Sunday, February 12, 2012

When Time is Short

This week's post is going to be rather short because I have a lot of homework to do! One promise I made to myself was that I'd go back and finish college. After almost 25 years, I did! For the past 2 1/2 years, I've been working hard on earning my degree in Business Administration with an emphasis on Human Resources. I'll be graduating in May. This semester I'm taking 5 accelerated classes (the kind where a 16 week course is taught in just 8 weeks) - I have 3 weeks left in the first 3 classes and then I'll be down to just 2. I can't wait!

I haven't been doing much cooking or baking these past few weeks (because of my classes) and have been concentrating on quick and easy recipes when I do. Below are a few of the dishes I made this week (and remembered to take pictures of!). I hope you all have a great week and enjoy the recipes - I've got to get back to my homework!

P.S. Do you need help organizing your weekly shopping list? Check out the FREE Gooseberry Patch Weekly shopping list (look right and down just a bit)!

P.P.S. Be sure to check out the blog hop at the bottom of the right column links - lots of great ideas!

Chicken-Apple Salad with Candied Pecans

Quick, easy, and delicious! If you'd like to make the pecans a little sweeter, add some brown sugar and butter to the pan when you roast them. This salad is also great with a little crumbled blue cheese and creamy blue cheese dressing or poppyseed dressing instead of the vinaigrette.

2 cups salad blend (your choice)

1 medium-sized apple, sliced or chopped (you can also use a pear, if you like)

1 tsp. cinnamon-sugar mix

2 tbsp. pecans, rough chopped

1/2 cup cooked chicken, chopped (your choice - I used store-bought rotisserie chicken)

Apple Cider Vinaigrette (recipe below)

Spray a small saute pan with nonstick spray and warm over medium-high heat. In a small bowl, toss the pecan pieces with the cinnamon sugar and pour into the saute pan. Roast over medium-high heat until the cinnamon sugar coats the pecans. Remove from heat and set aside.

Arrange the salad greens on a plate. Add the apples and chicken. Sprinkle the pecan pieces over the salad and drizzle with the vinaigrette.


Apple Cider Vinaigrette

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp. dijon mustard

1/4 tsp. sugar (more if you like a sweeter vinaigrette)

salt & pepper, to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk!

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Slow Cooker Pasta Meat Sauce

This recipe makes 24 servings of sauce, but it's a great recipe to freeze for later (up to 4 months). This is a super-easy recipe to make and it won't take more than 15-20 minutes of your time. The sauce has a lot of flavor and a little bit of heat to it. You can tone it down (if you prefer) by omitting the crushed red pepper and using mild sausage or just ground beef. I froze the leftover sauce in 2 cup containers to use at a later time.

2 lbs. Italian sausage or ground beef (I used a blend of mild Italian sausage & ground beef)

2 cups chopped onion

2 cups sliced mushrooms

6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 - 14 1/2 oz. cans diced tomatoes, undrained

1 - 29 oz. can tomato sauce

1 - 12 oz. can tomato paste

2 tbsp. dried basil leaves

1 tbsp. dried oregano leaves

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

Brown meat, onions, mushrooms, and garlic in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until meat is no longer pink. Drain. Spoon meat mixture into a 5-quart slow cooker. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low heat 8-9 hours.

This sauce can be refrigerated for up to 4 days or 4 months in the freezer. To thaw frozen sauce, place container in the refrigerator about 8 hours prior to use.

Use this sauce over any type of pasta, in lasagna, or even pizza!

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Cocoa Cappuccino Mousse

Let me just say "YUM"! I decided I'd earned a little reward and this mousse fit the bill. Like the salad and the pasta sauce, it's quick, easy, and delicious!

1 - 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

3 tbsp. butter

2 tsp. powdered instant coffee or espresso, dissolved in 2 tsp. hot water

2 cups cold whipping cream

Combined sweetened condensed milk, cocoa, butter, and coffee in a medium saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until butter melts and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat; cool. Beat whipping cream in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. Gradually fold chocolate mixture into whipped cream. Spoon into individual dessert dishes or large bowl for family serving. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours. Garnish as desired.

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  1. Thank you! Good for you!

    1. I apologize - I missed your post! Thank you so much for visiting and for your kind words!

  2. Everything looks super yummy. Thanks for linking up to Creative Thursday :)

    1. Thanks, Michelle! I love your link party - I always find the best ideas (and their links) at your party!

  3. I came here from Spice Or Die. I love how chicken and apple go together :)

    1. Hello! Thank you so much for stopping by and saying "hello". I've been over your way and am your newest follower. I'm looking forward to seeing the additions to your "dorky things" list!

  4. Lovely salad. It would be great if you linked it in to today's Food on Friday which is collecting salad recipes.

    1. Hi Carole! Thank you for stopping by and leaving your wonderful comments. And thank you for the invitation to Food on Friday at Carole's Chatter ( I'll be right over!

  5. Great that you linked this one in too.


I love hearing from you! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.