Del Real Foods Review & Giveaway

I love traditional Mexican food and the stuff that I normally find in the store just doesn’t cut it. It tastes just all the other products on the shelf and there is nothing fresh or unique about it. As much as I love to cook I have yet to master delicious Mexican food.

I recently had a chance to check out Del Real traditional Mexican food and I was a little hesitant and figured that it would be similar to what I’ve found in stores before. I could not have been more wrong! Everything that we tried was incredible. From the tamales to the carnitas everything was fresh tasting, spiced perfectly, and there was nothing about it that seemed fake.

The first thing I did after checking out the food was to find the nearest location that sold Del Real food…. there is nothing within 50 miles that sells it. 🙁

The good thing is that I can buy it online! 🙂

So a little bit about Del Real…

Founded in 2003 and headquartered in California, Del Real Foods is a family business committed to preserving the rich gastronomy and traditions of Central Mexico. Designed to satisfy all palates and promote healthy eating, Del Real Foods refrigerated products offer authentic taste, using the freshest, locally sourced ingredients and cooked with traditional methods for an enhanced dining experience among family and friends

Del Real Foods refrigerated products include carnitas, barbacoa, tamales, seasoned shredded beef, shredded chicken and more.

Del Real Foods products are based on the following pillars:

  • Authenticity: the family strives to create deliciously simple products based on traditional recipes infused with Mexican culture and bold colors. Prepared in an industrial, home kitchen, the products will provide comfort and familiarity.
  • Healthy People: cooked with a safe open-kettle method, the products are made with the freshest, ingredients, most of which are locally sourced. Once prepared, they are ready to enjoy. The products are also gluten free and do not contain any trans fats.
  • Healthy planet and better communities: the company has adopted sustainable initiatives including wastewater management and recycling to help the environment. Del Real Foods has also sponsored local sporting events and made donations to local communities to contribute to their improvement.

Party Box with TShirt

Would you like to give Del Real Mexican food a try? I’m giving away a “Party In A Box” featuring Del Real highlights like carnitas, barbacoa, tamales, pupusas and chipotle chicken. Just use the super easy Rafflecopter below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday Menu – Beefy Nacho Soup

Dinner around here can be a pain in the butt at times with 4 kids and a husband that tends to be picky. This means that they all don’t like the same veggies, fruits, salad dressing, meat, and the list goes on and on and if it happens to be something that they all like it’s not what they wanted for dinner that night.

The odd thing is that when I ask what they want for dinner for the week they tend to answer that they don’t know or it doesn’t matter (this is mostly from my husband). So I shop based on what I think sounds good and/or easy. Oh, and when they do give me ideas it’s probably the most unhealthy food you can think of. Like nachos hot coney dogs!

This week I gave in and am making nachos for them, but I’m mixing in some of my favorites and healthier meals. As a matter of fact… I am making nachos not once but twice! For an easy Sunday dinner I made a Beefy Nacho soup that is literally a 30 minute meal including prep time!

beefy nacho soup ingredients

Beefy Nacho Soup


  • 2lbs of ground beef
  • 1 medium onion - chopped
  • 1 10oz can of diced tomatoes with chilies
  • 1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans of Progresso cheese recipe starters
  • 3 Tbsp taco seasoning


  1. Brown the ground beef in a large pot and then drain. While that is draining start cooking the onions in the pan and then add in the beef.
  2. Now, this is the easy part. Stir in the taco seasoning and then all of the canned ingredients. Stir well and let simmer for about for about 10 minutes until it's all hot.

beefy nacho soup

It turned out pretty good for something so simple and fast. You can even top this with some of your favorite taco toppings like shredded cheese, green onions, sour cream, avocados, and to spice it up a little some sriracha hot sauce. Oh… spoons are not required either! You can use some tortilla chips if you want to scoop it up.

Psssttt…. guess what? I was visited by the Fairy Hobmother! How awesome is that?!?! The Fairy Hobmother spreads light and joy across the blogosphere with the help of talented bloggers like you and I! If you would like the Fairy Hobmother to come and visit you and leave you an amazing gift then simple leave a comment here on this post.

Yes, I was visited by the Fairy Hobmother and for simply spreading the word about him was was give an Amazon gift card. All thoughts, opinions, odd ball recipes, and ideas are all here are mine.

Monday Menu – Mini BBQ Meatloaves

I’m back!!

I’d love to say that I’m happy to be back but that’s a lie. I loved Florida and all the sun & warm weather… I am happy to get back into the swing of this blogging thing though. I feel like I’ve been gone forever even though it’s only been a week… I haven’t opened my reader yet and am a bit worried what that’ll look like!

My original idea for today’s post was going to be sharing some of the delicious food I had while at Disney and the recipes for them. I was told by our waiter that the recipes for all the food we had and for most of the other Disney restaurants were available on the website but I have yet to find them. So that’ll have to wait for another post I suppose.

We got back and first thing I had to do was (not unpack… the suitcase is still sitting by the back door) hit up the grocery store because my kids expected to eat breakfast and all that the next day. It was a pretty nice shopping trip since I was able to go all alone… it’s the little things in life that make it special.

Anyway, this recipe is so simple and delicious that I had to share it with you. Oh, I should tell you that I didn’t create this one on my own. It’s all courtesy of the Taste of Home magazine that I was reading in the urgent care office while waiting for them to look at my daughter’s pink eye and give us a prescription (that’s another story).

mini bbq meatloaves

Monday Menu – Mini BBQ Meatloaves


  • 1 box of Stove Top stuffing - any flavor you like will work
  • 1 C water
  • 2 Tbsp hickory smoked bbq sauce or whatever kind you have on hand
  • 1 lb ground beef - I used a 96/4 blend
  • 1/4 - 1/2 lb ground pork - this wasn't in the orignal recipe but I always add it to my lean ground beef
  • 1 C shredded cheddar cheese
  • Other things that I threw in because I like them...
  • pepper
  • dried onions
  • garlic


  1. In a large bowl mix the stuffing, water, bbq sauce and any extras you want to throw in together. Mix in the ground beef and pork if you're using it.
  2. Scoop 1/3 cup into each of 12 ungreased muffin cups.
  3. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes in a pre-heated 375 degree oven.
  4. Top each little meat loaf with the shredded cheese and put them back in the oven for a few minutes until the cheese is melted.

mini bbq meatloaves ingredients mini bbq meatloaves in pan
I wasn’t sure how the stuffing would turn out in mixed in with the meat but you could hardly tell that it was in there and it was delicious! Everyone loved it…. even Andrew who usually refuses to eat any kind of stuffing. He even told me that he was hungry and wanted another one!

I think that I’ll give this a try with some ground turkey and leave out the bbq sauce and cheese and then top them with some gravy. It’ll be like Thanksgiving made super simple!

Mini bbq meatloaves are perfect for a busy night because they really don’t take much more than 30 – 40 minutes from beginning to end. Beat that Rachael Ray!

What is your go to, super fast dinner?

Monday Menu – Pumpkin Cheesecake

I love baking and I think that if I had a choice I would open a bakery. All day I would make delicious pies, cakes, cookies, and all sorts of other delicious treats! But for now I will settle for making all of those things in moderation for my friends and family.

Fall and winter are the perfect times to bake because those warms smells of fresh baked good fill your house and fill you with joy…. Maybe that’s just me. As soon as the cold weather hits I start baking again in full force.

This year I was tasked with bringing dessert for Thanksgiving and one thing that I knew for sure was that it had to include pumpkin. There are a couple reasons for that too. First because it is one of my favorite fall foods and second because it simply is not Thanksgiving without it.

I wanted to change things up though and instead of the traditional pumpkin pie I decided on a pumpkin cheesecake. The mere thought of the creamy cheesecake mixed with the spicy pumpkin pie had my mouth watering.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Monday Menu – Pumpkin Cheesecake


  • • 1 package of Biscoff ( Cookies (You can use gingersnaps or a regular graham crust if you want)
  • • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
  • • Nonstick cooking spray, for the sides of the pan
  • Cheesecake
  • • 4 8-ounce bars cream cheese, at room temperature
  • • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • • 3 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
  • • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • • 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree


  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the cookies until fine crumbs form. Add the butter and pulse to combine. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan (preferably nonstick), using a straight-sided dry measuring cup to help. Spray the sides of the pan lightly with the cooking spray.
  3. Now, you can use a water bath for this cheesecake if you want but it isn’t absolutely necessary. If you choose to then you will need to wrap the springform pan in a double layer of heavy-duty foil. This will prevent water from getting into your cheesecake and ruining it.
  4. Place the springform pan on a cookie sheet if you are not using a water bath.
  5. If you are using a water bath place the springform pan in a large baking dish.
  6. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and brown sugar on medium until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the flour, pumpkin pie spice, and salt and then beat to combine. Add the pumpkin and beat to combine again.
  7. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
  8. Pour hot water into the baking dish (if you use a water bath) so it comes up about 1 inch on the sides.
  9. Bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes. You want the cheesecake to be set but still a bit wiggly in the middle. If the top starts to get to dark while baking cover it loosely with foil.
  10. Let the cheesecake cool completely in the pan, and then refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
  11. When you’re ready to serve run a knife around the outside edge to loosen it from the pan.

Serve with whipped topping!

I will tell you that this is very rich and creamy, but so delicious. You should be able to get at least 12 slices out of this cheesecake and the calories on this one simply don’t count!

pumpkin cheesecake

When I started out pondering this recipe I knew that I didn’t want the traditional graham cracker crust. It would not do a pumpkin cheesecake justice so the next thought that I had after that was to make the crust with gingersnaps.

Gingersnaps are a bit spicy to me and I knew that all of my kids would not like it and that led me to one of our favorite cookies, Biscoff. The best way that I can describe them is that they are like a cross between graham crackers and gingersnaps. Regardless, they are very good and I knew they would make the perfect crust.

Now, I am one of those people who really like pumpkin so I see no reason why you couldn’t service this anytime of the year.

What about you? Pumpkin anytime of the year or not?


Monday Menu – Whole Wheat Banana Muffins

Over the weekend I shared a picture of the whole wheat banana muffins that I was making for our weekend breakfast on Instagram and a couple of people asked me to post the recipe. I was pretty excited! I don’t ever remember anyone asking me to post a recipe on my blog!

whole wheat banana muffins

Monday Menu – Whole Wheat Banana Muffins


  • 3 C whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 C coconut oil
  • 1 C honey (you could use agave too)
  • 4 eggs (I used egg beaters)
  • 2 C mashed bananas (I used little red bananas because that's what the store had on sale)
  • 1/2 C hot water
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  1. Preheat the over to 350 degrees.
  2. Stir the dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Mash the bananas in a small bowl.
  4. In another large bowl whisk together the coconut oil and honey until combined, add in the eggs and then bananas. Whisk until their all combined.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and alternate with the hot water (to make it easy add the vanilla to the water). Make sure that you mix well after each addition.
  6. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins. I used a large muffin pan and a regular sized one and got 6 large and 12 regular. You can use any combination that you want.
  7. For the regular sized muffin pan bake for about 15 minutes.


They were good! Even more than that they were a bit more healthy than the traditional recipe that I normally make which is full of butter. Yes… that is butter on the muffin you in the picture there… I had to. Why? Everything is better with butter even if it’s not healthy for us.

As a simple, base recipe this is pretty good. But I think that you could jazz them up (that sounds lame doesn’t it?) by adding in some oatmeal, diced apples, chopped walnuts, or even a few mini chocolate chips.

I’ve been trying lately to find way to make some of my baked goods a bit more healthy by using less butter or vegetable oil, sugars, and white flour. Obviously this isn’t going to work for everything but muffins are a great start.

What do you do to make your recipes a bit more healthy?

Monday Menu ~ U.P. Pasties

Many years ago in what seems like another time and place I would spend weekends in northern Michigan with my parents (yes, parents. Meaning they were still married) at my moms parents house. My grandparents were amazing people and I loved spending time with them and listening to the stories that they told of times gone by. Stories of when my mom and her siblings were growing up in Detroit, how my grandparents came to this country from Italy and lived in the U.P.


Over the years my grandma would make pasties for us but to make things easier she would use a 13×9 cake pan and make one huge pasty. It was so delicious and I loved watching her and my mom putting it together and the smell of it as it baked.

U.P. Pasty

So what is a pasty? It’s a meat & veggie pie that originated in Cornwall, the westernmost county in England. The pies were made for the mine workers who could take them in their lunches and eat them easily with one hand without silverware. The pasties have even been made with a custard filling on one half and the meat and veggies on the other side so they had dinner and dessert all in one easy to handle package.

pasty prep

Even to this day when we all meet together at my aunts house there is pasty made just the way my grandmother used to make it for us all of those years ago. It’s amazing how something like a meal can hold so many memories in it’s simple prep, delicious aroma as it bakes, and flavors.

pasty prep 2

Every once in a while I find myself wanting pasty and often will buy them from the grocery store. They’re pretty good but they’re not the same as what my grandma made so this time I decided to make it from scratch. Just like she did.

U.P. Pasties


    Pasty Crust
  • 3 c flour
  • 1 c Crisco
  • 1/4 butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ice water
  • Pasty Filling
  • 1 - 2 lbs ground beef - I used ground chuck (80/20)
  • 2 - 3 potatoes
  • 3 carrots
  • 1/2 rutabaga
  • 1 onion
  • 1 - 2 tsp garlic
  • salt & pepper
  • couple of tablespoons of butter


    For the crust:
  1. Cut the Crisco and butter in the flour and salt until it resembles sand with a pastry cutter, a fork, or a food processor. I went the more traditional route and used the pastry cutter just like my grandma used to.
  2. Add in the water a tablespoon at a time until it forms a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes or so.
  3. For the filling:
  4. Peel and chop all of the veggies into small bite sized pieces and mix them together in a bowl.
  5. Put it together:
  6. Cut the dough into two equal pieces and roll one of them out to fit the botton and up the sides of a 13x9 pan. Carefully roll the dough up onto the rolling pin and then roll it out into the pan and press into place.
  7. Layer the veggies and ground beef until the pan is full. You'll have to crumble the ground beef with your fingers to get it into small bite sized pieces.
  8. Roll the other piece of dough to cover the top, roll over the rolling pin as before, and unroll on top. Pinch the two crusts together and it's ready for the oven.
  9. Bake:
  10. Place the pan on a cookie sheet and place it in a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for about an hour.

I was impressed because I truly did not expect my pasty to turn out as well as my grandma’s but it did. Everything about it took me back to another time and place. A place where my grandma was in the kitchen baking, my grandpa was in his recliner watching the Tigers game, and my brother, sister, and I were running in and out playing games only kids can imagine.

Do you have a special memory that centered around food?

I thought about it…

I thought about writing my Monday Menu post but got sucked into Pinterest.

I thought about it really I did! I have a few recipes to share… but well, you know how it is with Pinterest.

I thought about writing one of those posts again but then I totally got sucked into a not-so-good made for TV movie on ABC family 25 Days of Christmas. It was one of those movies where you know exactly what is going happen and how it will end. I’m starting to wonder if there are any original ideas out there in the world when it comes to movies.

I did send off a few guest posts that I can’t wait to share with all of you though! It’s super exciting!

And then I went back to Pinterest.

I did find a cute shirt to add to my holiday wish list…


Oh… and this outfit is on the list now too…


And just to prove that I was actually thinking about recipes I found this…


I’m thinking that these would be pretty good with some homemade bread, fresh steamed beans, and maybe a salad.

I thought about it… but after this weekend anything that required a lot of thought just wasn’t happening. More on that later… let’s just say toddlers can be a pain.

I did find something that made me laugh until I had tears in my eyes… Grumpy Cat. I was going to share a picture with you but there are just to many that are hilarious! Take a look for yourself.

Well? Did you go look yet?


Monday Menu ~ 30 minute chili mac soup

Okay… first things first! I am beyond excited to tell you all that I have been featured on BlogHer! I was shocked when I got the email on Sunday afternoon… at first I thought that it was wrong or something but as I read more and then clicked over, there is was… my post about a soldiers homecoming. I don’t know how the process work… how they select someone’s post to be featured… but all I do know is that if you keep writing your best and from the heart it pays off.

So, now on to the regularly scheduled post. Today on the Monday Menu I have yet another soup… one of these days I’ll make something different. I promise! But for now I have a really easy dinner for you, 30 minute chili mac soup.

30 minute chili-mac

My family isn’t big fans Hamburger Helper and I hide the box for this recipe when I bought and then made sure that they never saw it while I was cooking. They never knew what it was and even commented how much they liked it and then I told them what was in it and they were pretty surprised. Of course they sighed and went on about how they don’t like Hamburger Helper and blah…blah…blah… Regardless of the complaining they still liked it and ate it.



1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 32oz carton of beef broth
1 cup of water
1 box Hamburger Helper® chili macaroni
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 28-oz can of diced or crushed tomatoes
1 can corn with red and green peppers – drained
1 can of black beans – drained & rinsed



In 4-quart Dutch oven, cook beef, onion and green pepper over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, until the beef is thoroughly cooked; drain.

burger & onions

Stir in the broth and water water, sauce mix (from Hamburger Helper box), chili powder, garlic salt and tomatoes.


Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally.Reduce heat; cover and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in uncooked pasta (from Hamburger Helper box), corn and beans. Cover and cook 10 minutes longer.

After a day this thickened up pretty good and it tasted even better! Now, that I have this recipe I’m going to try using Hamburger Helper for other quick soups!

What’s your go to 30 minute or less dinner?

Monday Menu ~ Chicken Soup

Fall is upon us and that means cozy sweaters, warm boots, and delicious soups & stews that warm us from the inside. It’s no wonder that it’s my favorite time of the year.

