Sunday, January 31, 2010

Out of the mouths of babes

I forgot to share this video last week when I updated about the visit with my fam. My sweet niece has just learned how to pray at meal times and it is precious! She says "thank you, thank you, thank you, AMEN!" This video is about the 8th time that she blessed our dinner that night : )

This week was a rough week for a few reasons, but we were really shown what a strong community surrounds us! Our friends were constantly helping out in any way possible and showing their support as well as our sweet families that live farther away. We praise God that he protected us as he did!
Thursday we got to take a break from it all and celebrate our friend Ashley Hubble's birthday!
Meagan, Cody and I

Meagan and I in our matching boots : )

with Meagan and Dinah

I also wanted to share a few recipes from the week!
Parmesan & Herb Crusted Chicken
from the Little Kitchen that Could

1 garlic clove, peeled
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
2 slices whole wheat bread
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Lightly coat a glass baking dish with cooking spray.
3. In a mini food processor, mince garlic. Then add parsley and pulse until combined. Add the bread, Parmesan, oil, salt and a few dashes of pepper. Pulse until all ingredients are well combined.
4. Arrange chicken breasts on baking dish. Spread mustard in a very thin layer on breasts and then pack herb mixture on top to coat entire chicken breast. Optional: Sprinkle with a little extra cheese if desired.
5. Bake until cooked through, which is about 20 to 25 minutes.
6. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
I'm not gonna lie, I loved watching the food processor quickly combine all the ingredients and make the bread go into tiny pieces : )
I made the roasted asparagus from a previous post and Texas Toast (from the box!)

Cowboy Casserole

(I didn't use corn when I made it, but we both agreed it would've been a wonderful addition)
1 medium onion chopped
1 1/4 lbs. ground beef (or venison), browned drained and patted dry
6 medium potatoes sliced unpeeled
1 clove garlic, minced
16 oz can kidney beans
15 oz can diced tomatoes mixed with 2 tbsp flour or 10 3/4 oz can tomato soup
1 can corn
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1. layer onions, ground beef, potatoes, garlic, corn and beans in slow cooker.
2. spread tomatoes or soup over all. Sprinkle with salt and pepper
3. cover. cook on low 5-6 hours or until potatoes are tender

Steak Sammies *Cody loved these!
From the Little Kitchen that Could

Olive Oil
1 white onion thinly sliced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 slices havarti cheese
2 portions of boneless ribeye or ny strip steak
French Baguette
1. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.
2. Add onions and balsamic vinegar and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. (It is important that the onions cook for at least 15 minutes, turn down the heat if the edges start to turn black).
3. Heavily salt and pepper steak and grill until steak is cooked medium.
4. Allow steak to cool and slice into 1 inch thick slices.
5. Slice baguette in half horizontally and cut two 6 inch sections.
6. Lightly brush with olive oil and toast in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
7. Remove bread and stack steak, onions and then cheese on top. Top with other side of bread and serve immediately.

And friends, I finally got the sweet potato fries right that night!!
*My mother-in-law gave us some all purpose seasoning that is not season salt called Spike and it was PERFECT for the fries!
3 sweet potatoes peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon seasoning – not season salt (Spike or Cajun)
1. Preheat oven to 375F
2. Cut potatoes in half. Cut each half into 5 strips. Toss with olive oil and seasoning. Place in a single layer on baking sheet (I put foil down first – shiney side up). Bake 30 minutes

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Family fun

Oh friends! What a fun weekend! On Friday, Cody and I headed to the View.
On Saturday morning he headed on to Lake Fork for a successful duck hunt and I stayed in Longview. Saturday morning I got up and ran 8.86 miles! Woohoo! This was a big deal for me because I'm used to running our flat neighborhood and my parents' neighborhood is very hilly. My legs are tired today, but the run yesterday wasn't too bad. On the running front, I'm slightly disappointed that I waited too long to sign up for the 1/2 marathon I wanted to do on February 13 and it filled up. I'm on the wait list though, so maybe some people will bail : )
Mom and I did a little shopping and went to Tracib's wedding shower! SO close to her wedding!!

