Test Kitchen # 42 ~ Cheesy Bacon Biscuits

I think I’ve mentioned before that a good recipe box is one that is full of tried and true family favorites passed down through generations, special and elaborate fare as well as some quick and easy go to recipes.

This falls into the quick and easy category. With autumn fast approaching (please?) this is the perfect uncomplicated addition to the weekend brunch table. Of course if you have a mind to and a good biscuit recipe I am sure you can up the wow factor of these obviously tasty treats by making them from scratch.

What you’ll need:
1 can of Grands jumbo biscuits
1 package bacon bits and pieces
8 slices of mozzarella cheese 
3/4 cup colby jack cheese, shredded

What you’ll do:

Place biscuits in bottom of a baking dish.
Top with a slice of mozzarella cheese.
Sprinkle with bacon bits and pieces.
Top with shredded cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until biscuits are done.

Best served warm and gooey from the oven.

What To Do With Rocks

When my second daughter was about a year old she picked up a dirty little rock and gave it to her grandmother. Now my sweet mother-in-law is crafty and quite sentimental about her grandchildren so she bought a little frame, cut a piece of pretty paper for a background, added a bow and glued the rock in place and as far as I know she still has that little memento on a shelf or end table somewhere.

Our youngest daughter has also had a fascination with rocks for as long as I can remember. Big ones, small ones, clean ones, dirty ones…she completely lacks discrimination as to which ones are pretty or ugly. She used to bring these little treasures to me until I had a box full and over flowing. She’d find them in the yard, the neighbors yard, sidewalks and parking lots. If there was the tiniest of stones loose and able to be picked up she was going to be reaching for it.

I came across that box of rocks recently and it got me to thinking. Life is full of rocks. The Dragon lobbed a hefty stone at Eve and she promptly tossed it to Adam who tried to return the volley when confronted by God for walking around with it. Not long after that Adam’s son picked up a rock and used it to smash in his brother’s head and then dropped the blood covered stone aside with a nonchalant, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

And you and I? We stumble over rocks with words like fear, unforgiveness, selfishness, and bitterness carved into them. Sometimes we pick them up and carry them around, their weight a strange security that we take solace in because it’s a familiar anchor that requires little from us. We use them to build walls to hide behind that allow us to stay in our mediocre comfort zone. It becomes our burdensome excuse that gives us a free pass to not move from the shadows into light that is a little too bright sometimes.

Because if we set those rocks down and move into the Light then the Light is going to show the other rocks in our lives.

You know the ones I’m talking about. It’s the boulders fired off at us by a deliberately hurtful husband or thrown with unerring accuracy by a bitter angry wife. The smaller rocks that come from a thoughtless friend or coworker and the pebbles from complete strangers that cut us off in traffic or clearly have way more than 20 items in the speedy checkout line. These are the ones that we swiftly pick up and use as our own weapons. Their smooth bulk a justification for the war we’re fighting, for the temper tantrum we’re having.

Life is full of rocks and whether or not we pick them up or have them thrown at us there is something we’re supposed to do with them. We stack them. We take the missile fired off by the husband or wife and we put it on the pile. And we resist the urge to toss the ones back that came from the friend or neighbor and we add it to the pile. We empty the load of rocks we’ve been carrying around for years covered in the buzzwords that we’re told should be important to us like low self esteem, me time, fulfillment, and learn to love yourself and we dump them on the pile.

And then we climb on top of the pile. And we die there because underneath all our petty stones is the stone that was rejected, that became our Cornerstone. That pile is where death can lead to life and bondage falls away.

That pile of stones becomes the alter where we boldly proclaim that the hand of the Lord is mighty.

That He can overcome anything and everything. It’s where marriages are healed and relationships are restored. There, on that alter, we learn that we need to love our self less and Christ more.  It’s where God triumphs over our past foolishness and dark hurts.

It’s where we learn that we ~ us, me and you ~ are the true stones; the living stones being formed and fashioned into a spiritual house for His name.

Pinterest Test Kitchen #42 ~ Two For One Scone Recipe

Scones. I’ll be honest and admit that for a long time I wasn’t even sure what they were. And then for along time I thought they were something fancy and really hard to make.
But it turns out when I found this recipe that 1.) I’m still not sure what you’d call them…a type of biscuit? A kind of cookie? and 2.) they are super easy to make. Oh, and 3.) I looooove them.

