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Sep 28, 2012

Quote Friday

It is not a disgrace not to reach the stars,
but it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach for.

-Benjamin E. Mays

Sep 21, 2012

Quote Friday

You are here for a purpose.
There is not a duplicate of you in the whole wide world;
there never has been, there never will be.
You were brought here now to fill a certain need.
Take time to consider what it might be.

-Lou Austin

Sep 16, 2012

Chicken and Spinach Quesadillas

I whipped up this quick recipe for Chicken and Spinach Quesadillas and boy was it yummy!
I also made my Copycat Chili's salsa recipe here to go with it and it did not disappoint.

Chicken and Spinach Quesadillas

1 1/2 -2 cups seasoned, cooked and diced chicken breast meat
1 TBSP olive oil
a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (heaping) TBSP all purpose flour
3/4 cup chicken broth
4 cups fresh baby spinach, stems removed, coarsely chopped
1 can of pinto  beans, drained and rinsed

Cooking spray
Flour tortillas
Shredded cheese (Monterey Jack, cheddar or a combination of the two works well here)
Avocados, diced
 sour cream

In a large skillet heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and saute for a minute or two. Sprinkle the flour in and stir to combine. Cook while stirring for several minutes so that the flour loses it's raw taste. Whisk in the chicken broth and stir until bubbly and smooth. Add the baby spinach and continue cooking for another minute or two or until spinach has wilted. Stir in the cooked chicken and pinto beans and remove from heat.

Spray a large skillet or griddle with cooking spray. Heat over medium to medium-high heat. Place one tortilla on griddle and spread cheese over tortilla. Spread chicken, bean and spinach mixture over one half of the tortilla. Check underside of tortilla and when browned a bit, flip the half with just cheese over the half with the chicken. Remove from heat and cut into slices. Top with diced avocado and sour cream, if desired.


Sep 14, 2012

Quote Friday

We should cultivate the ability to say no to activities, for which we have no time, no talent, and which we have no interest or real concern. If we learn to say no to many things, then we will be able to say yes to things that matter most.
-Roy Blauss

Creamy Garlic Pasta

Here and again you find a home run recipe and ladies and gents, I've done it again!
This was such a delicious pasta dish and I cannot WAIT to make it again.
Next time I think I will add chicken or shrimp and give it some more protein.
You will not be disappointed with this recipe! Plus, it was fantastic as leftovers!

Creamy Garlic Pasta

2 tsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp butter
¼  tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
3 cups chicken stock
½ lb spaghetti or angel hair pasta
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
¾ cup heavy cream
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
In a pot, bring the olive oil to medium-low heat. Add the garlic and stir, allowing it to cook for 1-2 minutes. Mix in the butter until melted. Add the salt, pepper and chicken stock. Raise the heat to high and let it come to a boil. 
Once it is at a rolling boil, add the pasta and cook for as long as the box’s directions indicate. Reduce the stove to medium heat and mix in the parmesan until completely melted. Turn off the heat and stir in the cream and parsley. Serve immediately.


Sep 12, 2012

Million Dollar Spaghetti

I was looking for new recipes when I came upon this one on Pinterest. It is a perfect blend of regular spaghetti and lasagna. It is MUCH easier than lasagna, so that is a plus.

Million Dollar Spaghetti

7 oz. pkg. thin spaghetti noodles

1 tsp. butter
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
salt and pepper
1 tsp. minced green pepper
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1/4 c. sour cream
8 oz. cottage cheese
2 tsp. melted butter
8 oz. can tomato sauce
mozzarella cheese

Cook spaghetti noodles and drain.
 Saute beef in butter until brown, then green peppers, salt, pepper and tomato sauce. 
Remove from heat.
Combine cheeses and sour cream.

 Using a 2 quart casserole dish, spread half of spaghetti noodles, cover with cheese and then cover with meat sauce and add remaining noodles to the top.

 Pour melted butter over spaghetti noodles then spread remaining meat sauce over the top.
Top with more cheese.
 Bake at 325-350 for about 30 minutes.


Sep 11, 2012

meatballs with rigatoni

Holy Cow, the Pioneer Woman is at is again!
I tried this recipe for Meatballs with Rigatoni and I was singing it's praises for days afterward. 
This is seriously my new favorite recipe.
I could eat it for days on end.
Try it, you will not be disappointed.


