Sunday, August 31, 2014

Menu for 9-1 to 9-7

Monday (Labor Day)
B- Pancakes and Bacon
L- ?
D- Remodeling Kitchen

B- Blueberry Muffins (NR)
L- Pizza Bites
D- Huli Huli Chicken (NR), Macaroni Salad, and Corn on Cob

B- Cinnamon Breakfast Bites (NR)
L- Sandwiches
D- Pizza Bake (NR), Salad, French Bread

B- Cereal
L- Sausage, Cheese, and Crackers
D- Crockpot Cashew Chicken, Fried Rice, and Fortune Cookies (NR)

B- Croissant Casserole
L- New York Style White Pizza (NR)
D- Chicken, Green Bean and Potato Dish

B- One Eyed Sailor
L- ?
D- Chicken Cordon Bleu Hand Pies (NR), Pea Salad, and Lemon Potatoes

B- Cinnamon Rolls
L- ?
D- Leftovers

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Cucumber Salad

Hubby liked these... said they tasted like sweet pickles...

3 cups cucumbers (sliced)
2 tsps. minced fresh cilantro

1/4 cup sugar
2 tb water
2 tb white wine vinegar
2 tb lime juice
1 green onion thinly sliced (I used 1 tsp onion powder)
1/2 tsp salt

In a salad bowl, combine cucumber and cilantro.
In a small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients.
Drizzle over salad and toss to coat.
Serve with a slotted spoon.

Sweet Cucumber Salad Recipe

Read more:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Magic Cake

This cake is wonderfully versatile.  I love that with seven simple ingredients, that most of us keep stocked up in our pantry, you can have a yummy dessert.  Even better is the fact that this can easily be made into a chocolate, lemon, almond, etc... cake.  How wonderful is that? 
While making this don't be alarmed that the batter is VERY thin.  This is ok and is the reason it is able to magically transform into the three layers.  Not only does this taste great it looks great too!  While it is baking it makes three layers, don't ask me how... after all it is a Magic Cake.  The top is golden and there is a custard like layer in the middle. 
You can mix this cake up in just a few minutes, so what are the cons of this recipe?  Only one... it takes awhile to come out of the oven and you are left drooling from the aroma that fills your house. 
4 eggs (separate yolks from whites) at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1 stick or ½ cup butter, melted
3/4 cup flour
2 cups milk lukewarm
powdered sugar for dusting cake
Preheat oven to 325 F degrees.
Grease a 8 inch x 8 inch baking dish. (I used a 9x9)
Separate eggs and add the egg whites to a mixer and mix until egg whites are stiff.
Place egg whites in a bowl and set aside.
Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until light.
Add butter and vanilla extract and continue beating for another minute or two after which you can add the flour and mix it in until fully incorporated.
Slowly start adding the milk and beat until everything is well mixed together.
Add the egg whites, a third at a time and gently fold them in using a spatula, repeat until all egg whites are folded in.
Pour batter into baking dish and bake for 40 to 70 minutes or until the top is lightly golden. (The baking time could vary greatly depending on the oven, so take a peek at around 40 minutes and see how it looks.)
Sprinkle some powdered sugar after cake has cooled.

Green Bean, Chicken and Potato Dish

This was simple and tasty.  Everyone in our family enjoyed it and it was gone quickly... my son had about 6 servings of the green beans.  The only thing I would change is to add one more potato, another chicken breast, and one more package of seasoning.  This is mainly just because ours was devoured so quickly.

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can green beans, drained (I used a bag of frozen green beans... we don't do canned)
2-3 potatoes, cubed
1 packet Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix (I have started adding two)
1 stick butter, melted

Spray a 9” x 13” dish with cooking spray.
Take your one or two cans of drained green beans and empty on one side of the baking dish
Place your chicken breasts in the middle of the dish in a line
Put your potatoes on the third side of the dish.
Sprinkle your Italian Dressing Mix over the entire dish.
Drizzle melted butter over top.
Cover with foil and bake in your oven at 350 degrees for one hour.
Remove from oven, and serve

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Rosa's Biscuits

Before my grandmother got Parkinson's (and several other issues) she loved to cook and was pretty good at it.  Now it is kind of scary to have her anywhere near a kitchen, but in her day she was a wonderful cook.  She is actually part of the reason I love cooking so much.  My mother wasn't much of a cook or baker so my Grammy and I always made goodies together.  She loves (still) reading cooking magazines and cookbooks and has given me several.   

