Snacks are Good

Okay, I started this post a whole month ago.  A month!  That’s ridiculous.

It’s been a super-busy and productive month for me.  I won’t go into everything I’ve accomplished, because after writing it all down I would need a nap.  In the interest of getting this post up and running, let’s just avoid that awkward re-writing thing and pretend that it’s still late March.

Ready to step aboard the time machine?  Here we go!

A couple weeks ago, Jerry and I went to Florida. Jerry hadn’t been on a vacation for a year. As he put it, he needed a vacation like he needed air. And that’s a lot.

It hasn’t been a year since my last vacation. It hasn’t even been three months. But, I still needed to get away from the cold and the stress. So, where did we decide to go?

Hello, Housekeeping? There seems to be a mouse on my bed!

We went to Disney World, of course!

Oh yeah, baby. Those are old school ears with my name...in cursive.

I need to take a moment to point out that I’m trying to write this post without running afoul of anything Jerry hates. Jerry hates photos of himself, so I tried to pick ones he couldn’t object to…without looking like I’m dating a guy in witness protection. He also hates compliments. So, if I don’t say anything too mushy-gushy about my guy in this post, it’s not that I don’t think Jerry is the bee’s knees. I just don’t want to make him cringe.

By the way…

bee’s knees
noun

: a highly admired person or thing : cat’s meow

First Known Use of BEE’S KNEES
1922

So you see? If anyone’s the bee’s knees, it’s Jerry.  Just don’t tell him I said so.

It might seem like a lot, hating photos and compliments.  What does Jerry like, you might ask?

Jerry likes snacks.

It wasn’t surprising that our first date was drinks and snacks. I had a very busy schedule that week and could only meet him at 3:00 in the afternoon. Drinks and snacks were about right.

Our second date was a Red Sox game and snacks. Perfectly reasonable.

When we ordered every single item on the appetizer menu for our third date, I knew we had a trend.

Snacks are awesome for a Disney World vacation.  Enormous pretzels and diet coke for breakfast.  Sharing a quesadilla for lunch.  Sitting at the outdoor bar at the Irish Pub at Downtown Disney, sipping Guinness and cider and sharing flatbread pizza and chicken skewers for dinner.  (We might have done that more than once!)

You know what snacks aren’t awesome for?

Snacks are often fried.  Snacks are often covered with cheese, or dipped in creamy sauces, or piled high with guacamole.  Snacks rarely include vegetables.  (Tomatos on top of nachos and those celery sticks they serve with boneless Buffalo wings don’t count!)

In short, snacks are really bad for a girl’s waistline.

So, when Jerry and I got back from vacay, I needed some vegetables…stat!

(Yes, I realize the extreme dorky-ness of the above sentence.  Deal with it.)

Enter…

Chicken and Vegetable Skillet Casserole

1 lb chicken, cubed
salt and pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 oz. uncooked egg noodles
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 medium red bell peppers, diced
1 large sweet onion, diced
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup skim milk
1 cup fat-free chicken broth
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 english muffin, turned into bread crumbs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 450.

Best to use an iron skillet for this one. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Brown it in the iron skillet with the olive oil. Set aside.

Chop up all those pretty vegetables.

Wowza.  That's a lot of color!

Wowza. That's a lot of color!

Saute the veggies until tender.  Meanwhile, boil the egg noodles. Remove them from the water just before they’re done. They’ll finish cooking in the oven.

In a large bowl, mix flour, 2 tablespoons parmesan, thyme, and more salt and pepper. Gradually add milk and broth, whisking until well blended. Add to the vegetables and simmer until thick.

Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice and parsley.

Yes, you could probably eat it at this point, but crunchy breadcrumbs add pure happiness!

Yes, you could probably eat it at this point, but crunchy breadcrumbs add pure happiness!

Top with 1/2 cup bread crumbs and the remaining parmesan.

Bake until the top is brown. (10 minutes or until you’ve finished cleaning up the mess you just made!)

Yum!

Yum!

This recipe is based on a turkey ham and asparagus casserole recipe. Two problems with that one.

a) Only one vegetable?  You’ve got to be kidding me.

b) Turkey ham has no reason to exist.  It’s slimy and gross.  Besides, the recipe only used about a third of the smallest turkey ham I could find.  The rest turned green in my fridge.  True story.

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