Rigatoni and Meatballs


6 thick slices crusty bread

3/4 pound ground beef

3/4 pound ground pork

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 eggs, beaten

¼ cup minced flat-leaf parsley, plus more for serving

¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

¼ cup whole milk

¼ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

½ cup olive oil

Rigatoni and sauce

1 yellow onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced
one 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

one 28-ounce can whole tomatoes

¼ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 teaspoon sugar

¼ cup minced flat-leaf parsley

12 fresh basil leaves, cut in chiffonade (optional)

2 pounds rigatoni, cooked al dente

Place the bread on a baking sheet.
Bake for 30 minutes in a 200°F oven,
or until totally dry.

Break the bread into chunks . . .
And pulse [in food processor]
until the bread turns into crumbs.
throw the meat into a
large mixing bowl.

Add the garlic, bread crumbs,
 eggs, parsley, grated Parmesan,
 milk, salt, and pepper.

Use clean hands to mix
together until well combined.

Use a scoop to retrieve a small
amount of the meat mixture .
And roll it in your hands
to make meatballs (about 25).
Place the pan in the freezer
for 10 to 15 minutes,
 just to firm them up.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot
over medium-high heat.
Working with 8 to 10
meatballs at a time,
cook them until brown but not
all the way through,
2 to 3 minutes per batch.

Remove from the pan to a plate
while you make the rigatoni and sauce.

Add the onion and garlic to the pan.

Stir and cook for a minute or two,
until the onion begins to soften.
Add the crushed tomatoes . . .
whole tomatoes . . .
salt, pepper,
and sugar . . .
And parsley
 and basil.

Stir the sauce to
combine all ingredients.

Cover and reduce
 the heat to a simmer.

Cook for 30 minutes,

stirring occasionally.

Then throw in the meatballs.

Stir gently,
 then cover and cook 20 more minutes,
stirring once or twice,
until the meatballs are cooked through.
 Then put the rigatoni on a platter
and pile on the meatballs and sauce.
Sprinkle parsley and grated parmesan cheese on top!

Source: Pioneer Woman

Sep 7, 2012

Quote Friday

Courage is not the absence of fear,
 but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.

Sep 4, 2012

macaroni and cheese

I have such a big spot in my heart for macaroni and cheese.
I love the stuff.
Seriously, love it.
I'm addicted to Panera's white creamy mac and cheese.
and once I saw that the Pioneer Woman had a recipe for it, you can bet I was all over that!
It was gooey, and cheesy, and delicous!
Try it yourself.

Macaroni and Cheese

You will need:
4 cups dry macaroni
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup flour
2 1/2 cups milk
2 heaping tbsp's dry mustard
1 pound cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1 tsp pepper

To make:
Cook the macaroni until very firm. It should be too firm to eat right out of the pot. Drain.

In a small bowl, beat the egg.
Preheat the oven to 350 and butter a large oval or rectangular dish.

In a large pot, melt the butter and sprinkle in the flour.
Whisk it together over med-low heat. Cook for 5 minutes, whisking constantly. Don't let it  burn.
Pour in the milk.

Add the mustard and whisk until smooth. Cook for 5 minutes or until very thick, whisking constantly.
Reduce the heat to low.
To temper the eggs, slowly pour 1/4 cup of the sauce into the beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking the egg. Whisk until smooth.

Pour the egg mixture into the sauce, whisking until smooth.
Add in all but 1/2 cup of the cheese and stir until melted.
{ calls for lots of cheese!}

Add the seasonings. Taste the sauce and add more salt if needed. Don't undersalt!
Pour in the cooked, draied macaroni and stir to combine.

 Pour into baking dish and top with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.

There you have it!

Source: Pioneer Woman Cooks, Recipes from an accidental country girl

Sep 1, 2012

Refried Beans

I found this book in Eva Longoria's cookbook, Eva's Kitchen, she uses the recipe for Borracho Beans and then goes one step further to turn them into refried beans.
These are easily the best beans I've ever made and I could eat them every. single. day.
{Yeah...they're THAT good!}

You will need:

2 cups drained Borracho Beans (find recipe here)
1-2 Tbsp bean cooking liquid, or as needed
Reserved bacon grease from Borracho beans or 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
Grated or crumbled queso fresco, for serving (optional)

To make: 

In the work of a food processor, place the borracho beans.
Puree until smooth, adding a little of the bean cooking liquid if necessary to keep the beans from sticking to the blade.

In a medium skillet, heat the bacon grease or oil over medium heat until hot. Add the puree and cook, stirring for 5 minutes. Serve, topped with queso fresco (optional).

Recipe Source: Eva's Kitchen by Eva Longoria