Saturday, October 29, 2011

Grilled BBQ Chicken Skewers

Prep: 20-30 minutes (depending on how much help you have) Grill: 10-30 minutes (depending on how many skewers you have)

1 pkg of boneless chicken breast or tenders
1 Red, Orange & Yellow Bell Pepepr
1 Jar of Dole Pinapple Chunks
1-2 Zuchinni Squash
1 pkg Whole Mushrooms
1 bottle Zesty Italian Dressing
1 bottle BBQ sauce
About 50 Bamboo Skewers - soaked in water for 30 minutes to prevent stick from burning on the grill.

These pieces are a little large.
They could probably be cut in half.
Drain pineapple juice from the jar of pineapples into a medium bowl.  Add bottle of dressing and bbq sause & mix with a wire wisk, set aside. Slice up chicken into bite size cubes.  Slice bell peppers & zuchinni squash into bite size pieces. Slice mushrooms in half. Put each of my veggies and chicken in their own bowls so when I am ready to skewer, I can grab what I need without digging for them; seperate bowls also makes it easier if you have others helping you skewer. 
Red, Orange & Yellow Bell Peppers are
sweeter than the traditional
green bell pepper.

Start skewering to where you are alternating between veggie & meat.  Place skewered meat & veggies into a large deep cake pan or turkey roaster. Once you have a layer of skewers, pour some of your bbq sauce mix onto the skewers. Continue layering & covering each layer with bbq sauce mix.

Cover pan(s) & refrigerate over night to marinate.

Place on medium heat grill for 10-15 minutes, rotating them about half way through. Skewers are cooked when you break one of the chicken pieces in half & it is not raw in the middle.  Discard leftover sauce that has touched the raw meat, since it may have picked up bacteria from the raw meat. 

I had many extra veggies after I finished skewering the meat so I sealed them in foil with a little butter, salt & pepper. Roasted them on the grill along with my skewers. It may be really hard, but refrain from eatting the veggies before they are cooked since you may have touched them with your hands that might have had raw chicken on them. 

I didn't have a chance to get a picture of them after they were cooked.  These are so good, I went straight to eating them & I was not thinking of pictures...

Squirt Butt Chicken

Many years ago on a camping trip, my Sister was in charge of dinner one night.  She brough her marinated beer butt chickens to cook on the open campfire.  Boy, was it GOOD! She even gave me one of the stands for me to make my own whenever I wanted to! (LOVE MY SIS!) But, alas I had to buy another stand because there was just no sense in cooking one when you can do two and have leftovers!  I'm not a fan of beer, I don't seen any sense in buying a 6pk of beer when I would only use 2 of the cans.  So I bought a 12pk of Squirt.  That way I can drink the rest at my leisure.  Of course, the first time I tried it, I asked my partner to bring home 2 chickens on her way home from work. Sure enough she brought me 2 turkeys, which worked out great figuring since I don't really like turkey.

2 - 5 to 8 lb chickens or turkeys
2 - cans of squirt (any soda would work since the liquid never touches the chicken)
olive oil or butter
3 tbls Garlic & Herb Grill Seasoning
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
1.5 tbls Pollio Seasoning
2 tbls Whole Black Pepercorns
Cooking Spray
Large Turkey Roaster Pan
2 Beer Butt Chicken Stands

Thaw out the chicken according to the package directions.  Discard the neck and gizzards.  I ran the chickens under water to clean the off.  Pat dry with a paper towel. Line the turkey pan with foil for easier cleanup.  Mix in a small bowl the garlic & herb seasoning, pollio seasoning, salt & pepper.  Spray the stands with cooking spray. Open 2 cans of soda and drink about half of each & place cans in stands.  Place about a tablespoon of whole black peppercorns in each can & set cans inside of turkey roaster pan.  Pour a little olive oil on the inside the chickens & rub all around, even under the skin in places you can get to.  Grab some seasoning mix and rub all on the inside of the chickens.  Place the chickens on the stands through the chickens' rear end. Pour a little olive oil on the outside of the chickens. Use the rest of the seasoning mix & rub all over the outside of the chickens.  You can never have too much seasoning on these birds. Arange the legs & arms to make it look like they are sitting.  Fold over the neck skin so that it covers the neck hole & secure with a toothpick.  Marinate for an hour or two.

