Italian Style Chicken & Waffles

Most of you probably already know, but I married a Maryland boy.

craig crab

He loves crabs, Old Bay, Natty Boh, the Orioles…and OF COURSE the Ravens.

Hence our INSANITY over the Ravens…and just wait, the craziness over the Orioles will soon begin.

N220<—our wedding cake topper

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But what you may not know is that Craig went to NC State for college.

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(^ he would be the ‘A’ )

While at college in North Carolina he was introduced to a bunch of Southern foods. From grits, biscuits & gravy, collard greens, Bojangles (AKA heaven on earth) to cornbread and chicken fried steak.

But one of his favorite meals while in college, between his nightly cookie dough feasts, was Chicken and Waffles…or should I say Chicken ‘n’ waffles.

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I had heard of them before I met Craig, but really never thought much about it until he ordered it one time while we were out. At first I thought he was insane. But then I tried a bite….and boy it is TASTY! Can’t say that I would order it on my own, but I loved having a few bites of his.

So when I came across a recipe yesterday for a spin on traditional chicken & waffles, I HAD to make it. I’m pretty good about meal planning and try to stick to it, but yesterday it went out the window.

At first I was skeptical, but then I kept reading and knew it had to be a winner: Chicken & Waffles- Italian Style!

Not only did it stand out to me because I know Craig’s love for the dish, but the fact that it was ITALIAN (& we all know his Italian tendencies 😉 ) chicken & waffles….I would have been crazy NOT to make it.

I changed a few things about the recipe in order to make it just for two. But, you can find the original recipe HERE.

There are a few parts to the recipe- I prepped the chicken tenders first, then while they baked I made the waffles.

Gabriella also assisted in making dinner, she didn’t want to be left out.

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Recipe for Chicken Tenders
3/4 lb. chicken tenders
-3/4 cup Bisquick mix, I used Heart Healthy Bisquick
-2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
-2 heaping tablespoons Parmesan cheese, finely grated
-1 egg beaten
-2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In one shallow dish (I used a pie plate), combine Bisquick, Italian seasoning and cheese.  In a second shallow dish, beat your one egg.  Take each chicken breast and dip it first in the Bisquick mix, coating well, then dip it in the egg mix coating both sides, then dip it one more time back in the Bisquick mix.

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Place chicken on cookie sheet sprayed with Pam.  Brush half of your melted butter over the tops of the chicken and bake 8 minutes.  Flip chicken over and brush remaining half of your melted butter on opposite side and finish cooking another 5 minutes.  Your chicken should be brown and kind of crispy with the juices running clear.

Recipe for Waffles
-2 cups Bisquick
-1 & 1/3 cups milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
-1 egg
-1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
-1 tbsp dried chives
-1 tsp black pepper, if desired

Preheat waffle iron. Mix together Bisquick, milk, & egg. Once combined add in cheese, chives & pepper. Pour batter into greased waffle iron & bake until cooked through.

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Once the waffles & chicken are done, start making the dish! Take 2 waffles, top with 2-3 chicken tenders & then pour on spaghetti sauce.

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(I made Craig’s a bit bigger- this is his- 2 waffles & 3 tenders. He went back for another waffle)

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I would say dinner was a success by the looks of his plate above. 😉

I loved the concept and the twist on the traditional recipe! What a great idea!!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Baked Oatmeal

Growing up I was always the kid that liked the weird flavors. Grape Skittles? Pass them my way. Grape jolly ranchers…couldn’t get enough. Pepto Bismol?! Yes, please. I would actually pretend that I had an upset stomach so that my parents would give me Pepto. What a weird little kid I was.

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The funny part is that I still love the weird flavors…and I’m still in love with Pepto. But I do restrain myself now 😉

As I kid whenever someone would ask what your favorite cookie was, I quietly answered ‘Oatmeal raisin.’ I felt like a grandma. Aren’t Grandmas the only people that like oatmeal raisin cookies? I was the strange kid that liked oatmeal raisin…while the other kids were asking for chocolate chip.

The good part in all of this was that I got the ‘leftovers…’ the grape skittles no one wanted, the oatmeal cookies that were overlooked. I was in heaven!

