Super Easy Nachos

This ‘recipe’ (if you can call it that) has been around forever. I first remember my grandma making it, when I was a teenager. The cheese ‘dip’ or ‘queso’ consists of 2 things – velveeta cheese and rotel tomatoes and chilis.

Note: this is a 32 oz block, I only used 1/2 of it. If you need more queso – use the whole thing and 2 cans of Rotel.

I wasn’t making this for a big group, so I only used 1/2 of the 32 oz block. I just cut the cheese (we will pretend it is cheese, even though it will presumably survive anything in it’s shelf stable form!) into small cubes.

I just added the cheese to a sauce pan, along when the can of tomatoes and chili’s (don’t drain!). Over medium heat (you don’t want it too hot or it will scorch – be patient, it won’t take long!!), I allowed the cheese to melt. And kept it all stirred together.

Once the cheese was good and melted, I spooked some over some tortilla chips and topped with some jalapeño peppers. You can do it like this, to make nachos (I wanted simple nachos – but you can add other toppings if you want!) or just dip your chips in the queso dip.

** this is far too simple to write up in ‘recipe’ form, so I will use the extra time to go back for seconds!! 😂

Homemade Meat Sauce

For dinner, I’m making lasagna. And, I was tempted to go the easy route and use jarred sauce, but I changed my mind and decided to make a big batch (way more than I needed for the lasagna) of homemade meat sauce.

I started with an onion and a green bell pepper. I chopped both to about similar size.

In a large dutch oven, I added some olive oil and warmed it through. Then I added in the garlic, onion, bell pepper, dried basil, Italian seasoning and salt. I cooked until the vegetables started to soften.

Snapped the pic prior to adding in the seasonings – oops!

We are a house that loves a lot of meat in our meat sauce, so I added in 1 lb of Italian sausage and 2 1/2 pounds of lean ground beef. I cooked until the meat was browned.

Finally, I added in the tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste. I brought the sauce up to a boil. I added in the wine, bay leaves and fresh basil – reduced the heat to simmer and let it simmer for about 4 hours.

1 glass for the sauce and 1 glass for me!

I did take care to stir it ever so often, so it didn’t stick to the bottom of the dutch oven.

When the sauce is done, it will have reduced by about 1/3 or so – simmer with the lid off.

Homemade Meat Sauce

1 lb Italian sausage
2 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 28 oz can tomato sauce
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup red wine (I used a Cabernet Sauvignon, just because it is my fave!)
2 – 3 tbsp tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp dried basil
1/2 tbsp Italian seasoning
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tsp olive oil

  • Chop onion and pepper
  • In large pot, add olive oil and warm up
  • Add in onion, garlic, bell pepper, dried basil, Italian seasoning and salt – cook until the vegetables start to soften
  • Add in sausage and ground beef, cook til browned
  • Add in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste and stir through – bring to a boil
  • Add in wine, bay leaves and fresh basil
  • Reduce heat to a simmer and allow it to simmer for about 4 hours.

Stir occassionally, to keep the sauce from sticking to the bottom.

Sweet and Tangy Baked Apples

As this blog has clearly illustrated, I love baking with apples – today, I decided to bake some apples!

I do like sweets, but I don’t have a huge sweet tooth, so I often like to mix sweet and tangy. For this recipe, I decided to use some apple cider vinegar (if you want more sweet, and no tang – just substitute the apple cider vinegar with apple juice or apple cider).

I’m home, mostly (I think a teenager holed up, upstairs, doesn’t really count as being home when me. I barely see her!), alone, so I decided to just bake 2 apples. If you choose to do more, just double, triple, whatever the ‘stuffing’ ingredients.

I started by coring two apples (by the way, I just got this apple corer and I LOVE it!).

Then I worked on the ‘filling’ or ‘stuffing’. I kept it pretty simple – I just used butter, nuts (I only had walnuts, but would like to try pecans!), raisins, brown sugar, cinnamon and maple syrup.

I mixed everything, except the maple syrup, to get it all incorporated, first. Then I mixed in the syrup.

I put the cored apples in a small baking dish, with some apple cider vinegar in the bottom.

I filled the centers of the apples with the filling.

