Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Make your own – Taco Seasoning Recipe

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

Sew…with age comes certain “issues”.  One of my own personal issues is blood pressure.

Salt/sodium is a key player related to blood pressure. My own doctor recommends I stay at 1500 mg. or less per day.

My blood pressure is under control with diet and exercise, but I have to be hyper-vigilant about reading product labels for salt (sodium) content.   Seasoning mixes are notorious for being loaded with salt (sodium).

One teaspoon of salt = approximately 2,325 mg.

These major health organizations recommend these as maximum daily sodium intake:

  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA): 2300 mg.
  • American Heart Association (AHA): 1500 mg.
  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND): 1500 to 2300 mg.
  • American Diabetes Association (ADA): 1500 to 2300 mg.

So, I’ve formulated my own delicious version that can be tweaked to your personal needs (or even made without salt altogether).  Not only is it delicious, it is healthier and much less expensive than purchasing individual packets at the store.  PLUS, I know EXACTLY what’s in it.

The following recipe will make enough to season 8 pounds of ground beef, ground turkey or other meat (enough to make 8 separate meals of 1 pound of meat per meal/dish).  I simply recycle/re-label an old spice container to hold my seasoning mix.

NOTE:  I generally use approximately 3 Tablespoons of seasoning per pound of meat.  Adjust to your taste.

1/2 cup chili powder

6 teaspoons black pepper

4 teaspoons ground cumin

4 teaspoons Spanish paprika

4 teaspoons red pepper flakes

4 teaspoons garlic powder

4 teaspoons dried onion flakes

4 teaspoons salt (This works out to 1/2 teaspoon of salt per meal or 1/8 teaspoon/approximately 290.65 mg per serving when the meal is divided into 4 servings. This is a modest/moderate amount of sodium intake for one meal, but generally WAY less than most store purchased brands.  You may choose to use more or less depending upon your sodium tolerance and personal preference)

2 teaspoons dried cilantro (optional)

2 teaspoons ground oregano


Place ingredients in a large spice container (or small food storage container or jar), cover/seal with lid, and shake until well mixed.

Be sure to label your container.  Yep, it’s THAT easy!

Valentine’s Sweet Treats

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

These delicious cookies are our family Valentine tradition.

Chapman Family Valentine Cookies

I make the dough — Jared & Jacob help me cutout & decorate the cookies.  Once baked & decorated, these cookies never last long!!  Click here for a printable file of the recipe.  It’s a fun family project.

NOTE:  The recipe file link is a PDF which requires a recent version of Adobe Acrobat Reader, available for free from .

Chapman Family Valentine Cookie

Click here for a printable file of the recipe.

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) cream cheese
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract

Also required: 1 heart shaped cookie cutter

Allow butter & cream cheese to soften at room temperature at least 30 minutes.

Combine flour and baking powder in a separate bowl until evenly distributed.

Use an electric hand mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese. Beat in sugar until well mixed. Add vanilla and egg, beat well.

Use low to medium mixer speed and gradually add in flour/baking powder to the butter/cream cheese/sugar mixture. Mix until completely and evenly combined.

Divide mixture into two even parts.

Wrap each part in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator approximately 2 hours or until easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Remove chilled dough from refrigerator.

Roll out to approximately 1/8” thickness on a well-floured surface. Cut out heart shapes with cookie cutters. Place on un-greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 for approx. 8 – 10 minutes (time may vary depending upon your oven, altitude, etc.).

Remove from oven. Cool completely, spread with your favorite icing & sprinkles, as desired.


Click here for a printable file of the recipe.

Easy Creamy Green Chile Chicken Stew

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

A handful of people mentioned the recipe page was not coming up from the link in our eNews to the archived recipe.  It is possible that there was a temporary glitch on the blog’s server because it seems to be working just fine now.  In any case, I am re-posting it again here.

Click here for the PDF of this recipe

*Note:  you will need a RECENT version of Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to view this file.

This is my own personal recipe that I developed through lots of trial and error over the last 11+ years living here in New Mexico.

