Monday, October 27, 2014

Tex Mex Lasagna

In a nod to my roots, we love "mexican or Tex-mex" food. Although Mexican food is centuries old, Tex-Mex is relatively young at only 150 years old.....

They are both full of more similarities than differences and therefore most people think of them as the same or alike.

My mother was born in northern New Mexico and has lots of relatives in the area. She is of Greek-Spanish-Irish descent. The influence of Spanish cooking on that part of America has evolved into some of the most beloved "mexican" recipes shared today. 

One of the staples in her family was a big ol pot of beans. 

Not just any beans, either, but true Chile Beans, the kind my grandmother and her mother made. 

Dried pinto beans cleaned and sorted, soaked and cooked with spices, onions and garlic. They are a staple in our home. I always make a big pot and the leftovers make so many different dishes, including the one here.

This lasagna is hearty, and full of the Tex-mex flavors we all love. 

Relatively easy to make, there's no noodles after all, it's still cheesy and just darn good!

2 cups red or enchilada sauce
1 lb. cooked taco seasoned meat-your choice, mine was lean turkey
3 cups cooked pinto beans-or 2 cans, hopefully seasoned
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped fine
8-8" flour tortillas, cut up into 8ths
2 cups shredded cheese


Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with non stick spray. Ladle in 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce and spread.
Scatter tortillas to cover and spread the the meat to cover all the tortillas. Cover with 1/2 cup of the cheese.
If you're using canned beans, rinse and drain. In a saute pan, heat 1tbsn of oil and saute the onions and garlic for 3-4 minutes. Add in the chili powder and cumin. Saute for another 3 minutes. Add in the beans and cook for 4-5 minutes. Set aside.
Scatter another layer of the the tortillas over all and spread the beans over this. Sprinkle another cup of cheese over the beans. 
Scatter the rest of the tortillas over this, and pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over all. 
Sprinkle the rest of the cheese to cover all the sauce and cover with foil, tightly. 
Bake in a preheated 350f oven for 25-30 minutes. Uncover, be careful, it's hot! Bake for another 10 minutes. 
Let rest for 15 minutes, in order to cut exact squares. 
Serve with sour cream, avocados, tomatoes and more cheese. 


  This recipe is shared on My Link Parties. Also shared on http:// and and

Monday, October 20, 2014

Cookie Dough/S'mores Crispy Rice Bars

I'd like to say that every time I make a batch of cookie, all the dough gets baked...

I can't. 

Somehow when the recipe says I should get 3-4 dozen cookies from the recipe only about 2 dozen actually get baked into cookies. family eats cookie dough? Oh yeah, you bet. Even I indulge. 

I mean you have to taste it and make sure you didn't forget the salt, right?!

So, when my youngest offspring asked me to make crispy rice bars, I was thinking how could I change them up? 

Frost them with a cookie dough-like frosting and add in chocolate and marshmallows of course. 

They're ooey-gooey and hit all the right points for crispy rice, cookie dough and s'mores!

Win, win!

After you make these, hide the pan, cause they'll be gone in 2 minutes! Seriously.

Okay, are you done drooling?

Make these, NOW!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Easy Ratatouille Chicken

It's been wonderful, seeing how our garden has produced lots of vegetables and herbs.

I get so creative trying to incorporate all of these babies. 

Then all of a sudden it's the first frost and my husband went out and picked EVERYTHING...

So I made a classic, and one of our favorites...

This dish comes together really fast and it's all made in one skillet on the stove. One BIG skillet.
It starts out huge and then of course all those delicious vegetables cook down and while it still is a copious amount, it no longer looks like it is going to overflow the pan-haha. 

The kicker at the end is to add your favorite cheese over the chicken and let melt.....yum yum nom!

Ratatouille is a traditional French Provençal stewed vegetable dish, originating in Nice. Tomatoes are a key ingredient along with summer squash, bell pepper, eggplant, onions, garlic, thyme, parsley and basil.

In this easy version the chicken is lightly browned and set aside and the vegetables are all simmered together, the chicken is placed back into the mixture, covered and simmered until cooked through and tender. 

I love to serve this over couscous to make it a hearty one dish meal. It's delicious over pasta or rice as well!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Baked Chili Cheese Dogs

Okay, some days you just don't have time to make a big meal, your lives are rushed because you've got a really important meeting at school after work, or a big volleyball game....

Kind of like my life right now. 

These babies always satisfy, they're fast, filling, cheesy. Oh and did I mention they're easy?!

They are. So easy. 

It's a no brainer, really. 

Get yourself some hotdogs, some buns, a can of your favorite chili or homemade, cover with cheese and bake those babies! 

Dressed with onions, sour cream, jalapeños, chopped tomatoes, or not. They will still feed your family and get you out the door in a flash! 

Yeah, that's what I'm saying...


Hot dog buns
Hot dogs
2 cups of chili with beans(canned-easy or your own homemade)
1 cup of shredded cheese
*optional-your favorite condiments

1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray.
2. Place 6-8 buns in the dish and a hotdog in each. 
3. Spread 2 tbsp of chili over the top of each hotdog and sprinkle with a tbsp of cheese. 
4. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the buns start to brown, the hotdogs are heated through and the chili and cheese are bubbly. 
5. Take out and put another tbsp of cheese over each dog and serve! 

