Sweet Potato Taco Casserole

After looking at some other FOOD blogs, I found a recipe for Sweet Potato Tacos on the On My Menu blog. It sounded delicious, but I wanted to make a few CHANGES and turned it into a casserole instead. The result—DELICIOUS!

Sweet Potato Taco Casserole
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1/2-inch (or so)
Olive oil and season salt
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
Taco seasoning
1 (4-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes (or more if you prefer)
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
Grated cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13-inch pan with nonstick spray and put the prepared potatoes  in pan. Drizzle with a touch of olive oil and sprinkle season salt over top. Toss to coat. Sprinkle the cilantro over top and toss to coat again.

In a frying pan, cook the beef until done. Add taco seasoning (I have a bulk size container and just add a little at a time until it tastes good to me!) and tomato sauce and stir. Stir in the beans, tomatoes, and chiles until just heated through. Layer over the potatoes in the pan and then top with cheese. Bake, covered, for about 25 minutes. Serve with torn lettuce, salsa, sour cream, and cubed avocado pieces. Serves around 6.

TIP: You can also make this with ground turkey and it will still taste amazing, I promise! Also, try experimenting with different cheeses as a topping too. A pepper jack or Mexican blend would taste yummy. The addition of sliced olives would probably be pretty good too!


Chinese Chicken Salad

This is a recipe that has been around for AWHILE, but this version is by far my FAVORITE. We always eat it with some sort of YUMMY bread and have a big bowl of it for DINNER.

Chinese Chicken Salad
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup sugar
1 seasoning packet from ramen noodles

1 head cabbage, chopped or thinly sliced
1 to 2 stalks celery, halved and sliced
2 cups cooked and shredded chicken
1 package Oriental ramen noodles, broken up
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds

In a bowl, combine the dressing ingredients and set aside.

In another bowl, combine the salad ingredients and then toss with the dressing. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

TIP: You can leave out the chicken if you'd rather this be a side dish. Also, feel free to add another package or ramen noodles and even some finely diced onion or thinly sliced green onion. Either way, it's gonna be good!


Lemon Cream Cheese Pie

This is a family FAVORITE, and the best thing is that it's super SIMPLE to put together. If you are looking for a quick and delicious DESSERT, this is it!

Lemon Cream Cheese Pie
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temp
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 (9-inch) graham cracker pie crust

In a bowl, beat together the cream cheese, condensed milk, and lemon juice until smooth. Pour into the crust and spread out evenly. Chill for at least 2 to 3 hours before serving.

TIP: This is great topped with whipped cream and cut up fresh strawberries or other seasonal fruits. Also, you can use lime juice instead of the lemon and it also tastes amazing!


Gooey Caramel Corn

My cousin Julie gave me this EASY and yummy recipe for the best kind of caramel corn around—GOOEY!!! Thanks for sharing Jules!

Gooey Caramel Corn
1/4 cup butter, melted (I usually use a little less and it still tastes great)
2 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
Dash of salt
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 quarts plain popped popcorn

In a saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Turn on the heat and then slowly add the condensed milk and vanilla, stirring while adding. Bring mixture to a boil for 1 minute and then remove from heat. Pour the caramel over the popcorn in a big bowl and stir. Serves lots!

TIP: This really does make a TON of caramel, so I just pop enough popcorn for my family and use whatever amount of caramel I need. Then I usually have a jar of caramel leftover for another quick batch of caramel corn, or to use over ice cream or other yummy desserts.


Creamy Chicken Fajitas

I got this simple recipe from KRAFT! It uses their new cooking creme made out of cream CHEESE. It's an easy, quick-to-put-together dinner, so hopefully you'll ENJOY it like my family did.

Creamy Chicken Fajitas
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
1 cup sliced onion
1 cup sliced bell pepper (I used red and green)
1 (10-ounce) tub Philadelphia Santa Fe Style Blend Cooking Creme
Flour tortillas
1 cup grated Mexican or cheddar cheese

Cook the chicken and vegetables in a large nonstick skillet for 6 or 7 minutes, or until chicken is done. Add the cooking creme; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Spoon warm mixture down the center of the tortillas and top with some cheese; fold over and enjoy!

TIP: We topped ours with lettuce, mainly because the cooking creme is VERY creamy, and the lettuce helps balance it out!


Red and Green Enchiladas

Mmmmm! El Cinco de Mayo! These little BEAUTIES are one of my many experiments that seemed to TURN out! When we have these for DINNER, man, it's hard to STOP at just one!

Red and Green Enchiladas
2 to 3 cups shredded or cubed cooked chicken
1 can red enchilada sauce, divided
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
8 to 10 flour tortillas, warmed
Grated cheddar cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can green enchilada sauce
1/2 to 3/4 cup sour cream
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl, mix together the chicken, half the can of red enchilada sauce, and the softened cream cheese until well combined. Pour the remaining red sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch pan prepared with nonstick spray; spread around the pan and set aside.

Lay out the tortillas on a clean work surface and equally spoon the chicken mixture down the center of each. Sprinkle with a little cheese and then roll and place in the prepared pan seam side down.

In another bowl, or rinse out the one you already used, mix together the cream of chicken soup, half of the green enchilada sauce, sour cream, and half of the green chiles. Once combined, pour over the enchiladas in the pan and top with more cheese. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until sauce is bubbling and everything is warmed through. Serve with toppings of choice!

TIP: You can add more green enchilada sauce and the whole can of chiles if you want! Just add gradually to make sure you like the outcome. Another great addition to the creamy green sauce is a couple tablespoons of finely diced olives. It really gives the recipe a whole new taste. Try it, you'll see!