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A Little Me Time

For so many people, cooking dinner is just another chore added to their long list of to-do's during the day. I enjoy cooking dinner. Let me rephrase that... I enjoy cooking dinner if I don't have three children under my feet bugging me to do things for them while I am trying to navigate the kitchen to cook something all 5 of us will like. On my best nights, my husband comes home from work and sweeps the kids away for awhile so I can make dinner in peace. Cooking dinner under those circumstances is my "me" time. It's the time where I can be in my element. Where I can think about my day without the distraction of the children interrupting my thoughts. It's great, but I know my husband has his limitations. He's usually been at work for 10 hours and would probably like some "me" time as well. On nights like those, I feel a little oomph of success when I can have my "me" time in the kitchen and it takes roughly 30 minutes from start to finish to create a nice meal.Last night was one of those nights. I tried a new recipe from one of those free Kraft Food and Family magazines that shows up in our mail on occasion. The recipe was for Fiesta Chicken Pasta. I used all of the light versions of the ingredients and it came out great. The entire family, including the baby, really enjoyed this dish. My 5 year old son had three "loads", which is his terminology for servings. If you are a parent that dreads making dinner each night, give this quick, … [Continue reading]

Wrapped in Comfort

  There are a few foods that I think of that I equate to the word comfort. My mom's homemade Mac & Cheese is one.Her homemade chicken and noodles are another. Add to that her homemade spaghetti and meatballs and I am transported back to the days where home was comfort...sitting around the dinner table every night, laughing about something goofy one of us did. Back to the days when my biggest worries were missing an episode of Growing Pains and making sure my dog and cats were getting enough attention. The only food that brings me comfort that is not from my mom comes from my sister-in-law, Ginger. Ginger makes the most amazing enchiladas. Her enchiladas are 100% homemade...all the way down to the tortillas (unless she's making them in bulk and then store bought tortillas will have to do). Since Ginger lives over 10 hours away, we don't get to see her very often, and therefore don't get to eat her enchiladas nearly enough. My sister Kathy decided to call her one time to get the recipe from her. This is Kathy's adaptation... not as delicious as Ginger's 100% homemade enchiladas, but a wonderful substitute for the times in between our visits to see Ginger.Kind of like Ginger's Enchiladas 1 pound lean ground beef, browned and drained3 Idaho russet potatoes, peeled and diced3 large carrots, peeled and diced4 cups Mexican blend cheese, divided8 burrito size flour tortillas2 14oz cans of Enchilada Sauce (we use mild)Salt, to taste 1) Boil diced carrots and … [Continue reading]

Stealing Chocolate

I cannot seem to get my mind off of the Double Layer Chocolate Cake I made this past weekend. Maybe it's PMS. Maybe it is finally finding a chocolate cake worthy of gaining a couple of pounds. Maybe it is the fact that it is so much like the Ba Da Bing I thought I'd never taste again. Either way... it was a damn good cake.I thought it was good.... really good. My 3 year old, however, thought it was worth stealing and sneaking for. Check her out here:Dishing it Up Family Style  … [Continue reading]

Caught Chocolate Handed

I was upstairs putting Ella down for her nap yesterday morning. I knew Kelly was downstairs, but I just assumed that she was watching Noggin or playing with her baby dolls. As I came downstairs I looked over into the kitchen and saw this: I snuck back upstairs and grabbed my camera to snap a few shots. Kelly and I often butt heads, but we agree on at least one thing... there is nothing wrong with a little Double Layer Chocolate Cake for breakfast now, is there? It has been a very, very long time since I've had both fists full of cake as well as my cheeks full of cake though. Hey... if you are going to go for it, you might as well do it right. … [Continue reading]

Menu Planning Monday

Remember when I wrote out some of my goals for 2007? The very first thing on my list was to create a menu plan twice a month. Well, the first half of January was great. I made the plan, followed it with very little deviation, and I felt great. We saved money, ate out less, and I had a plan. For some reason, the second half of the month didn't go quite as well. I planned last week, but it was very haphazard. So,  here I am again... the first part of February and I need to do my plan. I sat down on Friday with some of my favorite cookbooks/magazines/websites and made my menu plan for the first half of the month. As much as I'd love to just sit here and eat the double chocolate layer cake all month long, I know menu planning is the only way for me to stay on track.If you feel like making your menu plan a part of your 2007, head over to the I'm An Organizing Junkie blog and join in on Menu Planning Monday's. They say there is strength in numbers!Here we go:February 3rd - Spaghetti and MeatballsFebruary 4th - Southwest Stuffed Peppers (see picture)February 5th - Chicken Noodle Soup with crusty breadFebruary 6th - Ginger's EnchiladasFebruary 7th - Fiesta Chicken PastaFebruary 8th - Italian beef with SpaghettiFebruary 9th - PizzaFebruary 10th - Tilapia with Lots of SpiceFebruary 11th - Zesty Chicken and RiceFebruary 12th - TacosFebruary 13th - Spiced Beef Patties with Cous CousFebruary 14th - Chicken with Garlic SauceFebruary 15th - ChiliFebruary 16th - Easy Salmon Supper  … [Continue reading]