{She Cooks} Cheesy Chicken, Rice, and Broccoli Casserole.

Please excuse the Instragram quality photo.

 

Ingredients:

2 bags steam fresh brown rice

1-2 bag steam fresh broccoli {depends how much broccoli you want}

2 cups of cooked, shredded chicken

3 tbsp margarine

salt

pepper

garlic powder

Cheese Sauce:

4 tbsp margarine

1/4 cup flour

2 cups of low sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup Gorgonzola cheese

1/2 cup {ish} Italian cheese mix

2 cup {ish} Mild cheddar cheese {reserve some to top the casserole}

salt

pepper

garlic powder

The nitty gritty:

Preheat the oven to 350.

I took the easy way out with this meal and got the steam fresh bags. They’re easy. I threw each bag into the microwave and let it do it’s thing. Once finished, I put the rice in a bowl with 2 tbsp’s of margarine, garlic, salt, and pepper and mixed it up. This gave the rice some flavor of it’s own. I then did the same thing with the broccoli. Meanwhile I put the chicken in a pot of water and let it boil away until it was cooked through. I then shredded it with a  fork.

Once those three guys were ready I sprayed a 9×13 glass dish with cooking spray and then layered the rice, then chicken, then broccoli in the dish.

I set this aside and made the cheese sauce.

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat melt the 4 tbsp’s of margarine then slowly whisk in the flour to make a roux. Once the margarine and flour are combined, slowly whisk in the chicken broth. Keep whisking until it’s just about to bubble and becomes thick – lower the heat to medium-low to be sure the bottom of the sauce doesn’t scorch  Then whisk in the cheeses and seasoning – whisk until the cheese is completely melted through and the sauce is very thick and creamy.

Then pour the cheese sauce over the rice, chicken, and broccoli. I then lightly stirred the mixture to make sure the sauce was all the way through. Top with the remaining cheddar cheese then throw it in the oven for 25-30 minutes.

I kind of made this recipe up through a combination of different recipes I had pinned on pinterest. I love the creativity in cooking. It makes me happy. 😉

Happy hump day, lovelies!

 

She Cooks {Drunken Lasagna Soup}

A few months ago I made this soup and it got rave reviews. However, tonight I made it again {without regards to the original recipe} and I think I liked it even better. A few changes were made – and to me, they made all the difference.

The best part of this meal is that it’s quick, easy, and all made in one pot. The clean up is quick – and that’s far more than you can say about normal lasagna.

Ingredients {serves 4}:

1lb ground beef {turkey or sausage would be delicious too}

1 clove of fresh garlic

drizzle of olive oil

1 10oz can of tomato sauce {you’ll also fill this up with water once you empty the sauce – to add to the broth}

1 small can of tomato paste

1 10oz can of chicken broth {or beef – but I had chicken on hand}

1 oz {or a shot} of whiskey – honestly, adds the best flavor to the beef

1/2 box of broken up lasagna noodles {bite size}

1 tbsp of sugar

garlic

chili powder

sea salt

basil

Directions:

In a large pot saute the minced garlic in the olive oil over medium heat. Once the garlic has started to turn golden brown add the ground beef. You can turn the heat up to medium high. When the beef is about 75% browned add half of the whiskey {or a splash – it’s really up to you, the alcohol will cook out and the whiskey will really flavor the beef}. Once the beef is all the way browned just add the rest of the ingredients {aside from the pasta}, stir so everything is mixed well {season to your liking}. Set the heat to low and let simmer for 20ish minutes {or however long you want}. Add the pasta, let cook another twenty minutes or until pasta is cooked through.

Once in bowls I top with a mixture of ricotta, Gorgonzola, and Romano cheese.

I do think this recipe could easily be made in the crockpot as well. {Brown the beef, add the rest of the ingredients, cook on low 4-6 hours, add pasta about 20 minutes before you want to serve}

I think the joy of this recipe is that it’s simple – you could add veggies, spice it differently, let it cook for hours or make it in twenty minutes. Its a really good, basic, fall meal.

