Thursday, September 27, 2012

Penne A'La Betsy

The lighting in my house just ok, and if we don't have dinner ready pretty early natural lighting is out. However, I am not going to spend money on lighting and don't really have the time at this point in my life to really be too concerned. The only thing I can do is tell you that this photo does not do this pasta justice! This recipe comes from Pioneer Woman and is wonderfully simple. Ron has been on a shrimp kick lately and I have had this recipe for awhile but had yet to make it. I subbed in 2% milk for the heavy cream and reduced the amount to lighten the recipe since there was already butter involved. I also have the sauce a little extra time to thicken because of the milk substitution.

I have to share a funny story with you about baby clothes. We received this adorable coverall from a friend as an early shower gift because she will be out of town. The friend was my trainer when I showed horses and I adore this outfit. However, it had the most hysterical tag on it: "For the child's safety the garment should fit snugly. This garment it not flame resistant. Loose fitting garment is more likely to catch on fire".

Good thing I have another outfit in mind to use as Kellen's flame suit.


1 lb Penne Pasta (we used gluten free)
1 lb Cooked Shrimp
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 cup White Wine
1 can Tomato Sauce (8 Oz)
3/4 cup 2% milk
 2 Tbl Chopped Fresh Parsley
2 Tbl Chopped Fresh Basil
Salt To Taste
Pepper To Taste


Cook the penne pasta according to package instructions.

Peel, devein and rinse 1 pound of cooked shrimp.  Chop the shrimp into bite –sized pieces and set aside.

In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and sauté, stirring occasionally. After the garlic and onions have cooked for about 5 minutes add the wine. Let the wine evaporate for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

Now add an 8-ounce can of tomato sauce. Stir well until combined. Add milk and stir. Turn heat down to low and let simmer for about 5 minutes.

Next, chop the herbs and set aside. Now add the chopped shrimp back into the tomato cream sauce. Stir and add salt and pepper to taste. Throw in the herbs and stir until combined. Finally, add the cooked penne pasta and stir to coat evenly.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan 9/24 - 9/30

Happy birthday to Gabriel and Happy Birthday to Drew (his was two days ago)! We had a wonderful weekend with our families and are looking forward great week. Remember when I complained that there was too much time between Packer games?? This week there are two games! We also have our final childbirth class tonight. It is a bit scary because this means we are getting closer and closer to meeting Kellen, but it comes with a bit on anxiety as well. A friend of mine asked me if I was nervous and I don't think that is the feeling I have. I really don't know how to describe it, but I know I can't wait to meet him.

This week we are watching my parents dog Bella, and have lots of great meals on the agenda.

Here is what is on tap:

Monday: Go PACK Go! Bangers and Mash w/ Baked Beans (Our last childbirth class! Eek!)
Tuesday: Penne A'La Betsy and Salad (Carry over from last week)
Wednesday: Buffalo Chicken Potato Skins and Salad
Thursday: Creamy Taco Mac (One of Ron's Favorites)
Friday: Grilled Steak w/ Blue Cheese, Roasted Potatoes and Cauliflower for Dinner!
Saturday: Lunch with my friend Heather and Out to Dinner with My Cousins
Sunday: Sausage Cheese Puffs and Eggs  followed by....Go PACK Go!!  Crockpot Italian Chicken, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans for Dinner AND Caramel Dutch Apple Pie (for Crazy Cooking Challenge)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Crockpot BBQ Ranch Chicken Sandwiches

It feels like there has been a massive amount of time between Packer games! The Pack played last Thursday and now not till tomorrow! However, since the game is not till tomorrow we are celebrating my nephew Gabriel's 4th birthday today! We also celebrated my nephew Drew's 3rd birthday yesterday. I like to think of it as double the birthday cake- double the fun...hehe. 

This is a recipe that I came up with on the fly one morning while trying to get something in the crockpot and get to work on time. I like the flavors of bbq and ranch mixed together as a dipping sauce and figured- why not in my crockpot? I really liked the flavors of this chicken (especially with the sharp cheddar on top!).  The flavors of the ranch were actually very light and worked well with the bbq sauce.  I actually had this over rice and corn for lunch the following day and it was just as delicious.

A great game day twist on bbq chicken sandwiches!

