Ally's Sweet & Savory Eats: February 2015

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Beer Bread Garlic Cheese Sticks

This quick mix dough makes the most easy and delicious garlic cheesy bread. 
It all comes together in less than 30 minutes!
The kids and I had a play date a week ago at a friend's house on a day that the kids didn't have school.  The munchkins played HARD and us mom's chatted the morning away.  We ate chili and monster cookies for lunch, then all came home and tucked the little devils into a nap.  And I think for once in a very long time, all three of my kids slept long and hard, with me having to wake them at 4:00 p.m.
I love days like that.  Days where they are worn out and we have a change of pace.  It really does everyone a bit of good.
And as I sit here typing away, with MORE snow falling outside {when does Spring actually come?} I'm already looking forward to another date with some friends on Friday.
Another great thing came out of that play date.  A recipe.  My friend Sarah gave me her beer bread pizza crust recipe.  And since we always have beer in the house, I figured this would definitely be one I should try.
But like everything else, I changed it up a little.

I'm pretty sure I made this that day {after the kid's long naps}.  The husband was working I didn't feel like putting much effort into dinner.  Ever have one of those days?
The kids and I are often content to eat something simple like this for dinner with a side of fruit or a salad.  Men always want meat.  Where's the meat?  I'm guessing I wouldn't have gotten away with this dinner if the husband was home.  Ha!
I cut the final product into strips, like you'd find at a restaurant and we enjoyed these by dipping them in my homemade marinara and ranch dressing.


Hey!  And if you are afraid of yeast {you know who you are} this is the perfect crust for you.  Put the ingredients in a bowl and mix it up.  Really, that is it.  Spread it quickly on a hot pizza stone, brush with olive oil, top with garlic powder and cheeses and you are done.

Well, you need to wait for it to bake, but that is easy.  I usually spend that time picking up toys, wiping butts and breaking up fights.  Feel lucky if you don't have small children, you could make relax while it bakes!

Beer Bread Garlic Cheese Sticks
Print this Recipe!

3 c. flour
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
2 t. garlic powder
12 oz. can of beer
2 c. mozzarella cheese
1/4 c. parmesan cheese
olive oil

1.  Preheat your oven and pizza stone to 450 degrees.
2.  In a bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, 1 t. of the garlic powder and the beer to form a soft dough.
3.  Working quickly, remove the hot pizza stone, spray with cooking spray and turn out the dough onto the stone, pressing down and spreading with your fingers.
4.  Brush the dough with olive oil, sprinkle on remaining teaspoon of garlic powder and top with cheeses.
5.  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
6.  Cut into strips and serve with marinara or ranch dressing.


In other news, if you have a praying bone in your body, today I have a request.  Our Iowa blog community lost a dear friend yesterday.  Amy of Modern Rural Living, died in a tragic, snowy, car crash.  She was so young.  Engaged to be married in May.  Just a true jem.

We are shocked, saddened and a bit overwhelmed.  Please pray for healing for her family and especially her fiancé.  Give all your loved ones an extra squeeze today.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Peanut Butter Pattie Fun Dip

The classic Girl Scout cookie in dip form.  
Creamy, sweet, crunchy. Need I say more?

peanut butter pattie fun dip girl scout cookies #sweetsavoryeats

If you are on Facebook at all, I'm sure you've seen the posts that read something like this:

My daughter is selling Girl Scout cookies!  They are taking over my laundry room!  Please buy a box so I don't eat them all!

Yeah, I fell into that trap too.  But I meant too.  Each year I buy a box or two {or three}, mainly because I feel like it is my civic duty as an American.  But also because they are so damn good.  My favorites are the caramel delights {or samoa}, thin mints or the peanut butter delights {or tagalongs}.

i.e. they have different names depending on where in the country they are made.  I know, who knew right?  Thanks Michelle, for clarifying.

peanut butter pattie fun dip girl scout cookies #sweetsavoryeats

So when my friend Ellie, an editor at Taste of Home magazine, emailed me saying they were having a Girl Scout Cookie Recipe Contest.....well, you know me, I just HAD to take part.  Any excuse to make a dessert with cookies.

