stir while at a low boil until thickened.  Taste sauce and add 1/2 tsp garlic powder & season salt to your taste. Place meatballs into the cream sauce and turn your heat down to low. Garnish with parsley and serve over rice or egg noodles or with toothpicks if you want to set these out as an appetizer.  Enjoy!

Chicken Soup with Herb Dumplings

So, when I think of Chicken & dumplings I think of the ultimate comfort food.  I actually didn't grow up on it, but after I was married and after many trial and error, I've finally come up with our very own and favorite Chicken & dumpling recipe.  It seems that a lot of the different recipes I have tried over the years have different ideas of what a dumpling truly is.  According to Wikipedia, Dumplings are cooked balls of dough. Some of the recipes I have had "dumplings" in the name but were more like thick noodles.  This dumpling recipe below is an actual Mennonite recipe and we have loved it!  They ARE little clouds of heaven floating around in golden broth.  Mmmmm.... :)  I hope you love this recipe as much as we do!

Chicken soup:

6-8 cups water

Season salt


1 tbsp Thyme

Chicken bullion (I use the loose stuff, not cubes & just add to my taste)

Turmeric (just a pinch)

2-3 chicken breasts

1 med sweet onion, chopped

1 ½ c. Celery heart & stalk, sliced

2 large carrots, grated

2 bay leafs

2 tsp butter

2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

¼ cup Heavy cream

-Boil chicken breasts, seasonings, & bullion in 6-8 cups water. Remove chicken when cooked through reserving cooking liquid in pot. Shred chicken and add back to pot. Saute’ celery, onion, carrots, & bay leaf in 2 tbsp oil/2 tbsp butter mix with lid on, stirring and cooking through until veggies are soft. Add cream to soup pot along with sauteed veggies, taste to be sure seasonings are to your liking, adjust as needed. Bring soup to a boil, then turn down and simmer for 15-20 minutes; prepare dumplings (directions below) and drop into low boiling soup by spoonful’s. Turn down to med-low or low boil and cover for 18 minutes to cook dumplings. Remove bay leafs, serve & Enjoy!


2 c. flour

1 tsp salt

4 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp parsley

1 egg

2 tbsp melted butter

2/3 c. milk

Sift first 4 ingredients into bowl, then mix in dried parsley, then combine remaining ingredients and stir in quickly with a wooden spoon until smooth. Drop by spoon evenly around boiling soup. Cover tightly and simmer 18 minutes until done…no peeking, keep the lid on! YUM!!!


Easy Chicken Spaghetti

A sweet friend loaned me her Pioneer Woman Cookbook (Which I NEED to give back hehehe) and I found this delicious recipe and LOVE IT!  It's perfect because I can put it together earlier in the day, and then just pop it in the oven about 45 minutes before my Hubby gets home & there's dinner.  The boys devoured this up and I really liked it as well.  This would also be a wonderful meal to take to someone in need.  :)  PW's recipe is all from scratch and starts with a whole fryer chicken that you boil and simmer for 25 minutes.  With 3 kids under 3 1/2 there are just times I can't be in the kitchen for that's just the season I am in.  I have to nurse, clean and change a million diapers in there some where too!  :)  So I hope you like my easy spin off of her amazing recipe!  If you DO have the time to make it her way then GO FOR IT!!!  It will taste amazing! 

Easy Chicken Spaghetti
Adapted from: The Pioneer Woman

1 lb. Spaghetti Noodles
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1 (4oz) Jar diced pimientos, diced  (These are just roasted red peppers that have been canned or bottled in liquid)
2 tsp olive oil
1 sweet onion
1/4 cup finely diced green bell pepper
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
2 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided
1 tsp seasoned salt  (I use Lantana of Texas all purpose seasoning)
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 to 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, to taste

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.  Bring a pot of salted water to boil; break spaghetti noodles in half and add spaghetti noodles to pot.  boil for 8 minutes.  Drain spaghetti and your jar of pimientos and set aside.

