Friday, April 29, 2011

Bubble Pizza

So with last nights Best Meat Sauce Ever recipe I made this biscuit pizza casserole. It is similar to this recipe on, but much different.

1lb Best Meat Sauce
2 (12 ounce) packages refrigerated buttermilk biscuit dough
2 cubs shredded italian cheese blend

Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a 9x13 (glass) pan with Pam. Quarter the biscuits. Then layer the bottom of the pan with biscuit chunks. Pour or spoon meat mixture over the biscuits. Layer the cheese on next. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Just Add Chocolate

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Best Meat Sauce EVER

I have a problem with tomato chunks. I don't like them one bit. Jarred spaghetti sauce tends to be full of  tomato chunks. So when I saw this recipe in my Taste of Home Prize Winning cookbook I got excited. It is AMAZING. I have made it several times. If you don't want a lot of spice tone down the crushed red pepper flakes.

1lb ground sirloin
2 tablespoons pre-minced garlic
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) tomato soup, undiluted
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon thyme
1/8 teaspoon tarragon
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large skillet cook the beef and minced garlic. Once its finished cooking drain it. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes. 

Tomorrow I will post the recipe I used this meat sauce in this week.

Till tomorrow,

Just Add Chocolate

Friday, April 15, 2011

Smoked or Charred Turkey?

How do you like your turkey? Because my dad was here we did a faux Thanksgiving, as he didn't get to celebrate with us last year. When I was a kid my dad ALWAYS, like at least monthly, grilling a turkey.  It was always amazing, and I wanted the specifics on how my husband could re-create it. I picked up just the breasts on the bone, with no legs or wings. After all, it was only three of us. Then sometime while the grill cover was on, the bird caught fire. Sadly we missed it, so I have no photos. When we went to check on the bird this is what we found:
I was ready to jump in the car to go get some chicken breasts to grill, when they decided to see if the bird was okay under the skin. Sure enough, once you pulled back the charred skin, we found the most juicy turkey EVER. This was so good that my husband declared he would grill a turkey for Thanksgiving, every year we are at our house, even in the snow.


  • Turkey - defrosted and cleaned out, can have its legs or not.
  • Garlic salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Hungarian paprika
  • grill
  • charcoal
  • hickory wood chips
  • fire
Soak your wood chips in water for an hour. Prepare your grill. We started with the charcoals getting hot in the middle, before moving them to the side. Then put a metal pan to catch the grease from the turkey in the middle. Put the soaked wood chips in a smoker box, and place on the coals. Put a little water in the bottom of the pan to help dilute the grease that will fall in it. We forgot this step, which is probably what caused our bird to go up in smoke.

Sprinkle the garlic salt on carefully so you don't over salt the bird. Use as much paprika and garlic powder as you like. I love garlic, so I might have used way too much for normal people. Put the bird right over where the metal pan is set. Cover the lid, with the vents all open. Grill for 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 hours depending on the size of your bird. Enjoy!

(More recipes coming soon from our faux Thanksgiving!)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Cookbook Tuesday: Cajun Pecan Catfish

Another friend, Rebecca, sent me her recipe that she made yesterday. She made fish as well. If its not a fish found in the sea is it still seafood? LOL Not sure if I should label this differently. Anyway heres the recipe from Rebecca!

"Here is the recipe I used this Tuesday, from the cookbook All Recipes All-Time Favorite Best Brand Recipes.

Cajun Pecan Catfish
1 pound catfish fillets (I used tilapia)
2 T. olive oil
1 T. Cajun seasoning (I used Penzey's)
2 t. lemon juice
1 t, thyme
1/3 c. finely chopped pecans
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese
1 T. dry breadcrumbs
1 T. parsley flakes

Preheat oven to 425. Coat a shallow baking pan with non-stick spray and place fish in pan.

Combine oil, Cajun seasoning, lemon juice and thyme. Spoon or brush 1/2 of the mixture over the fish.

Add the pecans, bread crumbs, Parmesan and parsley to the remaining oil mixture and mix well. Spoon onto fish and press lightly to stick.

Bake in the preheated oven for 10 - 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets, or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Garnish with lemon wedges and more parsley if desired."

Cookbook Tuesday: Foil Wrapped Salmon by Erin

I apologize for being a day late, but my dad flew in yesterday. My friend Erin is joining in on Cookbook Tuesday, and this recipe is from her. She got it out of her Gooseberry Patch - Ready, Set, Eat cookbook!

