Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Bake

29 02 2012

Since I started on Pinterest I have been trying really hard not to just pin aimlessly. I try to pin with the intent to make or do what I pin. This is a recipe that I pinned a few weeks back. It was posted over at Get Off your Butt and Bake. I had been waiting to get some broccoli in our basket so that I could make it and this was the week.

It was a great all in one meal. The other thing I really loved about this recipe was that instead of using a condensed soup to make it you basically made your own. Everyone in my family loved it and there is enough to have leftovers another day.

Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Bake

~ 1 lb. fresh broccoli cut into pieces and steamed for 2 minutes

~ 3 cups cooked chicken breasts, cut into small pieces

~ 3 cups grated cheddar cheese

~ 2 cups plain Panko bread crumbs

~ 1 stick melted butter plus 1/3 cup melted butter

~ 1 Tbsp. poppy seeds

~ 1/4 cup cornstarch, dissolved in 1/2 cup cold water

~ 1/4 tsp. salt

~ 1/4 tsp. pepper

~ 2 cups milk

~ 1/3 cup chicken broth

1. Grease a 13 x 9 inch pan and layer broccoli and chicken, then set aside.

2. In a sauce pan over medium heat, combine 1/3 cup melted butter, cornstarch dissolved in water, chicken broth, salt, pepper, and milk. Stir well, and continue stirring until sauce has thickened. Turn heat down to low, and add 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese. Stir until melted. Pour over the chicken and broccoli. Top with remaining 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese.

3. Melt 1 stick of butter, add the poppy seeds and stir well. Mix with Panko bread crumbs. Sprinkle crumbs over the top of the grated cheese.

4. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

Click Below to Print

Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Bake

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Eggplant Parmesan

27 02 2012

Eggplant Parmesan is one of my favorite dishes. I love to order it in restaurants. These version is pretty simple to make and is a bit lighter than the restaurant versions. If you want to make it even lighter don’t fry up your eggplant instead bake it in the oven.

Although it might seem like soaking the eggplant in salt water is a skip that isn’t necessary make sure you don’t skip it. Depending on the size of your eggplant they can be a bit bitter or full of moisture. Soaking your eggplant in salt water will cut down on the bitterness as well as pull some of that moisture out of it. Make sure to dry it really well once you have removed it from the salt water.

Another tip I have is that you can take a vegetable peeler and peel off the skin of your eggplant. This is personal preference, I don’t mind it but my kids were more willing to eat it with the skin off.

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Eggplant Parmesan

~ 1 medium eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds

~ 2 cups Panko Italian seasoned bread crumbs

~ 1 cup milk

~ 1 egg

~ mozzarella, sliced

~ favorite pasta sauce

~ basil for garnish

~ salt and pepper

~ oil

1. Start by slicing your eggplant into 1/2 inch rounds and then soak in a salt water bath for 5-10 minutes. Remove from the salt water bath and dry well with paper towels.

2. Place the bread crumbs in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl mix egg and milk together. Dip eggplant in milk and egg mixture and then bread crumbs until coated well.

3. Heat oil in a large pan on medium heat. Place breaded eggplant in pan and cook on for about 7-10 minutes or until brown. Then flip over and cook for about 5 minutes and then place a slice of mozzarella cheese on each eggplant. Cover with a lid and cook for another 2 minutes or until cheese is melted and eggplant is browned.

4. Place eggplant on a plate and top with your favorite pasta sauce and garnish with a bit of fresh basil. Serve warm and enjoy.

* You can also bake these in a 425 degree oven until eggplant is browned and crisp, about 30 minutes, rotating the baking sheet after 10 minutes and flipping the slices after 20 minutes.

Click Below to Print Recipe

Eggplant Parmesan





What was in those baskets on February 25th

25 02 2012

Today marked the 1 year anniversary of Bountiful Baskets in Kingman! We started out our first week with 25 baskets and have now grown to a double site of 192 baskets. We have been through a lot in the last year but we wouldn’t have lasted if it wasn’t for the great volunteers that help keep this running in our town! I can’t think of any better way to spend part of my Saturday than with all the amazing volunteers and participants at our Kingman site.

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This weeks basket had cantaloupe, bananas, mango, apples, pears, potatoes, English cucumbers, kiwi, cauliflower, broccoli, and a head of living butter lettuce.

Here are some great recipe ideas for your produce this week.

Apples:

Crock-pot Applesauce

Caramel Apple Dip

Fruit Dip

Baked Apple Crisps

Pan-Fried Pork Chops with Glazed Apples

Bananas:

Chocolate Chip Coconut Banana Bread

Pineapple, Banana, Coconut, and White Chocolate Chip Bread

Tropical Fruit Sorbet (also uses mango, pineapple, and orange juice)

Broccoli:

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Broccoli with Cashews

Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce

Broccoli and Tortellini Salad

Cauliflower:

Roasted Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower

Oven Roasted Cauliflower

Cauliflower Fritters

Cauliflower with White Sauce

Also remember you can boil Cauliflower and mash it up with potatoes to make mashed potatoes. It will fake your kids out!

