Thursday, December 18, 2014

Monterey Tortilla Casserole

Monterey Tortilla Casseroles

In Mexico, this dish is served for breakfast; stateside, families enjoy it as a quick and tasty dinner, too. Follow the make-ahead directions and heat the frozen casserole in a microwave for a meal that's ready in minutes.

Monterey Tortilla Casseroles

4 servings

15 mins

35 mins to 40 mins 350°F

Nonstick spray coating
6 inches corn tortillas, each cut into 6 wedges
cups cubed cooked chicken
cup loose-pack frozen whole kernel corn
16 ounce jar salsa verde
tablespoons light dairy sour cream
tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro
tablespoon all-purpose flour
cup crumbled Mexican Chihuahua® cheese or crumbled farmer cheese (4 ounces)
Light dairy sour cream (optional)
Snipped fresh cilantro (optional)
Chopped tomato (optional)
Jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced (optional)


  1. Spray four 10- to 12-ounce baking dishes with nonstick coating. Place 5 tortilla wedges in the bottom of each dish. Place remaining tortilla pieces on a baking sheet; bake in a 350 degree F oven about 10 minutes or until crisp and golden. Meanwhile, combine chicken, corn, salsa, the 3 tablespoons sour cream, cilantro, and flour. Divide mixture among dishes.
  2. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree F oven for 20 minutes. Arrange baked tortilla pieces atop casseroles. Top with cheese; bake for 5 to 10 minutes more or until heated through. If desired, garnish with additional sour cream, jalapeno slices, cilantro, and tomato. Makes 4 servings.

From the Test Kitchen

*To Make Ahead

Assemble casseroles as directed above, except do not top with baked tortilla pieces; place baked pieces in a moisture- and vapor-proof plastic bag. Freeze casseroles and tortilla pieces up to 1 month.
To bake frozen casseroles:
Bake, covered, in a 350 degree F oven for 25 minutes. Uncover; bake about 20 minutes more or until heated through. Top with tortilla pieces and cheese; bake for 5 to 10 minutes more or until heated through. Garnish as above.
To micro-cook frozen casseroles:
Cover microwave-safe casseroles with waxed paper; micro-cook on 30% power, allowing 4 minutes for 1 casserole and 5 minutes for 2 casseroles. Continue cooking, covered, on 100% power until heated through, allowing 2 to 4 minutes for 1 casserole or 3 to 6 minutes for 2 casseroles, rotating the dishes once. Top with baked tortilla pieces and cheese; micro-cook, uncovered, about 30 seconds more or until cheese is melted. Garnish as above.

Nutrition Facts

 (Monterey Tortilla Casseroles)
    Per serving: 
  • 479 kcal cal., 
  • 21 g fat
  • (3 g sat. fat, 
  • 98 mg chol., 
  • 1247 mg sodium, 
  • 45 g carb., 
  • 7 g fiber, 
  • 34 g pro.
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Meatloaf Cupcakes


I made this a few weeks ago and JJ loved it! It was his favorite way to eat meatloaf. It works for me too. I like my meatloaf a little more well done so this was perfect and the smaller size worked for the kids. 

Meatloaf Cupcakes

Note:  This is the meatloaf recipe that I used.  Feel free to use one of your own favorites.
For the meatloaf:
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 small onion, grated
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup panko crumbs
2-3 splashes Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
For the sauce:
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
For the potato “icing”:
3 cups boiled potatoes, chopped into chunks
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup half and half or heavy cream
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons melted butter
Preheat your oven to 350 F.
Prepare the meatloaf by combining all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Mix until incorporated.  Don’t over handle the mixture or the meatloaf may be too dense.  Chill while you prepare the sauce and potatoes.
Make the sauce by whisking the chili sauce, brown sugar and mustard together until smooth.  Set aside.
While the meat is baking, w hip the boiled potatoes together with the egg yolk, half and half or cream and salt until smooth.  Stir in the melted butter.  Fit a pastry bag with a large star tip and fill with the potato mixture.  Set aside, but do not refrigerate.
To assemble the cupcakes,  lightly spray a cupcake tin with nonstick cooking spray.  Fill each indentation with a small handful of the meat mixture, gently pressing it down until it is completely filled.
Spread a teaspoon of the sauce around the top of each cupcake, and bake for about 30 minutes, until the meat is cooked through.  Remove from the oven and turn on the broiler.
Pipe some potato “icing” on top of each cupcake.  Put the cupcakes under the broiler for a few minutes until the potatoes are lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
Remove from the oven and enjoy.
Makes 12 meatloaf cupcakes.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Meals for the Week

For a healthy-ish low-carb dinner. We have BBQ Chicken Salad  Hope this is good!
(This was a hit with JJ & I. I made 1 modification. I put BBQ sauce on the chicken before cooking it so that it had more of a BBQ flavor. We gave the kids just part of the BBQ chicken breast for their dinner and H told me that dinner was very good!)

