Cheesy Garlic Bread

cheesy garlic bread 2This bread was first introduced to me many years ago by my Aunt. So good! First off, it’s bread and with me being a carb-a-holic, that’s a huge YES please. Second, it has mayonnaise in it. I am a huge lover of mayo. It’s a sick addiction. Third, it has garlic. I also love me some garlic.

So if you happen to be a lover of those three items (in addition to cheese and green onions) well then….this is the bread for you. It’s great for BBQ’s and equally as great with Italian.

Cheesy Garlic Bread

  • 1 Italian loaf, sliced in half lengthwise(or a loaf of bakery French bread)
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 3/4 c. each of shredded cheddar and mozzarella (or Monterey jack)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 green onions, sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix mayo, cheeses, garlic and onions together in a bowl. Spread mixture onto the bread in a thin layer and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until slightly golden around the edges and a little bubbly. Cut into slices and serve.

cheesy garlic bread 7cheesy garlic bread 6cheesy garlic bread 5cheesy garlic breadThis bread is gooey, melty, rich and delicious. Enjoy!!!

Mixed Berry Popsicles

berry popsicle 6It’s summertime!!!! This means hot days, longer evenings, lots of pool time and hungry kids. During summer, my kids are constantly wanting to eat. And especially when we go spend time at the pool, they are so hungry. I guess all that swimming builds up an appetite. So I made these popsicles for them to have as a nice treat for when we get home from the pool.

The verdict on these treats? My kids love them! And I will never buy popsicles from the store ever again. They are just too easy to make at home. And the combinations are endless. This is only my second popsicle making attempt, with my first attempt being an epic fail. (The stick came out! So popsicles they were no longer.) But I know I will attempt many more popsicle concoctions this summer.

Mixed Berry Popsicles (makes approximately 4 popsicles, depending on the size of your mold)

  • 1 cup mixed berry 100% fruit juice
  • 1/4 c. vanilla yogurt
  • handful of blueberries

Add juice and yogurt to a measuring cup. Whisk until yogurt is completely blended into the juice. Add a few blueberries to each mold and then pour the yogurt/juice to the fill line. Snap the popsicle sticks/tops into the molds and place in your freezer. I make these in the morning and by mid afternoon, they are totally frozen. When ready to eat, run the molds under lukewarm water for approximately 1 minute to loosen. Then pull out of the mold and eat!

berry popsicle 3berry popsicle 2berry popsicle 4berry popsicle 5berry popsicleBy the way, these popsicles are super healthy. But, shhhh….. don’t let the kids in on that little secret.

Vanilla Bean Croissant French Toast

croissant french toast 2Yes, that vanilla bean paste is back in action again. I truly love that stuff. But the story of how this French toast came to be? Well, I bought some of the smaller European style croissants so that I could make sandwiches for my kids with my previously posted Almond Chicken Salad. They love croissants, as do I. I mean, come on! Buttery, fattening bread. YUM. I can almost eat an entire baguette so don’t be surprised by my love of carbs! Anyhow, we had leftover croissants and I thought they would make a delectable French toast. And of course, I had to throw in the vanilla bean paste to make it extra yummy.

And speaking of croissants, I just have to mention this. I literally cannot see a croissant without thinking of the episode of Shahs of Sunset. The one where MJ really wanted a chocolate croissant and Mike told her she shouldn’t eat it? Yeah, that one. Well, if you aren’t a fan of that show, they happened to pronounce the word “croissant” incredibly funny. Sounded something like “cwuh-saunt”. And they said it over and over again in that funny way. Either way you say it, you can’t deny that croissants are delish.

Vanilla Bean Croissant French Toast (makes 8-10 pieces)

  • 4-6 European style croissants, cut in half
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil (or coconut oil cooking spray)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 c. milk (or half & half)
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla bean paste
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. sugar
  • Maple syrup, warmed
  • Strawberries & whipped cream, optional

Mix the eggs through the sugar in a shallow bowl, beating with a fork to combine. Then heat a non stick skillet or griddle over medium to medium low heat and add the coconut oil. Let melt. (If you use the cooking spray, spray first, then turn on the heat. No fires please!) Make sure to give your egg mixture a quick stir before dipping your bread because the vanilla beans specks will sink to the bottom and you want those specks on your bread. Dip each piece of croissant (both sides) into the egg mixture and place on the heated grill. Cook for a few minutes on each side or until golden brown. Serve immediately with some warm maple syrup. Add sliced strawberries and whipped cream if your heart so desires.

croissant french toast 3croissant french toastSo I missed taking a picture of the step where it’s actually cooking. Oops. But French toast is easy. You get the idea! Hopefully…

And here it is WITHOUT whipped cream. Optional yes. But who in their right mind eats French toast without whipped cream?!?!?

