Saturday, November 2, 2013

Party Fun - Caramel Apples

We recently had 12, 7 year old girls over for a birthday/Halloween party. When planning the party I was stumped with what to do for party favors.  I didn't want to do bags of plastic junk.  I know the kids love the little toys, but my house is overwhelmed with little pieces of plastic and I didn't want to overwhelm anyone else's house, plus I knew a portion of what ever I got would be staying at my house.  After giving it some thought I decided to have the girls make their own party favors and what could be better than some candy covered caramel apples.

With all the other party preparations that needed to be done I didn't want to have to worry about making caramel.  So, I used Werther's new baking caramels.  These caramels are a delicious addition to Werther's line of candies and were perfect the perfect coating for the apples.  The caramel melted evenly, was wonderfully smooth and easy to use.  Their ease and taste could easily convince me to never make caramel from scratch again.
 Werthers caramel

While I loved the idea of having the girls make the caramel apples I was a little worried about the process.  I didn't want any of the girls to get burned on the caramel, but I still wanted them to experience the joy of watching a giant apple get submerged in a pot of golden caramel - it really is a beautiful thing.  By keeping the caramel off to the side and having all the toppings in buckets that could easily be passed around, the girls were able to gather around and decorate - and munch - to their hearts content.  Making it enjoyable for all.
We put out a lot of toppings for the girls to choose from - pecans, coconut, candy corn, marshmallows, candy eyes, sprinkles, m&m, chocolate chips, peanut putter chips and crushed pretzels.  The coconut was a flop, I kind of thought it would be especially once I heard one of the girls ask why they would want Parmesan cheese on their apples.  The rest of the toppings were big hits, a few of the girls even add a couple of extra scoops to the containers as we were packaging the apples, not to mention the handfuls that were eaten while they were making the apples.

While my plan was for the girls to take home beautifully decorated apples to share with their families, most of the apples didn't make it that far. And, many of the girls brought home apples that were half eaten, and by half eaten I mean all the toppings were eaten off.

I highly recommend throwing your own apple decorating party, it is great fun for all ages!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Werther's Popcorn

We had a Halloween party for my daughter's 7th birthday.  We went all out and had tons of fun and tasty treats for the girls, but the most popular snack was the Werther's Caramel Popcorn.  I had not tried their popcorn, or even new Werther's made anything except for hard candies, but thanks to MommyParties and their wonderful Munch 'n Movie party pack we had the opportunity to give this wonderful treat a try.  Now that I've tried it I am hooked.  

On it's own this caramel popcorn is delicious. In fact it is so good there may be a bag hidden in my pantry that may or may not be shared with the rest of the family.  While the caramel popcorn is great on its own add a few m&m's, some nuts and a little dried fruit and you have a snack mix that will disappear in the blink of an eye.

Werther's new line of  Caramel Popcorn is crunchy caramel sweetness that is hard to resist.  It is the perfect treat at a party or when snuggled up watching a movie.  You can add your favorite mix-ins for a quick and tasty treat or check out Werther's Caramel Shoppe for more snack ideas.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” The opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own. Your experience with the product may differ from mine. The sponsor is responsible for prize fulfillment and will be shipping the winner(s) their prize(s). For more information read my rules/disclosure policy.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Pumpkin Cookies

It is that time of year where almost everything I bake contains either apple or pumpkin, or sometimes both.  So, as soon as I saw the Vanderbilt Wife had a recipe for pumpkin cookies, I knew immediately what I would be making for this month's Secret Recipe Club reveal.

This is a wonderful recipe and makes a super soft and moist cookie.  I changed the recipe up slightly, by using a half cup of brown sugar and a half cup of regular sugar instead of  using just regular sugar.  I didn't make any other changes to the recipe, but the addition of some cinnamon, ginger or nutmeg would be great.
The cookies were great on their own, but the icing on top is, well, icing on the cake cookie.

These cookies just scream fall and hopefully the weather around here will turn back to fall soon so I can make another batch to enjoy with a cup of tea.  They will make a great breakfast, lunch or snack.  The perfect anytime cookie.

