berry tart

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Recipe Review: Chicken-Parmesan Bundles

This was actually a pretty decent meal! We paired it with a salad.

4 oz. [½ of 8-oz. pkg.] Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
1 pkg. [10 oz] frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained
2 cups shredded low-moisture part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
6 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, divided
6 small boneless, skinless chicken breat halves [1 ½ lbs], pounded to ¼ thickness
1 egg
10 crackers, crushed
1 ½ cups spaghetti sauce, heated

Heat oven to 375°F. Mix cream cheese, spinach, 1 cup mozzarella cheese and 3 tbsp Parmesan cheese, spread onto chicken. Roll up tightly, starting at short ends. Secure with toothpicks, if desired.

Beat egg in pie plate. Mix remaining Parmesan cheese and cracker crumbs in separate pie plate. Dip chicken in egg then in crumb mixture, turning to evenly coat both sides of each breast. Place, seam-sides down, in 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through [165°F]. Remove and discard toothpicks, if using. Top with spaghetti sauce and remaining mozzarella cheese.


I bought thin sliced chicken breasts so I didn't have to pound anything to a thinness. I would recommend buying two packages, as the mixture is too big for the thin sliced breasts. Or, you could buy one package, use what you can and then freeze the rest of the spinach mixture for a dip [which I plan on having a recipe for later on].

I brushed the egg [mixed with a tsp of Italian seasoning] on the chicken roll ups, because I didn't want to dip and roll a stuffed breast and risk losing the filling. I used 13 crackers [breadcrumbs may also be used] and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese. I baked about 32 minutes to be sure to get all the pink out.

I used Prego Garlic Parmesan sauce and it was delicious!

All in all I give:
4/5 for cooking experience
4/5 for taste
I would recommend this to someone and I would definitely cook this, again.

Recipe Review: Parmesan Baked Salmon

Anthony actually picked out this recipe when I told him I would like to have fish this week. I must say, he did a pretty good job!

¼ cup Kraft mayonnaise
2 tbsp grated Parmesan
1/8 tsp ground red pepper [cayenne]
¼ tsp dill weed
4 salmon fillets [1 lb], skin removed
2 tsp lemon juice
10 Ritz crackers, crushed

Heat oven to 400°F. Mix mayo, cheese, dill weed, and pepper.

Place fish in foil-lined baking pan; top with lemon juice, mayo mixture and crumbs.

Bake 12-15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork.


I added a teensy bit more cayenne and used about 3 tbsp of Parmesan. I used Club reduced fat crackers [it had a nice buttery taste] and I just freely squirted lemon juice on the salmon.

You cannot taste the cayenne whatsoever, but at the end the taste has a very nice twing to it. It's hardly noticeable, but it's very nice. I baked the salmon for the full 15 and it came out incredibly nice.

This is a nice dish to make when you don't have much time for dinner. :) Food Lion had Alaskan salmon for BOGO free, and at $8/lb, I jumped on it! So, I still have fillets left over in the freezer.

I served with a salad and green beans. Very delicious!

All in all, I give this recipe:
5/5 for cooking experience
5/5 for taste
I'd recommend this to someone else and I'd definitely cook this, again!

Recipe Review: Spanish Chicken and Rice

Tonight, I made Spanish Chicken and Rice. I only added very minor things and changed a couple of steps as I cooked, thanks to the reviews.

I seasoned the chicken with poultry seasoning and pepper only, no salt and seasoned the vegetables with cumin. When the chicken still had a little bit of pink in it, I added the onion+bell pepper and stirred it for about 5 minutes, when it began to soften.

I also added the peas when I added everything else. Two minutes is not enough time to defrost and cook those peas! For the wine, I used a Reisling [Biltmore]. I know it says to use a dry wine, but Reisling was all I had and it turned out fine. :)

Anthony added Mexican or three-cheese cheese on top of it. I highly recommend serving cornbread with this. I think if I were to make this, again I'd spice it up a little bit. Add in some red pepper flakes along with the garlic maybe.

