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Jun 30, 2012

More funnies

Laughter brings joy and in turn I will share that joy with you.......

Jun 29, 2012

Quote Friday

Motherhood doesn't get easier. It gets smellier and dirtier and louder and more painful and more complicated. But we get stronger and wiser and more patient. We learn to love and serve even when we can't put one foot in front of the other. We learn to do things we never could have imagined.


Jun 25, 2012

Perfect fried chicken dinner salad

Perfect Dinner Salad

If you're looking for a light easy meal for dinner then this is it!
It's a great fried chicken salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and ranch. Throw in a garlic breadstick on the side and you're good to go!

You will need:
A head of any lettuce you like, I used romaine
cucumber, sliced and diced
cherry tomatoes
boneless, skinless chicken tenders
Drake's coating (for the chicken)
Ranch dressing, or any kind you prefer
(optional) New York Brand Garlic Breadsticks, frozen

To make:
Follow the directions on the back of the Drake's coating mix to coat the chicken and then either pour some oil in a pan and fry it until it comes out white and reaches 180 degrees or what I did is place them in my deep fryer for a couple of minutes until they were done.

Then dice them up and set aside.

Chop up the lettuce and halve the cherry tomatoes. 
Remove the skin and dice up the cucumber. 
Add it all to a bowl and throw in the chicken. 
Then mix it all up, plate it, and add some ranch dressing!

I added some New York Brand frozen garlic breadsticks and just warmed them in the oven for a few minutes and they were the perfect addition!
It makes a quick meal when you have a lot going on in the evening, but just need a little something to keep going!

Jun 24, 2012

Strawberry and Feta Salad

Strawberry and Feta Salad

I was looking for a really good summer salad and I came across a few different recipes that all looked really good. This was the first one. I would never think to put fruit in my salad and I typically don't like them together, but this salad was just the perfect blend. The dressing adds just a hint of tang which makes it irresistible!

1 cup slivered almonds
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 head romaine lettuce, torn
1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese

In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook the almonds, stirring frequently, until lightly toasted. 
Remove from heat, and set aside.

In a bowl, prepare the dressing by whisking together the garlic, honey, Dijon mustard, raspberry vinegar, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and vegetable oil.

In a large bowl, toss together the toasted almonds, romaine lettuce, strawberries, and feta cheese. 
Cover with the dressing mixture, and toss to serve!


Jun 23, 2012

Tomato and fontina grilled cheese

I love me a grilled cheese sandwich, but I wanted to branch out from the typical cheddar routine, so I found this recipe on grilled cheese and right away I knew it was going to be a knock-out success.
It smelled sooooo good cooking and then when I cut into it and the cheese was all gooey and melty, it was a homerun. This is one of my new favorite recipes and is just perfect for summer or with a bowl of soup in the chillier months. Go ahead and try it'll love it!

Tomato and fontina grilled cheese

You will need:

- 2 slices of lite boule or some white bread
- 1/2 cup of shredded fontina
- 1 giant beefsteak tomato slice
- 1 tbsp of herbed butter
  (combine 1 tbsp salted butter with 1/2 tsp herbs
   de provence)

To begin, go ahead and butter your bread with some delicious herbed butter.

Preheat your oven to 450°.
 Then put the bread, butter side down, onto a baking sheet. Then sprinkle it with fontina cheese. 

Next, you'll want a nice thick slice of tomato to lay down right in the middle of the sandwich.

When it's all built, go ahead and place the baking sheet on the middle rack for about six and a half minutes. 

And then when it's all bubbly and golden, take it out and fold the two pieces together to make a sandwich.  

Give it a second to rest because if you cut it right away, the tomato will slip out.



Jun 22, 2012

Quote Friday

Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on. You knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on Earth is he up to?
The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of- throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage; but He is building a palace.
-C.S. Lewis

Jun 21, 2012

The best meatballs

So I don't usually make meatballs, but I found this recipe claiming to have the BEST ones and so off I went to try them out! We threw them on top of some yummy spaghetti that we made and I really liked the addition. I don't know if they are the BEST, because I've never made them before, but everyone in the family ate them up quickly. What's nice about them is that you can freeze them too!