Please be sure to go check out all the wonderful recipes at the Vanderbilt Wife, she has something for everyone!

Pumpkin Cookies

2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar 
1 c. pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

3 T butter
1/4 c. milk
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c. powdered sugar
3/4 tsp. vanilla 

Preheat oven to 350.
Sift the first five ingredients together (flour through salt). In a mixing bowl, cream sugar and shortening. Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla. Beat well.  Add dry ingredients all at once and stir gently to form a smooth batter.
Drop by teaspoonful on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes 

In a small saucepan combine butter, milk and brown sugar.  Over medium heat bring mixture to a boil and let boil for one minute.  Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.  Once mixture is cool stir in powdered sugar and vanilla.  Frost cookies, allow icing to set before stacking cookies.

Monday, September 9, 2013

SRC - 3, 4 or more Ingredient Cookies

Where did August go? Where did the summer go?  I can't believe it is already time for the September Secret Recipe Club reveal.  I didn't participate in the August reveal, but I am certain just yesterday was the July reveal.

Secret Recipe Club

Between end of summer craziness and beginning of the school year craziness I don't think I have been to the grocery store more than a handful of times. As a result my pantry shelves are a little bare.  So, when I came across a recipe for 3 Ingredient Cookies on Three Cookies blog I knew I had found my recipe for this months reveal.

This cookie was developed as a result of a craving and a limited amount of ingredients in the pantry and it just called my name.  In the spirit of the recipe I did change it up a bit based on what was available in the pantry and what I was craving.  I added some peanut butter, so I guess my recipe is technically a 4 ingredient cookie, and I wanted to add some chocolate chips, but as I said my pantry was bare and I was out of chips.

There certainly isn't anything fancy about these cookies, but they are the perfect cookie when a cookie craving hits.  They make a great midnight snack and are perfect after school.  What is even better is that those little people who are looking for the after-school treat can make these little cookies with little to no assistance. These are very forgivable cookies so measuring mistakes won't ruin them.  The ingredients are familiar and there is flexibility in the ingredients being used to accommodate those with varying taste buds.

3 (or 4) Ingredient Cookie

1 egg
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup old fashioned oats

Preheat oven to 350.  In mixing bowl combine all ingredients.  Stir until combined.  Drop heaping teaspoon on to parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until just firm.

As always please be sure to go visit Three Cookies blog and all the other wonderful Group A bloggers of the Secret Recipe Club!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Sprinkle Ice Cream Bars - Blue Bunny Ice Cream

Thanks to MommyParties and Cadbury Ice Cream the girls and I had the opportunity to host a wonderful ice cream tea party.  The timing couldn't have been better.  We are half way through summer vacation and while we have been keeping busy and having fun the kids are definitely starting to miss their friends.

We received a wonderful package of goodies - 4 flavors of snack sized ice cream bars, a tea set and some fabulous hats and fascinators.

Maggie decided it wouldn't be a proper tea party without fancy shoes, so we decided to decorate flip flops with the girls.

We dug through our craft supplies and pulled together an assortment of pom poms, feathers, googly eyes, paint, tape, flowers and ribbon and let the girls get to work creating.

The girls had a great time decorating the shoes, some went for a simple look while other went all out and covered every surface of the shoe.

After decorating the girls enjoyed some snacks and played games.  The ice cream came out when the moms came to pick the girls up, so moms, girls and siblings got to enjoy this delicious treat.  While I usually don't believe in messing with perfection, and Cadbury Ice Cream bars are pretty perfect just the way they are, I did jazz up some of the bars.  A brushing of strawberry syrup, recipe below, and then a quick dunk in a bowl of sprinkles made these already wonderful treats even more festive.

It was a great way to spend a summer afternoon and a wonderful opportunity to catch up with good friends.

