strawberry-banana pancakes

untitledWho doesn’t love a nice flapjack in the morning? My husband and I make breakfast for lunch almost every Sunday after church. We usually make chocolate chip pancakes, but this week we were heading home (with our 5 week old) and I suddenly remembered we were out of chocolate chips (gasp!). We didn’t want to stop at the store with Isaiah in the car, because he was hungry and, frankly, we were too . I thought to myself, “How can we make our pancakes flavorful with what we’ve got at home?” Because honestly, I hate plain pancakes. Sorry, but I was just not raised on plain. I remembered we bought strawberries at the store the previous day and we ALWAYS have bananas on hand, so I thought this would be the perfect combination AND make our usual pancakes a lot healthier! They were absolutely the best pancakes I’ve ever made!

I used a standard pancakes recipe and added in the fruit. If you have a recipe for pancakes that you use and is different from mine, use yours and just add the strawberry and banana puree to that! No hard feelings.

Yields: 10 medium pancakes

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons white sugar

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 egg

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

  • 1/2 carton of strawberries (stems cut off, of course!)

  • 1 1/2 bananas

Directions

  1. Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to “sour”.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg and butter into “soured” milk. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.
  3. In a food processor or blender, puree the strawberries and bananas. Add the fruit to the pancake mixture.
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.
  5. Top with cool whip and strawberries.

So delicious. Enjoy!

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pumpkin spice chocolate chip cookies

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How could you not already fall in love with these cookies just from the name? This simple fall treat will not disappoint your family or guests. With three (you read right…THREE!) simple ingredients, you can make these cookies in 15 minutes or less!

I made these over the weekend for a get together and they were delicious. They are not my original recipe, but they’re too good not to share.

Ingredients:
1 box spice cake mix
1 8 oz can pumpkin filling
1 C. Chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Mix the spice cake mix and pumpkin filling together until fully combined
Add chocolate chips to the mixing bowl
On a greased cookie sheet, place spoon fulls of mixture 2 inches apart
Drop cookie sheet on flat surface several times to flatten the cookies a bit
Bake for 8-10 minutes

They are easy to make, clean up after, and eat the whole tray…I mean serve to others. Enjoy!

frozen yogurt covered strawberries.

Want a new twist on an old favorite? Growing up, chocolate covered strawberries were my favorite dessert. Now that I’m a few years older and always looking for healthier options on desserts (other than Oreos, cause you just can’t miss out on those), I decided to try making YOGURT covered strawberries. They are just as delicious and way more nutritious!

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All you need to make this tasty snack is a carton of strawberries and your choice of yogurt.

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I went with a mixed berry greek yogurt from yoplait. It’s one of my favorites and fitting since I’m covering berries with it.

First, cover a baking sheet or plate with wax paper.

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Then, you’ll want to rinse the strawberries (always rinse your fruit before eating!) and then lightly dab them with a paper towel, because the yogurt will stick better when it’s dry.

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Once you’ve dried off the berries, dip each one at a time, into the yogurt container and make sure to get a nice thick, even coat on all of them.

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Place each one on the wax papered baking sheet.

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When you have finished dipping all of  the berries, place them in the freezer for approximately 2-3 hours. After they’ve frozen, pop them off the wax paper and ENJOY! They are so delicious and flavorful! AND you don’t have to feel guilty after eating them or ruin a good workout…that’s my faovrite part.

You can do this with almost any type of fruit…blueberries, grapes, raspberries, even sliced up bananas would be great. Also, there are SO many different flavors and types of yogurt out there. Any combination would be fantastic. Experiment and see which is your favorite!

delicious and easy mexican casserole.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, Mexican is my favorite genre of food to make AND eat. I could eat it all day, everyday. Well maybe not that much, but I do love it. That being said, I made a new dish the other day, which I like to call Mexican Casserole. It was super easy, provided enough left overs for a week, and was absolutely delicious! If you like Mexican food, you HAVE to try this.