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This past weekend I was trying to come up with a new recipe for breakfast. We always have a big breakfast on Sunday, skip lunch (because we are so full) & then typically have an Italian dinner. (lots of pasta, which is very filling)

But I was over the usual breakfast foods…eggs, bacon (for Craig), toast, pancakes, waffles…I wanted something new.

We are both big fans of oatmeal, so I thought I would do something involving oatmeal…and I didn’t just want a big bowl of oatmeal.

That’s when I thought baked oatmeal would be good…and not just any baked oatmeal, but oatmeal raisin cookie oatmeal.

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Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Oatmeal

Ingredients:

-3 cups oats (I used old fashioned)
-1/3 cup packed brown sugar
-2 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp salt
-1/2 cup raisins (I used golden raisins)
-2 tsp cinnamon
-3 egg whites
-1 & 1/2 cups Almond milk (any milk should work)
-1/4 cup light maple syrup
-1 1/2 tbsp margarine, melted
-2 tbsp. light maple syrup, optional

Preparation:

1. In a large bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, raisins and cinnamon. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites, almond milk, 1/4 cup maple syrup and butter. Stir into oat mixture until blended.

2. Spoon into a greased 9-in. square baking pan. Drizzle with  2 tbsp maple syrup, if desired. Bake at 350° for 35- 40 minutes or until set. Yield: 9 servings.

Per serving: Calories: 206, Fat: 3.3g, Sodium: 452mg, Potassium: 153mg, Carbs: 46g, Fiber: 3.5g, Sugars: 20.9g, Protein: 5.5g

What I liked most about this recipe, besides the fact that it REALLY did taste like an oatmeal raisin cookie, was that it cut into pieces…almost like a coffee cake.

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Nice big chunks of baked oatmeal! We both enjoyed it so much that we had two pieces EASILY. I think I was leaning more towards three pieces…it was just that good, I kept picking at it. 🙂

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This breakfast held me over until dinner with NO problem! At only 206 calories per serving, it’s hard to beat! Full of fiber & protein, it is definitely a winner for a healthy go to breakfast.

It’s another easy make ahead meal that you can just ‘grab & go’ during the weekday.

Other ideas for mix ins: nuts, chocolate chips, dried apples or strawberries. The possibilities are endless!

Cooking With a Newborn

Well, I guess Gabriella has moved on from the ‘newborn’ stage…since she is 12 weeks old…but I think it’s no longer ‘newborn stage’ until 3 months. And since she is technically not 3 months yet, I’m sticking with newborn. She is growing up WAY.TOO.QUICK. But I know, they always do!

So I’m sure you have heard how much life changes when you have a baby, or you already know if you are a parent. It completely changes. I mean everything! Of course we totally LOVE the changes, but some take a little bit of getting used to.

One of them being cooking. Now I know that may sound stupid, but let me explain.

Gabriella is NOT the type of baby that will just be content with sitting in her bouncer, or swing, or pack n’ play. Nothing. She wants to be held non stop. You can maybe get about 10 minutes of entertainment out of the bouncer…and then all of the sudden you hear the scream. She’s OVER it. She wants OUT immediately!

(Don’t mind the following pictures, they are all from my phone, so they are kind of grainy)

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G in her Rainforest bouncer

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G in her monkey bouncer (which we ended up returning because it wasn’t what we were hoping for)

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G in her jump a roo. Let me explain this picture so that you can get a good laugh too. You see G is still a bit too little for the jump a roo. So because she is still little for it, I stuck that pillow (thank you Tara, it’s come in handy for things other than just a lounger 🙂 ) underneath of it so that she could reach the ground & bounce around. It is SO FUNNY! I need to tape a video of her in it jumping on the pillow. She still isn’t quite sure what to do with it, so that makes it even better.

On Monday night we had a guest (a friend of Craig’s from college) over for dinner. I prepped everything early so that I wouldn’t be stuck in the kitchen the whole time while he was here. Since Gabriella always wants to be in my arms, and that isn’t always possible while cooking, I had to improvise.

First, she starts in her bouncer.

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(don’t mind the eye booger, poor thing has a blocked tear duct, which is very common & usually goes away on it’s own- just a matter of time)

Once she is over the bouncer, I pull the Pack n’ Play into the kitchen & she lays in that & watches her bears.

