modification station.

by Janetha on February 26, 2011

in meals


have you wondered where i have been all day?

if you follow me on twitter, you know i have been cleaning my life away.

i literally cleaned from 11 AM until 6 PM today! only taking a few breaks to eat lunch and play words with friends. in fact, i didn’t even open my laptop until tonight.

it was worth it, though. my house is super clean AND organized now.

i cleaned every room.

i scrubbed the bathrooms.

i dusted the furniture.

i did the dishes.. twice.

i washed & dried all the laundry (notice i didn’t say i folded it…it’s in a huge heap of cleanliness in my spare room. waiting for marshall.)

i vacuumed.

i swept.

i was one productive lady.


i organized every nook and cranny in my house. the cupboards, the drawers, the closets..

look, i even organized my spice drawer!


my productivity and motivation is scaring me. who am i?

side note: today was national pistachio day! i had several handfuls from our bowl-o-pistachios we keep on hand.


i changed the label on our vase from “go packers!” to “go jazz”…


judging from their loss tonight.. i don’t think our vase has anything to do with the team’s luck. too bad.. it seemed to work for the packers.

when it came time for dinner, i didn’t even want to cook because my kitchen was so clean. however, hunger trumps cleanliness and i ended up making a casserole.


look familiar?

why yes, this is my chicken cashew casserole.. with a handful of modifications.

i am working on portions. i usually make WAY too much dinner and we have WAY too many leftovers.  i love leftovers but i need to get a grip on how big the dinners i make are.  additionally, i didn’t have some of the ingredients for the casserole on hand.

enter: improvisation station.

here are the changes i made to the original recipe, which serves six (and serves 2 after my changes)~


  • 2 cups cooked brown rice 1/2 cup (dry) quinoa (yield ~1 cup cooked)
  • 2 large chicken breast halves (about 6 oz each) 6 oz chicken tenders
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups celery, chopped 2/3 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped 1/2 medium yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 of a yellow onion, diced <—stayed the same. i love onion
  • 1/2 cup 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup 2 TB low fat mayo
  • 1/2 can 1/4 can organic cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup 2 TB parmesan cheese (shredded or grated)
  • salt & pepper
  • crushed cashews crushed baked potato chips

so.. as you can see.. my modifications made it so it isn’t even a cashew casserole. just a chicken casserole with  crushed chips on top.


the modifications worked brilliantly. i forgot how much i love quinoa and i should really use it more often instead of using rice all the time. also, the baked chips crumbled on top added a nice crunch and i didn’t even miss the cashews.


oh, and portion sizes? PERFECT. we didn’t have any leftovers. marshall even told me “good job on how much you made, babe.” without me even telling him i was making adjustments. haha, i am glad he noticed.

moral of the story?

don’t be afraid to change a recipe to fit the ingredients you have on hand or to adjust the measurements to suit the number of people you are cooking for. if you find a recipe that you really want to make but it yields too many servings or you don’t have EVERYTHING you need for it.. just change it up! chances are, you will like the outcome.

i am off to hang out with the mister. he had to work today.. time to catch up on some quality time!


1. when it comes to recipes are you: a strict follower, a bit of a modifier or a total revamper?

2. which do you prefer: quinoa or rice?

xo. janetha g.

p.s. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my littlest big sister, marisa! love you, ree!

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simplyshaka February 26, 2011 at 9:03 pm

I am jealous of all you got done! I sat around lazy today and did nothing productive thanks to an appearance from Mr. hangover, blah.

I love quinoa if it’s cold like in a summer salad with veggies, lemon juice and feta but not too much of a fan when it’s hot. When I try out a recipe for the first time, I tend to stick to the recipe but the second time around, I mix it up a bit.

edenseats February 26, 2011 at 9:04 pm

Wow, my apartment is a complete mess, stop bragging!
and yes, there is no substitution for onions. glad that wasn’t modified.

Ashley @ 365 things February 26, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Good job cleaning up. We’ve been having to keep our spotless for showings. So I certainly feel your pain!

I try not to modify recipes, because when I do we all suffer the consequences. I’m NOT a good cook, so I try to stick to them so they turn out edible…

And definitely RICE! Brown rice, jasmine rice, white rice –I love it all!

Katy (The Singing Runner) February 26, 2011 at 9:26 pm

About 80% of the time, I modify recipes. Sometimes it works in my favor….other times, well I get some interesting results. ;)

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) February 26, 2011 at 9:56 pm

I am such a NON recipe follower, that I can’t even follow my own recipes…twice.

Everything I make is wing-it central. I just posted about this yesterday and have in the past too…that I am such an ad-lib cook. I dont know why i have cookbooks, i dont ever read them. Well, I do, but i just dont follow the recipes :) Ideas, inspirations, but never step by step.

Your casserole looks great.

But your organized spice drawer and super clean kitchen are where it’s at for me. LOVE.THAT. I am the same!

Erica February 26, 2011 at 11:57 pm

Getting the whole house cleaned feels SO good! I love your wedding picture in your kitchen- that is FABULOUS. And the bake looks yummy. I rarely 100% follow a recipe…I usually modify at least an ingredient or two. I like both quinoa and rice but I make rice more often

Marisa February 27, 2011 at 12:21 am

How funny that you would do this recipe on my birthday because it is what I chose for mom to make every year! I don’t think I could do without the cashews or chow mein noodles, though. And has Mom told you about the top 12 things to buy organic? Celery is the #1. that would be a good blog posting subject! Love you and thanks for the birthday shout out!

