August 23, 2012

Baked Chicken Spaghetti

True comfort food, so don't pretend this is healthy. I have zero desire to ever make this "healthy" since it's a rare dish in this house for when we need it. Recently we've had a sick house and this hit the spot for my miserable husband!

1 whole chicken
2 cans of cream of chicken soup
1 pound of spaghetti pasta
3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (2 cups + 1 cup)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
salt and pepper, to taste (I usually got light on salt, heavy on pepper)

Rinse the chicken, making sure there's nothing hiding inside. Fill a stock pot with water. Add chicken (yep, I don't even bother cutting it up!). Bring to a boil and let cook for 40-60 minutes (depends on size of chicken - I usually go for smaller ones). Once cooked, remove from pot and remove all the meet off the bones and skin making sure the pieces are bite sized. SAVE THE CHICKEN WATER.
While I'm tearing apart the chicken I boil the spaghetti pasta. I usually break the spaghetti strands into thirds or fourths. Drain right before it hits al dente. You do not want to cook this all the way since it will finish cooking in the oven and we don't want mush!
In an extra large mixing bowl mix together the chicken, mostly cooked spaghetti pasta, 2 cans of cream of chicken, chicken water (2 cans worth!), 2 cups of the cheese, garlic powder, onion power, salt, and pepper.
Pour mixture into a tall sided 9x13 dish (or two smaller baking dishes). Top with remaining cheese.
Bake at 350º for 40-50 minutes. This meal freezes VERY well, just cover and freeze before baking.

I did two dishes this time since one 8x8 is enough to feed my family of 3. Do note that since I wanted a complete meal without a veggie on the side I did add a bag of frozen mixed veggies. My husband was not impressed. Ha ha. 
Left is before cheese was added.

Yummy! Sorry the picture is awful - zero natural light was available. Plus I took this with my phone. :p

When boiling the chicken you can add seasonings and veggies to the water to make it a lovely broth to save and use for later. I always do. No need to buy canned or carton for future meals. :)

Easy Pumpkin Waffles

We're talking the throw in one bowl, whisk, and cook kind. The kind I need right now at 28 weeks pregnant with a toddler who likes to help me cook! And apparently I'm already in the fall mood despite it only being August. And I live in the south currently so I can't claim the weather called me. lol

And yes, I keep canned pumpkin around 365 days a year, though I can't wait for fall to make some more homemade!

Original recipe from Cuisinart. Slightly changed for my preferences.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 3/4 cup milk
6 tablespoons (3 oz) vegetable oil
2 large eggs

Add dry ingredients to a mixing bowl. Whisk to combine well. Add wet ingredients. Whisk till well blended, but it's okay if it's not perfectly smooth.
Cook according to your waffle iron directions.

My pumpkin waffle topped with pumpkin creamed honey. Yummy!
The waffles don't have a strong pumpkin flavor at all, but definitely adds interest to basic waffle.

August 20, 2012

If I knew....

....why blogger hated me and why none of my posts are showing up pretty y'all would have lots of posts. *sigh*

And now why the heck is this one showing up fine but not the others I've tried?! :p

July 25, 2012

Half a Menu

Going grocery shopping with my big belly (I'm definitely bigger than I was with my son at this point!), my toddler son, and the high heat and humidity has me waving the white flag. The grocery carts are so deep here that I can't actually reach the bottom of them with the belly now. I was quite the sight last time. Ha ha. So I'm stretching out the food that we do have till Saturday so I can drag my husband grocery shopping on Saturday.

Tuesday: frozen cheese ravioli (bought as a back up meal thankfully!)
Wednesday: Grilled chicken sandwiches, mixed veggies, and potato chips
Thursday: strawberry pancakes and eggs
Friday: Out to eat or take out

July 18, 2012

It's a Menu! 7/17-7/23

Nothing exciting. Last week we ended up going to the commissary FOUR times. Good grief that was excessive, but it's what happens at times when dealing with a  toddler and having bad days. This week, back on track!!! I'm a much happier person when I have my menu, my organized grocery list, and everything ready to go each day. These aren't exactly the most hot weather friendly meals this week, but they are meals that my toddler will usually eat without complaint so they're perfect! ;)

