Gouda Macaroni and Cheese


My two weeks of Book Fair started yesterday. That means two weeks of no exercising. I see lots of juicing in my future. That and a lot of crock pot meals. Yesterday I think I made enough shredded chicken to last for 3 weeks.

I’ve only been allowed to make one kind of macaroni and cheese for the last 21 years because Johnny has the one he likes. But I love gouda and had some I needed to use up. He only complained a little.

8 oz Elbow Macaroni
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
2 Tablespoons Flour
2 cups Fat Free Milk
8 oz Gouda, Grated
1/8 teaspoon Salt
1/8 teaspoon Pepper
1/8 tsp Paprika
2 Tablespoons Breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.

While pasta is cooking, in a large pan, melt butter. Add flour, whisk together until blended. Add the milk and continue whisking for about 10 minutes, on medium low heat, until the mixture begins to thicken. Whisk in the cheese until melted. Add in salt, pepper and paprika.

Add pasta and stir until combined.

Pour into baking dish or individual dishes.

In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and olive oil and mix together. Sprinkle over the pasta and bake 20 minutes.

Adapted from Emeril Lagasse

Servings: 6
Calories 362
Total Fat 15.8g
Total Carbohydrates 36.8g
Dietary Fiber 1.4g
Protein 17.7g
Nutrition Grade B-

Today’s Leopard Print Find: Steve Madden Tote Bseriana Handbag Purse Leopard



I was a little disappointed with the Superbowl commercials. My favorites were the wolves and the Clydesdale. Although I was crying so hard through the Clydesdale one that I missed some of it I’m sure. I don’t know why I bawl like a baby when I see horses. The girls just look at me like I’m crazy. Maybe I am?? I know it’s very normal for people to love animals, but I feel like I take it to the extreme. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of people in my life that I adore and love very deeply, but for some reason in movies I am always more empathetic towards animals than people. Animals just make me extremely emotional. I can’t bear the thought of animals getting hurt, being abandoned or having to leave their person. The very thought of War Horse is enough to make me burst into tears, but I see a person getting shot and it doesn’t phase me. What is wrong with me??

This is great comfort food after a good cry. Really quick and simple to make.

1-1/2 lb Ground Beef
1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
2 cups Crushed Tomato
1-1/2 cups Elbow Macaroni
8 oz Velveeta
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions.
Brown meat and drain.
Add salt, pepper, chili powder and tomatoes.
Add pasta and mix well.
Add cheese and simmer until melted.

Servings: 8
Calories 316
Total Fat 11.7g
Total Carbohydrates 18.5g
Dietary Fiber 2.7g
Protein 34.4g
Nutrition Grade B

Today’s Leopard Print Find: Hot Leopard Halter Evening Gown Sexy Long Maxi Dress

Chicken Pasta Primavera


I got to see Silver Linings Playbook yesterday. It was awesome. I had no idea what it was about. Actually, I thought it was about football. I was a little off. Bradley Cooper is the cutest bipolar person ever. It’s definitely a must see.

movies_silver_linings_playbook_posterYou’re welcome!

This was a great “light” pasta meal. Easy to change it up with different vegetables too…corn, zucchini, green beans, etc…

1 lb Cooked Chicken Breasts, shredded
2 Tbs Cornstarch
1 3/4 cups Chicken Broth
1 tsp Dried Oregano Leaves
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
4 cups Broccoli
1 cup Carrots, sliced
3 Pearl Onions, halved
1 cup Tomato, diced
13.25 oz package Angel Hair Pasta
3 Tbs Parmesan Cheese, grated

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Stir the cornstarch and 3/4 cup broth in a small bowl until the mixture is smooth.

Add the remaining broth, oregano, garlic powder, broccoli, carrots and onion to a saucepan. Heat over medium heat until boiling. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the cornstarch mixture to the saucepan. Cook and stir until the mixture boils and thickens. Add the chicken and tomato. Add the spaghetti and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the parmesan.

Adapted from Better Homes and Garden

Servings: 8
Calories 306
Total Fat 6.4g
Total Carbohydrates 36.2g
Dietary Fiber 2.6g
Protein 25.6g
Nutrition Grade A

Today’s Leopard Print Find: Notebook Journal

Garlic Chicken Pasta


Johnny’s birthday was yesterday. The girls were so excited about the gift they got him. His favorite Christmas movie is Christmas Vacation (watching it right now a matter of fact!) They gave him 2 moose mugs, a cousin Eddie dickie and a Jelly of the Month Club certificate. Now we just need to find him a thin white sweater! I’ll make sure to post pics when we do.

This was yummy! (and it is Megan & Taylor approved!) They didn’t even try to pick out the basil. But they still made me a list of all the things I haven’t made them in a ‘long, long time” that they need. Glad to have another recipe that made their request list.

2 Tbs Olive Oil
16 oz Farfalla Pasta
5 cloves of Garlic, minced
1 cup Chicken Stock
1 Tbs Fresh Basil, chopped
2 Tbs Fresh Oregano, chopped
1 tsp Pepper
1/8 tsp Salt
1 cup Heavy Cream
16 oz Shredded Chicken

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook one minute. Add the chicken stock, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is reduced by about half.

