Cookin’ Out this Memorial Day Weekend with Dutch Ovens and Foil Dinners!

What better way to celebrate Memorial Day and the start of summer, than to have a cookout with family and friends? So let’s unplug this weekend to enjoy the weather and this beautiful nation that so many have given their … Continue reading

Pico De Gallo

Fresh Pico helps spice up any dish, from fajitas, nachos, tacos, pastas, eggs, and more. Chips and Salsa is one of my husband’s favorite snacks, so this gets made often in my house. Try it out, and remember to make this to your taste. Want some more heat? Use Serrano, or even Habanero peppers instead of Jalapenos. Check out how to make the best fresh tortilla chips for your salsa too! (pictured bellow)

Fresh Pico De Gallo

5 diced Roma tomatoes
1 diced large red, white, or yellow onion (I use sweet yellow onions)
1 lime, fresh squeezed
2-4 sprigs of fresh cilantro, or about 1-2 Tbs (pluck off the leaves and either chop or tear with fingers)
1 clove fresh garlic (minced)
2 jalapenos (seeded and finely chopped)(I use one Serrano pepper for some heat)
salt to taste (1Tbs+)

1. Combine tomato, onion, garlic in large bowl.
2. Add lime juice, cilantro, jalapenos, and salt -all to taste.
Makes: 4 cups
Time: 30 minutes
I find the more salt the better it tastes. Lime juice also ties all the flavors together, but you should add lime to your taste. Go easy on the salt and lime at first if you have time to let the salsa sit for a few hours, the flavors will grow more intense with time. Make sure you seed the jalapenos thoroughly for a mild salsa, or if you want the heat leave the seeds in. I like the heat, so I usually use 3 jalapenos for an added kick, again add as much as you like. For best results, let stand in the refrigerator over night, or at least a few hours before serving to fuse all the flavors together.

Dice Tomato

Dice Onion

Seed and Dice Jalapeno

Add Garlic, Lime, and Salt

Dressing Up Dinner in a Flash: Bacon Cheeseburger Mac & Cheese

Coming up with new ways to use the same old ingredients is kind of a hobby for me. I like to change things up a bit in my kitchen, and last week I stumbled upon something brilliant -Bacon Cheeseburger Mac & Cheese! Now I’ve added hamburger and onions to regular Kraft macaroni and cheese before, but I thought, ‘why not add some more ingredients to round out this meal?’ Thus adding everything you’d get on a cheeseburger to mac & cheese.

Bacon Cheeseburger Mac & Cheese

This simple mac & cheese dish is a perfect way to add some veggies to your family’s dinner, and use up all of that ground beef. Your kids will be surprised how good it is, and you’ll be surprised how fast you just made dinner!


1       Box of your favorite Mac & Cheese (I used organic white cheddar and shells, but any mac & cheese will work, even the plain ol’ Kraft macaroni and cheese would work great!)
1       Lbs Lean Ground Beef
2       Strips Bacon (Diced)
1/2  Diced Medium Yellow Onion
1/2  Cup Frozen Peas (it’s a good substitute for lettuce)
1       Diced On-The-Vine Ripe Tomato
Salt and Pepper (and Garlic powder -optional) To Taste
Extra Shredded Cheese (optional)

1. Make the Mac & Cheese as directed. While the water is heating to a boil for your pasta, begin to cook the ground beef on medium-high heat in a separate skillet. Add the pieces of Bacon and 1/2 of a diced onion to the ground beef. If your beef and bacon are creating a lot of grease go ahead and drain the mixture before continuing.

2. Once the the beef is beginning to brown add the frozen peas. Allow to cook until the peas are nearly cooked and the beef and bacon are thoroughly cooked. At the same time, finish making the mac & cheese as directed on the box.

3. At the last minute add your fresh tomatoes and season the beef mixture to taste. Add the prepared mac & cheese to the cheeseburger mixture. Add additional shredded cheese if desired, and enjoy!

Tip: We also added some red pepper flakes to our mac for a little kick.

Time: 15 minutes
Makes: 3-4 servings

This post is partying over at:Savvy Southern Style

Easy Family Pleasing Meatloaf

Ground Beef.   It’s boring all by itself and I have a ton of it in my freezer because we stocked up by purchasing a huge part of a cow from my Father-in-law’s farm.  Smart on my part because I’m a penny pincher, remember (Simple and Frugal Granola).  And not-so-smart, because now I have to become a magician, wave my magic wooden spoon, and make hundreds of dishes out of ground beef that my whole family will eat…and actually ENJOY eating.

