Thursday, April 29, 2010

Buttermilk Snacks (that should be called chicken liver snacks) for Patches

Hi there!! Long time no write. :} I haven't posted anything since the 20th?! Well, maybe that will change. My hours at Starbucks have dropped off. I was working about 30 hours a week, and this week I only have 20 hours. Next week that number drops to 16 hours. While I will miss the extra wages, it will be nice to be home a few more evenings. I know the hubby likes having me home. He doesn't have to fix his own dinner.

Tonight, since I got home somewhat early from cleaning houses and didn't have to work at Starbucks, I decided to make Patches another kind of biscuit from "Baking for your Dog".  This is the first recipe I have baked that had a type of meat in it. These had chicken livers as one of the ingredients. Excuse me while I shudder. Eeewww. Chicken liver. Actually, any kind of liver will make me shudder. When I was growing up, Mom made liver for dinner every other week or so. I never liked it (I think it's a texture thing) and remember sitting at the table, for hours it seemed, until I cleaned my plate. I would cut the liver into teeny tiny pieces and "hide" it in my mashed potatoes to try and get it down. I would hold my nose, I would try and swallow the pieces without chewing them, and, when we had a dog, the dog would help. :) I still hate liver. Eeewww!

Anyway, for my dog, I decided to buy some chicken livers and make these "Buttermilk Snacks". Not sure why these are called Buttermilk Snacks and not Chicken Liver snacks or even just Liver Snacks. There is some buttermilk in the recipe, but not much compared to the amount of liver. But, I digress. Four simple ingredients. Mix them up to make a dough, let it rest, roll it out, cut out biscuits, bake and give to your dog, after they have cooled of course. :) Patches loved them. The hubby thought she wouldn't, because he tried to give her a tiny piece of the unbaked dough, and she turned her nose up to it. But, I had faith. She didn't like several of the other biscuits in dough form either. But, after they were baked? She couldn't get enough of them. Same thing this time. :) If you have a dog, try these. Your dog will thank you.

Buttermilk Biscuits
from "Baking for your Dog"

250 g (9 oz) chicken livers
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
100 ml (3 fl. oz) buttermilk
251 g (9 oz) wholegrain flour

Chop the liver very finely (use a food processor or meat grinder) then stir in the sunflower oil and buttermilk. Add the flour and knead all the ingredients together to make a smooth dough. Cover the dough and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes

Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1 cm (1/2 inch) thick. Use biscuit cutter-any shape you like- to cut out shapes. Place the biscuits on the baking sheet.

Bake the snacks at 180 degrees C (350 degrees F) for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the biscuits dry in the oven for another hour. Store in a biscuit tin. The snacks will keep for about 2 weeks. 


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tuesdays with Dorie - Sweet Cream Biscuits

I missed a huge milestone last post! :( It was my 100th post! And, I didn't even realize it until today when I signed into my blog and saw that I had 100 posts. This post is 101. So, Happy 100th post (a day late) to me!!!

Okay, now on to the real business here...biscuits! This week Melissa of Love at First Bite (don't you just love that name?) picked Sweet Cream Biscuits as her choice for Tuesdays with Dorie. Melissa has a wonderful blog, takes gorgeous pictures and has the most adorable little boy who makes appearances in her posts from time to time. Be sure to stop by and get the recipe for these biscuits and check out some of the other wonderful recipes she has posted.

Biscuits are one of those things that often strike fear in the hearts of bakers. They can be so temperamental...the biscuits, not the bakers. Well, bakers can be temperamental too, but that would be for another post. I mentioned in a post a while back that I once "helped" my Mom make biscuits by patting them all down before they went into the oven. None of them rose and Mom couldn't figure out why she had "hockey pucks" instead of tall fluffy biscuits. :}

Since then I have made many a batch of biscuits myself and think I do alright. I haven't had any hockey pucks, though occasionally my biscuits don't rise really tall. These fell somewhere in between flat and really tall. I thought they were about the perfect height myself.

