Mango Chicken w/Rice

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This was my inspiration for E's costume:
Although this little girl looks a lot like my Eliza, it's not. This is:



Break-down of her adorable costume:
Tulle Tutu: $12
Leather fringe: $3.36 (and snaps $1.49)
Feathers for headdress: $1.99
Beads for headdress: $2.00
Brown tights: already have
Ugg boots: already have
Total: $20.84
Having a one-of-a kind, adorable costume?: priceless
I'll get to use the snaps for other projects and the tutu for so many other things so I guess it was worth it:)


I've spent a whopping $4 on cowboy boots for me and $2 for an ugly plaid shirt. (not that cowgirls wear ugly plaid shirts, just that's what they had in the style at the goodwill.) I found a semi-decent hat at Target for $12.
I got some nice Wranglers for Ty that are a little big ($4 at goodwill) so I plan on taking them in...a lot. Got to get 'em nice and snug:) I don't know what he'll do for boots, but he already has a sweet shirt and cowboy hat.
That comes to a total of $42.84 for our Halloween costumes. I'm sure I could've done it for less if I used my coupons at Hobby Lobby for all the little stuff for E's costume, but hey 3 people's costumes for under $50. Not too shabby.

I also scored on candy with couponing...a bag of 250 dum dums for $9 and 6lbs of M&M's, Snickers, Twix, and such mixes for $1/lb. That's $15 on candy but I don't know if it will be enough for our neighborhood. We'll see!

Tonight is a definite crock pot recipe. As I mentioned yesterday, Blissful and Domestic plans for the whole month. This is another one of hers.

Mango Chicken with Rice--via Blissful and Domestic

Ingredients:
4-5 chicken breasts (I only did 1 breast for the 3 of us)
1 jar mango salsa (I guessed this was 1 pint so I did 1/2 cup)
rice (I cook 3/4 cup for the 3 of us)

Directions:
Put chicken in a crock pot. Pour salsa over the top. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. Serve with rice and veggies.

Oven Turkey Meatballs

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My friend got married this weekend and I drove out to Colorado to be there. The normal 8 1/2 hr drive took me 10 because of a horrid accident in one of the many canyons between Utah and Colorado. We inched along the road while it was snowing lightly over icy roads. Brrr. I'm glad I made it safely. It was worth it though; she looked absolutely gorgeous!
I never get into pics, so here's a rare one of me and the blushing bride:)

I ran into a fabulous blogger at Blissful and Domestic. She menu plans for the whole month! My goal is to have all the next month up on the calendar by the last Sunday of the month. That's this Sunday...oh dear:) She includes some of her own fabulous recipe and this one is hers! Remember this post where I talked about not being a big meatball fan? Well, I LOVED these ones, so all you meatball haters out there EAT THESE ONES!

Oven Turkey Meatballs--via Blissful and Domestic


Ingredients:
3 beaten eggs
1/4 cup milk
3 cups bread crumbs
1/2 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery
2 tsp seasoning salt
1 lb ground turkey
1 lb ground turkey sausage

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375. In a large mixing bowl, combine beaten eggs, milk, breadcrumbs, onion, and salt. Add ground turkey and mix well. Shape into 1" balls (Makes about 30-40). Bake for 25-30 mins. Eat right away or cool and freeze. She makes the whole batch and uses it twice this month, but I just halved the recipe and used 1 lb turkey sausage and I still had enough to freeze for a second meal

Shrimp Scampi

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Shrimp Scampi--via Pioneer Woman

Ingredients

4 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
4 cloves Garlic Cloves, Minced Or Pressed
1 pound Large Shrimp, Peeled And Deveined
1/2 cup White Wine
2 whole Lemons
4 dashes Hot Sauce (I Used Tabasco; More To Taste)
Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
8 ounces, weight Angel Hair Pasta
Chopped Fresh Basil To Taste
Chopped Fresh Parsley, To Taste
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
Preparation Instructions
Boil water for pasta; have it ready.
Heat olive oil and melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for two or three minutes, or until onions are translucent. Add shrimp, then stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Squeeze in lemon juice. Add wine, butter, salt and pepper, and hot sauce. Stir and reduce heat to low.
Throw angel hair pasta into the boiling water. Cook until just done/al dente. Drain, reserving a cup or two of the pasta water.
Remove skillet from heat. Add pasta and toss, adding a splash of pasta water if it needs to be thinned. Taste for seasonings, adding salt and pepper if needed.
Top with grated Parmesan and minced parsley and serve immediately.

