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Loaded Potato & Buffalo Chicken Casserole

Zach saw this recipe on facebook and asked me to make it.  It was very easy and tasted SO good.  We paired this slightly spicy casserole with a cool cucumber salad.

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Loaded Potato & Buffalo Chicken Casserole

Ingredients:
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
8 -10 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons garlic powder
6 tablespoons hot sauce (I didn’t add hot sauce because of the kids, I added it to my plate)
Topping
2 cups fiesta Mexican blend cheese
1 cup crumbled cooked bacon
1 cup diced green onion
Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 500°F .
  2. In a large bowl mix together the olive oil, hot sauce, salt, pepper, garlic powder & paprika.
  3. Add the potatoes and stir to coat.
  4. Add the potatoes to a greased baking dish. (the greased part is important – I forgot to grease my dish!)
  5. When scooping the potatoes into the baking dish, leave behind any extra olive oil/hot sauce mix. (I had to mix more oil/spices because I didn’t use hot sauce)
  6. Add the diced chicken to the remaining olive oil/hot sauce mix and stir to coat all the chicken. Allow to marinate as the potatoes bake.
  7. Roast the potatoes for 45-50 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes, until cooked through and nice and crispy on the outside.
  8. Once the potatoes are fully cooked, remove from the oven and lower the oven temperature to 400°F.
  9. Add the marinated chicken on top of the potatoes. (SEE NOTE BELOW)
  10. In a large bowl mix all the topping ingredients together.
  11. Top the raw chicken with the topping.
  12. Bake 15 minutes or until until the chicken is cooked through and the topping is melted and bubbly delicious.
  13. Serve with extra hot sauce and/or ranch dressing.

NOTE: I was in a hurry to get dinner on the table before bathtime, so I cooked the diced chicken on the stove while the potatoes were in the oven.  It only took 7-8 minutes to melt the toppings after adding the cooked chicken.  Several comments on the recipes I looked at for this did say that cooking their chicken at 400°F dried it out a bit. 

This casserole was simple and my entire family loved it – I’ll definitely be making this again.

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MIA

The past few weeks have been a little crazy (which is why I haven’t posted in well over a month…)!  I have tons of pictures I could post, but it’s 6:55am right now, the kids and hubby are sleeping and I’m trying to enjoy every last second before the little monsters wake up…so I’ll do a little updating now and a picture post later. 🙂

Here are some things that have happened in the past month:

  • Zach’s Welcome Home party (I forgot the camera…but I do have one picture below!)
  • My family reunion (I forgot the camera for this, too)
  • Zach’s family reunion will be this Saturday (I’ll try to remember the camera this time!)
  • We’ve started cloth diapering almost full time (I haven’t found the right inserts to try a cloth diaper at night yet)
  • Irelyn had her 4 month appointment (she was 14 lb 9 oz, 25 inches long and is growing perfectly!)
  • Made it to 5 months of exclusive breastfeeding 🙂 (I tried some dairy a couple of weeks ago to see if she’s still sensitive to it…she is.)
  • Kaden spent a week at his dad’s house while Zach & I were house-sitting for my aunt
  • Irelyn learned to roll from back to belly (she’s been going from belly to back), has been learning to sit and has attempted to crawl twice!
  • Zach went to Columbus this past Tuesday to take his exam for the Ohio State Highway Patrol (he passed!) We should know if he got accepted into the academy in a few weeks 🙂
  • Irelyn had her 1st taste of solid food [this morning! – video below]

We are trying baby led weaning with Irelyn.  Basically, we’ll be skipping cereal & purees, starting with simple foods such as avocado, bananas, peaches, broccoli, etc and allowing her to feed herself.  The idea behind it is that she’ll learn to chew before swallowing (which will help her to only ingest solids as she is actually ready for them), it is supposed to help her be less picky towards the texture (with a 3 year old that would only eat mac-n-cheese and popsicles if I let him, I love this), plus I don’t have to spend time pureeing and storing foods for her, she’ll just eat what we eat!

We tried avocado today.  She was so excited when we put it on the tray and she licked it for a few minutes – I don’t think she actually managed to swallow any though.

Obviously, Kaden was narrating the entire event…I’ll only bore you with a little over a minute of it. [please ignore my messy house]

And here is the one and only picture I have from Zach’s party.

I’ll post more pictures as soon as I have some “free” time to edit them! 🙂

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28 Day Challenge Update

It’s pretty obvious that I recently lost all motivation to post.  Zach left Afghanistan a couple of weeks ago and since I’ve been able to talk to him more often, I haven’t spent much time organizing/thinking of things to post.  As far as my 28 day challenge goes, I did start and finish organizing the master closet (which I’m sure Zach will appreciate once he’s home) and I’m halfway done cleaning both of our cars.  With the 90+ degree weather we’ve had, we haven’t been spending much time outside.

Now, for the exciting news of the day week year Zach will be HOME within the next 2 weeks!!!!  He’s not having surgery and is in Kentucky right now, waiting to fly home. 🙂  He has internet access there, so we’ve been able to skype (and see each other clearly for the first time in 6 months!).  Irelyn was confused & happy to see him clearly for the first time on skype yesterday.  I hope this helps these last 2 weeks pass quickly…although now that we’ve made it through 9 months of this deployment, 2 weeks seems like nothing.

The three of us went to the park this morning (at 7:30am!) and took some fun pictures this afternoon.

