Easy Chicken Pot Pie Casserole

It’s another round of Monday Munchies, this time combining two of my favorite things- casseroles and a comfort food.


I found this recipe off of Foodfoilio but I’ve made some adjustments to adhere to the tastes of me and my roommates. The ingredients are all easy to come by (I almost always have it all on hand- only have to run out to get the chicken!) and pretty inexpensive.

Serves: 4-6 Prep time: ~10 minutes Cook time: ~30-40 minutes

Here’s what you will need:

  1. A rotisserie chicken, meat shredded. Anywhere from 2-4lbs (I try to stick around 2-3)
  2. 10 oz of frozen mixed veggies (any kind you want- carrots suggested!)
  3. 10.775 oz can of potato soup
  4. 1/2 cup of milk
  5. 1/2 teaspoon of salt (or less, to taste)
  6. 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper (or less, to taste)
  7. 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
  8. 1/2 teaspoon of thyme (original recipe calls for 1 teaspoon, but that’s way too overpowering for me)
  9. 10-count tube of refrigerated biscuits (or 8-count of the large grands biscuits)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Combine the shredded chicken, vegetables, soup, salt, thyme, pepper, onion powder, and milk in a large bowl. Pour the mixture into a 9×13 oven-safe casserole dish. Cover with aluminum foil and cook for 15 minutes.

Remove the casserole from the oven and take off the foil. Cover the filling with biscuits (best if they are close together, so when they expand they make a nice top crust). Bake until they are cooked through, around 15-18 minutes. The bottom will be a dumpling-like texture. If you want them cooked further, re-cover with foil and cook an additional 5 minutes.

Let it cool for 5 minutes, then serve!

Some tips: I always get my rotisserie chicken at Sam’s club or Kroger- always good quality at a good price. I also try to use the onion powder, salt, and pepper in equal parts with less thyme so that it doesn’t get overpowering. I’m still trying to find a good go-to vegetarian side dish to serve with it, so if any of you have any suggestions, please let me know!

“I’m worthless” and other ridiculous things we tell ourselves when we’re dumped

Real life story time. Are you ready?

One of my best friends just recently broke up with her boyfriend of three years. Now, personally, I wasn’t a big fan of the guy because I know she can do way better than someone who doesn’t shower on the regular (I mean, ew). She’s having a really hard time with the adjustment back into single life (I mean, they’ve been together since high school and that feels like FOREVER AGO) and part of that, unfortunately, if being hard on yourself. So she’s been saying some things that simply are not true- and I’m here to set the record straight, using real quotes that she’s been saying and how, in a perfect world, she should be.

1. “I’m so alone.” You are never alone. You always have others; you have your family, me, our other friends. People who love you surround you and want to help. We are here for you. You never have to be alone.

2. “I feel incomplete.” Losing someone doesn’t mean you lose yourself. Yes, he was a huge part of your life and the way you’ve built it so far. But that doesn’t mean that when he’s gone you are not you. A part of your life has been altered, and quite drastically. But you don’t have to lose yourself in this chaos. You are still the same beautiful, wonderful, unique human you were before and during his time in your life. You will continue to be once he’s gone.

3. “It’s just- a really big adjustment.” It’s a huge adjustment, love. I understand. But that’s not all it is. You don’t have to play down what you’re going through. It’s okay to grieve and hurt. Just don’t let it consume you.

4. “No one else will ever love me.” I already do.

5. “I’m worthless.” Never. You are the light of your world and the star of your show. What would happen without you? I will stay with you to remind you of your worth. How much everyone loves your jokes and laughter, how we all feed off your smile. Your brain holds universes and infinities unique to yourself and you need to be here to let them free.

6. “I f*cking hate him.” Oh, honey, I would love it if you hated him. Life would be so much easier if you just hated him. But realistically, you don’t, not yet. And you never have to hate him. He’s out of your life now and he’s never coming back. That can happen without you hating him. And it will. And you will be okay.

7. “I mean, it’s fine.” No it’s not. When it is, you won’t have to say it.

