Let me tell you about how productive I was yesterday.

I got so much done yesterday morning and then both kids that were home fell asleep around 11. Clearly, I couldn’t waste such a peaceful time on things like laundry or scrubbing the toilets. Especially when my DVR was calling my name. So I turned on Madam Secretary (obsessed) and starting searching for a neon geometric cardigan.

WHICH NO ONE HAS RIGHT NOW!

So my children finally wake up and I realize I’ve spent 4 hours searching for a cardigan. I also managed to somehow watch 4 episodes of Revenge.

And then since I’d spent most the day sitting around watching Netflix, I figured I might as well sit around some more and swatch all my nail polish onto fake nails. Because that’s what normal adults do on Mondays.

I did cry on the phone with my internet provider for about an hour. That’s something, right? You guys, I can’t handle the slow internet. I called them Sunday night and the guy reset a bunch of things and then concluded that it was my Macbook causing the issue. WHICH IT ISN’T. So I cried. Because I was so frustrated.

They’re sending a guy out today. I’m going to try not to cry.

Anyway, more pumpkin. Pumpkin all day, every day.

I posted this recipe originally back in 2008. I think that was probably the first year I was really into pumpkin. Probably because that’s the first year I was really into cooking. But we absolutely loved it then. My husband is kind of a pumpkin hater but he still talks about this pasta. And he was totally jealous when I said I was making it a few days ago.

It’s so, so, so good. The pumpkin and the sausage and the sage just work so well together. I’ve got leftovers in my fridge that are currently calling my name!

Click for the full recipe

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One thing that always stumps me is when someone tells me that their kids love soup.

What?

My kids wouldn’t know what to do with soup. If they can’t stab it with a fork, it’s not happening.

I know, I should teach them how to properly eat.

I tried.

I also tried to teach them not to jump on the furniture, share popsicles with the dogs, or announce when they… ummm… make gross noises in public.

My husband says “they’re boys!” And I say they’re his boys and therefore more stubborn and obnoxious than all the other boys in the world.

So we don’t eat soup. If I want soup, I go by Panera for some French onion.

But really, is there anything more comforting that chicken noodle soup? Nope. And that’s exactly what I’m craving in this weirdly cold weather we’ve been having.

This Chicken and Noodles is like chicken noodle soup but without the soup. So it’s got the chicken, the noodles, the carrots, celery, even some peas. You make it like you’d make soup but at the end you thicken it with a milk and flour mixture. It makes a creamy sauce that really coats everything.

You can click through to the original recipe if you need instructions on cooking the chicken but in an effort to make my life easier, I slow cooked a whole chicken early in the week and then made Pioneer Woman’s chicken spaghetti with half of it and then used the rest for this. If you wanna make your life really easy, buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.

This is going to be a winter staple for us, especially after my husband gets home. I was sending him photos of the cooking process and eventually he just started ignoring me completely because chicken and noodles is his fave!

Click for the full recipe

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I don’t really like to talk too in depth about my kids on this blog – mostly because there was a time in my life when I would’ve been absolutely mortified if someone had googled my name and stumbled upon my mom telling the story of the time I bit a hole in her shower curtain.

But I had to share this one.

Okay, so, we have 4 sports practices a week. They’re all early evening which… is rough. I have 3 kids, we’re on month 6 of deployment – you’re lucky if I show up anywhere after 3 pm. I’m pretty much done by then. So I’m easily aggravated at these practices and yesterday one of my kids was just driving me insane. Purposely, of course. Because he enjoys it.

It was bad. It was one of those fits that causes you to get close to their face and whisper, “If you don’t cut it out RIGHT NOW, when we get home I’m going to take all your stuffed animals outside and set them on fire”.

So after an hour of that, we were driving home and I asked them if they’re ready to have this Cheeseburger Mac for dinner. Two of the kids were all “YEAH!” and then my trouble maker said, “Uhh, did you make it with water? Because I don’t like things made with water.”

You guys, I’m surprised I didn’t crash the car.