The best meatballs

You will need:
2 lbs ground beef
1 (6 oz) package stuffing mix, dry
2 eggs
1 ¼ cups water

To Make:
Preheat oven to 400 F

Line 2  baking sheets with foil, spray with cooking spray.

Stir ground beef, stuffing mix, eggs, and water until well mixed.

Mold into 32 (1 1/2 inch) balls and put 16 on each sheet.

Bake 16-18 minutes or until done at 160 degrees.


Jun 20, 2012

Unbelievable carrot cake

So I made this cake for Easter and boy oh boy did it hit the spot! I have come to love and appreciate carrot cake as I've gotten older and this was an outstanding recipe!


You will need:
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 lb. medium carrots (6 to 7 large carrots), peeled
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (10 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable or canola oil

Frosting(If making a 9-inch layered cake, you can double the frosting recipe to cover the entire cake)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
5 tablespoons butter softened to room temperature
1 tablespoon sour cream, light or regular
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar (4 1/2 ounces)

To Make:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Grease and flour a 9X13-inch baking pan or 2 9-inch round pans.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in large bowl; set aside. 

In a food processor fitted with large or fine shredding disk, shred carrots (you should have about 3 cups); transfer carrots to bowl and set aside. You can also shred by hand on a box grater if you don’t have a food processor.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment (or in large bowl and using hand-held mixer), beat granulated and brown sugars and eggs on medium-high until thoroughly combined, about 45 seconds. 

Reduce speed to medium; with mixer running, add oil in slow, steady stream, being careful to pour oil against inside of bowl (if oil begins to splatter, reduce speed to low until oil is incorporated, then resume adding oil).

 Increase speed to high and mix until mixture is light in color and well emulsified, about 45 seconds to 1 minute longer.

 Turn off mixer and stir in carrots and dry ingredients by hand until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain.

Pour into prepared pan(s) and bake until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 32 minutes for 9-inch round pans and 40 minutes for a 9x13-inch pan.

 Let cakes cool for about 10 minutes in the pan and then invert them onto a cooling rack to cool completely . At this point, once the cakes are cooled, they can be wrapped in plastic wrap and put in a ziploc bag and placed in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature prior to frosting.

When cake is cool, mix cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and vanilla at medium high speed in clean bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment (or in large bowl using handheld mixer) until well combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. 
Add confectioners’ sugar and mix until very fluffy, about 1 minute. Frost and eat!

Recipe from: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Jun 19, 2012

Cajun Chicken Pasta

One of my favorite dishes is Cajun Chicken Pasta and I have made lots of varieties of it. I found this one from the Pioneer Woman, who is my new favorite chef, and it did not disappoint! It has LOTS of flavor and packs a punch! I have to admit.....most likely 90% of my future recipes will be coming from the Pioneer Woman, I watch her show and use both her cookbooks and they are ALL fantastic!

3 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cut Into Cubes
3 teaspoons Cajun Spice Mix, More To Taste
1 pound Fettuccine
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 whole Green Bell Pepper, Seeded And Sliced
1 whole Red Bell Pepper, Seeded And Sliced
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
4 whole Roma Tomatoes, Diced
2 cups Chicken Broth
½ cups White Wine
1 cup Heavy Cream
Cayenne Pepper To Taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
Salt To Taste
Chopped Fresh Parsley, To Taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain when pasta is still al dente; do not overcook!

Sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun spice over chicken pieces.
 Toss around to coat. 

Heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy skillet over high heat. 
Add half the chicken in a single layer; do not stir. 
Allow chicken to brown on one side, about 1 minute. Flip to the other side and cook an additional minute. 
Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a clean plate.
Repeat with remaining chicken. Remove chicken, leaving pan on high heat.

