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Restaurant style salsa

Pioneer Woman

My family is a very tight family. We love to be together. We play ball together, we watch games together, we do everything together. One thing that we love is to play games together. When we play we have to have snacks. One of our favorite snacks is SALSA!! Last Sunday my son and I decided we wanted to make salsa and we didn't have all the ingredients for our normal salsa so we looked up other recipes and came across this one. We happened to have all the ingredients for this one and so my boys and I whipped it up. It was so easy and so dang good we made another batch that same day. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

1 can (28 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes With Juice
2 cans (10 Ounce) Rotel (diced Tomatoes And Green Chilies)
¼ cups Chopped Onion
1 clove Garlic, Minced
1 whole Jalapeno, Quartered And Sliced Thin
1/4 teaspoons Sugar
1/4 teaspoons Salt
1/4 teaspoons Ground Cumin
1/2 cup Cilantro (more To Taste!)
1/2 whole Lime Juice

Note: this is a very large batch. Recommend using a 12-cup food processor, or you can process the ingredients in batches and then mix everything together in a large mixing bowl.

Combine whole tomatoes, Rotel, onion, jalapeno, garlic, sugar, salt, cumin, lime juice, and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Pulse until you get the salsa to the consistency you’d like—I do about 10 to 15 pulses. Test seasonings with a tortilla chip and adjust as needed.

Refrigerate salsa for at least an hour. Serve with tortilla chips or cheese nachos.


Homemade bread

There is nothing better to come home too then the smell of bread baking in the oven. When I make bread I like to make them in huge batches. That way I can freeze the loaves and give them to my neighbors or have them to pull out on days when I don't have time to bake. This recipe freezes wonderfully then you just pull it out in the morning and allow it to rise and then bake it. You can even run errands while its rising. This recipe can also be white or wheat. I like to mix mine half and half.

2 cups warm water
2 1/2 tsp. yeast
1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1 Tbsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
5-7 cups of bread flour, white or wheat will work too (can use more if needed)
1 Tbsp. shortening
1 Tbsp. butter (to top bread)

Place the yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Pour the warm water (not too hot) over the yeast mixture and let it sit for 15-20 minutes, or until nice and bubbly.

Combine melted butter, sugar, evaporated milk and salt into a large mixing bowl. When your yeast mixture is ready add them together and mix.

If you are using a stand mixer put on your bread hook and then pour in 3 cups of flour. If not you can stir/kneed it as well. Then add in 1 cup of flour at a time and mix. When you get to 5 cups of flour in the bowl, add in 1/2 cup more of flour at a time until the dough is no longer sticking to the sides. You'll know it's ready when your fingers no longer stick to the dough.

Cover the ball of dough and sides of the bowl with shortening and cover the bowl with a warm towel. Set by the window and allow it to rise (approx 1.5 hours). When it has risen over the bowl punch it down and place on a floured service. Kneed the dough for 2-3 minutes.

Cut dough into two pieces and roll them out into a rectangle. Roll the dough up and place into 2 greased bread pans.
Let the bread rise again, and when it looks like a good loaf of bread place them in the oven at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. When the bread is done, coat the top with butter and remove onto a cooling rack.




Taco Crescent

We were visiting my mom the other day and pretty soon it was 5 o'clock which means time to start dinner. My sister and I started talking about what to make and my mom said oh we don't need to worry about it Bailey is making dinner. Bailey is my 9 year old niece. She had help cooking the meat from a grown up but otherwise she made this meal all alone. Im sure some people worry when a little kid makes food but this girl totally rocked this meal. I even had seconds! You can serve this with salad or veggies or jello. Really anything goes. Way to go Bay I am so proud of you, you are an awesome cook little lady!

1 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. taco seasoning (or make your own like we do and use 1-2 Tbsp.)
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 cup cheese
2 cans crescent rolls

Brown the ground beef. Drain. Stir in the taco seasoning and then add the tomato sauce. Stir in the cheese. After its all mixed well, place a heaping Tablespoon of the mixture on each crescent roll triangle. Roll the crescent roll into a traditional crescent shape. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 350 for 16-18 minutes or until golden brown.


