Aug 26, 2012

Boston Market Creamed Spinach

 If you are a spinach lover and haven't tried creamed spinach before, now is the time! It is comforting and so tasty, the perfect side dish to a home cooked meal. I haven't had Boston Market creamed spinach before, so I can't vouch for how close it is that, but I do know that it is extremely delicious. Enjoy!

Note: I happened to have a large bag of fresh spinach so I used that instead. My ratio of cheese sauce to spinach is a little heavy on the sauce side. Normally there would be more greens in there, but I was using what I had in the fridge.

Boston Market Creamed Spinach
Makes 8 servings

  • 5 tablespoons butter (divided)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup half-and-half cream
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced onions
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 (10 ounce) boxes frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. In a saucepan over medium low heat, melt 3 Tbls butter.
2. Stir flour and salt into pan until creamed together.
3. Slowly stir in cream, then stir in cream cheese, increase heat to medium.
4. Constantly whisk until mixture becomes thick and smooth, remove from heat and set aside.
5. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, saute onions and garlic in remaining butter until transparent.
6. Add spinach and water to pan, reduce heat to low, cover.
7. Cook, stirring occasionally for 8 minutes.
8. Stir prepared sauce and Parmesan cheese into pan, stir until completely blended.

Recipe from

Aug 15, 2012

Kiddo Update - Summer 2012

It has been quite a long time since the last kiddo update. While Jam Hands is primarily about food, I do have some readers from way back who have seen my kids since they were born and a time or two a  year I like to give a little update. Here we go!

Mr. Jack  - Just turned 3

Likes: Anyone that knows Jack could answer this very easily. ANGRY BIRDS. All angry birds all the time! Angry angry angry! Birds birds birds!  He has t-shirts, stuffed animals, figurines, and of course the games on the computer (which he is playing in that first picture). The boy is crazy about the birds. He is very affectionate and full of life. He is a wild man.

Dislikes: Being bossed around by his sister.

Favorite thing to do which he is not supposed to: Getting into the pantry and raiding the snack shelf.

Funny Random: Confuses marshmallows and watermelons. Calls the watermelons growing in our garden "Marshmellons."

Miss Violet - About to turn 5

Likes: Drawing, gardening, playing outside, changing her clothes 10 times a day.

Dislikes: Being bossed around by her brother.

Favorite thing to do which he is not supposed to: Hiding things she likes under the couch. I have found all sorts of strange things under the couch. A loaf of sliced bakery bread, a bottle of shampoo, toys and more.

Funny Random: When she is mad she calls everyone by two names, except she uses her own middle name. For example, "Jack 'Lizabeth!" or "Mommy 'Lizabeth!"  I think, perhaps, she learned this from me? Hehe.

Aug 14, 2012

Deep thoughts & the future of this blog.

Let's sit and chit chat for a few, shall we? I've felt the need to address the fact that over the past year to year and a half, I've been pretty antisocial and not very 'present' on my own blog.

I don't talk about personal stuff very often because it is just a little uncomfortable for me to do. I'm giving it a shot though.

Starting over is pretty stressful. Moving is stressful. So is divorce, even the best of divorces where you don't fight about things, it still takes a toll. All of those things I have been going through and dealing with the past year. My way of coping when I am upset is to shut down. I don't talk much and I kinda go into hiding. That led to my little blog feeling quite abandoned for some time.

The bright side to all of this is I finally feel like I am ready to be back. Time has passed, you move on, you adjust to your new way of life, and I am ready to move forward with mine. This has led me to think about a few things regarding this website.

  • I want visitors to know that I appreciate their time and comments. I am committed to responding to as many as I possibly can. 
  • I want to update more regularly.
  • I want my blog to feel like a community. I want everyone to feel welcome and like they can talk to me or other visitors.
  • I want to share with my readers other blogs that I think they will really love. 
  • I need this blog to become a reliable source of income for me and my two children. I have two ads that I have had on my blog for a long time that don't get in the way (I hope).  I might try some new methods to earn revenue and see how it goes but I will never compromise the integrity of my blog just to get free stuff. This blog will never become overrun with 'sponsored posts.'
That was a lot of personal stuff for someone who is extremely uncomfortable with sharing. I am really excited to get back on track. May I just say I am really ready for Summer to be over and I am itching for snow and Christmas music already? Hah!

Oh and I almost forgot. Jam Hands hit 2 million visitors yesterday! Is it alright if I say woot woot?

Aug 12, 2012

Monster Party!

My little monster turned three this Summer. The theme I went for this year was silly monsters. It was a small party with just a few kids attending but it was a lot of fun. I kept it simple and easy and we did burgers and hot dogs for lunch with chips and drinks. The kids played outside in the sprinklers and then came in for the party after they had burned some energy off.

I used my favorite chocolate cake & frosting recipe then decorated with M&Ms, gum for the teeth, Oreo's for the eyes with green gummy life savers for the eyes. (That reminds me, I need to post my mom's chocolate cake recipe!)

To cut the watermelon, it can help to start with cutting out a square/rectangle shape, then go back in and round off the edges and cut out the teeth. Scrape out the watermelon a bit and add in your prepared fruit. Secure the nose and eyes with tooth picks. I added a chocolate chip to make the pupils in the eyes.
Add the very last minute I made a rainbow pom which you can see hanging from a chandelier in the last picture. It took about 10 minutes to make. Just pick up a package of the tissue paper in the colors you like and follow the instructions here. I've made these poms a bunch of times and they are quick and cheap to make.
All in all it was a pretty easy party to throw together for a small crowd. Happy Birthday little man!

Linking up to the parties found here.

