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Staying Home + My Rotisserie Chicken Challenge

Hey fellow quarantiners! I wonder if you are being as resourceful as I am trying to be….and surprising myself! Doing my own nails, highlighting my own hair, and yes……cutting my own hair….are my most recent activities.

This cutting my own hair thing is a daily event. Watching you tube videos of people cutting their own hair and other people’s hair has been entertaining but hasn’t helped, and I definitely don’t recommend it. My hair dresser, Devin, is going to shit herself when she see’s what I’ve done to my hair. I’m not quite sure what I’ve done either…

I did cut Steve’s hair the other evening after cocktails and every morning check to see which side needs evening up. He’s been super patient. Yesterday he told me that he thought his hairline was receding….I told him that it was probably his new haircut and maybe we should let it grow a little….What I really meant to say is that maybe we should do haircuts before cocktails?

My son and new daughter-in-law, who just got married in their home last weekend, have been our personal shoppers. I worry about them… As nursing home administrators, Jeffrey & Mackenzie are both on the front lines so I’d like to keep my grocery list short giving me a new challenge….which is also keeping me away from haircutting for a bit…..

MEALS CAN YOU MAKE WITH ONE ROTISSERIE CHICKEN

There is nothing more delicious than a fresh, hot, store bought grocery store rotisserie chicken…Even smelling it in the car on your way home makes my mouth water…

Meal 1. I pull the thigh/leg off and serve it with any side. No magic, but delicious. Cut up the leftover chicken and tuck it in the fridge for the next creation..

More recipes:

CHICKEN ENCHILADAS

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Super easy and delicious…add fresh or frozen spinach & corn if you like…

Ingredients:

  • 1 can diced tomatoes in juice (14.5 oz.)
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil1  Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2  Tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained (14.5 oz.)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar, divided
  • 8 flour tortillas (8-inch)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°.

For the sauce, purée tomatoes in juice, chopped onion, and garlic in a food processor.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium. Stir in flour, chili powder, and cumin; cook 1 minute.
 
Whisk in puréed tomato mixture and broth; bring to a boil.
 
Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer sauce until thickened, 15–20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
 
Season sauce with salt and pepper and let cool. 

For the filling, combine chicken, drained tomatoes, diced onion, and 1 cup Cheddar with 1/2 cup sauce to coat.

Spread 1/2 cup sauce in bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish. Place
1 tortilla into dish, spread on 1 Tbsp. sauce, and flip.

Scoop 2 Tbsp. filling onto tortilla, and roll to enclose.

Place tortilla, seam side down, in the dish.

Repeat saucing, filling, and rolling with remaining tortillas.

Top enchiladas with remaining sauce and 1 cup Cheddar.

Bake enchiladas until Cheddar melts and sauce is bubbly, 30 minutes; let cool slightly before serving.

CHICKEN POT PIE WITH PHYLO CRUST

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So easy and delicious! Substitute the phyla with refrigerated pie crust  for an easy alternative.

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 oz.cremini or button mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh thyme
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flouR
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1  cup whole milk
  • 2  tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Salt, black pepper, and dry
  • sherry to taste
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken (rotisserie)
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed and patted dry
  • 1/2 cup frozen pearl onions, thawed and patted dry
  • 4 Tbsp. each unsalted butter and olive oil
  • 16 sheets phyllo dough, thawed to room temperatureMAKE IT!

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Cook mushrooms and thyme in 6 Tbsp. butter in a sauté pan over medium heat until browned and liquid nearly evaporates, about 10 minutes. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute.
  3. Deglaze pan with 1/2 cup sherry; cook until nearly evaporated. Whisk in broth and milk; cook until thickened to desired consistency, 10–12 minutes.
  4. Add lemon juice; season with salt, pepper, and sherry.
  5. Transfer mushroom mixture to a large bowl. Stir in chicken, mixed vegetables, and onions.
  6. Divide mixture among four  baking dishes arranged on prepared baking sheet.
  7. Heat 4 Tbsp. butter with oil in microwave until butter melts. Place a phyllo sheet on a flat surface; cover remaining sheets with a damp towel to keep them from drying out.
  8. Lightly brush phyllo sheet with butter-oil mixture; roll into a loose tube. Repeat brushing and rolling with 3 more phyllo sheets, then starting at outer edge, place 4 phyllo tubes end to end in a spiral pattern on top of filling. Repeat phyllo steps for each pot pie. Drizzle any remaining butter- oil mixture over phyllo or coat with nonstick spray.
  9. Bake pies until crust is golden and filling is bubbly, about
    20 minutes. Let pies cool 5–10 minutes before serving.

