Category Archives: Cooking

Easy Enchilada Bake


This is my own variation of a favorite recipe from one of my favorite bloggers, The Pioneer Woman. We have never been able to make the enchilada’s without making a mess, probably because we just cannot find the quality of corn tortilla’s she gets. So we changed ours into a layered pie like a lasagna. We also changed a few steps and ingredients. We do not fry the tortilla’s since we are not rolling them. We have someone who does not like cilantro and someone who does not like black olives. So we dropped the cilantro completely and substitute the black olives with black beans. This is one of my families favorite meals and it is just as good reheated the next day as it was fresh and bubbling from the oven.




  • 2 Tablespoon Canola Oil
  • 2 Tablespoon All-purpose Flour
  • 1 can (28 oz.) Enchilada Or Red Sauce
  • 2 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper


  • 1-1/2 lb. Ground Beef
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
  • 2 cans (4 oz.) Diced Green Chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon Season Salt


  • 10-14 whole Corn Tortillas
  • 3 cups Grated Colby Jack Cheese
  • 2 cans Black Beans
  • 1 cup Chopped Green Onions


  • Chopped Green Onions
  • Sour Cream
  • Guacamole
  • Salsa


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

The Sauce

In a large saucepan over medium heat, add oil and flour and whisk together to make a paste, cooking for one minute. Pour in the red sauce, chicken broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30-45 minutes.

The Meat

Image(We didn’t add the green chilies to the meat this time, we made them a part of the layers.)

Brown the meat with onions in a skillet. Drain off fat. Stir in green chilis and season salt and set aside.



Pour ½ cup red sauce in bottom of deep baking dish or lasagna pan. Spread to even out.


Dip each tortilla into red sauce, then place in baking dish.


The layer with 1/3 of the meat mixture, 1/3 of the beans, 1/3 of the green onions and 1/3 of the cheese.


Repeat the same layers starting with the dipped tortilla’s 2 more times. Pour extra red sauce over top.


Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy.


Easy Enchilada Bake
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4203 calories
209 g
880 g
276 g
234 g
134 g
1994 g
2496 g
22 g
6 g
116 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 4203
Calories from Fat 2433
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 276g
Saturated Fat 134g
Trans Fat 6g
Polyunsaturated Fat 15g
Monounsaturated Fat 101g
Cholesterol 880mg
Sodium 2496mg
Total Carbohydrates 209g
Dietary Fiber 39g
Sugars 22g
Protein 234g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 1-1/2 lb. Ground Beef
  2. 1 whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
  3. 2 cans (4 oz.) Diced Green Chilies
  4. 1/2 tsp season salt
  5. 10-14 whole Corn Tortillas
  6. 3 cups Grated Colby Jack Cheese
  7. 2 cans Black Beans
  8. 1 cup Chopped Green Onions
Optional Toppings
  1. Chopped Green Onions
  2. Sour Cream
  3. Guacamole
  4. Salsa
  5. Pico Di Gallo
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large saucepan over medium heat, add oil and flour and whisk together to make a paste, cooking for one minute. Pour in the red sauce, chicken broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30-45 minutes.
  2. In the meantime brown the meat with onions in a skillet. Drain off fat. Stir in green chilies and season salt and set aside. Pour ½ cup red sauce in bottom of deep baking dish or lasagna pan. Spread to even out. Dip each tortilla into red sauce, then place in baking dish. The layer with 1/3 of the meat mixture, 1/3 of the beans, 1/3 of the green onions and 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat the same layers starting with the dipped tortilla's 2 more times. Pour extra red sauce over top. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy.
The Oconee Belles



1 lb white fish, we use flounder or tilapia
1/3 cup mayonnaise (not the sweet kind)
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp fresh Parmesan, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray foil with nonstick cooking spray. Pat each fillet dry and place on covered cookie sheet.

Combine mayonnaise and Dijon in a small bowl and coast each fillet in mixture. Season with salt and pepper (easy on salt because the parm with add some saltiness too).

Combine panko and 1/3 cup Parmesan in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over each coated fillet. Sprinkle remaining 2 Tbsp of Parmesan over each fillet.

Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes. Baking time with depend on thickness of fillets. We usually by the prepackaged frozen fillets from Aldi, they are not very thick. If you buy from a fresh seafood counter they may be thicker and require a little more time to cook through and be flaky. Just watch the closely. I usually broil mine (on high) the last few minutes to help them brown and crisp up on top.

Served this time with a side salad. Can also serve with roasted, steamed or grilled veggies, a light cole slaw, a light potatoe salad (I have 2 recipes to share eventually) or a small baked potato (easy on toppings or top with a low fat topping such as chopped onions, chopped fresh mushroom and chicken broth cooked on stovetop until onions and mushrooms are done, you won’t miss the butter I promise).


This is one of our go to meals that is easy and quick to fix.

2 lb bag boneless, skinless chicken breast
Italian dressing (make this yourself so you can control the fat – recipe follows)
Salt and pepper to taste.
Trim chicken of any skin or fat still on it. Tenderize chicken (the above photo is another of my fave things my Deni meat tenderizer – has 36 small blades that pierce the meat) if you do not have a tenderizer like mine use a couple forks and poke the breast all over and very well. 

Pour Italian dressing all over chicken (about 1 cup worth), you do not have to cover the chicken with dressing. Season breasts with salt and pepper to taste. and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, turning breasts over half way through so other side can soak up dressing. 

When ready to cook remove from fridge and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Bake chicken for 20-30 minutes until cooked through and juices run clear. 

Served with Sweet Roasted Carrots and purple hull peas.


This is the other dish we made for the International Ministry Thanksgiving dinner. It is one of my mother’s go to dishes to make for almost any occasion. 

1 pkg microwave steamer-type broccoli florets
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup mayonnaise (not the sweet kind it will not be good)
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
3/4 cup onion, chopped
1 stick margarine, thinly sliced
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Crackers, your choice, crushed

Cook broccoli according to package directions, allow to cool and drain thoroughly (depending on brand you may need to squeeze excess water out of the broccoli).

 In a large bowl combine eggs and mayonnaise until smooth.

Add soup, onions, margarine and cheese and mix thoroughly.

Cut cooled, drained broccoli in half or fourths depending on how large the floret is. Add cut up broccoli to soup and cheese mixture and stir well.

Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and  pour broccoli mixture into it. Put mixture into refrigerator for at least 4 hours, overnight is better.

After 4 hours or the following day when ready to cook. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put casserole in oven and bake for about 40 minutes.
In the meantime place an entire sleeve of your favorite cracker (we use Ritz, Townhouse or Cheezit usually) in a zipper storage bag and seal. Using a rolling pin or small pot crush the crackers very well.

After 40 minutes of baking remove casserole from oven and spread crackers over top evenly.
Place back in oven and bake another 20 minutes until cracker are golden and casserole has set.


Tomorrow my church is hosting a Thanksgiving dinner for international students from a local college. Many of those students don’t know what Thanksgiving is and have never eaten or seen a turkey. Many of the men and women in the church will spend time tomorrow cooking food for students from all over the world. My mother and I started tonight and will finish tomorrow. I am cooking baked apples and she will be cooking a huge broccoli casserole in the morning.
My baked apples taste like apple pie but without the crust.

 Sorry left the cinnamon out of my picture.

2 sticks butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla
1 giant can apples in water (104 oz)

Open apples and pour into colander to drain. In a sauce pan over medium low heat melt margarine and both sugars. Once most of the sugar has dissolved add the cinnamon. Turn heat up to medium and allow to come to a slow boil while stirring constantly. Do not leave the pan while sugars are dissolving you can burn the sugar very easily. When all sugar is dissolved remove from heat and add vanilla and stir well.

Set sugar mixture aside. Sort through apples, they will have some peeling or pieces of core left on some slices. You will want to cut those off.

Pour the sugar mixture over the apples.

 Stir apples to coat well.

Refrigerate apples overnight.

Tomorrow I will put the apples in the crock pot and cook them on low for 4-6 hours.
They are delicious with vanilla ice cream or just by themselves.

I will take a picture of the finished product tomorrow as well as my mothers broccoli casserole. I cannot wait to hear how many international students attended the dinner and how many different country’s we introduced to Thanksgiving and turkey.

