Sausage with Cajun Alfredo

Sausagewithcajunalfredo

I feel like a genius after having made this dinner. This only came about because I thought I had everything I needed for dinner…until time to make dinner and it turns out I had about half. Half one one recipe and half of another.

My first reaction was panic. I’m not usually the “wing it” cook. But, I knew the two recipes well enough that I thought I could mix it. Of course, when Hubs asked what was for dinner I answered with a  “we’ll see!” Turns out, it was a blessing for our tummies!

So I combined my Sausage Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce (cajun style) with my Cheesy Garlic Chicken Alfredo.

Sausage Cajun Alfredo

You’ll need:

 

 

For the Alfredo:
2 cups milk
4 ounces cream cheese (1/2 a block)
2 Tbs flour
½ tsp salt
3 Tbs butter
1 cup grated Mozzarella cheese ( or Cheddar!)20160516_171323.jpg

For the Sausage pasta:
8+ ounces penne pasta (or whatever you prefer, I used small shells)
12 oz smoked sausage or Chicken!
14-oz can petite diced tomatoes with onion, drained well
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1-2 Tablespoons cajun seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

What to do:

First, I started my pasta cooking and then made the Alfredo just as I do for the regular recipe:

Use a mixer or blender to mix together the milk, flour, salt, and cream cheese until it is smooth. I also added butter to this mix and heated it until it thickens then added the shredded cheese and let it sit.

Then, while those two were going, I sliced up my sausage and sautéed it and then added my tomatoes and onion, garlic and cajun spices, and a little S&P. Mix well

Finally, once my Alfredo was ready I slowly stirred it into my pan of sausage. making sure to coat everything and mix in the cajun spice. Then I added the pasta and mixed again.

This was one of the best outcomes of not having what you need!! This mix may be one of my favorites!

Teacher Appreciation Gift

Teacher appreciation gift

Having both parents as teachers and several family members that are teachers, I know first hand that teaching is hard. No matter if it’s a 2 day a week preschool or a full time high school teacher, they work hard to help our kids grow. So on the last day of school, why not shower them with some love and show our thanks?

You don’t need to spend lots of money. Most teachers really do believe that it’s the thought that counts. I like to do something more homemade to show I put thought into their gift. Plus it’s fun to get the kids involved in making a “thank you” gift for their teacher.

As always, I searched through Pinterest for some ideas. There are so many great ideas! One that I loved had a card that said, “Thank you for helping me grow”. That was perfect. It really fit. You can find the post from Three Kids and a Fish HERE.

Here’s what I did.

You’ll need:

Clay pot

Flower

Spray paint

Stick on Glitter Letters

Ruler

Optional – Gift card

Here’s what to do:

First you want to spray paint your pots. I LOVE LOVE LOVE chalky paint. If you haven’t tried it, you need to. It is amazing coverage and results! I chose an ivory color.

Then you stick on your letters. First we were just going to stick random letters all around the pot. But then my son decided that we needed to put her name on it so she would know it was for her. (ahh, I just love him!)

Once we got our letters on, we eased out the beautiful lily from it’s plastic pot and added it to our clay pot. I’m a bit of a neat freak, so I always line the pots with a coffee filter so the soil doesn’t come out of the drainage hole when you water it. 20160525_230823.jpg

I bought these rulers because they had a hole at the top, perfect for attaching my note. But they are a flexible plastic and it made it harder to get them to stand upright (you’ll see further down).

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I created my own “thank you” tag. Below is a blank one you can print. To get the size I used, I printed 6 to a page. I also added a Starbucks gift card to the back.

Help me grow

I attached the tags with a little ribbon and poked the rulers into the soil.

Here they are! I think they are so cute! What do you do for teacher gifts? Also check out our Lollypop bouquets! Easy to make and are sweet!

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pinmethis.com

Lollypop Bouquets final

Ham, Potato, & Corn Chowder

HamPotatoandcornchowder

Ham, Potato, & Corn Chowder! This soup is a filling meal that is good for the soul! Hubby loves it so much it had to become a staple in our dinner rotation. I got this recipe from a dear friend, but there are many like it on Pinterest like this one from Like Mother Like Daughter.

