Back when I was in high school, our school was not far from our local Taco Bell. Seniors had the awesome privilege of being able to get off-campus lunch while the rest of us had to suck it up and deal with whatever the school cafeteria was serving (which of course, if it was Chicken Nugget day, we all did not mind not being able to leave campus for anything!). 

When I became a senior, I was over Chicken Nugget day and ready to express my upper-classman superiority by heading to Taco Bell every chance I got. It felt good walking back to school with a bag full of brown napkins, a million packets of fiery sauce and a good ol' Mexican Pizza. Yes, I was one of those people who got the exact same thing every time at a restaurant. I hated tomatoes but that Mexican Pizza was so good in all of it's processed mass produced glory.

I hardly ever go to Taco Bell anymore, but every now and again I think about those Mexican Pizzas...haven't had one since college, and I decided to make my own version. Super easy and using Ragu Double Cheddar sauce with a packet of taco seasoning, how can you go wrong with delicious, easy and quick!?

You will need:

Flour Tortillas (2 per pizza)
Refried Beans
2 boneless skinless chicken breast
2 pounds of ground beef
2 packets of taco seasoning
2 tomatoes
Shredded Cheese

I made both chicken and beef versions for my family, but you can use either or.  Cook the chicken or beef as you normally would in a pan. (Once ground beef is done, drain grease and then add taco seasoning, mix well and set aside in bowl. Once chicken is halfway done--juices run clear-- remove from heat and begin to 'shred' by using two to hold chicken in place, the other to shred. Place shredded chicken in bowl and season with taco seasoning packet. Mix well.)

Place your flour tortillas in the oven at 250 degrees until lightly toasted. Prepare refried beans on top of the stove per directions. Chop your lettuce and tomatoes. I place everything in its own bowl for easy assembly.

In separate bowl, empty your jar of Ragu Double Cheddar sauce and add in taco seasoning. I use 1/2  a packet of seasoning since I like a lighter queso flavor. Mix well.

Spread beans on tortilla evenly, top with meat then sprinkle with cheese. Add the top tortilla. Spread the cheese sauce and then top with lettuce and tomato.

And there you have it. That is it. This would make a perfect build your own Mexican Pizza night for the kids and family. Everyone can assemble their own and you can add bowls with corn, black beans, red peppers, etc so that each pizza can be customized. 

I serve my wings this way, with fried new potato wedges, some veggies and toast. 

My family loves movies. We watch some of everything. I used to be really restrictive of what my children could watch, but as they get older, our spectrum continues to expand. While we love horror movies (especially badly acted ones that we can poke fun at), we love a good family movie with adventure.

Here are some of our favorite family adventure movies:

Spirited Away

We like this movie because not only does it have magic in it, it has a good story to it. One courageous girl, lots of weird looking and fun characters and of course a quest that she has to complete.

City Of Ember

From IMDB:  When mankind is about to come to an end, a group of scientists decide to create and populate a city deep underground. The city of Ember is to last for 200 years after which its inhabitants are to retrieve from a strong box instructions to return to the surface. Over time however, the message is lost and life in Ember is rapidly deteriorating. Their power supply is failing and food is being rationed. It's left to two young adults to unearth the secret of Ember and to lead the way out. Written by garykmcd

Crusade in Jeans

From IMDBAfter using his mother's newly built time machine, Dolf gets stuck in the year 1212. He ends up in a children's crusade where he confronts his new friends with modern techniques. However, the Crusade turns out to be even trickier than he first imagined. Written by lettor

The Thief Lord

From IMDB: A tale about two young boys, Prosper and Bo, who flee to Venice after being orphaned and dumped in the care of a cruel auntie. Hiding in the canals and alleyways of the city, the boys are befriended by a gang of young urchins and their enigmatic leader, the Thief Lord. From their home base of an old cinema theater, the children steal from the rich to support themselves and soon capture the interest of a bumbling detective. However, a greater threat to the children is something from a forgotten past-- a beautiful magical treasure with the power to spin time itself. Written by Kasey and Toby

While we do a lot of full meals around here, movie night is a chance for us to indulge. We like the food to be fun and usually something we can eat with our hands. So we grab the paper plates and go to town.

Here are a few wing recipes I have found that you might want to give a try on your next movie night.

I am far from a baker. I keep cake mix and brownie mix in the pantry but I dread when my kids ask me to bake something for them. I don't know why, really. I just like to keep baking as simple as possible.

Every year I make my kids a birthday cake. Sometimes that means taking the cheater way and buying a cake already baked and just embellishing on it. Saves me time and I get to cut the chase and hop right to the best part, the decorating!

So for my daughter's birthday last Friday, I did just that. Picked up two 2 layer cakes from Walmart, added some sour candy and lollipops and guess what, it saved me a ton of time and it was a HUGE hit.

