Friday, June 28, 2013

A Big Beachy Breakfast

This week is vacation week. Ahhhh.  The week we've been counting down to for approximately 180 days since we booked it.  It isn't just any vacation though, it's a big one.  As in lots of people.  In one house.  All together.
Every other year or so my hubs' side of the family tries to get away somewhere all together.  Some years it's been camping, some years it's been the beach, some years it's been a trip to Tennessee.  They are always wonderful, always full of laughs and a great way to keep all of our children connected. 
Believe it or not, the tricky part of keeping getting six to eight families together is planning the meals so that it doesn't fall on one person (usually MiMi).  Everybody wants a vacation, but unfortunately, we still have to eat.  With families as large as ours is, it's not as easy on the pocketbook to go out to eat for every stinking meal...though that would be the ideal vacation.  The answer for us is that we usually come up with a plan so that each family takes on one dinner.  That means, one family plans, buys, prepares and cleans up for one dinner to feed everyone.  Lunch and breakfast, we all sort of chip in towards and do our own thing. 
For this year's vacation we've done something similar, although we've added in the lunch and breakfast for the day you choose to feed everyone.  ONE DAY.  That's it.  So, out of seven days of vacation, you only have to work ONE.  The rest of your meals are provided for you.  Definitely one perk to vacationing with a group.  Weeks before our longed for vacation, we planned and sampled several easy recipes that would feed a crowd, be easy to prepare, and were kid AND adult "taste friendly."  Sometimes this can be tricky.
When traveling to a beach town as we have, where there are thousands of house/condo rentals, you've not lived until you've grocery shopped here.  Unless you've experienced preparing for a hurricane or other natural disaster, shopping for groceries will be an experience.  
In touristy towns, most rentals go from Saturday to Saturday or Sunday to Sunday.  Well, guess what everyone does as soon as they check in to their casa???  Grocery shop.  It's usually a bit chaotic to say the least.  The first time we experienced it, the local Wal-mart looked like something out of a disaster movie.  Many of the shelves were completely empty!  Milk?  Gone.  Bread?  Maybe in the next county!  It was insane.  The following years we brought the basics with us and shopped a few days AFTER the crowds did.  Our second resolve was to avoid all costs.  (Which is a rule we still abide by even when at home!)  With all of that being said, sometimes all of the planning in the world just doesn't work out if the store near your rental doesn't carry the items required for your planned meal.  SO, you have to be flexible and always have a back up meal plan.  
Even though there were endless breakfast options for feeding a crowd, we did not want to stand over a griddle and cook one hundred pancakes and a million pounds of bacon for three hours.  What kind of vacation is that?!  So for our meal, we opted for a grab and go breakfast on our day to cook.  Simple. Easy. And DELICIOUS.  Good warm or cold.  If you wake up early or sleep late.  Eat it on the balcony or on the beach.  Give these Honey Ham Sliders a try sometime, the masses will thank you.  (If not, I bet there just might be some milk and cereal around.)
-- Canned Grands Biscuits, as many as your family will eat
(your fav, although the flaky ones work well)
-- Thinly sliced Ham, one slice per slider (we used Black Forest)
-- Swiss cheese, one slice per slider (we used shredded Mozzarella)
-- Honey Mustard (we made our own)
-- Honey (a few tablespoons)
-- Butter (a few tablespoons)


Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.
Preheat the oven to 350.
Remove biscuits from the package and split in half.
This is the part that is easier if they are the flaky variety,
but most will still separate fairly easily.
Spread the insides of each half with honey mustard.
Tear each cheese slice in half and lay one half on each bottom half
of the biscuits and top with a slice of ham.  Cover each ham slice
with more cheese and cover with the top half of each biscuit.
You got all that?!
Brush the tops with melted butter and bake for approximately 20 minutes.
Brush with a bit more butter and immediately drizzle
honey on top of each biscuit. 
My husband likes his with a fried egg as well.
Mix it up and add bacon or do some with turkey
or just whatever you like.
You'll be glad you did.
Time to head to the beach for the last time!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Get Outta the Kitchen

The kids are out of school, it's hot so who wants to be in the kitchen making it even hotter!?!?  Not this chick.  It's time to pull out that dusty crock pot and let it take care of you for the summer.  Try planning at least one meal a week using that old tried and true appliance.  Every time I use mine I think, "That was so easy, why don't I do that more often!"  It's so nice to go about your day while your din din just cooks itself away.  Wanna go swim?  Take the kids to the park?  DO IT because your supper is done!
This crock pot bbq chicken could not be any easier.  Use frozen chicken breasts and your absolute favorite bbq sauce and you can check dinner off your list!

