Tag Archives: Cajun mama

God bless America and this wedge salad dip!

Happy Independence Day to all my Cajun mama peeps!! šŸ‡±šŸ‡·šŸ’„ is Hope this posts finds all of you enjoying this day with family, friends and friends who are like family. We are waiting on some of those friends who are like family to get here to begin our 4th of July celebration but we might have started a little early! So I know several of y’all are wanting this recipe and I figured I’d try to bang out a post real quick while we waited on them! This wedge salad dip caught my eye a few weeks ago and I’ve been waiting for a chance to make it. It’s super duper easy to put together and that is the best thing of all. Besides the taste. Because the taste is just fantastic. Like fireworks in your mouth! How fitting!! So here we go! Thanks to Lemon Tree Dwelling for this recipe! Link to original recipe here

Wedge salad dip 

Stuff you need~

1 ranch seasoning packet 

1 8 ounce block cream cheese 

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup cooked, crumbled bacon

Romaine lettuce, chopped tomato, and chopped green onion (green parts only) 

Crumbled blue cheese (about 1/4 cup but you can use as much as your little heart desires!! It’s a free country! šŸ˜‰)  

Ready?

What to do with the stuff~

Mix together the ranch seasoning with cream cheese and sour cream. 


Now you spread that in a pie plate. I used a shallow quiche dish. Sprinkle your chopped romaine, diced tomatoes, green onions all over the dip mixture.

Now sprinkle crumbled crispy bacon all over this. Now take your crumbled blue cheese and sprinkle it on top. That is it!!! God bless America and this completely delicious dip! 

It is as good as it looks!
My babies and Roy all decked out in their red, white and blue! šŸ‡±šŸ‡·šŸ‡±šŸ‡·

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Donna’s simply divine jambalaya and have circus, will travelĀ 

So Big Daddy worked at Farm Bureau for 14 years and over that time we made some really good friends. We’d take trips with the company and we would get to see those friends about once or twice a year. Well, Lloyd retired from Farm Bureau a few years ago and Big Daddy has moved on, so that leaves little opportunity for those bi-yearly visits. He and LLoyd text and talk pretty often and Donna and I keep in touch via Facebook, but sometimes little face to face is the best thing. But with 4 kids, 2 dogs, their grandkids and traveling, work…it was a daunting task to make it happen. But somehow we managed. It’s a miracle!! It’s so easy to say there is no time. It’s so easy after a long week to give in to just staying home and just talk about visiting friends. That’s one thing about Big Daddy…he is not all talk. He is a doer. When he sets his head to something, it’s happening. So we scheduled it, packed up on Friday and headed South. All 4 kids and the 2 dogs in tow in the mini van. Virtually our own little traveling circus! 

This little Cajun pup loves a good road trip!

So very glad we went through the trouble. Donna and Lloyd were so welcoming and gave the kids the run of the place.  They had some other friends from Raceland visiting, Anne and Alphonse, and they talked French and cut up and my kids had a ball. They picked blueberries from their many blueberry bushes, they fed the chickens and my baby got to pick up the freshly laid eggs.  We went shopping at the local Dirtcheap store. And as when visiting any Cajun friends, you can almost bet you will eat something delicious. And boy did we. She made a jambalaya so good and put it together so fast, I just knew I had to have the recipe. 


So Donna shared with me that this is her version of her brother in law, Don’s, award winning jambalaya recipe. He makes it for cook offs, different benefits and such…the point is this jambalaya feeds a crowd and people love it!! I have had numerous friends and readers ask me for my jambalaya recipe and until now I did not really have one. Jambalaya is not something I grew up eating very often. So I really hope you all will enjoy Donna’s truly fantastic (and easy) jambalaya as much as we enjoyed our visit with them.