Sprinkle Bars

  • 1 cup diced strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 8 bars Blue Bunny Cadbury Royal Dark ice cream bars, unwrapped
  • 1 cup sprinkles (or your favorite topping - chopped nuts, flaked coconut, chocolate candies, etc.)
  • Line a small baking sheet with wax paper, set aside.  Pour sprinkles into a flat dish, set aside
  • In a blender or food processor combine strawberries, sugar and cornstarch, blend until smooth.  
  • Brush strawberry puree over all sides of ice cream bars.  Gently press bars into bowl of sprinkles, coating completely.  Place on baking sheet.  Chill bars for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Turkey Potato Galette

I have been participating in Secret Recipe Club since June 2011.  Between the blogs I have been assigned and those I visit on reveal day I have checked out a lot of blogs, yet there are always new ones to discover.  And that was the case with this month's assignment.  I am not sure how I haven't come across Camilla's blog before, but I will definitely be going back there on a regular basis.

Just as the name implies, Culinary Adventures with Camilla is filled with great recipes and great adventures.  Food isn't just enjoyed at home, but experienced in many places and ways.  She talks about picking cherries and olallieberries (a fruit I'm not familiar with) with her kids,  food is incorporated into movies and she has a great collection Cooking Around the World recipes.  But what I love most is that she is passing her love of cooking and food on to her kids.  I love her goal to "grow conscientious, creative kids with fearless palates." and would say it seems she is definitely achieving it.

When it came time to actually making something I had trouble narrowing it down, so I combined a couple of different recipes.  My first choice was the Herb Potato Onion Galette.  It had been a long time since I  made a Galette.  It is one of those foods that I forget about and then become obsessed with,  I love dishes that can be either sweet or savory and can easily substitute or swap ingredients, plus I had a lot of potatoes that needed to be used.  I also wanted to try Camilla's Kale Garlic Turkey Meatballs, again I had some kale that needed to be used up. So, instead of deciding between the two I made both, resulting in a delicious Turkey Potato Galette.

When I made this the first time, I cooked everything separately, but found that to time consuming.  I made a second batch this time cooking the potatoes and onions together and cooking the turkey and kale together.  Not only is this faster, but it also helps bring all the flavors together.

Turkey Potato Galette (Printer Ready)

5-6 yellow potatoes, thinly sliced
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
½ lb. ground Turkey
1 bunch kale, washed and roughly chopped
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon paprika
3-4 cloves roasted garlic
1 disc pate brisse

Preheat oven to 375.  Place potatoes and onion in a single layer on large baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are just tender to the touch.  Remove from oven and set aside.

Place saute pan over medium high heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil.  Once pan and oil are warm add turkey, cumin and paprika.  Cook until turkey becomes light brown, add kale and continue cooking until kale is wilted.  Remove from heat.

On a piece of parchment paper roll brisse dough into a large circle. Move parchment paper and dough onto a baking sheet, it is ok of the dough hangs over the sides of the baking sheet.  Smash roasted garlic into a paste, rub onto dough.  Place turkey, kale, potatoes and onions in center of the dough, leaving about 2 inches of dough to fold over.  Fold dough over leaving some of the filling exposed.  Bake for 30-40 minutes or until lightly golden.

Savory Pate Brisee (Printer Ready)
(modified from a Roland Messier recipe)

1 teaspoon salt
½ cup water
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 egg
3 egg yolks

In the bowl of an electric mixer combine salt and 1 tablespoon of the water, stir to dissolve the salt.  Add the flour, garlic, basil, parsley and butter.  Using the paddle attachment mix on low speed until the mixture feels like sand.  With the mixer still on low add the egg and yolks one at a time.  Add remaining water, mix until the dough just comes together.  

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, divide into 2 equal size pieces.  Shape each into a ball and then pat into a disc.  Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least one hour before using.  Can be kept in refrigerator for up to 3 days or in freezer, wrapped in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, for up to 2 months.  

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Cakey Cobbler

That most wonderful time of year is here - cobbler season!  With so much fresh fruit coming in what can you do, but make cobbler, every night if necessary.  It's fruit so it's healthy and makes nightly dessert perfectly acceptable.  Plus if you have leftovers you are guaranteeing your family a healthy breakfast to wake up to.

