Welcome to my head!

This is where I store the "extra" stuff in my head.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Greek Chicken and Pasta

Because I work a 40 hour a week job OUTSIDE my home, I don't like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen during the week.  Call me crazy, but I like to relax after work and after the chores are done.  I LOVE to cook, and I like to think I"m a pretty good cook.  But I take a lot of shortcuts during the week for our meals.  I drag out the Paula Deen and Pioneer Woman cookbooks on the weekends!  So the chicken I used in this recipe is pre-cooked packaged chicken you can find at the grocery store.  It saved a little bit of time. 

Greek Chicken and Pasta

2 cups uncooked penne pasta
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 can chicken broth
1 cup crumbled feta cheese OR shredded Havarti cheese.  (I like the Havarti better)
3 cups chopped chicken
1 six oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
1/3 cup sliced kalamata olives ( I just used black olives.  Any variety will work, so pick your favorite.)
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (dried if you don't have it. Saves another step of chopping)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 quart glass baking dish with cooking spray.  Cook and drain pasta according to directions on package.  Meanwhile, in 3 quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add onion; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in flour; cook and stir for 30 seconds.  Slowly stir in broth; heat to boiling.  Cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened.  Remove from heat; stir in cheese.  Gently stir in cooked pasta, chicken, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, olives and parsley.  Spoon into baking dish.  Bake uncovered 25 to 30 minutes or until hot.  Garnish with additional fresh parsley if desired.

I serve this with warm, crusty French bread, courtesy of Pillsbury!  It bakes at the same time as the casserole, so there's no extra waiting on the bread.

Carpe' diem!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Me and Orson Wells

I had a request for more movie reviews and because I love to please my friends, here is one on the movie I watched last night:
Me and Orson Wells, starring Zac Efron.  Now first, let me just say that if I were 20 years younger, he wouldn't be dating that Vanessa chick! ;)  So since he is my latest "movie star crush",  ( and yes, you can TOO have these when you are over 40!  As long as you don't REALLY act on them.  That could get you arrested.)  this was the only reason I rented the movie.  I like to see Zac in something other than High School Musical.  Because I love his blue eyes!  ahem, Okay, back to the movie review. 
Richard (Zac) is a bored high school student intent on being an actor in New York.  He joins an acting troop led by Orson Wells (Christian McKay) in 1937.  The play they are doing is Julius Caesar, Orson Wells style.  Richard strikes up a friendship with Orson's assistant, Sonja (Claire Danes) but desperately wants it to be more.  The story takes us through the week of this kids life in the Mercury Theater where he's taken under Orson's wing, so to speak.  Orson is a very demanding director and wants things done HIS way, or no way with ridiculous expectations from anyone around him and because of this, Richard has to decide if acting is really worth it or not .  I liked the story, if it was a bit slow, and I thought Zac did a great job with his role.  (I think this guy will be this generations Brad Pitt.)  The play within the movie was really well done and made me wish it was something I could see in it's entirety.  I give it a 3 on the MelScale. ;) 
Carpe' diem!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Banana Split Pizza

If you really love your family, you will make this for them tonight!  You never know, they might sing you love songs or make up a poem about how great you are. Or at the very least, they might clean up the kitchen for you when they are finished!  Seriously, this is very delicious and it makes a WHOLE bunch. So you might want to share it with a neighbor like I did! ;) But I wouldn't blame you if you kept the whole thing for yourself.

1 package (18 oz.) refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 container (8 oz) Cool Whip, thawed
1/4 chopped peanuts (optional)
2 Hershey bars (I used one of those BIG bars in the candy section)
2 bananas, sliced
1 can (8 oz.) pineapple tidbits, drained
1/2 cup strawberry ice cream topping

Preheat oven to 350.  Shape cookie dough into a ball on a large, floured cookie sheet.  I used a pizza pan.  Roll the dough to a 14 inch circle, about 1/4 inch thick.  Bake 16-18 minutes until light golden brown.  Cool 10 minutes.  Carefully loosen cookie from pan.  Cool completely on the pan.  Microwave the cream cheese on HIGH for 30 seconds or until softened; whisk until smooth.  Add Cool Whip and whisk until smooth.  Mixture will be thick.  Spread cream cheese mixture over cookie to within 1/2 of edge.  Coarsely chop chocolate bars.  Sprinkle peanuts and chocolate over the pizza.  Arrange banana slices and pineapple tidbits evenly over pizza.  Drizzle Strawberry topping all over to taste. Cut with a pizza cutter into  16 wedges and serve to your VERY grateful family!!!

 Carpe' diem

Friday, August 20, 2010


<----This is Rudy.  I didn't name him Rudy because he's a Ruby Throated Hummingbird, nor do I usually even NAME the dozens of hummingbirds that hang around our feeders in the summer.  Puh-lease.  I DO have a life.  But this guy!  This guy is tenacious and unafraid!  Like the title character in the movie "Rudy", about the football player that worked hard to play for Notre Dame, despite his small size. Good movie, by the way.  That's what I thought of as I watched Rudy take over the feeder on my kitchen window.  He's small and young, with some down still remaining on his "butt".  At first, I called him Fluffy Butt.  But then, as I watched him, I knew he needed a more worthy name.  He wouldn't let any other hummingbird get close to "his" feeder. He even ran off the bigger males!  The longer I watched him, the more respect I had for this little guy.  Pretty soon, Rudy wasn't even flying off the feeder to defend it.  He would just sit on the perch, twitter and flap his wings at any other intersted hummingbird, and those guys took to the trees!  He was not afraid of them or us, standing at the kitchen sink watching.  I have never seen a male hummingbird just SIT on the feeder perch like that.  My most favorite thing to do in the summer mornings is to sit out on my deck (when it's not 3000 degrees outside) and watch all the hummingbirds fly around the yard.  Sometimes, they fly so close to my head that my ears tickle.  They'll be gone by early October and I'll clean the feeders and pack them away until spring.  I don't know if the same birds come back to the same place or not. But I'll be watching for Rudy all the same.