Monday, September 25, 2017

Chicken Caprese Pasta

Sun dried tomatoes, fresh basil and shredded mozzarella are the icing on top of this Chicken Caprese Pasta.


Depending on your preferences - and those of your family - you can easily add more chicken, more sun dried tomato or more/less of any ingredient you'd like! I love flexible recipes.


Flexibility is important in the kitchen and also during busy times on the farm. Hay season is our busy time and corn silage season is a definite contender for that title. Here in Indiana, the combines are rolling and fall harvest is in full swing in most places. Fields of corn and soybeans that were planted in the fall have reached maturity and are ready for harvest.

The green arm is unloading shelled corn from the combine into the grain cart. The combine can only hold so much. 

How do farmers know when the crops are ready? The easiest way to know is by measuring the moisture level. Shelling corn while it's testing 35% moisture is generally not the best idea in most cases since it will use more propane to dry down in the grain dryer, which is connected to the other grain bins in the grain system. It should be closer to 15%.



It can become a race against the clock in some cases to get everything done. Having someone to prepare meals and keep everyone fed becomes the icing on the cake during these busy seasons when fast food can get old quick.


If you are looking for a chocolate dessert that you can easily transport to the fields or take along to work for lunch, you'll love my Triple Chocolate Mousse. Click here for the recipe.


INGREDIENTS

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 box Cavatappi pasta
  • 1/2 cup-1 cup tomato sauce (depends on preference)
  • 1 tablespoon sun dried tomato pesto
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • Fresh basil



DIRECTIONS

  1. Cook the cavatappi pasta (I used a regular-size box of pasta and cooked the entire box)
  2. Drain pasta
  3. Grill chicken and cut into bite-size pieces; set aside
  4. Add 1 tablespoon sun dried tomato pesto (Feel free to add more) to the pasta
  5. Add 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes (Again, feel free to add more if you'd like)
  6. Chop basil and distribute evenly throughout the pasta
  7. Add tomato sauce and chicken to the pasta
  8. Mix
  9. Add shredded mozzarella when served
  10. Enjoy!


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Weekly Meal Plan #38

 
 Start your mornings right with a big batch of these Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits from My Fearless Kitchen. They're easier than you think and they freeze great. They're delicious with simple butter and jelly, or as the start of a bacon & egg sandwich!

   
 Kick off your week with a kick! Try this Buffalo Wing Casserole from The Crumby Kitchen. Perfect for Monday night football, or whatever you have planned!

   
 Then cool it down a little with these B.L.A.T. Sandwiches from My Fearless Kitchen. We all know the beloved BLT... this is what happens when it swallows an avocado!

   
 Take it easy tonight and make these simple Sun Dried Tomato Pizzas from Kimmi's Dairyland.

   
 I love some pumpkin in the fall, and this Pumpkin Pepper Soup from Organized Island is no exception! If you don't like the spiciness, cut back on the red pepper flakes or leave them out all
together.

   
 It's almost the weekend! Make a big batch of this Slow Cooker Chili from The Shirley Journey to keep your football fans fueled for all their games.
   
 Chocolate, peanuts, and gooeyness - does it get much better than these Gooey Brownie Peanut Cups from Desserts Required?

 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Sun Dried Tomato Pizza

I love adding sun dried tomato to pasta, but why not add it to a pizza? This Sun Dried Tomato Pizza brings together the dynamic taste of sun dried tomato, feta cheese, mozzarella and sun dried tomato pesto. The recipe can easily adapt to a personal pizza or a larger one.


You can use any type of feta. I love sun dried tomato feta and added that. Feel free to adjust the amount of sun dried tomato ingredients to fit your preferences. To scale down the sun dried tomato, you can use regular feta or traditional pizza sauce.



Personal pizzas make pizza night so much easier (and stress free) when everyone in the family likes something different.


Pizza is also an easy meal to take with you. Harvest is coming up quick and has started in some area. This means a lot of time spent in a combine or tractor and not much time spent eating meals at the kitchen table. Corn silage is pretty much finished here in Indiana, but is still underway in Western Washington. Cows love corn silage and it is a good source of energy for them in their diets. More about the corn silage process here.



Pictured here is a personal pizza with a 7" pizza crust. You can make your own or buy them. If you're a pizza fan, also check out my Harvest Pizza.


Sun Dried Tomato Pizza

Ingredients (for a 7" personal pizza. Increase amounts for a larger pizza according to your personal preferences)

  • homemade or store-bought pizza crust (personal size or larger)
  • 2 tablespoons Sun dried tomato pesto
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomato and basil feta
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano 




Directions

  1. Spread sun dried tomato pesto on pizza crust
  2. Add 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella 
  3. Chop fresh basil and spread evenly across the pizza
  4. Add sun dried tomatoes evenly across the pizza
  5. Add feta
  6. Add the remaining 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella evenly across the pizza
  7. Finish it off with some dried oregano spread evenly across the pizza
  8. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until cheese is melted and crust is crisp. For my 7" pizza, this took 11 minutes. Monitor it throughout the cooking time. 
  9. Enjoy!


Friday, September 15, 2017

Weekly Meal Plan #37

  Keeping it Easy Weekly Meal Plan    
 All good mornings start with breakfast, so why not start the mornings with these quick and easy breakfast burritos? You can even make them ahead of time for those busy mornings.
  Easy-Breakfast-Burritos from Organized Island #breakfast #burritos   Monday 
 Start the week off with this Southwest Salad with Jalapeno Ranch Greek Yogurt Dressing from The Shirley Journey. A new reason to look forward to Monday!
    Tuesday   
 Ready for a weekend already? Put your slow cooker to work today with these juicy and cheesy Slow Cooker Unsloppy Joes from My Fearless Kitchen.

   
Make it quick! This Bacon Spinach Rigatoni from Organized Island is not only tasty, it is super quick to make too!

  bacon-spinach-pasta    
 Chicken Pot Pie Anyone? This Chicken Pot Pie from Kimmi's Dairyland will have your family asking for seconds!

     
 
 We always have room for dessert and this Orange Sponge Cake from Desserts Required will have you celebrating any day of the week!

 

Take the weekend off, enjoy your leftovers, or eat out. We’ll be testing more recipes for you in our own kitchens!  

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

10 Ways to declutter your life

Clutter holds us back. It takes up valuable space in our homes, creates mental clutter and decreases our overall energy. Clutter clearing is a process and will not happen overnight. Start with something - anything - and build momentum. I started decluttering my home this summer when I felt stuck in several aspects of my life. My closets were overflowing with clothes I don't wear and clothes that don't fit since I've lost weight, kitchen cupboards held extra dish sets I don't use that I kept from college, and there was so much more that needed to go. It didn't happen over night, but as I continued the energy started increasing again.

Let's dive right in. The state of our homes reflects the state of our lives. What is yours saying about you? And what do you want it to say? Start by setting some goals and intentions of where you want to end up before you start.



10 Ways to Declutter Your Life

1. Love it or Use it. If you don't love it or use it, consider tossing it. If it has value and brings you joy, definitely keep it. Find a permanent place for it and keep going through your stuff.

2. Start with the area that stresses you out. It may be a closet or your kitchen cabinets. Whatever area you choose will give you momentum to continue tackling this decluttering journey and will decrease your stress. Start with 20 minutes a day. Spend a few less minutes scrolling social media or on another task and go through everything. While you can spend an entire day or weekend doing this, that is not absolutely necessary. Budget your time and break down the task into manageable segments.

3. Tackle an unfinished project. We all have them and thinking about it may cause an "ugh!" and the urge to do something - anything - else. Mine was a set of photo albums I've been avoiding finishing since 2013. Set a deadline to finish it. Break it up into manageable chunks if needed, but finish it. You will feel so much better!



4. Aim for no more than 70% full. Leave some space for new energy to come into your life. It's a lot harder for that to happen when everything is crammed into your space. Try clearing off your kitchen counter. You'd be surprised what a difference it makes.

5. Clean out your vehicle. Vehicles can become the catch all for our stuff. Clean it out, throw away anything that isn't needed, put other items away, and vacuum. The energy will feel so much better. It is also important to create a system so that the stuff stops staying here. This helps to guarantee you will not repeat this step on a daily basis.

6. Sort your email inbox. Clutter is not always the type that fills up the room literally. Sometimes it's virtual clutter that weighs us down.

7. Manage your wardrobe. Remove clothes from drawers and place them on the bed. Try them on. What makes you feel amazing? Those are the outfits to keep! What clothing items do you avoid wearing? If they don't make you feel good, those might be good candidates for the Goodwill pile. Getting ready in the morning is much easier when all of your options make you feel fantastic.



8. Clear the DVR. Already-watched shows that will not be viewed again and those that will not be watched a first time are good candidates for the delete button. This creates space for programming you will watch. It can be draining to sort through long lists of shows to find the one you want to watch.

9. Organize bathroom drawers and under the sink. This is usually an area that may not be sorted through often. Toss the 832 hotel shampoo bottles, anything you do not use and other items that have no purpose. This process also makes it easier to find the items you use regularly.

10. Designate a place for keys and other important items. This isn't as much about decluttering as it is giving yourself some peace of mind. How many times have you forgotten where you placed your keys or sunglasses? Find a good place for them and drop them off when you enter the house. The stress of looking for keys when you are already late is not worth it and can easily be avoided.

I'd love to hear your favorite tips for decluttering and organizing your life. Share them in the comments!