Top with your favorite condiments or not-you've got dinner on the table in 20 minutes baby!

*maybe this will be my next team builder meal-ya never know. cause you can make 8 as easy as you can make 48!!


is recipe is shared on My Link Parties. Also shared on http:// and and

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fiesta Chicken Stuffed Poblano Peppers

We're experiencing a lovely Indian Summer, and the first day of Autumn just came and went. 

My pepper plants are exploding though, and I decided to take full advantage of the beautiful poblanos that my plants produced. Some were even turning a beautiful red!

One of my favorite ways to prepare these are stuffed, not in the traditional sense of beef and rice, but kicked up with a little heat and spice, since the peppers themselves are really mild in heat, but high in flavor. 

These actually came together easily...I had leftover cooked chicken and rice. What could be easier?

These babies are loaded with sautéed onions, chicken, rice, salsa and cheese. They're baked covered until heated through and then topped with more cheese. 

Sooo good, my mouth is watering!

Here's the recipe. Come travel down this Fiesta road to taste this goodness!

4-6 poblano peppers
1 small onion, halved, one half chopped and one half minced
1 cup cooked chicken, chopped
2 cups cooked rice
1 tsp chili powder 
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup salsa
1 1/2 cup shredded cheese

14 oz. can tomatoes, or 2-3 medium fresh
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 garlic clove
1/2 onion that is chopped
1/2 cup water

1. Place peppers on an open flame and char all over, or preheat broiler and place on a pan and broil 7-8 minutes, let cool and peel off skins. Cut a slit in one side and gently remove seeds and membranes trying to keep peppers intact. 
2. In a blender or food processor, place all the sauce ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour into a small pot and heat gently to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Set aside. 
3. Meanwhile, in a sauce pot, heat 1 tsp oil and saute minced onions for 4-5 minutes until translucent. Add in chicken, chili powder and salt and heat through. Place into a large bowl, add in rice and toss. 
3. Add in salsa and 1/4 cup of the Sauce, toss to combine and then toss in 1 cup of cheese. 
4. Spray a baking dish with non stick spray and pour in half of the cooked sauce to coat the bottom.
5. Gently and generously fill each pepper with chicken filling and place in the baking dish. Continue until all the peppers are filled. Pour the remaing sauce over each pepper.
6. Cover with foil and heat for 25-30 minutes in a 350F oven. Remove foil, sprinkle peppers with remaining cheese and place back in the oven for 2-3 minutes. 
7. Let cool 5-7 minutes before serving. 


 This recipe is shared on My Link Parties. Also shared onThe Country Cook  and and Foodie Friends Friday

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Garden Barley Stew


It's becoming more apparent that Summer is waning and Fall is arriving. Don't get me wrong, that sigh was one of contentment, not contentiousness. 

I love this time of year.

Cool nights, beautiful days, our garden is thoroughly confused though. Because it's still pumping out the veggies and in celebration of this I made this delicious, chock full of vegetable, stew. 

You won't miss the meat in this, and for you hardcore carnivores, by all means add some if you absolutely have too. One taste though, and you know this beauty hits all the comfort notes. 

It's hearty (psst...even tho it's meatless!), filling and oh so good!

Add in anything and everything you have on hand. This version used fresh tomatoes, peppers, onion, celery, carrots, zucchini, potato, garlic, green beans and black beans. If I had more vegetables, I would have thrown them in also. That's what's so nice about this soup, it's changeable.

Add kale, beets, turnips, eggplant, mushrooms....

Don't have barley? Use rice, quinoa, couscous, farro, lentils, even whole oats!

See, it's an open book. 

And a delicious one at that.

2 lbs. fresh tomatoes, rough chop
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt and pepper
4 cups chicken broth
2 carrots, peeled, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 small pepper, chopped
1 stalk celery, halved and chopped
1 small potato, small cubes
1 can cut green beans, drained 
1 can beans, (black, kidney, pinto or white)-rinsed and drained
1 sprig thyme or 1/2 tsp dried
1/2 cup barley or other grain


In a large heavy pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add in tomatoes and cook for 3-5 minutes. 
Add in onions, garlic, salt and pepper and cook until tomatoes soften and break down, about 8-10 minutes more. Use a stick blender or potato masher to blend tomatoes into a sauce.
Add in chicken broth and all the vegetables except zucchini. Bring to a low boil.
Lower heat to a simmer and cover slightly and cook until carrots and potato are tender, another 20 minutes. 
Add in zucchini, green beans, beans and barley. Stir to combine and cook on low until grain is softened and vegetables are tender, not mushy. Another 12-15 minutes for quick barley. 
Remove thyme sprig if used and taste for seasoning. 
We love to sprinkle Parmesan cheese over each serving!


 This recipe is shared on My Link Parties. Also shared on Weekend Potluck and Foodie Friends Friday