Monday, February 8, 2016

Pots of Chocolate Gold

*This is a repost from last Valentine's Day and I'm so excited to be making this AGAIN this week!* 

Any way.

I had this recipe tagged in my cookbook since Christmas morning ... and then I got the weekly email update from Michelle and said, heck, I should try this ... so I rooted around in my chocolate stash and had exactly 6 1.2 ounce bars of bittersweet 72% cocoa bars ... score! That made everything I needed available in house which made me decide that I needed to make it right then and there!!

The original recipe is in the cookbook ... and also on the website. And of course, as always, I modified to suit my needs and what we had on hand!

It was a little time consuming in the beginning ... I stirred and stirred and stirred for 45 minutes til my sauce was thick ... uggg. I was worried about heating the mixture TOO quickly and had the heat set a tad too low and the mixture was not heating up at all ;-) .... so medium low heat is NOT low heat ... just saying!

Ok, here's what I used to make these little Pots of Chocolate Gold ...

1 can of lite coconut milk. CAN, not carton.
2 large egg yolks
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp salt
cinnamon stick
7 ounces dark chocolate (make sure its a minimum of 70% cocoa)
1 tbs vanilla
whipped cream and cinnamon for garnish (if you want to stay dairy free, you can make coconut whipped cream, Michelle has a recipe on her site...I opted for regular since I had whipping cream and no full fat coconut milk)

Take your chocolate bars and cut them up. Well, actually, slice them thinly. You don't want big chunks because we are going to attempt to melt the chocolate without having to stir too much ... you'll see what I mean soon enough. Take my advice and put the cut/sliced chocolate in a 4 cup or larger glass measuring cup, top the glass/bowl with a fine mesh strainer and set aside.

Whisk the coconut milk, egg yolks, salt, cinnamon stick and chili powder in saucepan to mix well.  Turn heat on to medium low. Not medium, not low. Medium low.

Grab your wooden spoon and start stirring. And stirring. And stirring. This should really only take about 15 minutes, give or take 5.  You want to stir until the yolks have cooked and the coconut milk has thickened enough to coat the back of your wooden spoon. Heat it too quickly and you will have scrambled eggs and lumpy coconut milk, so slow and steady is the gameplan, ok?

Once you've reached the right consistency, remove the pan from the heat and grab a mesh strainer and place that over chocolate bowl. Pour the mixture through the strainer, shake out and toss the cinnamon stick and go throw a load of laundry in the dryer.

You need to leave the stuff alone so the hot mixture can melt the chocolate, undisturbed. Honestly, I kept looking at it and wanted to poke around to speed it up a little, or just mix it up ... just. because. So, go ahead, walk out of the kitchen and take care of some non kitchen chore ....

So. When 10 minutes have gone by, come on back to the kitchen. Grab a rubber spatula and stir gently, almost as if you are folding the ingredients together. You want to be gentle so as not to chill the mixture too quickly as you want all that good chocolaty stuff to melt and incorporate with the cream mixture.  Once it's all stirred together, stir in your vanilla.

Here's where you will be thankful if followed my lead and used a 4 cup glass measuring glass to put your chocolate in.

Take 6 2 ounce jars or cups (I used some cute little canning jars) and pour the mixture slowly in to each jar.  Allow to cool and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 4 hours or so.

When ready to serve, whip up a quick batch of whipped cream (just a little cream and a dash of sugar whipped with a hand mixer), top the chocolate with a little whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Yummm. This is super rich but O M G, delicious!!!!  I could easily make this EVERY WEEKEND but that would become like some other things where we become obsessive and over do it ... so ... special treat only ... like Easter (6 weeks or so?), my birthday (3 months maybe?)  ... or, Mother's Day ...

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Menu Plan Week 163 - Paleo / Using What We Have

Hey, hey ... it's that time of the week again!  Time to pull out the ole' white board and write out what we are looking to eat for the week ahead!

