Waiting on Monkey, Monkey Bread

What’s there to do while waiting for our monkey to arrive?  Make monkey bread of course!  Every time I see a picture of monkey bread I start drooling, so I decided to take a whack at it.  If I’d known how easy monkey bread was to make, I would’ve been making them for years.  This monkey bread may become the birthday morning breakfast tradition for the baby.  Sounds like a good idea to me!

Monkey Bread - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

2 tubes of 8 Grand Buttermilk Biscuits
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 stick of butter
1/4-1/2 cup of honey
1/2 cup of chopped pecans (optional)

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Lightly spray a pound cake pan with baking spray
-Add the brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, and pecans to a large ziplock bag (the freezer bag size).  Seal the bag and shake to combine.
-Separate all of the biscuits and slice each biscuit into 6 pieces (like you’re slicing a pizza), and add to the ziplock bag.
-Seal the bag and shake to coat each of the biscuit triangles with the sugar mixture.
-Pour the dough mixture into an even layer in the pound cake pan.
-Melt the butter and honey in a small microwave-safe bowl and spoon evenly over the top of the dough.
-Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown.
-Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes
-Give the pan a little shake and flip onto serving plate.  Let sit for another 5-10 minutes before devouring…just as a cruel joke 🙂 

Make Now and Freeze For Later

Nesting hit me this weekend.  One day it was in the form of cleaning and the next it took the form of cooking.  Here are the recipes I used to make several casseroles and breakfasts to freeze for later.  And, I have to tell you, having food and meals already taken care of, takes such a huge weight off our shoulders!

First things first, I have one complaint for the grocery stores.  Can all the products and brands get together and decide on the same quantities to offer their products in?  I wanted to make 12 muffins.  Well, the muffins come in packs of 6, the sausage in packs of 8, the cheese in packs of 11 or 20, and the eggs in packs of 12.  So I ended up making 8 muffins with sausage, egg, and cheese and 2 muffins with just egg and cheese.  The same thing happens with hot dogs and hamburgers.  Grrr, anyways…

One extra step I took for all of this was buying disposable casserole and meat loaf pans.  This will allow for easy clean up when the time comes to actually eat these dishes which will be another huge time saver once the baby is here.  It also allows me to still have the use of my glass casserole dishes, in case I actually have time to do some cooking.

The List
Turkey Sausage, Egg, and Cheese English Muffins
Turkey Meatloaf
Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf  
Pioneer Woman’s Baked Ziti
Chicken Manicotti 
Chicken Baked Spaghetti – didn’t have time to get to this one.  Will post if I get to it! 

Turkey Sausage, Egg, and Cheese English Muffins 

12 english muffins (I bought the whole grain for an extra hearty muffin)
12 turkey sausage patties
12 eggs
12 slices of cheddar cheese

-preheat oven to 350 degrees
Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray
-Crack 1 egg into each muffin hole
-Use a fork or whisk to pop the yolk and sprinkle a bit of pepper onto each egg
-Bake in the oven for 25-30  minutes until the egg is cooked through. (The eggs will be well done.  I know we all prefer our eggs cooked differently, but because these are going to be frozen, it’s better just to bake them completely)
-Remove eggs from oven, run a knife around each edge, and the eggs will pop out easily.
Open and layout all 12 english muffins
-Add 1 turkey sausage patty to each english muffin
-Add 1 slice of cheese to each english muffin
-Add 1 egg to each english muffin
-Add the top of the english muffin to finish
-Wrap each in foil and label for later

-Optional- add the reheating directions and date to a large freezer ziplock and add all of the muffins wrapped in foil to that freezer bag.  This helps me keep the freezer organized.

Ready to Eat Directions
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
If muffins are thawed, bake in the foil for 15-20 minutes
If muffins are frozen, bake in the foil for 30-40 minutes 
*You could also microwave these, but you must remove the foil first.  Also, the upside to baking in the oven, the muffins will toast up!

Turkey Meatloaf
1 egg
3/4 cup of milk
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup quick cooking oats
1/3 cup italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup onions, chopped
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 pound lean, 99% fat-free ground turkey

2/3 cup ketchup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard

-Spray 2 mini meatloaf pans with non-stick spray

-In a large bowl, whisk the egg and milk together.  Then add the cheese, oats, breadcrumbs, onion, and seasoned salt…stir to combine.  Add the ground meat and mix with your hands.  (Don’t over mix, or the meatloaf will be tough)

-Split the meat mixture into 2 portions and set in the greased baking pans.

