Sunday, July 25, 2010

cooking mania

this weekend michael's dad came to visit.  he lives with his elderly mother and has to do all of the cooking because she no longer can.  each time we see him i try and make a bunch of different meals that can be frozen and then simply heated in the oven.  they aren't gormet meals by any means, but they are easy to make and taste great.  i have featured a few of these on my blog in the past.  the ones that haven't been posted yet, i will leave their recipes.

after a trip to the grocery store i was ready to get started.

on the menu was:
chicken spaghetti
chicken tortilla soup
{this time on grandma nita's soup i used canned carrots and potatoes to save on prep time...still turned out great!}

above is everything that was made:
2 chicken pot pies
2 quiche loraines
3 chicken spaghetties
2 soups
1 breakfast casserole

not bad for an hour and a half of cooking!  here are a few freezing tips:
1.  for the breakfast casserole, i cooked the sausage and then mixed the remaining ingredients together.  i did not bake it before freezing.  when he pops it in the oven, it will cook the rest of way.
2. i mixed all ingredients together for the chicken tortilla soup in a big bowl and did not cook it.  i used canned chicken, so i didn't have to worry about any raw meat.  after mixing i simply poured it into a large freezer zip lock back and then placed that bag into another freezer zip lock bag.
3.  i did cook grandma nita's soup prior to bagging b/c it called for cooked ground beef.  once it cooled, i poured it into the freezer zip lock bags.
4.  i did not bake the chicken spaghetti before freezing, just mixed everything together and sealed it up for freezing.
5.  make sure everything is packaged securely with foil, plastic wrap or lids.  you don't want freezer burn!

this is a great way to get a bunch of meals done at one time.  they are all really easy and fast recipes that make for easy week night cooking, pull the frozen meal out of the freezer in the morning, or the night before and put in the refrigerator.  when you get home from work, just pop it into the oven until it gets warm all the way through.  here are the two recipes that i have not posted previously.

c h i c k e n   s p a g h e t t i
1 1/4 cup cooked spaghetti
1 can white meat chicken {the best canned chicken is from sam's!}
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup cheese {any kind}
1 can cream of chicken soup {i use the fat free kind}
2 tablespoons picante sauce
1/2 cup chopped onion

cook spaghetti, drain and set aside.  mix chicken, onion, cream of chicken soup, green peppers, picante sauce and spaghetti together.  pour into a 9x13 baking pan.  top with cheese.  cook at 325 degrees for 45 minutes or until warm through and melted cheese.  you can start the baking in a cold oven...don't have to wait for it to heat.

c h i c k e n   t o r t i l l a   s o u p
1 envelope chicken noodle soup mix
3 cups chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes with juice
1 medium onion chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 1/2 cups water
1 can chopped green chilis
1 can of chicken {or 1 cup grilled chicken breast or rotisserie chicken}
tortilla chips
grated cheese

in medium sauce pan, combine envelope of chicken noodle soup mix with 3 cups chicken broth.  add remianing ingredients except tortilla chips and cheese.  bring to a boil.  simmer, stirring occasionally for 8 minutes.  spoon into bowls and top with cheese and crumbled tortilla chips.      

hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Friday, July 23, 2010


i have come across two websites that offer awesome daily deals.  the first one is GROUPON.  this is available in different cities around the states.  you register for free  and every day you are emailed a coupon.  a certain number of people have to purchase the coupon before it is "a go", which explains the name GROUPON...a group coupon!  they range from restaurant deals {get $40 of food or beverages for $20}, spa deals {massages, pedicures, cut and color, etc.}, photo printing {i got a coupon for a canvas print}, etc.  it highlights local businesses around town.  it's a fun treat each morning to see what the new deal is.  

LIVING SOCIAL is the same concept, so instead of one great coupon a day, you have two to look at.  FYI...their coupon today is $40 food/beverages at Kilkenny's for only $20.  check them out and see what awesome deals you get!  i'm finding that it is a great way to try out different restaurants around town.  this week i purchased one for Mod's Coffee & Crepes downtown.  I'm super excited to try them out b/c i LOVE crepes!

Happy Friday!

Monday, July 19, 2010

i'm baaack!

we made it back to the states from vacation all in one piece!  we had a great time and are still unpacking and getting things back in order at the house.  i took many pictures and subjected my parents to going through them last night.  i'm hoping to consolidate them quickly so i can post some! 

in the mean time, check out this adorable bundle of joy....landry
the night before we left for london, i got to snap a few pictures and she is so tiny and precious! 

big brother logan loves his little sister to pieces!

landry has an adorable nursery!

just a small flower

happy monday!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

this and that

i feel like the past month i have been running around like crazy!  between getting ready for vacation, tons of stuff at work and spending time with family and friends, i haven't had much time to sit down - - or think for that matter!

the day has finally come (tomorrow) for us to leave on vacation!  woo hoo!  i am more than excited...and a bit stressed b/c i still have a bunch to do + work until noon tomorrow.  for those who don't know, mymichael and i plus another couple are going to london, paris and rome.  it's the first time i've been to europe and i have wanted to go for as long as i can remember.  it still doesn't seem possible that tomorrow evening (central time) we will be in london.  i think it will be one of those things that once we get there it will seem like a dream or something and then when we get home we will wonder if we REALLY were there.  however it works, i am going to enjoy every last minute of it.

i do have to say that i have been loving my fed ex and ups guys.  i have had goodies delivered quite frequently.  here are some of the goodies {some of you all gave input in what i should get...thank you!}:

new 5d mark ii

camera bag {the black and grey ones are on back-order.  blue isn't my fave but it will do!}

ecco gladiator sandals....they are comfortable!  i originally got a pair of merrell ones, but after ordering 2 sizes and one being too big, the other too small, i went with these.  so far they are great.  i'll put them to the test!

a rented wide angle 16mm-35mm/2.8.  just got it yesterday and after the few minutes i have played with it, can i just say "holy moly!"  this thing is awesome.  it is going to be great on vacation!  {}

i'm the worst packer ever, so last weekend i visited my sis in stillwater and she helped me pack.  she said to bring some clothes with me, this is what i brought...

what to pack, what to pack?

kj is awesome with fashion.  she can put an outfit together in no time flat and and have you looking your best.  we had a good time...see packing can be fun!  oh, and i haven't mentioned yet, but mymichael is CARRYING ON!  yeah, he is not checking a bag like a normal person would do, he is packing in his GYM BAG.  i tell you is C R A Z Y! =)

monday night my friend allison took me and kelly to downtown for a night photography crash course.  enough to hopefully allow me to get some good night photos.  it's so different than photography during the day.  we had a blast.  thank goodness downtown tulsa is dead at night b/c we were literally in the middle of the street, at times on our stomachs b/c one of us was using a table top tripod.  i'm sure the few cars that drove by thought we were crazy.  anyways, here are some practice shots.

check out those star bursts on the stop lights...and can you see the car tail light trail on the right side of the pic?

the pic below is achieved by zooming in or out when your shutter is open.  pretty cool affect!

and finally, here is just a cool sihloette {sp?} shot in my front yard

i hope everyone has a fun 4th of july...please light some firecrackers for me and eat lots of good food.  we'll be stuffing our mouths with bangers and mash...that is what they serve in london, right? 
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