Hot Dog Quesadillas

These hot dog quesadillas are not only a great way to use up any leftover hot dogs, but they are pretty darn tasty as well. Just cook your hot dogs the way you like them, grilled, pan fried, in the oven or in the air fryer. Hubby and I really prefer ours cooked in the air fryer. It really tastes the closest to grilling them in my opinion. If you haven’t tried them this way, check out my post on Air Fryer Hot Dogs. Any which way you decide to cook them, they will taste delicious smothered in cheese and wrapped in a warm tortilla.

Here’s what you need:

*Cooked hot dogs

*flour tortillas any size; I used the 8 inch size

*shredded cheese; I used a Monterrey Jack cheddar blend

*oil for the griddle or pan

Slice the hot dogs length wise then cut into pieces.

Place a flour tortilla on a flat surface and add a desired amount of shredded cheese to one side of the tortilla.

Add the sliced hot dogs over the cheese.

Then sprinkle on more cheese on top of the hot dogs. You can never have too much cheese in my opinion. Fold in half.

Heat a griddle or pan on medium heat. Brush the griddle or pan with a little oil. Place the quesadillas on the griddle.


Let them cook for about 3 minutes or until the cheese starts to melt and the underside turns golden.

Carefully flip them over and cook another 2 minutes.

If you are making several batches at a time, preheat the oven to 250° and place the quesadillas that are done in the oven to keep warm.

Transfer to a cutting board and cut in half.

Serve with sour cream, guacamole or salsa.

Enjoy!

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Baked Cheesy Chicken Empanadas

These little pockets of delight are filled with chicken cooked with adobo seasoning, chilies and garlic then smothered in Monterey Jack cheese. It’s all packed inside a homemade tortilla and baked until they are crispy on the outside, but soft and cheesy on the inside. Don’t fret if you don’t want to make your own tortillas. You can use pie dough or even pizza dough. I’ve used both of these several times and they all turn out great.

These half moon goodies can be filled with more than just chicken. You can fill them with beef, pork, vegetables or even eggs. These can be baked or fried, whichever you prefer. I like to brush them with oil and bake them instead of frying because it’s easier to just throw them into the oven and even easier to clean up, which I’m always for.

Most countries have their own versions of empanadas. In Colombia the dough is made with ground corn or with wheat or corn flour. Some are filled with mashed potatoes with ground meats, peanuts and cheese or even stews of meat or chicken with rice and vegetables. In Indonesia the thick crust is made from fried bread filled with spicy fish and chili, curry, potatoes or quail eggs. In some regions of Venezuela the fillings consist of shredded beef, chicken, cheese, black beans and fried plantains. So let your imagination and taste buds go a little wild and see what you might come up with, but first try these cheesy chicken empanadas. Not only do they make a great meal, but they can make a tasty snack as well.

Here’s what you need to make your own:

*Chicken thighs; you can use chicken breasts if you prefer

*1 1/2 TBS. adobo seasoning or more to taste; you can usually find this at the grocery store or at any Latin market or you can make your own: *2 tsp. salt *1 TBS. paprika *2 tsp. ground black pepper *1 1/2 tsp. onion powder *1 tsp. garlic powder *1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano *1 1/2 tsp. cumin *1 tsp. chili powder

*1 dried or fresh chili pepper any kind you prefer, seeds and stems removed; I used dried Mexican Puya chili.

*2 clove of garlic, smashed

*canola oil for frying + to brush the empanadas

*shredded Monterey Jack Cheese

*homemade tortilla dough or pie crust dough

Preheat the oven to 400°

If using dried chili peppers, place in a glass bowl. Cover the pepper with boiling water and let it sit about 20 minutes or until it is soft. Take it out of the water and coarsely chop; set aside.

Dry chicken with paper towels and sprinkle with the adobo seasoning.

Heat a skillet to medium high heat and add in a thin layer of oil, the chili peppers and the garlic. As the oil heats up, stir the chopped chilis and garlic around in the oil. This helps the oil to infuse with all of those great flavors. When the oil is hot add the chicken.

If the oil is getting too hot, turn the heat down to medium.

Cook 5 minutes and turn the chicken over and cook another 5 to 6 minutes or until the chicken is done. If the garlic starts to burn, remove it from the pan. Remove the chicken and drain on paper towels.

Let the chicken cool then chop into small pieces.

