Friday, January 31, 2014

Chipotle Chicken with Mexican Rice

This is a recipe that I threw together the other night.  I had 2 chicken breasts that were thawed in the refrigerator and no ideas what to make with them.  After an evening of shopping with Hubby, we wanted something quick. We didn't want to spend more money by ordering takeout. So, I did my usual rummaging and came out with this, and my goodness was it delicious! (Picture quality doesn't do justice for this meal)



Chipotle Chicken with Mexican Rice 


Ingredients
2 chicken breasts
1/3 cup of cheddar cheese
1 packet of Knorrs Mexican Rice Sides
chipotle seasoning to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Season the chicken breasts with the salt, pepper, and chipotle seasoning to taste.  Bake in a baking dish, uncovered, until internal temperature is 165 degrees.
In the meantime, prepare the Knorrs Mexican Rice packet, according to package directions.  
Spoon the rice onto a serving dish and sprinkle the cheddar cheese over the rice.  Place the fully cooked chicken breasts on top of the rice and cheese.  Cover the dish with tin foil for about 5 minutes to allow the cheese to fully melt.  
Enjoy!





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Thursday, January 30, 2014

It's a Wisconsin Thing

I moved to sunny Flordia to soak up the sun and enjoy everything about living in a warmer climate. I however, did not sign up for the rainy, and muggy weather we are having right now. Normally at this time of the day I'm outside.  Enjoying the peace and quiet that our complex has taken over after everyone has left for school and work.  Instead, I'm sitting in my favorite chair, trying to tune out the remodeling of the upstairs apartment. It's not working...

Tomorrow we will have more family here to visit us for a few days.  We are so excited.  I'm sure they can't wait to get away from the blizzard conditions the Polar Vortex has forced onto them last week.

Hubby and I will be on our way to our hometown in Wisconsin very soon (for business). Every time I think about it, I want to jump up and down from pure excitement.  Even though we will be doing buisness-y things, we are still extremely excited to see our family.  We haven't been home since we moved, so the cold weather will definitely be a shell shock to us.  I don't care though. I can't wait to feel the cold air again, complain about it, play in snow, wear scarfs, mittens and boots, chatter my teeth, see my breath when I breathe. Everything about it.  I may even try to get a Wisconsin Fish Fry while we are there. It's a Wisconsin thing.  If you have the pleasure of being from Wisconsin, you know exactly what I'm talking about!

On that note, I better find something productive to do indoors...

Have a great day everyone!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Have You Signed Up for P&G Everyday?


We have all received the P&G Brand Saver Coupons in our local newspapers, and with those coupons P&G has set up a website that can save you even more money and time. P&G Everyday is a website that allows you to sign up to receive samples by mail, read reviews on your favorite products, and gives you tips for everyday life.
Who doesn't love free samples?  To get yours, you need to sign up for a free account that will give you access to them.  P&G Everyday normally only has one sample to sign up for at a time, so check back periodically. This morning I signed up to receive my free sample of Prilosec OTC by mail.  I should receive it within 6-8 weeks. 
On the main page of P&G Everyday, they provide links to everything dealing with everyday life. No pun intended ;)

Below I have provided the links and titles to a few of the articles and activities they have right now. Each one has about 15+ articles and activities to read so, I picked a few from each that caught my eye.






Follow the provided links 




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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Only 7 Ingredients For Dinner Tonight

Salisbury Steak



Ingredients 
1 egg
2 slices of bread torn into pieces (about 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions
In a large bowl, combine egg, bread crumbs, seasoning, pepper, garlic and crumbled ground beef.  Mix well and shape into four patties.

In a large skillet, cook patties in oil over medium high heat (5-7 minutes on each side) until internal temperature is 165 degrees.  

Make a simple gravy or reserve the pan drippings and make your own...

Ingredients
2 tablespoons pan drippings
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce

Directions
Stir flour into pan drippings until well blended. Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for two minutes until it thickens. 

Place patties back into the skillet with the gravy. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook until heated through.


Serve over your favorite pasta, mashed potatoes, or rice pilaf.  
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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Grapefruit Pineapple Banana Smoothie

Give your metabolism a boost and get your digestive system back on track with this delicious smoothie!

Grapefruit Pineapple Banana Smoothie





Ingredients
Activia Fiber Pineapple and Cereal Proactive Yogurt
1/2 of a grapefruit (juices only)
1 banana
4 ice cubes

Directions
Place the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. 




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Friday, January 17, 2014

Super Bowl No Bean Chili

Super Bowl Sunday is just a few weeks away. Do you know what you're serving yet?!
We'll be having a very low key Super Bowl Party at our place this year. It probably shouldn't even be considered a party, it's going to be that low key! I'll be spending most of my morning cooking, baking and watching the Kitten Bowl on Hallmark! Here are two recipes I'm considering making that day!


