• Chicken Tamale Casserole


    This recipe comes from the November 2008 issue of Cooking Light. After seeing the recipe in the magazine, I wasted little time putting it on the weekly menu. We love tamales, so why not a tamale casserole, without having the work of making tamales!!  Win win for sure, and the casserole didn’t disappoint.  You could easily use leftover chicken or turkey…great way to use all the leftover Thanksgiving turkey too!

    Update: the leftovers are excellent!!!

    • 1 c. (4 ounces) preshredded 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese, divided
    • 1/3 c. fat-free milk
    • 1/4 c. egg substitute
    • 1 tsp. ground cumin
    • 1/8 tsp. ground red pepper
    • 1 (14 3/4-oz.) can cream-style corn
    • 1  (8.5-oz.) box corn muffin mix (such as Martha White)–I bought a 6 oz. Martha White package and it turned out fine
    • 1 (4-oz.) can chopped green chiles, drained
    • Cooking spray
    • 1 (10-oz.) can red enchilada sauce
    • 2 c. shredded cooked chicken breast
    • 1/2 c. sour cream
    • Chopped cilantro for garnish


    1. Preheat oven to 400°.
    2. Combine 1/4 cup cheese and next 7 ingredients (through chiles) in a large bowl, stirring just until moist. Pour mixture into a 13 x 9inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
    3. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until set. Pierce entire surface liberally with a fork; pour enchilada sauce over top. Top with chicken; sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Cut into 8 pieces; top each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream.

    Chicken Tamale Casserole:


  • Blackened Chicken with Creamy Garlic Alfredo Sauce


    I found this recipe at Fashionably Foodie, and it sounded d’lish. While I took our youngest to Hobby Lobby, -s prepared this amazing dinner. It was so tasty! We will definitely make this one again


    Blackened Chicken or Salmon

    • 4 TBSP paprika
    • 1/4 tsp cayenne
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 2 tsp. onion powder
    • 2 tsp .garlic powder
    • 1 tsp. oregano
    • 1/2 tsp. thyme
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper
    • 1/4 tsp. cumin
    • 1/4 c. butter
    • 4 chicken breasts or salmon fillets


    1. Mix dry spices on a plate.
    2. In a skillet, melt butter and oil over medium-high heat. Pour off 1 Tablespoon of butter into a shallow pan. Turn on your oven vent and crank the heat to medium-high to high. If using chicken, pound chicken in between two sheets of plastic wrap, then pat dry with paper towels. Dip each fillet or breast lightly into melted butter and dip into the dry ingredients, patting the spices on by hand. Cook fish/chicken in skillet, 3-4 minutes per side, or until done, careful when turning. Fish/Chicken will look charred black and you may get smoke- hence the name!

    Creamy Garlic Alfredo Sauce

    • 1/4 c. butter
    • 1 TBSP flour
    • 1 c. milk
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 1/2 c. fresh parmesan, grated
    • 1/4 tsp. pepper
    • 1/2 tsp. paprika
    • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
    • 1 lb. hot pasta
    • chopped parsley or cilantro to garnish


    1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat; use a whisk and stir in flour and cook for 30 seconds; add milk and garlic. bring to a boil (barely, just at the edges of the pan,) and stir in parmesan; whisk until melted. Sauce will thicken as it cools.

    Blackened Chicken with Creamy Garlic Alfredo Sauce:


  • Black Bottom Cupcakes


    I came across a black bottom cupcake recipe at Annie’s Eats (adapted from David Lebovitz). I’ve never made homemade cupcakes before (gasp!)…I guess I never realized how easy it is and how tasty they are! My mother-in-law makes a similar cupcake for Christmas, and since -s loves those I thought I’d give these a shot. They are so tasty, and I’m sure -s can’t wait to get home from his business trip to give them a try.


    For the filling:

    • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
    • 1 large egg, at room temperature
    • 1/4 c. of mini chocolate chips


    For the cupcakes:

    • 1 ½ c. all-purpose flour
    • 1 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
    • 5 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • ¼ tsp. salt
    • 1 c. water
    • 1/3 c. vegetable oil
    • 1 TBSP white or cider vinegar
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract


    1. To make the filling, whisk the cream cheese, granulated sugar and egg until smooth. Stir in chopped chocolate pieces.  Set aside.
    2. To make the cupcakes, adjust a rack to the center of the oven and preheat to 350°.  Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners (my batch made 15 cupcakes).
    3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl mix together the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla extract.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients, stirring just until smooth. Stir any longer and you will over-mix the batter, and end up with less-than-tender cupcakes.
    4. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Spoon a few tablespoons of the filling into the center of each cupcake, dividing the filling evenly. This will fill the cups almost completely, which is fine. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden brown and the cupcakes feel springy when gently pressed. These will keep unrefrigerated for 2-3 days in an airtight container.
    What the cupcakes looked like just before going into the oven
    Finished product

    Black Bottom Cupcakes:


  • Sausage and Peppers


    This is one of -s’s favorite dishes, and last night he made dinner for us.  You can serve this dish over pasta or on a toasted roll, or night one can be over pasta and night two on a toasted roll.


    • olive oil
    • 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, sliced
    • 2 bell peppers, green and/or red, sliced thin
    • 1 onion, sliced thin
    • 1 jar of marinara sauce
    • Hot pasta
    • Parmesan cheese


    1. Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet; brown the sausage until cooked through; then remove from pan and set aside. Then add the peppers and onion and saute until onions caramelize and the peppers are soft.  Add the sausage back into the pan and add the sauce. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
    2. Serve over hot pasta or on a roll and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

    Sausage and Peppers: