Category Archives: Recipes

Cupcakes & Appreciation


No, I do not have kids. But man do I love when school is finally out! My mother is a school bus driver.  She is so much more fun and we get to do a lot of things in the summer.  Today is the last day.  She begged me to make some pretty cupcakes for the bus drivers to say thank you to all the drivers and mechanics.  So went to the grocery store bought some ingredients and begged my sister to help me.

We made the Pasta Sausage Bake, which by the way was delicious, I use a little less sugar though.  So we did that first, it was pretty easy to make, and put it in the oven to start baking cupcakes.

We decided to make two different cupcakes, for the different pallets. 😀 Strawberry Lemonade & Cookies and Cream.  Let me tell you, it was a decent amount of work, but totally worth it.  They were both amazing.  The cool part was that Cyndi got to learn how to frost cupcakes.  I can’t believe she hasn’t done it before lol.  But whatever it was such a great day and got to do a lot for some awesome people.

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes

inspired by

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

inspired by

Like I said before both of these cupcakes were amazing, and probably ruined my diet, but worth it!

If I get time I’ll get some recipe cards typed up for these, but this weekend is incredibly busy.  We are doing a charity event with the motorcycle club all day tomorrow and a thank you picnic for the workers Sunday.  I haven’t been asked to bake for that yet, but I’m sure I will be Saturday night haha.  If you want to see an awesome charity worth donating or even going to go see check out (they apparently haven’t updated their website since last year, but the basics are the same and the race is tomorrow.)

Have a great weekend!


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.

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!

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.

Easy Gourmet Cupcakes


I’m all about making life easier.  Yes I’d prefer healthier 99% of the time but if you’re in a pinch but you want it look like you were trying harder than you were I have the perfect trick for you.

This is what I’m doing for the bring a covered dish to our motorcycle run this morning (Yes I’m a biker too 😉 )

I got a box of red velvet cake mix and brownie mix, with coupons of course! I think I paid maybe .50 each for them.  I had the cream cheese and powdered sugar, so I had everything I needed already there.

Mix the ingredients together as directed in two separate bowls, and then when you put the cupcake pans together, Spoon (Sorry I forgot to take pix during the process! 😦 Will work on that )  in the red velvet in all the cups, close to normal but a little low, so you’ll have a few extra cupcakes, oh darn. Then with the brownie mix, put a dollop in the middle of the batter.  Just don’t let it get to the edges.  Bake it like the box tells you too.  With the red velvet the brownie disappears, I’ve done it with yellow cake, and you still have a brown spot on the top.  

Then wait to cool so the frosting doesn’t melt, and pipe frosting with your home made cream cheese frosting (or whatever frosting you make).  I just use a gallon ziploc bag and a star tip, because then it doesn’t look homemade.  This always goes over well, and you know the cake will taste good.

There are your fast and easy gourmet cupcakes!

Cinnamon Chili Rubbed Pork with Apple Salsa

Cinnamon Chili Rubbed Pork with Apple Salsa

Tonight scheduled was a Pork Loin rubbed in cinnamon and chili powder.  The meal didn’t take to long to prepare, except when waiting for lime juice for an hour.  Yes, I know I plan everything ahead and shop ahead, and still somehow missed lime juice.  Then mom ran into five people making it a very long wait.

So over all not too hard to make, I made a few changes to the dish for our liking and to take out a few calories. 

Manda – The pork was cooked well.  If I make it again, I’ll definitely let the rub sit a little more the next time, because there wasn’t enough flavor in the pork.  The outside crunch was awesome, and the apple salsa went really well with everything.  A

Family – Mom isn’t big on onions and it was her first time with cilantro (apparently it was too strong for her), and Sister needed ketchup for the potatoes (because I didn’t use butter) But they both liked it.  But overall plates were clean at the end of the night.  A

Original Recipe: Rob Wolf’s Cinnamon Chili Rubbed Pork with Apple Salsa

My version:

Cinnamon Chili Rubbed Pork with Apple Salsa

Servings 6-8

Total Time: 45 minutes including marinating time. (would be better if marinated over night)

1 Pork Tenderloin

3 T olive oil

3 cloves of minced garlic

1 T chili powder ( I used Ancho Chili powder, added some smoke to the flavor)

1/2 T ground cinnamon

S & P to taste

Apple Salsa

2 C diced apples, I used a red and a green apple

1/2 C diced red bell pepper

1/3 C fresh lime juice

1/4 C diced red onions

1/4 C fresh minced cilantro

1 tsp fresh minced Stevia (I used this out of my garden instead of honey)

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

Preheat over 400°

Combine olive oil, chili powder and cinnamon in a large shallow bowl.  Add your pork and coat the pork evenly.  Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.  Let the pork marinate in the rub for 15 to 30 minutes. (I suggest overnight.)

While this was happening I made the salsa, pretty simply mix all ingredients stirring well.

Then after marinated, heat a grill pan over medium heat and spray with coconut oil spray.  Add pork cook until browned on each side about 2-3 minutes on each side.

Transfer pan to the oven, bake pork until desired temperature. This took us about 18 minutes.  After done, let pork rest for 5 minutes and then slice into pieces about 1/2 inch thick.

I plate these with some smashed potatoes, to add a little more to the dish and covered it with salsa.

I think the dish needs a little more color, but I haven’t figure out exactly what I’d do to change it.  Any suggestions?

Print this Recipe!

Cilantro Lime Crusted Chicken Tacos


Like I noted in the Meal Planning Monday, Monday we had Cilantro Lime Crusted Chicken Tacos. Sorry took so long to post, but yesterday was a crazy day. I have a broken foot at the moment, shopping and interviewing on crutches is not recommended! But we go the meal made, and my mom (who does not cook at all) helped while I hobbled, and it all came together, thunderstorm and all.

With my couponing this week, we got some of the Kraft Fresh Takes On sale for $1/each, after coupon, totally worth trying a few.

Overall Rating:

Manda: Was pretty good, and nice and quick! Great for a night on the go.  The calories weren’t completely horrible either.  With 100 calories per serving, plus wrap and toppings, you could make this a very low calorie meal.     A

Family: Everyone loved that it was easy to customize and they could have exactly what they wanted.  Everyone loved the cilantro and lime seasoning .  A+

Cilantro Lime Crusted Chicken Tacos

Serves 6

Total time: 45 minutes

Preheat Oven 375°

2lb whole boneless skinless chicken breasts (Completely Thawed)

1 Cilantro Lime Fresh Takes

Whole Wheat Soft Tacos

Toppings of your choice!

Follow the directions in the package for the Fresh Takes, Used the thawed chicken, and soak in water and place in bag to coat with toppings.  Place on a greased baking sheet or my favorite a foil covered baking sheet.  Bake Chicken for 30 minutes.

This is when you can wash dishes or catch up on something else.  (I was getting my coupons ready for my trip on Tuesday, have to multitask!)
IMG_7785[1] IMG_7786[1]
When the chicken is done pull out and slice  to put onto your whole wheat tortillas. Add your favorite toppings and voila you’re done! Quick, Easy, and Delicious!


Print this Recipe!