"Here is what I fixed last night:
Foiled Wrapped Salmon
4ea Salmon filets
1/4 c. Brown Sugar
1/4 c. Butter
1ea onion (sliced)
1ea lemon(sliced)
4pcs Aluminum Foil

Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray non-stick cooking spray on all 4 sheets of Aluminum Foil. Place one Salmon fillet on each Aluminum sheet. Divide 1/4c Brown sugar into fourths and place on Salmon. Divide 1/4c Butter and place on Salmon. Place onion rings and lemon sliced on top of butter, brown sugar, salmon fillets. Fold Aluminum foil into packets and poke holes in the foil for vents. Place on a cookie sheet(I recommend lining the baking sheet in foil for easy clean up, the brown sugar/butter sauce tends to leak out) and bake for 30 min.

*I served over brown rice with salad*

If you would like to join in next week on cookbook Tuesday just let me know!"

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Chicken fried chicken

So this is another recipe I ate growing up. My mom made it ALL the time for me, as it was one of the few meals I liked. Thank goodness I outgrew my pickyness. It is very similar to the buffalo chicken fried chicken. Its totally not healthy, but wouldn't be too bad if you baked it instead. 


  • 3 chicken breasts sliced in half to make skinnier pieces
  • 2 eggs
  • 3ish cups Kellogg's cornflake crumbs
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Lawry's seasoned salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Beat eggs in shallow dish. Mix cornflake crumbs & seasoned salt in another shallow baking dish. Season chicken with salt & pepper, then dip in cornflake crumbs. Then dip chicken in the eggs, and back in the cornflake crumbs. Repeat with all pieces of chicken. Heat up oil in large pan. Approx. 5 minutes on each side or until chicken is cooked thoroughly.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

How many cookbooks do you have?

Most people have addictions. Mine happens to be cookbooks. I currently have 48 cookbooks! How many do you have? I am going to start having "Cookbook Tuesdays," to help me actually utilize my cookbooks.  

Whenever my husband and I head to a book store I normally make a beeline for the cookbooks. I have gotten better, but I used to always get a cookbook (or two) when we went to a bookstore. Then last summer I found several cookbooks at garage sales. I also get them for gifts. This doesn't account for my binder full of recipes, including several from my mom. 

I welcome everyone to join me in Cookbook Tuesdays! 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Creamy Burrito Casserole

As soon as I saw that Meal Planning Mayhem was making this recipe, I knew it sounded good. I changed it a little bit to our (I mean my) tastes. Chad added some more spice on top with taco sauce. I also cut a little calories by adding healthier options to it. But don't get me wrong, this still isn't healthy.

  • 1 1/2lb ground sirloin
  • 2 Tablespoons dehydrated minced onion
  • 1 Tablespoon pre-minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup taco seasoning
  • 4 - 6 large tortillas
  • 3 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 3/4 cup light sour cream
  • 1 (10 3/4ounce) can Healthy Request Cream of Mushroom soup
  • medium hot taco sauce to taste (probably around 1/2 cup)


Preheat oven to 350.

Brown ground beef with onion and garlic. Once meat is cooked throughly, drain the grease. Dump ground meat back in pan, add taco seasoning to ground beef and mix thoroughly. Set aside, do not add water like you would for normal taco meat.

Mix sour cream and soup in bowl. Spray Pam in bottom of 9x13 glass pan. Spread half the cream mixture on the bottom. Then tear up tortillas to cover the bottom. Spread half the meat mixture on top, and then as much taco sauce as you desire on top of that. Next add half the cheese. Then repeat the steps. Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes to set. 

Catch ya later,

Just Add Chocolate

I'm finally adding chocolate!

My MIL knows one of my very favorite cookies is oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. So she gave me her recipe for the chewy, and it did not disappoint! 


  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 cups  Rolled oats
  • 1 1/2cup chocolate chips


Pre-heat oven to 325.

Cream together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla extract. Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt together. Then slowly incorporate them into the sugar/butter mixture. Once the flour is just mixed add the oats and chocolate chips in.

Use a medium cookie scoop when dropping dough on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 13 minutes. Then let cookies cool for 5 minutes on cookie sheet before moving to drying  rack.

Makes 42 cookies.

See ya next time,

Just Add Chocolate

Friday, April 1, 2011

Greek Cinnamon Stewed Chicken

I apologize I haven't blogged much this week. Between Chad working afternoons and me showing a TON of homes, cooking hasn't happened. Don't worry, I have some great things planned for this weekend! 

When I saw the name of this recipe I was turned off yet intrigued. Well, when I saw the ingredients it started to sound good. My husband looked at me like I had three heads when  I told him we were having cinnamon chicken for dinner. I originally saw this recipe on this blog, who got it from Cat Cora on Oprah's website. 

