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Recipe: Oven “Fried” Chicken Chimichangas


This easy recipe for Chimichangas will definitely be a hit not only with the family but the cook as well!... No standing in front of a hot stove frying.. no greasy stove to clean.. and best of all.. it’s healthier!

I hardly ever order chimis out.. they’re usually too dry… so I make my own.. this recipe makes a delicious moist filling… with just enough spice to make it interesting.

TIPS

I use boneless skinless chicken breasts… 2 large ones are plenty…. I highly recommend you cook them in broth instead of baking them… I find they’re moister that way.

You can use any leftover chicken if you have it to use.

This filling recipe can be made ahead for a super easy night getting supper on the table.

If you’re having a party.. make minis .. they will disappear fast!

I use my Fajita Seasoning to season this.. if you haven’t tried my seasoning recipe.. definitely try it.. I store it in a small jar and use it in so many dishes…. click here for the recipe.

Use both the green and white parts of the onion… both parts are delicious.

If your tortillas are not soft and pliable.. place a few on a microwaveable plate and cover with a wet paper towel, microwave on high for 10-15 seconds… this will make them easier to fill and roll.

I happen to like Old El Paso Spicy Fat Free Refried Beans… if I don’t make my own.. this is the one I use.

Try this super easy dish…. I hope you like it!






Recipe: Oven “Fried” Chicken Chimichangas

All you need:

Large flour tortillas
Olive oil cooking spray

Filling Ingredients:

2 large boneless chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 cup Minute Rice, uncooked
1 ½ cups chicken broth, divided
2 tablespoons Fajita seasoning, divided
1 cup frozen corn, cooked
¾ cup chopped green onion
½ can Old El Paso Spicy Fat Free Refried Beans
1 cup shredded Mexican Blend cheese

All you need to do:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with nonstick foil and spray with olive oil cooking spray. Set aside.

In a microwaveable dish combine the rice, 1 cup chicken broth and 1 tablespoon Fajita seasoning. Cook according to package instructions.

In a large bowl combine the cooked rice and remaining other filling ingredients. **Mix the remaining 1 tablespoon Fajita seasoning and remaining 1/2 cup chicken broth separately then pour into other ingredients (it will mix the spice into the filling better).

Spoon a generous amount (about 1 – 1 ½ cups) down the center of the tortilla (in a log shape).. leaving about an inch from the edge (side facing you and opposite side).

Fold the sides over the filling and roll the chimi up starting with the side closest to you.

Place seam side down on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling.

This will make about 6 large chimis.

Spray the chimis lightly with the olive oil cooking spray.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown.

Serve with shredded lettuce, shredded cheese and sour cream.

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Recipe: Skillet Hamburger Stew


This quick and easy recipe for Skillet Hamburger Stew is perfect for weeknights.. an easy meal… that you can have on the table in under 30 minutes. This was a meal popular with my son when he was growing up.

Lack of time is just a fact of life.. and while I don’t take shortcuts often… I did take shortcuts this time that I don’t usually take... I was in a hurry and the result was so good… I will be taking thse shortcuts again.

TIPS

My shortcut was using one envelop of Brown Gravy and one envelop of Onion Gravy… I’m not usually a fan of those powdered gravy mixes… but it really worked well… much better than jarred gravy and much quicker than homemade. Mushroom gravy also works well.

You can substitute homemade gravy or jarred gravy if you prefer.

This recipe uses beef broth not water… I highly recommend you don’t substitute water.. the broth makes it much more flavorful and hearty.

I personally prefer Birdseye frozen mixed vegetables… the mix is just perfect and the vegetables seem almost as good as fresh…

Use the quantities as a guide… if you like it saucier… then add more broth and another packet of gravy mix.

No need to thaw the vegetables first… just throw them in the skillet.

If you like more veggies… add more! If you like a lot of corn.. add more… or any other veggie that is popular at your house. I would recommend using frozen vegetables rather than canned.

I use the leanest ground beef available… and fat free broth… which makes this meal very low fat.

This makes 4 servings.

I serve this with garlic mashed potatoes.. and a side salad… a perfect weeknight meal!






Recipe: Skillet Hamburger Stew

All you need:

1 ½ pounds lean ground beef
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 pkg. (8 oz.) fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Sprinkle of freshly ground pepper
2 cups beef broth
1 envelop McCormick Brown Gravy mix
1 envelop McCormick Onion Gravy mix
1 ½ bags ( 1 pound bag) Birdseye Frozen Mixed Vegetables
Mashed potatoes

All you need to do:

Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add the ground beef and sprinkle the garlic powder and grpound pepper over the meat.