Donna’s Divine Jambalaya 

Serves about 10 

Stuff you need~

2 bell peppers, diced 

4-6 smalll onions, diced

2 cups celery, chopped (optional) 

4 pounds of meat (pork, chicken, sausage)*

1 can Rotel 

4 cups rice (Zatarain’s parboiled rice only!!)**

Kitchen bouquet 

8 cups chicken broth (that’s about 4 cans or two 32 ounce boxes)

*Donna used 2 packs of pork chops, 2 packages chicken tenderloins, and 2 packs of sausage) 

**Donna says regular rice turns too mushy in this recipe. And said this is the only time she uses parboiled rice lol. 

What to do with the stuff~

Heat a little canola oil in your stock pot.*** Brown the diced onion. 

While this is happening cut up your meats. She sprinkled her chicken and pork liberally with Morton’s all seasoning. No not tony’s. Yes we Cajuns do love Tony’s but we don’t add it ad nauseum to every single dish.

 Add all your pork and chicken to this and brown the meat well. Let that all cook down. At the end, throw in the sausage and brown that too. 

Pour the undrained can of Rotel into the pot. Stir in the rice and stir it around so it can soak up all that juice from the meats and veggies. Pour in the chicken broth. Pour in a capful of Kitchen Bouquet (in the condiment aisle on the top shelf almost always in every grocery store, yellow top, black bottle). Stir in some salt and pepper. She did not give specific amounts. So I always say add a little and you can always add more to taste later. 


Bring to a boil and cover. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes on low. Stir about halfway through. Enjoy!! 

***Donna used a 7 1/2 quart non stick stock pot and it worked perfectly. I’ll be getting one from amazon asap. 

Me and the lady of the hour, this is THE Donna
Big Daddy and his padnuh, LLoyd
My #4bowlinbabes and LLoyd and Donna

Cheesy Spaghetti Pie (this recipe has it all)Ā 

So from time to time Momou would make spaghetti pie. And I always loved it when she did. Her spaghetti and meatballs were always legendary and the spaghetti pie kind of seemed like a step down. But then I took a bite of that spagbetti pie and it was all better. Not a step down at all. Just a step to the side. Now that I have a family of my own, I realize the beauty in spaghetti pie. It’s spaghetti and meatball’s creamy cheesy, low maintenance older sister. It satisfies those spaghetti cravings and goes a step further. Now spaghetti and meatballs have their place. We are not in any way saying that spaghetti pie replaces spaghetti and meatballs…no, no baby. We are just saying spaghetti pie is a nice low key, cheesy  alternative. Did I mention spaghetti pie is cheesy? Because it is…so…cheesy. Now as stated in the original blog post from http://www.centercutcook.com, what makes this spaghetti pie recipe unique is that the noodles are mixed with the sauce ahead of time and the noodles are perfect, not all dry like in other recipes I have tried. Also a nice twist is the Monterrey jack and cheddar cheese instead of same ole, same ole mozzarella. And it has sliced green onions in it. There is a special place in my heart for sliced green onions. So this spaghetti pie has it all!! Just like this Cajun mama does! 

Cheesy spaghetti pie 

Stuff you need~

1 pound of angel hair pasta (that’s one box), cooked and drained 

5 cups spaghetti sauce, divided (I used Prego)

1 pound Italian sausage, browned and drained *

1 tablespoon olive oil 

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 teaspoon oregano 

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 

3/4 teaspoon garlic powder 

8 ounce block cream cheese

3/4 cup sour cream 

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning 

3 green onions, green parts only, sliced 

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese 

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese 

*I buy one package of Italian sausage links and then I slice open the casing and just dump the meat into my skillet. I do that for each one. And voila! 

What to do with the stuff ~

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the cooked and drained pasta with 2 cups of the spaghetti sauce. Set aside.

 

In a skillet heat olive oil over medium heat. SautĆ©  diced yellow onion until tender. Add Italian sausage and brown over medium heat until done. Drain. Sprinkle in the oregano, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder. Stir in the remaining 3 cups of spaghetti sauce and simmer for about 10 minutes. 


Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with cooking spray. Layer the pasta tossed with sauce in the bottom of the dish. 

Now, add the block of softened cream cheese, the sour cream, the sliced green onions and Italian seasoning to a mixing bowl. Mix all together. 


