The happy life of a happy wife…











{March 29, 2011}   Spring Cleaning – The Pantry

Maybe it was the small thrill I got from cleaning off my kitchen countertops that made me want to tackle the pantry…  or maybe it was the fact that I went to Target and there wasn’t any place to put the groceries away…  or maybe I was just bored and sick of watching tv.

Whatever the reason, I started cleaning out my pantry.  Before I knew it, my entire kitchen was a WRECK and I was trying to claw my way out from under it.  I threw out all of the expired food and whatever was open and stale.

I got rid of this:

And this:

And this:

It was extremely rewarding, but at the same time I was pretty disgusted by how much food we waste.  The stuff goes in the pantry and will inevitably be pushed to the back and forgotten about.  So my plan for now is to not buy food unless it will be on the weekly menu.  If I’m not going to use then what’s the point in buying it, right?

So my pantry looks pretty good now, eh?  I can’t believe how much more space I have! LOL!

Now it’s all organized…

…and I can even see the floor!  All those empty boxes (why did we save the empty boxes?) are gone!

Even though most of the food fell under the “recently expired” or “open and stale” categories, there were a few things that were “grossly expired”

I don’t even like these, so why the heck did I buy them??

And the grand prize goes to:

Click on the linky below and show me your own before and after pantry or countertop pictures!  I can’t wait to see the progress you have made in your own kitchens 🙂

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{March 28, 2011}   Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Recipe adapted from: Allrecipes.com

LOVED THIS!  No, really, I loved this one!  And the next day, reheated, it was just as good.  Mmmmm.
It isn’t the easiest, quickest casserole out there, but for me it was worth the effort.

Make a little egg/milk bath

Soak your chicken and get our the bread crumbs

 

I used panko

Fry the chicken pieces (Don't they kinda look like the chicken nuggets at Chick-Fil-A?)

Chicken + Ham + Cheese

Add the soup mixture

Bake it up

Serve over egg noodles

 Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup plan panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup oil (for frying)
  • 8 ounces shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 8 ounces fully-cooked ham, cubed
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 bag of egg noodles

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Beat egg and 1/2 cup milk together until combined.  Put the breadcrumbs in another bowl.  Set aside.
  3. Cut your chicken into chunks, placing the pieces in the egg mixture to coat.
  4. Using tongs, transfer the coated chicken into the breadcrumbs, pressing down a little bit to coat.
  5. Heat oil in a large skillet to 375 degrees F.  Carefully fry breaded chicken cubes in hot oil until golden brown on all sides, then remove and drain on paper towels.
  6. Place chicken cubes in a glass baking dish.  Add the ham and the cheese and gently stir to combine.
  7. In a small bowl, combine the soup and 1 cup milk.  No need to heat it, just pour directly over the casserole.
  8. Baked for about 30 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly.
  9. Meanwhile, prepare egg noodles according to package directions.  Once cooked, I stir in a little butter to prevent sticking and give them some buttery flavor goodness.
  10. Serve warm.



{March 24, 2011}   Spring Cleaning

Before

After

 

Spring Cleaning! Share a before and after photo of a room you recently tackled.



{March 22, 2011}   Cheesy Garlic Breadsticks

Recipe adapted from: Boboli

These were so yummy that Shane actually asked me to wrap the leftovers up so he could take them to work… and he isn’t huge on leftovers.  I knew they’d be easy because I read the recipe, but it always surprises me when things are *that* easy.  Although — cheating by using the pre-minced garlic helped some!  I discovered this wonderful section of the produce department where everything is done.  Chopped, diced, minced… whatever your recipe calls for, they’ve done the work for me.  🙂  You may not get the satisfaction of preparing the meal from scratch, but some days there just isn’t enough time!

And hello??!? Only three ingredients???  Three ingredients and you’ve got yourself a quick snack!

Garlic -> Cheese

Then just bake it up

I only had 1 cup of Mozzarella, so I had to use 1 cup of Colby Jack as well.  I’m in love with mozzarella, but the CJ wasn’t bad either.

And of course I had to cut it like they do at Papa John’s

Ingredients:

  • 1 Boboli pizza crust
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced.
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (Mozzarella)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven according to package directions.
  2. Bake crust on a pizza pan for 5 minutes.  Remove from oven.
  3. Sprinkle garlic over crust and top with cheese, leaving a 1″ border around the edge.
  4. Return to oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

Notes:

  • Depends on which size pizza crust you get, but just put the toppings on according to your personal taste.  It’s probably pretty hard to mess this one up.



{March 14, 2011}   Potato and Ham Soup

Recipe from:  Allrecipes

Even though I messed this one up, I know that (if made correctly) it would be delicious — and I can’t wait to try again!  Quadrupling the salt is a big mistake, and I wouldn’t recommend it lol  But besides the ridiculously salty-ness, it was still good.

Get your garbage bowl ready and peel those potatoes!

Dice them up

Cook the potatoes with some ham, onions, and celery

Everything good has lots of butter...

Mmmm butter

Butter + Flour + Milk

Add them together

And you've got soup!

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups peeled/diced potatoes (about 4-5 medium potatoes)
  • 1/3 cup diced celery
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup diced cooked ham
  • 3 1/4 cups water
  • 2 tbsp chicken bouillon granules
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or less?)
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 5 tbsp AP flour
  • 2 cups milk

Directions:

  1. Combine the potatoes, celery, onion, ham and water in a stockpot.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to medium heat and cook for about 10-15 minutes, until potatoes are tender.  Stir in the chicken bouillon, salt, and pepper.
  2. In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat.  Whisk in flour with a fork and stir constantly for about 1 minute until thick.  Slowly stir in milk (don’t allow lumps to form).  Continue stirring over medium-low heat for 4-5 more minutes until thickened.
  3. Stir the milk mixture into the stockpot and cook soup until heated through.  Serve immediately.


et cetera
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