BBQ Chicken Salad - This healthy, flavorful salad comes together so quickly, and it's guaranteed to be a hit with your entire family!

JJ & I loved this last time I made it  so I will be making it this week

Monterey Tortilla Casseroles

Always delicious and there are leftovers! (NOTE: use the whole 15 ounce can of tomatoe sauce and more cheese)
(JJ informed me at dinner last night that this is one of his favorite meals. I was shocked because it really isn't my favorite. Maybe with more sauce and more cheese I could come to love this as much as he does).

Enchilada Casserole Recipe

Rigatoni with swiss chard and Sausage - from FNM November 2014 issue. Pg 90

Monday, September 29, 2014

Meals for the Week

We don't have anything going on this week which makes me very happy. I like when we aren't rushed to eat dinner before heading somewhere or missing someone at dinner time.

Monday: Green Chile chicken baked tacos. With this I am going to make the chicken the day before in the slow cooker and have JJ shred it that night and save for the next day.
For a side item, we are going to have sweet potato mash
(These really weren't that great. The tacos ended up being soggy. Not sure if I will make this again.  The sweet potato mash was a huge hit with everyone!)

Tuesday: Pumpkin & Sausage Ravioli This will have a little bit of something for everyone. Sausage for JJ & Harrison, pumpkin for me and pasta for Annsley

Wednesday: Mom's stuffed bell peppers. Green for me & A, Orange or Red bell peppers for JJ & H.

Thursday: Breakfast for dinner. Egg, bacon, biscuits and hashbrowns. Perfect cozy family meal that I know H & A will gobble down.

Friday: Pork Chop Masala with Mashed Pots These are delicious and we have almost all of the ingredients for it. 

Pork Chops Marsala Recipe

Thursday, August 28, 2014

My Loves

Ok. 2/3 of my love. No wait... only 1/2 of my loves because I am definitely going to count Darby. 

These kids, they are growing up WAY too fast. 

H has become tall, lanky, and every once in a while displays some teenage behavior that I am just NOT ready for.  I will catch him out of the corner of my eye and think "that is not my baby. that is not my little boy. when did he start to look like a big kid?." If you ask him, everything is in 2's. He slept for 2 days, Christmas is in 2 weeks, and he grew up in 2 days.

He has only been in school 3 days so far but I can already see a difference in his play and what he does. He is more apt to sing along to a show or when music is on.  He is also nicer to A. He tells her that he missed her and helps her take her shoes off and climb up & down. He is a much happier boy during the school year than during the summer. 

He loves all things sporty, tractors and firemen. He is going to be a fireman for Halloween and we are all excited about this. He is going to rock it and will actually want to wear his costume. We are going to start him in sports in the next year. Just have to figure out which sport it will be; baseball or soccer. 

I am struggling with him though. He whines and cries at the drop of a hat. He hates to clean up but LOVES to make a mess. He is, in a word or 2, a young kid. He is really a great kid and our issues are my patience. I worry that I am not showing him love in the way he needs it.  I am going to get the 5 Love Languages book for Kids to help me. My biggest fear is that he will grow up thinking I love A more than him because her & my love languages are similar so it is easier for her to feel my love. So, I am working on loving him as he should be.

A, what a stinker. She will be 2 in a few short months and is a lover of life. She wakes up every morning happy to see the day. Usually, the first thing she will say is "See-ral!!!" She loves to eat cereal for breakfast and always stops by our room to say good morning to daddy before she makes her way to breakfast.  She continues to work her magic in making both JJ & I feel like her favorite. I envy her ability to make everyone feel important and loved to her. 

We are working on her coordination. She still has a hitch in her right leg when she runs but I have noticed that she is starting to run faster. I think all those races with H down that hall are starting to pay off. This girl loves to run, though. She would run all day of she could. 

She is becoming quite a verbal little girl.  She can express herself very well and even said a 6 word sentence the other day. It didn't make the most sense (something about monsters) but she put 6 words together and was able to convey what she wanted to say in a round-about way. 

She still has a love to Elsha (Elsa) and all things Frozen. If she is upset or doesn't want to do anything, just sing "Let It Go" and all is right with the world again.  She loves to dance. She has learned to speed up or slow down her dancing to the beat of the music. I am seriously starting to think about enrolling her in dance next spring to encourage this love. 

A loves H; thinks he hung the moon.  Anything that H does, she has to do right along with him. H has learned to use this to his advantage (as any kid would) but A does not seem to mind taking the fall for his ideas. As long as H wants to play with her, she is a happy girl.  They play very well together and really enjoy each others company most of the time. 

