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Monday, March 31, 2014

Chicken Spiedie Sandwiches


Leesh and I both love this recipe! At our house, we've had these sandwiches twice in the last week. I told my husband last night that these sandwiches are on my top 5 list of favorite dinner foods. So with that being said, they are definitely something you need to try! I kind of consider them a summery food for some reason, but they really could be enjoyed all year long.  

I love these sandwiches for so many reasons....the flavor, the ease, and they just scream "yum" to me when I eat them!  The chicken is marinated in bite size pieces in a lemony herb marinade.  You set aside a little of the marinade to mix in with some mayo and red wine vinegar for the sandwich spread/sauce. The sauce is what sets these sandwiches a part for your regular sandwich.  The sweet zing of the lemon and the tang of the vinegar coupled with the herbs and slight flavor punch from the red pepper flakes is perfect and satisfying on a fresh bun with perfectly cooked chicken.  {Side note: I make French Bread Rolls and Subs in bulk and put them in my freezer, they thaw on the counter in a hour or so or if I forget I defrost them in the microwave. I love having them on hand for sandwiches in general.}

I guess the reason these are called "spiedie" sandwiches is because of the original method of cooking the chicken. The chicken was to be marinated and put on metal skewers and cooked over a charcoal pit.  Now there are several ways you can cook this meat and still get a great flavor.   I've cooked them on the grill on skewers, and I've also broiled the chicken pieces in the oven and simply baked it. All the results have been satisfying. I prefer the oven cook method because I don't feel like skewering chicken on skewers and then grilling...call me lazy, but sometimes I just am. It's really not that much more work, but I'm all about simplifying everything I can.

The last time we made them I drained the marinade and baked them on a silicone baking liner. They meat was so tender and juicy. It was simply perfect! I really hate over cooked dry chicken, and was so glad this turned out so good.  I just use my meat thermometer and make sure they reach 165 degrees. 

Serve these sandwiches hot for the most desired result. And enjoy! You'll be back for seconds...


Chicken Spiedie Sandwiches

**Note: I generally follow the recipe. But this is such a tasty combo that if I’m in a real rush, I usually have chicken in bite sized pieces frozen in a quart size bag and then I’ll just sprinkle and splash all the ingredients [without measuring, I know I’m a rebel]  into the bag to marinate.  It has always turned out fine.  And for the sauce if I do this method, I just get some mayo and with the same idea, splash in some red wine vinegar, lemon juice and a dash or two of all the seasonings.  


Printable Version


Ingredients:


½ cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced/chopped fine
½ tablespoon basil
½ teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons grated zest and 1 tablespoon juice from one lemon (if you don’t have a fresh lemon, you can skip the zest and use bottled lemon juice)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1-2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken cut into bite size pieces
6 6-inch sub rolls or sandwich buns


Directions:


  1. Combine oil, garlic, basil, oregano, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes in a medium sized mixing bowl.
  2. Transfer 1-2 tablespoons oil mixture to separate bowl and whisk in mayonnaise, vinegar, and lemon juice; refrigerate. Sauce can be refrigerated, covered for 2 days.
  3. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces, and transfer to bowl with remaining oil mixture. Refrigerate, covered, for 30 minutes or up to 12 hours.
  4. There are a few ways to cook this.  
    Grilling Method:
Thread chicken onto skewers. If you are using wood, soak them in water for 15-20 minutes before using on an outdoor grill to avoid burning. Grill chicken until browned and cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes, turning once or twice. Or use an indoor grill pan for similar results.
Oven-Broiled Method:
Turn oven to broil on high.  Place chicken on broiler pan in oven and bake 5-7 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Keep a close on in it so it doesn’t burn.
Oven-Baked Method:
Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking liner or foil for easy clean up. Arrange chicken so it’s spread out and not touching if you can.  Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes. Check chicken and bake longer if needed. Make sure it reaches 165 degrees F.  


If you want you can toast the buns/rolls.  Place cooked chicken on rolls and drizzle with sandwich sauce or spread the sauce on the top and bottom of the roll.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe, with a few adaptations.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Apple of My Eye - Valentines {& other Valentine Ideas}


My daughter and I made some Valentines for her preschool class, and I was just tickled that we happened to have these Mike Wasowski apple juice boxes, because they fit the saying, "You are the APPLE of my EYE", just perfectly.  

I don't think there is much explaning to do on how to make this, it was easy-peasy!  And I was happy to not be handing out more candy....we get too much of that around here! 

