Chicken Florentine Pasta

This post is sponsored by Stella® but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

With a new baby in the house, it has become even more challenging to get dinner on the table, so I find myself looking for more and more quick meals and time saving solutions.  At the same time, I don’t want to sacrifice taste and quantity.  Today I’m sharing a recipe for Chicken Florentine Pasta.  It is the perfect example of a quick and easy meal that tastes like it came from a gourmet restaurant, and it shows must how much you can do with a few good ingredients and a little creativity.

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Grilled Hot Wings + 6 Tips to Make Your Summer Cookout a Success

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MakeYourSummer #MADEFORDOERS #CollectiveBias

Summer time is party time!  My husband and I love to have cookouts during the summer, and we are sort of famous for our last minute impromptu get-togethers, featuring my husband’s grilled masterpieces, and my amazing sides and desserts.  Today I’m excited to offer you an easy but unique recipe for your next cookout, plus tips to make your summer cookout a success from prep to clean up.

 

Party Time Clean Up Essentials

When it comes to parties, most people focus on the food first and then the decorations, but you must not forget other essentials like plates, cups, eating utensils, and of course, something to help guests to clean their hands.  VIVA® Vantage® Big Roll Paper Towels come in a convenient 6 pack that is perfect for your party.  I love putting out a roll of paper towels, because it is easy, convenient, and cost effective.  Also, in the event of a spill, you just grab a roll and get to cleaning!

Paper towels can also be a big help for cleaning as you go before your party begins.  Just wipe down tables and counter tops as you work, so the messes don’t add up!  Then after the party is over, I like to grab my favorite spray cleaner and a roll of paper towels for quick clean up!

New Kleenex® Wet Wipes Gentle Clean are also a convenient product to have on hand.  These are safe to use on hands and your face.

Summer parties are often outdoors, which means no sink is immediately available, and so it’s great to offer guests some wipes for personal clean up (especially if you are serving a messy food like ribs, wings, or ice cream).

I recommend placing a package of Kleenex® Wet Wipes at the center of each of the tables where people will be eating, as well as an additional package next to your messiest foods, which may require the use of the wipes (ie – right next to your tray of hot wings).

You can find both of these products in the bath tissue, facial tissue and paper towel aisle at your local Kroger.  I used my Kroger Plus card and was able to save $5 on the VIVA® Vantage® Big Roll Paper Towels 6 pack!

The Kleenex® wipes found on the facial tissue aisle.  I actually found them on the same aisle as the paper towels.  I found them at the opposite end of the aisle, in between bath tissue and facial tissue.

Place Non-Food Essentials in One Place

I have been to so many parties and get-togethers where everyone appears lost!  Where are the plates?  I can’t find the cups!  I forgot to get a paper towel. Where are the forks?  The confusion can be solved rather easily, by placing all of these essential items at the end of your buffet, all together in one place.

Fun Theme

Even the smallest party can be made more fun with a few decorations.  My stepson recently graduated high school and will be leaving in August to join the army, so for his upcoming party, I would use some simple red, white, and blue decorations.  I LOVE patriotic decorations to begin with, so this is an especially fun theme for me.  Plus, with Memorial Day and the 4th of July being summer time holidays it is very easy to find paper plates, balloons, tablecloths, and other fun decorations and party favors to go with this theme.

Make Ahead Menu Items

To shorten prep time and make less mess on the day of your party, choose a few make ahead menu items.

  • Casseroles that can be mixed up the night before and simply warmed in the oven the next day are great.
  • You can also make salads the night before. (We always make our potato salad a day ahead!)
  • No bake desserts are also great for this, as well most other desserts from homemade cookies to pies and cupcakes.

Unique Menu

Think outside the box when planning your menu; just a few unique menu items can take your menu from bland and basic to original and full of flavor.

