Fiesta Tuna Salad Sliders

So one day I reeeeeaaaaallllllly wanted Mexican food. Of the oh-so good tasting, but so-oh not good for your waist-line variety. Like an endless basket of tortilla chips with some of that authentic creamy, white queso for dipping, and maybe even some sour cream and quac on the side. (We want guac. We want guac. Thank you, Elmo for that little ditty that’s now stuck in my head) But that wasn’t on the menu. Going out to eat wasn’t in the cards, and clearly my pantry and fridge were letting me down. (Again, I griped about having no known Mexican restaurants that deliver in my vicinity. Because, well because… how is this not a thing already?!)

Then I remembered this fancy, schmancy recipe (except it’s totally not, but if tasty-ness was currency, it’d be golden). Fiesta tuna salad sandwiches may not have been sinfully delicious chips dipped in warm, gooey queso, but as my Mama always said, “Beggars can’t be choosers.” And it was Mexican food. Good Mexican-style food. Good for you too, to top it all off. My how my day had changed. While I got down to chopping the veggies I’d need, my mood gradually changed from “deprived of tortilla chips” and being lulled to “problem craving coming to it’s conclusion”. Mean Mami Mexican food crisis averted. At least for today. Seriously, you don’t want to get in my way when I’m craving Mexican food. It could escalate quickly and then we’d be in a full-on nuclear melt-down and that just isn’t gonna work for me. Now that I had a new idea, and some direction to go in other than to Old El Paso, I snagged some supporting ingredients from the pantry and salsa-ed my way through the rest of the recipe.  Olé!

Now I’m going to enjoy another delicious sandwich with this spread for lunch tomorrow too, but this time as a tuna melt! Gotta keep those taste buds on their toes. Trying to go light? This makes a great dip with either tortilla chips or crackers. (Hello, my next tailgating party!)

Fiesta Tuna Salad Sliders

 Fiesta Tuna Salad Sliders

recipe adapted from Taste of Home

6 cans, 5 oz each, water-packed white tuna or albacore, drained and flaked
1 large red onion, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
2/3 cup reduced fat mayo
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely diced (optional)
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp black pepper
12 ciabatta sized slider buns, or more depending on how ‘stuffed’ your buns are
12 slices of pepper jack cheese
lettuce leaves

Directions

1. In a large bowl, combine the first nine ingredients. Set the tuna salad in the refrigerator to ‘chill’.

2. Once the tuna salad is cold, spread it over the bun bottoms. Top each with a slice of cheese and some lettuce.

3. Put the tops back on, and serve!

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pinwheels

Chicken Cordon Bleu is one of our favorite “looks and sounds fancy, but it’s really totally easy” standby recipes. A classic cordon bleu features chicken, ham, and Swiss cheese. One night I decided to change it up by rolling everything up in a sheet of crescent roll dough. Turning it into crescent roll pinwheels? Knocked it right out of the park. These are even easier than our traditional version, and taste superb. They’re perfect party food and make a really pretty presentation. A drizzle of honey mustard gives these chicken pinwheels that perfect bit of extra mmph.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pinwheels

 Chicken Cordon Bleu Crescent Pinwheels 2

recipe adapted from Mom On Timeout

1 can crescent rolls
6 slices Swiss cheese
6 slices deli ham
2 chicken breasts, cooked and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 tbsp honey, optional
2 tbsp Dijon mustard, optional

 Chicken Cordon Bleu Crescent Pinwheels

Directions

1. Remove crescent rolls from can and lay out in a long rectangle. Pinch the seams together making sure they’re all ‘closed’.
2. Sprinkle the dough with the Italian seasoning.
3. First layer the cheese onto the dough, then the ham, and finally topping it with the chicken. Set the prepared dough in the refrigerator for 5 minutes to allow it to get chilled again.
4. Remove from the fridge, and pick an end to start at. Roll the dough and it’s contents up like a cinnamon roll and, using a sharp knife, cut into 8-10 rolls.
5. Place on a prepared baking sheet or in a baking dish and bake at 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
6. If using, mix together the honey and mustard until evenly combined and serve with or drizzle over the rolls before serving.

Balsamic Vinegar & Honey Pulled Pork Sliders

Pork that’s slowly roasted in the crock pot until it’s so tender it falls apart, and is then mixed with a sweet and tangy balsamic vinegar & honey barbecue sauce, makes for a crowd-pleasing platter of pulled pork sliders. Not only are they great party appetizers, but the sons tear them up when we have them for either lunch or dinner, and the left overs are just as yummy. I know, I know, the name makes them sound pretty fancy, but they couldn’t be any easier. Let the pork cook during the day and when it’s done it’s a snap to mix in the homemade sauce, making them a perfect option for any day, including those busy weekday meals. Got leftovers? This freezes beautifully to save for a later meal. Or you could always make up an entire batch and freeze that if you’re looking to have meals stocked on stand-by.