While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add pasta and cook to package directions.

Add cream to the sauce and cook for an additional 10 minutes, until the sauce has thickened. Add the chicken and cook for 2 minutes, or until the chicken is heated through.

Drain pasta and return to pot. Stir in chicken mixture.

Servings: 8
Calories 339
Total Fat 12.3g
Total Carbohydrates 33.1g
Dietary Fiber 0.6g
Protein 23.5g
Nutrition Grade B

Today’s Leopard Print Find: Isaac Mizrahi Jeans Women’s Leopard Alexis Shirt

Beef Macaroni and Cheese

This weekend was totally crazy and exhausting. I think I slept a total of 10 hours. Yet somehow I got a second wind to write this blog. If none of it makes sense at least you’ll know why….

The weekend started with a 40th Birthday party for my sister at Terelli’s. Once we got there  her fiancé threw a surprise at us….they were getting married on the roof top on her birthday. It was beautiful.

Next was the only non-fun part of the weekend….a funeral for a truly wonderful lady that I’ve known my entire life….Mrs. B. I love the slideshows at funerals now, but they make me a sobbing mess. Love you Mrs. B!

Then T & M’s sleepover for their 10th birthday. It started out with 6 and quickly grew to 13 because there were just too many people they couldn’t leave out. They sang karaoke, we walked up the street to look at Christmas lights (and along the way they managed to ding dong ditch a few boys) and they wrote about 5 letters with 20 questions for the elves.

One of the letters to the elves asked them to “please make a mess”. They sure did that for them….

Then finally….my niece Rya’s 4th Birthday party…little sweetheart…

After that I got to go home, Johnny still had the Cowboy game to go to.

Somehow through all of that I did manage to cook once….

1 tsp Basil
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
3 cups Crushed Tomatoes
2 lbs Ground Beef
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 small Onion, chopped
2 Tbs Vegetable Oil
1 lb Pasta Shells
2-1/2 cups Cheddar Cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.

While pasta is cooking…Heat the oil in a skillet; add the onion and garlic, and saute until soft.

Add the ground beef and cook until browned.

Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper basil, cumin and oregano.

In a large bowl, combine the pasta and the beef mixture.

Pour mixture into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

Top with cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until the cheese is lightly browned.

Adapted from Paula Deen

Recipe makes 8 servings
Calories 681
Total Fat 37.47g
Total Carbs 46.2g
Dietary Fiber 2.7g
Protein 38.04g

Today’s Leopard Print Find: Michael Stars Women’s Leopard Print Off Shoulder Dolman Shirt

Italian Sausage and Pasta

I realized today that we are apparently way behind on the Christmas decorating. There is already an inflatable snowman at the end of the street. The girls are ready for their elves to come back too. They ask about them daily. So now my only issue…how in the heck am I going to get 2 trees and a million boxes down from the attic when I have a hubby that has thrown out his back??? I have a feeling that by the end of the day there will be 2 of us with bad backs.

Megan’s usual meal request…pasta, broccoli and chicken. I decided to switch it up and give her 2 out of 3. She’s learning to branch out a little.

16 oz Mini Farfelle Pasta
18 oz Italian Sausage Links, casings removed
12 oz Frozen Broccoli Florets
1/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1/8 tsp Pepper
1/8 tsp Garlic Salt
8 tsp Parmesan Cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions, adding the broccoli florets after the first 2 minutes.

While pasta is cooking, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Crumble the sausage and drop it into the skillet. Cook sausage until browned. Remove from heat and drain.

Add pasta and broccoli to the pot.

Mix 1/4 cup olive oil and garlic together in a small bowl. Salt and pepper to taste. Toss into pasta mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

8 servings
Calories 525
Total Fat 29.98g
Total Carbs 44.83g
Dietary Fiber 2.5g
Protein 18.07g

Today’s Leopard Print Find: 20″ Plush Wild Red Christmas Stocking with Leopard Print Trim

Spaghetti with Meatballs

Taylor carved her pumpkin yesterday. Before she did it I decided to do a little research about how to make the pumpkins last longer. I had seen something on Pinterest about a bleach solution. I found an interesting science project that someone had done testing out these different solutions. Turns out the best option is to not do anything at all.

This meal was a Taylor request that I kept putting off. She was happy and since it made so many meatballs, she even used some of the leftovers for a meatball sandwich.

1 cup Italian Bread Crumbs
¼ cup Whole Milk, room temperature
2 Large Eggs, beaten and room temperature
½ cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
¼ cup Basil, chopped
¼ cup Parsley, chopped
1 Tbs Tomato Paste
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
¾ tsp Kosher Salt
½ tsp Black Pepper
1 lb Ground Beef
1 lb Italian Turkey Sausage Links, casings removed
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling

¼ cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 Onion, finely chopped in a food processor
1 tsp Kosher Salt
½ tsp Black Pepper
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 tsp Oregano
2 tsp Fennel Seeds
2 (28-ounce) cans Crushed Tomatoes
¾ cup Basil, chopped

16 oz Spaghetti

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs, milk, eggs, Parmesan cheese, basil, parsley, tomato paste, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir to blend. Add the ground beef and sausage meat. Using fingers gently mix all the ingredients until combined.

