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Friday, May 18, 2012

Creamy Italian French Bread Pizza

The grocery shopping freeze continues......  today I had a half package of sliced pepperoni, a frozen loaf of Italian bread, cream cheese, onions, pizza sauce and shredded co-jack cheese with.  I have to say what came out of this fridge/freezer clean out was amazing!!!!! 

1 loaf Italian bread
1 - 8 oz. package low fat cream cheese
1/2 cup Ranch dressing
1/2 jar pizza sauce (could also use spaghetti sauce in a pinch)
2 onions, sliced
1 bag shredded cheddar, co-jack or mozzarella cheese

Saute sliced onions in medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Meanwhile, slice loaf in half length-wise and gently scoop out the filling.  Toast the hollowed loaf until golden brown.


Microwave cream cheese for 30 seconds, mix with Ranch dressing.  Spread cream cheese mixture over the bread, top with the sauce.  Divide the onions in half and put half on each side, next layer pepperoni and then top with shredded cheese.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.

My kids LOVED this!!!  I will definitely be making this again.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mexican Pasta Casserole





As I mentioned yesterday I'm on a grocery freeze at my house until after we get back from vacation.  We are going to work through our pantry and our freezer for the next couple of weeks and then when we get back from vacation we'll stock back up again and know everything is fresh and new.

Yesterday I was working with this:


Ground beef, egg-free noodles, black beans, corn, rotel, salsa, 1/2 a block of Velveeta, a kind of sad but still usable red pepper......

1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 - 1 red onion, chopped
1 lb. ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning
3/4 cup taco sauce or salsa
1/2 cup water
1 can black beans
1 can corn
1 can rotel tomatoes
3/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs, beaten
6 oz. pasta
8 oz. Velveeta, cut into small cubes

Saute pepper and onion in olive oil over medium-high heat.  When translucent add ground beef and cook until browned.  Add taco seasoning, rotel tomatoes, salsa/taco sauce and water.  Bring to boil then reduce heat to simmer.  Drain and rinse beans and corn and add them to skillet. 

In the meantime, boil noodles according to package directions.  Drain and while still hot add Velveeta, sour cream and eggs and mix to combine.  Pour this mixture into 9x13 casserole dish.


Top this with the meat mixture and then top with shredded cheddar cheese (I used cheddar-jack slices because I had them :-)  Bake at 375 for about 20-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling at the edges.  I garnished mine with black olives and sliced green onions but you could also put any other taco stuff on top like jalepeno peppers or diced tomatoes.  

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sorry for the absence.....

So I know I've been MIA lately.  I have had many of you email or ask me in passing "What happened to Toolbox for Moms?"  The truth is I have just been overwhelmed with my new job (you know, the one that actually pays me :-) but I'm recommitting myself to blogging.  I can't promise to blog every day but I'll strive for a few a week.  Hopefully that will keep you checking back or hopefully you have signed up to "follow" me.  And if you really love what I have to say PIN IT or pass it along to your friends! 

Tonight I'm making an experimental dinner -- some sort of Mexican pasta thing with ground beef.  I really don't know what its going to be yet but if it turns out well I'll post it tomorrow.  The thing is we are leaving on vacation soon and I am challenging myself to buy very few groceries before we go.  I am going to work through the freezer and pantry for dinners and just buy milk, a little fresh fruit.....we'll see how creative I can get.  Hence tonight's meal, I've got black beans, ground beef, egg noodles......let's see where that takes us.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Easy Dinner Idea -- BBQ Chicken Pizza

Sometimes you want to make dinner for your family but you don't have much time or the right groceries in the house.  So this is a recipe you can make super quick with just 5 ingredients from the grocery store! 

What to buy?  A rotisserie chicken, a bottle of bbq sauce, red onion, shredded mozzarella cheese, pizza crust. 

I used Sweet Baby Ray's bbq sauce and Mama Mary's pizza crust -- these are pre-made, in the aisle near pizza and spaghetti sauce - I like the thin and crispy variety.

Here's how easy it is to put it together.  Take the meat off the chicken, for one pizza you'll only need about half the chicken.  Toss the chicken in some bbq sauce.  Spread sauce on the crust, top with chicken.  Slice red onion very thin and place on top of chicken.  Top with cheese and bake according to your crust directions.  The Mama Mary's crust are baked at 425 for 8-10 minutes.  

That's it!  Delicious BBQ Chicken Pizza! 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Crock Pot Country Ribs

Price Chopper had boneless Country Pork ribs on sale a few weeks ago.  I had no idea what I was going to do with them but I bought them anyway and put them in my freezer.  (I'm a sucker for cheap meat!)  Decided to cook them in the crock pot.  They turned out really great so I'm sure next time they are on sale I'll buy them again.

3-4 lbs. boneless country pork ribs
1 - 16 oz. bottle bbq sauce (I used KC Masterpiece)
3 T. apple cider vinegar
1 T. garlic powder
1 large yellow onion, sliced.

Salt and pepper all side of the pork and lay in the bottom of slow cooker.  Top with sliced onions and pour sauce mixture over the top.  Cook on low for 8-9 hours. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What to do with the 1/2 bottle of wine????

Okay, so I know many of my friends would never have a problem of what to do with an extra half bottle of wine but the reality is, while I love wine my husband doesn't.  So unless I want to drink an entire bottle by myself or drink 1 glass each night for 3 or 4 nights in a row, I often find myself with a portion of a bottle left over.  I've solved this dilemma by freezing it!  Frozen wine can be thawed and used for cooking later.  I have all these little 1/2 cup (4 oz.) Rubbermaid containers that came with a combo pack I bought.  They aren't good for much but they are great for this.  Divvy up your wine into 4 oz. servings, pop on the lids and freeze.  Next time you need some red wine for red sauce or white wine for risotto, just take it out of the freezer and you are good to go!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

I love these mashed potatoes.  I swear they rival any restaurant.  The recipe below is with cream, which makes them very yummy but honestly I usually use skim milk because that is what I have on hand and because cream is fattening! 

6 medium potatoes, washed, peeled and cut into small cubes (about 1/2" -- this makes them quick cooking)
3/4 cup cream
3 T. butter
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

Cover potato cubes with cold water in 6 quart stock pot.  Add a generous amount of salt, at least 1 Tablespoon.  Cover pot and put on high heat.  When water starts boiling take lid off and let boil for about 15-20 minutes.  Meanwhile, put butter, garlic and cream into small sauce pan and put over low heat to steep while potatoes are cooking, making sure not to let it boil.  When potatoes are fork tender drain them in colander and return them to the hot pot.  Using a potato masher roughly mashed the potatoes.  Add the butter/cream mixture and continue mashing until desired consistently.  Salt and pepper to taste.