Make the tortillas and form into a 7″ thin circle.

Place some of the chicken and the shredded cheese onto one side of the dough.

Fold the dough over and using a fork, firmly press the edges together.

To seal the edges using a rope like method, I find it easier to fill the dough with the chicken and cheese while holding it in one hand.

Fold the dough over to form almost like a taco.

Starting a one end, pull some of the dough to overlap the edge and slightly pinch and twist to seal it closed. Repeat all the way around the opening until the edges are completely sealed.

Don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect. It took me several tries before I got the hang of it. Some of mine still look a bit “rustic”.

Fill the rest of the empanadas and seal.

Spray a baking sheet with no stick spray or use parchment paper and place the empanadas onto the baking sheet.

Lightly brush each empanada with a little of the canola oil.

As you can see, not all of mine turn out pretty, but that’s when we use the word rustic. It sounds so much better doesn’t it.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until the outside turns golden brown and the inside is hot.

Serve and Enjoy!

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Chicken Parmigiana

One of my favorite Italian dishes is chicken parmigiana. Ok, so it’s not true Italian, but rather American Italian, but it’s still delicious. The original dish originated in Southern Italy, but eggplant was used rather than chicken. It wasn’t until Italian immigrants here in the U.S. found that chicken was more affordable here than back in Italy so it was used in place of the eggplant. The dish became quite popular. It was later found in many restaurants and then in 1962 it was featured as a recipe in the New York Times. It was and still is one of the most popular American Italian dishes around.

It can seem a little intimidating at first to make, but it is really quite easy. I find that using a good quality jar of marinara sauce makes it even easier to prepare. You can use your favorite homemade marinara recipe if you prefer. I also like to use chicken thighs because it has more flavor and it can be a little cheaper than the traditional chicken breast that is usually used in this dish, but it is definitely not cheap on taste. I do still use chicken breasts at times so feel free to use either. Either way, the end result is still delicious. The chicken thighs are breaded and lightly fried until nice and crispy and topped with fresh basil leaves (I like to add this for a little more layered flavor). A tasty marinara sauce is gently spooned over the chicken like a hug followed by a nice, healthy mound of fontina (or mozzarella if you like) and parmesan cheese that’s melted on top. All of that tasty goodness is then nestled on a bed of spaghetti to complete a comforting, satisfying meal.

Here’s what you need:

*4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or boneless, skinless chicken breasts; pounded thin if desired.

*canola oil

*3/4 cups flour

*2 eggs, beaten

*1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs

*1 TBS Italian seasoning or more to taste + more for the chicken

*1 tsp salt + more for the chicken

*1/2 tsp. or less to taste cracked pepper +more for the chicken

*1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese for the bread coating; for this I like to use the kind that comes in shakable containers that are sand like in texture. It seems to blend and stick better to the chicken.

*fresh basil leaves

*shredded fontina cheese to taste

*shredded parmesan

*jar of good quality marinara sauce + more for the spaghetti if desired

*spaghetti

Preheat oven to 400°

Sprinkle the chicken on both sides with the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to taste.

In a shallow dish combine flour, salt and pepper.

Pour the whisked eggs into another shallow bowl.

Mix together the bread crumbs, Italian seasoning and the grated parmesan cheese (the one that is sand like in texture) and place into another shallow dish.

Press both sides of the chicken into the flour, then shake off any excess.

Coat the floured chicken on both sides in the egg.

Place the chicken into the bread crumb mixture pressing down slightly to make sure the breading adheres to the chicken.

Transfer to a plate or baking rack and repeat with the remaining chicken.

In a large skillet, add enough canola oil to cover the bottom in a thin layer and heat to medium high heat. Place chicken in the skillet making sure not to over crown the pan. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until the chicken is golden and crispy, turn the chicken over and cook for another 2 minutes.

If the chicken is not cooked through, that is ok because it will finish cooking in the oven.

Spray a baking dish or tray with no stick spray and place the chicken onto the dish.

Place basil leaves on top of each piece of chicken.

Spoon the marinara sauce over the chicken but not entirely covering the whole chicken.

This helps keep some of the edges crispy.

Pile on the fontina and freshly shredded parmesan cheese on top.

Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the chicken is cooked through.

If the chicken is not pounded thin and is a little on the thicket side, cook for about 20 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the spaghetti according to the package directions.

