Where Cooking is Fun
We want cooking to be as fun for you as it is for us.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Teriyaki Chicken Avocado Panini's

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!
I thought you might want something EASY AND QUICK to make for dinner tonight
as you will be running around with your "little spooks" or maybe you will be lucky enough 
to just be sitting around and answering the door and handing out candy to the little "darlings"! EITHER WAY...this is a QUICK, YUMMY and FILLING dinner for everyone!
AND REALLY, WHO doesn't like a good panini?!...
I for one,  LOVE THESE things and the versatility of them!!
I used leftover Teriyaki Grilled Chicken (yesterday's post)...I purposefully made EXTRA so that I could make these mouthwatering panini's today. THEY turned out just as I had hopped....DELICIOUS! 

Teriyaki Chicken Avocado Panini's
*ingredient won't be in amounts...it will just be "ingredients" and the instructions on how to compile the sandwich.

Teriyaki Chicken Breast, cut into small pieces or shredded
avocado slices
cooked bacon
bread, homemade or deli bread...something dense
sliced cheese (I used provolone) 
butter

To make sandwiches, butter the back sides of the bread, like you would for a grilled cheese sandwich. On one slice of bread, place in order- 1 slice of cheese, sliced or shredded grilled chicken breast (we ripped ours up a little so that the sandwich wouldn't be so thick), avocado,3-4 slices cooked bacon,  1 more slice of cheese, then top with another slice of bread. (MAKE sure that the butter is on the OUTSIDE of each slice of bread).

Place sandwich in panini press and cook until bread is toasted and crisp (mine took approximately 3-4 minutes).

*To make sandwich without a press-assemble sandwich as directed above. Place sandwich in a frying pan, butter side down. Place a smaller sauce pan (the heavier the better) on top of sandwich, pressing sandwich down (I placed a large can of tomato juice (still in the can) in my sauce pan to add more weight...you could use whatever you had) Cook until the one side is browned and then turn sandwich over, repeating if necessary to melt the cheese. I've made panini's like this several times and it works like a charm.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken

This Grilled Teriyaki Chicken DOESN'T have to be cooked on the grill, although...I do enjoy it that way because I LOVE ANYTHING cooked on the grill. BUT you can bake it at 350 degrees in the oven for 40-45 minutes (time depending on the thickness of your pieces) or you could pan fry it...BUT if you can still find your grill, whip it out and grill you some of this succulent chicken tonight!

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken
8 skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into "smaller pieces" (makes for less cooking time) 

Marinade Teriyaki Sauce:
1 c. soy sauce
4 c. water
1 t. ground ginger
1 t. garlic powder
1 1/4 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. cornstarch
3/4-1 c. cold water

Place chicken breast in a zip lock bag or a plastic dish with a lid...set aside. Mix everything BUT the cornstarch and water into a sauce pan. heat. Mix cornstarch and water (start with 3/4 c.) into a bowl, stir with a fork and stir until combined. This will make a thickening. When sauce is HOT add a small amount of thickening, stirring sauce as you go. Add until your sauce is as thick as you want. WHEN you reach the desired thickness....cool sauce. Pour 1/2 of the sauce over raw chicken in ziplock bag to marinade. Marinade chicken for a minimum of 1 hour...overnight is best (I marinaded mine for 6 hours). Grill chicken (or bake as directed above) for 4-5 minutes on each side or until done. HEAT left over marinade and serve over cooked chicken. 

*  you can bake chicken at 350 degrees in the oven for 40-45 minutes (time depending on the thickness of your pieces) or you could pan fry the chicken,  if you choose not to grill it.

**NOTE: This makes excellent leftovers (which I purposefully made) that I will be using in tomorrows recipe post....come back and check it out!

Julie~

Monday, October 27, 2014

Bit Of Heaven Croissant French Toast

NOW this is something to JUMP OUT OF BED for!...I am a TRUE CROISSANT lover. 
You could put just about anything on a croissant and I would devour it and be in pure heaven...THIS Croissant French Toast was over the top GREAT, WONDERFUL and AMAZING (you asked, so I just laid it all out there for you!). I know you are thinking, "Well, its only Monday and I don't want to go to all the bother on a "weekday" to make this, BUT let me tell you....you will be loving your life if you do...they just melt in your mouth!...BUT you COULD EVEN make them for dinner and surprise the family with "Breakfast for Dinner"...they will be in AWE when they get to eat this yumminess in place of "Hamburger Helper".......! A "MUST MAKE" for sure!!

Bit Of Heaven Croissant French Toast
8 large croissants
5 eggs
1/2 c. heavy cream
3 T. vanilla
2 T. sugar
1 t. cinnamon
Butter, for frying

Sliced strawberries
Whipped topping

Split the croissants in half through the middle, like you would if you were making a sandwich (giving you 2 pieces). Set aside. In a large bowl, combine cream, vanilla, sugar, eggs and cinnamon. Whip until mixed together. Set aside. 

