I tried this recipe tonight because it looked simple and mushrooms feel like fall to me. I am ready for fall in every way. Bring on the boots, cold weather, jackets and pumpkins. I think the key here is to not overcook the chicken. Best part: it is ready in about 30 minutes.

I paired it with some honey-glazed carrots, but it would be good with green beans, broccoli, or over egg noodles with peas.

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • about 6 chicken cutlets*
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 TBSP butter
  • 1 TBSP dried thyme leaves or 2 TBSP fresh thyme
  • 1 pound button or baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth

1. Place flour in a shallow dish. Season chicken generously with salt & pepper and coat with flour, shaking off excess.

2. In a large skillet, heat oil and 1 TBSP butter over medium-high. Cook chicken until browned and cooked through, 3-5 minutes per side.  Transfer to a plate and loosely tent with foil.

3. Reduce heat to medium, add remaining butter, thyme, and mushrooms. Saute until softened.

4. Turn heat up to medium-high, add wine and broth and cook, stirring until a sauce forms and thickens slightly, (about 3-5 minutes). Return chicken to pan and toss with mushrooms and sauce.

*If you don’t have cutlets, cut large chicken breasts in half horizontally through the middle, leaving two thinner cuts. Trim to a smaller size if needed.



Don’t have a heart attack or anything. I know this blog has been seriously neglected lately and this is day one of beginning to remedy that problem. Although it is still frigid here in Utah, I know Spring has sprung elsewhere. Don’t let that stop you from making this soup! Although it is a hearty soup, suitable for the coldest winter evening, it has a fresh flavor that make it just as appropriate for a light spring supper — especially if paired with a green salad, but it is just as good paired with a thick slice of bread topped with butter and honey. Besides, what else are you going to do with all that leftover Easter ham?

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 chopped medium onion
  • 4 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bag (16 ounces) green split peas
  •  2 cups diced leftover ham
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  1. In a  large, heavy pot with a lid, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion, carrots,  and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until vegetables begin to soften, 5 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add broth, split peas, and 6 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and partially cover; simmer until peas are soft, 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Once peas are softened and carrots are cooked through, use a potato masher to gently mash the peas to the desired consistency. (I like the texture of the soup when it is not too finely processed. If you prefer a smoother texture, you can use an immersion blender or remove half of the soup to a blender to puree.)
  4.  Add ham cubes, and simmer until heated through. If necessary, thin with water. Add salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste.
If you still have leftover ham, dice it up, seal it in a freezer bag in 2-cup portions, and freeze for future use.  If you have ham on hand, this soup comes together quickly with staples from the pantry.
Added bonus: split peas are very high in iron, protein, and fiber and relatively low in calories!

This is yet another Everyday Food recipe that has been a go-to for a quick meal for many years now — the entire meal comes together in well under 30 minutes. This is a recipe even my husband has perfected!  I have slightly modified the original recipe to suit my family’s tastes.  We like this best when served with a green veggie, like steamed broccoli. When cooking broccoli, don’t toss the stalks! Slice them thinly and toss them in with the florets to steam until everything is bright green and fork-tender.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for baking sheet
  • 2 slices bread *
  • 4 thick cut boneless pork chops
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 4 TBSP apricot jam


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil and brush lightly with oil. Place pork chops on pan.
  2. Tear bread into large pieces; place in food processor. Pulse until large crumbs form. Drizzle with oil; pulse once or twice, just until crumbs are moistened (you should have about 1 1/2 cups crumbs).
  3. Season pork chops generously with salt and pepper; spread one side of each chop with 1 TBSP jam. Dividing evenly, sprinkle breadcrumbs over jam, and pat them on gently.
  4. Bake until crust is golden and pork is opaque throughout, 14 to 16 minutes. Serve immediately.

*I use whatever bread we have on hand — it’s a great use for slightly dry or stale bread as well as the heels of the loaf.

Product Love: Skullcandy Pipe iPod Speaker Dock

photo courtesy of http://www.skullcandy.com

If you are looking for a compact, stylish speaker/charging dock for your iPod, look no further. I got this for my husband for his birthday last year, and we couldn’t be happier with it. Not only does it look good, it sounds amazing.

What I like:

  • Big sound, small footprint (about 8″ long with a 2″ diameter)
  • Charges as it plays
  • Remote control with a range of up to 20 feet
  • Looks neato!
  • Sounds fantastic! You will be amazed at how loud you can crank it up                                                                                                  (and then turn it back down again when your kids complain)

Music Love: The Ting Tings

If you are not already familiar with the indie pop fabulousness that is the Ting Tings, you should be. If you are, congratulations! Now introduce them to your kids so we can derail some of this Beiber and Miley Cyrus nonsense.  Their 2008 album We Started Nothing is upbeat and will have you booty-shakin’ from start to finish. They have a new album due out this year, which should be worth a listen. In the meantime, enjoy this:

Yoga Love: Reverse Warrior

Reverse Warrior brings an intensified stretch to the hip flexor of the back leg as well as deeply opening and stretching the front ribcage. This pose is also sometimes called Peaceful Warrior, with the raised arm representing the warrior lifting his sword heavenward, away from battle,  in a gesture of peace.

From Warrior II, root strongly down through both feet and rotate your front hand so your palm faces up. As you inhale, lengthen the spine and sweep the hand skyward while letting the back hand gently sink down to rest lightly on your back leg. Reach the crown of your head upward, lengthening the neck and lifting the chin slightly — let your gaze follow your raised hand. Make sure that the front knee is still stacked squarely above the ankle and not collapsing inward. Breathe into the front ribcage, letting the intercostals (the muscles between the ribs) expand.  Be aware of your lower back and keep it long to avoid any compression.  Hold this pose for 5-10 breaths. To come out of the pose, exhale and bring your arms back into Warrior II position, then step your back foot forward to meet the front foot. Switch sides and repeat.

