Thanks to Project 365 I now have 574 pictures in my January 2011 folder on our external hard drive. Everything has been uploaded and I hope to finish posting all of our January entries by Monday.
Day 16: The boys are drawing pictures to mail to Ryan. Soon his rack on the ship will be very colorful and full of drawings, craft projects and photographs.
Day 17: Oh, goodness, the boys are wearing the same shirts. I had to look back at the calendar and figure out how that was possible. Day 16 was an afternoon bath day since I let them play outside despite the chilly temperatures. Day 17 was a No School day so I let them put on whatever they wanted in the morning. I think they would wear the same clothes every day if I allowed it. Anyway, they are happily playing Candyland together while I cook dinner.
Day 18: Stack of chili for the freezer. One of my secrets to surviving deployments, underway periods and detachments is to cook big and fill the freezer. This prevents those last-minute runs to the Taco Bell drive thru. I cooked a double batch of turkey chili and this is what we had leftover AFTER we ate it for dinner.
Day 19: More food! I hosted a casserole dinner playdate and each mom brought a different casserole to share. I tried out a new recipe and it turned out pretty well. I'll post the recipe with my suggestions below. And this recipe makes a double batch so I added a full casserole to our freezer this night as well!
Baked Penne with Chicken & Sun-Dried Tomatoes
**Makes 2 baking dishes -- each serves 4-6**
6 tablespoons butter, plus more for baking dishes
salt & pepper
1 pound penne
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, halved horizontally
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups whole milk
10 oz white mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups shredded provolone (6 oz)
1 cup finely grated Parmesan (4 oz)
Preheat oven to 400. Butter 2 shallow 2-quart baking dishes.
Cook penne 3 minutes short of al dente. Drain and return to pot.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Season chicken with salt & pepper; cook until opaque. Cool a bit and thinly slice crosswise.
In a 5-quart Dutch oven, melt butter over medium. Add flour and garlic; cook, whisking, 1 minute. While whisking, gradually add milk; bring to a simmer, whisking frequently. Add mushrooms and tomatoes; cook 1 minute. Off heat, gradually stir in provolone and 1/2 cup Parmesan.
Add chicken and pasta to pot; season with salt and pepper. Divide pasta mixture between baking dishes; sprinkle each with remaining Parmesan.
Bake, uncovered, until top is golden brown, about 25 minutes.
Prepare through step 4 (mixing and dividing between dishes); let cool. Cover tightly with foil and freeze for up to 3 months.
**My notes: Double the sun-dried tomatoes, use baby portobella mushrooms as opposed to regular button mushrooms to add flavor. I plan to trade out a portion of the provolone for asiago next time as well to give it added flavor. Also, I think substituting 2-3 cups of the milk with 2% instead of whole would have been fine. It was very rich.