Brad, Jen and Erin were also in town so we got to spend time with them!
EG and I enjoying some Veggie Tales

We celebrated Jen's bday on Saturday night! I am so lucky to have such a sweet and loving sister-in-law! Happy birthday Jen!

EG decided to hide out under the table : )

Then today we went to church and came back to eat lasagna with the Browns and Sages
A sweet pic my dad took of EG as she was being our entertainment at lunch

Here are the recipes from our weekend:
My mom has always made lasagna, so this weekend she taught me how to make it! It was really pretty easy!
1 lb ground beef
3 cups spaghetti sauce (28 oz)
1 ½ c. water
1 ¾ c. ricotta or small curd cottage cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella or Mont. Jack cheese, divided
½ c grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
¼ c. chopped fresh parsley
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1 pkg lasanga uncooked
Heat oven to 350 degrees
In 3 quarts sauce pan, brown meat; drain
Add spaghetti sauce and water; simmer about 10 minutes
In medium bowl, stir together ricotta/cottage cheese, one-half mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper
Pour 1 cup sauce on bottom of a greased 13 X 9 in baking dish
Arrange 3 uncooked pasta pieces lengthwise over sauce, cover with about 1 cup sauce
Spread ½ cheese filling over sauce
Repeat layers of lasagna , sauce and cheese filling
Top with layer of lasagna and remaining sauce; spring with 1 cup mozz. Cheese
Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes
Remove foil bake additional 15 minutes
Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

Then we served this sauce with our bread today. (from the Little Kitchen that Could)
Rosemary, Oil & Vinegar Dipping Sauce
1/2 olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1-2 teaspoons finely grated sea salt
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
Step by Step
1. Combine all ingredients and lightly stir.
2. Serve with a crusty loaf of bread.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Random Ramblings

*I have been home since about 4:30 and have just now switched the tv to HGTV. This is a big improvement from the norm : )
*I would spend every spare moment reading if it did not make me anti-social and way too involved in make-believe worlds.
*After running 5 miles today, I went and bought bacon and cheese (for the potato soup below)..haha..healthy, huh?
*I really want to help save the earth, but always remember my reusable shopping bags as I enter the grocery store (maybe they should live in my car!).
*The title of the last post was from the song Smile. I remember loving this song when I heard it in My Girl 2 way back in the day and have just recently been listening to the Glee remake of it (Charlie Chaplin song).
*I'm wanting to train for a 1/2 marathon.
*There is a man in my neighborhood that says "Well who's walking who" everytime that Ellie and I run past him (which is somehow a lot) and it drives me crazy... She is clearly on the leash and although she may be the stronger runner, I am at least directing her where to go.
*I miss Glee! April is a very long time to wait
*I've downloaded words with friends on my phone..I feel like I might become obsessed..this could be a mistake : )

I hope I'm not boring you with the are a few more:
This one I found in Real Simple and we loved it! Cody has asked that this meal be made again.

Honey-Soy Glazed Salmon With Spinach and Peppers
* 1 tablespoon honey
* 3 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
* 1 skinless salmon fillet (1 1/4-pound piece), cut into 4 pieces
* kosher salt and black pepper
* 1 tablespoon canola oil
* 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
* 3 bunches spinach, thick stems removed (about 12 cups) (which seems like a lot, but you can just add it a little bit at a time and it "shrivels")
* 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1. Heat broiler. In a small bowl, combine the honey and 1 teaspoon of the soy sauce.
2. Place the salmon on a foil-lined broiler-proof baking sheet and season with 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper. Broil for 5 minutes. Spoon the honey mixture over the salmon and broil until the salmon is opaque throughout, 2 to 5 minutes more.
3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper and cook, tossing occasionally, until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes; stir in the ginger.
4. Add the spinach and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and cook, tossing, until just wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of soy sauce. Serve with the salmon and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

I also made roasted rosemary potatoes. Quarter red potatoes, place in a bowl with a little EVOO (love Rachel Ray) and some rosemary. Mix together and place potatoes in a greased pyrex dish. Cook in oven on 350/375.