As I was photographing this dish and snacking on it {you know, to make sure it was edible} I keep telling myself a few things.

It's healthy!

I'm eating it with apples!

A few bites are just a couple Weight Watchers points!

I'm not sure any of that is true, but it made me feel better.  At least, I wasn't like the husband, who asked me the next morning "what was I 'supposed' to eat with that good dip in the fridge"?

Umm, apples darling.

"Whoops, I just ate it by the spoonful"

peanut butter pattie fun dip girl scout cookies #sweetsavoryeats

So, if you have a sleeve of these cookies lying around, make this dip.  In fact, any peanut butter cookie would do, but I am partial to the pattie.

And here is an embarrassing tidbit for ya.  When I was pregnant with our second child and had a long, tedious, boring desk job, I was known to eat an ENTIRE SLEEVE of thin mints in an afternoon.

The job was boring people.  I needed something to fill the time.

peanut butter pattie fun dip girl scout cookies #sweetsavoryeats

Peanut Butter Pattie Fun Dip

Peanut Butter Pattie Fun Dip
Yield: 12 servings
prep time: 5 Mcook time: 1 hourtotal time: 1 H & 5 M
Dessert dips are so much fun! This one includes cream cheese and marshallow cream....and of course cookies.


  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 7 oz jar of marshmallow crème
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 8 Peanut Butter Pattie cookies, chopped


How to cook Peanut Butter Pattie Fun Dip

  1. With a hand held or stand mixer combine the cream cheese, marshmallow crème, peanut butter and vanilla until smooth.
  2. Fold in all but 1/4 cup of the chopped cookies.
  3. Place the dip in a serving bowl, top with remaining cookies and place in the fridge for at least one hour before serving.
  4. Serve with sliced apples.
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Tag @sweetsavoryeats on instagram and hashtag it #girlscoutcookies
Created using The Recipes Generator

Friday, February 20, 2015

Bacon Cheeseburger Egg Rolls

Here is a take on everyone's favorite...a bacon cheeseburger! 
Using a special spice blend, these will be gobbled up by your family in no time.

Bacon Cheeseburger Egg Rolls...this unique appetizer is out of this world!  Dip into your favorite "burger" condiments; ketchup, mustard, but nacho cheese sauce is my favorite! (

A few weeks back I had the husband stop at the store for the makings for traditional egg rolls {ground pork, cabbage, egg roll wrappers, etc.}.  We love those darn things!  Well, he came home with two packages of egg roll wrappers {because according to him, you can't ever have enough}.  I thought about making another batch the next week, but, well, my hips didn't need that, so in the fridge they sat.

For 3 weeks.

Then out of no where Healthy Solutions Spice Blends, left a comment on my Facebook page encouraging me to enter their 2015 Blogger Recipe Challenge.

Being a food blogger I get a lot of these requests - recipe contests, product testing, etc., but I had worked with this company in the past, so I took a few minutes to check it out.  They have a wide range of spice mixes and all I needed to do after being accepted was to request the spice mix of my choice.

Bacon Cheeseburger Egg Rolls...this unique appetizer is out of this world!  Dip into your favorite "burger" condiments; ketchup, mustard, but nacho cheese sauce is my favorite! (

I instantly knew I wanted the Ultimate Burger spice mix, because if I have a favorite go-to meal to choose it'd be a burger.  Right behind pizza, it is one of my favorite foods.

After going back and forth between a Buffalo Bleu Cheese Turkey Burger and then a short thought about a Reuben Burger....I remembered I still had those darn egg roll wrappers.

Being they were on the verge of death and I didn't have any of the fixin's for traditional egg rolls, my mind started to wander.

What if I put all the makings of a great bacon cheeseburger and stuffed it into an egg roll?

Bacon Cheeseburger Egg Rolls...this unique appetizer is out of this world!  Dip into your favorite "burger" condiments; ketchup, mustard, but nacho cheese sauce is my favorite! (

Ding, ding, ding!

So that is what I did.  I made a stuffing that tastes just like a bacon cheeseburger and gave it a roll.  And what a fantastic idea it was!

Although I did confuse the husband a bit.  He came home very late from work, had a bite to eat and then the next morning said, "what did you do different with your egg rolls?"

