Hearty Soups and Stew Recipes


Rezich Family Kitchen

Can you tell we’re anxiously waiting for spring and summer?  Like most of the country our temperatures in Michigan are unbelievable cold.  At 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon, with the sun shinning we are at -2 degrees F.

Snow Storm January 2014

Great day for staying indoors and making a hearty soup or chili that will warm you from the inside out.  Today we’d like to share with you the link to our Chili, Soup and Stew Recipe page.

Visit our Chili, Soup and Stews Page at Rezich Family Kitchen

https://rezichfamilykitchen.wordpress.com/chili-soups-and-stew-recipes/

 

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Cocoa Chili

Loaded Chicken And Potatoes

Today I have a special treat, a recipe from my daughter Nikki.  Nikki is a wonderful cook, like her momma she isn’t afraid to try new things or to deviate from a recipe to make it her own.  If Nikki is afraid of anything it’s the thought of me turning the blog over to her, just can’t seem to get Nikki comfortable with writing about her cooking adventures.  I’m working on it though.

We’re pretty proud of our girl.  She is going through some life changes lately some are good, a few are bad, others are sad.  But Nikki is a strong girl with a good head on her shoulders, there is no doubt she is going to come out on top of all of this.

Recently Nikki quit her job of eight plus years because of the hours and the time it was taking her away from her little man Eric who started Kindergarten this past September.  As scary as that decision was it turned out to be the right one.  Nikki immediately landed a great job with endless possibilities; a great place for her to settle into a career and not just a job.  Best of all she can take Eric to school in the morning and she is home at night with her little man.  Eric loves it and so does Nikki!   It also means that I get to spend a couple hours a day, a few days a week with Eric before Nikki comes home.  It’s a win, win, win for all three of us!

Eric and Nikki have been putting their time together to good use.  They do homework, read books, play outside, go for walks and play on ABC Mouse.  They have been cooking up a storm too!!  It’s fun watching them together, Nikki will actually ask Eric what they should make for dinner, he gives his opinion.  A family meeting resulting in a joint decision, a mutual agreement.  Needless to say I am hoping that all this cooking and experimenting over there is going to be great for our blog!

Yesterday when Nikki shared this recipe on her Facebook page and posted that she was making it for dinner last night I knew I had to get her to let me blog about it.  I had no doubt that I wouldn’t get Nikki to write the blog so we agreed that she would whip up the dish and let me know how it turned out so I could blog about it.

When Nikki took it out of the oven she sent me a picture via text and her message read; “Smells and looks fantastic!”  After she taste tested it she sent me another text; “OMG!!  Cajun instead of paprika one “hell of a kick!!”  It’s awesome!!  No doubt Nikki is my daughter, she used Cajun instead of the paprika the recipe calls for.  Not only did she make a spice switch she made sure it was spicy too!!

This dish is easy to make and can be put together pretty quickly.  Perfect for a fall evening at home while spending time with those you love.  Give it a try!

Thanks Nikki!!  Can I put my request in now for one new recipe a week?  Next I have to work on my momma, she has some great recipes I’d like to share, I just need to get Mom a digital camera for photo’s!!

Have a great Thursday everyone!!

Loaded Chicken and Potatoes

LOADED CHICKEN AND POTATOES

Ingredients:

1 lb boneless chicken breasts, cubed (1″)

6-8 medium skin on red potatoes, cut in 1/2″ cubes

1/3 c olive oil

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 Tbsp paprika (Nikki substituted Cajun Seasoning)

2 Tbsp garlic powder

2 Tbsp hot sauce (more if you like it HOT)

Topping:

2 c fiesta blend cheese

1 c crumbled bacon

1 c diced green onion (Nikki omitted the onion)

