What’s In My Refrigerator Salad

Salad 9Sometimes, not often mind you, I want to eat a great big salad for dinner. Not your little foo foo salad. I mean something that is so delicious and satisfying that you won’t be hungry 4 hours later type of salad. I like to use whatever fruits, nuts and vegetables I have on hand. And of course, I always have an extra cooked chicken breast in my refrigerator that I can add as well. Feel free to make as much or as little as you like. And also feel free to add or substitute more/less ingredients to suit your tastes. I know this is just salad and not much of a recipe, but sometimes you just need to see how simple everyday items you have on hand can make a delicious meal.

INGREDIENTS:

  • romaine lettuce cut into ribbons
  • grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • red grapes, sliced in half
  • toasted almond slices
  • dried cranberries
  • strawberries, sliced into quarters
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
  • your favorite salad dressing

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cut romaine lettuce into ribbons and add to bowl. Salad 1
  2. Add grape tomatoes.Salad 2
  3. Add grapes.Salad 3
  4. Add almond slices for extra crunchiness. Salad 4
  5. Add dried cranberries for extra sweetness.Salad 5
  6. Wait, I found some strawberries. Add those in too.Salad 6
  7. Add some grated Parmesan cheese.Salad 7
  8. Add sliced chicken breast pieces. (I know Sue, you will skip this part.)Salad 8
  9. Mix up your ingredients so you get a little bite of everything. And serve with your favorite salad dressing. (And maybe some extra shredded cheese…)Salad 9

Easy Cookie Bars

M&M Cookie Bar 2Do you need  a quick dessert or treat you can bake? Do you need something easy to make with the kids? Or perhaps, you just want something sweet to eat?  I wasn’t going to publish this recipe because it’s so simple and there’s probably hundreds of variations of it. But I haven’t made anything new to blog about this week. And I know I always like to find quick, semi-homemade recipes like this. So why not share?

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups M&M’s  (I used 1 cup regular plain M&M’s and 1 cup dark chocolate M&M’s)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F degrees.
  2. Line a 9×9 baking pan with aluminum foil and coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl combine cake mix, eggs, melted butter and oil. Stir until smooth.
  4. Stir in M&M’s and spread batter into prepared baking pan.
  5. Bake for 25-28 minutes or until lightly golden at the edges.
  6. Allow to completely cool before cutting into squares.

From five ingredients to tasty cookie bars!

Quick Braised Chicken and Vegetables

Braised Chicken and VegetablesI wasn’t quite sure what to call this recipe. It’s essentially a stir fry, but because I like to make a thin gravy that the chicken braises in does that make it braised? Oh well. It tastes good and that’s what matters the most. And this recipe is perfect for those evenings you really don’t want to make anything too complicated. One pot meal, about 30 minutes from start to finish. Can’t beat that.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon lite soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Hoisin sauce (can be found in your grocery’s international food aisle)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 bag (16 ounce) frozen stir fry vegetables (or use fresh if you have on hand)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add olive oil to large skillet over medium high heat.
  2. When oil begins to ripple, add chicken breast pieces to skillet. Stir occasionally and cook for 4-6 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
  3. Add minced garlic, sesame oil and soy sauce. Stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add Hoisin sauce and chicken broth.
  5. Meanwhile add cornstarch and water into a small bowl and stir until combined to make a slurry.
  6. Once liquid in skillet comes to a boil add the cornstarch and water slurry to the skillet. Stir to combine. Lower heat to simmer. Cover skillet.
  7. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  8. Raise heat back to medium high and add frozen stir fry vegetables. Stir and cook for 4-5 minutes until vegetables are heated through.
  9. Serve over rice and don’t forget to add some of the gravy you just made too.

Braised Chicken and Vegetables 2

 

One Pot Chicken and Rice

Tex Mex Chicken and RiceChicken and rice are my  favorite “go to” ingredients. There are so many ways to  prepare the two. For this recipe we are taking the fabulous bold flavors of the Southwest and going Tex Mex style. This is my kind of comfort food wrapped up in one colorful, piping hot bowl of deliciousness. And for my vegetarian friends out there, just skip the chicken.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 chicken breast, pounded thin and cut into small chunks
  • 1 small red onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red or orange bell pepper, diced
  • 24 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 can (14 ounces) black beans, drained
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Morton & Bassett Mexican Blend seasoning (cumin, garlic, onion, paprika, pepper and thyme)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat.
  2. Add chicken pieces and cook each side for 2 minutes or until cooked through. Remove chicken onto a plate and set aside.
  3. Add onions, bell pepper and garlic to skillet. Cook 1-2 minutes until onions and bell pepper are softened.
  4. Add crushed tomatoes, broth, corn, and black beans into skillet.
  5. Next add Mexican blend seasoning, cayenne pepper and brown sugar.
  6. Bring to a simmer and then add rice.
  7. Stir, cover with a lid and turn down heat to medium low.
  8. Cook for about 15 to 18 minutes until rice is cooked and most of liquid is absorbed.
  9. Add chicken and stir.
  10. Sprinkle with cheese and cover skillet with lid for 3 to 5 minutes for cheese to melt.
  11. Serve garnished with green onions or cilantro pieces.

