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Category Archives: Quick & Easy

Homemade Cinnamon Coffee Creamer

I was having coffee at a neighbors house one day when I was served up something completely new (to me at least) and totally unexpected. My neighbor’s husband had just returned from a trip to visit family in Mexico and he brought back some cinnamon coffee! I had never tried anything like it. It was a subtle flavor change but it was just somehow so warming and so rich that I proceeded to invite myself over for coffee nearly every day that week to have more! 😉

This recipe is for a cinnamon flavored coffee creamer, not straight coffee itself, but it does a good job of replicating the warmth and taste I experienced without grinding up a stick of cinnamon and sprinkling it into your mug. I have to say, off all my creamer recipes – this one was BY FAR the hardest for me to come up with. You’ll notice that I use cinnamon extract and not powdered cinnamon or a grated cinnamon stick. Did you know that cinnamon doesn’t dissolve? I mean, EVER dissolve? If you make the recipe with the actual ground cinnamon, all the grounds float on top of your creamer batch. You can shake the batch to disperse the cinnamon but even then once it’s in your mug the cinnamon floats on top of your coffee and you get a few mouth-burning-ultra-cinnamon-y gulps and that’s about all. Basically, what it all comes down to is that no matter how much I wanted to use a more conventional cinnamon, we really do need to pick up an extract for this recipe to work.

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Ingredients:
1/2 can of Sweetened Condensed Milk (save the other half in the fridge for your next batch of creamer!)
1 cup Milk (I used 2% because that’s what we have in-house)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 TBSP Cinnamon Extract

Directions:
1. Combine all of the above ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Mix together really well, you don’t want the condensed milk to be a dense sludge on the bottom. Get your whisk out and give yourself a quick workout!
3. Pour it into any sort of container you like and store it in the fridge. It will stay fresh as long as the milk you added hasn’t met its expiration date yet.
4. Enjoy!

If you like this recipe, you may like:

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‘Bailey’s’ Irish Coffee Creamer

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Peppermint Mocha Coffee Creamer

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Homemade Salted Caramel Coffee Creamer

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Homemade “French Vanilla” Coffee Creamer

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Mediterranean Chicken

I love chicken legs. They’re always cheaply priced at the store, there’s a bazillion ways to flavor and cook them, and it seems almost everyone loves them!  Fried, baked, grilled, marinated. Yum.

We call this recipe our Mediterranean Chicken, but to tell the truth I have no idea exactly how ‘Mediterranean’ it really is. The difference in this dish is that we marinate the chicken legs in yogurt for a few hours before cooking – have you ever tried that before? There’s something about yogurt that completely changes the texture and feel of a meat when you use it as a marinade. If you’ve never tried it before, give it a go! It is a great way to get incredibly moist meat – just be careful not to over-marinate or the flavor gets a little off.

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Mediterranean Chicken
Ingredients:
1 package Chicken Legs
1 cup Greek Yogurt
1 TBSP Paprika
2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp Kosher Salt

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, stir together yogurt, paprika, olive oil, and salt. Add the chicken legs to the bowl and turn to coat each leg evenly with the mixture.
2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 8 hours.
3. Bake at 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes or until the skin is crispy and meat is cooked through.
4. Enjoy!

 
 

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Hearty Chicken and Vegetable Soup

This is my first ever ‘guest recipe’ post!  Today’s recipe comes from a good friend of mine that always makes sure to go above and beyond for her children and family. One of her little ones needed some extra special care earlier this week and she went so far above-and-beyond, that she surprised even herself and made her best ever soup! She has been kind enough to share the recipe with us too, so with no further ado…..Here’s Jessica K.’s Hearty Chicken and Vegetable Soup!

soup

Jessica K. writes:
I don’t know about you, but I have always had a hard time making an awesome broth-based chicken soup. I always find that it turns out bland– especially the chicken part. So, when my youngest had surgery this past Monday, I decided to play around with some ideas I had on how to make my chicken soup more like the ones you can get at a restaurant. What I ended up with was so flavorful, I had to stop eating and write down exactly what I did so I wouldn’t forget. 😉

Ingredients:
1 box (32 oz) Chicken Broth (I use reduced-sodium)
2-3 cups Water
2 Chicken Bouillon cubes
2 boneless, skinless Chicken Creasts
½ a medium Onion, chopped
Veggies you have on hand (I used a handful or so of baby carrots chopped, two stalks of celery chopped and roughly a cup of broccoli pulled apart)
1/8 tsp of oregano (increase or decrease depending on how you want it seasoned)
Garlic powder
Salt/Pepper to taste
2-3 tbsp oil (I use EVOO)
1/3 cup of pasta (I used gluten-free small shells)- optional

