Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Another Recipe..."put 'em up Chili Willi's"

Okay, so I will be the first to say that I LOOOVEE our hometown restaurant Chili Willi's...it's been a favorite since college (back when it was literally a hole in the wall, and you had to air out your coat in the winter because it would smell like Chili Willi's for a week if you didn't!!)  One thing that I've missed though, is a really great chimichanga with green sauce.  A chain restaurant name ChiChi's had a great one years ago, but it's looooong gone (remember downtown, I think where Pullman is now?).  Anyhoo--I cut this recipe out of the Parade Magazine (an insert in the Sunday newspaper) in 2004!  Yes, I do that...cut recipes out, sure I'm going to try them but just never get around to it.  Well, I finally did and oh, my ...amazingly yummy!  AND, they are really not difficult OR time consuming (I've already made them twice in a week, once for a Bible Study dinner and once for my kiddos and me!) So enough for the sell...here's the recipe...


  • 2 (10.5 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 2 (4 ounce) cans diced green chiles
NOTE HERE: I don't like olives so I left them out AND I left out the jalepeno pepper---the sauce was PLENTY hot without it, but hey, you decide :)
  • 5 pitted green olives
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1 (8 ounce) package shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning
  • 1 pound shredded cooked chicken meat
I put 3 large chicken breasts in the crockpot on low and let them cook all day...voila, they were ready and perfect when I was ready to make the chimis...
  • 8 (10 inch) flour tortillas
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 (8 ounce) package shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup chopped green onion
  • 1 (8 ounce) container sour cream


  1. Pour the cream of chicken soup into a blender along with the green chiles, olives, jalapeno, and lime juice. Puree until smooth, then pour into a saucepan, and warm over medium-low heat while proceeding with the recipe.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the cream cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, and taco seasoning until well blended. Fold in the chicken. Evenly divide mixture among the 8 tortillas. Fold each tortilla into a rectangular packet around the filling.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry 4 chimichangas at a time until golden brown, then drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
  4. To serve, place a chimichanga on a plate, and ladle the warm sauce overtop. Sprinkle with Cheddar cheese and green onions. Finish with a dollop of sour cream.

I hope you love them! You'll have to let me know! 

Have a great day you all!


Monday, September 27, 2010

Out of This World Cupcakes

Our crazy household was filled with lots of fun and activity this weekend.  Lydia did really well in her first Speech tournament and our favorite football teams won including the mighty Huntington Highlanders.  And how could they not with this beautiful fan cheering them along?

I also got a chance to do some baking.  I made a YUMMY chimichanga recipe that I will post soon.  Chili is in the fridge for this week and dessert, well, dessert is already made (and partly eaten!)  As promised here is the Milky Way Cupcakes recipe.  These things are amazing and I got the recipe from Inside Brew Crew Life

Milky Way Cupcakes
From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea
Creation's revealing Your majesty...
Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God

1 devils food chocolate cake mix (Cheap is fine!)
3 eggs
1 1/3 c. water
1/2 c. oil
1/4 c.  cocoa powder (yes, more choc)
2-3 tbsp. instant coffee
1/4 sour cream
Mix all together and bake in muffin tin according to your package.

1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
1 c. choc chips
(again gotta have more choc)
Bring cream to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in chips. Stir until smooth and oh so yummilicous looking. Let cool.

1 c. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. milk
4 c. powdered sugar
8 snack size milky ways
2-3 extra tbsp. butter

Beat your butter, vanilla, salt, and milk until creamy. Slowly add sugar until thick. You can thin this out with another tbsp. of milk if you need to. Set aside. Cut milky ways up and put in sauce pan on stove with extra butter. Stir until it is an ooeeyy gooey chocolatey mess. Begin whipping the frosting again and add the melted candy bars as you whip.
After your cupcakes and filling have cooled. Scoop out the center of your cupcake with a melon scooper (or use a small spoon).   Fill the cavity with the chocolate goodness (resist the urge to lick the spoon after each scoop:-) Frost with the Milky Way Frosting. Decorate with more choc...a milky way bar finishes it off.
You may want to keep the cupcakes in the fridge but let them come to room temperature before eating...Enjoy!


