Monday, May 28, 2012

Recipe of the Week: Mom's Chicken Nuggets and Diced Potatoes

Here's another yummy and easy recipe. Back when I was leaving home for college heading to the wild wild west, I spent a few days going through all my mom's hundreds of recipe cards and wrote down all the ones I thought seemed easy enough for a girl just started out learning to cook. This one has always been a favorite in our house. Brad loves it, and every time we have it for dinner he acts like it's the first time he's ever eaten it, constantly telling me how good it is.

Momma B's Chicken Nuggets

what you need:
1 pound chicken breast (Brad and I usually eat 1 to 1 1/2 breasts)
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon parsley

what you do:
Cut chicken into 1 1/2 inch squares.
 
Mix dry ingredients.

Melt butter. (It doesn't have to be completely melted. As you can see, I still have a few soft parts in there.)

Dip chicken into melted butter and then into mixed dry ingredients. WARNING: you'll get messy.

 Arrange nuggets on a foil-lined, sprayed baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
 (Crazy Blogger keeps flipping this picture 90 degrees and won't let me change it! Gah! Sorry for the required head-tilt.)

Beyond Easy Diced Potatoes

I've tried tons of different potato recipes using millions of combinations of spices, cheeses, gravies, you name it. But one day I decided enough was enough, and I just gonna butter some taters and throw in the oven. And I've never looked back - so yummy!

what you need:
potatoes (Brad and I usually eat 2 large potatoes)
butter

what you do:
Dice your potatoes. I dice them pretty small so they'll cook faster - like maybe in half inch-ish sized cubes. Place cubed potatoes in foil-lined pan (if I can line a pan with foil before I cook whatever's in the pan I do it - love me some easy clean-up).
 
Pile on the butter. If you use as much butter as I do (which I totally recommend) you won't need to spray your pan. I used about a half stick. Just cut little pieces and evenly distribute around pan.

If I'm not cooking these with the nuggets from above I usually bake these suckers at 350 for 30 minutes. But I just throw them in about 5-10 minutes before the nuggets (so just put the potatoes in and then start on the nugget prep) at 400 degrees, and they'll totally fine and cooked by the time the chicken's done.

Brad likes ketchup on his (and on the nuggets as well), and I do salt and pepper. Whatever your fancy.

Oh, and on a side note. What the heck happened to this potato?? It's got a 3 inch gap right in the middle of it. It was disgusting and got tossed.

This is definitely a mono-chromatic meal, so I usually try to throw in some green fruit like apples or kiwis or grapes or maybe even some green veggies like spinach or broccoli.

Brad was so excited for this yummy dinner that he took another picture of it once it was one the table. 
The drinks are frozen strawberry limeades. I found the recipe on pinterest, and they're super yummy. HERE'S the link.

Happy eating,

Courtney

Momma B's Chicken Nuggets

1 pound chicken breast
1/4 cup melted margarine
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon parsely

Cut chicken into 1 1/2 inch squares.
Mix dry ingredients.
Dip chicken in melted butter.
Arrange on foil-lined baking sheet.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Recipe of the Week: Tomato, Mozzarella, Basil, and Tortellini Skewers

I've decided to post one recipe a week. Hopefully this will benefit anyone who reads this blog by giving ya'll new ideas, but honestly I'll be doing this more for myself. I don't know about you, but I frequently find myself making the same old things. I have certain recipes that I love and know by heart, and they get a lot more table time than anything else. By posting just one recipe each week I feel like I'm pretty much guaranteeing at least a little variety in our meals (that is, after I finish posting about all the recipes I know like the back of my hand :))

This week: 
Tomato, Mozzarella, Basil, and Tortellini Skewers

What you'll need:
grape or cherry tomatoes
mozzarella cheese
fresh basil leaves
tortellini
olive oil
black pepper

