“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore

The calm before the storm.

The next couple days/weeks are going to be pretty crazy for me.
(But in a good way!)

We are going on our delayed Honeymoon – YAY! So this will be my last post for about 2 weeks. I would like to blog about some of the things we do and EAT on our trip but I’m not sure what the internet situation will be like. So until then I’ll send you off with the recipe from last Mondays Peanut Gallery meal.

Chicken and Black Bean Casserole

(recipe adapted from Six Sisters’ Stuff)

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup rice
  • 1 ¼ cup chicken broth (divided)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • 2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 2 cooked skinless boneless chicken breast halves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ground cayenne pepper to taste
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chile peppers, drained
  • 1-2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese-depending on how much cheese you like (pretty much any kind of cheese combo you would like would work well – I’m using cheddar-jack)

Bring rice and 1 cup chicken broth to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until rice is soft and liquid is absorbed.

Preheat oven to 350º and grease a 9×13 casserole dish.

Cook the onion in olive oil over medium high heat until tender.

Then add in chicken, mushrooms and zucchini. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper.

Cook until zucchini and mushrooms are soft and slightly browned.

Add in chicken, green chilies, cream cheese, ¼ cup chicken broth, black beans, rice and half the cheese.  Stir until mixed well and heated through. (see note below)

****Note***** When doing this again, I would not add rice and beans in to the pan,  I would fold in rice and black beans in a large bowl after the rest was combined. When mixing in the beans over heat it kind of turned everything greyish – not very appealing.

When combined, spread into casserole dish and cover with remaining cheese.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until bubbly and cheese has slightly browned.

One thing I would add next time would be ½ – 1 Tablespoons of diced jalapeno peppers – I like it spicy!

I have to admit – it’s not a very pretty dish (the greyishness doesn’t help) but it’s a  yummy, filling dish that’s not on bad on the diet either!

I will definitely miss you guys for the next couple weeks but I should be back with good stories (and probably 5-10 extra pounds…….)

And for all you would be burglars out there – since I’m telling the whole world wide web that I’m going to be out of town – there will a house sitter staying in our home to take care of things while we’re gone, so no need in getting any ideas.

I’ll see you in a couple weeks!

Ciao!

abp

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“Once in a young lifetime one should be allowed to have as much sweetness as one can possibly want and hold.” ~ Judith Olney

After a nice low key weekend, I have had a pretty productive no make up Monday. Bills paid, more thank you notes written, calls made, laundry done, bathroom cleaned, dishwasher emptied (I had a broken glass – boo) AND a trip to the gym.

Which I just have to tell you – the girl beside me today on the elliptical machine had on full makeup (I don’t mean I’ve been at work make-up but pageant make up), her hair rolled and curled and down around her shoulders and wait for it – chandelier earrings.

Yep.

Hmmmm.

Ok.

So, since I have a few minutes to spare before time to start dinner I decided to make  a dessert.

Chocolate Toffee Cookie Bars

That just sounds good, doesn’t’ it??

What you will need –

  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup toffee bits

Preheat oven to 350° and spray a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and brown sugar on medium speed until fluffy.

Then add egg and vanilla, mix well.

Slowly add in flour mixture and beat on a low speed until thoroughly combined.

Fold in chocolate chips and toffee bits.

Spread batter into baking dish and press dough evenly into pan with a sheet of parchment paper.

Bake for 20 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Mmm, Mmm good!

These remind me a lot of blondies, actully – they are more like a cookie cake from the Great American Cookie Co. – you just need fudge icing!!!

I think next time I may add nuts.

I served these warm with whipped cream 🙂

Chocolate Toffee Cookie Bars

I posted this less than two days after I made them – the pan full is already gone!

Enjoy!

abp

“Down South, even our vegetables have some pig hidden somewhere in it. A vegetable isn’t a vegetable without a little ham hock.” ~ Paula Deen

Who likes a good old vegetable plate night? I do, I do!!!

And that’s exactly what we had tonight.

Any vegetable done any way as long as there is a slab of cornbread beside it!

I chose not to make it too complicated by adding McKenzies frozen Golden Creamed Corn. I’m telling you folks – unless you have someone who gives you homemade creamed corn – this is the way to go! It’s awesome.

Just plop in a pot on the stove and heat it up.

I also made roasted honey gold potatoes and onions. Also pretty easy, quartered honey gold potatoes, sliced onion, olive oil and seasoning.

Plop that in the oven.

The new recipe I wanted to try tonight is a copycat recipe of The Cracker Barrel’s lima beans.  And these are super duper easy too!!!!