Layer this on top of the noodles. What I did was put several dollops of the cream cheese mixture on top of the noodles and then I smoothed it out with a plastic spatula  where it made a layer. Now layer the meat sauce on top of the cream cheese layer. Next sprinkle the cheeses all over that meat sauce. And then I added some more green onions for good measure. 


Bake in your preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until that cheese is melted to an irrisitbly ooey gooey level. Spaghetti pie perfection. I used my favorite Pampered Chef flat metal spatula to dish it up. 

Korean beef bowls and impromptu perfectionĀ 

Summer is in full swing in this house! Not sure where your peeps are in the school year but here in Cajun mama land we are done. Peace out, 2016-2017 school year!! And my kids are glad for it. They are taking full advantage of the whole summertime thang. 

Yes, they are in the pool with clothes on. Because summer…lol

They are also like ravenous monkeys several times a day and I am not gonna lie…I am already struggling to keep up. My kids would love, love, love to eat fast food or at restaurants 3 meals a day. I, of course, do not allow that. We cannot even hang with that lifestyle. Big Daddy started a new job a few months ago and it’s been tight over here. Big Daddy will likely fuss when he reads this asking why would I even mention that but you know…being real is my thing. I am always real with y’all and that is a major thing that has happened in our lives. So eating out a whole bunch with a family of 6 is not in the plan. I assume most of you realize this is why I cook so much (and I love it) but if not please consider this my newsflash…I cook to save money a good bit of the time. Not to mention, we are trying to teach our kids about that eating out every day is not the norm and that there is nothing wrong with cooking. And when you can cook your own food, you can be self sufficient. 

In that same vein, I adore cooking things that my kids enjoy and they resent that it is not our favorite Chinese takeout a little less. Cooking at home is a necessity for many of us, but it does not have to be boring! So in comes this meal. Korean beef bowls.  Oh sweet spicy morsels of beef this is good stuff. And every last one of my kids absolutely devoured it. Also, it is not expensive to make. So perfect. As perfect as the other day was. Woke up to a loud boom at 5:45. Yep, transformer blowing. No power in sight. So I told the kids to load up we were headed to Tyler, TX to go to the Caldwell zoo. We had the best time. The weather was unseasonably perfect. Not the sauna that it usually is. The high was in the 70’s! In May!!! And I ran into 2 friends while at the zoo. These Korean beef bowls were perfect like that.  Unexpected, came out of nowhere, born from lacking, and crazy low expectations. You will love it!!! 

Me and my bebes during our impromptu zoo visit.

I found this recipe on http://www.damndelicious.net. I am so happy I stumbled across it. It is recipe gold, my friends.

Korean Beef bowls 

Stuff you need~

1 pound lean ground beef 

Canola oil 

2 teaspoons minced garlic (or more)

1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce 

1/4 cup packed brown sugar 

2 teaspoons sesame oil 

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger *

2 Sliced green onions, green and white parts 

Slicd green onions and Sesame seeds for garnish (optional) 

Cooked white rice 

*I used the McCormick spice stuff and it was fine. Next time I’ll try the squeeze tube produce section ginger just to see if it enhances the flavor. 

What to do with the stuff~

Drizzle some canola oil In skillet. Warm over medium heat then add garlic. SautĆ© on medium low until fragrant, about a minute or 2.  Add ground meat to skillet. Brown until no longer pink and then some. Drain if necessary. 

While browning meat, combine the sesame oil, brown sugar, soy sauce, red pepper flakes and ginger in a bowl. Whisk together.  When ground beef is browned and drained, add the soy sauce concoction and some sliced green onions. Cook on medium low for a minute or 2. The smell will be amazing and your mouth will water!! 


Serve this over hot rice. Prepare to be so glad you stayed at home and cooked for your family. It is HEAVEN! 

Creamy tomato basil tortellini and my can do attitudeĀ 

Oh it’s been a long few weeks. The kiddos all started school and we started out strong! We really did! Spirits were high. Hopes were higher. It’s gonna be awesome! Back to school. Back to a routine. We can so do this!! 


