Monday, October 25, 2010

Chicken Tetrazzini and a Halloween Treat

Tonight I was SO thankful to come home to prepared food. I just preheated the oven to 350, sat back and waited until the timer rang! It was blissful...especially after working for almost 12 hour today. Here is the delicious recipe that is one of my freezer favorites!
Chicken Tetrazzini
Yields 2 casseroles=4 servings each
5 pts a serving

  • 1 pound uncooked spaghetti
  • 1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 3 cans 98% fat free Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 3 cups of cooked cubed chicken
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 1/3 sherry or addtional chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 3/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 cups grated low fat Parmesan cheese, divided


  1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile in Dutch oven or large pot, saute mushrooms and onion in oil until tender.
  3. Add the garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in soup, chicken, broth, Italian seasoning, pepper, and 1 cup cheese. Drain the spaghetti and pour into the mixture.
  4. Transfer into two greased 8 in square baking dishes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover and freeze one for up to 3 months. Cover and bake remaining casserole at 350 for 30-40 minutes until heated through and bubbly.
  5. To use frozen casserole: Thaw in refrigerator overight. Remove from refrigerator before baking. Cover and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 5 minutes longer

And as an added Monday bonus, we had an adorable card from my wonderful Aunt Margaret and Uncle Bobby. Actually, the card was from their dog Bubba and he's dressed in a cute Halloween pumpkin costume.

Kobe and Scoutie were very surprised to open the card and find a $15 Petsmart gift card. What a great Halloween treat! They were so thankful to Bubba, Aunt Margaret and Uncle Bobby and can't wait to buy a fresh bag of bones.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Freezer Cooking Day

Sunday was cooking day! I prepared 4 meals in double portions so that we had meals prepared for the week and 4 meals ready for the freezer to be eaten at a later date. On top of that, I had some pumpkin puree in the pantry and Nick woke up craving pumpkin pancakes. So for breakfast, we had pumpkin pancakes and in the midst of my cooking frenzy I whipped up some Snickerdoodle cookies for Nick (one of the only sweets he likes) to have for a snack while he worked.

The freezer menu consisted of:
1. Chicken Tetrazzini
2. Green Bean Chicken Casserole (Nick is crazy about green beans)
3. Peachy Barbeque Chicken
4. Cheesy Chili Tater Tots

Each of these is modified to be Weight Watcher friendly, so we can eat healthy and enjoy some delicious meals at the same time.

I'll post one recipe a day as we eat them, but for now, here is my Pumpkin Pancake Recipe, modified from a version I found on the internet. We like our pumpkin pancakes to really have a pumpkin pie flavor to them, so I have tweaked this recipe by adding extra pumpkin and some allspice for a little kick! This is my quick version, which uses bisquick instead of flour and baking soda.

Quick Pumpkin Pancakes
These pancakes are super quick, because they use Bisquick. To make them fluffy, substitute 1/4 a cup of seltzer water for a 1/4 cup of milk


  • 2 cups Bisquick
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups of milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg


  1. Preheat an electric skillet to 375 or heat a large frying pan to medium high heat.
  2. Whisk together all ingredients until well-combined, but do not overmix
  3. Let rest for 10 minutes
  4. Turn griddle down to 350
  5. Ladle quarter cupfuls of batter onto griddle or pan. Cook until edges of pancakes start to set or bubbles form.
  6. Flip. Cook another 1-3 minutes until pancakes are golden brown on other side.
  7. Serve immediately with butter and syrup, honey or even whipped cream!


Vegas, Baby

A few months ago, Nick found out he was approved to go to the SAP conference in Las Vegas. Neither of us had ever been, so we decided to take this opportunity to have a little romance get away. We ordered tickets, booked our room at The Venetian for an extra night, and started counting down the days until we headed to Sin City.
We arrived Saturday and were immediately blown away by the city. Even the airport was nice.

We headed to our hotel, which was beautiful. When I have read about Vegas or seen it in the movies, I always imagined it to be flashy and extravagant. The real thing lived up to my expectations. Our hotel had an indoor mall which connected The Venetian where we were staying to The Palazzo next door. Running through this gigantic shopping and restaurant area was a canal where people could travel around on gondolas, a miniature version of St.Mark's Square, street performers, and a ceiling painted to look like the sky. There were not one, but two food courts, beautiful casinos, theatres and gorgeous decor everywhere you turned. Here's a few pictures of our hotel and suite. Our room had three TV's including one in the bathroom and you controlled the curtains from your bed with a remote control.

Our first night, we were booked to see the Beatles Love show at the Mirage at 9:30. This is way past my bedtime, but I was prepared to try my best to stay up late. We booked dinner at Otto, which is a Mario Batali restaurant in the Venetian. It was delicious and we shared prosciutto and goat cheese pizza and a pasta with mushroom and olive oil, as well as a bottle of Prosecco, which is like Italian champagne. Then we had some time left before we needed to leave for the show, so we gambled a bit. We had already lost $160 at Blackjack earlier in the day, but the very nice dealer at the craps table taught me to play and basically coached me until I was up about $100. We headed to the show, which was fabulous. The Beatles Love show is a Cirque de Soleil performance and it totally lived up to my expectations. They had fantastic stunts and costumes, including the typical rope twirling girls and a stage that at one point converted into one gigantic trampoline. The entire show was set to a Beatles soundtrack.

