Chili Macaroni

Hello Everyone,

Here is a recipe I have made so many times I could make it blindfolded! Ok so maybe not blindfolded, but I have made it many times and never the same way twice! You will find in different parts of the country that it’s called by different names. American Chop Suey, and goulash are the other two names people call it. I have always called it chili mac, because to me it’s a mixture of chili, with macaroni added. It is my favorite one pot dish! Many years ago when I worked in home health, we had a client that lived with us and this was his favorite dish! He would eat 3-4 plate fulls of it and then would complain his stomach was too full! I would think well duhh, you ate too much! Sometimes you can’t tell people what to do! Wow, that was a long time ago!!! So here is the recipe, I finally took the time to write it all down, instead of just throwing it all into the pot! 🙂

Chili Macaroni:

1-1/2 lbs. ground beef

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 large green bell pepper, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce, low sodium

1 (14.5 oz.) can fire roasted tomatoes, chopped

1-1/2 cups low sodium beef broth

3 tbsp chili powder, more or less to your taste.

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. black pepper

2 cups uncooked macaroni

Heat a large cooking pot, brown the beef in batches, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Cook just until brown. Add in the onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic, cook until the onion and celery are tender, on medium-low heat, about 10 minutes. Stirring the mixture every couple of minutes. Add in the tomato sauce, tomatoes, broth, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil on medium heat, then add the 2 cups uncooked macaroni. Turn heat to medium-low, and cook until macaroni is tender and some of the liquid is evaporated, I leave the lid off. Adjust seasoning’s to your taste. Sometimes I add a can or whole kernel corn, sharp cheddar cheese, canned beans and sliced black olives. Enjoy! 🙂

I know it’s been awhile since I have posted, I have been really sick. My last Dr appt she told me I am anemic, and had low vitamin D. I have been in so much pain, that all I have been able to do, is some laundry, dishes, and I try to do some sweeping. I can’t believe, how simple little chores can be very hard on me or I can’t do them at all. I can’t go on the floor on my knees, because it’s very painful and sometimes I have a really hard time getting back up. One of these days I’m afraid I will fall and break my leg, back, or my hip, then I’ll be up the creek without a paddle… My feet are completely numb, whenever I walk around the house I wear house slippers, because if I don’t I step on stuff and can’t feel it. That’s part of the reason I don’t drive much anymore. Hopefully someday I will get better, but it my future doesn’t look to good. I have thought about moving into an assisted living home at times. I feel like a burden on Ray and my family can’t help or don’t want to. I don’t hear from them too much, except for a few of them. I know they are all busy with their lives, and some are sick, so maybe that’s why I don’t hear from them.. Well sorry for sounding sad, I just needed to vent a little I guess..

Until next time, if there is a next time…


P.S. I do really love our new home! It’s really nice to have all this space!!!

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Posted by on March 9, 2012 in Meats, One-Pot Dishes, Pasta


Classis Shrimp Cocktail

Hello Everyone,

Here is a wonderful recipe I made for our Valentines dinner. It’s from my wonderful friend and blogger Mary from Apron Strings and Wedding Rings..

Classic Shrimp Cocktail:

24 large shrimp

1 lemon cut into wedges

3 tbsp. Italian parsley

1 small yellow onion, cut into wedges

6 whole black peppercorns

1 tsp. salt

enough water to cover shrimp

Place shrimp in a large sauce-pot. Place all above ingredient’s in pot and cook on medium-high heat just until shrimp is pink, about 4-5 minutes. Make sure when you clean the shrimp to leave the tails on! Drain shrimp and chill until ready to serve.

Cocktail Sauce:

1 cup chili sauce

3 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. horseradish

2 tbsp. minced yellow onion

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. Tabasco sauce, optional

1 tbsp. minced Italian

Mix all ingredient’s together, taste and adjust seasoning’s, if desired. I served this in a Martini glass and it was delicious! Here is the picture of this plus a few more of our Valentines dinner. One picture doesn’t look the best, but it sure tasted good!


I know I haven’t posted much at all this month. I have been really sick. I saw my dr yesterday and I am anemic, and my vitamin d is really low. So, I have to take a lot of vitamin d now.. Low vitamin d causes a lot of pain, and I have been in a lot of pain… It’s been terrible.. I haven’t been able to do much, our Valentines dinner is about the only food I have cooked.. Hopefully in a week or so, I’ll get better!

