Mexican Stuffed Shells

I made these the other night, seek actually the same evening I made the Pumpkin Deliciousness Cake. This was a very tasty dish! They were very similar to the Taco Pasta I made a while back, which I love.

I’m still sick, but getting better! My sister and I both slept all day and are on the mend! I’m hoping that I can get back to baking and start on some more of my Christmas shopping and crafting. I have several crafts I’m planning on doing, including some adorable ornaments, table center piece, and knitting! I’ll be sharing those, as well as all the baking I’m doing, in the next couple of weeks. Speaking of which, tomorrow I am going to post about my experience with the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap! I’ll explain all of that tomorrow, as well as share an amazingly tasty recipe you won’t want to miss!

But here are the stuffed shells as promised :)

Start by preparing some beef just as you would if you were making tacos (follow the directions on the taco seasoning packet).

Add some cream cheese!

Cook up some pasta shells. JUMBO pasta shells :)

Lay out the shells so they can cool.

On the bottom of a glass 8 by 11 or 9 by 13 baking dish, spread out 2 cups of salsa.

Stuff the shells with the beef/cream cheese mixture and put them in the dish with the salsa on the bottom.

I didn’t even know there was such a thing as taco sauce! But apparently there is. Pour that over the stuffed shells and bake in the oven, covered with aluminum foil.

Take the foil off and cover the shells with cheese. Cook the shells another 10-15 minutes until the cheese is all bubbly and melted.

Serve them up and enjoy!

Which did I like better, these or the Taco Pasta shells? I would say probably the taco pasta just because it’s a little faster to make and I liked how they tasted a little better. But that’s just me! These shells were really fun to stuff and eat. Try both and see which you like best :)

Mexican Stuffed Shells


  • ?1 lb. ground beef
  • ?1 package low-sodium taco seasoning
  • ?4 oz. cream cheese
  • 14-16 jumbo pasta shells
  • 1.5 cup salsa
  • ?1 cup taco sauce
  • ?1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup monterey jack cheese
  • ?Optional toppings: sour cream, green onions, more salsa


  1. Preheat oven to 350° and boil water in a pot to cook the shells.
  2. Brown the ground beef. Add the taco seasoning and prepare according to package directions (it probably says to add some water or some such, depending on the brand of seasoning).
  3. Add the cream cheese, cover the pan and simmer until the cheese is melted. Stir together until well blended. Set aside.
  4. While the meat mixture is cooling, cook the shells in the boiling water according to package directions. Drain the shells and set out on a cutting board.
  5. pour salsa on the bottom of a 8 by 11 or 9 by 13 baking dish. Stuff each shell with the meat mixture and place them on top of the salsa, open side up. Cover the shells with taco sauce.
  6. Cover the pan with foil and cook for 30 minutes.
  7. After 3o minutes, add the shredded cheese on top of the shells and bake for 10-15 more minutes (without the foil) until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Source: The Way to His Heart


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Italian Chicken Soup

I don’t like being sick. At all.

Who does like being sick?

I don’t know…don’t ask me for witty comments right now. Cause I’m sick. If I didn’t make that clear.

I’m not dying or anything, clinic I just have a cold and and feel so wiped. I’ve been snoozing on the couch all day, cheapest watching episodes of Avatar with my middle sister (who is also sick), see and I still feel tired.

I have a lot of posts I want to get up, though, so I’m trying to get at least one up!

I made this soup a couple days ago and ohmygoodness it was good. We’re all out of it right now, and I wish I had a nice big bowl of it.

You should make this! Because it was really yummy and anyone, sick or well, would love it :)

Here’s how you make it:

That’s all the stuff you need…minus the chicken. Imagine a picture of a chicken. And put it into that picture. Yup. This is a Pioneer Woman recipe, and she starts with a whole chicken, with the bones in at all, and I didn’t do that…because I’m scared whole chickens.

Not really.

But sorta.

For the non-scary chicken, I boiled 4 chicken breasts in the chicken stock and then shredded it. Take the chicken out of the stock to shed it, but keep the stock!

My sister walked in the kitchen and said “That’s a lot of chicken.”

Yes, yes it is. <— Aren’t you glad you’re reading brilliant gems like this?

This is Ditalini pasta…it’s cute and fun!

Dice up some green onions…these looks so green they’re glowing.

Chop up some jalapenos. I took the seeds out, but I was wanting the soup to have a little more of a kick so I would leave a few in in the future.

