Saturday, September 24, 2011

Chicken ranch mac & cheese

I got this recipe off Pinterest which linked it back to One Ordinary Day, so I can't take credit for it.. it's one of the many recipes that I've gotten off Pinterest and has, obviously piqued my interest to make.

Sorry I didn't get around to doing this yesterday as I had planned.. I was on day 3 of a migraine from hell with the worst nausea just the thought of cooking anything had me queasy.

Today (Thankfully) I'm feeling better, at least no killer migraine.

Thanks Michelle for the great recipe.

Recipe:  Chicken Ranch Macaroni and Cheese
16 oz. dried pasta, elbow macaroni or shells
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 package of bacon
1-2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 c. milk, any fat content
1 pkg. Italian blend shredded cheese; divided
1 c. Monterey Jack shredded cheese or Colby-Jack blend, divided
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dill
1 tsp. salt
pepper, to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.
Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, until crisp.  Remove bacon from pan, leaving some drippings in the pan.  Drain bacon on a paper towel.  Add chicken to drippings, increase heat to medium-high and saute for until no longer pink.  Set aside.
Melt butter in the same pot you made the pasta in.  Whisk in flour.  Cook and stir 2 minutes.  Add milk to saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.  Boil for 2 minutes.  Stir in most of the cheese.  (Reserve a handful of each cheese blend to sprinkle on top of casserole.)  Add spices and chicken and stir to combine.
Spray 9×13″ baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Transfer pasta to baking pan.  Sprinkle with crumbled bacon and reserved cheeses.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, until thoroughly heated.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Chicken Ranch Mac & Cheese: Shopping list

The winner of this week's recipe of the week poll is Chicken Ranch Mac & Cheese.

I'll post the shopping list now and we'll cook tomorrow or Friday, if you'd like to cook along with me.  If you don't cook along with me and make the recipe in the future, let me know what you think of the recipe in the comments section.

Shopping list: 

16 oz. dried pasta, elbow macaroni or shells work best

unsalted butter

all-purpose flour

1/2 package of bacon

1-2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

milk, any fat content

1 pkg. Italian blend shredded cheese; divided

1 c. Monterey Jack shredded cheese or Colby-Jack blend, divided


onion powder, garlic powder, dill, salt, pepper

Friday, September 16, 2011

Recipe of the week.. Poll What are we cooking this week?

  • Pork Tenderloin stuffed with spinach, sun dried tomatoes and goat cheese
  • Braised Chicken in White Wine, Mustard & Tarragon
  • Chicken Ranch Mac & Cheese
More polls: Best all inclusive

The poll will run until Tuesday, then I'll make a shopping list and post it for us to all cook on Thursday or Friday night.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cookie Dough Brownies

I've been seeing these brownies flash around Pinterest the past week or so.. so of course I had to try them.

Now, I make ass kickingly amazing brownies (not to toot my own horn or anything here, but really, they're freaking fantastic brownies) so I went ahead and made those and I topped them with some Eggless cookie dough.. and Viola! Cookie dough brownies.

The Brownie:

1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon sal

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Grease an 8 inch square pan or line with foil.
In a medium bowl combine melted butter and cocoa and stir until cocoa is dissolved.
Add sugar and mix well.
Add eggs one at a time and stir until well combined.
Stir in vanilla, flour and salt until you no longer see any flour (do not overmix).
Spread in pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes.

DO NOT OVER-BAKE -- your brownies will come out dry. Adjust time/temp accordingly for your oven. If you do the knife/toothpick test, it should come out with moist crumbs, not clean.

For the cookie dough:
1 1/4 C flour
1/2 C butter
1/2 C packed brown sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
2 Tbs milk
1 C mini chocolate chips

Cream together the butter and sugar.

Add vanilla and milk and stir well.

Add chocolate chips.

Spread evenly over cooled cookie dough.

Let the brownies chill in the fridge until the cookie dough sets up, about an hour (or in the freezer for half an hour)

Cut into squares and keep covered in the fridge.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I got a pair of Heely's in August courtesy of Business to Blogger.  I posted a quick post that day just to let y'all know about them and I've worn them pretty much every day since.

I had originally planned on making a video, but then life happened, and I realized my driveway is on a slope which really isn't the best way to learn how to use these things since stopping on my butt in the middle of the street is never a good idea... so instead one morning when there was nobody here in the office I decided to try out the skate part on my own.  I knew that I wouldn't be publicly humiliated if I fell on my ass (which I did) or have my kid crack jokes for the rest of my life about it either.

