Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Firecracker Chicken Pasta

I love spicy pasta!  Who doesn't want to add a little spice to their life.  This was pretty easy to make, the sauce was a bit harder, but I always like my cream sauce to be a little on the runny side, so 2cups of half and half just wasn't enough for me.  You can also add in some grape tomatoes, but no one in my house eats those, so we omit them.

Veggies & Pasta
4 - 8 oz. Penne Pasta (I cook al dente in salt water according to pkg directions & we like less pasta)
tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut in 1″ cubes (could also use shrimp)
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
½ c. Onion, diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1-2 Bell Peppers, long thin slices (I use yellow, red or orange)
c. Broccoli florets
c. Asparagus, chopped in 1″ pieces
Cook your pasta and let it drain.
Sprinkle the chicken breast with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook chicken until done and golden on all sides. Remove and let rest in a large bowl.
Add the remaining olive oil and begin sauteing the onions for 2 min. Add in the garlic and bell pepper and saute another 2 mins. Then toss in any other woody veggies  (broccoli, asparagus) saving the tomatoes until the very end.
When everything is cooked, combine the veggies with the chicken in your big bowl.  Now its time for the sauce!
Spicy Cream Sauce
tbsp. butter
tbsp. flour 
2c. half & half  (I use more to make my sauce a little thinner)
1/4 tsp. of red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 c. Parmesan cheese
Melt the butter over medium heat. Toss in the flour and stir, cooking 1-2 minutes.
Slowly add in the half and half while stirring to prevent any clumps from forming.  Sprinkle in the red pepper flakes and allow to simmer until you see boiling action.  Stir periodically.
When your sauce begins to thicken and bubble, turn off the heat and add in your cheese. Stir until melty

To assemble everything I like to add the pasta first so it gets nice and coated with sauce and then pour the rest of the goodies in.

Sprinkle cayenne pepper on top to add the firecracker flavor (you could probably add it to the cream sauce, but it is too spicy for my 3-year old so I do it after I have served him and put some aside for leftovers for him.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Raspberries are my favorite

But, unless you're like me, and you buy them and gobble them in a few days, they always get moldy! My dad sent me some awesome information that totally works!  There's nothing more tragic than paying $4 for raspberries, only to look in the fridge the next day and find that fuzzy mold growing on their insides.  You're all going to cringe when I tell you how to do it. My husband was like "eeewwww, they are going to taste awful!!"  But, you can't even tell!

Wash them with vinegar. 

I know, I know, I know, sounds nasty, but let me tell you it really works!  When you get your berries home, prepare a mixture of one part vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar, but white would probably work too) and ten parts water. Dump the berries into the mixture and swirl around. Drain, rinse if you want (though the mixture is so diluted you can't taste the vinegar,) and pop in the fridge  The vinegar kills any mold spores and other bacteria that might be on the surface of the fruit, and voila! Raspberries will last a week or more, and strawberries go almost two weeks without getting moldy and soft.  So go forth and stock up on those pricey little gems, knowing they'll stay fresh as long as it takes you to eat them.

You're so berry welcome!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Italian Chicken in the Crockpot!

I'm all about the crock pot!  Summer's here in Arizona are NOT meant for oven usage or grilling!  So while everyone else is happy outside grilling, all we'd have to do is throw the food on the sidewalk to cook it.  Sounds yummy right?  No, which is why the crock pot is such an easy thing!  It doesn't make the house hot like the oven, and you're not melting using the grill!  

This was an amazingly easy meal to make!  Even better was that my 3-year old tasted it!  How often does that happen?  

4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (I did use frozen breasts)
16 Ounce Bottle of Italian Dressing (I used low fat)
1/2 Cup of Parmesan Cheese
Italian Seasoning
4-6 Potatoes scrubbed cut in half or wedges (you can peel if desired)
1/2 bag of mini carrots

Spray crock with Pam
Squirt a small amount of Italian dressing at bottom of crock-pot.
Place two chicken breasts in crock.
Pour some of the Italian dressing on the chicken.
Sprinkle half of cheese onto the chicken.
Sprinkle Italian seasoning onto the chicken.
Place next two chicken breasts into crock-pot, if possible not directly on top of the first breasts.
Sprinkle remaining cheese on top of chicken.
Pour carrots on top
Pour more of the Italian dressing on top of chicken and carrots.
Sprinkle Italian seasoning onto the chicken and carrots.
Place potatoes on top.
Pour the remaining Italian dressing on the potatoes.
Sprinkle Italian seasoning on the potatoes.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

I apologize now for the horrible plated photograph, this is what happens when the natives are restless.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cake Bars

Now that I got your attention!!  Who wouldn't want to try these amazingly delicious things!  Let me tell you, if you love Peanut Butter and Chocolate, then these are perfect for you!  They are to die for.

Now that you're drooling over the photo, let me get you how to make these scrumptious things!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
(Made with any brand Cake Mix)

2 eggs
1/3-cup water
¼ cup butter or margarine, softened (not melted)
1-cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
1 package yellow cake mix
1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate pieces

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Beat eggs, water, butter, peanut butter and half of the cake mix (dry) until smooth. Stir in remaining cake mix and the chocolate pieces. Spread dough in greased jellyroll pan (15 ½ x 10 ½ x 1 inch). Bake about 18 minutes (don’t over bake…. they are better a little gooey!) Cool and cut into bars. Can be frosted or not. Also, you can use a white or devils food cake mix AND you can substitute white chocolate chips or peanut butter chips. They are all good!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Do I have the time?

Who knows!  But I wanted to do something like this for a while.  I already run a home-based business, I'm a stay at home mom, we have a family blog, and a baby blog.  Most of which have fallen into some sort of black hole and never get updated.  But I knew I wanted to try to start something different.  So here I am!

What's this going to be about?  Well, I'm not really sure yet, but it might be all things that don't fit on any of my other blogs!  I like to keep things organized, you'd never know looking at my house though.

Also, huge thanks to my friend Mysti, for coming up with a great name for the blog!

You can check out our other blogs below!  But like I said, they haven't been kept up to date!

H2 Photography | Professional Family & Child Photography
It's a Little Gross
The Gross Family