Thursday, April 30, 2009

Five Ingredient Fridays: Easy Shepherd's Pie

First of all, thank you to all who participated in last weeks Five Ingredient Fridays. I haven't had the chance to try all of the recipes yet, but they have been added to my list of future menus. Congratulations to Liz at Hoosier Homemade who was the first winner of our little blog carnival. Using, Liz's number was selected and she wins a $10 Walmart gift card. Email me your mailing address and I will get it right out on its way to you.
Will you be this weeks winner? On to the fun...
This week, I wanted to share my recipe for shepherd's pie. I have seen so many complicated, lengthy recipes over the years, that I have come to realize that mine is not a true shepherd's pie. But, we love it, people always ask me how to make it, and its less than five ingredients, so I think its a winner.
Easy Shepherd's Pie
1 and 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 cans cream style corn
mashed potatoes - leftovers, freshly made, or from a box (I won't tell)
Brown ground beef. Spray a 8x11 baking dish. Drain the ground beef and layer into the bottom of the pan. Pour both cans of corn over top, spreading evenly. Top with mashed potatoes.
*Even if you make fresh mashed potatoes, I only use butter and milk, so it still brings it to only 5 ingredients. But, why not use leftovers from the night before OR make up a box of flakes. I won't judge - I do it all the time.*
Place baking dish in a 350 degree oven until the potatoes are browned slightly on top, about 30-45 minutes.
Your turn:
~All recipes must include 5 ingredients, or less. But, you do not have to count water, salt and pepper, or other common seasonings in your 5.
~Please be sure to link to your post in Mister Linky and not the main page of your blog.
~Please mention and link back to this blog in your post.~Please visit other posters' blogs and leave lots of comment love. We all love comments, don't we?

Forgive Me

I have been a bit absent this week. I have been distracted with work searches and rental listings.

We will most likely be moving in the next couple of months and I am doing major research.

But, I will still be hosting Five Ingredient Fridays tomorrow. The post will go up late tonight and I will also be announcing last weeks winner.

Can't wait to see what you all have to share this week.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Five Ingredient Fridays: Oven Roasted...fill in the blank

Welcome to the first edition of Five Ingredient Fridays!!! I hope we have lots of contributors and yummy recipes to share. Here are some reminders:

~All recipes must include 5 ingredients, or less. But, you do not have to count water, salt and pepper, or other common seasonings in your 5.
~Please be sure to link to your post in Mister Linky and not the main page of your blog.
~Please mention and link back to this blog in your post.
~Please visit other posters' blogs and leave lots of comment love. We all love comments, don't we?

ALSO, this weeks winner will be announced in next weeks post, so be sure to come back. Winner will be randomly selected.

I have been scouring my recipe folders to see what I wanted to contribute first. I wanted something that was very easy, flexible and yummy. This recipe is for oven roasted asparagus, but can easily be adapted for brussel sprouts or broccoli. We love all three, and covering them with cheese is an easy way to get the kiddos to eat their veggies.

Parmesan Roasted Asparagus

1 pound asparagus - stems trimmed
drizzle olive oil
salt and pepper
1/8 cup parmesan cheese

Spray cookie sheet with nonstick spray. Trim woody stems off asparagus and spread on cookie sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of black pepper and salt. Toss to coat evenly and bake in a 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Put back in oven an continue roasting about 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

TIP: If using brussel sprouts, cut in half before roasting. Brussel sprouts and broccoli will take and additional 5-10 minutes of roasting.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009


We don't eat out very often. We save fast food outings for times when we are on the road and there is no other option. But, we do love Popeye's chicken. I have made fried chicken a time or two and it was ok, but it was no Popeye's. We are also on a budget, so eating out doesn't normally fit into our financial outlook. So, imagine my delight when I saw a commercial last week about a special that Popeye's was having TODAY. The deal is you get 8 pieces of mixed chicken for $4.99. (The price is normally closer to $11.) I actually marked it on my menu planner. The girl on the commercial told me to, so I did. I'm very good at following directions...well, not really, but this was different.

Here's the game plan: Their sides and biscuits must be purchased separately and they will still be astronomically priced. Why not make your own?

I will be serving up Popeye's Biscuits, a copycat recipe, Easy Rice Dressing (Dirty Rice), Mashed Potatoes with homemade gravy and corn on the cob. Works for me!!!

Check out We Are THAT Family for more Works For Me Wednesdays.