One of my favorite things to make is chocolate chip cookies! YUM! I have always just used the Nestle recipe on the back on the chocolate chip package:
* 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
* 3/4 cup granulated sugar
* 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 2 large eggs
* 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
* 1 cup chopped nuts (I usually leave these out)
PREHEAT oven to 375° F (Our oven cooks hotter so we do 350)
COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
I sadly only had one cup of chocolate chips so I had to half the recipe (which is way harder than doubling a recipe). I have to be honest and tell you that halving the 3/4 c. of sugar was tough..i'm a little rusty on my division with fractions. The cookies are wonderful

But let's just be completely honest...this is really my favorite part (the cookie dough)

I've also tried a potato soup recipe that a friend gave me. It made very creamy, yummy soup and it was made in the crockpot (aka my new bestie):
- 5 lbs. Russet Potatoes, washed but NOT peeled. Diced into 1/2 inch(inh) cubes
- 1 med. to lrg. yellow onion, diced
- 10 cloves of garlic, whole
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 16 oz. cream cheese (I used 8 oz. regular and 8oz. lowfat)
- 1 TBS. seasoned salt or all-purpose seasoning, and pepper to taste
- Crumbled bacon
- shredded cheddar cheese
- green onion
- Add potatoes, onion, garlic, seasoning, and chicken broth
- cook on high 6 hrs. or low 10 hrs.
- remove and puree the garlic cloves along with 1/2 to 1/3rd of the soup, and then reintroduce to the remainder in the crock pot
- stir in the cream cheese and allow to melt. Stir every 10-15 minutes or until soup is well blended.
- top with your choice of garnishes and serve

Happy Wednesday to all! I love 4 day weeks! : )

Saturday, January 16, 2010

When there are clouds in the sky...

Its a gloomyish Saturday, but we have not had the rain they predicted making it the perfect lazy day (after a 8.5 mile run)! Who can name the song my post title is from? : )
We have noticed lately that our formerly inside puppy (Ellie) is now spending great amounts of time outside by herself while we are home. She has found joy in chewing on sticks in the yard, a side effect being that she often smells like tree sap. Now she has chosen many different sticks to chew on: fat ones, skinny ones, ect, but her stick of choice today greatly amused me:
it was huge, a tree basically.

On the kitchen front, I have two new recipes to share with you.
Thursday night, my good friends, Meagan and Dinah, came over to make pizza Sage style. My in-laws always make wonderful personal pizzas, so we decided to carry on the Sage way.
Meagan's pizza

Dinah's pizza
My yummy pizza

and Cody's (he chose not to have his picture taken with it)
Pizza Dough
4.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup of olive oil
2 packages yeast
1.5 cups warm water
2 tsp. brown sugar
Measure 1/2 cup of warm water in a measuring cup and stir in 2 tsp. brown sugar. Dissolve the 2 packages of yeast in this mixture and allow to set for about 5 minutes. Sift 4 cups of the flour with salt in a bowl. Add olive oil, 1 cup of the warm water and then the yeast mixture. Mix all together and knead this dough for about 8 minutes. Can dust with flour so it will not be too sticky. Rub a clean bowl with olive oil, put the dough in this, cover, and allow to rise in a warm place for about 1.5 hours. It's ready to make pizza!

I made the pizza dough the night before, covered it with saran and put it in the fridge. When I got home from school I let it rise on the counter uncovered for 1.5 hours. We preheated the oven to 450 and put our cast iron skillets in. When we were ready to make pizzas, the skillets came out one by one, were brushed with a little bit of olive oil, added a small ball of dough rolled out and then brushed it with olive oil and minced garlic and pizza sauce (of course as well as yummy toppings: mozarella and parm. cheese, canadian bacon, pepperoni, onions, peppers, jalepenos).