No Bean Chili
(serves 8)


Ingredients
2 pounds of ground beef
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons chili powder (plus more for taste, I added an extra teaspoon this time)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1- 8oz can of tomato sauce
1- 14.5oz can of diced petite tomatoes
1/4 cup corn meal
1/2 cup water

Directions
Brown the ground beef and drain.

Transfer ground beef to a large stock pot.  Add in the oregano, cayenne pepper, chili powder, and salt. Mix to combine. Next add in the tomato sauce and tomatoes.  Mix well.  Cover and simmer for 1 hour.
In a separate bowl mix together the corn meal and water. Pour over the ground beef and stir. Cover and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.
Serve with your favorite noodle, shredded cheddar cheese, or use it as a dip.  This is a great recipe if there will be children at your party.  Use it for Taco in a Bag aka "Walking Tacos."  Here is a simple recipe that you can use...

(If you would like beans in your chili, simply drain and rinse 1 can of Kidney Beans and 1 can of Pinto Beans. Add them while you're adding the tomatoes and sauce)  =]

Walking Tacos
(serves 4)

Ingredients
2.5 ounce packages of Frito Chips (or Dorito Chips)
2 cups of shredded lettuce
1-2 chopped fresh tomatoes
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup salsa
1/2 cup sour cream

Directions
With the bags unopened gently crush the chips. Take a scissors and cut off the corners, slicing the bag open along the side edge.
Keeping all the chips inside of bag, start adding the toppings like you would a taco.  Chili, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, salsa and sour cream. Serve inside of the bag, eating it with a fork.
Have fun with it!

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Beef Stew

All my creativity in the kitchen was out the door, once we moved here. I started repeating all the recipes I already knew by heart, and dinner time was starting to get boring. Once the shock of living in a strange new city was out of me, I got back to doing what I loved. My sister bought us a brand spankin' new Crock Pot for a wedding gift and I wanted to put it to good use.  After wondering the grocery store aisles for quite sometime for inspiration, I came home and created this. The beef literally falls apart in your mouth, it is that good.
Beef Stew is now one of my favorite go to dinners when I don't feel like spending a lot of time in the kitchen cooking. It's freezer, and crock pot friendly. Your waistline and budget won't kill you. Plus, your family will love it. Can't get much better than that.


Beef Stew

Ingredients
4 large red potatoes, chopped into medium dice
5 carrots, peeled and cut into 1'' rounds
5 celery stalks, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 pound chuck roast or stew meat cut into 1 inch cubes
1 tsp thyme leaves
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 (14.5 ounce) can of low-sodium beef broth
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoon garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Heat a large skillet with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, brown both sides of the chopped chuck roast or stew meat. (About a minute or two on each side)

In a 6 quart crock pot combine the first 6 ingredients.
(I had not added the beef yet)

In a separate bowl combine the remaining ingredients and stir.  Pour over the beef and vegetables.


Cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 8-10 hours. How easy was that?!
This makes a lot of stew for just two people. I always split it in half once it is done cooking, place it in freezable containers, and store in the freezer until the next time I'm ready for a good hearty stew.

Enjoy!

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

When Life Hands You Lemons...Detox!

Resolution season has arrived and gone for many of us. Whether it be spending more time with family, being more organized, take a vacation, save more money, or lose weight; there's something out there being improved on. For me, it's to step out of my comfort zone, which included beginning my own blog. And with it being resolution season new trends are popping up. I'm starting to hear about people drinking warm lemon water. I'm not sure how long this has be around for or 'trending' but I thought to myself..why in the world would anyone want to drink warm lemon water?! The more I read about it, the more I understood. There are so many benefits that come from drinking it, especially before you start your day. Lemons have a reputation of having strong antiviral, antibacterial, and immune boosting properties along with many other benefits.



Some of these benefits include...
  • relief from digestive issues (bloating and inflammation)
  • boots your Vitamin C intake to support your immune system (perfect for flu season)
  • hydrates your skin
  • improves your liver function (increases bile production) this cleanses your system of toxins
  • the citric acid in the lemon aids in detoxification 
  • balances your pH levels
  • hydrates the body and improves the lymphatic system (aids as a mood stabilizer and increases energy levels)
  • reduces hunger and cravings that can lead to potential weight loss (who wouldn't want that!)
For a full list of benefits please visit

Here is the recipe to start detoxing today

1/4 cup warm water
Juice of a lemon wedge
2 days of hot pepper sauce (contains capsaicin which aids in blood flow and certain enzymes responsible for detoxing your liver)  

Next time I head to the grocery store, I'm picking up some lemons and giving this a try! 






