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Please excuse the lack of photos in some of my older posts as I am trying to slowly go back through and add the photos that were accidentally deleted

November 15, 2010

Menu Planning - Week of 11/15/10

I'm keeping this short today. I am super busy! I wasn't as on top of my game this week as I hoped to be. I didn't go to the grocery store over the weekend. We didn't end up eating all of the meals on last week's menu plan, so some are carrying over into this week. I may have to make a mid-week stop at the store to pick up a few items, but we should make it until Friday (pay day!). As usual, I'm linking up to Menu Plan Mondays.

Sunday 11/14:  nacho chicken bake with corn

Monday 11/15:  chicken alfredo with baked beans for two

Tuesday 11/16:  pan-roasted garlic and lemon chicken with cornbread or rotini

Wednesday 11/17:  eat out (tag football night)

Thursday 11/18:  basil scallops with mac n cheese for two

Friday 11/19 = payday! Which means a trip to the grocery store :)

November 12, 2010

Pork Chops with BBQ Pineapple Baked Beans

Another blog that I get a lot of inspiration from is Katy's blog. She seems like such a sweet and genuine person. I love how you can feel like you know a person through blogging, and through their cooking. She doesn't disappoint with her wide array of recipes from breakfast to dinner to desserts! It is fitting that she titled her blog having to do with soul, because I can tell she cooks with soul and love. And of course several of her recipes are on my must try list  :) I can cross this one off the list!

AND it's not difficult to make! Just a few simple steps. First, put a little bit of oil on a skillet and coat to prevent sticking. Then add 1/2 of a chopped onion to the skillet and saute. I used white yellows but whichever you prefer is fine.

Then I set the onions aside. I added a bit more oil (or you can use cooking spray) to the skillet because now it was time to brown the pork chops in that same skillet. I seasoned the chops with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and then added them to the preheated skillet. I browned on both sides, but didn't cook them through because they would cook for another 45 minutes in the oven. This is simply to brown the chops and make them have a nice golden color instead of that unappealing grayish color. YUCK!

Next you need to pour the beans on the bottom of a casserole dish and spread evenly.  And remember those onions that you set aside? Now you need to mix them in with the beans and smooth evenly on bottom of baking dish. Like so... (sorry, I hate putting together a collage to see pictures side by side that look completely different - different lighting, different exposure, blah blah blah... so sorry about the crappy pics).

Then in a single layer, place your browned pork chops over the bean and onion mixture. 

In a bowl, mix together 1 can of crushed drained pineapples and 1/4 cup Sweet Baby Ray's bbq sauce. Or whatever kind of bbq sauce you like. Montgomery Inn BBQ Sauce is also delish (had to plug it .)  It is not as thick as Sweet Baby Ray's and is much sweeter.

Then pour that bbq pineapple mixture over top of the pork chops. 

And then you will just bake at 375° for about 45 minutes or so. It may need less time depending on the thickness of your pork chops. You can check the temperature with a thermometer if you aren't sure if they are fully cooked. 

Pork Chops with BBQ Pineapple Baked Beans 
adapted from Food for the Hungry Soul
  • 2 bone-in thick cut pork chops
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • oil
  • 1 can (16 oz) baked beans
  • garlic powder
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1/4 cup bbq sauce (I use Sweet Baby Ray's)

Preheat the oven to 375°. 

Add some oil to a skillet to coat, then add chopped onions and saute. When finished cooking the onions, remove them from the skillet and set aside.

Add a bit more oil or cooking spray to the skillet. Season the pork chops with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and then put them in the skillet and cook until brown on both sides. You do not need to cook them, this is just to brown them.

Spread the beans on the bottom of a casserole dish, and then mix in the onions and spread evenly. Then in a single layer, place the pork chops in the casserole dish over the beans and onions.

In a bowl, combine crushed drained pineapples and bbq sauce and then pour over the pork.

Bake at 375° for about 45 minutes.

**As always, I want to apologize for some crappy pics. These were taken back when I used a flash and didn't know any better. I really need to get better at this....

I am linking this to ....

***Look at me gettin' into all kinds of linky fun this week. Go me!


November 9, 2010

Menu Planning - Week of 11/8/10

Another week of meal planning. After enjoying a movie with my mama on Sunday, I sat at home perusing through cookbooks and food blogs trying to find some delicious new meals. After about an hour or so, I decided it was taking me wayyyy too long and I was getting frustrated thinking about how I still needed to go to the grocery, then bring all of them inside and put them away all alone, and then cook and do dishes! Meal planning is supposed to make things easier, not more complicated! PJ had to work a late shift so menu planning was all on me. I finally decided to settle with some old tried but true recipes that we already know we love. Plus a new chili recipe. We are on a quest to find the best chili, in our opinions, and we won't stop until we do! We tried one a week or two ago and it wasn't anything special. I was excited to try Martha Stewart's real deal chili. Here is this week's meal plan that I came up with all on my own. And of course I am posting this after Monday, but that's quite all right in my book. I am linking up to Menu Plan Mondays.

Sunday 11/7:  breakfast for dinner

Monday 11/8:  real deal chili with crackers, (was also supposed to have this cornbread side item but it was late and I didn't feel like making anything else)

Tuesday 11/9:  chicken divan w/ green beans & bacon

Wednesday 11/10:  eat out (tag football night)

Friday 11/12:   out to eat at Benihana for a friend's birthday

Saturday 11/13:  basil scallops w/ mac and cheese for two

Sunday 11/14:  chicken alfredo w/ corn

November 6, 2010

October Photo Hunt Challenge

Another photo hunt challenge has come and gone. I am always thinking I have plenty of time to take some fantastic shots. But at the end of the month, I realize that time flies and my shots aren't as thought-out as I'd like. Also, not having a high functioning camera is really starting to bother me as well. I just feel like my shots are no comparison to others' I've seen. And I wish I could say that I tried my best, but I don't think I really did. I left a lot of them to the last minute, failed on two of them, and just settled on several of the shots. Here are my entries for the October Photo Hunt Challenge!

1.  In Disguise - I am a prisoner locked up behind bars! (really a pretend prisoner behind a chair!)


2.  Crisp - tons of crisp leaves

3.  Fall Colors - I couldn't choose one so I posted both

4.  A Jack O' Lantern - a jack o' lantern at our office on top of tons of paperwork ... a nice cute change from the normal creepy jack o' lanterns   :)

5.  A Shot from the Ground - taken at Mt. Echo park on the ground

6.  A Landscape - I never really saw any great landscape opportunities, but this is the best I could come up with. I love all of the tiny cute trees. And of course I had to do some editing  :)

7.  A Fall Tradition - it's a tradition for our company to have a Halloween party and contest, and to take a group photo outside of our building.

8.  Books - FAIL - I took tons of pictures trying to make something look cool, but I didn't like any of the pictures so I'm not going to submit them

9.  Dining - some "Guacamoldy with Creature Chips" that I made for Halloween

10.  Child/Children - adorable statues

11.  Faces Formed in Nature - a pillar at Mt. Echo park... aka a "sad face"

12.  Tilt-Shift Photography - view of my hometown, Cincinnati

13.  Black & White w/ Selective Coloring

14.  Bokeh - not really the professional "bokeh" but as close as I could get with my camera. This is a view of a flag overlooking Cincinnati from behind pillar arches.

15.  Best Photo Taken October 23rd - this picture was taken at a 90th birthday party. They were showing their affection  :)  I wish I had better editing software so that I could make this picture better... I would make the foreground pop more and basically black out the background. I wasn't able to do it in Picnic. Maybe Photoshop one day.... I originally wanted to get a picture of the birthday lady blowing out her candles, but I wasn't prepared and didn't have my camera on me when the time came. Boooooo!

