Top 10 Recipes of 2013

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I haven't done much recipe posting lately, but I still had fun checking out what the top 10 viewed recipes of 2013 were.  Hope you have a happy new year!   Happy cooking!










#1 viewed recipe of 2013


Turkey Wild Rice Salad

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Contrary to popular belief, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. It's just that in addition to the normal busyness of life with five kids, my kitchen has been in the process of getting remodeled over the last few months and cooking anything, let alone recipe trying has gone totally down the tubes.  I still don't have a fully functioning kitchen, but at least I've got the basics now (countertops, sink, and stove), so we can stop eating frozen meals--YAY!   Now I'm just hoping that I'll be back up to full speed in the kitchen by Thanksgiving.  Stay tuned for before/after pictures and more yumminess to come!  

This recipe is one that I discovered several months ago and it has quickly become a family favorite....just as much for its quick and easy preparation as for how much the whole family loves it.  As a side bonus, it also makes for great leftovers the next day.  Serve with whole grain rolls and a smoothie and you've got a wonderfully tasty, filling, and healthy meal!  

Click here for printable recipe.  

Posted by Lara.

The ingredients:

2 cups cooked, cubed turkey (I used  nitrate/nitrite free  Kirkland turkey lunchmeat from Costco)
2 cups cooked wild rice, cooked as directed on package (I used a wild rice/brown rice blend)
1-1/2 cups red grapes, halved
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped pecans
green onions, sliced
1 cup cubed Swiss cheese (optional)
1/3 cup raspberry vinaigrette, plus more to taste

Toss all ingredients in a bowl and drizzle with dressing.  Makes 4-5 servings. 

If making several hours in advance of eating,  stir together everything but the pecans and add those right before serving.



Lemon Herbed Chicken and Veggies

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

This is a meal that my 12-year-old daughter made for me on Mother's Day.  She had attended a demonstration with other youth from church on how to make it and afterward she handed me a grocery list and did the rest herself.  I found it so sweet to see how excited she was about it and was delighted when it turned out legitimately very tasty.  We've since made it another four or five times and this recipe ended up being the catalyst for me to get out of my blogging rut and start posting again, because I was worried about losing the recipe that was typed up on a loose sheet of paper.  The chicken needs to marinate for a few hours, but other than that the whole thing comes together very quickly.  In fact, the rice will probably take longer to cook than the chopping and cooking of the chicken and the veggies.  I envision this recipe being a regular part of our meal rotation for a long time to come!    

I made a 1-1/2 batch for my family of 7.
Click here for printable recipe.  

Posted by Lara.

The ingredients:

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. dried parsley
2 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 pkg (8-oz.) mushrooms (white or cremini), quartered
bell pepper (any color), chopped into large pieces
red onion, chopped into large pieces

In a gallon size Ziploc bag, combine olive oil, lemon juice, and seasonings.  Add cubed chicken and marinate for 3 hours or longer.   

Spread meat and veggies in a single layer on a large cookie sheet with sides.  Pour marinade over the top.  Broil for 15 minutes.   Or you can skewer them and grill them outdoors. 

Serve over warm rice.  
Serves 4.  Enjoy!  

Recipe Source:  from my friend Julianne 


Baked Ziti with Spinach and Sausage

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

With the increased pace of life now that my kids are getting older, I'm finding that more and more my recipe blogging has slipped to the back burner.  I was wondering if I'd ever regain my motivation to do it again, until one day I was making a recipe for the fourth or fifth time and I couldn't find the slip of paper that it was written down on.  That's when it struck me, I need to keep blogging if for nothing else to keep track of my favorite recipes.   I may not blog as often or with as many pictures as I usually do, but I am pleased to say that I will still at least occasionally share some of my favorite new discoveries along the way!  

This dish was a HUGE hit at our house and there was no way I was going to lose this recipe.  It was a tad time consuming to put together (about 1 hour for the prep and the baking) for a weekday night, but it was worth every bit of the effort.  Last time I made it, I made a double batch so I could freeze one for another night.  This dish is as good as the sausage you choose, so I recommend choosing a good quality Italian sausage (I used the sliceable kind [Niman Ranch spicy Italian chicken sausage is my favorite brand], but you could also use a good ground sausage if you preferred.  Just don't buy the cheap stuff in a tube.)

Click here for printable recipe. 

Posted by Lara.

The ingredients:
3 cups uncooked ziti or penne pasta (about 10-oz)
2 Tbs. olive oil
3/4 lb. spicy Italian sausage, sliced
medium onion, chopped
garlic cloves, minced
2 cans (14.5-oz each) diced tomatos
1/4 cup pesto    
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
8 cups fresh spinach, chopped (about 8-oz)
1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Cook pasta as directed on package.  Drain and set aside.  Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Saute onion and garlic just until soft  (about 5 minutes).  Add sausage slices and cook until browned (about 5 minutes).  Add tomatoes with juices to pan. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.  Stir in pesto.  Add salt and pepper.  Lightly oil 9x13-inch baking dish.  Combine cooked pasta, chopped spinach, mozzarella cheese, and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese. Pour into baking dish.  
Pour pasta sauce over top and stir together.  Sprinkle remaining 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese over the top.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.  
Serves 6.   Enjoy!  

Recipe Source:  an old church cookbook 


Lemon Cream Pops

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

With popsicle season arriving quickly, I am having fun digging out some of our favorite frozen treat recipes again.  I credit these creamy pops as the recipe that won my family officially over to the joy of homemade popsicles.  They were sweet, but not too sweet and the silky texture was downright addicting!  Next time I will try them with limes instead! 

Recipe Source:  Taste of Home

Click here for printable recipe.

Posted by Lara. 

The ingredients:
1 can (14-ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (it took me 2-1/2 lemons to get the right amount)
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon peel

In a bowl, whisk all of the ingredients together until sugar is dissolved. 

Pour into 6-7 ice pop molds or 3-ounce paper cups and insert sticks. 

Freeze for 6-8 hours or until solid. 



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Homemade Twix Bars

Monday, April 22, 2013

Lucky me, I have a couple of children who love to bake even more than I do.  My waistline isn't sure it's such a blessing, but man oh man, my tastebuds sure do appreciate their culinary interest.  These bars are ones my daughter whipped up one day right before guests arrived.  Unfortunately she had not read ahead in the recipe to notice that they needed time to set up beforehand, so we served them to our guests as a not-so-lovely chocolate-caramel soup.  We cleaned up from dinner that night, set them aside, and totally forgot about them until a couple of days later when we rediscovered them as perfectly set-up chocolate-caramel bars of goodness!  After tasting them the second time, there was no forgetting them anymore and it did not take long for the rest of them to disappear.   These were one of the best desserts I've had in a long time!  
Click here for printable recipe. 

Posted by Lara.

The ingredients:


1-1/2 cups butter, softened
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tsp. vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt

Beat together butter and sugar and add vanilla. Stir in flour and salt until smooth. Press dough into a 9x13-inch baking dish (or up to a 12x16-inch pan) and poke several times with a fork.  (How big your pan is, will determine how thick your layers are.)


Bake at 325-degrees for about 22-25 minutes, or until light golden brown. Set aside and allow to cool completely.  


1-1/2 cups butter
1-1/2 cups sweetened condensed milk
1-1/2 cups brown sugar
6 Tbs. corn syrup
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla

In a saucepan over low heat, melt butter then stir in remaining ingredients, except vanilla.

 Stir in remaining ingredients except for vanilla and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat to medium-low and stir at a low rolling boil for about 7 minutes.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  
Pour caramel over cooled shortbread and allow to set up for several hours or overnight.  We placed ours in the fridge to hasten the process.   


3-4 cups chocolate chips (we liked ours with dark chocolate)
2 Tbs. shortening

In a medium microwaveable bowl, melt chocolate chips and shortening together on high heat for two minutes, stirring every thirty seconds.  Return to refrigerator to set, then cut into bars. Makes about 30 bars.

Store bars in a tightly covered container in the fridge with wax paper between layers.  Allow to sit at room temperature for a few minutes before eating.  


NOTE:  For an extra special treat, try these in a candy mold.    We coated the outside of the mold with melted chocolate, allowed it to set up, then placed a very small piece of shortbread (or Rice Krispies) and a spoonful of caramel into the mold and covered it with chocolate.  My daughter won a cooking contest with these tasty and pretty treats! 

Recipe Adapted from:  Boy Cheese Sandwich


Turkey Taco Casserole

Monday, April 15, 2013

We love Mexican food around our house, but recently needed a change up from our normal enchiladas or taquito routine.  This Turkey Taco Casserole is layered like a lasagna and totally hit the spot in our family!  It came together pretty quickly and filled an 8x8-inch baking dish to the brim with warm cheesy Mexican goodness.  The spiciness level was perfect for our family and we enjoyed it topped with plain greek yogurt, avocados, lettuce, and tomato!  Enjoy! 
Click here for printable recipe. 

Posted by Lara. 

The Ingredients:
1 lb lean ground turkey
1 Tbs. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1-1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 cans (4-oz. each) diced green chilies, divided
1 can (15-ounces) diced tomatoes, drained (oops, I forgot to drain mine)
1 can (16-oz) refried beans
1-1/2 cups  Mexican blend cheese {or cheddar cheese}
2 flour tortillas, cut into 1" strips
1/2 cup salsa, plus more for serving
Desired toppings:  Sour cream (or plain greek yogurt), sliced avocado, additional salsa, chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce

Cook the ground turkey in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When the turkey is almost cooked through, add the chili powder, cumin, salt, and cayenne pepper.  Stir well.   Then add one of the cans of diced green chilies and the can of diced tomatoes.  Stir and continue cooking until everything is well combined and the turkey is cooked through.  Remove from heat.

In a greased 8x8-inch square baking pan, spread about 1/3 of the turkey mixture along the bottom.
Then spread about 1/3 of the refried beans over the top of the turkey.  (I heated my refried beans briefly to make it easier to spread)
Then layer 1/3 of the remaining green chilies, 1/2 cup cheese, and four of the tortilla strips.

Repeat layers twice more, spreading salsa over the last layer just before adding the cheese.
Cook at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.  Allow casserole to cool and set for about 20 minutes before serving.

Serve warm with desired toppings.  We liked it with sour cream, sliced avocado, chopped tomatoes, lettuce, and more salsa.

Serves 6.


Recipe Source:  Eat, Live, Run


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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