These kids of mine, I think they are pretty great. I am not always the perfect mother but I love them to the moon and back. I think that JJ & I are doing a great job with them. I hope that we continue to help them grow into the amazing people that they will become. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Meals for the Week

I have started the tradition of making cookies every week like Mom used to to. I am making Hot chocolate Cookies this week.
The temperature is going to vary from the highs in the high 90's to highs in the low 80's this week so my menu will be part summer and part fall. 

Since we are trying to save money, I am making a lunch that should last me all week. Last week was tuna pasta salad. This week I am making a chicken salad.
(This is very good. I added some arugula to my sandwich for added flavor. I am excited to get to eat this for the rest of the week).

Classic Chicken Salad Croissants

For a healthy-ish low-carb dinner. We have BBQ Chicken Salad  Hope this is good!
(This was a hit with JJ & I. I made 1 modification. I put BBQ sauce on the chicken before cooking it so that it had more of a BBQ flavor. We gave the kids just part of the BBQ chicken breast for their dinner and H told me that dinner was very good!)

BBQ Chicken Salad - This healthy, flavorful salad comes together so quickly, and it's guaranteed to be a hit with your entire family!

Pizza Bagels left over from last week that we didn't get around to doing. Boring but easy.

We are making Butternut squash lasagna which sounds perfect for fall and almost the start of football season. 
(This was delicious. A loved it. Once we got H to eat it he really enjoyed it. There was enough leftover for us to save some for dinner next week.)
Autumn Lasagna
And.... Football season officially starts on Thursday so we are going to celebrate in style with the Pioneer Womans Dr Pepper Spicy Pulled Pork on Hawaiian rolls. We are going to start football season off right!


Saturday, August 23, 2014

First Day of School (3 yrs)

This looks very similar from the picture last year but he is so much taller. 

H has started back to school!!!  Summer was great but no matter how much I tried to do with him, he was plain bored.  He needed school to start just as much as I did. 

He was ecstatic to go to school. Most kids will cry & cling to their parent but not H. He walked away from me and went straight into his new room and never looked back. School is one of his happy places and it really shows. He has a new teacher, Mrs. Nicole. She is a new teacher at the school but was an assistant last year. Nicole is great and has been planning all sorts of activities for the last year. She is very enthusiastic and seems to be very loving.  I think that she will be an excellent teacher for H. 

H has some friends from last year in his class but also some new kids to meet which seems to make him happy. He was not at all sad that Trace and Owen were in a different class. 

Here are some of his favorites right now:
Food: Pizza & sandwiches
Movie/Show: Rescue Bots & Charlie Brown Halloween.
Toy: Anything that he can make into a firetruck or fire hose

This kid is all boy and has boundless energy.  

As we were getting in the car to head to school he turned to A and said "I will miss you Anns. Will you miss me?"  It was so cute and really showed what a loving kid he truly is. He has his moments where he is not nice and a stinker but deep down he loves his family and really enjoys being around him. 

It is going to be an adjustment to A & I with him gone during the day. Last year A still took a nap while he was at school so there wasn't much time for us to do anything. This year she doesn't nap and is used to H telling her what they are going to play. I think  it will be great but definitely an adjustment. 

I love H and his enthusiasm for school and all that it entails. This is going to be a great school year for him. We can not wait to see how much he grows and learns this year!

Big Girl Bed

A is 22 months old and we transferred her to her big girl bed. Well, I should say that we have decided to start the transition. This is earlier than H was moved to his big boy bed but he was in his transition bed way before this. If anyone was ready for a big girl bed, it was Anns. She would climb up into H's bed and tuck herself in and pretend to sleep. 

JJ, being the very protective father that he is, thought that the fall from the full size bed would be too much for her. So, he came up with a good solution. We have blown up our queen sized blowup mattress so she can get used to not having the rails from the crib; if she does fall it won't be so far.

I don't particularly like the way that her room looks right now. I hate that there is no headboard but I know that this is only temporary. I am giving her 2 weeks in this bed and then she will get her the headboard into place.  I know it shouldn't bother me since this temporary but I just don't like how unfinished her room looks. It will be much better once we get everything in place.

When we first got her bed into place she immediately climbed up and tucked herself in. She loved it from the second that we set it up. 

I wasn't so much worried about her sleep as I was about her loving the bed too much to sleep. I should have known that both JJ & I had nothing to fear. She won't leave her bed until one of us comes to get her. She will lay in bed and read a book or just sing to herself until she falls asleep. Even when she wakes up, she lays quietly and will call out every once in a while until we come to get her. 