Then finely dice the onion and bell pepper.  Heat a medium pan on the stove with 2 tsp of olive oil; saute the onion and bell pepper till soft, but not translucent.  (They will still cook more in the oven)  Set aside.

In a large bowl place the cooked spaghetti noodles, cream of mushroom soup, 2 cups of cheddar cheese, the sauteed onion, bell pepper, drained pimientos, and seasonings.  Finally add the chicken and chicken broth; stir together well, taste to check the seasonings.  If you like more spice add more cayenne pepper!

Pour the mixture into a 9 x 13 baking dish; top with the remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.  Bake for 35-45 minutes, until bubbly.  ENJOY!

Ham & Broccoli Frittata

Some nights around here we like to have breakfast for dinner! Easy ingredients and not as labor intensive! Now, I know you have to turn the potatoes every 10-15 minutes...but trust me, it is WORTH the effort! I LOVE these potatoes better than frying them any day! This meal is so budget conscious & it’s an excellent way to use any leftover ham or veggies! Feel free to skip the meat and make it a full vegetarian dish. You can always add any of your other favorite veggies like mushrooms, tomatoes etc… Yum! Now all we are missing is a good cup of Joe! :)

Ham & Broccoli Frittata

1 cup broccoli florets, diced
½ cup green onions, diced
2 cloves garlic
1-2 tablespoon butter
1 cup cooked ham (or sliced turkey works wonderfully as well)
8 eggs
1/4 cup half & half or milk (you could use water here if you have a milk allergy)
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1-1/2 cups cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375° and spray/grease a 1-1/2 quart baking dish. (I used a pie plate and it worked perfectly!)
Clean and dice the broccoli florets and onions. Finely chop the garlic cloves. Cube the ham, & grate the cheese.
Add the butter to a skillet over medium heat and sauté the broccoli, onions and garlic until tender. Add the ham and heat through. Remove the skillet from the heat and cover to keep warm.
In a large bowl beat together the eggs, half & half, and mustard until well blended. Stir in the cheese and broccoli mixture from the skillet.
Pour into your prepared dish and bake for 25 – 35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and the center does not jiggle. YUM!
Yield: 4 – 6 servings.

Cashew Chicken

I have to say that when I first saw this recipe nothing amazing stood out other than the Cashews (Which I happen to LOVE with ALL my heart!). We had a long day at the lake last week and I had everything to make this that evening. I figured it wouldn't take too I got the white rice going and this whole dish came together in less than 30 minutes!!! I have to tell you that this was the first time I have ever cooked with Hoisin sauce and boy was this dish YUMMY!!!!! I LOVED the flavor and the toasted cashews were delicious. I think next time I just might steam or saute' some veggies to go in this! OH!!! I just might even put together some Salad rolls with sweet chili sauce to go along with it too. So many choices so little time! :)

Cashew Chicken

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
8 scallions, sliced, white and green parts separated
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup raw cashews, toasted
Salt and pepper, to taste
White rice, for serving (optional)

In a medium bowl, toss chicken with cornstarch until chicken is coated. Season with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken, tossing often, for 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and white parts of scallions to the skillet. Continue cooking until chicken is browned, about 3 minutes more. Add vinegar and cook until evaporated, about 30 seconds. Stir in hoisin sauce and 1/4 cup water. Cook and stir until chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat. Stir in scallion greens and toasted cashews. Serve immediately over white rice, if desired.

Well, It's not every day that you meet a dear friend who LOVES food and LOVES talking about it as much as you do!!! My sweet friend Marta is JUST THAT! We can talk about anything under the sun...but get us talking about food and the hours fly! She was so sweet to have our family of four over for dinner last week and she seriously made some AMAZING dishes. I asked if she would be interested in being my guest blogger this week and sharing a few of the recipes she made. Lucky for us, she gladly excepted! I hope you enjoy her and her two delicious recipes! I am wishing I had a plate of her yummy pasta and a cup of lemonade RIGHT NOW!!! Enjoy!

