Cheddar and Bacon Mashed Potatoes - the perfect side dish for every meal! These potatoes are loaded with sour cream, cheddar cheese, bacon, and green onions!

So if you follow me anywhere, you know I was in Austin at BlogHer Food all weekend. It’s a conference for food bloggers where we all talk about what annoys us about our job and then we eat everything in the city.

And, in case you’ve ever wondered, I am horrible at conferences. (Very good at the eating part though.)

I showed up for 3 things the entire conference. And only stayed the full time for 1 of those.

Sitting still is hard for me, y’all.

Also, I sat down with a group of girls I didn’t know for the closing keynote and they asked if I had a business card.

And I didn’t.

I mean, do I seem like the kind of girl that carries business cards?

Anyway, one of the girls said, “Aww, you must be a new blogger!”

So that was kind of how the conference went for me.

I did get to hang out with friends that I’ve only ever known over the internet which was honestly the only reason I went to begin with so that totally made up for the conference being… ahem… lame.

And also there was lots of food!

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Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Casserole! Ground beef or turkey in a delicious sloppy joe sauce topped with cheese and tater tots! Kids love this one!

Originally posted March 2014. Photos updated April 2016. 

I know. It’s way too early in the morning to be talking about things like tater tot casseroles.

I’m sorry.

I was sick all weekend – all weekend! – and didn’t have time to get a bunch of yummy things baked and photographed. I made this and it’s delicious and amazing but I couldn’t stop coughing long enough to take pictures. Being sick is the worst.

I threw this Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Casserole together for my kids yesterday and there wasn’t a tater tot left by the end of dinner. They loved it! I won’t lie, I didn’t think it sounded very good but I stole a couple bites and didn’t hate it. I like sloppy joes, I love tater tots – so yeah, I think I’m just embarrassed to say that I liked it.

Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Casserole! Ground beef or turkey in a delicious sloppy joe sauce topped with cheese and tater tots! Kids love this one!

Click for the full recipe


This article has been compensated by PAM Cooking Spray. All opinions are mine alone. #PAMCookingSpray

Twice Baked Red Potatoes recipe - bacon and cheese filled small potatoes!

One of my favorite things about this time of year is the anticipation of the holidays and holiday meals. I’ve had a forever long list of Thanksgiving menu ideas on my desk since August.

Last year it was kind of up in the air whether my husband would be home in time for Thanksgiving (deployment) and he ended up coming home on Thanksgiving. So it was super simple since the boys and we spent several hours at the welcome home ceremony. This year though? I wanna go all out. Because next year my husband will probably be gone again. So why not?

Twice Baked Red Potatoes recipe - bacon and cheese filled small potatoes!

One of my favorite and most important ingredients in my cooking, especially around the holidays, is PAM Cooking Spray. I use it pretty much every day of my life but because I use my vintage Pyrex dishes (handwash only!) for all holiday meals, I am most definitely spritzing everything with PAM Cooking Spray. PAM Cooking Spray leaves 99% less residue than margarine or bargain-brand sprays so clean up is quick and easy! It just makes life so much easier. Really, who wants to spend time scrubbing dishes after the Thanksgiving meal?

*vs. leading cooking sprays (except olive oil), after spraying on glass bakeware, baking at 400°F for 30 min, cooling, and then washing in standard home dishwasher with detergent and repeating 4 times.

Twice Baked Red Potatoes recipe - bacon and cheese filled small potatoes!

These Twice Baked Red Potatoes are something you could serve for a holiday meal or just with a regular weeknight dinner! My husband and I used to make these when we lived in our very first apartment before we had kids. We’d make baked chicken with a salad and these potatoes and we felt like real adults. Because we bought raw potatoes and cooked them ourselves.

The recipe is super simple. Just bake the potatoes on a PAM Cooking Spray coated pan until their fork tender. Scrape out the insides and mix it with all kinds of cheesy goodness (and bacon!) and then put it back in the potato shells. So easy and so yummy! You can’t go wrong with potatoes with cheese and bacon!

For more information on PAM Cooking Spray, visit Follow PAM on Facebook and Pinterest for recipes and cooking tips!

Twice Baked Red Potatoes recipe - bacon and cheese filled small potatoes!

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Corn and Chicken Chowder

Can we talk about how it just keeps snowing here in Colorado?

I didn’t really expect snow because last I’d heard, the weather guy was literally saying “Expect between 2 inches and 32 inches” which, you know, is kind of a broad range. And the jerk’s been known to lie about snow before. Plus the grocery stores were packed because everyone was buying ALL THE BOTTLED WATER and I just wanted to yell, “Quit! You’re jinxing it and it’s never going to snow and you’re going to be stuck with 57 cases of bottled water in your laundry room!” 

Yeah, I’m totally that annoying person that doesn’t talk about certain things or won’t do certain things because I’m afraid of jinxing something. 

My brain. It does funny things. 

But anyway, it snowed a ton (somewhere between 2 and 32 inches – thanks weather guy!) and like I mentioned yesterday, we went sledding and then we went sledding some more and then we threw snowballs at each other. Because who knows when we’ll live in a snowy place again!

I made this Corn and Chicken Chowder to warm up after all the sledding. I don’t really know what inspired me to make soup because my kids seriously have no idea what to do with soup. But I think this one was thick enough and had enough going on because they were all about it. My oldest even said, “I had no idea I liked soup!” 

It’s got corn and chicken and potatoes. And there may even be some bacon in there! 

Yeah, there’s definitely bacon. 

Corn and Chicken Chowder

Click for the full recipe


Yesterday my kid came home and told me that they’d had a lockdown. It happens more than it probably should (#armylife) and thankfully it’s always nothing.

Really, it’s usually a parent threatening to punch the principal or something. 

And no, it’s never been me.


Anyway, I asked what happened and he said, “There was a mountain lion! I saw it’s footprints on the playground on the way home!”

I was all, “Yeah….” and sent him upstairs to do his homework. So I went to my husband and said, “Hey, he said they had a lockdown because of a mountain lion.”

And he said, “Yeah, it’s possible. We see all kinds of things on the ranges.”

“What? Like they just come through the gate? That jerk wouldn’t let me through unless I took my sunglasses off the other day. But they’re letting mountain lions in?”

“Uhhh, a mountain lion could jump the fence. Pretty awesome, huh?”

And now I’m terrified. Of mountain lions. Hanging out in my backyard.

So in honor of the kid that may be telling me the truth or may be just trying to really scare his mother, I made something I knew he’d love.

Burger and Fries Pot Pie!

It’s really simple and my kids all loved it. It’s ground beef with some diced tomatoes and cheese and then it’s all topped with crinkle-cut French fries. How can that be bad? We won’t talk about how many French fries I stole off the top. 

Click for the full recipe