Tuesday: Black bean and spinach enchiladas (frozen leftovers from a couple of weeks ago) and mexican rice (cook rice with salsa)

Wednesday: Steak and Spinach Quiche (cooked steak, sautéed fresh spinach, onion, garlic, and monterray jack cheese)

Thursday: Chicken pot pie with biscuit crust

Friday: Steak and Pepper Quesadillas

Saturday: leftover pot pie and salads

Sunday: Chili-pasta skillet

Monday: Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

And at my husband's request I'm trying this Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes

July 10, 2012

Sorry Guys and Gals

My laptop decided to break it's trackpad and go nutso and I haven't had my own computer for a bit now. Hoping I'll have it back in another week or so. During this time Squish and I headed back home to visit both sets of grandparents for over a week. Before that we had my little sister (more on her soon!) come visit for a week.

Meals we've had this past month:
BSTs (Bacon, Spinach, and Tomatoes)
Omeletes (spinach, onion, tomatoes, cheese, and bacon)
Baked salmon with sautéed zucchini (really wish I remembered what recipe I used *sigh*)
Red beans and rice
Tomato and Spinach Pasta Toss
Chicken Squash Bake
Sweet potato fries and chicken nuggets
Hamburgers, fresh green beans, and pasta
Homemade coffee ice cream (okay, so not a meal but super yummy!)
Hot dogs (I know, I know - EEK!), corn, and tater tots
Black Bean Spinach Enchiladas  (can't believe my son LOVES these since you can so clearly see the spinach! ha ha!)
Asian Glazed drumsticks, rice, and steamed broccoli (recipe will be shared soon)
Spaghetti with meat sauce

June 12, 2012

Hot Pita Bread and Hummus Sandwich

My son loves dipping pita bread into hummus. There have been several times where we have feasted on a lunch of fruit and hummus. My favorite recipe is Extra Easy Hummus on All Recipes. It really is easy and worked out perfect for when I lived in the middle of nowhere far from places that sell tahini.

Rather than make my son eat hummus and pita bread two days in a row, I often make him a hot pita bread "sandwich" to enjoy. His favorite combo so far is hummus, finely chopped fresh spinach, and mozzarella cheese. I melt it in the microwave or oven. Super tasty!

Don't let my son's face fool you, he enjoyed every single morsel with a side of sliced grapes. 

Artichoke and Spinach Lasagna

Original recipe from Treat a Week.

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
13 oz can artichokes, drained and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon basil
1 cup heavy whipping cream
15 ounces ricotta
1 small head of broccoli
1 10 ounce package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes (although I think a regular tomato would be tasty too - I'd just consider using more spices than the recipe calls for)
9 lasagna noodle, cooked to just under al dente
1/2 pound of grated mozzarella

In a large skillet sauté garlic and onions in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes. Add artichokes and sauté for 2 more minutes. Turn off heat and stir in 1/2 cup of the cream and all of the basil.

Wash and chop broccoli head into small pieces. In a blender or food processor combine the broccoli, 1/2 cup cream, spinach, parmesan, egg and salt. If you have room add the ricotta to the mixture, if not mix the ricotta with the pureed in a bowl. Mix in most of the sun dried tomatoes (I did chop these before adding).

Grease the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Spread 1/2 cup of the ricotta mixture. Top with 3 lasagna noodles. Cover with 1 cup of the ricotta mixture and half of the artichoke mixture. Sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella on top. Top with 3 more lasagna noodles, ricotta mixture, artichoke mixture, and cheese. Top with the last of the noodles, ricotta mixture, and 2 cups mozzarella.
Garnish with remaining sun dried tomatoes.

Cover with foil and bake at 375* for 40-45 minutes. Uncover and broil for a couple of minutes to make the top cheese nice and bubbly.

Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

Yep, my child who hates veggies LOVES this lasagna and gobbled it up! 

I even gave him leftovers TWICE and he ate it all every time.

Yeah, I'd say this recipe was a winner.

Simple Green Beans

A recent conversation alerted me that fresh green beans are intimidating to some newer cooks. Don't be scared of them. They can be super delicious with little work from you.

