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Category Archives: Fruits & Nuts

Greek Marinated Chicken Kabobs & Grilled Apples

A couple of weeks ago my husband made the trek, or should I say flight, from South Florida to California so that he could be a there for his brother Matt and his new bride Cassie’s big day. Regretfully, the children and I couldn’t make it to California. The sheer thought of traveling across the country with the two toddlers makes my brain hurt, for such a short trip anyways. Hopefully we will make it out there in a few years. So, we made the best of the “wishing we were there situation, “and the absence of Rick, as he is rarely away. We shopped a little but mostly we spent our time hanging out at home. The NFL pre-season kicked off the night he departed, so we watched plenty of football, ate ample amounts of hummus and veggies, and watched more football while we swam in the pool. [TV by the pool is stellar, at least during football season :)] Anyhow. The bottom line is we had a weekend of Mother-Kiddo bonding time. However, I must admit that I was guilty of a little jealousy each time I spoke with Rick. There wasn’t a single conversation that we had that he didn’t tell me about something  ~ Wonderful ~ he had eaten that day, even a chicken dish, and he isn’t a fan of chicken. Now, this is the same man who usually cannot tell you what he had for dinner the night before, he eats for survival purposes alone. So, to hear him go on about the scrumptious food, made my foodie brain kick into overdrive. I was going to come up with something great tasting, healthy and different from my usual rotation of chicken dinners. I am not being boastful, but I did it! This Greek inspired marinade is delicious and would work well on anything chicken, beef, pork, lamb, fish, shellfish, vegetables, you could even use it as a spread or dipping sauce for bread (or pitas).

I decided to use the marinade on chicken, make it into kabobs, and put them outside on the grill where we spent the evening dining “Al Fresco”. Everything we ate that night was cooked on the grill, even the desert of grilled cinnamon apples. I apologize for the lack of a single picture of the finished “Grilled Apple” dish. My four little one’s had them devoured within 2 minutes, literally, even eating my portion! In other words they were spectacular, they didn’t even wait for the vanilla ice cream that I had intended to serve with them.

Congratulations on the ‘I Do” Cassie and Matt! The kids and I wish we could have been there.

Now on with the recipe:

Greek Marinated Chicken Kabobs:

 This recipe is enough for two-three pounds of boneless skinless chicken breast.

– 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

– 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

– zest from one lemon (two if you like more zing)

– 1/4 cup Dijon mustard

– 4-5 cloves of garlic minced

– 2 Tablespoons dried oregano

– 2 Tablespoons dried parsley

– 1 Tablespoons dried rosemary

– 1 Tablespoon dried thyme

–  Coarse Sea Salt and Black Pepper to taste

– 2-3 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1″ cubes

– 2 zucchini squash sliced into 1″ thick slices

– 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1″ squares

– 1 large sweet onion, halved and each half cut into thirds, try to keep sections intact this makes the assembly of the kabobs easier.

Directions:

– Place all ingredients, except the chicken and vegetables, into a gallon size ziptop bag. Seal the bag and then shake it around to mix it all together.

– Add the chicken to the marinade. Allow to soak up the flavors for 6-24 hours (in the refrigerator)

– Assemble the kabobs, alternating chicken and vegetables. If using bamboo skewers remember to soak in water for 30 minutes.

– Place skewers on hot (375 degrees or so) grill for about 7-8 minutes per side. Turning twice, for a total of 14-16 minutes or until done. If you have excess marinade brush onto kabobs while on the grill.

Grilled Apples

– Cut desired numbered of apples in half and remove core and seeds.

– Brush cut side of apple with melted butter.

– Sprinkle cinnamon and brown sugar on top of melted butter.

– Place on hot grill, skin side down, close lid and allow to cook for about 15-20 minutes.

