Sunday, December 20, 2009

French Toast Casserole

This is a favorite of mine to make and eat! We do a brunch Christmas morning. This dish works well because you put it together the night before and bake it just before you need it.

PS: This recipe isn't for the weak-hearted. It is a Paula Deen recipe which means bring on the the calories!

Baked French Toast Casserole

1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
8 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 tbsp grandualted sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Dash salt

1. Slice French bread into 20 slices (1" each). Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9x13 baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices.

Side note: I use a regular loaf of Italian bread and layer the bread like you would assemble a lasagne. When I pulled the picture from the website (see photo on left), I noticed she sets the bread in the pan standing up. I am going to try it that way this next time. May mean I have to use French bread. The way I do it, the edges of the bread stick together and don't allow steam to come out so it 'puffs' up quite a bit while cooking. I usually do two layers. Tried doing three layers once and it spilled out all over my oven!
*UPDATE: DO NOT set them up in the pan like Paula does!! I didn't like it at all -- the "egg mixture" doesn't cook very well because it puddles in between the bread slices and there are sections of cooked egg; it's hard to know how to cut it once cooked; it's hard to spread the topping across the top of the slices. I DO NOT recommend doing the way the recipe says. I do prefer to layer it flat it the pan -- 2 rows.
2. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices.

3. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

4. The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve warm with maple syrup.

Praline Topping:
1 stick butter
1/2 c packed light brown sugar
1/2 c chopped pecans
1 tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. (Note: This is half the original topping recipe, but it is plenty for the above recipe.)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Slow-Cooked Enchilada Dinner

With the holidays quickly approaching, I thought a "quick-fix" dinner would be a good idea. We tried this last week and my picky 5-year old inhaled it!

1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, chopped (1 Tbsp minced)
1 - 15 oz can ranch-style beans, undrained*
1 - 10 oz can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies, undrained**
1/4 c chopped green pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin**
1/4 tsp pepper
1 c shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 c shredded Cheddar cheese
6 flour tortillas (6 inch)

1. In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.
2. Stir in the beans, tomatoes, green peppers, chili powder, salt, cumin and pepper. In a small bowl, combine the cheeses; set aside.
3. In a 5-qt slow cooker coated with cooking spray, place two tortillas side by side overlapping if necessary. Layer with a third of the beef mixture and cheese. Repeat layers twice. Cover and cook on low for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until heated through.

Yield: 6 servings.

* I found Kuner's of Colorado Southwestern Ranchero Beans (pinto in a tex-mex sauce) at Giant Eagle, and they worked well.

**Our family doesn't like chunks of tomatoes or green chiles, so I bought plain diced tomatoes and cut them up a little before adding them. I also opted out of the cumin and there was plenty of flavor without it.

This would be really good topped with any of the listed toppings -- fresh diced tomatoes, salsa, sour cream, lettuce, onions, black olives or crushed tortilla chips. I just used what we had on hand. I also bought the 8" flour tortillas because my crockpot is round and they fit perfectly. I still did a double layer.

Stay warm and enjoy!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Five-hour Stew

We have been fortunate to have a mild winter so far in the northest. However, that doesn't mean it isn't cold! The last few nights in the 20s have chilled me to the bone. Here's a stew recipe that will warm you from the inside out.

Five-hour Stew

1 lb stew meat, cubed
small onion
6+ medium potatoes
1/2 lb carrots
1/2 c celery
2 cans tomato soup
1 can of water
1 c peas
1 c corn
Salt & Pepper, to taste

1, Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
2. Chop all fresh vegatables into large peices.
3. Layer first 5 ingredients in a large pot (starting with meat at the bottom).
4. Mix soups and water; pour over meat and veggies.
5. Put in oven and bake for 4 1/2 hours.
6. Remove pot from oven. Add peas and corn; stir to coat and mix all ingredients.
7. Place pot back in oven uncovered. Cook remaining 30 minutes. Cooking the stew uncovered should thicken broth, but if not you can thicken as you would thicken gravy. Add salt and pepper to taste.
8. Serve warm.