I buy my green beans from the commissary, not exactly a special place. ;) I do hand pick my green beans making sure they're not brown, broken, and wilt-y (it should still easily snap in your hand). Get as many or as few as you want.

Once home I rinse them well and snap off the ends by hand.

I'm often super simple and throw them in my steamer that came with my cookware.

Make sure the water in your comes to a boil (and don't over do it - just an inch will do!). I usually steam for 4-5 minutes. You want them hot, but still crispy.

That's it.

My husband loves it when I mix a small amount of butter with them and add kosher salt and ground black pepper.

No need to make something that's already super tasty more complicated than it needs to be. :)

Breakfast "Pizza"

This is one of our favorite holiday breakfasts. Also fantastic for when company is over.

1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
6 slices of whole wheat sandwich bread
1 1/2 cups milk
4 eggs
1 tablespoon mustard
1 pound of sausage or bacon
Salt and pepper, to taste

Fry meat - in the end you want it crumbled. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish. Place bread in bottom of pan.
In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, mustard, salt, and pepper. Pour over the bread.
Sprinkle the meat over the bread, then sprinkle the cheese.
Bake at 350* for 25-30 minutes.

Baked Potato Soup

Don't mind the fact that it's June, just save the recipe and be happy I'm finally posting it! ;)

This is definitely my favorite baked potato soup ever. It easily serves 6 and is very filling.

12 slices bacon, cooked
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup all purpose flour
7 cups milk
4 large baked potatoes, no skins and cubed (cooked!*)
4 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (plus extra for serving)
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

In a large stock pot melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in milk, whisking constantly until thickened. Don't rush that last step!
Stir in potatoes and onions. Bring to a boil, stir frequently. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Mix in bacon, cheese, sour cream, salt, and pepper. Once combined and cheese is melted, turn off heat.
Serve with extra cheese on top. Trust me.

*If you're like me and find baking potatoes to be too time consuming, you can peel and cube uncooked potatoes. Boil potatoes for 15-20 minutes and drain.

Squish loved the soup. But thought the end of the bowl was for playing, not eating. ;)

May 29, 2012

Menu: May 26 - June 4

Squish and I just got back from a week long trip home to visit the grandparents and to watch my little sister graduate high school. It was a very long week since Squish decided sleep is for wusses, but it was great seeing everyone. I also recently "came out." Understanding my lack of exciting posts from the past two months? ;)

Sunday - Salmon with brown sugar glaze, sautéed squash, and butter pasta

Monday - Omelets (spinach, onion, tomatoes, and cheese) and tater tots

Tuesday - BSTs (bacon, spinach, and tomato lol), mac and cheese with veggies

Wednesday - Artichoke and spinach lasagna

Thursday - Spaghetti and meatballs

Friday - leftover lasagna

Saturday - Chili rubbed steaks and pan salsa, fresh green beans, and whole wheat rolls

Sunday - crockpot terryiki chicken over rice

Monday - Black bean veggie burgers and sweet potato fries

May 08, 2012

Menu: May 8-14

Tuesday: Baked chicken and broccoli with herb pasta and mixed veggies (I forgot to defrost the fish for Sunday, so we ended up having grilled steaks!)

Wednesday: bratwursts and grilled zucchini

Friday: Grilled chicken fajitas and grilled sweet potatoes

Saturday: Out – day trip to the beach!

Sunday: Beer cheese fondue with bread, carrots, apples, and not sure about the meat yet

Monday: chicken and veggie pot pies over rice

May 01, 2012

Grilled Corn on the Cob

Nothing tastier!

All you need is corn and a grill. Simple!

First, do NOT remove the husks! I don't even touch the silk. Then soak the corn in water for at least 30 minutes.

Grill at 350* for 45-60 minutes, or if you're impatient like my husband it's still tasty at 375-400* for 20-30 minutes. You will want to turn every few minutes. The husks will brown.

Let cool for a few minutes then carefully remove the husks and silk. I find that removing the silk is easier now than before the corn is cooked.

I meant to take a picture before I removed my husk, but hunger won out.

Menu: May 1-7

That's right a MENU! Let's start this month off right! Hit up the commissary this morning. Managed to only spend $60 for everything we need for this next week, so I'm getting back on track with our budget again. Food is a bit more expensive here and DS is eating more, so my old $50 goal will be hard to reach.

