Design Practice

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Practicing some design projects in Illustrator. Used this color palette from Design-Seeds.com

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White Cheddar Pasta with Chicken

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To see the original recipe, check out Homemade by Holman. Based on feedback from others that tried this, I modified the recipe and made it .5 times bigger to feed 10-12 people. I have been into White Cheddar lately and by that I mean the grocery store brand of 50 cent box of White Cheddar Mac and Cheese. Not convinced this is a true representative of White Cheddar pasta, I sought a far more delicious and gourmet version. While this turned out very tasty, it still did not have the cheddar sharpness I was looking for. A friend suggested adding some gorgonzola. Very interesting! 

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 T fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 T olive oil

For the pasta:

  • 1 pound rotini or other short cut pasta (I used penne)
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T flour
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 8 oz sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 cups milk (I used 1% milk)
  • 1 T fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
  • 1 T fresh oregano (or 1/2 tsp dried oregano)
  • Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
  • Parmesan cheese to taste

Directions: 
Place chicken in a freezer size Ziploc bag. Mix together all the ingredients above and pour over the chicken. Place in refrigerator overnight. To cook the chicken, I used my Pampered Chef Grill Pan to cook the chicken, but you can use a regular pan. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  When pan is hot, add chicken and brown about 3 minutes per side until cooked through. Remove to a plate and cover with foil. Cut chicken into 1 inch cubes and set aside.

Heat water to boil in a large stock pot for pasta, add salt and pasta and cook to al dente and drain according to directions. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add flour and whisk to combine. Add wine, garlic, onions, and mustard. Cook about 5 minutes, until onions are translucent. Reduce heat to low and slowly add milk, stirring to combine. Cook about 5-7 minutes more until mixture begins to thicken. Add cheese and stir to melt. Add chicken and pasta and toss to incorporate sauce. Add thyme and oregano and serve topped with crushed red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese.

Gourmet Portland Pizza

This weekend I was in Portland visiting my dear friends down there. I showed up just in time for dinner on Friday. Kylie made this pizza using Trader Joe’s whole wheat pizza dough. The toppings included salumi, roasted red peppers (that they roasted themselves!), I think basil and mozarella and had an olive oil sauce instead of tomatoes. Delicious!

If you haven’t picked up the pizza dough from Trader Joe’s, its a must. For $1.29 you get the base for a delicious and homemade gourmet pizza!

Thanks Coco, Kylie and Trevor!

Turkey Lasagna

I found this recipe on the box of our Bastilla No-Boil Lasagna Noodles. I substituted ground beef for Italian ground turkey. I think turkey is more healthy (although I am not sure). 
Ingredients:
  • 1 (9 ounce) no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 1 lb ground beef or 1 lb sausage, browned
  • spaghetti or pasta sauce
  • parsley (to garnish)
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. In bowl, combine beaten eggs, ricotta cheese and TWO cups of the mozzarella cheese and Parmesan.
  3. If you choose not to use the parmesan, just add more mozzarella.
  4. Set aside.
  5. In a 13X9X3 pan, spread 1 cup of sauce on bottom of pan.
  6. Layer in the order, 4 uncooked lasagna noodles (they will overlap), then 1/3 part of the ricotta cheese mixture, half the browned meat, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, and 1 cup of spaghetti sauce.
  7. Next layer, 4 uncooked lasagna noodles, 1/3 part of the ricotta cheese mixture, and 1 1/2 Cups sauce.
  8. Next layer, 4 uncooked lasagna noodles, remaining ricotta mixture and remained meat, 1 cup of sauce.
  9. For top layer, 4 uncooked lasagna noodles, remaining sauce, and remaining 1 cup mozzarella.
  10. Bake covered with foil for 50-60 minutes.
  11. Uncover and continue cooking until all the cheese is melted on the top (about 5 minutes).
  12. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
  13. If you are using a 13X9X2 pan—just make 3 layers to avoid boiling over

Baby Boden

Baby Boden might as well be considered the munchies part of this blog. I wanted to nibble his face it was so cute. Last week was a crazy week of work with our fundraising event on Friday and lots that had to get done. Thankful I had a date planned to meet baby Boden today so I had something to look forward too. Boden Scott was born on April 5th by a wonderful mother and my coworker, Kadi. It was great to see Kadi and deliver the banana bread; which I hope she enjoys.

I could not finish this blog without mentioning Porter, dear old 90 pound Porter. He thought I came to see him, but it was really baby Boden. We didn’t forget you Porter!

Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

I discovered this recipe a couple months ago and have repeated it number of times for various things. Mostly when I am making honey mustard chicken, but also with tater tots (yum). Tonight it is frozen chicken nuggets (boring, I know) that will take the plunge into this creamy, honey-y mustard sauce!

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For the Honey Mustard Chicken Recipe and original dippin’ sauce recipe, check out Life’s Ambrosia.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (I used rice vinegar, but any will do)
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Mix together and use to tip chicken nuggets, french fries, tater tots and other delicious and unhealthy things!

The Best (and Easiest) Banana Bread Ever

This is the second loaf in a week that I have made this bread. I was impressed with how moist and delicious it stayed all week. I am not including photos of this bread slices and ready to eat because it is a gift for my friend, Kadi, who just had a baby. I am visiting her today and will hopefully get pictures up later with baby Boden who is 2.5 weeks old!

I found this recipe on Allrecipes.com (where I find most of the recipes I like). I made it even easier by removing an unnecessary step: saving you and me an extra bowl to wash! There is always that last banana of the bunch that you didn’t get to in time. I always have this probably since Jason doesn’t like bananas. I started throwing all these bananas into the freezer and can pull them out to make this bread anytime.

While I will stand by my claim that this is the best and easiest banana bread ever, I will admit it is the only banana bread recipe I have used. Hopefully that does not make this post invalid.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas (about 4-5 bananas)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan. I would suggest a stone, loaf (I used a seasoned Pampered Chef one).
  2.  In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Add in flour, baking soda and salt; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

I kept the bread in a zip lock bag and even the last piece was delicious a week later.