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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Cheryl's Italian Manicotti

My Manicotti is the best you'll ever make, it's creamy, and oh so cheesy.,  I add meat most of the time, but occasionally I make it without and you can too, recipe gives the option and you can use different types of ground meats, turkey, beef, ground sirloin, you decide. The sauce is homemade, with fresh herbs I grow myself, you can substitute store bought or dried, use a little more dried.

6 servings

What you need:
1 pound fresh spinach, stems trimmed and well washed or 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed
Kosher salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon
12 manicotti shells
3 cups marinara sauce, recipe follows
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese (about 1 pound)
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tb fresh thyme chopped fine
1 Tb fresh oregano chopped fine
a few sprigs of fresh parsley chopped fine
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons unsalted butter, diced

How to make it:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat, and season generously with salt. Fill a medium bowl with ice water and season with salt, as well. Boil the spinach, uncovered, until tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, (do not drain), and immediately plunge the spinach into the ice water. Drain and squeeze the excess water from the spinach, and finely chop. Alternatively, if using thawed spinach, simply squeeze, and finely chop.

In the same large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta shells until al dente, tender but still slightly firm. Drain and pat dry.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cover the bottom of a 9- x 13-inch ovenproof baking dish with 1 cup of the marinara sauce. In a medium mixing bowl, evenly combine the ricotta, mozzarella, and 1/3 cup of the Parmesan, the chopped herbs, the eggs, and the spinach. Season with the 1/2 teaspoon salt, nutmeg, and pepper to taste. Spoon the cheese mixture into the manicotti shell and line them up in the baking dish. Cover with the remaining sauce. Scatter the remaining cheese on top and dot with the butter. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

1 lb ground meat of your choice if you want, or leave out
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 medium onion, diced (about 3 tablespoons)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 1/2 cups whole, peeled, canned tomatoes in puree, (one 28-ounce can), roughly chopped
Sprig of fresh thyme chopped fine, stems removed
Sprig of fresh basil chopped fine, stems removed
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and garlic, stirring, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes, add meat and cook till done. Add the tomatoes and the herb sprigs and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.

Remove and discard the herb sprigs. Stir in the salt and season with pepper to taste. Use now, or store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

Yield: 3 1/2 cups

Jalapeno Potato Salad

This potato salad has a little zip but is still really creamy and so good

Serves about 5
What you need:
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1/4 cup chopped onion
2-3 small jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 TB ketchup
3 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
3 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon pepper

How to make it:
Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a
boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until tender.
Drain; cool to room temperature.
In a large serving bowl, combine the potatoes, celery, eggs, onion and
In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, hot pepper sauce,
cumin and pepper. Pour over potato mixture and toss gently to coat.
Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving

Apple Carrot Slaw

It's summer time and that means it's salad time, it's hot so who wants to be cooking a lot in the kitchen everyday? Not even me and I love to cook
this apple carrot slaw is fast and so good
you'll be making it often and trust me kids love it too.

What you need:
10 oz. Shredded Carrots
4 cups Granny Smith apples, cut into matchstick sized slices
1 cup raisins
¼ cup mayonnaise
3 tbsp non fat Greek Yogurt
3 tbsp rice vinegar
3 tbsp honey
½ tsp salt
½ tsp celery seeds

How to make it:
Take a medium sized bowl and whisk mayonnaise, Then add Greek yogurt, rice vinegar, honey, salt and celery seeds, add carrots, apple and raisins
Then toss in the dressing

Friday, June 17, 2016

Ground Beef Cheesy Enchiladas

These Enchiladas are filled with cheese and meat and just the right spice added to make them not too hot and oh so good.

what you need:
1 tablespoon shortening
1 pound ground beef
3 tablespoons flour
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilis
2 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
12 corn tortillas
12 (1/4 inch slices of Velveeta)
1 pound longhorn cheese, coarsely grated
1 large onion, finely chopped


Melt shortening in heavy skillet. Add the ground meat and brown. Sprinkle meat with flour; mix in skillet. Add tomato sauce and tomatoes with green chilis. Mix  in the chili powder and cumin to form a smooth paste; add to the meat mixture. Add salt to taste and garlic powder. Cook over medium heat, uncovered, until it is of gravy consistency. Cover and simmer over very low heat. Add more water if the chili gravy becomes too thick.