Maybe next time I'll leave him a note.

Bacon Cheeseburger Egg Rolls...this unique appetizer is out of this world!  Dip into your favorite "burger" condiments; ketchup, mustard, but nacho cheese sauce is my favorite! (

So, like I said earlier, I'm entering these into the Healthy Solutions Spice Blends 2015 Blogger Recipe Challenge.  They wanted a unique creation, somewhat healthy {I used ground turkey}, yet super flavorful and at the same time family friendly.

I think I hit all of these categories...what do you think?

From what I've read the judges will try all 100 blogger recipes and determine the winner, based on taste, visual appeal, creativity and crowd appeal.  I would LOVE to win the $500 Grand Prize.  Wish me luck!

Until then, share this recipe with your friends {pin it!}, save in your recipe box and better yet make for your family!  Every once in awhile I make the family appetizers or finger foods for dinner.  They love it and we have fun.  These egg rolls would be perfect for a night like that.

Bacon Cheeseburger Egg Rolls
Print this Recipe!

1 package egg roll wrappers {20 count}
1 lb. ground turkey
4 strips of bacon, diced
1 dill pickle, finely diced
1/4 c. ketchup
1/8 c. mustard
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
2 1/2 T. Ultimate Burger seasoning
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
olive oil for pan frying

1.  In a large skillet cook the diced bacon over medium-high heat until crisp.  Remove from the pan, drain on paper towels and set aside.
2.  In the same skillet, drain off the bacon grease and cook the ground turkey until no longer pink and juices run clear.
3.  Add the cooked bacon, pickle, ketchup, mustard, cheese and seasonings to the cooked ground turkey.
4.  To assemble the egg rolls: lay an egg roll wrapper on a plate facing you like a triangle.  Place 2 heaping tablespoons of the meat mixture in the middle.  Take your finger, dip it in water and dampen all sides of the egg roll.  Fold in the two sides, then the bottom and roll up, sealing the edges with water.
5.  When all egg rolls are assembled, place seam-side down back into the hot skillet coated in olive oil.  Cook 1-2 minutes a side, allowing to get golden brown, until all sides are cooked.
6.  Serve warm with nacho cheese sauce, ketchup, mustard or salsa.

Now, I served these with the four different choices of dipping sauces.  BUT, our clear favorite was the nacho cheese sauce.  So judges - dip them in the NACHO CHEESE SAUCE.  You won't regret it.

Who is going to give these a try?

Bacon Cheeseburger Egg Rolls...this unique appetizer is out of this world!  Dip into your favorite "burger" condiments; ketchup, mustard, but nacho cheese sauce is my favorite! (

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Crock Pot Caramel Pecan French Toast

The dish can be a breakfast treat or an end of the meal dessert! 
Either way the gooey caramel and crunchy pecans are bound to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Howdy folks!

How is your week treating ya?  Ours has been fairly uneventful minus the babe teething {hello, 4:45 a.m. wake up call!}.  She spend most of yesterday laying on me with a fever.  Her top four teeth are coming through AT THE SAME TIME and finally yesterday I noticed one of them popped through.  Here's to the rest following suite soon!

Poor baby.  She still is pretty darn happy.

In other life changing news {yes, it is life changing for me}, our new washer and dryer get delivered today.  This has been a long time coming.  I have been without a dryer since before Christmas.  Once the holidays were over it was fun for about a hot minute air-drying all our clothes.  Now two months in, I am OVER it, and so happy that my pioneer days are ending later today.  Seriously, laundry for five people is a joke.

One night last week, after hanging, folding and cussing out my last load of laundry I made breakfast for dinner for the kids and I.  Usually that involves eggs in various forms {scrambled, dippy's, etc.}, pancakes, homemade muffins or hash browns.

I had been dreaming up a crock pot French toast for quite awhile and earlier in the day planned to make it happen.  This recipe couldn't be easier!

What a great dish to make for a breakfast crowd or even serve for dessert - it really can go both ways.  My kids went a tad bonkers for this.  Maybe it was the ramekins I served it in?  Or maybe they were tired of my typical side pancake or muffin and relished in the change.  Not sure, but it was a hit!

