Salads, side dish

Santa Fe Salad

I can’t beleive I have never posted this recipe. my daughter asked the other day if I could post this recipe to her Facebook Group for Recipe Share Wednesday. When I went browsing through the blog I did not find it. This is a classic Tills’ summer salad recipe that we have been making for over 25 years.

Back when we had our first house we had a picnic and one of my hubby’s co-workers brought this salad. We immediately asked for the recipe and it has been a summer staple. It goes together in just a few minutes after you cook the brown rice and has very easy ingredients.


2 cups cooked brown rice
1 16oz. can black beans, rinsed
1 17 oz can of whole kernal corn, drained
1/8 cup minced onion (use discretion)
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons cnipped cilantro
2 jalapeno peppers, minced
2 teasopoons chili poswer
1 teaspoon salt


Combine rice, beans, corn and onion. Combine vinegar, oil, cilantro, peppers, chili powder and salt in a small jar with a lid. Pour over rice mixture, toss lightly. Cover and chill 2 to 3 hours for flavors to blend. Stir before serving.

Dinner, Seafood

Sesame Shrimp and Greens with Rice

Fresh off the grill

I love nothing better than cooking on the grill. The main reason is that food taste so good when it is grilled, but even better….less kitchen clean up. There is very little pots and pans to deal with which means more time for summer fun.

So this recipe was a big hit. We saw this on The Kitchen with Katie Lee. The ease of the recipe and the flavors were a big draw. Pair this with a light wine and you have a perfect summer dinner.


1/4 cup soy sauce

2 teaspoons honey 

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil 

1 tablespoon grated ginger 

1 tablespoon rice vinegar 

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes 

2 garlic cloves, grated 

1 pound (16 to 20 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined 

Nonstick cooking spray, for the foil

2 cups cooked white rice 

4 loosely-packed cups baby spinach leaves 

1 cup 1/2-inch diced zucchini 

1 cup sliced sugar snap peas 


Whisk soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, ginger, rice vinegar, pepper flakes and garlic in a large bowl. Add shrimp and toss to coat. Refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove shrimp from marinade and reserve marinade.

Preheat a grill to medium-high heat.

Prepare 4 large sheets of aluminum foil. Spray each with nonstick cooking spray. Scoop 1/2 cup rice into the center of each sheet. Top each with 1 cup spinach, 1/4 cup zucchini and 1/4 cup snap peas. Divide shrimp evenly among the packets. Spoon remaining marinade over each packet. Fold each packet to close (not too tight), leaving the seam side up.

Place packets, seam-side up, on the grill. Cook until shrimp is cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove and open packets carefully.

Beef, Dinner, one pot meals

Stuffed Pepper Casserole

Okay, so we made stuffed peppers in the crockpot and they came out great. Now we have a one pot casserole based off the stuffed pepper that is just as good. As the weather is starting to turn colder, this is a hot and hearty one pot dinner.

I guess you could call it a deconstructed stuff pepper when you look at all the ingredients.


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 green pepper diced
  • 1 red pepper diced
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Salt & pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 1-2 cups Colby Monterey Jack cheese


  • In high sided pan combine ground beef, peppers, onion, oregano, salt and pepper and cook until beef is no longer pink and vegetables are tender.
  • Add in garlic and cook about 1 minutes.
  • Add beef broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce and balsamic vinegar, stir to combine then bring to a boil.
  • Add rice and stir to combine, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes until rice is tender and juices are mainly soaked up.
  • Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup cheese.
  • Top with remaining cheese and place cover back on to melt.
  • Serve with chopped parsley if desired.


Beef, Dinner

Crockpot Stuffed Peppers

Hubby made a easy classic dish in the crockpot last week – Stuffed Peppers. We generally make them at this time of year when we can harvest the peppers we have grown in our little garden.  This year was not a good pepper year for us. Jalapeno peppers thrived while bell peppers did not take. They blossomed but then nothing. So now is a good time to pick up some peppers at.the farm market and give this recipe a try. This recipe was adapted from I Wash You Dry post.

  • 5 large bell peppers (you can use a mix of red, yellow and orange too)
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef (ground turkey works well too)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 tbsp A1 steak sauce
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1 cup cooked brown and wild rice mix (any type of cooked rice will work)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup shredded colby jack cheese
  • Cut the tops of the peppers off and discard the seeds and stems, but save the pepper portion of the tops and dice. Reserve 1/2 cup for the filling.
  • Combine the diced peppers, ground beef, onion, steak sauce, tomato sauce and rice in a large bowl and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stuff each pepper with the ground beef mixture and place in the crock pot.
  • Pour about 1/4 cup of water into the bottom of the crock pot and cover. Cook on low 6 to 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours. Just before serving top with the shredded cheese and cover until melted. Enjoy!

The bottom of the slow cooker will have quite a bit of water after cooking from the peppers releasing their water. Use a slotted spoon to pick up the peppers and let drain before plating.

