A Break and Easy Chili

I took a break. I had intended for it to be a short break that only lasted a few days. A few days turned into a few weeks.

Homeschooling is no joke.

Actually, let me backtrack. My children are in a blended program which means they attend school two days a week and their curriculum follows the local schools, but the other five days a week they are home and I am in charge of making sure all their schoolwork/testing is completed and answering any questions that may arise. Even though I’m not making up the entire lessons, it is still a chore. It’s a learning process for sure.

Also, I became really focused on monetizing the blog. I started this little blog/journey years ago as I love to write and I like to pretend to know how to cook. I’m not sure I do either particularly well, but they are a great way for me to unwind and let go of stress. When I rebooted my blog, I joined a few Facebook groups and the members were very focused on numbers, traffic, monetizing, etc. I got a little too wrapped up in that mindset and got burned out extremely quickly. I needed to take a step back and remember this blog is about my kitchen experiences. It is for me and my friends that choose to follow. Anyone else that wants to stop by, read about the craziness, and use the recipes are welcome and I enjoy having the guests, but if this blog only has ten readers per post, that is okay as well.

So now that all of that is out of the way, let’s get to the food!

My husband and I are HUGE NCAA football fans (ROLL TIDE!) and one of our “traditions” is to make a big pot of soup, stew, or chili on game nights. Unfortunately, we were camping when Alabama played their first game, so we settled for making our regular pot of chili when Tennessee played this past Monday. (On a side note, GO VOLS!- I grew up in a family of TN fans)

The beauty of this chili is that it is SUPER versatile! You can add or subtract anything and it still works! I’ve made it with and without beans. I’ve made it without the tomato sauce. I’ve made it with a lot more chili powder. I’ve made it with and without cheese. It is just so. incredibly. simple.

I’m including the recipe I used Monday. If you change it up, post below and let me know how you made it! I’m always up for trying new things! 😉

To begin, I diced a medium sized onion and a medium sized green bell pepper. I threw them into a large pan with a pound of ground beef and let it brown.

I drained the fat and then added the following into the meat mixture:

  • one can of tomato sauce
  • one can of petite diced tomatoes
  • two cans of chili beans (pintos) *I like to add one medium and one mild can*

I mixed the canned products in thoroughly and then added in the chili powder and garlic powder.

 

I made sure the spices were also mixed in well and added the lid to the pan, turned to simmer, set the timer to twenty minutes, and relaxed. An occasional stir here and there and we had a fantastic dinner.

Easy. Fast. Yummy.

Does it get any better?

Print Recipe
Easy Chili
This simple recipe is great for those cold fall nights. It's very easy to change up and make it fit your diet and/or personal taste. Hope you enjoy! *This is not a spicy recipe at all as my children do not like spicy foods. I just want to make sure that if you are wanting a "kick", you know to add some spice! 😉
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 15 Minutes
Cook Time 10 Minutes
Passive Time 20 Minutes
Servings
People
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 15 Minutes
Cook Time 10 Minutes
Passive Time 20 Minutes
Servings
People
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Brown ground beef, onion, and bell pepper in a large pan. (Drain fat)
  2. Once browned and drained, add in tomato sauce, tomatoes, and beans.
  3. Add chili powder and garlic powder and stir well.
  4. Place lid on the pan and turn the stove eye (or burner... whatever you prefer to call it) down to simmer.
  5. Let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. After 20 minutes, remove lid and serve topped with cheese. Enjoy!
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Too Much Chocolate?!

Yesterday I finally got around to making chocolate chip pancakes. If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I’m not a breakfast person and therefore, suck at cooking all breakfast foods. I burned a few pancakes, but compared to usual, I did pretty well this time.

This recipe is fairly simple and my husband and kids LOVED them. They did look tasty, but my desire not to have a migraine overcame my craving for chocolate.

It is super important to mix the dry and wet ingredients separately. Why? I don’t have the slightest clue, but I’ve always heard this so it sounds like good advice. Also, fold in the chocolate chips. If you stir, you risk over-mixing the batter which makes the pancakes tough…so I hear. 😉

I did not measure the chocolate chips and just poured in half of the bag of mini chips. Don’t do this. It was WAY too much. One cup should be fine. However, it is definitely a personal preference so add as much or as little as you want!

