Enchilada Casserole and Black Beans

I tried a new recipe last night that was very good. I found it on Pinterest and cooked it almost exactly as the recipe indicated, but there are some changes I would make the next time to take this to the next level and give it an even richer flavor.  The original recipe is by Yummy Healthy Easy and can be found here. My changes are in italics below.

Such a pretty dish.  Not as pretty as Yummy Healthy Easy's pics. Check out her website for better pictures.

Such a pretty dish. Not as pretty as Yummy Healthy Easy’s pics. Check out her website for better pictures.


What ya need – enchilada casserole:

  • 1.5 lb. ground beef *
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce
  • 5-6 corn tortillas**
  • 2 Tbsp. light spreadable butter
  • 1 (4-oz) can sliced olives, drained (optional)***
  • 1½ cup or more shredded Mexican blend cheese****
  • 1/3 cup water*****
  • green onions
  • avocado
  • cilantro
  • tomatoes – de-seeded and chopped

* The original recipe called for 1 lb turkey or beef, but beef would be a richer flavor and we would have preferred more meat.

**The original recipe called for 4 flour tortilla’s, but we wanted more and prefer corn with a Mexican dish.

***I love olives of any kind, but you really couldn’t taste these in the dish and my hubs hates olives so we won’t use those again.

****The original recipe called for a 1 1/2 cup grated cheddar, but for a Mexican dish we like the Mexican blend cheese found at our grocery store. We use it with all of our Mexican dishes.

*****The original recipe called for 1/2 cup of water, but that seemed like a lot to me. I used about a 1/3 and it was just right.

What ya do – enchilada casserole:

  • Preheat oven to 400º F. Brown beef and onion in a large saucepan. Drain any grease and add pepper, chili powder and tomato sauce.  After that was mixed up I threw in some green onions as well. I reserved the remaining green onions for a garnish.
  • Lightly spread tortillas with the spreadable butter and cut into fourths.
  • Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray. Alternate laying tortillas (butter side down) in the casserole dish, then a layer of meat sauce, then a layer of olives (optional) and then finally a layer of cheese. Repeat the layers three times (I was only able to get 2 layers, but it depends on the size of your casserole dish).
  • Pour the water over the top and bake for 25 minutes, uncovered.
  • Slice up and serve with sour cream, lettuce, cilantro, tomato, etc. We used tomato’s, cilantro, green onions, and avocado.


We paired this with some black beans.  For the black beans I used a can of black beans and threw in:

  • 1/2 a red bell pepper – chopped
  • cilantro
  • fajita seasoning – to taste
  • garlic powder – to taste
  • paprika – about a teaspoon


This was an easy, quick meal and relatively healthy other than the tortillas.  The whole family loved it and have requested it again.  Thanks Yummy Healthy Easy for the recipe.

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies (aka – Peanut Butter Blossoms)

Growing up we called these Peanut Butter Blossoms, but most people seem to refer to them as “kiss cookies”.  These are not an original idea of course, but I have found the best peanut butter dough recipe.  I found this several years ago on Pinterest before Pinterest was that well known of and it was one of the first successful pins I had.  I used to just buy the pre-packaged peanut butter Pillsbury dough, but they didn’t rise well and the flavor was just “eh”.

We made these quite a bit during Christmas for various celebrations and parties, but these are so good year round.  We’ll be making these again for the kids Valentine’s parties.

I used this recipe from Bakergirl, but obviously leave off the m&m’s and pretzels.  I just use the dough recipe. I tried the entire recipe years ago, but didn’t have much luck with the “reindeer” part of this recipe. My antlers, eyes and nose kept falling off.  But, I loved the dough so I’ve used it for other recipes.

What ya need (most of this list copied from Bakergirl):

  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • sugar
  • Hershey Kisses

What ya do (most of this recipe copied from Bakergirl):

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.  (I can get about 24 of these from one batch.)
  • Combine brown sugar, peanut butter, shortening, milk, and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until well blended. Add egg; beat until just blended.
  • In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to creamed mixture at low speed. Mix just until blended.
  • Form dough into 1-inch balls.
  • Roll balls in sugar to coat completely.
  • Space cookies about 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 7 to 8 minutes, until just beginning to brown.
  • Once slightly brown, take them out of the oven and immediately push a Hershey kiss in the middle.
  • Let them sit a couple minutes then transfer them to a cookie rack to cool.
  • Try desperately not to eat all of them in one sitting!!! Enjoy!
We made lots of these this month...probably around 100.

