December 1st, 2017

Double Bacon Feta Burgers

Double bacon feta burgers

My kids get so excited when we make this recipe. Making double bacon feta burgers comes close to eating out in terms of happy kids. Happy adults too. Bacon in the burger patty itself along with strips of bacon on top makes a great burger.

Being burgers, the burger part is best made on the grill, but that doesn’t always work out. My propane grill is out of order, so if there’s no time for heating the charcoal or if we have a no-burn day, we resort to making them in the oven. It still works.

That’s what happened the day I most recently decided to make these. My niece was visiting, and we wanted to have something fun to eat without spending as much as we would by taking her out to eat. Unfortunately, due to local air quality, we had a no-burn order, so grilling over charcoal was out.

If you have to make your burgers in the oven, make sure you have them up on racks to get them out of the grease. It helps. You can also make your burgers in a skillet, but I find the oven easier when making these for a crowd.

You can use your favorite burger recipe for the burger part. We mix bacon crumbles from Costco and feta into the burger mix. The feta gets mixed in last because one of my kids really doesn’t like it. I have to track the burger without feta carefully for her.

ground beef bacon

If you’re cooking outside, be warned: flies really, really love this mix. We have to get them on the grill fast if we’re making them during warm weather. I think it’s the strong smell of feta combined with the meat that does it. We get a lot of flies here sometimes because there’s a chicken farm about a mile away.

These, of course, were prepped for the oven. It’s really hard to keep up with the burgers if you want to make them in a skillet when you’re cooking for seven people. They won’t all fit in the skillet, and who wants a cold burger? The oven makes sense sometimes.

bacon burger patties

The regular bacon used to top the burgers I make in the oven. That’s easier when you’re making a bunch of bacon. Watch it carefully – it can burn quickly. I line up skewers to keep the bacon from lying flat on the baking sheet if my racks are being used for the burgers. If the bacon is flat on the baking sheet it can be difficult to remove.

Oven bacon


The other toppings for double bacon feta burgers depend on what you like. I make sure to have sliced tomatoes, sliced pickles, lettuce, ketchup, mustard, and pickle relish ready. Sometimes I thinly slice bell peppers as well. I’m often lazy with the lettuce and just use the packaged stuff for salads. It’s more likely to get used up with other meals than a whole head of lettuce around here.

Get your double bacon feta burgers

This is one of those self serve meals for the family. Once everything is ready, everyone gets called to come make their burgers. Things get a little chaotic for a few minutes, but it’s a happy chaos.

Double bacon feta burgers

Double bacon feta burgers

Double Bacon Feta Burgers


  • 1 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 cup crumbled bacon
  • 1/4 cup feta
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 package sliced bacon
  • 1 package hamburger buns
  • lettuce, tomatoes, etc.


  1. In a large bowl, mix together ground beef, crumbled bacon, feta, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and black pepper by hand. Form into patties.

  2. Place patties on grill and cook for about 5 minutes per side or until done. Burgers may also be cooked on a skillet or in the oven if grilling isn't possible.

  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

  4. Cover baking sheet with foil. Place baking rack or several skewers on baking sheet. Spread sliced bacon on the rack or skewers. Bake for 12-20 minutes. Check frequently starting around 12 minutes. Bacon goes from not done to burnt very quickly.

  5. Move the cooked bacon to a plate lined with paper towels.

  6. Set up burgers, bacon, buns, and toppings for everyone to assemble their burgers. Call in the hordes to come eat.

November 10th, 2017

Homemade Pizza With Herbed Crust

Homemade Pizza With Herbed Crust

If there’s one food most families love, it has to be pizza. It’s easy to order, but it’s also not that hard to make. The main focus in this recipe is on the crust. Toppings and all that, I’m pretty sure you can figure out, although I will share some ideas. A good crust is key to a good homemade pizza.

