Peanut Butter Pie

This recipe has been in my husband’s side of the family for years! His mom shared the recipe with me and it’s one of our favorites this time of year!

Whip it up, let it chill and enjoy! I could probably eat 1/2 the pie alone if I’m being honest.

*I always add 2 tablespoons of butter, not teaspoons. The more the merrier when it comes to butter, y’all.

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My Sweet Potato Obsession.

Ryan may mock me, but I don’t even care. “Sweet potatoes again?” YES. Please. Get in my belly. I love them and they are healthy, so step off! Plus, he eats them every single time I cook them, so I know deep down he enjoys them too. My kids love them and it’s easy….so in my mind, it’s a win win!

Here’s my new found sweet potato obsession, how I cook them and how I eat them. Hope you enjoy as much as I do!

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First, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Then,  cut 2-3 good size sweet potatoes into small chunks and place on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil. Then here’s the secret…are you ready?

Sprinkle these spices on it to make them divine:

  • Chipotle Chili Powder
  • Cumin
  • Garlic Powder
  • Coarse salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper

Give them all a little toss with your fingers to make sure all the potatoes are evenly coated with goodness. Then bake for about 20 minutes or until desired doneness. I always like mine a little crispy!

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Usually, I eat these delicious sweet potatoes with a fried egg on top and a side of fruit or bacon! But sometimes we have them with dinner as a side dish to a grilled meat.

So there you go. Easy peasy. My new sweet potato obsession. Enjoy my friends! Oh and if you have another way to make them, please oh please leave me a comment below & share.

Shepherd’s Pie (thank you, Paula Deen)

I love this super easy, super tasty recipe! Last night, we cooked dinner for a friend’s birthday & I made them in individual ramekins. It’s from Paula, so yes – it has butter & sour cream & then a little bit more butter. YUM!

Ingredients

  • 1 small onion
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed vegetables or niblet corn, prepared
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 to 10 medium red new potatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 12 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups instant biscuit mix

Directions

Beef Layer: Saute onions in 2 tablespoons butter. Add ground beef. After beef is browned, add tomato sauce; Mix in vegetables. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Potato Layer: Peel and slice potatoes 1/4-inch thick. Cook in boiling water for approximately 15 minutes or until fork-tender. Whip potatoes with electric mixer; mix until moderately smooth. Don’t over beat them; a few lumps are nice. Add 1/2 cup heated milk, 1/2 cup butter, and sour cream. Salt and pepper, to taste. Whip until mixed. Adjust thickness by adding more milk, if desired.

Biscuit Layer: Combine biscuit mix and 1 cup milk. The mix should be thinner than normal biscuit mix but not runny.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a 9 by 9 by 2-inch pan, or any similar casserole dish. Layer half way up with the mashed potatoes. Next, spread a layer of mixed vegetables or niblet corn on top of potatoes. Then add a layer of the meat. Pour biscuit mix over meat. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over top. Bake for approximately 35 to 45 minutes until top is golden brown.

Mediterranean Pizza Recipe

Ryan & I love to go to Newk’s & order their Mediterranean pizza….oh my word, it’s delish. But what we love even more is when we can recreate a recipe at home! Well, last night – we did it. We made a bomb version of Mediterranean pizza! We may or may not have eaten the entire thing between the two of us.

Mediterranean Pizza a la Dixon

1 premade whole wheat crust (I bought one in the deli section at Brookshires for $2)

basil pesto (I used Buitoni)

handful of cherry tomatoes cut in halves

handful of kalamata olives cut in halves

1/2 onion sliced thin

feta cheese crumbled

mozzarella cheese shredded

basil leaves shredded

grilled chicken cut in thin strips

pepper

extra virgin olive oil

garlic powder

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spread a thin layer of pesto on the pizza crust. Layer on (to your taste) tomatoes, olives, onion, cheeses, basil leaves, and chicken. Sprinkle with cracked black pepper. Drizzle EVOO on the outer portion of the crust and then sprinkle that with a small amount of garlic power. Bake for 15-20 minutes until crust is browned & cheese is melted. Drizzle entire pizza with a little EVOO and serve. Enjoy!

While we cooked, the girls were making their own pizzas with play dough. Cuties!


Stuffed Shells

Tonight, I made one of our favorite, super easy Italian dishes for some friends. (I feel certain I must be part Italian, by the way….I LOVE to cook this style of food & could seriously have pasta and bread everyday- not to mention the wine! Reason #143 why I run.) Anyways, she asked me for the recipe after dinner, so I thought I’d just write a blog post & share it with all of you as well.

