Make Over Monday

I wanted to try this recipe but decided to lighten it up a bit.  It was really good and will definitely be made again very soon!   Here is the original recipe I found on Spend With Pennies.  I served mine with rice instead of noodles.




1 lb. ground chicken

1 egg

¾ cup panko breadcrumbs

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

½ cup grated reduced fat Parmesan Cheese

Salt and pepper


Pam Olive Oil cooking spray

3 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup 1% milk

¼ cup lemon juice

In a large bowl add the ingredients to make the meatballs.  I like my meatballs on the small side I made approximately 25-28 meatballs.   Brown meatballs in a large pan in Pam Olive Oil Cooking Spray.    Melt butter in same pan and add flour making a roux.  Add chicken broth stir until thickened.  Add milk and lemon juice and  bring to a simmer and simmer 15-20 minutes covered allowing sauce to thicken and meatballs to cook thru.  Serve over rice or noodles.



Simple and Quick Potatoes

These potatoes are one of my favorite quick sides to make.  Being that you use canned potatoes and dried spices they are something you can have on hand in the pantry all the time.


Simple and Quick Potatoes




2 cans 15 ounces each whole potatoes, drained and halved lengthwise

1 tablespoon butter (I used light)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Salt and Pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon sage

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon paprika


In a skillet heat the butter and olive oil then add the potatoes.  Season with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat 8-10 minutes or until browned.  Add the remaining seasonings, cook and stir until the potatoes are nicely coated, an extra 5- 8 minutes.


Really you could use whatever combination of seasonings you have on hand.  Some other suggestions are rosemary, onion powder, oregano, whatever your tastes prefer.



Best Sheet Cake

If you are wanting to give a new dessert recipe a try this spring or summer do yourself a favor and try Six Sister’s Stuff Strawberry Shortcake Sheet Cake. I made this today for our Easter dessert and let me tell you, this cake is soooooo good! It’s so light and moist and the frosting is perfect. I actually lightened it up and used some low fat ingredients. I put a few blueberries on mine and my mom thought it’d be good using fresh peaches as well. I can tell already this will be requested a lot in my household.


Strawberry Shortcake Sheet Cake

Cake ingredients:

1 box white cake mix

1 3.4 ounce box Jello brand instant vanilla pudding mix

1 cup sour cream (I used light)

1 cup milk (I used 1%)

1/4 vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 egg whites


8 ounces cream cheese (I used 1/3 less fat Philadelphia Cream Cheese) softened

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

8 ounce tub Cool Whip (I used Cool Whip Lite)

Fresh Strawberries


Spray a large jelly roll pan (15x10x1) with cooking spray. (Mine  was slightly bigger)  Mix all cake ingredients in large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth.  Pour batter into pan and bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 12-15 minutes. Cake should spring bake when touched in center.   Cool cake completely before frosting.

Frosting :

Mix  softened cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Fold in Cool Whip and mix until combined.  Spread over cooled cake and refrigerate 30 minutes to set icing.  Top with fresh strawberries right before serving.  Or in my case strawberries and blueberries.

Store cake in fridge.


– My dad texted as I was typing this to tell me how good the cake was.  He was full from dinner and hadn’t tried it until they got back home.  It got a thumbs up from all of us!


Pasta Primavera

I’ve always loved Pasta Primavera I’ve just never made it at home.  My daughter made some in her high school culinary class and asked if we could make it at home.  I thought YAY!  someone shares my love for pasta primavera in our house!!  So this is what we made.  It’s out of an old Light and Tasty Magazine that Taste of Home used to publish. Not sure if the magazine is still in circulation or not.


8 ounces uncooked linguine

1 medium carrot, thinly sliced

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/ 2 cup chopped sweet red pepper

1/2 cup chopped sweet yellow pepper

1 medium zucchini julienned

1 medium yellow squash julienned

1 cup broccoli florets

1 pound thin fresh asparagus cut into 3 inch pieces

8 ounces fresh mushrooms sliced

1/3 cup all purpose flour

2 cups cold water

2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/2 teaspoon salt

couple dashes of pepper

1 – 2 teaspoon dried basil (recipe called for 4 tsp.)