Broccoli Cheese Soup: another Crock Pot Recipe

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I'm driving to a friend's wedding in Colorado today so I will probably be eating on the road; you can enjoy this delicious soup for me, kay?:) Road trippin with toddlers is not #1 on my most favorite things to do list, but I've learned a couple things to make it more enjoyable for us both. 

  • Dollar Store Goodies: I like to visit the dollar store and grab a couple new toys or boredom busters that I keep hidden until a diversion is needed. 
  • Movies: is there any explanation needed?
  • Toys: we pack up her Winnie the Pooh backpack with some favorite toys like figurines or a tea set, a flashlight, and cellphone.
  • Books: we visit the library and max out my card with new stories to read. She isn't quite ready to listen to it read, but she loves looking through the pictures at her own pace. Some of our favorites right now are Strawberry Shortcake stories and Barbie:)
  • Fun Songs: She loves activity songs like Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes, and If You're Happy and You Know It. I have them all on CD's and we'll play her favorites over and over.
  • Blankie: also, no explanation needed.
  • Fun snacks and candy: like juice boxes and lollipops! 

With a storm on the way, what better way than to heat up your insides with a hearty soup? (and hot chocolate...mmmmmmm) 

Broccoli Cheese Soup; another Crock Pot Recipe--via Pioneer Woman

Ingredients:
1 whole onion, diced
1 stick or 1/2 c butter. they're the same thing, don't ya know.
1/3 cup flour
4 cups milk
2 cups half-and-half or cream if you're daring.
4 heads broccoli, or a 16 oz bag of frozen broccoli.
1 pinch nutmeg
3 cups cheese, I'm partial to cheddar
dash of salt
pepper
chicken broth, optional

Directions:

1) Saute onions in the butter until translucent, then sprinkle in the flour. Stir to combine and cook for 1 minute or so, then add milk and half-and-half, nutmeg, broccoli, and salt and pepper.
2) Cover and simmer until broccoli is tender. Done in a jiffy with frozen broccoli! 
3) Add cheese and let it melt.
4) Serve chunky, or transfer to blender and puree it. You may need the chicken broth to thin it. Heat it back up too.
For the Crock Pot Recipe:
Add all ingredients but the cheese to your crock pot. Cover and cook on either low or high until bubbly. Add cheese just before serving. Serve chunky, or pureed. 

Curry Chicken Salad

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Been working on E's Halloween costume--she's going to be an Indian and we are going to be Cowboys. Why I buy stuff for myself to dress up I have no idea! I don't even like dressing up. We are going to a couple of parties this year, so I guess I'll have a reason to dress up. I don't think I'll wear my costume while we go trick-or-treating...unless maybe I stay in costume to hand out treats? What do you guys do?

Tonight I'm mixing up my favorite way to eat chicken salad. On a croissant. With curry. That's all you need:) Oh, and some grapes too!

Curry Chicken Salad--via Betty Crocker

1 cup chicken, cooked and shredded
1 medium onion
1/2 small green pepper
1 cup mayo
3/4 tsp curry powder
1 tsp mustard
bunch of grapes sliced in halves
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Mix ingredients and serve!

Tuna Melts

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Learning the effects of priority management this week. 

It seems like home ownership forces me into determining which of all life's demands are most necessary! It's amazing how much work owning a home is and we live in a brand new house! I am understanding that the women I thought were amazing are even more INCREDIBLE than I thought because they manage to do all the normal mom/household management + take time to craft or sew or whatever else they love to do. I love running and yet I can barely get out twice a week. It's amazing to me how much life can get in the way of things that matter most if we let them. 

