Meatball Marinara Quesadillas

I made this using some leftover Slow Cooker Meatballs with Marinara Sauce that I had. You can use just the meatballs if you prefer, but the marinara sauce really adds a lot of flavor to these quesadillas. They can get a little messy if some of the sauce oozes out, but good things are usually a little messy right? Most quesadillas are cooked on a griddle or in a pan, but I baked these bad boys in the oven. You can get more made by using a baking sheet, rather than only doing a few at a time in a pan.

Here’s what you need:

*8 inch four tortillas, or larger

*Slow Cooker Meatballs with Marinara Sauce; cut the meatballs in half or even smaller if your meatballs are pretty big. You want them to fit nicely in the tortillas. *Note: If you are using leftover meatballs and marinara sauce, warm them up slightly in the microwave. This helps them warm up faster in the quesadilla rather than if they were cold.

*shredded cheese; I used a Colby Monterrey Jack blend

*non stick spray

Preheat oven to 400°

Spray a large baking sheet with no stick spray. Lay a flour tortilla on the baking sheet. Place a few meatballs and some of the marinara sauce on the tortilla close to the center.

Sprinkle on the cheese over the meatballs.

Fold over the side to enclose the tortilla, pressing down gently to help hold the sides together. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas.

Bake for 5 minutes. Turn each tortilla over and continue to bake 3 to 4 minutes more or until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are a light golden brown.

Serve and enjoy!


English Muffin Pepperoni Pizzas

These are great when you are trying to use up those last few English muffins in the pack. My hubby actually came up with this a while back. These are pepperoni, but some times I just use cheese. You can add any topping you like, the possibilities are endless.

I have to confess that I almost deleted this post because the picture didn’t turn out quite the way I wanted, not to mention these do not look all gooey with cheese. I like these pretty crispy, but it still is very cheesy. These are really quite tasty. You can add as much cheese as you desire. I thought these were just too good not to share.

Here’s what you need:

*English muffins

*pizza sauce

*shredded cheese; I used a combination of cheddar and mozzarella

*sliced pepperoni

Preheat oven to 425°.

Lay English muffins halves cut side up on a baking sheet.

Spread desired amount of pizza sauce on to each muffin.

I found this pizza sauce by Pomi.

I have used their tomato products that come in cartons, but this was the first time I had seen this. It’s so good. It’s a little chunkier than a traditional pizza sauce.

It’s mildly seasoned so it’s not over powering. It works really well with these kind of pizzas.

Next add desired amount of cheese on top of the sauce.

Then add the pepperoni.

Bake about 8 minutes or until edges are crispy and cheese is melted. I like mine really crispy so I sometimes leave mine in a few minutes more.

Remove from oven and serve.

Slow Cooker Meatballs with Marinara Sauce

Meatballs. I think everyone who likes these round, flavorful pieces of meat has their own recipe….. kind of like a good spaghetti sauce. It might be the quick and easy kind, or the kind like grandma used to make simmering away in a special sauce for hours. It took me a while to get mine just the way I wanted them. This is my basic recipe. I use these same meatballs with my spaghetti sauce, for meatball sliders and meatball subs. These I made for the slow cooker with a marinara sauce. These turn out tender and so flavorful. I like to put them under the broiler for a few minutes before adding them in the slow cooker. This seems to help them hold their shape better.

Here’s what you need.

*1 ib ground beef

*1/2 small onion, finely chopped

*2 garlic cloves, minced

*(optional)1 TBS Penzey’s Beef Roast Seasoning

This is my go to spice mix for meatballs, meat loafs, beef tips and so much more. You do not have to use this, instead 1/2 tsp. thyme, 1 tsp. sweet paprika and 1/2 tsp. marjoram

*1 tsp. dried parsley

*1/2 tsp. dried sage

*1/2 tsp. salt, or more to taste

*1.2 tsp cracked pepper, or more to taste

*1/4 C. Parmesan cheese; finely grated + more for garnish

*1/3 C. bread crumbs

*1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

*1 egg

*1 jar marinara sauce

Add all of the ingredients, except for marinara sauce, in a large bowl.

Lightly mix until combined.

But don’t over mix or the meatballs will become tough.

Form into balls.

You can make them any size you want, just keep them all them the same size so they will all cook evenly. If i’m making these for spaghetti, I tend to make them a little bigger than I would when I’m using these for subs or sliders.