Tuesday: Black bean spinach enchiladas in green chile cream sauce
Wednesday: Scramble egg stromboli with bacon
Thursday: Turkey parmesan burgers and tater tots
Friday: Spaghetti and meatballs; toddler/family cooking project: rice crispy treats
Saturday: Out to eat (day trip out of town)
Sunday: Grilled tilapia with pineapple salsa over rice with grilled zucchini
Monday: Baked chicken and broccoli with herb pasta and steamed carrots

Trying a few new recipes. If I like them, I'll link to them. If I don't, then you won't hear another word. Ha ha. No sense in sharing recipes that aren't tasty!

We did manage to eat fairly well the past few days since my last post. Saturday we had tacos with black bean and corn salad. Sunday we had spiced beef kabobs, grilled corn on the cob, and mac and cheese. Yesterday, Monday, we had red beans and rice.

April 27, 2012

Rough, Rough Month

REALLY looking forward to May! This month has brought multiple sore throats, stomach viruses, and more to this house. I'm totally over it. Especially after me getting sick again this week and my husband informing me yesterday that he now he's feeling under the weather. I always catch something after moving to a new place, but this is beginning to get ridiculous!!! I miss real food. I miss having a clean kitchen. I miss always knowing exactly what is on the menu. *deep breath*

Last night my husband made Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole. It was the first meal in days we all sat down and ate together as a family.

I would post a menu for what's left of the week, but what's the point? I know we won't be able to stick with it.

Hopefully I'll be able to post a new menu and stick with it next week. I'm thinking grilled corn, grilled fish, beef kabobs, and fruit desserts might make a good start. Can't wait for the family to feel great and get back to healthier eating! Cause let's face it organic boxed mac and cheese just isn't quite the same as my homemade whole wheat mac and cheese. Not in the least bit! Ick!

April 19, 2012

Sick House

Well, Squish and I that is. DH is 100% as always of course. One day we'll be back on our feet. Just not today. Or tomorrow. Menu planning has not happened at all. Poor DH has done more cooking and commissary runs than he likes to do (which is ideally none for both). Simple meals this week, but at least it's more on track. I do have pictures and recipes I want to post, but it'll have to wait some.

Tuesday (4/17): Pasta and alfrado sauce with spinach
Wednesday: Grilled steaks and sweet potato fries
Thursday: BBQ chicken sandwiches and sautéed summer squash and carrots
Friday: Chicken and veggie pot pie over rice (in case you've missed it, here's the best pot pie ever!)
Saturday: Out to eat (with luck we'll be doing well and off to a nearby city for the Great Cloth Diaper Change!)
Sunday: guilt free spinach hamburgers, steamed broccoli, and whole wheat mac and cheese
Monday: Applesauce pancakes and bacon

Welcome to all my new followers!

April 02, 2012

Menu: April 3-9

Okay, so half is missing but half is better than none right now. :D I'll fill the rest in later this week.

Tuesday: baked potato soup
Thursday: Leftover choice: soup or chili
Friday: Spinach and cheese stuffed shells w/ marinara sauce
Sunday: Breakfast pizza and ???
Monday: something with boiled eggs :p

*****UPDATE 4/6*****
Well, Squish and I have spent a good portion of the week sick so the menu went out the window. We did eventually mange to make the potato soup and cheese stuffed shells at least. I will post the baked potato soup soon.

Saturday: Chicken kabobs (bell pepper, onions, zucchini, and squash) with herb pasta
Sunday: Breakfast pizza; ham, rolls, potato casserole, and steamed broccoli; apple crisp
Monday: egg salad; leftovers

Here's last Easter's recipes:

March 27, 2012

Menu: March 27 – April 2

Tuesday: personal pizzas (whole wheat pizza dough)
Wednesday: mini corn dogs, corn, and tater tots (DH and Squish only meal)
Thursday: chicken salads
Friday: crock pot minestrone soup
Saturday: out
Sunday: slow cooker Bolognese
Monday: Eggs, bacon, and biscuits

Trying a few new recipes this week!

