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!

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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.

Dad’s Cheese Potatoes

These little slices of cheesy potatoes bring back so many memories for me. My dad was always trying to invent new recipes by putting together what he knew best. They were usually something simple and didn’t take much time, but they would come out really tasty. These potatoes was something he came up with as a side dish when he grilled bbq chicken or sometimes even steaks. Whenever I make these, I can see my dad in the kitchen slicing potatoes and putting these together while running back and forth outside to man the grill.

I knew his recipe by heart because he’d make them so many times and I would help him slice the potatoes or shred the cheese. Recently I was going thru my old recipe box. It contains so many recipes that my mom, dad and me had kept over the years. Most were just written down on those little recipe index cards that you would find many moons ago. I came across the one that my dad jotted down for these potatoes.

You know that feeling you get when you see something written by someone that you have lost a while ago. It’s that warm sensation….like a hug from that person, but yet you still feel the tug of the heart strings because after all the years that pass, you still miss them like it was yesterday. But it still makes you smile because it brings back so many wonderful memories. We do share memories through food so I wanted to share this as well. Of course over the years I have tweaked it a bit. I know if dad were here, he would probably be tweaking them again with me.

These little round, slices of potatoes are covered in cheese and topped with bacon. They make a great side dish for BBQ chicken, steak, roasted chicken or just about anything else that you might crave something simple, but packs great flavor.

Here’s what you need:

*Potatoes cut into 1/2 inch rounds; these can be peeled or unpeeled, I leave the skin on; 1 large potato usually makes about 2 servings

*1 TBS butter melted

*1 TBS canola oil

*1 tsp. onion powder or more to taste

*1 tsp. garlic powder or more to taste

*1 tsp. salt

*1/4 tsp. sweet paprika or more to taste

*cracked pepper to taste

*bacon; I use 2 strips of bacon per potato

*shredded cheese; I used sharp cheddar

Preheat oven to 400° (I know my dad’s original recipe card shows 375° but I have found that 400° works best)

In a cast iron pan, cook bacon until crisp; crumble and set aside. Wipe out the excess bacon fat but leave a small amount in the pan.

As you can see I did not take any pictures of the bacon, I think I was just so hungry and enthralled by the smell that I forgot. So just picture the bacon cooking here —–>

While the bacon is cooking, mix together the onion powder, garlic powder, salt, paprika and pepper; set aside.

Pour in the canola oil and brush the oil all over the bottom of the pan.

Place the sliced potatoes in the pan leaving a small space between each slice if possible. This will make getting the potatoes out of the pan easier.

Brush the tops of the potato slices with the melted butter.

Sprinkle the seasoning mixture over the potatoes.

Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Check during cooking time to see if the potatoes appear to be drying out too much or the season mixture is getting too done, if so brush with a little more butter and continue cooking.

Sprinkle the shredded cheese generously over the potatoes and top with the crumbled bacon.

Continue cooking a few minutes more until cheese is melted.

Serve as a side or you can even do what I’ve been known to do a few times, start eating them right out of the pan. I know, I have no self control at times but it’s worth every cheesy bite.

*These can also be cooked on a baking sheet. Cook the bacon; set aside. Spray a baking sheet with no stick spray or brush with canola oil. Place the potatoes on the baking sheet and follow the directions above. Bake for 20 minutes are until tender.

Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Cheesy Ravioli

This is one of those meals that is pretty quick to put together and the slow cooker does most of the work. The most work to this is cooking the ground beef. The sauce made from your favorite jarred marinara sauce and tomatoes, simmers long and slow for that homemade taste….even though it did come from a jar, but no one has to know right? At the end of the cooking time all you have to do is toss in a package of thawed ravioli, some cheese and you have a delicious, cheesy dinner. This is defiantly one of those meals for when you want comfort food at the end of a long day.

Here’s what you need:

* 1 pkg frozen ravioli, thawed or fresh ravioli

*1 to 1 1/2 lb ground beef

*2tsp. onion powder

*2 tsp garlic powder

*1 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds

*1 1/2 tsp. dried sage

*2 tsp. smoked paprika

*1/2 to 1 tsp. red pepper flakes

*1 tsp salt or more to taste

*2 24oz jars of marinara sauce (you can use homemade but I like using a premade kind because it makes this quick and easy)

*1 14.5 oz can petite (or regular diced) tomatoes; undrained

*2 cups shredded cheese; I used a combination of cheddar and Colby Jack

*Parsley for garnish (optional)

Heat a large skillet to medium high heat. Add the ground beef to the skillet and brown.

Drain if needed. Turn the heat down to medium.

To the beef add the onion powder, garlic powder, fennel seeds, sage, paprika, red pepper flakes and the salt.

Stir to combine. Cook for about 1 minutes stirring frequently so the spices will not burn.

Place the beef mixture into the slow cooker.

