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Monday, November 16, 2015

SRC Reveal: Southwest Veggie and Taco Rice

This month I kind of pushed it with getting my Secret Recipe Club recipe made. There was no way I'd forget, but I was looking for the right time to make it and that right time just wasn't making its appearance. I finally made it today. Phew. 

This month I was assigned the blog, The Pajama Chef. Love that name! Sarah is this blogs author and she LOVES peanut butter...a girl after my own heart. Some fun facts about her:

  •  She has been married since 2009.
  •  She and her hubby have quite a few kitties running around that they love. 
  • She loves running...um, can't say I can agree with her there! 
  • She loves a good deal. 
  • and of course, she LOVES cooking. 
Trying to choose a recipe was a bit hard. I pinned a few and may still make her Buttermilk Chocolate Bread and her Coconut Oil Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies. I opted out of those because we had already had quite a few sweets this last week and needed a break. Instead I chose her Southwest Veggie and Taco Rice Casserole. I made this with some grilled chicken. The nice thing about this casserole is that it is very versatile. As I was making it, I was thinking of several other ways this could be used...how about as a side with scrambled egg or topped with a fried egg. How about inside a quesadilla or sprinkled on top of nachos. My youngest daughter ate hers in a bowl with chopped chicken and sour cream on top. Which reminds me, I could have chopped up some avocado as well. This dish turned out great...a little on the spicy side. My hubby loved it but I think next time I will ease up on the spice, and I didn't even use jalapeno. I think it was the canned tomatoes with chilies. Overall it was yummy, hearty and full of flavor. 


For Taco Rice:

1/2 Tbs. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. oregano
2 Tbs. tomato paste
2 c. long grain white rice
3 c. water

For Casserole:

2 Tbs. Canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 med. jalapeno diced, deseeded if desired
1 bell pepper, diced (I used red and yellow)
1 zuchinni, sliced and quartered or 1 c. mushrooms another bell pepper, or an extra cup of corn
1/2 Tbs. chili powder
1 c. frozen or canned corned
1 15oz. can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 c. prepared taco rice
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 c. cilantro, chopped


1. In a saucepan whisk together chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, tomato paste and water. Add rice. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes or until rice is cooked and water absorbed. Fluff with fork and set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 375. Grease an 8x8 or 9x9 pan. 

3. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds. Then, add rest of the veggies: jalapeno, bell pepper, zucchini, and chili powder. Stir to combine. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until soft. 

4. Remove from heat and stir in beans, corn and tomatoes. Stir in rice and cheese and stir well. NOTE: you will have extra rice. Transfer to prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes or until heated through. 
It's yummy. It's ooey and gooey! Might be better than plain old Spanish rice!!

With Joy UNquenchable,

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Recipe: Pioneer Woman's BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

It's no secret around here that I love Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman. I would love, love, love to visit her ranch, cook in her lodge, sleep in her lodge and pretend I'm a great horsewoman. But I'll just be content to watch her show (now that I have cable), follow her on FB, stalk her blog and read her cookbooks. I have three of them. I have made her peach cobbler and just the other day made her BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches. 

My oldest daughter received her cookbook, Dinnertime, for a wedding shower gift a few weeks ago. As I browsed through it I found several recipes I want to make and this has now been added to another book I need to get. This last week was her birthday and her request for dinner was BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches. Well, what do you know, PW had a recipe for this in her book, so of course I thought I'd give it a try.  
I haven't purchased pork, other than bacon in a long time because the good stuff, the grass fed or organic pork is so expensive. My "egg lady" and her family own a small farm and recently began selling pork, beef, lamb, etc..my family and my hubby's parents went in and purchased 1/4 of a pig. We got our meat last week and included were a few roasts. I was so excited because I knew I would use one of these to make the pulled pork. Oh my goodness! So much amazing flavor! I'm telling you, if you can buy your meat local, from local farmers, do it! Nothing compares and you'll know your meat comes from happy animals!