Brown the meat, breaking up the pieces with a spatula.

When meat is starting to brown but still pink, add the onions and mushrooms. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the meat is completely cooked.

Add the beef broth and the envelopes of gravy mixes. Stir well.

Add the frozen vegetables, put a lid on the skillet and simmer until the vegetables are cooked, stirring periodically.

Serve with mashed potatoes.

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Crème Anglaise (Custard Sauce)


This delicious custard sauce can seem intimidating to make.. but is actually extremely easy.. and quick too!

Custard sauce is often served over fruit and cakes, such as pound cake… if you like baked egg custard.. you will love this sauce.

TIPS

You can use Half and Half… for a little lighter version or.. as I have written the recipe… 1 cup heavy cream and 1 cup milk.. it has worked well for me.

Depending on the freshness and quality of your vanilla beans.. you may need to adjust the flavor by adding some vanilla extract…. Use pure vanilla extract not imitation.

You can substitute the vanilla bean with 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.

Make sure you DO NOT Boil the mixture or the eggs will curdle.. if this happens… remove from the heat immediately and whisk mixture. You can add a bit of heavy cream to smooth it out.

Try this really easy dessert sauce… you won’t be sorry!






Recipe: Crème Anglaise (Custard Sauce)

All you need:

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
½ cup sugar, divided
6 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 vanilla bean

All you need to do:

Using a sharp knife slit the vanilla bean down the middle.

Combine the vanilla bean, milk, heavy cream and ¼ cup sugar in a sauce pan and heat it over medium heat to just under boiling (DO NOT BOIL). Remove from heat.

In a medium bowl, combine the egg yolks and remaining ¼ cup sugar. Do not beat… just stir with a wire whisk until mixed.

Spoon about 4-5 tablespoons… a tablespoon at a time into the egg yolk, whisking vigorously after each addition.

Pour the egg mixture into the milk, whisking as you do it.

Cook over medium heat until the sauce thickens… a cooking spoon should stay coated when inserted and lifted up.

Remove from the heat. Remove the vanilla bean… and scrape out the vanilla seeds from the bean. Whisk the sauce to break up the clumps of seeds.

Pour into a heat proof bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap and allow to cool.

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9 Terrific Salad Dressings for Green Salad


Big bowls of green salad just seem to go with grilled meats... a perfect side dish for suppers and Backyard BBQs... easy to prepare ... they can be made in advance... so there's no need to be stuck in the kitchen while everyone else is enjoying the glorious summer weather.

While we like some bottled dressing.. nothing compares to homemade dressings... they too, can be prepared in advance and they're easy to make... so at your next BBQ... why not give your guests a variety to choose from...

I hope you try them all!






Raspberry Champagne Vinaigrette - a light dressing with a hint of fruit and champagne

Spicy Brown Mustard Vinaigrette - this bold vinaigrette is perfect when serving steaks.. in fact I use it for my Steak and Herb Roasted Potato Salad

Warm Bacon and Shallot Dressing - this is a dressing I usually serve with spinach salad.. but it is absolutely wonderful on any salad.. it is very similar to the one Ruby Tuesday's had on their salad bar years ago

Dijon Vinaigrette - Dijon mustard is wonderful in salad dressings... a very popular dressing

Creamy Italian Dressing - loaded with flavor... Italian seasonings.. and of course garlic and onion..

Russian Dressing - horseradish gives this dressing just a hint of bite...

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing - an ever popular classic dressing

Spicy Ranch Dressing - a little twist from the Buttermilk Ranch Dressing.. this one has a little zip to it.

Creamy Honey Dressing - this sweet and creamy dressing is made with fat free yogurt.. a healthy and delicious alternative to other creamy dressings.

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Important Food Safety Tips for Grilling


With the official start of this year's grilling season about to start ... I thought it would be a good opportunity to re-post some Food Safety Grilling Tips… these are courtesy of the Partnership for Food Safety Education.

A true "Grill Master" always knows to clean, separate, cook and chill to ensure a pleasant cookout for all.

Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food.

*Always marinate foods in the refrigerator, not on the counter or outdoors. Don't use sauce that was used to marinate raw meat or poultry on cooked food. Boil used marinade before applying to cooked food or reserve a portion of the unused marinade to use as a sauce.

*When grilling foods, preheat the coals on your grill for 20 or 30 minutes, or until the coals are lightly coated with ash.

*If you partially cook food in the microwave, oven or stove to reduce grilling time, do so immediately before the food goes on the hot grill.

