Monday, April 30, 2012

Day 22 - Mike & Candice

Way back when I first started this project I asked my sister if she thought her neighbor's Mike & Candice would like to get in on this food action. I mean who wouldn't want a free meal cooked for them??? Well, Brenna asked and I never heard anything back from her. About 2 weeks in I asked again and we got them signed up for, in my opinion, the grossest meal in existence! I really thought no one in their right mind would want to eat a Baked Reuben Sandwich, let alone like it! But Mike & Candice actually like them! Yay!
(Stole this little gem from Candice's Facebook page, 
because I'm really awesome & forgot to take one! :)
So I went over to the house and made the best smelling Baked Reuben Sandy ever in the whole widest world!!!! (But I was definitely not going to eat it! haha) Kayla had already made me dinner at home :) I really hope they enjoy it, because it was a really easy meal to make. Would be good for a busy night or just a night when you want something great to eat! Enjoy Mike & Candice. And if it sucks, let me know!

Are you brave enough to try this one???

Baked Reuben Sandwich

2 cups Original Bisquick mix
1 cup milk
1 egg
2 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 lb sliced Deli-style corned beef (I used 1 1/2 lbs because a 1/2 lb here is 5 slices!)
1/4 honey mustard
3/4 cups Swiss cheese, shredded
14 oz jar Sauerkraut, well drained
1/2 cup thousand island dressing

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 2-qt square glass baking dish with cooking spray.

In medium bowl, stir Bisquick, milk, egg & 1 tsp caraway seeds with a fork until blended. Spread one cup of batter in a baking dish.

Brush corned beef slices with honey mustard; layer on top of batter in baking dish. Top evenly with cheese and sauerkraut. carefully spread the rest of the batter over sauerkraut. Sprinkle remaining tsp of caraway seeds.

Bake uncovered 28-32 minutes or until lightly golden brown and center is set. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting. Serve with thousand island dressing.

PICTURE UPDATE Day 15 - The Bray's

Was by far the craziest day to date in this project, and it really had nothing to do with the meal itself, or the family. I worked from 7:15am-3pm (taking off a 1/2 hour early just to make a little more time to get stuff done). Swung through Kroger to pick up 2 Rotisserie chickens, some throw away serving dishes to transport the meal (fail!) and razors. Then I rushed home to take a shower. Cook a nice big pot of Chicken, Ranch & Rice soup, all while doing my hair and getting ready for my Pastor's Ordination Service that started at 7. Now, I know what your thinking, "Jess, you had 3 hours to get all that done" Yea I know, but what I haven't told you is we had an hour drive to Flint for the service, after stopping to pick up game balls for softball and dropping off the delicious soup at The Bray House. Can I just say, tin dishes with cardboard tops are not good to transport soup. My car still smells of Chicken soup! Ugh, I need a steamer stat!

Unfortunately I don't have a picture to go with the post because only Mary & the baby were home. I had my dad ask for one, so hopefully I will have that to add to the blog soon!

I have pictures now!!

Look at this cute little babe!!!

Elijah is just a peach! I can't wait to snuggle this little guy at church!

Let's soup it up!

Chicken, Ranch & Rice Soup

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
3 stalks of celery, chopped
3 Tablespoons fresh minced garlic
2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 Cup dry rice, steamed….comes out to about 3 Cups cooked
64 oz  chicken broth
1 Tablespoon dry Ranch Dressing seasoning
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1 teaspoon hot sauce, like Tabasco (optional)

Heat oil into a large dutch oven over medium heat.  When hot, saute onion, carrots and celery for 7-10 minutes or until softened slightly.  Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Stir in chicken breast and rice then pour in chicken broth.  Stir, then season with ranch seasoning, salt, pepper and add in Dijon and hot sauce.  Reduce heat to low and simmer until serving.  Taste and season accordingly.
8 servings

California Trip - San Diego Zoo

Remember when I told you the zoo was my very favorite place in the whole widest world? Well I really meant it! Getting to spend the whole day with my super awesome California family! I'm pretty sure I saw just about everything there is to see in the zoo. 

Lifeguard Hippo welcomes you to the San Diego Zoo.

Polar bear mating dance. Was pretty funny.

Giant Elephant. He's the solo dude in his great big pen. The elephant area is pretty sweet at the San Diego zoo, they have a whole elephant "hospital" right there. You can see everything they do, bathing, check ups, etc.

She seriously DESTROYED that bone!


I know what you're thinking. What in the WORLD is that dog doing in the cage with a cheetah???? Funny thing about cheetahs, they're companion animals. Each cheetah at the San Diego Zoo has a dog companion that they do just about everything with. The only thing they don't do it eat together. Obvi.

Sleepy Koala. They pretty much sleep 20 hours a day. They perch in these trees and the zookeepers place leaves along the branch, the koala will wake up move to the leaf, eat it & fall right back to sleep. Wake-up & repeat. 

Then we did a little face painting!

Sam got some sweet fairy-swirly like design.

Morgan transformed in to a koala.

