If you have never been to Long Beach, Wa I highly recommend you make a special trip out there. That is where Jesse and I went this last weekend and we had a blast. We stayed at the Adrift Hotel. It is literally right on the beach and they are pet friendly so bring your animals along with you. 🙂 They had so many extra amenities including beach cruisers that you can borrow for free and cruise around the beach. Jesse and I went for a 7 mile bike ride with our dogs and we all loved it!! Everything was so beautiful, on one side of us was the forest with all these massive pine trees and on the other side was the ocean! We also took our dogs for a nice long walk on the beach at sunset and I can’t even begin to tell you how gorgeous that was!! We shopped around their cute little town, I beat Jesse in shuffleboard and he beat me in ping pong, we listened to live music while dining at the Adrift’s restaurant “Pickled Fish,” we drank beer from a local brewery called Fort George (literally they have the best beer I ever tasted) and we just relaxed and enjoyed being away on a mini vacation. I wish I was still there, relaxing and sipping a beer on the beach, but I guess we all have to come back to reality at some point.
Anyway, before I keep rambling on and on about my vacation I will tell you about a delightful dinner I made the other night. I call it Chicken Cordon Blue Casserole. You know I have a love for casseroles so anything I can make into a casserole I will. 🙂 This recipe is great if you like chicken cordon blues. It’s fast to make, you pop it in the oven for a short period of time so dinner is ready quickly, and everyone is sure to enjoy it. Try it out; let me know what you think!
- 2 C Ham, diced into bite sized pieces (I have a big chunk of ham I bought around Christmas time and have been keeping it in the freezer chipping away at it, so if you don’t have a ham, I suggest either buying a smaller sized ham at the grocery store, or you can also use the deli ham.)
- 2 C Chicken, about 2 smaller sized chicken breasts cooked and shredded
- ~1-2 C Swiss cheese, shredded
- 2 TBS. Butter
- 2 TBS. Flour
- 1 C Milk
- 1 TBS fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- Pinch of paprika
- 3 TBS. melted butter
- ~ ¾ C Italian style bread crumbs
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a square baking dish. I don’t know the exact dimensions of my square baking dish, sorry!
- Place your shredded chicken into your casserole dish first. Season with salt and pepper. Then add your diced up ham on top of your chicken.
- Sprinkle the Swiss cheese on top of the ham and make sure to cover everything with the cheese.
- Next in a pot, melt your 2 TBS. butter on medium heat. Once your butter is melted, you are going to make a rue by mixing your flour and butter together. Once your flour and butter are mixed together, they will form sort of a paste.
- Then slowly add your milk into your rue. Make sure you are constantly mixing to avoid flour clumps from forming.
- Once all your milk is added, squeeze in your lemon juice, mustard, salt/pepper and a pinch of paprika
- Let it cook until the milk thickens up. Once it has thickened, pour it over your chicken, ham and cheese. Make sure to fill it only about half way up the casserole dish. You don’t want to over fill it because then your casserole will be kind of runny. I made the mistake of adding to much liquid to my casserole. It still tasted great but it just was a little runnier then I would have liked.
- Finally, take your last 3 TBS melted butter and mix in your bread crumbs. Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top of the casserole and pop in the oven for about 30 mins.
This last weekend I made a delightfully tasty sandwich for dinner. I call it a Pesto Chicken sandwich. It is nothing extravagant or complicated, it’s rather simple and quick to make, but it makes a great lunch or dinner when you pair it with a pasta salad or maybe some potato chips. The bread I used for the sandwich was homemade ciabatta bread that I made from scratch. It paired really nicely with this sandwich but any bread that you prefer would taste great. Try this tasty dish out and let me know what you think! 🙂
- Bread slices (any you prefer)
- 1 chicken breast, butterflied
- 1 pkg. Knorr Pesto sauce
- ¼ C Greek yogurt
- Lettuce, cucumber, tomato, cheese anything you wish to garnish your sandwich
- Place your butterflied chicken breast on a grill and let cook until it gets the nice black charred marks on both sides. Make sure to sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic and cook all the way through.
- While your chicken is cooking, prepare your pesto sauce according to the packaged directions.
