Chicken Alfredo

When I haven’t gotten a chance to get to Costco to pick up a pan of chicken alfredo, this Momfessional’s recipe is my new go to casserole. I edited the recipe from shells (they were out of stock at Walmart), and used mini penne pasta instead and defrosted rotisserie chicken (I get refrigerated rotisserie chicken from Costco and freeze four individual portions, if you haven’t tried this, you should!). I cooked it for about 30 minutes because the chicken was cold.

I served it with zucchini spirals, and it was delicious! B, J, and I all took leftovers to work and school the next day. This would also be a great take and bake casserole for a potluck, friend with a new baby, etc. Pair with a loaf of Italian bread and a salad and this is enough for four to six people!

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Lemon pudding cookie cups

J has asked repeatedly for two weeks to please, please make the cookie cups we made awhile ago. And by awhile ago, I mean two years. J tends to think of something then decide he wants to do it, and then ask me about it until we do it. Which is why on the craziest of Monday’s, we made cookie cups. Thankfully, this is a super easy recipe. All you need is a small box of vanilla pudding, lemon pudding, lemon Oreos, whip cream, milk, and a gummy octopus (optional).

First, make the vanilla pudding according to package directions and split amongst four cups (this recipe is super rich, so you could spread it across more glasses for smaller portions).

Then let the cups chill in the fridge for about five minutes. While doing so, crush up your lemon cookies (we used one third of a package).

Then make the lemon pudding. Divide half of crushed cookies on top of the vanilla layer, and then add the lemon pudding divided amongst the cups, then add the rest of the crushed cookies divided on top.

That’s it! You can eat them immediately or cover with foil and when you are ready to serve add whipped cream and your octopus gummy.

That’s it! So simple, and fun!

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Cooking with kids

As the boys are getting older they have become more interested in learning how to cook and bake different things. While, I love that they are interested and want to help, I’ve been working through the challenge of them “helping” and me keeping my sanity in the process. I have always used cooking as a bit of personal therapy/calm down at the end of the day. It’s where B and I discuss our days, prep stuff together, etc. When the boys were little they would happily help me prep a few items, hand me spices, mix things, but now they want to do it all. So, I’ve worked on a few things as they are older that have made a big difference, and thought I would share.

First, helping clean up as you go. I have found cooking/baking is so necessary for J. He is a go go go kiddo and this has really helped him to learn he has to slow down. You can’t whisk as hard as possible or turn the mixer on high without making a mess. However, who cares about making a mess if you don’t have to clean it up? I’m a clean as you go baker. When we get done with a bowl, a spoon, whatever it is, it gets rinsed and goes in the dishwasher. This has helped immensely in the boys not running in to help and then leaving when they get bored and leaving me with the mess.

Second, follow the steps. Reading a recipe is a method and can be a bit of a learning curve. We will go through the recipe together and I have them help me collect the ingredients we need, so they not only know what we are using but also where it is stored.

Third, walk away when necessary. Obviously you should be standing there when they are doing tasks that need supervision, but I try to let them be independent, so I’m not over instructing and correcting them. For example, when J was scooping cookie dough, I showed him how and then I worked on cleaning up the flour from the sink. I was there if he had a question, but not right there telling him it was too much or too little.

For this particular baking session we made Picky Palate’s Jack Jack Cookie Num Nums. We altered the recipe just a tad, using milk chocolate chips because we couldn’t find chunks, and using a regular muffin tin. We lowered the baking time to between 10-15 minutes to adjust for all this and they turned out excellent!

I also made only half the batter and then refrigerated the other half to make next week (I would say this method would make about 24 total cookies:

You are supposed to eat them warm, so for any leftover cookies, we just popped them one the microwave for about 15-20 seconds to warm it up.

 

These are my new favorite way to make (and eat!) chocolate chip cookies:

 

 

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Homemade Pizza Pockets

I don’t know if this even qualifies as a recipe, but it checked a bunch of boxes for my boys! 1. Individual portion. 2. Toppings of their choice. 3. It’s a pizza pocket! All you need is:

refrigerated pizza dough (like Pillsbury)

ricotta cheese

shredded mozzarella

pizza fillers of your choosing (pepperoni, mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, pepperocini, etc.)

2 tbs melted butter

Marinara for serving

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. To make four servings, roll out your pizza dough, and slightly stretch it beyond its normal rectangle shape. Then cut it in to four smaller rectangles. Fill (don’t over fill) each rectangle with tbs of ricotta, and 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella and a remaining 1/4 cup of toppings of your choice. Then fold that rectangle in half lengthwise, and pinch all sides with a fork. Repeat with all remaining dough. Place on a nonstick foil lined pan. Slice a few small slits in the top of each pocket and then brush all pockets with melted butter. Cook for 10-13 minutes until golden brown.  Let cool, it’s going to be hot! You can serve them with jarred marinara, or make your own. My favorite jarred marinara is here, and my favorite marinara recipe is here.

I served it with the warmed marinara and a simple side salad.

This recipe is so easy, friends!

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This and That

This is the Nintendo game announcements we watched this week in anticipation of new Switch games.

