August 30, 2011

Ranch Chicken Casserole

     It's Recipe Tuesday! Today's recipe is one I found in the margins of a magazine as an ad for Daisy Sour Cream: Ranch Chicken Casserole.  This is the first time I made this and it was really good; it got two thumbs up from my husband who requested that I make it again.  It was super easy to make and the building of it reminds me more of a lasagna than a casserole.
     To help speed prep time and add a bit more flavor I used the meat from a rotisserie chicken (I think we ate half of it as we were taking it off the bone!) rather than pull out the Foreman and grill a breast.  Next time I make this I'll use more tomatoes, maybe another entire can, as well as some fresh corn.  If you're serving this as a main dish for more than 2 people I would definitely use more than 1/2 pound of chicken, maybe 3 breasts.
  Ranch Chicken Casserole
1 green pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 (10oz) can diced tomatoes
1/2 pound chicken, cooked and cubed (we used a rotisserie)
Corn tortillas
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 sour cream
1 pkg ranch dressing
Monterrey jack cheese
Cilantro (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350.  Cover bottom of 8"x9" pan with corn tortillas.  Sprinkle 1/3 of cheese, tomatoes, pepper, onion and chicken over tortillas. Repeat process, ending with a layer of tortillas.

2. Blend chicken broth, sour cream and ranch dip until smooth.  Pour evenly over the casserole and set aside for 3 minutes.

3.  Top casserole with remaining cheese and tomatoes.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and bake an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese is golden brown.  Let stand 5 minutes and sprinkle with cilantro (optional).

August 23, 2011

Fundraising Walk - Please Support Me!

     For those who know me it's no secret that I am an animal lover!  On September 18th I will be participating in the 16th annual Concord-Merrimack SPCA Walk for the Animals.  This is a 3-mile walk in Concord and all funds raised will go to support my local SPCA and the 1600 animals they take in each year.  I participated in the 5k road race fundraiser back in June (here) and I'm excited to also participate in the walk.

     My goal is to raise $1000, a hefty amount but one I know I can meet.  If you would like to make a donation and sponsor me in the walk please check out my FirstGiving webpage (here).  You can donate online with a credit card and all donations are secure and sent directly to Concord-Merrimack SPCA by FirstGiving, who will email you a printable record of your donation.  Please feel free to send my page on to anyone who might like to donate!  If you're in the New Hampshire area and are interested in participating just leave me a comment and I can give you all the info. 

Thank you for your support!

August 19, 2011

Giving Thanks

     Hello!  Today's card is my attempt to get Thanksgiving cards in the mail this year.  Last year I ended up going to the local Hallmark store and purchasing cards to send to family and friends (gasp!).  I thought if I start making them now, I should be able to get the dozen or so I need made by November 1st.  I hope.
   To create the non-embossed section on the Pumpkin Pie piece I used the Double Emboss technique.  To see a printable tutorial or watch a video tutorial by Beate click (here).  This technique embosses part of your card stock while leaving a section smooth to stamp on.

Stamps: Falling Leaves
Ink: Pumpkin Pie, Old Olive, Daffodil Delight
Paper: Pumpkin Pie, Old Olive, Whisper White
Tools & Accessories: Big Shot, Perfect Polka Dots embossing folder, dimensionals

August 16, 2011

Creamy Lemon-Pesto Chicken

     It's Recipe Tuesday!  Today I thought I'd share with you our new favorite chicken recipe: Creamy Lemon-Pesto Chicken.  I originally found this in a Pampered Chef recipe book but tweaked it just a bit after I realized it wasn't quiet as lemony as I'd like it!
     My husband and I agree that baking chicken in the covered baker is the only way we're going to make chicken from now on (unless we want grilled chicken, then we'll use the Foreman!).  The chicken is SO tender and juicy that there's no need for a knife!
     I must confess that we were missing one important ingredient from the recipe when I made it.  We didn't have a single vegetable in the house (seriously) so my dish isn't topped with tomato like it should be.  Speaking of veggies, if you'd rather skip the noodles this dish would be great chilled and served over salad with toasted pine nuts.
Creamy Lemon-Pesto Chicken
1 lemon
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup 1% milk
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/2 cup basil pesto (I prefer Classico brand)
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp lemon-pepper seasoning
12 oz egg noodles (1 bag)
2 plum tomatoes
Basil leaves (optional)

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Over low heat, melt butter in saucepan.  Add flour and 1 tsp lemon zest and whisk until smooth.  Add milk, juice from 1/2 lemon and garlic to mixture.  Turn heat up to medium and continue to whisk until thickened.  Add pesto; mix well.

2.  Season chicken with seasoning.  Place chicken in covered baker, overlapping if necessary.  Pour sauce over chicken.  Bake, covered, for 30-35 minutes.  Carefully remove from oven and let stand uncovered for 5 minutes.

3.  Meanwhile, cook egg noodles according to package directions; drain.  Seed and dice tomatoes.  Serve chicken and sauce over pasta; garnish with tomatoes, juice from lemon and basil. Enjoy!

August 12, 2011

Dots and Stripes...