Super easy to make because there is no butter to have to work into the flour. The fat that the butter usually supplies is in the heavy cream you use. Flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and heavy cream. If you mix it with a light hand, and treat it somewhat gently you are rewarded with light, tender, delicious biscuits! I served mine with just a little butter on them,  along side some chicken tenders I made. The next day I used them to make sausage and egg biscuits. They were delicious both ways. Melissa used hers with sausage gravy...I sure could go for a plate of that right now...maybe I will go whip up another batch of these for lunch!  :)

Please drop by  TWD and see who else baked these wonderful biscuits.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Wow! Where have you been all my life, Almond Leche Flan?!?!

When I first saw the  Have the Cake challenge for April I had my doubts. Flan??? I have lived a very sheltered life (Hah!) and didn't know what "flan" was, what went in it, how to make it, nada. No clue. So, I read several of the recipes that Jen of pieces of me posted and thought "I can do this". And,  I did. :)

I chose the flan recipe Almond Leche Flan. (I'm too lazy to type all that when I can just post a link...hope that's okay!)It was the word almond that grabbed me. I love almonds and use them whenever I can. I eat almonds almost every day in my yogurt. And, use them in biscotti, cookies, get the idea. So, Almond flan it was. Though I did consider the coconut version that Jen made, but figured I would try a different one.  I had everything I needed in the cupboard and fridge to put this together. I decided to make it last night, after dinner and after I had baked a batch of Chocolate Almond Biscotti (which were delicious I might add). I ended up staying up until about 2:00 this morning. Between baking and cooling, and making the caramel twice because it seized up the first time. :}

This was really easy to put together, other than the caramel making part, and I seem to have trouble making caramel right the first time. Last time I had to make caramel for something (I think it was a Double Crusted Caramel Apple Pie) I had to make it twice. Gotta' figure out what I do wrong the first time so I don't have to throw the first batch into the trash.

I mixed the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks and almond extract very carefully, trying not to get any air into the mixture. I used a fine mesh sieve to pour the liquid into the prepared dish. The prepared dish was an 8" cake pan that I had poured the caramel into the bottom of and left on a burner set to low to keep warm until the flan mixture was ready to pour into it.

I also did the towel in the bottom of a roasting pan half filled with water method. I thought about skipping it, but was afraid it might not turn out and by now it was going on 11 at night and I didn't want to have invested all that time and have to redo everything the next day.

Baked the flan for the 50 minutes called for in the recipe and pulled it from the oven to cool. I unmolded it after a couple of hours and it looked perfect! I was so thrilled! I wanted to try it right then and there, but it recommends refrigerating it for 8 hours so I showed some self-control and went to bed. With my kitchen in shambles. From making dinner, then biscotti, and then the flan.  I don't often do that, leave my kitchen looking like this....

but, I was really tired by 2ish and just wanted to get to bed. Figured I would deal with the mess today. Which I did and now my kitchen looks like this...

much better. :)

Tried the flan for breakfast.  Whhhaaaat?! There's eggs in it. And, eggs are a breakfast food. :)  It was unbelievable! I don't think I have ever tasted anything as silky smooth or as creamy before. The almond flavor hits you first, and then the sweetness of the caramel slips into the mix and...oh my! I actually closed my eyes and moaned a little as I tasted the first bite. It is definitely a "savor in your mouth" kind of dessert. I don't know if the hubby will like it or not. It might be too creamy, too light for him. He is more a cake/cookie man. But, I will try and update later once he tries it. I kind of hope he doesn't like it. Then it will all be for me! Maw hahahaha! Oh, sorry. Got carried away. :}

This and that and other stuff. :)

Man I miss my blog! I hate that I haven't posted anything since last Tuesday. And, that post I actually typed up on Monday night. I get to the computer during the week...checking emails, popping in on Facebook, reading some of my friends blogs. But, to take the time to post, write something and put up pictures? It hasn't seemed like there has been enough time to do that. And, it makes me sad. :(  Not can't get off the couch, box of tissue on my lap, still in my jammies sad, but gee I wish I had a few more minutes here and there to spend catching up with my friends sad. But, tonight? I am happy because I am going to take the time and post a few pictures and comments and at least touch base with anyone who might still be checking in to see what I am up to. I'm still here! Don't give up on me yet!!