A good pizza stone is a help when baking your pizza. You can use a pizza pan or baking sheet if that’s what you have, but a properly used pizza stone helps the crust bake better. How best to use a pizza stone varies by the company that made it, so check the instructions to see how best to use yours. Some need to preheat in the oven for as much as an hour. Others don’t need to be preheated.

You can have all kinds of fun making pizzas as a family. You could even break up the pizza crust dough into smaller batches to make personal pizzas for everyone, and let everyone choose their own toppings. It takes a lot more room in the oven, and it’s more work rolling out the individual pizza crusts, but it’s not too bad.

I have one kid who doesn’t like pepperoni, while the rest all adore it, so I usually make two pizzas. This also ensures leftovers. The kids love taking homemade pizza to school for lunch, so this is a good thing.

I use my bread machine to make the dough. It’s much easier than making it by hand. Give it some time to rise after the machine is done mixing it.

pizza dough rising

Believe it or not, I worked for more than a year in a pizza place, and I never learned to toss the dough. I worked the phones or front counter, taking orders and sometimes making salads. The guys who made the pizzas used to joke that women weren’t allowed, although they were perfectly willing to teach those who insisted. I didn’t especially want to back then, so I didn’t.

I roll out the dough instead. Coat the counter with flour and drop the dough for the pizza crust on it. Rub more flour on the rolling pin, keeping it above the dough so that flour falls on it as well. Sprinkle flour or cornmeal on your pizza pan, stone or baking sheet as well.

ready to roll

Roll out the crust to fit your pizza pan, stone or baking sheet. When the crust dough is the right size, place it on its pan. Stab several times with a fork to minimize bubbles.

uncooked pizza crust

I like to bake it for about five minutes before adding toppings; otherwise I’ve found it sometimes challenging to bake the crust completely without burning the cheese.

While the pizza crust bakes, prepare your toppings. I’m lazy enough to use grated mozzarella from Costco rather than grating it myself. If you want a better quality cheese, you’ll have to grate it. The Costco stuff does well enough for our purposes.

homemade pizza topping ideas

My family likes using bacon and pepperoni for toppings. We use the precooked bacon crumbles from Costco. They aren’t greasy, which I consider to be a huge plus. Feta cheese also goes well.

uncooked homemade pizza pepperoni bacon

For my daughter who doesn’t like pepperoni, I just use the bacon and some vegetables. Usually, that’s olives and bell peppers. That all goes on half the pizza. The other half gets the same, but I add pepperoni and artichoke hearts to it as well. Everyone eyes the half I make for me, but they never want it made for everyone. All part of the fun of homemade pizza, I guess.

uncooked homemade pizza mom style

Finish baking the pizzas. The cheese should be completely melted and the crust lightly browned when done.

homemade pizza mom style

Wait 5-10 minutes before slicing. This lets the cheese solidify a little so the toppings don’t slide all over. Call in the ravening hordes (or just the kids) and let them eat.

homemade pizza mom style

Homemade Pizza With Herbed Crust


  • 1 cup warm water about 110 degrees F
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups bread flour may need extra
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp Italian herbs oregano, basil, thyme, etc., to taste


  1. Add water, olive oil, sugar, and salt to bread machine, then add both types of flour and the garlic. 

  2. Add the yeast on top. Sprinkle with the herbs and turn the bread machine on in a dough cycle.

  3. Mix 15-30 minutes, then allow dough to rest for at least 10 minutes. You may need to add extra flour if the dough doesn't form a good ball.

  4. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.

  5. Sprinkle counter with flour. Sprinkle flour or cornmeal on pizza pan as well if desired. Roll dough out to fit your pizza pan, stone or baking sheet. Place on pizza pan and roll up any edges that hang over.

  6. Bake without toppings for five minutes.

  7. Add your choice of sauce, cheese, and other toppings. Bake 7-10 minutes more or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.

September 1st, 2017

Creamy Chayote Soup

Creamy Chayote Soup

Chayote soup is a favorite of mine. It’s healthy yet super creamy in flavor. The great part is, there’s no cream, just a little butter.