Using a 1-ounce cookie scoop, form the meat mixture into 1-1/2-inch balls (about 24 meatballs). Place the meatballs on a heavy non-stick baking sheet. Mist with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes or until cooked through.

Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook for 6 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, oregano, fennel and 1/2 cup basil. Bring to a simmer. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup basil.

(At this point, cook spaghetti according to package directions)

Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce and simmer for 10 minutes.

Servings: 8
Calories 613
Total Fat 20.4g
Carbohydrates 61.2g
Dietary Fiber 7.7g
Nutrition Grade B

Today’s Leopard Print Find: High Heel Shoe Christmas Ornament

Chicken Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese

Early voting – check! Don’t forget to do your part!! Unless you are voting for the wrong person – In that case you can stay home. :) It was pretty painless. Except that there were only about 25 parking spots and about 100 people. It took about an hour. It probably wouldn’t have taken so long but there were A LOT of people that didn’t know how to work the machine. I’m glad to have it out of the way!

Megan was happy with this one! 1 point for me!!! But of course that means Taylor didn’t like it. I think she was just trying to prove a point though. She ate it anyway because I told her if she didn’t she wouldn’t get any of her special request Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie (which I’ll post tomorrow).

2 Tbs Olive Oil
1 lb Chicken Breast, diced
1/8 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Pepper
16 oz Elbow Macaroni Pasta
2 cups Broccoli Florets
3 Tbs Butter
3 Tbs Flour
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Paprika
2 cups Whole Milk
1 cup Chicken Stock
3 cups Sharp Cheddar
1 Tbs Dijon Mustard

Start boiling water for pasta.

Meanwhile, heat a medium pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and chicken, salt and pepper. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Turn off heat and set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions, adding broccoli for the last 3 minutes.

While pasta cooks, heat a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add butter and melt. Add flour, cayenne pepper and paprika. Whisk together until simmering. Whisk in milk and chicken stock. Raise heat to bring the sauce to a quick boil. Simmer until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.

Drain pasta and broccoli florets. Put back into the pot and combine chicken with the pasta and broccoli.

Add mustard, salt and pepper to sauce. Stir in cheese until melted, about 2 minutes. Pour sauce over chicken, broccoli and pasta. Stir to combine.

Servings: 8
Calories 604
Fat 27.2g
Carbohydrates 48.9g
Dietary Fiber 2.9g
Nutrition Grade B

Today’s Leopard Print Find: Steve Madden Fringe Tote

Baked Chicken Ziti

It’s National Pasta Day and what better way to celebrate than with Baked Ziti. I could have sworn we just had National Pasta Day, but no…apparently that was National Noodle Day. I think they somehow snuck an extra day in there. Kind of like how I make my birthday “Birthday Week”. (which is coming up soon!!) Somehow lasagna, macaroni and cheese, fettuccine alfredo, etc…all got their own days but baked ziti got overlooked. Even in the pasta world, life isn’t fair.

16 oz Penne Pasta
24 oz Pasta Sauce
2 cups Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
2 Chicken Breasts, shredded (I cooked mine in the crock pot for 8 hours with a jar of spaghetti sauce)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Drain pasta and pour into a 13×9-inch baking dish.

Add chicken.

Pour sauce and half of the cheese over the pasta.

Stir until well mixed.

Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top, and bake for 20 minutes or until cheese starts to brown.

Servings: 8
Calories 430
Fat 13.4g
Carbohydrates 43.8g
Fiber 2.2g
Nutrition Grade B

Today’s Leopard Print Find: Soccer Ball

Creamy Crock Pot Chicken

I am so excited!!! (WARNING: there will be a lot of exclamation points in this post!!!) I found out yesterday that I get to go to the Cattle Baron’s Ball!!! For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to go to a ball. I have to admit I was a little disappointed when I researched this a little more and found out that the dress attire is more Texan than Cinderella. I sure hope they don’t look at me funny when I waltz in wearing my ball gown and tiara!!! (don’t worry, I’ll have my cowgirl boots on underneath) And due to this sudden (and I’m sure) life changing event, I now really, really, really need these!!!!













But sadly, those will have to wait.

3 lbs chicken breasts
1 package Italian dressing mix
2 Tbs melted butter
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (10 1/2 oz) can cream of chicken soup
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup chicken broth
1 (14/5 oz) box Penne Pasta

In crock pot, stir together broth, cream cheese, soup, garlic, butter and dressing mix. Place chicken in crock pot and cover with the sauce. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Shred chicken with fork. Cook pasta according to package directions. Add pasta to chicken mixture and mix until combined.

Servings: 8
Calories 584
Fat 21.6g
Carbs 35.1
Fiber 0
Nutrition Grade B-

Today’s Leopard Print Find: