Friday, January 25, 2013

Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja

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Are you ready for an easy dinner?  This is a classic Cuban dish and is a cinch to throw together, turn on the slow cooker, and forget about it.  The only thing you need to do besides that is cook some white rice to serve it on and you have a complete meal.  My whole family loved this!  This could easily work as a freezer meal as well.  Just put all the ingredients in a freezer bag, uncooked.  When ready to prepare just thaw partially and add to the slow cooker. 

Food Network Magazine

1 (15 oz) can crushed tomatoes
3 TB ketchup
1 TB apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced (remove seeds if you don't want spicy)
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 1/2 lbs skirt or flank steak
2 bell peppers (1 red, 1 green) sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 small onion, thinly sliced
3 TB chopped pimiento-stuffed green olives, plus 1 TB brine from the jar

Cooked white rice, for serving.

1. Combine the tomatoes, ketchup, vinegar, garlic, cumin, jalapeno, and salt in a 5-6 quart slow cooker.  Add the steak, bell peppers, and onion and toss to coat.  Cover and cook on low, undisturbed, for 8 hours.
2. Uncover and skim off any excess fat.  Coarsley shred the meat with 2 forks, then stir in the olives and olive brine.  Serve over rice.

Serves 4 adults

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Andes Mint Bundt Cake

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I'm back!  So sorry for the long absence but October and November were completely consumed with my father-in-law becoming very sick then unfortunately losing his life to cancer.  It all happened so fast and was so incredibly stressful.  We are all doing ok now and trying to have a wonderful Christmas.
I have been taking pictures of some yummy food so I'll be catching up on my blogging here in the next couple of months.  We recently had our faculty party at the elementary school where I teach PE. I signed up for a dessert and literally thought of this cake while laying in bed a few nights before the party. I love anything with Andes mints! I put them in my hot chocolate, eat them plain, and have some cookies that I make with them. Chocolate cake is my absolute favorite dessert so I thought adding Andes mint would just make a chocolate cake even better. I was right! There's still time to make this for your holiday dinner or party! 


1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food
cake mix
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate
pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 C vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 C Andes mint chips
1 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/2 C heavy whipping cream, chopped
20 (approx) Andes Mints, chopped
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2.In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs and water. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into a well greased 12 cup bundt pan.
3.Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cake thoroughly in pan at least an hour and a half before inverting onto a plate.

For the ganache:
Place 3/4 C Andes mint chips and unsweetened chocolate into a heat-safe bowl. Heat the 1/2 C heavy whipping cream in a small saucepan until it is just about to boil. Do not let it boil! Pour the hot whipping cream over the chips and chocolate.  Using a whisk, stir the chocolate and cream together until combined.  Let it cool for a few minutes then pour over the cake that has been inverted onto a plate.  Immediately sprinkle the chopped Andes mints on top of the ganache. 

Note:  When I made this, I used Andes chips from a bag to sprinkle on top.  I didn't think it looked very pretty because the chips looked "powdery."  They almost looked like nuts until you looked close.  Next time I will buy regular Andes mints and chop them for the top and I suggest you do the same.  It will look much prettier! 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Iced Pumpkin Cookies

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Fall is here!!!  My favorite season just lifts my spirits and makes me so happy.  I love the smells, the food, the decor, the holidays, the cooler weather, and just everything about fall. 
Sorry it has taken so long for me to post!  School started, which for me, means that I started work again as a PE teacher at my kids' elementary school.  It's only 14.5 hours a week but I am still adjusting to getting things at home done and working outside the home.  I absolutely love my job though, and feel so blessed that it is mine! 
These simple, pumpkin cookies are just perfect for this time of year.  When my son ate one he said, "Mom these taste like Halloween!" It was so cute! 


2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 C white sugar
1 C canned pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 C confectioner's sugar
3 TB milk
1 TB melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream together the 1/2 C butter and white sugar.  Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 tsp vanilla to butter mixture, beat until creamy.  Mix in dry ingredients.  Drop on cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls. 

Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven or until edges are slightly browned.  

For the glaze, combine confectioner's sugar, milk, 1 TB melted butter, and 1 tsp vanilla.  Add milk as needed to achieve drizzling consistency.

Once cookies are mostly cooled, drizzle the icing over them with a fork. 

Makes 3 dozen.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Creamy Pudding Brownie Cake

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Ready for this knock-out dessert?  This is hands down the best brownie dessert I've ever had.  All of my kids devoured it and my husband said that he wanted this instead of a birthday cake.  Success?  I think so!  The bottom layer is brownies, then a cream cheese layer, a pudding layer, and finally a whipped cream layer.  This would be the perfect dessert for your Labor Day BBQ or really, just the perfect dessert for any occasion!

2 brownie mixes
1 extra large egg
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
2 (8 oz.) containers whipped topping
1 (3 oz.) package instant chocolate pudding
1 (3 oz.) package instant vanilla pudding
3 1/2 cups milk
1 Hershey candy bar
Mix brownie mixes according to directions plus add an extra egg. Bake in 9x13 inch greased and floured cake pan then allow to cool completely. Mix cream cheese, powdered sugar, and 1 container whipped topping. Put this mixture on top of the cooled brownies. Blend puddings and milk together and put on top of the cream cheese mixture. Top with another layer of whipped topping. Put chocolate shavings top. Refrigerate until ready to serve (at least 2 hours).
Tip: To make chocolate shavings just get a vegetable peeler and slide it over the edge of a cold Hershey's candy bar.  Makes the perfect shavings!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats

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Wow, sorry for the absence of posts!  It has been a super busy summer for us and I have devoted almost every second of my time to my kids and having fun.  Once baseball season ended for my son, I took all 3 kids (ages 9, 7, and 5) on a road trip to my home state of Texas all by myself (I live in Utah now).  Family and friends, including my husband, thought I was nuts wanting to do this but we had a blast.  My last 4 trips home have been for funerals and I really needed to go on a fun trip home to Texas.  I wanted to show my kids that it is actually fun there!  We had such a great time visiting family and made so many wonderful memories.  The rest of the summer has been spent camping, swimming, and playing with cousins and friends.  I love summer! 

We planted our very first garden this year not expecting it to be great but it has flourished and is just beautiful!  We planted cucumber, zucchini, acorn squash, lemon cucumber, jalapenos, green peppers, tomatoes, watermelon, and pumpkin.  Much to our surprise we are being bombarded with all of these delicious vegetables and fruits!  We definitely learned our lesson to only plant 1 zucchini plant, though.  We planted 2 and have it coming out of our ears!!!  We have eaten it grilled, fried, roasted, sauteed, and in sweets and there's more coming. 

When I was growing up my mom used to make what she called Zucchini Boats and I LOVED them!  Unfortunately she has passed away and I never got her recipe from her.  I made this one up from memory and I think I did a great job.  These were so so good and even my kids ate them.  Only my youngest claims to like zucchini so when the older 2 said that it was "pretty good" I was happy with myself.  I hope you love them as much as we did! 

serves 4-6 adults

4-5 medium sized zucchini (I used 2 ½  huge ones)
1 lb ground pork sausage
1 small onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 C shredded mozzarella cheese
2 TB chopped fresh parsley
1 large tomato, seeded and diced
1 large egg, beaten
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 C Italian breadcrumbs
4 TB melted butter
1/3 C shredded parmesan

Preheat oven to 375°.  Brown and crumble sausage in a skillet over medium heat.  When sausage is almost cooked through add the onion and garlic and continue cooking until sausage is done and onions are transparent.  Drain grease from sausage mixture and allow to cool. 

Meanwhile, slice zucchini in half lengthwise.  Using a spoon, scoop out the insides, leaving about ¼ inch of the flesh.  Don’t scoop all the way to the ends as you want to make it a “boat” shape so the filling stays put. 

