April 29, 2013

Parmesan Orzo with Asparagus and Bacon

For dinner tonight, I was inspired by this dish.  I had some farm fresh asparagus and decided to use it.  I was going to make chicken breasts to go with it but I figured I would just stick with using bacon for the protein.

It was delicious!  Nate loved it so this meal will be made again.  And I had leftovers for work lunches!  That's always a win because I don't have to buy lunch and when you eat the leftovers, there's no wasting.  :)

You will need:

Box of Orzo
Fresh Asparagus
minced garlic
Italian dressing
parmesan cheese
Olive Oil
parsley flakes
black pepper
salt to taste

I first put the bacon on a foil lined cookie sheet and baked on 350 until it was cooked to my liking.  
While the bacon was baking, I boiled water in a pot and cooked the orzo.
I then cut up my asparagus and cooked it up with some olive oil, minced garlic, Italian dressing, black pepper, and salt in my skillet.  When the bacon was done, I drained it on a paper towel and then crumbled it up.  I then added the bacon to the skillet and let the flavors cook up together.  It's delicious just like this.  I had to keep myself from eating it.  haha  :)
Once the orzo was done, I drained it and added it back to the pot.  I mixed in some olive oil to keep the orzo from sticking together.  I then mixed in Parmesan cheese to let it melt within the orzo.  After the asparagus was done cooking I added the asparagus/bacon mixture to the orzo and stirred real good.  I added some more black pepper,  salt and parsley flakes until well combined.

Next time, I am going to add a chopped cooking onion and some chicken.  This would also taste great with a pork loin or steak.  (I don't eat seafood so I can't suggest fish).

A strange visitor.....

I was checking the mail this afternoon and saw this strange insect feeding off the pholx flowers.  I came inside and grabbed the camera and took a bunch of pics.  I showed Nate the pictures and he said "oh that's a hummingbird moth" and that's exactly what it is.  

April 27, 2013

Indoor Garden update: Day 54

Today is day 54 of my indoor garden.  I've added some more things and also moved some things outside.

On April 1st, I got a rose plant from work which I decided to rescue.  It's very healthy and doing really well. It attracts gnats which I don't like at all.  A friend, of mine let me borrow some bug spray for the rose bush.  I'll give it a try.  But for now I've moved it outside away from my veggies.  :)

My Avocado pit is still splitting.  This is Day 14.  Also, my last celery died.  I think it wasn't getting the proper drainage because I accidentally left a pot plate in the bottom of the pot.  OOPS!  I started a new one.  This is day 2.

Nate and I ran a few errands last night.  We stopped off at Walmart for Oil and Filters for our vehicles.  We parked at the garden section so I could scope out the plants.  I saw this cute little pepper plant.  I had to get him.  He was calling my name.  Last year, I tried my thumb at peppers and they would get to a certain point and a horned caterpillar would come and eat them.  So, this year I am going to keep this plant indoors.  I think that will protect it from bugs and caterpillars.

Here's the Red Bell Pepper snug in his pot.  Once he gets bigger he'll move to a bigger pot.

I came across some seed packs at reduced prices.  A pack of strawberry bulbs for $1.50.  I figured I would  give it a shot.  Why not?  You can never have too many things growing at once.  LOL

I dumped the package on a pot plate.  I found this huge clump an figured that was the bulbs.  I carefully separated the clump and noticed a rubber band.  I took the rubber band off and then I found the bulbs with roots.

They look like pieces of dirty hair.  LOL

I planted them in a window planter.  The directions on the packet said to leave the caps (top of plant) uncovered so I did.

I changed out one of my window boxes of grape tomatoes.  Some were getting choked and wilty.  I found some skewers at Walmart last night that I figured would help hold them up.  This morning I found some cable ties and then set to work trying to save them.

Here's all 10 plants with ties.  I hope this keeps them upright.  We'll see.

Here's the other window box of grape tomatoes.  I'm going to leave them in here.  They are doing good.