Right now we are brainstorming party ideas for Noah. My husband and I LOVE to do cookouts, and we also love doing appetizer parties, so my idea is to do a combination of the two.  I’d like to serve hamburgers and hot dogs (because it is easy and everyone loves it), but I also want to throw in some of our favorite appetizers like hot wings, sausage balls, and buffalo chicken dip.

You could also add a few appetizers to your menu if your are having a fish fry.  Or offer up veggie kebobs alongside your grilled steaks or barbecue chicken.

Fresh fruits and salads are also great additions to your backyard barbecue, and of course, you never want to forget the dessert!

Fire Up That Grill!

If you’re serving appetizers at your next cookout, I have a simple, yet unique recipe.  Where I live hot wings are not typically served at a barbecue.  They are usually reserved for tailgating parties and holiday parties, so just having them at a summer party is an interesting menu twist for us.  And if that’s not enough, these wings are GRILLED!  Usually when people think of wings, they think of wings fried in a fryer.

Grilling your wings will add extra flavor that frying just won’t do, and because you aren’t using any oil, and the fat from the wings drips down into your grill, your wings will actually be a lot more healthy!

 

Grilled Hot Wings

Grilled Hot Wings

Ingredients:

5lb hotwings (drumettes and/or flats)

OR 5 lb chicken tenderloins (for chicken fingers or cut into boneless wings)

12 oz bottle cayenne pepper hot sauce

1 stick butter

1/4 cup steak seasoning sauce

1 tbsp garlic powder

Directions:

Place wings on grill and cook on 250 degrees of heat for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until internal temperature is 160 degrees.

Just before wings finish cooking, make sauce: Pour hot sauce, steak seasoning sauce, and garlic powder in to a sauce pan. Add stick of butter. Simmer on low to medium heat until butter is melted, stirring occasionally.

Once wings are off the grill, place wings in a dish and pour sauce over wings. Serve with ranch or bleu cheese dressing.

Notes

To prevent burning and sticking, take a piece of aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray, place marinated wings on foil, and fold/scrunch foil to create a foil pack. Then place foil pack on grill.

http://www.simplysweethome.com/2018/06/grilled-hot-wings-6-tips-summer-cookout-success/

 Sweepstakes!

Enter the #MakeYourSummer Sweepstakes for a chance to win a Kroger gift card or a NASCAR experience!

  • No Purchase Necessary. The #MakeYourSummer #Sweepstakes begins on June 11, 2018 at 12:00:00 AM ET and ends on July 23, 2018 at 11:59:59 PM ET.
  • There are multiple Entry Periods during the Sweepstakes. Legal residents of the 50 US/DC only, 18+.
  • Void where prohibited. By participating, you agree to the Official Rules at https://makeyoursummerrules.pgtb.me/MRsDsl.
  • All shared entries should include: #MakeYourSummer #Sweepstakes. Ends 7/23/18. See rules at https://makeyoursummerrules.pgtb.me/MRsDsl.

Do you love cookouts and summer parties? Visit the Make Your Summer Social Hub for more unique grilling inspiration.  And as always, I invite you to join the conversation by commenting on today’s post!

Asian Inspired Steak with Fried Rice

My husband and I grill all year long, but we still look forward to those warm months when we can enjoy the great outdoors while we cook. Like a lot of people, one of our favorite meats to cook is steak.  I personally like a nice New York Strip Steak or a basic sirloin served up with a loaded baked potato and a salad or steamed vegetables..  As far as marinades and seasonings, I’m happy with just a little salt, pepper, or seasoning salts, but my husband, The King of the Grill, loves to experiment, so I’m always getting to try new marinades and seasoning blends.

The other day, we put together an Asian Inspired Steak.  We made these with some delicious Flat Iron Steaks, and they were delicious! To reinforce the Asian flavors of the steak, I served them up with a little Chicken Fried Rice.

I’d love to say, I made the rice from scratch, but in this case I took a short cut.  We used PF Chang’s Chicken Fried Rice.  They have delicious frozen entrees that taste delicious and are quick and easy to make.  For me, these entrees are a meal all by themselves, but they are also a great complement to other homemade items you may be cooking.

