I know, long time, no post…right?! Well, things have been a little crazy over here the past few weeks. I had a whirlwind of a segment last week on Fox and Friends, which was fun but a little crazy, and a TON of work! So, I’ve been recovering/settling back in, and I can’t tell you how good it has felt to be back in my kitchen, cooking regularly again. I suppose, I’m a little odd when it comes to that, but cooking is a sort of therapy for me. Especially, if Zach is home while I’m cooking to watch Mav…
Anyway, in an effort to avoid the “let’s just grab something for dinner” phrase we’ve used so much recently, I’ve been trying to plan our meals ahead. For example, this past Sunday we went to the late church service, so I had time that morning to make this layered casserole and stick it in the fridge. It is sort of a twist on Chicken Cordon Blue, in casserole form, perfect for a make ahead meal. All I had to do was stick it in the oven that evening, and dinner was done!
I’m usually not much of a casserole kind of gal, but I like the simplicity of this one and the use of real ingredients (for the most part). You won’t find any “cream of … soup” in this bad boy. It’s full of protein and low on carbs, a nice change from the traditional, carb loaded casseroles. The easiest way to make this is to have all of your ingredients prepped and ready to go. At that point, it’s just a matter of assembling!
Layered Chicken and Broccoli Casserole
For the Sauce
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups lowfat milk
2 smashed garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon each salt and black pepper
For the Topping
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 cup seasoned panko bread crumbs
For the Layers
2-3 cups cooked and chopped chicken breasts (I used a rotisserie chicken from the store, but leftovers works too!)
2 cups frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
6-7 slices of thinly sliced ham
6 slices provolone, swiss, or mozzarella cheese
For the Sauce
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat in a sauce pan. Once the butter has melted, whisk in the flour, allow this to cook for a cook of minutes while whisking. It will seem gummy, but this will thicken the sauce.
Slowly whisk in the the milk, making sure to break up any lumps. Add the smashed garlic cloves, salt, and pepper. Allow this to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 8-10 minutes, or until thickened. Remove garlic cloves once this is finished.
For the Topping
Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and toss it with the bread crumbs until they are moist, set aside.
To Assemble the Casserole
Place chicken in a single layer in a 13×9 inch baking dish. Top evenly with the broccoli. Cover the broccoli with the slices of ham, followed by the cheese.
Pour the sauce over the layers and then top evenly with the breadcrumb mixture. A this point, you may refrigerate for later baking or bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Baking may take longer if the casserole is coming straight out of the fridge.
This weekend we had some new neighbors that moved in beside us. Even though we have had a pretty busy couple of days, I kept thinking we needed to go introduce ourselves, and I knew I wanted to make something for them. Since I was short on time, I decided to take an idea from my mother in law and make some good ol chicken salad for them.
When we were moving into our house a couple of years ago, my MIL showed up with a loaf of bread and chicken salad, and it was simply perfect! It was so nice to have something to throw in the fridge that we could snack on or have for lunch while were in the unpacking/organizing process. Chicken salad also seems appropriate right now considering this super hot July we are having here in Tennessee.
I threw a pack of crackers in the bag and Voila, I’ve got an easy and thoughtful “welcome to the neighborhood” gift! This would also be a helpful gift for a new mom or someone recovering from a surgery or illness. Plus, you can double this recipe and have plenty leftover for your family as well, that’s a win-win in my book!
Be sure to scroll on down to the bottom of this post for these Quick Chicken Salad Melts!
Classic Pecan Chicken Salad
2 lbs chicken breasts
1 cup halved green grapes
1 1/2 cups sliced celery
3/4 cups roughly chopped pecans, toasted*
3/4 cups mayo (light, if desired)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons dijon
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon black pepper
Fill a large pot half way full of water and bring to a boil. Place the chicken breasts into the boiling water. You may add seasonings such as garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper if desired to the water.
Boil the chicken, covered, for 20-30 minutes depending on how big the breasts are. Remove from the water and allow the chicken to cool, and then shred it with your hands or using two forks.
