Tuesday, November 26, 2013

BRRR...! {warning: this post isn't about food...well, maybe.}

So remember in my post from yesterday I was explaining how us folks down here in parts of Texas were experiencing some pretty nasty cold weather. For those of us native to the South, it's been really, really cold!! It even turns out we've had some freezing temps, mixed with some rain, some awesome wind chills, and all that fun "wintry" stuff..  after a couple of days of these  "wintry mixes" everything was completely frosted over with ice. It made everything eerie, yet magical all at the same time. 

Despite the power going out on us (eerie), it was quite fun to get a true glimpse of Winter (magical). Not to mention figuring out what to do with yourselves without heat and electric for a few hours. Fun stuff! 
Side note: did you know they make small indoor-safe propane heaters??! We didn't either!  Rest assured, we all know now. 

But, since I couldn't whip-up or try out a fun new recipe, or two {my oven is all electric, Baby!} I decided to get a closer look at Jack Frost, and see what I could (safely) see. I grabbed my camera and ran outside to snap a couple of pictures - What a treat! 

Although, it may not be  a great new food recipe, or a kooky story..   I thought I'd share for all you wonderful readers! 

View of a short-lived "Texas Winter"
I may, or may not, had labeled that last photo as "Snot in Trees" in my computer files. {What can I say? It was the first name that popped into my head}

Sometimes, it's about experiencing the little things in life, right? I mean after a brutal Texas Summer, and heat that would make the devil himself cry, it's nice to see something a little different, like ICE. Anyway, here's another shot for ya.

Fallen tree branch covered in ice


Okay, I guess I should mention a little something about food.. I just can't help myself.

 We are gearing up for our 1st annual Thanksgiving at our place this year {Yippee! I'm seriously soo excited!} 
So, I  also spent  part of the day cleaning out the fridge, pantry, kitchen in general, cleaning up the house... AND...

 We went and picked up our "official" turkey (and a ham)

The Bird & The Pig. They're in there. No one wants to see a naked bird thawing out... Promise.


We fought the crowds at Walmart and the grocery store.. 

The coveted master grocery list

yes, we had to make a stop at both... grrr.. 
Alright, I digress 
{but don't worry, there will be a post soon about all the wonderful awkwardness that happens while grocery shopping} 
I know y'all all know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, what are your plans for the Thanksgiving Holiday? Are you traveling, having family over,keeping it simple? Do you stick to tradition, or play-it-by-ear?

PS -  Raise your hand if your excited about stuffing! I am so excited about the Stuffing!! I'm doing (imaginary) jumps and flips over here! It's my all time favorite! ever.. and maybe the gravy. Oh lawd! THE GRAVY!!! 
No, but seriously, I'm like the Pilgrim on the Stove Top commercials (so is the husband) - I'm over-the-moon, dreaming-about-it-for-months crazy about the Stuffing!  Except this year, I'm making my mother's coveted Southwestern Stuffing recipe (and the Stove Top version, so no one has to have a mild case of Scurvy)... stay tuned. I know I'll have lots to share. What's your favorite dish at Thanksgiving? Oh yea, stuffing!

oxox, Amanda 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Comfort: Chicken N Dumplings

The weather is {finally!}  starting to cool off  here in the South - we're talking temps in the 30's and 40's people! And us Texans think that's purdy darn "cold"! 
With shorter days and chillier nights, nothing sounds better at the end of the day than a nice warm bowl {or plate} of some good ole southern comfort food... and nothing says "cool weather, comfort, and deep south" more than Chicken N Dumplings, right??? 

 {at least in my opinion}

As kids, we didn't really eat Chicken N Dumplings all the time growing up, but when we did, I remember it being pure bliss. So, today I'd thought I'd share a super easy & super quick way to make Chicken N Dumplings to keep your hearts and bellies warm - and this version has some pretty amazing shortcuts to make your life just that much easier. Cause we all know we could use an easy dinner from time to time, especially during the Holiday season.

So, here's the line-up
You'll need:

1 Rotisserie chicken
4 cups Chicken Broth
1 can of Cream of Chicken Soup
Carrot (1 large, or 2 medium size)
Celery (about 2 ribs)
2 - 3 Bay Leaves (optional)
Biscuits (I used Grands and they were way too much, so just grab the cheapest kind... You just need some dough)
Garlic Salt
and, Olive Oil

First, chop your veggies - Carrot, Celery, & Onion - to your desired size(s). I like to dice my onion up into pretty small pieces, and keep my celery and carrots in slightly thicker slices.

