Tag Archives: favorite recipes

french dip sandwiches

9 Feb

I’ve sort of started making it a habit to cook most nights of the week. I’ve FINALLY gotten this area of our lives under control enough to be able to do this for my family. What a relief too, because it stressed me out to eat out as much as we did. Now, I’m no Martha Stewart and we don’t eat the fanciest of foods, but it’s gotta be better than take out, right?

I hope so.

I’m always looking for very easy recipes that are affordable. Like I said, we don’t eat fancy foods, I don’t like to cook with weird ingredients, and to top it off I’m still learning how to cook well! I’m not one of those people that can pull three items out of my pantry and turn it into an amazing feast. I envy people like that, in the best way possible. So I’m always looking for easy things to cook but that are really scrumptious too! We don’t eat fancy, but we DO like GOOD food.

I have quickly become OBSESSED (understatement) with the website called Our Best Bites. Oh gosh. Do they have amazing food and recipes there! And they are coming out with a cookbook shortly here and I CAN NOT WAIT to get my hands on it! Everything I’ve made from this site has been simple and has turned out well. Even Jason asks for some of these meals each week, which is a new experience for me! All of our marriage he hasn’t ever really ASKED for certain things that I cook. So that’s been fun and exciting for me!

I made these French Dip Sandwiches for the first time a couple weeks ago and they were a total hit. Jason was even talking about them the next day! So it’s safe to say that I’ve made them again and that they are on our regular ‘menu’ rotation. This is a crockpot recipe and takes virtually no time at all to throw it in and let it cook all day. And it’s definitely worth the wait for dinner time to roll around. So, make sure you invite some company over when you make these yummy sandwiches because you’ll definitely want to share them! I served them with these homemade french fries which are even EASIER to make.

Now I’m hungry.


– 1 2.5-3 lb. beef roast (you can use a frozen roast if you want)
– 2 Tbsp. olive oil
– salt and pepper
– 2 1-ounce packages dry onion soup mix
– 2 c. water
– 2 cans beef broth
– 6-8 large buns (or more…6 would be VERY generous servings!)
– Swiss, provolone, or mozzarella cheese, shredded or sliced


1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and rub roast with salt and pepper.

2. When very hot, carefully place roast in pan and sear on all sides. You’re not cooking the meat, you’re just browning it quickly on all sides to add flavor and seal in the juices.

3. Place in crockpot and sprinkle with onions soup mix. Pour water and beef broth over roast.

4. Cook 8-10 hours on low or cook 4-5 hours on high and another 3-4 hours on low. It’s hard to screw this part up; basically, the longer it cooks, the more tender it will be. But you know it’s done when you pop a fork in it and the meat just falls apart. When meat is ready, shred with a fork.

5. Place meat in crusty rolls. Top with cheese and broil open-faced in the oven or toaster oven for a few minutes, until bread is golden and cheese is melty. And don’t even think about walking away–things can go from lightly-toasted to on fire within a matter of seconds when you’re using your broiler.

6. Ladle juices into small cups for dipping and enjoy!

** I got this recipe directly of OurBestBites.com.


one-pan chicken and potato bake

16 Aug

You guys. You have to try this. It’s easy. It’s delicious. It’s easy.

Lately, I’ve been really trying to focus on cooking a little more. During my entire pregnancy, I haven’t wanted to cook much. Partly, I haven’t had the desire. But there was a point in my pregnancy that anything I cooked would make me severely nauseous. If I cooked it and watched the ingredients come together, I couldn’t eat it. No matter what it was. I’m a long way from that phase, but I still haven’t completely enjoyed it much. I don’t feel great these days and I don’t have a ton of extra time to cook all day. Plus it’s hot. And I don’t really want to be in the kitchen- a place that only makes the house hotter. And it doesn’t help that I’m not really the best cook on the planet. Not even close. I’m always looking for easy and quick recipes that can be made fast with inexpensive ingredients. We are on a pretty strict budget these days, so less is more for us.

I came across this recipe in an old Kraft cook book that I have and I thought I’d give it a whirl! And I’m pleased to say, it was SO GOOD. Even Jason really liked it (which is saying a lot because he can tend to be picky) and said he’d eat it again if I made it! I had all the ingredients all ready, except for the chicken. So when I went grocery shopping I picked up some drumsticks on sale and with a coupon, making this meal SUPER inexpensive. I added a side of green beans to the dish because well, you know… Veggies are important!

Try it out! It’s super simple and was really yummy!


– 4 bone-in chicken pieces (1.5 lbs)

– 4 large potatoes, cut into wedges

– 1/2 c. zesty Italian dressing

– 1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese


1. Preheat oven to 400˚F

2. Place chicken and potatoes in 13×9-inch baking dish

3. Pour dressing over chicken and potatoes; sprinkle with cheese

4. Bake 1 hour or until chicken is cooked through (180˚F). Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley, if desired.