I hope you enjoy! These are great with or without syrup!

Print Recipe
Chocolate Chip Pancakes
The light and fluffy pancakes are packed with chocolate goodness!
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 7-12 minutes (depending upon size)
Servings
pancakes (depending upon size)
Ingredients
In one bowl
In second bowl
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 7-12 minutes (depending upon size)
Servings
pancakes (depending upon size)
Ingredients
In one bowl
In second bowl
Instructions
  1. In bowl one, mix all the dry ingredients together.
  2. In bowl two, mix all wet ingredients together (DO NOT include chocolate chips yet).
  3. Add the contents from bowl two into bowl one and mix just until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Heat a large pan until butter is melted.
  5. Scoop batter onto hot pan. The size of the pancake is totally your preference!
  6. Flip the pancake when the sides start to "form"(they will be a golden brown color) and the batter bubbles have popped.
  7. Let the pancakes cook another 1-2 minutes on the uncooked side and then remove from heat.
  8. Enjoy plain or with syrup.
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It Expired When?!

Well…crap.

I had such awesome ideas for tonight’s meal! I was even going to do a before and after video to accompany it. The before video was naively uploaded before I had an after video. Total rookie mistake there… (the video is uploaded onto the JOABC FB and Insta pages)

Unfortunately, awesomeness was not meant to be. Here’s the story:

First off, I started off much later than usual. With piano practice, preschool orientation, and our first day of blended home school, we were running behind on time and energy once dinner rolled around. Luckily, on Saturday we had an amazing (albeit a little dry) roast and I saved a little to make BBQ Stuffed Potatoes.

However, I did not check the expiration date on the barbecue sauce until I was WELL into cooking. We are talking about completely and utterly ruined the potato stuffing. The sauce expired in September 2016!

I mean…COME ON! Really?! How in the world has this barbecue sauce been hiding in the back of my pantry for that long? I just noticed it a week ago and patted myself on the back for having a good, easy staple sitting on the pantry shelf. I’m just going to assume it magically appeared. There’s no other explanation…

Luckily, a little quick thinking with a half pack of bacon and a half block of sharp cheddar cheese saved our meal tonight.

Whew! I definitely deserved those few extra double stuffed Oreos I sneaked after my kids went to bed!

 

Print Recipe
Oven Baked Potato
This delicious potato is crispy on the outside with fluffy goodness on the inside! Finish with your favorite toppings to make this a go-to and simple meal. Also, absolutely no foil is needed in this recipe! This serving size can easily be adjusted to feed as few or as many friends/family as needed.
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 60 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 60 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Wash and dry potatoes thoroughly. Make a few holes in the potato with a fork to release steam during baking.
  3. Put the potatoes directly on the oven rack for 45 minutes.
  4. After 45 minutes, remove the potatoes (use an oven mitt or tongs!!!) and brush thoroughly with oil and put a small pinch of salt on each side of the potato.
  5. Return the potatoes to the oven for another 15 minutes.
  6. Once the potatoes are done cooking, they should be slightly crispy on the outside, but slightly "soft" to the touch when removed from the oven.
  7. Slice open, fill with toppings, and enjoy!
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Only One Dish

Today was busy. Not just a little busy either. It was (and for the record, one child had not had a nap, one had a pre-teen attitude issue, and the other asked approximately 265,873,005 questions about everything from space to why some flies bite. Plus, the husband worked overtime today.)  :

  • piano- 2 kids=1 hour
  • lunch with my husband (30 minutes away)
  • drop off paperwork at doctor (that said husband forgot)
  • drive back 30 minutes to meet my brother with a camera charger
  • drive to my aunt’s business to pick something up
  • drive past the grocery store (oops) so stopped at the dollar store to grab a few things
  • go back to grocery store #1
  • leave #1, go to house to deliver cold stuff
  • unpack cold stuff into the refrigerator while kids stayed in the car and played WWF (well, they wrestled. They’ve never actually seen WWF)
  • go to grocery store #2 because #1 didn’t have everything I needed
  • as I was unloading the car at #2 it came a monsoon
  • got home and unpacked the car for a second time while all three kids whined for drinks
  • started laundry and dishes
  • started dinner
  • did more dishes
  • changed out laundry
  • continued dishes
  • finished supper
  • ate dinner with kids
  • bathed kids
  • bedtime
  • etc. etc. etc.