One of the joys of a new house is that I have room for a pinterest idea that I've been dying to use. I would link to the original idea I ran across, but the blog is no longer up! :( Trust me, her's looked nicer because she 1) has better handwriting than me, 2) used much nicer scrapbook paper for the backgrounds, and 3) didn't hang it up on a white wall between two doors. Even though mine doesn't look as nice, my husband is really enjoying knowing what will be for dinner each night. 

I used a cheap collage frame I picked up from Kirkland's. Any frame with glass works though since dry erase markers work great on glass. :)

March 23, 2012

Menu: March 20-26

Tuesday: Lettuce wraps and sautéed zucchini
Wednesday: Veggie nuggets and parmesan potato puffs (still not done with veggie nuggets, but I'm getting closer to a recipe worth sharing; tried a potato puffs recipe, but decided it needs some definite tweaking)
Thursday: Mini meatloaves (froze half of them for later!), steamed broccoli and carrots, and herb butter pasta
Friday: Fish tacos and fiesta lime rice (loved the rice and bet it would better had I remembered to find some cilantro! Ha ha!)
Saturday: Pork tenderloin with sweet potato hash and some sort of salad
Sunday: Spaghetti with sautéed chicken and grape tomatoes

March 19, 2012

Chip Chicken Nuggets

Definitely not my normal type of recipe, but while we continue to unpack I'm still piecing together meals with what we have. Recently my husband brought home a bag of jalapeño chips, one of my few weaknesses. Rather than devour the whole bag in one sitting, I set some aside to make some crispy chicken nuggets. These were delicious I have to admit. I also went simple with the recipe, which means I didn't use any measuring.

Chicken breasts
Bread crumbs or toasted bread
Chips (something with flavor - I used jalapeño and I bet BBQ would be excellent too)

Cut chicken breasts into nuggets sizes. I used 1.5 breasts which was more than enough for 2 adults and one toddler. Place in a bowl and cover with milk.
Crush chips finely and mix with bread crumbs (or give toasted bread a spin in a food processor). I used two large handfuls of chips and two slices of toasted somewhat stale bread. Place mixture in a second bowl. When in doubt start with equal amounts of chips and bread crumbs. Remember you can always add more to your bowl if you run out!

 One at a time, place chicken nuggets in the chip and breadcrumb mixture. Make sure all sides are coated. Placed on a wire baking rack over a cookie sheet.

Bake at 425* for 10-15 minutes. Mine took 12 minutes.
Beautiful. Crisp. Easy. Tasty.

If you don't have a wire rack I'd place nuggets on a greased cookie sheet and flip halfway through the baking time. 

For those that aren't so thrilled with my chip chicken nuggets, don't worry I'm still working on perfecting a baked veggie nugget recipe. ;)

March 16, 2012

Cinnamon Sugar Bread

Look! I managed to clear off enough of my counter to start back to cooking and baking! :D

Not my recipe, but I see myself adapting this soon to be a little less heavy on the sugar and to spice it up. But trust me this stuff is AMAZING as written. It's super easy to prep, so it's a great treat (just ignore the mound of sugar you pour in).
Recipe from  A Whisk and A Prayer.

1 1/3 cup white sugar, separated
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease a 9" loaf pan.
In a large mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, and 1 cup of the sugar. Add to it the egg, milk, and oil. Mix with a whisk until combined. It's okay to have some lumps.
In a small bowl mix the remaining 1/3 cup sugar and cinnamon.
Pour half the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle most of the cinnamon-sugar mix on the batter. Top with the rest of the batter. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon-sugar mix on top (a tablespoon or so will do).
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to finish cooling.

Original recipe calls to wrap in foil after it's cool and eat it the next day. 
We didn't even wait for it to cool before cutting and eating.
Obviously since I didn't remember to take a picture till half the loaf was gone. 

March 14, 2012

Half a Menu

Better than none, right?

We finally are in a house and have furniture! I can almost see my kitchen counter tops. I was hoping to have them visible, but toddlers are fun like that.

Monday we went high class with frozen processed lasagna, canned green beans, and pre-baked rolls. Won't call it my best culinary moment, but it sure beat eating out (and besides we still didn't have any of our household goods at that point).

