Jumbo Mexi Shells

15 jumbo pasta shells
1 1/4 cup ground turkey
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
4 ounces cream cheese
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups pepper jack cheese, shredded
1 tomato, diced
1 small can red enchilada sauce
sour cream (optional)
green onions, chopped (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add shells and cook 8 minutes or until al dente.
3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute for about 2 minutes. Add in turkey and season with salt, pepper, chili powder and cumin. Cook until no longer pink about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat.
4. Stir in pinto beans, cream cheese and a cup of pepper jack cheese.
5. Fill shells with meat mixture. Arrange shells filled side up in a baking dish. Pour enchilada sauce over the top, then sprinkle with remaining pepper jack cheese and tomatoes.
6. Bake for 25 minutes. Garnish with sour cream and onions.


Easy Popcorn Balls

20 cups plain popped popcorn (3-4 bags)
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons cold water
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
12 large marshmallows

1. In a large saucepan over medium heat combine corn syrup, cold water, confectioners' sugar, and marshmallows. Heat until the mixture comes to a boil, stirring constantly. Add in the popcorn and stir well to coat all of the popcorn.
2. Grease hands with vegetable shortening and shape into balls before it cools. Be careful, it can be HOT!


Not Just For Decoration

I always love finding different types of produce that I am not familiar with. You never know if you might find something new you like. The other day at the grocery store I spotted some red corn on the cob. I quickly threw it in my cart. I always thought colorful corn was only for Thanksgiving decorations.

I ended up wrapping it in foil and throwing it on the grill with our steaks. It wasn't a huge taste difference from your regular white or yellow corn on the cob. It wasn't as sweet as white corn, and tasted healthier, almost earthy.

Try picking up something new next time you go to the store!


Eggplant Roll Ups

2 large eggplants
1 bottle of Italian salad dressing
8 ounces ricotta cheese
1 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 pounds heirloom tomatoes
1/2 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
olive oil
1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Peel eggplant, then slice in 1/4 inch thick slices. Arrange on top of paper towels and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.
3. Marinade the eggplant in the Italian dressing for another 30 minutes.
4. In a large sauce pan saute onions, garlic and crushed red pepper in olive oil over medium heat. Add tomatoes, 1/4 cup of basil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer.
5. In a medium bowl combine ricotta cheese, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, and remaining 1/4 cup of basil.
6. Grill eggplant for 2 minutes on each side. Spread ricotta cheese mixture on top of each slice then roll up and place seam side down in large baking dish. Continue with remaining eggplant.
7. Top with tomato sauce then the remaining Parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese on top is melted.


Creamy Chicken Pasta With Mushrooms and Spinach

4 boneless skinless chicken breast
1/4 cup butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup with roasted garlic
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 bag baby spinach
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 pound linguine noodles

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet melt butter over medium heat then add in chicken and garlic. Cook for chicken 5-7 minutes each side, or until each side is browned. Stir in the lemon juice, soup, Italian season, half and half, and Parmesan cheese.
3. Arrange spinach along the bottom of a 13x9 inch baking dish then top with sliced mushrooms. Pour chicken and sauce over the top and sprinkle with bacon then mozzarella cheese.
4. Bake 25-30 minutes.
5. In a boiling pot of salted water cook the linguine noodles 8-10 minutes, or until al dente.
6. Serve chicken on top of pasta.


Pumpkin Zucchini Bread

3 cups flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
3 eggs
1 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups zucchini, shredded
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

1. Preheat over to 350 degrees.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine sugar and eggs. Stir in pumpkin, butter and vanilla.
3. In a medium bowl combine the dry ingredients, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Then gradually stir into pumpkin mixture.
4. Stir in zucchini, nuts and chocolate chips.
5. Pour into 2-greased loaf pans. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.


Recipe flashback Stuffed bell peppers (whats for dinner tonight)

I've decided to start doing recipe flashbacks. I haven't posted new recipes lately because with the passing of my grandpa and lack of funds I haven't had a lot of time to experiment in the kitchen I've just been cooking the quickest thing possible and leaving the kitchen. This week I decided to make a meal plan and cook some dinner. I picked 5 recipes from this blog and I will be picking two new ones. I decided to start posting the recipes I'm eating so you guys have a chance to possibly meal plan, or just see what I'm eating, or even remember that recipe you saw one time and meant to make but never made because you had to do laundry or whatever. So for dinner tonight I am having Stuffed bell peppers. I have also included a printable version below to make it easier for you to print out and take to the store!

