Loaded Hash Browns

Breakfast for dinner is always a good idea. It’s one of those meals that is comforting, makes you feel all warm, relaxed, and happy. Am I crazy? Or am I right? Maybe I’m both.

I made the Loaded Hash Browns from the Better Homes and Gardens recipe box and I’m glad I did.


This meal was gone that night. No left overs. For that, it gets a 5 out of 5. Okay, really I should give it a 4. The old man loved it. I loved it too, but he devoured it.

8 ounces uncooked bulk turkey sausage
8 ounces uncooked ground turkey breast
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
Disposable slow cooker liner
5 cups frozen diced hash brown potatoes
1 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican blend cheese (4 ounces)
1 1/4 cups chopped red sweet pepper (1 large)
1 4 ounce can (drained weight) sliced mushrooms, drained
1 medium fresh poblano pepper,* seeded and chopped
1 10 3/4 ounce can condensed fiesta nacho cheese soup
1/4 cup water
Shredded reduced-fat Mexican blend cheese (optional)
Thinly sliced fresh jalapeno pepper* (optional)
Salsa and/or light sour cream (optional)

There was more prep work than I would’ve liked but who cares, it was worth it.


Grilled Pineapple and Chicken Quesadillas

Anything with pineapple is good. That’s why I was excited about the grilled pineapple challenge. So I chose a Grilled Pineapple and Chicken Quesadilla recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything blog.

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I’ll tell you the truth though. I made it a little differently, which was my first mistake. Okay, I didn’t really follow her directions. And I regretted it.

This was disgusting. I will never make this again. At least not how I made it. Maybe next time I’ll follow her instructions, but I don’t think I’ll bother making it again. 0 out of 5. PUKE!


Chicken, White Bean, and Spinach Stew

Making a gluten free meal seemed like a good idea. And it was a good idea. I was looking forward to finding a new style of cooking, something that seemed to be healthier for us.

I found the Chicken, White Bean, and Spinach Stew recipe and knew I had to try it out. After all, it has spinach. And I love my greens!


This recipe was really tasty and not overly filling when you’re eating it. I would give this a 4 out of 5. This is another one of those recipes that if you have a hectic week, make it on Sunday and you’ll have enough for a couple of meals. Heck, double the recipe and freeze some of it for a later date. It’s also great for cold weather.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium coarsely chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
2 (16-ounce) cans cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup water
4 canned plum tomatoes, drained
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3 ounces baby spinach leaves (3 packed cups), coarsely chopped
2 cups shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 13 minutes
Yield: Makes 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)

Nutritional Information
Calories per serving: 447
Fat per serving: 7g
Saturated fat per serving: 2g
Monounsaturated fat per serving: 4g
Polyunsaturated fat per serving: 1g
Protein per serving: 40g
Carbohydrates per serving: 56g
Fiber per serving: 12g
Cholesterol per serving: 60mg
Iron per serving: 8mg
Sodium per serving: 356mg
Calcium per serving: 200mg


Homemade Pizza by Melissa

Hello! Welcome to April’s first challenge: Homemade Pizza

I picked a recipe from here: Homemade Pizza

I’ve made pizza in the past before and loved it. Honestly though, we usually just order delivery or get a frozen pizza. So this recipe had me on my toes. I looked and looked, trying to find the right recipe for me and came across this recipe. I changed it up a bit for ease of cooking time.

1) I didn’t make the dough, I bought a Betty Crocker Pizza Crust Mix

This was really easy and cheap. I’ll be buying this again in the future, no doubt in my mind about it


2) I didn’t make the pizza in a frying pan. I baked it in the oven based off the Betty Crocker mix.

Really, I just followed the instructions for the sauce and the toppings, which is to follow…

For the Sauce:
1 small can of crushed Italian plum tomatoes, OR a 2 cans of well-drained whole plum tomatoes that you mash up well.
½ teaspoon of salt
⅛ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
optional – 1 finely minced/pressed garlic clove
optional – chopped fresh oregano and/or basil
optional – ½ teaspoon of sugar and teaspoon of red wine vinegar to “intensify” the sweetness and acidity

To Finish and Serve:
350 grams of mozzarella should be sufficient for 4 pizzas
Fresh basil, chiffonade
Freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano (optional)
Extra virgin olive oil (optional)


For the minimal ingredients and work that went into making this dinner, I was so happy with how it came out. I know this pizza isn’t pretty. I know it looks TOO cheesy and kinda plain. But you know what, the sauce was robust, the basil softened the cheese flavor to juicy and earthy. It was one of the best pizza’s I’ve had. Honestly!

This gets a 5 out of a 5. I’ll be making this again.


April 2014 Food Challenges!!

I know you are excited to figure out what you’re going to cook this month.

Without further ado, here are the April challenges.

April Week 1 (3/30 – 4/5): Homemade Pizza

April Week 2 (4/6 – 4/12): Gluten Free

April Week 3 (4/13 – 4/19): Grilled Pineapple in a meal

April Week 4 (4/20 – 4/26): Crock-pot breakfast for dinner

The last week of April will be included in the May challenges. Heck, we might even call it a free week!



Huevos Rancheros

Huevos Rancheros! I had never had this delicious meal in my life before. I don’t know how that happened because it’s SOOO GOOD! SOO DELICIOUS! AND SO EASY TO MAKE! 

I found this awesome recipe here: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/huevos_rancheros/

I’m going to you a little secret…this will be your go to, need a quick meal, dinner plan. I’m serious!

If you don’t believe me, after you make this one time, you’ll get it. This is a must make and I will definitely make this a lot more in my future. 

This recipe gets a 5 out of 5. 

Doesn’t leave you feeling guilty
Just the right amount of food for a meal


I’m not even going to post the ingredients or anything. Just click on the link, read the ingredients list and the instructions, and get to cooking.


You will not regret it.

Pleasantly plum,



Pad Thai for Two


This weeks challenge sounded so fun to me but when I was planning my meals, I realized I was ridiculously busy with work and school. I knew that I didn’t have a lot of time and was on a tight budget too. So with all that weighing on my mind, I remembered I had a box of Pad Thai for Two in the cupboard and just needed to pick up some chicken.

This was a very easy recipe to make and surprisingly it was pretty good. I will buy the Pad Thai for Two box again because it’s a simple, fast, and flavorful dish I can make on the fly.

I give this recipe a 3 out of 5. Wasn’t the best Thai food I’ve ever had which is why it gets a 3. But it was good enough for me to plan on making it again.



Slow Cooker Chili


I’ve attempted to make chili a few times in my day, and ya know, it’s always okay or alright but it’s never been amazing. So when this challenge came up, I was pumped to find a new chili recipe.

I did a little web-surfing and found a recipe on Betty Crocker’s website. The recipe is called “Slow-Cooker Family-Favorite Chili” which I’ll admit this was a pretty tasty meal.

In case you want the link: http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/slow-cooker-family-favorite-chili/c6f4c4e2-8298-4d9d-8f21-d4ca19d35cb7 

I give this a 4 out of a 5. This will be a staple winter recipe for sure. But like most crockpot recipes, we ate leftovers for days. This recipe was good and if you have a busy week, I suggest making this on Sunday and enjoying it for a couple of days.

As you can see it’s a simple recipe:


2 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (16 oz) chili beans in sauce, undrained
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper