Chicken Nuggets

I’ve worked in the hotel industry for nearly 14 years now. Over the years, I’ve seen many brides and grooms create gift bags for their out of town guests. A few weeks ago, one of my co-workers told me when she gets married some day that she will include Cheetos for guests. It made me laugh. Renee proclaimed, “Everybody loves them even if they don’t admit it.” I said, “It’s like KFC. Everybody has a favorite kind or side dish but you don’t eat it every often.”

Although this recipe is no KFC secret recipe, it is a healthier way to serve your family something every kid will eat.

Chicken NuggetsBaked Nuggets by Parade Magazine
1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (cut into 2 inch pieces)
1/4 c. skim milk
1/2 c. plain dried bread crumbs

Mix flour, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish. Pour milk into a separate shallow dish. Pour bread crumbs onto a third shallow dish. Place chicken piece in flour mixture, then milk, and roll in bread crumbs. Place coated pieces on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Spray with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Nutritional Information: 220 calories per serving, 17 g. carbs, 26 g. protein, 4 g. fat, 65 mg. cholesterol, 220 mg. sodium, and 2 g. fiber. Recipe makes four servings.

Note: One of my friend’s children is allergic to milk. I’m sure this would work just as well with soy milk.

Tangy BBQ Sauce
1/3 c. barbecue sauce
1 T. cider vinegar
2 T. honey
1 tsp. grated orange rind

In a small sauce pan, bring ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 4 minutes. Serve warm.

Note: I didn’t have an orange so I used orange juice. I thought the sauce was great.

Happy Administrative Professionals Day

This is one of my favorite days to celebrate – recognizing the people who keep our organizations running every day. This morning, I made Brown Sugar Snickerdoodle Cookies. It’s a recipe a find from a link on the Bravely Obey blog (a dear friend of mine’s blog). I love snickerdoodles and I hope you also enjoy this yummy treat.

Brown Sugar Snickerdoodles CookiesBrown Sugar Snickerdoodles
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
2 sticks of unsalted butter
1 1/4 c. brown sugar (or dark brown sugar)
1/2 c. sugar
1 large egg plus 1 yolk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 T. Greek yogurt

Rolled Mix
1/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

In a bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, cinnamon, and salt. In a pan, melt butter on the stovetop on a medium heat until it foams. In another bowl, mix together butter and sugars. Add and mix sugar, eggs, vanilla, and yogurt. Blend in flour mixture in batches. Refrigerate overnight. Make into balls and roll in cinnamon/sugar. Bake 8-11 minutes at 350 degrees.

Monster Dip

If you have followed my blog for awhile, you might know I love M&Ms. In fact, a eat a few of them out of my candy dish probably every day. One of my all time favorite cookies is Monster Cookies because it contains M&Ms. My mother makes them perfectly but mine never turn out quite as good.

A few days ago, I spotted this recipe on an old friend from high school’s Facebook page. I just knew I had to make it. Without eggs, you can eat the raw dish without having to worry about salmonella like you do when you sample uncooked cookie dough. I’ve tried this dip with Teddy Grams, pretzels, and apples. I liked it the best on pretzels. I think it might also be good on graham or animal crackers.

Monster Cookie DipMonster Dip
1 package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. peanut butter
2 c. powdered sugar
3 T. brown sugar
1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 to 2 1/2 c. oats (less makes a smoother dip)
2/3 c. M&Ms
1 c. chocolate chips

Use a mixer to blend cream cheese, butter, and peanut butter until smooth. Add powder sugar, brown sugar, flour, and vanilla. Add oats. Stir in M&Ms and chocolate chips. Refrigerate until serving. It makes a large storage container full.

Notes:

  • I used reduced fat cream cheese and peanut butter.
  • I only used 1 1/2 c. oats and my recipe was fairly smooth.

Crepes

Last week, I was helping my undergraduate alma mater recruit students. Talking about the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with students reminded me of my college days. I was what you would call a residence hall geek. As a member of the National Residence Hall Honorary, I must educate you never to use the word “dorm”.

During my college days, I served on the Residence Hall Association, acted as a summer conference assistant, worked at the front desk for Harper-Schramm-Smith, cleaned windows for maintenance, and even did kitchen prep work in the dining halls one summer. As a resident hall student, I think breakfast was my favorite meal. I would get up at 7AM, pick-up a Daily Nebraskan, and head up for breakfast before my 8:30 class. One of my favorite breakfast recipes they served was Strawberry Crepes. Until now, I have never cooked crepes myself. I’m so bad at flipping pancakes that I made my mother buy me for Christmas one year a pancake cooker (like a waffle maker) that doesn’t make you flip them.

While hosting a Wildtree fundraiser for work last summer, I decided to buy a mix to make crepes. Recently, I printed off a recipe for Spiced Crepes with Strawberry Filling from Betty Crocker’s website. After my reminiscing about my college days, I decided to finally make this recipe – substituting the Wildtree mix for the Betty Crocker crepes recipe. I have to tell you, they tasted just as good as I remember.

100_0933Spiced Crepes with Strawberry Filling by Betty Crocker

Crepes
3/4 c. instant flour
1 T. sugar
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
3 eggs
3 T. butter, melted and cooled
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vegetable oil

Filling
2 T. butter
2 & 1/2 c. strawberry halves
2 T. packed brown sugar
2 T. orange juice
1 T. red wine or balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
Dash of salt

Topping
2 T. powder sugar

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, sugar, nutmeg, and salt. In another bowl, beat together milk, eggs, butter, and almond extract with a wire whisk. Pour into center of dry ingredients and mix together. Pour about 1 T. oil into 6-8 in skillet and heat on a medium heat. Wipe out when hot and add 3 T. of batter. Swirl in pan and even out batter. Cook 30 seconds, flip, and cook 30 seconds more. Place cooked crepes on a plate seperating with waxed paper. When you have finished with crepes, move onto filling.

In a 10 inch skillet, melt 2 T. butter over a medium heat. Add strawberries and brown sugar. Cook until they start getting soft. Then, add orange juice, vinegar, vanilla, and salt. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add 2 T. of strawberry filling to the inside of each crepe. Roll up and drizzle with a little more strawberry sauce. Top with powdered sugar.

Nutritional Information: (Makes six servings – two crepes per serving) 270 calories (130 calories from fat), 14 g. fat (6 g. saturated fat, 1/2 g. trans fat), 135 mg. cholesterol, 220 mg. sodium, 29 g. carbs, 2 g. fiber, 16 g. sugar, and 7 g. protein.

Notes:

  • This recipe does take about an hour from start to finish. I did the prep work on my strawberries before I made the crepes to literally go straight from cooking crepes to making filling.
  • The Wildtree recipe for crepes is easier and healthier. Just add water to mix and whisk. The first couple weren’t pretty but they got better the hotter the pan was. I also used a touch of butter instead of oil between cooking each crepe.
  • I used red wine vinegar in my filling. The might help with the smell when you first heat vinegar.
  • I used fat free Cool Whip instead of powdered sugar on my crepes.

Chicken Salad Casserole

I ran across this recipe on Kraft Foods website. It reminded me of a warm chicken salad.

Chix_casseroleSwiss ‘n Chicken Casserole
4 c. cooked chicken, cubed
2 c. croutons
1 & 1/2 c. shredded Swiss cheese
2/3 c. Miracle Whip
1/2 c. milk
4 stalks celery, sliced
1/4 c. chopped onion

Mix all ingredients in a 2 qt. greased casserole dish. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Makes six servings.

Nutritional Information: 410 calories 115 mg. cholesterol, 1 g. fiber, 22 g. fat (8 g. saturated fat), 410 mg. sodium, 4 g. sugars, 15 g. carbs, and 37 g. protein

Notes:

  • Save 40 calories and 4 g. fat per serving by using 2% cheese, Light Miracle Whip, and skim milk.
  • I used boneless, skinless chicken breast which is healthier.
  • I also made my own croutons which allowed me to decrease fat and increase fiber.
  • Although I did not add it, some almond slices or dried cranberries might be a nice addition.

Crunchy Chocolate Chip Muffins

In February, Kansas City was buried in snow. I’m not talking a little bit of snow. One week we got 14 inches on a Thursday morning and the following Monday night another 11 inches. Needless to say, I didn’t leave the house for a few days each time. One of my friends was joking on the internet about why the grocery stores were sold out of all the staples (bread, milk, and eggs). While I on the other hand, always have a pantry and freezer always stock with food. I was cooking up a storm before and after working from home.

This recipe is an oldie but goodie from Taste of Home. I came from one of those magazines my sister shared with me. The recipe was originally published in 2005.

Chocolate Chip MuffinChocolate Chip Muffin by Kelly Kirby
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 c. plain yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c. chocolate chips

Topping
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. chopped walnuts (optional)
1/4 c. chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and mix. Then add yogurt and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, soda, powder, and salt. Add to mixture slowly. Fold in chocolate chips. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.

In a small, mix topping ingredients. Sprinkle over batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. This recipe makes one dozen muffins.

Note: If you don’t want to add the topping, I think the recipe would still be good for a chocolate chip muffin.