Thursday, August 30, 2012

Chicken Noodle Casserole


So I haven't been doing much cooking lately. That's because I so intelligently cut my hand on a wine glass. I got stitches and waited a week for a consultation with a hand surgeon. Thennnn had to wait 5 days for the surgery. Thennnn got stitched up again and sent home in a splint. Thennnn I somehow scored myself an infection. Now I am finally back in action. It will however be six months before I can even think about weight lifting again. Good timing considering my wedding is a little over 30 days away.

Anyways, my first night back in the making dinner game needed to be something that didn't require much slicing, dicing or brain cells. Enter this casserole. It is a combination of a few recipes I found online. Also, I did use cream of mushroom and chicken soups which you may know from previous posts is not usually my style. This night I just went for it. I did however get the 98% fat free to make room for the delicious shredded cheese's caloric ridiculousness.

I plan on posting soon with some wedding updates for anyone interested so check back soon!

2 cups shredded chicken (from a fully cooked rotisserie chicken)
1/2 of a 12 oz bag of whole wheat egg noodles, cooked per package directions
1 10 oz can of 98% fat free cream of mushroom
1 10 oz can of 98% fat free cream of chicken
1 cup skim milk
1 cup shredded cheese, plus more for topping
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl. Lightly spray casserole dish with cooking spray. Spread ingredients in to casserole dish. Sprinkle with extra cheese and breadcrumbs. Cook for about 15-20 minutes until bubbly and cheese is melted.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Ahi Burgers with Sweet Chilli Mayo

SO I watched a Rachael Ray episode foreverrrr ago where she made some delicious looking ahi burgers. She used the food processor to grind it up like burger meat, mixed in some awesomeness and had a delicious, not your everyday burger on her hands. I have had this bottle of Sweet Chilli sauce in my fridge since making some of my Crockpot Sweet and Sour Meatballs, and I thought this would be a great way to use it up.

1.5 lbs ahi, diced into chunks
1 egg
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
The juice and zest of 1/2 a lime
1 tsp ground ginger
2 cloves finely minced garlic
1/4c sweet chilli sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp sugar

Sweet Chilli Mayo:
1/2c mayonnaise
1/4c sweet chilli sauce

In a food processor, pulse the ahi until finely ground. Use hands to mix in remaining ingredients until fully incorporated. Divide mixture evenly into preferred sized patties. (I made about 6) Be sure to press in the center a little as it will puff up while cooking. Spray a skillet with cooking spray. Cook to desired tenderness (i.e. medium, medium rare) In a small mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise and sweet chilli sauce. Place patty on bun with some sweet chilli mayo and enjoy!

May I just mention that I am totally exhausted tonight so if those instructions didn't make sense, please email me- I will probably re-read in the AM to see if I need to reword my nonsense.

Aloha!! :D

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Wedding update!

So for those of you who read this blog to follow me personally, I know I've failed miserably with updating about the wedding. That's mostly because I've failed at wedding planning in general.

I opened a new Things Remembered in our first mall location in Hawaii. Setting the store up, hiring, training and coaching the staff left me little time to do any wedding anything. I finally seem to have the staff up and running so I took this past weekend off with the intention of tackling my overwhelming and overdue checklist items.

We are three months away from the wedding and I'm just now taking care of stuff in the "6-9 months" checklist. Worst. Bride. Ever.

However I am DONE with the following items:

Venue booked!
Caterer is included so one less thing to worry about, win

Colors selected!
Tiffany blue and peach. It sounds weird, but thanks to Pinterest, I feel like I can pull it off.

Dress purchased!
Obviously I won't be posting a picture of that until 10/7. Sorry kids!

Bridesmaid dresses selected!
I don't have the best picture of it so looking like that will wait until 10/7 too.

Photographer booked!
Invitations designed and printed!
I am actually DIYing my invitations to a certain degree. I found an AMAZING designer on Etsy.She made me a template, and then I took it on a flash drive to Office Depot. It's a full invitation suite, which will cost me about $200 after all the supplies, the template cost and the pocketfold/envelopes. I was quoted $600 minimum to have someone make them for me! Major win!

Now, I am just waiting for the pocketfolds I ordered to come in. I also need to purchase some lace ribbon to wrap it with. I want to get these sent out before the end of July.

