Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Chicken Gnocchi Soup (AKA Annie Oakley Soup)

Sunday Night Soup... Perfect!
I may never want a chicken noodle soup again.  We made this... We were licking the bowl.  We even brought our super cool neighbors some big bowls of it.  They didn't know what I was talking about when I offered some hot Chicken Gnocchi soup... The husband called it Annie Oakley soup:)  Why not... sounds a lot like it. 
A couple ingredients, a big pot, and voila... You have some serious comfort food.  Even enough to share with your neighbors if you like them as much as we like ours! 

Chicken Gnocchi Soup
originally from AllRecipes

Printable Version

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (16 ounce) package mini potato gnocchi
  • 1 (6 ounce) bag baby spinach leaves
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons cold water (optional)
  • 2 cups half-and-half cream
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste


Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook onion, celery, garlic, and carrots in the hot oil until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in shredded chicken and chicken broth; bring to a simmer.               

Stir gnocchi into the simmering soup and cook until they begin to float, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in spinach; cook until wilted, about 3 additional minutes.               

Whisk cornstarch into cold water until smooth. Stir cornstarch mixture and half-and-half into simmering soup. Cook until soup thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.        


The Mom

Baked Chicken Taquitos

I made taquitos last night for dinner.  It was a super quick and easy recipe I found on pinterest, of course, originally from Our Best Bites.  They have some really yummy stuff over there.  They came together in no time (especially since I had bought and shredded the rotisserie chicken the night before).  The Hubby has already requested them for a football game... I guess the Superbowl since its the last one... tears!  I served with Mahatma yellow rice because I serve that with anything I make that is remotely resembling Mexican food.  We love it... Its always in stock at our house.  Saffron... yum!  I agree with Gusteau.  (does anyone with a little person understand that reference?  its what is playing in the car these days)
So if you are in the mood:

Baked Chicken Taquitos
originally from Our Best Bites

Printable Version

1/3 C (3 oz) cream cheese
1/4 C salsa
1T fresh lime juice
1/2 t cumin
1 t chili powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/4 t granulated garlic, or garlic powder (we used fresh minced garlic)
3 T chopped cilantro
2 T sliced green onions
2 C shredded cooked chicken (we used shredded rotisserie chicken)
1 C grated pepper jack cheese
small flour tortillas (we ended up with 11)
kosher salt
cooking spray

Heat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.
Heat cream cheese in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds so it’s soft and easy to stir.
Add salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and granulated garlic. Stir to combine and then add cilantro and green onions. Add chicken and cheese and combine well.
You can prepare up to this step ahead of time. Just keep the mixture in the fridge.
Work with a few tortillas at a time and heat in the microwave until they are soft enough to roll without cracking. It helps to place them between damp paper towels. Usually 20-30 seconds will do it. If you find yours are cracking when you roll them or are coming unrolled right away, just try heating them longer and try the paper towel thing.
Place 2-3 T of chicken mixture on the lower third of a tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges.
Then roll it up as tight as you can.
Place seam side down on the baking sheet. Lay all of the taquitos on the baking sheet. Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray or an oil mister and sprinkle some kosher salt on top.
Place pan in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown
The Mom

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Little Library

I have been so excited about this project.  Sometimes its just random things to make you smile.  This past weekend the Hubby and I put our little brains together and made something for our Little Mans new playroom.  We have books everywhere.  We needed some more book storage and we wanted a good place for books that was easily accessible to little hands.  Isn't that spot perfect.  Its a very useless space in the former guestroom turned playroom.  A little chunk of wall between the door and the closet. 

I found tons of ideas on pinterest.  We don't have an ikea and my dear friend looked when she was close to one... no dice on the cheapo spice racks.  So along the same lines, but different, and then I saw this tutorial on Helping Little Hands.  Perfect.  We followed the tutorial, but improvised a little based on what we wanted and needed. 

We are so pleased with how they turned out, and our Little Man seems to be too...
So the short and sweet of what we did for our shelves.  We read the tutorial above.  We went to Lowes.  We bought the following:

two 1x4x8 boards (for back and bottom)
one 1x2x8 board (for front ledge)
wood glue
1 1/2 inch wood screws (we used 16 to screw boards together)
2 1/2 inch wood screws (we used 8 to put shelves into studs in wall)
white paint and primer in one