Until next time..

Amanda :)


Jalapeno Popper Pizza

Hello Everyone,

I made this pizza for the Superbowl. Ray wouldn’t eat it so I ended up eating the entire pie! Within two days!! 🙂 I did make him a different pizza, I’ll list the ingredient’s below.

Jalapeno Popper Pizza:

Pizza Dough:

1 package active dry yeast

1 tsp. honey

1 cup warm water (110-115) degrees

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. olive oil

Dissolve yeast in water, and add remaining ingredient’s expect 1 cup flour and mix until you have a smooth dough. Knead in the rest of the flour. Let rise for 30 minutes. The dough is ready when it will stretch as it is lightly pulled. This dough will make 2, 8-10-inch pizza’s.

For the toppings:

Jalapeno pizza:

Garlic sauce:

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

3 cloves garlic

1-2 tbsp. milk

Blend all 3 ingredient’s together until smooth and creamy.

Pepper jack cheese, shredded

pickled jalapeno slices

Panko bread crumbs

Roll out dough to an 9 inch circle, spread garlic sauce on dough and sprinkle with some cheese. Layer as many jalapeno slices as you like on pizza. Top with more cheese. Then sprinkle with about a cup of Panko bread crumbs. (I used the Panko to add extra crunch to the top of the pizza.) I use a pizza board to make pizza’s on, (sprinkle the board with cornmeal), it will slide better onto the stone, then slide the pizza onto a HOT baking stone. If you don’t have a pizza board or stone you can use a cookie sheet. Crank up your oven to 500 degrees, and it will take the pizza about 10-12 minutes, watch closely so it won’t burn. It will take a little longer on a cookie sheet, about 20 minutes.




I made Ray a BBQ chicken pizza. All I did was use the same dough. Then spread some BBQ sauce on dough, sprinkle with cooked shredded chicken, then sprinkled with extra sharp cheddar cheese. You can add some thinly sliced red onion if you like, I didn’t because I didn’t have any. He loved it!




I know it’s been two weeks since my last post, but Ray and I both have been sick. First he was sick for 3 days with a cold, then I got some kind of flu. I was so sick I ended up in the ER. They tried to get an IV in my arm and they ended up poking me 8 times! They needed to draw blood, and got some from two spots but my veins kept collapsing. I was very dehydrated. They did end up putting an IV up in my shoulder, weird place but it worked.

Well better go for now…

Until next time..

Amanda 🙂

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Posted by on February 10, 2012 in Pizza


Sage Cornmeal Biscuits

Hello Everyone,

Several years ago at the county fair, I was getting the items for the judges in my department. We were on to the baking powder biscuits class and someone had entered these in that class. The judges loved them and I got to taste a little bite of them. It dawned on me that I had this recipe! It’s in my Taste Of Home special breads publication. These biscuits are really good! The judges gave the person 1st place for them! Also if you’re looking for a different way to use up that leftover sage from Thanksgiving, here is a recipe for you.. 🙂

Sage Cornmeal Biscuits:

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

3 tsp. baking powder

1/2 to 3/4 tsp. rubbed sage

1/2 tsp. salt

1/3 cup unsalted butter

3/4 cup whole milk

In a bowl, combine the first five ingredient’s. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in milk just until moistened. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Roll to 3/4-inch thickness: cut with a floured 2-inch biscuit cutter. Place 2-inch apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees, for 10-12 minutes or until browned. Serve warm.

I had the MRI the other night and oh man did I hate it. The tech gave me headphones to listen to music but it didn’t help much. They even blow in air now, so you don’t feel like your suffocating. The tech had to help me sit and stand up, because after 20 minutes in that tube I literally could not move.. Should get the results this week sometime.. Well getting sleepy better go…

Until next time..

Amanda 🙂

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Posted by on January 28, 2012 in Breads, Breakfast


Turkey and Vegetable Meatloaf

Turkey and Vegetable Meatloaf:


2 tbsp. Olive oil

5 green onions, chopped

1 large celery stalk, peeled and chopped

1 large carrot, peeled and chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 can (14.5 oz.) fire roasted tomatoes, drained

½ tsp. dried thyme

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in a skillet on med-high heat, add in the green onions, celery, and carrot cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, thyme and tomatoes. Cook until fragrant and until some of the tomato juices have evaporated, about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.


½ cup ketchup

¼ cup packed light brown sugar

4 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Mix all 3 ingredients together until smooth, set aside.


