When one kid licks the plate and the others ask for leftovers: Chicken Tetrazzini

When one kid licks the plate and the others ask for leftovers, you officially have a winning recipe. THere aren’t too many casseroles that 100% of the family loves, but this is one for sure! I honestly was surprised at the overwhelmingly positive response for this fairly easy Chicken Tetrazzini. Leaving the skin and bones in and on the chicken while cooking helps to maintain a very moist, flavorful chicken.

Chicken Tetrazzini———————–
5 chicken breasts with skin on & bones in
1 lb rotinni noodles
1 cup shredded cheddar
2.25 cups water
2 cans cream of chicken
2 chicken boullion cubes
1.5 tsp italian seasoning
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp paprika

1) put chicken in crockpot. Coat with italian seasoning, garlic & paprika. Cook on high 4-6 hours until chicken shreds easily with a fork. Add NO liquid.

2) Preheat oven to 350, grease a casserole dish (i use the deep covered baker from PC, but i think it is a 4qt capacity), boil 6 cups of salted water.

3) Cook noodles to al dente. Debone, remove skin and fat. Shred or chunk chicken, letting seasonings seap into pieces as you cut it.

4) Drain noodles, put in casserole, cover with chicken.

5) In saucepan add water, cream of chicken and boullion. Bring to a boil, stirring regularly. Pour over top of chicken and noodles.

6) Cover with cheese. Place lid or foil over top of dish. Bake for 30 minutes.

7) Remove cover, bake 10-15 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Family meals

Our household goal is to have at least 3 family dinner meals per week. I would like more, but John’s work schedule keeps him away several evenings. Football tossed a bit of a kink into the family time and into my home-cooked meals. We were still able to catch a couple of meals, but they were generally delivery, take-out or fast food, and occasionally quick, preassembled foods. This weekend, I made a resolve to get back to the kitchen for the majority of our meals. Activities will continue, as we have resumed martial arts, but I think with better planning on my part, home-cooked meals will prevail.

Saturday night we had meatloaf, fresh cooked carrots and onion soup baked new potatoes. The meal was an overwhelming success. The night before, I put the meat into the fridge to thaw – no last minute microwaving, and ensured that I had everything on hand.

Meatloaf – 2 lbs ground beef, 1 TBS dried minced onion, 1/2 cup milk, 2 eggs, 1/2 sleeve saltine crackers, 1/2 cup + 2 TBS ketchup. (if you are going to bake this, combine all ingredients except the 2 TBS ketchup, put into a pan – i used the deep covered baker from Pampered Chef, smooth top, then cover with remaining ketchup. cover and Bake at 375 for about an hour. remove cover and Broil on low for about 3 minutes)

Carrots – 2 lbs carrots, 1 TBS butter, 1/2 cup water, salt & pepper (peel, place in pan with all ingredients, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and let simmer till fork tender)

Onion Potatoes – 4 cans new potatoes, 1 pkt Onion Soup Mix, 1/3 cup oil, no-stick spray (dice potatoes, place in bag with soup mix & oil, shake. Pour onto a well greased jelly roll pan, bake at 375 for about an hour or until golden & lightly crispy)

*I used to use real onion in my meatloaf, but found that dried/minced have the following benefits: 1)the loaf is fairly homogenous, which means kids won’t pull it apart in search of the elusive onions, most kids don’t consider minced onions *real onions*, 2)There is enough onion powder in the dried onions that it adds a great deal of additional flavor, and 3) I never open up a container of dried onions only to discover that they have *gone bad*.

Last night more of the same yummy goodness – sweet & sour meatballs (jelly & chili sauce in the crockpot), sticky white rice, and asparagus.

I have prepared a menu for this week so that I won’t be caught last minute wondering what to make.

The weekend in review

1. Maggie moved out of our room.

This is HUGE. HUGE. HUGE. We finally came up with what we hope is a workable solution. Liam and Dorothy are bunking together, half of the room is now his, and the other half hers. Train table, cars, trucks and Little People now have places next to Barbie, Littlest Pet Shop, American Girls and art supplies. The book shelves are lined with everything from Rugrats to Junie B. Jones. We decided that the gap between the girls was too great, and the gap between the boys was too great for either set to share a room. Dustin and Dorothy are closest in age, but as Dustin moves into puberty I don’t think it is a good idea for him to be sharing a room with his little sister. Since this arrangement is only for 6 months (John is moving out in MAY), we put the two children with the most similar likes and schedules together. Dorothy already had bunkbeds, thankfully. Two nights in and we are doing well, both kids are now instructed to change in the bathroom and I think we will make it through this one. Maggie is currently in a pack-n-play in what was Liam’s room. She is getting the crib from grandma’s storage unit this coming weekend. Last night, she slept until 4:30. I think we may be well on the way to night weaning – finally. Her clothes are now in the closet & out of my room as well.

Both Maggie and Liam still came into our bed both nights, but I can honestly say that I am very happy with the changed sleeping arrangement and I can live with visitors for a while longer, as long as they are after 4:00am!

2. Cookies – FTW.

You can never go wrong with homemade cookies. Never. These turned out fantastic in appearance and taste. This recipe is off the Aldi chocolate chips, but I lowered the temperature for baking.

2 sticks real butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Cream together everything except for flour and chips. Stir in chips and flour. Drop rounded 1/2 TBSs of dough onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 11-15 minutes. Let sit on baking sheet for 1 minute then transfer to a table lined with newspaper to cool. Yield – 48- 56 cookies.