I also wanted to share some other Valentine treat ideas that have already been posted on the blog.  Feel free to look through these ideas and for other dessert and dinner ideas for your Valentine!

Lots of LOVE!  
Lu







Mile High Pie, is a family favorite. And it's even pink from the strawberries in it!  It's a light and airy dessert that will please anyone.  Click here for the recipe. 

 Classic Homemade Oreo's with heart sprinkles and pink or white frosting 
for a Valentine's touch.


 Peanut Butter & Chocolate say "I LOVE YOU" to me! These are a favorite! 

Nothing says "I LOVE YOU" like a Giant Heart Shaped Cookie!
 And if a GIANT heart is too much for you, I think a GIANT cookie will also say "I LOVE YOU" just fine. 

These Chocolate Curls {a how-to} are the perfect topping to a 
favorite dessert or cake! 
They add the perfect LOVEly touch for a special Valentines day! 
s

Need a gift for your loved one?  These Deluxe Chocolate Truffles are a lovely homemade treat!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pumpkin Coconut Curry Soup


We had some family stay with us this past weekend and my sister-in-law, Alissa, thought that we would love this soup.  So we rounded up the ingredients and made some naan to go with it. It was sooooo good.  Last fall I had attempted a pumpkin coconut soup and really didn't like it, but she said this one was good, and I can trust her taste!  The one I made last year had lime juice in it and it totally ruined the flavor I thought (we ended up getting a pizza or something cause we couldn't' even gag it down).  This soup was a total hit for the whole lot of us at the house last weekend!  It has a slight hint of heat from the turmeric and red pepper flakes, which seemed to really make the soup.  I really loved cooking the onions in coconut oil too, it added so much flavor! 

Since it's pumpkin season and soup season I thought this was the perfect recipe to share! I hope you'll enjoy it as much as we did!  Thanks for introducing us to this soup, Alissa! It will be a family favorite from here on out.




 
Pumpkin Coconut Curry Soup
Ingredients:


¼ cup coconut oil
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups veggie or chicken broth
1 teaspoon curry powder (I use yellow)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon turmeric
pinch of saigon cinnamon
1 (15 ounce) can 100% pumpkin puree
1 cup coconut milk



Directions:

Heat the coconut oil in a stock pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Mix in the veggie/chicken broth, curry powder, salt, coriander, crushed red pepper flakes, turmeric, and cinnamon. Cook and stir until the mixture comes to a gentle boil, about 10 minutes. Cover, and boil 15 to 20 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Pour this portion of the soup into a blender, filling only half way and working in batches if necessary; process until smooth. Return to a pot and whisk in the pumpkin and coconut milk. Cook another 5 minutes to heat through before serving.
 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Spider PB & Banana Sandwich

So this isn't technically a recipe, but it's a fun thing to do for your kids lunch around Halloween!  We made these today for lunch and my daughter had fun eating his legs so he couldn't crawl away, and proceeding to eat the rest of him as she evil-ly laughed "bahahaha, I'm eating you, spider!".  

She is pretty camera shy, but she was so excited to eat lunch today! Which was refreshing, sometimes meal time is a battle at this house.  

Happy Halloween! 


Spider PB & Banana Sandwich

2 slices of bread 
Peanut butter
Honey/Jam
2 raisins (for eyes)
1/2-1 banana (depending on how long of spider legs you want)
Circle cookie cutter 

Spread pb on bread and top with honey or jam.  Place 2nd slice of bread on top and then cut through the sandwich with the circle cookie cutter.  Place on plate and top with raisin eyes, and banana legs.  

Enjoy!  

Friday, October 18, 2013

7-Layer Bean Dip {Halloween Edition}


To be honesty Halloween hasn't ever been one of my most favorite holidays. But in the last few years since we've had kids, we've made fun out of it.  This year I'm hoping my 3rd child isn't born on Halloween.  do love a fun family Halloween party, and we've had a few of those in the last few years.  I made this 7 layer bean dip 4 years ago for our first family Halloween party!  It was a hit! And 7-layer bean dip is a favorite at our house, so it was a win-win.  This was our first time dressing up as a family for Halloween, we were pirates! I think my almost 1 year old made the cutest pirate of all time!  




This bean dip recipe comes from my sister in law, Jayna! I'll indicate the order I generally layer the bean dip, and then also let you know what I did so that they spider web and olives would work for a Halloween-oriented bean dip. And this recipe really doesn't matter how much of each layer you have, just be generous with the layers and use whatever size dish you want and it will be great!

