Tag Archives: dinner

Olive you 

24 Feb

Crusty, chewy bread from the local bakery and a FREE bottle of olive oil (courtesy of Influenster and Filippo Berio)…what more could you need on a crazy weather night?!

As a member for the Influenster community, I’ve been given a variety of items to try and then review. Up until now the items have aged me quite a bit. No offense Influenster, but airbrush tanning/makeup for the legs and pantyliners are NOT really how I’d classify myself. I’m a physical therapist by profession and I have a young family. We enjoy being active together and eating healthy. So FINALLY they “qualified” me for a decent review: olive oil.

I was sent a mailer with a neat magnet and various coupons, along with one for a free bottle of oil.  

magnet with olive oil and butter equivalents

So I decided to sauté some chopped garlic in the oil, then add some beef patties. Meanwhile, I steamed some spinach and cut up the bread. After the meat was finished, I added a dash of flour to the pan and made a quick roux. Then added some salt, pepper, and worshestershire sauce and made a gravy. 
The kids ate it up and the gravy was a hit. I’ve actually never made gravy using dripping from an olive oil base. This one was great. The flavor wasn’t near as heavy as many cream/pepper gravies I’ve eaten or made. 

I used the “Robusto” variety. It wasn’t as full bodied as I was expecting, but delicious nonetheless. 

My plan is to use my coupons to get the “Delicato” oil and have a tasting party. We’ll see!

Disclaimer: the reviews expressed in the post are my own. Influenster and Filippo Berio provided the oil in return for a review. No other compensation was rendered. 


Potbelly Men Pie

22 Feb

I can totally imagine my grandma with me this evening as I made dinner. We had some extra chicken left from dinner last night and I had it in my head to make a pot pie. I never have, but was wanting to nonetheless. 

I got some groceries today and in that trip I also purchased some Banquet brand frozen, individual pot pies…just in case mine turned out poorly. Ha ha. 

Needless to say, the frozen pies are still frozen. 

This was one of the simplest recipes I’ve done in a long time. AND it is my own. Although, I’m sure there are many other recipes the same or similar, but I digress. 

This is a two-crust pie. You could make it in a ceramic baking dish and just have one crust on top, but I think the two crusts make a huge difference. 

It’s simple: veggies, chicken, cream of (insert mushroom, chicken, or broccoli here), some broth and that’s it! 

diced or pulled chicken, mixed veggies, cream of chicken

I decided to be a little creative with my top crust and use shapes instead of slits to vent the heat. 

mr. potbelly man (no gingerbread here) with my newest preserves in the background

The final result was beautiful:

the edges were a little more brown that preferred, but yummy anyway

Potbelly Men Pie

  • 1.5 cups chicken, cooked and diced or pulled
  • 1.5 cups frozen mixed veggies, thawed
  • 1 can cream of xxxxxx soup (I used chicken), regular sized can not family size
  • 3/4 cup of stock (veggie or chicken), I used veggie made from bouillon cubes, PLUS three tablespoons of flour
  • Two pie crusts

Preheat oven to 400°.  Mix the chicken, veggies, soup and stock. Pour into pie plate lined with first crust. Place second crust on top and either make shapes with cookie cutter or poke holes in top to vent.  Bake for approximately 40 minutes, until the middle/top is golden brown. Keep an eye on the edges and cover with foil if they get too brown. 

Serve with a salad or applesauce. Anything light to balance the heaviness of the pie. Serves 6-8

Christmas Eating (part two)

29 Dec

OK, as promised…and promised again, I’ll share the remaining recipes from Christmas day.  Our main course came from A Butcher Shoppe & a Bit More.  It was beef tenderloin but I didn’t get any pictures.  I’ve come to figure that taking pictures of meat, by itself, is not all that appetizing.  Trust me, though, it was amazing!  The people at your local butcher shop are fantastic people to know.  I’m glad I found them.

Now, for Grandma’s recipes…One of the things I remember eating, on quite a few occasions, at Grandma’s was “creamed potatoes.”  If I didn’t know better, I would think this had some kind of special gravy or actual sauce.  NOPE!  It’s just flour and water.  SO very simple.  The trick is to not cook the potatoes until they are mush, because then you end up with just watered down mashed potatoes.  You want some shape left to the potatoes.  I will say, however, that these potatoes resembled hers but didn’t taste exactly the same.  Nevertheless there were very few bites left in the bowl!