One of our favorite pasta dishes to make for family and friends is the Cold Spinach Linguine Pasta Salad. It always hits the spot with the prosciutto for crispiness and the feta cheese for some tartness and creaminess! We made it this past weekend for our great friends, The Sorensens. We also sipped on some Lavender Infused Lemonade, which I don't have a picture of. These are just a few recipes we enjoyed last weekend, we hope you enjoy them too!

Cold Spinach Linguine Pasta Salad

1 # (box) of Linguine

1 bag of fresh baby spinach

6 oz – thinly sliced prosciutto

2 Tbsp – finely chopped garlic (I use the whole bunch on mine!)

2 Tbsp – fresh basil

2 Tbsp – fresh oregano

¾ cup – olive oil

½ # tomato basil feta cheese (crumbled) or Gorgonzola cheese (crumbled)

½ cup – pine nuts or almonds (toasted golden)

Boil linguine. Slice spinach in thin strips. Cook prosciutto, garlic, basil, oregano in ½ cup olive oil on medium heat until browned, about 3 minutes (you can make this dressing ahead, I usually make it a night ahead).

When pasta is drained, add remaining ¼ cup of olive oil and toss the dressing and the remaining ingredients.

Garnish: fresh basil and grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Chicken Divan & Egg Noodle Casserole

I have to tell you that since my little guy is 11 months old now, he is sooo OVER baby food! He only has 6 teeth though, so there are a lot of things he still can't eat. Lately I have been making a LOT of casserole dishes since they can contain almost every food group & are easy for my little turtle to eat. The left overs are perfect for freezing and then pulling out on the nights we have a "grown up" dish! So I saw a recipe by Rachel Ray and I KNEW we would love it! I of course had to put my own spin on things and we all LOVED this dish. Both of my boys had seconds tonight and I would have...but these days I am running out of room!!!! :) I hope you make this for your family & friends. This is DEFINITELY company worthy!!! Eat well!

Chicken Divan & Egg Noodle Casserole
Adapted from Rachel Ray

For the cream sauce:
1 tablespoon EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1 turn of the pan
4 tablespoons butter, plus additional to coat dish
2 Shallots, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons flour
2 cup chicken stock
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
Salt and pepper (to taste)
1 (15oz can) cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup dry white wine

1 pound broccoli florets
1 pound extra wide egg noodles
3 chicken breasts, cooked & diced
2 1/4 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 1/4 cups fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
Yields: 8-10 servings

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the broccoli and egg noodles. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
To make the mushroom sauce, heat a medium-size sauce pot over medium heat. Add EVOO and the butter. When butter melts, add in sliced shallots and cook 3 minutes, until just tender. Sprinkle in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the chicken stock & white wine, bring up to a bubble, then stir in the cream. Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer. Season sauce with nutmeg, salt and pepper. (Be sure to taste the sauce and add the seasoning to your liking!!!)

Drop the egg noodles into boiling salted water in a separate pot and cook to al dente (usually 8 minutes) according to package directions. When there are 5 minutes left until the noodles are finished, Cook broccoli florets in the same water as the noodles. Drain the noodles and the broccoli, then return them to the hot pot. Add the creamy mushroom sauce, 2 cups of the mozzarella, 1 cup of the Parmesan, and the chicken to the pot and toss the noodles & broccoli to coat in the sauce mixing well.

To prepare the casserole, lightly coat a 9x13 casserole dish with butter then transfer the cream-of-mushroom noodles to the dish and top with the reserved shredded cheeses. Bake for about 15 minute or until bubbly, then turn your broiler on and make the cheese golden! ENJOY!

Cilantro-Lime Chicken Fajitas with Grilled Onions

We LOVE to grill and I came across this awesome fajita recipe from epicurious. I changed a few things and actually marinaded the veggies & chicken overnight. These were sooooo flavorful and the cilantro added so much to these. Don't be afraid of the jalapenos either, it wasn't spicy as long as you deseed and rib them. I have a lot of this leftover and I'm going to try and make a Cilantro lime fajita grilled pizza..we will see how that goes! :) Enjoy!