Friday night we had our friends Hannah and Alex up for baked Spaghetti:
Baked Spaghetti
* 3/4 pound lean ground beef (I used Venison)
* 1 (25 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
* 1 pound spaghetti
* 1 cup shredded mild Cheddar cheese (we used parm, italian mix and a little bit of Mexican mix)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In large skillet, cook hamburger until brown. Mix spaghetti sauce into skillet. Reduce heat and simmer.
2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Mix in pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
3. Mix together spaghetti and meat mixture, pour into 9x13 pan. Top with cheese and bake for 30 minutes, or until heated through and cheese is bubbly. (We layered: spaghetti, meat mixture, cheese, spaghetti, meat mixture, cheese)

I also made a salad last night mimicing the house salad that I had at Peli Peli a few weeks ago.
Raspberry Vinaigrette
Iceberg Lettuce (they used field greens and baby spinach, but I used what I had)
Strawberries (sliced)
Carrot Shavings
Carmelized Pecans - I couldn't find any to buy already carmelized them, so I bought pecans and carmelized them at home:
I went ahead and did the whole bag so
1 1/2 Cup Pecans
1 1/2 Tbs Butter
3 Tbs Sugar
Melt butter in small skillet over medium-high heat. Add sugar and nuts. Stir constantly until sugar loses grainy appearance (mine took about 4 minutes). Pour nuts onto sheet of aluminum foil and let cool for 15 minutes.

I hope everyone enjoys the weekend! I'm looking forward to having Monday off! : )

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

You live, you learn!

So I am trying desperately to be a good wife that cooks! The problem is that I am not a natural in the kitchen like my husband is, so mistakes are made, which will hopefully make me a better cook the next time!
This week we've used more of our venison to make some meals : ) Cody made venison chilli on Sunday night.
I stumbled across The Little Kitchen that Could blog a few weeks ago and have started trying her recipes this week.
Monday night we made venison burgers using her slider recipe and they were delicious!!

1 pound premium ground beef (I used Venison)
1/2 tablespoon good Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil, plus extra for brushing the grill
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon worcestire sauce
Thin small slices of your favorite cheese (I used sharp cheddar on some)
4 hamburer buns
Step by Step
Heat a grill or grill pan to medium high heat.
Place the ground beef in a large bowl and add the mustard, olive oil, rosemary, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix gently with a fork to combine, without compressing the meat. Shape the meat into 12 (2-inch) patties of equal size and thickness.
When the grill is medium-hot, brush the grill grate with oil to keep the sliders from sticking. Place the burgers on the grill. For the last 2 minutes of cooking time, place cheese on the top of each burger and close the grill lid. Remove the burgers to a platter and cover with foil.
Open the hamburger buns, brush with olive oil and place on the grill to toast.
*I also made the carmelized onions that she has on her blog to top the burgers.

That night I also attempted a Paula Dean recipe for crispy baked sweet potato fries which turned out to be a disaster. They had entirely too much salt/seasoning on them.

On Tuesday I used my mom's Chicken and Dumplings recipe! What a perfect meal for a cold day!
Boil 4 Chicken Breasts (Add seasoning: salt, pepper, onion flakes, celery salt, little bit of garlic)
Cube Chicken after cooking.
2 cups flour 1 rounding tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt shortening- size of an egg
1 scant cup hot boiling stock
Knead until not sticky. Roll out on floured surface. Cut in strips. Leave a little flour on the dumplings. Let dry for an hour or more. Drop in hot boiling stock and cook 10 minutes.
Add the cubed pieces of chicken and cook for an additional 10 minutes, add additional seasoning as needed.

Then tonight I went back to the Little Kitchen that Could to make homemade Pesto, Pesto Chicken, Asparagus and I attempted sweet potato fries for the second time.