1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
1 Ranch Packet (1oz.)
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup (I use healthy request)
1 cup water
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
Sliced Sharp Cheddar

Place chicken into crock pot. In a medium bowl, mix soup, bbq, ranch, water, pepper and garlic powder. Pour over the chicken. Set crockpot to low and cook 7 hours. Remove chicken, shred and return to crock pot. Allow the chicken to cook an additional 30- 1 hour. Serve on rolls with sharp cheddar.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Recipe Swap: Creamy Chicken Taquitos

Happy Friday and Recipe Swap reveal!

The theme for this swap is Blogger's Choice. I love looking for different recipes and was very pleased to me assigned the blog Simple Gourmet Cooking with Dawn. Dawn has a great blog with all different types of recipes. After debating between a few different choices I ultimately decided to make Creamy Taquitos, but her recipe for Sausage and Peppers in the Oven looked delicious as well!  Ron and I loved the simplicity of this meal and the delicious flavors! I added a little extra cheese and modified a few of the spices. Dawn is right when she says that this recipe is easy adapt depending on what you have one hand! These would taste great with extra cheese or perhaps a little shredded beef? Hope everyone has a lovely weekend! We are celebrating a few birthdays with family and are going out to dinner with Ron's parents tonight. A big thanks to Sarah for organizing the swap!
Check out the blog hop below of other great recipes!

4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup salsa
1 Tbl freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 green onions, chopped (both the green and white parts)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese (cheddar, pepper jack, etc. would also be good)
10-12 6-inch corn or flour tortillas (We used corn)
Cooking spray
Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 425˚ F.  Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, salsa, lime juice, spices, cilantro, green onions, chicken and shredded cheese. Mix until well combined.

Briefly heat the tortillas in the microwave to make them soft enough to roll easily, about 20-30 seconds.  Place a tortilla on a work surface.  Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the filling mixture down the middle of the tortilla.  Roll the tortilla up tightly around the filling.  Place seam-side down on a baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling, spacing the assembled taquitos evenly on the baking sheet.  Lightly spray the tops of the taquitos with cooking spray and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Improv Cooking Challenge: Green and Gold Bread (aka Banana Zucchini Crumble Bread)

Another Improv Cooking Challenge has come! The theme for this month is zucchini and brown sugar- a perfect way to use up all those garden zucchini!

I knew that I wanted to make a quick bread, but was unsure what combo to use. I knew plain zucchini wasn't going to cut it.  I came across this recipe from AllRecipes and knew with the right tweaks it would be just what I was wanting to make. I ultimately decided on banana and zucchini (with a bonus crumble topping)because it is green and gold like our Green Bay Packers! I thought this was a perfect recipe to get in the spirit of game day and would also be something easy to bring to a tailgate since it can be wrapped up.

Ron and I loved this bread. The original recipe is for muffins, but I adjusted the heat and cooking time. I also took out a banana and added the grated zucchini. If you aren't a fan of the crumble topping (I don't know what you are thinking...) this can easily be made sans crumble.

If you want to get involved in the Improv Cooking Challenge get in touch with our wonderful hostess Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker.

Next month: Oatmeal and Raisins.....I am thinking some pumpkin needs to be added to the mix- it is October!


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 bananas, mashed
1 cup grated zucchini
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter


Pre heat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x5 loaf pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, zucchini, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana/zucchini mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan.

In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles a coarse crumble. Sprinkle topping over bread.

Bake for 50-60 minutes or until an inserted toothpick come out clean. Allow bread to cool before removing from the baking dish.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Greek Scramble with Quick Lemoney Hollandaise Sauce

Good Morning!  Two weeks ago Ron and I were in Door County and had breakfast at a little place in Ephraim. I had a greek scramble and thought it was so yummy I needed to make it at home. Last night before our childbirth class we needed something quick, and breakfast for dinner was just the ticket! I loved the eggs with the tangy creamy hollandaise. I didn't make hollandaise the traditional way with a double boiler, but I used a quick recipe that dirties less dishes and takes less time. I apologize for the picture- it was storming here and I was having trouble finding some decent light for my photo! Hope everyone is having a lovely week! We are suppose to have frost tonight! Fall has come to Wisconsin!


