May 31, 2013

Perfect Picnic Sweetened Chicken Salad


Summer's here and that means the 4 P's: Picnics, Potlucks, and Pool Parties!
I have a few staples that I like to make for summer get together's:
  1.   Potato Salad
  2.  Quiche
  3. Mac and Cheese
  4. Cookies
  5. Pizza Poppers 
  6. Bacon Wrapped Dates

It's good to have a few signature dishes but I still like to experiment with new ones. So for the last few pool parties I hosted I made this delicious (and super easy!) Chicken Salad. Cubed poached chicken breasts are mixed with sour cream and a hint of mayo and sweetened with honey roasted almonds and dried cranberries. Serve on mini croissants and they are perfect for any picnic, pool party, or potluck this summer!  

Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/2- 2 lbs Chicken Breasts (boneless, skinless)
  • 4-6 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup sliced honey roasted almonds
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • salt/pepper to taste
  •  mini croissants, for serving

Directions:

  1.  Place chicken breasts (sliced thin if too large or thick) in a medium saucepan and cover with chicken broth. 
  2. Heat over medium and bring to a simmer. Poach until cooked through, approx 15-20 minutes.
  3. When chicken is done remove from broth and let cool on a cutting board.
  4. When cool to touch roughly chop and shred the chicken into bite size pieces.
  5. In a medium bowl mix together chicken, mayo, sour cream, almonds, cranberries, and salt and pepper to taste until blended.
  6. I like to serve on mini croissants. This recipe makes about 15 or 16 mini sandwiches. 
  7. Pile onto a platter and watch them disappear at your next summer gathering!
Bring a medium saucepan of chicken broth to a simmer.
Add a package of chicken breasts to the broth. If they are too thick I slice in half horizontally and make smaller thinner pieces.
Poach the chicken until cooked through and easily shreds with a fork, about 15-20 minutes.
Let the chicken cool on a cutting board.
Shred with a fork or cut into bite size cubes.


Mix chicken with honey roasted sliced almonds and dried cranberries for texture and sweetness.

Add mayo, sour cream, and seasoning.
Refrigerate until you are ready to put on croissants and serve.
Creamy and delicious Chicken Salad!
I like to pile my croissants full of chicken salad, no need to be skimpy!
You can also serve in lettuce cups or stuffed in a sliced avocado for a fun presentation!
Serve a platter at your next party!
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May 30, 2013

Barbecue Bacon Meatloaf

To me meatloaf is the ultimate comfort food so when I was craving a hearty meatloaf dinner the other night I set out to create a version that was traditional with a little something different. So this version has all my favorite ingredients- bacon, pork, cheddar cheese, sauteed onion and mushrooms, and of course spicy BBQ sauce! Does it seriously get any better than that?! Don't forget if you have leftovers this meatloaf makes a tasty meatloaf sandwich the next day!
 

Ingredients:

4 servings
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 large yellow onion (Vadalia), diced
  • 4 oz mushrooms, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed or diced
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 3 slices uncooked bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • salt/pepper to taste

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Heat a saute pan over medium and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Add diced onions and cook for about 5 minutes until softened. 
  3. Add garlic clove and mushrooms, along with more olive oil if needed. Saute for another 5-10 minutes until it's darkened and softened then add salt and cracked black pepper. 
  4. In a large bowl, mix together ground pork, chopped bacon, onion mixture, shredded cheese, beaten egg, panko, Worcestershire, and 1/4 cup BBQ sauce. 
  5. Form into a large loaf and place in a large greased baking dish.
  6. Spread the top with remaining 1/4 cup BBQ sauce.
  7. Bake for an hour then remove from the oven, slice and serve warm. 
Delicious with a side of garlic mashed potatoes. Also leftover meatloaf sandwiches for the next night's dinner are my idea of a perfect meal :)
    Saute sweet onions in olive oil then add garlic and chopped mushrooms.
    Cook the onions and mushrooms until softened and dark. 

       
      When you add softened onions and mushrooms to the meat mixture they not only add a delicious flavor and texture they also keep your meatloaf moist!
      We are a barbecue lovin' family! Our fridge is always stocked with at least three different BBQ sauces. Use your favorite for this recipe. I used the Jack Daniel's Spicy BBQ for a nice kick to go with the sweet onion and savory bacon.
      Mix together pork, bacon, cheese, onion mixture, and all the other toppings
       to create your meatloaf mixture.
      Form into a large loaf and place in a baking dish.
      Spread the remaining BBQ sauce on top of the meatloaf then bake for about an hour.
      Bubbly and delicious, right out of the oven!
      Slice and serve warm with mashed potatoes or I like creamed cauliflower. 
        
      The BBQ Sauce forms a flavorful crust while the inside is moist and savory! 
      Try this meatloaf today- you wont be sorry!

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    May 26, 2013

    Chicken Cobb Salad

     In my house we love having big hearty salads for dinner. Cobb Salad is one of my favorites, since I am a huge fan of bacon (on anything) and blue cheese.
    This easy recipe is for my signature Chicken Cobb Salad, loaded with ingredients and packed with flavor but still good for you too! Try adding your own twist to this recipe like substituting grilled shrimp for the chicken and adding different toppings like toasted pecans or shredded cheddar.

    Ingredients:

    Makes 4 servings
    • 4 boneless and skinless chicken breasts, cooked, seasoned, and sliced
    • one bag lettuce salad mix, approx 6-8 oz
    • 2 avocados, diced
    • 1 tomato, diced
    • 4 slices bacon, cooked and diced
    • 2 eggs, boiled, peeled, and diced
    •  can of sliced black olives, 1-2 oz drained
    • 4 tablespoons dried cranberries
    • 4 tablespoons sliced almonds. I like honey roasted
    • 1/3 cup blue cheese crumbles
    • dressing of your choice

    Directions:

    1.  To assemble salad start with 4 plates of lettuce salad mix.
    2. Top with rows of each additional topping.
    3. Add extra toppings if you'd like, like cucumber, shredded cheese, or croutons.
    4. Last, add a side of a dressing of your choice (my fave is honey mustard!) and enjoy!


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    May 22, 2013

    Ted's Montana Grill Kitchen Sink Bison Burger

    Like most foodies, I am a big fan of dining out. One of my favorite chain restaurants is Ted's Montana Grill. Over the years, I have eaten at locations in Florida, Georgia, and D.C. Since my husband is from Montana and had never heard of Ted's Montana Grill (gasp!), I knew I wanted to take him there one day. Luckily we celebrated our honeymoon in the Atlanta area so we visited the downtown location during our stay.
    Ted's was started by well known businessman, Ted Turner. Ted's is a big believer in sustainability and features the largest bison menu in the world! They are known for their free thick cut pickles that are brought to your table as a tasty little snack (instead of a boring ol' loaf of bread) and their fantastically messy 3 napkin burgers! You can choose either ground beef or bison and the toppings range from basics like grilled onions and melted cheese to unique  and fun like tomato jam, blackberries, and roasted peppers. My favorite burger is the hearty Kitchen Sink featuring American cheese, grilled ham, smoky bacon, grilled onions and mushrooms topped with a fried egg. Check out my version of this 'lick your fingers good' burger below!

     Ted's famous pickles
    My hubby with is tasty- and potent- Huckleberry Margarita.

    Two of Ted's famous Burgers. Oh yeah, if you're wondering: yes, we each ate the entire burger!

    I can't believe it has already been over a year since our Georgia honeymoon!
    I love you Ashton!
    Check out our wedding here

    The Kitchen Sink Bison Burger 

    Makes 4 Big Ol' Buffalo Burgers

    Ingredients:

    • 24 oz Ground Bison
    • 8 slices bacon
    • 4 eggs
    • 4 hamburger buns, buttered and toasted
    •  1/2 a Vidalia or large yellow onion
    • 1 ham steak cut into 4 rounds
    • 6-8 oz package of cremini or baby bella mushrooms
    • 2 tbsp honey mustard
    • olive oil, for saute
    • salt/pepper/garlic powder/seasoning salt, to taste

    Directions:

    1. Cook bacon slices until crisp then drain on a paper towel lined plate.
    2. Drain all but 1 tbsp bacon grease then add chopped onions and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.
    3. Add a swirl of olive oil and add the mushrooms to the onions. 
    4. Cook for another 5 minutes or until mushrooms have darkened and softened. 
    5. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
    6. Form the bison into 4 round patties. 
    7. Season how you like. I used seasoning salt, ground black pepper, and garlic powder.
    8. Heat a heavy skillet (I use a cast iron pan) over med high, add a swirl of vegetable oil and place all 4 patties in the pan. 
    9. Cook for a few minutes until a nice crust forms on one side. Flip and let cook for a minute then add a slice of cheese to each patty and cover pan with a lid for a minute to steam until cheese melts.
    10. While the burgers are cooking butter and toast your buns, then spread the inside of the top bun with honey mustard. 
    11. Heat a small skillet and cook each egg, one at a time, to over medium. Gently flipping over once. Remove from heat to a plate.
    12.  Add a ham slice and 2 bacon strips crosswise on each burger then remove with a spatula and place each patty on each bottom bun.
    13. Top with a fried egg and a mound of sauteed mushrooms and onions, then the top bun.
    14. Prepare to get messy! Dig in and let your taste buds have a party!
    Thanks Ted's Montana Grill for inspiring this fantastic Bison burger!  www.tedsmontanagrill.com

    Cook bacon until crisp. Reserve one tbsp bacon drippings in the pan
    and add drained bacon on paper towel lined plate.
    Add sliced onions to the same pan with the reserved bacon grease. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes.
    Add olive oil to onions and then add sliced mushrooms and cook until soft, 
    about 5 more minutes.
    Trim fat from ham steak and cut into squares or circles to fit on the burger patty.
    Add to a hot greased pan and sear on both sides.


    I use a large biscuit cutter or cookie cutter to cut the ham steak into circles that fit perfectly on top of the burgers! Also works great for eggs!





    I like to cook my egg over medium. I flip it so the whites get cooked 
    but the yolk it still runny when eaten.
     
    I like to use seasoning salt, fresh ground black pepper, and garlic powder to season my patties.
    Heat a cast iron skillet or grill pan until hot then add the burgers.
    Cook burgers for a few minutes, flip then add cheese, cover, and steam until cheese is melted then add ham and bacon. I like my Bison around med-rare.

    Perfectly juicy, crunchy, and melted!
    Butter and toast sliced buns then spread with honey mustard.
    Top burgers with fried egg then mushrooms and onion and top bun.

    Oh man this was so good I am still thinking about it weeks later! Enjoy~



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