Ingredients:

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  • 1 cup shredded chicken, cooked [leave out for vegitarian option!]
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 jar salsa of your choice
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 cup frozen whole kernel golden corn
  • 1 small bag “Ready Rice” (instant/minute rice)
  • 1 large bag tortilla chips of your choice

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Heat 1 T. olive oil in skillet over med-high heat, add onion and green pepper
  • Cook 3-5 minutes
  • Add chicken, salsa, rice (you do not have to pre-cook the rice – it will cook in the skillet), beans, tomatoes, and corn to skillet

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  • Cook ingredients for about ten minutes or until all vegetables are tender and rice is soft
  • Toss all the ingredients from the skillet into a 9×13 sprayed baking dish
  • Spread out evenly in the dish
  • Crumble tortilla chips on top of casserole

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  • Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes, depending on your oven

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  • Serve with shredded cheese and sour cream

This is sure to be a winner, even for stubborn children and husbands. Enjoy!

Just a side note: If you want to mix it up a bit with the leftovers, spoon the ingredients into soft tortilla shells and cook them in a sprayed skillet for about ten minutes, or until each side of the tortilla is lightly browned. It’s easy and gives it a little twist, so you don’t get sick of it.

eight easy easter eats.

Whew, that title right there is alliteration at it’s finest…if I do say so myself.

First off, I just want to say HAPPY GOOD FRIDAY! Do we have an awesome Savior or what?! PTL!

Secondly, If  you know me at all, you know that I loooove (with a capital L) desserts. I can’t go many meals without one and in fact, I’ve been known on occasion to eat my dessert before the meal. Judge on, friends.

So, I’m here today to give you some hopefully helpful ideas for delicious desserts you can make this Easter weekend to impress your friends and family with (note: these are not my recipes – links will take you to them).

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Chocolate Covered Strawberry Carrots

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Rice Krispie Easter Egg Baskets

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Bunny Cake

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Carrot Cupcakes

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Tomb Stone ‘He is Risen’ Snack

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Bunnies and Carrots

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Easter Egg Cake Pops

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Jelly-Bean Bark

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I hope this gave you some inspiration and a tasty dessert to end your meal on. Have a happy Easter!

Enjoy!

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Last Friday night was an unusual one. My husband and I got to just relax at home together. It’s rare that we don’t have something going on during the weekends, so it’s definitely a nice treat when we don’t. It’s also really rare when my husband makes an appearance in the kitchen, so I had to take full advantage of this occasion.

On this particular Friday, I was in the mood for pizza, but I didn’t just want your typical tomato sauce, pepperoni pizza. I wanted barbecue chicken pizza. It is my favorite kind of pizza to order at restaurants, but I’ve never tried to make one at home from scratch (ok, the crust wasn’t completely from scratch).

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tossing the dough like a boss

I’m so thankful for nights like those. I’m also thankful I married my best friend, because we have fun doing just about anything…pizza-making included.

Here is the recipe we used to make it:

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Ingredients:

  • 1 pizza crust mix (I use Jiffy)
  • 2 chicken breasts, diced and cooked
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 3/4 green pepper, diced
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  • Make dough according to the instructions on the package (use a floured board to roll out the dough then transfer to pizza baking pan)
  • Bake in oven for 3 minutes
  • Take crust out and add sauce, toppings, and cheese
  • Bake pizza for 15-17 minutes or until crust is brown and cheese is fully melted (see picture above) :]

It’s extremely easy and delicious!

parmesan-dijon chicken recipe.

Chicken is by far the majority of meat eaten at the Leachman household. I am constantly looking up chicken recipes and trying them out. I’ve found a few keepers, but also a few don’t-ever-even-attempt-this-agains. I think I have finally found my favorite chicken recipe so far and my husband loves it – winner! It’s really simple to make and is super affordable. There are only 5 ingredients. Yes, 5! And you want to know the best part? It’s HEALTHY (well as healthy as you can get when using cheese and butter).

So for all you hopeless chicken romantics out there, here is one you are sure to fall in love with.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 thin organic chicken breasts (that’s all this household buys)
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat grated parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 T. Dijon mustard
  • 4 T. light butter, melted

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat over to 375
  2. Combine mustard and butter in a shallow dish
  3. Combine cheese and bread crumbs in separate shallow dish
  4. Take each chicken breast and dip into mustard mixture followed by the cheese mixture
  5. Repeat this with all of the breasts
  6. Place in shallow baking dish
  7. Cook uncovered for 20-30 minutes (depending on oven)

See. I told you it was easy. Try it and I bet you’ll agree it’s fantastic. This goes really well with a side of fresh roasted asparagus. I’m hungry just thinking about it.

