Entree

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Hearty chicken, veggie, and whole wheat orzo soup with a refreshing lemon broth seasoned rosemary and parsley. Comforting but not too heavy for the summer.

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Homemade soups usually hit their prime during the fall and winter months but who says you cannot enjoy soup during the summer? This lemon broth based chicken and whole wheat orzo soup is comforting yet light enough to enjoy despite the heat outside.

In family news my nephew Luke has been exceptionally good with his new little brother Griffin. He actually requested to hold him one day and has been showing him how to do tummy-time. Sounds like he’s going to be a good big brother! Hopefully I will get an opportunity to venture out there soon and then will shower you all with photos sweeter than any cookie photo you’ve ever seen.

One year ago: Slow Cooker General Tso’s Chicken

Two years ago: Dark Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter
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BBQ Chicken Salad with Cornbread Croutons

Summer BBQ grilling and salads come together in this BBQ chicken salad with grilled corn, tomatoes, red onion, black beans, cheddar cheese, and even BBQ-Ranch and cornbread croutons.

BBQ Chicken Salad with Cornbread Croutons 4

Summer is the time for BBQ and grilling but that doesn’t mean it can’t also be salad season, especially when you combine them. This salad is mixed with tomatoes, red onion, black beans, grilled corn, and cheddar cheese topped with BBQ grilled chicken, BBQ-Ranch dressing and even homemade cornbread croutons.

The composition of this salad was inspired by OXO and their #WhatAGrillWants campaign. They have a slew of tools which are very handy to have during any grilling adventure, such as 16″ inch tongs for turning and flipping meat (and corn on the cob) on the grill.

BBQ Chicken Salad with Cornbread Croutons 1

But of course one of the best parts about BBQ grilling is the sauce, so I slathered that stuff on with a silicone basting brush.

BBQ Chicken Salad with Cornbread Croutons 2

I also particularly enjoy grilled corn on the cob. I usually soak un-shucked corn in water and grill it, but this time I decided to char the corn by cooking it straight on the grill. Then afterwards I removed those tasty kernels with a corn stripper.

BBQ Chicken Salad with Cornbread Croutons 3

Before all that grilling, while the chicken marinaded, I mixed up the BBQ-Ranch dressing and made homemade cornbread croutons. Toss all of the components together and you’ve got the makings of one awesome BBQ salad.

BBQ Chicken Salad with Cornbread Croutons 5

One year ago: Peach Chicken with Balsamic Glaze

Three years ago: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Mini S’mores Pies
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Crispy Peanut Tofu & Cauliflower Fried Rice

Skip the rice and go meatless with this vegetarian cauliflower fried rice topped with crispy tofu and a peanut-soy sauce. With all that flavor you won’t notice that it’s not real rice!

Crispy Peanut Tofu & Cauliflower Fried Rice 1

What a crazy World Cup game yesterday! I had my bets on Germany but was expecting a close game, as I am sure most people were. After the 4th goal I was completely at a loss for words. By the 6th goal I stopped paying close attention and was attending to other things, therefore missing the final two goals making it a 7-1 win for Germany. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a score that high ever in soccer, even when playing on my own club teams growing up. What a sad way for the hosting country to be booted out of the race. At least they get to play in the third-place game. On the up side, I’m even more impressed with the USA team keeping Germany to one goal in our game!

But moving on to this stir fry. After seeing a couple recipes for cauliflower rice I was sold. All I needed was to get my hands on some cauliflower, and after my broccoli/cauliflower/cabbage U-picking adventure that mission was completed. The texture of the cauliflower may not exactly resemble rice but it was close enough that neither myself nor my dad were overly aware of the substitution. As for the tofu, it was so sufficiently drained and dried that it sucked up all the flavors from the peanut-soy sauce, resulting in some of the best tofu I’ve ever had. If you’re been looking for a super-vegged out meatless meal, I highly recommend trying this.

Crispy Peanut Tofu & Cauliflower Fried Rice 2

One year ago: Salted Nutella Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
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Spicy Mustard & Sweet Potato Turkey Burgers

It’s burger month! Crank up your turkey burgers with spicy mustard and sweet potato, served with spicy mustard-mayo and a pretzel roll.

Burger Month

It’s burger month! A month-long celebration of all things burger hosted by Kita (Pass the Sushi & Girl Carnivore) and joined by 30 other bloggers including myself. Every day this month each one of us is sharing a different burger recipe and to make the deal even more delicious we’re hosting a giveaway with prizes to help get your burger on. Just use the Rafflecopter widget located at the bottom of this post.

My burger is actually a turkey burger. A turkey burger mixed with sweet potato and smokey chipotle mustard, topped with a smokey chipotle mustard-mayo, and served on a pretzel bun. While I was at it I marinaded some zucchini and yellow squash in a mixture of olive oil and the same spicy mustard to grill along with the burgers. You may be thinking that mustard in every component is over-kill but I assure you it is not. The mustard added a different kick of flavor to each part. Why not slather the mustard on the burger bun too while you’re at it?

Spicy Mustard & Sweet Potato Turkey  x

Thanks for chcking out my burger for #burgermonth and an ever bigger thanks to all of the awesome bloggers contributing to this month month burger-fest and of course the fabulous companies that have donated prizes, El Diablo Hot & Spicy Mustard, FireWire Grilling Skewers, Hamilton Beach, KitchenIQ, The Spice House, and Wisconsin Cheese

One year ago: Breakfast Crème Brulee

Three years ago: Mixed Fruit Crumble
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BBQ World Peas Burger

Season your burgers in a snap with smashed, dried peas. The BBQ peas added just enough flavor to this burger to not need any other seasonings.

BBQ World Peas Burger

NEWSFLASH! The USA men’s soccer team lost a good fight to Belgium in overtime. Sadness. But that has been completely overshadowed by the birth of my newest nephew last night! I woke up to a phone call from my brother early this morning (or late last night for them being in CA) telling me that little Griffin had arrived 1.5 weeks early and fast. More updates to come once I know more.

And now for your regularly scheduled post.

I have discovered a new way to season burgers in a jiffy – seasoned dried peas. Yes peas in a burger. I took a snack-bag of BBQ seasoned dried peas, smashed them with a rolling pin and mixed it into ground beef. No other seasoning required. Just cook and top with your favorite burger fixings. I went with some bacon-cheddar that I found at Trader Joe’s and a side of homemade onion rings.

What would you make with dried peas? Check out all these flavor varieties from World Peas: Nagano Wasabi, Sichuan Chili, Sicilian Tomato & Garlic, Hungarian Garlic, Bombay Curry, Santa Barbara Ranch, and Texas Barbeque.

One year ago: Avocado Cheese Ball

Two years ago: Red, White & Berry Shortcakes

Three years ago: Mojito Fruit Dip
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Sesame Chicken & Cauliflower

Sesame chicken gets a healthier twist with the addition of cauliflower. Try substituting all the chicken for cauliflower for a vegetarian option.

Sesame Chicken & Cauliflower 1

The USA may have lost yesterday but it was only 0-1 against Germany AND Portugal beat Ghana 2-1 which means scenario #4 played out in our favor to advance to the next round! The next opponent will be Belgium on July 1st at 4pm Eastern time and of course I am working and will again be forced to DVR the game and avoid social interactions as much as possible until arriving home. There is a slight chance I could watch it at work since I’ll be at the location with a TV in sight, but we shall see.

But now let’s talk about the game of figuring out what to do with all the cauliflower and broccoli I picked last week. I have  frozen a bunch, made broccoli cheddar soup, roasted it for side dishes, and now this sesame chicken with cauliflower. Originally I had planned on making it vegetarian with vegetable broth and only cauliflower but my parents seemed a little unexcited about the idea of eating just cauliflower for dinner so I went half-and-half. Feel free to go all the way in one direction, it’ll work either way! I was impressed with how the cauliflower turned out, they were perfectly tender and held up just as well as the chicken.

Sesame Chicken & Cauliflower 2

One year ago: Bobby Flay’s Crunchburger

Two years ago: Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Cookies
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Slow Cooker Shredded BBQ Brisket

Everyone loves some good BBQ but most don’t have the time to cook it. With the help of a slow cooker you can have shredded BBQ beef brisket for dinner anytime!

Secret Recipe Club

Before I get into this delicious recipe for the Secret Recipe Club, let me first say how incredibly exciting yesterday’s soccer/futbol game between the USA and Portugal was to watch. I was beyond elated when the clock was winding down with a 2-1 USA lead, and then crushed with disbelief when Portugal tied it up at the last minute. Ahhh!! At least I had a fantastic meal in my belly to ease the pain – beef BBQ with coleslaw, baked beans and my dad’s potato salad.