Notes: Most of the time, I will use beef roast and cube it because it goes on sale BOGO (Buy One, Get One) quite often. I also use baby carrots and frozen corn and peas because they are easy. The recipe calls for two cans of tomato soup, but if you don't like a real tomato-y taste you can use one can tomato soup and one can cream of mushroom soup.

Recipe from Red Lott

Monday, November 30, 2009

Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

This week's post is both a recipe and a "craft" idea . . . this year for Thanksgiving, I made sugar cookies and decorated them with our guests' names and used them as place cards. I saw a similar idea with stars decorated for Christmas. I'm definitely going to try to do this for Christmas too!

The recipe I've included is a great recipe, but it isn't for the faint of heart. If you're too rushed for time or have a lot going on, use your own sugar cookie recipe and still use the idea for the place cards.

Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

2/3 c Butter-flavored Crisco
3/4 c sugar
1 Tsp plus 1 tsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1. Combine Crisco, sugar, milk & vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until well blended. Beat in egg.

2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Mix into creamed mixture at low speed until well blended. Cover & refrigerate several hours or overnight.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out dough half at a time to about 1/4" thickness on a floured surface. (Try to roll the out the least amount possible.) Cut out with cookie cutter. Place 2" apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with colored sugars or leave plain and frost when cooled.

4. Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until set. Remove immediately to wire racks. (There is a fine line. They need to be baked until done but taken out just before they get lightly brown. I let them sit a minute before putting them on the wire rack. I also alternate cookie sheets so one has time to cool in between.)

Icing: 2 c powdered sugar and 3 Tsp milk.

I included this picture of the Butter-flavored Crisco, so you would know what to look for when you go to the store. I am pretty sure it comes in a 3 pack.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

"Turkey" Stuffed Shells

UPDATE:  Just had a friend tell me they added chopped up broccoli to the mix before stuffing the shells.  What a great way to add veggies if your family is picky.

Here's a recipe that will give you something to do with your Thanksgiving leftovers. My husband's aunt made this for us after I had surgery years ago. It's definitely a comfort-type food!

The original recipe calls for jumbo shells, but because I get lazy or sometimes am in a hurry, I've substituted various types of pasta for the shells (ditalini, penne, "mini lasagna" noodles) and turned it into a casserole. (See photo at bottom of post.)

Chicken Stuffed Shells

1 box jumbo shells (cooked al dente)
1 box stuffing mix
1 c mayonnaise
1 1/2 - 2 c chicken breast (cooked and diced)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 "can" milk (fill one of soup cans), divided
1 - 16 oz pkg shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese, divided

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or grease 9x13 pan.
2. Mix together stuffing, mayo, cream of mushroom soup, 3/4 of the milk and 1 cup cheese in a medium mixing bowl.
3. Using a spoon, scoop the stuffing mixture into the shell and place in the baking pan. (Don't know if I've ever ended even using all the shells.)
4. Stir cream of chicken soup and remainder of the milk. (I use the mixing bowl to save on dishes.) Pour over stuffed shells. Sprinkle cheese on top.
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until warmed through. (I prefer to cover with foil for 10-15 minutes, then remove for the remaining time. This keeps it from drying out but allows for some time to lightly brown.)

I have made a whole recipe and split it between two smaller pans and froze one for later. A 9x13 is a lot for us. Plus it saves on the work for later. Can also make earlier in the day and just put it in the oven at dinner time.

Recipe from Marlene Lott.
To make into a casserole: Mix all ingredients except 1 cup of cheese. Scoop all into a 9x13 pan. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake for 20-25 mintues.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sweet Potato Casserole & Cran-Raspberry Salad

Since I didn't get back to add more side dishes last week, I will post them as this week's recipe. The first is a simple, delicious way to make sweet potatoes. The second is my grandma's recipe which is a different take on cranberry sauce.

Sweet Potato Casserole

3 baked sweet potatoes or 2 small cans canned sweet potato
1/2 c sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tbs butter / margarine
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon

3/4 stick butter / margarine
1 c brown sugar
1/2 to 1 c nuts (pecans or walnuts)

1. Mash the potatoes then mix in remaining casserole ingredients.
2. Pour into greased casserole dish.
3. Topping: Melt butter. Mix in remaining topping ingredients and spread over potato mixture.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

This recipe can easily be doubled in a 9x13 inch pan. Cooking time should remain about the same.
The picture was taken off the internet. Recipe by Maggie Barnhouse.

