Chicken Dumplings (Pot Stickers)

These were fun to put into the boys’ lunches and not particularly difficult to make either. It only took a little bit of patience. I left out some of the ingredients because I knew they’d prefer it plain, but the entire recipe is here for you to customize it as you’d like.


Chicken Dumplings

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 lb cooked chicken, chopped fine

1/2 cup finely chopped cabbage

1/2 tsp sesame oil

20 wonton wrappers

1. Mix soy sauce, ginger, and 1 T water.

2. Pulse chicken in food processor if you have one, until ground.

3. Mix cabbage, chicken, soy sauce mixture, sesame oil, and up to 2T extra water if needed.

4. Divide mixture among the wrappers.  Brush edges of wonton wrappers with water and press the four corners at the top, creating a seal.

5. Steam 3 to 5 minutes. Serve with extra soy sauce.

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Mini Meaty Cheesy Quiches

This is the mini quiche recipe I had been planning to make when I (sort of) accidentally ended up with my Wonton Quiche Cups instead (which I love!). So I finally got around to making these using pre-made mini phyllo pastry cups from the grocers freezer. Although this would be considered semi-homemade, it’s worth it for the convenience factor. *Makes 15 mini quiches.

mini quiche1

Mini Meaty Cheesy Quiches

1 box (15 ct.) mini phyllo pastry cups, thawed

8 slices of turkey pepperoni

1 slice Havarti cheese

2 eggs

1 T heavy cream

salt & pepper

mini quiche2

1. Preheat oven 400* (350* if using a convection or toaster oven). Let phyllo cups thaw.

2. In the bottom of each phyllo cup put 1/2 slice of turkey pepperoni, cut up into pieces.

3. Cut 1 slice cheese up into 15 parts and put in over pepperoni.

4. Whisk together eggs, heavy cream, and salt & pepper (to taste). Ladle egg mixture into the phyllo cups slowly, distributing evenly. *I used a small gravy ladle for this.

5. Bake for 10 minutes, or until egg is cooked through.

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Wonton Quiche Cups

I had this great little mini quiche idea for lunches but decided to cut a corner or two by using wonton wrappers. The result was great except they weren’t “mini” as in mini muffin size (they’re regular muffin size, which, yes, is still mini compared to a regular sized quiche…on we go….) and were better suited for breakfast. So I will still be working on the mini-mini quiches for the boys’ lunches, but here is an unexpected bonus recipe/meal. I love when that happens.

Also, just a quick side note, since I was experimenting I only made 6 quiches. The measurements are simple enough though to double or triple the recipe if you so desire. And don’t forget that you can put whatever meat/veggies you want into your quiches.

quiche cups

Wonton Quiche Cups

12 wonton wrappers

4 eggs, beaten

3 slices turkey bacon

1/3 cup shredded swiss cheese

1/4 cup shredded cheddar

salt & pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375*.  Lightly oil the muffin tins.

2. Layer 2 wrappers together with the corners spread out so it looks like you’re holding an 8-pointed star. Place in the bottoms of each muffin cup and push down to shape them.

3. Cut up the bacon (1/2 slice per cup) and put in bottoms of wontons along with the swiss cheese (divide evenly).

4. Salt & pepper the beaten eggs and divide between the wonton cups. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese over the egg.

5. Bake for 15 minutes, or until eggs are set and very lightly browned.

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Skillet Ratatouille and Chicken

Back in late July-early August when we were on our family vacation on the Crystal Coast, we stayed in a friend’s condo complete with deck-side pool and an awesome view of the ocean. I love this particular beach because it was where I met Hubby over 17 years ago. We could even see the pier where we first met from our location just a quarter of a mile away down the beach. Even better was that both the boys wanted to see where their parents first met.

While we were there we ate some great food, including local seafood (boy, have we missed that since moving off the island!) and other wonderfully prepared culinary delights at a few of the local hotspots. But there were times that I cooked, too. I kept it simple for the most part; tacos and pasta, baked herbed chicken, roasted veggies, salads, etc.

At one point as Number Two and I were wandering around the grocery store trying to decide what to make, he suggested Ratatouille. I was a little surprised at first because I’m not so sure he realized what he was asking for. So I told him. And he still seemed totally up for it. So I was like, heck yeah! But alas, there were no yellow squash in stock and I really wasn’t feeling particularly creative, so needless to say we had to pass on the ratatouille.

Since then I have come across this awesome recipe for a one-skillet meal incorporating ratatouille. How can this go wrong? I am so excited to share this with you guys because I do love me some Ratatouille. Click the link for my previous post on Millefeuille Ratatouille, which is the layered kind seen in Disney’s movie Ratatouille. This recipe was adapted from Rachael Ray.

skillet ratatouiile

Skillet Ratatouille and Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts


1 small eggplant

1 yellow bell pepper

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 small zucchini

1 large yellow squash

4 medium tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup red wine

1 cup chicken broth

2 T butter

1/3 cup chopped parsley

salt & pepper

Parmesan cheese, for serving

1. Prep your veggies. Peel eggplant and cut into 34-inch pieces. De-stem and seed the bell pepper, cutting it into 1/2-inch pieces.  Trim the zucchini and squash, quartering it lengthwise and again crosswise in 1/2-inch thick pieces.

2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat large skillet over medium heat and add 1 T of EVOO. Cook the chicken about 10 minutes, turning over once, and remove from skillet.

3. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Let it simmer a few minutes. Add the butter and broth and simmer a few minutes more. Set aside.

4. Put in some EVOO and add the eggplant to the skillet and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Ladle in some of the wine/broth as needed. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

5. Add the remaining  EVOO and cook the bell pepper and onion, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add in the zucchini and squash, season with salt and pepper, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes; Stirring often. Ladle in wine/broth as needed. Season with salt & pepper.

6. Add the tomatoes and reserved eggplant, then the chicken and remaining wine/broth. Cover and bring to a brisk simmer.

7. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently, partially covered, until the vegetables are very soft and the meat pulls apart easily using two forks; 30 minutes.

8. Serve over rice or noodles with grated cheese.

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Spinach & Goat Cheese-Tilapia Roulade with Tarragon Bechamel

Truth is some dishes just don’t photograph well, which is why although I HAVE attempted some of the recipes on the last two menu plans such as Greek Chicken, Pear & Pecan Muffins, and Chicken Pad Thai. None of them came out all that great and definitely weren’t photo quality. However, that is not the case with these tilapia roulades. The picture may not be ideal, but the taste was pretty delicious. (Even Number Two ate it up. Bonus!)

This recipe started out as one for stuffed salmon. It sounded awesome but I didn’t have any salmon handy. Then I had another recipe for an herb & veggie stuffed sole (rolled up), but alas, I didn’t have half of those ingredients either. What I ended up with was an improvisation using what I had on hand, using the two other recipes as a guideline. Usually this kind of innovative  cooking does not serve me well, but this time I have to say it was pretty darn good.

tilapia roll1

Spinach & Goat Cheese Tilapia Roulade 

4 filets tilapia, thawed and room temp.

1 cup frozen spinach, thawed and excess water squeezed out

8 oz. goat cheese, divided

6 oz. sour cream

salt & pepper

1 tsp basil

1 tsp chives (I used dried)

Preheat oven to 350*. If fish fillets are thick you can slice through them and make two fillets out of one, which make them roll much easier.

In a bowl combine 6 oz. of the goat cheese, the sour cream, spinach, herbs, and salt and pepper. Mix well.

Spoon and spread mixture on top of fish and roll each piece up. You can use toothpicks to keep the rolls together.

Place into a baking dish (spray dish or line with parchment paper first) and cover.

Bake about 25 minutes, or until fish is done.

tialpia roll2

Tarragon Bechamel

2 T butter

2 T flour  *Cornstarch for GF

4 T heavy cream or milk

1/4 cup chicken broth (plus more if needed for consistency)

salt & pepper

2 tsp tarragon

This fish definitely needed a sauce. As usual when I’m cooking I do a lot of it by eye. I try to make the measurements accurate for you, but with something like this it’s easy to eye-ball it and thicken, or thin, as needed. Bechamel is good for so many things but I find it rather bland and not quite worth all the extra calories. Hence, the tarragon. Believe me, it just makes it awesome.

Get the milk or cream and chicken broth bubbling in a small saucepan with the last 2 oz. of the goat cheese. Make sure the cheese melts and blends in. Add the tarragon. Make your roux and add it slowly, as needed.

*You can start out with your roux (1 part melted butter to one part flour) and add the cream and broth to it. It might actually be better to control your thickness this way, but what the heck, I always do things the hard way. Just make sure you allow time for the tarragon to get in there and do its thing :) After that it’s all just about combining, whisking, (and not burning of course) and getting the sauce only as thick as you want it.

Serve it over the fish roulades.

I also put my roulades over some fresh garden tomato slices. Heaven!

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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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Random Recipe Roundup

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


Romano-Crusted Chicken with Salad

Taco Cornbread Pizza

Dijon-Dill Salmon withRice Fritters and Parmesan Tomatoes


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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General Tso’s Chicken Sliders with Cole Slaw

Hey fabulous readers! Just a quick little update for you all: I’ve been having a lot of back problems lately (and neck, and sciatica) and have been moving pretty slowly. It looks like another surgery is on the horizon and because of all this I will probably slow down my posts. I don’t know if it will be reduced to two or three a week, just not 5. So don’t forget to come back and check out what I’ve been cooking and have a blessed day :)

And now for the main attraction….

I don’t know what it is about sliders that are so good but so far I’ve not been disappointed. Sure you can make a larger sandwich but there’s just something about a slider that makes a meal more fun and tailored to your hunger. And speaking of sliders, if you haven’t  tried my Bourbon BBQ Sliders with Garlic Aioli then you really are missing out!


General Tso’s Chicken Sliders

3 or 4 chicken breasts

1 (12 oz) jar of General Tso’s sauce

1 small pkg cole slaw mix

1/3 cup ranch dressing

1 pkg (12 count) Hawaiian sweet rolls


1. Cook chicken on low with General Tso’s sauce in a large skillet. Keep chicken submerged in sauce; turn chicken so it doesn’t burn.

2. Shred chicken and return to sauce in skillet. If the chicken is finished cooking, remove from heat and keep covered.

3. Prepare slaw using pre-bagged slaw mix and ranch dressing. To make your own slaw simply shred 1/4 of a cabbage head and grate or shred 2 large carrots.

4. Lightly toast the Hawaiian rolls.

5. To assemble sliders place chicken on bottom half of roll and top with slaw. Place top half of roll on sandwich and enjoy!

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20 Recipes for Summer

Summer is here! Okay, well maybe not “officially” but I think all the moms out there can agree that summer starts when school lets out. Now that it’s hotter outside and the days are longer we want to avoid turning on the oven as much as possible and either grill or eat light, refreshing meals.  I don’t know about you but my kitchen gets really hot when I use the oven so I will definitely be planning any baking for very early in the day and relying more on the grill and other summertime fare.

Here is a roundup of 20 recipes that are summer worthy from appetizers to desserts, and not a one requires an oven.

summer recipes

Appetizers: Bruschetta, Cherry Caprese


cherry caprese

Salads: Deviled Potato Salad, Macaroni Salad, Cheeseburger Salad, Chopped Thai Chicken Salad, Chili Lime Chicken Salad, Greek Chicken Salad with Grapes & Pecans



cheeseburger salad

thai salad

fiesta salad


On the Grill: Grilled Balsamic Chicken, Bourbon BBQ Sliders with Garlic Aioli, Honey-Lime Chicken Kabobs

pesto beans, balsamic chicken, watermelon dessedrt 003

bourbon sliders2


In the Crock Pot: Honey Sesame Chicken, Sweet Chicken Rio, Cashew Chicken, Chicken Teriyaki

honey sesame chix




Cool Desserts: Chocolate Banana Pudding Pie, Mud Pie, Watermelon Petit Fours, Chocolate & Peanut Butter Ribbon Dessert, Easy Eclair Dessert

banana pie





Marvelous Mondays, Melt in Your Mouth Mondays,

Chopped Thai Chicken Salad

You all know how much I love Mexican food around here, and you may have picked up on my increasing love of Asian food, but did you know that I LOVE Thai? Well, I say that but I have to admit that my Thai experiences have been fairly limited (as in Pad Thai mostly). However, this recipe definitely helped quench my taste for decent Thai flavors in a town without any options whatsoever, and it made the cut with the whole family as well. Bonus!

Also a little tip* I used leftover lime cabbage from my Shredded Beef Tacos for this salad.

thai salad

Chopped Thai Chicken Salad

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/2 head cabbage

1/2 head of green leaf lettuce

1/2 cup carrots, chopped or shredded

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1/2 cup green onions, chopped

1/2 cup chopped peanuts

Thai Dressing

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp minced hot pepper (I used jalapeño, as usual)

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup vinegar

3-4 T sugar

2 T fresh lime juice


1 tsp fish sauce

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup water (+ a few tbsp more if needed for consistency)

1. Poach chicken in water or chicken broth until cooked through. Shred and set in refrigerator to cool.

2. Slice cabbage and lettuce thin. Combine with prepared carrot, cilantro, and green onion. *At this point you could combine the chicken with the salad if you wanted. Refrigerate.

3. Mince garlic and pepper and place in medium bowl. Add in the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, lime juice, oil, and fish sauce. Whisk until combined. Stir in peanut butter and water and whisk until smooth.

4. Toss salad with the dressing (only what you are going to eat). Add the crushed peanuts.

5. Serve chilled and enjoy!

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