16.  Something from the Kitchen - FAIL - I didn't have anything interesting in my house or work kitchen, and took several shots but again wasn't satisfied with any.

17.  Something Vintage - Some old film reels at my work. We do some film archiving and it is considered a "vintage" kind of technology. I added the cinemascope effect to it and made it look dim.

18.  Something Creepy - (archive) - creepy cemetary (I made it dark and gloomy looking with some editing). I don't really like this picture but couldn't come up with anything "creepy"

19.  Something Golden - trophy display at my work

20.  Self Portrait

I don't feel too good about that round, but oh well. That happens sometimes. I checked out November's Photo Hunt Challenge, which is only a 10-item list this time around, but I don't think I will be participating in that one. I wasn't super excited by the items on the list, and just don't think I will have time to do as well as I would like. Plus I am a bit discouraged with my camera. Hopefully I will be participating in December's photo hunt challenge...

November 4, 2010

Chicken Divan

My dear blogging friend and inspiration, Krista, never ceases to amaze me. Her recipes never let me down. I knew when I saw this one that I would love it. And boy was I right! I mean, we love all of these ingredients. It has been a little while since we made this, and I am craving it again! This baby may make it's way into one of my meal plans very soon....

Yes. It is Chicken Divan. And it is divine. 

I used two boneless skinless chicken breasts specifically. The original recipe calls for 4 cups but I just used two breasts without measuring them in cups. I boiled the chickens because I knew I would be shredding it once finished cooking, and I knew baking might make it too hard to shred. I like the method of boiling chicken whenever I need to shred it, so I will stick to that.

While those chickens were boiling, I microwaved my bag of broccoli. I buy the kind that comes in a bag already rinsed, and you can microwave the broccoli right in the bag! So easy and quick! So I microwave steamed the broccoli and then chopped it all up into smaller pieces. Then I spread some vegetable oil on the bottom of my glass baking dish to prevent sticking. You can use cooking spray if desired, I just didn't have any at the time. Once the oil was on the bottom of the dish, I sprinkled all of the chopped broccoli on the bottom layer and spread evenly. Then I seasoned that broccoli with some salt.

Once the chickens were finished boiling, I shredded them with a fork and then seasoned it with some garlic powder. Then I added the shredded chicken to the baking dish, covering the broccoli and then spreading evenly.

For the mixture, I combined the soup, mayo, lime juice, curry powder, and 1/2 tsp garlic powder in a bowl and mixed well. I used cream of mushroom soup rather than chicken soup like the original recipe called for. I also used lime juice rather than lemon juice because that's what I had at the moment. Then I poured the mixture on top of the chicken in the dish and spread evenly.

And of course any casserole wouldn't be complete without some cheese on top. So I sprinkled 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese on top of the soup/mayo mixture. Then I tossed the bread crumbs with the melted butter and sprinkled on top of the cheese....

and baked at 350° for 30 minutes...

and out popped deliciousness!

Chicken Divan adapted from Krista's Kitchen
  • 12 oz. package of pre-rinsed broccoli
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder, plus a bit more
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • vegetable oil or cooking spray
Boil chickens for about 20-30 minutes until cooked through.  Once finished cooking, shred them with a fork and season with garlic powder.

Cook broccoli - (I microwaved mine in the bag, but you can steam it if you like). Cut up into small pieces. Spray a casserole or baking dish and then cover evenly with the broccoli pieces. Season the broccoli with salt. Then spread the shredded chicken evenly over the broccoli.
In a bowl, combine soup, mayo, lime juice, curry powder, and 1/2 tsp garlic powder and mix well. Then pour the mixture evenly over the chicken. Sprinkle cheese on top. Then toss bread crumbs with the melted butter and sprinkle on top of the cheese.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

*Note: I liked the addition of curry powder, but I think that next time I would use less. That 1/2 teaspoon goes a lonnnnnng way!

