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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Loaded Baked Potato Casserole

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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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.

Oh…I Guess It Is Alfredo After All

As I was scanning through my pins the other day, my husband walked past me and glanced over. He immediately backed up and practically drooled on my shoulder. That is how I decided which pin I was going to try first.  I don’t know the actual name of it, so we will just call it Chicken Awesomeness- or maybe Chicken Fettucini Alfredo if you like boring names.

 

I went to the store and bought the basic ingredients needed for this recipe. I should’ve known it would be trouble when the recipe called for heavy cream. I stood in front of the milk section of Publix and stared at the carton labeled “Heavy Whipping Cream” for longer than I should have. Was this the same thing as “Heavy Cream”? I tried calling Russ to no avail. I bought it anyway and proceeded to checkout with full intention of Googling it at soon as I got home. I didn’t and waited until I was much too far into making this recipe to have another option. Luckily, heavy cream and heavy whipping cream are basically the same thing.

I started out by frying the chicken in a skillet. I managed to fry it without completely killing it. During this time I started boiling the fettucini noodles and steaming the broccoli.

Just as I was thinking this was going to be a REALLY boring post, I remembered I needed to cook bacon. I despise cooking any and ALL breakfast foods. Seriously. My husband cooks breakfast for the kids when they get a craving because I. Just. Don’t. I put the bacon in a skillet and got this…

I mean…what is that? I have found a way to simultaneously burn and have raw bacon at the same time. Ehh. I fashioned a weird pan by putting a metal cooling rack onto a pan to catch the grease and put the rest of the bacon into the oven. I proceeded to read the rest of the recipe to see what else I could destroy.

It didn’t disappoint. The next thing I read was this line:

Add minced garlic to the skillet. Add heavy cream, milk, bring to boil. Add cheese and stir till it completely melts. 

Um…crap. I was about to dump the chicken juices out of the skillet. I took out the chicken and sliced it. Meanwhile, I dumped garlic powder (it’s just easier), heavy cream, and milk into the skillet. Once I added the cheese it dawned on me- I’m making alfredo. I yelled to Russ, “Hey babe! I just made homemade alfredo!” He congratulated me for finally figuring out what I was actually cooking and comes to taste test. He eyes the bacon before I finish the sauce and decides to steal some and run.

Once the oven bacon finished, I put it all together in a pot so I could take this pretty picture for you and then dumped my homemade alfredo on top and mixed it up. It was really good and two out of three children approved, which is pretty high around here.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb chicken breast, boneless and skinless
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (or 3/8 tsp garlic powder)
  • 2/3 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cups milk
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 8 oz fettuccine
  • 2 cups cooked broccoli florets
  • 7 strips cooked bacon
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil on medium-high heat in a large skillet. Season chicken breast with salt and pepper. Cook chicken breast on high heat for 2 to 4 minutes on each side, until browned, then remove the skillet from heat and keep the chicken covered to continue cooking it in its own steam until no longer pink. Remove chicken from the skillet. You can also use pre-cooked chicken. Cut chicken into thin slices.
  2. Add minced garlic to the skillet. Add heavy cream, milk, bring to boil. Add cheese and stir till it completely melts.
  3. Cook pasta according to instructions. Drain.
  4. Add cooked pasta, cooked bacon, cooked broccoli and mix everything in. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with sliced cooked chicken.