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Thursday, March 31, 2011

1/4 of the year gone, 11 in '11 check-in

So since the first 3 months are over with for the year, I thought I'd do a check and see how I'm coming on my list.  Make myself more accountable this way.  I've chosen the items from the list that I've managed to work on.  Everything else will take some more time. 

~For Baby Rebel to have an awesome checkup with his specialist on February 10th.  He'll have another u/s on his liver to make sure the hemangioma on it is still gone.  I'm very hopeful that that appointment will be the last time we have to visit!
This check-up wasn't 100% successful.  The ultrasound on his liver showed that the hemangioma is completely gone (which it was at the last u/s), and hasn't returned since he went off the meds.  However, the radiologist discovered an A/V fistula.  The specialist that we had been seeing for the hemangiomas will also be handling this.  So far there is no treatment.  We are in a wait and see until another u/s is done in May.  This isn't serious, but can require intervention. 
This is a photo from his 9-month photo shoot. 

~Update my 101 in 1001, and see what I stand with accomplishing that.  My finish date is March 14, 2012, so I still have some time to work on the list.  
 I have made an effort on this.  I went through my list and found things that I had accomplished unknowingly.  I'm slowly updating my blog with my accomplishments.  I'm also working on revamping my list to determine things that I don't have time to do, and come up with new things.  

~Just enjoy everyday with H and Baby Rebel.  Time is flying and I can't believe that in 8 days I'll have a 7 month old.  So I want to cherish every moment with my 2 guys and make the most of our time as a family of 3.  
 I love being a mom, and I'm even happier that I am able to stay home with my little man.  I love getting to see him grow, and how quickly little things change.  Like how in 2 days he has managed to learn how to get up on his knees using the coffee table, and even pulled himself up to standing using his walker.  Amazing!!   And I enjoy the quiet evenings with my husband.  Few that they are, they are special.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Crockpot Meatball & Veggie Stew

Source- Lauren's Kitchen

I love easy recipes.  While I love cooking sometimes I prefer something that pretty much cooks itself with little work from me.  This is one of those recipes.  No cutting or prepping on my part.  Just dump everything together and turn on the slow cooker. 

  • 1 16- to 18-ounce package frozen cooked meatballs
  • 1/2 of a 16-ounce package (about 2 cups) loose-pack frozen broccoli, corn, and red sweet peppers, or other mixed vegetables  (used full 16oz bag)
  • 1 14-1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes with onion and garlic, or stewed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 12-ounce jar mushroom gravy
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried basil, crushed
  • Egg noodles, for serving

Place meatballs and frozen vegetables in a 4 quart slow cooker
In a medium bowl, stir together tomatoes, gravy, water, and basil; pour over meatballs and vegetables.
Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours.   
Serve over egg noodles or plain.

    Review & Changes- This recipe was OK.  I'm just not a big fan of meatballs, but I make recipes that include them because my husband does love them.  The flavor was pretty good, and I really liked serving it over the egg noodles. 

    I don't really know of any changes that you could make with this.

    Tuesday, March 29, 2011

    Honey Crunch Chicken

    Source- Bella's Bistro

    We've really got into Asian foods at our house.  We've done plenty of stir-frys, but I like branching out into a little bit different stuff.  Everything gets cooked together so it isn't that different, but the chicken is dredged in cornstarch giving it a light breading and crunchy texture. 