This is J checking out his first set of summer books from the library:

This is me trying to visualize the rug I bought for in our bedroom once we get hardwood in there:

This is B checking out the boys’ Father’s Day Cards….that they made with scented markers:

This is J helping me make snickerdoodles for Father’s Day lunch:

And finally, this was Sunday dinner:

Happy Monday, friends!

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This and That

This is my new Summer tea towel that I picked up online on sale from Anthropologie (it’s the cutest):

This is our redwood that we planted in the ground this fall and it is flourishing!

This is J playing catcher in his last game of the season:

He has grown so much in his playing ability this year! By the end of the season he was hitting at every at bat, and got multiple runs! Most importantly he loved playing and is excited about next season.

This is the boys with their fresh haircuts that they got at our local barbershop. They look handsome and are ready for summer vacation now!

After their haircuts we headed over to the food trucks that are set-up in our downtown during the weekends for May-August, A most enjoyed the milkshake for dessert:

Then on Saturday I ran to Costco with my sister and got one of my favorite stress free dinners:

Chicken alfredo pasta, French bread, and frozen corn. Sooooo simple, and the boys eat it up!

This is the adorable eagle J made at school:

And finally, this is J entering into the toothless club! He lost his first tooth this weekend:

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Shrimp Florentine Pasta

A flip on one of our favorites, this will actually take you even less time than the original recipe! We had everything to make this recipe one weekend, except instead of chicken I had a pound of shrimp. I cooked the shrimp just like the chicken, but it will only take about five or six minutes for the shrimp to cook through. After that the recipe is very similar to the original, just using mini penne pasta and a box of arugula and spinach! An easy Saturday night meal, with some crusty French bread it is perfection!

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Stuffed peppers

Our mid-week meal from last week, these stuffed peppers are healthy and delicious! Super simple to throw together and I had enough left over mix to freeze for another meal down the road. The boys both ate it really well (J better than A), and an extra stuffed pepper reheated well the next for leftovers. I served it with jasmine rice (yes the frozen kind from Whole Foods) and that was it! The peppers themselves are loaded with ground turkey, beans, corn, and tomatoes, so you don’t really need anything else:

One last note, I cut the simmering time down by about half, and they still turned out fine. I hadn’t planned for an extra thirty minutes before the oven cooking time, and so I sped up a lot of the simmering, but they ended up delicious anyway!

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Low carb garlic parmesan chicken bake

On Tuesday, J’s baseball game got moved to Friday, which means we needed to move our “quick meal” of the week to Friday, and I was left without a meal for Tuesday dinner. Thanks to my following numerous bloggers on Instagram, a meal popped up that I had everything for, except the chicken. I ran by Wal-Mart on a work break and picked up a package of thin sliced chicken breast, and we were good to go. J loved this meal, A liked it only okay, but it was quick to put together and also low carb! Here’s the recipe:

Here is my collection of supplies:

I did spray the pan first with canola oil, then layered in the chicken:

Then I mixed the remaining ingredients together and topped the chicken:

In the last six minutes of baking I prepped the sides:

If you haven’t tried the frozen rice from Whole Foods it is life changing. Seriously. It’s so fluffy! Then the chicken was ready to go:

It was creamy and delicious, perfect with the rice and broccoli. It’s hard to find a casserole type meal in our house that everyone can eat, and this was a great take on a casserole!

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What’s Up Wednesday

I always enjoy these monthly check-ins on my favorite blogs to follow, so I thought I’d join in on the fun!

1. What we’re eating this week:

S- freezer white chicken chili with corn bread

M-  tomato soup and grilled cheese

T- freezer pork chops with sweet potatoes 

W – cilantro lime chicken with brown rice

Th- penne with marinara and salad

And these AMAZING cookies:

2. What I’m reminiscing about:

Painting class with my Mom! I can’t wait to go again.

3. What I’m loving:

My new lamp in our reading corner

And my one tulip that survived the cold snap and winds out front:

4. What we’ve been up to:

Work, school, baseball

5. What I’m dreading:

The pile of papers that is about to flood my grading inbox.

6. What I’m working on:

My new Crisis Communication course I’m teaching this fall, and grading all those papers I just mentioned. I’m happiest when my inbox looks like this:

7. What I’m excited about:

Heading to the beach in just a few months!

8: What I’m watching/reading:

I’m binge watching Schitt’s Creek and it is hilarious and my new favorite show.

I’m finishing up reading A Bite Sized History of France:

And I’m really enjoying the daily study on She Reads Truth.

9. What I’m listening to:

Forver 35 Podcast & Matt Goulding’s interview on Milk Street Radio Podcast

10. What I’m wearing:

My current favorite Spring sweatshirt and jean skirt.

And my trio of Nordstrom sandals (beige, striped-updated version here, orange):

11. What I’m doing this weekend:

Dinner with friends! We’re making penne alla Betsy, salad, and crusty bread.

And we’re probably sitting at a baseball practice at some point.

12. What I’m looking forward to next month:

Easter! I’m already working on the boys’ Easter baskets and I’m particularly excited about these devotional studies I found for them (and one for me).

Bonus Question: what’s my favorite Easter side dish:

Deviled eggs, no question!

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