See! But do you want to know the thing I’m most annoyed at? I did dishes for TWO HOURS. Why? I keep thinking if leave them there, they will get done. No one does them though. I have to cook and clean?! What kind of torture is this?

Tonight, in protest, I made One Pan Chicken Dinner. Okay, okay… It wasn’t technically in protest. I basically picked this meal because it’s one pan. It really is the easiest meal ever and incredibly yummy! Actually, since it is so simple to make, I’ll just share a few pictures and then the recipe. I’m too exhausted to write too much anyhow!

And the best part? Simply rinse the pan out, shove that baby in the dishwasher, and you’re done! A glass of wine to celebrate the simplicity is optional!

 

Print Recipe
One Pan Chicken Dinner
This easy recipe only messes up on pan and is easy on the wallet.
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 60 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 60 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 X 13 glass baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Wash and dice red potatoes and put on one side of the dish.
  3. Line chicken down the middle of the dish (if it's thick, butterfly first and then place in dish)
  4. Pour entire bag of frozen green beans down the open side of the dish.
  5. Sprinkle Italian seasoning over entire dish.
  6. Place small pieces of butter over entire dish.
  7. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 60 minutes. Chicken is done when it is no longer pink inside and the juices run clear when the chicken is cut.
  8. Serve and enjoy!
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Forgotten Food Medley

Apologies for missing yesterday’s post! I had a severe case of the Mondays or something, so I’m posting today to make up for it.

This past Sunday night I was running low on EVERYTHING. It was so late by the time that I got started that I literally only had two choices: find something I could prepare quickly in the pantry or go out and grab food. My children had already decided we were having Zaxby’s and were excited. Not today kids, not today. I decided to go the unpopular route and chose to make something at home.

I quickly searched for foods that were floating around the pantry, fridge, and freezer. I manged to find a few questionable carrots, a very small bag of broccoli, an almost empty bag of rice, and a can of cream of chicken. It was like a medley of the forgotten foods! (sorry for the crappy picture. It was an afterthought.)

First, I started the instant rice on the stove. I prefer “normal” rice, but, like I stated, it was late!

As the rice was cooking, I prepared the can of cream of chicken.

I used the microwave to steam broccoli and carrots separately and then mixed them together. (They could have been steamed together, but I was busy deciding whether or not I wanted to chance the carrots.)

Once my forgotten foods were finished, I tossed everything into one pot, mixed it together, and served with fresh green beans I had made earlier that day for a family gathering.

My family LOVED it. It was so good for being so simple!

 

On a side note, this would also be wonderful with some grilled chicken thrown in. I may try that next time, but if you are searching for quick and simple meal, this is the way to go!

Were we hungry or did I just totally rock that one out on a whim?

I think I’ll choose the latter option!

(Sorry for the lack of quality pictures. I was just not on my game Sunday night!)

Print Recipe
Rice and Veggie Mix
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Cook rice according to package directions.
  2. While rice is cooking, prepare cream of chicken according to can directions.
  3. Steam broccoli and carrots by your preferred method (microwave or stovetop).
  4. Once all the food is cooked, mix together in medium-large pot.
  5. Serve with a side or bread.
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Who Needs Directions?


I finally got around to making this casserole Wednesday night. I had put it off after seeing it took over an hour to cook. I mean, really?! Who has time for that? However, I finally had time so I tried it. In all reality, I did not have time, but I had chicken that was going to expire so I made time.

I am going to apologize in advance. I have failed you miserably when it comes to bringing you quick and easy recipes with few ingredients. This is not one.

I started really late as I COMPLETELY forgot it took an hour. I started prepping at 6:30. The casserole still needed to bake though. I figured getting done at 7:30 was late, but still acceptable. I failed to realize I needed to wash and/or chop EVERY. SINGLE. INGREDIENT.

Once I finally finished all the prep, I had to layer the ingredients. This was actually kind of fun and I made pictures of each step!

Repeat the above layers a second time and then cover with heavy cream and a little butter here and there. Cover with foil and bake!

I stuck it in the oven at 7:20pm so we didn’t actually eat until 8:40ish. Oh well….

