June 28, 2012

Chicken Feta Soft Tacos - Fast Weeknight Dinner

You know I avoid the kitchen most all summer long. I just don't love being in there where it is hot. I get all whiny and complaining, kinda like my kids and it isn't pretty. I LOVE cooking on the grill in summer. I mean it's already hot outside, so cooking out there doesn't change much. It's already 92 in the shade.

Actually, I guess I should say, I love getting my HUSBAND to grill. I do all the prep work and then he stands out there sweating and feeling very manly. Works out great for everyone involved.

This recipe was born of leftover grilled chicken. I often have the Grillmaster cook a couple of extra pieces of chicken to have for salads the next day. This night, I needed fast and had the extra chicken already done, but it's really fast even when starting from nothing. I just happen to have these ingredients in the fridge, so I set them all out. Thankfully it came together beautifully. Really, simple, delicious, fresh...exactly what summer is all about.

Chicken Feta Soft Tacos
chicken breasts
feta cheese
cabbage (or lettuce)
pumpkin seeds, roasted and salted
sour cream

Drizzle some olive oil over the chicken and sprinkle with some salt and pepper (oregano is good too if you have it). Make sure the chicken is at room temperature before putting on the grill. Grill with indirect heat on medium for about 10-15 minutes until the juices run clear. After the chicken comes off the grill, let it rest for 10 minutes and then chop it into small pieces. Serve all the ingredients in a divided chip tray (like Help Yourself Oatmeal) with warmed tortillas. Let everyone custom make with their choices. My kids especially love the pumpkin seeds, so pick these up next time and keep in the pantry. Summer is served!


June 25, 2012

Patriotic Cupcakes

Any excuse to celebrate is my motto. I am the geeky Mom who has Valentine's Day decorations, St Patrick's Day fun, we even celebrated National Doughnut Day here in Chickenville. 
Complete with a blind taste test of the top two national doughnut brands. It was Krispy Kreme by a landslide (I'm raising them right).
I'm sure one day my kids will look at me and realize I'm a little holiday crazy, but until then, I keep on celebrating.

I made these cupcakes for Memorial Day, but they would be perfect for next week on the 4th of July. I bake this Fresh Strawberry Cake and icing recipe into cupcakes. Then topped with fun marshmallow stars from Walmart.  I got the big size, but they come smaller too which would be perfect for decorating mini cupcakes or even homeschool projects like these.

June 18, 2012

Baked Oatmeal Cakes

For Father's Day breakfast I wanted to make something quick this year. Usually we go all out and cook eggs, bacon, grits, pancakes biscuits, fruit salad, sausage, jam, honey, coffee, orange juice - pretty much everything breakfast! My husband adores breakfast, so it's how we celebrate. This year we went out on a limb and changed things up. We grabbed a quick breakfast and headed to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens to enjoy this incredible weather. It has been absolutely perfect outside lately and we've taken advantage of every moment. Lucky for me, when searching for my special breakfast, I had an easy place to start. It was Secret Recipe Club time and I was assigned the food blog NYCityeats. The blogger, Lacy has tons of breakfast recipes. The girl likes her breakfast, strike that, the girl likes her food. So nice to be in good company.

I searched around the blog, but quickly decided on something with oatmeal, since I'm a little obsessed with the stuff. All you have to do is search my blog with the word oatmeal and you'll come up with all kinds of things, like oatmeal bread, oatmeal snack bars, instant oatmeal, and the ever requested "Help Yourself Oatmeal". Lacy calls these "Granola Mini Cakes" which sounds pretty fancy, but in my house we named them Oatmeal Cakes. The recipe was very simple and I actually put together the batter the night before and then baked them in the morning. I didn't make the icing from the original recipe, but I did add a little extra sugar to the batter. We scarfed them down with a few slices of bananas and some freshly picked blueberries from the backyard. This was a easy fast breakfast that the whole family enjoyed. MacGuyver was very thrilled with his Father's Day presents: a homemade birdhouse, newly stained picnic table and lawn marking spray (so we can have soccer and football games in the yard). And I think he enjoyed breakfast, although he did mention, he'd like eggs next weekend. :) I love you babe!! You are the most wonderful Daddy around.

