Friday, January 27, 2012

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

Last night, I made one of John T.'s favorite meals. I'm pretty sure it would make anyone happy! 

The first time I made this was on new year's eve after I found the recipe on Pinterest. It is very rich, so I can't have too often, but once in a while never hurts. :o)

My absolute favorite thing to order at Chili's (besides their chips & salsa) is the Cajun Chicken Pasta. This recipe is strikingly similar (minus the chives & tomatoes)!

{I tweaked the Pinterest recipe for those of you have it pinned like me!}

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

What you need:

2 bags of refrigerated chicken breast strips (LOVE these)

1/2 box linguine, cooked according to package instructions (more or less depending on how many you are cooking for)

2 teaspoons cajun seasoning
{I like this brand}

2 tablespoons butter

3/4-1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
{I like love this brand}

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon dried basil

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

{side note: when it comes to spices, I rarely measure...I typically just throw in a pinch here & there until it "looks right" to me}

How you make it:

Place chicken and Cajun seasoning in a bowl & toss to coat. (In the meantime, boil your water & cook your pasta.)

In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté chicken in butter until chicken is heated through, about 5 minutes.

Reduce heat, add heavy cream, tomatoes, basil, salt, garlic powder, black pepper & heat through.

Pour over hot linguine and toss with Parmesan cheese.

I served ours with garlic toast.


I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

John T.'s 26th Birthday

Yesterday was my hubby's 26th b-day! I had our families over for a little party last night, and it was really fun!

The theme was orange white for the Vols!

We had chicken nuggets from Chick Fil-A

and, of course, cake!

{Cake by Carly Harrison}

It was so fun to have all of our families there together.

After we ate, John T. opened his presents, & we played the Wii for a little while. 

It's hard to believe we both turn 26 this year! :o)

This morning, we went to church, did some grocery shopping at Target & had lunch at Salsaritas. I love, love, love our Sundays together!

Have a great week, everyone, & for those of you who are off tomorrow for the MLK holiday, enjoy it! 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Loving it

I have come across some of the cutest things lately, starting with this orange & white chevron platter I got with one of my Christmas gift cards to Alumni Hall

I am so excited to use it this weekend for John T.'s 26th birthday party! 

I am in love with chevron right now, so I had to pick this up when I saw it at Target last week

{Valentine's Day}

I am also loving my KitchenAid that my mom & dad got me for Christmas. I have used it twice already, to make this & this and I love it! 

I picked this frame out as a Christmas present from John T.'s granny, and I am loving it! I think our picture from the Arkansas game fits it perfectly!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Football & Taco Dip

I always seem to be looking for a good excuse to make taco dip & Monday's national championship seemed like the perfect occasion. 

I made chicken fajitas, & we had chips & taco dip. It was so good!

My good friend, Jessica, gave me the recipe when we were in college, and it is always a big hit when I make it.

Here's what you need:

1 block cream cheese
1 small container of sour cream
1 packet taco seasoning
1 jar of your favorite salsa (my fav is below)
lots of shredded cheese

How you make it:

Combine cream cheese, sour cream & taco seasoning in a mixer or bowl. Transfer mixture to the bowl you will use for the dip. Pour salsa over mixture. Sprinkle cheese on top & heat in microwave for 3 minutes or until cheese is melted. 

My favorite salsa from Target. It is the best! 

It doesn't look perfect, but it sure is yummy! :o)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Best Homemade BBQ

I am not one to try to make my own BBQ. I would much rather just go to Buddy's & buy some! However, there is a recipe in January's Southern Living that I thought I had to try. Oh my...this was delicious, if I do say so myself! Perfect for winter & super easy!

The recipe is under the food section of the mag called "fix it and forget it," & that's exactly what I did.

{Slow-cooked Barbecued Chicken}

What you need:

2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 (3-to 3 1/2-lb.) cut-up whole chicken (I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs because they were on sale at Target)
1/2 cup cola soft drink
1/3 cup ketchup
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. bourbon (I left this out)
1 lemon, sliced

How you make it:

1. Stir together first 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle over chicken. Place chicken in a single layer in a lightly greased 6-qt. slow cooker.

