Thursday, December 31, 2020

Countdown to 2021: Most Popular

Counting down the most popular recipes of 2020 to ring in the new year!

I don't get near as many views as I used to on my blog. I think personally that there are way too many food blogs and I think that people are just over them. I try to keep my words to a minimum and just get to the recipe - the part people want. I don't participate in clubs, groups, or link ups anymore. I'm not near as active at trying to get traffic because this was a hobby - it was never meant to be a job and I really don't have the time anymore to have it be anything more than a hobby. Who knows if these would have been the same if they were posted back in 2012? Still I find it fascinating what makes the list. But I definitely think I see what my niche is after viewing the results....copycat recipes. It seems like everyone was looking for copycats this year. Only 3 recipes were not copycats. These are in order of most viewed :)

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Countdown to 2021: Best Crockpot

Counting down the best crockpot recipes of 2020 to ring in the new year!

In 2019 (those were the recipes posted in 2020), I didn't use my crockpot as much as I had hoped - I finally got around to getting a new crockpot this year and I think I'll end up with more crockpot recipes being posted in the upcoming years. I still am on the fence about getting an instant pot. Who knows.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Countdown to 2021: Best Dessert

Counting down the best dessert recipes of 2020 to ring in the new year!

Last year I was surprised by the amount of cakes I had made and thought maybe I'd have more cookies on the Countdown this year. Again, lots of cakes. One cookie recipe, one brownie recipe made the list. I only posted two cookie recipes in 2020. I'm not sure why I am not making more cookies because they are way faster than cakes and easier to store.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Countdown to 2021: Best Main Dish

Counting down the best main dish recipes of 2020 to ring in the new year!

I always struggle with narrowing down main dish recipes because it's a majority of what I post. I believe these are all favorites (but stay tuned for my most favorites in a few days) or marked as favorites in the labels which can be viewed by clicking favorites at the bottom of my blog or any blog post with that label.

Menu Plan Monday - December 28, 2020 [The Final One]

Menu Plan Monday for Dec 28, 2020 // What I'm making this week #menuplanmonday #mealplan

Next Monday, I'm going to do a little meal planning related post and go into more about why this is my final MPM on my blog. This week marks the end of 2020 - WOOHOO! I've got a lot of fried food planned for New Year's Eve. Everything else is really easy peasy.

Monday - Cheesy Tuna Casserole
Tuesday - Copycat Taco Bell Meximelts
Wednesday - Chicken Alfredo Soup
Thursday (NEW YEAR'S EVE) - Copycat Outback Bloomin' Onion // Deep Fried Cookie Dough // Copycat Texas Roadhouse Fried Pickles // Spicy Hummus Queso Dip // Twix Muddy Buddies // Banana Pudding Dip
Friday - x
Weekend - Salisbury Steak Meatballs

What are you having for dinner this week?
Feel free to leave a link to the recipe in the comments!

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Countdown to 2021: Best Breakfast

Counting down the best breakfast recipes of 2020 to ring in the new year!

Hello, hello! Today's theme is the best breakfast recipes of 2020 and I'm excited because somehow in 2019 (when my 2020 recipes were made), I made a lot of breakfast recipes. I'm not sure next year's countdown will be as fruitful because I've slacked this year on making breakfasts. Again, if you want to join in, please do and leave a link to your round up in the comments!

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Countdown to 2021: Best Appetizers and Snacks

Counting down the best appetizer and snack recipes of 2020 to ring in the new year!

I hope everyone has had a happy winter holiday (I know some are over and some are just starting) and are staying safe! I'm really excited to begin the Countdown to 2021 today. I know we can all agree 2020 is trash and have high hopes that 2021 will be better. 

I have decided to give myself a little bit of a break and post 3x a week in 2021 instead of trying to do 4x a week. I am stopping Menu Plan Monday after years of doing it. Basically, I'm turning my blog back into a hobby rather than work. Part of that transition also is no longer doing link ups at all. 

