Sunday, February 24, 2013

Three Cheese Broccoli Casserole

February is the official American Heart Month, but we are really trying to include healthier eating all year long. Every year I have an "Eat Better America" calendar from Live Better AmericaTM hanging in my kitchen. (Now if I could "eat less") Each month features an incredible heart healthy recipe. When you go to their site; you will find over 2000 recipes to search through.

According to their website, these are their Healthy Recipe Guidelines:
"Live Better America recipes work hard to win their "healthy" designation without you needing to work or worry a wink."

We lower fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.
We lower the calorie count without reducing anything that makes the recipe delicious.
We strive to add good or excellent sources of nutrients.

This was a really easy to prepare dish and the flavor was excellent. I restrained myself and didn't add additional salt or pepper and fixed it exactly as the recipe said to. It is possible to enjoy a broccoli and cheese dish without it totally swimming in a pound of Velveeta. :-)

Three Cheese Broccoli Casserole Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup French-fried onions (from 2.8-oz can)
  • 2 bags (24 oz each) Green Giant® frozen broccoli and three cheese sauce
  • 1 package (3 oz) fat-free cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper, if desired
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper sauce
  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. In 5-quart Dutch oven, mix broccoli, cream cheese, bell pepper and red pepper sauce. Cover; cook over medium-low heat about 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking, until sauce chips are melted. Transfer to ungreased 2- to 3-quart casserole.
  3. Bake uncovered 20 to 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Sprinkle onions around outer edge of casserole; bake 5 minutes longer.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Easy Creamy Broccoli Soup

I think the benefits of broccoli take away the bad of all the cheese in this totally delicious soup. The only way this could be any easier to fix would be to open up a can of already prepared soup. The two longest prep steps are cubing the cheese and waiting on it to melt. This doesn't take long to fix, but keep a close watch to prevent it from sticking to the pot. Fresh broccoli can be substituted, but the frozen is actually not bad. Spring is not quite here and a bowl of this is perfect on a cold evening.

  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp. Butter
  • 1 tbsp. Flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 oz. (1/2 of an 8 oz. Pkg.) cream cheese, cubed
  • ½ lb. (8 oz.) Velveeta cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 2 pkgs. (10 oz. each) frozen chopped broccoli, cooked, drained
  • ¼ tsp. Allspice
  • 1/8 tsp. Black pepper
  1.  In a large saucepan on medium-high, cook onion in butter until crisp tender. 
  2. Whisk in flour until well blended.
  3. Add milk; cook and stir on medium heat for 2 minutes. Stir frequently. 
  4. Add cream cheese. Stir and cook until cream cheese is melted.
  5. Stir in the remaining ingredients and cook until heated through. Stir frequently until cheese is melted.
Here is another easy Broccoli and Cheese soup recipe.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Tricia's Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

Over the years, I found people who may only spend a brief period in your life are the very ones who will leave a life-long lasting impression. Tricia Baker is one of those people. She  has been an awesome co-worker and has made the last 5 months of my life quite enjoyable. She also fixes some kick-butt spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup that were it any easier, she'd have to do your breathing for you. And she'd straighten you out about that real quick like! We work in an fairly small open office environment so it's easy to get to know someone pretty well in that setting and I'm thankful that everyone was easy to get along with and like, even Eddie, who didn't share our political views.

A few days before Christmas, the upstairs bunch decided to fix a little lunch feast as a happy send-off for the shut-down week. Tricia fixed this incredible recipe while we were all working. While it was slow-cooking in the crock pot, we were going nuts because it smelled so good. The taste was out of this world and well-worth the wait. She shared the recipe and I couldn't wait to fix it. Since I'm not a fan of red kidney beans, I substituted mine with white and if you've followed this blog long enough, you know I'm using thighs instead of the chicken tenders Tricia used. However, I loved this exactly as she fixed it, but I know how my bunch is...Blair is particular about beans and Andy is particular about chicken. I have another variation that is very good and quite similar, but this is so simple, I may forget about the other.

Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
  • 2 cans cannelli beans (white kidney beans), drained
  • 2 cans black beans, drained
  • 2 cans corn, drained
  • 2 cans of chili seasoned diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans chicken broth
  • ½-1 package taco seasoning
  • 1 package (about 6-8 pcs) boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Tortilla chips
Pour all ingredients except the chicken into a crock pot and mix well. Lay chicken thighs on top.
Cook on high for 4-5 hours. Remove chicken and shred. Return to crock pot. Set to warm. Let chicken heat through. 

***I crush up my chips in the bottom of the bowl and added a dollop of sour cream to the top. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Mexican Lasagna

Do you have a big bunch of folks coming to eat? This Mexican Lasagna dish will feed quite a few. Thanks to my illness, several having the flu, work conflicts and such, our Christmas family dinner was messed up this year. We had planned on a Mexican theme, fixed the food and visiting hours for all parties changed dramatically. Needless to say, Andy and I got to enjoy this numerous times that week. (Don't skip the cilantro, unless you strongly dislike it like a few in my family do.)


