Friday, December 23, 2011

Food Friday - Parmesan Chicken

Today's post is later than most. I have been SUPER busy getting ready for this long break from work. (A WHOLE WEEK OFF!) Today's Food Friday is one that we just LOVE! I tried it about 2 weeks ago and was nervous when I saw the recipe but love it (almost) more than any other Food Friday recipe.

For Parmesan Chicken (from the amazing Betty Crocker website), you will need:


2    cups Original Bisquick® mix

1/2    teaspoon garlic powder

1/2    cup boiling water

4    slices (3/4 oz each) provolone cheese

4    thin slices (about 1 oz each) cooked ham

4    large (about 1/2 lb) uncooked chicken breast tenders (not breaded)

1    tablespoon butter or margarine, melted

4    teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese

1    cup tomato pasta sauce, heated

1 Heat oven to 375°F (if using dark or nonstick pan, heat oven to 350°F).

2 In medium bowl, stir Bisquick mix, garlic powder and boiling water with fork until dough forms. Divide dough into fourths. Place dough pieces on surface dusted with Bisquick mix; roll in Bisquick mix to coat. Press each piece into 7x5-inch rectangle, 1/4 inch thick.

3 Center 1 provolone cheese slice and 1 ham slice on each rectangle, folding to fit if needed. Top each with 1 chicken tender. Starting at 7-inch side, roll up each bundle. Press ends and seam to seal. Tuck ends under. On ungreased cookie sheet, place seam side down. Brush with butter; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
4 Bake 25 to 33 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted in center of chicken reads 170°F and bundles are golden brown. Serve topped with pasta sauce.
 

 Because of THIS recipe and a Drop Biscuit recipe, I discovered I LOVE Bisquick. A lot. Like I want to try every recipe possible with it. It is amazing.

I am keeping this short and sweet because it is now CHRISTMAS VACATION! Have a safe, delicious, happy, wonderful holiday weekend and Merry Christmas to you all. If I don't post this weekend, I promise to be back by Monday! I will miss you blogger friends!

Melissa

Friday, December 16, 2011

Food Friday: Not-So-Spritzer Cookies

As promised last week, I am going to share the Not-So-Spritzer cookie recipe with you. Short back story on these first though: the "Not-So-Spritzer" part comes from my inability to realize that when I was trying to use my spritzer cookie maker I was missing an essential part... the thing that pushes the dough out. I was downright angry that the dang thing wasn't working. The worst part? I didn't realize it was broken until the cookies were done and I was packaging up the stupid thing to take it back to the store. Fail.
To mine and my husband's surprise (even though he won't admit he was surprised), they were a hit at my Lia Sophia party and my mom's purse party where I got the most adorable purse.

Moving on. These cookies are amazing. Ever had the cookies from the bakery at Target or Walmart that kind of melt in your mouth? They have a lighter bottom with bright and/or seasonal colors? Here, I will show you:

You know the one's, right? I got the recipe from my Cuisinart Spritzer Maker instruction manual. Which maybe if I had read anything other than the recipes... we wouldn't have had the problem we did. It seemed to work out. Here you are.

You will need:

Cookies:

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (which in case you didn't know.... one of my pet peeves is when people spell cooking flour "flower". Just thought you should know =))
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 lb UNSALTED butter (2 sticks) cubed and at room temp
1 1/2 cup confectioner's (powered) sugar
2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 large egg

Frosting:


1 tablespoon softened butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar (might need a little more, just keep an eye on the consistency)
3 tablespoons milk
2 drops any color food coloring
Preheat the oven to 350*F.

Cube butter and (if it isn't room temp) stick it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds

 Put the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and whisk together. Set aside.

Combine butter and sugar with a mixer until light and creamy.


Add vanilla and egg and mix until just combined. Add the rest of the reserved ingredients and mix on low until just combined.

This is where the spritzer part comes into play... but let's skip that part =).

Roll the dough into about 1"-2" balls and place on a cookie sheet about 2" apart.  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden around the edges.