There is no recipe to this, it is simply a design idea. Loads of candy, wrapped around a confetti sprinkle side, tied with a sour Airhead Extreme strips.

It was so good and I think it looked pretty cool too!
It is getting close to that time and I have been searching the internet for ideas. As my kids get older, it gets harder to come up with ideas that they do not think is too 'baby-ish'. But heck, as long as they live with me, they will just have to settle for doses of 'cutesy'. I am the boss after all and what mama wants is what everyone gets.

Here is some past ideas for Easter. Use the Recipe Index to find these and more.

Sometimes being a mom of four, I just want to prep dinner and forget about it. Making a roast is one of those meals that you can do just that with. You prep it and place it all in a crock pot or in the oven.  I limit my use of crockpots because I really have no control over the final product. If it over cooks, it is done for and sometimes the contents can become a mushy mess.  I like to either boil my roasts in a large pot or place it in a casserole dish and pop it in the oven.

This is really easy to make. How much easier than taking a woosah breathing moment and cutting your vegetables and then seasoning everything. Dinner can be ready for the oven in what, 15 minutes? That is what I did here. I placed everything in the cooking dish, covered with foil and placed in ta preheated oven at 350 degrees. Cooking at that temp, I left the roast in the oven for three hours then reduced to 250 for two more. When done, your roast should be tender and able to be pulled apart instead of sliced. If it is still tough, put it back in the oven covered.

You will need:
Beef Shoulder Roast
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 cup diced celery
1/2 sliced bell pepper
1/2 sliced red, yellow bell peppers
Red Potatoes (cut in quarters or if small enough in half or whole)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 tbsp dried italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to your liking (I use 1-2 tbsp of each)
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup water
Carrots & Mushrooms *optional

Clean all your veggies and meat. Place meat in center of your baking dish and places your veggies around it. Pour in your water and Worcestershire sauce and then add your dried seasoning. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place in the fridge until ready to cook. Preheat your oven to 350 and cook for three hours, reduce temp to 250 and cook for two more hours until meat is tender and able to be flaked.

Allow roast to sit for about 15 minutes and serve.

*while cooking, check in on the roast every hour to make sure there is enough liquid in the dish. You should have the liquid coming up halfway on the roast. That way it does not dry out.

One of the greatest memories I have from growing up is the fact that my mom made sure we all had breakfast and dinner as a family. There was no one person in front of the television while another was in their bedroom...we all set the table, washed our hands and sat down to a home cooked meal prepared by her. She did not play. We sat around the table, talking about what was coming up for the day and at dinner, we talked about how our day was. Now that I am older and I can reflect, it was truly magical.

With Valentine's Day upon us, it got me to thinking about the fancy dinner's my mom would have for us on the day of love. Dinner was complete with her best china given to her by her mom and we each had a stuffed animal and chocolates at our place setting. Of course, my dad had the best gifts. He and my mom exchanged jewelry and other tokens of their love in between lots of kisses on the mouth (to our kiddy disgust) and hugs. Dinner was the end all be all but breakfast....oh breakfast. It was so good. The start of our day...we all sat down to a fully cooked breakfast. Toast or biscuits, sausage, bacon, eggs, oatmeal or grits and ....grapefruit on holidays and special occasions.

One of my dad's favorite breakfasts started with broiled grapefruit. Now that I am older, I do not think I have even seen or heard of anyone else serving or eating this for breakfast. But he did...and that meant, we did too.

The tartness of the grapefruit paired with a sprinkling of sugar was just so good when warmed up.

This one memory makes me feel so good. It reminds me of the times at the kitchen table with my mom, dad and sisters, laughing, being mad at times, but always feeling loved.

These photos are not my own, but you can best believe I will be heading to the grocery store and grabbing a few grapefruit to broil this Sunday. Not to just serve my kids a bit of goodness, but to show them they are loved and share with them some of the love I got as a child.

What memories from your childhood are you keeping alive? Or what is that one thing you want to pass on to your children that you just have not yet?

 Happy Valentine's Day, all.

Find the recipe by clicking the links under the above photos of the grapefruits.
This super easy wrap idea is a perfect alternative to your typical Super Bowl fare. After rolling, slice into pinwheels for the perfect gameday appetizer.

You will need
Burrito sized flour tortillas
Sliced turkey meat
Sweet potatoes
Heavy whipping cream
Brown sugar
Fresh Baby Spinach

For the sweet potato, I sliced it and placed them on the griddle to cook. I sprinkled the brown sugar on top of each one and cooked until they became tender. Once done, I placed them in a bowl with 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream. You will need more, depending on the amount of sweet potatoes you prepared.  I blended it until it had the consistency of mashed potatoes.  At this point you can taste it and add in more brown sugar if you want.

Spread potatoes over the tortilla, top with turkey and spinach.  Fold by taking one side over and tucking tightly, roll, cut in half and enjoy!

Very light but filling lunch idea which is super quick and easy to make.

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