First, a little update on the Pantry / Freezer Challenge ... it's still going strong! The freezers are really starting to show great improvement and the pantry as well ... being that we are aiming to put the house on the market in the next week or so, it's rather important that I get the three freezers eaten down since I most likely will NOT have three when we move!

There was a little shopping done this week ... I spent about $40 at Whole Foods on Friday (wings @ $3.99/pound, apples (ahem, $4.29/pound!), beer-which is NOT part of the food budget) and peppers. Hubby stopped at Aldis (spent $10) and Winn Dixie on Saturday ($30) so around $80 was spent this week ... BUT sadly, $25 or so was beer related since we've discovered the new Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat ... O M G! $9.99 a 6 pack so it's in the pricey range for beer but Hubby loves the stuff and hey, I'll take that over Jack or Titos any day ;-) So technically, the food budget is under control for the past week!

I did a little food prep on Sunday ... boiled a dozen eggs (hey, 99 cents at Aldi for a dozen!), which were then turned in to deviled eggs so that's not really food prep since we ate most of them! I wanted to rice a head of cauliflower, and prep the head of iceberg lettuce, but I only chopped and sliced up some onions and peppers (for later in the week). There were a few other things I wanted to get done but dang, it was cold IN the house and I just wanted to snuggle under my fuzzy blanket all afternoon!

We are having the kids and a few of their friends over for the game this evening ... Panthers or Broncos? I don't know! Hubby pulled some brats out of the freezer and used the sauerkraut I had in the freezer to make his dish. Hubby made onion dip ... just because. I will also heat up the leftover wings from Whole Foods from Friday ($3.99 a pound, cooked! Deal!). We will also cook a couple of hot dogs for the Boy who is not a fan of bratwurst ... and I also cut up some cheese and sliced a roll of summer sausage (picked up last week for $3 at Walmart) and of course, Cherry Wheat, Original Sin Pear Cider (me if I want to stay gluten free for the day, we'll see) and Yuengling for those youngsters that don't like flavored craft beers!

Wings and Brats were still in oven

Here's what we are looking at for the week ahead:

Sunday - see above ... should be plenty of food!

Monday - Soup as it's going to be chilly this week! I'm wanting to try a Paleo Zuppa Toscana since I have everything in the freezer and pantry (will use spinach instead of kale) ... fingers crossed the recipe is good and if so, will share!

Tuesday - Taco Tuesday (surprise!) ... I may need to get some tomatoes but everything else is on hand

Wednesday- Leftovers (there should be some!)

Thursday - Chicken Pizza - Sort Of (all in freezers and fridge)

Friday - Italian Sausage and Peppers in the Instant Pot ... new recipe that I'm excited to try! Sausage from freezer, peppers were picked up at Whole Foods last Friday

Saturday - Valentine's Day! I've got a girlfriend that is trying to get all of us girls out again for a birthday celebration but I'm like, it's a day that I'd prefer to spend with my Hubby ... we go through this every year :-(  I'm going to let Hubby choose the dinner and I will make these ;-) I've got a stash of good chocolate in the pantry for this treat specifically!

Not really an exciting week ahead, but a few goodies are going to be consumed!!

Go check out Organized Junkies' Menu Plan Monday party!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

London Broil Crockpot Style

Hubby is doing an excellent job of clearing out the pantry and freezers ... I mean, geesh, look at the garage freezer!  I can actually see what we have in here! *the 2 red bags are gone now too!*

The main kitchen and guest kitchen freezers are showing some improvement as well, but not as much as the garage!

So ... in sticking with the Pantry / Freezer Challenge (due to our recent decrease in income and hopeful potential upcoming move!) we decided to make the two smaller london broils that were in the freezer ...

Now, keep in mind, Hubby does NOT like rare, medium rare, or even medium cooked beef. He likes his stuff WELL DONE and no pink inside. Obviously, these hunks of beef had to be cooked low and slow then as they would be tough as hell if we were to cook them on the grill to his liking.  Oh, and not to mention, while a lot of you have ice and blizzard like conditions, we have a simple wind advisory with current gust hitting 31 to 34 fairly consistently, so no grillin happening around here! As we couldn't decide what we wanted to do, I went to Pinterest and typed in "London Broil Crock Pot" and one of the FIRST recipes that came up was this one ...

S O L D as I had everything in stock, except the potatoes. We opted to use the premade mashed taters I had in the guest kitchen refrigerator instead!

Here's how we did it:

2 london broils, one was 1.58 pounds and the other was 1.80 pounds ... so roughly, 3 1/2 pounds or so
1 red onion, rough chopped large chunks (so they wouldn't totally disintegrate while cooking)
1 beef boillion cube
2 bay leaves
1 tbs salt
1 tbs coarse ground black pepper
4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp dry mustard
2 tbs apple cider vinegar (Hubby fought me on this, explained that it would help tenderize the meat)
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
6 cups water

Toss the london broil in large crockpot and turn to low.  Mine were frozen so they overlapped and one stuck up a little ;-)

Add the rest of the ingredients to the crockpot and put a lid on it.  Go about your business and take care of them chores ... for us, it was watching This Old House (!?) and Fast and Loud ...

After a couple hours went by, I felt the need to break the cardinal rule and remove the lid to try and submerge both hunks of beef below the water ... it worked, but not 100%

After 6 hours, I wanted to really reach in and remove the beef as I didn't want it falling apart totally, I wanted to be able to slice it up. Again, Hubby fought me on this and won. We really don't play well in the kitchen ... the only reason he won is because I had to go pick up my dad from the hospital I can't believe they release a patient at 6pm on a Saturday! Really???


We took the beef out at 8pm, 8 hours after it started. Grab your measuring cup and take 2 cups of the juice and dump in a saucepan. Measure 1/2 cup of water and 2 tbs of arrowroot powder (I didn't have cornstarch) and whisk that together. Bring the juice to a boil and whisk in the arrowroot mixture and allow to thicken. Mine didn't thicken to a gravy-gravy consistency (come to find out, Hubby added beef stock to the pan when I wasn't looking so I didn't have enough thickener) but it made a nice thicker juice to drizzle over the beef.  And, because I have a happy plant outside, I grabbed some parsley, chopped up a handful, and sprinkled over the meat ... I always forget how great fresh herbs are when added to meat after cooking!

Had it not been so late, I would have taken pics but instead, I took pics of Hubby's breakfast leftovers that I prepared for him! And then, of course, my lunch: 

The beef was really good. A slight peppery taste but the flavors were spot on. This is definitely a keeper in our house!  Our next recipe we are trying from Dad With a Pan is his Chicken and Asparagus dish ... pretty excited to give that a try as we have everything, yet again!

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Monday, February 1, 2016

Week 162 Menu Plan - Paleo Style and Using What We Have

Hey, hey! How is it possibly February 1st ALREADY!! One month already down and I've still got so much I wanted to accomplish in January! I just hate rolling things over in to a nice clean, new month! 

Did you all notice that I didn't share the menu last week? I had it all ready to go but just got wrapped up in a bunch of other stuff and it was Wednesday before I could get around to sharing ... at that point, it was too late (in my mind!) to do so ;-) But look ... this week I'm all about sharing again!

Last week kept me out of the stores ... Sunday through Saturday, not once did I step foot in any store! Score for me! Can I just tell you how much money you save if you do that? Of course, you need to make sure you have food to eat as it's not fun to save money if you are starving in the process BUT Hubby has been really dedicated and committed to using what we have in house to eat to clear out some of the excess stuff we have.  We've had a few not so great things and a few really spectacular things too ... he tries to follow along with the menu plan and will ask me daily what is planned so he can make it. He's doing good and I think enjoying it too!  I do miss cooking but then I'm sort of liking the freedom too ;-)

This week, I dug out the whiteboard again and wrote out the suggestions for the week. I didn't put days down, just the main dish suggestion and will let him go from there ... I have, of course, put the days I'd like to eat that main dish below ;-)

Here's what we are looking at having this week:

Sunday - burgers on the grill ... as I'm typing this, I realize we don't have any fries left in the freezer but I do think I have some red potatoes so I'll make some tater wedges

