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Crock Pot Italian Chicken

Crock pot Italian chicken turned out so flavorful.  Thanks to Hunk of Meat Monday: Crock Pot Italian Chicken  I had a quick meal on a busy day.  Wasn’t sure what I was going to do with the meat but I quickly put it in the crock pot and left the house.

When I returned home, I simple pulled the chicken out and shredded it then returned it to the pot.  I then gave my family the option of having it as a sandwich, quesadilla, or atop a salad.  We all tried it a different way.  I ate it on a salad for three days in a row it was so good.  This was not to spicy for the kids because there are no seeds left in the peppers.

I am still searching for a substitute for an Italian seasoning package.  I hate to use those packets of seasoning.  They do taste so good and are quick.  Need a healthier option will keep you posted.

Crock Pot Italian Chicken:

  • 2 lbs. of chicken, mixture of breasts and boneless skinless thighs works great
  • 1 package of italian seasoning/dressing mixture
  • up to a 12 oz. jar of mild pepper rings or seed and slice whole ones, plus 2-4 Tbs of juice from jar

Place chicken in slow cooker.

Sprinkle with seasoning and top with peppers.  Add a bit of juice from the pepper jar.

Turn the crock pot to low and cook on low for about 8 hours.  Around hour 7 you can remove the chicken shred and return to the pot.


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Creamy Balsamic Dressing

With my one New Years Resolution this year to be to try to make all my dressing homemade I have tried  many new recipes.  I have made creamy balsamic dressing twice now.  It is a great alternative to a heavy creamy dressing but still is satisfying in flavor.

I didn’t have any Morton’s Nature Seasoning on hand.  Google came in handy and provided me with a recipe in which I prepared a little container of it.  Not only is this seasoning great in the dressing but I add it to multiple recipes.  Mr.Picky is especially fond of this seasoning.

Creamy Balsamic Dressing:Creamy Balsamic Dressing

  • 4 cloves garlic, grated or crushed
  • 3 Tbs mayonnaise or greek plain yogurt
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp Morton’s Nature Seasoning
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive or grape seed oil

Whisk together garlic, mayo, lemon juice, mustard, sugar, salt, and nature seasoning.

Add in vinegar and whisk until combined well.  While continuing to whisk slowly add in oil and whisk until smooth.

Keep in the refrigerator and a mason jar, enjoy this healthy option on your favorite salad.

Morton’s Nature Seasoning:

  • 1/3 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup black ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup onion powder
  • 2 1/2 Tbs sugar
  • 1 Tbs dried parsley
  • 2 tsp celery seed

Combine all of the following in a container with an air tight lid.

Wheat Berry Salad with Feta

When flipping through  my new cookbook (new to me I picked it up from a garage sale)Family Circle Annual Recipes 2011.   I came across Wheat Berry Salad.  I knew it would be perfect as a lunch salad.  I love feta and it had crunchy bites of apple and celery, which paired perfectly with the sweet and tangy dried cranberries.  All of these ingredients are some of my favorites.

I just needed to buy some wheat berries.  I know my mom has prepared these but I can’t remember if I had or not.  The directions were clear and it turned out great.  Just prepare yourself by soaking the berries the night before.

Wheat Berry Salad with FetaWheat Berry Salad with Feta:

  • 1 cup wheat berries
  • 1 gala apples, cored and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries, cranberries, or golden raisins
  • 1 rib celery, finely chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey mustard
  • 1-2 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3 Tbs olive oil

In a large bowl place wheat berries and cover with water so by at least 2 inches.  Allow to sit at room temperature overnight.

Drain wheat berries and transfer to a  medium sauce pan.  Add 3 1/2  cups water and bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes.  Add a little more water as needed while cooking.

Drain and cool to room temperature, meanwhile combine apples, dried fruit, celery, green onions, and feta in a large bowl.

Whisk together in a small bowl vinegar, honey mustard, honey, salt, and pepper.  While whisking add in oil in a thin stream.

Add wheat berries and dressing to the apple mixture and toss to coat the salad.


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Aunt Debbie’s Cantaloupe Salsa

Fruit with a bite is the perfect way to describe Aunt Debbie’s Cantaloupe Salsa.  Sometimes I skip the chips and eat it straight out of the bowl with a fork.  My Aunt Debbie married into the family and we warmed up quickly when she brought her famous salsa to a family get together.

Not only is this salsa super healthy, it is also flavorful and versatile.  Aunt Debbie said it is great on top of fish or chicken, she tops the chicken and fish with salsa covers and bakes.  I am going to have to make some to try this out.

