Cheesy Chicken Pasta

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How many of you have been to the $5 dollar dinners website?  I follow them on Facebook and saw that they were going to be doing 20 meals for $150.  As soon as it posted I had to see what I could make for at least for this week!  I typically don’t shop at once for that many meals but if you do then you’re in luck.  You need to head on over and get those meals!!  This is one of them that I found for this week.

I plan my meals not only on a budget but also on what my schedule for the week will be.  Since I didn’t have anything going on this day, I knew I’d have time to spend on making something new.  I had most of the ingredients on hand so if I had to guess on the cost, I’d say that this was pretty close to the $5.  I had the spices, sour cream, butter, and cheese in my kitchen.  Some little mouths aren’t a fan of tuna in the house so I substituted chicken instead.  I got the rotisserie chicken instead of the can chicken and I just cut it up.

IMG_7973As you can see, little Miss Khali isn’t very interested in eating her dinner.  Her little mind is preoccupied!!!

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Mr. Caleb appears to be more interested in getting his loose tooth out than eating his dinner!!!!

IMG_7972First of all, excuse my after dinner mess!  But here’s Miss Brooklyn going up for seconds!  So she liked it.  And she’s the picky eater of the bunch!!!!

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Super easy to make.  Super easy on your wallet.  Super tasty too!

I’ve looked over the other 19 recipes from the $5 dinner website but I haven’t put them down for any days this week.

Taco Tuesday for us here and then on Wednesday hopping to make the Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes.  You can’t go wrong with breakfast for dinner.

In fact, the other girl came over with Sam last night to have dinner with us.  We had some breakfast quesadillas.  Unfortunately neither of us took any pictures of what we made.  Jodi made a nummy dessert with some crescent rolls, brown sugar, and some cinnamon chocolate chips!  Not that often that we get to cooking together any more so I’m sorry we didn’t take the time to show you our fun.  Trust me, we ate really well yesterday!

I hope you have a great week.

Cheesy Chicken Pasta
Author: Patricia
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. spaghetti noodles or other pasta
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 4 Tbsp flour (I used whole wheat)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 2 containers of Oscar Meyer chicken
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • about 1 lb. frozen Green Beans or corn
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Chives
Instructions
  1. Boil the pasta noodles as directed. Drain well and return to saucepan.
  2. In a large skillet, melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Whisk in the milk and whisk vigorously until flour “melts” into the milk. Whisk in the chicken broth. Bring to bubbling and then stir in the sour cream and cheese. Cook over medium-low heat until sauce bubbles and begins to thicken. Stir in the chicken, garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add the sauce to the cooked noodles and toss well.
  4. Prepare frozen corn or green beans.
  5. Serve Cheesy Chicken Noodles with vegetable.
  6. I topped ours with some chives and some shredded Parmesan cheese.

Patricia – Two Girls Cooking😉

Source

$5 Dollar Dinners

Banana Bread

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I found this recipe for banana bread on Facebook.

I loved that it used honey in place of sugar and apple sauce in place of oil.  It also used the whole wheat flour that I’ve been trying to use for baking instead of the regular flour.  This is the first time I’ve had banana bread made with wheat flour and I’ll say that it’s very good.

If you’re a banana bread fan and want to try to make it a different way, give this a try!

I was on my lunch break today when I was making this and my mom had never heard of making bread with apple sauce or honey.  I’ll have to call her tomorrow and let her know she should make this!!  Eat it fresh out of the oven and it’s really good.  I didn’t have any butter on it either!!  Trying to eat good can be hard sometimes but you don’t have to sacrifice either.  (even though I didn’t go to Zantigo this Sunday after church!!)

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Just having the kids walk in the door and ask what smelled so good was worth it today!!  Puts a nice smile on your face.

Enjoy!!

Banana Bread
Recipe Type: Banana Bread
Author: Patricia
Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 mashed overripe bananas
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together applesauce and honey. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  2. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

I set my timer for 60 minutes and I could smell it in my office before it went off…It took a little less than the time stated.  So make sure you set your timer if you’re away from the kitchen!!

Enjoy!

Patricia – Two Girls Cooking😉

Source

Facebook – Mary Stone (someone posted it on their page and I shared)

Baked Pepperoni Pizza Egg Rolls

IMG_7370Ok so last week I had posted that I was trying to eat less processed foods.  In my defense I did make these a bit ago!  AND I will say again, all in moderation.  I strongly believe that if you limit yourself completely, you’re only setting yourself up for failure.  I believe this to be in all things with life.

So enjoy the good things.   And enjoy good food, even if it means that you stray from what you shouldn’t eat for a day!

Besides that, these are too good to pass up.  The kids loved helping make these.  And they loved eating them just as much!!!

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Just a few things were needed for these awesome appetizers.

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Just take an egg roll wrapper and put some pepperoni in the middle, place your cheese stick in the middle and roll this like you would a burrito!!!

Place some parchment paper on a baking sheet and get them ready for the oven!!

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How good do they look!!!!!  And you don’t fry them either.  They go right in the oven.  So this isn’t quite so bad right!!

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Ah-mazing!!!  Must try.  If you’re looking for a fun thing to have for Super Bowl Sunday, this would be a great idea.  Or if you’re looking for something to do on Super Bowl Sunday and aren’t watching the game (kidding – kidding), then you can try these!!  If you have kids, this is a great way to get them involved with helping out.  They love to help and see the final product just as much, if not more than we do!!!

Baked Pepperoni Pizza Egg Roles
Recipe Type: Pizza Roll Ups
Author: Patricia
Ingredients
  • low fat mozzarella string cheeses, cut in half, width-wise
  • slices of sandwich pepperoni
  • pizza sauce
  • Egg roll wrappers
  • Cooking Spray
  • Additional pizza sauce for dipping
  • You can make as many as you need for your family/friends. That’s why I didn’t put a quantity next to each item.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Place a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet and spray with cooking spray.
  3. Next lay an egg roll wrapper down to where it is in a diamond shape and lightly brush both sides with water. These are often a bit dry so if you do not moisten it, they will crack when you try to roll them.
  4. Lay down 3 slices of pepperoni not quite in the middle of the wrapper but rather in the lower third of the wrapper.
  5. Next top with a slice of cheese.
  6. Begin rolling by taking the bottom and ‘tucking’ under the mixture.
  7. Bring in the sides and then continue rolling. I tend to take a dab more water to ‘seal’ the edges when I get to the end.
  8. Set aside and repeat for the remaining wrappers.
  9. Lightly spray the entire egg roll with cooking spray and set on the cooling rack.
  10. Bake for 6 minutes (or until the top is lightly golden brown), flip, spray again and bake for another 5-8 minutes until golden brown and crispy. The trick is to get them crispy right before the cheese starts to melt out.
  11. Transfer to a plate and serve with warmed pizza sauce.

Enjoy your week!!!!!  Remember to always have fun when you’re in the kitchen.

Patricia – Two Girls Cooking😉

Source

The Kitchen Whisperer

Slow Cooker Refried Beans

IMG_7887Raise your hand if you’re a refried bean lover!!  Mine is raised, see it, see it???

I just blogged about the whole wheat taco shells that I made from 100 Days of Real Food.  I got this recipe from the same site.   When I saw how easy it was to make these beans, I was at the store that day and made these the following day.

Super easy.  Who would have known!  Well not me.  I made a huge batch the second time around and I have a bag in the freezer.  I eat this for lunch and with my tacos!!

You simply pour the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix every so often… Mash after about 8 hours and here you have the best refried beans without the additives that you get for a can.

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I’ll admit the first time I made these, I was a bit impatient.  I wanted them done so I could eat them for dinner that night.  I drained them a bit too early and some of the beans weren’t as tender as they should have been. SO, I did wait this week the 8 hours and they turned out great.

I highly, highly recommend making these if you are a bean lover.  Great source of fiber, easy to make, and you know what you’re eating.

