Monday, September 8, 2014

Easy Turkey & Bean Enchiladas

The last days of warm weather are winding down and I've been giving my oven the eye more than not.

I am still trying to adapt to only having to prepare meals for 2-3. I had a really hard time taking my 3rd baby to college. I thought that nonsense was supposed to get easier the more you did it...nope. It certainly wasn't. 

But the 4th baby left at home, is into sports and when she is home, she is ravenous. She will wolf down almost anything (except meatloaf?!), and especially loves South of the Border foods.

I love making these enchiladas, I use lean ground turkey breast, but sub your favorite lean protein. 

I should have known they make a lot-you can always freeze half and have an easy meal ready to pop into the oven or microwave. These pictured were made and refrigerated for 3 days, then reheated-I actually think they're better!

We like to top them with sour cream, salsa (homemade!), and guacamole. They're so good, cheesy and plump, I can only eat one, the hubs barely finished 2. 

They're actually pretty low cal for mexican food, very little cheese, lean meat, canned pinto beans and prepared enchilada sauce!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Pesto Tortelloni Salad

I made this the other day, for a friend that recently had surgery, along with a pasta Frittata. I wanted her to have a fresh, easy meal and since she only had the use of one hand serving this would be a snap!

Both dishes I made her were pasta based...I must equate pasta with comfort?

Anyway...most people think Tortellini-which is what I thought I was buying. But when I pulled the bag out of my pantry, lo and behold it's Tortellini's big brother-Tortelloni!

I love these, they're big and plump and cheesy and well...comforting. 

Tossed with a super simple pesto-amazingly SIMPLE, and roasted red peppers, sooo good. I almost hated to give it away, and the youngest unit almost cried when she learned it wasn't staying. 

Even if you've never made pesto, this will make a believer out of you! I don't know why I never thought of using a ready made dressing as the base for a pesto? How easy and actually really delicious. You're really making pesto, just subbing a ready made vinaigrette for the olive oil. It is delicious on rice salads, lettuce salads even poultry prior to grilling!

1-8 oz. package Tortelloni or tortellini, cooked per instructions and set aside
1/3 cup roasted red peppers, drained and roughly chopped
2 green onions sliced
1/4 cup bottled zest Italian dressing-your favorite brand
10-12 fresh basil leaves
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese-grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

1. Prepare pasta per directions, drain, rinse in cool water and drain again. 
2. Place in a large bowl with red peppers and green onions
3. In a food processor or blender place basil, galic, salt and pepper, chop and with blade running drizzle in dressing using slightly more to make it a dressing consistency.
4. Pour over all and toss to combine.
5. Refrigerate to chill and serve. 


This recipe is shared on My Link Parties. Also shared on Weekend Potluck and Buns In My Oven and Daily Dish

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Simple Elote Dip

Our youngest child recently spent a week in Arizona with her best friend and her mom. They stayed with relatives and visited the Grand Canyon, a spa, Arizona State and more. 

One of the places she raved about was Elote Cafe in Sedona. (I know-she's her mothers girl-raving about food!) she just could not get over how delicious the corn dip, that they are famous for, was.

So I decided to surprise her one day and try to make it. It just so happened my parents gave me a big bag filled with corn also! Sweet, fresh Iowa corn-the best!

This dip is generally served warm with the seasoning and cilantro sprinkled on top. I upped the easy quotient by incorporating it all together and serving it without warming it up (it's hot and humid now).

It disappeared in my house. I'm certain the same thing will happen in your home heated or not. 

I threw in a minced red jalapeƱo which gave it the heat we love, but feel free to leave it out, it's delicious and creamy and full on corn and you'll want to make this again and again. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Picadillo Stuffed Summer Squash

It seems like the summer has flown by, maybe that's because we didn't really have that much of one?

It's taken until almost August before our garden really started to produce anything other than radishes and peas. 

Now I can't give the cucumbers and squash away fast enough let alone eat or cook with them. But I found a new fave way to eat squash and this dish freezes beautifully so you could have a taste of summer on a rainy, dreary day like today.

I combined two of our favorite dishes and it worked so well, we all loved the flavors and it really was easy. We love Picadillo, a Spanish dish that is hearty and so full of flavors, stuffed into tender, fresh, sweet, zucchini and summer squash right from our garden. 

Baked and then covered in obey, gooey cheesy goodness, I bet even the most picky eaters would love this dish!

We normally eat Picadillo over couscous, rice or mashed potatoes but I love the additional benefits of eating this delicious summer vegetable. 

You'll probably have leftover filling, don't throw it away! Picadillo is delicious over a baked potato, in a frittata or omelet, even in a quesadilla! You can find my recipe for Picadillo here.