Heat a pancake griddle OR skillet over low heat. Place 1-2 T. butter into pan, Melt. Dip croissant into egg mixture, making sure to cover both sides. Place dipped croissant into hot melted butter in the pan. Turn heat up to 350 or "medium". Cook for 3-4 minutes. Flip to the other side and cook it another 3 minutes. Be careful not to burn them...don't turn the heat up too high. Continue until all croissants are cooked. Slice strawberries and place them in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle with sugar, let sit for 5-7 minutes (do this while your croissants are cooking). Serve Croissant French Toast with sliced strawberries and whipped topping OR butter and syrup....seriously a BIT OF HEAVEN!!  

Julie~

Friday, October 24, 2014

HOLIDAY Cake

NO you are NOTseeing things....this cake really is RED, WHITE and BLUE and I realize that it IS AFTER July 4th....we made this cake for Independance day, therefore I couldn't blog about it then because the holiday was OVER... BUT with Halloween coming up I thought it would be adorable to do orange and black OR my favorite halloween colors....PURPLE and GREEN....and besides this cake looking absolutely COOL (my daughter made it...isn't it fabulous?!)...it tasted heavenly. It was moist and rich and delicious...just like I like my cake! REMEMBER...you don't have to use "red and blue" to color it with, you can use ANY COLORS YOU CHOOSE (red and green for Christmas would be cute too...options are ENDLESS)!

HOLIDAY Cake
1 boxed white cake mix
4 egg WHITES
2/3 c. melted butter
1 1/4 c. milk
2 t. vanilla

Mix all ingredient together. Divide batter into 3 separate bowls. LEAVE one bowl of BATTER WHITE, dye the other 2 whatever colors you choose. Grease and flour 2- 8" round cake pans. Layer the batter by dropping spoonfuls of the different colors into the pans. (I liked to actually divide my 3 batter colors in half, so I know how much goes into each pan). For the marble effect, drag a knife through the batter making lines in a side to side motion...going up and down. Bake at 350 degrees for EXACTLY 25 minutes. Cool cake completely before frosting. 

Buttercream Frosting
3 sticks of butter at room temperature
4 1/2 c. powdered sugar
3 T. heavy cream
1 1/2 t. vanilla

Place room temperature butter in a mixing bowl. With electric beaters, whip butter for 7-8 minutes OR until it is nearly white in color and VERY fluffy. You will need to scrape the bowl often so that all the butter continues to be whipped. Add powdered sugar, heavy cream and vanilla. Mix on low until combined, then increase the speed and whip for another 6 minutes until frosting is fluffy. Spread onto cooled cake. 

IF you WANT to make the sprinkles that are on top of the cake do the following:

Place 1 Tablespoon sugar along with 3 drops of food coloring, into a small ziplock bag. Squish the bag with your fingers until the color is mixed into your sugar. Lay colored sugar onto a paper plate and let dry for 10 minutes. Draw desired design on top of your frosted cake with a toothpick, place sprinkles on top of lines...wahala....you have a COOL HOLIDAY CAKE! 

Julie~




Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Raisin Bran Muffins

Muffins are a great "grab and go" kind of breakfast that you can make ahead of time OR
that morning. They are a fabulous way to make sure everyone is eating "something" even though
they are in a hurry. These Raisin Bran Muffins a moist and taste "mmmmm  mmmmm good!"
They freeze well or you can keep them in your bread drawer for up to 3-4 days. 
Make some today, you won't be sorry!

Raisin Bran Muffins
1/2 c. oil
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 c. buttermilk
4 c. raisin bran cereal (whatever brand you like)
2 c. flour
2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt

Combine oil and sugar in a mixing bowl. Mix until combined. Add eggs, stir. Add cereal, buttermilk, flour, baking soda and salt and mix until combined. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray. Divide batter evenly. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-14 minutes or until top of muffin springs back when touched. Serve with butter or eat as is...either way is YUMMY!

Julie~

Monday, October 20, 2014

Chocolate Striped Cookie Salad

This salad is going to be on my holiday tables....no ands if or buts about it. It probably is more like a dessert but because its in a bowl and has the "idea" of a salad, thats what we will claim that it is. 
This delicious dish of yumminess is packed full of everything that makes your 
tastebuds sing happy songs...its perfect for a side to any family gathering or just for a "regular" ol' meal that you eat on mismatched plates.
Its fabulous!!!!

