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How To Shred Chicken…The Easy Way!

I can’t wait to tell you about this awesome trick I recently discovered! This is the absolute, without a doubt, easiest way to shred chicken and have it be consistent. An added bonus? You keep your hands clean and cramp free! I use shredded chicken in my recipes. A lot. I used to have to use 2 forks, one to hold the breast while the other one pulled. This takes a long time, especially if you’re doing more than one breast.  I used to positively dread the task, and would put it off until the last minute. Now I can shred up to 3 chicken breasts in under 1 minute! Maybe I’ll time myself next time. I bet I can even do it in under 30 seconds!

How To Shred Chicken…The Easy Way!

4 Sons 'R' Us: how to shred chicken the easy way

1. Cook your chicken breats however you normally would whether it be poached, oven roasted, or even in the crockpot. When the chicken is fully cooked, place up to 3 breasts in the bowl of your stand mixer. Don’t attempt to do more than 3 at a time. Trust me on this one, I had to learn it the hard way. Chicken chunks flew everywhere. It wasn’t pretty.
2. Start off slow and increase the speed, as needed, to shred your chicken more. In a snap you will have this! Perfectly shredded chicken with no mess, and no hand cramps. I couldn’t believe how simple this was. I will never EVER shred chicken with 2 forks again! Take a look at how fine the shred is, it would take forever to get that with 2 forks!
3. Proceed with your recipe of choice and use your shredded chicken however the meal requires.

Boss status…achieved! You’ve owned that chicken & your kitchen.

 

Creamy Taco Pasta

Better for you hamburger helper — that’s what we decided this recipe was. Reminiscent of hamburger helper, but without all the preservatives and ingredients you can’t pronounce. Creamy, cheesy, and delicious! If I haven’t sold you on it yet, where can you go wrong with a combination of two family favorites? Tacos & pasta?!  A perfect quick and easy, busy weeknight meal. Be prepared though. Dinner will be silent. Everyone will be too busy eating, or in my case, scarfing down their first helping so they can call dibs on whatever is left in the pot. 

Creamy Taco Pasta

4 Sons 'R' Us: Creamy Taco Pasta

recipe adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything

1 pound ground beef or turkey
8-12 ounces medium pasta shells or other small dry pasta shapes
1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1-2 tsp minced garlic
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies, drained, or 1 cup salsa
1 packet (4 tablespoons) taco seasoning
3 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp dried cilantro leaves
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet or sauté pan, cook the ground meat over medium-high heat until no longer pink. A few minutes before the meat is cooked through, add the chopped onion to the skillet. Once the meat is cooked through, mix in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in the diced tomatoes and taco seasoning and let simmer over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes.
3. Stir in the cooked pasta, cream cheese, sour cream and reserved pasta water, and continue stirring until the cream cheese is melted and the sauce is well blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over medium-low heat 3-5 minutes to reduce the sauce a bit if it is still too thin.
4. Toss in the dried cilantro right before serving for some added color and flavor. Serve with a green salad.

 

 

Cheesy Bacon Jalapeno Popper Beer Bread

I love bread. There’s nothing better than it’s yeasty smell filling up my kitchen. A no knead bread? Even better! All that same great smell and taste, but none of the tedious work. Today I bring you all the delicious taste of jalapeño poppers in a moist and rich beer bread! Seriously, the two combine for a flavor explosion in this simple, yet oh so ooey, gooey bread recipe. Made with obvious staples like beer, jalapenos, bacon & tons of cheese, you’ll beg for it. It’s sure to become a sensation.

Cheesy Bacon Jalapeno Popper Beer Bread

4 Sons 'R' Us: Cheesy Bacon Jalapeno Popper Beer Bread

recipe adapted from The Slow Roasted Italian

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup granulated sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2-3 medium size jalapenos, (seeded, deveined and diced)
12 ounces bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
1 12 ounce bottle of beer
1 tablespoon softened butter or bacon drippings for pan, or cooking spray

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Prepare 9×5 bread pan by greasing with cooking spray, butter, or bacon drippings.  Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl combine cream cheese, jalapenos, bacon and cheese.  Stir to combine.  Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar with a whisk.  Make a well in the center.  Add cheese mixture and beer. Gently stir mixture with a spoon until combined.  Pour mixture into prepared bread pan.
5. Bake for 50-55 minutes, until browned on top and thumps on the bottom. Remove from oven and place pan on a wire rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Remove bread from pan and allow it to cool on wire rack.
6. Enjoy!

Sriracha Broccoli

Sriracha is an amazing sauce. We’re a little nuts for it over here. In fact, I have it on good authority one of the sons is even getting a bottle in his Easter basket this year. This hot sauce can literally make anything taste better. Add it to some broccoli and you’ve got yourself an epic combination. I realize it may not look quite as vibrant or delicious now, but that’s just what soy sauce does to broccoli. It turns it brown. This saucy side dish may not be all that much of a looker, but rest assured, she’s got it going on! While skinny on the calories, this Asian-style broccoli is full on flavor and packs just the right amount of spice.