Tuesday - out to eat

Wednesday - Spinach burgers and tater tots

Thursday - Teriyaki chicken with broccoli and rice

Friday - southern apple tuna salad; whole wheat mac and cheese with zucchini, tomatoes, and carrots

And if I find my counter tops I want to try making some cinnamon bread.

As usual if I haven't linked to the recipe, I'm either trying something new or still working it out. I'll come back and link later if I find successes. :)

February 26, 2012

Food Fails

Have any food fails recently? Love to hear about them (really!). :)

Cooking and baking are a continuous experiment as far as I'm concerned. I've learned that every time I move that I have to adjust for that particular oven and again for that particular environment (dry or humid environments make a huge impact)!

February 15, 2012

Menu Pause

It's that time again...that's right, moving time! Aka, every military family's favorite part of the lifestyle. Ha ha. Right now we're packing our stuff up and eating interesting meals in attempt to finish off most of our freezer and pantry. Menus will resume as soon as we have a place to live at our new station (anywhere from 3-6 weeks), but in the meantime I will post as I have new recipes and as I have new ideas to add to the Toddler Lunch post.

And if you haven't yet, check out my ramblings and see why you don't get more photos on here. :p

February 14, 2012

Pasta Alfredo with Shrimp, Peppers, and Broccoli

1 pound dried pasta
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup fat free half and half (or heavy cream)
1 cup grated parmesan and/or Romano cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
12 ounces uncooked shrimp (I went for medium shrimp with tails off for ease)
1 teaspoon original old bay seasoning
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 head of broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
Fresh parsley, for garnish

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta. Add in the broccoli to the cooking pasta for the last three minutes. Cook until the pasta is al dente and drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, in a separate pan place shrimp and pepper slices. Sprinkle with the old bay, crushed red pepper, and Italian seasonings. Cook on medium for several minutes, until shrimp are cooked throughly (usually 3-5 minutes). If needed, add 1 teaspoon of butter to the pan. Once the shrimp are cooked and the peppers are hot but still crisp, remove from pan.
Add to the pan the 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Bring temperature up to medium-high. Melt butter. Use a whisk to deglaze the pan from the shrimp and peppers if needed (yummy seasoning there!). Then add the 1 cup of half and half. Bring to a boil. Stir in the 1 cup of shredded cheese. Add the cooked pasta and broccoli and the 1/2 cup of reserved cooking water. Continue stirring. Add the shrimp and pepper. Stir more until cheese is melted and the dish is uniformly hot. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the parsley. Serve immediately.

Don't mind the Christmas plate. It's all we've got for a few more weeks thanks to the military.

February 12, 2012

Best Ever Chicken Pot Pie

AKA:  KombatKween's Chicken Pot Pie

6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
2 cups broth
1 cup heavy cream or half and half
2 cups vegetables (I go lazy and usually use a can of corn, peas, and carrots with the liquid drained)
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (I like to poach them and then use the resulting broth in this recipe too)
4 small white potatoes, cooked and cubed
2 pie crusts (or see biscuit alternative below)

1) Melt butter in a pot. Stir in flour to form a thick paste. Add salt and pepper. Stir in cream and chicken broth. Cook on a simmer till thick.
2) Add vegetables, potatoes, and chicken.
3) Pour into a pie plate with pie crust. Top with other crust. Polk holds in top to vent. Cook at 375º for 35-45 minutes. Double ingredients for 2 REALLY full pot pies or 3 smaller pot pies.

Biscuit alternative:
Complete direction steps one and two from above. Make sure after adding ingredients (and before topping with biscuit dough) that mixture is HOT.

Biscuit dough:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, sliced
3/4 cup milk

In a food processor blend together the flour, powder, sugar, and salt. Add in the butter and pulse just until the butter is smaller than pea sized. Add in the milk and pulse 2-3 times. (Can also mix dry ingredients with whisk and then cut butter using a dough cutter.)
Move dough to counter or other surface dusted with four. Very lightly kneed. Press out into a circle as big as the container you plan to bake the chicken pot pie in (at least 2 quarts, preferably a 3 quart dish). Pour mixture into baking dish. Top with biscuit dough. Using a serrated knife make openings in the dough (at least one).
Bake at 450ª for about 20 minutes or until biscuit topping is golden brown. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Chicken pot pie with biscuit dough.

