homemade meat sauce for your pasta

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Growing up, I’ll admit I was one of the pickiest eaters. when it came to eating vegetables I was the child sitting at the table all night long refusing to eat.

I’ve gotten better as I have gotten older, but when it comes to those mysterious chunks in my pasta sauce, count me out. I’ve tried tomatoes all ways, hate them. Same goes for onions. Over the years, I’ve put together an easy sauce that is sure to please the pickiest eaters. Even the kids!

homemade meat pasta sauce:

1 lb ground beef
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
3/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
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Brown ground beef in large skillet or pan. Drain fat.

Mix in tomato sauce and all remaining ingredients. Stir well.

Heat to a boil, cover and simmer on low for 15-20 minutes.

Serve over your choice of pasta. Enjoy!
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We also doing the same above but using Italian sausage to mix things up. Or if you’re eating meatless, just scrap the meat and make the tomato sauce.

What are the foods you just don’t eat?

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white chicken chili

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Living in Texas, we haven’t had to really experience the harsh effects that the polar vortex is taking on the north. We just experience the roller coaster weather and this week is no different. It’s supposed to be 22 Friday morning and hopefully that chance of snow passes us by. Snow + Texas = things get chaotic.

Ben and I took advantage of the beautiful weather at the beginning of the week by playing outdoors and getting all our errands done. Now we are ready for hunkering down and enjoying playing inside.

To help get me in the mood for cold, I made a pot of white chicken chili for dinner. I found the recipe over here and am so glad I did. It was super delicious!

I had make to due as I forgot the green chilis, so I used chili powder and I don’t like the texture of onion so I used onion powder.

white chicken chili

2 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
3 boneless chicken breasts, cubed
salt and pepper
3 cans Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
1 (3.5 oz) can green chilies
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 (32 oz) box chicken broth
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
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Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add onion, garlic and chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until onions become translucent and chicken is cooked through.

Add beans to pot along with chilies, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir, then add chicken broth. Bring all ingredients to boil. Add lime juice and cilantro. Simmer 15 minutes.

Serve with sour cream, cheese, avocado, tortilla chips or any other fitting garnish. Enjoy!!

What’s your favorite chili topping?
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The best part of this recipe is that it’s quick! I like quick when Ben isn’t having the best of days.

His birthday is coming up and I am beyond excited for it. And then Valentines Day shortly after that. Ben and I have a couple of little Valentines Day surprises were making plus all the other yummy treats I have planned.

What’s your favorite Valentines Day treat?

chocolate chip pecan cookies

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one of my favorite desserts is a fresh baked chocolate chip cookie. with nuts of course!

Ben has been battling the molars lately so anytime a nap happens I make the most of it. Today I decided to fulfill my always salivating sweet tooth.

chocolate chip pecan cookies:

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup walnut or pecans, chopped
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Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line cookie sheet with parchment paper or silpat.

In mixing bowl, cream butter, brown sugar, sugar and shortening. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well.

In separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Slowly add flour mixture to creamed mixture.

Fold in chocolate chips and nuts.

Spoon onto baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool before enjoying!
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Next week I’ll be co-hosting a 20 wishes for 2014 party with a good friend Kassi & I’m really excited to get started. Hopefully you’ll decide to join us because we’ve got some fun giveaways taking place each month you link up with your progress.

Tonight I’ve got white chicken chili on the menu. I can taste the lime and cilantro already!

What is one of you favorites to put in chili?

foodie favorites: blue sky cherry vanilla creme soda

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I’ve decided to host a series featuring my foodie favorites. Whether it’s a product, produce item, etc., this series will feature where you find the item, recipes for the item (if necessary) and how I came upon this item.

My first foodie favorite is Hansen’s Blue Sky Cherry Vanilla Creme Soda.

I first met this awesome soda at the Homestead Heritage Festival in Elm Mott Texas. If you’ve never been, it’s quite a fun thing to experience atleast once. Everything that they make and serve is natural. No artificial anything and so when I had this soda with my lunch, which was a natural hamburger with natural bun and cheese, I was in heaven!

A soda with no dyes, no artificial flavors or sweeteners. I knew I had to find it in the metroplex.

I was in luck! I’ve found it at Kroger and Central Market, but any place that has a good organic selection probably does carry the Hansen’s soda line.