Nicole C February 27, 2011 at 12:47 am

I rarely follow recipes exactly when making dinner. Cupcakes on the other hand are always exact…except I always add more vanilla because it’s so tasty.

I haven’t had quinoa too much so I’m going with rice on this one.

I’ve been playing words with friends too, I like wordfeud better.

We had a pipe burst internally in our master bathroom. It’s been a very stressful weekend!

elise February 27, 2011 at 12:55 am

awwwww…i liked the packers vase better :(

thats a lot of modifications. you may as well just call that a new recipe. i have the opposite issue. leftovers are rare. maybe i just eat too many helpings? nope thats not it. :P

MelissaNibbles February 27, 2011 at 4:07 am

Definitely rice, I’m not a quinoa fan. I don’t think it has any flavor.

I do tons of modifications. I usually make a recipe so there’s just enough for one. ME.

1970kikiproject February 27, 2011 at 4:26 am

congrats on all the cleaning and organizing you got done today, janetha! way to go – man, feels so good to have the home in order, eh!
i got the urge to clean up at work today and attacked a messy back room…i feel your sense of satisfaction. i actually prefer to clean/organize really messy zones because the difference is so noticeable after!
i stick to recipes because i am a pretty novice cook and don’t want a mushy flop of ickiness on my hands if i try to make my own changes….although sometimes a printed recipe turns out terribly, so i guess i should venture out on my own sometimes!
have a great sunday!

Marlow February 27, 2011 at 5:00 am

I freakin’ love your kitchen!!

Kristin (Cook, Bake, Nibble) February 27, 2011 at 6:09 am

That casserole looks so good! Your kitchen is also sparkling… jealous! hehe

It depends on the recipe for me! Most often I make small changes to fit my needs or to make it healthier, but sometimes I totally revamp it!

as for rice/quinoa… i love both but definitely quinoa!!


Andrea February 27, 2011 at 6:25 am

I love the wedding picture in the kitchen..not only is it an awesome picture but it matches your decor perfectly!!

lowandbhold February 27, 2011 at 7:11 am

Yay for a productive day! Those are the best!

I usually modify based on what I’ve got on hand, but it doesn’t always work as well as that haha.

Teri [a foodie stays fit] February 27, 2011 at 7:34 am

i seriously LOVE your kitchen, especially the wedding shot. it’s perfect.

i’m totally a recipe modifier. usually because i’m out of what the recipe calls for. :)

cardiopizza February 27, 2011 at 8:38 am

I definitely modify! I really don’t like having to purchase an ingredient that I will probably never use again, so I’ll come up with some modifications that suits what I already have.

Pure2raw Twins February 27, 2011 at 8:54 am

A little bit of all of them, but most of the time Michelle and I totally change recipes around, make things off the top of our heads ;) But sometimes we do try to follow a recipe, it doesn’t happen very often, LOL

Carbzilla February 27, 2011 at 11:15 am

I love that photo of you two in your kitchen!!!! It is awesome beyond words!

I think cooking for two is so hard. We also end up with tons of leftovers. If I make a crockpot recipe, I put so much in the freezer I have to wonder why I even made it in the first place.

Great job on the cleaning! We cleaned for guests last week, but we really need a deep clean. Just haven’t found the energy.

Mama Pea February 27, 2011 at 12:15 pm

CRAZY! I did a complete kitchen/cleanout yesterday too. It felt so wonderful. And your casserole used to be my absolute favorite growing up. We called it Hot Chicken Salad and the potato chips/cheese layer on the top was the absolute best.

Happy Sunday!

cbrady3 February 27, 2011 at 3:52 pm

I actually usually prefer the chewiness of brown rice, but love the protein in quinoa! Depends on the rest of the meal.
Also, your kitchen is gorgeous!

krista February 27, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Your kitchen is beautiful! Do you read design/decorating blogs to get ideas? I’m wanting to get ideas for colors/design, but don’t know where to look.

BroccoliHut February 27, 2011 at 6:38 pm

Total revamper here! I prefer to think of recipes as inspiration more than anything else.
I actually don’t eat much of either quinoa or rice…I stick to whole wheat couscous most of the time.

Abby February 27, 2011 at 7:11 pm

If a recipe has more than five ingredients, I bail. But then again, I eat very basic stuff that I always have the ingredients for and that I know I like. Boring, but I like it ;)

And I’m a rice girl all the way (don’t confuse that with a Spice Girl.) Quinoa is good, but it’s too light for me. I feel like I’m eating air.

Christin@purplebirdblog February 28, 2011 at 12:21 am

I definitely modify most recipes that I end up making to suit my tastes and/or what I have on hand in the pantry! I prefer rice, but I love me some quinoa too.

kissmybroccoli February 28, 2011 at 6:44 am

I have the same problem when it comes to portions…I call it my “cafeteria lady syndrome”! haha! I am definitely a modifier. If I want some, then darn it, I’m going to have it!

Quinoa beats rice any day!

C. February 28, 2011 at 10:14 am

1.i looooove your wedding picture!! so sweet!!!

2. i loooove how nice and shiney (shiny?) your counter tops are!!

Holly at Greek Yogurt and Apple Slices February 28, 2011 at 10:23 am

LOVE your kitchen & I especially love the picture of the ‘coffee’ sign- you two are BEAUTIFUL! & it looks PERFECT there :)

Kate February 28, 2011 at 2:38 pm

I’m a strict recipe follower. I am always too afraid to try anything different. I need to work on that. :) You’re my inspiration.

Freckled Foodie March 2, 2011 at 11:52 am

arent you just the best little homemaker! hope marshall appreciates how awesome of a wifey you are! :)


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