 Yum. Then you frost. In a small bowl, beat the butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Mix in the milk one tablespoon at a time until a good spreading consistency is reached. Stir in food coloring to desired shade. We used about 8 drops of red. Still turned out pink. Decorate cooled cookies, and set on waxed paper to harden. 

My sweet hubby helped me frost them.
 They are ALWAYS a hit.

Let me know if you try these recipes, I am interested to hear your results!

Yesterday was a long long long day (to say the least) with a bad day at work and we lost at volleyball. Bad. And I'm not going to lie, I am a very competitive person. Not good. In any case, it is FRIDAY FRIDAY FRIDAY!!!!! So excited to spend the weekend baking and getting ready for the holidays. I also have to get ready for re-decorating! Tyler and I are buying a TV this weekend and our couches come on Thursday!!!  What are your weekend plans?

Just to remind you that Christmas is ALMOST here... Check this out. SO stinkin' cool. Seriously, amazing.



HAPPY FRIDAY/8 DAYS TILL CHRISTMAS!!!

Melissa

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Bushel and a Peck

I had a random thought today that I thought I would share with you. Don't worry, I will keep it short and sweet:

Do you ever do something sweet/corny/and maybe moderately cheesy with your significant other? Something you see as totally normal whereas an outsider might see as a bit weird or unorthodox? Well we do. And I hadn't given it much thought until today which is why this is so random.

We always say "I love you a bushel and a peck". We say it a LOT.

via
It comes from a 1950s song by Frank Loesser and I heard it a lot from my great grandmother (most wonderful woman who ever lived). She would always hug us as tight as possible and say "I love you a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck". Through my youth and even to this day, my dad says it too. If you have never heard it, here it is with the CUTEST little girl singing it. It gets super SUPER cute at about 0:50.


Here is the whole thing. It's awesome.

 I intend to teach it to my child some day because I don't want this classic to die.

Are we alone in our cheesiness or do you have a strange tendency that you'd like to own up to too?

Melissa

Friday, December 9, 2011

Food Friday - Peanut Butter Blossoms AND Holiday Questionnaire

I love food. I love to make it and I love to eat it (but mostly make it). Every Friday I intend to post a new recipe for you to try. I won't post it unless I have tried to make it because I want to know it is good.

I want to apologize in advance. This might be the longest post ever written. Our (new) church does cookie baskets and asks for volunteers to make a couple dozen of their favorites to add to the variety. I made peanut butter blossoms and "not-so-spritzer" cookies. I will share the "not-so-spritzer" recipe later but for now: Peanut Butter Blossoms from allrecipes.com.

You will need
  • 1/2 cup CRISCO® Butter Shortening (do NOT substitute butter. You must use Crisco. It makes all the difference in the world)
  • 1/2 cup JIF® Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups PILLSBURY BEST® All Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Sugar
  • 48 foil-wrapped milk chocolate pieces, unwrapped
 Follow these steps and you will be AMAZED at the results.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  
 
Cream together shortening, peanut butter, brown sugar and 1/2 cup sugar. 

Add egg, milk and vanilla. Beat well.

Sire together flour, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture. Beat on low speed until stiff dough forms.

Shape into 1-inch balls. Roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. 
 
Top each cookie immediately with an unwrapped chocolate piece, pressing down firmly so that cookie cracks around edge. Remove from cookie sheets to cool. 



Enjoy!! (And let me know if you try these recipes/how they turn out!!!)

Also, if the spirit of Christmas (which is in 15 days by the way)...

I saw this lovely questionnaire on the Baby Making blog by my friend Becky. She is a fun, honest, and downright hilarious lady who has twin (holydangadorable) boys. You MUST check her out. I filled it out so without further adieu, here we go:

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Hot chocolate. I don't suppose I have ever tried egg nog but it has the word "egg" in it. And unless I am really in the mood for them or they are in a cake... I don't love eggs. Regardless of if they are in the beverage or just in the name. In regards to hot chocolate, I may or may not have had WAAAAYYYYYY too much on the way to Gooseberry Falls in October so I am kind of taking a break from it. We agreed to see other beverages. 

