Thursday, January 29, 2015

Asiago Alfredo Chicken Stuffed Shells and Focaccia Bread

This month, Tastefully Simple sent me two awesome products to work with: Asiago Alfredo Warm Dip Mix and Himalayan Sea Salt Blend.  I immediately thought "pasta and bread, bread and pasta."  

So, I came up with these delicious, cheesy Asiago Alfredo Chicken Stuffed Shells and Focaccia Bread with Himalayan Sea Salt! While this post is long, the recipes are very easy and can be made ahead of time.  

I made the Asiago Alfredo Chicken Stuffed Shells the day before, put them in the fridge over night and baked them for dinner the next day.  I did the same with the focaccia bread, I made it the night before (and enjoyed it with soup) and also the pasta the next day.  It is also great for making sandwiches! The pasta re-heats like a dream so it is perfect for leftovers as well! These two are a match made in heaven.  

I started with the bread by adding water 
And half of the flour.  Popped the mixer on medium and let it go for a minute to start to combine
Then added the remaining flour
Lots of salt (when you read the recipe, it is not a typo!)
And olive oil.  Let it mix (knead) on medium speed for 5 minutes. 
Then I got to work on the chicken.  Preheated the oven to 350 degrees, seasoned the chicken with salt and pepper and into the oven it went for 25 mins.
Once the 5 minutes were up, I tested the dough and it was soft but not sticky. 
 I placed it in a bowl that I sprayed with cooking spray and covered with a clean dish towel for an hour.
 I took the chicken out and cut it in half at the biggest part.  It wasn't done (as you can see) so back in the oven it went for a total of 25 minutes.

Once the dough had doubled in size
 I oiled the pan (yes it looks like a ton, yes that is why it tastes so good)
 And spread the dough out onto it
 Using my rough looking winter man-hands, I pressed my fingers into the dough to make the unmistakable texture of focaccia bread
 To make it look like this
 Cover with plastic wrap (NOT PRESS AND SEAL!--I don't own plastic wrap but now I know it serves a purpose and I should!) Let this rise for an hour in a warm place...on the top of the oven that was just on..just a hint :)
 Once it had time to rise, I brushed it all with the oil that was in the corners of the pan
 Sprinkled with additional rosemary
 And ground the Himalayan Sea Salt Blend all over it.
 I baked it for 25 minutes and it came out perfect.
 While the bread was baking, I worked on the pasta again.  I diced the chicken
 And I tossed it in a bowl with ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and dried parsley
 Gave it a stir and a taste, added a little bit more salt
 And an egg.  I added the egg after so that I could taste it.
 I cooked the pasta shells and tossed them with olive oil so they wouldn't stick together and set them aside.
 While I worked on the sauce.  Super easy, just milk
 Cream cheese
 And the Asiago Alfredo Dip Mix . I cooked this for about 2 minutes on medium heat while stirring
I stuffed the shells with the cheese and chicken mixture.  It was easy to do by just scooping large spoonfuls of it into each shell.
 Poured the Asiago Alfredo Sauce over the top
 Sprinkled with mozzarella cheese. And covered it, and put it into the fridge over night (just because I made it during the day; you can totally bake it right after you assemble!)
 The next day I preheated the oven to 350, popped it in for about 35 minutes and put it under the broiler for about 4 minutes while keeping a close eye on it.  I love broiled golden cheese!
 And that's it!
 I cut the focaccia bread into cute little triangles
 And served the pasta along side a small salad with a crisp vinaigrette.
The perfect meal. 

I couldn't believe the flavor of the Asiago Alfredo Dip Mix!  It was so good and only had two additional ingredients to add.  I am looking forward to using the other packet to make the dip out of it.  I am also looking forward to using the Himalayan Sea Salt Blend in other ways as well! It has the Himalayan sea salt but also garlic and onion as well.  It would be great in seasoning ground beef to make chili, over eggs, on grilled chicken; the options really seem endless! 

I hope you enjoy these recipes, we really have! 

Focaccia Bread 
1 3/4 cup warm water 
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast 
3 teaspoons dried rosemary, divided
1 tablespoon sugar
5 1/4 cup all purpose flour 
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup olive oil

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, yeast, 2 teaspoons rosemary, sugar and 3 1/4 cups of the flour.  Place the hook on the mixer and turn on low speed.  Add the remaining flour, salt and 1/2 cup of olive oil. After the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and knead the dough for 5 minutes.  Press your finger into the dough, if it isn't sticky, you are perfect.  If still a little sticky, add another tablespoon or two of flour.  

Place the dough in a large bowl that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Lay a clean dish towel over the bowl and put in a warm place to rise.  This should take about an hour. 

After the dough has doubled in size, remove the towel.  Pour the remaining olive oil onto the pan and spread around evenly.  Plop the dough in the middle and press and form it into the pan.  It should almost go to all of the edges/corners.  Using your fingers, press into the dough and create little divots. Be sure to press all the way through to the pan in some spots.  That is what creates the texture of the focaccia.   Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for an hour.  

