Saturday, July 31, 2010

Southwest Chicken Panini

This sandwich has become a family favorite!  I made them for dinner on Wednesday, and my husband wanted one for lunch yesterday.  Next to my macaroni and cheese, this is one of the most requested meals in my house!

For aioli:
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbs mayonnaise
1/2 cup Greek fage 0% yogurt
1 small can olives, diced (reserve 1 1/2 tbsp)
1 tsp ancho chili powder

For sandwich:
8 slices whole wheat bread (or your favorite)
2 tbs olive oil
2 cups organic baby spinach
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp ancho chili powder

2 chicken organic breasts
1 organic avocado, sliced
1 cup grated pepper jack cheese

Combine all ingredients for aioli and set aside.

Heat panini press (or pan) to 375.

Wrap chicken in plastic wrap and pound with a mallet or other heavy object to flatten.  Season with salt, pepper, and chili powder.  Cook on panini press for 4-6 minutes until outside is crispy and inside is tender and cooked through.  Cut chicken into 1/4 inch slices width-wise.  Brush bread with olive oil.  Spread olive aioli on all slices of bread.

Layer bread with spinach leaves, chicken, avocado slices, cheese and reserved olives.  Toast on panini press for 3-4 minutes, until sandwich is crispy and toasted.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Some of my favorite things

We don't do meatless mondays, but I always try to add a meatless meal (or 2) to my weekly menu plan.  This looks like a great website, and I want to try this one, maybe next week... Pasta Primavera

This morning, I made waffles and added 1/4 cup almonds and about 1 tsp of almond extract.  I wished I had some raspberries to make a raspberry puree for the top, but alas, I have to wait until next time!

Yesterday, I got to head back to my husband's home town for a stop at a couple places I LOVE.  One was the spice store Gold Leaf Tea and Spices.  I picked up my favorite Ancho Chili Powder and some cinnamon.  I also got a sample of their smoked paprika.  I will try it soon and let you know how it is!  They have a tea of the month club starting soon.  I think I may just have to join!

Oh, and I've been meaning to mention my new favorite store to shop in.  They've opened 2 nearby, which might not be a good thing!  Besides cooking, I love clothes and shoes!  My new find, thanks to The Pioneer Woman, is Francesca's.  I love that store!  I recently got this top and some adorable earrings that are not pictured on the site right now.  I am a lover of Anthropologie, but I love Francesca's more!  They have the same style as Anthropologie, but less expensive!  I can by 2 tops and a pair of earrings for the same price as one top at Anthro!  They have tons of tops and adorable jewelry!  I feel like I can try out new looks because I'm not investing a whole bunch of money .  Everything I have gotten there I love, and I really want to go get this soon, but alas, I probably shouldn't!


Just wanted to share the first harvest from my garden.

My little guy can't seem to eat enough of the tomatoes, and that cucumber was delicious!  The squash and cucumber plants are taking over my garden, I should have MANY more very soon.

What are you growing in your garden?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Menu Plan Monday


My husband is on vacation this week, so we are going to be out and about a bit.  Here's what I have planned for this week:

Monday: Pulled Pork tacos (crockpot Monday)

Tuesday: We're heading to the Boardwalk for $1 nights hot dogs and junk food (yes, we do it every once in a LONG while, the junk food, I mean!)

Wednesday: Southwest Chicken Panini (I'll post this recipe this week, it was a BIG hit a couple weeks ago with my family)

Thursday: Music in the Park with my husband, not sure what we'll pack for our picnic
 (Maybe this)

Friday: Heading to Carmel with my husband, then picking up my stepson.  I'm hoping we'll have an early dinner at our favorite place down there!

Saturday: Friend's wedding, not at home to cook.  My stepson will eat leftovers or dive into the sausages!

More menu planning ideas at Menu Plan Monday @ Organizing Junkie!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Favorite easy breakfast

You know those mornings when you want something fancier than cereal, but don't want to spend the time and energy to make pancakes or waffles?  I've been making this for years, and its definitely a family favorite (sometimes, I think my son likes it better than regular pancakes)

This is from the 2002 Cooking Light Annual Recipes.

Oven-Puffed Pancake
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c milk (we usually have 1% in the house, so we use that)
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 tbsp butter

I usually add seasonal fruit.  Today, it was blueberries, but I love to add apples in the winter too!

Preheat over to 425.  Add all ingredients through flour to a bowl and mix thoroughly with a wish until blended.  Place 10 inch oven-safe pan on stove and melt butter.  Add batter and scatter fruit on top, if using.  Let cook on stove for 1 minute.  The edge should get slightly bubbly, and the butter should appear around the edge.  Bake for 18 minutes, or until golden brown.  You can serve with fresh fruit or powdered sugar.

