Brittany wrote this on 18 July 2016
Summer just wouldn’t be summer without hot dogs on the menu!
True, it isn’t a food you see on my blog that much, but I have a bit of a confession. I loooooove hot dogs. I really do. The good kind that are really meaty and snap a bit when you bite into them. Yeah. Those kind. Like the good state fair hot dogs of our youth. On a hot summer day when you have been playing hard and everyone is dirty and sweaty and you smell like sunshine, there are few things that taste as good as a really fantastic hot dog.
About a decade or so ago, when my husband was still in the Navy and were living in San Diego, I flew back to Minnesota to visit family and friends. Mike was deployed and I was keeping myself occupied with a long overdue trip home. I ended up taking a train down to central Illinois to see visit our best friends, and of course, Amtrak took me through Chicago. I had several hours to kill before my next departure and I was way past hungry. I kept seeing signs for authentic ‘Chicago Style’ hotdogs and followed my nose right to a booth. You guys. The man behind the counteract my hot dog in half lengthwise, and then fried it on the flattop! I had NEVER seen that before and thought it was so darn genius, I immediately doubled my order. The cook turns back to me and says, “You want a true Chicago dog?” I hesitated just a moment before reluctantly nodding. I had absolutely no clue what that actually meant, but figured, what the heck. You only live once.
I don’t actually remember all the specifics of what was on my hot dog that day, but the whole dill pickle spear and freshly chopped tomatoes stood out enough that I never forgot it. When he picked up a shaker and dusted my plate just before handing it over, I assumed it was pepper, and was surprised when my nose caught a whiff of the spice.
“Was that celery salt?” I asked.
He grinned. “Yeah.”
I looked at my plate and back up at him. “On my hot dogs?”
Now he looked mildly offended. “Yeah.”
I quickly smiled, not wanting to be a lame and bothersome tourist (too late) and chirped out a thank you. I had no idea at the time, but I was about to eat one of my favorite things ever. Sitting by myself in the corner of a little brick walled nook in the middle of Chicago’s Union Station, I ate-nay, inhaled-my first ever Chicago hotdog. The mix of flavors and textures was outrageously satisfying and I couldn’t believe I had been missing out on this my whole life. It made quite an impression and was neatly filed away in my memory as one of those special food moments we all have sprinkled throughout our lives.Fast forward to present day.
A craving for the fresh taste of that meal led me to an impromptu Chicago hot dog night. Now before you get all huffy about what goes on a traditionally classic Chicago dog, let me first say that everyone has an opinion about that. There doesn’t seem to be any single list of ingredients, although there are obviously a few main commonalities. A pickle spear. Chopped tomatoes instead of ketchup. Diced onion. And of course, celery salt. Some add special sauce, others add spicy mustard. For me, my version only covers the main flavors of my original experience. It is easy to recreate and hits the important points. Simple and so tasty, you won’t believe how you ever lived without it.
The best part? I can eat it here the Midlands of South Carolina. No train ticket needed.
How do YOU like your Chicago Style HotDogs?!
Chicago Style Hot Dogs
Do not-I repeat-please do NOT skip the celery salt. I promise it is worth it.
good bakery buns
dill pickle spears
chopped fresh tomatoes
Assemble your hot dog and sprinkle with the salt. Enjoy!
Brittany wrote this on 31 May 2016
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FreschEats #CollectiveBias
I may feel like it sometimes, but I am not Superwoman.
Like most Moms and Dads, my husband and I can multitask with the best of them. As busy parents, it is a bit of a necessity to be able to do several things at once. I can fold laundry, help my son with his spelling words, supervise my daughters art project (and assist with extra glitter), all while sipping my reheated coffee and stopping my youngest from scaling the rock fireplace. We are talking ninja level skill here. But even I need a bit of help in the kitchen now and then. Yes, I cook 99% of our family meals, but sometimes life has a way of getting in the way. Even when I make meals ahead and tuck them in the freezer, it isn’t always an option when time and energy are at an all time low. So I started keeping a few convenience items around to help me out on my overly scheduled days.
What did we reach for most often? Frozen pizza. We don’t have to leave the house and we discovered a brand that tastes better (yes, better) than anything we could have delivered. Freschetta Pizza has always been a favorite, but now they have new Artisan Crust® Pizzas! Three whole grains in the crust and you can absolutely taste the difference. They bake up in the time it takes me to throw together a healthy side to serve along with it!
I buy my Freschetta at Publix and it is easy to locate in the frozen section with all the other pizzas. I love to stock up and right now, all Freschetta pizzas (excluding Gluten-Free) are two for ten dollars from now through the first week of June. Needless to say, my freezer is full! The ingredients are quality and while we have been inhaling the Artisan Crust lately, we often enjoy the Brick Oven and Rising Crust pizzas as well. All I have to do on pizza night is whip up a fresh side to go along with it and dinner is d-o-n-e done. With flavors like Freschetta ® Artisan Chicken and Fire Roasted Vegetable Pizza and my personal favorite, Freschetta ® Artisan Margherita Pizza, it is super easy to find a kind that everyone enjoys! You can check out all the incredible Freschetta products by clicking here. They are also on Facebook, Twitter, and even YouTube!My family loves a good green salad with our pizza, but lately, I have been trying to branch out. Broccoli slaw has been the answer to busting any green veggie boredom with my kids. So fresh and crunchy and ridiculously healthy, this slaw comes together in the time it takes your kids to set the table. It is heartier than regular slaw so it won’t get soggy like cabbage will. If you previously avoided coleslaw due to the bitterness of the vegetables this is your answer! A light dressing and quick toss and you have the perfect cool and crisp side salad.
Hm. Turns out I am a bit like Superwoman after all.
Quick & Easy Broccoli Slaw
1-12 oz package pre shredded broccoli slaw vegetable mix
1/4 c mayo
1 T sour cream (I use light)
1 T red wine vinegar
1 T honey
salt and pepper to taste
Place the shredded vegetables in a medium bowl. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Taste for seasoning. Pour the dressing over the veggies and mix well. Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve! Can be made up to 1 hour ahead of time. Enjoy!
Brittany wrote this on 23 February 2016
If you have been looking for a new winter stew to warm you up, this should be added to your menu!
Spring is around the corner but while most of the country has experienced some beautiful weather, it IS just February. Snow, cold, sub-zero temps, ice storms, chilly wind, and slushy-sloshy weather are still an imminent reality. So keep your eye out for flower buds and the tell tale bobbing of a robin across the lawn, but keep your boots, muffler, and this stew, handy.
The beauty of this recipe is that it is a bit of a chameleon. You can eat it if you are gluten-free or dairy free, you can freeze it ahead of time if you are busy, and the ingredients are a cinch to prep ahead if you need to have it handy for a weeknight. It is also mostly paleo with a few modifications (read: wine) so depending on how hard core you are, this might work for you. Ultimately, it is incredibly hearty with the sweet potatoes and carrots, but surprisingly light. Warms you up and fills your tummy without weighing you down with any heavy ingredients. It has become a favorite this season at our house and will be part of our menus for years to come! Obviously I had to share it here. That is what this space is for! Making sure you get to see all the best that can come out of my kitchen, making it a bit easier for YOU to create successful edibles out of yours.
Truly scrumptious! Hope you try this one-its a WINNER!
What is YOUR favorite ‘warm me up’ kind of food? Chili? Pasta? Soup? Leave a comment below and share it with us!
Chicken & Sweet Potato Stew
Recipe adapted from OAMM
2 large chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks
2 large carrots, cubed (2-3 cups)
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 4 cups)
1 Onion, chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1 T of butter, olive oil, grapeseed or coconut oil
salt and pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
1 dried bay leaf
1 c of dry white wine
1-32 oz carton, good quality chicken broth-I like the Swanson low sodium, 99% fat free or use homemade if you can
1 T arrowroot, optional
Add the butter or oil to a large, heavy bottomed stew pot. Brown the chicken over medium heat, seasoning with salt and pepper as you go. You want the chicken to get some color on it so don’t crowd the pan or the meat will steam. You may need to do it in batches and it does NOT need to be cooked all the way through. When brown all over, remove to a plate and set aside. If pan is dry, add a bit more butter or oil, and dump in all the veggies. Season with salt and pepper and add the dried thyme. Let cook over medium heat, stirring often, sautéing the veggies, but not letting them burn. When the largest pieces of carrot are just starting to soften, add the white wine and stir, scraping up the bits from the bottom of the pan. This is BIG TIME FLAVOR! Let the wine reduce by half and add the bay leaf, chicken and any juices on the plate, and chicken broth. Stir, bring to a simmer, lower the heat and cover. Now. You can either slip this into a 350 degree oven for a half hour, or let is just slowly simmer away on the stove top. It is up to you. Either way, let it slowly cook until the veggies are just crisp tender. Not too mushy! When you stir it, depending on your veggies and your stove, there maybe a lot of liquid left or not. If you want to thicken any broth left in the pan, add the tablespoon of arrowroot, stir well to dissolve and heat gently until thick. This is totally optional so YOU make the call. If you want to freeze it, cool to room temp and seal in an airtight container. Otherwise just spoon into bowls and enjoy!!
Brittany wrote this on 17 January 2016
When I think of chowder, I think of heavy, milk and cream laden soups that are nearly as thick as a stew. And, I must admit, that is what I find appealing about them. If you are eating them whilst wistfully gazing out at the sea, then they are even more appealing.
I have been to Seattle several times and each time I try to eat something different. On one such visit, I had some of the local clam chowder. It was solely for the purpose of eating the local fare in an amazing location. Of course, if you have ever had really good clam chowder in the Pacific Northwest, you know that the salt in the air, the sounds of sea birds, and the spray of the water against the hull of a ferry boat all contribute to the flavor. It is the experience of it as much as the food. Like eating a beignet while walking the streets of the French Quarter in New Orleans or gazing up at the Sears (Willis) Tower in Chicago while digging into a hot dog loaded with chopped tomatoes, onions, celery seed, and a pickle spear. The flavor and the memory are one and the same.
Well, this is not that kind of chowder.
I know! I know! You want a recipe for the heavy, milk and cream laden soup. But that isn’t what is happening today. Nope. Today is the ‘lets make a thick and creamy healthy chowder’ day. Don’t worry. You will thank me latter when you feel great and look fit.
The whole she-bang is simple. Bacon + veggies + broth = wonderful goodness. Its a culinary formula for success.
Sometimes, it is the spectacular flavor that pulls you in and that is the deal with this soup. It may look rather plain and nondescript, but it is a classic example of how a few simple ingredients can make something spectacular. In this case, I wanted all of the goodness of a vegetable chowder but due to the dietary limitations of a house guest, it also had to be dairy free. As it turns out, that isn’t really a problem with chowder. No, it may not be traditional but for me, it hits enough of the major characteristics to qualify. So chowder it is.
Dairy-Free (Gluten-Free) Veggie Chowder
Recipe adapted from here.
6 slices of bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 large carrots, chopped
3 large stalks of celery, chopped
2 T olive oil, grapeseed, or coconut oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 bay leaves
1 head of cauliflower chopped, core, leaves, and large stems removed
1-48 oz carton of good quality chicken or vegetable stock
1 HEAPING T arrowroot
1 c plain, unsweetened almond milk or 1 c or regular milk
In a large soup pot, saute the bacon until browned and crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a bowl, and drain off excess fat. Do NOT wipe out the pot! Over medium heat, add the olive oil to the pot along with all the vegetables. Season with the salt and pepper. Stir often to let the veggies start to cook. When they start to steam, add the bay leaves and the stock. Bring the soup up to a slow simmer, and let it cook until the vegetables are cooked, but not mushy. Gently break up the chopped vegetables with a potato masher, and if you choose, blitz it a bit with an immersion blender. Mix the arrowroot and the milk together and slowly stir it into the soup. Let it heat up to a bubble again, taste for seasoning, and serve with crumbled bacon on top.
Brittany wrote this on 4 January 2016
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BetterWithCraisins #CollectiveBiasSometimes, you have no choice but to just throw all your favorite things into one recipe.
Meat? Check. Cream cheese? Check. Cranberries? Check check. Add in a bit of citrus and the kick of Sriracha and you have something that can only be called wonderful. Julie Andrews is singing in my head… “…these are a few of my favorite things….”
It is officially game season here and in the weeks leading up to various big games, I am upping my strategy a bit with this recipe. I don’t make a lot of pinwheels (although I have no idea why) but I really really love it when I see them at gatherings. So I said to myself, “Self? Why not make them more often?” I was experimenting with my favorite flavors over the holidays and eventually, it all morphed into this. I tested the recipe at a few holiday events with mucho success, and now, they are hitting the football party scene.The beauty of this recipe is in its simplicity. The cream cheese and turkey pair great together, but the Craisins® Dried Cranberries are the star. They add color, texture, and a bit of natural sweetness. Obviously, most of us use Craisins® in baked goods, snack mixes, and salad toppings, but if you have never used them in a savory appetizer, now is your chance. Bonus! 1/4 c of dried cranberries equals a 1/2 c serving of fruit, so when you are popping these bites in your mouth, you know you are putting good things in your body.I got my Craisins® at the local Walmart and they were very easy to find in the dried fruit section. I also discovered something new! These Craisins® Fruit Clusters come in two different flavors and my whole family loved both kinds. You can find them right next to the other Craisins® products. They are pretty great for snacking. I portion them out into smaller containers and tuck them in my kids lunch box, or toss the whole bag into my purse for those days when the family needs something easy to munch on when we are traipsing around the zoo, running errands in town, or spending a few extra hours at the park. However, the recipe today features the straight-up, no frills dried cranberries. I wanted the sweet and sour, classic flavor in this appetizer and it works perfectly. Other reasons this works so well? You can make it ahead of time and can easily be a gluten free, depending on the tortillas you use. The cream cheese mixture can be made a day or two in advance and you can assemble the rolls when you need them. Or make the pinwheels as directed and store them in the fridge, uncut, up to 8 hours before party time. Leftover cranberry mixture? It is out of this world smeared on a bagel.
So when you are sprinkling those Craisins® over your oatmeal in the morning, consider a savory appetizer like this one for your next get together. Who could resist when it is full of favorite things?
Follow Craisins® and Ocean Spray® on social media so you don’t miss a thing!
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/OceanSpray/ Cran-Orange Pinwheels W/Smoked Turkey & Sriracha
Don’t worry about the heat from the Sriracha. It isn’t enough to do much more than give it just a bit of warmth in the back of your throat. Of course, I won’t tell anyone if you add more. Feel free to experiment with other flavors of Craisins®. All would taste just as good!
6 large tortillas-we like whole grain and gluten free versions
1 block cream cheese, low fat is fine
1/2 c Craisins® Dried Cranberries
1 tsp Sriracha (or to taste)
zest of 1 large orange
1/2 lb smoked turkey, sliced thin
In a medium bowl combine the cream cheese, Craisins®, Sriracha, and orange zest until well mixed. Set aside. Can be made up to two days ahead of time. Spread the mixture evenly on the tortillas, making sure to go all the way to the edges! Lay two pieces of turkey down the middle so that the meat reaches from end to end. Roll very tightly and set aside, doing the same with the other tortillas. Wrap tightly and store in the fridge for a few hours until ready to serve, or slice immediately. Cut into 1 inch slices, arrange on a platter or plate, and enjoy!
Brittany wrote this on 18 November 2015
There is a misconception that great produce is not available once summer is over. *gasp* I know. Shocking.
Obviously, since you all go to pumpkin patches and apple orchards in September and October, you know that this cannot entirely be the case. Autumn is a favorite time of year for a lot of reasons (fall colors, crisp weather, cute boots…) but I am continually inspired by the rainbow of available items at my local farmers market. The colors and flavors and textures draw me into the kitchen like no other season does. I’m not talking about the heavy, cream laden casseroles and hot dishes, although those are good too. I’m am referring to the stewed, roasted, and braised root veggies and greens that thrive in this chilly weather.
So in turn, to inspire all of YOU, I have TWO (actually three) ways to enjoy a rainbow of vegetables this season. Roasting is easy, classic, and tasty, but it goes beyond just roasting and eating. There are so many different ways to take this dish to the next level, and these are just two of them. What are YOUR favorite ways to enjoy the veggies of the season?
Check out the recipe for Roasted Vegetable Salad and Roasted Veggie Pasta over at the Columbia City Moms Blog!
Brittany wrote this on 9 November 2015
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PairsWellWithHolidays #CollectiveBias
Why does food on a stick taste so much better? I have asked my kids this question several times and the answer is always the same: Because its fun!
This rings true for adults as well as kids and thankfully, it is ridiculously easy to do. My husband usually gets leftovers for lunch, but in the case of today’s recipe, it is so fast and easy, it just packed for everyone! I make a lot of wraps and sandwiches but I like variety in my meals as much as my kids. Hence, deviating from the norm happens rather often in our house. I’m a rebel that way.
I’m not sure how I got so blessed to end up with children that like strong flavors, but I did, and I am thankful. They have always liked the taste of a good, spicy salami and a sharp cheese. Why not deconstruct the sandwich?! Just like a holiday snack plate, this lunch ends up being a munch-able, exclusively finger-food type of situation. Toothpicks are cute, but they are also the perfect size for a school lunch!The meat I like to use for these is the same kind I serve to party guests. Creminelli has several flavors of uncured, handcrafted Italian salami and at the present time, the Tartufo (with black truffles) is our favorite. What I particularly like about this kind of meat is that the flavor is full and fantastic, but not overly spicy or salty. You can really taste the pork in this salami which is perfect wether you like strong flavors or not. It is mild enough for everyone! Add a cube of cheese and an itty bitty tomato and you have great taste in just a few bites. The meat doesn’t contain any of the chemicals and preservatives associated with other types of salami and that makes it a definite no brainer.
I pick up Creminelli products at my local Whole Foods store so stocking up is easy and convenient. And necessary! Between school and work lunches and weekend snack times, I keep some handy on a regular basis. The fact that I can (and do) use it for company at a moments notice is definitely a benefit for this busy Mom! Be sure to look for the savory Tartufo salami in the meat and cheese section. Because it is uncured, it won’t be refrigerated so check the displays in the aisles. The toughest part will be deciding which flavors to bring home!
When I pick up the salami, I like to grab some water crackers as well. My kids-and husband-love the extra crispy texture with the bold flavors of the skewers. Some fruit and olives on the side and they have a pretty spectacular lunch! The only thing that makes it better is the maple-mustard dipping sauce. A tiny container tucked in with everything else and they can dunk whatever they like! It is just mild enough that it doesn’t overpower the taste of the salmi, but lets be honest here. Its maple and mustard together with salami and cheese. On a stick! Does it get much better?
What are YOUR favorite flavors to eat with salami?
Mini Meat & Cheese Skewers W/Spicy Maple Mustard
These are great with olives or pickles tucked into the lunches as well! Be sure to use grape tomatoes here, as cherry tomatoes will be too big for little mouths.
1 pkg, uncured, Creminelli Tartufo Salami
provolone, swiss, or mozzarella cheese, cubed small
1 T pure maple syrup
1 scant T mayonnaise
1 T grainy mustard
toothpicks or cocktail skewers
Remove the casing from the salami and discard. Cube the meat into small, bite-sized pieces. Skewer the tomato, meat, and cheese onto the toothpick. In a small bowl, mix the mayo, mustard, and maple syrup until combined. Serve skewers with the dipping sauce. Note: This entire recipe can be made ahead of time, making busy school mornings less hectic! Enjoy!
Brittany wrote this on 30 September 2015
I do that all time. Like when I check out the recipe for a chocolate cake and I see the words sour cream, cocoa, coffee, ganache, and vanilla. Yeah. You know its gonna be outstanding. Or a beef stew that has the words red wine and fresh rosemary tucked amongst the potatoes and onions. Mmm. You can almost taste it, right? It is the same reason your mouth starts to salivate when you hear the words apple pie or pumpkin spice latte. You already know what is in it and that it will be fantastic.
This dip is kind of like that. Spice, lime, garlic, sesame, curry…mmmm. For those of you that are looking for a bit of a change from the hummus scene, I got your back. If you are obsessed with all things spicy and, well…we’ll just say it…Sriracha…then you are covered with this one. If you are gluten free and love variety in your diet, then here ya go! And if your house is the place to be for every football game from now until the Super Bowl because of your 879 million inch flat screen and make-ahead snacks with a kick are totally singing your song, well then I am playing your tune amigo!!
I am not usually into food trends, but it is hard to avoid Sriracha right now. And for good reason, since it is quite fantastic. It was around a long time before it became the most famous condiment EVER and it will be around long after the foodie world has moved onto something else. But don’t burn out on it because the flavor of this stuff is really spectacular. Spicy, yes, but vinegary and earthy at the same time. Not just any hot sauce, so don’t be fooled. It is just good stuff.
The combination of flavors in the finished dip here is a little bit asian and a little bit mediterranean. A nice fusion that is perfect with the flavor of the hot sauce and makes for a light and creamy dip. My kids inhale this just as much as my husband and his friends do, so don’t be put off by the Sriracha in the title. YOU control the heat and since you can dip nearly anything in it short of shoe leather and have it taste good, it covers all your bases. If you are thinking this would be awesome at your upcoming Halloween party, you would be right. Adding this to your menu for game day and toting it along to a holiday party or two would also be in order. Check YOU out being all trendy and stuff!
White Bean Dip W/Sriracha
Recipe adapted from White On Rice Couple
This is great served with just about anything. It is also fantastic on a tortilla with chicken or wrapped up with some deli turkey. Spread it on toast with tomato and avocado and gaaaaaaah.
In the bowl of a food processor, add:
2 (15 oz) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T lime juice
1 heaping tsp chopped garlic
2 tsp sesame oil
1 T soy sauce-I prefer low sodium
2 T Sriracha, or to taste
1 tsp curry powder
1 T water
Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Add water by teaspoonfuls if it is too thick. Scrape sides of the processor and combine well. Serve with crackers, pretzels, and various veggies. Enjoy!
Brittany wrote this on 24 September 2015
Several months ago, I decided to start buying my meat in bulk and wholesale off the back of a truck. I swear it is much less shady than it sounds…
We are loving the convenience of it, but occasionally, I start to abandon my regular recipe rotation and randomly seek out something new. Something different. Something with zing. Years ago, I made chicken similar to this from a recipe I found in a Better Homes & Gardens cookbook. I have no idea what the full recipe was, but I recreated it again from memory with great success. It combines two of my favorite items to use in marinades and sauces: lemon and mustard. Packed with flavor and that tangy zing, these two ingredients add very few calories to a dish, but bring the taste factor over the top. There are few additions that pack such a flavorful punch and that is exactly what they do to this chickie. Give it a PUNCH.
This dish is great for a weeknight because you can let it marinade for a few hours, or just smear the sauce on it and throw it in the oven. It comes out equally wonderful either way. A few pantry and fridge ingredients that are always on hand and dinner is done. It goes great with just about anything you can throw at it; potatoes, pasta, veggies, salad, rice, or whatever leftovers you pull from the icebox. Speaking of leftovers, this chicken, cold and diced and thrown on a salad is pretty darn fantastic. Almost as fantastic as having 80 pounds of meat in your freezer.
Lemon-Mustard Baked Chicken
Adapted from a memory I have of a recipe in BHG. 🙂
You have several options with this recipe. Add the marinade and freeze the unbaked chicken for later, or follow the directions, but grill instead of bake. Roasted potatoes are so good with this chicken, it is down right criminal. Double the recipe and make it the main player in a meal for company! Just watch how much salt you add. My lemon pepper mix from the the store has no salt added, but every brand is different.
3 large, boneless-skinless chicken breasts, or 4 medium to small
1/4 c of extra virgin olive oil, grapeseed oil, or coconut oil
1 T dijon mustard
1 T lemon juice
1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
1 tsp dried oregano
large pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix all of the ingredients (except chicken, duh) in a small bowl and pour over the meat. Turn to coat and let marinade for 2 hours if possible. Place into a large baking dish and roast until just cooked through, about 30 minutes. Roasting time will depend on how large or thick your chicken pieces are. Try not to over cook! Let cool a bit, slice, and enjoy!
Brittany wrote this on 16 July 2015
Living in South Carolina means lots of sunshine and an abundance of outdoor living spaces. My family and I, along with any guests that stop by, are most often on the porch enjoying the breezes, so whenever I have the opportunity to make meals outside and not heat up the house, I take it. Cooking outdoors allows me to spend more time with those I love, and to impart a little extra flavor into my food. And when I grill, I like to do it as simply as possible.
This recipe hits all of those points!
There are few things as good as fresh from the garden tomatoes. But some would argue, myself included, that the occasional addition of bacon only improves things. This is definitely one of those times. This simply grilled bread is just toasty enough to stand up to the tomatoes and give this snack a nice, toothy crunch. Topped with summer tomatoes and salty bacon, this appetizer or first course could easily become a light dinner. Prep the ingredients ahead of time and it becomes a fuss free dish you could make with your eyes closed. Around here, an enormous glass of sweet tea (lots of ice) makes the perfect partner to a platter of this bruschetta, but I’ll let you make that call.
What is YOUR favorite dish to grill and what kind of cold drink to you enjoy it with?
Grilled Tomato & Bacon Bruschetta
This is an easy dish to prep ahead. Make the tomato topping and set aside until ready to serve. Slice the bread and wrap well to keep fresh, and crumble or chop the bacon and set aside as well. Have all the ingredients sitting out at room temp and waiting for you. When you are ready to make it, brush the bread, grill, top, and serve-all in a matter of minutes!
1 lb bacon, fried till crispy
1/2 of a 1lb loaf of whole grain Italian baguette, or similar bread, cut into half inch slices (this will give you about a dozen slices)
3 large, vine ripe, preferably local tomatoes, chopped
small pinch of salt
large pinch of ground black pepper
2 T of olive oil
1 tsp of balsamic vinegar
When the bacon is cool, chop or crumble and set aside. Gently toss the tomatoes, salt, pepper, olive oil, and vinegar together in small bowl. Set aside. Lightly brush both sides of the bread with olive oil and grill over medium high heat, just until toasted and grill marks appear. THIS WILL NOT TAKE LONG! A minute at most! Flip the bread to toast the other side. Remove the toast to a platter and top with large spoonfuls of the tomato mixture. Sprinkle with bacon and serve immediately.
Note: Topped with a fried egg, these make an awesome dish for brunch!
Brittany wrote this on 13 July 2015
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
#GrillWithATwist #CollectiveBiasYes, these amazing tacos are as good as they look and YES, they are healthier than you think! Score!
The above dish is actually vegetarian, thanks to a little help from MorningStar Farms! I have long been a fan of their veggie cuisine and my kids count the chicken nuggets among their personal favorites. I keep them stocked in my freezer for quick lunches at home and add them to their plates with sweet, bell pepper strips, cottage cheese, and a pile of berries.
That convenience stretches out during the summer too! Wether I am cooking on the grill or just trying to incorporate as many fresh, summer foods into the menu as possible, I like to make sure all my guests have something they can eat, regardless of food preferences. Enter these incredibly kicked up chicken tacos! They satisfy everyone with one spectacular meal!
I purchased all of the items for this recipe at my all time favorite store-Target. So it basically means I have a one stop shopping trip, since I am always in Target anyway! *sigh* Aren’t we all…?
I found my MorningStar Farms product in the meat and seafood portion of the frozen section and am thrilled that they always have such a huge variety!
They also happened to be on sale the day I went shopping so you can BET that I stocked up. I often incorporate meatless meals into our menu rotation for health reasons, variety, and also to keep my grocery budget on target. The cool thing is that MorningStar Farms has a Veg of Allegiance program where you can pledge to skip the meat for a voluntary number of meals! To learn fun facts, take the pledge yourself, and even earn awesome prizes, click on the link and learn more about it!
This particular recipe is a bit spicy due to the addition of Sriracha, but even my kids scarfed it down. It takes a few ingredients and elevates them to something you would order at a little tex mex restaurant. But WAY cheaper and much easier than having to leave your house. Be sure to make plenty, as it seems to require a very large platter to keep up with demand!
Spicy Chicken Tacos
Just a a few simple ingredients is all it takes for this recipe. Minimal ingredients but maximum flavor!
4 MorningStar Farms Original Chicken Patties, cooked according to package directions
3 c of shredded coleslaw mix (about 1/2 of a one pound bag)
1/4 c mayo
1 T Sriracha
1 T lime juice
8 corn tortillas
extra lime wedges for serving
While chicken patties cook, toss the coleslaw mix, and next three ingredients together in a bowl until evenly mixed. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Slice the chicken into strips. Gently toast the corn tortillas one at a time in a dry pan over medium heat, flipping the tortillas when one side is barely browned. Immediately, but carefully as they are a bit warm, layer a few pieces of chicken in the center of the tortilla and top with about 1/4 c of spicy slaw mixture. Serve with extra lime for squeezing!
Brittany wrote this on 8 July 2015
Fine. All love. Its an all love thing. I love capers.
But doesn’t everyone? If you haven’t tried them, they are actually little buds that have been pickled and brined. They have a sharp, tangy little bite like a pickle, but its more vinegary. They are a fantastic accent to SO many foods, and the recipe above has been my obsession for a few months now. I canNOT stop eating this.
It started one day when I wanted egg salad, but I also wanted tuna salad. So I combined the two and started tossing things in. I tried lemon juice; it was too sour in here. I tried sour cream, but it ended up making everything too creamy. I wanted chunkiness that I could pile on a fork. Not in the mood for bread, I started dumping my mixture over avocados. The tomatoes on the side are not part of the recipe, but I have to say, they are absolutely outstanding with this so be sure to serve some alongside.
Mound this stuff on a bagel, whole grain bread, crackers, or keep it real and eat it out of the bowl. Wonderfully satisfying and full of nutrition, this dish might have you starting your own relationship with capers. *sigh* Welcome to the club.
Tangy Tuna Salad W/Avocado & Capers
Note: This serves one person. When I double the recipe, I can easily feed myself and my three kids. It is also incredible using salmon, but the flavor of the tuna works better here.
1 individual tuna pouch (about 2-3 oz)
2 hard boiled eggs, one yolk discarded
1 T capers, drained
1 T good mayo
pinch of salt
ground pepper to taste
1/2 whole avocado, peeled
fresh tomatoes & crackers for serving
In a medium bowl, mash the tuna and eggs together until broken up. Add the mayo, capers, and seasoning, and toss gently with a fork until combined. Serve the tuna salad over the avocado and serve with tomatoes etc.
Brittany wrote this on 6 April 2015
This is going to sound odd, but do you know what one of my favorite parts about Easter is?
I’m not talking about the boiling and dyeing and hiding and searching phase. I’m talking about the crack and peel and slice and devour phase. Using up those leftovers to make snacks. I. Love. Deviled. Eggs.
When I was little, we stored our freshly colored Easter eggs in the fridge, making sure not to waste a single one. My parents made a killer potato salad and like a true 70’s and 80’s family, we sliced hard boiled eggs on the top for garnish and sprinkled the whole she-bang with paprika. I can pretty much guarantee we were wearing polyester as well. And while we are on the subject, what was with all the hard boiled eggs during those years? Egg salad, potato salad, or deviled eggs — it was all there.
While deviled eggs may be a food fad from decades ago, they are still the first thing to go at a party. Like cornflakes and mini skirts, they seem to have withstood the test of time. And I know why! It is because they are good (duh) and the endless varieties of flavor combinations ensure that you will never get bored. Eggs are inexpensive to make, easy to peel and they will taste great no matter how artfully they are put together so don’t hesitate to let your kids help. My little ones — including the three year old — always feel SO important when I give them a kitchen task and peeling eggs keeps them busy for quite awhile. Score!
Do you like deviled eggs as much as I do??
Brittany wrote this on 28 March 2015
When we moved to the south, we decided to stick to our family dream and purchase land. A parcel of property large enough for the kids to explore, hike on, take four wheeling rides through, and of course, big enough for a large garden. I want chickens too, but that is another post. *grin*
Now is the time of year to get our plows moving and start planting, but the red clay, granite boulders, and the abundance of trees has us on pause as to exactly how we are going to execute said garden. We figured no matter how delayed we were, we would at least get the asparagus planted. It takes a year or two for asparagus to start really producing so we didn’t want to waste any time! When I started asking friends in the area how well their asparagus faired, I was unprepared for the blank stares, perplexed looks, and general confusion of the question. Not one person I knew grew asparagus, knew how to grow asparagus, or had ever seen asparagus growing, much less growing in South Carolina.
Panic set in.
Would I ever be able to fulfill my dream of creating my own asparagus field, thereby guaranteeing that I would have a bumper crop of wonderfulness to roast and grill every spring? Had we moved to the south and built our dream home on our dream land only to live our lives eating asparagus imported from (gulp) Indiana? Would my children ever know the satisfaction of walking among the tall, bright green fronds of asparagus plants and delight in the knowledge that below them grew stalks of a vegetable so stupendous it could be used as currency in some countries?
It turns out, yes. Yes we would.
Asparagus grows great in the south and while we will have some adjusting to do with our soil, further research led me to the see that not only is it abundant here, but that clearly my friends haven’t been spending enough time out of doors.
With my future asparagus needs secured, I turned my attention to eating it. Cold, hot, snappy, or creamed into a soup, I love it in any form. I often blanch the stalks in boiling water for a bit after I bring them home and then save them, all set to go, to use later in the week. It was with this in mind that I decided to create these quick lettuce wraps. So fresh and so full of flavor; I foresee them becoming as much of a favorite in your house as they have in mine. The bright colors and crisp texture just scream the word ‘spring’ and the quick prep time fits the craziness of our schedule as the school year winds down. Simply scrumptious.
Now. Can anyone tell me if rhubarb grows in the South…?
Want to make my Quick Chicken-Asparagus Lettuce Wraps? Click here to get my original recipe created exclusively for BonBonBreak.com! But don’t stop there! Asparagus can be used in a bazillion different ways.
How do YOU cook your asparagus? What is your favorite way to enjoy this spring vegetable?
Brittany wrote this on 19 March 2015
Come to think of it, this may be true across the board with adults as well as kids, hence our continued obsession with all things ‘on a stick’ at the summer festivals. But there is something incredibly appealing about being able to walk and munch at the same time. Is it because finger foods are so cute? Its fun? We like doing two things at once? Whatever the reason, these cheesy little pockets of goodness satisfy that need we all have to multitask.
Made with convenient, ready-made pie crusts, this dinner/lunch comes together faster than you would think. They are just a tiny bit spicy, but not enough to turn anyone off. Crispy and gooey and warm and satisfying. A portable little meal. Perfect for to enjoy while vacuuming. Or folding laundry. Or walking the dog…
Find the recipe and more photos over on the Columbia City Moms Blog website.