February 09, 2012

Menu: February 8-14

Wednesday: Stuffed burritos (shredded chicken, rice, black beans, cheese, salsa, and spinach)
Friday: Chicken pot pie with biscuit topping (this is what happens when you don't have a pie plate and someone throws away your disposable one)
Saturday: brunch – cinnamon apple dutch baby
dinner - Stromboli with dipping sauce
Sunday: brunch – toast and eggs
dinner – pineapple pork chops, smashed sweet potatoes, and steamed broccoli
Monday: leftover night
Tuesday:  fettuccine alfredo with shrimp, red bell pepper, and broccoli; chocolate lava muffins

February 07, 2012

Toddler Lunches: Quesadillas

Quesadillas are quick to make and are a great way to sneak in veggies and fruits that toddlers might otherwise claim to dislike. There are endless variations to try. Here are a few to get you thinking!

Apple chicken quesadillas - pair down this recipe unless wanting to make enough for a family, but it's great tasting containing chicken, apples, corn, and tomatoes.

What's left in the fridge quesadillas - quesadillas are a great way to use up leftovers before they go bad! In this one I included, diced carrots, spinach, and garlic.

Black bean and sweet potato - love this idea I found on pinterest. Will be making these ourselves soon, leaving out the spicy jalapeños.

Mozzarella and veggie - Dice veggies up finely and be generous with the mozzarella cheese! In the picture below I gave my son cucumber, tomatoes, and green bell peppers. Believe it or not this was delicious!

Quesadillas can be cooked on the stove top, in the oven, in toaster ovens, or even the microwave if that's all you have! Even better? They're not bad cold if you need to store them for a child to take to daycare!

Have a unique quesadilla idea? Please share!

Toddler Lunches: Going Beyond Chicken Nuggets, Hot Dogs, and PBJ Sandwiches

I recently realized that Squish and I have gotten into a lunch rut when he gave me this awful look saying, "PBJ again?! You've got to be kidding me mom." And then tossed it over the side of the table. Time to branch out and find good healthy alternatives!

I'll be updating and expanding this list often, so check back. (last update 6/12/12)

mini calzones (make a bunch and freeze them!)
English muffin pizzas (almost whole wheat English muffin recipe)
Quesadillas (think beyond chicken and cheese!)
Hummus and pita bread (or veggies if your child will eat them)
Hot Hummus Sandwich
Roll Ups (nut butter and banana, meat and cheese, hummus and veggies)
Whole wheat macaroni and cheese
Whole wheat pancakes (freezes well)
Applesauce pancakes (freezes well)
Whole wheat waffles (freezes well)
Seasoned brown rice or wild rice
Cheese slices and crackers
Steamed veggie sticks
Soups (chicken noodle, vegetable, bean)
Grilled cheese (try different cheeses and adding things like meat slices, tomato slices, and even spinach)
Rice and beans
Whole wheat applesauce muffins
Yogurt (read the labels to avoid sugar and HFCS!)
Pasta salad with veggies
Egg and cheese burritos
Mini quiche (basic quiche recipe - bake in muffin tins instead, these do freeze well)
Pasta in butter and cheese
Pasta in tomato sauce (easy to hide other veggies in there)
Soft cooked apple slices or apple slices
Grapes (cut in half or quarters, frozen grapes are tasty too!)
Mandarin oranges
Pineapple chunks
Couscous with vegetables
Boiled eggs, sliced
Scrambled eggs
Cheese cubes or sticks
Baked sweet potato wedges or fries
Blueberry and zucchini bread
Pasta and pureed vegetables (perfect for using up old baby food!)
Freeze dried yogurt
S/mashed sweet potatoes
Zucchini chips
Toast and fruit spread
Zucchini parmesan cakes
Avocado slices
Blackberries and raspberries
Tuna salad
Egg salad
Chicken salad
Corn, cut off the cob
Fresh steamed green beans
Fresh steamed broccoli and cauliflower florets
Tomato slices
Whole grain bread or toast
Baked fish (tilapia and salmon are easy to find and not too strong tasting)
Lightly sautéed yellow summer squash and zucchini slices
Cucumber slices, skin peeled
Pumpkin bread muffins
Vol au Vent
Playgroup granola bars
Banana oat cookies
Oatmeal and apple bars (can easily cut the sugar WAY down!)
Cheese and veggie omelets
Veggie burgers

And don't forget - leftovers from last night's dinner!