Like blog carnivals? Be sure to come back Friday for the very first week Five Ingredient Fridays. Click here for all the info.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Pecan Pie Muffins

Muffins are a big breakfast favorite around our house. I am always in search for new ones to try. These are one of our favorites. And, they are super easy!

Pecan Pie Muffins

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2/3 cup melted butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix butter, eggs and vanilla. Pour into dry ingredients and mix well. Fill each muffing cup 2/3 full and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

This post is being linked to:

~Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays at Blessed With Grace
~Kitchen Tip Tuesdays at Tammy's Recipes
~Tasty Tuesdays at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

Like blog carnivals? Be sure to come back Friday for the very first week Five Ingredient Fridays. Click here for all the info.


Slow Cooker Chop Suey

I love, love, love my slow cooker. It makes me happy to be able to throw everything in and not worry about it for several hours. By the time dinner rolls around, the house smells yummy and I have done very little work. This recipe was a big hit with the kids.

Slow Cooker Chop Suey

1 & 1/2 pounds ground chuck
1 medium onion - chopped
1 bell pepper - chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes - undrained
2 cups cooked macaroni (about 1 cup uncooked)

Brown ground meat with onion and pepper - drain. Transfer to slow cooker. Add seasonings and tomatoes. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Stir in hot cooked macaroni about 15 minutes before serving.

Like blog carnivals? Be sure to come back Friday for the very first week Five Ingredient Fridays. Click here for all the info.

For more domestic bliss, be sure to visit Blissfully Domestic.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Five Ingredient Fridays...Come Join The Fun!!!!

I am very excited to announce that starting Friday, Paiges' Place will be hosting a new blog carnival, 'Five Ingredient Fridays.'

Here's the story:
When my Husband and I first got married, I ran out and bought a ton of cookbooks. Some of my favorites were: Make It In the Microwave, 5 Ingredients or Less, One Pot Wonders, and of course, anything having to do with 30 Minutes or Less. Ralph used to tell everyone that I never made anything that took more than 5 ingredients and 30 seconds to make. They all laughed, but really, I did enjoy simple and quick dinners. With children, pets, work, Husbands, community service, etc., we can all use a little help in the kitchen.

So, starting Friday, please come visit and share your favorite 5 ingredient or less recipes. I will be choosing a 'winner' every week that will be announced the following Friday and the winner will receive a small prize from me. The 'winner' will be randomly selected from all participants for that week.

  • ~All recipes must include 5 ingredients, or less. But, you do not have to count water, salt and pepper, or other common seasonings in your 5.
  • ~Please be sure to link to your post in Mister Linky and not the main page of your blog.
  • ~Please mention and link back to this blog in your post.
  • ~Please visit other posters' blogs and leave lots of comment love. We all love comments, don't we?

I hope to have lots of participants. Let's all share our easy, quick and simple favorites.

See you Friday!!!


Friday, April 17, 2009

When You're Feeling Down

I have been feeling a little down lately. I'll be talking about some of it another day, but I just watched the following video and it gave me chills. This woman is definitely a ray of sunshine.

Her name is Susan Boyle. I have heard about her for a few days now, but just got the opportunity to see her video. She is AMAZING! The part that moves me the most is that she goes out there and people are rolling their eyes at her and she, unphased, opens her mouth and sings the most beautiful song I have ever heard and wins everyone over. She definitely shocked them all and I hope she wins the whole competition.


There has been some talk over the past few days about giving her a makeover to make her more aesthetically pleasing, but I hope she turns them all down. She is beautiful just the way she is and shouldn't let anyone tell her any different. There are many types of beauty, not just what we see on the cover of magazines.

GO SUSAN BOYLE!!!!!! You've got my vote!

Monday, April 13, 2009

New Orleans Bananas

If you've ever been to Foster's restaurant in New Orleans, you know how popular their Bananas Foster dessert is. You may have even heard of it without ever visiting here. This is a copycat version of the classic.

New Orleans Bananas

2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 bananas
ice cream

Melt butter in a medium skillet. Stir in brown sugar, orange juice and cinnamon. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring often, over medium high heat until the mixture reduces by about 1/4. The sauce will be slightly syrupy.

Peel bananas and cut into 2 inch slices. Place carefully into the sauce. Cook just long enough to heat through. Baste the bananas with the sauce instead of stirring. Be careful not to overcook or they will become mushy.

Spoon finished product over ice cream and serve immediately. Enjoy!


