Chili ~ Freezer Meal, Meal Appeal


CHILI – it is totally a favorite in our house…. Whether you eat it as is… with sour cream and cheddar, scooped with Frito’s, or as a topping for grilled hot dogs… this is a versatile dish that you can adjust to your liking… my husband always puts chopped jalapenos in his… but as is, is just perfect for the kids and I!!

Give it a try and let me know what you think….






2 lbs browned ground beef – I fry with minced garlic… drain – about 3 cups

1 cup diced onion

1 cup diced pepper

2 cans beans – I use one chili bean and 1 kidney bean

2 cups stewed/diced tomatoes – always in my freezer

3 cups sauce – any red sauce will do

1 cup/can rotel

1 packet chili seasoning


Everything into a freezer bag! Thaw 24 hours prior to cooking…

Cooks best in a crock pot for longer time on low…

~ Recommend 6-8 hours on low for ease BUT can be simmered on the stove top, watch and stir frequently!!

Taste test as you go… some like to add a TBS of sugar and others a TBS or 2 of HOT SAUCE or RED PEPPER FLAKES

Serving suggestions: Eat a heaping bowl with cheddar and sour cream… dipping either FRITO SCOOPS or Saltine crackers in it – OR serve up a grilled cheese or cheesy garlic bread.

We also love to make chili dogs…cover with cheese and broil!

Apple BBQ Pork Roast ~ Freezer Meal, Meal Appeal


During a recent MEAL APPEAL WORKSHOP (next one is November 21 – check it out), one of the freezer meals we made was an APPLE BBQ PORK ROAST… If you are looking for an ultimate comfort meal, this is it!

There has been amazing feedback about this dish… some have baked it – low and slow – in the oven, I always do it in the crockpot (working Mama you know) and I even had a friend slice it length wise and grill it…

As with all of the freezer meals, the idea was to throw everything in a freezer bag, then pull this dish and cook it up…


HERE my gorgeous friend Didi made the roast…. Check her out at Dishin’ with Didi – just LOVE her, she is such an inspiration to me!!


I am telling you… the SMELL, the TASTE…  AMAZING!!!  Have a go – let me know what you think!!!

Apple BBQ Pork Roast – FREEZER MEAL

3 lb pork roast – I buy the 10 lb loins (BJs for about $20) and cut into 1/3’s
1 cup applesauce – of course I used my home made
1 cup BBQ sauce – partial to ‘slop’ type sauces with some Sweet Baby Rays added in…
2 TBS minced dried onion

Everything in a freezer bag… Thaw 24 hours prior to cooking…
Crock pot – low and slow…. 7-9 hours on low (this will be ‘shred-able’)
OR Bake in the oven – about 2 hours on 325…. Then slice!

Serving suggestions: Roasted root vegetables and rice or * our favorites *, ‘smashed’ (fried) potatoes and slivered green beans!!

NOTES: The USDA recommends that pork be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. The federal agency says it is lowering the recommended safe cooking temperature for whole cuts of pork from 160 degrees to 145 degrees and adding a 3-minute rest time.

Stromboli or Pizza Rolls… What’s it gonna be??

stromboli 6

THIS is by far my newest FAVORITE recipe… I have been playing and playing with it and I have now, what is the perfect combination of ingredients to make AMAZING Stromboli – or to cut the Stromboli prior to baking and make EASY and DELICIOUS pizza rolls… which the kids prefer!

The great news is this recipe is for 2 – so we always make one of each!

I started with actual dough – which you can certainly use, but quickly reverted to Pillsbury Pizza Crust… they have perfected it, and who am I to challenge that??!!


Lay out the dough, Mix up your “saucey” ingredients and cover the dough, add your pizza preferences…. We go for plain old pepperoni and mozzarella cheese, but I have used burger and swiss, ham and provolone or cheddar and I am working on a bacon, egg and cheese breakfast variety.

stromboli 5

Roll the dough like a jelly roll – use the remaining egg whites as a wash and sprinkle with a bit more garlic and Parmesan, then bake as a Stromboli or cut into 1” slices and bake as pizza rolls.

stromboli 7

stromboli 3
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Start with 2 crusts… lay them out on a cookie sheet.

Mix up this ‘sauce’ and spread 1/2 on each crust:
• 2 egg yolks (save the whites to use as a wash)
• 1 TBS parmesan cheese
• 1 tsp Italian seasoning
• 1⁄2 tsp garlic powder
• 1/2 tsp onion powder
• 1⁄4 tsp pepper
• 1 vegetable oil
• 1 TBS jalapeno juice (right from the jar of slices)

Add your pizza toppings, split between the 2 crusts:
• 1 bag (5 oz.) pepperoni
• 1 bag (2 cups) of cheese
• Any other favorites you have – sausage, peppers, onions, olives….
• Any sauce (jarred pizza or spaghetti or of course your own homemade) – for dipping once cooked.

Roll each crust up like a jelly roll, and make a wash of the remaining egg whites – by whisking with 2 TBS water – and spread over roll, then shake down with additional parmesan and garlic….

Bake the Stromboli as is, or cut in 1” slices (like cinnamon rolls) and bake as pizza rolls.

Bake at 400 for about 25 minutes.

Serve with a warmed bowl of dipping sauce!


stromboli 4

Sunday Funday…. a day in the life!


It’s back…. No I am not referring to football season, or even the fall season…. It’s cooking season!! I do love the football and I do love the fall, but mostly I LOVE to cook and today was the first day I got to create and play in the kitchen for the entire day (over 12 hours mind you) in a very long time!!

After a super crazy week, what with back to school and all (3 kids = 3 X NO Fun!!) and tons of amazing football ; High School JV game Thursday night – rocked it! Sadly not quite the same for the Varsity on Saturday but rounded out with 2 wins for our youth “TRI-TOWN” JV and Varsity later in the day! Then today’s AWESOME Bill’s Game was on and I was inspired to start the fall cooking.

It all started with this bounty of tomatoes and peppers… and a full net bag of onions my Mom dropped off… I wanted some salsa and I decided fresh would be best! I even diced and added artichokes for an extra ‘layer’…. The results are STUPENDOUS!!!


Because I was dicing and stewing tomatoes, I thought fresh soup would also work…. I had shredded chicken to use and with peppers and onions galore, I was reminded of CHICKEN FAJITAS! Could I create the flavors into a yummy soup? OH YES I DID!!!!

I found the perfect tortilla strips to add and served it up with hearty whole wheat grilled cheeses!


I also spied the bag full of apples on the counter; “Paulareds” – they looked so pretty…apparently no one likes them because they have been there a good week…. And no fruit makes it more than a few days in our house. Not one for waste, I diced them up, added some cinnamon and sugar and simmered them down to have a hearty applesauce on the side.

Finally, I have been planning on these absolutely delicious (and highly viewed and shared from my blog) pumpkin cookies for over a week and kept running out of time. Today was the day, and I opted for a double batch… One (my favorite) the original with frosting…

AND a second batch with chocolate chips added and a lighter glaze…

NOW I am left with 67 piles of dirty dishes and I haven’t started my meals or my laundry for the week…. Agh – it’s only midnight and I don’t have to work until 8am… NO PROBLEM!!!

WHAT did you do today???

Chocolate Sundae DREAM Cake

chocolate sundae DREAM cake

Chocolate, and a sundae, and a cake…. All in one….

Minimal ingredients, easy instructions and tastes delicious….

I had such a great response from posting my Banana DREAM Cake that I decided to showcase all of the goodies in my DREAM Cake arsenal. And I had a birthday to attend to, so CHOCOLATE SUNDAE DREAM CAKE it is!!


Like a poke cake – remember the dreadful red jello on white cake your granny always served? Went with the jello mold with fruit cocktail in it… YUCK… no sir’ree bob!!

Well, THIS, is a whole new POKE cake and that is why I changed the name to the DREAM Cake series!

Here is the Sundae variation…. YUMMMMOOOO

Chocolate Cake Mix – make cake as directed
1 jar Caramel Sauce
1 jar Fudge Sauce
8 oz. (regular container) Cool Whip
• If you are feeling FANCY and want a decorative topping, crush about 6 Oreos or even use chocolate sprinkles or Mini chocolate chips….

Bake the cake as directed… then allow to cool for about 10 minutes.


See these beaters… lick ‘em…go ahead, I still have yet to meet anyone that died from eating raw eggs… LOL!!!

Now, once the cake has cooled, take a wooden spoon and using the handle end, poke holes in the cake – all the way to the bottom – everywhere! I usually go every 1/2” or so….

Open and microwave the toppings for about 30 seconds just to make them easier to pour… the fudge may take a bit more…. Slowly pour the caramel over the cake and make sure all the holes get filled…


…then pour the fudge (or dollap and spread as the case may be…) and smooth over the cake.


Cover the cake with plastic wrap and set in fridge for an hour or so… I make them the night before and leave in the fridge overnight.

Uncover cake, and spread cool whip on top and smooth out.


Crush your Oreos (I used my mini chopper) and sprinkle on top!


Gaze fondly at your handiwork… then DIG IN!!!


Chocolate Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries


Beautiful… Delicious… Everyone screams for more!! THESE strawberries are to die for!!

And it’s FRUIT… for dessert or an appetizer… or for dinner… I don’t judge… and fruit is healthy… like diet food… SERIOUSLY!!



1-2 pints strawberries
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 TBS butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 TBS unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup Cool Whip

For bases:
2-3 TBS chocolate chips
2-3 TBS chocolate cookie crumbs * I used about 10 Oreos in my processor


Prepare Strawberries:
Wash strawberries and pat dry.

Cut the tops off the strawberries and hollow them out using a small spoon.

Slice a thin piece of the bottom of each strawberry so it can stand up – save these cuts for a cute top!

Create bases:
Melt the 3 TBS chocolate chips @ 50% power for about 20 seconds… continue in 15 second intervals until the chocolate is melted.

Process the cookies to make a crumb base.

Dip the bottom of each DRY strawberry into chocolate and then into the cookie crumbs. Place on a lined cookie sheet. (Parchment, wax paper or even foil)

chocolate cheesecake stuffed strawberries

Make the Filling:
Place the 3/4 cup chocolate chips in a small dish and melt on 50% power for about 40 seconds.. continue in 20 second intervals until the chocolate is melted.

Combine cream cheese, butter, vanilla, cocoa powder and sugar until fluffy. Add in the slightly cooled chocolate and mix on low until incorporated. Add in whipped topping and stir/mix just until combined. (At this point you have a super yummy chocolate fruit dip – but that is a whole ‘nother recipe!!)

Place the filling in a baggy or a decorator. Pipe into the strawberries.

Top with the small bottom piece you cut off to stabilize the berry and sprinkle any remaining cookie crumbs across the top.

Oooh la la… aren’t we fancy now… and oh sooo delicious!! REJOICE!!

Sunday Funday, Weekly Menu ~ Meal Plan


Sunday Funday…

I made some soup… Stuffed Pepper Soup (here)… with lots of extra for the week…  TRULY DELICIOUS!!

I actually matched up some Tops Deals (here)

I posted a recipe for Banana DREAM Cake (here) which was a HUGE hit at a weekend get-together!!

and now our Weekly Menu – Meal Plan… It helps so much to prep and plan on Sundays…check it out!

Sunday – Today while shopping, I stopped at a farm stand…I got corn on the cob and some fresh peas, green and yellow beans, and a cantaloupe. We ate the peas and beans as an appetizer and then grilled chicken breasts, marinated in Chiavettas, and made the corn on the cob. Have you heard of the best way to boil corn?? 1 TBS salt and 1TBS sugar in the boiling water…. Then 1/2 stick of butter thrown in the boiling water just before corn is done… AMAZING!!!

Monday – Stuffed Shells (from a freezer meal workshop) and the fresh cantaloupe

TuesdayChicken Salad Wraps (see recipe HERE)

Wednesday – Smoked Sausage and Potatoes (a favorite freezer meal)

Thursday – Banquet Pot Pies… Cheap this week at $1 each and everyone loves them…. (YUCK..LOL!!)

Friday – Crockpot Italian Sausage with Peppers and Onions and Baked Ziti (all from the last freezer meal workshop)

Saturday – It’s our first official football scrimmage and we shall CELEBRATE with pizza out!

What are you having this week? Do tell!!

Banana DREAM Cake

Banana Dream Cake

So I made a BANANA Pudding Poke Cake…. And life will never be the same!  It has been aptly upgraded to Banana DREAM Cake!!

Sometimes the very simplest recipes can make the absolute best stuff… and this recipe is proof positive that this is true! I took it to a get- together and everyone gave it rave reviews, and the one I made for home (1 of 2 pie plate size) was gone before I got back. A good banana cream pie is my favorite and SERIOUSLY, this Dream Cake topped any pie I have ever had!

Banana dream cake 3

Minimal ingredients, easy instructions and tastes delicious….make it now!!

White or yellow cake mix – make cake as directed
• I have begun adding an extra egg and 2 TBS melted butter to my mixes
2 boxes instant banana pudding mix
4 cups milk
2 large bananas
8 Oz. (regular container) Cool Whip
• If you are FANCY and want a decorative topping, crush about 6 Nilla Wafers, Golden Oreos or even graham crackers…

Bake the cake as directed… then allow to cool while you prepare the pudding.

Make both boxes of pudding by adding the 4 cups of milk and whisking until there are no lumps.

Now that the cake has cooled while you made the pudding, Take a wooden spoon and using the handle end poke holes in the cake – all the way to the bottom – everywhere! The closer the better – I did every 1/2” or so….

Slowly pour the pudding over the cake and make sure all the holes get filled, then smooth the pudding over the cake.

Cover the cake with plastic wrap and set in fridge for an hour or so… I make them the night before and leave in the fridge overnight.

Uncover cake, chop bananas into 1/4 “ slices and lay all over top of pudding.

Spread cool whip on top and smooth out.

Crush wafers ( I used my mini chopper) and sprinkle on top!

banana dream cake 2

Serve this cake to anyone, at anytime, and be ready for the LOVE!!!

TOPS deals this week…


My FAVORITE Tops deals this week….


