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Thursday, October 17, 2013

New Tricks

Not my typical morning post, but better late than never, right? 

The word of the day is "Taco". Or at least that was the word of my day. And lots and lots of tacos! The oldest daughter had an away game today, and for away games, team moms volunteer to bring in meals or sack lunches for the girls before the bus leaves. I was originally suppose to do this on Tuesday, but the sign up schedule was wrong, Tuesday was a home game... no dinner needed as the girls go home after school. I definitely wasn't planning on dinner today, as I schedule my son's two tooth extractions at 3:15, immediately following school! YIKES! 

And wouldn't you know, just as I began preparations for feeding 20 people tacos, I get a call from my son. He had worried himself sick, and needed to come home from school. His nerves got the best of him as he's never had anything quite like a tooth extraction performed. Poor little buddy. :( He was much better after he got home, we rented a movie and made him some comfort food (tomato soup is where it's at for him... and add in a pickled egg and his worries were gone!), and all was well in his world. 

I had to deal with "Mommy Guilt" this morning... if you are a mom, you will understand. As I called my son in for breakfast, and sat him down in front of his plate, he stared blankly at it. I asked what was wrong, he replied he didn't "like" it. Considering he hadn't even tasted it, I wasn't buying his story. I ended up telling him he was going to eat it or he was going to be in trouble, because he loves all the ingredients (I'll get to that part) and there was simply no reason not to eat it. After a bit of bickering, this momma laid the law down, and I raised my voice at him. Then it came out that he didn't fell well... and of course, I took it as an excuse... he hadn't acted ill, so I just assumed he was trying to get out of breakfast. Then he started to cry. This is a boy who I've rarely seen cry. At this point, I knew I screwed up. Big time. I very much dislike those moments. It then dawned on me that he, being my worrier, had probably worked himself up into a tizzy. Which was exactly the case. Mommy fail today.... lesson learned. 

Onward to the food... 

Dinner last night was Smothered Chicken Crescents. Very filling! And amazingly (or finally) the end of the Pillsbury biscuits on the menu for a while... or at least until they go on sale again! 

Only five ingredients to these, took a little time with the wrapping of the crescents, but still fairly quick and definitely easy. 

For this, I doubled the original recipe, so I'm going to post my version, that would serve 6-8 people. 
Start with boneless skinless chicken breast. I actually used tenders, because they were on sale last week, but I would say you would need about 3 (maybe 4 if small) breasts, 2 cans of crescents, 1 cup of milk, and 1 cup of cheese (whatever you prefer, I used colby jack), and 2 cans of cream of chicken soup. I actually only had one can of cream of chicken, so I added a cream of mushroom.

Preheat the oven to 350, spray a 9 x 13 pan. Mix soup, milk, and cheese together and set aside. Top the large part of your crescents with cut up or shredded chicken. top each crescent with 1 Tablespoon of the soup mixture**. Pour 1/2 cup of the soup mixture on bottom of pan, and place crescents in pan.Pour remaining mixture over crescents. **I actually did not do this part because I felt it would be messy transporting from my work space to the baking dish, I just poured all of the mixture on top of crescents after they were already in the pan. 

Bake 30 minutes or until bubbly. My oven tends to be pretty speedy, so mine were done in 25 minutes. 


 


Then there was breakfast. For me, it was a make ahead meal. I made it last night, because it had a 40 minute bake time. Very easy, and very cheap. Again, I formatted the recipe to accommodate my family, as the original only served 4-6. 

I used 12 eggs, 6oz of cream cheese, 2 Tablespoons of butter, 1/2 cup of milk, and 1 cup of crumbled bacon ( in lieu of packaged bacon, I bought real bacon pieces that were on sale for $1.29)

In microwave safe bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, and milk. Microwave on high for 45 seconds. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and mix in butter mixture. Pour into your dish of choice (recipe said to use a 2qt casserole, I used a 9 x 13) Sprinkle bacon over top and bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes. 