Sriracha Broccoli 

4 Sons 'R' Us: Sriracha Broccoli

recipe adapted from Food and Other Things

3 heads of broccoli
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp sesame seed oil
3 tbsp Sriracha (your choice on how spicy you want it. Use 1 1/2 tbs for less spicy)
2 tsp minced garlic
small handful of crushed peanuts (~15)
salt & pepper, to taste

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
2. Cut the broccoli from the stalk into small florets and wash & dry well.
3. In a large bowl, mix all the seasonings and diced garlic together.
4. Coat the broccoli evenly.
5. Put the seasoned broccoli onto a baking pan with a baking sheet, or parchment paper, under the broccoli.
6. Bake for 15 minutes, but remember to toss it half way through.
7. Serve with extra crushed peanuts on top!

{One Pot Wonder} Mexican Chicken & Rice

The great thing about this dish? (I mean besides the incredibly tasty flavors) It can all be made in one pot. All of it. Rice and all. It’s like magic. Dinner magic. One pot to dirty, one pot to clean, one delicious meal to consume. And if I haven’t convinced you yet… it’s quick. Super quick. Less than 30 minutes quick. Don’t believe me? Here, let me walk you through it.

Cook chicken –> stir everything else in –> let cook 20 minutes –>DONE. Piece. of. chicken & rice. cake.

{One Pot Wonder} Mexican Chicken & Rice

4 Sons 'R' Us: Mexican Chicken & Rice

recipe adapted from Yellow Bliss Road

Directions

1. Cut chicken into one inch pieces and season with salt & pepper. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add chicken. Cook until just barely browned, but not cooked through.
2. Add one cup of long grain white rice and saute for one minute. Add remaining ingredients, stir, and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low for about 20 minutes or until rice is tender and fluffy. If there is still liquid in the pan, uncover and simmer until the liquid is reduced.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Mexican Chicken & Rice 2

Buen provecho!

DIY Campfire Starters

DIY Campfire Starters

Remember when Scentsy was all the rage? Then wax warmers and wax cubes started popping up everywhere, including Walmart and Target when Better Home & Garden got in on the idea? Now, even Glade is putting out their own version. I love the way the scented wax keeps my heavily traffic-ed and/or ‘smelly’ areas such as recently used bathrooms constantly smelling awesome. A pack of six cubes, which each last about 3 days, costs $2 so I never really felt bad for buying something that I’ d be throwing out just a few days later. It never even dawned on me to consider recycling/ upcycling the old wax.

Then we took a camping trip and the fire starters the hubs had brought got rained on. Wet thing don’t start fires. This was the genius idea that came out of that unpleasant camping sccenario. The wax protects the highly flammable cotton, if coated completely. Just light, and add one or two to your kindling and you’ve got an up and coming campfire. Just make sure you have the smore ingredients handy.

Since this we’ve also begun using the old wax (now that we have a nice stock pile of starters) to make emergency candles for power outages. $2/pack really doesn’t seem bad now that I know all the things I can continue to use those cubes of wax for.

DIY Campfire Starters

4 Sons 'R' Us: DIY Campfire Starters

used wax, melted
cotton pads, cosmetic variety

Directions

1. Dip one half of the cotton pad into melted wax. Hold until dry (doesn’t even take a minute).
2. Holding the end covered in dry wax, dip the other side into melted wax covering completely.
3. Allow to dry.
4. Store in a ziplocking bag or other container.

For the best results make sure the cotton pads is completely covered in wax as this makes the water proof and will allow the to catch fire in any inclement weather conditions.

Baked Bacon Cheeseburger Eggrolls

You guys are probably looking at these thinking, how did she dream up the combination of putting bacon cheeseburgers and egg rolls together? Well, its simple really. Egg rolls are good. Bacon cheeseburgers are good. Together they’d have to be double good, right!? Even better? Because these are baked, not fried, in moderation you can enjoy them without all the guilt one may, or may not, associate with enjoying one or more of their fried friends. While these egg rolls may seem more like a snack, they are so hearty they make a wonderful dinner as well. They were so incredibly good, they tasted just like the real thing, without all the traditional fat and calories. They are so simple to prepare as well, let the kids help and earn their keep. I mean…spend valuable time bonding with you in the kitchen!

The American version of the classic Chinese eggroll is a perfect quick & easy recipe for a busy weeknight, or an awesome party or game day appetizer.

Baked Bacon Cheeseburger Eggrolls

4 Sons 'R' Us: Baked Bacon Cheeseburger Eggrolls

recipe adapted from Spend With Pennies

1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 onion, finely chopped
4 slices of bacon, chopped
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
1 1 /2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
20 egg roll wrappers (mine were 5″x5″)
cooking spray or olive oil

Directions

1. In a large pan, brown ground beef, bacon and onion until cooked. Drain any grease.
2. Add ketchup, barbecue sauce, mustard and Worcestershire sauce.
3. Lay each egg roll wrapper out with a corner pointing towards you. Place 1 1/2 tablespoons of cheese and 1 1/2 tablespoons beef filling in the center of each wrapper. Fold in the sides and roll the wrapper tightly. Use a dab of water to secure the tip of the wrapper. (If you don’t know how to roll an egg roll it usually shows on the package).m Place the wrapped eggrolls on a baking sheet.
4. Lightly spray the outsides of the egg rolls with cooking spray OR brush on a light coating of olive oil.
5. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.
6. Serve hot with ketchup & mustard.

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