I have been baking and cooking. And, I have been outside enjoying our wonderful spring weather. And, taking lots of pictures. In addition to working and keeping up with the house and laundry and other everyday chores. I'm not complaining mind you. I am grateful to have work. To have a home. To have clothes that need to be washed and dishes that need to be washed. I give thanks each morning for the things I have. I kept a gratitude journal several years ago. Each night I would try and write down three things that I was grateful for. Some were major, like having a home to live in. Some were simpler. Like laughing with my daughter over something silly one of us said. Or seeing a rainbow after a storm. It was good to reflect each day on the things I had to be grateful for. I don't write down things anymore (though I should) but I do try and remember to be grateful for my blessings.

I bought a new cookbook. I need another cookbook like I need a hole in my head, or like a fish needs a bicycle. :} But, I can justify this one (actually three) I am in the Literary Guild and they emailed me that my fulfillment deadline was coming up and I still needed to purchase three books. They were going to charge me the average price of three books so I figured I should at least pick out three I would want. And, I got all three for less than the "average" price was going to be. One of them is "baking unplugged" by nicole rees. It's about baking without a lot of fancy equipment. Mostly a bowl and a whisk. Kind of like grandma used to bake. :) I have baked two recipes from it...Chewy-Crisp Chocolate chip cookies and Chocolate Biscotti.

My hubby is a die-hard Toll House Cookie kind of guy. I have tried other chocolate chip cookie recipes and he always says stick to the Toll House recipe. I made the Chewy-Crisp ones from this cookbook and he LOVED them. Said they were the best cookies ever. Said they were delicious. Said hey, these aren't Toll House cookies. :) They really were delicious. Chewy and crisp as the name stated. Buttery. Nutty. Really good cookies.

I baked the other recipe, the Chocolate Biscotti tonight after dinner. I love biscotti. Dorie Greenspan's recipe for almond biscotti in her "Baking..." cookbook is my all time favorite. I make it once every other month or so and usually eat it all myself. (Over the course of several days) The hubby isn't a biscotti fan. He doesn't understand the concept behind the hard, chewy, biscuit-like cookies. Which is fine with me. I make a lot of desserts that I don't usually get more than a piece or two of because he eats the majority of them. So, occasionally, if I have something around that he doesn't eat, oh well. :) So, this chocolate biscott recipe from "baking unplugged" looked interesting and I thought I would try it. Another winner from the cookbook!  It's made with chopped almonds and ground almonds. Chocolate chips, flour, sugar, cocoa powder, eggs, oil, and both almond and vanilla extract. Oh and mini chocolate chips. It's really, really good. Chocolate-y, crunchy, nutty. Delicious! I made it to send to my Secret Baker this month. I hope she likes it. :)

I also made (but don't have pictures of) some Spiced Nuts and some Sugar Glazed nuts. I am sending those to my Secret Baker too. This month's theme was Snack Foods and I thought the nuts and the biscotti filled that bill.

Another thing I baked recently were some good ole Seven Layer Bars. I haven't made them in quite a while and had a craving for them last week. So, I dug out my butter, chocolate graham crackers, sweetened condensed milk, semi-sweet chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, pecans and coconut, layered them all in a baking dish and popped it into the oven. 25 minutes later I had my bars and they were exactly what I had been craving. The hubby came home and scarfed up about three of them the first night and has been eating one or two a day for the last several days. I had a couple the first two days and haven't touched them since. That's kind of how it is with me. I will really crave something and then once I have a piece, slice, whatever, I don't want anymore of it. I guess that's a good thing. :)

I have also made some "real" food. :)  We do actually eat things healthy (or somewhat healthy) each night. I just don't always blog about those things. I made a beef brisket for the first time, using a recipe from The Pioneer Woman. I also made some chicken tenders using one of her recipes. I made some delicious sweet cream biscuits that I will post more about on Tuesday as they are next week's TWD recipe. And I made my Pot Roast dinner, which the hubby gets to enjoy,  not just once, but twice. Once the night we eat it and then as cold roast beef sandwiches in his lunch box for the next day or two.

