Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Guide to Life {that I rarely follow}

For those of you will not be in attendance for my little enrichment lesson tonight -- here is just a teensy-tiny snippet of what you will miss.
Being really tired because I stayed up til midnight and got up at 5am to finish working on the lesson and the handout, even though I've known for a month I was teaching, and even though my lesson is on 'how to de-stress your life'.
Funny, eh?
I apparently don't follow my own advice very well.
I've always done my best work under pressure though. A little stress can be a good thing for me. Keeps me on my toes. Keeps life interesting. Keeps my house in utter chaos while I'm focusing on alleviating that one stressor.
But, according to the cute little pamphlet I JUST finished putting together, that's not the way it has to be. Especially during this joyous, merry, uplifting, and crazy time of the year!
One of the things that I didn't love growing up, was that my mom rarely joined us in family activities during the holidays - like sledding, or swimming, or playing dodgeball – because she was too busy in the kitchen, preparing a meal for when we came home from said activities. {at the time, I wasn't thoughtful enough to actually offer to help her so she could have time to come with. darned hindsight.}
I really want to make time for those things. I want to be out there with my kids, and family, and friends. Who wants to be stuck in the kitchen when you could be dodging an orange rubber ball to the head?
It doesn't just happen though. Someone has to plan and prepare so hungry little, red cheeked, frozen fingered chitlins have something warm to eat upon walking in the wreath bedecked front door. And that someone, is me. Or you. Here's how:
Some families solve this dilemma by eating out, ordering in, or drive-thruing it through the holidays. We generally will have pizza one night the week of Christmas, but eating out every day isn't an option for us. So...preparing meals weeks ahead of time, and freezing them, or putting the crockpot to use is the way I make it all work.
So, as my little pre-Christmas gift to you, here is my favorite Pumpin Cake Roll recipe (perfect for freezing, then serving with Christmas dinner later) and my favorite Crockpot chicken dish that will have your snow covered little ones leaving scarves, mittens and clunky boots in a chilly trail on their way to the kitchen table.

Pumpkin Cake roll (thanks molly)
3 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar, divided
2/3 cup canned pumpkin (you can also use instead of pumpkin mashed bananas to make 2/3 cup and make it a banana cake roll)
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
2 T butter, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla
Additional confectioners' sugar

Line a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan with waxed paper; grease the paper and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg yolks on high speed until thick and lemon-colored. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar and pumpkin, beating on high until sugar is
almost dissolved.
In a small mixing bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold into egg yolk mixture. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Gently fold into pumpkin mixture. Spread into prepared pan.
Bake at 375 for 12-15 min. or until the cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool for 5 minutes. Turn cake onto a kitchen towel dusted with confectioners' sugar. Gently peel off waxed paper. Roll up cake in the towel jelly roll style, starting with a short side. Cool completely on a wire rack.

In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, confectioners' sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Unroll cake; spread filling evenly to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll up again. Cover and freeze for up to 3 months. Remove from freezer 15 min. before cutting. Dust with confectioners' sugar if desired.

Angelic Chicken
6 skinless, boneless chicken cut in strips or chunks—your choice
¼ c. butter
1 (0.7 oz.) pkg. Italian salad dressing mix
1 (10¾ oz) can cream of chicken soup
1 C. white grape juice
½ of 8 oz tub cream cheese with chives and onion
Hot cooked rigatoni pasta
Serves: 6

Place uncooked chicken in a 3-4 quart crock pot.
In saucepan, melt butter, stir dressing mix into butter.
Stir in soup, juice and cream cheese until combined.
Pour over chicken
Cover, and cook on low heat setting for 4 to 5 hours.
Shred chicken if desired.
Serve over hot cooked pasta.

Have a very Merry {and low stress} Holiday Season!


Diana said...

Is this the chicken you made for us when Christian was born. I need to know--that chicken was so yummy.

Cumorah said...

Yep - that's the one! Glad you liked it! It's on our family's faves.