Sorry for this less-than-inspirational picture of chopped onion. My eyes were burning and watering like crazy from the chopping which made the picture-snapping a tad difficult.

Saute those peppers/onions up with some olive oil and let them cook for about 10 minutes, until golden brown.

In the meanwhile, chop up some canned, whole tomatoes.

And saute some olive oil with oregano.

At this point, everything should be done so it’s time to add everything to the chicken stock. Add the chicken back in.

Add the cooked pasta. See how the pot’s dangerously close to overflowing? I realized there was no way this was going to turn out well so I ended up pouring the soup into a larger pot.

Add the pepper, oregano and olive oil, and heavy cream.

Mmm…this was definitely a hearty soup. And it made a ton :)

This was my dad’s bowl of soup that I started taking pictures of. He was very hungry and not-so-amused haha.

Here was my bowl of soup. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

The soup alone was delicious, but it was absolutely incredible with some french bread.

Italian Chicken Soup


  • 1 lb. Ditalini Pasta (very Short Macaroni-type Pasta Noodles)
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 4 chicken breasts, or a whole uncut chicken fryer. If you’re braver than I am.
  • 8 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
  • 2 whole Green Bell Peppers, Diced
  • 2 stalks Celery, Diced (I omitted this)
  • 2 whole Fresh Jalapenos, Diced
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 can (28-ounce) Can Whole Tomatoes
  • 2 cups Heavy Cream
  • 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 Tablespoons Minced Fresh Oregano
  • Salt And Freshly Ground Pepper, To Taste
  • Crusty bread for serving.


  1. Place chicken in a large pot and pour in the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer chicken, covered, for 30 minutes. Turn off heat and leave covered for 30 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and shred the meat.
  2. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a pot according to package directions, being sure not to overcook it. Drain and rinse in cold water to cool. Toss in 1 tablespoon olive oil and set aside.
  3. Dice the onion, green pepper, and jalapenos. In a new pot, saute the peppers and onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until tender and golden brown, about 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, dice the canned tomatoes and return them to their juice.
  5. Heat a small skillet over medium high heat. Add the 1/4 cup olive oil and oregano and turn off heat, stirring over the next minute to keep oregano from burning. Set this aside.
  6. Pour the chicken broth into the pot with the done peppers and onions. Add the shredded chicken and tomatoes with their juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add cooked pasta, cream, and all the oregano and olive oil from the small skillet. Stir to combine. Turn off heat.
Serve with big pieces of Italian bread and enjoy!
Source: The Pioneer Woman :)
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Turkey Leftover Sandwich

Favorites of the Week:

  • TV Show– Grey’s Anatomy. My parents and I used to watch this show all the time, sale but stopped watching last season (not for any real reason…we just forgot to watch it). But we got the past season and have re-fallen in love with the show. At least I have- can’t speak for my dad ;) We are almost caught up now, which will be a shame because then we can’t watch two or three episodes all in a row! My mom and I think Doctor Avery is just dreamy. Don’t you think??? I mean the skin and the green eyes! :)
  • Song– I’m Sexy and I Know It. Haha totally kidding. My sister and I heard this song like 5 times today while in the car. It’s so annoying but funny at the same time. I-I-I-I work out!
  • Food– I’ve baked a bunch this week! I made blackberry cobbler and pumpkin cake. They were both super delicious (recipes to come!)
  • Activity– I went shopping last Saturday by myself and it was really fun! I got a lot of Christmas shopping done and bought a lot of cute Christmas things (some of which I’m planning on using as props for food photos!)

What was the best thing you did/watched/heard/ate this week???

Oh! Happy December! I have many treats, crafts, and all sorts of other fun Christmas things I’ll be sharing!

On to this delicious sandwich! Do you guys have any more leftovers? I know it’s quite a bit after Thanksgiving for me to be sharing this recipe, but if you have leftovers left, you should really make this sandwich!  I made this sandwich a couple days after Thanksgiving. I wasn’t going to blog about it because it’s just a sandwich. I mean how exciting can a sandwich be? Well I sat down with this sandwich, took a bite, and immediately got up to photograph it. This was a tasty sandwich! I used White Mountain bread (whatever that is) and spread on a thin layer of cranberry sauce. I added turkey slices, salt, cheddar cheese, and apple slices. It was the perfect combo between tart, savory, and sweet. I hope you have more leftovers so you can make this! Or keep it in mind for any Christmas leftovers.

