Peanut Butter Cheerios Treats

Over the last several months, I’ve noticed that Joe is very interested in what I’m doing in the kitchen. He’s always asking questions on how things work and why (like any inquisitve 4 year old) and always wants to watch. When I saw this recipe on Pinterest, I saved it knowing it would be a good one to try with him. Baby boy was pretty sick one weekend, and Joe was getting restless since we were stuck at home, so I decided to pull this recipe out and give it a go. These treats are made just like Rice Krispie treats and were very fun to make with my tiny man! The flavor was great and we ate the entire pan over that weekend. If you’re looking for a fun treat for your kids to eat (and help make!), I recommend these for sure!

Peanut Butter Cheerios Treats

6 cups Peanut Butter Cheerios
2 Tablespoons butter
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
10 ounces (approx. 40 ) regular sized marshmallows
1 cup chocolate chips

Prep a 9×13 pan with cooking spray or buttered parchment. In a pan over medium high heat melt the butter and peanut butter. Add in the marshmallows until you get a nice gooey mess. Add the Peanut Butter Cheerios and stir to combine making sure all of the cereal gets coated. Press into the prepped pan and while the cereal is still warm, sprinkle the chocolate chips on top so they melt slightly. Let cool and cut into squares. These taste best if served the same day.

Source:  Just Jenn Recipes

Copy Cat Chick-Fil-A Chicken Nuggets – Crazy Cooking Challenge #11

This month’s Crazy Cooking Challenge theme was fried chicken. I was excited and not excited about this challenge all at the same time. I’ve been trying to lose this stubborn baby weight, so accordingly, I’ve been eating a bit more healthy. Fried chicken isn’t known for its health benefits. However, I’ve never fried anything before, and I love to try new things in the kitchen, so off I went in search of the perfect fried chicken recipe. I bookmarked seven different recipes, but when I saw this recipe for a copy cat of Chick-Fil-A’s delicious chicken nuggets, I knew I had a winner! Chick-Fil-A is without a doubt my favorite fast food restaurant, and I probably ate there once a week when we still lived in Virginia. The small town we live in now has every single fast food joint known to man, except my beloved Chick-Fil-A, so I’ve had to do without except for the rare treat if I’m shopping somewhere that has one. So Chick-Fil-A, if you happen upon my little blog here, please, please, please come to my town! I promise I’ll visit frequently. 🙂

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I found this gem on Pinterest (of course!) and it led me to the fabulous Amy of My Name is Snickerdoodle. This must be a popular recipe, because it has been pinned over 250,000! I can see why it is so popular, because it was so, so, so good and tasted almost exactly like the chicken nuggets at Chick-Fil-A! The chicken bites soak in a milk and egg mixture for a few hours, then they are coated in a mixture of flour, powdered sugar, salt, and pepper, and finally fried in either peanut or canola oil (or in my case a mixture of both) until crispy and cooked through. So easy and so good! We devoured these for dinner tonight, and I will certainly make them again! I can’t wait to see what everyone else cooked up this month…I am on the lookout for a more traditional fried chicken recipe to try!

2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 1/4 cups flour
2 TBSP powdered sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
peanut oil (is best) or canola oil

In a medium bowl whisk the egg and stir in the milk. Trim any fat away from chicken. Cube chicken into bite size pieces. Place chicken in milk mixture,and cover. Let it ‘marinate’ for 2-4 hours in the fridge. This will make the chicken very nice and tender. In a gallon size resealable baggie combine flour, powdered sugar, salt and pepper. Seal and shake to combine. Place about 2 inches of oil in a medium deep pot. Over medium high heat (more towards the high side) heat oil until hot. If using a thermometer let the temperature reach 375°. If you don’t have a fancy gadget like most people, I always test my oil by dropping a few drops of water into it. You want it to sizzle and not pop too much. Adjust your heat if necessary. Using a fork or tongs remove cut chicken from milk mixture and place in the flour mixture. Seal and shake until nuggets are completely coated. Place about a 6-8 nuggets into hot oil and let them cook until golden brown, turning half way through once the edge of your chicken starts to turn white. About 1 minute each side. Always double check to see if any chicken you make is cooked through. I always just make a tiny cut to see if it’s pink. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Repeat until all nuggets are cooked. Serve with your favorite sauce!

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Skinny Taco Dip

The fact that this fabulous taco dip even made it to the tiny man’s 4th birthday party is a miracle. As people were arriving to the party (including people I’ve never met before who were the parents of some of tiny man’s school friends), one of the folding tables we had set up with the food collapsed as we were setting up (apparently the husband didn’t quite lock the legs of the table when he set it up…). Thankfully my sister-in-law, niece, and BFF were right there (and thankfully I was not as I was already a nervous wreck and spazing out about other things) and saved the day, and all of the food! And it’s a good thing, because the taco dip was far and away the most popular dish at the party, and I gave out the recipe to several folks as they were leaving! I threw this together about 20 minutes before the start of the party, it was that easy to make. If you’re looking for an easy, healthy, and delicious appetizer for a get together, give this one a shot! Just make sure you put it on a stable table.

