You know when you get something new, oh say, a kitchen gadget, and you wonder how you ever lived without it!? Well, my friends, I got a George Foreman. Holy Moly. I love that thing! After the usual chicken and meat, I tried making paninis, and they were SO yummy we've been making them in every possible combination ever since! This one has definitely been a favorite!
BBQ Sauce ( I like honey)
Mayonnaise (trust me on this one)
Okay, so preheat your grill/george foreman/panini press, or whatever you're using. On the outsides of each slice of bread, spread a thin layer of mayo. You CAN use butter if you want, but I heard this tip on The Chew, and it's wonderful!! In a bowl, mix the chicken and bbq sauce, and place a big scoop on the bread and spread it out. Top with cheese and the other piece of bread. Grill on med/high until the cheese melts and the bread is golden and crispy. Serve with RANCH! Yum! Or, whatever dipping same you want! ;)
In a large sauce pan, melt butter. Add cream cheese over med heat and whisk until melted and smooth. Add milk and whisk again until smooth. Add garlic, parmesan cheese and pepper and stir well. Serve over noodles.
Geh! I can't seem to find the time to blog for the life of me! Honestly. Between Christmas shopping, photoshoots, and this crazy southern utah snowstorm, I can't catch a break! And to add madness to mayhem... today is day 1 of potty training. I'm a tad crazy like that.
So bare with me if my posts are very few and few between.
I'm doing my best!
Monday: We had Pesto Chicken Panini's (recipe coming!)
Tuesday: Broccoli Potato Soup and rolls
Wednesday: Freezer Manicotti, green salad and breadsticks
Ooops. I did it again. In all honestly though, Thanksgiving needs to be on a Monday. Because who wants to plan meals when you have Thanksgiving dinner on the brain!? Not me. That's who. But, alas. Here I sit. Planning away.
Monday: We spent the night Christmas shopping, and stopped at In-N-Out Burger. MMM! I did make a yummy lunch though! Crispy Chicken Rancheros! A Taco Time Copycat recipe!
Whew! These last few weeks have been a killer! My sweet baby girl got hit with the fllu :( And we took 2 trips to Insta-Care, one for our little guy, and one for my poor husband who got cement powder in his eyes. I'm praying this week is boring. I need a boring week! :)
Monday: Chicken and Stuffing Casserole and green salad
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven 325°.Grease a mini muffin tin.
Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl and set aside.In a mixer mix butter and sugars until light and fluffy.Beat in egg and vanilla until combined.Add dry ingredients and beat at low-speed just until combined.Stir in chocolate chips.
Spoon small spoonfuls into your hand, and roll into about 1" balls, place a ball in each muffin tin.
Bake for 15-18 minutes.
Allow to cool completely before removing each cookie from the tin by running a butter knife around the outside of the cookie, loosening it from the sides.
French dips are a STAPLE in or house! They are SO easy and yummy! They are perfect for a cold winter day!
2 lb roast
1 tsp ground red pepper (GROUND... not crushed)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
4 cup beef broth
1 packet au jus mix + 1/2 tsp ground red pepper + 1/4 tsp garlic powder
spicy brown mustard
put the roast, seasoning and broth in the crockpot, set onto low, and walk away for about 8-10 hours. Shred the roast and place back into the broth until you're ready to eat. Prepare the au jus according to the package directions, adding the red pepper and garlic powder.
Assemble sandwiches and add the spicy brown mustard.
We cook a lot of meat in our house. Beef, elk, chicken, pork... you name it. My husband is a meat and potatoes kind of guy! However, this usually leaves us with quite a bit of leftovers! I am always looking for new ways to use the extra mea, and this recipe was definitely a winner! It could easily be swapped for chicken, but I used THIS pork recipe, and it turned out SO good! I cant wait to make it again!
I am always looking for prep-ahead meals! You know, the ones that you can do most of the prep work ahead of time, and then right before you eat, you have minimal work and mess! I put all the ingredients into the crockpot in the morning, and then when we got home from church, all I had to do was throw the biscuits on top and bake it! So easy and it was the perfect meal for a cold autumn day!
You could also leave out the chicken and switch for cream of celery soup to make this a vegetarian dish!
Butter Biscuit Chicken Pot Pie
3 cans of cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup frozen lima beans
1 cup chopped carrots
3 medium potatoes, diced
(added at the end)
1 cup frozen peas
2 cups shredded chicken
2 cups biscuit mix (like bisquick)
plus what you need to prepare the mix ie. water/milk/eggs
1/4 cup melted butter
In the crock pot, mix together your cream of chicken soup, milk, seasonings, lima beans, carrots, and potatoes. (leave the peas and chicken out) Cook on high for about 4 hours, or low for about 6, or until the potatoes are tender.