Do you like the flower plate action going on here? Like I said, I wasn’t planning on taking photos of this sandwich.

Turkey Leftover Sandwich


Cranberry Sauce
Cheese (I used cheddar)
Thin apple slice


  1. Spread a thin layer of cranberry sauce on a piece of bread. Add pieces of turkey (I sprinkled salt on mine), cheese, and thin apple slices.
  2. Top the bread with another piece of bread and spread butter on the outer side of the top piece.
  3. Place your sandwich in a skillet, butter side down, and cook on medium-low heat. Spread butter on the piece that is now face-up.
  4. Flip when our sandwich with a spatula once the side is golden brown.
  5. Cook your sandwich until it’s browned and the cheese is all melt.


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Classic Baked Mac and Cheese

I love Pioneer Woman, nurse if you hadn’t noticed. A lot of her recipes, or variations of her recipes, are on this blog. I haven’t been able to see her Food Network show (my family doesn’t get the channel), but I got the chance to see it when I was babysitting one night. I thought they were great and enjoyed seeing her and her family.

Now it’s no secret that Pioneer Woman uses a ton of butter in all her recipes, but seeing her cook on TV made her realize how much. It’s insane! Making her recipes has changed what I consider a lot of butter. “This recipe only calls for 2 sticks of butter? It’s practically healthy!” But my grandparents have different views on what is a lot of butter. The other day I was spending the night at my grandparent’s house and was going to make Pioneer Woman pancakes in the morning (I didn’t have my camera with me! But I will make them again soon and share them with you. They were really good.) My grandpa was asking me what I needed him to get at the store, and I said I needed 4 tablespoons of butter. My grandpa said “Four tablespoons???” like that’s an insane amount of butter and the world was going to end, whereas my reaction was “Four tablespoons? Woah! That’s nothing! That has to be a Pioneer Woman record!” I made the pancakes in the morning and everyone ate them and loved them.

When my family was in Maine this summer, we were having chili and I was going to make cornbread. My grandparents were going to the store and my grandma asked me what I needed. I believe the recipe calls for 5 tablespoons of butter and my grandma said that that was just way too much butter. But I made the cornbread, and everyone said it was the best they’d ever had. (This would probably be funnier if you knew that my grandma eats butter plain. Like just butter. On nothing. Or she puts it on tortilla chips. Or anything that can hold butter).

For Thanksgiving, I made baked mac and cheese for a side dish. I’d never made the recipe before but it turned out pretty good! It’s a pretty basic mac and cheese, if I make it again I think I’d add some things like caramelized onions, spicy cheese, and bacon to it. Because those ingredients make everything better. But anyways, my grandpa loved the mac and cheese! He ate more of it than any of my other family members. My grandma loved it, too, and apparently it needed some more butter because she put some on the mac and cheese. Blah! And neither of them were bothered that it had a stick of butter in it. Ignorance is bliss :)

All this to say, I love my quirky wonderful grandparents. And I love baked mac and cheese. Make this for dinner one night soon, or for a side dish on Christmas!

Classic Baked Mac and Cheese


1 pound Cooked Pasta (whatever shape you like…shells, bowties, elbow)
½ cup Butter
½ cup Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoons Ground Black Pepper
3-¾ cups Milk
¼ teaspoons Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
2-½ cups Shredded Cheese Of Your Choice, divided (I used cheddar but anything would be great)
½ package (6.6 Oz. Package) Goldfish Crackers, Smashed


  1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
  2. Cook the pasta according to package instructions- fill a pot with water for your pasta. Once water boils, pour the pasta in the water and start making your sauce.
  3. Melt the butter over low heat until melted.
  4. Raise the heat to medium-low and add in the flour, salt and pepper, stirring constantly until smooth and bubbly.
  5. Remove from heat and add the milk. Return to the stove and heat to boiling, stirring constantly until the sauce is thick. This will take about 10-15 minutes.
  6. Add the nutmeg and Dijon mustard and stir.
  7. Once the sauce is thick and bubbly, add in 2 cups of cheese and stir. The sauce with now be very thick.
  8. Your pasta should be done before the sauce. Drain the pasta when it’s done, but don’t rinse it! Pour it back into the pot.
  9. Pour the cheese sauce into the pot and stir well.
  10. Pour the macaroni and cheese into an ungreased 9 x 13 glass dish and sprinkle some shredded cheese on the top.
  11. Pour half the package of Goldfish crackers into a ziplock bag. Use your hand or a rubber mallet to smash the crackers into crumbs. Sprinkle the mixture on top of your macaroni and cheese.
  12. Bake the macaroni and cheese for 20-25 minutes.