1 lb. ground beef, turkey or pork
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced green pepper
3 cloves garlic grated or minced
1 14 oz can whole or diced tomatoes-crushed with their juice
1 4 oz can tomato sauce-reserving half
1/4 cup green olives-chopped
1/4 cup olive brine
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Oregano
Pinch Cinnamon
1/2 cup frozen peas(optional-but so nice) 
4-6 medium summer squash or zucchini-halved and using a spoon or melon baller, scoop out the middle to create boats, save 1cup of the pulp removed.
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

In a large pot, brown and crumble meat. 
Add in the onion, celery, green pepper and the pulp (chopped) and stir to combine and cook for 5 minutes. 
Add in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add in the tomatoes and 2oz. of the tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Soy Sauce, Olives, brine, Oregano and Cinnamon. Stir to combine, cover and lower heat. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
Lastly stir in the peas, if using.
Check seasoning, add in 1 tsp of pepper, I doubt you'll need salt. Set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees, spray a large casserole dish with non stick spray. Add 1 oz. of water to the reserved tomato sauce and pour in the bottom of the dish. 
Place the "boats" in the dish. Use 1 tsp of olive oil and brush each "boat"; season with salt, pepper, Set aside.
Scoop picadillo into zucchini boats, packing it in and distributing evenly (store extra if you have any). Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle with cheese, then bake uncovered for an additional 5 minutes.


This recipe is shared on My Link Parties. Also shared on Weekend Potluck and Buns In My Oven and Daily Dish

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Easy Rhubarb Pineapple Jam

The rhubarb in our yard is growing like a weed-finally! 

Summertime is here, with hot days and somewhat cool nights, the weather that this weird celery looking plant loves. 

I remember as a little kid trying to eat it by dipping pieces in a little bag of sugar-it's so sweet/tart that way- the original "sweetart"!

Rhubarb is actually a vegetable plant, but is mainly used in dessert or sweet things so it is generally thought of as a fruit. Ancient medicine used this plant for its laxative benefits?! Another name for Rhubarb is "Pie Plant" for its most used form-Rhubarb Pie. 

I chose to make this super simple Rhubarb Pineapple jam. I even "canned" the jam so that it has a pantry shelf life, but this could easily be made and frozen or refrigerated. 

Believe it or not it uses a box of Jello as the thickening agent and that is also what gives this jam its vibrant color. 

I think it gives this jam a fruit punch flavor that goes so well with the tartness of the rhubarb and pineapple. It is so good paired with something creamy, like I have pictured. That's a buttery, flaky croissant, spread with a Greek yogurt cream cheese and then slathered with the jam. 

It was soo good! I wouldn't be surprised if I wasn't making joyful sounds while I was eating it!

I love how simple it is to make and if you chose to can the jars just follow the jar makers basic instruction or canning instructions for jam here.


10 cups chopped fresh rhubarb
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
2 cups white sugar
1 (6 oz. or two-3 oz.) package strawberry or cherry flavored gelatin


  1. Place the rhubarb, pineapple and sugar into a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir until rhubarb is tender, about 18-20 minutes. 
  2.  Stir in gelatin until completely blended and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Ladle into sterile glass jars to can per instructions or plastic containers to refrigerate or freeze.    
  4. These freeze beautifully for a year, once thawed they last about a month in the frig(if it takes that long to eat it!). Of course if you choose to can these they would have a pantry shelf life of 1-2 years. Mine don't last that long because I give them away as gifts and we really enjoy eating it on toast, bagels, in smoothies and over ice cream.

This recipe is adapted from


This recipe is shared on My Link Parties. Also shared on Weekend Potluck and Buns In My Oven and Daily Dish

Monday, July 21, 2014

Crunchy Oriental Chicken Salad

It's true, we are all relishing this time of year to grill just about everything we can get our hands on right?

Wait-maybe that's a little too strong a statement-don't try grilling cereal, believe me it's a mess...

No really, from 60 ways to grill chicken, big fat juicy hamburgers, to the brats, to the lucky steak now and then. We got our grill on!

Which means there's a lot of leftover grilled meat, especially chicken in our house.

This recipe is the ultimate for leftover grilled chicken. It's a throwback to the 1970's and probably one of the few good ones from that era too. 

When it comes to leftover grilled chicken, step away from the mayo, don't touch the microwave and whatever you do, don't feed it to the dog. 

Instead make this:

It's THAT salad. The one your mom (okay, maybe your grandma) made back in the day. I know my mom did and she rocked it to! 

I made it much lighter as well by dramatically reducing the amount of oil an damping up the flavor with ginger and soy. 

It's full on Umami! Crunchy, salty, tangy, cool, sweet and you want to eat more and more and more. One of the great things about this salad is it really is better the next day or even the next-if it lasts that long.


2 (3 ounces) pkts. Chicken flavor ramen noodles

2 tbsp sesame seeds

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup white vinegar

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

1 tbsp grated ginger-fresh or frozen

1/2 tsp pepper

2 cups cut-up cooked chicken

1 cup sliced celery

4 medium green onions, sliced (1/4 cup)

1 bag (16 ounces) coleslaw mix

Slivered almonds-opt.

  • Mix sugar, vinegar, oil, sesame oil, soy sauce and ginger and pepper in large bowl. Add seasoning packet if desired-I look for ramen that does not use MSG.
  • Place package of ramen in a plastic bag and break up using a heavy spoon or edge of a pan.
  •  Add remaining ingredients and toss.
  • This is best made 1-2 hours or more before serving. Toss again and taste to correct seasoning.
  • For extra flavor and color, stir in an 11-ounce can of drained mandarin orange slices.
This recipe is adapted from Betty Crocker


This recipe is shared on My Link Parties. Also shared on Weekend Potluck and Buns In My Oven and Daily Dish