"Growing up Southern is a privilege, really. It's more than where you're born - it's an idea, a state of mind that seems imparted at birth. It's more than loving fried chicken, sweet tea, high school football, country music, and acoustic guitars. It's being hospitable, being devoted to front porches, magnolias, the good Lord, and each other. We don't become Southern - we're born that way."


Mexican Lasagna

My brother's wife is a very good cook. She is also a very frugal cook. At a recent family gathering, we were talking about cooking & budgets, and when she got home, she emailed me a few of her favorite recipes.
Tonight I tried one of them, Mexican Lasagna. As usual, in addition to my family, there were two other teenagers here. It was a big hit with everyone!
So, I thought I'd share it with you.

Mexican Lasagna
1-2 # ground beef
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
6 flour tortillas
1 cup frozen corn
1 small jar salsa
Shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack/Colby blend cheese

Brown ground beef, drain fat and add taco seasoning with a little water or beef broth. Stir in soup and black beans.

In 9x13 casserole dish, place 2 flour tortillas in bottom to line pan. Pour meat mixture over this. Top with 2 more flour tortillas and some shredded cheese.

Mix together corn and salsa. Pour over 2nd layer of flour tortillas. Top with 2 more flour tortillas and a nice layer of shredded cheese.

Bake at 350 for 30 mins.


Bits & Pieces

Interesting Substitution:

My 15 year old daughter, Shelbie, found a box of brownie mix in the pantry and asked if she could make it. I told her sorry, but we're out of oil. And she said "I can use mayonnaise!"
And I said, "WHAT! EWW! That's gross!"
Although I know perfectly well that mayonnaise is just oil & eggs....it just sounds nasty.
But I told her to go ahead and try it.....and guess what?
The brownies tasted just like any other brownies that had been made with oil!
So if you're ever out of oil, feel free to substitute mayo. I was also told sour cream works, and I know applesauce is also a good sub for oil.

We have a pear tree in our back yard. I'm not a fan of eating plain pears, but over the weekend I made two pair dishes. First, I sliced some pears and put them in a baking dish. I poured melted butter over them and then sprinkled them with cinnamon and brown sugar. I cooked them for about an hour at 350, and they were absolutely delicious.

They were so good I was inspired to make a pear cobbler. I've never had one before, I don't think I've ever even heard of a pear cobbler, but again - it was delicious! I used my traditional cobbler recipe that I use for blackberry, blueberry, & peach cobblers. (I love cobblers!)

I have lots of pears still on the tree, so if you have any good pear recipes that you don't mind sharing with me, please do!

We have muscadine (a.k.a. scuppernong) grapes too....loads of them! I suppose I need to learn how to make jam......


Tuna Pie w/ Spinach

As I've grown up to be technically an adult, I have come to like many more vegetables than I did as a child. Part of that was just the growing up process, and part of it was learning that there are other ways to prepare them besides battered & fried.

But one vegetable that I have never learned to like, and never will, is broccoli. I just can't stand the trees. My kids like it, my husband likes it, but not me.

The only way I've ever been able to eat broccoli is in my Tuna Pie. I guess the other ingredients were just so yummy that it disguised the ick of broccoli. But I always wondered if it would taste good with spinach, which I LOVE. So tonight, I finally tried that for the first time.

And it was FANTASTIC!!

Here's the recipe again in case you want to try it. It's good stuff and perfect for Meatless Monday!

Tuna Pie
2 cans tuna in water, drained
1 cup shredded cheese
1 small onion, chopped
3 eggs
1 cup mayo
½ cup sour cream
1 box chopped broccoli *OR Spinach!!*, cooked per directions
2 pie shells, cooked per directions

Mix all ingredient except pie shells.
Pour half of the mixture into each pie shell. Bake at 375 degrees for 50 minutes.


Satchel's Pizza

WOW! I didn't realize it had been so long since I posted here.
Today we went to a local restaurant called Satchel's Pizza. This place is truly unique.
If you live in or around Gainesville, or even plan on being in the area for a visit, I highly recommend you eat at Satchel's!

One of the highlights is an old VW van outside, with a table inside. Everyone loves to sit there; both times we've been it was full so we haven't had a chance to sit there yet.
Satchel's is locally owned and has been in Gainesville since 2003. There's a junk shop in the back called Lightnin' Salvage, featuring cool & unique toys and gifts.

"Serious Junk", sign inside of Lightnin' Salvage

There are all kinds of different collections displayed in both the shop & the restaurant, like this cool clothespin collection.