I have been playing around with a Macro lens on my camera. I love taking close-up photos of things and wandered around here the other day taking some pictures. I took a few of my dog's eye, one that you can see me taking the picture in. I also got some close ups of a dandelion and some other plant life in the field. Thought I would leave you with a few of those....

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesdays with Dorie - Swedish Visiting Cake

I saw my first hummingbird of the season this afternoon! I have had my feeders out since Monday of last week. And watching for hummingbirds every time I looked out the window. Which is a lot, as my window is at the kitchen sink and I spend a fair amount of time in my kitchen.  Actually the hubby saw it first. He was washing his hands at the sink and looking out the window and said "Hello Mr. Hummingbird". And, I said, "What! Really! There's a hummingbird out there?!" And, pushed him out of the way so I could see my first little guy of the season. I have been watching and watching, and nothing.  And, he sees one first. Hmmm. :]

Now that I have that out of the way, welcome to another addition of Tuesdays with Dorie. This week the recipe chosen was Swedish Visiting Cake and Nancy of The Dogs Eat the Crumbs  chose it.  Nancy has a great blog. She posts all kinds of wonderful recipes and always has "n.o.e's notes" in which she shares tips and/or changes she has made to the recipe to make them her own, and she always ends with "the verdict", sharing her opinion of the recipe. Not to mention the beautiful photos she shares of each dish she makes.

Nancy picked a real winner (at least in my opinion) with this cake. It was simple to put together. It baked quickly in a cast iron skillet. And, it was delicious! Chewy, moist, crispy, lemony, nutty, delicious!  I left it on the counter in the skillet and each time I happened by it in the kitchen, I cut off a small slice. And, another slice. And, another...and... suddenly it was all gone! Well, it took a couple of days before it was gone , but it was gone far too quickly for me. Fortunately it was easy to make. Extremely so. One bowl, one skillet. My kind of recipe. :)

Nine simple ingredients. Sugar, lemon zest, eggs, salt, vanilla and almond extracts (optional), flour, butter and almonds. I didn't have any usable lemons in the house. I had two, but they had been around long enough that they were more like little baseballs then lemons. So, I used some lemon extract in my sugar. I also added both the vanilla and the almond extracts. My skillet was a 10" instead of the 9" called for in the recipe, but I just baked my cake a few minutes less.

In the recipe Dorie states that her friend says you can start making this when you see guests coming up the road and be serving it when they are sitting down to coffee. That is not too far from the truth. I would say it took only 15 minutes max to mix the batter up and no more than 25 minutes to bake it. Within an hour, I was savoring the first of many slices of this wonderful, chewy, moist,crispy, lemony, nutty cake. (Is there an echo in here?)  And, you could be too! Head over to Nancy's blog for the recipe and swing by TWD and see who else baked this wonderful cake.

And, now, I want to thank Chaya of My Sweet and Savory for the sweet awards she gave to me on Friday the 9th. At least I think she passed them both on to me. :} I "met" Chaya several months ago when she invited me to join Have the Cake  and submit a Red Velvet cake I baked with SMS. She is one busy lady, involved with I don't know how many different blogs and she posts a fabulous recipe just about every day, with lots and lots of step by step photos. Always something yummy! She didn't say there was any rules about the awards or that you had to pass them on to a certain number of people, but I would like to pass them on to a few of my blogging friends.

First of all, Julie of Little bit of Everything. She and I have become friends and not only keep in touch via our blogs, but we email each other at least once a week. I always smile when I see a comment from Julie. Can't wait to hear about the cake classes Julie!

