Thursday, March 29, 2012

Convention Week!

Every year I get to go to Tennessee for my yearly sales convention. It's a busy week so I don't have time to blog! I will have a fun post with my adventures next week!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Crockpot Southwest Steak & Potato Soup

Ok you've heard me rave over this recipe many times. It's so simple you can't imagine that it would taste this good...but it does. This is the only soup that my husband will come home to with a smile. He knows those chunks of steak and potato will not only fill him up, but taste delicious. I come home to it with a smile because it's done in the crockpot and that always makes me happy because dinner is DONE.

So here is what you need for Southwest Steak & Potato Soup:

1-1/2 lb Sirloin steak
2 Medium potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces (I used three in my version to use up some potatoes)
2 cups Frozen corn (or green beans)
1 Small onion and/or 1 Bell pepper (I like to use the Bird's Eye Pepper Stir Fry Mix in mine)
1 16-ounce Jar thick and chunky salsa (I like to use a hot or a medium, but mild is fine if you don't want it too zippy)
1 14-ounce Can beef broth (one of my friends likes more broth and uses 2 cans in stead of 1)
1 teaspoon Dried basil
2 cloves Garlic, minced

If you have some onions or peppers on hand, throw them on in!

Peel & cut up your potatoes. I like to prep mine the night before so I can just dump it in the crock in the morning.

Make sure you store these in some cold water to keep them from turning brown overnight.


Chop up your steak as well. My steak was still a bit frozen on the inside which made cutting so much easier.

Pop them in to the fridge overnight.

In the morning, or whenever you are making your soup, dump in the steak, potatoes, veggies, spices and garlic.

Pour in your broth.

Pour in your salsa.

Give it a good stir and set on low. Cook for 8-10 hours. 4-5 on high if it's a weekend and you are home.

Come home, serve and enjoy!

You can add sour cream, taco cheese, tortilla strips...I love to serve this with a pepper cheese grilled cheese. It's to DIE. I gave this recipe to one of my sister-in-laws and her family loves it. In fact, her 7 year old twins eat two bowls each! Makes a fabulous lunch the next day too. :)

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Leftover Taco Spaghetti

I had some leftover taco meat one day and instead of using it for chili in the crock like I usually do, I decided to make taco spaghetti instead. I had all of the ingredients on hand, and I figured hey it's taco meat and pasta how bad can it be?

So I gathered up some stuff that I thought would taste good together.

Spaghetti noodles, leftover taco meat, a big jar of Prego, 2 cans of El Pato tomato sauce (spicy!), and a can of tomato paste. Now the reason you see two boxes of spaghetti and a big ole jar of Prego is because this is too spicy for my kids, and my hubby would probably cry if I put a plate of spaghetti in front of him without anything but marinara sauce on it. I am making a batch for them, and a batch for me. The leftovers will go in my new lunch crock which I will post about later. :)

So you want to throw in your meat, and add the sauces. I added about 1/4 of that big ole jar of Prego (or whatever you have on hand) to this, and about a 1/4 of the tomato paste as well. If I would've had some Rotel tomatoes I probably would've added them too. It's all about personal taste.

Let it simmer through a smells fantastic! While you are waiting look around to see if there is anything else you want to add...

Like a cup of frozen corn! I love that sweet little snap of corn in a spicy dish. My husband had a full on tantrum just watching me do this to the sauce.

Throw some over some noodles and dinner is DONE. This took less than 1/2 hour from start to finish...and it was fabulous. You could throw a little cheese on top, or this would be so tasty scooped up with tortilla chips. Maybe next time...;)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Menu Plan Monday-Spring Break!

It's Spring Break for my kids this week. Since we are going to Disney in a few months, we aren't doing anything fabulous this week...but when you are as busy as my little family is, doing nothing is the ultimate break. I think I'm going to take a little break from anything that needs a lot of time and/or clean up. The weather has been so nice that I would like to spend the evenings outside instead of in the kitchen.

Oh and let's not forget that this week The Hunger Games comes to the theater AND Madonna's new album comes out!

Sounds like a fabulous week to utilize that fabulous crockpot of mine!

Monday-Spaghetti with marinara, garlic bread and a veggie salad

Tuesday-Southwest Steak & Potato Soup in the crockpot...I'll be posting this one later it is FABULOUS.

Wednesday-BBQ Chicken in crockpot with mashed potatoes in rice cooker...I'll post these recipes later too as they are so darn fast but super fabulous.

Thursday-I'm going to shred the leftover BBQ chicken for sandwiches with corn on the cob.

Friday-I will throw in our fave Tombstone pizza...with the time I save I will be making banana ice cream for dessert!

Saturday-Let's go out! (I still one a birthday freebie to redeem!)

Sunday-Freezer Potluck or Leftover Buffet

Are any of you going to see The Hunger Games this week? I'm taking my girls to the midnight show! I love midnight showings...they have such an amazing energy to them. Everyone there is an unapologetic fan and I love it. There is a camaraderie in the air that is quite contagious! It's kind of the same feeling when you go Black Friday know people think you are nuts but it's fun to be nuts together.