- Mix some Greek yogurt into your finished pesto sauce. Place one butterflied chicken breast onto a slice of bread and brush on lots of your pesto/Greek yogurt sauce.
- On the other slice of bread place a slice of cheese of your preference as well as any garnish you would enjoy.
- Place the two slices of bread together and ENJOY!
In just a few days Jesse and I will be vacationing in AZ! We are excited to visit family, have lots of time to relax, and mostly enjoy the warm 70 degree sunny weather. Right now it’s cloudy, rainy and cold in Seattle, so the complete opposite of that sounds delightful. We are going to AZ, also, to be a part of one of my great friend’s weddings. I simply can’t wait to be there for her big day! We have been such great friends since high school, going on church retreats together, having sleepovers, and chit chatting about boys for hours and hours. It makes me so happy to see that she has found the right guy and is spending the rest of her life with someone who makes her really happy. 🙂 Marriage sure is great! I know her wedding is going to be beautiful and so will she. I can’t WAIT!!
We are getting to the end of the month, which means groceries are dwindling down and I am having to stray away from the menu (probably because I didn’t make a great menu this month..ooopps!) and come up with dinner’s with food we already have in the pantry. This is where I can up with my Pretzel Chicken. It has a honey mustard coating and it’s topped with a little cheese. I also made ranch potatoes as a side that ended up being a tasty combination with the chicken. Jesse kept saying how moist and delicious this chicken was. You need to try this recipe out and let me know what you think. 🙂
- 2 Chicken breasts
- 1 C crushed up pretzels
- 1 egg
- ½ C Honey mustard (or combine some yellow mustard and honey if you don’t have honey mustard.)
- 1 C flour
- Shredded cheese
For the potatoes:
- A few potatoes diced up (any potato you prefer. I just used russet.)
- Olive Oil
- Packet of Ranch dressing mix
- Pinch of garlic
- Pinch of salt/pepper
- Place your flour on a plate.
- Place your crushed up pretzels on a different plate.
- In a bowl, mix together your honey mustard and egg.
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
- First, dip 1 chicken breast into your egg/mustard mixture, then dip it in your flour. Mix it back into your egg/mustard mixture and then place on your pretzel plate and cover the chicken with pretzels.
- Repeat with the other chicken breast.
- Pop in the oven for 40-50 mins until the chicken is cook all the way through.
- Once finished, take out of the oven and sprinkle a little cheese on top. Let it melt on your chicken.
- Serve with a side of honey mustard for dipping.
For the potatoes:
- After you have diced up your potatoes place them in a ziplock baggie. Pour in your olive oil, as well as your pinch of garlic powder, salt and pepper, and about ½-or all of your ranch packet depending on how many potatoes you used. Shake the ziplock baggie until everything is evenly coated with goodness.
- Place in the oven at the same time as your chicken and they should be finished around the same time.
I have recently (well I guess it has been about 3 years now) become allergic to tomatoes. I have no idea why this random food makes me feel really ill, but unfortunately it does. That means no more of my grandma’s great pasta dishes, no more tomato pizza’s, no more tomatoes on salads and burgers…it really is a sad story! I use to really enjoy having lasagna, but I can’t anymore 😦 The dinner I made the other night is inspired by my love for lasagna, except it doesn’t have any tomatoes in it, YAY! Be for-warned, this dish does take some prep time, but I mean if you are making lasagna, then you have to expect to take some time making the dish. I just call them Chicken and Bacon Lasagna Roll-Ups. Try them out; let me know what you think! 🙂
- 6 lasagna pasta noodles
- 3 strips of bacon
- 1 C Alfredo sauce
- ½ C Ricotta Cheese
- ½ C Plain Greek yogurt
- 1 Chicken breast, diced into bite sized pieces
- Broccoli florets (cut up into smaller pieces)
- CHEESE! Lots of it! Mozzarella, Parmesan, really any cheese will work.
- Cook your 6 lasagna noodles according to the package directions. Once they are finished cooking, place on a baking dish to cool. (Or at least get to a temperature where you can handle them.)