8. “I feel bad bothering everyone about this.” This is what we are here for. Friends and families and surrogate families live not only to celebrate your triumphs but to help you mourn your loses. We will stay by your side every step of the way if you want us to. You are never a bother. The world is improved upon by your presence. We love you.

Fresh Squeezed Lemonade

I feel like I put this disclaimer at the beginning of all of my munchies posts, but I am by no means a good cook. I’m fine at following recipes but that’s about it- no food creativity in this body. So I almost feel like I’m just forwarding some delicious recipes onto you and then giving you my review.

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Final Product

This delicious Lemonade recipe comes from The Frugal Girls! But I will break is down for you right here.

What you need:

  • 1-1 1/4 cups of fresh squeezed lemon juice (this meant about 6 lemons in my case)
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • 4 cups of cold water

What to do:

  1. Roll the lemons to loosen the juice (I never knew this trick before but it worked super well!) and squeeze them. I had to squeeze them by hand which wasn’t too hard (though I had the help of my wonderful roommate, Robin), but I’m sure you could use a juicer if you had one available.
  2. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Add the sugar and stir until it dissolves.
  3. Put all the ingredients into your pitcher, stir, and enjoy!

A couple extra tips: I would squeeze some extra lemon juice to make ice cubes so you don’t water down the drink! Also, the drink comes out really tangy, so if you’re into a sweeter sip then add a little bit more sugar! Also this recipe only made about 6-7 glasses, so next time I’m going to try doubling it.

I absolutely loved the way this turned out and will definitely be making this again in the near future!!

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Enjoy!


Disney Darling

In one of my classes this week we were all asked to fill out “got to know me” notecards. One of the questions was interesting: if someone were to ask you about something that you are an expert on what would that topic be. The answer came all too easily to me- Disney. More specifically, the disney parks.

It’s not just the fact that I’ve been going to Walt Disney World my whole life (though not nearly as religiously as I would have liked) but also the fact that when I’m not in Disney, I’m almost constantly reading blogs, books, and anything else I can get my hands on about Disney. (Seriously, I have to be dragged away from the travel section at book stores or I buy ALL THE DISNEY TRAVEL TIP BOOKS!) I love them. I bookmark my reads and have multiple excel sheets and word documents solely dedicated to planning trips- when to travel, where to stay, what parks to do what days- I even have extra magic hours memorized.

It gets a little ridiculous. But I figured I could start posting every so often just to share the wealth of knowledge I have accumulated (because honestly I don’t know what good it would do just keeping it stored inside. Let’s share with the masses shall we?)

 For now let’s keep it simple. I’m just going to tell you the topics I might as well be an expert in so you can tell me what you’d like to hear about. Ready?

Hotels and Resorts- I can talk about what the price ranges mean, what you’re getting for your money, where to go with big families versus small families, monarial versus other modes of transportation, overall experiences, benefits and disadvantages of staying on park property, etc

Dining- I know about dining plans, the best places to eat for quick service and sit down, where accommodates allergies and dietary restrictions the best (I have a cousin with siliacs disease and multiple vegetarian relatives), why character dining is always a good idea, every parks best and worst, and what snacks are bathe best deal for your money, etc

Attractions and Parks- where to go if you only have so many days, what to just skip, what is best for the whole family, what rides to get fast pass for, which characters are the most fun, what parades are worth watching, where to stand for fireworks, which park is best for each kind of traveler, what to do on down days, etc

I absolutely love Disney and would love to be a resource for you, my beautiful people, to use. So please ask me about any of these! And expect a thrilling topic coming up in September 🙂 

 

Back to School Woes

I didn’t know returning to school after just one semester off would come with such high anxieties. I have a much higher appreciation for people who return after years off- I couldn’t imagine.

But I can’t control my anxieties- they’re going to run wild no matter what I say or do. So instead I’m making a list of things that I’m going to do to make sure this semester goes smoothly. Or at least, without a mental breakdown just one week in.

1. I’m going to schedule. Yes- actually use a planner! And plan everyday as much as is reasonable.

2. I’m going to make to-do lists. This almost goes with schedule, but is a little looser- I’m going to use these more on weekends.