Anica went with some butterflies. That she could easily hide with her hair! Cheater!

And I got a red/orange/pink peacock. We look pretty sweet eh?

Then we saw Camels

And Meerkats...





And Reptiles... Oh My!

Overall it was a GREAT day at the zoo & I can 't wait to go back!

California Trip - View From The Train

Day 2 in California Sam & I took the train down to San Francisco to meet up with my Aunt Jeannine, Uncle Jeff, Cousins Anica & Morgan and my Grandpa Jim. We spent the whole day at the zoo. I love the Zoo! With all my heart! I would rather spend a day at a zoo or aquarium than anywhere else in the world! Truth. So this entry you'll get to see the train stuff, next post will be at the zoo. :) Good times.

LA Rooftops.

Angels Stadium.

Pacific Ocean

It was really cloudy & nasty out. :( Thankfully it didn't rain all day!

So there you have it folks. My view flying down the Pacific coast from LA to San Francisco. It was a gloriously relaxing 3 hour ride. It was pretty cheap to! 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Day 21 - The Rodriguez's & the Ridgway's

Today was another big group day. I had my Aunt Vanessa & cousin Staci over to join my family & Tyler and Daisy. They always get to sneak in for meals! haha

We had a pretty dang good meal too! Mac & Cheese and Chicken. Seriously Bloggies... Seriously the most delicious thing ever! I love me some Mac & Cheese and this knocked my socks off! Yes, it's a little more work than tossing in some cheese whiz, but it's soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo worth it!

Then we had cupcakes and Daisy showed off her frosting mustache.

Totes adorbes. I love that little girl with all my heart! Her brother too!

How can you not melt looking at that smile!

Please take a little extra time & try this Mac & Cheese. You will fall in love! I promise!

Chicken Mac & Cheese

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1-2 tsp dried Italian seasoning, crushed
Salt & ground pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
8 oz dried mostaccioli, ziti or penne pasta
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 cups milk
8 oz smoked Cheddar, Gruyere or Swiss cheese, shredded (2 cups)
2 cups soft sourdough or French bread crumbs
2 oz finely shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese (1/2 cup)
2 tbsp butter, melted
(Serves 6)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces.
3. In a large skillet, cook chicken, Italian (or desired) seasoning blend, salt and pepper in hot oil over medium heat until chicken is no longer pink.
4. Remove from skillet and set aside.
5. In a large pot cook pasta according to the directions, drain and return to pot.
6. Meanwhile, in the same skillet you cooked the chicken, cook onion and garlic in 3 tbsp hot butter over medium heat until tender.
7. Stir in flour until well combined.
8. Stir in tomato paste and add milk.
9. Cook & stir until mixture is thickened & bubbly; reduce heat.
10. Add shredded cheese & stir until cheese is almost melted & remove from heat.
11. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
12. Add sauce & chicken to cooked pasta in pot; stir to coat and spoon mixture into a 2 quart baking dish.
13. In a small bowl, stir together bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and 3 tbsp melted butter. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture over pasta mixture.
14. Bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until bread crumb mixture is golden and the edges are bubbly.
15. Let Stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Cell Phone Nastalgia - Take Me Back To Cali, PLEASE!

Since my little bliggity-blog was born AFTER my amazing California trip I thought now was a good time to share some of my pics from it. :) Also because I am pretty much dying to get back there. And I don't mean that figuratively.

The very first thing we saw getting off the plane. :)

Clearly this bus was parked here waiting for me & Sam everyday. 
Sadly we never rode it :(

China-Town (Next trip I will do more than just drive through!)

Celebrating Sam's 20th birthday! Yep, that's Chocolate Cream Pie!

Yep, I park like a champ! :)

So there you have it. Part 1 of my trip to Cali! Many more to come!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Day 20 - The Betz's

Or is it just Betz'? I'm horrible with grammar & spelling.

I'm just going to come out with it up-front. I was dreading tonight's meal. Chicken Enchilada Pasta???????????????????????? I've told you about my distaste for chunks in my food. This is Mexican, full of chunks food! But I can honestly say that I gave it a fair shot. And... and... I LIKED IT!!! Yes, me, the one who only orders chicken tenders everywhere I go ate chicken enchilada pasta and like it. The Apocalypse is happening, prepare yourself now! :)

I was also kinda iffy about tonight's dinner because I really don't know the Betz family very well. I kinda turn into "awkward, shy girl" when I'm around people I don't know, but they made me feel so welcome there was not one iota of "awkward, shy girl" anywhere in the whole process. YAY, I'm double proud of myself for tonight! This night alone makes the WHOLE process worth it. :)

Here's the wonderful Betz family

As you can see, Sophie is having a full-out meltdown. Maybe it was my cooking. :(
And Erik is so over it! haha ok so I made that last part up, but he totally looks like he's over it! That's my story & I'm sticking to it!

OH! I almost forgot! The Betz got me the cutest little plant/flower ever! I love it!

Please, do me a solid and try this recipe!

