I love enchiladas. Every time I'm at an authentic Mexican restaurant I order them, and I'm never disappointed. Perhaps that's why I was so surprised when I realized I didn't have a decent enchilada recipe in my cook book.

Never fear! Somehow Kroger knows how to read my mind, and last week at checkout one of my Catalinas was actually an enchilada recipe. We made it up a few days later, and once I perfect my margarita recipe I'll have no reason to go out for Mexican any longer!

Serves two, with leftovers for lunch

1 can Campbell's Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup Pace Picante Sauce (I wasn't actually prepared for this recipe, so I replaced with about 2 tbsp leftover Wholly Guacamole salsa and a healthy dose of hot sauce. It worked, but it was just a little off.)
2 tsp chili powder
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1/2 cup shredded Montery Jack cheese
6 flour tortillas

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Stir together the soup, sour cream, picante sauce and chili powder in a medium bowl. Stir 1 cup soup mixture, chicken and cheese together in a large bowl. Divide the chicken into the tortillas. Roll up and place seam-side down in a baking dish. Pour the remaining soup over the enchiladas. Cover with foil and bake 40 minutes or until hot and bubbling.

Optional: Top with chopped tomatoes and sliced green onion.

What I Wore Wednesday: School Days

Welcome to What I Wore Wednesdays! I've been enjoying watching the outfits come across The Pleated Poppy's link party every Wednesday, and I'm excited to join the fun. Would you like to see what I wore today?

School Days

Well, here's a close approximation! I'm loving this ruffle dress from Old Navy. I removed the tie and instead paired it with a snake-patterned, natural coloured Merona belt similar to the one shown in the picture. Since Fall is definitely on its way (and because my workplace has a strict dress code) I added a pair of taupe-gray leggings and a green 3/4 sleeve Merona cardigan.

I -love- this dress. To be honest, I'm planning on deconstructing it and remaking it in about 1000 fabrics to wear throughout the winter. It's such an easy piece, and it stands up well under an otherwise busy print. If and when I do, you'll be the first to know!

Dinner time!

Hey there blog world! Guess what time it is in our house? ...yeah, okay, I gave it away. It's dinner time! I'm set up on the kitchen counter and typing out this post while waiting for our dinner to come out of the oven. Look at me multitask!

Honestly, this is a rare feat. We got home from work a full 30 minutes earlier than normal and I have just enough energy to squeeze in a blog post before serving dinner and becoming a slave to the sofa.

Despite our crazy schedule, I've always found ways to keep up with groceries and cooking. My husband and I have stuck to a pretty simple system that makes cooking a breeze -- we meal-plan!

Since we only have a limited time together each week, we've chosen to host our master meal-planning list on Google Docs. This allows us each to log in and make suggestions for next week's dinners whenever we find a spare moment -- in the evenings at home, while we're on our lunch break at work, and sometimes even during a boring seminar (but you didn't hear it from me). From the meal plan we make a grocery list, and the rest is simple!

At first, my Mister thought this was a pretty crazy system. He's the real chef in our house; he has the amazing ability to open the fridge, pull out a handful of ingredients, and come up with amazing recipes off the top of his head. Meal-planning, to him, was creative suicide. Despite his initial arguments, he agreed to try the system and now I think he enjoys it more than I do!

Being able to plan our meals in advance means that we only need to go to the grocery store once a week, which I think is the biggest bonus. It also helps me in my amateur couponing, because I can make sure to plan meals around the coupons I've clipped. I know that I'll always have the ingredients on hand to make up dinner, and I can also plan to use things that will spoil quickly early in the week, so we have less waste! Finally, it makes sure that we don't get stuck in any "food ruts". The Google Doc keeps a log of all the food we've eaten since -- oh, wow, May! -- and it helps me make sure I don't cook the same recipes every week.

In our actual kitchen, I've made up a cute "meal board" that displays our plan for the week. We don't typically keep computers in the kitchen, and the board keeps me from having to go turn on the laptop after a long day of programming at work. Hopefully I'll get some time in the future to show you how this board was made, in case you're interested in making one for your own kitchen!

How do you simplify meal time in your home? Do you meal-plan? What's your system for keeping up with your plan?

Last Blush of Summer Cake

Alright! I promise, this is my last post on the amazing barbecue my Mister and I attended this weekend past. Between the steaks, the homemade guacamole, and my first (but certainly not last!) taste of tembleque came the fourth... no, fifth!... version of Smitten Kitchen's "Strawberry Summer Cake" that I've whipped up.

I have to say, I love this cake with strawberries. I really do. But when I walked through our local farmers market last week and smelled these South Carolina peaches, I knew they'd be the perfect way to end our celebration of this summer's produce.

Basically no changes, this time. This cake is perfect as is -- and it's even better with a side of homemade whipped cream!

Last Blush of Summer Cake
Makes a 9x13 sheet cake

6 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
1 c white sugar
1 large egg
1/2 c milk
1/2 tsp double strength vanilla extract (or 1 tsp standard)
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 peaches in 1/4" thick slices

Beat the butter and 1 cup minus 2 tbsp sugar with an electric mixer. Add the egg, milk and vanilla and beat until smooth. Mix the dry ingredients in another bowl with a whisk. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in 3 portions and beat until mixed, but not so much that your cake becomes tough. Pour the batter into your cake pan (I use a 9x13 Pyrex dish) and top with peach slices. Sprinkle cake with 2 tbsp white sugar.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. Lower oven to 325 degrees and continue baking for 50 minutes.


You know, I hadn't really thought I'd talk so much about cooking so early on in my writing. Then again, I shouldn't be surprised! We cook nearly every night, and we love trying out new recipes.

I keep all of those recipes in a dollar store accordion file like this! I use large, lined index cards which fit just perfectly inside. It's splatter-proof and compact -- see how I've got it just tucked away beside my cooking utensils? I can grab it at a moment's notice. Also, the index card format gives me just enough space to write down my recipes, and I can use the back to make notes when I inevitably make my own changes.

How do you keep your recipes straight? Box, book, or online? If you're looking for a new technique, here's the one I recommend!

Just Like KFC Coleslaw

I can still remember, growing up, how excited my sister and I would get whenever we got to eat KFC for dinner. We always ordered the same sides; mashed potatoes, gravy, biscuits and coleslaw.

That coleslaw! I loved it. I never ate much as a kid, but I'd always have room for seconds when it came to KFC coleslaw. I haven't met a coleslaw like it since, that is, until a couple of weeks ago. Then I found this "copy cat" recipe on GroupRecipes.com, and with great hesitation I decided to try it.

Guess what? It's dead on! Now I can have homemade KFC coleslaw any time I like, with the added benefit that I know exactly what goes into the bowl. No chance of preservatives or questionable, unpronounceable ingredients.

Just Like KFC Coleslaw
Makes enough for 4, plus leftovers

Bag of shredded coleslaw mix (14 oz)
2 tbsp minced sweet onion
1/2 c mayo
1/3 c white sugar
1/4 c milk
1/4 c buttermilk
2 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp table salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Beat all ingredients (except onion and coleslaw mix) with a whisk until smooth. Add coleslaw mix and onion and toss to coat. Allow to mellow in the refrigerator about 2 hours (or overnight) before serving.

Refrigerator Pickles

Has anyone else noticed that summer is over? When did that happen?

My Mister and I are headed to a barbecue today. It's probably the last one we'll have for awhile, so I'm pulling out all the stops. Among other things I'm bringing (KFC-style coleslaw, peach cake...) I also put together two jars of our favorite refrigerator pickles; one to share, and one for us to keep! (They're really that good.)

The recipe I use is adapted from BonAppetit.com, with heavy modifications. I've written down my 'standard' recipe on an index card in my recipe box, but I find myself changing it every time. Feel free to modify it however you like!

Refrigerator Pickles
Makes 2 pints

2 pint jars (Mine are Ball, but you could easily use old spaghetti sauce or pickle jars)
2 large cucumbers, sliced into 1/4" rounds
1/4 sweet onion, sliced thinly
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1.5 c apple cider vinegar
1.25 c water
1 c white sugar
3/4 tbsp table salt
1.5 tsp dill seed
pinch minced garlic (ours is dried, from Penzeys spices)

Boil the sugar, salt, water, vinegar, and spices in a small saucepan until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Layer the onions in the bottom of the jars, and fill to the top with cucumber slices. Carefully ladle the pickling solution into the jars. Allow jars to cool on the counter before moving to the refrigerator, uncovered, for 24 hours. (Uncovered? I don't know why. I always follow this strange instruction.) Cap and keep for up to three weeks... if you don't eat them all in the first day!