Easy Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

Easy Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

Most of my recipes lately start with two questions: “What leftovers do we have?” and “How can I put all of this together and it not taste horrible?”. This is one of them. I had leftover diced chicken and whole wheat pasta. I was tired of plain pasta and sauce, so pasta salad sounded like a viable option. I had leftover Caesar dressing after making the pasta salad and this recipe is great with croutons or romaine lettuce to add a little crunch! The best part is if you don’t happen to have some of these ingredients, there is a substitute that you’ll likely have on hand.

Ingredients

    Dressing:

    • 2 tsp yellow mustard
    • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
    • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
    • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
    • 2 tsp minced garlic
    • 1 tsp fish sauce (if you don’t have any fish sauce on hand, you can substitute 1 tsp anchovy paste or 1 tsp soy sauce)
    • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
    • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

    Pasta Salad:

    • 8 oz pasta, cooked according to package directions and cooled
    • shredded rotisserie chicken or cubed chicken breast
    • hearts of Romaine, chopped (or any other salad greens)
    • croutons (optional)
    • shredded Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

    Directions

    1. Mix all dressing ingredients together until well combined.
    1. Combine chicken and cooked pasta. Add small amounts of dressing and stir well until all pasta salad ingredients are well covered by dressing.
    1. Serve over greens, with croutons, or tossed with chopped hearts of Romaine.
    Kale, Spinach, Apple, and Strawberry Salad

    Kale, Spinach, Apple, and Strawberry Salad

    I had kale and spinach leftover from other dishes I made and didn’t really know what to do with them. So, their super powers merged into this light summer salad! Enjoy!

    Ingredients

    • 4 cups shredded, fresh kale
    • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
    • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
    • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
    • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 1/2 tsp honey
    • black pepper, to taste
    • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
    • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1 Honeycrisp apple, diced
    • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries, blueberries, dried cherries, or other fruit of choice

    Directions

    1. Massage kale with 1 Tbsp of olive oil and 1/2 tsp of salt in a large bowl until the kale softens slightly.
    1. Whisk remaining 3 Tbsp olive oil, lemon juice, and sugar, and honey together to complete the vinaigrette.
    1. Combine softened kale, spinach, apple, strawberries (or other desired fruit), grated parmesan, and walnuts. Serve topped with shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired.
    Better Than Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew

    Better Than Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew

    I love fall most of all. Ok, maybe I love caffeine most of all, but I DO love fall and all the pumpkin things! If you love Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, you’ll love this version! I found a few recipes on Pinterest and I’ll be updating this recipe as I tweak it to perfection, so stay tuned for updates!

    Ingredients

    • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
    • 1 Tbsp pumpkin purée
    • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1-2 tsp honey
    • Pinch of pumpkin pie spice
    • Cold brew
    • Ice

    Directions

    1. Add ice to a glass and pour cold brew over ice.
    2. Add all other ingredients except pumpkin pie spice to a glass and mix using a blender or milk frother until we’ll blended and light and fluffy.
    3. Pour over cold brew. Add a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice to top of cream and enjoy!
    Oven Baked Greek Nachos

    Oven Baked Greek Nachos

    I’m always a huge fan of any Greek or Mediterranean recipes, so why not nachos? I made Greek pasta last night and had all of the ingredients opened in the fridge and couldn’t figure out what to do with them. So, nachos for a crowd! These are great because you can customize them any way you’d like. Don’t like capers? Don’t include them! Have some banana peppers? They’re a great addition! Don’t have fresh tomatoes? Used canned! This a great throw in everything you have recipe when you want to use ingredients that wouldn’t normally be used. Enjoy!

    Ingredients

    • tortilla or Pita chips (pita chips are great with Greek ingredients, but I didn’t have any on hand, so corn tortilla chips is what I used)
    • shredded mozzarella or other white cheese (enough to cover a pan of chips)
    • crumbled feta cheese
    • dried dill weed
    • dried leaf oregano
    • garlic powder
    • tomatoes (fresh or canned are both fine!)
    • diced red onion (I didn’t happen to have any on hand, so I used a little bit of onion powder for flavor)
    • capers
    • kalamata olives, halved
    • artichoke hearts, quartered
    • banana peppers, sliced
    • diced chicken, sausage, or other protein of choice, fully cooked (optional)
    • Tzatziki sauce (optional-if you’d like to make your own, check out my go-to recipe!)

