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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is a recipe I came up with by combining 3-4 recipes I have found for Chicken Tortilla Soup. I made it this week and it was really good so I thought I'd share.
1 can (14.5 oz) chicken or veggie broth
2 cups water
1 (15 oz) can corn, drained
2 (15 oz) cans Rotel Original
3 chicken breasts cooked and shredded (my sis recommends using a rotissere chicken, especially if you are short on time.)
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chiles
1 medium diced onion
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf
(I have added 10 oz of enchilada sauce before, but I left it out this time)
This turns out pretty spicy. If you don't like spice, I recommend cutting out the chopped chiles, or maybe cut the rotel down to only 1 can, or use Rotel Mild. Or you could cut out the cayenne pepper. Also, you could add more water or broth.
Add all ingredients and cook on low for about 1 hour. Top with shredded cheese or tortilla strips if desired or any other garnish that sounds delish.
I served this with my mom's mexican cornbread and it was great! Maybe I'll add that recipe to the blog.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

Bruce has an obsession with Chicken Cordon Bleu so when I saw this recipe on Pinterest I had to try it. I got the recipe off of this blog. Below her blog were lots of notes and suggestions to try to make it better as her recipe seemed to be rather bland and plain. Here is MY recipe that has all the changes I made to make this a delicious meal. Note - it makes a huge portion. We had lots of leftovers for the next night. But being the fatties we are, it was gone in 2 nights. Please read my notes at the bottom as I explain some important instructions for this recipe.

12 oz Pasta (I used Ziti - you could use any fun shaped pasta)
3 Chicken Breasts, seasoned, cooked in a skillet, and cubed
1 cup Ham, cooked and cubed (I bought a package of pre-cooked cubed ham)
3 pieces of bacon cooked
1 cup Skim Milk
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
8 oz. Cream Cheese (softened)
2 Tbsp. Dried Minced Onion
1 1/2 cups Swiss Cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Colby/Jack cheese, shredded
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Cayenne Pepper
Cajun Seasoning
Garlic Powder
1 cup Panko Crumbs
1/2 cup Butter, melted

The first thing I did was fry up the bacon. Next time I will add more bacon and maybe even leave out the ham. The ham did nothing for us, and we were wishing for more bacon.

Next, I cut up the chicken into small pieces and  tossed it with seasonings until completely covered. The seasonings I used were salt, pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Cajun seasoning, and garlic powder (and I would recommend putting the minced onion in with the chicken as well instead of adding it to the sauce later. It needed cooking a bit.) I'm not a measurer when it comes to seasoning, so I would just recommend using what seems right to you and your family. We like things spicy so I pumped up the Cajun seasoning and Cayenne Pepper just a tad. I fried the chicken in the same pan as the bacon using the bacon grease. OH yeah!

Start boiling your pasta to al dente -  make sure you don't overcook it.

When your chicken is finished cooking, add your ham and bacon and cook them together for 4-5 min.

Drain your pasta and add your meats to it, tossing to mix.

Next you make your sauce. I made it in the same pan I cooked the bacon/chicken in to make sure I got all those yummy seasonings. Start with your milk, heavy whipping cream then add your cream cheese and cook on medium heat stirring constantly until smooth. Add your Dijon mustard and nutmeg. Then I seasoned it with the same seasonings I used on the chicken to add flavor. YUM YUM YUM!!

When your sauce is heated through and smooth, add to your pasta and meats. Add Swiss and Colby/Jack cheeses mixing it all together thoroughly. Put in a 9 x 13 pan.

For my topping, I would have used Panko bread crumbs if I had them, but I didn't. I ended up putting some 3 cheese flat bread crouton thingies in the food processor to chop them up, making about a cup. Spread on top of pasta then pour a stick of melted butter on top. Cook in a 350 degree oven for 30 min.

I hope I explained things clearly. Feel free to ask any questions you have. And I would love comments if you try it out and find something you would change about it.


Potato Soup on Crack

The soup in the beginning stages. No hamburger meat added yet.
We recently had some friends over and I wanted to try something new - so of course I hit up Pinterest. (Does anybody even use cookbooks anymore? I recently got mine out and had to dust them off!) This recipe was a big hit! The boys literally licked the crock pot clean. Today is another cold and bleary Saturday at home, full of family time and football, and Bruce has requested it again. If you want a link to the blog where I originally found it click here. She calls it Bacon Cheeseburger Soup. We call it Potato Soup on Crack. It's delicious!

