Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Health Update

Well I am sure as many of you already know last week I had a bronch done up in Gainesville to check and make sure I had no rejection after receiving treatment a month prior for the acute rejection my doctors had found.

I am pleased to report that the bronch results came back in recored time (the next day~usually its not till like thursday or friday I get results if my bronch is on a monday) and they were NEGATIVE for rejection!! YAY!! I can not begin to put into words how relieved I was to get those results. :)

While my mom and I were in Gainesville we also had an appointment with my vascular surgeon who did my Arterial Bypass surgery in February. I had an ABI test done and I have completely 100% normal blood flow in both my legs so that was another piece of good news! I have been having some minor swelling in my left foot/ankle from time to time lately which is what prompted me to make the appt (to make sure everything checked out ok) but the PA said that that could just be my "norm" now and that everything else looked good. So I don't have to go back to see them for another 6 months.

I did talk to my tx doctor about my back while I was up there. Ever since my surgery I have had aches and pains in my lower back but nothing that ever stopped me from doing anything. But the last month or so the pain has been SO bad that when I wake up in the morning I can barely move and unless I take something for the pain it will continue like that for the rest of the day...its HORRIBLE! :(

So Dr. Baz suggested that I go and see a Neurosurgeon in my hometown to make sure I don't have a chipped disc or disc disease due to Osteoporosis or anything like that. I for one don't think its either of those two, I feel its more like a pinched nerve or muscular but what do I know?? last Wednesday I went to see the Neuro guy and he agreed with me that he thinks its more muscular but couldn't rule anything out until I got a CT Scan and MRI done.

That was today. I have had many CT scans done so I knew what to expect but have never had an MRI so I was needless to say "a little anxious" about it considering I don't like things directly above my face! I was in the tube for an hour and since I am writing this blog tonight you can see I survived but let me assure you I did NOT enjoy any minute of it at ALL!! LOL

I got the films from the radiology place and now have to wait until next week to see the Neuro doc again to get a diagnosis. I will let you all know what he says but I am thinking some PT for my back is somewhere in my near future....wish me luck that that is the LEAST of my problems and that I don't have to go through any more surgeries!!

I hope everyone has a great Labor Day weekend!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Flavorful Beef in Gravy!

I am a few days late with this blog...I made this meal Friday night. We had Danny's brother and his wife and kids over for dinner along with Danny's brother Tony who lives with us. All total there was I think nine of us so I needed a meal that fed a lot but didn't break the bank! This crock-pot recipe feeds 12 so it was PERFECT!

Flavorful Beef in Gravy


  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 cans (10-3/4 ounces each) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed golden mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted
  • 1-1/3 cups milk
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix
  • Hot cooked noodles or mashed potatoes


  • Place flour in a large resealable plastic bag; add beef and toss to coat. In a skillet, brown beef in oil.
  • Transfer beef to a 5-qt. slow cooker. Stir in the soups, milk and soup mix. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or until the meat is tender. Serve with noodles or potatoes.

Lemon-Herbed Mashed Potatoes


1 (5 pound) bag yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 cup butter
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
2 tbsp. minced green onion
1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. lemon zest


In a large dutch oven, combine potatoes and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Drain potatoes and return to dutch oven. Add butter, sour cream, green onion, parsley, salt and lemon zest. Using a potato masher, mash potatoes to desired consistency.

Roasted Green Beans


2 (8 ounce) bags fresh green beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminium foil.

Place green beans in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with garlic, an drizzle with olive oil and S&P. Toss gently to coat.

Bake for 12 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Serve immediately.

**Here is a picture of it in the crock-pot. Sadly I was so hungry by the time we had dinner I was half way through my plate when I realized I didn't take a picture of my completed plate!! Im such an Anyway I also served this meal with a loaf of puerto rican bread and some butter! Enjoy!! :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Crouton Crushed Chicken Tenders W/Orange BBQ Sauce!

One of our favorite go to easy meals is homemade chicken tenders. I usually just coat them with italian bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and then bake them in the oven but I saw today's recipe on an episode of Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee and it looked pretty good so I decided to give it a try!

