Eat New Round 2

Well my family survived being guinea pigs for a week!  If they are honest, I think they might say they actually enjoyed it!

In my last post, “Eat New Challenge,” I detailed recipes that we were going to try for supper last week, along with providing links to the recipes.

What were the results?  Well, since you asked….

Sunday – The copy cat recipes for KFC Extra Crispy Chicken and Cheddar Bay Biscuits were tasty as was the jalapeno corn dip.


Sunday is also the day I prepared the Vanilla Bean Cream Pie.  Let me just tell you, this is THE best pie I have tasted in a very, very, very looooonnnnggggg time. Everyone wanted a second piece and was asking for another pie to be made!  So it is definitely a keeper!

Monday – Corndogs – these were good, and I don’t like hotdogs much.  I used white coarse ground cornmeal, instead of the yellow specified in the recipe, because it’s what I had and what I use.  I didn’t want to buy something new for just this single use.  I found the procedure easy and using a glass to batter the hotdogs, was complete genius!

Tuesday – The Crockpot Carnitas were one of my favorites for the week.  Super easy and super tasty.  No complaints in this house at all.  I decided to serve it with some Mexican fried rice.  The recipe was pretty straight forward and was easier than I anticipated.  You can find that recipe here.

Wednesday – The Cuban Beef tied with the Carnitas this week for me, for being the best.  It had a few more steps than I was prepared for, especially when preparing a side dish that needed a little babysitting, but it was amazing.  And, surprisingly, this was my kids’ favorite dish of the week, beating out corndogs!  Can you believe it??  The Avocado fries were not as tasteful as I hoped for.  I believe they have great potential, but I couldn’t put my finger on what ingredient I would want to add to give it a kick.  Some may find them excellent, but for my family, we will probably pass next time.  A good result that did come from making these, is learning the flour, then egg, then panko breading procedure.  I am planning on trying this to create baked onion rings!

Thursday – Tuscan Tortellini Soup.  Delicious, easy to make, and best of all, my kids devoured kale like there was no tomorrow!  Next time this graces my table, it will be accompanied by some crusty garlic bread and tossed salad.

Friday and Saturday are our unpredictable days and so meals are always prepared with our pantry/freezer staples.

One thing I learned in trying new things is it is hard to plan side dishes that compliment the meal (e.g. Thursday).  I think this is something I may develop a better skill for as we continue our “Eat New Challenge.”  I don’t have really picky eaters, but even so, I also learned this past week that it’s even easier to have them try something new when my husband and I are joining in!

Although the week has already begun, I want to share with you what’s for supper….

Sunday:  White Cheddar Chicken Pasta

Monday – White Bean Soup with Bacon

Tuesday – LEFTOVERS 🙂 Easy peasy

Wednesday – Crockpot Beef Stroganoff

Thursday – Sweet & Sour Pork Chops

This week’s dessert is Peanut Butter Chip Cupcakes!

I’m really looking forward to the soup tonight.  It’s 64 degrees here and breezy, so it’ll be the perfect meal on this fall-like day  Plus it has bacon, it’s hard to go wrong when bacon is involved!

What about you?  Up for trying something new?  Join me in the “Eat New Challenge!”  Comment below with a new recipe you’re trying, I’d love to hear about it!

Thanks for dropping by ~Kim~


Eat New Challenge

It’s been a long time. I have taken the word “slacker” to a whole new level. Don’t think I haven’t missed you, I have. The summer got off to a rocky start in my house. Including gall bladder surgery for me, followed by recovery. All with my poor kids being home on their, oh so short, summer break.

We’ve been back to school for over a month now. It’s hard to believe!

With getting back into my groove, I have decided to try something new. First, let me remind everyone that I grocery shop on Fridays, so my menu plans normally cover Friday through the following Thursday. Because weekends are unpredictable (which is allowed for in my planning), I have decided to challenge myself to eat something new for supper each day starting Sunday, going through Thursday!

