Twelve Days of Christmas Treats & Eats Day 6 {Festive Dinner}

Posted by casey on December 17, 2012 in In The Kitchen, The Main Show

Let me guess, you are on sweets overloaded and just can’t take another dessert recipe that is so enticing you absolutely have to make it, right?  I hear you.  So, I thought I would give out a colorful dinner recipe that is scrumptious and looks perfectly festive for a holiday dinner.  Best part?  Super easy, fresh and HEALTHY.  How is that for a change from dessert?

On the Sixth day of Christmas Treats & Eats my mess of a kitchen gave to me…

Festive Chicken Dinner, Minty Snowtop Cookies, Stovetop Potpourri, Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies, Bailey’s Brownies and Butterscotch Toffee Shortbread!

Day Six -Balsamic Pesto Chicken and Tomatoes

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

4 – 5 garlic cloves

1 cup fresh basil

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup water

1 package of cherry or grape tomatoes

1/2 yellow onion sliced


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Heat some olive oil in a heavy pan and brown the chicken breasts (salt and pepper them slightly) in a pan. (a couple min each side)

In a food processor (or blender if you don’t have one) place the garlic, basil, olive oil, vinegar and water. Pulse the mixture until it is a perfect pureed pesto sauce.

Place the browned chicken breasts in a baking dish and cover with the basil, garlic mixture. Top with your tomatoes and onion and bake for about 40 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.

Red and Green and Delicious.  Holiday Dinner Done Right



A Month of Meals

Posted by casey on June 3, 2012 in In The Kitchen, The Main Show

Since it is Sunday you are probably pondering what you are going to eat this week or possibly even tonight. Let me help.

I have turned a new leaf in the Kazmann household in order to get us back on track at dinner time.  For months and months and months since Everett was born there was entirely too much going on to think about dinner, plan ahead or even come close to cooking.  A lot of takeout, a lot of crock pot food and a lot of whatever you could find in the pantry/fridge was eaten.  Caden was our only priority for a flavorful, balanced meal each night. This affected all of us and dinner has always been a time for us to gather so, like I said, I wanted to get back on track.  I have been planning our meals out a week at a time like many do, but for over a month now I have stuck to it – every single meal, every single day.  This helps our day go smoother and our money stay in the bank because I go to the store ONCE and get everything we need for dinner/snacks etc. for the upcoming week.

If you have small kiddos you know this is huge.  Less hauling them around.  Less long trips to the store and less money spent on random stuff/snacks/entertainment you see as you go.  Less is more people. Less is more.

Since we are about to begin the full first week of June I thought I would share my weekly menus with you, enough for a full month in case you too need to get back on track or would like some helping planning your meals. I print out the menu and put it on the fridge each week and e-mail it to the husband as soon as it is finished so we all are aware and accountable.  Our meals are affordable and full of fresh produce, sides and spices. Mmmm mmmm good.  So, just for you here is a month of meals.


I stole borrowed the menu layout from Life at the White House and made a few adjustments to it. The colors were too cute I couldn’t resist! If you are interested in any of the recipes, here they are! (yes I made it that easy)

A Month of Meals I

Feel free to email me at lifeofthekazmanns@gmail.com or casey.kazmann@gmail.com if you have any problems with the file download and I will e-mail them to you separately.

Happy Meal Planning!


Perfectly Fall Feast {Pork Chops & Glazed Apples}

Posted by casey on October 23, 2011 in In The Kitchen, The Main Show

Have I mentioned how much I love fall food? (and Pioneer Woman)  The spices and flavors are just my favorite.  So hearty, and filling and they leave your home smelling scrumptious.  Before I have this baby, I thought I should leave you with at least one more fall meal that we successfully conquered in the Kazmann household and it wasn’t even for my crock pot or freezer.  What a treat.

Pork Chops and Glazed Apples


  • 6 whole Boneless Pork Chops, About 1/2-inch Thick
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 whole Gala Apples, Diced
  • 1/2 cup Dry White Wine
  • 2 teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3/4 cups Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 sprinkle of Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and butter and heat until butter in melted.