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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Not Your Ordinary Chicken Pot Pie

There is nothing I enjoy more than a warm homemade dinner and curling up on the couch with my favorite blanket on a cold night; sometimes all at the same time! Since it's the middle of the week, and I do the shopping on Fridays, our fridge is running low on supplies. After a full day of cleaning and laundry, I didn't want to spend the whole evening cooking dinner. Just something easy, and still be left with some for lunch the next day. After searching the pantry and refrigerator, I was coming up with nothing.  I knew Hubby wouldn't want to come home to macaroni and cheese from a blue box, and I didn't want to spend the money to order something in.  So after a little more searching and thinking, I finally found it! Chicken Pot Pie! But it wasn't going to be any ordinary chicken pot pie. You know..the ones your mother and grandmother used to make, with the flaky crust made from scratch and a whole lot of love. I definitely wasn't making that tonight. No way.  So this is what I came up with..


Ingredients 

1 can of Cream of Chicken Soup
1 can of Grands Flaky Layer Biscuits
1-2 cups of Tyson Grilled and Ready Chicken (diced)
1-1/2 cup mixed frozen vegetables
3 tablespoons milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Casserole Dish of your choosing (may need to double the recipe if you have a large casserole dish)

I don't normally cook with Tyson Grilled and Ready Chicken or even have Grands Biscuits in my refrigerator; but Publix had a sale for Buy 1 Get 1 Free the previous week.  I knew I could make something out of it..eventually. 
Feel free to make your own chicken and your own biscuits if you'd like!

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Open the Flaky Layer Biscuits and place on a baking sheet lined with tin foil. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes
.
In a bowl place the Cream of Chicken Soup, cooked diced chicken, frozen vegetables, milk, salt and pepper to taste. Mix together and place inside of greased casserole dish.  Cover with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes.

When the casserole has reached the last 8-10 minutes of baking, take it out of the oven, uncover and place the baked biscuits on top.  If you can't fit all of the biscuits onto the casserole, that's okay. Place the casserole back into the oven, uncovered, and finish cooking.
(If you bake the raw biscuits on top of the casserole and bake all at the same time, you will come up with raw dough on the bottom of the biscuits!  Doing it this way, allows you to have fully baked biscuits and still get them to soak up some of the casserole.)

Take out and allow to cool for a few minutes.
Enjoy! 



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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Chicken Alfredo

I don't get Hubby in the kitchen cooking dinner often, but when I do, I take advantage of it as much I can.  After a long day at work, he came home and told me he was making dinner.  I was all for it.  I gave him the recipe and with a little guidance, away he went.  My goodness it was delicious! It tasted just like a dish you would order from Olive Garden, but at half the cost!


Chicken Alfredo


Ingredients
12 ounces of your favorite pasta
4 tablespoons butter
2 whole boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cloves of Garlic, minced
3/4 cups Dry White Wine or Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1/2 cup Half and Half
3 tablespoons Heavy Cream
Low Sodium Chicken Broth, As needed for thinning
3/4 cups Parmesan Cheese, Shaved or Grated 
2 tablespoons Parsley
Directions
Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.

Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breasts.  Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat and cook chicken thoroughly.  Remove chicken from the skillet and slice into strips and set aside.  

Add the additional 2 tablespoons of butter and minced garlic and heat over medium heat for 1 minute.  Stir the garlic often so the garlic does not burn.  Pour the wine into the skillet and let it bubble up, reducing it for 2 minutes.  Add in the half and half, cream, salt and pepper. Whisk constantly until it's combined. Allow it to heat and thicken.  This may take a few minutes...be patient.  If the sauce gets too thick, add a little chicken broth to help thin it out.  

When the sauce is to your liking, remove it from heat.  Stir the Parmesan cheese into the sauce.  Add in the noodles and toss to coat. Next, add the chicken and toss. If the sauce is still too thick for you, add in a little more chicken broth.  Sprinkle with parsley.

Serve on your favorite dish and enjoy!  

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Taco Tuesday

A new week is upon us. Have a little fun with your family this Tuesday with my take on Taco Tuesday!

Muffin Pan Tacos



Ingredients
1lb ground beef
Taco seasoning
Mexican Cheese
10 inch flour tortillas
Your family's favorite toppings

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
Brown the ground beef and drain. Prepare the taco seasoning as the package calls for and mix into the ground beef.
Meanwhile, take a 2 cup measuring cup and place face down on top of a tortilla and press to cut out a circle. (You can get two circles out of 1 shell)
Press the circles into the muffin pan.
Spoon however much taco meat you would like into the cups and top with cheese.
Bake for 10 minutes. Cool slightly and top with your favorite toppings!
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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Perfect Morning!