Here's a picture of the whole garden.....Strawberries, red peppers, carrots, onions, marigolds, zucchini, squash, potatoes, big boy tomatoes and grape tomatoes.  :)

Here's some fresh Asparagus my mother picked up from a local farms yesterday.  YUMMY!  
I can't wait to eat this.  :)

April 21, 2013

Rigatoni Pie

My husband, told me about something a co-worker/friend pinner the other day on Pinterest.  He described it as being a pie with noodles so I searched on Pinterest and came across the Rigatoni Pie and with excitement Nate said  "that's it".  I told him I would make it one day for dinner and that day was today.

First off I will say it's a PAIN IN THE BUTT to make.  If anyone says differently they are lying.  LOL

I cooked my meat sauce.  I used turkey meat, w sauce, 1 chopped cooking onion, black pepper, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes.  Once the meat was cooked and drained I then added spaghetti sauce and let it simmer while I boiled the rigatoni noodles.  When the noodles were done I drained them and ran them under cold water to cool and mixed in some olive oil.  I placed them in my springform pan.  This was a pain b/c they were slippery.  Once I got them in it was easier to get the rest of the noodles in the pan.  I sprinkled with shredded parmesan cheese.  I then scooped the meat sauce on top.  I baked on 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  I then placed some more parmesan cheese on top of meat sauce and also covered with mozzarella cheese and sprinkled some parsley flakes on top.  I baked for another 15 minutes until cheese was melted.

Cheese finally melted....

Delicious looking

Carefully, slice a piece.  Our noodles fell apart when it got to the plate.  Oh well.  LOL This tasted just like lasagna.  It was really good and makes leftovers for work lunches.  :)

Indoor Garden update: Day 48

My indoor garden is still doing very well.  

I've added 2 more cooking onions.  Found them to be growing in the pantry so I put them in a bowl with water and set them with the other plants yesterday.

Here's a picture of the indoor garden right now.

My 3 potato plants are still growing.  Day 48

My marigolds- Day 16.

Zucchini's growing.  I have 2 spouts.  Today is day 8.

Squash with 1 sprout also on day 8.

Big Boy Tomatoes.  Day 16.  Each has has spouts except for 1.

Carrots- Day 15

Rose bush- Recovery day 21.  Remember what it looked like 21 days ago?

Avocado pit....splitting.  Day 8.  :)

Onion- Day 8.

Some bad news.  My celery stalk.......shriveled up.  I will be starting this over.  Celery is 80% water so maybe it wasn't getting enough???  I think I will leave the new one in water a lot longer before I put it in soil.  I bought a celery stalk at the store yesterday so once I cut it I will put in it water.  :)  When I put the rotted celery stalk in my compost pile I noticed that I had a drainage plate in the bottom of the pot by accident.  I looked all over the shed for the bottom piece for another pot and I couldn't find it.  LOL  Maybe the plant didn't drain right with that extra piece in the bottom?  I don't know, but I will start this one over soon.

Dollar store finds....I picked up these 2 small baskets yesterday.  Once I decide to put some plants out on my deck I am going to use the white one for my potato plants.  I'm not sure what I'll use the green one for but I like it.  :)  

Another $1.00 store find.  2 canvas squared baskets for $1.00.  They are really cute!  There was other sizes and colors too.  They remind me of Strawberry pint baskets.  I figured I could put my tomatoes in there once they fruit and ripen.  :)

Chicken and Potatoes with Peaches and BBQ Sauce

The other day for dinner I had a Healthy Choice Top Chef meal.  It was Chicken and Potatoes with Peach BBQ Sauce.  I thought it sounded weird but it looked like it would be good and I thought I would give it a try.  I loved it and I decided I would make this dish myself.  I made it for dinner last night and it was a hit!

I didn't use a recipe.  I just remembered what was in the frozen meal and got that stuff.