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Then the last resort is the Baby Bjorn. I save this one for last only because it ends up KILLING my back after a while…and she will stay in it for HOURS at a time, she loves it. I just got a few suggestions on my post about my top 10 must haves for a newborn for an Ergo carrier- I looked into it & I think that will be my next purchase for her. It looks like EXACTLY what I need, especially since it can hold up to I believe 45 lbs.

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Please don’t laugh at my attire, lack of putting my hair together or putting any make up on…nothing like sporting one of your husband’s shirts all day & looking like a total bum. Just call me a fashionista 😉

I’m just amazed at HOW much she loves that Bjorn. If I put her facing inward (towards me), she falls asleep in about 2.5 seconds. But I was trying to keep her awake the other day because it was getting close to her bedtime..and I didn’t want her to take a nap because she wouldn’t want to go to bed.

But YES, now you see how CRAZY I look when cooking. I swear if you were a fly on the wall you would laugh the whole time. Just because when I don’t have her attached to me, I am constantly singing, dancing & acting like a TOTAL fool so that she keeps laughing 😀

Along with the pasta dish that I made for dinner, I also made dessert. Not just ANY dessert. A Sally dessert. The BEST kind of dessert! 🙂 As you know, I recently became addicted to her website & have a LIST of her recipes to make. I’m slowly crossing them off & I swear each one gets better. Is that even possible?!

The dessert I decided to make was Cake Batter Blondies.  I knew this would be a winner because I mean who doesn’t love cake batter?!?

I followed Sally’s recipe exactly, I just left out the white chocolate chips because I didn’t have any. I also didn’t have the full amount of sprinkles that the recipe call for, but I can assure you it did not matter! These Blondies were OUT OF THIS WORLD.

Cake Batter Blondies

(Recipe slightly adapted From Sally’s Baking Addiction)

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used skim)
  • 1/3 cup sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.  Spray 9×9 baking dish with nonstick spray. Combine first four ingredients in a large bowl. Add the milk slowly. You want to cake batter to be as dense & thick as possible. Mix in the sprinkles.Pour into prepared baking pan, sprinkle a few more sprinkles on top, and bake for 30-32 minutes until edges are just turning brown. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes so the center sets, before cutting into squares.

*The blondies will look like they are not fully done because the center will be quite gooey, but that’s what you want! After about 30 minutes of cooling, they will be easy to cut using a serrated knife.

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So. So. So. Good. Like you have to take them away from me good. Otherwise I will keep eating them. The best part about them? How moist they are! (& I HATE that word moist, ew, but it’s the only way to describe them) If you do anything today, I suggest you make these. Had a fight with your significant other? Make these. ALL will be forgiven. I promise. 😉

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Gabriella wanted to wear something to match the blondies…and I mean, who am I to stop her?! 😉

Hope you have a wonderful day…it’s ALMOST the weekend! Just keep reminding yourself of that if you are having a rough week. 🙂

M & M Addict

Someone got into the M&M’s yesterday & it wasn’t me. We won’t name names…

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She was trying to be all sneaky about it 😉 She takes after her Granddad, with his love for M & M’s. 🙂

Since they were opened, I figured I would make another Sally recipe that I had been eying – Peanut Butter M & M Cookies. Told you, I cannot get enough of her recipes!

Who doesn’t love the combination of peanut butter & chocolate?! I swear it’s like heaven on earth.

I don’t know about you, but I go through peanut butter like I go through water. It’s bad. But oh so good 😀

You know how I said I love to have easy go to snacks around the house? Well, peanut butter is another one of my favorite snacks. Nothing better than a spoonful of peanut butter to get you through a rough afternoon 😉

As I was reading through her recipe, every ingredient just kept getting better. Brown sugar, peanut butter & M & Ms….Oh my!

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I showed Gabriella the batter…and this was her reaction:

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She started licking her fingers. She was pretending it was the cookie dough.

Then I did something really mean.

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Bad Mommy.

She really just wanted to take her bath in the batter, but I told her I didn’t think that was a good idea.

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She was mad at me for the rest of the day.

One day, Gabriella, one day. 😀

Anyways, I can’t rave enough about these cookies. I took one bite, and they immediately reminded me of cookies from Great American Cookie Co.(the batter even looks like the picture below!)

