recipe week continues

Another easy weeknight supper recipe for you today. This one comes from Cooking Light. However, as originally written, it was anything but light. The original recipe called for 3/4 cup of half and half! They tried to lower the calorie count per serving by claiming the recipe makes 10 servings but those would be some seriously stingy servings. I made some changes to lighten this up but let's be serious, it's still pasta with a  creamy cheese sauce. It's a bit of splurge. But well worth it, in my opinion! What is life without carbs and cheese?

Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta
adapted from Cooking Light
2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken
12 oz. uncooked pasta (I used rotini but any short pasta will do)
2 tablespoons butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups low-fat milk, divided (I would sub skim)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup pesto
1/2 cup fat free half-and-half
1-2 cups shredded fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1 pint halved grape tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper, to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta cooking liquid, then drain. Set pasta aside.
Heat butter in a  saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Combine 1/2 cup milk and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add milk mixture to pan, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in pesto. Gradually add remaining 1.5 cups milk and half-and-half, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook until sauce thickens, stirring frequently. Add the reserved cooking liquid, if needed, and approximately 1 cup cheese (more or less - your preference). Stir until cheese melts; season sauce with salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste.
Add sauce, chicken, tomatoes, and basil to pasta, tossing well to coat. (Or dump everything in the saucepan you used to make the sauce, if it's big enough. Why wash another bowl?) Sprinkle with parmesan cheese to serve.

Heirloom Summer Salad

I know everyone is in a hurry to welcome fall. Everywhere you look it's sweaters and football and pumpkin. Poor summer, who still has a week left in its reign, has been forgotten. But I would urge you to give summer one last hurrah with this amazing salad. Run to the market while good heirloom tomatoes are still available and make this as soon as possible. It's one of the most delicious things to ever come out of my kitchen. And it takes just a few minutes to throw together.

Heirloom Tomato Summer Salad
recipe from The Perks

3-4 medium sized heirloom tomatoes, sliced
6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 ears of corn, cooked and kernels removed from cobb
2 T. chopped basil leaves
3 T. blue cheese crumbles
2 T red wine vinegar
2 T extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Arrange sliced tomatoes on a platter. Sprinkle red onion, corn, bacon and blue cheese on top. Mix red wine vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper (to taste) in small bowl until combined. Pour over platter, garnish with basil and additional salt and pepper, if needed. Serve immediately.

Korean Beef Tacos with Mango Slaw

I was scrolling through the photos on my phone and realized I've snapped quite a few food pictures with the intention of blogging the recipes but none have made it to the blog lately. This week, I'm playing catch up and plan to share a new recipe every day.
First up, these delicious Korean Beef Tacos with Mango Slaw.  These were an unlikely hit for me. First, the meat cooks in the crockpot. With limited exception (chili & pulled pork), I avoid crockpot food. It's a texture thing for me - everything seems to come out mush. However, this meat was tender with bit of crispy edges to ward off the dreaded mush factor. Add in the crunch from the slaw and it all balanced out. I'm not much of a slaw enthusiast (I will always skip coleslaw at a picnic or BBQ) but this was delicious. So light and fresh. Along with the crunch, it added a brightness & sweetness to the spicy beef. 
This was a quick and tasty weeknight dinner that everyone in the family, even the picky toddler, ate happily.  If you have a small family like ours, be prepared for lots of leftovers. This recipe can feed a crowd.

Korean Beef Tacos 
ever so slightly adapted from Nine & Sixteen

3 pound chuck roast, trimmed of fat
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
whole head of garlic, peeled and cloves left whole
2 T fresh ginger, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 small onion, diced
1 T sesame oil
2 T rice vinegar

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.  Remove meat and shred with 2 forks. Remove garlic cloves with a slotted spoon and skim any visible fat from the liquid remaining in the slow cooker. Return the meat to the slow cooker. To serve, use a slotted spoon to scoop the meat (but not the liquid) and spoon into soft flour tortillas.  Top with the Mango Slaw, recipe below. 
Mango Slaw
recipe from Nine & Sixteen

1/2 bag of shredded cabbage/slaw mix
1 mango, peeled and diced
1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
1 shallot, diced
1 jalapeño, seeded abd minced
1/2 cup light mayo
 juice of half a lime
1 T sugar
1 T rice vinegar
salt + pepper, to taste

Combine slaw mix through jalapeño in a medium bowl. Whisk together mayo through salt and pepper in a small bowl. Add about half the dressing to the slaw mixture and mix to combine. Add more dressing as needed to get to your desired level of dressing. I used approximately 2/3 of the dressing. 

baby talk

One day, you wake and up realize you're 35 weeks pregnant and should probably buy some diapers and wash some baby clothes. That's about where I am right now. 
Barefoot and pregnant. At least they're not swollen.
In typical second baby fashion, I'm much less concerned with having every little thing ready and perfect.  I have boobs, we have diapers and car seats (you know, once I buy some diapers and install the car seats) - what else do we need? I'm generally just more zen about the whole thing than I was the first time around. Though, I will confess to the occasional panicked "What the heck do I do with a newborn?!?!" thoughts but we figured it out once. I think we'll manage again. 
We bought a second monitor because I still like being able to see and hear Blaire at night. {That probably makes me a helicopter mom. I don't give a tiny rats rear end.}  I considered adding a second camera to our existing system but we still have the same monitor we bought when B was born 3 years ago - which has to be some sort of record in baby monitor longevity - so I thought a whole new system might be good in case our original decides to finally crap out. I also wondered whether the noise of the monitor scanning between the two rooms all night would annoy me.  So two separate systems it is. Now I'm wondering whether the signals will interfere with one another?  Guess we'll set it up {one of these days} and see.
I want to buy an Ergo baby carrier as I imagine having my hands free with two munchkins to tend to will be helpful.  Any input?  Does anyone know if the performance model is any cooler/more breathable than the others? If no one has any advice, I'm just buying the organic version because it's navy. That's the extent of the research I'm doing on that one.

I did spend some time researching diapers and came across this study testing disposable diapers. We used Pampers Swaddlers for Blaire through size 3, then switched over to Target brand. I was planning to do the same for baby brother but based on the study and some other research, I'm considering the Earth's Best diapers, which are more environmentally friendly.  I'll probably buy a pack of each and test them myself but if anyone has any experience with Earth's Best, I'm all ears.

UCF's first game of the season, played in Dublin, Ireland, was on TV locally at 8:30am Saturday.
Breakfast tailgate picnic with my mini-Knight. Mildly interested in football - majorly interested in faux-mosas.
 Nothing goes better with an early football game than a mimosa but I figured being 8.5 months pregnant, it would be in poor taste to start boozing at sun-up.  So, I picked up a bottle of non-alcoholic champagne {Fre brand} and some OJ and made myself a faux-mosa. {I prefer faux-mosa to mocktail.} It was damn tasty. Blaire thought so too. Every time I turned around she was chugging from my glass. We're going to have to keep an eye on that girl. Poor kid, her momma knows all the tricks. Been there, done that, my friend.

In other pregnancy related topics, the air in the restrooms at work has been out for over a week. As I'm in there approximately 19 times a day, this is a major bummer.

Saw this sign on the freezer case of Publix.

Sadly, when I opened the freezer door, there was no Southern Banana Pudding ice cream to be found. I'm now officially on the hunt for a half gallon to call my own. Operation Eat All The Things is in full effect. So is Operation Don't Gain More Than A Pound A Week. I think we all know which operation will be successful. 

Until next time!