8 oz 1/3 less fat Philadelphia cream cheese
8 oz reduced fat sour cream
16 oz jar mild salsa
1 packet taco seasoning
2 cups iceberg lettuce, shredded
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
2.25 oz black olives, drained

In a large bowl combine cream cheese, sour cream, salsa and taco seasoning and mix well with an electric mixer. Spread on the bottom of a large shallow glass dish. Top with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese and black olives. Serve with baked tortilla chips.

Source:  Skinnytaste

Strawberry Orange Oatmeal Smoothie – Crazy Cooking Challenge #10

This month’s Crazy Cooking Challenge theme was fruit smoothies, which couldn’t have been more perfectly timed. I started a fitness boot camp on May 1st and since it falls during dinner time two nights a week and early on a Saturday morning, I’ve been relying on smoothies as a quick and healthy snack/meal about an hour or so before my workouts. I’ve seen oatmeal smoothies on Pinterest over the last few months, and when I saw this one on Bran Appetit, I knew I found the one I really wanted to try! I also got lucky and found another healthy living blog that I love and cannot wait to try more of her recipes!  Since I’m on a big smoothie kick, I REALLY cannot wait to see what everyone came up with this month…I imagine there are going to be a ton of great options!

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So, about this fabulous smoothie! It was very easy to throw together and is made with ingredients that I almost always have around the house, except for the chia seeds, which I found on Amazon. I actually really enjoyed the nutty flavor of the oatmeal in this, which was subtle but definitely there. It was very filling too, which is exactly what I am looking for prior to hard workout. The husband and tiny man were not as impressed with the oatmeal flavor, which was fine because there was more for me! I cannot wait to try some different oatmeal smoothie recipes!

1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp chia seeds
1 cup frozen or fresh strawberries
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup ice
1/4 tsp vanilla

Add the oats and 1/2 cup milk to your blender and let it sit for at least 30 minutes or overnight, if you can, to soften the oats a little.

In the morning, add the strawberries, orange juice, milk, ice, and vanilla and blend until the mixture is smooth.

Source:  Bran Appetit

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Double Crunch Honey Garlic Chicken Breasts

Hello? Is this thing on? Anyone still out there? I have definitely been lacking with the blog posts lately. The husband started a new job 3 weeks ago (YAY!), but the downside is he has been working and traveling a lot as he’s getting started. I normally don’t cook much at all when he’s out of town, and if I do, it’s never a new recipe. We’ve been eating a lot of tried and true weeknight recipes lately. So, I may be a bit slow as we adjust to our new schedule, but I have some great stuff coming up as my tiny man is turning FOUR and we’re having his party on Saturday. I can’t wait to share his cake and cupcakes!

Enough about all of that, let’s talk about this dynamite chicken! I made this well over a month ago, and have thought about it multiple times since then. This was another Pinterest find (oh how I love Pinterest!), and I think I made it about 5 days after I pinned it. The coating on this chicken gets super crispy and the honey garlic sauce is divine…the sweet/salty combination really takes this over the edge. We could not stop eating it. I wish I would have made some noodles or rice or something to serve with the extra sauce because the sauce was that good. I will definitely do that next time. The only change I will make next time is to cut the flour mixture and egg wash in half…I had way too much left over (I reflected that change in the recipe below).  Delicious and on the table in under 30 minutes…this will be a repeat here soon!

4  large boneless chicken breasts
1 cup flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
1.5 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground thyme
1 tsp ground sage
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 eggs
4 tbsp water

Place the chicken breasts between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and using a meat mallet, pound the meat to an even 1/2 inch thickness. Alternatively, you can slice the breasts by placing them flat on a cutting board and using a very sharp knife to slice them into halves horizontally.

Sift together the flour, salt, black pepper, ginger, nutmeg, thyme, sage, paprika and cayenne pepper.  Make an egg wash by whisking together the eggs and water.

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then dip the meat in the flour and spice mixture. Dip the breast into the eggwash and then a final time into the flour and spice mix, pressing the mix into the meat to get good contact.

Heat a skillet on the stove with about a half inch of canola oil covering the bottom. You will want to carefully regulate the temperature here so that the chicken does not brown too quickly. The thinness of the breast meat practically guarantees that it will be fully cooked by the time the outside is browned. I find just below medium heat works well. I use a burner setting of about 4 1/2 out of 10 on the dial and fry them gently for about 4 or 5 minutes per side until golden brown and crispy.

Drain on a wire rack for a couple of minutes before dipping the cooked breasts into the Honey Garlic Sauce. Serve with noodles or rice.