Preheat the broiler.

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with no stick spray. This makes clean up a little easier. Place the meat balls on to the baking sheet.

Broil for about 8 minutes, turn them over and broil for about another 8 minutes.

Place the meatballs into the slow cooker.

Pour the marinara sauce over the meatballs.

Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.

Sprinkle a little Parmesan over the top before serving.

Brick Street Cafe

There’s a little cafe near down town where the sweet tea flows freely and southern hospitality comes naturally. This has been one of my favorite places to go for lunch on a Saturday for years. This is one of those places where you meet up with your friends for a girls lunch out or take your sweetie to grab a leisurely bite to eat.

The first thing you notice when you walk thru the big double doors, is all the colors.

Each room has a different color and different design.

Everything feels fun and inviting. Almost like you’ve stepped into someone’s home. Whenever I stop by, I’m always greeted by Miss Sue calling out “My friend!” and embracing me in a warm hug.

Sarah and Jim might own the cafe, but Miss Sue is really the legend there, as they say, she’s the hostess with the mostest. She might be in her 80’s (and she’s not ashamed to tell you that either), but she keeps everything in line and stops to give hugs and greetings along the way. Not only is her personality and caring self famous, but so is her chicken salad sandwich….Miss Sue’s Chicken Salad Sandwich to be exact. It’s a delicious combination of chicken salad with walnuts, cheddar cheese and onions on honey wheat bread.

There are many variety’s of sandwiches to choose from. My favorite is the crab cake sandwich.

I have a weakness for crab cakes and they have one of the best…..a nice sized crab cake topped with their remoulade sauce on a sandwich bun.

If you are a lover of grilled cheese, there is an awesome Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich….melted cheddar and mozzarella cheeses with bacon crumbles and green onions. I like to pair this with a nice tomato dill soup.

There is everything from shrimp and grits, salads, fruit and brie plates and even a “love muffin”….. a muffin stuffed with cream cheese and topped with raspberry jam. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it all.

But you can’t talk about the food and not talk about the cakes. Every afternoon at 12:07……yes 12:07… the music begins to play and out come the chefs, waiters and staff each carrying a variety of to die for cakes. They carry their bounty around the tables so you can get a great view of all their sinfully, delicious treats. There is the chocolate cake, the peanut butter cake and peanut butter pie, the paddy cake, the ever famous sweet potato pie.

Sadly, I don’t like sweet potato, but I can assure you, if you ask anyone else they will say it’s the best. Those are just a few. My favorite is the coconut cake.

The light, fluffy layers surrounded by decadent vanilla cream and coconut flakes. *sigh*. It’s heaven on a plate.

I’m counting down the days until I can go back there again. For now, like so many other places around town, I can get a meal to go or a cake to order, but there is just something about stepping thru those big double doors, seeing everyone relaxing and having a great time, and hearing the oooooo’s and awwwww’s from the bridal or baby showers at the tables nearby. So I will continue to wait patiently until I can sip on that sweet tea and dig into that coconut cake once again.

Corn Salad

This might look like an ordinary corn dish, but oh no…..this stuff is addictive.I can not take credit, my aunt Cathy made this and brought it to a lunch me and some of my family had last Saturday (yes there was social distancing and there were only 5 of us…. no men were allowed just us girls). I have to admit, when she mentioned that she brought corn salad to go along with our very tasty chicken salad ( yes, it was a salad kind of luncheon, and not the leafy kind. ) I do like corn so I knew this should be good. But it’s just corn right? wrong! This also has chili cheese Fritos. Yes, Fritos. Don’t scroll away….seriously, it’s that good. I could have just plopped down, spoon in hand and eaten the whole bowl of this stuff. The corn chips add a nice crunch and saltiness, where as the mayo adds just a touch of creaminess to it and a little bite from the onion….. so good.

This can be made a head of time, but do not add the Fritos until it is time to serve or it can become soggy.

Here’s what you need:

*2 cans whole kernel corn ( 1 can regular corn and 1 can sweet corn)

*2 C. grated Cheddar cheese

*1 C. mayonnaise

*1 C. green bell pepper, chopped

*1/2 C. red onion, finely chopped

*1 (10.5 ounce) nag of coarsely crushed Chili-Cheese corn chips.

Mix first 5 ingredients and chill. Stir in corn chips just before serving.