Dry Rub:

1/4 c. brown sugar
1 Tbs. chili powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. cayenne pepper

Other Ingredients:

1 4-7 lb. pork roast (mine was a picnic roast)
1 onion, sliced
1-2 Tbs. oil
BBQ Sauce (homemade or 1 bottle)


1. Combine all dry rub ingredients and mix well. Rub generously onto pork roast. Wrap in saran wrap and then either in a plastic bag or place on a plate (in case it leaks). Place in refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
2. In a dutch oven, crockpot or disposable aluminum pan, place a little oil and top with onions, then unwrap roast and place on top of onions. Cover with lid or aluminum foil and cook in a 300 degree oven for 5-7 hours or until roast begins to fall apart. If using a crockpot, follow crockpot instructions.
3. Remove from oven and begin shredding pork with forks. Leave the onions in. I first removed most of the liquid, adding some of it to my homemade BBQ sauce. Add BBQ sauce, stir and return to oven to heat through. Here is my favorite recipe for homemade BBQ sauce.

4. Remove from oven. Serve on top of pub or brioche rolls. I love to serve homemade coleslaw on the side that can also be used to top the sandwich, which is my favorite way. Enjoy!!

Isn't that a beautiful roast? I cannot wait to try the other cuts I received. 

With Joy UNquenchable,

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Recipe: Chicken Quinoa Chili

I love chili especially during the winter months. There are so many variations of the traditional chili that we've always had and I love that. I really don't think there is a "wrong" ingredient. A few weeks ago I mentioned wanting some new soup recipes and asked for ideas from my Facebook friends. One friend shared a link for the chili I'm going to share today. I made some changes to it, which is another beauty of chili recipes...you can change them up. The best thing about this soup today, everything was thrown in the crockpot, turned on and forgotten about! LOVE. THAT! 

This is a lighter chili, not leaving you with that heavy feeling that thicker chili's can leave you with. Because the quinoa has a texture to it, you could leave the chicken out and load it up with veggies and more beans. We have had friends who are vegan and on several occasions I have made a veggie chili...so good and you really don't miss the meat.

This last week has been crazy for our family. Our youngest daughter's High School soccer team is competing in districts and we have had to travel north an hour and a half each way 4 times for games. Our oldest is getting married next month and this week we had a dress fitting and a visit to the venue, not to mention working on making her bouquet (I can't wait to post on that). On top of working and everything else. It's been nuts. So I welcomed the day I decided to throw this dish in the crockpot. I didn't have to worry about and all I did in the end was cheat and make Jiff corn muffins...don't judge me.

I also apologize for the picture...I realized I didn't have anything handy to take a pic once I was done with this dish and we had an unexpected dinner guest (which was fine), but I wasn't thinking of taking a pic. I ate this bowl 2 days later for lunch, so no, it's not pretty, but it was very good. The can sizes are your average sizes, which I never take the time to pay attention to. The original recipe called for 1 large 28 oz, reg. diced tomatoes and two 15 oz. ones..I just used 3 15 oz. cans


2 Chicken Breasts, boneless, skinless
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 cans Petite diced tomatoes with green chilis (or can use one plain and two with chilis)
1 can of corn, drained (opt.) some people cannot handle corn so omit if needed
3 c. vegetable or chicken stock
1 c. quinoa, rinsed
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbs. cumin
1-2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbs. chili powder
Optional additions (chopped onion, olives, garlic, etc.)
Toppings: sour cream, shredded cheese, green onions, avocado, etc.


Place all ingredients in the crock pot. Stir to combine. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-7 hours. Remove chicken, shred and return to pot. Serve with toppings and yummy warm corn bread.

With Joy UNquenchable,

Sunday, October 18, 2015

SRC Reveal: Greek Phyllo Triangles with Cheese and Potatoes

It's that time of the month again when I get to highlight another blog and a recipe from their collection. Yep, Secret Recipe Club time. I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this club. I have loved the recipes and blogs I've discovered. I wish I could spend hours and hours perusing everyones blogs. 

This month I was assigned the blog Simply.Food, by Nayna (I love her name). She lives in the UK (I was born there..military brat) and has a large passion for cooking and crockery, food props and tea towels. Check out her About Me page to learn more about this beautiful lady. 

I had saved a few recipes to try but settled on her recipe for Greek Phyllo Triangles with Cheese and Potatoes. It looked somewhat challenging and we love cheese and potatoes so it seemed like a winner. I have had a crazy few weeks and so yesterday was the day I was going to make these. Hubby invited a friend over for dinner so I thought "well, I'll just make more and he can be the guinea pig". 