Fresh Basil Pesto
2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil + 1 tablespoon
Freshly ground black pepper
Step by Step
1. Combine basil, pine nuts, cheese, garlic and salt in a food processor. Grind for a few seconds until mixed.
2. While the motor is still running, slowly pour oil in and blend until the mixture is incorporated.
3. Add pepper to taste and extra salt if needed.
4. Store in refrigerator for up to 3 days tightly covered or freeze for up to a month.

Pesto Grilled Chicken

Serves 2
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Seasoning salt (I used Lawry’s)
3 to 4 tablespoons pesto (make with this recipe or use store bought)
2 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese
Step by Step
1. Heat grill or grill pan to medium heat and coat with cooking spray.
2. Season chicken (lightly - I mistakingly put a lot on tonight, making our chicken entirely too salty) on both sides with seasoning salt and pepper.
3. Grill chicken until no longer pink in the middle.
4. Remove chicken from grill and sprinkle each breast with one tablespoon
5. Remove from heat and sprinkle each breast with one tablespoon of parmesan cheese.
6. Top the cheese with 1 to 11/2 tablespoons of pesto on each breast.
7. Serve while warm.

Roasted Asparagus
4 to 5 asparagus stalks per person
Olive Oil
Coarse Sea Salt (for the best taste, but other types of salt will work as well)
Step by Step
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Cover a shallow baking sheet with foil.
3. Cut off coarse bottoms (a.k.a. "woody ends") of the asparagus.
4. Lay out asparagus like shown above.
5. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and coarse salt.
6. Roll the asparagus around on the baking sheet to get the olive oil evenly spread.
7. Roast in oven for about 10 minutes. *Shake the pan half way through to move asparagus around* (cooking time could be longer or shorter depending on thickness of stalks)
8. Pull out of the oven when lightly browned and asparagus is tender when pierced with a fork.
9. Serve immediately.

My second attempt at sweet potato fries was a little bit better. I still need to find a good recipe!

Right now I have pizza dough in the fridge for tomorrow night! Let's hope it turns out so that we can enjoy yummy homemade pizza while watching Grey's and the Office tomorrow night!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Brrr, it's cold in here...

It is currently 32 degrees in Houston, Texas! And that's not even the crazy part..later tonight/tomm. morning it will be 25 degrees, but it will feel like 13! In Houston, Tx! It has already snowed this year, so I guess nothing should shock me.

Here are our culinary feats for Wednesday and Thursday.
Wednesday we used the crock pot, which is my new best friend. You can put just about anything in there, turn it on high or low, pick the number of hours and leave it! Once it finishes cooking time, it just switches to warm. My aunt has always told me it is like the supper fairy came and I agree!
On Wednesday, Cody put 2 pieces of venison back strap in the crock pot, some halved red potatoes, some carrots, 1 beer, garlic, salt and pepper. We let it cook all day and it was great!

Tonight I used a Parmesan Crusted Tilapia recipe that I got from a friend.
I dipped 2 pieces of fresh tilapia in a little lemon juice (gets rid of fishy flavor).
Then dip in bread crumbs (Progresso Italian Style)
Put on foil on a cookie sheet. Bake for 20-25 min. (I baked at 375 degrees)
When u have 5 min left sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top and let it cook the last 5 minutes

For sides, I steamed broccoli in the microwave and then used my Better Homes cook book and found a recipe for
Easy Risotto
1/3 cup chopped onion (1 small)
1 tbs butter or margarine
2/3 cup uncooked long grain rice
2 cups water
1 tsp instant chicken bouillon granules
Dash black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1. In a medium saucepan cook the onion in hot butter until tender; add rice. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Carefull stir in the water, bouillon granules and pepper. Bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer (covered for 20 minutes - do not lift lid).
2. Remove saucepan from heat. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir in Parm. cheese.
I LOVED tonight's meal!
Happy almost Friday to all! I love the way 3-day weeks make Friday get here so much faster! : )

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Please, Thank you

I help foster manners in my kindergarteners. We practice the appropriate ways to respond to adults saying ma'am, sir, please, thank you, excuse me, I'm sorry, ect. My parents taught me manners and I feel that I am pretty good at using them. I have noticed the past couple of days that other people, adult people, are not. A man let his dogs out yesterday in his front yard as Chloe and I were walking by and one of them attacked her. She wasn't hurt, but the entire situation was not okay. I didn't really say anything because I couldn't think of anything constructive to contribute to the situation once the older man got down to to agressive dog. He never apologized! I was shocked! Then today I was in the grocery store and arrived at the sea food counter at the same time as another woman. The man came to me first to ask what I wanted and I turned to the other lady and said "I think she might've been here first." She responded by rudely saying, "uh, yes I was." No "thank you" or "don't worry about it." In all honesty its not just these past few days that I have noticed this either. I think it would be a much happier, nicer world if we just all used the manners that our mommies and daddies or grandparents or teachers taught us!

On another ranting note : ) I was watching Good Morning America this morning and the author of Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert was on being interviewed. From what I understand from the interview and then the little bit that I've been able to find online. She married when she was 25, and went through a bitter divorce in her early 30s. She struggled with depression and went on a journey traveling, praying, and eventually found love again. Her book is even being turned into a movie. I've heard about her book and may even read it before the movie comes out, but the thing that I have a problem with is what she said today on GMA. When asked why she remarried and what she has learned about marriage, Elizabeth said that marriage is definitely not for the young, not a game for children. Cody and I got married when we were 23, so this struck a wrong chord with me. Maybe Elizabeth should not have gotten married when she was young, but really who knows enough about love and God's timing to put an appropriate age on when you get married. People get married when they are young and are happily married for the rest of their lives! A lot of the marriages in my family prove this! People get married when they are middle aged or even elderly and are happily married for the rest of their lives also. What works for one person cannot be generalized as the only thing that works for everyone else. (Rant over)

On a happier note, our puppies love each other. Cody and I were working on hanging a picture last night and peeked into our bedroom to see them asleep like this:

And on a food note, last night I made black bean and chicken burritos. Yumm!
Chicken and Black Bean Burritos Recipe
45 min | 20 min prep
* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
* 1 onion (Chopped)
* 2 garlic cloves (Minced)
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon pepper
* 4 chicken breasts (cubed)
* 1 jalapeno pepper (Seeded and minced)
* 1 sweet red pepper (Chopped)
* 19 ounces black beans (Drained and rinsed) (I did two cans 32 oz)
* 1 cup salsa
* 8 large whole wheat tortillas
* 2 1/2 cups cheddar cheese (Shredded)
* 1/2 cup sour cream
* I added cilantro

1. In skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; fry onion, garlic, salt, and pepper until softened, about 3 minute.
2. Add chicken, jalapeno, red pepper, beans and salsa; cook, stirring, until chicken is no longer pink inside, about 10 minute
3. Let cool.
4. Spoon about 3/4 cup of the filling down centre of each tortilla; sprinkle each with 1/4 cup of the cheese. Fold in bottom edge, then sides; roll up.
5. Place, seam down, in greased 13x9 inch glass backing dish, sprinkle remaining cheese over top.
6. Back in 400 degree oven until golden and hot, and cheese is melted, about 15 minute
7. Serve with sour cream.
8. If baking from frozen, loosely cover dish with foil, and bake in a 400 degree oven until golden and hot, about 25-30 minute.
9. Enjoy.

Tonight's dinner is this Chicken and Rice casserole in my new crockpot. It was SO easy to prepare.
Chicken & Rice Casserole
1 can cream of celery soup
3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 tbsp. dry onion soup mix
1/2 c. long-grain rice, uncooked
Combine the soup and rice in a well greased Crockery Pot. Stir well. Put the chicken breasts on top of the rice mixture. Sprinkle the onion soup mix over the chicken breasts. Cover and cook on low 7 to 9 hours.
Serve hot.
*Note: The chicken and rice casserole had great flavor, but the chicken was a little dry. I will probably add 1/2 c. to 1 c. of chicken broth next time.

Tomorrow is back to school! I am so thankful for the 2 weeks and 2 days that I've had to relax, enjoy friends, family, clean the house, and refresh my attitude. I'm ready to see my kiddos to hear all about their breaks and watch them continue to grow this second semester!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Ringing in 2010

I can't believe that its already a new year! The holidays have just flown by this year!! I spent yesterday packing away Christmas decorations and cleaning up the aftermath of them. Decorating is so fun, undecorating is just sad!
Cody and I spent New Year's Eve at Horseshoe Bay on Lake LBJ with some college friends. We really enjoyed the time with our friends and I loved getting dressed up for a NYE party! So fun!

Another note on the new year: I have just recently realized how monotonous my dinners are. I cook basically the same thing every week and most of those meals are not super healthy, so I'm expanding my horizons this year and cooking new things. I've already asked for and received many wonderful recipes on facebook, but if you my blogger friends have any easy healthy(ish) recipes or crockpot recipes that you care to share, I would love to try them! : ) Last night Cody and I made lettuce wraps from this recipe and they were very yummy (probably not too healthy though..)
P. F. Chang's Chicken Lettuce Wraps Recipe #15865
25 min | 10 min prep
* 3 tablespoons oil
* 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
* 1 cup water chestnut
* 2/3 cup mushroom
* 3 tablespoons chopped onions
* 1 teaspoon minced garlic
* 4-5 leaves iceberg lettuce
Special Sauce
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1/2 cup water
* 2 tablespoons soy sauce
* 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
* 2 tablespoons ketchup
* 1 tablespoon lemon juice
* 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
* 1 tablespoon hot mustard
* 2 teaspoons water
* 1-2 teaspoon garlic and red chile paste
Stir Fry Sauce
* 2 tablespoons soy sauce
* 2 tablespoons brown sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1. Make the special sauce by dissolving the sugar in water in a small bowl.
2. Add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice and sesame oil.
3. Mix well and refrigerate this sauce until you're ready to serve.
4. Combine the hot water with the hot mustard and set this aside as well.
5. Eventually add your desired measurement of mustard and garlic chili sauce to the special sauce mixture to pour over the wraps.
6. Bring oil to high heat in a wok or large frying pan.
7. Saute chicken breasts for 4 to 5 minutes per side or done.
8. Remove chicken from the pan and cool.
9. Keep oil in the pan, keep hot.
10. As chicken cools mince water chestnuts and mushrooms to about the size of small peas.
11. Prepare the stir fry sauce by mixing the soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar together in a small bowl.
12. When chicken is cool, mince it as the mushrooms and water chestnuts are.
13. With the pan still on high heat, add another Tbsp of vegetable oil.
14. Add chicken, garlic, onions, water chestnuts and mushrooms to the pan.
15. Add the stir fry sauce to the pan and saute the mixture for a couple minutes then serve it in the lettuce"cups".
16. Top with"Special Sauce".

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Tale of Two Puppies..

**Disclaimer: We love both of our puppies equally!!
Now don't judge our sweet Chloe on this, because she really is an awesome dog, but back in the summer she went to Petsmart to get groomed. Being a bad puppy mom, she was very matted because I had not been very diligent about brushing her (which means that they had to try to brush out the mattes and it hurt). When I picked her up, she had received a report card that said "I was a little devil, but my groomer still loves me." : )

In stark contrast, Ellie went to Petsmart's Petshotel and Doggie Day Care (which was a wonderful experience, I def. recommend it) while we were at Horseshoe Bay. When we picked her up, her Pawgress Report said "I love Ellie! She is such a sweetheart. She loves giving hugs and kisses, it's so adorable! Please bring her back soon."