You will need:

2 chicken breasts
baby red potatoes
green beans
cooking onion
minced garlic
bbq sauce (I just used plain store brand)
green or red pepper
can of sliced peaches in light syrup
bacon bits

I cooked my chicken breasts in my Pampered Chef baker for 9:45 in the microwave.  (I added a few chopped pieces of peaches, peach syrup and bbq sauce on top of the raw chicken breast before cooking).

While the chicken was cooking, I washed my baby red potatoes and cut them in halves and put them in a pot and boiled them on the stove until they were fork tender.

While the chicken and potatoes were cooking, I chopped my onion and green pepper.  The healthy choice meal had a red pepper but at the store the red peppers were $2.50 each and the green pepper was .69 cents.  I went with the green pepper to save money.  :)  I also chopped up my peaches into little pieces and set them aside.  

Once the chicken was done I cut it up into bite size pieces.  I steamed my green beans in the microwave while I was cutting up the chicken.  When the green beans were done (4 1/2 minutes) I let them cool for 1 min and then cut them in half so they weren't so long.

When I was ready to put it all together..... 

I pam sprayed my skillet.  I added the chicken juices from the baker to my skillet with some minced garlic and heated up the pan.  I then added the chopped onions, and cooked for about 1 minute.  I then added the green pepper and cooked that together for another minute.  I added the peaches and peach syrup and let it cook up together.  I sprinkled in some real bacon bits, salt and pepper.  After about 5 minutes I added the potatoes and green beans and then the chicken pieces.  I added bbq sauce and more peach syrup.  Let simmer together for about 5 to 10 minutes.  Serve hot!  

The peaches compliment the BBQ sauce.  It's a quick and easy dinner with lots of fresh produce.  :)

April 14, 2013

Re-Grow your own Onion UPDATE

While cooking dinner tonight, I discovered something.   Ohhhh, what can it be?  I pulled out an onion from my pantry and to my surprise I had onion SPROUTS!  And I didn't even do anything to help this happen.  LOL  Maybe with all the other growing going on in my indoor garden this onion just wanted to join in.  haha  

I tried re-growing an onion last month but that didn't work out for me.  I don't think I cut enough of the end of the onion off.


I cut off the end, took the peel off and placed it in a custard cup and filled with water.  I set the onion in the window sill next to my avocado pit.  *crosses fingers*   Maybe this sprout will take off.

Garden Gnome- Retouching

Weeks ago, I picked up a set up paints from Michael's Craft Store so I could retouch my Zombie Gnome.  The company where my friend Kristen, got the Zombie Gnome sent me a replacement.  I'm happy that they sent me a new one.  The new zombie gnome stays in the house away from the sunshine.  

Today, I had some time and was feeling artsy to touch up the zombie gnome.  I already had my paints out for  the garden marker I made.  So, I went to work.



I also touched up this little guy.  His colors were extremely faded.  Now he's as good as new and his mushroom is even a brighter and better color.  :)

The paint dried really quickly which was great.  I put them back out in the gnome garden where they got some rather astonishing looks from their buddies.

Here's the gnome gang.  :)

Sprouts- Day 8

I did an update on my garden yesterday.  And today I get some new sprouts.  :)

Big Boy Tomatoes- Day 8

4 of the 18 big boy tomatoes have sprouted.  If I remember correctly I put 2 to 3 seeds in each.

Carrots- Day 8

I didn't see any spouts yesterday, but today there is one tiny one right in the middle.  YEY!

Garden Marker

I took out my paints and decided to free hand a tomato on a rock and make a marker with it.

You will need:


I painted a tomato.  I think it is cute.  The leaves are bigger than I wanted but it will do for now.  I need to collect some rocks to make others.  :)

Here's a closer look......

Charlotte Grace

Our friends, Eddie and Crystal had a beautiful baby girl last month.  Charlotte Grace, was born on March 7th around 5am in the morning.  She's such a blessing and has many people that love her.  :)

*I know this post is late....but better late than never.  :)