Check out Natalie on Etsy:

DJ booked!
This took foreverrrrr. I've been playing email and phone tag with them since JANUARY. Their price is well worth suffering through inconsistent communication. They are literally 1/4th the price and have good reviews online besides, surprise, their communication issues. Once I got in contact with them, they were very professional and answered all my million questions patiently.
We had so much fun setting up a registry at Macy's! We have been together 8 years, so we have almost everything we need. However, I couldn't resist scanning my little heart away! haha

Next on the list:

This I'm not stressing too much about because I am getting married at a botanical garden so I'm not going to pour dollar bills into floral decorations. My mom is scoping out a florist for me.

I found an amazing deal on these adorable birdcages. We did lovebird themed invitations so I thought this would be super cute to stick with somewhat of a theme. We are going to spray paint these Tiffany blue and wrap it with a ribbon and stick the table numbers on it. I am so excited to be all crafty with these.

Candy Buffet
One of the things I am most excited for is the candy buffet we are setting up. I really love bright, fun stuff so I am going to do colorful lollipops, rock candy, salt water taffy, etc... Since we are having an outdoor reception, I will be avoiding having chocolate! Haha. My sister hates chocolate so I'm sure she will appreciate that. I purchased a bunch of glass containers to set up my own. I got quoted $600-800 to have someone come in and do it. So far the containers only cost me $18. I found a wholesale candy company in Hawaii to buy bulk candy from. I will let you all know how this goes! This is going to serve double purpose for decor as well as favors. I am going to make cute favor bags for the tables, and people can fill up on candy to take with them before they leave. Win!

I have to look into getting us to the ceremony. If it was up to me, I would just drive myself in my little Ford Focus but I have a feeling my family and bridal party won't allow it!

Meh. I can't believe how expensive cakes are! I will probably put this off until early August.

Alterations & Veil
Need to set an appointment to get the alteration process rolling. Will most likely select my veil this day as well.

Groom/Groomsmen attire
My fail of a fiance hasn't decided what he wants to wear yet. Looks like I will be ordering extra bridesmaid dresses for him and the guys to rock on the day!

Dance Lessons
I purchased a groupon for dance lessons for Jon and I. I need to book those.

Going to work on this throughout the week. Just need to decide on the main song selections.

Marriage License
Has to be done no more than 30 days in advance. Downloaded the form to fill out though so I'm as prepared as possible.

I will be so happy when this is all done and I am officially Caitlin Coska!

In case you were wondering, we will not be going on a honeymoon directly after the wedding. We have a lot of family flying in to see us and didn't want to just up and leave them. Also, we are planning a trip to Vegas in April for our best friends' wedding. We plan on turning this into a belated honeymoon by stopping at DISNEYLAND for a few days before heading to Vegas. I am SO excited for this!!

Not having to factor in the cost of a honeymoon really makes us breathe easier. I am paying cash for the wedding. So far, not a single expense has gone on a credit card! Woo Hoo! I am determined to start our married life off right with as little as unnecessary debt as possible.

I know this was probably my most boring post of all time, unless you're a total wedding junkie. It helps me know where I'm at and where I need to be! I have some yummy recipes to share soon to make up for it :)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Problem: Way too ripe bananas. Solution: Making muffins at midnight.

I've made Devan Alexander's Mini Banana Coconut Muffins many times but didn't have any yogurt in the fridge. Enter sweetened condensed milk. Best substitute I have ever made. Granted the whole point of Devan Alexander's recipe was to cut back on the calories. I. Don't. Care. These are amazing muffins.

I made them full size for this one but maybe next time I'll try some minis so I can try to control myself from eating too much. This recipe made 18 muffins.

Also, you may notice I used pumpkin pie spice in this one. Hi, it's cinnamon and nutmeg mixed with other awesome spices. I refuse to only use this useful spice mix in only November. Just saying.

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup very ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray muffin pan. Sift together in a large bowl the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Beat together mashed bananas and brown sugar until well combined. Mix in sweetened condensed milk, eggs and vanilla extract. Gradually beat in dry ingredients until well combined. Fold in chocolate chips gently. Fill muffin slots about 3/4 of the way. Bake for 30-35 minutes in preheated oven until knife inserted comes out clean (besides the delicious chocolate of course).

