Monday, June 8, 2015

Copycat Chickfila Sandwiches


When we lived in Ohio, we lived less than 0.5 miles from Chickfila.  Needless to say, we went often.  I loved their sandwiches, nuggets, wraps, salads, the play place for the kids, the service, the lemonade, the breakfasts the milkshakes......you get the point.  

Now I live in Eastern Washington where there are ZERO of one of our favorite restaurants.  So the time has come for me to make my own until they make their way here.  Here is my first attempt.  It turned out SO SO good!  I made up some nuggets for the kids and some copycat Chickfila sauce, and we had one happy house.  Enjoy!

Copycat Chickfila Sandwiches

4 hamburger buns, split
1 head green leaf lettuce, leaves separated
1 beefsteak tomato, sliced
20 dill pickle slices

FOR THE CHICKEN
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup dill pickle juice
1 1/2 cups milk, divided
1 cup peanut oil
1 large egg
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place a chicken breast on a cutting board. With your hand flat on top of it, carefully slice the chicken in half horizontally. Trim excess fat as needed.
In a large shallow baking dish, combine chicken, pickle juice and 1/2 cup milk; marinate for at least 30 minutes. Drain well.

Heat peanut oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
In another large shallow baking dish, whisk together remaining 1 cup milk and egg. Stir in chicken to coat and drain excess milk mixture.

In a gallon size Ziploc bag or large bowl, combine chicken, flour and confectioners' sugar; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Working in batches, add chicken to the skillet and cook until evenly golden and crispy, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

Serve chicken immediately on burger buns with green leaf lettuce, tomato and pickles.

Recipe Source:  Damn Delicious

Chocolate Chip Cherry Bars

Cherry season has begun here in Washington!  Yipee!  We love our Washington cherries.  Nate's co-worker does some picking on the side for extra money and brought us our first batch of cherries from a local orchard.  So...I thought it was time to try some new recipes!  Here's my first cherry recipe of the season for you, and it is so good!

Chocolate Chip Cherry Bars 


1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt, optional
3/4 to 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup cherries (or combination of raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries; fresh or frozen)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.

In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 60 seconds.  To the melted butter, add the brown sugar and stir to combine.

Add the egg, vanilla, and stir to combine. Add the flour, salt, and stir until just combined, taking care not to over mix or the blondies will be tough.

Fold in chocolate chips, fruit (I don't halve the cherries: I like them chunky and big), and pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing it lightly with a spatula or offset knife if necessary.

Bake for 27 to 32 minutes, or until edges begin to slightly pull away from sides of pan and center is set. Baking time will vary based on types of fruit used, fresh, frozen, and the moisture content of the fruit; and how gooey you like your blondies. A toothpick inserted into the middle may not come out clean due to the chocolate chips or juicy fruit. Allow bars to cool for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving. Blondies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months.

Recipe Source:  Averie Cooks

Berry Cheesecake Salad


Sometimes in the summer we like to have or invited to last minute get-togethers.  Then comes the dilemma of what to take to these last minute get-togethers.  As long as you have these ingredients together, this delectable salad comes together in 10 minutes...TOPS.  

It was seriously so good, so addictive!  I may make this every week this summer :)  I have another similar recipe...(click here) that is super yummy as well.  Try both and tell me which one you prefer.  Enjoy!

Berry Cheesecake Salad

1 (8 ounce) cream cheese, softened
½ cup sugar
8 oz cool whip, thawed
6 cups berries, I used:
3 cups strawberries, sliced
1 cup blackberries
1 cup blueberries
1 cup raspberries

In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese and sugar until smooth and creamy. Fold in the thawed cool whip.

Add strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Fold carefully into the cream cheese mixture. Serve immediately.

Recipe Source:  The Recipe Critic

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Little Lemonies (Lemon Brownies)

Despite all my sweet posts lately, I am actually losing weight!  I had braces put on 2 weeks ago, and eating has been a challenge, so I'll just call it the bonus to having braces!  I have had to figure out which foods are too hard to eat with braces and avoid them (which is hard...I LOVE raw almonds, but they are just no bueno).  