And then the first Friday my oldest started running fever because of a fever virus and it snowballed from there. Two of my other kiddos got sick and then again on Friday, my oldest was running fever…AGAIN! Back to the doctor’s office we went. This time it was a sinus infection. Sometimes being a mom means feeling like maybe I just cannot win. I know, I know, allowing myself to get defeated is not the answer. But oh it’s easy to slip into that frame of mind when there is a sick child at home every other day. Not sure what I thought would happen when I had 4 kiddos back to back, but days like that were not anywhere on my radar. Ah the innocence of new motherhood. Then there’s been adjustment to new schools and the back to school routine. I have 3 kiddos at new schools this year and it’s been so wonderful, but even good change is change none the less. It’s all a matter of adjusting. And we are. Throw in some home repair disasters, leaking air conditioner, an aching back and just LIFE…and that leads to a big ole case of TGIF! I was in that frame of mind when I decided to cook up today’s recipe. I had seen it is floating around Facebook (my friends know good food!) and I knew I had to make it. Creamy, basil, pasta, can make at home so going out is unnecessary. Which is good because I was over being around a bunch of people and also taking 6 people out to dinner is not cost effective. At all. It’s pretty dang pricey actually. So this was right up my ally. And oh it was creamy delicious perfection. Comfort food at its very carbolicious best! But on the upside it is chock full of spinach and tomatoes. So at least it packs a nutritional punch (ah silver lining!!). I am so glad I decided to make this. You will not be disappointed! Yum. Just yum! Now if I can just get back in the back to school, take the bull by the horns attitude….kind of like my younger two in this pic…

they have the world by the tail…wish I could bottle that confidence

Creamy tomato basil tortellini (recipe adapted from http://www.tiphero.com

Stuff you need~

2 tablespoons butter 

1 small onion diced 

4 cloves (or more!!) garlic, minced 

3 tablespoons flour 

1 1/4 cups whole milk

1/2 cup heavy cream 

6 ounce package of baby spinach 

1 14 ounce can of petite diced tomatoes, juice and all  

3 tablespoons basil 

3/4 finely shredded Parmesan 

20 ounce package tortellini (I used Italian sausage but use whatever kind you want) 

Salt and pepper to taste 

Red pepper flakes 

What to do with the stuff~k

Cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain and then set aside. 

Melt butter in a large skillet. SautĆ© onion in butter until tender. Add minced garlic and sautĆ© until fragrant. Now you will make a kind of sort of roux. Add the flour and stir constantly for 1 minute. Pour in the milk and half and half. Whisk or stir over low heat until it begins to simmer. 

Toss in the baby spinach, tomatoes and basil. Season with salt and pepper. 


Stir until spinach is wilted and sauce is thickened. 


Stir in Parmesan cheese and stir until melted. Remove sauce from heat. Toss tortellini with sauce. Garnish with chili pepper flakes and Parmesan. 


Yum. Just yum. Enjoy! Here’s to another week coming…I can do this!!

McDonald’s new chicken nuggets are the real deal…and just another day with my posseĀ 

Some of you may remember that last year the kiddos and I got to test drive the all day breakfast at McDonald’s right before they launched it. It was a huge hit and I got to blog about it. It was a good experience for the kiddos and I. Well not too long ago, Katherine contacted me about the kids (and I) test driving the new chicken nuggets. Or test eating I suppose would be more like it. New chicken nuggets you say?! They’ve been around forever. Yes they have, but they have been revamped y’all. And the end result is pretty dang tasty. What they have done is removed all artificial ingredients in those little nuggets of happiness. They took out many of the  unnecessary things (like food additives) and what remains is simple, more wholesome ingredients. That’s right…chicken McNuggets more the way nature intended them. The result is…wow!! I could taste the difference right away! They are using a better oil to fry them in and even that small difference is noticeable to the most untrained pallet. The taste is cleaner and just pure chicken McNugget delight. My kiddos had a blast!



 And we all got to visit with Katherine with Garrison Advertising and Mrs. Jean at McDonald’s in the area we live in. My bunch had the red carpet rolled out for them and these ladies are just as precious as can be.