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Breaded Chicken Caesar

Ok so you will forgive me for my absence once you make this dish. It is super easy to make, and consists of few ingredients. I served it with some rice and mushrooms and it was a perfect dinner.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup lite caesar dressing
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 cup romano cheese, freshly grated
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tbsp olive oil

Pound out chicken breasts to 1/4" thickness. Season with salt and pepper. Place in large ziploc bag and cover with Caesar dressing. Place in fridge and allow to marinate 1-2 hours.

On a large plate, combine breadcrumbs, Romano, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Add chicken breasts to skillet and cook until cooked through. Serve with favorite side and enjoy!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Chicken and Corn Chowder

Oh hey guys!

First off, I'm still doing Body by Vi and doing pretty amazing! My clothes are fitting so well, some are even falling off and I'm so close to fitting into a pair of jeans from two years ago.

The other night I actually had time to cook and decided to make a healthier chowder. I used skim milk, whole wheat flour and a limited amount of butter. If you don't have a wedding dress to fit into in six months, feel free to use cream, regular flour and lots of butter if you'd like!

1 tbsp butter
1/2 onion, finely chopped
4 pieces celery, chopped
1 potato, diced into small cubes
3 cups skim milk
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp white pepper
Salt to taste
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 cups shredded (fully cooked) chicken
1 15 oz can corn

In a large pot, melt butter and sautee onion, celery and potato for 4-5 minutes. In a mason jar, place milk and flour and shake until fully combined. Add to pot. Mix in seasoning, cumin, white pepper, salt and parsley. Mix until well combined. Add chicken and corn. Simmer on low-medium for 30-35 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Meat Lover's Chili

Hey there!

I know its been a little while, my apologies. Life seems to get busier and busier as it goes on. I am getting married in October and seem to be overwhelmed with the looming deadlines and decisions that comes with the planning. I am finally now able to sit for a couple minutes before running out of the house to talk about the Super Bowl. (Hi 14 days later...)

Anyone who knows me, knows I'm a HUGE Patriots fan. It annoys most people because they're incredibly jealous of the Pats' awesomeness. We had an amazing season and despite the loss in the Super Bowl, I still think we were the best team of the season. For the Super Bowl, Jon wanted chili. He made it very clear he wanted a man's chili, "none of that ground turkey s--t". So, I googled and combined some recipes and came up with what he claims is "the best chili he's ever tasted". Now, I'm not a chili fan at all, so I can't tell you whether or not he's exaggerating. You'll just have to make it yourselves.

8 slices bacon
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 small chili peppers (such as jalapenos or serranos), chopped
1/2 bottle beer (such as Corona)
3 beef bouillon cubes
6 oz tomato paste
2 tbsp steak sauce
1 lb ground beef
1 lb italian sausage
5 10 oz cans of diced tomatoes with green chiles
2 15oz cans of kidney beans, 1 drained, 1 with juices
1/4 cup chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tbsp paprika
2 tsp hot sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar

In a medium skillet, cook the bacon until crispy. After cooked, place on a plate with paper towels. In the bacon grease, cook the garlic, onions, green peppers and chili peppers for 2-3 minutes. Whisk in beer, beef bouillon, tomato paste and steak sauce until well combined. Reduce heat to low.

In a large stock pot, brown ground beef and italian sausage.  Add diced tomatoes and kidney beans. **Reminder, with the kidney beans, one can will be drained so you are only adding the beans, the other you will add the whole can including the juices.** Add in the tomato paste and beer mixture. Add in chili powder, cumin, paprika, hot sauce and brown sugar. Cook on medium heat for 1-2 hours. Continue to cook on low for 3-4 hours in stock pot or crock pot.

Jon got my best friend to rock a Pats shirt. No one tell Mike Tomlin.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Chicken Broccoli Casserole

I am really impressed with this recipe, not gonna lie. I told you all that I was going to keep eating things I love- in this case, chicken, gravy and cheese; and that I would just be incorporating more veggies- insert mushrooms and broccoli. I reeeeally love mushrooms and Jon reeeeally does not. I don't hate broccoli but it is definitely not my first choice.