Dip tortillas one at a time in the hot chili gravy with a wide metal spatula. The tortillas will become pliable almost immediately, which will make rolling the enchiladas easier. Soaking too long will cause the tortillas to fall apart.

Place a few chunks of velveeta cheese and about a tablespoon of the meat mixture to one side of the center of the tortilla. Roll tortilla tightly around the filling and place loose side down in a greased (Pam) casserole baking dish. For best results place the enchiladas in a row with sides touching.

When all enchiladas have been formed, pour the remaining hot chili gravy over all, and sprinkle generously with grated cheese, and top with chopped onion. Bake at 350 degrees F until the cheese is melted.
Top with sour cream and avocado slices to serve

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

BBQ Baked Beans

You can make great BBQ Beans right at home, and if you're in a rush and have no time to soak beans you can use canned beans see the bottom of my recipe. These are old fashioned good baked beans like your mom cooked I bet, if not you should start a new tradition making these. Your family will love you more for them

What you need:
2 cups Great Northern beans (rinsed)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion (peeled and small dice)
1 green bell pepper (seeded, small dice)
2 cloves garlic (peeled and minced)
3/4 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3/4 pound chicken sausage (diced)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

How to make them:
To Quick Soak Beans: Place beans in a large pot and cover with water by two inches. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and cover pot. Allow beans to soak in pot for 1 hour. Drain beans. Rinse pot.
Return beans to large heavy bottomed pot. Add water just to cover and season with salt. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer until beans are just tender, about 30-40 minutes. Drain beans, reserving bean water in a bowl.
Preheat oven to 325??F.
In a large/medium cast-iron skillet add olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic during the last minute of cooking. Season with salt and pepper.
In a medium bowl add the ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, molasses and apple cider vinegar and mix to combine. Add beans and ketchup mixture to the cast-iron pan. Cover the beans with reserved bean water. Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours until beans are tender, adding additional water if necessary.
During the last 30 minutes of cooking place a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and cook chicken sausage until golden brown and cooked through, about 6-8 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
Remove from the oven, stir in chicken sausage and season with salt and pepper and serve.

Tip: If you don't have time to soak the beans, use 3-4 cups of canned beans. Drain and rinse them and combine them with the ketchup mixture. Continue to follow through with recipe.

Grilled Huli Huli Chicken

I got this recipe from Rachael Ray and I tweaked it just a bit.  Huli means "turn" in Hawaiian.
This recipe makes your chicken as tender as if it was roasted all day, and slices perfectly if you use chicken breast.

6 servings

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup sherry or chicken broth
1 teaspoons minced fresh gingerroot
1 teaspoons minced garlic
12 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds)
 or use 6 boneless chicken breasts

How to make it:
In a small bowl, mix the first six ingredients. Reserve a little for basting; cover and refrigerate. Pour marinade in a resealable plastic bag. Add 6 chicken thighs to bag and seal bags and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

Drain and discard marinade from chicken. Moisten a paper towel with cooking oil; using long-handled tongs, lightly coat the grill rack.
Grill chicken, covered, over medium heat for 6-8 minutes on each side or until no longer pink; baste occasionally with reserved marinade during the last 5 minutes.
USING a meat thermometer chicken is done when it reaches 160 for boneless

Nutritional Facts
2 chicken thighs equals 391 calories, 16 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 151 mg cholesterol, 651 mg sodium, 15 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 43 g protein.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Cheeseburger Burritos

Who doesn't love burgers and I know how much people love burritos so here is the best of both together and they taste so they are really easy, you can make bigger batches of these.

