Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Casserole

Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Casserole by

I know Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and perhaps I should focus on a Thanksgiving appropriate recipe, but whatever man! I'm just happy it's finally gotten cold enough to warrant baking things such as casseroles in the oven. Honestly, that's why there was a dearth of food posts over the summer. It was really just too dang hot. But now! Now I can turn the oven on again!

This dish combines some of my favorite dinner staples - chicken, broccoli, rice, and cheese sauce. Not to mention some delicious breadcrumbs to top it all off. How can you go wrong?

Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Casserole by

To be honest, I didn't season the sauce enough as I should have, but that's all a matter of perspective, I suppose. It was really hard to tell how seasoned it was when it was almost too hot to taste, so that's why I didn't get it seasoned quite as aggressively as normally would have. Nonetheless, it still turned out quite tasty!

I will say - this was a bit of a long process! First you have to get your meat and your rice cooked ahead of time. Of course, if you already have some leftovers lying around, then it will be super easy. What's nice is, this is all made from scratch, so you don't have to worry about any preservatives or other questionable stuff in the sauce. The original recipe also called for mushrooms in the sauce, but as my boyfriend and I are not fans of mushrooms, I simply omitted them from the recipe.

Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Casserole by

Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Casserole

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 8 ounces (about 2 cups) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups (3-4 breasts) cubed cooked chicken
  • 4 cups (about 1 pound) broccoli florets
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 2 ounces (about 1/2 cup) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup plain/Panko breadcrumbs
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Butter a 9x13" casserole dish.
  2. In a large pan, melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in the flour and cook for one minute, whisking constantly. In a slow, steady, stream, whisk in the milk. Allow the sauce to come to a simmer.
  3. You will see it has started to thicken. Whisk in the cheddar cheese a handful at a time, making sure it is completely melted after each handful. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
  4. Add in the chicken, broccoli and rice and stir until combined evenly. Pour into your prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle your 2 ounces of cheddar cheese on top.
  5. In a small bowl, mix the melted butter with the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the top.
  6. Bake until browned and bubbly, about 15-20 minutes. Let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving. 
Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker 

Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Casserole by

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Supernatural 11x07 "Plush"

Should I get the brief overall plot arc bits that were in this episode over with here at the top? Sure! Sam is still praying for guidance, which Dean thinks is a waste. But he finally tells him why he doesn't understand what he's seen so far - the cage. What could it mean? Dean basically shuts him down and says they're not revisiting that. Which, of course, means they are, sometime this season...

Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester and Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchesters in Supernatural 11x07 "Plush"Meanwhile, the episode's plot at hand! Some dude in a bunny mask kills another dude in Minnesota, and Sheriff Donna happens to be on the case. When they can't get the bunny head off, she calls in the Winchesters, thinking perhaps this case was a little more than natural. They're not sure if it is, but are definitely sure that it's super creepy. Donna's coworker Doug (no, not her ex, a new Doug), ends up shooting the guy after he attacks Donna, and it turns out to be some young college kid, which is a bit odd.

Oh well, they burn the bunny head. That must be the end of it, right? Of course not. Another masked assailant attacks someone else. After the brothers do some EMF testing, they realize that it's not a cursed object, but rather a ghost possession. They shoot some salt into the killer jester, and the ghost vacates the premises. Turns out, the ghost is actually inhabiting the masks, as his body was cremated. Always so unhelpful for the boys when they're dealing with a cremated ghost issue.

Nonetheless, they go to talk to the ghost's sister to find out more - she got rid of all of his old costumes after he killed himself a couple months before. So, they've got to round up all of the costumes. While Donna and Doug work on that, Sam heads to the hospital to check on one of the victims, only to run into another masked murderer, this time in the form of his favorite thing, a clown. And a rather creepy clown at that. He manages to stick some iron on the guy, which vacates the ghost again.

Briana Buckmaster as Donna Hanscum in Supernatural 11x07 "Plush"Meanwhile, Dean is trying to figure out why ghost Chester is so vengeance-full. Turns out, he had been accused of being, ahem, inappropriate with some of the children he had performed for, including the children of the two men killed earlier in the episode. Connection? I think so. They think perhaps Chester's sister wasn't quite telling the whole truth about his suicide, and go to confront her. Turns out, no, he was killed by those two guys, even if somewhat accidentally.

Of course, his nephew ends up putting on the last mask they didn't manage to find and starts attacking his mom for her involvement. The boys manage to get the mask off the kid, Sam burns it just before the ghost manages to choke Dean out. All's well that ends well, or something.

Random Thoughts:

- I always enjoy having Donna around. She brings a nice levity to the proceedings, no matter how creepy. Her developing relationship with new Doug was fun, and I enjoyed all of her feminist comments as well. Gotta love Donna. Especially when she got all excited when the boys called her a bonafide hunter.

- What exactly do Sam's visions mean? It seems like maybe either Lucifer or Michael will know something about how to defeat the Darkness, maybe? Otherwise it doesn't make much sense.

