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Chicken Salad Sandwich

8 Sep

 

Alright, I’m going to apologize upfront. I hate non-reciepes. You know them – those recipes that say ‘to taste’ and don’t give you any real measurements. And here I am, posting a non-recipe. Sigh. I’m sorry. But it’s so good, you will forgive me!

I love, love this sandwich filling because it goes with every kind of bread you can throw at it. You can also mix different combinations of ingredients together (depending on what my pantry feels like offering) and it turns out fabulous every time. I originally stuck with the strict mix of chicken, diced grapes, chopped celery, and almonds. And then came that fateful day…no grapes. My favorite part, MIA. But I had everything else ready! There was no backing out. So, I scoured my shelves and decided that craisins would make an ok substitute. It turned out to be my husband’s favorite. Another time, no celery. I didn’t want to miss out on their crunch…enter chopped apples. I’ve actually had a lot of fun trying out new ways to prepare it. And I never measure. Gasp. I really just said that. But I just don’t – use mayo to taste, depending on how creamy you want it. Garlic salt to taste. Choose your bread base…to taste. My favorite is naan. Hubby likes pretzel rolls. Croissants are fabulous. Regular, run-of-the-mill grocery store sliced bread works too! This chicken salad makes everything taste like you stepped into a cute cafe for lunch. My only word of advice – no Miracle Whip. I’m not a hater – I like both Mayo and Miracle Whip – but in this mix, stick with honest-to-goodness mayo or it tastes weird.

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Ingredients:

2 breasts of chicken, cooked and diced

1/4 – 1/3 cup mayonnaise (to taste)

garlic salt

Optional additions: apples, grapes, sliced strawberries, craisins, slivered almonds, cashews, celery

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Baked Ziti

6 Sep

My husband and I are taking dance classes every Friday this month (P.S. I’m pretty excited about typing this post because I’m using my pinkie again – stitches are out and, though it looks terrible still, I can use it without being scared it is going to split in half…yay me). It was so fun! And, unlike most of the husbands, mine was actually excited to be there. 🙂 I’m not a huge dancer, but I wish I was. Baby steps…

Of course, while we were out, baby boy decided to shove a spoon down his throat and bleed all over poor auntie (she has the worst luck – last time one of the kids puked all over her…I swear I don’t plan these things). We’re still up waiting for the on-call doctor to give us a buzz and make sure we don’t need to get his pretty little gash checked. Poor kid. He’s a bink-baby and having a spoon shaped gouge at the back of your throat kind of puts a damper on things when you want to suck. It’s going to be a long night, so I might as well get a blog entry in.

Baked Ziti –  as easy as spaghetti, but it sounds way fancier. 😉 The recipe calls for three different kinds of cheeses, but lazy-o me just used a bag of pre-shredded pizza-mix cheese (I figure it has a bit of everything in there anyways!). So, a pretty easy recipe jumped all the way to no-brainer. Cool beans. I told you I’m not a fancy cook. 🙂

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Ingredients:

1 pkg.  (16 oz.) ziti pasta
1 jar  (26 oz.) spaghetti sauce
1 container  (15 oz.)  Original Ricotta Cheese
1 pkg.  (8 oz.)  Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Cook pasta as directed on package. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.

MIX spaghetti sauce, ricotta cheese and reserved 1/2 cup pasta cooking water in large bowl. Add pasta and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese; mix lightly. Spoon into 13×9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and the Parmesan cheese. Cover.

BAKE 30 min.; uncover. Bake an additional 10 min. or until heated through.

http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/baked-ziti-54590.aspx

Honey Mustard Irish Chicken

25 Jul

We celebrated Pioneer Day today. It started out a little rocky – our AC went out yesterday. Not very convenient timing, considering we are in the hottest months of summer, and I’m not one who emulates the long-suffering of those celebrated Pioneers…when I’m hot, I’m cranky. So, instead of waiting, we called the 24 hour guys and paid a little extra for the inconvenience. Huzzah.