  • 1lb of lean ground beef
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 8 slices of bacon
  • 32 oz Southern Style Hasbrowns
  • 32 oz velveeta cheese (I use the lower fat one made with 2% milk)
  • 32 oz chicken broth stock
  • small onion diced

    Fry up the bacon and crumble it. Brown the hamburger meat (I always season my beef with garlic salt and Lawry's seasoning) Cut up the Velveeta and put it all in the crockpot with all the other ingredients, stir well. Cook on high for 4-5 hours, stirring occasionally. Hope you like it as much as we did!!

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

    Finally A Good Day

    Today was a better day. We needed a better day. Trey has been sick making things that much more hectic around here. After spending 3 hours at the clinic yesterday I didn't want to leave the house - and we didn't. We played all day. It was fun and stress free. We went outside to play on the deck because it was a beautiful day. (If you're wondering if it was cold enough for Trey's winter hat (lol) it probably wasn't. It was maybe in the 60s but I made Trey bundle up since he had a cough.) We played forever in Trey's pretend kitchen. He cooked me delicious cheeseburgers, hotdogs, and ice cream. We built a house out of Legos on his new play table. He really likes it, but really only gets into it if someone is playing with him. We wandered down to the basement in search of my keys to check the mail and ended up going ADD and cleaning the basement and garage. Trey had fun playing with all the toys we found cleaning up. After nap time when I enjoyed 2 new episodes of Duck Dynasty, I even managed to cook an amazingly delicious meal!! Outback's alice springs chicken. Thank you Pinterest. Here's the link if you're interested. Reccommended by Bruce for sure.

    I took some cute pics of our beautiful boys to remember the occasion.
    Can you catch me mommy?
    This was a fun game. "Don't take my picture!!"
    Admiring his new "cool boots." He loves them.
    Our kid is so beautiful
    "Hold still, Trey!" Yeah right mom!
    Can't catch me!
    Hudson is sleeping and oblivious. Can't wait til they can play together.
    Oh yeah, I totally posed this one.
    Loves playing on his castle. So glad we brought it up on the deck.
    How far can I go without falling?
    He loves to play.
    Little Hudson sleeping the day away

    Friday, August 17, 2012

    Trey version 2.5

    It is hard to believe but Trey is officially 2.5 as of August 8. He is such an amazing kid. I couldn't be prouder of him. He is your typical 2 year old. Full of energy, always talking, obsessed with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, a big-time love bug, extremely stubborn, and wants to do everything by himself! Mr. Independent!

    My Loves!
    Riding the carousel at Dulles Town Center

    We have had such a fun summer! Bruce has been home for the majority of it and we've been spoiled having him around. We go to the pool as often as the weather will allow us (it's been extremely rainy/cloudy/thundery and the pool closes if it thunders) Trey LOVES the water and is completely fearless. He loves to jump in off the side (he even jumped off the diving board at Grandaddy's pool) or for us to throw him or flip him. He can't swim of course, he has to wear arm floaties, but he THINKS he can. It's terrifying. He will jump in without them on and just flail about until we lift him up and he just laughs and laughs. Apparently he thinks drowning is funny. Not sure how to handle this situation.

    Jumping off the diving board at Grandaddy's pool

    Cousins on the 4th of July

    Trey is still an excellent sleeper - he just LOVES to sleep!! He's been sleeping in a toddler bed for quite a while now and he loves it. The transition was much easier than anticipated. He still sleeps with a pacifier. To be honest, we just haven't had the guts to take it away. I'm hoping it's gone by the time he turns 3. So, he sleeps about 12 hours at night and takes a 2 hour nap. I am SO blessed. It has especially been nice when I want to take a nap too. I hope he keeps this up when baby brother arrives. I'm going to need all the sleep I can get.

    Just waking up from an epic nap!

    He can be a picky eater at times. He eats veggies a good bit, loves asparagus and raw broccoli with ranch dressing, but will not even try fruit other than bananas. It's a mystery to me. His favorite foods haven't really changed, but he will try more new things for me and I am grateful. He really liked the chiken spaghetti and chicken casserole I made recently. I started making Mickey pancakes and cheese toast for breakfast (not at the same time ha!) and he loves those! Mickey cakes!! Chee toast!! He still will not drink milk well, but loves cereal and milk so that's good!

    He is 37" tall and weighs about 30 lbs. He's still skinny and tall, so most pants are hard to fit. He's little in the waist and has long legs. I recently went to buy new jeans for the fall and the 2T at Children's were huge! Shorts are easier - he's still in a size 18 months hahaha but some 2T fit. However, I have to buy 3T pajamas and shirts. He's difficult to shop for. I'm sure I have many years of this ahead.

