Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Homemade Crock Pot Chicken Pot Pie!

I am a sucker for a good pot pie.  I don't have the patience to make the actual pie crust, though... so I cheated.  I used a reduced fat buttermilk biscuit and cut it in half.  I am super impressed with myself! I decided to just wing it and make up the recipe as I went.  I'm so glad it came together well.  I can't wait for my hubby to try it when he gets home.

2-3 lbs. of boneless skinless chicken breasts (frozen)
2 small bags of frozen mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, green beans, corn)
1 can of condensed cream of chicken soup
1 packet of low sodium chicken gravy mix
1 can of Pillsbury low fat buttermilk biscuits
Optional: season to taste with salt, pepper, garlic powder etc.

Thaw the chicken almost completely, then cut into 2" cubes.  (TIP: I find it's easier to cut chicken when it's still partially frozen).  Place the chicken on the bottom of the crock pot.  Layer the vegetables over top of the chicken.  Spread the cream of chicken soup over the vegetables.  Lastly, pour the gravy mix over everything.  Mix well.  Make sure the chicken is covered by the vegetables and soup.  Cook on high for 4 hours.  After 4 hours, shred the chicken and return it to the crock pot.  There will be plenty of liquid from the frozen vegetables and chicken to make the gravy.  The mixture should not be runny, it should remain thick.  Cook on high for an additional hour.  In the last 20 minutes, pre-heat the oven to the temperature recommended on the biscuit mix.  Bake the biscuits according to the directions.  Remove to let cool.  Cut the biscuit in half and assemble the chicken mixture on the bottom half of the biscuit, then place the top half of the biscuit on the chicken.  Enjoy!

Here is everything in the crock pot before cooking:

Here is the shredded chicken when added back to the crock pot: 

Here is everything being assembled:

And the finished product is the first picture before the recipe begins :) There is plenty left for the week, which is exactly what I was aiming for! 

Featured on Foodie Friends Friday!

Monday, August 20, 2012


Goodness it's tough being busy! I haven't had the chance to try any new recipes, recently.  We've been sticking with our staples of tacos, spaghetti, etc. since we have so much going on.  Hubby's new schedule kicked in and now he works 12pm-9pm with Sundays and Tuesdays off.  This will last until about mid-September as his training wraps up for his new position.  After that, we'll have another schedule change to adjust to.  10:30am-7:30pm with Tuesdays and Wednesdays off.  Thankfully I was able to find an online degree completion program so I don't have to attend classes around these crazy schedule changes!

We're getting the apartment cleaned and prepped for the baby's arrival in January while we still have the time.  I'm slowly getting things ready for my classes that start on Monday.  I'm going to look for some organization tips on Pinterest this week so I can keep things together and not get overwhelmed.  I am going to make an organization weekly calendar as well as a weekly activity calendar for my son.

We've started having family time in the basement on the new furniture and it is heavenly! Our son is so excited to get everything set up down there.  He's starting to separate the baby toys from the big boy toys for his little brother Jaxon :) It gives me warm fuzzies! He's being so helpful.  He can't wait to work on the activity calendar.  He's mommy's little helper.  We were able to catch up on our big pile of laundry the other day.

A friend of mine gave us a huge bag of books for Conrad! We're going to get them organized on a book shelf as soon as we find one.  I have all of my books from my childhood in our basement, too.  He's really getting into reading.  It's awesome.

Anyway-- I promise more recipes soon! I think Wednesday I am going to try a crockpot chicken pot pie recipe :) Tonight is taco night and hubby is going to make his special chicken cutlets tomorrow night.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Blog Swap Recipe Hop! Another Great Link Party!

The fabulous gals from ABpetitie and Ellen B Cookery are hosting another Recipe Swap today! The theme is Quick Back To School Recipes (snacks, lunch, or dinner).  I entered my homemade applesauce, chicken, tomato & avocado sandwiches, and savory stuffed cheeseburgers.  Do you have anything to add?  Do you need some ideas for back to school recipes?  Check it out today! 

It's that time again! Friday already?! Foodie Friends Friday!

I've added my shredded buffalo chicken sandwiches, ranch pork chops and orange pork chops to the Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party! Do you have any recipes to add?

I've met some awesome bloggers this way and found some delicious recipes!! Check it out today!  Each week there are new hosts and potential prizes.  Don't forget to vote for your favorites on Sunday!


Julia's Orange Pork Chops

A few years ago, I visited my friend Julia.  We used to breed chinchillas and we found out we had a lot in common and our friendship has grown throughout the years.  We were visiting to hang out and talk about our pets and she made the most amazing pork chops in the crock pot.  We didn't have a crock pot for the longest time so I just never tried to replicate them at home... until now ;)  And they came out GREAT! Just like I remember. They were so good, I nearly forgot to take pictures!!