3. I’m going to work ahead. In high school, this gets you in a lot of trouble so it’s a rough adjustment. But to stay proactive and productive, it’s necessary.

4. I’m going to treat school as a job. That means blocking off a good chunk of every day- even when I don’t want to- to just do it. To get as much done as well and as efficiently as possible.

5. I’m going to go to the library. I barely know anything about my school’s wonderful library after three semesters- because I never spent enough time there. This year, that’s where 90% of my homework will get done, so I’ll be spending quite a bit of my life there.

6. I’m going to use my time productively. That means that when I need a homework break, I will spend that break doing some ten-minute chore I’ve been putting off (read as: doing the dishes).

7. I’m going to be selfish. In a healthy way, of course. I’m going to be certain that I see any and all doctors I need when I need them, that I get my work done before helping others (like they advise you to on airplanes), and that I’m taking care of my mind, body, and soul. A lot of things went wrong during round one that I put off dealing with by trying to focus on others instead- not this time.

8. I’m going to take responsibility for my actions. No more excuses- especially no more excuses that others make up for me. I won’t give them the opportunity to make excuses for me, because I’ll be so on top of everything, they will be nothing to excuse.

9. I’m going to keep a positive attitude. Positivity is contagious. Forcing yourself to smile for ten minutes a day will cause your smile to be more genuine- and mine will be.

10. I’m going to succeed. I have the skills, the drive, and the ability to get the 4.0 that I’m after. I just have to do it. So I will.

Healthy Eating

Eating, I’ve learned very quickly, is simply a matter of habit and opportunity.

I haven’t posted a blog is a week because I’ve been spending this time moving into and settling into my first new apartment. Now that everything seems to have a groove again, and classes start Monday (today, for those of you reading my posts ever so religiously), I believe I can start dedicating a little bit of my time to this again. So now I can tell you the only thing I’ve really learned in the past week of living here.

Healthy eating makes you feel good. Crazy, right? Who would have thought that putting good in would get good out? I didn’t- at least not to this extent.

When I told my older brother, middle of three and vegetarian, that one of my goals when I moved out was to start eating healthier, he told me one thing. “Eat more blueberries.”

Blueberries? I mean, I love me some berries, but why blueberries in particular? Turns out that blueberries have a lot of antioxidants and can improve brain health and memory. So, okay, check. Blueberries are on the grocery list. Give them the opportunity.

Great! Right? Along with blueberries, our grocery list had strawberries, pasta, hummus, green beans, carrots, broccoli, cheese, roast beef, bread, milk, juice, Dr. Pepper, and cat food. That makes most of our list pretty healthy! Granted, all four of us roommates also brought our select junk foods from home, so we didn’t need to buy more, but still. We gave ourselves a lot of healthy options,  right?

Two days after our shopping trip and only the pasta, cheese, and hummus had been touched.  What were we doing wrong?

This is where habit (and the mindset of someone who doesn’t have money to waste on food that’s just going to go bad) kicks in.

The blueberries hadn’t been opened, or even moved from the spot they were put in the minute we got back from the store. So in the morning, I poured my cereal, got out the blueberries and poured them on top.

 

And it was that easy. Because you know what- it tastes good! And now that’s what I want for breakfast when I wake up in the morning. I crave my cereal and blueberries, they’ve become part of my daily routine. It also kickstarts a feeling of wanting to be healthy! I don’t want to put crap into my body- especially not at the rate that I was before. And you know what? I feel good. It was the smallest change with the biggest impact.

So really, if you want to start eating healthier, just give yourself the chance to. Turn it into a habit- a fun, delicious habit! And hopefully you feel better too!

What are your guys’ favorite way to turn a normal meal into a healthy one? Let me know below!

Vegetarian Meals

One of my lovely roommates, Robin, is a pescatarian. Most of the meals I make contain chicken or beef, so cooking for everyone will be a bit of a feat. Now, I’m going to be the main cook of the house since the rest of my roommates, ahem, suck at cooking. So since that responsibility falls to me, I figured I needed a good list.