Michelle of Flourchild is another friend who makes me smile. Not only do we share a last name (Murphy) but it turns out both of us are married to men named Steven! We have to meet someday Michelle! I'm willing to come to Idaho for a visit. :)

Leslie, of Lethally Delicious is one of my friends from Tuesdays with Dorie (or was it Sweet Melissa Sundays where we met?). She always has something nice to say whenever she drops by (which is often). Thanks for being a friend,  Leslie.

Lastly, but not least,  is Tracey of Tracey's Culinary Adventures. I get a lot of artistic ideas from the fabulous pictures she takes, tons of yummy recipes to try that she has already tried, and, whenever she drops by my blog she always has something nice to say. I'm so glad we "met" Tracey!

Okay, that's it. I have to get to bed as I have three houses to clean tomorrow. And, when I get home, I have to start making 4 different fillings and 4 different cupcakes for a bride-to-be's cake tasting on Thursday. I have several recipes I have made in the past week, dinners and desserts that I want to post. I don't have to work at Starbuck's until Thursday night, so I am hoping I can post a little in the next day or two. :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

TWD - Mocha-Walnut Marbled Bundt cake & Coconut Tea Cake

Can you believe it's April already? I can't. Seems like last week was Christmas. Now, it's the 5th of April. Easter is over. Spring is in full bloom. And I baked not one, but two weeks worth of recipes for TWD!

I wasn't able to bake last week's Coconut Tea Cake, the recipe that Carmen of Carmen Cooks picked for her turn as hostess. You need to drop by her blog and see the gorgeous pictures of her cake. I just didn't get to it before the deadline to post it for TWD last week.  This week, Erin, of When in doubt...leave it at 350, picked the Mocha-Walnut Marbled Bundt cake. On Wednesday of last week I had one of those "good news, bad news" days. The bad news was that the two houses I was supposed to clean both canceled their cleanings. One woman was short on money and the other had a daughter home sick. So, I had the day off. The good news was since I was off I would have the time to bake not just one, but both of the TWD recipes. The coconut one for me and the Mocha-Walnut one for the hubby. I had everything I needed to bake both on hand and after gathering it all together, I got to work.

I am pretty sure I had baked the Mocha cake before. I had Dorie's book long before I became a member of the group and had baked a lot of different recipes from it. (The almond biscotti is one of my early favorites!) I had a posted note on the page for it and vaguely recall baking it. I couldn't recall what we thought of it though.

I decided to bake the Coconut Tea cake first.  I had read a lot of posts that talked about mild coconut flavor, so I upped mine by adding about 1/2 teaspoon of coconut extract. I also added the dark rum Dorie mentions. (optional, but so good is what she said) I used untoasted coconut in the batter, and toasted coconut sprinkled over the top of a glaze I made using milk, coconut extract and powdered sugar.  After burning a batch of coconut in the oven last time I had to toast coconut I decided to play it safe and "toast" it in a frying pan, on top of the stove, under my watchful gaze. Turned out perfect. (Hahaha, as I am typing this I am looking over the recipe and just realized I used a paddle attachment rather than a whisk attachment to mix up the batter. Guess it didn't hurt the cake any.)

This cake came together easily and turned out fabulous. Moist, chewy, rich, definitely a recipe I will make over and over again. It reminded me of a buttery pound cake, only coconut flavored. :) Thanks Carmen for a delicious pick. I loved it.

This week's recipe, the Mocha-Walnut Marbled bundt cake was also a winner here at my house. I whipped it up as the coconut cake was baking. It was pretty simple to put together. I had coffee already brewed and keep espresso powder on hand all the time. It's great for kicking up the flavor of chocolate. I actually use Via, the new instant that Starbucks sells. I didn't toast the walnuts before grinding them. I used a large ice cream scoop and scooped the batter into the pan, alternating the white batter with the chocolate batter. Once it was all in the pan I dragged a knife through the different batters to marble it.