Slow Cooker Refried Beans
Recipe Type: Refried Beans
Author: Patricia
Ingredients
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 2 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
  • ½ fresh jalapeno or other hot pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • One big pinch of cumin
  • 6 cups water
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker.
  2. Cook on high for 8 hours or overnight while you are sleeping.
  3. Remove the bigger onion chunks and drain the excess liquid. If desired, save the excess liquid to add back to the final product to get the optimal consistency (i.e. not too dry).
  4. Mash remaining beans with a potato masher and voila! You have homemade refried beans.

Give them a try and see how you like it.  I love cooking and I love making my own food.  It’s scary to see some of the things that we are using these days.  And don’t get me wrong, I do still use some things that aren’t made from scratch, but I’m very cautiously reading the labels.  If it’s too much for me to understand, I put it back!!!!

Try these and let me know what you think!!!

Enjoy

Patricia – Two Girls Cooking😉

Source

100 Days of Real Food

Whole Wheat Tortilla Shells

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Every Tuesday at our house is Taco Tuesday.  No pun intended for Taco John’s!!!!

I’ve been really trying to cut out processed foods as much as I can.  Yes, I still make my weekly trip to Zantigo after church but that sure doesn’t count!!!  I may have to go there a bit less, but I can’t cut out everything.

On Facebook I found a site that is called “100 Days of Real Food”.  Which is where I happen to find this awesome recipe!  I’ve made the refried beans as well and they are so good.   You may not be a label reader but I have been.  And I’m not sure if it was this site that I read this or if I saw it elsewhere, but it said that if there are 5 ingredients that you cannot pronounce then you shouldn’t eat it!  I feel that way about food and products that I use on a daily basis now.

This recipe has only 4 ingredients in it.  AND I know how to pronounce them and I know what they are!

I was a bit concerned if the grandkids were going to like the texture and taste of the wheat but I gave it a try anyways.  Khali isn’t a fan of eating any shell that I give her on taco night.  She wants the cheese only.  Just give me the cheese and the black olives.  Caleb didn’t care for it but ate it anyways.  And Brooklyn ate it and liked it just like me!

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Here is my dog, Clyde.  He thinks that by some chance he’s going to be eating that dough.  He was sadly wrong.  Sorry buddy.

I don’t have a tortilla press but I sure wished I did.  I have made these twice now and I had a hard time getting them to form into a circle.  Last night, by the advise of my friend, Heidi, I place the dough between two pieces of parchment paper and used a pan to flatten them.  That gave them the shape, then I rolled just a bit to thin them out.

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After you get the dough formed into the log you want to cut them into 12 pieces.

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Flatten them out a bit and let them sit for about an hour.  I have to make sure that dog of mine is kept from anything sitting out.  He sees it, he’ll find a way to make it into his mouth.

I was really surprised at how good these were.  They had great flavor (I did add a bit of garlic salt to the dough the 2nd time I made this).    I love tacos.  And usually I have mine with hard shells but as I said I’m trying to do a little bit better with knowing what is in the food I’m putting in the family’s belly.  I made the taco seasoning as well.  But maybe I’ll give hard shells a try!!!!!

Whole Wheat Tortilla Shells
Recipe Type: Tacos
Cuisine: Mexican
Author: Patricia
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups whole-wheat flour (I used King Arthur’s white whole-wheat flour)
  • ½ cup oil (I used avocado oil)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup warm water (heat in the microwave for 1 min)
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer set with a dough hook, pour in the flour, oil and salt. Beat with the paddle until crumbly, about 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape the sides as needed. If your hand-held mixer comes with dough hooks those can be used as well.
  2. With the mixer running, gradually add the warm water and continue mixing until the dough is smooth, about 3 minutes.
  3. Take out the dough and divide it into 12 equal sized pieces. I do this by making the dough into a big log shape that is about 8 – 10 inches long. Then I cut it in the middle. Then I cut each of those pieces in the middle and so on until you have 12 pieces.
  4. Using the palms of your hand roll each piece into a round ball and flatten it out on a baking tray or board. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes or up to one hour.
  5. Heat a cast iron skillet, griddle or 12-inch skillet over med-high heat. The pan should be fairly hot before you begin cooking the tortillas.
  6. On a lightly floured board or counter top, use a rolling pin to turn each ball into a 8 to 10 inch flat circle (measure against your recipe if printed on a 8.5X11 sheet of paper). Be careful not to use more than a teaspoon or two of flour when rolling out each ball into a tortilla because too much excess flour will burn in the pan.
  7. Grease the pan with a touch of oil (or ghee) and then carefully transfer each tortilla, one at a time, to the pan and cook until puffy and slightly brown, about 30 to 45 seconds per side. Set aside on a plate to cool slightly. Eat within an hour, refrigerate or freeze.

