Easy Spaghetti Sauce

   Spaghetti used to be a meal I made once a week. I'd always go back to it because it was easy and everyone liked it. Then I was introduced to the world of food blogs, and started my own. Spaghetti got pushed to the side lines because of all the new recipes I was wanting to make. I honestly don't think I had made it in over a year, until last week.

   My Mom gave me an old cookbook that was made by her and the ladies in the Relief Society in our old ward. They all had submitted their most tried and true recipes. I was so happy she gave it to me because I knew there would be some gems in there. When I saw this easy Spaghetti Sauce recipe, it had me craving Spaghetti all over again! I made it last week and it was exactly what I thought it would be... Perfect!

Easy Spaghetti Sauce

1 pound lean ground beef
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
1 Tablespoon dried minced onion
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce

DIRECTIONS:  In a large pot, combine ground beef and all ingredients except tomato sauce. Stir and break up the ground beef over medium-high heat, until fully cooked.

Slowly stir in the tomato sauce and heat to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer 1 to 2 hours. Serve over spaghetti or your favorite noodles. Enjoy!

(Recipe source: 24th Ward Church Cookbook)

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Margherita Pizza

   Mmmmm pizza. There's just something so addictive about it. I guess it's the soft pizza dough.. the gooey mozzarella cheese... oh lordy. It's irresistible! I love how you can make pizza so many different ways. This authentic Margherita version is one of my favorites. Whenever we go down to Vegas to eat at The Cheesecake Factory, I always order it. It is to die for!

Margherita Pizza

1 recipe for Homemade pizza dough (enough for a 16 inch pizza)
(try this one! It's my go-to pizza dough.)
7-8 ripe Roma Tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
12 ounces fresh Mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Kosher salt and black pepper, for sprinkling

DIRECTIONS:  Lightly oil a 16 inch pizza pan. Prepare dough, roll it out and place in prepared pan. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Dice the tomatoes and discard seeds. Place tomatoes in a large bowl and combine with the olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Spread tomato mixture over the pizza dough.
Bake 15-20 minutes on the lowest oven rack.

Remove pizza from oven and arrange mozzarella and Parmesan on top of tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Return to oven until cheese is melted and bubbling. (about 5-10 more minutes)
Top with basil and serve!

(Recipe Source: The Food Nanny)



Menu Plan Monday #16

   Another great weekend has come and gone. My friend Christa who lives in Salt Lake City came down to St.George for her daughters dance competition. It was so good to see her. I love her to death, and have missed her so much since she moved up north. Now that we live so far away we dont get to see eachother that often. One of the things I love about our friendship is that no matter how long we go without talking or seeing eachother, when we finally do it's like we havent missed a beat. We have so much in common. She can make me laugh so hard I'll have tears streaming down my face. I know we'll be friends until we're old and gray! Love her to pieces ♥

  Okay, so let's get to the menu. Kale and I are trying to lose a little flab for swimsuit season, so we are getting a grip on our eating plan. We're doing a 5 day cleanse this week to kick-start it. No sugar, white flour or fatty foods. Just lot's of lean meats, veggies and fruits.  :)

(no dressing)


brown rice

(no dressing)

Grilled Shrimp Skewers*

~Kitchen's Closed~

(cheat day!)
green salad

Carrot Cake w/
Almond Scented Cream Cheese frosting

I hope you all have a great week!


Sweet and Spicy Pork Chops

   With Summer on my mind I am so looking forward to using our outdoor grill! We love grilling during spring and summer. I especially love it because it's the time of year my Hubby cooks for us! He can make some mean hamburgers and steaks. He always grills them perfectly!

   So with the anticipation of Summer-time grilling, I've been using my indoor grill pan a lot. These Sweet and Spicy Pork Chops were absolutely amazing. They have a hint of sweetness from the brown sugar, and just the right amount of heat from the Cajun seasonings. So so yummy!

Sweet and Spicy Pork Chops
recipe adapted from: Food.Com

6 pork chops, thin and boneless
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning (use less if you dont like a lot of heat)

DIRECTIONS:  Combine all of the ingredients in a large ziplock bag. Shake to mix and coat pork chops. Place bag in the refrigerator and marinate for 2-3 hours.

Heat an indoor grill pan or skillet to medium heat. Drizzle a little olive oil on the bottom of pan. (about 1 tablespoon)  Place 3 pork chops at a time onto the pan and cook 3-4 minutes on each side or until completely cooked.

Set cooked chops on a plate and tent with foil to keep warm while you cook the remaining pork chops.