It’s a great time every time we visit our local McDonald’s! If you have not had a chance to try the new chicken McNuggets, I highly suggest you stop in and give them a try yourself. You know I love to cook and believe in cooking at home, but knowing when we do decide to have some Micky d’s, that my kids favorite nuggets are tastier and I can know what they are eating is a better option than before, pulling into the drive thru sounds better than ever. 

Now I must talk about my oldest, BHB, aka Ben, aka our wealth of knowledge on a variety of topics, McDonald’s included. The boy loves to eat and is not ashamed to tell you about it. He is a bottomless pit, has a hollow leg, and shows no signs of stopping. He knew about the changes McDonald’s were making to their nuggets before Katherine even contacted me. So when she called, he was all about trying them out and giving his opinion. The kid does love to share his opinions. No clue where he gets that. (Ha ha)  He had a great time eating and chatting Katherine and Mrs. Jean up about the exciting things happening with McDonald’s and giving his two cents. 



It was a great time and the new nuggets (and the company) were amazing. Thanks so much to our local McDonald’s, Mrs. Jean and Katherine for a great experience. 

Crawfish Fettucine…like seriously the best stuff everĀ 

OOk this is one of my most favorite, tried and true, best recipes. This is the one I trot out when I want to impress and  have my friends begging for more. It’s creamy, it is just spicy enough, it is fabulous. I will be honest and say I don’t remember who I got this recipe from. Maybe my friend Leia, aka Ned, the one who gave me the crawfish pie recipe but maybe it was my sister? I truly cannot remember and if you know me at all, you know how rare that is.  I have a memory like an elephant. I remember it was in college, maybe grad school, and I made it a whole bunch. Anytime my friends and I cooked supper together, this was usually one of the menu items. My friend Cara and I and her roommate Nicole would have this every other week one summer. At the time it seemed like the best recipe in the whole world and so elegant…in some ways it is still that way to me. My little girl, ADB, has loved this for a while and it is probably one of her favorites. So the tradition continues. This recipe deserves all the props it gets, I promise. It’s just that good. I don’t even know where this recipe is written down on paper! I just know it by heart. I guess all important things that have special memories attached to them are etched on your heart.  This recipe certainly qualifies. If you gave me this recipe and you read this post please give me a shout out. I love to give credit where credit is due and y’all know I love to share stories about friends who the recipe comes from.  None the less, just make this crawfish fettucine  and enjoy! This pairs beautifully with a green salad and some garlic bread. Hope y’all enjoy it as much as I have for the longest time now. Grab a good bottle of wine, make this recipe and toast to good friends, wonderful memories, and great food! Nothing better!  

Stuff you need~

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter 

1 small onion, diced 

1 medium bell pepper, diced 

2 stalks celery, diced 

Cajun seasoning (Tony’s…do I have to specify?) 

1 pound crawfish tails *

1 can cream of chicken soup 

1 can cream of mushroom soup 

16 ounces (about half of a big block) queso blanco velveeta with jalapeƱos (or mexican velveeta…whatever you can find)

half and half 

Cooked fettucine noodles 

What to do with the stuff~

Melt your butter in a big ole skillet over medium heat. SautĆ© the onion, bell pepper, and celery in the butter until tender. Sprinkle in a little Tony’s at this point. I read somewhere a while back that adding seasoning at the beginning of the sautĆ©ing process tends to deepen the flavor of the seasoning. Works for me! 

Add the minced garlic and sautĆ© another minute or two. Next add your soups and crawfish tails. 

Add your cubed up velveeta and cook over low heat, stirring frequently. Next, add a splash of half and half to make this luscious concoction that much creamier. Add a little more because it makes it that much better. Stir, stir, stir. Continue to cook over low heat until the sauce is the consistency you prefer. It will continue to thicken some after you remove it from the heat. Keep that in mind. 


Serve over some cooked fettucine noodles along side some garlic bread to sop up all that sauce the noodles forget. Best. Stuff. Ever!!!!! 

speaking of favorites from my grad school days…still love these ladies. blessed to call them friends.

