Cheesy Texas Toast

My husband is currently working on a new "photo booth" for me with lights...this will be a gift to me and everyone who reads this blog so you will be protected from photos like this one.  Oh well.

Rob is somewhat obsessed with bread and would really enjoy having some kind of toast, biscuit, roll, etc with every meal.  Unfortunately I seem to have some sort of allergic reaction to cheese-laden carbs and when I eat them all of the sudden my pants are too tight.  However, I had a loaf of Texas Toast leftover from French Toast so I went with this with our spaghetti and meatballs.  I did splurge on a few bites and it was good!  This bread would be great with chili or beef stew too.

Cheesy Texas Toast1 stick butter, softened
1 Tb mayo
2 tsp granulated garlic
dash of salt
a few grinds of pepper
1/2 c. shredded cheddar
1/2 c. shredded mozzarella
2 Tb grated parmesan cheese
10 slices Texas Toast (found inthe bread aisle)

Spread a dollop of the butter/cheese mixture on each slice of bread and bake at 425 for 10 minutes or until  the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted. 

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Peppermint Oreo Truffles

Well, I started this post on the 23rd, which is an appropriate day to post about candy cane topped-oreo truffles.  Then I got busy.  Then we went out of town.  Now we're back.  So, here we are with the peppermint oreo truffles.  I would like to state that these are so good you could/should certainly make them anytime of the year!

If you can't find peppermint Oreos, the mint Oreos would be divine I'm sure. OR you could use regular oreos and add 1/2tsp-1 tsp peppermint extract. (The only place I've found peppermint Oreos is in the back of Target by the Christmas candy.)

Peppermint Oreo Truffles
1 package peppermint Oreos (or any Double-Stuff Oreos)
1 8 oz block of cream cheese, softened
1 bag semi-sweet, milk chocolate, or white chocolate chips (pictured is milk chocolate but we equally enjoy the white chocolate covered truffles)
2 Tb vegetable oil
2 crushed candy canes
Wax paper

Toss all of the Oreos in the food processor and pulse until they are crushed.  (Or toss them in a gallon size bag and smash them with a rolling pin.) Then add in the cream cheese and mix until incorporated.  Roll the Oreo mixture into balls (I usually get around 30 balls) and set them on a plate.  Unwrap the candy canes and put them in a sandwich bag and crush them with a rolling pin or meat cleaver.  Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave 1 minute at a time, until smoothly melted.  Stir in the vegetable oil.  Roll the balls in the melted chocolate with a spoon and remove them to a wax paper-lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle the truffles with the crushed candy canes and then place them in the freezer for 20 minutes or until chocolate is set.  Enjoy!

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Crab Dip

This dip is a Christmas tradition in my family.  My Aunt Michelle would always make it and I was so obsessed with it as a kid that she started making an extra plate of dip just for me.  (She loves me!) Which could be part of the reason I was the "chubby kid" but, hey I enjoyed it.

I love this recipe because it comes together really quickly and requires very few ingredients.  This is a great thing to whip up to take to a Christmas or New Year's party.

We like our sauce a little spicy so we add horseradish to the bottled cocktail sauce, which is completely optional for you.

Crab Dip

8 oz block cream cheese, softened
6 oz cocktail sauce (1/2 bottle)
1 tsp prepared horseradish, optional
8 oz imitation crab meat, chopped (or 8 oz baby shrimp works great too)

Using the back of a spoon, spread the cream cheese onto a small platter or large plate.  In a small bowl mix together the cocktail sauce and horseradish and spread the sauce on top of the cream cheese. Sprinkle crab meat over the top of the cocktail sauce layer.  Serve with crackers, I prefer Wheat Thins.

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I always will just throw together meatballs or meatloaf and it turns out good but I never know what I actually did so I certainly couldn't tell anyone else.  This time I wrote it down and I have to say they turned out really good.  In fact I made them for a friend who was sick and her family loved them too and she asked me for the recipe.  So, you should make your own meatballs, at least once.  It is not hard and although the giant Costco bag is pretty good, this way you don't have 5 lbs of meatballs in your freezer for months.