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Between The Hubby and Tiny Tornado, they polished off half of the pan by themselves! 

In my spare time (ha ha), I decided to put the remaining apples in the fruit basket to use. As I was packing The Hubby's lunch, I was at a loss for what to pack for his "dessert". He usually has Oreos or I make him chocolate chip cookies, but the only Oreos to be found were the ones I needed for the volleyball team's dessert and I used the last of my chocolate chips last week. I didn't take any pics, because it wasn't anything too exciting, but I sliced the apples up, boiled them for 15 minutes, drained them, and added a bit of cinnamon and a teaspoon of brown sugar. This also ended up being Tiny Tornado's dinner because he found a better use for his taco earlier in the night (great way to bring the dogs to his high chair when it hits the floor). 

After delivering the tacos to the high school, it was off to the dentist for tooth extractions... and let me just brag a moment. That boy of mine, he was so brave! A tad bit of background, for some unexplained reason, after losing his first set of baby teeth, he not only grew in his permanent teeth, but a few more baby teeth as well! The orthodontist and dentist were both amazed by this, but in order to move to the next phase of orthodontics, those baby teeth had to come out. The whole process took all of 15 minutes and we were out the door. I have never had any issues with my teeth, not so much as a cavity, but I was completely blown away with how quick and seemingly simple this process was! 

I did learn a couple of new tricks today, compliments of some fellow members of a message board I frequent (shout out to August 2012!). Taco seasoning... nothing like cooking up 5 pounds of taco meat, only to realize you only have one packet of taco seasoning. Never again will I buy taco seasoning. It's so simple to make, and most ingredients would likely be found in your spice cabinet! Chili powder, crushed red pepper, garlic powder, onion powder (or dehydrated chopped onion), cumin, salt, pepper, and paprika. Made for great flavor too! 

And then there is Greek yogurt. I've had it before, but I typically shy away because of the cost. Meijer does put this on sale every once in a while, and I think from now on, I will stockpile (for as long as expiration dates will allow) and use this as a replacement to sour cream and cream cheese. I guess I never thought to use it in such ways, I usually use it for cooking muffins or the like, but after trying it, I'm a believer! 

I must have overlooked my need for two blocks of cream cheese on my grocery list, because when it came time to make the team's dessert, I found myself with only 4 oz of cream cheese rather than the 8 I needed. I simply substituted 4 oz of Greek yogurt in for the missing 4oz of cream cheese. It tasted great, didn't notice a difference over the last time I made this recipe. (it was the Oreo dessert I posted last week).



Next on the list of yummies for the day... hot chocolate on the stove. It's finally cool enough to break out the cocoa mugs! Nothing like a hot cup of cocoa on a cool evening to warm your insides (especially when it's simmered on the stovetop!)

If you love hot cocoa, and you've never used Hershey's Cocoa to make it... you are robbing yourself of quite a treat!  If you have Hershey's Cocoa lying around, the recipe is on the side of the container. If not, I'll be happy to enlighten you!

This will make six servings
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
dash of salt
1/3 cup hot water
4 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla


Mix sugar, cocoa and salt in saucepan, stir in water, cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils, boil and stir 2 minutes, stir in milk and heat. Do not boil. Remove from heat and add vanilla.


So, so, sooo yummy! I added a dollop of Cool Whip too.

 Heaven in a mug.





And lastly, I just wanted to add some pics of Tiny Tornado. I've come to the conclusion it is much more cost effective for this momma to take her own "professoinal" pictures of the kidlets. I arrived at this after carefully pondering the predicted outcome of a highly paid photographer attempting to keep my 4 month old from crying long enough to snap a salvageable picture! Glad those days are over, but now the challenge is getting him to sit still! I'm not about to pay by the hour for a photographer to go chasing down the road after my 1 year old, and he is not the most stranger friendly lil guy to say the least. It takes hours with him to get him to the comfort level of even a half smile!

And drumroll please... Mommy's amateur photography session...