Heat up any additional marinara sauce as well.

Remove the chicken from the dish and serve with spaghetti.

Enjoy!

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Cheese Stuffed Burgers

Original Post Date: January 13, 2020

This is a throw back to one of my first few posts on what was then my shiny new blog. Whenever hubby and I crave a really cheesy, meaty burger this is still one of our favorites.

If you are craving a really cheesy, simple burger, then this is the one to go to. I made this a few weeks ago and it is rather messy, and definitely for a cheat day, but it is oh so good. I’m mean how can it not be….look at all that cheesy goodness. So here’s how you can make it.

Cheese Stuffed Burgers

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • onion powder to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbs Worcestershire or more
  • sliced cheddar cheese (or any other cheese you prefer
  • desired toppings and condiments
  • hamburger buns

In a large bowl, combine ground beef, onion powder, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Form into patties.

Place one or two slices of cheese on top of one of the patties. Place another patty on top of the cheese and seal the edges of beef around the cheese. This prevents the cheese of oozing out of the patties while cooking, all though, some of the cheese does seem to make an escape. Continue this with the rest of the patties.

In a large skillet,( I prefer to use a cast iron skillet, but that’s just my preference.) heat until pan is hot, add patties and cook about 5 to 10 minutes on each side. Take patties out of pan and cover loosely with foil and let them rest for about 5 minutes.

Place on desired hamburger buns and top with your favorite toppings.

Enjoy!

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Sheet Pan Ultimate Cheese Quesadillas

These quesadillas are stuffed with two different kinds of cheeses that will satisfy all of your cheese filled cravings. These are so fast and easy to make. They’re baked on a baking sheet so you can make more if you’re feeding a crowd, or if you’re in the middle of binge watching your favorite streaming shows and you’ve got the munchies.

Remember the Ultimate Grilled Cheese I posted not too long ago? It was such a hit and we had some of the cheese left that I had used in making the grilled cheese, that I wanted to try it in quesadillas. Let’s talk about the cheese for a minute. I discovered some really tasty cheese at Trader Joe’s (I am not in any way affiliated with them, I just love a lot of their stuff….maybe a bit too much). I used the sliced Colby Jack cheese

and sliced cheddar cheese.

These melt beautifully and taste soooo good.

You don’t have to use this brand, but I do suggest getting a nice quality, but doesn’t have to be expensive, cheese. I will warn you that the cheese, once melted, will most likely ooze out of the sides, but fear not, once cooled a bit, these are delectable. I brushed on a little melted butter on both sides of the tortilla, baked them on a baking sheet until they are a little crispy around the edges, but sinfully soft and cheesy in the middle. Let’s just say hubby and I were eating these way past dinner time because we couldn’t stop ourselves.

Here’s what you need to make your own:

*8 inch flour tortillas; or larger if you prefer

*1 TBS melted butter

*sliced Colby Jack cheese; I used Trader Joe’s brand

*sliced cheddar cheese; I used Trader Joe’s New Zealand organic

Preheat oven to 425°.

Brush one side of the tortillas with the melted butter than lay the tortillas butter side down onto the baking sheet in a single layer. Make sure you save enough tortillas to go over the top of the quesadillas.

Place one slice of the cheddar cheese over each tortilla.

Place a slice of the Colby Jack cheese over the cheddar.

Lay another tortilla over the cheese and brush with melted butter.

Bake for about 5 minutes or until the edges start to turn golden and the cheese is melted.

Cool slightly if the cheese has ran out of the sides and serve.

Enjoy!

Cheesy Egg In A Hole With Bacon

Egg in a hole. For some, including me, this brings back memories of childhood morning breakfasts. When I was a kid I would often spend some weekends at my grandmother house. She would always cook something mouthwatering for dinner and we’d have something tasty for dessert…something that she made more than likely, but in the morning my uncle Mac would make breakfast. It was never anything fancy, usually eggs, home fries…not the frozen kind (not that I don’t love the frozen kind.) and bacon. But sometimes he would make eggs in a hole. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a hole cut out of buttered bread then placed in a pan. You crack an egg right into the hole where it cooks until the white of the egg is set, but the yolk is still runny. I remember thinking how did that egg stay in the hole? I was young back then mind you. There was something satisfying about cutting into that toasted bread and watching all of that yolky goodness spread like sunshine over the plate.