I love all the citrus recipes that pop up this time of year.  I had a baby shower for a good friend this week and this was my contribution to the dessert table.  These are perfectly moist, no too lemony, and definitely crave-able!  Enjoy :)
Little Lemonies

 Lemon Batter:
1 cup (5 ounces/142 grams) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (5.5 ounces/155 grams) sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon lemon zest (from 1 large lemon)
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Lemon Glaze:
3/4 cup (2.75 ounces/75 grams) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8X8-inch aluminum baking pan with parchment so that it hangs over two of the edges (to lift out the bars later - alternately, you can just grease the pan really well and slice them in the pan) and lightly coat the pan and parchment with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and lemon zest.
In a separate bowl or in a large liquid measuring cup, whisk together the butter, eggs and egg yolk, lemon juice and vanilla.

Stir the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and mix until combined.

Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.  Bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs (the top of the bars should spring back lightly when gently pressed). Don't over bake or they might be dry.

For the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest until smooth and combined.
After the bars have cooled completely in the pan, drizzle the glaze over the top (since the glaze layer is thin, it helps to pour it all across the bars instead of in one puddle before spreading) and use an offset spatula or knife to spread evenly over the bars.

Place the bars in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours to let the glaze set before lifting them from the pan (using the parchment overhang) and cutting into small squares. These taste best chilled, in my opinion, but can be served at room temperature also.


Recipe Source:  Mel's Kitchen Cafe


Looking for more lemony goodness?  Try clicking here for a few of my favs :)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Banana Bread with Cinnamon Crumble

We eat bananas around here like crazy!  I'm surprised I had some brown up for once.  I decided to try a new recipe this time around, and I found this little number with the cinnamon crumb topping.  The pin I found was pinned over 13,000 times, so I figured it was probably a good one.  It was...it was REAL tasty!  Enjoy :) 

Banana Bread with Cinnamon Crumble

Bread:

1 egg
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 overripe bananas, mashed
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Crumb Topping:

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt

In a large bowl of a mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the sugar, egg and vanilla until combined. Add the butter and beat until smooth and the butter is fully incorporated. Beat in the buttermilk and bananas.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Slowly stir the dry ingredients into the wet until all the flour is incorporated. Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray and pour in the batter. * Note that not all loaf pans are the same size. You may have extra batter, so just pour in enough so there is still about an inch or 2 of space before the top of the pan.

Make the crumb topping by combining the powdered sugar, flour, cinnamon salt and melted butter. Using your hands, crumble the mixture over the batter in the pan. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 45 - 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

 Recipe Source:  Little Bits Of

Friday, May 22, 2015

Marshmallow Fruit Dip

 In my chruch, I am in charge of a group of 8-year olds, doing bi-weekly activities to help them progress towards finishing goals.  It is AWESOME!  I only get boy stuff at my house, so this is my time to let my girlie girl come out.  This last week we talked about personal hygiene, painted nails, and had some yummy "girlie" snacks.  This fruit dip is super simple, and makes plain 'ole fruit a little more exciting for the kiddos (who am I kidding, I LOVE it too :)
Marshmallow Fruit Dip

1 Jar Marshmallow Cream
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients together with hand mixer, chill until ready to serve.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swig Style Cookies


 Sometimes I just really really wish we lived in Utah with our family and friends.  We don't...probably never will again.  I am going to be ok with that someday (we've been away for 7 years)!  We have missed out on a lot of growth in the area I grew up the last 7 years.  When we go back to visit, we always hit up our favorite spots and rarely try new things.  