The only thing I didn't like about it was they didn't brown up as much as I would have liked (and I even left them in a little longer than the directions said to) I probably could have put them under the broiler for a few minutes and that would have done the trick but by that time I was hungry and tired of waiting for dinner to be done! :)

Crouton Crushed Chicken Tenders


  • 1 (6-ounce) bag garlic and butter croutons
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cut the corner off of the bag croutons just enough to let the air escape. Place the bag onto a cutting board, cover with a kitchen towel and smash it with a rolling pin. Crush the croutons until coarse in texture.

Set up a breading station with 3 pie plates or baking dishes. In 1 dish add the flour, and season it with poultry seasoning, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. In the second dish mix together the egg and buttermilk. In the third dish add the crushed croutons, and the bread crumbs.

Dip chicken tenders into the flour and shake of any excess. Then dip them into the buttermilk, and then into the bread crumb mixture making sure to thoroughly coat the tenders. Put the tenders on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Transfer to a platter and serve with the orange barbeque sauce.

Orange BBQ Sauce



Add all of the ingredients to a small bowl, and whisk together until well combined. is my final plate!! Now as a person who does NOT like anything even remotely spicy...don't let the fact that the BBQ sauce has a little hot sauce in it make you think its hot. I was gonna leave it out but decided to add it and I am glad I was DELICIOUS! :)

**for the 1 1/2 pounds of chicken tenders I just took four boneless-skinless chicken breast and cut them into strips! I then served them with Velvetta Shellls and Green Beans. Happy Eating!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Spaghetti a la Philly

Now I know everyone knows how to make Spaghetti and I usually don't have a recipe when I make it either. I usually just throw everything in the pots and then I am done. But I thought to myself I can't put just a boring old Spaghetti recipe on my blog so I searched the good old internet for something different (and with things I had already in the house!) and came up with this version for dinner last night!

The funny side note to this recipe is that my husband Danny is color blind (that's not funny but this story is) and when he came in the kitchen and lifted the lid to the spaghetti sauce (not knowing I changed the recipe from how we usually eat spaghetti) the FIRST thing out of his mouth is "why is the sauce a different color??" I said to him..."how do you know what color it is you are color blind!!" HA! I didn't want to tell him why the color was a little "off" until he tried it because he doesn't like cream cheese (on like bagels and stuff) but if its mixed in something he usually eats it and likes it! So I wanted him to try it first not knowing what was in it to get a truthful answer. Captain "I don't like cream cheesee" not only liked it but got a second helping so that's always a good sign!

So here is the recipe. Hope you enjoy!



1/2 lb.
spaghetti, uncooked
1 lb.
extra-leanground beef
1 jar
(24 oz.)spaghetti sauce
4 oz.
(1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.)PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, cubed
2 Tbsp.
KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese

***I substituted a pound of Sweet Italian Sausage (casings removed) for the ground beef and added one chopped onion to the recipe! :)


spaghetti as directed on package.

  • Meanwhile, brown meat in large skillet. Stir in sauce and cream cheese; cook on low heat 3 to 5 min. or until sauce is well blended and heated through, stirring frequently.

  • Drain spaghetti. Add to sauce; mix lightly. Place on platter; top with Parmesan.

  • And here is my finished plate! I actually was so hungry I took a bite then remembered I needed to take a picture of my plate...opps. I served it with just regular old texas toast and it was fabulous! Happy eating! :)

    Monday, August 15, 2011

    Tortellini with Peas and Prosciutto!

    I just recently got a new cookbook in the mail. Its called, Food Network Magazine~Great Easy Meals!! The BEST thing about this cookbook is that it has a picture of EVERY recipe which I absolutely LOVE!

    I have to also say that lately I have been using a lot more fresh products than usual (fresh herbs, and whole garlic cloves instead of minced garlic from the fridge) and I am really enjoying the extra Oomph it seems to be giving to my cooking!

    So here is tonights dinner. I hope you enjoy! And remember if you end up trying it...let me know what you think!! :)

    Tortellini with Peas and Prosciutto



    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook as the label directs.

    Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and prosciutto and cook until crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and tomato paste and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Ladle in about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and simmer until reduced by about half, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the cream and simmer until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.

    About 2 minutes before the tortellini are done, add the peas to the boiling water and cook until just tender. Drain the tortellini and peas and add to the skillet, tossing to coat with the sauce. Stir in the parsley. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.