I, then, cooked the apples in a 400 degree oven for one hour.

The filling mixes in with the apple cider and makes a wonderful ‘sauce’ of sorts. When serving, feel free to spoon it over the apples.

Sweet and Tangy Baked Apples

2 Honey Crisp Apples

2 tbsp chopped nuts

2 tbsp raisins

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp butter

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp maple syrup

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

  • Core apples
  • Place apples in baking dish, pour apple cider vinegar in bottom of dish
  • Mix all filling, with exception of maple syrup, until combined
  • Once other ingredients are well combined, mix in maple syrup
  • Put filling in cored apples
  • Bake for 1 hour, in a 400 degree oven
  • Serve warm, spoon sauce that is bottom of baking dish over apples if desired – would be delicious with vanilla ice cream!

Bonus Blog Post: Sometimes the best recipe isn’t a recipe at all! Easy breakfast!

Saturday morning, we were trying to decide what to have for breakfast. Usually, that would mean ‘what kind of recipe am I going to try to come up with today?’ Instead, we decided we just wanted some of the things we love – easy peasy – bacon, eggs and biscuits! And, let’s keep it simple – canned biscuits!

I just fried the bacon in a skillet. Side note: this Smithfield thick cut bacon may be some of the best bacon I’ve ever had (and I’m a girl who has sampled some bacon!). So good!!

For my scrambled eggs, I always just add some salt, pepper and a splash of heavy cream. I cooked it in the same pan the bacon was in (I did have to pour off some of the bacon grease though – never fear, I’m saving it for a recipe later!).

Since we were having biscuits, we needed some jams and jellies – this was a nice selection. Spoiler alert, however – only the peach got used. This stuff is so delicious!! It’s made an appearance on several blog posts already

Biscuits hot out of the oven, a little butter added to each – and we were ready to eat! No recipe needed!

A perfect, delicious, simple Saturday morning breakfast!

Sausage, Broccoli and Red Pepper Pasta

A rope of smoked sausage is something good to keep on hand – then you know you can always come up with a good meal! I didn’t have any other protein thawed out, today, so something with sausage was on the menu. Pasta seemed like as good a meal as anything – you know I love some pasta!

I had some fresh broccoli that I had vacuum sealed and stored in the freezer several weeks back, so I decided to use that. I also had some roasted red peppers and thought that would work as well. And, I’ll never argue against a creamy sauce.

I started by dicing the onions and slicing the sausage (I also chipped the red peppers but I have no photographic proof of that).

A couple days ago, I fried some bacon and had some bacon grease that I held onto and decided to use it in this dish. I used about a tablespoon of the bacon fat to sauté the onions and garlic. I added salt and red pepper flakes to the sautéing onions and garlic.

Then I added in the sausage and allowed it to brown, stirring occasionally (don’t cover or you’ll have trouble getting a sear on the sausage).

Once the sausage was browned, I added in the liquids to create the cream sauce. I used beef stock, since that is what I had in the refrigerator – but, any stock would do. I brought the mixture up to a boil, to allow it to thicken (if you want it a little thicker, you could make a simple slurry to thicken it).

I added in the steamed broccoli and red peppers and mixed the veggies in with the sauce.

I added in the pasta and mixed everything well. You don’t have to, but I added some romano cheese (I didn’t measure it, just grate it on top of the sauce – maybe 2 tbsp or so) and stirred through.

I topped with extra Romano cheese when serving.

Sausage, Broccoli and Red Pepper Pasta

1 pack smoked sausage (14 oz rope), sliced
1 lb box of penne pasta
1/2 onion, diced
2-3 cups fresh broccoli, steamed
6 oz roasted red peppers
1 cup stock
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
1 tbsp bacon fat
1 tsp salt
Romano cheese (optional)

  • Boil pasta, as per directions (to al dente) and set aside
  • Slice sausage
  • Dice onions and chop red peppers
  • In a large skillet, melt bacon fat
  • Saute onions and garlic
  • Add in the sausage and cook til browned
  • Add in the stock and heavy cream, bring to a boil
  • Add in broccoli and red peppers
  • Add in cooked pasta and stir through
  • Top with Romano cheese, if desired