 

Here’s the recipe for the marinade we used for our steaks, along with instructions on how to best cook the steak.  Normally I like my steak cooked medium well, but as it’s a Flat Iron steak, my husband said they could only be cooked medium rare or medium. (And since he’s my resident expert on steaks, I agree.)

Asian Inspired Steak

Asian Inspired Steak

Ingredients:

Steaks - 1 1/2 - 2 lbs Flat Iron Steaks

Marinade Ingredients:

2tbs red pepper flakes

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup red cooking wine

3tbs hoisin sauce

1tbs garlic pepper

3tbs Worchesterchire sauce

Directions:

Place all liquid ingredients in a medium sized bowl or casserole dish, and whisk together. Then add red pepper flakes and garlic pepper. Mix until well blended. (You may also mix ingredients together in a gallon sized zipper bag.)

Place meat in container with marinade and refrigerate for 1 to 6 hours or overnight.

Cook on hot grill (on high, 450 to 550 degrees). For medium rare, cook each side for 4 minutes, and for medium cook each side for 5 minutes.

After cooking steak, let it set for 5 to 10 minutes. Then cut in to strips and serve over a bed of your favorite rice or lo mein.

http://www.simplysweethome.com/2018/05/asian-inspired-steak-fried-rice/

 

These steaks were definitely delicious, and the PF Chang’s Chicken Fried Rice was a great complement to the dish (not to mention a great convenience food to go along with our homecooking).

Do you ever pair frozen entrees or sides with your homecooking?  I’d love to hear about your favorite product recommendations or tips for getting dinner to the table faster!

 

 

Vanilla Cream Cheese Apple Pie Dip

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ServingUpTheSeason #CollectiveBias

The holiday season is here, which means shoppers are flocking to the store to buy gifts for everyone on their list, and a lot of us are also racing to the store to buy grocery items for our holiday menus.  If you’ve been assigned to provide the dessert this year, you can bring something delicious and easy to the table by choosing Marie Callender’s® Pies and Loaf Cakes.  Today I’m going to tell you a little bit about these amazing desserts and show you can use Marie Callender’s Dutch Apple Pie in a recipe. [Read more…]

Hashbrown Casserole and Clean Up with Scotch-Brite® Scrub Dots

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ScrubWithDots #CollectiveBias

With the holidays right around the corner, it’s time to brainstorm recipes and menu ideas and prepare for that big holiday grocery outing.  While preparing your shopping list, it’s just as important to add cleaning products and tools that you will need.  Enter Scotch-Brite® Scrub Dots Previously I’ve written about the Scotch-Brite™ Brand and how their wide range of products helps me with my household cleaning.  Recently I purchased their new Scotch-Brite® Scrub Dots sponges and dishwands.  Today I’m going to share these products with you and show some examples of the products at work in my kitchen, including how I used Scotch-Brite® Scrub Dots to clean up after making a Hashbrown Casserole. (Recipe included!)

[Read more…]

Tangy Dr Pepper® Chicken and Grill-gating Fun

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GrillGatingHero #GrillGating

Tangy Dr Pepper Chicken and Grill-gating Fund

It’s that time of year again! Time to break out your favorite fan gear, whip up your favorite recipes, and get ready for fun-filled football Saturdays!  Every fall I enjoy sitting in front of the television with my husband on Saturdays and watching our favorite college football team (and any other college team who’s playing).   Whether we have a house full of people or it’s just our family at home, we always have a good time, and we always enjoy our share of delicious homegating and grill-gating food!  Today I’m going to share a recipe for grilled chicken.  It features a Tangy Dr Pepper® marinade, and can be used for your chicken fingers, boneless and bone-in wings, or any other meat of your choice! [Read more…]

Tailgating with Tony’s Pizza + Sausage & Cheese Pinwheels

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WinWithTonysPizza #CollectiveBias

Football season is in full swing, and that includes high school football!  Even though it’s been “a few” years since I was in high school, I still enjoy rooting for the home team, and my husband played football in high school so he is always happy to watch anyone play.  Our son has also been in marching band, so we’ve enjoyed going to the football games to see him play, and while we’re there it’s a great chance to check out the game and enjoy ourselves.

