Monday, May 23, 2011

Menu Plan Monday -

uploaded to with hundreds of menus!

As some of you know I recently moved in the last 6 weeks, so from being in one place for over 10 years, the accumulation of cookbooks, the tried and true recipe box, recipe cut-outs, online recipes, etc... have taken over a small bit of my kitchen and office.  This week I pulled several tried and true recipes out for my dinner menu that have been lost (not really just piled somewhere).  With school almost over, and the tennis season for my husband coming to a close we will be sharing more dinners all together around our table. {big smile}!!

Here is my menu plan for the week.  I am looking forward to some old favorites - made new!

Roasted Green Beans -

1-2 lbs. Fresh Green Beans
Olive Oil
Sea Salt/Pepper
Sour Cream

I followed the directions as Jessica made them on the link above.  They are delicious.  I really like those Fired Green Beans that are popping up on restaurant menus lately.  This is a great healthy alternative, super easy too.  I made a simple horseradish sauce for dipping.  1 heaping tablespoon of horseradish and a 1/4 cup of sour cream.  This is definitely going to be on my menu again and again.

Hawaiian Turkey Sliders

1 lb. lean ground turkey
1 egg
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. salt
chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
teriyaki sauce
fresh slice pineapple
Monteray Jack cheese

Combine turkey, egg, bread crumbs, and spices.  Divide into 8 small patties.  Grill one side, then after you flip, add terriyaki sauce, pinapple slice and cheese.  Grill until burger is completely cooked.  Serve on Hawaiian sweet mini rolls (deli dept.).

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Evening Wedding Cupcakes/ Toppers

This week a friend got married.  A few of us pulled together a cupcake bar in lieu of a formal wedding cake.  The bride and groom are young and were going the route of simple and what's in style.  I was so excited to help.

I was inspired by this flavor combination...
Who makes these flavors up?  So delicious.  I made these cupcakes for a scrapbook retreat a few months back and they turned out outrageous.  I thought they would be great for a spring wedding.  So I made fresh tasting lemon cupcakes (white cake mix as directed using these additions -> (made with milk instead of water) + zest of two lemons + lemon extract or pure lemon essential food grade oil +  1 box vanilla or lemon instant pudding (dry)).  Bake as directed, then cool completely.  I then filled the cupcakes with red raspberry preserves.  I used my classic butter cream frosting with zest of two lemons added + 1 tsp. vanilla &  1 tsp. lemon extracts.  To put these cupcakes over the top, I added pale yellow sugar dusting the top and pieces of this amazing chocolate bar (shown above) in each cupcake.  I just know they will be great for this beautiful occasion!

The toppers were made using Stampin' Up punches.  The scallop punch for the designer paper, the solid color is from a 1 3/8" circle punch, and the photos/dates were punched with a 1 1/4" circle punch for a great layered effect.  These will be used for the other cupcakes and other hor'duerves that will be served.  Toppers make food personalized and so much fun!

What are your favorite flavor combinations you enjoy in a cupcake??  Comment below!

**CHOXIE brand candy is by Target.  Located in the regular candy aisle :)

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Chicken Salad - that petite, dainty flavorful addition to any spring or summer menu!

Let me just begin that I am TOTALLY in LOVE with chicken salad.  I don't want to say it doesn't matter what kind, because for does matter.  I love that chunky, stuffed chicken salad that you get filled with goodies of all kinds, and I even love the big chunky plain-jane kind too.  Just not the smooshed pasty - flavorless variety.   Chicken salad isn't just for bridal or baby showers, it's for any day you want that refreshing taste of something light.  I am thinking about it right now as the thermometer is climbing in my beachy area.  Most chicken salad varieties are very similar with the same type of ingredients.  I don't buy Miracle Whip, but I know that sweetens chicken salad up, many varieties add fruit, and nuts too.  I suppose if you just like it plain that's okay too.

I have several go-to recipes I enjoy, so it is so hard to choose which one to share - so I will share a few that have adorned my table or I have brought somewhere to share.

The first is my adapted version from the Palm Beach Junior League Cookbook - "Worth Tasting".  I love being southern, and having some of those elements in the salad.

Chicken Salad
serves 6

4 cooked chicken breasts, cubed
1/2 cup pecans, toasted
3/4 cup celery, sliced
1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
sea salt to taste
pepper to taste
light mayonnaise, enough just to fold together ingredients. 

Combine ingredients as listed.  Place in refrigerator for a few hours before serving.  Serve over mixed greens, on a croissant, or on table water crackers.


The next version come from a good friend, Christina.  This chicken salad has appeared at many of our "mommy" functions, it is so addicting and so delicious.  If you don't like curry, just add a little.  It gives this dish a whole new flavor, so unexpected, you'll wonder why you never amped it up before!

Curried Chicken Salad

4 Cups Finely Chopped Cooked Chicken
3 (8 Oz) packages cream cheese, softened
¾  Cup dried cranberries, chopped
½  Cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
6 green onions, minced
2 celery ribs, diced
1 Tablespoon curry powder
1 Tablespoon grated ginger
½  teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper

Stir together all ingredients.  It is best if made a few hours before hand to let
the flavors develop.  Serve on sandwich bread, croissants, or just plain.


A family favorite from a dear friend, Amy Johnson.  This is a great church potluck.