Depending upon the width of your dishes, the number of phyllo sheets needed may vary by one or two.

Creamy Pesto Lasagna with rotisserie chicken

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Serves 12

Use no-boil lasagna sheets or regular sheets (cook them 5 minutes before assembling) Also, add spinach for added nutrition.

 

Ingredients:

FOR THE BÉCHAMEL

  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup purchased refrigerated basil pesto
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

FOR THE LASAGNA

  • 1 pkg. whole-milk ricotta cheese (15 oz.)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup purchased refrigerated basil pesto
  • 12 dry, flat, no-boil lasagna sheets
  • 3  cups diced rotisserie chicken, divided
  • 4  cups shredded part-skim mozzarella, divided

Preheat oven to 350°.
For the béchamel, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.

Whisk in flour and cook 2 minutes.

Slowly whisk in milk and nutmeg, bring to a simmer, and cook 2 minutes more.

Off heat, stir in 1/2 cup pesto; season with salt and pepper.

For the lasagna, stir together ricotta, Parmesan, and 1/2 cup pesto; season with salt and pepper.

Spread 2/3 cup béchamel in bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish.

Lay 3 lasagna sheets side by side, top with 1/2 cup ricotta mixture,
3/4 cup chicken, 2/3 cup béchamel, and 3/4 cup mozzarella.

Repeat layering three more times, topping the final layer with 11/2 cups mozzarella.

Cover lasagna with foil. Bake lasagna until bubbly, about 45 minutes.

Remove foil and bake lasagna 15 minutes more, then broil on high until golden, 2–3 minutes.

Let lasagna rest 15 minutes before serving.

Dear Friends,

Staying home and staying safe have become part of our new normal.

Making a list of things to accomplish each day has helped relieve boredom and frustration and gives me a sense of accomplishment.  Organizing those boxes of pictures into labeled baggies or photo albums, making boxes of clothing and other items to be donated (there will be a huge need), and finding delicious recipes with items shoved into the back of the pantry are this week’s list.

Cheers to hoping that this will get better. If we all do our part in keeping our distance and staying home, we hope this will pass.

If you have any easy and delicious recipes to share, I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time, Laura

PS: Here are some finds to shop for!

Barilla Gluten Free Pasta, Oven-Ready Lasagne, 10 Ounce $2.19Barilla Gluten Free Pasta, Oven-Ready Lasagne, 10 Ounce

Le Regalo HW1236 Glass Casserole with Insulated Bag, Ideal for Picnic, Potluck, Hiking & Beach Trip-Retains Hot and Cold Temperature of Food, 14″x8.5″x2.75″, Red $16.23

I love this one so that I can bring a warm lasagna to my kids or my parents.

Clairol Root Touch-Up Permanent Hair Color Creme, 8.5A Medium Champagne Blonde, 1 Count by Clairol $14.23

I’m not advocating coloring your own hair, but I did try this and liked it. Easy and not stinky…It comes in a variety of colors to match your hair. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Turkey Burgers with a (huge) Splash of Teriyaki

My search to spice up everyday meals have two requirements….they have to be super quick and super flavorful. This great recipe for a juicy and delicious turkey burger tickled my fancy.

I loved the combo with the pineapple, but it turned the bun into huge mess. My Steve wasn’t a huge fan of the pineapple, so he ate it on the side wrapped in a lettuce bun. I also went a little crazy with the Soy Vey Very Teriyaki, actually a lot crazy….the whole bottle at the end. LOVED IT!

TERIYAKI TURKEY BURGERS with GRILLED PINEAPPLE

Makes 4 burgers


COMBINE: 

  • 1 egg 
  • 1/2  cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/3  cup diced onion
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic 
  • 4 Tbsp. teriyaki sauce, divided 
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder 
  • 1 lb. ground turkey 

GRILL: 

  • 8 oz. sliced fresh pineapple or 1 can (8 oz.), drained 
  • 4 hamburger buns, split, buttered, and toasted (I recommend wrapping in lettuce)
  • Green leaf lettuce 
  • Teriyaki sauce, (Soy Vey Very Teriyaki) 
  • Preheat grill to medium.
  • Combine egg, bread crumbs, onion, garlic, 2 Tbsp. teriyaki sauce, and onion powder in a bowl. Add turkey and mix until combined; shape 
  • Baste patties with remaining 2 Tbsp. teriyaki sauce (or the rest of the bottle) during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
  • Grill pineapple slices until grill marks appear, 3–4 minutes per side. Assemble burgers on buns with lettuce, or wrap in lettuce, pineapple, and additional teriyaki sauce. 

