Category Archives: Budget friendly dishes

Meat Pies (Leftover Delights)

Meat Pies

Meat Pies

Ever wonder what to do with your roast and potato leftovers from a crockpot meal? Well wonder no more. This is one item I like to make out of those leftovers. Yum, Yum!

Ingredients:   yields 3 to 4 servings

  • 9-inch double pie crust (pre-made from the store is easiest for me)
  • leftover beef roast and potatoes
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • salt and pepper, for seasoning
  • a couple shakes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400, use a glass baking dish or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Shred the leftover roast, dice or smash the leftover potatoes. Combine the meat, potatoes, onion, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Heap some of the mixture over half of one pie crust. Brush the beaten egg along the edges then flip the other half of the crust over the meat mixture and press the edges together to seal. I like to give the edges a little twist, but you can also press a fork along the edges to seal them tightly. Repeat this process with the remaining meat mixture and pie crust. Place the pies on your baking sheet. Make slits along the top crust to vent steam while it’s baking. Brush the remaining egg wash over the tops. Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes, until the crust if completely browned. Let rest for a few minutes to cool slightly. Serve with some sour cream and guacamole and watch your family smile.

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Black Bean & Spinach Enchiladas with a Butternut Squash Chicken Sauce

Black Bean & Spinach Enchiladas with a Butternut Squash Chicken Sauce

Black Bean & Spinach Enchiladas with a
Butternut Squash Chicken Sauce

While we were enjoying our “Leftover Delight” dinner of Butternut Squash & Chipotle Chicken Stew Mark said “This would be great in an enchilada type thingy.” So that’s exactly what you have here in this recipe. We absolutely enjoyed this new spin on enchiladas.


  • about 3 cups of butternut squash soup that has been combined with shredded chipotle chicken. (Both recipes you can find here on my blog) OR  just use the leftover soup as the sauce.
  • 1 dozen corn tortillas
  • about 3 cups shredded spinach
  • a handful of parsley, chopped
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 cups re-fried Black Beans
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ground black pepper
  • about 2 cups Mexican blend shredded cheese

Pre-heat your oven to 350 and butter a casserole dish. You can use a non-stick spray if you want.

Mix together the spinach, parsley, tomatoes, onion, re-fried beans and garlic. Season with a bit of black pepper. Make sure your corn tortillas are warm and soft to ensure easy assembly. I microwave mine for a few minutes working with 6 at a time. Put a heaping tablespoon of the bean mixture in the middle of the tortilla and roll up. Place each one side by side in your casserole dish. Once all 12 have been assembled, spoon the butternut squash soup over them and top by sprinkling the shredded cheese. Cover with foil that has been sprayed with a non stick spray, this will keep the cheese from sticking. Bake for 15 minutes, remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes. Serve over a bed of shredded spinach and kale with a dollop of sour cream on top.

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Breakfast Chilaquiles

Breakfast Chilaquiles

Breakfast Chilaquiles

The holiday season is finally over for us. All the traveling to and from to visit those we love has worn me out. I haven’t been cooking much over the holidays, hence I have missed my kitchen. Here’s a quick and easy breakfast recipe and the best part it can use up some leftovers from the refrigerator.

Ingredients:   feeds 2 to 4 people

  • 6 to 10 corn tortillas, cut into strips
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 strips bacon, cooked and minced
  • 1/4 cup parsley, minced
  • 4 eggs
  • shredded cheddar cheese, divided use
  • Tapatio Sauce, or hot sauce
  • cumin
  • dried yellow mustard
  • black pepper
  • garlic salt
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, or 1 big tomato
  • 1 green onion, sliced

Preheat your oven to 350.

Heat some vegetable oil in a 10″-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Use a skillet that can go from the stove-top to the oven. Add the corn tortillas strips and fry until just crispy. Remove and let drain over paper towels. Turn off the heat, wipe the skillet with a paper towel to remove excess oil and place the skillet back on the warm burner. Add the onions, bacon and garlic, let them heat in the hot skillet until the onions are soft. Do not turn the heat back on.

