Thursday, July 19, 2012

Who: Papa and his wife LaDonna, Sis and her family, Aunt Linda & Uncle Vaughn, Aunt Tiny and Uncle Bubba (aka: Martha and Wendy), and myself.

What: Family Dinner (recipes included below)

When: Last night

Where: My house

Why:  Because Papa was in town, of course!

Last night I hosted a big family dinner.  To me, 11 people is a big family dinner.  And we had a great time!  Since I'm so kind, I'll be sharing the recipes.  You're welcome in advance.

My Papa works out of town 95% of the year.  The rare occasions he's able to come home (he lives 2 hours away up in Kansas), are usually pretty spontaneous. Even on the planned trips, his arrival date is usually in flux.  You never know what day he'll sneak into town.  Well, this visit wasn't any different.

The original plan was for him and his wife to swing through Tulsa on Thursday on their way up to their home in Kansas, have dinner with Sis, her family and me, and then take Grant up to Kansas with them for a few days.  The plan gradually changed.  A LOT.  Tuesday night I found out they'd be arriving Wednesday mid-day, staying with me and we'd be having dinner at my place.  Then we invited some aunts and uncles.  It kept growing and growing.

It's a good thing I keep a clean house because I was able to spend Tuesday evening grocery shopping, tidying up the house, prepping food for Wednesday night's dinner, making a quick batch of salsa, and baking a yummy cake I'd found guessed it...Pinterest!  I came home from lunch yesterday and whipped up everything for the casserole so all I had to do was put it in the oven when I got home and then dinner would be ready.

It turned out great!  All of us crammed around my dining room table for dinner.  Afterwards, we sang happy birthday to the four July birthday folks (Papa, LaDonna, Chris and Aunt Tiny (yes, I have an Aunt Tiny.)).  Then all the ladies took Grant outside to play in the sprinkler and visit on the patio while the men congregated in the living room.  I'd like to think a delightful night was had by all.

It was so nice to be able to host a big family dinner in my home.  Keep in mind, I used to have a tiny little apartment that maybe 3 people could hang out in comfortably, so to be able to have 11 of us gathered around my dining room table was great.  At one point I looked around and thought, "This is why I moved to Tulsa."
Now, without further ado, I have some recipes to share with you.  On the menu was my taco bake, chips, homemade salsa and some queso along with a mandarin orange and pineapple whip cake.  Sorry I don't have pictures.  I'll try to make these again soon and will take pictures then.
Taco Bake:  This is a Crafty Home Improvement (Mis)Adventures original!  

My Taco Bake recipe has evolved over the years.  The great thing about this casserole is that it's so easy to change it to fit whatever you like.  You can use chicken instead of hamburger, use a hotter or milder salsa, leave out the corn if you don't like corn, etc.  It's so flexible and easy!  

Taco Bake
1 can refried beans
1 can southwest corn (the kind with black beans)
1 jar salsa
1 lb hamburger
1 pkg taco seasoning
10 small tortillas (flour or corn), cut into 1" pieces
2 cups shredded cheese
Taco toppings you prefer (onions, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, etc.)

Preheat oven to 400*.  Brown your hamburger and prepare with the taco seasoning.  In a greased 9x13 pan, spread the refried beans on the bottom, sprinkle half of the tortilla pieces, spread the corn evenly around the pan, spread half the salsa on top of the corn, and add a layer of half of the cheese.  Next add the rest of the tortilla pieces, add the taco meat, pour the rest of the salsa, and top with the remaining cheese.  Bake for about 30 minutes.  Serve with whatever taco toppings you prefer.


Salsa:  I originally reviewed this recipe in May.  (You can read that post here.)
The recipe is from Mountain Mama Cooks and is soooooo quick and easy.  It's been a huge hit.  Every time I make it people ask for the recipe.  You can find the recipe on her website here.  I alter the recipe a little for myself by leaving the cilantro because I'm not a big cilantro fan and I cut the honey in half.  

It's so good I think I'll be canning some as Christmas gifts this year.  We'll see.


Orange Pineapple Cake:  I follow Delilah's blog, Confessions of a Semi-Domesticated Mama.  She's always got great recipes with step by step pictures.  She posted her recipe for a Mandarin Orange Pineapple Cake last Friday and I've been drooling over the pictures ever since.  
I figured last night's dinner was the perfect chance to try it out since we had so many birthdays in a two week span.  It turned out so well.  

The cake was very moist and perfect for a hot summer day.  Her recipe is posted here.  
People went back for seconds on just about everything so they count as hits in my book!  Happy Thursday, folks.  We're so close to the weekend I can hardly stand it!  I hope your day is a splendid one.



  1. I am so making that salsa this weekend!

    1. It's great. I don't know if I love it because it's delicious or because it's so freakin' easy.

      One recipe makes enough for a large mason jar. I made four batches (various levels of heat) for a family reunion a while back. All four batches took less than 30 minutes.

    2. Let me know how yours turns out!

  2. Look at you go! So awesome you can have all your family over, I really wish I could do that!

    In other news, my best friend's youngest brother is nicknamed Tiny to the point where hardly anyone knows his real name. His actual name is Dominic, but EVERYONE calls him Tiny. Also, he's super tall and beefy.

    1. Two things, it's been forever so it really was nice to have them all over. You get to see your family soon!

      Second, I love it. I also love tall and beefy men so please pack Tiny up and send him my way. You know where to find me. Thank you in advance.

  3. I can salsa and I love it! My recipe is different from hers but it is still so tasty! It's so nice that you can have your family over for dinner. My family is so spread out but it makes the time that we are together very special.

    1. Isn't it great when we get to gather everyone around? I hate that my dad works out of town so much so we try to make the most of them when he's home. Thanks for stopping in!


Thank you for stopping by! I love me some comments.
I prefer to reply via email so be sure you're not a "no-reply" commenter.