Pour in the marinara sauce and the diced tomatoes; stir to combine the beef, marinara sauce and the tomatoes.

Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

Uncover and add in the ravioli.

I thaw out the bag of frozen ravioli in the refrigerator a day or two ahead of time.

Gently stir the ravioli in the meat sauce.

Stir in 1 cup of the shredded cheese being careful not to break apart the ravioli. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese over the top.

Cover and continue to cook on low for 15 to 20 minutes or until the ravioli are tender.

Serve and garnish with parsley.

Enjoy!

Cheesy Breakfast Skillet with Steak, Scrambled Eggs and Potatoes

This breakfast skillet came about from leftovers. Yes, I had leftover steak. Those that know me might find that impossible seeing that I’m a woman who loves her steak, but I cooked ribeyes for dinner and they were huge. So the next morning needless to say, I was still craving the last of that delicious steak along with some roasted potatoes that we had on the side.

This breakfast skillet is easy to make and you can make as many servings as you want. Or you can keep it all to yourself, I won’t tell. If you don’t have leftover steak or potatoes that’s ok, you can cook them separately and then follow the rest of the recipe. It may take a little more time, but it will be worth the wait. How can you resist tender steak with crispy potatoes all folded into fluffy eggs with a touch of hot sauce and gooey cheese all nestled together to make a delicious, satisfying breakfast.

Here’s what you need:

This serves 2 but you can double it to serve more.

*2 tsp canola oil

*any cut of steak cooked the way you like it; I used ribeye. I used some leftovers that I had, but 1 steak would make 2 to 3 servings depending on the size of the steak.

*Roasted potatoes; I used leftovers but you can use frozen diced potatoes. If using diced frozen potatoes cook according to package directions

*4 eggs; I used 2 eggs per person.

*hot sauce to taste

*salt and cracked pepper to taste

*1/3 cup of shredded cheese or more to taste; I used a combination of cheddar and Colby Jack

*fresh or dried parsley for garnish (optional)

Cut steak in to pieces; set aside

Heat a medium skillet to medium high heat and add the canola oil. Add in the potatoes and cook for about 2 minutes stirring frequently. If you are using frozen potatoes, cook according to package directions.

Add in the steak.

Continue cooking for another minute or until the steak is warm. Do not cook too long or the steak will over cook.

Turn the heat down to medium. In a bowl whisk together the eggs.

Pour the eggs into the pan over the steak and potatoes.

With a spatula, start folding the eggs on and around the steak and potatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

When the eggs begin to set, sprinkle on the cheese and the hot sauce.

Keep stirring the egg mixture until the eggs are no longer runny and are set, but still soft.

Place on to plates and sprinkle on the parsley and serve.

Taco Casserole

Want something a little different for taco Tuesday? This takes some of your favorite taco fillings and brings them together in a delicious casserole. It’s layered with black refried beans, tasty seasoned beef, salsa, cheese, crunchy tortilla chips and more cheese. If you have never tried black refried beans, you really should. It’s a nice change from regular refried beans.

My hubby actually loved the idea of a taco casserole so much, that he helped decide what should go in it to make this a really satisfying dinner. You can make this as mild or as spicy as you like. You can add some of your favorite taco toppings like sour cream or guacamole. This is even great to make ahead of time, just save adding the tortilla chips until the day you want to cook it.

Of course it doesn’t have to be Tuesday to enjoy this taco casserole. This might become a favorite during any night of the week. I know it has at our house.

Here’s what you need:

*1 lb ground beef

*1/2 bag tortilla chips

*1 can black refried beans

* 1 jar of salsa mild, medium or hot; I used medium

*2 cups of shredded cheese; I used cheddar and Monterey Jack

*fresh of dried cilantro for garnish (optional)

Taco seasoning ( you can add the premixed taco seasoning if you prefer)

*1 tsp. salt or more to taste

*2 tsp. chili powder

*1 tsp. garlic powder

*1 tsp. onion powder

*1 tsp. cumin

*1 tsp. coriander

*1 tsp. paprika

*1 tsp. oregano

Preheat oven to 350°

Pour tortilla chips in a zip top bag and using your hands, roughly crush them.

This makes a great stress reliever. Just try not to pulverize them if you’ve had a trying day. My first attempt turned to dust. I think hubby was a little afraid to come into the kitchen during this moment. Set aside

In a large pan over medium high heat, add ground beef and cook until no longer pink; drain if needed.

Turn the heat down to medium and add in the taco seasoning.

Stir to combine. Cook for about 2 minutes stirring frequently. If the seasonings start to turn dark, turn the heat down to low.

Spray a 9×13 casserole dish with no stick spray. Spread the black refried beans on to the bottom of the dish.

Spoon the beef mixture over the refried beans in an even layer.

Pour the salsa over the beef mixture.

