Saturday, March 26, 2011

Couscous Chicken Salad

The other day my mother and I bottled chicken.  It was easy, actually fun, and very fulfilling.  (I suggest you go learn how.  Find someone with a pressure canner and learn how to do this.  Facebook is a great place to find needed tools.) 

So then came the challenge to use the canned chicken.  I don't have much experience with it cause it is so blasted expensive. (Reason #1 to bottle it yourself.  It's the cost of the chicken, and the cost of the jars, but the jars are reusable.  Reason #2: Three ingredients go into your bottled chicken: chicken, salt, water.  You can pronounce everything in there.)

The other night I took my first can of chicken and popped it open.  I was rushed and I didn't have a plan, much less a recipe.  I cooked up some couscous and mixed it with the chicken. (Bottled chicken is just like canned chicken--already cooked.)  Then I searched my fridge and found that I only had expired Italian dressing.  So much for my idea of a couscous salad.  That night my son and I were the only ones who ate it.  And it was pretty bad.

I put the left-overs away and mourned the loss of one bottle of chicken.

Somewhere in the middle of the chaos of life inspiration hit!!!

I added mayo and wA-La!!!  Couscous Chicken Salad.  It was sooo good.  And it is a great base to add other flavors.

So here you go:

1/2 cup couscous
1/2 pint jar chicken
mayo to taste

optional add ins:
ranch dressing (just a dollop)
crushed, drained pineapple
curry powder

Drain your chicken into measuring cup.  Add enough water to meet directions on box. (Usually it is a one to one ratio, couscous to water.)  Cook per directions.  COOL, very important.  Warm mayo is nasty.

Add in other ingredients.  Now you will have a grain heavy chicken salad.  It makes the chicken go a little further, looks cool (sorry no pics--we ate it up too fast), and is different.  We ate it up on club crackers.  Yummy (and more children ate this than the original--hubby being at work at the time).

So, after all that, what are your favorite canned chicken recipes???  I need to use up all of this so I can do it again. :)  And if you make it, share your variations.

Next I want to try canning my own chili.  All commercial chili has ingredients my son is allergic to. I promise I'll share when I try it.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Amazing Give Away at Bolo Heads

My dear friend Robyn is having a give away

She is giving away this:
Robyn is the most amazing Halloween costume maker ever.  She is PURE genius when it comes to Halloween.  All you have to do to enter is follow her. (And while you are at it, could you follow me too?)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mini Cheese Cakes in a Jiffy

These bite size cheese cakes are some of my favorite treats, but because of their dairy content I don't make them often.  I took them to a party and they were gone before we started dinner.
They are perfect for Spring.

You will need:
  • 1 box mini Nilla Wafers
  • 1 package cream cheese (at room temp.)
  • 1 tub Cool Whip (thawed)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 package mini baking cups

In 2 9x13s set out your baking cups and put one wafer in each cup.

Beat together cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. (I love the word fluffy.)
Add in 2 1/4 cups of Whip Cream.  Beat until mixed.

OK, tricky homemaker here.
I could not find my decorator bag, so I used a Ziploc bag with the decorating tip inside.  If you don't have a decorator tip (buy one they are fabulous) you can use just a Ziploc with a corner cut off.  The freezer bags are sturdier.  Folding down the edges of your bag will make it a bit less messy.  But you may still get covered in yummy goodness.

 Fill your bag.

And fill those cups.  Just a dollop (another lovely word).  These are bite size.  They can be popped in the mouth.  Keep that in mind as you fill.

Pan Number One.

Pan Number 2!

Cover well.

Pop 'em in the fridge.  Let them cool for a few hours.

You may have some filling left.  It is SOOO good as a dip.  Also, there are ways to make this healthier--use lite Cool Whip, lite Cream Cheese, and there may even be lite Nilla wafers.  Also, you could add food coloring to the mix and make them OH SO festive.
I got the original recipe here.  But I like it better on the mini wafers and the extra cool whip was just extra work and I'm not a huge lover of coconut.

Let me know if you try them. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Mother/Baby Necklace

This is my recent go-to gift for baby showers.

Back when I had a baby (6 years ago) I had a mother/baby necklace and I loved it. But it was strung on wire, the traditional way. And eventually Little L broke it. I hung onto those beads, swearing I would re-string it. Never did.

When I saw this idea I fell in love. Not that it is indestructible, nothing is, but it is certainly stronger that a crimp and wire.

I made some modifications hoping to strengthen it even more.

I started writing a tutorial and realized that I need a lot more pictures than I had previously taken.  So, that will come soon. (I have an all new respect for all those ladies who make amazing tutorials--not as easy as it seems.)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Emergency Gift

I had a dilemma.  My daughter was invited to a birthday party and pay day was the next day. (Tell me I'm not the only one who has that problem.)

This is where sewing saves the day.  I used Amy's Fat Quarter Bag tutorial.  I whipped it up in thirty minutes (but that includes setting up the sewing machine, the cutting mat, ironing board, and waiting for the iron to hear up).  It was a piece of cake.
I opted for a flat bottom--I liked the way it looked with books in it.  How cool that she got a Dr Seuss book on Dr. Seuss's birthday.

A great quick birthday gift.

Happy creating!