Potatoes:

Bacon, Cheese & Potato Soup

Potato Skins

Corn Chowder

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Parmesan Roasted Potatoes

Olive Garden Copycat Zuppa Toscana Soup

Onion-Roasted Potatoes

Bacon Ranch Potato Salad

Smashed Hot Potatoes

Cheese Potato Cakes

Cheesy Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Cucumbers:

Greek Chicken Wraps

Greek Salad

I hope you all enjoy your produce this week. Let me know what your plans are for your produce. Enjoy and I will see you next week!

 





Chex Lemon Buddies & Muddy Buddies

22 02 2012

Call me crazy but I didn’t have any idea what Muddy Buddies were until a few years ago when a friend brought them over for dessert. I can’t believe I was missing out on these chocolatey peanut buttery dessert/snack. It is super simple to make and you make it in the microwave.

When I went to buy the Chex mix the other day I found another great addition the Muddy Buddies, Chex Lemon Buddies. If you like lemon then you will love this recipe as well. Give them both a try, especially if you haven’t ever had Muddy Buddies before!

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Muddy Buddies

~ 9 cups any kind or combination of Chex cereal

~ 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

~ 1/2 cup peanut butter

~ 1/4 cup butter

~ 1 tsp. vanilla

~ 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1. Into a large bowl, measure cereal and set aside.

2. In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into Ziploc storage bag.

3. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Click Below to Print Recipe

Muddy Buddies

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Lemon Buddies

~ 9 cups Rice Chex cereal

~ 1 1/4 cups white vanilla baking chips

~ 1/4 cup butter

~ 4 tsp. grated lemon peel

~ 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

~ 2 cups powdered sugar

1. Into large bowl, measure cereal; set aside.

2. In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chips, butter, lemon peel and juice uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into Ziploc storage bag.

3. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; gently shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper or foil to cool. Store in airtight container.

Click Below to Print Recipe

Lemon Buddies





Quite Boxes

21 02 2012

Have I told you I am totally addicted to Pinterest? Well I am, and I am not afraid to admit it. I have found some great ideas on there and this one is no different. I saw this pin about quite time bins over on the blog The View From 5’5”.

Immediately my mind started working and I couldn’t believe that we did not have this in our house. My kids still take naps most days but in the evening about 30 minutes before bed we have quite time where they get a chance to wind down from the day and mom and dad also get a chance to just sit in quietness to recover from the day (mainly mom). The problem had become that my youngest would just sit and whine, call for you, or ask for things. My daughter would sit in her door way and torment her brother. All of this led to loud time instead of quite time.

So out I went and built my own quite boxes.

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I went to the local dollar store on the hunt for boxes and things to fill them with. I was lucky and found these small boxes that open at the top. What I love about them is that they don’t have a lid that is removable and both my kids can open and close them on their own. Which means we are always able to close them at the end of the night without a hunt for the lid.

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Then I found the cutest days of the week labels over at Lesson Plan SOS. I printed these off, cut them out, ran them through my sticker machine, and placed then on each box. I made a set for my 2 year old and my 4 year old, since they are both developmental in different places. I then tried to pick out not just toys but things that they could do that would work on some of their fine motor skills, reading, writing, and other skills that I would like them to work on.

I also tried to only include 2-3 things per box so that they were not overwhelmed by the possibilities. They only play with them for 20-30 minutes and then all the things go back in the box till next week. These are not things that they play with every day because I don’t want them to lose interest in them quickly. I plan on changing the items in the boxes as they grow or if the items are not holding their interest any more. These can also be great for kids that don’t take naps but need the down time in their day.

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Here is an example of one of the boxes for my son. It has a small board book that I got in a 2 pack at the dollar store and a bunch of foam blocks. The foam blocks I found on the craft aisle. He enjoyed stacking them and sorting them by color.

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This box is also for my son and it had another small board book, a set of cards that have different objects on them, and some interlocking shapes. Both of my kids love cards. They could play with them for hours so these are a big hit as well.

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The interlocking shapes I found on the party aisle and are a ton of fun to link into chains. I got a set for both of my kids because I knew they would be a huge hit for both of them.

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Both of my kids got beads and pipe cleaners in a bin. These are great for my son because it is working on his fine motor skills. My daughter loves to make patters right now and so these are also great for her. What I love about the pipe cleaners is that the beads don’t slide off of the other side like string does.

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I found this great dry erase board book for my daughter. It is working on numbers. There is room to trace and write all the numbers up to 30. It also has pages in which you count the item and write the number. There is also a page for basic addition and subtraction which she is not to yet but will be good practice in the future. I included a dry erase marker and a rag for her to wipe the book clean when she is done. Old socks or socks that are missing a partner also work great.

