Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Taco Dip

We are having a family game night tonight.  We all put the phones away (even the teen and the college girl!) and play board games, listen to music and eat fun foods.  Tonight we each are making our own pizza.  It's always hilarious to see what my Old School Italian Hubby comes up with and we all know my Pickiest Eater Ever Son will make pepperoni, never anything else, ever.  My Adventurous Daughter and I will add lot's of stuff and gross the guys out.  It's a good time.  I wanted to make a fun snack to go along with game night so I made a Taco Dip.  It's quick, easy and good.  I made it early in the day so it can chill in the fridge and all the flavors can mingle and meld together.  This is a wonderful dip to take to a potluck or office party because you can even make it the day before you need it and keep it in the fridge.  It just gets better.


1 (16 oz) can refried beans
1 pkg taco seasoning mix
1 cup salsa
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar (or Mexican blend) cheese
1 roma tomato, diced
2 green onions, sliced

In a large bowl combine the refried beans and taco seasoning.

Mix until thoroughly combined.

Carefully spread the bean mixture into the bottom of a pie plate or clear bowl.  You just don't want it to get all over the sides because you are layering the ingredients.

Spread the salsa on top.  Try to completely cover the bean mixture.

Dollop the sour cream all over the top (this just makes it easier to spread).  Spread it evenly over the salsa.  Don't worry if the salsa bleeds through.

Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top.

Sprinkle the diced tomatoes over the cheese.

Lastly, add the green onions.  I find the easiest way to cut them is to use a clean pair of scissors and just snip off what you need.

That's it!  I told you it was easy.  Now chill it in the fridge for at least an hour.  Like I said earlier, you can even make this the day before you serve it.

I serve it with tortilla chips or Fritos Scoops.

You can modify it easily.  Don't like tomatoes?  Leave them out.  Love black olives?  Add them.  Layer in some guacamole on top of the beans or add diced bell pepper.  Use whatever you like.  It'll be great.  I hope you make this for your next potluck or family game night or Taco Tuesday.  Let me know how you customize it.  Enjoy!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Chicken and Orzo

I know I haven't been posting regularly lately.  I'm sorry about that.  I love cooking and sharing recipes.  However, I have been crazy busy.  My son just had sinus surgery so I was taking care of him and running him to follow up appointments.  Plus, the renovations are still not finished!  To be fair, the inside is finished.  But, of course, my hubby (who has more energy than the Energizer Bunny) decided to completely change the landscape of the front yard.  So, we have bulldozers and trailers everywhere.  I just want to wake up, drink a cup of coffee, and sit in the silence.  But that ain't gonna happen anytime soon.  Anyway, enough of my bellyaching.  Here is a really yummy one-pot recipe that is sort of a mix between chicken noodle soup and chicken and rice.  It almost has a risotto feel.  Really delicious, but really easy.


2 TBS oil
1 TBS butter
1/2 lb chicken tenders (or 2 boneless breasts, cut up)
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 lb orzo pasta
1 quart chicken broth (4 cups)
1 cup water
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Season the chicken tenders with salt and pepper.

Heat a large pot over medium-high heat for a few minutes.  Add oil and butter.  Brown chicken on both sides.  That just means cook it on one side (without moving it around) until it's browned.  Then flip it over and brown it on the other side.  It doesn't have to be cooked through at this point.

Once the chicken is browned on both sides, remove it to a plate.

Those brown bits on the bottom of the pot are great flavor.  You want to get those up and into your dish.  We are going to do that with the veggies.

Add the onion, celery and carrots to the pot.  Lower the heat to medium-low.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir them occasionally and when you do, scrape the bottom of the pot.  The water released from the veggies will help get those brown bits off the bottom of the pot.

After about 7-10 minutes or so, the veggies are softened a bit.

Raise the heat to medium-high and add the orzo.

Stir well then add the chicken broth and the water.

Add the fresh chopped parsley and stir.

Raise the heat to high and bring it to a boil.  Once boiling. stir well, then put the lid on and lower the heat to low.  Let it simmer with the lid on for 25 minutes, stirring twice during that time.

After 25 minutes, turn off the heat, remove the lid and fluff it with a fork.

This dish is so good!  Simple, comforting, filling, one-pot wonder.  What's not to love?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Warm Bruschetta Chicken

Hi everyone.  Holy Cannoli, have we been busy! The renovations continue.  I'm serious,  They are still not finished.  It's been 3 months.  Plus, my son graduated from high school!  My baby boy.  Don't ask me how he grew up so fast; I can't figure it out.  All the workers and the hammering and the dust (oh so much dust) and the cleaning one day only to be dirty again the next, I would have completely lost my mind had it not been for a much-needed vacation.  The day after my son's graduation we headed off to the beach for a few days then on to Disney World.  It was so much fun!  We got to relax and laugh and enjoy time together.  We also ate at some pretty great restaurants.  But, I did miss cooking.  It's my therapy.  It soothes my soul.  So, I got back at it.  Here is an easy recipe that was down right delicious!


6 chicken cutlets (breasts cut in half lengthwise yielding 2 thinner cutlets)
2 TBS olive oil
1 TBS butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
14.5 oz can Italian style diced tomatoes
2 TBS balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 TBS chopped fresh basil (about 3 big leaves, chopped)

Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil and butter over medium-high heat.

Cook the chicken cutlets, 3 at a time (don't over crowd the skillet or the chicken won't brown properly), for 5-6 minutes per side or until no longer pink inside.

Remove to a plate and cover loosely with foil.

Once all the chicken is cooked, turn the heat down to medium-low and add the minced garlic.  Saute the garlic for 2 minutes, stirring the whole time (so the garlic doesn't burn).

Add the diced tomatoes and use a spoon to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.  Those brown bits impart amazing flavor to your sauce.

Add the balsamic vinegar and Parmesan cheese then season to taste with salt and pepper.  Raise the heat to bring it up to a boil, then lower the heat and let simmer for 5-10 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Finally, add the chopped fresh basil and stir.

Serve the chicken with the sauce spooned over the top.

This was a big hit with my family.  They loved the tender, slightly buttery chicken with the tangy warm bruschetta sauce on top.  It's great over pasta, too.

This is a quick and easy recipe.  Give it a try and let me know if you like it.