  • 1 lb. ground mild pork sausage
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 jalapeno pepper chopped and seeded
  • 2/3 cup Rotel tomatoes
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1/2 t salt
  • ½ t pepper
  • 10-3/4 oz. cream of celery soup
  • 10-3/4 oz. cream of mushroom soup
  • 10 oz. can enchilada sauce
  • 18, 6-inch flour or corn tortillas
  • 3 cups shredded Mexican cheese
  • 1 tomato seeded, diced
  • 4 green onions chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • 1 avocado chopped (optional) 


  1. Cook sausage and ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat until meats are no longer pink. 
  2. Drain fat. 
  3. Stir in jalapeno, Rotel and spices. Cook until heated through.
  4. In a medium saucepan, stir together soups and enchilada sauce. Cook until thoroughly heated.
  5. Spray a 9x13 casserole dish with Pam. 
  6. Spoon 1/3 of the sauce mixture and spread over the bottom of the baking dish. Top with 6 tortillas. Spoon half of the beef/sausage mixture and 1/3 of the sauce over the tortillas. Sprinkle with 1 cup of shredded cheese. Top with 6 tortillas; repeat layers, ending with tortillas. Sprinkle with remaining cheese, tomato and green onion and cilantro.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. 
  8. Top with avocado if desired. Serves 6 to 8.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Spicy Cheese Log Rolled In Paprika

Back before Christmas (to show you how behind I've been for months) Andy had been telling us about a cheese log his Mother used to make. We dug through her recipe book and couldn't find it. It wasn't long after that Blair came home from work with the following recipe. I thought it turned out great but Andy thought it didn't have enough heat. He remembered what his Mother made being spicier. The original recipe called for two teaspoons, so I bumped it up to four for the next time. You can adjust the heat to suit your taste.

Spicy Cheese Log Rolled In Paprika

  • ½ lb. Velveeta cheese
  • ½ lb. Sharp Cracker Barrel cheese,
  • 4 tsp. hot sauce (or more)
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
*All cheeses need to be at room temperature.

With hands, mix all cheeses together. Blend in hot sauce. (Season to taste.)
Roll into a log.
Roll in paprika. Refrigerate for several hours so cheese can be cut in slices.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Chocolate Peppermint Bark

This huge piece of chocolate is fresh from the freezer and ready to break up into pieces of "bark."

Chocolate Peppermint Bark

  • 1 package white almond or chocolate melting bark
  • Crushed peppermint (Or pecans)
  • 1-2 tsp. Almond or peppermint extract
  1. Melt chocolate in microwave or in a double boiler. 
  2. Break up about 15 soft peppermint balls or 6-8 sticks of King Leo peppermint sticks.
  3. Add extract and broken peppermint to chocolate and mix well.
  4. Line a large pizza pan or baking sheet with waxed paper. Pour mixture onto pan and spread out to an even consistency. 
  5. Place in freezer for one hour for chocolate to firm up.
  6. Break up into 2-3 inch pieces.
  7. Store in an airtight container. (This doesn’t have be kept refrigerated.)

Easy Nacho Casserole

Yummy! Yummy! We love quick and easy on a work  night and these baked nachos fill the bill. There's no right or wrong when it comes to what to top them with. We just use whatever we have on hand. I like to make these the day after I make a big bowl of Rotel cheese dip. The dip and a little sour cream are the perfect finishing touch.

Easy Nacho Casserole

  • 1 lb. Hamburger
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 1 large can green chilies
  • 2-3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 can black olives, sliced
  • Shredded cheese
  • Tostitos chips
  • Sour Cream (optional topping)
  • Rotel Dip (optional topping)
Brown hamburger meat, drain fat. Add in refried beans and taco seasoning. 
Mix and heat thoroughly. 
In a 9x13 casserole dish make a layer of chips. Top with meat and bean mixture.
Top with chilies, tomatoes, olives and drizzle with Rotel dip or additional cheese.
Add a layer of cheese.

Place in 350 degree oven until cheese melts.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Super Bowl Sunday 2013

Super Bowl Sunday Menu 2013 

49er's or Ravens fan? We don't care who you're pulling for, we just know we'll have some good food to cheer both teams on. 

I just realized several of these soups and appetizers have not been added to the blog and we've fixed them numerous times. I'll have to do something about that! The 2012 menu was a hit, but I think we have some good ones lined up for 2013.

Hamburger (Vegetable) Soup 
Pannini grilled:
Black Forest Ham & Swiss Sandwiches
BBQ Sandwiches

Beer Battered Pickle Chips

Red Pepper and Green Chili Roll Ups 

Veggie tray with Ranch dip
Sausage Balls

Chocolate Ice Cream Mini Muffins
 (Recipe suggested by MTSIG follower Shane Crick)
Yellow Cake with Chocolate Icing

Adult Beverages:
Blue Mystery Drink 
(I'm testing this one from Pinterest, but the name is just a little too far out to repeat in public. I think this may replace my Whipped Cream Vodka Creamsicle as a river sipping drink.)
(They are playing in New Orleans!) 

Cocktail Wienies

Super Bowl Sunday kicking into high gear shortly signals the end of football season for another 5-1/2 months. Come mid-August SEC football and pre-season games will be back in full swing and we're hoping this year will be a little brighter for Tennessee fans. A tailgating menu isn't complete without cocktail wienies! There are numerous variations, but here's how I fix mine:
  • 1 bottle of Kraft Mesquite Smoke BBQ Sauce
  • 1 small jar of grape jelly 
  • 1/4 cup of mustard
  • 1 large package Bryan Cocktail Smokies

In a crock pot or saucepan, mix all ingredients until blended well. Bring to a boil, stir well and let simmer on low. Keep warm.