This recipe has been in our family for years – I remember my mom making it when I was young and our family loving it. I believe she got this yummy recipe from my Aunt Debbie who lives in New Hampshire. Sort of a twist on normal lasagna. One of those meals that is so easy, not many ingredients, but looks like you spent a long time in the kitchen preparing it! It’s simply called Stuffed Shells.

Stuffed Shells

1 pound hamburger meat

1 onion chopped

1 bell pepper chopped

1 carton of Ricotta cheese

2 bags of shredded mozzarella cheese

1 box of large pasta shells

1 jar of spaghetti sauce

pinch of Italian seasonings

garlic, salt & pepper to taste

Cook pasta shells for 5-7 minutes until al dente. Drain, set aside and allow to cool.

Brown hamburger meat with onion and bell pepper. Add salt, pepper and garlic to taste. Drain and add Ricotta cheese and 1 bag of mozzarella cheese and stir together.

Pour half of the spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish. Stuff each shell with the meat/cheese mixture and line up in the dish. Top stuffed shells with remaining spaghetti sauce and other bag of mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle Italian seasonings over the top.

Bake at 350 with foil on for about 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10-15 minutes until bubbly and slightly brown on top. Remove and cool for about 10 minutes before serving. I like to serve bruschetta bread as a side to this meal.

Enjoy!

Recipe Exchange Party

I hosted another recipe exchange party at our house last night. Good times. Any excuse to get a bunch of girlfriends together to hang out, laugh & eat is guaranteed fun! My friend, Hannah, & I switch out on who’s hosting it and we try to plan one each Spring and Fall. She did it last Fall, so I was up. Spring came and went, so this time it got pushed back until Summer, but hey…whatever works! Several people have asked me, “What is a recipe exchange?” – so I figured I would make a post about it…

There are many ways to do a Recipe Exchange Party, but here is what we do:

1. Send out an invitation or evite a few weeks in advance. Ask everyone to bring X number of copies of their recipe to share. Last night, the theme was “Summertime” – so we asked everyone to bring easy, light summery recipes.

2. Make something for each person to take their recipes home in – folder, bag, packet, recipe box, basket, etc.

3. Purchase small gifts to give away as door prizes and for the winners of the games. You can find cute & very inexpensive items for this! I picked up some summery, fun plastic utensils, pot holders, and a wine bottle carrying case.

4. Find silly games to play. Every adult needs to “play” every now & then, right?! We did a game called “Guess that Spice!” I picked out 10 spices out of our spice cabinet and covered them all w/random magazine clippings. I numbered each one and created a sheet with #’s 1-10 on it and printed copies for everyone. The point of the game is for each person to smell each spice and write down on the sheet what they think it is. After everyone made it through the line, I asked them what they put for #1 – we went around the room and heard each guess, some of them quite funny I might add! Then, I would tell the correct answer. We did that for all 10 spices and whoever had the most right, won the prize. Our winner guessed 7 out of 10…not bad! Side note: I made Ryan do the game the night before to make sure it wasn’t too ridiculously hard and when he got to red pepper flakes, he sneezed like 14 times. HA!

5. Prepare and serve snack foods that go along w/your party theme. For our “Summertime” party, we served ice cream sundaes with toppings, watermelon, lemonade, cookies, and chips & fresh homemade salsa.

6. To do the “exchange” portion, you just have each person tell where they got their recipe, any tips on how to make it, why it’s special, etc. Then, they pass the recipe copies around and each person gets one. Then, the next person goes…and on & on until everyone has everyone else’s recipe. So after last night, I have close to 15 new yummy recipes to try!

Ryan’s Chicken-Lettuce Wraps.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 pounds of chicken (boneless thighs are bomb) [chopped]
  • 6 tablespoons [1/3 bottle] hoisin sauce (asian BBQ)
  • 1 head of iceberg lettuce or whatever leafy lettuce you like
  • 1/2 red bell pepper [minced]
  • 4 scallions (green onions) [minced]
  • 4-6 medium shiitake mushrooms [minced]
  • 8 baby carrots or 1/2 large carrot [minced]
  • 8 oz can of water chestnuts [minced]
  • 1-2 inches ginger root [minced]
  • 4 cloves garlic [you guessed it… minced]
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3-4 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of canola oil

add chicken to bowl/bag with soy sauce to marinade. heat canola oil on med/high. add chicken. cook till nearly done. stir in mushrooms. cook a min. add k salt and pepper. stir in ginger and garlic. cook a min. stir in carrots, water chestnuts, bell pepper, scallions, red pepper flakes. cook a min. stir in hoisin sauce. reduce heat to low and cover. all will be happy after about 5 minutes.

tear off lettuce pieces for “wrapping”. smaller, “nacho like” pieces work too. spoon in the good stuff. best served hot with brown rice on the side and a good glass of pinot noir or zin. eat. enjoy. worship our Creator.

bam!

