“Who do you think would win in a fight between a grilled cheese sandwich and a taco?” ~ Andy Samberg

I love Mexican food and I really like making tacos at home – you know, the kind in the cardboard box. Old El Paso, Taco Bell……I usually buy which ever one is “buy one, get one free” at Publix. They do that quite often so I had started to build up a collection in the pantry and I knew I needed to be making tacos soon.

A few days ago, I saw where Lindsay from normalcooking.com had made Oven Tacos and I thought that would be a great way to change up my normal tacos from a box.

So that’s what I did!

Oven Tacos

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 small onion diced
  • 1/2 small can diced green chilies
  • 3/4 pkg taco seasoning
  • 1/2 (8 ounce) can low sodium tomato sauce
  • 1/2 (16 ounce) can fat free refried beans
  • 1 cup mexican blend cheese
  • 10-12 hard taco shells
  • your favorite taco toppings

Preheat oven to 400°.

Brown meat and onions, drain.

brown meat

Add chilies, seasoning, tomato sauce and beans to meat mixture. Cook until moisture is absorbed. (I accidentally dumped the whole can of tomato sauce and started to stir before I remembered it was suppose to be only half – I scooped some of it back out so mine is a little more tomato-y than it should be. oops.)


Spoon mixture into shells, top with cheese and place (standing up) in a baking dish. (Lindsay commented the shells with the flat bottoms would be great – and they would – but I didn’t have those).

stuff shellstop with cheese

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and tacos are heated through.


Top with your favorite taco toppings.

baked tacosbaked tacos

There you have it – a new swing to an old favorite!



“Man is not truly one, but two.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

I think I have a split personality.  I love the opposite ends of every spectrum. I’ll go all out with Christmas decorations but love that single candle in the window. I adore a black tie affair but cherish my no make-up Mondays. I’ll spend $$$$ (I’m ashamed to say) on a purse but will buy a $5 pair of shoes at a thrift store and love them both equally. The list goes on……..

I’m having a cat scan on my head next week – it will be interesting to see what’s up there.

The same goes with food – my Thanksgiving Turkey this week is going to be a royal, time consuming affair and I’m going to love it. But last night I made a quick and easy baked ziti recipe that I found on the back of the zita pasta box.

It’s my new go to meal.

Back of the Box Baked Ziti

  • 1 (16 oz) package of ziti
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
  • 1 (26 oz) jar tomato and basil pasta sauce
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can stewed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tablespoon prepared basil pesto
  • cooking spray
  • 2 cups Italian blend cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 375º.

Start by cooking pasta according to directions.

Saute meat and onions in large skillet over medium-high heat. Once cooked, drain off excess grease.

Stir in pasta sauce, tomatoes (I squished these a little with my hand first), Italian seasoning, and pesto into meat mixture. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Mix sauce with pasta.

Spray 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray and pour mixture evenly into dish.

Top with cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes or until heated through and slightly browned.


Let countdown to Thanksgiving begin!!!!


“Appetizers are the little things you keep eating until you lose your appetite.” ~ Joe Moore

What a busy wonderful weekend!

We had dinner with friends at a nice restaurant on Friday, ate barbeque ribs, pork tenderloin and many yummy appetizers on Saturday for the Bama game (I think my pulse may finally be back to normal after watching that nerve racking game) and on Sunday for the first time in a long time I had the whole peanut gallery over for dinner – Taco Pasta – more on that later in the week.

The appetizer that I quickly made up on Saturday for the game was Cream Cheese Sausage Balls adapted from Plain Chicken.

I like these sausage balls because they do not dry out like other sausage balls and this is of course because of the cream cheese. I also got a great tip from the the Plain Chicken blog and that was to mix the sausage ball ingredients up with the dough hook on your mixture.  This was huge for me – I sometimes avoided doing these pretty easy to throw together appetizers because I hated mixing the dough up by hand and with my current wrist condition – there was no way I would be able to, so with this helpful tip – I can pull this together in NO time!

Cream Cheese Sausage Balls

  • 1 lb hot (or mild -your heat preference) sausage, uncooked
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups Bisquick (or all purpose baking mix)
  • 4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded

Heat oven to 400º

Place all ingredients into stand mixer with dough hook attachment.

Mix until well combined.

Roll into 1-2 inch balls, place on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until brown.

Now that I know I can quickly mix this up with the dough attachment and since I usually have all these ingredients on hand (I buy the sausage when it’s buy one get one free at Publix and freeze it), I’ll be making these a lot for a quick last minute party or breakfast.

I hope everyone had a weekend that was as enjoyable as mine!


“If there’s cheesecake in the house, I’ll have some.” – Kelly Ripa

How was everyone’s Labor Day??

Mine was awesome. Spent the day at the Birmingham Zoo and because of the cloud cover it was very pleasant all day! Then it was off to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner where I showed great restraint when I ordered only a Skinnylicious Caesar Salad! Granted we did order a slice of the new Oreo Dream Extreme Cheesecake!!!

(before you start shaking your finger – it was split 3 ways)

Can you say awesome???

One of the best desserts I’ve ever had.

So – like I said – great day!

It was back to the ol’ grind today and after a trip to the gym (that makes twice in 4 days – thankyouverymuch) I started on dinner.

On the menu tonight is a recipe I adapted from the blog Relative Taste.

It looked interesting, all the ingredients were things I really liked and it seemed fairly simple. Because of this I thought it would work well for a workday dinner and since I had I postponed the Peanut Gallery meal until tonight due to the holiday I thought it would be perfect.

Teriyaki-Ranch Chicken

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup teriyaki basting sauce
  • ½ cup light Ranch salad dressing
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1½ ounces bacon bits

In a bowl mix together teriyaki sauce and ranch. Next salt and pepper your chicken, and using the vegetable oil, lightly brown the chicken on both sides.

Place in baking dish.

Pour sauce mixture over chicken.

Top with cheese.

Sprinkle bacon bits and green onions.

Bake uncovered at 350° for 30 minutes.

I served it with rice (pour a little pan sauce over the rice) and top with the chicken breast.  Any green side would be great.

This was VERY, VERY good. The flavor was unbelievable! I was kind of surprised because it was so simple.

This will definitely be one of my “go-to” quick dinners.

Until next time!