Balsamic Vinegar & Honey Pulled Pork Sliders

Balsamic Vinegar & Honey Pulled Pork Sliders

recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

2 1/2 pound boneless pork shoulder roast
1 cup chopped onion (1 large)
3/4 cup chopped green sweet pepper (1 medium)
1 tsp crushed dried thyme
1/2 tsp crushed dried rosemary
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup ketchup
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp Worcestershire
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
20 slider buns
coleslaw, optional
sliced sweet or dill pickles, optional

Directions

1. First remove any excess fat from the meat. Place the trimmed meat in the crock pot, cutting to fit if necessary. Add in the onion and pepper, and sprinkle the vegetables and meat with the thyme and rosemary. Pour broth over the meat.
2. Cover and cook on low for 9 to 10 hours or on high for 4 1/2 to 5 hours.
3. Meanwhile, we’ll be making the bbq sauce. Combine vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, honey, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic, black pepper, and salt in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Let the sauce simmer, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until slightly thickened, while stirring occasionally.
4. Transfer meat to a cutting board. Use two forks to pull meat apart into shreds, discarding any fat, or use a stand mixer to do the job for you. Strain the peppers and onions and discard the liquid. Return shredded meat and vegetables to the crock pot. Stir in barbecue sauce until fully incorporated. Cover and cook for 1 more hour on low.
5. To serve, spoon the bbq onto the slider bun bottoms. Top with coleslaw and pickles, if desired. Cover with bun tops. Eat & enjoy!

Stuffed French Bread & Swiss Mushroom Stuffed French Bread

The sons love sub night. We have it at least once a month. They’re always putting their heads together to try and come up with new filling ideas and combos. We love hot or cold subs, but sometimes I just want to have an uber hearty, hot sandwich for my meal. This fit the bill perfectly. Literally, this giant twist on your average sub-sandwich is great. A quick & easy, ready-in-under-30-minutes meal, that’s every inch of sandwich perfection. Crisp on the outside, hearty and tender on the inside. I do love a good crunch to my bread. Both versions taste great, but if you get any ideas feel free to play around with your ingredients. Add in some extra veggies, change up the cheese. Heck, change up the meat. I seriously doubt you can go wrong with stuffed french bread.

Mmm, can’t you just picture it? Smell it?? Go ahead, try it and taste the delicious-ness.

Stuffed French Bread

 4 Sons 'R' Us: Stuffed French Bread

recipe adapted from Life In The Lofthouse

1 loaf french bread
1 pound lean ground beef
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 Tablespoon chopped parsley (optional)

Directions

1. Slice the french bread in half, lengthwise, so you’re left with two equal pieces. Scoop out the bread in the center of each piece, making two bread ‘boats’. Place the extra bread in a large bowl and tear it into very tiny pieces. Trust me, you want them tiny. Place both halves of  bread onto a large baking sheet and set it aside.
2. In a skillet over medium high heat, brown both the beef and the onion until fully cooked. Strain the grease and return to the skillet. Next, add in the celery and garlic. Cook until the celery is tender, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the soup, milk and Worcestershire sauce. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Cook another 5 minutes, or until the meat mix is heated through, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the meat to the bread in the bowl, stirring to combine. Pour mixture into the center of one half of the french bread and spread out evenly. Spread out evenly. Sprinkle the meat mixture with the cheddar cheese. Top with the other half of bread to make it a sandwich.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. When done cooking, let your bread sit for 5 minutes so everything ‘sets’, before slicing and serving. Then, eat up!

Swiss Mushroom Stuffed French Bread

1 loaf french bread

1 lb lean ground beef
2 tbsp diced onion
1/4-1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1 tsp minced garlic
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 tsp beef bouillon
2 tbsp milk
2 tsp Worcestershire
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

Directions

1. Slice the french bread in half, lengthwise, so you’re left with two equal pieces. Scoop out the bread in the center of each piece, making two bread ‘boats’. Place the extra bread in a large bowl and tear it into very tiny pieces. Trust me, you want them tiny. Place both halves of bread onto a large baking sheet and set it aside.
2. In a skillet over medium high heat, brown both the beef and the onion until fully cooked. Strain the grease and return to the skillet. Next, add in the mushrooms and garlic. Cook until the mushrooms are tender, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the soup, milk and Worcestershire sauce. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Cook another 5 minutes, or until the meat mix is heated through, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the meat to the bread in the bowl, stirring to combine. Pour mixture into the center of one half of the french bread and spread out evenly. Spread out evenly. Sprinkle the meat mixture with the cheddar cheese. Top with the other half of bread to make it a sandwich.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. When done cooking, let your bread sit for 5 minutes so everything ‘sets’, before slicing and serving. Then, eat up!

