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Chicken and Broccoli Stuffed Crescents

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A few years ago I was talking with my co-worker Megan about favorite meals our moms make. She described this yummy dish to me and I said, “Ok, I have to try these. Can you get the recipe from her please?” Now they have become part of the dinner rotation in our house. Since it’s just my husband, toddler, and I, I only cook one can of the crescents at a time. I put the leftover filling in the fridge and cook the next half when we are ready for seconds. For the sauce I also only use one can of Cream of Chicken soup and it is usually enough for us. I have tried other brands of crescents and pillsbury works the best. The other brands have torn while rolling them out or folding them up.

Makes 16 crescents

Ingredients:

Filling:

1 8 0z pkg cream cheese at room temperature

4 Tbsp melted butter

4 cups cooked chicken cut into small cubes (about 2-3 large chicken breasts)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

4-5 Tbsp milk

3/4 cups cooked finely chopped broccoli

Crescents/sauce

2 cans Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (80z each)

2 Tbsp melted butter

1 1/2 cups italian bread crumbs

1-2 cans Cream of chicken Soup (depending on how much sauce you want)

swiss cheese to taste

1-1 1/4 cups milk

Directions:

Blend the cream cheese with the 4 Tbs of melted butter. Stir in the chicken, salt, pepper, broccoli and 4-5 Tbs milk. On an un-greased cookie sheet Lay the crescents out flat and spoon a heaping spoonful onto the larger portion of the crescent roll.

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Take the top of crescent (long skinny point) and fold up over the center tucking it under the flat edge of the triangle. Then pull the two remaining corners up and pinch closed. Brush tops with the remaining 2 Tbsp melted butter and sprinkle tops with bread crumbs.

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Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

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While the crescents cook make the sauce. In a medium saucepan combine soup, milk (add milk slowly until desired consistency is reached), and swiss cheese together. Heat on medium heat until warmed through and cheese is melted. You can add sour cream or cream cheese instead of swiss cheese if desired.

Enjoy!

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Heavenly Chocolate Chip Cookies

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One day my brother-in-law claimed to have the best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever. I was a little skeptical, a lot of people claim to have the best cookie recipe ever and they just turn out to be ordinary cookies. So, when he made some and decided to share I said, “yep I need this recipe!” These are amazing! Every time I make them for a social gathering people LOVE them!

Here are a few tips you need to follow in order for them to turn how they are intended to be:

*Never put the butter in the microwave to soften it. Pull the butter out of the fridge a few hours before you are going to make them in order to insure the butter is at room temperature.

*Cream the sugar and oils (butter and coconut oil or shortening) a good 3-4 minutes. This is what makes the cookies chewy. If you are using coconut oil cream for 4 minutes and make sure the coconut oil is at room temp as well.

Heavenly Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup butter at room temperature

2/3 cup coconut oil (room temp) OR shortening

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

3 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp soda

12 oz. bag chocolate chips (Guittard is the best)

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 375. In a large bowl combine the sugars, butter, and coconut oil or shortening. With a stand mixer or hand held mixer cream the sugar and oils for a good 3-4 minutes and closer to 4 minutes if you are using coconut oil. The batter should be light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Gradually add dry ingredients and stir after each addition. Fold in chocolate chips. On an ungreased cookie sheet and using your hands pick up the dough and slightly form into a ball without working the dough too much. Place on the cookie sheet and cook for 8-10 minutes. Check at 8 minutes. Cookies will be done when the edges are slightly brown and the middle looks soft. Let the cookies stand on the cookie sheet for about 3-5 minutes before taking them off.

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Rosemary Grilled Chicken Salad with Berries and Honey Glazed Pecans

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I love Zupas! If you haven’t heard of Zupas it is a soup/salad/sandwich restaurant located throughout Utah, Nevada, and Arizona. The closest one to me is about an hour away so when we get to go it’s a special treat! The first time I tried their “Nuts about Berries” salad I was hooked. I ALWAYS get it no matter how many times I try to talk myself into trying something new while I wait in line to order. Since I don’t get to go very often I decided to try and create something to satisfy my “Nuts about Berries” salad. The salad at Zupas has almonds but I love pecans so I went with those. Instead of toasting the pecans with sugar I decided to give it a cinnamon honey glaze and it was perfect for my taste buds. Enjoy!

Makes 2 large salads

Ingredients:

4-6 chicken tenders

2 large handfuls of red leaf lettuce

2 large handfuls of green leaf lettuce

raspberries, washed

blueberries, washed

Glazed pecans:

1/3 cup chopped pecans

1 Tbs honey

1/4 tsp-1/2 tsp cinnamon (to taste)

Directions: 

Season the chicken tenders with dried rosemary and grill on an outdoor grill until cooked through, set aside. Toss the red leaf and the green leaf together and separate on plates with desired amount. Sprinkle salad with desired amount of raspberries and blueberries and set aside while you glaze the pecans. 

Place parchment paper on a round cake pan and turn oven to broil. Pour honey into a small microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 5-10 seconds until runny. Add cinnamon and stir until you can no longer see powder from the cinnamon. Add pecans to the bowl and stir until well coated. Put pecan mixture on the parchment paper and put in the oven on broil. Broil for 2 1/2-3 minutes. Check at 2 1/2 to make sure not to burn. Sprinkle pecans over salad and drizzle with raspberry vinaigrette dressing. Serve with Oregano Garlic Knots if desired. 

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Oregano Garlic Knots

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I think that a salad and breadsticks are sometimes the perfect combo for a light, easy dinner. I decided to put a little twist on my normal go to breadstick and tie it in a knot. I love mixing oregano into my dough if I am making pizza crust or breadsticks it gives it a nice italian flavor. This is a pizza dough recipe I got out of my Skookie skillet recipe book. I made modifications by adding whole wheat and oregano. Here is the recipe!

Ingredients:

2 tsp yeast

1 tsp honey

1 cup warm water (divided)

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 & 1/4-1/2 cup white flour

1 tsp salt

2 tsp dried oregano

For topping:

2 tsp butter melted

2 garlic cloves, minced

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375. Spray a medium baking sheet with cooking spray. In a bowl mix 1/4 cup of warm water with yeast and honey. Let stand 3-5 minutes until the yeast starts to get bubbly. Add remaining 3/4 cup warm water, olive oil and whole wheat flour. Whisk until smooth. Add oregano, salt, and 1 cup of white flour stir until dough forms and you can’t stir anymore with whisk. SLOWLY add the last 1/4- 1/2 cup of white flour and knead with your hands as you add it. Chances are you aren’t going to need the full 1/2 cup of flour. Dough will be ready when it is soft and sticks to itself rather than sticking to your hands. Knead for a couple minutes more. Lightly drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the top and move dough around in the bowl to oil all sides. Cover bowl and let rise for 30 minutes. 

When the dough is ready to make into breadsticks it will look soft and smooth. 

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Pinch off a piece of dough slightly larger than a golf ball.

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Roll it into a long snake.

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Fold one end over the other and bring the end that you are holding up through the hole to tie a knot. 

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Place on the greased baking sheet and let rise for about 5 minutes. Bake for 12-13 minutes or until edges are slightly brown.

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After the knots come out of the oven melt 2 Tbs butter in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the 2 cloves of minced garlic and let simmer 1-2 minutes while stirring occasionally and garlic smell is released. Be careful not to burn! With a pastry brush, brush the garlic butter over the knots. Serve warm. 

IMG_3032 Serve with a salad. Try my Rosemary Chicken Salad with Berries and Honey Glazed Pecans. 

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Strawberry Chicken Salad with Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing

 

 

IMG_2681Here is a nice summer salad for you before the berries go out of season. I made a creamy poppy seed dressing that I found on Taste of Home and I swapped the mayonnaise for plain greek yogurt. It turned out perfect, we aren’t mayo fans in our house. 

For the salad:

5-6 chicken tenders

Bunch of romaine lettuce washed and cut into bite sized pieces

2-3 handfuls of spinach

8 oz of strawberries sliced

1/2 cup of blueberries

Directions: Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook on an outdoor grill on medium-high heat until cooked through. Toss Romaine and Spinach together in a large bowl. Sprinkle berries on top of the lettuce and top salad with chicken. 

For the dressing: 

1/4 cup of plain greek yogurt

2 Tbs sugar

1 Tbs sour cream

1 Tbs milk 

2-1/4 tsp cider vinegar

1- 1/2 tsp poppy seeds

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir until well combined. Drizzle over salad. Enjoy! 

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Root Beer Float Cupcakes

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I have been dreaming of these cupcakes for months and I finally got the opportunity to make them for a small social gathering. I searched the internet for a root beer float cupcake recipe and didn’t find one I liked. A lot of the recipes I found had actual root beer in the ingredients and I didn’t think that would give the cupcake a strong Root Beer taste, plus it adds a bunch of sugar and other ingredients I didn’t want. So I used the base of a vanilla cupcake I found on my favorite cupcake blog, “Your Cup of Cake.” I replaced the vanilla with root beer oil and put in some applesauce in place of the oil. The frosting is a vanilla bean icing, it tops the whole thing off perfectly and gives it that ice cream flavor I wanted. I bought the Root Beer oil from kitchen kneads, you could probably get it at any specialty cooking store. The root beer barrels are a little hard to find, you can probably buy them online if you get desperate. I bought some at Smith and Edwards in Ogden, UT. Here is the recipe!

For the cupcake:

Duncan Hines white cake mix

2 Tbs applesauce (no sugar added) or oil

2 egg whites

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk*

1/2 cup sour cream

2 1/2 tsp Root Beer oil

24 Root Beer barrel hard candies (optional)

Red and white striped decorator straws cut into thirds (optional)

*I usually just use milk and vinegar when a recipe calls for buttermilk. We drink Almond milk and it works great for this so if you want to substitute the buttermilk use whatever kind of milk you drink. In a glass measuring cup pour in 1 Tbs of white vinegar OR lemon juice. Add milk until you reach the 1 cup line. Let sit for 5 minutes before adding it with other ingredients.

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 350 and line muffin tins with 24 cupcake liners. Sift cake mix into a small bowl and set aside. In a separate large bowl add egg, egg whites, and applesauce. Mix together with a wire whisk, be careful not to over beat.  Add sour cream, milk, and Root Beer oil to the egg mixture and stir. Slowly add cake mix to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Fill cupcake liners until 3/4 full. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

Vanilla Bean Frosting:

1 cup butter (room temperature)

5 cups powdered sugar

2 Tbs vanilla bean paste (also bought at a cooking store)

2 Tbs milk

Using a kitchen stand mixer or hand mixer beat the butter and 2 cups powdered sugar. Add powdered sugar 1-2 cups at a time and beat after each addition; you want to be sure to cream it for at least 2-3 minutes. When the butter mixture is light and fluffy add vanilla bean paste and milk. Mix on medium low until smooth. Add powdered sugar and paste as desired until you reach your desired consistency and taste.

Decorating the cupcakes:

If you are going to use the root beer barrels be sure to decorate the cupcakes 3-4 hours before serving! I had some left over and by the next morning the root beer candies were starting to melt from the moisture in the icing. They still taste good but don’t look as pretty. I used a #21 star decorating tip to do the swirl of icing. If you have decorating tips and bags then you probably know how to set that all up so I won’t go over that. If you have questions with getting the bag ready then send me a message and I can provide further instructions. Once you have your bag ready hold it at an angle just above the edge of the cupcake. Go around the outer edge of the cupcake first and work your way into the center while slightly pulling up further away from the cupcake. This will create a swirl of icing on top of the cupcake. Once you have the cupcakes frosted cut the straws into thirds or however long you want them and stick them into one side of the cupcake then place the root beer candy on top of the swirled icing and… Voila! Enjoy these beauties!

Sugar Cookie Bars with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

 

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I made these for a July 4th family BBQ at my parents’ house. I grew up in a small town in Northern Utah; there are no gas stations, no stores, no stoplights, and no noise. It was torturous as a teenager. Anyway, back to my parents’ house, we had our BBQ in the shade of their tall hedges that border the west side of the yard. The large yard has open fields to the South and East and is surrounded by beautiful views of the mountains in Cache Valley. As the sun started to ease it’s way to the horizon and the heat of the day started to wear off it was so enjoyable to just relax in the backyard. I was reminded of how lucky I was to have grown up in such a peaceful, beautiful place. As the time grew closer to my toddlers bedtime I kept saying to my husband, “we should go” but neither of us wanted to. I think we left an hour later than we were planning on.

These are the perfect treat for large gatherings, it makes 1 large and 1 medium baking sheet. This is my mom’s sugar cookie recipe which is a family favorite because they are super soft and chewy! I added some lemon to the cream cheese frosting I usually make, and it was the perfect hint of fresh lemon.

 Recipe: 

For the cookie: every time a recipe calls for shortening I replace it with coconut oil. As long as you mix it well with the sugar it has always works out. Coconut oil does clump up when it gets cold and I saw a few clumps in my batter but it didn’t affect how it cooked. I get my coconut oil from bountiful baskets. They sell regular and unscented and it is a huge 64 oz bottle for about $20.

3/4 cup coconut oil at room temperature (or shortening)

3 cups of sugar

2 cups of sour cream

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2 tsp baking powder

7-8 cups flour

Directions: In a large bowl combine the coconut oil and sugar. Beat on high with a kitchen mixer for a good 2-3 minutes make sure the coconut oil is at room temperature so it mixes well with the sugar. Add sour cream, vanilla, and eggs and cream again for a couple minutes until mixed well. Add baking powder, and 2 cups of flour and mix on low until combined. Continue adding flour 2 cups at at time and stirring after each addition. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold at least 1 hour or overnight.

After the dough has chilled Pre-heat oven to 350. Spray a large jelly roll pan (17″x12.5″) and a medium jelly roll pan (15.5″x10.5″). Lightly flour your counter and roll out a large piece of dough  into a smooth, rectangular shape and 1/3 inch thick. Continue until you have filled both pans. I pieced my dough together in the pan and pushed it together with my fingers. Bake for 15 minutes for the large pan and 12 minutes for the small pan. Let cool before frosting.

For the frosting:

8 oz reduced fat Cream Cheese at room temperature

1/4 cup of butter (1/2 cube) room temperature

zest of 1 lemon

juice of 1.5 lemons

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

5-6 cups powdered sugar

In a large bowl cream the cream cheese and butter. Add zest of lemon, lemon juice, and vanilla and cream again. Add 2 cups powdered sugar and mix on low. Add 2 more cups and mix again. Add 1-2 more cups of powdered sugar until you have reached your desired consistency. Frost cookies and top with sprinkles if desired.

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