While I made this recipe almost as directed, it was FANTASTIC. Like this is making the list of one of my favorite meals. DH thinks it needs more spice, but take that with a grain of salt because he thinks EVERYTHING needs more spice. I used boneless skinless breasts, and it turned out fantastic. This was the most tender chicken I have ever had or made, EVER. Don't delay, make this as soon as you can!

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons pre-minced garlic divided
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dehydrated minced onions
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste (I used the roasted garlic flavor)
  • 1 Tbsp. dried Italian herb seasoning
  • 1 cup orzo , cooked according to package directions
  •  Parmesan cheese
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Mix the cinnamon, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the chicken pieces on all sides with the seasoning. Heat the olive oil in a large, nonreactive, deep skillet over medium heat.  Add the chicken to the oil and brown for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Remove the pieces when they are well browned on all sides.

Add the minced onions and 1 1/2 tablespoons of pre-minced garlic. Cook for about a minute, or until it becomes fragrant. Add about 1/2 cup of the water and scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula or spoon to deglaze the pan, loosening any particles stuck on the bottom.

When the water has evaporated, add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of water, tomato paste, Italian seasoning and remaining garlic.

Return the chicken to the pan. The liquid should cover about 3/4 of the chicken pieces. Cover the pot and simmer over medium-low heat for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and thoroughly cooked. If the sauce becomes too thick, it can be thinned with a little more water. Season the finished sauce with kosher salt and pepper to taste. Serve over orzo, cooked according to 
package directions, and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

Just Add Chocolate

Monday, March 28, 2011

Chicken and Mushrooms in a Garlic White Wine Sauce

As soon as I saw this recipe on Skinnytaste I knew it sounded like something I would like. I mean who doesn't love wine and garlic, especially cooked together! This recipe was great, except next time I would double the sauce. If you like sauce to put over noodles or rice I would advise you to double it. I did make a couple changes, so heres my take on Skinnytaste's recipe.

  • 2 chicken breasts cut into bite sized chunks
  • 1 tablespoon butter - divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil - divided 
  • 1/8 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon pre-minced garlic
  • 12 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/3 cup fat free chicken broth
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley - I forgot this

Preheat oven to 200. Shake cut up chicken in a ziploc bag with flour. Heat skillet over medium heat. Once hot add 1/2tablespoon of butter and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Add chicken, flip chicken after a couple minutes. Once chicken is cooked put in oven safe casserole and keep hot in the oven.

Add remaining butter and olive oil and the garlic. Once garlic is fragrant add the mushrooms. Season mushrooms with salt and pepper. Make sure you salt them immediately so they start cooking down quickly. Once mushrooms are cooked to how you like them, add wine, and chicken broth. Let wine and chicken broth reduce till about half. If its still think add a teaspoon of corn starch mixed with a teaspoon of water to the mixture to thicken it. Add the chicken back to the pan, and then fresh chopped parsley on top. 


Just Add Chocolate

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Beef Stroganoff - the light version

I really like beef stroganoff. I have one recipe that ALWAYS comes out great, and whenever I deviate from it the result is just okay. Well because my husband and I are attempting to eat healthier I gave yet another version a shot. I should have known a light version of beef stroganoff was only going to be okay. But I think if your serious about eating healthier this isn't a bad alternative. Or if you added some red wine and more spice this one might be just fine. 

The recipe came from Skinnytaste, who has other VERY good light/healthy food. I'll save some of my hits from her website for another time.

  • 1 lb lean tri-tip sirlion steak, trimmed of all fat, cut in thin 1/4" x 2" strips
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1tablespoon pre-minced garlic
  • 10 oz of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 can of Campbells tomato soup
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 small fresh bay leaf
  • 3 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 2/3 cup of light sour cream
  • Fresh cracked pepper

Heat skillet on medium high. Once hot add enough olive oil to barely cover the bottom of the pan. Add the trimmed sirloin. Once meat is cooked, remove from pan. 

Turn heat down to medium. Add butter, onion, garlic, and mushrooms. After they start to cook down/soften add tomato soup, water, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce, fresh cracked paper, and beef. Let simmer on low for 40 minutes. Then mix in sour cream.

Serve over noodles. I served over Amish egg noodles.


Just Add Chocolate

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


So your probably wondering what Benchiladas are? Well here is a link to the original recipe, but they are a cheesy/creamy spin on enchiladas. They were created by the blog "Annie's Eats." 