- While your pasta is cooking, place your three bacon strips on a cookie sheet and pop in the oven on 350 for about 10 mins. Once done, set on a paper towel to drain excess grease. Break into little pieces.
- Cut your chicken breast into bite size pieces and place in a well-oiled frying pan on medium high heat until the chicken is cooked fully. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic, parsley and any other spice you may enjoy.
- In a mixing bowl, combine your ricotta cheese, Greek yogurt, broccoli, a handful of the cheese of your choice, about ½ C Alfredo sauce, a pinch of salt, pepper, garlic and some more parsley.
- Once those are mixed together get your cooled lasagna noodles and place some of the ricotta filling on the lasagna. Top with some bacon bits, some chicken, and a little more cheese.
- Roll them up and place them into a casserole dish. I used a square casserole dish, but any size would work. Make sure to spread some of your Alfredo sauce on the bottom of your casserole dish so the lasagna rolls don’t stick.
- Continue filling each lasagna roll with all the goodies.
- Once all 6 are filled and placed into your casserole dish. Spread the remaining of your Alfredo sauce and sprinkle some more cheese on top.
- Pop in the 350 degree oven for about 30 mins. Until everything is nice and hot!
(I served mine with a side of fresh garlic bread from my bread machine I got for Christmas! It was a yummy addition to this dish!!)
Jesse and I are all about saving money on groceries. We do everything we can to save a penny here and there, even if it’s something as simple as price matching veggies for 1.49 when they are originally priced 1.50 at the grocery store. I know it may seem silly, but I love getting things for cheaper then they originally are priced at. We have come a long way since we were first married, as far as saving on groceries. We shop once a month, use coupons, price match, use what we have in the cabinets already to meal plan first and we shop at Costco. Grocery shopping day is still one of our favorite days of the month! J I also love to make things at home for lunches and breakfasts that we can freeze and eat throughout the month. This month I came across a great recipe to make my own cream of chicken soup. I love that stuff! We buy it by the cans every month, at least 3-4 cans a month. So I thought I would try this recipe out. It saves us money by making it with ingredients we already have at home, and it doesn’t have all the preservatives in it like the cans at the grocery store do. (There is also probably some weird food dye in the can version because the stuff I made at home has a completely different color to it haha!) I haven’t tried it yet in any of my recipes, but I am super excited to compare it to the can version. Also if you make a big batch of this stuff you are going to want to freeze it so that it can stay longer. If you are planning on using it all in 1-2 weeks’ time then just store it in your fridge.
- 1 ½ C Chicken broth
- ½ tsp. poultry seasoning
- ¼ tsp. onion powder
- ¼ tsp. garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp. pepper
- Salt to your taste
- ¼ tsp. parsley
- Dash of paprika
- 1 ½ C Milk
- ¾ C Sifted Flour (this will help there to be no flour clumps in your soup)
- Stir together in a pot on medium heat the chicken broth, seasonings and ½ C milk. Bring to a boil.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the remainder of your milk and flour. Mix together well!
- Once the chicken broth mixture is at a boil, slowly pour about ¼ C into your milk and flour mixture. Stir that together so that your milk can warm up a bit.
- Once you have finished mixing in just a little bit of your chicken broth mixture into your milk/flour, turn your burner down to medium-low heat, and slowly drizzle your flour/milk mixture into your hot chicken broth. Whisk repeatedly while you are drizzling the flour/milk mixture.
- Whisk briskly until the mixture thickens and boils.
- Remove from the heat and let cool. Store in an air tight container in your refrigerator.
Now that we are approaching the end of 2013 and about to start a whole new year, I like to think about all the things that have happened through the year. This year was the first whole year we have spent in Washington. Jesse and I were just talking the other day about how blessed we feel that we are able to live in Washington. It has done so many wonderful things for our marriage, like make us stronger in love and closer to each other, and we feel that God brought us out here to grow us in a more faithful relationship with him. 2013 has also blessed us with Jesse finding his career path of accounting. He was teaching before but was never a big fan of that. So when we first moved here Jesse was flip flopping around jobs trying to figure out what he enjoyed best. He landed on accounting at this awesome company called Zulily. Every day he actually enjoys work, and wants to pursue accounting as a full time career now, which makes this hopeful stay-at-home-mom very glad that I will have that opportunity when we have kids. This year has also given us some great friends and a great community group. We feel like we can share anything with these Godly people and they are so given and caring towards us! J Jesse and I have gone on so many adventures in 2013 and we are soooo looking forward to all the adventures and new places we will discover in 2014. Overall this year has been one that Jesse and I will surely remember forever!!