I'm loving this talk, which emphasizes that there are so many good things to do that take our precious time, but there are those which are better, and some which are best. I need to focus on making sure those things which are best are done first before I even contemplate the better and good things to do. This is what I tell myself when I go to bed, exhausted after keeping up with my two-year old, with my house a disaster and the dishes still in the sink--keeping my house clean is a good thing to do, but getting my sleep so I'm not grouchy is the best thing! See how empowering this can be? The hardest part is determining which thing is the best...each of us have different priorities and at every stage in our lives we have different priorities. My rule of thumb is this:
Is this improving my relationship with God?
Is this improving my relationship with my family?
Is this improving my relationships with friends?
Is this improving my relationship with myself? (Does it help me better understand who I am?)
If I can answer yes to any of those questions than it probably is the best activity. This does mean though that my relationship to God has to come first before any others so if I'm spending too much time doing activities that strengthen my relationship with my friends I may need to readjust and make sure He comes first. 
It's a simple matter of refocusing, but it sure is harder to do than it sounds! That's for sure!
I have a big old list of things I can't wait to start doing on my house and projects to create, but I've made it a goal to spend more time reading with my daughter and filling our afternoons with memories and less of her in front of the TV while I finish up a project. It's been hard to "give up" those projects being done quickly, but it is totally worth it in the relationship and love that I feel with my daughter. I know it will only get more difficult as we grow older and have more responsibilities, but for now, this is how it is.
Now onto one of those incredible women that I can't get enough of is Pioneer Woman. Seriously, I want to cook everything she makes. You may see that she is a strong presence in my menus, but everything is a hit! This meal is an easy lunch meal too and I love making a big batch for multiple meals. I didn't have any English muffins on hand, so we used regular bread, but anything will do. Growing up we used to eat tuna on bagels and I think that this is a tasty alternative to sandwich bread too.


Tuna Melts--via Pioneer Woman 
Ingredients:
5 ounces, weight Tuna
1/4 cup Finely Chopped Red Onion
1/4 cup Finely Chopped Red Bell Pepper
1 whole Fresh Jalapeno, Finely Chopped (I didn't have this so it wasn't as spicy, but it would be delicious)
2 whole Hard Boiled Eggs, Chopped (didn't make time to do these either, but of course they would only improve the dish!)
6 whole Sweet Gherkins, Sliced (I don't like sweet pickles, so dill was delish too!)
1/3 cup Mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
Splash Of Pickle Juice
Salt And Pepper, to taste
6 whole English Muffins Split
12 slices Cheese (Swiss, Provolone, Muenster)

Preparation Instructions:
1) Combine tuna with onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, eggs, and gherkins. Stir in mayonnaise, Dijon, and pickle juice. Add salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed; be sure not to under-salt.
2) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
3) Place English muffin halves on a large cookie sheet. Place a large spoonful of tuna salad on each of the twelve English muffin halves. Use the spoon to spread/flatten. Put pan into the oven for five minutes, then briefly remove and lay a slice of cheese on each muffin. Return to oven and turn on broiler. Watch carefully to avoid burning; bake until cheese is melted and bubbly.
4) Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Make it Mine potpie

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Monday's are one of my favorite days because I get to go to gymnastics with my daughter. It is so fun to see her develop and figure things out. Even though she's only two, I've been very impressed with our city's rec center gymnastics program. (I've never been a gymnast so I can't compare...) It is very gymnastics oriented and they use all the gym equipment. Some little toddler classes are just an awareness class, if you know what I mean. We started out doing somersaults and bars and balancing on the beams and I get to do it all with her! I love it! 

And apparently she does too!
While I'm on the subject of my adorable two year old, I have to say she is so exuberant. I love how much she loves life. It's so fun to see how happy the littlest things make her:
exhibit A. dancing in the rain.
exhibit B. getting a kitty painted on her face.
On to other things that make me happy. Comfort foods. I love love love chicken pot pie. I even secretly love those frozen 1 serving size Marie Callendar ones! yikes, have you checked how many calories are in one of those? and of course you can't NOT eat the whole thing...Here is how I make my homemade chicken pot pie-with a lot fewer calories. The basic recipe is to pick a meat, veggie, base, cheese, and a topper. There are countless combinations!

What I usually make is:
cooked chicken with cream of potato soup, carrots and peas, pepper and onion and garlic pwd, in a made from scratch pie crust or with made from scratch biscuits. 

Make it Mine Potpie--via BHG
prep: 25mins Cook Time: 22mins
Basic Ingredients:
2 cups cooked meat
1 10oz pkg frozen vegetables
1 can condensed soup
1 tsp seasoning
1/2 cup water (optional)
1/2 cup cheese (optional)
topper
milk
grated parmesan cheese (optional)
Meat(pick one): ground beef, pork, sausage, chicken, turkey
Frozen veggies (pick one): mixed beans and carrots, peas and carrots, stew veggies
Condensed Soup (pick one): cream of celery, chicken, mushroom, onion, or potato
Seasoning (pick one): chili pwd, curry pwd, dillweed, tarragon, thyme, chipotle chile pepper, italian seasoning
Cheese (pick one): cheddar, monterey jack, or mozzarella
Topper (pick one): frozen puff pastry sheets, refrigerated pie crust, refrigerated biscuits, refrigerated crescent rolls

