Thursday, January 31, 2013

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

I've got a recipe for you to try!  I made this two nights ago and it was so good.  I'm happy I didn't let the name stop me from trying this recipe, because it definitely exceeded my expectations.  Even the hubby liked it and he's not a fan of anything out of the ordinary.  Casseroles just don't happen with him.  The flavors are so full and wonderful all mixed together.  Give it a shot and tell me what you think!

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

-2 chicken breasts, bone-in with rib meat, boiled and shredded (or just buy a rotisserie chicken and shred it)
-1 box whole wheat penne pasta
-1 onion, chopped (or do like I do and buy frozen - use about 1 cup.  I hate chopping onions.  It always makes me cry!)
-1 red pepper chopped
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-2 tbsp olive oil
-1 4 oz can diced green chiles
-2 10 oz cans green enchilada sauce
-1 cup red enchilada sauce (a little less than 1 can)
-2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 1/2 to 2 tsp chili powder
-1 tsp cumin
-1 cup plain greek yogurt or sour cream

Additional Toppings I used:
-green onions
-greek yogurt

1.  Cook and shred chicken, set aside.  Boil pasta according to directions.  While pasta is boiling, chop onion, pepper and garlic.
2.  In a large saucepan over med/high heat, saute onions in the olive oil until translucent (about 2-3 mins).  Add the pepper and garlic and saute for another 2-3 minutes until tender.
3.  Add the enchilada sauces.  It should start to simmer.  Add the green chiles, salt, chili powder, cumin and shredded chicken.  Let simmer for 8-10 mins.
4.  Add the Mexican cheese, stirring to mix and melt through.
5.  Reduce the heat to low.  Make sure it is NOT boiling and add in your greek yogurt or sour cream.  Stir and mix well.
6.  Return the pasta to a large pot and add enchilada sauce.  Mix together and you're ready to grub!  Top with avocado, tomato, green onions and sour cream/greek yogurt.

I hope you enjoy!  I made my version a little healthier by using whole wheat pasta and greek yogurt instead of sour cream.  It came out great.  Feel free to use regular pasta and sour cream.

Have a good rest of the week.  I am so spent.  Another teacher I work with said she feels like she's been running a marathon.  I thought that was perfect to describe the way I feel too.  I need the weekend to recharge my batteries!  Maybe then I can catch up on some blogging. :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Meal Plan Monday & My Ordinary Life

***OOPS - Posted a day late!***

I missed last Monday's meal plan post, but not this week!  I've got the day off and had some time to blog.  Here's our meal plan for the week:

Sunday: Mom's Chicken Spaghetti, recipe here.
Monday: Filet Mignon, baked sweet potatoes and salad...SOOO good!
Tuesday: Eat Clean Summer Salmon, steamed asparagus and salad
Wednesday: Church
Thursday: BLTs since I'll be working late
Friday: Blackened Tilapia, steamed broccoli and salad

We've been trying to eat really healthy and shred some of that holiday weight.  So far, so good.  I love how just eating good, unprocessed food can shrink you down.  It's so amazing to see the difference.  I just have to keep reminding myself that food is fuel and reach for healthy snacks instead of sweets.  Being back in the gym is really helping out too.  When you feel good in your skin, everything else just clicks too.  I refuel my soul daily through Bible studies and talking with God and I'm back on track to refueling my body daily with healthy foods and exercise.  It's amazing how much more energy I have too!  And boy oh boy do I ever need it right now...this time of year is always crazy at school.

On a totally different topic, I decided that at the start of this year I was going to be doing the 365 day photo challenge where you take a picture for every day of the year.  It seemed like a great idea because SO much happens in a years time and I thought it would be a fun way to document it...Until I started.  It's hard to take a picture everyday!  I have come to the conclusion that I live a fairly boring, ordinary life...ha!  Well of course I do, I already knew that.  And I LOVE my life I've been blessed with.  I'll take my ordinary, simple life over anything.  It makes me humble and happy.

Tonight I'm feeling especially blessed to be sitting at home with my awesome husband and furbaby.  It's nothing new, but it sure does feel good to be surrounded by those you love and who love you.   Let's take the time to be thankful in the little things we so often overlook everyday. 

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 
-1 Thessalonians 5:16-19

Monday, January 7, 2013

Meal Plan Monday

I'm bringing back Meal Plan Monday.  I haven't posted one in a looooong time, but I need the accountability and if it helps any of you by giving you ideas, then it's a win-win-win (Office reference, sorry).

Jared and I have finally made a budget and I'm so excited about it.  We have goals to work towards!  Some dear friends shared with us their copy of Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover and we are sticking to it.  For some reason, it's fun to me.  Weird?  Yes.  But it's like I'm in competition with myself to see if I can do better than my budget.  For example, when I went grocery shopping, I saved $34.  That may not seem like a lot to any of you couponers, but it's a great start for me.  And I didn't even use coupons!  I just bought meats and produce on sale.  If I keep it up, I'll have a lot of mulah left over in my grocery budget. 

Here's my 1st meal plan of the year.  It actually started on Saturday because that's when I grocery shop now.

Meal Plan

Saturday: Chicken Parmesan with spaghetti.  Recipe here.
Sunday: Crockpot Taco Soup
Monday: Blackened Grouper with steamed broccoli
Tuesday: Tacos!  We love taco Tuesdays :)  I'll post below how I make my own taco seasoning.
Wednesday: Church
Thursday: Grilled Pork Chops with steamed broccoli
Friday: The Deen Bros Lighter Macho Nachos.  Recipe here.