I read several blogs of bakers who made this last week and all mentioned really watching the baking time, or even cutting it shorter by a few minutes. I set the timer for 10 minutes sooner than Dorie suggests and it was perfectly baked when I checked it. I cooled it, made a chocolate glaze using dutch processed cocoa, coffee, powdered sugar and a touch of vanilla. Once I drizzled it over the cake I then sprinkled a few chopped walnuts on top.

Delicious! Moist with just a hint of nutty flavor. I think I would toss some chopped walnuts into the batter next time. I like nuts in my baked goods. And, I might even kick up the espresso a bit, give it a tad more coffee flavor. It was almost lost in the chocolate. But, still, a delicious cake. Thanks Erin. You picked a winner. :) Be sure to drop by her blog for the recipe. And, of course, stop by TWD and check out what all the other bakers who baked this week thought.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Spring has come to Virginia

Today I am home. Monday is my usual day off from both jobs. I usually spend it doing laundry, grocery shopping, baking, cleaning my own house (which I must admit is sorely neglected) and other mundane household chores that must be done. But, so far today? I have gone for a 45 minute walk with my dog. Made hummingbird juice and dug up my hummingbird feeders from the shed to fill and hang up. Taken a bunch of pictures of the signs of spring around our property. Played on the computer. In other words, I am actually taking a day off. Doing some things I really like to do. Resting not only my body, but my mind and soul as well. And, you know what? It feels wonderful!

I may or may not have mentioned that I live out in the country. The closest towns are about 15 minutes in either direction as I leave my drive. And, those are towns, not cities. One, the town of Amelia, has one grocery store, Food Lion, and one fast food restaurant, McDonald's. And, only two traffic lights in the whole county and one of them is just a blinking light. Amelia is where my hubby grew up. The other town, Blackstone, is a bit bigger. Boasting 4, count them, 4! fast food joints (Wendy's, Hardee's, McDonald's and Pizza Hut!) and not only a Food Lion, but also a Walmart Super Center! Big time!!

The hubby and I have 11 acres of land, almost evenly split by field and woods. Back in 2002 we built our home here. It's a small ranch house which is perfect for the two of us, and our two pets, Patches and Snowball. Snowball is our cat, and she is black as coal. :) The hubby is a big Simpson fan and we named Snowball after Lisa's cat. I had always lived in a city until I married the hubby and moved "out to the boonies" as my son likes to call where I live. I wasn't sure how I would like living way out in the country, but it turns out I worried for nothing. I love where we live, love walking out to my deck in the morning with a cup of coffee and listening to the birds chirping. Love that I can see deer and turkey wandering in the field behind the house. Love the darkness at night, the way you can see millions of stars in the sky just by looking up.

Spring is beautiful here. The trees are beginning to bud out. Some of them are covered in blossoms, like the old wild cherry tree up at the end of our property. Everything is green and bright and wonderful. While on my walk today, I walked from our place, around the road to the back of my mother-in-laws place and down the drive to my sister-in-law's place. We all live within 1/2 to 1 mile of each other, having all bought land in the same area. While it sounds like we are on top of each other, we aren't. They can't see us when we are in our back yard, and we can't see them. Close, but not too close. :)

Today while I was out walking with Patches, I brought along my new camera and took a bunch of pictures. I had my 55 - 200mm lens on the camera and that let me get both far shots and close ups. Thought I would share just a few of them with you. Ahhh, spring in Virginia.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sweet Melissa Sunday - Sorry but I am going to have to say good-bye. :(

If you came looking for this weeks recipe, Pecan Shortbread Cookies, which was chosen by Lara of The Lab, I apologize for disappointing you. You won't find it here. Stop by Lara's blog to see the pictures she took of her delicious looking cookies, and check out what the other SMS bakers thought of this recipe.