Tex Mex Chicken and Rice Skillet

 

Chocolate Cake Batter Cookies

Chocolate Cake Batter CookiesSo I tried the standard one package of cake mix, eggs and butter recipe. But those turned out more like circular brownies and not cookies.  Boo! This recipe has a few more ingredients, but I assure you it is still just as easy to make. And when you are done, you will have soft and chewy cookies.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cup boxed chocolate or Devil’s Food cake mix (save the rest for another batch)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips (or regular sized)
  • 1 container (3 ounces) rainbow sprinkles or more if you really like them to be colorful. I only had the one container.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a mixer, blend butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla extract and mix for another 30 seconds.
  2. In another bowl, mix together flour, cocoa, cake mix and baking soda.
  3. Add flour mixture to blended butter and sugar mixture. Blend until combined.
  4. Add chocolate chips and rainbow sprinkles and combine by using a wooden spoon.
  5. Place cookie dough into the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat your oven to 350 F degrees.
  7. Prepare baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.
  8. Roll dough into one tablespoon sized balls. About the size of a small walnut.
  9. Bake in oven for 8-9 minutes and let cool for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

You can use other ingredients instead of rainbow sprinkles, like chopped up mini peanut butter cups or different flavored baking chips. The combinations are up to you and your tastes. This recipe yielded 36 cookies. Enjoy!

Egg Cups

Egg Cups PlatedThese were so much fun to make. If you have young children and want to introduce them to cooking I think these would be an ideal beginner’s dish. There are so many different variations you can make depending on what ingredients you like or what you have on hand. I made vegetarian ones and for my son I did a take on a Denver omelette using ham, cheese, bell pepper and green onion.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 eggs (will make 12 egg cups)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

FOR VEGETARIAN EGG CUPS:

  • 1/2 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • 2 large shiitake mushrooms, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3/4 cup baby spinach, diced

Egg Cups 1

FOR HAM AND CHEESE EGG CUPS:

  • 1/2 cup diced ham
  • 12 tablespoons shredded cheese, divided (I used cheddar and mozzarella mix)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 green onions, diced

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Meanwhile, generously spray muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. (For easier clean up, use baking cups instead of cooking spray.)
  2. Break eggs into a large bowl or 4 cup measuring cup. Add milk, salt and pepper. Whisk until ingredients are combined.
  3. Add equal amounts of your vegetables (or ham and cheese) into each cup of your muffin pan.
  4. Pour in egg mixture into each cup about 3/4 of the way up for each.

     

  5. Bake egg cups for 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes up clean.Egg Cups 6
  6. Let cool for a few minutes before taking egg cups out of pans.Egg Cups 7
  7. Serve with your favorite condiments or none at all.

You can keep these in an air tight container for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave.

Egg Cups Plated 2

Zucchini and Yellow Squash Parmesan Crisps

Zucchini and Squash CrispsDo you ever crave fried foods? Or am I the only one who will admit it? Well, I crave fried foods, but I don’t necessarily give in to my cravings. I find other ways to satiate the craving. Instead of battered and deep fried vegetables, how about something a little lighter and just as tasty?  Great taste, less guilt.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium yellow squash
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F degrees . Meanwhile, coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Cut zucchini and squash into 1/4 inch thick rounds.
  3. Put zucchini and squash rounds into a large bowl and add olive oil. Toss to cover all the rounds.
  4. In a smaller bowl, add Parmesan cheese, panko bread crumbs, garlic powder, Italian seasoning and pepper. Stir to mix well.
  5. Dip each round into the Parmesan mixture. Be sure to evenly coat on both sides by pressing the coating on to stick.
  6. Place dipped rounds onto prepared baking sheet in a single layer.
  7. Bake zucchini and squash rounds for 25-30 minutes, until rounds are browned and crisp.
  8. Serve immediately. I like to serve with a low fat zesty ranch dressing.

Zucchini Crisps