“My Mom’s” Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

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Ok, just putting the words “chicken” and “tortilla” together make me salivate.  So, when I had the opportunity to create two different versions of chicken tortilla soup, it was like sensory overload, y’all!

First, I wanted to share the recipe my mom has been making for a few years.  I’m not going to lie, it’s not the healthiest recipe, but OH-MY-GOODNESS!  Is it ever so delicious!  Talk about “comfort food” – this one is packed with “comforting” goodness in every bite!

Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

When you’re done with this one, check out my Vitamix recipe for chicken tortilla soup, too!

“My Mom’s Chicken Tortilla Soup” [Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Homemade Baked Tortilla Strips

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Homemade Baked Tortilla Strips

Y’all, this is a stupid easy, fool-proof recipe for homemade baked tortilla strips:

Preheat oven to 350.  Take 1-2 tortillas, and cut in to small strips.  I make mine about 1/2 an inch wide.  (And I use the world’s very best pizza cutter to make the job a breeze!)  Place single layer on baking pan.  Bake for 7 minutes.

**If you’re feeling super-adventurous, sprinkle a little taco seasoning on them.  But trust me, they’re just fine by themselves, as well.**

 



 

[Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Healthy Organic Kid-Friendly “Fast Food” for Pennies

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I am super-pleased to have Robyn, founder of Active Mama’s show you how to create healthy organic fast food for your kids.  Also,  find out how to win a munchie mug (see below) from Active Mama’s.

Healthy Fast Food

It’s possible to feed your children healthy organic fast food that has no hormones, no steroids, no pesticides and no refined sugar for just 61¢ per meal.  Yes, you read that right, less than one dollar a meal.

Put your preconceived notions to the side.  I have only 3 disclaimers:

  1. Your meal size should depend on how much your child eats.  My child is 2 years old.  It generally takes him two sittings to finish one of my meals, but if he’s in a growth spurt he wolfs it down in one.
  2. How many vegetables you need depend on the size of your vegetable.
  3. You know your kids allergies.  Don’t use an ingredient if your kid’s allergic to it. (Okay, I know you know that… just saying).

Just try this plan once, you’ll be delighted.

Here are my tips for healthy organic fast food for your kids. [Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

I Was Going to Give Y’all A New Recipe Here, But… {How to NOT Make Meatballs}

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*sigh*  This was supposed to be a post about a new recipe for meatballs — a take on my “better for you meatballs” — but instead, I bring you a lesson on how to NOT make meatballs.

First, here is the quick recipe for how you’re SUPPOSED to make these meatballs, using Kraft Fresh Takes breadcrumbs and cheese, and ground turkey:

How to NOT make meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground turkey (or ground beef)
  • 1 pkg Kraft Fresh Takes Four Cheese blend
  • ~1-2 cup minced onion, celery, green pepper blend (I use a frozen variety from Kroger.)
  • 1-2 cup finely chopped spinach

Preheat oven to 350.  Sautee veggies if desired, then using a mixing bowl gently fold with spinach and Fresh Takes in to ground meat.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  (This allows for easier “scoop ability”.)  Using an ice cream scoop, place 1″ meatballs on pan, sprayed with cooking spray or brushed lightly with EVOO.  Place in oven for 20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 160.

How to NOT Make Meatballs

How can something look so good, but go so terribly wrong?!?

See?  Seems easy.  And if I hadn’t missed one crucial step, I’m sure this would’ve turned out well.  But -well, that would’ve been WAY too easy!  And y’all know by now, I don’t do “easy”….

I placed my scooped-and-balled meatballs on to pans, and placed in garage fridge to chill.  And then -through a series of events I no longer even fully recall!- I forgot about them.  For three days.

Yeah, ground meat just doesn’t do well out in the open like that.  SO, I went ahead and baked them as the recipe called for, sans EVOO, and fed them to the dog.  Then I stuck a new box of baking soda in the garage refrigerator.  *sigh*

So, if someone ends up making these, and actually follows the recipe, I’d love to hear how it turns out.  In the meantime, just have a good chuckle on my behalf.