This Swig sensation that is sweeping across Utah is one thing we've missed out on, and so I decided to try a few copycat recipes so I don't feel like I'm missing out :)  I tried the original Swig copycat recipe a few months ago ( see here for that recipe). This version turned out delicious, just like that one, and it being my hubby's favorite combo of chocolate and peanut butter, this one definitely is #1 is his book :)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swig Style Cookies


For Chocolate Cookie Dough:
½ cup butter, room temperature
½ cup shortening, (butter flavor is best)
1½ cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
½ teaspoon almond flavoring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
3½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

For shaping cookies:
¼ cup granulated sugar
cooking spray
*glass with flat bottom, see notes below

For Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting:
½ cup butter, room temperature
½ cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup full fat sour cream
3-4 cups powdered sugar (or more to desired consistency)


Preheat oven to 350 or 325 on convection setting.

Cream butter, shortening and sugar together.  Add sour cream and almond flavoring. Mix. Add the cocoa and mix again until smooth. The mixture should be creamy, with no specks of white. Turn the mixer off.  Add the flour, baking powder and salt all at once. Mix just until all of the flour disappears, on the lowest setting. This should take about 20-30 seconds.

Using a 1¾ inch to 2 inch scoop, place the dough onto a lightly greased cookie sheet.
Lightly spray the bottom of a glass with cooking spray. First press the glass against a cookie, then dip the bottom of glass in sugar to flatten cookie a bit. Continue dipping the bottom of the glass into the sugar after flattening each cookie.

After all of the cookies are flattened a bit, go back and lightly sprinkle sugar on top of each cookie.  Bake for about 9-10 minutes at 325 convection, or about 10-12 minutes at 350.  The cookies should be barely firm on top. Do not over cook!  Let cool completely on cookie sheet. Frost when cool.

Yield about 18 large cookies or 30-32 small to medium cookies.

For Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting:

Cream butter until it lightens in color.  Add peanut butter, vanilla extract, salt and sour cream. Whip until very smooth 2-3 minutes.  Add powdered sugar one cup at a time, then mix on high until very smooth. Continue adding powdered sugar to the desired thickness. If you add too much powdered sugar add a little more sour cream to balance it out.


Recipe Source: Fresh and Happy

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Berry Mint Chocolate Bliss Smoothie


Well, after having my FANTASTIC Mint Juleps a few days ago for the Kentucky Derby, I had some mint left over.  And I just happened to see this recipe on my Ibotta App (do you Ibotta?  You should!  It is such an easy way to get cash back on groceries!).  Not to mention I am trying to clear out my freezer for fruit season coming up, so this was perfect :)  I love almond milk for smoothies, and it packs a whole lot less calories than milk.  So this is basically a win-win-win smoothie for me!!



Berry Mint Chocolate Bliss Smoothie

makes 1 serving

3/4 c. Almond Milk, any flavor
1 mint leaf
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 c. frozen raspberries
1/2 Tbsp chocolate chips
1/2 Tbsp almonds

Mix all in blender and pour into glass. Garnish with mint leaf.

Recipe Source:  my Ibotta App

Monday, May 4, 2015

Grilled Thai Pork or Chicken Kabobs with Peanut Dipping Sauce

 We just busted out our first kabobs of the year.  There is seriously nothing more satisfying than grilling or smoking your own dinner outside and having it taste completely awesome!!  I love trying out new marinades with different meats to find tasty combinations.  This one was a winner indeed.  A little kick, and the peanut sauce on the side was fab.  We served it up with some grilled asparagus freshly picked from down the street and some couscous.  So, so good!

Grilled Thai Pork or Chicken Kabobs with Peanut Dipping Sauce


3 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons honey
Juice from 1 lime squeezed 
3 Cloves of minced garlic
1 Tablespoon of Siracha
Shake of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
Cubed chicken/pork

Mix all ingredients, place in freezer bag or large bowl.  Marinate for at least a few hours before grilling (Can be frozen for easy meal prep ahead of time).  

