Thursday, January 30, 2014

Turkey Pot Pie

Snowmaggedon Chronicles Day 3:
Starting to run out of groceries and hoping my town's roads reopen soon. Luckily, the remaining groceries I have allowed me to make this delicious pot pie! My 10 month old even loved the filling! 

1 lb ground turkey
1 can cream of chicken or mushroom soup
1 can mixed veggies
2 tbs ranch dressing
Salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and seasoned salt- to taste
2 ready made pie crusts

Season the ground turkey with salt and pepper and cook thoroughly. Drain. Drain all liquid from the can of veggies and combine with the turkey, soup, and ranch dressing. Heat through and season to taste. 
Place one pie crust into pie pan. Add filling. Top with second pie crust. Cut four slits into the top crust and crimp closed with fork. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cover the edges of the pie with foil to keep it from getting too dark. Bake for 20 more minutes. 

Chicken Alfredo filled shells with sun dried tomato cream sauce

20 shells
1 cup Ricotta cheese
1/2 c Parmesan cheese
1 can chicken 
2 tbs ranch dressing
2 tbs sour cream
Salt and pepper
Jar of pasta sauce or MYO

Cook shells according to package directions. Drain and separate onto wax paper. Allow to cool for about 3 or 4 minutes. Make the filling while they cool: combine the chicken, cheeses, ranch, sour cream, and seasonings to taste. Fill the shells halfway full. Coat the bottom of a casserole dish with sauce. Arrange the shells and top with more sauce. Cover with Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 35 minutes. 

This can also be made ahead of time. Make it all the way to the baking step, but don't bake. It can be frozen for up to two months. When you're ready to bake, adjust baking time to 1 hr and 15 minutes. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

But even if He does not

In my Bible reading tonight, I read the story about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They refused to bow before the false god set up by the king. In Daniel 3:17, the men state that their Almighty God can deliver them from the fiery furnace. What awesome power God has! But it is verse 18 that really struck me tonight. It begins by saying, "But even if He does not..." 

How often have I prayed for something with all my heart that has not and did not happen? Does that mean that God is not still to be praised? It is easy to praise and give thanks and be full of faith when everything is going well. But when things are not, that is another story. When it feels like my prayers go unanswered, it is easy to fall away and pout and "punish" God by withholding my praises. 

These men had their lives at stake and we're praying for deliverance. But their undeniable, unquestioning faith lead them to be accepting of God's answer "even if He does not" deliver them. How dare I not pray the same. Even if the answer to my prayer is no, even if I am struggling and it is not taken from me, even if He does not, I will praise him. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

What a perfect day

Today was perfect. Not because my house is as clean as it should be. Not because I made a gourmet meal. Not because I got everything done on my to-do list. Today was perfect because I got to spend it in its entirety with my daughter. 

She had a stomach ache for a little while this afternoon. She just wanted to be held. So I held her. We rocked and sang songs. She finally took a nap, but she woke up crying. She gets night terrors sometimes, so she's not really awake when she's crying. I picked her up, and we sat in the recliner until it stopped. What stopped it this time? Me, reading Psalm 23 out of her story book Bible. She pointed to the pictures of the sheep and the shepherd. She rested her head against me and relaxed. 

She played in her bouncer. She played in her play house. She played in her bath. 

After bathtime, I put her pajamas on her, and we stayed in her room listening to Disney music. I would sing, and she would clap and bob and sway. We laughed and laughed until she was snorting and my cheeks were sore. 

I am so blessed to have been called to be this little girl's mama. I thank God for putting her in our family and entrusting me with her care. I pray that she continues to grow and that I am there for it all. She amazes me everyday. She's at the age now where she is learning so much so quickly. It's almost been a year since she turned us into a family of three and our world upside down. I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

How to Organize Your Bathroom- guest post by Sue Jason

I am happy to have Sue Jason from here today sharing a guest post on much-needed advice (at least much-needed at my house) on how to organize a bathroom. My bathroom is so small; getting better organized will help me utilize what space I have. I can't wait to incorporate these ideas!

How to Organize Your Bathroom Drawers

The bathroom is used several times a day by each member of the household and, as such, can become cluttered and severely disfunctional with little time, opportunity or space for aesthetic considerations. However, keeping the bathroom neat and tidy while still making allowances for attractive features and a definite décor theme is easily achievable by everyone.

First Things First!

Medicines should be kept up high, out of the way of the casual bathroom explorer, so as to prevent curious ‘tasting’ and the possible repercussions thereof! Safety considerations taken care of, you should turn your attention to potentially messy products and accessories, such as cakes of soap, face cloths, and leaky bottles of shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. If there is a chance that these products will ooze all over other accessories or features, try to put them in an easy-to-clean place, such as a tiled area or waterproof shelf that can be easily wiped clean. Face cloths, hand towels, and bath towels should all have an airy space to hang in order to dry out quickly, preventing the formation of mildew and mold.

