Monday, July 30, 2012

Birthday Party #1

Birthday Party #1
It's hard to believe it, but my baby girl turned 1!  We celebrated with one side of the family just before her birthday, and the other side just after.  Here's a recap of party #1, a Mexican fiesta! 
Here's my happy birthday sign:

And some fun tissue paper "puffs" for festive decor.

I made a photo book of her first year so that our families members could look through it while at the party.  Having a deadline was a great motivator to get it completed!

A little favor for our guests... a recent photo of Macey:

The dinner spread... chicken tacos, veggie tacos, Mexican rice, and toppings.

The cake (we had some assorted candies, as well):

The "smash cake" for the birthday girl:

The party was a success!  I can't believe we have already celebrated her first year.  I'm thankful to say we have a bundle of memories, and a precious, growing little girl we just love to pieces!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Tomato Basil Chicken

Tomato Basil Chicken

Serves 4.

This was super easy, has a nice presentation, and is a healthy dish that has a semi-rich taste.  Serve over rice.  The blog linked below has a recipe for cashew rice pilaf that she serves with the dish, but I didn't take the time to make it.
Slightly adapted from: The Girl Who Ate Everything

1 T. Butter
1/2 c. finely chopped onion
1 can (14 oz.) Italian seasoned tomatoes (if not already cut up, coarsely chopped)
1/2 c. julienned FRESH basil leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 c. heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat butter in skillet. Add onion and cook over medium heat until translucent, 5 min. Increase heat to high; add tomatoes and cook until liquid is almost evaporated, 5-10 min. Add cream and bring to boil; boil until slightly thickened, approx 3 min. Stir in basil, salt and pepper.

Arrange chicken in shallow baking dish; pour sauce on top.  Bake for 1 hour.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Fiesta Shells and Cheese

Fiesta Shells and Cheese

Serves 3-4.

If you've got kids, I'm pretty certain they will like this (and you will too!).  It's kinda like a homemade version of a Hamburger Helper meal. 
Source: Just Another Day in Paradise blog

1 lb lean hamburger meat
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 can Rotel tomatoes and green chilies (or petite diced tomatoes)
2 cups beef broth
1 cup shell pasta

Cheese Sauce:
2 Tablespoons butter
2 tbsp flour
3/4 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Brown and drain hamburger meat. Stir in taco seasoning, Rotel, beef broth, and macaroni. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat and cover pan. Simmer 12-14 mins until macaroni is tender.

While this is simmering, start making your from-scratch-cheese-sauce.

Melt the butter in a saucepan on med heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking for 5 minutes until fragrant and light brown in color. Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil. Whisk until smooth and thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the shredded cheddar cheese until melted. Add the salt and pepper to the cheese sauce.

Pour the cheese sauce over the hamburger mixture. Stir gently to combine.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Fresh Summer Corn Salad

Fresh Summer Corn Salad
Makes about 6 cups.
Light, fresh, and ever so summery.
Source: Tater Tots and Jell-O blog

8 ears sweet corn OR 4 cups of frozen corn.
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 red onion, minced
3 large tomatoes, chopped, or 25 mini tomatoes, cut in half
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup lime juice
1/3cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut the fresh corn off the cob or add the frozen corn to the pot and steam for 3 to 5 minutes in
1/4 cup water.

Remove lid and cook, stirring, 2 minutes more or until
water evaporates.

Toss the corn with all other ingredients and chill.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Classic Grilled Burgers

Classic Grilled Burgers

Makes 5-8, depending on how big you make them.

Just like it's named, and just in time for the 4th, this is a classic grilled burger for your summer enjoyment.
Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe blog

2 pounds ground beef (preferably not extra lean)
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
2 tablespoons A-1 sauce
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup room temperature water

In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Form the beef into patties about 1/2-inch thick and about 1/4-inch larger in diameter than the buns you’ll be using. Refrigerate the patties until ready to grill.

Cook the burgers on a preheated grill over medium-high heat until the burgers are cooked to your liking, about 6 minutes per side. The last two minutes of grilling, butter the inside of the bun and slap it on the grill to toast while the burgers finish cooking.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Fresh Mexican Salad with Chicken

Fresh Mexican Salad with Chicken

Serves 2-4.

A deliciously light recipe that's perfect for summer lunches or a light dinner out on the patio.  And it's make-ahead, which everyone loves.
Inspired By: Skinny Taste blog

1 chicken breast (about 1/2 lb.), cooked and chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 small red onion, diced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
Juice from 1 lime
1/2 t. cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste
Salsa, for serving

Combine all ingredients. Mix well. Serve with salsa.