Saturday, January 30, 2016

#FreshTastyValentines: A Preview, A Thank You and a Fantastic Giveaway!

Welcome to #FreshTastyValentines preview! 


#FreshTastyValentines is almost here! A group of 22 talented food bloggers who will be posting recipes for an entire week that, we hope, will inspire you to make some fresh and tasty Valentines treats for your loved ones! 

Here we are...

The Bloggers
(with links to their homepages, in alphabetical order)

From February 1st through February 8th, not only will you find nearly a hundred recipe posts, but you can enter to win our awesome giveaway, courtesy of some amazingly generous donations from sponsoring companies. See rafflecopter below.

The Sponsors
(with links to their homepages, in alphabetical order)

The Giveaway
For FOURTEEN Different Prizes
begins February 1st and ends February 8th
If you are visiting before the rafflecopter opens, please check back!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to #FreshTastyValentines sponsors for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #FreshTastyValentines recipe development without additional compensation. All opinions stated are those of the bloggers.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Simple Taco Soup

Our house has been on a major soup kick lately. This week soup was on the menu Sunday night and is on the menu tonight! This Taco Soup is a recipe I have made a few times and neglected to post! I don't know what I was thinking because it is a favorite in our house.  The soup is wonderfully easy for a weeknight and Kellen loves it because he can practically do the entire think by himself (aside from the meat and can opening)..... plus it has corn in it....the kids loves corn.  We like to top our soup with corn chips, cheese, black olives for Kellen and I and sour cream, but your could use any of your favorite taco toppings and it would be delicious. This is one of those soups that gets really thick as it sits over night, but the flavors become even more delicious- I love having it for lunch at work the following day. I only made a few adjustments to the recipe and replaced canned corn with frozen, decreased the amount of water and used crushed tomatoes over stewed. I personally prefer not to have the large chunks of tomatoes, but if you prefer stewed feel free to substitute. 

Tonight we have another night at home and I have a pile of laundry to tackle. I may try to get to the gym, but that usually depends on my energy level by the time I get home. I am officially 31 weeks today! 9 weeks (or so) untill this little guy joins the family. I am getting so excited am looking forward to meeting him. I had a dream the other night that he was actually a she and it was a big surprise to us all! I, with my irrational pregnant brain, got up and actually started worrying about this..... sigh.... The things we worry about sometimes.... I am pretty positive that there are no surprises like that in our future, but it certainly had me worried the other night! Plus I am not so sure why  I would worry because Ron and I have always said we would be happy with either gender....again irrational pregnant worries. 

Have a great day everyone! 


Ingredients

1 1/2 lb lean ground beef
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 cup water
1 (16 oz) can mild chili beans, undrained
1 1/4 cup frozen corn
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14-1/2 oz) crushed tomatoes
1 (10 oz) can diced tomato with green chilies
1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies
1 envelope dry ranch salad dressing mix
Salt and Pepper, to taste


Instructions

In a medium pot, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain grease. Add taco seasoning and mix well. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes  stirring occasionally. Serve and top with desired taco toppings. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Blood Orange Poppy Seed Mini Muffins

Citrus season is still bringing delicious varieties to my grocery store and love cooking with the seasonal fruits.  The blood orange is one of my very favorite types of citrus. I love the color, the flavor and am always drawn to a recipe when I see it in the title. Recently, I shared the recipe for Meyer Lemon Mini Muffins and knew I needed to adapt the recipe to use the blood orange. I followed the original recipe, but added poppy seeds (why should lemons have all the fun!?) and vanilla. The only flaw to my plan was the color of the glaze. It looks very pretty at first, but darkens the muffins a bit. The flavor is amazing and I actually liked them better than the lemon muffins! I thought the flavor or the orange was strong and absolutely delicious. Kellen loved these and loved that they were the perfect size for him! I normally make regular sized muffins and borrowed they mini pans from my co-worker, but I am quickly realizing that I need to purchase some for myself! 