You will need:

  • 14 oz. frozen Lima beans
  • 14 oz can chicken broth, plus ½ can water
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • ½ Tablespoon sugar
  • 4 pieces of bacon, cooked and chopped (plus 1 Tbsp bacon grease)
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Put everything except the bacon in a pot and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, add bacon and simmer for 20 minutes or until lima beans are cooked through. (I’ll admit, I cooked them a good bit more than that, because here in the south we have a tendency to cook the healthy out of them 🙂 )

I add to cheat a tiny bit – when I went to make dinner I realized that I only had 2 pieces of bacon left – oops. Luckily I had the baking sized bacon bits left over from the Teriyaki-Ranch Chicken to add with it – I don’t think that will make too much difference. Not with the 2 real pieces of bacon and a little bacon grease to boot!

Not a whole lot of pictures on this one because, well, it’s not that complicated. 🙂

But here’s one of the whole meal – nothing real pretty but who cares! It’s delicious down home goodness on a plate!

One more thing – I showed you my cornbread FAIL, so here’s a picture of what it’s supposed to look like!

Hope everyone has a great week!

abp

“If there’s cheesecake in the house, I’ll have some.” – Kelly Ripa

How was everyone’s Labor Day??

Mine was awesome. Spent the day at the Birmingham Zoo and because of the cloud cover it was very pleasant all day! Then it was off to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner where I showed great restraint when I ordered only a Skinnylicious Caesar Salad! Granted we did order a slice of the new Oreo Dream Extreme Cheesecake!!!

(before you start shaking your finger – it was split 3 ways)


Can you say awesome???

One of the best desserts I’ve ever had.

So – like I said – great day!

It was back to the ol’ grind today and after a trip to the gym (that makes twice in 4 days – thankyouverymuch) I started on dinner.

On the menu tonight is a recipe I adapted from the blog Relative Taste.

It looked interesting, all the ingredients were things I really liked and it seemed fairly simple. Because of this I thought it would work well for a workday dinner and since I had I postponed the Peanut Gallery meal until tonight due to the holiday I thought it would be perfect.

Teriyaki-Ranch Chicken

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup teriyaki basting sauce
  • ½ cup light Ranch salad dressing
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1½ ounces bacon bits

In a bowl mix together teriyaki sauce and ranch. Next salt and pepper your chicken, and using the vegetable oil, lightly brown the chicken on both sides.

Place in baking dish.

Pour sauce mixture over chicken.

Top with cheese.

Sprinkle bacon bits and green onions.

Bake uncovered at 350° for 30 minutes.

I served it with rice (pour a little pan sauce over the rice) and top with the chicken breast.  Any green side would be great.

This was VERY, VERY good. The flavor was unbelievable! I was kind of surprised because it was so simple.

This will definitely be one of my “go-to” quick dinners.

Until next time!

abp

“Are you ready for some footbaaaaallll??” – Hank Williams, Jr.

Yay!!! It’s that time of the year again!!! Football, Fun, Friends and FOOD!!!

I don’t care which team you pull for – just as long as you pull for one. I’m in a house divided. I’m Alabama, and he’s Auburn. If you’re not from the great state of Alabama – you might not get it but boy that sure can cause a few problems.

Luckily – we’re pretty good at compromise.

Example being – if we go to an Auburn game, I will not wear the logo but I’ll wear the colors and vice-verse (unless we’re playing each other and then it’s all out war!)

So whether or not it Roll Tide or War Eagle it’s time to break out the appetizers!!!!

I love a good football watching get together (not tailgating – that’s a whole different ballgame – more on that later this fall – shout out to my tailgate family – whoop whoop!!).

At a great football gathering everyone brings their best appetizer and you get to graze like a cow all day/night. I start thinking about which one I want to make days in advance!

One of my go to favorites is Taco Salad – proudly adapted from my Mammaw. She had it at every holiday dinner (right beside the turkey and dressing) and it was always the first thing to disappear.

Mammaw’s Taco Salad

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 31 oz can of refried beans
  • 8 oz of salsa
  • 16 oz of sour cream
  • 2-3 cups of shredded lettuce
  • 2 cups of shredded Mexi-blend cheese
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of chopped green onions
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of chopped black olives
  • Tortillas chips

Start by browning meat and following instructions on Taco pack seasoning.

Next you start by layering refried beans.

Next comes the prepared taco meat.

Mix together sour cream and salsa. Spread over taco meat.

After that – the lettuce.

Cheese.

Tomatoes, onions and black olives and there you have it – ready to serve with tortilla chips!

mam

Yum, Yum, Yum!

And if you happened to miss it ——-

Alabama whooped up on Michigan!!!

41-14!!!!

We just won’t talk about that other game……

abp