Tex-Mex Chicken Cheddar Pasta

This recipe is not one of the popular one-pot meals. It is delicious though, and worth every bit of extra effort. Your family will request this over and over, as mine does!

Tex-Mex Chicken Cheddar Pasta

Ingredients:

12 ounces whole wheat rotini pasta

3 tablespoons butter

1 cup onion, diced

1 cup green, red, yellow, or orange pepper, diced (I use a combination)

2 tablespoons whole wheat flour

1 cup chicken stock

1 cup milk

8 ounces (by weight) shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon salt 1/2  teaspoon pepper

2 cups cooked cubed chicken (breasts or thighs)

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta to al dente stage and drain; set aside.

Melt butter in a large saute pan. Add onions and pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in flour and cook 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in chicken stock and milk, preventing lumps. Increase heat to thicken the sauce.

Season with salt, pepper, cumin and the crushed red pepper. Stir to combine.

Take the pan off the burner and sprinkle with grated cheese and stir continuously to melt into the sauce evenly.

Return to burner, turning down to medium-low. Add the chicken, and cooked rotini. Toss to coat everything evenly in the sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Serve on individual plates. Garnish with a small amount of extra shredded cheese and crushed red pepper on top.

Enjoy!

Paula’s Choice Skincare

A gal can get choice fatigue with all the skincare options that are available these days. I would like to introduce you to Paula’s Choice Skincare. I’ve been a loyal Paula’s Choice customer for as long as her line has been available (which I believe is going on 20 years) and always have some of her products in my cabinet.

In the 90’s, I stumbled across Paula Begoun’s book “Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me.” It was an exposé of the cosmetic industry and very eye-opening. After it was published, folks began nagging Paula to create her own line and finally, she did. I have watched it expand and continue to improve over the years. It was once available only from her catalog, then additionally on her website (paulaschoice.com), and now is also available at Nordstrom and QVC.

My favorite product she sells (also her best-selling) is her Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid. I apply it at night after washing my face, and it helps the texture of my face stay smooth. It helps with pore size too. Another product I love is her new Resist Anti-Aging Eye Cream. It helps with the dryness around my eyes.

Please take a look at her website and give this line a try. It is a no-nonsense and very trustworthy brand. I highly recommend it. If you shop through Ebates, you will save up to 7.5%.

Please see “Affiliate Policy” on About Me page for more info about affiliate links.

Shrimp Etouffee

Shrimp Etouffee has been a special occasion meal in our home forever. My husband requests it each year on his birthday and Father’s Day. I think this recipe originated from a Baton Rouge Junior League cookbook from the 1980’s.

Shrimp Etouffee (An adaptation of a Cajun classic)

Ingredients:

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter

1 cup white whole wheat flour

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped celery

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, divided

1 cup (8 ounces) tomato sauce

4 cups chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 large dried bay leaves

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup dry white wine (Chardonnay)

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (like Tabasco)

3 lbs. shrimp, peeled and deveined

hot, steamed brown rice

Directions:

Melt butter over medium heat in a large dutch oven. Add flour and constantly stir until roux turns medium brown (the color of caramel). This will take about fifteen minutes, and you must continue to stir the whole time as roux burns easily.

When you are happy with the color of your roux, remove from heat and add onion, 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley, and celery. Stir well. Return to medium heat and stir mixture until the vegetables are wilted.

Add tomato sauce and stir. Add chicken broth (slowly to avoid lumps) while stirring constantly.

Add your spices (thyme, cayenne pepper, and bay leaves) and then the Worcestershire sauce. Stir and then allow mixture to come to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, turn down to low heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes covered, often stirring, so etouffee does not stick to the bottom of the pan.

After the mixture has thickened nicely add cooking sherry, hot sauce, and shrimp. Stir and allow shrimp to cook and flavors to come together, for additional 5 minutes.

Serve over a bed of rice. Sprinkle remaining fresh parsley over the tops of individual plates.

Enjoy!

Real Change

Many books have been written about attempting to change oneself, and I have read more than my fair share. Over time, I have come to realize that it is possible for a person to change. I believe this because I have changed.

When I was a young mother, and because of my perfectionistic tendencies, I read and thought through many parenting approaches. At the time, I believed an authoritarian parenting style was what I needed to embrace.

As I aged and was confronted by some of the fallout in my children’s lives from this style of parenting, I was heartbroken. I realized that I had not shown my flesh and blood the same grace that God had shown me over and over again.

I changed my mind, and that led to changes in my behavior that could be seen by others. I told my children I had been wrong to be so harsh with them at times and asked for their forgiveness.

I believe that real change – that we each have the ability to feel on the inside and others can see from the outside – begins by changing our mind. We have to be convinced from within that we were wrong, have a deep sorrow and ask God and those we have hurt to forgive us. I think that is what the Bible calls repentance.

At least, that’s how I see it.

God bless!