Monthly Archives: April 2014

Easter Crown of Pork Roast

Crown of Pork Roast-Done

This Easter we had the opportunity to spend it with family in Indianapolis and we certainly took advantage to spend the holiday “at home”. My mom and I had planned on making the traditional ham for Easter dinner after church. Things quickly changed though once we went shopping for groceries and my dad spotted a crown of pork roast. Since neither my mom nor I had ever made one we decided to give it a try. Continue reading

Two Ingredient Taco Tuesday

Shredded Chicken Tortilla

I have always loved tacos, but growing up it rarely made it onto our regular menu. Later after Gaar and I got married we relied on this quick and economical meal as a weekly staple. Over the years as I have become more concerned about creating healthy meals I have traded the traditional beef taco recipe for healthy chicken. While I still make tacos with ground beef this two ingredient chicken recipe is a tasty alternative. And yes, I did say two ingredients.

I am very loyal to the products I like, but I have never found one that has really changed some of my favorite recipes including spaghetti, chili and these tacos. That product is the salsa  called Salsa Rose made locally in Mascoutah, Illinois. I found it by chance after moving here a few months ago and I am totally addicted!

Salsa Rose


As for the tacos, all you need to do is combine your favorite salsa with 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a 5 quart slow cooker and cook on low for 7-8 hours. Shred with two forks when done and top with your favorite taco toppings. I enjoy this seasoned chicken over lettuce for a delicious taco salad. It is also great served on buns, flatbreads or quesadillas.

Shredded Chicken

Two Ingredient Chicken Tacos

  • Servings: 6-8 servings
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Shredded Chicken Tortilla


2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 jar salsa of your choice (I use Salsa Rose, hot)

Taco toppings-lettuce, cheese, tomato


Place chicken in a grease 5 quart slow cooker. Pour salsa over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours. Shred with a fork. Serve on tortillas with your favorite taco toppings.

This is also great on flatbreads, buns and salads or as a filling for quesadillas.

Monday Muffins

A usual Monday task for me is to clean out the pantry and refrigerator before the garbage comes later in the day, This morning was no different. Today i noticed about 3 over-ripe bananas, 1 egg, a little more than a cup of brown sugar and 2 sticks of butter. I was just going to make banana bread, but then the thought of 2 sticks of butter lured me into making turning the usual banana bread into my family’s favorite-banana crumb muffins. I gathered all of the ingredients and began the muffin making. Not long after,  the smell of delicious banana muffins was irresistible (I am glad to say that I stuck with a snack of strawberries).

Banana Crumb Muffins

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Banana Crumb Muffins

Muffin Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2-3 large bananas, mashed

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup melted butter

Topping Ingredients:

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon flour

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 tablespoons butter


Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a muffin tin.

  1. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Combine bananas, sugar, egg and butter; mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
  2. Fill  muffin cups three-fourths full. Combine the first three topping ingredients; cut in butter until crumbly. Spoon over muffins.
  3. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until muffins are done. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

Tip: I find it easier to make the topping by grating the butter with a grater before adding it to the sugar and flour mixture.



From Dinner to Lunch…..

During the warmer months we use our grill no less than 3-4 times a week to cook anything from steak and chicken to vegetables and pizza. While I enjoy experimenting with different marinades for meat and simple all-in-one meals, our typical grilled dinner consists of either steak, chicken or pork chops with no special prep.

Because the weather was so unbelievable fantastic on Saturday, a grilled dinner was a must. Gaar bought Filet Mignon along with thick bacon to wrap around each steak. After wrapping the steak with bacon he secured it with a toothpick and then seasoned with Nature’s Seasoning before placing it on the grill. Fifteen minutes later we were enjoying a very tender piece of steak. However, I’m pretty sure anything wrapped with bacon tastes delish!steak

The best part of this dinner was the super leftovers it made for lunch today—you’d be right to guess a super steak sub!


Bacon Wrapped Steak Sandwiches

steak sandwich


leftover bacon wrapped steak (I used filet from dinner the night before)

sub sandwich rolls, split and toasted

Provolone Cheese


tomato slices

shredded lettuce


1. Slice steak into thin strips and heat in microwave for 30-45 seconds or until warm.

2. Spread mayonnaise onto the bottom of toasted sub roll and layer steak and bacon on bread.

3. Place a slice of cheese on top of steak and bacon and heat in microwave for 20-30 seconds or until cheese is just melted.

