Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Recipe. Chicken Nacho Bake.

Chicken Nacho Bake recipe Chicken Nacho Bake

What You Need

small  boneless skinless chicken breasts (1 lb.)
cup  TACO BELL® Thick & Chunky Salsa
cup  crushed tortilla chips
cup  KRAFT Mexican Style Finely Shredded Four Cheese

Make It

HEAT oven to 400ºF.
PLACE chicken on foil-covered baking sheet. Cut 3 slits in top of each with sharp knife.
TOP with salsa, sour cream and crushed chips.
BAKE 30 min. or until chicken is done (165ºF), topping with cheese after 20 min.

This recipe was delicious!  Go to www.kraftfoods.com to find this recipe and many many more!

I love so many things about this recipe:
 - it's quick and easy
- you can make this recipe how large or small you would like, really, just put how ever many pieces of chicken you want on the pan and pile on the toppings!
- it's a great way to use up food that you have open - salsa, sour cream, tortilla chips, cheese.  I hate using part of a jar of something and then discovering the half used jar of whatever that had gotten pushed to the back of the fridge and is now not good to use. 
- you can really make this recipe YOURS - if you like your food spicier put on more salsa and less of the sour cream and use hot salsa, if you really like cheddar cheese or mozzarella use one of those (or in my case, use whatever kind of cheese you have a partial bag or brick of)


Monday, July 29, 2013

Super Simple Manicotti

Tonight for supper, I had chosen a "new" recipe to try, new to me, but was originally published in the September/October 2004 issue of Quick Cooking.  Easy-To-Stuff Manicotti. 
The name alone had me hooked as I do not usually do the greatest with stuffing manicotti as they tend to fall apart or the filling oozes out of the other end.  Anyways, I made a few changes to the original recipe and this is for sure a keeper recipe for me!

The Original Recipe:

Easy-to-Stuff Manicotti

6-8 ServingsPrep: 20 min. Bake: 30 min.


  • 1 package (8 ounces) manicotti shells
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 jar (24 ounces) spaghetti sauce
  • 14 pieces string cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese


  • Cook manicotti according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large
  • skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no
  • longer pink; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce. Spread half of the meat
  • sauce into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish.
  • Drain manicotti; stuff each shell with a piece of string cheese.
  • Place over meat sauce; top with remaining sauce. Cover and bake at
  • 350° for 25-30 minutes or until heated through.
  • Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake 5-10 minutes longer or until
  • the cheese is melted. Yield: 6-8 servings.
My version:
Super Simple Manicotti
  • 1 package (8 ounces) manicotti shells
  • 1 jar (26 ounces) spaghetti sauce - Sausage, Peppers and Onions
  • 14 pieces string cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese


       Cook manicotti according to package directions. Spread half of the sauce into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Drain manicotti; stuff each shell with a piece of string cheese. Place over sauce; top with remaining sauce. Cover and bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake 5-10 minutes longer or until the cheese is melted.
Yield: 6-8 servings.

 And there you have it, easy and delicious!
*I served it with a tossed salad, and watermelon for dessert. Garlic bread would go nicely with it as well.*

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Book Review - "Jennifer"

Dee Henderson's incredible and exciting O'Malley series is now complete with her prequel, "Jennifer: An O'Malley Love Story."  This book shares about Jennifer's life as there was not a book devoted to her in the series.
Jennifer is a pediatrics doctor and leads a busy life in Dallas.  Jennifer's life is busy and constantly changing as she is growing closer to God and also to Tom, a surgeon.  This is a sweet love story that will tug the readers back into the O'Malley family and their lives. 
If you have not read the O'Malley series, I highly recommend you read all six of them following this book!  There are not a "typical" or traditional family, but they have the love and bond that make them a family and you will be drawn into their family as well!
Highly recommend this book and the entire series!

*Thanks to Bethany House Publishers for the complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.*

Saturday, July 27, 2013

.menu planning. chicken parm, blueberry muffins, cheesy noodles, chocolate chip cheesecake bars

So I had written a post last week about wanting/needing to menu plan as this is easier, more time efficient and I hate getting home during the summer and not having a clue what I am making for supper...so now finally half-way through my summer hours, I finally did have a plan for the week.  And while there are things that come up on short notice, at least I had a plan and then if I don't need all of the recipes, I am just a little bit ahead for the next week, right?!


I tried out a recipe I found on Pinterest (an addition of mine!) and this recipe was a Pinterest success!  Chicken Parmesan Casserole - I made a few changes to the recipe I found  here!  This smells so delicious and tastes so good as well. 