1-2 cloves garlic minced

Parmesan cheese (optional) to sprinkle on top


Cook pasta according to directions.  While pasta is cooking in a skillet coated with cooking spray add your carrots, onion, garlic, peppers, zucchini, squash, and broccoli.  Cook over medium low heat for 10 minutes while stirring around.   Add asparagus and mushrooms and cook another 5 minutes.

In a saucepan combine flour and water until smooth over low heat.  Add the bouiloon and bring to a boil and cook and stir for about 2 minutes or until slightly thickened.  Add broth, salt, and pepper and stir well.  Pour over vegetable mixture.  Drain pasta and add to vegetable mixture sprinkle with basil and toss to coat.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

* Add or omit any vegetable of your choice.  This go around the asparagus didn’t look the greatest and my daughter doesn’t like broccoli.  I used some green pepper and chopped up some baby carrots since that’s what I had on hand.   The recipe called for wine or chicken broth, I used chicken broth, I’m sure vegetable broth would be good too.  I added garlic to the recipe because I thought it could use it for flavor.  I bet some oregano would be good too.

Sausage Casserole

March 28, 2017


Hands down this is our favorite breakfast casserole.  Simple and really good.


sausage casserole


1 pound Jimmy Dean sausage

1 tube (8 ounces) Pillsbury refrigerated crescent rolls

4 large eggs

2 tablespoons milk

salt and pepper to taste

3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a large skillet, cook the sausage breaking up while cooking over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Spray a 13×9 inch baking pan with cooking spray.   Unroll crescent dough onto the bottom and 1/2 in. up the sides of the pan and seal the seams. Sprinkle the sausage over crescent dough.  In a bowl, beat the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper; pour over the sausage. Bake for 15 minutes uncovered, at 400° or until eggs are set.  Top with cheese and bake until cheese is melted another 1-2 minutes.

Yield: 8 servings.

Restaurant Style Salsa

March 21, 2017

I don’t know why I have been so intimidated to make salsa at home!   It was super easy and really good.  This gave me a chance to finally use my Kitchen Aid food processor which was perfect for this recipe.  I thank Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman for this recipe which I know I will make again and again!


Restaurant Style Salsa

Two 10-ounce cans diced tomatoes and green chilies,  ( Rotel )

One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes with juice

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1 whole jalapeno, quartered and sliced thin, with seeds and membrane

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1/2 whole lime, juiced

Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until  desired consistency.  Refrigerate at least an hour before serving.

This recipe makes a big batch I haven’t tried halving so I suggest sharing with a friend or in my case take some over to mom and dad.


Snow Day Chili

March 14, 2017

My son a few weeks ago asked if I’d make chili when he came home for spring break from college.  I told him probably not since  I don’t like chili when it’s warm.   Well Mother Nature had other plans and my boy lucked out. We went to bed to snow falling last night here in Virginia and I told him he’d get his request.   Until today I hadn’t really found a recipe that I thought that’s it !  That’s the chili I’d make as my go to for my family.   I was watching The Pioneer Woman the other day and thought I’d give hers a try but knew I’d have to make some alterations.  Only my husband, my son and myself eat chili in my house, (my daughter wants no part) and all three of us really liked it.



Simple Chili

Adapted from Ree’s Simple Perfect Chili


2 pounds lean ground beef

2 cloves garlic minced

1 small onion chopped

2 8 ounce cans tomato sauce

1 6 ounce can tomato paste

1  14.5 ounce can beef broth

1/2 can beer

2 tablespoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 15 ounce can pinto beans drained and rinsed

1 15 ounce can small red beans drained and rinsed


shredded cheddar cheese

Tortilla chips

sour cream

Brown ground beef onion and garlic in large pot. Drain any excess fat. Add the next eleven ingredients mixing well.  Cover and simmer for an hour over low heat.  Serve with toppings of choice.

