Meatball Sandwiches

Monday, January 30, 2012

During the week I'm often looking for a quick go to meal for my family. With only four ingredients, I make this quite often and it's a favorite amongst my boys. I love a good sub sandwich and it's even better with melted cheese. Why go out when you can make this in less than 1/2 hour! (Plus, if you're like me you can sneak in pureed carrots into the spaghetti sauce to help the kids increase their veggie consumption!. Shhh. Don't tell them!)
Click here for printable recipe.

Posted by Jen.


Bag meatballs (precooked or raw. If raw, you'll need to cook them first)
1/2 jar spaghetti sauce
Hoagie buns
Mozzarella cheese, sliced

Preheat your oven to 375.

Plan out how many meatballs you'll need and either heat them in the microwave or cook them according to the package. I've found that a basic Hogie bun will fit about 4 meatballs. So when I make 4 sandwiches, I need to count out 16 meatballs. (do this with your kids to practice math skills!)

When the meatballs are heated through (or cooked) then mix with about 1/2 jar spaghetti sauce. I only use enough sauce to just coat the meatballs. Too much sauce means soggy buns!
To help prevent the potential soggy bun, I slice some cheese and line the bottom of the hoagie buns so as to provide a barrier for the sauce. Place the buns with cheese in the oven at 375 for a couple minutes just until the cheese is melted. Then remove from oven and fill the buns with your meatballs. You can put on a little extra sauce if you'd like.
Place sliced cheese on top and place under your broiler for a couple minutes to toast the cheese. OR just turn the temperature up to 450 and place the subs in until the cheese is melted. Serve immediately so everything is nice and warm.


Crockpot Chicken and Potatoes

Friday, January 27, 2012

This is Lara's younger sister, Kristina. It is very rare that I take the opportunity to post recipes on here, but in light of current events I figured I could occasionally come up with a recipe for Lara.

I love easy crockpot meals and this is one of our family favorites. My 4-year-old and 6-year old gobble this up and always ask for seconds, which is highly unusual when we aren't having pizza or hot dogs. I originally found the recipe on, then tweaked it some to fit my family better. (Don't we all do that to our recipes?) Hope you enjoy!
Posted by Kristina. 

The Ingredients:
  • 6-8  boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 6 potatoes, cubed (with or without skin)
  • Carrots (as many as you want (o:)
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 (1 oz) package dry onion soup mix
  • Seasoning to taste (I use Montreal Chicken seasoning and lemon pepper)

Put the potatoes and carrots at the bottom of the crockpot with the chicken on top. Mix together the cream of chicken soup, water, cornstarch, and the onion soup mix. Pour over the top. Cook on high 4-5 hours. (My chicken was frozen and it took about 5 hours to cook) You also have the option of cooking it on low for 8 hours.

The best thing about crockpot recipes is that you can tweak it any way you want. I happen to love carrots and potatoes, so I add lots.  If you don't love carrots and potatoes, add less of them and a little less water or add other veggies that you love better.  

Lots of love and hugs headed to Spencer, Lara, and the whole family today! We are constantly praying for you!


Crab Dip or Crab Alfredo sauce

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

For the last week I've been wishing that there was something I could do for Lara and her family. If I were still in her town then I would be bringing her family dinner, but then I realized that I can bring her virtual dinner! Lara asked me to be a part of this blog last year to help her out. Sorry I've been a slacker, but I promise that I will do a better job to help keep this blog going and not give Lara more things to worry about. So without further ado...

Whenever I have a social gathering at my house I love to make various dips. One of my favorites is a warm crab dip. This recipe is rather special to me because it is the recipe that my mom has been using for years and every year during the holidays we would make this. So now it has become one of my traditions as well, but not just for the holidays. It's always popular with my guests and people are constantly asking me for the recipe. The great thing about this dip, is that if you make it a little thinner by adding more cream or milk then have a crab alfredo sauce for your pasta!

Click here for printable recipe.

Posted by Jen.

The Ingredients:

1/4 c butter
1/4 c flour
2-3 c milk
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
dash pepper and nutmeg
dash Tobasco sauce (oops forgot to put it in the picture)
14 oz pkg of imitation crab meat, finely chopped

The Directions:
First make a white sauce. (check out the tutorial for making a white sauce here). Melt the butter in a large pan, then sprinkle in the flour. Stir together until the flour is cooked into the butter.Turn temperature up to med high and add a cup of milk at a time, stirring constantly so that it doesn't lump up. As it gets thicker, add more milk until the desired consistancy.Mix in the Parmesan cheese, and spices. At this point you have a basic Alfredo sauce that would be great over pasta. (just add a little more Parmesan cheese and garlic to taste if that's your thing). But we are not stopping here, so add the chopped crab.
Mix well. Add more spices to taste. This is actually better served the next day. So let it cool and then put in a microwave or oven safe bowl and place in the fridge overnight. The following day just add a little more milk or cream (it will be quite thick!) and heat all the way through. You can heat it in the microwave or my mom actually sprinkles more Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs on top and heats in in the oven. Serve with solid crackers as this is rather thick. Triscuits are great, Ritz are not. Or serve with toasted baguette/french bread. If you happen to have left overs, or just want to make this a pasta dish, simply add more milk and make the sauce thinner. Pour and mix into cooked pasta.


