It’s Vacation Time!

After a long, hard month at Duke, Hubby has come home in much need of respite. We are leaving for a whole glorious week of family time and are very excited to begin and enjoy this vacation.

beach chairs

It has been two years since our last family vacation and we are blessed with friends who own a condo at the beach and are allowing us time to use it. So I will see you all Monday, August 5th 🙂 Have a great week!

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Crock Pot Swiss Chicken

I love Swiss Chicken. It’s one of my all-time favorite comfort foods, and I especially like to make it in the winter. It’s an easy weeknight meal but also special enough to serve to company. One of the best things about my swiss chicken recipe is that it can easily be halved, doubled, or even tripled. I’ve been making this for years and was pleasantly surprised to find how simple it was to make in the crock pot. So here’s a staple recipe of mine simplified for you even more.

crock pot swiss chix

Crock Pot Swiss Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

5-6 slices swiss cheese

*1 can cream of chicken soup

1/4 cup milk

1 box Stove Top chicken stuffing

1 stick butter, melted

Spray crock pot with cooking spray and place chicken at the bottom.  Cover chicken with the swiss cheese.

In a bowl combine soup and milk. *Get the recipe here for a chemical-free cream soup alternative. Pour and evenly spread this mixture out over the chicken and cheese.

In a larger bowl mix the melted butter into the dry stuffing until combined well. Top the chicken and cheese with this stuffing.

Place lid on top and cook for 6 hours on low or 3 hours on high.

*If you have a slow cooker where the crock is removable, put it in the oven under the broiler for a few minutes or until the stuffing on top is a bit crispy. Awesome.

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Cow Pies (GF)

Sometimes you just need a little chocolate and a little crunch, and this treat will give you both. Chances are you’ve even got the ingredients in your pantry, and I bet if you don’t have any rice cereal something else would probably do just as well. This only takes a few minutes to stir together and maybe an hour for it to set in the refrigerator (I know, waiting is the hardest part…).

BTW, did you know that rice cereal now comes in a Gluten Free option?? Why, yes, it does, which is what I used here! So even you GF eaters out there can enjoy a little snack like this 🙂 Woot-woot!

cow pies

Cow Pies

4 T butter

4 T honey

1/3 cup water

2 cups chocolate chips

2 T peanut butter

6 cups rice crispy cereal

1. Melt butter in small saucepan over medium-low heat.

2. Add in the honey and water and simmer.

3. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until melted.

4. Add in the peanut butter and stir until everything is combined and creamy smooth.

5. Fold into the rice cereal and mix well.

6. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.

7. Refrigerate until set; about half an hour or more, if needed.

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Tomato Cucumber Bread Salad

I love a good bread salad. It is so easy to bump it up to a one-dish meal by adding some grilled chicken or tuna. Bread salads can have whatever you desire in them but they typically include tomato and cucumber as a base. This particular one was made up of what I had available in the house and it made a great side to my Grilled Marinated Salmon. The great thing about using grilled bread in place of croutons is that they absorb the juices of the salad without getting all mushy.

bread salad

Tomato Cucumber Bread Salad

1 cucumber, cut*

3 tomatoes, cut*

1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

1 cup fresh basil leaves, cut

1 baguette or ciabatta roll

EVOO and Balsamic Vinegar

salt and pepper

Extra Salad Ingredients you may like: red onion, sliced; black olives

1. Preheat grill to medium heat and split roll in half. Drizzle cut sides with EVOO and grill cut side down, covered, until crispy (about 5 minutes). Cut bread into 1-inch pieces and set aside.

2. Cut cucumber and tomatoes. *Slice into thick 1/2 inch slices and then cut into fourths, creating large 1-inch pieces.

3. Place cucumber, tomato, garbanzo, feta, and basil (and any other ingredients you choose) into a large bowl and toss with about 3 T EVOO and 1-2 T balsamic vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste.

