Bread Machine Pizza Dough

pizza 1Our little girl loves to help me make homemade pizzas.  There is something so fun about adding topping and sneaking bites of shredded cheese while you are decorating the top! I hate buying canned dough – they have so many additives and tons of sodium. We’ve really tried to cut out canned dough because of that. I set out to find an easy pizza dough recipe and I came across one that you make using your Bread Machine!!! A Bread Machine is like a crockpot – you add the ingredients and it does the work for you!

I did not change any of the ingredients, so I’m simply linking you to the recipe. Click here!  My setting took about 90 minutes so I turned it on before going to run an errand and we got back about 30 minutes after it turned off which allowed it time to rest. I took it out and started making it into a pizza shape and then we added our toppings and baked it. We like to brush on melted butter, garlic powder, and parsley about 1/2 way through the baking process. It makes the edges crunchy and gives it a bit more flavor.

ENJOY!!!

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Taco Night!

taco meat

This is a super quick and easy meal to make for your family! I’ve been making this for years and my family loves it. You can either have Tacos or Taco Salad with this meat.

What You Need:

1 lb ground beef

2-3 TBSP Homemade Taco Seasoning or 1 packet from the store

1 can dark red kidney beans (rinsed and drained)

1 tsp minced garlic

1/2 cup water

Optional toppings: tortillas (for tacos) or tortilla chips (for taco salad), tomato(s), lettuce, shredded cheese, sour cream, and/or salsa.

Brown your beef and then drain the grease off.  Next, add in seasoning, garlic and water – mix together. Last, add the beans and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for about 8 minutes, stirring every now and then.  Uncover and let stand for about 5 minutes.

Fix your Tacos or Taco Salad and enjoy!!

 

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Taco Seasoning Mixed Up

Taco Seasoning Mixed Up

My family loves Mexican dishes so I used to buy the Taco Seasoning packets all the time! Then, I heard on the news that they contain really bad additives. So I did some researching on the internet and compared several homemade recipes. I tried this one and to be honest it smells and taste just like the Taco Seasoning packets without all the additives and it has less sodium.

I adjusted the original recipe just a bit:

What You Need:

1/2 cup plus 2 TBSP chili powder

2.5 tsp garlic powder

2.5 tsp onion powder

2 tsp red pepper flakes

2.5 tsp oregano

3 tsp paprika

1/4 cup plus 1 TBSP cumin

1/8 cup salt (you can add or reduce this if you want)

1/4 cup finely ground pepper

A few tips:

This makes a lot and it usually lasts us anywhere from 4-6 months. I store mine in an old salsa/pasta jar and close the lid really tight.

Make sure you have plenty of chili powder, cumin, and black pepper because is calls for a lot!

Spice Art!
Spice Art!

 

I usually just start at the top of the list and add them to the jar one ingredient at a time. It looks so pretty! Like those little sand art bottles you used to make as a kid but this one smells amazing!

After you get all the ingredients in the jar shake it to mix everything together.  Shake it up again when you are ready to use it in a recipe.

2.5 TBSP equals approximately 1 store bought packet of Taco Seasoning.

This can be used in so many great recipes! Two of my go to ones are: Taco Meat and Taco Soup.

 

Oreo Dirt Cake

oreo dirt pudding 3
I used to love Dirt Cake as a kid. It was such a fun thing to eat so I wanted to make one for my family. I looked around on the internet at different recipes, but couldn’t settle on one that I liked so I decided to do my own thing.

What You Need:

2 – 4.2 oz boxes Jell-O Oreo Cookies ‘n Creme Instant Pudding & Pie Filling

1 container of Oreos (we used double stuffed)

1 bag gummy worms

1- 16 oz container of cool whip

2.5 cups cold milk

Pudding mixture

Pudding mixture

Pour cold milk into a large bowl. Add both boxes of Jell-O and whisk for 2 minutes. Add 1/3 container of cool whip to mixture and stir until blended. Put bowl in fridge.

Take a trifle bowl or another clear large bowl and layer in this order:

1. Whole Oreos and gummy worms;

2. Pudding Mixture;

3. Cool Whip; and

Repeat layers a second time.

Top with crushed Oreos and gummy worms.

My family LOVED this recipe. The next time I make this, I want to use Trolli Sour Worms instead of regular ones to see how it would change the taste.

I hope you and your family enjoy this fun dessert!

 

It’s Salsa Time!

salsa 3We went to a party a few months ago and tried the best Salsa ever! We’ve been wanting to make our own for awhile, and the lady gave us the recipe.  Salsa is a GREAT snack. My husband eats a small bowl for a late night snack just about every night. Several recipes call for it so by making your own you are cutting back on even more preservatives going into your foods!

This works best if you have a food processor as it can hold more than a blender. I only have a blender so I split the ingredients and did it in two batches and then mixed it all in a big bowl before I bottled it up. As you can see in the picture, I reused an old Salsa jar that we bought from Wal-Mart. Don’t throw away those old salsa jars/bottles. You can save money and reuse them to store your homemade Salsa or soups, etc.

What you need:

1 lg can of whole peeled tomatoes (No Salt Added)

4 Large tomatoes

1 med onion

1/2 bushel of fresh cilantro (pull the leafy tops off the stems- it’s ok if you leave a little bit of the stems).