Chocolate Striped Cookie Salad
2 c. buttermilk
2 boxes instant vanilla pudding mix
16 oz. whipped topping (I always prefer Cool Whip...but use what you like)
1-2 small can mandarin oranges, drained 
2 c. Fudge Striped Cookies, chopped (I used a "no name" brand, worked perfectly)

Place the buttermilk, pudding powder and whipped topping into a mixing bowl. Whip together until completely combined. Using a spoon, fold in mandarin oranges and chopped cookies into whipped topping mixture, Stir just until combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve...but sample it first (*wink*) because you will want to be the first to drool over this delicious dish!

Julie~

Friday, October 17, 2014

Julie's Strawberry Pineapple Punch

We are still having a few "warmer" days and I'm LOVING IT!! 
I don't know why, but strawberry drinks take me to "summer" and everything warm and pretty! 
This Strawberry Pineapple Punch is a refreshing drink to brighten up any day, and a healthy way to 
stay on track with your diet!

Julie's Strawberry Pineapple Punch
1 lb. fresh or frozen strawberries (if using frozen strawberries, get the "unsweetened")
1 qt. pineapple juice
2 T. sugar (optional...if your berries aren't too tart, I would leave this out)

Place juice, then sugar and strawberries in a blender. Pulse until completely blended. For a more "slushy" punch add ice and blend. Serve immediately. 

Makes about 4-5 servings. 

Julie~

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Julie's Fruity French Toast Kabobs

French toast is fabulous ALL BY ITSELF BUT...with all this fruit, its AMAZING!
I love that its still "french toast" but with a fun twist. You can put any fruit 
you want on the kabobs, but strawberries and bananas just seemed like the perfect
pair for this mornings breakfast! 

Julie's Fruity French Toast Kabobs
5 eggs
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
3 T. sugar
1 T. vanilla

Beat ingredient together in a mixing bowl. 

1 loaf french bread
fruit: bananas, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, kiwi, blackberries, fresh pineapple, fresh peaches etc....

Cut bread into thick (1") slices. Then cut slices into cubes. Dip each cube into the egg mixture. Cook on a HOT greased pancake griddle. Rotate sides so each side is cooked and browned. Place cooked cubes onto skewers alternately with fruit of your choice. Dust with powdered sugar and drizzle with maple syrup. 

Julie~ 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Sommer's Buffalo Chicken Dip

We had a big family reunion this summer (probably like most of you did), I think 
one of my favorite things about our reunion is gathering the entire family together and 
enjoying each others company and eating all the CRAZY GOOD FOOD! My sister in laws are
 all AMAZING cooks, I've bragged about all 3 of them before....this is another one 
of their DELICIOUS recipes!! I love that I can eat it for a snack OR for a meal (its that filling). 
Its got the perfect zip to it, a little crunch and goes perfect with a corn chip or cracker!
Mmmmmmm!!!

Sommer's Buffalo Chicken Dip
2 cans of chicken, drained
3 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened (I put each brick in separately and microwave it for 30 seconds)
1 c. ranch
3/4 c. Franks Hot Sauce
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 c. chopped celery (small pieces)

Combine all ingredient and whip together using an electric mixer. Chill until ready to serve. Serve with corn chips or whole wheat crackers.

Julie~

Friday, October 10, 2014

Roasted Broccoli

I've ALWAYS been a broccoli hater....BUT I've gagged it down on many occasions because I know its good for me and lets face it, its filling and keeps me from shoving things that AREN'T so 
good, into my mouth. After complaining about my hate for broccoli on facebook, I had many people tell me that I wasn't cooking it right....I needed to ROAST it in the oven...hmmmmm, I'd never thought of that! 
Well....I hunted down a recipe that suited me and whipped up some Roasted Broccoli
the following night...in fact I made an entire baking sheet full (being optimistic)...AND
"WE" (all of us) downed the entire pan!! I couldn't believe how it changed the flavor 
of this otherwise "bitter" vegetable. The garlic and pepper accented it just enough to give it flavor 
without overpowering the broccoli! I AM A HUGE FAN of Roasted Broccoli and we are going through LARGE (Costco sized) bags at one sitting! YES, I can now say, "I love me some broccoli"!

Roasted Broccoli
2 heads broccoli or 1 1/2 lbs, rinsed and cut into smaller pieces (not crumbles, but smaller)
4 T. olive oil
1 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. freshly ground pepper

Fresh grated parmesan cheese, optional

Mix together oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a small dish. Place broccoli into a mixing bowl, pour oil mixture over the top and TOSS. Spread broccoli onto large baking sheet. Bake at 425 for 8-10 minutes OR until you reach your desired "crunch". I cooked mine for 10 minutes. Top with parmesan cheese if desired OR you could use cheddar or any other cheese you prefer OR just leave it plain. We have done both and like it equally. 