 
7-Layer Bean Dip {Regular or Spider Web Style}
Printable Version
Ingredients:


1) Refried beans, 1-2 cans
2) Guacamole (one recipe listed below, you can double if you want more)
    2 avocados
    ½ lime, juiced
    ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
    ¼ teaspoon onion powder
    ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
    ⅛ teaspoon cayenne (optional, but I don’t think it makes it hot, just adds flavor)
3) Sour cream (optional mix ins are: cayenne or taco seasoning to taste)
4) Cheese, grated (cheddar, sharp, colby, Monterey)
5) Chopped tomatoes (or salsa if you don’t like tomatoes)
6) Olives, sliced
7) Green onion, finely chopped


Directions:


I prefer to make guacamole cause it’s so easy and doesn't taste like preservatives.  To make it use 2 ripe avocados.  Start by smashing them into a small mixing bowl with a fork.  Add lime juice, garlic salt, onion and garlic powder and cayenne.  Mix until smooth and set aside until you are ready for it in the layers.  

Prepare the other layers of refried beans (open the can), grated cheese, chopped tomatoes, sliced olives and green onion.  You can layer this in a 9x13, 8x8 or a large platter.  There aren’t really any amounts listed because you can’t mess this up as long as you have all of the layers, you can do as much or as little of whatever layer you want.  

For Regular 7 layer dip the layering is listed above in the recipe.  1 being the bottom layer and 7 being the top layer.

For Spider-Web style bean dip this is the order.  
1) Refried beans
2) Green onions, reserve some for the border
3) Cheese
4) Tomatoes or salsa
5) Olives, a few reserved for cutting like spiders
6) Guacamole
7) Sour cream

For the spider web style, spread onto a metal or glass platter.  Spread refried beans and then layer with most of the green onion, reserving a few for garnishing the top outside border.  Then sprinkle with cheese, tomatoes or salsa, and most of the olives (save a few to cut like spiders. Cut one one olive in half lengthwise and use for a spider body, use the other half to make 4 legs and then cut another olive in half for 4 more legs - you can make as many or as few spiders as you want - just save them for the very top layer.).  Spread guacamole on top of the other layers. Bag your sour cream in a zip-lock bag (cut the corner to make a frosting like tube) or frosting bag and make circles on the top layer, starting small in the middle and getting bigger toward the outside.  I made a zig zagged edge on mine so that I could put more sour cream on the dip.  Use a butter knife, chopstick, or something similar to drag out the spider web, connecting the circles together.  Garnish edge with extra green onion, and then place spiders on the web as desired.  

Serve with tortilla chips.







Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Baked Mac & Cheese

This has become a favorite comfort food at our house.  Quick, easy, cheesy. Need I say more?

 


Easy Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Ingredients:


8 ounces elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups milk
½ teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I like mine extra sharp, but use your favorite)
½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs

Directions:


Prepare pasta as directed on package.  Preheat oven to 400.  Spray baking dish (8x8-ish size) with non-stick cooking spray.  
Melt butter in a large saucepan.  Add flour mixed with salt and pepper, using a whisk to stir until blended.  Cook for a minute or so and pour in milk gradually, stirring constantly.  Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, still stirring constantly.  Reduce heat and cook (stirring constantly) for 10 minutes.  Gradually add shredded cheese and simmer an additional 5 minutes or until cheese melts.  Turn off flame.  Add cooked macaroni to the saucepan and toss to coat with the cheese sauce.  Transfer macaroni to a buttered baking dish and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.  Bake 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown.  Serves 4.   

Notes:

 - I like to mist the top of the breadcrumbs lightly with cooking spray before I put it in the oven to help the breadcrumbs brown evenly and get extra crispy.  
- It's also super yummy with 1 cup chopped ham stirred in with the cheese sauce.
- If you want a creamy mac and cheese, skip the baking and the breadcrumbs.

Recipe Source:




Back of Reggano Macaroni Box






Friday, September 6, 2013

Granola Bars {w/ 5 suggested variations}




I've been seeing recipes for homemade granola bars a lot lately. I hadn't really thought much about making them until I tried these at my friends house a few weeks ago! And they were sooooo good. I'm not usually a huge granola bar person.  But these are something else!  They taste so pure and wholesome and I love making them because I know what goes into them (I can pronounce all of the ingredients) and they are adaptable to whatever taste you want to get out of them.

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