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Chipotle Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

It’s like a traditional shepherd’s pie…but with a little more kick.

1 (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
2 1/4 pounds peeled sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces (or Yukon gold potatoes)
1 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 pounds ground sirloin, ground turkey or ground chicken
Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrot
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons steak sauce (such as A-1)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 400°.

To prepare topping, remove 1 chile and 2 teaspoons sauce from can; reserve remaining chiles and sauce for another use. Coarsely chop 1 chile.

Place potatoes in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook 15 minutes or until very tender. Drain. Place potatoes, chopped chile, 2 teaspoons adobo sauce, milk, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.

To prepare filling, cook beef in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Remove from pan; drain.

Heat pan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, and garlic; sauté 8 minutes or until tender. Return beef to pan; stir in peas and remaining ingredients. Cook 2 minutes.

Spoon beef mixture into a 3-quart casserole; top with sweet potato mixture, spreading evenly. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

What did the family think? This is great warm homey food on a chilly fall or winter night. I really liked it. Hubby said he would have liked it better if I would have used regular potatoes instead of sweet potatoes.

from Cooking Light

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Lunch Box Ideas

Okay, I know this isn’t technically a recipe, but I am posting it anyways. My oldest asked for more variety in his sack lunches this year. So, I created this list of choices. The kids choose one from each category and then they can help put it together.

Main Course
PB and J
Macaroni and Cheese
Meatball Marinara
Hard Boiled Eggs
Turkey and Cheese Sandwich
PB and Honey
Chicken Nuggets
Cheddar and apple slice sandwich
PB and apple slice sandwich
Cheddar and apple quesadilla
Pasta with Marinara
Bean and Cheese Burrito
Tuna Salad/Chicken Salad with Crackers
Hummus with Pita Chips
Leftovers from the night before
Peanut butter sandwiches using Ritz or Ritz-like crackers

Apple Slices
Mandarin Oranges
Snap peas

Cheese Stick
Babybel Cheese
Cottage Cheese

Crackers/ Chips
Chips and Salsa

Cereal Bar
Nutella with Graham Crackers
Graham Crackers
Trail Mix-cereal, raisins, chocolate chips
Banana/Pumpkin/Zucchini Bread
Chocolate Chips


Any other ideas are MORE than welcome! 🙂


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Nutella, Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Cookies

They are cookies with Nutella in them…GENIUS!!!

1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup Nutella or other chocolate spread
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 – 1 cup rolled oats
1/2 – 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, white sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Stir in the peanut butter, Nutella, vanilla and egg until well blended. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the batter just until moistened. Mix in the oats and chocolate chips until evenly distributed.

Drop by tablespoonfuls on to lightly greased cookie sheets.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until the edges start to brown. Cool on cookie sheets for about 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

What did the family think? Cookies don’t last long around here and these were no exception.

Recipe from my good friend, Dana

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Grits and Sausage Casserole

Never had grits? This would be a great place to start…

1/2 lb. turkey breakfast sausage
1 1/2 c. milk
1 1/2 c. water
3/4 c. quick-cooking grits
3/4 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 tspn. garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash of ground red pepper
3 egg whites
Cooking spray

Preheat over to 375 degrees.

Cook sausage in a skillet until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain and set aside.

Combine milk and water in a saucepan and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Stir in grits, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 7 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently.

Combine grits, sausage, cheese, salt, pepper and garlic in a bowl and set aside.

Beat eggs whites on a high until stiff peaks form. Gently stir 1/4 of egg whites into grit mixture. Gently fold in remaining egg whites.

Spoon mixture into a casserole dish that has been coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.

What did the family think? Hubby and I love this dish. It is a great way to have breakfast for dinner. 🙂

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Crockpot Cranberry Apple Pork Loin Roast

Smells fantastic, tastes fantastic and won’t heat up your kitchen.

3-4 lb. boneless pork loin roast
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can whole cranberry sauce
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. apple juice
3 apples, cored, peeled and coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Place roast in Crockpot and rub with garlic. Add remaining ingredients and cook on low for 7-9 hours. Serve with rice or couscous.

What did the family think? Hubby and I thought this was really good. It definitely tastes like comfort food.

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Chipotle Potpie

A traditional dish…with a twist.

7-oz. can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
2 1/4 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-in. pieces
1 c. milk
1 tspn. salt
1/4 tspn. pepper

2 lbs. ground hamburger, turkey or chicken
Cooking spray
2 c. onion, chopped
1 c. carrot, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 c. frozen peas, thawed
1/2 c. crushed tomatoes
3 T A-1 steak sauce (or something like it)
2 T tomato paste
1/2 tspn. pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

For topping…remove one chile from can and coarsely chop. Set chile and can of chiles to the side.

Place potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain.

Put potatoes, chopped chile, milk, 2 tspn. adobo sauce, salt and 1/4 tspn. pepper in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer on medium speed until smooth.

For filling…cook hamburger in a large pan, stirring to crumble, until cooked through. Drain fat and transfer meat to a medium bowl.

Spray pan with cooking spray. Put on medium-high heat and add carrots, onion and garlic. Saute for about five minutes or until tender.

Add beef back to pan with carrots and onion mixture. Add peas and the remaining ingredients. Heat through for about two minutes.

Spoon beef mixture into a casserole dish. Spread sweet potatoes evenly over beef mixture.

Bake for 30 minutes or until heated through.