    He has an adorable obsession with animals. It's what he loves to play with, read about, talk about. His favorite animal (for now) is the hippo. He has a couple of hippo toy figures that he never lets out of his sight, a hippo pillow pet, and hippo pajamas. Maybe he'll be a zoologist or a vet or something.

    While Bruce went to Canada on his bi-annual canoe trip, Trey and I drove to Alabama. We had such a great time. He LOVES his cousins! Alissa, Lucas and Whitney were there. They play well together and are fun to watch.

    Alissa and Lucas were like big brother and sister to Whitney and Trey.

    Our family on the 4th of July

    Playing on the trampoline at Maw Maw's house

    Thursday, August 16, 2012

    Pregnancy Round 2

    With Trey, I was lucky enough to go through everything with a dear friend of mine, Ashley Ward. We were due within a couple of days of each other. This time around I've had a similar experience and am due the same DAY as my sister. It has been wonderful (both times) to have that person to share the experience with. Each going through the same things. Each making the other feel normal and not crazy. And then, when the pregnancy is over, we have children the same age. What a blessing!! It has been so surreal with my sister. We've always wished and almost joked that we would be pregnant together some day, little did we know it would actually happen.

    If I hadn't seen the teeny weeny on the sonogram for myself, I would swear I was having a girl. This pregnancy has been so different than the last. I either have a terrible memory or my life is just insanely different than before, but then again I do have a 2 year old. The nausea has been worse, the heartburn has been better, I've had this crazy nasal congestion that I never had with Trey, and sadly my boobs are not quite as big as before. Plus, I think this baby moves around alot more than Trey ever did. It's like he's on crack or something. He never stops moving! It's really fun, but can be frustrating when I am trying to sleep. On the flip side, some things haven't changed...I have to say that in general this has been an easy going pregnancy. No major issues or problems. My weight gain has been around the same - right about 25 lbs at this point. I was tired in the beginning, energetic and perky for the 2nd trimester and I'm exhausted again in the 3rd trimester. I have reached that oh too familiar phase of sleepless nights that are surely only to prepare me for the baby's arrival. Between the sore hips, getting up to pee every 2 hours and congestion, I am lucky to get 7 hours. But of course, I have a wonderful reason to celebrate the hardships of pregnancy. It all seems to fade away once you hold that little one in your arms and become a mother. It's a feeling like no other. I am forever grateful for such a wonderful pregnancy and the chance to be mother to two little boys.

    Easter - 16 Weeks

    NYC 5 Year Anniversary Trip - 23 Weeks

    25 Weeks
    4th of July - 28 weeks

    28 Weeks

    34 Weeks

    Ignorance is Bliss

    With baby #2 due to arrive in less than 6 weeks, I'm starting to get a little anxious. Maybe even more anxious than I was with Trey. I cannot figure this out. Maybe it's the fact that I know what I'm getting myself into. I've been through it all and I know the difficulties that lie ahead. Except this time there will be even more to learn with having two. I think with Trey I was blissfully blind about parenting and having a baby. I had rose colored glasses on and saw everything in blue and pink. You learn very quickly that things aren't always going to be as peachy as you imagined. Now don't misunderstand me - having Trey was the greatest thing to happen to us. The good by far outweighs the bad. He's our little man cub. Our Buddy Trey. He is such a funny, energetic, sweet, and loving little boy. I can't believe he's already 2 1/2! Our challenges now are entirely different than they were in the beginning (obv). (Can someone please tell me the secret to disciplining a 2 year old?) It has been such a wonderful journey. One that I cannot imagine with anyone other than Bruce. We have tackled every obstacle together, and gotten through each one. He's such a great father and husband. So loving. So supportive. I look forward to the challenges ahead with him by my side.

    Even with an amazing amount of confidence, my mind is still constantly thinking about all the changes we are going to go through. I find myself worrying about the little everyday things. I have dreams about leaving one behind at the store, or forgetting to feed one, and a whole range of crazy pregnancy dreams. I even worry about the labor and delivery even though I called my first one "breezy." Everybody says the 2nd delivery happens much quicker. I have this fear of going into labor so fast, I won't be able to have an epidural. I need the drugs. I have NOT practiced lamaze. I know all these worries are probably common and things will be just fine. I try not to obsess over it. I'm a pretty tough ole gal, and a wonderful mother. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Prayer has a LOT to do with it :)