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Chicken Bacon Casserole

Hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day spent with those you hold dear. I am personally grateful for the sacrifices made for my freedom! Since I was relaxing with my family yesterday, this is “Monday’s” blog post, enjoy.

For those of you like me who are not fond of casseroles, you have got to try this one! Credit goes to my sister-in-love Rebecca for creating such deliciousness. She has a gift!

Ingredients:

  • 3 free range organic chicken breasts
  • 1/8 cup Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 8 oz Alfredo sauce – or homemade Alfredo sauce (1/2 cup cream, 2 TBSP butter, 1/4 cup Romano cheese)
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/8 cup scallions, snipped
  • Rosemary, Salt and garlic powder to taste.
  • 1/2 lb. bacon, fried and crumbled

Start out by cooking the chicken, or use leftovers from the night before.

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I cut my chicken into little cubes and then cook it in boiling water for a couple minutes.

img_1246My little helper Paisley, enjoying her fresh snap peas from Mema and Poppops’ garden. 😊

While the chicken cooks put all your ingredients into a 9×13 Pyrex baking dish.

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As you can see I separated the scallions because I won’t bake that with the rest of the ingredients.

img_1274TIP: Keep scallions in a cup of water to use again and again.
Mix everything together and pop it in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until heated and cheese has melted. Stir several tomes through out cooking.

Feeds about 4 people. Serve over cooked rice or noodles.

I have lots of lettuce right now so I will have a salad with my casserole.

Can’t wait till the hubby comes home and we can eat dinner out on the patio. 😃

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Homemade Strawberry Pie & Whipped Cream

I’ll be honest, we don’t eat many desserts around here. I just don’t like to bake, and I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. But homemade strawberry pie and fresh whipped cream is irresistible. 

  1. I cheated and used a frozen pie crust, this was a last minute decision to make pie. Preheat the oven and cook your pie crust while you make the filling.
  2. Cut 5 – 6 cups fresh organic strawberries, I like my pie full of strawberries! (use this same recipe for peach pie) 
  3. 3/4 cup organic sugar (or coconut sugar 1:1 replacement) 
  4. 3 T instant clear gel. – We get this in Landcaster at a bulk foods store. 
  5. Mix your strawberries till they are a little bruised and the clear gel and sugar is thoroughly mixed in.
  6. Dump strawberry filling into cooled pie crust.

    Fresh Whipped Cream

    • 1/2 cup organic heavy cream (or if you have raw milk just scoop that fresh cream right off the top of your cow’s milk, yum!)
    • 2 tablespoons organic sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (keep any eye out for my diy vanilla extract post.)
    • Whip for about 2 minutes, not too long or you will have butter!
    • Top your freshly made pie and enjoy!

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      Easy No Kneading Artisan Bread

      Sorry it’s been a while. Many happenings around here. Getting two more foster children tomorrow so we’ve been working on some home improvements. We’re really excited and can’t wait to meet the little ones!

      I’m sure I’ll be trying out lots of new recipes now that I’ll have more mouths to feed. 🙂

      Here’s the recipe I followed. You can check out that blog to get more details on the recipe. I’m just doing a quick version.

      There is also this one that is basically the same thing.

      This is the making bread for dummies bread that no one could ruin! It was SO easy! I’ve had many failed attempts at making bread. I love that you do not need to kneed this bread!

      No Knead Artisan Bread aka Boule Bread

      makes four 1 pound loaves.

      Ingredients:

      • 3 cups lukewarm water
      • 1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast (2 packets)
      • 1 1/2 tablespoon salt
      • 6 1/2 cups unsifted, unbleached all purpose white flour – you can be creative with the types of flour that you use.IMG_5039

      Instructions:

      1. Warm the water slightly. It should feel just a little warmer than body temperature, about 100 degrees F.
      2. Add yeast and salt to the water.IMG_5040
      3. Mix in the flour. Mix with a wooden spoon – do not knead. You’re finished when everything is uniformly moist, without dry patches.IMG_5041
      4. Allow to rise. Cover with a lid (not airtight). I just make sure that the lid is not snapped on completely. Allow the mixture to rise at room temperature until it begins to collapse, about two hours. Longer rising times will not hurt your dough. Fully refrigerated wet dough is less sticky and is easier to work with than dough at room temperature. Refrigerate the dough overnight (or at least 3 hours) before shaping your first loaf. – I usually make my first loaf right away (after the first 2 hour rise time).IMG_5043
      5. Shape your loaf. Place a piece of baking parchment (I use reusable non stick backing mats) on a pizza peel or un-rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle the surface of your dough in the container with flour. Pull up and cut off about a 1-pound piece of dough (about the size of a grapefruit), using scissors or a serrated knife. Gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball as you go. Dust your hands with flour if you need to – to prevent sticking.
      6. Let the loaf rise for about 30 – 40 minutes uncovered. Doesn’t worry if it doesn’t rise much – it will in the oven.
      7. Preheat a baking stone on the middle rack in the oven for at least 20 minutes at 450 degrees F. If you do not have a baking stone, you can use a baking sheet, but you will not get the crisp crust on the bottom.
      8. Dust the loaf with a little flour and slash the top with a knife.IMG_5046
      9. Bake. Slide the bread (including the parchment paper) right onto the hot baking stone. Bake at 450 F for about 30 – 35 minutes, depending on the size of your loaf. Make sure the crust is deep golden brown.IMG_5049
      10. Cool for about an hour. We usually can’t wait that long. 🙂
      11. Store the remaining dough in the refrigerator in your lidded container and use for up to 14 days.
      12. Enjoy your homemade yummy bread!

      I like to print out my recipes to make it easy when making something. I’ve conveniently made a google doc. Click here

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      Yummy Fall Breakfast

      Homemade Oatmeal Cereal

      Ingredients

      1/2 cup old fashioned oats (aka 5 minute oats)

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      I roll my own oats from Oat groat. I buy my oat grout in bulk out in Lancaster, PA. I borrow my mom’s oat grinder to make my oats.

      Don’t have old fashioned oats? You can use any kind of oats, it just might take longer to cook depending on the kind of oats you use.

      1. Place oats in magic bullet (i used the coffee grinder blade), pulse for 15 to 30 seconds or until finely ground.IMG_4766
      2. Store the oat powder in a sealed container in the refrigerator or freezer or in a cool dark place for up to 3 months.

      Making the cereal

      1. Bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil and sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of the ground oats (I had to double the recipe, Tristan is a big eater).
      2. Whisk continuously for 30 seconds and then occasionally for 3-5 minutes or until the mixture is thick and creamy.
      3. Add cinnamon, butter, salt and maple syrup to taste. 🙂 Seriously this stuff is good, Tristan never leaves any for me to finish though!

      One concern with making your own baby oatmeal is that it doesn’t contain iron. You can add pureed dates for added sweetener, but also dates are high in vitamin A and Iron.

      The hardest part about this baby oatmeal cereal is it takes FOREVER to cool down. Just be careful not to burn your babies mouth. Test it on your lips before giving to baby.

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      Tristan enjoys his breakfast using his boon spoon. I love the double sided spoon, rubber tipped on one side, metal on the other. The rubber side is flat which makes getting every last bite so much easier.

      Whole Grain Quinoa Baby Cereal

      1 cup whole quinoa (not ground into a powder) – again, I buy this bulk in Lancaster, PA

      2 cups water

      1. In a large pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
      2. Add 1 cup of quinoa
      3. Cover the pot, reduce heat and simmer approximately 15 minute or until liquid has been absorbed. Let stand for five minutes and then “fluff” a bit.
      4. You may add spices such as cinnamon, ginger and vanilla, and also fruits, veggies and/or other foods that are age appropriate for your baby.

      If your baby likes his food smooth, just throw the cooked quinoa in a blender and puree.

      Don’t stop there. Make quinoa for the whole family to enjoy! We add a little Bragg’s liquid aminos, butter and sesame seeds.

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      Homemade Baby Food

      What better way to start out this blog than a post about a mommy making some homemade baby food. 🙂

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      Fresh Washed Veggies

      Autumn is my favorite time of year. I love all of the beautiful colors and scents. Today we’re going to cook up and puree some seasonal butternut squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Freshly picked from my parent’s HUGE veggie garden! We just moved into our house a couple months ago, so for now I’m mooching off of their harvest of goodies!