My hubby recently asked what an egg in a hole was, so of course I made him one. I decided to revamp it a bit later on. This version was definitely a hit. The bread is nicely buttered with the egg all nestled in it’s hole seasoned with salt and pepper, then crumbled crisp bacon and cheese is layered around the egg. It’s baked in the oven until the egg is cooked, but the yolk still spreads like sunshine and the cheese is melted in a cheesy layer with the crispy bacon waiting to make the taste buds swoon. Don’t your taste buds swoon with delight over bacon and cheese too?

Here’s what you need:

* sliced bread, any kind you prefer

*butter

*eggs; 1 egg per toast

*salt and pepper to taste

*bacon cooked and crumbled; I used 2 pieces per toast

*shredded cheese, any kind that you prefer; I used a cheddar and Monterey blend

*parsley or chives for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 °

Lightly spray a baking sheet with no stick spray.

Butter the bread. With a small drinking glass or a biscuit cutter, make a hole in the center of each bread slice.

Don’t toss out the circle that is cut from the hole, it makes great mini toast.

Crack an egg into the hole and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the bacon crumbles around the bread.

Then sprinkle the cheese over the bacon, but not covering the egg completely.

The first time I tried this, I covered the bread and the egg in cheese. The cheese was melted and everything looked great, but underneath the egg was still raw. Yes, It was not a pleasant experience since I had taken a big bite out of it. The cheese did not allow the egg to cook, but yet if I had cooked it longer, the cheese would have been too hard to eat, so I found that leaving the middle of the egg uncovered it cooked beautifully.

Bake for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted, the whites of the egg is, set but the yolk is still runny.

If you prefer the yolk not so runny, cook a little longer.

Garnish with parsley or chives.

Serve while hot.

Enjoy!

Beef and Cheese Quesadillas

Don’t you just love warm, toasted quesadillas. They are so versatile. They can be made with beef, chicken, pork or even with some really good veggies. These beauties are stuffed with gooey cheese and seasoned beef so they are packed with flavor with each bite.

I like to make several at a time because they freeze so well and also, they make great leftovers the next day. Instead of heating a few of these at a time in a skillet, I started placing mine in the oven once they have been filled. It’s great for when you want to cook more than just a few. The key to making these in the oven instead of a skillet is to cool down the filling a bit before placing them into the tortillas.

Serve them with sour cream, Salsa or guacamole. You can even pair them with rice or refried beans to make a satisfying meal.

Here’s what you need:

For The Seasoned Beef:

*1 LB. ground beef

*1 onion, chopped

*2 garlic cloves, minced

*2 TBS. tomato paste

*1/4 cup water

*1/2 TBS. chili powder or more to taste

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

*2 tsp. coriander, or more to taste

*1 tsp. dried oregano, or more to taste

*cilantro, chopped

*salt and pepper to taste

*a splash of lime juice.

*flour tortillas; I like using a bigger size rather than the standard 8 inch size but it’s really your preference.

*shredded cheese: I used Monterey and Colby Jack blend

Preheat oven to 400°.

Heat a large skillet to medium high heat. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking it up as you go; drain if need then add back to the skillet. Add in the onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions begin to get tender.

Add the tomato paste, water and all of the spices for the beef except for the lime juice.

stir to combine and simmer for 5 minutes.

squeeze in the lime juice, stir and continue to cook for 1 more minute.

Take the skillet off of the heat and let cool just until warm.

Spray a baking sheet with no stick spray.

Once the beef mixture has cooled down, place a tortilla on a flat surface and sprinkle with cheese.

Spoon some of the beef mixture over the cheese.

Then add more cheese on top of the beef mixture.

Fold in half and place on to the baking sheet; repeat with the remaining tortillas.

Bake for about 6 to 8 minutes, then turn them over and bake for another 5 to 6 minutes or until they start to turn a little brown and are toasted.

Serve while warm.

To freeze:

Place on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze for about 1 to 2 hours or until they start to become firm. I like to wrap each one in waxed paper then place in a zip top freezer bag. These can be stored up to 2 months.

To reheat place frozen quesadillas in a skillet and heat on medium heat until warmed through. Turn them over during the reheating time. They can also be placed frozen in a 400° until warm.

Enjoy!