Potatoes in Cream Sauce

  • potatoes, preferably new (we used russet)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • flour for thickening
  • enough milk or water to moisten the flour

Peel and boil whole small new potatoes, or cut up others.  Leave them in water in which they were cooked.  Thicken with flour/water mixture and season.  Possibly add small amount of butter.

Grandma’s notes: 6/4/91- walked a mile.  Anthony called; they have a 6:00 ball game; I went and watched the game.  6/5/91 Anthony and Ashley came.  He mowed.  I fixed a pot of potatoes; Haley came; began to rake after dinner.  Marcus cut hay this P.M.  Haley came in thirsty and hungry.  THANK YOU FOR THE HAPPY MOMENTS YOU GIVE ME EACH DAY.  Loyce brought SS class flowers.

Since I had not done too many posts in recent weeks, I decided to make sure I had as many recipes as I could (that would be Christmas dinner appropriate).  So, I also made some great carrots.  Granted, they aren’t your typical sweet, brown-sugary kind, but tasty anyway.

Savory Carrots

  • 4 cups carrot slices
  • 1 cup chicken broth (or vegetable)
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 cups onion slices
  • 2 TBSP flour
  • 1/2 cup water

Cook carrots in broth until tender, do not drain.  Saute onion in butter; blend in flour.  Gradually add water.  Stir in carrots and broth.  Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened; continue cooking 2 minutes.  Makes 8 servings.

I used a 2# bag of whole carrots and doubled the liquid because I did mine in the crock pot to keep from heating up the kitchen too much.  Therefore I had to also add more flour to get a good consistency and thickness to the sauce.

photo(3)Grandma’s Notes: 7/11/91- Shelled purple hull peas.  Amber, Anthony, April, and Ashley spent night.  7/18/91- Carried Haley to cheerleader practice; took her to hayfield; picked up Marcus; took him to Bible school.  7/27/91- Finished reading I Samuel at 3:00.  THANK YOU LORD FOR BEING THERE FOR ME.  MAY I NEVER BE IN THE WAY OF MY CHILDREN TRUSTING YOU.


One of the most favorite things to eat at pretty much any meal, holiday or otherwise, is sauteed cabbage.  Everyone has their favorite way to make it.  Ours is by pan sauteing it in a pan after cooking bacon.  Who doesn’t like a little bacon grease?!


  • 1 large head of cabbage
  • 6-8 slices of bacon
  • 1 lg onion sliced (optional)
  • 1 chicken bullion cubes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Fry bacon in electric skillet (I just use a pan); crumble; set aside on paper towel to drain.  Cook sliced onion in some of the bacon grease until tender.  Put on another paper towel to remove grease; set aside.  Slice cabbage and cook in some bacon grease, stirring it down to add more (and not burn).  Add 2 bullion cubes dissolved in about 1/4 cup water.  Cover and cook until tender; (add no other liquid).  Put in a large dish; put cooked onions on top and top all with crumbled bacon.

photo(10)I remembered to take a picture AFTER we had devoured it.  This is all that was left!

Grandma’s Notes: Lance and Barbara were married January 23, 1967 at Ramah Baptist Church in Tenaha.  They have two children, Haley Ann Horton Monroe and Marcus Lance Horton.


So, there you have it.   A Christmas breakfast and dinner that even Grandma would have been proud of.

Feliz Navidad!

17 Dec

I’m putting off doing my Christmas meal shopping, kind of.  It’s just going to take me actually writing down a list of what I need and then going to the store to get everything.  Until then, however, I still need to feed our family in the days leading up to Christmas.  So, when I went out today, I made sure to grab some tortillas, enchilada sauce, and shredded cheese.  In my prior trips to the grocer I managed to stock up on chicken broth and onions, along with some evaporated milk.  I was set!

