Potato Pizza

Today I discovered a travesty that had befallen our nation. Namely, not enough people know about Potato Pizza. I was telling my dear friend Rhonda that I was making it for dinner and she said, “Hmmm that sounds weird.”

I admit that it might seem peculiar but, once you go spud, you’ll never say dud.

Ok that was lame.

Anyway, my family has been making Potato Pizza for generations. My mom taught it to me. Her mom taught it to her and so on. Not sure how far back it goes but every time you ask my mom she’ll tell you something different. At this point I think the family lore dates back to Abraham Lincoln.


This is how my mom passed it down to me. Handwritten on a doggie themed recipe card. There wasn’t even any detail on how much of each ingredient to use. I had to figure that out and write it in the margins! How friggin’ awesome is that?

(By the way, my mom has total teacher handwriting don’t you think?)

It easy. It’s yummy. And it’s total comfort food. What’s not to like about bread, hamburger, potatoes and cheese all mixed up together? If that’s wrong then I don’t want to be right.

So, in order to right the wrongs of our society, I have decided to share this ancient family recipe with you (that goes as far back as George Washington).

Bear in mind that I’m not a cook and have never claimed to be one. But if I can make this, so can you. And I’ll even tell you the right amount for each ingredient because I’m nice like that. Nothing but love, people.

Step 1. Throw 1 TBSP of butter in a frying pan and melt it.


Step 2. Peel 2 large potatoes, slice them thinly and throw in with the melted butter.


OK so maybe you should peel and slice the potatoes before you melt the butter. Details, details.

Step 3. Cook the potatoes until tender but not brown. They should turn from opaque to transparent and get kind of shiny.


Note that this step is very important! When my parents were newlyweds, my mom made this for my dad to try and impress him with her mad cooking skills. However, she neglected to cook the potatoes. The resulting pizza was less than stellar.

Step 4. Set aside the potatoes and brown 1 lb. of hamburger, along with some chopped onions, salt and pepper to taste.


Quick aside:  that funny looking tool I’m using to cook the ground beef is the Mix n’Chop from Pampered Chef. I LOVE it! You use it to mix up and chop the beef (hence the name) and it gets it to those nice small crumbles. Perfect. Best $10 I ever spent in the kitchen.

Step 5. Drain the grease and then add the potatoes back in, along with 1 – 16 oz. can of tomato sauce and some parmesan cheese to taste.


Beautiful, ain’t it?

Yes I’m using a different stirring utensil with every step. Why? Because I’ve found that the more dishes I dirty, the better the food tastes. It’s scientifically proven.

Step 6. Color with your daughter while you wait for your husband to return from the grocery store with the remaining ingredients. Oops.



Tap your foot impatiently while you answer his myriad of text messages about various items.

Stir the meat mixture.

Do the dishes you’ve dirtied so far.

Stir the meat mixture.

Turn on Curious George.

Stir the meat mixture.

Shout “hurray!” when you hear the garage door open, then accost your husband.

Step 7. Grease a baking sheet and then roll out 1 Pillsbury refrigerated pizza dough crust on it.



Make note because this is key: do not try and substitute any other pizza crust for this or I won’t be able to guarantee the results! CJ suggested a pre-made Boboli crust and I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. There is no messing with perfection people!

Step 8. Pour meat mixture on to the pizza dough. Spread evenly, leaving room around the edges.


Notice that I did not leave room around the edges and it made things more difficult later. Not impossible, just difficult.

Step 9. Unroll Pillsbury refrigerated pizza dough crust #2 on top of the meat mixture. Pinch the edges together to seal it up (hence the reason for leaving the gap on the sides)


Step 10. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Check it at 30 because you don’t want to overcook and dry out the crust.


Clean up the rest of your mess while it bakes and your husband runs to the bank with your daughter.

Ignore the doorbell when it rings because you’re already in your grubbies and don’t want to frighten anyone by answering the door.

Catch up on a DVRed show and feel good for accomplishing something.

Welcome your family back home.

Ding! Timer went off! Time to take this masterpiece out of the oven!


Isn’t she lovely?

Cut and serve. But when serving, do it like this:

Cut a piece and immediately spread butter on the top crust. It will get all melty and slide around everywhere.



Then cut a slice or two of your favorite cheese and slip it under the top crust, setting her down right on the meaty middle. Let it melt before eating.


Mmmm boy. I tell ya what, this is some good stuff. Trust me on this people. I know food and I love food. CJ was weirded out by it when he first heard tale of the recipe handed down from the pilgrims but he was sold after his first bite.

I don’t make this very often and I have no idea why because it’s so easy. Maybe because I never have pizza crusts on hand. Or I’m lazy. Or fail to plan ahead. Whatever the reason, I should dismiss it and get this back in the regular rotation. It makes a lot and tastes amazing leftover too (which must be true if I’m saying it because I hate leftovers).

And there you have it! Potato Pizza from my family to yours.

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Hello Luvva…

I was reunited with an old flame earlier this week. I had forgotten just how much I loved our time together. It was sweet. It was naughty. It was hot and cold at the same time. I felt slightly guilty about it each time we met, but the guilt was soon washed away by the unbelievable satisfaction it gave me.

I’m talking about my old friend, the Bachelor Sundae.

What, you thought it was something more scandalous? Get your minds out of the gutter people!

The Bachelor Sundae was created many many years ago by one of my ex-boyfriends. It’s about the only positive thing to come out of that relationship. Basically, he was hungry for something sweet and decided to make a dessert out of ingredients he had lying around the house. In his case, being a bachelor, that meant ice cream, Pop Tarts and peanut butter. But oh what a combination!

I used to make these all the time when we were dating, and even for a while afterwards because it’s just so yummy. But then I got on a health kick and stopped buying Pop Tarts and this faded from my memory. For Mother’s Day I bought myself a box of those yummy chocolate toaster pastries and it just so happened we had ice cream too. The light bulb went off over my head and hence my blissful reunion with Mr. Sundae.

Fortunately, by the time I remembered this treat we only had 3 Pop Tarts left so I could only eat this 3 nights in a row. But believe you me, I did just that! And it was AMAZING! I practically needed a cigarette afterwards!

Here’s what ya do.

1) Put a Pop Tart in the toaster and toast.

It can be any kind of Pop Tart – remember, we’re using whatever you have lying around the house. I prefer chocolate ones but anything will do. If you don’t have Pop Tarts, use a cookie or graham cracker or something like that. Don’t toast the cookie though – that would be really messy.

Once it’s done, immediately spread peanut butter on it. You want the Pop Tart to still be warm so that the PB will be all ooey-gooey (yes, that’s a technical term).

Now all you have to do is scoop out your favorite ice cream! Again, I prefer something with chocolate in it but you can use whatever you have or love.

You can stop here if you want or add other garnish. I’ve put hot fudge on it before, chocolate chips, bananas, caramel, whipped cream, and strawberries (not all at the same time, though you could do that too – anything goes!!!).

Ta da! Behold – the Bachelor Sundae! I tell you, it’s to die for. The warm chocolate Pop Tart combined with the gooey PB and cold ice cream is the perfect combo. Warning – this is not for anyone on a diet! There is nothing low fat/low calorie/healthy about it – except that PB is good protein! But if you’re looking for a quick and easy treat, look no further!

My old flame is now once again a thing of the past. It was fun while it lasted. And now I must get back on the straight and narrow, and rendezvous with P90X…who will not be happy about  Mr. Bachelor Sundae.

Be gentle Tony Horton, be gentle.

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That’s the way the cookie crumbles

Again I start a post by saying that I am exhausted. Baking cookies is hard work. I have a new appreciation for those who work in bakeries. I’m a wimp who sits in a chair at work all day. But, it’s fun too.

The Annual Atencio Women Christmas Cookie Baking Extravaganza commenced at 10 a.m. My mom, sister and I each had a handful of recipes we had chosen to bake and had 7 hours to do it (which was when we were meeting up with the rest of the fam for pizza). No problem, right? Well logistics tends to slow things down. There are only so many cookie sheets, pans, measuring cups, and spoons. Not to mention there is only one oven. So…there were times when we had a line of 5 cookies waiting to be baked and at a stand still until they could get in the oven.

We made a total of 11 today (6 of which were mine). My sis and mom are going to do more during the week but I wanted to get all mine done today because I knew I wouldn’t have much time otherwise. Here is a sampling of some that we did:

Chocolate chip cookie cups filled with M&M’s. The cool thing about these is you can fill them with anything you want, to correspond with the season. Aren’t they pretty?

Biscochitos, which are a traditional Spanish cookie (my dad’s family is from Spain). There are a few cookies we have to do each year and these are one of them. My dad’s mom used to make and ship ’em to us from Colorado. No one makes ’em like her, but we sure try.  

Dark chocolate cookie kisses. A new take on a traditional recipe. My sister also make the traditional ones, which are a peanut butter cookie with regular Hershey’s kisses on them.

Sugar cookies (well, at least a picture of the cookie cutters). Another old standby!

Salted Nut Roll Bars. These are my dad’s favorite so we have to do them. They’re quickly becoming my fav too which is odd because usually I go for anything chocolate. These are a perfect blend of salty and sweet, with marshmallows, peanut butter, peanuts, and rice krispies mixed together on a cake base. Mmmmm…..

The three of us exhausted after all the baking. We always have a lot of fun and I love that we have this tradition. It’s something that both my sister’s daughter and my daughter will join in someday. Just another reason to love the holidays!!

The Perfect Day

Yesterday was (almost) the perfect autumn day for me. There were a few mishaps but overall, it was amazing.

It started out with CJ making breakfast for me. I’m a morning person and CJ is a night person so the weekends usually go that he stays up late while I go to bed by 9:30 p.m. and I get up early (7ish) while he sleeps in. Well yesterday, he got up around 8 and made biscuits and gravy with omelets. It was yummy! I actually don’t like biscuits and gravy but gave his a try and they were delish!