Instructions:
1) Preheat oven to 400. If using ground meat, in a large skillet cook meat until no longer pink. Drain fat; discard. In large skillet combine ground or cooked meat, frozen veggies, condensed soup, and seasoning. Bring meat mixture to boiling. Add water, if needed, for desired consistency.
If desired, stir in cheese. Transfer meat mixture to a 2qt round casserole dish.
2) for topper, if using pastry sheet or piecrust, unfold pastry sheet or unroll piecrust. On a lightly floured surface roll pastry sheet or piecrust to 1 inch beyond edge of casserole. Place pastry on top of casserole. Trim pastry evenly with casserole edge, leaving 1 inch excess pastry. Fold excess pastry under, even with casserole edge. Press pastry along edges to seal.
3) If using biscuits or crescent rolls, quarter individual pieces and arrange over filling.
4) Brush topper lightly with milk and sprinkle with additional seasoning or grated parmesan cheese.
5) Bake uncovered for 22-25 mins or until golden brown and bubbly. Let stand before serving.
what I made tonight:
Cooked chicken, cream of potato soup, carrots and peas, pepper and onion and garlic pwd, in a pie crust. I usually make my own topper, rather than use a refrigerated one. My recipes are below:

Biscuits:--via Betty Crocker Yields 1 dz biscuits
1/3 cup shortening
1 3/4 cup flour
2 tsp bkg pwd
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup buttermilk
1)heat oven to 450. Cut shortening into flour, baking powder, and salt with pastry blender until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in just enough milk so dough leaves side of bowl and rounds up into a ball. (Too much milk makes dough sticky, not enough makes biscuits dry.)
2) Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead lightly 10 times. Roll 1/2" thick. Cut with floured biscuit cutter. Place on ungreased cookie sheet about 1 " apart for crust sides, touching for soft sides. Bake until golden brown about 10-12 mins.

Pie Crust: Yield five 9" crusts
4 cups flour
2 tsp salt
1 T sugar
1/8tsp baking pwd
1 3/4 cup shortening
1 egg
1/2 cup cold water
1 T white vinegar
Mix together dry ingredients. Cut in shortening until crumbles in pea size pieces. In another bowl combine wet ingredients and mix into dry ingredients a little bit at a time. Dough can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for months. To defrost, let dough reach room temperature. DO NOT MICROWAVE (I usually make a whole recipe of pie crusts and then freeze whatever I have left that I'm not using so I can quickly pull it out for another day and another meal or dessert.)


Menu Week of Oct 22

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Make it Mine Pot Pie--via BHG
Tuna Melts--via The Pioneer Woman

Curry Chicken Salad Sandwhiches--via Betty Crocker
Broccoli Cheese Soup--via The Pioneer Woman

Shrimp Scampi--via The Pioneer Woman


Do you see a theme here? Her recipes look gourmet and taste it too. But they are usually so Easy!

Baked Oatmeal

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Don't worry. This weekend you can enjoy a yummy breakfast each morning after cooking just this one recipe of delicious oatmeal. Nothing tastes better than strawberries, bananas, and chocolate! (Especially for breakfast!)

Baked Oatmeal--via Inspired Taste
Ingredients:


2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup walnut pieces, chopped
1 cup sliced strawberries
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups milk
1 large egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ripe banana, peeled, 1/2-inch slices

Directions:
1)Preheat oven to 375°F and generously spray the inside of a 10-1/2 by 7 inch baking dish with cooking spray and place on a baking sheet.

2)In a large bowl, mix together the oats, sugar, baking powder, orange zest, Chinese five spice, salt, half the walnuts, half the strawberries and half the chocolate. (Save the other half of strawberries, walnuts and chocolate for the top of the oatmeal). In another large bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, butter and vanilla extract.

3)Add the oat mixture to prepared baking dish. Arrange the remaining strawberries, walnuts and chocolate on top. Add the banana slices to the top then pour the milk mixture over everything. Gently shimmy/shake the baking dish to help the milk mixture go throughout the oats.

4)Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is nicely golden brown and the milk mixture has set. For an extra tasty top, sprinkle a tablespoon or so of extra brown sugar on top then place back in the oven under the broiler and broil for 20-30 seconds. Serve warm with an extra sprinkle of sugar or drizzle of maple syrup.
Notes: For a make ahead meal you can make this oatmeal the night before cooking. If you do this, place bananas on the bottom of the dish and not on top of the oats since they will brown slightly over night. Some readers have tried freezing: After mixing everything together the oatmeal is covered tightly or poured into resealable plastic bags and frozen. Then, when you want to bake the oatmeal, just take it out of the freezer, thaw and bake as directed. If you do this, we just suggest that the fruit is mixed into the oatmeal, not placed on top if you decide to freeze. 

