Thursday, February 16, 2012

Italian Wedding Soup Supper

Wow. Didn't realize how unattractive it looked. It's ok though. The taste wins. I promise.
I subscribe to Taste Of Home magazine and have for years. I love it. I get inspiration for yummy down home cooking quite often. I love the recipes! SO... ask me how many recipes I have actually tried from the pages I have read. Ok, I will spill it. 2. Yes, 2. Or thereabouts. I am more of a collector than a do-er. Though I have been looking for recipes to use up a stockpile of frozen spinach that I had on hand so this recipe caught my eye. Guess what?! It was wonderful! I am so glad too! I love a good soup recipe. And it happened to be a rainy cold day so it fit the bill even better! I will share it with you, just in case you find yourself in the same predicament as I was. OR you like good soup. Whatever. Just give it a shot! I promise you will be as surprised as I was.

Italian Wedding Soup Supper (I doubled most of the recipe. But I added 3 times the chicken broth to make it soupier.)

2 cups small pasta shells
1/2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used the canned chicken from Costco)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 pkg. frozen fully cooked Italian meatballs, thawed
1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1, 10 oz. pkg. frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. garlic powder (recipe didn't call for this but I added it and I am glad I did. added good flavor)
1/2 tsp. dried basil (recipe didn't call for this either but, well, you know. I like to be all crazy sometimes...)
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
3/4 cup shredded Asiago cheese (we skipped the cheese altogether and didn't miss it.)

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, cook chicken in 1 tbsp. oil, until no longer pink. Remove and set aside. In the same skillet, saute the onion, carrot and celery in remaining oil until tender. Add the meatballs, soup, spinach, broth, seasonings and chicken.  Cover and cook for 4-6 minutes or until heated through. Drain pasta, stir into skillet. Sprinkle with cheese, if you choose to use it.

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Valentine's Candy Bag

I am going to a fun dinner with my crafty friends and thought I would give them all a little something since Valentine's day is Tuesday. Seemed like a good reason to use some of my favorite red and pink supplies. I had a fun time creating them. Pretty straightforward, as far as techniques go. Easy last minute craft for those of you who procrastinate.(I say this as I finish assembling my baggies with about 45 minutes until I have to be at my friend's house...)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Valentine's Glass Trio

I had been inspired by some of the fabulous shabby looking Valentine's day cuteness I have seen on Pinterest lately and decided to give it a try on my own. I am going to a special dinner at a friend's house tomorrow night and I wanted to bring a cute little thank you gift. She likes the shabby chic style and I am not a naturally talented shabby chic designer, BUT I LOVE THE STUFF!! So, I gathered up all my trims and tags and doilies and burlap and just kind of went for it. I didn't really have much of a plan other than to use up supplies that I already had and not spend much (if any) money. I succeeded.

I can't even decide which is my favorite, and which will be the gift I give. Probably leaning towards the unscented jar candle in the middle of the picture above.

I found that at the local WinCo grocery store in the section where you find the religious saint candles. You know, next to the spices and canned chili peppers and stuff like that? Yeah, there. Anyway, they were .89 cents. I was shocked! I mean, that is cheaper than the dollar store! ;-)

I am going to see if I can come up with some ideas to use them for other holidays.
I also used a tall skinny jar and, to be honest, I have no idea where it came from. I recall ripping off the labels but I don't remember what kind of label it was. Oh well. I reused the bottle underneath it and I guess that is the important part. Right?

The other one is just an old mason jar that I have in the garage waiting for summer to come so I can make more jam. So, that is about it! I made some cute jars today. I am happy.

Linking to:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Button Projects

It was recently another crafty evening with my crafty group of ladies and the hostess found an idea on Pinterest, with a pretty great tutorial, and she wanted to have us try it for our Valentine's day craft. Trouble was, the original design called for some ribbon roses, like, 50 per piece and there were going to be waaaaay too many of us to get them all done ahead of time and we probably couldn't have gotten them all done that night. So, she came up with the button idea to make things go quicker. I LOVE the way my heart one turned out! It was kind of cool to see all the different spins that all the ladies took. None of them were the same. Total creative freedom was taken but with the same general concept. Love that about our little group!

Now, I am a long time crafter and, believe it or not, this was my first time ever painting on an actual canvas! I am hooked. I am looking all over the place for other projects to make using them. I took the same button on weathered canvas idea and made a "Spring" sign for my sister. I have two more and am thinking of making a shamrock and then maybe a patriotic star or something. I will keep you posted.

So, the painted and weathered canvas techniques are pretty well explained on the original crafter's website, so I won't go into details here. The only things we did differently, were to hot glue a ton of buttons (around 150, but who's counting,) and use vinyl cutout words instead of rub-ons. I also thought a bow would be cute added to the front of my objects just for a little more interest. Lovin' it. :)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Remember the Fancy Chicken Log

My mother-in-law, known as Nana, was a wonderful Grandma. She was active and loving and spoiled her grandchildren with affection and attention. She made sure that diapers were changed promptly, that crayons and coloring books were plentiful and dolls were always invited to the many tea parties she hosted in the playroom. She sewed dresses and outfits and could clean and maintain things like nobody's business. She had many many skills and I learned as much as I could from her until she passed away. It has been 9 years.We still miss her. Fortunately, she left some recipes that we make periodically and every time we do, we remember her fondly. She made homemade tortillas, sugar-free pumpkin pie, and this cheese and chicken ball concoction that was rolled in parsley and pecans. Today, I made that concoction titled "Fancy Chicken Log."  It really is yummy and extremely popular whenever I make it. Bizarre ingredients and a cute little retro flair make it interesting to me. It doesn't hurt that you serve it with your favorite crackers too. Anyway, I felt like sharing it with you. Hope you will give it a shot someday. You'll thank Nana too. ;-)

Fancy Chicken Log
(from Nana's recipe box)

2, 8 oz. packages softened cream cheese
2 tbsp. Heinz 57 sauce
1/2 tsp curry powder
Cream above ingredients well.

1/2 cup finely diced chicken breasts (We always add 1 cup of chicken but the original recipe calls for 1/2. Up to you!)
2 tbsp. finely minced parsley
1/3 cup finely minced celery
Add those ingredients to the cream cheese mixture.

Place mixture on waxed or parchment paper and roll into a log or ball shape, depending on preference. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Chop 1/4 cup pecans and mix with 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley. Remove log/ball from paper and roll in the parsley and nut mixture. Serve with crackers.
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