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Smoked Salmon Flatbread

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I seriously heart smoked salmon.  Like borderline addict love it.  This oh-so-fancy smoked salmon and arugula flatbread is one of my favorite dishes to order when we manage to sneak out to a nice restaurant without kiddos.  Unfortunately, that happens never like twice a year, and that’s just not often enough for me.  Did I mention how much I love smoked salmon?

Anyhow, after making the ghost pizzas with the kiddos for Halloween, I realized there was a leftover tube of pizza dough, and I had a smoked-salmon-withdrawal-induced stroke of genius.  I could just make my own flatbread at home!  Duh, right?  I’m super cheap and make copycat restaurant meals all the time, so why this never occurred to me, I don’t know.

It’s awesome.  You’ll love it.  I promise.

Smoked salmon flatbread with arugula, dill, lemon, capers, onions and cream cheese - Super easy and great for parties!

Smoked Salmon Flatbread

Ingredients:
1 tube prepared pizza dough (in the canned biscuit aisle)
8 ounces cream cheese (whipped is easier to spread)
1 Tbs minced garlic
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbs chopped fresh dill
2 cups arugula
2-3 ounces smoked salmon, torn into small pieces
2 Tbs chopped red onion
2 Tbs capers
Salt and pepper

Smoked salmon flatbread with arugula, dill, lemon, capers, onions and cream cheese - Super easy and great for parties!

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425
2. Unroll pizza dough and spread out onto a large cookie sheet
3. Bake until lightly browned and cooked all the way through
4. Remove from heat and let cool
5. Mix together cream cheese, lemon juice, garlic and dill
6. Spread evenly over cooled flatbread
7. Top with arugula, salmon, onions and capers
8. Season with salt and pepper as desired
9. Cut into squares and serve immediately

Printer friendly version of Smoked Salmon Flatbread

Smoked salmon flatbread with arugula, dill, lemon, capers, onions and cream cheese - Super easy and great for parties!

This smoked salmon flatbread is the perfect finger food for parties.  Or delicious for lunch if you want to keep the whole thing to yourself.  I won’t tell anyone if you eat all of it in one sitting.  As long as you don’t tell anyone that I did the same thing. 😉

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Marinated Zucchini and Chickpea Salad

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



I don’t eat a lot of meat.  I like meat, it’s just that my body is not a big fan of it.  Maybe I’m missing some important enzyme or something that helps me break it down.  That would be my luck.  Anyhow, I tend to eat very little meat to keep from having a crazy, messed up gut all the time.  Well, except for bacon.  Because it’s bacon, duh.

So since I don’t eat a lot of meat, I get my protein from other places.  Like chickpeas!  Of course, I don’t just eat them plain (boring!), I like to mix them in with different dishes.  I threw this particular salad together the other morning to have for lunch, and ended up eating it for 3 days!  It makes a lot more than you would think. 🙂

Marinated-zucchini and chickpea salad

Marinated Zucchini and Chickpea Salad

1 medium zucchini, halved and sliced
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
2 cups chickpeas (if canned, rinse well first)
2 roma tomatoes, sliced into strips
1/4 cup chopped roasted red pepper
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs lemon juice
1/2 tsp sugar
salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients together and marinate for at least six hours in the refrigerator before serving.  Don’t forget, the longer it sits, the more delicious it tastes!

Marinated-zucchini and chickpea salad

That’s it!  Short, sweet and to the point.  Unless of course, you want me to ramble on and on about chickpeas.  Which I can totally do, by the way.  No?  Fine.  Jeez.

Here’s a video about chick peas instead, just because I find it hilarious.

Look –> Dancing and informative cartoon chick peas!

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Chicken Saltimbocca from eMeals

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



If you haven’t heard of eMeals, you are SO missing out!  It’s a meal planning service that makes my life so much easier on busy days.  I’m lucky enough to be working with them as an ambassador, so I get to share some of the awesome food we make along with the recipes so you can try them out at home!


