• Tex-Mex Chili Mac


    We like chili mac.  What’s not to like?  Chili with pasta and cheese.  This is by far our favorite version, which comes from the Tex-Mex Cookbook.  The taco seasoning mix is delicious and would be great for straight up taco meat…beef or chicken…or any recipe that calls for a taco seasoning packet.

    • 1 lb. ground beef or turkey
    • 1/2 c. green pepper, chopped
    • 1/2 c. onion, chopped
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 1 14.5 oz. can Rotel tomatoes, undrained
    • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
    • 3/4 c. uncooked elbow macaroni
    • 1 packet of taco seasoning  mix, or homemade recipe below
    • 3/4 c. water
    • Grated cheese

    Taco Seasoning Mix:

    • 1 TBSP chili powder
    • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
    • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
    • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
    • 1/2 tsp. paprika
    • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
    • 1 tsp. salt


    1. Brown meat with bell pepper, onion, and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until meat is no longer pink; drain.
    2. Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, macaroni, and taco seasoning, and add 3/4 c. water; bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat, cover tightly, and simmer for 15 minutes or until pasta is done to taste.
    3. Remove the pan from heat and season to taste.  Top with grated cheese, and let stand for 5 minutes before serving to allow the cheese to melt.

    Tex-Mex Chili Mac:


  • Tasty Taco Fillings


    These recipes come from the October 2008 issue of Family Fun.  We only had the chicken tacos, but I was so impressed with those, that we will definitely try the ground beef filling, so I’ve included the recipe here.

    Chicken Taco Ingredients:

    • 1 TBSP olive oil
    • 1/2 c. onion, minced
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 serrano or jalapeno, minced
    • 1/2 c. tomato sauce
    • 1 tsp. cumin
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 3 1/2 c. cooked and shredded chicken
    • Tortillas, salsa, guacamole etc.


    1. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic, and chili and saute until onion has softened, about 6 minutes.  Add the tomato sauce, cumin and salt and cook for one more minute.
    2. Add the chicken and cook through.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

    Ground Beef Ingredients:

    • 1 TBSP olive oil
    • 3/4 c. onion, minced
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 tsp. cumin
    • 2 tsp. chili powder
    • 1 1/2 lb. ground beef or turkey
    • 2 TBSP tomato paste
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 tsp. pepper
    • Tortillas and toppings of choice


    1. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic, and chili and saute until onion has softened, about 6 minutes.   Add the cumin and chili powder and cook, stirring for another minute.  Add the beef and cook, stirring breaking up any lumps, until meat is cooked through.
    2. Add the tomato paste, salt and pepper; cook stirring for another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.

    Tasty Taco Fillings:


  • Quick Pasta Skillet (aka Goulash)


    Admittedly not the prettiest dish out there, but it tastes so good.  This recipe is from my Great Aunt Arlene Clark, and it reminds me of my youth.  It’s hearty, filling and tasty.  It’s kind of like a skillet casserole or a homemade hamburger helper.


    • 1 lb. ground beef or turkey
    • 1 large (1 lb 13 oz) can of diced tomatoes
    • 1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
    • 8 oz. uncooked small pasta (elbows or shells)
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 1 green pepper, chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 TBSP sugar
    • 1 TBSP chili powder
    • 1 1/2 – 2 tsp. salt
    • 1 c. sour cream


    1. Brown meat in a large skillet; drain off fat.
    2. Stir in remaining ingredients, except sour cream.
    3. Heat to boiling.  Cover and simmer, but stir frequently, for 35 minutes or until pasta is tender.
    4. Stir in sour cream and heat through, but do not boil.

    Quick Pasta Skillet:


  • Nana’s Beef Stew


    Our oldest has been asking for beef stew of late (he loves the beef stew at school), so I finally got around to asking Nana for her recipe.  It tasted just like I remember…tasty warm comfort food.  I used the crock pot because I didn’t have 5 hours to babysit my oven.


    • 1 1/2 to 2 lb. beef stew meat
    • 2 TBSP minute Tapioca
    • 6 carrots, cut
    • 1 c. celery, chopped
    • 1 8 oz. can stewed tomatoes
    • 1 TBSP sugar
    • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 c. fresh bread crumbs
    • 2-3 potatoes, chopped in 1 inch cubes
    • 1/2 c. peas


    1. Oven directions: Preheat oven to 250F.  Mix everything except for the peas in a dutch oven.  Cover and cook for 5 hours.  In the last 20 minutes add the peas.
    2. Crock Pot directions: Mix everything except for the peas in a crock pot.  Cover and cook on HIGH for 6 hours, or until meat is fork tender.  In the last 20 minutes add the peas.

    Nana’s Beef Stew:


  • Shredded Chicken


    We love Mexican food, and there are many many recipes that use shredded chicken.  Here’s an excellent shredded chicken recipe I found at Fashionably Foodie.  Admittedly some of the ingredients are surprising, namely Worcestershire sauce, but don’t let that scare you, because the end result is d’lish.  Use the shredded chicken in tacos, enchiladas, burritos, nachos etc.


    • 3 frozen chicken breasts
    • 1/4 c. Worcestershire sauce
    • 1/2 c. water
    • 1/2 onion, diced
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. paprika
    • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp. cumin
    • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper


    1. Combine all ingredients in your crock pot, cover, and cook on LOW for 4 hours.
    2. Remove chicken from crock and shred by using two forks, taste and adjust seasoning.  May add more paprika for a richer color.

    Shredded Chicken:


  • Quick Turkey Chili


    This chili recipe comes from the October 2008 issue of Southern Living, and is one darn good chili! The chili went really well with the extra cheesy grilled cheese too and a tossed green salad!