What you'll do:
1. First get your tortellini started boiling, and cook for about 8 minutes (or whatever the package says). Make sure you put a little olive oil in with the water so they don't stick together. (I bought this kind at Kroger, but my favorite kind is at Costco - because they're colored, not because they taste better.)
2. This step is completely optional. Roast your tomatoes. Put them on a foil-lined pan, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with black pepper, and throw in the oven on broil. They won't need to be in there for long. Just turn on your oven light and watch them. They'll start wrinkling, but you don't want them to pop. *If this sounds like too much work, just don't do it*
3. Now get your cheese and basil ready. I just pulled off chunks of cheese from the block, but you can certainly be more fancy and cut it. 
I did the same thing with the basil leaves. Some were ginormous, so I just shredded them into smaller pieces by hand.
4. Put the skewers together, and enjoy!
 This seriously takes about 15 minutes. The longest part is letting the pasta boil. And it's a great (and super easy) summer time meal.

Now if you can't handle thinking about eating a tomato you're not alone. I just can't eat them either. No way they're cut, cooked, grilled - nothing. So, I put this lovely meal together for my sweet husband who LOVES tomatoes, and I ate this:
I figured it was pretty much the same thing. Homemade tomato sauce, tortellini, and fresh basil on top. :)

Happy eating,

Courtney


 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I love this girl

When we first moved to Georgia from Provo the first thing I wanted was a puppy. When we were in school we didn't have time for one, and our landlords didn't allow any pets. But I had always planned on getting one as soon as I possibly could. After tons and tons of research on tons and tons of different dog breeds, colors, hair types, temperaments, personalities, etc. we decided on this cute little puppy Brad found on Craigslist.
She was 5 weeks old and had been taken away from her momma too early. Her mom got really sick after the puppies were born, so they all had to be taken away so they wouldn't get sick too. Killer went to a pit bull who had just had a litter and was still nursing them. She was put in a kennel all day and didn't get any cuddles or loves. She had fleas all over her and her claws had been cut too short. And she had a ball of worms in her tummy. She wasn't even a pound soaking wet, and we immediately fell in love with her. I just had to scoop her up and take her home and show her how much she'd been missing with no one loving her.
We couldn't get enough of her. Her adorable floppy ears, her millions of wrinkles from skin that was too big for her little frame, her bright blue-green eyes, her little cries in the middle of the night when she'd up wake lonely, her sharp little baby teeth, her constant cuddling. She was so tiny we had to buy her a cat collar because even the smallest of the small dog collars slide completely off her.
This little puppy softened my heart to everything in the world. I noticed I was more kind and considerate to everyone. I was more understanding. I cried thinking about all the stray animals outside cold and lonely in the middle of the night. I couldn't stand hearing stories about animal abuse. I loved taking care of this little living thing. She needed me. I fed her and gave her water. I played with her and bought her treats at the grocery store. I was constantly reading about how to train her and what foods she couldn't eat. I took her to get shots and just like any other good momma I winced at her pain and sheer terror of being in a new place on a cold steel table.
But soon she grew up. Between her second and third vet visits, a matter of 3 weeks, she had doubled her weight. She'd gone from 4 pounds to 8 pounds. My little puppy was getting bigger, and stronger, and faster. She loved to run, and she was good at it. She could run circles around the other dogs she met, and she liked it that way. No one could ever catch. She was wild and free.
Sure she got into messes. And sure she drove me crazy sometimes. But I always loved her.
When we knew we were once again moving, and after we had decided we would buy a house the first thing I would always ask Brad about the newest Zillow listing he had found was, "Does it have a fenced in backyard?" I knew Killer would absolutely love to run wild in a backyard. She could chase squirrels and dig and play without having to be a leash. I wanted that her for. Because I want her to be happy.

We found her a backyard that's just perfect. It's got lots of trees, which are perfect homes for squirrels. It's got a garden made of cross ties, which is perfect for jumping on. And it's got lots of good digging spots. It also has a nice shaded porch for when the playing pup gets hot and tired and needs a break.