You need a good blender for this recipe. I use my Vitamix, which works very well. The soup comes out nice and smooth. An immersion blender might work well enough for this recipe too.

Many chayote soup recipes say to peel the chayote. I don’t. It’s not necessary. You won’t notice the peel in the flavor. Many people have a reaction to raw chayote while peeling it, causing irritation to the skin. If you peel yours, wear gloves!

Start out by chopping the chayote into 1 inch chunks. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt butter, then add onions, garlic and crushed red pepper. Saute until onion is clear. Add the chayote and cilantro. Add salt and pepper for taste. Saute for about five minutes.

saute chayote

Add broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes or until chayote is tender.

cooked chayote

Blender time! I scoop the chayote out of the liquid with a slotted spoon or bamboo skimmer, and put it into the blender first, then pour the remaining liquid in. This feels much easier than trying to control the whole thing while pouring hot liquid. No worries about the chunks getting out of control if you do it this way.

chayote soup in blender

You do not need to use all of the liquid in the blender. All you need is enough liquid to make it blend. Blend until smooth.

chayote soup

If you want to bring this recipe up a level for meat lovers, add in some cooked bacon. Bacon does something nice for the flavor. It’s not necessary, but it is good! Add it in when you start cooking the chayote.

It’s easy to make this soup vegan if you prefer. Just use oil in place of butter, and vegetable stock in place of chicken stock.

This is a very filling soup. A bowl of it can almost be a meal by itself.

chayote soup

Creamy Chayote Soup


  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp butter or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • crushed red pepper flakes to taste
  • jalapeno optional
  • 2 chayote squash cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • bacon optional
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion, garlic, and red pepper. Include jalapeno if desired. Saute until onion is tender. 

  2. Add the squash, cilantro, salt and pepper (and bacon if desired), and continue cooking for 5 minutes.

  3. Add broth and simmer for 20 minutes or until chayote is tender.

  4. Use a slotted spoon to removed chayote from broth, and place in blender. Pour enough broth into blender to combine ingredients. Blend into a puree.

  5. Pour into bowls to serve. Garnish with cilantro if desired.

Recipe Notes

Use olive oil to replace butter, and vegetable broth to replace chicken broth to make recipe vegan.

August 18th, 2017

Turmeric Chicken

turmeric chicken recipe

Turmeric chicken is a very popular meal in our house. My youngest, who swears up and down that she hates all spicy food, calls turmeric chicken one of her favorite meals. Admittedly, I don’t put a lot of the red chilies in there, but the flavor is there. I’m not going to point that out to her.

That my picky youngest likes this goes well with my husband’s theory on kids and yellow foods. He says kids just like yellow foods. He counts carrots as yellow. Unless you’re buying yellow carrots, they’re usually orange when I look at them. But it’s not worth the argument. Too minor.

I like making turmeric chicken when I don’t want to spend a lot of time on dinner. Chopping the onion and the chicken can take a while, but it’s not that bad. Start cooking the onion and garlic in the oil. Add the chicken.

chicken in pan

Then you throw the turmeric and other spices. Stir to coat the chicken completely with turmeric. Cook until the chicken is lightly cooked on the outside, but not cooked through.

Add water, cover and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

This goes very well with rice. The leftover water in the pan goes well with rice. I usually simmer the water down a little to evaporate the excess water before adding to rice.

Be warned that turmeric stains. Get too much on your hands, and it’s hard to get all of it off. It can also be difficult to scrub off your countertops, floor, sink… trust my experience on that one. If any turmeric gets spilled, clean it up promptly. Try hard to keep it off your clothes.

turmeric chicken on plate

I served this one with rice, tomatoes and bell peppers. The mess off to the side is a pile of grilled, marinated artichoke hearts. I found the bottles at my local 99 Only store, and they are soooo good! I bought probably too many bottles (over a dozen!) but at a dollar per, I figured it was reasonable. The hard part is not going through them too fast, because I want to figure out some recipes with them. They’re good on their own, though.