 

Blueberry Pancakes

I find great joy in waking up early and making breakfast for my family. Maybe it is because my children have yet to reach full-throttle mode! One by one, they find their way to the kitchen and plop down in a bar stool. They sit watchfully, with sleepy eyes as I cook up their morning meal. As I zip around the kitchen cooking (and sipping coffee) we start chatting, and that is what I love so much! I cherish the small talk and easy conversation we share in the mornings. I think this is when we actually catch up with what is going on in each others lives. These conversations are incredibly important to me. So… moving on to the pancakes 🙂 I have been making these for quite some time now and they have remained my kids favorite. The recipe was submitted by Kris to allrecipes.com  I tweaked the recipe a bit to suit our tastes. If you are not a fan of blueberries you can simply leave them out, the rest of the recipe will stay the same. I serve these pancakes with chicken, apple and maple sausage; they make a perfect pair!

On that note, get up early and go make breakfast for your family. It will feed your soul and your belly!

Blueberry Pancakes

Ingredients

  •                     1-1/2 cups milk
  •                     1/4 cup white vinegar
  •                     2  cups all-purpose flour
  •                     1/4 cup white sugar
  •                     2 teaspoons baking powder
  •                     1 teaspoon baking soda
  •                     1 teaspoon salt
  •                     2 eggs
  •                     1/4 cup butter, melted
  •                     1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  •                     cooking spray

Directions

  • Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to “sour”.
  • Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg and butter into “soured” milk. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.
  •  Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, drop 5-8 bluberries onto each pancake, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.   *Only flip pancakes once while cooking.

 

 

 

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Spiced Pumpkin Bread

I hope everyone is enjoying the kickoff to this Fall season! I know the miniscule drop in the  humidity has made a noticeable difference here in SW Florida. There still are not any weather predictions that would call for a jacket (or even sweater for that matter) however,  I am wishful that cooler temps are soon to come. Fall is probably the most welcomed seasoned of all for me. After the long, hot summer days and nights that bring along with it stifling heat that will literally take your breath away and humidity that makes you feel as if you are living in a giant sauna, the cool air and drop in humidity are as anxiously awaited here in the south. I am sure the warmth of the summer months are as embraced in the north as the fall and winter are in the south. One of these years I am going to spend Autumn somewhere that the leaves change colors! Several years ago I was able to spend two and a half days in Indiana (for the Patriots – Colts game) during November, and I fell in love with the leaves. I know that is probably quite goofy to those of you who live somewhere that actually has seasons. You might even think of the leaves as a chore, I hear you have to rake and bag them all up…

So any ways, I am trying to bring as much of the season into our home with pumpkin, winter squash and apples in as many of our meals and snacks as I can. This is a bread that I have been making since 2001 and, I plan on making it until I am not longer capable. Back then I worked in a small office. It was just the couple who owned the business and myself in a small room. Our desks practically touched. Debbie, the lady I worked for, came walking in the Wednesday morning before Thanksgiving break bearing these littles loaves of bread, all wrapped up nicely as a gift. If I recall correctly, she gave me four. One for me, one for my parents, and one for each of my girls. Embarrassingly, I think I left that day with only one loaf. I could not stop eating this bread. It is so unbelievably delicious! I must have made really big impression on her, with my bread consumption. The following month I received a cookbook (Gulfshore Delights, 1984) from her for Christmas. On the inside cover she had jotted me a note that read, “This has the recipe for pumpkin bread – plus many other dishes I think you will enjoy. There is even a recipe in this book I submitted. Can you guess which one? I bought two of these books many years ago and I saved it for just the right person. Forever, Deb”  How sweet! I never actually found out if her recipe was the pumpkin bread, but it must be right?

Treat yourself, and someone else for that matter, and make this bread. It isn’t in any way spicy, just bursting full of flavor! And, it is a one bowl bread recipe! That means it is super easy to throw together and just as simple to clean up. I baked it in 4 mini loaf pans this go-round just adjust your baking time accordingly, until a toothpick comes out clean. I filled each pan with one cup of batter. For two of the loaves I sprinkled chopped walnuts on the top before baking. That is strictly a matter of preference. I like that crunch that the nuts add to the bread.