If you try this – let me know how it turns out or any tweaks you make to it!

p.s. don’t call this a comeback 😉 I’m trying – but I make no promises, yet. 😉

Happy Thursday, lovelies.

Miscellany Monday {Gym. Family. Fun.}

1. I’ve actually been getting back to working out. It’s felt great. I’ve made it to the gym more than once this week – and to me that’s a step in the right direction. This week I’m going to get back to strength training too and eating healthy. Like I said to my mom tonight “I’m going to try this get healthy thing yet again – for the billionth time in my life…” and hopefully she’s right when she says “but one time, it’ll stick.” {today I’m 400 calories under #winning} AND I think I need new tennis shoes… suggestions???

2. Zucchini. I don’t know about y’all but around my apartment – we love this stuff. Any way it’s made. Roasted, grilled, sauteed, casserole’d, or on a pizza {recipe coming this week!} but tonight I thought I’d try my hand at Zucchini Chips. I sliced two zuc’s very thinly, laid them in a thin layer on a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet, and seasoned them. I think these are something that’s going to take a couple times to get just right. They take awhile and I was getting impatient. First of all – they don’t need even half of the amount of seasoning that I thought they would. {oops!} Second, I didn’t have the temp right I don’t think. And… I was too damn hungry so I kinda hurried them along. They were good and edible but a bit too salty and not crispy enough. *sigh* #firstcookingfail #betterlucknextime

3. On Sunday, Mom and I got back from our girl’s vacation in the mountains. We spent 3{ish} days in Asheville, NC. It was wonderful. Mom and I had never gone on a vacation by ourselves before – but I’m so, so, so glad we did. Mom time is some of the best time. I sincerely hope we make a tradition out of this. {Vacation recap coming soon!}

4. Last Sunday also happened to be Dad’s Day. My Dad is the best – he’s tolerated my girliness for the last 29 years with lots of laughs and eye rolls. And I couldn’t have asked for anything more. He’s the guy who I measure any other guy in my life up to. I’m extremely lucky that he has allowed me to be “Daddy’s Little Girl” for so long. Poor guy, he’s gotten a lot of stray animals that way. 😉 Bubba and I whipped up a delicious {if I do say so myself} lasagna dinner for him and had a relaxing family night. Those are some of the best nights.

5. At the Studio we are having a really fun contest for July’s Gallery Hop. If you’re in Columbus you should definitely head over here and check it out. The lowdown – take a picture on Instagram of how YOU define summer. Post it. Hashtag it with #amyclarkstudiosIGcontest. Email it to me. Bring your friends/family into the studio on July 7th to vote, see other entires, mingle, and enjoy Short North Gallery Hop. GET. ON. IT!!!!! #NOW

I’m linking up with Carissa over at lowercase letters for miscellany monday. It’s one of my favorite blog hops – Monday is the perfect day of random chatter. If you know me – you know I love that. 😉
miscellany monday at lowercase letters

 

Happy Monday, lovies. Hope y’all had a wonderful weekend and you kick this weeks arse!

 

 

{Semi} Wordless Wednesday {My Life}

1. Sangria for Missy’s birthday. 2. My favorite fruit combination. Anything that’s strawberry/banana is good in my book. Especially the fruits themselves! 3. After our Relive the Moment shoot {more on that later} Amy and I decided to splurge on ice cream for dinner. Such a good decision. I had Oreo Cream Filling… best. thing. ever. 4. Red bull = my life blood. {this is no joke}. 5. Zucchini casserole. Holy cheesy, zucchiniy deliciousness. I’ll post the recipe I concocted soon. 6. Our new tea cups {filled with sleepy time tea – such a good idea!}… doesn’t it remind you of Chip from Beauty and the Beast? No? I’m the only adult without a child who watches Disney? … cool.