Directions:
1. Sprinkle two chicken breasts with garlic powder (both sides).  Put oil in a pan on medium heat and brown the chicken breasts on both sides. Once the chicken is on its second side and close to being done, add the chopped onion to the pan. When both side of the chicken are browned remove them from the pan. (This is how I made sure the chicken had favor. If you just put chopped up, raw chicken, in broth I find it comes out bland.)
2. Put the chicken on a plate and cut into pieces. Don’t worry about any pink areas in the middle of the chicken because it will continue cooking in the broth. Use a bit of chicken broth to deglaze the pan.
3. Add the chopped veggies, chopped chicken, and oregano to the deglazed pan. Add more broth to the pan until the ingredients are just covered. Place a lid on the pan and reduce the heat. Let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
4. Once everything has been able to mingle and soak up all that wonderful flavor, transfer it to a soup pot (a large pot). Add the remaining chicken stock, the water, and two bouillon cubes. You can also add a little salt and pepper for additional flavor. I find that you don’t need salt because of the bouillon cubes, but I did add a little pepper. Cover and keep it on a low to medium heat for at least an hour. You can leave it on a low heat, simmering away until you are close to when you want to eat.
*At this point, instead of simmering in a pot on the stove, you could also transfer it to a crock pot and leave it on low for about an hour or two and then switch it to warm.*
5. Got noddles? When you are about 20-30 minutes before you want to serve, add the pasta. If you are making this ahead and not eating it right away, I would NOT put the pasta in until the day you are eating it. Just heat the soup on the stove, bring to a boil, and add the pasta. That way your pasta is fresh and not super mushy.
*Though I have not tried this yet, I would imagine this would make a good freezer meal soup as well. Just don’t add the pasta if you intend on freezing and add it once you’ve defrosted and heated it up.*

FYI– My 3-year-old little patient LOVED it. =)

 

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Veggie Tree

Last year, my then-two-year-old desperately wanted a christmas tree made out of broccoli. I have no idea why or where she comes up with this stuff….did I mention she was two? I remembered having seen something close on Pinterest a while before so I gave it my best attempt and this is what came of it.

Veggie Tree

First I want to mention that I just might be the least crafty type person ever to have walked this earth. This project intimidated the heck out of me, but actually ended up being pretty easy. The real fun was serving it to our extended family at our Christmas party as an appetizer and seeing their faces :)

Supplies:
1 Foam Craft Cone
1 Serving Tray you are comfortable hot gluing something to
Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks to refill as needed
1 box of toothpicks
Vegetables of your choosing – keep in mind both what you want to eat, AND what would decorate a tree. Broccoli is the obvious choice for the green branches, I used cauliflower for snowy pieces and just a color variance. Red cherry tomatoes and orange baby carrots work as ornaments. If your family likes bell peppers, you could cut ribbons off the different colored peppers and use it like a garland. Again, I made mine for a 2yr old, so our veggies were pretty standard fare.

Directions:

1. In case you’re not sure what I mean by a foam cone, here’s a picture of a generic one:
01260P                                                               It’s just a small cone made of foam ;)
Anyways, using your hot glue gun, very generously glue the base of the cone down onto your serving tray. I used a dollar store throw-away tin one for mine so I didn’t have to worry about any damage.
2. While that’s cooling, chop up your veggies into pretty little pieces that you can attach to the cone.
3. Use the toothpicks to stab a piece of veggie – a broccoli floret, for example, in the base of the veggie and then stab it into the foam cone. Don’t go all crazy with your greens and expect to come back later and put in your colorful pieces – you’re going to have to plan ahead a bit and leave space for the other veggies. Perhaps if you’re really clever, you can decorate the naked tree with your “ornament” veggies and then go back and fill in the green veggies.
4. That’s it. Be creative with it. Use any veggies you like to eat. And when it’s time to serve up, remember to offer some sort of veggie dip to go with.
5. Enjoy!

 

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Taco Pie

This is a dish that I used to make all the time as a young, single, college student. It is very flexible and can be made a thousand different ways and for a thousand different tastes. The recipe I’m typing up today is just the basic bones of the dish – but please feel free to experiment away and add any sort of toppings you like! A layer of re-fried beans, some salsa, peppers, onions, whatever it is you like to put on your taco will go just fine into this dish.

