Teriyaki Chicken Bake

This was a good recipe I stumbled across the other day. I was a bit crammed for time for dinner, so I just tossed this together and it was pretty good! I haven’t used quinoa a whole lot, but am interested in incorporating it into my recipes a bit more. I think I’ll start doing half brown rice, half quinoa in my rice recipes from now on. I’ve also heard that if you cook it in chicken broth it gives it a bit more flavor, yum!

Ingredients:
– 2 large chicken breasts, trimmed and split in half, so it cooks faster
– 1/2 cup brown rice
– 1/2 cup quinoa
– 2 cups water or chicken broth
– 1 cup teriyaki sauce (homemade or store bought)
– mixed stir-fry vegetables

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F.
Begin by getting your rice and quinoa going since that will take the longest to cook. Place the rice and quinoa in a small saucepan with 2 cups water (or chicken broth). Bring to a boil, once boiling turn down to simmer and place the lid on the pot. Cook for about 45 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.
Meanwhile, place your split and trimmed chicken breasts in a baking dish, and pour 1/2 cup of teriyaki sauce over the breasts. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165F.
While the chicken is cooking, steam your vegetables and set aside.
When the chicken is finished, remove from the oven and shred, set aside.
Start with a new baking dish, and place the cooked rice/quinoa, shredded chicken, and steamed vegetables in the dish. Mix in the remaining 1/2 cup of teriyaki sauce in with everything else. Place the casserole in the preheated oven, and cook for 15 minutes.
Remove, top with additional teriyaki sauce if desired, and enjoy!

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This little devil is my newest kitchen gadget! It never fails, I always burn my wrist getting baking dishes out of the oven. I have a perma burn mark on my wrist in the same exact spot it seems. Well… Not anymore! It seems silly, but this little tool works by grabbing the dish for you and then you just pull it out far enough to be able to grab it with pot holders. No more burned wrists! Yay! It’s the little things 😉 >

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Mickey Mouse Head Silhouettes

I’ve been planning this Mickey Mouse party for my daughter’s second birthday for months now. I really wanted to do something different and unique for the center pieces. So, I thought of taking the inspiration for my Valentine’s wreath (see Valentine’s Day wreath post) and applying the same technique for the Mickey heads. I wasn’t sure how they’d turn out, but was pleasantly surprised that they came together just how I had envisioned 🙂

“Ingredients”
– 1 yard of black felt
– 1 yard of red felt
– 2 medium sized styrofoam balls (for the mouse heads)
– 4 smaller styrofoam balls (for the mouse ears)
– close to 500 straight pins (I know it seems like A TON, but I promise they’ll go super fast)!
– scissors
– a 3-inch in diameter circle template
– a black sharpie
– a hot glue gun
– 2 thick wooden skewers
– 2 clear vases
– tissue paper

Directions

Begin by tracing and cutting out your circles. I’m not sure how many circles I cut out, but it was probably close to 500, because I used close to that many straight pins. Now, this is for the full 2 Mickey heads, you can certainly scale it down to just making one, and it wouldn’t be so much work. This project probably took me close to a week to complete. So, it’s not a speedy project, but I just worked on it at nap times and bedtimes, so if you work on it more often, it probably won’t take you as long. The results though are really cute and I think are absolutely worth the time and effort! 🙂
Once you get your circles cut out, start by folding a circle in half, and then in half again. Pin your straight pin straight down through both layers and attach to the styrofoam ball. You’ll want to keep pinning in a straight line and just working your way down.
Once you get close to covering the ball, leave a few appropriate spacial openings so that you can glue the ears to the head. Glue on the ears to the head, and hold it firmly for a few minutes so it adheres correctly. Also, a tip, don’t glue the ears on until you have the head covered in the fabric. It will make it a lot harder to keep the ears secured while you’re trying to pin the fabric onto the head.
Insert a wooden skewer into the bottom of the head once completed, and set on a clear vase. My pictures don’t show it, but I plan on filling the vases with coordinating tissue paper, (which will hide the skewer) and put a “2” on the outside of the vases. I’ll post the completed picture once I get them all done.
I hope you enjoy your center pieces!

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The Birthday Cake Test Run, Attempt #1

It’s almost April and I’m now less than two months away from my little sweetheart turning 2! I cannot believe it and have no idea where the last two years have gone?!
This year Paisley’s theme is Mickey Mouse. We love Mickey in our house and I thought I could build a really cute birthday party around that theme. I’ve been planning for her May party since January, buying things here and there for it, and spending entirely too much…. but hey, my little girl only turns two once! (I’ll probably say that for every birthday party 😉 ) I have been working on these really cute Mickey centerpiece a the last couple of weeks and just finished them up! I’ll post those, along with my steps in another post, but for now this one’s about cake!
I don’t believe in buying baking mixes, so everything I bake is a majority of the time from scratch. It is a bit more work, but I’m happy that I know exactly what I’m serving. Anyways, I always do a test run of sorts before the party so I can be 100% sure that my cake is up to par. Last year we had a theme of “vintage pink” and I made a black forest cake covered in pink frosting rosettes. It was beautiful! I loved how it came out, I’ll have to find a picture and post it.
This year, I ordered an edible Mickey image from Etsy, and I planned a double chocolate layered cake filled with chocolate mousses and almond buttercream. Yum! I spent 4 hours yesterday making the cake from start to finish, and completed the cake. It was a bit of a bear for some parts, but I finished and sent the majority of the cake with Hubby to work. It’s nice for me to do these test runs also, because I can see how much time it takes me and I can figure that into my plans. There were components of the cake I liked, and some I didn’t.
I liked the actual cake itself, but the chocolate mousse ended up melting everywhere, and the frosting just wasn’t my favorite. It wasn’t as light as I was expecting, and when I refrigerated the cake, the frosting turned very solid. I’m not sure if that’s typical for buttercreams, I mean it makes sense that they would given their makeup of mostly butter. I just felt like it was overly solid and sort of broke off in chunks 😦 I think I’m going to go with a different frosting for the party, and I think I’m going to nix the chocolate mousse and maybe just use the same frosting for the center of the cake as well. I’ll post the pictures I took yesterday along the way, so you can just see my methods. I’ll also post the cake recipe that I used, because that part was very good! I doubled the cake recipe because I had a 12×18 -inch pan to fill, so the pictures will look like a lot more batter!

