Monday, December 12, 2011

Ranch Chicken

Do you all know about Pintrist? I'm sure you do, but just in case - go check it out! If you want an invite, let me know. It's a virtual pinboard of E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G!!! Quote, recipes, craft ideas, decorating tips, photography, etc... you can find anything & everything on Pintrist! And that's where I saw this recipe. It looked yummy & seemed pretty easy & kid-friendly (my top 3 musts!) so we tried it - and it was pretty good! My oldest, Luke, kept coming into the kitchen while it was baking with his nose in the air like a hound dog, sniffing & taking deep breaths & asking with anticipation when it would be ready. And he was no disappointed when it hit his plate - the kids all loved it! Woo hoo!

The ingredients list is pretty simple:

Chicken tenders - or just breasts cut into wide strips, corn flakes , shredded Parmesan cheese, a packet of Ranch powder mix & butter!

Put your corn flakes into a dish & smash them up just a little bit. Add in the ranch mix & Parmesan cheese & stir it up.

Melt the butter in the microwave, dip the chicken in it....

... and dredge it through the breading mixture.

Spray a 9x13 pan with Pam & then load it up with your chicken. Drizzle a little of the leftover butter over the top of your chicken strips.

Bake them at 350 for about 40 minutes.

**A tip - as this bakes the bottoms will likely get a little soggy. If you use a little of the extra breading mixture to make a bed for the tenders to sit on, the soggy will soak down into the bed rather than the bottom of the strip. Also, after the baking time was up, I pulled them from the oven, drained off the excess butter from the bottom of the pan & stuck them under the broiler for a few minutes to help them crisp up.

These were really good! I thought they were 'good enough' but the kids loved them which makes them woooooooonderful in my book! Less stress at the dinner table is always welcome in my home!

Ranch Chicken:

3 chicken breasts, cut into wide strips (3-4 per breast)
3/4 cup corn flakes
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 packet Ranch dressing/dip mix
1 stick butter, melted

Melt butter; set aside. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.

Combine cornflakes (slightly crushed), Parmesan & ranch mix in a shallow dish. Dip chicken in the butter then dredge through breading mixture & line them up in the prepared pan. Lightly drizzle with a little of the leftover butter.

Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Elf on the Shelf

I realize I haven't posted a recipe in far too long, but I wanted to start a post to add photos to! We've had out Elf on the Shelf (Horton) for a couple of years now & the kids have a lot of fun with it. Sometimes he just shows up sitting on a Christmas tree branch, sometimes sitting on a shlef, but sometimes he also likes to make mischief as he comes & goes each morning/night.

Here is is on the morning of the 9th - the Lego men were starting to get a little unsure of the giant visitor that kept invading their space so they decided to tie him up for an interrogation!

Stay tuned..... there will be more to come!

Updated - 12/12:
Here he is helping himself to a snack of a jumbo marshmallow & chocolate chips!

Makes sense - Buddy (from the movie Elf) has educated us all to the 4 food groups of an elf; candy, candy canes, candy corn & syrup!

12/13/11 - After all that sugar, the responsible thing was to brush your teeth!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Butterscotch Banana Pie

Wanna see just about the easiest pie ever?

Check it out:

Get a ready-made graham cracker crust, some bananas & a box of instant butterscotch pudding (& the milk to mix up the pudding).

Slice up the bananas into the bottom of the pie crust.

Mix up the pudding, according to the 'pie filling' directions (just uses a little less milk) & pour it down over the sliced bananas.

Then pop it into the fridge for a bit. It's soft-set within about 5-10 minutes, but give it longer for a good, firm set.

Plop on a dollop of whipped topping & you've got yourself a simple, easy & delicious slice of pie!

Happy pie eating!!

Butterscotch Banana Pie:

1 3.4-oz box instant butterscotch pudding
1 8 or 9-inch graham cracker pie crust
2-3 bananas (depending on size)
2 cups milk
whipped topping

Slice bananas & arrange in the bottom of the pie crust. Mix pudding, according to pie-filling directions. Immediately pour pudding over bananas into pie crust. Refrigerate about 1 hour. Serve topped with whipped topping.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

3-Minute Chocolate Mug Cake from the Microwave

This is a dangerous recipe. Because it's SO easy. And because you make it with things that are probably always in stock on your pantry shelves. And it only takes 3 minutes. And it's single serve so you don't feel as guilty about it. Oh - and it's rich & Yummy! Last night I had just got the kids into bed & sat in the couch to watch some of my shows before bed. The craving hit me - I wanted some baked sweets. Not ice cream, not store-bought cookies, not a pudding cup.... baked goods. But seriously - who has the energy to do all that at 9:00 at night!!? Not this girl (usually!). Then I remembered this recipe! Woo hoo - craving satisfied. It's not as light & fluffy & moist as what you'd get from Ms. Crocker's boxes but, in a pinch, it'll surely get the job done!