2 large eggs

2/3 cup buttermilk

2 tsp. Chipotle mustard

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. black pepper

¼ tsp. Tabasco

1 lb. ground turkey

1 lb. ground turkey sausage

2 cups Panko bread crumbs

1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

In a large bowl, mix all meatloaf ingredients together, I use my hands. Do not over-mix, or your meatloaf will be tough. Mix in the vegetable mixture. Place meatloaf in a 9×5-inch loaf pan. (I use a stone-ware baking pan, it holds in the juice’s better, as turkey meatloaf can get dried out very easy and they retain the heat longer.) Brush half of topping onto meatloaf. Bake meatloaf for 1 hour, then brush with remaining topping. Bake another 35-40 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 175 degrees. Let rest and it will reach 180 degrees with carry-over cooking. Let cool for 15 minutes before slicing. Enjoy 🙂

I know I have made a lot of meatloaf in just one day, but there is a story behind all this. Last week I wasn’t feeling well at all. Ray was going to Costco, and asked me if I wanted him to bring anything back for dinner. I said yes, but please no pizza, the last 2 times I ate their pizza I got sick, it’s just my food sensitivities coming back. And I didn’t want chicken, getting tired of roasted chicken! I said to him they have already prepared food entrée’s in the cooler in the back, why don’t you see what they have there. He said ok, I’ll do that.. He came home with 2 different entrée’s, chicken enchiladas, which were really good! And meatloaf with mashed potatoes. I could tell they were made from scratch, they did not have a box taste that so many prepared entrée’s have. I really loved the meatloaf, in fact a meatloaf sandwich is my favorite! I slice the meatloaf, spread a little butter on the bread and it’s delicious. I love the meatloaf so much that within 2 days I ate all of it making sandwiches out of it. The loaves were not very big, about 4×2-inch’s in size, and covered in ketchup. I barely touched the mashed potatoes. Well needless to say I made Ray upset with me for eating all the meatloaf, he had only one small slice of it the day he brought them home. He was pretty mad at me.. I said I was sorry and I would make it up to him. That’s why I made the bacon-wrapped meatloaf yesterday. Well I am no longer in the dog-house, for now at least!!! LOL!! He asked me yesterday after I posted the recipe if I talked about why I made the meatloaf, and I said no. Only because I was tired and didn’t feel like writing about it. So now you all know my dirty little secret, I LOVE meatloaf!!!

Well better go for now, I need to get some house work done and put away 12 file size boxes of my books! And I have more in storage! YIKES!!

Amanda 🙂

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Posted by on January 26, 2012 in Meats


Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf

Hello everyone, I made this meatloaf for Ray yesterday, and it has been a big hit! 🙂

Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf:


1 tbsp. Olive oil

2 medium onions, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

½ tsp. dried thyme

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in a skillet on med-high heat, add in the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes.Set aside to cool.


½ cup ketchup

¼ cup packed light brown sugar

4 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Mix all 3 ingredients together until smooth, set aside.


2 large eggs

½ whole milk

2 tsp. stone ground mustard

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. black pepper

¼ tsp. Tabasco

1 lb. ground beef

1-1/2 lb. ground pork sausage

2/3 cup finely crushed saltines

1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 lb. thick cut bacon

In a large bowl mix all meatloaf ingredients together, I use my hands. Do not overmix, or your meatloaf will be tough. Mix in the onion mixture as well. On a large piece of parchment paper, lay the bacon strips next to each other slightly overlapping each piece. If you have an extra piece, just lay it on the bottom of meatloaf. Spread meatloaf mixture down the middle of the bacon, shaping into a loaf. Using the parchment paper, gently roll the bacon around the meatloaf. Place meatloaf bottom side down on a slightly greased broiler pan. (I use my broiler, because it allows the drippings to fall under and not make your meatloaf greasy.) With a pastry brush, brush half of the topping over meatloaf. Bake meatloaf for 1 hour, then brush with remaining topping. Bake another 20-30 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 160 degrees. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing.  Enjoy!!!

Until next time…

Amanda 🙂

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Posted by on January 25, 2012 in Meats


Sausage Pizza Soup

Hello Everyone,

Here is the recipe I made for my parents last week. Ever since I saw this recipe I had been dying to try it, and with my parents coming I thought this was the perfect time! We all ate 2 bowls of this delicious soup! Enjoy!