Makes 4 servings

Substitute: To switch up the flavor, replace the potato wedges with sweet potatoes or acorn squash.

slow-cooker macaroni and cheese

3 Aug

I posted this probably over a year ago. But I really thought that it was worth mentioning again. My dear friend Katelyn (who I don’t get to see enough!!) made this one night when Jason and I were at her house a while back. And OMG, it was SO good! It’s Slow-Cooker Macaroni and Cheese and it’s to die for a little, I think! While it can’t be incredibly healthy for you, it is an easy option for dinner. It cooks relatively quickly and it takes less than 5 minutes to throw it all together.

But it doesn’t taste like it took 5 minutes to throw it all together! Wow! This is SO good! I made it on Sunday night when my family came over for dinner, which has become our usual Sunday tradition it seems. Try it out. It’s an easy option for dinner. And pair it with a salad if you wanna feel better about the calorie count!

Slow-Cooker Macaroni & Cheese


– 16 oz pre-cooked macaroni

– 13 oz evaporated milk

– 1 cup half and half

– 2 tsp salt (add more to liking)

– 1/2 tsp pepper (add more to liking)

– 3 cups milk

– 8 cups sharp cheddar cheese


1. Mix all ingredients together in your crock pot, setting aside 2 cups of the cheese.

2. Cook on low for 3-4 hours.

3. Use the 2 cups of cheese you set aside to sprinkle on top before you serve.


hunza bread

3 May

So, we had a weird discovery this week. During one of our many visits to Scottsdale, we stumbled upon a new ‘liking’ of Cruz’s. And it was kind of shocking to me, to say the least.

Since we are in Scottsdale so often, I find it incredibly hard to eat right all the time. I always pack stuff for us, my mom is a health nut- so there’s always good food at her house- but between commuting and eating on the go a lot, it’s really something I’ve struggled with.

Plus I’m pregnant. Who wants to cook every day when you’re pregnant? Maybe someone, but not me.

I’ve been meaning to post a whole thing on my thoughts about about Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, but honestly, I haven’t brought myself to finish the post because it just hasn’t been something that I’m living completely nor is it something that I can fully commit to right now. So writing about it just feels dishonest. I try to make healthy eating decisions this pregnancy, and I’m doing a lot better than I did with my pregnancy with Cruz. Aside from my dark chocolate craving, I actually typically eat pretty well. I’m definitely one that believes in moderation and enjoying life, so I’m not super worried about it, but I’m not over indulging either.

Usually. Ha!

But this stage of our lives makes it super hard for me to always make the right eating decisions. Between commuting to Scottsdale, being pregnant, preparing to move, and working full time, I find it incredibly hard to balance health, easy meals and quick cooking. It’s hard. It’s hard for every mom. It’s hard for every woman.

Top it off with Cruz’s picky eating habits and the number of items I can make for him goes down significantly.

So that’s frustrating too.

But while I was at my mom’s the other day, she told me about this bread that she made called Hunza Bread. A lot of people use this bread to help them loose weight, which is not why I’m interested in it at this point. It doesn’t have any weird weight loss crap in it. It doesn’t have any hidden ingredients in it and is completely safe to eat. My mom eats it as a very healthy snack, and it’s been considered one of the healthiest things you can eat! It’s packed full of organic nutrients and ingredients. It’s a delicious, dense and chewy bread that is almost impervious to spoilage. High in protein, vitamins and minerals, it keeps for weeks at room temperature,  longer in the fridge and indefinitely in the freezer.

My mom made me taste a piece, and it had a weird texture at first, but it was really good! Cruz saw me eating it and he immediately wanted a bite. So I broke off a little piece, handed it to him and…


I was so dumbfounded that he loved this bread, but he actually ate a lot of it! I been giving it to him lately for his afternoon snack and it hasn’t affected his hunger at all. He’s actually been eating better than he was before and has no problem eating dinner!

So, sign me up! My mom sent us home with a whole supply of this bread and we munch on it during the day. It’s so nutritious for you, that I just had to share the recipe here. It’s pretty easy to make too. And during this time of transition in our life, I’m always looking for easy, healthy options of things to eat. It’s really hard for me to always eat healthy. It’s super hard for me to admit.

There’s so much guilt that comes with being a mom. So many decisions you have to make, how could you possibly make all the right ones? At the end of the day, no matter who is watching and judging, we are all just doing the best we can. Making the best decisions we can for our kids. But the guilt has been killing me lately. What we eat is so important, this I know.

I wish life would just slow down a little.

Hunza Bread

  • 4 cups of water
  • 3.5 (three & one half) to 4 pounds of natural buckwheat or millet flour
  • 1.5 (one & one half) cups of canola oil
  • 1.5 (one & one half) cups of natural unrefined sugar
  • 16 ounces of honey
  • 16 ounces of molasses
  • 4 ounces of powdered soya milk (half cup)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder (non aluminium)

** You may also add if required, apricots, raisins, chopped walnuts, almonds, sliced dates to the above ingredients.


  • Mix ingredients
  • Grease and lightly flour cooking pan(s).
  • Ideally use baking trays with about 1 inch high sides.
  • Pour batter in pan(s) half an inch thick over the base.
  • Bake at about 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150 C.) for 1 hour.
  • After cooking, dry the bread in the oven for two (2) hours at a very low heat – 90 degrees Fahrenheit (50 C).
  • After it is cooled tip out and cut into approx 2 inch x 2 inch squares.
  • Store it wrapped in cloth in a container.