Recipe Source:  Ms. Simplicity

Peanut Dipping Sauce


3 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. honey
½ tsp. minced garlic
½ tsp. siracha hot sauce
¼ cup water
chopped peanuts to taste

Recipe Source:  Favorite Family Recipes



Sunday, May 3, 2015

Mint Julep (Non-Alcoholic)

My hubs served a 2-year mission in Kentucky for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  While there, he learned of the craziness that comes in May during the Kentucky Derby (Kentucky's claim to fame...well that and the fried chicken!)  While we were living in Ohio, we got to travel down to Louisville and visit some of his old stomping grounds, and we got to visit Louisville hotspots.  We went and ate at the Claudia Saunders Dinner House, went through the Louisville Slugger Museum, and went to Churchill Downs.  It was a FANTASTIC experience!  

So during Derby time, the drink of choice is the mint julep.  Being as we don't drink alcohol, I went searching for an alternative and came across this lovely recipe.  It is very refreshing and the mint...WOW!  I need to start putting it in all my summertime drinks!

Mint Julep (Non-Alcoholic)


6 mint leaves, rinsed
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 c. cold water
3/4 c. lemon juice
4 c. fresca (or any flavor of lemon-lime soda pop)
2 c. ginger ale

Place sugar, water and lemon juice in large bowl.  Mix until sugar dissolves and add mint leaves.  Let sit for 1 hour.  Fill a large pitcher with ice and pour sugar, lemon juice mixture over ice.  You can discard the mint leaves at this time.  We left them in because we wanted a stronger mint flavor.  Add fresca and ginger ale.  Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Source:  The Farm Girl Recipes

Monday, April 20, 2015

Coconut Almond Breakfast Quinoa


Here is another recipe that has been sitting on the back-burner for a while.  I came across it when I was in my quinoa-testing phase and it was one that just didn't get made for whatever reason.  Anyhow, glad it finally came out of the woodworks!  

I've been eating a lot of granola and oatmeal for breakfast, and this will be a good one to throw in the mix every now and again.  Yum!

Coconut Almond Breakfast Quinoa

1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed well and drained
1 cup light coconut milk (from a carton, such as Silk brand)
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

For serving:
fresh berries
toasted coconut
sliced almonds
additional coconut milk
honey or agave syrup
additional brown sugar if desired

Place rinsed and drained quinoa, coconut milk, brown sugar, and almond extract in a medium-sized pot. Stir ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cover pot, preferably with a clear lid (so you can see through it and keep an eye on the quinoa). Stir a few times during cooking. If mixture seems to be boiling out, crack the lid to release steam, otherwise, keep covered. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until liquid is absorbed. In the last few minutes of cooking, feel free to add a little more liquid (water is fine, or additional coconut milk) until desired consistency is reached. I prefer my breakfast quinoa on the soft side with enough liquid to make it more of a porridge.

Divide quinoa into bowls and top with fresh berries, toasted coconut, sliced almonds, and a splash of additional coconut milk. If desired, add a drizzle of honey or agave or a sprinkle of brown sugar for sweetness. Yields, about 4, 1/2 cup servings. 


Recipe Source:  Our Best Bites

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Cherry Chocolate Spinach Smoothie

Being an adult means getting excited about things like....GRASS!  We are so happy to finally have a yard in!  We are the only family on our block right now, and therefore are just surrounded by lots and lots of dirt.  To make matters worse, we live in a crazy windy area.  Every window/sliding glass door in this house always has plenty of dirt in it that has blown in from the crazy daily winds.  It makes me sad living in a windy area, because I love the look of fresh mulch in planter beds, but instead we have to have rock or all that pretty mulch would blow away :(  But nonetheless, the yard basics are in and we couldn't be more thrilled!  

Today I am going to share with you one of my favorite smoothies that I have a few times a week and have just been neglecting to post it for a long while.  We stock up BIG TIME in the summer months on fresh fruit and use it all year.  The frozen cherries have grown to be my fav.  They are my fav probably because of this one smoothie, which depletes our year's worth of cherries in itself.  Smoothies are one of the ways I can actually get the hubby to eat fruit on a normal basis...he's not big into grabbing a piece of fruit for a snack by any means!  So this is perfect :)  One serving if made as written below packs in about 345 calories...not bad for breakfast.  Enjoy :)

Cherry Chocolate Spinach Smoothie

1 c. pitted, frozen Bing cherries (sometimes I do half frozen blueberries)
3/4-1c. fresh spinach leaves
1 c. milk (I used 1%, use more or less to get desired consistency)
1 Tbsp. hershey's chocolate syrup
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
  

Blend all ingredients together until smooth.