Mexican  Chicken Casserole

  • 2 cups cubed, cooked chicken
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can (10-15 oz) enchilada sauce (mild or hot)
  • 1 can (5 oz) evaporated milk
  • 12 corn tortillas (I bought flour by accident…they taste good but get pretty mushy)
  • 1 lb grated cheese
  • 1 cup chopped green chilies (I wish I had my hatch chilies for this)
  • 1 medium onion chopped

Combine chicken broth with enchilada sauce and milk.  Layer half the tortillas in a 9×13 casserole dish.  Top with chicken, 3/4 cheese, chilies and onions.  Add remaining tortillas and cheese.  Pour sauce mixture over casserole and bake for one hour at 350.   Side note: when you pour the sauce over the top, the cheese tends to “migrate,” so pour slowly!


Grandma’s Notes: 12/15/91- White frost.  Marcus came home with me after church.  He’s watching football game while I fix lunch.  We ate in front of the TV.  He went to George’s after lunch,  Haley came by- took me to choir practice.  She’s spending the night.  I THANK YOU LORD THAT YOUR FAMILY SPREADS TO MANY PARTS OF THE WORLD.  THANK YOU LORD THAT I AM PART OF IT.


Veggies all around!

5 Jul

So, in one of my last posts, I mentioned that I was trying to limit my intake of non-vegetarian foods.  I even ate vegan for the better part of two weeks.  Not for moral “save-the-animals” reasons, but rather for healthy “these-are-the-foods-we-were-made-for” reasons.  I wish I could say that I have been as diligent this last week or so, but life happens.  However, I could definitely tell a difference when I ate things I had not been eating.

That’s beside the point.  Today’s post is my own take on sharing Grandma’s recipes.  Ask my aunt if she has a recipe for a dessert or a side dish, and she will oblige.  Had you asked Grandma for the same, she would also have given you a good recipe.  Now, I hope, I can be the bearer of similar information if need be.  So, I’ll give you three…yes, THREE, recipes that can easily be vegetarian, vegan, or even “meat-itarian.”


Peppers and Onions

  • 1 pkg mini peppers (orange, yellow, and red)
  • 1/2 med yellow onion, sliced thin
  • optional: jasmine rice, eggs, soy sauce, etc

I sautéed the veggies in a small amount of olive oil and then served it with jasmine rice.  The next day I made an omelet and added some of the mix.  The last day, I made fried rice with the peppers, eggs, soy sauce and remaining rice.


Oven Roasted Potatoes

  • 2-3 small white potatoes, sliced as you like (I diced them like hash browns)
  • 1 pkg of taco seasoning, ranch dressing mix, or your favorite seasonings
  • olive oil

Place cut potatoes on a roasting pan or casserole dish (just make sure they are one layer).  Drizzle with olive oil and then sprinkle seasonings on potatoes, coating evenly.  Bake at 350-400* for 20-25 minutes, or until browned.  You may want to line your pan with foil or spray with non-stick spray.


Mango Salsa

  • 1-2 ripe mangoes, diced
  • 3-4 green onions, chopped finely
  • 1 med tomato, diced or chopped coarsely

Mix all ingredients and add a dash of salt, to taste.  This has got to be one of my most colorful recipes to date.  You can add a peach to the mix, or substitute it for the mango all together also.

How pretty are those colors?!


Amber’s Notes: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31



Sprinkles and Little Trees

8 May

A week ago, my hubby had minor oral/dental surgery.  Now, he’s sporting quite a few dissolving stitches and dietary limitations that would rival many a patient of mine!  Needless to say, he can’t eat anything requiring it to be bitten off, anything crunchy, etc., etc.  So, fortunately I was up to make a broccoli rice casserole that even grandma would brag about!  It was SO simple too.  The most time consuming part was cooking the rice.

Broccoli and Rice Casserole

  • 10 oz pkg chopped broccoli, cooked and drained
  • 1 rib celery chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 can cream of chicken and mushroom soup
  • 8 oz Velveeta
  • 1/2 cups cooked rice
  • salt & pepper to taste

Saute onion and celery in butter.  Add cheese and stir until melted.  Add soup and other ingredients.  Bake at 350* for about 25 minutes.

*you could also add ham, bacon, or chicken to make it a one-dish meal.

Grandma’s Notes: 5/7/91- Bea Bagwell came and I spent the day with her.  5/8/91- After school, April and I walked to the Boy’s Ranch.  Cheryl picked us up.  5/10/91- home safely yesterday; picked a gallon of berries.  Barbara and Haley came; Haley spent the night.  HELP ME REMEMBER THAT YOU SAID, “LET ME CARRY YOUR BURDENS.”  I DO NOT KNOW HOW TO PRAY AT TIMES, LET YOUR SPIRIT LEAD.