Once the hour is almost over, preheat the oven to 425.  Once preheated, remove the plastic wrap and using a pastry brush, paint the olive oil that has formed in the corners over the whole thing.  Sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon of rosemary and grind the Himalayan Sea Salt Blend over the top.  I estimated at the 2 teaspoons but you want quite a bit as it adds a lot of flavor! Place in the oven for 25-30 mins.  Mine took 25 mins exactly! 

Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before cutting into it. 


Recipe slightly adapted from: Handle the Heat

 Asiago Alfredo Chicken Stuffed Shells 

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
Salt and Pepper for seasoning 
8 oz container of ricotta (low fat/skim is okay)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese 
1 tablespoon dried parsley + additional for garnish 
1 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon pepper 
1 egg
20 jumbo pasta shells 
1 1/2 cups milk (skim is okay)
8 oz cream cheese (1/3 the fat is okay) 
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 
Cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  

Place the chicken breasts in an oven safe baking dish.  Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 minutes.  After 25 mins, cut into the thickest part of the chicken to ensure that it is fully cooked.  If it is, remove from the oven.  If not, put it in for another minute or two, or until fully cooked. 

Once the chicken is cooked, let it cool slightly.  

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. Drain and drizzle with olive oil so it doesn't stick. 

While the pasta cooks, dice into small pieces and place in a large bowl.  Add the ricotta, parmesan, dried parsley, salt and pepper.  Give it a good stir and taste.  If needed add additional salt and pepper.  Once appropriately seasoned, add in the egg, stir until completely combined.  

Fill the shells with the cheese and chicken mixture by using a tablespoon and stuffing until completely full. Place in a 9x13 baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. 

In a medium sauce pan, combine the milk, cream cheese and Asiago Alfredo Dip Mix.  Cook on medium heat until combined.  

Pour the sauce over the stuffed shells.  Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the top.  

Bake for 30 minutes or until hot an bubbly.  Turn on the broiler and broil for 3-5 minutes, be sure to keep an eye on it! 

Serve and enjoy!  

Recipe by: Mrs. Schwartz 

**DISCLOSURE: I was provided with free products with this post and was also compensated.  However, all opinions are my own.  As always, you cannot buy my love, baby.**

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Meal Plan Week 3

Well here we are, Meal Plan Week 3!  Check out what we will be having for dinner this week!

SUNDAY: Spicy Chipotle Chicken Pasta--A Cheesecake Factory Copycat.  This recipe is out of this world! I like to make it on Saturday or Sundays because it does have a few steps (don't let that intimidate you, it is totally worth it) since I have an extra set of hands with the baby!
MONDAY: Crunchy Honey Soy Pork Chops.  The perfect weeknight dinner; easy and delicious! 
WEDNESDAY: Enchilada Style Stuffed Peppers.  An oldie but a goodie! 
THURSDAY: Fresh Corn Salsa Frittata with a Hash Brown Crust.  BRINNER! I love making breakfast for dinner (aka Brinner)!  I also love to make egg bakes during the week as they reheat wonderfully in the microwave for a quick breakfast.  
FRIDAY: Crockpot Italian Chicken.  This recipe could not be easier, perfect for a Friday night! 
SATURDAY: Make Ahead Chicken (minus the) Noodle Soup.  I'm planning on making a big o' batch of this stuff, freezing what we don't eat right away.  It is fantastic to have during the winter months when colds and sickness are always just around the corner.  Also great for when you have a baby and only minutes to make dinner! 

I hope you all have a great week! 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Addison's Nursery

I have been meaning to post a tour of Addie's nursery forever now and I finally was able to carve out a few minutes to take pictures!  

When we found out we were expecting I knew I wanted to go with a "Woodland" themed nursery.  Aaron and I both like the outdoors (him even more than me) and we wanted to incorporate that into the nursery.  I made a secret Pinterest board and started the planning process.  To be honest, I didn't find a ton of "Pinsperation" and what I did find was basically the same stuff on different blog pages.  So, for the most part, I just combined things that I found online and in store and went from there.  Then, when we found out we were having a girl, I had to figure out a way to incorporate fairies.  I mean, what magical woodland forest doesn't have fairies!?  Turns out the fairies are Addie's favorite part!  