The rest of us really enjoyed it, despite the water. It’s supposed to be like Hamburger Helper but it’s a million times better than Hamburger Helper. And it’s all cooked in one pot so you can spend your night watching Dance Moms reruns instead of washing dishes!

Click for the full recipe

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Okay, first up, HAPPY THURSDAY! It’s almost Friiiiday!

Second, my blog will not exist from this coming Sunday night until the following Tuesday morning. So if you’re anticipating needing that Smoky Margarita recipe on Monday afternoon, get it now!

Do what I do, take a iPhone picture of the recipe ingredients and then try to figure out exactly what you’re supposed to do with them later.

It makes for a fun game. Sometimes it ends horribly but hey, you win some, you lose some.

I’ll remind you guys again tomorrow just in case.

And finally, macaroni salad!

hate macaroni salad. My husband is obsessed with the grocery store deli kind that doesn’t taste like anything. Like, it doesn’t even taste like pasta. It’s just nothing.

Or at least I think so.

But I made this macaroni salad last summer for the first time and I think I’ve made it 10 times since then. It’s become our go-to side dish for anything grilled. It’s super flavorful and I love the big chunks of ham and cheese. Give it awhile to sit though or it will just taste like pasta coated in mayonnaise. Once it hangs out in the fridge for awhile though? The best macaroni salad ever! And the only one you’ll catch me eating.

Macaroni Salad

Ingredients

1 pound small pasta (macaroni, shells, rotini, etc.)
1 1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons mustard
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
ground black pepper
1 cup ham steak, cut into small cubes
1 cup cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
2/3 cup frozen peas, thawed

Instructions

  1. Prepare macaroni to al dente according to package directions. After macaroni is cooked, drain and rinse in cold water. Once macaroni has cooled down, drain well.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, mustard, sour cream, apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper.
  3. In a large bowl toss macaroni with ham, cheese, and peas.
  4. Fold in mayonnaise mixture until pasta is well coated.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit overnight.
  6. If the salad seems a little dry after setting up overnight, add some milk a little bit at a time until salad becomes nice and creamy again.
http://fakeginger.com/2014/06/26/macaroni-salad/

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I’ve really been failing at dinner since my husband deployed. My seven year old actually asked me why I never cook anymore.

To which I said, “What are you talking about? I made 6 kinds of ice cream last week!”

Apparently ice cream does not count as real cooking.

I go through this whenever my husband is gone. When he’s here, I know that whatever I cook, it’ll get eaten. When it’s just me and the boys, we always have leftovers for days and then I still end up trashing stuff. And that’s really frustrating to me. We end up doing sandwiches and Cheetos for dinner just about every night.

So I made this pasta for dinner to prove to the kid that I actually still know how to cook. It was a HUGE hit. I don’t go for cottage cheese in pasta dishes usually but no one really noticed it in this. It melted and got super creamy. And I have been eating nothing but ground turkey for months so actual ground beef?

I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. But that is besides the point.

Sour Cream Noodle Bake

Ingredients

1 pound lean ground beef
1 (15 ounce) can Tomato sauce
1 (8 ounce) can Tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
8 ounces Egg Noodles
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cups small curd cottage cheese
1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Brown ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking it up as it cooks. Drain grease if necessary and return to pan; add the tomato sauce, salt and pepper to skillet. Stir mixture and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for about 5-10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, boil egg noodles in a large pot of water until al dente. Drain water. Set noodles aside.
  4. In a mixing bowl, stir together sour cream and cottage cheese. Gentle stir in cooked egg noodles. Sprinkle with a little black pepper and gently stir until noodles are coated. Stir in green onions.
  5. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick spray. Layer half the noodles in the bottom of the pan, spread out evenly. Spread half of the meat mixture over the noodles, sprinkle with half the cheese. Repeat layers again, with remaining noodles, the rest of the meat mixture and then ending with the cheese.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
http://fakeginger.com/2014/06/17/sour-cream-noodle-bake/

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