Caprese Chicken Crostinis

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This is an easy, yet impressive, appetizer. And my goodness, is the chicken that goes on this to die for! The chicken would make a fantastic meal all by itself.

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 package fresh mozzarella
  • 3 firm Plum tomatoes
  • 1 12 inch crusty baguette

Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

  • 1 garlic clove, minced*
  • 1 teaspoon dry basil*
  • 1 tablespoon mustard*
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice*
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar*
  • 1/3 cup olive oil*
  • salt and pepper to taste*

Makes about 16 crostinis

***You’ll need to make TWO separate batches of the salad dressing, so you’ll really need DOUBLE these ingredients, but separated.***

Directions

In a small bowl whisk all the ingredients for one batch of the salad dressing until combined and there is no more oil and vinegar separation. Use this to marinate the chicken over night. If you have time to let it go for 20 hours in the marinade-even better!

When you’re ready to make the crostinis, grill or bake your marinated chicken until no longer pink in the center. (I use my counter top grill.) Turn your oven to broil. Cut your baguette into thin slices, about a quarter inch thick. Make your second batch of Balsamic Vinaigrette salad dressing and brush a little onto each slice of bread. Spread your slices of baguette in an even layer on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until just browned on top, about 3 minutes. (Watch the bread carefully! It can burn up very quickly when you’re using a broiler!) You can slice your chicken very thinly (which is what I did) or just shred all of it. Slice your tomatoes thinly. When your bread is done place a slice of mozzarella, just big enough to cover the bread. Toss your sliced (or shredded) chicken in the rest of the salad dressing to coat. Add a slice (or pile, if you chose to shred) of chicken, and finally a slice of tomato on top of the mozzarella.

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That’s it! Let me tell you that the fresh mozzarella makes a big difference. It’s so much tastier, I promise. I found my fresh mozzarella with the other specialty cheeses near the deli at my grocery store. It came in a sealed plastic package in a log shape already sliced. I also got a day old baguette from the bakery section.

Follow me on Instagram @thelivingstonline and show me how your crostinis turn out!

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Perfected Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Another recipe that so many friends have asked for! This is a recipe from Southern Living that I’ve just made a few small changes to. One of the main things that makes my cookies so much better is the simple step of freezing the dough before baking. I do this with just about every kind of cookie I make. It’s a trick I learned from my mom (I just know she was a professional baker in a past life) and I’m happy to pass it on to you for the sake of better cookies everywhere.

Freezing the dough before baking helps your cookies stay fluffy and soft instead of spreading out and getting thin and crispy. (I know, some of you prefer crunchy cookies, but you’re wrong.) Another trick I love from Mom is to let the cookies rest on the hot baking sheet out of the oven. They will continue to cook just a little bit and after about 10 minutes or so they’ll be firm enough to transfer without falling apart. It’s important to have multiple baking sheets so that you can let one pan rest while the other pan is in the oven.

One last tip that I’ve learned the hard way: Don’t overfill your cookie sheet. It’s important to try to have the same number of cookies on each sheet that you put in the oven so that you can bake for the same amount of time for each sheet. I find that 9 cookies per sheet works great but 6 is even better. If you crowd your pan with too many cookies at once your results will not be ideal-still tasty, but not amazing.

I hope these tips help you make my Perfected Chocolate Chip Cookies the amazing treat that they are! Happy baking.

Ingredients:

  • 18 oz Chocolate chips
  • 3/4 Cup Softened unsalted butter
  • 3/4 Cup sugar
  • 3/4 Cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 2 & 1/4 Cups plus 2 TBS All-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp Baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • You’ll also need parchment paper

1. Beat butter and sugars at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy. Add eggs and 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla, beating until blended.

2. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl; gradually add to butter mixture, beating just until blended. Beat in morsels just until combined.

3. Place the bowl of cookie dough in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

4. Drop frozen dough by spoonfuls (I use a 1 inch cookie/ice cream scoop) onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets.

5. Bake at 350° for 8 to 12 minutes, just until the bottom edges of the cookies are slightly brown and the top of the cookies no longer looks wet. Once removed from the oven let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire cooling rack.

Makes about 25 cookies

Mrs. Adams’s Famous Traveling Ham Biscuits

P1090464You’ve probably seen a recipe similar to this one. Whether it was on Pinterest, another blog or a cookbook. But I promise: this one is better. I’m so excited that I’ve finally prepared this recipe to share with you! The first time I made it for a group of my friends they begged me for the recipe but it’s one of those that you’ve made so many times you just kind of eyeball all of the ingredients and nothing is written down, you know what I mean? Well it’s finally been written down!

These ham biscuits are my mom’s go-to recipe for travel friendly food. Need a meal to eat at the ball game? Ham biscuits. Need lunch for an eight hour car ride? Ham biscuits. I remember being so excited when I saw Mom in the kitchen preparing ham biscuits for the next day’s adventures. They’re just that good.

While my mom mainly used these as a super convenient travel meal I’ve made them many times when I needed to feed a crowd. So from Mrs. Adams’s kitchen (my momma), to mine, to yours, I hope you enjoy!

Mrs. Adams’s Famous Traveling Ham Biscuits

Ingredients:

•1 lb Fresh thinly sliced deli ham

•1/2 lb Fresh thinly sliced Swiss cheese

•2 dozen King’s Hawaiian rolls

•1 stick softened butter

•1 TBS Poppy seeds

•2 TBS Worcestershire sauce

•2 TBS Yellow mustard

•You’ll also need foil and wax or parchment paper

By hand or by mixer, combine the softened butter, poppy seeds, Worcestershire sauce, and yellow mustard in a small bowl.

Do not separate the rolls! First, using a large bread knife cut each dozen in half parallel with your cutting surface. You should now have a rectangle of roll tops and a rectangle of roll bottoms for each dozen. Spread the butter mixture on the inside of each rectangle of bread.

Put the bread bottoms on a piece of wax/parchment paper. (The paper will make it much easier to move your biscuits once they’re put together and it will also keep the bottoms from sticking and burning.) Next divide your ham and cheese in half so you have an equal amount for each dozen biscuits. Take one piece of ham at a time, fold it in half and lay it on the biscuit bottoms on top of the butter. Put the straight, folded edge of the ham pieces along the edges so that you have full coverage of the bread. Folding also helps create a more light and airy texture instead of a hard stack of meat. Continue until the bread bottom is evenly covered then cover with the cheese slices.

Put the rectangle of biscuit tops on top of the cheese so that you now have a sandwich. Then, use your large bread knife to cut the rows of biscuits to separate them. Pick up the separated biscuits using the wax/parchment paper underneath them so they all stay together and set it down on a long piece of foil. The foil should large enough to completely wrap around the biscuits. Fold the foil up on all sides, creating a tight packet around the dozen biscuits.

Finally, place on your middle oven rack and cook in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Both cooked and uncooked ham biscuits keep well for a few days.

Crazy Healthy Ranch Dip!

RanchDipPlease believe me when I say that this is life changing. Oh. My. Goodness. I only wish I had thought of this sooner! The other night I had half a cucumber as a snack and dipped my slices in ranch dressing. I was thinking man I wish this salad dressing was healthier because it’s actually ruining my healthy cucumbers. The next day the answer came to me: yogurt. So that’s exactly what I did tonight. I got a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Dip mix but instead of mixing the powdered seasoning with sour cream like the instructions say, I mixed it with Oikos Plain Greek yogurt. It is absolutely delicious. I can’t taste a difference. Just in case you don’t know exactly how major this is I’ve got a nice little comparison chart for you.

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You can already see a great difference right?! I know it’s hard to compare the yogurt because the serving size is different. There are 16 TBS in a cup so I divided it out and added everything together for the ingredients you’d use for the dip and this is what you get.

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You get less than one third of the calories, no fat, half the carbs, almost no cholesterol and good protein. I am so excited about this! Eating my veggies and dip just got even healthier and tastier.

Scrambled Eggs…I’ve been making them wrong

 

This video rocked my world today. My husband and I have been going through Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares on Netflix. Chef Ramsay is intense! He is a famous chef with several TV shows. He does not put up with anybody’s mess and he tells it like it is. He might get in your face and make you cry but he is genuinely there to help you. And I love it.

All the Netflix Ramsay made me want more so I searched out some Pinterest Ramsay. What I found was a huge amount of hilarious memes and a few recipes. One of the recipes was this video! Apparently I have been making scrambled eggs completely wrong my whole life. Normally I whisk my eggs, put some butter in a frying pan, pour in the eggs, salt pepper and scrape the pan until they’re fluffy and not wet then sprinkle with cheese. That’s it. Some people add milk to their eggs for fluffier eggs. Chef Ramsay’s technique was totally different and I loved it!

Instead of a frying pan he uses a pot. He said do not whisk the eggs. He cracks them right into the pot with some butter and stirs them with a spatula. He keeps taking them off the heat and putting them back on. I’m not sure what purpose this serves but I did it anyway. Salt and pepper at the end and he adds some creme fraiche, which I learned is kind of like sour cream. He also cooks some tomatoes and mushrooms and toast. Here’s what I did. I made the eggs exactly like he did but without the creme fraiche or other extras. The eggs were very different from what I’m used to. I put some cheddar cheese on top to melt and on a piece of toast I spread my homemade spicy hummus then topped it with the eggs. Oh. My. Goodness. Delish. Toast, hummus, gourmet scrambled eggs. YUM. I will be having this for breakfast again tomorrow.

Zucchini Tempura with Spicy Mayo Sauce

P1090120Oh my goodness this was possibly the greatest thing I have ever made! A coworker had a ton of zucchini from her garden that she didn’t want to go to waste so this is what I did with my share. I know, I’m far from my attempt to be low carb with this one, but I’ve already forgiven myself, no worries. This stuff tasted so divine, like heaven in my mouth. My husband and I were in awe that this vegetable was transformed into such deliciousness. Tempura is basically just an Asian style batter for frying things. It’s great for frying shrimp, vegetables, chicken, Oreos, anything…ok maybe not Oreos…I haven’t tried that yet but it’s going on the “to try” list now. I adapted the tempura batter recipe from the one on Great Party Recipes.

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Zucchini Tempura 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup ice water
  • Oil for deep frying (I used vegetable oil)
  • 3-4 medium/large size zucchini

Slice your zucchini into rounds about 1/4 inch thick. Mix together the dry ingredients and set aside. In a medium bowl, beat the egg and mix with the ice water. Stir in the dry ingredients, stirring only until mixed; the mixture will be slightly lumpy. Meanwhile, heat a deep skillet with about an inch of oil on medium heat. To know when the oil is ready, drop a tiny bit of batter into it. If the oil sizzles around the batter it’s ready. Dip zucchini slices into the batter and deep fry in hot oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. It’s important to keep the batter chilled. I put a few battered slices in the pan and while they cooked I stuck the rest of the batter in the fridge.

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Spicy Mayo Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1.5 TB Sriracha sauce
  • 1 tsp lime juice

P1090125Just mix these together and you have a yummy dipping sauce for pretty much anything you decide to fry…except maybe those Oreos. This sauce is original with me and we like things pretty spicy at my house. So if you don’t like super spicy food, try gradually adding the Sriracha until it’s at a heat level that you can enjoy.

Man-Pleasin’ Low Carb Stuffed Peppers

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It doesn’t happen too often that I find a meal that both my husband and myself really enjoy AND that I approve of with my standards of “healthy.” This is one of those rare meals. Oh and on top of all that it is insanely affordable to make. “You can’t beat that with a stick,” as my Old Man would say. 

For the last several years I have restricted myself to a semi-low-carb diet. I’ve fallen off the wagon, as we all do, but I’m back on it now and I’m determined to be the healthiest me possible. Can I get an “Amen!”? This recipe easily allows me to omit carbs for myself while still filling my 6’4″ husband’s tummy. 

This filling feeds a lot of people. After we filled three peppers (six open halves) we have enough filling for probably four burritos. That’s what we’ll have for our lunches for the next couple of days. This filling is perfect for wrapping in a tortilla. I’ll wrap mine in a leaf of romaine lettuce though.

Ingredients:

  • Olive Oil
  • 1/2 lb lean ground turkey breast
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 3 heaping tbsp of taco seasoning
  • 2 cups of cooked rice (any type you like – I like white)
  • 3-4 organic bell peppers, halved and seeds removed
  • 1 can of black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 cup of frozen corn
  • 1 cup of salsa

Toppings:

  • Shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Ranch Dressing

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat the peppers with olive oil and roast in a baking dish about 20-25 minutes just until cooked through. 

While peppers are cooking, cook turkey and onions in a skillet. In a bowl add the taco seasoning, cooked ground turkey, chopped onions, black beans, corn, salsa and mix well. Use this as the filling for anyone going low-carb. To the rest of the filling stir in the rice.

Carefully spoon the turkey mixture into each half of the bell peppers and place back into the baking dish. Cook the peppers for another 15-20 minutes or until the peppers are cooked all the way through.

Remove from the oven and top with cheese. Try drizzling ranch dressing on top too!


P1090113I adapted my recipe from the one I found one Simply Love Food