Grilled Chicken

February 22, 2017

Plain Chicken  is a blog I follow and I’m constantly pinning her recipes to try.  This recipe may be my favorite I’ve tried so far.  It’s her  Amazing Grilled Chicken Marinade. Let me tell you it IS amazing!  This has been my go to since trying it when I want grilled chicken breasts or tenderloins.   I know you’re thinking it’s February and you’re grilling chicken?  Here in Virginia it’s been more like spring than winter so when the hubby said he’d grill for me this was the first thing that came to mind.



Amazing Grilled Chicken Marinade

From: Plain Chicken

1/4 cider vinegar

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

3 cloves minced garlic

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon pepper

6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves or 12-16 chicken tenderloins, whatever you prefer


Place chicken in Ziploc bag. Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, garlic, lime & lemon juice, brown sugar, salt, olive oil, and pepper.  Pour over chicken and refrigerate overnight.

So juicy and so flavorful give it a try I know you’ll think it’s amazing too.







Taco Macaroni

February 21, 2017

In a lot of ways I’m nothing like my mother and in some ways I am A LOT like her.  One thing we share is a love for recipes and cooking.  She used to have tons and tons of cookbooks, magazines, and clippings of recipes to try.  Much like her even with Pinterest  I still have all those cookbooks, magazines, clippings and in my case printouts from websites that I would file away to try later.  The other day while going thru that old recipe file box I found this recipe I printed in 2009 from of course my trusty Taste of Home.  Oh and yes I said 2009!  I’ve never tried it so I thought yeah 8 years was long enough.  Plus, I had everything on hand and was looking to use up some ground turkey in the fridge.


Taco Macaroni

(adapted from Taste of Home)

16 ounces elbow macaroni

1 pound ground beef ( I used ground turkey)

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 can 14 1/2 ounces diced tomatoes, undrained

(I used Del Monte diced tomatoes with Zesty Mild Green Chilies)

1 can Campbell’s Tomato Soup 10 3/4 ounces

1 can 8 ounces tomato sauce

1/4 cup taco seasoning

Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Light Sour Cream (optional)

Cook macaroni according to package directions.   Spray a large pot with a little cooking spray and cook the ground turkey and onion until no longer pink.  (If using ground beef you more than likely will need to drain off the excess fat).  Stir in tomatoes, soup, tomato sauce, and taco seasoning.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat.  Simmer uncovered 8-10 minutes or until thickened.  Add your cooked macaroni into the meat mixture and heat thru.  Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.

*I love sour cream on my tacos so I thought I’d add a dollop on top and try it out.  It was pretty good.



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Ham and Cheese Sliders

February 7, 2017

I have seen many versions of these little gems.   So I just used what I liked from the recipes I’ve seen to make my version.


Ham and Cheese Sliders

Martin’s Potato Dinner Rolls

1 package thin sliced ham I’ve used Red Eye (also called Country Ham) or VA Baked Ham

12 slices provolone cheese

1 stick butter, melted

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Melt the butter and mix in the Worcestershire Sauce, Dijon, onion powder and poppy seeds.  Brush over rolls, sometimes I’ll brush a little on the inside of the roll tops as well.  Cover with foil and refrigerate 6-8 hours or overnight.   Bake covered in a 350 degree preheated oven for 15 minutes.  Uncover and bake another 5.

These are so good and great when you are feeding a group of people because they are so easy to throw together and you do them ahead of time !  I usually do a batch of country ham and the other the Virginia baked ham.  The hubs will only eat the ones with the country ham.  Sometimes it’s just too much sodium for me!   They are good leftover the next day,  but it’s rare I have any left.  I do this as well for breakfast with some slight variations.  I’ll share that another day!



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