    • 1lb. Boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders
    • 2 Egg whites (used 2 whole eggs)
    • 1/3C. Cornstarch (or flour – for dredging)
    • 1C. Broccoli florets
    • 1/2 Red pepper, thinly sliced (used 1 small whole green pepper)
    • 3/4C. Sugar snap peas 
    • 1/2 medium onion, sliced 
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 3T. Olive oil
    • 1T. Soy sauce
    • 1/4C. Honey
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • Rice, for serving
    • Prepare and slice all veggies – feel free to add whatever you would like. 
    • In 2 separate bowls, add the egg whites (lightly beaten) and the cornstarch or flour. (The cornstarch will yield a “crispier” chicken). 
    • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. 
    • Add veggies with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and saute for about 5 minutes, until softened. 
    • Add in soy sauce and garlic and stir so veggies are coated, about 60 seconds. 
    • Remove from skillet and set aside in a bowl.
    • Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces and season with salt and pepper.
    • Heat the same skillet (or you can use a different one, I just use the same to make it easier) over medium-high heat and add remaining olive oil. 
    • Dip chicken pieces in egg whites and then lightly dredge in cornstarch. 
    • Add to the skillet and let brown for 2-3 minutes, then flip. 
    • Continue with remaining chicken pieces, and do so in batches if needed.
    • Once chicken is cooked, add veggies back in the skillet. 
    • Add honey and thoroughly mix to combine. 
    • Taste and season with salt, pepper, additional honey or soy sauce. 
    • Serve with rice.
    Review & Changes- This was pretty good.  Different from the normal stir frys I make.  The honey gave this a hint of sweetness, but wasn't overwhelming.  I really liked the variety of vegetables.  Dredging and cooking the chicken was the most time consuming, but luckily my husband was home and was willing to play assistant for me. 

    Monday, March 28, 2011

    Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

    Source- Lauren's Kitchen

    I've never had Chicken Cordon Bleu.  For some reason I always assumed that it had bleu cheese, and I don't think I'd like it.  But when this recipe popped up in my Google Reader I thought the pictured looked so good that I at least had to check out the ingredients. 

    Turns out I liked everything that you use, so I had to make this eventually.  Eventually became this past week when I added it to the weekly menu.  It uses ham, and I still have some left in the freezer. 

    • 2 T EVOO
    • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
    • 1 bell pepper, diced
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1/2 lb diced ham
    • 2 c cooks, shredded chicken breast (used 2 fairly large chicken breasts)
    • 4 T butter
    • 1/4 c flour (had to use cornstarch)
    • 1/2 t salt
    • 1/4 t pepper
    • 14 oz can chicken broth
    • 3 cups cooked rice (I used brown)
    • 1 c shredded cheddar
    • 1 c shredded mozzarella or swiss (used 2 cups mozzarella)

    • Preheat oven to 350.
    • I cooked the chicken on our George Foreman. Then I shredded from there.
    • Heat oil in a large, rimmed skillet over medium heat. (used Dutch oven)
    • Add the onions and peppers and cook for about 5 minutes, until tender.
    • Then add the garlic, chicken and ham and cook for another 5 minutes until heated through.
    • Add the butter until it is melted, then stir in the flour, salt and pepper until combined.
    • Slowly stir in the chicken broth, then mix in the rice.
    • Transfer mixture to a 9x13 baking dish and sprinkle the top with your cheese.
    • Bake for 20-25 minutes.
    Review & Changes-  This recipe was really good.  I really, really liked it.  And it makes lots, so you get lots of leftovers to enjoy it longer. 

    I wouldn't change anything. 

    Thursday, March 24, 2011

    Penne with Spinach and Ham

    Source-Betty Crocker

    Remember that ham I mentioned buying a few weeks ago?  Yeah?  Well we've still got some.  So again I went looking for a new recipe that used ham for us to try.  Came across this and thought it looked really good, plus healthy with all that fresh spinach. 

    • 8oz uncooked whole wheat penne pasta  (used 16oz)
    • 2 teaspoons olive oil
    • 1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
    • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    • 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes
    • 2/3 cup finely chopped cooked ham
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine or water
    • 4 cups fresh spinach leaves
    • 2 tablespoons finely shredded Parmesan cheese

    • Cook and drain pasta as directed on package, omitting salt.
    • Meanwhile, in 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat.
    • Add onion and garlic; cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender.
    • Stir in tomatoes, ham and wine.
    • Cook and stir until some of the wine has evaporated.
    • Add spinach and pasta; toss gently.
    • Sprinkle with cheese.

    Review & Changes- This recipe was really interesting.  Essentially there was no sauce.  It wasn't dry, but there wasn't a creamy or tomato-ey sauce over everything.  Because of this you got to taste the real flavor of the ingredients.  So while I won't call this recipe my new favorite, I did enjoy it. 