Cilantro-Lime Chicken Fajitas with Grilled Onions
adapted from epicurious


1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup olive oil
5 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/4 teaspoons chili powder

6 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
2 large jalapenos, seeded, cut into 3/4-inch-wide strips
3 large yellow bell peppers, cut into 3/4-inch-wide strips
2 red onions, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds

12 8-inch flour tortillas


Optional toppings: purchased salsas, guacamole, sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro, sliced green onions, and chopped jalapeno peppers Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Puree first 5 ingredients in processor. Season marinade with salt and pepper.

Place chicken in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Pour 1/3 cup marinade over; turn to coat. Arrange jalapenos, bell peppers, and onions on large rimmed baking sheet. Pour 1/2 cup marinade over; turn to coat. Sprinkle chicken and vegetables with salt and pepper. Reserve remaining marinade.

Grill chicken until cooked through, about 7 minutes per side. Grill vegetables until tender, turning frequently, about 15 minutes for onions and 12 minutes for jalapenos and bell peppers. Grill tortillas until charred, about 1 minute per side.

Transfer chicken to work surface; slice crosswise into strips. Fill tortillas with chicken and vegetables; drizzle with reserved marinade. Serve with toppings.

Cubin Garlic Lime Chicken & Almond Wild Rice

Went to a sweet friends for a BBQ and her Hubby served up this number! The chicken was SUPER EASY thanks to a delicious Safeway Select marinade. be sure to marinade your boneless skinless chicken thighs or breast over night for the best flavor possible!

I loved it soooo much in fact that I just HAD to make it while my BFF was here. It turned out awesome and this Almond Wild Rice was easy and paired well with it! Here is to some easy entertaining & not a lot of time in the kitchen...which means more time for fellowship! Enjoy!

Almond Wild Rice
By: Sandra Lee

1 cup pineapple juice
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon butter
1 (6-ounce) box long grain and wild rice mix, with seasoning packet
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
In a saucepan, bring pineapple juice, broth, orange juice and butter to a boil. Stir in rice and seasoning packet. Bring to a boil.

Cover tightly and reduce heat to medium-low to low. Simmer until all liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes.

Fluff rice with a fork, stir in almonds and serve.


My BFF Chelcie and her family stayed with us last week and we had this AWESOME and tasty pasta dish. I was in LOVE at first BITE!!! Let me tell you...this was SUPER quick to put together and was so elegant! We paired a bottle of Gurtzweimer & a was delicious! I had never roasted tomatoes in the oven before and the flavor was out of this world! We are definitely making this again. Enjoy!!!

Adapted from: The Hungry Housewife

3 grilled boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 pound(s) of Pasta of choice
2 pound(s) of Pints, Grape Tomatoes
2 tbsp. of Olive Oil
1/2 cup(s) of Pine Nuts
2 tbsp. of Butter
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
8 ounce(s) of Prepared Basil Pesto
12 ounce(s) of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup(s) of Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese, shredded
1/2 cup(s) of Chicken or Vegetable Stock
1/4 cup(s) of Balsamic Glaze

Preheat oven to 425.
Bring pasta water to boil and cook per package directions.
In a medium bowl toss the tomatoes with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper.
Line a baking sheet with foil and pour the tomatoes on to it.
Add the pine nuts into a small oven proof skillet.
Place the tomatoes and the pine nuts into the preheated oven.
Remove the pine nuts after 5 minutes and set aside.
In a large skillet, melt the butter.
Add the garlic to the butter and cook over medium heat for 1 minute.
Take your jar of pesto and pour off any excess oil. Pour into the skillet and mix.
Add the Philadelphia Cream Cheese and mix until it is smooth.
Stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese.
Stir in the chicken or vegetable stock.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Let sauce simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.
Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the sauce.
Remove the tomatoes from the oven and toss with the pasta.
Pour into a serving dish
Top with the toasted Pine Nuts.
Finish the dish with a nice drizzle of Balsamic Glaze.

