Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Five Easy Meals

Now that summer's over and I'm back in the classroom, meals like these are great to make during the week. Hopefully you'll find some new additions for your own weeknight routine.

Fiesta Crock-Pot Chicken
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 6ish hours on low
I found this recipe on this blog, who copied it from this blog... and now it will be on our blog. So I'm thinking you should definitely try it. :)

Lay frozen chicken on the bottom and place drained black beans, drained corn, UNdrained Rotel, and 8 oz. of cream cheese (one package) on top.

I added sauteed onions and garlic (of course!)... so my prep time was 10ish minutes.

I actually made this on the weekend and lifted the lid every 1.5 hours (you're not normally supposed to life the lid on crock pot meals, but this one can be soupy and I didn't want it to be). This is what it looked like after I stirred the first time to mix all of the ingredients.

And this is what it looked like after I added approximately 1/2 a cup of cheddar cheese (another addition not in the original recipe... I happen to love cheese)

Cook this in the microwave according to the package.

Wa-lah. . . not the prettiest meal, but it is tasty. Serve with sauteed spinach or mix it in at the end if you want to get in your green for the day.

Pasta with Vodka Sauce:
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 15 minutes

If you know me at all, you know I'm crazy about this sauce. It is the only store-bought sauce I buy that I don't doctor at all. It is DELICIOUS! Whenever Matt's not home for dinner, this is what I make.

I prefer using rigatoni, and, as you can see, like a little fresh parm too. ;) Speaking of, if you like cheese like me and are willing to spend a little money on some good parmesan, the BEST kind I have ever tried and always buy is Locatelli. (yes, sadly, I pretty cheap in a lot of areas yet splurge on cheese).

A block this size costs about $10.00 at Costco and will last a good while (if you grate it right away and don't eat it as a snack like I do). And no, I don't buy $80 worth of cheese at a time. . . this is a random picture I found on the internet.

If you want to make this pasta recipe into a meal, add sauteed onions, garlic, diced tomatoes, and either shrimp or grilled chicken. That is what I do when it's not just me eating. :)

Vidalia Onion Chicken Bake:
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 35 minutes
Lay thawed chicken on the bottom of a greased baking dish.

Pour this on top.

Crumble 10ish Ritz crackers on top.

Bake at 375 for 35 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. (hint: when you're baking chicken, it is done when the center is boiling, not just the sides of the dish)

Serve with broccoli and biscuits (these biscuits bake at 375 so it works great for a single oven).

Chicken Parmesan with Sweet Pepper Sauce:

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutess

Sauté onions with fresh garlic, then pour sauce over top.

Beat 1-2 eggs in a bowl (we only had egg-whites, that works too!), mix progresso bread crumbs (italian style) and fresh parmesan together (about a 1/4 cup of each)

Dip the chicken in the egg bowl, then the bread-crumb bowl, and then lay onto a greased baking dish.

Spread sauce on top.

Bake for 25 minutes at 375. Take out, cover with mozzarella cheese, and return to oven for 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Cook according to directions- this is GOOD!

Serve over couscous with broccoli.

Crock-Pot Chicken and Pasta:
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 6ish hours

The orginal recipe actually calls for the Good Seasons Zesty Italian dressing, but Matt doesn't like Italian dressing, so I tried the ranch instead. It turned out well! But I think the Zesty Italian would be even better.

Placed thawed chicken on the bottom.

Cover with dressing package. (If you're using Zesty Italian, use the whole package, if you're using Ranch, use 3/4 of the package.)

Mix together 2 tbsp of butter, 8 oz. of cream cheese, and one can of cream of chicken soup.

Pour over chicken and cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Cook according to the box.


If you have any recipes to share, I'd love to hear them!! The last recipe was actually from a comment on one of my last recipe posts. I love trying new things! Especially when they're quick and delicious. :) Hope you can find something on here to enjoy this week!

Sunday, August 28, 2011


This is a music video of Chris Tomlin singing I Lift My Hands. My friend Stephanie posted it on her blog a few weeks ago. The little boy in the music video is actually a patient at the hospital where she works. It is a perfect reminder of who God is. It's so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life and forget to stop and praise the One who made us and has given us everything we have. No matter what trials we are go through in life, God is faithful forever. Hopefully this 4-minute video will give you an opportunity to pause today and give thanks to a God who loves us more than we will ever know.

And if you're someone who's not really sure what you believe or have been searching for something that you haven't quite found yet, keep seeking and questioning and searching. God's word says, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart" (Jer 29:13). God wants us to search, and keep searching, even after we've found the love He has to offer. It's hard to explain the feeling you have once you've trusted Christ. Faith to me is simply being sure of what I hope for and certain of what I cannot see. It is freeing, supportive, encouraging, sheltering, comforting, and invigorating. So keep searching and don't let your past or people keep you from finding what you're looking for.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Weekend Guests: Teague and Brooke

Teague and Brooke are friends of ours from college who got married this past May. You can read all about their wedding here. They live in Greenville now, and came down to spend the weekend with us! Friday night, we ate in and then walked up the street for some yogurt at our favorite yogurt place. Saturday, we went into Virginia Highlands for lunch and some shopping/meandering. Bliss! We tried this new place called
and it was DELICIOUS! I have a strong feeling these will be popping up all over the place very quickly.  It's an all-natural/organic burger joint that also sells hormone-free chicken and hot dogs. I happen to love hot dogs, and up until this past year, was really weird about admitting it, haha. Like, would crave a hot dog at a football game and eat it in the bathroom so no one would see me. Wow, I am so weird... and probably should have kept that fact to myself. BUT, I have a healthy approach to my love of hot dogs now (what an ironic sentence), and enjoyed every bit of the one I ordered Saturday. Anyway! Here's some pics from the afternoon:

This chocolate shop called Cacao had it's grand opening on Saturday- it was so cute!

 Teague testing out the peanut butter fudge. :)

Brooke and the chocolate fountain- yum!

We hung out most of Saturday and then went to a Mexican place up the street from our house called Cantina for dinner. It's in the breezeway of two big building (Matt actually used to work in one of them), so even on a hot summer night, you can sit outside and have a constant breeze blowing. So nice! 

That night, we hit up the braves game and watched the Braves take it in a 8-1 victory. Love getting to go see the Braves, especially when it's such a good game!

We're secretly plotting to get Teague and Brooke to come to Atlanta, but for now, we're glad they're only two hours away. :)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award & 7 Facts about Me

Thanks to Kim from Get in Shape and Save, who just awarded us with the Versatile Blogger Award! I had never heard of this before, so I appreciate you liking our blog enough to write about it on your own! 

Here are the rules for accepting this award, as written on Kim's site.

The Rules of accepting the Versatile Blogger Award are:
1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Pass this award along to 15 recently discovered blogs.

So hear are seven facts that you may (or may not) want to know about me.
  • I love pasta and wish I was Italian. Really. I studied the language for six years and the closest I came to actually feeling Italian was when I got to live with a non-English speaking family in Carpi, Italy and got to teach English in an elementary school there for six weeks one summer.
  • I like for the labels in our pantry to face forward and organize the items inside like they're tetris pieces.
  • If you tell me you like something I own, I'll probably tell you where it's from and the deal I got on it (I'm working on NOT doing this and am getting better at it I think).
  • I was a gymnast for seven years, coached for eight years, and miss being in the gym.
  • Matt can match better than I can and helps me put an outfit together just about every school night.
  • In high school, I cheered and played slow-pitch softball (I know, such a random combination of sports)
  • I love going to the book store and browsing parenting books while Matt checks out the business section. . . No, we don't have kids yet, I just think they're interesting. Weird? Probably- but there's something quite perfect about being there in the evening, drinking decaf coffee in a comfy chair, picturing what you life might one day be like, while soft music plays in the background. How could that possibly be weird?! :)
And now, the 15 blogs that I would like to award with the Versatile Blogger Award. If you are receiving this award from me, it means I love reading your blog and think other people should read it too!