It’s that I’ve been busy doing a zillion other things, too.  Let’s start with the cooking (which is presumably why you’re reading).

Ghiardelli Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

This was part of a Valentine’s Day extravaganza with my best friend.  The recipe comes from the Ghiardelli Chocolate Cookbook (page 60).  I won’t copy the whole thing out, because it was not good.  My friend blamed it on the fact that out of all the 32 ingredients we measured exactly, I eyeballed the vanilla and so ruined the entire thing.  I think it had more to do with the ancient oven in which we baked it.  Anyway, here are the results:

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As part of that same adventurous Valentine’s Day, we decided to have “Art Night.”  Our paintings turned out much better than our dessert.

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Chicken Casserole

A better recipe is this Chicken Casserole, made for some friends who are in the last month of their first pregnancy (so cooking is not high on the list right now).  I started out with my mother’s chicken broccoli casserole recipe, but since the husband doesn’t like broccoli, decided to modify it with peas. 

Ingredients:                                         chicken-casserole

4 chicken breasts

1 can cream of mushroom soup (regular or reduced fat)             

1 box whole wheat pasta (bow tie, penne, etc.)

1 cup 2% milk

3 tbs sour cream

3 cups frozen peas

1 jar whole mushrooms, drained

How I made it:

I roasted the chicken in the oven (in my now famous foil lined pan) for 45 minutes.  You can add a couple of tablespoons of italian dressing for seasoning (I like Cheese Fantastico from Bernsteins).

Boil the pasta according to the directions on the box.  Heat the soup over low heat, whisking milk and sour cream in until smooth.

Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick spray (or line with foil).  Combine pasta, soup, peas, and mushrooms in the dish.  Layer cooked chicken breasts on top.   Refrigerate.

When ready, heat in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

The results:

While I knew he didn’t like broccoli, I didn’t know he didn’t like peas (or pretty much anything green).  Nevertheless, they said it was yummy and it made enough for supper plus two lunches the next day.

Savory Tea Party Sandwiches

For their baby shower, we had a tea party.  I made easy peasy tea sandwiches that were yummy and filling.  Sadly I have no pictures, because we videotaped the shower instead.

Ingredients:

Plain white bread (firm, not squishy like Wonder Bread)

Wheat bread (not too dense or with too many add-ins)

Cream cheese (whipped in a tub is better than a plain block)

Dill weed

1 medium english cucumber

Plain hummus

2 small hot house or heirloom tomatoes

Feta cheese

How I made them:

Using a medium sized heart shaped cookie cutter, I cut out 8-10 white bread hearts.  Using a biscuit cutter, I cut out 8-10 medium sized wheat rounds.

Blend the cream cheese and dill to taste (I like a lot of dill, but not everyone does).  Slice the cucumber very thinly (not see-through, but thin). 

To assemble, spread the cream cheese on the heart shaped bread slices.  Place one or two cucumber slices in the center of each of four or five of the hearts, and top with the remaining slices of heart shaped bread.  Press a little to make the sandwich stick together.

Slice the tomatoes thinly.  I don’t like the seed goo in tomatoes, so I try to remove as much of that as possible.  Spread the hummus on the wheat rounds.  Place a slice of tomato on each of half of the slices of bread.  Sprinkle feta on top, then top with the remaining bread slices.  Press a little to seal the tea sandwich.

The results:

A big hit!  I’ll make them exactly the same way next time.  Also a big hit was the nursery message board  I made:

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 Thanks to everyone who encouraged me to find the time to post.  Hopefully there will be many new recipes to share, and more time to share them.

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