Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Greek Chicken Pitas

Last week Tracy had a Pampered Chef party and she raved about the Greek chicken pitas that they made. They had used the Pampered Chef Greek Rub and the Large Baker and cooked the chicken in the microwave. It sounded so yummy, but since I had neither the large baker or Greek rub, I set out on a mission to find an alternative way to make this dish.

I figured I could just use my corningware dish in the microwave. It's microwave safe and large enough to hold a few chicken breasts. I also figured I'd make a Greek rub with some fresh herbs and lemon, that way there's no sugar or food starch (both ingredients in the prepared version).

Greek Rub
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
- 1Tbsp. Chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- 1/2 Tbsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper

Mix all ingredients together. I am only cooking this for me and my husband, so I just made 1 1/2 chicken breasts, you may want to double.
Place your chicken breasts in your dish and spread the rub evenly over each piece. Let it marinate in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or longer. Set your microwave oven to 50% power and cook for 20 minutes or until internal temp is 165 degrees.

While the chicken is cooking, go ahead and prepare the tzatziki sauce. 

Tzatziki Sauce
- 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup low fat sour cream
- 1/2 cucumber, seeded but not peeled
- 1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tsp. dill weed
- 1 tsp. vinegar
- 1 tsp. Kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Store in fridge until ready to serve.

When chicken is fully cooked, cut/ shred with kitchen scissors or a knife. Warm whole wheat pita pockets in an oven until they are warm with a slight crisp. Serve chicken in pitas with sauce, feta cheese, red onions and tomatoes, or whatever toppings you like:)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cajun Brown Rice

Eating healthy doesn't have to be boring! This yummy Cajun rice will add some Cajun flavor to your healthy eating habits.

I wanna first start off by saying, I just made this with what I had in my kitchen. If I had the choice, I would have added green and red bell pepper, but I didn't. Feel free to add in 1/4 cup of those diced peppers. I also used vegetable bouillon because I didn't have vegetable stock, and I only had a cup of chicken broth, so I made due with what I had. Feel free to throw in some of what you got and make it your own!

-1/3 cup diced red onion
-1/2 tsp minced garlic
-1 cup chicken broth and 3 cups water (you need 4 cups of liquid, however you mix it up)
- 1 1/2cube of vegetable bouillon
-2 cups brown rice
-1 tsp Cajun seasoning
-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper

Soften the onions in a little bit of oil or butter in a large skillet for about 10 minites. Add garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Then add broth, water and bouillon. Bring to a boil, then add the rest of the ingredients.  Reduce heat to medium and cook 10 minutes or until rice Is soft and most of the liquid is absorbed.

Tonight we served with turkey smoked sausage, but you could easily serve with browned ground turkey and cooked chicken.

Monday, July 29, 2013

BBQ Rub for Slow Cooker Chicken

  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Mustard
  • A Couple Dashes of Cayenne Pepper
  • 4-5 lb Whole Chicken
Combine all ingredients, except chicken, in a small bowl.  Mix spices together to make it easier to evenly distribute them.  Clean and rinse inside of chicken.  Pat dry with a paper towel.  Cover with spice mixture and you can even put some inside the chicken.  Place chicken in slow cooker.  Add about a cup of water to the bottom of the slow cooker.

Cook on HIGH for about 4 hours or low for about 6 hours or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

I served with Fried Noodles and Steamed Broccoli.

I can get two meals out of this chicken, I will use the leftovers to make BBQ Chicken Wraps

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Fun with Fossils

My boys love to help cook and they love to get dirty so this was the perfect project for them to help me with.  Plus it was nice to have a few extra hands to help me!

  • 1/2 Cup Sand
  • 1/2 Cup Used Coffee Grounds
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1 Cup Flour
Combine all ingredients except water
Slowly add water until thick dough forms.
Now it's time to get our your DINOSAURS!
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.  With a spoon, scoop out about a golf ball sized amount on to an ungreased baking sheet.  I used the bottom of a glass to flatten them out.  The dough will be sticky.  
Use the plastic Dino feet to make imprints in the dough
Bake for about 25 minutes.  Using a metal spatula, flip them over and bake for another 5-10 minutes to dry out the bottom.