In a medium bowl add the parsley, eggs, a handful of shredded cheese, a shake of hot sauce, cumin, dried yellow mustard, black pepper and garlic salt. Now add the softened onions, bacon and garlic and whisk all the ingredients together. Toss the fried tortilla strips into the wet ingredients until covered with egg mixture. Place this mixture back into the skillet. Bake for 10 minutes after which you will sprinkle the top with more cheddar cheese and tomatoes. Bake for another 15 minutes. Top with sliced green onion, cut into wedges, top with some sour cream or salsa and serve. Try serving this over a bed of greens and re-fried beans for a complete breakfast plate.

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Green Bean Casserole in the Crockpot

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Green Bean Casserole

First off, I am not a fan in the least of the Green Bean Casserole…..but dang if almost all of my Thanksgiving guest are. Well at least they seem to be as it is always requested and always seems to make it to the table. (Someone always insist on bringing the darn thing) This year Mark actually requested it and look so disappointed when I said no way. Oven space on this day is at a premium and I did not want to share even a minute of it for this side dish. Then a young cousin of mine shared a recipe where the casserole was made in a crockpot….Hmmmmm, could this be? How could that change the way it taste? Well after looking over the recipe I found it used a cream sauce made from scratch. Well I can’t bear to chance a homemade cream sauce turning sour in the crockpot….so why not blend the traditional French’s Green Bean Casserole recipe and this one. And that’s exactly what I have done. Plus of course I have doctored it up a bit. (Sorry about not having the finished dish photo, but hey it won’t be done until Thanksgiving Day)

Julia Child's Sauteed Mushrooms

Julia Child’s
sautéed Mushrooms

Ingredients:   Serves about 12 people

  • 8 oz of butter sautéed mushrooms and green onions, cooled (see Julia Child’s recipe, just search “sautéed mushrooms” here on my blog.)
  • 1 can of Cream of Mushroom Soup with Garlic
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground thyme
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 2 to 3 cans green beans, drained (this was hard to measure as I used green beans I had canned over the summer)
  • 1 1/2 cups French’s French Fried Onions, divided use
  • 1 TB salted butter
  • 1/2 cup Panko Bread Crumbs

In a large bowl, whisk together the soup, milk, salt, pepper, thyme, Parmesan cheese and garlic. Fold in the sautéed mushrooms and onions, bacon and the green beans. Butter the bottom and sides of your crockpot and add this green bean mixture. Top with 1/2 cup of the French’s French Fried Onions and cook on low for at least 4 hours, but it can cook all day if you need it to. About 15 minutes before serving, put the cooked mixture into a warmed casserole dish. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat, add the Panko Bread Crumbs and sautéed until toasted. Stir in the remaining 1 cup of fried onions, toss well. Put this topping over the green bean mixture and serve.

Make ahead tip: After combining the bean mixture I put it into a gallon sized freezer zip lock baggy, write down the finishing instructions and place in the freezer. Now on Thanksgiving morning I will defrost it a bit on the counter, put into the crockpot and continue on my way. (I’ve completed the assembly of this dish today, Saturday….1 dish down only 7 to go)


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Chicken Chilaquilas

Chicken Chiliquillas

Chicken Chilaquilas

Yum, Yum, Yum ….. another recipe that sends me back to my Southern California roots. Chilaquilas of any kind are just a great way to use up leftovers. Whether you make them for breakfast by adding some scrambled eggs or use them as an afternoon snack, they will hit the spot.

Ingredients:  Serves 3 to 4 people

  • 12 corn tortillas, cut into eighths
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • a couple of cups of shredded Chipotle Chicken (see my recipe)
  • 1 1/2 cups Green Tomato Enchilada Sauce (see my recipe)
  • 3/4 cups Queso Fresco
  • 1 to 1/2 cups shredded Mexican Cheese

Preheat your oven to 375 and butter your baking dish

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, fry the corn tortillas pieces until they are thoroughly browned.