They have other flavors as well, but this is by far my favorite, and quite honestly I’m not a cherry flavor kind of girl.

picture courtesy of Hansen’s

soft baked puppy cookies

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hope everyone is having a fantastic week. the weather has been beautiful and is supposed to continue through the weekend. Cheers to that!

I’ve noticed a rise in gourmet made puppy treats, but they tend to come with a gourmet price tag. and if you know me well, I love my coupons and spending frugally when it comes to the “extras.” So yesterday I threw together some yummy cookies for our furry friend.

These soft baked cookies are perfect for all dogs, even those elderly dogs who need the softer stuff.

soft baked puppy cookies:

1 cup INSTANT oats
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup peanut butter, I used crunchy but either is fine.
2 cups chicken broth
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Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with silpat or parchment paper.

Combine all ingredients in a medium size bowl. Dough will be a really thick, sticky mixture.

Spoon dough onto cookie sheet using cookie scoop.

Bake 10 minutes. Let cookies cool completely before giving to your pet.

This yielded 36 puppy cookies.
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I’ve also considered doing a few different series posts besides just recipes. Those would include favorite food posts including where to buy, nutritional value, etc and then another on what’s in my kitchen featuring what gadgets I like and more. Those would start next week.

The blog will also start getting a little facelift once I get the computer back working and decide what I want it to look like. So for now it’s posting from the iPhone.

Here’s to the rest of today! Enjoy!

cheesy fiesta chicken and rice with black beans

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did you try that muffin recipe? We’re still eating on them and enjoying every bit. Next time I’m gonna make some without the nuts so Ben can eat one without mama having to pick them out.
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Years ago I had won a gift card giveaway to a housewares webstore. So I purchased one of these but hadn’t used it since I bought it. Martha Stewart Dutch ovens are easier on the pocketbook than Le Creuset and are just as great!

This recipe can be adapted to be packed full of veggies or with just beans. That’s why I like it so much, so many possibilities. Plus it makes fantastic leftovers – eat it with tortilla chips or roll up in a tortilla.

cheesy fiesta chicken and rice with black beans:

2 large chicken breasts, cut in half
1 tbsp veggie oil, for cooking chicken
1 tbsp Italian dressing, for cooking chicken
1 1/3 cup water
1 packet taco seasoning
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup INSTANT rice
3/4 cup cheese
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
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Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat tbsp of oil and tbsp of dressing in skillet. Cook chicken breast pieces until chicken is white to slightly brown in both sides.

While chicken is cooking, in medium size bowl, combine can of soup, water, rice, taco seasoning and half of cheese. Fold in black beans. *Pour into Dutch oven.

Once chicken is cooked, place in Dutch oven and cover with rice mixture. Top with remaining cheese. Cover with lid.

Bake for 30 minutes. Dish will be bubbly around edges.

Enjoy!
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*I used my Dutch oven, but you can also use an 8×8 casserole dish, but I would suggest spraying it with PAM before putting the food in.*

Next time I plan on shredding the chicken up or cubing it so there’s more chicken in every bite.

Damon is pretty honest about what to “cook again” or it wasn’t his favorite, and he definitely out that this is a “cook again!”

blueberry lemon muffins with pecans

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that’s a mouthful huh?! typing it felt that way.

last night I felt somewhat like an over achiever and had my oven running like a mad woman. but she didn’t complain too much.

I had purchased some blueberries thinking Ben would eat them but he wasn’t too fond, so I decided to make some yummy delicious muffins with them to make sure they didn’t go to waste. Boy I’m really glad he didn’t like them; these are delicious! Little to my surprise, he likes them in a muffin.

blueberry lemon muffins with pecans:

1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil or shortening, melted
3/4-1 cup blueberries
2 tbsp sugar
Zest of one lemon
1/4-1/2 cup pecans, chopped
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Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners, paper or silicone.

In mixing bowl stir together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In small bowl, beat together egg, oil and milk. Slowly combine egg mixture into flour mixture until completely moistened.

Mix blueberries, 2 tbsp sugar, lemon zest and pecans in a bowl well. Fold into muffin mixture.

Fill each liner 2/3 full with muffin mixture. Bake 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Yumminess tip: While muffins are hot, brush tops with melted brush and sprinkle with sugar!

Enjoy!
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My recipe made 17 muffins but it will vary based on the size of your muffin pan and amount of blueberries you use.

I also make fiesta cheesy chicken rice with black beans and will be sharing that recipe later.