Basil Babies

By the looks of these sprouts, I’ll be eating a basil salad at my desk in no time!  As long as the nursery cats keep off…

Last night, we helped a good friend of ours paint the inside his apartment so he could move out, because he is getting married this Friday.  Which was not what I had in mind for after work.  I thought I would go straight home, cook dinner, clean the kitchen, watch Lost for a few hours, and then go to bed.  But it was an immediate and obvious YES to helping him out.

Painting was a lot of fun and in typical Krista fashion, paint ended up all over me, but I didn’t care, I love being dirty haha.  We ordered pizza, burped, talked about life aka hunting season (it’s almost over!!!)…it really didn’t feel like we were working.  The whole time our friend kept saying “Thank you, thank you.  You have no idea how big of a help this is!”  But to tell you the truth, we did know how big of a help it was.  Painting sucks, especially when you are doing it alone.  Painting takes forever, especially when you are doing it alone.  So providing some entertainment and labor was the least we could do.

He also said that anytime we needed help painting our house, to call him because he owed us.  For some reason, that statement caught me off guard.  Maybe because until it was said, I didn’t even think about him owing us at all!  Nate and I realized last year, we wanted only REAL friends.  Friends that would drop what they are doing on a week night to come help us paint, for nothing in return.  Friends that wouldn’t take convincing to come help us, just being our friend was enough.  Friends that we would do the same for and the thought of “you owe us” would never cross our minds.
 
At the same time, I was thinking, us painting was really no big deal.  It was a simple way to help.

So after we left his house I kept thinking about everything.  This morning I woke up, still thinking about it and wondering, why am I still thinking about it?  What am I supposed to be learning from last night?  Typing this post out has actually helped me sort out the seemingly simple yet profound events of last night, and answer my questions.  Here is what I learned last night:

1.  What a real friend is.
2.  Doing something simple and small for someone else can be huge to them.
3.  To make real friends you can’t just sit at home, cooking dinner, and watching Lost by yourself.
4.  We can add this weird guy to our REAL friends list.

I’m still sorting out what last night meant and I am probably the weirdest person ever to even still be thinking about last night.  And I am probably reading way too much into it.  But you know, I can’t control what is on my mind!  Alright, now, enough of this mushy stuff. 🙂

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup


Being the awful wife that I am, I passed my god awful sickness on to my husband this past week.  I knew he would eventually catch it, but I was hoping he would make it through the weekend before it hit…the weekends are the busiest nights at the restaurant, and to make matters worse, it was Raleigh’s Restaurant Week.
Whenever you are sick, do you crave certain foods?  I always crave grilled cheese, instant grits, and root beer. Nate wanted chicken noodle soup, a hot dog, and cole slaw.  What do you crave when you are under the weather?

So, Nate sounded pitiful and all he wanted was chicken noodle soup. Wifey to the rescue!  One word can describe this soup, delicious.  Whether your taste buds are shot to hell because of a cold or if you are the lucky caretaker with a fully functioning palate, this soup is awesome.  The creaminess helps you feel more full, unlike the usual watery chicken noodle soup.  This is day 3 of leftovers from this soup, and I have gladly brought it to work for lunch…again!

As a side note, this recipe makes a whole pot of soup.  We had 2 heaping bowls, 3 Tupperwares, and more in the freezer.  Even though this recipe is already halved, you may choose to cut it in half again! 

Servings: 8
Weight Watcher Points Per Serving: 8


Ingredients
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 small onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
6 cups water
6 chicken bouillon cubes
1 cup diced chicken
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup flour
1/4 of a 16 oz jar of cheez whiz (or 1/2 of a 8 oz)
1 cup egg noodles, cooked

Directions
Bring water and bouillon to a boil.

Add all the vegetables, cook them for about 4 minutes.

In separate pan on medium heat, melt butter and flour.  When smooth, stir into the pot of vegetables.

Turn the heat to medium-low.

Add chicken and cheez whiz.

Simmer 30 min or until vegetables (potatoes) are cooked. *I cooked the noodles at the same time…multi-tasking!

Add egg noodles.

Taste and adjust seasonings and serve.

Simplest Pizza…EVER!

We’ve been sick with a nasty cold all week, which means Maple has been rather bored!  Yesterday was gorgeous, so I decided to take her to the dog park.  It has been a while since we’ve been to one, but Maple used to love going so I didn’t think anything of it.  Well, it was Boston Terrior Day! Seriously.  There were at least 25 of them all in the dog park area at one time…and I am not exaggerating, if anything, I am underestimating!  Maple was so confused and freaked out.  She couldn’t figure out if she was seeing the same dog over and over, or why there were tons of the same dog running around and snorting at her.  Seeing double would’ve been a vacation for her eyes.

So poor Maple just chilled on my lap at the picnic table.  She was the calmest I’ve seen her…her whole life!  At one point I got up to walk with her around the dog park and she liked that, but was definitely unsure about it.  The second I had her on the leash and out of the gate, she perked up and returned to her usual, bubbly self!  She was so happy to be out of there, and I said that out loud not realizing anyone else was near me.  Well the other person chimed in “Isn’t it supposed to be the opposite?”

Since we’ve been sick…I didn’t think it was worth cooking anything lavish.  With only my taste buds functioning, it wasn’t worth washing the dishes! So I made us some pizza with homemade red sauce.  Everyone has their favorite frozen pizza and those are great because of how easy they are, but making your own pizza is almost just as simple and is SO much better for you!  So next time you get the urge to thaw out some card board covered in cheese, opt to make your own and see what you think.

And before you ask if I made my own dough. Heck no.  Who has time for that?  Unless someone can convince me that making my own pizza dough is way faster, simpler, and tastier than I am thinking, I never will! 🙂


Servings: 8
Weight Watcher Points Per Serving: 4

Ingredients
Store bought pizza dough (I used Pillsbury)
1 48 oz can of whole peeled, crushed, or diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
1 ball fresh mozzarella, sliced
1/2 cup parrano cheese (whatever shredded cheese you like!)
1 bunch of fresh basil
Whatever toppings you like really!

Directions
For the dough, just follow the directions on the tube. (Pillsbury Directions – heat oven to 425.  Spray or grease any size cookie sheet. Unroll dough onto cookie sheet.  Press to desired thickness.  Spread pizza sauce and add toppings.)

For the sauce, in a small pot heat the olive oil over medium heat and then add the garlic powder and crushed red pepper flakes.  Let those hang out in the hot oil for a couple minutes.  

Add the tomatoes, including the juice (if using whole peeled, break up the tomatoes before adding to the pot or use your spoon once added) to the pot.  Stir in the oregano. Bring the mix to a boil and let simmer until the sauce thickens a bit.

Spoon 1/2-1 cup of the sauce over the pizza dough and spread evenly. Make sure to leave a border of un-sauced dough…for the crust.  

Spread out a few slices of mozzarella cheese evenly over the sauce. Then sprinkle the parrano (or whatever shredded cheese you like!) over top.

Grab a bunch of basil leaves, and I like to use my kitchen scissors and cut the leaves over top the pizza and just let it land where it desires!

Bake according to the dough tube directions. (Pillsbury Directions – Bake 9-13 minutes for cheese pizza.  Bake 13-17 minutes for pizza with toppings.  Or until the crust is a deep golden brown) 


EAT!

$50 Bed Bath & Beyond Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to MarzBarz for winning the giveaway!  Her favorite dish is homemade chicken pot pie!  If only I could send that along with the giftcard, but I think the giftcard will do just fine.

Thanks to EVERYONE who entered and all of the feedback is great!  The favorite dishes were so unique and I was surprised by many of them.  Reading through them all this morning has now given me a serious case of the munchies…at least it wasn’t from something else haha.


Congrats again to MarzBarz, and I will be emailing you!!


My Basil Babies

Aren’t they cute?

I was given this as a Christmas gift from a co-worker, so I thought it was only appropriate to start an herb garden…on my desk.  The basil seeds have already sprouted!  Now, to keep the nursery cats away from my seedlings!

Vegetable Tortellini Alfredo

Sometimes you get in the mood to just dump a bunch of ingredients into a casserole dish and hope for the best.  That was me last night.  Being in the middle of fighting off a cold, and not cooking dinner for 4 nights strait, I needed to make something…but didn’t want to put in much effort.  


This casserole is cheesy, meaty, and creamy.  Alfredo and tortellini are not the healthiest ingredients in the world, but all the veggies you add to the bowl make up for it.  All the different colors of the ingredients remind me of confetti.  If you can boil pasta and cook chicken, you can make this casserole.  And who doesn’t love a recipe that the final result looks like something you slaved over to make…but totally didn’t?  Feel free to add any other vegetables you may have on hand or if you’d like a vegetarian version…forget the chicken!