Hawaiian Haystacks

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I love pinterest. I'm sure that doesn't come as a surprise to anyone because I don't know anyone who doesn't love pinterest, except maybe that it can be quite a time-sucker...
Amazingly enough, with the overwhelming amount of ideas and inspiration, pinterest has actually helped me SIMPLIFY my life. HOW? The magic of three ingredients:
Vinegar
Dawn
Water.
It's incredible what a formidable combination those three ingredients are. I can walk around my house and clean it lickety split with just one spray bottle and a bunch of rags. I can clean my bathrooms, mop my floors, wash my windows, clean my stainless steel appliances, and keep my washing machine sparkly clean inside and outside with just one cleaner!
Marketers sure would like you to believe that you need all those separate cleaners for each different surface, but seriously, this combo works and since vinegar is a powerful disinfectant I don't need to do any additional disinfecting.
I love that I can clean my house top to bottom and disinfect everything in ONE HOUR (including tidying and vacuuming). How do I do this? Well, firstly, I have 1500 sq feet on each floor so this is really just the time it takes to clean the main floor. Since the basement is unfinished, this pretty much is my whole house right now! It's comprised of a carpeted family room and 3 bedrooms. The two bathrooms are vinyl tiles and the rest is wood laminate. This is my cleaning routine:

Pick up all the general toys and clutter and return to their respective room.
Put all the dirty dishes in the sink or dishwasher.
Vacuum all bedrooms and family room and entry way rug
Sweep the wood floors and bathrooms.
Clean bathrooms with DRY cleaning. (a new trick that saves oodles of time and is so much cleaner! They use this technique in hotels)
Clean all floors with my swifer. I simply fill a tupperware with a vinegar and water mixture and use a lint free cloth, immerse and squeeze all the extra water out and put it on my swifer. (I never buy swifer cloths because this works sooo well). I also clean my baseboards and doors while I'm going along--the swifer is perfect for those surprisingly enough.
Clean cupboards and appliances
Replace all the rugs.
Turn on the scentsy (because I love yummy smells more than vinegar)
SMILE because my house is pretty close to spotless and smells great.

Now that your house is clean, let's get the kitchen dirty with this quick and easy dinner recipe.
This is a super quick dinner that is sure to please everyone. I love that this recipe is so fast and easy and kids love being able to pick what they want to dress it up. Plus, there isn't much cooking so my just cleaned and sparkly kitchen stays that way for more than a couple hours!
I really don't know how it got the name Hawaiian Haystacks, but I sure know it's delicious. (Shhhh, the secret is the sauce!)


Ingredients:
Per Serving:
1 cup cooked rice
1/2 cup chicken gravy recipe
toppings! (i.e. pinapple, raisins, coconut, chow mein noodles, cheddar cheese, green onions, peas, almonds, tomatoes, mushrooms, green pepper, water chestnuts, etc).

Chicken Gravy:
1 cup cooked chicken
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 tsp onion pwd
1/4 tsp garlic pwd
pepper
I love to add the cheese directly to the sauce because who doesn't love a cheesy, creamy sauce on rice?

Directions:
In an orderly fashion, assemble your rice, gravy and toppings. Enjoy!

THE GREATEST AND EASIEST Chicken Tortilla Soup

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*****UPDATE 11/12/12***** I finally got around to editing pics


Have you guys been suffering from the fall of the flies? I seem to open my door and 20 fly in. I'm constantly whacking around my fly swatter and only having marginal success at keeping them at bay! Grr. Disgusting. It's forcing me to not leave any food out whatsoever; therefore, I eat less. Yay for not having to stuff into my skinnies just in time for boot season. We had so much fun this week going to the farm by our house and participating in the Barnyard Boo...your little ones will LOVE IT! We came home from the chill to a soup that simmered all day thanks to the all powerful and simple crockpot. I love quick and easy crockpot soups--this one puts all other tortilla soups to shame. I'm not biased or anything...


Chicken Tortilla Soup--via Carolyn Rasmussen Ingredients:
1 can corn
1 can white beans
1 can black beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can chicken broth
1 pint salsa
1/2 pkg ranch dressing mix
1/2 pkg taco mix
4-6 chicken breast cooked and shredded

Directions:
Open cans and pour into crockpot. Add spices and chicken. Give it a slow stir until seasonings are mixed. Let it simmer until bubbly or until you serve.

