Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Trying something new...

Wow!  I never realized what a hit my chicken sandwiches were going to be.  I just put them out on Pinterest as a lark and it took off like wildfire!  Thank you for all the wonderful comments.  They really are great sandwiches and we probably have them about twice a month when it's grilling weather! Maybe I should start sharing  more things that I make!

Here's what I made for dinner Monday night.  I was in the mood for a casserole and found this one in 365:No Repeats by Rachael Ray.  I adapted it to work with what I had on hand it was delicious! I'll try to post the recipe as I made it.

Rachael Ray's Southwestern Chili Con Queso Pasta Bake
1 pound penne rigate (ridged penne)
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 tablespoon ground cumin (1 palmful)
1 tablespoon roasted ground coriander (1 palmful)

2 tablespoons chili powder (2 palmfuls)
Coarse black pepper
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3-5 garlic cloves, chopped (we really like garlic so I put in more, the recipe calls for 3)
1 jalepeño
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (2 palmfuls)
2 cups milk
3/4 pound cheddar cheese (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves (a generous handful), chopped
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (a few handfuls) chopped
1 14-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes

Preheat the broiler to high and position the rack 8 inches from the heat.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Salt the boiling water and cook the pasta until slightly undercooked--a little chewy at the center.

While the water is coming to a boil, preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown the hamburger.  When the hamburger is almost finished, but still a little pink, throw in the garlic, jalepeño, and onions and finish cooking until the burger is browned and the onion is translucent.  Drain the grease from the skillet and mix in the cumin, coriander and chili powder.  Take off the heat or turn heat down low.

In a medium sauce pot (and you can do this while you're browning the hamburger), melt the butter and add the flour to it.  Cook for 1 to 2 minutes over moderate heat and then whisk in the milk. When the milk comes to a bubble, stir in the cheese, cilantro and parsley with a wooden spoon.  When the cheese has melted, stir in the tomatoes.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it back into the large pot.  Add the contents of the hamburger and all of the Cheddar sauce, and stir to combine.  Transfer to a baking dish, sprinkle with a bit more cheese if you wish, and place under the broiler to lightly brown.

It says it makes 4 servings, but with a salad, can easily feed 6!  It was another hit in our house!  I also think it would do well in a crockpot to take to a potluck.  Just add a bit more milk to the cheese mixture so it doesn't get too dried out.  I'm going to try it for the next potluck we have and we usually have plenty of potlucks throughout the year!

Oh.. and do you want pictures?  I hope so, because I took a couple!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Just a little slice of heaven!

It's Tuesday morning and I'm sitting here drinking my big 'ole cup of coffee and enjoying the peace and quiet of an empty/sleeping house.  The boys are all gone to school, Mike's at work and as a rare treat, Rachael is still snoozing.

Again, I have a huge list of things to do and I won't bore you with the details, but I can't help but enjoy this little bit of peace.  I have the window behind me open and the robins are singing as the cool, fresh, Spring air fills my house.  In the distance, I can hear the hum of the traffic on the highway, but it's peaceful and I don't get that too often.

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of peace in such a hectic life.  Thank you for sleeping children and a quiet house.  It's little things like this that are so precious sometimes.  Thank you for coffee, Lord, and a chance to marvel at what you have created!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Our favorite sandwiches ever!

So last week, with the beautiful weather we've been having here in Southern Minnesota, I decided to make our most favorite sandwiches ever! Mike found the recipe in a magazine and asked me to make them and they've been in regular rotation ever since.  So I'm going to share and hope that whoever stumbles upon this little blog and decides to try them likes them just as much as we do!

Grilled Teriyaki Pineapple Chicken Sandwiches

I'm not going to give specific amounts because you can adapt it to however you need to make to suit your needs

Boneless, skinless chicken breast
pineapple slices (in rings)
Swiss cheese slices
thinly sliced red onion
Teriyaki sauce
crusty buns

Marinate your chicken breasts in the teriyaki sauce for at least an hour.

I like using fresh pineapple and slicing it in nice, thick rings.  You can use canned rings, but the fresh is so much better!

Next you want to slice your red onion nice and thin! If you slice it too thick, it's going to be too overpowering on the sandwich when you start to assemble it.

Now you want to assemble everything you need to go out to the grill so you can have it all close at hand as you put things together.

Put the chicken on the grill and and flip it over midway through the grilling process.

When you flip the chicken, it's time to grill the pineapple.  By caramelizing the slices, it really brings out the natural sweetness of the pineapple. You only have to grill it for a couple of minutes per side.

When the pineapple is done, take it off the grill and toast the buns.  While the buns are toasting, go ahead and put the onion on the chicken breasts of those who like onion.  Our kids pass on the onion, but Mike and I love it and I always make extra sandwiches for lunch the next day!

When the buns are nice and toasty, take them off the grill and spread the chicken out a bit so you can melt the cheese.  Mmm... melty, Swiss goodness!

Finally, when the cheese is nice and melty, transfer the breasts onto the buns and top each with a slice of the grilled pineapple.  The combination of all the flavors is amazing!  If you want a bit of heat on your sandwich, you can add fresh or pickled jalepeño slices.  Mike likes it like that, but I love it just like this.  Of course, Rachael wanted to be added in, so here she is posing with the finished sandwiches!

Hope your family enjoys these as much as we do!

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Sitting here today with lots to do.  Didn't go to church today, Nathan, my 14-year-old is home sick and miserable and I didn't want to let him stay home by himself. He's not sick often so he's camped out on the couch, buried in a mountain of blankets watching those dumb teen shows on Disney.  Poor guy!  I'm procrastinating though.  Got lots of things to do, but just don't have the gumption to start it.

  • Organizing
  • vacuuming
  • clean the kitchen
  • sweep and mop
  • budget planning
  • laundry (does this one EVER end??)
  • get dressed
  • the list goes on and on and on....
But here I sit.  I've checked Facebook, had my cup of coffee and tell myself to get going.  Alright, then.. here I go!  We'll see how much I get done today :)

Friday, March 2, 2012


So... another blog.  What makes this one so special that you should read it?  Nothing really.  How about that.  Nothing.  There is nothing special about me. I live in an ordinary house, in an ordinary neighborhood.  I have a dog, a husband and kids.  I work a part-time job, am not the best housekeeper and have joys and trials, just like every other ordinary person.

Maybe this is what sets me apart.  I'm ordinary.  It's ok to be ordinary!  It's good to know that there are other people out there facing the same issues I am. It gives me hope and it gives me comfort.

Why Living Light?  Well, when I first felt the tuggings to write, I thought I'd write about my journey in weight loss, but then what?  Well, I asked God to help me because I'm not very creative in thinking of titles for things and He put Ephesians 5:8 into my head and I went and looked...
"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Live as children of light." (NIV)
I thought, "WOW!" I can do this.  I strive to live my life in a way that God has intended for me and to let my light shine.  I don't consider myself a person who is going to chase you down, waving my Bible in your face, but I do try to live my life according to the teachings of Jesus and I fail every. single. day.

The great thing about that is that it's alright.  I pick myself up, dust myself off, say a little prayer and start over.  Again and again.  I'm forgiven and I find hope in that.  If I can find hope in that, I hope others can too.  So this blog is to pour out my jumbled thoughts.  To share things that amuse me or are just too good not to share.

I do plan on sharing about my weight loss journey, but this has the potential to be so much more.  So much deeper and meaningful.  If you decide to join me on the journey, great!  If not, that's alright, too.

So are we ready?  I think so!  Take a deep breath, hold your nose and dive in.  It might be kind of fun!