Tonight we are home relaxing and tried a new recipe for Spaghetti Pie for dinner. It was loved by my little guy and husband so it will certainly be back on the table, and I will post it soon to share with all of you! Ron and I have really been hooked on West Wing and will probably watch an episode as soon as Kellen gets down for bed. We are also getting a little snow tonight and Ron's eyes lit up when I told him because it means he gets to use his new snow blower! We bought a new one after getting 13 inches after Christmas and we haven't had snow since....go figure. Ron has been chomping at the bit to use it again and will probably be up early clearing the snow. 

Have a great night everyone! 


Instructions

1 stick butter, softened 
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
Add 1/2 tsp vanilla 
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tsp poppy seed 
1 blood orange zest 
1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup blood orange juice (1 medium blood orange)


Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray a mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and white sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, and mix until well combined, about a minute. Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt till just mixed. Next, gently stir in the sour cream to the batter along with the orange zest and poppy seeds. Do not over mix.

Spoon the muffin batter into the tin, filling the cups about 2/3 full. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, until the muffins are light golden brown.

Meanwhile, mix together the brown sugar and the orange juice, until the brown sugar is dissolved.
Remove the muffins from the oven, and brush the glaze over the warm muffins. Remove the muffins from the pan while they are still slightly warm, and enjoy!

Makes about 24 mini muffins.

Weekly Meal Plan 1/25 - 1/31

Another weekend flew by me.... This past week I was really feeling tired and needed a nice weekend with the family.  On Friday night we hung around the house and ordered take-out.... nothing fancy. We watched a few WEst Wing episodes before hitting the hay early because we had a fun Saturday morning planned!

On Saturday, we headed to Tundra Lodge with friends and kids to play. We got there right when it opened and it was perfect for the kids to have lots of space to play! Tundra Lodge is a hotel in Green Bay with a nice attached waterpark. The park has an area for small kids, a lazy river, a few big slides and two small activity type pools. Kellen had a blast with the kids and the grown-ups had fun too!  After the waterpark, we headed to Appleton so Kellen could have an overnight with his grandparents. Ron and I headed home and had some much needed relaxation time. We headed to dinner to try an Italian place we never got around to trying. They had my favorite rootbeer on tap and we had a crazy Saturday night with a pitcher of rootbeer. 


After dinner we headed home and watched The Martian (finally).  I love sci-fi movies and we both really enjoyed it. Aliens is one of my favorite movies so a Ridley Scott movie was a no-brainer for me. 

On Sunday, I made a trip to the gym and grocery store before headed home to hang around the house and wait for Kellen to get home. My in-laws dropped Kellen off and he was so excited to show them his new big boy room! I am so happy that this transition is going well for him.  We ended the night with laundry, a little football and white chicken chili! Kellen has really enjoyed helping me in the kitchen and I love getting these pictures of him helping with dinner. I have noticed that he is even more apt to finish his dinner when he knows he helped make it. 


This week is pretty easy with the usual suspect of swim class. I am grabbing dinner with girlfriends this weekend, attending a baby shower and getting together for a playdate with one of Kellen's school friends. 

Have a great week everyone!

Monday: Spaghetti Pie and Garlic Bread
Tuesday:  Vegetable Soup  and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Wednesday: Mac and Cheese, Smoked Sausage and Peas
Thursday: Slow Cooker Soft Shell Chicken Tacos, Rice and Beans
Friday: Dinner with Girlfriends
Saturday: Out
Sunday: Split Pea and Kielbasa Soup 

Treats: GingerBread for Book Club http://ltaicivilwar.blogspot.com/p/gingerbread.html

Friday, January 22, 2016

Red Potato Chowder with White Fish #BookClubCookBookCC

The  #BookClubCookbookCC is back after taking December off and we are starting off 2016 with the Pajama Chef's invitation to make Mrs. Enger's Cinnamon Rolls with Coffee Icing and read Peace Like a River by Leif Enger.

