Thursday, 13 March 2014 11:10

Recipe Thursday - Simple Roasted Chicken

It's Thursday again or as I like to call it almost Friday Eve. Here's our weekly recipe entry.

Simple Whole Roast Chicken – perfect every time and just in time for the weekend!

1 – 4 lb. whole chicken
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 cloves of garlic crushed


In a bowl mix the following ingredients: salt, sugar, cloves, allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon.
Rub chicken with mixture. You can also rub some inside the chicken after rinsing and drying the chicken.  There will not be a lot of the mixed ingredients left to rub inside but it will work.
Cover chicken and place in fridge for 24 hours.
Preheat oven at 500 degrees.
Stuff chicken cavity with 8 cloves crushed garlic.
Place the chicken breast side down on rack in a roasting pan.
Roast 15 minutes in the preheated oven.  Reduce heat to 450 degrees and continue roasting for 15 minutes.  Baste chicken with drippings and reduce heat to 425 degrees.   Continue roasting for 30 minutes. (The chicken’s internal temperature should be 180 degrees.)
 Let stand 20 minutes before serving.
If you want the chicken browned, cook breast side up for the last 15 minutes of cooking.

Published in Landscaping

It's Recipe Thursday!

If you are like me, I cannot wait for the spring weather to arrive.  This cold weather and snow does not get me motivated to do anyrhing, especially after work, which includes cooking dinner!  

Here's an easy dinner recipe for tonight to be served with salad and hot bread with butter; completed in 30 minutes!



1 pound ground round beef (85% lean) or 1 pound ground turkey

1 can (15 oz each) Manwich Original Sloppy Joe Sauce or Manwich Bold Sloppy Joe Sauce (it's more flavorful)

1-1/2 cups water

1-1/2 cups dry elbow macaroni, uncooked

3/4 cup shredded Colby & Monterey Jack cheese



Cook beef or turkey in 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat stirring occasionally until crumbled and no longer pink: drain. (At least 7 minutes)  If using turkey, saute until no longer pink and crumbled, breaking up the turkey with the back of a spoon: drain. (At least 7 minutes)

Add Sloppy Joe sauce, water and macaroni to skillet; stir to combine.

Bring to a boil.

Cover and reduce heat to medium.

Cook 15 minutes or until macaroni is tender, stirring occasionally.

Top with cheese; cover and let stand 3 minutes or until cheese melts.

Makes 4: 1 1/2 cup servings.

Serve with your favorite salad and bread.

Published in Landscaping

Spring is coming and many homeowners begin to think about their home's property.  Whether you are staying or selling, the exterior spaces of a home are the first impression of any property.  Home buyers decide whether or not to look inside a house or take it seriously based on its curb appeal.  Friends and family view your home's exterior as a compliment to your individual taste inviting them to come and enjoy their surroundings bringing everyone together.


It's challenging to look at your own house in the same way a potential home buyer looks at the property.  You have become accustom to the way it looks
and functions and cannot see flaws and deficiencies.  Many times a home's outdoor landscaping is overlooked.  An attractive and well-maintained landscape
can add as much as 10 percent to the value of your home.



Front Yard Entrance,Winnetka, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

Once the snow has melted, it is time to get started cleaning up your yard.  Do not wait until the very last minute to address the exterior of your home.  Give
yourself plenty of time to get everything looking just right.


Here's a checklist and tips for sprucing up your property's curb appeal whether you are going to stay or go:

- Spruce up outdoor containers. Container plants add considerable interest to patios and doorways where would-be buyers enter and exit the house. Such displays also demonstrate the endless possibilities for designing with container plants.



Lake Forest, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes


- Touch up the mulch. Nothing spruces up a place like a new application of mulch, so apply a fresh layer in all your garden beds. The color enhances the contrast of the surrounding plants and makes everything pop. What's more, mulch is relatively cheap and easy to apply.

- Plant some instant color. Seasonal color makes the landscape pop as well, and flats of annuals are also relatively inexpensive. Go for a splash of several colors or a more monochromatic scheme, whatever fits in with the look of your home.

- Shape unsightly or overgrown trees and shrubs. Regardless of the season, it's a good idea to tackle any overlooked pruning chores because nothing says neglect like a bunch of dead branches. The idea is to show how well not only the interior of you house is maintained but your garden too.

- Tidy up plants and if a plant is in such bad shape replace it or stick a decorative pot in its place.