All in all, I give this recipe:
4 / 5 for cooking experience
3 / 5 for taste
I would recommend this to other people and I would cook this, again.

Recipe Review: Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

Tonight, I made Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings with the first reviewer's adaptation of the recipe.

I've always used the original recipe, except I used two cream of chickens [or one coc and one cream of mushroom] plus thyme and pepper, and one can of biscuits. I loved the original version and give it a 5/5 for everything! :)

However, since I used the commenter's adaptation, I wouldn't give it the same score.

I used everything she used, minus the type of biscuits [I used Grands Flaky, not reduced fat] and the poultry seasoning and parsley and the onion. I put cumin and thyme in for the seasonings. I put the biscuits in 3 hours before it was done. I wouldn't recommend this. I suggest putting them in an hour and a half to two hours before time is up. My biscuits were soggy and not plump! I've used the flaky biscuits in the original recipe with the original time [which ended up having to be about an hour or so] and I didn't have the non-plump factor, so I know it wasn't the biscuits.

When all was said and done, it tasted like a freezer pot pie. I didn't care for it and neither did Anthony. So, I suggest going with the original recipe following these tweaks:

Use half of a Spanish, sweet, or yellow onion not whole. Get about three real thick chicken breasts and either cut them in half or slice each one into three or four strips. Don't worry about cubing them or anything, they will be real tender [not dry!] and easy to slice with a spoon at the end. You don't have to season the chicken, but if you did - I recommend a light light seasoning. Experiment as you please! With the biscuits, I only used one tube [that's all you need!] and divided each biscuit into four parts, lightly rolled them and dropped them in. Use one can of cream of chicken [or two, if you don't like cream of mushroom] and a can of cream of mushroom and I suggest using 1/3 cup of chicken broth [completely optional!!]. Season with pepper once you've served it in your bowl :)

**I used a 3 quart slow cooker and it was perfect

For the adaptation of this recipe:
5 / 5 for cooking experience [it's a crock pot, lol]
2 / 5 for taste
I would not recommend this to other people and I would not cook this, again.

Recipe Review: Skillet Shepherd's Pie

I've made this recipe once before and really liked it. Anthony hadn't eaten it before, so I thought it was a good idea to put this on the menu. I got this out of Cook's Country - I <3 that magazine so much.

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This was a nice and simple recipe. I used a 7 inch skillet. I recommend using no bigger than 10 inch, no smaller than 7 inch. I wish I had a bigger skillet, to tell the truth. It didn't overflow or anything, but I didn't like how full it was when I put the potatoes on top. That was error on my end, though.

For the potatoes and the size skillet I had, I'd probably use 7 cups of potatoes. I just glanced at the directions, instead of reading them, so I messed up on the butter part [plus, it didn't say to divide the butter]. I melted the 4 tablespoons and put it all on the potatoes. I also put more pepper in. I microwaved them for 7 minutes, stirred, and then put in for another 3.

You can certainly use leaner meat if you wish. I couldn't find 85%, so I used 81% instead. I almost always use the leaner meat [93-97%], but with this type of recipe, I would recommend at the leanest 91%. The leaner the meat, the dryer it gets when you cook it at longer periods, even after you've drained it.

I didn't use the carrot and pea medley. I like vegetables, so I got a bag of the mixed vegetables [peas, carrots, green beans, corn, lima beans] and used 3 cups instead of 2. It's not overwhelming and there is about an equal amount of meat, if not more than the vegetables. I folded the vegetables in so that I got the meat/onion off the bottom. OH!! Before you add in the vegetables, make sure you are stirring throughout the thickening sauce part so that none of it sticks to the bottom!

Our broiler sucks, it gets mega hot and can burn something very quick and make the smoke detectors go off. I didn't burn anything [and the damn detectors STILL went off!], but I should have broiled it for the full 5 minutes. I did it at 2 minutes, checked it, and then added on a minute. This is how I would do it if your broiler is not awesome like mine.