What’s your favorite chicken recipe?

day four – a guilty pleasure.

It’s no secret that women love chocolate and if you know me there’s no secret that I love hot chocolate. During the winter months, I make hot chocolate almost everyday. Sometimes I even buy the little Christmas combo packs that come with a bunch of different flavored hot chocolates (like mint, dark chocolate, caramel and more). I mean, I’m getting a craving for it just talking about it. Here’s my picture for day four’s challenge…my guilty pleasure.

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You know the saying…hot chocolate is a girl’s best friend. Or something like that…

mexican can be healthy: low-fat fajitas.

My favorite type of food is Mexican. I would say I make it at least once a week, if not more. Not only is it exteremly affordable, but it’s always pretty easy to make! From tacos to enchilladas to fajitas, my husband and I just can’t get enough. I will admit, Mexican food can be unhealthy if you aren’t careful, (especially when it comes to over-using cheese) but this recipe I have for you is actually not bad at all. Here ya go:

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
  • 1 small onion, cut into thin strips
  • 1 green, red, orange, andyellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 c. frozen corn
  • 1 packet of McCormick’s fajita seasoning mix
  • 1/4 c. water
  • whole wheat flour tortillas
  • light sour cream
  • fat-free shredded cheese

Directions:

  • Heat 1 T. oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook for 3-4 minutes or until no longer pink. Remove from skillet. Add and heat remaining oil. Add onion, peppers, and corn; cook and stir 3-5 minutes. Return meat to skillet.
  • Stir in water and seasoning packet. Cook and stir 3 minutes or until heated through.
  • Spoon into tortillas. Top with sour cream and cheese (optional).

I usually serve them with a side of brown rice. Enjoy!

amy’s delicious, healthy chili.

Who doesn’t love a nice warm, delicious bowl of chili on a cold winter night? I enjoy that too, but I also could eat it any season of the year. In fact, I just made a pot of it over the weekend. My husband loves my chili! I make it a lot when we have company over in the fall and winter, because it’s so easy and makes a lot, so there is always enough for everyone. I have friends who make it now, because they loved it so much. My husband and I lead the youth group at our church and we even made it for a fundraiser one Sunday and the church members could not get enough of it. I know, I know, I’m bragging an awful lot about my own chili…obnoxious, right? Well, actually it’s not even my recipe. The recipe is actually my wonderful big sister’s. Since it is loved by so many, I thought I’d be nice and share it so that you can enjoy it too! 😉

Ingredients:

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 16 oz can kidney beans, drained
  • 2 16 oz cans tomato puree
  • 1 16 oz can stewed tomatoes (mexican style) [be sure NOT to drain!]
  • 1 16 oz can (drained) or frozen package of whole kernel corn
  • 1 packet (I use mild) chili mix

Directions:

  • Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground turkey, onions and peppers. Cook until turkey is well browned (stir often to separate meat). Strain.
  • In a large pot set on medium-high heat, add the tomato puree, beans and corn (you don’t have to pre-cook these) and turkey mixture.
  • Pour liquid from the stewed tomatoes into the pot (you can put all, half, or none of this, depending on how soup-y you like your chili), but not the tomatoes yet. Chop the stewed tomatoes into fourths, then add them to the chili.
  • Once all of the ingredients are mixed well in the pot, pour the packet of chili mix onto the chili. As you pour it, use a spatula to rotate the chili from the bottom to the top, so as to get the powder mixed well throughout.
  • Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 30 minutes or until mixture is bubbling. Stir occasionally.
  • Serve with shredded cheese on top and crackers.

Serves:

  • This recipe serves about 7 good size bowls of chili. If you need more, just double the recipe. I’ve done that before and it works fine.

For all of these ingredients, I usually spend about $12 at the grocery. You can’t beat that for a meal that lasts several nights or feeds lots of company. Give it a shot and let me know how it turns out or if you change anything! 🙂