2. Prep your pork by Salt and peppering both sides of pork chops. Brown them on both sides until nice and golden.

3. Remove pork chops from the skillet and set on a separate plate. (leave any juices/residue in the skillet)

4. Reduce heat to medium. Add apples and stir to combine them with the oil, and butter that remains in the pan.

5. Pour in wine and vinegar, then whisk along the bottom of the pan to deglaze it. Cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. (or longer)

6. Pour in the maple syrup, then add a bit of salt and pepper.  Return pork chops to the pan.

7. Cover the pan and simmer on low for 20 minutes.

Thank you again Pioneer Woman.  Your delicious, simple to make recipes have yet again struck gold in my home.  I should also mention that she served these pork chops with garlic cheese grits which was a heavenly accompaniment.  Then again, my hubs loves grits – especially when you add butter, cream, cheese and garlic.



Scrumptious & Filling {French Dip}

Posted by casey on October 10, 2011 in In The Kitchen, The Main Show, Uncategorized


 I know it is shocking but I cooked a meal that isn’t for my freezer.
Does it take away from that shock if I tell you it did involve a crock pot?
I’m tired people…and very pregnant, what do you want from me.  A meal slaved over at the stove all day? HA!

I can say that this was a delicious meal and just the filling protein that Baby Kaz II (and the hubs) needed.  In fact, as the hubs was slicing the meat for me (I tend to knick fingers…or limbs) he stole a slice (typical) and said ” Ohhh, now that is good.” So Pioneer Woman was a success again in this household (yes I make her stuff a lot because I rarely have a “fail” with her recipes).  So easy (thank you crock pot) so delicious (thank you beef) and well worth you making it too.

French Dip Sandwiches (Or “Drip Beef” as PW Calls It)

  • 1 whole 2.5 To 4 Pound Chuck Roast
  • 1/4 cup Butter
  • 1 whole Large Onion, Sliced Thick
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Peeled
  • 1/2 cup Soy Sauce
  • 1 cup Sherry/Red Wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 4 cups Water
  • Toasted, Buttered Deli Rolls
  • Sliced Provolone
  • OPTIONAL: Rosemary, Thyme, Other Spices

1. Heat your butter in a pan over medium-high heat. Saute the onions for a couple of minutes, or until starting to get brown. Transfer your onions into the bottom of your crock pot.

2. Set chuck roast on top of the onions. Add all remaining ingredients. ( I sprinkled the seasonings over the meat before the liquid)

3. Cover crock pot and simmer on low for 6 hours, or until beef is fork-tender and falling apart.

*Mixture can be refrigerated overnight. Remove hardened fat from top of pan before reheating.*

4. Serve on top of toasted, buttered deli rolls. Top with cheese (Provolone/mozzarella) and place under the broiler if desired.  Pour some of the “au jus” into a bowl for dipping and enjoy!

Disclaimer: I was too pregnant and hungry to put true effort into the presentation of the picture.  Therefore it does not show off how delish it really looked.

Sidenote: It’s that time of year…so I happen to be making Candy Corn Sugar Cookies tonight.  Just a little reference in case you forgot about that recipe from last year.  So adorable and tasty!



Freezer Frenzy – Baked Ziti with Ham & Peas

Posted by casey on September 21, 2011 in In The Kitchen, The Main Show

In my mad dash to load my freezer with as many meals as possible before Baby Kaz II arrives I have been saving some to share with you.  The tricky part about most freezer meals is that I think you get a lot of lasagnas, manicottis, spaghettis sauces etc.  Not that I don’t love a good red Italian sauce but eating it night after night can get tiresome.  So yes, this is a pasta dish but in my opinion it is entirely different, fresh and delicious.  This recipe makes enough for one 2 qt dish. However, if you didn’t feel like doubling it (although it is very simple to make two of) you could try and split it between two square dishes which would probably be more than enough.  One for dinner and one for the freezer – perfect!

Baked Ziti With Ham & Peas
1 lb ziti
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
4 cups milk
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups Parmesan
1 cup frozen baby peas (I like to put in at least two cups)
(I think you could also add or substitute some crisp steamed chopped broccoli for a different veggie/flavor)
1/4 lb prosciutto or sandwich ham chopped (I like to put in 1/2 lb)
1/2 cup bread crumbs

I think adding the extra veggies/meat makes it more of a rounded meal (plus a salad and maybe an extra veggie) rather than just a creamy pasta dish.