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Santa and I have this agreement that if he keeps bringing me wrapped gifts, I will keep believing in him. They are always wrapped and labeled to "Moe", "Melissa", or "Middle Child" from Santa.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Growing up they were ALWAYS colored but I gave in to my sweet husband who has only ever done white lights on the tree (and we did white on the house). I think I might love it because of my touch of (self diagnosed) OCD but maybe when I have kids I might gently try to wean Tyler off the white lights. Wish me luck!!

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Well we have one hanging by the back door of our house that is homemade. Tyler's grandma bought it at the church bazaar. It is kind of hanging on a spare nail that really has served no prior purpose. That counts, right?

5. When do you put your decorations up? The day after Thanksgiving. No exceptions. I would leave them up all year if Tyler would let me. But he won't.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Tough TOUGH question. I love mashed potatoes and gravy. Ask Tyler's dad, we spent quite some time last year discussing my passion for the dish. Mmmm...

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? The sentimental Christmas we had last year with my family. It was emotional, perfect, and full of love. Just like Christmas should be.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I really don't remember but Becky said it perfectly in her response. So this is me taking it and giving her credit:

Baby Making Becky: "I don't remember, but here's the honest truth. I believe in Santa. 100%. I am not kidding you, and I will explain: If Santa didn't exist, Millions upon millions of children would not get gifts signed "love Santa" on the same night, every year, all around the world.
Sure, maybe parents put those presents there, but why would they bother if Santa wasn't real? Santa may not be a "fact," but he is certainly "true." 
Santa may not be a person, but he is millions of people, and they all work together to bring children beautiful Christmases."
Couldn't have said it better myself.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? All of them. My family always went to church on Christmas eve and on the way home we would look at all of the Christmas lights. Then my dad would say "OHMYGOSH Did you see the sleigh?? It just flew by! We better hurry home and see if he's still there!". So regardless of our age, we would get all excited in anticipation of seeing Santa. Of course he was never there. But there was always an abundance of presents waiting.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? At mom and dad's, we always used a 9' fake tree, colored lights, and ornaments that were collected over the years (almost never the traditional bulb ornaments from the store). The ornaments with your name on them or ones that were made a church or school. This year (our first in our new home) we have white lights, gold and red ornaments, ribbon, and a new tree skirt!

11. Snow! Love it or dread it? I LOVE SNOW! I wish we had snow. C'MON! We are in Minnesota and don't have a single flake on the ground! It is not Christmas until the snow starts and stays. I LOVE it!

12. Can you ice skate? It really depends on if this question means "can you stand on skates and be pushed around while only falling a few times" or if it means "can you spin and twirl and go really fast on skates". I would like to say yes to the former. Maybe not to the latter.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Last year I got the Nativity Scene that my dad got from his mom. It is amazing.

14. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you? Presents.

No, I'm totally kidding. Did I fool you? 


I love the family time. I love to have everyone in one place so we can catch up and talk about old stories and memories.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? French silk pie with mint pieces on top. Yum.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? The hanging of the Christmas ornaments. Every year (until now) my siblings and I would put up the ornaments we made or that were made for us (with our names on them). When we were younger we were short and unintelligent so we put them all kind of in one general area. Then when we woke up they would be all pretty and spread out (thanks mom!!)! We still do that... I don't think it is as cute now as it once was. And mom probably doesn't appreciate it. But we all get a good chuckle out of it!

17. What tops your tree? WE. NEED. A. STAR. I have apparently been a procrastinator and will now probably wait until the end of the season sales. In the past my family has always done an angel.

18. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving? Hands down, giving. My favorite year of giving was when I was 13 or 14. My dad and mom took Becca and I to get new bedroom furniture and the lady helping us had this awesome tape measure with a light, calculator, and post-it pad on it. My dad loved it and asked if they sold them. She said no and that they get them from their distributor and they don't get very many. He was fine with it! So after we had gone home and settled in, I walked over to mom and asked her to bring me back to the store (couldn't drive yet). So without question, she did!! 

