Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sleep in Heavenly Peace

I do not know when the events of last Friday, December 14th, 2012, will leave my mind.  If they ever will...  All I know is that children should never have to fear anything of that magnitude.  How are you to ever tell your children there are no monsters when clearly there are in this world? How do you explain their little questions, full of innocence and the black and white world of children?

For the first time since I came of age, I was glad not to be a parent yet on Friday... I feared answering those questions.  Questions I have seen on Facebook from their children like "Why didn't Jesus save them? That wasn't nice of Him" or "Where was Santa? Doesn't he like children? He has helpers everywhere..."  or the simple "Why didn't the police stop the bad man?"

Perhaps the world is to really end on Friday the 21st... what have we to show for it? What arguments could we make?  The only things that make the news anymore are bloody, violent, and pure evil.  I do not truly believe the world is meant to end... My calendar ends every year and I do not freak out... but my point is where is the good news? When will we learn? When will we learn that guns and mental illness need some serious rethinking and work in this country and around the world.  Norway has had problems too... in recent years... violence and the criminal mind is not limited to just America.  I just worry we stigmatize mental illness so much and hold guns so dear.  According to ABC news, there are more gun stores in the United States than there are McDonald's restaurants.  To me that is insane.

The second amendment to which so many cling to so dearly was written in a time and place vastly different than our own.  One where men were meant to defend themselves from a vulnerable position as a fledgling nation, provide for their families, and certainly a place where the accuracy of weapons, particularly handguns or pistols was not that great.  If the strictest of proponents want to own muskets and muzzle-loaders then great have at it.  The founding fathers could never have fathomed this sort of think... much less automatic weapons, assault rifles, sniper rifles, extend clips with quick release and reload.... on goes the list.  These were and would have been fairy tale type weapons and likely considered widely unnecessary...  Why on earth would they have needed a gun that could cut down trees?  What kind of people have we become to hold so dearly to such a antiquated, misunderstood, and taken vastly out of context law?

As a writer I believe in freedom of speech; the good come with the bad.  I can close my ears to what I do not want to hear.  I believe the quote goes "I may not agree with what you say but I will fight to the death for your right to say it."  I cannot apply this same sort of logic to the second amendment. So I ask you dear Belles, many of you I know grew up hunting and around guns, I did too... When will we learn? How many more Columbine's or now "Sandy Hooks" must there be before we realize the truth sitting in front of our face?  How many more benchmark events of tragic, unnecessary death and violence must we have before our eyes are opened?  A gun is meant for nothing more than to destroy living tissue.  That is what my Daddee always taught us kids.  As an object it is just a paperweight; when wielded by man it is a killing machine. That is the lesson we were given from the smallest memories.  My father eventually got rid of all weapons in the house, even my grandaddy's shotgun,  he no longer saw the need.  Especially with all the violence around us all the time.  So how much longer will we as a nation "sleep"?  How many more children is this nation willing to use as currency to pay for this amendment, this antique right?  How long must my heart and the hearts of so many be broken?

God bless y'all.... Happy Christmas.  And please no matter your opinions, think about what I have said.  Just give it a minute or two and think.


PS: this video is so moving until the scream at the end.... highly unnecessary in my opinion but I warn you it is there.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Blue Jean Foodie Queen: Almost Famous Swedish Meatballs

Blue Jean Foodie Queen: Almost Famous Swedish Meatballs: This is a recipe shared by one of our readers Trish Thorsky! I have yet to try it but it looks delicious! Ingredients For the meatball...

Almost Famous Swedish Meatballs

This is a recipe shared by one of our readers Trish Thorsky! I have yet to try it but it looks delicious!


For the meatballs:

For the gravy:


Make the meatballs: Put the breadcrumbs in a large bowl. Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, allspice, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the milk and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer. Pour the milk mixture over the breadcrumbs and stir to make a thick paste; let cool. Add the beef, pork, egg and egg white to the bowl and mix until combined.

Brush a baking sheet with vegetable oil. Roll the meat into 1-inch balls and arrange on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake the meatballs until cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Make the gravy: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking, until smooth. Whisk in the beef broth and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer. Add the cream and meatballs. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the gravy thickens, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Transfer to a serving dish; sprinkle with the parsley and serve with lingonberry jam, if desired

Friday, October 26, 2012

Blue Jean Foodie Queen: Balsamic and Brown Sugar Glazed Pork

Blue Jean Foodie Queen: Balsamic and Brown Sugar Glazed Pork: This recipe turned out so great I couldn't wait to share it. It was so easy and my pickiest eater loved it! It will now become a regular mea...

Balsamic and Brown Sugar Glazed Pork

This recipe turned out so great I couldn't wait to share it. It was so easy and my pickiest eater loved it! It will now become a regular meal in our home. I already have a few ideas to tweak it up a notch.

Pork Roast (2-3lbs)

1Tsp Sage or Poultry Seasoning will work as well

1/2 Tsp Salt

1 heaping Tbsp of  Garlic (crushed or minced)

1/2 Tsp Pepper (if using the Poultry Seasoning leave it out its already in the Seasoning)
1/2 -3/4 cup of water

Mix your Sage, Salt, Pepper and Garlic all together and rub all over the entire pork roast. Place it in your crock pot and water cook it on high for about 5hrs. Mix up the Glaze (recipe below) and add a nice amount 3-4 times over the top of the roast 3-4 times during the last hour of cooking. I simply kept it in a coffee cup next to my crock pot after I made it. Reserve a half cup or so to pour over before serving.