4. Top with tomato and lettuce.

5. Replace top slice of bread. Enjoy!

*This is a versatile sandwich. Try experimenting with different condiments and cheeses.


Springtime and loving it!

I found myself spending much of my afternoon outdoors. After living in Tampa for many years and rarely needing a sweatshirt, it feels great to be outside in Illinois in short sleeves. I actually took one walk in the afternoon by myself and another when Gaar got home from work. We decided to fire up the grill and have chicken that I had been marinating all day. Needless to say it was relaxing to enjoy a glass of wine with some cheese and crackers on the patio while our meal was cooking outside. I used the oven to roast some veggies and decided to have my chicken cut up over salad. The end result was both refreshing and healthy.

Grilled Chicken and Roasted Veggie Salad

  • Servings: 4
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4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Assorted vegetables, cut up-red and yellow onions, red and green peppers, asparagus or other vegetables you have available

Romaine lettuce or lettuce of your choice

Salad dressing

Additional salad topping (cheese, croutons, almonds, etc.)


If marinating the chicken, allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours).

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Prepare grill for medium direct heat. If using charcoal this usually takes 10-15 minutes to allow coals to “ash” over.

When grill is ready, grill chicken until temperature reaches 190 degrees. Remove from grill and slice into strips.

Meanwhile place cut up veggies on a greased, foil lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with seasonings to taste. Place in oven for 25-30 minutes.

Separate lettuce between chilled plates. Top with grilled chicken and roasted veggies. Top with your favorite dressing and salad toppings. Enjoy!

Grilled Chicken Salad

Power-Packed Breakfast

I know I’m not alone as a mom when I say that I worry my child does not get enough to eat at school….seems kind of odd though since Abby is 17, but I’ve seen the school lunch menu and with her having a picky palate I’m bothered that she is hungry throughout the day.

These waffles are not only great tasting, but they also pack a little  more of a punch with the added packet of oatmeal. I use mixes for an effortless breakfast, but homemade batter works just as well.

Oatmeal Waffles

  • Servings: 1 waffle
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 cup of prepared pancake/waffle mix

1 packet of any flavored oatmeal

1 TBSP oil

3/4 cup of water (add more as needed to achieve desired consistency)

Butter, syrup or other toppings of your choice.Oatmeal Waffle Ingredients


1. Prepare waffle grid with cooking spray and begin heating according to manufacturer’s directions.

2. Combine waffle mix, oatmeal, oil and water until combined.

3. Pour onto griddle and let cook until done (my waffle iron usually takes about 3 minutes).

4. Top with desired toppings and enjoy!

Oatmeal waffles cut with fork



Rainy Day Monday

Usually I don’t like rainy Mondays, but today I had so much to do indoors I really didn’t mind too much. After an early morning trip to the gym for my usual workout I headed home to make sure Abby had more time than usual to get ready on her first day back to school after spring break. I scarfed down a quick breakfast with 3, yes 3 cups of coffee and then went to my conditioning class.

McCormick ChickenAfter completing jobs that needed to get down I decided too prepare an easy baked chicken dinner. It only required a McCormick Bag-n-Steam packet and cut up chicken thighs and legs. The chicken effortlessly bakes in the bag after sprinkling with seasoning. Best part—cleanup is a breeze.Yummy!



Forget Throwback Thursday, Thunderstorm Thursday would be much more accurate. Holy cow! I left super early for my own workout at the gym because I know Thursdays find me in  time crunch trying to fit in my workout and get Gaar and Abby out the door for work and school and make it to teach a 9am Pilates class. This morning as soon as I peeled off my sweaty clothes and got ready to hop in a quick shower we lost power. I tried waiting it out but after an hour I knew I would have to rough it. For me that would include a quick towel off and swinging by McDonald’s for coffee since I couldn’t brew any of my own. After I had my caffeine fix I enjoyed a pre-made breakfast of overnight oats I was on my way. Continue reading