Friday, March 30, 2012

Tasty Thursday

Thursday is my first day off during the week, and I enjoy cooking again once I have more time to plan out dinner and prepare it. This week's dinner is a simple, two-pot dish (that I extended to three for lack of space) perfect for those warm summer nights where you want something fresh and tasty without turning on the oven. It would also be tasty grilled, but I went with the stove-top version for this one.

Herbed Chicken and Veggies over Pasta
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 peppers (I used 1/2 red, 1/2 yellow, and 1/2 green)
2-3 Roma tomatoes, sliced
1/2 small onion
1 Tablespoon garlic
Olive oil
Basil and oregano, to taste (or any other herbs you prefer)
1/3 pound spaghetti

Cook spaghetti according to directions. Meanwhile, cut up vegetables. Sauté onion and garlic in pan with olive oil.
Season chicken with salt and pepper, cook in onion and garlic. Add veggies when almost finished cooking. Sprinkle herbs over chicken and veggies, tossing and stirring to coat veggies.
Drain pasta, put in serving dish. No need to toss in olive oil. Spoon veggies and resulting sauce over pasta, toss to coat and mix. Place chicken on top and serve.

Serves 3-4, depending on how big chicken slices are.

I served ours by itself, since it contains everything in one dish. It would be delicious with a side salad or breadsticks though.

Bon appétit!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring Break -- WHOO!!!

Finally! I thought it would never get here.... this semester has definitely been demanding in ways I wouldn't have expected. I've been learning so much, but some challenging situations that became quite stressful have definitely left me yearning for some mental respite. And now that the opportunity is here, I'm planning on taking full advantage of it! The weather is helping, of course.... temps in the 70s and 80s in March? Strange... but I'm not complaining! One of my favorite things during the entire year is the transition from winter to spring, more daylight, flowers starting to bloom, and listening to the birds sing. So relaxing, so peaceful. Sometimes if I weren't too much of a city girl, I'd love to get away from it all and live in the woods, preferably near a lake or stream... something remote, tranquil, and relaxing. A girl can dream....

So in the mean time, I've got a few projects lined up for break. I'm excited to finally have a chance to focus on some more time-intensive creative projects. It'll be a nice break from the time-intensive analytical projects for school for sure!

  • Decorate wreath for front door. I've already got the wreath and the flowers... now I just need to put it all together.
  • Organize knitting patterns into binder -- no more rummaging through different places trying to find the other half of the pattern, OK?
  • Donate clothes. Yes, we went through our closets when we got married and moved. But surprise, surprise- there's still more! I tend to get emotionally attached to things... everything, it seems! And sometimes I feel so guilty for being so blessed. I want to share that with others.... plus the closets are getting a little crowded.
  • Finally organize our movies into some logical order. Genres together, alphabetical order.... can you tell I'm a librarian at heart?
  • Start at least one of the long-term knitting projects. D has requested a sweater vest to help combat the cold office. And we've got a special little nephew arriving later this year, which means I get to have fun baby knitting! :)
Is that enough? It doesn't seem like enough, but I know with a little homework thrown in, the week's going to fly by and these few projects will be more than enough! I'd also like to read a book over break... novel idea, I know.

What plans do you have this spring? How are you engaging your creative side?

Monday, March 12, 2012


After this semester, I have one class left to take to fulfill my credit requirements.

I was just browsing the draft schedule for Fall semester. There are FOUR classes I want to take (well, three and a half.... one I'm on the fence about)...


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Tasty Thursday

Supper tonight was a huge success. After finishing proficiency exams, I'm happy to discover that I once again have time to cook. It feels so good to be creative in the kitchen, and this is tonight's result. (Granted, the picture was taken after supper, with about half the dish gone.) D loved it, and it's definitely entering our menu rotation.

Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

Lately, I've been trying to watch my weight and what I eat more closely. I've also been trying to eat fresher, healthier foods, without all the process and preservatives added in. I'm not always successful on that end, but some days are definitely better than others. Today was one of those days.

What I enjoy most about this meal is that it's simple to put together, and you can substitute ingredients based on your own refrigerator contents. Since today happened to be grocery store day, I was sure to stock up on lots of fresh fruits and veggies. Here's what I did (feel free to substitute and experiment with proportions).

Roasted Chicken and Vegetables
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thawed
4 small potatoes, cut into chunks
2 stalks celery, sliced
1/2 each, red, green, and yellow peppers, sliced
Green beans
Baby carrots
1 T. melted butter
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Herbs de Provence

Preheat oven to 375º F.
Cut and slice vegetables to desired amount, arrange in bottom of pan. Drizzle with olive oil, toss, and add salt and pepper to taste. Place chicken breasts on top of vegetable mix, drizzle melted butter over chicken, sprinkle paprika and herbs over chicken and vegetables as desired.
Bake at 375º for 45-50 minutes, until vegetables are tender and chicken is cooked through.

I served ours with a side of garlic bread (tonight's was leftover hamburger buns, toasted, with butter and garlic pepper seasoning).


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Thankful Tuesday

Friends, it's been a busy past two weeks. With proficiency exams going on, I've been busy writing, writing, and writing some more. Until I thought I was going to go crazy with all the information crammed into my brain. Exams ended Monday (well, I turned mine in early, yay!), so I spent the last part of this weekend catching up on all the homework that didn't get done during exams. And now I've got a group project due today that needs a few finishing touches. Can't wait to get that done, and maybe finally relax for a bit!

I've got a busy weekend coming up, one that I'm very much looking forward to. Movie night, parents visiting, friends visiting, and game nights. It'll be a blast, but definitely busy. I've been craving some down time, some me time recently, and I'm so looking forward to capitalizing on that time.

Until then, I've got laundry to wade through, an apartment to clean and make presentable, and bars to bake! Bars!! How I love them... I'm currently deciding if I want to venture out to a new recipe or not. Either way, I'm hoping they turn out delicious and satisfying. Speaking of satisfying, today is Oreo's 100th birthday. They've released a special Birthday Cake flavored Oreo in celebration, but I've been unable to find them here in town. Sad, sad day. They're SO good! (And so much for trying to eat healthier today!)

Last night at Knit Night, we enjoyed some maple cream cookies (also delicious!) and ice cream bars... you'd think we ladies like desserts or something! I also finished this neckwarmer for my brother! He requested one quite a few months ago, even bought me the yarn and everything. And now that it's almost spring.... it's finished. (In my defense, I had a blanket to knit in the mean time....) Don't mind the flowers, it's the closest thing I had to a model available today. Although it does remind me of those felted flower vase/pot covers. :) I've got a few exciting projects picked out for me coming up next... but first a trip to the LYS to find just the right yarn!

Despite all the stress, uncertainty, and general overwhelming feeling that comes with grad school and life, I'm thankful that things are getting accomplished, the weather is gorgeous (albeit windy), and I've got events to look forward to!