4. Fold in the bread pieces and serve.

4. Enjoy!

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FEATURED ON WHO NEEDS A CAPE?: 20 SUMMER TREATS

Spinach & Artichoke Crusted Chicken

This was a really easy and quick dish to pull together that appears gourmet, which makes it perfect to serve to guests. My taste-testers were Number One and his girlfriend, and Number Two. I knew it was a winner when Two ate it and liked it.

spin & choke chix

Spinach & Artichoke Crusted Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1-2 T EVOO

1/3 cup Mayo

1/3 cup artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1/2 block chopped spinach, thawed and drained

1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

salt & pepper

1. Heat EVOO in skillet over medium-high heat. Salt and pepper both sides of chicken and sautee in oil until done and slightly browned.

2. Mix together mayo, artichoke, Spinach (make sure it’s been squeezed of all liquid) and cheese.

3. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and place chicken on sheet. Distribute the spinach & artichoke mixture evenly on top of each chicken breast.

4. Broil for about 5 minutes. (Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn. Depending on the oven it could only take 3 minutes, or it could take  more. Don’t walk away!) Topping with be slightly browned .

5. Enjoy with rice, mashed potatoes, couscous, etc, and a salad.

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FEATURED AT WEEKEND POTLUCK #77!

Chocolate-Drizzled Cheesecake Cream Puffs

This was so easy. The boys love stuff like this (as do I) and I especially like the way it tastes just as good as what you can get from the bakery with a fraction of the cost. If you have these ingredients handy then you could whip up some at any time to feed that sweet tooth.

A few quick substitutes just in case you don’t keep cheesecake-flavored pudding around. The pudding can be replaced with vanilla-flavored, and the mascarpone can easily be subbed with regular cream cheese, though I would keep a few Tbsp of powdered sugar near by to taste and add as needed.

cream puff2

Cream Puffs

2 sheets puff pastry, thawed

6 oz. container of mascarpone cheese

1 pkg. cheesecake-flavored pudding

3/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup whole milk (+ a few more T for consistency)

3/4 cup chocolate chips, melted

cream puff1

1. Preheat oven to 375*.

2. Using a water-glass or cookie cutters, cut 9 large circles from each pastry sheet.

3. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes. (I baked one sheet at a time; 9 puffs each sheet)

4. Mix together pudding mix and mascarpone cheese using a mixmaster with the whisk attachment.

5. Add in heavy cream and milk. Whisk until combined and smooth (you may need to add up to 2 T of extra milk here).

6. Let puffs cool and then slice each one carefully into two pieces wherever you find a natural split in the middle.

7. Place pudding mixture into a plastic baggie and cut a corner to pipe cream onto bottom halves of each pastry puff. Place tops on.

8. Melt chocolate slowly in microwave, stopping to stir every 30 seconds (should only take about a minute. The last bit will melt while stirring).

9. Put chocolate in plastic bag and cut a corner to drizzle over the tops of the puffs.

10. Allow about 20-30 minutes in the fridge so chocolate can set or enjoy right away 🙂

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FEATURED AT A PEEK INTO MY PARADISE T.G.I.F. #13!

Random Recipe Roundup

Crunchy Fish Tacos with Cilantro Cream Sauce

I love fish tacos- but if you’ve been reading long enough you already knew that. There are so many ways to put together a fish taco starting with the type of fish you use and how it’s prepared. Then there’s the shell (soft corn or flour tortillas, or crunchy shells) and then everything that goes in between. Some of my favorite toppings are shredded cabbage, cheddar cheese, tomato and avocado.

But the star of this show isn’t the taco. As you can see I just used frozen fish sticks (sometimes you just gotta have that crunch). The main attraction in this post is the Cilantro Cream Sauce that is made for any kind of fish tacos…and you can thank Yvonne for this one 🙂

cilantro sauce

Crunchy Fish Tacos

Frozen fish sticks

Corn or flour tortillas

Tomato, diced

Avocado, diced

Cabbage, shredded

Shredded cheese

Cilantro Cream Sauce

1/4 sour cream

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

fresh pepper and salt, to taste

lime juice, to taste

Mix together ingredients and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

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FEATURED AT SIMPLE SUPPER TUESDAYS #26!

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Crock Pot Pesto Ranch Chicken

Holy moly. For only four ingredients this was super yummy! Not to mention it was also super easy. Who wouldn’t want a meal like that? All you need is a few minutes of prep and the crock pot will do the rest for you.

pesto ranch chix

Crock Pot Pesto Ranch Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half

6 oz. jar of pesto

1 pkg Ranch dressing mix

1/2 cup chicken broth

1. Spray the inside of the crock pot with cooking spray.

2. Clean chicken and cut each breast into two or three large pieces. Place into crock pot.

3. Combine pesto, ranch mix, and broth together well and pour over chicken.

4. Set on low for 6 hours (or high for three).

5. Serve with buttery mashed potatoes and veggie of your choice.

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Grilled Marinated Salmon

We love salmon here but sometimes the same old recipes get a little boring. What I like about this one is the layering of flavors and the fact that the fish is grilled, creating those awesome char lines on the outside while the inside stays moist and tender.

grill salmon

Grilled Marinated Salmon

4 salmon fillets

lemon pepper

garlic powder

salt

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup oil

1/3 cup water

1. Wash and pat dry your salmon fillets. Sprinkle both sides with lemon pepper, garlic powder and salt to taste.

2. In a small bowl combine the last 4 ingredients to make the marinade. Put the salmon into a large ziplock bag and pour the marinade over them. Lay flat and refrigerate two hours, if time allows. Turn the bag at least once.

3. Preheat your grill for medium heat.

4. Lightly spray grill with cooking spray (pure oil is best) so the fillets won’t stick. Place salmon on grill and discard marinade.

5. Cook about 5 minutes on each side.

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July Menu ~ 2013

Sorry my monthly menu plan is a little late. Believe it or not, I actually forgot to put one together (oops)! It’s not like I didn’t know it was July already, it’s just that I’ve been a little preoccupied with physical therapy and whatnot, but it’s here for you now 🙂 Also, you may have noticed I didn’t do much cooking last month via my June menu so some of this months recipes will come from there.

July Menu – 2013

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Romano-Crusted Chicken with Salad

Taco Cornbread Pizza

Dijon-Dill Salmon withRice Fritters and Parmesan Tomatoes

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Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Four Bean Salad

Turkey Salisbury Steaks with White Bean Mash

ultimate pic

Cous Cous-Stuffed Peppers and Salad

Turkey Ragu with Creamy  Polenta

Ultimate Baked Beans

Chicken Rio with Cilantro Lime Rice

pilaf pic

Salmon and Pasta in Creamy Tomato Basil Sauce

Beef Stroganoff and Pesto-Parmesan Green Beans

Garlic Tilapia with Mexican Rice and veggies

Crock Pot Meatloaf and Gravy with mashed potatoes and veggies

cous stuf pep pic

Chicken Salad with Grapes and Pecans

Chicken and Rice Pilaf

Pineapple Galette

Harvest Bread

balsamic pic

Recipes I’m (still) working on:

Crunchy Fish Tacos with Cilantro Cream Sauce

Chocolate-Drizzled Cheesecake Cream Puffs

Spinach & Artichoke Crusted Chicken

Tomato Cucumber Bread Salad

Cow Pies (GF)

Crock Pot Swiss Chicken

 Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites (GF)

Spinach & Goat Cheese Tilapia Roulade with Tarragon Bechamel

Mexican Bruschetta

Chocolate Chip Blueberry Muffins

Patron Punch

Chocolate Fudge Tart with Mint Cream

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Asian Chicken Pizza with Peanut Sauce

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