I Only Have a Kitchen Cuz It Comes With the House

I can't believe I am actually blogging about cooking because if you know me at all, this is unusual.  I didn't learn to cook growing up.  Many of you know my story of my first attempt at making spaghetti.  I will never live the story down because I didn't drain the noodles.  I won't take full credit for that blond moment either.  My mom left me detailed instructions, leaving out a crucial step that has haunted me for the rest of my life.  (I was in middle school, by the way). 

Before I got married, I had a a fear that Landon would be disappointed at my lack of ability in that department because his mother is an excellent cook.  He has never made me feel bad about it in any way our whole married life.  Through the years, I have managed to learn a few things and can follow a recipe without major problems.  However, I have never enjoyed any of the process.  Actually, I hated it.  Not long after we were married, I received a gift (I won't say who from) that was a wooden sign for my kitchen.  It said "I Only Have a Kitchen Cuz It Comes With the House".  It hung there for years and it was the truth.  For family gatherings and holidays, we are usually in charge of paper goods and two liters.

I know some may think this is strange, but I have actually prayed for God to give me the desire to cook because I know it is something I really need to do without despising.  It wasn't an instantly answered request, but over the last few weeks, I have actually looked forward to cooking...a definite first for me!!  I don't know if it is the fall weather, or if it is because I am pregnant, or if it will even last, but for now I am going to enjoy making new recipes. 

I went through my list of usuals recipes like spaghetti, roast and potatoes, chili, grilled chicken...etc, but then I was in the mood to try some new ones.  Landon has enjoyed my new found love for cooking immensely.  I am also really thankful that he isn't picky.  I have a good friend whose husband is extremely picky and her recipes are limited that he will actually eat. 

I don't know if there are others who share my struggles in cooking, but I wanted to share a few simple recipes of what I have made over the last few weeks.

Taco Ring: our family staple.  If it were up to Lucas we would eat this every meal.  If I ever ask what he wants for dinner, it is his request. 

Mexican Lasagna

1 pound of hamburger
taco seasoning
can of black beans
can of diced tomatoes
shredded cheese
refried beans
tortilla shells

Brown hamburger, add taco seasoning, black beans, onion, and diced tomatoes.  In casserole dish, layer tortillas, refried beans, beef mixture, and cheese.  Repeat.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. 

This is a must try for a cool night.  I actually liked it better than O'Charley's. 

Chicken Casserole (from Mae-Mae)
She used to fix this for me all the time and I am so glad I got the recipe before she lost her memory. 
It is also a family favorite...and super easy!

2 cans of cream of chicken
1 small carton of sour cream
chicken breasts
roll of Ritz crackers
1 stick of butter

Cook chicken.  In large bowl, mix cream of chicken, sour cream, and cooked chicken.  Pour into a casserole dish.  In a separate bowl, melt better and add crushed up roll of crackers.  Stir and put on top of casserole.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Baked Ziti

2 tbs grated Parmesan cheese
1 lb ziti pasta
6 oz mozzarella shredded cheese
1 1/2 cup sour cream
1 lb ground beef
6 oz provolone cheese slices
spaghetti sauce

Boil pasta and drain.  Brown hamburger and add spaghetti sauce.  Simmer 15 minutes.  Layer 1/2 the ziti in a greased casserole dish, layer provolone cheese, sour cream, 1/2 sauce mixture.   Add another layer and top with grated Parmesan cheese.  Bake for 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Sausage Balls

1 lb sausage
2 cups Bisquick
1/4 c. water
2 c. cheddar cheese

Mix together and form into balls.  Bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Cheddar Cheese Biscuits from Red Lobster
2 1/2 cups Bisquick
3/4 cups cold whole milk
1/2 stick cold butter
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 heaping cup cheddar cheese

2 tbs butter (melted)
1/4 tsp dried parsley flakes
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine Bisquick with cold butter in medium bowl.  Don't mix too thoroughly.  Add cheddar cheese, milk, and 1/4 tsp garlic powder.  Mix by hand.  Drop 1/4 cup portions onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 15-17 minutes (or until brown).  Brush on topping while hot. 

Corn Casserole
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can cream style corn
8 oz sour cream
1 egg
1 8 oz package corn muffin mix
1 tbs dried onion flakes
salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients and pour into a greased 8 inch baking dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 min.

Apple Cider Pound Cake...Logan's favorite!!!!

3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cup butter
6 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup apple cider
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup buttermilk 
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp baking soda

Combine icing ingredients in saucepan.  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.  While cake  is warm, drizzle icing on top of cake.

I don't even like cooked apples and I loved this.

We typically have eaten out several times per week.  I have always felt guilty for this, especially when we would total up how much we would spend eating out.  Also, I have never felt like I live up to what a good and virtuous wife is...thanks to Proverbs 31:14-15, "She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family."  Umm...that's not me!

I didn't realize what that was doing to Lucas especially because when you go out to eat, everyone picks out what they want individually.  When I cook at home, our rule is you must try at least one bite of each thing.  I don't make them clean their plate, but only try one bite.  They don't have to eat if they aren't hungry, but I will save their plate for later.  Also, I don't make a separate meal for them if they don't like it.  (I'm doing good to prepare ONE! ☺)

We have had two of the worst melt downs ever in our history of parenting this week on this subject.  The first night was over Baked Ziti.  Lucas refused to try a bite, and it lasted the entire meal.  I knew he would like it because he likes spaghetti, so I didn't feel the request was unreasonable. 
It completely ruined the entire meal because he cried and carried on for so long.  It ended up in a spanking and him watching the rest of the family eat dessert.

Last night, we had another lovely meltdown.  He wouldn't try one chip in Rotel dip.  It was just the cheese on it too.  Another long, drawn out crying, hyperventilating fit soon followed.  I ended up making him eat it and he threw up.

I shouldn't expect anything less than to have my own picky eater. I have NO room to talk. I vividly remember my mother chasing my around the house, catching me by the couch, sitting on me and forcing me to try hashbrowns. To my surprise, I liked them. I am trying new foods still as an adult that I have simply refused to try, so I do have a little sympathy. However, when it is something I know he will like, I will not back down. 

On the menu for this week: 
Monday:  Baked Spaghetti
Tuesday:  Chicken, Twiced Baked Potatoes, and Corn
Wednesday: Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Thursday:  Chicken Tetrazini
Friday:  Craft Night..no cooking for me!!

Please feel free to share some of your family favorites!!


  1. I love to cook, but I can never seem to find the time. Dade is a very picky eater, but I'm like you -- I make one meal. He either eats that, or well, I guess he'll be hungry. I make him try atleast one bite. He's never thrown a *terrible* fit, but he's gagged once or twice. I think more from his Expected Anticipation of hating it. But, more than once, he's actually discovered he liked something. Stick with it. All of the recipes sound super yummy!

  2. So, I just randomly decided to click this link off facebook. This is a neat little story, and it sounds weird, but it actually was kind of an answer to this huge rut I have been in. Your music as well was comforting because lately I feel distant from the Lord (and I love Kari Jobe) . Now I just need to slow things down and go back to my first loves: Jesus, my family, and cooking :) Thank you!