Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dixie-Style Dining: Chicken Divan

Do you ever smell or taste something and it just brings back a flood of memories?  That is exactly what happened to me when I was making my grandmother’s Chicken Divan.  I could remember my grandmother making this meal for us… especially if we were having company come to have dinner with us.  But I couldn’t exactly remember what it tasted like because it has been so long since I have had it.  But as soon as I opened the curry powder, it all came back to me.  I rarely cook with curry, and the flavor and scent is so distinct… it just brought everything back.


A select few of you who read my blog have actually had the pleasure of eating this meal at my grandmother’s table… and you know that she almost always served it with her “Hot Fruit” recipe.  I’ll have to make that sometime soon, too. 


There are many great things about this recipe.  First of all, you can make it two days ahead of time and just reheat it when you’re ready.  Second, it is serious comfort food.  It’s hearty, creamy, and cheesy.  It’s perfect for a fall or winter evening.  And it’s relatively simple to prepare.  It is fancy enough for company, but simple enough to make for a weeknight dinner for the family. 

I really don’t think this was my grandmother’s handwriting—it may have been passed on from a friend.  (I LOVE the way people used to pass along handwritten recipes to each other.  Now we just email them to each other!  The handwritten recipes and cards are just special.) 




Doesn’t this look absolutely delicious???  Seriously, are you drooling?  I am just looking back at these photos.  I’m so glad I have leftovers.  I might have to go reheat some.

Memama’s Chicken Divan

I cut this recipe in half since it was just for me, Ryan, and Sadie.  The handwritten recipe above is for 10 people.  So my measurements might be a little different from the original.  I also made this 1 day ahead of time.  I assembled everything, put it in the fridge, and baked it the next day, which worked GREAT.  This serves about 4-5 people.  You could pair this with a green salad or fruit.  My Memama served it with “Hot Fruit.”  Recipe coming soon.


  • 12-15 oz. package of frozen broccoli, cooked
  • 3 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 can Cream of Chicken Soup (I used the healthy one—the 98%Fat Free)
  • 3/4 tsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 cup of mayonnaise (I used Duke’s Light Mayo)
  • 6 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 slices of firm white bread, crusts removed and cut into quarters
  • melted butter- 2-4 Tbsp

Preparation: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a buttered casserole (I used a round Pyrex dish), layer the chicken and the broccoli.  (I just sort of mixed it all together—I didn’t really have distinct layers.)  Mix the soup, lemon juice, curry powder, and mayonnaise.  Pour over the chicken and broccoli.  Next, spread the cheese over the soup mixture.  Dip the bread squares in the melted butter and cover the casserole with the bread pieces.  Bake covered for 20 minutes, and then uncover for 10-15 more minutes, or until the bread squares are golden and crispy.  Serve hot.




I had to enjoy mine on my grandparents’ china… because I know that’s how she would have served it.  The only thing that could have made this recipe better is if she’d made it and if we were all sitting together around her table. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fever, New Arrival, and Comfort Food

Today was such a strange day.  It was not at all the way I imagined it would go.  But… in a good way.  First of all, I stayed home today.  On a Tuesday.  That felt weird.  Remember that little fever Sadie had yesterday?  Well, it was back this morning, so at 5:45 a.m. I was giving out Motrin instead of getting in the shower. 


(Watching “Annie.”)


I don’t think it’s anything serious.  I think that Children’s Motrin + Annie + a princess dress + arts and crafts have cured her.  I am planning to go to work tomorrow.  I hate to miss work… and I hate for my little munchkin to be sick… but sometimes it’s nice to have an unexpected day at home with her.  During the school year, we stay so busy that we don’t always have all this cuddle time. 

There was another plus to me being home today.  You see… I was expecting a package to arrive today. 


I originally thought I wouldn’t get my hands on it today.  I figured I would come home this afternoon to one of those “We missed you!” notes from Fed Ex.  BUT… since I was home… I got to sign for my package early…


…which was good because I have been SOOOOO excited about getting…


…my new camera!!! 




She’s beautiful, right?  I’ve been scoping her out for the better part of 6 months.  (Seriously, I look her up on Amazon every day and drool a little.)  But now she’s HERE!  So this morning was spent playing and reading instructions, and taking random pictures. 

I took a little break to bake cookies, though.


I used this recipe from Weight Watchers.  They turned out really well.  Very soft and chewy… but I did not get 48 cookies out of the batch—I got 28.  Maybe mine were too big… although they were pretty small.  I did not make many adjustments—I had light brown sugar on hand, so I used that instead of the dark brown kind.  Yumalicious.

And I showed off my camera to the husband when he got home.  (Doesn’t he look cute in his dress-up clothes?)


Then it was time for Zumba class… SO much fun!  We had several new people—yay!  It was a high energy class!  My favorite song of the night was “On the Floor” by J-Lo and Pitbull. 



And now… I am about to eat this delicious meal that I made yesterday: my Memama’s Chicken Divan.  It’s going to be my newest “Dixie-Style Dining” recipe. 




This is some serious comfort food, and I cannot believe how it is bringing back memories of eating around the dining room table at my grandparents’ house in Philadelphia.  I can’t wait to share the recipe with you so that you can make it this fall.  It’s the perfect recipe for a family dinner on a fall evening.  I am hoping to post the recipe tomorrow evening, so check back!