What makes this dish easy is you can use whatever bread you have on hand.  A stale loaf of quality French bread is ideal, but I simply pulled out half a loaf of whole wheat bread we had in our fridge and used that.

You know the older, the better!  The egg custard mixture will soak up all the dryness and make it the most delicious French toast ever.  And, well, the caramel/pecan mixture just puts it over the top.

Do I dare say it tastes a BIT like monkey bread?

Feel free to double this recipe to make a larger batch, by simply putting it all in a larger crock pot.  I was only feeding I opted for this nice sized batch.

And as usual if you are not a pecan fan, try using slice almonds, or chopped walnuts, whatever you have on hand.  You won't offend me.  Or, if you want to omit the nuts all together, I guess that is fine too.

Crock Pot Caramel Pecan French Toast
Print this Recipe!

1/2 loaf of bread, cubed
4 eggs
1 1/2 c. milk
1 t. vanilla
1 t. almond extract
1 t. cinnamon
3/4 stick of unsalted butter, cubed
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. chopped pecans

1.  In a large bowl mix together eggs, milk, vanilla, almond extract and cinnamon.  Drop in the cubed bread and mix together well.  Cover and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
2.  When ready to cook, spray the inside of a medium-sized crock pot with cooking spray.
3.  Sprinkle 3/4 c. of the brown sugar into the bottom of the crock pot, along with 1/2 stick of the cubed butter and 3/4 c. of the chopped pecans.
4.  Pour in the soaked bread mixture.
5.  Sprinkle the remaining brown sugar, pecans and butter on the top of the bread mixture.
6.  Cook on LOW for 3 hours or HIGH for 1.5 hours.
7.  French toast will be done when the mixture is pulling away from the sides of the crock pot and bubbly.  Do not over cook as the dish will burn fairly easily.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Lasagna Soup

Ever want to make lasagna without all the fuss of assembling the dish?
Yeah, me too.  This soup is much easier!

lasagna soup (

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Since the high today in Iowa is 8 degrees, I figured I'd share a nice, hearty bowl of warm soup with you.  It only makes sense, right?

I'm a bit over this winter.  Like most people I'm ready for warm days.  Days where we can all walk out of the house without coats, gloves, hats and boots.  Usually by the time I get everyone dressed {and sometimes undressed....someone always has to potty!} I'm sweating and don't even want to wear a coat outside.  I am SO ready to be able to walk out the door without a thought other than shoes and wear I am going.

Making soup in the winter is comforting to me.  Not only is it warm and delicious, but in our family we often eat out of it for a couple of days, as it makes great leftovers.  And you know what leftovers cooking for me on day #2!  I love to cook, but I love a break too.

I adapted a lasagna soup recipe from Biz, my blog friend in Chicago.  She recently lost her husband to liver disease and I am still amazed at how strong she has been through this process.  She is so positive and seems to have a wonderful attitude about life when I know many others would have just given up.  Hugs to you Biz!

I've lost track but I think she's made a version of this soup around 60 times?  I'm sure she'll read this and let me know the exact number.  Until then we'll call this batch #1.

If you are like me you love a baked lasagna, but frankly I'm not really fond of assembling it.  It can be a lot of work!  And time consuming.  With this soup it tastes like the real thing, but is so much easier to make.  Genius!

Speaking of lasagna dishes, have you seen the new Crock-Pot Casserole Slow Cooker?  I'm in love with this!  Maybe I'll put it in on my Christmas list for next year.  How cool would it be to made a traditional 9x13 pan of anything in the slow cooker?  I think it would be great for potlucks and traveling too.

lasagna soup (

The ideal way to make lasagna soup would be to use broken up lasagna noodles, but I didn't have any on hand so I used some orecchini {little ears} pasta I had gotten at Trader Joes.  And really, you could use anything you have, even the old stand by elbow noodle.  It all tastes the same.

And don't forget to top this soup with cheese, it really makes the soup.  I mean, what is lasagna without cheese?

Lasagna Soup
Print this Recipe!

