Tag Archives: DIY

Blackened Chicken with Creamy Pasta

Blackened Chicken with Creamy Pasta

Today was an incredibly long day.  Got to sleep in, but as soon as I woke up, it was lets go Garage Sale Shopping.  I actually am looking forward to my sister finally moving out (just so I can stop shopping for stuff for her!) It was actually an allotment sale, so we got to walk around, get some sun, and find a few things.  We found her bedroom furniture, something big we really needed to check off her list.

Then we got back home, found room for all the toilet paper and paper towels we bought for $4 each, Love Coupons!                My sister and I, spent a lot of time cleaning out the garage, and organizing.  Mom noticed right away, felt good to actually find a home for that stuff.

Next we got my (yes all mine) new motorcycle out, so I could start learning how to drive it.  Was a little scary but did pretty well for my first time out and didn’t drop it.  Yes there are pictures, but I’m not sure I want to show them as of yet.

Now for dinner! Dinner was awesome, really happy with how it came out.  It was fairly easy, and if you time it out right works out pretty well as well.  Only thing I’d probably change would be to use brown sugar instead.  We also didn’t do the broccoli like in the original recipe here.  I cheated and heated up some frozen veggies which added more than just broccoli.  This is a keeper, and the first thing my sister, Cyndi, said was, “Make sure there is a recipe card for this one.” I’m guessing that is a good sign.

Blackened Chicken with Creamy Pasta

adapted from thekitchn.com

Serves 4 to 6   Total time Hour

For the seasoning:
2 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste

For the chicken:
Olive oil, for cooking
2 chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds) split in half crosswise
3 tablespoons butter, melted
Box of Pasta

For the sauce:
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk (2% or whole) (I actually used almond milk)
1 egg yolk
3 large cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup packed freshly-grated Parmesan
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F. For the blackening seasoning, combine all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over highest heat or until scalding hot, about 5 minutes. Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is very hot, dredge the chicken in the melted butter; then thoroughly coat in the blackening rub. Add the chicken to the pan and cook until blackened on each side, about 1-2 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a lightly-greased sheet pan. Cook in the oven until chicken with the cut chicken strips, this only took about ten minutes. After out of the oven I sliced in bite sized pieces.

While the chicken is in the oven, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Then cook pasta as directed, usually about ten minutes, until al dente.

To make the sauce, in a heavy saucepan, whisk together the cream, milk, and egg yolk. Add the garlic cloves and bring to barely a simmer, stirring constantly, over medium-low to medium heat. Cook until the sauce is slightly thickened, watching carefully to not cook the egg. Turn off the heat and stir in grated Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Combine the pasta, sauce, sliced chicken. If you are in need of some veggies, I threw some frozen veggies to add color, and for the healthy aspect of the dish!  Once all plated serve immediately, and enjoy!

Here is a typed up recipe pages just for you  Get it HERE


Easy Gourmet Cupcakes


I’m all about making life easier.  Yes I’d prefer healthier 99% of the time but if you’re in a pinch but you want it look like you were trying harder than you were I have the perfect trick for you.

This is what I’m doing for the bring a covered dish to our motorcycle run this morning (Yes I’m a biker too 😉 )

I got a box of red velvet cake mix and brownie mix, with coupons of course! I think I paid maybe .50 each for them.  I had the cream cheese and powdered sugar, so I had everything I needed already there.

Mix the ingredients together as directed in two separate bowls, and then when you put the cupcake pans together, Spoon (Sorry I forgot to take pix during the process! 😦 Will work on that )  in the red velvet in all the cups, close to normal but a little low, so you’ll have a few extra cupcakes, oh darn. Then with the brownie mix, put a dollop in the middle of the batter.  Just don’t let it get to the edges.  Bake it like the box tells you too.  With the red velvet the brownie disappears, I’ve done it with yellow cake, and you still have a brown spot on the top.  

Then wait to cool so the frosting doesn’t melt, and pipe frosting with your home made cream cheese frosting (or whatever frosting you make).  I just use a gallon ziploc bag and a star tip, because then it doesn’t look homemade.  This always goes over well, and you know the cake will taste good.

There are your fast and easy gourmet cupcakes!