Finally, I don’t usually do this, but I’d like to ask for prayers for the University of South Carolina community.  One of their professors was killed over the weekend, and it has hit the students (current and former) and faculty very hard.  (My sister included.)  It’s always so sad when a life ends early, but this senseless act is just so tragic.  I am sure that this community could use your prayers. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

American Potato Salad from Weight Watchers

I hope you all have had a very happy Monday!  This morning as I was pulling into the school parking lot, I was thinking, “No Monday Blues next week!”  We have a nice long weekend because it is Labor Day Weekend!  Woo hoo!  This year it is nice to not have plans… so we’ll get three days at home to catch up on rest and housework.  Yay!  I feel like I have been playing catch-up ever since I left for my trip to Philadelphia.  As soon as we returned home, I started back to work and things got crazy all at once!  However, we’ve got a little fun trip on the horizon… so you’ll have to stay tuned for that! 

Tonight we were supposed to celebrate my brother-in-law’s birthday.  However, in the spirit of Mondays, lots of things went wrong.

  • 1.  My nephew Jack woke up sick.
  • 2.  My nephew Jerry hurt his foot. 
  • 3.  My child woke up from her nap with a 101+ degree fever! 

(What is going on with these kids???)

Actually, I have to admit that I think sick kids are the cutest ever.  AND mine made me a sweet little card at school because she missed me.  (So sweet!)


The front says, “Mommy, I Missed You!”


And she wrote her name inside.  (How cute is that?  She has been working on her S’s.)


We read a couple of books tonight and hopefully sleep will take care of things.


We decided to postpone the birthday celebration.  We went ahead and had dinner with Ryan’s parents tonight.  I made a big batch of potato salad, so we got to enjoy that!


This potato salad recipe is one of my favorites.  I have made it 2-3 times.  It actually is from the Weight Watchers website.   Click here for the recipe!  They lightened up the potato salad by using Greek yogurt, light mayo, and adding vinegar for extra flavor.  It’s really delicious and I love the addition of the sweet pickle relish. 



I only made one adjustment to the recipe: I used rice vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar.  I really couldn’t tell much of a difference.  If you’ve got a picnic or a cookout coming up, I recommend trying this recipe!

On a different note, I cooked like a mad woman after school today!  I made:

  • potato salad
  • lunch for tomorrow (grilled chicken salad with lots of veggies!)
  • AND… a new Dixie-Style Dining Recipe to share with you tomorrow!  (It’s a make-ahead recipe.)  It’s one of my favorites!  It is one of the best comfort-food meals ever. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Girls on the Run Training+Baby Shower Social

Happy Saturday, friends!  It was a busy day here at the Confessions house.  (It seems like EVERY Saturday is crazy busy!)  But today was a good kind of busy. 

I started my morning off at Girls on the Run Coach Training.  I'm so excited to be a GOTR coach this year at my school.  I’ve been hearing about this program for years and have wanted to get involved, and this year I am getting that opportunity! 


A few years ago, my sister Adrienne and I did the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Charlotte.  It was an amazing experience and made me feel completely empowered.  I feel the same way about being a Zumba instructor.  I feel great about getting the exercise and being healthier, but the feeling of empowerment—like you can do anything you set your mind to—is what feels amazing.  I was thinking today about how there should be more opportunities for girls (and women) to feel empowered that way. 

(Adrienne and me after an 11-12-mile training walk in 2008)

After training, we had something fun planned: a baby shower and get-together with church friends.


We decided that we would do something to keep all the kiddos entertained.  We rented a 15-foot water slide for all the kids to play on.  Success!  They all had a blast!  Sadie was intimidated at first, but once we persuaded her to try it a few times, she had a blast.



A good time was had by all and we were able to shower Wes and Carrie with gifts for their new baby girl who will be arriving very soon!


(great food!)







Sadie had so much playing with Porter.  We think they were playing some kind of “house.”  It was especially cute when they would go lay down and look up at the sky. 



The weather was beautiful here, but all of us were thinking about those in the path of Hurricane Irene and hoping and praying for safety and minimal damage. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Britney. Pauly D. And a Minivan.

Hello, friends!!!  Sorry I’ve been a little MIA this week!  Do you ever have weeks like that?  Where you just try and try to get it together and it just doesn’t happen?  It seems like every night this week has been completely busy and by the time I have gotten home, it’s all I can do to eat dinner and go to bed! 

I have had a blast lately teaching my Zumba classes!  I’m so excited—I actually have added a NEW class to my schedule and it’s been such a fun group!  Yay for new classes and new friends to dance with!

AND… I had a big night out in Charlotte last night that I must tell you about.  A group of friends and I headed out to see Ms. Britney Spears!  I know feelings on Britney are controversial… and I know she’s had her not-so-positive moments in the media.  But still.  It’s BRITNEY.  I had to go and experience it, right?


All of the fellow Britney-enthusiasts met up early for a photo shoot.  I had high hopes for putting together a Baby One More Time-inspired outfit.  (Remember the schoolgirl look?  I was SO going for that.)  Unfortunately… it just didn’t come together for me.  Oh well.  We had a color theme of pink and black. 


The horse dog wanted to be in the picture, too.

Did I mention that we rode in a minivan?  Yeah, that’s how we roll.

Britney Group Pic

The opening act was DJ Pauly D.  Yes, Pauly from “Jersey Shore.”  Wow—the crowd really went wild for him.  I was wondering how exciting it would be to watch someone DJ before a performer like Britney… I mean… it didn’t seem like it would be that exciting.  But it was fun.  There was great music and a lot of fist-pumping. 



Then it was time for Britney.  The show was a lot of fun and she “sang” a good mixture of old and new songs.  Her last set was definitely the best.  She closed with “Until the World Ends” and there were amazing props and lights for this one.  That’s Britney in the angel wings.  Fab.




It was a fun night but I definitely was tired this morning. 


A Frappucino helped me get moving!  It was a mocha-coconut flavor!  Nice!

Have you ever seen Britney or any other big-name pop star?  Who?  Tell me about it!