Chocolate Gravy & Biscuits

What? Chocolate gravy? Yep, that’s what I said. You heard me correctly.

If you have never experienced chocolate gravy, you are seriously missing out! It’s like having dessert for breakfast. This recipe has been in my family for years and years. My great-grandmother used to make it for my grandfather as a child. Then, when he married my grandmother, he shared the recipe with her. It continued to be passed down from there. My mom has made it for us since I can remember. Every Christmas morning, we have chocolate gravy. To this day, my mom makes this for us whenever we are all together. My brothers, sister and I request it…and still fight over the biscuits. Just recently, I ventured out and started making it myself. I’ve only made it twice. Once on Christmas morning and then again today! Sort of a “special occasion” kind of breakfast. Haven’t quite nailed it quite as good as my mom, but hopefully I will get there!

Since so many of you have asked, I thought it was time to post the recipe. Straight from a cookbook called “Memaw’s Sweets” – a collection of recipes my Memaw put together for her grandchildren a few years back. Love it! Here you go…

Buttery, chocolately goodness. The best biscuits to serve with this gravy are Grands Homestyle. Totally healthy, totally fat free. Runner’s food at it’s best. Ha! Ryan describes as warm chocolate pudding. My kids LOVE it, of course. Anytime you can get away with having chocolate for breakfast, it’s a good thing. Let me know if you give this a try and what you think!

My sweetie.

Kam is our sweets-eater. She comes by it naturally, because Ryan is the same way. They could both eat cakes, cookies, ice cream all day and rarely tire of the sugar. Of course, this is irritating to me how Ryan can stay so skinny & eat more sweets than I get to! Addi is content with some popcorn or an apple, but not my Kam Kam.

Ryan loves it when I bake. I don’t love it. I prefer cooking. I don’t like to measure…it’s tedious and time-consuming. I’d rather chop stuff up and throw everything into a skillet, add a little of this and a little of that, stir & saute all day long. That’s how I roll. But on occasion, I’ll bake something up to make my man and my babies happy.

Well, for Valentine’s Day I made these cookies. They were quite tasty, if I do say so myself. Very rich and must be consumed with a tall glass of milk! As I was baking them Kamryn was in full anticipation of the yummy that was about to be in her tummy. While the oven was preheating, she was sneaking little pieces of dough off the cookie sheet. While the cookies were baking, she was watching through the oven door anxiously awaiting. Then finally, after cooling off and hearing “Mommy, can I have a cookie now?” over and over and over again, she finally got to have one! Then, after that cookie, “Mommy, I still hungey because, because I want anudder cookie!”

Oops, I found a new recipe! (sort of)

Tonight, while baking our lasagna for dinner, I stumbled upon a new way to serve bruschetta that is rather tasty! Thought I’d share my accidental, super simple, yummy find. Since I’m baking a frozen lasagna made a couple of weeks ago and is taking over an hour to heat, we’re all getting hungry while we wait! So, I thought I’d whip up a little appetizer using some ingredients we had in the pantry. Usually for Italian meals, bruschetta is our appetizer of choice. I posted that recipe here. However, on this particular evening, we don’t have french bread, green onions, basil, or parmesan cheese. So I improvised & came up with what is now dubbed as our “Italian Chips & Salsa” recipe!

Italian Chips & Salsa

1 large tomato chopped

1 clove of garlic minced

1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning

salt & pepper to taste

extra virgin olive oil to taste

wheat tortillas

In a bowl, combine chopped tomatoes, garlic, seasonings and oil. Cut tortillas in triangular pieces and brush with EVOO. Bake on a cookie sheet at 350 for about 10-15 minutes, turning about 1/2 way through until crispy & slightly toasted. Serve w/tomato mixture & enjoy!