So unfortunately, I did not organize the Countdown like in past years. However, if you are one of my blogging friends who have joined in in past years or you are a food blogger who wants to join in this year - please do! Feel free to leave your link in the comments to your round up posts. If you click the "countdown to" label at the bottom of this post, you will find past years' Countdown posts - this year follows the same schedule as the years past. Enough babbling, let's get down to the Best Appetizers and Snacks of 2020!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Crockpot Mississippi Chicken

"The Pot Roast" got turned into one of the best crockpot chicken recipes ever!

So we have had Mississippi Pot Roast more times than I can count. It's everyone's favorite pot roast - there are never leftovers - and it's literally called "The Pot Roast". I was excited to try this chicken version with me needing to eat less red meat. I will say that I had the expectations that this is going to be as good as pot roast because what is better than pot roast?! However, this is a great alternative AND it's a little easier on the wallet and cholesterol. It's slightly different with au jus instead of dry onion soup mix, but still tasty!

Monday, December 21, 2020

Menu Plan Monday - December 21, 2020

Menu Plan Monday for Dec 21, 2020 // What I'm making this week #menuplanmonday #mealplan

I cannot believe it's already time for Christmas - such a cliche thing to say -- but WHERE HAS THE YEAR GONE?! I'm going to have the kids help me with chex mix this year and Mason picked out Santa's cookies. He said Santa wants cookies and coffee, so Santa may get coffee this year. :) I'm definitely looking forward to Christmas day food - really the whole week just looks great!

Monday - Kicked Up Sausage Alfredo
Tuesday - Tex Mex Cobb Salad
Wednesday - Unstuffed Banana Pepper Soup
Thursday (CHRISTMAS EVE) - Easy Hot Chocolate // Chewy Christmas Sprinkle Cookies // Sugar Cookie Chex Mix // Spicy Sriracha Chex Mix
Friday (CHRISTMAS DAY) - Pull Apart Cinnamon Roll Bread // Maple Brown Sugar Glazed Ham // Peppermint Crumble Bars // Mexican Street Corn Deviled Eggs // Slow Cooker Bacon Jalapeno Mac & Cheese
Weekend - Creamed Chipped Beef

What are you having for dinner this week?
Feel free to leave a link to the recipe in the comments!

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Grilled Salsa Verde Chicken

A simple dinner that is perfect for a Taco Tuesday with fresh avocado and tomato, plus corn and rice with a tortilla for serving.

Nick became obsessed with salsa verde when he started traveling to San Diego for work in 2019. He wants salsa verde alllll the time. He also is kind of obsessed with this style of serving up food where the fixings are all on the side and you build your own dinner on a tortilla. I personally love taking a bite of each topping and a bite of tortilla. This is a really simple recipe but is really fantastic despite being so simple. You can definitely switch it up a little - like add different seasonings to the chicken or roasting the corn or tomatoes. Even charring the tortilla on the grill!

Friday, December 18, 2020

Cheesy Pizza Roll

This stromboli has loads of cheese with pepperoni and salami inside and is topped with garlic herb butter.

I fall prey to the Facebook cooking videos, but thankfully, I've had pretty good luck with them. This one was from Tasty and it's basically a stromboli and that's what they refer to it as in the directions. I personally think my favorite part of this recipe and one that makes it stand out from similar recipes is the garlic butter that has herbs in it. I've gotten into using mini pepperonis instead of chopping larger ones or having whole pepperonis fall out when you're trying to get a bite :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Spicy Touchdown Chili

A three meat chili with beans, tomatoes, and a good kick of jalapeno and cayenne will warm you right up!