I walked into the store and the lady greeted me again. I told her "my dad loved the tape measure and I am struggling to find something else to give him. Can I buy yours from you? I will pay anything." Keep in mind I was very young. She said "you are so sweet" and gave me one to wrap and give to my dad. To this day he claims it as his favorite gift because even though it was free, more thought went into it than any other present he has ever received. 

19. Candy canes: yuck or yum?  Tough question. I am going to say both. If I am in the mood, they are wonderful. But I really have to be in the mood. 

20. Favorite Christmas show?  I love LOVE the movie Miracle on 34th Street and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Best movies ever. 

21. Saddest Christmas song? Is there such a thing?

22. What is your favorite Christmas song? Silent Night. I am definitely a shower singer and let me tell you: I belt this one out just about every day. Favorite.

23. Do you use an Advent calendar? I wish I did. But I don't. I am guessing this will be another DIY project.

24. Do you go to church on Christmas?  No. We go on Christmas Eve. Every year! I am particularly a fan of the 11pm service. It may be late but when church is done, it is CHRISTMAS DAY!!!

25. What were your Christmas morning rules as a kid? We had to open presents in order of age. Which is not fun. Keep in mind I am a twin and we used to get the same gifts so we always knew what we got before we opened. This takes all of the fun out of it, parents. Just so you know.

Now I want to hear your responses!!! Respond to any of the questions below OR link back to my blog and fill them all out on your own!

HAPPY FRIDAY!!

Mrs. Knott

Monday, December 5, 2011

I Wrote You a Note - DIY Decor


Before our wedding, our pastor had Tyler and I write each other a note. Something personal that he would take excerpts from for the wedding ceremony. Two days before our wedding, Tyler locked himself in the bedroom and I locked myself in my office so we could have some time to reflect on why we love each other and to put it onto paper. We had no idea what the other wrote until the day of the wedding (in front of all or our friends and family).

Although he said "I will take bits and pieces and discuss", he ended up reading the whole thing. I am so glad he did because I feel it really showed everyone how much love we have for each other. How special our relationship is and how we truly feel about 'Us'. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!


Melissa,

As I sit here thinking back on the last four years that led us to this day, one word comes to mind. TODAY! Today is the day I get to marry you. Seven months ago when I proposed, today seemed years away. Today brings an end to the last four years I got to know you and fall in love with you. And that is what I did, fall in love with you. Every part of you from the way you laugh at your own jokes to the way you don’t laugh at mine (even though they are funny). Even though this is then end of an era, it is the beginning of an even better part of my life. Now I get to come home to you every day, stay with you every night, and grow old with you throughout the rest of our lives. I love you Melissa Joy and I can’t imagine anyone better to share my life with.

I LOVE YOU

Forever and ever

Tyler,

Where to begin… we met in April 2007 as a boy who liked a girl and a girl who liked that boy right back and today they will be married. It is a day every girl dreams about. The day a princess finds her prince and they live happily ever after. Truth is, I never believed in fairy tales until now. I officially believe in romance, love, devotion, and promises because today (6-11-11) I make the biggest promise of my life.

You say you are nervous, that you want “everything to go off without a hitch”. There is no such thing as a hitch-less party. I can tell you one thing, as long as the girl gets to marry the boy, the party is a success. All of the rest of the day is just details!

I am going to keep this note short, not because I have little to say (I AM part Meyer you know…) but because everything I could say you already know. I have no secrets, I will never lie to you, and I will love you every day for the rest of my life. I promise. You are my best friend, my secret keeper, my shoulder, and the keeper of the key to my heart. I can’t wait to meet you at the altar to make a promise that will make me the happiest girl in the world.

I love you Mr. Tyler Knott

Love,

Melissa
I decided to take parts from our stories to decorate our house, this is what I came up with!