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a baking sheet with cooking spray.
    2. Spread tortilla, pita, or other preferred chips to cover the baking sheet. Add mozzarella or other preferred white cheese covering the chips. Sprinkle feta over the mozzarella.
    1. Sprinkle desired amount of dried dill weed, oregano, garlic powder, and onion powder (option if using real onion) onto the cheese. Add diced onion and protein of choice. Bake in the oven 5-7 minutes or until cheese is just melted.
    1. Add remaining toppings and serve warm. Top with tzatziki sauce if you like!
    Easy Oven Baked S’Mores for a Crowd

    Easy Oven Baked S’Mores for a Crowd

    So, you planned an awesome camping party in your backyard complete with hot dogs and s’mores. Of course, Mother Nature can’t help but throw a wrench in your carefully made party plans and decides to rain at the very start of your party. A few things immediately happen: 1. You do a happy dance that all of the tiny humans will fit snuggly on your basement sectional and an air mattress for “indoor camping”. 2. Be thankful you have a Crock-Pot for hot dogs to feed a crowd. 3. Be thankful you have an oven so the much anticipated s’mores are still a possibility.

    This recipe is for the latter. All you need is a sheet pan and an oven and you’re in business!

    Ingredients and Materials

    • Hershey chocolate bars
    • Graham crackers
    • Marshmallows
    • Parchment paper (optional, but helps with cleanup!)
    • Sheet pan

    Directions

    1. Set oven to “Broil” and allow to heat while preparing the s’mores for baking.
    2. While the oven is heating, prepare all s’more ingredients by breaking the graham crackers in half and breaking the chocolate bars into thirds and set aside.
    1. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet. Add desired amount of Graham cracker halves according to the number of s’mores you plan on serving. Add a marshmallow to each graham cracker half. **Note: Depending on the heat of your broiler, it is advised to wait to add the chocolate AFTER roasting the marshmallows as the heat of the oven could completely liquify the chocolate.**
    2. Place the pan in the oven to toast the marshmallows. This should only take 30 seconds to 2 minutes, depending on the temperature of your broiler. Watch the s’mores carefully as the marshmallows heat very quickly and can burn. Remove from the oven when the marshmallows start to turn a golden color on top.
    3. Add chocolate to each marshmallow and top with another graham cracker half. Serve immediately or allow to cool and store in an airtight container.
    Copycat Starbucks Mango Dragon Fruit Lemonade Refresher

    Copycat Starbucks Mango Dragon Fruit Lemonade Refresher

    Ok, yes… I already have a Dragon Fruit Refresher copycat recipe which is great when you’re in a pinch because it’s only 2 ingredients, but this one uses real dragon fruit (frozen because who needs that hot pink mess chopping a dragonfruit?) and mango lemonade.

    Ingredients

    • Frozen, puréed dragon fruit (I prefer Pitaya brand because they come in single packages that are perfect for this recipe)
    • Mango lemonade, any variety will do
    • Chopped mango (I didn’t have fresh on hand, so I used Del Monte chopped mango. You can get creative here!)
    • Any other chopped fruit (optional-I used kiwi and it worked really well in this drink)

    Directions

    1. Place the frozen dragon fruit in a large carafe. Pour the mango lemonade over the frozen dragon fruit.
    2. Allow the frozen dragon fruit to thaw and mix well with the mango lemonade.
    3. Pour mixture over ice and add finely chopped fruit. Enjoy!
    Lavender and Vanilla Cold Foam Cold Brew

    Lavender and Vanilla Cold Foam Cold Brew

    I love cold brew. I love lavender. I decided to put them together to see what the outcome would be. Well, I can tell you what the outcome was… awesomeness in a cup.

    I’ll walk you through how to make a great (and easy!) cold brew with a hint of lavender with vanilla cold foam. If you love lavender as much as I do, check out my great London Fog Latte recipe while you have your lavender handy.

    Also, if you dig this glass tumbler as much as I do, you can pick one up full of the best bubble tea you’ll every have from Billie Gold Bubble Tea. If you’re in Dayton, follow her wherever she goes… you won’t find any better!

    Ingredients & Supplies

    • Cold brew system (check out my favorite from Amazon)
    • Coarsely ground coffee
    • 2 Tbsp half and half
    • 3 Tbsp milk (any variety-2%, whole, soy, almond)
    • 1 Tbsp vanilla syrup
    • Dried lavender (you can find culinary dried lavender on Amazon)

    Directions

    1. Place coarsely ground coffee into cold brew filter 3/4 full. Place culinary dried lavender on top of coffee grounds.
    2. Fill cold brew pitcher with water and let brew overnight or 7-12 hours.
    3. Drain and remove the coffee ground/lavender filter. Pour cold brew/lavender mixture over ice and add equal amount of water to the cold brew to dilute concentrated cold brew to taste.
    4. In a cup, add half and half, milk, and vanilla syrup. Froth using a milk frother or immersion blender until a foam is formed. Pour over iced cold brew coffee and enjoy the coffee and lavender goodness.
    Simple Banana Bread

    Simple Banana Bread

    The other day a friend saw my less than impressive over-ripe bananas and said, “Perfect banana bread bananas!”. I told her I was planning on either making banana bread or banana chocolate chip muffins, which are always a big hit. She told me to try the Magnolia Table recipe for banana bread and I came across another very basic Joanna Gaines recipe that I attempted instead. It bakes in a 9”x13” baking pan instead of a loaf pan and uses 4 bananas. I love that it’s fairly basic, so mix-ins can easily be added. Here’s my take with what our family loves to mix in to customize it!

