RECIPE: Romano Chicken w/ Lemon Garlic Pasta

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Oh. My. Gosh. You guys, this is SO GOOD.
Besides my taste buds telling me so, the sure fact that something is really good is when my husband tells me that he wouldn’t change a thing. Most meals are “really good, but…” with a few ways he’d do things differently listed after that.

I don’t have a source on this one, because I wrote the recipe in my notebook awhile ago, so I apologize for that.

Ingredients:
1 LB chicken breasts, butterflied or cutlets
Salt & Pepper
1/2 c. finely shredded parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
Dry parsley
1/2 c. panko bread crumbs
Olive oil
1/2 LB pasta (we used angel hair)
Juice from 1 lemon
3 cloves garlic, minced
zest from 1/4 lemon
2 TBSP cold butter

1. Put the cheese on a plate, the beaten egg with dry parsley in a bowl and the panko crumbs on another plate.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
3. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Then, dredge the chicken in the cheese, dip into egg and press both sides into the crumbs before putting on a baking sheet.
4. Bake chicken for 25-35 minutes, flipping once during the baking process.
5. While chicken is baking, cook pasta according to directions. Drain, but reserve about 1/2 of the water.
6. To a skillet, add lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper and garlic. Cook until liquid is reduced to about half.
7. Next, add 1 TBSP of cold butter and melt into the sauce. While swirling pan, add the remaining 1 TBSP of butter and repeat. Stir in about 2 TBSP of pasta water to thin (add more if desired, I believe I did about 4 TBSP)
8. Add cooked pasta to skillet and toss. Serve with chicken over the pasta and a lemon wedge if desired.

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This is seriously SO GOOD and I hope you give it a try! Yummmmyyyy. I had the rest of the leftovers for lunch today and now I want more.

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Dry January.

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When I first heard about Dry January last year (January 2016), I thought the idea was ludicrous. I’d already had many social outings planned for the month and couldn’t fathom how I would get through them without a drink. Now that those words came out of my mouth, I realize how truly awful that sounds.

Regardless, when I woke up this year on January 1 2017….at about 1pm, quite possibly the most hungover I’ve been since my 21st birthday, I immediately thought that Dry January didn’t seem like such an awful idea. So my challenge began. Not because of the potential health benefits that one may get from it (improved skin, faster metabolism, better sleep and more energy) but simply because I couldn’t imagine drinking at that current point in my life AND because I love a good challenge.

The first day was easy as pie since I was so sick that I hardly left the couch until late into the night. The second day wasn’t so bad either since I was relishing in the fact that I felt human again. The hard day was on Jan 4, when I received my WINC shipment on Wine Wednesday. Four wonderful, probably super delicious, bottles of wine delivered to my doorstep that I was so anxious to get and now…I couldn’t drink them until February. Heartbreak!

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(Little note about WINC…it’s fantastic. I love this cute little journal they send out, too. Once I can review one of the wines I’ll give ya’ll an explanation on the club but if anyone wants a referral code for some free wine before that happens, drop me a note!)

 

Honestly though, it really hasn’t been that bad. My husband’s gotten to have me be his DD the whole month, so that’s probably been a nice change of pace for him. The moments where it’s been the hardest has been the nights that I’m home alone and just out of habit would’ve had a glass of wine while I watched T.V. I miss the TASTE of the wine a lot. And when we’re out to eat, I do love to get specialty cocktails so I’ve been lusting over that. Other than those small things, it hasn’t been awful. I have been drinking a lot more water (still not as much as I should) in place of the drinks I’d been drinking.

Unfortunately, I haven’t noticed any of the potential benefits, so that’s a bummer. I’d be more upset if I was counting on them or had done this whole thing for them. I suppose maybe I’ve been sleeping better, but so many components factor into me sleeping well (the temperature of the room, the snoring of the old dog, how many times the young dog jumps on top of me while trying to sneak onto the bed…) that it’s hard to say if I’m getting better sleep because of sans alcohol.

Husband wanted me to watch the Steeler football game with him on Sunday, so I told him he had to get me sparkling grape juice so I could at least pretend I was having wine with his beer. I was surprised at how much slack I got for that when I posted a picture of my “fake” wine. People wanted to know why I’d drink that and have all the calories (which, according to them, defeated the purpose of the challenge)….I have never, and probably will never, be a calorie counter. I just can’t do it. I like things that are bad for me wayyyyy too much. I attempt to balance that out by working out (which is still hit or miss for me) and eating otherwise really healthy food. That’s a story for another day.

So here we are, one week to go. I’ll probably restore all my wines to their rightful place on the counter Tuesday night as a pre-celebration. I’m already trying to decide which of my lovely wines from WINC I want to try first. I have been eyeing up the “To Be Honest by Matt Bellassai” Red Blend since I got it in December…and since February 1 falls on Wine Wednesday, I feel like it would be pretty appropriate. I’m excited to be able to post wine reviews on this blog soon!

This experience has taught me that I can make it through social engagements without alcohol (hoorah!) and that it’s probably not such a bad thing to reach for the water after dinner instead of the wine bottle. I’m really proud of myself for doing this challenge though, regardless of what comes from it.

One. To. Go.

T-shirts in January.

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Woah, what?
Not something we can normally say here in Central Ohio in January, but this weekend was just that! Mother Nature graced us with two absolutely gorgeous days in the mid-60’s with plenty of sunshine. I am almost always cold (like, wear a hoodie in the heat of summer) but this weekend I sported a short sleeve shirt for a portion of the day outside!

My husband and I drove over to the Tanger Outlets and window shopped just so we could walk around a bit outside. On Sunday, we took the pups for a walk through the neighborhood. Sara had so much fun smelling all the new territory and even kicked it up a gear and ran a bit, while Hoss just enjoyed getting to strut his stuff in a bigger area than the fenced in area the apartment complex has. It was warm and sunny and just absolutely beautiful out.

