Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Chicken Enchilada Pasta


This blog post didn't need any catchy title other than the name of the's that good

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

I ran across this recipe the other day....BHG October 2010.  If you have read my blog any you will know this seems to be the norm for me....I rip out recipes and 3 yrs or more later I stumble across it and make it.  I always wonder what took me so long...

This would be one of them.

Now I changed this up a bit.  You are supposed to buy those bigger shells and stuff them with the mixture.  

I'm a mom with 8 in our family...not only is INEVITABLE that a child will bring 1-3 friends home at dinner time.  NO warning...boom kids show up.  So I make tons of food

When I see the words "stuff shells"  I think uh no way ..that means more work for momma.

Tonight was no different.... child #1 brought 2 friends home.  I stupidly didn't 1.5 this recipe.  We ran out....

Here you go...head to the store now and buy your ingredients....
Now..(I'll wait)

  • 1 12 ounce package  jumbo shell macaroni (remember I bought small/medium size shells)
  • 3 3/4 cups chopped large green and/or red sweet peppers   (I did one kids are weird and that seemed like a lot of peppers)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped red onions ( kids freak..I did 3/4 cup)
  • 1 fresh jalapeno  pepper, seeded and chopped*
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 16 ounce can refried beans
  • 1/2 1 1/4ounce package taco seasoning mix (3 tablespoons)
  • 2 10 ounce can enchilada sauce (I used 1 cup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican-style four-cheese blend (8 ounces)
  • 1 cup sliced green onions (seems like a choose)
  • 2 cups nacho-flavor tortilla chips, crushed (I skipped this step)
  • Sour cream
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.
2. In large skillet cook sweet peppers, red onions, and jalapeno pepper in hot oil over medium heat about 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in chicken, beans, taco seasoning mix, 1/2 cup (I did 1 cup..might add more next time for a bit wetter) of the enchilada sauce, and the salt. Cook and stir for 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup (I added a cup) of the cheese and 1/2 cup of the green onions.
3. Spread 1 cup of the remaining enchilada sauce in a 3-quart rectangular baking dish. Spoon chicken mixture into cooked shells. Arrange filled shells in the baking dish. Drizzle with remaining enchilada sauce.
4. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, about 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with chips and remaining green onions. Serve with sour cream. 

I skipped step 3 and 4
I stirred a box of cooked pasta shells into the mixture....then I poured it into a greased 13x9 baking dish.  I covered it with more more more cheese and baked uncovered for 20 mins 
We stirred sour cream in our when we ate it.  

This was a winner in our house!  


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Peanut Butter Pretzel Pops

Peanut Butter....Chocolate....Pretzels....

I'm in...

Ran across this in a  magazine from 2011 Thanksgiving.  (I'm really behind on my reading)

These were simple to baking...just melting...mixing...freezing...eating.  

I doubled the recipe...I'm thinking for a party this would be great to triple

Here you go.

1/2 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups chocolate candy melts or 10 oz Bakers Chocolate Chopped *I used 2 7oz tub of Bakers Melting Chocolate you stick in microwave for easy dipping
1 1/2 cups crushed Synder's Hanover Pretzel Sticks

First melt butter and peanut butter in a bowl until smooth

Then stir in your powdered sugar

Pop this in the freezer for about 30 minutes to thicken up

Scoop out heaping tablespoons *I thought tablespoons was too small and used my small ice cream scooper of the cold mixture and roll into balls, using all the peanut butter mixture; *I may have scraped and licked bowl at this point place on a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet. Freeze for 15 minutes. 

Remove from freezer and insert one lollipop stick in each peanut butter ball


Melt the chocolate, following package instructions. Dip and roll each ball in the melted chocolate and dip into the crushed pretzels; place back on prepared baking sheet.

When all the peanut butter balls are finished, place baking sheet in the refrigerator for a few minutes or until the chocolate is set.

*with leftover melted chocolate...get all your fruit and marshmallows and let the kids start dipping and licking and eating.  No one likes wasted melted creamy delicious chocolate

Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

I may have eaten 2 of these...and maybe another when the kids went to bed.  I seriously thought something was wrong with them and needed to keep checking to see if the combination of peanut butter and chocolate with crunchy salty was ok.  
I didn't want to serve my in laws something terrible
I think we have a winner!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Get Tee'd Off....

My father in Laws birthday was last week....and he loves my cookies. 

Win Win

You know me and my love of cookies.....(or baking) I just had to create a batch just for him.  

He's a Golf I googled images to find something to make that I could actually do.  
I've realized that in my cookie creation adventure I am not an artist and this is def something you sort of need a gift of the creative bug

I found a few and KNEW I couldn't do that....but then found a few I could. 

