Saturday, April 30, 2016

crispy chicken salad...

With warmer days around the corner (fingers crossed!!) salads become a great dinner option. The crispy chicken can easily be substituted with grilled chicken and the results are equally as good. I have three teenage boys though so in order to get them to eat salad for dinner I have to include their favorite popcorn chicken. Whatever, I'll do it and honestly... I love it! 
The dressing I use is the homemade buttermilk ranch on the blog. I just thin it with a little extra buttermilk and it's perfect!
I like to serve this salad bar style with all of our favorite items. And (cough, gasp,...) I buy frozen popcorn chicken and cook it in the oven so it gets extra crispy, then just chop it into smaller pieces.

Frozen popcorn chicken (cooked according to pkg directions); chopped 
Romaine or green leaf lettuce; rinsed & chopped 
English cucumber; diced
Shredded carrots 
Red onion; diced
Tomatoes; chopped 
Grated cheddar cheese 
Black olives; cut in half 
Hard boiled eggs; chopped 

Homemade buttermilk ranch dressing 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

brownie trifle...

My oldest boys went to their last prom this weekend (insert mixed emotions here!) The parents decided to provide a nice dinner (in a beautiful home with the most entertaining host & hostess ever!) and one of my contributions was dessert. Someone had mentioned trifle... I had only made a trifle once before but it was the result of a cake mishap. That's all you need to know about that. 

Soooo, I took to Pinterest and this lovely (pictured above) was the first result of my search. I didn't feel the need to search any further. I mean...YUM!

The very best part, aside from the deliciousness, is that it was so easy to make and has to be made in advance. Win/Win!

1 packaged brownie mix 
1 small box instant chocolate pudding 
1/2 cup water 
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk 
1 8oz tub of Cool Whip
1 12oz tub of Cool Whip

Bake brownies according to package directions in a 9x13 pan. Cool and cut into one inch pieces. In a med bowl combine pudding mix, water and sweetened condensed milk. Fold in 8 oz of Cool Whip until there are no streaks. Begin layering by filling bottom of dish with brownies. Carefully spread half of the chocolate mixture over brownies, follow by half of the remaining Cool Whip. Repeat layers. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for eight hours.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

baked potatoes with broccoli cheese sauce...

This is a new favorite dinner at our house! Baked potatoes are hearty and filling and perfect on a cold night. Pair with a green salad and call it good. For my family I cooked five large russets it was the perfect amount of sauce. Bake potatoes at 425 degrees for 45 min to one hour. Prick potatoes with a fork several times and rub with olive oil and salt and pepper first before placing in oven.

1 head of broccoli, cut into florets 
1 cup milk 
1/2 Tbsp butter
1/4 tsp seasoned salt (Lawrey's)
1/4 tsp pepper 
1/8 tsp salt 
1/8 tsp chili powder 
6 oz Velveeta, cut into cubes 
2 oz cheddar cheese, grated 
2 oz Monterey Jack cheese, grated 

Steam broccoli for 3-4 min, or until slightly tender. Set aside.

Heat butter and milk over medium low heat until hot. Stir in seasonings. Add Velveeta and stir until melted and creamy. Stir in cheddar and Jack cheese until melted. Taste and adjust seasoning (add a little salt if necessary)

Recipe adapted from Pioneer Woman 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Mini pizza's...

We had some friends over for dinner recently and because a lot of  kids were present I decided to make the easiest thing I could think of. We have "make your own pizzas" on a regular basis here...for two reasons. 1- they are soooooo easy to throw together 2- they really are delicious. My friend asked why she hadn't seen this on my blog. I guess I never even think to post the super easy stuff, but isn't that what we all really want??? Anyways... Here you go!

1 pkg Greek flat bread (Costco sells these in a pkg of six for dirt cheap & they freeze really well)
Italian seasoned tomato paste (trust me on this one) Also freezes well if you don't use all of the tiny can
Shredded mozzarella cheese 
Turkey pepperoni (regular if you like to live on the wild side)
Dried oregano 
Additional pizza toppings of your choice 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare pizzas. Bake 10 min (approximately) or until edges are golden brown and cheese is melted. Run under broiler for a min until cheese is extra bubbly!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

s'more cookie bars...

Not too much to say here except that these are the BOMB! Everything you love about a s'more and everything you like about a really goooood cookie is present in these yummy bars. Enjoy, my friends!

2 sticks butter; room temperature 
1 1/2 cups sugar 
2 eggs 
2 tsp vanilla 
2 2/3 cups flour 
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs 
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
7-8 Hershey bars (regular candy bar size)
6 cups mini marshmallows 

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 pan with foil and spray with cooking spray*

Cream butter and sugar until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla; mix. Combine dry ingredients and add along with graham cracker crumbs.

Press half of the dough into the pan. Bake for 15 min.

Remove from oven and immediately cover cooked dough with chocolate bars-breaking the chocolate to fit, if needed. Sprinkle on the marshmallows. Scatter bits of remaining dough over the top of the marshmallows. Bake for 20-25 min or until the top and sides are lightly browned.

Cool on wire rack and serve.

*you can line the pan with foil and spray OR with parchment paper. If you skip this step the marshmallows become baked on to the pan and it is reeeeaaaalllly hard to get them out. A little bit of sticking will probably still happen in the corners, but that's ok.

Monday, July 6, 2015

blender wheat pancakes...

We are breakfast people. I don't usually make breakfast, but we do have breakfast for dinner about once a week. These pancakes are a childhood FAVORITE! They come together so easily. The whole thing is done in the blender and can be poured right on to the griddle. We have always eaten these with boysenberry syrup (store bought), but whatever strikes your fancy!

1 cup milk
3/4 cup whole wheat kernels (wheat berries)
2 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda 
2 tsps baking powder 
1 Tbsp sugar or honey 

Put milk and wheat in blender and blend for a few minutes or until wheat is completely broken up. (In my Blendtec it took less than a minute) Add remaining ingredients. Blend well. Cook on lightly greased griddle; turning once. Keep warm in 200 degree oven until ready to serve. Makes approximately 12 pancakes. I usually double and freeze leftover pancakes.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

coconut jasmine rice...

You know what goes great with huli huli chicken???? This does. I've always liked rice, in all its forms, but this might just top the list. Jasmine rice has a light, subtle, almost floral taste. With the addition of coconut milk it takes it over the top. I've used full fat and light coconut milk and honestly couldn't tell a difference. Grill up some pineapple spears and you have an amazing meal.

2 cups jasmine rice; rinsed
1 can light coconut milk (13.5 oz)
1 1/4 cups water 
1 tsp salt
1 green onion; thinly sliced 

Place rice, coconut milk, water and salt in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 min. Fluff with a fork and stir in green onions.