Do you have anything you are fanatic about or anyone thinks you are a nut about? I'd love to hear!

I'm linking up to Menu Plan Monday at

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sometimes it's the little things...

It's funny how when you have something pretty in your home it can make you happy every single time you see it. I have no rules when I decorate. If it makes me smile or pleases my will be on my wall or in a cranny somewhere. Here's a few things that bring me simple joy.

I saw this somewhere...probably on Pinterest! I copied it and just looking at it makes me smile! I always have tons of cupcake liners that I pick up here and there and I love to see them displayed!

Cupcakes from a party, my dutch letter bars and some of Quinn's EZ Bake cupcakes
I bought this at a garage sale for $5, and even though it barely fits anything, I love to put leftover baked goods in it because it looks all Martha.

My kitchen is decorated with pop art, more specifically, the Andy Warhol Soup Can. I respond to Andy's work so much because he would take something normal and put a twist on it. I love anything that is classic but with a modern twist. I suppose that's why I love pop art so much.

Those are real soup cans from Campbell's that I had to get on Ebay! It's hard to see but I do have a can of Campball's Punk Chowder that I also got on Ebay. Punk is one of my fave words in life. :)

I ordered this through the Ginny's catalog. They always have the most unique things although they can be a bit high on prices. I have this hanging in my dining room and it makes me think of being warm and dry and loved every time I see it.

I drew this picture when I was in high school using some technique for black & white pictures. I was always doing what some girl called "offensive to women" art that my art teacher was super proud and supportive of. I figured Madge would be quite proud too. :) My mom had it framed and I still display it. It reminds me of my youth and that I used to be kind of cool. I found that little "Vogue" decoration at a closeout store somewhere and knew it was for ME. Save a match...strike a pose!

I had that cool picture block made on Etsy with a great picture of my girls at my best friend's wedding. I also found that magnetic birdie "bulletin board" on a clearance shelf and just had to put it on my blue wall. I put one of our family photos on it with magnets that I found at the same store. I used those awesome command strip things for pictures to get them to stick!

Hahaha! Yes this little goofball makes me laugh every day too. I adore her style and her crazy little attitude. How about that jacket? To die, right? ;) I also love my red thin man pantry I also ordered from Ginny's in the background. I can see everything that I have stockpiled when I'm doing my menu plan and it's made my life so much easier.

Noooo, I don't have this hanging somewhere in my house...I bought two of them for my niece and nephew this past weekend. Isn't it the cutest? I knew Aunt Dannette had to get the babies cupcakes! They loved them too! $4.99 at good ole Target!

So just a few of my favorite things that I thought I'd share. :)

Have a great rest of the week!

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Modern Mellow Yellow

Modern Mellow Yellow

A L C neon tank
$385 -

High waisted skirt
£250 -

Rebecca Minkoff flat leather sandals
$165 -

2b straw tote bag
$30 -

Miso gold jewelry
£5 -

Isabella Oliver leather belt
$115 -

Sensi Studio panama hat
£88 -

Oven Baked Panko Chicken Sandwiches

Ok let me start off by admitting I had no idea what I was doing here. I have made panko chicken strips before, but not chicken sandwiches. I figured it couldn't be much different, and they truly weren't. They were an even bigger hit then the chicken strips to my kids which makes me super happy as they are who inspired me to come up with this in the first place.

My kids really love chicken sandwiches from fast food joints, and I wanted to make one a little healthier that they would gobble up just the same.

So I started with a box of Italian panko bread crumbs, a package of boneless chicken breasts, an egg, some wax paper and my meat tenderizer. Oh and buns of course. :)

Preheat your oven at 350. First I put the chicken in between some wax paper and gave it a good pounding.

These breasts were a bit thick, so I really had to go to town on it. Very therapeutic.

 It turned out looking sort of like this. I then cut it up in to shapes that would fit on a bun...which I neglected to take a picture of because I am a dork.

I then put the egg in to a bowl and whisked it a bit, and put the panko in a bowl as well.

Give her a little bath in the egg, and roll her around in the crumbs reeeaaaalll good. Put her on a cookie sheet.

I used the smaller (leftover) pieces to make a chicken wrap for my daughter's lunch the next day.

Now we like ours more on the drier side so I cooked them for about an hour. If you like them a little juicier, cook them for 40-45 minutes.

Pull them out and slap them on a bun.

I added some of this Sue Bee Honey BBQ sauce my friend brought me the other day. It was so delish! One of my daughters used mayo, the other ketchup. Just like when we go to a fast food joint! After one bite my middle daughter declared, "these are going to be a big hit on your blog mom!". I have the sweetest kids. :)

You could make these up the night before and have them ready to go in to the oven at night when you get home. You could also use regular panko, or lemon pepper panko, or you could as some of your own spices to add some heat! Buffalo panko sandwiches? YUM!