I also gave my 4 year old daughter a 100 piece puzzle, an activity book and crayons, as well as a set of stencils and a pad of paper in some of her other boxes.

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A couple of great tips for these bins:

~ Things that make a lot of noise might not be a good choice. I tried to stay away from electronics and other toys that make a lot of noise.

~ Make sure you place things that your child can do with out assistance.

~ Try not to include toys they play with every day. You want this to be a special treat so that it holds their interest longer.

~ Look for items you already have in your house to get your bins started. You can add to them as you find things.

~ Remember to keep it fun! Don’t force your child to play with them, you want this to be a fun thing for them.

Here are some great ideas for your quite time bins:

~ Magnetic Dolls

~ Lacing Boards

~ Lincoln Logs

~ Tinkertoys

~ Cars

~ Tangrams

~ Mini Etch-A-Sketch

~ crayons and coloring or activity book

~ small puzzles

~ counting items

~ Clothespins or clips for them to clip on the edge of the box or to playing cards

The possibilities are endless so be creative, we all know that sometimes the things kids have the most fun with are the most unconventional!





Crock-pot Applesauce

16 02 2012

About 2 weeks ago I got a case of apples from bountiful baskets. My husband ate apples, my kids ate apples for almost every meal of the day, I took them in to my daughters preschool class for snack, and we still had tons of apples left. So I began a search for things to do with them.

I have never canned and to be honest it kind of scares me a bit. I don’t have any clue what to do so I tried to stay away from canning recipes for fear. I found a great crockpot applesauce recipe over at Cookin’ Canuck. I gave it a try and it was a hit. I am super excited to be able to make homemade applesauce because I know exactly what is in it and I could also control the ingredients which I can’t do with store bought applesauce. It was a huge hit in my house and I especially liked it warm out of the crock pot.

Two things that made this even simpler than it already is is having a Apple Peeler. I got this one at Bed Bath and Beyond and of course used a 20% off coupon. It peeled, cored and sliced my apples in no time at all. It was also tons of fun to use and my husband even wanted in on the action. The second thing I swear by is the Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners. They make clean up a breeze and we all know how baked on stuff gets when you use your crock pot. Other than that have fun and make some great applesauce.

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Crock-pot Applesauce

~ 10 medium sized apples, peeled, cored, sliced, and halved

~ 1/4 cup sugar

~ 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

~ 1/4 cup water or apple juice

Place all of the apple pieces in your crock pot and stir in sugar and ground cinnamon. Pour water or apple juice over the top of the apples. Cover, turn on low and cook for about 8 hours. Once they are done take a potato masher and break up the apples to the desired consistency. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Click Below to Print Recipe

Crock-pot Applesauce





Corn & Cheese Chowder

15 02 2012

I am defiantly in a soup kind of mood these days. Warm creamy soup on a cold day just makes your day. Paired with a great slice of bread and I am in heaven. Not to mention that my kids will eat almost anything if it is in soup form so I can sneak in some veggies that they wouldn’t normally eat.

Last night it was Corn & Cheese Chowder from The Pioneer Woman. I used the 2 ears of corn from this weeks basket and then I had cooked, cut off the kernels, and froze corn from 3 ears of corn a few months ago. I also used up some of the bell peppers from a few weeks ago. This was a great clean out the fridge and freezer recipe for us. I was able to use up quite a few of our wonderful bountiful basket produce in one pot.

We enjoyed ours with the wonderful Italian Olive Oil bread that we had gotten a few weeks a go and froze as well. A great meal that really hit the spot on a cold night. Enjoy!

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Corn & Cheese Chowder

~ 4 Tbsp. butter

~ 1 onion, chopped

~ 6 slices bacon, cut into pieces

~ 1-2 bell peppers, finely diced (more if you like)

~ 5 ears corn, kernels sliced off

~ 1/4 cup flour

~ 3 cups chicken stock or broth

~ 2 cups half-and-half

~ 1 heaping cup grated Monterey jack

~ 1 heaping cup grated pepper jack

~ 1/3 cup sliced green onions

1. In a large pot over medium-high heat cook bacon. Once bacon is cooked through add in onions and butter and cook for a few minutes. Then add diced bell peppers and cook for a couple minutes. Finally, add corn and cook for a few minutes.

2. Sprinkle flour evenly over the top and stir to combine. Pour in broth and stir well. Allow this to thicken for 3 to 4 minutes, then reduce heat to low. Stir in half-and-half, then cover and allow to simmer/thicken for 15 minutes or so.

3. Stir in cheeses and green onions. When cheese is melted and the soup is hot, check seasonings. Add salt and pepper as needed then serve immediately.

Click Below to Print Recipe

Corn & Cheese Chowder








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