6 servings

what you need:
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 cup Mustard (any flavor)
1/2 cup Tomato Ketchup
1/2 cup dill pickle relish [or chopped dill or sweet pickle because I like the sweet]
1 cup chopped tomato
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
6 flour tortillas (10-inch)

how to make them
BROWN ground beef in large skillet; drain. Stir in Mustard,
Ketchup and relish and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes.
STIR in tomato and cheese. Divide mixture evenly among
tortillas. Garnish with lettuce and additional tomato and
cheese, if desired. Fold in ends and roll up tortillas.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Oven BBQ Ribs

Pork Country-style ribs are cut from the loin, one of the leanest areas of pork. These ribs are seasoned, boiled until tender, then baked with your favorite barbeque sauce. That's it! Back to simplicity, back to the country life

Beef Boneless Country-Style Ribs are cut from the Beef Chuck, Chuck Eye Roll. Boneless Country-Style Beef Ribs are everything you love about ribs, but without the bones and unbelievably delicious, tender and meaty.

You can use either pork or beef or some of both like we did here try them with Baked Sweet Potato Fries

What you Need:
2 1/2 pounds country style pork ribs/beef ribs
1 onion sliced
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons salt
1 cup barbeque sauce

How to make them:
Place ribs in a large pot with enough chicken broth to cover. Season with garlic powder, black pepper and salt, toss in onion. Bring water to a boil, and cook ribs until tender.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
Remove ribs from pot, and place them in a foil lined 9x13 inch baking dish. Pour barbeque sauce over ribs. Cover dish with aluminum foil, and bake in the preheated oven for 45 mins to 1 hour, or until internal temperature of pork has reached 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin A and fiber. They make a
flavorful side to serve with just about anything, burgers, ribs, chops, ham or chicken, kids will go for these too. I also make a great Honey Spice Dip to go with the fries.

Serves 6

What you need:
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons Cinnamon, Ground, divided
1/2 teaspoon Ginger, Ground
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into fry strips
1 tablespoon canola oil

For the Honey Spice Dip:
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
1/2 cup plain lowfat yogurt
1 tablespoon honey

How to make them:
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Mix brown sugar, 2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, ginger and salt in small bowl.
Toss sweet potatoes with oil in large bowl., add spice mixture; toss to coat well. Spread sweet potatoes in single layer on shallow baking pan sprayed with no stick cooking spray.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender and lightly
browned, turning halfway through baking time.

Meanwhile, mix sour cream, yogurt, honey and remaining 1/2 teaspoon
cinnamon in small bowl. Serve sweet potatoes with dip.

Try my BBQ Ribs to go with these delicious fries

Monday, June 6, 2016

Baked Crusted Chili Lime Chicken

My Bake Crusted Chili Lime Chicken is a little zesty and a lot crispy but oh so juicy inside the crust
My secret is in the marinade and the breading for this recipe, you have to try it!  You can use thighs if you like and adjust baking time a little less. Use a meat thermometer for safety

I half this recipe for 2
What you need:
2-4 chicken breasts, these are bone in and big
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, seasoned with garlic powder, onion powder and pepper
place all in a tight container or baggie and place in fridge for 2-24 hours

When ready to cook:
1 cup flour seasoned with salt pepper and seasonings how you like
2 eggs with 1/2 cup milk mixed
2 cups mix of finely crushed chili lime potato chips and bread crumbs(you could use other flavors if you can't find these)

Now take the chicken out of the buttermilk and dip into the flour, then into egg milk wash and finally into the chip crumb mixture
Then place on wire racks over cookie sheet bake in 350 degree oven for 1 and 20 minutes or until temp reaches 170 for thick chicken these pictured  The wire racks keep the chicken crispier than laying flat on the pan, I find this really does add crispness

Let cool 5-10 minutes before serving

I made mashed potatoes and chicken gravy with these

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Cucumber Cream Cheese Sandwiches

These pretty mini sandwiches are great and easy appetizers, or a lunch or snack, make some up soon
makes 12 sandwiches