Cran-Raspberry Salad

1 - 6 oz pkg raspberry gelatin
1 3/4 c boiling water
1 - 20 oz can crushed pineapple
1 - 16 oz can whole cranberry sauce
1 c sour cream

1. Dissolve gelatin in boiling water.
2. Add undrained pineapple and cranberry sauce stirring unti cranberry sauce melts
3. Chill in refrigerator unti partially set.
4. Pour half of mixture into a 6 1/2 cup ring mold (or a large serving dish).
5. Chill until firm leaving other half at room-temperature.
6. Stir sour cream and spread on firm, chilled layer.
7. Pour remaining gelatin mixture on top of sour cream layer.
8 Chill to set. Serve cold.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Glazed Carrots & Swiss Medley

Keeping the upcoming holiday's in mind, this week's post will include a couple side dishes. Our family is pretty traditional down to the foods we eat, but maybe some of you have more flexibility!

(Note: I didn't have a picture so I grabbed one online.)

Glazed Carrots

1 1/2 lbs carrots
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbs margarine or butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp grated orange peel

1. Boil carrots in water until tender. Julienne strips take approximately 18 - 20. Whole carrots take approximately 25 minutes. (I typically use the baby carrots sometime cutting in half depending on the size because it's easy!)
2. Cook remaining ingredients in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, until bubbly. (A splash of orange juice is a good replacement if you don't have any the orange peel. I've even made it without either, but it definitely tastes better with the orange flavor.)
3. Stir in carrots. Cook over low heat about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until carrots are glazed and hot.

Serves: 8

Recipe from Betty Crocker's New Cookbook: Everything You Need To Know To Cook (mine is the 1996 version). On a side note, this is a GREAT book. I wouldn't say it's a great cookbook -- definitely don't recommend most of the baked goods. However, it is great in that there is a information at the beginning of each section that is very valuable. Information like terms & definitions, storage times, explains the uses of cuts of meat, types of apples & cheeses, and much, much more. It even explains how to boil and egg! I love it as a reference book.

The second recipe is a mixed vegetable dish. It is called Swiss Medley, but it can be made with mozzerella cheese if Swiss cheese isn't your preference.

Swiss Medley

1 pkg. frozen California-style vegetables
1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz sour cream
1/8 tsp pepper
2 cups grated Swiss or mozzarella cheese, divided
1 can Durkee's French fried onions, divided

1. Mix vegetables, soup, sour cream, pepper, 1 cup cheese, and 1/2 can onions. Place in a 9x13-inch pan.
2. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
3. Remove and top with remaining cheese and onions. Bake 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted.

Recipe from Niki Lott (Bethel Memorial Baptist Church Taste & See Cookbook)

I do have a couple other side dish recipes. Lord willing, I'll have time to add them later this week.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Homemade Macaroni & Cheese has always been a favorite of mine. I'm still tweaking this recipe, but this is a good start. You can see in the final product picture that it isn't the creamy cheese sauce type. Depending on what kinds of cheese I have in the frig when I make this, I'll change it up a little. You could use just cheddar cheese, but I like a combination of flavors.

Sometimes I'll pair this with grilled keilbasa or baked chicken. Sometimes we will make it the main dish for lunch with a side of fruit, vegetables or Jell-O salad.

Baked Macaroni & Cheese
3/4 lb elbow macaroni
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack / Colby
4-6 slices Swiss cheese
2 Tbs butter
1/2 cup milk *
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Dash of salt and pepper
1/4 cup bread crumbs (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 2-quart baking dish (or 7x11 casserole dish).
2. Cook pasta for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
3. Melt butter and heat milk in pan pasta was cooked in. Pour pasta back in to the pan. Add Cheddar and Monterrey Jack / Colby cheese. Stir until cheese melts. Add salt, pepper and garlic powder.
* add more milk to make creamier
4. Spoon half of mixture into prepared dish. Place Swiss cheese in a single layer. Add remainder of mixture. If desired, sprinkle bread crumbs on top.
5. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm.