1/2 cup of water

1Tbsp of  Cornstarch

1/4 cup of Balsamic Vinegar

1/2 cup of Brown Sugar

3 Tbsps of Soy Sauce

Combine all ingredients for the glaze in a small saucepan and cook it at a medium temp until it becomes a little thick.

As I mentioned in the beginning I was thinking on tweaking this a little. I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out and what it was going to taste like. After eating it I thought it would have been great to add a mixture of different vegetables with it and serve it over rice. I would want to use some veggies that would be a little crisp such as snow peas in the pod and perhaps some broccoli.You could even pull the pork then add the sauce and serve on sandwiches. I think the possibilities with this recipe are almost endless. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family did!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Blue Jean Foodie Queen: Homemade Carnitas

Blue Jean Foodie Queen: Homemade Carnitas: I have tried out many a Carnita recipe and passed them along but this one is by far the best tasting yet! Try it if you like it fine if not ...

Homemade Carnitas

I have tried out many a Carnita recipe and passed them along but this one is by far the best tasting yet! Try it if you like it fine if not then drive to the local corner store on Sat or Sun morning!

1 Pork Roast (cut into chunks leaving the fat on)


Chicken Bouillon (2 heaping tablespoons)

Sauzon (or Adobo)

Garlic Salt

Take the cut up Pork and rub the fat with some EVOO then season the fat with the Garlic Salt and season all of the Pork with the Sauzon. Place it all fat side  down in a greased baking pan. Add a spoonful of  the Chicken Bouillon to the front and to the back of the pan. Add in a few cups of water cover and bake for a few hours at 350 I let it go about 3hrs. You want the water to cook out so don't overfill it. Once the water cooks out and the Pork is tender you will notice that the fat has made a grease at the bottom of the pan. This is when I remove the cover and place the pan on the very bottom of the oven. It basically fries it up a bit without all the mess.

(Remember ALL my recipes are to make life EASY for you) Maybe a good 10 mins or so on the bottom like this. You want it to sizzle it up not to burn! After you make this a few times I promise it becomes so natural to you that you will just end up with the timer set in your head!

Serve this up with your tortillas and salsa whatever you choose to top it with! In our house we go all out some days others we just grab the tortillas and eat!

(Sorry pic was taken after my family attacked them! I try to move faster to get the pics for all of you sometimes the food is just to good)

Blue Jean Foodie Queen: Steak with Veggies and Red Sauce

Blue Jean Foodie Queen: Steak with Veggies and Red Sauce: This was something I just threw together the other night. It could be a recipe somewhere I don't know but it was all in my head and my famil...

Steak with Veggies and Red Sauce

This was something I just threw together the other night. It could be a recipe somewhere I don't know but it was all in my head and my family loved it! They asked why I never made it before.

Round Steak (cut into serving size pieces)

Red Sauce (recipe is posted in an earlier Blog I make it and can it)

Yellow Squash


1 Large onion

1 Red Pepper
1 Yellow Pepper


Balsamic Vinegar

Simply take a large fryer pan add EVOO and Balsamic Vinegar and cook the steaks about 5mins each side. Add in the red sauce and the veggies and about a cup of water. Cover and cook for about 35-40 mins. Making sure to stir and flip the steaks over often so as not to burn. I cooked it on a medium flame. After the 35 -40 mins the steak was tender enough to cut with a fork and the water had cooked out of the sauce leaving a nice thick chunky sauce. It would be great served with pasta or rice! I however served it with a side of mashed potatoes and an Italian Salad for my picky eaters. This was another simple and delicious, healthy, home cooked meal with very little prep and cleanup.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Blue Jean Foodie Queen: Shrimp Appetizers

Blue Jean Foodie Queen: Shrimp Appetizers: We buy shrimp in bulk at our local Sams Club as everyone in our house loves it. I had defrosted some the other night and not all was eaten. ...

Shrimp Appetizers

We buy shrimp in bulk at our local Sams Club as everyone in our house loves it. I had defrosted some the other night and not all was eaten. Being as frugal as I am I could not let it go to waste and I came up with this quick little appetizer as a late night snack. It was so delicious I may pull out some shrimp and make some for the football game tonight!

Shrimp (cooked cleaned and chilled)

Tortilla Chips

Sour Cream

Lemon Juice

Shrimp Sauce

I simply defrosted the shrimp in some cold water drained and let it soak in some lemon juice in the fridge for a few hours. Pulled out some Tortilla Chips added a dab of Sour Cream to each Chip and placed the Shrimp on and topped with a bit of Shrimp Sauce.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Healthy Strawberry Oat Muffins

This is not my recipe I came across it somewhere and have yet to try it. We have had a request for some Healthy Breakfast options and I had that in mind when I kept this recipe

2 1/2 cup Oats (old fashioned kind, not quick cooking)
1 cup Plain low fat greek yogurt
1/2 cupBaking stevia OR 1 cup sweetener of choice that measures like sugar
1 1/2 tspBaking powder
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1 1/2 cup Strawberries, diced, and patted dry + (optional 1/2 cup strawberries, diced to place on top of
1 tsp lemon juice
 Paper liners don’t work well when baking with a base that does not include flour (this is a no flour recipe) they always seem to stick to the paper. If you don’t have a silicone muffin tin or liners,  buy the foil cupcake liners at the store, and remove the paper inserts so you are only using the foil part of the liner. That way no sticking will occur.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 12 muffin tins with silicone or foil liners. Place all of the ingredients (except strawberries) in a blender or food processor, and blend until oats are smooth. Pour mixture into a medium sized bowl, and stir in strawberries. Divide remaining 1/2 cup diced strawberries over the top of each muffin. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

No picture as I have yet to try these! If anyone makes them 1st PLEASE share your pic!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Stock up Refried Beans (Frijoles)

In my house we eat refried beans at least once a week. They can actually be a little costly. I am always looking for ways to cut my budget down and this was a simple recipe that really will lower my grocery bill even more.