I LOVE sprinkles, confetti, and anything used to create decorations on top of pastries.  I also love, gummy bears, Dots, and any other chewy candies.  These cookies were PERFECT!  I can’t think of a time I had these at Grandma’s but I’m glad I got to try them tonight!

Confetti Cookies

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 2 and 1/3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 cup cut up gum drops
  • 1/2 cup nuts (I omitted these)

Cream first 5 ingredients.  Add blended dry ingredients.  Mix well.  Stir in gum drops and nuts.  Drop by tablespoonful onto greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350* for 15 minutes.

Grandma’s Notes: 5/10/98- Mother’s Day, Haley is cooking dinner at Lance’s house.  Frank sent a beautiful card.  I thank God for my own mother (Eliza Templin Bagwell) who has been gone many years.  I also thank God for my children and grandchildren who are so thoughtful of me.  THANK YOU LORD FOR BEING WITH ME.  Last night we all, along with George’s family, ate at Golden Corral.

Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart…

23 Apr

This is a really yummy recipe and I think has become my go-to for when we need a side dish for parties!  This can be very easily changed from a carnivorous mix to vegan by leaving out one thing: bacon!  So, tell your friends, family, and enemies, “This is a recipe for everyone!”  It’s even good reheated the next day (along side the vegetable-ham casserole).

BBQ Microwave beans

  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 TBSP chili sauce
  • 2 TBSP molasses
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard (I left this out)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 slices of bacon (uncooked)…Leave this off for vegetarian/vegan option

Combine beans, chili sauce, molasses, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper in large bowl.  Pour mixture into 1 qt oven/microwave proof casserole dish.  Top with bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces.  Cover casserole dish; microwave on high for 5 minutes or until bubbly.  Uncover and broil 1 minute or until bacon is crisp.  Makes 6 servings

The picture doesn’t do these justice.  These beans are great!  They really do taste like BBQ beans.  I might even double the molasses/chili sauce next time.  I also plan to double the pinto and omit the butter beans.  Butter beans are good, but their texture is too different from the pinto to really enjoy it like I want to!  I think black beans would be good too.

Grandma’s Notes: 4/20/91- Took Anthony’s birthday card and money to his house.  4/23/91- crocheted a hot pad tonight.  4/25/91- Walked 30 minutes…worked in garden 30 minutes, set onion in a row.  Crocheted…George and Ashley came.  THANK YOU FOR THE HAPPINESS BROUGHT TO THE RESIDENTS OF THE NURSING HOME WITH SONGS.  HELP ME BE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE THAT SEE GOD EVERYWHERE.


Casseroles are the best!

23 Apr

As you know, I have a slight aversion to onions.  Okay, okay, I hate the little buggers.  The grocery list for this recipe started like many others: 1 medium onion, carrots, milk, etc.  I always shudder to think about buying onions, but I buy them anyway to keep as much authenticity to the recipes as I can.  However, the onions surprised me this time.  They were good!  This recipe is really god the day you make it, but is even better when you reheat it for lunch the next day!

Vegetable-Ham Casserole

  • 2 large potatoes (peeled and sliced)
  • 1 medium onion thinly sliced
  • 3 carrots peeled and sliced
  • 2 cups chopped cooked ham (I used the flat ham steaks with bone-in)
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • dash of black pepper
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese

Layer half each of potatoes, onion, carrots, and ham in greased 2qt baking dish.  Combine soup, milk, and pepper.  Pour half of soup mixture over vegetables.  Layer remaining vegetables and ham over sauce and cover with remaining sauce.  Pepper lightly.  Cover and bake at 375* for 1 hour.  Remove cover, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake an additional 10 minutes.

First layer sans sauce


This could easily be made vegetarian by using tofu or chicken (if you don’t eat pork or beef).  My friend Mel could probably tell me what to substitute to make it vegan too…got any pointers, Mel?!

Grandma’s Notes: 4/23/93- Bought plants from nursery; 12 tomato, 4 bell pepper; 4 eggplants, 12 multiplying onion, 8 cabbage.  Lunch; planted onions.  Left Anthony’s birthday card & check at George’s shop.  Marcus came by for a snack; He brought in my groceries.  Made honey muffins.  THANK YOU LORD, THERE ARE NEW THINGS TO SEE AND TO DO EACH DAY.