    We never have enough tomatoes.  Doesn't matter the recipe, I just never seem to buy enough to satisfy.  With this recipe I used a pint of grape tomatoes.  I'd double that next time. 

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

    Crunchy Onion Potato Bake

    Source- Betty Crocker

    When making my weekly menu I decided to look into some of the side dish recipes I've bookmarked and make one of them.  Most of the recipes I post are a complete meal, or the main course, so I thought I'd change things up. 

    I baked chicken in the oven with barbecue sauce to serve with these potatoes. 

    • 2 1/2 cups milk
    • 1 1/2 cups water
    • 1/4 cup butter
    • 1 box (7.2 oz) Betty Crocker® homestyle creamy butter or roasted garlic mashed potatoes
    • 1 can (15.25 oz) whole kernel corn, drained
    • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 oz)  (I used more)
    • 1 can (2.8 oz) French-fried onions

    • Heat oven to 350°F.
    • Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray.
    • In 3-quart saucepan, heat milk, water and margarine to boiling.
    • Stir in contents of both pouches of potatoes (from potatoes box) just until moistened; let stand 1 minute.
    • Stir with fork until smooth.
    • Stir in corn.
    • Spoon half of potato mixture into dish.
    • Sprinkle with 1/2 each of the cheese and onions.
    • Top with remaining potatoes; sprinkle with remaining cheese and onions.
    • Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and onions are golden.
    Review and Changes-These potatoes were fabulous, and so easy to make.  I was sad when the leftovers were gone.   Definitely make these!!

    Monday, March 21, 2011

    Murphy's Hot Hamburger

    Source- Tasty Kitchen via The Pioneer Woman

    I saw this recipe on The Pioneer Woman's blog, and really thought it looked good.  I don't like making burgers since you can get them almost anywhere, but this recipe was really unique.  Sure it has fries, but the gravy over everything is completely new and something I haven't tried before. 

    • 1 pound Ground Beef
    • 1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
    • 1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
    • 1 teaspoon Seasoned Salt
    • 5 Tablespoons Flour
    • 2 cans(14 Oz. Can) Beef Broth OR 4 Cups Water With Beef Bouillon
    • 5 whole Large Potatoes  (cheated and used frozen fries)
    • 1 Tablespoon Oil, Or As Needed
    • Salt And Pepper, to taste
    • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
    • Slice potatoes into fries. Place on a large baking sheet. Pour about 1 tablespoon of oil over the fries and toss with fingers to coat evenly. Sprinkle fries with seasoning of choice. I use seasoned salt. Place in the oven. Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until golden and crispy.  (Placed frozen fries on baking sheet and baked according to directions.)
    • In a mixing bowl, mix hamburger, garlic, seasoned salt, onion powder and salt and pepper. 
    • Mix well with hands. 
    • Form 4 large patties. I like to make really rustic, greasy diner-style patties with no uniform shape. 
    • Place in a large preheated skillet over medium heat, preferably one with deep sides. 
    • Brown burgers on each side until done.
    • Remove burgers from the skillet and place on a plate covered in paper towels. 
    • Do not drain the grease. 
    • Add the flour a tablespoon at a time, stirring with a whisk. You have enough when the grease is all absorbed and the flour mixture gets thick and bubbly. 
    • Slowly add the broth a little at a time, whisking constantly. 
    • Bring to a simmer and allow to thicken.
    • To serve, place an ample amount of fries on the plate. 
    • Place a hamburger on top of the fries and cover it all amply in gravy. Enjoy!

    Review & Changes-First off, this recipe is outstanding!  I've never had gravy on fries, but that will change in the future.  The flavor of the burgers was great.  I'd use this recipe just to make the burgers. 

    One change that I'd make is to use the beef broth instead of the bouillon cubes.  I found the gravy to be salty, and at first couldn't figure out why since the only salt I used was in the burgers.  Then I looked at the box for bouillon and realized that they are essentially only salt.  So low sodium beef broth is my recommendation for this recipe.  It was still edible, just not as enjoyable as it could have been.