- The whole God/Darkness brother/sister thing is still a bit hokey to me, but whatever.

- Dean seems a little too skeptical sometimes. I mean, after everything that's happened to them, why wouldn't he think those visions might mean something that could possibly help them? Or is it his affinity for Amara talking?

- The kid who played Max looked really familiar. Ah ha, just looked it up, and he plays young Barry on The Flash. I knew he was familiar!


Donna: When you get a call about a killer Easter Bunny, you don't know what to think.

Donna: I was born at night, Dean, not last night.

Donna: I won't be once bitten, twice Douged.

Dean: What's up, Doc?

Sam: Let me guess, Rog, you were framed...

Previous Episode

Monday, November 16, 2015

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins by

Oh yes, it's that time. Time for some pumpkin! Yep, it's the pumpkin spice time of the year. So I'm joining in for a new recipe here on the blog - Pumpkin Streusel Muffins! I made this particular batch in my jumbo pan, but you are more than welcome to make them in a regular-sized pan. I just like how the jumbo ones look. So pretty and big.

I will always add a streusel topping when possible to things. I mean, who can resist a streusel topping? It's the best part most of the time, no? Also, these are super simple to make. You may dirty up a few bowls, but no mixer is required, no sir. And when you're hurrying on a Saturday morning, quick and easy is key.

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins by

These are yummy warm straight from the oven, but possibly even better once the pumpkin gets to sit for a day and become a little more moist. I know, there's that word that so many people hate, but there's just no way around it. You don't want a dry muffin, do you? I don't think so.

What I like is that you can also cut them up into quarters and just kind of munch on them when you need a little snack. That way you don't feel so gross when you've eaten an entire jumbo muffin in one sitting. Because whoa, that can be a lot of sugar, for sure.

Recipe for Pumpkin Streusel Muffins by

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/3 cups canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, oil, eggs and sugar until well combined. Mix in the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Divide batter into your muffin cups (about 3/4 full).
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the 1/3 cup flour and brown sugar. Then, cut in the butter until it's in nice small bits. Spoon the streusel evenly over your muffins.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes for jumbo muffins, 25-30 for regular size, until a tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  6. Cool in the pan on a rack for five minutes, then transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen 

Recipe for Pumpkin Streusel Muffins by

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Supernatural 11x06 "Our Little World"

I know, I know. This recap is super late. I had a work screening last night that went super late and didn't have time to watch the show, let alone write my review of it. But here we are, ready to go now. So how was this episode? In a word...GAHHG. Misha Collins as Castiel & Curtis Armstrong as Metatron in Supernatural 11x06 "Our Little World"
I have to believe that by the end of the season we're going to actually see GAHHG enter the scene. I'm hoping it's not Chuck, because I've never wanted it to be Chuck, but who the heck knows. After tonight's revelation, though, it would be very weird if the actual GAHHG didn't make an appearance, though. So let's get on with it...

Sam and Dean want Castiel to re-join their cause, trying to help either find Amara or Metatron, or something. But he's back at the bunker watching TV until all hours. That is, until he happens to see none other than Metatron on that very TV, having filmed a soulless altercation. He tracks him down, and they have a verbal tete-a-tete that turns into Castiel punching him a whole lot, trying to get him to talk about what he knows about the Darkness.

Meanwhile, the brothers find out that Len from last week's episode was killed while he was in jail. Apparently, Crowley is sending his demons around to kill all of the people that Amara has left without souls so they can't go bringing attention to her presence. The boys track down one of these demons and figure out from his phone records where Crowley may be hiding out - and abandoned asylum.

Crowley, for his part, is trying to get Amara to slow down her growth spurt so he can impart his "wisdom" upon her before she gets so powerful that she doesn't need him anymore. They seem to come to something of an agreement on the subject, but it turns out to be rather short-lived. That's because Sam and Dean make their way on over to the asylum to find Amara and... kill her? It's a pretty stupid plan, which Sam points out, but nonetheless they go. Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester and Samantha Isler as Amara in Supernatural 11x06 "Our Little World" While Sam fights off the demon guards, Dean makes it into Amara's room. When Crowley shows up as well, finally ready to get over his aversion to killing Dean, Amara is having none of that. She throws Crowley up against the wall and tells him she doesn't need him anymore, and that he's not to hurt Dean. With no other options, Crowley agrees and skedaddles, leaving Dean alone with Amara. She crows on about how he can't kill her, and she can't kill him, because there's some kind of fascination or some such between them. Blah blah.

Back at the punching fest, Castiel finally gets Metatron to give him some intel on the Darkness. It turns out that she is none other than GAHHG's sister. Dun dun dun. More twisted family dynamics! He lets the human Metatron go, and Dean and Sam get thrown into a couple walls by Amara before she saunters off to take in the world her brother has made. Sam also has a vision of the cage in Hell, with some fingers poking through the its containment. Whose fingers? We shall find out, I suppose.

