June 22, 2015

Cooking up Memories: Chicken & Spinach Pasta Bake

This was the last "dinner" recipe that I had to make.  My sister-in-law Aja gave me this recipe and I remember she told me that it was one that both she and my brother really like.  For some reason I just hadn't gotten around to making it yet.

I put it together this evening amidst cleaning our office and going through our mail.  It took a little time since the past has to cook and then it all has to bake, but it was easy to put together and we really liked it.

David said he thought it had a really good flavor.  It was a bit spicy for me (seems to be the theme of a lot of these--I'm a whimp when it comes to spice!) so I may cut down the Rotel next time, but I still really liked it and we will definitely be eating the rest of it this week in leftovers.
Chicken & Spinach Pasta Bake
*8 oz package Rigatoni--cooked *1 10 oz package of Frozen Spinach--thawed *3 cups Cubed Cooked Chicken *1 10 oz can Rotel, undrained *1 8 oz container Philadelphia Chive & Onion Cream Cheese *1.5 cups Shredded Mozzarella
-Drain spinach well, pressing between paper towels
-Mix all ingredients (except mozzarella) in bowl.
-Spoon mixture into greased 11x7 baking dish.  Sprinkle evenly with shredded mozzarella. 
-Bake at 375 covered for 30 minutes--uncover and bake 15 more minutes

I'm down to just 3 more recipes after this one.  Due to some duplicates, it ended up being 50 recipes and it's almost been a year since I started this!  I will definitely be posting a list of our top recipes once I'm done :)

June 17, 2015

Cooking up Memories: Shrimp Appetizer

For our Bible Study last night I also whipped up a shrimp appetizer recipe.  This recipe is one of the appetizers that was served at my bridal shower that my sister-in-law's mom gave me the recipe for with my gifts.

It has been in my stack of recipes and for the last few months I've been trying to find an opportunity to make it.  If I'd known how easy it would be to put together I probably would have made it a lot sooner.  I made them right before I walked out the door to head to Bible study, so I forgot to snap a picture before they were served... but here's a few of the left over ones after I got home:

It seemed like most people liked them and I thought they were delicious.  I will definitely have to keep this recipe in mind for other times I need an appetizer!

Shrimp Appetizer
*Athens Mini Fillo Shells *Boiled Peeled Shrimp, Deveined *Thai Kitchen Sweet Red Chili Sauce {They didn't have the Thai Kitchen brand at my store so I got a different one} *Toasted Sesame Seeds
-Cut shrimp into 3-4 pieces.  Place in bowl and mix with sweet chili sauce
-Toast shells in oven for 3-4 minutes
-Fill shells with shrimp mixture & sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds

It was a good kick off to this new Bible Study.  I'm looking forward to meeting with this group of ladies and talking through different topics--it's a fun mix of close friends and new friends and I think it'll be a good summer study!

June 16, 2015

Cooking up Memories: Ma Harper's Cold Oven Pound Cake

Well, it seems like 4th times a charm with my pound cake recipes.  As I talked about when I made the Cream Cheese Pound Cake, I was gifted with 4 pound cake recipes and two of the 3 I had made were not great.  Since then I've been given a few other pound cake recipes, but still had to try out this fourth one and it turned out well!

This recipe is from my Aunt Sandy.  She is the oldest of my dad's 4 sisters and she gave me a few different recipes.  I decided to try my hand at this one to take to a Bible Study tonight and I think it turned out pretty well--it's at least cooked all the way through :)

I gathered all the ingredients

 and followed the recipe to a T--including sifting the flour and baking powder

 Then I set my kitchen timer and turned on the oven
A successful loaf!

Ma Harper's Cold Oven Pound Cake
Yields 2 loaves
*3 cups Sugar *3 sticks Butter *1/2 cup Crisco *6 Eggs *3 cups Floud *1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder *1 cup Milk or Cream Cheese or 7 Up {I used milk, but will definitely be interested to try one of these other variations some time!} *1 teaspoon Vanilla *1 teaspoon Almond Flavoring
-Cream butter, sugar, and Crisco until sugar is dissolved
-Add eggs one at a time
-Sift together flour and baking powder
-Add flour and milk alternatively to sugar mixture
-Add flavoring
-Butter and sugar pan
-Place in cold oven
-Turn oven to 325 for 1 1/2 hour

June 10, 2015

Life Lately

So the past few months have been a little crazy--with broken bones, a funeral, a vacation, wrapping up the year with various commitments--I've missed out on posting about a few things.  So here's a little bit of life lately.

I stole this picture from my friend Amy's blog.  At the end of April we had our last life group with the Young Adults group.  I started going to Bible Study with the 20's group in the fall of 2010 and have been in a group with Katie pretty much ever since then.  But David and I wrapped up our time with the Young Adults' Group Bible Studies at the end of our Roman's study.  We're stepping out into a new season and not entirely sure what it looks like.  And as excited as I am to see what God has in store for us, it's weird to not meet with Katie, Melissa and Amy every Tuesday night for Life Group.  On our last night meeting all together Katie went through her prayer journal and found some requests that went back to 2011.  We've been meeting together for a long time and I'm so grateful for the friendships I have with these girls!  In a weird season of figuring out what community looks like after that, it's nice to have such great friendships and connections that I know will last beyond that group.