This post is being linked to:


Easy Chicken Gumbo

Easy Chicken Gumbo
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup flour
3 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 lbs boneless/skinless chicken breasts - cubed
1 cup potatoes (1/2 lb) - cubed
1 cup onions - chopped
1 cup carrots - coarsely chopped
1/4 cup celery - chopped
4 cloves garlic - minced
2 scallions - chopped
1 whole bay leaf
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons jalapeno pepper
1 cup frozen okra - thawed and drained

Add oil to a large dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until flour begins to turn a golden brown. This is your roux. DO NOT LEAVE UNATTENDED OR THE ROUX WILL BURN VERY QUICKLY!!!

Slowly stir in all the broth using a wire whisk and cook for 2 minutes. The mixture should not be lumpy.

Add all ingredients except okra. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.
Add okra and let cook for 15 to 20 more minutes.
Remove bay leaf. Serve hot in a bowl or over rice.

For more domestic bliss, please visit Blissfully Domestic.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter Everyone!!!

My family lives over 1800 miles away. Unfortunately, we don't get to see them very often. I get requests all the time for pictures of the kids, and I would love to provide them with some. But, when I try, this is the result...

Can you feel the excitement?

Its really overwhelming, isn't it?


They can hardly contain themselves.


I finally got 2 of them to cooperate, but Lauren wasn't having any of it.

We tried to hold her down...

she got away.
We're getting there...
GOT IT!!!! They are all smiling and looking at the camera.
Its an Easter miracle!
This photo shoot took 20 minutes. I needed a nap afterward.
Mom, please forgive my lack of current pictures. I just don't have the energy.
Happy Easter Everyone!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Cajun Food - Take 2

I will be 'tweaking' my gumbo recipe this weekend, so look for that one and the New Orleans Bananas on Monday. But, I have two more of our Cajun favorites to share with you today.

Cajun Baked Catfish

2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 catfish fillets *I normally use tilapia instead*

Combine first 8 ingredients. Brush over both sides of the fish.

Spray a 9x13 baking dish and place fish inside. Bake at 450 degrees for 10-13 minutes, fish will flake easily when done.

Shrimp Creole

2 pounds shrimp
1/8 cup olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 large bell pepper - chopped
1 cup green onion - chopped
6 cloves garlic - minced
6 oz. tomato paste
6 oz. tomato sauce
1 and 1/2 teaspoons sugar
chopped parsley - for garnish

Season shrimp with salt and pepper and set aside. Heat olive oil in dutch oven over medium heat. Saute onions, celery, bell pepper and garlic in olive oil. Add tomato paste, sauce and 4 cups water. Cover and cook 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add more water, if needed. Don't let the sauce get too thick.

Add shrimp, green onions and sugar. Cook over low heat for 30 minutes. Serve over hot rice and garnish with chopped parsley.

Have a great Easter Weekend!!!



Thursday, April 9, 2009

New Orleans Food

My family came to visit me last year and it was their first real experience with the great food of New Orleans. We walked around the French Quarter and stopped at a little cafe where my Dad tried out Gumbo. It was a little spicy, but he liked it. I believe my Sister had a turkey sandwich. She is much less adventurous.

Last night, my Dad asked me for some of the recipes, so I am going to post them here and share them with all of you as well.


2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large onion - chopped
4 garlic cloves - chopped
1 bell pepper - seeded and chopped
1 cup rice
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 can Mexican style stewed tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast - diced
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 pound medium shrimp - peeled & deveined

Heat dutch oven over medium heat and add oil. Saute onion and garlic for 5 minutes. Add bell peppers and rice and saute until lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until rice is almost tender, about 35 minutes.

Add chicken and thyme. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Add shrimp and simmer, covered, until the shrimp are just opaque, the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and keep covered to allow the rice to steam for 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves and fluff mixture with fork.

Fried Shrimp Poboys

2 pounds large, fresh shrimp - peeled and deveined
1 cup AP flour
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
pinch of sugar
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 loaf French Bread
mayonnaise, lettuce, sliced tomato, pickles
vegetable oil

Cover the bottom of a large frying pan with about an inch of vegetable oil. Heat over medium heat for 15 minutes. Also, preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Meanwhile, beat egg. Mix with flour, salt, pepper, sugar and garlic powder. Mix in just enough cold water to make a mixture like pancake batter.

Peel and devein shrimp. Place in colander and run cold water over. Drain, then pour cold milk over them. Let drain. Dump shrimp into batter. When oil is warmed, use a fork to remove the shrimp from the batter and place into the hot oil. Cook about 4 minutes, then flip and cook for another 4 minutes.

While the shrimp are cooking, cut french bread in half and toast in the oven. Watch carefully - you only want to toast the bread so it has a little crunch. This takes about 5-10 minutes.

