Mini Pizza Muffins

Here’s another pizza lunchbox idea ūüôā These savory little muffins were so good! Just serve with a side of pizza sauce.

mini pizza muffins

Mini Pizza Muffins

3/4 cup flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp each: basil, oregano, parsley

pinch of salt

1/4 tsp garlic powder

3/4 cup whole milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 cup shredded mozzarella

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup cubed or diced (turkey) pepperoni

Pizza sauce for dipping

1. Preheat oven to 375*. Grease a 24-cup mini muffin tin.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, herbs, salt and garlic powder.

3. Whisk together the milk and egg. Mix it in the flour mixture. Add the cheeses and peppersoni; let stand for 10 mins.

4. Stir the batter and divide among the muffin cups.

5. Bake until puffy and golden; about 20 minutes.

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Slow Cooker Chicken Parmigiana Sandwiches

I’ve been working nights so slow cooker suppers have been a life saver when it comes to making sure my boys get a good meal. Needless to say I’ve been scouring the net for new crock pot ideas. I came across this idea and fell in love with it. Anything I can throw into the slow cooker and know that the boys are going to like it, works for me. All they had to do was assemble their sandwiches when they were ready to eat.


Slow Cooker Chicken Parmigiana Sandwiches

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 cans (15 oz. ea.) tomato sauce

1 can  (15 oz.) diced tomatoes with juice

12 oz. tomato paste

2 cups sweet, yellow onion, finely diced

1 T (or 2 cloves) garlic, minced

1/2 tsp dried parsley

1/2 tsp oregano

2 bay leaves

4 T fresh basil, chopped fine, or 1 tsp dried

salt & pepper, to taste

sliced or shredded mozzarella cheese

grated Parmesan cheese

6 hard rolls

1. Start slow cooker on low heat and spray with cooking spray. Place chicken inside.

2. Mix together tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, paste, garlic, onions, and herbs. Stir until well combined. Pour over chicken and turn to coat.

3. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook on low 6 hours.

4. Shred the chicken using two forks. Replace back into slow cooker and stir everything well.

5. Slice hard rolls and lightly toast, if desired. *They’re awesome with a little bit of butter. Use tongs or slotted spoon to portion out the chicken onto the rolls, tapping off excess sauce. Top with cheeses.

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November Menu ~ 2013

I have to admit I’ve been slack. While the rest of the blogging world has gone Halloween and pumpkin crazy I’ve been completely denying that it isn’t September anymore. Is it just me or is time speeding up? I seriously wasn’t mentally prepared for Fall, which is CRAZY because it is my favorite time of year. While I am enjoying the cooler weather and the pumpkin lattes ūüôā I have not done much cooking, and definitely haven’t done any pumpkin or apple baking. So this month’s menu is full of new recipes I plan to get to, with a few oldies but goodies scattered in for those days I just can’t spend all day in the kitchen. Keep an eye out for red links to appear as recipes are posted.


Recipes already linked:

Dolly’s Polish Cabbage Soup

Baked Chimichangas

Chicken Stroganoff

Poor Man’s Mongolian Beef

Ultimate Baked Beans

Baby Portabella, Wild Rice & Turkey Soup

Black Bean Risotto

Vegetarian Enchiladas

Chicken Tarragon

Cheesy Rice Fritters

Crock Pot Pinto Beans

Mexican Rice

Oven Roasted Okra

Tomato Tart on Cornbread Crust

Blueberry Cobbler

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Pineapple Galette

Caramel Praline Tart

Main Dishes:

White Chicken Enchiladas with Green Chile Sour Cream Sauce

Slow Cooker Chicken Parmigiana Sandwiches

Turkey Cutlets with Tomato Cream Sauce

Favorite Chicken Enchiladas

Skinny Veggie Lasagna

Spanish Style Red Snapper

Sunday Chicken

Easy Pad Thai with Chicken

Chicken Enchiladas with Avocado Cream Sauce

Breakfast & Lunch Boxes:

Oatmeal, Flaxseed & Blueberry Muffins

Fruit and Nut Fritters

Turkey Bacon & Cheddar Cheese Muffins

Pumpkin French Toast Bake

Pizza Quesadillas

Apple, Goat Cheese & Honey Tarts

Chocolate Pumpkin Protein Bars


Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

Harvest Pumpkin Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Gingersnap Parfaits

Apples with Caramel Cream Cheese Dip

Crockpot Lasagna

This is an easy and delicious version of lasagna that can be made in the slow cooker. It only takes about 3 1/2 hours to fully cook so plan your time accordingly so it doesn’t burn. Also, I should warn you that this is not a low-fat/low-carb kind of meal, but it is warm and filling and so very lovely for a weeknight dinner. All you have to do is prep the meat and then let the crockpot do the rest of the work. Serve with a salad and some yummy garlic bread.


Crockpot Lasagna

1 lb. ground meat

1/4 cup onion, chopped fine

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp basil

1 tsp oregano

salt & pepper to taste

28 oz. pasta sauce

10 oz. tomato sauce

16 oz. alfredo sauce

1 pkg oven ready lasagna noodles

2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese

1 cup shredded parmesan blend

1. Brown meat with the onion, herbs, garlic powder, and salt & pepper. Drain off any grease and put in 2/3 of the pasta sauce and about 8 oz. of the tomato sauce. Combine well and heat through.

2. Spray the inside of your crockpot and put the remaining 1/3 of the pasta sauce into the bottom. Layer over the sauce 1/3 of the noodles, breaking the pieces to fit as best as you can over the entire bottom of the crock pot. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

3. Pour 1/3 of the alfredo sauce on top of the noodles, then 1/3 of the Mozzarella cheese. Spread 1/3 of the meat mixture over this.

4. Layer this way two more times: noodles, alfredo, mozzarella, and meat mixture. Any leftover tomato sauce should be added to these layers as well to fill in any gaps.

5. Top it all with the parmesan cheese blend then cover and cook on low for 3 1/2 hours.

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Pizza Buns

Clearly I have a thing for versions of pizza, but who doesn’t love pizza?? As long as I continue to find different ways to put the same ingredients together the boys will not get bored with their lunches, and so today I have yet another pizza idea for you.


Pizza Buns

1 package pizza crust*

pizza sauce

mozzarella cheese**

turkey pepperoni

1. Roll out the pizza dough on a heavily-floured surface. *I found some awesome pre-made pizza dough balls at Trader Joe’s in the meat and cheese section. This is way better than the canned stuff if you can’t make homemade dough.

2. Spoon some pizza sauce over the surface of the dough, then place pepperoni all over- as much or as little as you like. (Too much will make it hard to roll up the dough. Mini pepperoni seem to work best but turkey pepperoni only comes in regular size that I’ve found.)

3. Place about a 1-inch squared piece of mozzarella near the bottom of the dough, **or sprinkle shredded cheese over the bottom 3/4 of the dough.

4. Carefully roll up the dough and seal the ends over.

5. Cut into 1-inch slices and place in greased muffin tins.

6. Bake at 350* for about 20 minutes, or until browned. Makes a dozen buns.

7. Serve with extra pizza sauce on the side.

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Caprese Style Quinoa Bake

This was soooooo yummy. ¬†Hubby and I like to eat meatless so this was actually great by itself for a meal, but it makes an awesome side dish as well for those who want a more rounded-out dinner. ¬†The boys liked it, too, though they aren’t crazy about chunks of tomato. ¬†A regular caprese uses fresh, delicious mozzarella, so by all means use it if you’ve got it. ¬†However, I didn’t have any so I used goat cheese instead. ¬†It was awesome! ¬†This dish came out tasting like warm, comforting, creamy tomato soup with some chew. ¬†Delicious.

caprese quinoa

Caprese Style Quinoa Bake

3 cups cooked quinoa

1 cup pasta sauce

2 T tomato paste

1/3 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

1 cup Mozzarella (or 4 oz. goat cheese)

2/3 cup grape tomatoes, halved*

1/4 cup fresh basil, cut into ribbons

salt & pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350*. Cook the quinoa- 1 cup quinoa + 2 cups chicken broth.