1 large bag of Pinto Beans (we bought the biggest bag in the store)
2 large Onions (diced)
2 bushels of Cilantro
Chicken Bouillon
Freezer Bags

I simply rinsed and sorted all of the Beans and dumped them into my crockpot. I added water and about a cup of Chicken Bouillon and the Onions . I did need to cook this for about 6 hours and continue to add more water during the duration of the day. About 4 hrs into cooking I removed them and put them thru the food processor and added a bit more water and put it all back in the crockpot and cooked them for another 2-3 hours. I then used my handheld emulsion blender and simply blended them in the crockpot. Last was chopping and adding the Cilantro. I then used a big ladle and placed 2-3 heaping ladles in Freezer Bags and froze them. I ended up with 10 bags a nice big bag for my neighbor and 1 serving left out in the fridge for the following nights dinner. I will never cook a small batch of Frijoles again.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Blue Jean Foodie Queen: Pastry Puff Chicken

Blue Jean Foodie Queen: Pastry Puff Chicken: I came across a chicken recipe on my Pinterest that looked like it would be good. Of course in the middle of my busy day I had no time to ru...

Pastry Puff Chicken

I came across a chicken recipe on my Pinterest that looked like it would be good. Of course in the middle of my busy day I had no time to run out to the store so I came up with this recipe on my own. I was a little nervous waiting for it to come out of the oven and when I served and tasted it I knew I would be blogging it for all of you to enjoy as well. It was simple quick and very pleasing to the taste buds.

1 Pkg of Pastry Puffs (there are 2 individual rolls inside you only need 1)
3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (sliced into 6 thin ones)
1/2 stick of Butter (cut into 6 squares)
Italian Seasoning
6 Sliced Strips of Cheese (your choice of course I had Parmesan)
1/4 stick of Butter (melted)
Garlic Salt

Take your chicken breasts and sprinkle with Italian seasonings and use 1 square of butter and 1 strip of cheese and roll your chicken breast up. Add the Garlic salt to your melted butter and gently brush a little on your pastry puff add the rolled up chicken onto the pastry puff and carefully fold it so as to leave it bunched at the top. Place each one into individual cupcake slots in a greased cupcake pan and brush the tops with a bit more garlic butter and bake at 350 for about 45 mins. Make sure your butter squares are not very large as you dont want any overflow. I served them with a simple white rice and even my picky eater ate this dish.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tomato and Broccoli Pasta Salad

My brother worked at a local restaurant for years. He made the mistake of bringing me a bowl of this delicious pasta salad during one of my pregnancies. I craved it the entire pregnancy. After driving him crazy to bring it to me he finally caved and gave me the recipe. Its always a hit at any holiday or family get together in my house.

Pasta Noodles (your choice we use whatever we have on hand)
Broccoli (cleaned and cut up into bite size pieces)
Cherry Tomatoes (the small ones)
Mayonnaise (about a cup)
Sour Cream (about a cup)
Ranch Dressing (about a cup and 1/2)

Cook your pasta, rinse in very cold water, drain well. I leave it in the strainer to mix all ingredients together it seems to make the cleanup easiest. Add in your Broccoli and Cherry Tomatoes. Then I pile in the Sour Cream the Mayo and the Ranch Dressing (I am not a ranch fan but its the secret ingredient) I amke sure my hands are very clean and find just mixing it all together with my hands is the best way to do this. Then simply transfer all to a bowl and refrigerate. If you find before serving that the pasta has become a bit dry add a bit more sour cream and ranch before serving.

Tomato and Mozzarella

This is a simpler version of an authentic Italian recipe. Having 2 picky eaters in the house  sometimes have to do my own versions. This is one. I made this one weekend my stepson was here for a visit and he has asked me every visit since to please make this for him (insert BIG smile)

Tomatoes (sliced they can be red, green, orange, yellow, your choice)
Fresh Mozzarella (sliced)
Italian Seasonings
Salt (a dash before serving)
Balsamic Vinegar

Simply place the sliced tomatoes on a baking sheet (I line mine with foil for easy cleanup). Then place a slice of fresh mozzarella on top of each slice. You can stack different colored tomatoes and mozzarella. I have tried that it just seemed to slip a bit during cooking. Bake at 400 for about 10mins. Then add a dash of the Italian Seasoning to the top of each and plate them. In a bowl mix even parts of EVOO and Balsamic Vinegar and whisk really hard and pour over the top. Before serving I add a dash of salt just for a bit of extra flavor.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Apple Pie Filling

This is another great recipe to can. I suggest you don't make it your 1st experience with canning tho. It was quite sticky and a little tougher as the air bubbles need to be released. This would be fantastic to just make near the holidays to pass out as a mini gift! I am not going to repeat the pie crust recipe. (Its on the Blueberry filling Blog)
Now lets make some apple pies!

