One Skillet Chicken A La King

Sometimes, when I can't find just-the-right-recipe, I'll make it up as I go, and if it turns out great, I can't wait to share it with you!

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 T olive oil
2 T white cooking wine
2 cups chicken broth, low fat or fat free
2 cups frozen peas and carrots
1 can (10-3/4 oz) cream of chicken soup, low fat
2 T pimentos, optional

Cube the chicken and cook it in a skillet with 2 T olive oil, until lightly browned.
Add the white wine; cook for 1 minute and then add the broth. Bring to a boil, and add the frozen peas and carrots.
Lower heat and stir in the cream of chicken soup and pimento. Simmer for about 15 minutes.

While the chicken a la king is simmering, make up a batch of your favorite biscuits, like Lower Fat 7-Up Biscuits.  You can also serve it over rice, boiled potatoes or toasted bread.

Serves 4-6

I've always felt that this was such a family-friendly meal.  It was a hit with The Hubs, Young MamaBear and her precious KyBear, too!  Simple meals like this one allow me less time in the kitchen cooking and doing dishes, and give me more time with my family, which is always a big plus!

Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie

Today I have a craving for The Pioneer Woman's Chicken Pot Pie...but I'm also a bit busy watching my 2-1/2 year old granddaughter. I decided to try making the filling in the slow cooker!

Makes enough for 4-6 hungry people

2 Celery Stalks, diced
3 medium carrots, diced
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 pound raw, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
1 cup Fat Free Half-n-Half
1 teaspoon ground sea salt
black pepper to taste

(for the "crust", you have options: Pre-made crust; homemade crust; dumplings; or plan ahead!)

Dice up the celery and carrots, and put them in the slow cooker along with the peas.
Add the raw, cubed chicken.
Cover it all with the chicken broth and white wine. Throw in the bouillon cube (it will dissolve during cooking).
Set the slow cooker to High for 4 hours.

**After 3-1/2 hours, prepare the crust, dumplings or biscuits.  (I'm making biscuits, and we will split them onto a plate, and ladle the hot chicken mixture over them. And I always make extras to have with butter and honey!)
**Add the flour to the half-n-half and whisk together. Pour over everything, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir gently to combine. Allow to continue cooking in the slow cooker for an additional 30 minutes until it's thick and bubbly.
If you are going to make a traditional pie, pour the cooked chicken mixture into your unbaked crust, top with a second crust that has small slits cut into it, and bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees, or until the crust is golden brown. Cool 10 minutes before serving.  Yummmmm....I want to eat this now!
Here's a biscuit recipe you might want to try, just click on the photo for the link!

(If you want to try Ree's original Chicken Pot Pie recipe, it's on page 126-127 of The Pioneer Woman Cooks, Recipes From An Accidental Country Girl {her first cookbook}. I tried to find it on her website, but it's not listed there.

Easy Burlap Projects

How could I have forgotten about the joys of burlap?  A few years ago, we had a "rustic" Christmas tree with some burlap wrapped around the trunk for a tree skirt. But then, I packed it away and went on with a different theme the next year.
Recently, I've discovered how a burlap coffee bag (or 2) can go a long way in creating some special touches...for holidays and every day!
Back in December when I was in Maui, I purchased 2 coffee bean sacks for just $5 each from a local place there called Maui Coffee Roasters.  The first sack I cut into a simple, rustic Christmas Tree Skirt for our son and daughter-in-law's home.  The other sack I brought back to Idaho with me, and it's been patiently waiting up in my craft room.
This first project was inspired by my plain, unadorned dining table.  I simply cut the plain back of the remaining burlap sack into two equal long pieces and sewed them together using a zigzag stitch.  I added a little bit of leftover lace trim from my curtain sewing project, overlapping 2 rows for a bit of softness.

The other day I shared with you this easy banner (again, with just a bit of leftover burlap and lace!) on my spring fireplace mantle:
Sitting on my desk, I have this sweet candle, wrapped in a piece of scrap burlap and lace with a bit of twine, tied on with a key to my heart: 
And one more thing before I head out the door...a new key holder embellished with burlap and twine: 
I've seen these wooden plaques at Walmart, but I happened to pick this one up at a thrift store. It was simple to use some spray adhesive to attach the burlap scrap; trim the edges with scissors; use a colored permanent marker to add the stripes; finish off by wrapping a bit of twine around to add texture and interest.

And guess what? I still have the front of the coffee bean sack, waiting until I find just the right picture frame!
Do you see how my $5 investment went such a long way?  How have you stretched a little fabric to go a long way? I'd love to hear about your projects, so leave a little comment below.  In the meantime, I think I just remembered some burlap out in the Christmas boxes....
Blessings, Juju

Spring Mantle Decor

As promised, here are some photos of our new mantle that we built last week. My daffodils blooming in the backyard inspired me to add a touch of Spring to this room, especially since the dark bricks make it a bit "cave-like".  I've also gathered together a few antiques and collectables that are usually scattered about in various parts of the house.
With a 2-1/2 year old in the house, I'm loving that we have a secure place to put these "pretties" up high and out of reach of little hands.
Most of the objects are things I've had for a while...the little metal cream can I bought in Germany at a flea market when we were stationed at Ramstein Air Force Base back in the late '90s; the dark aqua Ball canning jars that my sister "Sweet T" gave me last year; the small cream-colored Red Wing vase that I picked up at a yard sale about 28 years ago (it was marked on the outside in black permanent marker "75¢", thankfully, it cleaned off!); the books that belonged to my Grandmother Bishop whom I never met (she was a Texas farm-wife that used them to homeschool her children back in the early 1920s and '30s); the old Ball Mason jar with a rusty bail from Goodwill; the photo of Hubs and I as well as the peacock feather are from our recent trip to Hawaii to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary; and the church birdhouse that has lived both inside and outside of our home.
A few of the items are new!  Last night I made this darling little burlap banner with our initials on it.  I used leftover burlap from the coffee sacks I got in Hawaii for the Christmas tree skirt and leftover lace from the kitchen curtains.  Oh, and the blue frame it hangs on, I picked up at a Thrift Shop and painted my favorite aqua color. It already had a border of burlap, but I added some self-adhesive cork in the center.
Thankfully, building the mantle only cost us about $82.00; the items on it I simply "shopped my home" to find!
Now, how are YOU finding ways to bring of bit of Springtime into your home?  A mason jar of daffodils? Forcing some Spring bulbs indoors? {I LOVE the smell of hyacinth!}  Leave me a comment below, and we'll inspire each other!
Blessings, Juju