Dill pickle soupĀ 

So a while back, I got a bug up my butt that I had to try this dill pickle soup recipe I found on http://www.noblepig.com. I get like that ya’ll. I am not a super adventurous gal (unless you consider living life with 4 kids and this wild man of mine an adventure…then I totally am). But my thrill seeking comes out when I cook. Dill pickle soup? Sounds like it could be really good or really bad. Sure! Let’s try it! Why not? And so I did. I mean I think at one point the site crashed because so many people were checking out the recipe.  At least I could not access the recipe for quite a while. I had to know. How can a soup that tastes like dill pickles be good? Plus ya’ll know I love me a good soup. Any day, any time, any weather. Not to mention, ya’ll know where I come from we eat all sorts of stuff, so who am I to judge? People hear me now…this soup is legit. It’s pretty fantastic and worth your time. Unless you don’t like dill pickles. If you don’t, keep on going because this soup could be called cream of pickle soup. But in a good way. I promise. I have had friends ask when in the world I planned to post this recipe on my blog and I have been putting it off. Life has just been so hectic (read normal) and I guess I got lost in it. As I have said before, that is not likely going to get better anytime soon. I just have to adapt to the madness and blog when I can. So I do. But this recipe is worth sharing and kudos to the mastermind at the Noble Pig that came up with this recipe. It is inspired! 

Dill pickle soup (it makes a bunch)

Stuff you need~

5 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 3/4 pounds of russet potatoes, peeled and diced 

2 cups carrots, cut into a smaller dice 

1 cup dill pickle (about 3 large whole dill pickles), chopped into a smaller dice 

1/2 unsalted butter

1 cup sour cream

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup water 

2 cups pickle juice 

1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning 

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (depending on how salty your pickle juice is…they can vary apparently so taste and see before you add salt)

1/2 teaspoon black pepper 

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 

What to do with the stuff~

In a stock pot, combine broth, potatoes, carrots and butter. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender. Add pickles and continue to boil. 

 

I have pictures for this post!!!
 
In a medium size bowl, stir together flour, sour cream and water, making a paste. 

  
Now vigorously whisk the sour cream paste into the boiling liquid, 2 tablespoons at a time. You will have to whisk somewhat vigorously to get the paste to be incorporated into the liquid. It may break up into some little flour balls and that is ok. They will go away during the cooking process. 

Whisk in pickle juice and the seasonings. 

  
Cook another 30 minutes over medium heat and then serve immediately. Garnish with some dill pickle slices if you really need more pickles at this point. Let me know what you think! Is this complete nonsense or totally inspired? I lean toward the latter! Yummy and definitely a break from the norm! 

Enjoy ya pickle soup, ma Cher! 

in our family, we are almost always ready to let the good times roll! parade or pickle soup, just whenever!

Slow cooker chicken chili and isn’t it ironic?

 So everywhere I look here lately on social media are recipe videos. They are neat to look at but if you are any kind of a cook, you know very well no recipe is that simple. Pretending it is by making a time lapsed video is not going to make it so. While I appreciate being up with the times and rolling with what is popular, I am mostly all about tried and true. At the end of the day, I want a recipe. Not a video. Real recipes, no matter how simple, require real effort. I suppose what I am saying is that those videos are somewhat of a pet peeve of mine. I am a cook. I do cook. I take it seriously and I also know that most recipes require some effort. It would be lovely for it to be that simplified and my vegetables are chopped with a hit of a fist like one video showed and my spaghetti boiled in 2 seconds. I really hope anyone out there knows that is not happening. BUT, many of those dishes they prepare on those lala land videos look amazing! I will not lie. Mouth watering. So I get the attraction. And this chicken chili did not disappoint!! No sir-y Bob! But it take me longer than 5 minutes to prepare. Ha ha!! My friend Misty is a Norwex distributor and she came to my house to show us the awesomeness that is Norwex. I had a few friends that came and I made a crockpot full of this chili. It was amazingly tasty. No doubt! 

