King Ranch Chicken

Mmm, King Ranch Chicken. This dish is one I grew up on and it always reminds me of childhood. It's one of my dad's favorites and is always his birthday dinner request. It has simple ingredients and is a great use of leftover chicken.  I share it now with all of you so you can share it with your families. I hope you enjoy.  

First, gather all of your ingredients.

Peel and quarter your onion, then cut around the top of your green pepper... 

...and twist to pull the seeds out.

Make sure to remove any remaining seeds, then quarter your green pepper.

Pour both of your soups into your blender and toss the onion and green pepper in on top of it. 

Liquefy in your blender, add your Picante sauce and liquefy some more. When you're done it will look like this: 

Grease your 9x13 baking dish with some cooking spray, crush up half of your chips and spread in an even layer in the dish.

Do the same with half of your shredded chicken...

Half your sauce...

and finally half of your cheese.

Then, starting with the other half of your chips, layer the rest of your ingredients as you did before, ending with cheese. Pop it in the oven, let it get all hot and bubbly, and enjoy the cheesy, melty goodness with just a kick of spice.

King Ranch Chicken

What you'll need:
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 green bell pepper, quartered
1 onion, quartered
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 (16 oz.) jar Pace picante sauce (mild, medium, or hot depending on your liking)
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, shredded
2/3 bag tortilla chips, crushed 

Place the soups, onion and bell pepper in a blender; liquefy, then add Pace picante and liquefy to make a sauce. Spray 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray. Layer 1/2 the chips, 1/2 the chicken, 1/2 the sauce and 1/2 of the cheese in the baking dish. Repeat layers ending with cheese. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. 


Land That I Love

Phew, what a week! Having Independence Day fall in the middle of the week has worn. me. out. How do you know you've graduated from the "party like a rock star" phase of your roaring 20's and hit the "can't handle that amount of excitement" phase of your late 20's? You spend a little time in the heat, have two jam-packed days of fun-filled activities and wake up day three with what feels like the hangover from hell - complete with a splitting headache and aching body. It's taken me three days to recover from all the festivities. 

We celebrated this year with two full days of patriotism. On 4th of July eve, we went into town for their yearly celebratory event in the park - complete with a mini fair, lots of vendor booths, fresh squeezed lemonade that is the perfect combination of tart and sweet, crispy funnel cakes smothered in powdered sugar and crisp roasted corn. Especially exciting to my girl was the rides, face painting, and fireworks.

Once the sun was asleep and the moon was high in the sky, we settled onto our quilt in the middle of the park to watch the fireworks. Surrounded by thousands of people, we admired the brilliant colors as they dazzled in the night sky above us.

The next morning, we dragged ourselves out of bed, exhausted from the night before, and journeyed back into town for the annual Independence Day Parade. Once the marching bands, color guards and vibrant patriotic floats concluded their mile-long haul, we jumped in the car and headed to our next destination: the lake house! Once there we enjoyed an amazing lunch of fall-off-the-bone ribs, potato salad, coleslaw, macaroni salad, and rolls all homemade by my amazing parents (is there anything better than a home cooked meal from your parents? probably not.). We had the time of our lives boating, tubing, knee boarding (my Momma's new love...if only she could make it onto her knees), and swimming in the sunshine.

My girl and my Momma

I hope you had a wonderful 4th of July weekend that left you worn out in that I-am-so-blessed kinda way. I hope you spent time with loved ones and cherished friends making memories that will last a lifetime.

So tell me, how did you celebrate your Independence Day?


Spinach & Ravioli Bake

We love casseroles 'round here. They're so convenient, they're portable and are always a crowd pleaser at a potluck. They're also one of the best ways I can figure to sneak some veggies into each meal, because everything is better when it's covered in a lovely sauce and baked to perfection. This recipe is a new addition to our menu - it was quick, easy, and soooo good. It's fast and easy weeknight meal or Sunday supper that's sure to be a knockout with your family and friends.

First, take a jar of spaghetti sauce and pour half in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish that's sprayed with cooking spray. Spread it all out evenly along the bottom. 

Then grab your fresh spinach, lop off the stems with a knife and lay a few leaves on top of each other, like this:

Now we want to chop up our spinach. So roll it up lengthwise and hold it in place...

then use your knife chop it up. It will form long narrow pieces like this: 

Do this a couple times until you've chopped up about a half a cup of spinach. Simple, right? Okay. Now sprinkle your spinach over the sauce in your baking dish. 

Now it's time to add your frozen ravioli. Lay it out in one even layer on top of your sauce/spinach mixture. It'll look like this: 

Now sprinkle half of your cheese evenly over the ravioli.

Once you've given it plenty of cheese, start all over again and form another layer of sauce, spinach, ravioli and cheese. Then cover it in foil and pop it the oven. 

Voila! You have an amazing meal that everyone will love for minimal effort. Now that's my kinda of supper!

Spinach & Ravioli Bake

What you'll need:
1 (26 oz.) jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce (I use Ragu Garden Vegetable)
2 (1 lb.) packages frozen cheese ravioli, uncooked
1 cup fresh spinach
2 cups shredded Kraft Italian Five Cheese 

Pre-heat oven to 400°. Spread one cup of spaghetti sauce evenly along the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Chop and layer 1/2 cup of fresh spinach evenly on top of the sauce, then layer 1/2 of your frozen ravioli and 1 cup of cheese on top. Top with remaining spaghetti sauce, spinach, ravioli and cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 400° for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 more minutes or until cheese is golden brown and bubbly and ravioli is cooked through and tender. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.