Friday, April 17, 2009

White Chili

This recipe was given to me by a friend and it has become one of my favorite super-easy recipes! You can make this in a crock pot or on the stove. It can be left in the crock pot all day on low, or made a few hours before dinner- simmering on the stove! It also freezes well and can be saved for a rainy day!

48 oz. Great Northern Beans, undrained
16 oz. Salsa
2 cups Shredded Montery Jack Cheese
4 Chicken Breasts, cooked and cubed
1 teaspoon Cumin
1 can (about 14 oz) Garbanzo (chick peas), drained

Mix all ingredients in the crock pot- cook on low for at least 2 hours. I have felt that if you use med or high, and you plan on leaving it in the crock pot during the day, the mixture gets too hot and you get unpleasant burnt pieces of chili in your bowl. Yuck!

If you are using the stove, follow the same directions- allow to simmer for at least two hours. Remove from heat to allow the mixture to thicken, serve, and enjoy!

**Don't forget to stir occasionally!

Friday, April 10, 2009

My Cooking Buddy

I have a huge fan who loves to watch me cook. He takes in every scent, every movement, every specific placement of each item. He sits quietly on the kitchen stool, watching intensely, sometimes even trying to take a swipe at anything placed near him. Maybe even a quick taste when I'm not looking. His name: Pistol Pete. Meet my cooking buddy:

I love having him watch me- although his sneaky cat-like ways can get me (and him!) in trouble! And when I cook chicken... we all have to watch out...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Spicy Jalapeno Bratwurst Spaghetti

A delicious, spicy twist to an original pasta favorite!

Check out my article at Associated Content:

3 Cheese Chicken Penne Pasta Bake*

This recipe is incredibly delicious and easy to make. It's also low in calories and a fun twist on baked pasta- using Neufchatel Cheese, which has 1/3 less fat than regular cream cheese.

Prep: 20 min. Total: 43 min. Makes: 4 servings

1 1/2 cups multigrain penne pasta, uncooked
1- 9 oz. pkg fresh spinach leaves (or 1/2 can of spinach)
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp. dried basil leaves
1- 14.5 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
1- 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
2 oz. Philladelphia Neufchatel Cheese, cubed
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese

Make it:
Heat oven to 375F. Cook pasta, adding fresh spinach to boiling water for the last minute. If you are using canned spinach, don't add it yet.

Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces.

Cook and stir chicken and basil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat for about 3 min.

Add sauce and tomatoes; bring to boil.

Simmer 3 min. or until chicken is done. Stir in Neufchatel cheese. If you are using canned spinach, add it to the sauce mixture now.

Drain pasta; return to pan. Stir in chicken mixture and 1/2 cup mozzarella.

Spoon into 2-qt. baking dish.

Bake 20 min. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Bake 3 min.

Once it's done cooking, allow to cool. Add your favorite bread or side and enjoy!

*this recipe originated from Kraft Foods and was slightly modified to my preferences.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Fresh Scented Air

Nothing is better than having a fresh smelling house. From pets, to garbage, to cooking, scents can accumulate to make a very stinky impression. One of my favorite new finds has been the Slatkin & Co. Candles from Bath and Body Works. I haven't found any candles in this price range that can fill an entire house with such amazing aromas. Regularly priced they cost $19.99, but if you wait for the regular sales events, you can get much better deals- usually around $9.99 for a 14.5 oz candle. For an even better deal, check their clearance marked items.

I like to light mine about an hour to thirty minutes in advanced before guests arrive, just enough time to fill our entire two story house with a clean, welcoming scent. I almost always have a positive comment from guests regarding the inviting smell when they first walk in the house, and to me, that's totally worth it!