Okay then.

Random Thoughts:

- Honestly, this episode was boring. All of the cutting back and forth between the fights felt like it was just a tactic to make the episode seem longer. And that last little scene after the final commercial was also really short and... okay? Sure, it's a nice song, but whatever, it was an odd ending.

- When Crowley was telling Amara to slow down I wanted to be like "No, you're already going too dang slow!" Sigh.

- Are Sam's visions actual visions, or moreso memories of his time in the box? And is Adam down in there too? Are those actually his fingers we're seeing? Would Lucifer have a form down in the box if he had originally been in Sam's body, but now Sam is no longer there? So many questions.


Castiel (watching daytime TV): Jenny, he's not ready to be a father.

Sam: Where'd you ditch the body?
Dean: School playground.
Sam: Come on.
Dean: Hospital parking lot.

Dean: This POI, what's that?
Sam: Uh, Point of Interest.
Dean: I know what it...what is it?

Metatron: What century are you in? Religion is dead. The novel, deader.

Metatron: You have gone full wuss.

Previous Episode -- Next Episode

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Supernatural 11x05 "Thin Lizzie"

I have to say, after last week's stellar episode, this one was kind of meh. Though it did turn the old standard format they used to use a lot back in the day around a bit, it still felt a bit like a filler episode. But let's get on to the recap in earnest...
Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester in Supernatural 11x05 "Thin Lizzie"
After a couple is killed in the Lizzie Borden B&B (is that an actual thing?), Sam is all riled up that they might have a serial killer ghost on their hands. Because, you know, he has some fascination with serial killers. Anyway, he convinces Dean to check it out, and the place turns out to be a big old hoax - speakers in the walls, an emf generator in the attic, and a device to make the lights flicker every now and then. No case after all!

Or IS there?! Because, yes, in classic form, someone else is killed right after they decide that there might not be a case. The owner of the inn gets axed as well, but not just her - another guy across town was killed with an axe as well. What does it all mean? Dean goes to check out the creepster guy who he saw trying to take a photo at the B&B the previous night, while Sam goes to check out the new dead guy.

Dean meets Len, something of a Lizzie Borden fanatic. He seems pretty harmless at first, that is until Dean spots a drawing of the Mark in his house. What? How could he know about the Mark? Turns out, when he was at the Borden B&B some nights earlier, young tween Amara was there, and she decided to take a suck on his soul. I admit, when I first saw the glowy soul coming out, I thought it was an angel grace, then I was like oh wait no, that must be his soul. Anywho, yes, Len is without a soul. But he hasn't killed anyone yet.

Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester in Supernatural 11x05 "Thin Lizzie"
Sam thinks perhaps it could be the dead guy's wife that did the killing, as she seemed fairly soulless as well. He gets some intel from the babysitter that she was schtupping another guy on the side, so they go to see if she's hiding out there. Well, she is there, but not so much hiding out as lying dead with her lover in the basement. Low and behold, it was not her that did the killing, but rather the dastardly babysitter, who had her own run in with Amara, who first gave her an overwhelming sense of bliss before taking her soul.

She gets Sam and Dean all tied up and starts monologueing about how Amara is so amazing and whatnot, which inevitably leads to Sam breaking free of his binds, which leads to her trying to shoot him, which leads to Len stabbing her in the back with her favorite axe friend. Because he decided to break off his thumb to get free of the handcuffs Dean had shackled him to the Impala with. Because he just wanted to see if he could. Uh oh.

Rather than let himself become a killer again, Len decides the best thing to do (other than have Dean kill him) is turn himself in for all of the murders so he will be locked away and unable to do any more killing. Which leaves the boys to wonder yet again what Amara's plan is and how they're going to find her. Of course, she's just hanging out in the bushes watching them and swooning over Dean. I mean, who can blame her on that count.

Random Thoughts:

- Amara is slowly growing up each episode, but still not clear on what she wants, other than to not be compared to an angel. What happens to all of the souls she's consumed if she dies? Are they gone forever, or is there a chance for them to go back to their owners?

- Len was a fun character, kind of shame that he lost his soul. But it was interesting to see his reaction to it be different than just going straight to killing.

- I did like that they turned the regular ghost hunt into something connected to the larger mystery of the show, but they kind of gave it away in the previously thing shown at the beginning of the episode. I should just know never to watch that if I don't want to be able to somewhat figure out the episode before it even begins.

- How much time is supposed to have passed since the last episode? The Impala was pretty smashed up, and now it was good as new. Oookay.


Dean: Working with family can be tough.

Dean: Bottled toilet water? Why do you keep spraying it?
Sam: Just wanted to see if the...squeezy thing worked.

Len: I'm like a robot puppet man.

Len: I picked up my thumb like it was a mini hot dog.
Dean: I'm not gonna lie, that's worrisome.

Previous Episode -- Next Episode