So without further adieu, Addison's nursery... ps. I tried to include as much information as I could (and links) in case you are putting together your own woodland themed nursery :) 

This is the view from the crib. The little chair is from Pottery Barn and was a "welcome to the family" gift from my brother and his family. The pillow  (which I love) has Addie's birth stats on it and I bought it from Brickyard Buffalo which is one of those sites that cycles through products so it is not available as I type this however,
The bookshelves are from IKEA and were natural colored, navy, then stripped down and stained to match our woodwork.  My husband is a patient man!
Here is half of her closet...the clothes at least.  Embarrassed to say that half of her wardrobe is still in tubs downstairs?  Baby girl clothes are like crack. The other half of her closet is full of diapers, wipes, toys and other supplies.
Here is the view from the closet.  I knew I wanted a mural of trees and took for-ever to pick out exactly what I wanted.  I wanted them floor to ceiling so they would be a little more realistic.  I found them on Etsy and they did come with leaves but after we put them up, I liked the tranquility of them minus the leaves.
Enter the fairies!  Addie is OB-sessed with these.  As soon as she could see far enough her eyes were locked in on them and in love. They were the first thing that got her super excited, hands and feet flying everywhere talking up a storm.  It makes my Mama heart happy to know she loved them so much.  I made the little mobile with a little wreath and ribbon from Michaels along with the felted flowers I found there as well.
The actual fairies are from Israel.  Normal right?  I searched and searched for the perfect little fairies and when I found them I knew they were the ones!  The shop owner was so sweet and custom made the pink and blue fairies after I feel in love with the green fairy that was on her site.  
I love how it turned out and that it makes our girl so happy to watch her fairies. 
I also got my craft on by making this super easy initial.  I just used one of those wooden letters from Michaels and hot-guled this greenery from Pottery Barn.  Super easy! 
I ordered these prints from Etsy as well.  It is hard to say but the first one (with the heart) says "For this Child I Prayed"  the second says "Though She Be But Little She is Fierce" and lastly "A is for Addison".  I also had these custom made by the awesome shop owner, Cate.  The colors didn't match the linens perfectly and I'm kind of a freak that way so I sent her a picture of the linens and she made the prints to match.  Awesome! The white frames are ones we had from Michaels.
The rocker and ottoman are from Target and has a super long (and annoying) story to go along with it.  I'll just say I literally spent over 8 HOURS of my time getting it straightened out with Target. Boo.  It's comfortable but honestly I wish I would have gone with this one our friends have .  Its like sitting in a cloud. An awesome rocking cloud.

The little side table and the lamp that is never on and does not serve a purpose are both from Target but I purchased them on clearance so they are no longer available.  The Owl Humidifier and the sound machine can be found at Target or on amazon.  We LOVE the sound machine and have had it on every night since the day she was home. On the rain setting, not the ocean!

Our changing table is from Ikea (my husband protested at first) in washed white and I LOVE it.  It's really a dresser since we didn't want to have a traditional changing table that would only serve one purpose.  She will have this dresser for a while and it's taller than most changing tables which is great since my husband and I are both tall.  

I love the little diaper caddy thing which is from Target.  The other little items on her dresser are the stuffed squirrel from Anthropologie which is no longer available since I bought it before I was pregnant (I know), the little hedgie is from Pier One (again unavailable!), the leaf is from an adorable store called Patina in Minneapolis , the little stuffed raccoon is from a claw machine in Jackson Hole Wyoming, I am a beast at the claw...ask my husband. The little warmer is from Scentsy and is no longer available.  I had it in our house a long time ago and just think it looks cute in her room, I don't really use it.  Here is a similar one a found. 
This little guy is her sensor as we call it.  Basically it just senses her breathing and if she would stop breathing an alarm would sound.  We LOVE this thing.  It has allowed me to sleep peacefully knowing that she is still breathing.  I know, there are mixed reviews about this and blah blah blah but honestly it reduces my anxiety and allows me to get as much sleep as I can at night!  We put it on her diaper when she goes to bed, then layer a tight onesie so she can't wiggle it off, then her fleece pajamas.  She has had a few times that she wiggled it off and wowza, I have never ran so fast in my find her snuggled away in her crib.  But, good to know it works! Love love love it! 
We are also huge fans of her video monitor .  I love being able to roll over at night when I hear her wake up to see if she is really up or trying to put herself back to sleep.  I say to myself "shut your eyes...shut your eyes...please baby shut your eyes..." and watch her drift back to sleep...most nights! 

View from the crib.  My mom made adorable changing pad covers but I took a picture of her prototype, while cute, the other patterns are way cuter and match her crib sheets!
And of course, her Cuckoo Clock which she also adores!  Ever since she was tiny she would crank her neck back and watch the bird on the bottom swing back and forth.
We keep tons of stuff in her "changing table" here is a little peek inside.  Fleece pjs, diapers, tons of socks, booties and hats. 
Then the crown jewel of her nursery: the crib!  My husband, father and friend of the family built the crib for Addison... and our other babies, and their babies, and their babies babies :).  But they didn't just built it, they cut the tree down, made it into boards, sanded, assembled and sealed this beauty!
All of the hard work paid off because, boy does she love her crib.
And we love her.  And that she loves her crib.
And her fairies.
She LOVES those fairies!

I hope you enjoyed Addie's nursery tour!  Let me know if you have any questions or if I forgot to tag something!  I know how it is falling in love with something you see on the internet then not being able to find it!  : )

**DISCLAIMER: I did use some affiliate links in this post.  That means that if you purchase something through these links I get a tiny, tiny fraction of that kicked back to me.**