Dear Friends,

As summer draws toooo quickly to a close, I hope to keep my grill running as long as I can, filling my days with family, friends and yummy cocktails!

I saw a cute saying for this time of year….”Keep your pumpkin spice away from my margarita!” I like it and am happy to wait for cool fall nights….so until then….

🍹Cheers! Laura

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Sheet Pan Eggplant Parm?? Easy and Cheezy? Oh yea!

Salad…..my favorite comfort food of summer, but anything fresh from the garden and smothered in cheese….now we’re talking! Summer’s bounty of eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes give rise to delicious and healthy twists on most loved recipes….like one of my faves, eggplant Parmesan!

This sheet pan eggplant parm is a super easy and flavorful without all the fuss and fat of the original version. Give it a try…..

SHEET PAN EGGPLANT PARMESAN

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsps olive oil or spray olive oil
  • 3 C. marinara sauce
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded or fresh
  • julienned fresh basil, optional

DIRECTIONS

  1. Spread the sliced eggplant in a single layer onto paper towels. Lightly salt the eggplant and let it sit for 15 minutes. Flip the eggplant, salt the other side, and let sit for another 15 minutes.  Rince the eggplant with water and pat dry with clean paper towels. (This step is optional)
  2. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  
  3. Combine the panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, dried basil, dried oregano, and garlic powder in a shallow dish.  In a separate dish, lightly beat the eggs with the water.
  4. Dip the eggplant slices in the egg and then the breadcrumb mixture, pressing the breadcumbs onto the eggplant to evenly coat both sides.
  5. Spray a foil-lined sheet pan with the olive oil.
  6. Place the breaded eggplant in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, flip the slices, then bake for an additional 10 minutes on the other side. Spoon sauce onto each slice and top with shredded or fresh mozzorella cheese.  
  8. Return to the oven and continue baking for an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.  Top with fresh basil right before serving.

Dear Friends,

Thanks for swinging by! I know it’s been awhile, but I hope to share more regularly!

Enjoy this delicious dish!

Cheers to celebrating summer!

🍷Laura

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Brown Bananas Again? Try this Delicious Banana Cookie Recipe!

Banana Cookies

When the kids come to visit, we always have leftover bananas. Try this delicious twist on the usual banana bread or cupcakes…..Banana Cookies! Soft, chewy and delicious. You may make them before the kids arrive!

Banana Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ripe smashed banana 
  • 3.4 oz package banana cream instant pudding mix
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350*F
  • Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Combine flour, baking soda and salt, then set aside.
  • Combine butter and sugar and mix with an electric mixer.  Add banana, dry pudding mix and the eggs, then mix together until smooth.
  • Combine dry ingredients into the mixing bowl with banana mixture.
  • Add the white chocolate chips.
  • Scoop rounded tablespoonfuls of cookie dough onto parchment lined baking pan.
  • Bake at 350*F for 10 minutes or until slightly golden.
  • Cool for several minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.
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Oakes Farms Meets Naples Home Cooks: From Seed to Our Table

The next time you find yourself standing in a grocery store, and some guy with a camera loudly asks if there are any home cooks around, and you are the only person there, I say, GO FOR IT!

This happened, and my dream of becoming a Food Network Star was at my fingertips…well, sort of.

What started as a plan to cook a quiet dinner, soon blossomed into an incredible cocktail party with our amazing friends pitching in, all the while our PR guy, Larry from TellYourVision.Net, filmed us from start to finish!

Check out our commercial here!

And, here is the recipe you have all been waiting for!

STEVE’S PAN FRIED FLORIDA GROUPER BITESfullsizeoutput_13cae

INGREDIENTS:

•1 lb fresh Wild Florida Grouper Fillets, washed & patted dry

•2 organic eggs, beaten

•2 C. Cheez-it crackers ground fine

•2 C. Parmesan cheese grated

•1/2 C. Organic Olive Oil

DIRECTIONS:

•In a food processor, blend Cheez-it crackers with the parmesan cheese.

•Cut the grouper into 1” bite size pieces.

•Heat the oil over medium high heat.

•Dip each fillet in egg and toss in the cracker/cheese mixture to coat.

•Place each fillet into the hot oil taking care not to over crowd the fish.

