Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Change Is Gonna Come.

Big, BIG changes coming to the blog very, very soon. New name, new look, new address, brand new and improved! Construction is in progress for my new blogging home and I cannot wait to complete all of the finishing touches and share it will all of you!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Recipe - Chicken and Mushroom in White Wine Sauce

This was another successful recipe that I quite liked A LOT. David enjoyed it as well, but I think that I need to make some minor changes the next time I make it (less wine, more seasoning). Although I didn't use more than the recipe called for, the wine stood out quite a bit in the flavor and otherwise, it seemed a bit underseasoned. Still really good though, so I'll definitely make it again. I found the recipe on the Tasty Kitchen blog and the original recipe post can be found here.

I have copied and pasted the recipe otherwise and made notes of the things I changed.
  • 4 ounces, weight Uncooked Medium, Egg Noodles
  • 2 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour, Divided
  • ½ teaspoons Salt, Divided
  • ¼ teaspoons Black Pepper, Divided
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil, Divided
  • 1 pound Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cut Into 1 Inch Pieces
  • 1 package Pre-sliced Mushrooms, 8 Ounce Package - (prefer fresh, but didn't have them on hand so I used two small cans of sliced mushrooms in lieu of the fresh)
  • ½ teaspoons Dried Tarragon (added paprika and parsley as well)
  • 1 Tablespoon Miced Garlic (fresh Or From A Jar) -- (used minced garlic from a jar)
  • ½ cups Dry White Wine -- (used white cooking wine)
  • ½ cups Chicken Broth
  • ¼ cups Shaved Fresh Parmesan Cheese (1 Ounce Or So)

Preparation Instructions

Note: You can substitute Basil or Parsley, instead of the Tarragon. But I think Tarragon has such an interesting and scrumptious flavor. So that is what I recommend.

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and keep warm.
Combine 1 Tablespoon of flour, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper, stirring well with a whisk. Sprinkle over chicken and toss to coat.
Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.

Add chicken to pan and saute 4 minutes or until browned. Remove chicken from pan.

Add remaining 1 Tablespoon of oil to pan. Add mushrooms and the tarragon.

Saute for 2 minutes, then add garlic and saute an additional minute or so until liquid evaporates and mushrooms darken. Be sure not to burn the garlic (bleck)!
Add wine to pan; cook 1 minute, scraping browned bits from bottom of pan.

Stir in remaining 1 Tablespoon of flour, stirring constantly.

Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/8 teaspoon of pepper, and chicken broth.

Cook 1 minute or until slightly thickened, stirring frequently.
Return chicken to pan. Cover and simmer 2 minutes.

Uncover; cook 1 minute, or until chicken is cooked thoroughly.

Stir in noodles, cook for 1 minute or until noodles are thoroughly reheated. Top with cheese.
Yield: 4 servings
As an added bonus, drum roll please….only 350 calories per serving!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - March 1st

Only my second week doing Menu Plan Monday and look it's turned into Menu Plan Wednesday instead! OOPS! My most sincere apologies as I truly have been crazy busy lately and somehow just got WAY behind this week and am just now getting to post this....you haven't missed much since we had super-easy meals the past two nights, but I promise I won't let it happen again! Or at least I will do my darnedest not to do so!

In any case, I do have some new things planned for this week so be on the lookout for the recipes to accompany the meal plan below and please do let me know if you have any questions about my meal planning or any of the recipes I will be posting over the coming days. Oh, and I am hoping to get some interaction from all of you soon and will be asking for you to contribute your meal plans and also do some recipe sharing as well, so go ahead and start thinking of what you might like to share with us in the coming weeks!  


Monday -  Cajun Chicken Pasta leftovers with garlic toast

Tuesday - Semi-homemade Pepperoni Pizza - recipe to follow

Wednesday - Chicken and Mushrooms in White Wine Sauce with green beans - recipe to follow

Thursday - Ground Beef Tacos with Refried Beans

Friday - Penne and Smoked Sausage Bake - recipe to follow

Saturday - Stuffed Red Bell Peppers with corn on side - recipe to follow

Sunday - Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot / sides TBD - recipe to follow

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Recipe - Cajun Chicken Pasta

This recipe is yet another one from the fabulously talented Ree Drummond aka Pioneer Woman. Being new at this whole domestic thing and cooking dinner virtually every single night hasn't proven to be too challenging for this previously undomesticated mama yet, but I will admit that I will take all of the help I can get. Thus, why I seek out recipes from stellar domestic divas such as Ree to help me along the way in my journey of becoming a domestic diva myself! So, when I wanted to find another meal to complete my meal plan this past week, I didn't have to think twice about just picking out a chicken dish off of Ree's roster since she has never failed me in the past and once again, I was not let down. Not in the least, in fact, even though it took me a bit longer to prepare and cook this dish than the directions stated since I am a cooking newbie, it turned out pretty dang fantastic and not only did I think so, but the hubby and my fabulous mother-in-law both agreed as well! Even cooler, it tasted even better leftover! That is certainly a plus in my book since we eat a ton of leftovers for lunches around here and since I'm a total tyrant when food gets wasted especially when I busted my arse so hard in making it, ha!