Even the website is fun and interesting. I could tell you more about Satchel's, but the website tells it all in a much more interesting way!

a door inside Lightnin' Salvage

The food is absolutely delicious. The guys had calzones, and they were so huge that they couldn't finish them. Which rarely happens with my guys! The rest of us had pizza, which was fantastic. I had spinach & artichoke hearts. YUM! It's sold by the slice as well as whole pies. The slices are very big, in fact the little girls couldn't even finish theirs!

So whenever you're in Gainesville, be sure to check out Satchel's Pizza!

(This post was not sponsored in any way!)


Porcupine Balls!

A few months ago I read a really cute book called Muffins & Mayhem by Suzanne Beecher. It was full of little stories about the author's life, as well as lots of recipes. I had checked it out from the library, but I then bought a copy from Amazon so that I'd have all the recipes. I keep it with my cookbooks! Tonight I made two recipes from this book and wanted to share them with you all.

Porcupine Balls (I don't know what the kids like better; eating this dish or saying the name!)

1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp pepper
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 cup water
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix meat, rice, 1/2 cup water, onion, salts, garlic powder, & pepper. Shape mixture into meatballs. Place meatballs in ungreased baking pan. Stir remaining ingredients together and pour over meatballs. Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes longer.

{I doubled this recipe and used 1 lb. of ground beef & 1 lb. of ground turkey. It made 42 meatballs. They were off the chain! I served them with roasted asparagus and garlic toast.}

And for dessert....

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 cups oatmeal
1-2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt together. Mix remaining ingredients with the flour mixture, then add chocolate chips. Roll into balls & place on cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies are light brown. Cool & share!

I was not compensated in any way for this post - just sharing good recipes!


Easter Dinner

What did your family eat for Easter Dinner (or lunch, or brunch, or however you do it?)

We went to my parents' house, and my sister and niece came over also.

We had a spiral cut ham from Heavenly Ham & a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.
I made my world famous Potato Salad, and a veggie & dip tray. My daughter Shelbie made her specialty, Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars.
We also had macaroni & cheese and green beans.

My mom made a dessert that involves angel food cake, cool whip, and pineapple chunks. It's really light and good. She also bought some cupcakes.
Oh, and of course, we had devilled eggs!

It was all delicious. Tonight for dinner, I'm heating up the leftover ham. I've got fresh green beans & new potatoes from the farmer's market simmering on the stove right now, and we're having rolls too.

I'm getting hungry!!

Tell me about your Easter Meal!


What's Cookin' this Weekend?

Here's what's cooking at Dysfunction Junction....


Cheeseburger Pasta from Recipe Shoebox

1 box (12-ounces) penne pasta
1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 can (14-1/2-oz.) diced tomatoes
2 Tbs. prepared mustard (or less if you don't like mustard)
3 Tbs. ketchup
3 Tbs. dill pickle relish
1-1/2 tsp. steak seasoning (I used McCormick Montreal steak seasoning)
1/4 tsp. seasoned salt
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
chopped green onions, for garnishment (optional)

Directions: Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.

Stir in the tomatoes, mustard, ketchup, relish, steak seasoning, and seasoned salt.
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered , for 5 minutes.

Stir in drained pasta.
Cook for 1 minute more. Sprinkle with cheese.
Remove from heat; cover and let stand until cheese is melted.

*Southern Loving's review: OFF THE CHAIN. This is one of the best dishes I've made in a LONG time! We absolutely LOVED it. It's super easy & super quick.


Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies from Simply Yum Food

Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies
Your favorite or use mine-
1 1/2 C butter, softened
2 C sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
5 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Mix the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Add in the dry ingredients and then chill for a few hours.
After it has chilled take it out and roll it into a large rectangle. Spread butter all over it and then sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll up the rectangle and slice cookies about 1/4-1/2 in thick. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

Cool on a rack and then frost with your favorite cream cheese icing.

My cream cheese icing was:
8 oz cream cheese
1 C powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 c water
Mix until smooth

*Southern Loving review: Slap Ya Mama! I need more practice with rolling out the dough, then rolling & slicing the cookies, but they were very, very good. I can't wait to make them for our next church event or family gathering!

The recipes are from the blogs; the photos are mine.


Santa Fe Taco Mac

While reading my friend's blog, A Nut in a Nutshell, I came across this recipe for Santa Fe Taco Mac.