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Do those even exist anymore?? I remember I used to LOVE the cheesecake brownie from there, which was weird because I don’t even like cheesecake. But for years I have been trying to find the ‘copycat’ recipe for those delicious brownies.

But their cookies were ALWAYS so soft & chewy, which are the best kind of cookies in my opinion. Those people that like hard, crunchy cookies make me wonder about them. 😉

I followed Sally’s recipe exactly and I wouldn’t change a thing. They are PERFECT the way they are.

Peanut Butter M&M Cookies

makes 3 dozen cookies

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened to room temperature*
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 and 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/2 cups M&Ms

Directions

In a large bowl, using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed.  Mix in the peanut butter, egg, and vanilla (in that order). Slowly mix in the baking soda and flour. Do not overmix.  Fold in the M&Ms with a wooden spoon.  Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drop chilled dough by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet or silpat.  I pressed a few M&Ms on top of the dough balls.  Press the balls down (only slightly) since they won’t spread much while baking.  Bake for 8-9 minutes.  Cookies will be soft and may appear undone.  They will firm up as they cool.

Allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Enjoy!

*You may use unsalted butter in this recipe.  If so, add 1/4 tsp salt with the flour.

RECIPE SOURCE: SALLYSBAKINGADDICTION.COM

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And the ONLY possible way to make these cookies any better is to serve them with a tall, cold glass of milk.

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That’s one thing G & I definitely agree on! 😀

A Weekend in the Kitchen

Sorry I haven’t written part two of my labor story…I have left you hanging. But this weekend has been non stop!

Saturday was an AWESOME day! I started out with a run- 4 miles in 33:30- less than a month after having Gabriella! I feel like I’ve got my running mojo back 😉 Usually I take G with me in the jogging stroller, but yesterday since Craig was home he said he would watch her while I went running. It was kind of weird not having the stroller…but nice- it’s tough running with a stroller!

Once I got home I was able to take a shower & shave my legs….you have to understand it’s the little things that make SUCH a difference with a newborn 😀 So to have Craig on baby duty so that I could have some free time was really nice.

The rest of my Saturday was spent hanging out with G, cleaning, cooking dinner, then hanging out with Craig when G went down for a nap.

Today was BUSY BUSY BUSY!! Craig’s office has their holiday breakfast tomorrow & people from his group pay me to bake a bunch of breakfast items because they know how much I love baking…and it’s easier for them 🙂

So right when I got up I got to work in the kitchen- I knew I would have minimal time between watching G, feeding G & trying to get all of the items baked…so it was go time right away!

Here are the items that I made:

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Cranberry Bliss Bars (by my lovely twin, Liz…not really my twin…it’s a long story. 🙂 )

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Mini Eggnog Doughnut Muffins

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Red Velvet Santa Hat Brownies (which I found yesterday on beloved Pinterest 😉 ) Oh & this made a lot more, I just didn’t get them all in the picture.

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Andes Mint Cookie Bars- used the recipe on the back of the Andes Mint chips (near the chocolate chips)- but made them into bars into of cookies.

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Starbucks Iced Lemon Pound Cake Copycat Recipe 

I have had this before & it’s REALLY good!! I decided to make it into a bundt cake instead of using two loaf pans. I had not iced it yet ..only because I will ice it in the morning before Craig takes it in. You know glaze doesn’t really look good the next day.

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Triple Berry Coffee Cake – a recipe that I have made for the past three years for his office. This is always a request 🙂

I am also making a monkey bread in the morning- I’m sure you all know what that looks like.

Because I was making all of this, I had to taste test each recipe just to make sure everything tasted ok 😉 I can honestly tell you that I HIGHLY recommend ANY of the recipes above! Hopefully they will all be a hit with his co workers as well!

Gotta say I definitely don’t mind spending an entire day in the kitchen…in fact I love it! 😀

As you can see, I’ve had a busy, but wonderful weekend! It’s also fun to see how much Gabriella is growing- I tell her to slow down everyday. Lately she has been ROCKING her ‘tummy time!’ This girl is a pro!

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She’s been holding her head up for over a minute & she is just so alert- I love it!

I hope you all had a great weekend as well- hard to believe it’s already December! I promise that part two of my labor story will be coming very soon!! 🙂