Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cheesy Chicken & Salsa Skillet

My BFF Cecilia sent me this recipe from kraftrecipes.com. It looked so yummy and easy that I had to give it a try.

Cheesy Chicken & Salsa Skillet

What You Need!

2 cups multi-grain penne pasta, uncooked
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1-1/4 cups TACO BELL® HOME ORIGINALS® Thick 'N Chunky Salsa
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 large green pepper, cut into short thin strips
1 cup KRAFT Mexican Style 2% Milk Finely Shredded Four Cheese

Make It!

COOK pasta as directed on package.

MEANWHILE, heat large nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook and stir 2 min. Stir in salsa, corn and peppers. Bring to boil. Simmer on medium-low heat 10 min. or until chicken is done, stirring occasionally.

DRAIN pasta. Add to chicken mixture; mix lightly. Top with cheese. Remove from heat; cover. Let stand 1 min. or until cheese is melted.

My verdict: We all really liked it. I added the cheese as I was serving each plate. The picture above is of my cold leftovers so the cheese that I added didn't melt. I'm looking forward to having it for lunch!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Lentil Soup with Chorizo & Rice

I've been on the hunt for a recipe for lentil soup that is not tomato based. I grew up eating lentil soup that contained rice and meat but all of the recipes that I've seen contained tomatoes....until now. I am even more excited that it is a Chilean recipe since I am a Chilena!

Lentil Soup with Chorizo & Rice


  • 8 ounces lentils
  • 1 cup white rice, cooked
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 chorizo sausage, chopped
  • olive oil
  • cumin
  • paprika
  • salt & pepper
  • 4 slices bacon
  • chicken stock (optional)


  1. Boil lentils in 4 cups of water (or chicken stock), add bacon, salt & pepper to taste.
  2. and cook until tender. About 20 minutes depending on the age of lentils.
  3. Once the lentils are tender toss the bacon and put lentils aside. Do not drain.
  4. In a separate pot heat the olive oil and brown the onions until they are clear.
  5. Add chopped chorizo and cook for about 5 minutes.
  6. Add cumin & paprika and mix in well.
  7. Add cooked rice and mix in well.
  8. Mix in the lentils & rice mix and cook for another 10 minutes stirring often.
  9. Serve in bowl with the garnish of choice.

My verdict: Yes! I have finally found a recipe for lentil soup that I love, love, love!! The only thing I did differently was that I used kielbasa instead of chorizo but that is only because I sent Alberto to the store and that is what he came home with. It tasted fine with the kielbasa and I also think that pork or beef stew meat would work nicely as well. I added a bay leaf when I sauteed the onions and garlic and I ended up adding more water because it was too thick.

In the original recipe, the person who had posted the recipe wrote that in Chile a crumbled egg is sometimes sprinkled on top. On a whim, I decided to boil a couple of eggs and grated it to sprinkle on top. Everyone loved this soup and I will definitely be making it again!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Cute Baby Booties

I'm not really a fan of cutesie baby stuff. Ruffles and lace are not really my thing. While I was searching online for some cute boots to crochet for Eva, I came across tons of patterns for booties that were far too cutesie and girly for my tastes until I found these booties. I was a little intimidated at first because I had never crocheted booties before but these were suprisingly very simple and quick to work up. The pattern is from Bernat but I used Caron Simply Soft.

Eva wearing her new booties.


To fit infant 3 (6-12) mos.

Size 4 mm (U.S. G or 6) crochet hook or size needed to obtain gauge.

The instructions are written for smallest size. If changes are necessary for larger sizes the instructions will be written thus ( ).
Cuff: Ch 16.
1st row: 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook. 1 sc in each ch to end of ch. Turn. 15 sc.
2nd row: Ch 1. Working in back loops only, 1 sc in each sc across.
Rep last row until work from beg measures 6 (-6½) ins [15 (16-16.5) cm], ending with a RS row. Do not turn.
Foot: 1st row: (RS). Ch 1. Work 23 (25-27) sc evenly along long edge of Cuff. Turn.
2nd row: Ch 1. 1 sc in each sc across. Fasten off.

Instep: 1st row: With RS of work facing, miss first 7 (8-9) sc. Join yarn with sl st to next sc. Ch 1. 1 sc in same sp as last sl st. 1 sc in each of next 8 sc. Turn. Leave rem sts unworked. 9 sc.
2nd to 4th rows: Ch 1. 1 sc in each sc across. Turn.
5th row: Ch 1. Draw up a loop in each of next 2 sts. Yoh and draw through all 3 loops on hook – sc2tog made. 1 sc in each of next 5 sts. Sc2tog over next 2 sts. 7 sts. Fasten off.
Sew back seam.