Last night when we both sat down to try it, the chef said, “This. Is. Good.”  

Servings: 8
WW Points Per Serving: 9
Ingredients
20 oz package of mixed cheese tortellini
1 lb of chicken breast, cooked & chopped into bite-size pieces
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 15 oz jar alfredo sauce
1 lemon
1/4 cup white wine
1 pint cherry tomatoes, dice into quarters
1 bell pepper, sliced and cut into thirds
8 oz of baby bello mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch of fresh spinach, cut off the stems
3 tablespoons italian bread crumbs
handful of shredded cheese of choice
salt, pepper, and season salt 

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cook pasta according to package directions

Cook chicken in a pot with olive oil, remove, then add the sliced mushrooms into the same pot to cook and soak up the flavor from the chicken.  Once chicken has cooled, cut into bite-size pieces

In a large bowl add the alfredo sauce, zest & juice of 1 lemon, and white wine…stir to combine. Add the tomatoes, pepper, and spinach to the bowl.

Drain the tortellini and add to the vegetable bowl (this will help wilt the spinach leaves a bit). Add the chicken and mushrooms, and stir to combine all the ingredients together.

Pour mixture into a 9×13 baking dish.  Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake for 40 minutes.  When you have 15 minutes left, remove the casserole dish from the oven and sprinkle the shredded cheese over top and return the dish to the oven for the rest of the time.

Then remove the dish and let it set for 5 minutes.  SO GOOD!!

Chocolate Strawberry Bark

Chocolate.  The hard part about cooking with chocolate is you have to be super careful not to burn it.  Because if you burn it, there is no going back.  The easy part is, you can remelt it and start all over…as long as you don’t burn it!  


I went from this:


To this:


Simply by remelting my first mistake.  This is what I love about cooking.  Cooking involves creative problem-solving…just like art.  I remember my first grade art teacher telling me “real artists don’t use an eraser” and that statement has stuck with me throughout every art class in my life.  And to my surprise, I applied that same statement while making chocolate bark yesterday!

Ingredients 
12 oz milk chocolate
24 oz white chocolate
1 teaspoon strawberry extract
6 teaspoons strawberry cake mix
slivered almonds (optional)

Directions (to end up with the 2nd picture)
Line a baking pan with parchment paper.

Melt the milk chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in the…microwave.  I melt mine in 15 second increments, stirring the chips between each one.  When you are close, keep stirring for a few more seconds because chocolate continues to melt even when it isn’t in the microwave.  Set the bowl aside and step away from the bowl…I know it will take all of your self-control, but you gotta do it!!

Melt the white chocolate in another microwave safe bowl in the…microwave.  I heat mine for 1 minute, stir, then heat again in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until the white chocolate is smooth and melted.

Add 1 teaspoon of strawberry extract and all 6 teaspoons of the cake mix to the white chocolate.  Stir to combine.

Pour all of the white chocolate mixture on to the lined baking pan and spread out.  Pour the milk chocolate over stop and spread over top the white.  Use a knife and swirl the 2 chocolates together…like the chocolate marble fudge recipe.  

OR

Mix the white and milk chocolate together into a bowl.  Pour this in the lined baking pan and spread with a spatula.

Sprinkle the almonds over the top will the chocolate is still warm and melted.

Place the baking pan in the freezer for 20 minutes.  Remove and break apart into pieces.










**I love how the first try looked, but when I went to break apart the bark, the pink (white) chocolate separated from the milk chocolate…major bummer!



Zucchini Bread with Blueberries

  • Holy moly mother of meatballs does my house smell good.  Zucchini bread is in the oven as I’m typing this post.  When I think of zucchini bread I think of warm fuzzies in the winter time.  It is supposed to be 66 degrees here on Saturday, so think of this as my 
  • version of a “snow dance.”  An added bonus are the blueberries I added this go-around.

Don’t forget to enter the $50 Bed Bath & Beyond Gift Card Giveaway!


Servings: 16
WW Points Per Serving: 10 (9 points with out the butter)
I know, not low in points, but at least you know what you are getting yourself into! 🙂  Maybe I’ll lighten it up this weekend.

