thanks to the lil’ man

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baked stuffed tacos The Hubby and I are so blessed to have the families we have.  I am the oldest of 3 and The Hubby is the youngest of 4 and we both come from families that cooked a lot.  Over the last decade or so it has been so fun brining together both of our childhood favorites to make our own new favorites.  Being that both of us are from this area we have the majority of our family living within a hour of us so we can be around family whenever we want or need too…it is really is so great.

One of the best parts of having family so close is that they can taste different dishes I make and give me great feedback.  This came into play not too long ago.  I had fixed the Sticky & Sweet Pork with the Maple Roasted Potatoes and Sprouts and couldn’t wait for the sis-in-law to try them both.  She was the one who turned me onto brussel sprouts so I had to share with her my new favorite recipe immediately.  I called and she said to come on over so The Hubby and I made a plate and headed out .  I didn’t know my brother was in town so I only made a plate for Mary (my sis-in-law) and was surprised when we pulled up and his truck was there.  We went inside and immediately was hit with a wonderful aroma of tacos…my sweet brother was making tacos, now I felt bad, but that was just the beginning.  When Mary tasted the pork and sprouts she couldn’t stop eating it…she ate all of my plate and then was full…poor Chad she didn’t eat any of his tacos.

On a side note another reason I wanted Mary to taste my dinner that night was so I could see my adorable nephew!!.  He is without a doubt an absolute joy and anytime I can sneak some time with him I will!  If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram you have seen pics of him, and you know I think he is pretty cute.  Now I know I am a little biased, but I have had friends tell me he is pretty darn cute as well.  :)

Ok back to the how the tacos came about…since Mary didn’t eat the tacos Chad made then they asked if The Hubby and I would like to bring home the leftovers, they were leaving town the next day and wouldn’t be eating it.  Well me being me, I said sure and I immediately knew what I wanted to do with it…make Baked Tacos!  I had seen the idea floating around Pinterest so I went to work on making it perfect for The Hubby and I.  For the recipe below I started from scratch, but this recipe is perfect for leftover taco meat (as we  used), ground beef,  rotisserie chicken or fajitas…any would be delicious!

 

Baked Stuffed Tacos
Serves 12
A fun, quick and family friendly dinner perfect for those busy nights
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb 97% Lean Ground Turkey Breast
  2. 1 tbsp. chili powder
  3. 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  4. 1 tsp salt
  5. 1 tsp pepper
  6. 1 tsp cumin
  7. 1 tsp dried cilantro
  8. 1/2 cup water
  9. 1/2 cup salsa verde
  10. 2 cups fat free refried beans
  11. 1 1/2 cups Reduced Fat Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese, divided
  12. 12 small taco shells (see below for homemade shells recipe)
  13. 12 tsp reduced fat sour cream
  14. 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, over medium heat, begin browning turkey meat
  2. As meat is browning add in chili powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, cumin and dried cilantro
  3. When meat is browned add in water and bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for 10-15 minutes or until water is absorbed
  4. Turn off heat and add in salsa, beans and 1/2 cup cheese, stirring until well combined
  5. Preheat oven to 375
  6. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil
  7. Fill each taco shell with about 1/4 cup of meat & bean mixture and place on baking sheet
  8. Divide remaining cheese over each taco
  9. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and starting to brown
  10. Top with sour cream and fresh topped cilantro
  11. ENJOY!!
Each taco is 4 WW+ points
  1. Nutritional Info
  2. Calories 174 Calories from Fat 43 Total Fat 4.8g Saturated Fat 2.3g Trans Fat 0.0g Cholesterol 30mg Sodium 589mg Potassium 174mg Total Carbohydrates 18.1g Dietary Fiber 3.9g Sugars 0.9g Protein 16.0g
  3. Vitamin A 8% - Vitamin C 3% - Calcium 11% - Iron 10%
  4. Nutrition Grade B+
The Half Baked Life http://www.thehalfbakedlife.com/
 I love this process to make my own taco shells, but you can also use store bought (I used a few to see what The Hubby liked better, he loved both)…any will work.  I used flour tortillas, because that I what I had on hand, but you can use corn tortillas if you could like.