Next, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot. Throw your chopped/ diced veggies into your pot and saute for about 3-5 minutes, until they're slightly tender. 

Next, add 4 cups chicken broth to your sauteed veggies.

Add one can of cream of chicken soup, and stir until mixed well. I added a couple of Bay Leaves  - they always make the house smell so SO good, and they add a nice touch, dontcha think?
Bring to a nice simmer over Medium-High heat, and occasionally stir. Do not bring to a boil.

Next, cut your biscuits into fourths and flatten them out by lightly patting them in between your hands. 

 Lightly coat them in a mixture of flour, garlic salt, and pepper. I used about a cup of flour and added a pinch of pepper and garlic salt. 

Plop those little biscuits babies into your soup mixture and bring to a nice boil.


  While your biscuits and soup mixture is cooking and coming together nicely, get to shredding that chicken! Why, oh why, do I love shredding chicken so much?? It's got to be one of my favorite things to do, I know, I am crazy. 

As your biscuits are cooking, and soaking up all that yummy goodness, make sure you keep the biscuits under the broth. Do not over boil. Cook them for about 5 - 10 minutes until your biscuits are cooked to your liking. Some like them fluffy, some like them doughy. Whatever you little heart desires!

Next, add your shredded chicken, and heat through. About 3 minutes. Be sure to remove the bay leaves before serving. No one wants to eat leaves in their soup. Just toss them once they've done their job.

And that's it!

Now, get a big heaping, steaming, serving of Chicken N Dumplings in a bowl, plate, directly out of the pot (however you want it) and ENJOY!

Yummmmmmy!! Easy, quick, and DELISH!

What's your favorite chilly weather comfort food?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A little {Fun} Introduction

Well, it's finally here! The time has come... My very FIRST ever blog post {WHOO-HOO}!
Like any good beginning, I would first like to start off by introducing myself and WELCOME all of you lovely readers
to my blog.

Hello & Welcome! I'm Amanda, a self-proclaimed cook-a-holic and wannabe chef. Over the past couple of years I have discovered cooking has become my passion, my "me" time, my therapeutic relief, my creative outlet, my happy place so to say - I just love love LOVE it. But, with that being said, I have to mention that I have absolutely no background in cooking, unless if you consider cooking to be genetic. You see, I was blessed with a mother whose cooking was {and still is} nothing shy of gourmet status. Funny thing is I never spent endless amounts of time in the kitchen learning how to cook. Not with my mom. Not with anyone. Not Ever. I do however, know that I love to cook and have a passion for making delicious eats and treats. And, since I have a deep love for cooking {but more importantly a deep love for eating} I decided to start a blog - 
 Fun in the Oven - A place where I can jot down my thoughts on cooking... and gardening... and life as a wife and grad student. And let's not forget about the fun recipes that I'll post here and there, since this blog is {so aptly} named "FUN in the OVEN"

Before I continue, I must also confess, I don't know the first thing about blogging, I just know I want to do it. Mostly, I want a place where I can inspire others and share all the fun things this life has to offer... so I thought why not start a blog??? Right?  ... right? 

So here we are... 
let me fill you in a little bit more about me. I am in the middle of completing my MBA and I spend part of my time teaching labs at my alma mater {which is by far one of the greatest Universities!} I graduated with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Horticulture. Hence, my love for gardening and plants. Anywho, my husband and I recently got married and I learned very quickly that I love to try new recipes and foods with him. He is my everything and the most supportive loving husband. I am very blessed and beyond thankful for his companionship. He gives me the green light when things are tasting amaze, and fills me in on what I can do differently to make a kick-butt meal. I owe all my cooking knowledge to Pinterest. I LOVE Pinterest and Pinterest loves me back {if it could talk I know it would tell you so}. 

Needless to say, I am super excited to dive into the blog world. I want to continue inspiring others to enjoy life and food! Every now and then I'm sure I will get the urge to share with you a funny story or two, or tell you the latest and greatest about a new kitchen product or recipe idea. Like I mentioned before, I don't really have a clue when it comes to blogging but I want to share my thoughts with YOU, and hear YOUR thoughts as well. 
 So come on in, take a look around, and Welcome to Fun in the Oven. 
cheers, Amanda 

Spicy Sausage Pasta
Mini Chicken Pot Pies
Veggies for Beef Stew

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Coming Soon {Stay Tuned}

Stay tuned, I have lots in store for you, so be sure to check back soon!

oxox, Amanda