With help, place into a preheated 375 degree oven and cook until the meat temperature reads 180 degrees which is about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. When fnished cooking, let sit for about 10 minutes so the juices can settle. 

You can also substitue any of the seasonings with what you are used to using for your chickens.

Scary Cake Pops

I was invited to a Halloween Party & I wanted to take something 'scary'.  I found some pretty interesting cake pops through pinterest but I had to combine quite a few methods to make my cake pops work & taste like I wanted them to. 

1 cake box mix
Jar of cake icing
Candy Melts
Sucker Sticks
Sugar Gum Paste
Candy Eyes
Gel Food Coloring
Flower Foam board & half ball
Wax Paper

Bake the cake according to the directions on the box.  Once the cake is cooled, break off pieces of cake and crumble between your hands into a large bowl.  Add 1/2 of the jar of cake icing & mix well.  Cover bowl & refridgerate cake/icing mix for about 20 minutes.  Cover a cookie sheet with wax paper. Using a small spoon, scoop out the amount of cake/icing to wish to have your balls sized to & place on wax paper. Using a sucker stick, poke a hole the top of each of the balls.  In a small bowl, melt a small amount of candy melts; enough to dip a sucker stick into and place into the holes on the tops of each of the balls.  It doesn't really matter the amount because you can use that same candy melt later when you dip the cake pops.  Freeze the cakeballs for atleast 2 hours. 

For the Pumpkins, I used spice cake mix & cream cheese icing.  I used a whole jar of icing and I found that the cake balls were too sweet & too gooey for me.  Rolling the cake into the balls was messy.  For the Monsters, I used Chocolate cake mix & Chocolate Buttercream icing.  I used 1/2 of the icing and the cake balls came out tasting like brownies, which I like a lot more. Rolling the cake into balls was a lot cleaner.

For my pumpkins & monsters, I used sugar gum paste to make the pumpkin leaves & swirls & the mouths of the monsters.  This can be done days before or the day of.  I used a gel food coloring to tint my sugar gum paste to the color I wanted.  I bent wire to make my 'leaf' cutter. Rolled out the sugar gum paste flat and started cutting.  I used the round part on the end of a fork to make my leaf print.  I rolled out sugar gum paste into a long spaghetti like strand, cut it into small sections & swirled it to look like vine. I left my designed sugar gum paste out on wax paper to dry. (I suppose you could use the sugar gum paste while it is still moist, but I didn't want to risk having my colors run or blending with the candy melts or bending the sugar gum paste while I was trying to place them on/in the candy melt.  Leftover sugar gum paste can be stored in the freezer for years.

Once your cake pops are frozen, melt candy melts according to the package directions.  (I found a deep bowl worked best, for when I was getting low on my candy melt, I was able to tilt the bowl to where I had a corner to pool the candy melt.)  I added crisco(amount depends on the amount of candy melt you use) to thin the candy melt out & microwaved the candy melt on defrost for 30 seconds, stiring in between each 30 sec. interval. Since I noticed the candy melt was still too thick (it didn't pour off my stiring spoon as easy as I wanted it to) I added a little more crisco.  If you try to dip your cake pop into the candy melt and the cake falls off the sucker stick, then your candy melt is still too thick.  I kept a pair of chopsticks handy incase one fell off into the candy melt & I needed to 'rescue' it. If the candy melt was working fine for a bit & suddenly stops working as well, you probably need to microwave the candy melt again.

I tried to use gel food coloring to try to change the candy melt & I do not reccomend it. When I added it, my candy melt 'froze' up and it was no longer any good.  Change the colors of the candy melt by adding & mixing difference colors of candy melt.

Make a plan before you start. Once you dip your cake pops into the candy melt, depending on how you want the outcome to be; place cake pop directly onto a wax papered cookie sheet or stick the sucker stick into the flower foam to hold.

My pumpkins, I left on a cookie sheet; my monsters, I stuck into the foam.  If you are using decorative sugar gum paste and/or candy eyes - it is best if you stick to the gum paste before the candy melt 'cools'. But if you do it too soon, the leaves/vines/eyes/mouths will slide right off your pop.  I had help when making mine.  I dipped the cake pops & my partner placed the leaves/vines/eyes/mouths.  The cooling happens within 10-20 seconds.  Leftover candy melt can be saved. I poured my leftover candy melt into freezer ziploc baggies to save.

I wanted to have a cool & scary display for my hard worked cake pops.  I went to a local craft/quilt store & the lady happened to have an old apple basket in the back she sold to me for $2.  I purchased some material to cover my half ball & board of flower foam.  My selection of material prints was small, so I used a black rag I purchased to cover the material to make it look better.

I placed the green half ball where I wanted it on the white foam board after I cut it to size.  Covered it with my material and placed it in the basket to where it was wedged/hoving in the basket. I draped my black rag over the ball, foam & basket to give it a spidery look. I used a utility knife to make a slit through the material covering the half ball in the spots where I was going to place my cake pops.  I cut a piece of wax paper to the size of space I was placing the pumpkins in so that the cake pops wouldn't pick up any fuz from the black rag material. 

The Halloween Party Hostess was really pleased with it & took a picture for me.  

Friday, October 28, 2011

Apple Cinnamon Pecan Pull Apart Bread

2 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/3 cup of warm water
2 tbl olive oil
1 tsp salt
3 tsp sugar
3 1/2 c flour

Carmelized Apples
2 - 2 1/2 c apples (peeled, cored & diced: I liked larger chunks)
1/4 c butter
7 tbl dark brown sugar (doesn't have to be dark)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 c pecans (or nuts of your choice) (optional)
sprinkle of nutmeg (optional)

Glaze (optional)*
1 c powdered sugar
a tiny bit of milk

Pam Olive Oil Spray

In a large bowl, stir together yeast & water. Let sit for 5 minutes. While waiting, lightly oil/spray a medium bowl & set aside. Mix in the olive oil, salt, sugar, & flour. If you have a stand mixer, knead with the dough hook for 5-6 minutes or until elastic. If by hand, knead dough on a slightly floured surface unril dough is elastic, 7-10 minutes. Dough will be sticky but keep flouring the table as you knead. Place in oiled bowl & cover with oiled plastic wrap so that when the dough rises it will not stick to plastic. Allow to rise until it is doubled in size. I set mine in the sun & it was quick! 1 to 2 hours depending on the temperature.

In the mean time, prepare the apples. Place diced apples in a medium sauce pan with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, & nutmeg. You can add the nuts at this point or layer them in when you layer with the apples & dough balls. Cook apples on medium heat until apples are cooked down & a sauce is formed. Remove sauce pan from heat & let cool until dough is ready.

Punch down the dough (I wasn't quite sure what it meant, so I gave it one good punch & the dough went flat). Grease/spray bundt pan. In the bottom of the pan, add a layer of nuts & apples with 1/4 of the sauce (you need to save half the sauce for dipping dough balls in & 1/4 for another layer). Tear off a small piece of dough about half the size of your thumb. Roll a quick ball, coat it in the sauce, place in the bottom of the bundt pan. Repeat until you have one layer of dough balls. Add a layer of apples, some sauce, & nuts. Continue with layering the dough balls. If you have sauce & apples remaining, just add to the top of the last layer.
Cover with plastic wrap & let rise until doubled in size, about 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 300•
Now when I made it the first time, it said to cook @ 350 for 25-30 minuts or golden brown. I cooked it for 25 minutes & it was no where near getting brown. When I pulled it out of the oven, the outside was really hard! (That's why it worked so well with my soup)

