Spicy Ranch BLT Braid

Well hello there!! I apologize for the lack of posts last week.

Gabriella and I went up to Jacksonville to visit my parents and Craig was actually out of town for the while week for a work conference. I figured while he was gone it would be a perfect time to visit my family & friends in my hometown.

It was such a nice time, and Gabriella did AWESOME! Remember how I was just talking about all of the attachment issues coming back? Well, much to my surprise she did GREAT with my parents and friends. My Mom watched her for me for a bit one day so that I could shower, and she was fine. The second she saw me though she started crying for me. But the whole ‘out of sight, out of mind’ is key for her.

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LOVE this little chick!

It truly is AMAZING how fast she is growing. My Dad kept commenting on how she would be walking in no time. A few times he would look at her and gasp and I was like what is going on??!?! He thought for sure she was about to start walking! Smile 

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She LOVES her walker, which is above. (please notice those chunky thighs. O.M.G. I just can’t get enough of them!) She constantly wants to walk walk walk. No more stationary toys- I actually packed up her jumperoo, exersaucer, and another walker that you actually put her in. She does not like anything that confines her, girlfriend likes her independence. Winking smile

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Seriously, HOW is that my LITTLE girl!?!?! She looks HUGE! Ahhh, slow down Gabriella, SLOW DOWN!!

Anyways, while I was home I got to thinking of some of my favorite meals that my Mom used to make when I was growing up. One of them happened to be this vegetable chicken braid. It was just a mix of vegetables, chicken & spices wrapped up in crescent rolls. It was delicious- just the mixture always tasted so good and I always loved learning that was what we were having for dinner.

I was craving that thee other night, but wanted to kind of mix things up. After looking on Pinterest for a bit, I got an idea and went from there.

With it I created….

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Spicy Ranch BLT Braid

(adapted from this recipe)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 slices

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped cooked chicken

1 cup shredded 2% cheddar cheese

3/4 cup crumbled cooked turkey bacon

3/4 cup 2% Plain Chobani

1 package Spicy Ranch seasoning (1 oz. package)

1 package reduced fat refrigerated crescent rolls (Pillsbury 8 oz.)

shredded lettuce

diced tomatoes

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Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the chicken, cheese, turkey bacon, Greek yogurt and Ranch seasoning. Set aside.
  2. Open the crescent rolls. Lay out the dough on a non stick baking sheet. Press together all the seams. Cut small strips 1 1/2 inches apart along both sides. Leave about a 3 inch row in the center that is uncut. Spread the chicken mixture down the center evenly.

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    3.  Cross the strips over each other in a braid pattern. Press the end together. Bake at 375* for 20 minutes.

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    4. Top the braid with lettuce and tomato before serving. Cut into 8 pieces.

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Instead of using mayonnaise like the recipe my Mom has, I subbed in Greek yogurt. I used 2% Chobani, but I’m sure you could also use fat free. I just thought the extra milk fat may make it a bit creamer.

The recipe says it makes enough for four…well, I guess that depends on how hungry you are. Craig and I polished off everything but a tiny little slice. We both really enjoyed it, and it was one of those meals that doesn’t leave you feeling stuffed.

Quick, easy meal for the WIN!

Enjoy your Monday! Gabriella and I have some big plans this week, and we are very much looking forward to it! Open-mouthed smile

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Raspberry Pecan Salmon

Just as ANY Mom will tell you, the concept of a quick dinner recipe is a wonderful thing. I used to be very elaborate when it came to meal planning. I would takes hours to fix a recipe. My favorite spot is in the kitchen cooking or baking or outside running. If I ever have a stressful day, I love going into the kitchen and cooking a big meal.

But having a child changes things. A LOT. Please don’t get me wrong, every change is SO worth it! I still very much enjoy cooking, but these days I head straight to the 30 minute or less recipes. Not going to lie, I love a quick meal that tastes just as good as those meals that I would make that took hours.

One of my very favorite quick dinners is salmon. Not only is it healthy, but you can get it on the table in less than 30 minutes. A recipe that I use often is Raspberry Pecan Salmon. Doesn’t it sound fancy?!

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Even Gabriella was amazed at how good it looked. Winking smile (& no, that’s not a bald spot on her head, it’s just where the sunlight is hitting)

It’s SO easy to put together, and only requires THREE ingredients (if you don’t count salt & pepper.) I try to incorporate salmon into our weekly meals, at least for a night or even two. Recently when I went to get this salmon I asked for a pound, which ends up being perfect for us- with some leftover that I can eat the next day. The lady happened to say ‘it’s a little over a pound,’ I thought no big deal. Well, what I didn’t know was that the salmon actually ended up being 1.2lbs! Eek! When she said ‘little’ I thought maybe I was getting 1.05lbs. I guess I should have been more specific when asking for a POUND. HA! Good thing it won’t go to waste!

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She was ALL about the salmon! She was fascinated. Must take after her Momma, the salmon lover. Open-mouthed smile 

This ‘recipe’ is VERY general. It’s pretty much just use as much as you see fit. I know that doesn’t help much, but there’s really no ‘right or wrong’ way to make this salmon, which is part of why I like the recipe so much.

Raspberry Pecan Salmon

Ingredients:
-1 lb. salmon (or however much you want)
-Salt & pepper
-2 tbsp. seedless raspberry jam (increase if using more fish, or less for a smaller piece)
-1/8 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts) (again, increase or decrease if you desire)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Cover a baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. (Using the foil will help get the skin off)
3. Place the fish skin down on the foil, sprinkle with salt & pepper.
4. Take your raspberry jam & smooth it across the fish and then sprinkle with the chopped pecans.
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5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork in the middle or thickest part. (I recommend checking on it frequently after 15 minutes as all ovens are different and overcooked salmon is not the tastiest thing.)
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^ how good does that look baking in the oven?? And your house will smell so good- nice & sweet from the jam.

I served the fish atop a fresh salad. (Romaine lettuce, corn on the cob, chopped pears, apples & strawberries and raspberries.)
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Such a delicious summer dinner! I polished off a big bowl of salad for dinner last night & am looking forward to leftover night to eat this meal again!

In other news, Gabriella found a new favorite toy:

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Our vertical blinds. Girl is into EVERYTHING. It is really funny because the silliest stuff (like these blinds) keeps her entertained for a while

Oh, and another random thing, did anyone else’s kid do this:
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Nice shot of my child’s tush, right?! But she actually prefers to do this over crawling. She will just get into the ‘downward dog’ position & pull herself up instead of crawling. Is she just weird or is this normal?! If it’s weird, then she definitely gets it from Craig. Winking smile 

Guess what?? Tomorrow is F-R-I-D-A-Y! It’s ALMOST the weekend! WOOHOO! Open-mouthed smile

Favorite fish? Favorite fish recipe? Please share, I LOVE new fish recipes!
I love Mahi mahi and salmon. And my favorite fish recipe is the one above.