Tator Tot Taco Casserole

We’re fans of the Tator Tot Casserole and we’re also big fans of Tacos, so when I came across THIS I had to try it.  IT was delicious!  Thanks allrecipes.com I’m loving a new good casserole.

Tator Tot Taco Casserole

1 lb. ground beef

1 small onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1 packet taco seasoning mix

1 (16oz) bag frozen corn

1 (12 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 bell pepper, cut into small pieces

2 cups  shredded Mexican cheese blend

1 package (16 oz) frozen tator tots

1 (12 oz) can enchilada sauce

In a skillet brown the beef.  Add in the taco seasoning, corn, drained beans, onion, garlic, and bell pepper.  Cook for about 10 minutes on medium heat, stirring occassionaly.  Pour in about half the enchilada suace in the bottom of a 9×13 pan.  Then pour the meat mixture and tator tots over the sauce.  Mix up a bit and pour cheese on top.  Pour remaining sauce over it all.  You can freezer or refrigerate it at this point if you’d like to save it for later.  Otherwise, bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Happy cooking!

Taco Seasoning

If you can buy it at a store you can make it in your home, and it will end up healthier and taste better.  Taco Seasoning is a great thing to make in bulk and store in containers for whenever you need it.  I save my empty spice bottles and the lids so that I can refill them with homemade seasoning ‘packets’.  This bottle is a double batch of this taco seasoning.  The recipe can be found HERE. It’s deliciously awesome!

Taco Seasoning

1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Mix it all together and store in an airtight container. Voila!

Mango Salsa Chicken with Rice



Here’s one of those ‘what to make. . . hmmmm’ kind of meals that is easy, healthy, sweet and delicious.  I love it, and it’s alterable to your liking. 

Mango Salsa Chicken with Rice

3-4 Chicken Breasts (Cut into fourths)

1 tsp.  Lemon Pepper (to taste)

1 Tbsp. cumin

I can Black beans (drained)

1 can Corn (drained)

2-3 cups ***Mango Salsa (Costco kind is the best!)


Place the chicken, lemon pepper, and cumin in a crock pot on high for 3 hours.  Pour out juices into a bowl to save for later.  Remove chicken when fully cooked and place in Kitchen Aid or other stand mixer while still hot.  Mix on a medium speed for approximately 30 seconds using the flat beater attachment until meat is nicely shred.  Put shredded chicken back in crock pot and add remaining ingredients.  Cook for another hour.  If it seams too dry during cooking, add some of the saved juices.  Serve over rice. 

I also love using this in quesadilla’s  with added cheddar cheese.  mmmmm.


***You can make this using any kind of salsa to change it up.  If you want to use traditional spicy salsa just add some taco sauce to enliven the flavor.

Cafe Rio Heaven

This takes some time to make all of these, but the effort is well worth the outcome.  The flavors are perfectly complimentary of each other and you will LOVE them!  This is a perfect recipe to make for a party or company you want to impress.  Thanks Brittany Allred for this AMAZING recipe!

Cafe Rio Shredded Pork
(Thanks for the recipe Brittany Allred!)
2 pounds pork roast
3 cans Coke (NOT diet)
1/4 c. brown sugar
dash garlic salt
1/4 c. water
1 can sliced green chilies
3/4 can enchilada sauce (I used Old El Paso brand, medium spiciness)
1 c. brown sugar

Put the pork in a heavy duty ziploc bag to marinade. Add about a can and a half of coke and about 1/4 c. of brown sugar. Marinade for a few hours or overnight. Drain marinade and put pork, 1/2 can of coke, water, and garlic salt in crock pot on high for about 3-4 hours (or until it shreds easily, but don’t let it get TOO dry). Remove pork from crock pot and drain any liquid left in the pot. Shred pork. In a food processor or blender, blend 1/2 can Coke, chilies, enchilada sauce and remaining brown sugar (about a cup, you can add a little more or less to taste..). If it looks too thick, add more Coke little by little. Put shredded pork and sauce in crockpot and cook on low for 2 hours. That’s it!