Maybe it was my oven, not sure. I couldnt tell you how long I cooked it the second time, because I didn't time it. So, I checked it after about 10-15 minutes, if I could feel the top crust was becoming hard, when I pushed on it, it sprang back, it didn't stay pushed in, I knew it was done.
Mix the glaze while the bread is cooking in the oven. Add powdered sugar to a small bowl. Add a tinny smidget of milk. Mix. If it is really thick & not like slow moving molasses, it could use a smidget more milk. If it is too watery, add more powder sugar. Glaze should be somewhat runny, to slooowly run down the side of the warm bread but not too runny it doesn't stay on the bread.
Flip cooked bread in bundt pan onto a tray or plate & remove pan. Drizzle with glaze. Pull. Eat.

*3/26/2013: the last two times I have made this, I didnt use the glaze. Instead I made a cream cheese mix that was even better. I used one block of cream cheese, one cup of powdered sugar and about ½ c. milk. I mixed with a hand mixer or the KitchenAid, the cream cheese and the powdered sugar while slowly addung the milk. You only want enough milk to make the mixture slightly runny. Mix until no lumps are left and it is fluffy.

Slow Cooked Chili Beans

Prep: 30 minutes, Cook: 8 hours

1 lb pinto beans
1 lb ground beef
1 can diced tomatoes*
1 tbls fresh minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tbls brown sugar
4 tbls flour
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1 c chopped green onions (green parts add color)
4 tbls red chili powder
Enough water to cover beans in slow cooker
1/2 pkg Salted Bacon (Didn't think to read the package size before I tossed it)

In the slow cooker on low, add cleaned beans with water, salt, pepper, bacon & chopped onions. Leave for five hours.

Five hours later, brown beef & drain, sprinkle with garlic salt. Remove bacon pieces from slow cooker & discard (I don't like soggy bacon, do what you will with it). In a small bowl, wisk together 1/2 c of bean juice from slow cooker with flour. Remove remaining juice from slow cooker to where juice just covers the beans. Add tomatoes, garlic powder, brown sugar, red chili & beef to slow cooker. Add juice/flour mixture back to the slow cooker. Set for 3 more hours, or until beans are tender, stirring every hour.

Serve in a bowl, sprinkled with shredded cheese & garlic bread on the side.

*Fresh diced tomatoes may be substituted for canned, just add them earlier.

Easy Grilled Garlic & Herb Squash

Prep: 5-10min. Grill: 5-10min. Yields: 2-3 servings

2 Yellow Squash
2 Zuchinni Squash
Webers Roasted Garlic & Herb Seasoning (or your favorite grill seasoning)
Olive Oil
Charcoal or Gas Grill

Prepare atleast 15 minutes before grill is ready. Slice cleaned squash lenght wise (so it doesn't fall through grill) about a quarter inch thick. Lightly drizzle with olive oil. Lightly sprinkle with seasoning. On medium to high heat, grill each side of the squash for 3-4 minutes.

Broccoli Coleslaw & it tastes like KFC!

I’ve recently come to like the coleslaw they serve at KFC. Never really liked any others I have tried.  I found the KFC dressing recipe online and made some changes to make it easier and not have TONS of leftover cabbage.  I also left out the lemon juice cuz of my food allergies.  Plus, I’ve got a thing for mushrooms.  :)

Prep – 5 min. Refrigerate – Several hours

5 c. Broccoli slaw – found at Walmart by the packaged veggies
1 tsp minced onions
5 medium mushrooms, sliced and diced like french fries
1/3 c. sugar
¼ tsp salt
pinch of pepper
¼ c. milk
¾ c. mayonnaise
1 Tbs white vinegar

1)   Place broccoli slaw and minced onions in a medium bowl.
2)   In a small bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients with electric mixer until smooth. Pour over vegetable mixture and mix thoroughly.
3)   Cover and refrigerate for several hours if you can wait that long.  Serve cold.  I refrigerated mine for about 30 minutes and it was still good!  The broccoli makes it crunchy. :)