Here's what I came up with....49 cookies (there were 50 but I ate one)

(sorry used my phone for photos)

One of them was supposed to be golf clubs...came out looking more like bats and glove and mitt.  Wrong sport.

They turned out better in my ever have that problem?  I wish I could just live in my head all the time...The weather is always beautiful and I have a super clean kids NEVER fight and I am a perfect size 6

I used my homemade vanilla (granted it's the only one I have now) and my vanilla bean sugar.

Want to make your own sugar?  It's simple

To make a small batch?  

Grab about 2 cups of sugar
2 vanilla beans
I buy my beans from Vanilla Products USA  ...I have purchased about 3 times and have been completely happy

I like to split my beans and scrap the seeds directly in the sugar.  Then I  take my (clean) fingers and rub the beans all through my sugar until all chunks have been broken up. 
Just sit back and rub rub rub and smell smell smell...such a pretty thing
Then I toss in the pods and let it sit (I'll shake from time to time)

I like to keep a big batch for baking and a small batch for small treats for sprinkling or coffee

This sugar was freshly made so the color is still a few weeks it's tints a pale brown....mmmmmmmm so good! 

My homemade vanilla is made with the good stuff....I used Crown.....I haven't tried vodka yet because I am pretty happy with mine...the flavour is perfect...I keep topping off the vanilla when I use it and I've added a few extras beans. 

I need to order a few cute bottles for sharing with friends...

Happy Wednesday!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Being A Mom Means......

Before I became a Mom nearly 17 yrs ago (August 27th, 1996 to be exact), I didn't realize how awesome I was going to be.

I didn't know that my spidey senses would multiply.  That I would be able to hear things I never heard before.   Like that of a child sneezing in the middle of the night or the dreaded 2am hurling sound.  Or when the room is super quiet, but yet upstairs in the far end of the house you hear a child playing with toilet paper.  You just know these things.


I didn't know that my sense of smell would work like that of a dog.
Knowing when there is a child with a poopy diaper within 400 ft of you is a special skill you know?  


I didn't realize I would be blessed with the gift of being ninja like.
You know where you can walk into a child's room full of toys and step over and in between and around and through w/o stepping on  one.  This will come in handy when I am in a mine field one day....which leads me to...


How I can lay a child down and slowly exit a room without making a sound....which leads me to...

I didn't realize I would be able to hold my breath for so long.
You know when you go to lay a child down for a nap...they are out stone cold and if you breathe they will feel it or hear you hold your breath and slowly back away....tip toeing over toys (ninja) ...turning every shade of finally exit the room and let a huge blast of air out of your lungs.


This is where I realized I CAN NOT HOLD MY BREATH FOR VERY LONG.  I mean seriously's like after 10 seconds I think I'm gonna die...I start to panic....


I didn't realize I would be blessed with the gift of invisibility.
You know where you sneak out of a room to use the bathroom alone undetected.  
If you stay to the side of your children...always wear black (ninja again) and move really slowly...they can't see you


I didn't realize my eye sight would be like a sensor for lost things.  Give me an I Spy book any day and I will seek and find.  This comes in handy when searching for lost binky's or favorite dolls or even a tiny tiny hairclip for a Polly Pocket doll


I didn't realize I was a contortionist 
You know where you are co sleeping with 1-3 kids and everyone smashes against your body and you are in the most cramped position where a leg, arm, and head are all in different areas of the bed.  You are lucky you were able to move or let alone get any sleep.

It's like another side of you comes alive and you are this incredible superhero.  You are able to do things you never imagined you could do.  Just ask my phone...
she calls me Supermom

Monday, July 15, 2013

11 Months Down ...1 More to Go

Monday last week (7/8) sweet boy turned 11 months

I'm shocked.  11 months has by and here he is getting to be such a big boy

About Cole:

Still a HORRIBLE sleeper
He takes maybe 2 naps a day (total nap time for the day 1-2.5 hrs)
At night he's ready by about 7:30 or 8 and goes down like a dream
His problem is he can't stay that way.  It varies each day...never the same...Sometimes he's up every hr after that until midnight and then will wake every 2 hrs
Sometimes he wakes every 2-3 hrs and is awake for 1 hr fighting sleep
On a rare occasion once a month he will sleep 5 hrs straight. 
Then wakes around 6ish and I try to force him back to sleep in my bed co-sleeping.  It's a work in progress

Did I mention I'm exhausted?  As much as I'm ready for these days behind me I'm not ready for my baby to be bigger than he is now.  I love my baby