When you take this out of the oven, it is beautiful golden brown and puffy.  It will fall pretty quickly after it comes out of the oven.  Its a fun, lazy morning breakfast!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Menu Plan Monday


Today, we headed to San Francisco with my dad and visited The California Academy of Sciences and then ate dinner at a family favorite, The Counter

Here's our menu for the rest of the week:

Tuesday: Chinese Chicken Salad

Wednesday: Smoked Mozerella pasta salad

Thursday: Cauliflower soup and fresh bread

Friday: homemade pizza

Saturday: Spaghetti carbonara

What's on your menu for the week?

For more menu planning, go to I'm an Organizing Junkie!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Quick Post today

We are sitting here being lazy, waiting for hubby to come home and I have 5 minutes before I have to get up and make dinner.  I was catching up on my favorite blogs and came across this post.  What a wonderful, small way to reach out and help a family in need.  I did, won't you help too?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Menu Plan Monday


Summer is in full force around here right now.  Lazy days, music in the park, and BBQ today at church in honor of one of my family's favorite priests who is retiring.  Tomorrow, we are heading over to the beach after my meeting in the morning at church.  I hope you and your family are enjoying your summer!

Here's this week's menu:
Monday: Tequila flank steak in the crock pot.  I'm going to serve it in soft tacos.

Wednesday: Raviolis spinach, red peppers, and greek olives (this week's meatless meal)

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Salmon or Turkey burgers

Saturday: Empanadas

What's on your plan this week?  What dishes are you doing so you don't have to do lots of cooking in the hot weather?

Find more menu planning ideas at Organizing Junkie

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cooking with Kids

You know those days with your kids when everything is wonderful?  You spend the day with them and just have fun?  And it doesn't have to be doing anything major like spending a lot of money or taking them to a big amusement park?  Yesterday was one of those days in our house.  My 6 year old got up and we had breakfast.  He did his summer practice and we read together.  Then, I pulled out a cookbook I got for him through my book orders.
  Paula Deen's Cookbook for the Lunch-Box Set
Its a fun cookbook for kids learning to read and learning to cook.  The recipes are simple and have words and pictures. My little man chose a recipe, made the shopping list and lead our grocery shopping trip.  We made the BBQ tuna sandwiches.  We put the filling on mini hamburger buns from Trader Joe's.
True to the way I cook, we added chopped celery and a little grated white cheddar.
Here are a couple of pictures of my little chef...
Opening the can of tuna

Mixing the tuna filling

The finished product

A healthy, yummy lunch!
(grapes, carrot sticks, and pretzel thins from Trader Joes)

What do your kids like to cook?  How often do they help in the kitchen?

More on Things I Love Thursday @ Diaper Diaries

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summer Science day 2

This one is easy, but will require a follow-up next week.  We are trying to peel a raw egg!

Place an egg in a cup and cover the egg with white vinegar.  See what happens!  Updates to come...

What are your child's hobbies?  How do you encourage them?

I'm back!

We had a great time in Seattle, and have been recovering and trying to get back into the groove (if there is a groove to summer!)  I can't believe its been a week and a half since I've posted anything.  I'm probably going to do 2 posts today.  I've done some great cooking, and my son has really been into wanting to cook and make meals.  So, I'll post some of my stuff, then I'll do his science and cooking activities for the week.

On July 4th, we went to a friend's house and enjoyed BBQ, beer, wine and fireworks.  I brought a salad and blueberry pie.  My salad was going before my husband got any, and the blueberry pie was gone pretty quickly too.  I have to say, the pie crust was a difficult one to roll out, but it was delicious.  I want to try the recipe again to see if I learned anything the first time!  Before I do that though, I am going to try a different recipe for the crust.  I love The Pioneer Woman, as you know if you read this blog with any frequency.  The crust from her blog was hard to roll and shape.  I froze it over night and it took a long time to thaw.  In my experience with apple pie, I like the crusts like the one from Cook's Illustrated (they have my all-time favorite apple pie crust too) where they use shortening and butter.  I'll have to make the Cook's Illustrated recipe soon and let you know my thoughts.

Here's the salad:

Strawberry Spinach Salad:
Spinach, washed and drained
1 pint strawberries, washed and drained and quartered (stems removed)
2 tbsp. goat cheese, crumbled 
1/3 cup toasted almonds

for dressing:
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1-2 tbsp. honey

Wash and drain salad ingredients.  Combine in large bowl

Mix together olive oil and vinegar, then add 1 tbsp. honey.  Shake in dressing shaker or wisk in small bowl.  If you want a little more sweetness, add more honey. 


Have you tried any new summer recipes?