I thought I would put this spicy chili on the meal plan in hopes it would be spicy because I have some spicelords in the house who have very high spice tolerances and sometimes when things claim to be "spicy", they aren't spicy enough. I will say that this was the perfect amount of heat. You have hot Italian sausage, Rotel, jalapeno, and cayenne in it. My family likes beans in our chili, although I've heard there are people who don't like it. This is such a hearty recipe and it makes a good amount - I want to say we ended up freezing some of ours.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Menu Plan Monday - December 14, 2020

Menu Plan Monday for Dec 14, 2020 // What I'm making this week #menuplanmonday #mealplan

I am looking forward to the end of the first half of this school year. Let me just tell you, kindergarten teachers are SAINTS. Mason's teacher goes above and beyond and is so wonderful. There is a lot that goes into virtual kindergarten and a lot of that is in conjunction with me making sure Mason is on time, on task, and has everything he needs when he needs it. And making sure he isn't unmuting and interrupting! :) So it'll be nice to relax. This week is pretty easy going. A good mix of new and old favorites recipes.

Monday - Easy Pesto Chicken Gnocchi
Tuesday - Tacos
Wednesday - Slow Cooker Broccoli Cheese Soup
Thursday - Thai Basil Beef
Friday - Copycat Pickle Pizza
Weekend - Blueberry Cream Cheese Muffins // Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwiches // Better than Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars

What are you having for dinner this week?
Feel free to leave a link to the recipe in the comments!

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Slow Cooker Creamy Vegetable Soup

A little bit of prep work and into the slow cooker and you'll have a great meatless meal on a chilly night!

As a child, I pretty much hated vegetable soup. Not because of the vegetables, but because we ate canned soup and the vegetable soup is tomato-based. It seems a bit odd given how much I love anything tomato-based, but it was just too tomato-ey. If you know, you know. I thought I'd try this recipe because it's pretty similar to potato soup but just loaded up with some extra stuff. It turned out really well and was super delicious. Highly recommend.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Gingerbread Poke Cake

This cake is the most lovely addition to a holiday spread with caramel and whipped cream topping and crushed gingersnap cookies on top.

I've made more poke cakes in recent years because I really just enjoy poke cakes. I won't say all, but I think most start with a box cake mix and just a few toppings - sweetened condensed milk and Cool Whip for sure. This gingerbread cake gets caramel sauce topping in addition to the milk. And the very top has crushed gingersnap cookies which is great for a bit of crunch and more spicy goodness. So if you're looking for a quick holiday cake recipe - this! This so much! It's great!

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Grinch Sugar Cookie Bars

Your heart will grow three sizes when you make these super easy bars and get to enjoy them over the holidays!

If you notice, this recipe is also in absolutely horrendous a foil pan. It was also made last Christmas when we were in an airbnb that was not as stocked for holiday meals as was advertised. Unfortunately, I did not bring my food coloring with me and was unable to find a good Grinch green on the fly a few days before Christmas at a big box store.

However, the takeaway here is that this is a super easy recipe that can be thrown together super quickly and if you can find some chonky heart sprinkles - even better! Just a very classic sugar cookie bar! :)

Monday, December 07, 2020

Menu Plan Monday - December 7, 2020

Menu Plan Monday for Dec 7, 2020 // What I'm making this week #menuplanmonday #mealplan

I think this may be the best week yet because there are some all-time favorite recipes being made. Like when I go, what burger recipe should I make...this one. What kind of tacos do I want? CHICKEN TACOS. What's the best pot roast? Hands-down Mississippi Pot Roast is where it's at. So I think we're going to be super happy this week.

Monday - Crockpot Meatballs & Spaghetti
Tuesday - Chicken Tacos
Wednesday - The Best Beef Stew Ever
Thursday - Chicken Shawarma
Friday - Burgers with Thyme Caramelized Onions & Garlic Mayo
Weekend - PB&J Muffins // Mississippi Pot Roast // Cookies 'n Cream Fudge // Strawberry Shortcake Fudge

What are you having for dinner this week?
Feel free to leave a link to the recipe in the comments!