    Ingredients

    • 4 very ripe bananas
    • 1 cup of sugar
    • 2 cups all purpose flour
    • 1/2 tap vanilla
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 stick softened butter
    • Optional: chocolate chips, blueberries, nuts, cinnamon, or other desired extra ingredients

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
    2. Cream together the sugar, softened butter, and vanilla using a stand or hand mixer.
    3. Mash bananas well with a fork and add to sugar, butter, and vanilla mixture. Add eggs and mix well.
    4. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix until fully mixed.
    5. Add any additional desired ingredients such as chocolate chips, nuts, or blueberries and add to a greased 9”x13” baking pan. Bake at 325 Fahrenheit for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
    6. Tent pan with aluminum foil and serve when cooked.
    Easy Slow Cooker Blackeye Peas

    Easy Slow Cooker Blackeye Peas

    Blackeye peas has to be one of my favorite rainy day meals. It’s easy, it’s full of flavor, and it’s so filling! As always, it goes GREAT with cornbread!

    Ingredients

    • 1 lb dry blackeye peas
    • 7 cups chicken broth (or 4 cans)
    • 1 can (14.5 oz) petite diced tomatoes
    • 1 cup diced ham
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
    • 1 tsp oregano
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper
    • 1/4 tsp salt

    Directions

    1. Add all ingredients except salt to slow cooker. Stir well until all ingredients are combined.
    2. Cook on low 7 hours. Add salt to taste. Serve with cornbread, greens, or other desired sides.
    Easy Oven Broiled Sirloin Steak with Onion and Mushrooms

    Easy Oven Broiled Sirloin Steak with Onion and Mushrooms

    I’m not a griller. I’m just not. It has fire… and gas. Fire and gas make explosions and I’m intimidated. So, when I want steak and the designated griller isn’t around or the weather is just too crummy, it’s the broiler to the rescue! This recipe has a very flavorful sautéed onion and mushroom topping that is almost better than the steak! Fair warning: the cast iron skillet produces A LOT of smoke when searing the steaks prior to oven cooking, so make sure you have an assistant to silence your smoke detectors!

    Ingredients

    Steak

    • 3 steaks, room temperature (approx. 1 – 1 1/2 inch thick cuts, cuts such as filet mignon, rib eye, T-bone, strip steak, sirloin, or flank steak are great for this recipe)
    • 2 Tbsp high heat oil (I prefer avocado oil, but any high heat oil will do just fine)
    • 1 tsp sea salt (or seasoned salt of choice)
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

    Sautéed Mushrooms and Onion

    • 3 Tbsp butter
    • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
    • 1 lb Baby Bella mushrooms, halved or quartered
    • 1 Vidalia onion, sliced thin
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • salt and pepper, to taste

    Directions

    1. Preheat broiler on oven (I set mine to the default-500 degrees). Let the steaks rest on a plate until they reach room temperature.
    1. In a small bowl, prepare the seasoning by mixing the salt, pepper, and garlic powder until mixed well. Set aside.
    2. While the broiler is heating and the steaks are resting, chop the onion and Baby Bella mushrooms. Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce. Add the mushrooms and cook until they begin to turn a light brown color (approx. 5 minutes). Stir the mushrooms about every minute or minute and a half to prevent burning. Add the onion and cook until the edges brown and become translucent (approx. another 5 minutes). Continue stirring every minute or minute and a half to prevent burning or sticking.
    1. Reduce heat to low the final minute and add the minced garlic, stirring continually. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
    2. Blot the steaks dry with paper towels and brush the oil onto all sides of the steaks. Sprinkle the seasoning mixture onto the steaks, covering all surfaces front and back.
    3. Heat a cast iron skillet on the stove on high for 6-8 minutes. Once the skillet is extremely hot, add the steaks and press the steaks onto the skillet to ensure the back of the steaks are seared. Cook the steaks in the pan for 30 seconds.
    4. Carefully flip the steaks and transfer the skillet to the oven. Broil the steaks for 3 minutes, then flip the steaks using tongs and continue baking for an additional 2-3 minutes.
    5. Continue this method of flipping the steaks every 2-3 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 5 degrees below the desired internal temperature, as the steaks will continue cooking after being removed from the oven.
    1. Once the steaks are cooked to 5 degrees below the desired internal temperature, immediately remove the pan from the oven and transfer the steaks to a clean plate. Brush any pan juices on to the steaks. Loosely tent the plate with aluminum foil and let the steaks rest for 3 minutes.
    2. Serve with prepared sautéed onion and mushrooms.