Moving on…

1. I LOVEEEEE wearing shorts and cowboy boots {y’all probably gathered that from the title of my blog, huh? #captainobvious} – maybe one of my favorite combinations. I mean, I’d wear boots with just about anything.  2. Ever have a morning where washing your hair sounds like nothing but pure, time consuming torture? That was me. However, I did manage to throw on a cute vintage Amrie Boutique headband. 😉 3. Please tell me this is not the best picture of me ever… I’m oozing sexy with my hands full of ice cream. You know you love it… Thank you, Amy for capturing me in my true essence. #not 😉

1. Last night we had an impromptu girls night. {Seriously LOVE these two.} It was Missy’s birthday and Amy was sick – I kept telling her all day that she just needed some whiskey; it’ll cure what ails ya… at least that’s what my Grandpa used to say. 2. Gallery Hop at the studio Saturday night – it was the unveiling of the Faces of Autism project and it went fabulously. 3. Dinner at Bucca Di Beppo for Missy’s bday last night – DELICIOUS!

I’m linking up with Flip Flops & Pearls for {Semi} Wordless Wednesdays.

 

PhotobucketHappy Hump Day, pumpkins – I’m trying to get back into the swing of things over here. Baby steps… I do have a favor – I’m going on vacation to Ashville, NC next week {if you’ve ever been or live around there, give me some tips on the area!} – I’d love some guest  bloggers – I have two spots available?! If you’re interested {I’D LOVE YOU FOREVER} and you can either comment below or shoot me an email. {jacks519(at)gmail(dot)com}

Semi Wordless Wednesday. {Instagram Style}

My old girl. She’s about 13 and turning very gray but can still melt her momma’s heart.

Taken this morning – Sans makeup {ok, ok, I have a little mascara on – but that’s it}

Mother’s day brunch – the best pancakes in the world, made by my Dad. Seriously, most delicious things EVER!!!

Jack and diet to kick off my birthday week.

BLONDE! Finally got my roots done – I try to wait as long as possible for my hair’s sake… and I can usually rock the roots for a lil while. LOVING the fresh new blonde.

Bub and I made Momma manicotti for Mother’s day… it was yum! I then was sent a recipe for homemade manicotti shells… can. not. wait. to. try. Thank you, Nikki.

My bed at home – I couldn’t resist a picture… first, because it’s rarely made – Emmy {my cat at home} prefers a messy bed so she’ll do it herself if she needs. Second, it looked so pretty and vintagy.

KITTENS! Two dark calico babies. I. AM. IN. LOVE.

Rainy day in the country.But seriously gorgeous day. #nofilter

Yes, another bed – my roomie got me this new Ralph Lauren bedding I’ve been lusting after, for my birthday. I slept in it last night… It was beyond cozy.

Mother’s Day flowers… and my favorite. Stargazer lilies. {I also learned that lilies are poisonous to kitties… oops. :/}

I thought I’d link up over at Flip Flops & Pearls for Semi Wordless Wednesday. I’ve taken a lot of pictures lately, huh? Oops… I seriously love instagram. It’s addicting.

Photobucket 

 

Enjoy, kitties. And go check out the blogs linked up… or better yet, link up yourself!

Happy hump day!

p.s. my birthday is in 3 days. Who’s excited?! THIS GIRL!!!!

She cooks. {Lasagna Soup}

I stumbled across this recipe on Pinterest this week… and I thought that it sounded delicious, easy, and had the opportunity to be relatively healthy. To me, those things are all I need to convince me to try something. I love to cook, it’s relaxing… however, the dishes and mess it makes are another story…

When I cook I tend to not use recipes… I get the basic idea and just kind of run with it. That’s the fun part – being creative. {Yes, I try to use creativity in everything I do.} In my recipe I used no salt beef broth to bring out the flavor of the ground beef {and to lower the sodium} I also added tomato paste as a thickening agent. And instead of breaking up lasagna noodles I used  campanelle pasta… they’re like mini lasagna noodles – with the curly edge. {Real technical terms here}. And instead of just topping with parmasan cheese I made a cheese mixture and used that to top it… It was like lasagna in a bowl… so, I think I accomplished what I set out to. I had two taste testers and they both were quite pleased. A+ for Jac!

