Friday, October 6, 2017

Chilean Stuffed Empanadas

To go along with our history studies of South America this week, I made empanadas for lunch today.  They actually turned out really well!  (yes, I was a bit surprised!)  I cheated and used Pillsbury Grands for ready made dough, because, life. 

What you will need

2 T vegetable oil
2 T butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 T paprika
1 beef bouillon cube, dissolved in 1/4 cup water (I just used beef broth)
salt and pepper to taste
handful of raisins (optional, but I used)
handful of sliced olives (optional, I did not use)

2 tubes of Pillsbury Grands Biscuits

What you do

Melt the oil and butter in a skillet and saute the chopped onion til tender.  Add the garlic and saute for another couple minutes, then add the ground beef.  When browned, drain oil.  Then add the spices and the beef broth.  Also add raisins and olives if desired.  Simmer about 10 minutes so that flavors can meld.  Remove from heat.

Separate each biscuit from the Pillsbury tube and flatten into larger oval shapes.  Spoon filling onto half of each oval shape, fold other half on top and pinch edges together.

Then bake at 350 for about 15-18 minutes until golden brown.  Watch to be sure they don't overbake!

My boys enjoyed them for lunch today!  Might tweak the filling and make other varieties in the future.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Pull Apart Pizza Bread

 I found this recipe several months ago and have made it several times.  It was a hit from the beginning!  Little Man requested this for his birthday dinner last week, and the rest of the fam was pretty happy about that!

This is pretty much what the title describes - pizza bread that you can bake any way you like.  I have made it in small pie pans (like thick individual pizzas) and in muffin cups for smaller pizzas.  I have never tried it in a bread pan, but I am sure that would change the cook time and temperature somewhat.  Little Man requested the muffin cup size, so that is how I made it this time.  I doubled the recipe for our family of 8 plus 4 little birthday friends.


1/3 cup olive oil
26 oz thawed dinner roll dough, cut in large bite sized chunks
2.5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 T Italian seasoning
1-2 cloves minced garlic, or a 1/2 tsp garlic powder
6 oz pepperoni slices, quartered


Put all ingredients in large bowl and mix thoroughly with hands.  Through trial and error I have learned that the mixing is easier if you make a couple layers of ingredients while placing them in the bowl.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.  Dip in marinara sauce if desired.  Yum!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

When the 11 year old makes dinner....

....we have pancakes!  He made them about 90% by himself.  Happy son, happy Mama.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Mixed Berry Salad

Summer is here, and that means more salad for dinner!

Here is a new one to me that is super easy and super delicious.


5 ozs baby spinach leaves
1 cup strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced 
1 sweet apple, cored, halved, and thinly sliced
1 cup candied walnuts, chopped

Mix ingredients together and toss lightly with a strawberry dressing.  Garnish with feta cheese, and voila!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Vinegar Braised Chicken and Mushrooms

I am always searching for new ways to prepare chicken, so when I saw this recipe I decided to give it a try.  It looked really good and not too complicated to make.  It turned out to be more labor intensive than it sounded, mostly because the chicken and vegetables are cooked separately before combining, and I cooked two pan fulls of chicken one after the other so that took double the cook time.  If I had used two pans at once it would have solved that particular problem.


4 pounds chicken pieces - the original recipe called for bone in pieces, but I used boneless.
2 pounds mushrooms (I did not use this many)
2 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 pkg baby carrots ~ I sliced the fatter ones down the middle for faster cooking
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 T olive oil
2 T flour
salt and pepper to taste


Heat olive oil in a large pan.  Generously season chicken pieces with salt and pepper and start them browning.  While chicken cooks, chop the veggies.

Be sure to season the other side of chicken pieces with salt and pepper after flipping over.

When cooked through, remove the chicken from the pan and place on a separate plate. Add the carrots and onions to the pan and saute them until soft, about 10 minutes.

Add mushrooms and cook until tender, about 6-8 minutes.  Add crushed garlic and cook a couple more minutes.

Transfer vegetables to the plate with the chicken and add the flour to the empty pan.  There should be a bit of liquid in the bottom of the pan that mixes with the flour.  Cook for 1-2 minutes, whisking continuously, until pasty and smooth.  Add the three vinegars and whisk until smooth.  Cook for about 3-5 minutes, or until thickened and reduced.  Then slowly add the chicken broth.  Add the chicken back into the pot and bring to a boil.  At this point it is just a matter of making sure the chicken is cooked through.  If your pieces were thoroughly cooked previously, this step will be short.  If your pieces were simply browned earlier and need to continue to cook for a bit, cover the pot, turn heat down, and let cook until chicken is done.  When chicken is done, add the vegetables back in, let simmer and heat through for a few minutes and then serve.

I got a mixed reaction from my family over this recipe.  My husband and two of the children really liked it.  The boys were not fans of the mushrooms, though.  I thought the vinegar taste was a little too strong.  As I mentioned earlier, it was a bit more labor intensive than I was anticipating, so if I make it again I will have two pans going for the first step of cooking the chicken, and will probably reduce the vinegar and increase the chicken broth.  Otherwise, pretty good!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Lasagna Soup

This was AMAZING!  Just soooo delicious, and loved by each member of my family, even the one who doesn't like tomatoes.  I saw it floating around facebook and decided to give it a try.  It was a hit!


1.5 pounds Italian sausage
one large onion, chopped
2T tomato paste
2 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic
2-3 cans diced tomatoes
6 cups chicken broth
1 pound rotini noodles

8 oz ricotta cheese
1 cup parmesan cheese
small amount of mozzarella cheese (just to sprinkle on top of each serving)
fresh basil

How to Make:

Brown the sausage in the bottom of a stock pot.
Add the chopped onion, tomato paste, bay leaves, and garlic.  Let cook for a few minutes til onion is slightly softened.

Add the diced tomatoes and chicken broth.  Let simmer for 30 minutes.
Pour in the rotini noodles and bring to boil.  Let boil for 8-10 minutes til noodles are cooked.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, combine the ricotta and parmesan cheeses with a bit of pepper.

To serve:  spoon soup into a bowl.  Top with a spoonful of the ricotta/parmesan cheese mixture, then sprinkle some mozzarella cheese over all, and place bits of fresh basil on the very top.  Voila!

This was scrumptious.  My family (currently 7) scraped the stock pot clean, so when I make this again I will double the recipe.  Definitely a winner!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Meatball Sandwich Casserole

You will need:

1 bag of frozen meatballs (or make your own from scratch)
1 jar of marinara sauce
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup Italian blend cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 loaf of fresh Italian bread, sliced

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 400. Place entire bag of meatballs in pot with sauce (I also add garlic, onion powder, salt and pepper to taste) and cook over medium heat until warmed completely through, about 10 minutes. Stir as needed to keep meatballs from sticking to pot.  When we made these for New Year's Eve I gave this job to my very capable nephew!

Once heated through remove from heat. Place meatballs in the center of a 9x13 baking dish, layer mozzarella and Italian blend cheeses over meatballs topping off with the Parmesan. Take the slices of Italian bread and line the pan all the way around with them so that they are kind of keeping the meatballs toward the center of the pan. The bread slices will be standing up in the pan as shown below. You have creative freedom here with the can lightly butter and garlic the bread prior to placing it in the pan if you prefer or even brush lightly with olive oil and garlic (this is what I do). 

Place in oven and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. I forgot to take an "after" picture, but here it was in the oven, baking. 

Soooo good!  Assembly is so fast and easy, this is *almost* a meal in 30 minutes entry.

Loved by all.  I will definitely make again!