Monday, February 22, 2010

What a Week...

Dear Blogger, sorry I have been neglecting you! :( This past week has been so crazy.. But through it all I have managed to attend Basket ball Practice, four birthday parties, my Moms Group, Church, and Grocery Shopping! Oh and My Kids are not Sick!! YAY!!!

Oh and I spent $113.96 grocery shopping... and this includes diapers and Detergents.. I Saved $116.56!!!! I Love Couponing!!!! The only thing I can think of that I didn't have a coupon for or that was not on sale was Milk!!

I do have a recipe for tomorrow as well! So Hopefully I can find time to get it on here sometime tomorrow night!!

Oh and my little girl is now 3 years old.... :( she is getting so big..

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Easy Chicken Soup

Yesterday I really wanted some chicken soup, but Dustin was impatient and the kids needed to go to bed (they were very cranky!) So Instead of letting me do my thing, he pulls out a frozen pizza (that he bought) and threw it it in the oven... And honestly I am thankful he did that.. I was very tired and that pizza was pretty good! And b/c I did not have to cook I had time to do other things.. And I was in bed by 10:00!! I usually consider my self very lucky if I am getting ready for bed around 11:30. So the Chicken Soup had to wait for today!

Dustin woke up this Morning and cooked Blue Berry, Chocolate Chip and Plain Pancakes for Breakfast, and then we went outside and played in the snow for quiet a while.. Ansley had a lot of fun, Justus was upset b/c the Dogs were bothering him, but as long as they were not near him he has a blast as well! The kids were exhausted by the time we came back in. They laid down for a quick nap and the soup making began!! I tried looking for a recipe but couldn't find one. So finally I decided to make my own.. I am sure someone else has made this exact same thing before, it just seemed to easy for it to be a "first". But b/c I did not follow a recipe i will call it my own!

Here it is:

Easy Chicken Soup

What You Need!

-1 1/2 LB Cut up Chicken Breast
-Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
-2 TBSP Minced Garlic
-1/4 Cup Chopped Onion
-Sea Salt
-Black Pepper
-Box of Swanson's Chicken Broth (or whatever brand you prefer)
-2 cans of Great Northern Beans
-1 Can of Italian Style Diced Tomato's
-1 Small Bag of Frozen Classic Mix Veggies (Corn, Carrots, Green Beans, & Peas)
-1- 1lb box of Ditalini Pasta (NOTE: I only used 1/2 a box of this and this is Barilla Brand) You can Actually use any small pasta you want
-Cheddar Cheese (optional)

-In a Large Pot Pour enough EVOO to cover bottom of pot. Add Chicken, Onions, and Minced Garlic. Then Add some Sea Salt (how ever much you want) and pepper. Turn Heat to Medium High and Cook Chicken thoroughly.

-Then Add The Whole Box of Chicken Broth, Great Northern Beans, Tomato's, And Frozen Veggies.
-You may want to Add a few cups of water

-Then Add desired amount of Pasta. After this is all stirred together add a little more EVOO, Salt and Pepper. It will probably take about 12 minutes for the pasta to cook. Make sure you stir this often so the pasta does not settle to the bottom of the pan before it gets ready.

I had some Betty Crocker Garlic Cheddar Biscuit Mix that I threw together real quick while the Pasta was cooking in the soup. You can serve whatever Bread you want or No Bread at all! Top the Soup with Some Cheddar Cheese!
Enjoy, and let me know what you think.
-Mary Beth

Friday, February 12, 2010

Lovin' the Snow!

Okay, I know some of you are wishing the snow would go away.. But I Love it!! It is so pretty and I am saying Bring It On! I honestly would love to get snowed in for a few days! We have groceries and a gas fireplace so why not! The only thing that is really keeping me from praying about this is that I realize some people are not as fortunate and some may freeze. So right now I am thinking when the kids wake up from their naps it would be fun to go out and make snow angels but that depends on their moods!! I know Justus would Love it, but I am not so sure about Ansley. She was not to happy about the snow last time. However I do believe she has warmed up to the idea. She did ask to go out and eat the snow earlier.. And she did! Then Dustin, my husband, got a brilliant idea and he made the kids Snow Cream! They absolutely loved it! So Go outside gather some "clean" snow and make some!
Here is how you do it..

