Vegetarian Chili

I got his idea from some awesome Vegetarian Chili my sister-in-law made a few weeks ago. I didn't get a recipe from her, but I went by what I remembered eating from her batch and I think it tastes pretty similar.

  • 3-4 Carrots, washed, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1/4-1/2 of an onion (white, yellow, or sweet) peeled and finely sliced
  • 2-3 stalks of celery, washed and cut into chunks
  • 1 package of fresh, white mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • 1 can of red beans, drained
  • 2 cans of black beans, drained
  • 2 cans of tomato sauce
  • 1 tomato sauce can of water
  • 1 can of chili-ready tomatoes
  • Cumin powder, to taste
  • Ground sea-salt, to taste
  • Olive Oil 
  • Add carrots, and celery to a large stock pan and drizzle with olive oil, stir to coat.
  • Saute until the vegetables are softened (not too soft, but can be pierced with a fork)
  • Add onion and mushroom and stir to coat. Sautee another few minutes to allow flavors to blend.
  • Add remaining veggies, beans, and seasoning.
  • Bring entire pot to a rolling boil
  • Reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes
  • Serve and enjoy. 
  • This recipe is even better if you refrigerate for a day after cooking and allow flavors to blend and absorb. 
  • You also might want to try it with crushed garlic crackers on top. Yum!!


Apricot Chicken with Asparagus and Rice

This was an impromptu clean out the kitchen, fridge, pantry dinner turned delicious. My husband and I really enjoyed it. It's warm, tasty, and filling.

  • 1 - 15oz can of apricot halves with juice/syrup (slice halves in half)
  • 4 cups (approx) - chopped, cooked chicken meat (leftover rotisserie chicken works really well!).
  • 1/4 - white onion (slivered)
  • 1 - bunch of asparagus (trim off any hard ends)
  • White Rice (I used 4 servings and it turned out well for my family, but it depends on how much rice you like with your meal).
  • Soy sauce
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Sea Salt (or regular table salt if you don't have sea salt)
  • Olive Oil
  • Minced Onion (it's ok if you don't have this, it just adds a little extra)
  • Start cooking your rice (I use butter and salt) according to package directions
  • While the rice is cooking...Add the apricot halves, chicken, onion, and asparagus together in a large skillet or Wok.
  • Drizzle olive oil over the contents of the pan and gently stir coating all.
  • Saute on medium-high heat, covered. Stir occasionally.
  • After 15 minutes, add the cayenne pepper (just a light sprinkle around the pan), sea salt (also a sprinkle around the pan) and soy sauce (Go gently around the pan like with the olive oil, but don't add too much. You can always add more later if you need more flavor).
  • Cook another 15 minutes or until mixture is heated through, onions are transparent and asparagus is tender.
  • Serve over a bed of white rice and enjoy!!


Cheesalicious Broccoli and Ham Casserole

Prepare the following recipe in a 9x13 baking dish.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

  • One small-ish bag of frozen broccoli (or buy a big bag, use your discretion and save some for later)
  • About two cups of cooked white rice
  • One brick of cream cheese (if you use lite or fat-free, I bet no one will notice)
  • Four cups of shredded cheddar (don't skimp on the fat here)
  • One sleeve of buttery crackers
  • 2-4 Tablespoons of butter 
  • A few shakes of onion powder (lightly dust the contents of the casserole)
  • 1-2 cups of chopped cooked ham (it depends on how how much you like ham; leftover ham works really well)
  • Ground black pepper
  • Garlic salt (or minced garlic if you have it)
  • Steam the broccoli until tender (an easy way to do this is to put it in a microwave-safe baking dish with about half an inch of water; cook in the microwave on full-power for about 5-7 minutes. Drain the water and it's done). 
  • While the broccoli is steaming, put your cheese to work. In a sauce pan, melt the cream cheese and half of the cheddar together. Add pepper and garlic to-taste. If you turn your burner on medium-high and stir continuously, this should go rather quickly. Just keep stirring so the sauce doesn't stick or burn. Also, don't turn it on high...it's just too hot for a cheese sauce. If your broccoli isn't done by the cheese is finished, just turn the sauce down to simmer and keep stirring.
  • Line the bottom of your 9x13 dish with a nice layer of broccoli
  • Dish the rice out on top of the broccoli.
  • Add the ham on top of the rice and brocoli.
  • Sprinkle with onion powder
  • Pour cheese sauce over the entire mixture and stir (carefully) until everything is well covered with cheese sauce. 
  • Top all with remaining shredded cheddar.
  • Set the casserole aside.
  • Melt your butter in a sauce pan (you can use the cheese pan if you want). Crunch up the sleeve of crackers (don't make dust out of them, just crunch them up). Add the crunchies to the butter and stir.
  • Once well mixed, cover the top of the casserole with this topping. 
Bake in the oven for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Watch the casserole the last 20 minutes or so. If the crackers are starting to get too brown or starting to burn, take the casserole out cover it (carefully) with foil and return it to the oven to finish baking.

I made this as a side-dish for a Christmas party the last two years. However, it has enough hearty business to it that you could use it for a main dish. :) Enjoy!!