Fresh Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Big Pack – $1.99/lb — STOCK UP PRICE!!!

Italian Sausage $2.99/lb big pack


Foxy Iceberg Lettuce $.99/head

Peaches $.99/lb.



Tops Orange Juice from Concentrate 64 oz – $1.49 (with in-ad Super Coupon)

D’Italiano Italian Bread 20 oz loaf – $1.69 (with in-ad Super Coupon)

Jumbo Signature Cinnamon Buns 4 count – $1.99 (with in-ad Super Coupon)

Nabisco Ritz Crackers $1.77 – (with in-ad Super Coupon)

Poland Spring 24ct water $2.99 – (with in-ad Super Coupon)

Tops 100ct cooked shrimp $7.49 – (with in-ad Super Coupon)


Nescafe Taster’s Choice Single-Serve Instant Coffee 6 ct – $1.00

– $0.50 off ONE Nescafe Taster’s Choice single-serve coffee (RP 8/23/15)

= FREE  :)


Ken’s Salad Dressing 16 oz – $2.00

–        $1/2 or $0.75 off ONE Ken’s Salad Dressing (SS 8/9/15)


Old El Paso Salsa Seasoning Mix Packet – $0.89

– $1.00 off THREE Old El Paso products – Tear pad… or printable

– Earn $1.00 SavingStar Credit when you buy THREE Old El Paso products

= $.22 cents each after coupon and SavingStar Credit


Nature Valley Granola Bars – $2.00

– $1/2 coupon in the 7/12 Smartsource

= $1. 50


Quaker Chewy Granola Bars – $2.00

– $0.55 off ONE Quaker Chewy Bars (RP 8/23/15)

= $.90 cents after doubles


Fiber One bars – $2

-$.50/1 Fiber one printable or use the $1/2 coupons in the 7/12 or 8/2 Smartsource

= $1.00



Gatorade or Propel Fitness water/ Glaceau Smart water or Vitamin water $1

Banquet Brown and serve sausages $1

Hunts Pasta Sauce $1

Knorr Pasta sides $1

Banquet Pot Pies $1

Tops Soft cookies $1


Tops Chicken Noodle Tomato and condensed soups $.50

Tops Canned Vegetables $.50


Happy Shopping!!!

Weekly Menu ~ Meal Plan

Another crazy FUN week ahead… NOT that I am complaining, BUT working 50+ hours per week sure makes it tough to cook and plan dinners…. I leave the house at 7:30 am and some nights I meet the family at the ball park and we don’t get home until after 8:30 PM… This week we have 3 of those days AND we are camping for the weekend, so I have to get that ready as well… is it really any wonder I can’t get my laundry caught up?!!

BUT I am determined to have dinner together and to avoid the draw of ordering out or drive through!! I would NEVER claim my food is 100% healthier than take out, but I do try to offer up fresh fruits and veggies and stick to a budget. So – These are the weeks that planning and a little prep work are super critical… I had to figure it all out ahead of time, shop for the needed add-ons, and prep a few things today to ensure our week goes smooth!!

For Sunday Supper, K wanted to cook up some ribs we had frozen…. So I made a LARGE (enough for lunches and another dinner side) Sweet Pickle Mac Salad and Baked Beans. Both will get used again this week. I also fried up an extra pound of bacon for BLTs, while we made brunch today, and then grilled a few chicken breasts for Chicken and Salad this week as well. Being Sunday Funday – my cooking day, I also started a large crock of sauce so I have that for sausage, peppers and onions during the weekend and the start to Father’s Day Stuffed Shells.


Here is OUR plan for the week….

Monday – Chicken and Salad – I already prepped a large salad and have plenty of fresh veggies as snacks for the week too so combined with my already grilled chicken; we can have dinner in 5 minutes!!

Tuesday – BLT Pita Sandwiches – Bacon is ready, leftover salad and some sliced swiss… all stuffed into pitas and served with carrots, celery and sliced peppers.

Wednesday –Beans and Weenies – Beans from the weekend, chop a bunch of hot dogs and throw it all in the crockpot to heat while we are gone. Not the healthiest, but a hot, delicious, family favorite that we generally devour a melon with!

Thursday – BBQ Chicken and Sweet Pickle Mac Salad – I lightly, pre-grilled the chicken so K can set it in the crock with BBQ sauce for the few hours we are gone. Served with the Mac Salad I made over the weekend too.

Friday @ Camp – Sausage with Peppers and Onions – all in a crock with sauce so it’s hot and ready when we get set up!

Saturday – Father’s Day BBQ – GREEK CHICKEN (favorite marinade found HERE) and BUILD’a’BURGER bar!!

Sunday – Breakfast Pizza for brunch, Stuffed Shells for dinner, and Ice Cream Sundaes

Tell me – HOW do you feed your family during the “rat race”?? Any GREAT tips??

What are you having this week??





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