For the Secret Recipe Club this month I perused the recipes on Shockingly Delicious by Dorothy. I came so close to cooking her Spicy Smoky Chicken Kale Stew but when I was planning dinner for the USA-Portugal game I wanted to make something more American. When I saw the recipe for slow cooker BBQ brisket it was the clear winner. I may be living in the heart of pork BBQ for the past 7 years but I still have a sweet spot for beef.

Slow Cooker Shredded BBQ Brisket 1

Her recipe did not include the pop (or soda depending on where you are from) but in my experience with slow cookers it is beneficial to have some liquid in which to be cooked. There may have been enough juice from the meat and the onions but either way the beef came out perfectly. I have made slow cooker pulled pork in the past but this was the first time an onion was thrown in the mix and it added such great flavor to the meat. My parents enjoyed it so much that they plan on including it in their normal dinner rotation!

Check out some of Dorothy’s other recipes on her blog, Shockingly Delicious. I also bookmarked the Falafel Burgers and Spiced Snickerdoodles.

Slow Cooker Shredded BBQ Brisket 2

As for the final group matches of USA-Germany and Portugal-Ghana (to determine the fate of the USA in the World Cup), unfortunately I will not be able to watch either of the two games live so I will be disconnecting myself from social media as much as possible until I get home in order to watch the DVR. Go Team USA!

Two years ago: Pesto Chicken Burger

Three years ago: Bubble Up Pizza
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Easy Honey Mustard Chicken

This baked honey mustard chicken is quick and easy to prepare, making it a great weekday meal. Try it served with roasted vegetables or sweet potatoes.

Baked Honey Mustard Chicken

This recipe is one I made so long ago that I had to remake it because the photos were so old. Not that food photos go bad but they were from 2011, my first year of blogging, and to be honest they were pretty awful as made evident by the photo below. Comparing it to the newer photo above makes me want to go back through all my oldest posts and take new pictures for them.

Baked Honey Mustard Chicken

Thankfully no matter what the picture looks like this chicken is easy and delicious. Mix the honey mustard sauce, pour it over the chicken, and bake. Then serve it with your favorite starch and vegetable. The first photo from when I made this in 2011 was pictured served with sugar snap peas and sweet potato tater tots. The sweet potato tater tots were awesome with it because I love sweet potatoes with honey mustard. This time however I went with wild rice and roasted broccoli because I happen to be overloaded of broccoli at the moment O:-).

One year ago: Cookie Dough White Chocolate Fondue
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Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo

Oven-fried eggplant parmesan stays extra crunchy when topped with cheese and marinara only just before serving. Served alongside orzo seasoned with parsley.

Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo

For how much I enjoy eggplant there seems to be a shortage of eggplant recipes only my blog, only five to date and now the sixth today. Most of the recipes are pretty creative though with things such as eggplant veggie burgers, eggplant stuffed shells, and also eggplant manicotti. I do also already have a recipe for the classic eggplant parmesan but the one I am sharing today is a little different. The first version was layered in a casserole after the eggplant was breaded. This time it is served separately in order to preserve the crunchiness of the breading. Slices of fresh mozzarella cheese are thrown on at the end and placed under the broiler just long enough to get all gooey. Served with warm marinara and orzo seasoned with parsley.

One year ago: Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond Granola Bars
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Slow Cooker Beef Tacos

Slow cookers are great for the spring and summer too. Add your favorite cut of beef and transform it into tender, shredded beef for tacos. 

Slow Cooker Beef Tacos

Over the weekend I took a trip into the Smoky Mountains with some friends in an attempt to see the synchronous lightning bugs (aka lightning bug mating season). Although the cabin in which we stayed had a great view of the mountains and a hot tub, sadly there were no more lightning bugs to be seen than anywhere else in east TN. We may have been too high up or not near a big enough clearing but either way we still had a great time. I hope to return to the supposed best location for the viewing of this display later this week with my parents. I’ll try to snag a good photo or video to share, although I am certain there are plenty already on the internet if you search on Google.

As for these tacos, throw some seasoned beef into your slow cooker and then take a hike. Seriously, go walk around in nature (or at least down around your neighborhood) for a few hours and then come home to some awesome tacos served with your favorite toppings. At least that’s what I did and I certainly enjoyed myself. As an added benefit, cooking in the slow cooker does not heat up your house as much as your oven does therefore reducing your bill for central air.

One year ago: S’mores Jar Cake for One

Three years ago: Skillet Chicken with Peppers and Peanuts
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