1 Jalapeno

2 TBSP of garlic salt

2 Tsp Minced Garlic

I add my ingredients as I get them ready.

I add my ingredients as I get them ready.

Quarter the tomatoes (don’t chop because the blades will do that for you), dice the onions,  and chop the cilantro.   If you are doing it in a food processor and it will hold all of the ingredients go ahead and add them in as you get them ready.  If you are using a blender then I would put 1/2 the ingredients in and put the other 1/2 in a bowl to keep your workspace clean.  Once the first batch is done, do the second batch.

USE GLOVES!

USE GLOVES!

You’ll want to add the Jalapeno in before you blend it in the food processor. If you are using a blender, I usually put this in with the last batch. A careful note when dealing with Jalapenos that I learned the hard way – the SEEDS are what make it HOT! I STRONGLY suggest using gloves when dealing with a Jalapeno. The first time I made the Salsa, I did not and then I touched my neck and it burned all day long! Cut the stem off of the Jalapeno.  Cut it in half and take the seeds out.  Add 1/4 of the seeds to the Salsa to begin with and set the rest of the seeds off to the side. If you decide it’s not hot enough, you can always add more.  Next, cut the outside pieces of the Jalapeno in half again. You should have 4 pieces. Chop those four pieces and add to the Salsa. Blend together.

If you used a blender, add the two blended batches together in a big bowl and stir it up really well. Taste! If it’s not spicy enough, add more Jalapeno seeds. If you got it too spicy, you can add additional tomatoes (blended) to off-set the temperature.

A cleaning note for your blender: I just learned this recently so I’m sharing to hopefully keep you from getting cut by the blades! Your blender may come apart from the bottom. The bottom of mine screws off and I can pull the blades out instead of reaching my dishcloth down inside it! Maybe I was the only person that didn’t know that, but just in case thought I’d share!

The bottom of your blender may screw apart for easy cleaning!

The bottom of your blender may screw apart for easy cleaning!

Easy Sugar Cookies

sugar cookies 4

So one of my goals of being a stay at home mom is NOT taking the easy/processed road and buying the Pillsbury Ready to Bake cookies but instead learning how to make them from scratch.  After looking at several different recipes on Pinterest, I settled on a sugar cookie recipe to try.

Now, because I did not change anything about this recipe, I am simply re-blogging it – you’ll need to go here for the recipe.

One thing I liked about this particular recipe was that the cookies looked so thick! We love thick sugar cookies. She also had a GREAT tip. Place your dough between two parchment papers and roll it out- SHUT UP!!! No more icky floury rolling pin mess!

A few tips:

1. Roll out more parchment paper than you think you need.  I did not and it made it more difficult trying to roll it out…..don’t forget you’ll need 2 sheets (1 for the top and 1 for the bottom).

Shelf Liner goes under parchment paper to keep it in place while rolling.
Shelf Liner goes under parchment paper to keep it in place while rolling.

 2. I had a problem with the paper sliding around so I tried taping down the edges. That didn’t work too well because the tape kept coming undone.  So, next I tried an extra piece of  my handy shelf liner and that worked great.  If you have a grip pad or shelf liner, put it under your parchment paper to keep it from sliding around then Rock and Roll!

3. Make sure you don’t roll it out too thin or your cookies won’t be thick! After you do your first round of cut outs, repeat the rolling out step and then stick it back in the fridge for about 5 minutes.  I learned that it is SO much easier to get crisp cut outs if it’s chilled.

4. Last – this is a GREAT recipe to get your kids involved and in the kitchen. My daughter had a blast pouring in the ingredients. After you start rolling out the dough let them have a turn.  Give them the box of cookie cutters and let them pick out their favorite shapes to cut them out!

Let those little hands have some fun!

Let those little hands have some fun!

5. Top with regular sugar, colored sugar, or frosting!

ENJOY!!

REAL Cheese Dip

photo 2 (2)We are huge fans of Rotel/Cheese Dip in our house. However, every time I would have to buy that block of fake cheese I would cringe and think there’s got to be a better way! Surely there is a way to make it from scratch! So to Pinterest I went. I tried two different recipes. The second one was spot on with a few modifications. Go here for the original recipe.

What you need:

1 (8oz) block of cream cheese (room temp)

1 cup + 1 small handful shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup mild salsa (you can use store bought or homemade) (take out of fridge when you take out the cream cheese)

3/4 of a small onion chopped.

1/4 lb of ground meat (or you can substitute for 1 {15 oz} can of processed chili.)

2 tsp minced garlic

3/4 tsp chili powder

A few dashes of: curry powder, ground cumin, cilantro, dried chives (You can always ADD more spices but you can’t take them back out once you add them….so add a little at a time.)

Fritos Scoops are what we like the best with this!

Stove Top Method: Brown meat and onions together (DRAIN).  Spray non-stick spray in sauce pan. Cut cream cheese in chunks and add to pan.  Add shredded cheese and salsa and let it start melting together. Add the rest of the ingredients. Continue stirring until all cheese is melted.  Taste and add additional spices if needed.

CROCKPOT METHOD:  If you are using ground meat, go ahead and sauté it and the onions before adding to the crock pot (Don’t forget to drain it!). Turn on low for 3-4 hours.  Give it a stir every now and then. Taste to make sure it has the right amount of spices  before serving. If not, add more.