Southwest Sloppy Joe's
Here is my twist on an old recipe I found years ago. This is seriously one of my easy "go to" recipes (that tastes amazing, might I add) when I need to be the good wife with dinner on the table, but feel too lazy to make it! My favorite thing about this recipe is that it isn't the traditional tomato base like we are use to in a sloppy joe, but has a tangy & sweet taste from your families FAVORITE BBQ sauce! :) Hope you all love it as much as we do!

Southwest Sloppy Joe's


2 lbs lean ground beef (can use Ground turkey)

1 medium sweet onion, diced

1 medium-large green bell pepper, diced

1/3-3/4 cup favorite BBQ sauce (We love Sweet Baby Ray's original)

Sliced Cheddar cheese

Saute' Onions & bell pepper in a pat of butter (or EVOO) until onions are just about translucent. Then add ground beef to the pan and brown. Drain any grease. Add BBQ sauce to your liking. Serve on toasted french rolls or hamburger buns & top with a slice of cheddar cheese! EASY & TASTY! :)

Amazing Lasagna

Ok, so I have never found a Lasagna recipe that I have been crazy about...until NOW!!! This Lasagna was AMAZING!!! I am seriously eating a slice of it as I write. Yes, having a late lunch! I don't have to write a whole lot about it, it's lasagna!!! But it seriously has awesome flavor and the sausage adds soooo much to it! Hope you make it and LOVE it! :)

Amazing Lasagna
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Servings: 12
Adapted from:

1-½ pound Ground Beef
1 pound Hot Breakfast Sausage
2 cloves Garlic, Minced
2 cans (14.5 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes
2 cans (6 Ounce) Tomato Paste
1 can (14.5 Ounce) Tomato Sauce
1 1/2 Tablespoons Dried Parsley
1 1/2 Tablespoons Dried Basil
1 teaspoon Salt
3 cups Lowfat Cottage Cheese
2 whole Beaten Eggs
½ cups Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 Tablespoons Dried Parsley
1 pound Sliced Mozzarella Cheese
1 package (10 Ounce) Lasagna Noodles
(add 1/2 Teaspoon Salt And 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil To Pasta Water)
Preparation Instructions
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet or saucepan, combine ground beef, sausage, and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat until browned. Drain half the fat; Add tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, 1 1/2 tablespoons parsley, basil and the 1 tsp salt. After adding the tomatoes, the sauce mixture should simmer for 45 minutes while you are working on the other steps.

In a medium bowl, mix cottage cheese, beaten eggs, grated Parmesan, & 2 tablespoons parsley. Stir together well. Set aside. Cook lasagna until “al dente” (not overly dente is boiling the noodles exactly 8 minutes).

To assemble:
Arrange 3 cooked lasagna noodles in the bottom of a baking pan, overlapping if necessary. Spoon part of the cottage cheese mixture over the noodles. Spread evenly. Cover cottage cheese with a layer of mozzarella cheese. Spoon part of the meat/sauce mixture over the top.

Repeat, ending with meat/sauce mixture. Sprinkle top generously with extra Parmesan.

Either freeze, refrigerate for up to two days, or bake immediately: 350-degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until top is hot and bubbly.

Look at those layers!!! :)

Sweet n' Sour Meatballs

THIS my dear friends is one of my ALL TIME favorite "go to" recipes! It's EASY, delicious, family friendly, and ALWAYS consistently a favorite! It's an amazing freezer meal as well as a crock pot meal. It is sooooo versatile that I promise you will love it. I make it for friends, my family, or for families in need (such as a new Mama). I also take it to pot lucks as well. We had company in town last week and I made this a week before they got in. I bought the frozen meatballs from Costco (Be sure they are NOT the Italian style...but home style, Swedish or homemade works too!). Then, I just made the sauce with the bell peppers and pineapple and brought it to a boil and then allowed it to cool. Then, I just added it right into the bag that the frozen meatballs came in...resealed it and threw them right back into the freezer until I needed them! I just pull them out of the freezer the day before I want to serve them to thaw. You can warm it up in a pot on the stove or have them cooking away in the crock for the day on low. Make the jasmine rice in 20 minutes and there you have it folks! An AWESOME & yummy meal that everyone will enjoy! :) PLEASE put this on your menu...I promise you will love it!