I had bought a case of tomatoes from the co-op in August and made loads of homemade marinara sauce so this was a perfect dinner that didn't take a lot of time.

I used mostly ground beef and some sausage but you could certainly mix the meat however you want.  Just use 2 lbs.  If I wouldn't have taken some to a friend  I would've had some to put in the freezer for next time.  If  you do use more sausage, use less salt.


1/2 lb Italian sausage, hot or sweet
1 1/2 lb ground beef
1/4 c. breadcrumbs
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tb parmesan cheese, grated
2 tsp onion flakes
2 tsp granulated garlic

Mix everything together in a bowl with your hands.  (Take off your rings first.)  Use a scoop or a small spoon to measure out the meatballs and roll them into balls.  Set aside.  When all the balls are rolled, heat a large  saute pan to medium heat and add 2 tsp olive oil.  Fill the bottom of the pan with meatballs, cooking on all sides, about 4-5 minutes.  Remove cooked meatballs to a plate or tray and repeat.  Place cooked meatballs in your marinara sauce, cover with barbecue sauce, or freeze.

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Friday Night Pizza: Pesto and Pepperoni

I'm not going to aknowledge the crappy pictures anymore.  I'll just let it be the elephant in the room.

We've started a tradition of having pizza every Friday night and watching a movie with the Family.  Sometimes we order pizza usually, with the tight budget I just make it which seems to actually be easier because then no one has to go out and get it and we don't have to pay extra for delivery.  So, here it is!

Last week I tried a new combo and it was really god so try it--very few ingredients and it comes together really fast.  (Especially if you use store-bought dough, which I did)

Pesto Pepperoni Pizza
3 heaping Tb Pesto (I used homemade from the freezer but storebought wouldn't hurt anything)
8-10 oz pepperoni
1 shallot, minced
1 package pizza dough or one homemade dough
2 cups mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 425.  Press the dough down on a cookie sheet and bake the crust for 8 minutes.  Bring the crust out and top with pesto sauce, then pepperoni, then the minced shallots, then the shredded cheese.  Bake it again for another 8 minutes or until the cheese is melted.  yum!

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Spicy Beef Stew

Another not so fantastic picture.  The lack of lighting in the winter is killing me!  We are GOing to buy some lights to help my pictures look better!

This stew turned out really well and usually any kind of soup is not looked upon favorably in my home but my husband was mmm-ing while he was eating and said I should make this more often so I'll take that as a good thing.

I had some cheap steak in the freezer that I wanted to use up so I planned to make a recipe my friend gave me a long time ago called "Chili Spiced Stew".  Then at 4 pm when I started making my dinner I couldn't find the recipe so I just threw it together and tried to write everything down that I did.  It wasn't really "spicy" to us because we like things really hot, but feel free to add less red pepper to yours.

Spicy Beef Stew

1/4 c. flour
1 1/2 lb beef chuck roast, london broil, or stew meat cut into 1'' cubes
chili powder, granulated garlic, salt & pepper
2 Tb olive oil or vegetable oil
1 c. red wine
1 28 oz can tomato puree
3 cans beef broth
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tb dried oregano
2 Tb brown sugar
1 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tsp chili powder
sea salt & pepper to taste (start with 1 tsp salt and go from there)
dash or more of cayenne pepper
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 c. frozen corn
1 c. frozen green beans

Season the cubed beef well with chili powder, salt, pepper, and granulated garlic.  Measure the flour into a large ziploc bag and shake it well to coat.  In a soup pot heat the oil over medium-high heat and brown the meat on all sides.  Add in the wine and reduce heat tomedium and cook for 5 minutes.  Then add in broth, onion, garlic, tomato puree, brown sugar, oregano, crushed red pepper, chili powder, salt & pepper, and cayenne pepper.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium or medium-low and simmer for 35-45 minutes. Taste broth and adjust seasonings.  Add in potatoes and cook 10 minutes.  Add in carrots and cook another 10 minutes.  Then stir in the frozen vegetables and cook another 10 minutes or until all of the vegetables are tender (but not mushy).  Serve with crusty rolls or french bread and dip it into the broth.  Yum. 

