Back To School 2017: Recipes

With students in the central Virginia area going back to school in the next two weeks, there is no better time than now to share our favorite lunch ideas for the kids. These are the go-to’s for making lunch packing a breeze and can be done in advance saving you time in the morning. If you have any recipes you’d like to share we’d love to hear all about them. Please reach out to us here, Facebook, or Twitter.


Baked Macaroni and Cheese Cupcakes                                   Pumpkin-Macaroni-Cheese-Muffins

What You’ll Need:

1/2 lb uncooked elbow macaroni

4 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup milk

2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (8 oz)

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh Italian parsley

  • Heat oven to 425°F. Place foil muffin liner in each of 12 regular-size muffin cups. Spray liners with cooking spray. Cook macaroni as directed on package; drain, and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, in 4-quart saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add flour, salt, and pepper; cook and beat with whisk 1 to 2 minutes or until thickened. Slowly beat in milk. Heat just to boiling, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese. Stir in macaroni. Divide mixture evenly among cups.
  • In medium microwavable bowl, microwave remaining 2 tablespoons butter uncovered on High 60 to 90 seconds or until melted. Stir in breadcrumbs and parsley. Spoon on top of mixture in cups. Gently press.
  • Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until bread crumb mixture is golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before serving
  • You can add any meat or vegetables that you’d like to give these baked macaroni and cheese cupcakes an extra punch!

*Recipe courtesy of Betty Crocker

* Makes 12 servings


Peanut Butter and Jelly Sushi Rolls


What You’ll Need:

2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

2 tablespoons jam or jelly

2 slices bread

  • Remove crusts from bread. With a rolling pin or large soup can, completely flatten bread.
  • Spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter and 1 tablespoon of fruit spread on each slice of bread.
  • Roll each slice into a tight spiral. Cut each spiral into 4 pieces.

*Recipe courtesy of

* Makes 1 serving


Mini Corn Dog Muffins


What You’ll Need:

1 ear yellow corn

One 8.5-ounce box corn muffin mix

1 large egg

1/3 cup whole milk

1 cup grated sharp Cheddar

4 hot dogs, each cut into six 1-inch pieces

Oil, for greasing the muffin tin

Ketchup, mustard, and relish, for serving

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Remove the kernels from the ear of corn by slicing off the end of the ear to create a flat surface and then slicing down the cob from top to bottom. Put the kernels into a small bowl and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the corn muffin mix, egg, and milk. Stir to combine (the batter will be lumpy). Add the corn kernels and Cheddar, stirring once again to fully incorporate. Allow the batter to sit for 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Grease a 24-cup mini muffin tin. Pour 1 tablespoon batter into each mini muffin cup. Place a single hot dog piece in the center of each cup standing straight up. Bake until cooked through, 12 to 14 minutes. Allow to rest in the pan before unmolding.

*Recipe courtesy of

* Makes 24 servings


Pizza Quesadillas

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What You’ll Need:

2 -8 inches flour tortillas (small size to fit in lunchbox)

3 tablespoons spaghetti sauce or 3 tablespoons pizza sauce

1⁄4 cup shredded cheese (I like Monterey Jack, but use what you like)

8 slices pepperoni

  • Spray the bottom of a non-stick skillet with cooking spray and preheat.
  • When the pan is fairly hot place 1 Flour Tortilla in the pan.
  • Fairly quickly spread on a few tablespoons of sauce.
  • Then add a layer of Pepperoni (and anything else you like).
  • Then top with shredded cheese.
  • Top it off with the 2nd Flour Tortilla.
  • Just like any other quesadilla or grilled cheese let it brown then flip it over. If all of the cooking sprays was absorbed you can spray on a little more, but you usually don’t need to.
  • After both sides are browned and the insides are hot and melted take the “pizzas” out to cool.
  • Once cooled slice in 1/4 like a pizza and wrap snugly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.

*Recipe courtesy of

* Makes 1 serving


We hope your children have an amazing first day back to school and that they have the opportunity to try all of these delicious lunch options we’ve compiled. The Ellen Clark Team wishes your kids and you the best back to school season yet!

Simple Staging Tips

For those selling their home, staging can make the difference between a home sitting on the market for months on end or flying off the market in a matter of days. A survey was done by Coldwell Banker Real Estate found that homes that had been staged spent half the time on the market compared to those that were not. In addition, the staged homes sold for more than 6% above asking price. Staging also makes online photos stand out more and an NAR survey found that 90% of home buyers search online first.  The Ellen Clark Team has put together some helpful pointers for staging your home to make the process easier.