Super Moist Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

I found a recipe online for pumpkin cake but I always make changes to suit me.  :)  The original called for 2 cups of pumpkin but I didn’t want to have leftover pumpkin so I just put it all in and decreased the amount of oil.  I also added in the nutmeg.  I made some changes to the icing too. :)

Prep time: 15 min. Oven cook time: 30 min.
Preheat Oven @ 350°

2 c. flour
3 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 c. sugar
¾ c. vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
29oz canned pumpkin
4 eggs
1 c. chopped walnuts (optional)

1)   Grease a 9x13in and 8x9in pan.  In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Set aside.  I made two so that I would have one to freeze for later. :)
2)   In a large bowl, combine sugar and oil.  Blend in vanilla and pumpkin, and then beat in eggs for 2 minutes with electric mixer.  Gradually beat in flour mixture.  Stir in nuts.  Spread batter into pans. 
3)   Bake in oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out ALMOST clean. I don’t bake a cake to where to toothpick comes out clean.  I take the cake out of the oven right before and in the cooling process, the cake finishes itself and the cake is moist.  Cool before icing.  Refrigerate leftovers.

Cream Cheese Icing

 ¾ c. margarine or butter
16oz Philadelphia cream cheese (2 boxes)
4 c. powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

1)   Beat softened butter and cream cheese until well blended.
2)   Add powdered sugar and vanilla.  Beat until creamy.

Leftover icing freezes very well, not lumpy/grainy like I thought it would be.  I tried once with Philadelphia name brand cream cheese and once with off-brand cream cheese and I found that I liked the Philly better.  The off brand made out to be gummier… egh.

My Dip

When I go to Mom’s house for a family get together, Mom asks, “Are you going to make your dip?”

Prep: 5 minutes

24oz sour cream
4.5oz can chopped green chili
1 Tbs minced onions
1 Tbs freeze dried chives
1 tsp garlic salt
½ tsp salt

In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients. Refrigerate for one hour before serving, so the ingredients “mix” OR serve with your favorite chips or veggies right away!

Fried Cream Cheese Pie

I had a sweet tooth one day and I am not much of a cake/cookie/candy person. I’m all for pastries and I didn’t want to have to work really hard to make it. So I made this up…

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: less than 5 minutes

2 boxes cream cheese
2 cans of cherry pie filling I’ve not tried it but I’m sure it would work with fresh fruit too!1 pkg egg roll wraps
Olive oil

Making the wrap:
Have a small bowl of water nearby to use as a wrap sealer. Using a flat surface, lay out one egg roll wrap with one corner pointing towards you. Slice a ¼in thick square of cream cheese off and place near corner of the wrap. Add a spoon full of pie filling on the cream cheese. Take the corner closest to you and fold it over the fruit. Fold in the left and right corners. Dip your fingers in the water and rub a small amount of water on the corner furthest away from you (directions on the egg roll wrap package says to use a spray bottle, but I didn’t like how the spray bottle got dirty). Roll the wrap the rest of the way over the far corner & the watered corner will form a seal.

Frying the wrap:
Fry in a pan of olive oil until slightly brown. I use a sauce pan with enough olive oil to half way cover the wrap so that I can flip them.

Top with a powderd sugar/milk glaze. I don't really measure for that. I have some powder sugar in a bowl, then add the tinniest bit of milk & mix. I keep adding milk until the glaze is slightly runny...

Something to do with all that squash!!!

I’ve been helping my Ma get rid of all that squash she’s been growing. I was shopping for olive oil and a lady there buying some too told me about frying carrots with olive oil and how good they tasted. So I mixed up my own concoction.
Prep: 10 minutes Cook: 15 minutes

2 medium fresh yellow squash
2 medium fresh zucchini squash
1 handful of petite carrots
5 large fresh mushrooms sliced
½ Tbs minced garlic
½ c. sliced onions
Olive oil

In a large frying pan, sauté garlic, onions & carrots in 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Slice up squash in a french fry like manner and add to frying pan. Cook until squash start to soften up & brown on the edges a little. Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are softened. Serve!

