It seems like we have had some pretty healthy years around our house. Some sniffles here and there, but mostly healthy, until this year! It has been our year to make up for lost time!
It all started when Wes came home sick. After that Greg and I both ended up with pneumonia, and I was sick well over three weeks. I do not wish that on anyone!
Thankfully, Savannah never got sick! After all, we needed someone to take care of us! When I finally had an appetite, Savannah made this Chicken Caprese Salad, and I am now obsessed with it! It may be the best salad I have ever had!
I have always loved the freshness of a Caprese salad, but I had never thought about using the same ingredients in a green salad. Everything about this salad is delicious, from the fresh mozzarella and fresh basil to this incredible balsamic dressing!
Chicken Caprese Salad
- ¼ c. balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1 tsp. salt
- 12 chicken tenders
- 5 c. Romaine lettuce leaves, washed and dried
- 1 c. cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- ½ c. mini fresh mozzarella balls
- ¼ c fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
- Salt and black pepper, to season
- Whisk vinegar, oli, brown sugar, garlic, dried basil and salt together to combine. Place uncooked chicken in a shallow dish; pour a small amount of dressing over chicken and toss around to coat. Reserve unused dressing for later.
- Heat grill or a small amount of oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Cook chicken until cooked through, set aside and allow to rest.
- Slice chicken into strips and prepare salad with lettuce, tomatoes, mozzarella and chicken. Top with fresh basil. Drizzle with reserved dressing; season with salt and pepper if desired. Serve.
Since having a few rooms painted in the house, I have been on a quest to purge. It’s amazing just how long it takes. Getting rid of old, unused “stuff” is something that I have done with each move, but you would be amazed at the “stuff” I have kept. Some things make me just shake my head and wonder exactly what I thought I would do with it.
For the past week, I have been weeding out cookbooks! Oh my, I did not realize I had such a cookbook hoarding problem until all of them were in stacks on the floor surrounding me! Even then, I’m hesitant to get just trash them before I go through them page by page. It’s a sickness! A sickness that I’m trying to overcome because the feeling of freedom feels so much better than clutter!
I ran across this Waldorf Chicken Salad recipe in an old cookbook from New York. I am typically a very plain chicken salad kind of gal but thought I would give this recipe a try. It is a wonderful fresh summer salad that I loved! The combination is perfect with the crunch of the celery, the tartness of the apple, and the vinegar added a delicious depth of flavor.
Wine vinegar tends to be milder and less acidic than cider or white distilled vinegar, so they make a great addition to sauces, salad dressing, and marinades.
Waldorf Chicken Salad
- 4 Honeycrisp apples, diced (or other crisp, tart,and sweet apple)
- Mayonnaise, to taste
- White wine vinegar
- 4 whole chicken breasts, cooked, and picked clean from bones, and chopped
- 1 c. walnuts, coarsely chopped
- ½ to 1 c. chopped celery
- 1 tsp. poppy seeds
- Leaf lettuce
- In a large bowl combine enough white wine vinegar with the mayonnaise to create the consistency of salad dressing.
- Add the chopped apples, chicken, walnuts, celery and poppy seeds.
- Chill for a few hours before serving. Serve on leaf lettuce.
A few weeks ago I had a hard drive crash, and sadly I had not backed anything up in a while. Isn’t that the way it always goes. We get comfortable and we’re just rolling along and then boom! I lost many photos and a Photoshop program that I have used daily for years. I’m not sure why, maybe because they have now switched the the Creative Cloud, but I can not get the program to reinstall. I am weighing a few cheaper options at the moment but as of now I do not have anything. As soon as I have a new photo program up and running I promise to make this casserole for a new photo!
For now I would like to share this old family favorite. My mother-in-laws Chicken Poppy Seed casserole is wonderful. It’s one of Savannah’s favorites and a great dish when you need to carry something to a friend recovering from surgery, a potluck supper, family reunion, or as we do here in the south take to the family of the deceased. (Yes, we really do that!) It’s quick and easy to prepare and can even be made with a purchased rotisserie chicken. It’s a great weeknight meal served with a fresh vegetable or salad and don’t forget the cranberry sauce! 😋
Chicken Poppy Seed Casserole
- 4 chicken breasts
- ½ c. butter, melted
- 1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
- 1 tsp. poppy seeds
- 1 (8-oz.) container sour cream
- 1 (10.75-oz.) can condensed cream of chicken soup
- 2 to 3 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
- Place the chicken in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, the reduce to medium, cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through. Drain the water and shred the chicken.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Combine the butter, crackers, and poppy seeds in a bowl, set aside.
- Blend the sour cream, cream of chicken soup, and about half of the shredded cheese in a large bowl. Add the chicken and mix to combine.
- Pour chicken mixture into a lightly greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese. Top with cracker mixture.
- Bake in preheated oven until cheese has melted and sauce is bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes.
The older I get, the more that I realize that all of those times that Mama said: “don’t spend your money on me,” she meant it. She wanted then what she still wants, time spent together. Time is something we can never get back, and the older my mama gets, time becomes more precious to me.
In comparison to many families today, my mother’s family was a big one. She had six brothers and sisters. Today, my mother and her sister are the only siblings that remain. I decided that my mama would like nothing better than a little family time for Mother’s Day. So on a recent visit, I invited my aunt and a couple of cousins to a luncheon at mama’s house. I kept the menu simple with homemade chicken salad, pasta salad made with fresh vegetables and purchased Italian dressing, cucumber sandwiches, purchased cheese straws, and I bought a fruit tray, cut up and ready to eat and made a poppy seed vinaigrette dressing. The table was elegantly set with mama’s best china and crystal and the memories we made are priceless.
As you struggle to come up with a gift for mom this Sunday, keep in mind that time spent with you is something she will always treasure!
Simple Pasta Salad
- 1 lb. pasta
- 2 c. cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- ¾ c. sliced black olives
- sliced red onion
- crumbled feta cheese
- chopped bell pepper
- 1 to 1½ c. Italian dressing
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Toss pasta, cherry tomatoes, olives, red onion, feta cheese, and bell pepper with Italian dressing.
- Refrigerate for several hours before serving.
You may need to add a little more Italian dressing to salad just before serving.
Fruit Salad with Vinaigrette Dressing
- 4 cups fresh fruit
- 2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- ¼ tsp. poppy seeds
- Wash and cut up fruit, set aside. In a small bowl whisk vinegar, oil, sugar and poppy seeds. Pour over fruit an gently toss. Serve immediately.
- 12 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1 cucumber, peeled & seeds removed
- 1 medium onion
- dash salt
- dash hot sauce
- mayonnaise on bread, if desired
- Grate cucumber and onion and squeeze dry. (I do this using a clean dish towel. Put in the center of a towel then roll towel and twist.) Set aside.
- Blend cream cheese with an electric mixer. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Store in refrigerator for 24 hours.
- If using mayonnaise, spread on desired bread. Top with cucumber spread and another slice of bread.
Perfect Chicken Salad
- 4 lg. chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
- 1 to 2 c. mayonnaise, depending on how you like it
- ½ to ¾ c. chopped celery
- 1 tbsp. yellow mustard
- ¼ tsp. poppy seeds
- ½ tsp. salt
- Mix shredded chicken, mayonnaise, celery, mustard, poppy seeds, and salt in a large bowl and refrigerate.
One of the best things about living on the Gulf coast was being introduced to Cajun food and Mardi Gras. One of the first things we did on the coast was to attend a family-friendly Mardi Gras parade. We were all caught up in the spirit of the celebration with moon pies and beads. We often visited Louisana while living in Pensacola, especially during the years that Wes played with a travel ice hockey team out of Baton Rouge. We enjoyed the people, their food, and their customs.
We do not celebrate Mardi Gras in a big way here in Georgia, but I say, there’s no better excuse to cook up some good Cajun food. I found this recipe on www.raisedonaroux.com, where I found many other recipes that I can’t wait to try! This chicken marinates for 48 hours for a wonderful flavor. It’s cooks up wonderfully crispy with the addition of corn starch, and it is incredibly moist and juicy. Don’t let the hot sauce scare you because it isn’t hot at all. The marinade simply gives it an excellent taste.
Fat Tuesday Fried Chicken
- Seasoning Mix:
- 3 tbsp. kosher salt
- 2 tbsp. dried thyme leaves
- 2 tbsp. smoked paprika
- 2 tbsp. garlic powder
- 2 tbsp. onion powder
- 2 tbsp. black pepper
- 1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp. white pepper
- 1 (3-lb.) whole chickens, cut into serving pieces
- 4 c. buttermilk
- 2 tbsp. Louisiana hot sauce
- 2 tbsp. Crystal hot sauce
- 4 c. all-purpose flour
- ½ c. corn starch
- Peanut oil for frying
- In a small bowl, thoroughly combine seasoning mix. Season chicken with 6 tbsp. of the mix. Reserve remaining mix. Place chicken in 1 or 2 large resealable bags.
- In a medium bowl, combine buttermilk and hot sauces; pour over the chicken. Seal and refrigerate for a least 4 hours or up to 48 hours, (the longer it soaks the better), turning occasionally.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, and reserved seasoning mix.
- Set a rack on a large baking sheet.
- Working one piece at a time, remove chicken from buttermilk mixture, allowing excess to drip back into the bag. Dredge in flour mixture and shake off excess. Place on prepared rack.
- Pour oil halfway up the side of a large, deep skillet (preferably cast iron) and heat to 350° F.
- Prepare another large baking sheet lined with paper towels and a rack over top.
- Fry chicken in batches, starting skin side down. Do not overcrowd skillet. Once chicken is added to oil, the temperature will drop. Maintain cooking temperature of 315° F for ideal frying. Fry, turning, until golden brown and cooked through to reach an internal temperature of 165° F. Remove to rack and allow to drain. Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.