For other Dinosaur themed projects and party ideas check out the links below
Dino-Mite Party

Fossil Cookies

Dinosaur Eggs

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Banana Blueberry Bread

Banana bread is DEFINITELY a favorite around here.  Sometimes I even throw is chocolate chips.  My go to recipe isn't exactly healthy so I needed to put a little spin on it.  

Bananas are always on my grocery list, sometimes my kiddos eat one every day and sometimes they will go almost a week with out one.  Having very ripe bananas is the perfect excuse to make a yummy loaf of bread!

  • 2 Ripe Bananas (about a cup mashed)
  • 3/4 Cup Blueberries
  • 1 1/2 Cups Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 3 TablespoonsVegetable Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Quick Oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
Preheat oven to 350 Degrees.  In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar.  
Take 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture and toss with the blueberries to coat them.
In separate bowl, beat the eggs.  Add in mashed banana and vegetable oil.
Pour into flour mixture and mix until well combined.
Pour half of mixture into greased loaf pan.  Layer on blueberries.  Then pour on remaining batter.
Sprinkle top with 1 tablespoon of brown sugar.
Bake for 50 minutes.  Serve warm or cool and store covered

Maple Herb Pork Tenderloin

I thought taking on the challenge of no oven for a week might be pretty difficult, but we are doing pretty well with it.  A few weeks ago, I attended a Pampered Chef party and one of the items that I purchased was the Maple Herb Rub.  As soon as I smelled it I knew that it would be perfect on pork.  It was delicious!  Next I plan on using it on pork chops cooked on the grill.  

Serves 6-8

Trim the fat from the pork tenderloin. Drizzle a little olive oil on the pork and sprinkle all sides of the tenderloin with the Maple Herb seasoning.  Place in slow cooker with water at the bottom.

Cook on low for about 5 hours. Slice and serve

I served with Slow Cooker Fresh Green Beans and Better than Rice A Roni (and healthier) Rice Pilaf

Make sure you check out my friend Pamela's Pamper Chef Specials

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Jalepeno Popper Dip

Recently I was at a party and the hostess made this dip, for days my friends and I talked about how delicious it was.  I LOVE the spicy, cheesy, deliciousness of it! I made it for a party we recently had and everyone asked me for the recipe.
**When I made this one I accidentally forgot the top 1/4 cup of cheddar.  Ooops.  It was still delicious, but the top would have been a little prettier with a little more cheese.  Plus who doesn't love MORE cheese!

  • 8 oz Cream Cheese (I used 1/3 less fat, but don't use fat free it won't melt)
  • 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1/2 + 1/4 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1- 4 oz can of Sliced Jalepeno Peppers (drained)
  • 1 Tablespoon Diced Fresh Jalepeno or more for more spice (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.  In a medium mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, and jalepenos.  Mix with electric hand mixer.  Don't worry about the canned jalepenos being to big, they will come apart and mix in with everything.  Place dip mixture in 8x8 baking dish.  Sprinkle on Panko bread crumbs and remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup of Cheddar.  Bake for 20 minutes.

I actually made mine ahead of time and placed it in the refrigerator until I was ready to bake it.  Since mine was really cold and straight out of the fridge it took closer to 27 minutes.

Serve hot with bagel chips, tortilla chips, or crackers.  

Baked Potatoes on the Grill

These are quick and easy baked potatoes.  I know I said that I was going to make this meal entirely on the grill, but I decided to take a short cut and use the microwave for a few minutes.  Our evenings are so busy and I figured no one would mind if I saved a few minutes.  

  • 4 Potatoes
  • Sea Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive Oil
Wash the outsides of the potatoes.  Dry them off.  Pierce each potato multiple times with a fork.  Brush the skins with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.  Place potatoes on a plate and microwave for 6-8 minutes (depending on size) turning halfway through.  This step can be eliminated and they can cook all the way through on the grill, but it takes a very long time.  So to speed up the process I cooked them a little more than halfway in the microwave and finished them on the grill.
 Place on grill and cook for additional 12-14 minutes turning throughout.

We are going camping this weekend and I plan on making these potatoes for sure!