Irelyn loved riding in the stroller and Kaden had so much fun playing at the park.  Irelyn ended up needing an outfit change after spitting up all over her clothes and needing her dirty diaper changed on the picnic table five minutes after we got there.  We managed to make it home before it got to 80 degrees though!

We decided to have a mini photo shoot in our living room today – of course with a red, white & blue theme!  Irelyn had fun trying to eat the streamers and Kaden tried rolling them into the flowers I made a few weeks ago.  I’m pretty happy with the pictures we did get. 🙂

And here are a few pictures of the past week (plus one of the hubby 🙂 ).  I came across an $80 Baby Einstein jumper I liked for Irelyn and was able to find the exact one at a garage sale for $15!  She’s loved sitting in that and her bumbo while watching Kaden play.  Kaden has been learning so many new things lately and he’s so excited for Zach to come home in a couple weeks (I’ll probably have an entire post of pictures once he’s here!).

That’s all for tonight.  I’ll work harder on posting regularly again… at least until Zach is home.  🙂

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Days 11 & 12 – Carpet & Freezer

I am definitely improving in my ability to post regularly – every other day is much better than once or twice per month 🙂

I skipped yesterday because instead of spot cleaning every square inch of my carpet, I’m hoping my uncle will be able to use a carpet cleaner in the living room and dining room before Zach comes home.  Since we moved to our 3 bedroom apartment in the middle of our lease, they didn’t replace the carpet.  So it’s about 4 years old and way past needing replaced…which is actually a good thing once I look past the stains – between Kaden and Irelyn, I know we would have left a fair share of stains on the carpet ourselves.  Now we don’t have to worry about paying for it to be replaced 🙂

Anyway, I did clean out the freezer this morning.  I really have no excuse for the condition it was in before.  There isn’t much space for organizing, but the fact that I haven’t cleaned it since Irelyn was born is the real problem.

Kaden was very excited to find out that we had ice cream and pizza hidden in there 🙂

Well, the kitchen is almost complete!  As soon as I clean out the fridge (& oh does it need it!) my kitchen will be 100% organized.  Hopefully Zach will be home in time to enjoy it!

Since I haven’t posted one recently, I’ll add a couple pictures of Irelyn tonight (I’ll post some of Kaden with his clean bedroom tomorrow).

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Day 6 – Under Kitchen Sink

After two days of being extremely unmotivated (and reading another book), here’s what I should have posted on Wednesday!  When we moved into this apartment in February, I was 34 weeks pregnant, on partial bedrest and couldn’t help much at all with the moving. I was so thankful for all the help from our family with the entire move and my plan was to get organized when I was putting everything away.  That mostly worked – except that I lost motivation by the time I got around to areas that no one else ever sees (under the sinks, linen closet, my closet, etc).  Since I had basically just tossed everything under the kitchen sink, I found a lovely surprise that I had no idea was there.  Mold!  Not very much of it and my dad cleaned it up for me, but apparently there is a tiny leak in one of the pipes down there.  So after getting that taken care of and bleaching everything that was down there, here are my pictures.

Totally embarrassed by the before picture:

I really don’t know why I need so many different cleaning products for a small 3 bedroom apartment.

Well, since I’m going to have to post again tonight because of my laziness (and I really don’t have much to say about the disaster that was hiding under my sink), that’s all for this one. 🙂

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Day 4 – Kitchen Cupboards

I’ve been slacking. We have had an unusually busy weekend and instead of blogging in the evenings, I got sucked into reading “Fifty Shades of Grey”. I wasn’t a huge fan of the book, but it was addicting to read and only wasted 2 days of my life. Now, on to my cupboards.

They really were in need of some organizing, but I can’t say that my disorganization of the cupboards embarrass me. I’ll be embarrassed when I have to reveal Day 8 (the pantry).

Before(ignore the horrible quality, my iPhone camera is having some issues):

After:

I never realized how many spices I own. The funny thing is, I don’t even know what I’d use half of them for. I usually dump a little of whatever smells good into what I’m cooking.

So, my kitchen is halfway organized now. It’ll be complete after I get to the pantry, fridge & freezer. There is a benefit to missing a day here and there, by then time I complete my “28 days”, it’ll be July. And we’ll be one month closer to homecoming! 🙂

Fortunately, Fifty Shades of Grey didn’t impress me enough that I’d want to purchase the 2nd and 3rd books in the series. Now that I don’t have reading to distract me, I’ll do the linen closet tomorrow. 🙂

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My 28 Day Challenge

I’ve been trying to come up with different ways to pass time and get everything ready for Zach to come home.  I found a “21 day challenge” while on pinterest one night – since cleaning/organizing is one of my big plans before homecoming, I thought it would be perfect.  But 21 days isn’t enough time to do everything I want to (plus I have way more than 21 days to get through), so I’ve changed it and added tasks of my own.

Here is the original “21 day challenge” at a bowl full of lemons.

And this is my new list:

21 28 DAY ORGANIZING CHALLENGE

Being a mom to a 3 year old and a newborn on my own has been a hard adjustment, so I’ve added things that don’t involve cleaning to my list to help ensure I keep my sanity.  I’ve been extremely blessed to be able to talk/Skype/message Zach the majority of this deployment, but in a few weeks he’ll lose the internet access he has now.  I know I’ll need plenty of things to keep me busy so my mind doesn’t wander when I can’t talk to him daily.  I’m going to try to post everyday for the next 28 days.  I’m obviously terrible at posting regularly, so we’ll see how that goes.
Well I’m off to bed before Irelyn decides she’s hungry again.  I’ll post about our junk drawer tomorrow! 🙂