Last year watching the Kentucky Derby during Covid, I realized how much I love watching and yelling for the horse that I think looks the prettiest. I realize that that is not how to pick the winning horse, but since I’m not betting money, I just pick out the pretty one. Well, after the race was over, I told Randy I wanted to give a party for the 2021 Derby and of course, he nodded and said, “whatever makes you happy.” He always says that when he wants me to be quiet so he can watch a TV show, just so I won’t pester him. Well, this year, we are finally in a house again (rather than being homeless living out of our car like we did for 6 months in 2019 traveling around before moving back to Dallas to live in a condo which cured me from ever wanting to live in a condo EVER again!!!!. So here we are back in Frisco and baking up a storm for a party on Saturday. Since our friends are all pretty much Baptists, I knew we wouldn’t be betting money so I came up with a solution. Of course, betting always makes it more fun when a race is going on so I came up with the idea that we will bet something besides money. I don’t want to give it away since many who will be here read the blog and I want it to be a surprise. After Saturday I will share the idea so next year if you are so inclined to party down for the Kentucky Derby, you can steal this idea if you like. I think it will be fun to do and also next year (provided we still have friends left after this years party) I am going to add a scavenger hunt to do before the party. That will be taking selfies with things that have to do with a Horse Race. For the menu, we decided on having lots of finger foods since we don’t have room at the table for everyone. Am having appetizers of smoked gouda dip with crostini bread from Eatzi’s and crackers with other dips. The appetizers will be served while friends are arriving and is placing their bets so after the race (which is at 5:57 p.m. this year) we will have the dinner. Thought I would share what we are having in case any of the items look appealing to you for a party. I went on-line to see what foods are appropriate for a KDP and this is what I choose:
Sliders (made with chopped beef)
Finger sandwiches comprised of ham, turkey and cucumber-dill
celery stuffed with pimento cheese
Kentucky Derby Pecan Pie (which is basically a pecan pie with chocolate chips)
Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes
Lemonade, Tea, Sodas, Non alcoholic Mint Julips (yes you can tell this is a Baptist Party)
Will post the results of the “bets” and let you know how it went. Also this is a great way to get to know your neighbors. Any excuse for a party, right?
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Last evening we had some family over for a Tex-Mex dinner. It is awful to brag, but I do think (and since there was not one enchilada left) this was the best ones so far. They were very easy to make and have decided that this recipe will be the one I use from now on. If you want to watch how they were made, go to YouTube Sassy Southern, Trudy K Cox and watch the video I made while making them and you can see how easy they really are to make. But here is the recipe that I think you will be ever so in love with when you taste the.
2 large chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 large onion, chopped
3 tables unsalted butter
16-20 yellow corn tortillas
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 (15 oz) cans mild Hatch Green chile enchilada sauce (i love the Hatch Green Chile Brand, but if you can’t that in the mild, use any brand that you can find if you are wanting to use the mild)
1 cup sour cream
3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1-2 teas Adobo Seasoning
1 teas garlic powder
1 teas black ground pepper
1/2 teas oregano
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
When chicken breasts are cooked and cooled, dice or chop in small pieces. Set aside. Sauté the diced onion in the butter in small skillet until onion is clear and tender. Set aside.
Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet, when oil is hot, dip each tortilla in hot oil for about 2 -3 seconds, on each side and remove tortilla to a paper towel to absorb the grease. You might need to add more oil, before you have finished with all the tortillas. Be sure added oil is hot again before finishing with the rest of the tortillas. Set aside.
in each of 3 bowls, place diced chicken in one, shredded cheese in another and the onion in the 3rd bowl. Get your tortillas (when cool enough to handle) and begin placing a little of the chicken, cheese and onion in the tortillas, rolling each one and placing seam side down in a 9×13 greased pyrex baking dish that you have poured about 1/2 cup of the green enchilada sauce in the bottom of after greasing it. Mine held 15 enchiladas. You might have some of each mixture left over, if so, make another small pan of tortillas and either freeze them or have them for lunch/dinner the next night. Ok, for the sauce that you want poured over them:
Pour the rest of the open can of green enchilada sauce and the other can of sauce in a skillet. Add the above seasoning and the sour cream and whole can of cream of chicken to the enchilada sauce. I also added about 1 teas of black pepper to the sauce. Add the whipping cream. Cook the sauce until it is well blended. Spoon this mixture over the enchiladas until all is covered. I had enough left over for another small pan of enchiladas. Sprinkle as much cheese as you like over the top and bake, uncovered in a preheated 350 oven for about 30-40 minutes or until enchiladas are bubbling and all the cheese is melted.
Serve with rice and pintos and chips and salsa, guacamole and you have yourself a meal which you enjoy so very much. Remember to watch the video on You Tube, Sassy Southern.
Looking at my Face Book Memories this morning that popped up, made me just take a minute to sit and reflect over the last few years. Two years ago, Randy and I stepped onto a plane in North Carolina headed to Italy. It was a trip we had, for years, thought about, once even planned some of the necessary items, such as lodging, only to have to cancel due to some circumstances. But, there we were, one year year later, actually sitting on the plane, looking and smiling at each other, and thinking, about what we were about to experience. Of course, you never know all the things you will experience. That is half the fun. Not knowing every thing that will happen. But anticipating each and every adventure. We know that many of you were thinking, ‘what in the world are they doing at their age and what will happen if they fall or get a wallet stolen, or get so lost, they don’t know where they are, etc.” Well, each of those things did happen, but in each experience, we knew that God was watching over us and took care of every detail.
And when the necessary things fell upon us, such as the person who helped us get back where we needed to be at 10:00 p.m. in Rome, when Randy was pick pocketed on the bus we rode numerous times and when I fell getting off the train, each time, we knew that the Lord was right there.
So today, as I looked at the memory on FB and thought back about those most wonderful 3 months of getting to live our dream trip, it was just so precious to me to remember so many days and nights in Italy. Memories that we will never forget, nor take for granted. It is so interesting to me that 7 months after leaving Italy, it was shut down, due to Covid. Now, two years later, I’m not sure we would have attempted doing what we did. Because of some health issues, we might not be as “brave” as we were two years ago in attempting to do what we did. It is so awesome to remember being able to throw our 5 suitcases onto the train in between hoards of folks trying to get on. Riding the unairconditioned train to Sorrento with bees swirling around our heads, having to stand for a 2 hour train ride to Sorrento. Now, two years later, I get exhausted unpacking boxes to move in to our new home.
Two weeks ago, I had to quit carrying items down 3 flights of stairs, trying to help my daughter move. Two years ago, we were hauling 5 suitcases up 5 flights of stairs into our “home” and then going back out to eat and then having to return to said apartment several times a day. We found out that that saying, “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” is certainly true. We came home several pounds lighter, only to begin immediately chomping down on Mexican food which, of course, put the pounds back on. As long as we were there, we walked so much, we ate anything we wanted and still lost weight. Today, we are truly able to say, our weight is not because we eat too much, it is because we drive everywhere. At least that is my story and I’m sticking to it.
We got to experience going to a Baptist church in Rome several times and worship with people there from all over the world. We had the fun experience of being a “tour” guide for some friends who came to visit us while we were there, making us feel like we were so cool and hip, getting to show them that we knew how to get around Florence. We learned the bus system and what to do when we would get on the wrong bus. We experienced some fear when one evening, we did get off a bus before we were suppose to only to find ourselves walking in a neighborhood that we knew nothing about, our cell didn’t work and we had no idea how to call anyone to come rescue us and take us to where we were suppose to be. We experienced walking the streets of Florence trying to locate the store where Randy had left his passport while buying an Italian phone. There was the memories of trying to read Italian when no English word was anywhere in sight and we had no idea what bus stop to get off.
But we not only survived, we grew. We grew not only in terms of having to get out of our comfort zones and realize that no matter where we were, God was there. Sometimes, I feel that we, as Americans, we tend to think that God is just here and forget that God is truly God. He is Omnipresence, He truly is everywhere. There is no where any of us can go that He is not there. He is not only in America, but in every country of the world. We saw Him, on that awful train ride to Sorrento, when street musicians came aboard and began to play, allowing us to focus on them, and not the fact that we had to stand on a old bumpy train for 2 hours. We saw Him on the street which we finally found Randy’s passport. The man who spoke not a word of English, had saved it for us, knowing we would be back. We felt His presence, not only in many accents, singing and worshiping together in that church in Rome, but in the precious acceptance and help from people trying to assist us in grocery stores, drug stores and standing on streets, looking at maps, trying to decide which way to go. There were days when, we looked at the most beautiful blue waters of the Bay of Naples, driving by gorgeous vineyards around Tuscany, the cobbled streets of small villages, the hills and cypress trees which we saw as the train speed by. The waters and canals of Venice were something to behold.
Yes, today, we have so much to remember and so much to be thankful for. We know that, even now, in our home on a small street in Frisco, TX we not only have these wonderful memories, but we know that God is here, in this place, giving us new dreams and desires that continually bring hope and assurance that……dreams can and do come true!
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your Hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
Psalms 37….”trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Last week, some of our kids were coming to dinner and had requested this dish a couple of weeks ago. It sounded really good when I looked at the recipe, so decided to try it. Im not really fond of pasta with cream sauces, as I prefer tomato based, but after having this, I have changed my mind and was so glad I tried it. Was so easy and had such few ingredients that it makes a great dish to serve company.
2 cups cubed roasted chicken breast ( I stopped in at Costco and picked one up)
16 oz box of penne pasta, cooked until done and drained
3 tables butter
3 tables flour
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups half & half
1/2 teas dried oregano
1/2 tesas dreid basil
1 1/2 cups shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 teas salt
1/2 teas pepper ( I added about another 1/2 teas as I love the flavor of pepper with the cream)
Chop chicken breast until you have about 2 cups. Set aside. Reserve rest of chicken for another use.
Melt the butter and stir in the flour until a paste is formed. Stir in the minced garlic and cook in paste until garlic is tender. Gradually add the half & half in and stir continually until it is beginning to thicken. Add the spices and the cheese. Stir until well blended. Add the cooked (and drained) penne pasta into the sauce. When well mixed, sprinkle even more cheese over the top and place in a preheated 350 oven. Bake until cheese on top is melted and pasta is beginning to bubble. Serve with fresh garlic bread and salad.
Welcome to Chocolate Castles, a blog about food, family and stories that hopefully will bring a smile to your heart.
Thanks for reading chocolate castles and may the recipes and stories help bring your family and friends a little closer around the table!
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