Serves: 6-8

This recipe can easily be adjusted for a 9x13 pan: 1 lb elbow macaroni, 2 cups each Cheddar and Monterry Jack / Colby, 6-8 sliced Swiss cheese, 3 Tbs butter, 3/4 cup milk, 1/2 tsp + garlic powder. Cooking time remains same. Serves: 8-10
PS: Forgot to mention . . . obviously you don't need to use sliced Swiss cheese . . . I just have a half a package left from making the "Creamy Swiss Chicken" I posted last month. You can find shredded Swiss cheese in the grocery store and add it in to melt with the other cheeses rather than layering.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Round Steak Sauerbraten

This week's recipe is another one of my family's favorites. On one particular occasion that my husband had to work late, there was none left for him to eat after the kids devoured their dinner! This recipe does have quite a few steps and does have a few unusual ingredients. However, I really like it because it makes the house smell wonderful, and I don't have to worry about working on dinner while helping my daughter with her homework because it cooks so long.

Round Steak Sauerbraten
1 1/2 lb. round steak
1 Tbs oil
1 envelope brown gravy mix
2 c water
1/2 Tbs dried minced onion
1 Tbs brown sugar
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp ground ginger
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1. Cut meat into 1-inch squares.
2. Brown meat in oil in large skillet. Remove meat from skillet. Discard any grease.
3. Add gravy mix and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
4. Stir in onion, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, ginger, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Add meat and stir. Pour into a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. Cover.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.
6. Remove bay leaf. (If 'gravy' needs thickened, you can thicken it like you would usually thicken gravy with a flour or cornstarch and water slury.) Serve over rice or noodles. (I typically use 2 cups water / 2 cups instant white rice.)
Serves 6

Source: This recipe is from The Everyday Gourmet by Carol Cook. Mrs. Cook was one of my Home Ec teachers in high school.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Chicken Enchilladas, Mexican Layered Salad & Cornbread Casserole

As I was thinking about posting this week's recipe, I realized it is again something that contains chicken! I promise next week I'll come up with something else. We live off the sale ads. I tend to stock up on chicken when it's on sale, so we eat a lot of chicken. You can always replace the chicken in the enchilladas with taco-flavored ground beef and make Beef Enchilladas. Come to think of it . . . I might try that!

Mexican Layered Salad

1 bag chopped Romaine lettuce
1 small cucumber, sliced and quartered
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 ripe avacado, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 can chopped green chilies
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 cup crushed tortilla chips
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a trifle bowl or glass serving bowl, layer the first five ingredients. Combine the mayonnaise, chilies and seasonings; spread over the top. Sprinkle with chips and cheese. Serve immediately.

Yield: 10 servings

Every where I have taken this recipe, it gets rave reviews. We personally opt out of the chilies, but that just a personal preference. Add and omit as you please. I don't care for avacados either, but they are wonderful in this salad.

Chicken Enchilladas

(Please excuse the cell phone picture. I took enchilladas to a friends house and forgot my camera.)

8-10 (10 inch) flour tortillas
1 - 1 1/2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cubed
1/2 onion, chopped
1/3 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup sour cream
1 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 tbl dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1/2 tbl chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 (12 oz) jar taco sauce

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a non-stick skillet over medium heat, cook chicken, onion and green pepper. Add sour cream, 1 cup cheddar cheese, parsley and black pepper. Stirring until cheese melts. Add the salt, tomato sauce, chili powder and garlic powder. Stir to combine.
3. Spoon the mixture into tortillas and roll up (fold in sides and roll). Arrange the tortillas in a lightly greased 9x13 pan. (They will slightly over lap and some will have to fit on the side.) Cover with taco sauce and 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, let cool and serve.

And while I'm already typing recipes, this one will round out a whole meal for you . . .