We made lots of these this month…probably around 100.

Cookies and milk for Santa and oatmeal for the reindeer.

Cookies and milk for Santa and oatmeal for the reindeer.

Baked Rosemary Chicken Thighs

If you want an easy, healthy meal this is it! The hubs found this pack of rosemary seasoning at our grocery store and grabbed a package of chicken thighs and voila!

Baked Rosemary Chicken Thighs

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

What ya need:

What ya do:

  • Place chicken thighs in a baking dish.
  • Brush olive oil on the tops and sides of chicken.
  • Generously sprinkle Morton’s Nature Season Blend on the tops of the chicken.
  • Put in the oven at 400 for 40 minutes.  Our oven cooks hot so I put it at 390 for 40 minutes.
  • Take the chicken out and squeeze the rosemary seasoning sauce on the tops of the chicken thighs and put back in the oven for another 10 minutes.

We paired this with veggies and wild rice.  So yummy!

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Ready for the oven. I forgot to take an after pic.

Ready for the oven. I forgot to take an after pic.

Christmas Cane Lollipops

I tried this Pinterest find and while Alex said these were soooo good, they were not easy to make. I really ended up with only about 7 or 8 that were decent to keep.  I had planned to give these as gifts to the kids in Alex and Levi’s classes, but ended up wrapping up some Christmas Hershey kisses instead for a quick gift.

Where I had an issue was with our oven being too hot and even after adjusting them the candy cane’s melted too much.  It also took forever for these to cool so I threw them in the fridge which seemed to work well, but pulling them up from the wax paper made some of them break even though I was very careful.

Lay out candy cane halves and lollipop sticks on wax paper in a cookie sheet.

Lay out candy cane halves and lollipop sticks on wax paper in a cookie sheet.

After they came out of the oven with the white chocolate spooned inside. This was the first batch before the oven got too hot and they were really the only ones that came out ok.

After they came out of the oven with the white chocolate spooned inside. This was the first batch before the oven got too hot and they were really the only ones that came out ok.


Crock-Pot Lemon Chicken

Um folks, this is the best lemon chicken recipe ever. I have one that I’ve used for years, but we really love this one even more. You can see the recipe here from Life in the Lofthouse.  I didn’t change anything. I cooked in the crock-pot for 3 hours as she mentions in the update. We pair this with a veggie and wild rice.  The wild rice is so good with the juice from the crock-pot.



*Image from Life in the Lofthouse.

Lemon Shrimp Saute with Pasta

So, this is another one of my mom’s recipe’s. I couldn’t tell you where she got this from, but its so good and easy to make. Even my pickiest eater, the little guy, asked for seconds on this one!  He devoured the shrimp like crazy!


With the pasta.

What ya need:

  • 1.5 lbs of fresh, peeled, de-veined shrimp
  • 1 yellow onion – chopped
  • 1 container – cherry tomato’s, cut in half
  • 1 can – cut up artichokes
  • 1 bag – baby spinach
  • 3 – 4 tbsp – garlic herb butter (I use Land O’Lakes)
  • 2 tbsp – lemon olive oil
  • lemon pepper seasoning
  • whole wheat linquine or thin spaghetti pasta
  • salt

What ya do:

  • Generously sprinkle lemon pepper seasoning all over the shrimp and set aside.
  • In skillet, add butter, lemon olive oil and chopped onion on medium heat and saute till onion’s are translucent.
  • Start cooking pasta.  I’m not much of a pasta person myself and could have eaten this dish without any pasta and been just fine.  The pasta really doesn’t add anything to me, but if you’re a fan go for it.
  • Once onions are translucent add shrimp and saute till pink.
  • Once shrimp are cooked turn skillet to low and add baby spinach, tomato’s and artichokes. You may need to add a little more oil and I sprinkled a little more lemon pepper seasoning.
  • Stir until the spinach is wilted.
  • If adding pasta you can add the cooked and drained pasta into the skillet with the rest of the mixture or scoop your mixture on to pasta on your plate. Or leave the pasta out all together for a low carb option.
What it looks like before adding the pasta. By the way I completely forgot to add the artichokes and it was still great. So, if you're not a fan of artichokes you can leave it out without it changing the flavor too much.