Aunt Debra's Sugar Muffins

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sunday Morning Sugar Muffins

We have a tradition in our family of always having “Sugar Muffins” on Sunday morning. That is not the official title but my daughter began calling them this as a little girl, so that is what we go with. Breakfasts are a big deal in my home. No one leaves the house with out being fully loaded to head off to school or other activities. My mother fixed these occasionally for our family and now my twin sister and I have both turned these into our traditional breakfast for the Sabbath. Hope you enjoy!

3 C Flour
1 C Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 C milk

1/2 cup melted butter
Plenty of cinnamon and sugar mixture

Stir together dry ingredients and then add the wet. Stir till moist and then scoop into sprayed muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven. While the muffins are baking, melt another cube of butter. Mix together plenty of sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl.

After baking, roll each muffin in melted butter and then into the cinnamon and sugar mixture.
Serve with other favorite breakfast foods.

You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers!
Aunt Debra



Sunday, January 22, 2012

Just a quick note about my son, who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia 12 days ago:

Spencer just finished with his first round of chemo.  We have another 10-14 days in the hospital while we wait for his blood levels to finish dropping, then rise back up to a safe level.  Then we'll be able to take him home for a week, then start it all over again back in the hospital.   We're in for a long road over the next several months! 

Our family is settling into a new normal.  The little ones are clingier than usual, but with the arrival of Grandma and Aunt H into town, it's gotten a little easier for them to stay in a routine.   My husband and I are exhausted, but with the help of countless family and friends we are hanging in there okay. 

The effects of the chemo are starting to kick in and Spencer is not feeling great.  It's hard stuff watching your child in pain. 

And about the blog: 

The Recipe Shoebox will go on!   My blog partner, Jen, with the help of my sisters and cousin are going to keep the recipes coming, while we take care of our son and pray for the day when we can have Spencer back home as my #1 taste tester again.  :)

Thanks for all your prayers and words of support.  It's hard to adequately describe how strongly we feel that God has been carrying us every step of this journey.   In amidst the stress and the worry about the long weeks and months ahead of us, we have felt an inexplicable inner peace that no matter what lies ahead, that a higher plan is at play. 

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." 
John 14:27


For Lara

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sometimes life just doesn't make sense. Sometimes we get surprised by a sudden turn of events that turns everything upside down. Sometimes we learn more about ourselves at those times than any other time in our lives. For Lara, I doubt that even begins to explain what she is feeling. Whatever was her life, hobbies, schedules, and comforts before this change of events... it has all morphed into something new. Her life will be just as meaningful, and just as full, but still she will put a part of herself on hold for her family, for her son.

e loves this blog. And I love her. So, I didn't want to see it sit idle today. Today I post a recipe for her. Just to say to her... your blog matters, you matter, I'm so proud of you... and we are praying for you and sending all our love your way! Love, Trisha


This is the perfect dinner for when life is crazy and upside down. Simple, easy, no rules, and barely any clean up at all!


I know I should post a picture of the ingredients now, but really.. it's up to you. I grab a big pot and throw in all sorts of meats and vegetables. I usually include:

Vegetables: asparagus, squash, zucchini, broccoli, (or even baby carrots, little potatoes)
Meat: little smokie sausages, shrimp, meatballs


Cover your dining table with a plastic, disposable table cloth.

Set out what we like to call "dip-it" aka ketchup, Ranch dressing, barbeque sauce

Throw whatever meats and veggies you choose to use in a big pot filled with water.

Boil until meat is warm and vegetables are soft (sometimes it helps to start boiling the veggies first and then add the meat).

Season with lots of salt and pepper.

Drain and Dump.

That's right, I said dump..... just like this:

Dump the pot of food in the middle of the table and allow everyone to eat until they are full. When it's done, fold up the tablecloth and toss it! Wash your pot, and you're done! Ok, I know you can barely call this a recipe, but the kids absolutely love it! So the next time you are in the dumps and cooking is the last thing on your mind... Dump Dinner may just be the answer!


Life Changes

Friday, January 13, 2012

Dear blog readers,

Here is the view from our window lately...

Here is the only menu I've been looking at...

Here is the jewelry I've been wearing...

Here is a glimpse at our latest reading material....

Here is where my heart is right now...
I will be stepping out of the food blog world for a time, while we devote our hearts and souls to taking care of our 16-year-old son, Spencer, who was just diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. 

He began treatment yesterday with an aggressive round of chemo that likely will keep him in the hospital for the better part of several months.  We are scared and overwhelmed at what the next few months will bring for our family, but already have felt the power of angels (earthly and heavenly) buoying us up and bringing us strength.  