We served this with some delicious and flavorful Corn, Avocado, and Tomato Salad.

I am linking this Chicken Divan recipe to Foodie Friday.

I decided I need to link to more blog hops, so I am stepping outside of my normal Foodie Fridays and Martha Mondays to link up to some others  :) Linking up to...

Recipe Swap Thursday 
Family Friendly Fridays
Friday Potluck 
Seasonal Sunday
Can you say DELISH?

I did!

November 1, 2010

Menu Planning - Week of 11/1/10

Last week's menu plan didn't go 100% according to plans, but it went well for the first week. None of the meals were eaten on the actual day that I assigned for them. We didn't end up making the  white chicken enchiladas, the horseradish parmesan potatoes, or the sole fillets. I really look forward to making those in the near future! They sound yummy! But anyways, we made everything else... just not on that exact day.

I'm proud of myself! I did this week's menu planning yesterday, went to the grocery store and got everything we needed... all by myself! It didn't take as long as last week either, but still not as fast as I want the process to go. I'm just glad that we are doing it. It means less trips to the grocery store (for the most part, unless we need to get something that should be bought the day of cooking) and it means I don't have to ask myself what we are having for dinner every single day after work. Yay for menu planning!

I tried to use up some items we had such as mushrooms, potatoes, asparagus, and elbow macaroni.  And since we didn't end up making the white chicken enchiladas from last week's menu plan, we will make those this week. These are the meals I came up with....

Tuesday 11/2:  Mexican chicken with jalapeno popper sauce, and rotini

Wednesday 11/3:  Eat out

Thursday 11/4:  French-fried onion chicken tenders with horseradish parmesan potatoes (adapted from this recipe)

Friday = pay day so then I can go grocery shopping again! I had a limited amount of money to spend on groceries this time around so I only made my menu plan up until Friday. I do have a homemade mac and cheese recipe for two to go with whatever main course we decide to have over the weekend.

I am linking up to Menu Plan Monday over at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Martha Mondays : Guacamoldy with Creature Chips

Yesterday was Halloween, and I hope everyone had a fantastic time! I was excited to make these Guacamoldy with Creature Chips for my company Halloween party, and for Martha Mondays

Unfortunately, I didn't think the guacamole recipe was too good. Granted, I didn't use exact measurements. Maybe that's where I went wrong? But it tasted a little too lime-y and was not seasoned well. I guess I am used to Chipotle's guacamole. I did like the idea of using cookie cutters to make shapes for the tortilla chips. I used cat and bat cookie cutters. Next time I would probably use a different kind of tortillas, as mine were too thick. I used a chipotle as well as a yellow corn tortilla, so next time I will stick to flour tortillas. They seem to be thinner. Also, I cooked the tortillas for longer than 12 minutes, and they still were not crispy enough, not enough like a tortilla chip. So overall I was disappointed with the taste-factor of the recipe. But the idea is super cute! And I will definitely make it again with some adjustments. Here is Martha's original recipe below.

Guacamoldy with Creature Chips from Martha Stewart

*Serves 8
  • Plain or butter-flavored vegetable-oil cooking spray
  • 24 assorted large flour tortillas, such as plain, whole wheat, and sun-dried tomato
  • Coarse salt
  • 3 pounds ripe Hass avocados, (about 7), pitted. peeled, and cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, (about 3 limes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 fresh jalapeno chile, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Using a few Halloweeninspired cookie cutters, cut shapes from tortillas. Arrange as many shapes as can fit in a single layer on oiled sheet. Coat tortillas with cooking spray, and season with salt. Bake until slightly darkened and crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining tortilla shapes, using a clean, cooled baking sheet.
Put avocados, lime juice, 11/2 teaspoons salt and the pepper, jalapeno, and cilantro in a large bowl. Mash with a fork until chunky. Serve with chips.

And here's PJ and I all dressed up on Halloween! We are still big kids at heart  :)