Cornbread Casserole

1 (15 1/4 oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (14 3/4 oz) can cream-style corn
1 (8 1/2 oz) box corn bread / muffin mix
1 egg
2 tbls butter or margarine, melted
1/2 tsp galric powder
1/4 tsp paprika

1. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Pour into a greased 7" x 11" baking dish.
2. Bake, uncovered at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the top and edges are golden brown.

Yield: 8-10 servings

Sorry there isn't a picture of the Cornbread Casserole. I hadn't planned to include it until just a few minutes ago. You can bake the enchilladas first and up the temp to cook the cornbread since the enchilladas need to set anyway -- Cover to keep warm.

Monday, October 12, 2009

November Meeting Details

Details have been finalized for next month's Titus Two meeting and are as follows:

Date: Friday, November 13
Time: 6:30 - 9:00 pm
Place: Maggie Barnhouse's residence
(Directions will be posted at church.)
Please bring an appetizer or dessert.
Speaker: Mrs. Red Lott
Topic: Husband/Wife Relationship
Helpful Hints Topic: Grocery Shopping Tips

You may want to bring your Bible, a notebook and a pen to take notes. I'm sure Ms. Red will share plenty of information that you will want to remember.

Ms. Red is planning to have a Q&A time after she is done speaking. We'd also like to have a time where everyone can feel free to ask questions or bring up topics for discussion. This will be a time to help each other -- "How do you find time for devotions?" "What kind of snacks are good for after school?" "When and how do you do laundry -- all on one day or a couple loads a day?" This is where we could use the advice of the learned women in our church. I know I've been able to pick up useful tips from other ladies in the church in many areas of life.

If you have any trouble finding someone to watch your children, please let me know. There are many college students and young ladies from church that I can recommend.

Please plan to come and be a part of this Titus Two group whether you could use some encouragement or if you feel the Lord could use you to be an encouragement! Can't wait to see you there!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Creamy Swiss Chicken

This week's recipe comes with a challenge . . . I received this recipe from my sweet mother-in-law. Problem is, we don't have a name for it. She calls it "Triplett Chicken" because the last name of the man that gave it to her was Triplett. We have quite a few oddly named recipes, but that's a whole other story. I named it Creamy Swiss Chicken, but that just shows my inability to creatively name a recipe. (A little side note: Even if you are not a big fan of Swiss cheese, try this recipe. The flavor isn't real stong, and it melts into the sauce and gives the dish a great flavor.)

So when you make this recipe, let your creative juices flow. Leave a comment with a recipe name recommendation. Maybe I'll think of a prize for the winner! If nothing else, I'll be eternally grateful that my recipe no longer bears the name of Triplett Chicken!

6 halved, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/3 soup can of milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted (optional)
6 slices Swiss cheese
1/3 cup bread crumbs

1. Layer chicken in 9x13” baking dish. (If you have the time, browning the chicken first adds a lot of flavor. Chicken breast halves can be cut into 2-3 pieces to stretch the servings.)
2. Mix soup and milk in a mixing bowl. Pour over chicken to cover.
3. Layer cheese over chicken. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Drizzle with butter.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Let sit for 3 minutes before serving.

Yield: 6-8 servings

This is really good served with mashed potatoes as the sauce can be served over the potatoes. I have even mixed some of the sauce in with the potatoes to thin it out -- not that I ran out of milk or anything ;) -- just being creative! It added great flavor! If I have the extra money, I buy pre-made mashed potatoes in the refrigerated section. It's a great time saver if you have the money.

Please excuse my lack of color and the two starches in this meal -- corn is what we had that day, so corn is what we ate with dinner. Probably doesn't matter to many people, but I always think of those things since my high school Home Ec teacher ingrained it in my memory.

Don't forget to leave a recipe name suggestion! ENJOY!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Quick & Easy Alfredo Sauce

Lord willing, every week I will post a recipe. Whether you are in a rut and feel like you make the same thing every week or if your recipe box is half empty, we can probably all benefit from 'new' recipes. I am all about quick & easy, so I love this recipe. This is a big hit with my family, and it's requested almost every two weeks when I make out a menu before grocery shopping (except the kids call it "the noodles with the white sauce" despite my many attempts to help them remember the correct name).