Hash it out…

9 Apr

I am a HUGE proponent of all-in-one dishes.  They are easy to cook, usually require a few steps, and are great to reheat for lunches the next day.  This one was no exception.  What’s not to like about ground beef, pasta, onions, tomatoes, and chili powder?!  This is also a great meal that can be altered based on your family’s likes and tastes.  My husband is not a big tomato fan, so next time I might just cut the amount in half.  I also made the mistake of using canned tomatoes (I know, I know, use fresh).  I am a huge proponent of fresh fruits and veggies, but only in season.  So, I will buy canned or frozen.  Anyway…I didn’t really think about the canned tomatoes until I went to take the first bite and realized the mix was a little more salty that I would normally like.  When my grandma would use fresh tomatoes, she would most likely add a pinch (or so) of salt.  Since the recipe called for salt, however, and I added it.

In the end, I would have made this with elbow macaroni because it’s super difficult to measure “1 cup” of uncooked spaghetti.  Although when try to do so, my son had fun picking up the pieces of pasta that would fly across the kitchen. 🙂  In the end, my husband liked the meal and found a way to kick it up, when he had it for leftovers, by adding a sweet chili sauce and a little bit of red pepper flakes.  Whatever works!

Texas Hash

  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 3 TBSP cooking oil
  • 1 lb ground steak/beef
  • 2 cups of tomatoes
  • 1 cup uncooked spaghetti (I think elbow macaroni would be best)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Cook onions and celery in oil until golden.  Add meet and cook until redness leaves.  Add tomatoes, spaghetti, and seasonings.  Mix well.  Put into large casserole.  Cover and bake at 350* for 45 minutes.  *I started at 25-30 minutes and turned off the oven, leaving the dish inside.* Yield: 8 servings.

Texas Hash

Grandma’s notes: 4/1/93- Beautiful 50* at 7:15; read; Annie Bertha McDonald called.  Haley spent afternoon.  4/2/93- stopped by George’s.  Bessie Baldwin called.  4/3/93- Patched Zach’s pants.  Anthony & friend Bryan came & spent the night.  They played dominoes; I crocheted.  THANK YOU LORD FOR EVERYTHING.  LET MY HEART SHINE SO OTHERS CAN SEE YOU IN MY LIFE.


Dinner for Two

2 Apr

Having specific recipes every week makes it so much easier to shop and plan upcoming meals. One thing I don’t always take into consideration, however, is my husband’s work schedule.  Most nights he works until 8pm, making it difficult to keep dinner warm or to even find the motivation to cook at all.  This evening’s meal, though, proved not only easy but also provided no leftovers (meaning no waste later when the leftovers aren’t consumed).  The end result was to be for two, but it was just enough for one.  I’m guessing this is because I didn’t have a salad or veggies to go along with it.  I’m not complaining though. 🙂

Again, I altered this recipe a bit to cater to the tastes of my husband and son.  However, the hubs is out of town and the son really doesn’t like tuna.  So, I really could have made it according to the directions.

Tuna Casserole (For Two)

  • 1 can tuna
  • 1 can peas
  • 1.25 oz potato or corn chips (I used Fritos)
  • 1/2 cup cream of mushroom soup mixed with 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 TBSP margarine or butter
  • Pinch of salt

Using small casserole bowl, layer ingredients as listed.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Dinner for Two

I didn’t have cream of mushroom, so I used cream of chicken.  I also omitted the peas (for hubby’s taste).  I found this to be a delicious and EASY recipe.  I’m pretty sure you have most of these ingredients in your pantry.  You could easily substitute green beans for the peas.  I think chopped asparagus would be good too.


Grandma’s Notes: 4/17/93- Walked, picked up trash.  Haley & Barbara came.  Haley mowed.  I went to Lance’s; saw Haley’s newly decorated room; Barbara gave me a bag of quilt scraps.  4/20/93- Went to AARP sing-a-long w/nursing home w/Ansteads.  4/21/93- Marcus snacked after school; walked home.  THANK YOU LORD THAT YOU DRAW ME TO YOU WHEN I AM INCLINED TO DRIFT AWAY.