Her first night in the bed

She did fall out of bed her first night but it was only once. She somehow rolled off the bed and got her head stuck between her bookshelf and the bed. She was really good about it though. As soon as I got her back into bed, she told me nite-nite and went right back to sleep. 

Both H & A are loving the big girl bed. We will have snack picnics on her bed and just lay around.  We read books in her bed, have parties in her bed and take turns pretending to be asleep. It has really been fun for us to all get to hang out on her bed. 

Meals for this week

This past week was a busy one and we are always trying to save on groceries.

Kerri's Tuna Pasta Salad via

I made the above Tuna Pasta Salad as my lunch for the week. It was really good and I enjoyed the warm aspect of it but towards the end of the week it got very "tuna-y". 

I made baked chicken parm  which is always a winner and delicious. I made it over vegetable noodles this time for some added veggies and you really couldn't tell the difference. 

These were delicious and very good over arugula for JJ & I. It added a nice crispness to the meal and the contrast between the hot meatballs and the cold arugula was very nice. 


These were ok. It was very easy to put together and H loved the shell pasta but I wasn't that crazy about it. It was so easy that I know I will make it again. 

I also made a creamy chicken & mushroom pasta from the Food Network Magazine September insert (I have saved the insert). I will try to take a picture next time so that I remember what it looks like. I made the chicken cajun and was very good. 

Lastly we made pizza bagels. These were normal easy to make but the kids loved them. 

Pizza Meatballs


This makes 12-15 meatballs

Shopping List
1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 eggs
1/2 cup pepperoni, chopped
1 (14 oz) jar of pizza sauce
Parmesan cheese, grated to garnish

Preheat oven to 450 degrees for more done meatballs (which I prefer).

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine your ground beef, onion, garlic, seasoning, cheese, eggs and pepperoni.  Shape the meat mixture into 12 golf ball sized meatballs.

Place meatballs on prepared pan and roast 15 to 18 minutes or until lightly browned.

Remove from oven and drizzle pizza sauce on top with a sprinkle of Parmesan.

I served this over vegetable noodles for the kids but over arugula for JJ & I. It was delicious over arugula!

I actually told JJ that these were the best meatballs I have ever had. 

Got this recipe from Mix & Match Mama 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Meals for the Week:

Monterey Tortilla Casseroles

JJ & I loved this last time I made it but I didn't get to make it last week so I will be making it this week

Sesame Chicken Potstickers - These are unbelievably easy to make. And they're freezer-friendly too, perfect for those busy weeknights!

Sesame Chicken Potstickers 
These were good but since I am not used to cooking things in vegetable oil, it stressed me out with all the popping and sizzling. 
The kids and JJ ate these up. It is definitely on my list to make again but not any time soon. 
Kickin' BBQ Chicken Quesadilla

BBQ Chicken Quesadilla Found in Cooking Light Magazine April 2014 (Healthy)
These are so delicious that I wonder why we don't have them every night of the week. 

Grilled Cheese and tomato soup

JJ's Porkchops with curry rice

Enchilada Casserole

This is once of JJ's favorite dinners so I need to make it more often.

Enchilada Casserole

Photo: Johnny Autry and Randy Mayor; Styling: Cindy Ba

Make a hearty, healthy Mexican casserole the whole family will enjoy. Substitute ground turkey and chicken broth instead of beef, if desired.

Worthy of a special occasion
Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: 1 wedge)
Recipe fromCooking Light

Recipe Time

Total: 30 Minutes 

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 377
  • Fat: 14.6g
  • Saturated fat: 7g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 5.3g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.6g
  • Protein: 30.2g
  • Carbohydrate: 32.4g
  • Fiber: 4.7g
  • Cholesterol: 76mg
  • Iron: 2.5mg
  • Sodium: 650mg
  • Calcium: 91mg


  • 1 pound
     ground sirloin $
  • 1 cup chopped onion $
  • 1 tablespoon butter $
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup fat-free, lower-sodium beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon 40%-less-sodium taco seasoning mix (such as Old El Paso)
  • (15-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • (8-inch) whole-wheat flour tortillas
  • 1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeño peppers $
  • ---- I use more cheese than it calls for
  1. Preparations
  2. 1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef and onion to pan; cook 6 minutes, stirring to crumble.
  3. 2. Preheat oven to 400°.
  4. 3. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Sprinkle with flour; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add broth, taco seasoning, and tomato sauce to pan. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1 1/2 cups tomato mixture to beef mixture; reserve 1/2 cup tomato mixture.
  5. 4. Place 1 tortilla in a 9-inch pie plate. Top with 1 cup beef mixture. Repeat layers, ending with tortilla. Spread reserved tomato mixture over tortilla. Top with cheese. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until cheese melts. Cool slightly. Cut into 4 wedges.