4 and 1/2 cups of Sugar
1 cup of Cornstarch
3 Tsps of Cinnamon
1/4 Tsp of Nutmeg
2 Tsps of Salt
10 cups of water
3Tbsps Lemon Juice
5 drops of Yellow Food Coloring
10 lbs of Apples (peeled cored and sliced)

Sterilize all your jars and lids.  Keep your sliced apples in a bowl of cold water so they don't turn brown. This made 6 jars for me. In a large pan mix Sugar, Cornstarch, Cinnamon, and Nutmeg. Add in Salt and Water and mix really well. Bring to a boil and cook until it gets really thick and starts to bubble.Turn off heat. Now start to stuff your jars with the apple slices do not pack them full we still need to add the liquid. Add your lemon juice and food coloring to your liquid and stir well. Now ladle the mixture on top of the apples taking your time. I even walked away once or twice to let it settle throughout the jar. Here is the tricky part get a plastic knife and slide down the sides of your jars to release more of the air bubbles. Add more of the liquid until you have only about an inch of head space at the top of the jar. Now I know you will have a big sticky mess all over your counter but don't worry its worth the mess. Wipe down the tops of the jars and put your lids on. Give em an average twist just as if you were closing a regular jar. Now just simply submerse these jars in a boiling pan of water covering the tops of the jars and boil for 20-25 mins. Carefully remove them and place them on a towel and allow to sit for 24hrs. Listen for the wonderful popping sounds. After the 24hrs simply press the tops of your jars and make sure they don't pop up and down. Now you have a shelf life of 1 year.
When ever you are ready just bake at 350 for 50-55 mins and don't forget to try the easy homemade pie crust recipe on the Blueberry Pie Blog!
Serve any way you wish I prefer it cold but of course my family wanted it warm and it was delicious both ways!


Blueberry Pie Filling

I can this recipe and am actually thrilled that I have a bunch put up for the holidays. If you are not going to can it feel free to reduce the recipe or simply just make the batch and give it to friends/family. Lets get it started. It was probably one of my easiest recipes to can to date.

10 cups of blueberries (I wash them in a vinegar/water bath)
1/2 cup of water
1 1/2 cups of sugar
6 Tsps Cornstarch
5 Tsps Lemon Juice

In a large soup pot bring the water, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice to a boil. Pour the blueberries in and bring it back to a boil. Continuously stirring so as not to burn it. Cook for at least a good 5-8 mins. You will notice it all becoming glossy and thick. Now here is where the canning comes in I use quart size jars. You must sterilize your jars and lids. I can not express enough how much a good clean sterile environment is for canning. Place a sterile funnel in jars and ladle the filling. Leave about an inch of room at the top. If any gooey goodness is on top of your jars wipe them clean with a sterile wet rag or paper towel. Place the lids on and tighten but don't tighten them extra tight just a good screw will do. Place the jars in a pot of boiling water standing straight up and make sure the water covers the lids. Cover and boil for 30 mins. Carefully remove the jars and set them on a towel in a safe place for 24hrs. You will hear 'popping' noises and these are like music to the ears of every canner! After 24 hrs check the tops of jars by pressing and if they do not push down you are sealed. This has a shelf life of 1 year.

Now lets bake one you can use a store bought crust or make your own. I prefer to make my own here is my recipe for that.

2 1/2 cups flour
1cup of real butter (2 sticks cut into cubes)
1 Tsp of salt
1Tsp of sugar
Make a glass of ice water as you will be adding 6-9 Tsps at the end

Throw the flour, salt, butter, and sugar in the food processor and pulse it to mix it to a crumble (I put the butter on the bottom it seems to mix better for me)  Add the ice water 1 Tsp at a time to make it hold together. Remove from the food processor then split it into 2 separate mounds. Knead them then place in a bag and refrigerate for an hour. Remove them and flour up your clean counter and roll out your 2 crusts one for top and one for bottom. I have tried to get fancy and criss cross the top but my family enjoys the full crusted top best. After you layer your bottom crust in a greased pie pan add your filling top off the crust and press the edges together. I then whisk up 1 egg white paint the top and bake at 350 for 50-55 mins Let cool for about 40 mins then I refrigerate the pie for about an hour before serving. It is better than any pie I ever bought!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Blue Jean Foodie Queen: Easy Lasagna

Blue Jean Foodie Queen: Easy Lasagna: This is definitely the easiest lasagna I have ever made. I have been making it for years! Today I had a very busy schedule and needed to mak...

Easy Lasagna

This is definitely the easiest lasagna I have ever made. I have been making it for years! Today I had a very busy schedule and needed to make a lasagna with very little time to spare so I decided to try this new no boil lasagna made by Barilla. Let me tell you firsthand my family never knew the difference. I highly recommend them for a quick delicious lasagna. Now lets just get to the recipe. I have substituted cottage cheese for Ricotta (I have one very picky eater in my house) I am not gonna give you exact measurements as sometimes when I am in a big hurry I do not at all measure anything I just go with the flow. However I did use 2 full jars of the Pasta Sauce recipe that has been previously blogged. I can it to have it on hand at all times.

Hamburger (a couple lbs)

Cottage Cheese (probably 16oz container maybe a lil more)

Cheese (I used a combo of fresh Mozzarella and Muenster with around 2 cups of fresh Parmesan grated for the top)

Italian Seasoning

1 and 1/2 packages of Barilla no boil lasagna

2 jars of Pasta Sauce (recipe from previous blog)

I precooked the hamburger adding a hearty dash of Italian Seasoning the day before and refrigerated it until I needed it today. Then I simply warmed it up a bit in the microwave just so it wasn't a cold hard clump. Add in your cottage cheese add as much as you like I use a bit more than average as I am purposefully leaving eggs out of the recipe. Add a few Tbsps of sauce to the bottom of each baking pan you are using. Now we simply start to layer. I put a layer of pasta followed by the meat and cheese mixture add your mozzarella and Muenster and top it off with more sauce. Continue to layer in that order. Don't overfill your baking pan as you don't want it to boil over. On the very top layer I add extra cheese and sauce and sprinkle a nice handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  Cover with foil. Preheat oven to 375 and Bake for 45-55 minutes. Remove foil and before I cut into it I sprinkle a nice dash of Italian Seasoning over the top. Let it rest for about 7mins and serve.