The Best Meatballs

Meatball recipes are often challenged by chefs who claim, “Mine are the best!” Even though my meatballs ARE the best ( in my opinion of course), I won’t claim they’re the best in the world.  However, they are the best recipe I’ve ever found and they’re the best for me. Who would have guessed the secret ingredient would be stuffing mix? It gives it all the right flavors and leaves them incredibly moist. Try them for yourself! My Italian father in law makes meatballs, his family recipe, and I’ve watched him since I first got married. They’re good, but there are so many steps and so many ingredients. It’s a lengthy, day long process. Ain’t nobody got time for that, at least not in this house. These are so easy, I can have them mixed, shaped, and baked in well under 30 minutes. Everybody’s got at least 30 minutes at some point in the day, right? After they’re baked throw them in some sauce for delicious spaghetti and meatballs. We love using them to make Crockpot Hawaiian meatballs. They’re totally freezer-friendly, and the sons love taking a few out at lunch time for making meatball subs.

The Best Meatballs

 4 Sons 'R' Us: The Best Meatballs

recipe adapted from Kraft Recipes

2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 pkg. (6 oz.) chicken flavored stuffing mix
1 1/4 cups of water
2 eggs

Directions

1. Heat your oven to 400 degrees.
2. Line two baking pans with foil (this makes for no-fuss cleanup later). Spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray.
3. In a large bowl mix all the ingredients (I find by hand is best) until fully incorporated.
4. Shape the meat mixture into about 32, 1 1/2 inch, balls (about 1/4 cup meat per ball) and placing them in the prepared pans as you go.
5. Bake the meatballs for 16-18 minutes, or until completely cooked. No pink meat for us.
6. Remove from the oven and, if using immediately, add the meatballs into your recipe. Otherwise allow them to cool completely and follow freezing instructions.

To Freeze

Loosely pack meatballs in zip-locking freezer bags. When freezing, make sure to lay the bags flat so the meatballs freeze individually without sticking/clumping together. They can be stored frozen for up to 3 months. To use, allow them to thaw in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight before hand.

Bloomin’ Onion Bites with Dipping Sauce

I’ve always loved Outback’s Blooming Onion. It’s one of those things that, ambitious as I may be in the kitchen, I’ve always been way too nervous to try myself at home. I mean perfectly batttering and frying a whole onion to crispy, golden perfection? Too far out of my league. Then I saw this recipe for bite sized (totally do-able) Bloomin Onion Bites. Friggin’ genius! These breaded and fried onion bites with a spicy dipping sauce will get your party going any day! All by themselves, they’re reason enough to celebrate.

Note that these do taste the best with a big sweet white onion (such as Vidalia) but if you only have regular onions on hand, that works too! Be sure to cut the wedges nice and thick. Be sure not to overcrowd your pan or fryer in order to allow all of the onion bits to get nice and crispy.

Bloomin’ Onion Bites with Dipping Sauce

4 Sons 'R' Us: Bloomin' Onion Bites

recipe adapted from Spend with Pennies

1 large sweet onion or 2 medium onions
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon each thyme and oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
Oil for frying

Dipping Sauce

3 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 tablespoons sour cream, or greek yogurt
2 teaspoons ketchup
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon horseradish
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

1. Combine all dip ingredients and set aside, preferably in the refrigerator.
2. Cut the onion in half and make slices down the onion to make wedges. In a bowl, toss flour and seasonings except seasoning salt. In a second bowl, whisk eggs, milk and 1/2 cup water.
3. Ensure onion slices are separated and place the onion wedges in a large ziploc bag. Add about 3/4 cup of the flour mixture and shake well to coat. Using a fork, gently lift out about 6 onion wedges and put them into the egg mixture. Using a fork, remove them from the egg mixture and into the flour mixture in the bowl. Toss to coat. (So it’s Flour. Egg. Flour.)
4. Place on a rack while coating all of the onions. Gently tap the rack to remove excess flour before frying.
5. Heat deep fryer or a couple of inches of oil in a pan to 360-375 degrees. Place the onions into the deep fryer or oil in small batches for about 6 minutes or until browned and crispy. Be sure not to overcrowd them. Remove from oil, drain on paper towels.
6. Serve warm with chilled dipping sauce.

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pull-Apart Bread

 If you are looking for a quick and yummy snack to share with a crowd, then this recipe is perfect for you! It’s perfect for parties or potlucks. I mean, come on, its got bacon, Cheddar cheese, a ton of butter and it’s incredibly easy to make. What’s not to love?! Seriously, this stuff  will not be daintily, or prettily, or even politely pulled apart. It will be torn apart and devoured. Hence why so many people have called it ‘crack’ bread. One bite is one too many, and one more is never enough. There’s no better flavor combination on earth than cheddar, bacon, and ranch. Now, I give you this most popular of flavors, in a perfectly pull-able package! Let’s just pretend I gift-wrapped it and put a bow on it too. Ya know, for added effect and all. You’re welcome. Enjoy the rest of your life. 