Cheesy Beef and Shells

Does anyone remember the old commercials for Hamburger Helper with the Helping Hand? I’m still not sure if I find that it was cute or creepy…. the wavy hand that is, not the dinner. Mom made hamburger helper every once in a while, but she mainly made up her own pasta meals. I’ve made them a few times for hubby and me, they are pretty good, but I kind of find them lacking a little. So I came up with my own version of sorts. It’s pasta shells nestled in a cheesy, beef sauce that tastes like it had been simmering on the stove for hours. It’s simple to make, especially if you use my Shortcut Meat Sauce and there is no cooking the shells ahead of time….it cooks as it simmers in the sauce.

Here’s what you need:

*4 C. meat sauce; I used my Shortcut Meat Sauce

*a splash of Worcestershire sauce

*1/2 C. beef broth

*2 C. dried medium pasta shells

*1 1/2 C. shredded cheese; divided

*1/2 C. milk or heavy cream

Heat a large pan to medium high heat and add the meat sauce, stirring occasionally until the sauce starts to gently bubble.

Turn the heat to medium and stir in the Worcestershire sauce.

Next, add in the shells and the beef broth.

Stir until all of the shells are covered in the sauce.

Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the shells are tender; stir occasionally.

Take off of the heat and stir in the milk and 1 cup of the cheese. Top with the remaining 1/2 Cup of cheese right before serving.

Shortcut Meat Sauce

I’m a big fan of making my own homemade meat sauce, but there are times when I want to put a dish together quickly or I’m just too tired to do all of the work it takes to make a great sauce. This is my go to shortcut sauce. I have used it in many dishes that require a meat sauce. With some added love and ingredients, no one will know it came from a jar…… just make sure you get rid of the evidence before anyone enters the kitchen. Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me.

Here’s what you need:

*1 LB ground beef

*2 jars or your favorite spaghetti sauce

*1 Tbs olive oil

*1 small onion, diced

*2 cloves of garlic, minced

*2 tsp. onion powder, or more to taste

*2 tsp. garlic powder, or more to taste

*2 tsp. dried oregano, or more to taste

*2 tsp. dried basil, or more to taste

*2 tsp. sweet paprika, or more to taste

*1 bay leaf

*1 tsp. chili powder, or more to taste; yes you read right, chili powder in a small amount doesn’t really add the heat, but it adds another depth of flavor.

*salt, to taste

Heat a large sauce pan to medium high heat. When the pan becomes hot add olive oil and onion and cook about 2 minutes stirring frequently. Add in the garlic and saute until onions are softened, but do not let the garlic burn. Add the ground beef, and break into large pieces while mixing it with the onion and the garlic; let it brown for several minutes. As the beef continues to brown, break it up into even smaller pieces. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, but not too often so all of the meat can brown; drain if needed and add back to the pan. Turn the heat down to medium and add in the spices except for the bay leaf, cook for about 1 minute, stirring to mix spices into the beef. Carefully add both jars of sauce; stir to mix well and add in the bay leaf. Cover and simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaf. Use right away or refrigerate for 3 to 4 days. This also freezes nicely in an airtight container or zip top bag for 4 to 6 months.


Corn with Parmesan and Smoked Paprika

Corn makes a great side dish doesn’t it. It can go with so many things. Sometimes, it can be kinda bland or a little tiresome with just the usual butter. This is kind of a kicked up version…..a little take on Mexican street corn. To make things even easier, I used frozen corn, but you can certainly use fresh grilled corn cut off of the cob.

Here’s what you need:

*1 small bag of frozen corn, thawed

*2 TBS butter; divided

*1 tsp. smoked paprika

*2 TBS mayonnaise

*2 TBS Parmesan cheese; finely grated

*juice of 1/2 lime or more to taste

*1/4 C. fresh cilantro, chopped + more for garnish

Set out 1 TBS of the butter at room temperature to soften; about 30 minutes. Mix the smoked paprika with the butter; set aside.

I know you are probably thinking, that this does not look very appealing. You might even be thinking that this looks like way too much paprika. I even hesitated when I started mixing the paprika to the butter, but I can assure you, it’s all worth it.

Heat a medium size pan or cast iron pot ( I used a cast iron pot); add remaining TBS of butter to the pot to melt.

When the butter starts to foam, pour in the corn.

Cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Take off of the heat.

Add the butter paprika mixture….

and then the remaining ingredients.

Stir to blend it all together. Garnish with more cilantro and serve.