A few years ago I was able to score the Bon Appetit magazine for $12 for 3 years... yep that's 36 issues for next to nothing.  As I was going through some of the magazines/cookbooks my grandmother gave me I found a few of the OLDER issues of Bon Appetit.  It makes me happy to know that we like the same magazines. 

Today I was looking through my newest issue and found this recipe, these were everyone's favorite part of the meal, we ALL loved them!  I made them earlier in the day and just popped them in the oven...

cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
teaspoons baking powder
teaspoons kosher salt, plus more
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces; plus 6 Tbsp. (¾ stick), melted
¾ cup chilled buttermilk (I used whole milk... it's all I had)

Preheat oven to 350°.
Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and 1½ tsp. salt in a large bowl.
Add chilled butter and toss to coat.
Work butter into flour mixture with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal with several pea-size pieces of butter remaining.
Using a fork, gently mix in buttermilk, then gently knead just until dough comes together (do not overmix).
Pinch off pieces of dough and gently roll into 1” balls; place on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 2” apart (you should have about 24).
If butter softens too much while you are working, chill dough until firm before baking, 15–20 minutes.
Bake biscuits until golden brown, 25–30 minutes.
Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with more salt.
Serve warm.

Raegan Mirick's photo.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Menu for 8-25 to 8-31

School starts Monday which means Belly and I are the only ones home at lunch.  :-(  Also I am going to start doing meatless Monday!

Monday (1st day of school)
B- Chocolate Chip Muffins
L- Sandwiches (I got some great Sourdough bread from Panera with our GC)
D- Chick- Fil- A (I had a rough afternoon)

B- Pancake Pops
L- Pizza Bites
D- Chicken, Green Beans and Potato Bake (NR) and Biscuits (NR)

B- Cereal
L- PBJ Sushi
D- Hamburger Steak, Macaroni and Cheese, and Glazed Carrots

B- Moist Pecan Almond Loaf Cake (NR)
L- Leftovers
D- Hubby ended up having to work late so I didn't cook!  The kids had earned free Subway during summer reading!

B- One Eyed Sailors
L- Lunch With Boys at School
D- Huli Huli Chicken (NR), Broccoli Rice Casserole, Cheese Biscuits

B- Fancy Ham and Egg Biscuits (NR)
L- Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich
D- Parm Crusted Steak, Baked Potato, Grilled Veggies (NR)

B- Hash Brown Casserole
L- Roast, Potatoes, and Carrots
D- Leftovers

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Chocolate Chip Muffins 2

I saw this picture today and the muffins looked so beautiful so I decided to for go my regular chocolate chip muffin recipe and make these.  I will say they are both good... and honestly I cant really tell which I like more.  I don't think my kids even noticed that they were different from what I usually make.
3 cups (375) all-purpose flour (very careful not to overmeasure)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 eggs, room temperature preferred
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
1 cup (240ml) milk* 
1/2 cup (120ml) canola oil (or vegetable oil/melted coconut oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups (270g) semi-sweet chocolate chips (or chocolate chunks; or dark chocolate; or milk chocolate)
coarse sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat oven to 425F degrees.
Spray your muffin tin of choice with non-stick spray or line with muffin liners.
Set aside.
In a large bowl, gently toss together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Mix until all dry ingredients are combined – a 20 second toss to disburse everything together.
Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until combined.
Mix in milk, oil, and vanilla.
Mixture will be pale and yellow.
Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix everything together by hand with a wooden spoon. Avoid overmixing.
Gently mix until all the flour is off the bottom of the bowl and no big pockets of flour remain.
The batter will be VERY thick and somewhat lumpy.
Fold in the chocolate chips.
Divide batter among prepared muffin tins, filling all the way to the top.
Top with a sprinkle coarse sugar, if preferred.
Bake at 425F degrees for 5 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 375 and continue to bake for 25-26 minutes until tops are lightly golden and centers appear set.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes in pan before enjoying.
Muffins taste best fresh the same day.
Store muffins at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Muffins freeze well, up to 3 months.

*For 15-16 standard size muffins, reduce baking time to 18-19 total minutes: 5 initial minutes at the 425F and 13-14 minutes at 375F. For 30 mini muffins, bake for 11-12 minutes at 375F the entire time.

Big, bakery-style muffins stuffed with chocolate chips and topped with a sprinkle of sugar. These are the BEST chocolate chip muffins! @sallybakeblog

Measurement Conversion Chart

Clever ideas for the kitchen at

Cooking Measurements & Temperatures Conversion Charts - handy to have all in one place

Friday, August 22, 2014

Chicken Alfredo Pizza

Recently a new pizza place opened here in town, which thrilled me because the chain pizza place we have here always seems to be greasy.  The new pizza place has an amazing chicken alfredo pizza.  It was so good that the first week they opened we might have gone for lunch twice and the breadsticks... well there are no words to describe the awesomness there.

