Say hi to everyone new madeover pretty-in-pink blog! I She says hi. She… Hmm. Its name was Mitch though, so it was a he. I guess we’ll have to rename it. Oh, I know! Her name will be Julie. Because I often feel like Julie from Julie and Julia. For obvious reasons (our mutual love for cooking and writing), and because oh too many times have I found myself sitting on a floor crying like a crazy lady like she does often in that movie. Pink is much more me. As is talking to Julie and not Mitch. I’m not very good at that whole talking to boys thing. So I hope you like the, much more appropriately me, makeover.
And speaking of makeovers, my kitchen received a small makeover that might not seem like a very big deal to most people, BUT it was huge and exciting to me! My favorite co-worker who is much more than a co-worker, she’s become a very close friend, says to me just casually, “Oh yeah, I brought my Kitchenaid mixer for you. I never use it. You can have it.” I almost fell out of my chair and jumped up and down and squealed all at the same time! THE Kitchenaid mixer. The one that every Food Network chef has. The one I’ve wanted for 5 years but never bought because it’s way too expensive for me to talk myself into buying for myself. So now it sits beautifully in my VERY humble little kitchen, making it shine a little brighter. I’ve already order the Mixer Bible and Kitchenaid Best Mixer recipes. Can’t wait! And of course I will be sharing them all with you.
And speaking of makeovers… again, as wonderful as the Meatloaf of Awesome was, after eating it for dinner Sunday, lunch Monday, dinner Monday, and as a meatloaf sandwich for lunch today… I was meatloafed out. And it was a new cooking day (Sundays, Tuesdays, Fridays). I love every single one of my precious pennies and the food they go to buy and hate to waste anything. And there was quite a bit of meatloaf and mashed potatoes left. So, when I am -insert food-ed out, I try to make the meal over. But, I found myself in a quagmire (always looking for reasons to use that word). How do you makeover meatloaf other than meatloaf sandwiches? Well… shepherd’s pie of course! I cut it into small chucks and then used my handy slap chop to mash it all up. I pressed the mashed up meatloaf into an itty bitty casserole dish, sprinkled a thin layer of frozen peas atop, and then topped with the left over mashed potatoes. Lid securely in place and into the freezer it went! I am thinking it will be a yummy surprise if I need a quick fix meal! And it’s good for two more meals! I love stretching meals and pennies as far as I can make them go!
Tonight’s scheduled meal was borrowed from my friend Carrie Tassin! She posted it on facebook with a picture and it looked super yummy! I had to try it! I only very slightly made it over (also knows as making a few changes due to what I had, but in keeping with the theme we’ll call it made over).
Penne Macaroni with Peppers and Grilled Chicken
(changes or extra tips and comments will be noted like this)
13.25 oz Heartland Whole Wheat Penne (Used a box of Great Value brand Whole Wheat Penne)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 c sweet onions, diced (Used a whole onion)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 oz basil, chopped (Used about 2 tbsp of Italian seasoning)
1 c chicken, grilled and sliced into strips (Used 2 uncooked chicken breasts cut in small chunks)
1 c roasted red bell peppers, diced (Used 1/2 each of fresh green, red, and orange bell peppers)
1/2 c chicken broth
1/4 c Parmesan cheese (If you use the shaky kind you put atop spaghetti, the good kind is so much better for recipes like this! It’s by the cream cheese in the cold section in a little tub.)
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
* Cook Penne according to package directions.
* Heat olive oil in large skillet on med heat, add onions and garlic; cook until onions are transparent. (I also added my uncooked chicken. It’s way too hot for me to use my grill.)
*Add basil, chicken and red bell peppers. (Added Italian seasoning and bell pepper assortment, chicken already added.)
* Cook 2 more minutes.
* Add chicken broth (at this point I also added just a little bit of cream, about 2 tbsp. I wanted to add a little more consistency to the sauce, but not make it all fatty. Just a little pour to give it a bit of a white color but still the same thinness) and hot, drained Penne to skillet and toss together until all the ingredients are evenly distributed.
* Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper as needed.
I also made a salad to complete the meal. I used romaine, lots of grape tomatoes halved (trying to use them before they go bad), a diced green onion, 1/4th of a cucumber diced, 1/4th of a bell pepper diced, croutons, cranberries, sliced almonds, 2 crumbled boiled eggs, the rest of my feta (maybe like 4 tbsp) and carrots. Random carrot tip you can take or leave… I hate A. chopping carrots and B. biting into big pieces of carrot. Any way you slice or chop carrots, unless you finely juliane them, is too chunky for me to bite into in a salad. I love biting into a carrot by itself or to dip, but I hate biting into it in a salad. It disrupts the flow of salad to me. Crunch is good, but not super hard crunch you can’t even poke with your fork! And have you ever tried to chop a carrot quickly? They shoot everywhere! Just not a fan of it. BUT I do love the flavor of carrots. So take a handful of baby carrots or carrot chips or if you have big carrots cut them into a few smaller pieces and put them in my handy electric mini food chopper/processor. Press the button a few times and you get little carrot pieces! They are chopped in less than a minute, no one’s eye was put out by flying carrots from chopping them, and they just make more sense and fit the salad and its parts better.
I have an overwhelming urge to get a makeover now… Maybe just a pedicure.