Open Faced Cheesy Pepperoni English Muffins Topped with A Fried Egg and Marinara Sauce


This is another one of my hubby’s creations. It turned out really good, but to be honest, we really didn’t
know what to call this one. It’s not really a pizza…ok maybe a reverse pizza? This is a really simple and quick lunch or dinner.. or even breakfast if you desire. It’s layered with cheese, pepperoni, a fried egg then topped with marinara sauce. This one does require a knife and fork, but it’s worth it when you first cut into the gorgeous egg and the yolk spills all of that tasty goodness onto the muffin. Heaven.

Here’s what you need to make your own:

*English muffins

*shredded cheese; I used a cheddar and Colby Jack blend

*pepperoni

*eggs, one per each half muffin

*2 tsp. canola oil

*salt and pepper to taste

*marinara sauce; jarred or homemade

Preheat oven to 400°

In a small sauce pan, heat up the marinara sauce.

Separate the muffins and place on a baking sheet.

Sprinkle the cheese over the English muffins.

Layer the pepperoni over the cheese.

Place in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and the muffins are lightly toasted around the edges; about 3 to 5 minutes.

While the English muffins are in the oven heat a non stick pan on medium high heat and add the oil. When the pan is hot, crack the eggs into the pan.

Cook until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny; season with salt and pepper.

Take the English muffins off of the baking sheet and place on serving plates. Carefully place an egg onto each half muffin over the pepperoni.

Top with the marinara sauce.

Enjoy!

Mashed Potato Muffins

Yes folks we are once again on the topic of one of my favorite comfort foods….mashed potatoes. I always seem to make way too many, but it’s better to have more than enough than not enough right? These little gems are great for using up any leftover mashed potatoes that you have. It turns something that is already delicious….like my Utterly Delicious Mashed Potatoes into something swoon worthy. Seriously, I had to step away from these because I could not stop eating them. Not only does it have your awesome mashed potatoes, but it is mixed with some smoky bacon, cheddar and Colby Jack cheese and chives. These are great as a side or even as a meal all by it’s self.

Here’s what you need:

*cold mashed potatoes; I used my Utterly Delicious Mashed Potatoes but you can use your own. I don’t really recommend using instant because it does not seem to hold up as well.

*1 beaten egg; if you have more than 2 cups of potatoes use 2 eggs.

*1 cup shredded cheese per 2 cups of mashed potatoes (if you have 3 cups mashed potatoes use 2 cup etc.) + more for the top; I used cheddar and Colby Jack but you can use any kind that you prefer

* 5 slices of bacon cooked and crumbles; if you have more than 2 cups of potatoes you may want to use more

*1 1/2 Tbsp. or more dried chives or 2 Tbsp. fresh chives

*salt and pepper to taste if needed

Preheat oven to 400°

Place cold mashed potatoes in a bowl and add in rest of the ingredients. Make sure you taste the potatoes before adding in the beaten egg to see if you will need to add any salt or pepper.

Mix all of the ingredients together until well incorporated.

Spray a muffin tin with no stick spray.

Fill the muffin tins to the top with the mashed potato mixture.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges are golden.

Sprinkle the tops with more of the cheese.

Continue baking for another 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Serve with butter or sour cream.

Enjoy!

Layered Cheesy Refried Black Bean Dip

This easy Layered Cheesy Refried Black Bean Dip is loaded with gooey melted cheese, tasty refried black beans and a nice spicy kick from your favorite salsa. This dish is great to take on potlucks or for noshing in front of the tv on game day. If you’re like me, I’m not in it for the game, but for the goodies that go along with it. This is super easy to put together. You can use your favorite store bought brands, pop it in the oven and in 30 minutes, grab a bag of tortilla chips and let the snacking begin.

You can even make this up the day before so you wont miss a minute of game play or spending time with friends and family.

Here’s what you need:

*8 oz cream cheese, softened

*1 can refried black beans

*1 jar of salsa mild, medium or hot

*1 1/2 to 2 cups of shredded cheese; I used cheddar and Colby Jack

*tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 375°.

In an 8 inch backing dish, spread the cream cheese on the bottom in an even layer.

Spread the refried beans over the top of the cream cheese.

Then pour the salsa in an even layer over the refried beans.

And last but not least, sprinkle the cheese over the salsa.

Spray no stick spray on a piece of foil so the cheese will not stick and cover the baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes more.

Serve with tortilla chips while the dip is hot.