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Lasagna Soup

YUM.  Just looking at this picture makes me want to make this again.  I originally got this recipe off of the Family Fun website when my friend told me she had made it.

This is a great winter recipe because it's warm and comforting.  And fast.  And easy. 

Lasagna Soup
1 pound italian sausage (I used turkey.  Sweet or Spicy italian sausage would work)
1 large onion, finely chopped
4-6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp (or more) crushed red pepper
2 Tb tomato paste
(2) 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes (I used the seasoned tomatoes)
4 cups chicken broth (there's about 4 cups in each carton of stock)
2 bay leaves
8 ounces of short-cut pasta (fusili, bow ties, wagon wheels...)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil (this is really optional.  It's really good in there but if you don't have your own basil plant you don't really need to buy a $3 pack of basil for this.)
8 oz ricotta cheese
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of pepper
shredded mozzarella cheese

In a soup pot cook the sausage over medium-high heat, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks.  Drain the meat and addx the onions and saute until softened.  Add in the garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes and saute for a minute.  Add the tomato paste cook over medium heat until the paste has turned a rusty brown color. Stir in the tomatoes, undrained, the chicken stock or broth, bay leaves and bring the soup to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. 

Stir in the pasta and increase the heat to medium-high and boil the soup until hte pasta is cooked...but not overcooked.  Keep a close eye on it.  Tasste and adjust seasonings adding salt and pepper if needed. 

In a small bowl stir together the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, 1/4 tsp salt, and pepper.  To serve the soup, put a heaping Tb of the ricotta mixture in a bowl, ladle soup over the top and sprinkle with fresh basil.

(1 c. of soup has about 265 calories, not too shabby)

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Enchilada Skillet

I really, really need to work on my photography skills.  Really.  Especially now that it's winter and we don't have daylight savings and it gets dark so early...my photos are terrible.  I know it and now you know that I know it, so that should at least help the akwardness.

On to the food.  This is a really great recipe that is inexpensive and super fast to make and my family loves this.  The best part about it is that it makes really great leftovers.  It's one of those meals that seems to actually taste better the next day!

I originally got this recipe out of a magazine in a Campbell's soup ad and of course I had to doctor itup a bit, but it's a great go -to for us.  I made it for a friend's family and they really liked it too!

Enchilada Skillet

1 pound ground beef or ground turkey
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tb taco seasoning
1 can condensed tomato soup
3/4 c. salsa (jarred or make your own)
3/4 c. water
7 6-inch flour tortillas, cut into 1'' squares
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream

Brown the ground beef or turkey in a skillet.  Drain off the fat and add in the onion and garlic cooking for another two minutes or so.  Stir in the seasoning, tomato soup, salsa, water and tortillas.  Bring to a boil and lower the heat to low and continue cooking for 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened up and the tortillas have soaked most of it up.  Top with the shredded cheese and let rest a minute until the cheese has melted.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream. YUM.

*stir in 1 c. frozen corn at the end if you want to skip the side.

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Cheeseburger Pizza

This was really good.  The whole family loved it and it's super easy/fast/inexpensive which fulfills all of my requirements. 

I got this recipe from a pampered chef recipe card and instead of making it deep-dish I made it as a regular pizza.  Turned out great.

Feel free to make your own crust, but also feel free to pop open a can of crust, it's so easy!

Cheeseburger Pizza

1 pkg refrigerated pizza crust
1 lb lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp black pepper
salt to taste
1/2 c. ketchup plus 2 Tb
1/4 c. yellow mustard
1 Tb worcestershire saucce
2 roma tomatoes, sliced
3/4 c. mozzarella cheese
3/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat your oven to 400.  Unroll dough and press onto a jelly-roll pan and bake 7-8 minutes.  While it's baking brown the ground beef, garlic and onion in a skillet.  Drain off fat and season with salt and pepper.  Mix in ketchup, mustard and worcestershire sauce.  Once the crust is out of the oven spread on the meat mixture and cover with tomatoes and cheeses.  Bake another 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is cooked through.  Enjoy!

1/6th of this pizza is roughly 430 calories

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