In a larger bowl, toss the chicken together with the grapes, celery, and pecans.
In separate bowl whisk together the mayo, lemon juice, dijon, honey, salt, and pepper. Pour the dressing over the chicken mixture and stir until the salad is completely coated.
*To toast the pecans, place them in a dry skillet over medium heat for about 6-8 minutes until they begin to smell nutty.
Check out these Chicken Salad Melts we had last night for dinner with the remaining chicken salad. Place a few slices of bread on a sheet tray, scoop some chicken salad on each one, top each with a slice of cheese, and bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees, top with a fresh tomato, and dinner is served!
“It’s a shame when we box up hospitality in entertaining. We lose sight of the true spiritual significance behind it, and in doing so we rob ourselves and others of the blessings God intends to come through it.” -Logan Wolfram, From the She Reads Truth Hospitality study
I just love a good chicken leg, it comes with a handle after all! Even back in the day when we would get a bucket of KFC fried chicken after church, I always preferred the legs. So, in honor of my love for legs, I’m sharing my Sticky Sesame Chicken Leg recipe! You may have seen some similar recipes to this on Pinterest, but this is my version of the mouth waveringly delicious, Asian flared main dish.
You have probably noticed that lately I have had some type of story to go with my recipes. Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking on what to write for this post, and I got nothin! Ever since I have been getting more personal on here, I’ve waited to write a post until I felt like God was really speaking to me and guiding my writing. I kept coming back to this one, and I finally decided I was just going to publish it today without anything extra. And then, this morning, I read my She Reads Truth devotional and boom, God gave me something! I love when He does that, sometimes I go for days where I just can’t hear Him, but He always shows up at just the right time.
If you haven’t checked out the She Reads Truth app, you should, it’s an awesome women’s devotional app with all kinds of different studies to choose from. I am currently doing a study on hospitality, and as I read the one for today, I realized that I use the word “entertaining” quite a bit, when what I really mean is hospitality. As you might have guessed, we haven’t been doing much entertaining since Maverick was born. We haven’t thrown any Pinterest worthy dinner parties, and I haven’t hosted a fancy ladies’ brunch. It just feels like I can’t really entertain right now, because we are in such a busy season of our lives. My husband, Zach, is finishing up building his first house, I’m listing it this month, my cookbook is coming out soon, and of course Maverick complicates things a little too.
In reality, maybe it’s not the time for me to entertain, but there is still time for me to be hospitable. I can still have people over to my house, and I can show hospitality to others even when I’m out and about by just having a welcoming spirit. I don’t have to have a big spread of food or send out formal invitations to create community. It might mean I make this chicken recipe and some good ol baked potatoes, or maybe we just pick up BBQ and hang out with friends after Mav goes to bed. It’s easy to make excuses and find reasons why “we can’t,” but the bottom line is we all need each other. Heck, sometimes I just need to talk to someone other than Maverick and Zach. Haha! And I’m thinking I’m not alone. People want to feel safe and comfortable, and I believe that happens most at the home of someone (like me) where a laundry basket of clothes is waiting to be folded in the corner and a Boppy gets used as a couch throw pillow.
To entertain, I may have to get everything pretty and perfect, but to be hospitable all I have to do is say, come on in!
Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. Romans 15:7
Now that that’s settled, back to my chicken legs, which are super easy and baked in the oven, making them perfect for when you’re being hospitable. No running in and out to check the grill and plenty of time to socialize while they bake! They also get slathered with an ooey,gooey sauce that is sticky and sweet and just plain yummy.
Also, shameless plug, the recipes in my cookbook are also perfect for showing hospitality this summer! Seriously, they are easy and uncomplicated, so no need to stress over food when you want to invite others to hang out and enjoy a meal on your patio. Bonus! Outdoor eating, means not so much cleaning!
I am still in awe that my cookbook, which has been almost two years in the making, is actually coming out later this Spring! I haven’t revealed a whole lot about the book yet, but now that we are so close to the release date, which is June 2nd, I can share more! One thing you should know, is that I created and tested over 200 recipes EXCLUSIVELY for this cookbook, meaning you won’t find them on this blog
As you have probably guessed by the title, all of these recipes were created for outdoor entertaining. Whether you are having a cookout, barbecue, picnic, or tailgate, you will find plenty of fresh and delicious recipes to choose from in this book. Not only is it full of gorgeous pictures and outdoor dining ideas, it also features 30 outdoor venues, many of them in the South, that I thought were the perfect places to take some of these dishes to. The venues range from outdoor concerts and amphitheaters to botanical gardens and tailgates. This book was truly a labor of love and I hope you all enjoy it as much I enjoyed writing it!
Now for the really exciting news….
You can Pre-Order your copy now for a discount!
So go ahead and reserve your copy now by clicking on the retailer links below…
Now, if you tuned into Talk of the Town in Nashville today, you may have seen me make my “Sunshine Citrus Chicken.” This is a sneak peek recipe from the cookbook, that I am sharing to give you a “taste” of the deliciousness that is in this book! Enjoy
Sunshine Citrus Chicken
makes 6 servings
2 pounds boneless chicken thighs
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup canola oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Place the chicken thighs in a large ziptop bag. Stir together the orange peel and juice, lemon peel and juice, lime peel and juice, oil, garlic, green onions, honey, salt, and pepper. Pour the mixture over the chicken thighs. Seal the bag, and place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Heat the grill to medium high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade, and discard marinade. Place the chicken thighs on the grill, and cook them for 7 to 8 minutes per side. Serve the chicken warm off the grill.
If you are looking for the perfect “game day” recipe without all of the fuss, here it is! I have always been a fan of chicken legs, the meat is so rich and moist, and they even come with a handle for easy eating. This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled for a crowd, making it ideal for football time in Tennessee!
I will actually be making this recipe Monday, September 8th on Channel 5’s Talk of the Town live at 11am. You will definitely want to watch, I mean it’s not everyday you get to see an almost 9 month pregnant lady makin chicken legs on TV, ha! It should be quite a site, but I am excited to get in one last appearance on TOTT before this little boy comes in October.
I will also be posting a video next week for my super moist and addictive Maple Pumpkin Bread, so stay tuned for that. By the way, I totally did not mean to do two Maple recipes in a row, but hey it’s almost Fall y’all!
Oven Baked Maple BBQ Drumsticks
makes 6-8 drumsticks
For the Drumsticks
2 pounds chicken drumsticks
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
For the Maple BBQ Sauce
1 tablespoon canola oil or butter
1/4 cup onion, chopped
3/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons Maple Syrup
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestshire sauce
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
In a large bowl toss together the drumsticks with the oil, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika.
Place a wire rack over a large jelly roll pan and spray it with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange the drumsticks on the rack and bake them for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the oil or butter to a saucepan over medium heat and then add the onions. Let the onions cook for about 5-6 minutes, until they begin to soften an then add in the ketchup, brown sugar, Maple syrup, cider vinegar, Dijon, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir the sauce together all it to cook over medium heat for another 5 minutes.
Once the chicken has baked for 20 minutes, remove it from the oven and dip each piece in the barbeque sauce and then place them back on the rack. Bake the coated chicken for another 15 minutes.
Meanwhile reheat the remaining sauce for dipping once the chicken has cooked. Allow the chicken to cool slightly before serving.
I am thrilled to announce that my first cookbook, "The Outdoor Table," published by Thomas Nelson Published is available to purchase wherever books are sold! This beautiful book includes 175 EXCLUSIVE recipes, not found on this site, perfect for all of your outdoor entertaining! Find out more and order your copy here...
Hey Y'all! Well I'm a southern gal, raised in Tennessee, where I still live with my husband and baby boy! Creating fresh and simple recipes with a southern flare, while sharing bits of my life with y'all on camera is what this site is all about. Also, my very first cookbook with Thomas Nelson Publishers will be out Spring of 2015, and I just can't wait to share it with you all! Read more about April...