Night Thirty Two…Smokey Mountain Burgers

This is yet another restaurant inspired meal.  It’s very similar to Red Robin’s Whiskey River Burger.



1 lb Ground Beef

4 Slices of Sharp Cheddar Cheese

1/2 Cup of Real Bacon Bits

4 Tbsp BBQ Sauce

3/4 Cup French Fried Onions (Like what you put on green bean casserole)


Pat the ground beef into patties.  Season with garlic salt, creole seasoning, and salt and pepper.  Grill or fry until the meat reaches your desired cooking level (Medium, Well, etc). Add slices of cheddar during the last ten minutes of cooking.  Remove from skillet, place on bun.  Pour 1 tbsp of bbq on each patty, then layer 1/8 cup of bacon bits and desired amount of fried onions on each burger.

Is it a keeper? As long as you like bbq and fried onions you’ll LOVE this! 🙂

Messiness Factor-2 out of 5-Frying the burgers is the only mess you have to clean up. 🙂


Night Thirty One…Smothered Chicken

The inspiration for this recipe came from a small restaurant in my hometown that has since closed.  Our family has always loved it; hopefully yours will too!


3 bell peppers, sliced

2 cans of diced tomatoes (retain juice)

1 large onion, sliced

6 Chicken breasts

1-2 tbsp Garlic Salt

2 tbsp Italian Seasoning

1 1/2 Cups shredded mozzarella Cheese

Note: All of this can be adjusted.  If you love peppers, add some more; if you love tomatoes, add some of those. 🙂


Place chicken in a baking dish.  Add seasonings, then onions, peppers, and tomatoes.  (I like to sprinkle some extra garlic salt over the veggies)

Place in oven at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.  Sprinkle cheese over chicken during the last ten minutes of cook time.


Messiness Factor-3 out of 5.  The worst thing about this recipe is the slicing up of the veggies. 🙂


Christmas Dessert Post

I did some baking for Christmas, so I’ll just put some of what I did in one post.


These are just pretzels dipped in Almond Bark and sprinkled with different candies (red hots, m & ms, sprinkles)


I also made banana and pumpkin breads.  These are great to make up and put in the freezer for a quick breakfast.


Banana Bread:

1 ½ cup sugar

¾ cup butter or shortening

2 eggs, beaten

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour (put baking soda in it)

1 tsp baking soda

½ cup buttermilk

1 cup mashed bananas

1/2-1 cup nuts


Mix the dry ingredients together (baking soda, flour).  In another bowl, cream shortening and sugar together. Add eggs, vanilla, buttermilk.  Blend well.  Add dry ingredients to sugar mixture and mix.  Add mashed bananas and nuts.  Place in loaf pans and bake at 350 for around 30-40 minutes.



Pumpkin Bread:

2 cups sugar

1 ½ cup oil

5 eggs

2 cups of pumpkin (1 can)

2 pkgs of instant vanilla pudding

2 cups of flour

2 tsps baking soda

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt


Mix dry ingredients.  In another bowl, mix sugar, oil, eggs, pumpkin.   Mix together. Pour into loaf pans and bake at 325 degrees for 30-40 minutes.


Day Thirty (Christmas Brunch)…Paula Deen’s Pecan Praline French Toast

Hey, everyone! I trust you had a great Christmas.  We had a very busy but lovely week full of family and friends.  Now we’re enjoying all our new goodies everyone gave us.

Some of my favorite gifts this year have been for my kitchen; I got a new Paula Deen skillet, a bigger crockpot, and even though it wasn’t a Christmas present, I wound up with a new stove after almost burning the kitchen down while trying to cook bacon in the oven (long story, but I had to promise Jake to never do it like that again. :/).  I loved getting to use my new skillet on my new stove for Christmas brunch to fry up some sausage patties.


The main dish was a recipe I had seen on pintrest.