Monday - Shallot Chicken Thighs (still need to share this recipe!) - goal was to make this on Sunday for a couple of leftovers for lunches but ... you know how that works out. Roasted broccoli alongside

*Sorry for the raw chicken picture*

Tuesday - Taco Tuesday, of course! I've still got avocados in the fridge and need to remember to set one out to get softer! Most likely will need to shred the cheese from a brick AND fingers crossed to make some riced cauliflower with the last head I have in the guest fridge!  Will need to enlist my sous chef who also works at a tex-mex joint by day

Wednesday - would like to do an Chinese take out night with General Tso Chicken and I have a bag of veggie fried rice (Trader Joe's) in the freezer to use .. 

Thursday - Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato sandwiches! I will have BLT Lettuce Cups and offer up to Hubby if he'd like instead of sandwiches

Friday - Shrimp and Rice in the pressure cooker ... new recipe and Hubby is digging the Instant Pot!  This is supposed to be a girls night out so I'm not sure if this will happen Friday or Saturday 

Saturday - Hubby's choice ... may be the shrimp & rice dish or something else ... 

What are YOU making this week? In a rut? Check out Organized Junkie's Menu Plan Monday Party for tons of other menu plans ... 

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

Ha ... I didn't step foot in a grocery store ONCE this week! Score for me!  Hubby and the Boy did, however, but spent way less than $20 ... they got milk, bagels, ricotta cheese and a few other things ... otherwise, that was IT! *I did hit up Walmart Neighborhood Market this morning, but that goes on for next week*

It's the last day for the Pantry / Freezer Challenge but I think we will still continue onward ... it's been kind to our checking account and wallets and we are starting to make room in the freezers and pantry.  As we are now ready to list the house (starting out with For Sale By Owner) in the next week or so, we need to stay focused on eating down what we have which apparently is still quite a bit! ;-) I will admit, we don't have any ground beef left (that I can find in the freezer) so I have been buying that whenever I step in a store ... Taco Tuesday would be rough ... although, I do have ground chicken and ground turkey to use still ... 

So, since NO Grocery Cart Sunday to share, I'm going to share a recipe instead! Which is Pantry / Freezer Challenge friendly for me since we had everything on hand ... I'm thinking I want to make these for Game Day but don't have any more water chestnuts (need to look, but fairly certain we don't) ... and to make things even better? THIS would/could have been Whole30 friendly because the bacon was low sodium with no extra sugar. Not 100% certain on the water chestnuts, but hey, it's certainly Paleo friendly!

Here you go:

2 cans of WHOLE water chestnuts (not the sliced ones!) - pantry 
1 pkg of bacon - freezer

Grab a large baking sheet and lay out a large piece of parchment paper over it. Turn oven on to 375 degrees. I think I may have fallen over that Amazon sells Kirkland's parchment paper (Costco)??!!

Drain the water chestnuts and dump them out on the cutting board (or plate, whatever).  Open your bacon and cut it in half.

Wrap each water chestnut in bacon, as tight as you can, secure with a toothpick pierced all the way through.  Toss the bacon wrapped nuts on to the baking sheet and spread out to give a little room between them.

*Yes, I do stand mine up but it's not a requirement*

Bake for 15 minutes or til the bacon is cooked to your liking. Yes, you can burn these so keep an eye on them ;-)

I serve mine naked. I know a lot of people make these and then douse them with bbq sauce or some other glaze (teriyaki sauce?) which is fine and dandy, but for me, I like them just bacon and water chestnutty ;-)


Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Monday, January 25, 2016

French Onion Soup

*This is an all time favorite of our household ... and even better is that it's Pantry / Freezer Challenge friendly! Score!  AND since we are having our official COLDEST TEMPERATURES IN A YEAR (low of 44 predicted for those out west!) and a lot of you are dealing with ice and blizzard like conditions, I figured now is a good time to share this again!

Gosh ... I look at the bottom of the recipe printout and see that I've had this since late 1998 .... wow!