A little background if you don't remember my kick off post in July, a group bloggers organized by Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla (click the link if you want to join the fun!) draw inspiration from a book and recipes published in The Book Club Cookbook. Each month, a blogger selected a book and The Book Club Cookbook offers several suggested recipes or the blogger can create a recipe inspired by the story.  At the end of the month the host or hostess posts a round-up and gives away a copy of the book. 

Here are a list of my fellow participating bloggers/hosts:

Cheese Curd In Paradise               
Life on Food       
The Pajama Chef              
The Spiffy Cookie             
Things I Make (for Dinner)           
Tortillas and Honey         

I hadn't read this book before and was looking forward to it because the summary in the cookbook sounded like a great read! The story takes place in the 1960's and centers around the Lands family. The family is comprised of Reuben, the eleven-year-old protagonist. As well as his older brother Davy, younger sister Swede and their father Jeremiah. The story follows the family from a crime against the family, the arrest of Davy and his escape, reuniting of the family and the different paths the family takes in life after.  

The recipe for this book was cinnamon rolls, but I am not much of a baker and really enjoy savory dishes. I love chowders and enjoyed reading about Swede's favorite meal her father makes for her birthday: red potato chowder with pike. The soup is described as being seasoned with vinegar and pepper and the type of soup that doesn't require crackers. I decided to create my own version of their favorite family meal.  I filled my soup with large chunks of potatoes, onions, celery and large chunks of white fish. Normally, my freeze is a place to find northern pike from my husband's ice fishing outings, but we were out and I opted to use cod, but any firm white fish would work wonderfully. I also added a few splashes of apple cider vinegar and, in my opinion, made the soup even more delicious.  My husband, Kellen and I loved this soup. It was as perfectly warm and filling on a cold evening- I could see why it was such a hit in for our Minnesota family!

Next month I am hosting our book and recipe for the #BookClubCookBookCC- stay tuned! 



Ingredients

1/2 medium onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
3 cloves garlic. minced
3 Tbl butter 
3 1/2 Tbl flour 
2 cups chicken broth
2 1/2 cups whole milk 
3 1/2 cups red potatoes, halved and quartered
1/2 tsp dried parsley 
1 lb firm white fish, cut into 1- 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 Tbl apple cider vinegar
Salt and Pepper, to taste


Instructions

In a medium soup kettle, saute onions and celery till tender. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add flour and stir to evenly coat the veggies. Stir in the chicken broth, milk, potatoes and parsley. Bring to a very light simmer and allow potatoes to cook and soup to thicken.

When potatoes have just become tender add the fish and turn heat to low. Cover for 5 minutes while fish cooks. Remove the cover and add the vinegar. Stir and season liberally with salt and black pepper.  


Giveaway
This month Sarah at The Pajama Chef, this month's host, is giving away a copy of the book.* Enter to win a copy of the cookbook so you can join us in future months, if you wish!

One of our lucky readers - US and Canada only! - can enter to win a copy ofThe Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp, courtesy of Tarcher-Penguin. Giveaway runs from January 1st till January 31st at 6 o'clock PM, Pacific time. Please see terms and conditions in the rafflecopter widget below. Many thanks to Tarcher Books. You may find Tarcher: on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

*Disclosure: Sarah received a complimentary copy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp as an opportunity to give a copy away. Opinions are our own. We received no further compensation for our posts.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Meyer Lemon Mini Muffins