We don't usually have Mexican dishes with pasta, so I thought this sounded different, yet yummy!

I decided to make it for dinner tonight, as well as share it with you.


1 lb ground beef 1 can pinto beans 2 cups cheese (either mexican or cheddar) 1 container Santa Fe Blend Philadelphia Cooking Creme 1 16 oz pkg elbow macaroni 1 packet taco seasoning mix

Optional ingredients: Tortilla chips, jalapenos, salsa, sour cream, lettuce, tomato

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Brown ground beef and add taco seasoning mix. Set aside.

Boil macaroni as directed on package; drain. In a bowl, mix pasta, cooking creme, 1 cup shredded cheese, ground beef, and 1 cup rinsed and drained pinto beans.

Put mixture into large casserole dish and top with remaining cup of shredded cheese.

(If making a vegetarian version, you may want to add some chili powder for additional flavor.)

Bake covered for 20 to 30 minutes.

It was a hit! It will definitely be added to our regular menu.

*Southern Loving note: I added onions to my ground beef, and I used black beans instead of pinto, just because we like them better! As for the optional additions, we had sour cream, chips & salsa, and we had corn on the side.*


Kellogg's Coupons


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$5 in coupons & savings
Special offers & promos


Philly Winner!

It's time to announce the winner of the Philly Cooking Creme giveaway!

The winner was chosen by Royal Princess prize services.

She put all the names in a Florida Gator cap.....

....shook it up, and then pulled out the name of the lucky winner.

And the winner is...........

Debby @ Just Breathe!

Congrats Debby, send me your info and I'll get your prize to you ASAP!

Thanks to everyone who entered & subscribed.
Look for more giveaways to come in the near future!


Salmon Patties

I'm not sure if salmon patties are a Southern thang or not. We had them often growing up, and I LOVE them. They're a comfort food for me.

I hadn't made them in forever, and yesterday when I was reading my friend April's blog,
Straight from the Heart, I saw that she had posted about them. I went out today and bought all the fixings I needed, and tonight, we are having salmon patties for dinner! In fact, I'm having the exact meal April posted.

So check it out, and if you have never had salmon patties - give them a try!

1. You need one can of Pink Salmon.
2. Dump the entire can into a mixing bowl and remove the scales (that's just what I prefer).
3. Add one egg to the salmon and mix well.
4. To that mixture, add about 10-15 crushed saltine crackers; mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Form the mixture into about 6 hamburger size patties. Add a small amount of cooking oil to a frying pan (I use Canola oil) and fry the patties on each side until golden brown.

Note from Cyndy: My kids love these too. I use olive oil, and I don't take out the scales/bones/any of that stuff. They're actually soft cartilage and once it's all mixed in, you don't taste or feel them, and they're very healthy. But I know they creep a lot of people out! =D


Tater Tot Casserole

I came across this recipe a few years ago, and it's one of my husband's favorite meals.
There is nothing nutritious about this, so if you're looking for a healthy meal, skip on by this one!
But it's yummy comfort food.

It's also easy to add things you like or omit things you don't. It's one of those recipes that you can make your own. Some people add vegetables in, but I serve mine on the side.

Here's my version!

TTC (as we call it)

one large bag of frozen tater tots
1 to 2 lbs. of ground beef
one small onion, chopped
one can cheddar cheese soup
one can french onion soup OR one packet of Lipton onion soup mix
one can of evaporated milk
2 cups of shredded cheese (I use mild cheddar)

Prepare your tater tots according to directions while you're doing the rest. Brown ground beef & onions. (that's one of my favorite smells in the world! Mmmm.) Drain grease. Add soups & evaporated milk, mix well. Add 1 cup of shredded cheese.

Put cooked tater tots in a 9x13 casserole dish. Pour meat mixture over them. Cook @ 350 for about 15 minutes. Pour remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese over top. Stick it in the oven just until it melts.

Serve & enjoy! This one is definitely off the chain.

Another Great Winn Dixie Deal

I love the deal Winn Dixie is doing now!

Buy three boxes of Kellogg's cereal (you can choose from Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops, Apple Jacks, & Corn Pops).

For FREE, you get:

  • One gallon of milk
  • One 48 oz. jug of apple juice
  • one box of 10 Pop Tarts
  • two 7 oz. Del Monte fruit cups
Also, when you check out, a coupon prints for a FREE Gallon of milk.

This is a great one for my family!


Philly Cooking Creme Giveaway!