Right before you are ready to bake, stir in the shredded chicken and peas. The reason I do this at the end, is the chicken will start to disintegrate into the sauce if its in for too long, so adding it at the end helps it stay together.
Mix together your biscuit dough, and set aside.
Transfer the mixture to a 9x13 and spoon biscuit dough on top.
With a basting brush, spread half of the melted butter on top.
Bake at 450 for about 25 minutes until the top is golden brown.
(check your biscuit instructions, mine said 450, but if yours says a lower temp, stick with what it tells you!)
When the pot pie is done, brush the remaining butter on top.
Wow! It's been a few weeks since I've done one of these!
Truth is, Blake started preschool, and I still have not gotten into a rhythm!
But don't fret, it's not just my blog that has suffered. You should take a look at my kitchen sink! Yikes. And don't get me started on the laundry room!
Last week brought some exciting new changes to my photography business! I am now officially under the name Stefanie Stratton Photography! Complete with a new facebook page, new business cards, new packaging, and a new blog in the works! Anyways, I thought I'd share my kids newest photos to celebrate! :)
Seriously... the cutest.
aannd... a few more, just for kicks! ;)
Hubby got an elk! Not a monster, but I was pretty proud!
This little lady got her ears pierced!
Getting a family photo is a joke now-days.
The birthday boy at his party. He was too cool for it all. ;)
But there is just something about all those perfect little rows of pureed veggies that makes my heart pitter-patter.
Odd... maybe. But I don't think I'm alone! At least I hope I'm not?
Now, before I delve too deeply into this topic, I need to clarify. I bought baby food for my first born, I fed it to him without guilt, it didn't break the bank, and he is a healthy, thriving three year old. I have absolutely NOTHING against prepackaged baby food. You can find amazing quality and the convenience cant be beat! However, the tipping point for me, was when I sat down and actually realized how much I was paying for those suckers! At walmart, I paid around $1.40 for two 3.5 oz packs of food. For about the same price, I could buy 4 whole sweet potatoes and make more than 10x the amount as was in the little packs.
So I dove, head first, into the baby food making pool.
And you know what, it isn't hard and it isn't time consuming. I actually thoroughly enjoy the process!
I staretd out by purchasing a mini food processor for $10 at walmart. Now, I have a blender, and I use that too, but this is very nice and convenient for small batches.
I then bought:
4 sweet potatoes
1 butternut squash
1 bag frozen peas
1 bag frozen green beans
1 bag carrots
When I got home, I laid everything out on the counter and got to work.
I'll start with the peas since that's what my photos are of....
I threw half the bag in a steamer basket and steamed them over a few inches of water for about 30 min. Until they were VERY VERY soft. Then, I threw them into the food prosessor and pulsed it until they were smooth, adding a little water along the way to help move things along.
I always keep my baby food a tad on the thick side (you'll see why a little later)
Once they reached the consistency I was looking for, I poured them into ice cube trays and placed them in the freezer overnight. Then in the morning I popped them out and threw them into a plastic bag.
Sweet potatoes: I wrapped all 4 individually in foil and baked them about 1 hour at 400 until they were soft, then I removed the skins and followed the same procedure as the peas.
Butternut squash: I cut the squash in half, removed the seeds and roasted it for about 40 min at 400. Then... same procedure as the peas.
Pears: I didn't cook these at all because they were already very soft. I just pureed them and poured them into the ice cube trays to freeze.
Green Beans: Okay, no advice here. I steamed them for an hour, and they just turned out gritty and nasty. So I chucked 'em.
Carrots: Peel and steam. blend and freeze. (see the pattern?)
These are the foods I'm starting out with for Quinn. Nothing fancy. I do plan on getting a little more adventurous. Some ideas I have rolling around are:
blueberry banana oatmeal
sweet potatoes and pears
beets and apples
peas and carrots (a classic)
broccoli and cauliflower
and on and on...
Here's how I use the baby food once it's frozen...