     Hello!  Today's card was inspired by Alcojo94's card Friday Mashup Blossom (here) over at SplitCoast.  I loved her colors but I wanted to tweak the layout just a bit.  Ok, really I just wanted to pull out my Big Shot and use my new Stripes Embossing folder! 
     Stampin' Up must have read my mind last winter when I kept thinking that there really should be a striped embossing folder to compliment the abundance of polka dotted stamps, ribbons, paper and folders that are in the catalog.  I was SO happy to see they heard my pleas :)

Stamps: Bold Blossoms
Ink: Pink Pirouette, Pear Pizazz, Early Espresso
Paper: Pink Pirouette, Pear Pizazz, Early Espresso, Whisper White
Tools & Accessories: Stripes & Perfect Polka Dots embossing folders, Big Shot, modern label punch, baker's twine, buttons (I believe the ones I used are retired)

August 9, 2011

Joanna's Fabulous Fajita Pizza

     My husband will tell you that I'm becoming quite the little chef and here's my latest creation for Recipe Tuesday- Fabulous Fajita Pizza.  I love pizza and I love Mexican food and I thought why not combine the two?!  The recipe is super simple and super quick if you use refrigerated pizza crust and a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken. If you're more into the veggie pizza you could omit the chicken and go for a meatless version.

Fajita Pizza
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1 medium onion
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 large rotisserie chicken, meat removed from the bone
2-3 tsp taco or fajita seasoning
1/4 cup taco sauce or salsa (we prefer sauce)
2 cups Mexican blend cheese
2 tbsp cilantro
1 pkg refrigerated pizza crust
Sour cream, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 425.  Cut peppers and onions into thin strips and saute in olive oil.
2. Meanwhile, unroll pizza crust and pre-cook for 5 minutes.
3. Add taco/fajita seasoning mix, garlic, taco sauce and chicken to veggies; cook 2-3 minutes.
4. Arrange chicken mixture evenly over the pizza crust; sprinkle with cheese
5. Bake 10-12 minutes or until crust is golden brown.  Remove pizza from oven, sprinkle with cilantro and let cool 10 minutes.  Cut into slices and serve with sour cream, if desired.

So does my little creation taste good?  I'll let the pictures answer that question!

            Before...                                              after...

August 5, 2011

That Was So Cool of You!

      Hello!  Today's card is my husband's favorite.  We needed several thank you cards this summer and each time we went to pick one Aaron said, "let's use this one!".  But sadly each time I had to tell him no; I was saving this card to give to my Aunt Jane in appreciation of her hospitality during our stay at the family beach house.  (get it, flip flops- the beach- summer?!)
     I absolutely love the flip flops in the Sunny Fun stamp set and decided to separate them for the card.  Each flip flop is colored with a blender pen, cut out and glued onto a white circle.  I wanted to let the flip flops be the star of the card so I kept the rest very simple.

Stamps: Sunny Fun
Ink: StazOn black, Melon Mambo, Tempting Turquoise, Daffodil Delight
Paper: Whisper white, Melon Mambo, Tempting Turquoise, Daffodil Delight
Tools & Accessories: Circle punches, blender pens

August 2, 2011

FREE Designer Series Paper!

     Here's another reason why I {love} Stampin' Up!  During the month August when you purchase 3 packages of Designer Series Paper you will  receive an additional pack of Designer Series Paper for FREE

Buy 3 get 1 FREE!

This is a great time for you to stock up on your favorite DSP, including all the exciting new colors and designs in the 2011-2012 Idea Book & Catalog.  And bet of all there is no limit to the number of free packs you can earn!

To place an order head on over to my SU website (here) and click on the "shop now" button (upper right corner).

To view a printable flyer click (here).

Sippin' Dirty Bananas

     The food pyramid suggests eating 2-4 servings of fruit each day and I've found my favorite way to meet that goal - Dirty Bananas!  It's Recipe Tuesday and this week's recipe is an adult beverage that's perfect for cooling off on a hot summer day.  Aaron and I originally discovered this drink at Nancy's Snack Bar on the Vineyard back in July.  Thankfully, I had watched Donovan make the drink several times and remembered the ingredients so it was easy to replicate when we got home. 
     When making this drink at home we use the Ninja Master Prep blender (here).  If you've ever been up at 3am watching tv then I'm sure you've seen the infomericals.  This is THE BEST blender we've ever owned, it litterally turns ice into snow in seconds!  It's just as powerful as the professional blenders you see at restaruants and we never have chunks of ice left at the bottom like you would with a traditional blender.  Highly recommend it.  Ok, on to the recipe...
     You'll need an actual banana for this drink, not banana liqueur. Donovan explained to me the browner the banana the better because brown bananas have more flavor.  Keep in mind that the following recipe is for one drink.  If you don't want half a banana laying around for days you might as well just double the drink and use the whole banana! ;)

Dirty Banana
1/2 banana (the browner the better)
1 oz Vodka
1 oz Bailey's Irish Cream, plus a splash
1 oz Kahlua
Chocolate syrup
2 cups ice
Whipped cream (optional, but really - who doesn't love whipped cream?!)

1. Add banana, ice and liqour to blender and blend 10-15 seconds (or until smooth).
2. Drizzle inside of glass with chocolate syrup and add a splash of Bailey's to the bottom.
3. Pour drink in glass, top with whipped cream and more chocolate syrup.  Enjoy!