Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Chicken Casserole

There are several reasons why I love casseroles like this. One, they can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator  until ready to  bake and two, they make great leftovers for lunch or dinner later in the week. I prepared this dish Sunday night so all I needed to do when I got home on Monday was take it out of the fridge and bake it in the oven for 30 minutes. How is that for a quick weeknight meal?

Jason's mom has several different chicken casserole recipes so this is the first of a few that I will be posting. I made a few modifications from the original recipe by reducing the amount of mayo and using Cream of Chicken instead of Cream of Celery soup. Here is everything you need to make a delicious and well balanced meal all in pot.

Chicken Casserole
- 2 cups chopped chicken (2 breast)- Cooked
- 1 Box Wild Rice- Cooked
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 Can low fat Cream of Chicken OR Cream of Celery Soup
- 1/3 cup light mayonnaise
- 1 can french cut green beans, drained
- 1 can water chestnuts, drained
- 1 4 oz. jar pimento, drained

- Cook the chicken and Rice. Mix all the ingredients together and pour into a casserole dish. Season with salt.
- Bake on 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Caprese Chicken

With Fall just around the corner I am trying to take advantage of summer's freshest produce while I still can.  And nothing says fresh like a Caprese Salad with fresh basil and juicy tomatoes. I put the three main ingredients of this famous salad inside of a chicken breast, dipped it in breadcrumbs and baked it until the cheese started to melt out and the chicken was tender. A fresh and flavorful to celebrate the ending of a wonderful summer.
You can easily add more chicken and the ingredients to this recipe but I based my measurements using only two breast.

Caprese Chicken
- 2 chicken breast
- 1/4 cup Italian Style Breadcrumbs
- 1 Egg white
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 medium tomato, sliced
- 1/2 cup light shredded mozzarella cheese
-  salt and pepper
- drizzle of olive oil

- Open up the chicken breast by slicing it down the side. This will form a pocket for the stuffing.
Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken.
- Add 2 to 3 slices of tomatoes, 1/4 cup of the cheese and half of the fresh basil to each breast. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

- Fold the chicken breast over, keeping the salad inside of the chicken. Seal with several toothpicks.
- In two separate bowls add the egg white and the breadcrumbs. Dip the chicken into the egg white then the breadcrumbs and cover completely. Place the chicken inside of a baking dish. (If there are breadcrumbs remaining sprinkle them over the chicken).
- Drizzle each breast with olive oil.

Bake on 350 degrees for 30 minutes. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Salmon with Tzatziki Sauce

Salmon is one of our favorite dishes to make at home. Not only is it delicious but it's a healthy dinner that takes no time to prepare. Typically I don't add anything to the salmon except for butter, salt and pepper   but this time I decided to add a sauce that showcases one of summer's most popular veggie.  Easy, healthy and refreshing this is one weeknight meal you don't want to miss out on.

To make the Salmon drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake in the oven on 350 for 20 minutes.

Tzatziki Sauce
- 1 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1 cup finely chopped cucumber
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon dill

Blend ingredients together

Friday, August 17, 2012

S'more Sugar Cookies

S'mores are a summer staple among many households, mine included. With three simple ingredients you can make a delicious dessert in a matter of minutes. By adding just one more ingredient you can make something truly amazing, which is what I did with these cookies. Of course you could make your own cookie dough but I was sticking with simple and used the Pillsbury refrigerator ready to bake cookie dough. Now how is that for easy.

- 2 packages of Graham Crackers, broken in half
- Half a bag of large marshmallows (I found that it was easier to use half of a marshmallow per square)
- 3 to 4 regular sized Hershey Bars, broken into pieces
- 1 package of ready to bake sugar cookies

- On a baking sheet lay down your graham cracker square and top with one precut cookie dough (or a tablespoon of homemade dough). Bake on 350 for 11 minutes.
- Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and place marshmallow on top of each square. Bake for another 2 minutes.
- Remove from oven and place a Hershey square on top of the marshmallow.

Like all S'mores these are best served warm. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Big 3 - 0

This past Saturday was my 30th birthday! I always thought turning 30 would be difficult but now that it's here I realize I am actually excited to see what my 30's has in store for me. Jason had a full weekend of surprises for me that started Friday morning when I woke up.

As I came downstairs bright and early at 6 a.m. Jason held out a card to me and told me to go ahead and open it. Inside he explained that 1). He had  arranged for me not to work on Friday so I had the morning to do as I wished. 2). I could pick up my birthday present that morning and 3). I needed to pack a bag because we were going away for the weekend. He told me a week ago that we had dinner plans on Saturday night so I just figured he would take me to this restaurant that I have been wanting to try and maybe invite a few more people to join us. So you can imagine my shock after I read his card. I was on cloud nine.

An hour or two later Jason decided to show me what my birthday gift was because he knew that I would need to start getting ready in order to pick it up. He opened up his computer to show me two puppies and said I would get to choose which one to bring home. We have been looking for a new puppy to add to our family but have not had any luck finding the one we want. When he told me we were going to be getting a cockapoo ( a breed that I have had my eye on for a while now) the tears began to fall. :) Because of Jason's travel schedule last week he was unable to get things ready for my surprise getaway until Friday morning so he informed me that there was no way he would be able to go with me to pick up the dog. I called my mom to see if she would ride with me to Gaffney, S.C. and an hour and a half later we were on our way. Of course I immediately fell in love with both of the dogs and it broke my heart to have to choose but I knew getting both of the puppies was completely out of the question. After several phone calls to Jason and pictures of the puppies sent to his phone I finally decided on this sweet little girl.  Her name is Abby and we are in love. Emma on the other hand is still trying to get used to her.

Once I was back home we loaded up the car and were on our way to "the unknown" for the weekend. We began to make our way up Interstate 77 and as we pulled off an exit near Lake Norman I began to get an idea of where we were going. I figured we were staying in a house there for the weekend but I had no idea who, if anyone, would be joining us. As we got closer he did this to me and I stayed this way until I walked into the house.

Waiting inside for me were several people from my family along with Jason's sister and her husband. It was a wonderful surprise and I was so happy to see each person that was there. We spent the evening talking and laughing and they had all pitched in to make one of my favorite meals (salmon, rice, salad and green beans). Of course it's not a birthday without cake so I indulged in red velvet and cheesecake for dessert.

Saturday morning I noticed that my family was packing up to leave and I began to wonder what Jason and I were going to do in this big house by ourselves with a ton of hamburgers that Jason was preparing. By this point I was trying not to ask too many questions (the best I could for someone who is a HUGE planner).  One by one some of my closest friends began to show up and we spent the day enjoying good food and drinks by the water. It was an absolutely perfect weekend and I thank my amazing husband for putting it all together.