Ahhhh citrus fest..... one of my favorite times of year. Living in Wisconsin does not always provide an abundance of diverse citrus with the exception of the month of January and our store brings in all sorts of fresh citrus from the south. My personal favorites are blood oranges and Meyer lemons. The Meyer Lemon is thought to be from China and a cross between a lemon and and a mandarin orange. They are not as tart as a traditional lemon and almost golden in color. I love to make with them because the flavor is so light and sweet. They will not give the the zing of a regular lemon, but give a very soft and sweet citrus flavor to baked goods. One of my favorite recipes are these Meyer Lemon Bars I made last January. This year I was in search of something a little fast that Kellen would enjoy baking and I came across this recipe for Meyer Lemon Mini Muffins from ChezCateyLou. This recipe is so easy and the little muffins are perfect for little hands to enjoy. I kept close to the original recipe, but I used sour cream in place of the greek yogurt because I did not have any greek yogurt on hand. The sour cream worked beautifully and can easily be substituted if you are out of plain greek yogurt or prefer sour cream. I actually made 2 batches of these because they were so popular in our house and Kellen would have eaten them all day if I had let him! The wonderful thing about this recipe is that you easily can use regular lemons in place of Meyer. I imagine the flavor will be stronger, but still delicious! 

Today I am headed to the doctor for a well baby check for our #2 and then off to work. It seems that our cold snap is ending and the extreme freeze might subside for a bit. Tonight, we are relaxing at home and making a big pot of Taco Soup to enjoy. I am hoping to save a bit to freeze for an easy meal once the little man has arrived! I am 30 weeks today and in the home stretch! This pregnancy has flown by and I am really trying to enjoy the end. I have been feeling much better cold-wise. Pregnancy wise some of the third trimester symptoms have popped up but are mild (i.e.: leg cramps and ligament pain). Kellen was such a honey last night and if you follow me on Instagram (@ashleylecker) I posted a sweet snap of him cuddling his little brother/belly. He has been getting pretty excited about the baby being born and I hope he feels that way once this little guy is in the outside world! I am sure that the transition will have bumps, but I think we are all really looking forward to it. 


Ingredients

1 stick butter, softened 
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2-3 Meyer lemons, zested  then juiced (yield about 2 1/2 tsp zest and 1/4 cup juice)
1/4 cup brown sugar (lightly packed)


Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray a mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and white sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg, and mix until well combined, about a minute. Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt till just mixed. Next, gently stir in the sour cream to the batter along with the lemon zest. Do not over mix.

Spoon the muffin batter into the tin, filling the cups about 2/3 full. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, until the muffins are light golden brown.

Meanwhile, mix together the brown sugar and the meyer lemon juice, until the brown sugar is dissolved.
Remove the muffins from the oven, and brush the glaze over the warm muffins. Remove the muffins from the pan while they are still slightly warm, and enjoy!

Makes about 24 mini muffins.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Weekly Meal Plan 1/18 - 1/24

Did this weekend ever fly by!

We had a lot going on and that always makes things go fast, but everything was  lots of fun- filled with babies-to-be and kids!

On Friday, my friend Emily and her daughter came over to watch Law and Order: SVU and eat pizza. We often wonder as we watch the show- is Olivia Benson ever not going to be in the wrong place at the wrong time? I will not spoil it in case some of you have it saved on your DVR. We had taco pizza and it was so good. There is a place in Green Bay that is known for their taco pizza and it did not disappoint.

On Saturday, my sister and I piled into the car and headed to Chicago for our cousin's baby shower. She is having twins and is due three weeks after me. The shower was so much fun and it was so to see my aunts and cousins. I didn't get home till around 11 pm and crashed about 10 minutes after walking in the door....I was one tired pregnant lady!  I missed the Packer game, but we listened to it on the radio on the way home. Time to count down the time till next football season for the Packers..... Ron and Kellen had been at a birthday party for a cousin earlier that day and were also crashed when I got home.

On Sunday, I made some guacamole and we headed to our nieces birthday party in Appleton. She is 13 months older than Kellen and is getting to be such a sweet big girl. We watched old movies of her first birthday and it was so cute to see 1 month old Kellen in the mix! I forget he was such a little guy! In the evening we all relaxed and Ron worked on Kellen's new room because he has his first night in his new big boy room! I will take a photo and share it next week, but I have had such mixed feeling about it! I honestly think I am the only one, but it is hard to see him get bigger. However, he is so excited and happy to be in his new room those feelings tend to get distracted because I am excited for him. Sometimes it would be nice if time slowed down a little bit!