Each week you get a new set of recipes emailed to you, complete with a shopping list and easy-to-follow directions.  They have an awesome app you can use that makes the shopping and preparation fast and simple.  No need to print anything or make a list on a separate sheet of paper!  eMeals offers 12 different dinner plans to choose from, and you can even customize them specifically for the store you shop at the most!  We’re currently using the Mediterranean plan, though I’ve tried out Clean Eating, Classic, and Simple Gourmet in the past as well, and they’ve all been fantastic.  It’s less than $5.00 a month for the yearly membership, and trust me, it is so worth it with the time you’ll save planning out meals and shopping trips!

Tonight we had the Chicken Saltimbocca and it was absolutely amazing.  The kids loved it and so did we.  It’s definitely going on my list of things to make on a regular basis.  I know you’re going to love it too!

Chicken Saltimbocca Recipe from eMeals

Chicken Saltimbocca

Ingredients:
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
12 thin slices prosciutto (about 3 oz)
10 oz package chopped frozen spinach, thawed
1½ cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup olive oil, divided
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter

Chicken Saltimbocca Recipe from eMeals

Directions:
1.  Cut each chicken breast half in half again horizontally to make 12 cutlets.
2.  Pound cutlets to about ¼-inch thickness; sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3.  Top each cutlet with 1 slice prosciutto.
4.  Squeeze excess moisture from spinach; divide spinach evenly among cutlets.
5.  Top each cutlet with 2 tablespoons cheese.
6.  Roll up; secure with wooden picks.
7.  Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
8.  Add half of cutlets to pan; cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until done.
9.  Repeat procedure with remaining oil and cutlets.
10.  Set cutlets aside and keep warm.
11.  Add broth and juice to pan; bring to a boil.
12.  Cook until reduced to ¼ cup; remove from heat and stir in butter.
13.  Serve sauce over cutlets.

Chicken Saltimbocca Recipe from eMeals
Chicken Saltimbocca Recipe from eMeals


eMeals Meal Plans

This post contains affiliate links.  As an ambassador, eMeals has provided me with a free membership in exchange for sharing how awesome I think their service is.  And it really is awesome y’all!

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Caramel Apple Cream Puffs – Delicious and easy!

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



Cream puffs. You know you love them. I typically buy the tub of them from the freezer section of the grocery store as an impulse, you know like when you’ve been shopping for over an hour and your kids are asking for everything and you haven’t had dinner and OH MY GOD I MUST HAVE THESE RIGHT NOW.

Those shopping trips. Lol.

However, if I actually plan ahead, I can just make them at home in under an hour for a lot less money.  Cream puffs are actually one of the easiest desserts to make, yet they come out looking fancy schmancy like they took all day.  They always make me think of the rice krispies treats commercial from years ago, you know the one I’m talking about!  (No?  What’s wrong with you?!  Just kidding, you can check it out below!)

 

Today I’m sharing how to make cream puffs at home, with a delicious caramel apple twist on the traditional cream and chocolate.  I got a jar of Musselman’s Apple Butter at a conference I attended this summer (they were a sponsor for Reviewer’s Retreat) and I knew it’s spiced apple flavor would be perfect for making my fall inspired cream puffs!  Check out the recipe below, and see just how easy they are to make for yourself!

Caramel Apple Cream Puffs

Caramel Apple Cream Puffs

Ingredients:

Dough for Puffs
1 cup water
1/3 cup butter
1/3 tsp salt
1 cup all purpose flour
4 eggs (beaten)

Apple Cream Filling
8 oz container whipped cream (frozen)
½ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup Musselman’s Apple Butter

Caramel Drizzle
1 cup of unwrapped hard caramels

Caramel Apple Cream Puffs

Directions:

Puffs
1.  Preheat oven to 375.
2.  Bring water, salt and butter to a boil in a small saucepan.
3.  Quickly stir in flour until the dough forms a ball in the middle of the saucepan.
4.  Remove from heat and add eggs.  Whisk until smooth. (Quickly, before the eggs cook from the heat)
5.  Grease two mini muffin pans (Cake Release is AWESOME for this!)
6.  Scoop dough by the tablespoon into the mini muffin pans. (I know it doesn’t look like a lot, trust me!)
7.  Bake for 20 minutes.
8.  Remove from heat and cool.  (With a fan, if you are impatient like me!)

