Hot Eats and Cool Reads: April 2012

Apr 30, 2012

Homemade Ground Chicken Taco Meat Recipe

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An easy to make and healthy from scratch recipe! Serve with rice for a complete Mexican meal!

An easy to make and healthy from scratch recipe! Serve with rice for a complete meal! Homemade Ground Chicken Taco Meat Recipe from Hot Eats and Cool Reads

Tacos are one of my favorite meals. In fact, I could eat them almost daily.

If you're still using the packet mix to make your tacos, you'll stop after trying this recipe!

These ingredients can easily be found in your pantry and you'll save money too. It's that easy.

I usually use ground beef for my tacos, but I got a great deal on ground chicken, so I decided to try that instead. 

These turned out to be just as good as the ground beef version and more healthy for you too! 

An easy to make and healthy from scratch recipe! Serve with rice for a complete meal! Homemade Ground Chicken Taco Meat Recipe from Hot Eats and Cool Reads

I love to eat mine in a taco salad, and the next day, heat some leftover Spanish rice with the chicken and sprinkle some shredded cheddar cheese on top. Then scoop it up with some tortilla chips! Yum!

It's good for more than one meal and it's very budget friendly! 

The kids love them and you could even pack a taco salad for their school lunch the next day! 

The possibilities are endless!

Homemade Ground Chicken Taco Meat

by Sheena
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 red or green pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1- 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • olive oil
In a large skillet with some olive oil, cook ground chicken, onion, garlic, bell pepper and seasonings until the chicken is cooked through.

Add black beans and saute for a few more minutes. Use with tortillas for tacos or tortilla chips for taco salad.
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Apr 28, 2012

Chicken, Mushroom and Cabbage Soup Recipe

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This soup is delicious, healthy and packed with vegetables like carrots, potatoes and onions! Such a warming comfort food!


Comfort food. One of my favorite things in life, especially soup!

There are so many comfort foods that have sentimental value for me from my childhood.

Apr 27, 2012

Restaurant Review: Pappy's Chicago Style Eatery St Paul, Minnesota

I was visiting a friend in St Paul last weekend and we wanted a quick and reasonable place to eat before getting ready for our girl's night out. She suggested Pappy's and we decided to check it out!

They have a decent sized menu with a great selection. You can find Chicago style dogs, Catfish, Philly Cheesesteak, Dipped Italian Beef, Gyros and so much more. The prices are super reasonable too. We took ours to go, and we were in and out within 10-15 minutes.

My friend Amanda and I decided to get the Philly Cheesesteak and fries. The total was under $7.00 which included the sandwich and fries. Beverages are extra. I was very happy with my meal. The fries were great and the sandwich was awesome. The bread was good and the meat was tender and flavorful. I would definitely get this again!

My friend, Shannon, decided to get the Italian Beef. The amount of meat on the sandwich was ridiculous, she could hardly bite it! They are dipped, so if you get it to go, it will be really soggy by the time you get to eat it. She thought it was good overall and it ended up being more than enough for one meal.

You can find Pappy's Chicago Style Eatery at:
1783 Maryland Ave E
St Paul, MN 55119

Apr 25, 2012

Book Review: I'm Still Wifey by Kiki Swinson

Description from Goodreads:
Essence bestselling author Kiki Swinson shows how far one woman will go when her back is up against the wall.
Life in the `hood sure isn't easy, but Kira can handle it. With her playah drug-lord husband Ricky behind bars serving federal time, all the drama should be over. Think again. It seems Kira's goin' to have a new baby on her hands, and it's not even Ricky's. The father is none other than Russ, the sheisty cat who also ran off with all her dough. But if there's one thing wifey is good at, it's revenge...

My Thoughts:

This is the second book in the Wifey series, and I liked it just as much as I did the first. Once again there is alot of drama and that kept it interesting until the end. Kira is a trip and she is continually scheming on someone, but karma always comes back at you somehow when you least expect it. Ricky is locked up and still being shady, just like before. The ending was somewhat of a surprise and I couldn't wait to get started on the next book, Life After Wifey. Check back for that review!

I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars

Apr 24, 2012

Easy and Cheap Homemade Salsa Recipe

I love salsa. The stuff from the stores just doesn't cut it though. We eat alot of Mexican food at our house and buying fresh tomatoes to make a batch of salsa sometimes isn't affordable. That's where this recipe comes in. It is so CHEAP! It uses canned tomatoes instead of fresh and it's even cheaper that the jarred stuff at the supermarket. Not to mention it tastes pretty darn good and you can use so many different ingredients to switch up the flavor! It was also great added in with the Vegetarian Taco Dip recipe. Enjoy!!