This week we do not have a lot going on besides the normal swimming and work. This weekend we are planning a date night and I am hoping we can get to a movie! Anyone see anything good lately?

Have a great week!

Monday:  Tomatillo Chicken Enchiladas, Rice and Black Beans
Tuesday:  Taco Soup
Wednesday: Out after Swim
Thursday: Weeknight White Chicken Chili
Friday: Out for Pizza
Saturday: Date Night!
Sunday: Lentil and Sausage Soup

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder with Kielbasa

Green Bay is still in its cold snap and I am still happy about it….probably much to other people’s annoyance.  My long forever cough is being killed off, but things are warming up tomorrow and into the weekend.  However, it is still below freezing…. It is winter in Wisconsin after all.  Poor Ron has been freezing in our house lately and being an overheating pregnant lady I keep the heat in the house lower…..I can usually find Ron covered in two blankets… I keep telling him this will pass…. In a few months.  Poor guy- good thing he loves me and puts up with it. 

Besides using every blanket in the house, this soup is a sure way to keep warm during winter.  My family loves thick and heaty soups and this does not disappoint. I was craving a cheesy broccoli or cauliflower soup and Ron suggested kielbasa and this lovely meal was created. Kellen adored it and loves soup night at our house because it usually means crackers or a roll for dipping.  This came together really quickly and was delicious for lunch leftovers for Ron and I the following day.   I like to season my soup after it is finished because with the cheese and sausage I sometimes find the sodium content differs depending on what brand I am using. 

Tonight, Kellen and I are heading to swim class and then going home so he and Ron can enjoy pizza and boy time. I am heading out with a few girlfriends for Mexican food.  I have really been craving chicken tacos and guacamole and am hoping that they have a few great options. I couldn’t find a menu online so it will be a surprise when I get there!

Tomorrow we are heading to Appleton to Build-A-Bear for my niece’s birthday and I am excited to see how Kellen likes it. He has not been there before and I think will really enjoy picking out a new stuffed animal to create. 

Have a great night everyone and stay warm! 


Ingredients

4 Tbl Diced Onion 
1/3 cup Chopped Carrots 
 1 Tbl butter
2 1/2 Tbl flour 
3 cups chicken broth 
2 cups whole milk
1 ½ cups broccoli florets
1 ½ cups cauliflower florets
1 lb kielbasa, halved and sliced
2 oz Velveeta cheese
2 cup grated sharp cheddar
Salt and pepper, to taste


Instructions

In a medium soup pot, sauté onions and carrots in the butter till onions are translucent and carrots begin to become tender.  Stir in the flour and evenly coat the vegetables.  Stir in the chicken broth and milk and bring to a simmer and allow the soup to thicken slightly. Add the broccoli, cauliflower and kielbasa. Cook till veggies are tender and soup has thickened a bit more.  Add the cheese and stir till melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Creamy White Wine, Mustard and Blue Cheese Sauce

I have a bit of an affinity for the combination of blue cheese and mustard, and no it is not pregnancy induced- it has been a favorite for years! It is a wonderful combination to use for a sauce with beef, pork or chicken. Last year, I shared a recipe for  Ribeye Steaks with a Garlic Blue Cheese Mustard Sauce and recently I made this recipe highlighting a delicious pork tenderloin. My favorite way to cook pork tenderloin is to quickly sear it and then finish in the oven. I find that it always comes out flavorful and juicy.  This recipe is delicious and looks very impressive, but is actually very very easy to put together for your family or friends. I have doubled it before to feed more people and it works out great. 

It is freezing in Green Bay! I am honestly not complaining. The cold bug I was fighting with a nagging month long cough is almost gone thanks to the snap killing off lots of the ick that was going around. The semi-cold damp weather we had from November to now was no one's friend..... Plus being pregnant you tend to have a bit of a stuffy nose anyways and little colds love to find me these days.... I have been loading up on elderberry syrup made by a friend to give my immune system a little extra help these days! I adore elderberry syrup and was drinking it with a little fresh pineapple to get some relief and thankfully it paid off. One of Kellen's favorite drinks is a few tablespoons of elderberry and fresh pineapple juice- anything to keep my little buddy healthy during cold and flu season! 

Tonight we are making some fish chowder and relaxing at home. We have a busy weekend coming up and are enjoy sneaking in a few extra episodes of West Wing since we finished Making a Murderer last week.  The Martian is also out to view at home and that is high on our list of movies to watch! I also wanted to see Everest, but missed it in the theater and have been watching to see if it pops up on our OnDemand box. 


Ingredients

1 pork tenderloin (1- 1 1/2 lbs)
1/4 cup chicken broth 
1/2 cup dry white wine
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
3 tablespoons Whole Grain mustard
Salt, to taste


Instructions

Season pork tenderloin with salt and pepper. 

Heat 1 Tbl olive oil over medium-high heat in an oven safe skillet. Brown pork tenderloin on all sides.

Place the skillet in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees or until the pork registers 155-160 degrees. Remove from the oven, tent with foil to keep warm, and rest for while you prepare the sauce (about 10 min).

In the same pan used to roast the pork, deglaze with chicken broth and wine over medium heat. Add the cream and whisk in the mustard. Allow the sauce to thicken slightly and add the blue cheese. Whisk as the sauce continues to thicken for about 5 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 

Slice pork tenderloin and spoon sauce over the top. Serve immediately. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Weekly Meal Plan 1/11 - 1/17

Happy Monday! 

The weekend goes by too fast and before I know it I am back at work! 

This weekend was low key and relaxing! On Saturday, I met my friend Amanda for lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant. Kellen came with and while I was chatting (I should have known better) he put taco meat in his water and it spilled all over us...... greasy taco meat ice water....deliciousness.  My Ron had to work and when he was done we relaxed and went for pizza, at Kellen's request, and then came home to relax for the remainder of the evening. On Sunday, Kellen and I met my parents for brunch and hosted my sister, Dad and nephew for dinner and the Packer game! I am pretty stoked the Packers won and am looking forward to their rematch on Saturday with Arizona. 

This week we have a few things on our plate. We have the usual swim and I am looking forward to watching Kellen. He and his friend are the only two in the class and last week they got to practice swimming with noodles across the pool! My guy is getting so big! I am also meeting friends for dinner  and celebrating my nieces birthday with a trip to build-a-bear. 

This week I am also working a on a few new recipes for an upcoming giveaway and blog event. The giveaway will be the first week of February so stay tuned!

Have a great week! 

Monday:  Seared Salmon with Sauvignon Blanc Herb Cream Sauce , Wild Rice and Roasted Broccoli
Tuesday: Book Club Recipe: Red Potato and Northern Pike Chowder and Crusty Bread
Wednesday: Pizza for the Boys and I am out with Girlfriends after Kellen's swim class
Thursday: Out for Nieces Birthday
Friday: Out
Saturday:  Baby Shower in Chicago
Sunday: Garlic Tangerine Hatch Chili Roasted Cornish Game Hen, Roasted Potatoes and Honey Garlic Glazed Pea Pods and Carrots

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

One-Pot Chicken Feta Alfredo

Oh my goodness you guys....this pasta is so delicious! 

