There was a time, after my first kiddo was born, that Food Network was on my television almost 24/7. I was fascinated and trying to learn as much as possible. On more than one occasion I saw Paula and her son make a goulash that sounded so good but it was a huge recipe and at that point I was not confident enough to try to half a recipe. I mean, dividing everything by 2 sure is hard work. ;)

I came across that very recipe this past weekend while browsing around Paula’s website and was so excited to give it a try. I divided everything in half as I originally wanted to do and switched ground turkey out for the ground beef, which I’m sure violates some goulash law.

This is seriously my new favorite meal. I’m not sure why I liked it so much since it’s basically just pasta with red sauce, but I really loved it. I’ve even been working on the leftovers which isn’t something I normally do.

Turkey Goulash

adapted from Paula Deen


1 teaspoon olive oil
1 pound ground turkey
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups water
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups elbow macaroni or small shells


  1. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Saute turkey, onion, and garlic until turkey is cooked through and onion is soft. Add water, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, soy sauce, bay leaf, black pepper, and salt. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. Add pasta, stir well, cover & let cook for 20 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Remove bay leaf before serving.


Meatloaf is definitely my favorite comfort food and I love trying new recipes so I was very excited to see that the Pioneer Woman had one in her cookbook. (We loved the one on her website too!)

This was one of the best meatloaf recipe I’ve tried. The bacon on top was awesome of course but the real star was the Parmesan cheese. Do not buy the already shredded stuff for this recipe. Grate your own into big chunks so that you get big bites of it every once in awhile.

The recipe suggests using a broiler pan so that the fat drains off but I couldn’t find the top piece of mine (the joys of motherhood) so I use a baking sheet. As soon as I pulled the meatloaf out of the oven I used a couple spatulas to move it to a serving platter and had no problems with the fat.

The one thing I didn’t like about this recipe was that you used soaked bread instead of bread crumbs or whatnot. I thought it gave it a weird texture, not bad just weird. Next time I’ll definitely use bread crumbs.

Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf

from The Pioneer Woman


1 cup milk
4 bread slices
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 cup Parmesan, grated
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Lawry's seasoning salt
black pepper
1/2 cup parsley, minced
4 eggs, beaten
8 to 12 thin bacon slices
1 1/2 cups ketchup
6 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Pour the milk over the bread and allow it to soak in for several minutes.
  3. Place the ground beef, milk soaked bread, Parmesan cheese, salt, seasoned salt, black pepper, and parsley in a large mixing bowl. Pour in the eggs. With clean hands, mix the ingredients until well combined. Form the mixture into a loaf shape on a broiler pan, which will allow the fat from the meat to drain.
  4. Lay the bacon slices over the top, tucking them underneath the meatloaf.
  5. To make the tomato gravy, pour the ketchup into a small mixing bowl. Add the brown sugar and dry mustard. Stir the mixture until well combined. Pour 1/3 of the mixture over the top of the meatloaf.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes, then pour another 1/3 of the remaining tomato gravy over the meatloaf. Bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  7. Serve with the remaining tomato gravy on the side as a dipping sauce.


This Salsa Chicken recipe has made the blog rounds more times than I can count and every time I’ve seen it I’ve thought, “Eww, how can cream of mushroom soup and salsa be good together?!” It wasn’t until one of my favorite bakers raved about it that I finally caved and gave it a try. That was just a couple months ago and I’ve made it at least 4 times since then.

It’s easy, I almost always have the ingredients on hand, and it’s delicious. It’s also easily adaptable which is very important to me. One day I found myself without taco seasoning (or cumin!) so I threw in some jerk seasoning and it may have been even better than the original recipe. Also, I’ve seen people serve the chicken as whole breasts but I prefer it shredded. It gives it a nice texture.

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken


1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup
1 cup salsa
1 package taco seasoning
1 cup sour cream
cilantro, for serving (optional)


  1. Put chicken, soup, and salsa in slow cooker. Sprinkle taco seasoning over everything. Cook on low for 6 hours. If shredding the chicken, pull the breasts out and shred; return back to slow cooker. Stir in sour cream and heat just until everything is combined.


I like to keep at least one sweet in the house at all times and after my red velvet cupcakes disappeared within a matter of hours, I needed to make something else. Brownies are a favorite around here so it was an easy decision.

We loved this recipe! The three kinds of chocolate made them very rich, so rich that I only needed a sliver to be happy. They are also chewier than most brownies which is exactly how I like them. This is definitely a keeper!

Triple Chocolate Brownies


5 ounce semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
8 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into quarters
3 tablespoon cocoa powder
3 large eggs
11/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup walnuts


  1. Place an oven rack in lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with foil and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt; whisk until combined, about 15 seconds. Whisk in the warm chocolate mixture until incorporated. Then stir in the flour with a wooden spoon until just combined. Fold in walnuts. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread with a spatula to make an even layer. Bake until slightly puffed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a small amount of sticky crumbs clinging to it, 35-40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature before cutting, about 2 hours.

Remove the brownies from the pan using the foil and transfer to a cutting board.  Cut into squares as desired.  Store in an air-tight container.


To go with the red velvet cupcakes, I made this cheeseball and my sticky Chinese chicken wings. Let me tell you what I did to my wings. I like to cook the sauce for a long time so it gets super sticky and delicious. Well, long story short, baby was hungry and my sauce burnt. So bad that I think I’m going to have to throw the pan away!

Anyway, this cheeseball won’t win any awards in the looks department but it’s my favorite. My mom has been making it for years and I’d forgotten it until a friend sent me a message the other day reminding me of the time we ate nothing but this cheeseball for a week.

It’s super simple and always a crowd pleaser. Just 2 kinds of cheeses, bacon, pecans, and green onions squished together with strawberry jelly on top. I know, sounds weird but I promise it’s awesome. There were 4 adults here last night and we demolished the entire thing.

Bacon Cheeseball


8 ounces shredded cheddar
8 ounces shredded Monterey jack
1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 cup pecans, diced
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
strawberry jam


  1. Mix all ingredients except strawberry jam. Form into ball (or whatever shape you like). Spread strawberry jam over top.