Monday, February 27, 2012

Food Network, Here I Come!

Okay. . . maybe not quite. But I made up two recipes and they were actually GOOD! Although I didn't pull the vegetables from the garden or create my own cream sauces, so I don't know if they're quite Food-Network quality, but. . . wait a MINUTE!

Don't you think there should be a cooking show for normal cooks like you and me?! Like a Pillsbury-, Philadelphia Cream Cheese-, and Kraft- type cooking show? How GREAT would that be?! Like a Rachael Ray, meals in 30 minutes or less, but with ingredients you can afford and may even have on hand in your house?! . . .hmmm, yes, I like it. I wonder if I could sell that to the network? Would you watch it?!

Yes. . . major ramblings. . . well, for now, I'll share what I made and you can let me know what you think. As for the cooking show- maybe one day. . . a girl can dream, right?!

On to the RECIPES!!

Philadelphia Sante Fe Chicken Skillet 
Philadelpia Santa Fe Cooking Cream
1 can Rotel (drained)
1 can yellow corn (drained)
2 chicken breasts
1 medium sweet onion
2 cloves garlic
2 tortillas
3/4 cup cheddar cheese
1 bag Mahatma yellow rice

Cook rice according to package.

Saute onion and garlic.

Add chicken.

After chicken is cooked through, add corn, Rotel, and cream cheese mix.

Add two shredded tortillas

Add cheese


And serve!

Creamy Herb Stuffed Chicken
12 chicken breasts halves
18T Rondele Gourmet Spreadable Cheese, Garlic and Herbs flavor
1 cup Vidalia Onion Vinaigrette Dressing
1 Box Stovetop Stuffing Mix, Chicken Flavor
1.5 cups Kraft Italian 5-Cheese
1 can diced tomatoes (undrained)
1/2 cup Progresso Italian Bread Crumbs
1/2 cup fresh-grated parmesan
2 eggs

Marinate chicken in dressing for 1-2 days.

Cover chicken with Saran Wrap, and pound chicken to 1/2in. thickness.

Cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise. Then spread with 1.5T of cheese spread.
(This picture only shows half of the chicken. There should be 12 total halves)

Prepare Stuffing according to package, then add tomatoes and 1 cup of shredded cheese.
Then spread a thin layer on top of each piece of chicken (you won't use the entire stuffing mix).

Mix parmesan and bread crumbs in one bowl, and eggs in another.

Roll chicken from thick-side to thin-side so that the stuffing and cheese is inside the chicken. Stick a toothpick through the center if needed.

Dip in the eggs and then the bread-crumb mixture, and then place in a greased baking dish.

Bake on 350 for 35 minutes.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake for another 10 minutes.

Please excuse the terrible after picture. It tasted a lot better than this picture looks! I served the chicken covered with Rachael Ray's You-Won't-Be-Single-For-Long Vodka Sauce (hilarious title- love her!), with a side of rotelle pasta. That recipe will come later this week- it was the first time I made a homemade vodka sauce and it was SO good! Rachael Ray, Giada, and my mom are my cooking idols!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

An Extended Valentine's... in Nashville!

I love a good excuse for a weekend getaway. So when I saw that I had two days off thanks to a furlough day and President's Day, which happened to fall the weekend after Valentine's, I thought, "Let's get away for our Valentine's this year!" Okay, AND we've been wanting to go to Nashville for a while now, AND there was a super sweet deal on Groupon Getaways. So what reason did we have to NOT get away for the weekend?!

But before I get to the Nashville pics, here are some pictures from actual Valentine's Day:

These were from one of my kids- how pretty are they?!

And these were from Matt- gorgeous! And still looking gorgeous a week later (love getting my money's worth! haha. . .I wish I was kidding) :)

. . .and a little something for Matt- he doesn't like chocolate so I have to get creative- definitely not a strength of mine- creativity, that is. All forms of it. Thank goodness for a heart-shaped cookie-cutter and Publix's red-colored decorator's icing.

We cooked dinner together- way better than eating out on Valentine's if you ask me! I'm pretty much the sole cooker in our house, so it was fun to make this meal together. We made Chicken Parmesan Bundles with Fettucini Alfredo and Broccoli. De-LISH!

. . .a non-two-buck-Chuck bottle of wine (no offense Trader Joe's- you know we love you!) And yes, I picked the cheesy label intentionally. :)

. . .some appetizers- it was Matt's idea to use the leftover stuffing from the chicken for an appetizer. I think we may have created a new favorite. We added a few ingredients, popped it in the microwave, and voila- a new spinach dip that was quite tasty. I'll try it again sometime and get it on here. We love a good appetizer dip!

Here's our dinner creation! Check out the chicken recipe here. It is SO good!

Now on to Nashville...

We drove up Friday afternoon and stayed the night with a friend of mine from high school and her husband. They've lived in Nashville for five years now and know all of the fun spots to visit!

Natalie is the kind of friend that I can go months without talking to and then pick up right where we left off. I so appreciate her friendship!

Nat, Jay, me, and Matt at El Nuevo Laredo. Not gonna lie, I was so hoping to see Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Keith Urban, Nicole Kidman, Taylor Swift- someone famous! I mean, it was upscale Mexican after all. :)

At dinner, Jay asked if we'd be interested in stopping by Matt Wertz's house after dinner. It was his birthday and he was having a bunch of people over.

Me: "Wait, like Matt Wertz the singer?"
Jay: "Yeah, he lives right down the street from us. Real nice guy."
Me: "YES! Are you kidding?! I listened to him in high school and still have his CD!"


So we went. And hung out. With Matt Wertz. At his house. He was SO nice! Very cool guy. Definitely made us feel like we were friends even though we just met him. 

. . .Let me tell you it was all I could do to not sneak out my camera and take a picture when he was blowing out the candles on his cake.  I quickly contemplated sneaking behind the crowd of people and just lifting the camera over my head while everyone was facing him- but I refrained. Dangit. Acting cool is so overrated. 

Fortunately, I got this picture before we left:

Okay, yea, that doesn't look real at all. I tried.

Switching gears. . .

Natalie has her own interior design business. Her living room looks like a room straight out of catalog! I love her picture wall- I'd love to do something like this in our house!

We left Natalie and Jay after breakfast Saturday morning, and headed to the Opryland Hotel! What an amazing place! It was HUGE! I think they said is had over 2800 rooms-crazy! ...the coolest part was walking through the inside. It was unreal. It reminded us a lot of the Venetian in Las Vegas, from the standpoint that it didn't feel like a hotel at all, but an adult theme park of sorts, haha. We highly recommend either place if you ever travel to Las Vegas or Nashville!

That night, we took the concierge's advice and headed to the Wildhorse Saloon to get a taste of the Nashville nightlife. Which is quite funny, actually, because we're not really "nightlife" kind of people, but we love country music, and didn't want to miss the chance to see some of the places where the stars got their starts!

We saw Larry Frick play- he was actually really good!  . . .looked like he was 17, but sang like a country star veteran. Maybe we'll hear him on the radio one day?!


The next day we walked around the hotel some more and toured some of the shops. We considered the boat-ride tour through the hotel (we do love to be those tourists), but it appeared that the twenty people on each boat either had children with them or could potentially have great great grandchildren. So we opted for walking and making our own tour.

Love it.