- Edge plant beds and tree circles.

- Clean up water features. Get rid of any visible algae, remove leaves and clean filters so that the water is crystal clear. After all, a water feature that
doesn't look good or function properly can be an instant turnoff.

- Repair outdoor faucet leaks. A leaking faucet suggests that there may be other problems elsewhere with plumbing.

- Power-wash all dirty surfaces.  This will make walkways, patios and driveways look brand-spanking new, free of grungy and grimy surfaces.
Power washers also do a great job on cleaning fences, as well as brick and vinyl siding.



Paver Walkway with Container Pots, Winnetka, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

- When selling, stop thinking of the property as a home.  It's a commodity you want to sell for the highest price possible.
You can help make sure potential buyers want to come inside your house by spending some time working on the exterior appearance.


Consulting with a full-service landscape service firm provides you the exterior staging solution design, installation and maintenance

Published in Landscaping
Thursday, 27 February 2014 10:51

Give Your Patio Some Major Style

It is possible to create a stylish, welcoming outdoor room you'll love to spend time in from snoozefest to stellar.


Schmechtig Landscapes, Patio HGTV Landscapers Challenge Award Winner, Chicago

From creating privacy and adding mood lighting to choosing furniture you love, Houzz contributor Laura Gaskill gives us 11 ideas to inspire your own patio.

Visit Laura at Lolalina where she blogs about all things warm & cozy.


Published in Landscaping

"Each of us at Schmechtig Landscapes is greatly appreciative to be included with all those receiving the Best of Houzz recognition," says Michael Schmechtig, President of Schmechtig Landscapes. "This site has become such a wonderful resource for inspiration, imagination, and exchange of ideas. Thank you Houzz!"



Winnetka, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

Best Of Houzz (Design) by Houzz is awarded through an annual survey and analysis of 16 million monthly users and reveals the top-rated building, remodeling and design professionals. The Best Of Houzz Design award winners' work was the most popular among the more than 16 million monthly users on Houzz, known as "Houzzers," who saved more than 230 million professional images of home interiors and exteriors to their personal ideabooks via the Houzz site, iPad/iPhone app and Android app. Winners receive a "Best Of Houzz 2014" badge on their profiles, showing the Houzz community their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.



Winnetka, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

With Houzz, homeowners can identify not only the top-rated professionals like Schmechtig, but homeowners can also evaluate professionals by contacting them directly on the Houzz platform, asking questions about their work and reviewing their responses to questions from others in the Houzz community, unlike Angie's List where fees are to be paid for the service.

Follow Schmechtig Landscapes on Houzz


Published in Landscaping

"In the spectrum of home improvement, landscape lighting might be the most overlooked. It is, however, one of the least-obstructive design projects you can undertake. You won't have to move out or do without the kitchen, be limited to the use of just one bathroom or be constantly cleaning up construction debris. Any work conveniently takes place outdoors." says Steven Randel, a

Houzz Contributor and Architechture Professional. 
I couldn't agree more.  

Read more of what Steve has to say on this topic:


Published in Landscaping

The back of our homes is used for parties, and relaxing with family and friends — but why have all this activity behind your house? The front yard is an opportunity waiting to happen. While backyards offer more privacy, front yards are more public, with opportunities to welcome neighbors and connect with your community. (just like facebook)  Here are some of Schmechtig's ideas:


Schmechtig Landscapes, Barrington, IL.



Schmechtig Landscapes, Winnetka, IL.



Schmechtig Landscapes, Lake Bluff, IL.


Schmechtig Landscapes, Winnetka, IL.

and more to inspire you from Houzz.

Published in Landscaping
Tuesday, 07 January 2014 11:39

Smooth-Running Home Your January Checklist

Give your home the TLC it needs to see it through winter storms, and dream up plans for the months ahead. Here are 10 to-dos to get your year off to a good start. Here's another great tip from Laura Gaskill, a Houzz Contributor. (


Published in Landscaping

I discovered a great article by Laura Gaskill, a Houzz Contributor and blog author, from Providence, Rhode Island.  Laura shares the facts about this odorless, radioactive gas and how to make our homes safe if it shows up.


Published in Landscaping

I uncovered a great article by Laura Gaskill, a Houzz Contributor from Providence, Rhode Island and author of her blog,  Laura shares the facts about this odorless, radioactive gas and how to make your home safe if it shows up.


Published in Landscaping
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