Ingredients:
– 2 cups granulated sugar
– 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (I think I’ll use cake flour next time though)
– 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
– 2 tsp. baking soda
– 1 tsp. baking powder
– 1 tsp. salt
– 2 eggs
– 1 cup buttermilk
– 1 cup strong black coffee (don’t let the coffee scare you, it doesn’t taste like it at all, it’s just an important factor for moisture)
– 1/2 cup vegetable oil
– 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F. (325 F for my huge pan) Generously grease your cake pan(s). This recipe makes one 13×9-inch rectangular cake or two 9-inch circular cakes.
Set aside once greased.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix on low until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
To the bowl, add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil, and vanilla. Beat for about two minutes, the batter will be quite thin, but don’t worry! Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.
Bake in your preheated oven for 30-35 minutes for round pans, and 35-40 minutes for the rectangular pan. I baked my large pan for about 40 minutes and it was perfect. Conduct the toothpick test, to check for doneness in the center. Cool 10 minutes, and then turn out onto cooling racks.
Cool completely before frosting.

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Now, I’ll just post the pictures of the rest of my process’ so you can see, and if anyone wants the recipes I’ll post them. I just wasn’t entirely thrilled with the mousse or the frosting, and I don’t normally like to endorse any recipes I’m not 100% sure of

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It came out pretty looking, but just wasn’t quite what I had in mind taste wise. So onto the next I guess! That’s why I do these trial runs though, so I don’t end up with this kind of a problem on party day! 🙂 >

Skillet Beef Pasta

I’ve made versions of this recipe before, but none have really wowed me, until now. This was a really nice recipe that was hearty, delicious, and easy. My favorite kind of recipe! A great weeknight dish!

Ingredients:
– 1 pound lean ground beef
– 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
– 1/2 sweet onion, diced
– 1 package of taco seasoning
– 1 can Ro-tel, diced tomatoes and green chiles
– 2 cups water
– 8 oz. elbow macaroni, uncooked
– 1 cup frozen corn
– 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:
Begin by browning your meat with the bell pepper and onions. Cook until it is no longer pink then drain the fat.
Stir in water, taco seasoning, and Ro-tel and bring to a boil.
Stir in the macaroni, cover, and simmer on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes.
Now, add he frozen corn and cook for just a couple more minutes. You don’t want your pasta getting too soft.
Remove the skillet from heat, and sprinkle on the shredded cheese. Place a lid on the pan and allow the cheese to become melty and delicious.

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Spring Wreath

I’ve had my Valentine’s wreath still on my door for a few weeks. Since it’s been over a month since Valentine’s Day I decided it was time to make a new one 🙂
I just bought a grapevine wreath, made a burlap bow, and made some rolled rosettes 🙂 I’m happy with the results, although the top burlap bow looks more green in the picture when it’s actually grey.
Happy Spring!

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Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I’m a part Irish and wish I celebrated my heritage more, however Hubby isn’t a huge corned beef and cabbage fan. So, I have to go a different route on St. Patty’s day. This year, I decided to do Mexican and try a different spin of enchiladas.
This was a really delicious recipe and so much simpler than traditional enchiladas. This will definitely be part of my menu rotation 🙂

Ingredients:
– 2 large trimmed chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
– 1 jar enchilada sauce (18 oz). I found this really yummy fire roasted tomato enchilada sauce at Kroger. Regular canned sauce is fine too though.
– 4 corn tortillas
– 1/2 can black beans, drained and rinsed (I only had kidney beans on hand, so that’s what I used, but black beans would have been better)
– 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:
Begin by roasting your chicken breasts. Place breasts in a casserole dish, seasoned on both sides with salt and pepper. Roast, covered, in a 400F oven for 30 min. or until the internal temperature reaches 165F. Once the chicken is done, cool, then shred with fingers; set aside.
Pour a thin layer of enchilada sauce in an 8×11-inch casserole dish. Top with two corn tortillas side by side, then pour some more enchilada sauce over the tortillas.
Place the shredded chicken over the sauce covered enchiladas, then top with the black beans, and about 3/4 cup of the shredded cheese. Top with two more tortillas, and another layer of enchilada sauce.
Finally, layer with the rest of the cheese and bake in a 350F. oven for 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for a few minutes before serving. Top with sour cream and enjoy!

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Chicken “Burrito Bowls”

If you saw my last post on the BBQ chicken sandwiches, here is what I did with all that leftover chicken! I was going to make a quesadilla with the chicken, but my toddler is not a big cheese fan, so I needed to go a different route if I wanted her to actually eat dinner! I decided to make a version of a burrito bowl. I just looked in the pantry and tossed together what I had on hand. It turned out really good and Paisley, my little one, gobbled it up! Score one for Mommy! 😉

Ingredients:
– leftover BBQ chicken
– 1 cup of brown rice
– 1 can of black beans
– steamed corn
– shredded cheddar cheese
– salt and pepper, or other seasonings to taste

Directions:

Just mix everything up in a large bowl and heat it up! After it was warm I sprinkled on the shredded cheese, and it got all melty and delicious! Perfection!
So, there you have it, two super simple meals from one recipe 🙂

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