Sprinkle 1 cup of the cheese over the salsa.

Add the crushed tortilla chips over the cheese.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the tortilla chips.

Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.

Enjoy!

*Note* If you like the cheese to taste a little like toasted cheese, then add it on at the beginning as noted. If you would prefer the cheese just melted, then add the cheese on top at the last 5 minutes of cooking.

To reheat any leftovers, I recommend rewarming it in the oven or toaster oven so the tortilla chips stay crispy. I tried reheating my first portion in the microwave and the tortilla chips became soggy. It was still really tasty, but it had lost that nice crunch.

Skillet Potato and Bacon Breakfast Scramble

I love breakfast. Pancakes are great, but give me some eggs, fried potatoes and bacon….throw in a biscuit and I’m in heaven. This breakfast scramble meets all of those requirements and more. It has golden diced potatoes, crispy bacon, chives and some tasty Gruyere cheese all tossed together with some fluffy scrambled eggs. Not only does this make a hearty breakfast, but it’s easy as well and all done in one skillet.

Here’s what you need:

This is for one serving, but you can easily double it for more.

*2 eggs

*3/4 cups frozen diced potatoes; I did used these still frozen

*2TBS or more of canola oil

*2 slices of bacon

*salt and pepper to taste

*1/3 cup shredded Gruyere cheese or any other cheese you prefer

*2 tsp. dried chives or 1 TBS fresh chopped chives, or more to taste

Heat a medium to large skillet to medium high heat; add bacon and cook until crispy. Remove the bacon and crumble into pieces and set aside. Drain some of the bacon drippings, but leave about 1 TBS in the pan.

Pour in the canola oil and add the frozen diced potatoes to the skillet. Cook until golden brown, stirring occasionally.

While potatoes are cooking, whisk eggs in a small bowl.

add some cracked pepper to the eggs; set aside.

Turn the skillet down to medium heat and add the bacon.

Slowly pour in the eggs.

Add salt and pepper to taste, then add in the cheese and the chives.

With a spatula, start mixing the eggs with the potato and bacon until it’s all incorporated but the eggs are still soft.

Place on plates and serve.

Creamy Cheesy Beef Skillet Pasta

This dish is total comfort food. I made this after a really long, stressful day at work and it is definitely a winner. The beefy tomato sauce and pasta make this a really hearty meal, while cream cheese gives it a nice creamy flavor. Then there is the cheese…. I mean, you can never have too much cheese. I had some nice Gruyere and aged cheddar that I grated and threw in some Monterrey jack, it really made this cheese loving girl happy. What’s even better is that it’s all cooked in one pan….yes even the pasta. Can I talk about the pasta for a minute? I found this Conchiglie pasta at one of my Fresh Market stores.

I had never even heard if this one before, but I thought it would hold up great in a beefy tomato sauce. They look like a cross between shells and elbow pasta.

What’s even better, is that all of that beefy sauce and cheese fill up the center of the pasta, then when you bite into it….it is heaven. This dish is definitely for a cheat day, but it’s worth it.

Here’s what you need:

*1 LB ground beef

*1 small onion, chopped

*3 garlic cloves, minced

*olive oil

*14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes, undrained

*28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes

*2 tsp. dried Basil, or more to taste

*2 tsp. dried oregano, or more to taste

*2 tsp. dried marjoram, or more to taste

*1 tsp. onion powder, or more to taste

*1 tsp. garlic powder, or more to taste

*1 tsp. chili powder, or more to taste

*1 tsp salt, or more to taste

*2/3 cup of chicken stock

*2 1/2 cups Conchiglie pasta or elbow pasta, uncooked

*4 oz. cream cheese

*2/3 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

*1/2 cup shredded aged Cheddar cheese

*1/2 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

Heat a large deep skillet on medium high heat, add a few tablespoons of olive oil. When the pan starts getting hot, add the onions and the garlic.

Sauté until the onions just start to get tender, about 2 minutes. If the onions and garlic start to turn brown, reduce the heat to medium. Add the ground beef to the pan and turn the heat back up to medium high heat if you had to lower it.

Break up the beef while stirring the onions and garlic to combine. Cook until the beef is brown, about 5 to 8 minutes stirring frequently; drain if needed.

Add in the diced and crushed tomatoes.

Stir to combine the tomatoes with the onion beef mixture. Next, stir in all of the spices and herbs.

Lower the heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes; taste and add any more herbs or spices.

Dump in the pasta and the chicken stock.

Stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the pasta is al dente.

Cut the cream cheese into cubes.

Add the cream cheese to the beef and pasta mixture.

Gently stir until the cream cheese starts to melt, then add in the shredded cheeses.

Stir carefully to melt and combine the cheese with the beef pasta mixture. Do not over mix or the pasta will start to break apart.

When the cheese is melted and heated thru, serve with some nice crusty bread.