Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Crockpot Lasagna

I've fallen in love with my crockpot again.  I do this every year, right about this time.  School is back in full force.  We're back into the crazy swing of things, and sports seem to rule our lives.  I walk in the door, from teaching all day, and we have about 15 minutes of quality family before we need to run out the door again.  The crockpot is my best friend!

I've never made lasagna in the crockpot before, so this was an experiment.  Friends, I may never turn back.  This was SO easy, and it was done when I walked in the door.

First, let my say that when you dish it up, straight out of the crockpot, it does not look this pretty.  Honestly, it looks like a sloppy mess.  This picture was actually taken of the leftovers.  Once it's cooked, it cuts perfectly and looks much prettier.  But, who am I kidding, no one in my family cares about pretty lasagna.  They just want yummy lasagna.

Here's what I did:

Mix together:
15 oz ricotta
2 cups mozzarella
1 cup Parmesan
2 cups chopped spinach
1 egg
1 tsp salt
dash of pepper

I buy 2 bottles of Newman's Own Alfredo sauce when I make lasagna. For this recipe I also bought some precooked chicken sausage.  It was one of those yummy sausages from Costco that has sundried tomatoes and cheese inside.  But, use what you like.

Pour a little Alfredo in the bottom of the crockpot. Then put in a layer of lasagna noodles.  I use the kind that you don't need to boil ahead of time.  The noodles are rectangular and my crockpot is oval, so I had to break the noodles up so they would fit.  Next comes a few spoonfuls of the ricotta mixture, then chicken sausage, and a handful of mozzarella cheese.  I continued alternating those ingredients until I ran out.

Ricotta mixture
Chicken Sausage

I set my crockpot to low for 5 hours, and then had it switch to warm until I got home.  (I love having a crockpot that I can program like that!)

Happy cooking, friends! You're going to love this!!!
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

80's Party

In addition to the Flintstones costumes I was working on, last week, I was also sewing up a little 80's attire.  I made stirrup pants and a very, very, large hair bow for myself, to accompany the Goodwill sweatshirt with extra large shoulder pads and Liz Claiborne handbag.  You can see my lovely handbag in the collage below... You know you totally had one of those in the 80's!

I live in the best neighborhood.  These people are hilarious!

Happy 80's... like totally.
(Read with Valley Girl accent please!)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Calzones for Dinner

If you don't watch Pioneer Woman on the Food Network, you must start watching!  Every week she inspires me to try something new.  This week P-Dub made calzones.  I've made calzones many times before, but I usually make them like a pizza pocket.  P-Dub made a cheesy filling, added meat, and then had some sauce on the side for dipping.

Well, that sounded so yummy and I couldn't stop thinking about it.  We took it one step further and broke out the calzone mold from William Sonoma.

 Ree (AKA P-Dub) uses frozen pizza dough and frozen roll dough to make it easier.  This isn't exactly her recipe, but here's what I did.  (When I cook, I tend to make things up as I go along and just throw in what Sounds yummy.)

We filled each calzone pocket with a cheesy mixture.

15 oz ricotta cheese
1 cup Parmesan cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1 egg
handful of chopped parsley
1 tsp salt
dash of pepper

chopped Canadian Bacon
sliced black olives

I baked these at 400 for about 25 minutes.  I covered them with foil about half way through baking.

Serve with:
Marinara sauce or Alfredo sauce for dipping

Happy cooking!
Now, go record Pioneer Woman on Food Network.  You won't be sorry.

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Yabba Dabba Doo - Flintsones Costumes

Yep, we're the, "Modern Stone Age Family!" 

This was the second weekend in a row that involved costumes, friends, and lots of laughs.  I've spent the last week sewing costumes for Fred, Wilma, Barney, and Betty.  My hubby's sister and her husband agreed to join us, to truly round out our modern stone age family.  (You know you have the theme song running through your head now!)