Steak Kebabs

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These delightful kebabs are the perfect fall meal because they include three necessary elements: HEAT, HEARTINESS, and EASE. I love adding surprising elements to classic dishes, like potatoes to a kebab. That makes them hearty and so much more like fall. I can't say the word kebab with a straight face--it reminds me of Jemain in Flight of the Conchords. Don't know what I'm talking about? You need to watch this. (Don't have time for the whole thing? start watching at 2:00...)

Steak Kebabs--via Kraft

Ingredients:
new potatoes, cut in half
1/4 cup ranch dressing, divided

lb boneless beef sirloin steak, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices

8 cherry tomatoes


Directions:
1) Heat grill to medium-high heat.
2) Cook potatoes in boiling water 12 to 14 min. or until tender; drain. Cool slightly.
3) Thread meat, accordion-style, onto 4 skewers, alternating potatoes and tomatoes between folds of meat; brush with half the dressing.
4) Grill 10 to 12 min. or until meat is done, turning occasionally and brushing with the reserved dressing for the last 2 min.






Some instagram house love

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I know I know you guys have been waiting on the edge of your seats for pictures of the new house! I mean I've grumbled enough about it!
Well, enjoy my little instagram photo log










Au Gratin Potatoes--Fry pan style

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I know this is late in coming, but as much as I try to stay on top of things, I couldn't prevent the late post today! My husband surprised me this weekend with a little getaway and I didn't have everything set to post on the right day with the right time and everything so I had to scramble yesterday to get everything set for this week so you are getting the menu plan on Tuesday morning instead of Sunday night. Cest la vie...
I thought we would enjoy a little bit of the fall with the graphics this week so without further ado or excuse, here is today's recipe:

Au Gratin Potatoes FRY PAN STYLE (I love these because they are so NOT funeral potatoes...if you know what I mean)

Ingredients:
1/4 cup butter
1 onion, diced
3 large potatoes, washed and sliced
1 1/2 cups cooked ham, diced (I cheat and use deli ham sometimes, or canadian bacon, or even regular bacon, yum.)
1/2-1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 green pepper, diced
salt and pepper

Directions:
1) Heat fry pan and melt butter. Add onion and potatoes. Cook covered until almost soft.
2) Add cottage cheese. Stir occasionally to prevent burned potatoes.
3) Add ham, green pepper, and grated cheese. Continue to cook until potatoes are soft and cheese is melted.

Fyi

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It has come to my attention that a few readers have been confused that I create all the recipes on this blog. That is not the case. For the most part all the recipes are ones I've tried and tested and want to catalog for future use. This blog is not to be mistaken for a recipe blog, but rather a collection of awesome recipes I've found throughout the years. I always link back to the site I found the recipe or include the recipe book where you can find it.  If there is continued confusion I will make the blog private as it is intended for my personal use.
Thank you

Chicken with Orange Sauce: Crock Pot Recipe

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This is a great crock pot recipe that leaves the chicken moist and full of flavor. I decided to make a panini with the chicken--layer on some cream cheese and a tomato, slather some butter on the bread and it's perfect!


Ingredients:
4 chicken breasts
2 Tbs Dijon mustard
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups orange juice, you can use oj concentrate, just use a couple Tbs and add some chicken broth.
2 Tbs butter, cut into pieces
2 Tbs flour

Directions:
1) Coat chicken with mustard and place in crock pot. Cover with the onions, 1/4 cup brown sugar and orange juice. Add butter pieces on top.
2) Cook 3 hours in crock pot on HIGH.
3) Before serving, stir in remaining brown sugar and flour and heat until the sugar caramelizes and the sauce thickens.
4) Serve chicken with sauce however you please.

Better than Sex...Cake

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Everyone has their own name for this cake of chocately, caramely, goodness, but over here we call it Better than S.E.X. cake. Maybe it's the mystery it held as a kid with the word sex in it that made it seem so delectable, but I'm pretty sure not. It tastes so good even as an adult and I understand what sex is:)

Better than Sex Cake

Ingredients:
1 box chocolate cake mix, devil's food cake is the best.
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 jar caramel topping
1 (8 oz) container cool whip, thawed
heath toffee bits

Directions:
1) Make the cake according the directions on the box. Cook in a 9x13 pan.
2) While the cake is still warm, poke holes in cake with a straw. 
3) Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the cake, making sure it gets into all the holes. Then repeat with the caramel topping. 
4) Spread cool whip on top and sprinkle with the toffee pieces. You can do a little, or a lot. I like them A LOT.