1 lb. ground sausage
1/2 onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. tomato paste
1 16 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes
4 c. chicken stock
2 t. dried oregano
2 t. dried basil
2 t. dried parsley
8 oz. pasta
Parmesan cheese
mozzarella cheese

1.  In a stock pot, brown the onion, garlic and sausage.  Drain off grease.
2.  Add in the tomato paste and cook over the heat for 3-4 minutes until it is a deep red color.
3.  Add in tomatoes, chicken stock and seasonings.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes.
4.  Meanwhile cook the pasta separately until al dente.  Drain and set aside to cool.
5.  When ready to eat, place a cup of pasta in a bowl, ladel in some soup and then top with a sprinkling of Parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
6.  When storing, keep the pasta and soup separate in the fridge.  This will keep the pasta fresh and not mushy.

lasagna soup (

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Easy Crock Pot Baby Food

If you are expecting, know someone who has a baby or someday will have a baby, then this is the post for you!  Homemade baby food is easy, cheap and well worth the time.

Easy Crock Pot Baby Food...pick a combo of fruits and vegetables, let it cook down all day while you tend to the kids, puree it up and viola!  Homemade baby food without much fuss. (

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

I have been making homemade baby food since our first child was born in 2009.  At first I just thought it would be fun.  I'll make my own!  My child will love it! 

While both of those statements were true, I also realized that it was easy on my pocketbook and I was feeding my child healthy and nutritious servings of the very first "food" items to enter their mouth.  My eyes tended to glaze over reading some ingredients on those cute baby food jars.  It was hard for me to comprehend why some of that "stuff" needed to go into my child's food when really all I needed to do was cook down some fruits and vegetables and call it good.

Up until my third child {who is now almost 9 months old} I simply steamed or cooked down my vegetables and fruits on the stove, then pureed and froze into cubes.  Why it took me over 5 years to use the crock pot, I'll never know.

Honestly, I've probably lost some brain cells.  Kids can do that!

Enter in a couple of weeks back when a light bulb went off.  Why not throw everything into the crock pot, add some liquid and let it cook down slowly?  That way I wouldn't have to monitor it on the stove when trying to tend to the family.

Ding, ding, ding!

Easy Crock Pot Baby Food...pick a combo of fruits and vegetables, let it cook down all day while you tend to the kids, puree it up and viola!  Homemade baby food without much fuss. (

With that light blub moment I set out to test my first batch: carrots, apples and pears.  It was what I had on hand and I figured they would all blend well into a sweet, smooth batch.

I will say the house smelled delicious.  It was almost like I was making a mild applesauce.  After 6 hours I popped open the lid and allowed it to cool.  With a simple puree {I use this immersion blender} and a pour into an ice cube tray, my work was done!

What was great was that I didn't have to babysit this.  That is the great thing about the crock pot.  Dump it all in and walk away!  Remember I have three kids, ages 5, 3 and 9 months.  My time is precious.  Anything to make my life easier, I'm all about.

Easy Crock Pot Baby Food...pick a combo of fruits and vegetables, let it cook down all day while you tend to the kids, puree it up and viola!  Homemade baby food without much fuss. (

Like I said, I used carrots, apples and pears.  Other combinations that would work well together might be: sweet potatoes, butternut squash and apples or parsnips, zucchini and lima beans.

Want more insight?  Check out this article, the "Top 45 Best Baby Foods".  It will tell you everything you want to know about avocados, bananas, blueberries and even lentils!  There are so many foods out there that are nutrituous for your baby.

Yes, I know in reality some of these combos don't sound great to us, but to babies they are heavenly!  The key is getting a variety into your little one to test and enhance their taste buds.

Easy Crock Pot Baby Food
Print this Recipe!
*makes 2 1/3 cups puree

2 apples, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 pears, chopped
1 carton vegetable or chicken stock

1.  Wash your produce and chop into uniform sizes.
2.  Place in a medium to large crock pot.
3.  Pour enough stock over the produce to cover.
4.  Set the crock pot to LOW.
5.  Between 4-6 hours, check for tenderness.  When soft, allow mixture to cool.
6.  Blend with an immersion blender or pour into a blender.
7.  When smooth, pour into clean ice cube trays and freeze.
8.  When cubes are frozen, pop out and place in a plastic freezer storage bag.
9.  When ready to eat, allow cubes to thaw or defrost in the microwave.
10.  Mix with breast milk, formula or water to meet your desired consistency.