-In a small bowl, stir the ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard together.  Spoon over each of the loaves.

-Cover with foil and label with date and reheating directions

Ready to Eat Directions

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Bake uncovered…
-If defrosted, bake for 40-45 minutes, until meat is cooked through and juices run clear
-If frozen, bake for 55-60 minutes, until meat is cooked through and juices run clear

*You could easily make this into 1 whole meat loaf.  But I decided it would be better to split these into 2 different meal portions.
*I‘ve made these into mini-meatloaves also, check out that recipe here. 

Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf   
Source: What’s Cookin, Chicago?
1 lb ground chicken or turkey
1 egg
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 small onion, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup pasta sauce (homemade or store bought)
1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese blend

-Spray 2 mini meatloaf pans with non-stick spray

-In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, thyme, oregano, basil, garlic, onion, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese. (Don’t over mix, or the meatloaf will be tough)

-Split the meat mixture into 2 portions and set in the greased baking pans.

-Top the meatloaf with pasta sauce.

-Cover with foil and label with date and reheating directions

Ready to Eat Directions
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Bake uncovered…
-If defrosted, bake for 40-45 minutes, until meat is cooked through and juices run clear
-If frozen, bake for 55-60 minutes, until meat is cooked through and juices run clear
-Top with shredded mozzarella and place back in the oven for 10 minutes, until cheese is melted.
-Allow meatloaf to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving

Chicken Manicotti
With this one, I already had extra filling from the last time I made this in the freezer.  So I thawed it out, cooked some manicotti noodles, stuffed them, placed in a casserole dish, covered with sauce, sprinkled some cheese, covered with foil (labelled with date), and place it in the freezer.

Here is the entire recipe again, but the original post can be found here.  


1 8 oz package cannelloni or manicotti

4 cups finely chopped cooked chicken (32 oz / 2 lbs of raw chicken)
1 8 oz containers chive-and-onion cream cheese

1 8 oz containers regular cream cheese
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1 cup / 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon seasoned pepper
1-2 24 oz jars of favorite marinara sauce
Top with Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of dried oregano


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

In a large bowl, add chicken, cream cheeses, spinach, mozzarella cheese, breadcrumbs, garlic salt, and pepper. The original recipe says to stir…I say, get your clean hands dirty and mix it yourself.  Like you would a meatloaf.

Slice the pasta lengthwise on one side, through the other side (you should be able to lay the noodle flat) Spoon about 1/2 cup chicken mixture into each shell, gently roll up the manicotti / pressing cut sides together. Place, cut sides down, in 2 lightly greased 9 x 13  baking dish. 

Pour marinara sauce over the pasta. Sprinkle with dried oregano and parmesan cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until heated.

**FYI** So I bought a different brand of manicotti for the 3rd batch and the cooking directions said to boil for 9 minutes (the other brand said 7).  And after 9 minutes, those things were falling apart!!!  I still assembled the dish, but it was not as pretty as the other 2.  Sometimes you can’t trust the box directions!  
Pioneer Woman’s Baked Ziti
Source: The Pioneer Woman

When I first read over this recipe, it sounded like it would take forever and a lot of work to make my own sauce.  But, I was pleasantly surprised.  The sauce was simple to throw together and let simmer for 30 minutes.  And of course I had the added plus of my house smelling like spaghetti.  You could easily brown meat and add your favorite jarred marinara sauce to cut down on time.

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
1 whole Large Onion, Diced
1 pound Italian Sausage (I forgot this!)
1 pound Ground Beef
1 can (28 Ounce Can) Whole Tomatoes, With Juice
1 jar (28 or 32 Ounce) Marinara Sauce
2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
Salt And Pepper, to taste
16 ounces Ziti Cooked Until Not Quite Al Dente
1 tub (15 Ounce) Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
1 1/2 pound Mozzarella Cheese, Grated
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 whole Egg

DirectionsFor the sauce:
-Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat.
-Add onions and garlic and saute for several minutes, or until starting to soften.
-Add Italian sausage and ground beef and cook until browned.
-Drain off fat, leaving a bit behind for flavor and moisture.
-Add tomatoes, tomato juice, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes.
-Stir and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.
-Cut off the heat and let the sauce cool down, but remove 3 to 4 cups of the sauce to a different bowl to cool down.