  • Remove any excess furniture and rearrange/move furniture that could be better suited for other rooms. You want to ensure that the potential buyer can see their self and their things in the space. Create a natural flow for each room. For example, living room furniture should be set up for conversation and entertainment.
  • Re-paint in neutral colors.
  • Add lamps, rugs, and mirrors to update rooms and make them appear larger.
  • Replace outdated or worn hardware throughout the house including light switch plates, cabinet handles, faucets, the toilet seat, etc. These little details make all the difference!
  • Add houseplants/flowers to create focal points in rooms.
  • Remove personal photos and de-clutter all areas of the home. Pay particular attention to counter-tops.
  • Remove excess clothing from closets. You want to highlight the space and have it not appear smaller by over-crowding. Also, make sure all hangers are faced in the same direction.
  • Simple things like new hand towels and decor in the bathroom can make a huge impact. Choose colors that pop and match.
  • If your bedspread is outdated or does not compliment the theme of the room, consider investing in a new bed set. Try to choose accessories and bedding that are gender neutral.
  • Add area rugs as needed and make sure wood floors are clean. If the home has carpet it is advised to have it professionally cleaned or redone depending on its condition from wear and tear. Consider having wood floors refinished if they are in bad shape.
  • Clean! Windows, stainless steel, under the sink, you name it! If your home is sparkly and fresh people will be more apt to put in their offer. Make sure you get all the grime that accrues over time in the kitchen and bathrooms. These are areas people are sure to notice.  A little trick for eliminating odors: put a lemon half in the garbage disposal. This will release a natural fresh clean aroma.
  • After windows are clean, open up blinds/curtains to allow natural light in and show off the view of your home.
  • Organize cabinets/cupboards. Pack up all dishware except one matching set, same goes for glassware and stemware. This will create more space.
  • Repair any squeaky doors or cabinets. WD-40 is your friend.
  • Think about adding dimmers for lighting. This is a small addition, but people love these in living, family, and dining rooms.


  • Check the gutters and roof for dry rot and moss. Clean the gutters.
  • Repair roofing, siding, and windows as needed. This not only improves the visual aesthetic of the home but also has avoided any devaluing of the home during the inspection.
  • Power wash the exterior including the deck, sidewalk, and vinyl siding. These can look brand new afterward but be careful as if not done properly can remove paint.
  • Patch up the driveway and concrete walkways.
  • Repaint the front door, fence, and any other wood features outside that could use a fresh coat.
  • Mow the lawn and re-seed/add sod if needed.
  • Cut back overgrown shrubs and trees. Remove dead debris. Clean up flower beds and add new flowers if needed.
  • Add potted plants to walkway or front porch of the home.
  • Update exterior hardware including door handles, the mailbox, and the house numbers. These are low-cost updates that can really make your home stand out.
  • Accessorize the exterior. Add a seating area to the front porch or a new doormat. You could also hang a seasonal wreath on your freshly painted door.
  • Keep porch light on at night in case potential buyers drive by during the evening hours.

We hope these tips will be helpful in the selling process of your home. If you do not have time for DIY staging you can also consult a local staging professional. Remember, details make all the difference in getting the most return on your investments and ensuring your home sells quickly. Contact Patricia Clark with the Ellen Clark Team if you are looking to list or buy a home TODAY! 804-387-2976/

Newly Listed: Triple Crown Cape Cod

7302 Belmont Stakes Drive is located in the Triple Crown neighborhood of Midlothian, Virginia. This charming two story home was built in 1991 and has so much to offer! It is located on .68 acres and has 1,556 square feet. It is in the Chesterfield County School District( Albert Smith Elementary, Bailey Bridge Middle, and Manchester High) and is located close to shopping, restaurants, Powhite Parkway, and 288.

The home features a beautiful country front porch. The family room has a cathedral ceiling with skylights and a gas fireplace. The kitchen, which has been renovated, has granite counter tops, a deep under mount sink, refinished cabinets, subway tile backsplash, new hardware/fixtures/lighting, new flooring, newer appliances, and a pantry. There is a large eat-in area with sliding glass doors that open up to the deck which overlooks the backyard and white vinyl privacy fence. The bedrooms have ceiling fans and newer Pergo flooring. There are 3 bedrooms, one first floor master, and one second floor master.  There is a large loft that overlooks the family room that could be a great study or playroom. The bathrooms have been renovated with ceramic tile flooring, newer lighting/fixtures/hardware. There is a new water heater, newer roof (2013), and newer windows (2015). The home is situated in a cul-de-sac and has attached and detached storage sheds.

With the location of this home and all it has to offer for $204,500, 7302 Belmont Stakes Drive is sure to move quickly. If interested in learning more about this property or to schedule a showing contact Patricia Clark of the Ellen Clark Team TODAY!