We closed the doors on our house as the repaired AC worked over time to cool things off, and set up some lawn chairs to enjoy the fireworks being set off in our neighborhood. The night cooled off nicely, and my irritation of the day began to fade. And then, I heard my little five year old. “Oh…aren’t they beautiful?” I almost cried…isn’t that silly? But it wasn’t, “Wow, cool.” or “Awesome!” That specific word, “beautiful,” just got to me. I had been missing most of the beauty in my day because I was so focused on being grumpy. And then, to push my blubbering over the edge, my three year old looked into the sky and sighed. “Mom! A star. I love this night.” Big, colorful explosions or a small, single star – kids find beauty. This is why God makes us parents – so we don’t forget to look around every now and again, regardless if we’re hot. 🙂

Because I have AC again, I can actually use my stove without worrying about creating a heat wave. I love when you can make dinner in a single pan! That is beautiful to me.

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Ingredients
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon coarse-ground mustard
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 lb chicken breasts
1 pound (about 8) small red potatoes, quartered
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1 onion, cut into 1-inch wedges
Combine honey, mustard, salt and pepper in small bowl; set aside. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook for about 4 minutes on each side until the chicken is lightly browned. Transfer chicken to a plate. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in the same skillet. Add vegetables; cook, stirring occasionally for 6 to 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. Place chicken breasts on top of the vegetables. Pour the honey mixture over the chicken and vegetables. Cover; reduce heat to low and cook, stirring the vegetables once, for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and chicken is thoroughly cooked.

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Corn Dogs

17 Jul

I think I’ve discovered a new species of fly. I call it: the Hydra-House Fly. I swear, for every fly I swat, three more take its place. Where are they coming from?!!!!

Flies are, unfortunately, a part of summer. Especially in my house, where it is (apparently) physically impossible to close the door behind you. That’s the bad part of summer. The good part? Sunshine, swimming, picnics…corn dogs. This recipe comes from my Grandma. The batter makes for a lighter corn bread that is airy and crispy and all around uber-tasty.

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Ingredients:

2 – 1 lb pkgs hot dogs

20 skewers

1 cup flour

3/4 cup cornmeal

2 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp dry mustard

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 Tbsp shortening

1 cup milk

1 beaten egg

Mix dry ingredients. Cut in shortening. Add milk and ddd. Stir to remove lumps. Skewer hot dogs and dip into batter. *Tip* Fill a drinking glass with the batter and dip the hot dogs down into the cup for better coverage. The batter will also adhere best if hot dogs are completely dry.

Fry in oil until golden brown – about 2 minutes.

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Cafe Rio Pork

8 Jul

I took a nap today. I was so tired, that I started nodding off even while holding a wiggling, screaming one year old. He didn’t think we needed a nap – I knew we needed a nap. Luckily, he finally gave in. What I didn’t realize was that my three year old also needed a nap. I put her in timeout for being a stinker, and honestly kind of forgot I put her there (she was actually on the couch right next to me, but being in time out and not being happy about it, she buried herself under pillows). When I woke up after my little siesta, I heard her snoring. I even got to sit awhile longer and just enjoy watching my babies sleep. How could this dreamy afternoon happen, you ask? Where were the other two kids? I’ll tell you…it’s a magical place called “Grandma’s House.” Thanks for keeping my kids entertained today, Mom! I really needed a nap. 🙂

I have to thank my mom for this yummy recipe too! Another great thing about Grandma’s House, is she feeds you. And it always tastes good. If you have never been to Cafe Rio, you’re missing out. But, lucky for you, you can now have it in your own home (or at Grandma’s, if you are really lucky)! And it’s almost as easy as take out. Serve it as a sandwich or over salad (I’ll have to post the crazy-good cilantro dressing you should top it with too!…give me a few weeks, my tomatillos haven’t finished growing yet).

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Ingredients:

2 1/2 lbs pork (any cut)

salt, pepper, and garlic salt to taste

1 15 oz can mild green enchilada sauce

1 cup brown sugar

Add salt, pepper, and garlic salt to pork to taste. Cook in crock pot on high for 4 hours, or low for 8 hours, until meat is well done and easily shredded. Drain. Shred meat. Mix together enchilada sauce and brown sugar and pour over meat. Cook until heated through.