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pull-Apart Bread

4 Sons 'R' Us: Bacon Cheddar Pull-Apart Bread

recipe adapted from Dude Foods

1 round loaf Sourdough bread, unsliced
3/4 cup butter, melted
2 Tbsp. ranch dressing mix, dry, do not prepare
1/4 tsp garlic powder
strips bacon, cooked and finely chopped
1/2 to 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, you may need more depending on how cheesy you want it

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350°.
2. Grab a bread knife and slice from side to side in both directions, leaving about an inch of space between each slice. Make sure that you don’t cut all the way through the bottom of your bread.
3. Stuff the cheese and diced bacon pieces between all the cuts in the bread.
4. Melt the butter, combine it with the ranch dressing mix and garlic powder. Drizzle it over your bread.
5. Wrap the loaf of bread in aluminum foil and cook for 20 minutes or until all your cheese is melted.

Then, once your bread is out of the oven just do as the name suggests and pull it apart and eat it! Enjoy!

 

Crockpot Chicken Parmesan Sliders

I can’t stop. I won’t stop. No, I’m not trying to be Miley. I don’t want to get anywhere near Robin Thicke. I would much rather make a yummy slider sandwich than twerk. Seriously, though. I can’t seem to get enough of sliders recently. I don’t know if it’s the whole ‘mini’ thing that’s got me hooked, or just a refreshing change.  I’m guessing a bit of both. In either case, I’ve pinned every new slider recipe I have found, and am on a mission to try them all. One recipe at a time of course, like the easiest cheeseburger sliders ever and our chicken and waffle sliders. This is the latest, and it lived up to it’s name. These petite, slightly varied versions, have all the tried and true flavors of Chicken Parmesan, but without all the work. These healthy sandwiches are perfect for a party, a dinner, or even for a lazy weekend lunch. They are sure to score a spot on your list of family favorite recipes.

Crockpot Chicken Parmesan Sliders

4 Sons 'R' Us: Crockpot Chicken Parmesan Sliders

recipe adapted from Plain Chicken

3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (can use frozen)
1 jar(28oz) spaghetti sauce
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp onion powder
salt & pepper, to taste
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
slider buns

Directions

1. Place chicken breast in the bottom of a crock pot. Top with spaghetti sauce, minced garlic, and onion powder. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, or HIGH for 4. Shred chicken and stir until evenly combined with the sauce. 2. Preheat broiler. Toast buns. Top toasted buns with chicken and a sprinkle of shredded mozzarella cheese. Place chicken sandwiches under broiler to melt cheese.

Baked Bacon Cheeseburger Eggrolls

You guys are probably looking at these thinking, how did she dream up the combination of putting bacon cheeseburgers and egg rolls together? Well, its simple really. Egg rolls are good. Bacon cheeseburgers are good. Together they’d have to be double good, right!? Even better? Because these are baked, not fried, in moderation you can enjoy them without all the guilt one may, or may not, associate with enjoying one or more of their fried friends. While these egg rolls may seem more like a snack, they are so hearty they make a wonderful dinner as well. They were so incredibly good, they tasted just like the real thing, without all the traditional fat and calories. They are so simple to prepare as well, let the kids help and earn their keep. I mean…spend valuable time bonding with you in the kitchen!

The American version of the classic Chinese eggroll is a perfect quick & easy recipe for a busy weeknight, or an awesome party or game day appetizer.

Baked Bacon Cheeseburger Eggrolls

4 Sons 'R' Us: Baked Bacon Cheeseburger Eggrolls

recipe adapted from Spend With Pennies

1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 onion, finely chopped
4 slices of bacon, chopped
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
1 1 /2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
20 egg roll wrappers (mine were 5″x5″)
cooking spray or olive oil

Directions

1. In a large pan, brown ground beef, bacon and onion until cooked. Drain any grease.
2. Add ketchup, barbecue sauce, mustard and Worcestershire sauce.
3. Lay each egg roll wrapper out with a corner pointing towards you. Place 1 1/2 tablespoons of cheese and 1 1/2 tablespoons beef filling in the center of each wrapper. Fold in the sides and roll the wrapper tightly. Use a dab of water to secure the tip of the wrapper. (If you don’t know how to roll an egg roll it usually shows on the package).m Place the wrapped eggrolls on a baking sheet.
4. Lightly spray the outsides of the egg rolls with cooking spray OR brush on a light coating of olive oil.
5. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.
6. Serve hot with ketchup & mustard.