1. Preheat your oven to 425 and lightly grease a 2 qt baking dish or whatever you are using.

2. Cook your ziti in boiling, salted water until al dente (just barely tender)

3. Melt your butter in a pot over medium heat.  Add the flour and cook stirring constantly for 30 seconds. Start to slowly pour in your milk stirring/whisking the whole time so it doesn’t clump.  Cook until your sauce begins to thicken and get creamy – 5 to 10 min ( always around 10 for me). 

4. Stir in your nutmeg, cheese, peas and ham.

5. Combine your sauce and pasta either in the pot if it will fit or a mixing bowl until evenly coated.  Pour into your baking dish and top with bread crumbs.

6. Bake approx 20 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the bread crumbs are golden.

Original Recipe From Williams Sonoma “One Pot” Cookbook


Cheap and Easy – Chicken Wraps

Posted by casey on August 29, 2011 in In The Kitchen, Snacks and Sides, The Main Show

I’m talking about food here people, not anything inappropriate – a cheap and easy dinner my friends.  I posted this recipe once before, but since it is still scorching hot out and our water line broke leaving us broke and me needing an easy meal/snack to fix I thought I would hsare it again in case you missed it.

Chicken Tarragon Wraps
2 Cups Diced Chicken (If you’re in a hurry snag a cooked rotisserie chicken from your store.  If not, I suggest grilled or pan seared chicken breasts)
1 Lemon
1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
1/2 Tablespoon Dried Tarragon or 2 Tablespoons Fresh
1 Avocado Cubed
Chopped Romaine
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Pitas, Tortillas or Flatbread
Grated Parmesan

1. Squeeze 1 1/2 Tablespoons of lemon juice into a bowl.  Add the mayonnaise and tarragon and stir to combine.  Set aside in the fridge while you assemble the rest.

2. Once your chicken is cooked whether you cooked it yourself or bought it that way chop it into cubes and toss the chicken and the cubed avocados with the dressing.  Season to taste with salt and pepper to your liking.  You can make the dressing ahead of time and even toss the chicken with it in advance but do not cut and add the avocado until you are ready to assemble the wraps.

3. Chop up your romaine into thin slices. 

4. Personally I think that pitas or flatbread work the best for a dish like this, and I really love “Flatout Healthy Grain Flatbread”.  In most groceries they carry these or similar types near the deli meat counter not in the bakery or bread aisle.

See? Cheap and Easy.
Not to Mention Delicious
Complete With Minimum Dishes to Clean in My Waterless Home

Original Recipe From Williams Sonoma “Simple Suppers” Cookbook



Penne Alla Prego

Posted by casey on August 10, 2011 in In The Kitchen, The Main Show

Almost two years ago, I was given Pioneer Woman’s cookbook for my birthday.  For almost two years now I have been pining over this one recipe in there that kept sounding so delicious yet completely wrong for me.  Why?  It involved shrimp.  If you know me, you know that I don’t do seafood or sea creatures of any kind.  It makes my stomach turn thinking about it.  If you have been reading this blog for the past few months you should also know that I am yet again pregnant which means that I especially don’t do seafood right now.  But this recipe was calling my name.  Don’t ask me why it took almost two years for me to have the great epiphany that instead of shrimp I could use chicken. Genius!   Pioneer Woman calls it Penne Alla Betsyafter her sister.  I call my adapted version that has a few changes other than just the chicken, Penne Alla Prego since Baby Kaz II insisted I figure out a solution to the shrimp issue.

Penne Alla Prego (Adapted from Pioneer Woman’s Penne Alla Betsy)

  • 3/4 pounds Penne Pasta
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts (you can use a rotisserie if you need to save time)
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 whole Onion
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 cup White Wine
  • 1 can Tomato Sauce (8 Oz)
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1-2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 pkg frozen spinach
  • Fresh Parsley, to taste
  • Fresh Basil – To Taste
  • Salt To Taste
  • Pepper To Taste

Preparation Instructions

1. Boil water and then cook the penne pasta until it is al dente (a bit on the firm side of cooked.

2. While the pasta is cooking, set your chicken breasts in a pan that has the can of chicken broth poured into it.  Cover the pot and simmer the chicken breasts over medium high heat for approximately 20 minutes until cooked through.  Again, if you are short on time you could use a cooked rotisserie chicken.