Sausage Pizza Soup:

3 tbsp olive oil

1 pound Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed

2 medium zucchini, sliced

2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms

2 small onions, chopped

2 green bell peppers, chopped

1 small head of garlic, cloves peeled and minced

2 cans (14.5 oz.) Italian style diced tomatoes, with basil, garlic, and oregano, undrained

4 cups water

2 tbsp. chicken base, I get this at Costco, or you can use 4 chicken bouillon cubes

2 tbsp. fresh basil paste, It’s made by Gourmet Garden and is organic and found with the other fresh herbs in  tubes, I love this stuff!

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, optional

Freshly grated parmesan cheese, for topping.

Garlic croutons, for topping

In a large cooking pot over medium-high heat and the oil. Add in the sausage and break up any clumps and cook just until lightly browned. Add in the zucchini, mushrooms, onions, bell pepper, and garlic. Let cook until softened and slightly browned. Add in the 2 cans of tomatoes, water, chicken base, basil paste, black pepper, and red pepper. Cook for 1/2 hour on medium heat, just until the veggies are tender and the flavors blend together. Top each bowl with parmesan cheese and garlic croutons. This soup was even better the next day!

*** Notice I didn’t add any salt? It’s because the tomatoes have salt and so does the chicken base. If you want to add salt, just make sure to taste it before adding any. We didn’t add any, because the parmesan cheese and croutons add all the salt we needed. Enjoy!

A funny thing happened that night. As most of you know I have my share of health problems and ever since I have been off steroids I am really tired and sluggish. I had dessert made, had the pizza stuff ready to go when my parents got here, and I was just finishing up getting the soup together when they showed up. All I had on was my nightgown and an apron! I said oh on they can’t be here already? I told them to please excuse me for just a bit while I go shower and get some clothes on. They were fine with that, they are very laid-back people! LOL!! Ray showed them around the house and all the new stuff we have bought since we moved in. They had only seen the house bare before they left for Omaha. We had a great time with them!!! Next week we get the movers to come and get the rest of the furniture. I can’t wait for all this moving, sorting of stuff, and trashing of some of the stuff. Right now as I type this I have 12 file size boxes of my books, that need to be put away.. Uggg!!! We will get it done!

My health is doing ok, other than my right leg and back is giving me a lot of trouble. We went to the ER today, and they gave me a pain shot, plus some better pain medication. The other pain medication I have wasn’t helping the back and leg pain at all. I am seeing a Orthopedist this week and getting an MRI of my back and leg. The ER Dr. thinks I might need surgery for this. I hope not! I was hoping the physical therapy would help, but it made the pain feel worse. It’s been so bad I haven’t been able so sleep, and I can’t stand very long.

Well until next time..

Amanda 🙂

Recipe was slightly adapted for Taste of Home.

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Posted by on January 23, 2012 in Soups


Black Bottom Brownies

Hello Everyone,

Here is the recipe I made for my parent’s the other day. It is fantastic!!! It’s from my favorite blogger and friend Mary, from Apron Strings and Wedding Rings. I sent home some the brownies with my parents and Ray ate pretty much the rest of it!

Black Bottom Brownies:

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup water

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 tbsp. white vinegar

1 tsp. vanilla


1 tsp. vanilla

1 ( 8oz.) package cream cheese, softened

1 large egg

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl mix together the water, vegetable oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Slowly pour wet mixture into dry mixture, and mix just until moistened. Scraping down bowl as needed. Pour into prepared baking pan. In another bowl beat together the vanilla, cream cheese, egg, sugar, and salt. Fold in the chocolate chips. Drop filling batter onto chocolate mixture, and using a knife swirl the 2 batters together, for a marbled look. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or just until center is set. These brownies are very moist, so the toothpick method may not work. Cool on wire rack before serving. We served this with some vanilla bean ice cream, and it was fantastic!! Enjoy! 🙂

Until next time…


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Posted by on January 20, 2012 in Bar Cookies, Dessert's


This and That…

Hello Everyone,

With all the moving, packing and unpacking I keep forgetting to post a few thing’s going on with us around here.. I hate moving, and to think my parents moved us kids every 3 years while I was growing up! We have found things we forgot about! For instance a couple of years ago we bought our niece’s a couple Christmas present’s wrapped them up in a box and put them away in the closet. And yep didn’t find them until we unloaded the closet in November! LOL!!! I found Abby a cute teddy bear with a bumble bee on its nose at a flee market in the summer a couple of years ago, she LOVES stuffed animals! Also a while ago I bought a Cross for Jacquelyn from an Avon lady. The box was so small that I thought I had lost it! So they got there belated Christmas presents this year along with a few other present’s we bought them. Oh well, I suppose stuff like that happens to us all! 🙂

A couple of weeks ago I decided to take one cake for Community Cakes for an elderly lady. It’s the first cake I have baked in 7 months? I think? I would like to bake more but with my health I know I can’t.. Bummer..

