Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Santa Fe Salad

1 cup Citrus Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1 cup Chipotle Ranch Dressing (recipe follows)

Tortilla Strips (package found in produce or salad topping section)
1 large bag salad greens or red tipped lettuce (8 cups mixed lettuce)
2 Tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
1 large tomato, diced
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz) can Green Giant Mexicorn, drained
1/2 cups shredded cheese use half Cheddar and half Monterey Jack cheese
Salt and pepper (optional, to taste)

Earlier in the day make both Citrus Balsamic Vinaigrette and Chipotle Ranch Dressing and refrigerate.

Place greens in large salad bowl. Add fresh cilantro and toss together. Top with tomato, beans, corn. Dress with orange vinaigrette to taste (about half or more of the recipe). Toss together. Top with cheese and packaged tortilla strips (found in salad or produce section)

Drizzle with Chipotle Ranch dressing. (Can also add guacamole and sour cream on top if preferred)


1 cup fresh orange juice
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
pinch of ground nutmeg

Whisk ingredients in a pan over medium-high heat just until the sugar has melted. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Chipotle Ranch Dressing

1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch dressing/dip mix
1 cup light mayonnase
1 cup milk
1/2 to 1 tsp. McCormick Chipotle Chili Pepper spice (found in spice section)

Make ranch dressing according to package directions. Add 1/2 tsp. chipotle pepper or more to taste depending on the amount of spice (heat) you like.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Stuffed Pasta Shells (Tufoli)

1 box jumbo pasta shells
1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 onion chopped
2 tsp. Italian Seasoning or dried oregano or basil
1/4 cup chopped parsley
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
3 slices bread moistened with 1/3 cup milk
1 egg
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1.Boil shells according to package directions. Add 1 TBS. oil to water to prevent sticking. When done, drain, rinse with cold water then place on a cookie sheet.

2.Meanwhile, brown beef, garlic, onion, seasoning. Drain off excess grease if meat is not lean. A little grease (1-2 tbs. is ok).

3. Remove from heat and let cool (20-30 min) Add parsley, 2 cups mozzarella, moistened bread (should be mushy and easy to tear apart), egg, salt and pepper. Mix all together and stuff in shells. If you think the mixture needs more mozzarella, add another cup. I have made it so much that I guess. I always put in 2 cups, but sometimes add more.

4. Spray a 13x9 pan with Pam. Cover bottom of baking dish with tomato sauce. Place filled Tufoli in pan, one layer only. Cover with sauce. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup mozzarella and 1/2 cup parmesan.

5. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30-45 min. until bubbly and warm.

6. This can be made ahead and frozen with the sauce, or made ahead 1 to 2 days and kept in the refrigerator.

7. Allow to thaw for several hours before baking. If baking from cold state, may need to allow more time. Check after 30 minutes in center of pan to see if filling is warm. If not, allow to bake 45 min. to an hour.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Manwich Cups

1 lb. ground beef
1 can Manwich Sloppy Joe Sauce
1 can Pillsbury Grands refrigerated biscuits
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Pre-heat oven to temperature on biscuit package.

1. Brown ground beef and drain.
2. Add Manwich sauce and heat through.
3. Spray individual cups of a muffin tin with PAM or grease.
4. Flatten a biscuit in your palms to cover hole in muffin tin. Lightly press down.
5. Fill each biscuit cup with meat mixture.
6. Sprinkle each with shredded cheddar cheese.
7. Bake 10-12 min. until biscuits are golden brown and puffed around meat mixture.
These are great for kid parties, tailgate parties, and teens particularly like these. Left-overs (if there are any) can be re-heated in the microwave.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Peanut caramel crunch brownies

1 box (19.5 oz) Pillsbury® Brownie Classics Traditional fudge brownie mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
2 eggs
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 bag (14 oz) caramels, unwrapped
1/4 cup water
2 cups slightly broken pretzels*
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 cup powdered sugar
1 jar (18 oz) crunchy peanut butter
2 cups Reese's® Puffs® cereal, slightly broken*

1 Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark pan). Grease 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray or shortening.** In large bowl, make brownie mix as directed on box using oil, water and eggs. Stir in 1 cup of the chocolate chips. Spread batter evenly in pan. Bake 28 to 30 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making topping.

2 In medium saucepan, heat caramels and water on medium heat. Stir often until caramels are completely melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and stir in broken pretzels until well coated. Spoon and spread carefully over cooled brownie layer.

3 In large bowl, mix melted butter and powdered sugar until smooth. Stir in peanut butter. Stir in broken cereal until well blended. Spread or pat over caramel layer.

4 In small microwavable bowl, microwave remaining 2 cups chocolate chips on High 1 minute. Stir; continue to microwave in 15-second increments, stirring after each, until chocolate is melted. Spread over cereal layer. Refrigerate until chocolate is set and caramel mixture in center is firm, 2 to 3 hours. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes before cutting. Cut into 6 rows by 4 rows.

*To slightly break pretzels and cereal, place in separate resealable food-storage plastic bags; seal bags and break with rolling pin.

Monday, September 5, 2011

THE BEST Macaroni and Cheese

1 16oz. pkg. elbow macaroni
1/4 cup butter
2 cups Velveta cheese, cubed
2 cups sharp shredded cheddar cheese
2 1/2 cups 2% or whole milk
1 egg

Cook macaroni according to package directions, drain. Cut butter into pieces and place in bottom of 13x9 pan. Place half of the macaroni on top of butter. Sprinkle with 1 cup Velveta cubes and 1 cup cheddar cheese. Beat egg with milk. Pour half of milk mixture over macaroni layer. Repeat layer of macaroni, cheeses and egg mixture.

Bake at 350 F for 15 min. Remove from oven; stir until well blended. Return to oven and bake an additional 20 min. or until golden on top. People will eat this till it is gone. Great for parties and family dinners. Leftovers are good reheated in microwave (if you have any)!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


8 ounces dry egg noodles
1 lb. ground beef
1 large or two medium onions, chopped
1 green pepper chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped or put through garlic press.
2 stalks celery, diced
1 (10-3/4 ounces)can condensed cream of mushroom soup.
1 (10-3/4 ounces) can condensed tomato soup
2 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Boil noodles according to package directions. Drain and return to pot.

Brown ground beef, onion, green pepper, celery and garlic until meat is brown, dry and crumbly. Drain beef if necessary.

Add beef mixture, soups, and 1 1/2 cups cheese to noodles. Stir well. Pour into 9 x 13 pan that has been sprayed with Pam. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

Bake at 350F. for 30-40 min. or until bubbly and cheese melted.

Casserole reheats well for packed lunches and also freezes well. Make one to serve and one to freeze for another day.

Spring Salad with Maple Vinaigarette

1 bowl of mixed greens
1 container of mandarin oranges drained (I get the snack pack ones for this)
1/4-1/3 cup crumbled Feta cheese
1 small granny smith apple or your favorite, diced
1/4 cup roughly chopped pecans or candied pecans.


1/2 cup vegetable oil (I use extra-light Bertolli olive oil)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 TBS real maple syrup
1 tsp. honey dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. garlic salt

Place in cruet or salad dressing shaker. Shake well. Chill. Shake before using.

Place salad ingredients in bowl as listed. Add dressing to taste and toss. Usually I can get two salads from one recipe of dressing.