Eating Better
Finally interested in's finding the food he likes that is a problem
So far he likes all meat things...esp steak (at'aboy)
Loves strawberries, blueberries, blackberries,
He is now willing to try anything once...he usually squishes it in his hand and then throws it

Loving the sippy
Even though he has yet to get liquids that way...he will find his siblings lying around and drink whatever is in theirs

Moving and Shaking
He just recently (2 weekends ago) starting standing unassisted.  I'm hoping he is walking by his first birthday
I had to stalk him for a bit to finally capture it on camera  

Speed crawler like any baby.  
Esp loves any open door or cabinet that he isn't allowed in. 
Don't get me started with bathroom doors left open and toilets..(gross)
squeals with laughter when makes it to the dog food and water before I can (again more messes)
loves pushing cars on the floor (mimics big brother)

You are constantly being tortured by your older bro and sis and love it


this would be when they kept pouring water over your head while playing didn't seem to mind (notice hair and puddle in front of you)

this would be when playing they stick things on your back to be funny...

Another favorite of you and how much you love love love eating your brothers head.  I don't know what it is about heads and your mouth!  (take after your brother)


Thursday, July 11, 2013

You Smell...

My nose came to life so to speak after I got pregnant with my first sweet baby (17 yrs ago...whew that sounds like a long time)

I don't remember having a sensitive nose until that moment...but I could walk into a room and smell what was in there...sometimes I can smell it before I even get into the room .....I got my spidey senses so to speak.

I remember holding my baby for the first time and smelling him...he has a distinct scent to baby smell mixed with his own...

Baby #2 came along....totally different scent.  I now can distinguish between the 2 in a blind smell test.

And so the smells go with all 6 of my babies.

Each is unique and different and perfectly perfect.  (except when they are dirty..blech)

6 kids later my whiffer is super sensitive though and it can be a problem.

I have a difficult time walking near seafood or even eating it.  That smell used to not bother me...Now I feel like it has been multiplied by a million and makes it difficult to not choke down a gag.  I'm sure I look totally insane as I turn every shades of green (puke) and blue (holding breath) as I walk as fast as I can past the fish counter at the grocery store.

I now can't wear certain lotions or perfumes...the scents drive me up a wall......

A few months back my sweet friend Brandy over at Sunfire Creative sent us a box of boy clothes and the minute I opened the box the scent won me over.....I couldn't quit smelling the clothes...
I'm so sure she thought I was a total freak when I started txting her and said the clothes arrived and I had to know what detergent she uses b/c I NEEDED MY CLOTHES TO SMELL LIKE THAT.

If the dog has had an accident on the rug....I can smell it before I even walk downstairs.  Hubs tells me I can't possibly know...but sure enough there it is on the rug.  (loathe the dog)

I love holding Cole...especially when he is asleep...I can just sit there kissing...cuddling...and smelling him.  I literally inhale him.....

My oldest has ZERO sense of smell.  Sad huh?  I  never really knew this until he got older.  I would say that smells good...he would respond..."dunno"  ...always just thought he was being a kid or a boy or just not really wanting to give me a straight answer...UNTIL one day I got to thinking....why does he keep saying that.  I realized HE REALLY DIDN'T KNOW

We googled it....

is the inability to perceive odor, or in other words a lack of functioning olfaction.

 How I have this over powering sense of smell and my oldest has had zero his whole life.  We joke and say he will be the one to change his kids diapers one day....or at least he will be able to room in the dorms with a bunch of smelly guys.  But honestly no sense of smell could be a problem.  Not being able to detect a gas leak...or smoke of a fire.....or enjoy the beauty of a flower or your sweet newborn baby.
I also always wonder if it messes with his sense of taste.  He said it doesn't, but HOW would he know.  I think that is a reason he is partial to Sour things..maybe that taste stands out more than others.  

 Child #5 has a smelling and licking issues.  He loves to smell everything ...esp his little brother's head.  I will know #5 has been around #6 when I see #6's head with food stuck in it.  His brother must have been there smelling and licking.  Every morning he needs to "smell Pole" head and then it's like he can start his day

 Point of this story?  We all have issues...I guess we have more than others huh?

I've started using Young Living Essential Oils and I got worried the smells would be too strong and give me a headache.  Since they are pure therapeutic (meaning first press and the most perfect purest oil there is) I knew nothing else would be added to them and maybe the scent wouldn't bother me so badly.

I was right.. 

The Lavender was the true bought lavender things give me a headache.  More like a pepper strong fake smell.  Young Living's?  Pure perfection.  I could bathe in the stuff (and we do with our epsom salts haha)



Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Good Stuff.....It's all about the Food

It's summer...It's hot....It's Texas.....