For most of my life I didn't think I liked enchiladas. But as time went on, and my husband (who was only my boyfriend at the time) wanted different meals, I finally branched out. I don't like the texture of tomatoes. So anything with chunky tomatoes are not something something I'll eat. So I changed the recipe to adjust to my weirdness, as well to make it a little spicier.

Please excuse my terrible photo from my iPhone. I promise to get my camera charged soon.


  • 3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Southwest seasoning
  • 1 cup light sour cream - divided
  • 1 cup Ranch salad dressing - divided
  • 10 flour tortillas 
  • large jar of taco sauce
  • 1 can red enchilada sauce
  • 2 cups shredded reduced fat Mexican cheese 

Pre-heat oven to 400. Season chicken with southwest seasoning. Pour enough taco sauce on the bottom of a glass pan and then place chicken in it. Cover pan with tin foil, and bake for half an hour. Once 

In the mean time put 1/2 cup ranch and 1/2 cup sour cream in small bowl. And the rest of the ranch and sour cream in a large bowl. When chicken is finished baking, shred or cut up in small pieces. Mix in the large bowl with the ranch mixture.  

Once chicken is done turn down heat to 375.

Spray 9x13 glass baking pan with Pam. Take one tortilla and spread the ranch mixture from the small bowl on it. Then add the chicken mixture, a handful of cheese, and drizzle with taco sauce. Feel free to add more if you like that extra kick. Roll up and place seam side down in pan. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas. Once all the filled tortillas are in the pan, pour the enchilada sauce over them. Bake for 20 minutes, then add any left over cheese, and bake for 10 more minutes

Happy cooking,

Just Add Chocolate

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spicy Orange Shrimp

This has been one of my husband's recipes from the first time I made it. I'll never forget the first time I made it. It was so spicy my lips had blisters, but my husband kept telling me he didn't know what I was talking about. He tried to convince me it wasn't hot, and it was me being a pansy. Well the next day he fessed up that it was actually hot, he just didn't want to admit it. Let that be a warning to those who aren't a fan of spice, this has a lot of it. I served this over jasmine rice with a side of roasted asparagus.

The original recipe is here, on The Pioneer Woman's blog.


  • 24 pieces (26-30 Per Pound) Deveined Shrimp
  • 1 tbsp pre-minced garlic
  • 3/4 cups Orange Juice
  • 3/4 tsp Ground Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp Salted Butter, Divided
  • 1 tbsp corn starch

Preparation Instructions

Take tails off shrimp, and pat dry with paper towels.
Add the garlic, cayenne pepper, and Old Bay seasoning to the orange juice, and mix together.  
In a large skillet, over medium heat melt 2 tablespoons butter. Once butter has melted add your shrimp. Cook them for about 30-60 seconds and begin flipping them over starting with the ones you placed in the pan first so they don’t get overdone. Cook for another 30-60 seconds. Remove the cooked shrimp from the pan, leaving the heat on medium.
Add the spicy orange juice garlic mixture to the pan and give it a good stir. After about a minute add the brown sugar and stir. Next add the last tablespoon of butter to the sauce. After that has simmered a couple minutes mix the tablespoon of corn starch with a tablespoon of cold water. Then add it to the spicy orange mixture and stir. Return the shrimp to the pan and give them a nice toss to coat them in the sauce. 
Adjust the spices to your taste buds. Please no complaining if you end up with blisters on your lips like  I did the first time I made this.


Just Add Chocolate

Monday, March 21, 2011

Hashbrown and Pork Chop Bake

This is a recipe I saw on a Taste of Home Cooking, which originally came from a lady named Madelyn. It sounded amazing, and I had hash browns to use up. Sure enough, it was super tasty, especially considering it was Pork Chops. I forgot to take a picture, so just imagine what it looks like (or click on A Taste of Home Cooking above.) This really reminded me of the traditional green bean casserole on Thanksgiving. So if you like that combo, give this a try!

I made a few changes so heres my slightly adapted version of hashbrown and pork chop bake:

  • 3 boneless pork chops
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup - I used the Healthy Request version
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 3/4 cup light sour cream
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp Hungarian paprika
  • 1 24oz package frozen hashbrowns, thawed
  • 1 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar
  • 1 large can dried onion pieces
Brown and cook pork chops in skillet. Combine soup, milk, sour cream, garlic powder, and paprika. Stir in hashbrowns, half of the cheese and half of the onion pieces. Dump mixture into a greased 9×13 baking dish. Arrange pork chops over potato mixture. Top pork chops with remainder of cheese and onion pieces. Bake, covered, at 350 for 40 minutes.

Till next time,

Just Add Chocolate