Safety Too!

Try to keep the shower area clear of bottles; only keep what you need for your wash, keeping spare products tucked neatly into a drawer. You do not want to stand on or trip over something and fall while groping for a towel when your eyes are full of soap. Apart from not being safe, too many products make the shower area look untidy and cluttered.

Be Ruthless!

Bathrooms very quickly become cluttered with a wealth of toiletries and cleaning products, and it can be hard to stay on top of these. Go through everything in the bathroom cupboards, drawers, shelves, bins, and get rid of anything that has not been used for two months or more. Get into the habit of writing the date on products when you open them so that you can tell when they are still good to use – any that are dramatically past their ‘best before’ date should be thrown away. Doing this periodically will help to prevent the bathroom from becoming too cluttered with nearly empty bottles and products that, once tried, no-one really likes.

Space for Everyone

Give everyone in the family their own space, be it a basket or caddy, in which to store their personal toiletries. They must keep them tidy or risk you tidying it up for them! Once everyone is accustomed to cleaning and tidying their own small part of the bathroom, the whole space becomes much easier to clean and tidy, and the general effect is usually one of attractive practicality. You can also get a tall cabinet with several drawers and a mirror from My Bathrooms and place it in a corner of your bathroom for a beautiful more functional bathroom.

When in Doubt; Decant!

If you are a fan of bulk purchasing (and who isn’t, when the right opportunity comes along?) you may find that you have a lot of enormous containers that you simply have not enough space to accommodate. Why not decant them into much smaller containers, thereby ensuring that you have everything nicely to hand, and that, should anything be spilled or broken, not too much of the product is wasted?

For the most part, having a neat and tidy bathroom is the major step in having an attractive bathroom. Teamed with fresh paint or wallpaper, attractive and matching accessories, and perhaps some fresh flowers or a potted plant, you will find that you do, after all, have the beautifully organized bathroom of your dreams!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Chicken Rigate

For this dish, I just used what I had to make a warm, comforting meal on a freezing cold night. 

Minced garlic 
1/2 jar marinara sauce
1/2 jar Alfredo sauce
4 chicken breasts cut in half
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Rigate pasta cooked al dente
Shredded Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper the chicken, and brown on the stove in olive oil and minced garlic.  Add the spinach and cook. Pour the sauces into a casserole baking dish. Add chicken and spinach, and top with shredded parmesan. Bake at  375 for twenty minutes or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165. Serve over Rigate pasta. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Pringles Can Amplifier

My husband and I are enjoying watching the playoffs today. We just saw a commercial for Pringles where it showed different uses for the can. One showed it being used as an amplifier to make the speaker of an iPhone louder. I had to test it. Oh my word. It absolutely works! It makes it so much louder!  

All I did was cut a slit into the bottom of the can wide enough for my iPhone to fit. The can works to direct the sound rather than letting it diffuse. It works so much better than putting the phone in a glass, which I was already impressed with. Well done, Pringles advertising department. Well done. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tortellini Bake

This was another quick meal that I made a froze ahead of time. I had taken a Cornish hen out of the freezer last night for dinner tonight, but it didn't thaw in time. Luckily I had this casserole in the freezer. I stuck it in the oven, and dinner was saved. We've done so well not eating dinner out this month. Glad we are still keeping it up!

One bag of frozen cheese tortellini
1/2 jar Alfredo sauce
1/2 jar spaghetti sauce
Shredded Parmesan

Cook pasta according to package directions. 
Stir into sauces. 
Pour into casserole dish. 
Top with cheese. 

If you want to eat it right away, bake it in the oven until the cheese melts. If you freeze it, bake at 350 for an hour, covered. Then bake an additional 15 minutes uncovered. 

Delicious and filling!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Crock pot beef stroganoff

After a long day of bowling with my special Olympic athletes, it was so nice to come home to already-made dinner! All I had to do was boil noodles! The ingredients are a little unconventional, but sometimes that's just the way to go. Trust me!

2 cans cream of mushroom soup
2 lbs beef stew meat
1 tbs Frank's Red Hot Wing sauce
1 tbs ketchup
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 cup water
2 beef bullion cubes
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Salt and pepper
Egg noodles, cooked

In the crock pot, combine all ingredients except egg noodles. Cook on low for eight hours. Serve over egg noodles. 

Seriously. That's it. I even combined all my ingredients in the crock the night before, kept it in the fridge overnight, and turned it on in the morning before work. So easy and so delicious!

Stuffed Flounder with Lemon Garlic Butter

I love this recipe! So simple to put together and quick for a weeknight meal. 