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Spray a 9X13″ baking dish with cooking spray
  • In a large bowl, mix together the olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika (cajun seasoning), garlic powder, and hot sauce
  • Add the cubed potatoes and chicken and stir to coat
  • Carefully scoop the potatoes and chicken into the prepared baking dish
  • Bake the potatoes and chicken for 55-60 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes, until cooked through, crispy, and browned on the outside
  • While the potatoes are cooking, fry your bacon (about half a pound)
  • Once the potatoes and chicken are fully cooked, remove from the oven
  • Top the cooked potatoes with the cheese, bacon, and green onion
  • Return the casserole to the oven and bake for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted

Serve with any of the following:

  • Extra hot sauce
  • Ranch Dressing
  • Sour Cream

Source:  N. Kiester (Source: SuperMoms Raising Healthy Kids – Kristen Washington)

Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Pasta

There is no denying that I have been on a mission, for several years now, to find the perfect recipe that comes even remotely close to Red Robin’s Sante Fe Chicken Pasta, which unfortunately they replaced it with Southwest Chicken Pasta and there is absolutely no comparison between the two, I’d rather have the original Sante Fe Chicken Pasta.

Sante Fe Chicken Pasta had a great kick to it, a creamy alfredo sauce with chipolte peppers, sweet red and green peppers. slivers of sautéed red onion served over a bed of penne pasta and grilled chicken breast on top – YUMMY!  Over the years I’ve tried several “Sante Fe” type recipes and they just don’t come close enough for me so, I keep trying.

When I found this recipe, Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Pasta, on Pinterest through allthecooks.com; http://www.allthecooks.com/crockpot-buffalo-chicken-pasta.html.  I did make just a few minor additions, I added sliced red, green and yellow peppers (half of each one) along with a small red onion slivered.  I tossed it in about an hour before dinner was scheduled to be ready.

I knew this wasn’t going to taste like the Sante Fe Chicken Pasta I was craving but it sure did look delicious and I was hoping that the buffalo wing hot sauce would give it enough of a kick for me.  I’m happy to say this recipe was quite delicious and easy to make.  Go ahead, give it a try.

Crock Pot Buffallo Chicken Pasta

CROCK POT BUFFALO CHICKEN PASTA

What You’ll Need:

1 pound ·  Chicken breasts, bite-sized pieces

1 can · Cream of chicken soup

½ cup · Hot sauce, like for buffalo wings

1 ½ cup · Shredded mozzarella cheese

½ cup · Crumbled blue cheese

Sliced red, green and yellow peppers

Sliced red onion – thin

3 cup · Uncooked penne pasta

1 ½ cup · Sour cream

Directions:

  • Season chicken with salt and pepper and put in crock pot
  • Add soup and hot sauce and stir
  • Cook on low 4-6 hours or high 2-3 hours
  • About an hour before adding the cheeses and sour cream add your onion and peppers
  • Stir in cheeses and sour cream
  • Turn off crock pot
  • Cook pasta according to package directions – Drain.
  • Add to crock pot
  • Stir well and serve

Source:   allthecooks.com; http://www.allthecooks.com/crockpot-buffalo-chicken-pasta.html

Quick And Easy Nacho Chicken

Do you like cooking at home, creating tasty dishes and desserts for your family?  Or do you prefer the convenience of eating out or maybe picking up a quick take out?  Where does your preference lie?  10 years ago I would have readily told you that I preferred to eat out.  Quick, easy, variety, relaxing.  No planning, no shopping, no prep and no clean up.  How could I not be drawn to that?

That preference lasted until 2007 when our kitchen went through a major remodel.  I wanted walls torn down which resulted in the new joists added to the exiting ones in the attic and the floors torn out all the way down to the floor beams.  For two and half months our kitchen was blocked off by sheets of plastic resulting in Walt and I eating out each and every day, including lunches.

The first few weeks it was an adventure.   It wasn’t like we weren’t creative about the process.  Walt and I wrote the names of about twenty restaurants on little strips of paper and placed them in a box.  We included all types of cuisine and each morning one of us would pick one out and that’s were we would have dinner.

Once through the twenty or so names in the box we became less enchanted with our adventure.  By the two month mark even Joshua who was four years old at the time and was with during the weekends said “Grandma, I’m tired of eating out, when can we eat at home?”  Joshua missed his “Grandma’s Sunday Big Breakfast.”