Heelys are Incredibly comfortable.  They're good sturdy sneakers with a good sole (no pun intended).  Taking the wheel out does take some practice though and ladies, don't try to use your fingernail.. I learned this the hard way.  You've gotta push really hard in and up to get it to release and snap out.   Heelys take practice to use and it took me a while to feel at ease enough to actually "glide" along without the fear of falling.  I'll admit it, I'm kind of a klutz.  But I eventually got the hang of it enough to skate down the hallway without falling.  I'm pretty confident that I can walk to the park with The Kid and not fall and make a fool of myself.

Check out the Heely's Guide here
General Heely's Info here
and the Very important Heely's safety playbook here

I Originally wanted to get the Heely's for The Kid, but they only come in sizes up to Men's 12 and since Sasquatch here is a Men's 14 that wasn't happening, but would have been very cool and fun for him (ya here that Heely's?  the kids with the big feet wanna play too)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Banana scones with brown sugar glaze

I love banana bread, but I wanted something a little diffferent.  I saw a recipe for banana scones the other day, but I didn't have a few key ingredients to make that specific recipe so I decided to wing it and try one on my own.. they came out Fantastic!

Banana Scones

2 1/4 Cups + 1 tablespoon All purpose Flour
1/3 C Brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
3 Tbs Unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 Large banana
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbs milk

Preheat oven to 400°f

In a large bowl mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and pumpkin pie spice.  

Cut in the butter until it becomes fine crumbs and set aside.

In a small bowl mash the banana and add the egg, milk and Vanilla

Add the wet ingredients to the dry mixing until just combined.  Knead dough 12-14 times until smooth and pat into about a 7 inch round about 1 inch high on parchment lined baking sheet.  with a serrated knife cut into 8 slices and separate slightly.

Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Brown Sugar Glaze:

In a small bowl combine 1/3 C powdered sugar, 1 Tbs brown sugar, 2 Tbs milk and 1/2 Tsp vanilla.  stir to combine and drizzle over scones.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Lentils & rice or, Mujaddara

This was just about the easiest dish that I've ever made.  Lentils, rice, caramelized onions, ground coriander salt and pepper.  

That's it, easy peasy and filling too!  

I've made this twice so far and find it easiest if you cook the rice and lentils separately otherwise you end up with mushy lentils (yuck)

1 cup Lentils, cooked 
1 cup rice, cooked  
1 onion, thinly sliced
2-3 Tbs oil
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp Ground coriander

I always cook my lentils with a bay leaf, it gives them a nice flavor and smells wonderful too.

Sautee the onion with about 1/2 tsp salt in 203 Tbs oil.  Cook over low heat until golden and soft.

In a large bowl mix together the lentils and rice, add salt & pepper to taste and then add coriander.  Mix in the onions and serve.

Last night for dinner I served this with lemon chicken and it was fantastic.

I Don’t like lentils, I don’t like Lentils... Oh hey, Lentils are good

I can be a stubborn ass..

Ok.. I Am a stubborn ass, I’ll admit it.

For the longest time I swore up and down I didn’t like lentils.  I just thought they looked gross, they smelled weird and I really didn’t want anything to do with them.

But... Lentils are cheap.

And... Lentils are really, really good for you with only 230 cal, 16 grams of fiber and 18 grams of protein per cup they're a great addition to almost any meal.

So I manned up and bought some lentils one day at the grocery store at $.79/lb Yeah.. Like I said, they're cheap.

The lentils sat in my pantry for 2 weeks.. I sorta forgot about them... Wasn’t really sure what to make with them, so one day when it was really slow here in the office I decided to head on over to foodgawker and do a little recipe research.

When I got home that night I decided to just go with what I had in the pantry and if it came out good then I was one up.. If not I’d just have to try again.  I wasn’t even sure if The Kid was going to like it... so I was apprehensive when I called him to dinner but... he loved it.  I almost fell over.  I mean, I thought it was good, and he’s my toughest critic so I was really happy that it was good.

Since that day I’ve incorporated lentils into dinner a few nights a week and over the weekend something really awesome happened.  I decided to try on a pair of jeans that have been taunting me for months... I bought them on clearance months ago.. 2 sizes smaller than my regular size and I tried them on occasionally.. Knowing that eventually I would fit into them.  Sunday morning I saw them sitting there and I figured what the hell... they pulled right up.. They zipped and they buttoned with ease.   I almost cried.

I haven’t changed the way I exercise.. But I have incorporated more protein into my diet with the addition of lentils and that’s the only change I’ve made.  So yeah.. I’ll be sticking with it.

When I get home tonight I will have a recipe with pics to add here too.