Monthly Archives: June 2014

Snapshot Saturday – Reliving Childhood Memories

I can’t believe my father has been gone for an entire year.  There are days when I feel like I spoke to him less than 24 hours before, and others when I feel like he’s been missing from my life for an eternity.  I decided to use this month’s Snapshot Saturday Posts to pay tribute to him and some of the places he loved most.  We spent a lot of the last few years revisiting some of the adventures we had while I was growing up. We went to ball games, amusement parks, the zoo, the movies, car races, casinos, and museums.  One of my favorite memories of childhood was going to the Bronx Zoo with my Dad, my brother and our Grandma.  The last trip I took with my dad was a return visit to the Zoo.  This is a picture of him outside of the Rhinoceros habitat in April of 2013.

daddy at the bronx zoo

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Filed under bucket board, check-it-off-the-list, family drama, snapshot saturday

Tasty Tuesday – Crock Pot Pulled Pork

I love Pulled Pork and I’ve been craving it for weeks, but I can’t find my recipe.  Yes, ridiculously organized me can’t find something.  It’s not that I don’t know where it is, it’s that I don’t feel like digging through the boxes to find my recipe folders.  I found my recipe in a cooking magazine (either Rachael Ray’s magazine or the Food Network magazine) a few years ago, and we really do like it.  I’ve looked all over Pinterest, trying to find a close approximation to my recipe, but I haven’t been able to locate the right one.  However, the craving got to be too much, and I resorted to using what promised to be a simple yet delicious crock pot version…

The recipe was as easy as the pin promised.  I gathered the ingredients and put it together in less than 10 minutes before I left for work.  It calls for 1 bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce, 4 pounds of boneless pork riblets (I used boneless country style ribs), 3/4 brown sugar (this is optional, but my other recipe calls for it, so I used it), 1 teaspoon dry mustard, and 1 teaspoon of garlic powder.

Crock Pot Pulled Pork Ingredient

You dump half the bottle of BBQ sauce in the crock pot, then add the meat.

start with BBQ sauce   add boneless pork

Next, you add the rest of the BBQ sauce, the mustard, the garlic powder, and the brown sugar.

mustard   garlic powder   brown sugar

I stirred everything around to get the meat completely coated, and set it on low to cook for 8 hours.  (The recipe said to cook it on high for 4 hours, but I was going to be gone longer than that, so I adjusted my cooking time.)  When I got home from work, I used tongs to shred the pork and served the sandwiches on soft buns.

pull the pork   pulled pork sandwich

My dinner guests really enjoyed them, but I still like my original recipe better.  Guess I better get cracking with the renovations, so I can finally unpack the remaining boxes and find the stuff I’m still missing.

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Snapshot Saturday – The Yankees

June is an incredibly hard month for me this year.  I can’t believe my father’s been gone for such a whole year.  These last 12 months have brought so many changes and things I wish I could’ve shared with him, but I know he’s always with me in spirit.  I decided to use this month’s Snapshot Saturday Posts to pay tribute to him and some of the places he loved most.  This week I’m going to pay tribute to his favorite sport, the team of his heart and a couple of places he and I always loved exploring!  I hope you are sitting in the stands with “The Boss” drinking a beer and yelling at Girardi for some of his choices.

Daddy at yankee stadiumsteinbrenner stadium  yankee stadium

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Tasty Tuesday – Chicken Broccoli Foil Packets

We’ve had a bit of a change in my house and I’ve been making dinner at midnight or so most nights.  I can’t really spend hours cooking, well actually I guess I could, but I don’t really want to at that time of night, so I’ve been hunting for hearty, quick and easy to prepare meals.  I found a recipe for a Chicken & Broccoli Foil Packet Meal that I loved so much I had to pin it to Pinterest.

This recipe reminded me of a fantastic recipe that my grandmother “created” called Chicken Thing.  It is not the same as Chicken Thing, but it does have the same homey meal feeling that I remember from my childhood.  The foils packets are also much easier to prepare, which is a big plus at 11:30pm.  I gathered all of the ingredients: 1 package Chicken Flavor Stuffing mix, 1 1/4 cup of water, 24 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts, 4 cups of broccoli, 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 4 slices cooked bacon, and 4 tablespoons of Ranch Dressing (I accidentally left this out).

Chicken Broccoli Foil Packets Ingredients

First I cut the foil to size and sprayed each piece with cooking spray.

Prep the Foil

Then I mixed the stuffing and water together.  Once it was combined well, I scooped some stuffing onto each piece of foil.

combine stuffing mix and water start building your food pyramid with stuffing

Next I trimmed the chicken and laid half a boneless skinless breast on each pile of stuffing.

