Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Best Meatloaf Ever

Sunday I put a little ham in my crockpot (... because my husband LOVES ham) but since he totally wears the rest of us OUT on ham, I decided to also bake a meatloaf.  I don't make those very often because I haven't always found a recipe that turns out so great.  But, I hit the mother load this time!  This meatloaf is delicious!  The loaf tastes great and the sauce is even better!  Thick and rich and yummy!  I did bake this in a meatloaf pan (the loafpan itself has an insert with another loafpan that has little holes for drainage in it). 

I don't have a picture for this.  My pictures don't always look great and there was just no way to get a good picture of the meatloaf.  But the taste?  Oh my!!!!  It's terrific and I know that if you have meatloaf lovers in your family, this will be "the go-to" recipe for you!

Here's how I made the "Best Meatloaf Ever" AT HOME MY WAY:

Best Meatloaf Ever

  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 slice bread (torn into small pieces)
  • 1 egg (blend before adding to the loaf)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small bell pepper (seeded and finely chopped) (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet (optional, but I think this made it perfect)
  • 1/2 cup milk


  1. Meatloaf: Combine meat loaf ingredients and place into a loaf baking dish.
  2. Smooth out top.
  3. Sauce: Combine sauce ingredients and pour on top and sides of meatloaf.
  4. Bake at 350°F about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until done. (I baked 1 hour 15 minutes)
  5. Let cool about 5 minutes before serving.
  6. ENJOY!


    Monday, July 30, 2012

    Crockpot Chicken Teriyaki

    One of my most favorite blogs is www.joyinmykitchen.blogspot.com.  She always makes lots of "real" food and always cooks in a healthy way.  She inspires me when I can think of nothing to cook!

    I tried one of her recipes this week as I made Crockpot Chicken Teriyaki!  It was a huge success!  It was not sweet at all and made a great "take out chinese food" meal at home.  I think you could sweeten it up by increasing the honey but we liked it just like it turned out.  The sauce was rich and thick, thanks to the corn starch, and we loved it!

    SnoWhite at Finding Joy in my Kitchen used only chicken legs when she made this dish.  Some of the members of my family prefer only white meat so I used both legs and boneless, skinless chicken tenders that you buy in the bag frozen.  Since they were tenders, I didn't thaw them first but if you are using a large piece of meat, you should start with thawed meat.  The legs, however, WERE thawed when I added them to the crockpot.  (I do prefer to remove the skin first when I cook chicken so I removeD the skin from the legs before adding to the crockpot).

    Here's how I made Crockpot Chicken Teriyaki AT HOME MY WAY:

    Crockpot Chicken Teriyaki
    • 6 pieces of uncooked chicken (I used legs and boneless skinless tenders)
    • 2 Tablespoons oil or some cooking spray
    • 1/4 cup Soy sauce
    • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 2 Tablespoons honey
    • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (the kind in the jar)
    • 1 cup water (cold)
    • 2 Tablespoons corn starch

    Brush the bottom of your slowcooker with oil or spray with cooking spray.  Put the chicken in the slowcooker.  Mix the sauce ingredients (using COLD water), and pour over the meat.

    Cook on low 8-10 hours.  I was home so I turned my chicken here and there to coat evenly while cooking.

    The sauce turns out rich and thick!  I made some rice, steamed some broccoli and we were good to go.  Any steamed veges would be great and I would have made brown rice but mine had some critters in it and I had to use my supply of white longgrain rice (eek!).


    Saturday, July 21, 2012

    Crockpot Lasagna Made with Uncooked Pasta!

    I LOVE meals that I can throw together in the morning and have ready pretty much as soon as I open my front door!  I've discovered that some crockpot meals are more of a "finished product" with less added cooking to get the meal ready and this is one of those meals.  My daughter suggested we try this method - making lasagna with jarred sauce, cheese, and uncooked pasta!  We really didn't know how this would turn out.  But it was fabulous!  Perfect!  We loved it!  Definitely we will be making it all the time.

    Here's how I made Crockpot Lasana Made with Uncooked Pasta AT HOME MY WAY:

    Crockpot Lasagna with Uncooked Pasta
    • 1 large jar of your favorite pasta sauce (or 3-4 cups of your favorite homemade sauce)
    • 1/2 of this jar - water
    • Ground beef/italian sausage, whatever you like (I used about 1 pound of burger)
    • Lasagna pasta (uncooked)
    • Salt
    • Cheese (we usually only use mozzerella but if you like ricotta, use whatever you like).
    Brown the ground beef, drain.  Add the jar of pasta sauce.  Add 1/2 of the jar with water to the sauce/meat mixture and stir.  (This will be VERY runny - which it needs to be to add liquid because you are cooking the pasta in the sauce.) 

    Add one layer of sauce to the crockpot. 
    Break the pasta at a length you need for the widest - the middle.  Lay it on the sauce.  Fit other pieces of uncooked pasta over the sauce. Salt the pasta.
    More sauce.
    More pasta.  More sprinkles of salt.
    Until you think you only have one layer left of your sauce (which will you need to finish with).
    After the last layer of sauce.)

    (I only add cheese at the end when I get home.  We didn't miss the cheese and it lowered the calories/fat for this dish.)

    Cover with the lid.  Turn on low and cook 8-10 hours.

    When you get home - sprinkle with cheese.  I used about 2 cups of grated mozzerella.