Spicy Pumpkin Bread

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1 2/3 cup sifted all-purpose flour (I have made this bread several times in a hurry without sifting and it turned out great, but if you have time sift. It produces a lighter more consistent bread)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix all ingredients. Pour into a greased 5×9″ loaf pan. Bake 1 1/2 hours. For four mini loaf pans and bake for about 35 – 40 minutes.
 
 

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Slow Cooker Pulled Pork & Citrus Slaw Sandwich’s

As I was looking through my previous posts I realized that I must be on some sort of pasta or chicken kick. I do love both pasta and chicken, but we eat so much more. So I must share with you some of the things we eat on a regular basis. Pulled pork is a staple here at our home. When I discovered how easy is was to throw in the slow cooker and how scrumptious the results were, it became a regular on our menu. I might have made this too many times last year. It was the main course at all of the birthday party’s in which I was the hostess. This pork is easily prepared, cooked and pulled ahead of time, the slaw is just as easy. Therefore, this is a great dish to prepare when you are expecting a crowd or contributing to a potluck.

For some of you the idea of putting cole slaw on your Bar-B-Que sandwich is nothing short of absurd. Let me enlighten you, I can recall the first time I saw this odd combination on a menu (many, many moons ago). I ordered the pork, sans the slaw. There was NO WAY I wanted to ruin my lunch that way. It was several years later before I actually tried cole slaw on my pork sandwich, and that was all she wrote. I was hooked, and to this day if I am eating a pulled pork sandwich you had better believe there is slaw of some sort on it. There is something wonderful about the  crunch, creaminess, and sweetness that the slaw adds, and how it  pairs up with the spicy bar-b-que (if you like the heat) sauce and meatiness of the sandwich. This is one of my all-time top 5 sandwiches.

On a totally different note. It has been brought to my attention that I need to include serving sizes, in my recipes. I will make a huge attempt to include as much information as I can. Again, the whole measuring thing is anything but my thing. But, I will try 🙂 Also, I always try to make my recipes so that you can easily double or divide the amounts. If the cooking/baking time requires adjustment, I will add that as well. I know that some of you are cooking for 1 or 2 and some are cooking for 6-8, so I am trying to accommodate everyone!

Below are the instructions on the meat and slaw. Once everything is prepared. Pile the pork onto a fresh bun, top the meat with your favorite sauce, mine is Stubbs’s Spicy, and then finish with the slaw! Good vittles!

Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork

Serves 8-10

  • 7 lbs. Boston Butt bone-in (I get two 3 to 3 1/2 lbs. pieces of meat)
  • 2 Tablespoons Lawry’s Seasoned Salt or Everglades Seasoning
  • 4 cups water
  • 8 split buns

Directions

  • Rub seasoning into meat
  • Place meat into slow-cooker, the side with the most fat should face up.
  • Add water, cover and cook on high for about 5 hours.
  • Move meat into a large pan. Remove bone and large pieces of fat. I don’t shred the meat because I prefer the large chunks of meat. If you like use two forks or a pair of tongs and pull meat apart.

Citrus Slaw

  •  1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 celery seed
  • generous 1/2 cup of light canola mayo
  • 1/3 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 black pepper
  • 16 oz. shredded coleslaw mix (with red cabbage & carrots)
  • 3/4 cup mandarin oranges
  • 1 Tablespoon juice from mandarin oranges

Directions

  •  In a large sealable container, whisk together all ingredients except slaw mix and oranges.
  •  Add cabbage mix, toss well.
  •  Gently fold in oranges.
  •  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

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Pumpkin Scones

Something rare happened today. I was able to get out of the house for a few hours without any children! This might sound like a common thing to most of you, but I assure you, it was BIG for me. I almost always have my at least two of my youngin’s with me, which I wouldn’t change for anything. However, it is quite nice to have a break every once in a while and actually have adult conversation without my babies needing me.