Gather some supplies! My sisters-in-law gave me my birthday present two weekends ago (for my June birthday... ha ha they make me laugh : ) Love them!) and it included a bunch of scrapbooking supplies. I had already scrapbooked for the wedding AND put together a photo album so I thought I would do something else creative with these wonderful supplies. I do want to mention that I have a very simple style so you may want to add additional embellishments.

Type out the letter (unless you have beautiful handwriting... which I do not. At all.)

Arrange the letters in a pleasing manner and add your scrapbooking embellishments. These will go in our master bedroom. I am still trying to figure out what to do with our vows....
See, SIMPLE!

I also wanted to show you my new favorite accessory. which I bought at my recent Lia Sophia party and I LOVE it.
This is a close-up of the charms. Filigree ball, M for Melissa, T for Tyler, and a diamond tear drop. Simple.
I hope you have an outstanding week!

19 DAYS TILL CHRISTMAS!!!

Melissa

Friday, December 2, 2011

Food Friday: Turkey Casserole

A week after thanksgiving I am sure some of you have some leftover turkey that you just don't know what to do with it. Well I am here to help!

Just a couple of weeks ago, my church had a Bazaar where they sold baked goods, crafts (that were really neat), and hot food ready-to-eat. It was so funny, I went to help set up but had to leave right at noon for a meeting for work and the food wouldn't be ready until 12:30. I insisted that it was fine and I could eat at home after my meeting but they insisted right back. They said "if you help, you eat". So they loaded up a plate of goodies including two casseroles, a bun, and some other things of which I remember very little.

Anyway, the casseroles were amazing. Definitely the most memorable of the meal. When I informed them of how delicious I found their dishes, they said thank you thank you thank you. A couple of days later I got these recipes in the mail with a note of thanks for helping at the Bazaar (we are new members so we are still getting to know people). I found this to be such a sweet gesture! Well I am going to share it with you at this more than appropriate time. Don't throw away that leftover turkey! : )

Here is what you need:

4 cups of Stove Top dressing/stuffing
1 cup melted butter
2 cans of cream of chicken soup
1 large can of evaporated milk
2 tbsp grated onion (we put in a whole chopped onion (we loooove onion))
4 cups turkey
1 can of sliced green beans (I recommend using at least two)
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I just toss in the whole bag... about 2 cups)

Grease a 9x13 pan and preheat the oven to 350*

Mix stuffing/dressing and butter and put half in the bottom of the greased pan. Be sure to pat it down.


Mix the rest of the ingredients together (like to keep this simple).....



 ...and pour it over the bottom layer of stuffing/dressing.



Cover with the remaining stuffing/dressing and bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly and stuffing/dressing starts to brown.


This is what it should look like:

Perfectly browned : )
Tyler LOVED it.




















Now, While I was cooking, Tyler was unlighting our pre-lit tree that my dad bought for us from Goodwill for $6.75. Unfortunately only about half of the lights worked but we wanted two trees for our two living rooms, so it was wonderful that we got a deal on our second one. Anyway, between the green beans and the cheddar cheese, I heard Tyler say "come quick and bring the camera!". I will see if you can see why before I tell you:

If you look really closely just below the middle of the tree... Alice decided this was a good hiding place. I had to put the kibosh on that right away because the last thing I need is to find ornaments all over the floor because she needed to play.

See that little stinker... not OK.
Anyway, we got bored taking off lights so we ran to get a Christmas tree. A REAL one!! We went to Stacy's nursery in town here and they had some BEAUTIFUL trees. We found "the one" right in the middle of them all. It is a beautiful scotch pine and I love love love it. Of course we had to decorate it right away so here is what you get (we still need a star, but otherwise it's done).

Handsome Husband trying to properly spread out the ornaments.

New tree skirt...

Doesn't this just make you want to sing a Christmas song? I was thinking Silent Night...
The only thing that would make this better would be if there was snow when we picked up the tree and while we decorated it... OH WAIT!

Happy Friday! Have a fun weekend!

Melissa
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