My recipe for Chicken Parmesan Casserole:

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Garlic Powder
2-1/2 pounds of chicken breasts, uncooked
1 jar (24 - 26 oz.) marinara sauce
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 (5 oz. bag) croutons, any flavor
Pour olive oil in the bottom of a 13x9 baking dish, then sprinkle in garlic powder.  Cube the chicken and place in the baking dish. Pour the marinara sauce on top of the chicken. Sprinkle on 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and 1 cup of Mozzarella cheese.  Spread croutons on top of the cheese. Sprinkle 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and 1 cup of Mozzarella cheese on top of the croutons. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
While this is baking, cook linguine.  Serve with the casserole.

Suggestions: Serve this with garlic bread, salad, raw veggies and dip.


I made a Cheesy Noodle Casserole, a Taste of Home recipe.   You can find the recipe here!   This recipe makes 2 casseroles, each in a 2-quart baking dish.  I did a 1/2 of the recipe, very easy to do. This is a different take from "traditional" mac and cheese.  This recipe calls for Velveeta cheese, which I did not have and I used a mozzarella and cheddar blend, and it was delicious!  Honestly, I think this recipe would be good with any kind of shredded cheese you'd like to use.


Leftovers, love having leftovers!  And it was leftovers of both the Chicken Parmesan Casserole and the Cheesy Noodle Casserole.  I did make a few sides to go along with them though.  One being Blueberry Cream Muffins, this is a recipe that I have to make every summer when it is blueberry season, they are that good!  This is a contest winning recipe published in County magazine back in the early 90's and once you make them you will see why they are contest winners!  You can also find this recipe on the Taste of Home site : /Blueberry-Cream-Muffins

My kids love fruit, so mixed together a bunch of fruit for a fruit salad - used what I had: nectarines, bananas, grapes, blueberries, strawberries, kiwis and apples - they devoured it.
Had a little church softball team get-together this night. 
So into the crockpot went a large bag of frozen meatballs and a couple of jars of marinara sauce. Set out rolls, Parmesan cheese and Mozzarella cheese to serve with the meatballs, delicious.  When you can get meatballs on sale, stock up, it is worth it, believe me! Easy, convenient, cheaper and leaves time to make other goodies. 

Speaking of other goodies...I tried out a new recipe and they were declared a success, but really just by the name alone I was guessing they would be: Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars.  This is a contest winning recipe originally published in Country Woman in 2001 and can be found once again on the Taste of Home website: Chocolate-Chip-Cheesecake-Bars.  They look a bit involved and time consuming, but they aren't, it is a pretty quick and easy recipe!

Leftovers. :)

Well today is a stay at home, pajama wearing kind-of a day, yay!!!!  So I'm thinking breakfast for supper. 


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Book Review - "A Big Year for Lily"

Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher team up once again with the third book in their The Adventures of Lily Lapp series.  "A Big Year for Lily" continues with the saga of Lily Lapp and her family. Lily is once again living close by her cousin and best friend Hannah and that is a good thing as Lily continues to have run ins with Effie and Aaron.  Not only is Hannah dealing with peers whom are not always the nicest and those whom do disgusting things; but she is continuing to grow up and she is trying to adjust to this as well.
This is a great series for young girls to read and also to read with young girls.  It is geared for children 8-12 years of age, but younger children whom may not be able to read this on their own will enjoy listening to the book, as well.  The chapters are short and there are illustrations included throughout the book making this child-friendly.  Lily's adventures and growing up as Amish and as the oldest child and the only girl in the family will hold the reader's attention.  I highly recommend this book and this series as read-aloud stories to be enjoyed with your young children.

“Available July 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Book Review - "Dolled Up to Die"

Lorena McCourtney's second novel in her Cate Kincaid Files series will delight readers just as much as the first book in the series did!  "Dolled Up to Die" begins off with a triple homicide; however it's not what Cate expects at all.  Then it turns into even more when the woman's ex-husband is found dead on the scene as well.  Cate knows that she does not investigate murders; however it is hard for her to stay out of this one.  Jo-Jo is seemingly a sweet older woman whom makes life-like dolls; and yet is someone trying to frame her for murder?  Jo-Jo's ex-husband whom has been killed appears to have been spiraling downward into debt.  Is his trophy wife or her mother behind his death or did Mr. K maybe find out about the side job of the motorcycle riding, "God's gift to women," vineyard manager?  As Cate seeks answers, her list of suspects grows as well as the targets.
I have enjoyed both of the Cate Kincaid Files novels!  Cate is an excellent main character as she is so easy to relate to.  Cate is seeking to find her niche and she believes she has found it working alongside her uncle as a private investigator.  Mitch, Cate's boyfriend, and partner with the investigating at times is a knight in shining armor and the perfect match for Cate.  I love the balance of romance and suspense and the situations that Cate finds herself in as they had humor and depth to the storyline.  I highly recommend this for those looking for entertainment, a touch of romance and a bit of suspense!
“Available July 15, 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

collection of novellas and giveways!! Book Review - "A Bride For All Seasons"

