Monday, January 28, 2013

Chicken and Spinach Quesadillas

Don't you love that funny little pepper baby? I found him while chopping peppers for the awesome Chicken and Spinach Quesadillas. I found the recipe predictably on Pinterest. Check out the original recipe on The Other Side of Fifty.

1 1/2 -2 cups seasoned, cooked and diced chicken breast meat ( I boiled the chicken)
1 TBSP olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1 banana pepper, diced (I omitted this because the grocery store was all out)
a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (heaping) TBSP all purpose flour
3/4 cup chicken broth
4 cups fresh baby spinach, stems removed, coarsely chopped
1 (15.5 ounce) can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Flour tortillas
Shredded cheese (I used Colby Jack)

I chopped the peppers and onions while I boiled the chicken.

Next, I sauteed the veggies with some crushed red pepper, salt and pepper.

I seasoned the chicken with some garlic salt, pepper and regular salt while the veggies cooked.

Next I added the flour to the veggies. I was attempting to take a cute picture with my fancy new tablespoons. Of course I messed it up. I held the tablespoon in the wrong direction.

I was nervous to add the flour without any real moisture, but surprisingly it kind of "stuck" to the veggies.

The next step I took was adding the chicken broth. I, again, didn't know what to expect. But the broth quickly took on a creamy, thick texture.

I don't know if you are as easily entertained as I am, but I love adding a huge amount of spinach to a dish, like this one, and watching how quickly it cooks down. I like to think of myself as a kitchen magician and I have the power to shrink vegetables. No? You don't think that when you cook? Once again, I'm all alone in my weird imagination.

Next I added the chicken and cannellini beans. I had a picture of it all together, but I hit a wrong button and can't get the picture to come back. Clearly, I'm good at what I do on a computer. (Please note the sarcasm.) 

Lastly, I put the tortillas in a pan with some cheese and layered the mixture on half of the tortilla. After it had a chance to brown, I flipped the cheese only portion of the tortilla over- and voila! I had a fancy 'dilla. 

Oops! The first quesadilla was filled with too much mixture as you can tell by the protruding ingredients.

The rest of the quesadillas turned out great. I ran out of tortillas with half of the mixture still left. I took the mixture to work the next day and ate it like a salad. It was pretty yummy. 

The original recipe calls for avocado and sour cream on the side. I skipped that, but I bet fresh avocado would taste great atop these quesadillas. This could also be a vegetarian dish if you omit the chicken.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Breakfast Sammies

What?!? That is so weird. Who would put eggs in muffin tins? I would. 

Why you ask? Because Pinterest told me to. Over at The Yummy Life, a wonderful idea was formed. Make your own healthier version of Egg McMuffins! Ok! I'm in!

We start by putting eggs in a muffin tin, and breaking the yolk so they are just like at McDonalds.

Next bake the eggs at 350 degrees for 10-25 minutes, however long it takes them to completely cook. I cooked the eggs at 15 minutes and I think they were a bit over cooked. The eggs were puffed up and then deflated when I took them out of the oven.

Next I set up a small assembly line with low fat cheese and ham in a whole wheat english muffin. You can use whatever meat (or no meat) you'd like. The blogger recommends turkey sausage, which sounded awesome to me, but I didn't have any.

Oh no! I forgot to spray the pan with cooking spray! Of course I realized this after I took the eggs out of the oven. Luckily I didn't have to wrestle the pan too much to get the eggs out.

Next I wrapped up my little friends in wax paper, and popped them in the freezer. My plan was to grab one a day, and heat up in the microwave when I got to work.

The convenience of these breakfast sammies can't be beat. Unfortunately, I have not fine tuned the heating process. I had to warm it up for at least 2 minutes to make sure it was hot and no longer frozen, but that causes the cheese to leak everywhere. TIP: Do not freeze the sammies while they are hot, the condensation from the frozen steam causes your sammie to be soggy.

The flavor is great, a lot less calories than fast food breakfast, and this is very easy. If you want to give this a try, just learn from my mistakes, and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Dragon Mishap

You may remember from the Baby Dragon post, that some great friends of ours has an adorable baby girl nicknamed 'Dragon.'  I wanted to do something special for Dragon. I wanted to hand make a dragon costume! This is the only craft I was able to accomplish in the past few months - and as always, it was quite typically terrible. I searched for patterns but nothing seemed right, so I made a "plan" on my own and set to work.

I purchased a onesie, some cute fabric and set to work. I started with the dragon scales. I cut many, many small squares and round the edges creating a soft scale shape.


I started by pinning the scales in place, but found that the pins were more of a hindrance than help. I eventually omitted the pins and just sewed half a scale, layered the next scale, sewed half across again, layered another scale, yada, yada, yada.

I sporadically placed scales of another fabric to add a pop of fun.

Oops! That's a little crooked! Over time I added the scales all the way around the neck and the entire back of the onesie as well.

