The First Meal

On Sunday a question was posed for an “ice-breaker” for each table to talk about. The question was “when did you know that your spouse was “the one”

It was a question I could answer very easily. And it was fun to reminisce about it with friends.  I also thought it might be a fun topic to ask my blog readers to answer – so feel free to write up your blog post and tell me where to go read it!

Here is our story:

We had been “officially dating” for about a week – but we had been talking pretty much every day for around 6 months.  We had spent the day before (Thanksgiving) meeting each others families and sharing lunch/dinner with the other’s families.  We had planned to spend the day together and not really do much.  The day started very early with me meeting Brian at a tire shop so he could drop his truck off to get new tires. We then went back to his house and watched an episode of Extreme Home Makeover that was filmed in the town he grew up in.   I honestly don’t remember much about that day with the exception of the first meal he made me, being goofy in front of a guy – and him liking that side of me, having chinese food for dinner, falling asleep cuddled up on the couch watching Back to the Future together, and what I was wearing that day (a pink peasant type top, and very light colored jeans.)  The day was just a normal, nothing special type of day.  But I knew that day I was falling in love with him, and that this relationship was going to go places.

I want to focus on the first meal that he made me just for a second – because I really think that this is what he used to live on before I came into the picture – even though I found out that he is actually a pretty good cook!

He made me Velveeta Shells and Cheese and we had a Snack-Pack chocolate pudding for dessert.

And it was delicious!  He has actually made me plenty of delicious dinners since then, but I still hold both of those things close to my heart.

Ok, it’s your turn – how did you know that your spouse was “the one”?

Make it a GRATE Day!



BBQ Turkey Pizza

I originally got this recipe from Weight Watchers – I can’t remember where – and I’m sure when done “properly” it’s a lower fat pizza – but I’ll leave that up to you to figure out 😉 I’ve changed it so much over the years that I really can’t remember what the “healthy” version is!

Turkey BBQ Pizza

So you can either start with a store bought pizza crust (like I did) or make your own (THIS recipe is fantastic!) and then put any type of BBQ Sauce that you like on the crust – I LOVE Sweet Baby Ray’s (even if it has High Fructose Corn Syrup in it – boo…) I think I usually use about 1/2 cup – but do as much as you’d like

pizza 1

Spread the sauce over all of the dough – if you like a clean crust than make sure you leave room for that – I don’t care much, so I put it ALL OVER 😉

pizza 2

Take one package of Turkey lunch meat and slice it up – I just use scissors and cut it all at once – super fast! layer it over the bbq sauce.

pizza 3

Take 1/2 of a purple onion and chop it up – you can do this as course or as fine as you’d like – and you can use more or less of the onion – totally up to your tastes – layer the onion over the turkey

pizza 4

I then give it another layer of BBQ Sauce – again do as much as you like – if you like a saucier pizza – than do more – if not do less. Obviously you can tell that I just squirted it out of the bottle onto the pizza

pizza 5

Then put some shredded Swiss cheese on top – again do as much as you’d like, this is where the extra fat comes into play – so do as little or as much as you’d like

pizza 6

I then bake in the oven at 350-400′ for 25-35 minutes – I usually like the cheese a little more brown than this turned out today. I also bake it on my Pampered Chef Round Stone so the crust is nice and crispy!

pizza 7

Slice and serve HOT!

Let me know if you try this pizza – it’s one of our favorites!!

Make it a GRATE Day!




Biscuits and Gravy

A few years ago my very good friend Priscilla taught me how to make home made gravy. Once you’ve learned how to make this gravy, you will never go back to buying the packet stuff at the store – let alone be able to eat the packet stuff from the store.  Bonus, it’s super easy!  This past Sunday it was our Small Group’s turn to bring breakfast for our class at church. My husband had been telling me that I really needed to bring my biscuits and gravy – so I decided that this would be a great time to do so.  If it looks like I was cooking for an army…..I was, and I loved every moment of it!

What you will need before you get cooking:

A large skillet or frying pan. I like this 12 inch Skillet.

Depending on what type of pan you have, you will want a good whisk – since I cook with a non-stick skillet I use  a Silicone Whisk  that is PERFECT for gravy – it’s a flat whisk so you’re able to get everything off the bottom of the pan without burning it – LOVE IT!  The silicone will also protect your pan from being scraped up by a regular wire whisk.

Milk or Heavy Whipping Cream

Flour – I use an all purpose flour.

Sausage or Bacon grease ( I prefer Sausage mixed in with my gravy, so that’s usually what I end up using, but bacon grease works just as good)


Colander and a bowl that it fits in.