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef {mine was fresh from Shull farms}

1/2 white onion {diced}

1 tbsp fresh garlic

1 can {14.5 oz} diced tomatoes w/juice

1 can {14.5 oz} tomato sauce

1 small can {30 ml} tomato paste

2 cups no salt/low sodium beef broth

8 oz Campanella pasta {or whatever pasta floats your boat}

1 tbsp sugar {this is completely up to your taste – I like a hint of sweetness in any tomato sauce I make – so it’s give or take}

Seasoning {I used more garlic, sea salt, different italian seasonings – just season to your taste preference}

Cheese Mixture:

1 small container lowfat ricotta cheese

1 container gorgonzola cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

{again, cheese is up to you – pick and choose as you wish}

Okay guys… this is where it gets real tough… pay close attention…

In a large saucepan saute the onion and garlic in a little EVOO {what? You don’t watch Rachel Ray??? Extra Virgin Olive Oil} until fragrant. Throw in the beef, brown it. Because mine wasn’t very fatty I didn’t need to drain it. Turn the heat to medium, pour in the beef broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and season to taste. Let cook for about ten minutes {or an hour, if you have the time – I didn’t – so I went with 10 minutes}. Crank up the heat a bit to get a boil… once boiling, throw in your pasta. Let cook until al dente. {the pasta will continue to soak up the broth – and no one likes mushy noodles} Serve into bowls, spoon some cheese mixture on top and it’s ready to be gobbled up!

Oh yes, the cheese mixture… mix the cheeses together {I always season it with garlic and italian spices as well} and you’re done!

This meal was easy peezy lemon squeezy… and hardly even made a mess. I think the best part of this meal is that it makes plenty to have leftovers for the week… hello, lunch tomorrow!

And like a good little girl I calculated the calorie content {with the exact ingredients so it’s pretty accurate} and it came in at 353 w/cheese 208 w/out cheese. I’ll take that for a nice, hearty bowl of comfort food anyday.

{Also, I recommend a glass of your favorite wine to go with this bowl of yumminess. You deserve it.}

What’s your favorite thing to cook?

Happy Hump Day, my little pumpkins!

p.s. I’m not a recipe writer or follower so I apologize if it doesn’t make sense. 😉

p.p.s. I wasn’t planning on blogging this which is why I only had one, awful cell phone picture of it.

Lucky number 11.

