Taco Rice

My mom made up this recipe when I was in high school & it was a big hit in our house. Now, it is a big hit in mine. There aren't that many recipes where I get a big smile from each member of the family - some are a little picky. But, when I make this dinner I ALWAYS hear "Thanks, mom!" They get to top it with whatever they like and everyone is happy.

And the best part is how easy and fast it is to make! You can make it quickly on the busy nights and enjoy a great meal. My mom always made it with ground beef and white rice, but since we are trying to eat a little better I tried it a little different last time. I made it with ground turkey and brown rice & couldn't tell any difference!! The kids had no clue.

Taco Rice
1 lb. ground beef or turkey
2 cups (approximately) cooked white or brown rice
1 packet or 1/4 cup taco seasoning
3/4 cup water
2 8 oz. cans tomato sauce

Taco toppings -
chopped tomatoes
shredded lettuce
tobasco sauce
Tortilla or corn chips

Brown the meat in a skillet and drain the juices. Add the taco seasoning and water, mix and then simmer for a couple minutes. Add the tomato sauce and rice and then mix well. Heat all the way through.

Serve on plate and top with all of your favorite taco toppings. My husband and I needed a little bit more kick to ours last time (but the kids didn't), so we sprinkled it with a little Tobasco sauce and it was great! We love to eat ours with a handful of chips for a little crunch.


Oreo Balls

Every time I see the title of this recipe it makes me giggle and think of the old Saturday Night Live skit with Alec Baldwin. Remember Pete Schweaty?

These goodies have been making their way around on the blogs for a while now and I assumed no one would want me to post this recipe. But, after making them a couple months ago, a couple of my friends keep asking for me to post the directions. They are so easy! And they are so addicting. I think I eat at least 10 every time I make them!

You can make them with a little variety too. Try a different type of cookie - if you look closely at the bottom picture, you can see a little red in the middle from when I tried these with the Christmas peppermint Oreos!

Oreo Balls

1 box Oreo cookies
1, 8 oz. block of cream cheese, softened
white chocolate bark

Start by smashing the oreos into crumbs. Put them into a medium size mixing bowl and combine with the cream cheese. You will have to take off your rings for this one, it gets a little messy. Combine well and then form into 1 inch balls. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and place the balls onto the cookie sheet. Freeze them for a couple of hours until they are frozen solid. Dip them into the melted white chocolate bark (I got mine cheap at Wal-mart) and then place them back on the wax paper to harden.

If you don't have any chocolate to dip or don't have the time - you can save some of oreo crumbs and dip the balls into the crumbs before the freezing step. Or, just eat them straight out of the freezer. Any way you eat it will be great. Promise.


Texas Sheet Cake

I made this cake years ago from a recipe I got out of a church cookbook my mom gave me. I forgot about it and then recently found it again while going back through all my old cookbooks. I can't believe I forgot about this. This is honestly the best cake ever.

It was so good that my husband would not let me share ANY of it with anyone - and it made a huge pan! He polished it all off (with a little help) in about two days and then looked at the pan and said " I am so sad that cake is gone." No joke. It really is that good.

It is super moist, just dense enough and the frosting is amazing. It tastes like chocolate donut frosting - I am pretty sure that is what hooked my husband. I loved it with the pecans. I loved all of it. I am going to make it again & again & never forget to make it again!

Texas Sheet Cake
from the Tokyo 1st ward church cookbook, submitted by Kimberlee Snow Winzeler

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 sticks butter
4 Tbs. cocoa
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup buttermilk *
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 sticks butter
4 Tbs. cocoa
6 Tbs. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

* If you don't have any buttermilk on hand, you can put 1 tsp. vinegar in your measuring cup and fill the rest of the 1/2 cup with milk. Let it sit for a couple minutes & that is a great substitute!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the flour, sugar and salt. In a saucepan, melt the butter and mix in the cocoa. Add the water and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and mix into the flour mixture.

In another bowl mix the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and baking soda. Add it to the rest of the batter and mix. Pour into a sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes. It will look like this...

To make the frosting, melt the butter in a saucepan and add the cocoa. Mix it well and then remove from the heat. Add the milk, vanilla, powdered sugar & pecans and stir together well. Pour over the warm cake, spread and then eat the best cake ever!!


Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff

I love my crock pot. It saves me on days when I don't have time to think about dinner, which seems to be a lot lately. I have been trying to find ways to adapt some of my favorite recipes into crock pot dishes so we can still have a good meal on busy days. I have had this recipe for a while and it is one of my husband's favorites. It was our anniversary on Sunday and since we were in church from 1-4:00, I thought this would be a good one to prepare for him. It is super easy and tastes so good!

Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff

1 lb. cubed beef stew meat
2 cans condensed golden mushroom soup
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup beef broth or water
1 pack onion soup mix
fresh mushrooms - optional, but so yummy!
4 ounces cream cheese
"scoop" of sour cream
Wide egg noodles

These are the two items you might not have right in your pantry. They are both necessary for this recipe and substitutions will not taste the same. I had a little bit of a hard time finding the Golden Mushroom soup, but eventually found it at Raleys grocery store (here in Nor Cal.)

Combine the beef, Golden mushroom soup, onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, water and onion soup mix in your crock pot.

Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 5 hours. Add some sauteed mushrooms about a 1/2 hour before time is up. And then mix in the cream cheese and sour cream just before serving. Serve over some wide egg noodles and enjoy!


Frog Eye Salad

This salad is one of my kids favorites. They want to eat it for every meal. I can't really blame them, it tastes like dessert. It is full of pineapple, mandarins, marshmallows and Cool Whip - who wouldn't want to eat that all day?

I love to start making it this time of year & on through summer, it is refreshing and light. You have to plan ahead a little because you have to start the night before, but it is worth it and will go with about any meal. We love it!

Frog Eye Salad

1 box accini depepo pasta
1 cup pineapple juice ( I drain mine from the pineapple chunks )
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbs. corn starch
1 cup water
2 big cans pineapple chunks
2 big cans mandarin oranges
2 cups marshmallows
1 can crushed pineapple
1 container Cool Whip

Cook the pasta according to the directions and drain well. Cook the pineapple juice, sugar, corn starch and water in a saucepan until it thickens. Pour over the pasta and put in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning it will look like this...

Before serving add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Can you see all of the yummy goodies in there? They taste so good together!


Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

I am sorry it has been a while...there has been a lot going on over here! I have been wanting to share this recipe for a long time, I think everyone will love it.

I made these when I was craving sweetness & I sure got what I wanted. They are super sweet! I thought they were the best the second day right out of the fridge - it made the cookie dough harden again and was so yummy. They are really easy! They can be made with this dough recipe or you can just save a little next time you make some of your favorite cookies. If you are a cookie dough lover, give these a try!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcake

1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 salt
1/2 cups soft butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup mini chocolate chips

1 box white cake mix
1 1/3 cups water
1/3 cup canola oil
3 eggs

Mix together the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium size bowl and set aside. In another bowl, beat the butter, sugar and brown sugar until smooth and then blend in the egg and vanilla. Mix in the flour mixture until just blended. Fold in the chocolate chips and then form the dough into tablespoon-sized balls. Place on baking sheet and freeze for at least 2 hours or overnight.

After the dough has been frozen, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line the muffin cups with paper liners or non-stick spray.

Beat cake mix, water, oil and eggs until well blended. Spoon into the muffin tins, filling 2/3 full. Place a frozen cookie dough ball in the top center of each cupcake.

Bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes & until a toothpick comes out clean (not in the cookie dough ball!). Frost and enjoy! Here is a picture of the yummy cookie dough middle.