Garlic Parmesan Pasta with Chicken Sausage & Tomatoes

Going to the Farmers Market is one of my favorite Saturday morning activities. I strive to shop local as much as I can, especially when I’m cooking for my family.


Feeding a family of five can get expensive, and when there are three growing kids and one hungry man, pasta goes a long way. I love a good pasta dish, but try to cut back on the heavy sauces. For this recipe I used Wishbone’s Garlic Parmesan Salad dressing as my base for the pasta. 


Sam’s has some amazing chicken sausage flavors. I used the Gouda and Pear Chicken Sausage, which added the right amount of sweet. 

Fresh tomatoes from the Farmers Market and some mozzarella cheese and dinner was complete. 


Ingredients:

Pasta shells (I use bow tie pasta but it’s just a matter of preference.)

One package of Chicken Sausage; cut into bite sized pieces

One large tomato; diced

Salad dressing (add to taste)

 1 cup Mozzarella cheese
Directions:

Boil pasta as directed on box. I cook the whole box for our family of 5. Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet. Sauté Chicken in skillet until brown. Add tomatoes during the last few minutes, cook enough to soften. Season with salt and pepper. Drain pasta and mix with salad dressing. Top with chicken mixture and mozzarella cheese. And dinner is done! 

Filling enough but light on the calories. Enjoy!

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Fried Cajun Potato Cakes


One of the benefits of feeding a large group of people is leftovers! Leftover potatoes can be used for many different recipes. One of our favorite uses is Potato Cakes. I used the leftover potatoes from our Shrimp Boil to make this recipe. However, you can use leftover mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes. 

Ingredients: 

Leftover mashed potatoes

2 tsp Cajun Seasoning

1 egg beaten 

2 Tbsp Flour

1/2 cup shredded cheese

2 Tbsp Oil

Flour for dusting

Directions: 

Mix cold mashed potatoes with all ingredients except the oil. Roll into balls, roll in flour on a cutting board and pat into Cakes. Heat oil in a skillet until hot. Add Cakes and cook on each side for about 5 minutes or until golden brown and heated through. Serve with shredded cheese and your choice of toppings. 

Side note: I use Yukon Gold potatoes for a more creamier flavor and the yellow color. But any type of Potato will work. 

Enjoy! 

Low Country Shrimp Boil with Clams

My oldest son loves fresh seafood. For his 14th birthday he requested a Low Country Shrimp Boil with fresh clams. It’s the perfect meal to feed a crowd and it’s fun! The best part of the Boil is you can mix up the seafood to what is either in season or to your preference. Crawfish is traditional with a Shrimp Boil but they are out of season until January. Clams, crab legs, mussels, or scallops are great substitutes. 


Ingredients:

2 Bay Leaves

1 Garlic Clove

1/2 bag Old Bay Crab Boil

1 yellow onion (cut into wedges)

4 cups of water

5lb yellow potatoes

2 packages of Polish Sausage (cut into chunks)

5 ears of corn (shucked and cut into chunks)

1lb bag of fresh shrimp

1lb bag of fresh clams

Directions: 

Fill a 4 quart pot with 4 cups of water (or about halfway). Add seasonings, Crab Boil, Garlic and onions. Bring to a boil and continue to boil (covered) for about 10 minutes. Add potatoes and cook at a boil for about 20 minutes. Add corn and sauasage. Continue to boil for about 8 minutes. Add clams. Boil until clams open or about 8 minutes. Add shrimp. Turn off heat and allow to sit, covered, for 15 minutes. Drain water and dump over a table covered with a plastic table cloth. 

We use tongs to serve up the food and enjoy! Our favorite sides are coleslaw and chewy bread. 

Remember, fresh seafood is always best! Shop local!

Spicy Hawaiian Chicken

   I love going to our local Farmers Market. This last Saturday I went with a dear friend and our kids got to experience shopping local. This particular vendor is a favorite of mine. My honey, lemon jelly (which I’ve used for chicken tenders) and now this new jam! Packs a punch on its own and adds terrific flavor to chicken. The kids loved it! To add extra spice, I added the jam to the chicken right after it was out of skillet. 
 
 Spicy Hawaiian Chicken:

Chicken breasts

Hawaiian jam (a Hawaiian glaze will work just as good)

1tsp corn starch

1/4 cup hot water

1tbsp oil

Directions:

Mix corn starch and hot water until blended. Add jam, mix well.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in skillet over medium heat. Coat chicken with jam mix. Add to skillet and top with remaining mix. Cook on medium-high until chicken is cooked through. 

Serve with your favorite sides!   
I served ours with orange bell peppers, sautéed in the remaining glaze, pineapple chunks, black beans and yellow rice, and this wonderful blend of Thai style veggies by Green Giant. 

Enjoy!!!!

 

Holiday Cheer

  
In the midst of the chaos, the shopping, the baking, wrapping presents and crazy family members; take time to enjoy this season. 

When the mess and the noise seem to be too much, take a step back and look at what’s around you. Family and friends. Life and love. In this crazy messed up world, love a little deeper and realize your best Christmas/Holiday, however you choose to celebrate, is in those who gather around your table. Soak it up. Reflect on the good and the bad of this past year and strive for new things next year. 

Merry Christmas from my humble little family. And may your heart grow three sizes today.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

It’s fall y’all! And that means pumpkin everything! In our house, after the traditional carving of the pumpkins is done, I like to roast the seeds for snacking! (The pumpkins used where from our little trip to the Holland Farms Pumpkin Patch in a previous post.) Pumpkin seeds are great for you and you can try a variety of seasonings on them. I tried two different versions, one a little sweet and one a little salty. (Please excuse my poor photography skills, I snapped the pictures after the fact.)

IMG_0898Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:

This first step needs to be done before any other seasonings are attempted. The seeds are very wet and need to be dried out before adding the flavoring.

Remove all the pulp from the seeds. Rinse and drain. Pat dry with a paper towel.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking pan with wax paper and lightly spray with non-stick butter. In a single layer, add the pumpkin seeds. Roast for an hour. Transfer to a bowl.

  Honey Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:

1 cup of seeds

1 tbsp. butter, melted

1/2 cup of honey

1 tbsp. molasses

Season Salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix butter, honey, molasses, and salt in a large mixing bowl until combined. Add seeds, mixing until all seeds are coated. Place on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, turning after about 7 minutes, or until browned. Seeds will harden as they sit, so don’t worry if they still seem sticky.

  The Everything Seeds:

2 cups of pumpkin seeds

1 Tbsp of butter, melted

1 Tbsp of olive oil

1/4 tsp of garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp cracked pepper

1/4 tsp. salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, mix butter and oil together until well combined. Mix in pumpkin seeds. Add seasonings. In a single layer, on a foil lined baking sheet, bake for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes.

Store seeds in airtight containers. Enjoy!

Asian Lemon Glazed Chicken Tenders

I love chicken. It’s so versitale and can be used in so many recipes. And chicken tenders? Talk about kid-friendly! So to satisfy the inner child with a grown up version! Oven frying the chicken ensures all of the flavor with less fat, and the lemon glaze makes them finger-licking good!

Asian Lemon Glazed Chicken Tenders:

3-4 chicken breasts

3 cups Flour

1 cup Milk

1 Tbsp vinegar 

Pepper

Lemon Pepper Seasoning

Garlic Powder

Onion Powder

Dash of Salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray pan with non stick butter spray. 

Mix flour and seasonings together. I don’t measure out the seasonings, I just dump as much as I want of each for flavor. 

Mix milk and vinegar together. Let sit 5 minutes. (You can also use just 1 cup of buttermilk) 

  Cut chicken breasts into strips. Dredge in the flour mixture to the milk back to the flour. 

  Put on prepared cookie sheet and bake for 15 min, turning once and baking for another 15 minutes. I spray the tops with the butter spray to add to the golden crust.

Move to a bowl and toss with glaze (recipe to follow). Serve with your choice of sides. 

Asian Lemon Glaze:

Lemon Jelly (can be found in the jam aisle)

Soy Sauce

Vinegar

Pepper

Honey

Dash of ginger

Mix jelly with soy sauce, 1 tbsp of vinegar, pepper, honey and ginger. Again, I’m horrible at measuring out. I just eyeball it and add what tastes good. 

   
 
Your kids (and the kid in you) will love it!!

French Toast Sticks w/powdered sugar and fresh stawberries

Breakfast for dinner is a bi-monthly event in our house. Sometimes the best food to start the day is also the best way to end it!

  
French Toast Sticks:

6-8 slices of bread

6-8 eggs scrambled

Powdered sugar and strawberries for topping

Directions:

Heat electric skillet to 250 degrees. Spray with non-fat cooking spray. Slice bread into strips. I use the oatmeal bread because it is heartier than some of the sandwich bread, but you can use any you prefer. Dip strips into eggs, place on skillet, and cook for 2-4 minutes on each side. 

Place on a plate and top with your choice of syrup, sprinkle powdered sugar and finish off with strawberry slices.

   
 
I paired ours with a sausage, mushroom, egg scramble. Recipe to follow!

  
A very simple meal that will delight the pickiest of eaters!

Crock Pot Chicken Tacos

Fall has landed in the Panhandle of Florida and boy is it chilly outside! When cold weather hits, I love to pull out my Crock Pot and have a yummy meal ready for my family when we get home at the end of the day. Especially as it gets darker sooner, knowing dinner is ready and waiting is one less thing I have to worry about in the midst of homework and laundry, and well you get the idea. Plus, one-pot cooking saves so much time on the dishes later!

We love Mexican food and Chicken Tacos are a favorite in our house. This recipe is so simple and takes very little time in the morning to put together.

  Chicken Tacos:

1-2lbs. thawed chicken breasts

1 can black beans

1 can of corn (drained)

1 packet of Taco Seasoning

1 can of tomatoes and green chilies

Flour tortillas

Toppings: Tomatoes, sour cream, cheese, salsa, guacamole, olives, etc.

Directions:

Mix Taco seasoning as directed on package; set aside. (If you do not have taco seasoning, a jar of salsa works fabulously.) Place thawed chicken breasts on the bottom of pot. ( I used leftover rotisserie chicken) Dump corn, beans, and tomatoes on top of chicken. Add seasoning and mix well. Set on low for 6-8 hours.

Shred the chicken using two forks, mix together. Warm up tortillas on a sprayed skillet until pliable. Top tortillas with chicken mixture then toppings of your choice.

 Serve with chips and your favorite dip! Enjoy!!

Grilled Cajun Amberjack with Pineapple Salsa

It’s no secret that the Gulf Coast is a host to some of the best fishing around. Just 45 miles off the coast brought us some of the best tasting Amberjack, Vermillion Snapper and Mangrove Snapper. Because I live here on the coast, a lot of my cooking centers around fish and seafood. The next three posts will focus on Amberjack and Snapper recipes. If you do not have availability to Amberjack, any white fish will work just as well, you may just need to adjust cooking times.

I love Amberjack. It is not an overly fishy tasting fish, the fillets are hardier, more steak like, than some other fish, and it has great flavor. Due to the thickness of the fillet, it makes it an easy fish to grill. Which is what I did for this particular recipe. I topped mine with a Pineapple Salsa, but if pineapple is not your thing, mango works just as well.

Food

Grilled Cajun Amberjack:

3-4 fillets of Amberjack (or your preferred white fish fillet)

2 tbsp olive oil

Creole Seasoning (Add to taste)

1/2 cup Milk

Directions:

Soak fish fillets in milk 2-3 hours prior to grilling. Pat dry and place on a large cookie sheet. Rub fillets with oil and seasoning. Place on heated grill, grilling each side for about 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet. Fish will flake when done.

Serve immediately with Pineapple Salsa. I paired this particular meal with seasoned black beans and Yellow rice.

Pineapple Salsa:

1 can of drained pineapple chunks

1 jalapeno diced

1 can corn; drained

1 green pepper diced

2 roma tomatoes; diced

Diced Cilantro

2 tbsp. Lime Juice

Salt to taste

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together. Allow to chill in refrigerator for 1 hour prior to serving.

Please let me know what you think or if you have any variations of your own!