Oh, but wait! Did I mention that I didn’t pay much attention to the ingredients? The recipe I used was aggravating because the page kept scrolling up incessantly on my phone so I kind of only halfway followed it. Plus, the recipe had measurements for the vegetables and meat. I’ll measure seasonings and such, but with vegetables and meat, I don’t. Plus, I was feeling salty about how much time this stupid recipe was taking so I was not in the least bit concerned with it. Anyhow, there was a key step I realized I had overlooked about five minutes into the hour long cook time.

After one hour, remove foil and sprinkle remaining cheese on casserole. Return to oven for five minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Remember this pre-foil picture? See all that cheese?

I looked at my husband and said, “Oh well!” What could I really do at this point? Not only was it most likely already melted, but there was no way I was going to try and pick it all off. Luckily, it seemed to do just fine and didn’t burn at all!

The casserole tasted okay. I was really hoping it would taste as amazing as it looked! It absolutely has potential though.  Next time, I will grill the chicken and season it ahead of time and “pre-boil” the potatoes. The chicken was just too plain and the potatoes were still hard. Other than that, it was pretty good. I thought the cream would be gross, but it was actually good!

I’ll include my altered recipe below with notes on how to make it better. If you make this, I encourage you to play with it and definitely make it your own! Good luck!

Print Recipe
Loaded Baked Potato Casserole
This casserole is good, but could definitely use improvements! I have included the steps I intend to use next time, but I strongly encourage you to make this your own!
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 65 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 65 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Grease a 9 X 11 pan and pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Layer half of the ingredients as follows: -potatoes -chicken -broccoli -bacon -onion -cheese
  3. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  4. Repeat layering steps (EXCEPT CHEESE) with the second half of the ingredients.
  5. Season again and then cover with heavy cream. Slice butter and layer over top of casserole and cover tightly with foil. Put into the oven for 1 hour.
  6. Remove casserole from oven and remove foil. Sprinkle on 1 cup of cheese and return to the oven for another 5 minutes.
  7. Remove and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
  8. **NOTES: I strongly suggest seasoning and grilling the chicken and paraboiling the potatoes beforehand and reducing the cook time. This way is okay, but the chicken is fairly bland and the potatoes were a little too hard. This recipe definitely has potential though.
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Cumin, Where Art Thou?

It’s taco night! Nope, just kidding.

This was the quote that sent rage through my house. My kids went straight from pleasant to demonic and it just so happens my husband was out of town. They don’t handle change very well anyhow, but when you take away their taco dreams and they are already hangry. No, just no.

Obviously, my minions are taco FANATICS. I make my tacos with a homemade seasoning mix to go into the ground beef. I also add in refried beans and my kids love it. They don’t even realize they are eating the beans, but it’s my secret way of stretching the taco filling and getting some sort of extra protein into their tummies.

The reason my dinner plans changed? As soon as I started rummaging through my spice cabinet, I realized I was missing cumin. At this moment, cumin and I are NOT on good terms.

I had to figure out something to feed the kids so I made Cheeseburger Macaroni. I don’t know if it’s an actual recipe I got somewhere or not, so I’ll improvise and type something up below. I usually make this when I have no plans and need something quick.

Here are the necessary ingredients:

I started by boiling the macaroni noodles. I didn’t/don’t have a measurement for this. I have always cooked the entire box and my husband takes any leftovers to work for lunch for a few days.

While the noodles were boiling, I browned the ground beef and onion together in a skillet on medium/high heat. 

Once the noodles were soft and the meat properly browned, I drained both and combined them in a large pot. On a side note, make sure the pot is LARGE. If not, this happens:

I could barely move the spoon. I ended up needing to move the mixture to a large skillet, but that was almost too small as well.  Next time I prepare Cheeseburger Macaroni, I will make sure my big pots are clean….

The cheese mixture needed to be watched and stirred constantly. For this reason alone, I always do the sauce last. First, I warmed up a 1/2 cup of milk on the stove until it was right at boiling (I also threw in a big pinch of salt and pepper).

Next, I mixed in a (generous) cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese. It is very important that the cup of cheese is put into the milk in 3 or 4 handfuls. After throwing in a “handful”,  I whisked the cheese until it was completely melted before adding the next handful.

