Pinned and Rated! Rachel Ray's Chili con Queso Pasta Bake

Well, it's a new month with a new potluck!  Rachel Ray's recipes are very popular, but I have never actually made one of them.  The picture on this pin made my mouth water.

It was super easy and quick to make, and it's a good recipe with ingredients that are often on hand (in my household, at least).  I would rate it about a 7-8.  It is a little spicy, probably because I did not remove the jalepeno seeds.

Note:  If you don't want your hands (and later your eyes when you remove your contacts, despite multiple washings) to burn all night; it's a good idea to wear gloves when handling hot peppers.  Just sayin'.....

For your viewing convenience, here is the recipe:


1pound penne rigate (ridged penne)
pounds ground beef
1tablespoon ground cumin (1 palmful)
1tablespoon roasted ground coriander (1 palmful)
2tablespoons chili powder (2 palmfuls)
Coarse black pepper
1large yellow onion, chopped
3-5garlic cloves, chopped (we really like garlic so I put in more, the recipe calls for 3)
2tablespoons butter
2tablespoons all-purpose flour (2 palmfuls)
2cups milk
¾pound cheddar cheese (about 2½ cups)
¼cup fresh cilantro leaves (a generous handful), chopped
½cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (a few handfuls) chopped
114-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes


Preheat the broiler to high and position the rack 8 inches from the heat.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the boiling water and cook the pasta until slightly undercooked—a little chewy at the center.
While the water is coming to a boil, preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown the hamburger. When the hamburger is almost finished, but still a little pink, throw in the garlic, jalepeño, and onions and finish cooking until the burger is browned and the onion is translucent. Drain the grease from the skillet and mix in the cumin, coriander and chili powder. Take off the heat or turn heat down low.
In a medium sauce pot (and you can do this while you’re browning the hamburger), melt the butter and add the flour to it. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes over moderate heat and then whisk in the milk. When the milk comes to a bubble, stir in the cheese, cilantro and parsley with a wooden spoon. When the cheese has melted, stir in the tomatoes.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it back into the large pot. Add the contents of the hamburger and all of the Cheddar sauce, and stir to combine. Transfer to a baking dish, sprinkle with a bit more cheese if you wish, and place under the broiler to lightly brown.


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Pinned and Rated! Pioneer Woman's Chicken Spaghetti

I am addicted to Pinterest.  I currently have 28 boards, 2,763 pins, and 352 followers!

I spend way more time on Pinterest than I should and it interferes with the time I should be using to create, write, cook at home meals and all sorts of other things I could and should be doing instead of looking at millions of pictures online and pinning them on boards that rarely get reviewed by me.  I just pin…and pin..and pin!

So, I have made a commitment that if I am going to continue spending time on Pinterest, I will have to start actually trying out some of the recipes, making some of the crafts, and working on my DIY projects!

Today, I made a start!  We had a potluck to attend at church and I decided to try a casserole recipe that I had pinned.

I have been wanting to find a good Chicken Spaghetti recipe.  I’ve actually pinned several that meet that criteria and plan on making each one and rating them.  I started with The Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Spaghetti recipe since her recipes are popular – and let’s face it, they are fun to read.  Besides, her Cowboy’s butt is almost as cute as my Cowboy’s butt J

I didn’t take pictures of the process, since I couldn’t begin to compare with hers.  It was a big hit at the potluck and on a scale of 1-10, I am rating it an 8.  This is subject to increase or decrease as I try out some of the other recipes I have pinned. 

The Pioneer Woman's Chicken Spaghetti Recipe

It was rich, creamy and super easy to make.  I made it last night and popped it in the oven this morning.  It can be frozen, according to the recipe.

The only reason I rated it an 8 is because it’s the first one I tried.  I reserve the right to change my mind and bump it up higher.

Thanks, Ree, for a great recipe!
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Busy Hands Quilts: Nana's Garden Basket Quilt Progress

Busy Hands Quilts: Nana's Garden Basket Quilt Progress

My cousin's work!  Enjoy.  I wish I had time to quilt.  I am so ready to retire so I can do all the things on my wish list!  The goal was to retire at 40, but I missed it :-(

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Fun Finds Friday - I'm SEW Happy!

I really needed to work on my long neglected house this Friday.  Every room is currently eligible to be declared a disaster area!  Between the everyday living, the two-four nights a week after work grand baby sitting and playing too much on weekends, things have gotten OUT OF CONTROL!  I needed to stay away from garage sales, estate sales..any type of sale.

 But as I started working on my bedroom and cleaning out drawers, I suddenly felt overwhelmed by how much there is to do, so I did the logical thing!  I ran out the door as fast as I could, made a brief stop at the RaceTrac for my favorite fountain diet coke and hit a couple garage sales!

And, I'm so glad I did!  Look what I would have missed out on if I hadn't sacrificed cleanliness and organization for fun finds!  A clean, organized house is so overrated.

This beauty was only $20.  Isn't she gorgeous?  She has some veneer issues and a drawer that has lost some of it's decor, but I can see beyond the outward and straight into her gorgeous soul.

She is going to have a good home in my new vintage sewing room that I am working on.  I saw another awesome cabinet (her twin) on Pinterest recently that was painted and aged.  It was so gorgeous.  I'm trying to decide whether or not to attempt a transformation, or let the old girl age gracefully.  Kind of like the same struggle I'm having with whether or not to dye my hair or age gracefully.