Beef & Green Chili Fried Wraps

I’ve never had much success with fried burritos using tortillas; the tortilla breaks and doesn't stay closed when I fry them. I even found a package of ‘ready to cook tortillas’ and they just didn’t work as well. I found these egg roll wraps in the produce section, and I have used them to wrap all kinds of foods.

Prep: 35 minutes Cook: 30 minutes
Makes about 40 rolls

1 lb. extra lean ground beef
4-5 medium potatoes
½ c. water
1 pkg of egg roll wraps
1 c. chopped green chili (2 small cans)¼ c. sliced onions
1 Tbs minced garlic
½ tsp salt to taste
Shredded Monterey and Colby cheese
Olive oil

Meat mix:
Dice up potatoes and cook until tender in a large nonstick pot with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. At the same time, in a medium frying pan, sauté in 1 tablespoon of olive oil with the garlic and onions. When the onions are soft, add ground beef and cook until done. Add meat mixture to cooked potatoes. Add green chili, salt & water. Heat uncovered on medium for 10 minutes or until water has cooked out.

Making the wrap:
Have a small bowl of water nearby to use as a wrap sealer. Using a flat surface, lay out one egg roll wrap with one corner pointing towards you. Place a spoon full of meat mix on one edge of the wrap. Add a little shredded cheese onto the meat. Take the corner closest to you and fold it over the meat. Fold in the left and right corners. Dip your fingers in the water and rub a small amount of water on the corner furthest away from you (directions on the egg roll wrap package says to use a spray bottle, but I didn’t like how the spray bottle became gooey). Roll the wrap the rest of the way over the far corner & the watered corner will form a seal. These are ready to fry now or save in the freezer and fry when you want them.

Frying the wrap:
Fry in a pan of olive oil until slightly brown. I use a sauce pan with enough olive oil to half way cover the wrap so that I can flip them. I’m sure if you had a deep fryer, it would work also.

Serve with Sour Cream & Guacamole or if ya be redneck: Ketchup.

Alternate suggestions:
Use ground turkey instead of ground beef
Use shredded beef or chicken
Use cream cheese instead of shredded cheese
Make an egg & chorizo mix instead of meat mix

Lazy Fruit Cobbler

My mom taught me this recipe when I was little, we would use the canned peaches we put away each year. Over the years, I’ve made some slight adjustments to it. One year while camping at Mineral Creek I had planned to make peach cobbler for dinner dessert. While hiking up the creek, we found a large patch of wild blackberries. Tonie & I gathered them in our emptied water bottles, and when we got back to camp, I made blackberry cobbler instead.

Prep-time: 5-10min Cook time: 40-45min Preheat oven: 350°

1 c Flour
1 c Sugar
1 c Milk
1 tbl baking powder
½ c melted butter or margarine -if you don’t want a cake like crust, use 1 c melted butter
2-3 c fruit (enough to later the bottom of your pan) -  or about 2 cans of peaches

Spray 9”x13” glass casserole dish with cooking spray. In you pan, add flour, sugar, baking powder & milk.

With a wire whisk, mix ingredients in the pan.

Spoon fruit evenly over the top of liquid mixture but do NOT mix (while baking, the fruit will sink and dough will rise).

Pour melted butter over the top. If you have juice from the fruit left over, pour that in too! Again, do NOT mix.

Place in center of the oven. Cook for 40 minutes. Top will be a golden brown when ready. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the final product. The cobbler was eaten by the time I remembered... :o(
If you’re using fresh fruit, mix ½ cup of sugar, and ¼ c water in with the fruit.

Red Bean Enchiladas

I know it sounds bleh, but really good and easy to make. I was having a craving for red chili smothered burritos but this seemed easier!

Prep: 10-15min Cook: 30min Preheat Oven: 350° Makes: 9”x13” dish

1-30oz can Rosarita Traditional Refried Beans (about 4 cups) 1-28oz can La Victoria Red enchilada Sauce (about 4 cups) 6 large flour tortillas
2-3 cups shredded cheese (depending on how much cheese you like)

In a 9”x13” casserole dish, line with Pam spray.