Sunday, December 06, 2020

Oreo Peppermint Crunch Cookies

Soft and chewy cake mix cookies with bits of Oreos and candy canes inside

These were Santa's cookies last year and survived a road trip to Florida and a few days in a really small, cramped airbnb. They almost didn't survive due to the fact that they are insanely good. They are cake mix cookies with Oreos and candy canes in them and they are the absolute best. They are chewy and crunchy and so good.

Friday, December 04, 2020

Cranberry Jalapeno Dip

Sweet, spicy, and tart - this dip has it all and it's the absolute best!

You'll have to excuse these pictures, but they were taken in Christmas 2019 when my family was in Florida in a small airbnb (which we thought was supposed to sleep 11 - which was a stretch - it was so small. We thought the kitchen would have all the tools we would need, but it was really sparse (also a stretch in the description). I wanted to use a food processor and have a chunky salsa, but ended up having to puree it in a blender. Regardless of the method and how I had to adapt, this salsa was absolutely the best. I loved it so much. The family did too. You get sweet and tart from the cranberries, heat from the jalapenos, and cream cheese to offset the heat just a little and add a bit of savory to the whole thing. We used pretzel crisps because they are our favorite dippers!

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Peppermint Poke Cake

This holiday cake is so easy to make and loaded with chocolate and peppermint!

I think box cake mixes are awesome and I love how you can add a few more steps and change it up completely. I think at this point everyone knows what a poke cake is - you make a cake and poke holes in it and then pour stuff on top. This cake is topped with sweetened condensed milk and hot fudge. After some chilling, the cake is topped with whipped cream and other stuff - in this case, Andes mints and Oreos. I think this is my favorite poke cake of all the ones I've made. I love mint chocolate, so I guess it's not surprising. This is a really fun cake to make with kids (if you have any around) and is perfect for the holidays!

Monday, November 30, 2020

Menu Plan Monday - November 30, 2020

Menu Plan Monday for Nov 30, 2020 // What I'm making this week #menuplanmonday #mealplan

Good Monday morning, everyone! We're still trying to eat our Thanksgiving leftovers, so tonight's dinner is going to use a bit of those up. We made a little bit too much food because we're so used to big family Thanksgivings. This month is going to be a lot of old recipes but there are definitely some new ones in there. I'm also trying really hard to focus on making my breakfast and dessert recipes each week. I've been majorly slacking!

 Monday - Creamed Turkey
Tuesday - Slow Cooker Stuffed Peppers
Wednesday - Egg Drop Soup
Thursday - Beef Lo Mein
Friday - Buffalo Chicken Pizza
Weekend - Double Chocolate Cheesecake Muffins // Baked Bruschetta Chicken // Gingerbread Magic Cake

What are you having for dinner this week?
Feel free to leave a link to the recipe in the comments!

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Steak with Roasted Potato Salad

Perfectly seared steak with a lovely roasted potato salad with some light fixings.

I love how I sat down to type up this recipe and couldn't figure out what was going on. The original recipe serves up the roasted potatoes on top of the salad and you make a roasted garlic buttermilk dressing to go on top. Then the steak goes on top of all of that. However, no one will eat that style of dressing and so we ended up just serving the things separately. It still was a great recipe and I was able to top my salad with my favorite vinaigrette - I will admit that I didn't want dressing on my potatoes or steak.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Buffalo Chicken Burrito Bowls

This rice bowl has tomatoes, corn, black beans, avocado, plus buffalo chicken to boot! So many great ingredients for an easy dinner!

I hope everyone had a lovely, safe Thanksgiving! I'm looking forward to this next month of blogging that leads to the final Countdown deal I do each year. If you're a fellow blogger looking for the Countdown info, I'm actually not going to host this year. I'm just going to do the round ups but please feel free to leave your round ups linked in my comments of those posts!