Dinner, one pot meals

Cheesy Kielbasa Skillet

The one pot meal has become a go to this summer. It has all the dinner benefits combined together that is very satisfying. But what is even better is that it makes for easy clean up. Hubby scours Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration and before I know it we have a new recipe to try. Polish Sausage (Kielbasa) is flavorful on its own but when mixed in with a bunch of other delights you get a great one pot meal.

  • 4 tablespoons Butter, divided
  • 1 lb. Kielbasa sausage, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 medium zucchini, shredded
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • scallions for garnish
  1. Melt 2 tablespoons of Butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the sausage and cook until lightly browned. Add in the onion and garlic salt and cook until onion is tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the rice and cook, until lightly toasted, about 1 minute.
  2. Pour in the chicken broth and stir, breaking up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed.
  3. Fluff rice and add in the zucchini and both cheeses. Stir until cheese is melted into rice, then add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and stir until melted. Garnish with scallions and serve immediately.

Stuffed Peppers


Pulled this one off!  Wow, we planned on making this for dinner last night and then once I saw the recipe and realized that it was projected to take about 2 hours to complete it, the plan then changed to prepping it and then back it tonight.  But by the time I got to that stage, I said – let’s go ahead and bake them.  Glad I did.  This was very, very good. 
The thing with Stuffed Peppers and our family is that our favorite restaurant in town is Canale’s and they have stuffed peppers on their menu that my husband loves.  He refers to them as ” Brains”.  I guess because of their size or how they look, but he loves to order them.  Well, with our garden in full mode, we had enough peppers to make them at home.  Found a recipe on Pinterest and tweaked it a bit and here they are.  He will still order them out, but now we have a classic stuffed pepper recipe during garden harvest time.
If you are looking for a quicker version – give then link below a try for another classic stuffed peppers made with sausage, but cooked in the microwave.

Classic Stuffed Peppers

4 to 6 green peppers, or use a combination of green and red bell peppers or other colors
1 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon ​​extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried leaf basil
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (at least 85%)
1  cup long-grain rice, cooked
Shredded Mozzarella, about 1/2 to 3/4 cup, optional

Cut the tops off of the bell peppers and rinse them under cold water; remove seeds and cut away the membranes, which might be bitter. Chop the edible part of tops and set aside.  Place peppers in a large pot and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat until the oil is hot and the butter is foamy.

Sauté the chopped bell pepper (from the tops), chopped onion, and chopped celery for about 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Add the (un-drained) canned diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, crushed garlic, oregano, basil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the egg with the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Gently stir to blend; add ground beef, cooked rice, and 1 cup of the tomato sauce mixture. Mix well.

Heat the oven to 350° F.

Stuff the peppers loosely with the meat mixture and place in a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan. Pour the remaining tomato mixture over the stuffed peppers.

Bake the peppers for about 45 minutes, or until the meat mixture is thoroughly cooked. To check the internal temperature, use an instant-read thermometer. The temperature should be at least 160° F for ground beef, pork or lamb, or 165° F for ground turkey or chicken.


Slow Cooker Asian Beef with Cashews

Looking for something new to make in the crock pot?  Rummaging through the stack of recipes last weekend that we  had printed off from earlier in the year I found this tasty dinner entrée.  We had a majority of the ingredients and it looked super easy and the potential for great taste.  I did make one addition to make sure it had the Asian flavor – a little bit of toasted sesame oil. 
This would make a great week night dinner that when you come home to the house smells delicious, or make it on the weekend and have it cooking while your prepping your house for winter or decorating for the holidays. 
The family loved it and tagged it a make again recipe.  My  only regret is not having some fortune cookies  to nibble on post dinner!

Asian Beef with Cashews


4 Green onions
2 tbsp. oil
1 Boneless Beef Chuck, cubed (about 2 to 2 1/2 lbs.)
3 Cloves of garlic minced
1/4 cup teriyaki Sauce
2 red bell peppers chopped coarsely
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 tbsp. corn starch
1/2 cup Asian Toasted Sesame dressing
2 cups snow peas, cut diagonally
1/2 cup Planters Cashew Pieces
 toasted sesame oil


Slice onions, keeping the sliced white bottoms and green tops separate. Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add meat; cook 5 min. or until evenly browned, stirring occasionally and adding garlic for the last minute. Stir in teriyaki sauce, bell peppers, crushed pepper, white onion slices and a small drizzle of toasted sesame oil. Pour into slow cooker; cover with lid.
Cook on LOW 5 to 6 hours (or on HIGH 3 to 4 hours).
Mix cornstarch, dressing and a touch more sesame oil until blended. Add to slow cooker with snow peas and nuts; stir. Cook, uncovered, 10 min. or until slightly thickened. Top with green onion slices and serve over rice.

Old Fashioned Chicken and Gravy over Rice -Crockpot Style

After a very busy weekend in the garden and the kitchen, it was time to come home from work and have dinner almost ready to eat.  Hubby has been trolling through my Facebook feeds or Pinterest postings and found a chicken dish for the crock pot.  Now, he doesn’t like to just follow the recipes to the letter, he likes to examine them and see where he can make improvements where as some people like to try it the way it is written the first time then make improvements and changes the second time they make it.  I think you will like his improvements to give his recipe a try.