I have been looking for a while to find a recipe that I thought might be similar to the one they use, and this one is pretty darn close.  The Pizza Pan here in town puts spinach and black olives on their's and I always take those off so since this recipe didn't have those it made it even easier.  Everyone in the family really enjoyed it even my pickiest eater!

1 lb pizza dough, store-bought or homemade
1 1/2 cups cooked or grilled, shredded chicken
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp onion powder
1 Tbsp flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp heavy cream
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp whole milk
2 oz finely shredded Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup)
Salt and freshly ground black or white pepper, to taste
cornmeal, for dusting
4 oz shredded Mozzarella cheese (1 cup)
6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp chopped green onions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Place a pizza stone in center of oven to heat while preparing toppings for pizza (for at least 30 minutes).  (This step is very important)
Melt butter along with garlic powder and onion powder in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
While whisking vigorously, slowly pour in cream and milk.
Bring mixture just to a gentle bubble stirring constantly.
Allow mixture to gently boil for 20 seconds, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat, add in Parmesan cheese, season with salt and pepper to taste then return to warm heat and stir occasionally until ready to use.
 On a floured work surface, flatten, stretch and shape pizza dough into a 13 to 14-inch round, while creating a thicker outer crust.
Sprinkle a wooden pizza peel with flour and cornmeal and transfer shaped dough to pizza peel, reshaping dough as need.
Remove pizza stone from oven, sprinkle lightly with cornmeal then carefully slide shaped pizza dough from pizza peel onto hot pizza stone.
Pour half of the Alfredo sauce over dough round, then use the back of a spoon to spread into an even layer coming within about 1-inch of the edge.
Sprinkle shredded chicken over sauce layer, then pour remaining sauce evenly over chicken.
Sprinkle top evenly with Mozzarella cheese then sprinkle with chopped bacon.
Brush outer crust with olive oil and season crust lightly with a pinch of garlic powder and salt.
Bake in preheated oven 14 - 16 minutes until crust is nicely golden.
Remove from oven, garnish top evenly with green onions, cut into slices and serve warm.

chicken alfredo pizza2

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

30-Minute Cheesy Chicken Pierogi Bake

Me- "Babe what should I say about the pierogi's?"
Phillip- "They are awesome there is nothing else to say about them."

Phillip and I really enjoyed these, the kids however weren't too fond of them.  I would make these again they are pretty and would be great for a date night dinner!

4 slices bacon, chopped
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
¼ cup all purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup half & half (I used milk)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
pinch ground cayenne pepper (I didn't use)
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
8-oz shredded Italian cheese blend
5-oz shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
8-oz pre-cooked chicken, diced (I didn't add chicken because I was going for a meatless meal)
2 cup frozen peas
16-oz box frozen cheese pierogies
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 400°F.
In a medium sauce pan over medium high heat, cook bacon until crisp.
Drain bacon and remove and place on a paper towel to drain.
Leave bacon drippings in the pan.
Meanwhile evenly lay pierogies in a baking dish.
Add butter and flour to the bacon grease.
Whisk to combine.
Cook for about 3 minutes to cook out the flour-y taste.
Add chicken broth, half & half, garlic, onion, Italian seasoning, cayenne, and pepper.
Whisk until combined.
Add Italian cheese and about half of Parmesan cheese.
Stir to combine.
Add frozen peas and chicken.
Stir to combine.
Bring to a bubble, about 3 minutes.
Pour chicken and cheese mixture over pierogies.
Sprinkle remaining parmesan cheese over top.
Bake for 15 minutes until top is bubbly and golden brown.
Remove from oven sprinkle with bacon and parsley.
Serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf

I tried something new tonight... yep that's what this blog is all about so I decided to push myself and do something I have never done before.  I used ground chicken!  For some reason the thought of ground chicken really bothered me.  I guess it is no different than ground beef but still it just seemed odd.  So since I didn't have any ground chicken I cut the fat off my chicken breasts and zapped it in the food processor.

This dish turned out pretty good, hubby and my neighbor really liked it, I liked it too but it wasn't one of my favorite dishes ever.  I would make this again, though it will probably be a while!