Baked Taco Shells
Serves 12
A homemade taco shell recipe perfect for your next taco night
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 12 small fat-free flour tortillas
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Place a cooling rack on a rimmed baking sheet at its highest level
  3. Drape tortillas over the cooling rack to create taco shells
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until tortillas begin to brown and crisp on the edges
  5. Remove and let stand for 5-10 minutes before removing from rack
  6. Fill with your favorite taco fillings
  7. ENJOY!!
Each taco shell is 1 WW+ points
  1. Nutritional Info
  2. Calories 52 Calories from Fat 6 Total Fat 0.7g Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 11mg Potassium 45mg Total Carbohydrates 10.7g Dietary Fiber 1.5g Protein 1.4g
  3. Vitamin A 0% - Vitamin C 0% - Calcium 2% - Iron 2%
  4. Nutrition Grade A-
The Half Baked Life http://www.thehalfbakedlife.com/
Even though I used Mary as the excuse to be at their house that night, it really was all about seeing my nephew, so Thank You my favorite ‘lil man for the start of a great recipe…I am sure you will inspire many, many more over!!

 

These tacos are a perfect weeknight dinner and a great way to use up some leftovers from earlier in the week, while still being fun and delicious.  Trust me the kids will love them and so will you!!

cupcake-crop

 

  Happy (half) Baked Day – MJ

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Thanksgiving by accident

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swt pot sprouts I love it when everything comes together to make something so AMAZING you never could have even imagined it.  You know what I’m talking about, when it seems like every situation, decision and outcome is so good there are sometimes not enough words to express how excited you are.  I have been blessed to be able to experience that I few times in my life with some major life decisions but thankfully it seems to happen all the time in the kitchen.  I just so love when it happens too…you know when a dish just starts out as something ordinary and then all of a sudden it becomes something special, you never could have imagined it.

This dish is definitely one of those dishes.  I was making my Sticky & Sweet Pork Loin and I was craving brussel sprouts.   The Hubby was super excited about the pork loin but when I mentioned brussel sprouts his excitement seemed to lessen a bit, but then I mentioned bacon and he seemed to be a little more interested.  As I was starting to prepare the sprouts I saw the sweet potatoes out of the corner of my eye and I had a thought…how about the sprouts with the sweet potatoes with a sweet glaze making it all that much better, so the fun began.

My favorite way to prepare brussel sprouts is roasting them and I also love sweet potatoes roasted so that decision was easy, but next came if I would cook the bacon separate or let it cook with the veggies…after some thought I decided to let it cook in the pan with the veggies.  I thought the added flavor would be great especially since we were going to make a sweet glaze.  For the glaze I went with maple syrup but you could use honey or molasses if you prefer, you might need to add in some water to help the sauce loosen up a bit, they would all be delicious. 

 

Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Brussel Sprouts
Serves 8
A sweet, smoky and a little spicy side dish that brings together all the best flavors of fall into one dish
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb brussel sprouts
  2. 1 lb sweet potatoes
  3. 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  4. 4 slices bacon, chopped
  5. 4 tbsp maple syrup
  6. 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  7. 1 tsp salt
  8. 1 tsp pepper
  9. 1 tsp garlic powder
  10. 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  11. 1/4 cup chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, set aside
  3. Trim brussel sprouts, removing tough outer leaves, cut in half (or quarters depending on size)and place in large bowl
  4. Peel and cut sweet potatoes into bite size pieces, place in bowl with the brussel sprouts
  5. Toss veggies with olive oil
  6. Add bacon to veggies and toss again
  7. In a small saucepan combine maple syrup, vinegar, salt, pepper & garlic powder, bringing to a simmer and letting reduce for 3-4 minutes until it is slightly thickened
  8. Pour maple syrup over veggies in bowl and using a spoon toss to combine
  9. Spread veggies onto baking sheet
  10. Roast veggies for 30 minutes or until sweet potatoes are just getting tender
  11. Sprinkle cranberries and pecans over potatoes and sprouts, and toss veggies
  12. Return to the oven and continue roasting for 15-20 minutes or until brussel sprouts are browned and potatoes are tender
  13. Remove and serve immediately
Each serving is 5 WW+ points
  1. Nutritional Info
  2. Calories 189 Calories from Fat 61 Total Fat 6.8g Saturated Fat 1.5g Trans Fat 0.0g Cholesterol 8mg Sodium 475mg Potassium 755mg Total Carbohydrates 28.6g Dietary Fiber 4.7g Sugars 7.7g Protein 5.5g
  3. Vitamin A 10% - Vitamin C 97% - Calcium 4% - Iron 7%
  4. Nutrition Grade A-
The Half Baked Life http://www.thehalfbakedlife.com/
In my family sweet potatoes are a must for Thanksgiving and since my sweet sis-in-law came into the family brussel sprouts have been a staple as well, only we try to come up with new recipes each year.  As soon as this dish was done and it was as delicious as it is I knew this was our new Thanksgiving dish for this year.  I immediately took a plate to her and she agreed, this was a must…not only for Thanksgiving but just in general.