But it didn’t last forever and once the plastic was torn down and we had access to our pretty new kitchen filled with beautiful new cabinets and counter tops, new top of the line appliances were in place and a lot more counter space than I had previously had before.  It didn’t take long before for the chopping, blending, mixing, baking, frying and simmering began.

Today we do eat out, at least once a week sometimes twice a week.  But, if the truth be told, we really do prefer our own home cooked meals that’s why we’re always looking through cookbooks, reading blogs and surfing recipe sites looking for new ideas.  It’s also why we’re not afraid to throw together, things we like with things we want to try just to see where our little experiment takes us.

That’s how Easy Nacho Chicken came to be.  A few weeks ago I had defrosted chicken breasts thinking that I would throw them on the grill when I came home from work but the temperature that day reached into the mid 90’s, heavy humidity hanging in the air.  The thought of standing over a grill in the heat and humidity just wasn’t appealing.  Something quickly thrown together in my nice air conditioned kitchen was much more appealing.

Going through the cupboards, I found two cans of Campbell’s Fiesta Nacho Cheese Soup and of course rice (I always have rice).  Going through the refrigerator I found green onions just begging to be used and sour cream.  Since I already knew the Fiesta Nacho Cheese soup had a nice little kick to it and that I wouldn’t have to add any spices I had absolutely no doubt that I could put together a tasty dish without much effort and it would be ready in a matter of minutes.

So, if you’re looking for a dish with few ingredients and with just a little bit of a kick try this one.  It won’t disappoint.

Nacho Skillet Chicken

EASY NACHO CHICKEN

What You’ll Need:

1.5 lbs boneless/skinless chicken breast cut into cubes

2 cans Campbell’s Fiesta Nacho Cheese Soup

1 soup can of water (more or less to desired thickness/thinness of sauce)

3 green onions cleaned and chopped

Sour Cream

Cooked white rice (I usually make 1.5 cups dry to 3 cups water)

Directions:

  • In a large skillet, brown chicken breasts in oil – drain grease
  • Return chicken to pan – add both cans of soup
  • Add 1 can of water
  • Stir to mix
  • Cook about 30 minutes until chicken is cooked through
  • Pour over white rice
  • Garnish with green onions and sour cream

A Burst Of Color On My Plate

Nancy's Colorful Salad

NANCYS GRILLED CHICKEN SALAD

What You’ll Need:

Mixed Italian Salad Greens (*See Note)

2 – Grilled Boneless Chicken Breasts – Sliced

2 – Hard boiled eggs sliced

1 – Yellow Golden Delicious Apple – (peel, seed, chop – divide)

12 – Strawberries (Wash, core, quarter – divide)

6 – Slices Bacon – (fried, chopped into pieces)

1 – Container Crumbled Feta Cheese

Ken’s Raspberry vinaigrette dressing

Assemble all ingredients (evenly divided) into two individual salad bowls/dishes and serve with the Raspberry vinaigrette and enjoy!

NOTE:  Our fruit and veggie market sells a variety of all ready cleaned and chopped lettuce selection choices in plastic containers for about $4.99.  Although much more expensive than a head of lettuce or a stalk of romaine, for us it’s well worth the cost of having it already cleaned and chopped as well as the option of picking up mixtures that we otherwise might not want to take the time to make during a hectic work week.  The other plus, it’s enough greens to make multiple salads during the week for us.

Cracker Cheddar Chicken

A gorgeous Tuesday here in Michigan, picture perfect, I wish we could have 365 days a year like today.  It always amazes me how quickly things go from a dreary grey/brown to bright lush green, how it seems that the bare trees pop their leaves overnight and the flowers secretly break through the ground.  Everything is fresh and new….a taste of summer which is on its way.

I have another tasty chicken recipe for you today, Cracker Chicken.  I know, there are tons of recipes out there for chicken using Ritz crackers and all of them tasty.  I do something just a little different, instead of dredging the chicken through egg or milk I spread Miracle Whip over the chicken breasts before I roll them in the cracker/cheese mixture.  Miracle Whip you ask….yes, the Miracle Whip will help keep the chicken moist.