  • Ingredients
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspooon vanilla
  • 2 cups coarsely grated zucchini (loosely packed)
  • 1 pint of blueberries
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter (more depending on your love for butter!)



Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large bowl, beat 3 eggs until frothy (with a stand or hand mixer). Gradually add 2 cups sugar and beat until combined. 

Add the vegetable oil and vanilla to the mix, but stir together so oil doesn’t fly everywhere…ignored this tip the first time I made this bread! Then beat until thick and lemon colored. Stir in zucchini and blueberries.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir dry mixture into wet mixture to combine (this is not a thick dough recipe, so don’t expect to end up with a ball of dough at the end).

Spray two bread loaf pans with non-stick spray and flour the sides. Pour equal amounts of batter into each pan.

Bake for 1 hour or until done.

Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife along the sides to loosen bread and remove from pans. Cool on wire rack. 

Pour melted butter over the top while the bread is still warm.

$50 Bed Bath and Beyond Gift Card Giveaway!

**Giveaway is now over, and the winner has been announced in a post above.  Thank you to ALL of the entries!!!  Feel free to still leave a comment with your favorite dish :)**

I was so excited when I hit 100 followers that I wanted to do something to say thank you.  Well Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years happened, and I forgot to show my appreciation.  So now that I am almost to 200 followers, I thought it was time to host a little giveaway.  Also, your comments make my day and I literally read every single one of them!

Who doesn’t love Bed Bath & Beyond?  You can buy almost anything you could possibly need for your home and some pretty fun kitchen gadgets.  Whether you are shopping for a single-serve coffee maker or a new chef’s knife, it is hard to walk into Bed Bath & Beyond and come out empty handed.  Whatever nifty home item you’ve been holding out on, hope this $50 Gift Card helps you with that!


How to enter


Leave a comment (including your email address if you don’t mind!) and tell me what your favorite dish is. For example, mine is pork chops!


Additional entries


Please leave a separate comment for each additional entry (if you entered each way, I should have 8 comments from you) including your email address, saying you:


1.  Followed me on Google Friend Connect
2.  Followed me on Google Plus
3.  Liked “The Not So Desperate Chef Wife” on Facebook
4.  Followed me on Twitter
5.  Followed me on Pinterest
6. Shares this giveaway on your Facebook wall
7.  Tweeted this giveaway on your Twitter account


So there are eight chances for you to enter and win this gift card.  The winner will be announced Thursday, January 26th using random.org.  Thanks again for reading, following, commenting, and cooking these recipes!

Salsa Verde Stuffed Peppers

I got a hankering for stuffed peppers last night.  I went to the store with a list written and came out with something totally different!  When I think of stuffed peppers, I think of ground beef, mozzarella cheese, and marinara sauce…think again for this recipe!  These little bundles of joy are sweet, spicy, and covered in cheese…need I say more?


The great thing about stuffed peppers is they are a healthy, well-rounded meal all in one!  Looks can be deceiving because they look tiny, but once you cut one of these suckers open, you realize it is going to be a battle to clean your plate (it can be done, I stuffed my face last night to be sure!).  


Servings: 6
WW Points Per Serving: 9


Ingredients
1 lb ground turkey
6 large bell peppers, slice the bottom flat, cut the top off, remove the seeds and membrane, and chop up the top and bottom pieces, place the bell shells in the casserole dish
1 cup long grain rice, cooked
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 jar salsa verde
1 cup of pepper-jack cheese, shredded (or more if you are a cheese lover!)
salt and pepper


Directions
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.


In a large pot, season the ground turkey and cook through until brown.  Pour any fat/grease into an old jar.

Mix the honey, lime juice, chili powder, and garlic powder in a small bowl and then add it to the ground turkey.  Then add the bell pepper tops/bottoms, onion, and jalapeno to the pot, stir to combine.  Cook for a few minutes so the peppers and onions start to soften.  Then stir in the cooked rice.


Spray a 9×13 casserole dish with non-stick spray. Arrange the bell peppers in the dish and spoon the turkey/rice mixture into each pepper evenly.  Then pour the salsa verde over each pepper, evenly.


Bake at 375, uncovered, for 30 minutes.  Then remove from oven to add the pepper-jack cheese to the top of each pepper.  Place back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.  Enjoy!


(You will most likely have left over turkey/rice mix.  This tastes yummy all by itself!  So just pop it in a Tupperware and eat if for lunch the next day.)