2 handfuls fresh baby spinach
1/4 cup diced fresh tomatoes
1 tsp olive oil
8 eggs
3 Tbl milk
Salt and White Pepper (you can use black too)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (plus a little extra for garnish)

for quick hollandaise:
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 tsp fresh lemon juice
Pinch of Cayenne pepper


In a medium bowl beat eggs with milk, salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a small sauce pan heat butter.  Add lemon juice and cayenne pepper and heat till bubbly. Slowly add to egg yolks while beating contantly. The sauce will become thick and smooth. Set aside while you make the eggs.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Saute spinach till wilted and add tomatoes. Add eggs and pull in sides till as they set.  Before the eggs are finished, stir in the feta cheese. Finish scrambling the eggs. Plate and top with hollandaise sauce and a little extra feta.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan 9/17 - 9/23

It feels insane that September has reached it's midpoint! That means only two months (or less) till Kellen will be here. I am so excited, but am still nervous about our new addition. I am really loving our weekly childbirth classes. Our leader is so positive and wonderful (she is also a Doula, but not our Doula). When I first signed up I was apprehensive about the class because it was from the hospital, but it has turned out to be an incredible experience- I especially love the breathing and massage exercises. I have a few new things on the menu this week, but this weekend is a bit more up in the air because it is both my nephew's birthday parties! They are adorable and we are looking forward to spending a weekend with our families!

Here is what is on tap:

Monday: Greek Scramble with Lemony Hollandaise and Hashbrowns (Childbirth Class!)
Tuesday: Leftover Chili
Wednesday: Creamy Taquitos, Rice and Black Beans
Thursday: Penne A'La Betsy
Friday: Out for Dinner
Saturday: Happy Birthday to my Nephew Drew! We are celebrating his 3rd Birthday today!
Sunday: Pizza to celebrate my Nephew Gabriel's birthday for Dinner.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Pizza Sloppy Joes

My husband loves sloppy joes and they are not always number one on my list. However, I try to come up with/find different variations to make for dinner. I have seen a few different "pizza joe" recipes, but never looked at them closely. However, I have been on a major pizza kick lately...sigh... and decided that a pizza sloppy joe sandwiches would be perfect. I used turkey pepperoni, green pepper, onion and black olive for our "toppings", but you could use anything you like on your pizza. Since this was a bit of a "throw together" recipe I wasn't sure what to expect, but the result was really yummy. It doesn't replace delicious pizza, but it is a great alternative and allows you to lighten the calories.

Our dresser for the nursery has come in and will be delivered on Tuesday! I am really excited to see his room coming together. I will post pictures when it is a little more complete. I ordered a few wall hangings from Etsy and can't wait to see what it all looks like together! Kellen's nursery doesn't really have a theme, but we are trying to use bring colors and natural woods. I can't wait to show you a little later down the road!


1 green pepper, chopped
1 small onion, diced
1 Tbl olive oil
1 1/4 lb lean ground beef or ground turkey
14 oz jar pizza sauce
1 1/2 Tbl pizza seasoning
1 tsp dried parsley
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1/2 cup turkey pepperoni, cut into quarters
3/4 cup reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese (plus more for topping)
1/4 cup sliced black olives
6 buns (toasting optional)


In a large rimmed skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and peppers. Cook until tender (5-7 minutes).

Add ground beef and brown. Once beef is browned drain fat if you are using a higher fat ground beef. Add pizza sauce, seasoning and parsley. Seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.

Allow the mixture to come to a low simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Add pepperoni and allow mixture to cook an additional 5 minutes. Stir in cheese and remove from heat. Serve on buns and top with more cheese and black olives.

Monday, September 10, 2012

SRC: Pumpkin Pancakes

It's time for another Secret Recipe Club swap!

Secret Recipe Club

I received the blog Living Lou and loved the variety of recipes to choose from. When looking for a recipe I like to try and find a "best of " post. Sometimes it is fun to see what the author's favorites are, because a lot of time they are very different than the most popular recipes. I was happy to see there was just such a post. After looking at the different recipes, I decided that the Pumpkin Pancakes sounded delicious. I knew I would have to make a few changed, but the recipe was easy to adapt to be gluten free. I used a gluten free pancake mix, decreased the baking powder because of the mix, and doubled the milk (it seems that gluten free batter is thicker).  Lou has many other delicious looking recipes (I was almost sold on these Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins!)

I loved the pumpkin flavor in these pancakes! They reminded me of a pumpkin bread and got me in the mood for fall. I let mine get a little dark on the edges mainly because I like the little extra crispiness of the well done edges on pancakes and waffles.  Ron is not as crazy about pumpkin, but still enjoyed the fall flavors. Who said it was ever too early for pumpkin!!


1 1/2 cup Gluten Free Pancake Mix (We use Bisquick)
3 Tbl brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 cup milk
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
3 tbsp melted butter + butter for frying
1 egg


In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients.

In a medium bowl whisk together wet ingredients.

Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well. Whisk until combined.

Melt butter over medium-low heat in a skillet. Using a ladle, ladle the batter into the pan (about 1/4 - 1/3 cup at a time). You can use the bottom of the ladle to spread the batter if necessary. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until you see bubbles form in the center of the pancake. Flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until fully cooked.

Serve with maple syrup and butter.

Weekly Meal Plan 9/10-9/16

Happy Monday! The Packers were very disappointing yesterday!!! We went to the game with y cousins and their friends. The company was fantastic, but the game....not so great. Hopefully there will be a better game on Thursday when they play Chicago.  Since adding our childbirth class to Monday night our schedule has become really busy. However, this Wednesday is the last volleyball game till October (I can't wait till I can play again). Ron is going to Milwaukee this weekend to hangout with some friends, and that means that I get to have a girls night! Hope everyone has a great week!

Here is what is on tap:

Monday: Tailgate Breakfast! Brats & Eggs and Cheesy Potatoes
Tuesday: Pizza Sloppy Joes and Cheesy Potatoes
Wednesday: Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, Garlic Bread and Salad

Thursday: Go Pack Go!! Crockpot BBQ Bacon Cheddar Ranch Chicken Sandwiches, Potato Wedges and Corn

Friday:  We are heading to Door County to have dinner with my parents
Saturday: Ron is in Milwaukee....I am thinking a girl's night!
Sunday:  Beef Chili
Treats: Pumpkin Pie Crescents  

Friday, September 7, 2012

Recipe Swap: Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

Recipe Swap time!!!

The theme for this swap is desserts...yummy... I photographed these before my glucose screening and it was so hard to wait to sample one until after!  These peanut butter cup blondies come from Nicole of PreventionRD.  I loved the simplicity of this recipe and that it does not make a ton of bars (I know that is not a plus for everyone, but it is just Ron and I!).  These bars are really delicious and will please any chocolate loving crowd.  Nicole has lots of delicious recipes on her blog that are healthy and look very tasty!  Buffalo Chicken Chowder- yes please! Thank you for a great recipe Nicole!

A big thank you to Sarah for organizing the swaps! If you would like to participate check out her blog and join the fun! 


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 Tbsp skim milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup milk or semisweet chocolate chips
10 mini Reese’s peanut butter cups, quartered
Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray 9 x 9 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk to combine the flour, sugars, baking powder, and salt.
In a separate medium bowl, stir to combine the peanut butter, butter, milk, vanilla and eggs.
Add peanut butter mixture to dry ingredients, and gently stir until combined. Fold in chocolate chips until combined (do not over mix).
Pour batter in prepared baking dish. Arrange peanut butter cups over batter.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Yields 16 blondies.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Grilled Honey Curry Pork Chops

I love the flavor of honey and curry together. Awhile ago I made Honey Curry Grilled Salmon and loved it. I have no idea why it has taken me so long to revisit this combo. This time around, I adjusted the recipe a bit and used pork chops (this would also be great on chicken).  When making this recipe, or any recipe using a sugar on the grill, it is important to keep your temperature down to prevent burning and allow the sugar to caramelize. I was very pleased with how the pork chops turned out- sweet and heat! We served our pork chops with baked potatoes and fresh green beans.

