Sloppy Joe Casserole

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If you look at my pinterest search history you will find that 90% of my recipe search terms are “casserole.” I love the convenience of throwing a bunch of tasty things into a baking dish and letting magic happen in the oven. This recipe is especially wonderful as it takes the flavor of a Sloppy Joe and maximizes it with a cornbread base. Talk about savory sweet, this dish is packed with flavor! I chop up a bunch of extra vegetables to add a bit of crunch (and nutrients too I guess) and it is a slam dunk. I adapted this recipe from http://www.bunsinmyoven.com

Serves:  10    Calories: 462.4 per serving     Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8.5 oz) box of cornbread mix
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/3 cup of milk, I used 2%
  • 1 egg
  • 1 (14 3/4 oz) can of cream corn
  • 2 (16 oz) cans of sloppy joe sauce
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 9×13 baking dish
  2. Mix together the cornbread mix, 1/2 cup of the cheddar cheese, milk, egg, and cream corn.
  3. Pour this mixture into your baking dish and bake for about 15 minutes.
  4. While cornbread is baking melt the butter in a large pan.
  5. Sauté the onion and peppers for 3 minutes
  6. Add the ground beef and cook until it is no longer pink.
  7. Drain the fat from the pan. This is important because you don’t want this mixture to be too liquid-y.
  8. Add all but 1/2 cup of the sloppy joe sauce to the beef mixture and stir it all in.
  9. By now your cornbread should be done baking. Check for readiness with a toothpick (basically stab the cornbread with a toothpick once and if it comes out clean the bread is done).
  10. Puncture the cornbread with a fork to create little holes. Spread 1/2 cup of the sloppy joe sauce over the cornbread.
  11. Pour the beef mixture over the cornbread and spread evenly. Top with the rest of the cheddar cheese and return the baking dish to the oven for 15 minutes.
  12. Remove from the oven, let cool for a minute or two, top with green onions and serve.
  13. Enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://www.bunsinmyoven.com

Baked Jalapeño Popper Rolled Tacos

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I snagged this recipe from the Land o Lakes website. That’s right people I actually found a decent recipe off of a commercial brand’s website. I am willing to try my hand at anything inspired by jalapeño poppers. How could a recipe involving creamy, cheesy, spicy goodness go wrong?

These rolled tacos are amazing. There is really no other way to describe them. Their crispy baked shell add the perfect texture to a creamy filling. I went crazy with the jalapeños because we like spicy food so if you are not a big fan of heat I suggest using half of what this recipe calls for. These tacos are perfect for weeknights when time is tight as it doesn’t take very long to make. We finished with quite a few left overs, but keep in mind that only two of us were eating these. That said, if you have a larger family with older children you may want to double the recipe and stock your freezer with left overs. These are large rolled tacos, not your small 6 inch rolled street tacos. One of these with a side dish is more than enough to fill you up for dinner.

Makes: 10 rolled tacos     Calories: 295 per rolled taco    Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp butter, divided
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of milk, I used 2%
  • 1 (8oz) package of cream cheese
  • 1 (12oz) jar jalapeños, drained and chopped finely
  • 1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • 10 flour tortillas

Directions

  1. Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a large pan. Add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add cooked chicken, milk, cream cheese and jalapeños. Mix together until the cream cheese is soft and all ingredients are well mixed.
  2. Turn off heat and stir in cheddar cheese.
  3. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Spread a thin layer of the chicken mixture over one half of each tortilla and roll it up tightly. Place each rolled taco on a baking sheet with the seam side down.
  5. Melt the remaining 2 tbsp of butter and brush a little over each taco.
  6. Bake for 7 minutes and remove from the oven to flip the tacos. Bake for an additional 7 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool for a minute or two before serving.
  8. Serve with your favorite side dish and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://www.landolakes.com

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Blueberry Muffins

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Blueberry muffins with sugar on top, could this recipe be any more “comfort food from mom’s kitchen?” Baking is something I don’t do very often because, honestly I’m not the greatest baker. It is an exact science and I’m more of an “add-a-pinch-or-two-more” kind of cook. I will say that I have gotten better at making muffins, so who knows maybe there is hope for me! These babies have a great texture. I can only describe them as the traditional cake-y, dense and sweet muffins you would find at your local bakery. I think the trick is to use sour cream to get just the right texture. The sugar on top is an added touch I remember my mom adding to her chocolate chip muffins when I was a kid. It is crunchy, sweet nostalgia my friends. I recommend doubling the recipe if you are baking for a whole family. You can also get more muffins if you use smaller “cupcake style” baking cups. Just adjust the time if you are using smaller cups so you don’t burn the muffins. I will usually make these on Sunday to enjoy them throughout the week for breakfast, that is if they make it that long! This recipe was inspired by http://www.yammiesnoshery.com. I highly suggest you check out their site. They explain why you need to use the right amount of each ingredient and how it can go wrong if you use too much or too little. I found it very informative.