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Ingredients:
1 lb Ground Beef
1 pkg Taco Seasoning (Or make your own….Homemade “Old El Paso” Copycat Taco Seasoning
1 pint Sour Cream
1 pkg Crescent Rolls
2 cups crushed Fritos (divided)
1 1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella

Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Brown your ground beef, drain the fat, and add in the taco seasoning. Only use about half of the water you would normally use per the package directions. Mix together and let simmer for 5-10 minutes.
3. While the meat is simmering, grease an oven safe pan. I use a half-sized 8×8 casserole dish and it works out pretty well. You can also use a ceramic or glass pie plate if you like. Open your crescent rolls and pinch together the perforated seams so you have several rectangles of dough. Do your best to assemble the dough pieces in the bottom of your dish so that a bit curls up the walls as well. (See picture.)

DSCF0001It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just aim for even coverage and pinch together any open seams. You can stretch the dough a bit too once it starts to warm up to room temperature.
4. Put your dish aside and lightly crush one cup of the Fritos and spread them over the dough in the dish.
5. Spread your cooked ground beef over the layer Fritos and then spread the sour cream on top of the beef. Sprinkle on your layer of mozzarella cheese and then top it all off with the remaining cup of crushed Fritos.
6. Bake uncovered for 20  minutes until cheese is melted and crescent dough crust is nicely cooked.
7. Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2013 in Beef, Casseroles, Dinner, Easy, Entree, Kids, Quick & Easy

 

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Apple Pie

Who doesn’t love apple pie? It’s simple, delicious, and great for the holidays. You can bake it to make your house smell amazing or you can bring one to a party as a hostess gift. It’s an all around crowd pleaser and is great served both warm and cold.

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Ingredients:
1 pkg refrigerated Pie Crust
6 medium Apples – pealed and sliced thin
3/4 cup Sugar
2 TBSP Flour
1 TBSP Lemon Juice
3/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Nutmeg

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg.
3. In a large bowl, put in sliced apples and lemon juice. Add the mixed seasonings from the small bowl to the apples and toss thoroughly to mix and coat the apple slices.
4.Grease a pie pan and roll one layer of the pie crust into the bottom. Gently spoon the apple mixture into the crust (this is a case where you do NOT want to over-stuff, if you have too much filling, don’t try to cram it all in there). Top the filling with the second pie crust – or cut into strips to make a pretty design. Seal the edges of the dough and flute it – take a butter knife and make a few small slits in the center and some towards the edges of the pie for the steam to escape from inside the pie.
5. Bake for 40-45 minutes.
6. Let set for 15 minutes.
7. Eat and enjoy!!!

 

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Chicken Puffs

I pulled this recipe out of my old stash I have of recipes from my college days. I hadn’t made it in years and I’ve never made it for my kids. I fixed it up for dinner – making enough for two adults and three young kids – expecting it to just be another average dinner but at least it was a new recipe to re-introduce to our regular routine.

Would you believe those three kids at the entire thing!? All of it. Hubby and I didn’t get any at all. The littlest one almost immedietly went back for seconds, then thirds, and before I knew it I was hearing, “More??”! Fourths! From a two year old! Unheard of! The three year old started singing a song about it while eating. “Chicken, bread, corn and yum. Yum makes yum. Till I’m all done.” She sang it throughout the entire meal.

I had no idea this would be such a big hit. Looks like I’ll have to be making it again soon….

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Ingredients:
1 small package of Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
8 oz Cream Cheese
5 TBSP Milk
1 cup frozen Corn, warmed per instructions (or any veggie you prefer)
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Paprika
3 TBSP butter
2 packages of Crescent Rolls
1/4 cup Bread Crumbs
Salt/Pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Season and cook the chicken breasts and chop into small pieces. Preheat your oven 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, mix the milk into the cream cheese and stir together until creamy.
3. Add the cooked chicken pieces, heated veggies, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Mix to combine.
4. Take out your crescent rolls and open them up. Pinch together two triangles to make a rectangle – do your best to mush together the perforated seams so the dough stays together. On one half of the rectangle, spoon some of your chicken mixture on and fold over the empty half on top. Start pinching together the edges of the dough to enclose the chicken mixture into a pocket. Do this for the rest of the crescents and chicken.
5. Melt the butter and brush the top of each closed chicken puff with it. Sprinkle the buttery tops with some bread crumbs.
6. Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes until the puffs are flaky and golden brown.
7. Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2013 in Chicken, Dinner, Easy, Entree, Kids, Quick & Easy

 

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