As I told you last week I was going to start creating meals on a budget. This was the weeks first budget friendly meal. I'm not sure how to tally the cost since I had the sausage, garlic rice, and onions on hand. However this entree can be made for under 10.00 easily and serve up to 6 single portions.

1 pound pork sausage
4 green onions diced
1 pack mushrooms diced
1/2 white onion diced
5 cloves garlic diced
1 cup cooked white rice
1 pinch crushed red peppers
2 tsp ranch powder
1 cup diced tomatoes in a can
1/4 cup italian bread crumbs
1.5 cups monteray jack cheese shredded
salt and pepper
Olive oil

The first thing I want to say is, to make this meal vegetarian cook the sausage in a separate pan with salt and pepper. Remove your vegetarian filling and make your peppers and then add the cooked sausage to the remaining peppers and proceed to make them.

Preheat oven to 350. Cook rice. Cut tops off of peppers and seed them. Cut just enough of the bottom of the pepper off to make it stand straight. Lightly drizzle olive oil over peppers and place them on sheet pan in oven. Begin chopping all of your ingredients. Heat nonstick skillet over medium heat and add onions (white and green). Sauté and then add garlic and mushrooms. When onions and mushrooms have finished cooking add in salt, pepper, crushed pepper, ranch powder and tomatoes. Over medium heat brown sausage in seperate pan. Combine and cook about two minutes. Add rice and bread crumbs to mixture and combine. Remove softened peppers form oven. Drain oil from sausge and mix it into rice and veggies. Place small amount of cheese in the bottom of each pepper. Fill half of pepper with mixture. Add cheese and pack down. Fill with more mixture to tippy top and add more cheese. Place in oven for 10 minutes to allow cheese to melt and ingredients to combine.

Remember for the vegetarian version you want to stuff your peppers AND THEN add the sausage to the left over mixture.

Look at that melty gooey cheese

(vegetarian version)

Printable Version
Click to enlarge


Garlic bread Pizza

1 loaf french bread sliced in half length wise
3 tbsp butter softened
3 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp ranch dressing powder mix
1 Cup mushrooms chopped
1 jar pizza sauce
4 cups shredded mozzarella

Additional toppings
Bell peppers

Set oven to low broil. Spread melted butter on cut side of bread. Sprinkle with the garlic salt and ranch powder. Put under broiler until edges begin to brown. Remove from oven and top with pizza sauce and spread evenly. Add 1/2 of the cheese, trying to cover the whole surface so the edges wont burn while cooking. Top cheese with your favorite toppings. Cover with remaining cheese and place back in oven on low broil. When the cheese gets golden and bubbly you are ready. If your edges start to get too dark during the second broil, cover loosely with foil until the very end.

The reason I have you broil it the first time is so the bread gets extra crispy and it can withstand the sauce with out getting soggy during cooking. You might not believe it but the garlic powder kicks ass, who knew garlic bread would make excellent pizzas!


Fun Apple Cupcakes

1 box yellow cake mix
1 container vanilla frosting
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup cinnamon applesauce
1 cup apple juice
red food color
12 pretzel sticks, cut in half
gummy worms, cut in half
sour punch straws, cut in inch pieces

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place cupcake liners into each muffin cup.
2. In a large bowl mix together the cake mix, eggs, cinnamon, apple sauce and apple juice. Pour batter into cupcake cups filling about 2/3 of the way.
3. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Cool completely.
4. Stir food color into frosting. Spread frosting over cupcakes. Decorate them with a pretzel piece as a stem and two sour straws for leaves. Then poke a gummy work into each cupcake.


Chocolate Banana Bread

4-5 overripe bananas
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
3. Mash 2 of the bananas with a fork in a small bowl so they still have a bit of texture.
4. Whip the remaining bananas and sugar together for 3 minutes.
5. Stir in the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla.
6. Mix in the dry ingredients.
7. Fold in the mashed bananas, nuts, and chocolate chips with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the loaf pan.
8. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
9. Cool the bread in the pan for 10 minutes, and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.