Step 1:

Mix your dry ingredients in a coffee mug (not a small one, please!)

Stir in the egg...

Stir in the milk, oil & vanilla. Then stir in the chips.

Put it in the microwave for 3 minutes. It'll grow up over the brim of your mug - don't worry!! It's OK! It'll go back down.

Can you see that in there!? It's kinda tough to take a picture through the microwave door.

See? It settled down.

Now just dump it out onto a plate/bowl & drizzle with a little chocolate syrup - or maybe some powdered sugar - or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Whatever sounds good!

This definitely makes enough to share with a 2nd person so don't feel like you have to make 2 if you & the spouse both want some.

3-Minute Chocolate Mug Cake (in the microwave):

4 TBsp flour
4 TBsp sugar
2 TBsp cocoa powder
1 egg
3 TBsp milk
3 TBsp oil
a small splash of vanilla
3 TBsp chocolate chips

Mix the dry ingredients in a large mug. Add the egg & stir thoroughly. Stir in the milk, oil & vanilla. Mix in the chocolate chips.

Microwave for 3 minutes (1000 watt microwave). Dump out onto plate & top with whatever sounds good!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Babyback Ribs... in the Crock Pot!!?

I've mentioned it before. I have meat issues. One of them is that I cannot eat meat off of the bone. It just totally skeeves me out. I really, truly cannot remember a time that I have eaten anything that had a bone - maybe as a kid I ate a drumstick? Maybe? But, as a result of this, my kids have never been introduced to things like chicken legs or ribs. Until a few weeks ago. We took the kids to the water park & then kept the treat going by hitting up Outback Steakhouse afterward. I always give the kids 3 or 4 choices off the kid's menu - no matter how many are actually on the list; things like the burger, chicken strips, mac 'n cheese, pizza, etc... the 'safe' bets (in my mind)! Well, now that my bigger kids are able to read they actually browse the menu. And that night, my 8 year old saw ribs & asked what they were & decided he wanted to try them. And then the 6, 4 & 2 year olds had to have them, too! LOL Well - that was aaaaaaaaaaaaaall she wrote!! My kids are hooked! They loved their ribs & now every time we've gone anywhere to eat they look for ribs! I decided I'd try my hand at some kid-friendly ribs here at home. And the best part of these!!?? They spend all day in the crockpot cooking so 1.) they're just about no work!! And 2.) the slow-cooking helps break down the connective tissues so they literally fall off the bone and they're not tough for the kids to chow down on!

Here we go!!

You need: 1 rack (2-2 1/2 pounds) of babyback ribs, pineapple juice, brown sugar, red wine vinegar, soy sauce, lemon juice, ketchup, mustard powder, ground cloves, ground ginger, cayenne pepper & fresh garlic & a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce.

Step 1 - mix everything except the BBQ sauce & meat in the bowl of your slow cooker. Whisk it well to blend it all together.

Add the ribs, cover & set on low for 6 or 7 hours.

Try not to let them get too tender - you want them cooked, but you still need to transfer them to the grill (or, like I chose, under the broiler) & that gets a little trickier when you pick up a bone & it slides right out!! LOL

Once their crock pot time passes either set them on a BBQ grill, on medium heat, or on a broiler pan. Brush the tops with sauce & set over/under the heat for 3-5 minutes. Flip, repeat the sauce & go another 3-5 minutes with the heat.

They kinda look unappetizing when they first come out of the braising liquid, but have faith, my friends! Magic things happen after you bathe them in the BBQ sauce.

Ready for some fall-off-the-bone ribs!?


Babyback the Crock Pot!!?

1 rack (2 - 2 1/2 pounds) babyback pork ribs
3 cups pineapple juice
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 TBsp lemon juice
2 TBsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
your favorite BBQ sauce

In the bowl of your crock pot, combine everything but the ribs & BBQ sauce. Whisk well to combine. Add ribs, cover & set to low for 6-7 hours.

Remove from braining liquid & discard liquid. Set ribs on a broiler pan (to cook under broiler) or a grill, set to medium heat. Brush tops with sauce & set under/over heat for 3-5 minutes. Flip, apply sauce again & heat another 3-5 minutes.


Source: Our Best Bites

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Peanut Butter-White Chocolate-Pretzel Cookies

My big kid turned 8 this past May - and in our church, that is the magic age that you enter the Scouting program! Unfortunately for him, though, it was also the last month they had any activities before breaking for the summer. Bummer! Just missed it! He did, however, get the chance to be a part of Scout day camp over the summer where he passed off several 'things' (I'm still a brand new Scout mom - I don't know all the words yet! LOL). So when we had out kick-off pack meeting at the end of August he was able to receive a couple of belt loops & his Bobcat patch! Woo hoo! I was asked to bring cookies to the meeting so I made 2 different kinds. My Cranberry Double Chip Cookies and these ... Peanut Butter White Chocolate Pretzel Cookies! That name sure is a mouthful. And these cookies are sooooooooooooooo fantastic!!! Check 'em out!