Julie~

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Glazed Pineapple Almond Chicken

This Glazed Pineapple Almond Chicken is a nice "Autumn" dish. Its 
not "heavy", but very filling. Its a great comfort food. I love the crunch of the 
almonds with the light pineapple taste. 

Glazed Pineapple Almond Chicken
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced into bit sized pieces
2 c. pineapple juice
1 c. pineapple tidbits
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. pepper
2-3 T. butter
1 c. brown sugar
1/2-1 c. chopped almonds
2 T. cornstarch
2 T. cold water

4-6 c. cooked rice

Place butter in a frying pan, melt. Add chicken pieces, garlic powder and pepper. Cook until browned and cooked thoroughly. When meat is cooked, add pineapple juice and brown sugar. Simmer for 5-7 minutes. Make a thickening with cornstarch and water. Stir until mixed. Add to pineapple juice mixture. Stir until its mixed into sauce. Bring sauce to a boil, continue stirring until sauce thickens, add pineapple tidbits (sauce won't be SUPER thick, but thicker than the sauce was without the thickening...if you like it thicker, make and add more cornstarch thickening). Serve on top of a bed of cooked rice. Top with chopped almonds.

Julie~ 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Hawaiian Breakfast Cheese Crisp

I hate getting into a "breakfast rut", where I am cooking the same things
over and over again....I guess thats why I am always trying to shake things up
a little. This Hawaiian Breakfast Cheese Crisp can be served to those who
have to "eat on the run" or those who can sit down and enjoy a little "breakfast time" before 
a busy day. Its packed full of all the good hearty food that make 
breakfast SCRUMPTIOUS! You're going to love it, I just know it!!

*Recipe is shown in "steps" without specific amount of ingredients. Make sure to read through  steps first so you know what ingredient you need to make these delicious Hawaiian Breakfast Cheese Crisps.... the amounts are, "desired amounts." (as much or as little as you like).

Hawaiian Breakfast Cheese Crisp
Place tortilla shells on a baking sheet, top with desired amount of shredded Colby Jack Cheese.

Sprinkle with cooked, diced ham (I warmed my ham up in a frying pan prior to
 putting on top of shells)

Top with cooked, scrambled eggs and MORE shredded cheese.

Top with pineapple tidbits....place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes until cheese is melted
and tortilla is browned around edges. 

Cut Cheese Crisp into pizza triangles with a pizza cutter and serve. 
Eat as is OR dip in your favorite dipping sauce.

Julie~

Friday, October 3, 2014

Breaded Shrimp

Seafood is manna from heaven (of course thats just my opinion...but I'm sure it really is).
I love pretty much anything from the ocean...shrimp especially! This fabulous Breaded Shrimp is 
an easy, tasty dish you can whip up for the entire family or for special occasions. If you like 
breading on your seafood....look no further, this is your dinner for tonight!

Breaded Shrimp
1 t. salt
3 1/2 t. powdered sugar
2 c. flour
1 t. pepper
1/2 t. garlic powder
3 eggs, beaten
3 T. buttermilk
1 c. bread crumbs
2 dozen jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined
oil for frying

Pour enough oil in a deep dish frying pan, to cover shrimp (amount depends on the size or your pan). Heat oil until HOT. 

Combine flour, salt, powdered sugar, pepper and garlic powder in a dish. Set aside. Place bread crumbs in a separate dish, set aside. Beat eggs and milk together, place in a separate bowl and set aside. Wash shrimp, pat dry with a paper towel. Dredge shrimp in the flour, then the egg mixture and then the breadcrumbs. Place coated shrimp into hot oil. Cook 1-2 minutes or until golden brown. Repeat until all shrimp are cooked. Serve hot with cocktail sauce.

Julie~

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Root Beer Float Pancakes

When I was a kid I LOVED root beer, the soda's, the floats, the root beer barrell candies, the
salt water taffy, the popsicles....all of it! NOW being a grown up, the love for root beer still exists...so the thought of "ROOT BEER PANCAKES" was a dream come true because NOW we can serve
root beer for breakfast and its OKAY!!! My daughter bit into these fabulous pancakes and said 
she felt like she was eating a root beer float...from a malt shop! They are the perfect new recipe
to shake up your breakfast menu!

Root  Beer Float Pancakes
2 c. flour
1/4 c. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 1/2 c. root beer
2 eggs
1/4 c. melted butter
1 t. vanilla

Combine all dry ingredient in a bowl, whisk together. Add root beer, eggs, butter and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Cook on a hot, greased griddle. Brown on each side and serve with Root Beer Whipped Topping (recipe included below) and maple syrup. 

Root Beer Whipped Topping

1 c. heavy cream
1 t. root beer extract
4 T. powdered sugar

Pour cream into a mixing bowl and mix on high until peaks form. Add root beer extract and sugar and whip until combined. Serve with root beer pancakes. 

Julie~