Sunday, April 29, 2012

Refreshing Water Ideas

I'm that mom that rarely lets her kids have pop.  Usually it's a treat when we go out to eat somewhere and I try not to let them have a pop with caffeine.  Growing up, pop was always a treat and we had to ask for it.  Nowadays it seems more people reach for a pop than a glass of ice water.  So when I got this great information sheet sent home from Vayle's preschool I had an idea for a post!!  Sometimes it's hard to get your kids to just have a plain old uninteresting glass of water when they are thirsty; since summer is nearing and the heat that will be coming with it, here are some great ideas to keep your kids hydrated with out the sugary drinks.

Create your own flavored pitcher of water.
Fill a water pitcher full of water and let your kids add any of the following ingredients.
*a whole cucumber scrubbed clean and sliced
*a whole peach or pear, washed clean and cut into pieces
*a fresh pineapple cut into rings
*a cup or two of sliced strawberries
*an orange, cleaned and sliced
*lemon or lime, cleaned and sliced
*grapes cleaned and sliced in half
*cherries, cleaned, pitted and sliced in half
*kiwis, peeled and sliced

You could also put in herbs like fresh mint or basil.  Combine one of them with something listed above for a great flavor combination.

Make your own 'fruit cubes'.  Use an ice cube tray and fill about 1/4 of the way with water.  Freeze the water then let your kids put in a mint leaf, basil leaf, strawberry slice or two, raspberries, blueberries, halved grapes, cantaloupe pieces, honeydew pieces, watermelon pieces or any other items listed above or other ideas you can come up with!  Then let your kids add these fruit cubes to their already flavored water for a fun combination.

There are so many flavor ideas - make it a fun thing to try with your kids!  Summer in a glass ideas are endless!!

Shredded Crockpot Chicken (Cafe Rio Chicken)

This recipe I found on Pinterest and had to try it.  It was called Cafe Rio Chicken, I'm assuming that's a restaurant.  I've never heard of it but the recipe poster said it was just like the shredded Chicken from Cafe Rio.  It is really delicious with a flavor that just keeps you going back for more.  I can eat it just plain with a fork.  It would be fabulous on a baked potato, in a burrito, on a salad, in a dip.  Very delicious and so super easy.  I even throw the chicken in the crock pot while still frozen.  Preparation is literally minutes and you get to smell that great chicken from your kitchen all day - or as soon as you get home from work.  Enjoy!!

Shredded Crockpot Chicken (Cafe Rio Chicken)

5-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (2 pounds)
1/2 a small (8-oz) bottle zesty italian dressing
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
1 envelope ranch dressing (mixed with 1/4 water)
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin

Spray crock pot with cooking spray and place in chicken breasts.  Mix all other ingredients into a bowl and then pour over chicken.  Cook on high 5-6 hours or low about 8 hours.  Use a potato masher to mash it all up inside the crockpot and serve.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Overnight Blueberry Coffee Cake

I came across this recipe on the internet the other night and had to make it.  It had good reviews and I had everything on hand.  I always a bag of frozen blueberries in my freezer.  I made it this morning for my kids for breakfast and they ate it up quickly.  It was fresh and warm out of the oven.  It gets refrigerated overnight and you set it out a half hour before you bake it.  It would be great to serve company.  When I made it this morning I set my oven the night before to turn on at 6am - then I set my alarm for 5:30 and put it directly in the oven so it would be ready to bake when the oven heated up and it was ready just in time for the kids to come out dressed and ready for breakfast.

Overnight Blueberry Coffee Cake

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2/3 cup milk
6 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups blueberries (I used frozen)
4 tablespoons sugar

In a smaller bowl combine eggs and 1 cup sugar.  In another larger bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Add egg mixture 1/2 at a time alternating with the milk beating well after each addition.  The mixture will be thick.  Carefully stir in melted butter and fold in the blueberries.  Pour into a greased 9x13 pan and sprinkle with remaining 4 tablespoons sugar.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Next morning, remove from refrigerator and put on counter for 30 minutes (or you can directly put into oven set to turn on in a half hour).  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for about 40 minutes until golden and a toothpick comes out clean.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Baked Balsamic Chicken

It's been a while since I've blogged any recipes, but I have all the photos of what I want to post.  This is a recipe that was in People magazine back in January and it was called Coolio's Spicy Chicken.  A friend posted it on facebook and I had to try it.  It's very quick to make and easy.  It does bake a while, but doesn't require much prep work.  I didn't think the name of the dish was altogether correct because in my opinion there wasn't anything 'spicy' about it.  I suppose you could make it spicer, but in my house we make our own individual plates spicy - not the whole dish.  Some like it HOT (like me who eats jalapenos from the jar) and some like it not hot at all (like my hubby who sweats when he eats pepperoni pizza), the kids all lie somewhere in the middle of that.  I thought this recipe was great and the sauce & veggies were good over top of mashed potatoes.  I mostly used boneless skinless chicken breasts, but I did get a package of chicken legs because sometimes it's just fun to eat drumsticks.  This would be a great dish to serve to company too since it makes a large batch or you could make both dishes and freeze one to have on hand for another time!

Baked Balsamic Chicken

6 - 12 pieces of boneless skinless chicken breasts*
8 chicken legs
1 teaspoon seasoned salt (like Lawry's)
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 medium onion, sliced
1 4.5oz can chopped green chilies
2 10-oz cans cream of chicken soup
2-3 green and/or red bell peppers, chopped

Preheat oven to 400.  Place chicken in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add balsamic vinegar, garlic and onions and mix thoroughly.  You probably have to use your hands.  Mix in rest of ingredients and divide all the chicken pieces and sauce evenly between 2 greased 9x13 baking dishes.  Bake 50-60 minutes until chicken is tender.

*If you only want to use bonless skinless chicken breasts then use about 10 or 12 breasts between the two pans.  If you prefer to have some legs then only use 6 breasts along with about 8 drumsticks.