Back to the shells at hand… These are pretty good and better for you.  I recommend you go to the site that I got this recipe and take a look around.  I’ve done the refried beans as well, as I’ve said.  Those are amazing with the tacos.

Enjoy!!

Patricia – Two Girls Cooking😉

Source

100 Days of Real Food

What’s Christmas About

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These are 3 of my grandchildren.  And it’s rare to see them all getting along at the same time!  So when we were almost done setting up the tree, I had to capture these precious moments to keep and now share.

Khali is the little one on the left.  She just turned 2 in October.  She came to live with me in May of 2012.  Brooklyn just turned 10 in October and that’s her brother Caleb she’s holding on to (hoping he won’t drop her), he turns 9 in January.  Those two have lived with me since 2008.

As I’m typing this I realize I have a pretty big smile on my face and tears are starting to form in my eyes.  Most days with the kids aren’t always presenting a smile.  For those of you that have kids old enough to bicker and battle with each other you know what I’m talking about.  And when those days happen, or should I say when those moments happen, it can be tough.

IMG_7767These kids go to school and play with friends that have a mom and most likely a dad that take care of them.  And my two have a grandma they call Nana that they live with.  They’ve been through struggles most of us as adults can’t even imagine seeing or going through.

When their friends ask why they live with their grandma, they aren’t really sure what to say.  But I tell them that they have a home that is filled with love and a grandma that has chosen to have them live with them because that’s just how life turned out to be.

IMG_7755I’ve said this many times before, I may not be perfect (well ok, most days I think I am!!!), but I do what I can and I do what I have to  where help is needed.  And when there are children involved, our hearts should all be willing to give.

As I grow older and wiser as time goes by, I’ve realized that what I’m doing is one of the most important things in not just my life, but their lives.  And though they have hurt and pain and so many unanswered questions, they are my life.  And I would do it all again if I had to.

IMG_7770The smile on their faces are priceless.   You can’t take that away.

IMG_7772That’s our tree.  We got a real one this year.  The house smells fabulous.  And it couldn’t be any prettier.  It was decorated with love and caring little hands.  (We had some dogs that had to make their presence known too – that’s Coco).

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I’ve done my best this year to teach the kids the true meaning of Christmas.  Yes, we all love waking up on that morning to see what’s been left under the tree for us. And sometimes that meaning falls short.  But I want the kids to know why we set up our tree.  What each piece means.  What the star means, what the candy cane represents, what the gifts that Jesus got mean.  I want the kids to know and learn as much as they can each and every year.  Enjoy your family/friends and the time you spend with them this year.

This Christmas I pray for each and every family to have a home filled with love.  A family that they can lean on.  Someone to put a smile on their face.  Opening a gift will give that joy for a moment, but the true joy is the meaning of life and family.  If you don’t have that I pray you find people in your life that will be that for you.

May many new memories be made for you and yours.  May you have a blessed holiday and the beginning of a wonderful new year.

From our home to yours.

Patricia

“Lofthouse” Cookies for Santa

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Christmas Eve is just a couple of days away.  I’ll admit, I wasn’t in the baking mood this year.  I had went to Jodi’s house and got a container of cookies, toffee and other goodies to leave out for Santa.  BUT, I knew my grandkids needed to make the cookies and decorate them themselves for Santa.  It just wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t.