He mixed about 2 cups of 1/2 and 1/2 (you can use regular milk if that is all you have)
with some sugar (enough so it seemed sweet enough)
then added a little bit of vanilla
then he filled up a 5 qt mixing bowl with snow.

you add the milk mixture with the snow and mix it with a mixer!!


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Multi-Layered Taco Casserole

Over all this was really good! Probably not something I would fix weekly but I could definitely see my self fixing it once or twice a month. Dustin said next time leave the pasta out but keep the cheese sauce for sure! He liked the pasta but he could live with out it. I thought that the pasta gave it something extra and with out it the dish would be missing something! I do suggest that if you fix this then go ahead and prepare all the ingredients before hand. For Example if it says something needs chopped then go ahead and chop it.. If not you may be slowed down. Also remember to keep your meat turned down to medium this will keep it from cooking to fast and drying out. This recipe makes a good bit (enough for 10-11 unless you have some that eat a lot then say 8-10) there was 4 adults and my 2 kids eating and we still had enough left over for probably 2 1/2 more servings. Also I liked the tortilla's on the top but that is not a must if you want to serve it with tortilla chips on the side instead. Dustin had chips with his and used it like a dip.. Justus and Ansley also really seemed to enjoy it. Thanks Lauren Your Awesome for sharing this one! So Here is that recipe again:

~ Pictures are at very end.. sorry it doesn't look as good as it really is, this is a messy dish! Messy But Good!

Multi-Layered Taco Casserole


* 1 package corn tortillas or any color corn chips
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or cooking spray
* 1 box elbow macaroni
* 1 tablespoon EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
* 2 pounds ground beef
* 1 medium onion, finely chopped
* 6 cloves garlic, grated, divided
* 4 jalapeño peppers, finely chopped, divided (optional I did not use any)
* 1 tablespoons chili powder
* 1 tablespoon coriander
* 1 tablespoon cumin
* 3 tablespoons tomato paste

* 3 tablespoons butter
* 3 tablespoons flour
* 2 1/2 cups milk
* 1 14.5-ounce can chopped tomatoes with chilies, drained
* 3 cups shredded yellow cheddar cheese, divided

* 2 cans vegetarian spicy refried beans

* 5 to 6 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
* 1 small red onion, finely chopped
* 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
* Salt
* 2 limes, zest of 1 and juice of 2

* 2 avocados
* 1 cup sour cream
* Juice of 1 lemon

* Hot sauce to taste(I did not use any)
* 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
* 1/2 cup chopped olives with pimientos(I only used black olives no pimientos)
* 1 bunch scallions, chopped

Yields: 12 servings

Preheat oven to 400˚F.

If using corn tortillas, cut them into thin strips about 1/2 inch thick, and place them onto a baking sheet. Toss them with some vegetable oil or spray with cooking spray and season them with salt and ground pepper. Pop them into the oven and cook until crispy and golden, about 15 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water up to a boil over high heat. Salt the water then add the noodles and cook to package instructions.

Place a large skillet over medium high heat with a tablespoon olive oil. Brown the meat, then add in the onion, 4 cloves grated garlic and 2 jalapeños, and cook until tender.

Season the meat and veggies with chili powder, coriander, cumin and tomato paste. Let the meat mixture cook for a minute or two with the spices,and let that cook down for about 4-5 minutes. Reserve.

While the meat is cooking, make the cheese sauce: In a saucepot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and give it a stir to combine with the butter. Cook for a minute or so then whisk in the milk. Cook until thickened.

Drain the can of tomatoes with chilies and add them to the thickened milk mixture. Fold in 2 1/2 cups cheese and the reserved noodles. Season with salt and pepper, and reserve.

In another saucepot, heat up the can of refried beans with a little bit of water.