I've made this specific recipe a few times, but then I get distracted with a newer recipe and try that ... and ALWAYS have to listen to Hubby ask why I don't just stick with the first one I have... he's right.

So, Saturday, it was a nice, sunny, BEAUTIFUL day, high of around 86. But the nights are getting a little cooler, and this morning it was 72 when I went outside at 8am ... hence, it's FALL TIME in Paradise, time to make soups!

The sprinkler dudes were here making repairs, and since they were digging up in the back yard, I didn't really want to toss on the ole bikini and jump in the pool to float ... just not my idea of cheap thrills, you know? ;-)

So, again, I made soup.  AND I used what we had on hand ... it's a miracle, don't you agree?!

Here's what you need ....

3 lbs of onions, make sure ONE is a sweet onion, and ONE is a red onion
1/2 pound smoked bacon
2 tbs thyme
12 cups beef stock
1/2 cup dry vermouth or white wine
1 tbs sea salt
black pepper to taste
1 tbs dry sherry
6 ounces sliced provolone, gruyere or mozz cheese (whatever you have will work)
6 slices of baguette or other thick bread

Cut your bacon up in 1/2 inch or so pieces and cook in a LARGE heavy bottom pot til crispy.

While bacon is cooking, slice your onions thin, thin, thin. I use a mandoline, and I asked Hubby how on earth I sliced all those onions back in the day so thin before I had this thing? He said it wasn't pretty ... hmmm ... I think I need to hold back a bowl of soup from him ...

Remove bacon to a lined bowl to drain and toss the onion slices in, on top of the bacon fat, add the 2 tbs thyme. Give a quick stir to mix everything up and then let the onions sit there, undisturbed for about 10 minutes, give them them a quick stir again and really leave them alone for about 20 minutes so they can caramelized. The secret is to NOT TOUCH the onions ... hard as it may be.

Once onions are caramelized, pour in the 1/2 cup of vermouth to deglaze. Allow to cook a minute or so and then pour in the broth and season with salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. NOW, add in your bacon and sherry. Let simmer for 45 minutes to an hour and marvel at the lovely, deep color of the broth. Yummm.

When ready to serve:

Toast the slices of bread under broiler. NOTE: I always drizzle a bit of olive oil on the bread just to give it a little more 'richness'

Place oven proof bowls on a baking tray.

Place bread slice in bowl, ladle a generous portion of soup over the top. Add a slice of cheese carefully over the top of the soup.

Place in oven under broiler until cheese is melted and bubbly, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve up and warn everyone that a) the bowl is HOT and b) the SOUP is hot ...


Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Grocery Cart Sunday

This past week had FOUR stops! Certainly made up for last week, I guess. BUT I’m thinking, I’m missing a stop somewhere, maybe from the previous week, where I picked up cauliflower, broccoli, etc. from Aldi … but I can’t find my receipt nor do I see it on any of my other posts … so I’m going to throw a rough from memory number out here! I mean heck, I even had a picture from the 18th WHICH was that Monday ... 

The Pantry / Freezer Challenge is coming along pretty well … the freezer is actually viewable and you can see what’s in there. The main kitchen is also coming along. I need to work on the guest kitchen freezer and get it cleaned up and organized. It’s just a jumbled mess right now, but Hubby is doing a great job in using what we have without going over board (he has a tendency to feed an army, not just the 2 or 3 of us) …

So, here’s where we shopped this week:

One day, not too long ago, Aldi (Monday, the 18th, from the picture date)… picked up a bunch of veggies and spent about $30 … no clue where receipt went as I think it was when I was sick L

Roma Tomatoes x 3 pkgs 
4 pkgs of green beans
2 heads broccoli
2 heads cauliflower
bag of onions
2 3pk of garlic
7 avocados at 39 cents each!!
cheese slices
2 dozen eggs
gallon of milk
and a few other things ... I really need to find that receipt!

Monday – Super Walmart … I had to go see my dad and he needed a few things so I picked up one thing for us while there:

Loaf of butter bread $2.50

Total spent: $2.50 (really, my dad’s portion was $70 and I need to remember to cut a check back to myself!

Wednesday – Trader Joe’s … that elusive riced cauliflower was found, one bag! And I finally gave in and bought more coffee pods. We were filling up our little kcup thingy but it was annoying. We did use it for 4 to 5 days so yeah, we sucked it up a little ;-)

2 12 pks coffee cups $4.99 each
2 bags frozen strawberries $1.99 each (I think these were cheaper than Aldi, need to check)
1 lonely bag of riced cauliflower $1.99

Total Spent $15.95.

Then, Friday, Stiles Farmer’s Market. My dad was taken to the ER that morning for non-responsive low blood sugar. The exact opposite of his normal problem, which is uncontrollable high blood sugar. So off he went … it was 9:15 and everyone realized that the early bird to breakfast was not there yet so they went to check on him and found him slumped over and not responding. Great! (it’s ok, he came home late Saturday night – 7pm!) … so I wanted to make a Nom Nom Paleo Pressure Cooker meal over the weekend and all I needed was leeks!

1 bunch of leeks $3.49

Total Spent $3.49. That was sort of expensive!

And then Saturday (on way to pick up my dad from hospital) I stopped at Aldi’s which was right there by the hospital:

3 pkgs of button mushrooms $1.29 each (can’t wait for them to get back to 79 cents each)
4 pk tissues $2.99
3 cucumbers .49 each

Total Spent $8.51.

Not a bad week AT ALL! Grand total for week $60.45! Yes!  So that brings my monthly total to $235 out of a $300 budget for the month … I’m so stinking excited to be able to stay within this month! Just one more week and I think I can do it!

*Note: Hubby has been the one in charge of buying the beer, and that’s not part of my budget anyways since I said I was going to try to stop drinking beer … yeah, the Whole30 kind of went out the window, although I will say I’m eating Whole30’ish 80% of the time if not more. Just difficult to do when someone else is cooking the majority of the dinners (Hubby has really taken over the kitchen lately!

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner

Whenever I write or say we are having chicken for dinner, I always feel the need to say "Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner" ... as corny as it is ;-)

BUT ... I gotta say, sometimes that little line is spot on, you know?

So I thought, heck, let me put together a list of my FAVORITE 10 chicken recipes ... afterall, Aldi does have them chicken breast on sale for $1.49 til Tuesday (the 26th) so you better run if you need to stock up (we are on a Pantry / Freezer Challenge and Hubby is doing a stellar job of using what we have, so no stock up for me this time around ... it will happen again!).

Here you go:

1.  The Juiciest Chicken Ever ... I like to serve with green beans on the side and it's great as leftovers with a BLT Inspired Salad


2.  Chicken Piccata

3.  Chicken Marsala

4.  That Damn Fine Chicken

5.  Sweet & Sticky Wings

6.  Tuscan Garlic Chicken

7.  Aussie Chicken

8.  Chicken Pizza - Sort Of (this is the latest chicken concoction I've made and so ready to make it again!)

9.  Chicken & Veggie Stirfry

and ...

10. Chicken Kiev ... I really need to make this AGAIN and SOON so I think I'm putting it on the menu this week! Hopefully NEW pictures will be shared (depending on lighting!)

These are in NO particular order, but I do admit, a few have NOT been made in a while and I'm feeling the need to break out the skillets and hop to on the Tuscan Garlic Style, Chicken Kiev and the Aussie Chicken ... I think we have everything on hand for all three which is another bonus!

What are some of YOUR favorite Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner recipes? Share in the comment section and hopefully I've got what's needed to give some of your suggestions a try!

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Friday, January 22, 2016

Very Berry Smoothie

*This is a repost from January 2013 (!) and Hubby was wanting to make it as he's sick now and we've discovered that coconut water helps with dehydration and leg cramps (surprise!) so I figured why not share it again! Plus it's Pantry Challenge friendly in that we have both items on hand!

Berry Berry Easy to make ... 

Very Berry Smoothie ... 