Baked Chicken Salad

2 cups cooked chicken, cut up
2 cups sliced celery
1 cup seasoned croutons (I like the cheese garlic variety from the produce area)
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 cup mayonnaise
2 T. lemon juice
2 tsp. instant onions
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup potato chips, crushed

Mix first 8 ingredients.  Place in 8" square pan and top with cheese and chips and bake @ 450 10-15 minutes until bubbly.  I like to serve with plain water crackers.


My last recipe is simple, from one of our favorite familiar faces  - Paula Deen

Hawaiian Chicken Salad

4 cups cubed cooked chicken breast (4 large breast or 2 cans)
2 cups diced celery
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sliced almonds
1-20oz. can pineapple tidbits, drained
1 pound seedless grapes, cut in half

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, celery, mayonnaise, and almonds, and mix well. Gently fold in the pineapple and grapes.

Serves 8-10

How do you make chicken salad? 

How do you serve it? 

When do you eat it? 

Hopefully all the time.  Don't keep these recipes locked up for special events.

Cooks Tip:  Costco makes an INCREDIBLE chicken salad.  Made with their rotisserie chicken.  I have been know to get it many times.  I stretch it for events by pulsing it in my processor to thin it out a little, but keep some of those chunks, that's what folks will be talking about after the party is over.


Menu Plan Monday

It's that time of the week already.  My menu plan is down, shopping done, let the cooking begin!  If you haven't planned dinner for tonight - expect delays at 6 PM, whining & crying children, low-blood-sugar husband, and a lot of FRUSTRATION!!  Do I hear an AMEN!!  Get planning now before it will cost you all of the above, and extra money!
  • Soft Beef Tacos, Fresh Sliced Strawberries, Fresh Corn on the Cob
  • Sauteed Mahi-Mahi (Asian Style), Brown Rice, Mixed Greens, Fresh Fruit
  • Breakfast for Dinner - Scrambled Eggs, Brown-Sugar Bacon Smokies, Fresh Fruit Smoothies
  • Clean-Out-The-Freezer Night - Frozen Flatbread Pizza, Turkey Hotdogs, Caesar Salad, Apple Sauce
  •  Lemoney Chicken Cutlets- Picatta Style, Penne Pasta, Green Beans, Fresh Fruit
Need some ideas? Check out hundreds of menus @

Monday, May 2, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

It's been a looonnngg while since I posted, almost a month.  However, I was fasting from the computer world other than work during the Easter season to focus more on what I believe, what I hold true to my life, and to give me time in the things that I needed to do this past month.  I also MOVED! yes, picked up a whole household, and moved 11/2 miles away.  We sold our home, wanted something a little bigger for our family.  So, here I am, about a month later and FINALLY cooking in our new place.  I am still staying a little simple as spring is here and we like it a little lighter since it is so hot out already in south FL, and I am STILL unpacking, so simple is good!  I picked a few southwest meals this week in honor of Cinco de Mayo since we love Mexican food here at hour home.  Here's whats on the menu this week! 

  • Taco Salad - Beef for Hubs & the kids, Meatless for me - I'm going to have black beans this time!
  • Southwest Roasted Chicken Breasts/Mashed Potatoes/Green Beans-roasted squash/Fresh Fruit
  • Chicken  Quesadillas (left over roasted chicken), chips/salsa corn on the cob, fresh fruit
  • Breakfast for dinner (bacon, eggs, cinnamon rolls), fresh fruit smoothies
  • Grilled Turkey Hot Dogs, chips/dip, fresh fruit, mixed green salad
What's on your menu this week?  Are you celebrating anything exciting?

I am helping make cupcakes for a wedding this month, so I am doing a trial run with a carrot cake cupcake/cream cheese frosting.  I will post recipe/pics when I make them this week!


Salsa al Fresco a.k.a Fresh Salsa
2 containers grape tomatoes, chopped                                                 
1 medium onion, diced                                 
1 jalapeno, finely diced                                                                             
1 bunch fresh cilantro, rough chop         
1 lime, juice squeezed                                                                              
1 tsp. sea salt                                                                
1-2 garlic cloves, pressed/finely chopped
Combine all ingredients together, and finely chop or pulse in food processor.  Squeeze lime and sea salt over top, mix and serve with tortilla chips or in your favorite Latin recipes.
Taco Salad
Cook’s Tip: Adjust ingredients based on how many you will be serving.
Romaine Lettuce, torn/shredded                                                           
 1 lb. ground beef/poultry/pork                                 
1 pkg. taco seasoning                                                                                  
 1 onion, chopped                                                         
Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 can sliced black olives, optional                          
1 can black beans, drained                                                                                    
1 can corn, drained or frozen                                                    
Sour Cream                                                                                                
Avocado or Guacamole                                                               
Tortilla Chips                                                                      
Arrange lettuce on bottom of platter.  Layer ingredients ending with cheese.  Top with sour cream, guacamole, and your favorite salsa.  Serve with tortilla chips.
Easy Guacamole
2 ripe avocados                                  
sea salt                                 
½ cup sour cream                                                             
2 Tbls. Salsa                                               
juice from 2 limes, zest optional          
Mix ingredients together well.  Cover with plastic wrap touching dip so it does not oxidize.  Serve with chips.