*When it's time to grill the food, cook it to a safe internal temperature. Use a food thermometer to be sure. The food thermometer should be placed in the thickest part of the meat and should not be touching bone, fat, or gristle. Check the temperature in several places to make sure the food is evenly heated.

Beef, veal and lamb steaks and roasts: 145 °F for medium rare and 160 °F for medium.

Ground pork and ground beef: 160 °F.

Poultry: to at least 165 °F.

Fin fish: 145 °F or until the flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork.

Shrimp, lobster and crabs: The meat should be pearly and opaque.

Clams, oysters and mussels: Until the shells are open.

*Never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs. Be sure to have plenty of clean utensils and platters on hand.

*Grilled food can be kept hot until serving by moving it to the side of the grill rack, just away from the coals to avoid overcooking.

*Never let raw meat, poultry, eggs, cooked food or cut fresh fruits or vegetables sit at room temperature for more than two hours before putting them in the refrigerator or freezer (one hour when the temperature is above 90 °F).

Have a wonderful and safe holiday…






Information and illustration from the Partnership for Food Safety Education.

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Fabulous Friday Find: Party Beverage Dispensers


Summer parties and parched guests just seem to go together... so why not make serving your beverages special... check out some of these Fabulous Finds...






I love the bright red dispenser above... it's funky look is perfect for casual parties for all ages.. from the backyard to the beach or a picnic... This one is available at Amazon.



With summer parties getting into full swing....This stylish beverage container is perfect for backyard BBQs and parties indoor or outdoor. Reasonably priced it's available at Target online only... but it ships free.

It's durable, with a wide mouth top... it will fill easily and ice is easy to load in too. It holds up to 3 gallons.... and the spigot sits high so a cup will easily fit under it.





Maybe you're having more of a "Tavern" theme to your party with "Happy Hour" munchies or maybe burgers and fries... why not continue that theme with this Tavern Pitcher.. this even can be monogrammed... available at Pottery Barn





Serving Fresh Lemonade or Sweet Tea?...or maybe both.. Doesn't this just make you want an ice cold glass of lemonade? .... so will your guests...Classic Hostess has a large selection of beverage dispensers ... a wide variety of designs and one for every budget...check them out online.

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Three Great Beverages for that Backyard BBQ

Great food and beverages just go together with great friends and a good time... so here are three great beverage recipes for you to make...






Sweet Tea - once upon a time you only found Sweet Tea in the South.. not so anymore... seems everyone is drinking Sweet Tea these days.. and with good reason... it's delicious!



Lemonade - I grew up drinking lemonade on hot summer days.. for me.. just the smell of lemons brings back memories of those lazy days of summer.



Sangria Punch - this was a recipe from my sorority.. what was a Kappa party without our punch recipe?.. my Mother wanted it for one of their parties.. my Father scoffed at the thought.. his friends wouldn't drink that... but drink it they did... in high ball glasses... making repeated trips for refills... so much for them not drinking it.

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Recipe: Chicken Eggplant Aubergine (Parmesan)


This simple recipe is quick and easy… it combines chicken parmesan and eggplant parmesan.. now how can you beat that?

My recipe is also low fat… which is a nice added plus…. Baking instead of frying.. both easy and healthy.

TIPS

You can make your own bread crumb mixture or use a commercial crumb mixture like Shake N Bake… I must warn you though… while Shake N Bake is easy it is loaded with sodium.

If you do use Shake N Bake… use their Parmesan flavored crumb mixture.

Use your favorite tomato sauce for this recipe…

I use non-stick foil to line my baking pan when oven “frying” the chicken and eggplant… but make sure you spray it with olive oil cooking spray.. it will add more crunch to the breading.

I also spray the tops of the chicken and eggplant just before I bake it.. to help make the top crunchy also.

Serve this with spaghetti… it’s delicious!






Recipe: Chicken Eggplant Aubergine (Parmesan)

All you have to do:

2 cups Italian bread crumbs
1 small eggplant, peeled and sliced
4 boneless chicken breasts
Tomato sauce
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Olive oil cooking spray

All you have to do:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Line 2 baking sheets with non-stick foil and spray them lightly with olive oil cooking spray.

Place the bread crumbs in a plastic bag.

Wet the eggplant slices, one at a time, under cold running water, shake excess water off. Place the eggplant slices, one at a time, in the bag and shake to coat it with the bread crumbs. Place them on one of the baking sheets.

Wet the chicken breasts, one at a time, under cold running water, shake off excess water. Place the chicken breasts, one at a time, in the bag and shake to coat it with bread crumbs. Place them on the other baking sheet.

Lightly spray the tops of the eggplant and chicken with olive oil cooking spray.

Bake the eggplant for 10 minutes.

Bake the chicken breasts for 20 minutes.

Lower the heat to 375 degrees F.

Place the chicken in a baking dish. then place eggplant slices on top, just enough to cover the chicken (you may have extra slices of eggplant).

Spoon tomato sauce over the eggplant and chicken.

Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese over the sauce.

Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese has melted and sauce is bubbly.

Serve with pasta.



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Recipe: Ham and Cheese Crescents


I’m always looking for a quick and easy spin on a sandwich… I get bored with the plain old bread sandwiches … so I was rummaging through the fridge looking for something to inspire me… sound familiar?

I remembered I’d seen a Ham and Cheese Crescent on Pillsbury.. and thought why not? … and a late Sunday night sandwich was born.

Okay it’s not gourmet… not even close… not even all that inventive… but you know what?… it was good!

TIPS

I used those Extra Large Butter Flake Crescent rolls… glad I did… for a sandwich.. it’s a must… use the smaller ones for little snacks.

I used Swiss cheese… use whatever cheese strikes your fancy…

Spicy brown mustard added a little zip to these babies… and according to my taste tester… made all the difference in his sandwich… personally .. I think he was just hungry… any mustard will be yummy… try it with a Dijon mustard.

So when you’re hungry and looking for a twist on a sandwich.. try this one.. I’m sure you will like it!






Recipe: Ham and Cheese Crescents

All you need:

1 can Big N Buttery Crescent Rolls
Thin sliced deli ham
Sliced deli Swiss cheese
Spicy brown mustard

All you need to do:

Preheat the oven according to package instructions.

Unroll the crescent dough and separate into triangles.

Spread mustard lightly on each triangle.

Lay a folded piece of deli ham and Swiss cheese on each triangle and roll up as you normally would.

Bake according to package instructions … until golden brown.

Serve warm.

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Recipe: Mini Banana Cream Pie Desserts


These Mini Banana Cream Pie Desserts aka Dessert Shooters… are perfect for parties and get-togethers.. it’s so easy to make a variety… something for everyone!

TIPS

I make these in clear plastic 5 oz. glasses.. they are available at most party stores and online.

If your making these for a smaller group.. you can easily cut back the recipe by cutting it in half…

You can use thawed Cool Whip in place of the Chantilly Cream… but the Chantilly Cream is easy to make and gives this a wonderfully smooth flavor.

Garnish with the sliced banana just before serving since sliced bananas will brown when exposed to air.

This recipe will make 12-14 mini desserts.. or about 6-8 “normal” size servings.

Don’t wait to have a party…. make it for the family… I’m sure they won’t mind taste testing!






Recipe: Mini Banana Cream Pie Desserts

All you need:

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
6 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
2 pkg. (4 serving size) banana instant pudding
4 cups of milk
2 large bananas, sliced

For the Chantilly Cream:

2 cups heavy cream
4 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla

All you have to do:

In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the instant pudding and milk according to package instructions (about 2 minutes).

In another large mixing bowl, beat the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla to soft peaks.

Fold 1 cup of the Chantilly cream into the banana pudding until it’s completely incorporated into the pudding. Reserve the rest of the Chantilly Cream for the top of the dessert.

Put about 1 ½ tablespoons of the graham cracker crumbs into the bottom of the glasses. Using the back of a spoon, press the graham cracker mixture down into the bottom of the glass.

Place 2-3 slices (depending on the size of the slices) of banana on top of the graham cracker mixture.

Spoon the pudding mixture on top of the banana slices.

Put a generous dollop of the reserved Chantilly Cream on top.

Garnish with a banana slice just before serving.

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Salads for Every Occasion


It's the season to make salads... for that Backyard BBQ, Family Reunion, Graduation Party, Showers... or maybe just a family get-together...

The wonderful thing about salads... they go with just about everything and they're well loved by all. From the classic potato and macaroni salads to the healthy fruit salads... and everything in between.. there is a salad for everyone for sure..

Try one... try them all... all season long...









Fruit Salad - Sweet, refreshing and healthy... Fruit Salad is perfect for almost every menu









Egg Potato Salad - Always fit for a party.. this classic is sure to please








Classic Potato Salad





More terrific Potato Salads...

New York Deli Style Potato Salad

Potato Salad with Sweet Pickle Relish

German Potato Salad




Classic Macaroni Salad - Macaroni salad can be made a million ways... let's just say I never met a Macaroni Salad I didn't like








Coleslaw - Another classic salad... wonderful with BBQ meats, fried chicken and sandwiches alike







New York Deli Style Cucumber Salad - Quick, easy and delicious!