Chicken and White Bean Enchiladas

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Today is my birthday! I'm not usually one for fan fare and celebration around birthdays, but my husband is:) We are taking the weekend off to escape the house and our responsibilities and have fun! I'll be in Park City tonight eating sushi, but I hope you enjoy this recipe.


Chicken and White Bean Enchiladas via--Skinny Taste

Ingredients: 
For the Chicken and White Bean Filling:

1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup minced white onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chilies
15.5 oz can white beans (or Cannellini beans)
8 oz cooked shredded chicken breast
1/3 can water
1 chicken bullion
1 tsp cumin


For the Green Chile Enchilada Sauce:
1 tsp butter
1/2 cup chopped white onion
2 tbsp flour
1 cup chicken broth
7 oz can chopped green chilies
2 jalapeƱos, chopped
salt
1/2 cup light sour cream
3/4 cup reduced fat Mexican cheese
8 medium tortillas
chopped fresh cilantro or scallions (or both!)

Directions: 
Preheat oven to 375°.

For the Filling:
In a medium pan, heat olive oil on low. Add onions, garlic and saute until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Add green chilies, beans, water, bullion, and cumin. Mix well and cover. Simmer on low 15 minutes. Remove cover, add chicken and cook an additional 5 minutes, or until it thickens and liquid boils down. Set aside.

Green Chili Enchilada Sauce: 
In a large nonstick pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens and starts to turn translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add flour and stir well. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth. Whisk until the sauce becomes smooth. Cook over medium heat until the sauce boils and thickens, about 4-5 minutes. Add green chilies, jalepeƱos, and salt to taste. Cook another minute then remove from the heat. Stir in the sour cream.

Spread about 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9x13" baking dish.Fill each tortilla with 1/3 cup of the chicken/white bean filling. Roll the tortillas and place seam side down in the prepared baking dish. Continue filling remainder of the tortillas.

Pour the enchilada sauce over the top of the enchiladas. Top with cheese. Cover with aluminum and bake 20-30 minutes, until the enchiladas are hot and the cheese is melted. Remove from oven and top with fresh cilantro or scallions.

    Chinese Honey Sesame Chicken

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    I used to be intimidated by cooking Asian food at home, but like I told you before, I conquered my fear of special ingredients in Thai food. I also used to be nervous about deep frying on my own and so that leaves out a lot of Asian dishes. Well, I'm here to exuberantly exclaim that those fears are conquered. I love deep frying now! This is one of the first dishes I tried and it's not only easy but tastes seriously just like something from a Chinese restaurant.
    Sesame Chicken--via Blog Chef
    (Makes 4 servings)
    Ingredients:
    1 ½ lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1” chunks)
    Oil (for deep frying)

    Batter-
    4 tablespoons cornstarch
    ¼ cup flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    ½ cup water
    ½ teaspoon 
    salt
    1 egg
    1 egg white

    Sauce-
    1 ½ tablespoons oil
    2 teaspoon ginger (minced)
    3 tablespoons garlic (minced)
    1 teaspoon salt
    3 tablespoons honey
    1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
    ½ cup water
    1 teaspoon cornstarch (mixed with 1 teaspoon water)
    Sesame seeds (for garnish)


    Cooking Instructions:
    Step 1: In a large bowl mix all batter ingredients together until smooth. Cover and allow the batter to site for at least 30 minutes. Add the chicken to the batter tossing to coat.

    Step 2: Heat oil. Fry chicken bits in patches for 2 minutes or until batter becomes firm. Drain on paper towels.

    Step 3: To make the sauce. Heat 1 ½ tablespoons of oil in your wok. Add garlic and ginger and stir fry for 30 seconds.  Add salt, honey, vinegar, and water. Mix well. Combine 1 teaspoon of water with 1 teaspoon of cornstarch. Add to the sauce and Simmer for 2 minutes.

    Step 4: Coat chicken with the sauce and garnish with sesame seeds. Serve with white rice.