1 c. uncooked rice
1 tsp. butter or margarine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 can (15 oz) chicken broth
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tsp. sugar
3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
In a saucepan combine rice, butter, garlic, 1 tsp. lime, chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low 15-20 minutes, until rice is tender. Remove from heat. In a small bowl combine lime juice, sugar and cilantro. Pour over hot cooked rice and mix in as you fluff the rice. If you want to use Minute rice just improvise so that the liquids equal the rice measurements. I’m pretty impatient with rice, so I pretty much always make-do with minute rice and it ends out great as long as you’re careful to get equal parts liquids with dry rice.

2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/3 c. tomato juice
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro

opt.: 1 can corn

opt.: 1 tsp each cumin and chili powder
In a nonstick skillet, cook garlic and cumin in olive oil over medium heat until you can smell it. Add beans, tomato juice, and salt. Continually stir until heated through. Just before serving stir in the cilantro. Serve these on Tortillas with cheese, olives, sour cream, or whatever else you would like to add.

Cilantro Ranch

1 packet Traditional Hidden Valley Ranch mix (NOT buttermilk)

1 cup mayonnaise

1cup buttermilk

2 tomatillos, remove husk, diced

1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro

1 clove garlic

juice of 1 lime

1 jalepeno (keep seeds in to make it spicey)

Mix it all the ingredients together and blend. That’s it!

So, here’s the final product.  It’s beautiful, delicious, and pure awesomeness! Enjoy and happy cooking!


Taco Salad


Last week was the end of a long month, which means our grocery budget was running tight.  I looked through the pantry, freezer, and fridge to see what I could come up with for the week’s meal plan. I was able to figure out two meals from just things we had around.  The third meal is what I’m going to share with you because its SOO easy and we also had all of the ingredients already in the house minus Doritos and lettuce.  (Yes, I admit I’m a three good meals a week kind of girl, don’t think I spend every night in the kitchen cooking. . . although someday when kids are older I would LOVE to! The other nights are always leftovers or create your own adventure.).  Taco Salad is probably something that most people already make, but I think everyone makes is differently, so I’ll just share what I have learned from my Mom.  Thanks, Mom! Happy Cooking!


Taco Salad
1 lb. ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning
1/2-1 head of lettuce shredded
1 tomato (cut up into cubes)
1-2 cups cheddar cheese in small cubes (I only had shredded in the fridge, so that’s what you see)
1 can Kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
1 small can olives
1 can corn (drained)
3 hard-boiled eggs (cut into small pieces)
2-4 green onions (finely chopped)
1 avacado cut into bite-sized pieces

1 bag Doritos (I just got the nacho cheese kind, but the hotter one is good too)

Make ahead of time: Brown the ground beef and then follow the directions on the taco seasoning packet. Once the meat mixture has COMPLETELY cooled, stick everything above except the Doritos in a big bowl and stir together.  Serve with Doritos on the side or in a bowl on the table for people to put on themselves.  If you add the chips to the salad and don’t finish it all that night then they get soggy and not so yummy.  You can also add Sour Cream, refried beans(on the side), or any number of things.

Chicken Enchilada Soup

Best Chicken Enchilada Soup you will ever make. . . no, really.  I’m not teasing you!

Chicken Enchilada Soup
1 lb. chicken breast (cooked and shredded)
½ cup diced onion
1 clove garlic, pressed
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup masa harina (corn flour)
3 cups water (divided)
1-2 cups enchilada sauce
16 oz. velveeta
½-1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. cumin

opt.: 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)

opt.: 1 can corn (drained)
(if you want it a little thicker just make a cornstarch/water mixture and add)


Garnish: shredded cheddar cheese, corn tortilla chips, pico de gallo,


Put onions and garlic into a pot and sauté over medium heat for about 2 minutes, or until onions begin to become translucent. Add chicken broth.  Combine corn flour with 2 cups of water in a medium bowl and whisk until well blended. Add the corn flour mixture to pot with onions, garlic, and broth. Add remaining 1 cup water, enchilada sauce, cheese, and spices to pot and bring to a boil. (Stir frequently, it scorches easily) Once the Velveeta is almost completely dissolved, add chicken and optional ingredients to the pot. Reduce heat and simmer soup for 30-40 minutes or until thick, stirring occasionally.  Serve with chips, pico de gallo, and cheese