Monthly Archives: May 2012

Coffee Rubbed Pork Tacos

Coffee Rubbed Pork Tacos

After all the cooking earlier, finally got to dinner.  It was a little time consuming, but was definitely worth it.  I started this while everything else was simmering in the stock pot.  Pretty easy too!

Cover a baking dish and place the pork in it while you mix the spices together.

Then cover the pork on all sides with the mixture.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  This was perfect to get other stuff done during the day.  Then pull out and let come to room temperature, at least twenty minutes.

Once room temperature place in a hot pan (we used cast iron), but I’m thinking next time after searing it that I’d put it on the grill.  But I did it exactly as the recipe stated.  So we seared it on the top for 7 minutes, flipped it over and did it again for 6 minutes.  Don’t touch the meat during this process, it lets the seasonings combine for a great crisp coating.

This process was a little smoky.  Make sure to open the windows!

After searing on both sides you’re supposed to let it sit in the hot pan for another 5 minutes and then pull out and let it rest for 5 minutes after that.  Once we did that we pulled it out to cut it and it was still not cooked all the way.  I already had the oven on for something else, so I put it in there in the skillet and cooked it for a few minutes and voila the pork was done!

Next slice it up and make tacos.

The tacos were delicious and even better with the Tomatillo Salsa Verde that I posted about earlier.

sorry if the pictures look a little blurry, used the wrong camera oops!


Hope you enjoy

Here is the recipe card already for you if you want to just print it here.


Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde


Monday for Memorial day, everyone in the family kinda did their own thing, and we didn’t even really eat together. So apparently my grilled turkey burgers weren’t happening. Too bad, because I was definitely looking forward to the salsa.  So since we are having tacos tonight, I decided to make it today with 1000 other things.  Started with cooking bone-in chicken in a stock pot with veggies for an hour.  I bagged the chicken broth for future recipes and used the shredded chicken and split it up for dinners in the future.  Helped that the chicken was only $1.50/pack.

Then the salsa! Grilling the 1 lb of tomatillos and 2-3 jalapenos (depends on the spice level you want.)

Grill them nice and crispy with great char marks on them!

After that bring them in the house.  This is the easy part.  Throw everything else in the food processor.   Tomatillos, jalapenos, and fresh cilantro out of the garden. YUM!

Process until smooth salsa texture.

Then chill before serving.  The salsa is in the fridge right now.  Tastes delicious and can’t wait to try it on the tacos tonight.

Tomatillo Salsa Verde

serves 2 Cups

1 lb tomatillos (husked)

2-3 jalapenos

a bunch of cilantro

juice of one lime


Heat the grill.  Husk the tomatillos.  Place all tomatillos and jalapenos on the grill.  Grill until charred on all sides and mushy.  This could take anywhere from 5-15 minutes depending on your grill.  Once charred bring inside and place all the ingredients in the food processor and blend til smooth.  Chill before serving.

Love this recipe, quick, easy, delicious!

Here are the links to the recipe cards I’ve already made for you.

Front   Back

Hopefully you try it soon.

Topsy Turvy Garden Week 5

Topsy Turvy Garden Week 5

So this week definitely a lot of growth and change in the garden! Its much more fun than I ever would’ve though to watch things grow.  I can’t tell you how excited i’ll be just to pick fruit off the plants.  Yes, I’m a nerd, and apparently I need more excitement in my life.

I had an interview early this morning. Cross your fingers! So I took pictures before I left this morning.  After the interview I had a long day, helping a friend pack and grocery shopping.  By the way, today was totally a meat and veggies day, and I love finding $20 of coupons just hanging there in the store.  And score a full rack of ribs for $10, I definitely need a good slow cooking recipe for those if anyone one has suggestions.