Materials we had on hand:
stud finder
sand paper
laser level

I decided I wanted four shelves that were each 18 inches long which worked perfectly to make four shelves our of just the three boards.
The hubby measured and cut the wood.  Then he put all his pieces together.  We decided to secure the back board and the front board to the bottom board so we had the maximum space for books.  (This differs from the tutorial we read). 
 The Hubby then applied wood glue to all pieces and used the 1 1/2 inch wood screws to attach the pieces together.  After doing this to each shelf he puttied over the screw holes and sanded the boards down just a bit so they wouldn't be too rough.  Then they got some paint.  He gave each shelf two good coats and let them dry out in between.  (If you want them very smooth, from what I read researching, sand them down very well before and in between coats)  When they were all dry we got to work figuring out exactly how we wanted them hung.
After laying them out on the floor with a tape measure and some test books (I used the tallest book we had when measuring) I decided I wanted them hung with 12 inch spaces in between (12 inches from top of one shelf to bottom of other). 
The Hubby used his stud finder so we could guarantee each shelf was screwed into studs in two different locations (no anchors needed for us).  We decided to start with the bottom shelf.  We used two 2 1/2 inch screws per shelf.  We didn't want it hung low enough that he could step on it for safety reasons and we had an outlet underneath so we hung the lowest shelf right above that outlet.  The Hubby used a laser level and measuring tape for this process.  After the shelves were hung The Hubby puttied over the screws that went into wall and touched up paint over putty. 
This is the finished product!  We Love Them! 

**I say we a lot in this post.  I had the idea and did some directing (General Lee), but The Hubby did all the manual labor and pretty much all the work.  How blessed are we to have a Husband and Daddy that is a very handy man:)  Thanks babe**

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sixteen Months


The best sixteen months of our lives. 


Its Saturday.  I was thinking about all of my blessings big and small just now.  Here are a few of them.  Just little things that make my day.

Things that I love less than God, My Hubby, My Little Guy, Family and Friends, but a lot:

coffee w/ Italian Sweet Cream creamer
the beach
mint tea w/ honey
Jeremiah 29:11
Bones (the show)
pretty green grass
white lillies
California Baby Soap
new recipes
To Kill A Mockingbird
my Grandmother's cabbage rolls
holding hands with My Hubby
sorbet (especially Mango)
rocking my baby
downtown Little Rock, AR
my bed
Smith's minted rose lip balm
daily devotional
nap time
when every piece of laundry is done
pretzels and french onion dip

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie Muffins

This is my comfort food.  I have a thing for Chicken Pot Pie and Chicken and Dumplings.  They warm me up when I am not feeling so good.  I made these this week as it started to get cold down here and man they hit the spot.  The Hubby actually ate some of the leftovers for breakfast:)  They were perfect and will be making our regular rotation.  What is not to love about easy comfort food?

Chicken Pot Pie Muffins

Printable Version

- 1 can of Pillsbury butter tastin biscuits Jumbo (8 per can)
- 1 cup cooked chicken breast (I used rotisserie chicken and it added awesome flavor)
- 1 (10 1/2 ounce) can reduced-fat cream of chicken soup
- 2/3 cup shredded cheddar
- 1 cup of frozen mixed veggies
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
- 1 teaspoon of onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Separate biscuits and use about 2/3 of each biscuit (these are the big jumbo biscuits) per cup. Use the leftover sections and add two together to fill another cup. This will fill all 12 muffin cups.
3. In a medium bowl, combine chicken, chicken soup, veggies, cheddar cheese, onion powder, parsley flakes, and black pepper. Mix well to combine.
4. Evenly spoon chicken mixture into prepared biscuit cups.
5. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
6. Remove from oven. Place muffin pan on a wire rack and let set for 2-3 minutes. Serve at once.

The Mom

Crockpot Potato Soup

It is cold in Texas.  My car said 43 last time I got out of it... and we dont see that often down here.  I have the little man in 4 layers of clothing and I am in flannel pajamas about to curl up next to the fire place and watch a movie with The Hubby.  I wanted to share this very yummy recipe in case you need an easy Crockpot meal for a cold night too.  The recipe is a pinterest find, of course, originally from Pearls, Handcuffs and Happy Hour.  I tweaked it a bit for our tastes and we ate this right out of our big soup mugs....

Crockpot Potato Soup
adapted from

Printable Version

1 30oz. bag of frozen, shredded hash browns
3 14oz. cans of chicken broth
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 T pepper
1 package of diced ham (I use John Morrell)
1 pkg. cream cheese (do not use fat free, it wont melt)

In a crockpot, combine everything EXCEPT for the cream cheese. Cook for 6-8 hours on low heat. About 1 hour before serving, add cream cheese and keep heated until thoroughly melted.
Garnish with your favorite toppings. We added some shredded cheddar and green onions. Yummy!
The Mom

Monday, January 9, 2012

Rolo Brownie Bites

We had our friends over for dinner... and to play my  new favorite game, Blokus.  The Hubby and I are big game people.  Usually cards (usually with his family who converted me) but we are always up for something new.  Blokus is different and its fun.  A lot less strategy than people try to play with.  Maybe I like it because I have one several times?  Either way I am glad my little brother and family got it for The Hubby for Christmas... it will be well used! 
So what sounds better than Rolo Brownie Bites to go along with a game of Blokus?  Nothing, Right:)
The Hubby had been begging for these...I found them on pinterest, and I bought all the ingredients about a month or so ago and then realized, to my dismay, that I did not have a mini muffin pan.  So the mini muffin pan went on the Christmas Wish List and the brownies were put on hold.  They were worth the wait.  I would have never assumed this... but the icing made them something special.  It was fabulous.  If you have a sweet tooth... Give these a try!  A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

