Friday, October 26, 2012

Dressed up Mandarin Orange Chicken

Mandarin Orange Chicken from Trader Joes is a weeknight favorite in our house. Toss it in the oven, cook some rice and dinner is ready within the hour. I'm always looking for ways to change it up though since it can be a little plain. Last week when I made it I added reduced salt roasted cashews, canned mandarin oranges that had been rinsed and some sliced scallions. OMG was it so delicious with just those few additions. I would say it could even be company worthy. You must try it. All the extra ingredients can be found at Trader Joes.

Are there any store bought meals that you dress up?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pumpkins & Italian Baked Chicken and Pastina

Can you believe it's almost Halloween? Trader Joes is selling pumpkins and I couldn't resist picking up a few while I was there. Of course I had to get one to represent our baby girl even though she's not here yet. I already feel like we're a family of three even though she still has four months of growing left. I can't wait for next year when she can wear a costume. There's just so many cute ones to choose from.
Do you have any Halloween plans? Do you decorate and bake for the occasion?

Here's a great dinner recipe that's quick and easy; especially for the night you'll be carving pumpkins.

Italian Baked Chicken and Pastina
by Giada De Laurentiis


  • 1 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cubed chicken breast (1-inch cubes) (I used chicken sausage from Trader Joes)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion (about 1/2 a small onion)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta into a large mixing bowl.
Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes. Add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the onions are soft and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Put the chicken mixture into the bowl with the cooked pasta. Add the canned tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Place the mixture in a buttered 8 by 8 by 2-inch baking dish. In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta mixture. Dot the top with small bits of butter. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Strollergate and Blueberry Lemon Bread

It seems the item we're having the hardest time on choosing is the stroller and I've determined we're in Strollergate. Anytime we see a stroller passing by while we're out, we're immediately distracted and whispering to each other about it...I'm to the point where I want to stop complete strangers and ask them how they like their stoller. I thought we had decided on one but then I read thru over a 100 reviews and now I'm not sure. I'm ready to play eeny meeny miney moe. So, any suggestions on choosing just the right one?

What could be better a soothing my stroller shopping nerves than a slice of blueberry lemon bread and tea? Possibly a pint of ice cream but my doctor has warned me about gaining weight too fast so the bread was a better alternative.

I found the recipe at Sweet Pea's Kitchen. I left off the glaze since I don't like my bread too sweet.

Happy Monday Everyone, I hope you have a great week.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Corner Bakery Style Swiss Oatmeal

Lately I've been trying lots of recipes that can be prepared ahead since I have a feeling with a baby I won't have much time for cooking whenever I feel like it. One of my favorite things at Corner Bakery is the Swiss Oatmeal but sadly it's too far for me to drive just to satisfy the craving. Thankfully google has all the answers and I was able to adapt a recipe that works perfectly and I can make it the night before.

Corner Bakery Style Swiss Oatmeal

Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
Plain Lowfat Yogurt or I like the Vanilla flavor from Trader Joes
Skim Milk
Toasted Silvered Almonds
Banana (do not add this until just before serving)
Dried or fresh Blueberries

I'm not good at measuring so start with 1 cup oats, 1/2 cup yogurt and thin with milk until it's a consistency you like. If you make this ahead, you'll probably need to add a little milk just before serving. You'll only need about 2 Tablespoons of sugar unless you like it really sweet. Add the almonds and fruit, stir and enjoy. You can add any fruits you like. I have it with chopped apples and raisins sometimes- so yummy.

Do you have any favorite make-ahead breakfast ideas? Please share.