Our second day, we decided to walk and see the Strip. We tried to visit all the hotels we'd always been curious about. First of all, the Strip is deceptively long. When you are standing at your hotel on one end looking down the street, it looks like each of the other hotels is only a couple blocks away. We walked for hours, visiting New York, Paris, Planet Hollywood, Caesar's Palace, the Bellagio Fountains (one of our favorite things there), and a few cheaper hotels for discount gambling. We won some more money playing craps...I started to feel a little cocky about my gambling skills. This is never a good thing in Vegas. First we were up $100and then we were swiftly put in our place and lost that $100 in a span of about 10 minutes. This proved the saying "You win some, you lose some" very true. We decided to stop gambling and head back to the hotel to get ready for our second dinner and show. This time we ate at the Grand Lux Cafe in the Palazzo which was conveniently located right next door to the Jersey Boys theater. After dinner, we headed to the Piano Bar for a drink before the show. They were having a dueling piano show which we loved! Then we went in to see the Jersey Boys and headed up to our seats way at the top of the theater. As a wonderful surprise, the usher upgraded our seats since there were some unsold tickets for our show. We were so excited to be sitting in the 8th row!! Jersey Boys was FANTASTIC! The music and the actors were amazing...I would recommend this show to anyone visiting Vegas, or if the Broadway musical heads to your hometown.

On my last day in Vegas, we walked all the way to the end of the Strip to Mandalay Bay to visit the indoor aquarium and shark reef. We enjoyed lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe and spent some quality time together people watching! What a great place to just sit back and watch people walk by. That evening we headed back to the Bellagio to watch the fountain show at night. I never realized how incredibly large the fountain is. If spans almost an entire city block and shoots water up in the air so high that the spurts almost reach to the top of the Bellagio's hotel towers. We enjoyed dinner at Cabo Wabo and wonderful Waboritas then headed back to the hotel. Nick stayed the rest of the week for his convention, but I headed back Tuesday, tired and ready to return to reality.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Decking the Walls with Shades of Fall

The air began to cool, there was a cripsness in the breeze as I decided it was time for a decorating frenzy in the Mauldin house. Up the attic we climbed, and out came the beloved fall decorations. I love this time of year, as the weather finally turns from miserably hot to absolutely beautiful. There is less humidity, cooler temperatures and best of all, the once dying flowers in my front yard get their second wind. So I decorated the house and had my first "I am my mother" moment when I noticed how much I collect fake greenery. I remember moving into my first apartment and my mom telling me that greenery makes every room feel homey. Now as I lay out all my decorations, I see my mother's words of wisdom echoing in each and every corner. Here are some of my favorite decorations starting with my pilgrim turkey at the top. An excellent Hobby Lobby clearance find.

Here is my mantel with my pinecone garland, bought 7 years ago at Target, and my two Hobby Lobby turkey that I got last year and LOVE!

Here the greenery and metal pumpkins (again Target) on my coffee table and breakfast table.

And my dining room decorations.

This is the oldest of all. I got this in college one time when I was home for Thanksgiving on the 80% off Hobby Lobby sale.
I love this time of year!

Monday, October 4, 2010

OU Beats Texas

My husband went to OU so in our family the world shuts down for OU football games. We normally hang out and watch the game with all of Nick's college friends but we were blessed this year with tickets to the OU/Texas game at the Cotton Bowl. I was excited but Nick was ecstatic! We went early and hung out at the fair. Everywhere you looked it was a sea of red and burnt orange. The fairgrounds were packed with fans decked out head to toe in college gear. We had a chance to chow down on some delicious Fletcher's corny dogs (there are other booths there selling them, but these are the best) and I found a TCBY and got white chocolate mousse yogurt. Nick was laughing about how I was eating frozen yogurt at the fair, but now that TCBY's have closed down I never get to eat it and it truly is one of my all time favorite foods.

After that we waited forever to meet the guy who was giving us tickets. Then at 1:30we headed into the game. We were sitting on the Texas side of the field, which was a little scary since we were donning our OU shirts, hats and accessories. We entered at the lower level and kept walking farther and farther down the steps to our seats on the fourth row!!! Three more steps and we would have been standing on the field.

We were right at the 10 yard line, so we got to see some great action, especially an AWESOME touchdown by Demarco Murray. Even though we were surrounded by Longhorns only two were completely obnoxious and rude to us. Then again they didn't have much to say as that sat there and watched their team lose. We had the BEST time and now Nick wants to make going to the game an annual tradition. It would be hard to beat getting free tickets to sit on the 4th row. These pictures were taken with my IPhone because my camera battery died, so they are not the greatest, but check out how close we are to the field. It was such a wonderful way to watch the game and we are so grateful to Mike for getting us such awesome tickets. And Nick's birthday wish came true when the Sooner beat the Longhorns 28 to 20.

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