Aug 10, 2012

Creamy Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

Holy moly. So these Creamy Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas from the Sunflower Supper Club are pretty amazing. Definitely the best I've ever made. While I like the traditional red enchilada sauce, these are much, much better. A green enchilada sauce is mixed with spicy tomatoes and cream cheese to make a tasty sauce. It is a little heavy on the cilantro flavor so if you are not a fan of that, cut it way back. I happen to love it so this was perfect. Delicious enough to be served at a restaurant for sure. I served it with a quick Mexican rice and it was devoured pretty quickly. Enjoy!

One note: The original recipe didn't state what size baking dish to use, although it looks like a 9"x13" from the picture. However, using the heaping 1/2 cup per serving per tortilla, I only filled up an extra deep 9"x9" baking dish and it filled only 6 tortillas. Use your best judgement. You can make it go farther by using less filling per tortilla, or by using smaller tortillas as well.

Creamy Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas
Makes one 9"x9" pan, about 6 large servings

  • 3  tablespoons butter
  • 1  medium onion, diced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2  cloves garlic, minced (1 teaspoon)
  • 3  tablespoons flour
  • 1  can (10 ounce) Rotel, undrained
  • 1  can (28 ounce) Green Chile Enchilada Sauce (I used Las Palmas brand)
  • 1  teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4  teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1  package (8 ounce) cream cheese, softened and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4  cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish if desired
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, seasoned liberally with salt and pepper, baked and diced into bite size pieces
  • 2  cups shredded cheese (I used cheddar)
  • 6 large flour tortillas

1. Melt the 3 tablespoons butter in a Dutch Oven over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for about 3-4 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and saute another minute or two, until fragrant. Add flour and mix; continue cooking for 2 minutes.

2. Add the rotel, green chile enchilada sauce, cumin and the ground red pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and mix in the cream cheese and cilantro. Stir until the cream cheese is melted.

3. Place the cooked and diced chicken in a medium sized bowl and add 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheese and 1 cup cream cheese enchilada sauce. Mix well.

4. Put 1 1/2 cups of the cream cheese enchilada sauce in the bottom of a large lightly greased pyrex dish.

5. Wrap tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave for about 30-45 seconds, to soften.

6. Divide the chicken mixture evenly between the tortillas (about a heaping 1/2 cup) and roll up. Place seam side down in the pyrex dish.

7. Cover with the remaining cream cheese enchilada sauce and top with the remaining shredded cheese.

8. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 35- 40 minutes until hot and bubbly. Garnish with additional minced fresh cilantro if desired.

Recipe from the Sunflower Supper Club. Linking up to the parties found here.

Apricot & Clove Glazed Ham

I've got a quick recipe for you today as I am behind the scenes working on the blog this week. Apricot and Clove Glazed Ham is delicious and perfect for a special meal on Easter or Christmas, or for that matter year round as it is super simple to make. As seen in the picture we baked it with fresh cut pineapple (not canned!). My only word is advice is to please not use those water packed hams that are cheap and flavorless. Get the good stuff!

Apricot & Clove Glazed Ham

  • 1 jar apricot preserves
  • pinch of cloves (more if you want a stronger clove flavor)

1. Mix the preserves and cloves together until well combined. (Taste for seasoning at this point to see if you want it to have a stronger clove flavor). Brush over ham as it cooks, following the instructions for cooking as directed on the package of the ham.

Aug 2, 2012

Nectarine Almond Pie

I may be on a pie kick lately. There is something about Summer that makes me want to bake lots of fruit pies and today I have a delicious recipe for a Nectarine Almond Pie. There is just a touch of almond in it, just enough to add a hint of flavor and uniqueness to the standard fruit pie. Enjoy a slice warm or cold, although I preferred it cold from the fridge.

Nectarine Almond Pie
Makes one 9" pie

  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 5 nectarines
  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie shell

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Place a large pot of water over high heat, and bring to a boil.

2. Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, heavy cream and almond extract. Set aside.

3. Place the nectarines in boiling water for 30 to 45 seconds. Immediately place nectarines under cold running water and remove skins. Cut nectarines in half and remove pits. Place halves in the pie shell with the cut side down. Pour the cream mixture around the nectarines.

4. Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 35 to 40 minutes. Good served warm or cold.

Recipe by Allrecipes. Linking up to the parties found here.

Aug 1, 2012

Cornbread Salad

While we are in the middle of a super hot Summer, a delicious side dish is this Cornbread Salad. A moist cornbread is topped with crunchy vegetables, a ranch sauce and shredded cheese. It is an amazing side dish to something like BBQ chicken. You will want to use your favorite recipe for cornbread for this. I use Cornbread Supreme typically, but you can use a traditional cornbread too, or even a box mix (gasp!)

If you prefer, you can crumble up the cornbread, or even cut it into cubes and layer it in a trifle dish. Or you can keep it simple like me and pile it in a 9"x13" pan and call it good. Using this method I did cut up the cornbread into large squares just to make serving it easier from the pan.

I used the toppings from Recipe Shoebox for her Chili Cornbread Salad, just minus the beans. It is refreshing and delicious. Enjoy!

Cornbread Salad
Makes one 9"x13" pan

Prepared cornbread, enough for a 9"x13" pan, cut into squares or if preferred, crumbled (I used this recipe)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 envelope ranch dressing mix
  • 2 cans (15-1/4 oz. each) whole kernel corn, drained
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 10 bacon strips, crumbled
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

1. If you haven't done so, add half of the the cornbread to the bottom of a large serving dish/pan.

2. Mix the mayo, sour cream and ranch dressing mix together well.

3. Mix the corn, tomatoes, peppers, green onions, bacon and cheese together.

4. Layer the dish as follows:  Cornbread, veggies, mayo. Repeat.

Alternatively you can do one layer of cornbread then the ranch mix, then the veggies on top and serve.

Recipe from Recipe Shoebox. Linking up to the parties found here.