Foot: 1st rnd: With RS of work facing, join yarn with sl st at center back. Ch 2 (counts as hdc). 1 hdc in each of next 6 (7-8) sts, 7 hdc down side of instep, 2 hdc in corner sc, 5 hdc across end of instep, 2 hdc in corner sc, 7 hdc along other side of instep, 1 hdc in each of next 7 (8-9) sts. Join with sl st in top of ch 2. 37 (39-41) hdc.
2nd rnd: Ch 2 (counts as hdc). *Yoh and draw up a loop around post of next st at back of work inserting hook from right to left. (Yoh and draw through 2 loops on hook) twice – 1 dcbp made. Rep from * around. Join with sl st to top of ch 2.
3rd rnd: As 2nd rnd.
4th rnd: Ch 1. Sc2tog over first 2 sts. 1 sc in each of next 14 (15-16) sts. Sc2tog over next 2 sts. 1 sc in next st. Sc2tog over next 2 sts. 1 sc in each of next 14 (15-16) sts. Sc2tog over last 2 sts. Join with sl st to first st. 33 (35- 37) sc.
5th rnd: Ch 1. Sc2tog over first 2 sts. 1 sc in each of next 12 (13-14) sc. Sc2tog over next 2 sts. 1 sc in next sc. Sc2tog over next 2 sts. 1 sc in each of next 12 (13-14) sc. Sc2tog over last 2 sts. Join with sl st to first st. 29 (31- 33) sts.
6th rnd: Ch 1. Sc2tog over first 2 sts. 1 sc in each of next 10 (11-12) sc. Sc2tog over next 2 sts. 1 sc in next sc. Sc2tog over next 2 sts. 1 sc in each of next 10 (11-12) sc. Sc2tog over last 2 sts. Join with sl st to first st. 25 (27- 29) sts.
7th rnd: Ch 1. Sc2tog over first 2 sts. 1 sc in each of next 8 (9-10) sc. Sc2tog over next 2 sts. 1 sc in next sc. Sc2tog over next 2 sts. 1 sc in each of next 8 (9-10) sc. Sc2tog over last 2 sts. Join with sl st to first st. 21 (23-25) sts.
Fasten off.
Sew sole seam.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shepherd's Pie

I found this recipe for Shepherd's Pie on allrecipes.com. This is a great meal to have when you're looking to have some comfort food. It's very easy and I bet that it can be assembled the night before and baked the next day.

Posted below is the original recipe. In my verdict below I'll explain what I did differently.

Shepherd's Pie


  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 carrots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 3/4 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and mash. Mix in butter, finely chopped onion and 1/4 cup shredded cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste; set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add carrots and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, mash and set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C.)
  3. Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add onion and cook until clear. Add ground beef and cook until well browned. Pour off excess fat, then stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add ketchup and beef broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Spread the ground beef in an even layer on the bottom of a 2 quart casserole dish. Next, spread a layer of mashed carrots. Top with the mashed potato mixture and sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Here is a picture of it before I put it in the oven.

I ended up putting it under the broiler for a few minutes to get it nice and toasty on top.

Mmmmm...dinner is served!

My verdict: Great comfort food on a cold night. The first time that I made this I followed the recipe exactly except I used mozzarella cheese. Now that I'm more comfortable making this dish I've made a few changes.

I now just use a box of frozen peas & carrots or frozen mixed vegetables. I also add a couple of splashes of worcestershire sauce when adding the ketchup and broth. Lastly, I will sometimes use instant mashed potatoes if I don't have any leftovers or just don't feel like making them fresh. In this dish I really can't tell the difference. In the pics above I used instant.

Monday, February 15, 2010

I said I wouldn't do it but...

I actually have a recipe to post that doesn't require me posting a link to someone else's recipe.

This is a soup that I grew up eating that we called Porotos. It was one of the very few things that we liked when my mom cooked. When I got older and wanted to make it for my own kids I tried looking it up online and found versions that were kind of similar but not really the same. I called my mom and she told me how she basically made hers. I found it to be very bland. The next few times I made I kept playing around with the ingredients by adding stuff and playing around with the amounts until everyone was happy with how it tasted. I now make this soup about every 2 weeks because it's a favorite here and besides goldfish crackers it's the ONLY food I know that my super picky toddler will eat. I run it through the food processor so that it's nice and chunky and easy for her to eat.

My almost 12 year old has made this on own (while I supervised of course). So I decided to figure out the amounts I used so that when she's older she can make it for her own kids.

Porotos (Sausage & Bean Soup)


  • EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 lb sausage sliced (I used Hillshire Farm Polska Kielbasa)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp allspice ( I usually end up adding a touch more)
  • 1 packet beef bouillon
  • 1 packet Goya sazon
  • 8 cups of water
  • 2 boxes of frozen butternut squash (I add it frozen and let it defrost in the soup)
  • 2 cans cannellini beans (I use Progresso 19 oz)
  • 1 can red kidney beans (Progresso)
  • cooked pasta (I like to use macaroni or the wheel shaped ones)

Heat a large pot with EVOO over medium heat. Add onions and sautee for about 3 - 5 minutes. Add sausage and S&P, oregano, allspice, beef bouillon and sazon and cook until sausage is browned. Add water and squash and raise the heat to high. Once the squash has defrosted I add the beans and lower the heat to a medium low and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Check your seasonings and adjust to your tastes. Serve over cooked pasta. (I don't like to cook pasta in my soups because it makes for mushy leftovers) Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Mac and Cheddar Cheese with Chicken and Broccoli

I've had this recipe for Mac and Cheddar Cheese with Chicken and Broccoli by Rachael Ray bookmarked for quite a while and finally decided to make it. I really think that this blog is inspiring me to cook more.