-In a separate large bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, 2 cups of the grated mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, and salt and pepper. Stir together just a couple of times (do not mix completely).
-Drain the pasta and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking and cool it down.
-Pour the pasta into the bowl with the cheese mixture and toss to slightly combine (there should still be large lumps.)
-Add the cooled meat sauce from the pot and toss to combine.

-Add half the coated pasta to a large casserole dish or lasagna dish.
-Spoon half of the remaining sauce over the top, then top with half the remaining mozzarella cheese.
-Repeat with another layer of the coated pasta, the sauce, and the mozzarella.
-Cover with foil, label with date and reheat directions

Reardy to Eat Directions
-Thaw out the casserole
-Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
-Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, or until bubbling.
-Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Pumpkin Crisp

Krista: Hey!  I have a great idea.  Let’s have dessert first and dinner second tonight!
Nate: Wanna know how I know you’re pregnant?
Dessert first, dinner second is exactly what we did!  And man was it worth it.  I swear, this stuff is even better than pumpkin pie, and I LOVE pumpkin pie.  Do I dare say, it is EASIER to make than pumpkin pie?  And pumpkin pie is pretty darn easy to make.  
I’ve seen a similar recipe floating around potluck gatherings for years, jotted it down, and finally dug it out of my recipe box.  The originals all called for yellow cake mix, only a couple pecans, and no brown sugar.  So I thought I’d change the recipe around to make it my own and add more flavor.  It was a success!  We were on our way out the door, TO DINNER, and I saw Nate eat 4-5 bites of this!

Nate: (with mouth full) This stuff is really good! (still chewing with mouth full)
Krista: Wanna know how I know this just made it on the blog?

Pumpkin Crisp - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

Pumpkin Crisp - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

Pumpkin Crisp - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife
This is why you should let it sit 🙂  But so you can see the pumpkin color inside!

1 can pumpkin
1 can evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 box spice cake mix
1 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup of pecans, chopped
1/2 cup of almonds, chopped or slivered
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Preheat over to 350 degrees

Whisk together pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl.

Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with no-stick baking spray.  Add pumpkin mixture to casserole dish.

Sprinkle the cake mix over the top, and then sprinkle the pecans and almonds over the top.

Drizzle the butter over the nuts evenly and sprinkle the brown sugar over the top of that.

Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until the top is brown and bubbly!

Let sit for about 5 minutes so it will come out in nice squares (I skipped this step, I just couldn’t wait!)

Serve with vanilla ice cream! Enjoy!

Flatout Craving Pizza

Most cravings are random so some sound terrible, but every once in a while a random craving works out for everyone!  That was the case with this one (thank goodness).  We use flatout bread for lunch wraps because they are much more durable compared to other wrappers.  We’ve been using them for over a year and I finally noticed on the packaging, you can make pizza out of them!  So I gave it a whack.

Just a little bun in the oven update, Nate got to feel the baby kick last night!  It was just a thump, but he felt it!  We tried to poke, jiggle, and wake it up to do it again, but it was done showing off for the night. 

Flatout Craving Pizza - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

Flatout Craving Pizza - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

nonstick cooking spray
2 flatouts (used healthy grain, but choose whichever!)
1 16 oz can of pizza sauce
1 4-6 oz tub of goat cheese
1 peach, diced
1 package cappicola, sliced into strips
1 bunch baby bok choy, washed, sliced, sauted with EVOO, salt and pepper
1 bottle of balsamic glaze (or reduce your own balsamic glaze)
1-2 teaspoons dried oregano

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Lightly spray each side of the flatout bread with nonstick spray. Place the flatouts side by side on a cookie sheet.  Bake in oven for 7-10 minutes. (Directions said 7, I did 10)

Remove from oven and spoon pizza sauce on to eat flatout.  Use preferred amount of sauce and spread evenly over the bread/crust.

Add all the toppings, sprinkle dried oregano over the top, drizzle with balsamic glaze.  Put back in the oven for about 12 minutes.  (The cappicola should sizzle a bit and start to crisp up.)

Remove, slice, and enjoy!