Here's what you'll need:
-2 lbs. of boneless pork chops (ours were a really thin cut)
-1-2 cups of ketchup
-1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce
-2 cans of condensed cream of chicken soup
-salt and pepper to taste

Place the pork chops on the bottom of the crock pot.  Drench the Worcestershire sauce over the meat, then spread the ketchup over top of the meat.  Add the condensed cream of chicken soup.  Stir the mixture well then spread over the meat.  The color should be light red to dark orange.  As it cooks and the sauce thickens, you will get a distinct orange color.  If you started with frozen pork chops, cook on low for 6 hours, stirring once every hour.  If the sauce has not thickened by hour 5, turn it up to high and do not stir for the last hour.  If you start with thawed chops, cook on low for 4 hours, stirring once every hour.  If the sauce has not thickened by hour 3, turn it up to high and do not stir for the last hour.  You will know the pork is done when it begins to fall apart when you try to pick it up with tongs or a fork, carefully.  

You'll end up with a wonderful thick, orange glaze/gravy that is delicious on mashed potatoes.  It also makes a fantastic dip for fries! You'll have plenty left over.

Part of Foodie Friends Friday!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Shredded Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches!

Normally I don't like spicy food.  If I want spicy, I gravitate toward mild spicy stuff in Mexican food.  For the past week or so I have been craving some sort of spicy chicken... and I decided to try my hand at homemade shredded buffalo chicken.  I cannot wait to see how hubby likes this.  He's going to be elated.  He loves spicy food and we hardly ever have any haha.

I will add more pictures of our finished plates in a few hours.  We're going to have sandwiches with a side of rice.

Here's the progress:

Coating the semi-thawed chicken with ranch

Adding the wing sauce and mayonnaise

After adding milk to tone it down and shredding the chicken, I added 1/4 cup of margarine to the mix

All mixed together and cooked down, ready to assemble!  We didn't do anything special with our sandwiches.  Just added a piece of sliced cheese and put it on a store bought bun.  They were completely delicious, however! We had a side of herb and butter rice along with slightly cheesy steamed veggies.

TIP: thaw your chicken for a few hours before you start cooking, especially if you have really thick chicken breasts like we did.

Here is what you will need.

-3 large boneless/skinless chicken breasts (at least 2 lbs. of chicken)
-1 12 oz. bottle of Frank's wings sauce (there is a sweet chile version that is milder if you would like to try)
-1 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch mix
-1 can condensed cream of celery soup
-1/2 cup low fat mayonnaise
-1/4 cup margarine (we have country crock on hand)
-Optional: 1/2 cup of 1% or skim milk to tone down the spicy factor- I chose to include it.

Place the semi-thawed chicken into the crockpot.  Cover the chicken with the dry ranch mix and the wing sauce.  Add the mayonnaise and celery soup and stir to combine.  Make sure the chicken is well coated.  Add the additional milk if desired and stir to combine.  Cook on low for 5-6 hours.  Poke the chicken with a fork.  If it slides off easily or begins to shred, it is ready to shred.  You can shred the chicken on a plate or cutting board, using two forks for stability.  Place the chicken back in the crockpot for an additional 45 minutes-1 hour to coat the shredded chicken.  Add the margarine when the chicken is placed back into the crockpot.  Serve on rolls, buns, rice, in taco shells, etc.  Enjoy! 

Part of Foodie Friends Friday!

Playroom Update!

A friend of mine's mother was giving away a living room set and I jumped on it the second I saw it was available.  We now have a very nice sofa and chair with ottoman in our basement!  Our friends came to help and it was such an adventure getting it down the stairs hahaha but it's there now!

Our next project is to organize all of the toys for our boys and set up activity centers for a playroom.  We are also going to get a small TV.  The playroom has more floor space than our living room does and it will be much easier to let our little baby grow and explore down there than on the first floor.  I've been looking at organization ideas on Pinterest and we are going to look for some gently used bookcases and shelving units at garage sales and thrift stores very soon.  As we make progress I will update with pictures.  It will be a long long project.  Our baby is due in January and we are hoping to have it done by then.  It just depends on what we are able to find.

We don't want to put Conrad's baby toys into storage since his little brother is on his way soon.  It will be a busy play room so I'm thinking of setting it up like a pre-school setting.  We're so excited! I'm going to look into some more crafts (handprint paintings, etc) to hang on the walls down there.

We have so many plans for this apartment.  We want to stay here until I'm done with school and probably even longer until my career is well established.  Hubby and I were talking about our dream home ideas last night and we started exploring prices for the houses we would like.... definitely going to have to wait a while haha.  But it's so worth it.

So anyway-- what kind of activity centers do you have set up in your playroom?  Or what kind of activities would you like to see? :)

Hair Dare Update

So I have been washing it only a few times a week and deep conditioning once a week.  I'm still losing some strands but not as many as I used to.  I've been trying to wear it down more as well.  I'm going to get a picture tonight or tomorrow to update.

I also got a free sample of Garnier Fructis Fall Fight which is supposed to keep hair from breaking so often.  I gave it a try (both shampoo and conditioner) and my hair felt amazing.  I'm going to pick up both of them the next time we go shopping and see if I notice any improvement.

Has anyone tried Wen hair products? I'm thinking that will be my next step if I can't get rid of all of this dryness and frizz.  It's just so expensive to start up and it makes me nervous.