Quick & Easy Alfredo Sauce

1/2 cup butter
1 - 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 cups milk
3/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
2. Add cream cheese and garlic powder, stirring with wire whisk until smooth.
(Note: A low-fat cream cheese works well. Use the recommended 2 tsp. of garlic powder. It seems like a lot, but it makes a big difference in the favor if you use less. I've tried using a spoon to stir before, and the whisk makes a big difference. It helps obtain the desired smoothness. See pics below as a reference -- the butter will blend in.)
3. Add milk a little at a time to thin out sauce to desired thickness. (It will thicken slightly when Parmesan Cheese is added.)
4. Stir in Parmesan Cheese and pepper.
5. Remove from heat when sauce reaches desired consistency adding more milk if needed.
6. Toss with hot pasta to serve.

Yield: 4 servings

I add fettucini pasta and grilled chicken to make Chicken Fettucini Alfredo. Sometimes I will use penne pasta instead of fettucini because it adds variety.
I'm still experimenting on this, but I've added salsa and chili powder to make a salsa-alfredo sauce. If you've even eaten the Southwest Chicken Pasta dish at Red Robin, you'd understand why. It has penne pasta, salsa-alfredo sauce, grilled chicken, tomatoes, cilantro, black olives, sour cream and fresh shredded Parmesan cheese, and I'm sure I've forgotten a few ingredients.

TIP of the day!
As a time saver, I will prepare chicken ahead of time for recipes. Quite a few of the recipes I make include diced, cooked chicken. I've always found it a pain to thaw two chicken breast, cook and dice them while trying to assemble the rest of the casserole or whatever the recipe. It has also bothered me that the chicken seems to lack flavor even if I sprinkle it with a spice blend or garlic powder. So I came up with the idea to marinate a 3 lb. bag of chicken breast or tenderloins with Italian dressing (any kind will do although Aldi's Light Italian Dressing is great), and then grill the chicken on the outdoor grill. I will dice up all the chicken and divide it into 1 1/2 - 2 cup portions (since most of my recipes call for that amount). Then I put it in the freezer and can pull out a bag of already prepared chicken when I need it.

If you have a recipe you would like to share, please contact me in person or at

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Many times over the last few years I have felt overwhelmed and discouraged. Whether it was because I have a full plate with the kids, laundry, cooking, cleaning or my marriage relationship. Life can be challenging physically, mentally and spiritually.

The challenge of getting a decent dinner on the table, keeping my kids from aggrivating each other to death, maintaining my relationship with the Lord, keeping a clean house or doing laundy and managing to put it away before it's time to do laundry again can be very stressful! Over the last year, the Lord has allowed me to see that many other women face the same struggles that I face. Not only has that made me realize I am normal, but I now know that others are feeling overwhelmed and discouraged. I know that we "can do all things through Christ," but having a little help and support while we are on this earth can be a great encouragement.

All that to say, I am going to start a group at Slippery Rock Baptist Church called Titus Two based on Titus 2:3-5. We will meet the second Friday of every other month at 6:30 pm. We will have guest speakers that will address topics such as the husband/wife relationship, child rearing, and being keepers of the home leaving time for questions & answers at the end. I also hope to have time for open discussion on whatever topic the guests request -- "How do I get my kids to sleep through the night?" -- "What are some good, quick meal ideas?" -- "What can I do to get some quite time with my husband?" Prayerfully, we will form a network of younger and older ladies in the church that will be a help and an encouragement to each other.

We will meet at a different person's home each meeting. We will ask everyone to bring an appetizer or dessert if you can. The hostess will provide the beverage. A sign-up sheet will be posted on the bulletin board at church. Please sign up by the Wednesday before the meeting. Please be considerate and call the hostess or myself and let us know if you are unable to attend especially if you signed up to bring something. These meetings will be for women only, and we ask that you find someone to watch your children. The only exception is for very newborn babies that are nursing, mostly sleep and will not be a disruption. If you would like to come and do not have anyone to watch your child(ren), please contact me. We want everyone to be able to attend.

If you have any questions or have any suggestions, please leave a comment or email me at

Looking forward to what the Lord will do through us!