In December I did make two recipes from Food Networks magazine. I wanted to try a couple more but just could not muster up the energy or enthusiasm for it. Here are the two recipes I made. On page 114, the Hot Brown Turkey Sandwich. I really liked this but Ray well, sometimes he frustrates me. He doesn’t like tomatoes on anything, just by themselves with salt and pepper is all he wants. I said oh jee whiz can’t you just try it this way? He said no… grrrrrrr!!!!! He has his weird idea’s and he would say the same about me!! Many years ago we were talking about something and I was confused about some idea’s he had. I don’t remember what we were talking about but as I walked away from him I muttered Ray you are a strange weird man! I didn’t think he heard me.. He did! Ever since then it’s been a running joke with us. He signs all his email, letters and cards to me SWM. We have even decided it will be on his headstone and on mine it will say “Married to a strange weird man”. If your confused about all this, that’s ok. 🙂 Jokes between couples are not often understood by anyone else…

Next Food Network magazine we tried is on page 158 Lidia Bastianich’s Shrimp Scampi, we loved it. Served it with crusty bread to mop up the buttery juices and a salad! Delicious! Also can you be believe it’s my first time making shrimp scampi? It is! I have made many shrimp dishes and this was one of the easiest recipe’s for shrimp and the best I have ever made! We ate all of it! Oh and I did cut the recipe in half so we didn’t eat a full two pounds of shrimp, just one. Two pounds of shrimp would have been way to much!!

We had our first dinner party last night. It was my dad and step-mom. They flew in from Omaha, we don’t get to see them very much. We couldn’t use our dining room yet, to many boxes in there.. Hopefully the next time they come we can eat in there. I made homemade pizza, and not store-bought, dough or sauce either!! All from scratch. It was the first time I got to use my pizza board! LOVED IT!! I also made a sausage pizza soup, with lots of fresh veggies, ceaser salad, and chocolate cream cheese brownies. They loved it! It was so nice to have people over, I haven’t been able to for a long time. We had a great time with them! By the way I will try to post the recipes later in the week.

Well that’s all for now, need to finish up the cake!

Amanda 🙂

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Posted by on January 15, 2012 in My Thoughts


Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce

Hello Everyone,

As some of you might recall I made cinnamon rolls for Ray to take in for his office Birthday. I had several left at home, we ate a few. Then as we all know with homemade breads, they start to get a little dry and stale, and once they get to that point I don’t like to eat them. I decided to chop up the remaining cinnamon rolls and turned out I had 8 cups of cinnamon rolls left! WOW! I thought bread pudding, that’s a great way to use all this up! Enjoy!

Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce;

4 large eggs

2 large egg whites

3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar, divided

2-1/2 cups whole milk

2-1/2 cups heavy cream

3 tbsp. whiskey, optional

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. salt

8 cups leftover and stale cinnamon rolls

Heat oven to 325 degrees, and lightly grease a 9×13 baking pan with butter. Whisk the eggs, egg whites, 3/4 cup sugar, milk, cream, whiskey, and salt. Sprinkle cinnamon roll cubes into baking pan. Pour egg milk mixture over cubes. Let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. Sprinkle remaining 2 tbsp. sugar over top, and bake pudding for 40-50 minutes. Bake until pudding is a deep golden brown puffs around the sides and jiggles very slightly at the center. Serve warm and with sauce, if desired.

Butterscotch Sauce:

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 stick unsalted butter, 4 oz.

1/2 heavy cream

2 tsp. light corn syrup

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Cook the brown sugar and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring often, until mixture bubbles and becomes lighter in color, 3-5 minutes. Off the heat, slowly whisk in the cream until the sauce is smooth. Stir in the corn syrup and vanilla. Best if served warm.

Well until next time..

Amanda 🙂

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Posted by on January 12, 2012 in Breads, Breakfast, Dessert's