3. Finely dice one small onion and mince your two cloves of garlic.

4. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil into a pan/skillet. Add the garlic and onion and sauté, until tender.

5. Pour in your white wine and let the wine evaporate for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

6.Now add an 8-ounce can of plain tomato sauce. Stir well until combined.  Add in your cans of diced tomatoes (or chopped fresh) as well.  Next, add 1 cup of heavy cream. Continue stirring. Turn heat down to low and let simmer.

7. While your sauce is simmering, chop up your herbs (approx a tablespoon of chopped parsley and about the same amount of chopped basil – although I do like basil and might have added a bit more)

8. Defrost and thoroughly drain the packaged spinach.  Chop up your cooked chicken.  I prefer to chop up the chicken rather small so that I will eat more of it, but you could also serve a grilled chicken sliced over servings of the pasta and sauce for a similar effect.

9. Add the spinach, cooked chicken and pasta into the sauce. Stir until combined and heated through.

Ta-Daaaaaaaaa!!!! I solved the shrimp dilemma and have a delicious pasta dish to show for it.  You are obviously more than welcome to stick to the original which does have shrimp, but it lacks spinach and chopped tomatoes.  A little give and take people…and little give and take.

Bon Appetit!


Feast for the 4th – Shiskabobs

Posted by casey on July 1, 2011 in In The Kitchen, The Main Show

If you just couldn’t handle getting out your crock pot for my BBQ Brisket for the 4th, how about turning to the grill?  Classic.   This shiskabob marinade has been tested tried and true, and has been around as long as I can remember.  Again, you can marinade this overnight if you are needing ample prep time, or for just a few hours the day of cooking.  I prefer it with chicken, however we have used beef as well and the flavor is still delicious.

Shiskabob Marinade
8 ounces pineapple juice
1/4 cup corn oil
/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (freshly zested ginger does wonders, but dried will work)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cloves garlic minced

1. Combine all of your marinade ingredients in a glass bowl or container.
2. Cut boneless chicken breasts into chunks (or beef) and place in the marinade. Stir to make sure they are fully covered.
3. Cover the bowl and marinate as long as you need. (Don’t be excessive….but overnight can be okay)
4. An hour or so before grilling add veggies to the marinade (green & red bell peppers, onions, potato chunks)
5. Cut up fresh pineapple and set aside.

Spear your shiskabobs with your marinated mixture and fresh pineapple and grill away!

** Disclaimer: Something in this marinade makes it feel crazy cold.  So, if your fingers feel like they are going to fall off as you are pulling the pieces out and spearing them I take no responsibility.  Think of it as part of the experience.**


Feast for the 4th – Brisket, Crockpot Style

Posted by casey on June 30, 2011 in In The Kitchen, The Main Show

Of the many things that could apply to the saying, “You can’t live in Texas and not love __________” Brisket/BBQ is on the top of the list.  I thought the days leading up to the Fourth of July would be a good time to share one of my favorite brisket recipes.  Perfect for company or just your family, it is sure to please. The best part?  It involves a crock pot which means the bulk of your job is going to the store.  Perfecto.  Eat it by itself, on sandwiches, chop it up in nachos….so many options!

BBQ Brisket – Crockpot Style

* One, 1-3 lb brisket (look for a good slice that has minimal fat throughout, just fat on the edges)
* 1/2 cup water
* 3 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
* 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire
* 1 teaspoon Cumin (I prefer a bit more)
* 2 cups bottled or home-made BBQ sauce (estimated amount)
* sandwich rolls if needed

1. Trim the fat from your brisket. I like to leave a little on around the outside to help keep the meat moist and tender.  You also may need to cut your brisket to fit it in your slow cooker.  Try to keep it in larger pieces though.