….which helps me deal with the fact that today is cold, windy and rainy.

According to my better half, Tuesday 1/24 is the day when the temperature starts to gradually trend upwards, so that’s exciting. I’m not asking for much, I’d just like to go outside with only 3 layers on 😉

Hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend as well 🙂

Soul food.

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One thing that my husband and I like to do together is cook. It was a lot more enjoyable when we had a bigger kitchen, but we’re making do for now. We had two delicious meals this week that I’d like to share with you!

Since most of my cookbooks are packed away, I’ve been getting a lot of recipes from Pinterest and will do my best to give credit where it’s due.
The first one was a Skillet Creamy Garlic Chicken with Broccoli. I halved the recipe from the blog, and ended up making a change or two along the way. This was extremely easy to make and all in one pan, which was awesome. Less cleanup = Happy Ashley!
SOURCE: http://bestrecipebox.com/recipes/creamy-garlic-chicken-broccoli/

Ingredients:
1 LB Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (I cubed mine since I had to use a wok instead of a skillet and didn’t know how the breasts would fit)
1/4 TSP paprika
2 TBLS butter, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 can condensed cream of chicken soup (I used the whole can)
90 ML water (I guessed)
1/2 TSP chopped fresh parsley (I omitted this)
1-1.5 c. chopped broccoli
lemon wedges, optional

Instructions:
1. Season chicken with salt, pepper and paprika. Set aside. (I wished that I’d done this ahead of time and maybe let it marinate in a lemon butter sauce for a couple hours.)
2. Heat large pan on medium-high heat. Melt 1/2 of the butter. Add chicken and cook for 5 minutes each side (I guessed since mine was cut up) or until browned. Remove from pan, cover and keep warm.
3. In same pan, melt remaining butter. Add garlic and cook until lightly browned and fragrant. Whisk in soup and water. Cook until bubbly, turn heat to low.
4. Add chicken and broccoli to pan. Cover and cook for 10-ish minutes or until chicken is cooked through and broccoli is desired level of cooked.
5. Serve with rice or pasta, lemon wedges and parsley.

Ohhhkayyy….so my second recipe is SUPER easy and total comfort food. Which is perfect for January. Another one dish win….crockpot style! Introducing Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings!
SOURCE: http://www.spendwithpennies.com/crock-pot-chicken-and-dumplings/

Ingredients:
1 Large Onion, diced
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 TSP poultry seasoning
1 LB boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 c. chicken broth
2 c. frozen vegetables (peas, carrots, corn…I did just corn and it was probably more like 3 c.)
1 can (8 pieces) refrigerated biscuits

Instructions:
1. Spray crockpot with no-stick spray
2. Add onion to crockpot and top with chicken breasts.
3. Combine soups, seasoning and pepper in a bowl. Whisk and then pour over chicken.
4. Cook on HIGH 6 hours.
5. Approximately 1-1.5 hours before serving, roll biscuits out flat. Cut into 4 strips. Add to crock with frozen veggies. Stir and continue cooking.
6. Remove chicken breasts about an hour later, shred and return to crockpot until biscuits are cooked.

We’ve made chicken and dumplings in the crockpot before and have found that the biscuits sometimes take a little longer to cook than I’ve planned. It all depends on how big the pieces are so take that into consideration. Such an easy recipe to make and also had enough for leftovers the next day, which is when everything is usually extra delicious!

 

 

One month in.

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bogartsold

On December 19, 2016, we officially moved out of our 2,200 sq ft, 4-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom, 3.5-car garage, custom built home….into a 700 sq ft, 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom, no garage, apartment. Packing had set us into a permanent state of panic, we had so much stuff and absolutely no where to put it. The apartment is nice, it’s new and there’s thankfully not a lot of people living here yet, but it’s a serious adjustment for two people and two large dogs.

When we announced our move from Sandusky to Columbus, many people questioned us —  “But why?’, “Isn’t this your home? You love Sandusky!” and “But you just built that house!”

We wanted a new adventure and to pursue better opportunities. We shouldn’t be blamed for that.I do love Sandusky, and I promise it will always have a special place in my heart, but we love Columbus, too. We built the house a little over two years ago because we wanted somewhere to live and the pickin’s were slim, but we knew we wouldn’t stay there long, so we built it specifically for resale. I surprisingly felt no attachments to it the last time I left. Home will always be where we all are together.

Columbus is absolutely wonderful and it’s going to be a great place for us. The future holds so many options. While living in an apartment is less than ideal and it might be a little tough sometimes with an active dog and an old dog and we’re all a little bored and lonely time to time, I don’t regret a minute of our decision. It’s all going to be just fine. We’re all going to be alright.

newhomepups
Move-in day: Pups are happy wherever they are with us 🙂

The start of something new.

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Esperance (French, means hope + expectation)
Fernweh (German, means wanderlust)
Eudaimonia (Greek, means a contented state of being)

These were all words that were in the running for the name of this blog. I’m not entirely sure why I decided I needed to create a blog but it felt like the right thing to do at this point in my life. I wanted something unique, creative and that didn’t involve numbers.

As you can see, I had to compromise.

Hygge (Danish, means the ritual of enjoying life’s simple pleasures)
365 (the days in the year)

A reminder to myself to enjoy the little things in life, every day of the year.

At the start of this year, I knew I needed to start writing again. I will strive to make every post have a point of some sort, but I can’t promise it’ll always be relevant to everyone who reads this. Writing prompts are encouraged, because sometimes I get writer’s block and struggle with putting pen to paper or my fingers to the keyboard. So this is it. The beginning of something new.