Caramel Apple Cream Puffs

Caramel Apple Cream Puffs

I wasn’t joking about the fan!

Cream Filling
1.  Mix all cream ingredients together until smooth.
2.  Fill a squirt bottle or piping bag with the filling.
3.  Poke a hole in the side of the cooled puffs and fill with cream mixture.

Caramel Apple Cream Puffs

Caramel
1.  Melt the caramel in a microwave safe bowl for 10 seconds at a time.
2.  Remove and quickly drizzle with a fork over tops of cream puffs.
3.  Reheat as needed, as it will cool VERY quickly!

Caramel Apple Cream Puffs

Now put your beautiful Caramel Apple Cream Puffs out on a fancy plate and tell everyone to get over there and ohh and ahh over them grab one and experience the deliciousness!

Caramel Apple Cream Puffs

Thank you to Double Duty Divas, iRetreat Conference, and Musselman’s Apple Butter for the inspiration behind this recipe!  I hope you enjoy these tasty puffs of amazingness as much as we do!

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Carbonara Pasta Casserole Recipe

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



On busy nights, one of my favorite things to do for dinner is a one dish casserole.  Casseroles mean less dirty dishes, less preparation, and less time, all of which are awesome when Nate has a report due, Nikoletta needs help with handwriting, Eva is asking for me to listen to her read out loud, Ryan is confused about his algebra….you get the point. 🙂

Just because it’s a one dish meal doesn’t mean that is has to be bland.  Simple does not have to mean boring.  Tonight I put together a delicious carbonara pasta casserole that took less than 20 minutes to prepare, and was ready and on the table in just 40 minutes, from start to finish.

Traditional Italian carbonara is made with eggs, cheese, bacon and black pepper, and of course pasta.  I tweaked that a bit and added in some veggies and skipped the eggs in favor of a ricotta to help hold the casserole together better.  It was really delicious, and all of the kids just gobbled it right up!  I hope your family enjoys it as much as we did!

Carbonara Pasta Casserole

Carbonara Pasta Casserole

Ingredients:

1 pound of short pasta noodles
1/4 cup Country Crock spread
1 cup thin sliced red onion
1 cup bacon bits
1/2 cup chopped roasted red pepper
1 bag of baby spinach
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
3/4 cup ricotta
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbs grated Pecorino Romano
2 Tbs grated Parmesan
2 tsp black pepper
1/2 Tbs salt
2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend

Carbonara Pasta Casserole

Directions:

1.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil to cook pasta, drain and set aside once finished.
2.  Preheat oven to 350.
3.  Melt 1/4 cup Country Crock spread over medium heat in a large saucepan.
4.  Add in sliced onion and cook for 2-3 minutes until soft.
5.  Add in bacon bits and red pepper to onions and cook for another 2 minutes.
6.  Turn off the heat, but leave the pan on the eye and fold in the spinach to wilt (about a minute)
7.  Remove from heat completely and mix in cooked pasta.
8.  Add in tomatoes, ricotta, milk, pecorino, parmesan, salt and pepper.
9.  Pour into a baking dish and top with Italian cheese blend.
10. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
11.  Set oven to high broil and cook for another 2 minutes to brown cheese on top.
12.  Remove from oven and enjoy!

Download the printer friendly version of Carbonara Pasta Casserole

Carbonara Pasta Casserole

Now, I know the list of ingredients looks a little long for a “quick fix casserole,” but it’s really not as much work as it seems.  Most of the time for this dish comes from baking, so you can get back to taking care of your family and home while it’s in the oven!  Here’s the prep work involved for this recipe:

-Slicing cherry tomatoes in half (or you could use canned diced tomatoes that have been drained instead)
-Slicing the red onion
-Chopping up roasted red pepper (comes in strips already, I just like it in smaller pieces)

Everything else can just be poured right in and mixed up!  It’s easy and delicious, I know you’ll agree once you try it yourself!