All in all, I give it:

4/5 for cooking experience
5/5 for taste
I would recommend this to other people and I would definitely cook this, again.

Recipe Review: Creamy Bow-Tie Pasta with Chicken & Broccoli

I figured I'd try this out for the year 2011! We plan on keeping track of the recipes we use this year so we know what we've done, liked, not liked, etc.

Tonight I made Creamy Bow-Tie Pasta with Chicken & Broccoli. Yes, the name is really that long. I hate typing it out lol.

It was good, but I hated making it. All through the process I was just thinking about the different things I could have done to actually make the cooking process 25 minutes, instead of an hour.

First off, I wouldn't use 6 chicken breasts for the 6 servings. I'd use 3 or 4 and halve them or cube them. Then, I'd marinate them in the dressing [about a half cup] for about 2-4 hours. I'd cook the chicken with the garlic and then set it aside.

The pasta/broccoli mixture, I'd do the same way except I'd add an extra minute on to the broccoli and add more broccoli!

The sauce, I'd mix with the cream cheese in a bowl by itself and just heat it up either through the microwave or in a separate sauce pan. Then, I'd toss everything and serve in it a bowl topped with about a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese.

Our friend Linquist suggested using more tomatoes in the sauce [diced] or using an alfredo sauce instead.
All in all, I give it:

2 ½ / 5 for cooking experience
4 / 5 for taste
I would recommend this to other people and I would definitely cook this, again.
berry tart

It's Time

To tell you about my problem. It's been 7 consecutive days and I did say that I would tell you guys all about it when I was free of it for that long.

What I have is called trichotillomania, it's an OCD that means that I pull out my hair. In my case, I pull out my hair from the scalp. I've done it since I was in the 5th grade. I'm not sure how it started, but I know it's been very difficult to stop. There's no medication that you can take that will stop it. A lot of people with trich take anti depressants or anti anxiety medication. I've tried it, and it only made it worse. What's more, I don't want to have to rely on medication to help me with this. I want my own will power.

It's been a really hard struggle for me, but after starting a hand written journal [twice - once in 2006 and then now] it's been gradually getting better. I've been on my way to pull free since I can remember. I wear hats to keep the temptation away, I tell myself no, I go do some other activity, etc. And you know, I can't even tell you why I do it. I just do it. Some people pick at their skin, or they bite their nails. I pull out my hair and sometimes I consume it. Yes, I eat my hair most times. 85% of trichotillomaniacs mutilate their hair in some way shape or form - it's normal. I mean, it's not, but for a trichster it is. And I worry about Rapunzel Syndrome. Where the hair forms a clump in your stomach and you have to have it surgically removed. I've thought about it many times, and there is no way of getting around it. Whenever I would pull, there was no way I could just not consume it. I can't explain it, but it was a sense of relief when I did consume it.

Everytime I would pull, it would be mostly subconsciously. I'd be watching tv, driving, on the computer, on the phone, reading - something - and there it would be. And each time I would pull, I would have that moment of relief and then I'd become mad at myself for destroying my hair. I want beautiful hair like my friends. But, there is limited things I can do with a thin patch on top. It's gotten a lot better since the 5th grade [I had a huge bald spot]. I read somewhere that it took 21 days to break a habit. So, I started a journal project in 2006 and recorded my feelings, thoughts, when I pulled, etc for 21 days. I fell off the bandwagon pretty quick. That's when I realized that it wasn't a habit, it's a disease.

So, I started, again two weeks ago when my cousin Kat died. I fell off, again after 3 days, but I didn't let it get me down and started, again. Yesterday was my 7th consecutive day of being pull free. It wasn't easy, but I made it with lots of motivation. My next goal is to be 20 days consecutive.

Now you know about my [T] and [RS]. It was hard for me to let anyone know, but in a way I feel better letting y'all know. Now you know a huge part of who I am and what I'm trying not to be.
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Friends Cut

I feel it's time to whittle my f-list down. There's a few of you who I haven't connected with at all, or since adding you haven't updated or commented. I mean, if I add you, I expect you to at least update.