Wooden Spoon


1. Start by browning your sausage  – again I LOVE using my Mix n’ Chop to brown my sausage and break it up.  Once it’s done, I place it in a colander with a bowl under it – I let it sit for a few minutes, stir it a few times, and let it sit for maybe another 2-3 minutes. Just enough to get the grease out of the meat.


2. Pour the grease back into your skillet.  Cook over medium-high heat until the grease starts to bubble.  Add in 1-2 large dinner/soup spoons of flour – and whisk it around until it’s all mixed in with the grease.  I actually like to let this cook out a little bit – I find that the gravy doesn’t have a strong “flour” taste when I do this.  (the following picture is a pretty bad picture of this process….but it sort of works to show you what I mean)



People always ask me what medium-high heat looks like. Well on my stove it looks like this (between 7-8) but it could look different on your stove. You will just have to play with it.


3. Add in your milk – usually around 2-3 cups, it all depends on how many people you’re cooking for. And let’s face it, everyone loves a extra gravy!


4. STIR, and stir some more.  Don’t quit stirring. You will notice that the milk will start to thicken and a gravy will begin to form. Usually within 5-8 minutes. If it takes longer than 10 minutes you will want to add some more flour – maybe a spoon full, not too much. I usually add some pepper to the gravy at this point – I did 25 turns on my pepper grinder for this pan – you will want to adjust to your tastes. I don’t ever add salt to my gravy. You never know if the sausage is going to be salty or not.  People can always add salt later on if needed.


5. Once you have your gravy to the right thickness, remove from heat.  I then add in my sausage and stir around – you will notice it becomes more of a “chunky” gravy – so remember this before adding more flour in step 4.  Since I was taking this gravy on the road – I mixed the gravy and sausage in a large bowl – but I usually just do it in my skillet.




So I know you’re asking – what about the biscuits? Well I will let you in on a little secret. Pillsbury makes some amazing biscuits! When making this meal for my husband and I, I usually just use the canned biscuits. But since I was cooking 100+ biscuits I went to Costco and purchased the frozen bagged ones and they were still great.





BUT if you want a good drop biscuit recipe here you go:

Drop Biscuits:

2 cups all purpose flour

1 tbsp sugar

3 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup shortening

1 cup milk

1. Heat oven to 450′

2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt – this is an important step, don’t skip it! If you skip it you have the chance of eating a bite full of baking powder, and let me tell you – it’s gross!

3. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender – or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions – until mixture looks like fine crumbs.

4. Stir in milk

5. Drop on a greased cookie sheet by spoonful into 12 biscuits about 2 inches apart.  My mom used to drop them into a greased muffin tin as well

6. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet, serve warm.

(Biscuit recipe found in the Betty Crocker Cookbook Bridal Edition)

Make it a GRATE day!





Comfort Food At it’s Finest

This casserole wouldn’t be high on my list of “healthy” foods by any means, although with some tweaks you may be able to lower the calories…but than it just wouldn’t be as good would it? 

I first made this casserole when I was doing a month of freezer meals, needless to say it freezes REALLY well, and is pretty simple to make.  This week I offered to deliver meals to two different families that just had a new little one join them.  So I actually made 4 pans of this in less than an hour.  


I have tweaked this recipe a little bit from the original one that I saw a LONG time ago – and unfortunately I don’t remember where I first saw the recipe.   So Here is the recipe with my tweeks 🙂 

Tator Tot Casserole 

1-2 pounds of ground beef

1 onion – chopped

3-5 garlic cloves – pressed

16 oz Frozen Mixed Veggies (or more if you want to bump up the veggie content!)

1-1 1/2 cups of sour cream

1 can cream of mushroom soup – make sure there are no “lumps” of frozen veggies

1/4 cup milk

3-4 cups of shredded cheddar cheese

32 oz frozen Tator Tots 


1. Brown the meat with the onion and garlic


(if you don’t have a Mix N’ Chop yet, you are missing out! It makes browning meat go so much faster! It’s also great for strawberry shortcake, guacamole, mashed potatoes and more!) 

2. Mix soup, sour cream and milk together – I like to use my Kitchenaid mixer – especially when I’m making 4 different pans of this! 


3. Layer in pan in this order: Meat, Veggies, Soup Mixture, Cheese, Tator Tots 






4. Either Freeze it for later or Bake at 350′ for 35-45 minutes or until tots are nice and brown and the casserole is bubbly. 

Hope you enjoy this fantastic recipe! 

Make it a GRATE Day!