What you need:
 1 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
 1/4 cup mayonnaise
 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
 1/4 teaspoon onion salt
 About 1 tb finely chopped dill
 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
 1 (1 pound) loaf sliced bread, crusts removed

How to make them:
Place cucumber slices between 2 paper towels set in a colander. Allow liquid to drain, about 10 minutes.
I trim the crusts off the bread with a sharp knife first
Mix cream cheese, mayonnaise, garlic powder, onion salt, and Worcestershire sauce, and add in fresh dill  in a bowl until smooth
Spread cream cheese mixture evenly on one side of each bread slice.
Divide cucumber slices over half of the bread slices.
Stack the other half of the bread slices with spread sides down over the cucumber slices to make sandwiches.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Soft Chicken Tacos with Cilantro and Lime

These Soft White Corn Tacos are made with seasoned Chicken, then topped with Fresh lime juice and Cilantro, Oh so good, you will want to make these for your next party.

This recipe makes 12 or more soft tacos
what you need:
2 lbs chicken (your choice) cut small
1 onion sliced thin
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper
Juice of 1 lime
handful of fresh cilantro
White soft corn taco shells
Jalapenos for topping

How to make it:
Drizzle olive oil in a skillet and heat the pan nice and hot
cook onion till tender, then add chicken, add spices and cook till done,

Take the soft corn shells heat them in the microwave or a skillet and put some of the hot chicken mixture on each one, then top with fresh cilantro and Lime Juice,
I topped these with my homemade sweet and hot Jalapenos, oh so good

Friday, June 3, 2016

Sweetened Condensed Milk Caramel Sauce

Did you know that almost every jar or bottle of Caramel Sauce that I pick up to buy for topping has high fructose syrup in it? Yeah well I'm sick of that ingredient in my life, so I'm cutting it out, but I don't want to do without Caramel sauce, so guess what you can make a delicious sauce from one single ingredient and it's easy, that's right, just using a can of sweetened condensed milk and cooking it and walla you have Caramel sauce.

what you need:
1 can of sweetened condensed milk (regular or low fat)
There are two methods of making it

How to make it
Stove Top Method
Note: It is VERY IMPORTANT to ensure that the entire can is covered with water at all times!
Remove the label from the can.
Place the unopened can on it's side in a large pot and fill with water so the water is 1" above the can.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a medium boil. Let boil 3 hours topping up with water as needed.
Remove from heat and let cool before opening.
Easy just takes awhile
Also easy and you don't have to stay around to keep an eye on it.
Slow Cooker Method
Place unopened can in slow cooker on it's side.
Fill slow cooker with water so the entire can is submerged. Cook on low 8-10 hours.
Cool before opening.

Apple Crisp Pizza

You know how you go to pizza buffet and you get the dessert treats and if you're like me, you say "now why don't we make these at home?" Well now you can, and this is amazing and fairly easy enough.

What you need:
Pastry for single-crust pie (9 inches)
⅔ cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
4 medium apples (like Gala, Fiji, Braeburn, Empire)
peeled and diced into ¼ inch pieces

½ cup all-purpose flour
⅓ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
--mix above before adding butter
¼ cup salted butter, melted (see Note)

½ cup caramel topping

Note: I like to use salted butter because it cuts the
sweetness of the pizza. If you don't use salted butter
sprinkle some salt on top of the crisp. Trust me. It
brings out the flavors.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Roll pastry to fit a 12 inch pizza pan; (I used a cookie sheet)
fold under edges to give the pizza a bit of a raised crust. Combine sugar,
flour and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add peeled, diced
apples and toss. Arrange the apples in a single layer
over the pie crust to completely cover it.

For the topping: Combine the flour, brown sugar, oats,
cinnamon, in a bowl. Mix well.  Sprinkle topping evenly
over the apples. then add melted butter over all

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until apples are
tender. Remove from oven and immediately drizzle with
caramel topping.
I make my own caramel topping from a simple can of sweetened condensed milk, it has no high fructose corn syrup which makes me so happy.
Cut into pizza slices and serve warm
with ice cream. Makes 12 servings.