Sweet n' Sour Meatballs

2 (20oz) cans of pineapple chunks
2/3 c. water
6T. white vinegar
2T. Low sodium soy sauce
1c. packed brown sugar
3T. cornstarch
30 Frozen meatballs(can use homemade)
2 large bell peppers, chopped in 1 inch pieces (opposite colors, I like to use yellow & red)
6-8 servings of hot jasmine rice

Drain pineapples reserving the juice; set aside. Add water to the pineapple juice if needed to measure a full 2 cups worth of juice. Pour it into a large pot. Add 2/3c. water, vinegar, soy sauce, & brown sugar to the pot. In a separate small bowl mix corn starch and a few Tablespoons of COLD water and mix until smooth milky-like consistency. Add to the pot with the pineapple juice mixture & bring to a boil stirring constantly so it doesn't burn on the bottom. Once boiling and thick, turn to low and then add the pineapple, meatballs and peppers. (At this point I take it off the heat and allow it to come to room temp. Then you can open your frozen bag of meatballs and add the sauce and refreeze for another day.) Or you can simmer for another 10-15 minutes and then serve over hot jasmine rice! Enjoy!!!

*Btw, you can EASILY substitute chicken in place of the meatballs. I just wouldn't let it sit in the crockpot cooking in the sauce all day or it might get chewy! ;)

Cajun Baked Shrimp

We just had some sweet company over Memorial Day weekend & it also happened to be one of their birthdays! I knew how much they loved seafood and I have had this recipe in waiting for just the right time! Now was the time and boy was it ever a HIT!!! It was simple, delicious and the kids even enjoyed it! I have to say that buying the peeled & deveined raw shrimp (just be sure to pull the tails off) was a huge help in making this a dinner in under 20 minutes! LOVE IT!!! I hope you take the opportunity to make this dish for your family. Don't let the shrimp scare you...for they are easy and delicious to prepair! Bon appetit!

Cajun Baked Shrimp
Adapted from:

1/3c. olive oil
2T. butter, melted
2T. Cajun seasoning (You can use half if you like things more mild)
1/4c. Lemon Juice
1 1/2T. Honey
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1T. soy sauce
1 1/2lb. uncooked large shrimp, shelled & deveined
1lb. linguine

Combine first 7 ingredients in a 9x13 dish; add shrimp & toss to coat. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake until shrimp are cooked through, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. While shrimp are baking, cook linguine in boiling, salted water until done. Drain, place in a warm serving dish with a little olive oil drizzled in the bottom. Pour shrimp mixture over pasta; toss & serve! Delicious!!!!

Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce

Yesterday I had a very dear friend over for a play date. Normally our play dates consist of Mac n' cheese, play-dough, & coffee!!! Well, I had everything to make this dish and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try it out. So we still had the Mac n' cheese (for the kids of course), play-dough & coffee...but it was great to enjoy a delicious "adult" dish with some great adult conversation! I have to tell you that the flavors in this dish are absolutely amazing! If you love curry then this dish is a MUST for you to make! I actually served this to my 3 year old son for dinner last night and he scarfed it down and asked for seconds! I'm sooo proud!!! Too bad it's all gone, because as I write this I am CRAVING another bowl! So, hurry...MAKE SOME CURRY!!!!!

Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce
Adapted from
Makes: 6-8 servings

3 skinless, Large boneless chicken breasts
4 teaspoons curry powder
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 medium red onions, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped (by seeding the jalapeno you lose most of the spice/heat but retain great flavor. If you want some spice just de-seed and de-rib 3 out of the 4!) 2 tablespoon olive oil
2 14-ounce can light coconut milk
2 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
6 cups hot cooked Jasmine rice

Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces. Place in medium bowl. Stir together curry, salt, pepper and chili powder. Sprinkle over chicken, tossing to coat evenly. Cover and chill for 1 to 2 hours.