Strawberry Bread

4 cups strawberries, finely chopped with juice
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups pecans, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9x5 loaf pans with cooking spray.
2. Sprinkle chopped strawberries with a tablespoon of sugar and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine flour, 1 1/2 cups sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Blend in oil, vanilla, eggs and strawberries. Then stir in pecans.
4. Pour batter evenly into two loaf pans. Sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar over the top of each loaf.
5. Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.


Hot wings

1 Package party wings/chicken wings
1/2 cup hot sauce (I used Red Devil, Tapatio is similar)
2.5 cups flour
2 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp ranch dressing mix
1 tbsp favorite chicken seasoning
2 tsp pepper
2 tbsp garlic salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil

One hour before cooking add chicken and hot sauce into zip lock bag. Allow chicken to marinate in hot sauce. Combine flour and all remaining ingredients, reserving oil. Heat oil over medium heat in deep skillet or frying pan. Remove wings from sauce (don't wipe them, keep them saucy as possible) and drop in flour. Fully coat in flour, then using tongs gently tap off excess flour mixture, it is mostly used to trap the hot sauce. Once oil is hot (hint: drop a bit of the flour mix in first, if it bubbles you are good to go) working in batches of ten fry chicken for about 5 minutes on each side until chicken is cooked and juices run clear. Dry on paper towels to get rid of excess oil, serve hot with your favorite side dishes. Hint, fries and tator tots.


Cinnamon Rolls

1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2-3.4 ounce package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup warm milk
1 egg
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups bread flour
1-.25 ounce package active dry yeast
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup chopped pecans
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons milk

1. In a large bowl stir together warm water, melted butter and tablespoon of white sugar. Once combined add in yeast. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow yeast to foam.
2. Meanwhile in a small bowl stir together pudding mix, warm milk and egg. Add pudding to the yeast mixture and stir well. Then mix in salt and flour.
3. Form dough into a ball. Let rise in a warm place for an hour.
4. Place dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a large rectangle, approximately 17x10 inches. Spread with 1/4 cup softened butter then sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans.
5. Roll up dough, beginning with long side. Slice into 12 one inch slices and place in 9x13 buttered pan. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 20 to 25 minutes.
7. While cinnamon rolls bake, stir together cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla and milk. Remove rolls from oven and top with frosting.


Strawberry shortcake bites

After reading the comments from the Lemon Blossom website on Food Network I started getting ideas on what else I could do with this recipe. I remembered this cupcake I had from a local place in Reno, Batch Cupcakery and the wheels in my head couldn't stop turning. I ran to the store today for an iron and came home with the ingredients for cake. I went a little lighter on the icing the strawberries make it seem extra sweet. I also added chocolate chips to half the batch. They are still in the oven I will report later. (Update: such a very very very good idea.) I am thinking of trying a hint of lemon in the icing to tone down the sweetness on the next set that comes out.


  • 18 1/2-ounce package strawberry cake mix
  • 3 1/2-ounce package instant white chocolate pudding mix
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4 strawberries cut very fine
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil


  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 6 strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons water


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray miniature muffin tins with vegetable oil cooking spray. Combine the cake mix, pudding mix, finely chopped strawberries, water, eggs and oil and blend well with an electric mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes. Pour a small amount of batter, filling each muffin tin half way. Bake for 12 minutes. Turn out onto a tea towel

To make the glaze, sift the sugar into a mixing bowl. In a blender add strawberries and water. Blend until smooth. Add the strawberry mix, zest, and oil to powdered sugar. Mix with a spoon until smooth. Add more water as needed.

With fingers, dip the cupcakes into the glaze while they're still warm, covering as much of the cake as possible, or spoon the glaze over the warm cupcakes, turning them to completely coat. Place on wire racks with waxed paper underneath to catch any drips. Let the glaze set thoroughly, about 1 hour, before storing in containers with tight-fitting lids.

Lemon Blossoms

I can't even describe the lemony goodness of these little cakes. If you can't tell they are mini. So small that one fits perfectly right in your mouth as a bite. Personally I think these would be PERFECT for a baby shower, along with the strawberry version I am posting next. I had to edit Paula Deans recipe after my first failure after that, well, pure genius. Paula's recipe doesn't call for the water. YOU NEED THE WATER. Trust me. After reading comment after comment on the recipe on Food Networks website YOU NEED THE WATER. Also, 11 minutes works better then 12 if you want them crunchy. 9 minutes is perfect if you want them soft and delectable.