Have you tried the new Philadelphia Cooking Creme?

I have, and it's great stuff! They have four flavors: Original, Savory Garlic, Italian Cheese & Herb, and Santa Fe Blend.

I made a recipe called Creamy Artichoke Pasta from the Cooking Creme's recipe booklet, and it was delicious!

And you can try it too.

I am giving away a little Philly Cooking Creme package. It includes:

three Philadelphia Cooking Creme wooden spoons
three Philly Cooking Creme magnets
three Philly Cooking Creme note pads
three coupons for $1 off Philly Cooking Creme
three coupons for $10 off your next HSN purchase of $50 or more
three Philadelphia Cooking Creme recipe booklets, each including a coupon to save $10 on your next Todd English HSN purchase.

To win this fun package, you MUST be a follower of this blog!
To follow, just click the "Follow" button in the right sidebar.
Then, leave me a comment telling me which flavor of Cooking Creme you would like to try.
(Original, Santa Fe Blend, Savory Garlic, or Italian Cheese & Herb)

You may get extra entries by doing any of the following things:

  • Post the giveaway on Facebook (leave your FB user name in the comments)
  • Blog about the giveaway (leave the link in your comment)
  • Tweet the giveaway (then come back and leave me a link to your tweet)

Leave me a separate comment for each thing you do for an extra entry!

I will randomly choose a winner on Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011.

Good luck!

Disclaimer: all items in this giveaway were provided by Philadelphia Cooking Creme for a House Party. These are items that I had leftover from that party. So, I'm passing them on to a lucky winner!


St Patty's Day

What are you cooking for St Patrick's Day?

We're not Irish, but I always like to make food from different cultures, and the holidays are the best time to do that.

So tonight, we're having corned beef & cabbage. I have a corned beef brisket in the crock pot, and when I get home I'll throw in cabbage, onions, and potatoes.

How about you? Are you Irish?

What are you making for St Patty's Day dinner?


Awesome Pendant Giveaway!

Shortmama has a great Etsy giveaway over at Family of Shorts.
The Etsy shop Once Upon a Sugar Tree has beautiful pendants & necklaces for a great cause, and the winner gets to choose one to receive for free!

Nutella Giveaway

Check out Mother of 1 Princess and 2 Princes for an awesome Nutella Giveaway!


Eating Healthy with The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is my very favorite children's book. I absolutely love it.

So I was excited to learn that The American Academy of Pediatrics and The Alliance for a Healthier Generation have partnered with The Very Hungry Caterpillar to help families learn about healthy eating habits!

Just as The Very Hungry Caterpillar eats many different foods in his journey to become a butterfly, our children eat many different foods in their journey to adulthood. Help them learn how to make healthy choices. You can also download a growth chart to keep track of your child's journey to grow healthy and strong.

Check it all out HERE!

Free Chips & Queso at Chili's



Coffee Cozy Giveaway from Mamarazzi!


Every Monday, Mamarazzi does an Etsy giveaway. It's her way of "taking back Monday" and giving us something to look forward to!

This Monday she is giving away a TOTALLY adorable coffee cozy.
SO get over there and enter to win!

Southern Pride

I am proud to be from the South-

Where tea is sweet and accents are sweeter;

summer starts in April;

front porches are wide and words are long;

macaroni and cheese is a vegetable;

pecan pie is a staple;

Y’all is the only proper pronoun;

chicken is fried and biscuits come with gravy;
everything is darlin' and someone is always getting their heart blessed.

Have a good day y'all!


Winn Dixie Deal

The current Winn Dixie "what-a-deal" is a good one.
You buy a 12 pack of Sparkle paper towels
and you get all of this for free:

50 ct. Solo Grips plastic cups
25 sq. ft. Winn-Dixie aluminum foil
250 ct. Winn-Dixie print napkins
20 ct. Dixie ultra strong paper plates

You just have to have your Winn Dixie Customer Reward card.

FREE Target Sample Bag

Get a free bag full of samples from Target....just for answering 5 beauty-product related questions.
Hurry, supplies are limited!


Relax & Surf Sunday

Relax & Surf Sunday

I'm joining the Relax & Surf Sunday Blog Hop!

If you're visiting for the first time, this is my food/recipe blog, and I'm also adding in household tips, living simply tips, and I'm beginning the process of moving all of my reviews & giveaways over here from my main blog, Putting the FUN in DysFUNctional.

Creamy Artichoke Pasta

I made this yummy dish tonight and wanted to share it with you.

