Thursday, July 30, 2015

Quick and Easy Saucey Chicken Tostada's...

As I have mentioned a time or twelve before summers are pretty crazy busy around our house. So that makes mealtime a bit of a struggle at times. But this is one meal that I turn to when I need supper on the table quick and I need to not be slaving over the stove. I can get home start the chicken go clean up from work and still have supper on the table in approximately 30 minutes!  I love the meat in this recipe I use it for tacos, nachos, chicken walking tacos, enchiladas, anytime I want a little heat in chicken this is pretty much my go to! Oh and the sauce is the best let’s be honest I could just drink it, so smooth and rich and wonderfully simple.

I have included my recipe for taco seasoning, I have been making this for several years and have found that I really prefer it to the packages, but feel free to use your favorite taco seasoning it will not hurt my feelings! Please make this for your family soon you will not regret it! Oh and if you have any extra I would gladly take a serving off your hands!

Quick and Easy Saucey Chicken Tostada's 
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 TBSP Taco Seasoning Mix
1 ½  cups Chicken broth
8 corn tortillas
Cheddar Cheese
Sour Cream
Place chicken breast in a large skillet with a lid, mix together tomatoes and taco seasoning pour over chicken. Add enough broth to almost cover the chicken. Turn heat on to medium and cover the skillet. Allow chicken to simmer for 20 minutes or until easy shredded, try not to overcook. Once chicken is shredded leave the lid off the pan and turn the heat up for five additional minutes to help thicken the sauce. In the meantime if you have a gas stove take some tongs (metal) and brown your tortillas over the flame turning frequently. If you do not have a gas stove you can crisp them up in the oven by heating it to 450 and placing tortillas directly on the rack. Once tortillas are browned it is time to assemble! Place a tortilla on the plate top with some chicken and plenty of sauce, add some shredded cheese to the top, layer another tortilla and repeat with chicken and cheese, finish off with lettuce and sour cream. ENJOY!!!
Taco Seasoning
2 TBSP Chili Powder
1 TBSP Cumin
2 TSP Corn Starch
2 TSP Kosher Salt
1 ½ TSP Paprika
½ TSP Red Pepper
Combine all ingredients in a mason jar, store in refrigerator for longer freshness.

Monday, July 27, 2015

A short recap of the past few weeks...

People often tell me during late June and the month of July how much they miss my blog and that they hope I get back to it soon. I always find that so flattering yet embarrassing at the same time. Today I felt I had some explaining to do. You see the picture above is pretty much my view from June 25 through July 25 seven days per week. I pollinate corn, I run a crew of pollinators, and over see all of our pollinators. Pollinating is absolutely one of the most important times of the year at my office, and the corn doesn't stop growing just because it is the weekend, thus we are here. Which tends to kind of send my typically very scheduled self into a bit of a tailspin. So below are some of the reasons my blog has lacked...but POLLINATING is officially over for 2015 so I am back at it again!

This group never failed to make me smile each and everyday. Most of them had something crazy or wild or just completely outrageous to tell me nearly everyday. I think they also really just liked saying my name because I heard them utter it probably 17 million times per day.

Speaking of outrageous...these two!!! These two have been on my crew for the past two years and I can't help but smile when I think of them! We were picking sweet corn for the local food pantry and this is how they came out of the field to finish filling their bag.

And here they all are my kids for this pollinating season standing with all the corn they picked for the food pantry! I seriously had the best crew ever this year!!!

Then there's this...I was preparing to go to battle in the corn, moving drip tape irrigation but hand. Corn cuts on the face are a painful painful thing...

Oh and that's right this kid my actual kid hey there Charlot so good to see you! She absolutely LOVES ice cream...and now has found a love for fudge pops. I may have introduced her to them, I can't help it they are so good. Anyway this little thing has had quite the active schedule as well, VBS, swimming lessons, pig walking, cousin meeting, play-dates, I can hardly keep up.  Oh and yes that is a large pile of mail behind Charlot that I need to sort through just keeping it real.

This is Anna she and Charlot are nearly ready for their State Fair debut.

Oh Mia and Charlot how they love each other they love to play and fight and play and argue, and play and send orders. They are some pretty awesome friends/cousins.

Plus Mia now has a new baby sister Miss Ava and we are all smitten by her. Charlot thought it was pretty awesome when she got to hold her.

All of the above things kind of make me feel the same way Charlot, now that July is almost over I just really want to take a nap. 

Thank you for your time and understanding, Oh and a big thank you to all of you who asked about me during my blog absence. The biggest thank you of all goes to my family for all their help during this crazy month! I'm well aware I couldn't do it without you!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Pecan Crusted Chicken Cordon Bleu

I love chicken cordon bleu, the hubs loves it and wait for it my picky pain in the rumpus about eating kiddo loves it as well! So last night when I saw some chicken cutlets at my wonderful grocery store I knew cordon bleu was on the menu. All a chicken cutlet is a chicken breast that has been pounded thin, I normally do this myself. But when I saw that my lovely meat cutter had done the work for me I couldn’t resist. While at the store I kept trying to think how I could mix the traditional cordon bleu up a bit, and for some reason pecans kept coming into my head. So I decided to go full on with it and use a Smokey honey ham as well in the filling and Gouda creamy wonderful Gouda cheese. You could completely use any type of ham or cheese; mix it up do what you like!

Now when you read the recipe you will see an unusual ingredient for the coating in addition to the pecans, rice cereal. That’s right! Ok really this wasn’t planned but turned out amazing! When I returned from the store I found that I was completely out bread crumbs like OUT!!! Typical for me! And frankly I wasn’t going back to the store, none of that was keeping me from making dinner though I could already taste the cheese. I went searching through my pantry and rice cereal is what I came out with! Boy oh boy did it make for a nice crisp crust! Plus it made this friendly to the gluten-free crowd!  

Whatever your style give this dish a try it is quite delish! 

Pecan Crusted Chicken Cordon Bleu
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup pecans
1 cup rice cereal
2 Eggs (beat with a splash of water)
4 slices Smoked Honey Ham
4 slices Gouda Cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Using a meat mallet beat and spread the chicken breasts to about a ¼ inch in thickness to create a thin chicken cutlet then season with salt and pepper. In your food processor crush pecans, and place in a shallow dish. In another shallow dish whip egg with a bit of water. Take chicken cutlet place a piece of ham on it then a slice of cheese, roll and secure with toothpick. Take roll and dip in egg then into the pecan mixture making sure to coat all sides. Place on prepared tray, repeat with remaining cutlets. Bake chicken for 35 minutes turning half way through cooking time. Allow it to rest for 5 minutes prior to removing the toothpick. Serve and enjoy!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

On my heart and in my head...

I have sat down to write this post so many times over the past several days and I just never could quite make it happen. I guess I felt like that maybe if I didn’t put the words down where everyone could read them then maybe what has happened didn’t…silly I know.

You see I grew up with a dad who was a teacher and I always heard him refer to his students as his “kids.” I always felt like my dad gave a piece of himself to each of his students as well so they really did become his kids. He worried about them, he had hopes for them, he got frustrated about things they did, he watched and supported them through all their successes and failures. So I knew his students were really important to him. I also saw how upset he would get when something happened to one of his “kids.” After being around many teachers I am pretty sure most acquire a few hundred of their own “kids” over all their years of teaching.

I thought that since I didn’t teach I didn’t really have to worry about this. See I have high school and college students come to work for me each and every summer. Somewhere around 150 of them, I have the duty of hiring, training, and working with nearly all of them. Granted I work really closely with about 30 of them but I know nearly all of them. Still I thought that I was immune from the my “kids” phenomenon. That is until something happened to one of my kids, note I didn’t say one of my workers, I see these kids every day seven days per week some days  I spend more time with them than with my actual biological child.  

Last weekend one of these kids was tragically killed in a car accident. He wasn’t one of the 30 or so that I get to know really well but I knew him I knew his really white toothed smile that always looked like it was hiding a streak of ornery, his curly blond hair, and his kind voice. I knew all of these so well and when his chair was empty on Saturday morning a piece of me felt empty. I even got a little defensive because another kid sat in it on Sunday.

The thing that made me realize how much I cared for these “kids” is when I saw the others hurting. I had a boy on my crew who was not handling the news well at all. All I could do is hug him and cry with him. I told one of the other crew leaders that I think I now know what it is like to be a teacher. That when your kids are hurting you are hurting. I waited a day or so but I wanted my crew to know how much they really did mean to me. So I told them, I wanted them to know that they weren’t just my employees they were so much more and that they mattered to me.

I know this is a far cry from my typical blog, but I needed off my chest. I guess here’s the take away…if they matter to you tell them! 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Perfect 4th of July Dessert...

Now we all (including me) might have thought this lovely little blog might have died and went to Google heaven. BUT fear not! I am trying to do my best to post more and more and more! I PROMISE, and I know I have promised this before, and I really do mean it each and every time…it’s just I get busy life gets crazy…all the usual excuses!

So just a wee little family update then on to today’s recipe…Charlot’s t-ball season is now officially over, they played one game, darn rain, I have a post ready for this! Oh and since I lasted talked to you lovely people we have gained a new cousin, little Miss Ava joined the family a bit earlier than expected but she is so very welcomed. Mommy, daddy and big sister Mia are all in love and doing well. I will post about her soon as well…promise…don’t hold my feet to the fire though!

Ok so if you are like me you love desserts, ok who really doesn’t…NO ONE!!! But if you are like me and love desserts in the summer to be a bit on the lighter side and possibly a bit fruity this one is for you! Plus if you are looking for that last minute 4th of July dessert here you go!

Patriotic Ice Box Cake
2 sleeves Graham Crackers
2 boxes Cheesecake Flavored Pudding
3 Cups Milk
1 Container Cool-Whip
1 Cup Blueberries
2 Cups Strawberries (sliced)
In a large bowl combine pudding mixes and milk, sit in fridge to allow thickening. Once nice and thick gently stir in half of the container of Cool-Whip. In a 9x13 pan cover bottom with a single layer to graham crackers. Top with half the pudding mixture, followed by half the blueberries and half the strawberries. Add another layer of graham crackers, repeat pudding and fruit layer. Top with more graham cracker sheets. Spread remaining Cool-Whip over the final layer of graham crackers. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours to soften crackers. Serve and enjoy!