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Monday, January 13, 2014

From the Pantry: Chicken Parmesan Baked Orzo

On a weekly basis we are going to post meals that we whipped up from items that can commonly be found in one's pantry.

Today's entry is Chicken Parmesan Baked Orzo. This is a very simple dish that turned out amazinggg!

- 1 cup Orzo pasta
- One can of store bought Alfredo sauce (we used Classico)
- 1 cup of shredded cheese (we had mozzarella, but any Italian cheese would work!)
- 1 tablespoon half & half
- Breadcrumbs (if you don't have any you can make your own out of toast or mash up some crackers)
- 1 bag of frozen broccoli (other veggies that would work; peas, spinach, mushrooms, asparagus)
- 2 boneless chicken breasts (or even better- leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons salt or to taste
- 1 teaspoon pepper or to taste

Preheat the oven to 450.

Boil the Ozro al dente.

In a frying pan, heat the oil and add the chicken. Sprinkle the onion and garlic powder on the chicken. Cook until no longer pink in the middle, but be careful not to overcook (because you will also be baking this).

Dice up the chicken into bite sized pieces.

Drain the noodles and pour into a mixing bowl. Combine in the bowl all of the remaining ingredients with the cooked chicken except the breadcrumbs. The broccoli does not have to be thawed because it will cook in the oven.

Pour the mixture into a baking dish. We used single serve dishes, but can be whatever you prefer.

Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and some extra cheese.

Bake at 450 for about 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the dish is bubbling.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

How to: Painting Kitchen Cabinets - a low cost DIY project

The Before:

When we bought the house, we knew we loved the space in the kitchen and it was in pretty good condition, but knew we had to do something about the color. The color of the cabinets mixed with the color of the walls was horrible.

The first thing we did was paint the walls a minty green color. This was my inspiration for the entire kitchen.

We then painted all the trim white. I loved the way it turned out.

As for the cabinets; at first we were going to paint them white, (I have always wanted white cabinets) but because the countertops were also white, I bought countertop paint to darken them.  After reading tons of horrible reviews on the countertop paint I bought (Rust-Oleum) I panicked and returned it. The countertops are actually in really good condition and I didn't want to ruin them right off the bat. Because I didn't want white on white, I changed the color of the cabinets to grey. It turned out that this was perfect because the blinds on the windows were almost the exact same shade of grey.

Tools we used:
Foam Rollers
Kilz 2 Primer
Paint color of choice (we used grey)
Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish

I don't like things super shiny so I picked a satin finish in all of the paint products I bought.

You can either spend the money and get a paint sprayer, or rent one from your local hardware store or use foam rollers, which is what we did. They are awesome!!!

They leave a really smooth finish. The one thing I would watch out for is dust, lint, hair or any kind of debris in the room you are painting in. It is very easy to get that stuck in the paint, which can be frustrating.

Our first step, after removing all the doors/drawers and setting them on a drop cloth in one of our spare bedrooms, was to prime the heck out of them. Because they are very old they were lacquered up like craaaazy! We didn't have the patience to sit there and sand them all, so we opted for Kilz primer instead. It took about three coats.
Side Note:
I have read that oil based paints are better for painting wood, but they are very hard to find on a budget. Home Depot and Menard's don't carry any oil based paints; you would have to go to a specialty store for that. We found that latex paint actually worked just fine and its way cheaper.

After priming the cabinets and letting them dry between coats, we started painting them grey. That also took about 2-3 coats. This task takes a lot of time, but it was totally worth it to do extra coats.

We noticed that after they were all painted and we attached the cabinet doors back on they were chipping very easily. We knew we had to do something to protect them so I read fellow bloggers sites and found a product that worked great!

Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish.

So all the doors came off again and we did about 2-3 coats of this also.

The After:

We love the way it turned out!

Before and After:

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Kitchen Progress

So the kitchen cabinets have been primed and some of them painted - so I wanted to share some pictures!

We used Kilz 2 Latex Primer from Home Depot...this is the kind we bought

We researched painting cabinets and as long as you use a good primer (and lots of coats!) you shouldn't have to sand them very much. We only sanded a little bit around the bottom where the varnish was uneven.

Here's what they looked like after they were primed. It took about 2 coats - some places I went back over and did a 3rd coat.

Once the entire kitchen is completed and all the cabinets are painted I will be posting before and after pictures, but I was too excited not to post pictures of the upper cabinets. We are almost finished with those.

The wall color is what I describe as a mint green. We choose a grey paint for the cabinets because I wanted some contrast between the cabinets and the white counter top (we aren't replacing that because we are to cheap!). We also painted all the woodwork around the windows and doorways white. The kitchen is so much brighter! I can't wait to post pictures of the finished product. Please ignore all the crap we have on the counter top, lol.

Here's another picture showing off the paint color we choose.

It is amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do! :)

That is all for now. More pictures to come!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Kitchen Lighting

Lots of pieces are coming together for our mini kitchen remodel :)

Check out this light I found at Home Depot - isn't it cute?

This will be replacing an old pot light above our kitchen sink.

If you like it too - it can be purchased here.

First purchase!

So about a week ago Tim and I purchased the first item for our house! An adorable owl cookie jar.

If you also LOVE this cookie jar as much as I do, you can purchase it at Pier One Imports. It was $39.95.

Link to purchase!

He looks so cute sitting on our kitchen counter. We are renovating the kitchen right now but I will be posting before and after pictures when we are completed! Stay tuned.


Hey Everyone!

Buying your first home can be stressful (trust us we know!). How many readers out there are thinking about buying a house? In this current housing market it was the economical decision for us, and it might be for you too.

After you have purchased the house, then what? Most likely, especially if you are on a tight budget like us, your house isn't going to be your dream house.

We already have many low cost DIY projects taking place in our home, and wanted to share those ideas with people like us.

So don't be overwhelmed if there are a lot of things in your house you want to change. It doesn't always have to be expensive to update. We have already learned so much and can't wait to share our experiences with you all.

If you have any questions, we would love to answer them.

In the meantime, stay tuned for more posts!

Katie & Tim