I’m feeling chatty today. You’ve been warned…
Goodness gracious almighty! Is it just me or are the holidays coming up on us faster than a freight train? At first I was trying not to mention them on Southern plate because, you know, there are holiday police out there waiting to pounce if we mention the holidays “too early”, but then my mother called this morning and said “You know our Thanksgiving is this coming Sunday” and I just had to blink.
So I’m just gonna come on out with it and tell ya – My house is decorated for Christmas and I’m thrilled to death. I know, some of you are thinking “But Thanksgiving is first! You can’t decorate until after Thanksgiving!” Well that all depends on what you’re giving thanks for. The thing I’m most thankful nowadays is the entire meaning behind Christmas, and I’m thankful for that with every breath I take, so what better to give thanks for at Thanksgiving than the meaning of Christmas? ~grins~ Ya just gotta decorate for that…
My in laws came to visit this past weekend so they could attend my Holiday Cooking Show (I’ll post a recap of that with photos soon!) and while they were here, we put up all of my Christmas decorations.
Is it too early to decorate? Not for me! I’m in the Christmas spirit 365 days a year so getting to take off my hat and let my elf ears show is always a welcome change. So I had my mother and father in law were here for a whole weekend. I’d been traveling some, under the weather for a while, and kinda feeling snowed over with all the work I had on me and I thought “HEY! They can help me with the Christmas decorations!”
With all of us working together we got the halls decked and trees trimmed in no time flat. I was on a roll so to top it off I even made Christmas cookies and the kids had a wonderful time decorating them with their grandparents. We had a great weekend before the folks had to head back to Georgia and we would have missed out on all of that had I stuck to any one person’s plan or ideal time frame as to when holiday activities should happen.
We even got the lights up on the house, so I can heave a sigh of relief that we got through one more year without my husband falling off the roof – I always worry about that. Now little Teaaspoon (our kitten) is enjoying the wonder of a Christmas tree. We have yet to explain to her that it isn’t her personal chew toy or kitty winter wonderland themed obstacle course. I think we need to post before and after pics of our trees when we have cats…
Speaking of trees, we got a new tree this year. It is somewhat smaller, not as big in girth, but still pretty tall and just fits in our den a little better. I went all over tarnation looking at trees before settling on this one. It came from Hobby Lobby (oh my, they have beautiful trees). The display model was on a revolving base and it was just beautiful. I had every intention of getting that base until I found myself gazing at the tree on my third visit to the store standing next to a sweet lady who said “I sure do love that base, but my cats would have fits”. She had a point ~Watches at Teaspoon eyes a sparkly ornament hanging just out of her reach…~
Artificial tree? Yup, it sure is. I’ve always loved real Christmas trees but the winter before I started college (when I was 23) I was in the midst of a mad dash to make as much money as I could in order to make it through my first semester and took an evening and weekend job at a Christmas tree farm. I worked in a credit union during the day and then headed out to Greenbriar, Alabama to hand out saws and explain the finer points of tree cutting for all of the days leading up to Christmas. I’ve never been so cold for so long in all of my life. Just looking at a live tree now makes me want to find an electric blanket and a few more pairs of socks. As a result, I’m one of the few people whose heart (and toes) feels considerably warmer around an artificial pine
So as we head on into the final stretch before Thanksgiving, I thought I’d bring you a quick and easy skillet supper. This is one of those meals that just makes your stomach feel good when you eat it. I could eat this every day of my life and be happy as a lark so I hope you get to try it soon. My son was feeling under the weather when I made it yesterday and I took him a plate and said “Here baby, try to eat this.” He saw what it was and said “Don’t you worry one bit Ma, I’ll SURE be eating all of that!”
**Note: To make this vegetarian, just use cream of celery soup in place of the cream of chicken and ask your hens to lay off the worms before their “big day”.
You’ll need: Chicken breasts, a can of cream of chicken soup (I’m using fat free*), a package of ranch dressing mix (dry), a bag of frozen vegetable blend (your choice), and some egg noodles.
You’re also going to need a little bit of milk, just 1/2 a cup.
I forgot to put that in the photo because … well when the day arrives that I only have to think about one thing at a time I’m just sure I’ll remember to put everything in the photo them. Unfortunately that isn’t today and as they say tomorrow isn’t looking good either :).
*Occasionally I grab something like fat free soup just to show y’all that you can use it and it won’t make a difference. If fat free makes you happy or if that is what you have on hand, knock yourself out. It’ll be just as good. If you don’t have fat free, please don’t go out buying it just for this recipe. On a normal day (one in which I was just doing whatever I wanted and not trying to prove a point) I’d just use regular cream of chicken soup.
Place a little bit of oil in the bottom of your skillet and heat over medium heat.
Add your chicken breasts and cook over medium heat, turning as needed, until lightly browned on both sides.
Once your chicken breasts are browned on both sides, add in the cream of chicken soup, dry ranch dressing mix…
Stir that up a bit as best you can.
Note: Your chicken breasts won’t be done at this point, just browned on the outside. That is okay because we’re fixin’ to finish cooking them.
This is our chicken with our little sauce we made all stirred up.
Now cover and reduce heat to simmer for about ten minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the center.
After about ten minutes of simmering this is what you’ll have.
That sauce is absolutely delicious and we’re about to toss some veggies into it to make it even better.
I like the California blend of veggies that has carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli in it but you can go with whatever you like here.
Pour your frozen vegetables into the skillet and stir them up a bit to coat them.
Continue cooking this whole shebang until the veggies are tender.
Voila! Dinner is done
Salt and pepper to taste if you like, but I like it just as it is.
The ranch dressing mix gives it a fantastic, well seasoned flavor and the cream soup and milk join in to make a delicious gravy, perfect for serving over cooked egg noodles.
I’m a talkative person, but it’s not a conversation unless I hear back from you!
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- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 packet ranch dressing mix
- 1 bag frozen vegetable blend (I use california style)
- 1 can cream of chicken soup (I used fat free but either works)
- ½ cup milk
- 2-4 chicken breasts
- Egg Noodles, cooked
- Heat oil in large skillet. Add chicken breasts and cook over medium, turning as needed, until browned on both sides.
- Add in soup, ranch mix, and milk. Stir well and turn chicken to coat.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.
- Cover and continue cooking until chicken is cooked through, about ten minutes.
- Uncover and stir in vegetables.
- Continue cooking until vegetables are tender, about ten more minutes.
- Serve over a bed of egg noodles.
Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind.
To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy,
is to have the real spirit of Christmas.
ENTIRE Set of Calphalon pots and pans!
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