Love in the Kitchen - making fast, healthy, homegrown meals you'll enjoy

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What's for Dinner: Layered Chicken Cordon Bleu

This was also a winner!  Easy to make (5 ingredients!) and really tasty.  We will be making this again!

Layered Chicken Cordon Bleu
Makes 4 Servings

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 lb. deli-sliced cooked ham
1/2 lb. baby Swiss cheese, sliced
10 3/4 oz. can cream of chicken soup
1 box dry stuffing mix, prepared according to box directions

  1. Layer all ingredients in the order they are listed into your slow cooker.
  2. Cover and cook on LOW 6 - 8 hours or until chicken is tender but not dry.

One day maybe I'll get a picture before we devour our dinner....

What are you having for dinner?

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Menu Planning

Last week's menu planning went fairly well.  We switched a few dinners around, and missed one entirely when the in-law's took us out to dinner.  But we did accomplish one of my primary goals: reduce grocery shopping trips!  I believe The Mr is extremely happy not to have heard "we just need to stop at the store for one quick thing on the way home from work" at all last week.

Some of the recipes were quite good - I'll share them this weekend.

And because it went well, we're trying again this week.  Maybe it will even become a habit.  But let's not get crazy.  Here's this week's menu:

Wednesday:  Crockpot Layered Chicken Cordon Bleu
Thursday:  Crockpot Savory Pepper Steak
Friday:  Grilled Chicken with Farmer's Market Veggies
Saturday:  Pressure Cooker Chili
Sunday:  Lemon Chicken with Couscous Salad
Monday:  London Broil on the Grill, Farmer's Market Veggies and Roasted Rosemary Potatoes
Tuesday:  Someone else cooks!

Linked here:

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What's for Dinner: Sweet Potato and Chicken Curry

This one was a real hit.  Easy to throw together and into the crockpot before work, and really tasty.  I might use a spicier curry next time, and, though I almost always leave the salt out of recipes, I would add the salt.  Just before cooking, I added a package of frozen peas, let them heat up and then served it.  Definitely a keeper!


Makes: 4 Servings

~ 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
~ 1 small onion, chopped
~ 2 sweet potatoes (about 1½ lbs.), cubed
~ 2/3 cup orange juice
~ 1 garlic clove, minced
~ 1 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
~ 1 tsp. salt
~ ¼ tsp. pepper
~ 4 tsp. curry powder
~ 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
~ 2 Tbsp. cold water
~ sliced green onions
~ shredded coconut
~ peanuts
~ raisins

1. Place chicken in slow cooker. Cover with onions and sweet potatoes.

2. Combine orange juice, garlic, chicken bouillon granules, salt, pepper, and curry powder. Pour over vegetables.

3. Cover. Cook on Low 5-6 hours.

4. Remove chicken and vegetables and keep warm.

5. Turn slow cooker to High. Dissolve cornstarch in cold water. Stir into sauce in slow cooker. Cover. Cook on High 15-20 minutes.

6. Serve chicken and sauce over rice. Top with your choice of remaining ingredients.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday Garden Party - Progress!!

We've had a great week in our garden this last week.

We got our sweet peppers transplanted.

Strawberries are in their raised bed and seems to be happy.

Hot peppers are starting to bud - they thrived last year in these containers and look to be doing well this year too.

Even last year's strawberry plants have some life in them!

We got our "volunteer" tomatoes in their proper spots.

And the bush peas are starting to sprout!

The watermelon is coming along nicely.

And I think the corn is going to take over the house!

Sugar snap peas are starting to vine, radishes are nearing harvest...

And I am pretty sure the pumpkins will give the corn a run for its money for domination of the house.

And more tomatoes are on their way!

I love this time of year, when the dreams of a perfect garden haven't been dashed by all of the problems that can come with a garden.  We've been lucky so far and are keeping a vigilant eye out, so I have a good feeling about this year's garden!

We've had a great week here at zentCasa.  I hope next week is just as exciting - come on back to see what we've got. In the meantime, check out An Oregon Cottage for her weekly Garden Party.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Harvest Monday: May 23, 2011

The Mr and I are reasonably new to gardening.  We started with vegetables last year and really didn't have a great year.  We think it was mainly due to an incredible lack of sun for most of the summer.

But we are not quitters.  We are working hard to get our garden in tip-top shape for all the plants that we planted from seed this year.  Corn, watermelon, pumpkins, lettuce, carrots, radishes, peas, tomatoes, peppers (both sweet and hot) and strawberries.   So far so good - I'll share some garden shots tomorrow.

But today?

I'm sharing our first harvest of the year - exciting!

Don't get us started on whether the "investment" is worth the output... we're very early. We got a late start on the lettuce this season, so we're a bit behind there. But we were able to pick our first radish (about .8 ounces)!

And I pulled the last of the (very small) baby carrots (about 2 ounces) to make room for the sweet pepper plants.

Total Harvest for the Week:  2.8 ounces
Total Harvest for the Year:  2.8 ounces

Not a lot, but it's a start anyway!

Linked up with Daphne's Dandelion's Harvest Monday... hop on over and see what else is being picked this week.


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Sunday, May 22, 2011


Here's hoping that four Sundays from now, this little stinker will be home with her momma!

Meet my sweet little niece Katy.  This was taken on our trip in March to Ethiopia when we went with my sister to meet Katy and to go to court to officially become family.  Because of the way that adoption works in Ethiopia, my sister wasn't able to bring Katy home with her - she's got to go back (hopefully in a few weeks) for an appointment with the US Embassy and then she can bring her little one home!

Isn't she the cutest thing ever?  We made a video of our visit for my sister for Mother's Day.

It's been a terrible wait for my sister - she'd love some words of encouragement.  Stop by and say hi!

Also stop by "Sunday Snapshot" and see what everyone's doing today!

Sunday Snapshot

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Friday, May 20, 2011


The Mr got a couple of these birdhouses for Christmas.  They are pretty cool - made from treated cardboard, are water-resistant and seemed like a pretty fun thing for our bird-filled backyard.  We put them up shortly after Christmas.  In the line of sight of one of our backyard cams, so we could watch the comings and goings.

And so far?  Nothing.

Until we were outside tending the fish, looking at the plants... and I happened to look up to see sticks in the little bird door!  You can't see it in the picture above - a screen cap from our backyard cam, and I am a bit reluctant to get too close with a better camera so as not to disturb whoever put the sticks there.... but someone is building a nest!

We'll be keep our eyes peeled (from a distance) to see who it is!

Do birds nest in your yard?

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Random Dinner

Well, my menu planning got off to a so-so start.

We did have the Slow Cooker Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry on Wednesday, which was pretty good.  Could have used something, I'm just not sure what.

But tonight?  We had random out of the pantry dinner.  Though it actually was really really good.  Here's what we had:

Creamy Tomato and Green Chile Sauce with Chicken and Pasta
1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1/2 cup chicken broth (or red or white wine)
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 cup fat-free sour cream
1/2 pound pasta, cooked and drained
2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced

Saute the green peppers and onion in a non-stick pan until they are soft.  Add the tomatoes and chicken broth and cook until thickened.  Take the sauce off the heat and stir in the sour cream.

Serve the sauce over the chicken and pasta.

We liked this a lot - and it was a random recipe out of my head.  If you try it, let me know if you like it!

For tomorrow, we're hopefully back on our menu planning schedule.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Menu Planning

The Mr and I are busy.  We both work, we participate in music programs at our church two evenings a week, and we've got The Girl and The Boy who are also both busy.

We're always trying to find ways to be more efficient.  One thing we seem to do a lot (too much) is stop at the grocery store on the way home from work to pick up that night's dinner ingredients.  I'm hoping to start menu planning in order to cut down the individual trips.

Here's our first week.  I'll let you know how the recipes turn out - if they are good, I'll share!

Wednesday:  Slow Cooker Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry
Thursday:  Pressure Cooker Chili
Friday:  Spaghetti and Meatballs
Saturday:  Tortilla Stack
Sunday:  Maple-Apple Party Riblets
Monday:  Herb Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Tuesday:  Someone else cooks!

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuesday Garden Party - Not Quite as High as an Elephant's Eye...

Our garden is getting a good start this year. We are growing mostly everything from seed this year, new for us - and it is working! No one is more surprised. ;-)

This is our corn a week ago...

... and this is it today!

We're also growing sweet bell peppers.  These seeds were planted on the same day as the corn, but apparently doesn't grow quite as quickly.  The plants in the ground around the edge of the seedlings are watermelon (also planted the same day).

We're growing a pumpkin patch too - and boy do those plants grow quickly! Those are tomatoes towards the bottom of the photo - hopefully they'll take off soon too.

Things have been sprouting all over around at the zentCasa.  I wonder what this week will bring - come on back to see what we've got. In the meantime, check out An Oregon Cottage for her weekly Garden Party.


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