    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1 TBSP   vegetable oil
    • 2  garlic cloves, chopped
    • 1  lb.  ground turkey
    • 2  TBSP chili powder (I used 1 TBSP chili powder and 1 TBSP ancho chili powder
    • 2  tsp. ground cumin
    • 3  TBSP  tomato paste
    • 1  (28-oz.) can diced tomatoes
    • 1  (16-oz.) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
    • 2  c.  chicken broth
    • 1  tsp.  salt
    • 1/2  tsp. pepper
    • 1/4  c.  chopped fresh cilantro
    • Garnish: sour cream


    1. Sauté chopped onion in hot oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until tender; add garlic, and sauté 1 minute.
    2. Add turkey, chili powder, and cumin, and cook, stirring often, 8 minutes or until meat crumbles and is no longer pink. Stir in tomato paste, and cook 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and next 5 ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil; cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Stir in cilantro. Garnish, if desired.

    Quick Turkey Chili:


  • Chicken-and-Corn Pie with Cornbread Crust


    Here’s another casserole that uses leftover chicken or Turkey from Thanksgiving.  It was good, but I liked the chicken tamale casserole better…-s said he really likes both and will definitely eat both.  It’s quick and easy to prepare, which is always nice.  This recipe comes from the October 2008 issue of Southern Living.


    • 1 (10-oz.) can enchilada sauce
    • 1 (10-oz.) can Mexican diced tomatoes with lime juice and cilantro, drained (I forgot to drain)
    • 2 cups frozen whole kernel corn
    • 1 tsp. chili powder (I used ancho chili powder
    • 3 c. chopped cooked chicken
    • 1 (6-oz.) package Mexican-style cornbread mix
    • 2/3 c. milk
    • 1 large egg
    • 2 TBSP vegetable oil
    • 1 c. (4 oz.) shredded Mexican four-cheese blend, divided
    • Toppings: sliced pickled jalapeño peppers, sour cream


    1. Preheat oven to 375°. Stir together enchilada sauce and next 3 ingredients in a 3 1/2-qt. saucepan over medium heat until combined; cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Stir in chicken.
    2. Whisk together cornbread mix, next 3 ingredients, and 3/4 cup cheese in a small bowl just until blended.
    3. Pour chicken mixture into a lightly greased 11 x 7 pan. Spoon cornbread mixture over hot chicken mixture. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.
    4. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Serve with desired toppings.

    Chicken-and-Corn Pie with Cornbread Crust:


  • 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 9–inch 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:


  • Crock Pot Lasagna Florentine


    I’ve never tried making a pasta dish in the crock pot. Today I got creative and made a lasagna. I used the no boil lasagna sheets and made a spinach and ricotta filling (trying to get veggies in wherever I can). Everyone really liked it. I thought the pasta was a bit over cooked, so next time I’ll start checking at the 2 hour mark. You would never guess this came from a crock pot!


    • 9 oz. fresh spinach leaves
    • 15 oz. ricotta cheese
    • 1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 3/4 c. grated pecorino romano cheese, divided
    • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
    • 1 lb. fresh mozzarella, sliced
    • 1 26 oz. jar of pasta sauce
    • 1 package of no boil lasagna noodles (12 sheets)


    1. In a food processor, pulse the spinach in two batches until finely chopped.
    2. In a medium bowl, combine spinach, ricotta, Italian seasoning, salt, 1/2 c. percorino, and eggs.
    3. Spray your crock with cooking spray. Add about 1/4 sauce to the crock; layer with the lasagna noodles (break the noodles if necessary to fit your crock; add a layer of the spinach ricotta mixture; then layer with mozzarella; then layer with about 1/4 c. sauce. Repeat until you get to the top layer, ending with sauce (my top layer was pasta, sauce, and pecorino). Sprinkle top layer with remaining 1/4 c. pecorino romano cheese.
    4. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours (start checking at the 2 hour mark for desired doneness).


    Crock Pot Lasagna Florentine:


  • Crockpot Thai Red Curry


    I found this recipe at A Year of CrockPotting. The Crockpot Lady got it from Rachael Ray. I thought this dish tasted really good, and it was really good the next day for lunch. It had really great flavor, and since I think so many crockpot recipes are light in flavor, I was really pleased with this dish. I’m always looking for good crockpot recipes for those busy weeknights that are filled with my kiddos’ activities. I’ll definitely put this dish in the crockpot rotation. You can skip the chicken and make this vegetarian or you can add tofu at the end.


    • 1 13.5 oz can coconut milk (if you use light, add some cream to finish the sauce at the end)
    • 1TBSP brown sugar
    • 1 TBSP soy sauce
    • 1 1/2 TBSP Thai red or green chili paste, or more or less to taste
    • 1 tsp. fish sauce
    • 2-3 inch knob of ginger, minced
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 lb. chicken breast, cut into 2 inch pieces
    • 1 sweet potato, cut into 2 inch pieces
    • 1 yellow onion, rough chop into large pieces
    • 1 small eggplant, cut into 2 inch pieces
    • 1 red pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
    • 1 green pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
    • Lime, quartered
    • Hot white rice
    • Garnish with cilantro, green onions, basil, and/or peanuts


    1. Combine coconut milk, brown sugar, soy sauce, chili paste, fish sauce, ginger, and garlic in the crockpot. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Then add the sweet potato, onion, eggplant and peppers.
    2. Cook on HIGH for 2 hours. If you used light coconut milk, stir in some cream to thicken the sauce and give the sauce some richness.

    Crockpot Thai Red Curry: