Sunday, August 19, 2012

Italian Chicken and Potatoes

Thursday and Friday of last week were the first days of school for the kids.  I cannot believe how quickly the summer came and went.  : (

My life is becoming more busy by the day.  I have more responsibilities at work this year, and a rapidly growing number of students on my caseload.  I have a baby that is due in 6 weeks.  And plenty of work that needs to be done around the house before she arrives.  When will this happen??!!

During times like these, it's always good to have delicious crock-pot meals that can be thrown together in a second and left to cook all day with no fuss.  Here's one for ya; I hope it makes one of your future days a little less hectic.  : )

See below recipe - I usually shred the chicken into large chunks, but left it whole to take the picture.

Italian Chicken and Potatoes
Source: Adapted from

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (or regular chicken breasts - any chicken would do, really)
1/2 cup Italian salad dressing (plus a little extra for the end)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Sprinkle of garlic powder
Sprinkle of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
Small red potatoes, washed and cut into quarters (I leave the peel on)
Baby carrots

Wash chicken and place in bottom of Crock Pot. Pour half of the Italian dressing and grated cheese on top.  Sprinkle half of the Italian seasoning, then sprinkle on some garlic powder and cayenne.  Put the potatoes and baby carrots on top or around the chicken. Pour the rest of the dressing and cheese on top.  Sprinkle the rest of the Italian seasoning, and another sprinkle of garlic powder and cayenne.

Cook on low for about 6-8 hours, or until the chicken is done and potatoes/carrots are tender.

When ready, I usually remove the chicken breasts, shred them into large chunks, and put them back into the crock pot.  I then add salt, squirt a little more Italian dressing on top, and stir well before serving.  It's fine to leave the chicken breasts whole, but if you shred it slightly, it will absorb more of the yummy liquid and flavor.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Watergate Salad

One of my sweet friends told me about this dish (and how much she loves it) about a year ago, and I had never heard of it before.  Then, as I was scanning through one of my cookbooks, there it was!  It could not be easier to throw together in a skinny minute, and it is a nice marriage of textures and flavors.  Creamy cool whip and pistachio pudding, tart pineapple, sweet mini marshmallows, and crunchy pecans.  Yes, it's light green...but who cares?!

When I told my husband that I made "Watergate Salad", he responded by wondering what was in it with the lettuce.

: )

I can't blame the guy, it is called a salad.  He was pleasantly surprised when I told him there was no lettuce (he still tries to boycott most veggies when possible) and was even more pleased when he tasted it!  He said his favorite part was the pecans...I wonder if you can guess MY favorite part?  (I know my mama can!!)  If you're not my mama and you have no clue, my favorite part is definitely the mini marshmallows.

Watergate Salad
Source:  Southern Plate cookbook

20 oz. can crushed pineapple (juice and all)
1 cup mini marshmallows (I added extra, which made it that more awesome, heehee)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 small box instant pistachio pudding
8 oz. whipped topping

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together well.  Chill before serving.  If the salad is too thick, it can be thinned with a little milk (I did not have to use any milk; the consistency was just right).

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Happy Blogiversary to Me!!

Well folks, my blog officially turned 1 year old today!!  This is pretty exciting, so I knew I had to make something delicious to celebrate, but also something that wasn't 1 million calories...after all, I don't really need to get any bigger at this point.  Being 8 months pregnant is rough on a body, and it's only going to get worse!  Yikes!

I decided to make these delicious looking cheesecake stuffed strawberries I've been seeing all over the web, and boy, they did not disappoint!  They are super easy to make, and a fun, yummy, hand-held dessert.

Here they are whole:

And here's a look at the middle:

Mmmmmm!!  Definitely try to get large strawberries when you make these...the bigger the better (for filling).

I have really enjoyed blogging this year, and I hope this coming year I can continue to try new things and share them with you, despite the busyness of being a new mom.  :)

Here's a look at the top 5 most viewed recipes on my blog this past year:

#5:  Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding

#4:  Cool Mt. Crumpit Peppermint Patty Brownies

#3:  Cappuccino Cake

#2:  Brookies

And finally, the most popular recipe on the blog is...drumroll please...

Gooey Strawberry Cookies!!  (a much deserved first place)

Thank you all so much for reading - here's to year #2!!

P.S.  Happy Birthday Granny!!!  Love you bunches!

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries
Source:  The Girl Who Ate Everything

1 lb large strawberries
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 - 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

Rinse strawberries and cut around the top of the strawberry. Remove the top and clean out with a paring knife.  Prep all of the strawberries and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Add cream cheese mix to a piping bag or Ziploc with the corner snipped off. Fill the strawberries with cheesecake mixture.
Once strawberries are filled, sprinkle or dip the tops with graham cracker crumbs. If not serving immediately, refrigerate until serving.