What did the family think? This was not a hit at my house. That said, I really liked it. I don’t think I will be making it again though since I was the only one who liked it.

recipe from Cooking Light

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Cajun Salmon Cakes with Lemon-Garlic Aioli

This was a yummy recipe I made during Lent. The salmon cakes were really good and the aioli was a very nice complement.

2 T mayonnaise
2 tspn. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tspn. minced garlic

3 (6 oz) cans boneless, skinless pink salmon in water, drained
1/4 c. green onions, sliced
1/4 c. fat-free mayo
2 T. dry breadcrumbs
1 tsspn. Cajun seasoning blend
2 tsspn. Dijon mustard
1/2 c. dry breadcrumbs
1 tbspn. canola oil

Combine all ingredients for aioli in a small bowl and set aside.

Combine salmon, green onions, mayo, 2 T. breadcrumbs, Cajun seasoning and mustard in a medium bowl.

Shape salmon mixture into eight patties. Dredge patties through 1/2 c. breadcrumbs.

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet. Cook patties, three minutes on each side or until browned on both sides and heated through.

Serve aioli over salmon.

What did the family think? These turned out very nicely. A few of the patties kind of fell apart while I was cooking them, so they didn’t come out looking very pretty, but they still tasted great. Hubby thought they were great and the boys ate fish sticks. We had some broccoli and a baguette with our fish.

Recipe from Cooking Light

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Potato and Chorizo Omelet with a Kinda Parsley Salad

I think this is the first Jaime Oliver recipe I ever made and it is a good one. It’s like a frittata and it’s super yummy.

4 small potatoes, cut into chunks
Salt and Pepper to season
6 large eggs
1/2 lb. chorizo (links or ground)
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 shallots, peeled and very finely sliced
Juice of one lemon
Olive oil
A bunch of flat leaf parsley, leaves picked

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Put the potatoes in a pot of boiling water. Cook until done. Drain.

Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat skillet and add sausage and potatoes. After the chorizo is thoroughly cooked remove the potatoes and the sausage from the skillet with a slotted spoon.

Sprinkle the rosemary leaves into the skillet. Pour the eggs on top immediately. Then add the sausage and potatoes spreading everything out evenly. Leave the skillet on the burner for a few minutes.

Remove from the stovetop and put the skillet in the oven. Cook until golden brown on top and cooked through.

While the omelet if cooking, put the shallots in a bowl with the lemon juice, some salt and pepper and a glug of olive oil. Mix in the parsley leaves. Serve a little on top of the omelet. Enjoy!

What did the family think? Hubby and I liked all of it VERY much. Out oldest ate the potatoes and the eggs while our youngest only ate the chorizo.

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Pizza Pockets

I made these tonight for the first time ever and they were a HIT! Everyone liked them. They do take some time to make, but if that means that no one was fussing at the table, then it was worth every second.

1 T. olive oil
1/2 lb. Italian sausage
1/3 c. yellow onion, chopped
1 oz. fresh spinach
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 c. grated Parmesan, plus 1/4 c.
13.5 oz. refrigerated pizza dough, or make your own
Flour (for rolling out pizza dough)
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 c. marinara, for dipping
Parchment paper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat olive oil in a skillet and add chopped onions. Cook for a few minutes and add Italian sausage. Cook for about five minutes or until sausage is throughly cooked and then add spinach. Cook until wilted.

Take pan off heat to cool for about ten minutes.

Add cream cheese and 1/3 c. parmesan. Stir to combine and set aside.

Roll out pizza dough on a lightly floured surface to a thin 20 by 12-inch rectangle. Cut the rectangle into four equal-sized rectangles.

Spoon the topping into each rectangle. (Make sure to not put the topping in the middle of the rectangle, but put the topping on one side since you are going to be folding it over.)

Fold the dough over the topping. Use a fork to seal and crimp the edges.

Carefully place the pizza pockets on parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

With a pastry brush, brush egg wash on the top of each pizza pocket.

Sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese.

Bake for 15-17 minutes.

While those are cooking, warm up your marinara sauce for dipping.

Did I do anything differently? The original recipe did not call for onions which I added and it did call for arugula which I left out and added fresh spinach instead. I don’t do arugula.

What did the family think? Everyone loved it and ate it and our oldest thought it was genius that I put cream cheese in it. (That boys LOVES cream cheese. )

Important note: You really need to use parchment paper. I didn’t have any so I just used aluminum foil and the pizza pockets stuck to it in a very big way.

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Wimpy Burgers

This is a twist on Sloppy Joes, but it’s less “tomatoey”.

1 lb. ground turkey
1 (10.75 oz.) can condensed chicken gumbo soup
2 T ketchup
1 T yellow mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Hamburger buns

Brown ground turkey (or hamburger or chicken-whichever you prefer) in a skillet. When turkey is cooked through, add soup, ketchup, mustard, salt and pepper. Stir until all of the ingredients are thoroughly mixed and heated through.

Serve on buns just as you would traditional sloppy joes.

Did I change anything? Yes. The original recipe called for water to be added to the skillet and then having it simmer for an hour. If you don’t add the water then you don’t need to let it simmer and everyone gets to eat faster.

Variation: If you have trouble finding chicken gumbo soup, you could probably substitute a can of chicken and rice soup.

What did the family think? They will all eat sloppy joes, but this didn’t exactly look like sloppy joes, so I wasn’t sure if they would eat it or not. Everyone ate it though with a minimum amount of complaining from the youngest members of our family.


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