Cheeseburger Quesadillas

Cheeseburger Quesadillas 1
Besides cooking and photography, one of my big hobbies is crafting. I guess I have a love for creating and capturing. Recently I have been working on a quilt that I have grown to love; every time I pick it up to work on it, I adore it even more. I know quilting is an uncommon hobby for a 20-something but I am kind of addicted and I’m not afraid to say it. Call me granny if you wish but I’m creating awesomeness around here. The concept of this quilt started at Christmas when Joel’s mom was given 12 quilt squares made by her grandma and great grandma. She wasn’t planning on doing anything with them so she offered them to me to create something with them. After several months of brainstorming, I came up with a concept and created 18 of my own quilt blocks to go along with the vintage ones. Each and every square has a different fabric yet they look like they were made for each other. Along the border are names, places, dates and special family jokes quilted to evoke memories each time it’s used. It’s a quilt decades in the making and something I am so proud to have had a part of creating.
heritage quilt
Just like this quilt, I love dreaming up and creating in my kitchen. The quilt nourishes my soul and these cheeseburger quesadillas nourish our bellies. They come together in less than 30 minutes and will definitely be a crowd pleaser. Even my impossible 4 year old ate these without complaint and he almost never eats meat. I’m telling you, tortillas are magic makers in getting your kids to eat. The fact that they taste like a rich, meaty cheeseburger helps too.
Cheeseburger Quesadillas 3
Cheeseburger Quesadillas

8-12 whole wheat tortillas
1 lb. lean ground beef
4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp. mustard
1 Tbsp. worchestershire
1-1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar (1/4 cup per quesadilla)

1. In a skillet over medium heat, cook ground beef until cooked through. Drain grease then stir in ketchup, mustard and worchestershire.

2. Meanwhile, preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Lay a tortilla in the skillet then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cheese, desired amount of ground beef (we divided this to make 6 quesadillas but if you want yours a bit meatier, add 1/4 of the ground beef mixture), bacon and another 2 tablespoons of cheese then top with another tortilla. Cook until brown and crisp then flip and cook other side until golden. Remove from skillet and cut with a pizza wheel. Serve with pickles on the side.
Cheeseburger Quesadillas 4


Chili Nacho Dip {Football Food}

Chili Nacho Dip
Dips are perfect to feed large crowds during the game and we especially love this one during football season. I could literally sit down with a bowl of chips and dip and have that be my meal. I kind of have a thing for appetizers. And I really do enjoy the eating part of the game more than the actual game.

This dip is warm and hearty and really easy to throw together. It tastes like a combination of the ever popular queso dip and big bowl of chili. It’s not fancy or gourmet but who wants that when they are watching the game? It’s just plain ‘ole good.

Chili Nacho Dip
recipe adapted from Taste of Home

1 lb. ground beef or turkey
24 oz. tomato sauce
1 (15 oz.) can pinto or black beans
1 (10 oz.) can diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained
1 envelope chili mix
1 lb. Velveeta
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Fritos or tortilla chips

1. Cook ground beef in a dutch oven until no longer pink; drain fat. Stir in tomato sauce, beans, diced tomatoes and chili mix and cook until heated through. Add in Velveeta and heavy whipping cream. Cook until cheese has melted and dip is warmed through. To keep warm for several hours, transfer to a crockpot on warm setting.

Catalina Taco Salad

Catalina Taco Salad
Ever since I was a child I have loved Catalina dressing. Like a dip my chicken nuggets in Catalina while other normal kids dipped in ketchup kind of love. I even liked to drizzle a little on my cottage cheese. Strange, I know. I still love it today, but just on my salad (although I may just have to try the cottage cheese thing again).
Catalina Taco Salad
So when I saw this salad I knew I had to try it. The salt and crunch of the fritos is a nice contrast to the rest of the salad. And the warm ground beef makes it extra yummy and filling.

Catalina Taco Salad
recipe slightly adapted from Jennifer Cooks

8 cups torn romaine lettuce or lettuce blend
1 ½ pounds ground beef
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed & drained thoroughly
1 (15 ounce) can corn, drained thoroughly
1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1/2 English cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced into half moons
1 (14 ounce) bag Fritos corn chips
1 (24 ounce) bottle Catalina salad dressing

1. In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain.  Set aside and cool slightly while preparing other ingredients.

2. In a very large serving bowl, combine lettuce, grated cheese, beans, tomatoes, olives, and onions.  Toss gently to blend.

3. Just before serving, add cooked ground beef and corn chips; toss gently to combine with salad ingredients.  Begin drizzling salad dressing over salad mixture and lightly toss salad until the desired amount of dressing is used.

Mini Meatloaves

Mini Meatloaves

Sometimes you just need some good ‘ole classic home cooking but you don’t always have the time it often takes to prepare it. When I find myself in this situation this recipe for mini meatloaves immediately pops into my head. The meatloaf is cooked in muffin tins rather than a loaf pan which cuts down on the cooking down considerably. And the sauce that is mixed up while they cook is just delicious.

Now I know that people either love or hate meatloaf and I hope that you all are in the first rather than the latter category. I grew up with one parent that enjoyed it and one that despised it. That meant that whenever mom wasn’t going to be home for dinner, we had meatloaf…because it was our only chance to eat it. We always liked brown gravy rather than the typical ketchup or tomato based sauce that most use. It always looked so dried up and boring and I have never cared for ketchup all that much. Well, Joel isn’t a fan of gravy (say what?) so I went on the hunt for a topping that was still saucy but also somewhat tomato-y for a compromise. And I found it in this sauce. It’s tangy and has a gravy-like consistency that made us both happy campers.

