Wednesday, March 25, 2015

8 easy meals with leftover chicken

When chicken goes on sale, we stock up. We pack our little freezer as tight as we can and we do our best to spread out the love. Down side: it's hard to keep things interesting when you're eating the same thing multiple nights in a row, not counting leftovers. The solution at the Rauch house? Cook a ton of chicken with salt and pepper and mix it up as you eat. Here are a few of our go-to's:

1. Chicken salad: Add lettuce of some sort to chicken (cut into chunks or strips). Mix & match toppings: bacon, tomatoes, crutons, cheese (parmesan, feta, and cheddar are our favorites), green peppers, onions, avocado, hard boiled or fried egg, corn, black beans, olives, etc. Easy enough.

2. Fajitas: Add onions, green peppers, and red peppers to chicken cut into strips. Cook veggies and warm chicken. Done.

3. Nachos: Tortilla chips, cheese, shredded chicken. Optional toppings and dippings: salsa, guacamole, sour cream , jalepenos, tomatoes, olives, black beans, onions. We always make sure to add the toppings BEFORE the cheese, so the cheese keeps the toppings on. But beware; some can make your chips soggy if you prep them too soon before baking. They're nothing short of an art form in our family.

4. Quesadillas: Tortillas, cheese, butter. Butter tortillas. Fill with shredded chicken and cheese and goodness (see nacho toppings), and toast on either side in a frying pan or George Foreman grill. Yum.

5. Fettuccine Alfredo: Fettuccine noodles, alfredo sauce (jarred if you're short on time, homemade if you don't mind the calories... I love Pioneer Woman's!). Cook pasta, heat chicken, cut into chunks. Combine everything. Mangia, mangia!

6. Buffalo chicken wrap: Tortilla/flatbread/pita pocket, shredded chicken, lettuce (iceberg is best), bleu cheese or ranch, bacon, tomato, and buffalo sauce. Wrap and eat.

7. Parmesean chicken casserole: Chicken cut into chunks, heated in a little egg and a lot of bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Mix with cooked pasta and some sort of red pasta sauce. 

8. Chicken stir fry: Frozen Asian blend vegetables. Fry veggies in oil, add soy sauce and stir fry sauce (we love General Tso), add chicken about halfway though. Bonus: Add cooked ramen noodles (oriental seasoning if you use it) as "lo men."

Bon appetite!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Seven Quick Takes

I'm back from my blogging hiatus! Things have been crazy in our corner of the universe, so I'd like to take this opportunity for the linkup to catch y'all up a little bit:



1. We were going to buy a house, and then we didn't. We met with the bank, were given a budget, and on our second day house hunting with our amazing realtor, we fell in love with property number #6, which we nicknames "Park Place." We put in an offer that night, and after a few days of back-and-forth, an offer was accepted. We attempted to use a special loan available in our area, which ended up meaning for us we had 679476947 hoops to jump through. Two months of "You have the house!"... "I'm sorry, we can't figure it out"... "But we found a loophole and you can have the house for sure!" ... "I hope you didn't buy anything because you can't have the house"... etc, we prayerfully decided to withdraw our claim and wait another year. Both the banker and the realtor told us they had never run into so many hiccups in one account. I guess it just wasn't meant to be yet!

2. Celine's stuck thumbs. We noticed when baby girl was around 2 months old that she still hadn't totally opened her hands. We kept a close eye, briefly mentioning it to our family doctor and waiting patiently for her sweet little hands to open all of the way. At five months, she still was not using her thumbs at all. She was diagnosed with congenital clasped thumbs, a condition with many different causes, severities, and treatments depending on the case. We did our research but couldn't find anything [that didn't make us panic]. We are very lucky: all of the bones, ligaments, muscles, etc ARE present in Celine's hands, but her muscles are just very weak. She has since begun physical therapy and occupational therapy twice a week and she is making significant progress. We are so proud!



3. We painted the house that we are still in. We have limited decorating options, given the fact that we are in a rental house, but our landlord has been great and approved our proposed changes we have made (it helps we have a professional painter in the family--thank you Mom!) and we tore apart our living room, dining room, and kitchen to brighten everything up. It looks awesome, but the house is far from back in order. All in good time!

4. I'm getting organized. I am not known for my tidiness, home organizational skills, or readiness to get up and do the dishes when the sink is full (family members, close friends, and former roommates, insert chuckle here). BUT, I am working on changing things! Joel move his computer/gaming/mancave space to the workspace in the cave basement, leaving the upstairs desk for me. This is the first time I've had a desk since I left my temp job in Human Resources two years ago, so I went a little crazy (and used all of the paper in the labelmaker). I made a chore chart which is displayed colorfully on the fridge, the bookshelf and bills are reorganized (with color labels!) and I have only just begun.



5. The weather is getting warmer... ish. We are ready to soak up the sun and get our blood pumping outside as it is FINALLY above freezing in Iowa! It depends on the day, though, and you Midwesterners know what I'm talking about. For example, today is partly cloudy with a high of 61. There are birds chirping, neighbors walking their dogs, and children enjoying bike rides. Days from now, it will be windy and rainy with a high of 48. We are trying to get outside as much as we can, but SOMEBODY (cough cough little baby cough cough) doesn't like the stroller anymore, so we're figuring out a plan B.

6. I'm blogging again! Being behind a desk has got me all psyched up as it is, and then with all of the other projects going on (or winding down) I'm finally ready to get back behind the keyboard and post. I have my coffee and idea notebook in hand and I'm ready to rock and roll. Let's do this blogosphere.

7. I have new shows and I like them sometimes. I've probably mentioned before, TV is one of my hobbies. I love super drawn out character development, different plot lines, and shows that feel like awesome movies that keep going on forever. I love witty comedies, dramas that suck you in (even if they're violent sometimes, I just have to know what happens!), and realistic-ish crime shows. Joel calls my TV watching an addiction... I prefer a passionate hobby. Anyways, I just started Peaky Blinders (dark and hard to understand, but well made) and Grey's Anatomy (a little sad but very entertaining). You've got to be in the mood for them though, which I'm not at the moment (hence the blogging). I'll write more show reviews later if you're interested. I'm just having a really good day today.

The video below is just because it's I'm excited it's Friday. :) Until next time!

--Justine