What do you think......on both counts????

Linking to:

Sew Many Ways       
Craftomanic Mondays                
Junkin' Joe's Friday            

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Fun Finds Friday

Wow!  It's been forever since I've posted Fun Finds Friday!  (If you are following me, you will note that a bunch of posts were removed after February.  Sorry about that!  I had an oopsie on the computer and I'm too lazy to go back and rebuild!)

I had a marvelous thrifting day, in spite of the fact that I actually had to go into work today for part of the day!  With finds like these, maybe I should make working on Fridays a habit!

I found most of these treasures at the same yard sale and at awesome prices!

Here's a little closer look at my finds:

I'm a sucker for old shoe forms.  I haven't figured out what I am going to do with them yet, but they always look awesome in vignettes and shelf displays.

I got both of these old sewing drawers for $2.  I love these.  They will be cute in either the sewing room I plan on creating from one of my kid's now vacant rooms or as more vignettes.  I like that word...vignette, vignette, vignette.....

That WordSearch game in the back was practically free!  It is FILLED with very vintage looking rounded wood letters.  Kind of like round scrabble tiles.

Is this old clipboard TO DIE FOR?????  And, get a load of the price!  I have plans for this that I think are awesome.  More to come on that!

Lastly, I love old insulators - especially pretty blue ones that are only .50!  They are also awesome for......join me in saying "vignettes!"  I'm not sure why I got the old stein, but it looked antiquey (if that's a word) and if nothing else, I thought I might have luck on ebay with it.  I also got the old fan for $1.  It doesn't work, but the Cowboy is pretty hand with electrical repairs, and look at that original turquoise color!

I think I made a killing today!  And I think there are a few of you having murderous thoughts of jealousy at my great finds!

Happy Friday!

Linking to:

The Vintage Farmhouse                        Sugar Bee Crafts
Sew Many Ways                                   Chef-in-Training Tuesday Talent
Shabbilicious Friday                                Let's Pour Tea

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Cowboy Christmas

It's February 10th, and I'm just getting around to posting about Christmas.  All my good intentions of blogging more frequently, posting more projects and linking to more parties has kind of flown the coop.  But I keep hoping I'll find and make time!  Hang in there!  I have some great projects on the way.

We don't tend to have traditional Christmases around our little farm.  We did have the traditional Christmas Dinner (any excuse for stuffing and mashed potatoes with gravy!)  While it was in the oven and while we were waiting for my oldest son's family to arrive, the Cowboy and my two youngest decided to go "mudding" around the pond.  It had been a rainy week and we needed facials.  It looks like it will be the start of a fun, new family tradition!

And, I can't resist including a little pic of Brodee :-)

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FUN at Work

I’m guessing that most of us, given the choice, would not work outside the home. (It takes away too much time that we would rather devote to all the home improvement projects and crafts we want to do!) But, if you have to work, Southwest isn’t a bad way to go!

One of Southwest’s philosophies is to have FUN in the workplace. Things were starting to get us down a little in Customer Relations, and we’ve had such an explosion of growth, that it was difficult to find your co-workers in the maze of cubicles. So, in the Spirit of Southwest, we decided to address the problem by giving our rows street names. Just naming our rows would never be enough for Southwest, so it grew into a row naming and decorating contest. It would encourage Teambuilding, help others find us and, most of all let us have some FUN in the workplace.

We have quite a crew of crafty, talented people. It was so fun to visit the other “streets” in our Department. Here are some of the cutest row names:

The Luv Boat
Las Vegas Strip
Ducks in a Row
Swanopoly St.
Luv Line

Our row became 737 Mad Hatter’s Court (Our planes are 737's). It was a lot of fun having the “Tea Party” yesterday. I forgot my camera, so I can’t share all the details that made things so cute, but here are a few pictures of our row.

Herb Kelleher (Founder of Southwest) and Colleen Barrett ('Mom' of Southwest) were our judges.  It's always so fun to see them.  Herb is known for kissing the girls, but my kiss didn't get snapped in time :-(   (I'm the one in the colorful jacket.)  Get a good look, because next time you see me, there will be less to see.  I'm down 12 pounds and have 40 to go!)

Our row won first place!  Coming in second was Las Vegas Strip (they were AWESOME - complete with wedding chapel, bookies, the Golden Nugget, etc), and third was Ducks in a Row.

I would still rather have stayed home and worked on projects today, but at least I have a festive place to work!

Here's a link to more pictures from the whole department.
Happy crafting,
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Woo Hoo!! I am SO Excited!!! I was featured over at A Little Knick Knack - one of my FAVORITE blogs. I feel so honored. Thanks so much, Meg, for liking Brodee's bedding ensemble! If you haven't visited A Little Knick Knack - run...don't walk over there right now!!

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Ornament Organization

I hope everyone had wonderful Holidays!  Ours was really nice, but I'm glad it's over.  We have had family here since before Thanksgiving and we loved having them, but it's nice being back to normal......if you can call our family normal!

Here is just a quick little tip that doubles as a repurpose/recycling and organizational storage solution.  If you are a member of a warehouse style club (mine is Costco), they sell apples in these great containers.  Instead of throwing them away, store your ornaments in them while your are putting up your holiday treasures.

Have a wonderful day!

Country Hugs,

Linking to:

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