Now I scoured pinterest for hours and came up- disappointed. Some of the options were do-able, but most were too expensive or too specific. I have to feed our very different, and very difficult, young adults. My solution: take my regular recipes and just replace or rid of the meat!

So this is my list of vegetarian meals (that don’t include salads).

1. Broccoli Fettuccine Alfredo

2. Baconless Potato Soup

3. Pizza! PIZZA!!!

4.Veggie Pot Pie

5. Meatless Lasagna

6. Vegetable Stir-fry

7. Loaded Mashed Potatoes

8. Four-cheese Mac and Cheese

 

As I make these, I’ll add recipes, reviews, and tips! Any other veggie-options you can think of? I will definitely need more than eight!

Scariest Things About Moving

Alas, I am home from the beautiful, relaxing shores of New Jersey and back to my daily life. Besides the struggle of having a ten-hour day in the infant room as my welcome home present (which, admittedly, I missed more than anything), I also returned to my anxiety-ridden quest to transport my life from point A to point B.

And thus brings, the ten scariest things about moving.

1. The uncertainty of everything. It’s not like I don’t know where I’m moving- I’ve lived there briefly before. It’s not like I’ll be alone or without help. It’s just that I’ve simply never done this before. Maybe it’ll be fun! Maybe it’ll be stressful! Maybe maybe maybe!

2. Did I forget something? No, I swear, this isn’t my ninth time unpacking and repacking my suitcase! (It’s actually the tenth. Shhh).

3. Leaving family/life behind. I mean, “leaving behind” might be a bit strong. But this is a permanent move. This isn’t going-away-for-college, knowing-I-have-to-go-home-over-Thanksgiving-because-they-shut-down-the-dorms moving. It’s scary! I’ll be away from most of my immediate family until Christmas! Indiana is vastly different from Philly, to the point where it’s kind of a culture shock even though I’ve been going there my whole life. It’s just.. different.

4. Being financially responsible. I already made a post about this and if I dive into again I’ll probably have an anxiety attack. So moving on.

5. No way to have experience until you do it. This is huge. I know it’s going to be my first move of many over the course of my lifetime, but it’s still my first one. This is my rookie game, and I have no idea how I’m going to preform. Or if I even can.

6. I HAVE SO MUCH STUFF (aka packing is hard)

7. I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH STUFF (aka what do I need????)

8. Not having a stable ‘home.’ I’ve lived in the house I live in now for 11 years. Granted, when my parents got divorced I bounced around with my mom, but my dad kept the house. It’s the same house I’ve been coming home to since third grade. And now it won’t be.

9. Everything feels so final. What if it doesn’t work out?

10. Knowing this means you’re growing up. That’s what it all comes down to, isn’t it? This is why I made this blog and why I’m having such a hard time. Growing up and becoming an adult is the ultimate exhilarating and terrifying journey. This is it.

I’m just scared. The next Tuesday Top Ten post I write will be from the dining room of my new town house. Wish me luck.

How to: Pack

One of my skills and prides in life is my ability to pack things very well. I think it comes with the territory of having family in four different states, all of which you have to dedicate at least three days of your summer visiting. Every summer. From the time I was born. It’s reached the point that my friends call me over just to pack for them when they go on trips. Yeah, I’m that friend.

Basically, this is one real world problem I have worked out. So here are my tips.

1. Rolling is overrated. Whenever you need to pack for a big vacation people always want to be the first to scream “Just roll your clothes! It works so much better! Trust me! Then they won’t be WRINKLED!” (Is wearing slightly wrinkled clothes a phobia I’m going to develop in adulthood? Because an awful lot of adults seemed to be concerned with creases in my shirts). Well guess what, third stranger to hear my conversation and decide to tell me to roll things, I’ve tried that. And my clothes were still wrinkly. So humph.

2. Fold things as flat as you can. Over-folding can make things too bulky (I always put the heaviest things like sweatshirts or sweaters on the bottom so they get flattened by the weight of my other items). Fold things simply and flat, like they’re on display at the store.

