Category Archives: Food

Chocolate Week???

Have I not been paying attention in recent years?  I just learned today that the third week in March is National Chocolate Week.

The kids and I are very excited about this, I must say.

Now we just have to think of ways to celebrate – every single day.  We like things dipped in chocolate.  Strawberries, Ritz crackers with peanut butter in the middle, marshmallows.  However, I want to try less conventional recipes for using chocolate.  I just came across this recipe for Cincinnati Style Chili that uses some chocolate.  Interesting, but I think I will definitely make it.

Check out this all this deliciousness:


Chocolate Buttermilk Donuts with Salted Caramel Sauce



Chocolate chip cookie dough brownies


sandwiches chocolate

Panini al cioccolato

And while I was searching for chocolate, I found this:

So cute…

I hope you have a wonderful National Chocolate Week!



Recipe: Meatloaf and Potato Bake

We had a very good supper tonight.  Each part took over an hour to cook, but was not very labor intensive.  As I’m sure you are well aware, I am no food photographer, but I like to have images with the recipes.

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2 lbs. ground turkey, chicken, or beef

1 pkg. Knorr’s Vegetable Soup mix

2 egg whites

1 can Rotel (we like Mexican flavor)

1 onion, diced

1 cup uncooked oatmeal

1/2 cup ketchup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix ingredients, except ketchup, in medium-sized bowl.  Pour into a loaf pan coated with oil or cooking spray (or line with tin foil).  Pour ketchup on top.  Cook for one hour.

Golden Potato and Onion Bake

2 Tbsp. olive oil plus 1 tsp

6 medium onions (2 lbs), each cut in half and sliced

1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth

3 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

Salt and Pepper

1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

3 slices firm white bread, coarsely grated into crumbs

1/2 up loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, chopped

In a nonstick skillet, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions and cook until tender and deep golden brown, stirring occasionally.  Add chicken to broth and cook 1 minutes, stirring.  (Recipe can be prepared up to this point a day ahead.  Cover and refrigerate onions until ready to use.)

2.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large bowl, toss potato slices with 3/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper and onion mixture.  Transfer potato mixture to shallow 3-1/2 quart casserole or 9×13-inch glass baking dish.  Cover casserole and bake for 1 hr to 1 hr and 15 minutes, until potatoes are fork-tender.

3.  Meanwhile, in same skillet, heat remaining 1 tsp olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add breadcrumbs and cook 5 minutes or until toasted, stirring occasionally.  Remove skillet from heat; stir in parsley.

4.  To serve, uncover potatoes and onions and sprinkle with breadcrumb mixture.

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We also had a nice salad with our meal.  I used an Apple Cider Vinaigrette that I made up.  Here is the recipe for that:

Apple Cider Vinaigrette

  • 6 Tbsp. Bragg’s apple cider vinegar

  • 1 cup EVOO

  • 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt

  • 2 tsp. oregano

  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate in a sealed container. Let dressing sit out for a few minutes before using.

Very filling and very much enjoyed by my meat-and-potatoes loving family.


Recipe: Lentil Soup with Peas and Ham

Well, today was our grocery shopping day to cover the next two weeks.  It’s a good day because I get to see the shelves and fridge get full again, but I’m usually tuckered out by the end of the day.  This usually causes me to order a pizza or make PB&J’s, or just tell everyone that it’s “fend-for-yourself-night.”  It never fails, regardless of how healthy of a menu I’ve planned, shopping day always ends with us eating junk.

However, today I did not give in to my tired mind and achy feet and cooked something good and hearty for the fam.  I had this recipe in my binder and I believe it came from the Food Network Magazine by the look of the page.  It turned out really good and everyone, including the baby, loved it!  That, my friends, is what we call a success.

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Lentil Soup with Peas and Ham

1 Tbsp. EVOO

3/4 c. diced ham

1 medium onion, chopped

3 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill

2 stalks celery, diced

2 medium carrots, diced

1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, diced (about 3-4 medium potatoes

salt and pepper to taste

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 c. dried yellow or red lentils, picked over and rinsed *

1 c. fresh or frozen peas (thawed if frozen)

3 Tbsp. plain yogurt

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the ham, onion, and 2 Tbsp dill; cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is golden, about 5 minutes.  Add the celery, carrots, potatoes, 1/2 cup water, and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper.  Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just soft, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the chicken broth, 1-1/2 cups water and the lentils; cover and bring to a simmer.  Uncover and cook until the potatoes are tender and the lentils begin to all apart, 12 to 15 minutes.  Stir in the peas, yogurt and remaining 1 Tbsp dill.  Ladle the soup into bowls.