So back to the garden.  Lots of flower buts on the pepper plants, the onions are growing like crazy, and more tomatoes.  I’m loving this hot weather early.  Everything is coming up quicker.  I know that most of the pepper plants that are in the actual garden are growing quicker, but they had flowers when I bought the,   With the fact that I transplanted the plants into the topsy turvy garden twice, they are growing quickly and big!  I’m so excited, almost every plant has flower buds on them, here in a few weeks I should be over flowing with peppers.  I am thinking about moving my oregano and peppermint out of the top of the topsy turvy because I’ve been reading a lot and apparently they overtake the garden and actually can damage the root systems of other plants, which with how I measured for the pepper plants that could be a problem.  Luckily there are a few empty planters in our house, and Dad brought me a few more pallets home, so I can always build something.  I’ve been looking at this cute potting table I saw on Pinterest here.  I think those herbs that I’m repotting might go there! And since I mulched the “frog” pond all weekend and cleaned up the patio it’ll look cute.  Now for the pictures! Look how my garden grew.

Please excuse the photos, I couldn’t find my camera this morning, luckily my phone takes decent pix.

Would love to hear from you, thoughts opinions, criticisms, anything.  Please get ahold of me.


Meal Planning Monday 5/28

Meal Planning Monday 5/28

I did much better last week, sticking to the menu, and taking pictures! You’d never believe I did photography for a living for awhile.  Sorry they pictures aren’t better sold my DSLR camera (tough times 😦 ), but hopefully I’ll get better at taking pictures while cooking with my other camera. Really looking forward to the recipes this week, and grilling out a little more!

This Week:


Grilled Turkey Burgers with Tomatillo Salsa

Recipe Card 1  – Recipe Card 2Recipe Card 3


Grilled Chicken Drumsticks with a Spicy Apple Glaze

Recipe Page


Coffee Rubbed Pork Tacos

Recipe Card


Pasta Sausage Bake

Recipe Card


Cheesy Chicken & Rice Skillet

Recipe Card

Saturday & Sunday

I’m actually making dinner Saturday for the BF so here is what I’m making since I can actually use real veggies!

Eggplant & Zucchini Parmesan Casserole

Recipe Card

These are our cheat days or simply leftover days.

I’ll have links added to the ones that I’m using other people’s recipes, and then update with pictures most days and give you my recipe if its necessary.

I also filled out a sheet for you!  filled out the days of the week, not the grocery list, I have no idea what you have in your fridge.  I’ll try to get recipe cards out soon as well! So that you can use them and cook with me!

Please comment and let me know if you use any of the recipe cards or planning sheets!

Blackened Chicken with Creamy Pasta

Blackened Chicken with Creamy Pasta

Today was an incredibly long day.  Got to sleep in, but as soon as I woke up, it was lets go Garage Sale Shopping.  I actually am looking forward to my sister finally moving out (just so I can stop shopping for stuff for her!) It was actually an allotment sale, so we got to walk around, get some sun, and find a few things.  We found her bedroom furniture, something big we really needed to check off her list.

Then we got back home, found room for all the toilet paper and paper towels we bought for $4 each, Love Coupons!                My sister and I, spent a lot of time cleaning out the garage, and organizing.  Mom noticed right away, felt good to actually find a home for that stuff.

Next we got my (yes all mine) new motorcycle out, so I could start learning how to drive it.  Was a little scary but did pretty well for my first time out and didn’t drop it.  Yes there are pictures, but I’m not sure I want to show them as of yet.

Now for dinner! Dinner was awesome, really happy with how it came out.  It was fairly easy, and if you time it out right works out pretty well as well.  Only thing I’d probably change would be to use brown sugar instead.  We also didn’t do the broccoli like in the original recipe here.  I cheated and heated up some frozen veggies which added more than just broccoli.  This is a keeper, and the first thing my sister, Cyndi, said was, “Make sure there is a recipe card for this one.” I’m guessing that is a good sign.