2. In a saucepan heat up the pasta sauce and tomato paste. Once warm, stir in the cream, parmesan, salt & pepper, half the tomatoes, half the basil, and half the mozzarella or goat cheese. Stir until heated through and everything is melted and smooth. *I didn’t have grape tomatoes so I diced up a large one.

3. Spray a baking dish (I used a 4×7 but you can go up to an 8×8 or 9×9). Pour in quinoa mixture and top with remaining tomato and mozz/goat cheese.

4. Bake for 15 minutes, then broil for an additional 2 or 3, until cheese is gold and bubbly.

5. Remove from oven and top with the remaining basil ribbons.  Allow to sit for a few minutes before serving.

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Pizza Tarts

Is it silly for me to say how excited I am about these little pizza tarts? Seriously, I am.

First of all, they are one of my newest lunch box recipes and I am positive they have been a HUGE hit with the boys. And secondly, they were simple to make and smelled amazing coming out of the oven. It was super hard not to gobble them up right then!

It’s too bad blogs don’t offer scratch and sniff screens…..

pizza tarts

Pizza Tarts

1 sheet refrigerated pie crust, rolled out to desired thickness

turkey pepperoni

shredded mozzarella cheese

pizza or marinara sauce

WARNING: While I did get the idea from a magazine, I do not have specific measurements so hopefully my directions won’t be too scattered for you. But really, this wasn’t hard at all. Just eyeball it, have fun, and use your imagination.

1. Preheat oven to 375*

2. Lightly grease a muffin tin and place circle cut-outs of pie crust that are about 1/4 inch in diameter larger than the bottom of the muffin tin. I used a glass with a wide mouth (about 3 – 3.5 inches) which made a good sized circle to fit in the bottom of a regular sized muffin tin.

3. Cut up veggies or meat of choice and place in the bottom of the pie crusts. I used turkey pepperoni, about 2 little slices for each tart.

4. Spoon on some pizza or marinara sauce. It won’t take much, about 1.5 – 2 T of sauce.

5. Sprinkle about 1 tsp of Parmesan cheese on top of the sauce.

6. Now for the mozzarella cheese. I’d guess about 1 T of shredded cheese. I didn’t have any on hand, only slices, so it came out to about 1/4 slice per tart, cut up.

7. Bake for 15 minutes.

You can enjoy these right away or refrigerate and pack for lunches the next day. Enjoy!

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Tuscan Pasta with Tomato-Basil Cream

This is one of those quick week night meals that tastes like you’ve put a bit more effort into it than you really did. If you’re crunched for time and want a hearty, quality meal, then keep this one on file. All you need are some basic staple ingredients in your freezer/pantry and you can make this in no time.

tuscan pasta

Tuscan Pasta with Tomato-Basil Cream Sauce

1 (20 oz) pkg refrigerated or frozen *cheese ravioli

1 (15 oz) jar sun-dried tomato alfredo sauce

2 T white wine

1 can diced tomatoes, drained

2 tsp basil**

Parmesan cheese

Empty the sauce into a saucepan and use the wine to collect the rest of the sauce in the jar by covering the top and shaking.

Add in the drained tomatoes (or 2 fresh ones, diced) and the basil. **If you have fresh it’ll be about 1/2 cup. Also if you don’t like basil as much as I do and are using dried, you may want to start of with less than 2 tsp, but really, who doesn’t love basil??

Allow all of this to simmer for a bit, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Cook your pasta according to directions. *I bet mushroom ravioli would be divine in this! ūüôā

Drain the ravioli from the pasta water and fold the tuscan sauce into the pasta. Plate it up and sprinkle some Parmesan cheese and extra basil on top.


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Mexican Bruschetta

Ya’ll know me ūüôā I love bruschetta and I love Mexican food, so what could possibly be better than this?? Nothing. Well, ok maybe not NOTHING but still….it’s pretty darn fantabulous and I think you’ll agree.


Mexican Bruschetta

2 avocados, diced

1 medium tomato, diced

1/3 cup finely diced onion (I used yellow and red)

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/3 cup feta cheese, diced


2 T lime juice

salt & pepper

Baguette or other hearty bread

Gently combine ingredients in a bowl (so that the avocado doesn’t get smushed) and taste to see if any seasonings need to be added.