Easy Berry Smoothie ... 

Berry Easy Smoothie ... 


Yup. That was shouting! Sorry, but I'm so happy about this ... 

See, I stopped doing yogurt and dairy products, for the most part. Imagine that, ME, the huge cheese freak, has given up CHEESE for the most part ... after I took out the nachos and pizzas, cheese just doesn't play a big role in my life anymore ... 

And most smoothie recipes have yogurt or milk. Sure, I could make my own almond milk if I really wanted to but I've not gone there ... so I still wanted something simple ... 

Enter .... 

1 cup of frozen mixed berries
1 cup of coconut water ... 
Ice is completely optional and I've opted not to add it

Toss the two in the Vitamix (oh yeah, I got a Vitamix for Christmas from my bosses back in 2012 and I STILL have not written a post on it yet ... does that tell you anything??) and let it rip ... 

Serve up and enjoy ... 

Did I tell you how BERRY EASY this was?? :-)

Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

*This post may contain affiliate links ... click here to read my disclosure :-)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Chicken Pizza - Kind Of

I have no idea how I came across this recipe on Pinterest, but it's been hanging around for a while and with our Pantry Challenge underway, it was PERFECT that I had everything on hand to make it one night this week!

Now, granted, Kalyn does call it a "Low Carb Pizza Chicken Bake" but I just can't do call it low carb ... although, it does NOT have a crusty base like you'd expect ... and I will say, it was really tasty ... I'll be making this again real soon!

The beauty of this is that it can be a very inexpensive, a/k/a FRUGAL, quick meal if you shop right! All this can be bought at Aldi's this week for a little less than $5 right now if you don't have ANY of the ingredients...I had everything on hand, thankfully, but it's nice to know that a quick run will get me what I need without spending a whole lot ... of course, I must keep my blinders on and not look to either side as I zero in on the ingredients needed ;-)

I'm still just amazed at how a few simple ingredients made this really yummy dish!

So ... here's what you do!

2 pounds (or so) of boneless skinless chicken breast
1 jar of pizza sauce of choice (I used a jar from Trader Joes)
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
8 oz pkg of shredded mozzarella cheese OR mozzarella cheese slices (I used slices)
half a package of pepperoni (honestly, not sure how much I really used, I just loaded up)

So, first things first. Dump your sauce in a small saucepan and heat over medium low heat til it reduces by half. I was impatient and didn't let it reduce THAT much but you just don't want it as runny as it is currently in the jar.

Turn oven on to heat to 400 degrees.

While sauce is reducing, grab your chicken breast, lay them flat on a cutting board and butterfly each in half so you have 2 thinner pieces for each piece. I was lucky in that I had a package of thin sliced breast in the freezer already (score for those mark downs!). Just make sure that they are thin and not too bulky in areas.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add your oil. Sprinkle the chicken with the oregano and garlic powder.  Cook breast til slightly golden brown and flip to add color to both sides. You will need to do this in two, possibly three batches. You are not worried about cooking them all the way at this point, just browning them a bit. As you remove them from the skillet, lay them in a single layer in a glass baking sheet. The whole point is to have the chicken as close together as you can, but not overlapping.

Once chicken is all in the pan, take your sauce and spoon over each piece of chicken, spreading the sauce evenly over each piece.

Top each piece of chicken with cheese, making sure, again, to fully cover each piece ;-) Cheesy is good ... 

NOW grab that pepperoni and go to town. Like cheese, PEPPERONI is good too! Lay those slices on and go ahead, have a sneak taste of a slice if you need to.

Slide that tray of yumminess in to the oven and let it bake for 25 minutes or so.  Nope, don't cover the tray ... don't worry, the chicken will not dry out ... it's smothered in sauce, pepperoni and cheese!

Remove from oven, let it sit for a few minutes to set and then grab yourself a spatula and dish up!  Here's hoping that YOU have more leftovers than I did ... one piece that made it to lunch ... I could have eaten this every day this week had there been more!


Looking forward to sharing with some of these GREAT Parties ... go check them out!

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