You’ll need:

2 cups cooked ham, diced
6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
5 1/2 tbsp butter, divided (1 1/2 & 4)
1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced (I prefer to use baby carrots diced)
3 stalks celery, chopped
5 cups chicken broth
5 medium potatoes, diced
1 can corn
1/4 cup & 1 TBSP Flour
3 cups milk
1/2 cup sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Chives and shredded cheese to top

What to do:

In a large pot, melt 1 1/2 tbsp butter over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and carrots, sauté until tender.

Add chicken broth and potatoes. Salt and pepper to taste (I under salt a bit as ham adds salt). Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are tender. Stir in ham and corn.

Cook your bacon. I love to cook it in the oven. I cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lay out my strips. I bake it at 400 degrees for about 20-25 min. I love that it will cook while I prepare the rest of the meal.20160520_184624.jpg

In separate sauce pan, melt 4 tbsp butter. Add flour and whisk until combined well. Slowly whisk in milk. Bring to a boil and cook until sauce thickens. Remove from heat and add sour cream. 

Add this mixture to the broth and stir. Simmer a couple minutes until heated through. Serve topped with shredded cheese & bacon! Would also be yummy with some green onion! The leftovers of this are so good!!!!

Cheesy Garlic Chicken Alfredo

 

Cheesygarlicchickenalfredo

Cheesy Garlic Chicken Alfredo! After one bite the hubby said, “Oh, wow”. Yes, it’s that good. The pin from Eazy Peazy Mealz was for SHRIMP Alfredo. I decided to make this after I shopped, so chicken it was. But this would be oh so good with shrimp!!

The original post also says this is a 30 minute meal. It took me a little longer than that. I think after some practice and with shrimp (shorter cooking time) it will be closer to the 30 min mark. But ABSOLUTELY try this!!

You’ll need:

2 cups milk
4 ounces cream cheese (1/2 a block)
2 Tbs flour
½ tsp salt
3 Tbs butter
3 Tbs minced garlic (I used just shy of a Tbs of garlic powder)
1 cup grated Mozzarella cheese
⅓ cup parmesan cheese (optional)
Pepper to taste
1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp or chicken, cut into small pieces or strips (as I did)

Pasta of choice (I used thin spaghetti)

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What to do:

Use a mixer or blender to mix together the milk, flour, salt, and cream cheese until it is smooth. Then set it aside.

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Next, you’ll melt your butter and garlic in a sauce pan then add your shrimp or chicken to cook. Once it’s cooked, set it aside, removing it from the pan and leave the remaining butter and garlic . Cook up your pasta per the box directions.

Next add the milk mixture to the pan you just used to cook the shrimp or chicken. Stir until it comes to a simmer and then continue to stir until it thickens.20160516_175010.jpg

Remove it from the heat and add the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Cover and let it sit for about 5 minutes.

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Yum! Steamy!

Add your shrimp or chicken and let it stand for about another 5 minutes.

My Alfredo was quite thick and super cheesy at this point so I put it back over a medium-ish heat and stirred in a little milk at a time until it thinned out. I served it over thin spaghetti, my hubby’s favorite, and seasoned with a little pepper.

This was so good. Like, you’d order in a restaurant good. Best off all, my lunch leftovers were great!

Update!

So we decided to switch it up a bit and cook our chicken on the grill. I love that chargrilled taste! I did what I would usually do for this, but I cut the butter and garlic in half, since I wasn’t cooking any meat in it then added the milk mix.

When the Alfredo was ready I cut up the chicken and added it along with some steamed broccoli. It was SO GOOD!!!

My husband turned up the heat a bit by adding crushed red pepper!

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Finally, you will feel like this too…our Little passed out after enjoying her pasta! This is a family favorite!20160602_183824.jpg

Favorite Pinterest Finds

3 favorite finds

Don’t you love when you find something great on Pinterest and then can find or make it in real life? Me too! These are a few of my favorites that I found on Pinterest that led me to things that made life easier and WAY better.

Travel Bag

First up is a travel bag. I used to have this great weekender bag that I LOVED. Then in some freak accident my husband destroyed it. After much sadness, I let it go and started the search for another. Pinterest is a great place for window shopping. Pictures of items from all over are right there in your search bar. All of my favorites were these beautiful canvas and leather bags that were $150+ or just not available.

Once I knew what style I wanted, there started a more specific search. This lead me to my awesome neighbor that sells Thirty-One! They have the cutest weekender bag, with the fold-over top, and you can monogram it!!

Then I found a cinch bag, that matches, to use as my everyday grab and go diaper bag and also, a toiletry bag, that matches, that I can easily pack in my weekender or hook onto the strap. ALL MATCHING! Love!