This recipe has only 5 ingredients, ingredients that most people have on hand.  Plus it is so easy to put together your family will think you spent some serious time in the kitchen creating it.  You can serve it as is or make a quick chicken gravy to go with it.  It pairs well with mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes or even ranch potato salad and corn on the cob!!  Try this, I bet it’ll be a hit at your house too!

CRACKER CHICKEN

Cracker Chicken

What You’ll Need:

4 – Boneless/Skin-less Chicken Breasts

1/4 Cup Miracle Whip

24 Ritz Crackers – crushed fine

6-8 oz. Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Lawry’s Seasoning

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil – spray with cooking spray
  • In a bowl mix crushed crackers with shredded cheddar cheese
  • Spread Miracle Whip on chicken breasts
  • Season with Lawry Seasoning Salt
  • Roll chicken breasts in the cracker/cheese mixture to cover chicken
  • Place on baking sheet
  • When all chicken breasts are covered….spread some of the remaining cracker/cheese mixture over the chicken breasts
  • Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink
  • Serve and enjoy

Source:  N. Rezich

 

 

 

Snowy Friday

Happy Friday everyone!  We did get the snow they called for and more is falling as I type today’s post.  The schools are closed, kids are happy so is this grandma, I don’t have to leave the house at all today.  I really am happy that I took Dr. Patel’s offer to reschedule my appointment this morning, it would have been a rough drive.  I wish my camera could capture the wind and blowing snow, every time the tree on the front lawn bends I take a sip of coffee and snuggle a little deeper into the couch.

Snow day 2 8 13

As I am typing this post Walt’s boss has called asking for him to come in early to repair a major piece of equipment, Walt is waiting for a call back to find out if they have the parts he needs to bring the equipment back up. Needless to say I have a pacing Papa Walt, pacing Papa Walt makes me hyper.

I had to buy a new slow cooker yesterday (I got lucky it was on sale) because mine was acting up.  My old one has a digital readout and wouldn’t stay on when I tried to use the low setting, it kept turning itself off.  At first I thought I was tripping the plug but that wasn’t the issue.  There were other times when it would set, I would walk away and come back later to find at some point it turned itself off!  Sunday all five buttons kept blinking at the same time, the two low setting, the two high settings and the warm button.  Obviously I couldn’t leave the house with the slow cooker on for fear that it would shut off or even worse short out and start a fire.

My new one has only three settings, Low, High, Warm and it’s not digital.  It also has a lid locking feature so that you can take it with you if you are going to a pot luck.  My plan today is to get it out of the box, wash it, fill it with water and let it run for a few hours to get the “newness” out of it before I use it on Sunday for Slow Cooker Sunday.

Since Sunday was the Super Bowl and I knew were going to have people in and out I decided to not use the slow cooker,  I ordered chicken from Oakridge instead and had a pasta salad and cole slaw as sides with dinner rolls.  It worked out really well, I could keep the chicken warm in the oven and everyone could eat when they wanted to.  Best part was that clean-up was a snap!

I didn’t want to miss a Slow Cooker Day so I decided to make a slow cooker meal on Saturday instead.  Dinner originally was only going to be Eric, Walt and I since Josh and Kaylee had plans with their momma for her birthday.  Thinking that it would be just the three of us and Eric is my least picky eater of the three grandbabies, I decided to try recipe that I found on “Plain Chicken” through Pinterest, Crock Pot Chicken and Gravy.

I have to tell you, not only was this delicious the recipe is by far the easiest slow cooker recipe you will ever make.  Just three simple ingredients and you’re done!  The only recommendation I will make it that you double the soup and the chicken gravy packet if you like a lot of gravy.  Although the chicken is wonderfully moist and there is some gravy, there really isn’t enough to pour over rice or potatoes.

I need to share a little footnote here, we ended up NOT eating this on Saturday.  I know, you’re wondering why.  Cindy had an unexpected death in the family the end of last week, family visitation was on Saturday and Cindy did not want to take Josh and Kaylee so she asked if they could hang out with us for a while, of course we said yes.  Since I had only made three chicken breasts (and they were small) I knew it would not be enough for all of us so we decided to order pizza and bread sticks instead…a much bigger hit with the babies.

Yes we did eventually eat the chicken…Walt and I ate the chicken and gravy over rice on Monday night.  When I reheated the chicken in a skillet I add the extra can of soup and the additional packet of gravy and heated everything together.  It was fantastic.

Have I completely confused everyone? Sorry about that, let’s see if I can straighten things out.  The recipe posted below is exactly how it was written on “Plain Chicken.”  Steph (author of “Plain Chicken”) states that she mixed the cooked rice with her chicken AFTER the chicken was done cooking.  We served it on top of the rice.

CROCK POT CHICKEN AND GRAVY

Chicken and Gravy

What You’ll Need:

2              Chicken breasts (I used 3)
1 Cans     Cream of chicken soup (I suggest 2 cans)
1 Pkt.       Chicken gravy mix (I suggest 2 envelopes)
Hot steamed rice

Directions:

  • Place chicken in slow cooker
  • Spread soup over chicken
  • Sprinkle gravy packet over top of soup
  • Cook on Low 4-6 Hours
  • Break chicken into bite size pieces
  • Serve over rice or potatoes

 Source: “Plain Chicken”  http://www.plainchicken.com/2010/12/crock-pot-chicken-gravy.html

A Hot Start On A Cold Morning

Welcome February!!!  Although we have a cold start (15 degrees) on this first day of the month and the last day of the work week,  Good Morning America provided a little heat this morning in the form of Mr. Tim McGraw.  Oh yes ladies, the very talented (Ok yes and good-looking) Mr. Tim McGraw gave a mini, pre-super bowl festivities concert.  Thank you GMA…..and thank you Tim McGraw!

It really is true, men do get better with age, except those who are afraid of aging.  Men like Kenny Rogers and Burt Reynolds who have had so much face work done that if you ran into them on a dark night, in a dark alley, you just might think you accidentally walked onto the set of a “Criminal Minds” episode.  If you add Joan Rivers and Melanie Griffin (who used to be a beautiful woman), into that mix you just might think you were on the set of a teenage slasher movie.  Do they really, truly believe they look good??

I am happy to age, every little wrinkle and crevice marks a milestone, good or bad, an indication that life is moving forward and with that many new adventures and challenges as well as the addition of lots of new little people into our lives.  The little people who are going to take a little piece of us into the future, leaving their mark and a little bit of us there as well.  My only reason for wanting time to slow down is merely just to enjoy life, to enjoy the little ones and time with family and friends.

I think Walt is aging well, a little gray starting to creep in, every now and then the need for glasses which actually are flattering.  Walt was caught off guard recently when an 80-year-old lady went out of her way to chat with him at Theo’s.  The hostess wanted to seat the elderly lady and she pushed the hostess away and said “Wait, I want to go over here and say hello to this good-looking young man.”  She walked over to the bench Walt was sitting on, he was waiting for our “to go” order, and she began chatting with him.  Oh how I wish I could have been there!  You would need to know Walt to be able to visualize him sitting there squirming, turning beet red.  Our papa does not like to be the center of attention.  The next weekend we were in one of our small, local grocery stores and the new 50’s something cashier was flirting and batting her eyes at him.   Really??  The best part of it all is that he gets flustered when I tease him about it.  My little pooh bear papa still has it with seniors….seniors citizens that is!

Short post today, I have a doctor appointment next week so I need to run have a blood draw done today so the results are back by the time I go in for my appointment.  I had to fast which means that I gave up my coffee this morning….boohoo, so I am anxious to get out of here so I can come back get caffeinated!!