After scouring my pinned recipes, this is the menu (with links to the recipes) that I plan on preparing for my family.

Sunday – Kentucky Fried Chicken (copycat), Red Lobster biscuits, and jalapeno corn dip

Monday – Corndogs, probably with some green beans and fries, unless something else sparks my interest!

Tuesday – Crock Pot Carnitas (with rice). This is a link to the Pin, the recipe is listed there.

Wednesday – Cuban beef with baked avocado fries

Thursday – Tuscan Tortellini Soup

This week’s dessert – Vanilla Bean Cream Pie, probably will be made on Sunday!

So there you have it! Finally, my Pinterest time has come in handy 😉 They all looked sooo delicious! I figure my kids will be the most excited about Monday…and probably Sunday.

I’m looking forward to all the new flavors, and, if this coming week goes well, maybe I’ll give it another try the next week!

Now I challenge you to try something new. Maybe one of the recipes I’m trying out, or another one you’ve had tucked away. If you accept the Eat New Challenge, I’d love to hear from you, leave a comment and let me know the outcome!

Thanks for stopping by! ~Kim~

How ’bout Them Buns?

Hamburger buns of course 😉

Wow!  I like snow, but it feels like I moved in with Santa or something.  I think we’ve had snow on the ground since before Thanksgiving.  My kids may have had a full week of school since then also, but then again, I don’t really think so.  They were off school yesterday and today.  It’s nice having extra hands to complete the chores, but at this rate I don’t know if they will get a summer break!

Today was busy and fun.  They of course played outside.  We also had our weekly bible study today.  It’s normally on Wednesday, but I wasn’t feeling all that well, and the benefit of teaching them myself, is I can postpone it.  Rarely do I, but it is always an option if necessary!

A slight glitch in my day occurred when i checked the scheduled meal for tonight’s supper.  Hamburger and french fries.  Ground beef:  check.  Potatoes: check.  Buns: buns???  how do I put hamburgers on the menu and forget buns? ~sigh~

How to solve the dilemma?  Pinterest.  How else?  It’s a one stop shop for absolutely everything.  Search:  hamburger buns.  I found a super easy recipe that claims to be the best.  We’ll just see about that.  So I assembled the ingredients and went to work.

The result?  AAAAHHH- Mazing.  Look if you don’t believe me……


They smell and taste just as good people.  Seriously……when will they invent smell-ivision?


The buns were just slightly big, so when I make them again, I might make 10 to 12 of them instead of 8.  I guess it depends on how big you make your burgers!

If you want to give them a try, and I highly recommend that you do, head over to Parsley, Sage and Sweet for the recipe.

Need a burger recipe to go with it?  I have one you just might enjoy, here!

Stay warm, and thanks for stopping by,


P.S. I am making progress on the office, here is a peek,


always messy while in process, right?  I can’t wait for it to be finished so I can share the before and after shots!



Chicken Pot Pie, Anyone?

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My kids have been begging me to buy chicken pot pie.  I made the mistake of buying the frozen, pop-in-the-oven pie when I was suffering from morning sickness.  It’s salty, processed and of course my kids loved it. I don’t know about you but I try to limit my processed foods as much as I can without going to extremes. I just feel better serving my family food when I know what the ingredients are and how to pronounce them. My answer? If I can make it from scratch I often do.

I remembered making chicken pot pie in the past, but it had been a while.  Once I decided to add it to my weekly menu, I started thinking about how to go about making it. I looked through some recipes, suggestions, and tried to recall what I did the last time (because I didn’t write it down, despite my husband’s frequent suggestions any time I make a new recipe). This is the result…

Best Ever Chicken Pot Pie

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2 unbaked pie crusts for 9″ pie plate

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed

2 – 12 oz pkgs frozen mixed vegetables

2 tsp chicken bouillon

1/3 cup chopped onion

1/3 cup butter

1 tsp poultry seasoning

1/4 tsp celery seed

1/3 cup flour

2/3 cup milk

salt and pepper

Heat oven to 425°. Put the chicken and one bag of veggies in a pot and fill with water until just covered. Boil for 15 minutes. Drain, reserving 2 cups of broth (to make gravy). Add 2 tsp bouillion to broth, stir and set aside until later.