Simple Chicken and Veggies

Ok, this is another one of those “I have a ton of veggies that we need to eat up.  Now what do I make?” Threw a bunch of the veggies in a pan with butter and wine, so it was sure to be good!  And anything with capers is a winner in my book.  No matter how full I get, I’ll pick the capers out one by one and eat them (at home with my fingers, restaurant without tablecloths with my fingers, and restaurants with a tablecloth…a friggin fork!).  No man…er caper…left behind!

You may be asking yourself, what’s the deal with the tablecloths?  Read this postThis dish is meant to be versatile.  You can pretty much adjust any part of the ingredients to your own preference.  Also, if you have any other veggies to throw into the mix, don’t hesitate (unless you’re thinking about adding carrots)!  Cooking should be fun and don’t ever be afraid to experiment.  Anyway, hope everyone has a splendid weekend!  Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Chicken Veggies

2 chicken breasts
3-4 tomatoes, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
2 shallots, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 a stick of butter
1/2 cup white wine
salt and pepper
asparagus, ends trimmed off
1-2 lemons
olive oil

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees

-Cover a baking sheet with foil and add the asparagus.  Drizzle some olive oil (just enough to thinly coat the spears) and sprinkle salt and pepper.  Toss the asparagus around to coat and then spread out to an even layer in the pan.  Roast in the oven for 30 minutes.

-Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  Cook the chicken on both sides until cooked through out.  Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.

-In the same pan/skillet you used to cook the chicken, melt butter on medium heat.  Add the shallots and garlic.  Let them cook until fragrant.  Add the tomatoes and bell pepper, and a pinch of salt, grind of pepper.  

-Add some wine (I had a glass in my hand anyway, decided it was time for a refill, so I literally dumped the rest of my glass into the pan…classy I know) and continue to cook the veggies until the asparagus is finished.  

-Before turning off the heat on the stove add the thyme and capers.  Stir into the mix and spoon the veggies over the chicken.

-Remove the asparagus from the oven and squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top of the spears. Add a portion to each plate.  Enjoy!

Lasagna Pie

How awesome is the feeling when a recipe lightbulb goes off in your head?  And how much more awesome if the feeling with that recipe actually works out and is delicious?  Pretty dang awesome!  It started when I was pondering what to make for dinner Friday night after a hellacious week at work for the two of us.  First I thought about the comforting power and simplicity of lasagna and then I started craving crescent rolls.  Crescent rolls are the bomb.com but not the best bread to slop up the leftover lasagna sauce…what to do, what to do. LASAGNA PIE!  

The crust of course is made out of crescent rolls (a whole lot quicker and simpler than making pie crust). And the pie filling is made up of all your classic lasagna ingredients minus the noodle.  I almost put a layer of noodles but then I thought it would be weird.  And because there are no noodles in this recipe, I believe lasagna pie is even easier and quicker to throw together than a regular lasagna. Nate said dinner smelled great while it was in the oven, and when I brought him his first piece and he took his first bite he said “I could eat 10 slices of this pie!”  So I would consider this lasagna pie a HUGE success and if you don’t mind, I think I’ll pat myself on the back right now 🙂

Lasagna Pie

Lasagna Pie Slice
Lasagna Pie Crust

1 12oz tube of large crescent roll dough
1 lb ground beef (or sausage or even turkey)
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup marinara sauce
2 teaspoons italian seasoning
salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

Spray a 9.5″ pie dish with non-stick spray and line the dish with the crescent roll triangles.  You are forming the crust for your pie. (refer to picture)  Then bake the crust in the oven for 10 minutes.

Season the ground beef with salt and pepper.  Cook the beef over medium heat until browned / cooked through.  Drain as much grease out of the pot as possible.

Remove the pie crust from oven and add the cooked beef on top of the crust.  Form an even layer with the meat.  Sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella over top of the meat.  Place back in the oven for about 5 minutes.  You just want to melt the cheese layer.

Remove the pie from the oven and add a layer of ricotta cheese (depending on how much you care for ricotta, adjust the amount).  Pour the sauce over top of the the ricotta, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon italian seasoning.  Next, add the rest of the mozzarella over the top of your pie and sprinkle with another teaspoon of italian seasoning.

Bake the pie for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is nice and melted.  Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes before slicing.  Pat yourself on the back and enjoy!

Desperate Holly Dolly Bars

I don’t like coconut.  Seriously.  I’ve never really understood the shaved, dry, waxy, stringy white stuff that sometimes ruins a completely innocent cake.  The texture alone turns me off.  So why did I make a holly dolly bar?  Not sure.  But, am I glad I did!