Brad has had the wonderful luxury of being able to work at home this past week. We've been blessed in that his job has allowed him to go completely virtual so we could move down here to Augusta. This morning while he was on a conference call Killer and I went outside so we wouldn't be in his way. She's gotten to the point where she'll go outside and play by herself, but she really loves it if someone comes out with her. After running around and jumping and chasing and barking she got tired and jumped up in the chair beside me, which is when I snapped this picture:
It was a beautiful morning and it hadn't gotten too hot yet. And just sitting on the porch in the backyard of our new house I got an overwhelming feeling and realization of how blessed we really are - in all aspects of our life. But since this post is about our sweet loving pup, I'll stick to her. For the past (almost) two years my life has been enriched by this little creature. I know that sounds so silly, but she has seriously changed my life. I learned so much about myself and I've developed a greater sense of charity all from being the proud momma of this little dog. Every day she makes me laugh, and I smile just thinking about her.

Killer's birthday is on Sunday, and we'll definitely be celebrating it. She'll be spoiled with treats and presents and a special doggie peanut butter and carrot cake...yum! I'm so thankful for my little 19 pound ball of constant energy. I sure do love her.

Courtney

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

we're homeowners!

We first went to Augusta on March 17 to look for houses. We looked at probably 12 different homes. And I naively assumed that one of those 12 homes would jump out at us, and we'd fall in love with it right then and there. After we viewed the last house I honestly thought to myself, "That's it?!" We really felt like buying a house was the best thing for us. It's so much cheaper to buy than to rent right now. We're going to be in Augusta for the next four years, and over that period of time we'd save so much money by actually owning the house we lived in. But I couldn't believe that we didn't just LOVE one of the houses we'd seen. 
All along the way I had been taking notes on all the houses. I even had a little heart system going on - 1 heart meant we liked it and 2 hearts meant we really liked it. There were 4 houses that had hearts, so it was pretty easy to cut 3/4 of the homes out of the running. After lots of deliberation and going to back to see 2 of the houses again (thanks to a wonderfully patient real estate agent), we finally made a decision.
That day we made an offer. After some counter offers and lots of negotiating we finally signed a contract. 
Then the wait began.
I guess the closing could have come much later than it did. But the 51 days from time we found the house to the time we actually owned it seemed like an eternity.
I felt like I was constantly on the phone or always responding to emails and always sending tons of papers to work with Brad so he could fax them. And I had to go down to Augusta for home and termite inspections.
But in the end it was all worth it. And the house that we weren't completely crazy about in the beginning we absolutely love now.
During those 51 days of waiting we couldn't stop thinking about the house and how we would soon own it. I was (and still am) constantly brainstorming how I would decorate each room, and with the help of pinterest I think I've got a pretty solid plan.
We drove to Augusta yesterday to sign all the final papers to make the house officially our's. We took some boxes and picture frames that would fit in our car and left them in OUR new house. We spent some time cleaning while I washed and dried a load of laundry. The house came with a washer and dryer, but we have both of those currently that we had to buy for our apartment. So I wanted to make sure that I liked how they worked so we could sell the ones we have now.
We aren't moving for another 2 weeks. Brad can't go virtual with his job until then, I have a final, and we still have to finish up packing.
My family is fantastic, and they're coming down from Tennessee to help us pack up our moving truck and then unload it at our new house.
So I guess what everyone is really wanting is to see the house! Here's a little video Brad made from when we first went to see the house back in March.
video

Also, if you've never bought a house before, here's what it looks like:

Lots and lots and lots of paperwork. Millions of signatures, thousands of initials.

Anyone is welcome to come visit us in OUR brand new house (so it was actually built in 1999, but it's brand new to us) just as soon as I get it all together in, let's say, June.

Brad and Courtney

shout out to friends

Today is the 2nd wedding anniversary of our wonderful and bestest (yes, I just said "bestest" and yes I know that's most likely the worst grammar I've ever used in my entire life) friends Sara and Steve!

We're pretty much crazy about these two. They are seriously so awesome. We have so so many fond memories of all the fun times we've had with Sara and Steve. Two in particular are learning to country dance (which Brad and I have since forgotten) and the Hare Kishna Holi festival.

We hate that we live so far away. We miss hanging out with them and always having someone awesome to do something fun with. Happy anniversary Sara and Steve! We hope it's a great day!

Brad and Courtney