    Here is my final plate! I served it with biscuits drizzled with honey. Very flavorful...I was stuffed full by the end of the meal! :)

    P.S. on a little side note...I couldn't find meat filled tortellini so I just got the ones filled with cheese and it was still delicious! I mean, pasta and bad can that be??

    Friday, August 12, 2011

    Baked Ziti

    Last night we had my two cousins over for dinner. One of my favorite go to dinners for company is my recipe for baked ziti cause I can make an assemble the whole thing early in the day, put it in the fridge and then pop it in the oven before company gets here. That way I have time to visit with everyone PLUS the mess I made making the ziti can all be cleaned up so my kitchen isn't a disaster area! :)

    So here it is:



    • 1 pound dry ziti pasta
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 1 pound lean ground beef
    • 2 (26 ounce) jars spaghetti sauce
    • 6 ounces provolone cheese, sliced
    • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
    • 6 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
    • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


    1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes; drain.
    2. In a large skillet, brown onion and ground beef over medium heat. Add spaghetti sauce, and simmer 15 minutes.
    3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer as follows: 1/2 of the ziti, Provolone cheese, sour cream, 1/2 sauce mixture, remaining ziti, mozzarella cheese and remaining sauce mixture. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.
    4. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheeses are melted. is the finished product!! I served it with a side salad and garlic toast. I loved it but boy did I have heartburn today. BTW...totally worth it! :)

    A few side notes about the dish. Both the sliced provolone and shredded mozzarella come in 8oz packages not 6oz like the recipe calls for so I just add the whole thing of both bags. Can't ever have TOO much cheese!! :)

    Also, when I make the recipe ahead of time and put it in the fridge for later I double the cooking time. So I bake it for an hour with it covered in tin foil and then after the hour of cooking I take the foil off and put it back in the oven for like 5-10 minutes to make sure the cheese on top is nice and melted and gets a little browned on top.

    Another thing I do different is when the pasta and sauce are done cooking instead of layering it in the 13x9 pan I mix them together THEN put it in the pan! So it goes pasta mixture, provolone slices, sour cream, the rest of the pasta mixture and then shredded mozzarella.

    I hope you enjoy and again if you end up trying this meal, let me know what you think!! :)

    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    Lemon Chicken Breast w/ Roasted Broccolini and Green Beans!

    These are two recipes that I have seen on TV a few times being made and finally I was like..ok they look too delicious so I am gonna print out the recipes and make them for dinner one night!!

    The Roasted Broccolini and Green Beans is a Rachel Ray Recipe and the Lemon Chicken Breast comes from Ina Garten aka The Barefoot Contessa! I watch both shows everyday (just ask Danny he now HATES the Food Network!! LOL) and love most everything they make!

    So here are the recipes!! I hope you enjoy them as much as I did...and if you end up trying them please come back and let me know what you thought too! :)

    Roasted Broccolini and Green Beans


    • 2 bundles broccolini, trim off ends
    • 1 pound string beans, trimmed
    • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


    Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.

    Arrange broccolini and beans on a cookie sheet. Coat the vegetables in oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast 15 to 18 minutes, until nutty and crispy at edges.

    Lemon Chicken Breast


    • 1/4 cup good olive oil
    • 3 tablespoons minced garlic (9 cloves)
    • 1/3 cup dry white wine
    • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
    • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
    • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 4 boneless chicken breasts, skin on (6 to 8 ounces each)
    • 1 lemon


    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

    Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the garlic, and cook for just 1 minute but don't allow the garlic to turn brown. Off the heat, add the white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice,oregano, thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt and pour into a 9 by 12-inch baking dish.

    Pat the chicken breasts dry and place them skin side up over the sauce. Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper. Cut the lemon in 8 wedges and tuck it among the pieces of chicken.

    Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts, until the chicken is done and the skin is lightly browned. If the chicken isn't browned enough, put it under the broiler for 2 minutes. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with the pan juices.

    And....this is my finished plate! To go along with the Chicken and Vegetables I just made a herb/butter rice side dish that came out of a packet. I wanna say it was the Lipton Rice Side! The whole meal had tons of flavor and the chicken was very juicy!! Now get cooking and enjoy!! :)

    P.S. I forgot to mention if you can't find chicken breast with the skin on and no bone (like me) just take it up to the meat guy behind the counter at your local grocery store and ask him to do it!! They will be happy to! :)