When my kids were little, I used to love reading books to them. I would relish story-time because it gave me time alone with my children and their busy bodies became very calm & quiet. I read many different types of books to […]
Everyday in the United States our children go hungry. Some go to school hungry and others go to bed hungry. I used to work in a school district for many years where I would see kids starving because the only time they ate was at school. Help us make a difference in our own communities….our own Country. Give as little as 5.00 as this could buy one to two kids a meal. Or give more if you are able to. Be the change you want to see in the world you live in. Give some change…..and change a life!
Print Mongolian Beef Skillet Enjoy this Chinese restaurant favorite, at home – a 15 minute skillet dinner recipe made with tender flank steak in a savory soy-hoisin sauce. Course Main Course Cuisine Chinese Keyword chinese mongolian beef, spicy Prep Time 15 minutes Cook Time […]
Chicken Bacon Ranch Stuffed Shells
- 24 uncooked jumbo pasta shells (from 12-oz box)
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
- 2 cups Progresso™ reduced sodium chicken broth (from 32-oz carton)
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, cubed
- 1 package (1 oz) ranch salad dressing & seasoning mix
- 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
- 1 package (10 oz) Cascadian Farm™ organic frozen cut leaf spinach, thawed, squeezed to drain
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (6 oz
- 1/2 cup sliced green onions
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1/3 cup Progresso™ original panko crispy bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup chopped cooked bacon
Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. Cook and drain pasta shells as directed on box.
In 4-quart saucepan, melt 1/4 cup butter over medium heat. With whisk, stir in flour until smooth. Cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture is smooth and bubbly.
In 4-cup glass measuring cup, mix broth and whipping cream. Gradually stir broth mixture into saucepan. Increase heat to medium-high; heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute; reduce heat to medium. Add cream cheese and cook until melted, beating occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir dressing mix into sauce mixture. Pour 1 cup of the sauce into bottom of baking dish, spreading to cover.
In medium bowl, mix 1 cup of the sauce, the chicken, spinach, 1 cup of the shredded cheese and 1/4 cup of the green onions.
Fill each pasta shell with a heaping tablespoonful chicken mixture; place in baking dish. Pour remaining sauce on top of shells. Cover; bake 35 to 40 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese; bake uncovered about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Meanwhile, in 8-inch skillet, heat 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add bread crumbs; stir to coat. Cook and stir 2 to 4 minutes or until golden brown.
Before serving, top shells with bacon, bread crumbs and remaining 1/4 cup green onions.
Want to get away from the 120 degree weather in Phoenix, Arizona? Well, I certainly did so when my friend Cheri Yvonne Lee (a.k.a Amy Jamison) invited me to the Payson Book Festival, I quickly began packing, ignoring the pleading glances of my children to take them with me and skipped out the door before they could try and find a way to lodge themselves in my suitcase.
Instead of letting Jesus take the wheel, I put my trust and faith in my friend Cherie and jumped into her suv to head my merry way into the blissful mountains of 80 degree weather. Speeding our way through freeway traffic I mentally yelled at the dumb drivers who kept jumping in our late trying to make us late for our destiny with the forest king. As soon as we were out onto that stretch of highway, I decided to settle back, relax and enjoy the scenery ahead of me. No sooner did I think this I saw the winding roads ahead of me that seemed to call out my short fate in loud screams. I grabbed onto my seat, dug my feet into my make-believe gas and brake pedals and tried to control my eyes from going to the back of my head. I tried to communicate with my friend telepathically to slow down and feigned a look of courage even though I was fighting a desire to pass out and felt immediate paralysis take hold of my entire body. In no way is Cheri a bad driver, but I had a traumatic experience years back in the mountain highway and I was reliving a mini portion of it right there and then.
What seemed like forever, we finally made it to the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino where the Payson Book Festival was being held. No sooner did we arrive, the storm which had been following us close by decided to welcome us with an outpouring of its cleansing tears as the grounds around us became a small rolling river in the midst of the Valet Parking lot. Sheets of rain, ear deafening thunder and strong bolts of lightening enveloped us in its strange and unfamiliar tribal dance of power and awe. I LOVED it!!!! We don’t get to enjoy many storms in the Valley so sitting outside of the casino watching and listening to all this magic around us was wonderful.
Tearing myself away from the storm and forcing myself to go inside with my friend, we finally made our way in to check out the book festivals set-up for tomorrow. We moseyed into the reserved room, just in time to see a couple of other authors who had the same game plan. After a yak fest for a few minutes we went into the Casino’s Cedar Ridge Restaurant and gorged on the All-you-can-eat buffet. Today was Fish Fry Friday so we or should I say I loaded up on Fried Fish, Fried Shrimp, Corn-on-the-Cob, Mashed Potatoes w/Gravy, a Salad Bar and Clam Chowder Soup. If that wasn’t enough to roll us out of there, the dessert bar beckoned us with Black Forest Cake, Puddings galore and Strawberry Shortcake. By the time we were done, I knew we would probably have to put on the stretch pants.
Heading to our Bed n Breakfast room nestled in the forest, we spent some time enjoying the 80 degree weather by opening our plantation shutters to let the cool air in. Our hostess at the BNB home greeted us earlier with her huge German Shepard who seemed to leave his scent throughout the house particularly in our room and mistakenly assumed Cheri and I were lovers because we were sharing the same room (umm, you only had 1 room to rent out unless you planned on giving us your room which probably smelled like dog too). Anyways, we made do with what we had, spent the rest of the night talking and enjoying eachothers company and even put a pillow between us when we went to sleep thanks to the awkwardness of our host and our own paranoia.
Waking up EARLY, we packed our things, loaded up the car, didn’t see our hostess on our way out and helped ourselves to a large cup of coffee in her kitchen nonetheless. Arriving to the Payson Book Festival with a host of other authors already making their way into the reserved room, we grabbed a special of Biscuits w/Gravy, Sausage and Scrambled Eggs for only 2.99 from the Casinos restaurant and then I helped Cheri unpack her books and set up her table for the bookfair. In the adjoining room, a Fruit Bar, Pastry Plate and Tea/Coffee station were set up to keep the authors happy, health, fed and motivated. I quickly made my way to this table, but not without stopping by many of the authors’ tables to say hi, take pics and see their written work. I met Cat-in-the Hat, Dolly Parton’s Cardboard twin, Monsters, Aliens….and yes even some authors. I listened to a live performance of music, attended a travel-writing session and even snuck across the parking lot to smuggle me in a Navajo Taco. This event was packed with Authors, the public and people who put it all together to make it happen. I entered into a raffle, bet on a silent auction and tried to win anything I could get my hands on. No luck. I didn’t even leave with my pride.
However I did leave with great memories with my friend and of this wondrous place called Payson. The people were friendly, the forest enchanting, and the book fair exciting. I left a piece of my heart in Payson along with the hopes to one day be at the fair next year not as a participant but as an author too. So, Cheri and I packed up the car, put on my seatbelt and gripped my seat and door handle and held on for the ride of my life back to the hellish dessert and the guilt induced looks of my kids.