This week on the Monday Menu I have another tasty recipe or so I think. Homemade chicken soup with huge egg noodles!

While I was at the Mitten Mom conference I was given a package of Al Dente Pappardelle. These are the most delicious egg noodles ever… and more importantly the company is based right here in Michigan. Yes, another amazing product made right here in the mitten state.

al dente pasta

Al Dente uses only the best ingredients from the wheat to the spices and care is taken in all of the varieties that they offer such as Spinach, Egg, Garlic Parsley, Basil, Squid, Wild Mushroom and Spicy Sesame. They also have whole wheat and reduced carb options too.

Okay, so back to my recipe. The ingredients are really simple and you can make the recipe simple or take more time and really go all out with it.

Homemade Broth

  • 3 Chicken breasts – bone in with skin.
  • 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley
  • 1 medium onion cut in quarters
  • 1 – 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt & pepper
Put everything in a large stock pot and then fill with enough water to cover everything. Bring it to a boil and then let simmer for 2 hours. Remove from the heat and pull the chicken out and put it on a plate until cool enough to handle. Strain the broth through a fine sieve.

Chicken Noodle Soup

  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrot chopped

chopped veggies

  • 2 chicken breast cut up (use the chicken from the broth, a rotisserie chicken from the store, or saute two cut up chicken breasts)
  • Chicken broth (use the homemade broth or 2 32oz containers from the store)
  • 1 -2 Bay leaves
  • 1 package of Al Dente pasta


In a large pot or dutch oven saute the onion, carrot, and celery just until they start to soften. Toss in the bay leaves, pour in the broth, and then bring it to a simmer. Cook for about 5 – 7 minutes and add in the chicken and the noodles and cook until the noodles are done.

adding the noodles

Pull out the bay leaves and enjoy!

chicken soup

I tossed in a hand full or two of frozen peas when I put the chicken and noodles in just for some extra flavor/color in it.

But look at those awesome noodles! I love really wide egg noodles in my soup and the next day they soak up a lot of the broth and it makes the soup really thick.

soup in a bowl

You can also thicken the soup up with some corn starch or flour and serve it in homemade bread bowls. No matter how you make it your family is sure to love it.

What is your family’s fall favorite soup? 

Monday Menu ~ Bean Soup

A few weeks ago I spent the weekend up north in Petoskey, Michigan at a wonderful conference, Mitten Moms Blog Conference & Retreat. It was a great weekend and one of the awesome things that were in the swag bags were Michigan made Randall Beans.

randall beans

I love beans too! But one of my all time favorite comfort foods is soup and bean soup is one of those things that brings me back to my childhood.

As a child my dad would take me with him to various muzzleloading shoots (something similar to this) and they always had this huge black kettle of bean soup simmering over an open fire, to me it looked like a huge cauldron. It was the smell of the soup mixed with the burning wood, cool crisp fall air, and gun powder that was so warm and familiar to me.

Every fall I try to recreate that feeling by making my own pot of delicious bean soup. Yes, try… because it never turns out perfect, but then again I’m not cooking it out over an open fire.

chopped veggies

This time I was a little closer but I added a little to much broth. So the recipe…

chopped ham


2 (24oz) jars of Randall great northern beans (drained and rinsed)
1/2 cup chopped onion (or more if you like)
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
1 – 2 tsp minced garlic
1 cup chopped smoked ham (it has to be smoked! Not honey baked or anything like that or it won’t taste the same)
6 – 8 cups of chicken broth
2 Bay leaves
salt & pepper to taste
1 Tbsp olive oil

How to

Heat the oil in a large pan and saute the veggies just until soft and fragrant and then add in the garlic and ham.

saute veggies

Stir for a few minutes and add the broth.


I’ll admit that this time I didn’t use a homemade broth and thought that I’ve try something new. This Better than Bouillon stuff is pretty good! I followed the directions on the jar to make the 6 – 8 cups of broth that were needed for the soup. Bring it up to a simmer and let it cook for about 10 minutes before adding in one of the jars of beans and returning to a simmer. Let this cook covered for about 30 minutes or so.

Now, the 2nd jar of beans I mash up and add into the soup during the last ten minutes of cooking or so just to thicken it up a bit.

bean soup

Like I said earlier, it wasn’t perfect but it was still incredible and it’s even better the next day!

soup & bread

This is great with some warm, homemade bread or corn bread. Oh yea… I almost forgot… remove the bay leaves before you eat it!