Keeping with my “no internet recipe” theme this week, I’d like to share with you a great chicken recipe that is easy to assembly but tastes like you put a lot of effort into creating it.  This is another oldie but goodie that I found in one of my cook books, a Pillsbury cookbook.  Although we had forgotten about this tasty dish now that we’ve found it and made it again it will definetly appear more often in our rotation.  Try it with white rice, it won’t disappoint!

SWISS PARTY CHICKEN

Chicken Swiss

 

What You’ll Need:

6           Boneless, skin-less chicken breast halves

1 Jar     Whole mushrooms, drained (4 1/2-oz.)

8 oz.     Shredded Swiss cheese (2 cups)

1 Can     Condensed cream of mushroom soup (10 3/4-oz.)

¼ Cup  Sour cream

¼ Cup  Dry sherry or chicken broth

¼ Cup  Grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  • Heat oven to 350°F. Place chicken breasts in ungreased 12×8 inch (2-quart) baking dish.
  • Add mushrooms; sprinkle with Swiss cheese.
  • In small bowl, combine soup, sour cream and sherry; blend well.
  • Pour over chicken.*
  • Bake at 350°F. for 50 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese; bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until chicken is fork-tender and juices run clear.
  • Place chicken on serving plate.
  • Stir sauce if necessary to blend; serve with chicken.

Source: Pillsbury One-Dish Meals Cookbook; Copywrite 1999 The Pillsbury Company

It Looks Like Monday…..But It Sounds And Smells Like Sunday

When I look out my window this morning I know that it’s Monday, a very cold somewhere around 18 degrees kind of Monday with a light dusting of snow.  Trash and recycle bins line our street, people out and about early sweeping off the unexpected snow that fell during the night before they head off to work.  It looks like any typical Monday.

The sounds and smells however are reminiscent of our typical Sunday.  I can hear Joshua’s humming (he always hums, I’ll explain that one day) coming up the stairs as he plays a game on the Playstation downstairs.  Big “Sunday” breakfast of bacon, sausage and pancakes has been cooked, eaten and cleaned up this morning but the smell of sausage and bacon lingers in the air as I begin today’s post.   It may look like Monday,and in fact it is Monday but it definitely sounds and smells like Sunday in our house today.

Walt and I had a full “grandbaby” weekend.  Eric came to stay with us on Saturday night, our little guy is getting over yet another round of bronchitis so he was, for the most part, pretty laid back.  A little Playmobil, some Max and Ruby, Fresh Beat Band (they annoy me, I don’t know why), snacking on banana’s and red grapes, ending the night watching “Finding Nemo.”  On Sunday we had our “Sunday Breakfast,” a new chicken dish in the slow cooker.  Eric played and watched a little TV until Nikki came to pick him up in the early evening.  It was a good visit, Eric likes having Grandma and Papa to himself from time to time.

Joshua and Kaylee had a full weekend with their mom and her family.  Ice sculpture shows, a hockey game, family birthday’s to celebrate with dinners and parties.  They had a pretty full weekend, however Josh, not wanting to leave us without a visit, worked us into his busy weekend schedule and spent Sunday night with us since there is no school today due to Martin Luther King Day.

Last night Josh played video games while Kaylee and Papa colored.  Cindy and I had a visit before she rounded Kaylee up and headed home.  Josh spent the night which is why today, Monday, it sounds and smells like Sunday because I prepared another big Sunday breakfast on Monday.  Josh and Papa are going to play a little Playstation before papa heads off to work and Josh will head back home so he can hang out with some of his buddies this afternoon.

Even with everyone in and out I had a weekend full of cooking and baking my only dilemma right now is to where to start the sharing.  Do I start with Friday’s Gooey Butter Cake or Saturdays Slow Cooker Peppers and Onions?  Maybe I should start out with the one thing we both agreed we won’t try again…..Sunday’s “Crockpot Honey Garlic Chicken” which I found on “Rachel’s Nest” through Pinterest; http://www.rachelsnest.com/2011/08/honey-garlic-chicken-crock-pot-recipe.html.  I don’t know who the original author of this recipe is so I can only post where I found it.  You can visit Rachel’s site through the link above.

