Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thank you Martha!

You can always count on the Martha Stewart website for the most fantastic meals and recipes. I ran across this one the other day, and boy am I glad I did!! This was so ridiculously delicious! There are 3 thing I will warn you about. This recipe definitely took an hour (maybe a bit more) from prep to finish (I don't know if it's because I used fresh veggies or what??). Also, it dirties a lot of dishes. I'm a big advocate for not making a HUGE mess, and cleaning while I cook, and it definitely used a lot of dishes. The comments below the recipe state that it came out a little blah.... and.... yeah... it could have been. But I doctored mine a bit. I really feel like I need to incorporate more veggies and good stuff for my little man so I added nice fresh asparagus stalks to this meal. I also added a couple good dashes of onion powder to the final mixture, and then under the top coating of cheese I added a Parmesan herb topping that I had in my spice cabinet.
You know the best part of this meal? It makes enough for two meals, so I could cook one that night, and freeze the other half for another night! Oh me loves it when I can cook enough for 2 nights! Here ya go!!

Sorry I couldn't get a pic before we scooped Carter's portion out to cool!

Baked Penne with Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomatoes:
  • 6 tablespoons butter, plus more for baking dishes
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 pound penne rigate
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (8 ounces each), halved horizontally
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups whole milk
  • 10 ounces white mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded provolone (6 ounces) (I Sargento's Shredded Mozerella/Provolone mixture)
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan (4 ounces) (I would suggest a little more than this)


  1. Preheat oven to 400. Butter two shallow 2-quart baking dishes. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 3 minutes short of al dente; drain pasta, and return to pot.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper; cook until opaque throughout, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Halve each piece lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise.
  3. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, melt butter over medium. Add flour and garlic; cook, whisking, 1 minute. While whisking, gradually add milk; bring to a simmer, whisking frequently. Add mushrooms and tomatoes; cook 1 minute. Off heat, gradually stir in provolone and 1/2 cup Parmesan.
  4. Add chicken and pasta to pot; season with salt and pepper. Divide pasta mixture between baking dishes; sprinkle each with cup Parmesan.
  5. Bake, uncovered, until top is golden and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
  6. Prepare through step 4; let cool. Cover tightly with foil, and freeze, up to 3 months.
  7. Preheat oven to 400, and bake (still covered in foil) on a rimmed baking sheet until center is hot, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove foil; bake until golden, about 15 minutes more.
OOOOHHH!! It was sooooo yummy and I'm really looking forward to my left-overs for lunch today!

P.S.... I've noticed quite the trend of cheese-topped items on my site.... eh... oh well!! It's soooooo good!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Medicine for the heart

I've been in a really big slump lately, and really depressed with a lot of stuff going on. So, I decided to do whatever I could to bring myself out of my slump, at least for the weekend. I wanted to share these movies with you because I seriously laughed and it brightened me up. Check them out if you can.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Better late than never!

Hi guys! So, here is our Halloween re-cap!

The Thursday before Halloween was awesome! We got together with a really good friend of mine and had all the babies dress up. It was so great, and she made lots of yummy food and snacks for the adults and special little treats for the kiddos. This kind of stuff is great for memory making :)

The cutest little fisher-man saying hello to a little dragon

The kiddos- Aiden, Carter, Natalie

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that tail!

The girls and the babies

(not such a great pic of me and Carter, but good of the other girls!)

Carter had 2 costumes. One, my mom bought when I was still pregnant, and one that we couldn't resist. Carter goes to daycare at a Christian Academy so he was only allowed to dress as bible characters or an animal from Noah's Ark. Luckily, the costume my mom bought was a giraffe, and you'd best bet your ninny's that Noah had one of those on his ark! :)

So, those were the pics from Friday before Halloween. That day I also set myself to work on making my very first pie using Martha Stewart's recipe in her fall 09 issue (which, by the way, had a completely different picture in the magazine than the pic online!). I don't eat pie (for texture reasons... stop laughing!) But, I figured that I have no problem with cakes and other dessert items, so what's a little pie? I went balls to the wall my friends. I even made home-made crust with the cream-cheese pie crust out of the same Martha Stewart Living magazine! Woot!~ I was soooo stinkin' proud of myself. Check out this pie....

Isn't she a beauty! My crust was a bit of a devil and I couldn't quite understand how to shape it, but I think it turned out ok. I wish I had taken a pic of the inside once we cut it. You know why? 'Cause it was horrrrrible!! It was allll liquid and fell apart as soon as you cut into it! The dang thing cooked for 90 minutes! It should have set! I wonder if it was because the recipe didn't call for flour? I don't know! I was soooo upset. I was so proud of the dang thing and then it turned to crap in an instant. I will try it again I guess. I'm just glad I did my first pie on Halloween instead of the one that I'm planning to make for my first Thanksgiving Dinner this year!
Anywhooooo.... Here are pics from Halloween Day. We had such a beautiful day to sit outside on the porch and carve pumkins. It was so nice and just the dream setting to spend time with my family.

Group shot. Starting at the bottom and going left: Carter, my mom, Paisley, Phillip, my dad, my sister

Super focused to get the perfect shape cut into the most awwwwesome double-stacked pumpkins that we found in the "pumpkin patch" at Lowes

Daddy and Jamie, scooping out the gross insides

Mom is really getting into the fact that we use a lot of sign language with Carter and she's learning also. He's got "more" mastered!

He loves his apple sauce, and his grandmother loves giving it to him!

I should know better than to ask him to smile for a picture!

Phillip's awwwwesome pumpkin. I'm pretty impressed that he did this without a stencil!

My cute little man!

So, I got Carter's costume in the very beginning of October, and ever since, I knew exactly what I wanted Halloween to be like. I convinced my sister to dress Paisley up as a princess and I knew that I wanted to make Carter's wagon into a castle that they could both be in together. The castle in my mind was a lot more detailed with towers and stuff, but I didn't buy enough foam-board for that. I was pretty proud of the finished product though. Lots of hand painting and "sponge" technique to get the aged look in the bricks. This is the finished product of the mean old dragon guarding his princess in the castle.

I really wanted to make a personalized license plate on the back that said "drgnwgn" (aka- dragon wagon), but I figured that might be taking it a little too far :)