I usually make cobbler with either a crumb or biscuit topping, but for one of my first cobblers of the season I decided to try out a new recipe.  This recipe was more cake like, which I wasn't sure about at first.  I was really looking forward to a juicy flaky biscuit and wasn't sure how I felt about this new type of cobbler, but after a few bites I decided it was definitely acceptable and will be working this recipe into my cobbler rotation.

Cakey Peach Cobbler Printer Ready

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 cup sliced peaches
  • Juice from ½ of lemon

Preheat oven to 375

In 13x9 baking pan melt butter.  In small bowl combine flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder and milk.  Pour batter over melted butter, do not stir.  In saucepan bring 1 cup sugar, peaches and lemon juice to a boil.  Evenly pour over batter, again do not stir.  

Place in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Peanut Butter Chicken Legs

If you are looking for something new for your 4th of July cookout, I have a wonderful chicken dish that is a fun twist on traditional barbecue and a great addition to your festivities.  This dish is great served hot or cold.  And, it has to marinate for a few hours, which means you will be free to relax and enjoy the fun rather than scrambling around in the kitchen.

Chicken Satay or peanut butter chicken as my kids call it, is a  family favorite any time of year and while we usually enjoy chicken satay using chicken breast, it is just as yummy with drumsticks.   It can be messy, but that is part of what makes it a great addition to your 4th of July festivities, you will still have the opportunity to go through handfuls of napkins, just as you would with traditional barbecue.

  • Chicken Leg Satay (ziplist)


    • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
    • 1/2 cup soy sauce
    • 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
    • 4 Tablespoons chicken broth or water
    • 2 clove garlic, finely chopped
    • 1 thumb piece size ginger, peeled and finely chopped
    • 10-12 Chicken drumsticks
  • Instructions 

    1. Combine all ingredients, except chicken, in a large zip lock bag or bowl. Mix until combined. Add chicken and toss until coated. Let marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
    2. Heat grill and lightly oil grates. Place chicken on grill and reduce temperature to low/medium-low. Flipping chicken occasionally, cook for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Eggplant Lasagna

My kids will tolerate eggplant.  They don't love it and you certainly won't hear them begging for it, but they will eat a piece or two if properly presented.  The is problem I love eggplant and am always looking for ways to have it without having a lot of "whine" with it.  And while I don't like hiding food and tricking them it is necessary to be creative at times.

I was watching Food Network one Saturday morning and Rachel Ray was making an eggplant lasagna, but she wasn't making it using thinly sliced eggplant.  She was making it with baked and pureed eggplant.  It was one of those moments duh moments for me, how had this never occurred to me.  Pureed eggplant and ricotta cheese have a very similar consistency.  Mix them together and you can easily fool even those with the biggest aversion to this yummy, yet under appreciated veggie.

Eggplant Lasagna (ziplist)

  • Ingredients 

    • 1 large eggplant
    • 5-6 large tomatoes, sliced
    • 1/2 cup basil
    • 2 cloves roasted garlic
    • 2 pints ricotta
    • 1 cup Parmigiana-Reggiano
    • 1 egg
    • 24 oz fresh or jarred marinara sauce
    • 1 box lasagna noodles (prepared to boxed instructions)
    • 3 cups shredded mozzarella
    • Olive oil
    • Salt and pepper
  • Instructions 

    1. Preheat oven to 400
    2. Slice eggplant in half lengthwise. Brush each side with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes or until soft.
    3. Place tomato slice on baking sheet lightly drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven to cool, set aside.
    4. Once eggplant has cooled slightly scoop out fleshy inside. Place in bowl of food processor with basil and garlic. Pulse 3-4 times to puree. Add egg, ricotta and 1/2 cup Parmigiana cheeses, salt and pepper to taste. Pulse an additional 3-4 times.
    5. In a 13x9 baking pan, pour in a 1/4 of the sauce. Add a layer of noodles, a layer of the ricotta cheese eggplant mixture, and a layer of tomatoes. Top the four layers with a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese. Repeat the layering process 2 times. Finish with a layer of sauce topped with generous topping of mozzarella cheese and remaining Parmigiana.
    6. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until cheese has melted. Let cool for 15-20 minutes before serving.