In a large nonstick frying pan, stir onion, basil, garlic and peppers in hot oil over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes, until onion is translucent. Add chicken and cook for 5-6 minutes until no longer pink.

Combine coconut milk and cornstarch and whisk well to combine. Carefully add to skillet, whisking vigorously. Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly. Stir in ginger. Cook and stir for another minute. Serve over hot rice.

Sundried Tomato Basil & Cheese Stuffed Shells in Italian Sausage and Pepper Sauce

This dish was so flavorful with the sundried tomatoes and basil! I absolutely heart basil anyway and thought it would be a great addition to this yummy recipe. Now, it does take just a little time preparing due to filling the shells, but you could totally make this the night before or the day of and keep it in the fridge until about an hour before dinner and then just bake until bubbly! I also think that this dish would be VERY freezer friendly! Next time I am totally doubling the recipe and putting one in the freezer for a quick dinner or to take to a new Mom! This dish was also very kid 3 yr old liked the fact that we were eating shells! Enjoy!
Sundried Tomato Basil & Cheese Stuffed Shells in Italian Sausage and Pepper Sauce
Shell Filling:
1/4 c boiling water
6 sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil)
1 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 c grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1-1/2 Tbs chopped fresh Basil
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp salt
14 ounces Ricotta Cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
12 cooked jumbo pasta shells

1 Tbs olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
1 c chopped green bell pepper
1 c chopped red bell pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
Cooking spray
3/4 lb. Sweet Italian Sausage (casings removed if any)
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp salt
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 Tbs grated fresh Parmesan cheese is my cute little helper! Sorry I forgot to include the garlic and egg in this pic!
1) Cook the shells half of the recommended time as listed on the product directions. This helps them keep form when filling and to not be too soft once they are baked. Preheat oven to 350°.

2) To prepare stuffing, combine 1/4 cup boiling water and sun-dried tomatoes in a small bowl; let stand 20 minutes or until tomatoes soften. Drain and finely chop. Combine tomatoes, mozzarella, Parmesan, Ricotta, basil, salt, pepper & egg; mix very well until all ingredient are combined. Spoon 2 tablespoons stuffing into each shell. Set stuffed shells aside. (I like to put the filling in a zip lock bag and cut the corner so I can pipe the filling into the shells).

3) To prepare sauce, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell peppers, and garlic; sauté 6 minutes or until tender. Place onion mixture in a bowl. Coat pan with cooking spray; return pan to heat. Add sausage, and cook 6 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Stir in onion mixture, oregano, salt & pepper; bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes. (I added about 1/2 c of water to thin out just a tad)

4) Spread 1 cups sauce over bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange stuffed shells in a single layer in pan; top with remaining sauce. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons Parmesan over sauce. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until bubbly.
Creamy Orzo with Chicken, Mushrooms and Red Peppers

Let me just start out by telling you that I stole this recipe from my BFF Chelcie! (THANKS SOOOO MUCH GIRL!!!) She found it under one of our favorite food blogs I read the title and knew instantly that our family would LOVE this! And let me tell you...this dish was AMAZING!!! Everyone gobbled it right up and I had never thought to use cream cheese as a a base for a cream sauce! LOVED the idea and I can't wait to play with it many meats, veggies & pastas so little time! :) I some how want to incorporate asparagus. I think it would taste amazing with this sauce, but this dish already has a lot going on. Anyway, it came together pretty quickly and I served it with a Ceasar salad and cheesy jalapeno bread! I hope you get a chance to put this one on your menu soon! You won't regret it! (Btw, I had it again for lunch today....Oh. My. Word. YUM!)

Creamy Orzo with Chicken, Mushrooms and Red Peppers

*Note: this pasta is best served immediately as it tends to get less creamy as it sits at room temperature – so serve warm right as it finishes cooking! (I heated it up the next day & it looked a little dry, so just be sure to add a touch of water before warming & get gets all creamy again.)

*Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 average-sized chicken breasts (about 1 to 1 ½ pounds), cut into chunks
2 red bell peppers, cut into ½-inch pieces
8 ounces white button mushrooms, quartered
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 pound orzo pasta
8 ounces cream cheese, softened (can use 1/3 less fat cream cheese)
1 cup reserved pasta water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the orzo and cook according to package directions until tender. When the orzo is ready, reserve 1 cup of the pasta water (ladling it into a small bowl is my method) and then drain the orzo and set aside.

While the orzo cooks, in a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the hot oil and brown on all sides. When nicely browned (but not all the way cooked through), add the peppers, mushrooms and thyme. Stir and let cook for about 5 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the mushrooms and peppers have softened and browned and most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

In the skillet over medium heat, add the softened cream cheese (if you forgot to let the cream cheese soften at room temperature, no worries! Pop it in the microwave for one minute on 40% power) in bite sized chunks and stir so that the cream cheese melts and coats the chicken and vegetables. Add the reserved pasta water and bring to a simmer. Add ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Stir. Add the orzo, Parmesan, lemon juice and fresh parsley. Stir to combine and heat through. Garnish with additional Parmesan and parsley.

My sweet friend Alyssa came over after school to hang out and help me do some cooking...she is the GREATEST grater ever!!! LOVE YOU ALYS!!! I'm sooo cheesy! (Pun intended!) ;)

BBQ Chicken Pizza & Great Pizza Dough

Every so often our family loves to have a Friday family movie night. Right now it usually consists of watching Toy Story, Bambi or Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs! My 3 year old LOVES to choose the movie! So while he is picking out the movie, Mama is choosing dinner! I came across this SUPER YUMMY BBQ Chicken Pizza recipe in one of my Weight Watchers cook books a few family nights back! Now don't let that turn you off to even trying out this recipe, because it is FULL of flavor and a cinch to throw together! So sorry I didn't get a picture of this yummy pizza up for you...I forgot to pull the camera out and by the time I remembered it was GONE! :(

If you are planning ahead and feeling domestic I will also post my favorite pizza dough recipe below! I love it and it always turns out tasty! Just be sure to give yourself enough time for the dough to rise a few times! Happy Family Movie Night!

BBQ Chicken Pizza
Adapted from Weight Watchers

Prep: 5 Minutes
Cook: 10 minutes

1 pizza dough (I use Trader Joe's pre-made, or Winco's pre-made if I don't have time to make my own)
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
2/3 cup favorite spicy BBQ sauce, divided (We LOVE Sweet Baby Ray's!)
1/3 cup sliced or diced red onion (I prefer to saute' these on the stove before adding to the pizza, but I believe that adds more WW points per serving!)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup (4oz) preshredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1. preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Place pizza crust on an ungreased baking sheet; lightly coat crust with cooking spray and poke all over the dough with a fork. Then place in oven for 5-7 minutes and then take back out.
3. Combine chicken and 1/3 cup BBQ sauce in a small bowl; stir well. Spread remaining 1/3 cup BBQ sauce evenly over pizza crust, leaving 1 inch border. Top crust evenly with chicken mixture and remaining ingredients.
4. Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until crust is crisp and cheese is melted. Remove from oven and cut into 8 slices.

Yield: 8 servings (WW POINTS VALUE:6)
Per serving: CAL 281 (21% from fat), FAT 6.6g, PRO 19.5g, CARB 34g, SOD 606g.

Great Pizza Dough
Makes enough dough for 2 pizza's

5c. flour
2tsp salt
2c. warm water
2 pkg's of active dry yeast
2 tbsp. sugar

Mix dry ingredients, then add water (slowly while mixing just a little...don't over mix) Cover with a clean towel and set in a warm place, Let rise 1 hour. punch down dough. Let rise again 1 hour. Divide into two large balls. Roll out on flowered surface. bake at about 400-450* for 20-25 minutes after putting toppings on. (I like to pre-bake the dough about 5-7 minutes without toppings on and then add the sauce and topping and finish baking. It's much crispier and is always cooked through. I can't stand a doughy pizza!)