•Cook for 3-4 min. per side until golden brown.

•Remove and serve immediately with your favorite tarter sauce, cocktail sauce or mustard sauce.

Dear Friends,
Thanks for swinging by! Stay tuned in the next few weeks for more great recipes and entertaining ideas from our Naples friends.
Cheers to sharing celebrations with love.
Laura

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Heirloom or Clutter…+ A New Twist on an Old Favorite…Chicken Parmesan as a muffin!

Happy New Year, everyone!! I have a new dilemma to share!

I know it’s really great that there are things so special to you that you want to pass them along to your children and grandchildren….but seriously…..you have to think, “Will they want this shit?”

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Take, for example, the Lenox bird collection, that I know was an expensive bite out of the budget that my husband provided for his mom….I just spent an entire afternoon, matching each bird to the corresponding certificate of authenticity, photographing, and listing them on Ebay. I sold one, but by the time I packed it and shipped it, I lost money.

Kathy, a very close friend of mine offered me $25.00 for all of them so that her husband can use them as target practice for a gun he purchased recently. Tempting. I can’t help but thinking that someone out there appreciates these dust collecting birdies.

Moving Steve’s mom into an assisted living facility was quite the undertaking, especially as her daughter-in-law….I was given the dubious job of sorting through countless pairs of stockings, some still in the original package, hair ties and bows, denture boxes, and an assortment of long forgotten treasures packed away for safe keeping. Year after year, I would go to the dollar store for holiday bags and have Salina pack up these treasures as gifts, but she didn’t want to part with anything. You really have no idea….So for now, I’m stuck with these birds…lots of them.

My parents, at 89 and 91, have kept those special to them in a super organized way. When I visit, I love how my mom is always trying to give me her things. Although they take great pleasure in sharing, I want my mom and dad to keep and enjoy the memories they bring, rather than taking them away. I also know that the beautiful and valuable belongings of my parents are far from junk and someday will value and cherish the sentiment and memories.

On a return flight from Cancun, I vividly recall the pilot saying, “I hope you enjoyed your vacation and have carefully packed all of your souvenirs that will be at your garage sale someday.” So….note to self….Only buy and keep what gives you pleasure and let it go when it no longer has meaning.

Speaking of giving pleasure, I found this twist on an old favorite. Get ready for this delicious and EASY twist on your favorite Chicken Parmesan recipe!

Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf Muffins

Makes 12 Muffins

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 ½ lbs raw ground chicken breast or turkey.processor and run until ground)
  • 2 large egg
  • 6 tablespoons panko or breadcrumbs
  • Âľ teaspoon dried basil
  • Âľ teaspoon dried thyme
  • Âľ teaspoon oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ a small finely chopped onion
  • Âľ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 teaspoon black pepper
  • Âľ cup Parmesan cheese
  • Âľ cup pasta sauce
  • Âľ cup reduced fat shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • Optional: dried parsley, oregano or basil for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350. Lightly mist a muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, egg, egg whites, breadcrumbs, basil, thyme, oregano, garlic, onion, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese and lightly mix together. Do not over handle.
  3. Form the meat mixture evenly into the 12 cups of your prepared muffin tin. Spread the pasta sauce evenly over the tops of each muffin. Bake for 20 minutes and remove from the oven. Top each muffin with about a tablespoon of shredded cheese and then return to the oven for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted. Garnish if desired.

Dear Friends,

Thanks for swinging by! Whether you are stuck indoors watching the snow, or reading this poolside, I hope you enjoy this delicious recipe and these great finds!

Until next time…

Cheers to cherished memories, both old and new!

🥂Laura

CELEBRATION + SUNSETS SHOPPING

Those of you who know me know that I am OBSESSED with anything NINJA! Check out the latest!…

Ninja Foodi 1400-Watt Multi Cooker, Pressure Cooker, Steamer & Air Fryer w/ TenderCrisp Technology, Pressure & Crisping Lid, 6.5 Qt Pot (OP301), Black/Gray by Ninja $229.00 + FREE SHIPPING!

Ninja Foodi Complete Cookbook For Beginners: 150 Amazingly Easy and Delicious Recipes to Pressure Cook, Air Fry, Dehydrate, and More with Your Ninja Foodi. 2019 Paperback – November 20, 2018 $13.49 or for your Kindle $4.99

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4 PC Instant Pot Accessories Pressure Cooker Ninja Accessories with Egg Bite Mold, and Trivet $25.95 + FREE SHIPPING!

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