    Put the lid on and go change your clothes, whatever you have to do for about 10 minutes.

    Once the cheese is melted, GOBBLE IT UP!

    We loved this easy, frugal, quick way to get dinner on the table fast!  I hope you like it.

    Saturday, July 14, 2012

    Crockpot Pepper Steak & Brown Rice

    Crockpot Pepper Steak Cooked with Brown Rice

    I'm always on the lookout for recipes that are FAST to put together and FASTER to have on the table!   I don't have much time to get stuff ready for supper before I leave for work and since we get home at 6PM, I definitely prefer having something all ready to go in the crockpot.  This was it! 

    My mom always made a dish that she called "Pepper Steak" in the crockpot when I was growing up.  It was delicious.  She made it with round steak, peppers, canned tomatoes and canned mushrooms.  It was one of the meals I most requested when I was growing up.  I had almost forgotten about it when my mom mentioned that she made it the other night.  She always served it ladled over cooked, long-grain white rice!  Which I love, but I don't care for minute rice and I definitely don't want to wait the 20 minutes it takes the rice to cook - to get dinner on the table (if I don't have to).  I think I found a better way... 

    Having also recently made a meal of Crockpot Chicken & Rice, I knew that when you cook brown rice in the crockpot, not only can you not tell it isn't white rice because it is cooked in broth, but it also doesn't get all mushy.  The texture is perfect!  I decided to combine the two and added some brown rice to my Crockpot Pepper Steak.  I knew this would also put dinner on my table faster so it was a complete win/win.  My 19 year old daughter absolutely loved it!  She has already decided she needs a crockpot to go back to school so she can try this dish on her boyfriend.

    Here's how I made Crockpot Pepper Steak with Brown Rice, cooked AT HOME MY WAY:

    Crockpot Pepper Steak with Brown Rice

    • One package of round steak (I'm a cheapskate and I found a package of stew meat that was lots less expensive than round steak so that's what I used - I will probably always make it this way)
    • 1 large or 2 medium bell peppers (seeded and cut in large chunks)
    • 1 can diced tomatoes (not drained) + one can of water
    • 1 can mushrooms (not drained)
    • 2 Tablespoons minced onion (a fresh onion would also work or some onion powder)
    • salt/pepper (remember the rice is unsalted so you do need some salt)
    • 3/4 cup longgrain brown rice (NOT WHITE RICE - that will turn to mush)

    Place the uncooked stew meat/round steak in the bottom of the crockpot.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Plug in the crockpot (I say this because I have forgotten this crucial step LOL), turn it on (same... LOL this is crucial), give it a stir and let it cook on LOW for 8-10 hours.

    I served this with grean beans and leftover hotrolls.

    I will probably try adding brown rice to a couple of my other dishes (like stew).  What a great way to incorporate a very healthy ingredient into your diet!

    Wednesday, July 11, 2012

    Homemade Taco Salads with homemade tortilla bowls

    Hello!  I haven't posted anything in SO LONG!  So sorry... life just happens sometimes.  But I made something for supper this week that definitely bears posting!  I made tacos for supper (I know this isn't anything special), but we all like different kinds of tacos.  I like taco salads.  My daughter likes hers baked (meat and cheese in the crunchy shells baked until all melty-she tells me they are just like Jack in the Box tacos), and her boyfriend likes soft tacos.  We were all happy because I cooked the taco meat and then had all the fixings for however we wanted to assemble them so we all got just what we wanted with very little effort!

    A little background on the tortilla bowls, .... I was watching TV the other night and saw one of those crazy commercials that has the fast talking salesman on there, selling this mold for making your own taco salad tortilla bowl.  Well, who really needs one of those things?  I just took a baking pan, turned an oven-proof bowl upside down on it, sprayed the bowl with cooking spray, and layed a flour tortilla on it!  Ta-da!  Homemade taco salad tortilla bowl!  It wasn't super crunchy like Taco Bell (of course because it wasn't fried), but I'm BIG on healthier, homemade versions anyway so this was PERFECT for me! Yes, it was still VERY CRUNCHY.  Just not the exact same as fried.   In fact, they were so good that we ate the leftovers the next night the very same way.

    Here's how I made Homemade Taco Salads with homemade tortilla bowls AT HOME MY WAY:

    Homemade Taco Salads with Homemade Tortilla Bowls

    • Taco Meat (I browned about 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef, added 3/4 cup of salsa that I had in my fridge, added 1 teaspoon onion powder, and 1 Tablespoon chili powder, also some salt & pepper - [no prepackaged mixes this way!])
    • Flour tortillas for making the Tortilla bowls (however many you need) (you could make homemade tortillas but I didn't)
    • Cooking Spray
    • OVEN PROOF bowls or mugs
    • A baking sheet or pan for baking.  The bowls have to fit on the pan with plenty of room.
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place the bowls on the baking pan upside down.  Spray with cooking spray.  Lay a tortilla over each bowl. Bake 15-20 minutes or until sufficiently browned.

    Remove from the oven.  And fill with your favorite taco salad fixings!  I used (in this order):

    Taco meat
    Grated Cheese
    Sour Cream

    My bowl could have been smaller so that the shell folded over for a more authentic look, but y'all know I'm the queen of making do!

    Ready for all the goodies!

    Let me know how your family likes HOMEMADE TACO SALAD TORTILLA BOWLS!

    I am sharing this recipe at:


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