This is not your traditional lasagna but it tastes just the same. I have the long enduring recipe but this is designed simply for convenience when you have little to no prep time and still want to serve your family a delicious healthy meal. Serving this today I could not believe how much my family actually consumed. No one seemed to notice or care that I had not slaved half the day making it! This was the first time I left eggs out of the recipe and I doubt I will ever put them back in as you could not tell the difference.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Blue Jean Foodie Queen: Loaded Potatoes

Blue Jean Foodie Queen: Loaded Potatoes: This is a recipe I have been using for over 10yrs. Usually it is all prepped wrapped in foil that has been sprayed with a non-stick spray. T...

Loaded Potatoes

This is a recipe I have been using for over 10yrs. Usually it is all prepped wrapped in foil that has been sprayed with a non-stick spray. Then placed on the rack alongside whatever we happen to grill. This is a 2nd option to the way I am about to post as I have been sick and cooking it inside was easier for me. Either way its a very enjoyable recipe. I am surprised even my picky eaters eat it I use a purple/red onion as I have one child who cannot be fooled and the onions must be fished out of anything she eats. Once again the purple/red onion just makes it easier for me to pick it out. It tastes the same no matter what onion you choose.

1 large onion chopped

4 large potatoes (I find that pre cooking them in the microwave is easy and less time consuming) Skin then dice the potatoes

Italian Seasonings (I used dried off my spice rack)

1/4 cup of butter (chopped into chunks)

1 clove of garlic (chopped)

a few maybe 6 chunks of Queso cheese


optional ingredients would be sour cream and bacon bits

Coat your frying pan with a nice amount of EVOO and add onion and garlic. I add the potato one at a time as I am usually already starting the onion as I am skinning the potato. Sprinkle the Italian seasonings over the top and simply fry up the mixture. I like to mash them down and get them a little extra brown and crispy. If you find they are sticking to your pan to much simply move half the mixture to the side and add a bit more EVOO. Fry them up as you wish. When done add the chunks of cheese and the butter to the top and cover about 10 mins. Give it a nice stir to mix in the butter and cheese add salt to taste and enjoy.
Before serving if you choose add your optional ingredients to make it a lil extra yummy

Blue Jean Foodie Queen: Lets make Chicken n Dumplings

Blue Jean Foodie Queen: Lets make Chicken n Dumplings: This is a very enjoyable recipe I am going to give 2 options on your dumplings. I have tried both and depending on my timetable  I use the o...

Lets make Chicken n Dumplings

This is a very enjoyable recipe I am going to give 2 options on your dumplings. I have tried both and depending on my timetable  I use the one that fits. My family enjoys both versions and truth be told I doubt they even taste a difference. Now lets get started on version one!!
Keep in mind either recipe you use is up to you but before I even start the dumpling I either start the chicken soup in the crockpot or on the stove. My soup recipe is as simple as it gets on occasion I add cabbage, celery (I dislike it), corn etc add whatever your family like I have very picky eaters so today I went super simple and had no complaints.

3-4 Boneless Chicken Breasts (I chop them up at some point before serving)
1-2 bags of carrots (today I used baby carrots before they went bad in the fridge)
1/2 cup of chicken bouillon (I use the powder kind posted in a previous recipe)

Simply toss in a crockpot or in a soup pan and start cooking this up before you start your dumplings

Dumpling recipe #1

                   1 cup all-purpose flour
                   2 teaspoons baking powder
                   1 teaspoon white sugar
                   1/2 teaspoon salt
                   1 tablespoon butter
                   1/2 cup milk
You will need some chicken bouillon to cook this in about 1/2 cup

Stir together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in medium size bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in milk to make a soft dough. Drop by spoonfuls into boiling water about 4 cups with chicken bouillon. Cover and simmer 15 minutes without lifting lid. If water does not cover the entire dumpling halfway through use a fork to flip the dumpling.

I take them out place them on a platter and refrigerate until serving the soup as if you add to your soup it will become cloudy and  a little thick. Some people enjoy that. My family does not.

Dumpling recipe #2
                  2 and 1/4 cups of Bisquick
                  3/4 cup of milk

Same cooking instructions as #1 I cook it in the chicken bouillon as it adds more flavor. Like I said my family doesn't know the difference between the 2 recipes.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Blue Jean Foodie Queen: Stuffed EggPlant

Blue Jean Foodie Queen: Stuffed EggPlant: My better half is Italian as are my children so at least once or twice a week we have Italian food. I like to explore outside the box every ...

Stuffed EggPlant

My better half is Italian as are my children so at least once or twice a week we have Italian food. I like to explore outside the box every now and then. I am going to give you the basic recipe for this but I did add a few extras that I will leave off the ingredients list as they don't 'have' to be in it to keep this so delicious! This is another recipe that I use the Pasta Sauce Recipe (already pre posted on the Blog. Like I said I can that so it makes my life easier.)

OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS : Red Bell Pepper, Fresh Mushrooms, Shredded Mozzarella, Shredded Cheddar Cheese

3 cups of Pasta Sauce

2 EggPlants (trim edges, slice in half, and scoop out the seeded area. Scoop out some of the flesh inside and dice it up Save the shell of the EggPlant)


1 Onion (chopped)

1 Clove of Garlic (minced)

1 cup of Breadcrumbs

1/2 cup of Parmesan Cheese

Italian Sausage (cooked and chopped into pieces

 Italian Seasoning
1 Egg (beaten

 Red Pepper Flakes (optional)


Boil a pot of Salted Water. Throw the Eggplant Shells in and cook til they are soft. Turning them a few times helps. It takes about 5mins. Carefully pour them into a strainer and rinse them in cold water. Pat them dry and set them aside.

Heat some EVOO in a large skillet and add the diced up Eggplant and cook it til it is soft about 5mins. Add the Onion and the Garlic. This is where I add extra ingredients such as Red Bell Pepper and Mushrooms. Cook until all of the veggies are nice and tender. Remove from the skillet and toss in a nice big bowl. Add in the Parmesan Cheese, BreadCrumbs, Red Pepper, Italian Seasoning, Sausage, Egg and a bit of Salt. Stir this all up together.

Take your EggPlant Shells and place them in an oiled baking pan. Season em up with a little salt. Then stuff them up with the Sausage/ Veggie mixture. Top it off with just a bit of the Pasta Sauce maybe a 1/4 -1/2 cup  of the Pasta Sauce. At this point I also topp it off with a handful of some shredded mozzarella and shredded cheddar cheese as well. Save the rest of the sauce in a pan keeping it warm.

Bake the Stuffed EggPlants for about 30mins in a 350 degree oven I use the middle rack. Cover them with foil for the first 15mins.

Be careful transferring each Eggplant to a plate. Then top it off with the warm Pasta sauce and a little bit of Fresh Parmesan Cheese. Enjoy!

I only have a before the oven picture to share as we got so excited when they were done we forgot to take a picture. Yes they are that delicious!


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Blue Jean Foodie Queen: Bacon Ranch Porkchops

Blue Jean Foodie Queen: Bacon Ranch Porkchops: This is not my recipe it is actually from my better half ! Its been a tough week in our household and I am Blessed that my better half and I...

Bacon Ranch Porkchops

This is not my recipe it is actually from my better half ! Its been a tough week in our household and I am Blessed that my better half and I work as a team. He was actually kind enough to create this recipe and photograph it for me just so I could Blog it. The rest of our week has consisted of roasts and pulled pork sandwiches and burgers on the grill. With that being said lets get to his recipe which by the way was so tender and delicious.

6 Boneless PorkChops
1 Can of Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can of Milk
1/2 cup of Ranch Dressing
Leftover bacon from Breakfast (that had been refrigerated and precooked)
Rice to serve it over Mashed Potatoes would also work

Simply place the porkchops in a baking pan. Mix the Soup, Milk and Ranch Dressing together and pour over the top. Cover the pan with foil and Bake at 350 for about an hour and a half. Remove the foil and place the Bacon over the tops of the porkchops and Bake another 30mins uncovered. Serve over white rice or mashed potatoes.

That is it simple easy and surprisingly delicious. The photo does it no real justice as presentation is not one of his finer points. However I was very pleased that he cooked me dinner and that it was very delicious.

I would probably have added a bit of Parmesan Cheese but all in all it was a success. I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as we did!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Blue Jean Foodie Queen: Empanadas

Blue Jean Foodie Queen: Empanadas:   My neighbor often makes these and they look very good. She told me how easy they were to make and my sister gave me a little advice on mak...


  My neighbor often makes these and they look very good. She told me how easy they were to make and my sister gave me a little advice on making them even easier.
  You can put inside what ever you like I used ground beef with green chile (a previous recipe post) and then I also made some that had potatoes and cheese inside. I thought if I was going to screw em up I would make them as cheap as possible. Little to my surprise they turned out delicious! You can add chicken and mole, steak, I even glanced at recipe that was made with apples on the inside , I am interested in trying those as well now. These made this recipe so simple
I bought them in the freezer section near the pie crusts!

So with that all said lets get to our recipe! Feel free to mix up your fillings!
1-2 packages of your Goya discos (10 are in a pack)
filling (you can use chicken, steak, pulled pork, potatoes and cheese)
sour cream
green chili or salsa
avocado (optional)
Preheat oven to 425 when starting to  fill

The discos are separated by a wrapper you want to grab a small roller and roll them out a little larger than they come. Add about 3 Tsps of whatever filling you choose to the middle of disc. Then fold it over and press down ends with a fork to seal. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Then brush the tops and ends with a vegetable oil (this is a rare occasion I used regular oil) Once oven is heated place cookie sheet on lowest rack for 12-15 minutes. Serve with sour cream, green chile, salsa, tomato, onion, lettuce, avocado, anything basically you would add to a taco and enjoy.

Monday, August 20, 2012

No Sauce BBQ Ribs

            I was not planning at all to Blog this recipe. It turned out so delicious I felt I just had to share! It was also easy and not very time consuming. I have been in pain for  a few days but I still need to produce a delicious homecooked meal for my family. Enough of the small talk lets get to the recipe.