Drain the cooked shrimp on a paper towel and 'dress' your bread with mayonnaise, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles (or any combo that you like). Add cooked shrimp and enjoy!

Coming soon: Gumbo and New Orleans Bananas


Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Let me start off by saying that I am normally the girl who buys the frozen meatballs from the store and tosses them in the crock pot with the spaghetti sauce. I don't feel badly about it either. Not even when my husband's co-workers marveled over how I am always able to make perfectly uniform meatballs. They even called me 'Martha.' Who was I to turn down a compliment?

But, there are times when I just feel like making the real thing. Again, these are a recipe I have tweaked over the years and never wrote down until this weekend. They include a secret ingredient that my Dad taught me about years ago.

Homemade Meatballs

3-4 pounds ground chuck
2 eggs
1/2 tablespoon Worcester sauce
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/4 tablespoon ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
and the secret ingredient:

1/2 cup grated Parmesan (OK, not a huge secret, but I was trying to be mysterious)

If I wasn't the mother of a 7 year old who suddenly decided that she hates ALL vegetables, I would absolutely replace the onion powder with a large sweet onion minced. I would also throw in a minced bell pepper for good measure.

Throw all ingredients into a large bowl and mix well. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Pour just enough water in the pan to cover the bottom. When heated, begin rolling meatballs and placing into the pan. I try to make mine walnut sized. Fill the pan and cover. Cook about 4 minutes, flip and cook another 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, spoon the meatballs out and into your hot sauce. Repeat with any remaining meat. Simmer in the crock pot with the sauce for at least 2 hours. This makes about 4 dozen walnut sized meatballs.

If you have any left, refrigerate and enjoy the next night as meatball subs. They are wonderful after they have really soaked in the sauce.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce

Growing up, I remember my Mom making spaghetti sauce in the crockpot. It would cook for hours and the whole house would smell delicious. Nowadays, she doctors up some Prego and calls it a day. She's a busy woman with a house full of people to feed so I can't say that I blame her, but there is just no substitute from the real thing. This recipe is one that I have adapted to my liking over the years. It is usually just me standing over my crock pot throwing stuff in, tasting, adding more, etc. until I like it, but yesterday I scribbled it all down to be able to share.

Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce

2- 28 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes
1 large bell pepper - diced
1 large sweet onion - diced
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound browned ground chuck
3 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 cup sugar

Heat large frying pan over medium heat. Drizzle in olive oil and add all vegetables. Cook 8-10 minutes, until all vegetables are tender.
Meanwhile, add 2 cans crushed tomatoes to a cold crockpot. Stir in seasonings and sugar. When veggies are cooked, stir into the sauce and turn on the crockpot.
Brown ground beef and add to the sauce.
Cook on high for 1-3 hours, or low 4-6 hours.

-If you have time, cook on low to allow all the flavors to mingle and also your house will smell terrific.
-I have also tried Splenda in this sauce and it works just fine.
-I usually double this recipe. Before I am ready to cook that nights spaghetti, I scoop out half of the sauce and cool and freeze it for the next Italian night.

We use a whole wheat pasta with this. It makes us feel a little better about eating spaghetti in the first place and we can't taste a difference. If you have never tried whole wheat pasta before, give it a try. We like Ronzoni Healthy Harvest.



Monday, April 6, 2009

Mom's Apple Crisp

We are supposed to have a light freeze for the next 2 nights, so I may have to break out some more of my soup recipes soon. I will never get used to Louisiana weather.

But, for tonight, I am making my family spaghetti and meatballs. I love to make a huge batch of sauce and freeze some for later. I will TRY to share my sauce recipe tomorrow. I never really measure the ingredients as I throw them into the crock pot, so I will work on that today.

I am also making an apple crisp using my Mom's recipe. I hope she doesn't mind that I am sharing it with you.

Mom's Apple Crisp

6-8 medium Granny Smith apples
1-2 cup water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
7 tablespoons margarine
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour

Butter casserole dish. Peel, core and slice apples. Place in casserole dish and pour water over them.
Work sugar, flour, margarine and cinnamon together with fingers to make a crumbly mixture. Spread over apples. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 50 minutes. Serve warm topped with vanilla ice cream. I also love to drizzle some caramel ice cream topping over the ice cream. Enjoy!!!


This post is being linked to:
Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays at Blessed With Grace
Kitchen Tip Tuesdays at Tammy's Recipes
Tasty Tuesdays at Forever...Wherever