One Pan Chicken Burrito

I hear a lot of people complain that they hate cooking. I think there are a few reasons for that. 1) they don't know what to cook 2) They try to make hard meals when life is busy and rushed. Don't take me wrong I make hard meals but I make them on the days that I have plenty of time to make them.

I have a crazy busy life ... with 4 kids all active in something or another. So I am always looking for shortcuts just like everyone else. One of the best things I ever learned was that I could take frozen chicken and put it in the crock pot with a little chicken broth and let it cook for about 4 hours and then come home to cooked chicken. I then take the chicken and cut it up or shred it and can make so many things in a short time. I know I have talked about it before but that's what I did with this one so had to remind you.

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced into bite sized pieces
3 tablespoon of olive oil
1/4 cup of diced yellow onion
1 cup of uncooked extra-long grain rice
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained
1 15oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon of cumin
2 1/2 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups of colby jack, monterey jack or cheddar cheese
kosher salt and pepper
freshly diced tomatoes
diced green onions
sour cream

Sauté onions in 2 tablespoon of olive oil until they start to soften.
Season diced chicken with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.
Add chicken to pan and cook over medium high heat until chicken has started to brown.
Move chicken to one side of pan, in the other side of the pan add an additional tablespoon of olive oil and sauté uncooked rice for about 2 minutes or just until some grains start to turn golden brown.
Stir in black beans, canned tomatoes, chicken broth, garlic powder, chili powder and cumin.
Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce heat to low.
Cook about 20 minutes or until rice is tender.
Season with additional salt and pepper as needed.
Sprinkle with cheese, recover and let set for 2-3 off heat to melt cheese.
Garnish with fresh tomatoes, green onions, sour cream and guacamole


Chicken Tortilla Soup

Our Best Bites

This is the recipe that uses the leftover grilled taco chicken that my family LOVED! It is a really great soup. If you don't like lime cut back a little bit. Its not the normal meat and veggie soup so it is a great recipe to break up the norm.

Leftover grilled taco chicken
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion chopped
6 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1-2 jalapeno peppers, minced
4 (15 oz) cans chicken broth
1 (15 oz.) can chopped or diced tomatoes
1/4 c fresh lime juice (3-4 limes)
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
crumbled cotija cheese or shredded pepper jack cheese, cilantro, advocado, lime wedges, crispy corn tortilla strips

In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and jalapeno and cook a few more minutes until pepper is softened and garlic is fragrant. Add chicken broth and tomatoes and bring to boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer 15-20 minutes.

While soup is simmering, juice the limes and set aside. Start preparing the toppings. Grate or crumble the cheese, chop the cilantro, cut up the avocado, and fry the tortillas. Right before serving add lime juice, cilantro, and cooked chicken to the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle soup into bowls and add desired toppings.


Grilled Taco Chicken

Our Best Bites

I was going through recipe books the other day when I came across this beauty. It looked so good we made it the next day. We drove 35 minutes just to get the limes because we were so anxious to try it lol. This recipe calls for 4-8 hours to marinade but we did it overnight because I knew I wouldn't be around to make it that day. I can not tell you how good this recipe is!!! I made 12 pieces of chicken because there is a follow up recipe for the leftovers, the kids were so mad I wouldn't let them have more. This is a new favorite for sure at our house. My husband doesn't like fruits with meat so he was really hesitant about it. But it was the BOMB!!!! This chicken is definitely finger licking good :)

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
2-3 juicy limes
1-2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Place chicken breasts in a zip top plastic bag. Squeeze lemons over chicken. Add vinegar and the minced garlic. Seal the bag and shake to distribute the marinade. (I just mixed the vinegar, lime, and garlic together and then poured it over the top).
Preheat grill to medium high heat (about 400 degrees).

Combine chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Remove chicken from bag and discard the used marinade. Rub the spices onto the chicken. Place chicken breasts on the hot grill. Grill for 7 minutes, turn, and grill for an additional 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat to a clean plate and allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.


One Pot Pasta

I know a few ladies have been waiting ever so patiently for this recipe after my sister posted it on facebook. This is a restaurant style meal without the bill and with little work. My husband and kids cleaned up their plates and actually wanted leftovers the next day. We love pasta but are picky that its not to dry and this recipe wasn't.

12 ounces linguine
12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes (halved or quartered if large)
1 onion thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2-3/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 sprigs basil, plus torn leaves for garnish
2-3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt & black pepper
4 1/2 cups water
lots of freshly grated parmesan cheese, for serving

Combine pasta, tomatoes, onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, basil, oil, 2 tsp. kosher salt, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, and water in a large straight sided skillet. Bring to boil over high heat. Boil mixture, stirring and turning pasta frequently with tongs until pasta is al dente and water has nearly evaporated, about 9 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, divide among 4 bowls and garnish with basil. Serve with parmesan.


Man Catching Chicken

I know it was the name that caught your eye not the picture right??? Well if you want to read the story behind it you will have to check out I do however know it is a great title for this recipe!! I made this the other day and I made the mistake of letting the kids see what was in it. It was a struggle to get them to try it but once they did they loved it....especially my pickiest son. My husband wasn't home when we had it so I packed the leftovers for him for work. I told him I had him a lunch but I wasn't telling him what was in it until he ate it. He text me from work and said dang hon this chicken is good. I finally told him what was in it and said weird huh. His response, I don't care if it has weird ingredients it is sooo good :)

2 lbs of boneless skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup of Dijon mustard
1/2 cup of maple syrup
1 Tablespoon of red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of dried rosemary

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

In a small bowl mix together your Dijon mustard, maple syrup, and red wine vinegar.

Place your chicken in a sprayed 9 by 13 pan. Pour your sauce on top of the chicken and sprinkle with dried Rosemary. Place it uncovered in your preheated oven. Let it bake for 20 minutes and then take them out and flip them over.

Cook for another 20 minutes or until your chicken is browned and cooked through.

Let the chicken cool for 5 minutes before serving. Spoon some extra sauce over the top when you put it on plates.


California Turkey Club Wrap

Am I the only person who hates to cook when is it so hot outside, yet want to provide something good for my family? About a month ago I was at a big hospital for a Dr. appointment and had 4 kids proclaiming they were starving. I told them we could have a little snack from the cafeteria since it wasn't dinner time and we were waiting for dad to go eat. When we went down and were looking around I seen the special of the day was a Cali club wrap. Just seeing that made me all of the sudden starving but since we had to wait I asked really nicely if the kids would like to share 2 of these :) (killing two birds with one stone... the kids got a snack and I got a sample of this heavenly thing) YUMMM!! It didn't take long for me to start making these around the house.

Are you ready for this? Its so easy its like making a sandwich :)

Spinach tortillas
turkey (can use ham too)
provolone or swiss cheese
spinach or lettuce
cooked bacon
red onion
ranch or café rio cilantro dressing (either one works great)

Layer in a spinach tortilla as listed wrap up and serve :) perfection!!

Somehow I always get the worst looking tortilla and its mine I take a picture of...sorry!


Milky Way Cookies

Can you ever really have too many cookie recipes? Cookies are a huge hit around our house. Maybe because I have a crew of boys at my house at any given time and there is nothing better to grab as your running outside to play games or when your sitting around the tv. Whenever we have family parties its also a staple too because we have so many grandkids around that its just easier and less messy. I know whenever we go on a vacation I would rather bring homemade cookies over store boughten any day. There is nothing better than being able to whip out cookies from home when you are miles and miles away. Hope you are having a great summer and you can enjoy some of these little morsels of goodness.

2 sticks butter, softened
3/4 Cup sugar
3/4 Cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 3/4 Cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
35 mini milky ways, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl cream the butter and sugars with a mixer. Beat in eggs and vanilla until well combined. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients along with the chopped milky ways.
Scoop cookies onto a lined baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cool for 2 minutes on baking sheet then transfer to a cooling rack.


Hawaiian Fried Rice

Mels kitchen café

My husband is a little picky when it comes to food. He has this thing about meat and fruit not belonging together. But I had some leftover ham and was looking for a ham fried rice recipe when I found this and decided to try it on a night when he wasn't going to be home for dinner. My family pulled faces as I made it and added the pineapple but it was a huge HIT!! I didn't have red pepper to add to it was still amazing. My 4 kids actually fought over the leftovers and begged me to make it again. My husband has since tried it and he too actually liked it.

3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. hot sauce (like Tapatio or Sriracha), more or less to taste
1 Tbsp. vegetable, canola or peanut oil
2 cups cooked, chopped ham
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
6 green onions, chopped, white and green parts separated
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
5 cups cooked rice, white or brown, cold
3 large eggs
1-2 cups pineapple pieces

In a small bowl whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil and hot sauce. Set aside. In a large nonstick skillet heat 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil until rippling and hot. Add the ham, red bell pepper, and the chopped white parts of the green onions. Cook, stirring often, until lightly browned and the red pepper is tender (but not mushy), about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook another minute. Scrape the mixture onto a plate and set aside.
Heat another teaspoon of oil in the skillet until hot. Add the cold rice and cook, breaking up large clumps, until the rice is heated through, 5-6 minutes.
Push the rice to one side of the skillet and heat the last teaspoon of oil on the empty side of the skillet. Crack the eggs into the hot oil and stir lightly with a spatula or wooden spoon, cooking until the eggs are lightly scrambled and set. Stir the eggs and the ham mixture into the rice. Pour the soy sauce mixture into the rice and cook, stirring, until thoroughly combined and hot.
Off the heat, stir in the pineapple and green parts of the onions. Serve immediately.


Baking Powder Biscuits

The other day I had company and I didn't have a clue what to make for breakfast. I had some sausage and eggs so I thought breakfast sandwiches would be great. BUT I didn't have any biscuits.... so I looked for a recipe. I actually made two different ones and this was the better one. However be advised these don't rise much so cut them the size you want them and roll them out thick.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons shortening
3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
In a bowl mix the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the shortening and mix until in little pieces. Add milk a little at a time and mix until it forms a ball.
Roll out on floured board to 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick (or thicker if you like thick like I do.) Cut out in desired size and dip in melted shortening. Place biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake at 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) for 12 to 15 minutes.
Variation: For shortcakes add 2 tablespoons for sugar to the dough and roll dough out to 1/2 inch thick.


Creamy Rice Pudding

I grew up with my grandma making rice pudding whenever we had leftover rice. It is a comfort food to me. My family doesn't like raisins so I didn't put them in however I love it with raisins. I make this for my family when they are sick, its great when you have a sore throat and cant eat certain things. This can be served hot or cold.

3/4 cup uncooked white rice
2 cups milk, divided
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a saucepan; stir rice into boiling water. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
In a clean saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups cooked rice, 1 1/2 cups milk, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat until thick and creamy, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup milk, beaten egg, and raisins; cook 2 minutes more, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.


Ground beef soup

There is nothing better on a cold winter day than to come home from school or work and have hot soup for dinner. I can never have too many good soup recipes and if your husband is like mine he needs his meat and potatoes and this recipe has both. Pair it up with a dinner roll for a complete meal. I doubled this recipe and it was enough for our family of 6 to make two meals.

1 lb ground beef
1 onion
1 1/2 cups carrots
2 cups potatoes
1 (14 1/2 ounce) cans corn
1 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
4 cups water
2 -3 tablespoons beef bouillon
1 teaspoon garlic
Boil potatoes, corn, carrots and tomato paste in water.
Add beef bouillon and garlic.
Brown beef and onions, drain off fat.
Add beef and onions to soup. Boil until vegetables are fully cooked.