February 15, 2017

Chicken Salad 3 Ways

Guess what?!


And for this baseball loving family, that means we are SUPER-DEE-DOOPER excited!

New spring uniforms picked out – check!
New helmets ordered – check!
Practices & games scheduled for the next 4 months – check!
Super cute embroidered baseball mom bags done – check!
Family vacation carefully planned around team schedule – check!
Color coordinated soft coolers, cleaned and ready – check!
Swamp butt from now until the end of summer - check!
Matching folding chairs permanently resided in SUV – check!
Sunflower seeds in EVERYTHING - check!

Life switches into a new gear for our family during baseball season and one thing that means for this baseball mom is carefully planning, preparing and packing food for the two-day tournaments that we play in. It doesn’t take long for everyone to get sick of soggy sandwiches and punky hot dogs so that means I have to step up my game.

My favorite thing to do is make a variety of chicken salads. I cook one big batch of chicken then divide it up between my three favorite recipes (from top to bottom):

Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad
Classic Chicken Salad
Avocado Ranch Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad 3 Ways! Make all three: Cranberry Pecan, Classic and Avocado Ranch Chicken Salad all from one batch of chicken. Perfect for game day and picnics!

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February 6, 2017

Pepper Steak

When I can cook an entrĂ©e in less time than it takes me to cook a small pot of rice, I am one happy mama! I made a note of this in the recipe below but if you’re planning to serve this with rice (which I highly recommend) you better get that rice going before you start cooking your pepper steak because this dish comes together quickly!

I don’t necessarily think of this as “Chinese food” though you can certainly nudge it closer in that direction by adding more ginger and a little sugar to the sauce when you mix it up (I’d say double the ginger and add about a tablespoon of brown sugar).

This reminds me more of a quick meal folks used to throw together when the peppers started coming in from the gardens. We used to always make it with a cornstarch slurry but I started using a brown gravy mix because it adds just a little more beefy flavor (and that’s all gravy mixes really are: cornstarch and bullion).

If you’re looking for something quick and easy for weeknight meals, you’ll love this one! Don’t look at the ingredient list and think it’s too much. Most of the ingredients in the sauce are the same things you use on the steak, I just separated them into two sections to make things easier to follow!

Pepper Steak! Super easy recipe with sauteed steak strips, peppers and onions. PERFECT over rice!

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January 11, 2017

Beef & Lentil Stew

Sometimes things don’t work out like you’d planned. Like, when you plan on making this amazing steak chili idea you came up with and you go and buy all the stuff you need like a two-pound slab of London broil, cilantro, spices, canned tomatoes, sour cream, etc. and you start pulling everything out to get it going and you realize you can’t find your beans and you refuse to go back to the store.

So you come up with a new plan.

And the new plan ends up being amazing.

After I’d said a lot of bad words, ransacked my kitchen and slammed a dozen cabinet doors, I accepted the fact that my Hurst’s chili beans were just gone. GONE. To where? I don’t know. One of the kids probably got bored and glued them to cardboard when I wasn’t looking.

But lucky for me, my pals at Hurst’s keep me supplied with an arsenal of dried bean goodness so I inspected my stash. I kept eying the confetti lentils because lentils are my new obsession. Seriously, why lentils never made it big in the South is beyond me because they remind me so much of all my favorite peas (crowders, especially) and they are so easy to work with. Plus they’re super high in protein and fiber so they’re crazy healthy. See also my Italian Lentil Soup with Sausage

I knew I had to use that beautiful hunk of beef so I googled “beef and lentils” and found out that beef and lentil stew is a thing! I was going to make it a thing anyway but it was comforting to know I wasn’t the only one out there who thought this would be a good combination!

If you love beef stew and you love any Southern pea, you will LOVE this stew! It’s hearty and warm and delicious! Because I’m addicted to it, I ended up making a pot of rice and served the stew over rice. I LOVELOVELOVELOVE eating peas over rice with some fresh sliced tomatoes and that’s exactly what it reminded me of!

If you can’t find Hurst’s Confetti Lentil Soupreme in your local grocery store, ask for it! My grocery store now carries all sorts of products they didn’t have before simply because I asked for them. Just ask the cashier who to talk to to request a product and s/he will point you in the right direction. My store has a list at the Customer Service desk where they notate products their customers' request.

Beef & Lentil Stew | A hearty beef stew made with london broil, sirloin or chuck, a rich beef stock and tender lentils.

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