Thursday, June 20, 2013


I love Baklava.  It is a dessert I always get when I see it on a menu, but have never tried making.  Phyllo and I don't get along very well and all those buttery layers scare me.  But, I finally faced my fears and attempted a batch and am now wondering why I waited so long.

This is a dish that definitely requires patience, but once I got into the groove of it I actually found it rather therapeutic and calming to make.  How can you not relax and just enjoy life when painting with butter.  I also made sure I didn't rush when working with the Phyllo dough.  I allowed the dough to completely defrost before working with it and kept it covered with a damp cloth while working with it.  This helped ensure it didn't rip into tiny pieces while working with it, which has been the source of much frustration in the past.

While there aren't a lot of ingredients in Baklava - phyllo, nuts and simple syrup - the flavor can vary greatly depending on what nuts you choose to put in the filling and what type of honey you use in the syrup.

In order to love Baklava you have to be a nut lover.  There are some recipes that add chocolate pieces or dried fruit, but most of the recipes I came across contained just nuts.  Most recipes used a combination of different types, but some recipes use just one type.  I used a combination of walnuts, pecans and almonds with a few pistachios thrown in, but you can use any combination and it will be delicious.

The syrup which binds everything together is very simple - honey, sugar, water - but the flavor can vary greatly based on the type of honey used.  I get my honey from a small health food store that sells local honey.  It is a wonderfully delicious honey, but for me the real joy of this honey is watching the golden honey come out of a huge vat as they refill your container.  If you don't have access to local honey a lavender honey is a good option or you can use a regular honey and add some orange zest to the syrup.  Again you really can't make a bad choice when making the syrup.  And if you have to make numerous batches to decide on you favorite combination of nuts and syrup flavoring, that is a sacrifice worth making.

  • Baklava


    • 1 package Phyllo, thawed and at room temperature
    • 4 cups chopped nuts, lightly toasted (any combination - walnuts, pecans, pistachios, almonds)
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 2 sticks butter, melted
    • 2 cups honey
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1 stick of butter
    • 2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • Instructions 

    1. Preheat oven to 350. Toss nuts and cinnamon together, set aside.
    2. Butter a 13x9 baking pan. Make sure the sheets of phyllo are about the same size as the pan, trim to size if needed. While working with phyllo only remove the sheet you immediately need, keep the rest covered in plastic with a damp cloth over it.
    3. Remove two sheets of phyllo, brush one sheet with melted butter and place in buttered dish butter side up. Grab two more sheets, brush one side with butter and place in pan butter side up. Repeat process one more time, for a total of six sheets of phyllo, three of which have been buttered. Sprinkle chopped nuts on top layer, add enough nuts to just barely cover the phyllo. Top with four more sheets of phyllo, using the same method of grabbing two sheets, brushing one side with butter and place in pan butter side up. Add another layer of nuts. Repeat process of stacking four layers of phyllo and one layer of nuts until all the nuts are used up, end with a buttered top.
    4. With a sharp knife cut a diagonal pattern in the baklava. Place in preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
    5. While the baklava is baking combine, honey, water, sugar, butter and vanilla in a small saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat to low.
    6. When baklava is done baking remove from oven then evenly drizzle the syrup over the top. Allow the baklava to rest at room temperature, uncovered for several hours to absorb the syrup and cool.
    7. While it is very hard to wait, it is very important to let the baklava rest. If you try and cut it too soon it will fall apart - trust me I speak from experience!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Pink Cake

The winning cake for this month's Cake Slice Baker's is Julie Richards Pink Cake.  How can you not want to make something called "The Pink Cake."  For me it brings up contrasting images sometimes I think of ladies in the 60's wearing flowery dresses and enjoying this cake at a ladies luncheon with a glass of spiked punch.  Then other times I think of a little girls birthday party with this light pink cake as the center piece - although there is a pretty good chance the mom's might be enjoying some spiked punch at this event as regardless of the decade.

