Saturday, November 19, 2011


Another one of my easy favorites is Chicken Fajitas which I actually turn into burritos. It's really easy because I also cheat and buy pre-cooked chicken at the market or used leftovers. You can buy one of those baked chickens or if you're lucky enough to have a WinCo near you, mine sells cooked chicken strips. All you need is:

Red and Green Bell Peppers
Tortillas (flour/burrito size for burritos)
Re-fried beans (for burritos or accompanying dish)
Cheese (for burritos)
Taco Sauce or salsa

If you have a whole chicken, slice and/or pull off the chicken in bite size pieces. How much you use depends on how many you're feeding. Heat your skillet and add a little oil, enough to saute the veggies. Chop up your onion and bell peppers. I cut them into rather large pieces. Dump them in the skillet and saute until the onion are just slightly golden around the edges. NOTE: I tend to like my veggies a little crunchy but maybe you like yours fully cooked. The fun thing about cooking your own is you make it the way YOU like it.

Add in your chicken. Because it is pre-cooked you're basically just heating and mixing it all together at this point. Season to taste. I use my basics - pepper, salt and garlic powder. Season to taste means season a little and taste it. If you feel it needs more, add more. It's easier to add a little than to start with too much you can't take back.

EXTRAS - Experiment with what you like. The 99 Cent Store has these jars of crushed peppers or sweet peppers that I like. You'll see a jar in one of the photos. I'll add some to the chicken and veggies while its cooking. Fajitas, of course are usually served with tortillas. Add what YOU like. Maybe you'd even like to use shrimp or beef instead of the chicken. Are you a Tofu person? Go for it!

If you're interested in making burritos you'll need to add to your list a can of re-fried beans, maybe some taco sauce or salsa and cheese. Oh, and your flour tortillas should be large enough to wrap and roll into a burrito.

Half of a baked chicken with the onion and bell peppers makes a dish about the size you see in the photo. I can usually get about 4-5 burritos out of it when combined with the beans and cheese. While you're cooking you can judge whether or not you need to add more meat and/or veggies. The good thing is, it only takes a short while to cook or add a little to the skillet.

Happy cooking!


Have you ever made your own hash browns? I'm a potato fiend. LOL! I love potatoes and hash browns are just one of the ways I cook them.

If you haven't I hope this adds just one more option to your breakfast menus. It only takes a minute to grate the potato. Mine tend to be a little more "colored" because I tend to cook my bacon or sausage first and then use a little of the remaining oil to fry the hash browns.

Heat your skillet while you're grating the potato. Some people grate in a little onion for more flavor. If you can think of anything else you'd like to grate in, give it a try! Add a little butter or oil to the skillet, just enough so the skillet doesn't burn, not so much it saturates your potatoes. When your skillet is hot, using your fingers position your shreds of potato into the shapes you want for your potato pancakes. You can easily you a spatula to push the edges into a shape before it starts to brown.

Flip your hash browns until they're as brown and cooked as you like. Season to taste. My usual is salt, pepper and a little garlic powder. Feel free to add a little more oil or butter if it is looking a little dry for your taste but remember it's better to add a little, then a little more then to add too much and not be able to take it back.

Garnishing - My family likes to put cheese on top. When its just about done add the cheese on top so that it is melted when you remove it from the skillet. Try a little salsa, grilled onion and/or mushrooms, Tabasco. Its your meal. Do it your way!

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Baked Spaghetti is one of the dishes that was cooked often when I lived at home. I really don't like eating it the traditional way maybe because I tend to find pasta bland. This way the seasoning is cooked into the pasta. So if you're not a big spaghetti fan maybe you'll like it this way. If you're a big pasta fan maybe you'll like it this way too.

My recipe includes:

1 lb. pound of ground beef (I know people who prefer to use Italian Sausage).
Onion, bell pepper (red and green)
One package of Spaghetti seasoning mix
Three small cans of tomato sauce
One can of stewed tomatoes

Start your water to boil for the spaghetti. I usually add a little salt and garlic powder to the water. I've always thought it helped the water boil faster (smile), but even if it doesn't it smells good.

Fry your meat in a large skillet. Chop up your onion and bell peppers and add to the meat while it is cooking. Add in salt, pepper and garlic powder. Season to your taste preferences. Try to cook your meat so that you have nice sized chunks, like tiny meatballs. Add in the package of Spaghetti Sauce Mix.

When the meat is done add in the can of stewed tomatoes and two of the cans of tomato sauce. Don't throw the cans away! Fill each can with water and add it to the meat/sauce mix. Pour the meat/sauce mix into your baking pan.

Now for the spaghetti. When the water starts to boil add it your spaghetti and let it boil. I never use a whole package of spaghetti but it is trial and error knowing how much to use. I use about 3/4 pack of spaghetti. A trick is to stir the spaghetti as it cooks, especially right after you put the spaghetti in so that it doesn't stick together. Boil the spaghetti until when you lift it with a fork it is completely limp. I heard a trick once that if you take one and throw it at the ceiling, if it sticks it is done. I did that once. LOL! It works but I wouldn't recommend it because you have to get it down.

When it is done, drain it in a strainer and rinse. With a fork, lift out the spaghetti and mix it in through the meat/sauce mix. It should look like the photo below. Taste it and season to your preferences. Bake in the oven and 350.

The third can of tomato sauce comes in to personal preferences. Sometimes when you bake the pasta soaks up the sauce. Or, you've put in too much spaghetti and its looking not too saucy. Use the third can of tomato sauce to adjust. Add some tomato sauce and some water. Mix it in and put it back in the over to cook a little longer.

One adjustment would be what I call spaghetti surprise. I take cheese, cut it in chunks and stick it into the spaghetti in different places, covered by the spaghetti so that when you spoon it out to serve you have this nice melted cheese. Or, you can sprinkle cheese over it when it is served (below.)

This can be served with salad and garlic bread. Remember, always season to taste. The best cooking you can do it by learning from experience. Sometimes recipes don't make sense until you do it the first time to understand what someone is trying to tell you to do (smile.)

Happy eating and God bless!