 I pulled out my "pastry", and after reading the recipe further, I looked at the box and realized I purchased the wrong thing. I purchased Puff Pastry instead of Phyllo! Aargh! So I dashed down to Walmart, they didn't have any...SAY WHAT! So off to Safeway I went, and phew, they had it. Good thing my small town has a few options. But then the box said it needed 5 hours to thaw. I think I only had less than 2 hours. I took a risk and tried something. I warmed my oven up and then turned it off. I wrapped the package in a towel and set it inside. It didn't take that long and phew it worked. A few of the sheets were stiff and broke but for the most part they worked. I have never worked with phyllo dough so I was very nervous. The other thing that happened is I read the oven temperature wrong. I saw 180 and for whatever reason, stopped at that...I think I baked them like that for a good 20 minutes before I realized what I did. I was a wee bit stressed because we were having company, but it all worked out and they turned out great. I felt like they were a bit dry, but the flavor was amazing!

I cut the phyllo down the middle but it seemed too big, so I cut each half another 1/2" or so smaller. Maybe I did it wrong originally, I don't know. But the end result was a light flaky side dish. I had leftover potato so I added milk and created a fancy mashed potato which my hubby really liked. 


2 large potatoes, boiled
3 oz. feta cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper 
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. paprika
6 sheets phyllo pastry
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 small onion finely diced
1 clove garlic finely chopped
1 Tbs. finely chopped sun-dried tomato
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. olive oil to brush on triangle


1. In a bowl, add the potatoes, and mash with a potato masher. or mixer. 

2. Add salt, pepper, paprika, nutmeg, chopped sundried potatoes and feta cheese. 

3. In a small skillet add 1 Tbs. olive oil and add onion and garlic, saute until translucent. Once onions are soft, remove from pan and let cool.

4. Add the lemon juice and onions to the potatoes and mix ingredients well.

5. Preheat oven to 375. 

6. Oil a cookie sheet and set aside.
7. Unroll phyllo sheets and place on a flat surface. Cut in two lengthwise. 

8. To fold the triangles take one length of of phyllo and place it lengthwise in front of you.
9. Place a spoonful of potato at the bottom corner of one piece. I used a cookie scoop. I wasn't real clear on what size "spoon size" so eyeballed it.
10. Fold that corner over to the other side to form a triangle, making sure all filling is encased. Continue folding the triangle from left to right until you have a completely encased phyllo triangle. Repeat with remaining sheets. Here is a video tutorial she shared on her page. 

11. Place on baking sheet seam side down. Brush with olive oil.

12. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. 

13. Remove from oven and serve hot. She suggested serving with a minty yogurt dip, but we just used sour cream. 


With Joy UNquenchable,

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Creamy Zucchini Boats

When it comes to recipes, I love trying new ones. Don't we all?! I came across these Creamy Zucchini Boats I knew I had to try them. Because I love all of the ingredients, it was a no brainer. The only thing I added was some chicken because I wanted it to be a little heartier. Healthier eating doesn't have to taste bland. You can take old family comfort food and add healthy twists and changes. It can be done. 

Here's what you need to make this yummy meal:


3 zucchini (depends on size, mine were larger, so only used two)
1 c. tightly packed basil leaves
1 clove minced garlic (or 1/2 tsp. garlic powder)
1/4 c. grated carrot
1/2 c. fat free ricotta cheese
1/8 c. shredded parmesan cheese
juice of half a lemon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
chopped chicken (optional)

*Note: like with many recipes, I like to take the basic ingredients and adjust them to our tastes or in my case I made more filling because my zucchini were pretty big. Be creative and use what you like.


1. Preheat oven to 450.

2. Wash zucchini thoroughly, cut off ends and then cut in half and then cut each half lengthwise. 

3. Using a spoon or paring knife, scoop or cut out seeds. Place the zucchini boats on a greased baking sheet, or on silpat or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
4. To make filling, chop garlic and place in a bowl with remaining ingredients. Fill each boat with mixture and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until zucchini is tender and filling is heated through. 

Note: My zucchini were pretty large so I cooked them briefly in the oven before filling them. 

With Joy UNquenchable,


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