    Sunday, March 20, 2011

    Tuna & Pasta Cheddar Melt

    Source- Meijer Mealbox

    Ever make Hamburger/Chicken/Tuna Helper?  Yeah, me neither.  ;)  Confession: I don't always want to slave over a stove following a meticulous recipe that is on my laptop in the living room.  I want quick, easy, with minimal fuss.  So, while I know they aren't good for you we do have a few of these helpers in the house and I break them out on the rare occasion.

    When I came across this recipe I was immediately intrigued.  It sounded like it was along the lines of a Tuna Helper, but homemade.  I had to try and see if I could make my own. 


    • 3 Cups Corkscrew-Shaped Pasta, uncooked
    • 2 tsp. Margarine, melted
    • 1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
    • 2 Cup  Frozen Peas
    • 1 Cup Milk
    • 2 tbsp. Italian-Seasoned Dry Bread Crumbs (used Panko breadcrumbs)
    • 1 Can  Condensed Chicken Broth (10.5 oz.)
    • 1 Can Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup (10.75 oz)
    • 1 Can  (6 oz.), drained and flaked (used 2-6oz. cans)
    • 1 Soup Can Water

    • Heat broth and water to a boil in skillet.
    • Add pasta and cook until tender, stirring often. Do not drain.
    • Stir in soup, milk and tuna.
    • Top with cheese.
    • Mix bread crumbs with butter. Sprinkle on top.
    • Heat through.
    Review and Changes-  This was pretty fantastic.  Exactly like a Tuna Helper, but a whole lot healthier since you control the ingredients.  I'd stick with the extra can of tuna.  I'd make this again, too.

    Friday, March 18, 2011

    Bruscheta Chicken Bake


    My husband loves stuffing.  He grew up on the boxed kind, and even though he's had my homemade stuffing, he still requests the stuff from the box.  So, when I saw this recipe I knew it would be perfect for him and it would be a change since it would be mixed with other ingredients instead of just serving as a side dish. 


    • 1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
    • 1 pkg.  (6 oz.) Stuffing Mix for Chicken
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 2 cloves  garlic, minced
    • 1-1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
    •  1 tsp.  dried basil leaves  
    • 1 cup  Shredded Mozzarella Cheese  (used 2 cups)
    • Heat oven to 400ºF.  
    • Mix tomatoes, stuffing mix, water and garlic just until stuffing mix is moistened.
    • Layer chicken, basil and 1 cup cheese in 3-qt. casserole or 13x9-inch baking dish.
    • Top with stuffing. 
    • Bake 30 min. or until chicken is done. 
    • I added the 2nd cup of cheese over top and gave it a few minutes for cheese to melt.
    Review and Changes- This is a super easy recipe.  It has really good flavor and H was happy to get his stuffing fix. 

    Monday, March 14, 2011

    Ranch Ham 'N Cheese Pasta

    Source- ...and a Cookie for Dessert

    When I first saw the title to this recipe I assumed it had Ranch dressing in it and I was unsure how ranch dressing would taste with ham and pasta.  But, after looking over the recipe and discovering that there isn't actually any dressing it, I added it to my list of recipes to try.

    After buying a huge ham that we had the meat department cut into steaks I went in search of a ham recipe to use some.  I saw this and decided to give it a try.  I love when recipes have a bunch of ingredients but I have most on hand.  Weird yes, but I like it!

    • 1 package (16 ounces) penne pasta
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup fat-free milk
    • 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
    • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
    • 1 teaspoon salt-free lemon-pepper seasoning (omitted)
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried minced onion
    • 1/2 teaspoon dill weed
    • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
    • 1 cup (8 ounces) reduced-fat sour cream
    • 2 cups cubed fully cooked lean ham
    • 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend
    • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

    • Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. 
    • In a Dutch oven, melt butter; whisk in flour until smooth. 
    • Gradually add milk and seasonings. 
    • Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
    • Reduce heat; fold in sour cream until blended. 
    • Add ham and pasta; cook and stir until heated through. 
    • Remove from the heat; stir in Mexican cheese blend until melted.
    • Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

    Review and Changes- This recipe really surprised me.  With all those seasonings it actually had a ranch flavor to it.  I was really impressed and H and I both really liked it.  I wouldn't change anything and I'd definitely make this again!