Chicken Parmesan Bake

   Is anyone else sick of the weather being bipolar? One day it's freezing cold and windy, and the next it's in the 70's and I'm changing into shorts! Maybe I'm just anxious for Summer to begin already. I can't wait to take the kiddos swimming, lay out in my back yard and live in my Flip Flops.
Oh wait. I'm already living in my Flip Flops....  Love em'!

   I'm happy to be back with a new and DELISH dinner idea for you! This Chicken Parmesan Bake is one of the easiest and most delicious dinners to make! It's not the prettiest thing to look at, but it tastes wonderful! I loved the crunchy topping of croutons. You could always crush them so their not so chunky and big, but that would just take more time. I'm all about fast and easy, and that's what this dish is! 

Chicken Parmesan Bake
recipe from: Food Wishes

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups marinara sauce
1/4 cup chopped basil
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
4 ounces parmesan cheese, shredded
1 (5 ounce) package garlic croutons

DIRECTIONS:  In a 9x13 baking dish spread the olive oil and garlic evenly over the bottom. Lay the chicken breasts on top. Pour the marinara sauce over the tops of chicken breasts and then sprinkle with fresh basil.

Sprinkle half of the mozzarella cheese over the marinara sauce. Layer croutons over the cheese. Sprinkle the top with remaining cheeses. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

*(During the last 10 minutes of cooking you may need to lay a piece of tin foil over the top to prevent cheese from burning)

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Menu Plan Monday #15

    It feels good to be blogging again! I was going into minor withdrawls.....  just kidding.
No seriously, I did miss it but it felt good to take a little break. My girls were out of school last week for Spring Break, so we got to spend some quality time together. We went to some parks, saw a movie and did a little shopping. We also saw the Blue Angels air show over the weekend too. It was  pretty cool!

    I didn't end up going to Chicago like I had planned.... (It's a long story). I'm sad I couldn't go, and that I lost out on a $275 plane ticket! BOO! I'm trying to stay positive and take my mind off of what happened, so I will be in my kitchen cooking and baking up a storm this week. It's always been therapeutic to me. I've got some delicious meals lined up! Here they are...

beans, rice

Shrimp in Garlic Butter sauce*
rice pilaf*

scalloped potatoes*

green salad

~Kitchen's Closed~

~Kitchen's Closed~


Lemon Cream Cake*

I hope you all have a great week! ♥


Menu Plan Monday #14 (Favorites!)

   Hi guys! Well I have to say, I'm not going to be cooking much this week. I'm taking a much needed break from reality and being in my kitchen! (Yay!!!) I thought I would still share Menu Plan Monday but change it up a bit. Instead of listing meals I would be making, I decided to share with you some of the most popular and most viewed recipes on my blog. I also wanted to share with you a few of my favorites. These are some delicious recipes! If you havent tried them yet, I suggest you do asap! :)

This delicious chicken is definitely the most popular.
It's been viewed 478,849 times thus far!
Crazy huh! I can thank Pinterest for that :)

2nd Most Viewed Recipe:

                                                      This awesome dip comes in at #2.
I only posted this bean dip a little over a month
ago and it gets hits like craaazy! (165,197 so far to be exact!)
Again, Thanks to Pinterest :)

My Favorite Dinner:

I ♥ Mexican food like no other. I eat it
waaay too much, yet can't get enough! This recipe
for Chimichangas is the BEST one I've made at home.
The flavor is amazing! If you haven't made these yet,
then please do! You will LOVE them!

My Favorite Dessert:
 Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

I adore cupcakes. I would shove them in my
mouth everyday if I wouldnt gain a million pounds.
These Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ones are simply
AMAZING! Love love love them!

My Kids' Favorite Dinner:
Tater Tot Casserole

Hands down, this is my kids' favorite meal I make.
They gobble this stuff up! It isnt the prettiest dinner
in the world, but it sure is good. The recipe I posted
of it is just the basic one. I've been known to add
broccoli and cheddar cheese to it too. Mmmm!

Well, there they are. A few of the faves! I hope you all have a great week! I will be back next Monday with my original Menu Plan for the week, and some new recipes!

,  Holly


Low Fat Orange Chicken

   We love Chinese food, so I was super excited when I saw this Orange Chicken recipe on Pinterest. It looked so good! Usually the words 'low fat' can deter me from making a recipe. A lot of low fat recipes taste flavorless, and I've had to force myself to eat them. This one was different. Very different. This Orange Chicken was anything but boring.... it was totally delicious!