Friday, September 24, 2010

Don't Be a Chicken!

Okay, so HAPPY FRIDAY!  I feel like I've worked two weeks in one and I'm sure some of you do too.  Today I'm sharing a little tip about cooking chicken.  (This, prompted by a discussion amongst girlfriends the other evening--I know what you're thinking, "Boy, Joy and her friends have exciting discussions!"  ha!  try not to be jealous :) )

My favorite way to cook chicken for use in mexican dishes or casseroles or even chicken and dumplings is to put it in the crock pot (even frozen will work), turn it on low and leave it all day.  BUT, sometimes, time just does not permit, so for quick chicken breast, cook it on top of the stove but in just a TINY bit of water.  I'm talking maybe a 1/2 inch then put the lid on.  It kind of "simmers in it's own juices" that way.  If you cover the chicken, which is what I used to do until my dear ol' mom told me otherwise years ago, the chicken absorbs the water and tends to get tough and a little stringy.  Less is definitely more in this instance!

So, have a great weekend! I'm making chicken this way myself tonight for Chimichangas, so I'll let you know how it goes!


Thursday, September 23, 2010


Are you a "gleek"? 
Our house was full of "gleeks" Tuesday for the season premiere of the hit TV show GLEE.  It's hard for me to allow the girls to throw a party and not add my "thematic" additions to it.  So, we had a very simple and very fun menu all from the show...

"Cheerios" snack mix

Grape and red Slushies

And "messy cupcakes" with weed (the kind of weed you get in your flower bed!)

Emily and Lydia had about 8 guests and a great time!  
I have to admit, I did love that their friends all had a blast and that the girls told me "thanks" and how "cool" I was before they went to bed that night.  (Yes, even Moms like to be "cool" sometimes!)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

It's arrived!

My package arrived from THE VINTAGE PEARL a couple of days ago and I couldn't wait to share it.  Now, I apologize in advance for the pictures.  I've really GOT to get a new camera and stop relying on my poor iphone for photographs...

The picture is a little fuzzy, I know, but the letters are perfectly clear in real life ;)  This particular necklace is very tiny but so sweet and simple.  I haven't taken it off yet! (as you can see, I wore it with another necklace today but by itself yesterday)...

I'm going to be starting a little Halloween craft project soon so I'll share it with you.  I'm kind of a kid when it comes to the fall holidays.  Though I don't like the scary stuff about October 31st, I'm a fool for pumpkins and such!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hello Autumn!

I'm so excited about fall.  I don't know exactly why, but this time of the year always seems to bring a certain exhilaration to my little part of the world.  Maybe it's the cooler weather after a hot summer, football games,  or  the expectation of the upcoming holidays, I'm not sure.  I think there's a certain newness surrounding this season even though we usually attribute that to spring, We must experience the falling of the old leaves before we can see the new ones in later on,  so I guess I think of Autumn as a "cleansing" of sort.  The death of the foliage gives way, later ,to new life and that to me is somehow very beautiful.  .

Fall has a new meaning for me this year as I'll celebrate my Dad's life in October.  He will have been gone from us for a year although it seems almost impossible, as often it feels like yesterday.  I do, however, resolve to CELEBRATE his life.  One thing I've learned about grief (and there are so many) is that it's really comforting to embrace it when it comes.  Yes, comforting.  Some days it sweeps over me like a monstrous tidal wave and it envelopes me.  I will not run from it when it comes, instead, let it pour over me,  cleansing me of the hurt and the pain and comforting me as it heals those wounded places.  

I hope for you anticipation of  new things, new life and new ways to be whole.
          A Time for Everything
 1 For everything there is a season,
      a time for every activity under heaven.
 2 A time to be born and a time to die.
      A time to plant and a time to harvest.
 3 A time to kill and a time to heal.
      A time to tear down and a time to build up.
 4 A time to cry and a time to laugh.
      A time to grieve and a time to dance.
 5 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
      A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
 6 A time to search and a time to quit searching.
      A time to keep and a time to throw away.
 7 A time to tear and a time to mend.
      A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
 8 A time to love and a time to hate.
      A time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Meatball Subs

Here's a yummy, fast and easy idea for dinner that the girls and I have recently discovered...especially great for last minute meals or even football game day!

