So, I'm still suffering from blogger's block. Once I get going I have plenty to say, but its hard to get started. I guess part of me feels like I should always have something spiritual, monumental, or life changing to say and the reality is that my life is pretty normal and boring...but I've decided I'm okay with that. I don't always have to inspire people, right? I just have to be me. I had to do some soul searching and remind myself that, while every once in a while I have something to say that touches someone, or answers a prayer, this blog is more for me and my family. This is how I journal. I'm awesome at blogging, and HORRIBLE at writing it down...I figure that as we start printing my "blog books" my kids will be able to read them as they get older and maybe they will laugh because they are doing something similar at a similar age, or they are struggling with something that I struggled with and my answer will give them some answers...Long story short- every once in a while there is going to be a blog about everything and nothing, and this is one of those blogs...
A few people asked for the recipe that I posted about on Facebook the other night for Tuscan Garlic Chicken...so here ya go...this is meant to be a copy cat of the dish from Olive Garden....I made some tweaks and I have to say that I think my tweaks made it taste a little more like the Olive Garden version than the recipe would have...I'll give you the link for the recipe and I will tell you what I changed (mostly because we didn't have everything it called for- but let's be honest, it wouldn't be ME cooking if I didn't tweak something...)
Recipe found HERE ....I found it on Pinterest...I've been making it a point to actually try the stuff that I find on Pinterest and I'm glad that I did. I've actually found some "keeper" recipes for the recipe box and we've tried a lot of new things that I wouldn't have even imagined or always wanted to try but didn't think it would work as an actual recipe.
Pinterest is such a funny place...I had to laugh when I realized that I'm actually kind of popular on Pinterest...I have people following my boards from all over the world...its so funny how small the big bad globe becomes when you're on the internet...
Anyway...onto the recipe tweaks... I poured the oil into the pan and cooked the chicken almost all the way through, and put them in the oven for about 10 minutes instead. I then sliced the chicken into pieces that could easily be eaten in a bite (to simplify serving and make the meal spread a little further) and since it was still a little pink, I just threw it back into the oven until the pink was cooked off...I then I drained off enough of the oil from the pan so that I wouldn't drown the garlic and pepper sautee, so the garlic and peppers were kind of infused with the flavors from the chicken, which was nice. I also didn't use as much Garlic...I found that 2 big cloves was PLENTY, especially when it was minced really small. I also didn't use nearly as much red pepper as the recipe called for. I found that a quarter of a red bell pepper, diced small, was plenty to infuse the sauce with flavor and make sure that every serving had a little "pop" of color. I used closer to a cup of chicken broth and I added about a 1/4 cup FROZEN spinach and let everything simmer together until the spinach was cooked through. I also only used half and half instead of cream and milk mixture that the recipe called for. I used about a cup of half and a half. I used cornstarch to thicken it using the "rue" technique that my grandma taught me when I was little. I took a little of the hot fluic in a measuring cup, added the corn starch (about 1 1/2 tsp) and then some cold to mix it and get the lumps out. I use this EVERY time I make gravy or white sauce, whether its with flour or corn starch. Then I pour this mix in stirring constantly until it starts to bubble...I find this easier and FAR LESS CONFUSING than trying to get the flour frying in the butter technique to work and I NEVER have lumps in my gravy or sauces because of this little technique. I still added the parmesan at the end of the cooking process as the recipe dictated.
I also diced some romas and put them on top of the finished product as I plated it. It added a little extra oomph and made me feel more like I was cooking for a fancy restaurant.
Tonight I tried THIS recipe from Pioneer Woman that I found on Pinterest as well.
Rating...I'd give it 4 out of 5 stars...I think I would have liked it better with potatoes. I think I will try it next time with some tator tots on the bottom instead or diced cooked potatoes...