Layer 2 Chicken Breast

After the chicken I added some broccoli.  The original recipe gave actual amounts to use.  I didn’t pay any attention to the measurements.  I went by sight and what my family will eat.

layer 3 broccoli

Then 1 crumbled strip of bacon gets added to each packet along with some shredded cheddar cheese.

Layer 4 Cheese  Layer 5 Crumbled Bacon

This is where I was supposed to add the ranch dressing and forgot all about it.  I blame the omission on the time of day I was making the meal.  Once the stuff was all stacked, I closed the packets (leaving enough room for air to circulate inside each one).  I placed the sealed packets on a jelly roll pan and stuck them in the oven for 30-40 minutes at 400 degrees.

Foil Packets Ready to Bake

They were ridiculously good, and I will totally be making these again, and I may even have to break out the Chicken Thing recipe and give it a whirl.

Chicken & Broccoli Foil Packets

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Snapshot Saurday – Grave Marker

June is an incredibly hard month for me this year.  This week, especially, because June 13th marks the one year anniversary of my father’s death.  I can’t believe he’s been gone for an entire year.  There are days when I feel like I spoke to him less than 24 hours ago, and others when I feel like he’s been missing from my life for an eternity.  I’m continuing to use this month’s Snapshot Saturday Posts to pay tribute to him.  I couldn’t think of a more fitting tribute to honor this painful anniversary than a simple photo taken of his head stone.  I know you are always looking down on me and I can’t thank you enough for everything you did for me!  I love and miss you more than you could know.

Daddy's Headstone

Daddy's view

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Tasty Tuesday – Panko Crusted Ricotta Stuffed Chicken

Wow, I sure do eat an incredible amount of chicken.  I don’t (actually can’t) eat beef these days, pork is all good (but tends to require extensive care to insure it isn’t dry), and I like seafood (but not everyone in my house is a fan).  Which leaves me with chicken as my go to option…  That being said, I really do enjoy it; however, I’m always on the look out for different was to mix things up a bit.  I love Pinterest for just this reason!  I found this interesting recipe for Panko Crusted Ricotta Stuffed Chicken Breasts while I was searching for something more diverse thank another sauce or marinade for chicken breast.

Tomatoes are a definite no go in our house, so I had to revise the recipe slightly, but it wasn’t a very big change, more of a simple omission.  I got everything I needed together: 1 cup of low fat ricotta cheese (I used regular), a handful of chopped baby spinach, 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil, 1 teaspoon of minced garlic, Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, 2 chicken breasts, Italian seasoned panko crumbs, 2 tsp olive oil.

Stuffed Chicken Ingredients

Once I had everything together, I preheated the oven to 400 degrees and got my heavy oven safe skillet out.  Then it was time to put together the stuffing.  I combined the ricotta, spinach, Parmesan cheese, basil, garlic, salt and pepper in a glass bowl and set it aside.

ricotta chopped spinach grated cheese fresh basilminced garlic salt pepper Spinach & Ricotta Stuffing

When that was all set, I moved on to prepping the chicken.  I rinsed each piece, trimmed it and then butterflied the breasts.  That means I cut a slice through the middle of each one longways without going all the way through.  It makes a pocket of sorts, which I then filled with the stuffing.

Butterflied Chicken Boobs Stuffed Chicken Breast

Next it was time to apply the crust.  I filled a bowl with the panko crumbs and rolled each stuffed breast to cover all of the chicken.

Panko Crusting

Once they were coated nicely, I brought the chicken over to the stove and heated the olive oil in the skillet I took out earlier.  When the olive oil was warm, I placed the chicken in the pan and let it cook for 3 minutes or so.  Then I turned it over and put the entire skillet in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

heat the olive oilSear the 1st side turn them over and bake

I loved this recipe, and will definitely be making it again!  Who wants to join me for dinner?

Panko Crusted Ricotta & Spinach Stuffed Chicken

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Snapshot Saturday – Sunset

June is an incredibly hard month for me this year, as it  is the one year anniversary of my father’s death.  I can’t believe he’s been gone for such a finite amount of time.  There are days when I feel like I spoke to him less than 24 hours before, and others when I feel like he’s been missing from my life for an eternity.  I decided to use this month’s Snapshot Saturday Posts to pay tribute to him and some of the places he loved most.

This week I’m going to start with a picture of the beach at sunset.  It seems a fitting remembrance of a former lifeguard, swimmer and diver on what would have been his 66th birthday.  I miss you Daddy and wish you were here to see what great changes life has brought me over the last 12 months.  I’m riding the tide and rolling with the waves just like you always taught me.

Crescent Beach, Glen Cove, NY

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Filed under bucket board, check-it-off-the-list, family drama, snapshot saturday