Sunday, September 26, 2010

Hey y'all! Today I had full intentions of marinating chicken tenderloin strips and adding them to bow tie pasta with salad dressing. That simple. But as I was taking out my pans, my creative juices began to flow. I thought... "why don't I add some onion and garlic". And so it began. So I started to cook in the most unorganized fashion ever. I'm going to share with you my recipe for my newly founded "Santa Fe Chicken Pasta". Warning... I have no exact measurements it's all to your own taste. I also did some things out of order and will try to correct it best I can. Also... if you make this PLEASE use a stainless steel skillet or cast iron because it will taste so much better. I'll explain later.

First things first. Marinate that chicken for a couple hours. Longer the better, you know the drill! This is the dressing I used. This is my FAVORITE salad dressing brand. The flavor is Santa Fe blend... which gives hint to my title!

Next Cut up some red onion, tomato and then cut your chicken into bite size pieces (which I didn't do and in fact didn't cook my chicken all the way through and had to remove everything from my pan to recook)

Using a stainless steel or cast iron skillet (which I didn't do) heat up some butter and get your pan really hot. Throw the chicken on your pan and get it dark. As the pioneer women would say, "dark and butter go together". Remove chicken when it's cooked.
Here is my chicken which at the time wasn't cooked all the way.

Then add a bit more butter and add the onions and some minced garlic and get them going then add the tomato and cook a minute longer. Get them brown. I used a fun orange tomato from the farmer's market. So sweet! When they are soft and brown remove them from the pan.

Now, this is where I tell you why to use a cast iron or stainless pan. They hold more brown and juices from the chicken and veggies. Which is about to be loosened. There isn't quite as much goodness to work with when you use a non stick so once again... use what kind of pan???

OK... now add some cooking white wine and scrape up all the bits off the bottom of the pan. Then add some of the salad dressing you used to marinate the chicken with. Let it cook for a min. or so stirring. Now I know they say there isn't a point to cooking wine but when you don't know anything about real wine and can't afford the real stuff.... the cooking kind is good enough for me.

Next add some cream and keep stirring. Just add however much looks good to you. I realized my cream was frozen.... my fridge was turned up all the way from when I made jello salad on labor day. So I used half and half and milk instead. Don't know if you should do that but I was working fast and not thinking too much. Anyways... keep stirring it and let it thicken.

Then add the veggies and chicken

Then add the noodles which you've been cooking right??? Let them sit in the sauce all together for a while. Remove to a platter and sprinkle generously with chopped parsley.

Then enjoy!!!
I used a whole wheat pasta and it was delicious and hearty. The colors make it a warm and colorful fall meal.

Have a great week!!!!

Santa Fe Chicken Pasta
From K. Marie's Kitchen

Chicken tenderloin strips
A yummy salad dressing
Red Onion
Cooking white wine.... or the real stuff if you know enough about it to justify what it costs (I don't have knowledge or the funds)
Pasta of your choice
BUTTER!!! Real butter!
Fresh Parsley

1. Marinate chicken in dressing for several hours
2. Chop veggies and chicken
3. Heat butter on pan and cook chicken; Remove to plate
4. Add more butter and let it brown then add onions and garlic, a min later add tomatoes and cook until soft and browned; Remove to plate
5. Add cooking wine and scrape bits off bottom of pan then add some more dressing; cook for a min or so
6. Add cream and stir/ whisk it around till it thickens
7. Add veggies and chicken
8. Add cooked noodles and let sit on low heat for a couple min.
9. Remove to platter; top with parsley

Friday, September 24, 2010

a response to change

Stability. It's something I've always sought. Change has never been something I've adapted well to. I roll my eyes at updating apps on my iphone and there is nothing more annoying than computer pop ups telling me to update windows or itunes. When the weather changes I get sick and when the AC turns on and off I go from extremely cold to extremely hot. I dread my heart beat changing when I exercise and my favorite bed sheets will always be my Laura Ashly ones from the first grade.

Despite my fear of change, I know that change will usually bring good things. There are some exceptions to this though. For example, when furniture companies began to use shredded up "wood" instead of oak. That was a bad change. But for the most part change can bring about good.

When I was in high school I faced a very difficult change right after my freshman year. I left a school where I had an established identity and friends to a place where I knew no one. I remember lunch time during my first day. I talked on my cell phone to an old friend the entire time because I didn't want to meet anyone. I was so sad, but I found comfort in a song. I often visited a music teacher at my previous school. He knew how I felt and he helped me find peace by playing either his piano or guitar and leading me in praise songs. Those times melted away all of my fears of my new change. But one song in particular stood out, "When I Call on Jesus" by Nicole Mullen.

I'm happy to say I worked through my fears and made some good friends the remainder of my high school years. I never would have though, if I hadn't found peace in my Lord.

Change has struck through all of my years in college. Though a lot of it good, it's still not always easy. Time after time God leads me to the song. The song that helps me find peace.

I've recently been dealing with the stress of change. Change in how often I see and hang out with my friends, finding a new church home, wondering about my future and after graduation. It's taken in toll on me for sure. I waited to too long to call on my God to help me.

When I finally did, he brought me comfort and peace. He made me glad.

This past week I've been very happy. I know that's my God hearing me and comforting me. This song came to my mind once again and made me remember how great is the Father. He has always brought me out of my struggles with change... but I had to call on Him first.

