A Suddenly Salad Summer

Summer is upon us, along with the many cookouts, beach trips, outdoor concerts, picnics and other food eating events that go along with it. :) One of my favorite summer fun foods is a yummy pasta salad. It just screams summer and goes great with just about anything! That's why I was eager to take part in Betty Crocker's #SuddenlySaladSummer campaign and host a $20 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway. Woo hoo! 

Soooooo many super easy and delicious pasta salads AND a $20 Amazon Giveaway (ends July 12, 2016)! Make it a #SuddenlySaladSummer! :)

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In fact, just this past weekend, the whole family went to an outdoor concert where we listened to the music of David Bowie accompanied by the NC Symphony with good friends. I spent the morning and early afternoon on a family bike ride/lunch which was a great time, but by the time I got home, very little time was left for concert food prepping. DOH!

Soooooo many super easy and delicious pasta salads AND a $20 Amazon Giveaway (ends July 12, 2016)! Make it a #SuddenlySaladSummer! :)

Lucky for me, I just happened to have some Betty Crocker Suddenly Pasta Salads on hand to save the day. I had picked up a few varieties from my local Publix and opted for the Ranch and Bacon variety. Get some money saving coupons from Publix here.

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Chili, Simple and Delicious

Several years ago, the hubby and I went on the South Beach Diet to lose a few pounds and came out of it with some delicious new recipes and almost 10 lbs lighter each! This chili was a staple and one of our faves. It was easy to make, I could make a BUNCH of it at once to last us a week and it was filling and delicious. I still make it often today, though I've changed it over the years, adding stuff I liked (meat & jalapenos!) and taking stuff out I didn't (celery!) and adjusting spices, the beans and tomatoes. So I think it's safe to say I've pretty much made it my own. :)


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Chili, Simple and Delicious
adapted from The South Beach Diet's Chock Full of Veggies Chili
by happyvballgirl @ My Epicurean Adventures
http://www.myepicureanadventures.com/2016/06/chili-simple-and-delicious.html

Printable Recipe

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon cooking oil (I like to use grapeseed oil)
1 lb ground meat (lean beef, turkey or chicken - optional)
2 bell peppers, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 tablespoon oregano
2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 tsp salt
2 (14 oz) cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes, with juices
2 (10 oz) cans kidney beans
3 tablespoons pickled diced jalapenos

DIRECTIONS
  1. In a large saucepan or dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add ground beef and cook until browned.
  2. Add peppers, mushrooms, onion. Saute until veggies begin to soften, about 7 minutes.
  3. Add chili powder, oregano, cumin and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes more.
  4. Add beans and tomatoes with their juices. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until chili is fragrant and slightly thickened, 25 to 30 minutes.
  5. Serve warm.
Makes about 4 (2 cup) servings.

Just made a batch over the weekend and enjoyed a bowl of it with Little Sis when Big Sis and the hubby were away at our nephew's graduation. She enjoyed hers topped with shredded cheese and a splash of hot sauce with a plate of plain pasta with butter and freshly grated Parmesan cheese, a very fine combo indeed! I enjoyed mine with cheese and a dollop of Greek yogurt (it's the perfect substitute for sour cream!) AND hot sauce. We enjoyed ate it outside, to boot! :)


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Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Here are some affiliate links to the products I love and use on a daily basis. Well, I don't use ALL of them everyday but I do use at least 3 every day... you know what I mean! :) Feel free to ask me about any of 'em! Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)


     

This post has been shared at:
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What Kids Eat Wednesday
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Disclosure: Affiliate links are used on this blog. :)
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Homemade Granola Bars with Gluten-Free Cheerios

I don't know if you've heard, but General Mills' Cheerios, Chex and Lucky Charms cereals are gluten-free! What?!? I, myself, had no idea, so I jumped at the chance to participate in this campaign to help spread the word via granola bars. :)

nut-free gluten-free homemade healthy granola bars recipe

I stopped by my local Publix to pick up a couple boxes of my girls' favorite cereals to see for myself.
There they are in the cereal aisle - imagine that! What I didn't realize until this campaign is that the General Mills gluten-free family has been growing. They recently added Chocolate Cheerios and Lucky Charms to their already gluten-free Cheerios and Chex family so there are even more delicious options for those of you who avoid it.


I got QUITE a deal on 2 large boxes of my girls' favorite cereals: Cheerios and Lucky Charms. As babies, they started out with Cheerios and still enjoy them to this day. And Lucky Charms, they fell in love with the second that marshmallow bit touched their tongues. haha.


Lucky Charms are thoroughly enjoyed for the occasional breakfast with (not IN) a glass of milk...


or as a snack/treat in their lunches or even an after dinner snack.


Now Cheerios... a tried and true cereal, one they started out gumming when they were mere little babes and still enjoy to this day. Cheerios can be eaten where ever and when ever whether it be for breakfast IN milk, as a snack on the couch (they're a much welcomed low-crumb generating snack, unless the whole bowl gets tipped over which does happen on occasion, but the clean up is super easy) while watching tv, in the toy room while playing with friends, for breakfast, for dinner, for a light meal in summer when you just don't feel like cooking, when you're recovering from a bug, when ever!


I even got a little fancy and made some homemade granola bars with them. They add the PERFECT crunch to these chewy granola bars packed in this lunch.