Flounder fillets
Fresh spinach
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan plus a little more for topping the fish
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
Minced garlic
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tbs butter

To make the filling
Shred two handfuls of fresh spinach
Sauté the spinach in olive oil with some minced garlic and a splash of lemon juice
Combine the spinach with the cheeses and add the seasonings to taste

To make the lemon garlic butter
Melt the butter with a small amount of minced garlic and the rest of the lemon juice

To make the fish
Salt and pepper he fillets on both sides. Place a spoonful of the filling in the center of the fillet and roll. Place the fish seam-side down on an aluminum foil covered baking sheet. Top with a spoonful of the butter and some shredded Parmesan. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes and broil for an additional three. 

Serve with rice. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Chicken casserole for two

I have an awesome recipe for chicken casserole from the high school FACS teacher (FACS is the new name for Home Ec. It stands for Family and Consumer Sciences). The only problem is that the recipe "serves 12." I don't want to serve 12. I don't even want to serve four! So I thought, "Ok. I'll just divide everything by six, and that will make enough for two." Wrong. So after some experimentation and questioning mathematical principles, I created chicken casserole for two. 

THREE chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (it takes three to get the ratio of chicken to sauce just right)
One can of cream of chicken soup
Four oz sour cream
1/2 of one sleeve of ritz crackers, crushed
1/2 stick of butter, melted

Combine the chicken, soup, and sour cream and pour into a greased 8x8 casserole dish
Top with crushed ritz crackers and pour the butter over the top
Bake for 30 minutes at 350

This made just enough for my husband and me with no leftovers. Perfect!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Bacon Cheeseburger Soup

We're into day two of below freezing temperatures, and I am not cut out for this kind of weather! I've been making soups trying to stay warm. This one I made in the crock pot. 

4 cups beef broth
One lb velveeta, cubed
One lb cooked ground beef,seasoned with onion powder, drained and rinsed
Bacon bits

Combine first two ingredients in the crock pot and cook on high for four hours, stirring occasionally. 
Add the ground beef and bacon bits and cook for another hour. 
Top with additional shredded cheese and bacon bits. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Saving the Showerhead

Have you ever looked at your showerhead? I hadn't either until yesterday. Then I immediately regretted it. Totally gross. When I got out of the shower, I informed my husband that we needed a new showerhead. He conceded my point when he took a look at it.

Later that day, my husband was on the computer and asked if we had white vinegar, a ziplock bag, and a rubber band.

"What? Yes. Why?" As you can tell by my answer, I am very good with words!

He had found a list of "life hacks," and one was about cleaning your showerhead. We assembled the material and got to work. We filled the bag with vinegar and used the rubber band (or hair tie in our case) to hold it on the showerhead. 

It started working immediately. All the grime started coming off. We left it on for 24 hours. Then, I wiped it with a wet cloth to get the rest. No scrubbing required!

This was an easy way to clean the showerhead rather than replacing it. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Pan fried chicken with Italian herbs and cheese

This meal took 10 minutes start to finish. Perfect for the first day back to work after  Christmas break!

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2 inch thick and cut in half
Panko bread crumbs
Italian seasoning
Grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
Shredded mozzarella
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Drizzle olive oil into a skillet over medium heat
Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, and Italian seasonings
Salt and pepper the chicken pieces
Dredge in flour, dip in egg, and coat in bread crumb mixture
Pan fry over medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side
After turning the chicken over halfway through cooking, top with shredded mozzarella and let melt

This also makes a great chicken sandwich or biscuit with leftover pieces!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Tortellini with sausage, spinach, and tomato

There is nothing better on a cold night than a hot bowl of soup. Even better when you just throw the ingredients in the crockpot and let it cook itself! 

1 lb frozen cheese tortellini
1 lb ground sausage
1 can diced tomatoes
5 oz spinach
1 block Neufchâtel cheese
4 C chicken broth

Cook the sausage and drain, leaving a little fat in the pan
Tear apart the spinach and sauté in the fat
In a 4 qt crockpot, add the frozen tortellini, sausage, spinach, tomatoes, and chicken broth
Chunk the cheese and add to the crockpot
Cook on low for 4-6 hours
Gingerly Made

Turkey Taco Casserole

This is the third freezer meal I've made in the last two days. My resolution for 2014 is to eat more home cooked meals. This can be hard working full time, going to school full time, and chasing after a very energetic little girl. Cooking freezereals while I have the time is really going to help. 

This recipe is actually lower fat than it looks. That's because it uses turkey as opposed to beef and Neufchâtel cheese rather than cream. The whole wheat ziti is a nice addition, too. 

1 lb ground turkey
4 tbs Neufchâtel cheese
2 cups cooked ziti
Cumin, onion powder, paprika, salt (to taste)
Splash of milk
Shredded cheddar

Cook the ground turkey with the seasonings
Add a splash of milk
Melt in the Neufchâtel into the turkey and add more seasonings if desired
Combine with the cooked ziti and top with shredded cheddar
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes if eating right away or for 1 hour if it's been frozen