Thursday, February 11, 2010

Why

     Why is a very important word. Not only does it help one relate to others or create understanding (i.e. Why someone is acting the way the are), but it can also explain a state of learning. For example, the "Why Phase" of childhood. It just hit me the other day that I am going to be in the never-ending, question asking, universal discovery phase for at least, oh- the next 5-10 years of my life. (I feel like I just recounted some prison sentence!) On the subject of understanding however, I have decided to look in retrospect at this last week by asking a few "Why" questions myself;  
Why am I feeling this way? (confusion) Why did we change our plans almost literally the day after we made them (some desperate attempt to remain in control) Why did Adam struggle with his first spanish question ever in the most important interview of his known military career, right before graduation, and thus affect the result of not only that test, but quite possibly the outcome of our future pay grade? (sick irony) Why did I dye my hair dark dark brown with fantastically 70'sish bangs? (I found out I was pregnant a few weeks ago and I thought this would be "easier", plus I got bored) Why do we still not have orders that will allow us to schedule our move that needs to be complete in exactly 1 week and 6 days because we already signed paperwork to sign out of a house that we will no longer be in come 2 weeks from now (Life can stink, people don't do their jobs, and sometimes it is just not fair) and of course on a more important philosophical note, Why do bad things happen to good people and thus good things happen to bad people (Again, life stinks, people can make their own choices...yadda yadda....the Gods must be crazy etc)
     So, what brings me to such a deep and introspective point in my life? Could it be that this whole move was seemingly dependent on this new little life we were so graciously and un-expectedly blessed with? Could it be that we have had more learning experiences in this last 6 months than the last 6 years of our marriage? Could it be that the Gods MUST be crazy, and thus even laughing at us and more specifically me at this very moment of thoughtful contemplation? And why wouldn't they laugh? Haven't we all laughed at others or our own children as they sort through the mysteries of life, not in a maniacal way (hopefully, if so you may need medication) but in a completely humane and personally relatable way, that is meant to bring compassion and a lightness of heart that could soften even the most hostile of environments? Alas, it is more for my own good. What are the words to that song from Anna Nalick, "2 am and I'm still awake writing a song and if I get it all down on paper it's no longer inside of me threatening the life it belongs to" (or something like that) I have found an outlet now, and other than the food that I love to experiment with and make, it's this new opportunity to write that has been most satisfying.
     And with that, I am going to add some completely satisfying dinner recipes for you to enjoy. While I am not guaranteeing that they are very healthy or nutritious in terms of fat and calories much less veggie content, they most certainly are gratifying comfort foods that will satiate your pallet, appease your appetite, and fortify any sullen spirit.


     Chicken Alfredo con Broccoli


1 pint heavy cream of whole milk
1/2 c butter + a little more for the pan 
1/2-3/4 c parmesan cheese
1 tsp garlic powder or more if desired
salt and pepper to taste, other seasonings for chicken
8 oz fettucini noodles cooked and drained
4 chicken breasts
1 crown broccoli or steamer bag of broccoli
olive oil for pan


Heat saute pan over med-high. Add a little olive oil and butter to coat pan. Cook chicken breasts with a little garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper (or other desired seasonings) for about 3-4 minutes per side til no longer pink. Drain pan and set chicken aside to rest (this is major, don't cut it up for at least 5 minutes). Combine butter and cream. Simmer til melted, add parmesan and garlic, and simmer for another 15-20 over low. While simmering, cook and salt broccoli in a saucepan of shallow water over med. heat til soft (or use those fantastically economical and time saving steamer bags of broccoli from Birds Eye in the microwave, awe-some). Make sure you cook the fettucini in the meantime. Chunk chicken into bite-sized pieces. Toss pasts lightly with sauce, chicken bites and broccoli. Serve Hot, with extra parmesan if desired. Tip* a little cream cheese added to the sauce will thicken and add more substance to the alfredo.


     Easy Chicken Pot Pie


1 box ready crust with 2 pie crusts (or your own recipe)
1 can cream of mushroom and 1 can cream of chicken soup (opt for 99% fat free)
any left over mixed veggies (also a great use for Birds Eye steamer mixed veggies)
Optional; 1 diced potato and onion, any addt'l mushrooms
1 can chicken or leftover cooked chicken
salt and pepper to taste


Cook potato and onion in a saute pan til soft. Add mushroom if using, chicken and vegetables. Heat through, and add cans of soup and mix thoroughly. Place a pie crust in a 9'' pie pan, prick the bottom a couple times. Add the mixture, place addt'l crust on top (or fill the pie plate without a crust and only top with a crust to save on calories) Bake at 425^ for about 20 min or til crust is golden brown. Let rest a few minutes if you can! Kids love this topped with cheese


     Sweet and Quick Turkey Meatloaf


1 lb ground turkey
1/2-1 c pureed leftover veggies (usually tomato, broccoli, mixed veggies, whatever)
1/4 - 1/2 c diced onion (sometimes I blend this as well for ease)
1 egg
crushed saltines or breadcrumbs (leftover rice pureed as well works here! or even oats, basically whatever type of grain you have on hand to absorb the juices/fat)
spices to taste (basil, onion, garlic, salt, pepper etc)
about 1 tbsp ketchup plus 2 tbsp ketchup
brown sugar
BBQ sauce


Preheat oven to 375^. Mix (by hand is a little easier) all above ingredients in a large bowl except the 2 tbsp of ketchup and brown sugar. Add to a lightly sprayed large loaf pan (not the little ones!) Mix ketchup and brown sugar and add to the top of the meatloaf. Poke a couple of times with a knife. Bake at 375^ for about and hour til meat is no longer pink. If your family does not like the ketchup kind (my hubby doesn't) then omit ketchup topping. We just leave a little uncovered and make a smidge of chicken gravy on the side for him, and even the kids for dipping. 


      Paula Deen's Baked French Toast Casserole (from the Food Network)



  • 1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Dash salt
  • Praline Topping, recipe follows
  • Maple syrup

Directions

Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. (Use any extra bread for garlic toast or bread crumbs). Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.

Praline Topping:

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Makes enough for Baked French Toast Casserole.

3 comments:

  1. Love the recipe choices, we all love comfort food and sometimes they just fill you up in a warm way! As you reflect I find I am back at moments of my own life, or in the middle of now! Finding moments to reflect on our life's direction, circumstances, or experiences can bring a realization of so many great understandings, learning experiences, memories of good friendships, support of loved ones and family, and the amazment we feel as we see the blessings God sent/sends to us in these difficult times! How wonderful to be able to express these times and the growth and change that happens to us over a lifetime, or in the today! Thanks for the great reminder and the treasures of life that you have helped me relive!

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  2. ahhhh so many recipes...mouth...is...watering!!

    And WHAAAAA??? Preggo?? :P

    girl.
    girl.
    girl.

    thinking girlie thoughts :P

    ReplyDelete
  3. Congratulations! And still hoping everything works out for you and you can settle down somewhere and look forward to your new little baby!

    ReplyDelete

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