Is it a keeper?- This was seriously good, but very, VERY rich.  One piece was more than enough.  I DO suggest having a breakfast meat with it, or the sweetness will overpower you.  We loved it, but probably only for special occasions.  Not surprisingly, it called for a half pound of REAL butter.  Yikes!

Messiness Factor-2 out of 5.  One bowl and one baking dish.  The great thing about this one was the fact that it could be made the night before and popped in the oven the next day. Makes having brunch a lot easier!

Night Twenty Nine…Mexican Chicken and Dumplings

This is a Becca throw together creation. Its very similar to Tortilla Soup, but since I usd flour tortillas, they turned into a dumpling like texture.


1.5 lbs Chicken Breast

32 oz Chicken Broth

1 Can Corn

16 oz Tomato Paste

16 oz Can of Black Beans

16 oz Can of Kidney Beans

1 can of Rotel Tomatoes with Diced Chilis

2 tsp Minced Garlic

2 tsp Minced Onion

1 tsp Tony Cachere’s Seasoning

8 medium sized Flour Tortillas, cut into 1 inch strips


Place all ingredients in crockpot. Cook on high for 4-6 hours. As chicken becomes tender, break into small pieces while stirring. Dish into bowls, add desired amount of tortilla strips, and top with sour cream and shredded cheese.

Messiness factor- 1 out of 5. A true one pot meal!

Is it a keeper? I think so! Jake said it tasted good with his first bite, and thats what I shoot for. 🙂

Night Twenty Eight…Rotel Dip Nachos

While I’m sure most people have made this before, I’m going to post it anyway, for my own records.  Maybe it’ll remind you of something different to make, too! 🙂

We had Rotel dip Thursday night.  It’s such an easy meal, but it’s something that is needed to be made sparingly.  We always add hamburger meat that has been taco seasoned and top it with sour cream.



1 can Rotel tomatoes with green chilis

1 Brick of Velveeta cheese

Tortilla Chips

Slice Velveeta into chunks and place in microwavable bowl.  Add Rotel tomatoes and heat in microwave in increments of 2 minutes, stirring after each increment.  When cheese is melted, the dip is done.  Drizzle on top of tortilla chips, add hamburger meat and sour cream, and you’ve got an incredibly easy meal. 🙂

Messiness Factor: 1 1/2 out of 5.  One bowl, plus the pan for hamburger makes it a crazily easy meal! 🙂


Night Twenty Seven…Chicken Fried Rice

It’s not very authentic, but it sure tastes pretty good! 🙂

I never thought I would have actually learned something in home ec, but this is a recipe I’ve made since I was about 12 years old…I’ve just messed with it through the years.  Thanks to Mrs. Leigh for making us learn how to cook it. 🙂


1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced into chunks

4 cups of cooked white rice

1 12 oz bag of mixed vegetables (the kind with carrots, peas, corn, and green beans)

3/4 cup of teriyaki sauce

1/4 cup of soy sauce

2 tsp minced garlic

I’m gonna say this at the beginning: do NOT add any salt to this, at any point during cook time.  All of your sodium will be added with the two sauces, and it’s just enough. 🙂


Cook rice as directed on package.  Place in ziploc freezer bag, and lay flat in freezer for 45 minutes to an hour.

While rice is cooling in the freezer, slice chicken and saute chicken and garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Remove from pan and place in a separate bowl when cooked thoroughly.

Add 1/2 tablespoon of oil to the skillet once more and let heat.  Add 2 eggs (no need to scramble before putting in pan) and allow to cook.  Use a plastic spatula to scramble the eggs in the pan. Place eggs in same bowl as the chicken.

Saute vegetables until heated thoroughly.  Add rice and allow to warm through.  Add chicken and eggs, then add the teriyaki and soy sauce.  Once everything is heated thoroughly, dish into bowls or plates.


Messiness factor: 3 1/2 out of 5- It’s not a difficult thing to make, but there are multiple steps to it, which make it a little more messy.