Add remaining olive oil and butter. When heated, add peppers, onions, and garlic. 
Sprinkle on remaining Cajun spice, and add salt if needed.
 Cook over very high heat for 1 minute, stirring gently and trying to get the vegetables as dark/black as possible. 
Add tomatoes and cook for an additional 30 seconds. 
Remove all vegetables from the pan.
With the pan over high heat, pour in the wine and chicken broth. 
Cook on high for 3 to 5 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze.
 Reduce heat to medium-low and pour in cream, stirring/whisking constantly. 
Cook sauce over medium-low heat for a few minutes, until cream starts to thicken the mixture. 
Taste and add freshly ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, and/or salt to taste.
 Sauce should be spicy!
Finally, add chicken and vegetables to sauce, making sure to include all the juices that have drained onto the plate.
 Stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until mixture is bubbly and hot. 
Add drained fettuccine and toss to combine.
Top with chopped fresh parsley and enjoy it!

Source: Pioneer Woman

Jun 18, 2012

Baked Cheesy Chicken Penne

I love the site Real Mom Kitchen and that is where I found this fantastic recipe!
It is creamy, but not too heavy and is just perfect with a little salad and some bread.
I don't use sun-dried tomatoes all that often, but I was excited to try them out in this and they made a great flavorful sauce. 

6 tablespoons butter, plus more for baking dishes
kosher salt and black pepper
1 pound penne rigate 
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves , halved horizontally 
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
6 garlic cloves, finely minced
6 cups whole milk
1 cup sliced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 cups shredded provolone (I used an italian blend that had provolone in it)
1 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan 

To make:
Preheat oven to 400. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 3 minutes short of al dente; drain pasta and set aside.

While pasta is boiling, heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.

Season chicken with salt and pepper; cook until opaque throughout, 3 to 5 minutes per side.
 Halve each piece lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise. 

In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot , melt butter over medium.

Add flour and garlic; cook, whisking, 1 minute.
 While whisking constantly, gradually add milk; bring to a simmer. 
  Keep whisking frequently as sauce thickens, about 1 minute more.

 Add  tomatoes; cook 1 minute.
Take the pan off the heat and and gradually stir in provolone and 1/2 cup Parmesan.

Add chicken and pasta to pot; season with salt and pepper to taste.
Sprinkle cheese on top.
Bake, uncovered, until top is golden and bubbling, about 25 minutes.
Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Source:  Real Mom

Jun 17, 2012

Crispy Chicken with Creamy Italian Sauce and Bowtie Pasta

I liked this recipe and I was wanting to try using that new Philadelphia Cooking Cream, so this was the perfect combination. I loved the use of the corn flakes to give the chicken a nice crunch, but it was different than panko or reagular breadcrumbs. It's also a recipe that relieves a lot of stress because you need to pound the cornflakes to a fine consistency, so just throw them in a bag and go to town punching them! Seriously, it gets out any anger :)
I really liked the texture of it all and served up with a little bread it was delicious!

Crispy Chicken with Creamy Italian Sauce and Bowtie Pasta

You will need:
3 large chicken breasts
5 C corn flakes
3/4 C flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 C milk
6 T olive oil 
1   12 oz package bowtie noodles (farfalle)

1   10 oz container Italian Cheese & Herb Flavor Philadelphia Cooking Cream 
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 C chicken broth
1/2 C milk
fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

To Make:
1. In a small food processor crush the corn flakes (or you can just put them in a bag and smash it with just about anything) until you make it into crumbs.

they will look like this when all smashed up!

2. Add the 1/2 t salt to the 3/4 C flour. Stir to combine.

3. Place the flour, milk and crushed cornflakes each on their own separate plate. 

4. Place your chicken breasts in a gallon sized Ziploc bag and seal the top.
Pound the chicken flat with a meat mallet. 

5. Then cut each breast in half and dredge the chicken in the flour. Be sure it gets covered on both sides.
Lay the floured chicken onto a small cookie sheet and slide the sheet into the freezer. Keep it in for about 5 minutes.

7. Start cooking your pasta.

8. Remove the chicken from the freezer and dredge each piece in the milkand then immediately into the corn flake crumbs. Again, be sure both sides are covered well.

9. Add the olive oil to a hot skillet.

10. Carefully lay each chicken piece into the hot oil. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt and pepper. Cook over medium high heat for about 5 minutes....
or until the underside of each piece is nice and golden brown. Turn the pieces over. If the bottom of the pan is dry add just a bit more olive oil to the side of the pan. Swirl the pan around a bit to let the oil flow to all sides.

11. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium.  Let the chicken cook for about 7 more minutes, being careful not to burn the bottoms. 

12. When your chicken has been cooked through remove it from the pan and place it on a plate. Cover with foil. 

13. Into the same pan pour your broth. Philly Cooking Creme, Cream of Chicken, and milk. Whisk the sauce around and let it get all warm and bubbly. Should only take about 3 minutes.


Jun 15, 2012

Quote Friday

"Light will form a protective shield between you and the darkness of the adversary as you live worthy of it."
-Robert D. Hales

Jun 13, 2012

Chicken Salad

I found this recipe on and I didn't have a lot of the ingredients on hand, so I converted it to what I did have and it turned out great!

You will need:

1/3 cup mayo
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
2 cooked boneless and skinless chicken breasts, diced (a generous 2 cups)
1/2 -3/4 green apple, cored and cut into medium dice
Salt and pepper, if desired
handful of red grapes, quartered
handful of walnuts (optional)

To make:

In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, cider vinegar and Dijon mustard to form a dressing.

To the bowl, add the chicken, apple, grapes, and walnuts.

Toss everything together, taste and adjust the seasoning if desired.
 Chill before serving.
This makes about 1 quart chicken salad.

Recipe adapted from

Jun 11, 2012

Get your smile on...

We all need to laugh and whether you're going through a hard time or just normal everyday things, there should always be time to laugh.
These have been bringing me laughs this week.....


Jun 8, 2012

Quote Friday

I know this is strictly a cooking blog, but I have such a love of quotes so I am going to implement a new tradition on this blog!
 I'm going to have Quote Fridays and each week put up a quote from my book of ones that I've collected over the years and share them with all of you!
Here are some to begin with that I just love....enjoy!

Jun 4, 2012

Carrot Cake Cookies with Oatmeal and Macadamias

I love me some carrot cake. Seriously. Like I can't get enough! So when I saw this recipe for Carrot Cake Cookies, I knew I just had to try it! They are SOOOO good, not only do they have the carrot cake staples in them, but they also have macadamias and oatmeal. Trust will not be disappointed.
You can also put the frosting in between the cookies and make a cookie sandwich or you can simply dab a little on like I did for a sweet treat!

Carrot Cake Cookies with Oatmeal and Macadamias

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups old-fashion rolled oats
1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots (about 3 large OR 4 medium-sized carrots)
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup dry roasted, unsalted macadamias, coarsely chopped
Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)

In an electric mix with the paddle attachment, beat butter, brown and white sugars on medium speed until it’s light and fluffy. 
Add the eggs and vanilla, beating on medium speed until well combined.
Sift the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger until combined. 
Add the flour mixture to the butter in 2-3 batches at a time; continue to mix on low speed until incorporated. 
Add the oats, carrots, raisins and other add-ins, gently folding into the batter. Refrigerate the cookie dough overnight for best baking results.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees for larger cookies; 325 degrees for smaller or medium-sized cookies.

Prepare baking sheets with silicone baking mats, parchment paper or spray with non-stick spray.
Using a cookie scoop, scoop dough on prepared baking sheet, spaced about 2 inches apart. 
With your fingertips, slightly flatten the tops of each cookie dough ball (this is optional depending on your preference).
Bake until browned and crisp, about 12-15 minutes for larger cookies; about 10-12 minutes for medium-sized cookies; about 10 minutes for smaller cookies. 
Rotate halfway through baking time.

Let the cookies cool on the pan for about 1-2 minutes before transferring to a cooking rack. 
Let them cool completely before frosting and sandwiching. 
Using a small spatula, spread a dollop of cream cheese frosting onto flat sides of cookies and sandwich together.

Store cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place cream cheese in a mixing bowl. 
Using a flat wooden spoon, beat cream cheese until smooth.
 Add butter and continue beating until smooth and blended. 
Sift in the confectioner’s sugar and continue beating until smooth.
 Add vanilla until combined.
Refrigerate any unused portions.