To build the casserole, spread the beef mixture out in the bottom of a casserole dish. Top with the refried beans and finish it off with the mac and cheeses and the remaining cheese. Pop the casserole into the oven and bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.

While the casserole is baking, make the salsa: Mix the plum tomatoes, remaining jalapeño peppers, red onion and cilantro in a small bowl. Season with salt, lime zest and juice, and reserve.

For the guacamole sour cream, scoop the flesh of the avocados into the bowl of a food processor and add the sour cream, lemon juice, remaining 2 cloves grated garlic and hot sauce. Process until creamy.

Once the casserole comes out of the oven, top it with the crispy corn strips and shredded iceberg lettuce. Top with the salsa, then the guacamole sour cream and finally the chopped olives with pimientos and scallions.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Chicken Etouffee

So tonight I fried chicken.... And this was a first for me (to ever fry anything! And a first for anything to ever be fried in my house!!!) I would say for my first time a did a very good job! Ansley liked the fried chicken and kept eating it, Luckily I had made extra! I don't know if maybe I should have chopped the onion and celery up finer or maybe even used a food processor, but they were still crisp when the dish was done so if you do not like that then I suggest steaming them a little before adding them. I did not have a bell pepper so I left that out. I think when I make this again I will leave the celery out (b/c I am the only one who really likes it) or chop it up very fine so no one knows it is in there. Also I will add Carrots and Broccoli, two veggies the kids really love! Dustin thought it needed some more salt, but b/c the recipe says to taste, I did not use a whole lot of salt and figured if it needed more then we could add it once it was on our plate. Oh and I used whole grain rice. Over all I was very pleased with this recipe, and thought that it was pretty easy to make. Thanks Summer!! (Recipe Pictured Bottom of Page)

Chicken Etouffee

1 1/2 pound chicken breast 1 large onion
1 bell pepper chopped red or green 4 stalks celery chopped
4 bay leaves 5 cloves garlic (smoked is best)
2 cups flour 1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup olive oil 2 cups white rice (plus 2 cups water to cook)
salt, pepper & cayenne to taste water to cover

Finely chop onion, bell pepper & celery and set it aside. Mix pepper, salt and cayenne with the flour in a dish. Cut chicken breast into finger sized strips and coat them with the flour. In a large pot (Dutch oven) add some of the butter and olive oil. Hold on to the rest of the butter and oil because you will need to add them in as you cook. Start frying coated chicken strips in the oil & butter, removing them as they brown and adding more oil and butter as needed. I hit them with some more cayenne as they come out of the pot. After all chicken strips are fried and set aside, add any remaining butter and some of the left over seasoned flour to make a roux. Just add enough to make it thick, but not like a paste...cook to a dark roux. Add garlic and bay leaves and the chopped vegetables. Stir so that all veggies are coated with the roux and start to soften. Fill with water to cover and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Be sure to check for seasoning, salt and cayenne. This is a good time to make the rice. When it starts to look like a gravy add the chicken back in for the last 10 minutes. Again, check the seasoning. Once it reaches the thickness you like serve it on a pile of rice. Garlic bread cut into strips makes a great side and garnish.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Easy Fruit Dip

Okay So I had to get un-tired/un-lazy for about 10 minutes. I washed some strawberries and grapes that I need to take to MOMS Group in the morning and decided that it would be nice to have some Fruit Dip to go along with it... So I started searching for a recipe, and unfortunately I do not have Marshmallow Cream, Yogurt, Jello but I do have cream cheese.. So I set the Cream Cheese Out so it could soften, and started thinking...... a couple minutes later after searching through the cabinets and refrigerator I pulled out Heavy Whipping Cream, some Powdered Sugar, and Vanilla Extract! So Here Is My, very basic using what I have, Recipe:

1 - 8 oz. Pkg. of Cream Cheese Softened
1 Cup of Heavy Whipping Cream
1/3 Cup of Powdered Sugar (I am guessing on this, I really just added a few spoon fulls)
1/2 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

Beat Cream Cheese and Heavy Whipping Cream together (I did this until smooth and when I thought it looked fluffy enough it didn't take long at all with the kitchen aid mixer but with a regular hand held it could take a few minutes)
Then Add powdered sugar and Vanilla Extract.... Mix this for another minute or so.. and YUMMY!!
It is sort of the consistency of Whipped Cream but with a sweater and cream cheesier taste!!!

So Tired

I am so tired this evening.. And very thankful that my Mom cooked some very good gnocchi soup tonight! I have been gone all day long.. First I had Justus this morning, then Ansley and Justus both.. Then just Justus again.. but it seemed like the day was not going to end.. I did not make it home until 6:45 this evening and I feel like I have drove all over the world! Tomorrow Morning I have MOMS (Mothers Outreach Ministry) @ Church and I am very excited about a few hours of "grown up" time!
So unfortunately I did not cook anything to day.... :( But tomorrow and Friday are looking very hopeful, Thanks to Summer and Lauren! Thanks Guys!! Oh and Mom gave me a new cook book tonight Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics. There are a few good looking recipe's in there so if I get a chance I may make something out of it on Saturday!

Oh and Lauren, you tell Daniel to share recipe's with me anytime!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Challenge?

So I am not 100% sure where this inspiration came from... I guess it all sort of fell into place...

--My Grandparents bought Dustin and I a 5 qt kitchen aid stand mixer for our birthdays and I got a blank recipe book (that is dieing to be filled with recipe's) for Christmas from Mom. Then Dustin and I purchased a new sink and faucet for the kitchen and he also bought a new oven for our kitchen (that is supposed to be my b-day present!) And then last night we watched Julia and Julie.... Oh need I say more, it is a slow movie but I just fell in love with it. I found myself wanting to cook a huge meal at 1:00 this Morning.--

So then I had this bright idea that maybe you could start posting recipes for me to try out! This could be fun, right?? Now keep in mind that I love my Mom's cooking and I will be eating with her a few times a week! So I will not obligate everyday to cooking like Julia did! And remember that I do not cook often so you may need to be a little detailed!! Dustin is sort of a picky eater but he is getting over it, and usually if I cook it he eats it.. the one this he 100% objects to is sea food. So if you are weary that I may not accept your recipe challenge and cook what you take time typing out then ask me first I will let you know! But I want to know how to really cook, I am not here for "shake and bake" recipes, but if you do have a yummy recipe that is quick to make then go ahead pass it my way! And for all of you who add everything to your dish (mom) I want those recipes as well. I will post pictures of them on here as well!

So what are you waiting for send a recipe my way!!

-Mary Beth!

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Selfless Heart

As Ansley is getting older she is becoming more responsible. We have not always been big on giving her "chores" sure we ask her to do things but we really don't have a chore list. So one of the new things I do ask her to do much more often and with out help is to clean her room. Yesterday she did not want to go clean her room, and to be honest I really didn't feel like fighting a battle with her. So instead of getting up and making her march into her room and demand she clean it up or she would get a spanking.... (which I personally believe if you say if you don't do such and such then you are getting a ..... then it is the same as counting to three... which I think is completely lame and your kid is still semi-getting their way, unfortunately I "count to three" quiet often, and there is a book out called "don't make me count to three" this book has been recommended to me and I should probably buy it...) So back to my story of my laziness and not wanting to "battle" with my toddler.. Instead of "counting to three" I just said okay Ansley when I go in your room I will pick up everything in your floor and put into a basket, then I will donate it to little kids that do not have toys. I thought this was pretty smart but before I could say anything to Dustin (who was sitting beside me) about how clever that was. Ansley loos at me and says "Mommy, Where is the Basket?" I told her she ran and got it and started putting her Toys in it... She was so proud when she came and told me that she had her toys ready to go to other kids.. These were not her old broken toys either, they were new, one was even one of her new favorite baby dolls she had just been playing with the day before...
What a slap in the face to me. Was I beginning to teach my child to be selfish by threatening her with her things?? Thank Go d she didn't take it that way, and Thank You God that you showed me to teach my children to be more selfless than selfish!! I assure you all that I will be thinking more about my actions in the future.
-Mary Beth