Easy Crock-pot Version

  • 8 ounce package cream cheese
  • 1 can of cream of chicken soup (I look for a brand that is MSG free and low sodium)
  • 1 – 2 cups fresh or frozen/roasted green chili (I use mild or medium, but pick the heat you like)
  • 1 whole roasted chicken – skinned & de-boned. You may wish to substitute all chicken breast meat or canned chicken breast.
  • 8 ounces chicken broth (I use organic/low sodium/no MSG)
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled & diced (if you like more potatoes, add them)
  • 16 ounce package of frozen mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, green beans, etc.)
  • 1 onion, small/medium
  • 1 – 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ¼ – ½  cup frozen corn (if frozen mixed veggies includes corn, you may wish to omit this line item as an additional ingredient).
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Option #1:  add diced ham or smoked sausage or bacon (these all add wonderful flavor)

Option #2:  add more veggies of your choice.


Adjust quantity of any ingredients above to suit your personal taste and that of your family.

Put all ingredients in a large crock-pot.

Turn crock-pot on low.

Stir occasionally.

Let it cook all day (at least 6 – 8 hours).

Serve in large bowls; garnish with shredded sharp cheddar cheese and sour cream if desired.

click here for the PDF of this recipe

*Note:  you will need a RECENT version of Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to view this file.

Chapman Family Banana Chocolate Snack Cake

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

Note to eNews Subscribers regarding the link to the Green Chili Chicken Stew Recipe.

I am not sure what the problem was/is…technical difficulties of some sort to be sure. A handful of people mentioned the recipe page was not coming up from the link in our eNews to the archived recipe. It is possible that there was a temporary glitch on the blog’s server because it seems to be working just fine now (at least it has been for me when I’ve double-checked on a couple different computers).

In any case, I have re-posted it again here.

Hope that helps!


Looking for a great recipe to use up those last 3 or 4 bananas that are getting too ripe to eat? This casual snack cake is the perfect solution and one of our family’s favorites.  It is especially delicious served warm.

©Tracy L. Chapman October 2009 all rights reserved.

Click here for a printable page – a recent version of Acrobat Reader is required to view the file.


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • approximately 1 cup chocolate chips

Prepare (grease & flour) a 8″ x 8″ or 9″ x 9″ baking pan.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter & sugar.  Add eggs and beat well.

In a medium bowl, sift together dry ingredients (flour, baking power, baking soda and salt) then gradually add to creamed mixture beating well after each addition.

Add bananas, milk & vanilla, mixing until smooth & creamy.

Pour into prepared pan.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 30 – 35 minutes or until done.

Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle chocolate chips directly over top of the cake.  Allow chips a minute or two to melt then spread evenly across the surface of the cake.

This cake is especially delicious when served warm.

Click here for a printable page – a recent version of Acrobat Reader is required to view the file.

How to make a healthy taco bowl…

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

In preparing for my upcoming century bicycle ride I’ve made several lifestyle changes. Some were very difficult but others have included very happy discoveries.

For example, one of our family’s all time favorite things is “Taco Night”.  I have always made our own taco meat from very lean ground beef so that wasn’t really a problem.  I had no problem dropping the sour cream and limiting the amount/type of cheese, but there was one major difficulty: the taco shell.

PROBLEM:  The calories in the shells add up fast and really don’t fit the nutrition plan.

SOLUTION:  I discovered how to make my own healthy taco “bowl” to put my salad in.  They turned out so well, even the boys want to eat them.

Here all you need to do:

Buy your favorite whole wheat or whole grain tortillas from the store.  Brush VERY lightly both sides with olive oil (I use a pastry brush and just a tiny dot of olive oil–you don’t need much).

Take a large sheet of aluminum foil and crumple into about a 3 – 4 inch square-ish shape that’s at least 3 inches high.

Place the crumpled foil on a baking sheet. Then drape the tortilla over the foil to form an upside down ruffled bowl shape.

Bake in a 325 degree oven for 15 – 20 minute or so until it is lightly golden and crispy.

Allow to cool. Turn over and pull out the foil…fill with your favorite salad, veggies, taco meat or chicken or tofu, etc.

It is way less expensive and way more healthy than purchasing pre-made taco shell bowls and even better, it tastes great.  ENJOY!!!