1 pound ground chicken
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup marinara sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl combine the ground chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, garlic, and parmesan cheese.
Mix the mixture with your hands.
Place into a greased loaf pan and form the chicken mixture into a loaf shape.
Top the meatloaf with the marinara sauce.
Bake for 50-55 minutes or until chicken is cooked.
When done remove and add the mozzarella cheese on top.
Return the meatloaf to the oven until the cheese is melted.
Remove from the oven and let the meatloaf rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Turtle Rice Krispie Treats

These were really good in fact they were so good that I sent them with hubby to work this morning so I wouldn't eat them all.  He said that they disappeared in minutes and that everyone seemed to like them.  Honestly though who can resist caramel, chocolate, and a rice krispie?  Not me! 

The only thing I did differently was that I did mine on the stove and used my double boiler for the caramel and chocolate.  I don't have a microwave, I feel they take up to much space so when ours went out I never got a new one and it has been 5 years! 
3 tablespoons butter
1 – 10 ounce package marshmallows
6 cups crisp rice cereal
1 – 11 ounce package caramel bits
2 tablespoons milk
½ cup pecans, chopped
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
I also added in a tsp of vanilla when making the rice krispies...

Microwave butter in a large microwaveable bowl on high for 45 seconds or until melted.
Add marshmallows and toss to coat.
Microwave for 45 seconds and stir.
Microwave for another 45 seconds or until marshmallows are completely melted and stir until well combined.
Add the cereal and mix well.
Press mixture into a foil-lined 13″ x 9″ pan sprayed with cooking spray.
Tip: Spray the back of a spoon or spatula with cooking spray to help press the cereal without sticking.
Microwave the caramels and milk in a medium microwaveable bowl for 2 to 2½ minutes or until caramels are completely melted, stirring after each minute.
Pour caramel over cereal and spread evenly.
Sprinkle with chopped pecans and press lightly into the caramel to secure.
Microwave the chocolate in a small microwaveable bowl for 1 minute or until completely melted, stirring every 30 seconds.
Drizzle chocolate over the nuts and caramel.
Allow treats to cool and set before cutting to serve.
Tip: To quickly cool the treats, place them in the refrigerator or freezer for 10-20 minutes before cutting.
Classic rice krispie treats with a delicious turtle topping of creamy caramel, crunchy pecans, and a decadent chocolate drizzle! | Love Grows Wild for

Monday, August 18, 2014

Baked Spaghetti Recipe

My hubby and neighbor both really enjoyed this.  It was pretty good even for a self declared non spaghetti fan!  I will say though that the meatballs were the hit of the dish for me.  You can find my meatball recipe here: .
6 cups cooked thin spaghetti noodles
Alfredo sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Italian Meatballs (small bag I use homemade!!!)
Marinara Sauce (I used a 25 oz jar)
Optional: grated Parmesan and oregano for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease mini loaf pan.
Mix cooked spaghetti with Alfredo sauce.
Fill each of the mini loaves with the pasta and press down on the top to pack in it, adding more as necessary.
Sprinkle the tops with about 2 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese.
Bake for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
While the spaghetti is baking, heat Italian meatballs and marinara sauce.
Put a little sauce in each bowl, add one of the baked spaghetti loaves, top with Italian meatballs and more marinara sauce.
Optional: Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan and oregano.
Alfredo Sauce
1 Cup milk ( I use 2%, the lighter the milk the thinner your sauce will be.)
1 1/2 Tbs butter
1 1/2 Tbs flour
3 Tbs parmesan cheese
2 cloves of garlic minced (I use 3)
1 dash of pepper ( to your taste)

On medium heat melt butter in a sauce pan
Gradually whisk in flour. This will create a yellow paste.
Gradually add the milk, whisking until there are no lumps left. Continue to whisk until hot, usually 3-5 min. ( the longer you cook the sauce before you add the cheese the thicker your sauce will be.)
Add the cheese slowly, once again whisking until thoroughly mixed.
Add the garlic and pepper.
Cook for 2-3 min until cheese is melted.
Remove from heat.

