Wednesday, October 31, 2012


This is our son, Max.  He's my step-son, but I never, ever considered him anything other than my own child.  I sit and look at this picture, realizing I didn't give birth to him, but feeling nothing less than the same maternal love for him that I have for my 3 biological children.  That beautiful smile...that's our Max.

I have been wanting to write something about him, but it has been too difficult.  Even now, my eyes are filled with tears and I can barely see to type these words.  Max took his life on July 23, 2012...two days after his 21st birthday.  I can't believe he is just doesn't seem real.

I have so much to say about him and so many wonderful pictures to post, but today is not that day.  I don't know when that day will come, but the pain is still too overwhelming.  I can barely get these words out....I can barely breathe just thinking about it all.

Love your children...hold them....kiss them...hug them....for the last time may come.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Mexican Chicken Dorito Casserole

Mexican Chicken Dorito Casserole

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, uncooked, cubed
1 small onion, chopped
2 to 3 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon homemade taco seasoning (this recipe is below)
1/2 cup cold water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 (10-ounce) can mild Ro-tel
1 (10.75-ounce) can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 ounces Velveeta, cubed
16 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (8.8-ounce) bag Uncle Ben's Ready Rice Spanish Style
1 (11.5-ounc) bag nacho cheese Doritos

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat; add onion to hot oil; cook until onion is clear.  Add the chicken to the skillet and cook through completely.  Add cold water to a small bowl; stir in cornstarch until dissolved.  Add 1 tablespoon homemade taco seasoning to cornstarch mixture and stir until well blended.  Add to the skillet after the chicken is cooked through.  Add the Ro-tel to the skillet and stir until combined with chicken and cornstarch mixture.  Add cream of chicken soup, milk, sour cream, and Velveeta; stir until well blended and Velveeta begins to melt.  Microwave the rice according to package directions.  Crush the Doritos in the bag.  Grease the bottom of a 2-quart or 3-quart glass baking dish.  Add half of the Doritos to the bottom of the baking dish; spread evenly.  Top with half of the creamy chicken mixture.  Top evenly with the Spanish rice.  At this point, I sprinkled the rice with a little bit of garlic salt and a little more of the homemade taco seasoning.  Top with half the cheese.  Spread the remaining crushed Doritos over the cheese.  Top the Doritos with the remaining chicken mixture.  Top with the remaining shredded Cheddar cheese.  Bake for 40 minutes.

Print Mexican Chicken Dorito Casserole Recipe

Homemade Taco Seasoning

1/4 cup chili powder (I mixed 3 parts regular chili powder with 1 part chipotle chili powder)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons paprika
2 tablespoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons ground sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl; store in an airtight container.  I use an empty spice bottle to store mine.

Print Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe

The Mexican Chicken Dorito casserole got thumbs up from everyone!

Nifty Noshing!

Collette :)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

PW's BBQ Jalapeno Poppers

Pioneer Woman's BBQ Jalapeno Poppers...for your viewing pleasure in extra large mode so you can see all the deliciousness.  And I'm not sure if that is the exact title of the recipe.  I'm too lazy to get up and get my cookbook right now.  The first time I attempted these (several months ago), they were a flop.  I tried to double the recipe....which is waaaaaaaaaaaay too many unless you're having a party, and I didn't purchase enough bacon for a double recipe.  Paired with just laying a strip of bacon on top of each jalapeno (because I didn't want to go back to the store), I also didn't cook them long enough.  And one whole batch makes quite a few...especially if there are only 2 of you in the house eating them, but they do keep well in the fridge and re-heat well in the microwave for a snack.
My eldest twin was sweet enough to bring me the cookbook (he had to tear himself away from the Wii, because his father told them they had to get ALL of their laundry done today....I nabbed him for a favor while he was already up!).  Anyway, I do have the name correct; however, I can't figure out how to get the tilde on top of the "n" in the word jalapeno on this blogging software...the Spanish letter is actually pronounced /en-yay/.  My children are amazed at the amount of Spanish I remember from the 5 years I took from junior high to college...but no, I cannot actually carry on a conversation in Spanish.  Okay, that was quite a rabbit trail.  Did you stay on it with me?
Oh...I forgot one small detail.  PW says to use gloves when you're scooping the seeds and membrane out of the peppers so as not to burn your skin or later forget you were working with peppers and rub your eyes.  I used latex gloves the first time I made these, but not the second.  My hands had just a little burn on them, but nothing that really bothered me...not even really a burn.  Even if you wash your hands with hot soapy water after handling the peppers, the oil from the peppers stays on your skin for a while.  If you're concerned about the heat on your skin, a box of latex gloves can be purchased in the pharmacy area of your local grocery store and they're fairly inexpensive.  If you're allergic to latex, then :/ .
Pioneer Woman's BBQ Jalapeno Poppers
18 fresh jalapenos (if you buy them too large, you won't have enough filling)
8 ounce package cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 green onion, sliced (I really minced mine up to incorporate it better in the filling)
18 slices thin bacon, cut into halves (I accidentally bought thick-cut...stick with thin)
Bottled BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's original...our favorite)
Toothpicks (I did not use these)
Rubber gloves (or plastic bags) for working with jalapenos (I did not use either this time)

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

I removed the stems from the jalapenos, but PW likes to leave them in tact for appearance.  I just wanted the popper in my mouth after they were finished.  I didn't want to contend with a stray stem at the end.  Pop the stems off if you like, but don't cut off the end of the jalapeno.  Cut the jalapenos in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds and light-colored membranes...if you like spice, then leave some seeds and membrane in the peppers.

In a bowl, combine cream cheese, shredded Cheddar cheese, and green onion.  Mix them together until they are combined well.  Make sure the cream cheese is really soft, but don't soften it in the is okay to let sit on the counter for a few hours to soften at room temp.  I just mixed mine by hand with a mixing spoon, but you can also use a hand-held mixer.

Stuff each jalapeno half with the cheese mixture.  Wrap one of the half-piece bacon slices around the stuffed jalapeno.  Cover as much of the surface as you can, but try not to stretch the bacon too tightly since the bacon contracts as it cooks.  Brush each jalapeno half with your favorite BBQ sauce.  PW says to secure with toothpicks, but I did not.

Put them in the 275-degree oven for one hour.  Since I used thick-cut bacon, I wasn't satisfied with how they looked after an hour, so I turned on broil and let them sit under the broiler for about 5 minutes.  Serve hot or at room temperature.

Print PW's BBQ Jalapeno Poppers Recipe

The night I made these, they were actually dinner for me and Jonathan.  YUM!  And thanks for reading my blog!  I really do hope you enjoy it!!

Nifty Noshing!!

Collette :)