I have been feeling very proud of myself lately for staying active during my pregnancy. Exercise is something important to Ron and I, and I wanted to maintain a fitness level during my pregnancy. I am happy to report that since finding out I was pregnant I have missed two weight training classes.  At 6 1/2 months I am feeling pretty good about that! My goal is to keep attending class up to delivery (as long as I am feeling safe and comfortable).  I have had a decrease my weights and lower the intensity of my exercise (I was previously playing volleyball as well).  I look at exercise as a way to help my body prepare for labor by keeping it strong a flexible. I think it also helps me mentally by helping me focus and encourage breathing. The way I see it, all it can do is help!


4 Pork Chops, trimmed (we used medium thickness)
3 tsp honey
1 tsp curry
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tsp olive oil


In a small bowl, mix honey, curry, oil, salt and pepper. Bush pork chops on all sides with mixture. Heat grill to medium-low heat. Grill 5-6 minutes per side (you may want to grill 6-7 minutes for a thick cut pork chop).  Remove pork from the grill and serve immediately.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

5 Ingredient Extra Creamy Mac and Cheese

Thank you Pinterest for another yummy dish! I found this recipe on Jenn's blog, Clever, Crafty, Cookin' Mama. Lately, I have been on the look out for mac and cheese recipes and this one looked easy and delicious.  The recipe certainly did not disappoint Ron and I! We loved how creamy the cheese sauce was(and the small effort it took to make!).   A great treat for a little one....or your resident pregnant lady....

I can't believe it is September..... time is flying! Only a few more months till our little dude is here! I am planning on doing a couple baby posts over the next few months on some of the different products and adventures we experience- stay tuned!


16 oz shaped pasta (I used elbow, but shells or corkscrew would work great)
4 Tbl butter
1 can cheddar cheese soup (I used Campbell's Health Request)
1 12 oz can evaporated milk (you will only use 1/2 of this for a thick cheese sauce)
1 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Salt and Pepper, to taste


Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and place back into original warm pan (I like to keep my stove on low heat to keep everything melting). 

Stir in butter till completely melted and add the cheese soup. Stir to evenly distributed in pasta. Next, add 1/2 can of evaporated milk (you can add a little more if your sauce is a little thick). Add grated cheese and stir till melted. Season with salt and pepper.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan 9/3 - 9/9

Happy Monday!  We are still in Door County enjoying our day off! I wanted to post out meal plan for the week so I don't forget! Ron requested shrimp last week and we fit it into a pasta I have been wanting to try for awhile. Hope everyone is having a great Labor Day!

Here is What is on Tap:

Monday: Take Out! We Were Lazy.....
Tuesday: Honey Curry Pork Chops, Baked Potatoes and Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Wednesday:  Indian with my Seester. Yum!
Thursday: Chunky Potato Tomato and Sausage Soup
Friday: Out for Dinner!
Saturday: Out for breakfast in the morning and Penne A La Betsy in the evening!
Sunday: Packer Game!!!! We are super excited to go with my Cousins. I think we will grab pizza after the game.

Treats: Green and Gold Bread (Zucchini/Banana Bread) for Improv and Pumpkin Biscuits

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Grilled Pork Chops with Mushroom Mustard Sauce

It is really hard for me to pass up a sauce with mushroom and mustard.... I saw Kate of Kitchen Trial and Error's recipe for Pork Tenderloin with Mushroom Mustard Sauce and I was drooling. I decided to grill the pork and use a chop over tenderloin (they were on sale at my store!). I loved the flavors in this sauce with the grilled pork (Ron has bbq since he is allergic to mushrooms). This is a very easy dish to put together and will satisfy any mushroom lover.  Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!


4 boneless thick cut pork chops, trimmed
8 oz sliced mushrooms (I used portabella)
1 Tbl white vinegar
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup sour cream
2 Tbl Dijon mustard
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil


Heat grill to medium-high heat. Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Grill 6-7 minutes per side (if you are using thick cut pork chops).  Remove pork from the grill and place them, tented with foil,  into an unheated oven to stay warm.

Place a large skillet over medium heat and coat the bottom with olive oil. add mushrooms and saute until soft.

Stir in vinegar, bring to a simmer, and stir to loosen browned bits from the pan. cook until most of the liquid evaporates.

Stir in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. cook until liquid is reduced to about one third of a cup, about 10 minutes. Remove the skillet from heat and stir in sour cream and mustard. season with salt and pepper.

Spoon sauce over the pork chops and enjoy.