 For my mom's Mothers' Day Gift we all headed to a Ranger's game.  We met up with my family after church one Sunday and enjoyed an afternoon at the ballpark.  I borrowed David's hat for our picture together
 My mom and I enjoyed snuggling with this adorable Ranger's fan.  Piper was pretty happy throughout the game and did lots of smiling and babbling with me.
 And Chase had a blast too!

May was a month of storms.  And Lily is not a fan of storms at all.  So we spent a lot of our time at home with Lily under a blanket--if you look closely you can see the outline of her head under the blanket in the middle of this picture :)

Before our friend Teng's parents headed back to China, we had one last dinner with them.  Our friend Jihye cooked an authentic Korean dish and had us over to her apartment.  It was nice getting to chat with Teng's parents--to hear the stories of him growing up and his dad told us a lot about Chinese history.  And we got to brag on what a great guy they've raised!

We got some new-to-us couches last weekend.  My Aunt & Uncle have been cleaning out my grandfather's suite at their house so they had asked if anyone wanted anything from it.  They were generous to let David and I get his old couch and love seat.  We've done well with our mismatched furniture, but have talked about getting something a little nicer, so when this opportunity came up we were very excited.  So we rented a uhaul and went and brought them home.  They are nice leather and have built-in recliners!  We are definitely enjoying them.

 This past weekend we got to use our pool for the first time this season.  After all of the rain it took some time to treat it and get it ready, but it finally is.  David and I swam Sunday afternoon and we even tried to get Lily to join us.  We eventually just threw her in the pool, but she quickly wanted out and was perfectly content to find a shady spot to lay down and watch us!

One of my facebook friends has often posted about Del's burgers and how great they are.  When I looked it up and realized it was only a few miles from us, I knew we had to try it.  David and I met there Monday night for dinner so we could celebrate his first day at his new job.  The burgers were very tasty and we enjoyed their homemade root beer too!

And that's a glimpse of what's going on around here!

June 9, 2015

Cooking up Memories: Hashbrown Casserole

This is my second Hashbrown Casserole recipe for the year.  The first is from my Aunt Carol, my mom's youngest sister.  And this week's is from my Aunt Brenda, my dad's youngest sister.  Both my mom and dad have only sisters-- my mom is one of 3 girls and my dad was the oldest of 5 kids with 4 younger sisters!  I have often commiserated with both my Aunt Carol and my Aunt Brenda about the ups and downs of being the baby of the family.  

My Aunt Brenda and her sister Connie have lived near us most of my life.  When I was younger we lived in neighborhoods across the street from each other and then they moved out to Wylie a little before my mom and I moved out to that area of Garland.  So I have spent lots of time with them.  As the youngest of 5 kids, she is pretty easygoing and one of the kindest people I know!  My memories of cooking with her are often linked to holidays--her helping with Thanksgiving at my grandparents' house and baking goodies with my grandma.  And every year before Christmas she still gets in the kitchen and bakes up all of the treats that my grandma used to make and has them ready for us when we celebrate Christmas together.  

I was looking forward to trying this recipe and decided this past weekend was a good time for it.  I had originally planned to make it for Saturday breakfast, but we ended up planning a big lunch before heading to David's 10 year reunion.  We stayed in on Sunday afternoon and tried out our pool for the first time this season, so after a time of swimming I made this casserole for dinner and it was delicious!

It was very easy to put together and then we watched a movie while it cooked.  I like both of my Hashbrown Casserole recipes and look forward to making them both again!

Hashbrown Casserole
*1 package of Frozen Shredded Hashbrowns *1-16 oz Sour Cream *2- 10 oz cans of cream of potato soup *1 bag of Grated Cheese (2 cups) *1/2 teaspoon of Garlic Salt *Pepper
-Mix ingredients in LARGE container
-Mix sour cream, soup, garlic salt & pepper, mix well.  Gradually add bag of cheese, mix as you are adding.
-Slowly add hashbrowns.  Mixture gets very large, so mix a little bit at a time
-Once this is all mixed together, put in a 13x9 pan (spray with cooking spray first)
-Bake at 350 for 1 hour


June 5, 2015

Cooking up Memories: Alfredo Sauce

In the recipes that my old co-worker Becky gave me, there were a few different sauces.  We've already had the Alla Panna Sauce and it was delicious, so I was looking forward to trying the Alfredo Sauce out too.  This recipe is so easy it's hard to consider it much of a recipe--but it was easy to whip up and made a good amount.

Alfredo Sauce
*1/4 - 1/2 quart of Heavy Whipping Cream {I used the whole pint container, so 1/2 a quart} *3 Tablespoons Butter *1 teaspoon Garlic Salt *1/2 cup Parmesan
-Simmer butter, garlic salt and parmesan
-Add Whipping Cream--continue stirring
-Begin to thicken after about 15 min. (Thickens more as it stands)

We had it on some homemade pizza (Chicken Alfredo with Bacon) and it was delicious!  And I put the rest of the sauce in a jar to enjoy with pasta soon. 

I also tried out a homemade tomato pizza sauce from Jen Hatmaker for another pizza and David really liked this sauce (his words--it's way better than regular pizza sauce) so I thought I'd share the link to her recipe too.  She has a recipe for homemade dough and sauce.  I tried the dough last week but it didn't turn out quite right, so we just used pre-made crusts.  I'll try my hand at homemade pizza dough again soon!

We stayed in last night with the homemade pizza and a few redbox movies.  It has been so nice slowing down a little with all of our activities on hold for the summer.  We have a few weeks with nothing planned on the weeknights and it's been great to be home--although I'm sure soon enough I'll be ready to be on the go again!