What you need:
2- 14.5 oz diced tomatoes (regular or Mexican style)
1 small can diced green chiles
1/4 bunch cilantro
2 cloves garlic
2 whole green onions
1/2 tbsp sugar
salt and pepper

additional add-ins:
anaheim pepper
bell pepper

Mince all ingredients in a food processor except tomatoes. Add tomatoes, pulse a couple more times, or until it reaches the consistency you prefer. Refrigerate before serving!

Print Recipe 

This recipe was shared at:
Tuesday Talent Show at Chef in Training
Mix it up Monday at Flour me with Love
Scrumptious Sunday at Addicted to Recipes
Church Supper at Everyday Mom's meals
Fabulous Friday at My Crowded Kitchen
Weekend Potluck at The Country Cook
Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Look What I Made at A Thrifty Mom

Apr 22, 2012

Blackberry Scones with Lime Glaze Recipe

I've been wanting to make scones for a few months, but somehow never find the time to do it. I'm a great cook, but a baker, not so much.

Earlier this week, Target, had a great deal on blackberries. I knew I just had to get them and finally make scones. If I had known they were so easy to make, I would've made them alot sooner! They turned out fabulous. The lime glaze added the perfect amount of sweetness! 

The beautiful plate in this post, was my Grandma's, and she passed away late last year. I was so happy to see how pretty this picture turned out and I know my Grandma would've loved this recipe.

My daughter and I just love them for breakfast and it's a fun recipe for her and I to make together. Ella loved adding the ingredients and she had a blast rubbing the butter into the flour mixture. She is such a fun little helper! I hope you enjoy these as much as we did. They sure didn't last long! Expect alot more scone recipes in the future!

What you need:

2 c. all purpose flour
1/4 c. sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 c. butter, chilled
3/4 c. milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c. fresh blackberries

Lime Glaze:
1/4 c. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 c. powdered sugar
1/4 tsp lime zest
1/2 tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into 6-8 chunks and add to flour mixture. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour mixture until it reaches a sandy consistency, making sure there are no butter chunks bigger than a pea. Combine milk and vanilla extract, and add to the flour mixture. Stir until dough comes together and gently knead in the blackberries. (I had some very ripe berries, and they will get somewhat squished, that's ok!)

Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and flatten into a disk about 1 inch thick. Using a knife, cut dough into 6 triangles. Place scones on the baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes.

While the scones are cooking you can prepare the glaze. In a glass microwave safe bowl, combine the lime juice, powdered sugar, and zest. Stir until completely mixed and sugar is dissolved. Add the butter. Microwave for 30 seconds and whisk to mix in melted butter. When the scones are finished, cool slightly and drizzle glaze over top.

Print Recipe

Recipe Source Blackberry Scones: Baking Bites  

This recipe was shared at:
Good Recipes Online
Fabulous Friday at My Crowded Kitchen
Weekend Potluck at The Country Cook
Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Recipe Round up at Gooseberry Patch
Look What I Made at A Thrifty Mom
Makin you Crave Monday at Mrs Happy Homemaker
Breakfast Idea's Mondays at Yummy Inspiration
Mix it up Monday at Flour me with Love
Church Supper at Everyday Mom's Meals
Scrumptious Sunday at Addicted to Recipes

Apr 20, 2012

My Mama's Potato Salad Recipe

Potato Salad is my favorite summer side dish! I could eat this stuff all the time! I had the perfect opportunity to make it on Easter for a BBQ at my Mom's house. It was a great side dish to go with grilled bacon wrapped jumbo shrimp. The whole family loves this salad and it never lasts very long! I am a huge fan of hard boiled eggs and I like darn near as many of them as potatoes. You can alter the recipe if you prefer less eggs and more potatoes! Enjoy!!


My Mama's Potato Salad

What you need:
6 c. boiled potatoes, cooled and sliced
6 hard boiled eggs, sliced
3/4 c. finely diced onion
1 1/2 c. miracle whip
1 tbsp mustard
1 tbsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl combine miracle whip, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper. Add potatoes and eggs and stir gently to combine. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour prior to serving.

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Apr 17, 2012

Book Review: Cinder by Albert French

Description from Goodreads:
This title is set in Banes, Mississippi, 1938. The Catfish creek separates the Patch from the town, black from white. These worlds and their prejudices are hauntingly evoked in the rich accents of the American South. Cinder is a woman who belongs to neither, her beauty marking her out as different. Time passes slowly, and the inhabitants of Banes follow the same daily rhythm as they have done for years. Shorty sweeps up in Mister Macky's store, then drinks his wages at LeRoy's bar, men sit spitting outside the Rosey Gray, old people watch the world go by from their porches. But one quiet Sunday morning, when the bombs are dropped on Pearl Harbor, change comes to this small Mississippi town. Spanning four years, "Cinder" is the follow-up to Albert French's outstanding novel, "Billy". It is at once the story of a woman whose life has been torn apart by tragedy, and the portrait of a town divided. It is about loss, community, history and the ties that bind.

