Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Penne Pasta with Chicken & Herbed Cream

Want an quick and yummy meal that you can have on the table in under 20 minutes?  I've got it for you!

On the menu for tonight:

Penne Pasta with Chicken & Herbed Cream

This was inspired be my mom's delish version with shrimp.  My step-daughter, Kelsey, is allergic to shrimp and I also didn't have parmesan cheese, so I had to change it up a bit.  No worries though, cause it came out tasting pretty darned good!

As with my other recipes, I recommend going through all of the instructions and pics before you get started.

  • 1 box of penne pasta
  • 4 chicken thighs, skinless, boneless (mine had the bone...) 
  • 2 tbls butter
  • 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp dried, crushed basil
  • 1 can Hunts Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes, Garlic flavored
  • 1/2 pint (or 1 cup) of heavy cream
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 C of Sharp Cheddar cheese (I have to admit, I did not measure this!)
  1. In a large pot, put water to boil on high and salt to taste.  Once boiling, add pasta and cook according to box instructions. 
  2. For the chicken, try to take off as much of the fat as you possibly can.  Cube into small, bite sized pieces.
  3. In a pre-heated skillet (med/high) add about 1 teaspoon of olive oil and add your cubed chicken.  Cook for about 7 minutes or until cooked thoroughly.  Set aside.
  4. In a separate pot, on medium heat, place your butter.  Once melted, lower heat to med/low and add garlic.
  5. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Watch it well, you don't want the garlic to burn.
  6. Add basil, stir, and cook for another 2 minutes.
  7. Add heavy cream, stir, and then add garlic salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Once mixed thoroughly, add shredded cheese and mix well.
  9. Cook for another 2 minutes or until you see thickening and then add the cooked and strained penne pasta.
All the ingredients minus the garlic salt. 
Chicken before removing excess fat.
There is still a bit of fat, but as you can see in the next picture...
...I did get quite a bit off.  Gross, I know!
Chicken, cubed up.
Skillet with a little bit of olive oil.
Happy sizzle dance!
Halfway cooked.
Cooked chicken.  Set aside.
Now, for the sauce.  Butter and crushed garlic.
Can you smell it?!
After two minutes, add crushed, dried basil.
Watch it well.  My garlic browned a little more than I would have liked.  Mia "informed" me that Zoe needed a diapy change at this moment... :/
Add your can of diced tomatoes.  This flavor was really yummy.
Loved the roasted tomatoes!
Add the heavy cream,
...and your garlic salt and pepper to taste.
Looks oh, so, good! 
I eyed the measurement on the cheese.  This was about 1 1/2 cups.
Oh, yeah!
Can you see it thickening up?!
Add your chicken & pasta.  Mix thoroughly.

Buen Provecho!
Bon Appetit!

Let me know what you think!

Monday, February 27, 2012

House Hunting

It's not officially official, but Locke is planning on retiring this summer from the U.S. Coast Guard.  He may be accepting a job working for a company which would have us relocate from Florida to Indiana.  

Locke and I have been scouring the internet looking for houses.  We both have the same thing in mind.  We want a house with a decent amount of property, preferably with 4+ bedrooms and over 2,000 SF.  We would like to find a house that has a "Mother-In-Law Suite".  We also want a house with character.  A house that is not perfect.  

A house that we can make into our home.

I'm showing you this house NOT because it's the house that we are buying, but because it's the one we've been stuck on this past week.  It would be a bit of a commute as it's actually in Ohio, but it has most of what we are looking for.  We found it through Century 21.  It has 4 bedrooms, a family room, living room, kitchen, dining room, breakfast room, a study and a utility room.  That's a lot of rooms!  There are over 10 acres of property, which other than the house, includes multiple buildings (detached garage and sheds)!  Plenty of room for Locke to have his man spaces for all of his cars and maybe I could turn one of them into my craft/DIY/office/mommy space.  I'm swooning...

Now that I have a new house on the mind, I have decor on the mind and Pinterest is helping me find so much inspiration.  I just LOVE Pinterest.  My favorite is the Home Decor section.  I cannot wait to start over again.  This time I plan on diving way deep into it.  Yes, Locke, that's right! Get ready!

This is the house. 

And along with the pictures of the house in Ohio, there are some of my pins from my Home Envy board.  They have helped me find inspiration on what I would like to do with our next home.  


Ohio home.  Sit's on a little hill.  Love the stone exterior.

I can see myself sitting here on a cool spring morning, on a porch swing, drinking my cafe con leche.  Ah...
Inspiration photo.  Yup, something like this is what I have in mind!

Driveway looking toward the house.  

I believe this is part of the entryway.  In front of the stairs would be the front door.
Inspiration photo.  How I would love to do this to the stairs in my house.  From the moment you step inside, it would make you feel like you are in a fun house where you can sit back, relax and feel at home.
I believe this is the Master Bedroom which is located on the 1st floor.  Love how bright the room is.
Inspiration photo.  I would like to keep the kind of feel we currently have in our Master Bedroom.  Like this.
Inviting but a bit more streamlined and modern.
Love the doors going into the room but there isn't much privacy.  That could easily be fixed though by having curtains on the other side of the door.
I believe this is the Living Room (or maybe the Dining Room).  None of the rooms were labeled, so sometimes it was hard to tell which was which.  Regardless of whether it is or not, you can see that the whole house is bright and airy.  I think the living room is one of the rooms I would be looking forward to working on the most other than the kitchen.
I love everything in this inspiration room.  The color of the walls.  The bright colors of the curtains.  Love the area rug.  Feels like you could just walk right in, sit on the couch and put your feet up.

Inspiration room.  I think I'm seeing a pattern in the things I love.  Freshness.  Color. Texture.  Laid back feel.  

2nd Floor Bedroom.  I think the floors are painted.  I would probably strip them down & stain them.  
Inspiration room.  Family/playroom.  A place where anyone could be comfortable.  This would probably be good for a basement or family room.

Another bedroom on the second floor.  Could be used as the girls room.

Inspiration room.  What little girl would not love to sleep here?  Love the fresh colors.  Love the rug.

Walk-in closet.  I'm just not sure for which room!
Inspiration photo.  If it were for the girls closet, this would be absolutely perfect.

This would probably serve as a guest room/office.  Seems like a smaller space, perfect for either.

Inspiration room.  If I were a guest in this room, I would never want to leave.
 Love, Love, love the colors, textiles and furniture.  Everything!

Wow! The kitchen would need a lot of work!  I love the big window.  It wouldn't be so bad to stand here doing the dishes.  I think the kitchen would need to be reconfigured.  I would paint the walls, the cabinets.  Install granite, marble or maybe even butcher block countertops.  Change the faucet and sink, probably another farmhouse sink.  Stainless steel appliances of course (or maybe some retro looking pieces!) and that flooring would have to go.
Yes, there is a lot of work that would have to be done here!

Inspiration room.  There isn't anything I don't love here!  Color of the walls.  Appliances.  Sink.  Butcher block and marble countertops.  Open shelving.  Everything.

Yard views.

One of the multiple buildings on the property.

Looks a bit rundown but I definitely see potential in the building!

Inspiration photo.  Perfect place to work on my projects and get away, maybe with a glass of my favorite Moscato!

Do you see the possibilities?  

I do!

I am looking forward to what the future brings...

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