Then we hung around the house, doing laundry and various other things until it was time for Munchkin to take a nap. I put her down and then immediately jumped in the shower (all parents of little ones know how you have to time these things precisely!). After a quick shower and blow dry, I hopped in to bed hoping to God Munchkin would stay asleep long enough for me to get in a few winks. And she did! I was able to sleep for about an hour. It was heavenly.

Once she woke up, we had lunch and then got ready to head to the zoo for their Halloween Spooktacular. I had made Munchkin a mummy costume and was excited to finally try it on her. Well, it didn’t work as I had hoped. What I hadn’t considered when putting strips of fabric on her onesie was that it would take the elasticity out of it. So, I could not stretch it enough to get it over her head! I finally wrestled it over her head but then could not get her arms in. Of course she thought this was akin to torture and screamed the whole time. I finally gave up and took it off. I almost had a meltdown myself and that point and thought about skipping the zoo altogether but then took a few deep breaths and reminded myself that it was not the end of the world. So I put a plain white onesie on her, with her mummy pants and we went from there.

I was so flustered by the costume fiasco that I forgot to take a jacket with me and it was a chilly day. Not to mention that when we got to the zoo, it was so crowded that I had to park across the interstate from it (which is about a 15 min. walk). I almost turned around and went home at that point. But, I remembered that this was Munchkin’s first Halloween that she could actually participate in and kept going. I parked, got Munchkin settled in the stroller with a blanket and made the trek to the zoo.

We arrived just in time for the parade and Munchkin got much delight in seeing the costumes walk by (there were Storm Troopers, clowns, an Iron Man and even War Machine (with moving guns!)). We then walked around, looking at the animals and other kids dressed in costume.

We came to a picnic area where they had a DJ set up playing music. Munchkin immediately started dancing as soon as she heard the tunes. I parked the stroller and let her “chair dance” for a while. Then I took her out to see what she would do. She stood up next to the stroller and started dancing like crazy!

Dancing by the stroller, in her mummy pants

After about an hour of tooling around, we left and came home so Munchkin took take another nap. While she was sleeping, I did some work on the computer and then made dinner. CJ was diligently working on the house, which he’s been painting for a couple of weeks (and it is looking awesome)!
After dinner, we carved Munch’s pumpkin. I got our her shape flashcards and had her pick the shapes that she wanted to be the eyes, nose and mouth. That way, she could design it! She picked a star and octagon for the eyes, circle for the nose and rectangle for the mouth. CJ drew them on and carved away!
Once he was done, we showed Munchkin and she got a real kick out of it!

Munchkin seeing her first jack-o-lantern

Then of course we had CJ and Munchkin pose together!

So proud!

And Samson  trying to get at it!
Costumes, zoo trips, pumpkins, yummy comfort food and roasted seeds. Yesterday had all the makings of a perfect fall day! I went to bed a very happy camper.

I hate the grocery store

But I love all the food I come home with!

Grocery shopping is something I dread. I don’t like dealing with the crowds or waiting in line at the checkout or scouring the shelves for something I can’t find. Plus, the cheap skate in me sees dollar signs as I continue to fill up my cart.

To counter that, I clip coupons. Yes, I’m a coupon clipper. I don’t go crazy like some women do. I simply check the Sunday paper looking for deals on things which we normally buy. A coupon is not a savings if it ‘tricks’ you in to buying something you wouldn’t normally get.

Anyway, today I realized that I needed to bite the bullet and go. Our cupboards were getting bare and Munchkin was running out of some essentials too. So I began the process: 1) take a quick inventory and make a list of what’s needed 2) go through cookbooks and plan meals for the week. Add necessary items to the list. 3) Go through coupons and see what can be used. 4) Pack Munchkin in the car and hit the road!

I have a routine once I get to the store too. Start at produce and work my way across the store, checking off items on my list as I go. I try to stick to the list and the coupons but I occasionally add extra things. I’m also starting to “stock up” and add items that we use regularly that we might not need right away, but if it’s on sale, makes sense to grab.

Today I had Munchkin with me. She is actually a really good shopper. She sits in the cart and pretty much watches everyone. Sometimes she is antsy so I always have a good supply of toys/snacks with me to keep her distracted. Today she was in to the whole “experience” so as we walked down the aisles, I pointed out things to her that she would recognize. “Peaches!” “Red apples!” “Crackers” We got stopped by no less than 3 people telling me how cute she is. She simply flashed her best smile at them and giggled. What a charmer!

Most of the time the overhead music sort of fades in to the background for me, along with the other white noise like people on their cell phones, the chop of meat on the butcher block, the squeaky wheels of the carts, kids screaming for mom, and the beep of the cash register. But today I really noticed it because Munchkin noticed it. She was cart dancing! She would bop her head, shimmy a little, and swing her feet. It was so darn cute! That in turn made me want to dance so we moved up and down the aisles, shaking to the beat.

I was able to get lots of yummy healthy options for us to have on hand. When I got home I went in to organizational mode and started putting things away, while also tossing old items. The cupboards not only look full, but also neat and tidy!

Right now I have some chicken noodle soup in the crock pot, simmering. Dinner will be that with some whole wheat rolls and brownies or cupcakes for dessert. Yum!