Blackened Chicken with Creamy Pasta

adapted from

Serves 4 to 6   Total time Hour

For the seasoning:
2 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste

For the chicken:
Olive oil, for cooking
2 chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds) split in half crosswise
3 tablespoons butter, melted
Box of Pasta

For the sauce:
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk (2% or whole) (I actually used almond milk)
1 egg yolk
3 large cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup packed freshly-grated Parmesan
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F. For the blackening seasoning, combine all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over highest heat or until scalding hot, about 5 minutes. Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is very hot, dredge the chicken in the melted butter; then thoroughly coat in the blackening rub. Add the chicken to the pan and cook until blackened on each side, about 1-2 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a lightly-greased sheet pan. Cook in the oven until chicken with the cut chicken strips, this only took about ten minutes. After out of the oven I sliced in bite sized pieces.

While the chicken is in the oven, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Then cook pasta as directed, usually about ten minutes, until al dente.

To make the sauce, in a heavy saucepan, whisk together the cream, milk, and egg yolk. Add the garlic cloves and bring to barely a simmer, stirring constantly, over medium-low to medium heat. Cook until the sauce is slightly thickened, watching carefully to not cook the egg. Turn off the heat and stir in grated Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Combine the pasta, sauce, sliced chicken. If you are in need of some veggies, I threw some frozen veggies to add color, and for the healthy aspect of the dish!  Once all plated serve immediately, and enjoy!

Here is a typed up recipe pages just for you  Get it HERE

Recipe Cards, Pages, and a few Extras

Recipe Cards, Pages, and a few Extras

So I know I’ve been fairly quiet the last few days, but I’ve been super busy!  Yesterday I kinda relaxed and played in Photoshop a lot with my sister.  This all started because she is moving out here in August, and she is freaking out about not having recipes and being able to cook.  So I made recipe cards for her.  Ones she’d appreciate, plus I made them in Acrobat with fields that she can just enter, and then all of her recipe cards would look the same.  So then I started creating other ones, and different patterns, and it started spiraling out of control, to where I have been on Photoshop for two days straight trying to get all my ideas out.  I have most of them ready to go for you guys to use and download, for the black ones.  You can use the PDF files to actually type on or the JPG files to print and write out your recipes on.  This is a great idea to get all the recipes from your grandparents/parents before you can’t.

Here is what I came up for you.  Please comment if you use them.  Please don’t claim as your own or sell them.

Thank you!

Summer Butterfly Recipe Card 4×6

1 Card JPG    2 Card JPG    1 Card PDF    2 Card PDF

1 Card JPG    2 Card JPG    1 Card PDF    2 Card PDF

Pink N Purple Recipe Cards 4×6

1 Card JPG    2 Card JPG    1 Card PDF    2 Card PDF

1 Card JPG    2 Card JPG    1 Card PDF    2 Card PDF

Red N Black Recipe Cards 4×6

1 Card JPG    2 Card JPG    1 Card PDF    2 Card PDF

1 Card JPG    2 Card JPG    1 Card PDF    2 Card PDF

Romantic Recipe Cards 4×6

No Pictures as of yet

1 Card JPG    2 Card JPG    1 Card PDF    2 Card PDF

No Pictures as of yet

1 Card JPG    2 Card JPG    1 Card PDF    2 Card PDF

Meal Planning Monday Sheets

JPG        PDF

Full Page Green Recipe Page Without Lines


Full Page Green Recipe Page With Lines


I’m going to start using these for my recipes as well! If there is one you like more than others let me know, so that I can use them more often! Enjoy!

Dean Bros Lighter Tastes like Lasagna Soup


First of all I must say it was definitely worth the wait!  This soup was delicious and perfect for a cold night.  I know it hasn’t been cold, but today was chilly and definitely a good day for soup.  I’m happy we finally got to make it.

The family loved it and we put the leftovers in the freezer.  We did change a few things, according to my family’s taste, but any way you make it, I’m sure it’ll work out just right.

Dean Bros. Lighter Lasagna Soup

Adapted from The Dean Bros. 