Mac and Cheddar Cheese with Chicken and Broccoli

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
  • 1 pound chicken breast tenders, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 pound macaroni elbows or cavatapi corkscrew shaped pasta twists
  • 2 1/2 cups raw broccoli florets, available packaged in produce department
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3 cups yellow sharp Cheddar
  • 1 tablespoon prepared Dijon mustard


Place a pot of water on to boil for macaroni.

Heat a medium pan over medium to medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil and chicken and season with salt and pepper. Saute a couple of minutes then add onion and cook another 5 to 7 minutes until onions are tender and chicken is cooked through. Turn off heat and reserve.

To boiling pasta water, add pasta and salt to season the cooking water. Cook 5 minutes, then add broccoli and cook 3 minutes more or until pasta is cooked to al dente and florets are just tender.

While pasta cooks, heat a medium sauce pot over medium heat. Add butter and melt, then add flour, cayenne and paprika and whisk together over heat until roux bubbles then cook a minute more. Whisk in milk and stock and raise heat a little to bring sauce to a quick boil. Simmer sauce to thicken about 5 minutes.

Drain macaroni or pasta and broccoli florets. Add back to pot and add chicken to the pasta and broccoli.

Add cheese to milk sauce and stir to melt it in, about a minute or so. Stir in mustard and season sauce with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over chicken and broccoli and cooked pasta and stir to combine. Adjust seasonings, transfer to a large serving platter and serve.

My Verdict: I did not love this recipe. Nobody did. The only thing that I did differently (as per the reviews that I read) was add more cheese and cut back on the stock. Oh and I left out the cayenne since I was hoping that Stephanie would eat it. It was kind of blah. I won't be making this one again.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Crock Pot Pot Roast

I'm not sure who I got this recipe from. I know that I got it from the Nest but I had copied this recipe and saved it as a document on my computer.

I always make my pot roasts in the crock pot and I always just use one of the McCormick envelopes and add a bunch of veggies. We were supposed to have a snowstorm so I had planned on making some comfort food. I woke up this morning and there was barely a dusting of snow. Oh well. I had a cup of coffee and began assembling dinner.

I was a bit unsure of the ingredients but decided to give it a shot anyway.

Crock Pot Pot Roast


  • pot roast (mine was about 3 lbs)
  • sliced onions (half of a large onion)
  • potatoes (I used 2 large ones)
  • 1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can condensed tomato soup
  • 1 packet dry onion soup mix
  1. Place the pot roast in the crock pot.
  2. Add the sliced onions and potatoes on top.
  3. Mix together the condensed soups with dry onion soup mix.
  4. Pour mixture over the pot roast, onions and potatoes.
  5. Cook on low for 8 - 10 hrs or on high for 4 -6 hrs.
My verdict: Not bad. I forgot to take a picture, though. (EDITED TO ADD PIC OF LEFTOVERS) I served it over white rice. I think that the next time that I make this I will pierce the roast before placing it in the crock pot and add some carrots and some black pepper. I will make this again and I hope to remember to take a picture!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Chicken Noodle Soup

I love, love, love this recipe for chicken soup. It's so quick and easy to put together and so yummy. I think that the addition of vegetable broth is the key to making it taste so special. I am not up for making chicken soup from scratch but I think that this recipe is a great fake out. I really think that it tastes like it took all day to make.

Quick and Easy Chicken Noodle Soup


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 4 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can vegetable broth
  • 1/2 pound chopped cooked chicken breast
  • 1 1/2 cups egg noodles
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 can of cannellini beans (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Cook onion and celery in butter until just tender, 5 minutes. Pour in chicken and vegetable broths and stir in chicken, noodles, carrots, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes before serving.
My verdict: I've made this several times already and we all love it. I usually add chick peas or cannellini beans to bump up the fiber but you don't have it and it isn't included in the original recipe. I love hearty soups so I always add more celery, carrots and chicken than the recipe calls for.

Coughing, boogers and crying

2 out of 3 kids are sick. Alexandra has bronchitis, Stephanie has a cough a lots of boogers and mommy is about to her lose her mind!

Alex was out of school for a couple of days with a cough and fever and on Thursday Stephie began coughing with a temperature and lots of boogers that she likes to smear all over her face and hair. Friday morning I packed up all of the kids and with the help of my stepmother headed to the pediatrician. The kids spent the whole weekend taking medicine, resting and whining and they're still not as well as I'd hoped. Alex is still coughing pretty bad and if it doesn't sound better tomorrow we're going back to the doctor.

How am I doing you ask??? LOL! I have not been sleeping. Well, I don't sleep well to begin with and now with the kids sick I've been sleeping a lot less. I think that the kids discuss how to make me lose my mind. Especially the little ones.

What can we do to drive mommy crazy?

Great idea! While I take my nap you stay awake and cry and when I wake up it's your turn to nap.

They're evil. Cute but evil.