 

 

 

Empanadas de Jamon y Queso (Ham & Cheese Empanadas)

10 Jun

 

My daughter’s class at school got to earn ‘trips’ this year. They went to Florida, Italy, and…a few other places that now I can’t remember, and she’s gone to bed so I can’t ask! The point being: My husband took the class on a ‘trip’ to Peru. He served a mission there for the LDS church for two years, so he got to show off some of his souvenirs, share pictures, teach a little Spanish, and treat the kids to some of the things Peruvians eat. We joked about having him bring one of our pet guinea pigs in and offer to cook him up for the class. 🙂 We thought we were pretty funny,. But kids never really laugh when they find out that that is as common as chicken down there. The usual reaction is horror – we decided to keep the guinea pigs home.

So, if you are in the mood for some authentic Peruvian and don’t have a large, hairy rodent handy or have children that may frown upon you poaching their pets, whip up one of these pretty darn awesome empanadas. I think the smoked gouda is what really takes these a few giant leaps up from a hot pocket – that, and the fact that they are homemade and not stuffed full of preservatives. They are a little cheater because you use puff pastry dough instead of making your own, but if you don’t tell, I won’t.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 package frozen puff pastry dough
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese (smoked gouda, edam, or similar)
  • 4 tablespoons grated parmesan
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 pound deli ham
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter in saucepan on medium-low heat. Whisk flour into butter, and increase heat to medium. Cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes. Whisk milk into flour/butter mixture and bring to boil, stirring. Sauce will thicken slightly. Whisk 2 eggs into mixture and cook, stirring, for 1 -2 minutes more or until sauce has thickened. Add grated cheese and parmesan and stir until melted. Remove from heat and add cayenne pepper and salt to taste. Roll out 1 sheet of puff pastry dough on a floured surface to 12 inches square. With a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut dough into 12 3 x 4 inch rectangles. Mix egg yolk with water, and brush the edges of half of the rectangles with the egg yolk mixture. Place a piece of ham in the center of the rectangles brushed with egg yolk. There should be an edge of dough all around the ham. Top ham with 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture. Cover the ham and cheese with one of the plain rectangles, and firmly press down around the edges to seal. Repeat with other sheet of puff pastry. Pastries may be frozen at this point, or kept in the refrigerator for up to 6 hours before baking. Prick the top of the empanadas several times with a fork, and brush tops lightly with the egg yolk mixture. Bake 20 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Serve hot.

 

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Original recipe: http://southamericanfood.about.com/od/snacksstreetfood/r/empanadascheese.htm

 

Chicken-Dressing Bake

20 May

My three-year-old just had a massive potty accident in bed. We’re talking torrential. And I’m pretty sure it’s mostly my fault. After putting her to bed approximately forty-seven times, I got a little frustrated and in so many words gave her the idea that ‘You better not get out of bed again, or else!’ Well, ‘or else’ back fired. We had another little talk explaining that having to go potty is always an ok reason to get out of bed. And if you have to go potty as bad as she apparently did, I highly suggest running out of bed! Ah, the joys of parenting. At least it is laundry day. I didn’t even blink at having to wash another load. 🙂

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Ingredients:

10 boneless chicken breasts

10 slices of swiss cheese

1 (10 oz) can cream of chicken

10 oz milk

1 pkg Stove Top stuffing mix

1/2 cup butter, melted

Place chicken breasts in a buttered 9×13 baking dish. Place a slice of cheese on top of each breast. Spread the following over chicken pieces: Mixture of 1 can of cream of chicken soup mixed with 1 soup can filled with milk. For stuffing mix: Mix the vegetable seasoning packet with dried bread crumbs (do not add any water or butter). Sprinkle the dry bread crumbs on top of the chicken pieces. Drizzle 1/2 cup melted butter over everything. Bake at 350^F for 1 hour and 15 minutes, uncovered.