-- Frozen boneless chicken breasts
(enough for your family)
-- BBQ sauce, your fav
(we love Sweet Baby Ray's and Jack Daniels)
-- Salt/pepper
-- Crock pot

Preheat the crock pot by turning on high.
Spray the inside of it with non-stick spray.
Place frozen chicken breasts in the crock pot
and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
Pour in one bottle of your favorite bbq sauce.
(We added a bit more as we used about 7 chicken breasts)
Place lid on top and reduce heat to low. 
Cook for appx. 8 hours. 
We've even cooked ours on high for just 4 hours.

Serve with some potato salad, fresh green beans,
a green salad or if you want to keep it simple,
a bag of potato chips!
You could even chop up the meat and
throw it on a bun and have bbq sandwiches.
It is summer.  Keep it simple.
And stay out of the kitchen!


Friday, June 14, 2013


It's Friday, Friday, Friday.  Got plans to get out and grill this weekend?  It's Father's Day weekend and what better way to treat dad than to cook for him!  Need a little sum sum to go along side your grilled masterpiece?  How about a glorious stuffed mushroom?!

There are about a million recipes for stuffed mushrooms out there, but when you boil it all down, the ingredients are all pretty similar.  So technically, probably like 20 3 different recipes out there for stuffed mushrooms. :)  Most include breadcrumbs of some sort, butter, a cheese of some kind, maybe some crab meet, or onions. But, you know it's going to be a good day if the recipe calls for bacon!!! This week's Free Recipe Friday has just that.  These make great appetizers or delicious as a side dish.  Cook 'em on the grill or in the oven as we did.  Either way, they will be DY-NO-MITE!!!
12-15 fresh mushrooms, medium to large
1 pkg. thinly sliced bacon, sliced in half
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, room temperature
half a bunch of green onions, chopped
If you wanted to be fancy,
you could add in a bit of crab meat to
throw it OVER.THE.TOP.

Wipe off any black compost from the mushrooms
by wiping with a soft dry cloth or paper towel.
You can also use a soft veggie brush.
Do not rinse them in water, eww.
Remove stems from each mushroom with a little twist
and set the mushroom caps aside.
Save the stem pieces to saute and add in to an omelet,
a burger, or anything you'd like.

Combine the cream cheese with chopped green onions
and add a little salt and pepper for seasoning.
No need to add much because the bacon will be salty,
but a little is needed because of the size of the mushroom.
Using a spoon, begin filling each mushroom cap
with a heaping amount of the cream cheese mixture.
Once all mushrooms are filled,
wrap bacon around each one.  If the mushrooms
are rather large, you may need to use two
halves of bacon or an unsliced strip.
You may or may not have a few slices of bacon leftover.

If you're planning to bake these,
place in a casserole dish that's been sprayed
with non-stick spray and bake at 350
for about 30-45 minutes, depending on their size.

To grill, place on a grill and turn routinely
to completely cook the bacon.

And that right there is deliciousness my friend.
What a treat for dear ol' dad!


Friday, June 7, 2013

Summer Goodness

   School is out.  Summer is here as we know it, so let the garden goodies roll in.  Garden fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, two of my favorites.  These favorites are great memories of my childhood and the annual garden my dad tediously took care of.  One of the easiest ways to enjoy fresh cucumbers is to slice 'em up and drop them in a little white vinegar and watch them disappear.  I grew up eating these as I'm sure many of you did.  Nothing says summer more than cucumbers in vinegar (and a tomato sandwich....mmm).  
   The nice thing about this little cucumber treat is that you can use store bought ones as well - however, I always peel those since I don't care for that waxy coating.  Blek.  If you've never tried these easy schmeazy 'pickles' you should make them pronto.  If you haven't made them in a while, now is the time - everyone will love 'em!  If you like your pickles a little less tangy, try replacing about 1/4 of the vinegar with water to tone it down a bit.  Either way, yum.
3-4 Fresh cucumbers for a good batch
Sliced onions, optional
White vinegar
Black pepper
Seal-able container

Wash and/or peel the cucumbers.
For an extra flair, using a fork, score the cucumbers
lengthwise from top to bottom all the way around.
This makes them look all fancy and also
speeds up the 'souring' process.
Slice the cucumbers about 1/4 inch thick
and place in medium size bowl or seal-able container.
Repeat until all cucumbers have been sliced.
If you like onions like we do, slice up an onion
and add to the cucumbers.
Pour white vinegar to cover the raw cucumbers.
Sprinkle a bit of black pepper in the batch.
Cover and refrigerate for an hour or more.
These are so great and crunchy.
We sprinkle a little salt on ours as we eat them
and literally cannot stop!
It's pickle mania!

Happy Summer!