If you throw all the cheese in at once, it tends to clump (I know this from experience!) Also, it’s gross to get a big clump of cheese in your meal!

Once the cheese sauce was fully melted, I poured it over the noodle and meat mixture and stirred until combined.

I mixed it on the stove top eye that I was using to cook the food. It was turned off at that point, but it was still warm so it helped the sauce mix in better and kept everything hot. If you do the same, just be careful that it doesn’t burn!

Here it is! My two big kids ate it and my youngest complained. She’s a threenager so her judgement is skewed.

Print Recipe
Cheeseburger Macaroni
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
people
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
people
Recipe Notes
  1. Bring LARGE pot of water to a boil and add macaroni noodles.
  2. While water is boiling, brown ground beef and onion in a separate skillet.
  3. Drain water and meat/onion mixture and combine in large pot.
  4. Bring milk to a boil and turn heat down to medium.
  5. Add in cheese one handful at a time and stir until melted before adding next handful.
  6. Once cheese sauce is melted completely, pour over meat and noodle mixture and mix well.
  7. Serve and enjoy.
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The Big Pinkish Cake

Hold on to your seats. This is going to be a mess.

My son turned seven last Friday so I decided to take the day off from blogging to focus on him and the behemoth cake I had planned.

The ORIGINAL plan was to make three separate layers that were all the same size, but different colors, stacked together, secured with toothpicks, and frosted like a champ. Ahh!

But alas, this is not how it turned out….at all.

In order to mix colors into the layers, I needed white cake. Not yellow mix and definitely not chocolate. My brain was obviously not working while I was at the store so I figured I would just go with a marble cake. (I don’t know why the cake mix is pictured with icing ingredients. Please just ignore my absent mindedness!)

Actually, since I’m on the subject, let me start by addressing the cake mix.

Yes, I used a cake mix.

No, I’m not the least bit sorry.

I stay so busy with my three exhausting lovely children that making a cake from scratch was just not on my agenda! I did, however, make homemade icing so that stands for something…right?

I got started on the boxed mixes and it was a miracle that I didn’t mix up the batters since they were sitting right next to each other.

Next, it was time to put the batters into pans. First, I went to get the pans out of the cabinet. I reached down and didn’t feel anything (my cabinet is basically on the floor). I thought that was a little odd as they are usually stacked near the door and easy to grab. I crouched and still didn’t feel anything. I finally had to get down onto my knees and look into the cabinet to realize my six round pans had dwindled to three mismatched round pans of different sizes. I was already using a different batter than I planned so I decided to roll with it. I would make it work. The toothpicks would hold it together.

I knew that the pans should be greased and floured, but wondered if I could skip Crisco and flour and only use cooking spray. I called my sister to ask her ( by the way, she went to culinary school-obviously she got ALL the cooking genes) . She paused slightly and said, “You can use cooking spray, but you still have to use flour unless you want the layers to stick.” She was likely thinking “Bless her heart”.

As I sprayed and floured the pans, I was as pouty as a two year old that was given the wrong color sippy cup. I finished quickly and moved on to putting the batters into the pans.

Let me clarify I didn’t know what in the world I was doing. I was just winging it (I swear that’s my motto). I grabbed a ladle out of my Lazy Susan thingy and started alternately scooping the batters into the pans. I knew I wanted the base layer marbled, but the other two layers were toss-ups. I used the middle layer to test my theory that you can have two separate colors in one pan without them mixing and then I used the smallest layer to try to alternate each color back and forth to make rings. It doesn’t work in case you were wondering. I used a butter knife to swirl it around a little and make a cool looking design. I had so much batter left over I was able to make 11 cupcakes as well.

Once I got the batter all divided out, I got the pans into the oven and breathed a sigh of relief. The first part was done!

The cakes came out of the oven and I let them cool for a bit. I decided to make a video of the cakes coming out of the pans.

The video can be seen here:

http://www.facebook.com/journeyofabadchef

Spoiler alert: They came out! I’m still shocked!

Once the cakes were out and cooled, I rummaged around for toothpicks to hold it all together. And, as per usual, we were out. How in the world was I going to keep this thing from sliding into the leaning tower of cake?! Whatever. It just wasn’t my day.