So, yeah, SCORE! Another meal success! This is BIG in my book since seriously, I have always previously relied on a handful of recipes on the rare ocassion that I ever did cook and even still, seemed to use every excuse in the book not to cook. Now that I have the time and don't have to do it after a 9 plus hour day of working outside of the home, I absolutely lurve it! I have seriously become borderline obsessed with finding new recipes and looking for new things to cook and bake so that we try something new at least a couple of times per week if not more! I get bored with the same-ole, same-ole and the same holds true for what I eat and what I cook....I don't have a passion to cook the same things every.single.week, but rather would prefer to at least mix it up a couple times a week so that things stay interesting and fun, hopefully avoiding all possibilities of my menu plans becoming stale and bland.

I didn't really deviate from the original recipe found here with the exception of adding a heaping helping of shredded Parmesan cheese to top the dish since it SO seemed like a dish that should have had some cheese included in the ingredient list yet it did not and well, if you know me then you know that cheese is my favorite condiment even though it truly isn't one and thus, I just had to put some cheese on it! Oh, and of course, I served some garlic bread along with the pasta because every good pasta dish deserves some garlic bread love on the side!
  • 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
  • ½ whole Large Red Onion, Sliced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced -- used jarred minced garlic instead
  • 4 whole Roma Tomatoes, Diced
  • 2 cups Low Sodium 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
Preparation Instructions
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 chow down!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Recipe - Chicken Tortilla Soup

I found this easy-peasy recipe online just a few weeks back and it's already become one of our favorite staple meals. Besides the fact that's it's totally idiot-proof to make, meaning you so do NOT have to have many, if any, cooking skills or experience to put it together, it's also a dish that you can easily make changes and substitutions to allowing even more room for variation in taste and ingredients. Thus also allowing more flexibility in what you need to have on hand and honestly, probably even making it even more fail-proof in my opinion. 

I've already shared this recipe with a handful of friends and am happy to report that all have LOVED this recipe, so hopefully it will be a success in your home too!

Did I happen to mention that it's a slow-cooker recipe too??? Oh no, I didn't??? Well, it is and that means it is definitely a no-fuss recipe for even the busiest of moms. You toss in all the ingredients, set the temperature and timer and just let the crock-pot do it's magic while you go along about your normal day without a dinner worry in the world! Even more amazing, you get to be the center of attention and praise at dinnertime when your very own family is blown away by how tasty this soup is. No need to tell them how easy it is, just let them believe you are a domestic goddess than create authentic and gourmet tasting meals in a snap with whatever you have on hand in the pantry. They truly do not need to know anything different!

Okay, so here's the detailed recipe with my notes included on the things that I switched up a bit on my end as well as a link to the original recipe source. Hope that you love it as much as we do and please do let me know what you think once you try it out!


  • 1 pound shredded, cooked chicken - NOPE, I just use 2-3 large frozen boneless/skinless chicken breasts and toss them in frozen. About an hour before the soup should be finished, I take them out and put them on a plate and then shred by simply using a couple of forks and a little bit of elbow grease.
  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, mashed - I also add a small 8 ounce can of tomato sauce AND a 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes with green chiles - YES, I add this in addition to the green chiles listed below and NO, it isn't too spicy. Or at least not for this spicy food loving mama!)
  • 1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced - I use the pre-minced stuff in a big-arse container that we purchase from Costco, but I LOVE me some garlic so I just toss a nice heaping spoonful in for good measure)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth - I always add a few extra ounces of chicken broth, no real reason, just because I can
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
These last two ingredients below are for the semi-homemade baked tortilla strips. And yes, I do make these instead of using bagged chips. The taste and texture of these are far superior than tossing some Mission chips or something like that in this delectable tortilla soup. Simply put, those other chips are just not worthy.
  • 7 corn tortillas
  • vegetable oil


  1. Place chicken, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, green chiles, and garlic into a slow cooker. Pour in water and chicken broth, and season with cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Stir in corn and cilantro. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 6 to 8 hours or on High setting for 3 to 4 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  3. Lightly brush both sides of tortillas with oil. Cut tortillas into strips, then spread on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes. To serve, sprinkle tortilla strips over soup. 
  5. We also add the following toppings to our soup ~ shredded Mexican blend of cheese - just toss a handful on top, diced fresh avocado - of course this is one of my favorite things so I am always quite generous and then lastly, a dollop of sour cream to complete! Seriously, SO tasty that you'll definitely want to come back for seconds!