My morning started off at Starbuck’s where I met my sister and a friend (and my next must-try, must-share food). As I stood in line waiting to order, my attention was drawn to the pumpkin section in the baked goods display case. There was pumpkin bread and pumpkin scones. Both looked delicious but I couldn’t pass on the scone, it was too tempting. Covered in a sugary glaze and drizzled with a spiced version of the icing, I just couldn’t resist. Afterall, this was a special occasion, which is how I convinced myself to splurge on the high-calorie treat. It was just as delightful to eat as it was to look at. I don’t have scones very often, this one was more moist than what I expected, which is a good thing. The icing provided just enough sweetness without overpowering the flavor of the pumpkin. It was the perfect scone in my book!  I am sure for those of you who have had one, you know and agree. My mind was made right there, I had to come home and try to recreate this breakfast/brunch biscuit.

In the past I have thought about trying to bake scones, but until now I have avoided making them. For some reason I think I was intimidated by them. I am not much of a baker, the whole measuring thing gets me.

I found a recipe at http://www.momswhothink.com and let me tell you these mom’s know what they are doing because the scones turned out to be phenomenal. The taste and texture are spot on. Don’t wait to try these fabulous Fall treats! I am excited to venture off into experimenting with different flavors of these British breads, I am thinking the possibilities are endless!

I followed the directions just as they were written except when I was cutting the first rectangle of dough into triangles. I was confused and instead of cutting it in half I cut it into thirds. I think I prefer the thirds or mabe even quarters instead of halves. The recipe says it makes 6 scones, but they are 6 large (too large for me) scones. I could easily get 9-12 out of one batch. If you do this you probably will need to adjust the bake time by a couple of minutes.

Starbuck’s Pumpkin Scones

Scones Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
7 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon baking
powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon
ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

6 Tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
3 Tablespoons
half-and-half
1 large egg

Sugar Glaze Ingredients:

1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons whole
milk

Spiced Glaze Ingredients:

1 cup powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons whole
milk
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pinch
ginger
1 pinch ground cloves

Scones Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Lightly grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.

3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large mixing
bowl.

4. With a fork, pastry knife, or food processor, cut butter into the dry
ingredients until mixture is crumbly and no chunks of butter remain. Set
aside.

5. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk pumpkin, half and half, and egg.

6. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Form the dough into a ball.

7. Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 1-inch
thick rectangle (about 9 inches long and 3 inches wide).

8. Use a large knife to slice the dough into three equal portions. Cut
diagonally to produce 6 triangular slices of dough.

9. Place on prepared baking sheet from step 2.

10. Bake for 14–16 minutes until scones turn light brown.

11. Place on wire rack to cool.

Sugar Glaze Directions:

1. Mix the powdered sugar and 2 Tablespoon milk together until smooth.

2. Brush glaze over the top of each cooled scone.

Spiced Glaze Directions:

1. As sugar glaze firms, combine the spiced icing ingredients.

2. Use whisk to drizzle over each scone and allow to dry before serving.

Makes 6 pumpkin scones.

This recipe was adapted from www.momswhothink.com

 

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Banana Blueberry Muffins

As a child growing up, I can still remember waking up to the smell of blueberry muffins baking away in the kitchen. It was definitely one of my favorites! I must admit, I always made an attempt to choose the one with the most berries, before my sisters had an opportunity to. Oh those were the simple times…

There are several foods in our home that do not know seasons. Blueberry’s and bananas are two of them. You will find these scrumptious fruits in my kitchen everyday of the year. I always try to keep both, bananas and blueberries, in the freezer for my kiddos, who love to make smoothies with them. Meanwhile, I like to keep them on hand for mid-morning muffins and quick breads. Who doesn’t like to indulge in a sweet, delicious muffin full of fruit, when it is still warm from the oven? I know that I cannot resist!