Turmeric Chicken Recipe

Turmeric Chicken


  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • crushed red chilies to taste
  • 3 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup water


  1. Turn stove burner to medium. Heat oil in large frying pan and fry onion, garlic, and red chilies until onion turns clear.
  2. Add chicken, turmeric, salt, and pepper and stir to coat chicken thoroughly with turmeric. Cook until golden all over.
  3. Add water, cover and bring to a boil. Turn the stove to low, and simmer until chicken is cooked through.
  4. Uncover and continue to simmer to evaporate excess liquid.
  5. Serve with rice.

August 8th, 2017

Whole Wheat Pancakes

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons oil
additional oil for frying

  1. Oil a frying pan (nonstick pans are very helpful).
  2. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in one bowl.
  3. In another bowl, scramble the egg, then add the milk and the 2 tablespoons of oil.
  4. Mix the dry and wet ingredients together, well enough to eliminate dry spots but no more.
  5. Heat the frying pan to medium temperature.
  6. Pour a pancake, about 4 inches in diameter using about a 1/4 cup of batter.
  7. The pancake will bubble. When the bubbling settles down and the edges are slightly dry, flip the pancake.
  8. When the pancake looks done, remove it and start another one.

These are slightly healthier than pancakes made with white flour, as they have more fiber. Be creative and don’t limit yourself to just maple syrup – how about a fruit topping, depending on the season? Of course, you could just put the fruit on the side and still have a very good breakfast, but combining them can be fun too.

August 8th, 2017

Pineapple Barbeque Chicken

2 cups barbeque sauce
1 15 oz can pineapple chunks
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 chopped bell pepper

Combine barbeque sauce and juice from pineapple chunks in a bowl.

Place chicken in slow cooker. Pour sauce over it.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours, adding pineapple and bell pepper late in the cooking.

Editor’s Note:

I always recommend adding fruits and vegetables late in the cooking with a slow cooker if you like them a little crunchy. Add them early on and they tend to lack flavor.

August 8th, 2017

Pesto Breaded Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2-3 tbsp pesto
1/2 cup bread crumbs

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  2. Coat chicken with pesto then cover with bread crumbs.
  3. Place in baking pan and bake uncovered until chicken is no longer pink, about 35-45 minutes.

August 8th, 2017

Mediterranean Chicken Un-salad

2 tsp lemon pepper
1/3 cups white all-purpose flour
1 pounds uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast cut in four 4 oz pieces
4 medium scallions, chopped
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, (juice of 1 lemon)
1/8 tsp curry powder
3 Tbsp fat free Italian salad dressing
1/2 cups avocado, peeled and diced
3 small plum tomatoes, diced
7 medium olives, jumbo pitted,chopped

Preheat oven to 400F. Coat a baking dish with cooking spray.

Combine seasoning and flour in a large mixing bowl. Lightly coat chicken with cooking spray, then dip and coat each breast with flour mixture. Place chicken in prepared dish and bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine scallions, lemon juice, curry powder, dressing, avocado, tomatoes and olives.

Divide chicken breasts between four plates and top with avocado salsa.

August 8th, 2017

Italian Chicken and Potatoes

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup Italian salad dressing
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 cup grated parmesan
8 potatoes; peeled, cut into wedges


  1. Place chicken in bottom of crockpot.
  2. Sprinkle with half Italian dressing, spices, and the grated cheese.
  3. Put potatoes over chicken. Sprinkle with remaining ingredients.
  4. Cook on low 6-8 hours.

August 8th, 2017

Honey Rosemary Chicken

1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1-2 tbsp dried rosemary
2 tbsp olive oil
6 skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

  1. Mix honey, vinegar, rosemary, and oil.
  2. Place chicken in resealable plastic bag. Pour in mixture. Seal and turn the bag over to coat the chicken. Refrigerate for at least two hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Place chicken in 9×13 baking pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Bake for about one hour, basting occasionally with marinade.

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