Per serving: Calories 428; Fat 7g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 36mg; Sodium 649mg; Carbohydrate 62g; Fiber 12g; Protein 28g


*Note:  I used green lentils because that is what I had on hand.  It still turned out well although not as pretty as the magazine picture.  Also, I think I used a little more lentils than the recipe called for so that’s why the bowl above seems to be lacking a little in the carrot department.

This was super easy to make and we will add it to our rotation of meals.

What was for supper at your house tonight?


Busy times…

What a whirlwind the last couple of weeks have been!  Hubby started his new job in Georgia on November 19th.  We weren’t very fond of the idea of him going down to stay in a hotel and the rest of us here, so we loaded up the kids and the car and headed down.  What an adventure it is to stay in a hotel with five people with four of them having nothing in particular to do while the other is at work.  Not to mention, one of those five is an almost two-year-old that is used to being in her own bed for naps and bedtime.  I’m just thankful we could all be together.

To prepare for the trip, I decided to cook a few meals to help save money.  This worked out really well.  Here is a pic of everything packed up for the first trip:


The first thing I made was Pioneer Woman’s Best Lasagna Ever.  This has been a family favorite since I made it after buying her first cookbook.  The only thing I do differently is use Italian Seasoning instead of fresh herbs.  I do this because…well, because I’m too lazy to buy the herbs and chop them up.  It still turns out pretty darn good.


The next thing I made is something called Easy Santa Fe Skillet.  I found this in a magazine a while back and I’m sorry to say I don’t remember which one.  It is similar to what I grew up calling goulash, but I use Velveeta in this.  Maybe not the healthiest thing, but tastes really good after sitting for a few days and then being reheated.  I also love that you only use one skillet to cook everything, including the pasta.


Next, I made Easy Beef & Rice.  I really like this because I can add celery and onions and no one complains about it.  Of course, I have to cook them down first so that they are really tender, but it makes me feel better knowing they are in there.


I also made a Breakfast Casserole.  This keeps pretty well too for a few days.  I usually use regular sandwich bread, but this time I used some Italian bread we had left over and it was AWESOME!


I wanted to try to save on snacks as well.  I made a Chex mix and bought a few large bags of Cheez-its and carrots and separated everything in snack size baggies.

We were supposed to be in Georgia until the day before Thanksgiving and then come back to Tennessee.  However, my mom called me on the Tuesday before and “suggested” that since we were already half-way there, we might as well come home for Thanksgiving (to Florida).  I’m sure it’s this way in other parts of the country too, but when a Southern mama “suggests” something, it’s really no suggestion at all.  The thought hadn’t really crossed our minds because our Lola-dog was being boarded and we had only booked her through Wednesday.  Well, it worked out that she could stay longer and we headed to Florida.

I’m SO glad we did!  We had the best time.  It was a tough Thanksgiving for my family due to it being the first since my Granny and my cousin passed, but I felt like everyone lingered just a little longer.  Everyone seemed to pay attention just a little more to what was going on in each other’s lives.  The kids played hard (and so did some adults).  We also had a chance to celebrate our oldest son’s 11th birthday with all the fam.  I can’t believe he is 11 already.  He *wink-wink* is getting so old.  Here are a few pics (I have more, but they are on my sister’s camera and I’m waiting on her to share):


We went on a hay ride (I promise there’s hay, just under the sleeping bags).


That’s our girl – riding the trike with coozies on her arms.


Baby A and Cousin G on the tractor.

the girls and Grandpa

This is me (on the left) and my absolutely beautiful sisters with our 91-year-old Grandpa on Thanksgiving Day.

After hanging in Florida for the weekend, we had to go back to the hotel in Georgia for a few days.  Our Lola-dog was very excited to see us when we went to pick her up and has been my side ever since.  I keep telling her not to worry, that we’ll always come back for her, but that we don’t plan on leaving her for that long again.  I’m sure she understands.

It looks like it will be the end of this coming week before we close on the house.  I can’t wait to share the pictures and details and plans with everyone!

See ya on the flip side,