Here's my big kid in his shiny new uniform!

And him pinning the "thanks for helping, Mom" Bobcat pin on me.

OK! And now on to the cookies!
You'll need:

Peanut butter, butter, egg, brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla, flour, salt, baking soda, white chocolate chips & pretzels.

Cream together your butter & sugars in a mixing bowl.

In a small bowl combine 1 cup of the white chips with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter.

Melt them in the microwave, 30 seconds at a time, stirring well each interval. Be careful to NOT burn your chips!

Add melted white chocolate/peanut butter mixture into your butter/sugar mixture in the mixing bowl. Mix well.

Now add in your flour, salt & soda. The responsible thing to do is mix them in a separate bowl first. Nobody loves biting into a clump of baking soda. But I usually just gently sprinkle the salt & soda all over the surface as the mixer is going & let them get mixed in well that way - then add the flour.

While that is combining throw your pretzels into a little baggie & break them into bits. If you've got little kids at home they would probably love to help with this part!

Stir in the remaining chips & pretzel bits.

I use my 'medium scoop' (measures 2 tablespoons) to drop them onto a cookie sheet. Then use your fingers & gently press them to about 1/2-inch thick.

Ready for the magic!!? Most people sprinkle peanut butter cookies with sugar. But I'm not most people. Grab your salt!

Drop a pinch on top of each cookie.

Pop 'em into a 350 for 10 minutes or so.

Cool them on the sheet for a few minutes then move them to a cooling rack.

I loved these cookies - as did every single person that I shared them with! I think you will, too.


Peanut Butter-White Chocolate-Pretzel Cookies:

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 cups white chocolate chips, divided
1 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter, divided
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 cup broken pretzel pieces

Heat oven to 350. Cream together butter and sugars. In a small bowl, mix 1 cup of white chips and 2 Tablespoons peanut butter. Melt either double boiler method or 30-seconds at a time in the microwave; stirring well between. Add melted chips and remaining peanut butter to beaten butter and sugars. Beat in egg and vanilla.

Place flour, baking soda and salt in bowl; mix to combine. Add to wet ingredients until just combined then pour in pretzels and additional white chocolate chips. With a cookie scoop, scoop dough onto a baking sheet (lined with parchment or a silpat if you prefer). With your fingers, gently press down each cookie to about 1/2 inch in thickness. Sprinkle each cookie with a touch of sea salt. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges become golden and slightly crisp. Let cool for 10 minutes on baking sheet before removing.

Source: Picky Palate

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Broccloi Salad

Seems like we've been doing a lot of pot luck type gatherings lately. I love it! I love getting together with friends & not being in charge of the whole meal. And getting to try out everybody else's recipes is always great, too! In fact, this last BBQ, where I took this super yummy broccoli salad, there was a gal who brought a 'salad' (I use that term loosly! LOL) but it was only 3 ingredients. Diced up green apples, chopped up snickers candy bars & just enough cool whip to hold it all together. My first thought was 'really? Eww.' Then I tried it. Oh my holy goodness! You just might find that one on here soon!! It was like a big bowl of caramel apples! Annnnnnnnnnnnnyway! LOL Sorry about that! Focus, Michelle. FOCUS! This is a recipe that I've been making for along, long time. And I never get tired of it. You get the fresh crunch of the broccoli offset by the sweet raisins, salty cashews, zip of the onion & tang of the cider vinegar. It's party for your mouth!! Dig in!

You're gonna need:

Broccoli (you can get an enormous bag of pre-cut stuff at Costco for $4!), cashews, raisins, shredded cheese, onion, mayo, sugar & cider vinegar.

Have you seen this thing? It's for dicing onions. I'm not generally a fan of one-purpose kitchen tools but this one is So totally worth it. My eyes are extremely sensitive to onions so being able to do the work with one big push is just brilliant! You can find these things new at the "as seen on TV" section at Target for about $20 - or I just saw one this week at the thrift store for $2... guess not everyone was feeling the love!

Look at that! Perfect.

Throw your broccoli, cheese, onion, cashews & raisins together in a big bowl & toss them around. Set it aside while you make the dressing.

The dressing's just the mayo, cider vinegar & sugar. Mix 'em well with a whisk. You don't *have to* do it with a whisk but it breaks down the chunks of mayo really well.

Now - if you're having this right away go ahead & mix it. if not, keep them apart & stick them both in the fridge until you're ready to serve it up. I'd say don't mix it much more than about 15 minutes before you want to serve.

Oh - you're ready now!? LOL OK - let's mix!

YUM! Yum, yum. Enjoy!

Broccoli Salad:

8-10 cups broccoli florets
1 cup cheese, shredded (I use cheddar jack, would be fine with straight cheddar, too)
1 cup raisins
1 cup cashews
1 small onion, diced
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup white sugar

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl combine remaining ingredients.

Just before serving combine salad with dressing; stir to coat well.