3. Going to the Playoffs!

Dustin’s team won their game yesterday, after a disappointing Wednesday night shut-out. This sealed their place in the playoffs with a record of 6-1. The final score was 44 to 20! Dorothy’s cheerleader squad looked awesome as well!

4. Playing in Giant Piles of Leaves

Pictures will be added today. The three youngest had a blast playing in the giant piles of leaves John made for them. Maggie was a little hesitant initially, but quickly found the fab in the leaf piles. Liam spent hours jumping off of our neighbor’s wall into the heap, and Dorothy made some game to play in them.

My attempt at a regional favorite

We’ve recently hit that point where it seems like I cook the same things over and over, and while delicious, we just had it the week before. We live in the St. Louis area, famous for The Hill – an Italian cropping of restaurants and culture which expands beyond the actual neighborhood bounds. This influence is evident at every office catered luncheon, graduation party, wedding reception, etc. How? One word. Mostacholli.

Mosta-what? Not matriculating from this region, I had no clue when I moved here what this dish was. I’ll be honest, I’ve never actually eaten it at an event, but I’ve always taken notice. However, since all of my children DO live, and come from, the STL Metro area, I decided it was high time to add Mostacholli to our family menu. It was a raging success, though my husband told me later that my mostacholli was a little extravegant compared to what most people serve. I asked what most people do and he said basically they open some Ragu, pour it over cooked penne pasta and then bake.

1 box Penne Pasta
6-8 oz ricota cheese
8 oz mozzerella cheese
1 cup parmesan cheese
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
2 6 oz cans tomato paste
1 TBS Italian seasoning + some to sprinkle
1 cup water
1.5 lbs ground beef
1 medium yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
salt & pepper to taste

1. Bring 6-8 cups water to a boil. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Brown ground beef, adding onions and garlic when beef is getting close to done. Drain and set aside. Drop pasta into water and cook until al dente.
3. In large saucepan, add tomatoes, water, tomato paste, and italian seasoning to ground beef mixture. Bring to a boil and reduce to desired consistancy.
4. Grease a 9×13 pan.
5. Add pasta into sauce, stir. Scoop 1/2 into 9×13. Cover with 1/2 of the cheeses divided. Add remaining pasta, smooth, then layer with cheese, sprinkle top with Italian seasoning.
6. Cover with foil (spray side facing food with Pam). Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove foil. Bake an additional 10-15 minutes.
7. Serve with garlic bread 🙂

Concert Review & Italian Chicken that even your cat will love

Last night was the big concert event. Brad Paisley was the headliner, and he was just awesome. He is one of the few artists that sounds the same whether he is live or on the radio. Love his music and it was well worth the ticket price to see him! His opener, Dierks Bentley is not too far from headlining a tour himself. He is really great in concert & full of energy. Jimmy Wayne was the 1st opener and he has a couple of well known songs, but isn’t at the top yet. He was good though.

Italian Chicken

  • 2-3 lbs boneless skinnless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 jar of pepperocini juice
  • 6 pepperocinis
  • 1 pkg Good Seasons Italian Dressing mix

Put all ingredients into a small crockpot. Cook on high until chicken shreds easily. Shred chicken. Serve on buns.

This isn’t as spicy as it sounds. Maggie loves it. My cat Cocoa just ate a bowl of it that I had made for myself.

Is that a booger?

on my boob?

Survey says DING DING DING

Oh the adventures of nursing! Maggie has a bit of a snotty little nose, but I do alright keeping it cleaned up. However, I must have missed this because I sat down to feed her a while ago and looked down and there it was. It was a crusty booger right there. Grrrrrreat.

They are the latest fashion.

Everyone has one.

The perfect accessory.

A one-of-a-kind item.

Nothing says “Mom” quite like this.

 

 Yeah, not working. It’s nasty.

Note to self: Check before closing bra.

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Trying something new for dinner tonight, from the Fix It and Forget It cookbook, page 139. Pork Chops and Gravy.

  • 8 chops
  • 2 T oil
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom (i’m using chicken)
  • 1 12 oz can condensed milk
  • 1 large onion sliced
  • S&P to taste.

Brown chops in oil. Put chops in crock, cover with soup milk whisked together. Crock on low for like 6 hours. I’ll serve with roasted taters.

Why I can’t lose weight

I know why I can’t lose weight. I eat the right foods at meals and snacks, but I also “secretly” eat other things…like the half bag of M&M’s I just poured down my throat. I’ve tried keeping stuff like that out of the house, but I’ll make cookies, cakes, biscuits…whatever. I think my problem with my weight is due to the fact that I like food. There. I said it. I like food. A. Lot. I think as long as my pants fit I’m going to quit pretending to try a diet, or even “healthier eating”. I think maybe I just need to be more active.

…and since I’m on the subject of food, last night’s dinner was good.

  • 1 box rotini cooked to al dente
  • 2 jars alfredo sauce
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese divided
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 TBS olive oil

Preheat oven to 325. Brown chicken breasts in olive oil. Cut up. Stir together one jar of sauce with noodles, peas and chicken. Pour into greased 9×13 pan. Spread remaining jar of sauce over top of pasta mix. Sprinkle parmesan cheese evenly over top. Bake for about 30 minutes.