My hubs is a man’s man.  He’s a meat and potoates kinda guy.  Hmmmmm, what to  make him???  Then it came to me.  Meatloaf!  Every time I make meatloaf I do something different.  I also tend to find something lacking that needs to be fixed each time.  But not this time!!!  I am happy to report I’ve found a keeper!  And it couldn’t be a more simple recipe.  The key to great meatloaf is to not overmix your ingredients.  Keep it light and fluffy.  Try it and you’ll see the difference!  You’ll have a moist and tender loaf of meat your whole family will scarf down, and will be asking for seconds before you know it!

Easy Family Pleasing Meatloaf

A super simple meatloaf recipe your whole family will enjoy!


2 Lbs. Ground Beef
1 Egg (lightly beaten)
1 Med. Onion (chopped)
1 Cup Milk
1 Cup Dried Bread Crumbs
¼ Cup Parmesan Cheese (grated)
1 tsp. Seasoned Salt
1 tsp. Parsley
1 Garlic Clove (minced)
1 Tbs. Worcestershire Sauce
¼ Cup Brown Sugar
1/3 Cup Ketchup
1/3 Cup Favorite BBQ Sauce
¼ tsp. Ground Mustard


1. Preheat oven to 350° F.  Line a 9×13” baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.  Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, egg, onion, milk, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, seasoned salt, parsley, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce.  Mix thoroughly but with a light, gentle hand.

3. Turn out onto baking pan and form into loaf.

4. In a separate small bowl, combine brown sugar, ketchup, bbq sauce, and ground mustard together.  Mix well.  Pour over the top of the meatloaf.

5. Bake meatloaf for approximately 60-70 minutes or until your meat thermometer, when inserted in the center of the meatloaf, reads 160-165° F.

Tip: After you’ve taken the meatloaf out of the oven, allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes with a foil tent placed over the top of pan before cutting it.  This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meatloaf. 

Makes:  Approx. 8 servings

Serve this Meatloaf up with your favorite potato recipe, like baked, mashed, or even our Cheesy Potato Casserole. Oh and another veggie would round out this meal!

Dressing Up Dinner in a Flash: Making the Best BLTs in 1-2-3!

You may be thinking, ‘Um, BLT? Isn’t that just throwing Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato on bread?’ No, no, nooo…Don’t just do that! I mean you can, but if you want an awesome BLT and some great flavor you’ll want to read this! I’ll show you a couple quick steps to making the BLT your favorite sandwich, and I swear it will only take you an extra 60 seconds!… These steps are so great, they made my hubby -who hates fresh tomatoes on anything- devour these BLTs!

The Best BLT

Step one to creating this tasty sandwich is to toast your bread. And I use sourdough for mine, but you can use your favorite bread! And then use whatever condiment you like best. For me it’s a light spread of Mayo, for my hubby it’s Whole Grain Dijon Mustard. (Oh and put the bacon in the skillet, as that’s the only thing you have to cook!)

Step two is first finding the best -perfectly ripe- on the vine tomatoes. Then slice your tomatoes about 1/4″ thick and season them up. Yes, that’s right season your tomatoes! Who would have thought? I liberally salt and pepper both sides of each slice, and then I give a light sprinkling of garlic powder to each side as well. the best tomatoes paired with a bit of flavor really makes this sandwich sing, yummm!

Step three is dressing your greens. Yes you can just through iceberg lettuce on any old sandwich and call it good. But that’s not good if you want great! So start by using a fresh bag of baby greens or other variety of dark leafy greens as your lettuce. Then add about 1-2 Tbs to taste of Rice Vinegar (or apple cider vinegar works great), and a little fresh cracked pepper. Then once your bacon is cooked take 1 Tbs. of the bacon drippings and spoon in over your lettuce. Toss your greens really well and make sure they’re to your taste. This way you can use all of those tasty greens on your sandwiches and then eat what’s left over as a salad on the side! Genius! And oh so good!

Then all that is left to do is assembling your sandwiches. Put as much bacon, lettuce, and tomato as you want on yours. And if we’re having these for dinner I will add a slice of cheese to mine like provolone, swiss, or cheddar. Enjoy your new and improved BLT’s and tell your friends!

Also, all of these little tips can help wake up any mundane sandwich. Try them out for your next packed lunch and I promise you won’t be disappointed! Yay for warmer weather and fresh produce!

This post is partying over at:Savvy Southern Style

Craving Chicken and Rice Soup

Craving Chicken and Rice Soup

After having pizza the night before I wanted to come up with a lighter dinner yesterday. So I scoured around in the kitchen for what seemed like an hour before I finally pulled enough odds ends together to make a … Continue reading