Rolo Brownie Bites with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
originally from Cook Lisa Cook

Printable Version

1 box fudge brownie mix plus necessary eggs, oil & water per package instructions (or your favorite homemade recipe)
24 Rolo candies plus extras for the cook's snack
4 TBS. butter, softened at room temperature
4 oz. cream cheese, softened at room temperature
2 TBS. caramel sauce
1 cup confectioners sugar

Remove all the wrappers and refrigerate the Rolo candies. Pre-heat oven to 325F. Prepare brownies according to package directions. Grease a 24 cup mini muffin tin with cooking spray and fill each cup 3/4 full with batter. Bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and immediately press a Rolo, smaller side down, into the center of each brownie bite until the top of the Rolo is even with the top of the brownie bite. Cool for a couple of minutes then carefully remove the brownie bites from the pan to a cooking rack. Allow to cool completely.

To make the frosting, whip the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add the caramel sauce and blend. Add the confectioners sugar and whip until creamy and smooth. Using a pastry or plastic bag with a piping tip, pipe the frosting onto the top of each brownie bite. Chill in the refrigerator to set the frosting a bit before serving.

The Mom

P.S. I have no idea why my pictures are rotated wrong tonight and I have no time to figure out how to adjust them... So hope you dont mind:)

Cheeseburger Meatloaf

We had a very yummy dinner last night.  Nothing like some good home cooking to wrap up the weekend.  This was a Rachael Ray Magazine recipe.  I find a couple recipes to save every issue.  This one made such a big serving that I followed the recipe, and in the end I made two seperate meatloafs and sent one down the road to our sweet friends/neighbors/photographers.  The potatoes were amazing.  Nothing makes my Hubby happy like some roasted potatoes.... With cheesy meatloaf and he wanted seconds.  The vegetables are ground down to mush in the food processor so if you have any picky people in the house they will never know! 

Cheeseburger Meatloaf with Roasted Potatoes
originally from Rachael Ray Magazine

Printable Recipe


  • 1 cup italian bread crumbs
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery rib
  • 1 onion
  • 2 lbs. ground chuck
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 colby-jack cheese sticks
  • 1 1/2 lbs. red-skinned potatoes
  • olive oil

  • Directions:
    1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
    2. Cut 1 carrot, 1 celery rib and 1 onion into 1-inch pieces. Using a food processor, finely chop the vegetables
    3. Add the vegetables to a bowl with the breadcrumbs. Add 2 lbs. ground chuck, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.
    4. Mix all the ingredients together with your hands until just blended.
    5. Transfer the mixture to a 10-by-15-inch baking dish; pat the meat into a 9-by-13-inch rectangle.
    6. Arrange 6 colby-jack cheese sticks lengthwise on top; fold the meat over the cheese.
    7. Pat well into a loaf that is about 4 by 12 inches, pressing to seal the seams.
    8. Scatter 1 1/2 lbs. quartered red-skinned potatoes around the loaf. Drizzle lightly with olive oil; season with salt and pepper.
    9. Bake until the potatoes are tender and the cheese begins to ooze, about one hour.

    The Mom

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

    Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

    Playing a little catch up here.  We have been very busy bees.  Tons of holiday festivities and traveling and packing and unpacking and smiles and full stomachs. 

    This was a little Christmas baking we did.  Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Coffee Cakes for some dear friends of ours.  I made them in little portable square casserole dishes for ease of transport, but just used the same recipe as below and split it. 
    I found this originally at The Kitchenarian.  Is that not the best blog name ever? 
    We love our coffee around here so why not something sweet to go along with it, and I love anything to requires me to use my mixer!  Hope our friends liked it just as much, and since they want the recipe I am thinking so:) 

    Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake
    originally from

    ½ cup sugar
    1 tablespoon cinnamon
    1 cup semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    2 cups sugar
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    1 cup butter, softened
    2 cups sour cream
    2 eggs
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    ¼ – ½ cup extra chocolate chips

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    Combine ½ cup sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
     Add one cup of chocolate chips and set aside.
    In a stand mixer, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
    Mix on low speed until well combined.
    Add butter, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla. Beat for 2 minutes.
    Pour half the batter into a greased 9 x 11 pan.
    Sprinkle half the topping over the batter.
    Pour remaining batter on top.
    Sprinkle with the remaining topping.
    Add extra chocolate chips to the top.
    Bake for 50 – 60 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

    The Mom