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Homemade granola bars with cheerios you ask? They're delicious, they're nut-free for my nut allergic girls and they can be made gluten-free as well. My girls love them, especially Little Sis, which is a big win because though she loves food, she's never been crazy about my other homemade granola bars. Adding Cheerios to the mix was the difference!


If you noticed that my pan is missing a row, that's because I was doing a "little" taste testing. What started out a little bite turned into much more. That just means I found it irresistable as well. :)

Homemade Granola Bar with Cheerios
Adapted from Dr. Yum's Granola Bars with Cherries and Chocolate Chips
by happyvballgirl @ My Epicurean Adventures
http://www.myepicureanadventures.com/2016/06/homemade-granola-bars-with-gluten-free.html

Printable Recipe

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup cooking oil (I use grapeseed oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons ground flax seed meal
2 tablespoons wheat germ (omit if making gluten-free)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups oats (old fashioned, NOT quick - and if you are gluten-free, make sure to check the labels)
2 - 3 cups Cheerios (depending on how soft/crunchy you want your bars to be: 2 c soft, 3 c crunchy!)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Farenheit and line 13x9 baking dish with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk cooking oil, vanilla and honey in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
  3. Add flax seed meal, wheat germ, coconut, brown sugar, chocolate chips and salt into wet mixture and stir.
  4. Add the oats and Cheerios, mixing well, making sure the oats and Cheerios are evenly coated.
  5. Place granola into prepared baking sheet and press into pan evenly, so it's about 1 inch thick. This technique always works great for me: Cooking Tip #1: Smushing sticky stuff like cookie dough into a pan (nice title, huh?)
  6. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned. 
  7. Cool  minutes and cut into bars, roughly 1 inch wide. Cool an additional 15 minutes before handling to allow granola to further harden.
  8. Store in a container layered with parchment paper or wax paper, in a cool, dry place.
Makes about 20 (1 x 4") bars.




Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

This post has been shared at:
Homemade Mondays
Tuesday's Table
What Kids Eat Wednesday
Diana Rambles' Friday Pin Me Party

Disclosure: Affiliate links are used on this blog. :)

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Donna's Chicken Lasagna

My volleyball buddy, Glen and I love to cook. We consider ourselves the chefs of the family. ;) Because we share this love, he's also one of my guinea pigs. When I was working on my butter chicken recipe, I found out that he coincidentally was, too, and thus became each other's taste tester. When I dropped off a sample of what I though was IT, I knew I had finally done it when he asked me for the recipe. When I "healthify" a treat recipe by sneaking in some whole wheat flour and/or flax seed and wheat germ, I can tell if the new version's a keeper if Glen will eat more than one of them. ;)

Last weekend, Glen and his crew had me and my crew over for dinner. He made his mom Donna's Chicken Lasagna, a tried and true family favorite. Well, let it be known that it has now become a Taylor family favorite, too, because not only did we devour our first plates, we went back for seconds.

Donna's Chicken Lasagna - The perfect make-ahead dish for any occasion. It's sooooooo delicious and it's sure to please - even the kids!

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Lucky for us, Glen made a double batch of an already giant dish and ended up having plenty of leftovers... plenty enough to share. Yeah! The next day, Big Sis of all people (she's my eat-like-a-bird pickier sweetie), came home from school literally DEMANDING some of Mr. Glen's (mom's to be exact) chicken lasagna. As she was scarfing hers down (a seriously beautiful sight), Little Sis came home from school, saw what Big Sis was eating and then jumped up and down in sheer excitement yelling "I NEEEEEED some, too!!" Can you tell this girl seriously loves her pasta? She loved this dish so much, she upgraded Mr. Glen to "Uncle Glen". haha.

So, without further ado, here's that awesome recipe that Glen and his mom so kindly and generously shared with us. Thanks guys!

Donna's Chicken Lasagna
straight from Glen's Mom's kitchen
electronictized by happyvballgirl @ My Epicurean Adventures
http://www.myepicureanadventures.com/2016/06/donnas-chicken-lasagna.html

Printable Recipe

INGREDIENTS:
1 (8 ounce) package medium egg noodles
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 (24 ounce) carton cottage cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Cook noodles according to package directions; drain and set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat; stir in flour and next 3 ingredients. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  3. Add broth, stirring until smooth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 to 8 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Stir in chicken; remove from heat.
  4. Combine cottage cheese and egg, stirring well.
  5. Spoon one third chicken mixture into a lightly greased 13x9x2 inch baking dish. Top with half each of noodles, cottage cheese mixture and mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers, ending with chicken mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour.
Makes 8 servings.

In this dinner
  1. Donna's Chicken Lasagna
  2. Steamed broccoli
  3. Delmonte canned carrots - non-GMO!
  4. Martin's Potato Rolls (a good source of protein, non-GMO, no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial dyes and oh so soft and tasty!
Donna's Chicken Lasagna - The perfect make-ahead dish for any occasion. It's sooooooo delicious and it's sure to please - even the kids!

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A photo posted by Christine Yoon-Taylor (@myepicureanadventures) on


Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Here are some affiliate links to the products I love and use on a daily basis. Well, I don't use ALL of them everyday but I do use at least 3 every day... you know what I mean! :) Feel free to ask me about any of 'em! Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)

        

This post has been shared at:
Homemade Mondays
Tuesday's Table
What Kids Eat Wednesday
Diana Rambles' Friday Pin Me Party

Disclosure: Affiliate links are used on this blog. :)
Read more »