Sweet version:
What you’ll need:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 TBS baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped chocolate (I cheated and used mini chocolate chips)
1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

What you’ll do:
Whisk together the first four ingredients.
Stir in the chocolate chips.
Pour in cream and mix until moist.
Knead the dough in the bowl a few times until all the mixture forms a ball.
Place the ball of dough onto a parchment papered cookie sheet.
Pat out into a circle about 3/4 inch thick.
Use a pizza cutter and divide into 8 or 12 pieces.
Separate the pieces slightly since they’ll puff up a bit as they cook.
Brush some extra cream on top and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake at 425 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

For a savory version I just left out the sugar and added some fresh rosemary and Italian seasoning. Instead of chocolate chips I used shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Oh, my were they good!
As an added bonus I tried making them with a gluten free flour and they turned out great!

Sam’s World ~ This Is So Weird

So, we now have our first week of school under our belt.

It was…weird.

For me.

Sam is doing fine. Great. Loves it and is settling into the rhythm of the new dance without missing a beat so far.

Me? I’m a little weirded out dropping everyone off at the school each morning. Coming home to an empty house. A quiet house. Yeah, that’s the really weird part ~ it’s so quiet.

And time. I have time. To do stuff. Lots of stuff. And guess what? Laundry is easy to keep up when you have this kind of alone quiet time in an empty house. Who knew?

Mind you the kids realize this is a strange new world for me. They leave little piles of stuff around the house – socks, magazines, blankets, crafting supplies, etc. – all to make sure I have something to do to keep me busy and not missing them during the day when I am home alone in the quiet empty house.

They’re sweet and helpful like that.

Like I said though, Sam is doing really great. Although apparently on orientation day last week he leaned over to Ms Noland and said, “We need to talk about why my desk is glued to my chair.”

And on Tuesday he had a small moment of panic when Mrs. Stout erased his knowledge the answer to his math problem to help him learn the format she wants him to use in their classwork.

He is also having to learn that his teachers can’t give him a high five every.single.time. they walk past his desk. Or that he really doesn’t need to hug everyone in the school.

He’s really enjoying his literature class (they’re reading The Jungle Book by Kipling which is awesome because it has very little to do with the Disney version) but if you ask him what his favorite part of the day is he’ll tell you it’s grammar.

The boy does love words.

His latest joke:
What do you call a fake macaroni noodle?

Impasta!

Pinterst Test Kitchen # 41 ~ Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

I think I’ve had chicken cordon bleu once in my life. And I honestly can’t say that it was something that

would even occasionally cross my mind when contemplating something to eat. But for some reason when I came across this recipe for it in casserole form it looked and sounded so good! I knew I wanted to try it so of course when I was making plans with friends for our first of the month fellowship meal I volunteered them to be guinea pigs to make it for them.

I’m not real sure what my final opinion is on this recipe. I think part of my problem is that regular chicken cordon bleu is a little more substantial. This just felt like it was missing something to me even though it had a pretty good flavor. It was also a tad bit too salty for me but that is easily fixed by reducing the salt a pinch.

The other thing to know about this recipe is that it is rather labor intensive. Not like killing and plucking your

own chicken labor intensive but it’s not the quickie cream of soup shortcut recipe either. I think the creamy sauce with it’s tinge of smoked paprika is well worth the extra effort though.

What you’ll need:
1 whole cooked chicken, deboned and shredded (I used a rotisserie and that may be why it was a little salty)
1/2 pound shaved honey ham, roughly chopped
About 6 to 8 thin sliced swiss cheese
What you’ll do:
Layer these three ingredients in the order listed in a lightly buttered 9×13 casserole dish. Set aside.
What you’ll need for the cream sauce: 
4 TBS butter
4 TBS flour
3 1/4 cups milk
2 TBS lemon juice
1 TBS dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp salt (I would only do 1 tsp)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika 
1/4 tsp white pepper (I didn’t have any so I left this out)

What you’ll do:
Melt butter over medium heat and then quickly stir in the flour. 
Stir until you get a smooth bubbly roux but do not allow to brown. 

Slowly add in milk, constantly stirring to form a creamy sauce until it thickens. (This is the part that took the longest.)
Mix in the remaining ingredients and return to a low boil then turn off  the heat.
Pour over the meat and cheese making sure to get the sauce on the edges.
Melt 6 TBS butter in a sauce pan.
Add in 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs.
Sprinkle on top of the sauce.
Cook at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned.
Allow to set for about five minutes before serving.

Like I said the flavor was good but it just didn’t seem complete to me. Almost like it should be poured over rice or pasta. We had some left overs that we’ll eat tomorrow night and I think I’ll give it a go with the rice.* Either way, everyone seemed to enjoy the taste and it was edible. And I think my friends will come back again 🙂

*Update:
Had it over the rice and it was fantastic!!