Enter Today - 7/12 - 7/23! A Bride for All Seasons Robin Hatcher Mary Connealy Debra Clopton Margaret Brownley
Four novellas, four brides, and four stories to fall in love with. 
Enter the world of mail-order brides with four of your favorite authors: Mary Connealy, Robin Lee Hatcher, Debra Clopton, and Margaret Brownley. In A Bride for All Seasons (Thomas Nelson) each of the prospective brides is hopeful for a second chance at love—and that second chance always seems to come in an unexpected package.
The authors are celebrating with a fun 12 Days of Unexpected Packages Giveaway! Between July 12-23 visit the authors’ Facebook Page to enter to win a new giveaway each day. Winners will be announced at the Facebook Author Chat party on July 23rd! Such fun!

Book Info
More about A Bride For All Seasons:
It All Started with an Ad in a Mail Order Bride Catalogue . . .

Melvin Hitchcock of the Hitching Post Mail Order Bride Catalog isn't dishonest---not exactly. If he tweaks his clients' applications a bit, it's because he's looking out for their best interests.
This charming bouquet of novellas introduces four Hitching Post prospects in the year 1870, each one eager for second chances . . . and hungry for happiness. Year in, year out, they'll learn that love often comes in unexpected packages.
And Then Came Spring by Margaret Brownley
Mary-Jo has been unlucky all her life. But who would guess she'd travel halfway across the country to meet her match . . . only to find him dead!
An Ever-After Summer by Debra Clopton
Ellie had no idea she's not what Matthew ordered. And what's wrong with being a "Bible thumper" anyway? She's determined to show him she's tougher than she looks---and just the girl he needs.
Autumn's Angel by Robin Lee Hatcher
Luvena would be perfect for Clay if she didn't come with kids. But kids are a deal breaker, especially in a rough-and-trouble mining town. The trouble is, there's no money to send them back. . .
Winter Wedding Bells by Mary Connealy
David's convinced he's not long for the world. He needs someone to mother his boys when he's gone---nothing more. Can plucky Irish Megan convince him to work at living instead of dying?
Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/mL2Ln
 Meet the Authors:
Margaret Brownley is a NEW YORK TIMES best-selling author and has penned more than twenty-five historical and contemporary novels. @margaretbrownley 
Robin Lee Hatcher is a Christy and RITA award-winning author. Her books often appear on bestseller lists. @robinleehatcher 
Mary Connealy is a Carol Award winner, an a RITA, Christy and Inspirational Reader's Choice finalist. @MaryConnealy 
Debra Clopton is an award winning author of sweet, heartfelt, western romance that face life with a smile. With over 2 million books in print, Debra has her first book coming as a movie starring LeAnn Rimes. @debraclopton

My Review -
I really enjoyed this "A Bride for All Seasons!"  It is the year 1870 and The Hitching Post is a publication that helps individuals find their match.  However, as these four couples find in these novellas, what is published is not always the truth. As the couples meet their prospective spouses they are all in for a surprise as their mail order ads had been changed.  Each of these four stories is a sweet love story that is entertaining, filled with second changes or moving forward in one's life and a nice, clean story.  Each of the four authors bring alive the time period and transport the reader back to a time period of survival and starting over and seeking out brides (and grooms) through the means of mail order.  This is a quick, fun read that you will enjoy!
To read other reviews included on this blog tour, go here!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A beautiful story of love and healing - book review - "Redeeming Love"

Francine Rivers' novel, "Redeeming Love," is a story that is a classic one that everyone should take the time to read! It is a beautiful love story of a prostitute Angel whom has learned to live with no feeling until she meets Michael.  Michael lives his life for God and lives his life in a manner that shows God to others around him.  Michael convinces Angel to marry him.  Angel's life is completely changed, but she cannot completely move on and forget about her past and her feelings and thoughts about herself. 

This story is a beautiful love story, and also a retelling of the Biblical account of Hosea and Gomer. Set in the 1850's this is a story that brings the time period alive as well as the characters and the feelings between the characters. Rivers does a wonderful job of creating the story and drawing the reader right into it and keeping her there until the very end.