Hubby took the picture... he could have done better!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Menu for 8-18 to 8-24

B- Pancake Poppers
L- Sandwich and Mandarin Oranges
D- Baked Spaghetti (NR), Better Than Olive Garden Breadsticks, and Spinach Strawberry Salad

B- Cereal
L- Cheese Quesadillas
D- Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf (NR), Green Bean Bundles, Herb Potato Salad and Garlic Parmesan Pull Apart Bread

B- Cinnamon Rolls (Requested by hubby's work)
L- Corn Dogs and Pretzels
D- Cheesy Chicken Pierogi Bake, Broccoli Salad, and Rice Pilaf

B- Mini Egg Omelets (NR)
L- Pizza Biscuits
D- Meet the Teacher Night... not too sure what we are going to do!  (My mom treated us to dinner)

B- Fancy Ham and Egg Biscuits (NR)
L- Sandwiches
D- Garlic Ranch Chicken Pizza (NR)

B- Cinnamon Bread
L- Leftovers
D- Date Night (We had a Panera Gift Card so it was FREE)

B- Monkey Bread Muffins
L- Lunch with Phillip's Parents
D- Leftovers

Tennessee Day 7 and 8

Day 7- Some how we have no pictures of this either.  After spending the last two days at the parks we wanted an easy day.  The plan was to go hiking however when we got to the place we wanted to hike, we found out it took about 5 hours roundtrip and Belle got bit by a bee so that didn't happen.

We then went to the next trail and couldn't find a place within a mile to park, so the next plan was for the guys to hike and us girls to go get our nails done.  As luck would have it we couldn't find a place in Gatlinburg to have our nails done so we ended up just walking down the strip one last time and stopping in for some candy.  The first place we went to we stood for ten minutes and even tried to get the attention of the employees but they ignored us so we went to Aunt Mahalia's (we had been there earlier in the week).  The candy was great and service was amazing!

We got home early that night, loaded the van, and played cards again and then turned in.

Day 8!!! On the road again just cant wait to get on the road again... Time to head home.  We woke up early, cleaned the house, and headed out.  We took a different way home and it was so pretty.  We ended up going through Chatanooga and Vicksburg.  Chatanooga was such a pretty town and I would love to go back!  In Vicksburg we stopped at the outlet mall to shop errrrr stretch...  That is where I bought this beauty.

Photo: Stopped at the Coach store on out way home.

We had a great trip and hope you enjoy the pictures!

Tennessee Day 5 and 6

On day 5 we went to Splash Country which is the water park portion of Dollywood.  It was a ton of fun and we all had a blast, everyone except hubby got slightly sunburned, and we are now peeling but it was soooo worth it!  We got there at about 9:30 and they open at 10 so this gave us enough time to get our tickets and put all our stuff in our locker.  As soon as they opened we were ready to go.  Since we were there so early we were able to ride all the rides several times and only had to wait in line one time and that was only for about ten minutes.  We didn't take the camera because we didn't want to get it wet and mess it up but there were lots of smiles that day. 

After the water park we went back to the house and had hamburgers and played Canasta, a card game.  The girls whooped the boys tails!

On day 6 we went to Dollywood luckily we were able to take the camera it was so much fun and such a pretty park.  Both the parks are so well maintained and so clean the only other place I have been to that is this clean is Disneyworld.

I love that they had a few hard core roller coasters for the people who are slightly more daring than I am and that they also had plenty of stuff for whimps like me and smaller kids.  Isabelle who is only four was able to ride about 90% of the rides.

P did this one alone!

The boys did this and loved it!

They had a bird show that we went to!

I love the 50's style!

The first things Jacob said was, "Make sure you are buckled mommy".

Jacob told me to scream.  Lol.

 Last ride of the day.  It was my favorite!

She wanted her picture with the pretty girls as we were leaving.

 That night we went to Outback for dinner, I had a coupon and so it ended up being a fairly cheap and yummy meal. 

Tennessee Day 4

Today Phillip and I started the day off with a date.  Most people like dinner and a movie, we did breakfast and river rafting.  I have been rafting several times in Colorado and love the thrill of it hubby has been once with me and also loved it.  When I saw that they had rafting I knew we had to do it!  We had a great guide who actually worked for the same company as my husband but at their Kingsport location before he became a guide.  Since we were doing class 3 and 4 rapids we didn't think it would be a great idea to take the camera with us so we have no pictures.  We did however get to see a flock (gaggle) of geese, a caterpillar, several butterflies, and a beautiful bald eagle! 

After we were done rafting we ran back to the house and picked up my parents and the kiddos and headed to Cade's Cove which is about an hour from the house but so worth the drive.  It was a beautiful ride there and we all enjoyed it.

Our family likes history so we really enjoyed getting to walk through the old houses, cemeteries, and barns.  I am amazed at the amount of people they would fit into one house!  Some of the houses were smaller than my bedroom.

The best part though about Cades Cove was the wildlife.  The kids loved seeing the deer and more importantly the bears.  Phillip might have chased down a few bears trying to get pictures.  My favorite though was standing under a tree with a momma bear and her two cubs laying over us in the branches.

Making sure her babbies are following her!



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