Buffalo Chicken and Potato Bake

I found this recipe on Pinterest.  I doctored this recipe up a bit (as usual) and we really liked it. My kids will eat spicy food so they liked this too.  If you like buffalo chicken and creamy cheesy potatoes, you'll like this.

Buffalo Chicken and Potato Bake
adapted from Holy Cannoli Recipes

1 1/4 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into  strips

1/3 c. Franks buffalo sauce
6 c.frozen hash brown potatoes, defrosted
1 c. ranch dressing
2-3 heaping Tb crumbled blue cheee (optional)
1/2 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
1 can cream of chicken soup (I used reduced fat)
1/2 c. breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.  Toss chicken and buffalo sauce together and layer on the bottom of the pan.  Mix hash browns, ranch, blue cheese, onion, garlic, cheddar, and chicken soup in a bowl and stir to combine.  Layer the potatoes over the chicken.  Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top.  Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes.  Remove foil and bake another 20 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked and the chicken is cooked through.

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Pumpkin Cupcakes with Caramel Icing

I found the recipe for these pumpkin cupcakes here.  The original recipe called for yellow cake but I felt like a spice cake would be more fall-y, and it was.  The only brand of spice cake I could find is Duncan Hines so keep your eyes open for it.

These cupcakes were so awesome and...LOW fat/calories.  I highly recommend this 2-ingredient recipe.
For the frosting, I was thinking of using a classic cream cheese frosting until I found this recipe for caramel icing.  It. Is. So. Good.  These cupcakes would be a great addition to any fall gathering, even your Halloween block party.  (I think the burnt butter frosting would be great on these cupcakes too.)

Pumpkin Cupcakes

1 15-oz can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
1 box spice cake mix

Pre-heat oven to 350.  Mix together pumpkin and cake mix.  Fill muffin tins 2/3 full and bake 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool before frosting.

Caramel Icing

3 Tb butter

1/4 c. heavy cream (I subbed half and half)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt

Melt butter, cream, and brown sugar in a sauce pan.  Cook over medium heat until it just starts boiling.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt.  Let the butter mixture cool and then stir in powdered sugar.  Use to frost the pumpkin cupcakes.

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Mediterranean Tuna Panini's

I found this recipe in Rachael Ray Magazine and it looked so good, yet so different from a regular tuna melt that we had to try it.  We loved these sandwiches!  My kids were not quite thrilled, but they did eat it. (And what they didn't eat Rob finished off for them.)

I don't have a panini press so I cooked the sandwiches in a cast iron skillet and put another skillet over the top with a bowl in it to weigh them down a little bit but I think just grilling them would work fine to.

Mediterranean Tuna Panini's
adapted from Every Day with Rachael Ray

Makes 3-4 sandwiches, depending on how full you stuff them.

2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 juicy lemon, juiced
4 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp thyme
black pepper
sea salt
3 5-oz cans tuna, drained and flaked
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
4 tbsp. capers, chopped
3 Tb. parsley, chopped
4 slices swiss cheese
tomato slices
4 slices provolone or mozzarella cheese
8 slices sourdough bread
4 Tb butter

In a small bowl mix together garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, thyme, pepper and salt.  Set aside.  In a mixing bowl add tuna, onion, capers, and parsley.  Pour over dressing and toss to coat.  Heat a skillet over medium-high or panini press. Lightly butter the bread.  Layer swiss cheese, tuna, tomatoes, and provolone.  Grill on each side a couple minutes or until the bread is golden-brown and the cheese is melted.  I served these with sweet potato fries.

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Chicken Parmesan Bake and Garlic & Parmesan Croutons

A friend of mine "pinned" this recipe on Pinterest and I saw it and had to make it immediately.  The only thing I didn't have was croutons so I made some and I think that's what put the recipe over the top.  This is so good.  My husband decided he wanted to have this for his birthday. 

I think this recipe is healthier/lower in calories than actual breaded and fried chicken parmesan so that's a plus too AND it's a full-meal all in one.  If you wanted to pack in more vegetables you could layer in some fresh or frozen spinach.

Chicken Parmesan Bake
Adapted from About.com
*recipe updated 9-29-12
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed (I love mine)
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 lbs skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups marinara sauce, I used homemade but a jar would work great
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (If you don't have easy access to basil sub a couple tsp. of dried basil)
  • 1 1/2 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2-3/4 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3 c. homemade croutons, recipe follows

Pre-heat oven to 350.  In a 9x13 pan layer the olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes.  Add the chicken chunks on top of that and season well with salt and pepper.  Pour the marinara over the chicken and sprinkle the basil on top of that.  Layer half of the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses on top.  Bake 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and then lay the croutons over the top and sprinkle on the rest of the cheese.  Bake another 10-15 minutes until chicken is cooked and cheeses are melted. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Garlic & Parmesan Croutons

1 baguette or 3/4 loaf of french bread (about 4-5 c. bread cubes)
5 Tb butter
3-4 garlic cloves
sea salt
1 Tb grated parmesan cheese

Slice the baguette and then chop it into 1'' cubes.  Preheat the oven to 350 and cover a cookie sheet with foil. Melt the butter in a sauce pan, add in the garlic and cook until fragrant.  Pour the butter over the bread cubes and toss to coat.  The bread should be just coated not completely soaked with butter. Spread the cubes out in one layer on the cookie sheet and sprinkle with sea salt and parmesan cheese.  Bake 10-12 minutes, making sure not to overcook.  Let cool and store in an airtight container or ziploc bag for up to a week.  OR use them on the casserole above! 

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Just Like Grammy's Potato Salad

I made another potato salad recently that I love and my sister and I started reminiscing about our Grammy's potato salad. It was simple, yet we all loved it. I can't even imagine how many pounds of potatoes she must've boiled and chopped to fill up that gigantic yellow Tupperware for the family Fourth of July bbq every year, but I took a stab at re-creating it the other day on a smaller scale and it worked out well. I brought this to a potluck and it was gone very fast.

I like to "bake" my potatoes in the microwave for potato salad but baking them in the oven or boiling them works perfectly too so do whatever works for you.

Just Like Grammy's Potato Salad

3 lbs yellow, yukon gold, or russet potatoes, cooked & chopped
4 eggs, boiled & chopped
1/2 onion, diced
2-3 stalks celery, diced
4 dill pickle spears OR 2-3 large dill pickles, diced
2 Tb sweet pickle relish
3/4 tsp seasoned salt
fresh cracked pepper
1 Tb spicy mustard
1 c. mayo (maybe more)
paprika for sprinkling

Add potatoes, eggs, onion, celery, pickles and relish into a bowl and toss together. Stir in mustard and mayo. Taste and add more seasoning or mayo if needed. Pour completed salad into a serving bowl and sprinkle with paprika. Chill at least one hour before serving with just about anything!

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