1 Slab of Spareribs
Chicken Bouillon (Caldo)
Dry Rub (ours consisted of Chili Powder, BBQ Seasoning, and a dash of Garlic Salt)

         I simply cut the Ribs into portion size pieces. If you slice close to a bone its very simple to do. I then added the pieces to a large pot and added in my Caldo. I just sprinkled from the jar. If I had to guess it was about 4-5 Tbsps. I then simmered the ribs for about an hour and a half. Remove and let them air dry (maybe 10 mins on a platter with paper towel underneath) Next add your dry rub to the top of the Ribs. Then throw them on the grill for just  a few minutes basically just to brown them. There you have it you are done. I was actually so surprised at how delicious these Ribs actually were. I even commented that BBQ sauce would have ruined them. They were so tender. I am a person who puts salt on almost everything I eat (I know its not healthy) and was pleasantly surprised that I didn't need to salt them. I will certainly be making these ribs more often

        Sorry I have no picture to add as I had not planned to Blog this but it was to delicious not to. Also not feeling well it was easier than ordering or picking up takeout!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Blue Jean Foodie Queen: Our Version of Chicken Vesuvio

Blue Jean Foodie Queen: Our Version of Chicken Vesuvio:        Well lets start with our Garlic Bread as I make my own. Once a month I buy 6 loaves of Italian Bread from my local Sams Club. I take....

Our Version of Chicken Vesuvio

       Well lets start with our Garlic Bread as I make my own. Once a month I buy 6 loaves of Italian Bread from my local Sams Club. I take...   
3 sticks of real butter
a few Tsps of Garlic chopped 
a large dash of Garlic Salt
       I usually pull the butter out before I leave to shop. (so it can soften) I mash it with a fork in a glass bowl add the Garlic and Garlic Salt and mix well. I split all 6 loaves down the middle. Then I spread the Garlic Butter on with a butter knife. Match the bread back up into the 6 loaves, slice in half and put I loaf in 6 separate Gallon Size Freezer Bags. Then toss in the freezer! Its very nice to have fresh garlic bread at your fingertips. Now lets get on with the recipe.

2-3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
1- 2 loaves of Garlic Bread
1 Clove of Garlic (dice the entire clove)
1/4 stick of Butter
Any Dry Season Spice (we use Adobo)
Quesadilla/Queso Cheese (sliced into strips then cut the strips in pieces)

        Season your Chicken Breasts and cook them preferably on the grill. If that is not convenient throw them in the broiler or fry them on the stove in some EVOO.   While your Chicken Breasts are cooking throw your 1/4 stick of butter in a small frying pan and add your Garlic cook it up for about 5mins or so and shut it off and leave in the pan. Get your Garlic Bread cooked. (we cooked ours on the grill as well as the chicken) I let the Cooked Chicken Breasts rest for about 5mins. Then I sliced them up into pieces (not to thick)
        Now get ready to make your sandwich! Lay out your Garlic Bread and add some slices of Chicken Breast add your Queso Cheese and you can actually throw this in the microwave or under a broiler for just a few seconds to melt the cheese only. Spoon about a Tsp of your garlic from the pan on top of the Chicken and Cheese and drizzle a little of the butter on as well. Add a 2nd piece of Garlic Bread to the top and Enjoy!!
        We have had these at a local restaurant and our version actually tasted better to us! Later on in the night we decided to split another sandwich. So I used 1/4 stick of butter and a new clove of Garlic in the pan as I did in the earlier version. Since these were the leftovers I added the chicken strips straight to the pan and once they were heated with the cooked Garlic I added the cheese to the pan shut it off and just simply stirred for about 2 mins until all the cheese was melted. We then just spooned the mixture onto the Garlic Bread we had reheated in the microwave. We actually thought the leftovers were better.

        That reheated version would be perfect for a delicious and easy meal with little prep if you cooked the Chicken the day before a busy day or a Monday!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Blue Jean Foodie Queen: 'Lazy Chicken Soup'

Blue Jean Foodie Queen: 'Lazy Chicken Soup':        This soup was perfect for today as it was rainy a bit chilly and just plain gloomy. I call it 'lazy' soup simply because ...

'Lazy Chicken Soup'

       This soup was perfect for today as it was rainy a bit chilly and just plain gloomy. I call it 'lazy' soup simply because there is really little effort put into it but it tastes like you slaved over a hot stove all day! Its a good recipe if you work all day, have errands to run, are sick, or are just plain taking a 'lazy' day but would enjoy a good healthy homecooked meal. I cooked for a family of 4 with plenty left over.

Blue Jean Foodie Queen: Lets Make Salsa Verde

Blue Jean Foodie Queen: Lets Make Salsa Verde:                I am a canner. I make this recipe in a nice big batch and can it to have on hand for future recipes. I cant tell you all how ...

Lets Make Salsa Verde

               I am a canner. I make this recipe in a nice big batch and can it to have on hand for future recipes. I cant tell you all how nice it is to go down in the basement and grab a jar for a delicious and easy dinner. The FDA has its own canning recommendations and guidelines that can be found here http://extension.psu.edu/food-safety/entrepreneurs/regulations/fda-canning-regulations While others like myself use recipes passed down from Grandmothers, Aunts, Mothers and other Family Members. The one thing I highly recommend is using a very clean and sterile environment when canning. Now lets get to our recipe! If you are going to can this recipe simply grab a box of Ball Glass Jars from your local store. Since I can I notice them in almost every store with Hardware stores having the best selection.With that all being said lets get cooking!