My tweaks? For starters, I salted and peppered the ground beef while it was cooking and added more to taste after I added the tomato sauce. Once upon a time, a few years ago, during a late night college study session I learned while watching food network that meat needs to be at least salted while it cooks because it helps bring out the actual flavor of the meat. Since then, I've always at least salted the meat for recipes even when the recipe says not to, and I have to say that I want to find the chef that taught me that little tidbit through the television screen and kiss him! I also added about 2 TBS of sugar to the meat mixture because it just needed to be a little sweeter for my palate's liking. It almost tasted like sloppy joe meat by the time I was done, but it was what I thought it needed (and neither Jeff or I complained... as we ate the finished product, so I may have been onto something...) Instead of cottage cheese I used Ricotta because we had some leftover from when I made crock pot lasagna last week and I didn't want it to go to waste, I also didn't have Green Onions so I diced up some regular onions really small and added about a half a palm full of dried parsley to the mix...it still worked and was still pretty good...Jeff offered to take it to work tomorrow for lunch, so I at least know it was passable...LOL
As far as life is concerned (other than trying new recipes from Pinterest...) The lady that toured our townhouse today said how amazing I looked for having a 6 month old...and then she was astonished when I told her that I was almost 5 months pregnant with #2...she said she wouldn't have known I was pregnant and that I looked rather "slim." Hello ego boost...I definitely needed that (since we all know how cute , or not, I've been feeling lately...)
Faith is getting to be a rolling devil...She has figured out how to manipulate her way onto her belly in spite of her sleeping wedge in her crib...I go in and find her on her belly and struggling to figure out a comfortable position for her face so she can breathe and quickly flip her over. I've tried EVERYTHING I can think of to keep it from happening, and she still manages to flip herself. She seems comfortable on her belly, but because she hasn't mastered flipping from her belly to her back yet I get nervous that she will suffocate if I let her have her way...I'm close to giving up...but I will keep forging ahead and hopefully my pediatrician will have some suggestions next week for what to do to either keep her on her back or help her "belly sleeping" expeditions to be a little less frightening for me. She still has a smile that is 2 miles wide and the cutest little dimple on the right side of her smile that melts my heart every morning (even when its early and I still want to be in bed.) I've decided that her hair is unruly and I have no clue how to tame it. Some days I just go with the curls and put a little gel in and let them fall where they may, other days I spend half time I'm holding her slicking her little cowlicks down incessantly and obsessively...I just keep reminding myself that when its longer it will be heavier and I won't have to work so hard...LOL
Jeff and I finally agreed on a name for a little girl...since he is convinced #2 is a girl, I'm glad that we already know. I feel really good about it, and I don't think I'm going to change my mind...especially because of how we came about the name ( I will share the story later...as I don't want to tweak too much curiosity and drive people crazy with wanting to know. Suffice it to say, coming to this name was a spiritual experience of sorts and kind of what I thought would happen with naming Faith...the experience that didn't happen...then again, nothing went the way I planned it with Faith anyway...) Our first name for Faith, Maybelle, got a lot of negative reviews from family, and so it was tough to want to use it by the end...plus, when she came she didn't look like a Maybelle...we still love the name, and maybe we'll use it someday, but I can say that its not the name this time...and I'm pretty sure that if this new little cupcake is a girl, the name we've come to a decision on is THE NAME...we're just not going to tell anyone until she's born... sorry peanut gallery. I promise if I change my mind and want to share you'll be some of the first to hear (read) it...
Well, my house is sparkling and Jeff brought me a Diet Dr. Pepper to help me through the day...and I drank ALL of it with every intention of saving some for tomorrow...because of that I am still awake while he is asleep with nothing to keep me occupied other than the results episode of Dancing With the Stars from this week, and today's episode of General Hospital and Days of Our Lives...hopefully I will get tired soon...otherwise I will be having strange soap opera dreams (Oh yes, its happened before...)...YES I watch soap operas- GET OVER IT! I'm a fan, born and raised and nothing can take it out of my blood...unless my shows are cancelled, then things might get ugly as I lose my one dramatic outlet of late...LOL
Well...that's a little bit of everything and nothing.
Hugs and loves until next time darlings!