Now you may wonder why I would post a recipe that we didn’t like all that well.  First because I promised myself when I started this little blogging adventure that I would share all the recipes we try on our blog, be it good, bad or ehh.  After all that is the point right, sharing what we’ve tried and what we’ve learned.  Second, just because Walt and I didn’t like it doesn’t mean that someone out in this great big blogging universe won’t think that it’s fantastic, after all there are a lot of people who posted how much they liked this on Rachel’s blog.  It’s all about your palate preference.

I followed the recipe exactly as written and although Walt and I both like soy sauce, I especially love dipping my sushi in soy sauce with a little wasabi mixed in, the soy sauce in this dish was just way to over powering for us, the sauce just a little too bitter which surprised me because of the honey.  I decided to add some brown sugar and let it cook a few minutes longer and it became a little bit sweeter.  We did eat it, Walt had seconds and he will take the rest to work for lunch on Tuesday, it’s just not a recipe we will attempt to make again.

After this, the second time I attempted to make something of oriental fare, Walt has officially informed me that we are no longer going to try any type of oriental dishes either stove top or slow cooker, they just don’t seem to work out well for us.  I don’t know, maybe we are spoiled by the great Chinese restaurants we have close to home so when we make our own we are disappointed in how it turns out.  As I sit here and write, it has just occurred to me that I was so disappointed that I forgot to take a photo!

So family and friends I leave you with this recipe and unfortunately no photo.  If you love soy sauce try this, you may have a different opinion of this recipe than we did there are many who tried it loved it.   We ate it, it’s just not a recipe that Walt and I care to try again.  If you do try it, let us know how it turned out for you.

Today is “National Hugging Day” give someone a hug!!  Have a great Monday everyone!!

CROCK POT HONEY GARLIC CHICKEN

What You’ll Need:

1 Package of boneless, skin-less chicken breasts

3 Garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 Cup soy sauce

1/2 Cup ketchup

1/2  Cup honey

Pinch of basil

Salt & pepper to taste

Cooked Rice

Instructions:

  • Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours
  • Remove chicken from crock pot and transfer to covered plate to keep warm
  • Reduce the sauce in a pot until thickened to desired consistency
  • Serve sauce over chicken and rice

It Is Friday….Right???

I had a little scare this morning, a brief moment of pause, a moment when I felt a chill.  It’s a little funny now, but in those few minutes of conversation concern, fear and even panic set in.  Every morning Walt’s routine is the same, he wakes up, puts on a pot of coffee and goes downstairs on the Playstation to see if Josh has left him a message and to play a little bit before getting ready for work or starting his day.  The only variation on Saturday is that Walt will wait to make coffee until I get up….during the week he makes it before he heads downstairs.

So this morning I was surprised when I walked into the kitchen and there wasn’t any coffee made but thought maybe Walt decided to wait a bit today before putting it on.  I opened the curtains, put a few glasses in the dishwasher, sat down with my lap top at the kitchen table and I could hear Walt coming up the stairs.  When he walked into the kitchen he teased me about not starting the coffee, I’m not quite used to this new coffee pot yet, then he went about the kitchen getting the coffee ready.  As he is running water into the carafe this conversation took place:

Me:  I’ve got a little running I need to do, I have to run to Kroger, to the other Meijer to see if they have any of the coffee that’s on sale, get the meats for the week and then to Randazzo.

Walt:  In a few hours I’m going to run up to Lowes for some totes, work a little more on the storage room.

Me:  In a few hours??

Walt:  Yea, I want to get it done early, I don’t want to wait until later in the day.

Me:  You’re going today?

Walt: Yea, when else am I going to go?

Me:  You’re going before work?

Walt:  No, I’m not working today, what are you talking about?

Me: Sweetie it’s Friday.

Walt: Are you ok, it’s Saturday.

Me: Walt, it’s Friday

Walt: No it’s not, it’s Saturday, are you sure you’re ok?