For many, many years now I have used the same recipe for my banana muffins. All of the variations to the muffin are just that, an addition to my trusty recipe. This is a recipe that is worthy of change. I do believe I have a new banana muffin recipe that will replace my old staple. I have yet to try switching up the blueberries with the various other combinations such as chocolate chips, pecans, walnuts, etc… but I do belive that this recipe will be just as adaptable as my ol’ faithful.

I discovered this recipe online while checking out other blogs,and it called my name. The origin of these must-try muffins comes from a hotel in Washington, The Weinhard Hotel and was shared by the ladies from http://www.fullforkahead.com/  take a moment to check out their wonderful dishes!

  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 6 ripe bananas
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 12-count muffin pans with liners or spray with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Whisk or stir in the eggs, butter and vanilla. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to the wet ingredients and stir till combined, making sure all flour on the bottom of the bowl gets incorporated.

This batter is thick, do not overmix. You will end up with tough muffins 🙂

Fold in the frozen blueberries (yes, make sure they stay frozen, it helps them to not settle to the bottom of the muffin well). Spoon enough batter into each muffin well to fill it just to the top. Bake for 30 minutes or until starting to turn golden brown. Place pan on a rack till muffins are cool enough to handle, then remove them to cool further. Serve warm with a small pat of butter, enjoy with your coffee or however you prefer.

This recipe was adapted from www.fullforkahead.com and originally from The Weinhard Hotel.

 

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Granny Smith’s White Cheddar Chicken Burger

Happy Labor Day to all of you hard workers out there! I hope everyone is enjoying their day, eating some delicious food and staying safe! Remember to take a moment and show some gratitude to those in your life who work diligently, day in and day out.

This year instead of grilling the usual beef hamburgers, I decided to put a twist to my Labor Day menu. When you first look at the combination of ingredients you might wonder what I was thinking when I put this together. This is not your everyday burger, it is much better. This sandwich provides a healthy and fresh approach to an old classic. The meaty chicken burger is savory and sweet, with loads of flavor. When you add the tart and crisp apple, sweet raspberry sauce, sharp white cheddar cheese and the bite that the grainy-horseradish mustard brings to the sandwich, you have burger bliss!

For my fellow football lovers, this is a big week with the regular season starting Thursday!! I am working on some recipes that will be perfect for munching on while watching the games 🙂 What are your favorite foods to eat while watching your favorite sport?

Granny Smith’s White Cheddar Chicken Burger

Ingredients

2 lbs. ground chicken breasts

4 scallions finely chopped, white & green parts

2 teaspoons dried parsley

1 tablespoon grill seasoning (I recommend Weber Gourmet Burger Seasoning or McCormick Spicy Montreal Grill Mates)

1 tablespoon poultry seasoning (McCormick Montreal Chicken)

1 tablespoon canola mayo (or whatever you use)

olive oil for drizzling pan or wiping grill

1 granny smith apple cut into 8 pieces

4 slices Vermont white cheddar

1/4 cup seedless red raspberry spreadable fruit

2-4 tablespoons deli-syle mustard with horseradish

4 onion kaiser rolls

4 romaine lettuce leaves

Directions

Combine the chicken, scallions, seasonings, and mayo. Form into four equal sized patties and put into the refrigerator until ready to cook.

Heat  a large skillet over medium high heat, when skillet is hot drizzle with olive oil and add the burgers and reduce heat to medium. Cook 6-8 minutes per side, only flipping once. Since this is chicken and not beef check the temperature to ensure doneness, the center of the patty should reach 165 F.

Top burgers with  2 apple slices and cheddar cheese and cover until the cheese is melted.

Spread mustard on buns, add lettuce and burgers, top with the raspberry sauce. Enjoy!

* If you prefer turkey instead of chicken you could swap out the meat and cranberry sauce for the raspberry 🙂

 

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