It's made with the new Philadelphia Cooking Creme, but this is not a compensated or sponsored post. This was my first time using the new cooking creme and it was very good.

I added chicken to mine, but I think next time I won't; I'll just make it as a side dish and have the meat separately. It was delicious though!

What You Need:

1 lb. pasta, any variety
1 tbsp. butter
1 can (14 oz) small or medium artichoke hearts, drained & halved
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tub (1o oz.) Philadelphia Savory Garlic Cooking Creme
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp. chopped fresh oregano

Make It:

Cook pasta in large saucepan as directed on package. Meanwhile, melt butter in small saucepan. Add artichokes; cook and stir 3-4 minutes, until heated through. Season to taste.
Drain pasta; return to pan. Add olive oil, toss to coat.
Add artichoke mixture and all remaining ingredients; cook and stir 2-3 minutes, until heated through.


Makes 4 servings.


WFD? Meatless Monday

*blowing away the dust*

I am totally neglecting this place lately!
I just have so much going on.
I thought I'd have so much more free time since I wasn't working....yeah, I was wrong!

Yesterday was Meatless Monday. Here's our menu:

In case you can't read it due to the glare, it says:

*Meatless Monday*
cheese tortellinis
green beans
garlic bread
yeast rolls

(also, the corner says "i love y'all", written by one of my teenager's BFFs)

I don't usually make two different types of bread, but Shelbie does not like garlic bread. How do you not like garlic bread?! I have to have garlic bread with Italian food, it just BEGS for it.

I just boiled the tortellinis and tossed them with olive oil & seasonings. Then I put a bowl of tomato sauce out for those who wanted it.
It was delish!

Do you ever participate in Meatless Monday?


Buffalo Chicken Dip

I made this dip for our church's Superbowl Party last night and it was a HUGE hit! It's incredibly easy and delicious. You just can't go wrong with that!

I found it on Southern Plate. I doubled the recipe.

1 block of cream cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup hot sauce
1 large can of chicken

Soften your cream cheese by microwaving it for about 30 seconds. Then mix all ingredients until well blended. Pour into an 8x8 pan, and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Serve warm with tortilla chips, crackers, or veggies.



Little Girl's Tea Party

This weekend, we celebrated my youngest daughter's 10th birthday with a Tea Party. It was so much fun! You can really do a lot on that theme, but we kept ours pretty simple.

I bought the tea cups & saucers at Goodwill. .59 cent for each cup, .29 cent for each saucer, and .59 cent for the creamer. You can't beat that! I also got a tea kettle there for 2.99. Love that place.

I originally planned to get PG Tips tea, which is imported from England, but they only had large boxes at our grocery store and they were $19.99. We settled for Bigelow for $3.69! We had sugar cubes for our tea, which the girls loved.

The menu was: cucumber sandwiches, egg salad on croissants, blueberry scones, sugar wafers, and an all-pink cake (strawberry cake with strawberry icing). I bought the scones at the supermarket bakery, they are delicious! For the cucumber sandwiches, I spread whipped cream cheese on the bread, sliced up the cucumbers very thin and laid them on, then cut off the crusts and cut the sandwiches into fours. The girls actually liked them!

{the cake is in a clear pan, not on the table....lol}

On the invitations, we requested that the girls dress "fancy". They all came in dresses. The girls all put makeup on each other before we had tea. The party was from 2pm-5pm, around the traditional English tea time.

I found lots of ideas online for this party, but lacked the funding to do a really elaborate spread. One idea I thought was cute was to get gloves and fake pearls for all of the girls and let them keep them as a souvenir. It would also be fun to get a bunch of fancy dresses, heels, hats, scarves, etc. from a thrift store and let them dress up after arrival. Musical chairs would be a fun game to play.

It was a GREAT theme party, we had so much fun, and I highly recommend it!


Special K Deal at Winn Dixie

:::brushing off dust:::

I haven't posted here in a while! I just have not cooked anything unusual or exciting lately. But I do want to share the current deal going on at Winn Dixie stores.

If you buy 3 boxes of Special K cereal for $11.97, you will get for free:

Box of 6 Special K bars
64 oz Winn Dixie Cranberry Juice
1 gallon Winn Dixie milk
2 cartons Winn Dixie yogurt

It's a savings of $10.65 with your Winn Dixie customer reward card.

I love these deals! And the chocolate/pretzel Special K bars are YUMMMMY!