One thing that’s changed since I was in school is the pre-game festivities.  Much like they do at colleges, people now tailgate, spirit parades, and other fun activities.

If you read this blog regularly, you know that I love homegating and serving food for football games.  For a high school game, I think it’s just as fun to serve up a few appetizers for family and friends to enjoy before attending the big game.

The other day we had a nice spread of food. I made a few appetizers, and our main dish was Tony’s pizza.  I purchased Tony’s® Pizzeria Style MEAT-TRIO® Pizza and Tony’s® Pizzeria Style Cheese Pizza.  Their pizzas feature 100% real mozzarella cheese and sauce made from real tomatoes, and their pizzas bake up in about 20 minutes, making them ideal for you tailgate or homegate parties!

 

You can find Tony’s pizza in the freezer section at Walmart.  Look for all their delicious varieties:

  • Tony’s® Pizzeria Style Pepperoni Pizza
  • Tony’s® Pizzeria Style Sausage & Pepperoni Pizza
  • Tony’s® Pizzeria Style Cheese Pizza
  • Tony’s® Pizzeria Style Supreme Pizza
  • Tony’s® Pizzeria Style MEAT-TRIO® Pizza

I like baking these pizzas as a main dish, and it’s also fun to slice the pizza into many smaller pizzas in order to serve “finger food” size portions.  Tony’s pizza is also very affordable, and because it’s so quick to make you can always stick extra pizzas in the oven if you have last minute or unexpected guests arrive.

Ibotta Offer!  You can also get $1 cash back off your pizza purchase with Ibotta.

Sweepstakes!  Right now you can also enter to win great prizes and up to $3000 for your local high school from Tony’s pizza.  Check it out!

#WinWithTonysPizza #Sweepstakes – Walmart (9/19 to 10/17)

I also made a few appetizers to go with our pizza.  It was basically an entire table full of man food!

One of the appetizers I made to go with the pizza was a platter of Sausage & Cheese Pinwheels.  This is a very easy appetizer that you can make in under 20 minutes.  The bite-sized portions make it very easy to serve and eat at a tailgate.  And the hearty ingredients are real crowd pleasers.

Sausage & Cheese Pinwheels

Sausage & Cheese Pinwheels

Ingredients:

24 oz processed cheese

1 can diced tomatoes with chiles

1 pound ground sausage

flour tortillas

Directions:

Fry sausage until browned and cook through. Drain off fat. Set aside.

Take cheese and slice it into cubes. Place in a microwave safe bowl. Add tomatoes with chiles. Place in microwave and cook for 30 seconds. Remove and stir. Repeat until cheese is melted. Stir in sausage.

Spread sausage and cheese mixture in a thin layer on the tortillas. Roll tortillas on to themselves. Chill in the refrigerator till cheese mixture is set.

Remove tortilla roll-ups from the refrigerator. Cut tortillas in to slices, about 1/2 an inch wide. Cheese should be set up enough so that it doesn't ooze out when you cut the tortillas.

Place pinwheels on tray and serve immediately or place in the refrigerator until time to serve.

Notes

For a lighter option, try substituting other ingredients like turkey sausage and whole wheat tortillas.

http://www.simplysweethome.com/2017/09/tailgating-tonys-pizza-sausage-cheese-pinwheels/

Do enjoy Friday night football?  Do you have a son who plays for the home team or a daughter who cheers on the sideline?  If so, I’d love to hear how you celebrate and show your home town pride!  Leave a comment on this post or join the discussion on social media.

Also, be sure to check out these fun tailgating ideas!