      I recommend eating organic and non GMO. I know that can get expensive, so at the very least check out the clean 15 and dirty dozen.

      Making your own homemade baby food is relatively simple. It helps to have the right equipment.

      1. Sharp knife. I learned from my sister (a pampered chef consultant) that using a good quality sharp knife can save your fingers. A dull blade is more likely to slip on hard veggie skins, therefor causing you to cut yourself.

      2. Emersion blenderVitamix, Magic bullet, or basically any type of blender to puree your cooked veggies.

      3. Pot & Veggie Steamer – also from Pampered Chef

      You also need something to store your finished baby food in. When my baby had just started eating solids he only ate 2 oz. My favorite thing to use was Green Sprouts Freezer Trays. I would freeze his purees in the freezer trays, pop them out and store them in tupperware containers in the freezer. Just thaw one or two of the one ounce squares for your baby to enjoy.

      Now that Tristan is eating more, I like freezing his food in 4 oz. Mason jars. I use the Ball wide mouth reusable plastic lids on the mason jars. To make eating on the go simple I got reusable squooshi pouches. These pouches are so cute and convenient.  BPA & Phthalate free, Dishwasher (top rack), & Freezer safe. They have a zipper closure at one end to make filling them very easy. You can also buy a fill n squeeze filling station (this on is cheaper, not as many pouches etc.) to make things even faster. I would recommend the filling station if you plan to make large batches. I found it very easy to use (and clean) for the pouches and my glass mason jars.

      Pureed Carrots – same method for sweet potatoes.

      Ingredients and items needed:

      • Raw, full sized carrots
      • Basket steamer (optional)
      • Pot with lid
      • Vegetable peeler
      • Food processor or blender

      Directions:

      1.)   Wash and peel the carrots and cut them into smaller pieces.  The smaller the pieces the less time you will need to steam.IMG_4578

      2.)   Add just enough water to the pot to hit the bottom of the steamer basket and bring to a boil.

      3.)   Add the carrots to the basket and cover. If you don’t have a steamer basket just cover the carrots with water. Check the carrots in 10 to 15 minute increments by attempting to cut or stab with a fork. If they are still too hard to easily do so, continue to steam. Be careful to watch your water level, as it will decrease over the time.

      4.)   Once the carrots are completely softened, remove and add to your food processor or blender. Purée until smooth.

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      Using the Filling Station

      5.)   Serve, refrigerate, or freeze immediately.

      Pureed Butternut Squash

      Ingredients and items needed:

      • 1 butternut squash
      • 9”x13” or larger baking dish or rimmed baking sheet
      • Food processor or blender
      • Ice cream scoop or large spoon
      • Tin foil
      • Water

       Directions:

      1.)   Preheat your oven to 350°.

      2.)   Begin by rinsing off the squash and scrubbing away any dirt or debris. (Though you wont be serving the skin, if your child is anything like mine he already gets enough dirt in his diet.)

      3.)   Cut the squash in half lengthwise and place face down on the baking sheet.IMG_4585

      4.)   Add a small amount of water to rise about 1 inch up the side of the squash. The purpose of this is two fold.  The water will prevent the squash from sticking to your bake ware, and will also create steam to aid in the cooking process.

      5.)   Cover the baking sheet with tin foil and place in the oven for 45 minutes.

      6.)   Remove, flip the squash over right side up, and stab with a fork in a few different areas to determine the softness of the squash.

      7.)    If you can easily stab or mash it, you can remove the squash and allow it to cool. If it is still too dense, return it to the oven in 10 to 15 minute increments. Cooking times will vary depending on the size of your squash.

      8.)   Once the squash has cooled enough to touch, discard any seeds and scoop out the soft inside.  An ice cream scoop is the perfect tool for this:

      9.)   Place it in your food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Add some of the cooking water to make it the right consistency.

      10.)  Serve, refrigerate, or freeze immediately.

      Finished Product

      Finished Product

      Optional: Flavor with butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, maple syrup, or honey (not till 1 year of age).

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      These are so cute & handy.

      When using the squooshi pouches another helpful gadget is the ChooMee Sip’n. Makes it so your kids can sip on the pouches without making messes! Huge plus for us moms!