Friday, June 29, 2012

Chicken Tortilla Casserole

This is a very basic chicken casserole. My recipe was inspired by this one that I found on Pinterest. I made it last night because I had all the ingredients on hand and it was too hot for a trip to the store with a tired toddler. It would be great served with sour cream and salsa on top with a Mexican-themed meal. I had some fresh local sweet corn and okra to make so that is what we had with it. It's a great, tasty little casserole.

It calls for 3 cups of cooked chicken, and I had two large boneless skinless breasts in the freezer, so I cooked those and shredded them. In a pinch, or for a really fast meal, you could use canned chicken.

3 cups cooked chicken
12 corn tortillas, cut into little pieces
2 cans of cream of chicken soup
1 can or rotel
2 cups (about) shredded cheese, cheedar or mexican variety
1 can of black olives (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix soups, rotel, olives in a bowl. Layer 1/3 of the tortilla pieces in the bottom of a 3-qt. baking dish. Layer 1/2 of the chicken over that. Pour 1/2 the soup mixture over chicken and spread evenly. Layer another 1/3 of the tortillas. Spread remaining chicken and then soup mixture. Top with remaining tortilla pieces. Bake for 40 minutes. Sprinkle cheese on top, bake for 5-10 additional minutes to melt cheese.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Beach II

Here is part two from our trip. I'll probably do one more post after this one, so I'll apologize now if you're getting sick of vacation pictures. :)

One night we planned to go to Stinky's Fish Camp. We had driven by the place (unbeknownst to me) several times on previous trips, but had never really paid attention. Luckily, I read about it here, on a blog I follow, and they gave it rave reviews. It was a really neat place. Extremely busy, on a week night, early. It is mandatory valet parking (complementary). We only had to wait about 15 minutes, and we sat on an upper screened-in porch that overlooked a marsh/pond area, which was neat. The weather was perfect, and the seafood even better, so we had a great time there!

I ordered this mainly for Tyler - he is BIG on seafood and I wasn't extremely hungry. This was called "Taste of Stinky's" and it included their famous crab cake, spicy crawfish pie, fried fish, and the side was homemade shells and cheese (left to right). I sampled it all, and it was all excellent.

{Something was evidently really funny - he was being a goober}

{I tried these oysters for Tyler...not my thing but at least I tried!}



Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Beach

I will probably post pictures from our vacation in a few different posts. I have yet to move any pictures from my phone to my computer and a few of our best vacation pictures were taken with my phone instead of my nice camera (unfortunately).

We had a great time - a solid week of just relaxing, no plans, and playing with Levi. Here are pictures from the first couple days:

Monday, June 18, 2012

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Project Post 24: Wooden Toolbox Planter

This is a project post and an heirloom post all in one, which means you get a bonus. I'm sure a million people have done this before. Several years ago when my Papa was still alive, he and my Nanny sold their farm that they lived on and loved for many years, to move to town and be closer to their kids, grand kids, and doctor's offices. I got a few odds and ends from Papa's barn that no one wanted (everyone had taken what they wanted already) and were going to be sold with the house. The reason these things are special to me are obviously because they came from my grandparents, but also because we all have such fond memories of growing up out at "the farm," and I am happy to have a few things from there. Among those things, were a couple of old, wooden toolboxes. Before I got married, they sat in my parents garage for a long time, and even after that they just sat untouched for a long time. I considered doing different things with them - cleaning one up and painting it and using it for silverware and napkins at dinners and parties - but that would mean finding a place to store it the rest of the time, and you all know how I feel about storage space and clutter.

I started cleaning this one up a few weeks ago, and decided that with all the wear and grime and dirt and nails, etc., it just wasn't going to clean up very nicely. So I left it in it's natural state and planted some flowers in it, and I think it's charming on our back patio. If that spot doesn't get enough sun for begonias (which, it won't after we add our shade canopy/roof), I might fill it with a bunch of succulents, but right now they are doing pretty good and I really like it as a little planter.

I won't insult you with details and instructions, because this project is obviously very self-explanatory. You can find old toolboxes like these all over - flea markets, junk stores, garage sales. Usually, the junkier the place, the better chance they'll have one or some.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Baked "Fried" Zucchini Rounds

As I've mentioned before, growing up with an endless amount of fresh produce from my papa's 2-acre garden instilled a love for fresh produce in me, that has really grown in the last few years as I now cook for my own family. Growing up, I really just thought that was the norm and I although I loved the food,  I didn't realize what an awesome commodity that was. I am lucky to still have access to so much fresh, locally-grown fruit and veggies with our little fruit stand.

I haven't even visited the fruit stand yet this year (I plan to go out there this week) because my friend Megan has been so generous with sharing from her family's garden! Just the other day she brought me this:

Thanks Megan!

I've been trying to think of new ways to fix things, should my guys get tired of grilled and saut├ęd squash and zucchini. I made the zucchini bites a few weeks ago, and this weekend I tried baking zucchini and it turned out pretty good. The only thing that would have been better (Tyler and I agreed) was dipping them in some great marinara sauce...I will try that next!

1 Jumbo-monster zucchini squash (or two regular/larger ones)
2 Cups (about) Italian-style bread crumbs
1 Cup (about) grated fresh parmesan cheese
2-3 eggs
Season Salt

Slice your zucchini in thin uniform rounds. Whisk eggs together in one large bowl, and put bread crumbs in another large bowl. Put sliced zucchini in the eggs and stir to coat, then put in bread crumbs and stir to coat. Place rounds on a foil-lined baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and season salt and pepper (I am very generous with these). Bake at 450 degrees for 7 minutes, flip them, and bake an additional 10-12 minutes.

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