Layers: Pour ½ cup of red enchilada sauce in the bottom of pan & spread. Using two tortillas for each layer, divide one tortilla in half for the outsides(round side towards the center) and one tortilla in the center. Spread about half the beans over tortillas. Sprinkle with cheese. Pour 1½ cup of sauce over cheese. Repeat the tortilla layer. Spread the rest of the beans over the tortillas. Sprinkle with cheese again. Pour 1½ cup of sauce over the cheese. Repeat the tortilla layer. Spread the rest of the sauce over the last layer of tortillas. Sprinkle with cheese.

Place in pre-heated oven for 30 minutes or until sides are bubbly. Serve with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes & sour cream.

Paco’s Cream Cheese Fruit Salad

I looked online for recipes of fruit salad with cream cheese and I didn’t find any that I liked. I combined some ideas from the ones I found and threw in a bunch of my own ideas… The first time I made it, I used generic canned fruit, and I never really liked canned fruit cocktail. I used name brand fruit afterwards and it just tasted better!! This recipe makes quite a bit, I had to go buy a LARGE bowl just for my fruit salad. I take it to family functions and I've not had any leftovers every time I’ve made it. :) I noticed the bigger the chunks, the more fun my mouth had.

1 plastic jar of Dole Pineapple Chunks
1 plastic jar of Dole Peach Slices
1 ½ basket of fresh Strawberries-sliced
2-10oz jars of Maraschino Cherries-whole
3 large Bananas-sliced
1-10½oz bag of Miniature Marshmallows
½ cup chopped Pecans
1-8oz tub of Cool Whip
1 cup Pineapple Juice
1 small box Strawberry Jell-O
2 boxes of softened Cream Cheese

In a microwave safe bowl, microwave juice for 1 ½ minutes. Add Jell-O, stir until dissolved. Place cream cheese in large bowl, pour in Jell-O. Break up cream cheese with a fork as much as you can (cream cheese will still be chunky). Add fruit, marshmallows & pecans to large bowl & mix. Fold in cool whip. Cover & chill in refrigerator for before serving.

Stuffed Jumbo Shells w/ Four Cheese Spinach Chicken Alfredo

I've been trying to find foods without citric acid (food allergies, ugh!) and there is not a whole lot out there. This here is one I have made up for lunch today. I surprised myself on how nice it tasted and I really wanted to share it with you!!!

Makes 6-7 servings; prep time: 30 min. oven cook time: 30 min.
Preheat Oven @ 350°

21 Jumbo Shells-cooked according to directions on box (I did not use the whole box)12 oz. cottage cheese
1 large egg
3 handfuls of Colby & Monterey Jack shredded cheese
¼ tsp. garlic salt
12 ½ oz. can of Chunk Chicken Breast in water-drained
½ c. margarine or butter
½ medium onion-sliced
½ tbsp. minced garlic
15 oz. jar of Four Cheese Alfredo Sauce
½ c. fresh spinach-chopped

In a medium non-stick skillet, add ¼ cup of margarine, onions and minced garlic. Sauté on medium heat until onion is soft. Add chicken and break up chunks. On medium heat, cook chicken until slightly browned and no longer pink. While chicken is cooking, in medium bowl, mix cottage cheese, egg, garlic salt and two handfuls of shredded cheese. When chicken is finished, turn off heat and add spinach and alfredo sauce and mix.

Spray 8 ½” x 12” OR 9” x 13” glass pan. Melt ¼ cup of margarine and pour evenly on bottom of pan. Stuff a large spoonful cottage cheese mixture into jumbo shells. Place shells in pan, open side up. Evenly spread chicken alfredo mix on top of stuffed shells. Place pan in preheated oven and cook for 20 minutes. Add one handful of shredded cheese on top and return to oven for 10 minutes. Cool off for 3-5 minutes before serving.