So whatever your struggles might be, remember to call on Jesus. When you do, all things are possible.

Here is a link to the music video for my "go to song" for comfort. You'll have to ignore her 90's wardrobe and the cheesiness of the whole thing. It's really a good song.

I'm so very ordinary

Nothing special on my own
I have never walked on water
I have never calmed a storm
Sometimes I'm hiding away
from the madness around me
Like a child who's afraid of the dark

But when I call on Jesus
All things are possible
I can mount on wings like eagles and soar
When I call on Jesus
Mountains are gonna fall
'Cause He'll move heaven
and earth to come rescue me when I call

Weary brother
Broken daughter
Widowed, widowed lover
You're not alone
If you're tired and
scared of the madness around you
If you can't find the strength to carry on


Call Him in the mornin'
In the afternoon time
Late in the evenin'
He'll be there
When your heart is broken
And you feel discouraged
You can just remember that He said
He'll be there

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

good for the soul

Fall is my favorite season, and believe me I am on count down. There are 8 days of summer left! I'm trying my best to not pull out my fall sign by the front door... I might not make it. I'm also using self control to wait until actual fall to get a pumpkin spiced latte from Starbucks. This takes much work. I have been enjoying some comfort foods of fall though.

I had some extra time yesterday and so I made grilled sandwiches and apples for lunch.
Now, there are some things that I must have for grilled sandwiches. Mayo and butter. Those are a must.

I like real butter. Land of Lakes makes this whipped butter spread. It is real butter but it has a lot less fat because it's whipped. Like butter, you still need to set it out for 30 min or so before you eat your dinner or it's harder to spread. So see... it's still real.

Now, I remember the days where I loved miracle whip. Once I started eating Hellmann's I've never been able to go back. It's simple goodness. And low fat is even better : )

My sandwiches are simple. Honey Wheat bread, mayo, turkey, cheese and butter on the outside. That's how I like them.

I love my grill pan. I was looking at the apples on my table as I was cooking my sandwiches. I have this theory that I only by fruit for table decoration because all of it goes bad. My apples were beginning to get softer so I thought it would be good if I spiced it up and stuck it on the pan. I rubbed some brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. The best trio ever. They were pretty good. Not like baked apples because they stay more crisp. But good none the less.

It was a yummy, comforting, warm, lunch.

For dinner today I made my daddy's tortilla soup (based off of his mom's). It is truly good for the soul. This stuff instantly makes me feel warm and happy because it reminds me of all the happy memories eating it at home with family and friends. We used to eat it so often I got sick of it, but when I came to college I missed it more than anything!

I made some buttermilk cornbread to go with it. YUM!

My corn mill is getting low. This container used to be full of it. I love making corn bread. I also love the OXO containers.

And here are the lemon poppy seed muffins I made for Blake's birthday if you didn't see them on facebook. They were good and we had fun. Heather came over after church and ate them with us.

Hope ya'll have good week! Enjoy the last few days of summer!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday Dinner

There are so many things that I love about the south, and Sunday dinner is one of them. I did not grow up eating fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and home-aid rolls on Sunday afternoons, but we always enjoyed a "larger than normal meal" either at home or with friends. I have found that I love cooking big meals on Sunday!

I like to go all out (as much as I can) and really make it special. I set the table with care, and I put on my apron.... and I make Blake wait a long time! I really don't understand how big Sunday meals became so popular in the bible belt. How and why did they start cooking these meals after church all the time? I don't really know but I enjoy keeping the tradition.

Today for "dinner" we had salad, baked potatoes (which I will tell you all about!) and get ready for this.... meatloaf. Now, don't worry I won't be offended if your first reaction to this is less than excited. When Blake asked me what was for lunch today, he was less than thrilled when he found out. This is not your ordinary meatloaf though, and I'm happy to report that he was extremely pleased in the end.

I've had meatloaf maybe one time in my entire life. I've certainly never made it before today. I decided to make it because I was running out of ideas for ground beef and I figured why not. It is a southern staple after all. I used PW's recipe... sorta. I'm becoming a bit more like my daddy and I'm starting to venture from the recipe. So I did a couple things different and I used BBQ sauce, because I sorry overly sweet ketchup is just not my thing. Ketchup is not my thing... unless it's topped with lots of cheese and on top of a hotdog or burger. But anyways, this meatloaf was pretty darn good. (But I used ground sirloin... which I'm telling you... makes everything way better!)
Take a look.

There... that doesn't look so bad does it? It's just ground sirloin with some goodness mixed with it, wrapped in bacon, and smothered in BBQ sauce. It's delicious.

Now for the potatoes... I'll admit I didn't take loving care to. I found the coolest thing ever though at the grocery store.

These things are wonderful! I used them for the first time today. Here is what I did to make incredible "baked" potatoes.

- Stabbed 3 medium golden potatoes with a fork a few times
-Rubbed EVOO on them
-Sprinkled them all over with Kosher salt
-Placed them in the steam bag
-Cooked in the microwave for 7 min.
-Waited a couple of min.
-Put them on a plate

That's right... baked potatoes in 7 min. And they were so good!

I love making Sunday dinners, I can't deny it. I love the tradition of it and the togetherness that it brings. There is just a lot of joy around a table full of good food. Hope y'all have a great week!

I couldn't resist...