 

Orange Shortcake Parfait

Do you have kids who always seem to be hungry for an after school snack?  Or do YOU always find yourself rummaging through the kitchen for something to snack on?  If you’ve answered, “Yes!” to either of these questions, then today’s post is for you!  When it comes to afternoon snacking, you don’t have to settle for the same boring and bland foods.  You’ll actually find it’s amazing what you can do with just a few simple ingredients on hand.  You just have to get a little creative!  Today I’m sharing a recipe for a quick Orange Shortcake Parfait.  You can make these for your hungry little ones in about 5 minutes, or make an entire round of parfaits for your next party!

The other day, I made a couple of pound cakes!  I LOVE pound cakes!  They are so simple, yet so good!  And while I love the plain pound cake, it’s also a versatile dessert that you can change up with a little frosting, glaze, or fruit.  If you’ve got leftover pound cake on the counter and a little fruit on hand, you can easily make a shortcake parfait in a about five minutes.  In our post today, I’ve used a simple fruit cup of mandarin oranges and a little whipped topping to make an Orange Shortcake Parfait.

Substitutions

Of course, you could very easy substitute in another fruit cup like pineapple, or use fresh fruit like strawberries or bananas to make any kind of shortcake you like.  No whipped topping on hand?  No worries!  Just substitute in another ingredient, such as vanilla pudding.  And if you don’t have happen to have any cake on hand, look for other items in your kitchen that could be the base of your buffet:  crumbled up cookies, snack cakes (ie – Twinkies), other leftover cakes and breads, cinnamon rolls, and even leftover biscuits.

Not Just a Snack

And if you’d like to go beyond a quick 5 minute snack for you or your kids,  consider using a whole pound cake to make parfaits for an entire room full of people!  Party guests will love this dessert, and you’ll love how quick and easy it is to make.  Not to mention, it is a very cost effective dessert that looks great on your party buffet!

Orange Shortcake Parfait

Orange Shortcake Parfait

Ingredients:

1 slice of pound cake

4 ounces mandarin oranges, drained

a few dollops of whipped topping

Directions:

Cut a pound cake slice in to one inch pieces. Drain the juice off of a 4 ounce mandarin orange cup.

In a small place or jar, layer the mandarin orange pieces, pound cake pieces, and dollops of whipped topping till you make a complete parfait.

*Use a whole pound cake, a tub of whipped topping, and canned mandarin oranges to make several parfaits for a party.

http://www.simplysweethome.com/2017/09/orange-shortcake-parfait/

Do you ever use leftovers or odds & ends to make the perfect snack or dessert?  I’d love for you to share your ideas with me!  You can share your ideas in the comments, link up your recipe at our Friday Favorites party, or tag Simply Sweet Home in your social media post!

 

Crockpot Ranch Chicken

I absolutely LOVE crockpot meals.  In most cases, you just throw your ingredients in to the crockpot and wait for everything to cook up!  It’s easy, and it’s such a time saver!  It’s also great, because I can throw everything together early in the day when I’m less busy, and I can be at ease, knowing that dinner will be on the table, without me having to scramble around in the evening.

And most crockpot meals go a long way.  I can cook and have a couple of days of leftovers, or I can freeze the leftovers to use for another day.  Today I’m sharing a recipe for Crockpot Ranch Chicken!  I love anything flavored with ranch, and this particular recipe also uses my favorite vegetables: carrots and potatoes.   [Read more…]

Loaded Pork Potatoes and Smithfield® Marinated Fresh Pork

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #RealFlavorRealFast #CollectiveBias

Loaded Pork Potato

Pork tenderloin is one of my favorite foods!  To me, it tastes far better than other types of roast, and it isn’t nearly as greasy as other cuts of meat we’ve tried.  With springtime here and summer just around the corner, it is the perfect time to cook up some pork tenderloin on the grill.  Pork tenderloin is a very easy meat to grill, and Smithfield® makes the process even easier with their Marinated Fresh Pork products. [Read more…]