2. Whisk together cola soft drink and next 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Slowly pour mixture between chicken pieces (to avoid removing spices from chicken). Place lemon slices in a single layer on top of chicken. 

3. Cover and cook on HIGH 5 hours (or LOW 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 hours<

4. Transfer chicken pieces to a serving platter; discard lemon slices. Skim fat from pan juices in slow cooker. Pour pan juices over chicken; serve immediately.

I also served ours with this side (wish I would have taken a pic...must get better at that): 

{Sweet Potato Cornbread}

What you need:

2 cups self-rising white cornmeal mix 
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
5 large eggs
2 cups cooked mashed sweet potatoes (about 4 sweet potatoes)
1 8-oz. container sour cream
1/2 cup butter, melted

How you make it:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Stir together fiist 3 ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Whisk together eggs and next 3 ingredients; add to cornmeal mixture, stirring just until moistened. Spoon batter in a lightly greased 9-inch square pan.

2. Bake at 425 degrees for 35 minutes or until golden brown.

Both recipes from Southern Living.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Applesauce Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel Topping

I made these before we worked New Year's weekend, and they were so yummy! I normally never eat a good breakfast during the week (shame on me, I know), but there is something about the weekend that makes me want breakfast. These were perfect.

{Southern Living}

Applesauce Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel Topping

{Applesauce Muffins}

What you need:

4 cups all-purpose baking mix (I used Bisquick Original Pancake and Baking Mix)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2/3 cup chunky applesauce (I used regular because I couldn't find chunky at Target)
1/2 milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs

How you make them:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk together baking mix, sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture.

2. Whisk together applesauce and next 3 ingredients in a small bowl; add to sugar mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon batter into a lightly greased 12-cup muffin pan, filling almost completely full. Sprinkle Cinnamon Streusel Topping over batter.

3. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean and tops are golden brown. Cool in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pan to wire rack.

{Cinnamon Streusel Topping}

What you need:

1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 Tbsp. all-purpose baking mix
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp. butter, melted

How you make it:

Whisk together first 4 ingredients until blended. Stir melted butter into sugar mixture until well blended and crumbly.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

{don't} Let it Snow!

Monday night around 6:00, it started snowing & kept snowing! It was super freezing cold outside, and it all came on so fast! One minute I looked outside, and there was nothing...

Then, the next minute this...

And it kept snowing through the night. Schools were closed, but I had to go to work on Tuesday. Thankfully, I made it just fine, but I am not a fan of snow like I used to be! I only like it on my off days! 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy New Year!

I feel like all I talk about on this blog is working, ha!, but John T. & I both worked New Year's Eve/Day, so we didn't have much excitement at our house. :o)

I did pick up some cupcakes & sparkling grape juice to celebrate on New Year's Eve, and then we were in bed by 9:30!

After we got off work on New Year's Day, we headed to Minnie's for our traditional NY's Day meal: hog jowl, black eyed peas, cabbage, fried potatoes & cornbread. I always look forward to this meal!

{notice my one black eyed pea...that's all I can stomach!}

Afterwards, John T.'s little sister, Jayden spent the night with us. We played for a little while & then went to bed.

{Jayden got this Justin Bieber game for Christmas, & it was super hard! We had to answer all sorts of questions about his songs to get to meet him backstage :o) }

I definitely had my first experience with motherhood during the night...Jayden had an awful cough & kept us both up for a few hours during the night. She was so pitiful. :o( I gave her cough medicine, tablespoons of honey, oranges, lozenges (scared to death she would choke because she was coughing so much, but John T. suggested it, & it helped the most, I think!). After waking up at 1a.m. & again from 5-6 a.m., she finally fell asleep, and we all ended up sleeping until around 10 a.m.! 

After we got up, we headed to Cracker Barrel for breakfast & then went to Wal-Mart to pick out some nail polish & coloring book/crayons. :o) 

I am really looking forward to what 2012 is going to bring! So many exciting possibilities!

Happy New Year!