In a skillet heat butter, add onion, cook about 2 minutes. Add the poultry seasoning and celery seed continue cooking until onion is tender. Stir in flour. Slowly add reserved broth. It will get lumpy, keep stirring, it will get better. Slowly add milk. Continue cooking/stirring until mixture thickens; about 1 minute after mixture begins to boil.

Now you need to mix together the chicken, vegetables (adding the second bag of veggies at this time), and gravy. Add salt and pepper to taste. I used a large mixing bowl for this part; do what works for you!

Pour mixture into the prepared bottom pie crust. Cover with the top crust, seal edges, and cut a slit for steam to escape.

Bake until nicely browned, about 30 minutes. Let it sit for a few minutes, then slice and serve!

A couple of side notes: 1. I used frozen vegetables, but you could substitute any variety fresh or frozen that you prefer. 2. Your favorite pie crust recipe will work great, but if you prefer, you could use frozen crust

And there you have it, a tasty substitute for a frozen food favorite!

Don’t forget to find me on Facebook and Twitter!

I haven’t been able to get in my sewing room for a week now, but I promise an easy sewing project is coming!  I am also going to be starting a new quilt for R (my 8 yo), that I can’t wait to share!

What new recipes have you tried?  Are you working on any crafty project?  I’d love to hear from you!

Crock Pot Pasta Fagioli Soup

As you might remember, I often make crock pot meals on Mondays. It’s a busy day for my family, and being able to have supper ready and waiting takes some of the craziness out of our evening.  Yesterday we dined on a new, easy recipe. Sooo very easy. And what makes it better? It was also tasty! My husband and three boys all liked it!

Before we get to the recipe, for those of you wondering, fagioli means “with beans.” So now that you’ve received your Italian lesson for the day……..

Crock Pot Pasta Fagioli Soup
( slightly adapted from the original recipe, found here)

1 lb ground beef, cooked & drained
15 ounces Great Northern beans
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups hot water
2 1/2 tsp beef bouillon granules
29 ounces canned whole tomatoes
black pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon dried basil
cayenne pepper to taste
2 cups macaroni, cooked

Dump all ingredients, except macaroni, into crock pot and cook on high for about 5 hours, or low for about 8-10. Add the macaroni about 30 minutes before serving. My tomatoes didn’t break down during cooking, so I crushed them with a spoon when I added the macaroni. You should also taste the soup at this time and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

We served the soup with a bit of freshly grated parmesan cheese and a few croutons on top. I think that this recipe would be equally delicious with shredded chicken or possibly ground turkey. The next time we have this meal, I plan on serving it with a side salad and some homemade rolls or bread.

I hope you give this a try the next time you’re planning a meal for a hectic day!

I am currently working on another recipe, in addition to an easy sewing project, so watch for those in a future post!

Is there anything in particular you are interested in me blogging about? Suggestions are always welcome!

Mexican Flavor Made Easy

Hi all! Just thought I’d take a few to share an easy Mexican-style dish with you.  I mentioned that I made this recipe last week to my Facebook followers, and they requested I share!

This is great to make the night before a busy day. My husband and kids love it, and although we started calling in Mexican Lasagne, it is actually called Mexican Manicotti! I found this years ago in a Taste of Home magazine, and it has been a staple in our home ever since. Here it goes…..

Mexican Manicotti

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 package (8 ounces) uncooked manicotti shells
  • 2-1/2 cups water
  • 1 jar (16 ounces) picante sauce
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack or Mexican cheese blend
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • Sliced ripe olives, optional (but extra tasty!)