Squish at 15 months enjoying whole wheat crackers, sliced cheese, and a banana.

Squish at 18 months enjoyed a grilled cheddar cheese, tomato, and chopped spinach sandwich. He picked out some of the tomato, but ate the rest!

Special thanks to the October and November 2010 moms over at for sharing their lunch ideas. Love you ladies! :D

February 04, 2012

Menu: February 1-7

Bad me! Late again! I keep planning out my menu on Sunday and forgetting to post it. :p

Wednesday: Leftover southwest eggrolls from the freezer
Friday: pizza at an event
Monday: baked tilapia, zucchini with tomatoes and cheese, and rice
Tuesday: veggie nuggets, whole wheat macaroni and cheese, and green beans

February 02, 2012

Basic Cornbread

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup oil (vegetable, canola)
1 egg

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Combine dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and stir until mixed. Okay to have some lumps.

Bake in an 8 or 9 in square pan that has been greased for 20-25 minutes.
Or bake in 12 greased muffin cups for 15-20 minutes.
Or best yet bake in a 10-12" cast iron skillet that has been preheated in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

January 27, 2012

Menu: January 25-31

Totally late in posting this week! Whoops.

Wednesday: Lasagna rolls (from the freezer!)
Thursday: beef noodle bowl
Friday: southwest chicken sandwiches with sautéed yellow squash
Saturday: meatloaf, whole wheat mac and cheese, and green beans
Monday: guilt free spinach burgers and tater tots
Tuesday: leftover butternut squash lasagna

January 18, 2012

Menu: January 18-24

Wednesday: sesame chicken salad
Thursday: taco calzones
Friday: Garlic brown sugar chicken, steamed broccoli, and rice
Sunday: Chicken Caesar sandwiches with baked sweet potato chips
Tuesday: leftovers/quesadillas for the boys (I’m going out with the girls!)

January 15, 2012

Quick and Dirty Rolls

Won't call these the best rolls ever, but they are very tasty and very quick. I wanted rolls to go with dinner tonight, but only had 30 minutes!

Makes 12 rolls.

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon salt
1 package active dry yeast
1 egg, beaten
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat over to 425º.
In a mixer (I used my Kitchen Aid), mix water, sugar, butter, salt, and yeast. Then add the egg. Then add the flour. Make sure it's mixed well. This is a very sticky, loose dough. Don't add more flour!
Grease 12 muffin cups. Using a spoon drop spoonfuls of dough into each muffin cup. Cups should be half full.

Cover and let rest till doubled. I sat my muffin tins on top of the preheating oven and it was doubled in 10 minutes!
Bake for 10 minutes.

You can mix this by hand. I'd start off using a whisk and then use a wooden spoon to mix in the flour.

I'd say these were a hit by my family. The three of us ate 8 rolls! :D

January 10, 2012

Menu: January 10-17

Tuesday: Southwest Eggrolls (managed to stretch other meals and this one got pushed back)
Wednesday: English muffin pizzas and side salads
Thursday: Pan Seared Lemon Tilapia with Parmesan Pasta and broccoli
Friday: chicken nuggets, fries, and sautéed zucchini
Saturday: out to eat
Sunday: Beef pot roast with carrots and potatoes
Monday: leftovers
Tuesday: sloppy joes on English muffins with green beans

January 02, 2012

Menu: January 3-9

Tuesday: eggs, ham, and drop biscuits (we went lazy and ordered a pizza Monday lol)
Wednesday:  Chicken and dumplings with chopped carrots
Thursday: red beans and rice

Might be able to stretch out this menu another day or two with leftovers. :)
Went by Aldi this morning (man, I missed living in a city with Aldi!) and only spent $37 on groceries. Just have 10 items to grab from the commissary, so for the first time since we moved I think I'll be able to stay on budget! Woo too!