Today's recipe is one of the recipes I've had for years and years and didn't make it. I feel like I do this a lot and then kick myself when I finally make it because it's a new favorite and I could have been enjoying it all along. We have been loving avocado and queso fresco lately, so it was nice to see those in a recipe and this is definitely something we will make and enjoy for years to come!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Creamy Spinach & Red Pepper Chicken

A creamy, rich  sauce with spinach, red pepper, and tomato stuffed in chicken breast topped with more sauce, tomatoes, and basil.

I love roasted red pepper recipes and jump at saving all the ones I find. This one is from Ree Drummond which means I knew I would enjoy it and the family would too. It reminds me a lot of Tuscan Garlic Chicken because of the sauce and spinach and bell pepper. I love the touch of tomatoes and basil too. A great recipe that really doesn't take too long to make. I think it's actually quicker and less hassle than Tuscan Garlic Chicken. I served mine up with loads of veggies and it was a good ole time.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Menu Plan Monday - November 23, 2020

Menu Plan Monday for Nov 23, 2020 // What I'm making this week #menuplanmonday #mealplan

It's already time for Thanksgiving, which is just wild! Why does 2020 seem to be both the longest year in history and then also the months are gone in a blink and here we are about to be in December. We're doing a lowkey Thanksgiving this year - surprisingly we are more excited about our Thanksgiving evening tradition when we tray it up and marathon a movie series. I think we're doing Underworld this year. We have an epic charcuterie tray planned with fruit and chocolate and cheese and pretzel chips and leftover turkey and ham.

Monday - Roasted Veggie & Sausage Pasta
Tuesday - Fajita Stuffed Chicken with Jalapeno Queso Sauce
Wednesday - x
Thursday - Cranberry BBQ Crockpot Meatballs // Loaded Scalloped Potatoes // Pecan Pie Blondies // Bacon-Wrapped Turkey
Friday - x
Weekend - Chocolate Waffles with Raspberry Sauce // PJ Smothered Chicken // Pecan Pie Cheesecake Fudge

What are you having for dinner this week?
Feel free to leave a link to the recipe in the comments!

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Bacon Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes have never been better with this slow cooked version with lots of cheese and bacon!

I have found more and more that I am beginning to be okay with Velveeta cheese as long as it's not pure Velveeta. In this recipe, it goes in with garlic and beef and bacon into a slow cooker. I admit I still usually add a couple dabs of hot sauce to cut through that artificial flavor a bit. I loved sloppy joes as a child, so I really appreciate this recipe because it's a sloppy joe, but it tastes like a bacon cheeseburger. It's like an adult sloppy joe if that was a thing!? :)

Friday, November 20, 2020

Easy Pork Ramen

Elevate that package of ramen with pork tenderloin, greens, ginger, and garlic!

I love this recipe because it's not necessarily a quick ramen upgrade. It's just a little bit extra effort to upgrade ramen with loads of extra flavor - no need to have that little seasoning packet! You can use preseasoned pork tenderloins or just marinate your pork yourself. Either way works. Basically this is still a pretty easy, not complicated recipe, but there are more elements to it than just dumping noodles and packet into boiling water.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Southwest Chopped Chicken Salad

Salads are some of my favorite dinners - especially when they have all the things like chicken, tomato, beans, corn, avocado, and more!

This salad is nothing extremely unique or something that will blow anyone's mind, but it is a fantastic, quick dinner and I really enjoyed it. The original recipe came with a salad dressing, however, I'm about the only person who eats dressing in the house and depending on how busy the day is that I'm making the recipe, I'll skip making the dressing and grab the premade kind. Still...a great recipe for dinner. Lots of fixings and you can add a little extra flavor if you get tortilla chips with kick of lime :)

Monday, November 16, 2020

Menu Plan Monday - November 16, 2020

Menu Plan Monday for Nov 16, 2020 // What I'm making this week #menuplanmonday #mealplan

I've been attempting to keep the meal plan as simple as I can lately. I am digging up some pretty old recipes from the archives (Weds and Thurs) and still trying to get with the picture and make my ONE breakfast recipe and ONE dessert recipe. We'll see how that goes :)