3lbs of Tomatillos ( I peel the outer shell off and put them in a large bowl filled with water and vinegar to soak)

10 Jalapenos (less if you do not like it so hot. I also 'bathe' these the same as the Tomatillos)

3 large white onions

Garlic (I use an entire Clove)

1/2cup of Lime Juice

1/2cup of Lemon Juice

Cilantro (I use an entire bushel rinsed and laid out on a towel cutting the stems off)

Salt to taste (about 2tsps)

     Core both ends of the Tomatillos (this is a canning safety) and chop into 1/4's. Slice the top and end tip off of the Jalapeno (Gloves are recommended for this! I have burnt my hands and eyes more than once) Now slice the Jalapenos down the middle and get the vein and the  seeds out leaving a few if you like your salsa hot) Cut the Jalapenos into 1/2's. Throw the Tomatillos and the Jalapenos into a large pot. Add in the Onion and Garlic and pour the Lemon and Lime Juice in as well. Cover and simmer until all are soft.
     Once all is soft we have 3 options to mix. You can use a Blender, a Food Processor, or a Handheld Immulsion Blender that you can use in the pot. Add in the Salt and the Cilantro and Blend. If your Salsa turns out to liquidy you can reheat and add a Tsp or 2 of Cornstarch. If you Salsa is to thick you can add some Lemon or Lime Juice.
     This is the point where I use a sterile funnel and add mine to my sterile jars and place my sterile lids on. I then add the jars to a pan and cover with water bring to a boil for 15-25 minutes. I carefully remove and place in a clean spot usually on a towel and leave sit for 24 hrs. During those hours you will hear an occasional 'pop' that is your jars sealing. After the 24 hrs you will check that all your jars have sealed. You can tell by pushing down on the tops and if there is no bump felt they have sealed.
     I hope your family enjoys this as much as my family does! We always have a jar in the refrigerator as we put it on so many different things. We also enjoy it with just a batch of chips!     

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Blue Jean Foodie Queen: Deli Style Sandwich

Blue Jean Foodie Queen: Deli Style Sandwich: Deli Style Sandwich Italian Kaiser Rolls Fresh Mozzarella Sliced Lettuce Red Onion (sliced) Ham or any style luncheon meat Balsamic Vinegar...

Deli Style Sandwich

Deli Style Sandwich
Italian Kaiser Rolls
Fresh Mozzarella Sliced
Red Onion (sliced)
Ham or any style luncheon meat
Balsamic Vinegar
Black Pepper

Just a simple sandwich I whipped up on a lazy Sunday afternoon. It pleased my taste buds so much I thought I would share.The combination of tastes and textures was just perfect.

I didn't choose to add a certain amount in the ingredients as that would vary (I only made one sandwich)

Just open your Kaiser Roll and add the meat of your choice on the bottom half.
On top of that add the fresh mozzarella (another cheese can be used but the fresh mozzarella added to the textures)
On the top half of your roll add the red onion.
In a small bowl add a few teaspoons of Balsamic Vinegar  2-4tsps
Now add 3tsps EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
add a few dashes of pepper and whip with fork or whisk
Take a teaspoon and drizzle over the red onion on top side of roll
add the lettuce and drizzle again and put your sandwich together
Slice and Serve

I served mine with some pickles that I had canned myself and some cottage cheese It turned out to be a much better choice than some leftover pizza from the night before. I am thinking I will be having these for lunch a little more often. It was very quick to make and the cleanup was practically nothing. I hope you enjoy one as much as I did!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Simple Authentic Quick Pasta Sauce

                Hi I am Jennifer. Amanda told me to indroduce myself which I think is what made me the most nervous about posting on the Blog. I have been over n over some of the previous recipe posts and I am not quite as fancy but my meals turn out delicious. This past year or so I have taken more to cooking from 'scratch' it is a little frightening at first  and I often catch myself saying "I hope this turns out" as I try something new but in all actuality I have come to realize that the truth is its easier to cook from scratch as it takes us back to the basics. I am also very tight budgeted as is everyone else nowadays. So cooking from scratch is cost friendly, and most importantly much more healthy for my family. I can actually pronounce all of the ingrediants. With that being said here we go with my first ever blog post and sharing of my simple recipes.

              Simple Authentic Quick Pasta Sauce
1lb of pasta (your choice) I used spaghetti noodles this time
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil is the only oil I ever use)
1 (28-oz) can of tomatoes with juices
1can of tomato paste
1 sprig of fresh rosemary (if you dont have fresh give your spice rack a spin and dry is ok)
some dried Italian spices (once again in your spice rack)
Basil 2-3 tbs of fresh (once again if you only have dried use it)
1 large onion (its optional use what you like)
1 pepper (yellow, orange, red or green)
1 large cup of mushrooms (sliced)
1 small Zucchini
Garlic chopped (added to your own liking we like a lot so I am not going to tell you to use an entire clove if you are not a garlic fan)

Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese (not the stuff in a can I am adamant about that if you splurge on an ingrediant this is definately the one to splurge on)
1-2lbs of ground beef (or mix it up 1lb GB 1lb of Italian Sausage) this could also be an optional ingrediant depending on your family

Lets start by taking the tomatoes in your saucepan one by one take it to the bottom of your pan and squeeze it squish it up. I am a hands on cook if I can do it with my hands why drag out a gadget?

Squeeze all of the tomatoes  into the bottom of the pan one by one. If you feel a hard part that is not fully ripened toss it out. Now add the juice from the can (You can use fresh garden tomato to do this but you would need to boil, blanch, n peel them first. Perfect if you have an abundant garden I however do not. Read the ingrediants on the can of tomatoes. Its the same as if I had grown them)
Add the tomato paste your dry ingredients and your Basil and Rosemary Heat at a low temp we dont want to burn it

In another pan start cooking your meat and your mushrooms, onion, pepper and zucchini and garlic. Once all is cooked drain and add to sauce pan If you find your sauce a little runny add more tomato paste. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes (long enough to cook your pasta)

I am not going to tell you to boil the water for your pasta, cook
it drain it etc We can figure that out on our own I will however tell you that I add a little EVOO to my pasta water and it turns out perfect everytime.

Now right before you serve up your family add some freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese to the top and let your taste buds thank you for splurging on that one ingredient