Topsy Turvy Garden Week 3


So this week, I changed a lot of things and put a lot of sweat equity into this garden.  I Deconstructed some pallets and built a garden box that I sat on cinder blocks.  This box is 4×4 with 4 holes on each side, letting 16 plants grow topsy turvy and actually having my herbs up top.  I did a lot of research, and realized that my pepper plants were too close together and not getting enough nutrients.  This was not helpful and the leaves were turning yellow, not a good sign.  Not all of the plants did well in the replanting process, hopefully they come back bigger and stronger with the more room for them to grow.  To get this idea I took a few other ideas here and here  and put them together, with the basics of gardening.  Technically each plant should be planted 12in apart, in most vertical gardens they are much closer and or not tall enough.  Hopefully this project works out well, because it was not the easiest thing to build. It might of taken a lot of work, but it was fairly cheap, used organic gardening soil (really need to work on a compost bin next!) and plants, other than that everything was free.
IMG_7840plants growing out the sides and herbs on top.jalapeno plants
The coolest part was all the different tools I got to use, and learn how to use properly.  It is pretty awesome that my parents have about every tool imaginable!  I’ll do a better post of how I put the plant box together later. I’m leaving the tomato plants where they are right now, because they are growing big and I actually got my first tomato on the plant so far! Very excited about this.  My sister thinks I’m crazy because I go out there everyday looking to see how fast and well its growing.  It is very cool thing to watch plants grow, especially since it is food I’m going to get to eat.

I still have a few more plants to plant, hot peppers, habanero, jalapeno, more banana peppers (my favorite, and serrano peppers.
IMG_7830you can see little peppers growing!IMG_7829
I found this awesome tutorial on how to turn a pallet into a Vertical Garden, I thought about doing that but still don’t know if they are going to have enough room for the roots.  Working out the numbers and maybe we’ll have a tutorial on our hands! I’d really love to cheat and just use a hanging shoe rack like show here.  I just don’t think it would be as producing as it could be with the right about of room for the roots. Right now its raining, so I’ll take pix as soon as I can.  Sorry there aren’t more pix of me building the box, but I was worried about all the dust around my camera.  Yes I’m a baby!

Cilantro Lime Crusted Chicken Tacos


Like I noted in the Meal Planning Monday, Monday we had Cilantro Lime Crusted Chicken Tacos. Sorry took so long to post, but yesterday was a crazy day. I have a broken foot at the moment, shopping and interviewing on crutches is not recommended! But we go the meal made, and my mom (who does not cook at all) helped while I hobbled, and it all came together, thunderstorm and all.

With my couponing this week, we got some of the Kraft Fresh Takes On sale for $1/each, after coupon, totally worth trying a few.

Overall Rating:

Manda: Was pretty good, and nice and quick! Great for a night on the go.  The calories weren’t completely horrible either.  With 100 calories per serving, plus wrap and toppings, you could make this a very low calorie meal.     A

Family: Everyone loved that it was easy to customize and they could have exactly what they wanted.  Everyone loved the cilantro and lime seasoning .  A+

Cilantro Lime Crusted Chicken Tacos

Serves 6

Total time: 45 minutes

Preheat Oven 375°

2lb whole boneless skinless chicken breasts (Completely Thawed)

1 Cilantro Lime Fresh Takes

Whole Wheat Soft Tacos

Toppings of your choice!

Follow the directions in the package for the Fresh Takes, Used the thawed chicken, and soak in water and place in bag to coat with toppings.  Place on a greased baking sheet or my favorite a foil covered baking sheet.  Bake Chicken for 30 minutes.

This is when you can wash dishes or catch up on something else.  (I was getting my coupons ready for my trip on Tuesday, have to multitask!)
IMG_7785[1] IMG_7786[1]
When the chicken is done pull out and slice  to put onto your whole wheat tortillas. Add your favorite toppings and voila you’re done! Quick, Easy, and Delicious!


Print this Recipe!

Welcome All!


Hello all! I’m Amanda (Manda) and I’m going to share my life and its adventures with you. I’m a crafter by nature, a photographer at heart, and frugal as possible. I make everything I can, clip coupons, and really enjoying making things for other people. I follow tons of blogs, and love reading about everyone else’s ups, downs, and wonderful masterpieces, so I thought I’d start to share mine as well.

If you want to know more about me please ask, I’m really looking forward to meeting and enjoying all of my new friends that could come out of this.