Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chicken Parmesan Pasta

I have GOT to go to the grocery store TO-day!  Anybody with me?!  I mean...Miles had pear juice and Owen had water with breakfast!  Not even any milk!  So I had to get a little creative with supper last night...

I had seen this recipe on pinterest that looked soooo good:

Chicken Parmesan Casserole - Assembles with raw chicken and croutons, bakes 35 min.

It is made with raw chicken and croutons.  I had already cooked up some chicken breasts over the weekend to have on hand this week (frozen chicken breasts, onion, garlic, tad bit of water and chicken boullion in crock pot for 4-6 hours= fall apart chicken great to throw into any recipe).  And I had some spaghetti sauce in fridge that I needed to use up, along with a bag of croutons in pantry (we're not really salad eaters).

So I tweeked the recipe some and here we go:

(I cooked this up in an 8x8 pan- I've learned that (for now) a 9x13 dish is too much for us.  8x8 is just right with just enough leftovers for the next day.)

cooked, shredded chicken (I used two chicken breasts and this was almost too much chicken)
pasta (I used rotini, you could use penne or whatever you have on hand; I also only used about half a box)
2 cups spaghetti sauce (make your own or use the jar)
1-2 Tbsp basil
1 garlic clove pressed
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups parmesan cheese
2 cups mozzarrella cheese
5 oz bag garlic croutons

Boil your pasta according to box.  Mix pasta, chicken, 1 cup parmesan, and sauce.  Put olive oil and garlic in bottom of dish and spread around to coat.  Pour pasta mix in.  Sprinkle with basil, rest of parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.  Spread croutons on top and press down.  You can sprinkle more cheese on top if you want.  Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes.  Serve with garlic bread and maybe some green beans!  (I didn't have either---I'm telling you- I have got to get to the store today!!)

fyi--- croutons reheated are n.o.t. good- pasta is great next day- just leave the croutons off  =)

Here are two ways I love to make green beans that are sure to get eaten up!!

Quick Green Beans:
1 can green beans
1-2 Tbsp Cavendar's seasoning
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 Tbsp sugar

Mix all ingredients in a small saucepan.  Heat to boiling.  Cover and reduce heat.  Let simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

Great Green Beans:  (from Mississippi Magazine) (I usually half this!)
6 cans green beans, drained
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup crumbled bacon

Put green beans into a 9x13.  Melt butter, stir in brown sugar.  Pour over green beans.  Sprinkle with bacon.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Prepare to be thanked and asked to bring it to every function from now on.  =)

How do you make your green beans?  Do you ever tweek a recipe with stuff you have on hand at home?

***there's another great recipe on my pinterest page that calls for fresh green beans- we had them for Christmas eve dinner and they were fantastic!  Those may be on the menu for this week, in fact!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Miles turned 4... 3 months ago...but since I finally figured out I can put pics on here (see...I do have blonde roots...just can't afford {money or time} to keep the blonde in the rest of my hair right now...=)

We had an awesome (if I do say so myself) campout for Miles birthday!  I had my pinterest board filled with ideas on his campout party like four months before it happened- mostly because I knew Molly Claire would be making her debut appearance within weeks, or even days, of his birthday!  (She came right on time, though!  His birthday is Nov 1, so there's a good two weeks between!)  I made his cute little invites (which I don't have a pic of- but they're similar to this one).  The catch for the party was that the boys' dads had to come camp out with them! (I'm crazy...but not crazy enough to have a bunch of 4 year olds to my house to spend the night with a newborn in the house!)  We had two of Miles' sweet friends and their dads come over for hot dogs and ribs and s'mores cake!!  Plus you know I had plenty of other snacks for everyone!  Those poor kids probably had stomach aches after they left the next morning!  We blew up balloons and put glow sticks in them and they went hunting for them in the empty lots around our house.  They watched movies on the big screen we borrowed from the church in the back yard.  And you know Owen was right in the middle of it all thinking he was as big as they were!  Here are some pics from the party!  Also at the end two of my faves from Miles actual birthday.

campground ----->
smores cake!

around our "camp fire"
Jared and the birthday boy! (notice the tents in the background!)
if you only knew how fitting this pic of owen is...
movie time!   the boys with their goodie sacks filled with a flashlight, snack mix, gloves, and a hat

Owen got so tickled at Miles blowing out his candles!
My precious first born!

ha ha ha ha----

last pic as a family of four!

I really did do a load of laundry.
sweet baby about 2 months old!

New family picture!

My side of the family on Christmas!!

Has it REALLY been 5 months since I last posted?!?  I guess that tells you where blogging has been on my priority list!

Soooo....we had a baby....Molly Claire Darby was born Saturday night, October 15, 2011 (can't remember the exact time--- know I have it written down, but that would require me to get up and I know I would be distracted by something and wouldn't come we'll just say it was right before 11:00 that night)  after a long day of just being a family of four about to bring the fifth into the world!

I had my regular weekly checkup the day before and ole Dr. Tinker said probably no baby- so we set an induction date for later in the month.  I left so disappointed!  So ready to have this sweet little pumpkin in my arms (and, truth be told, out of my belly!!)  I had been having irregular contractions the same way I did with Owen, but had not progressed any.  I woke up Saturday morning with a full day ahead!  Miles had a soccer game, we had a trip to Cedar Hill Farms planned, then Jared had to go back down there for a club-wide soccer family night--- so no time for a baby that day--- at least not until Jared got finished with his party!  We had a fun day- I just knew all day that we were going to have this baby before the weekend was over!  In fact, while we were on the hayride (yes, I went on a hayride...and pushed Owen in the stroller all over that farm), I had someone take a picture of us and told Jared it was probably our last picture as a family of four!  We went on home and I tried laying down knowing that the contractions would probably ease up...let me tell you what...those contractions quickly went from 7-8 minutes all day long to 3-4 minutes as soon as he left to go back to the farm!  Luckily my sweet mama was smart enough to come on down to the house before Jared left!  I called Jared around 6 and told him to come home...NOW!  So I casually threw a load of clothes in the washing machine, took a quick shower (you don't want your hair to look dirty in pics)- of course Jared gets there while I'm in the shower, so he thinks we can sir-ree!!  I told him to get it into gear and let's head out!  On the way, he later told me that I was speaking in tongues and talking to myself (talking to myself- yes, speaking in tongues- no, praying we would get to the hospital in time for me to have my epidural so I wouldn't be eternally mad at my husband for making me wait on him all day to have this baby- yes.)  And let me just tell you, there is no short way to get to Germantown Methodist from a.n.y.w.h.e.r.e.  I did a little hyperventilating in the car because I was so worked up, so I had a catch in my side along with the contractions--- not really making it so easy to breathe!!!  So while they got me all hooked up, the sweet nurse (who I was being very kind to- because they hold the key to how quickly you can get your meds) gave me an oxygen mask to help me get calmed down and breathing normally.  Jared came back in the room to find the incubator and all the baby stuff ready, me up on the bed hooked up to everything with an oxygen mask on holding my hand up indicating just how far along I was  (for those of you who care--- I was half way to ten and fully ready)  My kindness to the nurses was on my side because they hooked me up with the anesthesiologist quickly (like within the hour of us getting there- so f.y.i.- they can get that bag of fluids going quickly for you) and we were good to go!  The doctor on call wasn't my doctor- but I'm telling you- I didn't care!  Not only because I was ready, but because her name was Dr. Mann and she drove in on her Harley- complete with leather jacket.  oh yes.  My mom and Jared were there with me when she was born; Dad came in soon after!  We had a sweet first night and did actually get a little sleep!  Big brothers spent the night with Jared's parents and came to the hospital late morning on Sunday.  We had several visitors and went home on Monday.  (I had insisted the entire pregnancy that I would be staying two nights in the hospital- not just one like we did with Owen!)

And you know what?  Life did not stop.  It all of a sudden got faster!  (Except on those days when we have no where to go!)

Miles is loving preschool!  We love his teacher and are so very thankful that he gets to learn in such a great environment!  He is constantly impressing us with his knowledge and growing vocabulary!  This week, we have gone to South Carolina and California and NYC on the "train" that he and Owen are always making out of anything they can think of (mostly chairs and pillows).  He also was telling me just today about how "Chaster" helped save God's people from the man who wanted to get rid of God's people.  I asked him if he meant "Esther" and he told me "no...chaster...with a c-h"  =)  He and Owen play so so so well together- I am so blessed to have boys who love each other so much!  Miles has told Owen at least twice (that I've heard) in the last week or so that he is his best friend.  It's not always picturesque, but it really is more times than not!  The playroom hasn't been straightened up all week- but for me- it's a picture of how well they play together and love being around each other!  

Owen all of a sudden turned into the biggest handful a few months into my pregnancy with MC.  He had always shown signs of being such a laid back child, never in a hurry for anything!  And this is still mostly true--- it's just the in-between times that wear me out so!  He is an expert "baby gate breaker outer", loves to run the water in the sink and brush his teeth (at any given time in the day- which is great- I'm hoping he likes the dentist better than Miles), is already an expert at "rolling" things (gets that honestly from his mama...i still would love to go roll a house- but I'd have to do it before 11...I'm too tired to do anything after 11), the best taste-tester out there (anything from candy to turnip greens), very determined, and fiercely protective of his little sister.  The first night home, we had MC in the infant seat letting the boys look at her.  It got Jared all nervous (I was ready to send him back to work the next day =), so he picked the seat up to take her to the bedroom and you would have thought we had taken candy away from Owen!!  He got so terribly upset!  I can probably count the number of times he's ever done something that might hurt her- and that's not been on purpose- just sitting on her to get a reaction out of me or poking her face or something.  He went through a period of only kissing her- no one else- not even me!  Poor baby girl has had snot (or candy or food) on her head since day one!  I love the times I find little hot wheels in the seat with her, though!

I'll post a few more Owen stories as they come to mind...and I'm still working on getting Jared to sync my phone so I don't lose all 800+ pictures/videos that are on it...wouldn't that suck!!!!!

And I just realized all the pics my mom has taken and shared with me on picasa, I can't post to here because I'm not the owner of them?!  So sorry!  I'll work on that...=)