cupcake-crop

 

 Happy (half) Baked Day – MJ

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bringing it all together

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 reese's stuffed brownies The Hubby and I love our church, Parkway Fellowship.  One of the best aspects of our church is our small groups.  Instead of everyone meeting on Sunday morning for a more traditional Sunday School class we meet during the week in someone’s home.  We have been so blessed that for the last couple of years we have been a part of the same small group, where we have found some of the best friends we have ever had.  Some of the couples have kids, some do not, some have babies, some have teenagers and some just have dogs…it really is the perfect blend of friends.

One of the best parts of small group each week is that I get to try recipes out on the group and get honest feedback from others outside of my family.  As time has passed it has been determined that the guys of the group LOVE brownies and especially brownies with some sort of add-in like peanut butter, candy or caramel.  Not too long a go we were gearing-up for the start of the small group semester and I told the hostess that I would bring a special dessert…The Ultimate Stuffed Brownies.  Thinking about what the group liked best I decided to combine them into a stuffed brownie to out do all the other brownies.

First thing first I knew I wanted to include my Homemade Salted Caramel sauce for sure.  Next came the peanut butter cups, I used the snack size vs. the miniature as I found they worked better in this recipe.  Once you combine the peanut butter cups with the salted caramel with the great brownie recipe it makes for one unforgettable brownie for sure.   After a few tries I perfected the recipe and the group loved them, and so did The Hubby…trust me these brownies will make everyone smile!!

 

The Ultimate Stuffed Brownies
Serves 36
Brownies that are loaded with Reese's peanut butter cups and delicious salted caramel in each and every bite
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup butter
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 1 cup brown sugar
  4. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 4 eggs
  6. 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  7. 1 cup flour
  8. 1/2 tsp baking powder
  9. 1/2 tsp salt
  10. 24 Reese's snack size peanut butter cups
  11. 1/2 cup Salted Caramel sauce (My EASY homemade recipe can be found at: http://bit.ly/sltedcarsce)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper, trimming as necessary, set aside
  3. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat
  4. Remove from heat and stir in sugars and vanilla
  5. Add in eggs, one at a time, making sure to incorporate each egg before adding in the next
  6. In a large bowl sift together, cocoa, flour, baking powder and salt
  7. Slowly add in flour to saucepan, stirring until just combined
  8. Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan
  9. Layer peanut butter cups on top of brownie batter
  10. Pour caramel sauce over peanut butter cups
  11. Pour remaining brownie batter over caramel, covering it completely
  12. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the middle of the brownies look set and a toothpick comes out fairly clean (there will be chocolate on the toothpick from the peanut butter cups)
  13. Let brownies cool in pan for 30 minutes - 1 hour and then remove to a flat service to cool completely
  14. Once cool completely using a sharp knife, cut into small squares, trust me a little square is all you need, they are very rich
  15. ENJOY!!
Each brownie is 5 WW+ points
  1. Nutritional Info
  2. Calories 161 Calories from Fat 84 Total Fat 9.3g Saturated Fat 4.9g Trans Fat 0.1g Cholesterol 35mg Sodium 113mg Potassium 61mg Total Carbohydrates 19.6g Dietary Fiber 1.6g Sugars 14.9g Protein 2.8g
  3. Vitamin A 4% - Vitamin C 0% - Calcium 2% - Iron 11%
  4. Nutrition Grade D-
The Half Baked Life http://www.thehalfbakedlife.com/
These brownies are definitely worth the splurge!!

cupcake-crop

Happy (half) Baked Day – MJ

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