Garlic Balsamic Flank Steak

This week I have accepted the challenge of not using my oven.  I had to rework my menu just a little bit (don't worry I will get to those recipes soon) but I think you will be happy with the choices.  This meal was cooked entirely on the grill.  Which means two things 1.  NO pots and pans and 2. I got a little help at the grill.  Both of which I am extremely appreciative of!

  • 1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
  • 4 teaspoons Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, minced
  • Sea Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1.75 lbs Flank Steak
Serves 6
In a small bowl combine all ingredients except pepper and flank steak and mix well. Sprinkle each side of the steak with black pepper.  Pour marinade mixture over steak and turn to coat.  With a sharp knife pierce steak to allow marinade inside.  Marinate steak in fridge for about an hour turning half way through.
 Grill to desired temperature.  I cooked ours to about medium.
Remove from grill, cover with foil and allow steak to rest for about 10 minutes.  The meat will continue to cook just a little and will absorb all the yummy juices.
Slice steak against the grain and serve.  Make sure you cut it the correct direction or meat may be tough.   The center will be slightly less done the the ends.  This is perfect for our family because some of us like medium and other medium well.   

I served this with Grilled Baked Potatoes and Grilled Corn on the Cob with Basil Sea Salt Butter

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Basil Sea Salt Butter

 I like to enjoy corn on the cob often during the season because I think it can give any dinner a summer twist.  I have made corn on the cob in the oven, on the stove, on a campfire, and on the grill.  Making it on the grill is SUPER easy and it eliminates all pots and pans!

  • 6 Ears of Corn on the Cob
  • 2 Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 4 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • Sea Salt to taste
Serves 6

Combine butter, lemon juice, basil leaves, and sea salt in small food processor.  Pulse until well combined. This works better if the butter is a LITTLE soft.  Then use a small rubber spatula to form into a log. I usually place it on a piece of plastic wrap and stick it in the freezer for a couple of minutes to harden it a little and make it easier to form.  Then I place it in fridge until I am ready to use it.  When it is cold it is easy to slice and place on top of corn.  
Soak the corn in the husks in cold water for about 15-20 minutes.  This will keep the moisture in the corn and keep the husks from burning.  
Place corn on the grill with the rest of your delicious dinner. Rotate the corn often.  Cook for about 15 minutes.  Carefully remove husks from cob, they will be HOT!
Serve immediately with the Basil Sea Salt Butter

Monday, July 15, 2013

Magical Moms July Menu

I don't know about you, but I have been having a harder time planning my meals, I don't know if it is because it has been so HOT here or what!  I tried to place lots of easy things that can be done on the grill or slow cooker to keep the oven OFF!  Today it is going to be 100 degrees!  Maybe I will just cook on the side walk!  I know I want to spend as much time as I can at the pool or being adventurous with the kids.  Hopefully this menu will have it all planned out for you so you can spend some more quality time with your family!

*Recipe Coming Soon



*Bang Bang Chicken, Sweet Pepper Pilaf


*Apple Pork Tenderloin, Sweet Creamed Corn

*Sweet and Sour Chicken

*Chili Cheese Coneys

Steak Oscar with Steamed Asparagus, *Loaded Baked Potato Casserole

Sausage and Pepper Pasta, Cucumber Salad

*Lemon Bruchetta Chicken
*Grilled Shrimp and veggies
*Steak and Rice Roll Ups, *BLT Wedge Salad

*Pan Seared Scallops with Bacon Butter Sauce, Spinach, Garlic Quinoa and Brown Rice
Creamy Mushroom Angel Pasta, Spinach Salad
Mushroom Swiss Burgers, garlic french fries

Blueberry Blitz Lemonade

For the birthday party I made a GIANT pitcher of lemonade.  It wasn't really a pitcher, it was more like one of those GIANT Gatorade things that you see them dump over the coach's head at a football game.  Anyways I had LOTS of lemonade.  I figured the adults at the party would appreciate a nice drinks as well.  So in a SEPARATE pitcher I made an ADULT version.  I actually had to refill the adult pitcher 4 times because it was SO good!

  • 48 ounces of Lemonade
  • 8 ounces Blueberry Vodka ( I used Stolichnaya Blueberry)
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Blueberries
  • 1 Lemon Sliced
Mix lemonade and vodka in pitcher.  Add blueberries and lemon slices.  Serve over ice.  Garnish with additional lemon wedge and a couple of blueberries.  Then go sit by the pool and ENJOY!