Serves about 8

1 Hour Cook Time


2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound Italian turkey sausage, casings removed (we used deer meat because its what was in the freezer)
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (32-ounce) container chicken broth
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces broken whole-wheat lasagna noodles (about 4 noodles)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (from the garden)

3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese
8 Whole-wheat breadsticks or grissini (optional) (we are all dieting, no bread covered in butter for us)


Make sure meat is thawed and brown in a non-stick skillet with onions, garlic, and peppers.  Stirring occasionally until meat is cooked.  In a larger pot (dutch oven) add the broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, salt, and pepper.  Then add the meat to that pot, bringing to a boil and then let simmer for 20 minutes.  Once all the flavor is into the meat, add the noodles and bring to a boil again for abou 10-12 mins. Remove from the heat and add in mozzarella, basil and Parmesan.

We served it on top with a little extra shredded mozzarella.

Definitely delicious and worth making again and freezing 😀

Print this!

Topsy Turvy Garden Week 4

Topsy Turvy Garden Week 4

The garden is growing and doing well.  I think its going to be a few weeks before we see a lot of progress, but my one tomato is getting a lot bigger by the day and a few of the pepper plants are growing flowers.  Hopefully since this has already been a crazy warm summer, they’ll grow fast and be more productive.

If you were looking on twitter I’ve been looking on Pinterest all morning for recipes to use with all the peppers I’m growing. I can only eat so many peppers.

Definitely looking forward to some Jalapeno mustard and hot pepper jelly.  Have any other suggestions or great canning recipes? I’d love to hear them.  As soon as I start getting more fruit growing I’ll be posting the recipes I try.

If you’re looking for more progress on my plants I post more photos on (MandaMakes)  more than once a week.. its fascinating to watch everything grow, knowing that i’m growing it.

Potato Kielbasa Skillet


I haven’t felt well all day, slept most of the day, apparently my body needed it.  Yes, I’m the one who usually cooks, and thankfully mom stepped in tonight! I love that the printed recipes have actually given her some confidence to cook.  Too bad she didn’t try it more when we were growing up. She pulled out the Kielbasa and started cooking without even having to ask! Woo hoo! She even went out to the garden and got the fresh herbs, didn’t expect that either.

Overall, this was pretty good. Easy to make, and has a little bit of everything.   I’ll be changing a few things next time, I think it would be pretty great spicy with some hot peppers and cayenne pepper.  But at least it will be something we make again, especially since we got a ton of kielbasa for $1.39 each a few weeks ago with coupons! Sorry no pictures, like I said I didn’t cook.  If we make it again I’ll add pix.  But you can see some on the original link here.

Potato Kielbasa Skillet

Total time 30ish minutes.

Serves 4

  • 5 large potatoes, cut in bite sized chunks
  • 1 lb kielbasa, sliced
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (Used EVOO definitely a healthier option)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded American cheese (we used cheddar, much better idea!)


  1. In dutch oven, brown potatoes, kielbasa, onion and peppers in oil.
  2. Add seasonings and water.
  3. Bring to a boil.
  4. Cover tightly and cook for 20 minutes on low, stirring occasionally.
  5. Uncover and put cheese on top.
  6. Simmer until cheese is melted.

Meal Planning Monday 5/21

Meal Planning Monday 5/21

So last week was a little crazy around the house, and mom ended up cooking, which meant, nothing I planned lol.  Luckily we had enough to make.  Plus we had what I planned to make last week for this week.  This will make it an easy week to prepare.

This Week:


Potato Kielbasa Skillet


Dean Bro.’s Lasagna Soup

(actually going to make it this time!)


Burgers & Fresh Veggies


Tortilla Roll-ups Inspired by Pioneer Woman


Blackened Chicken Pasta

Saturday & Sunday

These are our cheat days or simply leftover days.

I’ll have links added to the ones that I’m using other people’s recipes, and then update with pictures most days and give you my recipe if its necessary.