In a large mixing bowl, gently combine the fried tortillas, shredded chicken, green tomato enchilada sauce and the queso fresco. I use my hands to do this, it’s messy but you can mix all the ingredients gently this way. Place in the baking dish, sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top. Cover with foil that has been sprayed with a pan release. Bake for 10 minutes, remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

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Pesto and Pasta Tomato Bake

Purple Basil Pesto & Tomato Bake

Pesto & Tomato Bake

Need a simple no meat dish. Here’s one I like to have on our Meatless Mondays. Well we don’t actually have it on Mondays, but we do eat it when I am serving a meatless dinner.

Ingredients:  4 to 5 servings

  • 2 handfuls of fresh basil
  • 1 handful of parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese, plus some for sprinkling the top
  • about 2 tablespoons of Olive OIl
  • sprinkle of Kosher Salt and Ground Black pepper to taste
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced
  • half a box of Bow-Tie Pasta, cooked al dente

Preheat your oven to 350, butter the bottom and sides of a baking dish. Using a food processor, add the basil, parsley, garlic, walnuts, 1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese, Olive Oil, Kosher salt and black pepper. Process these ingredients until smooth. Toss this pesto sauce with the cooked Bow-Tie Pasta until all is well coated. Spread half of the pesto and pasta in your baking dish, layer with the tomato slices from 1 of the tomatoes. Spread the rest of the pasta on top of that, then add the remaining tomato slices. Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan Cheese and bake until the cheese melts, 10 to 15 minutes.


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Pork & Beans

Pork & Beans

Pork & Beans

Oh how my son loved pork & beans growing up, and still does today. Back then I would open a can of baked beans, slice up some hot dogs and call it done. Things change over the years and the desire to cook from scratch kicked in. Well, I also take the time to do so. Here’s my recipe for Pork & Beans. I hope you all will enjoy them as much as we do.

Ingredients:     yields 8 to 10 servings

  • 1 pound bag of Navy/White beans
  • 1/2 pound of bacon, diced
  • 2 TB Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 onion, diced, divided use
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 to 3 German Hot Dogs, cubed (mine are from Dewigs Meats in Haubstadt)
  • 1 cup hot water (for de-glazing)
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 cup Molasses
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup mustard, just regular ole mustard
  • 2 TB Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tsp cider vinegar

DSC_1307 (2)Pick through the dried beans looking for rocks and debris, discard along with any discolored beans. Place the beans in a large bowl and cover them with lots of water. Let them sit overnight on your counter to soak.

The next day drain and rinse the beans, place in a large pot, add water until it rises about 1/2-inch over the beans. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for an hour or so until the beans are soft and mush easily between your fingers.

DSC_1306 (2)Over medium-high, heat a dutch oven or heavy pot that can be covered and go from the stove to the oven. Add the Olive Oil and diced bacon. Fry the bacon until it just starts to brown then remove them from the pot and set aside. Add the diced onion and celery, reserving the additional half of onion for later use. Reduce the heat to medium and saute the onions until they have browned, remove these from the pot. Now add the diced German Hot Dogs and cook these until they have just started to toast. Return the bacon, onion and celery back into the pot and add the 1 cup of hot water. Using a wire whisk scrap the bottom of the pot to loosen all of those wonderful brown flavor packed bits. De-glazing the pot is essential for developing flavor for the beans.

Preheat your oven to 350. Ladle in the simmered beans including the water they are in. Stir in the salt, molasses, brown sugar, mustard and Worcestershire sauce until everything is mixed well. Cover you pot and bake for 2 hours, until the beans have absorbed all of the liquid. Just before serving stir in the Cider Vinegar.

I promise there is nothing better than homemade Pork & Beans and your kitchen will smell so wonderful while it’s baking.

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