    Chicken Cordon Bleu

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    I've been unpacking furiously, but I couldn't help putting up a little fall decor...I attempted some chevron pumpkins to adorn my art niche in the entry and although they aren't perfect, I love them! I'll put up the pics of the whole thing when I actually finish. I have a couple more mini projects.... Happy Fall! I just love the cool weather. I went running yesterday for the first time in a couple weeks and I don't know if it was the new neighborhood or the jogging stroller or what, but I was exhausted! I can't wait to get back to a routine. Moving sure throws everything off! I broke in the kitchen this weekend when I threw together a little family party and had PW's shredded pork. I'll be including it later, don't you worry. I'm hosting this Sunday again, but thankfully I don't have to cook since it's MY BIRTHDAY:)

    I've been using some super easy throw together meals while unpacking; here's another great one:


    This recipe is inspired genius! Instead of taking all the time to stuff your chicken, Leanneja at Organize your Stuff made it casserole style. Check it out and you will love how fast and easy you get the yummy taste of chicken cordon bleu!

    Chicken Cordon Bleu--via OrganizeYourStuff

    Ingredients:
    2 cups cooked rice
    3 cups cooked chicken
    6 slices Swiss cheese
    10 slices ham, cut in small pieces
    2 cans cream of chicken soup
    1/2 cup milk
    1/2 cup sour cream
    10 saltine crackers
    1/2 tsp paprika
    1/4 tsp garlic salt
    1/2 tsp parsley

    Directions:
    1) Coat 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Start layering with the rice, then chicken, then cheese, and ham. 
    2) Mix 2 cans cream of chicken soup, 1/2 cup milk, and 1/2 cup sour cream together. Spread on top of ham.
    3) Crush 10 saltine crackers then add 1/2 teaspoon paprika1/4 teaspoon garlic salt, and 1/2 teaspoon parsley and mix together. Sprinkle on top of soup mixture.
    4) Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.


    Honey Garlic Pork Chops

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    Wow. I've been without internet for almost a whole week! Strange how much I rely on it. It's been a nice forced break and I have to say I am going to back off on how much time I spend on the computer. It was fun to just hang out with my daughter and get to unloading our house! I've got the kitchen totally unpacked and somehow I'm still missing a couple of cookie sheets! Eliza's bedroom is unpacked too, but one of her bookshelves collapsed during the move so I need to get a new one. I'm still trying to decide if I want to do the bookshelf storage or do something different. I like the idea of a toy chest so the toys aren't all in the open, but I don't like how disorganized it is. This is what I've currently been using...Ideas? Thoughts? It doesn't really work for her puzzles and polly pockets so I'm open to something else.

    For dinner tonight I am making these delicious pork chops. They are easy and I love grilling, even though it's fall! I love this marinade. It's easy and delicious. I don't like pork that much but I love how much flavor this marinade has. Let me know how it turns out!

    Honey Garlic Pork Chops--via Pin Cookie
    Yield 6 servings
    Ingredients:
    1/4 + 1/8 cup honey
    3 tbsp soy sauce
    6 cloves garlic, minced
    6 pork loin chops, boneless, trimmed of excess fat, 4 oz each
    Directions:
    1)In a shallow dish, whisk together honey, soy sauce and garlic.
    2)Coat chops in mixture. 

    3)Place chops on greased grill over med high heat, close lid and cook. Reserve leftover marinade for basting.

    Southwest Chicken Wraps

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    My last day in St. George. How bout I share some instagram love:)










    You all know how much I love me my southwest flavor! This is another recipe that is easy to prepare and is so yummy. You can eat them for lunches or picnics, they are so versatile.
    Southwest Chicken Wraps--via Mel's Kitchen
    Ingredients:
    1 cup cooked rice, warm or at room temperature
    1 cup cooked, shredded chicken (or other leftover meat, like shredded pork or beef)
    1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
    1 green onion, finely sliced (white and green parts)
    1/2 red or green pepper, diced
    1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
    juice of 1 lime
    1/2 tablespoon chili powder
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
    2 cups shredded cheese (I use a combination of Monterey jack and sharp cheddar)
    Sour cream (optional)

    6 burrito-sized flour tortillas
    Directions:
    Mix rice together with chili powder, cumin and garlic salt. Add remaining ingredients except for cheese and sour cream. Sprinkle cheese over tortillas, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges, then arrange chicken and rice mixture down the center of each tortilla. (Optional: I like to dollop little bits of sour cream over the cheese before arranging chicken and rice mixture down the center – it makes the wraps delightfully creamy.) Roll stuffed tortillas, leaving edges open and slightly flatten the wraps with the palm of your hand. Spray seam-side of the wrap lightly with cooking spray.
    Heat a large non-stick skillet (or griddle) over medium heat for 1 minute. Arrange wraps, seam-side down, in pan or griddle and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side. Cooking them seam-side down first helps seal the long edge so they don’t fall apart. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining wraps. Serve warm.