Baked Spaghetti with Cream Cheese

12 May

Happy Mother’s Day!!! How I love being a mom – it is seriously the best. I can’t imagine life without my four little beans! They are crazy, messy, and can never find their shoes when we need them; but I am addicted their smiles, their hugs, their laughter…they are my little friends who go everywhere with me and I cannot express the joy I find in them.

And I really love having a mom. 🙂 I hope I can be half as successful as she is when it comes to the unselfish way she gives of her time and energy for others. Love you, Mom!!!

This is kind of like the ‘mother’ of all spaghetti. 😉 A little (or a lot!) of extra love thrown in!!!

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Ingredients

8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
1 pound ground beef
1 large can spaghetti sauce (26.5 ounces)
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup chopped green peppers (I usually omit or substitute red peppers)
cup chopped onions
8 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons milk
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese
French-fried onions (small can)

Directions

Cook spaghetti according to directions on the package. Cook to al dente, drain and set aside. Brown ground beef. Drain excess grease. Add spaghetti sauce to skillet and heat. Combine onions, peppers and butter in small glass bowl. Cover and microwave 4 minutes on HIGH until soft. Add cream cheese and milk to vegetables and stir well. (If cream cheese is not soft, nuke it for 20-30 seconds to make it easy to spread.) Using a 12 x 8-inch baking dish (or something close), assemble in the following order: thin layer of spaghetti sauce, cooked spaghetti, cream cheese/vegetable mixture, remaining spaghetti sauce, parmesan cheese (amount subject to your own taste) Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Top with french-fried onions and continue baking 5 more minutes. (This is the secret ingredient–don’t let them burn.)

Original recipe: http://www.keyingredient.com/recipes/944735043/baked-spaghetti-with-cream-cheese/

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Skillet Dinner

1 Apr

Watching the movie ‘Frozen’ the other day, I paused it on the part where Rapunzel and Eugene make a little guest appearance at the coronation. My kids were so excited! We had to rewind that 2 second clip at least ten times. 🙂 And then they remembered how much they liked the movie ‘Tangled’ and wanted to watch it too! “Frying pans…who knew?”

I’m going to add skillets to the wonderfully versatile world of frying pans. This dinner was so easy and really good! It’s a down-home kind of comfort meal that everyone in my family enjoyed.

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Ingredients:

1/2 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled

4 Tbsp butter

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

2 cups cooked shredded chicken

4 cups cooked rice

1 cup additional shredded cheddar cheese

Cook bacon, drain and set aside. Reserve 2 Tbsp bacon drippings.

Place butter into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in flour, salt, and pepper until smooth and bubbly. Slowly whisk in chicken broth and mix until thickened. Reduce heat to low and stir in 1 1/2 cups of cheese. Reduce heat to a simmer, and set aside.

 

Place reserved 2 Tbsp bacon drippings back into a cast iron skillet. Stir in cooked rice, coating well. Add chicken and cheese sauce, mixing to combine. Top with 1 cup cheese, then top with crumbled bacon. Place under oven’s broiler for 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted.photo 3

Chicken Enchiladas with White Sauce

11 Mar

I was ridiculously productive today. I cleaned the kitchen, tidied the family room, managed to keep my room and the girls’ room clean, washed 6 loads of laundry, folded and put away four of those loads (this is a huge feat for me…usually they sit all week and haunt me), I vacuumed and did the dishes…the one thing I forgot to do was get dressed.

I love enchiladas, but I have never been a super huge fan of the recipes that call for cream of chicken soup. They are all right, but they don’t taste very authentic. I finally found a winner! Sigh of relief. 🙂

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Ingredients:

10 soft taco shells or tortillas
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
1 (4 oz) can diced green chillies or enchilada sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 pan. Mix chicken and 1 cup cheese. Roll up in tortillas and place in pan. In a sauce pan, melt butter, stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add broth and whisk until smooth. Heat over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Stir in sour cream and chilies. Do not bring to boil, you don’t want curdled sour cream. Pour over enchiladas and top with remaining cheese. Bake 22 min and then under high broil for 3 min to brown the cheese.

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