  • 18 1/2-ounce package yellow cake mix
  • 3 1/2-ounce package instant lemon pudding mix
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil


  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons water


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray miniature muffin tins with vegetable oil cooking spray. Combine the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water and oil and blend well with an electric mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes. Pour a small amount of batter, filling each muffin tin half way. Bake for 12 minutes. Turn out onto a tea towel

To make the glaze, sift the sugar into a mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice, zest, oil, and 3 tablespoons water. Mix with a spoon until smooth.

With fingers, dip the cupcakes into the glaze while they're still warm, covering as much of the cake as possible, or spoon the glaze over the warm cupcakes, turning them to completely coat. Place on wire racks with waxed paper underneath to catch any drips. Let the glaze set thoroughly, about 1 hour, before storing in containers with tight-fitting lids.


Meatball Sandwiches

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 cup bread crumbs
3 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, chopped
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
3 tablespoons parsley
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1 loaf of French bread
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, combine by hand the ground beef, bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning, 4 garlic cloves, parsley, Parmesan cheese, and eggs. Shape into meatballs, and place in a baking dish. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until cooked through.
3. Slice the loaf of french bread in half lengthwise, and remove some of the bread from the inside to make a well for the meatballs. Brush with olive oil, and season with garlic powder. Put the loaf into the oven during the last 5 minutes of the meatballs cooking time.
5. In a large sauce pan over medium heat saute the onions and garlic for 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and add a tablespoon of Italian seasoning. When the meatballs are done, transfer them to the sauce. Spoon onto the french bread and top with mozzarella cheese. Return to the oven for 2 to 3 minutes to melt the cheese. Slice into individual sandwiches.


Lemon Loaf

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon extract
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon lemon extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder & salt in a small bowl.
3. In a large bowl blend together eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, lemon extract and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Pour in dry ingredients and blend until smooth. Add oil and mix well.
4. Pour ingredients into a greased 9x5 inch loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick stuck into the center of the cake comes out clean.
5. In a small bowl mix powdered sugar, milk and lemon extract. When the lemon loaf is cool, remove it from the pan and frost the top with the lemon icing.


Lemon Garlic Chicken

Yet another recipe from Rachel Ray. And yet another recipe I totally had to edit. Again, whenever I cook I TASTE AS I GO, this is important. If I didn't I would have had chicken that tasted like olive oil and THAT WAS ALL. Her recipe had no flavor, and not enough honey. There were a few reasons I picked this recipe. The main one? Chicken legs are cheap and pretty fucking big. One leg feeds Rob and if I cut one in half the drummy is perfect for Brandon. I got SIX legs for $4.48 this weekend and that will make two meals plus two lunches. Hell yeah. Plus anything that stuffs garlic under chicken skin is good with me. Also I only used 3 legs. I don't know how she thinks her recipe made enough marinade for 4 but whatever.

I will put my edits in italics
  • 3 Chicken legs
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • Grated peel and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp terriyaki marinade
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 chicken legs, patted dry
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, lemon juice, terriyaki sauce and olive oil. In another bowl, stir together the garlic and lemon peel. Add butter and microwave for 25 seconds. With a fork mash butter, garlic and lemon juice together. Place the chicken in a greased 9-by- 13-inch baking dish. Using your fingers, spread the garlic mixture underneath the chicken skin. Rub the chicken all over with the honey mixture, season with salt and pepper and arrange in a single layer. Cover the pan with foil and roast for 15 minutes, then turn the chicken, cover the pan and roast for 10 minutes more. Uncover and roast until golden, 8 minutes. Turn broiler to low and place chicken skin side up under broiler. Baste chicken with pan drippings and sauce every couple minutes (if you are anal like me you will set the timer for every 2 minutes) until skin begins to bubble and brown. Serve and enjoy.

You will notice in the early pictures my chicken was nowhere near as brown as Rachels. I think she is full of shit. First, it wouldn't have browned cooking her way with simply flipping it and no basting. Second mine even had the dark terriyaki sauce on it and it still didn't brown like hers until I basted it.