I served my pink cake as part of a teacher appreciation lunch, where no spiked punch was served, although the teachers might have wanted some.  While I was very happy to contribute this cake I was a little bummed that I didn't get to try a slice.  I was hoping some would be left when I went in for clean-up, but no such luck.  I guess it's a good sign when a cake quickly disappears, but I wasn't happy having only cake scraps with a little bit of the icing.

From what I did have it was a rich moist cake with great chocolate flavor.  The icing was buttery and sweet with a nice hint of raspberry.  A perfect combination and a cake I will make again, but when I know I will be able to have a slice.

I have chosen not to include the recipes from Vintage Cakes, other members of the Cake Slice Bakers have modified and provided the recipe, so be sure to check out the rest of the group.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

I'm not sure where the past month went.  The end of school craziness have made the days fly by in a blur.  Resulting in complete neglect of many things, including things here at Everyday Mom.  I have a pile of yummy recipes I want to share, but haven't found the time to sit down and get them written up.  I would like to think that I will get caught up once school is out, but based on past experience I am guessing having the three monkeys home all day will make getting caught even more difficult.

One thing I couldn't let slide was this month's Secret Recipe Club reveal.  This month I got to check out Dancing Veggies.  Amanda focuses on cooking healthy vegetarian food on a budget.  Amanda participates in numerous food blog challenges and as a result has a lot of great recipes to choose from.

I had decided at the beginning of the month to make something from Secret Recipe to bring to my book club group.  It is one of those book clubs that is more focused on food and drink than actual book discussion.  I knew this audience would appreciate the idea behind the Secret Recipe Club and the wonderful dishes that come from it.  I had found a lot of great recipes I wanted to try, yet when it came time to actually making something I was short on time.  I needed a dish that would be quick to fix,  serve as a main dish, it had to be served at room temperature and it needed to be portable.  So despite the numerous choices, I went for a classic recipe Sun Dried Tomato Pesto over pasta.

This pesto gives a wonderful burst of flavor and can be served in many ways.  I served it over pasta, but it would be great with chicken, veggies or just smeared on bread.  I altered Amanda's recipe slightly by adding some pine nuts and a fire roasted pepper.  I like the texture the pine nuts provided and the pepper provided a little heat.  Either way you make it, this is a great recipe. It is super easy to make, which is perfect for those nights when time is at a premium.

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

1 jar Sun Dried tomatoes in oil
1 fire roasted pepper
2 Tbsp. Pine nuts
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves (about 6-10 leaves)
3 cloves garlic
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Place all ingredients in food processor.  Blend until mixture forms a thick paste.  With processor running slowly pour in olive oil until paste thins out to desired consistency.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Chicken on the Go

It's that time of year where our evening meals are being eaten almost everywhere but home.  We are eating at soccer fields, baseball fields, dance studios and in the car.  If we do happen to eat at home we certainly aren't eating together as a family.  This crazy dining schedule requires meals that are portable and can be eaten hot or cold.  And if they can fix themselves that is even better.

One of my favorite solutions to the dining dilemma is chicken breast in the crock pot.  At the start of the week I throw a pound or two of boneless chicken breasts in with some broth, cook it for a few hours, shred it and have numerous meal options throughout the week.

The repertoire usually includes chicken salad, bbq chicken or thrown in with a tossed salad, but this week thanks to Jenna's Cooking Journey, my Secret Recipe Club match, we had a new chicken dish in the rotation - Chicken Cesar Sliders.  These wonderfully simple and tasty sandwiches were a big hit with all and will definitely stay in the rotation.

Besides these delicious sliders Jenna's blog is filled with many wonderful recipes.  She participates in a lot of different blog challenges - my favorite is the "Whats Baking Challenge" I am looking for an excuse to bake her latest recipe for cream cheese delights.  

Crockpot Chicken Caesar Sliders

2 lbs. boneless chicken breast
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon onion powder
Salt and pepper 
1/2 to 1 cup Caesar salad dressing
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, rolls

Place chicken in a 3-4 quart slow cooker.  Add broth garlic, onion powder and salt and pepper.  Cook on low for 4-6 hours.  Using a slotted spoon remove cooked chicken, allow to cool slightly.  Remove any fat from chicken and broth. Using two forks shred chicken.  Place shredded chicken back in slow cooker, add Caesar dressing and Parmesan cheese, stir until coated.  Cook for an additional 15-30 minutes.