So that means 2 things....Hit the Pool and have an Ice Pop

We made these the other day....

Basically this calls for 3 things.  

3 cups of strawberries, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1/3 cup water.

Puree until some chunks of berries remain....pour half out....puree the rest until smooth.  Stir the 2 mixtures together...pour into molds


Nothing better on a hot day....

The Busy Budgeting Mama posted about this recipe the other day on her blog....

(using her photo)

My mouth drooled and then I promptly added it to Monday's dinner plans b/c I couldn't wait to eat that sweet plate of goodness

You can't go wrong....
* we added a 1/4 cup butter to the pasta and extra olive oil to the tom/basil/mozz mixture...I'd even like to add some red wine vinegar next time for an added zing!  Over all it was a huge hit.  Oldest child had friends over and the boys went for 2nds  WINNER!

Last week we made this dish from Frigo Cheese
What I changed?
 *instead of penne I used Spaghetti broken in half (break in half before adding to pan)
 * I don't think I cooked it an additional 15mins at the end..just long enough to melt cheese
 *I stirred the entire thing at the end to blend together.



Cheesy Sausage & Pepper Skillet

Ingredients 1 lb. bulk mild Italian sausage
1 green or yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 jar (24 to 26 oz.) marinara sauce
1-1/2 cups water
2 cups (6 oz.) uncooked penne pasta
1 container (15 oz.) Frigo® Whole Milk or Part Skim Ricotta cheese
1 cup freshly shredded Frigo® Part Skim Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Frigo® Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. chopped Italian parsley

Directions Brown Italian sausage with peppers in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until sausage is no longer pink, about 12 minutes.  Pour off drippings.
Stir in marinara sauce and water; bring to a boil.  Stir in pasta; reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer, covered, until pasta is almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile mix cheeses and parsley; set aside.
Spoon cheese mixture in 12 dollops on top of pasta mixture; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until pasta is tender and cheese is slightly melted, about 15 minutes.  Garnish with additional grated Parmesan cheese, as desired.

There you go...I just gave you 2 dinner ideas for the week!  No Excuses!

Monday, July 1, 2013

I'm a Zombie...Brains.............

Here's how it goes...

Cole is a horrible sleeper...(but he sure is adorable)

Example of last night..

Went to Toys R Us last night looking for outdoor sandbox for the kids.  Showed online they had 3 in stock...Drive out there with the kids and hubs....get there...they showed 3 in stock on their handheld device thingy...WE WAIT AND WE WAIT AND WAIT.....

Only to be told they can't find them. 


So driving home sweet Cole takes a nap at around 6:30.  Not good...since  this child needs a good 3 hrs of awake time before going to bed.   There goes the 7:45 pm bedtime for him....(boo to mommy and daddy quiet time when kids are in bed)

I rock and nurse him and finally he drifts off to dreamland about 9pm

Now let the fun begin.

The child is almost 11 months and won't sleep through the night.  He's up about every 2-3 hrs still....but he's not awake really.

How did it go last night...?

He's crazy I tell you

Last night he woke up at 11pm and was up for a hr....KEEP IN MIND HE'S NOT AWAKE... just refuses to be put in the crib. 

I nurse him for 10 mins and then laid him down...he pops up...but he's asleep and I try to force him back down and rub his back, but he screams...
the min I pick him up he passes back out (I guess being in my arms is nirvana) ...I will admit he is extremely cute and I kiss his sweet face over and over inhaling his scent!

I wait 10 mins standing there rocking him in my arms by his crib....and lay him down again...only to start process all over...pick up rock for 10 mins...lay down...until FINALLY HE JUST STAYS DOWN. 

He's killing me.... I'm so exhausted though ...but problem is it takes me about 15 mins to drift back to sleep myself.  I'm losing valuable sleepy time here.

Then he's up again at 3am-4am and then up at 6:15...

This is when I TRY  to get him to cosleep and nurse...instead he fills his belly and then tries to crawl to the edge of the bed and jump off...I then hold onto his leg while trying to sleep (which never works)

He then crawls over to my face and pinches my nose as hard as he can and tries to stick his fingers in my nostrils.  

I guess I spend more time fighting him off my face or saving him from leaping from the bed than actually sleeping.

I wave the white surrender flag and we start our day.

Don't suggest crying it out...we don't do that....besides his crib is in our room and our bed already has 1 child in it....don't need the crying noise.
(joys of big family)

I dread nighttime.  I'm ready for just 5 hrs of straight sleep for myself


If he wasn't so darn sweet I'd have traded him in already

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