What would you like to see more or less of in future Weekend Edition posts? Do you enjoy the current format, or would you like to see something new? I welcome all comments! Have a glorious weekend!

This simple pasta dish is a favorite of my husbands…mine too! Cooking the squash in the same pan as the bacon imparts a smoky flavor to the squash, elevating it above the ordinary. This dish is hearty enough to stand alone, but is accompanied nicely by fresh fruit or a green salad. We prefer to use whole-wheat pasta in this and all pasta dishes — it’s healthier and adds substantial texture.  Also, I don’t go out of my way to purchase cream for this recipe — I often  substitute half-and-half, or even regular milk. It tastes just as good and is lower in calories and saturated fat.

If your children don’t care for this dish, you can toss some cooked squash with pasta and spaghetti sauce — they won’t even notice the squash is there.  One last note: The original recipe calls for Asiago cheese, but we prefer Parmesan. Try it with whatever you know your family will enjoy.

  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 8 ounces fusilli
  • 4 slices bacon, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
  • 4 medium yellow squash (8 ounces each), quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese, plus more for serving
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain pasta, and return to pot.
  2. While pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium. Add bacon, and cook until browned and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain (leave bacon fat in skillet).
  3. Place skillet over medium-high heat. Add squash and garlic to fat in skillet; season with salt and pepper, and toss well. Cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until squash begins to soften, 5 to 7 minutes. Uncover, and continue to cook until liquid is evaporated and squash is tender, 2 to 3 minutes more.
  4. Add cream and cooked pasta to skillet; toss well, and cook until cream begins to thicken. Remove from heat; stir in Asiago, and add enough reserved pasta water to create a sauce that coats pasta. Stir in  reserved bacon and top with more cheese.

Dining Room Diner

When cooking homemade meals most nights, it is inevitable that there will be leftovers. Sometimes I’m able to incorporate them into another dish, and sometimes my husband is happy to take them as lunch later in the week, but often, despite the best intentions, I’m left with a fridge full of odds and ends. When this happens, we make lemonade from the proverbial lemons and serve them up diner-style.

I assemble all the edible leftovers in their containers on the countertop and survey what I have. If I’m feeling particularly spunky, I’ll write some quick menus. Often, this task is tackled spontaneously by one of the kids, complete with drawings for each entrée. I announce that tonight is “Diner Night” and make everyone take a seat. I hand out or recite the menu, then take drink orders. By the time I return with drinks, everyone is ready to order. Depending on the day, we sometimes offer smaller “side orders” of certain items, or make new items (sandwiches or hash) with what we already have on hand. My husband and I work together to play short-order cook, and everyone gets what they want.

Other ideas:

  • Think up a name for your family Diner and always refer to it by name.
  • If the kids are old enough to use the microwave and dish up food, switch roles and let them run the diner.
  • Splurge a little  and buy a ready-made dessert for a surprise ending.
  • Have your little customers pay for dinner by helping bus and wipe of the table at meal’s end.

Love at Home

Valentine’s Day seems like the perfect opportunity to discuss creating harmony in the home. I’ve been struggling with this problem off and on for a couple of months and have found that there are definitely things that help foster a more loving environment in my home.

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I have been given guidelines to follow that help to bring our family closer together and to invite the Spirit of God into our home. These guidelines include praying together as a family as well as individually, studying the scriptures, and holding Family Home Evening once a week. When I am striving to live by these guidelines my home is noticeably more harmonious than when I am not. These practices also create opportunities for my husband and I to share our morals and values with our children. Praying together as a family helps our children to develop a sense of gratitude as they give thanks for their blessings. Prayer also helps develop them to selflessness as they pray for the needs of others.  Although many of the ideas below are based on these principles, you need not be a member of my faith — or of any faith —  to employ them.

1. Center Yourself : Try to wake up 15-30 minutes earlier than you usually do and take this time to meditate, study scriptures, pray, or to read something uplifting and inspiring.  I find that when I am able to do this, I can face the day in a calmer, happier, and more peaceful way. It’s so much better than getting up and walking directly into the chaos of the morning.

2. Stick to a Routine: As much as possible, stick to the same routine each day. Do homework, eat dinner, and start getting ready for bed at a consistent time each day. When kids know what to expect each day, they will become more able to anticipate what needs to happen next and take steps to help out

3. Spend Time Together: Aside from family dinners, it is important to take time each week to enjoy each other’s company. This can take the form of a formal Family Night, or can be as simple and spontaneous as a Saturday outing to the park. Either way, it is important to interact with your kids in different settings. Let them know you enjoy spending time with them doing a variety of things — get to know them better and let them see that there is more to Mom & Dad than they expected.  Bonus: in my experience a change of pace puts the kibosh on sibling rivalry better than anything else. If you have more than one child, try to schedule occasional one-on-one time between each parent and each child. Sometimes they just need to have you all to themselves.

4. Take Time to Teach: It’s important to let your children know what you expect from them and why. Share your ideals with them, and try to model good conversational skills. Model good listening behavior and guide them in conflict resolution. When they have the tools to work it out on their own, there will be less tattling and more cooperation.

5. Spot Good Behavior: When you see your kids being especially helpful, kind, or mature, point it out immediately and complement them on it. Then, bring it up again later in the week — saying, for example “I was so proud of how your helped your sister clean up her room the other day. It really made me happy to see that you are learning to be so thoughtful.” Kids respond to positive reinforcement and it’s nice for them to hear what they have done well.

What tips or strategies do you employ to maintain a sense of peace and harmony in your home? I would love to hear some new ideas!

Happy Valentine’s Day! May your home be filled with laughter, happiness, love, and kindness!