By Phone: 804-387-2976

By Email:


Newly Listed in Deer Run

13642 Decidedly Court is located in the Deer Run neighborhood of Midlothian, Virginia. This neighborhood is conveniently located just minutes from local shopping, restaurants, and highways ( 288, Powhite Parkway, 150, and 95). It is in a great area, close to parks and attractions such as Pocahontas State Park and the Richmond Metropolitan Zoo. It is a short drive to the city of Richmond (great for those who work in the business district), Short Pump, and Stony Point. This home falls in the prestigious Chesterfield County School System: Alberta Smith Elementary, Bailey Bridge Middle, and Manchester High.

This home features 1,656 square feet and sits on .64 acres. It has a large family room with a rustic wood burning fireplace. It also has beautiful garden doors that open to the over-sized deck which overlooks the spacious and private fenced-in back yard. There is a formal dining room which could also be used as an office or a playroom, great for those who work from home or those with children. The beautiful kitchen features a large eat-in area, pantry, stainless steel appliances, tile back-splash and walks out to the laundry/mud room that has a separate side entrance to the home. The large master bedroom has a huge walk-in closet and private bathroom. This property also features attached and detached storage sheds. This home has low maintenance vinyl siding, a 30-year dimensional roof, paved driveway, and sits in a peaceful cul-de-sac.

With three bedrooms and 2 and a half bathrooms, this is the home of your dreams! The asking price is only $215,000. This lovely home won’t be around for long so contact Patricia Clark with the Ellen Clark Team to schedule a showing TODAY!

By Phone: (804) 387-2976

By Email:



New Listing In Sherrington

6353 Greenback Drive is located in the Sherrington neighborhood of Mechanicsville, Va. This neighborhood is just minutes from the beloved Pole Green Park and the Pole Green Produce Market. It is close to 295, 360, 301, 95 and 64 and a twenty-minute drive to the City of Richmond. The Sherrington neighborhood community association has a pool and clubhouse. 6353 Greenback is a part of the Hanover School District: Pole Green Elementary, Oak Knoll Middle, and Hanover High Schools.

The home features a charming wrap around front porch. The entry hall and kitchen have wood flooring. There is a first-floor bedroom with door leading out to the front porch and has a full bathroom. The family room has a gas fireplace with access to the covered back porch which overlooks the large private back yard. The kitchen has beautiful oak cabinets, a new dishwasher, tile back splash, built in shelving, display cabinets, pantry, and a large eat-in area that open to the family room. The second floor has three other bedrooms and amazing closet space. The master bath has a double vanity, shower, jetted tub and HUGE walk in closet. There is a huge bedroom with great natural lighting. There is also a large walk up unfinished attic, great for storage but could also be easily finished. This home has vinyl siding, vinyl windows, a paved driveway, an attached 2 car garage, and a full irrigation system for the yard. This home has newer HVAC and a whole house generator.

With 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, this is the home you’ve been looking for. The asking price is $320,000 and with the market being hot it won’t be around for long. Contact Patricia Clark with the Ellen Clark Team to learn more about 6353 Greenback Drive and to schedule a showing.

By Phone:(804) 387-2976

By Email:

Quartz in the Kitchen

Which do you prefer granite or quartz?

Linda Parvin Hutchinson, REALTOR


After several years of declining use, the day has come: another surface has officially surpassed granite in terms of popularity. Any guesses as to what the new countertop du jour might be?

It’s quartz, otherwise known as engineered stone. The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) reports that while granite is less desirable these days, the use of quartz is on the rise (by kitchen designers anyway.

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Featuring: 15519 Fox Gate Place

The Ellen Clark Team is featuring a gorgeous transitional home located on .36 acres in the sought after Foxcroft neighborhood. This 2 story home was built in 1997 and has an all brick front. It is conveniently located near 288 and 360 and in the prestigious Chesterfield County School System (Woolridge Elementary, Tomahawk Creek Middle, and Cosby High). With an asking price of $365,000, this is the home you have been searching for!

Features include:

  • 2,730 square feet
  • 4 bedrooms
  • 2 full bath one half
  • Association offers clubhouse, common area, tennis courts, jogging path and pool
  • Freshly painted interior
  • Wood flooring throughout the first floor
  • Formal dining room with bay window
  • Formal living room with french doors
  • Family room with gas fireplace, cathedral ceiling, and skylights
  • Updated and spacious kitchen with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, island, and large eat-in area
  • Oversized maintenance free Trex deck
  • Master suite with walk-in closet, double vanity, and large jetted tub
  • Bedrooms with ample closet space
  • Updated lighting and fixtures
  • Spacious walk-up attic
  • Low maintenance brick and vinyl siding
  • 2 car side entry garage
  • Front, rear, and side irrigation system
  • Convenient to 360/288/150/95

This Chesterfield gem is sure to move quickly so call Patricia Clark at 804-387-2976 or email at to schedule your showing TODAY!