I remove about 2-3 blocks of baby food from the freezer, and place them in a microwave safe container, then nuke them, stirring often, for about 1 minute. TEST THE FOOD WITH YOUR FINGER!!! DO NOT just stick a spoon in and feed your baby! Microwaves can cause hot spots and even if one spot feels fine, or even cool, there can be burning hot places that can really hurt your little one! So please please please stir it well, and test it!! Ok, so USUALLY the baby food will still be a little cold after I stir it, so I add a bit of hot water. That's the reason I leave it a little thicker when I make the purees, so that the warm water can gently warm the baby food, while thinning it out at the same time. Usually after I thaw the baby food, I add a little rice cereal or baby oatmeal.
Oh, and one more thing... apples. Please don't take the time to do this yourself! Buy the no sugar added applesauce at Walmart! it's the SAME THING! You can even get organic at Trader Joes or somewhere like that. Same goes for pumpkin... the canned 100% pumpkin (not the pie filling) is just pumpkin thats been baked, and pureed. Exactly how you would do it. :)
Now that fall is on the horizon, my brain is brimming with new casseroles ideas! I really love casseroles! They remind me so much of home. Which, technically, is only 14 minutes away... but that's not the point! ;) The point is, that this casserole is the perfect dish for a cool autumn evening. Or anytime for that matter! Anytime is casserole time! ;)
2 cups uncooked rice (with water to cook)
1 can cream of mushroom soup (feel free to make your own, I used the canned stuff)
1 can of cream of celery soup
1 can cut green beans
1/2 lb ground beef
1 small onion
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp seasoned salt
Cook your rice according to package directions.
In a pan, cook your onion and ground beef until done.
In a LARGE bowl, mix rice and ground beef together. Then add your cream soups and seasonings. Transfer to a 9x13 casserole dish. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.
These are so gosh darn easy! And yummy! Perfect to have in the fridge, for a quick breakfast, or even an after school snack for the kids!
To make 10 sandwiches:
10 english muffins
10 slices of cheese
10 slices of bacon (I used turkey bacon)
Pretty self explanatory! Cook bacon and eggs. Then I set up all the muffin bottoms in a row, and add 1 slice of bacon (broken in half) to each, then add about 1/4 cupish of eggs. 1 slice of cheese and pop on the muffin top!
Wrap in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 5-6 days. I'm sure you could freeze them as well! Although, I haven't tried it, but if yo do, leave a comment and let me know how you do it!
I made these sandwiches the other day for dinner when I had NO time to make dinner. And they were amazing! Definetly a keeper!
For 2 Sandwiches:
1 large chicken breast
2 burger buns
1 cup Kraft toasted sesame asian dressing
2 TBS thick teriyaki sauce
1 can pineapple chunks
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 red bell pepper - large dice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
another 1/4 cup of the asian dressing
Butterfly chicken breast, so you have 2 thin fillets. In a gallon sized ziplock bag, place chicken, Kraft dressing and teriyaki sauce. Marinade in the refrigerator for 2-6 hours. or however long you have! ;)
Preheat a skillet to medium, and add marinated chicken. Cook 8-10 minutes, until no longer pink.
While your chicken is cooking, in a smaller skillet, add pineapple, mushroom and red pepper, then add the remaining dressing and seasonings. Heat through on med/low until chicken is done.
Assemble sandwiches. We used mustard and mayo, and garnished with lettuce.
I was just a tad excited to get started on my fall decor this year! In fact, I wouldn't even technically say that it's fall yet here in So. Utah, but nevertheless... My decor made its way up!
I was really excited to make a new wreath this year, after browsing hundreds of ideas all year via Pinterest! So one fateful night when my sweet Mom had my kids, and the husband was out hunting, I very kindly handed myself a $20 bill (Thank you, Self) and marched into Joannes on a mission. I was going to do my whole wreath for under $20. And By-Golly. I did it!
I wish I took more pictures of the 'During' process, but I had a friend over and we were too busy chatting and chasing kids to worry about cameras! But I'll give you a little run-through...
What I had on hand:
Grapevine wreath (but these are really only like $4)
(seriously, I can't tell you how many times I've used this ribbon pack!)
What I bought:
most things were on sale at Joannes
Welcome Friends Sign - on sale for around $3.00
Burlap - about $2.00 worth
Green Tulle - $2.50
Acorn picks - .99 and 1.50
Moss Roll - $2.50 with coupon
Berry garlands - $1.50 each
cream polka dot ribbon - $2.00
Autumn leaves - $1.50
So total - around $17.50... give or take. I estimated due to sales.
I started by weaving the tulle in and out of the wreath, and then did the same with the ribbon. You'll notice I ended up not using the yellow, I had to edit a little. It was getting too busy.
After I had all the tulle and ribbon I wanted, I glued chunks of the Moss onto the wreath, then proceeded to add things here and there until I reached the fullness I was looking for!