Cheesy Chicken Quesadilla

These quesadillas are so easy it is hard to even call this a recipe.  I either use chicken that I cooked earlier in the week or boil the chicken and dice it.  Either way it is pretty darn simple.  A few years ago, together with a group of friends we decided to do Once A Month Cooking.  It was then that I learned that I could cook chicken a head of time and shred, cube, or cut into strips and have it ready to throw into recipes.  Quesadillas, Chicken Wraps, and Casseroles.  One day I will dig into those recipes because we came up with lots of good ones.  Having the chicken already cooked drastically shortens the amount of time it takes to make this delicious dinner.  

  • 2 Boneless Chicken Breasts (cooked and cut into small cubes)
  • 2 Cups of Mexican Blend Cheese
  • 1/3 Cup of your favorite Salsa
  • 1/2 Cup of Corn
  • Tortilla Shells
  • Butter
  • Shredded Lettuce
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Sour Cream
In a large skillet, combine chicken, salsa, and corn.  Mix together and cook until heated through.  

 Once the mixture is hot, heat a different skillet.  Lightly butter one side of one of the tortillas and place it butter side down in the skillet.  Next, layer on the chicken and cheese.  Then lightly butter one side of another tortilla and place butter side up on top of the cheese.  Cook until lightly browned and slightly crisp. Flip and brown other side.
 Cut into quarters with pizza cutter and top with lettuce, tomato, and sour cream.

This recipe was featured on the Magical Moms' July Menu.  Be sure to check out all of our monthly menus

Lots of AMAZING recipes on the Magical Moms' June MenuMarvelous May MenuAppetizing April Menu, and March Madness Menu.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Summer Sangria

Our summer days are filled with TONS of fun activities.  My boys wear me out!!  In the evenings, it's nice to relax with a glass of wine, but it's even better when I can pretend it's healthy because it has fruit in it:)


  • 1 Bottle Pinot Grigio (chilled)
  • 1 Cup of Sliced Strawberries
  • A handful of Grapes
  • 3/4 Cup Fresh Pineapple (bite size pieces)
  • 1 Peach (sliced)
Combine all ingredients in pitcher and refrigerate until ready to use.  

Friday, July 12, 2013

Nathan's DINO-MITE Birthday!

ROAR!!! Nathan is FOUR!!!  Planning birthday parties for my boys is fun and it gives me time to reflect on how much they have grown in the past year.  I feel like 3-4 was a huge change.  Nathan became so much more independent.  I want to keep him little forever, but time flies so I must make the most of every single moment.  

To make the cupcake toppers I simply used some dinosaur stickers, card stock, paper punches, glue, and toothpicks.  First cut the paper shapes.  Then glue the toothpick between the two pieces of card stock.  Last put the sticker on one side and insert them into cupcakes.

We welcomed our guests with GIANT dinosaur tracks that led to the door and inside to the party. 


We had purchased some new patio furniture a few weeks before, so I had lots of card board to work with.  With a couple bottles of acrylic paint (two colors of green and 1 brown) I was able to create some foot prints (both big and small) and a couple of dinosaurs to decorate with.  You could also use brown wrapping paper or paper bags.  Both of those would be much easier to cut out compared to the cardboard.  The cardboard was very durable, but my hand was a little sore after.


In addition to using as floor and wall decoration, you could use the footprints as place mats.
 I got out some green sand buckets and some other random green serving bowls/platters.  They were perfect for our snacks of goldfish, pretzels, cheese cubes, grapes, dinosaur chicken nuggets, and of course cupcakes!
 While painting the cardboard, I also painted the kiddos names and dino prints on brown lunch bags.  The goody bags each had a Dinosaur Egg and some Fossil Cookies to take home.
 Check out how to make the Dinosaur Eggs HERE
 A simple "Happy Birthday" banner and some green and yellow crepe paper completed the decorations.
 The plastic dinosaurs of the boys, and the fossils we made added a little more decoration to the table.
 Click HERE to see how the Boys and I made the Fossils
The Birthday Party was a HUGE success and EVERYONE had a great time, 
especially the BIRTHDAY BOY!

And here's the invitation we sent out. You can purchase it in our Etsy shop here.