Our needs are being met wonderfully well and we do not need anything other than your prayers for him and for our family. 

With love,
"I believe God not only resides in the joy and new life of spring, like a reward if we make it through the winter. We can find him in every season, if were willing to look. I just happen to be in a tough season right now. Its winter for me. I trust a new and joyous season is on the way, God will bring me spring when he is ready. He just wants to meet me in the winter right now"  

I don't know where this quote originated, but within hours of his diagnosis, my son made this quote his Facebook status.  



Enchilada Pasta

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Enchiladas made over into a pasta dish...why didn't I think of that?  With my family's love of noodles and of Mexican food, this dish was destined to become a success at our house.  We've made this easy, cheesy  dish twice now and both times was eagerly devoured by the crew with clamoring for second helpings.  The second time I made it, I threw in a can of drained black beans and recommend that for a tasty addition and a little boost of nutrition.   Enjoy! 

Recipe Source:  Pearls, Handcuffs, & Happy Hour
 Click here for printable recipe.

Posted by Lara. 

The ingredients: 

1 box (13-ounces) penne pasta
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red pepper, diced
2-3 chicken breasts, cooked & shredded (or shredded rotisserie chicken)
1 {4 oz.} can diced green chilies
1 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 (10-oz. each) cans green chili enchilada sauce
2/3 cup red enchilada sauce
1 can (15-ounces) black beans, drained (optional)
2 cups shredded cheese (I used sharp cheddar)
1 cup sour cream
Toppings, as desired:  chopped avocados, green onions, black olives, diced tomatoes, sour cream, chopped cilantro

Boil pasta according to package directions.   

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in large skillet and cook onions for about 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper and cook for another 3-5 minutes.

Add cooked chicken, green chiles, cumin, chili powder, salt, enchilada sauces. and black beans (if using). Let sauce simmer for about 8-10 minutes.

Add cheese and stir until the cheese is melted and heated through. Add sour cream and while cooking on low heat, stir constantly until sour cream is well mixed and heated through, without letting it boil (or the sour cream will curdle).

 Drain pasta and return to pot. Pour sauce over pasta and mix well. 

Garnish with desired toppings:  avocado, tomato, green onion, sour cream, etc..  Makes 8 servings.


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Menu 1/9 - 1/15

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Christmas decorations are back in the attic.  My body is slowly detoxing from a month of goodies.  After a rough week of readjusting to real life after Christmas break, I am looking forward to a calmer, more routine week this week (knock on wood) filled with some healthy, but comforting dinners. 

Monday--Tomato Basil Soup

French Peasant Bread

Tuesday--Pesto Chicken Salad Wraps (new)

Blueberry Spinach Smoothie

Wednesday--Cremini Asparagus Pasta

Thursday--Sausage and Pepper Sandwiches
Friday--Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup (new)

Lion House Cornbread Recipe

Saturday--Spinach Lasagna 
Braided Bread

Sunday--Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches

Go check Organizing Junkie for lots more Menu Plans!


Slow Cooker Tamale Pie

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

After a month of posting only goodies (and eating way too many in the process), I guess it's time to get back on the healthy eating bandwagon again and this slow cooker recipe was a  great place to start!  With its cheesy cornbread crust and Mexican meat mixture, this dish got the "7-thumbs'-up" distinction in our family and because it was a slow cooker recipe, it got the busy mommy thumbs' up as well!  If you like your food on the mild side, I recommend substituting a can of plain diced tomatoes  in place of the green chili/diced tomato combination.  We, however, thought it was perfect just the way it was! 

Recipe Source:  Taste of Home

Click here for printable recipe. 

Posted by Lara. 


1 lb. ground beef (I used ground turkey)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes with mild green chilies, undrained (for a milder version, substitute a can of plain diced tomatoes)
1 can (11 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained
1 can (10 ounces) enchilada sauce
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 package (8-1/2 ounces) corn bread/muffin mix (I used a Jiffy mix)
2 eggs
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Mexican cheese blend
Sour cream and additional minced fresh cilantro, optional

In a large skillet, cook beef or turkey over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the cumin, salt, chili powder and pepper.
Transfer to a 4-qt. slow cooker; stir in the beans, tomatoes, corn, enchilada sauce, onions and cilantro.

Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours or until heated through.

In a small bowl, combine muffin mix and eggs;

spoon over meat mixture.

Cover and cook 1 hour longer or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Sprinkle with cheese; cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

Serve with sour cream and additional cilantro if desired.

Makes 8 servings.


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About This Blog

My name is Lara and while I'm definitely not a gourmet cook, I do love preparing tasty, healthy meals for my family. Finding new recipes to try and sharing the ones we've already fallen in love with is a passion I've had since college and the reason why I've started this blog! With five kids, I'm usually in a hurry, so you'll find most of these recipes kid friendly and simple to make.

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