I did separate the acorn picks into smaller sections, and I cut up the berry garlands to makes them more like berry 'sprays'. Lastly, I glued the sign to a piece of scrap ribbon, and tied that around the wreath to secure it. I tried gluing it directly onto the wreath, but that wasn't happening, so I improvised!
All in all, I am super happy with how it turned out! And I am even more happy that it only cost me $20!!
I think I might make this an "Every Holiday Challenge"! What do you think!? Want to see more of these!?
What are your favorite ways to save on holiday decor?
My little guy started PRESCHOOL! Can you believe it!? Am I old enough to have a kid in preschool!? Apparently I am? Who knew!? ;) In other news... I am sick. Bluck. Mom's should not get sick. Although, neither should 5 month old baby girls... and she's in the same boat. Whenever I get sick, I always think of this song from the album My Turn on Earth. You can't be grateful for your health if you've never been sick! But gosh darn it... I want to feel better!
Monday: Ranchhouse Porkchops and twice baked potatoes
I am always looking for really quick, yummy side dishes to serve with dinner. I made this salad on a whim the other night, with things I already had on hand, and it turned out amazing! It would even be yummy as a breakfast!
4 cups fruit - large diced- I used nectarines, apples, bananas, and peaches, but the possibilities are endless! Strawberries, grapes, plums, pineapple, mango... use what you have!
4 TBS Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 TBS milk
1 tsp cinnamon
In a bowl, mix your milks and cinnamon. Toss with fruit.
1. Cheek Color Stick :: This blush stick is so amazing! It gives an instant, dewey color, instead of the chalky look you get from powder!
2. Glimmersticks Waterproof Eyeliner :: Dare I say... that this is my #1, all time favorite Avon find. I use this baby every single day without fail! It goes on SO smooth, without having to push hard, like you do with a normal pencil. Plus, it twists up, so no more searching for that dumb sharpener! If I had to tell you to buy just one product... THIS WOULD BE IT! They come on sale often too! I've seen them as cheap as like $2.99!
3. Ideal Flawless Concealer Stick :: I couldn't of lived without this after I had my babies! It hides those under eye circles amazingly well! It's also perfect for blemishes and uneven skin tone!
5. True Color Eyeshadow :: I love this eyeshadow! I have a really hard time finding a dark eyeshadow that, for one, stays all day, and two, doesn't smudge all over my face... this does the trick! I especially love the plum burgundy color!
1. 2-in-1 Body wash and bubble bath :: I love having a bubble bath that would irritate my son's skin! It's gentle enough to use in every bath! Not just for special occasions!
2. Bath Time Body Paints :: These have to be my sons favorite part about bath time! They have rollers on the top, so you can paint all over their arms and legs and it rinses clean when you're done! SO much fun!
3. Shampoo and Conditioner :: Okay, I'll be honest... them smells are what got me hooked on these to begin with, but I really do love them! They do a great job at getting his hair soft and clean! I'm currently using the coconut... and I'd be lying if I told you I didn't want to use it for myself! They smell SO yummy!
My mother in law introduced me to this line when I told her that I was concerned about Blake's dry skin and eczema. I have LOVED LOVED LOVED both of these products for not only him, but for me , my husband, and I've used them on Quinn also! It is honestly the BEST lotion I've ever used! I used to by cetaphil lotion, and now I have two big costco containers just sitting in the closet, because I ONLY use this stuff! It works WONDERS on eczema!
I really really love cookies. However, baking is not my forte. At all. You may have noticed, that I rarely post a bread recipe that doesn't use the bread machine... and my cookie/cake recipes are... well frankly, 90% of the time they are from a box!
These, however, are amazing! And easy! Even I can bake them! Which is a plus! ;) My husband loved them, and he isn't easy to please in the 'sweets' department! I'll definitely be whipping these up again!
1 box of yellow cake mix
1/4 cup of melted butter
3 tbsp of sugar and 1 tsp of cinnamon -- to roll cookies in.
Mix all ingredients.
Spoon into rounded tablespoons, and roll into balls.
Roll balls in cinnamon sugar mixture and place on cookie sheet.
We had a party for Blake on Saturday, and one of my sister in laws didn't end up being able to come into town. So since I had already done the grocery shopping, I am currently left with about 30 or so hamburger bins, that need to be eaten. Like now. So this week, our house will be burger/sandwich/bun central! I literally have to use them in every meal! Wish me luck!
Monday: Pulled Pork Sandwiches and leftover salads