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Monday, March 12, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

I am going try a few new things this week, but for the most part keep it very simple as soccer is starting back up, and we have conferences. I've learned if I make an aggressive meal plan we end up hitting up the fast food.

Monday-Panko Chicken Sandwiches....if these turn out I will post recipe later

Tuesday-Leftover Panko Chicken Wraps-I'm going to make extra on Monday so we can have a quick dinner before our first soccer practice

Wednesay-Tacos-when are tacos ever wrong? Yum!

Thursday-Taco Spaghetti-I'm going to use the leftover taco meat for this...I made it one other time and it was so good. I will post recipe later!

Friday-I'm going to have Nick grill something out as it's supposed to be lovely.

Saturday-We have the kiddos so I'm thinking we might make some chicken wings as it's been their obsession as of late.

Sunday-frozen food potluck

How is your week shaping up? You need some meal ideas? Go to and get your menu plan on!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Movie Theater Tip

You ever see these cute little boxes on the clearance shelf? Or maybe at a dollar store? If so, pick some up and keep them on hand. I'll tell you why. ;)

You ever take your children to the movies? I know, I know it's super expensive to take a family to the movies. Sometimes it's still a special treat. Speaking of treats, THAT'S what makes it so darn expensive! (some dude just sued a theater for expensive munchies a few days ago!)  I recently bought some Groupons for a local theater that had the tickets and popcorn and drinks included. It was an awesome deal. So awesome that I've bought the deal twice and multiple times. The only problem is that you get two large popcorn tubs for 4 people. It's not that we mind sharing, but it's kind of a pain in the booty. Kids handing things back and forth and spilling and not to mention the mindlessly eating a half of a tub before you've realized it.

So I slip those little popcorn boxes in to my purse. When we get the tubs, I scoop popcorn in to each one, and we all get our own popcorn to hold. (especially nice if someone has germies on their little hands!)

I work in the movie industry and I've always loved the theater experience. I love going on date nights with my husband and I love family nights as well. Most theaters have discounted nights on either admission or snacks. I don't mind the discount theaters even though some of them aren't as updated. My kids still have a great time just being together and laughing at a movie. It makes for a great night out!

Have you taken your family to the movies lately? Do you smuggle in food?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Spicy Cajun Chicken Pasta

This is a recipe I adapted from one of Todd Wilbur's "Top Secret Restaurant Recipes" books. We were having a Cajun themed food night at my in-laws years ago, and I found a recipe from the Cheesecake Factory that was called " Cajun Jambalaya Pasta". The ingredients weren't our cup of tea, but I just swapped some of them out, and over the years I have really perfected it and made it my own.

When I took it to our family gathering everyone loved it. It was absolutely delicious and when they asked what it was called I said, "Spicy Cajun Chicken Pasta"...and that name stuck. It's one of those recipes that can be caloric if you eat too much of it, but it's filled with good stuff so you feel kind of good about stuffing your face. It's got some heat so if you aren't a fan of might want to stay away.

Here is what you need:

1 TB of coconut or olive oil, 2 chicken breasts, 3 bell peppers, 1 red or white onion, (or you can use a bag of Bird's Eye pepper stir-fry mix) 2-3 cans of Italian tomatoes (shown below), 1 cup chicken stock, and the following spices:
1/2 tsp each of white pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder, onion powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 box of whole grain penne pasta

I did put one can of these new spicy red pepper tomatoes...this recipe is very adaptable.

I like to start by measuring out all of the spices and putting them in a bowl aside so I'm not tipping little spice jars over while I'm cooking.

Normally I lay the chicken out the night before to thaw, and I poach it for 20 minutes (exactly!), pull it out to rest and shred it to add later. BUT-I forgot to do that so I busted out my Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker.

I put the hard as a rock frozen chicken inside and cooked it in the microwave. I start with 10 minutes and continue in 10 minute increments until it's cooked through.

As it's cooking I chop up the bell peppers.

I then chop up the onion.

I prepare my cup of chicken stock. If you have ready made chicken stock you obviously skip this step.

After the chicken cooled down a bit, I shredded the chicken up.

Now we are ready to get these veggies going. I put a TB of coconut oil (or olive oil) in the pan to heat.

I then add the gorgeous veggies and saute them a bit. Get them the way you like them.

Go ahead and throw in the chicken, and the spices on top of that.

Time to pour that chicken stock all over the top.

Then throw in the tomatoes with the juice.

Now cook this over medium heat and then reduce and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes. This is when you want to get your pasta going. Make sure you cook it al dente!

Give it a good stir here and there. You will know when it's ready. Your stomach will start grumbling!

Throw the pasta (or rice!) in a bowl, and top with the mixture. This isn't a super thick sauce, but it does coat the noodles very well. Use the bread to soak up the bottom of the bowl!

My hubby likes a little cheese added to his.

This is a Chillmoms original recipe! Make it my way or make it your own by changing out the meat, adding different veggies, changing the pasta or rice, or thickening up the sauce with a TB of corn starch!

Mmmmmmm...wish I had some right now!

 am sharing this on Trim Down Thursdays on &