In a large bowl, combine the uncooked beef, beans, chili powder and oregano. Spoon into uncooked manicotti shells.  (I think it would also work to fill a pastry bag and using only the coupler, squirt the mixture into the shells.)  Then arrange in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. I always have a little of the meat mixture left over that I just spread on top of the shells in the pan.  Next mix together the water and picante sauce and pour over shells. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking, so your dish doesn’t shatter when you place it in the flaming hot oven 😉 Cover and bake at 350° for 1 hour. Uncover, then spread sour cream over the top. Sprinkle with cheese, onions and olives. Bake until the cheese is melted.   It serves about 8 adults.

I have to say, that it doesn’t look very pretty coming out of the oven, but don’t let looks fool you, it tastes really good.  I like to serve it with some salsa or a side of guacamole (a great way to sneak in some good-for-you vegetables for the kiddos!).

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!  Do you have any recipes for great make-ahead meals?

Have you followed Creating My Niche on Facebook or Twitter yet?

Spice it Up

It’s Valentine’s Day, right?  So why not spice things up a bit… the kitchen that is!

I’m excited to try new recipes, especially when they are good and I can share.  This week, I’ve been lucky enough to try two new recipes.  The first was a crock pot meal, that you can find here.  The second was a shrimp dish.  Now I don’t know about you but raw shrimp scare terrifies me.  I have NEVER cooked it before, always using pre-cooked shrimp and tossing it with pasta, or eating with some sort of dipping sauce.  But I like shrimp.  I like tacos.  I love spicy.  So, as I’m throwing the empty Land O’ Lakes box away I see it:  Sweet & Spicy Baked Shrimp Tacos!”  How could I not try it?  Sounds tasty, right?!?  Here’s the recipe:

Sweet & Spicy Baked Shrimp Tacos

Spice Mixture

1/3 cup sugar

3 Tbsp packed brown sugar

2 Tbsp flour

2 Tbsp plain breadcrumbs

1/2 tsp ground allspice

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp ground red pepper (the spicy in the recipe!)

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp ground ginger


1/4 cup melted, unsalted butter

1 lb uncooked, thawed, medium shrimp


1/2 cup sour cream

1 Tbsp lime juice

2 tsp chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 tsp chili powder


6 inch flour tortillas (about 10)

2 cups coleslaw mix

Heat oven to 500.  Line baking sheet with aluminum foil, set aside.

Combine all the spice ingredients in a small bowl.  Dip the shrimp into melted butter, then spices.  Place on baking sheet.  Bake for 5-6 minutes or until the shrimp are pink and the coating is bubbling.

While shrimp is cooking, mix up the sauce ingredients in a small serving bowl.

To make the tacos:  use one tortilla, a few pieces of shrimp, and about 1/4 cup slaw mixture.  Drizzle sauce over top.

A tip, if you don’t like spicy food:  either lessen the amount of red pepper, or eliminate it totally.

I was pleasantly surprised with how the slaw tasted on the tacos!  It is a bit unusual, but totally the right choice in my opinion.  I have to say even my three boys enjoyed this. I am also happy to say, that family approval on this means another recipe with permanent residence in my recipe box!

Now it is Valentine’s day, so you definitely need a sweet treat to follow up your meal.  If you want something simple & tasty head over to Fellow Does Fab for a great truffle recipe!  It’s chocolate, so therefore, it’s good!

I hope you have been enjoying the recipes I share.  I am hoping that since my cleaning schedule has been so helpful (and flexible), that I can start sharing a wider variety of things with you soon!  But for now, it’s Thursday.  The first day this week I’ll be home all day (of course it’s still morning!).  I have a menu to plan and a grocery list to make!

I hope you have a Happy Valentine’s Day filled with love and happiness!

Don’t forget to stop by and say “HI” on Facebook or Twitter !

“One is loved because one is loved.  No reason is needed for loving.” ~Paulo Coelho~