Baked Oatmeal Cakes
Note: this only makes 6 cakes, so you may want to double the recipe
2/3 c flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp vanilla nonfat yogurt
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c milk 

1 egg
2/3 c oats

Preheat oven to 350. Whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon & salt together in a small bowl. Mix sugars, yogurt, oil, vanilla,egg and milk in a large bowl. Stir in dry ingredients & oats until blended. Scoop 1/4 cup batter into 6, nonstick spray coated, muffin cups & bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 min. Serve immediately.

To see all of the recipes that were secretly made, click on a thumbnail below.


June 17, 2012

Kid Creations - Mini Meatloaves

My oldest has decided I'm boring in the kitchen. He has reached the tender age of 8 1/2 and is "bored" with my menu choices. The child is a budding foodie. He has exotic and varied tastes and I love that about him.

In our house, whenever I hear complaining, I figure that person needs to come up with a solution to whatever problem is bugging them. Since I wasn't doing the complaining about the food, I didn't think I need to change. I pulled out the kid cookbooks and said, "pick what YOU want to make for dinner". He actually thought about it seriously, read through the cookbook, and then showed me his pick...Everyday Drumsticks. This recipe is from a very old Betty Crocker's Children's Cookbook that my Mom used to cook from as a child.

The recipe actually cracks me up. In essence, it's a meatloaf on a stick, creating a "drumstick". I figured we really didn't need weapons sticks at the table, so we settled on just the "drum" part of the recipe. These have nothing to do with what you usually think of in terms of drumsticks. There is no chicken involved in the recipe. It's an easy recipe that Super Bear made ALL by himself. I seriously did not help him except to stir the cranberry sauce. See?? I told you to buy those extra bags of cranberries over Thanksgiving and put them in the freezer.
Mini Meatloaves
1 lb ground beef (I used venison)
1 c soft bread crumbs
salt and pepper
2 eggs
bacon (optional)
2 c cranberries
1/2 c water
1/2 c sugar
zest of one orange
1 tsp nutmeg

Combine all in a large bowl and knead with your hands to really get it mixed well. Shape into mini balls or rectangles. Wrap with 1/2 bacon strips. Place on a slotted baking sheet or wire rack on top of a baking sheet to catch the grease. Broil for 10 minutes. Watch carefully for burning bacon!

In the meantime, combine cranberries, water, sugar, zest, and nutmeg into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries are popped and soft. The mixture will thicken. Serve over meatloaf.

June 7, 2012

Toffee Nut Crunch Cookies

Life at our house these days is wonderful. The kids are playing outside in this beautiful weather with much later bedtimes. The pollen seems to have gone down here in landlocked Atlanta with all of our rain. The garden veggies seem to get bigger by the minute. I have even had time to bake just for fun. *Gasp* Usually I bake for a purpose. Something to share with others or an event to celebrate, but occasionally I bake just because. It's a walk on the wild side!

These cookies were good. No, these were GREAT. The entire large batch disappeared from our house in only a couple of days. Ok, we did share a few. I was thinking about omitting the coconut because I don't usually like bagged coconut (give me a coconut right off the tree, that's another story), but it didn't overwhelm this flavorful recipe. They are crunchy, sweet, nutty and buttery.  Really, what else could you ask for in a cookie??

Toffee Nut Crunch Cookies
from Taste of Home

1 c butter, softened
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 c sugar
1 c brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
3 1/2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 c oats
1 c flaked coconut
3 c rice cereal (Rice Crispies)
1 c chopped walnuts or pecans

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixer, cream butter, oil, sugars and vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well in between. In another bowl, whisk together flour, powder, soda and salt. Add flour mixture to mixer bowl on a slow mix to combine. Add in oats and coconut combine again. Remove from mixer stand and stir in the cereal, nuts, and toffee bits.

Drop by small ice cream scoopfuls or tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased sheet (lined with silicone baking sheet if you have it). Bake for 10 minutes, until light brown. Cool on wire racks.



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