Recipe: Me :)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

True Lime

I don't do this often (and this is in no way a sponsored post), but sometimes I come across a product that I just want to get out there, because I LOVE it!  This product I am sharing today I love because it tastes fantastic, it's 100% natural, and it has so many uses :)  

To describe this product, I'll just tell you what the back of the bottle says, " True lime starts in the grove with fresh limes selected for their superior flavor. We then cold press and crystallize the essential lime oils and juices to lock in the flavor at the peak of freshness."  The bottle continues to suggest uses....sprinkled on fruit, as a replacement for lime juice in recipes, sprinkling on meat and seafood, sprinkled on salads, and using as a replacement for table salt.  I used mine in some guacamole today, and WOW!  So, so good.  I also thought it would be good sprinkled on some air popped popcorn.  

I found my bottle at Fred Meyer, but I know those aren't everywhere.  It was in the spice section.  I haven't really checked any other stores for it yet, but if not it is available on Amazon (link here).  I also noticed on Amazon, the same company has lemon, orange, and grapefruit as well.  It will be worth a try one of these days!


Friday, April 3, 2015

Broccoli Apple Salad

I love me a good broccoli salad.  My FAVORITE one is listed below, and I was actually going to make  that one when I looked in my pantry and was horrified when I saw my sunflower seeds were gone.  So sad!  Luckily, I had this recipe pinned and had all the ingredients.  This was a yummy change from the regular salad (although the other one is still my fav).  The apples gave a yummy crunch, and you can never go wrong with pecans in a salad in my book!  Enjoy this alongside your first spring or summer grilling session!

Broccoli Apple Salad


4 cups fresh broccoli florets, (about 2 medium heads)
½ cup shredded carrots
¼ cup diced red onion
2 large apples, finely chopped (I used gala apples)
½ cup pecans, coarsely chopped
½ cup dried cranberries

Creamy dressing ingredients:

½ cup lite mayonnaise
½ cup low fat greek yogurt
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon pepper

In a large bowl combine broccoli, carrots, red onion, apples, pecans, and dried cranberries.

To make the dressing: Whisk together mayonnaise, greek yogurt, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper.

Add the dressing to the salad and toss to coat. Chill until ready to serve.

Recipe Source:  The Recipe Critic

Love broccoli salads like I do?!  Check some of these others out!

Broccoli and Grape Pasta Salad


Broccoli Salad (MY FAV)



Broccoli, Ham, and Tortellini Ceasar Salad  (I always make this after having some leftover holiday ham)

Cheerio Bars


I am definitely not mom-of-the-year material.  It is a RARE occasion when I have an after school snack ready and waiting for my kiddo when he gets off the bus.  Here is my one attempt in many months to do so!  

Both the boys LOVED these, and they took minutes to make.  I can do this again ;)

Cheerio Bars

1/2 cup crunchy natural peanut butter, well-stirred
1/2 cup honey
3 cups toasted whole grain oats cereal (Cheerios)

Line an 8 x 8 inch square pan with parchment.

Combine peanut butter & honey in a large saucepan and set over medium heat. Heat until mixture just starts to simmer, about 2-3 minutes, stirring. Remove from heat and stir until mixture is well-combined.

Stir in cereal until evenly coated. Pour mixture into prepared pan, cover with parchment, and press firmly. (Edited to add: A pastry roller will help to firmly and evenly pack down the mixture so the bars hold their shape). Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Cut into bars. Store individually wrapped in the refrigerator.

Recipe Source:  Healthy Food For Living