I had leftover rotisserie chicken I wanted to use up and a Costco sized bag of broccoli. My mom also got me a rice cooker for a housewarming gift last year and I was excited to use the steamer for the broccoli. It is the easiest thing ever. Thank you Black and Decker for taking the excuse that it's too much work to steam veggies out of my life.

I researched chicken broccoli casseroles online and was really disappointed that, as usual, everyone calls for cream of _____ soup. Most of the cream soups have MSG and I don't understand how they can label a recipe "from scratch" when they're using processed foods? I completely understand the added benefit of saved time so when you make this, feel free to substitute my gravy for cream o (insert your preference here) soup. I always have homemade gravy from when I get those rotisserie chickens so it was just as simple for me to use that.

This was relatively simple to throw together, probably took me 20 minutes to prep and the total cook time including steaming the broccoli was no more than 30-35 minutes. It also tasted amaaaazing, which, let's be honest, is the most important part. Jon ate his entire plate and as I mentioned, he finds no ally in mushrooms or broccoli. I know this would be super delish served over rice or egg noodles, but we are keeping our carb intake during the day, so we ate it alone and I honestly didn't miss any starches.

Chicken Broccoli Casserole

1 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups mushroom, chopped
1 1/2 tsp Lawry's season salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 cup gravy
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup 2% milk
2 cup broccoli, steamed and chopped
3 cup chicken, cooked and chopped
1 cup part skim shredded mozzarella, reserve some for topping
2 tbsp Panko breadcrumbs
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray casserole dish with cooking spray. In a medium skillet, cook sautée garlic and mushrooms in butter. After mushrooms have softened and Browne a little, season with season salt and pepper. Whisk in gravy, chicken stock and milk. Reduce heat and allow to thicken.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine broccoli, chicken and mozzarella. (Remember to reserve some mozzarella to sprinkle on top)

Once gravy mix has thickened, combine with chicken mixture. Pour into casserole dish. Top with extra mozzarella, Panko and Parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 minutes to heat through.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


I'm baaaaaack! The craziness of the holiday season is FINALLY over, so I will hopefully start getting back on track with a lot of the things that fell by the wayside in October through December. This post is going to help with a couple of those things. 1) It's a post on my blog for the first time in close to forever. 2) It's going to help me plan out my meals to make sure I don't spend unnecessary money and calories on eating out.

I decided to go majorly cliche with my 2012 resolutions. My friends took me on my very first hike a few weeks ago and I loved it! I decided one of my resolutions this year would be to do one hike per month.

Makapu'u Lighthouse Hike 12/26/11
 I am also NOT going to eat any fast food whatsoever this entire year. I will also be going to the gym 4-5 days per week. That one should be easy enough because I did that the majority of 2011 besides my two weeks of pneumonia and when I got kidney stones. Let's hope no ailments prevent me this year!

Jon and I have also committed to planning out and cooking our meals ahead of time. I am going to continue cooking and eating foods I love, just cut down on portions and increase our veggies intake.

So, I decided I would make my first pot of homemade chicken stock. I know you're probably sick of me declaring my love for Costco's rotisserie chickens, but I can't help it. For $5, you get 3 lbs worth of chicken, which can be turned into so many meals. This time, I picked up 2 of those bad larry's. I used the drippings to make homemade gravy. I have the chicken meat saved for a soup, some chicken soft tacos and chicken salad for sandwiches. Then I took the carcasses (worst word ever by the way) and am doctoring up some chicken stock. That's $10 worth of awesomeness if you ask me.

So here's what I used to make the homemade chicken stock. It's really one of those "a little bit of this, a little bit of that" recipes so don't be scare to increase or decrease with your favorite flavors.

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday and wish you all a happy and healthy 2012!

Chicken stock

2 3 lb chicken carcasses
7-8 carrots, not peeled, cut into large chunks
5-6 celery, cut into large chunks, including leaves
1 1/2 large onion, cut into large chunks
1 head garlic, chopped
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp whole peppercorns
2 tsp salt
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried dill weed

Fill a 16 qt stockpot with 7-8 quarts of water. Add all ingredients, cover and bring to boil. Once boiling, uncover, reduce heat to medium and allow to simmer for 3-4 hours. Strain the stock and chill overnight in refrigerator. Remove surface fat. Use immediately or freeze for up to 3 months.


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