*Thanks to Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.*

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

soup + rice = quick & easy supper

It was one of those nights...one of those nights that it is 5:00pm with no plan and no idea as to what to make for supper...one of those nights that is so hot that you don't want the oven on or having to heat up the house...today was one of those nights. Oh I have plans to meal plan and be prepared for the week before the week begins, I have pinned a bunch of things, but actually doing it...well that has not happened yet.  But it will, I am determined to make that happen, maybe next week! Anyways, so tonight I went to the cupboard and threw together something quick and it was good - tasted good, filling, quick and easy to make...perfect for one of those nights.
Heat up 2 cans of this on the stove
Measure out 2-1/2 cups of rice and cook it.  Then mix the soup and rice together.  Sprinkle shredded cheese on top.  I used a cup of sharp cheddar.  Enjoy!  Has a nice little kick to it and it is filling.  Quick and easy!

Book Review - "Rosemary Cottage"

Colleen Coble's latest novel, "Rosemary Cottage," is book two in her Hope Beach series and is a story that will take the reader away to Hope Beach and become lost in the romance and mystery.

Book Description

Amy came to Rosemary Cottage to grieve, to heal, maybe even find love. But there’s a deadly undertow of secrets around Hope Island . . .

The charming Rosemary Cottage on the beach offers Amy Lange respite she needs to mourn her brother, Ben. She’s even thinking of moving her midwife practice to the Outer Banks community. It’s always been a refuge for her and her family. She also wants to investigate Ben’s disappearance at sea. Everyone blames a surfing accident, but Amy has reason to wonder.

Coast Guard officer Curtis Ireland has lost a sibling too. His sister, Gina, was run down by a boat, leaving him to raise her infant daughter. If anyone knew who little Raine’s father was, Curtis could lose his beloved niece. Yet he can’t help being drawn to Hope Beach’s new midwife, Amy. He even agrees to help her investigate what happened to both Ben and Gina.

Can two grieving people with secrets find healing on beautiful Hope Island? Or will their quest for truth set them at odds with each other…and with those who will go to any length to keep hidden things hidden?

My Review:

I really enjoyed Colleen Coble's first Hope Beach novel, "Tidewater Inn," and I was excited to be able to read and review book two, "Rosemary Cottage." Amy has returned to Rosemary Cottage, her family home on the Outer Banks; however this is not for rest and relaxation.  Amy is mourning the death of her brother and yet she feels that there is more to his death than what she has been told. Amy and Curtis along with the characters from book one return in this story and create a beautiful story of loss, love and moving on along with suspense. Colleen Coble's writing is a treat, a treat that is savored and enjoyed and once it's gone, you long for more.  I am eagerly looking forward to the next book in this series!

*Thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers and Booksneeze for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.*

Sunday, July 7, 2013

History,suspense and romance - Book Review - "Yesterday's Tomorrow"

 Book Info 
About Yesterday's Tomorrow

She's after the story that might get her the Pulitzer. He's determined to keep his secrets to himself.
Vietnam, 1967. Independent, career-driven journalist Kristin Taylor wants two things: to honor her father's memory by becoming an award-winning overseas correspondent and to keep tabs on her only brother, Teddy, who signed up for the war against their mother's wishes. Brilliant photographer Luke Maddox, silent and brooding, exudes mystery. Kristin is convinced he's hiding something. Willing to risk it all for what they believe in, Kristin and Luke engage in their own tumultuous battle until, in an unexpected twist, they're forced to work together.
Ambushed by love, they must decide whether or not to set aside their own private agendas for the hope of tomorrow that has captured their hearts.

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/mpTnp

Meet Catherine:
Catherine West is an award-winning author who writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. Her first novel, "Yesterday's Tomorrow", won the INSPY for Romance, a Silver Medal in the Reader's Favorite Awards, and was a finalist in the Grace Awards. Catherine's second novel, "Hidden in the Heart", was also a finalist for a Grace Award. When she's not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or tending to her roses and orchids. She and her husband have two college-aged children.

