Thursday, December 20, 2012

Award Winning Pasta

Like everyone else in America, I am devastated.  heartbroken.  grieving.  

In the past few days, I have sat here and typed out several blog posts.  I've deleted them all.  I've decided that people read my blog for the goofy, silly anecdotes of the McGhee family and for the unprocessed recipes of Heids McGhee.  Although I am the person behind Heids McGhee, Heids McGhee is really a small part of who I am......and I will keep this blog solely the thoughts and words of Heids McGhee.  

So all Heids McGhee has to offer right now is saddness and prayer for the families involved in the Newtown shooting.  Like everyone else in America, when I heard the account of what happened last Friday, I had an overwhelming sense to grab my family and hold on tight.  Nothing else seems important any more.  And, in honor of those beautiful children and adults, I will do my best to continue live my life in this way.

My Mr. and minis are awesome.  And according to them, I'm awesome too.  In fact, the other night I earned  the "best mommy in the whole entire universe and beyond because you know mom, there may be life on other planets" award.

And I'm going to share with you how I did it.  And you're going to be really happy when you read how I did it because it's very simple and fool-proof.  Unless, of course, you can't boil water.  Then you're in trouble.

Creamy Garlic Pasta.  What's not to love.  Garlic.  Pasta.  And Cream.  I found the recipe here.

Creamy Garlic Pasta
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ¼  tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • ½ lb spaghetti or angel hair pasta
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ¾ cup heavy cream (I used whole milk)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1.  In a pot, bring the olive oil to medium-low heat. Add the garlic and stir, allowing it to cook for 1-2 minutes. 
2.  Mix in the butter until melted. Add the salt, pepper and chicken stock. Raise the heat to high and let it come to a boil. 
3.  Once it is at a rolling boil, add the pasta and cook for as long as the box’s directions indicate. 

4.  Reduce the stove to medium heat and mix in the parmesan until completely melted. Turn off the heat and stir in the cream and parsley.

This is so easy.....dare I say, even the Mr. could make it!  

Olive oil, garlic, and butter.  

Add your spices and chicken stock.

Boil those noodles.

Add your cheese and milk.

Stir, add parsley, and serve.  We ate our pasta with meatballs.

I had to capture this moment.  Clean plate!!!!!

I told my minis that moms that receive the "best mommy in the whole entire universe and beyond because you know mom, there may be life on other planets" award, don't do dishes.  So I layed on the couch while my minis cleaned up and then went upstairs to bathe and tuck each other into bed.  True story.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Food coloring?!?!?

I try to keep things funny and light-hearted around here, but today I wanted to ask you to take a few minutes to read this in lieu of reading my rambling stories about my goofy family.

I know that I have been labeled a "health food nut" by most of you, but you don't have to be an extremist like I am to be upset by that information.  I urge you to think carefully about eating and serving food that is chock full of food coloring.  Here are some safer options that I have posted in the past....

And you guys know that I can't leave you without a new recipe for the day, so I thought I would share my new favorite veggie dish with you.

Zucchini and Carrot sticks
  • 2 zucchini (sliced into sticks)
  • 5-6 large carrots (peeled and cut into sticks)
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • italian seasoning (or any seasoning of your choice)
  • olive oil spray (or cooking spray of your choice)
  • olive oil
1.  Preheat oven to 425.
2.  Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.
3.  Spray waxed paper with olive oil spray.
4.  Put your sliced veggies in a large bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil (no need to over-drizzle).  Season with salt, pepper, and seasoning.
5.  Lay out on the cooking sheet.
6.  Cook for about 20 minutes or until golden in color.  Flip the veggies halfway through cooking time. 

Slice your veggies and drizzle with oil.

Season your veggies and lay out on your baking sheet.

Bake until golden.

These veggies are delish!!!  We all loved them!  I particularly enjoyed them the next day along with a cup of brown rice.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Crockpot soup

We recently took our annual trip to the tree farm to cut down our Christmas tree.  For those of my green-crunchy-granola-tree-hugging readers, I apologize.  I know.  I struggle with the idea of cutting down a mature tree, for the sake of it dying a slow, albeit wonderfully decorated, life.

That being said, I love a real Christmas tree.  And I love the tradition of picking our tree with my family.  And I love watching Clark Griswold Mr. McGhee spend hours struggling to fit the "I-told-you-that-tree-would-never-fit-in-our-house" Christmas tree into the tree stand.  

This is the tree I picked.

This is the tree Mr. McGhee and the boys chose.

The boys won.  But in the end, the girls won.  Because we got to sit and sip our coffee and watch the struggle unfold.

After a long day of Christmas tree choosing, sawing, standing, and decorating, it was only natural that we wind down with a steamy bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup.

Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup (Just a will need to start your soup the day before you actually want to eat it.
  • one package of chicken legs
  • one package of chicken thighs
  • 8-16 cups of water (it really just depends on how much your crockpot can hold)
  • 1 medium sized onion, diced
  • 6 stalks celery, diced
  • 8 carrots, peeled and diced
  • sage
  • thyme
  • rosemary
  • salt
  • noodles (I used spaghetti, cut into 1 inch pieces)
1.  Put the chicken, water, onion, celery, carrots, sage, thyme, rosemary and salt in your crockpot.  Cook on low all day.  Salt throughout the day.

2.  Strain your chicken stock into a pot and store it in the fridge overnight.  Pick the chicken off the bones and store chicken with cooked veggies in a container in the fridge overnight.