My Thoughts:
I am sorry to say, I just could not finish this book. The first 25 pages consisted of how and who transported Billy's body and the next 25 really had nothing to do with Cinder, just descriptions of what the people in town were doing. The book is named after Cinder, so I totally expected to hear more of her story within the first 50 pages. It was just too slow and way too descriptive about things that didn't matter. I wish it would've been as great as Billy, and it might have gotten better, but I could not make myself finish. You can find my review for Albert French's other book, Billy, here

I rate this book 1 out of 5 stars. 


Cheesy Corn and Black Bean Dip Recipe

This is another dip recipe I served at my Scentsy party. This was my favorite and it turned out so good! The recipe makes a pretty small batch, so if you have more than 10 people, you will want to double it. The flavor combo was perfect and since black beans are one of my favorite ingredients, I was so happy I stumbled across it and was able to make it! It's very easy and cheap to make as well! Enjoy! (not the best pic, but it works until I make it again)

What you need:
1 tbsp olive oil
15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 c. corn
1/2 c. onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 small can diced green chiles
1/2 c. sour cream
1 c. shredded Mexican blend cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a skillet, over medium heat, saute the onion and garlic for 3 minutes. Add green chiles, cumin and chili powder. Continue to saute for another 2-3 minutes, add black beans and saute for 3 more minutes. Coarsely mash half of the black beans, add corn and saute for another few minutes. Remove from heat. 

Apr 15, 2012

Book Review: Wifey by Kiki Swinson

Description from Goodreads:
Kira owns a profitable hair and nail salon. She lives in a nice home in an exclusive community with her husband Ricky, an infamous, well-known drug dealer from the rough streets of D.C. He is also known to be one of the most feared men in the South.
Because of Ricky's drug-empire, Kira finds herself in the most dangerous situation ever. Ricky forces Kira to believe that he's going to call on his reinforcements, so everything will end in his favor. However, unknown to Ricky, Kira felt the need to devise an escape plan on her own. Will she choose loyalty or her life?
In a world where everyone wants to be Wifey the question is - can you play your position and handle the drama the streets will throw your way?

My thoughts:
This is the first book in the Wifey Series. Kira is the wife of a big time hustler named Ricky. She is getting tired of his lifestyle in the streets and running around with different females. After her cousin gets locked up for running Ricky's dope, Kira decides she is fed up and makes some huge decisions that will affect her life as she now knows it.

This book catches you from the beginning and has you wanting to find out what happens next.. It is a fast and easy read and has pretty decent editing. I am excited to read the next book in the series and I will definitely read more by this author besides the series.

I rate this 4.5 out of 5 stars



Cinnamon Churro Muddy Buddies aka Puppy Chow Recipe

Looking for an amazing party snack? Give these Cinnamon Churro Chex Muddy Buddies a try! Easy to make, so addictive, enough for a crowd on game day or even great for a sweet treat in a lunchbox. 

Muddy Buddies in a white bowl.

Amazing Taco Dip Recipe

This easy Mexican taco dip is layered with a creamy salsa mixture, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and black olives is absolutely amazing and is great for any game day party, potluck, taco night or picnic! 

Amazing Taco Dip

This easy meatless Mexican taco dip is layered with a creamy salsa mixture, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and black olives is absolutely amazing and is great for any game day party, potluck, taco night or picnic! Serve with tortilla chips!

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Apr 14, 2012

Sweet Red Wine Party Sangria Recipe

This Sangria is a great drink for a party or BBQ! You will want to make it 24 hours ahead of time, so all the citrus can mingle with the wine. The flavor turns out amazing! I'm not much of a red wine drinker, but I really like Tisdale Sweet Red. It happened to be on sale for $1.99 a bottle this week so it was a great time to make it for my Scentsy party since it was so reasonable! This is something I will be making alot this summer!! Enjoy!!

What you need:
1 bottle of Tisdale Sweet Red Wine
1 orange
1 lemon
1 lime
2 tbsp sugar
1 small can diced pineapples with juice
lemon lime soda (I used one 2 liter for 5 bottles of wine)

Slice oranges, lemons and limes. Combine all ingredients except soda in a pitcher, stir and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Add soda and serve!