Next I needed a tail. I purchased a loop turner to assist me in this process. I sewed what I thought, would be the perfect size for a tail.

Next I sewed a cute little triangle for the tip of the tail. 

 I attempted to turn the tail inside out with the loop turner. It wouldn't turn! I watched my grandmother do this a million times, but somehow I just couldn't get it to work.

So with what little remaining fabric I had left, I made a short, stubby tail.

I sewed it in place underneath some scales.

Next I was onto the ears and wings. Using some measurements given to me from Dragon's mommy, I sewed elastic into a headband. Clearly I struggled with using the best stitch. I thought the purple thread would be cute, but it was ugly. I tried to pull out the mess to the right of the criss cross stitches, but I couldn't. I made too much of a knotted mess. Oh well! No one will see it anyway, right?

Next I sewed three layers of felt together. The stitching is not quit perfect, and it definitely was not centered. But I wanted to attach it to the headband anyway to see if I could make it work. I sewed it an angle along the headband, it seemed to work. See the final photo for the finished product.

Next I cut out four wings to sew together. Wait a minute!

They don't match up because I didn't plan it out. What is this, mistake # 45? At this point, I was ready to give up. GB encouraged me to finish after I had a mini temper tantrum.

So, again with what little material I had, I cut material that matched when placed together.

I sewed the wings in place on the back edge of the sleeve. I envisioned Dragon waving her arms and the wings moving with her.

Here is a preview of the costume, and next was supposed to be a photo of baby Dragon wearing her purple costume.

When Dragon was getting dressed into her costume, she couldn't fit in it. The size was fine, but my stitches were so tight she couldn't get her arms and head through the openings. Only I could have made so many mistakes. This is a true Kiss My Smash craft. Next time I decide to make a costume, I'll follow a pattern. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Clean and Pretty

Hello to my favorite readers!

I am going to be trying out something new in our house and I thought you might want to play along too.

Every time Saturday morning rolls around - I experience the same wave of emotions. I sleep in, brew a cup of coffee and smile to myself as I explore Pinterest while sipping on my coffee. I am relaxed and happy that it is the weekend. I can put my feet up and relax. Then I come crashing down to earth as I look around me. The living room needs to be dusted and picked up, there is mail piling up on the kitchen table, my clothes are all over the place in my 'Get Ready' room aka the spare bedroom where I keep all of my clothes and shoes, and the tub needs to be scrubbed. UGH! Nothing worse than having a full day of cleaning ahead of me when all I want to do is chill out.

GB is so sweet and always offers to help me, he wants to be involved, and in fact does many of the household chores already. But I hate the way he cleans. I don't know if you have ever experienced this with anyone - but in my humble opinion, he does it all wrong. He always wants to start by sweeping before I have cleaned off the counters or dusted. It makes no sense. Or he'll wash the dishes but refuse to dry them and put them away. It drives me crazy. I appreciate his help and willingness to pitch in, but I always end up telling him to do something else and I do the majority of the cleaning.

Well, I think I have found a solution. All over Pinterest are weekly cleaning charts that eliminate the need for the big weekend clean up. I am going to give the below list a try this week. I'll update you next week to see if this actually works. This list comes from Rachel at Petite Siansa.

 Wish me luck! Let me know if you play along too! I'd love to hear how it goes for you!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Soup Casserole

Any time I am out to eat at a restaurant that offers French Onion Soup, I order it. No matter what. I'm a huge fan of french onion soup and although I know it's probably not the healthiest of soups, I can't resist it. I recently came across a recipe for a French Onion Soup Casserole and knew I had to try it. The recipe came from Instructables.They describe the dish as the 'Best Thanksgiving Side dish ever' and while I can't disagree, I think this casserole is great for any occasion. 

2-3 Tbs Butter or Margarine
3 large sweet onions or 4 medium white or yellow onions
2 c. shredded Swiss cheese (8 oz.)
1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted**
2/3 c. milk
1 tsp. soy sauce
8 or so slices of French bread

**You can substitute cream of mushroom soup for cream of chicken to make vegetarian.

I began by sauteing chopped onions in butter.

Meanwhile, I heatd the soup, milk and soy sauce in a sauce pan.

As the onions began slightly browning and becoming clear, I pulled them off the heat and began layering them in a casserole dish with salt and pepper to taste, and some of the cheese.

After the soup/milk mixture was heated and almost to a boil, I poured it directly into the onions and cheese. Next I layered sliced baguettes atop the casserole.

I baked the casserole at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. The bread just began browning and I pushed the bread into the casserole and topped it off with - you guessed it - more cheese.

I baked the casserole for another 15 minutes and it was done. I probably put too much cheese on top of the casserole. It was a bit greasy which I wasn't thrilled about. I would recommend a light dusting of cheese rather than suffocating the casserole in cheese.

We ate the french onion soup casserole along side a baked pork chop. If you are a fan of onions - you will love this casserole!

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