Flowers, Wine and Pasta Spiced Up Our Valentines Day

Hope everyone had a nice Valentines Day yesterday.  I had a great day, I saw all three of my little darlings (grandbabies) which brightens any day.

Our Valentines Day, Walt’s and mine, was a little bit of everything.  There were flowers (the tulip bouquet Walt sent me), wine, a delicious and spicy pasta dish (definitely a keeper) and cheesecake with cherry topping.  Oh, I guess I should clarify……….the pasta was our “spiced up”, don’t think you’re getting more than that.  It was a very good day and evening.

Walt always remembers Valentines Day with flowers, he always has from the very first Valentines Day we celebrated together.  Every year I am always surprised when they arrive, I really don’t expect them.  I guess I just figure that at some point it may stop, but after nine years of marriage and 3 years of courting, they still keep coming.  Not that I  have had many, but Walt is the only guy who makes a big to do about Valentines Day, my birthday and our anniversary.

But I have to say it’s been a very, very long time since I can even remember a Valentines Day that I was alone.  My first husband was not a “buy you flowers” kind of guy.  He didn’t get into the holidays.  But once we had John and Nikki it didn’t matter.  I had them, and from the time they were born it was all about the little holidays.  They were only 10 days old on their first Valentines Day but I made sure they had little stuffed bears.  As they grew older and began going to school I started getting handmade Valentines from them, I have a box full of stuff downstairs in storage.  Kids art….the best!

Actually it was after my divorce that I started, kind of sort of, celebrating Valentines Day.  You see I have a best friend, her name is Tina and after my divorce she made it her mission in life to make sure that I was never alone during the holidays, any holiday, even made up holidays like Sweetest Day in October.  If the kids were celebrating with their dad, Tina was on my case about what I was doing.  If I was dating someone she was less likely to be a pest about it (I say this lovingly), but if I was not…..she was right there planning a night on the town.

Tina is kind of like a kid sister, she is several years younger than me yet sometimes she seems light years older in wisdom.  We have been through so much together, I can’t imagine not having her in my life.  It’s funny how things work out, that we would both find our selves not in committed relationships at the same time, so if we were both alone on Valentines Day Tina would plan a night out.

I’m not talking Burger King, Big Boy, Coney Island, or the local dive that is so dark no one knows you’re in there.  We went to some really nice, fancy restaurants and had a blast!!  We would order drinks, a nice dinner and dessert, even the one they set on fire at your table!!.  We would laugh and speculate what we thought the couples around us thought about our night out.  I have to say that my funny friend sometimes gave people the wrong idea when she would refer to me as “snookums.”  Yes….yes she did.  I would turn beet red and then we would burst out laughing.  In some “fringe” type universe Tina and I are probably a couple.

If Valentines Day happened to fall on a Friday or Saturday we would go out for our nice dinner then we would go back to the corner bar in New Boston.  I lived on a ten-acre farm for a bit, you know, four corners, blinking light, small town.  After our dinner we would meet up with friends, couples who celebrated together then headed to the bar, people we knew in passing, and a lot of times we would make new friends playing darts and pool.  There were even times we would met friends a karaoke bar in another town and sing the night away.

Good times, really, really great times, I’m laughing to myself just thinking about some of the crazy things we’ve done.  My point in sharing this is a couple of things.  Number 1, best friends who are that loyal are hard to find.  If you have that type of relationship with your best friend, do all you can to take care of it.  Tina is my Ethel, my Shirley, my Costello…..maybe it’s the other way around.  I don’t know…..I just know that she always has my best interest at heart, even when we disagree.

Ken (Tina’s husband) and Walt both have strange schedules do to the nature of their jobs.  I would bet my last dime (maybe I should make it a dollar) that if Tina and Ken were still living in Michigan instead of Colorado, Tina and I would have had dinner together last night.  I will admit, don’t get mad Tina, no one knows you on here except my family and they all think we’re crazy anyway, Tina did text me yesterday with a Happy Valentines Day.  Following that, she did recall all of the great times we’ve had in the past.  For us Valentines Day means tons of fond memories.

My 2nd point?  If you don’t have a significant other in your life right now or if you and the love of your life can’t be together, think outside the Valentines Day candy box!!  Grab some girlfriends, grab your sisters, go out and have a blast….have a nice dinner, go to a movie, get a mani/pedi together, go shopping.  Whatever you do, remember, it’s just another day…….and great memories are waiting to be made.

On to our recipe……..I found this on Pinterest and it is absolutely delicious.  I have been trying to find something comparable to the now discontinued Sante Fe Chicken Pasta from Red Robin and although this is different, I am very happy to say it has replaced my need to search for a knock off Red Robin recipe.

I am becoming more and more drawn toward purchasing a rotisserie chicken instead of buying chicken breasts when a recipe calls for shredded or cut up cooked chicken breasts.   I can purchase a rotisserie chicken for $4.99 with my Kroger card, use the breast meat for my recipe and then have left over chicken so I can make chicken salad or chicken sandwiches, resulting in at least 3 – 4 meals (1 dinner and 2-3 lunches) from one chicken.  For me this is much better than spending $4.99/lb. for chicken breasts which will only give me enough chicken for the recipe resulting in dinner that night and lunch the next day.

That’s what I did for this recipe, I bought a rotisserie chicken and it worked our really well.  I only used the chicken breast meat for this recipe.

I don’t know how this whole Pinterest thing goes, but I used the recipe that was posted by “teamcarroll,” who’s blog is “Pearls, Handcuffs, and Happy Hour.”  The recipe is from her post on Pinterest, the photo’s are mine as I made the dish.

Ok, so hopefully I’ve covered all the copyright laws, if I’m not on for a few days, someone check the jail……see we liked it that much I’m willing to take a chance.

Chicken Enchalla Pasta (“Pearls, Handcuffs, Happy Hour”)

2-3 chicken breasts, cooked & shredded {or shredded rotisserie chicken…I used the breasts}

2 tbsp. olive oil


2 garlic cloves, minced


1 medium onion, diced


1 red pepper, diced


1 {4 oz.} can diced green chiles


1/2 tsp. salt


2 tsp. chili powder


1 tsp. cumin


2 {10 oz.} cans green chili enchilada sauce


2/3 cups red enchilada sauce


2 cups shredded cheese {I used colby & monterrey jack}


1 cup sour cream


1 lb.  Penne pasta


Cook chicken, drain, and shred {or shred your rotisserie}.  Meanwhile boil pasta according to package and chop the veggies.

Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet and cook onions for about 3-5 minutes.  Add garlic & red pepper and cook for another 3-5 minutes.

Saute" onion, garlic and red pepper

Add cooked chicken, green chiles, cumin, chili powder, salt, & enchilada sauces.  Let sauce simmer for about 8-10 minutes.

Add cooked chicken, spices, sauces and chopped chilies

Add cheese and stir until the cheese is melted and heated through.

Add cheese, stir until melted

Add the sour cream.  DO NOT BOIL, sour cream will curdle

Mix well and heat until heated through

Add sour cream - DO NOT BOIL - Sour cream will curdle

Drain Pasta – Return to pot

Pour pasta sauce over penne and mix well

Serve with sour cream and green onions



Chopped Tomatoes

Black Olives

This makes a lot of pasta but it reheats very well in the microwave the next day.


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