And here it is WITHOUT whipped cream. Optional yes. But who in their right mind eats French toast without whipped cream?!?!?

Almond Chicken Salad

almond chicken salad 5With this beautiful weather we’ve been enjoying, I thought it would be nice to spend a family evening at the pool and have some dinner while we were down there. Luckily for us, our community pool is just 10 houses down from us and is usually pretty quiet. We ended up having the place to ourselves during our dinner and after dinner swim. I wanted to have something that wasn’t too heavy for dinner and would be easy to transport too, so….

BOOM! Chicken Salad. This recipe turned out really good. I’m proud of it 🙂 It will definitely be my go to chicken salad from now on. My friend told me she never makes chicken salad because it doesn’t turn out as good as she was hoping for and I felt that same way about it too. Until now. This time, it turned out just as I had expected.

This is the long version. It took me almost 2 hours from start to finish. Don’t be scared! That was just the chicken cooking (and mine was frozen) that took up most of the time. But if you need a shortcut, I recommend buying a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from your local grocery store. However, I am going to emphasize that the way this chicken cooks, REALLY, and I mean REALLY, adds such a good flavor. And while the chicken cooks, it makes your house smell like Thanksgiving. That’s a good thing!

Almond Chicken Salad

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (approximately 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. each salt, ground pepper, dried thyme and dried rosemary
  • 1/2 c. water
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 c. onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 c. frozen green peas, thawed
  • 3/4 c. slivered almonds
  • 1 3/4 c. mayo
  • Salt and ground pepper, to taste

Heat a Dutch oven or a pot over medium heat. Add oil. Once heated, add garlic and sauté for approximately 30 seconds. Add chicken, water, salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 1 hour if the chicken has been thawed. 1 1/2 hours if the chicken is frozen.

Once cooked, remove chicken to the bowl of a stand mixer. Let cool for a few minutes. Using the paddle attachment, turn your stand mixer onto stir. This will shred your chicken for you perfectly. If you don’t own a stand mixer, no worries. You’re just going to have to go about it the good ole fashioned way! Just put your chicken in a bowl, use two forks and shred away.

Once chicken has completely cooled, add the rest of the ingredients and stir until combined. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

almond chicken salad 2almond chicken saladalmond chicken salad 3almond chicken salad 4I served this chicken salad as a “salad”. I did romaine and red leaf lettuce mixed together and scooped some of the chicken salad and placed on top. I also added some cucumbers to my lettuce to give it an extra crunch and garnished with extra slivered almonds. The chicken salad would also be great on a sandwich roll, or in a tortilla wrap.

So yummy, and such a great summertime meal!

P.S. Don’t throw away that leftover liquid. I skimmed the fat, strained it, put it in the freezer and now I have 1 1/2 cups of homemade chicken broth. Lucky me 🙂

Sauteed Cabbage & Onions

sauteed cabbageOkay, so maybe my title didn’t grab you. But hopefully my picture did??? I’m getting a little bit better at photography. With my phone.

Anyhow, I like cabbage. Some of you may prefer it in slaws and not cooked, but this recipe will change your mind about eating cooked cabbage. It’s really a great side dish. My secret ingredient to make this recipe lethal? In more ways than one….. Bacon grease! So it’s not the healthiest, but it’s essential to me. Like I said in a previous post, I keep my bacon drippings in a jar in the fridge. (I got this idea from my mom who has always had a jar of bacon drippings in her fridge and of course, still does to this day.) And I pull that puppy out when I want to make some gravy or sauté the occasional vegetable. Defeats the purpose of the veggies maybe, but flavor, flavor, flavor! And indulging occasionally is perfectly all right in my opinion. If you do not have bacon grease or do not partake in that particular ingredient, butter will do just fine.

Sautéed Cabbage & Onions

  • 1/2 head of a large green cabbage, roughly shredded or chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. bacon grease (or butter)
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

In a large skillet, (medium heat) melt the bacon grease. Add the onions and then the cabbage and sauté for approximately 7 minutes. Add the garlic in and stir around. Add salt (not too much salt, remember, you used BACON grease, which already has a lot of salty flavor) and pepper to taste. Stir to combine and serve.

sauteed cabbage 3I like my cabbage tender but still with a bite. I can tell it’s ready when it’s soft but hasn’t completely lost it’s form. Does that make sense? If not, comment and I’ll help you out as best I can.

sauteed cabbage 2Enjoy!!!!

Healthy Oatmeal Banana Smoothie

oatmeal banana smoothie 2I’m going to start off by saying it’s the first day of my kids’ summer vacation. Yay! And with the morning sun streaming in through the windows and me sweaty after my morning exercise, I do not want to cook breakfast. My kids are typically happy with cereal, oatmeal, you know, that kind of stuff. But if I’ve worked out, I prefer to have a protein shake for breakfast. Unfortunately, I had recently run out of protein powder and I just could not gag down the alternative (yogurt). Yes, I’ve talked about yogurt quite a few times recently and I’m disappointed to say I bought a different brand, and I highly DO NOT recommend it.

Gag me with a spoon!

Gag me with a spoon!

Desperate times call for desperate measures. I thought I could disguise this yogurt if I could put it in a smoothie. And luckily, it worked pretty well. But if you use yogurt you actually like to eat, then this smoothie should be even more yummy than mine was.

As you should all know by now, if you’re following my blog, I make an assortment of food. Ranging from pretty okay for you, to downright sinful. This is a “pretty okay” for you recipe. Look out for my upcoming artery clogger coming up. But like I said, with this being the first day of summer vacation, I thought this was a good one to share to start your summer off right!

Healthy Oatmeal Banana Smoothie (makes a 16 ounce smoothie)

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/3 c. Greek vanilla yogurt
  • 2 heaping tbsp. quick cooking oats
  • 1 tbsp. flax meal
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 3 ice cubes, if you like it especially cold (I do not)

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth. *A dash of cinnamon would really kick this up a notch!

oatmeal banana smoothieDrink quickly or else your 4 year old child will notice you have something that you specifically made for yourself. Which will make her want it more. Which means you will have to share. So again, I insist you drink quickly and quietly. Enjoy!

Frosted Cauliflower

frosted cauliflowerI have been eating this cauliflower for as far back as I can possibly remember. Pretty sure that my mom has been making this side dish my entire life. And according to her, she got this recipe from our old neighbor and dear friend Linda D. And I’ve made this recipe for my family countless times. I would say it’s definitely up there as being a favorite recipe in my house. It’s one thing that everybody will eat. And if your family is like mine, there seems to always be that one person who’s less than enthusiastic about a dish. Even when everyone else thinks it’s great. But this recipe is not that one. Even my pickiest, and she’s really picky, like hunger strike picky, LOVES this. Maybe it has something to do with all the cheese?

So my mom makes this dish much prettier, presentation wise. She steams a whole head of cauliflower, and then “frosts” it with the sauce and cheese. It looks very pretty this way, and reminds me of the 70’s. But I don’t have a steamer that fits a whole head of cauliflower so I’ve adapted this recipe to make it work for me.

Frosted Cauliflower

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, washed and cut into bite size florets
  • 1/2 c. mayo (like a generous half a cup!)
  • 1/3 c. yellow mustard
  • 1/2- 3/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Add cauliflower florets to a microwave safe dish and add a little bit of water to cover the bottom. Cover the dish and place in the microwave. Cook for about 6 minutes (depending on how large the head of cauliflower is) or until JUST tender. (Stick a fork in it to see if it it’s tender) You don’t want it too tender because you still have to microwave again. While that’s cooking, whisk together the mayo and mustard. Drain the water from the cauliflower and add the sauce and stir to coat. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese over the top and cook again in the microwave for 2 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

frosted cauliflower 3frosted cauliflower 4frosted cauliflower 2Don’t be afraid of this mayo covered vegetable. I’m a HUGE mayo fan, so of course I like it. But if my picky child approves, I’m sure this will go over well in your household.