If your family likes casseroles, be sure to check out this cheesy bacon biscuit casserole that’s perfect for breakfast!

What’s your favorite one dish casserole recipe?  I’d love for you to share in the comments below!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Vegetable Meatloaf Recipe – Great for grilled burgers!

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



Meatloaf has always been one of my favorite dishes, but it can be pretty, well, meaty.  Several years ago I started adding lots of veggies into my meatloaf recipe and my family loves it!  Red Gold Tomatoes sent me a variety of their canned tomatoes to try out earlier this month, and I just knew their Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic & Oregano would be the perfect complement to my vegetable meatloaf recipe.  This week, I picked up all the ingredients I needed for meatloaf from Aldi and with the added touch of the tomatoes, and our grilled vegetable meatloaf burgers were delicious!

Grilled Vegetable Meatloaf Burgers

Grilled Vegetable Meatloaf Burgers

Ingredients:

1 zucchini, chopped

1/2 bell pepper, chopped

1 cup finely chopped carrots (I use my 3 cup food processor)

1/2 cup minced onion (Yep, food processor again!)

1 can Red Gold Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic & Oregano
(drained and chopped, save liquid for sauce)

2 eggs

2 cups dry oatmeal

1 lb pork sausage

1 lb ground beef

Grilled Vegetable Meatloaf Burgers

Directions:

1.  Mix all ingredients (except liquid from tomatoes) in a large bowl.

2.  Measure out 1/2 cup of meatloaf mixture for each burger patty.

3.  Brush each patty with oil.

4.  Place patties in a grill pan on medium high heat for 5-7 minutes.

5.  Brush tops of patties with oil and flip.

6.  Cook for another 5-7 minutes or until meat is cooked throughout.

Grilled Vegetable Meatloaf Burgers

Grilled Vegetable Meatloaf Burgers

Grilled Vegetable Meatloaf Burgers

Grilled Onion Buns

Ingredients:

Onion buns

Vegetable oil

Directions:

1.  Brush the inside of the onion roll buns with oil.

2.  Place face down on the grill pan at medium high heat.

3.  Grill for about a minute until they are toasted.

4.  Remove from pan and serve with grilled vegetable meatloaf burgers.

Grilled Onion Buns

Jalapeno Tomato Spread

Ingredients:

Reserved liquid from Red Gold Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic & Oregano

1/2 cup jalapeno ketchup (I used Mama Selita’s Jalapeno Ketchup)

1 tsp sugar (optional)

1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Directions:

1.  Pour all ingredients into a small saucepan.

2.  Bring to a boil on high, reduce to medium-low.

3.  Simmer for 5 minutes.

4.  Serve as a spread with grilled vegetable meatloaf burgers.

Jalapeno Tomato spread for Vegetable Meatloaf Burgers

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Grilled Vegetable Meatloaf Burgers

This vegetable meatloaf recipe is really simple,  you basically just dump everything in a bowl, mix it up, and slap these puppies on the grill!  Because the weather has been so crazy here lately, I cooked them inside instead on my non-stick grill pan.  It is an awesome way to get those seared grill marks without the hassle of firing up a grill.  And it’s so easy to clean!  I definitely recommend picking one up for your kitchen!

non-stick grill pan

I couldn’t resist sharing this picture of my sweet 5 year old helping me cook.  She’s learning to crack eggs without completely shattering the shell, and she’s getting pretty good at it!

little-asian-girl-cracking-eggs

This recipe is one of our favorites, and the pre-seasoned diced tomatoes Red Gold sent me added the perfect mix of herbs and spices!  You can find more tasty recipes like Caribbean Chicken Burgers and Summer Tomato Burgers on the Red Gold website.

Red Gold provided the tomatoes for this dish, but the recipe and opinions are all my own.  This post contains affiliate links.

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

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