Slice the bread and grill or lightly toast. *I very lightly butter the bread, especially the edges before toasting. It makes it sooooo good! Top bread with bruschetta and enjoy!

This is a meal. I won’t kid you. Unless you’ve got people to help you eat it (which would make it an awesome appetizer) then you may have to resign yourself to eating the entire bowl. I know, it’s like twisting a rubber arm. First of all, avocado doesn’t keep so well unless you can cover it that allows for no air at all. What you would do is use plain old saran wrap but push it down snugly on top of the avocado mixture before storing in the refrigerator. It should keep at least until the next day- unless you go in for a late night snack, of course.

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August Pantry Challenge and Menu Plan ~ 2013

Usually I try to get a menu plan worked up by the first of each month. I have been slack this summer to say the least but I’ve noticed that it is not uncommon in the mommy blog world for this to happen. That helps me feel better somehow ūüôā

After returning from our vacation well into August, not only did I not have any recipes lined up (except for those I didn’t get to in July), but I also realized that my freezers and pantry were full of stuff. It’s been over a year since my last challenge, and quite frankly it is overdue. Some of the ingredients I have was put in with the July Menu in mind, so hopefully I can still get to some of those recipes during this challenge. And the rest of it will be the basis of what I plan to cook for the rest of this month.

Here is what I found in my freezers:

Frozen veggies: 2 lb. peas, 2 lb lima beans, corn, veggie medley (peas, corn, and carrots) spinach, creamed spinach, green beans, 1 lb. okra, 2 gallon bags of fresh-cut corn, breaded mushrooms (embarrassing to admit how many lbs of this I have!) and 5 gallon bags of fresh pureed tomatoes

Meats:¬†1 salmon fillet,¬†1 pkg turkey bacon,¬†4 pkg turkey sausage links/patties,¬†2.5 lbs ground turkey,¬†10 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts,¬†5 lbs tilapia fillets,¬†2 lb. beef meatballs,¬†5 pts Brunswick Stew,¬†3 pkg of deer meat,¬†2 Qt. Beef Stock,¬†1 pkg. imitation crab (I’ve had this forever!),¬†Tuna Steak (enough for one meal for four)

Fruit: 2 lb. rhubarb, 3 lb. frozen blueberries

Misc: 2 lb. french fries,¬†2 cups cooked rice (I always freeze leftover rice for busy days. It comes in very handy),¬†1 pkg. mushroom ravioli (the refrigerated kind),¬†3 pkg. Frozen Waffles,¬†12 Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwich,¬†2 boxes Trader Joe’s Chocolate Croissants,¬†2 boxes Trader Joe’s Jo-Jo’s Cookies

Can you say “Holy Cow”? I think that’s plenty to start working from, don’t you? It’s crazy to realize how often I go to the store and spend hundreds of dollars each month on food when I already have so much just sitting in my freezer. I won’t list my pantry but I know I have all the staples such as chicken broth, flour, cornstarch, sugar, rice, pasta, potatoes, canned beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and paste, marinara, panko, etc etc etc. Seriously way more than I care to list and you care to read about. Suffice it to say I think I’m covered for just about anything.

If you went through your pantry and freezer(s) you’d probably be surprised at what you find. Join me in this pantry challenge and let me know what you’ve been cooking!

Aside from the few new recipes I’ve decided on (there will most likely be more, just not sure which ones yet), here are some links to favorites that I am planning on cooking this month:


Poor Man’s Mongolian Beef (using ground turkey)


Slow Cooker Coq au Vin


Turkey Ragu with Creamy Polenta

balsamic pic

Balsamic Grilled Chicken

cacciatori & taco chili 003

Chicken Cacciatore


Tuna Steaks with Lima Bean Butter


Tilapia Fabuloso


Garlic Tilapia

Stay tuned for these recipes (red links will be added when posted):

Black Bean & Goat Cheese Quesadillas with Chipotle Aioli

Baked Tilapia with Mustard, Lemon and Horseradish Sauce

Tuscan Pasta with Tomato-Basil Cream

Greek Rice Pudding