Makes: about 8 large muffins     Calories: 329 per muffin     Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup milk, I used 2%
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 carton of fresh blueberries
  • sugar to top, I did not account for this in the calories because my perfect amount of sugar topping is more than likely different from everyone else’s. Be aware of this if you are counting calories and add what you need.

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and spritz your muffin tin with cooking spray
  2. Combine sugar, egg, oil, milk and vanilla in a large bowl. Add the flour, salt and baking powder and stir until just combined. Try not to get too crazy mixing as you don’t want to overmix the batter.
  3. Fold in the sour cream and blueberries being careful not to chop up the blueberries in the process. Continue to fold/mix until the sour cream is just mixed in.
  4. Place baking cups into your muffin tin and fill each cup leaving about 1/2 an inch to the top. Top each muffin with as much sugar as you think is necessary 😉
  5. Bake for 25 minutes and remove from oven to check readiness with a toothpick. To do this check just insert a toothpick into the center of each muffin and if it comes out without any gooey muffin residue they are done. If there is gooey muffin residue continue to bake for a few more minutes and perform the check again.
  6. Serve up with your favorite fruit, yogurt, coffee, or whatever tickles your fancy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://www.yammiesnoshery.com

Baked Cuban Sliders

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Not only are these sliders incredibly easy to make but they are also delicious. The sauce on top is the perfect addition and doesn’t mute, but instead enhances the flavor of the pickles and ham. It took a lot of self control to only have two of these for dinner. I could have easily been satisfied with a few more!  You only need a handful of ingredients for this recipe and about 30 minutes of time to make it. I was able to stuff a 9×13 baking dish and had another (smaller) pan of 7 more so we will definitely have leftovers for a few days. It is the perfect dish for busy weeknights. This recipe was inspired by http://www.houseofyumm.com you can find the original post on their beautiful website if you would like to check it out.

Serves: 24 sliders     Calories: 217 per slider     Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 24 Hawaiian rolls
  • 9oz thin sliced deli ham, we used honey ham
  • 2 (80z) packages of Swiss cheese
  • 1 (24 oz) jar of bread and butter pickles, I used a big jar because I packed on the pickles. If you want to use a smaller jar just go lightly on the pickles when you assemble the sliders.
  • 1/2 of a sweet onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 3 tbsp Dijon mustard

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit
  2.  Prepare your baking dish with cooking spray
  3. Cut all of the Hawaiian rolls in half. Place the bottom half of each roll evenly in your baking dish, reserving the top halves.
  4. Place the ham over the bottom halves of the rolls, next the cheese and finally the pickles.
  5. Place the tops of the rolls over the dish.
  6. Whisk together the butter, dijon mustard and onions. Spoon this sauce over the tops of the sliders. Don’t soak them with the sauce as they will get soggy. You want just enough sauce for flavor 😉
  7. Cover your dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Once 15 minutes is up remove the foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes to crisp up the tops of the sliders.
  8. Slice the sliders apart, serve and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://www.houseofyumm.com

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Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats

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I have seen these recipes floating around on pintrest for a while but I’ve been too skeptical to give them a try. Our neighbors, Ryan and Laura, are fellow foodies and we often share samples of what we are cooking. They gave us a sample of their zucchini boats a few weeks ago and it totally fueled this recipe. I was blown away by the flavor and heartiness of their boats. A bit later I bucked up and gave this taco variation a try. This is a safe place to start in the world of zucchini boats because you can add toppings and customize it to your tastes. We floated some Ghost Scream Hot Sauce (a gift from Ryan) that really kicked these babies up a notch. The recipe in general isn’t overwhelmingly “squash-y.” Instead it is a fresh addition to the classic taco flavor. I’m very excited to experiment with these and am looking to try out a sausage or lentil zucchini boat recipe in the near future. Massive thanks to Ryan and Laura for giving me the confidence to try this recipe! I also want to note that this recipe is adapted from http://www.willcookforsmiles.com

Makes: 8 boats     Calories: 350     Time: 5o minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 Large Zucchini
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 large Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 large jalapeno, chopped (if you like it hot include the seeds)
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 packet of reduced sodium taco seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • (optional toppings we used) rotel tomatoes, hot sauce