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

2-3 chicken breasts, cooked & shredded {or shredded rotisserie chicken…I used the breasts}
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 {4 oz.} can diced green chiles
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
2 {10 oz.} cans green chili enchilada sauce
2/3 cups red enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded cheese {I used colby & monterrey jack}
1 cup sour cream
Penne pasta

Optional toppings
Green Onions
Black Olives
Sour Cream

Cook chicken, drain, and shred {or shred your rotisserie}.  

Meanwhile boil pasta according to package and chop the veggies. 

Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet and cook onions for about 3-5 minutes.  Add garlic & red pepper and cook for another 3-5 minutes. 

Add cooked chicken, green chiles, cumin, chili powder, salt, & enchilada sauces.  Let sauce simmer for about 8-10 minutes.

Add cheese and stir until the cheese is melted and heated through.  Now toss in the sour cream, but whatever you do, DO NOT bring to a boil!  Cook on low heat or the sour cream will curdle.  Gross.  Stir until sour cream is well mixed and heated through.

Drain pasta & return to pot.  Pour sauce over pasta, mix well & serve. 

*OPTIONAL* garnish with avocado, tomato, green onion, and a dollop of sour cream.

Day 19 - "Myles & Kayla"

*I felt that I needed to make a special note before starting the actual post to explain something you will read but not understand if I don't explain. When we (our church) went to Flint to work for the M&M (Ministries & Michigan) Project we gave our Pastor Jon the nickname PJ. I think you can clearly figure out the reason. So when I refer to PJ now you know who I am talking about*

Not sure if you noticed or not, but I used quotes around Myles & Kayla. I did that for one reason, it ended up not just being Myles & Kayla. First, I added a helper, Mallory. Then my cousin Sam was coming. Then, I invited Matt over. THEN I invited PJ over. So it became quite a crowd at the Ridgway house. My parents were home, but they weren't invited to the party. So now I post the picture from last night & you will notice something strange. It's ONLY of Kayla & Myles. Yep, I'm lame and I forgot. Or was it because the others were LAMER PARTY POOPERS and left right after dinner. I'm pretty sure it was the 2nd.

Now, I've told you previously that I have only had part of one dish that I didn't like. The Vinaigrette rice from Day 8. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeell My continued streak of delicious dishes ended Friday, April 27th approximately 8:30PM. Yes, I remember the time of day it happened. We had *I shudder at the thought* Doritos Cheesy Chicken Casserole. I may have not have hated it so much if there wasn't so many chunks in it. HOWEVER, it had lots of salsa, mushroom, corn chunks in it. So it was SICKNAST. End. Of. Story.

Oh, but that really isn't the end of the story. I did save the meal. Wanna know how????? I made the most delicious imitation Red Lobster biscuits to ever grace this earth with their presence. Yes, they were THAT GOOD! (even though I started to cook them on wax paper. How should I know that's bad?) 

I suppose if you like chunks in your food, like the boys do, you will like this recipe:

Doritos Cheesy Chicken Casserole

3 cups cooked chicken, chopped (I used a rotisserie chicken)
8 oz sour cream
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cups salsa or 1 can Rotel
1 can of corn, drained
2 cups Mexican cheese, shredded
1 bag of nacho cheese Doritos

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.  Crush the entire bag of Doritos and cover the bottom of the dish.  Reserve one cup of cheese.   Mix together remaining ingredients in a large bow.  Pour chicken mixture over the Doritos.  Bake for 20 min. Top casserole with the remaining cheese and bake 5 additional minutes or until melted.

Red Lobster Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder (I used 1/2 tsp)
1/2 tsp salt (I used 1 tsp)
2 tbsp shortening
3 tbsp butter, cold (or room temp works)
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk & 1 1/2 tsp vinegar. Let them sit together until little bubbles form on top, approx. 10 minutes)
1 1/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (I use a full 2 cups)

Buttery Topping:
3 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 tsp dried parsley flakes
3/4 tsp garlic powder

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, garlic powder & salt. Cut in shortening & butter until coarse crumbs are formed. Lightly mix in grated cheese. Mix in buttermilk just until moist (dry spots here & there are ok - the biscuits will be tough if over-mixed.) Drop the biscuits onto greased or lined (WITH PARCHMENT PAPER, NOT WITH WAX PAPER) baking sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until browned & golden.

While biscuits are baking, in a small bowl combine butter, parsley, garlic powder & salt. Right when the biscuits come out of the oven, brush them with the buttery mixture & serve.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Busty Girl Problems

Oh the bane of my existence!! These are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO true I couldn't not re-post them! SO here we go.

12 Problems Busty Girls Have

1. The Surprise Stain

2. The Counter Dilemma

3. Airplane Turbulence

4. The Motor-boating Proposition

5. The Built-In Bra Issue

6. The Shoulder Strap Attack

7. The Dish-washing Dilemma

8. Ye Ole "Boob Spillage"

9. Seat-belt Sadness

10. Ruffles!

11. Suspenders!

12. Stairs!
I do this daily... *sigh*

And there you have it. Busty girl problems. If you have small boobs, you will never understand! haha