Learn more about Catherine at: http://www.catherinejwest.com 

My Review:
Catherine West's novel "Yesterday's Tomorrow" will immediately draw you into the story and tug at your heart and will leave you satisfied at the end.  Kristin grew up with her father leaving for a story, until one day he did not return home.  Kristin wants to honor her father and prove that she can be a great journalist as well as know the whereabouts of her brother as he has enlisted in the Vietnam War.  Kristin has a chance meeting with another journalist whom offers her a place to stay.  In the midst of a misunderstanding Kristin meets Luke and immediately sparks fly, but the type of spark changes as they spend more time together.  As these two are searching and proving things to themselves, they find that they need each other even though they may not want to admit it.
I really enjoyed this story!  There are so many elements to this book that will keep the reader turning the pages and wanting more.  It is an intense read at times as there is suspense and also strong emotions throughout the book, and yet it is a sweet love story as well.  I highly recommend this book to anyone enjoying history, romance and suspense - this has it all!

*Thanks to Litfuse Publicity Company for including me on the blog tour for this book.*

To read other reviews included on this tour go here!

Book Review - "Small Town Girl"

"Small Town Girl" is book 2 in Ann H. Gabhart's Rosey Corner Series and the reader is immediately drawn right back into this town and the characters' lives.  The book begins with Evie marrying the man whom Katie has loved and thinking she can never fine another one to love, everything is changed with a single event.  Pearl Harbor is an event that people remember and one that had a huge impact on everyone including Katie and Jay along with the entire community.
I love this author's style of writing and the change to revisit these characters once again. The characters are one that I find myself empathizing with and feeling as if they are real individuals.  The historical detail and emotions in this story really kept me interested in the story and wanting to keep on reading until I finished it. This is a must-read for historical fiction fans!

“Available July 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Book Review - "Prairie Song"

Mona Hodgson has begun a new series and is one that her fans will love! "Prairie Song" is book one in the Hearts Seeking Home series and this is a continuation of the Quilted Heart Novella series.  Anna and Caroline are both faced with choices and changes in their lives.  Anna is determined that her family needs to join the wagon train in order to heal from the loss of her brother.  Caroline is newly widowed and she is able to find friendship that leads to love.  Both Anna and Caroline are both strong heroines and band together with friends for a hard journey to begin again.  This is a great book that depicts this time period well and immediately draws the reader into the setting and the characters' lives.  I have loved Mona Hodgson's other books and I was not disappointed in the least with this one.  There are so many little stories tied into this book and so many characters; I am looking forward to book two in this series!
*Thanks to WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Company for the complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.*

Monday, July 1, 2013

Book Review - "Pennsylvania Patchwork"

 Book Info 
About Pennsylvania Patchwork:

Seattle native Holly Fisher is smitten by Lancaster County, its simplicity and her long lost relatives. In the sequel to bestselling Leaving Lancaster, Holly embraces the Amish culture, learning to slow down to see what --- and who --- really matters.

Meeting the family that her mother had kept hidden from her, Holly comes face to face with her real life and blood legacy. She also falls for the charming Zach, a handsome Mennonite veterinarian who is everything she's ever wanted in a husband: confident, kind, successful, and authentic. And Zach proposes marriage. Is this too soon? Is this the right choice? Mother and Amish grandmother think she's rushing into too much of a lifestyle change. Holly is in love with Zach and that precludes everything. Until she meets an attractive Amish man. And an old suitor shows up.

Pennyslvania Patchwork is the moving, richly told story of one woman's heart, her faith and trust, and the choices she makes. Never easy, but one choice can change your destiny.

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/lG7GU

Meet Kate:

Author Kate Lloyd is a passionate observer of human relationships. A native of Baltimore, Kate spends time with family and friends in Lancaster County, PA, the inspiration for her novels. She is a member of the Lancaster County Mennonite Historical Society. Kate and her husband live in the Pacific Northwest. Kate studied painting and sculpture in college. She's worked a variety of jobs, including car salesman and restaurateur.

Learn more about Kate at http://www.katelloyd.net
My Review:
In Kate Lloyd's "Leaving Lancaster" we are introduced to our heroine Holly whom is introduced to a family she has had hidden her whole life, and not just a family, but an entire way of life as well.  "Pennsylvania Patchwork" is the sequel and continuation of Holly's story as she immerses herself into the Amish culture and community including losing her heart to a man whom she believes she loves.  However, it may seem that not everyone believes she is making the right decisions and Holly is faced with having to make many decisions, none of them easy, but nevertheless necessary.  I have really been enjoying this series as growing up my family would visit Lancaster and the surrounding area, Bird-in-Hand and Intercourse, and I was always fascinated by the Amish culture and wondered what it would be like to be Amish.  However, as Holly finds out although the Amish lifestyle is simple, it still comes with difficult choices. I highly recommend this book to any Amish fiction lover!
To read other reviews included on this blog tour go here!
Thanks to Litfuse Publicity Group for including me on this blog tour.