Save about half of the scooped out flesh and discard the rest.  In a large bowl combine scooped out zucchini, cooled sausage mixture, mozzarella cheese, parsley, tomato, and egg. 

Place zucchini boats into a 9x13 pan (may have to use 2 pans) and add just enough water to the pan to cover the bottom of it.  Add salt and pepper to the boats to taste then add sausage filling to them.  Don’t be shy, fill them up! 

In a small bowl, combine melted butter, breadcrumbs, and parmesan.  Add this mixture to the top of the sausage mixture and pat down.  This will form a delicious crust while baking. 

Carefully place the pans into the oven because you don’t want to slosh any water onto the zucchini boats.

Bake for 40 minutes in the preheated oven.  If you want the crust extra crispy, turn on your broiler for the last 5 minutes of cooking time. 


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Tomato and Olive Penne

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Here's a recipe for you that is quick, vegetarian, and low fat.  I love quick meals like this!  Baseball season has started here and our weeknights are so crazy busy that dishes like this are lifesavers.  Monday nights are piano practice, Tuesdays we have dance for the girls and a baseball game for Ethan, Wednesdays are baseball practice and cub scouts, and Thursdays we have another baseball game.  By Friday we just want to do nothing! 
I used regular penne in this but if you want to make it even lower in calories you could easily substitute whole wheat pasta.  This was very filling and kid-friendly too! 


Salt and pepper
1 pound penne, or other short pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1.  In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook penne according to package instructions until al dente, about 13 minutes. Drain.
2.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, and cook, stirring, until just golden, about 1 minute. Add cherry tomatoes, oregano, crushed red pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring, until tomato juices run, about 3 minutes.
3.  Add penne, olives, parsley, and 1/4 cup Parmesan to the skillet and toss to combine. Serve with more cheese if desired.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pork Chops with Pineapple Fried Rice

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Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, is such a genius.  I would have never thought to put grilled pineapple in fried rice!  This dish is so so good that I could hardly believe that I made it.  We all gobbled it up and will definitely make it again.  I know I've made something good when my kids say, "Mom this needs to be on your blog!"  Try this because you will love it too!



  • 1/2 whole Pineapple, Cut Into Spears And Skewered
  • 2 cups White Or Brown Rice, Cooked
  • 6 whole Pork Chops
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Peanut Oil Or Canola Oil
  • 1 whole Large Onion, Sliced
  • 6 Tablespoons Soy Sauce (more To Taste, Or If More Liquid Is Needed)
  • 1 Tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Sriracha, Or Other Hot Sauce
  • Salt To Taste
  • 3 cloves Minced Garlic
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1 jar (small) Drained Pimentos
  • 1-1/2 cup Frozen Peas
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce (additional)

Preparation Instructions

Cook rice according to package instructions. Set aside.

Grill pineapple spears until they have good marks/color on the outside. Slice, then set aside.

Heat butter and oil over medium high heat, then add the pork chops to the pan. Saute on both sides until they have nice color.

Throw in the sliced onions and work them into the crevices between the chops. Shake the pan and move the onions around and let them cook for a good couple of minutes.

When the onions are starting to soften, add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, honey, and hot sauce. Shake the pan, stir it around, and let it cook and bubble up for a good couple of minutes until the pork chops are completely cooked and the sauce is thicker.

Remove the pork chops to a bowl, then let the sauce bubble up and cook for another 30 to 45 seconds. Pour it over the pork chops. Set aside.

Add a small amount of oil to the same pan (without cleaning it) and return it to the stovetop over medium-high heat. Add garlic and stir it around, then crack in the eggs and immediately stir them to scramble them a bit. Add peas, pimentos, and a couple of tablespoons (additional) soy sauce. Add cooked rice and stir it around to cook for a couple of minutes.

To serve, pile rice on a plate, then top with a pork chops and onions from the sauce. Drizzle a little bit of sauce over the top.