December 6, 2013

Christmas To-Do List

The sun beaming in my living room windows lies. Despite the fact my dogs are basking in its pretend warmth, the temperature outside has remained in the negatives all day. In fact, this morning it was -16 when we rolled out of bed! But I'm enjoying the cold with a cup of hot chocolate topped with whipped cream (thanks to my loving hubby) and thinking about Christmas.

I love Christmas. Poor Russell has to endure a browse through the Christmas aisles every time we are in Walmart. I love the music, the busyness, the deliciously guilty way cookies taste after you've already had too many. I love hearing Linus tell Charlie Brown and the gang what Christmas is all about it. I love hearing the story of Christ's birth and I love the reminder of just how much we are loved by Someone who left the throne of Heaven to walk this dusty, sinful earth to bring us joy, life, and hope.

I am so excited that my family will be joining Russell and I this year! We don't know how much long we will be in Wyoming and I desperately have been wanting them to visit. What is a more perfect time for a visit then Christmas anyway? This is a list I've been adding to here and there over the past few weeks and I'm sure right after the holidays are over I'll find some other exciting tradition to add on for next year. I plan on adding some pictures of these as we "complete" them.

Christmas List

1. Watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” and "White Christmas".

2. Drink eggnog.

3. Get a “real” Christmas tree.

4. Drink peppermint hot chocolate while watching "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

5. Decorate aforementioned tree.

6. Make a special Christmas morning breakfast for us. (I plan on Swedish Pancakes this year!)

7. Make Christmas cookies and decorate them.

8. Read the REAL Christmas story from Luke 2.

9. Rent a whole bunch of Christmasy Children’s Books from the Library.

10. Wear Christmas PJ's to bed Christmas Eve. (I think we're going to opt for socks...cheaper!)

11. Sing carols.

12. Cut out paper snowflakes.

13. Play a board game.

14. Pick out "2013" ornaments.

15. Candy canes.

16. Take a cute picture by the tree.

17. Go to a candle light Christmas Eve service.

18. Watch our wedding video. (This is only because our anniversary is in December.)

19. Make some cute Christmas crafts.

20. Build a snowman.

What is on your Christmas to-do list for this year? Please share your ideas!


December 2, 2013

Chicken Riggies Recipe

I don’t normally do blog posts like this but I thought it’d be nice for a change. This is a simple recipe for one of my favorite dinner dishes – Chicken Riggies! Having grown up in Upstate New York, Chicken Riggies were pretty much a staple everywhere. My mom got this recipe from a native Upstate New Yorker and then she changed it a little here and there. It was always a favorite at home and now it’s become a favorite in my house! Russell and I both love them! Now, people make Chicken Riggies different ways. You can adjust the recipe however you’d like! Some people add peppers and onions to theirs. Others use less of a creamy sauce and stick to just a straight tomato sauce for their Riggies. I’ve had them spicy too! 

Now, I’m in no way shape or form a great cook. These are so simple though that even I can make them turn out wonderful! If you do try this recipe, let me know how they turned out in the comment box! I realize it may be tougher to make dishes like these once we get to the mission field so I’m going to thoroughly enjoy them while we can!

By the way, all my Upstate NY friends - please share how you make your Riggies! 

Chicken Riggies
1 (16 oz box) Rigatoni Noodles
3-4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (I’m cheap though and only use 2)
1 pint Heavy Whipping Cream
1 (24 oz.) Hunt’s Tomato Sauce
1 (15 oz.) Ricotta Cheese
2 cups Mozzarella Cheese
Parmesan Cheese

Cook chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic to taste. Make sure it is completely cooked through and then cube it. While chicken is cooking, boil water with a pinch of salt. Add rigatoni noodles to boiling water and cook until just done. Don’t overcook!
Preheat oven to 375.

Warm sauce in large pan. When it is warmed through, slowly add in whipping cream.

 I do not use the whole pint of the heavy cream. It is not tomato-y enough for me. SO, this is a little tricky but I usually pour it in until it’s a nice, creamy tomato orange color. About ¾ of the pint normally. My suggestion would be to pour in the cream a little bit at a time, stir, and taste-test to see if the sauce is how you like it!

Once that is heated through, add in your cubed chicken and ricotta cheese. Stir and heat until it is mixed well and heated through. I usually add a few spices like onion powder, Italian seasoning, or parsley, salt, and pepper.
In a 13x9 baking dish, stir in sauce mixture with rigatoni noodles and top with the cheeses! Bake until Riggies are heated through (about 30 minutes). I usually serve Riggies with salad and some bread or rolls.


Here are a few pictures!

                                         Cooked chicken - cubed and ready to go in the sauce!

                                                               Add the heavy cream slowly!

The color of the sauce before the ricotta cheese is added...
                                                                The sauce is ready! Yum!

   Bake at 375 for 15-30 minutes! Enjoy!