If you have any interest in cleaning your home faster and with less product, you can check out Misty’s business page here…http://mistylee.norwex.biz. My favorite products are the envirocloth (you have to see it to believe it!), the window cloth, and the envirowand. Anyway, there is nothing I love more than a fun party, some good friends over and feeding them some delish food!! We had a good time even with just a few of us there. Then again, most times in Cajun Mama’s kitchen are good times, if I say so myself!! 

Ok so here’s the super easy crockpot chicken chili recipe. You will love it, your kids will love it, your friends will love it, even if it takes longer than 5 minutes to make. It comes from http://www.12tomatoes.com and they actually had a written recipe conveniently attached, so that’s the best of both worlds!! And I went to look on my phone for pictures of this delish dish and I did not find any! I feel positive I took some but somehow they are not there. So that means I either did not take any (rare) and I am losing my mind OR I took some and they got deleted from my phone. Either explanation is plausible. So I apologize for this rare occurrence but this recipe is worth posting even without pictures. I just know many of my readers are visual people and like some pretty pictures accompanying their recipes. It won’t happen again…until it does. Because I have 4 kids and they get ahold of my phone sometimes and who knows what happens. But luckily the link I gave you has some pictures and a video. Oh the irony…I dislike recipes that come as a video only and I have no pictures.  šŸ˜‚šŸ˜‚šŸ˜‚ I guess Alanis Morisette was right. Isn’t it ironic? 

Slow cooker chicken chili 

stuff you need~

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts 

2 (14 ounce) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes 

1 (14 ounce) can corn, rinsed and drained 

1 (14 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained *

1 cup chicken broth 

1 red bel pepper, seeded and finely chopped 

1 jalapeƱo, seeded and chopped (I used 1/2 because I knew kids would be eating it and there was not much heat)

1/2 yellow onion, chopped 

3 cloves garlic, chopped (or 1 1/2 teaspoon of the jarred stuff)

3/4 tablespoon cumin 

1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano 

Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

4 ounces, cream cheese 

 Fresh cilantro for garnish 

Crushed Tortilla chips for garnish

Shredded cheese and sour cream, for garnish 

* I always ALWAYS get reduced sodium canned beans because the regular have a ton of sodium. Just FYI 

What to do with the stuff~

Place chicken breasts in slow cooker. Pour chicken broth over chicken breasts. Add the tomatoes, corn and black beans. Toss the chopped jalapeƱos, onion, garlic, and red bel pepper on top of this. Sprinkle the cumin, chili powder, oregano, kosher salt and black pepper over the top of this colorful concoction. A picture would be nice here wouldn’t it? Sigh. 

Ok cook this on low for 5-6 hours or high for 3-4 hours. As I always say, it depends on your slow cooker. Once the chicken is cooked and tender, remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred with 2 forks. Place back in slow cooker. Give it all a good stir and then add your cream cheese. Cook for another 20 minutes or so on low. At the end, stir to make sure the cream cheese is evenly distributed. 

Add a big heaping scoop to a bowl along with crushed tortilla chips, shredded cheese, cilantro and sour cream. Oh so good!!! You can’t eat a picture anyway. But this…oh yeah my baby, dig in. 

Crockpot Chicken bacon ranch pasta and the joy of the little thingsĀ 

Well…The holidays are over now and we have to find a way to go on. Sigh. I love the holidays. The anticipation of it all is what makes me the happiest. Must be the Catholic in me. I love the whole build up of Advent, the build up to the big event and even afterward as we wait for the epiphany. So after it is all said and done…I feel a little let down. Yes, I know that what was supposed to happen has happened. But it’s a little like “blah. Now what?” My sweet Madame toot (9 years old) said it perfectly on Christmas night. “Christmas is over. How can I go on?” I about died laughing because I could so understand how she felt. So now the kids are back in school and life is back to “normal” (lol! As if!) and it’s all about establishing routine. Getting back into our groove. But still…in the humdrum, cold and wet weather, a mama needs a little something to look forward to. A little treat here and there. But after the buffet of gifts and food and indulgence at Christmas…who has money for that? We are all looking to make resolutions, cut corners, get stuff in order, organize…and the list goes on. Well here comes me. And my gang of pals who always know which direction to point me in. I met a new friend recently…well she is married to an old friend and we finally “met.” She is hilarious and apparently knows good things when she sees them. She did marry Wade  after all.   