I seem to have a Mexican theme this week...I don't know why.  I guess we haven't had it in so long and it's all yummy and pretty good for you.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

1 T chili powder, 1 T ground cumin, 1 T garlic powder, 1 T onion powder, 1/4–½ T crushed red pepper.  I triple this recipe to make plenty to last for a couple of months.   Mix well in a jar and use instead of that preservative packed, expensive stuff at the store.  You probably already have all of these seasonings in your pantry.

I hope you've had a great start to your week!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Kale Salad

A teacher friend of mine made this recipe and shared it with our staff at a work potluck we had a few months back.  I didn't try it or decide to make it until Christmas and I was missing out!  It's so healthy, but tastes really good as well.  She has given me permission to share, so without further delay, here you go!

Kale Salad

-one bunch of kale, cut out stems (or I just bought a big bag that was already cut up & used half)
-juice of one lemon
-1-2 tbs olive or flax oil (I used 2 tbs olive)
-1 tbs apple or rice vinegar (I used apple)
-3 pinches of salt
-several dashes of chili powder (I did about 4-5)
-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
-1-2 oz Asiago cheese, grated

1. Remove vein from kale and chop, unless you're like me and you bought the pre-chopped stuff already.
2. Chop garlic and mix in a small bowl with lemon juice, oil, vinegar, salt, and chili powder.  Stir until blended.
3. In a large bowl, have your kale ready and pour the dressing over the kale. 
4. With your hands or salad tongs, mix really well.
5. Top with grated Asiago cheese.

*Just a note - the kale will soak up the dressing, so don't be shocked when you see your salad shrink.

Enjoy! XO

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Christmas Time & New Years

Christmas 2012 was quiet, peaceful, and uneventful.  It was a good way to end this year.  J's family came in from Arkansas and spent about 5 nights with us.  I was sad to see them go.  My house was so quiet and lonesome when they left.  Even Rosie was depressed because she missed her little doggie friend, Libby.

If we had gone to Arkansas for Christmas, we would have had a white Christmas!  They got quite the snow storm Christmas night.  I am determined to have a white Christmas at least once in my life!  I've only seen snow once, so I'm still enchanted by the thought of it.

I tried to take the extra time this year to reflect and absorb the meaning of Christmas.  I did this daily Bible reading of the Christmas story and that really helped me get in the spirit.  But to be honest, I had an overwhelming feeling of sadness.  The Christmas story is the most beautiful, bright story that we have to cling to, but it also makes me sad to think of how Jesus was treated once He came to save the world.  But He overcame the grave, praise the Lord! I guess this was just a hard year for me and although I feel beyond blessed, part of me was almost melancholy.  Having family here and love all around me helped tremendously.  And I loved our decorations.  Christmas decorations always have a way of brightening my day.  The lights, especially.  There's just something about this time of year that's almost magical.

My classroom was no exception.  I put up a little tree and we had a Christmas party on pajama day.  The last day of school before break, we watched Polar Express, ate Christmas cookies, and I made hot chocolate for everyone.  It was a fun time.  We had a blast doing some Christmas crafts.  I know the kiddos enjoyed the presents I had for them under the tree.  Watching their little faces light up is the best part of my job.

Christmas in my Classroom
My gifts for the kiddos under the tree.  They were SO excited.
Our water bottle snowmen to go along with their story about the day it snowed.
Cinnamon applesauce ornaments

Our Christmas
Bad pic quality, but me and the hubs on Christmas Eve
Mom, dad, Jake and I on Christmas Eve at my parents' house.
Anya opening up gifts.
Me and Momma playing Dirty Santa.
Me and my SIL, Julie, after church.
J and I on Christmas day
Our family :)
FIL, MIL and their new baby, Libby
My Christmas mantle and tree at night, all lit up.  I loved the glow :)
Christmas mantle during the day.  I scored those Pottery Barn JOY stocking holders from Goodwill for $3.99.  They retail for $70.  SCORE!
My Nativity favorite decoration!

I thought I had more pictures of my decorations, but I didn't...Boo.  Our dining room table was really pretty this year.  Too bad I've already taken it all down.  That's okay.  I'm just thankful I had a home to decorate and people to share it with.

HAPPY NEW YEAR by the way!  I can't even believe another year has gone by.  It was such a blur.  2012 started off slow...I really don't even remember much of the first couple of months (except for this Bible study our church did), but it sure got crazy.  I could say a lot of things about this year, but above everything I am beyond blessed.

The Lord chose this year to draw me closer to Him than ever before.  For that, I am thankful.  He knew just what I needed.  He also brought Jared and I closer than ever, landed Jared at a new job, blessed me with another wonderful group of kids to teach, and taught us many valuable lessons along the way.  We are constantly learning, but looking to Him for direction and guidance.  I'm excited to get this year started!

We kicked it off with a great breakfast/brunch of stuffed French toast and hashbrown/bacon casserole.  It was oh so delicious.  Maybe that'll be my first recipe to post for the new year.

We had a great New Years late lunch with my family over at my grandpa's house.  Now it's time for more football and my PJs.  

I wish you and yours all the blessings from the Father above that He has to offer this year. XO