One Woman's Head-On Collision With Life

Monday, June 11, 2012

Let Them Eat Ca--...Hmmm

It never fails; midday rolls around and I'm pulling out my hair, trying to think up something for supper.

I happily would kiss all ten toes on the feet of anyone who'd call me each day and just tell me what to cook.

You'd think I never go near my stove.

But I do.

I can remember I cook. I just can't remember what I cook.

Somewhere between the last time I fix a dish and today, I experience total recipe amnesia.

I bump into cabinets. Spill things out of the fridge. Stop people in the hallway and ask where I am.

Not really.

But I do get panicky that it's only Monday and I've got nothing. And, worse yet, five more suppers loom ominously between me and Sunday!

A psychology textbook somewhere probably has the stats on how many of us experience this. But I'm not finding it. Just guessing I'm not the only one in this gravy boat. 

So to help my fellow sufferers, I thought I'd share a couple of my go-to recipes that are easy and family friendly. Even my picky eaters like these!

Thank you Grandma Jeanne for the basic recipe for Creamy Italian Chicken. I changed it up a bit, because I think the chicken gets a flavor boost when it crockpot marinates in the Italian dressing for a few hours.


The roll recipe came with my bread machine. But don't tell anyone. The rolls are so highly addictive I could get arrested.

Bon App├ętit!

Crockpot Creamy Italian Chicken 

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I use only Smart Chicken—who wants to eat a dumb bird?)
1 envelope dry Italian salad dressing mix
1/2 cup water
8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
2 (10 3/4 oz.) cans of Campbell’s Cream of Chicken soup

1. Place chicken in slow cooker. Stab each piece a few times with a knife or fork.
2. Combine salad dressing mix and water. Pour over chicken.
3. Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours.
*4. Combine cream cheese and soup until well blended. (If the cream cheese is not soft enough to mix, then simply microwave the soup and cream cheese for 2 to 3 minutes.) Pour over chicken. Use a fork or spoon to whisk together the runny and the thick mixtures, but don’t worry too much about getting them combined. Slosh the mixture over the chicken.
5. Cover and cook on low for 1-2 hours.

Serve over mashed potatoes, noodles or rice.

*To make calorie-friendly, to-die-for chicken meat for sandwiches or pitas, just omit the cream cheese and soup.

I Could Get Arrested Dinner Rolls

 Add the following ingredients in order to the tub of a bread machine:
1 cup warm water
2 Tbsp butter or margarine (I use Brummel & Brownlove it!)
1 egg
3 1/4 cup bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tsp quick acting yeast (I use Best Choice blue 3-packet)

1. Choose the bread machine's dough cycle (it's 9 on mine), and let it run its course.

2. When the cycle is finished (about 1:45 hours), using floured hands (the dough will be pretty stickyI lightly flour my hands between each roll), roll the dough into 15 balls. Place rolls on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Cover lightly with a dish/tea towel.

3. Set your oven to 375.

4. Let the rolls rise until almost double in size45 minutes to an hour. (If you are in a hurry, turn your oven onto 175 and put the covered dough in there. Put a wooden spoon in the door to jar it open so the heat can escape and not cook the rolls. Then let the rolls rise for as long as you have20 to 30 minutes is good. REMOVE THE TOWEL before baking!)

5. When the rolls have risen, carefully remove the towel and bake for 10 to12 minutes on 375. (I begin checking the rolls at 10 minutes.) They are ready when the tops are golden brown.

Monday, June 4, 2012

When We Bleed Red, White & Blue

Today I stood on a grassy bank at the edge of a thoroughfare and waved a little American flag.

Obituary photo of PFC Cale Clyde Miller, 1988 - 2012, Olathe, KS
PFC Cale Clyde Miller
I was just one of what the news stations said were hundreds who gathered to honor a hometown hero.

His name was Cale C. Miller. He was a private first class in the U.S. Army. He was 23 years old.

Cale not only voluntarily put himself in harm's way in the service of country, but also saved two of his buddies during the mission that claimed his life.

His mother, who wrote a beautiful obituary, began it this way: “The American Soldier does not fight because he hates who is in front of him. He fights because he loves who is behind him.” (Author unknown)

Cale was a unique individual. Yet he also was the face of every U.S. soldier who ever lost his or her life in battle.

In being willing to fight for his country, Cale—and those who went before him—affirmed that the United States not only is individuals of every race, color and creed, but also a nation that stands together.

We stand together on a grassy bank and wave the flag as dozens of Patriot Guard, police officers, military personnel, a grieving family and a hearse carrying the remains of a soldier roll by.

We stand together to help neighbors who have lost everything to natural disasters.

We stand together to aid other countries devastated by war, poverty and disease.

And although we sometimes disagree politically, we still can stand shoulder to shoulder against a common enemy, understanding that freedom is not free.

The reason?

The U.S. is every one of US!

Thank you, PFC Cale Miller.

Rest in peace.