While I haven’t been fully converted into a coconut lover, I love these holly dolly bars!  They are sweet, rich, gooey, creamy, and the coconut shavings don’t have the usual waxy texture to them.  To my surprise the coconut adds a nice texture and flavor.  And instead of making me want to run far far away from the dessert table, the coconut shavings actually pull me in and make these hard to resist!  The toffee chips are a fun ingredient and add to the sweetness and crunch, but if you can’t find them, go ahead and sub them with more chocolate (can never have enough), peanut butter chips, or ever butterscotch chips.  The possibilities are really endless.  

Being so quick and easy to throw together, these holly dolly bars are perfect for any kind of shower or potluck.
Nate isn’t home from work yet to try these, but I can almost guarantee I will have to cut him off after 10 3.  So while these haven’t been chef-approved yet…you’ll just have to trust me!
Desperate Holly Dolly Bars
Desperate Holly Dolly Bars
Desperate Holly Dolly Bars
Desperate Holly Dolly Bars


1 1/2 sleeves of graham crackers (13 crackers)
6 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heath/toffee chips
1 cup sweeten coconut shavings
1 14oz sweetened condensed milk

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9×9 baking or casserole dish with non-stick spray.

Add the crackers to a large zip lock bag.  Seal the bag…very important to do this before you…beat it until you are left with nothing but graham cracker crumbs.  Use a rolling pin, a meat tenderizer, your fist, whatever! (This is also an easy and fun job for the kiddos)

Add the melted butter and sugar to the same bag of cracker crumbs.  Seal the bag.  Then mix the 3 ingredients together until combined.  It will still look crumby, you just want to disperse the sugar and butter evenly.

Dump the crumb mixture into the baking dish and pat it down into an even layer, like you would a graham cracker pie crust.  Bake in the oven for 8 minutes.

Remove the crust from the oven and sprinkle the pecans, chocolate, toffee chips, and coconut over the top.  Then drizzle the condensed milk evenly over all of that good stuff.

You may be thinking “shoot, I just drowned all the ingredients in this nasty looking white stuff!”  Don’t worry, don’t even stir it.  Just place the baking dish back into the oven for 20-25 more minutes.  Until the sides are light brown and bubbly on the edges.

Let cool on a wire wrack for 1 hour.  Then cut into squares and enjoy!

Mustard Chicken with Grapes

Millions of people love and watch Rachel Ray, and buy her line of kitchen gear.  And I’m sure those people are thinking “Who doesn’t like Rachel Ray?!” The answer is…chefs.  Being around Nate and his friends in culinary school, I’ve heard all the jokes and opinions about her.  But, being the smart cookie that she is, she came out with a set of orange pots and pans.  So guess what lives directly on top of our stainless, All-Clad, chef-approved pots and pans?  The most beautiful, in your face, non-stick, orange, Rachel Ray pans.  

My friends and family will tell you, I love to play pranks on people.  For Christmas when I was 6 I asked for a prank set which had a stick of gum that snapped your fingers when you took a slice (hurt like hell!) and fake barf.  The relief and satisfaction I get from playing a funny prank is indescribable.  This is the same feeling I get when I make a recipe of Rachel Ray’s and place the dish in front of Nate to try.  At first I do not tell him where the recipe came from.  But after he raves and raves and raves about how delicious the food is, I drop the bomb.  The look of disbelief on his face is priceless, every time!

Usually, after trying a recipe for the first time, I’ll make many changes to it.  Whether it be for my personal taste or something wrong with the original recipe, it’s almost inevitable. This recipe is one of the few that I’ve NEVER modified!  It is just perfect and yummy as is.

Mustard Chicken with Grapes

  • 2 bunches of asparagus
  • Olive oil
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, removed from stem
  • Salt and peppet
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 pounds chicken tenders
  • 1/2 cup white wine + 1 glass for you
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup grainy, stone-ground mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups or 1/2 pound seedless red grapes, halved
  • 2 cups couscous
  • Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Hold one piece of asparagus with each end in one hand and bend the spear until it snaps.  Then take that piece of asparagus, line it up next to the rest of the bunch, and slice the ends off the remaining asparagus.  This removes the woody part of the asparagus.

