Quick and Easy Southwestern Chicken and Veggie Skillet

This delicious and easy-to-make dish is perfect for the whole family. You can serve it with some Mexican or Spanish rice, or just a loaf of crusty bread. It was a great excuse for me to use my mandoline slicer too.

Heat 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil on medium heat in a large skillet. Dice two cloves of garlic and add them, plus salt and pepper to taste and 2 tbsp. of powdered Mexican or Southwestern seasoning mix to the pan. Dice a pound of chicken breast and cook it in the skillet until brown, then add a drained can of corn, 2 to 3 zucchinis, sliced thin, one small green pepper and one small red pepper, sliced. Cook the skillet, stirring frequently, until all the vegetables are cooked and everything has soaked in all the seasoning.

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Quick Southwestern Chicken and Veggie Skillet

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic, diced

dash salt

dash pepper

2 tbsp. powdered Mexican or Southwestern seasoning

1 lb. chicken breast, cut into small chunks

1 can corn

2-3 zucchinis

1 small green pepper

1 small red pepper

Preparation:

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the diced garlic, salt, pepper and powdered Mexican or Southwestern seasoning and mix, then add the chicken breast. Cook the chicken until brown, then add the corn, zucchini, green and red pepper. Cook the whole skillet until all vegetables have cooked through and soaked up the seasoning. Serve with Mexican or Southwestern rice or some crusty bread.

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My Contest and Sweepstakes Hobby – Part 2

If you’re following my blog, you know that I’ve walked you through the first step in starting up your contest and sweepstakes hobby in a previous blog post: creating a separate email address and determining how to organize your inbox. Doing this will allow you to filter the many email messages you’ll receive from companies as you enter online contests and sweepstakes. Using a multi-featured email account, like Gmail, will enable you to sort your inbox so that you won’t miss an important winning email.

Now that you have a brand new email address ready to use for entering contests, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with your browser’s form filler, or download form filling software. Google Chrome, my browser of choice, has built-in form-filling capabilities. I’ve also used Roboform to autofill online forms. The quicker you’re able to enter numerous online contests and sweepstakes, the more of them you’ll be able to enter, and winning online contests and sweepstakes is really just a numbers game. The more you enter, the more likely you are to win now and then. I typically enter more than 500 online contest and sweepstakes each week – I’ll spend an hour here or there entering online while I drink my coffee and watch a YouTube video or Netflix show.

I have a few methods for finding online contests and sweepstakes to enter. The first is pretty straightforward: I visit websites that aggregate sweepstakes and entry links. One of my favorites is www.online-sweepstakes.com. I’ve been a member there for many years and can vouch for the legitimacy and quality of the sweepstakes they post. A premium membership is the best way to find out about the latest contests and sweepstakes, and $30 for a full year’s premium membership is a small price to pay to find the cream of the crop of sweepstakes. Sweepstakes Advantage and Sweepstakes Plus are two other great sweepstakes aggregators.

Reddit.com is another great source for online sweepstakes. The main two forums I frequent are /r/giveaways and /r/sweepstakes. I’ll typically do a sort by “new” to make sure I get the most updated listings.

Once you’ve been entering online contests and sweepstakes for a while, you’ll begin to receive tons of email messages letting you know about even more sweepstakes to enter. I have a separate folder in my Gmail account for sweepstakes, and I file emails announcing new contests or sweepstakes into that folder so I can enter them later at one time.

Now that you know how to enter sweepstakes quickly (form-filling functionality or software) and where to find new contests and sweepstakes to enter, you can test your luck online. Next time, learn about entering contests and sweepstakes via social media and how to recognize contests and sweepstakes that might be scams.

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Ham and peanuts in Smithfield

A while back, I discovered through genealogy research that one of my ancestors was originally from Smithfield, Virginia. When my younger son told me out of the blue one day that he wanted to “find a really good ham,” I knew Smithfield was the place to go.

We headed to Jamestown to take the free ferry across the James River to Surry, then we drove about fifteen miles to the town of Smithfield.

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When we first arrived, we were hungry and craving some ham, so we visited Taste of Smithfield, a combination restaurant and country store that serves some delicious Southern food and sells a variety of Smithfield meats, Virginia peanuts and other local food and gift items. I had the sliced ham, mashed potatoes with ham gravy and green beans with bacon and onions. The ham was divine, and the mashed potatoes were the creamiest and tastiest I’ve ever had.

After our lunch, we took a walk around town, crossing Church Street to see some beautiful old homes. We visited the Isle of Wight County Museum, where we looked up information on our ancestors and discovered that one of them, my 4th great-grandfather, was actually the first mayor of Smithfield, as well as an attorney, state delegate and U.S. representative. We explored the museum, learning about Smithfield’s history in the curing of ham and growing of peanuts.

We also visited the old Smithfield courthouse, dating from 1750. Over the years, this building has been used as a private residence, courthouse and hotel. It was restored to its 1750 footprint beginning in 1959.

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My boys wanted some ice cream, so we went to the Smithfield Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street. It was a slice of the past, with wood-paneled walls, old-fashioned milkshakes, floats and malts and delicious ice cream.

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We finished our day discovering my ancestor’s home on historic Church Street, and his grave at Historic St. Luke’s Church, Virginia’s oldest church.

It was a beautiful spring day, and my boys and I enjoyed Smithfield’s old-town charm and learning more about our family history!