   It's pretty easy to throw together. I had it on the table and ready to eat within 30 minutes. When I finished my plate, it had me wanting more! Kale went back for thirds I believe (which is a big indicator to me he loved it, because he never says he does) He also took it to work for lunch the next day. I'll definitely be making this again in the near future :)

Low-Fat Orange Chicken
recipe from: Beauty and Bedlam

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup orange marmalade or jam
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon ground ginger (fresh is best)
1-2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
2 Tablespoons oil ( I used olive oil)
5 cloves garlic minced, divided

DIRECTIONS:  Cut chicken into 1 inch cubes. Lightly dredge the chicken in flour for a quick breading. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pour oil in hot skillet and then add 3 cloves of garlic. Add the cut chicken cubes and cook chicken until no longer pink. (about 10-15 minutes)
Remove chicken from pan and place on a plate. Set aside.

Deglaze pan with a splash of the vinegar. Saute remaining garlic, and then add orange marmalade, soy sauce, water, ginger, red pepper flakes and the rest of the vinegar. Stir.

Cook sauce on medium-high heat until sauce begins to thicken slightly. (Initially sauce will seem very liquidy, but it will thicken. You can always add 1/4 cup of cornstarch to help it thicken)

Reduce the heat to low and then add chicken to sauce. Sauce will continue to thicken with the chicken in it. Continue to cook another 5 minutes or so until everything is heated through and sauce is at desired thickness. Serve with rice, veggies, etc!



Deluxe French Toast Sandwiches

   I woke up Sunday morning feeling ambitious.. and hungry. I was craving a yummy breakfast but none of the usual breakfast grub sounded good. I decided I needed to create something new! That's when these Deluxe French toast sandwiches were born. I like French toast, but by no means do I love it. I order it at restaurants once in a blue moon, but usually don't make it at home. It never turns out the way I want it to. That being said, I decided to give it another chance.

  I thought stuffing some thinly sliced ham and mozzarella cheese between two pieces would be pretty dang delicious. I also topped it off with some raspberry jam. Mmmm It was so good! I can't wait to make them again!  

Deluxe French Toast Sandwiches
Recipe by: Holly Lofthouse

1/2 lb thinly sliced Honey Ham
4 slices Mozzarella cheese
8 thick pieces French bread or Texas Toast
2 Eggs, beaten
1/4 cup Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
Raspberry or Strawberry Jam

DIRECTIONS:  Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Spray with non-stick spray.

Lay 4 pieces of bread out. Top each piece with 4 slices of the honey ham, then top each with one piece of mozzarella cheese. Top with remaining pieces of bread.

In a medium bowl mix together eggs, milk and vanilla. Dip each sandwich carefully into the egg mixture, while holding it on both sides so the filling wont fall out. Dip again on the other side.

Place one sandwich onto the skillet or griddle and cook on each side for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown and cheese is melted. Serve with jam and a sprinkling of powdered sugar. Enjoy!
(You can keep the sandwiches in a 200 degree oven to keep warm while you prepare the others)

This recipe is linked up at:


Menu Plan Monday #13

   My sweet little Kelsey is a Brownie in Girl Scouts this year. She loves it. It's been such a fun after school activity for her. She sold 86 boxes of cookies, so we've been on cookie delivery all weekend! I can't begin to describe how proud I am of her. She loves being a part of a group that's all about community service and helping others. When I picked her up from Girl scouts one night she said to me, "Mom, I'm going to make a difference in this world!" 
   I got all choked up when she said that. My heart just melted. She has such a kind little spirit. She's always so friendly and giving to others. She has great ideas and is so smart. I know she'll make a positive impact in people's lives. I know she's made one in mine. I'm so lucky to have such an amazing daughter! :)


Lowfat Orange Chicken*
brown rice

Chicken salad croissants*
baked chips

~Kitchen's Closed~

Taco Salads*

~Kitchen's Closed~

Chicken Parmesan*


Crock Pot Barbecue Chicken

   Hello friends! I have another ridiculously easy crock pot recipe for you to try! I loved this chicken. It had tons of flavor and was a nice little change-up to the every day barbecue chicken we all make. The recipe calls for a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce and some extra additions that make it taste amazing! We ate this with a side of veggies and loved it. Next time, I think I'm going to shred the chicken and make us some BBQ Chicken Sliders with it. Oh yeah!

Crock Pot Barbecue Chicken
adapted from: Stick a Fork In It

4-6 boneless, skinless Chicken breasts
1 (18 oz) bottle Barbecue Sauce ( I used 'Sweet Baby Ray's')
2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4-1/2 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 cup Brown Sugar

DIRECTIONS:  Place chicken breasts in the bottom of crock pot. In a medium bowl mix together barbecue sauce, vinegar, garlic powder and red pepper. Stir sauce and then pour over chicken. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Close with lid and cook on low for 3-4 hours. (The last 30 minutes of cooking, remove the lid from crock pot and let water evaporate to thicken sauce) Serve!