I thought for sure we had a sugar cookie recipe on our own site that we use each year for christmas baking, but I just didn’t find it.  And I’m thinking I didn’t find it because I needed to make these instead.  I got to Target at least 4 times per week.  I walk past the Lofthouse cookies and so want to buy them.  Most times I don’t but I did last week.  Not for me of course, but for the kids (ok I had one).  But these cookies are so good.  So when I went to my go to site for a recipe (Brown Eyed Baker) the first one that came up was this one.  I HAD TO MAKE THESE.

Let me say that I did buy a pack of Pillsbury Sugar Cookie dough JUST in case I may have needed it!  Yay for me, I didn’t.  These turned out really well.  Not quite as sweet as the store bought ones but pretty dang good.    BEB did have a recipe for the frosting in her site as well but I made a different cream cheese frosting (click this link to see how I made it).  The only reason I made the cream cheese frosting is because I didn’t have Heavy Cream and had no intentions of running back to the store again.

I’m not going to  say that these were easy to make.  It’s not hard to make them, it’s just me that is a bit on edge when trying to bake something new.  Especially when they’re for Santa, the big event you know.  There’s a lot riding on these cookies for the big guy.  If he didn’t like them, well then that could determine what he left under the tree!

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Yep, I added the first bit of flour for the cookies and of course it flew out all over.  I had to laugh and capture this on camera!  Not pretty in here at that time at all, but I had fun!  It landed on my feet and all!!!

IMG_7788Here’s the dough just waiting in the fridge patiently for me to take out and roll it out.

IMG_7789One of my issues with making dough for these kinds of cookies is that the dough always sticks to my rolling pin or the counter and I get frustrated and just use the pre made stuff from the store.  But this time I had great success.  Not sure what I did different but I only had it stick to the counter a bit and after I added a bit more flour it was just fine.

IMG_7791They turned out just perfect!!!!!!

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Next up?  The frosting.  I used the cream cheese frosting not just because I didn’t have the Heavy Cream and didn’t want to go to Target, but it’s one of our favorite here!!!

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Here’s the green bowl!

IMG_7802Here’s the red.  It looks a little pink but I started to run out of the red food coloring!!!!

IMG_7803Doubtful that this batch will last until Tuesday night.  Good thing I save a lot of them just in case.

Brooklyn helped a bit and frosted some of the cookies for Santa.

IMG_7815She did a pretty good job!!!!!

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Her finished product.

I should have some left over to bring to our Christmas Eve dinner!!

This year has gone by fast.  Times have changed, the kids have grown older, but one thing remains the same.  I’m very blessed to have a home to take care of my grandkids that have come to be with me.  Most have this time to spend on their own after their kids have grown doing what they want.  I’ve chosen to give up that freedom and take in kids and give them love and a home.  I may not be perfect and I may not always do the right things but I have faith that God will provide for us as He has for the past 7 years.  I’m thankful at this time of the year that I can not only give the gifts that will be opened on Christmas day but the gift of what Christmas is truly about.

May your home be blessed with love, hope and joy this holiday season.

From our home to yours…Happy Holidays.  May the new year bring your hopes and dreams to reality.

“Lofthouse” Cookies for Santa
Recipe Type: Cookies
Author: Patricia
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 7 mins
Total time: 37 mins
Ingredients
  • For the Cookies:
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups sour cream
Instructions
  1. DIRECTIONS:
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the flat beater attached, cream the butter and granulated sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Add the vanilla and sour cream and beat at low speed until combined.
  4. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, scraping down the bowl as needed. Dough will be a bit “sticky”. Divide dough into two sections. Flatten into rectangles about 1½ inches thick, then wrap with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator overnight or at least two hours until firm.
  5. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  6. Flour the countertop and the top of the dough. With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to ¼-inch thickness. Using a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles and transfer to a baking sheet. Bake for 7 minutes, until pale golden. Immediately transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Cook cookies completely before frosting.
  7. Once cookies have cooled completely, frost and add sprinkles. Allow frosting to set, then store in an air-tight container. Let cookies sit for several hours before serving to allow the flavors to develop.

Two Girls Cooking – Patricia😉

Source

Brown Eyed Baker