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Apr 11, 2012

Shrimp Fried Rice Recipe

What you need:
6 oz. raw medium shrimp, cleaned with tails removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced
1 1/2 tbsp. teriyaki sauce
1 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce
1- 10oz bag frozen Birds Eye Steamfresh White Rice with Mixed Veggies, cooked in package (or 2 c. of any cooked rice)
2 eggs
black pepper
olive oil

In a large skillet, saute garlic and onion in olive oil until tender, about 5 minutes. Add shrimp and saute for another few minutes. Add rice, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce and pepper and stir, frying for about 3 more minutes. Push rice and shrimp to one side of the skillet and on the other side start scrambling both eggs. When the eggs start to solidify, stir together with rice and continue frying until eggs are completely cooked.

Print Recipe

This recipe was shared at:
Recipe Round Up at Gooseberry Patch
Tuesday Talent Show at Chef in Training
Mix it up Monday at Flour me with Love
Recipe Party at The Sweet Spot
Creative Thursday at Michelle's Tasty Creations
Fabulous Friday at My Crowded Kitchen
Weekend Potluck at The Country Cook
Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Recipe Linky at Newlyweds

Apr 7, 2012

Bacon and Apple Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe

 I just love grilled cheese. There are so many different ways to make them, and they always turn out so good! The addition of apples is my favorite way to change them up. The sweetness from the apple adds just the right touch, and goes so well with both types of cheeses. And everything is better with bacon, right?? You will love these!

What you need:
sourdough bread
thick sliced bacon
red apple, thinly sliced
sharp cheddar cheese, sliced
pepper jack cheese, sliced
butter, softened

Cook the bacon according to package directions. Drain and crumble. Butter a piece of bread and place butter side down on a large skillet. Assemble the sandwiches starting with the pepperjack, then bacon, apples and topping with cheddar. Butter another slice of bread and top the sandwich butter side out. Cook the sandwiches over medium to medium high heat until they are browned and cheese is melted, occasionally squishing them down with the spatula during cooking! Enjoy!

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Apr 5, 2012

Book Review: If I Should Die Before I Wake by Han Nolan

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Unique historical non fiction young adult book about the Holocaust

Description from Goodreads:

Hilary hates Jews. As part of a neo-Nazi gang in her town, she's finally found a sense of belonging. But when she's critically injured in an accident, everything changes.

Somehow, in her mind, she has become Chana, a Jewish girl fighting for her own life in the ghettos and concentration camps of World War II.

Han Nolan offers powerful insight into one young woman's survival through the Holocaust and another's journey out of hatred and self-loathing.

My thoughts:

The cover of this book is so beautiful in such a dark way. I was immediately drawn to it, and just knew I had to read it. Hilary is part of a neo Nazi gang and dislikes Jews in every way. 

She gets into a motorcycle accident with her boyfriend and while she is in a coma, she becomes a Jewish girl named Chana during World War II. Going back and forth from present day in a coma to Chana's journey from her home, to the Lodz Ghetto and finally Auschwitz we learn what life is/was like for both Hilary and Chana.    

This book is very well written and the author tells a great, but very sad story. Everything that Chana was forced to endure broke my heart. I have read quite a few books about the Holocaust, but with each new one read, you learn of so many more different horrors of the Holocaust. 

I really liked the unique storyline and the characters. Even though this book is aimed at Young Adults, it can be read by adults as well. The content is sometimes difficult to read, but it is a great portrayal of life in the ghetto and camps. 

It was a great book overall and I am so glad I stumbled across it!

I rate this book 4.5 out of 5 stars

Purchase this book on Amazon here

Apr 2, 2012

3 Ingredient Creamy Pineapple Pudding Dessert Recipe

I love fruit salads. 

They are such a sweet and easy treat to add to any meal. With BBQ season starting, I am looking for and will be trying so many new salad recipes. Love it!

This one is so fast to make, it almost seems too easy! 

It only has 3 ingredients too, which is great. If you have a big crowd, make sure to double the recipe as it does go fast!


Other pineapple recipes you may like:

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Creamy Pineapple Pudding Dessert

Author: Hot Eats and Cool Reads


  • 1- 20 ounce can crushed pineapple with juice
  • 1- 8 ounce container cool whip
  • 1- 5.1 ounce package vanilla instant pudding


  1. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients until combined.
  2. Cover and refrigerate until serving. 

Hot Eats and Cool Reads is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe you try from this blog/website. You may not always have the same results due to variations in ingredients, humidity, altitude, cooking temperatures, typos, errors, omissions, or individual cooking abilities. 

You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful. I am not a certified nutritionist and make no claims to the contrary. Each individual's dietary needs and restrictions are unique to the individual.

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