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. To keep stability of the zucchini boat on your baking pan cut a little sliver out of the green flesh on the bottom side so that the zucchini will lay flat. With a spoon scoop out the seeded middle part. Set the boats aside.
  3. In a large pan heat oil and saute the onion, tomato and jalapeno for about a minute
  4. Add the ground beef and crumble as you cook. When it is about half way done add the taco seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste
  5. Stuff each zucchini boat with this beef mixture and place them on a greased baking pan. Bake for about 25 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and top with pepper jack cheese. Continue to bake them until cheese is melted.
  7. Remove from the oven once more and top with your favorite toppings.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Original recipe adapted from http://www.willcookforsmiles.com

Pineapple Baked Chicken – ★★★★✩

11008513_10205998715465070_8853942480179284495_nIt is no secret that I love savory sweet, and this recipe delivers just that. This chicken dish is baked so the meat came out really juicy and tender with the pineapples perfectly soft. I found it to be an easy, quick and delicious recipe that had us coming back for seconds. I honestly ate a heaping second plate of just the pineapple for desert, that is how tasty it was. We added extra pepper flakes for more heat and I think that took it to a whole new level of yummy. I’m falling in love with Dijon mustard after the saucy pork chops I made a few weeks ago, and I must say I think that is what holds all the flavors in this recipe together. Perry really enjoyed this dinner, but gave 4 stars because he had a suggestion that could potentially make it even better. I’ll let him describe it himself:

“There is no doubt in my mind that this recipe is 5 star quality. It is salty, it is sweet and it is spicy. I think that adding smokey to that list of adjectives would pump this recipe up. I suggest grilling the pineapple chunks before adding them to the recipe. Kelsey thinks it might be an annoying extra step for those who are trying to rush dinner on the table, but I think if the time is available it would be awesome. I know that I love grilled corn in soup so why not have grilled pineapple in this recipe. We will give it a go next time around and at that point I’ll give this one a full five-star rating. Until then it is a 4 because I know there is a little bit of room for improvement.

Serves: 4     Calories: 350 per serving     Time: MARINATE 3 hrs  COOK: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts, trimmed
  • 2 (20 oz.) cans of pineapple chunks, if you can get the ones in pineapple juice not syrup
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • Crushed pepper flakes (optional)

Directions:

  1. To marinade, combine chicken, pineapple juice (drain from the canned stuff and keep pineapple chunks aside), garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, lemon zest and paprika. Place in a large bowl or ziplock bag and refrigerate for 4 hours.
  2. Pre heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Spray 9×13 cooking dish with cooking spray.
  4. Remove the chicken from the marinade and put into the baking dish and set aside. Discard of the marinade.
  5. In a large pan melt the butter. Once butter is melted add the Dijon, honey, and pineapple chunks stirring for a few minutes until bubbly. Remove from heat
  6. Pour the saucy pineapple chunks over the chicken and bake for 35-40 minutes.
  7. If you are into spicy, sprinkle pepper flakes on top before serving.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

**Recipe adapted from http://www.diethood.com 

Baked Pesto Chicken – ★★★★★

1978774_10205587880114443_8010916815274238925_nThere is something to be said about a recipe that you just throw in a dish and bake. With a wild toddler and a brand new baby recipes like this are my saving grace. I am able to give my family a tasty meal without sacrificing nutrition and my own time with them. I’m learning that life is all about balance, so if that is something you are . I took some shortcuts to save even more time, for example using store-bought pesto and pre-sliced chicken breasts meant for stir fry. Perry gave five stars and here is why:

The chicken was so moist and the oil from the pesto made it taste, as I can only describe it as, silky. I think the pairing of pesto and mozzarella works so well because the flavors basically melt together leaving you with a creamy-herby savoriness. I would like to try this chicken and the sauce over a bed of fettucine Alfredo. Could you imagine?! Kelsey made rice to eat with the left overs and she poured the sauce left in the pan over top. Quite possibly the best rice I’ve ever had. Five stars for flavor!”

Serves: 4     Calories: 340 per serving     Time: 35-40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, if you like to make them bite sized like I do then cut them into bits.
  • 1/2 cup pesto, you can make your own with this recipe here or, if you need to save time, buy a jar of fresh pesto already made (this is usually found by the gourmet pastas in the refrigerated cheese section of your grocery store.)
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Season chicken with salt and pepper
  3. Spread 1/4 cup of the pesto in a 9×13 baking dish
  4. Lay chicken over the pesto and top chicken with the remaining pesto.
  5. Cover the dish with foil and bake until cooked through, about 20-25 minutes.
  6. Uncover and sprinkle the mozzarella over the dish. Bake for an additional few minutes until the cheese is melted.
  7. Dish and spoon the hot sauce left in the pan over the chicken.
  8. Enjoy!

*Original recipe adapted from http://www.food.com

*Photo is an original belonging to me