Now on to FOOD!!! This meal I made the other day doesn’t have a name so I just call it Sweet Potato with BBQ Shredded Chicken. Yeah….I call it that because that is pretty much all the ingredients involved. It’s so easy, so delicious, and hey, it’s even a little bit healthy with that sweet potato in there! J Try this meal out; let me know what you think!
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 1 chicken breast
- 2 strips of bacon
- BBQ sauce (as much as you like)
- Shredded Cheese
- Diced green onions
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Wash your sweet potatoes and poke them with a fork many times, all over. This will help the steam escape from your potato.
- Then wrap your potato in tin foil and place right in the oven on the top rack.
- After the potatoes have been in the oven for about 20 mins, place your chicken breast in a baking dish and cover with tin foil. Pop that into the oven also.
- Once your chicken is done, should be about 45-60 mins, take it out of the oven and place on a cutting board.
- With two forks, shred your chicken.
- Place all your shredded chicken back into your baking dish and pour as much BBQ sauce all over it as you like. Mix the BBQ sauce, a dash of salt and pepper in with the chicken and place it back in the oven (with tin foil covering it.)
- While your chicken is warming back up in the oven, place two strips of bacon on a baking dish and place in the oven. These bacon strips will cook really fast so make sure you watch them.
- Once bacon is done, place on a paper towel to drain the excess grease. Then break them up into bite sized pieces.
- At this point, your chicken should be warmed up, your sweet potatoes should be cooked through and your bacon is all shredded up, so now it’s time to assemble.
- Take your sweet potato out of the tin foil and cut it open. Place your shredded BBQ chicken in the sweet potato and top it off with some bacon pieces, shredded cheese and green onions!
It’s the time of year when Christmas music is on everyone’s radio and I can’t ever get enough of it. I listen to Christmas music every chance I get. There is just something about Christmas music that puts me in a good mood and makes me want to bake! 🙂 Just a few days ago, Jesse put on the NSYNC Christmas album while we were getting ready for the day, and it brought back so many good memories from when I was young. I also love to listen to Michael Buble’s Christmas album, of course Bing Crosby, Mariah Carey, and Nat King Cole are some favorites too, but I really enjoy the classics like The Grinch, Rudolph the Red nose Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman.
Yeah, I think that list could go on and on, but I think I will talk about the dinner I made the other night (while listening to Christmas music.) I just call it Buffalo Chicken Casserole. I came home late and I needed something quick to just pop in the oven. This recipe was that ticket. It’s so incredibly easy to assemble, it cooks in a matter of minutes, and it taste so so yummy! Try it out, let me know what you think. 🙂
- 1 Chicken breast, cut into bit sized pieces
- 1 C rice, (I used instant rice)
- Some diced up green peppers (as much as you like)
- Garlic, salt and pepper
- ~1/4 C Buffalo sauce (if you like it spicy add more)
- ¼ C Ranch dressing (I used a combination of a Ranch packet dressing mix and greek yogurt. Either would work just fine)
- Shredded cheese
- Place your cut up chicken breast into a well-oiled frying pan on medium high heat. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cook until there is no more pink showing.
- Once the chicken is cooked through, pour your buffalo sauce into the pan and coat your chicken really well with it. Turn the heat down to a simmer.
- While you chicken is cooking, follow the packaged directions on your rice box and cook your rice.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Once your rice is done, place it in a baking dish. Then on top of your rice, spread your buffalo chicken. Sprinkle your green peppers, a little more garlic, salt and pepper, and spread your ranch dressing all over. On top of your ranch place as much shredded cheese as you like. I added lots (~1 C) because I like it nice and cheesy!
- Pop in the oven until the cheese is nice and melty, about 15 mins.