I started mixing the ingredients together for the icing. My son requested a Baymax cake. Baymax is from the children’s movie, Big Hero 6. Here are two pictures I found of him:

The one on the left is Baymax normally and the one on the right is him in a super hero costume or something. It’s not really important. What is important is that my son wanted a cake of him. I found a cake that resembled the helmet with his weird, connect the dot eyes. Perfect. I would ice the cake and draw his face on top with black icing I had on hand.

Did you know red frosting is impossible to achieve? Not just hard to do…no, no, no. Literally I’m pretty sure it’s IMPOSSIBLE. I put a ton of red gel into the icing mix and then I poured in HALF OF A CONTAINER of black as I was trying to achieve the red I was hoping for.

No such luck.

My son got pepto-colored icing. It looked like the cure for upset stomach was on his cake.

I shrugged off the icing. I mean…what can you do? It was close to dinner time so I needed to have the monstrosity done!

I slowly stacked the layers. I put down the bottom layer, iced it, and pushed the next layer on very firmly. Then I chanted “please don’t slide” while dancing around like an idiot. I repeated with the top layer and surprisingly, the layers stayed put. I iced the cake somewhat horribly and proceeded to make a face on top that slightly resembled Baymax, but basically it looked like I had an icing mishap.

 

I called my son in to look at the cake. He had no clue what it was until I told him. I apologized for the pink cake. His sweet response?

“Oh it’s okay, Mommy. I never told you what color I wanted it to be anyway.”

I could squeeze him sometimes.

The cake was actually pretty great tasting and he seemed to have a great birthday even though the cake wasn’t what I envisioned for him. I forgot to ice the cupcakes, but I’m so over the whole cake debacle that I don’t even care.

My daughter asked if I was going to make the cake for his party with his friends. I’ll let you know when I quit laughing long enough to give her a response.

Buttercream Icing

  • 1 lb confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3-5 Tbsp milk
  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • food coloring (optional)
  1. In a medium-large bowl, pour melted butter over confectioners sugar and mix slightly.
  2. Add vanilla extract and stir.
  3. Add milk one tablespoon at a time until it is creamy and spreadable.
  4. Mix in food coloring if desired and mix well.
  5. Spread over cake or cupcakes and enjoy!

Flour Power

Today,  my 10 year old daughter, Andrea, and I made an oldie, but goodie! We made homemade from scratch biscuits!

Andrea has never made biscuits before so she was excited. Plus, she had a tooth pulled this morning so she was a feeling little loopy. I probably should have done a video with this one. It would have been AFV gold!

This recipe is so easy and only has these five ingredients:

Andrea started out by measuring the flour. Somehow, she created a flour explosion on the counter. I’m not even sure how she managed to fling it into the places she did, but it. was. everywhere. Flour reminds me of glitter in the way that it finds obscure places to hide for years and it sticks to your body like glue. I had to suppress my urge to take over and let her keep going. She smiled at me all wonky (she was still numb on one side) and got back to work.

Once she got all the dry and wet ingredients added and mixed, she needed to knead the dough. I have no clue where she learned how to do it, but she knew exactly what to do.

Next, we moved on to rolling out the dough. Ugh. This was painful to watch. I cleaned the counter really well before we started, but I put down wax paper for her to put the dough on. She started rolling it out and it was slip-sliding everywhere. She got mad, rolled really hard and the entire paper flung off of the counter. There was a matrix type moment when she went to grab the paper and the roller pin levitated in the air while she re-positioned and got everything back into place. I’m not exactly 100% sure what happened as it was stupid fast, but I stood there dumbfounded and vowed to find out how she does this kitchen magic!

I think Andrea was most excited about cutting out hearts and stars for her and her siblings. I gave her the cookie(biscuit) cutters and she got to work. The dough should have been thicker, but we were so hungry at this point I just wanted to get these in the oven. After she cut a few, I took over and finished up since she was asking to eat the dough. Kids can be gross! We are just going to blame the tooth extraction and move on.

The biscuits cooked quickly and evenly and my smoke detector only went off twice so it was a great morning! (*I’ll explain the smoke detector below) Here is the finished product with grape jam/jelly.

I wanted to share a few other topping ideas we like!

