Tuesday, April 15, 2014

~Cheesy Pasta Bake~

I am in LOVE! Since I am trying new recipes that are frugal and meatless, I have come across the second recipe that has quickly become one of our favorites. All it took was one bite and we were hooked. Of the last three new recipes I cooked, CHEESY PASTA BAKE is a real humdinger!

While we are NOT vegetarians but rather a carnivorous family (we love meat) we have tried several new recipes over the past two weeks that calls for no meat.  After listening to a radio program this afternoon, I know we are not the only family who is looking for other means of healthy, wholesome meals without squeezing extra dollars out of the grocery budget. So, no meat it is!

If you are within a hop, skip and jumping distance from the grocery store, you need to make this dish very soon. Do Not, I repeat DO NOT wait around to make this recipe. You will be insane if you do and if you pin this recipe, be sure you do not forget about it. I know I am the only one who pins scrumptious looking recipes to only forget about them until I scroll through my Pinterest boards. I'm the only one, right?

I love alfredo sauce and I like a really good marinara sauce. What I REALLY love is mixing them. Who knew they would be so good... TOGETHER?  When I buy any pasta sauce, I normally buy Bertolli; it is our favorite store-bought brand. If you are not like me and like brown, crispy pasta noodles, cover your baking dish before placing it in the oven.

 Cheesy Pasta Bake

1 box penne pasta
1 jar Alfredo sauce
1 jar Marinara sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to directions and drain. Mix the sauces together in a large bowl. Add the mozzarella and stir to combine. Then add the pasta and toss to coat. Pour mixture into a 9x13 baking dish and cook for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Remove from oven and sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese and bake for another 5 minutes.


I can not wait to make this again. There are a couple of changes I do want to try like adding a little chicken and using my homemade sauces. If you make this, let me know, I'd love to hear how you like it.

Monday, April 14, 2014

~Reliving Nervous Moments Through Our Children~

The one thing I remember most about Science class is the current event days. I could not handle the thought of standing in front of the kids I grew up with giving a report. You would think after spending all those years together with many of whom I had in every class since kindergarten, I would not have had such a problem; but I did! Last week, I began to relive those nervous moments when I was helping Jamie with his 4-H presentation. By Sunday afternoon, my heart was in my throat and I was shaking like a leaf.

Thankfully, my little bullrider doesn't really suffer from Glossophobia like I do. I'm hoping he is like his father who doesn't need notes when he is teaching or preaching and not like me...

However, Jamie typed everything "so just in case", and while he only glanced down to remember which item was next, he did a fantastic job!

Since this was his first presentation for our 4-H club, he talked about his bull riding gear and what he is scored on while riding. We live in a tiny town and most of the kids in our club are girls, while I'm pretty sure the bull riding presentation did not interest some of them, the jewelry making and sewing presentations had Jamie completely lost! I guess it goes both ways when young people are practicing public speaking on a subject that they are interested in.

 Explaining the two types of spurs he uses.

Once he finished explaining his gear, he placed his hands in his pockets. While it is a habit (I really don't want to call it a habit, because this is so Jamie) I have worked to correct with no avail, this one little trait has become part of him since the time he discovered pockets on his blue jeans when he was a toddler. And I'm okay with that!

While I do not care for things that make me nervous, 
I am looking forward to the next one so I can pray for, encourage and praise my son.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

~A New Parenting Newsletter~

When I hear about newsletters I get a little excited. Not because, I like to open a bazillion emails every week because I do not. But I do like to read articles that pertain to things that are close to my heart. At this moment in my life, I am a parent to a teenager, so parenting is extremely important to me.

[This post contains affiliate links.]

I'm excited to share with you a new parent newsletter that has recently been launched. Brimwood Press has begun a monthly newsletter for parents who are raising children in a world where we want our children to shine as a light. I don't home educate my son so he can hide his light from others, but rather be a lighthouse shining for others to see.

This month's newsletter is titled Raising a Noah Who Can Save the World. Just reading the title made me want to read the newsletter. It is quite appropriate now with the new Noah movie out.  The article points out the differences between Noah in the Bible and the Noah in the movie along with a few points on God and how He is portrayed in the movie. These points were eye-opening for me because I have not seen the movie.

While I am not one to watch Hollywood's portrayal of any Biblical story because they never seem to get it straight; I will be waiting to watch this movie when it comes out on Netflix. There is so much being said about it, I want to see it for myself so I can use it in teaching my son on how our society has made an about-face when it comes to anything Bible related.

As Christians, we should be grounded in what we believe and teach our children those things. Teaching Christian worldview in our homes is necessary so our children will grow up knowing what we believe and what God has to say about it; and not just what we had to say. We are finishing up our Christian Theology and Ancient Polytheism study and I can't say enough about it. Knowing my son is learning why we believe in the Biblical truths is a blessing for me.

Can you imagine what a generation of young people being raised with a Christian worldview in their home can do for this nation? I can and I want the encouragement to continue raising my son to be one of those young people.

You don't want to miss any future newsletters:
  • May: Raising Image Bearers – Children Who Grow Up To Look Like God
  • June: Raising Thomas – What To Do When Our Child Doubts
  • July: Raising the Stay-At Home Elder Brother
  • August: Raising Christian Thinkers and Feelers

You can find a sign up link for the newsletter at the Brimwood Press website.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

~Broccoli Cheese Soup~

This month is an experimental month in the kitchen, I am trying as many new meatless recipes as I can to see how far I can cut my grocery budget. While I don't spend $400 or more a month, I would love to see just how low I can get my grocery bill without eating Ramen Noodles and hot dogs. Don't get me wrong, I like to eat my share of hot dogs, but not every day of the week.  Monday I cooked up a batch of  Broccoli Cheese Soup. 

While this soup wasn't the HUGE hit as my Garden Chowder, it filled tummies, it is frugal and I am happy some what. If I want to be one of those moms... it's healthy also. Since this was not a touchdown with my husband, it will be one of those meals I make when I need to use up broccoli before it gets limp-y in the refrigerator. Truthfully, I don't care for broccoli that is cooked to death, so I had a little hard time with this recipe. Can you say, "Last Resort Recipe" file? Yes, this is where this recipe is going.

The original recipe called for half and half, but I like my creamy, cheesy soups thick, so I used heavy cream. I also added more broccoli so the extra wouldn't go limp in the refrigerator. (That's probably why I didn't care too much for this.) I also added garlic cloves while cooking the onions.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

1 Tbsp butter
½ medium chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup melted butter
¼ cup flour
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups chicken stock
½ lb fresh broccoli
2 carrots, grated
8 oz grated sharp cheddar cheese
salt to taste
pepper to taste

Saute onion and garlic in butter and add to chicken stock; add broccoli and carrots and simmer for 15 minutes. Make a roux using the melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and add the heavy cream. ** If you want, drain (keep the stock) and chop the broccoli and onions in the food processor at this time. Place back into the pot. Add the roux to the stock and whisk to keep from clumping. Simmer for 10 minutes and add salt, pepper and cheese.

I know, I know! I should really love this recipe since I'm sharing it today. But you know what, I'm trying to keep it real. I REALLY do not like overcooked, undercooked, baked, boiled, steamed or mushy broccoli. Give me a plate of sauteed broccoli in an Asian sauce and I'll eat my weight in broccoli. Go figure!