Friday, July 13, 2012


We had meal plan success this week! Not ONCE did we eat out! Wednesday before group, I was tired, it was kinda close to go time, and Hector said, "Wanna just grab something on the way?" I thought about it, came {this} close to saying, "YES! I so don't wanna cook today!" but refrained, and said, "No, I've got the chicken thawed out... I'm going to make dinner."

So, we had this. Greek Salsa Chicken.

Because of aforementioned laziness and time constraints, I didn't take pictures of the prep. But I followed the recipe exactly.

It had this "salsa" on top.
parsley, cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta cheese, olive oil, oregano, lemon juice
BEST combo ever. We had leftover of this and ate it the following night with couscous. :)

I served it with roasted red potatoes. 

Tonight we had Grilled Cajun Ranch Chicken Pasta. Another win! Except, I tried the healthier option in the pasta sauce, where I used evaporated milk instead of heavy cream. And my sauce came out super watery! The flavor was there, but it didn't stick to the pasta whatsoever. But the marinade for the chicken was amazing! I'm SO excited to be taking that chicken in my lunch for work tomorrow!

It feels amazing to know that we didn't eat out, and that we followed our plan this week! Small victories, people. :)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Like Nutella? You'll love this!

You all know I have a SWEET tooth. Like, bad. So, when I ran across these on pinterest, I had to try them. Plus, I had ALL the ingredients at home! Why not? :)

Nutella Cookie Cups

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 jar Nutella (12-13 oz.)

Preheat oven to 350*. Grease mini-muffin pan, unless it's non-stick.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and both sugars until creamy.

Add the eggs and vanilla.
(I forgot the brown sugar until later, but they turned out fine!)

Gradually add the flour, baking soda and salt.
This is where I stopped and added the brown sugar!

Once it looks like dough, roll dough balls, about 1.5 inches wide. Put them in the mini-muffin pan. 

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown, but don't let the edges get too brown. 

Now, take a shot glass and press it into the centers of the cookies. 

Fill each cookie cup with about a tablespoon of Nutella. 

Now. EAT. You must eat one of these about 2 minutes after you fill them. The Nutella is gooey and warm and the cookie is moist and delicious. Serve with cold milk, I'm serious. These were a smashing hit! The recipe makes more dough than you'll probably need at one time. I think I used about a 2/3 of it. I just froze the rest of it, for a rainy day, you know. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

What's for Dinner?!

I used to toy with meal planning. Now, I'm serious. We have a small grocery budget each month and we have been going grossly over it lately. Not just with groceries, but with eating out too.

I sat down, looked through recipes and came up with this weeks plan. We buy groceries weekly. I just can't do it for a whole month.. or even two weeks. We do, however, take out cash every two weeks for groceries (haven't been.. but will now) and once that money is gone, so are our trips to the grocery store. BUT that's where the meal plan comes in! We plan it out, only buy those things and then we don't need to go back! And by buying each week, we are able to refill on basics like milk and bread.

July 7-13th Plan
Crunchy Pecan Chicken Tenders
Greek Salsa Chicken
Grilled Cajun Ranch Chicken Pasta
Tinga (a Mexican tostada dish)
Chili dogs
leftovers (twice)

(we eat small lunches i.e. sandwiches, rice, noodles, leftovers...)

So, tonight, we had Crunchy Pecan Chicken Tenders from the Plain Chicken.

So, grab these things:
chopped pecans
creole seasoning
chicken tenders
melted butter

Heat oven to 350*

Combine 1 cup of Bisquick, 1/2 cup chopped pecans, 1 teaspoon of creole seasoning, 1 teaspoon paprika and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a bowl.

like so.

Now, swish the tenders (about 2 pounds worth) in 1 cup of buttermilk. Then dunk them in the Bisquick mixture. Lay them in an ungreased 13x9 inch pan. 

Melt 1/4 cup of butter and drizzle it over the chicken.

like so.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the chicken is done.

There ya have it! I served ours with steamed broccoli and roasted squash. It was pretty good! Cohen and Hector liked it a lot. Can the record just show that I don't love "tenders"? I think they're a little tough and whyyyyy do they all have that nasty tendon running down the middle???? 

It didn't turn out too crunchy, either. But the flavor was good and I loved getting little bits of pecan in bites. :) Maybe less Bisquick? Less butter? Not sure how exactly to make it crunchier. 

A little of our vacay to the Smoky Mountains! part 3

It rained after the Biltmore and we had a beautiful rainbow waiting for us back at the condo. 

So pretty.
This was also the 4th of July! So we asked around and found a fireworks show to attend. Hector gets credit for all the firework shots. :)

So.. that concludes our trip to the Smokies. We got up and left the next morning. And spent 16 hours in the car with Cohen. It was a long day. :) 

A little of our vacay to the Smoky Mountains! part 2

One day, we went IN to the mountains. It smelled so fresh and natural. We stopped at this area on our way to Cade's Cove (one of the first settlements in the Smokies). 

hiking ;)

Daddy and Coco

Do babies still throw fits in the mountains? - you might be wondering.
Why, yes. Yes they do. ^^

My goofy boys!

Into Cade's Cove!

Most of my pics of Cade's Cove were on my iPhone.. and I haaaate uploading those pics. :(

Ready for a photo overload of America's largest home? The Biltmore!

Jesse and Reese doing a good job of keeping up with Coco!

My Mom!

Precious.. except he was dunking Lovey in that fountain... :-/

Granna and Pop!

Our little family! (Can you imagine living in there??)

Pops supervising another fountain visit. 

Trying to air out Lovey...

What the Vanderbilt's had to look at everyday... :(

Their garden.


I want to wear this for real. :)

check out part 3!

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