Serve on toasted rolls with lettuce, tomatoes and additional Parmesan cheese if desired. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mini Fruit Tarts

One of my favorite cooking activities with kids are mini fruit tarts.  They are a perfect project for kids of all ages.  Kids get an opportunity to practice cutting, mixing and presentation. They are a great way to introduce new fruits  and best of all they can be eaten right after making them, no waiting necessary.

When choosing the fruit I keep in mind, who I am working with and what fruit is in season.  When working with the 4 year old kids in my daughter's preschool class I wanted them to work on cutting, so I chose fruit that would be easy for them to cut - strawberries, bananas, mango and kiwi were the answer.  I prepped the fruit before hand and cut everything into big pieces, with a flat size that would be easy for the kids to work with.

The filling and crust are just as versatile as the fruit.  This time I use leftover sugar cookie dough for the crust, but you can also use a pie dough, graham cracker crumbs or any sweet dough.  For the filling I used cream cheese lemon curd, but again this could be substituted   Any jam can be used in place of the lemon curd and a straight up pudding filling is always a favorite.

This is the perfect treat that gives kids the opportunity to create their own unique dessert that is a sweet treat for all!

Mini Fruit Tarts

    • 1 recipe sweet dough (sugar cookie or pie dough)
    • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 1/4 cup lemon curd (or any jam) - amount can be adjusted if you want more or less flavor
    • Assortment of fruit, cut into small bite sized pieces.
  • Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 350
    2. Roll dough to 1/4" thick. Cut into rounds slightly larger than the cups of a mini muffin tin. Press a round of dough into each cup. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden. Let cool.
    3. In a mixing bowl combine cream cheese and lemon curd. Stir until combined. Place mixture in a pastry bag.
    4. Fill each cup with lemon curd mixture, top with an assortment of fruit.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Sweet Potato Burgers

Sweet potatoes have become a new family favorite.  I never really gave them much thought, for me they were a food served either mashed at holidays or mashed to babies, but not an everyday kind of food.

A few years ago I discovered they were super yummy baked up as fries, but again only an occassional food.

Then a few months ago I made Sweet Potato Falafel as a Secret Recipe Club dish. We became hooked and sweet potatoes are now a regular in the rotation. The Falafel is definitely our favorite, but these burgers are a close second.  They are really just a variation of my Sweet Potato Quesadilla, but it's the Chipotle Avacado Sauce that put these burgers over the top.

Sweet Potato Burgers (Ziplist)

  • ServesCook TimeTotal TimePrep TimePublisher
    610 minutes1 hour50 minuteseverydaymom
  • Ingredients 

    • 3 cups cooked sweet potatoes, mashed
    • 1-2 cloves roasted garlic (having a head of roasted garlic in the fridge is always wonderful)
    • 1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
    • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
    • 1 egg, lightly beaten
    • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
    • 2 teaspoons onion powder
    • 1 teaspoon cumin
    • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Instructions 

    1. In a large bowl combine sweet potatoes, garlic and beans roughly mash together. Add remaining ingredients stirring until just combined. Refrigerate mixture for 15-20 minutes.
    2. Preheat frying pan over medium heat, add 2-3 tablespoons olive oil and heat. Evenly divide mixture into 6 loosely packed burgers. Place in hot pan and cook 6-8 minutes on each side. The mixture is wet so be sure to allow each side to cook until brown before flipping.
    3. Serve on toasted roll with chipotle avocado sauce, lettuce and additional avocado slices.

Chipotel Avocado Sauce (ziplist)

  • Ingredients 

    • 1 large avocado
    • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
    • 2 Tablespoons Adobo chipotle sauce
  • Instructions 

    1. In medium bowl mash avocado. It doesn't need to be completely smooth some lumps are fine and make for a wonderful texture. Add yogurt and chipotle sauce. Stir until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste