Creamy Chicken Bites aka My Hubs’ New Favorite Dish.

So, I like to save money on groceries just like the rest of the world. One way I do this is by buying “chicken cut up” or, a whole chicken, cut up, but you have to de-bone and de-skin it yourself. I boil it with celery leaves, celery seed, basil, parsley, and black pepper. I keep the cooked chicken either in the fridge or freezer until ready to use, depending on how soon I’ll make a meal requiring it. I also keep the broth from the boil, in a big tupperware bowl, and keep in the freezer. then I use that broth one or two more times to boil another chicken; on the last boil adding carrots and onions. When the broth is right, I use that for homemade chicken noodle soup, or any recipe which calls for broth. Waste not, want not! 🙂

So I had about 2 chicken breast and a thigh still left to use up in the freezer. I put it in the fridge the night before to thaw out.

Creamy Chicken Bites

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts shredded/diced, (I had an extra thigh so I used it)

3oz. cream cheese

2 Tbs. butter

1 cup of diced onions

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 packages of crescent roll dough

(salt and pepper and Italian seasonings to taste)

Directions:

preheat oven to 375 degrees

sautee the onions and garlic.

when the butter and cream cheese is at room temp, (softened) use a mixer to blend.

add the sautee mixture to the bowl.

warm up the shredded chicken in either the skillet, microwave, or oven whichever you prefer.

add the chicken and seasonings to the bowl and blend with the handheld mixer.

unroll the crescent roll dough and divide into the triangles.

scoop a tablespoon of the chicken mix onto the triangle.

fold/roll up the mixture in the dough and seal off edges to make a ball.

use a pastry brush to lightly brush olive oil over the top of the chicken bites.

bake for about 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

you now have a great main dish, or part appetizer!

Clint hasn’t stopped complimenting me on how good they were and how impressed he was with how delicious they were!

we tried them plain, and with all kinds of condiments: ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, and ranch dressing. It seems our favorite was mustard, with ranch at a close second, and BBQ in third. But honestly, these are wonderful as a stand along as well!

Hope you like it!

I just made some more almond milk tonight, so the next recipe I will be trying out will involve some leftover almond pulp! 🙂

Leftover Almond Pulp: Homemade Granola…Bars?

Sorry I haven’t got to try the hummus recipe yet– I was craving some homemade granola instead. The cravings talk, I usually listen…carefully. 🙂

Now, If you know anything about my cooking style, it’s that I don’t like to use measuring utensils. I like to eyeball it, and I’m usually pretty good at it! Note the word, “usually.”

Well, in life everything is trial an error and this time around was no different. I tried to make healthy delicious granola bars, but the recipes I drew inspiration from didn’t exactly produce the results I had hoped. still yummy, just not what I wanted.

Lesson 1: the granola crumbles in the baking pan (dark pan) got burnt, while the “bars” in the glass baking dish were perfectly and delightfully  toasted to perfection.

Lesson 2: If the mixture before putting it in the pan  isn’t sticky; if it doesn’t form stable globs of granola, then it probably wont hold form as a “Bar” (it’s still delicious, but messier. Harder for “on the go breakfast” which was my intent in the first place.)

Lesson 3: Sometimes…I guess…It MIGHT beeee….(good? helpful? beneficial?) to actually follow only one consistent recipe instead of being so sure of yourself in the kitchen. *sigh* there I said it. Let’s move on. haha!

Recipe I used:

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • mix in an extra large bowl these ingredients:
  • 3 cups steel cut oats (rolled oats will work fine as well.)
  • 1 cup almond pulp (I dried mine in the oven for 4 hours on the lowest temp, and refrigerated it for later use such as this.)
  • 1 cup lightly chopped walnuts
  • 1 half cup lightly chopped almonds (I needed more crunch.)
  • 1 cup milled flax seed
  • 1 cup Grape Nuts cereal (woah, settle down I know it’s a manufactured cereal, but I like the crunch. omit if you desire.)
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon powder
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon ginger powder
  • set bowl aside.
  • in a saucepan melt together these ingredients:
  • 8 tablespoons of butter (not the fake kind, people. read a label.) this means a whole stick
  •  cup raw honey (whatever kind you have will work)
  • 1/2 cup applesauce (i wanted to decrease the butter by half and use this in replacement of the 4 Tbs of butter, but a recipe I saw added all of both, so I stifled my instincts and added both–next time, I will use half or none of the butter.)
  • 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract (not imitation)
  • when it’s all melted and mixed together, pour over the dry ingredients in your big bowl. mix it up with a rubber spatula, or wooden spoon until evenly incorporated.
  • Next I added 2 cups of Craisins (dried cranberries) and one cup semi sweet chocolate chips and folded them in.
  • Now, you can line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or just grease the pan like I did. Pour out bowl onto baking pan. (I had to use 2 different pans, one to make bars, and the other to make it into cereal) I would suggest using glass bakeware.
  • pop into oven and leave it for a half hour–check it in 15 minutes to stir if you’re doing granola crumbles and not bars. My oven tends to cook things faster than recipes call for, so you may need to leave it in for a whole hour–your judgement call.
  • It will become crispy as you let it cool, so break it up into pieces, or slice into bars before it becomes too hard.

and there you have it! pretty simple, pretty good. the only thing that went wrong was the sticky factor. I think I will puree prunes, or raisins and add to the melted butter and applesauce and honey mixture–or omit the butter entirely. also, I felt the ginger was unnecessary, and cinnamon was excessive. I should have only used half the amount, and maybe a whole cup of choc chips.

If I used Pure Maple Syrup for the bonding mix instead of honey, it would have been fine and I would have omitted the cocoa powder and craisins, and used raisins and ginger instead for a more maple complementing flavor. But I was going for a fruity and dark chocolatey taste.

So this adventure was a learning experience, not a bad one either. I only burnt a small portion of the crumbles, so not a lot of waste. The bars are actually crumbly, but they still taste delicious. So overall, I think it was a good experience.

oh yea, store these in the glass bakeware dish with the matching lid, or in any other airtight container.

I will be making another batch of almond milk within a couple days, so I will try the hummus recipe on that batch of almond pulp. stay tuned! 🙂

Homemade Fruit Leather aka Fruit Rollups, Fruit By The Foot

Okay, really guys–be honest. How much fruit do you think you put to waste because you let it go too long before eating? Well no more, folks! It’s really a quick process to turn the fruit on the verge of its expiration date into a healthy fruity snack on the go!

enter: Homemade Fruit Leather. It’s genius, really.

I made the traditional Strawberry, because that’s what was on hand at the time. This recipe doesn’t make a whole lot, so if you have kids, or just a really mean sweet tooth, then I would double–maybe triple the recipe. Make sure to have enough pans though–it takes a long time to fully dehydrate.

  • Remove the leaves of about 3 cups worth of strawberries. Put into food processor.
  • Puree until it is the consistency of applesauce (that’s as thin as it gets. I added a half a cup of water; it needed a bit more liquid to fully purée.)
  • Now since we don’t live in Cali, where the strawberries are as sweet and ripe, bright red all the way through as I’ve ever known–I added about a half cup of honey–(any sweetener would work) Strawberries here just aren’t the same.
  • get a jelly roll pan (a baking pan with edges) and line with plastic wrap–that’s right I used plastic wrap. you can tape the edged down if you have issues, but I just wet the underside of it a dab and it stuck just fine. You need to make sure the plastic wrap is completely flat and smooth, no wrinkles, or your leather wont be as easy to make into strips, or pull off the wrap.
  • bake at the lowest temp on your oven (150-175) and leave the door cracked. check every hour. mine took about 6 hours for the center to be fully dried, not tacky or sticky at all.
  • when it’s done, the edges will be crispy and flakey–don’t try to cut or it will shatter into pieces. You will need to let it sit overnight, or at minimum for a few hours. After this the leather will be flexible and able to work with.

peel slowly off plastic wrap, set back on baking pan and slice into desired portions. you can put parchment paper on one side and roll up like the store-bought kind, but this time around, it’s not going to last long So I didn’t bother. Next time I will make a triple batch, and will also use parchment paper to bake it with, then cut with scissors, roll up and tie with yarn or twine, or even twisty ties. you can store them at room temp in an airtight container and they’ll keep probably about 2 weeks, from what I’ve read. other blogs say they get soggy if refrigerated.

Sorry, I didn’t take pictures of the process, but you don’t really need them, it’s a pretty simply project, if you’ve got the time to wait for them to be done.

Some recipes call for the fruit and sweetener mix to be simmered first and then put into a blender, but really, it’s just an extra pan dirtied if you do, there is no difference in final product.

So that’s about it folks! Thanks for stopping by again, and I hope you give it a try! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Making your own Almond Milk is actually very easy!

I recently discovered that I am mildly lactose intolerant. This was sad news to me since I am a dairy FIEND! Lucky for me, I think Soy and Almond milk alternatives are delicious! But getting the $2.99 generic half-gallon of almond milk and reading all the crazy additives has been sobering (and expensive):

Ingredients: purified water, almonds, tapioca starch, calcium carbonate, sea salt, potassium citrate, carrageenan, soy lecithin, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D2, d-alpha-tocopherol (natural vitamin E)

Yikes! The whole reason I stopped drinking dairy was to make a healthy change for the better of my body right? Goodbye nasty chemicals! Hello fast and easy freshly made beverage! 🙂

You think it’s expensive? Not if you bargain shop for the almonds. Here in Nebraska they’re typically $5.99 per pound. But I kept my eye out for them to go on sale at all stores and right now Walgreens has them on sale for a couple more days for $3.99 per pound. If you are willing to bargain shop for just some almonds, you can have about 2 gallons of almond milk for the price of ONE HALF gallon of store-bought.

Now if you are like my mom, you would say something like, “but what about calcium? You need calcium!” Well, if you are eating enough green veggies, you should be getting a good dose of that already, but chances are, you’re not. So, let me be the one to tell you: DO IT! Eat your veggies! Tired of feeling like crap all the time? Eat more veggies! Unfortunately, homemade almond milk isn’t fortified with calcium, so you wont be getting as much as you would with cow’s milk. Take a good plant-based multivitamin, and eat your veggies and call it good! If you’re really worried about it, get those chocolate candies that are calcium supplements. (they’re yummy)

MOVING ON….

So, as I was drinking my store brand almond milk and reading the label, I remembered reading on Jorge Garcia’s Blog (the actor who plays Hurley on LOST, and Diego Soto on Alcatraz) about how he makes his own almond milk! So I read his recipe, Googled several others and decided that it’s super easy! and that the amount of ingredients is all just a matter of preference. amount, texture, thickness, sweetness, etc. So here is my version of Almond Milk. If you are willing to try this out with me, just remember if you don’t like it the first time, change it to make it how you do like next time! trial and error folks!

AND! For the love of Pete, DO NOT throw out the leftover pulp/meal of the almonds! there are SEVERAL uses for it, as I will cover that in my next blog post. Cover and refrigerate, or, spread out on baking sheet to toast them, then freeze them in airtight container until next use!

RECIPE TIME! about 20 minutes total.
–In the pictures I only made enough for one serving, (shown) just for visual aid.–

(if your food processor doesn’t fit a half gallon of water, then do this in two batches. Also, some say it’s better to let almonds soak in water a few hours before using instead of blanching, but that requires planning ahead. If you blanch them, it’s done in a snap. results are not very different.)

  • blanch 2 cups of almonds. If you want it to go further, 1 cup is sufficient, but most people like theirs thicker/creamier.
  • pop them out of their skins (you can literally pop them out, by pinching them, or slowly snapping between fingers…be careful, they might fly across the counter!) discard the skins.

  • add half gallon of (preferably filtered) water and the skinless almonds to the food processor.
  • pulse until water is off-white and frothy on top.
  • OPTIONAL: add a tablespoon or two of PURE VANILLA, and the same amount of local honey.
  • pulse for one more minute.
  • use a cheesecloth, or thin dishtowel, or clean pantyhose, or a metal mesh strainer and strain into container. (you can buy a good strainer for nut milk on amazon for about $9 but I like to be thrifty and improvise with what I have. squeeze the pulp to get as much liquid out before storing for later use.
  • some people prefer to strain the liquid twice, but I haven’t felt the need to.
  • save the almond meal/almond pulp for later use.
  • That’s it! You’re done! Now, you can let it chill in the fridge, or enjoy a glass right away! Cheers to you and your thriftiness, your new life skill, your new favorite dairy milk alternative–and of course, to your health! 🙂

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes.

It’s been almost a year since I’ve blogged, so The times, they are a’changin!

I’ve decided to revamp this as I have been slowly revamping my lifestyle. I will use this blog as a motivator for myself and others, not as a place to vent my musings anymore. (yay!) 

I will be trying out new recipes, documenting how certain workout programs are going, and maybe even a coupon post every once in a blue moon! (But don’t count on those.) My sister-in-law Kendal is the QUEEN of bargain/coupon shopping, you should visit her site for that! She is over at The Life of A Wife.

In my next blog I’m going to be showing you how easy and inexpensive it is to make your own almond milk, and some recipes for the leftover almond pulp!

I’ve always wanted to a blog like “Julia&Julia” but never had the time. Maybe this can be similar, but I  will be using recipes I’ve tried from other blogs I follow, from Pinterest, from my Grandma Stella, and my mom, and I will also be trying out some gluten free recipes! 🙂

I’m very excited for this adventure, but bear with me–I will be starting another adventure as well–dental assisting school at the end of this month, so I may not post as often as I am anticipating.

Hope ya’ll are having a good summer, and are ready to try out some new recipes with me! 🙂

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