Now I know I have many, many readers who are far removed from raising babies, so do me a favor and share this post with your loved ones, friends with younger children or simply on your social media pages.  You never know who may need this information!

And lastly, if you have a spare second and have faith, send a quick prayer to me today.  I'm speaking in front of 20+ women about my blog and meal planning.  It's been a LONG time since I've gotten in front of my peers!

Thanks a bunch.

Easy Crock Pot Baby Food...pick a combo of fruits and vegetables, let it cook down all day while you tend to the kids, puree it up and viola!  Homemade baby food without much fuss. (

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The BEST Chicken Tetrazzini

Do I dare say I'd eat this meal once a week?  So good! 
Creamy and comforting, a real take on the classic.
Growing up my dad was our small town's middle school principal.  He is now retired, but worked in the school system for 30+ years.  Now having your dad as your middle school principal has its advantages and disadvantages.
Keep in mind, I was a good kid.  Even the thought of getting in trouble gave me a stomach ache back then {and still does today}.  So, thankfully I was never sent "to the principal's office", but I do remember sauntering in there like I owned the place.  His secretaries were the friendliest around {and still are} and unlike other kids me being in there was the norm.
I remember him having a huge stash of candy bars in the back closet.  Somehow it was his job to buy them at Sam's Club for the concession stand {I remember those trips}, and this was also the early 90's before computers were really hot, so I don't remember one in his office at all.
One of the GREAT things about having your dad as principal was money was always available.  A day didn't pass when I didn't ask him for a $1 to get a treat at lunch.  He never said no.  Looking back I wonder why?
And as the principal I rarely remember him eating lunch.  He was always in the lunchroom with us, but rarely eating.
Unless it is was chicken tetrazzini day.  For some reason he loved this meal.  I don't remember my mom making it at home, so it might be the only place he ever got it! 
Now, no offense to the lunch ladies, as they made some great meals, but I think my version is much better.
First, it has bacon.
Second, it has a homemade cream sauce.
Third, well it is just better.

I often wonder if my dad still likes this dish.  Mom?  If you are reading this, you should make it for him.  It won't taste like the school version, but I think he'll like it.
So anyway, that is how I grew up to know chicken tetrazzini.  I don't even know what in the heck 'tetrazzini' means, but I am going to continue on the tradition of making it.
Does anyone know what it means?
I really could go on and on about this dish.  It's creamy, yet light, and has a sharpness from the Parmesan cheese and bacon.
And it's healthy because it contains peas.

I ate this dish for three meals in a row.  Not breakfast, but dinner, lunch the next day and lunch the next day after that.  It's pretty darn good cold straight out of the fridge too! 
Yes, I snagged a bit before reheating.

Really, I cannot recommend this dish enough.  Clearly, one of our new favorites.  I'm wondering if it would freeze well too?  If someone tries that, please let me know if it works.

Until then, put this in your meal rotation!

The BEST Chicken Tetrazzini
Print this Recipe!

8 oz. uncooked angel hair pasta
5 T. unsalted butter
6 strips of bacon, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 c. sliced mushrooms
1/3 c. flour
3 c. chicken stock
4 c. shredded chicken
1 c. frozen peas
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
1 t. garlic powder

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2.  Cook the pasta until al dente, drain and mix with 2 T. of the butter.  Place pasta in a 9x13 greased baking dish.
3.  In a large skillet or pot cook bacon over medium-high heat.  When crisp remove the bacon from the pan, but keep the drippings.  Add mushrooms and onion, cooking until onions are translucent.  Remove from the pan.
4.  In that same pan, adding remaining butter and sprinkle in flour, stirring on the heat for a couple minutes.  Gradually whisk in broth, salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Continue stirring for 4-5 minutes or until thickened.  Add in the chicken, peas and cooked mushrooms/onions.
5.  Pour this mixture over the pasta.  Sprinkle with bacon and Parmesan cheese.
6.  Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.


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