I am sure I mentioned in an earlier post that I had to take a part time job. I am working nights and weekends in addition to my day job, which is cleaning houses. Seems like every Saturday and Sunday I work 8 hours. I have been getting about 30 extra hours a week with the part time job.  I kept trying to kid myself that I could still work in my baking with SMS, either by baking the recipe during the week, or by baking it on Sunday when I got home from work. Well, today when I got home from work, I sat down on the couch and promptly fell asleep for about 45 minutes. The thought of baking, that normally excites me and feeds my soul, as I like to say, just tires me now. The part time job is at Starbucks and I am on my feet for all of those 8 hours. Once I get home, I want to put my tired dogs up and just sit.

So, though it pains me to do it, I have emailed the powers that be to let them know that I am pulling my membership from the group. I may still post a recipe from the group, from time to time, if I get it baked before Sunday. But, I can't be sure I can fulfill the two recipes a month that you need to bake to stay current, and it's not fair to others who may be waiting to join for me to keep an opening they could have. Not to mention disappointing all my faithful readers who come looking for each weeks recipe, only to find I haven't baked it, again. ;} Or the guilt I pile on myself when Sunday rolls around and I haven't made yet another weeks recipe. It's better for everyone if I just quietly drift into the night and you carry on without me. Don't look back. I'll be fine...sorry. I can be very dramatic from time to time. :D (Photo from here)

I will still keep up with reading everyone's blogs. Checking in to see what's being baked. And, if things get better in my cleaning business and I can stop working the second job, I will come back, if there is an opening.  And, I will still be posting a recipe here and there, when I do find time to bake. So, I hope you will drop by from time to time and say hi. Until next time....

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Pioneer Woman's Chicken Spaghetti, with my personal spin.

I was home Thursday evening. I did work during the day, cleaning a church, an insurance agent's office, and two houses. But, I was home in the evening.  It's the first Thursday night that I have been home in a while. I am usually scheduled at Starbucks. Normally the hubby does frozen pizza on Thursday nights, but, since I knew I would be home I thought I would cook something and let him do frozen pizza Friday night, when I would be working.

I have been wanting to make this dish, Chicken Spaghetti, since I first saw it posted on Pioneer Woman's blog. It seemed pretty easy, just a few simple ingredients, and she said Marlboro Man loves it. I figured if her hardworking cowboy husband liked it, my hardworking redneck hubby would too.

I had cooked a whole chicken in my dutch oven, french style, on Sunday night, and had a fair amount of the chicken meat left over. Ree boils up a fryer the night she makes the dish, but I figured I could cheat and use the cooked chicken. I also took several other liberties with her recipe, but only because I didn't have some of the ingredients she calls for. If you want to make it Ree's way, click here. :) If you want to make it my way, I will post my variation of her recipe below. It's pretty much the same recipe, I just subbed out some things.

It took no time at all to whip it all together and pop it in the oven. It has to bake for 45 minutes, so I caught up on some emails and started some laundry. You could do the same, or maybe read a couple of chapters from a good book, or relax with a cup of coffee (or tea or even wine!) I put together a quick salad to serve along with the casserole. I thought about throwing some broccoli into the dish, but decided against it at the last minute. But, I bet it would be good.

The verdict? Delicious! I really liked it and the hubby did too. It was creamy and cheesy and such a different way to eat spaghetti. Very comfort food-like. I had big chunks of chicken in mine and whole wheat spaghetti, Everything blended together and we didn't even need to twirl the spaghetti to eat it! Easy peasy!

I am going to link this recipe to April's  Foodie Fans of the Pioneer Woman.

 Chicken Spaghetti
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks


2 cups cooked chicken
1/2 pound whole wheat spaghetti, broken into 2" pieces
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon Seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic pepper

Chop up cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces.
Cook spaghetti until al dente. Do not overcook it as you will bake it and finish cooking it.
When spaghetti is cooked, combine it with all the remaining ingredients. Reserve 3/4 cup of the cheddar cheese.
Place all the ingredients into a casserole dish and sprinkle remaining cheese over the top. 
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes until bubbly.