 Monday - 20-Minute Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Chicken Pasta
Tuesday -  Tacos
Wednesday - Crockpot Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli, and Wild Rice Soup
Thursday - Good & Garlicky Sweet & Sour Pork
Friday - Extra Cheese Pizza // Popcorn Chicken
Weekend - Blueberry Cream Cheese Muffins // Cheesy Turkey Meatloaf // Caramel Stuffed Pumpkin Cookies

What are you having for dinner this week?
Feel free to leave a link to the recipe in the comments!

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Brussels Sprouts Au Gratin

What better way to enjoy your vegetables than roasted and served with a cheese sauce?

I'm really happy to share this recipe finally, although I have to say, I wish the pictures were better. It's hard to get pictures of anything that's got a cheese sauce and make it look halfway appetizing. However, don't let the pictures deter you, this au gratin is slamming! I personally love brussels, so I'm not sure someone who wouldn't like brussels would agree. However, if you want to try something new, I highly recommend this. I served this up at Thanksgiving last year and I wish I made it more often because it's so easy to make's slamming!

Friday, November 13, 2020

School Pizza Copycat

If you've ever had and loved this thicker crust (amazing) school pizza as a kid, you need this recipe!

School pizza is very polarizing in that I know some people despise and some people love it.  I will say this...I like the school pizza I had when I was in elementary school. Once I moved to Tennessee and attended middle school and high school, the pizza was not the same. Matt and Cami were not excited about this pizza because they only know Tennessee school pizza and it is not like this one. But they ate it and then told me how they would absolutely eat school pizza if it was like this AND how jealous they were that I got this at school.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Browned Butter Mashed Potatoes

There's no reason for boring, plain mashed potatoes - brown that butter, add a kick of horseradish!

I am always looking for new ways for making old classics and I tend to make them at holidays - which is really risky, but mostly works out for me. Last Thanksgiving, I wanted to try these potatoes because browned butter sounded like the way to go. I don't think I've eaten anything with browned butter that I didn't like immediately and wholeheartedly. I love that these mashed potatoes are made with red potatoes - and that the skins are left on (my preferred way to make and eat mashed potatoes). The browned butter added such depth to the flavor, but I have to be honest and say that the horseradish was the winner winner here. It added the perfect kick of tartness to the potatoes.

Monday, November 09, 2020

Menu Plan Monday - November 9, 2020

Menu Plan Monday for Nov 9, 2020 // What I'm making this week #menuplanmonday #mealplan

I've been absolutely terrible lately with making my one breakfast recipe and one dessert recipe for the week. I'm hoping to get back on track and do them. The last few weekends have been super busy, so I think it's a matter of getting back on a schedule. There are tons of favorites this week and plenty of hopeful new recipes to try.

Monday - Turkey Parmesan Meatballs
Tuesday -  Southwest Chicken & Rice
Wednesday -  Easy Zuppa Toscana Soup
Thursday - Greek Style Grilled Chicken Salad
Friday -  Copycat McDonald's Burgers
Weekend -  Pumpkin Oreo Donuts // Crockpot Chicken & Potatoes // Gingerbread Magic Cake Bars

What are you having for dinner this week?
Feel free to leave a link to the recipe in the comments!

Sunday, November 08, 2020

Jalapeno Popper Macaroni & Cheese

Add some spice to the holiday feast with this over-the-top incredible macaroni and cheese or add chicken for a full meal!

I had kept putting off making this recipe and I cannot really tell you why because my family loves anything jalapeno popper. I have made this for dinner and I have made this for a holiday side. When I make it for dinner, I like to add chicken to it (usually seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic) to make it extra hardy. This is just a seriously wonderful recipe with the perfect amount of heat and a nice crunch from the topping. No one will want any other macaroni and cheese ever again. This one is perfect.