Chicken and Gravy over Rice


2 packets dry chicken gravy mix
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups water
1/2 cup sautéed onions
1 cup of carrots ( we used the small carrots found in the produce section)
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
garlic powder, salt & black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup sour cream 
 4 cups of cooked rice
Sliced scallions


Season chicken breasts with garlic powder, black pepper and just a pinch of salt on both sides, about a teaspoon.   

In your slow cooker, whisk together the gravy packets, cream of chicken soup, water and sautéed onions. Whisk until smooth. Add the seasoned chickens breast, carrots and cover with gravy.  Cook covered for 6 to 8 hours on low.  Or adjust your times based on how your crock pot functions.  Ours tend to cook faster than normal, but then again it is 23 years old!

Once the chicken is cooked through, break it up with a fork into small pieces. Stir in sour cream and serve over rice, mashed potatoes or noodles. Garnish with sliced scallions.

This came out wonderful and the additions he made we just right.  Maybe someday he will let me back in the kitchen.


Back to Basics – Paula Deen Chicken and Rice Casserole

Awhile back we had a bunch of full roasted chickens left after a dinner and we didn’t know what to do with them, until hubby had the idea of taking all the meat off and freezing it into 3 lb bags to be used for casseroles.  We picked three pounds because it seemed that all the recipes we were using called for about that much.  When he finished prepping the bags we had 3 bags of chicken for us to put in the freezer and 1 bag for each of our mothers to use.  



So a couple of weeks ago we had a night off  from sporting events where we could have one of those casserole nights. We scoured the binder of recipes and found the Paula Deen Chicken  and Rice casserole that we made a few years ago.  Hubby checked the pantry for ingredients and made shopping list that he could grab during the day.   When I came home from work, the casserole was already in the final prep phases and ready for the oven. 
My one concern was the water chestnuts.  I am not a fan of them, but hubby left them whole so I could find them easily and push them aside.  So my plate look like a little kids plate at the end of the meal with a pile of water chestnut cast to the side. For our daughter, she had a pile of the dark meat from the chicken.  She is not a fan of that.  So when preparing this, adjust to your taste preferences.

This casserole makes a lot, so there were plenty of left overs.

Chicken and  Rice Casserole


2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
3 cups diced, cooked chicken
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans green beans, drained and rinsed
1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 (4-ounce) jar pimentos
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of celery soup
1 cup mayonnaise
1 (6-ounce) box long-grain wild rice, cooked according to package directions (allow time for this to cook before preparing dish)
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar
Pinch salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat butter or oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl.

Add all remaining ingredients to bowl and mix together until thoroughly combined.

Pour into a greased 3-quart casserole dish. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand for a few minutes before serving.


Crock pot to the rescue

This has been a really tough week.  We have had 4 softball games, 2 baseball games, and practices.  Our son was on a school trip to Washington DC and didn’t get home until 10:30 on Tuesday. There was a school meeting on the upcoming junior/senior after the prom party that ran pretty late and hubby was out of town one night.  The hardest part about these weeks is when both kids have games on the same night your just not sure what time everyone will be home for dinner. 

We really try to make dinner a family together time.  I know that some families just get food on the fly and not try and eat together when their schedules are as hectic as this.  We strive to be all together, unless our daughter is working.  Dinner time is a chance to catch up on everyone’s day, find out what is required of the next day and a chance to just unwind from all the running around. So last night, after a leftover night, a Coney’s on the grill night and a let’s stop for pizza after the game night, we had a let’s all sit down together crock pot dinner night! 

 During my lunch hour yesterday, I ran to the grocery store for the needed ingredients, then ran home and threw everything together.  I even had the rice all ready to go and the table set so that when we did finally get home there was less to do. 

Our daughter’s game finished earlier than the JV baseball game so she got a ride home with a friend.  Since we had two cars at the baseball game I took off for home ahead of the guys as soon as the last out was called.  On my way I called home to have our daughter start the rice.  Everything time out perfectly for us to finally sit down at 7:45 for a home cooked meal.  Now this was a new recipe and it was pretty good.  My only issue was that the chicken might of cooked too long, but who can really time how long a game can go on for! I would suggest keeping it to 3 to 3 1/2 hours max.

Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken
Serves 4

1 1/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (thighs would be fine too)
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons diced onion
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 3 Tablespoons water
Sesame seeds
Season both sides of chicken with lightly with salt and pepper, put into crock pot. In a small bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil, garlic and pepper flakes. Pour over chicken. Cook on low for 3-4 hours or on high 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 hours, or just until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from crock pot, leave sauce. Dissolve 2 teaspoons of cornstarch in 3 tablespoons of water and pour into crock pot. Stir to combine with sauce. Replace lid and cook sauce on high for ten more minutes or until slightly thickened. Cut chicken into bite size pieces, then return to pot and toss with sauce before serving. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over rice or noodles