Healthy and great on the go! Guilt FREE!

flat-bottom fruit pie

27 Jan

Last night, we had some friends over for dinner. Kinda a potluck deal. It was really fun! Jay and I love having friends that we can just relax with and just eat some good food. So everyone brought something and we ended up having stuffing chicken, an amazing greek salad, garlic bread and ice tea! Mmmmm…. I’m hungry all over again. Ha!

I wanted to try something new for dessert, but I wanted something that was light, a little bit sweet but not heavy at all. I have a stash of the Kraft Foods magazines, so I grabbed one down and came across this recipe. It’s called Flat-Bottom Fruit Pie. And it was exactly what I was looking for! It wasn’t heavy at all and gave us each a little taste of something sweet but also had yummy fruit that topped it off so it was really refreshing!

If you’re looking for an easy dessert to serve to others or just to munch on yourself, you can’t go wrong with this!


– 1 ready-to-use refrigerated pie crust (1/2 of 15-oz. pkg.)

– 1 tsp.  cinnamon sugar (3/4 tsp. sugar and 1/4 tsp. cinnamon)

– 1-1/4 cups half-and-half

– 1 pkg.  (4-serving size) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding

– 1 cup thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping

– 1 large  fresh peach, sliced

– 1/2 cup blueberries

– 1/2 cup  raspberries (I used strawberries instead)


1. Preheat oven to 450ºF.

2. Unroll pie crust onto baking sheet; sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake 8 to 10 min. or until lightly browned; cool completely.

3. Meanwhile, pour half-and-half into medium bowl. Add dry pudding mix. Beat with wire whisk 2 min. or until well blended. Gently stir in whipped topping; cover. Refrigerate until ready to use.

4. Spread pudding mixture over crust just before serving; top with fruit. Cut into slices. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

… very satisfying!

slow-cooker hearty beef chili

21 Dec

I cannot believe that Christmas is this week. And 2009 is almost over. That is crazy.

Like most families, we have a lot of traditions that we like to keep alive every season. Making some kind of chili on Christmas Eve is one of them. I made this recipe the night before Thanksgiving this year- I found it on Krafts website and thought I’d give it a try. It was a huge hit! It calls for little prep time and it cooks in the slow-cooker, making it an easy meal to make and prepare. I don’t know about you, but I try to use the slow-cooker whenever possible.

This is a great dish to make before a holiday. We are all in the kitchen so much during this season, but this will allow you to still cook a great meal for your family (who’s likely just arrived in town) but still lets you to relax and enjoy the evening. No mess, hardly any clean up, very yummy chili. Serve with some cornbread or Texas toast and you’re all set.

And it’s a tradition in my family to have as many bowls of chili as possible around the holidays. Any excuse to make it, we do.

Happy Monday!


– 1.5 lb. lean ground beef

– 1 can  (15 oz.) dark red kidney beans, drained, rinsed

– 1 can (15 oz.) light red kidney beans, drained, rinsed

– 1.5 cups  chunky mild salsa

– 1 can (16 oz.) no-salt added tomato sauce

– 2 Tbsp.  chili powder

– 1 onion, chopped

– 1 cup  frozen corn, thawed, drained

– 1 cup KRAFT Mexican Style Finely Shredded Four Cheese


1. Brown meat; drain. Add to slow cooker with remaining ingredients except cheese; stir. Cover with lid.

2. Cook on LOW for 5 to 6 hours (or on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours).

3. Stir just before serving. Serve topped with the cheese.

A simple way to warm you up….

chicken wild rice soup

21 Nov

I’m not really a fan of the cold. If it’s cool enough to wear a light jacket, it’s too cold. I’m in the right state, right? Ha!

What I DO love about once it starts getting cold is making all different kinds of soups and chili’s! Yum!! There’s nothing more comforting than a hot bowl of soup when it’s cold outside. It makes it officially feel like winter. Even when “winter” in Arizona is still 78 degrees outside.

We’ve been spending time at my mom’s house a lot lately and she always makes the most yummy dinners! She’s made this a couple times in the past month or so and I HAD to have the recipe. And then I HAD to pass it on to you. It’s Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup. It’s so easy- you just throw it all in your crock pot and walk away for a few hours. And about 10 minutes before you’re ready to eat, throw some Texas toast in the oven as a side. I’m all about dinners that are simple to make and that are full of flavor. You will love this if you try it! It’s comforting to me for some reason. And in this season, I think all of us could use a little comfort!


– 3 chicken breast halves- cooked and diced

– 1 box of Uncle Ben’s long grain & wild rice

– 1/2 C. uncooked wild rice

– 1/2 C. carrots, onions and celery- all chopped

– 1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth

– 1 can Cream of Chicken soup

– 1 can Cream of Celery soup

– 1 pint half & half

– 1/2 Tbsp Mrs. Dash


1. Prepare wild rice according to the basic cooking method on the package.

2. Add all other ingredients into slow cooker, including the chicken that has already been cooked.

3. Cook on low for 2-3 hours

4. Serve with Texas toast and enjoy!

… Yeeessss…