Honey Garlic Chicken

I'm always looking for EASY recipes that only take a minute or two to throw in the CROCKPOT. This is one of those recipes! It's sweet and TANGY and is perfectly rounded out with some rice and your FAVORITE veggie.

Honey Garlic Chicken
8 to 10 chicken tenders
1/2 sweet onion, sliced
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup ketchup
Chili pepper flakes (several good dashes)
Black pepper
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

Place the chicken and onion in a crockpot sprayed with nonstick spray. In a bowl mix together the honey, oil, soy sauce, ketchup, and seasoning until smooth and then pour over the chicken and onions. Cook on low heat for 6 hours or high heat for 3 hours. Remove chicken with a fork to a plate and set aside. In an airtight container, shake together the cornstarch and water until thoroughly mixed and then stir into liquid in the crockpot. Shred chicken on the plate using 2 forks and then put back into the sauce. Let cook another 30 minutes and then serve over rice.

TIP: Garnish with chopped parsley and toasted sesame seeds for some extra color. You can also add sesame seeds and/or a dash of sesame oil to the mix before cooking for a little different taste.


Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

I've really liked exploring and trying different COOKIE options lately. These little guys are both SWEET and SALTY, and the combination is pretty fabulous. If you are like me, these chewy treats will totally satisfy every CRAVING you are currently having. I promise!

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies 
(adapted from Lovin' From the Oven)

1/2 cup butter, room temp
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup semisweet chips
1/2 cup broken pretzel pieces

In a bowl, beat together the butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips and pretzel pieces. Chill the dough for an hour, or if you are impatient like me, just go for it. Make about 1-inch dough balls and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

TIP: Don't overcook these! Start watching them around 9 minutes to make sure you pull them out just as the edges turn golden brown.


Southwest Turkey Sliders

I'm a firm BELIEVER that great things come in small packages, and these LITTLE sliders definitely confirm that theory. They are simple to make, HEALTHY to eat, and taste fabulous on the way down. If you like the idea of any of those three things, you will LOVE these! And so will your kids—mini things are just more FUN to eat!

Southwest Turkey Sliders
1/3 onion, chopped (red or sweet)
1/3 red bell pepper, chopped
1/3 green bell pepper chopped
1 pound lean ground turkey
Salt and pepper
Whole wheat dinner rolls
Avocado, thinly sliced
Burger toppers of choice

In a frying pan, sauté the onion and peppers in a splash or two of olive oil until tender, about 5 minutes. Put the cooked veggies in a bowl with the ground turkey, salt, and pepper, and mix thoroughly with your hands. Use mixture to make about 8 mini patties. Cook patties on a grill or a nonstick frying pan until done. Eat on dinners rolls and top with avocado slices, lettuce, and other favorite burger toppings.

TIP: You can also top the burgers with slices of pepper jack cheese for a gooey kick.


Sweetheart Cake

Several years ago I wrote a cookbook, Easy Cut-Up Cakes for Kids—and it's all about CAKE decorating that's so easy, your kiddos can do it themselves. Well, I can't let VALENTINE'S DAY come and go without sharing this CUTE and easy cake that is in the book. It is such a SWEET little cake and is so fun to have as a YUMMY Valentine's treat to share with your family.

                                                                                                        Photo by Zac Williams

Sweetheart Cake
1 strawberry cake mix
Pink frosting
1 large tube white frosting (or homemade)
Pastel candies, such as M&Ms, Skittles, jelly beans, or gum drops

Make cake according to package directions. Bake cake as directed on box for two pans, using one 8-inch round pan and one 8-inch square pan. Cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes, and then invert and cool completely on a wire rack.

Place the square cake diagonally on a platter or foil-wrapped board. Cut the round cake in half and the place the cut sides against the top two sides of the square cake to make a heart.

Frost entire cake pink. Outline top edge with white tube frosting (or homemade in a decorator's bag with a star tip). Decorate the cake with pastel candies of your choice. You can use the candies to create flowers as seen in the photo or whatever you prefer. 

TIP: Switch up the color scheme if you don't want a pink cake! Use cherry chip cake mix, frost the cake white, and use red tube frosting and candies. Or again, whatever you prefer.


Salmon Taco Bowls

So I buy fresh SALMON from Costco, and since everything comes in bulk there, it is a rather large fillet. I typically cut it into 2 or 3 PORTIONS and freeze them, but last time I totally forgot and stuck the whole thing in the freezer! This meant I had to thaw the whole darn thing—all 3 pounds of it. So, we had a lot of FISH that week! This was one of my favorite versions and I will definitely be making these YUMMY taco bowls again soon.

Salmon Taco Bowls
1 pound or so of salmon fillet
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Chili powder
Cooked rice
Black beans
Bell peppers, red, green, etc., chopped
Red onion, chopped
Frozen super sweet white corn, warmed through
Shredded cheese
Shredded lettuce
Sour cream

Lightly coat salmon with some olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides. Also sprinkle with chili powder and cumin. (You can decide how generous you want to be. More chili powder = more heat!) Cook salmon as desired, either in a frying pan or bake it in the oven. Once it is cool enough to handle, flake it into chunks with a fork.

Layer your tacos in a bowl (or on a plate is fine too!) starting with some cooked rice, the salmon, beans, veggies, cheese, lettuce, cilantro, avocado, and sour cream and salsa if desired.

TIP: Layer in whatever you like on your tacos normally. It'll be good, I promise!


Baked Proscuitto Ravioli with Pesto Cream Sauce

Doesn't pasta always TASTE good? I know if my kiddos haven't been eating much of their recent dinners that I can make a YUMMY pasta dish and they will ask for seconds, sometimes even thirds. Luckily, this is just another EASY weeknight dish that is sure to make everyone HAPPY and full!

Baked Proscuitto Ravioli with Pesto Cream Sauce
1 bag frozen proscuitto ravioli (or any kind you prefer, mine was from Costco)
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 to 1/2 cup basil pesto
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish with nonstick spray. Fill the baking dish with as many ravioli as needed for your family. (If the ravioli are large, you really only need about 5 per person.) In a bowl, mix together the cream and pesto. Pour over the ravioli in the pan and spread the mozzarella cheese over top. Sprinkle with fresh Parmesan cheese as well and then bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until bubbling. 

TIP: I think another great addition to this recipe would be some chopped up veggies. You could layer in some onion or squash of some sort, or whatever you think sounds good!