Line a baking sheet with foil and spread the asparagus out in an even layer.  Drizzle olive oil over the top, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and squeeze juice of one lemon over the top.  Roast in the oven for 25 minutes, the ends get nice an crispy.  Remove from the oven and drizzle more juice from the second lemon.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter to a large skillet over medium to medium-hight heat.
Place flour in a shallow dish. Season chicken with salt and pepper then dredge the tenders in flour and add it to the pan.  Cook the chicken until it’s golden brown on each side

Add wine and scrape up browned bits on the bottom of the pan and simmer for about 30 seconds.  Stir in1/2 cup chicken stock. Combine cream and mustard and add to the pan, stir to combine. Dump (sorry, first word that came to mind, but not appetizing!) Add the grapes to the pan and turn chicken and grapes to coat and mix with the sauceSimmer 5 minutes over low heat so the sauce thickens.
Bring remaining 2 1/2 cups chicken stock and fresh thyme to a boil in a small pot. Add couscous. Put a tight fitting lid on pot and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.  (You can follow the directions on the box of cous cous)
Serve as pictured.

*Feel free to serve over rice, noodles, orzo, whatever!

Yogurt Parfaits – a la Nate

The great thing about yogurt parfaits is you can make a week’s worth ahead of time and just grab them on your way out the door.  So no busy bee has an excuse not to eat breakfast any longer!  You can also get creative with the types of toppings and layers you add, and with the presentation.  Nate simply put ours in clear solo cups, classy I know.  But even the solo cups look dressed up and scrumptious, don’t they?

And you might be asking yourself, orange liquor, for breakfast?  Nothing wakes you up like a nice kick in the face 🙂  Just kidding, it is barely enough to give the lightest-weight a buzz.  For this recipe, the liquor serves a purpose!  Read the recipe to find out.

Thank you chef!
Yogurt Parfaits - a la Nate

Yogurt Parfaits - a la Nate
½ lb of frozen mixed berries
4 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons of orange liquor
1 32 oz vanilla yogurt (we used low-fat!)
1 banana, sliced
1-2 cups of your favorite granola cereal
(feel free to add any kind of fruit and as many layers as you like!)
-Add the frozen berries to a medium–sized bowl
-Sprinkle the sugar over top the berries and toss the berries around to coat
-Add the orange liquor and toss again to coat the berries
-Leave the bowl out on the counter to soak and thaw.  This macerates the berries as it thaws.
Woah! New cooking term.  What does macerate mean?  To make soft by soaking or steeping in a liquid.
-Once the fruit is finished macerating and thawing, you will layer your parfait cups.  
-Add a couple spoonfuls of berries to each cup, then a couple spoonfuls of yogurt, then bananas, then more yogurt, then finish with the granola.
-If making a batch for later, cover each cup with plastic wrap and store in the fridge.

**An alternative to using orange liquor would be… to use orange juice instead.  Also, adding a few fresh, ripped mint leaves would add a nice flavor.

More pictures for your reference:
Yogurt Parfaits - a la Nate

Yogurt Parfaits - a la Nate
macerated berries

Yogurt Parfaits - a la Nate

Yogurt Parfaits - a la Nate

Pepperoni Chips

Pepperoni pizzas are delicious, we all know this.  In my opinion, the best pepperonis are the ones that have crispy edges.  So when my sister passed this recipe along to me, I knew it was going to be good!

Besides being yummy, addicting, and quick to make, these little chips are healthy!  You can use regular pepperonis if you’d like, but the turkey pepperonis are leaner and you can’t taste a difference!  My sister originally tried this recipe because she is on a gluten-free diet, so anti-glutener’s, this one is for you!

Pepperoni Chips

Pepperoni Chips

1 pack of turkey pepperonis (can be found in the deli section with the “fancy” lunch meats)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Cover a baking sheet in foil (for easy clean up).  Then place the pepperonis on the sheet in rows.  It doesn’t matter how close together they are, just as long as they are not touching.

Bake in the oven for 8 minutes.  Remove, and dab each pepperoni with a paper towel.  This removes some of the grease/oils.

Return to the oven to bake for another 16 minutes (I was told 8 minutes, but mine definitely took 16, and probably could’ve gone longer!).  When in doubt, I take one for the team and just stick my finger in the oven and touch one to see if they are done.  I do this when baking anything lol 🙂

Once they have shrunk in size and are visibly crispy, remove from the oven.  Dab each pepperoni with a paper towel, and enjoy!  They are great warm or at room temperature.