2. Stir together the water, vinegar, and worcestershire. 

3. Sprinkle the cumin over the meat inside your crockpot.

4. Pour the liquid over your cumin seasoned meat.

5. Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours or high for 5-6 hours. ( I have done both and it works well either way.)

** Now, you can either shred the meat and stir the BBQ sauce over all of it returning it to the crock pot to heat when the meat is cooked, or just shred the meat and let each person individually put sauace on it.  Just a couple of options!**

Mmmmmm, my pregnant red-meat craving mouth is watering. Enjoy!



Traditional Twisted – A Fresh Take on Spaghetti

Posted by casey on February 23, 2011 in In The Kitchen, The Main Show

Since Christmas I have been cooking, and cooking and cooking.  New recipes and meals have been pouring out of my kitchen onto the dinner table.  Unfortunately, their pictures have remained in my camera and they haven’t quite made it here.  I’m working on that.  This was a delightful twist on your everyday spaghetti and meatballs.  The only tricky thing is that the recipe itself was  done with a  lot of “to taste” measurements.  That’s Jamie Oliver for you! Cooking like that isn’t a problem for yourself but it is a but more difficult to relay to others. Here it goes…

I recommend reading through it all prior to cooking not because it is difficult but so you  can organize your steps/pans/kitchen in a manner that will work for you as you go.

 Spaghetti with Tomato Basil Sauce & Sausage Meatballs

– Olive Oil
– 8 Good Quality Pork Sausages
– 1 Lb Spaghetti
– 11 oz fresh or frozen peas (not canned people)
– Fresh Rosemary or Thyme

Sauce Ingredients
– 2 cloves garlic peeled and finely sliced
– small bunch of freshly picked basil (leaves & stalks)
– 2 14 oz cans plum tomatoes
– salt and pepper
– good quality balsamic vinegar

1. Begin boiling some salted water for your spaghetti but do not put the pasta in yet or it will be cold and sticky when your sauce is ready.

2.. In a large saucepan heat 2 to 2 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil. Snip your sausage links apart and you will be able to squeeze the meat out of their casings into little clumps. Do not worry about rolling these into perfectly round shapes, just let them me a little different.  You should be able to get at least three balls out of each one for a size reference.  Drop them into your heated oil and continue to turn them until brown and cooked through.

3. Set the meatballs aside and have your pasta ready to cook.

4. In a separate pan (not the meatball pan you will use that one with the meatballs in it again) heat another tablespoon of olive oil.  Add your sliced garlic and chopped basil stalks to the pan and move them around in the oil for a couple minutes. (Save your basil leaves on the side.)

5. Add the canned tomatoes to your basil/garlic pan and here is where the “season to taste” comes into play.  First, do not be worried by the simplicity of the sauce.  I thought it was going to have no flavor, or just taste like canned tomatoes.  It was wonderful and a perfect match to the meatballs. First break up your canned tomatoes into pieces.

* Season to taste with a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Yes, you can add more if you like it. It will add an unexpected sweetness to it without using sugar.  Yes, you have to have your clean tasting spoon as you go along.  Then use salt, pepper and as many basil leaves/stalks as you want.  We let it simmer for about 15 minutes.

6. Begin cooking your spaghetti.

6. When the spaghetti is almost cooked, add your thyme or rosemary leaves to your pan of meatballs and cook for 30 seconds to a minute.  (If you are using frozen peas, this is when you should stick those bad boys in the microwave and season with some salt/pepper/olive oil to thaw them till crisp – not mushy.)

6. Pasta goes in spaghetti bowls. Sauce goes on pasta.  Meatballs go on sauce and pasta.  Handful of peas gets sprinkled on top.  Yes I said peas.  Yup, peas in your spaghetti.  I don’t care if you think you don’t like peas, just go ahead and throw a couple on there.  You will be very pleasantly surprised.

Original Recipe from “Jamie at Home” by Jamie Oliver



Have I mentioned that my sweet boy turns one on Sunday? One!  Any volunteers for who wants to catch my tears?

Copyright © 2008-2018 Carrying On All rights reserved.
Desk Mess Mirrored version 1.9.1 theme from BuyNowShop.com.