Aunt Debbie's Cantaloupe Salsa

Cantaloupe Salsa:

  • 1 ripe cantaloupe seeded, peeled and diced into small bits
  • 2 bunches green onions, chopped
  • 2 -3 sweet bell peppers seeded and finely chopped any color—I like the red ones best
  • 2 large bunches of fresh cilantro—use just the tops and mince finely
  • Juice of 4 limes, you can add some zest if you need more lime flavor
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger—you can use pre-minced if you don’t have fresh
  • 1 or 2 seeded jalapeño peppers,finely chopped
  • Optional—1-2 cloves of minced garlic

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, best if the flavors are able to develop for an hour or two in the fridge.

This is a really forgiving recipe. Aunt Debbie has stretched the recipe for another meal by adding chopped apples, mango, peaches, or even tomatoes and sweet corn.

Antipasto Pasta Salad with a Zesty Dressing

Antipasto Pasta Salad

My grandmother passed me a container of some of the best dressed pasta salad I had eaten in a long time.  She had gotten the recipe out of a magazine.  I will make the salad dressing from now on as a zesty Italian dressing.  The salad can contain any or all of the following ingredients.  What vegetables your family will eat will work and just leave the meat out to make it vegetarian.

Antipasto Pasta Salad with a Zesty Dressing:

  • 1 pound pasta, cooked
  • green peppers
  • tomatoes
  • garbanzo beans
  • salami, chopped or cubed
  • pepperoni, mini or chopped
  • cheese (provolone, cheddar, mozzarella,or Monterey jack),cubed or shredded
  • olives
  • artichoke hearts
  • broccoli,blanched
  • zucchini
  • cucumbers
  • grapes
  • avocado

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 3/4 cup olive oil

 

Combine any combination of salad ingredients in a large bowl.  Chopping all vegetables to bite size pieces or smaller.

In a jar whisk together all dressing ingredients but olive oil.  Once sugar is dissolved slowly whisk in olive oil.  Place lid on jar and give it a good shake.

Top salad with 1/2 of dressing and add more as needed.

Mad Hatter Salad

Mad Hatter Salad

I am renaming this salad to stuff your face, only because you can’t stop eating more.  My mother brought Mad Hatter Salad Recipe – Allrecipes.com to a family gathering and I am hooked.  The only problem is that it makes a ton, so you have to make it for larger gatherings.

Lucky for me we are hosting a birthday and I get to make a bunch of my favorite food.  I did let the kids pick out their favorites as well, it is their birthdays after all.  Many people went up for seconds at the party.  Even though the leftovers were soggy I ate them all up the next day for breakfast.

I have changed the original only slightly, but in a healthier direction.  I did not notice a taste difference, I just reduced the butter amount and changed-up the directions a bit.

Mad Hatter Salad:

  • 1 head of cabbage, shredded
  • 1 head of broccoli florets, cut up
  • 8 green onions, chopped

Crunchy Mix:

  • 2 packages of chicken or oriental top ramen
  • 1 cup slivered almond, optional or served on the side
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup butter

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup oil (grape seed, canola, vegetable, etc.)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce

Combine cabbage, broccoli, and green onions in a  large bowl.

Meanwhile melt butter in a pan and toasted almonds, sunflower seeds, and ramen noodles with one package on seasoning.  If you are keeping the almonds separate I just leave them in a bowl at the side and skip toasting them.

While in a jar combine the dressing ingredients and the other package of seasoning mix, and shake what your mama gave you.

Keep the greens, the crunchy mix, and the dressing separate until just before serving.  Then just toss until coated to serve.Mad Hatter Salad

Zesty Grilled Chicken Salad

I got this recipe out of one of my favorite cookbooks from a local author Frances A. Gillette.  Although all of her cookbooks are wonderful, Zesty Grilled Chicken Salad came out of Romancing the West.

This salad is great on a summer night, and is really a one dish meal.  You have protein and lots of greens, so please enjoy.

Zesty Grilled Chicken Salad

Zesty Grilled Chicken Salad:

 

Salad:

  • 1-2 grilled chicken breast
  • 2 Romaine lettuce hearts, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and sliced
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
  • 3/4 cup of black olives, cut in halves
  • 3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • Salt and Pepper

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 3 Tbs plain yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 3 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • 4-6 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

 

The original directions say to use grilled chicken breasts.  We have found, we love roasted red pepper salad dressing to marinate chicken for about 1-4 hours.  We then use the BBQ or indoor grill to grill it until done.  Always allow chicken to rest 10-15 minutes before slicing.

Using a blender or immersion blender, blend 1/2 cup of feta cheese and remaining dressing ingredients until smooth.  Stir in onion and allow to sit in the fridge.  I blend it all in a wide mouth jar, add my onion, throw a lid on it.

Toss all salad ingredients with dressing.

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