Wednesday, December 19, 2012

How to make boxed potatoes taste like HOMEMADE

I loooooooooooove mashed potatoes. But I haaaaaaaaaaaaaaate peeling potatoes. I hate that the whole process to make mashed potatoes takes at least an hour, start to finish. So, I reserve REAL mashed potatoes for special dinners (Sunday dinner, holidays, etc.)

During the week, run-of-the-mill dinners get boxed mashed potatoes. Now. I haaaaate boxed mashed potatoes probably more than I hate peeling potatoes. So, I had to find a way to make them taste yummy. Here is my secret …

boxed potatoes like homemade

First of all … I’m not vouching for any brand or kind of potato other than these babies. I’m sure Idahoan makes some other yummy potatoes, but these are the ones I use. Here’s what you’re gonna need:

boxed potatoes like homemade2

2 – 4.1 oz pkgs of Idahoan Baby Reds
1 cup sour cream
2 cups milk
1 cup water
1 TBS bouillon (I use Better Than Bouillon)

Bring water, milk, and bouillon to an almost boil (scald it, you don’t want to boil that milk). Then add in the sour cream and let it come back to scalding. Dump in the potatoes and stir until well incorporated. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve. I promise … you won’t miss the other 55 minutes of work you saved. ;)

Crockpot Ranch Chicken

I have seen this one all over Pinterest … and I made it years ago for a pile of freezer meals I was making at the time and it froze amazingly well. It’s a family favorite for sure!

crockpot ranch chicken

3 chicken breasts
1 block cream cheese (I use Neufchatel)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1 pkg Ranch dressing mix

crockpot ranch chicken2

** This is a recipe that I would definitely recommend using a crockpot liner for … it will make your clean up a cinch!


Okay. Place your chicken on the bottom of the crockpot. Sprinkle the Ranch dressing mix on top of that. Then dump in the soup, sour cream, and cream cheese. Cook on HIGH 4-5 hours or on LOW 7-8 hours. If it’s cooked in the crockpot, I shred it up once it’s cooked and then return the shredded meat to the gravy. Serve over mashed potatoes or pasta. Your kids will LOVE this one.

crockpot ranch chicken

Monday, December 17, 2012

Easy Taco Pizza

I think I found a new favorite food blog … I mean, I love Our Best Bites, and Mel's Kitchen Cafe, and the likes.

But dude, Life as a Lofthouse, is my kind of girl! She is definitely what I would call ‘fast, cheap, and easy’. ;) In a good way. That’s a compliment, people!

I found this taco pizza, recipe on her blog.

taco pizza

1 pound lean ground beef
1 envelope taco seasoning mix
1 (10 ounce) can refrigerated Pillsbury pizza dough
1 (16 ounce) can refried beans (I used refried black beans)
2-3 cups shredded cheddar cheese 1 green bell pepper, diced 1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup sliced black olives
4 green onions, chopped
Taco Bell Mild sauce (see picture below)
Lettuce for topping

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Brown ground beef in a large skillet, over medium-high heat. Drain grease. Add taco seasoning to the ground beef according to package directions.

Unroll pizza dough onto greased 10”x15” cookie sheet. Let dough sit at room temperature for a couple minutes. Press dough over the bottom and up along all 4 sides the of cookie sheet. Bake pizza dough for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from oven.

Place refried beans into a microwavable-safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir well and 2 TBP of Taco Bell sauce and stir. Then spread bean mixture evenly over the top of the warm pizza crust. Top with the cooked ground beef mixture, sprinkle with cheese and then add the peppers, black olives and green onion.

Return to oven and bake another 5-7 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Top with fresh tomatoes and chopped lettuce. SO DELICIOUS!

We also like the other Taco Bell sauces on top: the Chipotle one is our FAVORITE.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Peppermint Rice Krispy Treats

peppermint rice krispy treats

4 TBS butter

4 cups marshmallows

6 cups Rice Krispies

1/2 tsp peppermint extract

2-3 drops red food coloring (optional)


Melt butter on low in a stock pot. Add marshmallows and cook on low until completely melted. Stir in peppermint extract (may need more, just add to taste). Add a couple drops of food coloring … if you want. Spread out in a cookie sheet or 9x13 baking dish. Cool and cut into squares. I love these, especially at Christmas time!

Easy Teriyaki Chicken

chicken teriyaki 

1 lb cooked chicken (shredded or diced … I use rotisserie chicken)

1 green bell pepper, julienned

1 red bell pepper, julienned

1 small onion, julienned

1 cup Kikkoman’s teriyaki sauce (see picture below)

1/2 cup brown sugar

3-4 cups sticky rice (my favorite is the Botan Calrose rice – white bag, red flower)


Prepare rice according to the package … I usually make a double batch a rice. If I have leftovers, we make rice pudding. :D

If you’re a little more on the lazy side, like me, then pull the meat off of a rotisserie chicken and set aside. In a large skillet, combine teriyaki sauce and brown sugar. Add onion and peppers. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, then add chicken. Heat through. Serve over sticky rice.

teriyaki chicken2

I still have not ever found a bottled teriyaki sauce that I like. Half of y’all will say, “Stop being so lazy and make your own then!” That is the half of y’all who don’t know me. The best teriyaki I’ve found … is the combination of this sauce and brown sugar together. It’s stupid easy and it works.