The weekend is here yet again! At about 9pm last night the Cinnamon Bread was finally finished. The swirls came out perfectly. We may just have to make French Toast with it this weekend! 


Friday, January 10, 2014

Lasagna Toss!

It's Friday night, finally! After a long work week who wants to go grocery shopping for groceries? I know I wouldn't want to.  I would want to get home, pour myself a glass of wine and put my feet up!   Mmm...wine. 

Lasagna Toss, also known as Lasagna Skillet in my house is a meal I came up with back in Wisconsin after Hubby and I just got married...and basically we were poor. We had a new business to pay for, move 2,000 miles across the country, and did I mention we just got hitched?! So money was TIGHT. 

All night at work I was craving lasagna, it was all I could think of. I knew I didn't have all the ingredients to make it, or the money to buy them. So I improvised on what I had...




My kitchen is always stocked with noodles of some sort, pasta sauce and other ingredients that we'll get to in a different post. 

I've changed this recipe a few times now and tonight I'll have to admit, wasn't the best. I normally don't use a Four Cheese Pasta Sauce, I always use/buy Traditional. Four Cheese is what I had in the pantry.  Remember, sometimes you just have to use what you have. As my Dad would always say, no use in spending more money. It's a waste! 

Ingredients 

1 pound ground beef
1-2 green peppers, diced and seeded 
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
1-2/3 cups water 
1/4 cup Italian Dressing (zesty, traditional, whatever your taste buds desire)
12 oven ready lasagna noodles broken up into chunks
      (or 1-1/2 cup of the noodle of your liking)
1 cup mozzarella cheese

Instructions

Brown ground beef in a large saucepan and drain 

Stir in peppers, garlic, spaghetti sauce, water, and dressing.  Bring to a boil. Stir in noodles, reduce heat to medium low, cover, still stirring occasionally.  About 10 minutes, or until noodles are cooked through.

Remove from heat, sprinkle with cheese and cover until the cheese has melted. Pour yourself a glass of wine, put your feet up and...

Enjoy!

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Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Bread

If you want your home to smell delicious, warm and cozy this is the recipe is perfect.  It is A-MAZ-ING!  Plus, who doesn't love the smell of cinnamon?! I've only ever made this recipe for my hubby and I, and usually I'm the one who ends up eating it all. He's not a big breakfast fan. Oh well, more for me!

Pioneer Woman Red Drummond is lets face it, an idol of mine. She makes cooking and baking easy with her step by step recipes.

You do not need one of those ugly, huge, space hogging, bread machines for this recipe!  :)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Milk
  • 6 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 3-1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Cinnamon
  •  Egg And Milk, Mixed Together, For Brushing
  •  Softened Butter, For Smearing And Greasing

Instructions

Melt butter with milk. Heat until very warm, but don't boil. Allow to cool until still warm to the touch, but not hot. Sprinkle yeast over the top, stir gently, and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
Combine flour and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix sugar and eggs with the paddle attachment until combined. Pour in milk/butter/yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add half the flour and beat on medium speed until combined. Add the other half and beat until combined.
Switch to the dough hook attachment and beat/knead dough on medium speed for ten minutes. If dough is overly sticky, add 1/4 cup flour and beat again for 5 minutes.
Heat a metal or glass mixing bowl so it's warm. Drizzle in a little canola oil, then toss the dough in the oil to coat. Cover bowl in plastic wrap and set it in a warm, hospitable place for at least 2 hours.
Turn dough out onto the work surface. Roll into a neat rectangle no wider than the loaf pan you're going to use, and about 18 to 24 inches long. Smear with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Mix sugar and cinnamon together, then sprinkle evenly over the butter-smeared dough. Starting at the far end, roll dough toward you, keeping it tight and contained. Pinch seam to seal.
Smear loaf pan with softened butter. Place dough, seam down, in the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix a little egg with milk, and smear over the top. Bake for 40 minutes on a middle/lower rack in the oven.
Remove from the pan and allow bread to cool. Slice and serve, or make cinnamon toast or French toast with it.












My First Post

My first post! Here goes nothing! 
     My husband and I have been living here for the past 7 months and I absolutely love it! I have to admit, I do not miss the cold Wisconsin weather at all! 
    Back home I was a licensed Barber/Cosmetologist working for an amazing company. Even though I may not be working in the field anymore, I still keep up with new trends and my education. You may see some how to hair styles on here every once and awhile.  :)
    The main reason I created this blog is to bring forth the knowledge and skills I've learned from being a stay at home housewife living in a expensive lifestyle city, money saving tips for one income households, home decorating on a budget, crafting how-to's and of course recipes! 'The Essentials'
Enjoy!


Always,


Katie