My sweet, sweet friend Al over at Traffic Jelly {p.s. if you don’t read Al’s blog – you should – she’s a great writer who talks about everything under the sun and she’s one of the sweetest bloggy pals I’ve made} posted this a few days ago – I played along with this a few months ago but she tagged all her followers – so I thought, what the hell! Questions are always fun… well, usually…
AND NOW…
MY ELEVEN QUESTIONS FOR YOU…
1) If you could be on a reality show, which one would it be? The Bachelorette. Why not? I’d love to have 25 dudes vying for my attention. {So, I’m a bit of an attention whore.}
2) Your autobiography is being released – what is the TITLE? Messy Hair and Cowboy Boots. {What? It defines me pretty well.}
3) You have one whole day with ANY person of your choice. Who would it be and what would you 
do? Both of my grandma’s – I didn’t know them – and I’d die for the opportunity to spend a day with them. They were such beautiful women and created two of my favorite people in the whole world – how I’d love to pick their brains about their lives and lessons learned.
4) I’ve given you $100,000 – but you have to donate it all to a charity. Which cause would you spend your money on? Can I choose a few? Of course I can, it’s my answer. I’d give 25% to the North Shore Animal League {world’s largest no kill animal rescue and adoption organization}. 25% to Love146 an organization to end child sex slavery and exploitation. 25% Imerman’s Angel’s benefiting those touched by cancer and helping them through it. I haven’t been affected by it but I’ve known plenty who have and I think this is a wonderful organization. 25% Autism Speaks because I think it’s important to get the word out about Autism.
5) Favorite childhood movie? Lady and the Tramp or Beauty and the Beast.
6) Which teacher in your past had the biggest effect on you? I had a lot of great teachers throughout my life but I think it was my College Math teacher, Mr. V. who had the most effect – some reading this may be shocked by that answer – but it’s honest. He was a transplant teacher – from the Bronx to small town, USA. He had 5 seniors in his college math class – and we were brats. We ran him through the ringer, especially me. We thought we were golden kids – like we could get away with anything. But he eventually leveled out with us and talked to us like adults, taught us about the world beyond our small country town, he believed in us despite how bratty we were {I was} he was our first taste of the real world and I thank him for that.
7) If you had an all expenses paid trip to ONE city in the world, where would you go? Paris. Paris is always a good idea.
8) Quick – you’re in the witness protection program and have to choose a NEW first name. What name would you want?? (creepy question, right? It’s midnight and I’m getting punchy. Time for bed, evidently…) Nora. I’ve always loved this name. It’s so classy. And it was my grandma’s name.
9) What is the worst meal/food you’ve ever had? Goat Cheese.
10) If you could meet a character in one of the books you’ve read, who would you meet? Patch from Hush, Hush {I just read this and Mmmm, he’s sexy.}
11) Congrats!!! You’re President!!! What is the first action you would take in your new position??? Make it standard to have a rotating closet in everyone’s home, ya know… like on Clueless {What – this is important people. AND this is why I’d never become president.}
What about you? If you had an all expenses paid trip to ONE city – where would YOU choose?
Happy Thursday, friends!

Pinteresting. {Inspired by Watermelons.}

Who doesn’t love these colors? I didn’t realize how much I loved them until I kept finding myself drawn to this color combination. I think it’s very fresh, classic, and so versatile. There are several shades of pink and green and I think that’s what makes them so fun to put together. You can go very muted with a mauve{esque} pink and an olive green {like my bedding} to vibrant neon pink and green {like my nails}. I’m feeling so inspired to use these colors in various projects right now. Apparently, I just can’t get enough of them.

And I must give credit where credit is due – I may not love pink and green as much if it weren’t for my favorite fruit in the universe. The watermelon. Let’s pay homage, folks.

Do you have a color combination you gravitate to more so than others?

Happy Tuesday, Cupcakes!

Don’t forget to head to Beth’s bloggity blog and see what has been inspiring her this week!

 

A penny for your thoughts…

Last night I finally managed to get out and run {it’s cold – I don’t know why I chose last night} however, it did feel good to get out there. And by run I mean it was kinda a run/walk… hey, it’s the thought that counts, right?

Andd… I attempted to make yum yum sauce with hibachi chicken and veggies for dinner. {ya know, the stuff at all those delicious Japanese restaurants} Guess what? I rocked it. I’ll probably be sharing the recipe on this little guy soon – whenever I get around to making it again and taking actual pictures. {So, it may be a minute!}

Tonight I’m having a catch up dinner with an old high school friend, and I’m definitely looking forward to that. It’s nice when you can remain friends with someone who’s known you since you were just a lil munchkin. And known you through all your bitchy phases, I’m guessing anyhow… I wouldn’t know anything about being a bratty teenager. Angel right here. Duh. 😉

Happy Thursday, Chickies!

What I find Pinteresting… {color. sunsets. and endings.}

Perfect Color Combination.

Skin Beauty Salad. Delicious lunch option. {via the lovely, Allie}

It's about the story.

Hair Bows. So fresh and pretty.

Elephant Laptop Case.

Gorgeous Sunset.

Don’t forget to see what Beth at With Glitter in her veins… has found pinteresting this week.

Are you on Pinterest? Do I follow you? Let me know!

Have a wonderful Tuesday, dolls!