NOTE: Yes, this is not a healthy recipe. But I wanted to share it because it is a easy recipe to make when cooking for a large crowd or pot luck meal.


8-10  roasted red peppers
1 cup Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette (Teresa’s is best I have found)
6-8 Boneless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place all but 2 of your roasted red peppers in a blender or small food processor (or in my kitchen the GE Rocket Blender). Pulse the peppers until pureed. Combine the peppers with the Sun-Dried Tomato dressing. Chop the remaining 2 peppers and set aside.
Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray and place chicken in pan. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Pour dressing mixture over chicken and sprinkle with chopped peppers. Bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes or until chicken is done.

 The finished product

 Served with green beans and mushroom risotto. Found some fabulous mushroom risotto at Aldi that takes only about 20 minutes to cook and unlike most boxed so called risotto’s the Aldi risotto came out creamy like it should be.


Forget paying a insane 4.00 to 6.00 for a fruit smoothie at some mega chain restaurant/store. Plus, it is not just the price that might hurt you, the ingredient list for some of those smoothies may make you gain weight without even drinking one. Now don’t get me wrong I love me a good smoothie and I am sadly addicted to the mango-pineapple one at McDonald’s. If I could make one at home that tasted anything like it I would, but so far I have not been able to master that one. I will keep trying though, because maybe I can make it guilt free and have it more often. For now I get one occasionally as a treat.

Now for my homemade guilt-free smoothie. And yes I am using my favorite little GE Rocket Blender

Frozen fruit (your choice) strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, mango, banana, raspberry, peach, blackberry.
1/2 c yogurt (Vanilla or honey – low fat or Greek)
1/3 c pineapple juice (or approx. 1/3 of a small can)
1 Tbsp Agave nectar
Light Vanilla Soy Milk

I fill the blender cup about 2/3 full of frozen fruit (my fave combo is strawberry and pineapple), then add the yogurt, juice and nectar and enough soy milk to bring it to the fill line on the cup. Then blend for about 10-15 seconds. Remove the blender cup and shake it up to help the fruit to move down to the blades and blend again for about 15-20 more seconds – this usually will be enough. When doing smoothies I do recommend that you blend in short intervals because the blender does seem to want to overheat if you blend too long.

I make these smoothies as a treat after supper and sometimes as part of my breakfast.

Notice my much clearer pictures? I have been using my phone to snap the pictures because it is just so much easier than using my big bulky Nikon when cooking. I just got a new phone with an amazing 8mp camera on it.

Note: Check your Agave before you buy it. Some brands are not 100% Agave. Some have added sugars to them. So check the ingredients list for anything other that Agave listed. The Florida Crystals brand in the picture above only lists Agave.


This recipe is a variation of a low-fat muffin/cupcake recipe that has been around for a while. There are only 2 ingredients in the original recipe – Cake mix of your choice and 1 15oz can 100% pumpkin puree. You mix the 2 together and fill your muffin cups and bake. Most people use spice cake or carrot cake as those seem to work best with the pumpkin. And I agree as I have tried making all kinds of muffins from that recipe and unless you have a cake mix that can over power the pumpkin then you can taste it. I have always wanted to make a yummy chocolate version, but no matter the cake mix brand or chocolate flavor I use the pumpkin is still there. So I started to experiment with adding things to it and finally combined parts of 2 different recipes to come up with a very chocolate-y tasting muffin. I made two batches this time because I only had a large 29oz pumpkin puree. I also had two different cake mixes, however, both were a version of chocolate.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

1 box of your favorite chocolate cake mix
1 15oz can 100% pure pumpkin puree (be careful not to get the pumpkin pie mix)
2 snack cups fat free chocolate pudding
2 envelopes Swiss Miss diet hot chocolate
4 Tbsp mini chocolate morsels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix everything together. Spray a 12 cup muffin pan with cooking spray and fill each cup to almost full. Put muffins in oven and bake for time on box (each brand differs in time, but there should be a bake time for muffins as well as cake) Approx. 15-18 minutes. 1 box of cake mix will make 12 muffins.

For my muffins I had the milk chocolate cake mix in the picture above and a red velvet cake mix. So this was an experiment for the red velvet to see if it would remain red and taste super chocolate-y and it did. You can eat these as a dessert or do like we do and have them for breakfast.