  • butter and brown sugar
  • butter and cinnamon/sugar
  • syrup
  • honey
  • any flavor jelly or jam

*Smoke Detector story- For some strange reason, my smoke detector goes off any time the oven is at 400 degrees or higher.  The smoke detector is clear across the room and I’ll never understand it, but it is super sensitive. Good for emergencies, but bad for cooking. You just sort of get used to it. My husband yells “Dinner’s Ready!” every time the oven sets the smoke detector off.

Homemade from Scratch Biscuits

  • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 3 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2/3 Cup Milk
  • 1/4 Cup Oil
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, stir together flour, salt, and baking powder.
  3. In a separate small bowl, mix together milk and oil.
  4. Add milk mixture to dry ingredients and stir until flour is moistened.
  5. Knead the dough 5-6 times.
  6. Spread dough onto floured surface and pat or roll out. Needs to be around 1/4 in thick.
  7. Use cookie cutters or a glass to cut out dough.
  8. Place the dough on a cookie sheet and cook for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.
  9. Serve with favorite topping.

Colander Calamity

Last night was a doozy- even for me.

To begin, my husband and I either ate something bad or we had a small virus, but he and I were both feeling pretty crummy. I thought that some chicken noodle might do the trick and I’ve been wanting to try homemade for a while, but didn’t have a recipe. I raided my pantry and hoped for the best.

The night actually got off to a decent start considering the crummy day I had experienced. I had all these awesome ingredients! Surely something good could come out of it. (And yes, bacon doesn’t normally go into chicken noodle, but it’s bacon. Who turns down bacon?!)

I got the chicken broth boiling and dumped in the tomatoes. This was going well! I needed to get the carrots and celery in next so they could boil for a few minutes longer than the pasta and get tender. Unfortunately, I still had unwashed, unpeeled, and undiced vegetables. I worked as quickly as I could with the vegetables to get them into the pot.

Once the veggies were taken care of, I decided to start the bacon. I avoided burning it on the stove altogether and opted for the oven. (In hindsight, I should have started the bacon first. I’ve adjusted the recipe to reflect this.)

Once the bacon was in the oven and the vegetables had boiled for a few minutes, I added the pasta to the pot along with the concoction of seasonings I had put together. I even measured this time to keep up with what I used. I was feeling fancy! Once everything was in the pot and mixed together it looked kind of gross, but I kept pressing forward!

 All was going well until my two youngest children came into the kitchen singing the song of their people. If you have children, you know it well. It’s the “I want a drink!” and the “What is for dinner?” songs masterfully sung in the key of whine. I shooed them out and got back to making dinner.

I realized the pasta was overcooking and grabbed my collapsible colander (strainer). I popped it out and set it in the sink to use. I did not have intentions to drain the entire pot because I was still wanting chicken noodle, but I had entirely too much liquid for my liking.

I started to pour liquid into the colander and then it happened. I tipped forward a little too much and, unbeknownst to me, the colander didn’t pop out properly.

 

Disaster. Full-scale, disaster. During the commotion the kids came in again, saw my face, and ran away quickly. Just as I was about to have a nervous breakdown, the timer on the oven went off. The bacon was done. I doused my frustration with a piece of the bacon.

I took what tiny amount of pasta I had left in the strainer and crumbled a few pieces of the bacon to place on top. I had to try my pasta creation since I literally made up the recipe as I was going.

It was good! It was actually REALLY good! It’s too bad no one else in my family got a chance to give it a try.

Maybe next time…with a new colander.

Easy Peasy Pasta

  • 6 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) petite diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 4 carrots- diced
  • 4 celery stalks- diced
  • 1 bag of medium egg noodles (12 oz)
  • 1 pack of bacon
  • 1 Tbsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp basil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400. Once ready, put bacon into the oven for 20 minutes. (May need to flip it halfway through.)
  2. Bring chicken broth to a boil.
  3. Once boiling, put undrained tomatoes, diced carrots, and diced celery into the pot and let boil for 5 minutes.
  4. After 5 minutes, place noodles and spices into the pot and stir well. Let boil until the noodles are al dente.
  5. Drain pot (leave a little liquid for a soup type consistency)
  6. Crumble cooked bacon on top
  7. Serve- should be 4-6 servings if you don’t dump it into the sink.