Is it a keeper? I’ve made this before, but probably only one other time since we’ve been married.  We really enjoy it, and I enjoyed not having to drive to pick up our takeout order. 🙂 We got our Chinese fix for cheap! 🙂

Night Twenty Six….Pizza Pasta Casserole

So, even though it’s really similar to what we had two nights ago, Jake decided he wanted to try this one for dinner.  This is the first time I’ve made a pizza casserole and it actually tasted….pizza-ish.  Very interesting.  Anywho, this is a base recipe that I modified off the internet.



2 jars pasta sauce

3/4 box of Rotini pasta

3 cups Italian Blend shredded cheese

Meat of choice; we used 1 pound of regular Jimmy Dean Sausage and a package of real bacon bits.


Cook noodles and meat as directed on package.  Fill the bottom of a 13 x 9 pan with a thin layer of pasta sauce.  Add half of the rotini, and then half of the meat.  Add half of the remaining sauce, then the rest of the noodles.  Layer half the cheese, the rest of the meat, the rest of the sauce, and then the rest of the cheese.  Cover with aluminum foil and place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and let cook for 15 more minutes.  Remove from oven and let rest for at least ten minutes.  Slice and serve.


Is it a keeper? I think we’ll use this one again. 🙂  I’m pretty sure it would work as a freezer meal, although I haven’t tried it yet. It was very hearty, and I think you could play around with the fillings to make it more fun.

Messiness Factor-3 1/2 out of 5: The layers can get a bit messy, but they’re nothing even the most inexperienced cook couldn’t handle! 🙂


Night Twenty Five…Mostocoli with Meatballs

Here’s the other half of what I made the night we had meatloaf.  You see, my base recipe for meatloaf and meatballs is the same.  Meatballs are really simple, if a little messy, but they can be an easy freezer meal!



1 lb Ground Beef

1 1/2 c Italian Bread Crumbs

1/2 Bell Pepper, chopped (optional, but it bumps up the veggies!)

2 eggs

1 Tbsp Minced Garlic

1 Tsp Salt

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  It’s easiest to use your hands to mush everything up.  Roll into balls.  If freezing, place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper, cover with aluminum foil.  Allow to freeze for at least two hours.  Place in an airtight container, store in freezer for up to two months.

To cook: Place frozen meatballs in baking pan.  Cook in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.  Add into jarred pasta sauce; pour over pasta of choice.



Messiness Factor?-3 out of 5.  Chopping peppers and getting your hands dirty are the worst thing about this recipe.  The great thing about it is, it’s freezable, which makes for a VERY easy dinner, later. 🙂

Night Twenty Four….Meatloaf and Brussel Sprouts

Spaghetti and meatballs were on the agenda for tonight, but whilst I was preparing the meatballs, I decided to use some of the meat to make a meatloaf to freeze…I asked Jake if he’d rather just have that for dinner, and he said yes.  So, meatloaf it is!  Here’s my traditional recipe. It’s really only different from most other people’s because I use BBQ sauce instead of ketchup.


1 1/2 lbs ground beef

1 cup Italian Bread Crumbs

1/2 Bell Pepper (I used an orange one, tonight)

2 large eggs

2 tsp Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning

2 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp salt

1/2 bottle of BBQ sauce


Mix all ingredients except sauce in a large bowl (I find it’s best to just mush it up with your hands).  Once mixed, shape into a loaf and place in a bread pan or casserole dish.  Bake at 400 degrees for one hour.  During the last thirty minutes of cook time, pour BBQ sauce over the cooking meat.  Remove from oven, cut into slices.


I made brussel sprouts to go along with it. 



1 12 oz bag of frozen brussel sprouts

1/2 stick of REAL butter

2 Tbsp garlic salt

1 c water


Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan.  Cook on low heat until sprouts are tender.  Should take 20-30 minutes. 


Messiness Factor: 3 out of 5.  Chopping peppers is the worst of the work involved in this meal, but you do have to dirty up some extra bowls and such, not to mention getting your hands all messy in the mixing portion of the instructions.