Mini Meatloaves
recipe adapted from Winning Recipes from Taste of Home
yields 16 mini meatloaves

1 cup soft bread crumbs
½ cup tomato sauce
1 egg
1 ½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
1 ½ lbs. lean ground beef

½ cup ketchup
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. yellow mustard

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Divide evenly between 16 muffins tins. Bake 20-30 minutes until cooked through.

2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine the sauce ingredients. Cook and stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Spoon over mini meatloaves before serving.

Lasagna Cupcakes

Lasagna Cupcakes

I have had this recipe bookmarked on my computer for quite awhile now and I just finally got around to making them recently. The big push to make them was when my aunt sent me pictures of the ones she made for dinner one night. She had me convinced and I couldn’t get them out of my mind.

What I love most about this recipe is that you can have a lasagna meal without all the work and time that a traditional lasagna takes.

I got mixed reviews on these though. I loved the crispy edges and the uniqueness of the wonton with the rest of the ingredients. Joel thought they were good but prefers actual noodles over the wonton wrappers. Though they don’t taste exactly like a lasagna, they were pretty darn close and a great alternative for a quick weeknight dinner.

Lasagna Cupcakes
recipe adapted from Cruftbox

24 wonton wrappers
Jar of spaghetti sauce
½ lb. ground beef or Italian sausage
12 pepperoni’s
¾ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
½ – 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Spray muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray then press down a wonton into each cup. You can cut the wontons into circles if you do not like the crispy edges.

2. Place a spoonful of spaghetti sauce into each cup then place ground beef/Italian sausage into cups next (you probably won’t use the whole ½ lb. of meat). Place a pepperoni on top then a tablespoon of ricotta. Sprinkle with mozzarella.

3. Place another wonton on top of each muffin cup then layer with more sauce and top with more mozzarella. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Sicilian Spaghetti Sauce

With the holidays in full swing for the past two months, I have been bringing you all lots and lots of sweets. I mean lots. And as much as I love sweet treats, it’s about time to get back on our normal track. And what better to start with than some good ‘ole comfort food….spaghetti.

Let me tell you, I have never been a big fan of spaghetti. I don’t really know why, it’s just not my thing. Recently I have been on a mission to change that. After trying a few recipes, I was ready to give up. It doesn’t help that Joel doesn’t really like red sauce either. I decided to give it one more shot and I am so glad I did! This Sicilian Spaghetti is sweet and spicy and the most delicious sauce I have ever made. I recommend doubling the recipe because it freezes well. It makes for an awesome and easy weeknight meal (just thaw it, heat it and throw it over some hot pasta).

Sicilian Spaghetti Sauce
recipe from

1/2 pound mild Italian sausage
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 (6-ounce) can Italian-style tomato paste
3 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
Hot cooked linguine
Shredded Parmesan cheese

1. Remove casings from sausage, and discard. Cook sausage and ground beef in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat 6 minutes, stirring until meat crumbles. Add onion and garlic, and sauté 4 minutes or until beef and sausage are no longer pink. Drain and set aside. Wipe skillet clean.
2. Combine sauce and next 7 ingredients in skillet or Dutch oven; cook, stirring occasionally, 1 hour. Add sausage mixture and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, 1 hour and 30 minutes or until mixture thickens. Serve over linguine; sprinkle with cheese.

Recipe linked to Mangia Monday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Cast Party Wednesday and What I Whipped Up Wednesday.

Honey Garlic Meatballs

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before but I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I don’t think something is worth doing unless it is done exactly right. This causes a lot of stress in my life at times. I’m working on it. But in the meantime, I found a way to make uniformly sized meatballs with ease…and it makes me happy! Now they are all the perfect and exact same size! Ok, maybe I’m a bit too excited about this.

After you mix the meatballs, flatten the mixture into a 1 inch thick rectangle. Try to make sure it’s an even amount of inches in both directions. Does that make sense? The length of the meat mixture was 9 inches and the width was 6 inches. Cut into 1 inch squares then roll into a ball. Awesome, right?

Anyway, to the recipe. Football season is upon us and I thought it would be nice to share a tasty, easy appetizer for your football gatherings. Joel and I both graduated from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln so we are huge Husker fans. We have a lot of friends that also are alumni so we always get together for each and every game. I first tried this recipe at one of these parties and they were the first thing to disappear. These are a great addition to any appetizer spread.

Honey Garlic Meatballs
recipe from Taste of Home’s The New Appetizer

*Notes: I make these up an hour or two before hand and throw them in the crockpot on the warm setting. Spray measuring cup with non-stick cooking spray before measuring out honey, that way it won’t stick. I think these would be great with ground chicken, turkey or pork too!

2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 tsp. salt
2 lbs. ground beef
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. butter
3/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup honey
3 Tbsp. soy sauce

1. In a large bowl, combine eggs and milk. Add the bread crumbs, onion and salt. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into 1 inch balls. Place in two greased 15-in. x 1-in. baking pans. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until meat is no longer pink.
2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, saute garlic in butter until tender. Stir in the ketchup, honey and soy sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain meatballs; add to sauce. Carefully stir to evenly coat. Cook for 5-10 minutes.

Recipe linked to This Chick Cooks, Jam Hands, Mouthwatering Monday’s, Naptime Creations and Full Plate Thursday.