    Sunday, March 13, 2011

    Sweet & Spicy Chicken Stir Fry

    Source- Stephanie Cooks

    I've made a few different stir-frys, and I love trying new ones.  This recipe seemed so much easier than our standby that I knew I had to try it.  Even if I was a bit skeptical about only using 2 ingredients to make the sauce. 

    I guess I was in such a hurry to eat this that I forgot to take a picture.  Trust me, it looks like every other stir fry out there.  ;)

    • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
    • 1 Tbsp. oil
    • 3 cups chopped mixed fresh vegetables (used 1lb frozen stir fry vegetables)
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1/4 cup Catalina Dressing (I used light)
    • 2 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
    • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
    • Cook and stir chicken in hot oil in large skillet on high heat 3 min.
    • Add vegetables and garlic; cook and stir 5 to 6 min. or until chicken is lightly browned.  (Mine needed to cook a bit longer since I used frozen vegetables.)
    • Stir in remaining ingredients; cook an additional 2 min. or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally.
    • Serve over rice

    Review and Changes-  Holy awesome batman!!  What an easy stir-fry!!  I was skeptical about using the Catalina dressing for an Asian stir-fry, but it is exactly right.  Will definitely make this again.  You could easily use pork or beef, and change up the vegetable.  Seriously, if you have an Asian craving this easily fills that craving!!

    Saturday, March 12, 2011

    Oatmeal Cranberry Sour Cream Bars

    Source- Betty Crocker

    Wow, I get a major fail.  I made these for Thanksgiving and never got around to blogging about them.

    I made these for Thanksgiving since I'm not a huge pie eater, and always prefer something else to go along with the pies.  

    • 1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® oatmeal cookie mix
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
    • 1 egg
    • 3/4 cup sour cream
    • 3 tablespoons sugar
    • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
    • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 1 cup dried cranberries
    • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

    • Heat oven to 350°F.
    • Line 9-inch square pan with foil, leaving 1 inch of foil extending up over sides of pan.
    • Spray foil-lined pan with cooking spray.
    • In large bowl, stir cookie mix, cinnamon, butter and egg until stiff dough forms.
    • Reserve 1/4 of the dough.
    • Press remaining dough in bottom of foil-lined pan.
    • Bake 15 minutes.
    • In small bowl, stir sour cream, sugar, lemon peel, vanilla and egg yolk until well blended.
    • Stir in cranberries.
    • Spread over crust.
    • Stir pecans into reserved oatmeal dough; crumble over cranberry mixture.
    • Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until top is light brown.
    • Cool 30 minutes.
    • Refrigerate 2 hours.
    • For bars, cut into 4 rows by 4 rows.
    • Store covered in refrigerator.
    Review and Changes- These were outstanding!!  I think the dried cranberries made them perfect for Thanksgiving and everyone loved them. 

    Friday, March 11, 2011

    Saucy Mexican Chicken

    Source- Kraft Magazine

    There isn't much to say about this recipe.  I found it in my Kraft Magazine.  After sorting through a whole bunch of pages I found this and decided that my weekly menu needed a Mexican recipe.  With minimal ingredients it would make an easy weeknight meal.

    •  lb. boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 small breasts)
    • 1 jar  (16 oz.) Thick 'N Chunky Salsa
    • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed  
    • 1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
    • Cook chicken in nonstick skillet on medium-high heat 4 min. on each side or until browned on both sides.
    • Add salsa and beans. 
    • Bring to boil; cover. 
    • Simmer on medium-low heat 5 min. or until chicken is done (165ºF).
    • Top with cheese. 
    • Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, 5 min. or until cheese is melted.

    Next Time- This recipe is so easy and tastes great.  I served it with a Mexican rice and the two went really well together.  Nothing needs to be changed.