3.  Skim the fat off your chicken stock (mine was solid, sort of a jelly consistency).  Put it back in the crockpot and heat until warm.  Add your chicken and veggies in and let simmer all day on low.  

4.  Before serving, cook noodles on the stove and toss them in the crockpot. 

Fill your crockpot with chicken, veggies, and spices.  Cook all day.  Salt throughout the day. 

After 8-10 hours your chicken should be cooked and floating in a golden stock.

Drain the stock and set both the stock and the veggies and shredded chicken in the fridge overnight.

After you skim your fat off the stock, warm it up and all chicken/veggies/spices back in.  Cook on low all day in the crockpot.

Add cooked noodles before you serve.

This soup was a HUGE HUGE HUGE hit in the McGhee house.  My child that can not be pleased picky eater ate three bowls that night!  I served it with dinner rolls from Great Harvest.

Friday, December 7, 2012


Whenever I am invited to a party, my goal is to be the girl that everyone is talking about at the party.  And, by that, I do not mean I want to be like this girl.....

....but, rather, more like this girl.....

It's true.  I love taking a dish to pass that ends up being the "hit" dish of the night.  You know the dish that you overhear everyone saying, "who made that?"  And then I just sit there pretending like I didn't hear them until someone points at me.  At which point, I casually shrug and claim it is "so easy to make" and "anyone can make it."  But secretly we all know.  It's a Heids McGhee special.  

Usually my guacamole reigns, but this week I think I have found a new contender.

I got this spinach and artichoke dip recipe from the Pioneer Woman.  She is a blogger, author, photographer, tv show hoster that I have been idolizing for years.  And I am nearly positive she has never been arrested for fighting.  Especially on November 29th, like our friend Lindsey was.  The Pioneer Woman is still busy cleaning up her Thanksgving dinner.

Spinach Artichoke Dip
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 4 Tablespoons Garlic, Minced
  • 1 bag Spinach
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 2 cans Artichoke Hearts, Rinsed And Drained
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter (additional)
  • 3 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1-1/2 cup Whole Milk (more If Needed)
  • 1 package (8 Ounce) Softened Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Crumbled Feta
  • 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan
  • 3/4 cups Grated Pepper Jack Cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne
  • Extra Grated Pepper Jack
  • Pita Wedges, Tortilla Chips, Crackers
1.  Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Crank up the heat a bit and throw in the spinach. Stir around and cook for a couple of minutes until the spinach wilts. Remove the spinach from the skillet and put it in a small strainer. Squeeze the excess juice back into the skillet. Set the spinach aside.
2.  Throw in the artichokes and cook over medium high heat for several minutes, until liquid is cooked off and artichokes start to get a little color. Remove the artichokes.
3.  In the same skillet or a different pot, melt 3 additional tablespoons of butter and whisk in 3 tablespoons of flour until it makes a paste. Cook over medium-low heat for a minute or two, then pour in milk. Stir and cook until slightly thickened; splash in more milk if needed.
4.  Add cream cheese, feta, Parmesan, pepper jack, and cayenne and stir until cheese are melted and sauce is smooth. Chop artichokes and spinach and add to the sauce. Stir to combine.
5.  Pour into buttered baking dish. Top with extra grated pepper jack and bake at 375 for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Cook your spinach until it is wilted.

Strain your spinach, save your juice to cook your artichokes.

Cook your artichokes until they are browned.

Make your paste (fancy people call it a roux, Pioneer Woman ain't fancy and Heids McGhee ain't either!)  On a side note, even though I am not fancy, the words "ain't" really bothers me and I spent 5 minutes debating whether to use it or not.

Did I mention this is not a low-fat dish?  

Dump those delicious cheeeses into your roux and stir until melted.

Stir in your spinach and artichoke.  Pour into a dish and bake until bubbly and brown.

I served my spinach and artichoke dip with veggies.  Voila!  Suddenly, it's a healthy AND delish dish!  Perfect for all those holiday parties and you can relish in being the lady (or gentleman) that everyone is talking about!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


The other day, I invited a friend over for dinner.  I won't name names, but this particular friend is gluten-free, lactose-intolerant, and vegetarian.  

Um, yeah.  If you are gluten-free, lactose-intolerant, and vegetarian and a friend offers to cook for you, then you've got yourself a true friend.  You know, not one of these friends.....

So I decided to make my friend vegetable fajitas served on corn tortillas.  You could certainly add any protein of your choice (steak, chicken, pork, seafood) to make a non-vegetarian version.  

Vegetable Fajitas (pronounced Fah-HEE-tah......I'm talking to you Dad.  No more humiliating me at Mexican restaurants)

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 bell peppers sliced, use all colors
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (I used at least 2 tsp)
  • 1 yellow squash, halved and sliced into strips
  • 1/2 cup salsa (I used homemade green tomatillo salsa from my local market)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (used pepper jack for some kick)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1.  In a 10 inch skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onions, peppers, and garlic; stir to coat with oil. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 5 minutes. 

2.  Stir squash into vegetables. Stir in salsa, cumin, and salt. Cover, and cook for 5 minutes.

3.  Spoon vegetable mixture evenly down the centers of warm tortillas, and sprinkle with cheese and cilantro. Roll up tortillas, and serve.

This recipe is simple.  COok all your veggies and serve them hot with cheese and cilantro on a tortilla.

I also topped ours with sour cream and my famous Heids McGhee guac.

Simple.  Delish.  Best served with good friends and cold margaritas.