Source: Not a Leaf

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Hot Spinach Dip

Yesterday I had my first Black Friday shopping experience! But I only went to Joanns…and it was 2pm…so there was a serious lack of greedy, pharmacy angry mobs. Don’t worry, troche I shoved several women looking at fabrics just for the experience.

Just kidding.

I had a 50% off coupon for one item and used it on a donut pan. I’ve wanted one for a while but I didn’t feel like spending the money on one. Finally this coupon gave me the perfect excuse. I’m trying to figure out what donut to make first. I’m determined to use this pan often. I want to make sure I get my $6 worth!

After my excursion at Joanns, infertility my sister and I went to see Breaking Dawn (insert middle school girls screaming here).

Here’s what I thought:

  • Taylor Lautner’s shirt was off within the first 15 seconds.
  • I didn’t notice Kristen Stewart’s rapid blinking during this movie…a huge improvement!
  • Kristen Stewart had emotion in this movie! Woah!
  • Rob Pattinson’s hair is kinda ridiculous…very poofy.
  • Rob Pattinson looks sorta cute when he actually smiles. Who knew???
  • They followed the book closely.
  • Best scene= wedding speeches. Hahaha oh Emmett and Charlie…Remind me not to let anyone give toasts at my wedding.
  • The movie had a good combo of well-done scenes and totally awkward scenes…kept my sister and me interested and laughing.
  • Werewolf scenes=awkward.
  • Taylor Lautner trying to sound angry=hilarious.

I think that pretty much sums it up! All in all, it way surpassed by expectations and I’m glad I went to see it. Will I ever watch it again? Meh it’s a possibility :) I see a Twilight marathon in my future once part 2 of Breaking Dawn comes out.

With no transition whatsoever…here’s spinach dip. I already shared the Pumpkin Pie dip I made for one of our Thanksgiving appetizers so here is the second dip I made. I have been wanting to make this for a long time and am glad that I finally got the chance to make it. Everyone really loved it :)

It’s funny that I like spinach dip because I don’t like most of the ingredients that go into the dip. But I really like it and this recipe was great. For some extra flavor and a bit of spice, I added red pepper flakes to the original recipe. The addition was definitely a good choice.

Hot Spinach Dip

Adapted from Skinnytaste.


10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed

1/2 cup sour cream (reduced fat works fine)

5 tbsp mayo (light mayo works fine)

1/4 cup Parmesan  cheese

1/4 cup cheddar cheese

1/4 cup chopped scallions**

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 tbsp crushed red peppers


  1. Make sure your spinach is thawed (I ended up microwaving mine) and squeeze out all the excess water (I ended up using my hand to get all the water out).
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl.
  3. Place the mixture in an oven-safe dish (I used a glass pie pan) and bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until the cheese is all hot and melty.
  4. Serve right away with crackers, chips, veggies, or whatever you want :)

Note: The turkey was already in the oven and was baking at 325 degrees. So I squeezed the dip on the tray below the turkey and cooked at 325 degrees for 25 minutes which worked out fine!

**I went to Kroger late the night before Thanksgiving because I realized that I hadn’t put a lot of the ingredients of this recipe on my mom’s shopping list. I was wearing my polar bear Christmas pjs, teal boots, and a hoodie. Yep…I looked pretty cool. So I was searching for scallions and I couldn’t find them. I called my mom and asked if scallions are the same as green onions and she said no. So I asked this guy stocking shelves if they had scallions. He didn’t know so he went to get a produce guy. That produce guy was new there so he went to get another produce guy. And this guy said that scallions were the same thing as green onions. And he’s a chef so he should know. So I bought the green onions. And I looked it up when I got home. Scallions are actually green onions! What are not the same as green onions are shallots, which was causing the confusion. Then later that night, I had to go back to Kroger to pick up the ice cream I had forgotten. And then my mom realized she hadn’t purchased a pan for the turkey. I refused to go back out to Kroger so my dad went. So feel free to use scallions or green onions in this dip. But not shallots. Yep. I could have said all that in a couple words (scallions=green onions) but I thought you would enjoy reading this paragraph. :D **

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