**This is where panic sets in because he is determined that today is Saturday and I’m the one with the confusion issue.  I physically got up out of the chair so I could look right at him**

Me:  WALT!!!  Remember, I was supposed to take Josh and Kaylee to Karate last night, Karate is on Thursday night. Josh and I had dinner instead.  Today is Friday.

Walt:  Oh, Oh, you’re right!  WoW, I thought today was Saturday, I have to go to work today!

Me:  Are you OK?

Walt:  Yea, yea I’m fine, I just really thought it was Saturday.

Me: Are you sure??

Walt: Yea, I’m fine, I just lost track of the days.

It wouldn’t have been so scary had Walt just agreed with me the first time I said it was Friday, but when he thought I was wrong and challenged me about it I got just a little bit worried.  I’ve had more than my fair share of family members suffering from strokes, dementia and Alzheimer’s so I know what each is capable of doing.

I watched dementia take my Busia from us, coherent one minute, grabbing my arm the next begging me to take her out of the hospital because the nurses were trying to kill her.  Eventually, in her mind, Busia lived in some other place, some other time …..lost.  No longer able to share a joke or funny story, no more weekend trips up to the cottage.  No more chicken wings in a too ketchupie, greasy bbq sauce, no more pasta mixed with cream of mushroom soup to feed the masses who showed up to the cottage on weekends.  No more deli chicken and deli pasta lunches after shopping.  No more popping in to the Mercier house,  I close my eyes and I can see everything in the house, it’s not clouded or forgotten, it’s exactly the way it was, the way it always was.  I see Busia sitting in her chair, Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy on the TV, an Awrey or Sanders coffee cake on the kitchen table.  I can hear her, “Leona, Patsy, Carole, Nancy”……it always took Boo a few names before she got to our own, there were so many of us.  The hardest part was watching my mom try to take care of Busia at home until it became to much….after a while it wasn’t a good idea for either of them and busia was put in a nursing home.  I admire my mom a lot, we all came and went Mom and Dad lived it every day.  Even though we saw the deterioration in Busia, Mom and Dad lived with it, that had to be the hardest part of all.

I’ve seen my dad and brother both go through strokes, my brother still relying on a cane and sometimes a wheelchair, never really fully regaining the use of his arm and hand.  My ex-mother-in-law’s stroke was so bad it left her unable to speak or walk, I know in her head when she spoke she heard words, we only heard garble.  When I close my eyes I can still see the fear and frustration in her eyes, it haunts me 30 years later.

So for a split second I was frightened…..now Walt is walking around, teasing and joking, telling me how I screwed up his plans.  He woke up so sure today was Saturday, he was looking forward to getting a little rest and relaxation then I woke up and took it away.  He is hustling and bustling around here exactly like he does every morning before work.  All is good.

Before I sign off and head out to get my errands done I’ll leave you with a slow cooker recipe, Creamy Italian Chicken.  I found this through Life As A Lofthouse’s blog on Pinterest; http://life-as-a-lofthouse.blogspot.ca/2012/08/crockpot-creamy-italian-chicken.html.  This is another one of those slow cooker recipes that has just a few ingredients but is packed with flavor.  If you try it drop us a quick note let us know how you liked it, we love hearing from you.

CREAMY ITALIAN CHICKEN

Slow Cooker Creamy Italian Chicken

What You’ll Need:

4 -6 boneless, skin-less chicken breasts
1 packet Good Seasons Italian dressing mix
2 (10 ounce) cans cream of chicken soup
1 (8 ounce) block of cream cheese, cut into cubes
Egg Noodles or Rice

Instructions:

  • Spray crock pot with non-stick spray
  • Place the chicken breasts in crock pot
  • Sprinkle breasts with the Italian dressing
  • Pour the cream of chicken soups over chicken,
  • Spread the cubes of cream cheese evenly over all.
  • Cover and cook on low for 6 hours
  • Remove lid and stir mixture together.
  • Cut chicken into bite-size pieces or shred
  • If the sauce seems too thick, you can thin it out with a little
    milk

    Serve chicken and sauce over cooked egg noodles or rice.

Enjoy!