First, start with the following ingredients:

Frozen Italian Style meatballs.  (I use the Great Value brand and they are just as good as others I've tried.)
You'll also need hoagie or steak buns, pizza sauce and sliced mozarella cheese.

Bake the meatballs as directed on the package.  I brushed the buns with a little butter and toasted them for just a couple of minutes. While everything is baking, heat the pizza sauce in a pan or microwave. Then...VOILA!  You have a yummy meatball sub your kids can even build themselves.  At our house, we had a discourse about who liked the sauce directly on the bun and who like it on the meatballs. Yes these are the things we talk about! :)   They are hot and fast and everyone in my house loves them.  You can add toppings of your choice and a side of fruit and chips and you're done!

We plan our days as if we have control over them, don't we?  I love this verse I found in 2 Samuel 10:12 spoken by Joab, a leader of David's army:  "Be of good courage and let us be courageous...and may the Lord do what seems good to Him"  Sometimes it's difficult for me to allow Him to do what seems good to HIM and not what seems good to ME!


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pictures and such

I'm so excited to to share my dear friend's blog with you and hope you will take advantage.  Kiki is a beautiful and talented friend who does Silhouette Portraits (see her blog in my favorites). My youngest daughter, Lydia, played the role of Annie in the Huntington Outdoor Theatre production of ANNIE this year
and Kiki did a Silhouette Portrait of her from a picture in the local paper...

Isn't it beautiful?
What a beautiful and amazing way to capture your loved ones at ANY age.  If you'd like to contact Kiki, you can do so by clicking on her blogspot in my favorites or reach her at kikigue@aol.com.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Ina's Mac N Cheese

So, I made the Macaroni and cheese I told you about but ended up using a slightly different recipe and altered the original just a bit because my girls do NOT like tomatoes.  It was SO delicious! (and I'm not even a huge Mac N Cheese fan). The girls said it was the best they'd ever eaten!  I served it with a rotisserie chicken and salad for a quick, delicious, gourmet meal. 
The recipe is from Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) of whom I'm a huge fan.  You can find the full recipe on Food Network.com but here is what I did: 


Kosher Salt
Vegetable oil
1 pound elbow macaroni or cavatappi
1 quart milk (I used part skim, part half and half because it's what I had!)
8 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 c all purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyere, grated (4 cups)
8 ounces extra sharp cheddar, grated (2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)

Preheat oven to 375
Cook macaroni according to package in salted, oiled water
Meanwhile, heat milk in small sauce pan.  DON'T BOIL it!
In a large pan, heat 6 tablespoons of the butter and add the flour.  Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk.  While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Add the cooked macaroni and stir well.  Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.  Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and combine it with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on top.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on top.

Okay, I am ALL about saving time and money but there are few things about this recipe that you need to know...First, Gruyere IS expensive but it is SO worth it in this. Also, I used a really sharp white cheddar, also a little more expensive, but you can taste AND appreciate the difference for something a little extra special. 
Secondly, I mixed some freshly grated parmesan with my bread crumbs for an extra yummy topping.
NEXT, Don't be afraid of the nutmeg!  This may seem like an odd ingredient but it adds just the perfect taste.  I buy whole, dry nutmeg and grate them on my little grating plane.  
 and last but not least...
I made my own bread crumbs.  I know, it seems like it would take time, but it really doesn't.  If you don't have a box grater (yes, the old fashioned box grater...It's one of my most used kitchen tools) get one right away! Pop a few pieces of any sandwich bread ( I used honey wheat and day or two old is especially perfect) in the toaster and grate it right up.  It's an extra 4 or 5 minutes,  but again, so very worth it!

Hope you enjoy!  Have a lovely evening and let me know if you love it!