  
Yes this. She was so dead on. Posting a picture on Facebook with a thumbs up sign. Yes Connie. So much yes. I know, I know…this is instant cappuccino. To that I say, maybe…but this is a treat! It’s not expensive and it’s a small what my mom would call…happy. Let’s face it ya’ll…finding little things to break the monotony, help us survive the crazy, brighten up the middle…well those are things to hold on to. A Starbucks coffee a day habit is not in my budget lately. But this…this I can do. On the same note, while at Walmart picking up a report cover for my daughter’s science fair project and my Hills Brothers cappuccino in a tub… I found some super cute Henley’s in a bunch of fun bright colors. Guess what?! These super sassy, won’t break the bank, 3/4 length and feel great on tops,  look as cute with yoga pants as they do with jeans or dress pant. Can you say score?! It is truly the little things. 

So to get on with the story that is leading to a recipe…I promise. On my mind as I entered Wally World today was what am I gonna make for supper? You know that question. Yesterday I saw this on Facebook and since then I have had bacon on the brain. It made me giggle and want bacon. BACON!!!! 

  
 This is what I googled…creamy bacon chicken in the crockpot. And this recipe popped up…http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/slow-cooker-bacon-ranch-chicken-and-pasta/997c0a46-b7d8-481e-8919-5f563b1dde66.  I wanted to try it a while back and well…who knows why but I never did make it. But today it is happening. As I wait in carpool to pick up my oldest from middle school before heading to the other school to fetch the other 3…it is cooking away in my little crockpot. Or big red as she has been dubbed. She has a timer and is set for greatness. Chicken bacon ranch pasta. Happening tonight. Making something indulgent for supper that I did not have to slave over is definitely on my list of little things that make a big HAPPY difference in my life. 

So to sum it up…things that make me happy…instant cappuccino, colorful versatile shirts, and a good easy creamy pasta recipe. Throw in my soft cozy flannel dachshund sheets on my head and a nice cold snap and this chick is HAPPY! This pasta dish made me oh so happy!!! It is absolutely fantastic. The flavor is simply divine. It is super indulgent, yes. But after all the delicious rich foods we indulged in during Christmas, we cannot send our bodies into shock. A little indulgence here and there is necessary. In my humble pasta loving opinion. You know how some recipes don’t live up to the hype? And like the after holidays let down, you just feel a little empty inside? Yeah this is not like that. I had to force myself to stop eating it. I am hoping the leftovers will be even better since the flavors have had time to blend. We shall see. But for tonight…I am a happy happy girl!  The kiddos truly enjoyed it! Victory! 

Crockpot Creamy bacon ranch pasta 

Stuff you need~

1 pound chicken breasts (about 2)

6 strips of bacon, fried until crispy and crumbled 

1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch dressing  

1 1/2 teaspoons of minced garlic 

1 cup sour cream 

1 can cream of chicken soup 

1/2 cup water 

Black pepper 

8 ounces cooked angel hair (about 1/2 box)  

What to do with the stuff~

well if you have not yet, fry your bacon. Bacon good. 

  
Then you want to spray your 4 quart crockpot with cooking spray. Then lay your chicken breasts in the crockpot. Tell them to sit tight. Then combine all ingredients except pasta in a bowl. Mix well. 

  
Then you want to pour this mixture on top of the chicken breasts. Cook on low for 3-4 hours or so. I let mine just turn off and then it was on low until I was ready to add pasta. Also, shred the chicken breasts before adding the pasta. Once pasta is cooked and drained, add it to the delicious sauce in the crockpot and gently stir to combine. Then just serve it warm. My crockpot has a warm button, so I just it on until we were ready to eat, even once I added pasta. 

  Simply delicious!!! 

so much yum!!