Just to prove that we're not the only freaks who go all out on costumes, here's a sampling of our friends' costumes.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Two Out Of Four

The projects just didn't go my way today.  The whole family is still under the weather, and I swear, my mind is in a fog.  Just about every project I started today, ended up looking like my mind was in that fog.

First up, the Fall subway art project from the Silhouette Blog.  It's the free download of the week, so I decided to try my hand at a little paper crafting.  Friends, there's a reason I do all of my scrapbooking online. Paper crafting is just not my thing. The letters weren't lining up right.  There was glue everywhere and fixing the problems with glitter just made matters worse.

That was a paper crafting fail.

Onto those Halloween costumes!  I figured I should stick with something I'm pretty good at... sewing.  I'm working on several Halloween costumes for the family.  Here's a little sneak peak.  I can't show you much more than this, because then my in-real-life-friends will see my costume before the big party.

Well, apparently I'm not as good as I thought I was.  While costume #1 turned out ok, costume #2 was a total failure.  I'll be heading back to the fabric store after work tomorrow.

On the plus side of the day, the crock pot lasagna was really yummy. 
 (Recipe and better photos coming tomorrow)

Another bright spot was the pumpkin pie play-doh that kept my youngest busy for a good chunk of the day.  (She was home with a fever, cough, and ear infection today.) 
Even with the project failures, it wasn't too horrible of a day.  Two things were a hit, and 2 out of 4 isn't too bad.

Happy... failure day.
Happy... pumpkin pie play doh making.
Happy... ok, I told you my mind was in a fog.

Just be happy.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pretty Chicken Pot Pie

Tonight's dinner was a pretty (and yummy) chicken pot pie.  I'm always surprised by how much my kids love meals filled with veggies.  Veggie filled chicken pot pie is always a favorite.

My friend, Diane, gave me the nicest gift the other day.  Part of the gift was this set of fall pie cutters.  I love, love, love these little cutters!  They are so stinkin' cute and super easy to use.

It's the little things that make me so happy.

Happy baking!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Rocking Chair Pillow

I was browsing through pictures and ran across a few photos from my classroom. I don't think I've ever shared these on my blog before.  A few years ago, I decided that my classroom needed a makeover.  My mom recovered my pillows for me and I had lots of fabric leftover.

I decided to make a chair pad for my rocking chair.  I tried a few things that I hadn't done before, like adding a little trim, machine quilting, embroidery, and working without a pattern.  

Not too bad, considering I was totally winging it!

I used the scraps to make a few floor pillows for my listening center too.

There's just something so heartwarming about seeing little people feel like they're "home" when they are in the classroom.  It's truly a happy place for these little guys!

Happy sewing!

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cheesy Potato Soup

Saw it.  Pinned it.  Tried it.

That pretty much sums it up!


Here's the original pin, which will take you to the recipe.  I made a few changes to the recipe and the family decided that it was a keeper.  Here's what I did.

I started off cooking a pound of bacon.  My kids ate most of it, so in the end, I had a few slices for the soup.  I chopped the cooked bacon and set it aside.  I melted the butter and browned the onions and garlic.  Then I stirred in the flour and gradually added the half and half.  I threw the diced potatoes, mustard, and paprika into the pan and tossed the potatoes to coat. 

2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 onion, diced
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 cups half and half
6 cups diced yellow potatoes
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp paprika

Then I stirred in the chicken broth and Worcestershire sauce.  I let this cook until the potatoes were tender. Once the potatoes were slightly soft, I used a potato masher to break up the potatoes.... just a little. We don't want potato mush here!  At the very end, I added the cheese and let it all cook together.  I threw in a little of the bacon, just so my kids would stop eating it.  I saved the rest for garnishing.

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (I used part mild cheddar and part smoked cheddar.)

It was a perfect fall dinner!
Happy cooking, friends.

Country Living Blue Ribbon Blogger Awards

Thank you, everyone, for voting!  The results are in, and....

I'm not allowed to tell you anything more than that until November.

Win or lose, I'm so thankful that you took the time to vote!  Thank you so much!!!  I'll let you know the results in November.

Happy wondering!

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