Another great Cucumber Salad you'll want to try...





Hungarian Cucumber Salad - crisp cucumber slices and sweet onions in a creamy sour cream sauce seasoned with Hungarian paprika..so good!




Italian Salads always are welcome at BBQs and parties...



Insalata Caprese - Sliced tomatoes, thin sliced mozzarella cheese ... a little basil... with or without a light drizzle of olive oil .. so refreshing and beautiful.. quick and easy ... a compliment to whatever else your serving.. can't ask for more from a salad







Antipasto Salad - This salad can be a meal in itself... chock full of flavorful ingredients.. a great addition to any menu










Salami and Provolone Pasta Salad - This quick and easy recipe combines Pasta, Genoa Salami and Provolone... add some cherry tomatoes and black olives .. toss with your favorite Italian dressing and you have one delicious salad. You can even use a non-fat dressing to cut the fat and calories.




More Pasta Salads...


Creamy Italian Pasta Salad

Simple Pasta Salad



Italian Rice Salad - a little spin on a pasta salad... for a change...use rice instead








Tomato and Mozzarella Salad - You don't always need pasta, potatoes or rice for a really good salad... and this is one of those.. just a wonderful blend of flavors





Even more salads...





Pea Salad - A salad that's just a little different but delicious just the same




Three Bean Salad

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Fabulous Friday: Nifty Ideas for that Backyard BBQ


I recently came across a couple of pretty cool ideas from Real Simple that would not only be functional, but looks terrific and .... with practically no cost!

How's this for inventive.... colorful and practical... a perfect tote for those BBQ table essentials... don't spend money on those boring plastic or wood carriers... re-use a 6-pack carton... a truly simple and great idea!



Cold ice is essential for those cold drinks at the BBQ... but in the heat... the ice is almost always sitting in water.... this solution is ingenious! A colorful colander over a bowl or jar... colorful and practical... a perfect solution.

You can find these and many many more really simple ideas at.... Real Simple... one of my favorite magazines and sites...

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Recipe: Fruit Salad


Now how refreshing does that look?? All those wonderful fruit flavors…. vibrant colors… the perfect dish to bring to a BBQ … a delicious, healthy alternative to all those other BBQ favorites…

So no matter what part of the meal you’ve signed up to bring .. consider bringing a Fruit Salad… it’s perfect for appetizers to desserts…

TIPS

If you plan on adding fruits that will brown as they are exposed to air… such as bananas, apples and pears… add them just before serving… or mix them separately with an acidic fruit such as pineapple or oranges to prevent discoloration… tossing them with a little lemon juice will also help prevent them from “browning".

The list of ingredients is just a list of suggestions… pick and choose what you and your guests like and what your budget will permit… keep in mind food allergies and anyone that has problems with seeds.

To keep costs down… try to choose fruits in season or “on special”… and use expensive fruits sparingly… such as blueberries… they had wonderful flavor and color to a fruit salad but you don’t need a lot to go far in your salad.

You can serve a Yogurt Sauce with your Fruit Salad … it makes a terrific accompaniment. It’s easy to make and can easily be made fat free!

I hope you enjoy your BBQ!






Recipe: Fruit Salad

All you need:

Fruit Suggestions:

Strawberries
Grapes
Blueberries
Pineapple
Cantaloupe
Honey Dew melon
Other melons
Peaches
Bananas
Pears
Apples
Raspberries
Blackberries
Kiwi fruit

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Recipe: Pepperoni and Cheese Crescent Roll-Ups


This recipe for Pepperoni and Cheese Crescent Roll-Ups comes from the folks at Pillsbury… it was a quick and easy snack made of things I had on hand anyway…. We dipped them in some pizza sauce..... add an antipasto salad.. and you have a terrific lunch or Saturday night supper.

It wasn’t gourmet.. but it was definitely good and something we will make again… not everything has to be complicated or exotic to be good…

TIPS

The original recipe called for shredded mozzarella .. I used a solid piece.. just cubed it… it will run as it melts… you can pinch the ends to prevent it from running.

You can use Butter Flake or Garlic butter Crescents instead of plain ones for more flavor.

Hope you try this … a great little snack.






Recipe: pepperoni and Cheese Crescent Roll-Ups

All you need:

1 can Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
Sliced pepperoni
Mozzarella cheese cubed
Pizza sauce

All you have to do:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Unroll the crescent roll dough and separate into triangles.

Place 3 slices of pepperoni in the middle and 1 cube of cheese… roll up and pinch the ends… place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 10-14 minutes or until rolls are golden brown.

Remove from the cookie sheet and serve with pizza sauce.

Read more...
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