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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tortellini Salad

I have been wanting to make a tortellini salad for awhile and the Halloween party was my first chance to make one. What's nice about tortellini is that it is versatile. I think you could really put any type of ingredients in it that you want and it would taste great. I decided on tomatoes, red onion, bacon, and ranch dressing. This was great and I enjoyed it for several lunches as well.

Tortellini Salad
a Lacey creation

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1 large package of refrigerated Buitoni Mixed Cheese Tortellini
1 package of cherry tomatoes, washed
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 package Real Bacon Bits for recipes
1 pint bottle Hidden Valley Ranch dressing

Cook the tortellini according to the package directions, drain and let cool. Once cool place in a large bowl with the remaining ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve. I recommend making the day before or several hours before serving so the flavors meld.


For the past seven years I have been having a Halloween party for my co-workers. This year was the first year I didn't have it at my house. My co-worker Vicki has a beautiful basement and she offered to have the party at her house. I took her up on the offer. Just because the party wasn't at my house didn't mean I wasn't going to cook. I always get pizza as the main dish and then I like to make a couple of side dishes and usually dessert. This year I didn't make any dessert due to being sick a few days before and I just didn't have the energy. Everyone brings something with them so we always have plenty of food to choose from. This year I made queso and tortellini salad. I made the queso using Velveeta. It was really good.


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32oz. Velveeta (New Queso Blanco flavor)
1 can Rotel Mild Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies, drained
1 can Rotel Diced Tomatoes with Lime and Cilantro, drained.

Cut up the Velveeta and place it in a pot with the drained cans of Rotel. Place the pot over a medium low heat and stir frequently to melt. Once melted place in a crock pot on keep warm setting to keep warm or just place in a bowl and eat.

Or you can place the cut up Velveeta and Rotel right in the crock pot and place on low to melt before a party. Change to keep warm once melted.

Serve with chips.

Caution to all Bakers-Banana Bread

This is banana bread. This poor banana bread got a little burnt. But it still tasted great. I titled this post caution to all bakers because I could have avoided burning the bread if I would have checked the temperature on the oven. I thought the oven was running a little hot but didn't think about it. I'm glad I set the timer for half the baking time the recipe called for or this bread would have been completely black. I just had a feeling. When I noticed the burning smell I checked the temp and it had gotten bumped up to 500 degrees. I'm glad I didn't burn the house down. I really wish I hadn't burnt it because it was a going away present for one of my co-workers. Banana bread is her favorite. She got a promotion and is going to work at the Main Library. All the best luck to her.

This recipe is so easy. You don't even need a mixer. Just mix together with a big spoon.

Banana Bread (Recipe reflects the doubling I did)
from Simply Recipes

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6 or 8 ripe bananas, smashed
2/3 cup melted butter
2 cup sugar (can easily reduce to 3/4 cup)
2 egg, beaten
2 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
3 cups of all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350°. With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, mix. Pour mixture into 5 small buttered loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.

Vanilla Peanut Butter Pie

I love to watch Man vs. Food. I think that Adam is such a cutie, but I worry about him doing all those food challenges. I hope he eats healthy during his off time. I wouldn't mind traveling around getting to eat at the places he gets to eat though. The food looks awesome. On one episode he went and ate at restaurant that served a peanut butter pie that had vanilla pudding and whipped cream. It looked so good and I knew I wanted to recreate it. I think you know by now my love of mini foods so I made mini pies instead of a big one.

These were yummy.

Vanilla Peanut Butter Pie
slightly adapted from Recipe Source

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1/3 cup peanut butter
1 cup powder sugar
1 small package vanilla pudding
1 box refrigerated pie crusts
1 8oz Cool Whip or Homemade Whipped Cream

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Spray a 24 cup mini muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the pie crust a little thinner then what it is. Using a round cookie cutter or a glass cut out 12 rounds. Fit the rounds into the muffin cups. Repeat with the other pie crust. Lightly prick the crusts with a fork and bake for 10 minutes or until lightly brown.

While the crusts are baking make the vanilla pudding according to the package directions and put in the fridge to set up. In a bowl mix together the peanut butter and powder sugar until crumbly.

Once the pie crusts are baked and cooled start assembling them. Sprinkle in about a teaspoon of the peanut butter mixture into each shell. Top with vanilla pudding. Top with whipped cream. Sprinkle with more peanut butter mixture. Enjoy!

Baked Chicken Chimichangas

So the week I made this dish was the week that Jessica and her family were coming into town and I think I was a little preoccupied. When I plated the finished product it was after I ate it that I realized I didn't take a picture. I made the plate look really pretty too. So the picture you see to the left is what I took to lunch. Also that week I made the Black Bean and Beef Chili and didn't get a picture of that either. That chili was awesome. So I'm wondering if I should post the recipe without the picture or if I should wait until I make it again. Because just thinking about it is making me want to make it.

I thought that these chimichangas were really good. Will didn't even have any. That night Will and I got into a fight over how he thinks all I make is Mexican food so he made himself a sandwich. I admit to making Mexican food at least once a week but it's not everyday like he claims. I also admit that this dish would have been way too spicy for him. So I was a little off my game at picture taking. The recipe calls for making your own tomatillo sauce using canned tomatillos but I couldn't find any so I used Salsa Verde and doctored it up. I thought it was fantastic, but spicy. So if you don't like spice you might want to steer clear.

Baked Chicken Chimichangas
from So Tasty, So Yummy

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2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can Rotel tomatoes with chilies
¼ cup water

4 burrito (large) size tortillas
1 cup shredded reduced fat Mexican cheese

Combine spices and cornstarch in a small bowl. Sprinkle the bottom of the crockpot with the spice mixture. Top with the chicken, Rotel and water. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours. Shred the chicken with two forks and cook for 30 minutes more.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease a large cookie sheet. Combine the shredded chicken with the cheese. Lay out the tortillas and top each with ¼ of the chicken mixture. Roll up the tortillas burrito style, placing them seam side down on the cookie sheet. Spray the top of the Chimichangas with cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve with queso or Deluxe Tomatillo sauce. Garnish with sour cream, tomato and cilantro.

Deluxe Tomatillo Sauce

1 can (28 ounces) tomatillos, drained (Or I used four 7 ounce cans of La Costena Salsa verde)
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ jalapeno, minced (I did not use)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon sugar
1 cup sour cream

In a saucepan, combine tomatillos, broth, cumin, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, salt and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Puree until smooth with an immersion blender. You can skip the puree step if using salsa Verde. Return to heat, stir in the sour cream and cook 3 minutes more until heated through.

Pumpkin Butterscotch Blondies

I love Fall! The weather is starting to get colder but not so cold where I need to dig out my heavy coat, scarf, hat, gloves, and boots. Just a sweater does nicely. I can start making soups and stews. I can break out the pumpkin recipes. Pumpkin! Mmmmm, yummy! These bad boys were scrumptious. These are like eating cake and candy all rolled into one. Soooooooo Goooooood!!!
Make these today.

Pumpkin Butterscotch Blondies
from Smells Like Home

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2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar (or brown sugar)
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups butterscotch chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 9×13-inch baking dish with foil. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. Stir together and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined. Mix in the pumpkin. With the mixer on low speed add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Fold in the white chocolate and butterscotch chips with a rubber spatula.
  3. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared. Bake until the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs, about 35-40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before cutting.
  4. To serve, lift the cake from the pan using the foil and transfer to a cutting board. Peel off the foil and using a sharp knife, cut into 24 squares.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Meal Plan for the week of 10/17/2011

I have been silent on here for awhile but I had out of town guests and then I was sick and food was not a high priority. But now I feel much much better and food is once again my friend. So be prepared for yummy recipes to come your way.

Monday: Breakfast Bowls (Recipe to come)
Tuesday: Pita Pizzas
Wednesday/Thursday: Soy Garlic Chicken (Recipe to come)
Friday: Spaghetti
Saturday: Dinner Out
Sunday: Leftovers