Travel bags 1

The weekender is so large. I can fit all of my stuff for a long weekend and the stuff for my 2 kids (1&3 year old) in this bag. For a week trip, I fit my stuff and my 1 year olds easily. It has a shoulder/cross-body strap as well as generous shoulder handles. I hosted a party when it was on special, got if for less than half the list price. The cinch bag was $20 and cool enough my hubby doesn’t mind carrying it. Talk to your local consultant or I will direct you to mine. You won’t be sorry.

Reusable Food Pouch

My kids love squeeze pouches. They would eat all of their food with them if I’d let them. They can be expensive though! Store brands might be $.88-$.99, but others are upwards of $1.50. Ummm, no.

The last straw was all the contamination reports and recalls for these pouches. With our baby girl a little older now, I could make the time to make my own pouches. Then I could be confident letting them suck down their dinner, and sneak in veggies.

There are endless versions of these. The Sweeter Side of Mommyhood shared these and what she did:

Food storage.jpg

I found the following and have loved them. They are from Nourishwithstyle.com, although I got a great deal on mine through Zulily. They are dishwasher safe, but I usually just hand wash them with a bottle brush and let them air dry. They have a zip lock bottom, where you fill from, and twist off lids.

I even added a special plastic container to the fridge where these are stored for easy kid access.I’ve found that they are best stored on their side. They paid for themselves in one use. ONE! We have used them over and over and they look great.

 

Baggy Holder

Last, but not least, I found this great little kitchen gadget, a Baggy Holder Storage Rack. I know you are probably thinking this one is silly. I did too until I used it.

If you make frozen dinners, meal prep, you NEED this in your kitchen. Maybe even two.

It snuggly holds your zip lock bags open so you can easily add all your prepped food for freezing. It’s also great for leftovers that you are adding to a bag.  This also works if you are reusing the plastic bags. Just wast them out and set them upside down on the arms to dry.

This folds super flat, maybe only an inch tall, and is adjustable for different sizes of zip lock bags. You can find them at Bed Bath & Beyond, but I got mine on a great deal from Zulily .

Have you found any great or even life changing things on Pinterest? Please share!

$2 DIY Tiered Stand

2 tier cake stand

I love DIY stuff. I love it even more when my completed project costs a fraction of a store bought one. A $2 tiered stand?!? So great!

This 2 tier stand was perfect for my cupcakes and mini Derby Pies for my Kentucky Derby Party.

You’ll need:

1 set of burner covers from the Dollar Store (they come in a 2 pack, one large & one small)

1 candlestick from the Dollar Store

Spray paint in your color choice (I used an oil-rubbed bronze color)

Super glue or industrial glue

What to do:

Spray paint all of your pieces. make sure to do a couple coats if needed to cover the design if any on the burner covers.

Then glue the pieces together. I decided to flip the candlestick upside down to give more space on the bottom tray. You’ll want to weight it down and give it plenty of time to dry. I tried at first to glue it with hot glue, but that was a bust.

 

Voila! A 2 tier stand for $2.

stand 22

Also check out my DIY Cake Stand as seen above!

Broccoli & Grape Salad

Broccoli & Grape Salad

Broccoli & Grape Salad!! This is a refreshing salad that will be great for all of your summer BBQ’s! I recently made it for my Kentucky Derby Party and it was a delicious hit! Below is the recipe I got from my mama, but there are SO many variations of this on pinterest, like this one. Some add celery, some add onion, but all are the same basic idea.

You’ll need:

1 bunch broccoli florets

2 cups seedless red grapes halved

1 cup slivered almonds

1/2 lb bacon fried crisp and crumbled

3/4 cup sunflower seeds

Optional: 1 cup of raisins

Dressing:

1 cup mayo
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar

How to make:

Once you’ve got everything prepped, it’s just 4 easy steps!
1. Mix dressing in a small bowl
2. Mix all other ingredients, except grapes in a large bowl
3. Add dressing and mix
4. Gently fold in grapes

Seriously. It’s that easy. You spend more time halving the grapes than anything else.

Make ahead!

You can made it a day ahead of time too. I don’t mix anything, but just cut up my broccoli and grapes and put in the fridge in separate containers. I also mix up my dressing too. The next day all I have to do is put it all into my serving bowl with the bacon and nuts. Easy Peasy!!

Have you tried this salad? Do you have a different version? Share in the comments!