Honey Garlic Sauce

2 tbsp olive oil
3 – 4 cloves minced garlic
1 cup honey
¼ cup soya sauce (low sodium soya sauce is best)
1 tsp ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan, add olive oil and garlic.  Cook over medium heat to soften the garlic but do not let it brown.  Add the honey, soya sauce and black pepper.  Simmer together for 5-10 minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Watch this carefully as it simmers because it can foam up over the pot very easily.

Source:  Slightly adapated from Rock Recipes

Lazy Sunday Casserole

When I saw a this recipe had “lazy” in the title, I knew I would be happy. Although baby boy is beginning to become more cooperative, I still have a heck of a time getting dinner on the table without some assistance from the husband. Thankfully he works from home, so most of the time, he can sneak upstairs to allow me some dinner prep time if he has a break in his schedule. Once I told him there was sausage and peppers involved in this meal (two of his most favorite things), he had no problem clearing a little bit of time in his schedule so I could make this “lazy Wedensday” casserole.

I tried like crazy to get a more appetizing looking picture of this, but try as I might, I just couldn’t get it, but trust me when I say this is fabulous! I’m not a fan of sausage, or vegetables, but I ate everything, and enjoyed it! It didn’t take as long as I thought it would to prep this, and while the husband finished up work, I enjoyed some time with my boys while the oven did all of the work. The balsamic vinegar really steps this up a notch. I cannot wait to make it again…maybe I’ll make it for a lazy Monday, or Tuesday, or…

Lazy Sunday Casserole

5 Italian sausages
1 pound red potatoes, cubed
1/2 pound baby carrots
1 red pepper, cut into large chunks
8 ounces whole fresh mushrooms
1 large onion, cut into large chunks
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup chicken broth
3-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine all of the chopped vegetables in a large roasting pan. Whisk together the olive oil, minced garlic, basil, oregano and fennel seeds. Pour over the vegetables and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Pour chicken broth over vegetables. Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes, or until vegetables are just tender. Meanwhile, brown sausages in a large skillet over medium heat. They do not need to be cooked all the way through, just browned. Remove from skillet and slice into thirds. Remove foil from vegetables and add sausages to pan. Pour in balsamic vinegar and give everything a good stir. Return the pan to the oven, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes, or until everything is browned as the sausages are cooked through.

Source:  Let’s Dish Recipes, originally adapted from Kayotic Kitchen

Baked Potato Grilled Cheese – Crazy Cooking Challenge #9

Yes, you read that title right…a baked potato grilled cheese sandwich. Seriously. This month’s Crazy Cooking Challenge was Grilled Cheese Sandwich, and I found this beauty over on BS’in in the Kitchen. I am in love with this blog, which is written by a brother/sister duo. I’ve bookmarked several other recipes I cannot wait to try!

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Let’s talk about this fabulous sandwich. It might sound a little weird, especially if you are a grilled cheese purist. Sour cream, potatoes, bacon, green onion, and cheddar cheese all combined on some yummy bread and grilled to melty, cheese perfection, and it was amazing. The husband ate two of them, and I would have had I not started watching what I eat just a few days prior. Even the tiny man stole a few bites and loved it. As is the norm in this house, we both customized our sandwiches to meet our respective likes and dislikes. I omitted the green onions (as I normally do when I have a baked potato), and the husband omitted the sour cream and added hot peppers (as he normally does when he has a baked potato). If you love loaded baked potoatoes, I highly reccmmend giving this sandwich a try!

Baked Potato Grilled Cheese Sandwich

2-3 Strips of Bacon
1 Potato
2 tbsp of Sour Cream
Cheddar Cheese
Green Onions/Chives
2 Slices of Bread
Butter
Canola Oil
Garlic Powder
Salt & Pepper

To start things off, get a pan on medium heat with enough canola oil to lightly cover the bottom (you could also use olive oil or butter). Cut your potato into even slices, you will need 4-5 slices for the sandwich, then place them in your pan, cooking each side until browned and crispy.

While cooking, salt and pepper the potatoes to taste (they don’t have to be too salty as the bacon with help with the saltiness as well) and sprinkle a light pinch of garlic powder. In another pan cook your bacon on medium heat to desired tenderness (I liked mine crispy for this sandwich!).

While everything is cooking, slice your bread (use some crusty bread like french or sourdough if you have it), and generously butter the outside of each piece. On the inside, put about 1 tablespoon of sour cream on each slice as well as slices of cheddar cheese on each side. Once your potatoes and bacon are finished frying, dab them on paper towel to remove some grease, then fan the potatoes out on your bottom slice of bread, put a little more sour cream on top of the potatoes if you desire (I did to help the bacon and chives stick in the sandwich). Slice up one green onion stalk and spread it on top of the potatoes along with the bacon. Place your other slice of cheese on top of all of this and top with your bread!

Now just grill the sandwich in a pan on medium heat until each side becomes golden brown.

Source:  BS’in the Kitchen

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