What it looks like before adding the pasta. By the way I completely forgot to add the artichokes and it was still great. So, if you’re not a fan of artichokes you can leave it out without it changing the flavor too much.

Hands Down the BEST Pot Roast EVER!

Ok, so I’ve seen a ton of different pot roast recipes and tried just as many as well, but my mom’s recipe is The.Best.Ever!  Better than a restaurants too! You gotta try it!

Pot Roast

I wish my photography skills did this meal justice!

What ya need:

  • 2-3 lb roast (I get a square or rectangular cut with some fat still on it)
  • flour
  • Morton’s Nature Seasoning Salt
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 package baby carrots
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 can – cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 package – Lipton’s Onion Dry Soup mix
  • 1 jar of sliced mushrooms

What ya do:

  • Season roast with season salt – all over.
  • Rub the roast with flour on all sides. Shake off excess.
  • Heat oil in skillet. Once heated, brown the roast on all sides (this should only take about 3-5 minutes max). The goal is not to cook it, but just to sear or brown the outside. This coat helps keep in the moisture when its in the crock pot.
  • Once browned set aside. Add carrots and onions to the bottom of a crock pot.
  • Place roast on top of carrots and onions.
  • Top the roast with the cream of mushroom soup, dry onion soup mix and jar of mushrooms (including the juice in the jar).
  • Place the lid on the crock pot and cook on high for 8 hours.

This is so moist when its done. It tears right apart without a knife its so tender.  Most times we eat this with one other veggie, but its good with mashed potato’s or brown rice too. We just typically stay away from carbs during our meals. The carrots are so good too cooked with this roast. Really this is a one pot meal since you have both your meat and veggies in the recipe.

I love the smell of this roast cooking in the crock pot all day! Its one of the most heavenly smells to come home to, especially after a long day at work.

Spinach Casserole

Most folks don’t care for spinach and that’s true for my hubs and kids too; however, I love it!  My mom made this dish several years ago and David and Alex loved it despite the spinach.  I don’t make this often because its high in carbs and calories, but its definitely an easy dish to make that has quite a bit of taste…even for the non-spinach lovers out there. I cannot remember where my mom got this recipe.  I also changed up the original recipe a bit.

spinach cass.

What ya need:

  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened (I let it sit out for half an hour to an hour beforehand)
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups Pepperidge Farm herb seasoned stuffing in cubes
  • 1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

What ya do:

  • In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together until blended.
  • Spoon into a greased casserole dish and bake uncovered at 350 for 35-40 minutes.


That’s it! Very tasty, easy-peasy to make and great left over too!

Crunchy Baked Flounder and Bacon Mac & Chesse

So, the hubs caught some flounder last week, but we were stumped on how to fix it so he did some googling and found this awesome recipe from MyRecipes.com. Oh my word – this was so good.  It was also super easy and quick to make which is my kind of meal. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  The only things I did slightly different was also added a tad bit of salt and pepper to the breading mix, put the breading mixture on both sides of the filets (not just the top), and baked mine at 420 for 10 minutes because my oven cooks very hot. This recipe would be great on tilapia too, which is cheaper on the wallet at the store.

Pardon the terrible pic and my fork!

Pardon the terrible pic and my fork!

What ya need:

*4 filets of flounder

*1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs

*1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

*3 tbsp butter, melted

*salt and pepper to taste


What ya do:

*Lightly spray a baking dish with non-stick spray.

*Melt your butter.

*Mix your panko, parmesan and butter together with a little salt and pepper.

*Lightly salt and pepper both sides of your filets.

*Place your filets in the baking dish and generously sprinkle the panko/parmesan/butter mixture on each side.

*Bake at 420 for 10 minutes or until breading is golden.


We also had our favorite sauteed green beans and then made bacon mac and cheese. We rarely make carbs with our meals and if we do its wild or brown rice, but we wanted to see if we could re-create our favorite restaurant’s (Killen’s Steakhouse) mac and cheese. I used whole wheat Kraft mac & cheese from the box, but added more shredded cheddar cheese and crumbled up bacon to change it up a bit.  Its not as good as Killen’s, but we did really enjoy the bacon flavor with the mac and cheese.



–UPDATE — So, we used the breading mix with tilapia, but it was not as good as the flounder.  It was ok, but we probably won’t use this recipe with tilapia again.  Gotta go catch some more flounder!!