White Chicken Chili

I’ve come across several varieties of White Chicken Chili lately. So, this is a hybrid utilizing what we already had in our pantry and a few extras that just sounded good to throw in! Couldn’t get any easier! With the cooler temps, we were ready for a chili night & this makes for an awesome Fall meal. Even the girls ate it up, which is a big deal in our house!

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 small yellow onion diced

2-3 cloves of garlic minced

1 – 7 oz. can of diced green chiles

2 teaspoons of cumin

1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning

1 – 14 oz. can of chicken broth

3 cups shredded chicken breast (we grilled ours first)

2 cans white northern beans

1 can white shoepeg corn

1 can white corn with chipotle

salt & pepper to taste

Heat oil and saute onions until clear. Stir in the rest of the ingredients in the order as listed above. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cover for about an hour. Top with shredded monterey jack cheese & serve.

Ame’s Caramel Yummies

Got this recipe from my friend Ame and it is delish! Baking some tonight to take on our road trip…always get a sweet tooth while traveling!

Ame’s Caramel Yummies

~Bars
3/4 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. chopped pecans (optional)

~Topping
3/4 c. caramel ice cream topping
3 T. all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350. For bars, combine butter and sugar in large bowl; mix well. Add flour, oats, baking soda and salt; mix until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Remove half of the oat mixture; set aside. Press remaining mixture onto bottom of greased 9 inch square pan. Bake 10 min; sprinkle with choco chips and nuts. For topping combine caramel topping and flour in a small bowl; drizzle over chips & pecans. Sprinkle with reserved oat mixture. Bake 15 min. Cool completely before cutting into bars. Enjoy:)

Cheap lunch option.

Ryan & I usually go home every day for lunch. Both of our offices are located close to our house, which makes it very convenient to just run home to eat lunch…not to mention the money it saves! This is one of the ways we are trying hard to be frugal as we work to pay off our debt!

Recently, we were out of our normal lunch options & hadn’t been grocery shopping yet – no sandwich stuff, no leftovers, nothing. So I rummaged through our pantry and our fridge to see if I could be creative and come up with something. This little recipe is what I came up with! These ingredients are pretty standard for us – we usually always have them. Its super easy, but its actually surprisingly very tasty! So, if you’re in a pinch and need quick, easy, & cheap lunch – give this recipe a try. It can also obviously be modified with whatever ingredients you have on hand that particular day.

Mexican Style Mini Pizzas

  • tortillas
  • 1 can of fire roasted diced tomatoes (LOVE these)
  • torn fresh cilantro
  • chopped onions
  • mexican blend shredded cheese
  • salt & pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Lay tortillas on a cookie sheet and top with desired amount of tomatoes, onions, cilantro, cheese, and salt & pepper. Drizzle olive oil around the top outer edges of the tortilla. Bake for about 10 minutes or until tortilla is golden brown and crispy. Enjoy!

our dinner last night

pan-seared pork & spinach pot stickers with chicken fried rice. awesome! if you know me at all, you know i’m a huge fan of pei wei and pf chang’s. i love me some chinese food! well, we decided to give pot stickers a try & they are actually super easy & very tasty. and chicken fried rice is something we’ve done for a while & couldn’t be simpler. here’s the recipe:

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chicken fried rice:

saute chicken & small chopped onion in canola oil or sesame oil & 2 tablespoons of teriyaki sauce. add 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic & 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh ginger root.  add salt & pepper to taste. when chicken is cooked through, add a bag of frozen stir-fry veggies. add 2 additional tablespoons of teriyaki sauce, cover and simmer until veggies are cooked through. cook 1 to 2 cups of rice according to directions and add to chicken & veggie mixture.  walla! chicken fried rice. so easy!

pan-seared pork & spinach pot stickers:

cook 1/2 lb of ground pork in skillet. add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped ginger root, 3 cloves of chopped garlic, 4 scallions finely sliced, and 1 box of defrosted & drained spinach. add a touch of soy sauce, salt & pepper to taste. fill wonton wrappers with mixture. heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. work in batches…sear one side of wontons for 2 minutes on medium high heat. then, add 1/4 cup of water to skillet, cover & let them steam for 5 minutes. that’s it! remove them that batch, drain oil & water, dry out skillet and repeat on new batch. ryan also made a dipping sauce for them that was amazing….a mixture of soy sauce, orange juice, red pepper flakes & honey. SOOOO GOOD!

this was a fun meal to make & it really was tasty. if you try it out, let me know! hope you enjoy.