3. Use your pants as your guide. Okay, that sounds strange but I found this awesome pin that explains it (that I can’t currently find ugh). Basically, fold your pants in half, long ways. Lay the hem at the middle of your suitcase, so most of the legs are hanging out and onto the floor. Pack your shits on top of it. Fold you pant legs over the rest of your clothes to pack it in tighter together! That way nothing gets caught in the zipper and everything is sorta shoved together to ensure it fits.

4. Pack the right amount of clothes. My general rule is 2 1/2 shirts for every 2 days, rounding up. If you are gone for two days, pack three shirts. If you’re gone for three, pack four. Gone for four you pack five and so on. You can re-wear jeans (and most other bottoms) at least once, if not more. And always pack at least one semi-formal outfit, in case something comes up. 

5. Pack basic clothes. I always have a white cami, black t-shirt, and plain jeans on every trip, not matter where I am going. You can’t go wrong with simple.

6. Don’t waste your space. Put you socks in your shoes, shove your underwear in the corners where no clothes fit (whoops did I say that?). But seriously. Do it. Make the most of every inch. But on the flip side…

7. Don’t feel the need to use all your space. Giving your clothes breathing room isn’t terrible! Leave room for things you might pick up on your journey, if you can. Trust me, just because you can fit that sweater Grandma gave you doesn’t mean you should bring it.

Packing for myself for 16+ years has only gotten me 7 tips, but they are handy. I used them religiously and pass them onto all my friends, and now I’m passing them to you. I hope you can use them well.

What packing tips do you live by? I’d love to hear them.

 

3 Easy Meals

I’m currently writing this post at 10:30 at night because I’m on vacation and have been too busy doing nothing to write! So beyond this slightly rushed post, expect beach posts when I come back!

Here’s another fun fact about Erin: I’m not a very impressive cook. I mean, I can follow a recipe like no one’s business but when it comes to figuring out what a dish is missing, well, I’m not so hot. That’s why when my dad asks me to cook dinner for him, I tend to stick to the basics of what I know. And now I’m going to share that with you.

(Note: Spaghetti is always my go-to. If you want my advice on what to make, make spaghetti. Just make sure you stir it. Okay.)

1. Pizza Bagels. Pizza bagels are my favorite because we always have the ingredients and they only take about 15-20 minutes total to make. Here’s what you do: Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Cut your bagels in half (if they aren’t already pre-silced). Spread on some tomato sauce- whatever your favorite is. Then sprinkle on mozzarella cheese. Put the bagels on a cookie sheet and bake for about ten minutes or until the cheese is melted to your desire. Ta-da! Pizza Bagels.

Yummy!

Yummy!

2. Chicken Tacos. I find that cooking chicken and heating up beans is the only prep work I have to do for this meal: beyond that I just put things into bowls and place them on the table. Here’s what you do: For the chicken, cut the raw meat into bite size pieces. Melt some butter (however much you see fit) into a frying pan on medium heat and then add your chicken. Cook your chicken through (usually only takes 10 minutes), make sure you flip it and move it around to ensure even heating. I always cut the biggest piece in half as a test to see if they’re done. Then, take your taco seasoning (food packets that are found in any grocery story or some of your own creation), add it to 3/4 cups of water and mix. Turn your stove onto low. Pour the seasoning on your chicken and move your chicken around to soak (3-5 minutes). Then your done! As for the beans, just put them in a pot and stir occasionally until warm.

3. Chicken Alfredo. I’ll be honest- we usually but Korr’s Alfredo, which is bagged and simple. My friends at school buy the alfredo sauce in the grocery store and add it to pasta like spaghetti. Either way, simple. I make the chicken the same way I make it for the tacos just without the seasoning. No fuss, minimal hassle. I do, however, have a recipe for home make Alfredo, but that deserves a post all it’s own in the near future.

That’s it! Those are my fall back meals for any occasion- and they’re real crowd (and daddy!) pleasers. I hope I explained them well enough that you can try them for yourself at home!

What are your easy fall-back meals you make for your family? (Goodness knows I need more- please share!)