{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!

 

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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!

 

 

{Pinteresting} Making a comeback…

Sometimes I get bored when I do something over and over again – I think I can equate that to undiagnosed ADD. So I stopped doing my Pinteresting Tuesday posts. I kinda stopped blogging. AND playing on Pinterest for a bit. Butttttttttt… it’s baaack!

Try to contain your excitement, guys. I know… you’re on the edge of your seat right now.

There isn’t a theme this week… just a hodpodge of things I’ve found pin worthy.

So, I mentioned yesterday about my “Morning Person Wannabe” thing – well, this, I think I could do…

I was inspired by this recipe and concocted something similar last week – it was DELICIOUS!!!! Recipe to be posted soon!

I think this is another good reminder. To be content where you are and to make the most of your life even if there are things you want to change… eventually.

I need to do this to my nails.

Loving this color palette. L.O.V.I.N.G.

See, I told you it was a bit random. Kinda my theme of the week apparently. Do you follow me on pinterest? No? You should… jacmaries.

Happy Tuesday, kittens!

Monday Randoms. {Coconut oil. The Vow. Moscato.}

I made Strawberry Moscato Punch on Friday night – y’all – I think this is going to need to be a staple in my fridge from now on. At least for the summer. It was so easy.

1 large bottle of Moscato

1 can of strawberry/orange juice concentrate {or any juice concentrate of your liking}

8 oz. of Sprite {ish}

Mix it all in the pitcher and drink to your little alcoholic happy heart’s content. I think it’d be really good with fruit slices in it too – but I wasn’t trying to be fancy this weekend.

I also made a pasta bake – but obviously made the drink first. Priorities, people. 😉

Friday night, Missy and I decided to have a little DIY spa/girlie movie night. We put gobs of organic coconut oil in our hair and let it soak while we watched The Vow. {I’ll get to that in a minute} First of all – it smelled amazing, I love the smell of coconut. And once I washed it out my hair was so soft and manageable. I think I’m going to try to do this every couple of days. Being blonde kind of strips my hair of moisture and I can already feel such a difference just after one use. We also mashed up an avocado and slathered it on our faces and let it dry. My skin felt AMAZING once I washed it off. I had some very happy hair and skin this weekend.

The Vow – ohmigoodness… *sigh* that movie definitely pulled on my heartstrings. I can’t believe I waited so long to watch it! What was I thinking?! They cast that movie so, so well. I’m always for a sappy chic flick and this one completely fulfilled that. If you haven’t seen it – do it. 🙂

Last week I thought I wanted to try to persuade my 29 year old self into all of the sudden becoming a morning person. I set my alarm for 7am and hoped to get up and workout, get ready for my day, enjoy a nice breakfast and not be so rushed. Do you think that happened? Hell no. I can’t – apparently you can’t teach this old dog new tricks. I need to accept that and move on. It was a nice thought though… maybe one day. {Although, I’m not holding my breath 😉}

Now, my loves – I’m off to do some reading. I discovered the book Sisterhood Everlasting this weekend while at Barnes and Noble. I’ve been a huge fan of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants saga since it came out. {Years ago!} This last one has fast forwarded {is that a word? No? Oh well.} to when they’re turning 30 and how life has changed them and their friendship. You have no clue how crazy excited I was when I found this – AND then realized I still had $$ on my BN gift card… one. happy. girl.

And one last thought for your Monday…

Always remember… take a moment… and just enjoy life.

Happy Monday, lover butts. I hope it’s not rainy where you are {unless of course you are like me and enjoy the rain…}.

 

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.