Another yummy On-The-Go breakfast idea using my fave little egg skillet.

You basically just make your favorite omelet with 1 egg in the skillet. You don’t fold it, instead you just flip it.

The good thing about omelets is you can make them any way you want. Just be smart about your choices, use turkey products in place of pork and use plenty of veggies. You can have ham and cheese, all veggie, or a lean meat with veggies. You can make it southwest by adding salsa. It’s all up to you and what you want.

I used
Canadian Bacon
red bell pepper

First you need to cook the filling items you plan to use and then set them aside. Heat your pan over medium low heat. Scramble 1 egg with a fork, add about 1 tablespoon of filling (can also add cheese of your choice at this time).

Spray the pan with cooking spray and add the egg mixture to the heated pan and cover.

Covering it will help it to cook from the top as well as the bottom. When you are ready to flip it, it will be mostly cooked and only need about 30-40 seconds more.

Once it is mostly done with only a little raw egg in the middle of the top as in the above picture you can slide it out onto a spatula and flip it over to cook on the other side. This pan is small so it is hard to turn eggs over. That is the main reason for using the lid to help it cook and make it easier to flip by sliding it out onto the spatula.

When you are finished it should look like this. I allow them to cool and keep in a container in the fridge until ready to eat each morning.

My favorite way to eat these on the go is in a sandwich using deli flats.

I love the Flax Seed deli flats. And as you can see above the round omelet is perfect for the round flats. I love Mayonnaise and it is one thing I refuse to give up. So I compromise and use a little mayo on one side and Dijon on the other side of the bread.
Just reheat the omelet on the microwave for about 40 seconds. This is when I top mine with cheese instead of in it. I sometimes use Colbyjack or provolone, but my fave cheese to use is Havarti.
And breakfast is served….


Tonight’s supper was a big hearty bowl of shrimp and grits minus the guilt. This recipe was given to me by a co-worker. She found it in a Southern Living Magazine. According to the recipe it only has 235 calories per serving and 6.1g of fat (that is for 1/2 cup of grits and 1/3 cup sauce). It was very good, had a little heat, but not much and once you started eating the heat went if you like them spicy I would add more hot sauce or some cayenne. And of course I added my little touch to the original recipe, so the calories and fat may be a little more but not a lot. The basmati rice in the picture is for mama, she doesn’t eat grits….I’m sure she is not a true southerner. 

1/2 tsp salt
2 c water
2 c skim milk
1 1/4 c quick-cooking grits
1/2 c fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
In a medium sauce pan bring salt, water and milk to a boil. Gradually whisk in grits. Cover and cook on medium low, stirring occasionally. Cook for about 8 minutes or until grits and done and thickened (you want them very thick so they will not be runny when the sauce is added). Whisk in Parmesan cheese and black pepper. Keep warm. 
Shrimp and Sauce:
1 T olive oil
1 8oz Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
1 lb medium size raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (41/50 count)
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/8 tsp salt
non-stick cooking spray
1 T Olive Oil
1 T all-purpose flour
1 1/4 c low sodium fat free chicken broth
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp hot sauce
1/2 c green onions, chopped
2 c firmly packed fresh baby spinach
In a nonstick skillet heat 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil over medium high heat. Cook sliced mushrooms until tender and browned. (HINT: do not season mushrooms until they are cooked completely, they will turn watery in the pan if you salt them in the beginning.) Once mushrooms are browned you can season to taste. Remove mushrooms from pan and set aside. 
Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Spray your non-stick pan with cooking spray and add shrimp. Cook shrimp over medium high heat for 1-2 minutes on each side or just until shrimp turns pink, be careful not to over cook. Remove from pan and set aside. 
Reduce heat to medium. Add 1 T Olive oil, heat for about 30 seconds. Whisk in flour and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Whisk in broth and add garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper, hot sauce and green onions. Cook about 3-5 minutes or until sauce starts to thicken. Add spinach, mushrooms and shrimp to sauce and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until spinach is slightly wilted. Serve immediately over grits. Can garnish with lemon zest, green onions and some fresh Parmesan cheese if you like.