Rotini with Spinach Meat Sauce

Here's a great way to get your leafy-greens with a traditional meat sauce recipe.

Feeds about 4 hungry adults. :)

  • 2lbs of Ground Chuck (approx)
  • 3/4 of a Sweet Onion (sliced into thin slivers and slivers halved to resemble the letter "C")
  • 1 Bag of Baby Spinach Leaves (washed and dried)
  • 2 - 15oz Cans of Tomato Sauce
  • 1 - 8oz Can of Tomato Paste
  • 2 Paste Cans Full of Water
  • 1/2 Cup of White Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons of Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon of Dried Sweet Basil
  • 1/2 Cup of Romano or Parmesan Cheese (it's best freshly grated)
  • 1/2 Box of Rotini Noodles (or your favorite pasta)
  • Brown meat
  • After meat has been browned, continue cooking it over medium-high heat and incorporate sliced onion. Cook until onion becomes transparent, add spinach (you may have to add half a bag at a time depending on the size of your pan - it will cook down).
  • Once the spinach has cooked down, drain meat mixture and return to a pan (a stock pot is good).
  • Add in sauce, paste, sugar, basil, pepper, cheese, and water and stir. Cook on high heat until sauce boils. 
  • Once boiling, turn down to simmer for 30 minutes - stirring occasionally. 
  • During this time, start boiling water for Rotini and Cook (about 9 minutes or according to box directions).
  • After the sauce and pasta have finished cooking, take several large spoonfuls of sauce and mix with the pasta to keep it from sticking. 
  • Serve sauce over pasta, top with additional Romano/Parmesan and enjoy! This recipe is great with a crusty bread from your grocer's bakery. :)


Crock Pot Pulled Pork

Earlier today I ventured out of the "go with what you know" zone and tried a new restaurant at lunch. This busy independent barbecue venue was a real treat and, truth be told, I can't stop thinking about it! I had a flavorful, super tender, shredded to perfection, pulled pork sandwich with pickles and onions on a super tasty bun. The meat was so good it didn't even need extra sauce. Since I've been obsessing over this sandwich all day, I decided to post our favorite pulled pork recipe. This isn't the same as the slow roasted sandwich I had today, but I haven't had any complaints.

If you are a fan of crockery cooking, you'll appreciate the no-fuss nature of this recipe; If you're one of those people who believes nothing good can come from a crock pot - here's a recipe that's sure to prove you wrong!


  • Boneless pork rib roast or chicken breasts (enough to feed all your guests - maybe count one breast per adult?)
  • Chicken stock (3 boxes)
  • Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce (2 big bottles)


  • Put raw meat into the crockpot
  • Cover completely in chicken stock (make a pool, basically, with the chicken swimming under water)
  • Cook on high for 4 hours (if you have time to spare after the 4 hours, turn crock pot to warm mode).
  • About 45 minutes before your guests show up, set your oven to 350.
  • Remove meat from the crock pot and transfer to baking dish (I love to use the throw away foil kind because there's no cleaning required) shred meat with two forks (it should shred really easily).
  • Gently mix with bbq sauce to your taste. I usually mix with more after it bakes.
  • Bake uncovered in pre-heated oven for 30 minutes. Watch to make sure it doesn't brown.
  • Mix gently with more bbq sauce if needed. :)


Quick and Easy - Baked Ravioli and Meatballs

Baked Ravioli and Meatballs:

  • 1 Bag of Frozen Ravioli
  • 1 Bag of Frozen Meatballs (not Swedish)
  • 4 Cups of Shredded Mozzarella or your Favorite Italian Blend of Cheese

Layer a 9x13 casserole dish with the following...
  • Thin layer of pasta sauce (something with chunky or with mushrooms adds a good flavor and a point of interest),
  • 1/2 ravioli, 1/2 meatballs,
  • 1/2 mozzarella cheese,
  • Thin layer of sauce,
  • 1/2 ravioli,
  • 1/2 meatballs,
  • Thin layer sauce, and
  • Top with remaining mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake in the oven for 1hr at 350.
You can get a small bag of frozen ravioli and a small bag of frozen meatballs (not Swedish) and it works just great. No need to pre-cook.


Pineapple Upside Down Trifle

Pineapple Upside Down Trifle


-1 Box Duncan Hines Yellow Butter Cake Mix
-1 Large Container of Cool Whip
-2 Small Jars or 1 Large Jar of Maraschino Cherries
-2 Large Cans of Pineapple Chunks (in Pineapple Juice - Not Syrup)
-1 Stick of Butter
-1/2 Cup of Light Brown Sugar


-Bake cake according to package directions
-When cake is done, let cool then slice into squares (I baked mine in a glass 9x13 baking dish)
-In a sauce pan, combine butter and and brown sugar over medium to high heat (keep stirring to prevent sticking).
-When the butter/sugar mixture becomes thick, it's finished. Turn down to simmer or low and stir occasionally while you're assembling the trifle.
-Layer ingredients in the following fashion:
**Cake (break pieces up into chunks and create a layer on the bottom of the trifle dish
**Maraschino cherries (not a solid layer, just spread them around)
**Half or a third of the brown sugar mixture

Repeat to top. Top with Cool Whip and Cherries. :)