Obviously the one-pot meal train did not leave my house in 2015! I came across this recipe on Plain Chicken's site and knew it would be a hit in my feta loving house. Both of my boys are big fans of feta cheese and I knew they would love sprinkling extra over a mound of creamy feta alfredo covered noodles. This recipe could not be easier and is ready in a flash. I opted to use a rotisserie chicken and I would reccommend tasting before you add additional sodium because of the seasoning in the chicken and salt from the cheese I found I did not need additional seasoning in our pasta. As predicted, my boys loved this meal and Kellen gobbled up two portions. I loved this recipe so much I passed it to a few friends who I knew would love the ease and flavors. One of my girlfriends made it and added mushrooms to her pasta- sounds delicious! This made enough for 4 people and it was perfect to bring for lunches the following day. We decided that it was not as good re-heated for leftovers, but it was still delicious- just not as creamy. 

Today I am going in for my glucose test. I can't believe that I am in the 3rd trimester and at this point! I am not looking forward to drinking the icky drink for the test, but thankfully it is a quick process. With Kellen I failed the first test by a point, but passed the 3 hour. I am hoping that I pass the first time because I am likely looking at other monitoring options if I fail the one hour test. In other good news, I am finally kicking this cold (I am still a little nervous it will impact my test today)! I have had a cough over a month and think it is finally on the way out. Thank gooodness because I am so over it and so over feeling like crap. Thankfully, pregnancy wise I have been feeling great and the little man is doing really well! Tonight is much more exciting because it is Kellen's holiday concert at school. My parents and Ron's parents are coming to watch and we are grabbing pizza (at Kellen's request) after the show. This is his first show of any kind that we are going to and I am really excited. I have heard him practicing a song around the house and am wondering if it is part of his performance tonight.... 

Have a great day everyone! 


Ingredients

 1/2 a rotisserie chicken or 2 small cooked chicken breasts, chopped
4 oz diced pancetta (bacon will work fine as well)
8 oz shaped pasta (I like to use bowtie)
4 oz crumbled feta (plus extra for topping)
1 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 roma tomatoes, chopped


Instructions

In a large rimmed skillet or medium pot cook the pancetta and drain the fat. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook 15-20 minutes.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Weekly Meal Plan 1/4 - 1/10

Hello to the first meal plan of 2016!

We had a great 4-day weekend and now it is back to the grind! 

I was off work New Year's Eve and New Year's Day and it was so nice to spend time with family and friends. During the morning on the 31st, Kellen and I went with my mom and nephew to the children's museum to celebrate the kid's new years activities. They had a countdown every hour for the kids and lots of activities for them- we even made our own shakers!  In the evening, we headed to a friends for appetizers and to let the kids play. We called it an early night, but I actually made it to see the ball drop before falling asleep! For a pregnant lady who likes an early bedtime this was a big accomplishment in my book! 

New Year's Day was spent relaxing at home and doing a lot of nothing. It was awesome. 

On Saturday, we did a Round Robin with Ron's sister and parents. It was so fun! We had breakfast at my sister-in-law's house and then late lunch at our house. The kids had a blast and are having so much fun together! In the evening, we relaxed with pizza and Ron and I watched "Making a Murderer" on Netflix. It is certainly interesting to watch considering we only live 30 minutes from Manitowoc and is continues to me a big news story in our area. It has been interesting to see people from all over the county to weight-in. We are on episode 7 now, and completely hooked! 

On Sunday, we relaxed in the morning and worked on stuff around the house. In the evening, my parents and sister came over to watch the Packer game.... it did not go as well as we would have hoped, but they are still in the play-offs and will play next Sunday.

This week we have Kellen's holiday concert at school and swim class starts again! My friend Emily is coming to resume our Law and Order nights and we have my work's Holiday party on Friday...plus Packer game on Sunday! Feels busy to me, but that isn't a bad thing when everything is something to look forward to!

Have a great week and Happy New Year! 

Monday: Bacon Pieorgie Bake and Green Beans
Tuesday: Out for Kellen's Holiday Program
Wednesday: Out after Swim
Thursday: Stuffed Pepper Soup and Bread
Friday: Holiday Party for my Office
Saturday: Crispy Lemon Chicken with Creamy Meyer Lemon Pesto Sauce, Pasta and Salad
Sunday: TBA